Herodotus : a new and literal version from the text of Baehr online

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Egyptians who had the first reputation for skill in the healing
art, he made use of their assistance. But they, by twisting the
foot, and using force, made the evil worse ; and from the pain
which he felt, Darius lay seven days and seven nights without
sleep. On the eighth day, as he still continued in a bad state,
some one who had before heard at Sardis of the skill of De-
mocedes the Crotonian, made it known to Darius ; and he
ordered them to bring him to him as quickly as possible.
They found him among the slaves of Oroetes, altogether neg-
lected ; and brought him forward, dragging fetters behind
him, and clothed in rags. 130. As he stood before him,
Darius asked him whether he understood the art. He denied
that he did, fearing lest, if he discovered himself, he should be
altogether precluded from returning to Greece. But he ap-
peared to Darius to dissemble, although he was skilled in the
art ; he therefore commanded those who had brought him
thither to bring out whips and goads. Whereupon he dis-
covered himself, saying that he did not know it perfectly, but
having been intimate with a physician, he had some poor
knowledge of the art. Upon which, when Darius put him-
self under his care, by using Grecian medicines, and applying
lenitives after violent remedies, he caused him to sleep, and in
a little time restored him to his health, though he had before
despaired of ever recovering the use of his foot. After this
cure, Darius presented him with two pair of golden fetters ;
but Democedes asked him, if he purposely gave him a double
evil because he had restored him to health. Darius, pleased
with the speech, sent him to his own wives ; and the eunuchs,

131133.] THALIA. III. 225

introducing him, said to the women, that this was the man
who had saved the king's life ; whereupon each of them, dip-
ping a goblet into a chest of gold, presented Democedes
with such a munificent gift, that a servant whose name was
Sciton, following behind, picked up the staters that fell from
the goblets, and collected a large quantity of gold.

,131. This Democedes visited Polycrates, after having left
Crotona on the following account. He was harshly treated at
Crotona by his father, who was of a severe temper, and being
unable to endure this, he left him and went to ./Egina ; hav-
ing settled there, in the first year, though he was unprovided
with means, and had none of the instruments necessary for the
exercise of his art, he surpassed the most skilful of their phy-
sicians ; and in the second year, the JEginetag engaged him for
a talent out of the public treasury ; and in the third year the
Athenians, for a hundred minse ; and in the fourth year Poly-
crates, for two talents ; thus he came to Samos. From this man
the Crotonian physicians obtained a great reputation ; for at
this period the physicians of Crotona were said to be the first
throughout Greece, and the Cyremeans the second. At the
same time the Argives were accounted the most skilful of the
Greeks in the art of music. 132. At that time then Demo-
cedes, having completely cured Darius at Susa, had a very
large house, and had a seat at the king's table ; and he had
every thing he could wish for, except the liberty of returning
to Greece. And in the first place he obtained from the king
a pardon for the Egyptian physicians, who first attended the
king, and were about to be empaled, because they had been
outdone by a Greek physician ; and in the next place he pro-
cured the liberty of a prophet of Elis, who had attended
Polycrates, and lay neglected among the slaves. In short,
Democedes had great influence with the king.

133. Not long after these things, the following events took
place : Atossa, daughter of Cyrus, and wife to Darius, had
a tumour on her breast ; after some time it burst, and spread
considerably. As long as it was small, she concealed it, and
from delicacy informed no one of it ; when it became dan-
gerous, she sent for Democedes and showed it to him. He, say-
ing that he could cure her, exacted from her a solemn promise,
that she in return would perform for him \vhatever he should
require of her, but added that he would ask nothing which


226 HERODOTUS. [134, 136.

might bring disgrace on her. 134. When therefore lie had
healed her, and restored her to health, Atossa, instructed by
Democedes, addressed Darius, as he lay in bed, in the follow-
ing words : " O king, you who possess so great power, sit
idle, and do not add any nation or power to the Persians. It
were right that a man who is both young and master of such
vast treasures, should render himself considerable by his
actions, that the Persians may know that they are governed
by a man. Two motives should influence you to such a
course ; first, that the Persians may know that it is a man who
rules over them, and secondly, that they may be worn in war,
and not tempted by too much ease to plot against you. You
should therefore perform some illustrious action, while you are
in the flower of your age ; for the mind grows with the
growth of the body, and as it grows old, grows old with it,
and dull for every action." She spoke thus according to her
instructions, and he answered, "Lady, you have mentioned
the very things that I myself purpose to do ; for I have de-
termined to make a bridge and march from this continent to the
other, against the Scythians ; and this shall shortly be put in ex-
ecution." Atossa replied, " Look you now, give up the thought
of marching first against the Scythians, for they will be in
your power whenever you choose ; but take my advice, and
lead an army into Greece ; for from the account I have
heard, I am anxious to have Lacedaemonian, Argive, Atheni-
an, and Corinthian attendants : and you have the fittest man
in the world to show and inform you of every thing concern-
ing Greece ; I mean the person who cured your foot." Da-
rius answered, " Lady, since you think I ought to make my
first attempt against Greece, I think it better first to send
some Persians thither as spies witli the man you mention ;
they, when they are informed of and have seen every particu-
lar, will make a report to me ; and then, being thoroughly in-
formed, I will turn my arms against them." 135. Thus he
spoke ; and no sooner said than done ; for as soon as day
dawned, having summoned fifteen eminent Persians, he com-
manded them to accompany Democedes, and pass along the
maritime parts of Greece ; and to take care that Democedes
did not escape from them, but they must by all means bring
him back again. Having given these commands to them, he
next summoned Democedes himself, and requested him, when

136, 137.] THALIA. III. 227

he had conducted the Persians through all Greece, and shown
it to them, to return back again ; he also commanded him to
take with him all his movables as presents to his father and
brothers, promising to give him many times as much instead.
Moreover, he said, that for the purpose of transporting the
presents he would give a merchant ship, filled with all kinds
of precious things, which should accompany him on his voy-
age. Now Darius, in my opinion, promised him these things
without any deceitful intention ; but Democedes, fearing lest
Darius was making trial of him, received all that was given,
without eagerness, but said that he would leave his own
goods where they were, that he might have them on his re-
turn ; the merchant ship which Darius promised him to con-
vey the presents to his brothers, he said he would accept of.
Darius having given him these instructions, sent them down
to the coast.

136. Accordingly, going down to Phoenicia and Sidon, a
city of Phrenicia, they manned two triremes, and with them
also a large trading vessel, laden with all kinds of precious
things ; and having prepared every thing, they set sail for
Greece ; and keeping to the shore, they surveyed the coasts,
and made notes in writing ; at length, having inspected the
greatest part of it, and whatever was most remarkable, they
proceeded to Tarentum in Italy. There, out of kindness to-
wards Democedes, Aristophilides, king of the Tarentines, first
took off the rudders of the Median ships, and next shut up
the Persians as spies. Whilst they were in this condition
Democedes went to Crotona, and when he had reached his
own home, Aristophilides set the Persians at liberty, and re-
stored what he had taken from their ships. 137. The Per-
sians sailing from thence, and pursuing Democedes, arrived at
Crotona, and having found him in the public market, they laid
hands on him. Some of the Crotonians, dreading the Persian
power, were ready to deliver him up ; but others seized the
Persians in turn, and beat them witli staves, though they ex-
postulated in these terms : " Men of Crotona, have a care what
you do, you are rescuing a man who is a runaway from the
king ; how will king Darius endure to be thus insulted ? How
can what you do end well, if you force this man from us ?
What city shall we sooner attack than this ? What sooner
shall we endeavour to reduce to slavery?" Saying this, they

Q 2

228 HERODOTUS. [138, 139.

did not persuade the Crotonians ; but being forcibly deprived
of Democedes, and having had the trading vessel which they
brought with them taken from them, they sailed back to Asia ;
nor, as they were deprived of their guide, did they attempt to
explore Greece any further. At their departure Democedes
enjoined them to tell Darius that he had Milo's daughter
affianced to him as his wife, for the name of Milo, the wrestler,
stood high with the king ; and on this account it appears to
me that Democedes spared no expense to hasten this marriage,
that he might appear to Darius to be a man of consequence in
his own country. 138. The Persians, having set sail from
Crotona, were driven to lapygia, and being made slaves there,
Gillus, a Tarentine exile, ransomed them, and conducted them
to king Darius ; and he in return for this professed himself
ready to give him whatever he should desire. But Gillus,
having first related his misfortunes, asked to be restored to
Tarentum ; but that he might not disturb Greece, if on his
account a great fleet should sail to Italy, he said that the
Cnidians alone would suffice to effect his restoration ; thinking
that by them, as they were on terms of friendship with the
Tarentines, his return would be most easily effected. Darius
having promised this, performed it ; for having despatched a
messenger to Cnidus, he bade them restore Gillus to Taren-
tum ; but the Cnidians, though they obeyed Darius, could not
persuade the Tarentines, and were not strong enough to em-
ploy force. Thus these things ended : and these were the
first Persians who came from Asia to Greece, and they, on
that occasion, were spies.

139. After these things, king Darius took Samos, first of
all the cities, either Grecian or barbarian, and he took it for
the following reason. When Cambyses, son of Cyrus, invaded
Egypt, many Grecians resorted thither ; some, as one may
conjecture, on account of trade ; others, to serve as soldiers ;
others, to view the country. Of these, the last was Syloson,
son of jEaces, brother to Polycrates, and an exile from Samos.
The following piece of good luck befel this Syloson : having
put on a scarlet cloak, he walked in the streets of [Memphis ;
and Darius, who was one of Cambyses' guard, and as yet a
man of no great account, seeing him, took a fancy to the cloak,
and coming up, wished to purchase it. But Syloson, per-
ceiving that Darius was very anxious to have the cloak,

140142.] THALIA. III. 229

impelled by a divine impulse, said, " I will not sell it for any
sum, but I will give it you for nothing, if so it must needs be."
Darius, having accepted his offer with thanks, took the cloak.
140. Syloson thought afterwards that he had lost it through his
good nature, but when, in course of time, Cambyses died, and
the seven rose up against the magus, and of the seven, Darius
possessed the throne, Syloson heard that the kingdom had
devolved on the man to whom he had given his cloak in
Egypt on his requesting it ; so having gone up to Susa he
seated himself at the threshold of the king's palace, and said
he had been a benefactor to Darius. The porter, having heard
this, reported it to the king ; but he, wondering, said to the
man, " What Grecian is my benefactor, to whom I owe a debt
of gratitude, having so lately come to the throne ? Scarcely
one of them has as yet come up hither ; nor can I mention any
thing that I owe to a Greek. However, bring him in, that I
may know the meaning of what he says." The porter intro-
duced Syloson, and as he stood in the midst, the interpreters
asked him who he was, and what he had done, that he said he
had been a benefactor to the king. Then Syloson related all
that had passed respecting the cloak, and that he was the per-
son who gave it. To this the king answered, " Most generous of
men ! art thou then the man who, when as yet I had no power,
made me a present, small as it was ? yet the obligation is the
same as if I were now to receive a thing of great value. In
return I will give thee abundance of gold and silver, so that
thou shalt never repent having conferred a favour on Da-
rius son of Hystaspes." To this Syloson replied, " O king,
give me neither gold nor silver ; but recover and give me
back my country, Samos, which now, since my brother Poly-
crates died by the hands of Orcetes, a slave of ours has pos-
sessed himself of. Give me this without bloodshed and
bondage. 141. When Darius heard this, he sent an army
under the conduct of Otanes, one of the seven, with orders
to accomplish whatever Syloson should desire. Whereupon
Otanes, going down to the sea, embarked his army.

142. Masandrius, son of Maeandrius, held the government
of Samos, having had the administration intrusted to him by
Polycrates : though he wished to prove himself the most just
of men, he was unable to effect his purpose. For when the .
death of Polycrates was made known to him, he did as fol-

230 HERODOTUS. [U3, 144.

lows. First he erected an altar to Jupiter Liberator, and
marked round it the sacred enclosure, which is now in the
suburbs. Afterwards, when he had done this, he summoned
an assembly of all the citizens, and spoke as follows : " To
me, as you know, the sceptre and all the power of Polycrates
has been intrusted, and I am now able to retain the govern-
ment. But what I condemn in another, I will myself, to the
utmost of my ability, abstain from doing. For neither did
Polycrates please me in exercising despotic power over men
equal to himself, nor would any other who should do the
like. Now Polycrates has accomplished his fate ; and I, sur-
rendering the government into your hands, proclaim equality
to all. I require, however, that the following remuneration
should be granted to myself ; that six talents should be given
me out of the treasures of Polycrates ; and in addition, I
claim for myself and my descendants for ever, the priesthood
of the temple of Jupiter Liberator ; to whom I have erected
an altar, and under whose auspices I restore to you your
liberties." He then made these demands of the Samians ;
but one of them rising up said, " You forsooth are not worthy
to rule over us, being as you are a base and pestilent fellow ;
rather think how you will render an account of the wealth that
you have had the management of." 143. Thus spoke a man
of eminence among the citizens, whose name was Telesar-
chus. But Maeandrius, perceiving that if he should lay down
the power, some other would set himself up as tyrant in his
place, no longer thought of laying it down. To which end,
when he had withdrawn to the citadel, sending for each one
severally, as if about to give an account of the treasures, he
seized them and put them in chains. They then were kept
in confinement ; but after this, disease attacked Maeandrius ;
and his brother, whose name was Lycaretus, supposing that
he would die, in order that he might the more easily possess
-himself of the government of Samos, put all the prisoners to
death ; for, as it seems, they were not willing to be free.

144. When therefore the Persians arrived at Samos, bring-
ing Syloson with them, no one raised a hand against them,
and the partisans of Masandrius, and Maeandrius himself, said
they were ready to quit the island under a treaty ; and when
Otanes had assented to this, and had ratified the agreement,
the principal men of the Persians, having had seats placed for

145, 146.] THALIA. III. 231

them, sat down opposite the citadel. 145. The tyrant Masan-
drius had a brother somewhat out of his senses, whose name
was Charilaus ; he, for some fault he had committed, was
confined in a dungeon ; and having at that time overheard
what was doing, and having peeped through his dungeon,
when he saw the Persians sitting quietly down, he shouted
and said that he wished to speak with Ma^andrius ; but Mae-
andrius, having heard this, commanded him to be released, and
brought into his presence ; and as soon as he was brought
there, upbraiding and reviling his brother, he urged him to
attack the Persians, saying, " Me, O vilest of men, who am
your own brother, and have done nothing worthy of bonds,
you have bound- and adjudged to a dungeon ; but when you
see the Persians driving you out and making you houseless,
you dare not avenge yourself, though they are so easy to be
subdued. But if you are in dread of them, lend me your aux-
iliaries, and I will punish them for coming here, and I am
ready also to send you out of the island. 146. Thus spoke
Charilaus ; and Masandrius accepted his offer, as I think, not
that he had reached such a pitch of folly as to imagine that
his own power could overcome that of the king, but rather
out of envy to Syloson, if without a struggle he should
possess himself of the city uninjured. Having therefore
provoked the Persians, he wished to make the Samian
power as weak as possible, and then to give it up : being well
assured that the Persians, if they suffered any ill-treatment,
would be exasperated against the Samians ; and knowing also
that he had for himself a safe retreat from the island, when-
ever he chose, for he had had a secret passage dug leading
from the citadel to the sea. Accordingly Mrcandrius himself
sailed away from Samos ; but Charilaus, having armed all the
auxiliaries, and having thrown open the gates, sallied out
upon the Persians, who did not expect any thing of the kind,
but thought every thing had been agreed upon ; and the aux-
iliaries, falling on, slew those of the Persians who were seated
in chairs. 2 and who were the principal men among them. But
the rest of the Persian army came to their assistance, and the
auxiliaries, being hard pressed, were shut up again within the

2 At$po(opu^fVous Baehr thinks refers to those Persians who wefebe-'
fore described as seated opposite the citadel ; Coray, quoted by Larcher
and others, thinks it means " those who were carried on litters."


citadel. 147. But Otanes the general, when he saw that the
Persians had suffered great loss, purposely 3 neglected to obey
the orders which Darius had given him at his departure, that
he should neither kill nor take prisoner any of the Samians,
but deliver the island to Syloson without damage ; on the
contrary, he commanded his army to put to death every one
they met with, both man and child alike. Whereupon, one
part of the army besieged the citadel, and the rest killed every
one that came in their way, all they met, as well within the
temples as without. 148. Maeandrius, having escaped from
Samos, sailed to Lacedaemon ; and having arrived there, and
carried with him all the treasures that he had when he set out,
he did as follows. When he had set out his silver and golden
cups, his servants began to clean them ; and he, at the same
time, holding a conversation with Cleomenes, son of Anaxan-
drides, then king of Sparta, led him on to his house. When
the king saw the cups, he was struck with wonder and aston-
ishment ; upon which Maeandrius bade him take away what-
ever he pleased, and when Maeandrius had repeated this offer
two or three times, Cleomenes showed himself a man of the
highest integrity, who refused to accept what was offered ; and
being informed that by giving to other citizens he would gain
their support, he went to the Ephori, and said that it would
be better for Sparta that this Samian stranger should quit Jhe
Peloponnesus, lest he should persuade him or some other of
the Spartans to become base. But they, having assented,
banished Maeandrius by public proclamation. 1 49. The Per-
sians, having drawn Samos as with a net, 4 delivered it to Sy-
loson, utterly destitute of inhabitants. Afterwards, however,
Otanes, the general, repeopled it, in consequence of a vision in
a dream, and a distemper which seized him in his private

150. Whilst the naval armament was on its way to Samos,
the Babylonians revolted, having very well prepared them-
selves. For while the magus reigned, and the seven rose
up against him, during all that time, and in the confusion,
they had made preparations for a siege, and somehow in doing
this had escaped observation. But when they openly revolt-

^ iirtXavflaviTo, literally " remembering he forgot." Just as
TOO iri<rra/ui/o TO ovvoua EKUIV sViXT/Oojtai, B. IV. chap. 43.

4 For a description of this mode of taking an island, see B. VI. chap. 31.

151-154.] THALIA. III.

ed they did as follows : having excepted their mothers, each
man selected one woman besides, whomever he chose, from
his own family, but all the rest they assembled together and
strangled : the one woman each man selected to cook his food.
They strangled them, that they might not consume their pro-
visions. 151. Darius, being informed of this, and having col-
lected all his forces, marched against them ; and having ad-
vanced to Babylon, he besieged them, who were not at all
solicitous about the event, for the Babylonians, mounting on
the ramparts of the wall, danced, and derided Darius and his
army, and one of them spoke as follows : " Why sit ye there,
O Persians ? will ye not be off? for ye will then take us
when mules bring forth young." One of the Babylonians said
this, who never expected that a mule would breed. 152. When
a year and seven months had now passed, Darius was vexed,
and all his army, that they were not able to take the Babyloni-
ans ; though Darius had recourse to every kind of stratagem
and artifice against them. But even so he could not take
them ; and having tried other stratagems, he made trial of
that also by which Cyrus had taken them. However, the
Babylonians kept strict guard, and he was not able to sur-
prise them.

153. Thereupon, in the twentieth month, to Zopyrus, son
of that Megabyzus, who was one of the seven who dethroned
the magus, to this Zopyrus, son of Megabyzus, the following
prodigy happened ; one of his sumpter-mulcs brought forth
young : but when the news was told him, Zopyrus himself, not
believing it, went to see the foal, and having strictly charged his
servants not to tell any one what had happened, he considered
on it : and in consequence of the words of the Babylonian,
who at the beginning said, " When even mules bring forth
young, then would the city be taken," in consequence of
this omen, he thought that Babylon could now be taken ; for
that the man had spoken under divine influence, and that his
own mule had brought forth young. 154. When he thought
that it was fated for Babylon to be now taken, he went to
Darius, and asked him whether he deemed the taking of
Babylon as of very great importance ; and having learnt that
he valued it at a high price, he next considered how he might
be the person to take it, and the work might be his own ; for
among the Persians great achievements are honoured in the

234 HERODOTUS. [155-

highest degree. Now, he concluded that he should not be
able to reduce it in any other way, than if he should mutilate
himself, and desert to the enemy. Thereupon, considering
that as a light matter, he inflicted on himself an irremediable
mutilation, for having cut off his nose and ears, and having
cut his hair in a disgraceful manner, and having scourged
himself, he presented himself before Darius. 155. Darius
was very much grieved when he beheld a man of high rank so
mutilated, and having started from his throne, he shouted
aloud and asked who had mutilated him, and for what cause.
He answered, " O king, there is no man except yourself who
could have power to treat me thus ; no stranger has done this,

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