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seeing that I have counted it of great moment not to be a
slayer of strangers. This woman indeed and the wealth
which thou hast I will not allow thee to carry away, but I
shall keep them safe for the Hellene who was thy host, un-
til he come himself and desire to carry them off to his home;
to thyself however and thy fellow-voyagers I proclaim that
ye depart from your anchoring within three days and go
from my land to some other ; and if not, that ye will be dealt
with as enemies."

This the priests said was the manner of Helen's coming
to Proteus ; and I suppose that Homer also had heard this
story, but since it was not so suitable to the composition of
his poem as the other which he followed, he dismissed it
finally, making it clear at the same time that he was ac-
quainted with that story also : and according to the manner
in which he described the wanderings of Alexander in the
Iliad (nor did he elsewhere retract that which he had said)
it is clear that when he brought Helen he was carried out
of his course, wandering to various lands, and that he came
among other places to Sidon in Phenicia. Of this the poet



EGYPT 57

has made mention in the " prowess of Diomede," and the
verses run thus :

" There she had robes many-coloured, the works of women of Sidon,
Those whom her son himself the god-like of form Alexander
Carried from Sidon, what time the broad sea-path he sailed over
Bringing back Helene home, of a noble father begotten."

And in the Odyssey also he has made mention of it in these
verses :

" Such had the daughter of Zeus, such drugs of exquisite cunning,
Good, which to her the wife of Thon, Polydamna, had given,
Dwelling in Egypt, the land where the bountiful meadow produces
Drugs more than all lands else, many good being mixed, many evil."

And thus too Menelaos says to Telemachos :

" Still the gods stayed me in Egypt, to come back hither desiring,
Stayed me from voyaging home, since sacrifice due I performed
not."

In these lines he makes it clear that he knew of the wander-
ing of Alexander to Egypt, for Syria borders upon Egypt and
the Phenicians, of whom is Sidon, dwell in Syria. By these
lines and by this passage it is also most clearly shown that
the " Cyprian Epic " was not written by Homer but by some
other man : for in this it is said that on the third day after
leaving Sparta Alexander came to Ilion bringing with him
Helen, having had a " gently-blowing wind and a smooth
sea," whereas in the Iliad it says that he wandered from his
course when he brought her.

Let us now leave Homer and the " Cyprian Epic " ; but
this I will say, namely that I asked the priests whether it
is but an idle tale which the Hellenes tell of that which they
say happened about Ilion ; and they answered me thus, saying
that they had their knowledge by inquiries from Menelaos
himself. After the rape of Helen there came indeed, they
said, to the Teucrian land a large army of Hellenes to help
Menelaos ; and when the army had come out of the ships to
land and had pitched its camp there, they sent messengers to
Ilion, with whom went also Menelaos himself; and when
these entered within the wall they demanded back Helen
and the wealth which Alexander had stolen from Menelaos



58 HERODOTUS

and had taken away; and moreover they demanded satis-
faction for the wrongs done: and the Teucrians told the
same tale then and afterwards, both with oath and without
oath, namely that in deed and in truth they had not Helen
nor the wealth for which demand was made, but that both
were in Egypt; and that they could not justly be compelled
to give satisfaction for that which Proteus the king of
Egypt had. The Hellenes however thought that they were
being mocked by them and besieged the city, until at last
they took it ; and when they had taken the wall and did not
find Helen, but heard the same tale as before, then they be-
lieved the former tale and sent Menelaos himself to Proteus.
And Menelaos having come to Egypt and having sailed up
to Memphis, told the truth of these matters, and not only
found great entertainment, but also received Helen unhurt,
and all his own wealth besides. Then, however, after he had
been thus dealt with, Menelaos showed himself ungrateful
to the Egyptians ; for when he set forth to sail away, con-
trary winds detained him, and as this condition of things
lasted long, he devised an impious deed; for he took two
children of natives and made sacrifice of them. After this,
when it was known that he had done so, he became ab-
horred, and being pursued he escaped and got away in his
ships to Libya ; but whither he went besides after this, the
Egyptians were not able to tell. Of these things they said
that they found out part by inquiries, and the rest, namely
that which happened in their own land, they related from
sure and certain knowledge.

Thus the priests of the Egyptians told me ; and I myself
also agree with the story which was told of Helen, adding
this consideration, namely that if Helen had been in Ilion
she would have been given up to the Hellenes, whether
Alexander consented or no ; for Priam assuredly was not
so mad, nor yet the others of his house, that they were desir-
ous to run risk of ruin for themselves and their children
and their city, in order that Alexander might have Helen
as his wife: and even supposing that during the first part
of the time they had been so inclined, yet when many others
of the Trojans besides were losing their lives as often as
they fought with the Hellenes, and of the sons of Priam



EGYPT 59

himself always two or three or even more were slain
when a battle took place (if one may trust at all to the
Epic poets), when, I say, things were coming thus to pass,
I consider that even if Priam himself had had Helen as his
wife, he would have given her back to the Achaians, if
at least by so doing he might be freed from the evils
which oppressed him. Nor even was the kingdom coming
to Alexander next, so that when Priam was old the govern-
ment was in his hands; but Hector, who was both older
and more of a man than he, would certainly have received
it after the death of Priam ; and him it behoved not to allow
his brother to go on with his wrong-doing, considering that
great evils were coming to pass on his account both to him-
self privately and in general to the other Trojans. In truth
however they lacked the power to give Helen back ; and the
Hellenes did not believe them, though they spoke the truth;
because, as I declare my opinion, the divine power was
purposing to cause them utterly to perish, and so make
it evident to men that for great wrongs great also are the
chastisements which come from the gods. And thus have
I delivered my opinion concerning these matters.

After Proteus, they told me, Rhampsinitos received in
succession the kingdom, who left as a memorial of himself
that gateway to the temple of Hephaistos which is turned
towards the West, and in front of the gateway he set up
two statues, in height five-and-twenty cubits, of which the
one which stands on the North side is called by the Egyp-
tians Summer and the one on the South side Winter; and
to that one which they call Summer they do reverence and
make offerings, while to the other which is called Winter
they do the opposite of these things. This king, they said,
got great wealth of silver, which none of the kings born
after him could surpass or even come near to ; and wishing
to store his wealth in safety he caused to be built a chamber
of stone, one of the walls whereof was towards the out-
side of his palace : and the builder of this, having a design
against it, contrived as follows, that is, he disposed one of
the stones in such a manner that it could be taken out
easily from the wall either by two men or even by one.
So when the chamber was finished, the king stored his



60 HERODOTUS

money in it, and after some time the builder, being near
the end of his life, called to him his sons (for he had two)
and to them he related how he had contrived in building
the treasury of the king, and all in forethought for them,
that they might have ample means of living. And when
he had clearly set forth to them everything concerning the
taking out of the stone, he gave them the measurements,
saying that if they paid heed to this matter they would
be stewards of the king's treasury. So he ended his life,
and his sons made no long delay in setting to work, but
went to the palace by night, and having found the stone in
the wall of the chamber they dealt with it easily and carried
forth for themselves great quantity of the wealth within.
And the king happening to open the chamber, he marvelled
when he saw the vessels falling short of the full amount,
and he did not know on whom he should lay the blame,
since the seals were unbroken and the chamber had been
close shut ; but when upon his opening the chamber a second
and a third time the money was each time seen to be
diminished, for the thieves did not slacken in their assaults
upon it, he did as follows: having ordered traps to be
made he set these round about the vessels in which the
money was ; and when the thieves had come as at former
times and one of them had entered, then so soon as he came
near to one of the vessels he was straightway caught in the
trap : and when he perceived in what evil case he was,
straightway calling his brother he showed him what the
matter was, and bade him enter as quickly as possible and
cut off his head, for fear lest being seen and known he might
bring about the destruction of his brother also. And to the
other it seemed that he spoke well, and he was persuaded
and did so ; and fitting the stone into its place he departed
home bearing with him the head of his brother. Now
when it became day, the king entered into the chamber and
was very greatly amazed, seeing the body of the thief held
in the trap without his head, and the chamber unbroken,
with no way to come in by or go out: and being at a loss
he hung up the dead body of the thief upon the wall and
set guards there, with charge if they saw any one weeping
or bewailing himself to seize him and bring him before the



EGYPT 61

king. And when the dead body had been hung up, the
mother was greatly grieved, and speaking with the son who
survived she enjoined him, in whatever way he could, to
contrive means by which he might take down and bring
home the body of his brother; and if he should neglect to
do this, she earnestly threatened that she would go and give
information to the king that he had the money. So as the
mother dealt hardly with the surviving son, and he though
saying many things to her did not persuade her, he con-
trived for his purpose a device as follows : Providing him-
self with asses he filled some skins with wine and laid them
upon the asses, and after that he drove them along: and
when he came opposite to those who were guarding the
corpse hung up, he drew towards him two or three of the
necks of the skins and loosened the cords with which they
were tied. Then when the wine was running out, he began
to beat his head and cry out loudly, as if he did not know
to which of the asses he should first turn; and when the
guards saw the wine flowing out in streams, they ran to-
gether to the road with drinking vessels in their hands and
collected the wine that was poured out, counting it so much
gain; and he abused them all violently, making as if he
were angry, but when the guards tried to appease him, after
a time he feigned to be pacified and to abate his anger, and
at length he drove his asses out of the road and began to
set their loads right. Then more talk arose among them,
and one or two of them made jests at him and brought him
to laugh with them ; and in the end he made them a present
of one of the skins in addition to what they had. Upon that
they lay down there without more ado, being minded to
drink, and they took him into their company and invited
him to remain with them and join them in their drinking:
so he (as may be supposed) was persuaded and stayed.
Then as they in their drinking bade him welcome in a friendly
manner, he made a present to them also of another of the
skins; and so at length having drunk liberally the guards
became completely intoxicated; and being overcome by
sleep they went to bed on the spot where they had been
drinking. He then, as it was now far on in the night,
first took down the body of his brother, and then in mockery



62 HERODOTUS

shaved the right cheeks of all the guards ; and after that he
put the dead body upon the asses and drove them away
home, having accomplished that which was enjoined him
by his mother. Upon this the king, when it was reported to
him that the dead body of the thief had been stolen away,
displayed great anger; and desiring by all means that it
should be found out who it might be who devised these
things, did this (so at least they said, but I do not believe
the account), he caused his own daughter to sit in the
stews, and enjoined her to receive all equally, and before
having commerce with any one to compel him to tell her
what was the most cunning and what the most unholy deed
which had been done by him in all his life-time ; and whosoever
should relate that which had happened about the thief, him
she must seize and not let him go out. Then as she was
doing that which was enjoined by her father, the thief,
hearing for what purpose this was done and having a desire
to get the better of the king in resource, did thus : from
the body of one lately dead he cut off the arm at the shoulder
and went with it under his mantle : and having gone in to
the daughter of the king, and being asked that which the
others also were asked, he related that he had done the
most unholy deed when he cut off the head of his brother,
who had been caught in a trap in the king's treasure-cham-
ber, and the most cunning deed in that he made drunk the
guards and took down the dead body of his brother hanging
up; and she when she heard it tried to take hold of him, but
the thief held out to her in the darkness the arm of the
corpse, which she grasped and held, thinking that she was
holding the arm of the man himself; but the thief left it in
her hands and departed, escaping through the door. Now
when this also was reported to the king, he was at first
amazed at the ready invention and daring of the fellow, and
then afterwards he sent round to all the cities and made
proclamation granting a free pardon to the thief, and also
promising a great reward if he would come into his presence.
The thief accordingly trusting to the proclamation came to
the king, and Rhampsinitos greatly marvelled at him, and
gave him this daughter of his to wife, counting him to be
the most knowing of all men; for as the Egyptians were



EGYPT 63

distinguished from all other men, so was he from the other
Egyptians.

After these things they said this king went down alive
to that place which by the Hellenes is called Hades, and
there played at dice with Demeter, and in some throws
he overcame her and in others he was overcome by her;
and he came back again having as a gift from her a hand-
kerchief of gold: and they told me that because of the
going down of Rhampsinitos the Egyptians after he came
back celebrated a feast, which I know of my own knowl-
edge also that they still observe even to mv time; but
whether it is for this cause that they keep the feast or
for some other, I am not able to say. However, the priests
weave a robe completely on the very day of the feast,
and forthwith they bind up the eyes of one of them with
a fillet, and having led him with the robe to the way by
which one goes to the temple of Demeter, they depart
back again themselves. This priest, they say, with his
eyes bound up is led by two wolves to the temple of De-
meter, which is distant from the city twenty furlongs, and
then afterwards the wolves lead him back again from the
temple to the same spot. Now as to the tales told by the
Egyptians, any man may accept them to whom such things
appear credible ; as for me, it is to be understood throughout
the whole of the history that I write by hearsay that which
is reported by the people in each place. The Egyptians say
that Demeter and Dionysos are rulers of the world below;
and the Egyptians are also the first who reported the doctrine
that the soul of man is immortal, and that when the body
dies, the soul enters into another creature which chances
then to be coming to the birth, and when it has gone
the round of all the creatures of land and sea and of the
air, it enters again into a human body as it comes to the
birth; and that it makes this round in a period of three
thousand years. This doctrine certain Hellenes adopted,
some earlier and some later, as if it were of their own
invention, and of these men I know the names but I abstain
from recording them.

Down to the time when Rhampsinitos was king, they
told me there was in Egypt nothing but orderly rule, and



64 HERODOTUS

Egypt prospered greatly; but after him Cheops became king
over them and brought them to every kind of evil: for he
shut up all the temples, and having first kept them from
sacrifices there, he then bade all the Egyptians work for
him. So some were appointed to draw stones from the
stone-quarries in the Arabian mountains to the Nile, and
others he ordered to receive the stones after they had been
carried over the river in boats, and to draw them to those
which are called the Libyan mountains ; and they worked
by a hundred thousand men at a time, for each three months
continually. Of this oppression there passed ten years while
the causeway was made by which they drew the stones,
which causeway they built, and it is a work not much less,
as it appears to me, than the pyramid; for the length of it
is five furlongs and the breadth ten fathoms and the height,
where it is highest, eight fathoms, and it is made of stone
smoothed and with figures carved upon it. For this they
said, the ten years were spent, and for the underground
chambers on the hill upon which the pyramids stand, which
he caused to be made as sepulchral chambers for himself in
an island, having conducted thither a channel from the Nile.
For the making of the pyramid itself there passed a period of
twenty years ; and the pryamid is square, each side measuring
eight hundred feet, and the height of it is the same. It is
built of stone smoothed and fitted together in the most per-
fect manner, not one of the stones being less than thirty feet
in length. This pyramid was made after the manner of steps,
which some called " rows " and others " bases " : and when
they had first made it thus, they raised the remaining stones
with machines made of short pieces of timber, raising them first
from the ground to the first stage of the steps, and when the
stone got up to this it was placed upon another machine stand-
ing on the first stage, and so from this it was drawn to the
second upon another machine ; for as many as were the courses
of the steps, so many machines there were also, or perhaps
they transferred one and the same machine, made so as
easily to be carried, to each stage successively, in order that
they might take up the stones ; for let it be told in both
ways, according as it is reported. However that may be,
the highest parts of it were finished first, and afterwards



EGYPT 65

they proceeded to finish that which came next to them, and
lastly they finished the parts of it near the ground and the
lowest ranges. On the pyramid it is declared in Egyptian
writing how much was spent on radishes and onions and
leeks for the workmen, and if I rightly remember that which
the interpreter said in reading to me this inscription, a sum
of one thousand six hundred talents of silver was spent;
and if this is so, how much besides is likely to have been ex-
pended upon the iron with which they worked, and upon
bread and clothing for the workmen, seeing that they were
building the works for the time which has been mentioned
and were occupied for no small time besides, as I suppose,
in the cutting and bringing of the stones and in working at
the excavation under the ground? Cheops moreover came,
they said, to such a pitch of wickedness, that being in want
of money he caused his own daughter to sit in the stews, and
ordered her to obtain from those who came a certain amount
of money (how much it was they did not tell me) ; and she
not only obtained the sum appointed by her father, but also
she formed a design for herself privately to leave behind
her a memorial, and she requested each man who came in to
her to give her one stone upon her building: and of these
stones, they told me, the pyramid was built which stands in
front of the great pyramid in the middle of the three, each
side being one hundred and fifty feet in length.

This Cheops, the Egyptians said, reigned fifty years; and
after he was dead his brother Chephren succeeded to the
kingdom. This king followed the same manner of dealing
as the other, both in all the rest and also in that he made a
pyramid, not indeed attaining to the measurements of that
which was built by the former (this I know, having myself
also measured it), and moreover there are no underground
chambers beneath nor does a channel come from the Nile
flowing to this one as to the other, in which the water com-
ing through a conduit built for it flows round an island
within, where they say that Cheops himself is laid: but for
a basement he built the first course of Ethiopian stone of
divers colours; and this pyramid he made forty feet lower
than the other as regards size, building it close to the great
pyramid. These stand both upon the same hill, which is

HC XXXIII (3)



66 HERODOTUS

about a hundred feet high. And Chephren tney said reigned
fifty and six years. Here then they reckon one hundred and
six years, during which they say that there was nothing but
evil for the Egyptians, and the temples were kept closed and
not opened during all that time. These kings the Egyptians
by reason of their hatred of them are not very willing to
name ; nay, they even call the pyramids after the name of
Philitis the shepherd, who at that time pastured flocks in
those regions. After him, they said, Mykerinos became
king over Egypt, who was the son of Cheops ; and to him
his father's deeds were displeasing, and he both opened the
temples and gave liberty to the people, who were ground
down to the last extremity of evil, to return to their own
business and to their sacrifices: also he gave decisions of
their causes juster than those of all the other kings besides.
In regard to this then they commend this king more than
all the other kings who had arisen in Egypt before him ; for
he not only gave good decisions, but also when a man com-
plained of the decision, he gave him recompense from his
own goods and thus satisfied his desire. But while Myker-
inos was acting mercifully to his subjects and practising
this conduct which has been said, calamities befell him, of
which the first was this, namely that his daughter died, the
only child whom he had in his house : and being above
measure grieved by that which had befallen him, and de-
siring to bury his daughter in a manner more remarkable
than others, he made a cow of wood, which he covered over
with gold, and then within it he buried this daughter who,
as I said, had died. This cow was not covered up in the
ground, but it might be seen even down to my own time in
the city of Sais, placed within the royal palace in a chamber
which was greatly adorned; and they offer incense of all
kinds before it every day, and each night a lamp burns be-
side it all through the night. Near this cow in another
chamber stand images of the concubines of Mykerinos, as
the priests at Sals told me ; for there are in fact colossal
wooden statues, in number about twenty, made with naked
bodies; but who they are I am not able to say, except only
that which is reported. Some however tell about this cow
and the colossal statues the following tale, namely that



EGYPT 67

Mykerinos was enamoured of his own daughter and after-
wards ravished her; and upon this they say that the girl
strangled herself for grief, and he buried her in this cow;
and her mother cut off the hands of the maids who had
betrayed the daughter to her father; wherefore now the
images of them have suffered that which the maids suffered
in their life. In thus saying they speak idly, as it seems to
me, especially in what they say about the hands of the
statues; for as to this, even we ourselves saw that their



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