Text #3667The Histories. Series: Histories. Vol. 4 .
[Hdt. 8.65. Translated by Alfred Denis Godley. William Heinemann; G. P. Putnam's Sons. 1922. (4 Vols.) pp. 59--61]
There was one Dicaeus, son of Theocydes, an exile from Athens who had attained to estimation among the Medes. This was the tale that he told: At the time when the land of Attica was being laid waste by Xerxes’ army, and no Athenians were therein, he, being with Demaratus the Lacedaemonian on the Thriasian plain,1 saw dust coming from Eleusis as it were raised by the feet of about thirty thousand men; and as they marveled greatly what men they should be whence the dust came, immediately they heard a cry, which cry seemed to him to be the Iacchus-song of the mysteries. Demaratus, not being conversant with the rites of Eleusis, asked him what this voice might be ; and Dicaeus said, “Without doubt, Demaratus, some great harm will befall the king’s host; for Attica being unpeopled, it is plain hereby that the voice we hear is of heaven’s sending, and comes from Eleusis to the aid of the Athenians and their allies. And if the vision descend upon the Peloponnese, the king himself and his army on land will be endangered ; but if it turn towards the ships at Salamis, the king will be in peril of losing his fleet. As for this feast, it is kept by the Athenians every year for the honour of the Mother and the Maid,2 and whatever Greek will, be he Athenian or other, is then initiated; and the cry which you hear is the Iacchus ‘ which is uttered at this feast.” Demaratus replied thereto, “Keep silence, and speak to none other thus ; for if these words of yours be reported to the king, you will lose your head, and neither I nor any other man will avail to save you. Hold your peace ; and for this host, the gods shall look to it.” Such was Demaratus’ counsel; and after the dust and the cry came a cloud, which rose aloft and floated away towards Salamis, to the Greek fleet. By this they understood, that Xerxes’ ships must perish.