By George Grote
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Extra resources for A History of Greece, Volume 05 of 12, originally published in 1849
76. The epithet salt, employed as a reproach, seems to allude to the undrinkable character of the water. Hellespont. 22 HISTORY OF GREECE. [PART II thi^tOT of w o r ds> but even the main incident of punishment the punish- inflicted on the Hellespont 1 , as a mere Greek fable ment m- x meted on rather than a real fact: the extreme childishness pont ^there and absurdity of the proceeding giving to it the air dent reasonaoPf Pa ena renemy's calumny. But thisourselves reason will eviits sufficient, if we transport backnot to reality.
Over these again were laid planks of wood, sawn to the appropriate width, secured by ropes to keep them in their places : and lastly, upon this foundation the causeway itself was formed, out of earth and wood, with a palisade on each side high enough to prevent the cattle which passed over from seeing the water. The other great work which Xerxes caused to be Xerxes cuts a ship-canal For the long celebrity of these cables, see the epigram of Archi- across the melus, composed two centuries and a half afterwards, in the time of ^*^m^s °f Hiero II.
As a cause for this expedition, incomparably the greatest fact and the most fertile in consequences, throughout the political career both of Greeks and Persians, nothing less than a special interposition of the gods would have satisfied the feelings either of one nation or the other. The story of the dream has its rise (as Herodotus tells us1) in Persian fancy, and is in some sort a consolation for the national vanity ; but it is turned and coloured by the Grecian historian, who mentions also a third dream, which appeared to Xerxes after his resolution to march was finally taken, and which the mistake of the Magian interpreters falsely construed2 into an encouragement, though it really threatened ruin.