« PreviousContinue »
BOOK I. CLIO.
This is a publication of the researches of Herodotus of Halicarnassus, in order that the actions of men may not be effaced by time, nor the great and wondrous deeds displayed both by Greeks and barbarians' deprived of renown; and among the rest, for what cause they waged war upon each other.
1. The learned among the Persians assert that the Phoenicians were the original authors of the quarrel ; for that they having migrated from that which is called the Red Sea to the Mediterranean,2 and having settled in the country which they now inhabit, forthwith applied themselves to distant voyages; and that having exported Egyptian and Assyrian merchandise, they touched at other places, and also at Argos. Now Argos at that period in every respect surpassed all those states which are now comprehended under the general appellation of Greece. They say that on their arrival at Argos, the Phoenicians exposed their merchandise to sale, and that on the fifth or sixth day after their arrival, and when
By barbarians the Greeks meant all who were not sprung from hemselves—all foreigners.
• The Phænicians passed over land (see b. VII. c. 89) from the Red Sea to the Mediterranean, which in the text and in other Grecian writers is called “this sea.”
* The region known by the name of Hellas or Greece in the time of Herodotus was, previous to the Trojan war, and indeed long afterward, only discriminated by the names of its different inhabitants. Homer speaks of the Danaans, Argives, Achaians, &c., but never gives these people the general name of Greeks.-Larcher.
they had almost disposed of their cargo, a great number of women came down to the sea-shore, and among them the king's daughter, whose name, as the Greeks also say, was Io, daughter of Inachus. They add, that while these women were standing near the stern of the vessel, and were bargaining for such things as most pleased them, the Phænicians, having exhorted one another, made an attack upon them ; and that most of the women escaped, but that Io, with some others, was seized; and that they, having hurried them on board, set sail for Egypt. 2. Thus the Persians say that Io went to Egypt, not agreeing herein with the Phænicians; and that this was the beginning of wrongs. After this, that certain Grecians (for they are unable to tell their name), having touched at Tyre in Phænicia, carried off the king's daughter Europa. These must have been Cretans. Thus far they say that they had only retaliated ;4 but that after this the Greeks were guilty of the second provocation ; for that having sailed down in a vessel of wars to Æa, a city of Colchis on the river Phasis, when they had accomplished the more immediate object of their expedition, they carried off the king's daughter Medea ; and that the king of Colchis, having dispatched a herald to Greece, demanded satisfaction for the rape, and the restitution of the princess; but the Greeks replied, that as they of Asia had not given any satisfaction for the rape of Io, neither would they give any to them. 3. They say, too, that in the second generation after this, Alexander, the son of Priam, having heard of these events, was desirous of obtaining a wife from Greece by means of violence, being fully persuaded that he should not have to give satisfaction, for that the Greeks had not done so. When, therefore, he had carried off Helen, they say that the Greeks immediately sent messengers to demand her back again, and require satisfaction for the rape ; but that they, when they brought forward these demands, objected to them the rape of Medea ;
Medea; "that they who had not themselves given satisfaction, nor made it when demanded, now wished others to give it to themselves.” 4. Thus far then they say that there had only been rapes from each other; but that after this the Greeks were greatly
• Literally, “had only done like for like.”
• “In a long vessel.” The long vessels were vessels of war; the round vessels, merchantmen and transports.
to blame, for that they levied war against Asia before the Asiatics did upon Europe. Now, to carry off women by violence the Persians think is the act of wicked men, but to trouble one's self about avenging them when so carried off is the act of foolish ones; and to pay no regard to them when carried off, of wise men: for that it is clear, that if they had not been willing, they could not have been carried off. Accordingly, the Persians say, that they of Asia made no account of women that were carried off; but that the Greeks for the sake of a Lacedæmonian woman assembled a mighty feet, and then having come to Asia overthrew the empire of Priam. That from this event they had always considered the Greeks as their enemies : for the Persians claim Asia and the barbarous nations that inhabit it as their own, and consider Europe and the people of Greece as totally distinct.
5. Such is the Persian account; and to the capture of Troy they ascribe the commencement of their enmity to the Greeks. As relates to Io, the Phænicians do not agree with this account of the Persians: for they affirm that they did not use violence to carry her into Egypt; but that she had connection at Argos with the master of a vessel, and when she found herself pregnant, she, through dread of her parents, voluntarily sailed away with the Phænicians, to avoid detection. Such then are the accounts of the Persians and Phænicians: I, however, am not going to inquire whether the facts were so or not; but having pointed out the person whom I myself know to have been the first guilty of injustice toward the Greeks, I will then proceed with my history, touching as well on the small as the great estates of men: for of those that were formerly powerful many have become weak, and some that were powerful in my time were formerly weak. Knowing therefore the precarious nature of human prosperity, I shall commemorate both alike.
6. Cresus was a Lydian by birth, son of Alyattes, and sovereign of the nations on this side the river Halys. This river flowing from the south between the Syrians? and Paphlagonians, empties itself northward into the Euxine Sea. This Crcesus was the first of the barbarians whom we
• The Halys had two branches, one flowing from the east, the other from the south : Herodotus speaks only of the southern one.
? Syria was at that time the name of Cappadocia. See I. 72.
know of that subjected some of the Greeks to the payment of tribute, and formed alliances with others. He subdued the Ionians and Æolians, and the Dorians settled in Asia, and he formed an alliance with the Lacedæmonians; but before the reign of Cræsus all the Greeks were free; for the incursion of the Cimmerians into Ionia, which was before the time of Cresus, was not for the purpose of subjecting states, but an irruption for plunder. 7. The government, which formerly belonged to the Heraclidæ, passed in the following manner to the family of Croesus, who were called Mermnadæ. Candaules, whom the Greeks call Myrsilus, was tyrant of Sardis, and a descendant of Alcæus, son of Hercules. For Agron, son of Ninus, grandson of Belus, great-grandson of Alcæus, was the first of the Heraclidæ who became king of Sardis; and Candaules, son of Myrsus, was the last. They who ruled
country before Agron were descendants of Lydus, sons of Atys, from whom this whole people, anciently called Mæonians, derived the name of Lydians. The Heraclidæ, descended from a female slave of Jardanus and Hercules, having been intrusted with the government by these princes, retained the supreme power in obedience to the declaration of an oracle : they reigned for twenty-two generations, a space of five hundred and five years, the son succeeding to the father to the time of Candaules, son of Myrsus. 8. This Candaules then was enamoured of his own wife, and being so, thought that she was by far the most beautiful of all women. Now being of this opinion - Gyges, son of Dascylus, one of his body-guard, happened to be his especial favorite, and to him Candaules confided his most important affairs, and moreover extolled the beauty of his wife in exaggerated terms. lapse of time (for Candaules was fated to be miserable) he addressed Gyges as follows: "Gyges, as I think you do not believe me when I speak of my wife's beauty (for the ears of men are naturally more incredulous than their eyes), you must contrive to see her naked.” But he, exclaiming loudly, answered, “Sire, what a shocking proposal do you make, bidding me behold my queen naked! With her clothes a woman puts off her modesty. Wise maxims have been of old laid down by men, from these it is our duty to learn : among them is the
8 The incursion here spoken of occurred in the reign of the Lydian Ardys. See I. 15, and IV. 12.