Page images
PDF
EPUB

to blame, for that they levied war against Asia before the Asiatics did upon Europe. Now, to carry off women by viokence the Persians think is the act of wicked men, but to trouble oneself 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 Lacedaemonian woman assembled a mighty fleet, 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 Phoenicians 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 connexion 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 Phoenicians, to avoid detection. Such then are the accounts of the Persians and Phoenicians: 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 towards 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. Croesus 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 northwards into the Euxine Sea. This Croesus 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 Lacedaemonians; but before the reign of Croesus all the Greeks were free ; for the incursion of the Cimmerians” into Ionia, which was before the time o Croesus, was not for the purpose of subjecting states, but an irruption for plunder. 7. The government, which formerly belonged to the Heraclidae, passed in the following manner t the family of Croesus, who were called Mermnada. Candaules whom the Greeks call Myrsilus, was tyrant of Sardis, and

descendant of Alcaeus, son of Hercules. For Agron, son o Ninus, grandson of Belus, great-grandson of Alcaeus, wa the first of the Heraclidae who became king of Sardis; an Candaules, son of Myrsus, was the last. They who rule over this country before Agron were descendants of Lydu son of Atys, from whom this whole people, anciently calle Maeonians, derived the name of Lydians. The Heraclidae, d scended from a female slave of Jardanus and Hercules, havin been intrusted with the government by these princes, retain the supreme power in obedience to the declaration of oracle: they reigned for twenty-two generations, a space

five hundred and five years, the son succeeding to the fath to the time of Candaules, son of Myrsus. 8. This too then was enamoured of his own wife, and being so, thoug that she was by far the most beautiful of all women. N being of this opinion,-Gyges, son of Dascylus, one of body-guard, happened to be his especial favourite, and to h Candaules confided his most important affairs, and moreov extolled the beauty of his wife in exaggerated terms. lapse of time (for Candaules was fated to be miserable) he dressed Gyges as follows: “Gyges, as I think you do not lieve me when I speak of my wife's beauty, (for the ears of m are naturally more incredulous than their eyes,) you must c trive to see her naked.” But he, exclaiming loudly, answer “Sire, what a shocking proposal do you make, bidding me hold my queen naked! With her clothes a woman puts her modesty. Wise maxims have been of old laid down men, from these it is our duty to learn : amongst them is

* The incursion here spoken of occurred in the reign of the Ly Ardys. See I. 15., and IV. 12.

following, ‘Let every man look to the things that concern himself.” I am persuaded that she is the most beautiful of her sex, but I entreat of you not to require what is wicked.” 9. Saying thus, Gyges fought off the proposal, dreading lest some harm should befal himself: but the king answered, “Gyges, take courage, and be not afraid of me, as if I desired to make trial of you, by speaking thus, nor of my wife, lest any harm should befal you from her. For from the outset I will so contrive that she shall not know she has been seen by you. I will place you behind the open door of the apartment in which we sleep; as soon as I enter my wife will come to bed; there stands by the entrance a chair, on this she will lay her garments one by one as she takes them off, and then she will give you an opportunity to look at her at your leisure; but when she steps from the chair to the bed, and you are at her back, be careful that she does not see you as you are going out by the door.” 10. Gyges therefore, finding he could not escape, prepared to obey. And Candaules, when it seemed to be time to go to bed, led him to the chamber, and the lady soon afterwards appeared, and Gyges saw her enter and lay her clothes on the chair; when he was at her back, as the lady was going to the bed, he crept secretly out, but she saw him as he was going away. Perceiving what her husband had done, she neither cried out through modesty, nor appeared to notice it, purposing to take vengeance on Candaules; for among the Lydians and almost all the barbarians, it is deemed a great disgrace even for a man to be seen naked. 11. At the time therefore, having shown no consciousness of what had occurred, she held her peace, and as soon as it was day, having prepared such of her domestics as she knew were most to be trusted, she sent for Gyges. He, supposing that she knew nothing of what had happened, came when he was sent for, for he had been before used to attend whenever the queen sent for him. When Gyges came, the lady thus addressed him: “Gyges, I submit two proposals to your choice, either kill Candaules and take possession of me and of the Lydian kingdom, or expect immediate death, so that you may not, from your obedience to Candaules in all things, again see what you ought not. It is necessary however that he who planned this, or that you who have seen me naked, and have done what is not decorous, should die. Gyges for a time was amazed at what he heard; but, afterwards, he implored her not to compel him to make such a choice. He however could not persuade, but saw a necessity imposed on him, either to kill his master Candaules or die himself by the hands of others; he chose therefore to survive, and made the following inquiry: “Since you compel me to kill my master against my will, tell me how we shall lay hands on him.” She answered, “The assault shall be made from the very spot whence he showed me naked; the attack shall be made on him while asleep.” 12. When they had concerted their plan, on the approach of night he followed the lady to the chamber: then (for Gyges was not suffered to depart, nor was there any possibility of escape, but either he or Candaules must needs perish) she, having given him a dagger, concealed him behind the same door : and after this, when Candaules was asleep, Gyges having crept stealthily up and slain him, possessed himself both of the woman and the kingdom. Of this event, also, Archilochus 9 the Parian, who lived abou the same time, has made mention in a trimeter Iambic poem 13. Thus Gyges obtained the kingdom, and was confirmed in it by the oracle at Delphi. For when the Lydians re sented the murder of Candaules, and were up in arms, th partisans of Gyges and the other Lydians came to the follow ing agreement, that if the oracle should pronounce him kin of the Lydians, he should reign ; if not, he should reston the power to the Heraclidae. The oracle, however, answere accordingly, and so Gyges became king. But the Pythia added this, “that the Heraclidae should be avenged on ti fifth descendant of Gyges.” Of this prediction neither th Lydians nor their kings took any notice until it was actual accomplished.

14. Thus the Mermnada, having deprived the Heraclid possessed themselves of the supreme power. Gyges havi obtained the kingdom, sent many offerings to Delphi; : most of the silver offerings at Delphi are his ; and besides t silver, he gave a vast quantity of gold; and among the re what is especially worthy of mention, the bowls of gold, in number, were dedicated by him: these now stand in

* Archilochus was one of the earliest writers of Iambics. All t remains of his is to be met with in Brunck's Analecta. See I. 91.

treasury of the Corinthians, and are thirty talents in weight; though, to say the truth, this treasury does not belong to the people of Corinth, but to Cypselus son of Eetion. This Gyges is the first of the barbarians whom we know of that dedicated offerings at Delphi; except Midas, son of Gordius, king of Phrygia, for Midas dedicated the royal throne, on which he used to sit and administer justice, a piece of workmanship deserving of admiration. This throne stands in the same place as the bowls of Gyges. This gold and silver, which Gyges dedicated, is by the Delphians called Gygian, from the name of the donor. Now this prince, when he obtained the sovereignty, led an army against Myletus and Smyrna, and took the city of Colophon; but as he performed no other great action during his reign of eight and thirty years, we will pass him over, having made this mention of him. 15. I will proceed to mention Ardys, the son and successor of Gyges. He took Priene, and invaded Miletus. During the time that he reigned at Sardis, the Cimmerians, being driven from their seats by the Scythian nomades, passed into Asia, and possessed themselves of all Sardis except the citadel. 16. When Ardys had reigned forty-nine years, his son Sadyattes succeeded him, and reigned twelve years; and Alyattes succeeded Sadyattes. He made war upon Cyaxares, a descendant of Deioces, and upon the Medes. He drove the Cimmerians out of Asia; took Smyrna, which was founded from Colophon, and invaded Clazomenae. From this place he departed, not as he could wish, but signally defeated. He also performed in the course of his reign the following actions worthy of mention. 17. He continued the war which his father had begun against the Milesians; and leading his army against Miletus, he invaded it in the following manner. When their fruits were ripe on the ground, he led his army into their territory, attended in his march with pipes, harps, and flutes, masculine and feminine. On his arrival in Mikesia, he neither demolished nor burnt their country houses, nor forced off the doors, but let them stand as they were ; but when he had destroyed their trees and the fruits on the ground, he returned home ; for the Milesians were masters of the sea, so that there was no use in the army's besieging it. And the Lydian king would not destroy their houses, for this reason, that the Milesians, having those habitations,

« PreviousContinue »