« PreviousContinue »
might come out to sow and cultivate the ground, and when they had cultivated it, he might have something to ravage when he should invade them with his army. 18. In this manner he carried on the war eleven years, during which the Milesians received two great blows, one in a battle at Limeneion in their own territory, the other in the plain of the Mæander. Six of these eleven years, Sadyattes, the son of. Ardys, was still king of the Lydians, and during those he made incursions into the Milesian territory (for this Sadyattes was the person that began the war). But during the five years that succeeded the six, Alyattes, the son of Sadyattes, who (as I have before mentioned) received it from his father, earnestly applied himself to it. None of the Ionians, except the Chians, assisted the Milesians in bearing the burden of this war: they did it in requital for succor they had received; for formerly the Milesians had assisted the Chians in prosecuting the war against the Erythræans. 19. In the twelfth year, when the corn had been set on fire by the army, an accident of the following nature occurred. As soon as the corn had caught fire, the flames, carried by the wind, caught a temple of Minerva, called Assesian ;2 and the temple, thus set on fire, was burned to the ground. No notice was taken of this at the time; but afterward, when the army had returned to Sardis, Alyattes fell sick. When the disease continued a considerable time, he sent messengers to Delphi to consult the oracle, either from the advice of some friend, or because it appeared right to himself to send and make inquiries of the god concerning his disorder. The Pythian, however, refused to give any answer to the messengers when they arrived at Delphi, until they had rebuilt the temple of Minerya which they had burned at Assesus in the territory of Milesia. 20. This relation I had from the Delphians; but the Milesians add, that Periander, the son of Cypselus, who was a very intimate friend of Thrasybulus, at that time king of Miletus, having heard of the answer given to Alyattes, dispatched a messenger to inform him of it, in order that, being aware of it beforehand, he might form his plans according to present circumstances. This is the Milesian account. 21. Alyattes, when the above an
Assesus was a small town dependent on Miletus. Minerva had a temple there, and hence took the name of the Assesian Minerva.-Larcher.
swer was brought to him, immediately sent a herald to Miletus, desiring him to make a truce with Thrasybulus and the Milesians till such time as he should have rebuilt the temple. The herald accordingly went on this mission to Miletus. But Thrasybulus being accurately informed of the whole matter, and knowing the design of Alyattes, had recourse to the following artifice : having collected in the market-place all the corn that was in the city, both his own and what belonged to private persons, he made a proclamation, that when he gave the signal, all the inhabitants should feast together. 22. Thrasybulus contrived and ordered this, to the end that the Sardian herald, seeing so great a profusion of corn, and the people enjoying themselves, might report accordingly to Alyattes; and so it came to pass. For when the herald had seen these things, and delivered to Thrasybulus the message of the Lydian king, he returned to Sardis; and, as I am informed, a reconciliation was brought about for no other reason. For Alyattes expecting that there was a great scarcity of corn in Miletus, and that the people were reduced to extreme distress, received from the herald on his return from Miletus an account quite contrary to what he expected. Soon afterward a reconciliation took place between them, on terms of mutual friendship and alliance. And Alyattes built two temples to Minerva at Assesus instead of one, and himself recovered from sickness. Such were the circumstances of the war that Alyattes made against the Milesians and Thrasybulus.
23. Periander was the son of Cypselus—he it was who acquainted Thrasybulus with the answer of the oracle. . Now Periander was king of Corinth, and the Corinthians say (and the Lesbians confirm their account) that a wonderful prodigy occurred in his life-time. They say that Arion of Methymna, who was second to none of his time in accompanying the harp, and who was the first, that we are acquainted with, who composed, named, and represented the dithyrambus at Corinth, was carried to Tænarus on the back of a dolphin. 24. They say that this Arion, having continued a long time with Periander, was desirous of making a voyage to Italy and Sicily; and that having acquired great wealth, he determined to return to Corinth: that he set out from Tarentum, and hired a ship of certain Corinthians, because he put
more confidence in them than in any other nation ; but that these men, when they were in the open sea, conspired together to throw him overboard and seize his money, and he being aware of this, offered them his money, and entreated them to spare his life. However, he could not prevail on them ; but the sailors ordered him either to kill himself, that he might be buried ashore, or to leap immediately into the sea. They add that Arion, reduced to this strait, entreated them, since such was their determination, to permit him to stand on the poop in his full dress and sing, and he promised when he had sung to make away with himself. The seamen, pleased that they should hear the best singer in the world, retired from the stern to the middle of the vessel. They relate that Arion, having put on all his robes, and taken his harp, stood on the rowing benches and went through the Orthian strain; that when the strain was ended he leaped into the sea as he was, in his full dress; and the sailors continued their voyage to Corinth: but they say that a dolphin received him on his back, and carried him to Tænarus ; and that he, having landed, proceeded to Corinth in his full dress, and upon his arrival there, related all that had happened; but that Periander, giying no credit to his relation, put Arion under close confinement, and watched anxiously for the seamen: that when they appeared, he summoned them, and inquired if they could give any account of Arion ; but when they answered that he was safe in Italy, and that they had left him flourishing at Tarentum, Arion in that instant appeared before them just as he was when he leaped into the sea; at which they were so astonished, that being fully convicted, they could no longer deny the fact. These things are reported by the Corinthians and Lesbians; and there is a small brazen statue of Arion at Tænarus, representing a man sitting on a dolphin.
25. Alyattes the Lydian, having waged this long war against the Milesians, afterward died, when he had reigned fifty-seven years. On his recovery from sickness, he was the second son of his family that dedicated at Delphi a large silver bowl, with a saucer of iron inlaid ; an object that deserves attention above all the offerings at Delphi. It was made by Glaucus the Chian, who first invented the art of inlaying iron.
26. After the death of Alyattes, his son Croesus, who was then thirty-five years of age, succeeded to the kingdom. He attacked the Ephesians before any other Grecian people. The Ephesians then being besieged by him, consecrated their city to Diana, by fastening a rope from the temple to the wall. The distance between the old town, which was then besieged, and the temple, is seven stadia. Cræsus then attacked these the first, and afterward the several cities of the Ionians and Æolians one after another, alleging different pretenses against different states, imputing graver charges against those in whom he was able to discover greater causes of blame, and against some of them alleging frivolous pretenses. 27. After he had reduced the Grecians in Asia to the payment of tribute, he formed a design to build ships and attack the Islanders. But when all things were ready for the building of ships, Bias of Priene (or, as others say, Pittacus of Mitylene), arriving at Sardis, put a stop to his ship-building by making this reply, when Croesus inquired if he had any news from Greece: “O king, the Islanders are enlisting a large body of cavalry, with intention to make war upon you and Sardis.” Creesus, thinking he had spoken the truth, said, “May the gods put such a thought into the Islanders, as to attack the sons of the Lydians with horse.” The other answering said, “ Sire, you appear to wish above all things to see the Islanders on horseback upon the continent; and not without reason. But what can you imagine the Islanders more earnestly desire, after having heard of your resolution to build a fleet in order to attack them, than to catch the Lydians at sea, that they may revenge on you the cause of those Greeks who dwell on the continent, whom you hold in subjection ?” It is related that Cresus was very much pleased with the conclusion, and that being convinced (for he appeared to speak to the purpose), he put a stop to the ship-building, and made an alliance with the Ionians that inhabit the islands.
28. In course of time, when nearly all the nations that dwell within the river Halys, except the Cilicians and Lycians, were subdued; for Croesus held all the rest in subjection: and they were the following, the Lydians, Phrygians, Mysians, Mariandynians, Chalybians, Paphlagonians, Thracians, both the Thynians and Bithynians, Carians, Ionians, Dorians, Æolians, and Pamphylians. 29. When these nations were subdued, and Cræsus had added them to the Lydians, all the other wise men of that time, as each had opportunity, came from Greece to Sardis, which had then attained to the highest degree of prosperity; and among them Solon, an Athenian, who, having made laws for the Athenians at their request, absented himself for ten years, having sailed away ûnder pretense of seeing the world, that he might not be compelled to abrogate any of the laws he had established; for the Athenians could not do it themselves, since they were bound by solemn oaths to observe for ten years whatever laws Solon should enact for them. 30. Solon therefore, having gone abroad for these reasons, and for the purposes of observation, arrived in Egypt at the court of Amasis, and afterward at that of Croesus at Sardis. On his arrival he was hospitably entertained by Croesus, and on the third or fourth day, by order of the king, the attendants conducted him round the treasury, and showed him all their grand and costly contents; and when he had seen and examined every thing sufficiently, Crosus asked him this question : “My Athenian guest, your great fame has reached even to us, as well of your wisdom as of your travels, how that as a philosopher you have traveled through various countries for the purpose of observation; I am therefore desirous of asking you, who is the most happy man you have seen ?" He asked this question, because he thought himself the most happy of men. But Solon, speaking the truth freely, without any flattery, answered, “ Tellus the Athenian.” Croesus, astonished at his answer, eagerly:: asked him, “On what account do you deem Tellus the happiest ?” He replied, “ Tellus, in the first place, lived in a wellgoverned commonwealth ; had sons who were virtuous and good; and he saw children born to them all, and all surviving: in the next place, when he had lived as happily as the condition of human affairs will permit, he ended his life in a most glorious manner; for, coming to the assistance of the Athenians in a battle with their neighbors of Eleusis, he put the enemy to flight, and died nobly. The Athenians buried him at the public charge in the place where he fell, and honored him greatly.”