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Xerxes Mandando Azotar El Mar., in Hellespont, Dardanelles, Turkey more
King Xerxes of Persia is shown here just after a storm destroyed the beginnings of a bridge he’d ordered to be built in order to send his army to conquor Greece. The following extract is from a translation of the history written by Herodotus:
The Phoenicians and the Egyptians who had been assigned the task set about building their bridges (the Phoenicians using white flax and the Egyptians papyrus), taking Abydus as their starting point and directing their efforts towards the headland on the opposite coast – a distance of seven stades. They had just finished bridging the straits when a violent storm erupted which completely smashed and destroyed everything. This news made Xerxes furious. He ordered his men to give the Hellespont three hundred lashes and to sink a pair of shackles into the sea. I once heard that they also dispatched men to brand the Hellespont as well. Be that as it may, he did tell the men he had thrashing the sea to revile it in terms you would never hear from a Greek. “Bitter water,” they said, this is your punishment for wronging your master when he did no wrong to you. King Xerxes will cross you, with or without your consent. People are right not to sacrifice to a muddy, brackish stream like you!” So the sea was punished at his orders and he had the supervisors of the bridging of the Hellespont beheaded. The men assigned this grotesque task carried out their orders and another team of engineers managed to bridge the Hellespont (VII.34-36).
The lithographer for this picture was marked as: A. Casanovas,—Lit..
The printer: Mir Tarradas, Comas y Cª,—Editores.