Annotation of text copyright 2005 David Trumbull and Patrick McNamara, Agathon Associates. All Rights Reserved.

Here Begins Book III of Herodotus' Histories, Being the Continuation of the Narative from Book II.

1. Against this Amasis then Cambyses the son of Cyrus was making his march, taking with him not only other nations of which he was ruler, but also Hellenes, both Ionians and Aiolians: and the cause of the expedition was as follows:--Cambyses sent an envoy to Egypt and asked Amasis to give him his daughter; and he made the request by counsel of an Egyptian, who brought this upon Amasis having a quarrel with him for the following reason:--at the time when Cyrus sent to Amasis and asked him for a physician of the eyes, whosoever was the best of those in Egypt, Amasis had selected him from all the physicians in Egypt and had torn him away from his wife and children and delivered him up to Persia. Having, I say, this cause of quarrel, the Egyptian urged Cambyses on by his counsel bidding him ask Amasis for his daughter, in order that he might either be grieved if he gave her, or if he refused to give her, might offend Cambyses. So Amasis, who was vexed by the power of the Persians and afraid of it, knew neither how to give nor how to refuse: for he was well assured that Cambyses did not intend to have her as his wife but as a concubine. So making account of the matter thus, he did as follows:--there was a daughter of Apries the former king, very tall and comely of form and the only person left of his house, and her name was Nitetis. This girl Amasis adorned with raiment and with gold, and sent her away to Persia as his own daughter: but after a time, when Cambyses saluted her calling her by the name of her father, the girl said to him: "O king, thou dost not perceive how thou hast been deceived by Amasis; for he adorned me with ornaments and sent me away giving me to thee as his own daughter, whereas in truth I am the daughter of Apries against whom Amasis rose up with the Egyptians and murdered him, who was his lord and master." These words uttered and this occasion having arisen, led Cambyses the son of Cyrus against Egypt, moved to very great anger. 2. Such is the report made by the Persians; but as for the Egyptians they claim Cambyses as one of themselves, saying that he was born of this very daughter of Apries; for they say that Cyrus was he who sent to Amasis for his daughter, and not Cambyses. In saying this however they say not rightly; nor can they have failed to observe (for the Egyptians fully as well as any other people are acquainted with the laws and customs of the Persians), first that it is not customary among them for a bastard to become king, when there is a son born of a true marriage, and secondly that Cambyses was the son of Cassandane the daughter of Pharnaspes, a man of the Achaimenid family, and not the son of the Egyptian woman: but they pervert the truth of history, claiming to be kindred with the house of Cyrus. Thus it is with these matters; 3, and the following story is also told, which for my part I do not believe, namely that one of the Persian women came in to the wives of Cyrus, and when she saw standing by the side of Cassandane children comely of form and tall, she was loud in her praises of them, expressing great admiration; and Cassandane, who was the wife of Cyrus, spoke as follows: "Nevertheless, though I am the mother of such children of these, Cyrus treats me with dishonour and holds in honour her whom he has brought in from Egypt." Thus she spoke, they say, being vexed by Nitetis, and upon that Cambyses the elder of her sons said: "For this cause, mother, when I am grown to be a man, I will make that which is above in Egypt to be below, and that which is below above." This he is reported to have said when he was perhaps about ten years old, and the women were astonished by it: and he, they say, kept it ever in mind, and so at last when he had become a man and had obtained the royal power, he made the expedition against Egypt.

4. Another thing also contributed to this expedition, which was as follows:--There was among the foreign mercenaries of Amasis a man who was by race of Halicarnassos, and his name was Phanes, one who was both capable in judgment and valiant in that which pertained to war. This Phanes, having (as we may suppose) some quarrel with Amasis, fled away from Egypt in a ship, desiring to come to speech with Cambyses: and as he was of no small repute among the mercenaries and was very closely acquainted with all the affairs of Egypt, Amasis pursued him and considered it a matter of some moment to capture him: and he pursued by sending after him the most trusted of his eunuchs with a trireme, who captured him in Lykia; but having captured him he did not bring him back to Egypt, since Phanes got the better of him by cunning; for he made his guards drunk and escaped to Persia. So when Cambyses had made his resolve to march upon Egypt, and was in difficulty about the march, as to how he should get safely through the waterless region, this man came to him and besides informing of the other matters of Amasis, he instructed him also as to the march, advising him to send to the king of the Arabians and ask that he would give him safety of passage through this region. 5. Now by this way only is there a known entrance to Egypt: for from Phenicia to the borders of the city of Cadytis belongs to the Syrians who are called of Palestine, and from Cadytis, which is a city I suppose not much less than Sardis, from this city the trading stations on the sea- coast as far as the city of Ienysos belong to the king of Arabia, and then from Ienysos again the country belongs to the Syrians as far as the Serbonian lake, along the side of which Mount Casion extends towards the Sea. After that, from the Serbonian lake, in which the story goes that Typhon is concealed, from this point onwards the land is Egypt. Now the region which lies between the city of Ienysos on the one hand and Mount Casion and the Serbonian lake on the other, which is of no small extent but as much as a three days' journey, is grievously destitute of water. 6. And one thing I shall tell of, which few of those who go in ships to Egypt have observed, and it is this:-- into Egypt from all parts of Hellas and also from Phenicia are brought twice every year earthenware jars full of wine, and yet it may almost be said that you cannot see there one single empty wine-jar. In what manner, then, it will be asked, are they used up? This also I will tell. The head-man of each place must collect all the earthenware jars from his own town and convey them to Memphis, and those at Memphis must fill them with water and convey them to these same waterless regions of Syria: this the jars which come regularly to Egypt and are emptied there, are carried to Syria to be added to that which has come before. It was the Persians who thus prepared this approach to Egypt, furnishing it with water in the manner which has been said, from the time when they first took possession of Egypt: but at the time of which I speak, seeing that water was not yet provided, Cambyses, in accordance with what he was told by his Halicarnassian guest, sent envoys to the Arabian king and from him asked and obtained the safe passage, having given him pledges of friendship and received them from him in return. 8. Now the Arabians have respect for pledges of friendship as much as those men in all the world who regard them most; and they give them in the following manner:--A man different from those who desire to give the pledges to one another, standing in the midst between the two, cuts with a sharp stone the inner parts of the hands, along by the thumbs, of those who are giving the pledges to one another, and then he takes a thread from the cloak of each one and smears with the blood seven stones laid in the midst between them; and as he does this he calls upon Dionysos and Urania. When the man has completed these ceremonies, he who has given the pledges commends to the care of his friends the stranger (or the fellow-tribesman, if he is giving the pledges to one who is a member of his tribe), and the friends think it right that they also should have regard for the pledges given. Of gods they believe in Dionysos and Urania alone: moreover they say that the cutting of their hair is done after the same fashion as that of Dionysos himself; and they cut their hair in a circle round, shaving away the hair of the temples. Now they call Dionysos Orotalt and Urania they call Alilat.
9. So then when the Arabian king had given the pledge of friendship to the men who had come to him from Cambyses, he contrived as follows:-- he took skins of camels and filled them with water and loaded them upon the backs of all the living camels that he had; and having so done he drove them to the waterless region and there awaited the army of Cambyses. This which has been related is the more credible of the accounts given, but the less credible must also be related, since it is a current account. There is a great river in Arabia called Corys, and this runs out into the Sea which is called Erythraian. From this river then it is said that the king of the Arabians, having got a conduit pipe made by sewing together raw ox-hides and other skins, of such a length as to reach to the waterless region, conducted the water through these forsooth, and had great cisterns dug in the waterless region, that they might receive the water and preserve it. Now it is a journey of twelve days from the river to this waterless region; and moreover the story says that he conducted the water by three conduit-pipes to three different parts of it.
10. Meanwhile Psammenitos the son of Amasis was encamped at the Pelusian mouth of the Nile waiting for the coming of Cambyses: for Cambyses did not find Amasis yet living when he marched upon Egypt, but Amasis had died after having reigned forty and four years during which no great misfortune had befallen him: and when he had died and had been embalmed he was buried in the burial-place in the temple, which he had built for himself. Now when Psammenitos son of Amasis was reigning as king, there happened to the Egyptians a prodigy, the greatest that had ever happened: for rain fell at Thebes in Egypt, where never before had rain fallen nor afterwards down to my time, as the Thebans themselves say; for in the upper parts of Egypt no rain falls at all: but at the time of which I speak rain fell at Thebes in a drizzling shower. 11. Now when the Persians had marched quite through the waterless region and were encamped near the Egyptians with design to engage battle, then the foreign mercenaries of the Egyptian king, who were Hellenes and Carians, having a quarrel with Phanes because he had brought against Egypt an army of foreign speech, contrived against him as follows:--Phanes had children whom he had left behind in Egypt: these they brought to their camp and into the sight of their father, and they set up a mixing-bowl between the two camps, and after that they brought up the children one by one and cut their throats so that the blood ran into the bowl. Then when they had gone through the whole number of the children, they brought and poured into the bowl both wine and water, and not until the mercenaries had all drunk of the blood, did they engage battle. Then after a battle had been fought with great stubbornness, and very many had fallen of both the armies, the Egyptians at length turned to flight.
12. I was witness moreover of a great marvel, being informed of it by the natives of the place; for of the bones scattered about of those who fell in this fight, each side separately, since the bones of the Persians were lying apart on one side according as they were divided at first, and those of the Egyptians on the other, the skulls of the Persians are so weak that if you shall hit them only with a pebble you will make a hole in them, while those of the Egyptians are so exceedingly strong that you would hardly break them if you struck them with a large stone. The cause of it, they say, was this, and I for my part readily believe them, namely that the Egyptians beginning from their early childhood shave their heads, and the bone is thickened by exposure to the sun: and this is also the cause of their not becoming bald-headed; for among the Egyptians you see fewer bald-headed men than among any other race. This then is the reason why these have their skulls strong; and the reason why the Persians have theirs weak is that they keep them delicately in the shade from the first by wearing /tiaras/, that is felt caps. So far of this: and I saw also a similar thing to this at Papremis, in the case of those who were slain together with Achaimenes the son of Dareios, by Inaros the Libyan.
13. The Egyptians when they turned to flight from the battle fled in disorder: and they being shut up in Memphis, Cambyses sent a ship of Mytilene up the river bearing a Persian herald, to summon the Egyptians to make terms of surrender; but they, when they saw the ship had entered into Memphis, pouring forth in a body from the fortress both destroyed the ship and also tore the men in it limb from limb, and so bore them into the fortress. After this the Egyptians being besieged, in course of time surrendered themselves; and the Libyans who dwell on the borders of Egypt, being struck with terror by that which had happened to Egypt, delivered themselves up without resistance, and they both laid on themselves a tribute and sent presents: likewise also those of Kyrene and Barca, being struck with terror equally with the Libyans, acted in a similar manner: and Cambyses accepted graciously the gifts which came from the Libyans, but as for those which came from the men of Kyrene, finding fault with them, as I suppose, because they were too small in amount (for the Kyrenians sent in fact five hundred pounds' weight of silver), he took the silver by handfuls and scattered it with his own hand among his soldiers.
14. On the tenth day after that on which he received the surrender of the fortress of Memphis, Cambyses set the king of the Egyptians Psammenitos, who had been king for six months, to sit in the suburb of the city, to do him dishonour,--him I say with other Egyptians he set there, and he proceeded to make trial of his spirit as follows:-- having arrayed his daughter in the clothing of a slave, he sent her forth with a pitcher to fetch water, and with her he sent also other maidens chosen from the daughters of the chief men, arrayed as was the daughter of the king: and as the maidens were passing by their fathers with cries and lamentation, the other men all began to cry out and lament aloud, seeing that their children had been evilly entreated, but Psammenitos when he saw it before his eyes and perceived it bent himself down to the earth. Then when the water- bearers had passed by, next Cambyses sent his son with two thousand Egyptians besides who were of the same age, with ropes bound round their necks and bits placed in their mouths; and these were being led away to execution to avenge the death of the Mytilenians who had been destroyed at Memphis with their ship: for the Royal Judges had decided that for each man ten of the noblest Egyptians should lose their lives in retaliation. He then, when he saw them passing out by him and perceived that his son was leading the way to die, did the same as he had done with respect to his daughter, while the other Egyptians who sat round him were lamenting and showing signs of grief. When these also had passed by, it chanced that a man of his table companions, advanced in years, who had been deprived of all his possessions and had nothing except such things as a beggar possesses, and was asking alms from the soldiers, passed by Psammenitos the son of Amasis and the Egyptians who were sitting in the suburb of the city: and when Psammenitos saw him he uttered a great cry of lamentation, and he called his companion by name and beat himself upon the head. Now there was, it seems, men set to watch him, who made known to Cambyses all that he did on the occasion of each going forth: and Cambyses marvelled at that which he did, and he sent a messenger and asked him thus: "Psammenitos, thy master Cambyses asks thee for what reason, when thou sawest thy daughter evilly entreated and thy son going to death, thou didst not cry aloud nor lament for them, whereas thou didst honour with these signs of grief the beggar who, as he hears from others, is not in any way related to thee?" Thus he asked, and the other answered as follows: "O son of Cyrus, my own troubles were too great for me to lament them aloud, but the trouble of my companion was such as called for tears, seeing that he has been deprived of great wealth, and has come to beggary upon the threshold of old age." When this saying was reported by the messenger, it seemed to them that it was well spoken; and, as is reported by the Egyptians, Crsus shed tears (for he also, as fortune would have it, had accompanied Cambyses to Egypt) and the Persians who were present shed tears also; and there entered some pity into Cambyses himself, and forthwith he bade them save the life of the son of Psammenitos from among those who were being put to death, and also he bade them raise Psammenitos himself from his place in the suburb of the city and bring him into his own presence. 15. As for the son, those who went for him found that he was no longer alive, but had been cut down first of all, but Psammenitos himself they raised from his place and brought him into the presence of Cambyses, with whom he continued to live for the rest of his time without suffering any violence; and if he had known how to keep himself from meddling with mischief, he would have received Egypt so as to be ruler of it, since the Persians are wont to honour the sons of kings, and even if the kings have revolted from them, they give back the power into the hands of their sons. Of this, namely that it is their established rule to act so, one may judge by many instances besides and especially by the case of Thannyras the son of Inaros, who received back the power which his father had, and by that of Pausiris the son of Amyrtaios, for he too received back the power of his father: yet it is certain that no men ever up to this time did more evil to the Persians than Inaros and Amyrtaios. As it was, however, Psammenitos devised evil and received the due reward: for he was found to be inciting the Egyptians to revolt; and when this became known to Cambyses, Psammenitos drank bull's blood and died forthwith. Thus he came to his end.
16. From Memphis Cambyses came to the city of Sas with the purpose of doing that which in fact he did: for when he had entered into the palace of Amasis, he forthwith gave command to bring the corpse of Amasis forth out of his burial-place; and when this had been accomplished, he gave command to scourge it and pluck out the hair and stab it, and to do to it dishonour in every possible way besides: and when they had done this too until they were wearied out, for the corpse being embalmed held out against the violence and did not fall to pieces in any part, Cambyses gave command to consume it with fire, enjoining thereby a thing which was not permitted by religion: for the Persians hold fire to be a god. To consume corpses with fire then is by no means according to the custom of either people, of the Persians for the reason which has been mentioned, since they say that it is not right to give the dead body of a man to a god; while the Egyptians have the belief established that fire is a living wild beast, and that it devours everything which it catches, and when it is satiated with the food it dies itself together with that which it devours: but it is by no means their custom to give the corpse of a man to wild beasts, for which reason they embalm it, that it may not be eaten by worms as it lies in the tomb. Thus then Cambyses was enjoining them to do that which is not permitted by the customs of either people. However, the Egyptians say that it was not Amasis who suffered this outrage, but another of the Egyptians who was of the same stature of body as Amasis; and that to him the Persians did outrage, thinking that they were doing it to Amasis: for they say that Amasis learnt from an Oracle that which was about to happen with regard to himself after his death; and accordingly, to avert the evil which threatened to come upon him, he buried the dead body of this man who was scourged within his own sepulchral chamber near the doors, and enjoined his son to lay his own body as much as possible in the inner recess of the chamber. These injunctions, said to have been given by Amasis with regard to his burial and with regard to the man mentioned, were not in my opinion really given at all, but I think that the Egyptians make pretence of it from pride and with no good ground.
17. After this Cambyses planned three several expeditions, one against the Carthaginians, another against the Ammonians, and a third against the "Long-lived" Ethiopians, who dwell in that part of Libya which is by the Southern Sea: and in forming these designs he resolved to send his naval force against the Carthaginians, and a body chosen from his land-army against the Ammonians; and to the Ethiopians to send spies first, both to see whether the table of the Sun existed really, which is said to exist among these Ethiopians, and in addition to this to spy out all else, but pretending to be bearers of gifts for their king. 18. Now the table of the Sun is said to be as follows:--there is a meadow in the suburb of their city full of flesh-meat boiled of all four-footed creatures; and in this, it is said, those of the citizens who are in authority at the time place the flesh by night, managing the matter carefully, and by day any man who wishes comes there and feasts himself; and the natives (it is reported) say that the earth of herself produces these things continually. 19. Of such nature is the so-called table of the Sun said to be. So when Cambyses had resolved to send the spies, forthwith he sent for those men of the Ichthyophagoi who understood the Ethiopian tongue, to come from the city of Elephantine: and while they were going to fetch these men, he gave command to the fleet to sail against Carthage: but the Phenicians said that they would not do so, for they were bound not to do so by solemn vows, and they would not be acting piously if they made expedition against their own sons: and as the Phenicians were not willing, the rest were rendered unequal to the attempt. Thus then the Carthaginians escaped being enslaved by the Persians; for Cambyses did not think it right to apply force to compel the Phenicians, both because they had delivered themselves over to the Persians of their own accord and because the whole naval force was dependent upon the Phenicians. Now the men of Cyprus also had delivered themselves over to the Persians, and were joining in the expedition against Egypt.
20. Then as soon as the Ichthyophagoi came to Cambyses from Elephantine, he sent them to the Ethiopians, enjoining them what they should say and giving them gifts to bear with them, that is to say a purple garment, and a collar of twisted gold with bracelets, and an alabaster box of perfumed ointment, and a jar of palm-wine. Now these Ethiopians to whom Cambyses was sending are said to be the tallest and the most beautiful of all men; and besides other customs which they are reported to have different from other men, there is especially this, it is said, with regard to their regal power,--whomsoever of the men of their nation they judge to be the tallest and to have strength in proportion to his stature, this man they appoint to reign over them. 21. So when the Ichthyophagoi had come to this people they presented their gifts to the king who ruled over them, and at the same time they said as follows: "The king of the Persians Cambyses, desiring to become a friend and guest to thee, sent us with command to come to speech with thee, and he gives thee for gifts these things which he himself most delights to use." The Ethiopian however, perceiving that they had come as spies, spoke to them as follows: "Neither did the king of the Persians send you bearing gifts because he thought it a matter of great moment to become my guest-friend, nor do ye speak true things (for ye have come as spies of my kingdom), nor again is he a righteous man; for if he had been righteous he would not have coveted a land other than his own, nor would he be leading away into slavery men at whose hands he has received no wrong. Now however give him this bow and speak to him these words: The king of the Ethiopians gives this counsel to the king of the Persians, that when the Persians draw their bows (of equal size to mine) as easily as I do this, then he should march against the Long-lived Ethiopians, provided that he be superior in numbers; but until that time he should feel gratitude to the gods that they do not put it into the mind of the sons of the Ethiopians to acquire another land in addition to their own." 22. Having thus said and having unbent the bow, he delivered it to those who had come. Then he took the garment of purple and asked what it was and how it had been made: and when the Ichthyophagoi had told him the truth about the purple-fish and the dyeing of the tissue, he said that the men were deceitful and deceitful also were their garments. Then secondly he asked concerning the twisted gold of the collar and the bracelets; and when the Ichthyophagoi were setting forth to him the manner in which it was fashioned, the king broke into a laugh and said, supposing them to be fetters, that they had stronger fetters than those in their country. Thirdly he asked about the perfumed ointment, and when they had told him of the manner of its making and of the anointing with it, he said the same as he had said before about the garment. Then when he came to the wine, and had learned about the manner of its making, being exceedingly delighted with the taste of the drink he asked besides what food the king ate, and what was the longest time that a Persian man lived. They told him that he ate bread, explaining to him first the manner of growing the wheat, and they said that eighty years was the longest term of life appointed for a Persian man. In answer to this the Ethiopian said that he did not wonder that they lived but a few years, when they fed upon dung; for indeed they would not be able to live even so many years as this, if they did not renew their vigour with the drink, indicating to the Ichthyophagoi the wine; for in regard to this, he said, his people were much behind the Persians. 23. Then when the Ichthyophagoi asked the king in return about the length of days and the manner of life of his people, he answered that the greater number of them reached the age of a hundred and twenty years, and some surpassed even this; and their food was boiled flesh and their drink was milk. And when the spies marvelled at the number of years, he conducted them to a certain spring, in the water of which they washed and became more sleek of skin, as if it were a spring of oil; and from it there came a scent as it were of violets: and the water of this spring, said the spies, was so exceedingly weak that it was not possible for anything to float upon it, either wood or any of those things which are lighter than wood, but they all went to the bottom. If this water which they have be really such as it is said to be, it would doubtless be the cause why the people are long-lived, as making use of it for all the purposes of life. Then when they departed from this spring, he led them to a prison-house for men, and there all were bound in fetters of gold. Now among these Ethiopians bronze is the rarest and most precious of all things. Then when they had seen the prison-house they saw also the so-called table of the Sun: 24, and after this they saw last of all their receptacles of dead bodies, which are said to be made of crystal in the following manner:--when they have dried the corpse, whether it be after the Egyptian fashion or in some other way, they cover it over completely with plaster and then adorn it with painting, making the figure as far as possible like the living man. After this they put about it a block of crystal hollowed out; for this they dig up in great quantity and it is very easy to work: and the dead body being in the middle of the block is visible through it, but produces no unpleasant smell nor any other effect which is unseemly, and it has all its parts visible like the dead body itself. For a year then they who are most nearly related to the man keep the block in their house, giving to the dead man the first share of everything and offering to him sacrifices: and after this period they carry it out and set it up round about the city.
25. After they had seen all, the spies departed to go back; and when they reported these things, forthwith Cambyses was enraged and proceeded to march his army against the Ethiopians, not having ordered any provision of food nor considered with himself that he was intending to march an army to the furthest extremities of the earth; but as one who is mad and not in his right senses, when he heard the report of the Ichthyophagoi he began the march, ordering those of the Hellenes who were present to remain behind in Egypt, and taking with him his whole land force: and when in the course of his march he had arrived at Thebes, he divided off about fifty thousand of his army, and these he enjoined to make slaves of the Ammonians and to set fire to the seat of the Oracle of Zeus, but he himself with the remainder of his army went on against the Ethiopians. But before the army had passed over the fifth part of the way, all that they had of provisions came to an end completely; and then after the provisions the beasts of burden also were eaten up and came to an end. Now if Cambyses when he perceived this had changed his plan and led his army back, he would have been a wise man in spite of his first mistake; as it was, however, he paid no regard, but went on forward without stopping. The soldiers accordingly, so long as they were able to get anything from the ground, prolonged their lives by eating grass; but when they came to the sand, some did a fearful deed, that is to say, out of each company of ten they selected by lot one of themselves and devoured him: and Cambyses, when he heard it, being alarmed by this eating of one another gave up the expedition against the Ethiopians and set forth to go back again; and he arrived at Thebes having suffered loss of a great number of his army. Then from Thebes he came down to Memphis and allowed the Hellenes to sail away home.
26. Thus fared the expedition against the Ethiopians: and those of the Persians who had been sent to march against the Ammonians set forth from Thebes and went on their way with guides; and it is known that they arrived at the city of Oasis, which is inhabited by Samians said to be of the Aischrionian tribe, and is distant seven days' journey from Thebes over sandy desert: now this place is called in the speech of the Hellenes the "Isle of the Blessed." It is said that the army reached this place, but from that point onwards, except the Ammonians themselves and those who have heard the account from them, no man is able to say anything about them; for they neither reached the Ammonians nor returned back. This however is added to the story by the Ammonians themselves:--they say that as the army was going from this Oasis through the sandy desert to attack them, and had got to a point about mid-way between them and the Oasis, while they were taking their morning meal a violent South Wind blew upon them, and bearing with it heaps of the desert sand it buried them under it, and so they disappeared and were seen no more. Thus the Ammonians say that it came to pass with regard to this army.
27. When Cambyses arrived at Memphis, Apis appeared to the Egyptians, whom the Hellenes call Epaphos: and when he had appeared, forthwith the Egyptians began to wear their fairest garments and to have festivities. Cambyses accordingly seeing the Egyptians doing thus, and supposing that they were certainly acting so by way of rejoicing because he had fared ill, called for the officers who had charge of Memphis; and when they had come into his presence, he asked them why when he was at Memphis on the former occasion, the Egyptians were doing nothing of this kind, but only now, when he came there after losing a large part of his army. They said that a god had appeared to them, who was wont to appear at intervals of long time, and that whenever he appeared, then all the Egyptians rejoiced and kept festival. Hearing this Cambyses said that they were lying, and as liars he condemned them to death. 28. Having put these to death, next he called the priests into his presence; and when the priests answered him after the same manner, he said that it should not be without his knowledge if a tame god had come to the Egyptians; and having so said he bade the priests bring Apis away into his presence: so they went to bring him. Now this Apis-Epaphos is a calf born of a cow who after this is not permitted to conceive any other offspring; and the Egyptians say that a flash of light comes down from heaven upon this cow, and of this she produces Apis. This calf which is called Apis is black and has the following signs, namely a white square upon the forehead, and on the back the likeness of an eagle, and in the tail the hairs are double, and on the tongue there is a mark like a beetle. 29. When the priests had brought Apis, Cambyses being somewhat affected with madness drew his dagger, and aiming at the belly of Apis, struck his thigh: then he laughed and said to the priests: "O ye wretched creatures, are gods born such as this, with blood and flesh, and sensible of the stroke of iron weapons? Worthy indeed of Egyptians is such a god as this. Ye however at least shall not escape without punishment for making a mock of me." Having thus spoken he ordered those whose duty it was to do such things, to scourge the priests without mercy, and to put to death any one of the other Egyptians whom they should find keeping the festival. Thus the festival of the Egyptians had been brought to an end, and the priests were being chastised, and Apis wounded by the stroke in his thigh lay dying in the temple. 30. Him, when he had brought his life to an end by reason of the wound, the priests buried without the knowledge of Cambyses: but Cambyses, as the Egyptians say, immediately after this evil deed became absolutely mad, not having been really in his right senses even before that time: and the first of his evil deeds was that he put to death his brother Smerdis, who was of the same father and the same mother as himself. This brother he had sent away from Egypt to Persia in envy, because alone of all the Persians he had been able to draw the bow which the Ichthyophagoi brought from the Ethiopian king, to an extent of about two finger-breadths; while of the other Persians not one had proved able to do this. Then when Smerdis had gone away to Persia, Cambyses saw a vision in his sleep of this kind:--it seemed to him that a messenger came from Persia and reported that Smerdis sitting upon the royal throne had touched the heaven with his head. Fearing therefore with regard to this lest his brother might slay him and reign in his stead, he sent Prexaspes to Persia, the man whom of all the Persians he trusted most, with command to slay him. He accordingly went up to Susa and slew Smerdis; and some say that he took him out of the chase and so slew him, others that he brought him to the Erythraian Sea and drowned him.
31. This they say was the first beginning of the evil deeds of Cambyses; and next after this he put to death his sister, who had accompanied him to Egypt, to whom also he was married, she being his sister by both parents. Now he took her to wife in the following manner (for before this the Persians had not been wont at all to marry their sisters):--Cambyses fell in love with one of his sisters, and desired to take her to wife; so since he had it in mind to do that which was not customary, he called the Royal Judges and asked them whether there existed any law which permitted him who desired it to marry his sister. Now the Royal Judges are men chosen out from among the Persians, and hold their office until they die or until some injustice is found in them, so long and no longer. These pronounce decisions for the Persians and are the expounders of the ordinances of their fathers, and all matters are referred to them. So when Cambyses asked them, they gave him an answer which was both upright and safe, saying that they found no law which permitted a brother to marry his sister, but apart from that they had found a law to the effect that the king of the Persians might do whatsoever he desired. Thus on the one hand they did not tamper with the law for fear of Cambyses, and at the same time, that they might not perish themselves in maintaining the law, they found another law beside that which was asked for, which was in favour of him who wished to marry his sisters. So Cambyses at that time took to wife her with whom he was in love, but after no long time he took another sister. Of these it was the younger whom he put to death, she having accompanied him to Egypt. 32. About her death, as about the death of Smerdis, two different stories are told. The Hellenes say that Cambyses had matched a lion's cub in fight with a dog's whelp, and this wife of his was also a spectator of it; and when the whelp was being overcome, another whelp, its brother, broke its chain and came to help it; and having become two instead of one, the whelps then got the better of the cub: and Cambyses was pleased at the sight, but she sitting by him began to weep; and Cambyses perceived it and asked wherefore she wept; and she said that she had wept when she saw that the whelp had come to the assistance of its brother, because she remembered Smerdis and perceived that there was no one who would come to his assistance. The Hellenes say that it was for this saying that she was killed by Cambyses: but the Egyptians say that as they were sitting round at table, the wife took a lettuce and pulled off the leaves all round, and then asked her husband whether the lettuce was fairer when thus plucked round or when covered with leaves, and he said "when covered with leaves": she then spoke thus: "Nevertheless thou didst once produce the likeness of this lettuce, when thou didst strip bare the house of Cyrus." And he moved to anger leapt upon her, being with child, and she miscarried and died.
33. These were the acts of madness done by Cambyses towards those of his own family, whether the madness was produced really on account of Apis or from some other cause, as many ills are wont to seize upon men; for it is said moreover that Cambyses had from his birth a certain grievous malady, that which is called by some the "sacred" disease: and it was certainly nothing strange that when the body was suffering from a grievous malady, the mind should not be sound either. 34. The following also are acts of madness which he did to the other Persians:--To Prexaspes, the man whom he honoured most and who used to bear his messages[a] (his son also was cup-bearer to Cambyses, and this too was no small honour),--to him it is said that he spoke as follows: "Prexaspes, what kind of a man do the Persians esteem me to be, and what speech do they hold concerning me?" and he said: "Master, in all other respects thou art greatly commended, but they say that thou art overmuch given to love of wine." Thus he spoke concerning the Persians; and upon that Cambyses was roused to anger, and answered thus: "It appears then that the Persians say I am given to wine, and that therefore I am beside myself and not in my right mind; and their former speech then was not sincere." For before this time, it seems, when the Persians and Crsus were sitting with him in council, Cambyses asked what kind of a man they thought he was as compared with his father Cyrus; and they answered that he was better than his father, for he not only possessed all that his father had possessed, but also in addition to this had acquired Egypt and the Sea. Thus the Persians spoke; but Crsus, who was present and was not satisfied with their judgment, spoke thus to Cambyses: "To me, O son of Cyrus, thou dost not appear to be equal to thy father, for not yet hast thou a son such as he left behind him in you." Hearing this Cambyses was pleased, and commended the judgment of Crsus. 35. So calling to mind this, he said in anger to Prexaspes: "Learn then now for thyself whether the Persians speak truly, or whether when they say this they are themselves out of their senses: for if I, shooting at thy son there standing before the entrance of the chamber, hit him in the very middle of the heart, the Persians will be proved to be speaking falsely, but if I miss, then thou mayest say that the Persians are speaking the truth and that I am not in my right mind." Having thus said he drew his bow and hit the boy; and when the boy had fallen down, it is said that he ordered them to cut open his body and examine the place where he was hit; and as the arrow was found to be sticking in the heart, he laughed and was delighted, and said to the father of the boy: "Prexaspes, it has now been made evident, as thou seest, that I am not mad, but that it is the Persians who are out of their senses; and now tell me, whom of all men didst thou ever see before this time hit the mark so well in shooting?" Then Prexaspes, seeing that the man was not in his right senses and fearing for himself, said: "Master, I think that not even God himself could have hit the mark so fairly." Thus he did at that time: and at another time he condemned twelve of the Persians, men equal to the best, on a charge of no moment, and buried them alive with the head downwards.
36. When he was doing these things, Crsus the Lydian judged it right to admonish him in the following words: "O king, do not thou indulge the heat of thy youth and passion in all things, but retain and hold thyself back: it is a good thing to be prudent, and forethought is wise. Thou however are putting to death men who are of thine own people, condemning them on charges of no moment, and thou art putting to death men's sons also. If thou do many such things, beware lest the Persians make revolt from thee. As for me, thy father Cyrus gave me charge, earnestly bidding me to admonish thee, and suggest to thee that which I should find to be good." Thus he counselled him, manifesting goodwill towards him; but Cambyses answered: "Dost /thou/ venture to counsel me, who excellently well didst rule thine own country, and well didst counsel my father, bidding him pass over the river Araxes and go against the Massagetai, when they were willing to pass over into our land, and so didst utterly ruin thyself by ill government of thine own land, and didst utterly ruin Cyrus, who followed thy counsel. However thou shalt not escape punishment now, for know that before this I had very long been desiring to find some occasion against thee." Thus having said he took his bow meaning to shoot him, but Crsus started up and ran out: and so since he could not shoot him, he gave orders to his attendants to take and slay him. The attendants however, knowing his moods, concealed Crsus, with the intention that if Cambyses should change his mind and seek to have Crsus again, they might produce him and receive gifts as the price of saving his life; but if he did not change his mind nor feel desire to have him back, then they might kill him. Not long afterwards Cambyses did in fact desire to have Crsus again, and the attendants perceiving this reported to him that he was still alive: and Cambyses said that he rejoiced with Crsus that he was still alive, but that they who had preserved him should not get off free, but he would put them to death: and thus he did.
37. Many such acts of madness did he both to Persians and allies, remaining at Memphis and opening ancient tombs and examining the dead bodies. Likewise also he entered into the temple of Hephaistos and very much derided the image of the god: for the image of Hephaistos very nearly resembles the Phenician /Pataicoi/, which the Phenicians carry about on the prows of their triremes; and for him who has not seen these, I will indicate its nature,--it is the likeness of a dwarfish man. He entered also into the temple of the Cabeiroi, into which it is not lawful for any one to enter except the priest only, and the images there he even set on fire, after much mockery of them. Now these also are like the images of Hephaistos, and it is said that they are the children of that god.
38. It is clear to me therefore by every kind of proof that Cambyses was mad exceedingly; for otherwise he would not have attempted to deride religious rites and customary observances. For if one should propose to all men a choice, bidding them select the best customs from all the customs that there are, each race of men, after examining them all, would select those of his own people; thus all think that their own customs are by far the best: and so it is not likely that any but a madman would make a jest of such things. Now of the fact that all men are thus wont to think about their customs, we may judge by many other proofs and more specially by this which follows:--Dareios in the course of his reign summoned those of the Hellenes who were present in his land, and asked them for what price they would consent to eat up their fathers when they died; and they answered that for no price would they do so. After this Dareios summoned those Indians who are called Callatians, who eat their parents, and asked them in presence of the Hellenes, who understood what they said by help of an interpreter, for what payment they would consent to consume with fire the bodies of their fathers when they died; and they cried out aloud and bade him keep silence from such words. Thus then these things are established by usage, and I think that Pindar spoke rightly in his verse, when he said that "of all things law is king."
39. Now while Cambyses was marching upon Egypt, the Lacedemonians also had made an expedition against Samos and against Polycrates the son of Aiakes, who had risen against the government and obtained rule over Samos. At first he had divided the State into three parts and had given a share to his brothers Pantagnotos and Syloson; but afterwards he put to death one of these, and the younger, namely Syloson, he drove out, and so obtained possession of the whole of Samos. Then, being in possession, he made a guest-friendship with Amasis the king of Egypt, sending him gifts and receiving gifts in return from him. After this straightway within a short period of time the power of Polycrates increased rapidly, and there was much fame of it not only in Ionia, but also over the rest of Hellas: for to whatever part he directed his forces, everything went fortunately for him: and he had got for himself a hundred fifty-oared galleys and a thousand archers, and he plundered from all, making no distinction of any; for it was his wont to say that he would win more gratitude from his friend by giving back to him that which he had taken, than by not taking at all. So he had conquered many of the islands and also many cities of the continent, and besides other things he gained the victory in a sea-fight over the Lesbians, as they were coming to help the Milesians with their forces, and conquered them: these men dug the whole trench round the wall of the city of Samos working in chains. 40. Now Amasis, as may be supposed, did not fail to perceive that Polycrates was very greatly fortunate, and it was to him an object of concern; and as much more good fortune yet continued to come to Polycrates, he wrote upon a paper these words and sent them to Samos: "Amasis to Polycrates thus saith:--It is a pleasant thing indeed to hear that one who is a friend and guest is faring well; yet to me thy great good fortune is not pleasing, since I know that the Divinity is jealous; and I think that I desire, both for myself and for those about whom I have care, that in some of our affairs we should be prosperous and in others should fail, and thus go through life alternately faring well and ill, rather than that we should be prosperous in all things: for never yet did I hear tell of any one who was prosperous in all things and did not come to an utterly evil end at the last. Now therefore do thou follow my counsel and act as I shall say with respect to thy prosperous fortunes. Take thought and consider, and that which thou findest to be the most valued by thee, and for the loss of which thou wilt most be vexed in thy soul, that take and cast away in such a manner that it shall never again come to the sight of men; and if in future from that time forward good fortune does not befall thee in alternation with calamities, apply remedies in the manner by me suggested." 41. Polycrates, having read this and having perceived by reflection that Amasis suggested to him good counsel, sought to find which one of his treasures he would be most afflicted in his soul to lose; and seeking he found this which I shall say:--he had a signet which he used to wear, enchased in gold and made of an emerald stone; and it was the work of Theodoros the son of Telecles of Samos. Seeing then that he thought it good to cast this away, he did thus:-- he manned a fifty-oared galley with sailors and went on board of it himself; and then he bade them put out into the deep sea. And when he had got to a distance from the island, he took off the signet-ring, and in the sight of all who were with him in the ship he threw it into the sea. Thus having done he sailed home; and when he came to his house he mourned for his loss. 42. But on the fifth or sixth day after these things it happened to him as follows:--a fisherman having caught a large and beautiful fish, thought it right that this should be given as a gift to Polycrates. He bore it therefore to the door of the palace and said that he desired to come into the presence of Polycrates, and when he had obtained this he gave him the fish, saying: "O king, having taken this fish I did not think fit to bear it to the market, although I am one who lives by the labour of his hands; but it seemed to me that it was worthy of thee and of thy monarchy: therefore I bring it and present it to thee." He then, being pleased at the words spoken, answered thus: "Thou didst exceedingly well, and double thanks are due to thee, for thy words and also for thy gift; and we invite thee to come to dinner." The fisherman then, thinking this a great thing, went away to this house; and the servants as they were cutting up the fish found in its belly the signet-ring of Polycrates. Then as soon as they had seen it and taken it up, they bore it rejoicing to Polycrates, and giving him the signet-ring they told him in what manner it had been found: and he perceiving that the matter was of God, wrote upon paper all that he had done and all that had happened to him, and having written he despatched it to Egypt. 43. Then Amasis, when he had read the paper which had come from Polycrates, perceived that it was impossible for man to rescue man from the event which was to come to pass, and that Polycrates was destined not to have a good end, being prosperous in all things, seeing that he found again even that which he cast away. Therefore he sent an envoy to him in Samos and said that he broke off the guest- friendship; and this he did lest when a fearful and great mishap befell Polycrates, he might himself be grieved in his soul as for a man who was his guest.
44. It was this Polycrates then, prosperous in all things, against whom the Lacedemonians were making an expedition, being invited by those Samians who afterwards settled at Kydonia in Crete, to come to their assistance. Now Polycrates had sent an envoy to Cambyses the son of Cyrus without the knowledge of the Samians, as he was gathering an army to go against Egypt, and had asked him to send to him in Samos and to ask for an armed force. So Cambyses hearing this very readily sent to Samos to ask Polycrates to send a naval force with him against Egypt: and Polycrates selected of the citizens those whom he most suspected of desiring to rise against him and sent them away in forty triremes, charging Cambyses not to send them back. 45. Now some say that those of the Samians who were sent away by Polycrates never reached Egypt, but when they arrived on their voyage at Carpathos, they considered with themselves, and resolved not to sail on any further: others say that they reached Egypt and being kept under guard there, they made their escape from thence. Then, as they were sailing in to Samos, Polycrates encountered them with ships and engaged battle with them; and those who were returning home had the better and landed in the island; but having fought a land-battle in the island, they were worsted, and so sailed to Lacedemon. Some however say that those from Egypt defeated Polycrates in the battle; but this in my opinion is not correct, for there would have been no need for them to invite the assistance of the Lacedemonians if they had been able by themselves to bring Polycrates to terms. Moreover, it is not reasonable either, seeing that he had foreign mercenaries and native archers very many in number, to suppose that he was worsted by the returning Samians, who were but few. Then Polycrates gathered together the children and wives of his subjects and confined them in the ship- sheds, keeping them ready so that, if it should prove that his subjects deserted to the side of the returning exiles, he might burn them with the sheds.
46. When those of the Samians who had been driven out by Polycrates reached Sparta, they were introduced before the magistrates and spoke at length, being urgent in their request. The magistrates however at the first introduction replied that they had forgotten the things which had been spoken at the beginning, and did not understand those which were spoken at the end. After this they were introduced a second time, and bringing with them a bag they said nothing else but this, namely that the bag was in want of meal; to which the others replied that they had overdone it with the bag. However, they resolved to help them. 47. Then the Lacedemonians prepared a force and made expedition to Samos, in repayment of former services, as the Samians say, because the Samians had first helped them with ships against the Messenians; but the Lacedemonians say that they made the expedition not so much from desire to help the Samians at their request, as to take vengeance on their own behalf for the robbery of the mixing-bowl which they had been bearing as a gift to Crsus, and of the corslet which Amasis the king of Egypt had sent as a gift to them; for the Samians had carried off the corslet also in the year before they took the bowl; and it was of linen with many figures woven into it and embroidered with gold and with cotton; and each thread of this corslet is worthy of admiration, for that being itself fine it has in it three hundred and sixty fibres, all plain to view. Such another as this moreover is that which Amasis dedicated as an offering to Athene at Lindos.
48. The Corinthians also took part with zeal in this expedition against Samos, that it might be carried out; for there had been an offence perpetrated against them also by the Samians a generation before the time of this expedition and about the same time as the robbery of the bowl. Periander the son of Kypselos had despatched three hundred sons of the chief men of Corcyra to Alyattes at Sardis to be made eunuchs; and when the Corinthians who were conducting the boys had put in to Samos, the Samians, being informed of the story and for what purpose they were being conducted to Sardis, first instructed the boys to lay hold of the temple of Artemis, and then they refused to permit the Corinthians to drag the suppliants away from the temple: and as the Corinthians cut the boys off from supplies of food, the Samians made a festival, which they celebrate even to the present time in the same manner: for when night came on, as long as the boys were suppliants they arranged dances of maidens and youths, and in arranging the dances they made it a rule of the festival that sweet cakes of sesame and honey should be carried, in order that the Corcyrean boys might snatch them and so have support; and this went on so long that at last the Corinthians who had charge of the boys departed and went away; and as for the boys, the Samians carried them back to Corcyra. 49. Now, if after the death of Periander the Corinthians had been on friendly terms with the Corcyreans, they would not have joined in the expedition against Samos for the cause which has been mentioned; but as it is, they have been ever at variance with one another since they first colonised the island. This then was the cause why the Corinthians had a grudge against the Samians.
50. Now Periander had chosen out the sons of the chief men of Corcyra and was sending them to Sardis to be made eunuchs, in order that he might have revenge; since the Corcyreans had first begun the offence and had done to him a deed of reckless wrong. For after Periander had killed his wife Melissa, it chanced to him to experience another misfortune in addition to that which had happened to him already, and this was as follows:--He had by Melissa two sons, the one of seventeen and the other of eighteen years. These sons their mother's father Procles, who was despot of Epidauros, sent for to himself and kindly entertained, as was to be expected seeing that they were the sons of his own daughter; and when he was sending them back, he said in taking leave of them: "Do ye know, boys, who it was that killed your mother?" Of this saying the elder of them took no account, but the younger, whose name was Lycophron, was grieved so greatly at hearing it, that when he reached Corinth again he would neither address his father, nor speak to him when his father would have conversed with him, nor give any reply when he asked questions, regarding him as the murderer of his mother. At length Periander being enraged with his son drove him forth out of his house. 51. And having driven him forth, he asked of the elder son what his mother's father had said to them in his conversation. He then related how Procles had received them in a kindly manner, but of the saying which he had uttered when he parted from them he had no remembrance, since he had taken no note of it. So Periander said that it could not be but that he had suggested to them something, and urged him further with questions; and he after that remembered, and told of this also. Then Periander taking note of it and not desiring to show any indulgence, sent a messenger to those with whom the son who had been driven forth was living at that time, and forbade them to receive him into their houses; and whenever having been driven away from one house he came to another, he was driven away also from this, since Periander threatened those who received him, and commanded them to exclude him; and so being driven away again he would go to another house, where persons lived who were his friends, and they perhaps received him because he was the son of Periander, notwithstanding that they feared. 52. At last Periander made a proclamation that whosoever should either receive him into their houses or converse with him should be bound to pay a fine to Apollo, stating the amount that it should be. Accordingly, by reason of this proclamation no one was willing either to converse with him or to receive him into their house; and moreover even he himself did not think it fit to attempt it, since it had been forbidden, but he lay about in the porticoes enduring exposure: and on the fourth day after this, Periander seeing him fallen into squalid misery and starvation felt pity for him; and abating his anger he approached him and began to say: "Son, which of these two is to be preferred, the fortune which thou dost now experience and possess, or to inherit the power and wealth which I possess now, by being submissive to thy father's will? Thou however, being my son and the prince of wealthy Corinth, didst choose nevertheless the life of a vagabond by making opposition and displaying anger against him with whom it behoved thee least to deal so; for if any misfortune happened in those matters, for which cause thou hast suspicion against me, this has happened to me first, and I am sharer in the misfortune more than others, inasmuch as I did the deed myself. Do thou however, having learnt by how much to be envied is better than to be pitied, and at the same time what a grievous thing it is to be angry against thy parents and against those who are stronger than thou, come back now to the house." Periander with these words endeavoured to restrain him; but he answered nothing else to his father, but said only that he ought to pay a fine to the god for having come to speech with him. Then Periander, perceiving that the malady of his son was hopeless and could not be overcome, despatched a ship to Corcyra, and so sent him away out of his sight, for he was ruler also of that island; and having sent him away, Periander proceeded to make war against his father-in-law Procles, esteeming him most to blame for the condition in which he was; and he took Epidauros and took also Procles himself and made him a prisoner. 53. When however, as time went on, Periander had passed his prime and perceived within himself that he was no longer able to overlook and manage the government of the State, he sent to Corcyra and summoned Lycophron to come back and take the supreme power; for in the elder of his sons he did not see the required capacity, but perceived clearly that he was of wits too dull. Lycophron however did not deign even to give an answer to the bearer of his message. Then Periander, clinging still in affection to the youth, sent to him next his own daughter, the sister of Lycophron, supposing that he would yield to her persuasion more than to that of others; and she arrived there and spoke to him thus: "Boy, dost thou desire that both the despotism should fall to others, and also the substance of thy father, carried off as plunder, rather than that thou shouldest return back and possess them? Come back to thy home: cease to torment thyself. Pride is a mischievous possession. Heal not evil with evil. Many prefer that which is reasonable to that which is strictly just; and many ere now in seeking the things of their mother have lost the things of their father. Despotism is an insecure thing, and many desire it: moreover he is now an old man and past his prime. Give not thy good things unto others." She thus said to him the most persuasive things, having been before instructed by her father: but he in answer said, that he would never come to Corinth so long as he heard that his father was yet alive. When she had reported this, Periander the third time sent an envoy, and said that he desired himself to come to Corcyra, exhorting Lycophron at the same time to come back to Corinth and to be his successor on the throne. The son having agreed to return on these terms, Periander was preparing to sail to Corcyra and his son to Corinth; but the Corcyreans, having learnt all that had taken place, put the young man to death, in order that Periander might not come to their land. For this cause it was that Periander took vengeance on those of Corcyra.
54. The Lacedemonians then had come with a great armament and were besieging Samos; and having made an attack upon the wall, they occupied the tower which stands by the sea in the suburb of the city, but afterwards when Polycrates came up to the rescue with a large body they were driven away from it. Meanwhile by the upper tower which is upon the ridge of the mountain there had come out to the fight the foreign mercenaries and many of the Samians themselves, and these stood their ground against the Lacedemonians for a short while and then began to fly backwards; and the Lacedemonians followed and were slaying them. 55. Now if the Lacedemonians there present had all been equal on that day to Archias and Lycopas, Samos would have been captured; for Archias and Lycopas alone rushed within the wall together with the flying Samians, and being shut off from retreat were slain within the city of the Samians. I myself moreover had converse in Pitane (for to that deme he belonged) with the third in descent from this Archias, another Archias the son of Samios the son of Archias, who honoured the Samians of all strangers most; and not only so, but he said that his own father had been called Samios because /his/ father Archias had died by a glorious death in Samos; and he said that he honoured Samians because his grandfather had been granted a public funeral by the Samians. 56. The Lacedemonians then, when they had been besieging Samos for forty days and their affairs made no progress, set forth to return to Peloponnesus. But according to the less credible account which has been put abroad of these matters Polycrates struck in lead a quantity of a certain native coin, and having gilded the coins over, gave them to the Lacedemonians, and they received them and upon that set forth to depart. This was the first expedition which the Lacedemonians (being Dorians)[a] made into Asia.
57. Those of the Samians who had made the expedition against Polycrates themselves also sailed away, when the Lacedemonians were about to desert them, and came to Siphnos: for they were in want of money, and the people of Siphnos were then at their greatest height of prosperity and possessed wealth more than all the other islanders, since they had in their island mines of gold and silver, so that there is a treasury dedicated at Delphi with the tithe of the money which came in from these mines, and furnished in a manner equal to the wealthiest of these treasuries: and the people used to divide among themselves the money which came in from the mines every year. So when they were establishing the treasury, they consulted the Oracle as to whether their present prosperity was capable of remaining with them for a long time, and the Pythian prophetess gave them this reply:
"But when with white shall be shining the hall of the city in Siphnos, And when the market is white of brow, one wary is needed Then, to beware of an army of wood and a red-coloured herald."
Now just at that time the market-place and city hall of the Siphnians had been decorated with Parian marble. 58. This oracle they were not able to understand either then at first or when the Samians had arrived: for as soon as the Samians were putting in to Siphnos they sent one of their ships to bear envoys to the city: now in old times all ships were painted with red, and this was that which the Pythian prophetess was declaring beforehand to the Siphnians, bidding them guard against the "army of wood" and the "red-coloured herald." The messengers accordingly came and asked the Siphnians to lend them ten talents; and as they refused to lend to them, the Samians began to lay waste their lands: so when they were informed of it, forthwith the Siphnians came to the rescue, and having engaged battle with them were defeated, and many of them were cut off by the Samians and shut out of the city; and the Samians after this imposed upon them a payment of a hundred talents. 59. Then from the men of Hermion they received by payment of money the island of Hydrea, which is near the coast of Peloponnese, and they gave it in charge to the Troizenians, but they themselves settled at Kydonia which is in Crete, not sailing thither for that purpose but in order to drive the Zakynthians out of the island. Here they remained and were prosperous for five years, so much so that they were the builders of the temples which are now existing in Kydonia, and also of the house of Dictyna. In the sixth year however the Eginetans together with the Cretans conquered them in a sea-fight and brought them to slavery; and they cut off the prows of their ships, which were shaped like boars, and dedicated them in the temple of Athene in Egina. This the Eginetans did because they had a grudge against the Samians; for the Samians had first made expedition against Egina, when Amphicrates was king in Samos, and had done much hurt to the Eginetans and suffered much hurt also from them. Such was the cause of this event: 60, and about the Samians I have spoken at greater length, because they have three works which are greater than any others that have been made by Hellenes: first a passage beginning from below and open at both ends, dug through a mountain not less than a hundred and fifty fathoms in height; the length of the passage is seven furlongs and the height and breadth each eight feet, and throughout the whole of it another passage has been dug twenty cubits in depth and three feet in breadth, through which the water is conducted and comes by the pipes to the city, brought from an abundant spring: and the designer of this work was a Megarian, Eupalinos the son of Naustrophos. This is one of the three; and the second is a mole in the sea about the harbour, going down to a depth of as much as twenty fathoms; and the length of the mole is more than two furlongs. The third work which they have executed is a temple larger than all the other temples of which we know. Of this the first designer was Rhoicos the son of Philes, a native of Samos. For this reason I have spoken at greater length of the Samians.
61. Now while Cambyses the son of Cyrus was spending a long time in Egypt and had gone out of his right mind, there rose up against him two brothers, Magians, of whom the one had been left behind by Cambyses as caretaker of his household. This man, I say, rose up against him perceiving that the occurrence of the death of Smerdis was being kept secret, and that there were but few of the Persians who were aware of it, while the greater number believed without doubt that he was still alive. Therefore he endeavoured to obtain the kingdom, and he formed his plan as follows:--he had a brother (that one who, as I said, rose up with him against Cambyses), and this man in form very closely resembled Smerdis the son of Cyrus, whom Cambyses had slain, being his own brother. He was like Smerdis, I say, in form, and not only so but he had the same name, Smerdis. Having persuaded this man that he would manage everything for him, the Magian Patizeithes brought him and seated him upon the royal throne: and having so done he sent heralds about to the various provinces, and among others one to the army in Egypt, to proclaim to them that they must obey Smerdis the son of Cyrus for the future instead of Cambyses. 62. So then the other heralds made this proclamation, and also the one who was appointed to go to Egypt, finding Cambyses and his army at Agbatana in Syria, stood in the midst and began to proclaim that which had been commanded to him by the Magian. Hearing this from the herald, and supposing that the herald was speaking the truth and that he had himself been betrayed by Prexaspes, that is to say, that when Prexaspes was sent to kill Smerdis he had not done so, Cambyses looked upon Prexaspes and said: "Prexaspes, was it thus that thou didst perform for me the thing which I gave over to thee to do?" and he said: "Master, the saying is not true that Smerdis thy brother has risen up against thee, nor that thou wilt have any contention arising from him, either great or small: for I myself, having done that which thou didst command me to do, buried him with my own hands. If therefore the dead have risen again to life, then thou mayest expect that Astyages also the Mede will rise up against thee; but if it is as it was beforetime, there is no fear now that any trouble shall spring up for you, at least from him. Now therefore I think it well that some should pursue after the herald and examine him, asking from whom he has come to proclaim to us that we are to obey Smerdis as king." 63. When Prexaspes had thus spoken, Cambyses was pleased with the advice, and accordingly the herald was pursued forthwith and returned. Then when he had come back, Prexaspes asked him as follows: "Man, thou sayest that thou art come as a messenger from Smerdis the son of Cyrus: now therefore speak the truth and go away in peace. I ask thee whether Smerdis himself appeared before thine eyes and charged thee to say this, or some one of those who serve him." He said: "Smerdis the son of Cyrus I have never yet seen, since the day that king Cambyses marched to Egypt: but the Magian whom Cambyses appointed to be guardian of his household, he, I say, gave me this charge, saying that Smerdis the son of Cyrus was he who laid the command upon me to speak these things to you." Thus he spoke to them, adding no falsehoods to the first, and Cambyses said: "Prexaspes, thou hast done that which was commanded thee like an honest man, and hast escaped censure; but who of the Persians may this be who has risen up against me and usurped the name of Smerdis?" He said: "I seem to myself, O king, to have understanding of this which has come to pass: the Magians have risen against thee, Patizeithes namely, whom thou didst leave as caretaker of thy household, and his brother Smerdis." 64. Then Cambyses, when he heard the name of Smerdis, perceived at once the true meaning of this report and of the dream, for he thought in his sleep that some one had reported to him that Smerdis was sitting upon the royal throne and had touched the heaven with his head: and perceiving that he had slain his brother without need, he began to lament for Smerdis; and having lamented for him and sorrowed greatly for the whole mishap, he was leaping upon his horse, meaning as quickly as possible to march his army to Susa against the Magian; and as he leapt upon his horse, the cap of his sword-sheath fell off, and the sword being left bare struck his thigh. Having been wounded then in the same part where he had formerly struck Apis the god of the Egyptians, and believing that he had been struck with a mortal blow, Cambyses asked what was the name of that town, and they said "Agbatana." Now even before this he had been informed by the Oracle at the city of Buto that in Agbatana he should bring his life to an end: and he supposed that he should die of old age in Agbatana in Media, where was his chief seat of power; but the oracle, it appeared, meant in Agbatana of Syria. So when by questioning now he learnt the name of the town, being struck with fear both by the calamity caused by the Magian and at the same time by the wound, he came to his right mind, and understanding the meaning of the oracle he said: "Here it is fated that Cambyses the son of Cyrus shall end his life." 65. So much only he said at that time; but about twenty days afterwards he sent for the most honourable of the Persians who were with him, and said to them as follows: "Persians, it has become necessary for me to make known to you the thing which I was wont to keep concealed beyond all other things. Being in Egypt I saw a vision in my sleep, which I would I had never seen, and it seemed to me that a messenger came from home and reported to me that Smerdis was sitting upon the royal throne and had touched the heaven with his head. Fearing then lest I should be deprived of my power by my brother, I acted quickly rather than wisely; for it seems that it is not possible for man to avert that which is destined to come to pass. I therefore, fool that I was, sent away Prexaspes to Susa to kill Smerdis; and when this great evil had been done, I lived in security, never considering the danger that some other man might at some time rise up against me, now that Smerdis had been removed: and altogether missing the mark of that which was about to happen, I have both made myself the murderer of my brother, when there was no need, and I have been deprived none the less of the kingdom; for it was in fact Smerdis the Magian of whom the divine power declared to me beforehand in the vision that he should rise up against me. So then, as I say, this deed has been done by me, and ye must imagine that ye no longer have Smerdis the son of Cyrus alive: but it is in truth the Magians who are masters of your kingdom, he whom I left as guardian of my household and his brother Smerdis. The man then who ought above all others to have taken vengeance on my behalf for the dishonour which I have suffered from the Magians, has ended his life by an unholy death received from the hands of those who were his nearest of kin; and since he is no more, it becomes most needful for me, as the thing next best of those which remain, to charge you, O Persians, with that which dying I desire should be done for me. This then I lay upon you, calling upon the gods of the royal house to witness it,--upon you and most of all upon those of the Achaemenidai who are present here,--that ye do not permit the return of the chief power to the Medes, but that if they have acquired it by craft, by craft they be deprived of it by you, or if they have conquered it by any kind of force, by force and by a strong hand ye recover it. And if ye do this, may the earth bring forth her produce and may your wives and your cattle be fruitful, while ye remain free for ever; but if ye do not recover the power nor attempt to recover it, I pray that curses the contrary of these blessings may come upon you, and moreover that each man of the Persians may have an end to his life like that which has come upon me." Then as soon as he had finished speaking these things, Cambyses began to bewail and make lamentation for all his fortunes. 66. And the Persians, when they saw that the king had begun to bewail himself, both rent the garments which they wore and made lamentation without stint. After this, when the bone had become diseased and the thigh had mortified, Cambyses the son of Cyrus was carried off by the wound, having reigned in all seven years and five months, and being absolutely childless both of male and female offspring. The Persians meanwhile who were present there were very little disposed to believe that the power was in the hands of the Magians: on the contrary, they were surely convinced that Cambyses had said that which he said about the death of Smerdis to deceive them, in order that all the Persians might be moved to war against him. These then were surely convinced that Smerdis the son of Cyrus was established to be king; for Prexaspes also very strongly denied that he had slain Smerdis, since it was not safe, now that Cambyses was dead, for him to say that he had destroyed with his own hand the son of Cyrus.
67. Thus when Cambyses had brought his life to an end, the Magian became king without disturbance, usurping the place of his namesake Smerdis the son of Cyrus; and he reigned during the seven months which were wanting yet to Cambyses for the completion of the eight years: and during them he performed acts of great benefit to all his subjects, so that after his death all those in Asia except the Persians themselves mourned for his loss: for the Magian sent messengers abroad to every nation over which he ruled, and proclaimed freedom from military service and from tribute for three years. 68. This proclamation, I say, he made at once when he established himself upon the throne: but in the eighth month it was discovered who he was in the following manner:--There was one Otanes the son of Pharnaspes, in birth and in wealth not inferior to any of the Persians. This Otanes was the first who had had suspicion of the Magian, that he was not Smerdis the son of Cyrus but the person that he really was, drawing his inference from these facts, namely that he never went abroad out of the fortress, and that he did not summon into his presence any of the honourable men among the Persians: and having formed a suspicion of him, he proceeded to do as follows:--Cambyses had taken to wife his daughter, whose name was Phaidyme; and this same daughter the Magian at that time was keeping as his wife and living with her as with all the rest also of the wives of Cambyses. Otanes therefore sent a message to this daughter and asked her who the man was by whose side she slept, whether Smerdis the son of Cyrus or some other. She sent back word to him saying that she did not know, for she had never seen Smerdis the son of Cyrus, nor did she know otherwise who he was who lived with her. Otanes then sent a second time and said: "If thou dost not thyself know Smerdis the son of Cyrus, then do thou ask of Atossa who this man is, with whom both she and thou live as wives; for assuredly it must be that she knows her own brother." 69. To this the daughter sent back word: "I am not able either to come to speech with Atossa or to see any other of the women who live here with me; for as soon as this man, whosoever he may be, succeeded to the kingdom, he separated us and placed us in different apartments by ourselves." When Otanes heard this, the matter became more and more clear to him, and he sent another message in to her, which said: "Daughter, it is right for thee, nobly born as thou art, to undertake any risk which thy father bids thee take upon thee: for if in truth this is not Smerdis the son of Cyrus but the man whom I suppose, he ought not to escape with impunity either for taking thee to his bed or for holding the dominion of Persians, but he must pay the penalty. Now therefore do as I say. When he sleeps by thee and thou perceivest that he is sound asleep, feel his ears; and if it prove that he has ears, then believe that thou art living with Smerdis the son of Cyrus, but if not, believe that it is with the Magian Smerdis." To this Phaidyme sent an answer saying that, if she should do so, she would run a great risk; for supposing that he should chance not to have his ears, and she were detected feeling for them, she was well assured that he would put her to death; but nevertheless she would do this. So she undertook to do this for her father: but as for this Magian Smerdis, he had had his ears cut off by Cyrus the son of Cambyses when he was king, for some grave offence. This Phaidyme then, the daughter of Otanes, proceeding to perform all that she had undertaken for her father, when her turn came to go to the Magian (for the wives of the Persians go in to them regularly each in her turn), came and lay down beside him: and when the Magian was in deep sleep, she felt his ears; and perceiving not with difficulty but easily that her husband had no ears, so soon as it became day she sent and informed her father of that which had taken place.
70. Then Otanes took to him Aspathines and Gobryas, who were leading men among the Persians and also his own most trusted friends, and related to them the whole matter: and they, as it then appeared, had suspicions also themselves that it was so; and when Otanes reported this to them, they readily accepted his proposals. Then it was resolved by them that each one should associate with himself that man of the Persians whom he trusted most; so Otanes brought in Intaphrenes, Gobryas brought in Megabyzos, and Aspathines brought in Hydarnes. When they had thus become six, Dareios the son of Hystaspes arrived at Susa, having come from the land of Persia, for of this his father was governor. Accordingly when he came, the six men of the Persians resolved to associate Dareios also with themselves. 71. These then having come together, being seven in number, gave pledges of faith to one another and deliberated together; and when it came to Dareios to declare his opinion, he spoke to them as follows: "I thought that I alone knew this, namely that it was the Magian who was reigning as king and that Smerdis the son of Cyrus had brought his life to an end; and for this very reason I am come with earnest purpose to contrive death for the Magian. Since however it has come to pass that ye also know and not I alone, I think it well to act at once and not to put the matter off, for that is not the better way." To this replied Otanes: "Son of Hystaspes, thou art the scion of a noble stock, and thou art showing thyself, as it seems, in no way inferior to thy father: do not however hasten this enterprise so much without consideration, but take it up more prudently; for we must first become more in numbers, and then undertake the matter." In answer to this Dareios said: "Men who are here present, if ye shall follow the way suggested by Otanes, know that ye will perish miserably; for some one will carry word to the Magian, getting gain thereby privately for himself. Your best way would have been to do this action upon your own risk alone; but since it seemed good to you to refer the matter to a greater number, and ye communicated it to me, either let us do the deed to-day, or be ye assured that if this present day shall pass by, none other shall prevent me as your accuser, but I will myself tell these things to the Magian." 72. To this Otanes, when he saw Dareios in violent haste, replied: "Since thou dost compel us to hasten the matter and dost not permit us to delay, come expound to us thyself in what manner we shall pass into the palace and lay hands upon them: for that there are guards set in various parts, thou knowest probably thyself as well as we, if not from sight at least from hearsay; and in what manner shall we pass through these?" Dareios made reply with these words: "Otanes, there are many things in sooth which it is not possible to set forth in speech, but only in deed; and other things there are which in speech can be set forth, but from them comes no famous deed. Know ye however that the guards which are set are not difficult to pass: for in the first place, we being what we are, there is no one who will not let us go by, partly, as may be supposed, from having respect for us, and partly also perhaps from fear; and secondly I have myself a most specious pretext by means of which we may pass by; for I shall say that I am just now come from the Persian land and desire to declare to the king a certain message from my father: for where it is necessary that a lie be spoken, let it be spoken; seeing that we all aim at the same object, both they who lie and they who always speak the truth; those lie whenever they are likely to gain anything by persuading with their lies, and these tell the truth in order that they may draw to themselves gain by the truth, and that things may be entrusted to them more readily. Thus, while practising different ways, we aim all at the same thing. If however they were not likely to make any gain by it, the truth-teller would lie and the liar would speak the truth, with indifference. Whosoever then of the door-keepers shall let us pass by of his own free will, for him it shall be the better afterwards; but whosoever shall endeavour to oppose our passage, let him then and there be marked as our enemy, and after that let us push in and set about our work." 73. Then said Gobryas: "Friends, at what time will there be a fairer opportunity for us either to recover our rule, or, if we are not able to get it again, to die? seeing that we being Persians on the one hand lie under the rule of a Mede, a Magian, and that too a man whose ears have been cut off. Moreover all those of you who stood by the side of Cambyses when he was sick remember assuredly what he laid upon the Persians as he was bringing his life to an end, if they should not attempt to win back the power; and this we did not accept then, but supposed that Cambyses had spoken in order to deceive us. Now therefore I give my vote that we follow the opinion of Dareios, and that we do not depart from this assembly to go anywhither else but straight to attack the Magian." Thus spoke Gobryas, and they all approved of this proposal.
74. Now while these were thus taking counsel together, it was coming to pass by coincidence as follows:--The Magians taking counsel together had resolved to join Prexaspes with themselves as a friend, both because he had suffered grievous wrong from Cambyses, who had killed his son by shooting him, and because he alone knew for a certainty of the death of Smerdis the son of Cyrus, having killed him with his own hands, and finally because Prexaspes was in very great repute among the Persians. For these reasons they summoned him and endeavoured to win him to be their friend, engaging him by pledge and with oaths, that he would assuredly keep to himself and not reveal to any man the deception which had been practised by them upon the Persians, and promising to give him things innumerable in return. After Prexaspes had promised to do this, the Magians, having persuaded him so far, proposed to him a second thing, and said that they would call together all the Persians to come up to the wall of the palace, and bade him go up upon a tower and address them, saying that they were living under the rule of Smerdis the son of Cyrus and no other. This they so enjoined because they supposed that he had the greatest credit among the Persians, and because he had frequently declared the opinion that Smerdis the son of Cyrus was still alive, and had denied that he had slain him. 75. When Prexaspes said that he was ready to do this also, the Magians having called together the Persians caused him to go up upon a tower and bade him address them. Then he chose to forget those things which they asked of him, and beginning with Achaimenes he traced the descent of Cyrus on the father's side, and then, when he came down to Cyrus, he related at last what great benefits he had conferred upon the Persians; and having gone through this recital he proceeded to declare the truth, saying that formerly he kept it secret, since it was not safe for him to tell of that which had been done, but at the present time he was compelled to make it known. He proceeded to say how he had himself slain Smerdis the son of Cyrus, being compelled by Cambyses, and that it was the Magians who were now ruling. Then he made imprecation of many evils on the Persians, if they did not win back again the power and take vengeance upon the Magians, and upon that he let himself fall down from the tower head foremost. Thus Prexaspes ended his life, having been throughout his time a man of repute.
76. Now the seven of the Persians, when they had resolved forthwith to lay hands upon the Magians and not to delay, made prayer to the gods and went, knowing nothing of that which had been done with regard to Prexaspes: and as they were going and were in the middle of their course, they heard that which had happened about Prexaspes. Upon that they retired out of the way and again considered with themselves, Otanes and his supporters strongly urging that they should delay and not set to the work when things were thus disturbed, while Dareios and those of his party urged that they should go forthwith and do that which had been resolved, and not delay. Then while they were contending, there appeared seven pairs of hawks pursuing two pairs of vultures, plucking out their feathers and tearing them. Seeing this the seven all approved the opinion of Dareios and thereupon they went to the king's palace, encouraged by the sight of the birds. 77. When they appeared at the gates, it happened nearly as Dareios supposed, for the guards, having respect for men who were chief among the Persians, and not suspecting that anything would be done by them of the kind proposed, allowed them to pass in under the guiding of heaven, and none asked them any question. Then when they had passed into the court, they met the eunuchs who bore in the messages to the king; and these inquired of them for what purpose they had come, and at the same time they threatened with punishment the keepers of the gates for having let them pass in, and tried to stop the seven when they attempted to go forward. Then they gave the word to one another and drawing their daggers stabbed these men there upon the spot, who tried to stop them, and themselves went running on towards the chamber of the men. 78. Now the Magians happened both of them to be there within, consulting about that which had been done by Prexaspes. So when they saw that the eunuchs had been attacked and were crying aloud, they ran back both of them, and perceiving that which was being done they turned to self-defence: and one of them got down his bow and arrows before he was attacked, while the other had recourse to his spear. Then they engaged in combat with one another; and that one of them who had taken up his bow and arrows found them of no use, since his enemies were close at hand and pressed hard upon him, but the other defended himself with his spear, and first he struck Aspathines in the thigh, and then Intaphrenes in the eye; and Intaphrenes lost his eye by reason of the wound, but his life he did not lose. These then were wounded by one of the Magians, but the other, when his bow and arrows proved useless to him, fled into a bedchamber which opened into the chamber of the men, intending to close the door; and with him there rushed in two of the seven, Dareios and Gobryas. And when Gobryas was locked together in combat with the Magian, Dareios stood by and was at a loss what to do, because it was dark, and he was afraid lest he should strike Gobryas. Then seeing him standing by idle, Gobryas asked why he did not use his hands, and he said: "Because I am afraid lest I may strike thee": and Gobryas answered: "Thrust with thy sword even though it stab through us both." So Dareios was persuaded, and he thrust with his danger and happened to hit the Magian. 79. So when they had slain the Magians and cut off their heads, they left behind those of their number who were wounded, both because they were unable to go, and also in order that they might take charge of the fortress, and the five others taking with them the heads of the Magians ran with shouting and clashing of arms and called upon the other Persians to join them, telling them of that which had been done and showing the heads, and at the same time they proceeded to slay every one of the Magians who crossed their path. So the Persians when they heard of that which had been brought to pass by the seven and of the deceit of the Magians, thought good themselves also to do the same, and drawing their daggers they killed the Magians wherever they found one; so that if night had not come on and stopped them, they would not have left a single Magian alive. This day the Persians celebrate in common more than all other days, and upon it they keep a great festival which is called by the Persians the festival of the slaughter of the Magians,[a] on which no Magian is permitted to appear abroad, but the Magians keep themselves within their houses throughout that day.
80. When the tumult had subsided and more than five days had elapsed, those who had risen against the Magians began to take counsel about the general state, and there were spoken speeches which some of the Hellenes do not believe were really uttered, but spoken they were nevertheless. On the one hand Otanes urged that they should resign the government into the hands of the whole body of the Persians, and his words were as follows: "To me it seems best that no single one of us should henceforth be ruler, for that is neither pleasant nor profitable. Ye saw the insolent temper of Cambyses, to what lengths it went, and ye have had experience also of the insolence of the Magian: and how should the rule of one alone be a well-ordered thing, seeing that the monarch may do what he desires without rendering any account of his acts? Even the best of all men, if he were placed in this disposition, would be caused by it to change from his wonted disposition: for insolence is engendered in him by the good things which he possesses, and envy is implanted in man from the beginning; and having these two things, he has all vice: for he does many deeds of reckless wrong, partly moved by insolence proceeding from satiety, and partly by envy. And yet a despot at least ought to have been free from envy, seeing that he has all manner of good things. He is however naturally in just the opposite temper towards his subjects; for he grudges to the nobles that they should survive and live, but delights in the basest of citizens, and he is more ready than any other man to receive calumnies. Then of all things he is the most inconsistent; for if you express admiration of him moderately, he is offended that no very great court is paid to him, whereas if you pay court to him extravagantly, he is offended with you for being a flatterer. And the most important matter of all is that which I am about to say:--he disturbs the customs handed down from our fathers, he is a ravisher of women, and he puts men to death without trial. On the other hand the rule of many has first a name attaching to it which is the fairest of all names, that is to say 'Equality'; next, the multitude does none of those things which the monarch does: offices of state are exercised by lot, and the magistrates are compelled to render account of their action: and finally all matters of deliberation are referred to the public assembly. I therefore give as my opinion that we let monarchy go and increase the power of the multitude; for in the many is contained everything."
81. This was the opinion expressed by Otanes; but Megabyzos urged that they should entrust matters to the rule of a few, saying these words: "That which Otanes said in opposition to a tyranny, let it be counted as said for me also, but in that which he said urging that we should make over the power to the multitude, he has missed the best counsel: for nothing is more senseless or insolent than a worthless crowd; and for men flying from the insolence of a despot to fall into that of unrestrained popular power, is by no means to be endured: for he, if he does anything, does it knowing what he does, but the people cannot even know; for how can that know which has neither been taught anything noble by others nor perceived anything of itself, but pushes on matters with violent impulse and without understanding, like a torrent stream? Rule of the people then let them adopt who are foes to the Persians; but let us choose a company of the best men, and to them attach the chief power; for in the number of these we shall ourselves also be, and it is likely that the resolutions taken by the best men will be the best."
82. This was the opinion expressed by Megabyzos; and thirdly Dareios proceeded to declare his opinion, saying: "To me it seems that in those things which Megabyzos said with regard to the multitude he spoke rightly, but in those which he said with regard to the rule of a few, not rightly: for whereas there are three things set before us, and each is supposed to be the best in its own kind, that is to say a good popular government, and the rule of a few, and thirdly the rule of one, I say that this last is by far superior to the others; for nothing better can be found than the rule of an individual man of the best kind; seeing that using the best judgment he would be guardian of the multitude without reproach; and resolutions directed against enemies would so best be kept secret. In an oligarchy however it happens often that many, while practising virtue with regard to the commonwealth, have strong private enmities arising among themselves; for as each man desires to be himself the leader and to prevail in counsels, they come to great enmities with one another, whence arise factions among them, and out of the factions comes murder, and from murder results the rule of one man; and thus it is shown in this instance by how much that is the best. Again, when the people rules, it is impossible that corruption should not arise, and when corruption arises in the commonwealth, there arise among the corrupt men not enmities but strong ties of friendship: for they who are acting corruptly to the injury of the commonwealth put their heads together secretly to do so. And this continues so until at last some one takes the leadership of the people and stops the course of such men. By reason of this the man of whom I speak is admired by the people, and being so admired he suddenly appears as monarch. Thus he too furnishes herein an example to prove that the rule of one is the best thing. Finally, to sum up all in a single word, whence arose the liberty which we possess, and who gave it to us? Was it a gift of the people or of an oligarchy or of a monarch? I therefore am of opinion that we, having been set free by one man, should preserve that form of rule, and in other respects also that we should not annul the customs of our fathers which are ordered well; for that is not the better way."
83. These three opinions then had been proposed, and the other four men of the seven gave their assent to the last. So when Otanes, who was desirous to give equality to the Persians, found his opinion defeated, he spoke to those assembled thus: "Partisans, it is clear that some one of us must become king, selected either by casting lots, or by entrusting the decision to the multitude of the Persians and taking him whom it shall choose, or by some other means. I therefore shall not be a competitor with you, for I do not desire either to rule or to be ruled; and on this condition I withdraw from my claim to rule, namely that I shall not be ruled by any of you, either I myself or my descendants in future time." When he had said this, the six made agreement with him on those terms, and he was no longer a competitor with them, but withdrew from the assembly; and at the present time this house remains free alone of all the Persian houses, and submits to rule only so far as it wills to do so itself, not transgressing the laws of the Persians.
84. The rest however of the seven continued to deliberate how they should establish a king in the most just manner; and it was resolved by them that to Otanes and his descendants in succession, if the kingdom should come to any other of the seven, there should be given as special gifts a Median dress every year and all those presents which are esteemed among the Persians to be the most valuable: and the reason why they determined that these things should be given to him, was because he first suggested to them the matter and combined them together. These were special gifts for Otanes; and this they also determined for all in common, namely that any one of the seven who wished might pass in to the royal palaces without any to bear in a message, unless the king happened to be sleeping with his wife; and that it should not be lawful for the king to marry from any other family, but only from those of the men who had made insurrection with him: and about the kingdom they determined this, namely that the man whose horse should first neigh at sunrise in the suburb of the city when they were mounted upon their horses, he should have the kingdom.
85. Now Dareios had a clever horse-keeper, whose name was Oibares. To this man, when they had left their assembly, Dareios spoke these words: "Oibares, we have resolved to do about the kingdom thus, namely that the man whose horse first neighs at sunrise, when we are mounted upon our horses he shall be king. Now therefore, if thou hast any cleverness, contrive that we may obtain this prize, and not any other man." Oibares replied thus: "If, my master, it depends in truth upon this whether thou be king or no, have confidence so far as concerns this and keep a good heart, for none other shall be king before thee; such charms have I at my command." Then Dareios said: "If then thou hast any such trick, it is time to devise it and not to put things off, for our trial is to-morrow." Oibares therefore hearing this did as follows:--when night was coming on he took one of the mares, namely that one which the horse of Dareios preferred, and this he led into the suburb of the city and tied her up: then he brought to her the horse of Dareios, and having for some time led him round her, making him go so close by so as to touch the mare, at last he let the horse mount. 86. Now at dawn of day the six came to the place as they had agreed, riding upon their horses; and as they rode through by the suburb of the city, when they came near the place where the mare had been tied up on the former night, the horse of Dareios ran up to the place and neighed; and just when the horse had done this, there came lightning and thunder from a clear sky: and the happening of these things to Dareios consummated his claim, for they seemed to have come to pass by some design, and the others leapt down from their horses and did obeisance to Dareios. 87. Some say that the contrivance of Oibares was this, but others say as follows (for the story is told by the Persians in both ways), namely that he touched with his hands the parts of this mare and kept his hand hidden in his trousers; and when at sunrise they were about to let the horses go, this Oibares pulled out his hand and applied it to the nostrils of the horse of Dareios; and the horse, perceiving the smell, snorted and neighed.
88. So Dareios the son of Hystaspes had been declared king; and in Asia all except the Arabians were his subjects, having been subdued by Cyrus and again afterwards by Cambyses. The Arabians however were never obedient to the Persians under conditions of subjection, but had become guest-friends when they let Cambyses pass by to Egypt: for against the will of the Arabians the Persians would not be able to invade Egypt. Moreover Dareios made the most noble marriages possible in the estimation of the Persians; for he married two daughters of Cyrus, Atossa and Artystone, of whom the one, Arossa, had before been the wife of Cambyses her brother and then afterwards of the Magian, while Artystone was a virgin; and besides them he married the daughter of Smerdis the son of Cyrus, whose name was Parmys; and he also took to wife the daughter of Otanes, her who had discovered the Magian; and all things became filled with his power. And first he caused to be a carving in stone, and set it up; and in it there was the figure of a man on horseback, and he wrote upon it writing to this effect: "Dareios son of Hystaspes by the excellence of his horse," mentioning the name of it, "and of his horse-keeper Oibares obtained the kingdom of the Persians."
89. Having so done in Persia, he established twenty provinces, which the Persians themselves call /satrapies/; and having established the provinces and set over them rulers, he appointed tribute to come to him from them according to races, joining also to the chief races those who dwelt on their borders, or passing beyond the immediate neighbours and assigning to various races those which lay more distant. He divided the provinces and the yearly payment of tribute as follows: and those of them who brought in silver were commanded to pay by the standard of the Babylonian talent, but those who brought in gold by the Euboc talent; now the Babylonian talent is equal to eight-and-seventy Euboc pounds. For in the reign of Cyrus, and again of Cambyses, nothing was fixed about tribute, but they used to bring gifts: and on account of this appointing of tribute and other things like this, the Persians say that Dareios was a shopkeeper, Cambyses a master, and Cyrus a father; the one because he dealt with all his affairs like a shopkeeper, the second because he was harsh and had little regard for any one, and the other because he was gentle and contrived for them all things good.
90. From the Ionians and the Magnesians who dwell in Asia and the Aiolians, Carians, Lykians, Milyans and Pamphylians (for one single sum was appointed by him as tribute for all these) there came in four hundred talents of silver. This was appointed by him to be the first division. From the Mysians and Lydians and Lasonians and Cabalians and Hytennians there came in five hundred talents: this is the second division. From the Hellespontians who dwell on the right as one sails in and the Phrygians and the Thracians who dwell in Asia and the Paphlagonians and Mariandynoi and Syrians the tribute was three hundred and sixty talents: this is the third division. From the Kilikians, besides three hundred and sixty white horses, one for every day in the year, there came also five hundred talents of silver; of these one hundred and forty talents were spent upon the horsemen which served as a guard to the Kilikian land, and the remaining three hundred and sixty came in year by year to Dareios: this is the fourth division. 91. From that division which begins with the city of Posideion, founded by Amphilochos the son of Amphiaraos on the borders of the Kilikians and the Syrians, and extends as far as Egypt, not including the territory of the Arabians (for this was free from payment), the amount was three hundred and fifty talents; and in this division are the whole of Phenicia and Syria which is called Palestine and Cyprus: this is the fifth division. From Egypt and the Libyans bordering upon Egypt, and from Kyrene and Barca, for these were so ordered as to belong to the Egyptian division, there came in seven hundred talents, without reckoning the money produced by the lake of Moiris, that is to say from the fish;[a] without reckoning this, I say, or the corn which was contributed in addition by measure, there came in seven hundred talents; for as regards the corn, they contribute by measure one hundred and twenty thousand bushels for the use of those Persians who are established in the "White Fortress" at Memphis, and for their foreign mercenaries: this is the sixth division. The Sattagydai and Gandarians and Dadicans and Aparytai, being joined together, brought in one hundred and seventy talents: this is the seventh division. From Susa and the rest of the land of the Kissians there came in three hundred: this is the eighth division. 92. From Babylon and from the rest of Assyria there came in to him a thousand talents of silver and five hundred boys for eunuchs: this is the ninth division. From Agbatana and from the rest of Media and the Paricanians and Orthocorybantians, four hundred and fifty talents: this is the tenth division. The Caspians and Pausicans and Pantimathoi and Dareitai, contributing together, brought in two hundred talents: this is the eleventh division. From the Bactrians as far as the Aigloi the tribute was three hundred and sixty talents: this is the twelfth division. 93. From Pactyke and the Armenians and the people bordering upon them as far as the Euxine, four hundred talents: this is the thirteenth division. From the Sagartians and Sarangians and Thamanaians and Utians and Mycans and those who dwell in the islands of the Erythraian Sea, where the king settles those who are called the "Removed," from all these together a tribute was produced of six hundred talents: this is the fourteenth division. The Sacans and the Caspians brought in two hundred and fifty talents: this is the fifteenth division. The Parthians and Chorasmians and Sogdians and Areians three hundred talents: this is the sixteenth division. 94. The Paricanians and Ethiopians in Asia brought in four hundred talents: this is the seventeenth division. To the Matienians and Saspeirians and Alarodians was appointed a tribute of two hundred talents: this is the eighteenth division. To the Moschoi and Tibarenians and Macronians and Mossynoicoi and Mares three hundred talents were ordered: this is the nineteenth division. Of the Indians the number is far greater than that of any other race of men of whom we know; and they brought in a tribute larger than all the rest, that is to say three hundred and sixty talents of gold-dust: this is the twentieth division.
95. Now if we compare Babylonian with Euboc talents, the silver is found to amount to nine thousand eight hundred and eighty talents; and if we reckon the gold at thirteen times the value of silver, weight for weight, the gold-dust is found to amount to four thousand six hundred and eighty Euboc talents. These being all added together, the total which was collected as yearly tribute for Dareios amounts to fourteen thousand five hundred and sixty Euboc talents: the sums which are less than these I pass over and do not mention.
96. This was the tribute which came in to Dareios from Asia and from a small part of Libya: but as time went on, other tribute came in also from the islands and from those who dwell in Europe as far as Thessaly. This tribute the king stores up in his treasury in the following manner:--he melts it down and pours it into jars of earthenware, and when he has filled the jars he takes off the earthenware jar from the metal; and when he wants money he cuts off so much as he needs on each occasion.
97. These were the provinces and the assessments of tribute: and the Persian land alone has not been mentioned by me as paying a contribution, for the Persians have their land to dwell in free from payment. The following moreover had no tribute fixed for them to pay, but brought gifts, namely the Ethiopians who border upon Egypt, whom Cambyses subdued as he marched against the Long-lived Ethiopians, those who dwell about Nysa, which is called "sacred," and who celebrate the festivals in honour of Dionysos: these Ethiopians and those who dwell near them have the same kind of seed as the Callantian Indians, and they have underground dwellings. These both together brought every other year, and continue to bring even to my own time, two quart measures of unmelted gold and two hundred blocks of ebony and five Ethiopian boys and twenty large elephant tusks. The Colchians also had set themselves among those who brought gifts, and with them those who border upon them extending as far as the range of the Caucasus (for the Persian rule extends as far as these mountains, but those who dwell in the parts beyond Caucasus toward the North Wind regard the Persians no longer),--these, I say, continued to bring the gifts which they had fixed for themselves every four years even down to my own time, that is to say, a hundred boys and a hundred maidens. Finally, the Arabians brought a thousand talents of frankincense every year. Such were the gifts which these brought to the king apart from the tribute.
98. Now this great quantity of gold, out of which the Indians bring in to the king the gold-dust which has been mentioned, is obtained by them in a manner which I shall tell:--That part of the Indian land which is towards the rising sun is sand; for of all the peoples in Asia of which we know or about which any certain report is given, the Indians dwell furthest away towards the East and the sunrising; seeing that the country to the East of the Indians is desert on account of the sand. Now there are many tribes of Indians, and they do not agree with one another in language; and some of them are pastoral and others not so, and some dwell in the swamps of the river and feed upon raw fish, which they catch by fishing from boats made of cane; and each boat is made of one joint of cane. These Indians of which I speak wear clothing made of rushes: they gather and cut the rushes from the river and then weave them together into a kind of mat and put it on like a corslet. 99. Others of the Indians, dwelling to the East of these, are pastoral and eat raw flesh: these are called Padaians, and they practise the following customs:--whenever any of their tribe falls ill, whether it be a woman or a man, if a man then the men who are his nearest associates put him to death, saying that he is wasting away with the disease and his flesh is being spoilt for them: and meanwhile he denies stoutly and says that he is not ill, but they do not agree with him; and after they have killed him they feast upon his flesh: but if it be a woman who falls ill, the women who are her greatest intimates do to her in the same manner as the men do in the other case. For in fact even if a man has come to old age they slay him and feast upon him; but very few of them come to be reckoned as old, for they kill every one who falls into sickness, before he reaches old age. 100. Other Indians have on the contrary a manner of life as follows:--they neither kill any living thing nor do they sow any crops nor is it their custom to possess houses; but they feed on herbs, and they have a grain of the size of millet, in a sheath, which grows of itself from the ground; this they gather and boil with the sheath, and make it their food: and whenever any of them falls into sickness, he goes to the desert country and lies there, and none of them pay any attention either to one who is dead or to one who is sick. 101. The sexual intercourse of all these Indians of whom I have spoken is open like that of cattle, and they have all one colour of skin, resembling that of the Ethiopians: moreover the seed which they emit is not white like that of other races, but black like their skin; and the Ethiopians also are similar in this respect. These tribes of Indians dwell further off than the Persian power extends, and towards the South Wind, and they never became subjects of Dareios.
102. Others however of the Indians are on the borders of the city of Caspatyros and the country of Pactyke, dwelling towards the North of the other Indians; and they have a manner of living nearly the same as that of the Bactrians: these are the most warlike of the Indians, and these are they who make expeditions for the gold. For in the parts where they live it is desert on account of the sand; and in this desert and sandy tract are produced ants, which are in size smaller than dogs but larger than foxes, for there are some of them kept at the residence of the king of Persia, which are caught here. These ants then make their dwelling under ground and carry up the sand just in the same manner as the ants found in the land of the Hellenes, which they themselves also very much resemble in form; and the sand which is brought up contains gold. To obtain this sand the Indians make expeditions into the desert, each one having yoked together three camels, placing a female in the middle and a male like a trace-horse to draw by each side. On this female he mounts himself, having arranged carefully that she shall be taken to be yoked from young ones, the more lately born the better. For their female camels are not inferior to horses in speed, and moreover they are much more capable of bearing weights. 103. As to the form of the camel, I do not here describe it, since the Hellenes for whom I write are already acquainted with it, but I shall tell that which is not commonly known about it, which is this:--the camel has in the hind legs four thighs and four knees, and its organs of generation are between the hind legs, turned towards the tail. 104. The Indians, I say, ride out to get the gold in the manner and with the kind of yoking which I have described, making calculations so that they may be engaged in carrying it off at the time when the greatest heat prevails; for the heat causes the ants to disappear underground. Now among these nations the sun is hottest in the morning hours, not at midday as with others, but from sunrise to the time of closing the market: and during this time it produces much greater heat than at midday in Hellas, so that it is said that then they drench themselves with water. Midday however has about equal degree of heat with the Indians as with other men, while after midday their sun becomes like the morning sun with other men, and after this, as it goes further away, it produces still greater coolness, until at last at sunset it makes the air very cool indeed. 105. When the Indians have come to the place with bags, they fill them with the sand and ride away back as quickly as they can, for forthwith the ants, perceiving, as the Persians allege, by the smell, begin to pursue them: and this animal, they say, is superior to every other creature in swiftness, so that unless the Indians got a start in their course, while the ants were gathering together, not one of them would escape. So then the male camels, for they are inferior in speed of running to the females, if they drag behind are even let loose from the side of the female, one after the other; the females however, remembering the young which they left behind, do not show any slackness in their course. Thus it is that the Indians get most part of the gold, as the Persians say; there is however other gold also in their land obtained by digging, but in smaller quantities.
106. It seems indeed that the extremities of the inhabited world had allotted to them by nature the fairest things, just as it was the lot of Hellas to have its seasons far more fairly tempered than other lands: for first, India is the most distant of inhabited lands towards the East, as I have said a little above, and in this land not only the animals, birds as well as four-footed beasts, are much larger than in other places (except the horses, which are surpassed by those of Media called Nessaian), but also there is gold in abundance there, some got by digging, some brought down by rivers, and some carried off as I explained just now: and there also the trees which grow wild produce wool which surpasses in beauty and excellence that from sheep, and the Indians wear clothing obtained from these trees. 107. Then again Arabia is the furthest of inhabited lands in the direction of the midday, and in it alone of all lands grow frankincense and myrrh and cassia and cinnamon and gum-mastich. All these except myrrh are got with difficulty by the Arabians. Frankincense they collect by burning the storax, which is brought thence to the Hellenes by the Phenicians, by burning this, I say, so as to produce smoke they take it; for these trees which produce frankincense are guarded by winged serpents, small in size and of various colours, which watch in great numbers about each tree, of the same kind as those which attempt to invade Egypt:[a] and they cannot be driven away from the trees by any other thing but only the smoke of storax. 108. The Arabians say also that all the world would have been by this time filled with these serpents, if that did not happen with regard to them which I knew happened with regard to vipers: and it seems that the Divine Providence, as indeed was to be expected, seeing that it is wise, has made all those animals prolific which are of cowardly spirit and good for food, in order that they may not be all eaten up and their race fail, whereas it has made those which are bold and noxious to have small progeny. For example, because the hare is hunted by every beast and bird as well as by man, therefore it is so very prolific as it is: and this is the only one of all beasts which becomes pregnant again before the former young are born, and has in its womb some of its young covered with fur and others bare; and while one is just being shaped in the matrix, another is being conceived. Thus it is in this case; whereas the lioness, which is the strongest and most courageous of creatures, produces one cub once only in her life; for when she produces young she casts out her womb together with her young; and the cause of it is this:--when the cub being within the mother begins to move about, then having claws by far sharper than those of any other beast he tears the womb, and as he grows larger he proceeds much further in his scratching: at last the time of birth approaches and there is now nothing at all left of it in a sound condition. 109. Just so also, if vipers and the winged serpents of the Arabians were produced in the ordinary course of their nature, man would not be able to live upon the earth; but as it is, when they couple with one another and the male is in the act of generation, as he lets go from him the seed, the female seizes hold of his neck, and fastening on to it does not relax her hold till she has eaten it through. The male then dies in the manner which I have said, but the female pays the penalty of retribution for the male in this manner:--the young while they are still in the womb take vengeance for their father by eating through their mother, and having eaten through her belly they thus make their way out for themselves. Other serpents however, which are not hurtful to man, produce eggs and hatch from them a very large number of offspring. Now vipers are distributed over all the earth; but the others, which are winged, are found in great numbers together in Arabia and in no other land: therefore it is that they appear to be numerous. 110. This frankincense then is obtained thus by the Arabians; and cassia is obtained as follows:-- they bind up in cows'-hide and other kinds of skins all their body and their face except only the eyes, and then go to get the cassia. This grows in a pool not very deep, and round the pool and in it lodge, it seems, winged beasts nearly resembling bats, and they squeak horribly and are courageous in fight. These they must keep off from their eyes, and so cut the cassia. 111. Cinnamon they collect in a yet more marvellous manner than this: for where it grows and what land produces it they are not able to tell, except only that some say (and it is a probable account) that it grows in those regions where Dionysos was brought up; and they say that large birds carry those dried sticks which we have learnt from the Phenicians to call cinnamon, carry them, I say, to nests which are made of clay and stuck on to precipitous sides of mountains, which man can find no means of scaling. With regard to this then the Arabians practise the following contrivance:-- they divide up the limbs of the oxen and asses that die and of their other beasts of burden, into pieces as large as convenient, and convey them to these places, and when they have laid them down not far from the nests, they withdraw to a distance from them: and the birds fly down and carry the limbs of the beasts of burden off to their nests; and these are not able to bear them, but break down and fall to the earth; and the men come up to them and collect the cinnamon. Thus cinnamon is collected and comes from this nation to the other countries of the world. 112. Gum-mastich however, which the Arabians call /ladanon/, comes in a still more extraordinary manner; for though it is the most sweet-scented of all things, it comes in the most evil- scented thing, since it is found in the beards of he-goats, produced there like resin from wood: this is of use for the making of many perfumes, and the Arabians use it more than anything else as incense. 113. Let what we have said suffice with regard to spices; and from the land of Arabia there blows a scent of them most marvellously sweet. They have also two kinds of sheep which are worthy of admiration and are not found in any other land: the one kind has the tail long, not less than three cubits in length; and if one should allow these to drag these after them, they would have sores from their tails being worn away against the ground; but as it is, every one of the shepherds knows enough of carpentering to make little cars, which they tie under the tails, fastening the tail of each animal to a separate little car. The other kind of sheep has the tail broad, even as much as a cubit in breadth.
114. As one passes beyond the place of the midday, the Ethiopian land is that which extends furthest of all inhabited lands towards the sunset. This produces both gold in abundance and huge elephants and trees of all kinds growing wild and ebony, and men who are of all men the tallest, the most beautiful and the most long-lived.
115. These are the extremities in Asia and in Libya; but as to the extremities of Europe towards the West, I am not able to speak with certainty: for neither do I accept the tale that there is a river called in Barbarian tongue Eridanos, flowing into the sea which lies towards the North Wind, whence it is said that amber comes; nor do I know of the real existence of "Tin Islands" from which tin comes to us: for first the name Eridanos itself declares that it is Hellenic and that it does not belong to a Barbarian speech, but was invented by some poet; and secondly I am not able to hear from any one who has been an eye-witness, though I took pains to discover this, that there is a sea on the other side of Europe. However that may be, tin and amber certainly come to us from the extremity of Europe. 116. Then again towards the North of Europe, there is evidently a quantity of gold by far larger than in any other land: as to how it is got, here again I am not able to say for certain, but it is said to be carried off from the griffins by Arimaspians, a one-eyed race of men. But I do not believe this tale either, that nature produces one-eyed men which in all other respects are like other men. However, it would seem that the extremities which bound the rest of the world on every side and enclose it in the midst, possess the things which by us are thought to be the most beautiful and the most rare.
117. Now there is a plain in Asia bounded by mountains on all sides, and through the mountains there are five clefts. This plain belonged once to the Chorasmians, and it lies on the borders of the Chorasmians themselves, the Hyrcanians, Parthians, Sarangians, and Thamanaians; but from the time that the Persians began to bear rule it belongs to the king. From this enclosing mountain of which I speak there flows a great river, and its name is Akes. This formerly watered the lands of these nations which have been mentioned, being divided into five streams and conducted through a separate cleft in the mountains to each separate nation; but from the time that they have come to be under the Persians they have suffered as follows:--the king built up the clefts in the mountains and set gates at each cleft; and so, since the water has been shut off from its outlet, the plain within the mountains is made into a sea, because the river runs into it and has no way out in any direction. Those therefore who in former times had been wont to make use of the water, not being able now to make use of it are in great trouble: for during the winter they have rain from heaven, as also other men have, but in the summer they desire to use the water when they sow millet and sesame seed. So then, the water not being granted to them, they come to the Persians both themselves and their wives, and standing at the gates of the king's court they cry and howl; and the king orders that for those who need it most, the gates which lead to their land shall be opened; and when their land has become satiated with drinking in the water, these gates are closed, and he orders the gates to be opened for others, that is to say those most needing it of the rest who remain: and, as I have heard, he exacts large sums of money for opening them, besides the regular tribute.
118. Thus it is with these matters: but of the seven men who had risen against the Magian, it happened to one, namely Intaphrenes, to be put to death immediately after their insurrection for an outrage which I shall relate. He desired to enter into the king's palace and confer with the king; for the law was in fact so, that those who had risen up against the Magian were permitted to go in to the king's presence without any one to announce them, unless the king happened to be lying with his wife. Accordingly Intaphrenes did not think it fit that any one should announce his coming; but as he was one of the seven, he desired to enter. The gatekeeper however and the bearer of messages endeavoured to prevent him, saying that the king was lying with his wife: but Intaphrenes believing that they were not speaking the truth, drew his sword and cut off their ears and their noses, and stringing these upon his horse's bridle he tied them round their necks and so let them go. 119. Upon this they showed themselves to the king and told the cause for which they had suffered this; and Dareios, fearing that the six might have done this by common design, sent for each one separately and made trial of his inclinations, as to whether he approved of that which had been done: and when he was fully assured that Intaphrenes had not done this in combination with them, he took both Intaphrenes himself and his sons and all his kinsmen, being much disposed to believe that he was plotting insurrection against him with the help of his relations; and having seized them he put them in bonds as for execution. Then the wife of Intaphrenes, coming constantly to the doors of the king's court, wept and bewailed herself; and by doing this continually after the same manner she moved Dareios to pity her. Accordingly he sent a messenger and said to her: "Woman, king Dareios grants to thee to save from death one of thy kinsmen who are lying in bonds, whomsoever thou desirest of them all." She then, having considered with herself, answered thus: "If in truth the king grants me the life of one, I choose of them all my brother." Dareios being informed of this, and marvelling at her speech, sent and addressed her thus: "Woman, the king asks thee what was in thy mind, that thou didst leave thy husband and thy children to die, and didst choose thy brother to survive, seeing that he is surely less near to thee in blood than thy children, and less dear to thee than thy husband." She made answer: "O king, I might, if heaven willed, have another husband and other children, if I should lose these; but another brother I could by no means have, seeing that my father and my mother are no longer alive. This was in my mind when I said those words." To Dareios then it seemed that the woman had spoken well, and he let go not only him for whose life she asked, but also the eldest of her sons because he was pleased with her: but all the others he slew. One therefore of the seven had perished immediately in the manner which has been related.
120. Now about the time of the sickness of Cambyses it had come to pass as follows:--There was one Oroites, a Persian, who had been appointed by Cyrus to be governor of the province of Sardis. This man had set his desire upon an unholy thing; for though from Polycrates the Samian he had never suffered anything nor heard any offensive word nor even seen him before that time, he desired to take him and put him to death for a reason of this kind, as most who report the matter say:--while Oroites and another Persian whose name was Mitrobates, ruler of the province of Daskyleion, were sitting at the door of the king's court, they came from words to strife with one another; and as they debated their several claims to excellence, Mitrobates taunting Oroites said: "Dost /thou/ count thyself a man, who didst never yet win for the king the island of Samos, which lies close to thy province, when it is so exceedingly easy of conquest that one of the natives of it rose up against the government with fifteen men-at-arms and got possession of the island, and is now despot of it?" Some say that because he heard this and was stung by the reproach, he formed the desire, not so much to take vengeance on him who said this, as to bring Polycrates to destruction at all costs, since by reason of him he was ill spoken of: 121, the lesser number however of those who tell the tale say that Oroites sent a herald to Samos to ask for something or other, but what it was is not mentioned; and Polycrates happened to be lying down in the men's chamber of his palace, and Anacreon also of Teos was present with him: and somehow, whether it was by intention and because he made no account of the business of Oroites, or whether some chance occurred to bring it about, it happened that the envoy of Oroites came into his presence and spoke with him, and Polycrates, who chanced to be turned away towards the wall, neither turned round at all nor made any answer. 122. The cause then of the death of Polycrates is reported in these two different ways, and we may believe whichever of them we please. Oroites however, having his residence at that Magnesia which is situated upon the river Maiander, sent Myrsos the son of Gyges, a Lydian, to Samos bearing a message, since he had perceived the designs of Polycrates. For Polycrates was the first of the Hellenes of whom we have any knowledge, who set his mind upon having command of the sea, excepting Minos the Cnossian and any other who may have had command of the sea before his time. Of that which we call mortal race Polycrates was the first; and he had great expectation of becoming ruler of Ionia and of the islands. Oroites accordingly, having perceived that he had this design, sent a message to him and said thus: "Oroites to Polycrates saith as follows: I hear that thou art making plans to get great power, and that thou hast not wealth according to thy high thoughts. Now therefore if thou shalt do as I shall say, thou wilt do well for thyself on the one hand, and also save me from destruction: for king Cambyses is planning death for me, and this is reported to me so that I cannot doubt it. Do thou then carry away out of danger both myself and with me my wealth; and of this keep a part for thyself and a part let me keep, and then so far as wealth may bring it about, thou shalt be ruler of all Hellas. And if thou dost not believe that which I say about the money, send some one, whosoever happens to be most trusted by thee, and to him I will show it." 123. Polycrates having heard this rejoiced, and was disposed to agree; and as he had a great desire, it seems, for wealth, he first sent Maiandrios the son of Maiandrios, a native of Samos who was his secretary, to see it: this man was the same who not long after these events dedicated all the ornaments of the men's chamber in the palace of Polycrates, ornaments well worth seeing, as an offering to the temple of Hera. Oroites accordingly, having heard that the person sent to examine might be expected soon to come, did as follows, that is to say, he filled eight chests with stones except a small depth at the very top of each, and laid gold above upon the stones; then he tied up the chests and kept them in readiness. So Maiandrios came and looked at them and brought back word to Polycrates: 124, and he upon that prepared to set out thither, although the diviners and also his friends strongly dissuaded him from it, and in spite moreover of a vision which his daughter had seen in sleep of this kind,--it seemed to her that her father was raised up on high and was bathed by Zeus and anointed by the Sun. Having seen this vision, she used every kind of endeavour to dissuade Polycrates from leaving his land to go to Oroites, and besides that, as he was going to his fifty-oared galley she accompanied his departure with prophetic words: and he threatened her that if he should return safe, she should remain unmarried for long; but she prayed that this might come to pass, for she desired rather, she said, to be unmarried for long than to be an orphan, having lost her father. 125. Polycrates however neglected every counsel and set sail to go to Oroites, taking with him, besides many others of his friends, Demokedes also the son of Calliphon, a man of Croton, who was a physician and practised his art better than any other man of is time. Then when he arrived at Magnesia, Polycrates was miserably put to death in a manner unworthy both of himself and of his high ambition: for excepting those who become despots of the Syracusans, not one besides of the Hellenic despots is worthy to be compared with Polycrates in magnificence. And when he had killed him in a manner not fit to be told, Oroites impaled his body: and of those who accompanied him, as many as were Samians he released, bidding them be grateful to him that they were free men; but all those of his company who were either allies or servants, he held in the estimation of slaves and kept them. Polycrates then being hung up accomplished wholly the vision of his daughter, for he was bathed by Zeus whenever it rained,[a] and anointed by the Sun, giving forth moisture himself from his body.
126. To this end came the great prosperity of Polycrates, as Amasis the king of Egypt had foretold to him: but not long afterwards retribution overtook Oroites in his turn for the murder of Polycrates. For after the death of Cambyses and the reign of the Magians Oroites remained at Sardis and did no service to the Persians, when they had been deprived of their empire by the Medes; moreover during this time of disturbance he slew Mitrobates the governor in Daskyleion, who had brought up against him the matter of Polycrates as a reproach; and he slew also Cranaspes the son of Mitrobates, both men of repute among the Persians: and besides other various deeds of insolence, once when a bearer of messages had come to him from Dareios, not being pleased with the message which he brought he slew him as he was returning, having set men to lie in wait for him by the way; and having slain him he made away with the bodies both of the man and of his horse. 127. Dareios accordingly, when he had come to the throne, was desirous of taking vengeance upon Oroites for all his wrongdoings and especially for the murder of Mitrobates and his son. However he did not think it good to act openly and to send an army against him, since his own affairs were still in a disturbed state and he had only lately come to the throne, while he heard that the strength of Oroites was great, seeing that he had a bodyguard of a thousand Persian spearmen and was in possession of the divisions of Phrygia and Lydia and Ionia. Therefore Dareios contrived as follows:--having called together those of the Persians who were of most repute, he said to them: "Persians, which of you all will undertake to perform this matter for me with wisdom, and not by force or with tumult? for where wisdom is wanted, there is no need of force. Which of you, I say, will either bring Oroites alive to me or slay him? for he never yet did any service to the Persians, and on the other hand he has done to them great evil. First he destroyed two of us, Mitrobates and his son; then he slays the men who go to summon him, sent by me, displaying insolence not to be endured. Before therefore he shall accomplish any other evil against the Persians, we must check his course by death." 128. Thus Dareios asked, and thirty men undertook the matter, each one separately desiring to do it himself; and Dareios stopped their contention and bade them cast lots: so when they cast lots, Bagaios the son of Artontes obtained the lot from among them all. Bagaios accordingly, having obtained the lot, did thus:--he wrote many papers dealing with various matters and on them set the seal of Dareios, and with them he went to Sardis. When he arrived there and came into the presence of Oroites, he took the covers off the papers one after another and gave them to the Royal Secretary to read; for all the governors of provinces have Royal Secretaries. Now Bagaios thus gave the papers in order to make trial of the spearmen of the guard, whether they would accept the motion to revolt from Oroites; and seeing that they paid great reverence to the papers and still more to the words which were recited from them, he gave another paper in which were contained these words: "Persians, king Dareios forbids you to serve as guards to Oroites": and they hearing this lowered to him the points of their spears. Then Bagaios, seeing that in this they were obedient to the paper, took courage upon that and gave the last of the papers to the secretary; and in it was written: "King Dareios commands the Persians who are in Sardis to slay Oroites." So the spearmen of the guard, when they heard this, drew their swords and slew him forthwith. Thus did retribution for the murder of Polycrates the Samian overtake Oroites.
129. When the wealth of Oroites had come or had been carried up to Susa, it happened not long after, that king Dareios while engaged in hunting wild beasts twisted his foot in leaping off his horse, and it was twisted, as it seems, rather violently, for the ball of his ankle-joint was put out of the socket. Now he had been accustomed to keep about him those of the Egyptians who were accounted the first in the art of medicine, and he made use of their assistance then: but these by wrenching and forcing the foot made the evil continually greater. For seven days then and seven nights Dareios was sleepless owing to the pain which he suffered; and at last on the eighth day, when he was in a wretched state, some one who had heard talk before while yet at Sardis of the skill of Demokedes of Croton, reported this to Dareios; and he bade them bring him forthwith into his presence. So having found him somewhere unnoticed among the slaves of Oroites, they brought him forth into the midst dragging fetters after him and clothed in rags. 130. When he had been placed in the midst of them, Dareios asked him whether he understood the art; but he would not admit it, fearing lest, if he declared himself to be what he was, he might lose for ever the hope of returning to Hellas: and it was clear to Dareios that he understood that art but was practising another, and he commanded those who had brought him thither to produce scourges and pricks. Accordingly upon that he spoke out, saying that he did not understand it precisely, but that he had kept company with a physician and had some poor knowledge of the art. Then after this, when Dareios had committed the case to him, by using Hellenic drugs and applying mild remedies after the former violent means, he caused him to get sleep, and in a short time made him perfectly well, though he had never hoped to be sound of foot again. Upon this Dareios presented him with two pairs of golden fetters; and he asked him whether it was by design that he had given to him a double share of his suffering, because he had made him well. Being pleased by this saying, Dareios sent him to visit his wives, and the eunuchs in bringing him in said to the women that this was he who had restored to the king his life. Then each one of them plunged a cup into the gold-chest and presented Demokedes with so abundant a gift that his servant, whose name was Skiton, following and gathering up the coins which fell from the cups, collected for himself a very large sum of gold.
131. This Demokedes came from Croton, and became the associate of Polycrates in the following manner:--at Croton he lived in strife with his father, who was of a harsh temper, and when he could no longer endure him, he departed and came to Egina. Being established there he surpassed in the first year all the other physicians, although he was without appliances and had none of the instruments which are used in the art. In the next year the Eginetan State engaged him for a payment of one talent, in the third year he was engaged by the Athenians for a hundred pounds weight of silver, and in the fourth by Polycrates for two talents. Thus he arrived in Samos; and it was by reason of this man more than anything else that the physicians of Croton got their reputation: for this event happened at the time when the physicians of Croton began to be spoken of as the first in Hellas, while the Kyrenians were reputed to have the second place. About this same time also the Argives had the reputation of being the first musicians in Hellas.
132. Then Demokedes having healed king Dareios had a very great house in Susa, and had been made a table-companion of the king; and except the one thing of returning to the land of the Hellenes, he had everything. And first as regards the Egyptian physicians who tried to heal the king before him, when they were about to be impaled because they had proved inferior to a physician who was a Hellene, he asked their lives of the king and rescued them from death: then secondly, he rescued an Eleian prophet, who had accompanied Polycrates and had remained unnoticed among the slaves. In short Demokedes was very great in the favour of the king.
133. Not long time after this another thing came to pass which was this:--Atossa the daughter of Cyrus and wife of Dareios had a tumour upon her breast, which afterwards burst and then was spreading further: and so long as it was not large, she concealed it and said nothing to anybody, because she was ashamed; but afterwards when she was in evil case, she sent for Demokedes and showed it to him: and he said that he would make her well, and caused her to swear that she would surely do for him in return that which he should ask of her; and he would ask, he said, none of such things as are shameful. 134. So when after this by his treatment he had made her well, then Atossa instructed by Demokedes uttered to Dareios in his bedchamber some such words as these: "O king, though thou hast such great power, thou dost sit still, and dost not win in addition any nation or power for the Persians: and yet it is reasonable that a man who is both young and master of much wealth should be seen to perform some great deed, in order that the Persians may know surely that he is a man by whom they are ruled. It is expedient indeed in two ways that thou shouldest do so, both in order that the Persians may know that their ruler is a man, and in order that they may be worn down by war and not have leisure to plot against thee. For now thou mightest display some great deed, while thou art still young; seeing that as the body grows the spirit grows old also with it, and is blunted for every kind of action." Thus she spoke according to instructions received, and he answered thus: "Woman, thou hast said all the things which I myself have in mind to do; for I have made the plan to yoke together a bridge from this continent to the other and to make expedition against the Scythians, and these designs will be by way of being fulfilled within a little time." Then Atossa said: "Look now,--forbear to go first against the Scythians, for these will be in thy power whenever thou desirest: but do thou, I pray thee, make an expedition against Hellas; for I am desirous to have Lacedemonian women and Argive and Athenian and Corinthian, for attendants, because I hear of them by report: and thou hast the man who of all men is most fitted to show thee all things which relate to Hellas and to be thy guide, that man, I mean, who healed thy foot." Dareios made answer: "Woman, since it seems good to thee that we should first make trial of Hellas, I think it better to send first to them men of the Persians together with him of whom thou speakest, to make investigation, that when these have learnt and seen, they may report each several thing to us; and then I shall go to attack them with full knowledge of all."
135. Thus he said, and he proceeded to do the deed as he spoke the word: for as soon as day dawned, he summoned fifteen Persians, men of repute, and bade them pass through the coasts of Hellas in company with Demokedes, and take care not to let Demokedes escape from them, but bring him back at all costs. Having thus commanded them, next he summoned Demokedes himself and asked him to act as a guide for the whole of Hellas and show it to the Persians, and then return back: and he bade him take all his movable goods and carry them as gifts to his father and his brothers, saying that he would give him in their place many times as much; and besides this, he said, he would contribute to the gifts a merchant ship filled with all manner of goods, which should sail with him. Dareios, as it seems to me, promised him these things with no crafty design; but Demokedes was afraid that Dareios was making trial of him, and did not make haste to accept all that was offered, but said that he would leave his own things where they were, so that he might have them when he came back; he said however that he accepted the merchant ship which Dareios promised him for the presents to his brothers. Dareios then, having thus given command to him also, sent them away to the sea. 136. So these, when they had gone down to Phenicia and in Phenicia to the city of Sidon, forthwith manned two triremes, and besides them they also filled a large ship of burden with all manner of goods. Then when they had made all things ready they set sail for Hellas, and touching at various places they saw the coast regions of it and wrote down a description, until at last, when they had seen the greater number of the famous places, they came to Taras in Italy. There from complaisance to Demokedes Aristophilides the king of the Tarentines unfastened and removed the steering-oars of the Median ships, and also confined the Persians in prison, because, as he alleged, they came as spies. While they were being thus dealt with, Demokedes went away and reached Croton; and when he had now reached his own native place, Aristophilides set the Persians free and gave back to them those parts of their ships which he had taken away. 137. The Persians then sailing thence and pursuing Demokedes reached Croton, and finding him in the market-place they laid hands upon him; and some of the men of Croton fearing the Persian power were willing to let him go, but others took hold of him and struck with their staves at the Persians, who pleaded for themselves in these words: "Men of Croton, take care what ye are about: ye are rescuing a man who was a slave of king Dareios and who ran away from him. How, think you, will king Dareios be content to receive such an insult; and how shall this which ye do be well for you, if ye take him away from us? Against what city, think you, shall we make expedition sooner than against this, and what city before this shall we endeavour to reduce to slavery?" Thus saying they did not however persuade the men of Croton, but having had Demokedes rescued from them and the ship of burden which they were bringing with them taken away, they set sail to go back to Asia, and did not endeavour to visit any more parts of Hellas or to find out about them, being now deprived of their guide. This much however Demokedes gave them as a charge when they were putting forth to sea, bidding them say to Dareios that Demokedes was betrothed to the daughter of Milon: for the wrestler Milon had a great name at the king's court; and I suppose that Demokedes was urgent for this marriage, spending much money to further it, in order that Dareios might see that he was held in honour also in his own country. 138. The Persians however, after they had put out from Croton, were cast away with their ships in Iapygia; and as they were remaining there as slaves, Gillos a Tarentine exile rescued them and brought them back to king Dareios. In return for this Dareios offered to give him whatsoever thing he should desire; and Gillos chose that he might have the power of returning to Taras, narrating first the story of his misfortune: and in order that he might not disturb all Hellas, as would be the case if on his account a great armament should sail to invade Italy, he said it was enough for him that the men of Cnidos should be those who brought him back, without any others; because he supposed that by these, who were friends with the Tarentines, his return from exile would most easily be effected. Dareios accordingly having promised proceeded to perform; for he sent a message to Cnidos and bade them being back Gillos to Taras: and the men of Cnidos obeyed Dareios, but nevertheless they did not persuade the Tarentines, and they were not strong enough to apply force. Thus then it happened with regard to these things; and these were the first Persians who came from Asia to Hellas, and for the reason which has been mentioned these were sent as spies.
139. After this king Dareios took Samos before all other cities, whether of Hellenes or Barbarians, and for a cause which was as follows:--When Cambyses the son of Cyrus was marching upon Egypt, many Hellenes arrived in Egypt, some, as might be expected, joining in the campaign to make profit, and some also coming to see the land itself; and among these was Syoloson the son of Aiakes and brother of Polycrates, an exile from Samos. To this Syloson a fortunate chance occurred, which was this:--he had taken and put upon him a flame- coloured mantle, and was about the market-place in Memphis; and Dareios, who was then one of the spearmen of Cambyses and not yet held in any great estimation, seeing him had a desire for the mantle, and going up to him offered to buy it. Then Syloson, seeing that Dareios very greatly desired the mantle, by some divine inspiration said: "I will not sell this for any sum, but I will give it thee for nothing, if, as it appears, it must be thine at all costs." To this Dareios agreed and received from him the garment. 140. Now Syloson supposed without any doubt that he had altogether lost this by easy simplicity; but when in course of time Cambyses was dead, and the seven Persians had risen up against the Magian, and of the seven Dareios had obtained the kingdom, Syloson heard that the kingdom had come about to that man to whom once in Egypt he had given the garment at his request: accordingly he went up to Susa and sat down at the entrance of the king's palace, and said that he was a benefactor of Dareios. The keeper of the door hearing this reported it to the king; and he marvelled at it and said to him: "Who then of the Hellenes is my benefactor, to whom I am bound by gratitude? seeing that it is now but a short time that I possess the kingdom, and as yet scarcely one of them has come up to our court; and I may almost say that I have no debt owing to a Hellene. Nevertheless bring him in before me, that I may know what he means when he says these things." Then the keeper of the door brought Syloson before him, and when he had been set in the midst, the interpreters asked him who he was and what he had done, that he called himself the benefactor of the king. Syloson accordingly told all that had happened about the mantle, and how he was the man who had given it; to which Dareios made answer: "O most noble of men, thou art he who when as yet I had no power gavest me a gift, small it may be, but nevertheless the kindness is counted with me to be as great as if I should now receive some great thing from some one. Therefore I will give thee in return gold and silver in abundance, that thou mayest not ever repent that thou didst render a service to Dareios the son of Hystaspes." To this Syloson replied: "To me, O king, give neither gold nor silver, but recover and give to me my fatherland Samos, which now that my brother Polycrates has been slain by Oroites is possessed by our slave. This give to me without bloodshed or selling into slavery." 141. Dareios having heard this prepared to send an expedition with Otanes as commander of it, who had been one of the seven, charging him to accomplish for Syloson all that which he had requested. Otanes then went down to the sea-coast and was preparing the expedition.
142. Now Maiandrios the son of Maiandrios was holding the rule over Samos, having received the government as a trust from Polycrates; and he, though desiring to show himself the most righteous of men, did not succeed in so doing: for when the death of Polycrates was reported to him, he did as follows:--first he founded an altar to Zeus the Liberator and marked out a sacred enclosure round it, namely that which exists still in the suburb of the city: then after he had done this he gathered together an assembly of all the citizens and spoke these words: "To me, as ye know as well as I, has been entrusted the sceptre of Polycrates and all his power; and now it is open to me to be your ruler; but that for the doing of which I find fault with my neighbour, I will myself refrain from doing, so far as I may: for as I did not approve of Polycrates acting as master of men who were not inferior to himself, so neither do I approve of any other who does such things. Now Polycrates for his part fulfilled his own appointed destiny, and I now give the power into the hands of the people, and proclaim to you equality. These privileges however I think it right to have assigned to me, namely that from the wealth of Polycrates six talents should be taken out and given to me as a special gift; and in addition to this I choose for myself and for my descendants in succession the priesthood of Zeus the Liberator, to whom I myself founded a temple, while I bestow liberty upon you." He, as I say, made these offers to the Samians; but one of them rose up and said: "Nay, but unworthy too art /thou/ to be our ruler, seeing that thou art of mean birth and a pestilent fellow besides. Rather take care that thou give an account of the money which thou hadst to deal with." 143. Thus said one who was a man of repute among the citizens, whose name was Telesarchos; and Maiandrios perceiving that if he resigned the power, some other would be set up as despot instead of himself, did not keep the purpose at all of resigning it; but having retired to the fortress he sent for each man separately, pretending that he was going to give an account of the money, and so seized them and put them in bonds. These then had been put in bonds; but Maiandrios after this was overtaken by sickness, and his brother, whose name was Lycaretos, expecting that he would die, put all the prisoners to death, in order that he might himself more easily get possession of the power over Samos: and all this happened because, as it appears, they did not choose to be free.
144. So when the Persians arrived at Samos bringing Syloson home from exile, no one raised a hand against them, and moreover the party of Maiandrios and Maiandrios himself said that they were ready to retire out of the island under a truce. Otanes therefore having agreed on these terms and having made a treaty, the most honourable of the Persians had seats placed for them in front of the fortress and were sitting there. 145. Now the despot Maiandrios had a brother who was somewhat mad, and his name was Charilaos. This man for some offence which he had been committed had been confined in an underground dungeon, and at this time of which I speak, having heard what was being done and having put his head through out of the dungeon, when he saw the Persians peacefully sitting there he began to cry out and said that he desired to come to speech with Maiandrios. So Maiandrios hearing his voice bade them loose him and bring him into his presence; and as soon as he was brought he began to abuse and revile him, trying to persuade him to attack the Persians, and saying thus: "Thou basest of men, didst thou put me in bonds and judge me worthy of the dungeon under ground, who am thine own brother and did no wrong worthy of bonds, and when thou seest the Persians casting thee forth from the land and making thee homeless, dost thou not dare to take any revenge, though they are so exceedingly easy to be overcome? Nay, but if in truth thou art afraid of them, give me thy mercenaries and I will take vengeance on them for their coming here; and thyself I am willing to let go out of the island." 146. Thus spoke Charilaos, and Maiandrios accepted that which he said, not, as I think, because he had reached such a height of folly as to suppose that his own power would overcome that of the king, but rather because he grudged Syloson that he should receive from him the State without trouble, and with no injury inflicted upon it. Therefore he desired to provoke the Persians to anger and make the Samian power as feeble as possible before he gave it up to him, being well assured that the Persians, when they had suffered evil, would be likely to be as bitter against the Samians as well as against those who did the wrong, and knowing also that he had a safe way of escape from the island whenever he desired: for he had had a secret passage made under ground, leading from the fortress to the sea. Maiandrios then himself sailed out from Samos; but Charilaos armed all the mercenaries, and opening wide the gates sent them out upon the Persians, who were not expecting any such thing, but supposed that all had been arranged: and the mercenaries falling upon them began to slay those of the Persians who had seats carried for them and were of most account. While these were thus engaged, the rest of the Persian force came to the rescue, and the mercenaries were hard pressed and forced to retire to the fortress. 147. Then Otanes the Persian commander, seeing that the Persians had suffered greatly, purposely forgot the commands which Dareios gave him when he sent him forth, not to kill any one of the Samians nor to sell any into slavery, but to restore the island to Syloson free from all suffering of calamity,--these commands, I say, he purposely forgot, and gave the word to his army to slay every one whom they should take, man or boy, without distinction. So while some of the army were besieging the fortress, others were slaying every one who came in their way, in sanctuary or out of sanctuary equally. 148. Meanwhile Maiandrios had escaped from Samos and was sailing to Lacedemon; and having come thither and caused to be brought up to the city the things which he had taken with him when he departed, he did as follows:--first, he would set out his cups of silver and of gold, and then while the servants were cleaning them, he would be engaged in conversation with Cleomenes the son of Anaxandrides, then king of Sparta, and would bring him on to his house; and when Cleomenes saw the cups he marvelled and was astonished at them, and Maiandrios would bid him take away with him as many of them as he pleased. Maiandrios said this twice or three times, but Cleomenes herein showed himself the most upright of men; for he not only did not think fit to take that which was offered, but perceiving that Maiandrios would make presents to others of the citizens, and so obtain assistance for himself, he went to the Ephors and said that it was better for Sparta that the stranger of Samos should depart from Peloponnesus, lest he might persuade either himself or some other man of the Spartans to act basely. They accordingly accepted his counsel, and expelled Maiandrios by proclamation. 149. As to Samos, the Persians, after sweeping the population off it, delivered it to Syloson stripped of men. Afterwards however the commander Otanes even joined in settling people there, moved by a vision of a dream and by a disease which seized him, so that he was diseased in the genital organs.
150. After a naval force had thus gone against Samos, the Babylonians made revolt, being for this exceedingly well prepared; for during all the time of the reign of the Magian and of the insurrection of the seven, during all this time and the attendant confusion they were preparing themselves for the siege of their city: and it chanced by some means that they were not observed to be doing this. Then when they made open revolt, they did as follows:--after setting apart their mothers first, each man set apart also for himself one woman, whosoever he wished of his own household, and all the remainder they gathered together and killed by suffocation. Each man set apart the one who has been mentioned to serve as a maker of bread, and they suffocated the rest in order that they might not consume their provisions. 151. Dareios being informed of this and having gathered together all his power, made expedition against them, and when he had marched his army up to Babylon he began to besiege them; but they cared nothing about the siege, for the Babylonians used to go up to the battlements of the wall and show contempt of Dareios and of his army by gestures and by words; and one of them uttered this saying: "Why, O Persians, do ye remain sitting here, and not depart? For then only shall ye capture us, when mules shall bring forth young." This was said by one of the Babylonians, not supposing that a mule would ever bring forth young. 152. So when a year and seven months had now passed by, Dareios began to be vexed and his whole army with him, not being able to conquer the Babylonians. And yet Dareios had used against them every kind of device and every possible means, but not even so could he conquer them, though besides other devices he had attempted it by that also with which Cyrus conquered them; but the Babylonians were terribly on their guard and he was not able to conquer them. 153. Then in the twentieth month there happened to Zopyros the son of that Megabyzos who had been of the seven men who slew the Magian, to this Zopyros, I say, son of Megabyzos there happened a prodigy,--one of the mules which served as bearers of provisions for him produced young: and when this was reported to him, and Zopyros had himself seen the foal, because he did not believe the report, he charged those who had seen it not to tell that which had happened to any one, and he considered with himself what to do. And having regard to the words spoken by the Babylonian, who had said at first that when mules should produce young, then the wall would be taken, having regard (I say) to this ominous saying, it seemed to Zopyros that Babylon could be taken: for he thought that both the man had spoken and his mule had produced young by divine dispensation. 154. Since then it seemed to him that it was now fated that Babylon should be captured, he went to Dareios and inquired of him whether he thought it a matter of very great moment to conquer Babylon; and hearing in answer that he thought it of great consequence, he considered again how he might be the man to take it and how the work might be his own: for among the Persians benefits are accounted worthy of a very high degree of honour. He considered accordingly that he was not able to make conquest of it by any other means, but only if he should maltreat himself and desert to their side. So, making light esteem of himself, he maltreated his own body in a manner which could not be cured; for he cut off his nose and his ears, and shaved his hair round in an unseemly way, and scourged himself, and so went into the presence of Dareios. 155. And Dareios was exceedingly troubled when he saw the man of most repute with him thus maltreated; and leaping up from his seat he cried aloud and asked him who was the person who had maltreated him, and for what deed. He replied: "That man does not exist, excepting thee, who has so great power as to bring me into this condition; and not any stranger, O king, has done this, but I myself to myself, accounting it a very grievous thing that the Assyrians should make a mock of the Persians." He made answer: "Thou most reckless of men, thou didst set the fairest name to the foulest deed when thou saidest that on account of those who are besieged thou didst bring thyself into a condition which cannot be cured. How, O thou senseless one, will the enemy surrender to us more quickly, because thou hast maltreated thyself? Surely thou didst wander out of thy senses in thus destroying thyself." And he said, "If I had communicated to thee that which I was about to do, thou wouldst not have permitted me to do it; but as it was, I did it on my own account. Now therefore, unless something is wanting on thy part, we shall conquer Babylon: for I shall go straightway as a deserter to the wall; and I shall say to them that I suffered this treatment at thy hands: and I think that when I have convinced them that this is so, I shall obtain the command of a part of their forces. Do thou then on the tenth day from that on which I shall enter within the wall take of those troops about which thou wilt have no concern if they be destroyed,--of these, I say, get a thousand by the gate of the city which is called the gate of Semiramis; and after this again on the seventh day after the tenth set, I pray thee, two thousand by the gate which is called the gate of the Ninevites; and after this seventh day let twenty days elapse, and then lead other four thousand and place them by the gate called the gate of the Chaldeans: and let neither the former men nor these have any weapons to defend them except daggers, but this weapon let them have. Then after the twentieth day at once bid the rest of the army make an attack on the wall all round, and set the Persians, I pray thee, by those gates which are called the gate of Belos and the gate of Kissia: for, as I think, when I have displayed great deeds of prowess, the Babylonians will entrust to me, besides their other things, also the keys which draw the bolts of the gates. Then after that it shall be the care of myself and the Persians to do that which ought to be done." 156. Having thus enjoined he proceeded to go to the gate of the city, turning to look behind him as he went, as if he were in truth a deserter; and those who were set in that part of the wall, seeing him from the towers ran down, and slightly opening one wing of the gate asked who he was, and for what purpose he had come. And he addressed them and said that he was Zopyros, and that he came as a deserter to them. The gate-keepers accordingly when they heard this led him to the public assembly of the Babylonians; and being introduced before it he began to lament his fortunes, saying that he had in fact suffered at his own hands, and that he had suffered this because he had counselled the king to withdraw his army, since in truth there seemed to be no means of taking the town: "And now," he went on to say, "I am come for very great good to you, O Babylonians, but for very great evil to Dareios and his army, and to the Persians, for he shall surely not escape with impunity for having thus maltreated me; and I know all the courses of his counsels." 157. Thus he spoke, and the Babylonians, when they saw the man of most reputation among the Persians deprived of nose and ears and smeared over with blood from scourging, supposing assuredly that he was speaking the truth and had come to be their helper, were ready to put in his power that for which he asked them, and he asked them that he might command a certain force. Then when he had obtained this from them, he did that which he had agreed with Dareios that he would do; for he led out on the tenth day the army of the Babylonians, and having surrounded the thousand men whom he had enjoined Dareios first to set there, he slew them. The Babylonians accordingly, perceiving that the deeds which he displayed were in accordance with his words, were very greatly rejoiced and were ready to serve him in all things: and after the lapse of the days which had been agreed upon, he again chose men of the Babylonians and led them out and slew the two thousand men of the troops of Dareios. Seeing this deed also, the Babylonians all had the name of Zopyros upon their tongues, and were loud in his praise. He then again, after the lapse of the days which had been agreed upon, led them out to the place appointed, and surrounded the four thousand and slew them. When this also had been done, Zopyros was everything among the Babylonians, and he was appointed both commander of their army and guardian of their walls. 158. But when Dareios made an attack according to the agreement on every side of the wall, then Zopyros discovered all his craft: for while the Babylonians, having gone up on the wall, were defending themselves against the attacks of the army of Dareios, Zopyros opened the gates called the gates of Kissia and of Belos, and let in the Persians within the wall. And of the Babylonians those who saw that which was done fled to the temple of Zeus Belos, but those who did not see remained each in his own appointed place, until at last they also learnt that they had been betrayed.
159. Thus was Babylon conquered for the second time: and Dareios when he had overcome the Babylonians, first took away the wall from round their city and pulled down all the gates; for when Cyrus took Babylon before him, he did neither of these things: and secondly Dareios impaled the leading men to the number of about three thousand, but to the rest of the Babylonians he gave back their city to dwell in: and to provide that the Babylonians should have wives, in order that their race might be propagated, Dareios did as follows (for their own wives, as has been declared at the beginning, the Babylonians had suffocated, in provident care for their store of food):--he ordered the nations who dwelt round to bring women to Babylon, fixing a certain number for each nation, so that the sum total of fifty thousand women was brought together, and from these women the present Babylonians are descended.
160. As for Zopyros, in the judgment of Dareios no one of the Persians surpassed him in good service, either of those who came after or of those who had gone before, excepting Cyrus alone; for to Cyrus no man of the Persians ever yet ventured to compare himself: and Dareios is said to have declared often that he would rather that Zopyros were free from the injury than that he should have twenty Babylons added to his possession in addition to that one which he had. Moreover he gave him great honours; for not only did he give him every year those things which by the Persians are accounted the most honourable, but also he granted him Babylon to rule free from tribute, so long as he should live; and he added many other gifts. The son of this Zopyros was Megabyzos, who was made commander in Egypt against the Athenians and their allies; and the son of this Megabyzos was Zopyros, who went over to Athens as a deserter from the Persians.

Here Ends Book III of Herodotus' Histories. Continue to Book IIII.