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Artabanus

Who is Artabanus?

Adviser to Xerxes – most influential. Xerxes’ uncle, Darius’ brother.

What examples are there of his character?

Book – advises Xerxes against going to war. His is the opposite view to Mardonius’. “Gods smite the tallest trees.”
Third dream – Dresses as Xerxes and sleeps in his bed. Visit from phantom – hot irons changes his mind regarding invasion.
After Xerxes has crossed Hellespont, urges caution, warns of “mighty powers against him” – starvation and no safe places to stay (fleet).
Sent back to Susa after threat of Ionians fighting for Persians.

What functions does Artabanus serve in The Histories?

·        Emphasises Xerxes’ hubris – ignores his advice

·        Didactic – dreams and omens/divine intervention

·        Persian sympathy – not all Persians are a threat

·        Compare with Greeks – respect for Gods

·        Omens foreshadowing later events

·        Elder and wiser like Darius, contrast with Xerxes and Mardonius

 

 

 

 

 

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