AFIDNES (Ancient demos) AFIDNES
Callimachus (Kallimachos). Of the tribe of Aiantis and the demos of Aphidna, held the office of Polemarch, B. C. 490, and in that capacity commanded the right wing of the Athenian army at Marathon, where he was slain, after behaving with much gallantry. In the battle he is said to have vowed to Artemis a heifer for every enemy he should slay. By the persuasion of Miltiades he had given his casting vote for fighting, when the voices of the ten generals were equally divided on the question. This is the last recorded instance of the Polemarch performing the military duties which his name implies. Callimachus was conspicuously figured in the fresco painting of the battle of Marathon, by Polygnotus, in the stoa poikile. (Herod. vi. 109--114)
This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited July 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks
The Athenian generals were of divided opinion, some advocating not fighting because
they were too few to attack the army of the Medes;(at Marathon battle) others,
including Miltiades, advocating fighting. Thus they were at odds, and the inferior
plan prevailed. An eleventh man had a vote, chosen by lot to be polemarch1 of
Athens, and by ancient custom the Athenians had made his vote of equal weight
with the generals.
Callimachus of Aphidnae was polemarch at this time. Miltiades approached him and said, "Callimachus, it is now in your hands to enslave Athens or make her free, and thereby leave behind for all posterity a memorial such as not even Harmodius and Aristogeiton left. Now the Athenians have come to their greatest danger since they first came into being, and, if we surrender, it is clear what we will suffer when handed over to Hippias. But if the city prevails, it will take first place among Hellenic cities. I will tell you how this can happen, and how the deciding voice on these matters has devolved upon you. The ten generals are of divided opinion, some urging to attack, others urging not to. If we do not attack now, I expect that great strife will fall upon and shake the spirit of the Athenians, leading them to medize. But if we attack now, before anything unsound corrupts the Athenians, we can win the battle, if the gods are fair.  All this concerns and depends on you in this way: if you vote with me, your country will be free and your city the first in Hellas. But if you side with those eager to avoid battle, you will have the opposite to all the good things I enumerated."
By saying this Miltiades won over Callimachus. The polemarch's vote was counted in, and the decision to attack was resolved upon. Thereafter the generals who had voted to fight turned the presidency over to Miltiades as each one's day came in turn. He accepted the office but did not make an attack until it was his own day to preside. When the presidency came round to him, he arrayed the Athenians for battle, with the polemarch Callimachus commanding the right wing, since it was then the Athenian custom for the polemarch to hold the right wing. He led, and the other tribes were numbered out in succession next to each other.
This extract is from: Herodotus. The Histories (ed. A. D. Godley, 1920), Cambridge. Harvard University Press. Cited August 2004 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains comments & interesting hyperlinks.
Receive our daily Newsletter with all the latest updates on the Greek Travel industry.Subscribe now!