But, even at this exalted moment, choice of sides, Greek or Persian, could be seen, as it was by , as having been determined either by preference for local masters or by a desire to spite an equal and rival state next door.
Modern Western notions of religious tolerance do not apply, however.
It remains true that Persia had no policy of dismantling the social structures of its subject communities or of driving their religions underground (though it has been held that the Persian king Xerxes tried to impose orthodoxy in a way that compelled some Magi to emigrate).
This is odd, because it is inconsistent with the whole thrust of his narrative, which regards the clash as an inevitability from a much earlier date; it is part of his general view that military monarchies like the Persian expand necessarily (hence his earlier inclusion of material about, for instance, , Egypt, and Scythia, places previously attacked by Persia).
The reasons for Herodotus’ hostility have partly to do with anti-Milesian sentiment specifically in fellow-Ionian Samos, where he gathered some of his material (the Samians seem to have tried to represent the failure as due to the incompetence and ambitions of Milesian individuals), and partly with the generally Ionian character of the revolt (Herodotus’ home town of Halicarnassus was partly Dorian, partly Carian).
Persia was for the policy-making classes in the largest Greek states a constant preoccupation.