Who was Xerxes?



THE reign of Darius had been mainly peaceful. Just at its close one of his generals was defeated by the Greeks of Athens at Marathon. This battle, which meant so much to Europe, seemed very unimportant to the Persians; it was a mere frontier reverse of a small force. Darius was, however, succeeded by his son Xerxes, under whom the was with Greece was carried to a disastrous climax. Xerxes was accounted the handsomest man of his time, but proved also the most feeble; he was as idle and foolish as his father had been active and wise.

Inexperienced in warfare, Xerxes planned an expedition of numbers so vast that he expected them completely to overwhelm the rebellious Greeks. It was not easy for a Persian army to travel all the way to far-off Greece, and Xerxes was weary of the march before it was well begun. When at length his forces reached the strait which separates Asia from Europe, a bridge of ships was built from shore to shore. A storm swept this away, and Xerxes showed his petty wrath by commanding his soldiers to give the sea three hundred lashes with whips, as if it had been a human slave. He also had a set of fetters thrown into the water as a symbol of its bondage to him. After this punishment, though possibly not because of it, the sea behaved better; the bridge of ships held firm, and Xerxes entered Europe.






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Read about Who was Xerxes? in the The Story of the Greatest Nations and the Worlds Famous Events Vol 1

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