All that seems to me worthy of belief is, that after stern but unavailing struggles, the Messenians abandoned Andania, and took their last desperate station at Ira, a mountain at whose feet flows the river Neda, separating Messenia from Triphylia. Here, fortified alike by art and nature, they sustained a siege of eleven years. But with the eleventh the term of their resistance was completed. The slave of a Spartan of rank had succeeded in engaging the affections of a Messenian woman who dwelt without the walls of the mountain fortress. One night the guilty pair were at the house of the adulteress - the husband abruptly returned - the slave was concealed, and overheard that, in consequence of a violent and sudden storm, the Messenian guard had deserted the citadel, not fearing attack from the foe on so tempestuous a night, and not anticipating the inspection of Aristomenes, who at that time was suffering from a wound. The slave overheard - escaped - reached the Spartan camp - apprized his master Emperamus (who, in the absence of the kings, headed the troops) of the desertion of the guard: - an assault was agreed on: despite the darkness of the night, despite the violence of the rain, the Spartans marched on: - scaled the fortifications: - were within the walls. The fulfilment of dark prophecies had already portended the fate of the besieged; and now the very howling of the dogs in a strange and unwonted manner was deemed a prodigy. Alarmed, aroused, the Messenians betook themselves to the nearest weapons within their reach. Aristomenes, his son Gorgus, Theoclus, the guardian prophet of his tribe (whose valour was equal to his science), were among the first to perceive the danger. Night passed in tumult and disorder. Day dawned, but rather to terrify than encourage - the storm increased - the thunder burst - the lightning glared. What dismayed the besieged encouraged the besiegers. Still, with all the fury of despair, the Messenians fought on: the very women took part in the contest; death was preferable, even in their eyes, to slavery and dishonour. But the Spartans were far superior in number, and, by continual reliefs, the fresh succeeded to the weary. In arms for three days and three nights without respite, worn out with watching, with the rage of the elements, with cold, with hunger, and with thirst, no hope remained for the Messenians: the bold prophet declared to Aristomenes that the gods had decreed the fall of Messene, that the warning oracles were fulfilled. "Preserve," he cried, "what remain of your forces - save yourselves. Me the gods impel to fall with my country!" Thus saying, the soothsayer rushed on the enemy, and fell at last covered with wounds and satiated with the slaughter himself had made. Aristomenes called the Messenians round him; the women and the children were placed in the centre of the band, guarded by his own son and that of the prophet. Heading the troop himself, he rushed on the foe, and by his gestures and the shaking of his spear announced his intention to force a passage, and effect escape. Unwilling yet more to exasperate men urged to despair, the Spartans made way for the rest of the besieged. So fell Ira! (probably B. C. 662).  The brave Messenians escaped to Mount Lyceum in Arcadia, and afterward the greater part, invited by Anaxilaus, their own countryman, prince of the Dorian colony at Rhegium in Italy, conquered with him the Zanclaeans of Sicily, and named the conquered town Messene. It still preserves the name . But Aristomenes, retaining indomitable hatred to Sparta, refused to join the colony. Yet hoping a day of retribution, he went to Delphi. What counsel he there received is unrecorded. But the deity ordained to Damagetes, prince of Jalysus in Rhodes, to marry the daughter of the best man of Greece. Such a man the prince esteemed the hero of the Messenians, and wedded the third daughter of Aristomenes. Still bent on designs against the destroyers of his country, the patriot warrior repaired to Rhodes, where death delivered the Spartans from the terror of his revenge. A monument was raised to his memory, and that memory, distinguished by public honours, long made the boast of the Messenians, whether those in distant exile, or those subjected to the Spartan yoke. Thus ended the second Messenian war. Such of the Messenians as had not abandoned their country were reduced to Helotism. The Spartan territory extended, and the Spartan power secured, that haughty state rose slowly to pre-eminence over the rest of Greece; and preserved, amid the advancing civilization and refinement of her neighbours, the stern and awing likeness of the heroic age: - In the mountains of the Peloponnesus, the polished and luxurious Greeks beheld, retained from change as by a spell, the iron images of their Homeric ancestry!