[image ALT: Much of my site will be useless to you if you've got the images turned off!]
Bill Thayer

[image ALT: Нажмите здесь для перевода на русский язык.]
на русском

[image ALT: Cliccare qui per una pagina di aiuto in Italiano.]

[Link to a series of help pages]
[Link to the next level up]
[Link to my homepage]

[image ALT: link to previous section]

This webpage reproduces a portion of
The Library of History

Diodorus Siculus

published in Vol. IV
of the Loeb Classical Library edition, 1946

The text is in the public domain.

This page has been carefully proofread
and I believe it to be free of errors.
If you find a mistake though,
please let me know!


[image ALT: link to next section]
loose Fragments

(Vol. IV) Diodorus Siculus
Library of History

 p53  Fragments of Book X

1 1 Servius Tullius, on the occasion of the uprising of Tarquinius,1 came into the Senate, and when he saw the extent of the intrigue against him, he did no more than to say, "What presumption, O Tarquinius, is this?" Tarquinius replied, "Nay, what presumption is yours, who, though slave and son of a slave, have presumed to rule as king over the Romans, and who, although the leadership my father had belongs to me, have illegally taken from me the rule to which you in no single respect have a claim?" With these words he rushed at Tullius, and seizing him by the arm he hurled him down the steps.2 Tullius picked himself up and, limping from the fall, endeavoured to flee, but was put to death.

2 1 Servius Tullius, the king of the Romans, enjoyed a rule of forty-four years,3 successfully establishing not a few institutions in the commonwealth by virtue of his own high character.

3 1 When Thericles was archon in Athens in the Sixty-first Olympiad, Pythagoras, the philosopher, was generally recognized,4 having already far advanced in learning; for if there is any man of those who have cultivated learning deserving of a place  p55 in history, it is he. By birth he was a Samian, though some men say that he was a Tyrrhenian.5 2 And there was such persuasion and charm in his words that every day almost the entire city turned to him, as to a god present among them, and all men ran in crowds to hear him. 3 Not only in eloquence of speech did he show himself great, but he also displayed a character of soul which was temperate and constituted a marvellous model of a life of modesty for the youth to emulate. Whoever associated with him he converted from their ways of extravagance and luxury, whereas all men, because of their wealth, were giving themselves over without restraint to indulgence and an ignoble dissipation of body and soul.

4 Pythagoras, learning that his old teacher Pherecydes lay ill in Delos and was at the point of death, set sail from Italy to Delos. There he took care of the old man for a considerable time and made every effort to bring the aged man safely through his malady. And when Pherecydes was overcome by his advanced years and the severity of the disease, Pythagoras made every provision for his burial, and after performing the accustomed rites for him, as a son would for his father, he returned to Italy.

5 Whenever any of the companions of Pythagoras lost their fortune, the rest would divide their own possessions with them as with brothers. Such a disposition of their property they made, not only with their acquaintances who passed their daily lives with them, but also, speaking generally, with all who shared in their projects.

 p57  4 1 Cleinias of Tarentum, who was a member of the order6 of which we have spoken, learning that Prorus of Cyrene had lost his fortune because of a political upheaval and was completely impoverished, went over from Italy to Cyrene with sufficient funds and restored to Prorus his fortune, although he had never seen the man before and knew no more of him than that he was a Pythagorean. 2 Of many others also it is recorded that they have done something of this kind. And it was not only in the giving away of money that they showed themselves so devoted to their friends, but they also shared each other's dangers on occasions of greatest peril. 3 So, for example, while Dionysius was tyrant7 and a certain Phintias, a Pythagorean, who had formed a plot against the tyrant, was about to suffer the penalty for it, he asked Dionysius for time in which to make such disposition as he wished of his private affairs; and he said that he would give one of his friends as surety for his death. 4 And when the ruler expressed his wonder whether such a friend was to be found as would take his place in prison, Phintias called upon one of his acquaintances, a Pythagorean philosopher named Damon, who without hesitation came forward at once as surety for his death.

5 Now there were some who expressed approval of so great a love for one's friends, whereas some charged the surety with rashness and folly. And at the appointed hour all the people ran together, anxious to learn whether the man who had provided a surety for himself would keep faith. 6 When the hour drew close and all were giving up hope, Phintias unexpectedly  p59 arrived on the run at the last moment, just as Damon was being led off to his fate. Such a friendship was in the eyes of all men a thing of wonder, and Dionysius remitted the punishment of the condemned man, urging the two men to include himself as a third in their friendship.8

5 1 The Pythagoreans also insisted upon a very great exercise of the memory, setting up the following way of giving it practice. They would not arise from their beds until they had frankly disclosed to one another everything they had done the day before, beginning with early dawn and closing with the evening. And if they had the time and more leisure than usual, they would add to their account what they had done on the third day past, the fourth, and even earlier days. This practice they followed to gain knowledge and judgement in all matters and experience in the ability to call many things to mind.

2 The Pythagoreans trained themselves in the exercise of self-control in the following manner. They would have prepared for them everything which is served up at the most brilliant banquets, and would gaze upon it for a considerable time; then, after through mere gazing they had aroused their natural desires with a view to their gratification, they would command the slaves to clear away the tables and  p61 would at once depart without having tasted of what had been served.

6 1 Pythagoras believed in the transmigration of souls and considered the eating of flesh as an abominable thing, saying that the souls of all living creatures pass after death into other living creatures. And as for himself, he used to declare that he remembered having been in Trojan times Euphorbus, the son of Panthus, who was slain by Menelaus.9

2 We are told that once, when Pythagoras was sojourning in Argos, he saw a shield from the spoils of Troy fastened by nails to the wall and wept. And when the Argives inquired of him the cause of his grief, he replied that he himself had carried this shield in the land of Troy when he was Euphorbus. 3 And when all were incredulous and judged him to be mad, he replied that he would give them convincing evidence that what he had said was so; for on the inner side of the shield there had been inscribed in ancient characters "of Euphorbus." At this surprising answer all said to take down the shield, and on the inner side in fact was found the inscription.

4 Callimachus once said about Pythagoras that of the problems of geometry some he discovered and certain others he was the first to introduce from Egypt to the Greeks, in the passage where he writes:10

This Phrygian Euphorbus11 first for men

Found out, who taught about triangle shapes

 p63  And scalenes, aye and a circle in seven lengths,12

And taught full abstinence from tasting flesh

Of living things; but all would not to this

Give heed.

7 1 Pythagoras urged his followers to cultivate the simple life, since extravagance, he maintained, ruins not only the fortunes of men but their bodies as well. For most diseases, he held, come from indigestion, and indigestion, in turn, from extravagance. 2 Many men were also persuaded by him to eat uncooked food and to drink only water all their life long, in order to pursue what is in truth the good. And yet, as for the men of our day, were one to suggest that they refrain for but a few days from one or two of the things which men consider to be pleasant, they would renounce philosophy, asserting that it would be silly, while seeking for the good which is unseen, to let go that which is seen. 3 And whenever it  p65 becomes necessary to court the mob or to meddle in affairs which are none of their business, they have the time for it and will let nothing stand in their way; whereas, whenever it becomes necessary to bestir themselves about education and the repairing of character, they reply that the matter is not opportune for them, the result of it all being that they busy themselves when they have no business and show no concern when they are concerned.

4 We are told that Archytas13 of Tarentum, who was a follower of Pythagoras, once became angry with his slaves because of some serious offences; but when he recovered from his rage, he said to them, "You would not have got off without punishment after such misconduct, had I not lost my temper."14

8 1 The Pythagoreans laid the greatest store upon constancy toward one's friends, believing as they did that the loyalty of friends is the greatest good to be found in life.

2 A man may consider that the greatest and most marvellous thing about the Pythagoreans was the cause of their loyalty to their friends. What indeed were the habits, what the manner of their practices, or the powerful arguments which enabled them to inculcate such a disposition in all who joined their common manner of life? 3 Many outsiders, being eager to know the cause, expended great effort on the endeavour, but no man of them was ever able to learn it. The reason why their system of instruction for this purpose was kept inviolate was that the Pythagoreans made it a fundamental tenet to put nothing on this subject in writing, but to carry their precepts only in their memory.

9 1 Pythagoras, in addition to his other injunctions,  p67 commanded his pupils rarely to take an oath, and, when they did swear an oath, to abide by it under any circumstances and to bring to fulfilment whatever they have sworn to do; and that they should never reply as did Lysander the Laconian and Demades the Athenian,15 the former of whom once declared that boys should be cheated with dice and men with oaths, and Demades affirmed that in the case of oaths, as in all other affairs, the most profitable course is the one to choose, and that it was his observation that the perjurer forthwith continued to possess the things regarding which he had taken the oath, whereas the man who had kept his oath had manifestly lost what had been his own. For neither of these men looked upon the oath, as did Pythagoras, as a firm pledge of faith, but as a bait to use for ill-gotten gain and deception.

2 Pythagoras commanded his pupils rarely to take an oath, and when they did swear an oath, to abide by it under every circumstance.

3 The same Pythagoras, in his reflections upon the pleasures of love, taught that it was better to approach women in the summer not at all, and in the winter only sparingly. For in general he considered every kind of pleasure of love to be harmful, and believed that the uninterrupted indulgence in them is altogether weakening and destructive.

4 It is told of Pythagoras that once, when he was asked by someone when he should indulge in the pleasures of love, he replied, "When you wish not to be master of yourself."16

 p69  5 The Pythagoreans divided the life of mankind into four ages, that of a child, a lad, a young man, and an old man; and they said that each one of these had its parallel in the changes which take place in the seasons in the year's course, assigning the spring to the child, the autumn to the man, the winter to the old man, and the summer to the lad.

6 The same Pythagoras taught that when men approach the gods to sacrifice, the garments they wear should be not costly, but only white and clean, and that likewise they should appear before the gods with not only a body clean of every unjust deed but also a soul that is undefiled.

7 Pythagoras declared that prudent men should pray to the gods for good things on behalf of imprudent men; for the foolish are ignorant of what in life is in very truth the good.

8 Pythagoras used to assert that in their supplications men should pray simply for "all good things," and not name them singly, as, for example, power, strength, beauty, wealth, and the like; for it frequently happens that any one of these works to the utter ruin of those who receive them in reply to their desire. And this may be recognized by any man who has reflected upon the lines17 in The Phoenician  p71 Maidens of Euripides which give the prayer of Polyneices to the gods, beginning

Then, gazing Argos-ward,

and ending

Yea, from this arm, may smite my brother's breast.

For Polyneices and Eteocles thought that they were praying for the best things for themselves, whereas in truth they were calling down curses upon their own heads.

9 During the time that Pythagoras was delivering many other discourses designed to inculcate the emulation of a sober life and manliness and perseverance and the other virtues, he received at the hands of the inhabitants of Croton honours the equal of those accorded to the gods.18

10 1 Pythagoras called the principles he taught philosophia or love of wisdom, but not sophia or wisdom. For he criticized the Seven Wise Men, as they were called, who lived before his time, saying that no man is wise, being human, and many a time, by reason of the weakness of his nature, has not the strength to bring all matters to a successful issue, but that he who emulates both the ways and the manner of life of a wise man may more fittingly be called a "lover of wisdom."

2 Although both Pythagoras himself and the Pythagoreans after his time made such advancement and were cause of so great blessings to the states of Greece, yet they did not escape the envy which besmirches all noble things. Indeed there is no noble thing among men, I suppose, which is of such a nature that the long passage of time works it no damage or destruction.

 p73  11 1 A certain inhabitant of Croton, Cylon by name, the foremost citizen in wealth and repute, was eager to become a Pythagorean. But since he was a harsh man and violent in his ways, and both seditious and tyrannical as well, he was rejected by them. Consequently, being irritated at the order of the Pythagoreans, he formed a large party and never ceased working against them in every way possible both by word and by deed.

2 Lysis, the Pythagorean, came to Thebes in Boeotia and became the teacher of Epaminondas;19 and he developed him, with respect to virtue, into a perfect man and became his father by adoption because of the affection he had for him. And Epaminondas, because of the incitements toward perseverance and simplicity and every other virtue which he received from the Pythagorean philosophy, became the foremost man, not only of Thebes, but of all who lived in his time.

12 1 To recount the lives of men of the past is a task which presents difficulties to writers and yet is of no little advantage to society as a whole. For such an account which clearly portrays in all frankness their evil as well as their noble deeds renders honour to the good and abases the wicked by means of the censures as well as the praises which appropriately come to each group respectively. And the praise constitutes, one may say, a reward of virtue which entails no cost, and the censure is a punishment of depravity which entails no physical chastisement. 2 And it is an excellent thing for later generations to bear in mind, that whatever is the manner of life a man chooses to live while on this earth, such is the remembrance which he will be  p75 thought worthy of after his death; this principle should be followed, in order that later generations may not set their hearts upon the erection of memorials in stone which are limited to a single spot and subject to quick decay, but upon reason and the virtues in general which range everywhere upon the lips of fame. Time, which withers all else, preserves for these virtues an immortality, and the further it may itself advance in age, the fresher the youth it imparts to them. 3 And what we have said is clearly exemplified in the case of these men who have been mentioned;20 for though they were of the distant past, all mankind speaks of them as if they were alive to-day.

13 1 Cyrus, the king of the Persians, after he had reduced the land of the Babylonians and the Medes,21 was encompassing in his hopes all the inhabited world. For now that he had subdued these powerful and great nations he thought that there was no king or people which could withstand his might; since of those who are possessed of irresponsible power, some are wont not to bear their good fortune as human beings should.

14 1 Cambyses22 was by nature half-mad and his powers of reasoning perverted, and the greatness of his kingdom rendered him much the more cruel and arrogant.

2 Cambyses the Persian, after he had taken Memphis and Pelusium,23 since he could not bear his good fortune as men should, dug up the tomb of Amasis, the former king of Egypt. And finding his mummified  p77 corpse in the coffin, he outraged the body of the dead man, and after showing every despite to the senseless corpse, he finally ordered it to be burned. For since it was not the practice of the natives to consign the bodies of their dead to fire, he supposed that in this fashion also he would be giving offence to him who had been long dead.

3 When Cambyses was on the point of setting out upon his campaign against Ethiopia, he dispatched a part of his army against the inhabitants of Ammonium,24 giving orders to its commanders to plunder and burn the oracle and to make slaves of all who dwelt near the shrine.

15 1 After Cambyses, the king of the Persians, had made himself lord of all Egypt, the Libyans and Cyrenaeans, who had been allies of the Egyptians, sent presents to him and declared their willingness to obey his every command.

16 1 Polycrates the tyrant of the Samians,25 used to dispatch triremes to the most suitable places and plunder all who were on the seas, and he would return the booty which he had taken only to those who were allies of his.26 And to those of his companions who criticized this practice he used to say that all his friends would feel more grateful to him by getting back what they had lost than by having lost nothing in the first place.

2 Unjust deeds, as a general thing, carry in their train a retribution which exacts appropriate punishments of the wrongdoers.27

 p79  3 Every act of kindness, since attended by no regret, bears goodly fruit in the praise of those who benefit therefrom; for even if not all the recipients repay the kindness, at least some one of them, it sometimes happens, makes payment on behalf of all.

4 Certain Lydians, who were fleeing from the domineering rule of the satrap Oroetes, took ship to Samos, bringing with them many possessions, and became suppliants of Polycrates. And at first he received them kindly, but after a little time he put them all to the sword and confiscated their possessions.

17 1 Thettalus,28 the son of Peisistratus, was wise enough to renounce the tyranny, and since he strove after equality, he enjoyed great favour among the citizens of Athens; but the other sons, Hipparchus and Hippias,29 being violent and harsh men, maintained a tyranny over the city. They committed many other acts of lawlessness against the Athenians, and Hipparchus, becoming enamoured of a youth30 of extraordinary beauty, because of that got into a dangerous situation. . . .31 2 Now the attack upon the tyrants and the earnest desire to achieve the freedom of the fatherland were shared in by all the men mentioned above; but the unyielding steadfastness of soul amid the tortures and the stout courage to endure cruel pains were shown by Aristogeiton alone, who, in the most fearful moments, maintained two supreme virtues, fidelity to his friends and vengeance on his enemies.

 p81  3 Aristogeiton made it clear to all men that nobility of soul is able to prevail over the greatest agonies of the body.

18 1 When Zeno the philosopher32 was suffering the agonies of the torture because of the conspiracy he had entered into against the tyrant Nearchus and was being asked by Nearchus who his fellow conspirators were, he replied, "Would that I were as much the master of my body as I am of my tongue!"

2 When Zeno's native city was being ground down by the tyranny of Nearchus, Zeno formed a conspiracy against the tyrant. But he was found out, and when he was asked by Nearchus, while suffering the agonies of the torture, who his fellow conspirators were, he replied, "Would that I were as much the master of my body as I am of my tongue!" 3 And when the tyrant made the torture more and more severe, Zeno still withstood it for a while; and then, being eager to be rid at last of the agony and at the same time to be revenged upon Nearchus, he devised the following plan. 4 During the greatest intensity of the torture, pretending that his spirit was yielding to his bodily pains, he cried out, "Relax it! I will tell the whole truth." And when they did so, he asked Nearchus to come near and listen to him privately, asserting that many matters he was about to disclose would best be kept secret. 5 When the tyrant came up to him readily and placed his ear close to Zeno's lips, Zeno took the tyrant's ear into his mouth and sank his teeth into it. And when the attendants quickly approached and applied every  p83 torment to make Zeno relax his hold, he held on all the tighter. 6 Finally, being unable to shake the fortitude of the man, they stabbed him to death that they might in this way break the hold of his teeth. By this device Zeno got release from the agonies he was suffering and exacted of the tyrant the only punishment within his grasp.

[Many generations later Dorieus33 the Lacedaemonian came to Sicily, and taking back the land founded the city of Heracleia.34 Since the city grew rapidly, the Carthaginians, being jealous of it and also afraid that it would grow stronger than Carthage and take from the Phoenicians their sovereignty, came up against it with a great army, took it by storm, and razed it to the ground. But this affair we shall discuss in detail in connection with the period in which it falls.]

19 1 When men make definite pronouncements on certain matters, saying that they can never possibly be brought to pass, their words usually are followed by a kind of retribution which exposes the weakness which is the lot of mankind.35

2 When Megabyzus, who was also called Zopyrus and was a friend of King Darius, had scourged himself and mutilated his countenance,36 because he had resolved to become a deserter37 and betray Babylon to the Persians, we are told that Darius was deeply moved and declared that he would rather have Megabyzus  p85 whole again, if it were possible, than bring ten Babylons under his power, although his wish could not be achieved.

3 The Babylonians chose Megabyzus to be their general, being unaware that the benefaction he would render them would be a kind of bait to entice them to the destruction which was soon to follow.

4 The successful turn of events constitutes a sufficient proof of what has been predicted.38

5 After Darius had made himself master of practically the whole of Asia, he desired to subdue Europe.39 For since the desires he entertained for further possessions were boundless and he had confidence in the greatness of the power of Persia, he was set upon embracing in his power the inhabited world, thinking it to be a disgraceful thing that the kings before his time, though possessing inferior resources, had reduced in war the greatest nations, whereas he, who had forces greater than any man before him had ever acquired, had accomplished no deed worthy of mention.

6 When the Tyrrhenians40 were leaving Lemnos, because of their fear of the Persians, they claimed that they were doing so because of certain oracles, and they gave the island over to Miltiades.41 The leader of the Tyrrhenians in this affair was Hermon,  p87 and as a result presents of this kind have from that time been called "gifts of Hermon."42

20 1 Sextus, the son of Lucius Tarquinius (Superbus), the king of the Romans,43 left44 and came to the city of Collatia, as it was called, and stopped at the home of Lucius Tarquinius,45 a cousin of the king, whose wife was Lucretia, a woman of great beauty and virtuous in character. And Lucretia's husband being with the army in camp, the guest, awakening, left his bed-room during the night and set out to the wife who was sleeping in a certain chamber. 2 And suddenly taking his stand at the door and drawing his sword, he announced that he had a slave all ready for slaughter, and that he would slay her together with the slave, as having been taken in adultery and having received at the hand of her husband's nearest of kin the punishment she deserved. Therefore, he continued, it would be the wiser thing for her to submit to his desires without calling out, and as a reward for her favour she would receive great gifts and be his wife and become queen, exchanging the hearth of a private citizen for the first place in the state. 3 Lucretia, panic-stricken at so unexpected a thing and fearing that men would in truth believe that she had been slain because of adultery, made no outcry at the time. But when the day came and Sextus departed, she summoned her kinsmen and asked them not to allow the man to go unpunished who had sinned against the laws both of hospitality and of kinship. As for herself, she said, it was not  p89 proper for the victim of a deed of such wanton insolence to look upon the sun, and plunging a dagger into her breast she slew herself.

21 1 In connection with the violation of Lucretia by Sextus and her suicide because of the wrong done her, we do not believe it would be right to leave no record of the nobility of her choice. For the woman who renounced life of her own will in order that later generations might emulate her deed we should judge to be fittingly worthy of immortal praise, in order that women who choose to maintain the purity of their persons altogether free from censure may compare themselves with an authentic example. 2 Other women, indeed, even when such an act as this on their part is known, conceal what has been done, as a means of avoiding the punishment which is meted out for guilty acts; but she made known to the world what had been done in secret and then slew herself, leaving in the end of her life her fairest defence. 3 And whereas other women advance a claim for pardon in matters done against their will, she fixed the penalty of death for the outrage done to her by force, in order that, even if one should wish to defame her, he should not have it in his power to condemn her choice as having been made of her own free will. 4 For since men by nature prefer slander to praise, she cut the ground from under the accusation men who love to find fault might raise; for she considered it to be shameful that anyone could say that while her husband, to whom she was wedded in accordance with the laws, was still living, she had had relations with another man, contrary to the laws, and shameful also that she who had been involved in an act for which the  p91 laws decree the penalty of death upon the guilty should cling to life any longer. And so she chose by a brief anticipation of death, a debt that in any case she owed to nature, to exchange disgrace for the highest approval.46 5 Consequently, not only did she win immortal glory in exchange for mortal life through her own act of virtue, but she also impelled her kinsmen and all the people to exact implacable punishment from those who had committed this lawless act against her.

22 1 King Lucius Tarquinius ruled in a tyrannical and violent fashion and made it his practice to slay the wealthy citizens among the Romans, advancing false charges against them in order to appropriate their possessions. Consequently Lucius Junius (Brutus), since he was an orphan and the wealthiest of all the Romans, for both these reasons viewed with mistrust Tarquin's grasping ambition; and because he was the king's nephew and therefore close to him on every occasion, he acted the part of a stupid person, his purpose being both to avoid arousing envy because of any ability of his, and at the same time to observe, without rousing suspicion, whatever was taking place and to watch for the favourable moment to strike at the royal power.

23 1 The people of Sybaris who took the field with three hundred thousand men against the inhabitants of Croton and had entered upon an unjust war, were completely unsuccessful;47 and since they were not shrewd enough to bear their prosperity, they left their own destruction as a sufficient warning example  p93 that men should be on their guard far more in times of their own good fortunes than of their afflictions.

24 1 Diodorus says with respect to Herodotus, "We have made this digression, not so much out of any desire to criticize Herodotus, as to show by examples that tales of wonder are wont to prevail over tales of truth."

2 It is fitting that bravery be honoured, even when it is shown by women.

3 The Athenians made a clever use of their victory,48 and after defeating the Boeotians and Chalcidians, they at once after the battle made themselves masters of the city of Chalcis. And as a tenth part of the booty won from the Boeotians they dedicated a bronze chariot on the Acropolis, inscribing upon it the following elegiac lines:

Having conquered the tribes of Boeotia and those of Chalcis

Midst the labours of war, sons of Athenians quenched

Insolence high in dark bonds of iron; and taking the ransom's

Tithê set up here these mares, vowed unto Pallas their god.49

25 1 The Persians learned from the Greeks the burning of temples, repaying those who had been the first to offend justice with the same wanton act.50

 p95  2 When the Carians were becoming exhausted in their struggles with the Persians, they made inquiry respecting an alliance, whether they should take the Milesians to be their allies. And the oracle replied:

Of old Miletus' sons were mighty men.

3 But the terror which lay close at hand caused them to forget their former rivalry with one another and compelled them to man the triremes with all speed.51

4 Hecataeus, the Milesian, whom the Ionians dispatched as an ambassador,52 asked what cause Artaphernes had to put no faith in them. And when Artaphernes replied that he was afraid that they would harbour resentment because of the injuries they had received during their defeat,53 Hecataeus said, "Well then, if suffering ill treatment has the effect of creating bad faith, receiving kind treatment will surely cause our cities to be well disposed toward the Persians." And Artaphernes, approving the statement, restored to the cities their laws and laid upon them fixed tributes according to their ability to pay.

26 1 The hatred which those who possessed citizenship held for the commons, though it had been concealed up to this time, now burst forth in full force, when it found the occasion. And because of their jealous rivalry they freed the slaves, preferring rather to share freedom with their servants than citizenship with the free.54

 p97  27 1 Datis, the general of the Persians and a Mede by descent, having received from his ancestors the tradition that the Athenians were descendants of Medus, who had established the kingdom of Media, sent a message to the Athenians declaring that he was come with an army to demand the return of the sovereignty which had belonged to his ancestors; for Medus, he said, who was the oldest of his own ancestors, had been deprived of the kingship by the Athenians, and removing to Asia had founded the kingdom of Media. 2 Consequently, he went on to say, if they would return the kingdom to him, he would forgive them for this guilty act55 and for the campaign they had made against Sardis; but if they opposed his demand, they would suffer a worse fate than had the Eretrians.56 3 Miltiades, voicing the decision reached by the ten generals, replied that according to the statement of the envoys it was more appropriate for the Athenians to hold the mastery over the empire of the Medes than for Datis to hold it over the state of the Athenians; for it was a man of Athens who had established the kingdom of the Medes, whereas no man of Median race had ever controlled Athens. Datis, on hearing this reply, made ready for battle.

28 1 Hippocrates, the tyrant of Gela, after his victory over the Syracusans,57 pitched his camp in the temple area of Zeus. And he seized the person of the priest of the temple and certain Syracusans who were in the act of taking down the golden dedications and removing in particular the robe of the statue of Zeus  p99 in the making of which a large amount of gold had been used. 2 And after sternly rebuking them as despoilers of the temple, he ordered them to return to the city, but he himself did not touch the dedications, since he was intent upon gaining a good name and he thought not only that one who had commenced a war of such magnitude should commit no sin against the deity, but also that he would set the commons at variance with the administrators of the affairs of Syracuse, because men would think the latter were ruling the state to their own advantage and not to that of all the people nor on the principle of equality.

3 Theron58 of Acragas in birth and wealth, as well as in the humanity he displayed towards the commons, far surpassed not only his fellow citizens but also the other Sicilian Greeks.

29 1 Gelon of Syracuse59 cried out in his sleep, for he was dreaming that he had been struck by lightning, and his dog, when he noticed that he was crying out immoderately, did not stop barking until he awakened him. Gelon was also once saved from death by a wolf. As a boy he was seated in a school and a wolf came and snatched away the tablet he was using. And while he was chasing after the wolf itself and his tablet too, the school was shaken by an earthquake and crashed down from its very foundations, killing every one of the boys together with the teacher. Historians, like Timaeus, Dionysius, Diodorus, and also Dio, celebrate the number of the boys, which amounted to more than one hundred. The precise number I do not know.

 p101  30 1 Cimon,60 the son of Miltiades, when his father had died in the state prison because he was unable to pay in full the fine,61 in order that he might receive his father's body for burial, delivered himself up to prison and assumed the debt.

2 Cimon, who was ambitious to take part in the conduct of the state, at a later time became an able general and performed glorious deeds by virtue of his personal bravery.

31 1 Cimon, as certain writers say, was the son of Miltiades, but according to others his father was known as Stesagoras.62 And he had a son Callias by Isodicê.63 And this Cimon was married to his own sister Elpinicê64 as Ptolemy was at a later time to Berenicê,65 and Zeus to Hera before them, and as the Persians do at the present time. And Callias pays a fine of fifty talents, in order that his father Cimon may not suffer punishment because of his disgraceful marriage, that, namely, of brother with sister. The number of those who write about this it would be a long task for me to recount; for the multitude of those who have written about it is boundless, such as the comic poets and orators and Diodorus and others.

 p103  32 1 Themistocles, the son of Neocles, when a certain wealthy person66 approached him to find out where he could find a wealthy son-in-law, advised him not to seek for money which lacked a man, but rather a man who was lacking in money. And when the inquirer agreed with this advice, Themistocles counselled him to marry his daughter to Cimon. This was the reason, therefore, for Cimon becoming a wealthy man, and he was released from prison, and calling to account the magistrates who had shut him up he secured their condemnation.

[The preceding Book, which is the tenth of our narrative, closed with the events of the year67 just before the crossing of Xerxes into Europe and the formal deliberations which the general assembly of the Greeks held in Corinth on the alliance between Gelon and the Greeks.]

33 1 When all the Greeks, at the time Xerxes was about to cross over into Europe,68 dispatched an embassy to Gelon to discuss an alliance, and when he answered that he would ally himself with them and supply them with grain, provided that they would grant him the supreme command either on the land or on the sea, the tyrant's ambition for glory in his demanding the supreme command thwarted the alliance; and yet the magnitude of the aid he could supply and the fear of the enemy were impelling them to share the glory with Gelon.69

34 1 For though the supremacy which the Persians enjoy entails, for the satisfaction of cupidity, the  p105 gifts they require, yet a tyrant's greed does not overlook even any small gain.70

2 For the surest guardian of safety is mistrust.

3 Now children, when they are being ill treated, turn for aid to their parents, but states turn to the peoples who once founded them.71

4 A tyrant's greed does not rest satisfied with what he possesses, but it yearns after the property of others and is never sated.

5 As for those whose character will oppose his domination, he will not, when the opportunity offers, allow them to become powerful.

6 For you are descendants of those men who have bequeathed to glory their own virtues, deathless after their death.

7 For as the reward for the alliance it is not money he requires, which one can often see despised by even the lowest man in private life when he has once gained wealth, but praise and glory, to gain which noble men do not hesitate to die; for the reward which glory offers is to be preferred above silver.

8 For the inheritance which the Spartans receive from their fathers is not wealth, as is the case with all other men, but an eagerness to die for the sake of liberty, so that they set all the good things which life can offer second to glory.

9 Let us not in our eagerness for mercenary troops throw away our own citizen forces, and, in reaching for what is unseen, lose our mastery of that which is in sight.

 p107  10 I deny that I am dismayed at the magnitude of the Persians' armaments; for valour decides the issue of war, not numbers.

11 For the inheritance they have received from their fathers is to live their own lives, and to die in response to their country's need.

12 Why should we fear the gold with which they deck themselves out as they go into battle, as women deck themselves for marriage, since as a result victory will bring us the prize not only of glory, but of wealth? For valour fears not gold, which cold steel has ever taken captive, but the military skill of the leaders.

13 For every army which exceeds the proper proportion carries in itself its undoing in almost every case. For before the serried ranks have heard the command we shall have anticipated them in obtaining our objectives.

The Loeb Editor's Notes:

1 Tarquinius Superbus; cp. Livy 1.47 f.; Dionysius Hal. 4.38. The traditional date is 535 B.C.

2 According to the account of Dionysius, these were the steps of the Senate chamber which led down into the Forum.

3 578‑535 B.C.

4 ἐγνωρίζετο is commonly used by the chronographers as the equivalent of floruit, indicating roughly a person's middle age.

5 Etruscan.

6 The Pythagoreans.

7 The Elder, in Syracuse, 405‑367 B.C.

8 The story of the friendship between Damon and Phintias (Pythias is incorrect) was widely known in the ancient world, and in many forms. Diodorus and Cicero, De Off. 3.45; Tusc. Disp. 5.22 (quoting the tyrant: "Utinam ego tertius vobis adscriberer!") give the oldest version, the latter clearly connecting the event with the Elder Dionysius. The fullest account we possess, as given by Iamblichus (Vita Pythag. 233) on the authority, as he claims, of Aristoxenus, who is described as receiving the tale directly from the mouth of the tyrant himself at Corinth, makes the occasion of the event a scheme of the court of the Younger Dionysius to put the Pythagorean reputation of friendship to the test. The account by Hyginus (Fab. 257) was the source of Schiller's famous Ballade, "Die Burgschaft."

9 Cp. Iliad, 17.1 ff.

10 Iambi, 124 ff.

11 A name given to Pythagoras because he claimed to be the reincarnation of Euphorbus (cp. the preceding paragraph).

12 T. Heath (A History of Greek Mathematics, 1, p142) thinks these words "unintelligible . . . unless the 'seven-lengthed circle' can be taken as meaning the 'lengths of seven circles' (in the sense of the seven independent orbits of the sun, moon and planets) or the circle (the zodiac) comprehending them all." Mair (see critical note) discusses the meaning of the passage at considerable length; see also further in Heath and Hunt.

The critical note to the Greek text, following the quotation from Callimachus, reads:

The original lines of Callimachus have now been recovered from a papyrus (Oxyrhynchus Papyri 1011, ed. by A. S. Hunt), and are restored and translated as follows in the edition of Mair in the L. C. L.:

τοὐξεῦρ’ ὁ Φρὺξ Εὔφορβ[ος], ὅστις ἀνθρώπων

τρ[ίγ]ωνα καὶ σκ[αληνὰ] πρῶτος ἔγρ[α]ψε

καὶ κύκλον ἑπ[ταμήκε’, ἠδὲ νηστεύειν

τῶν ἐμπνεό[ντ]ων ε[ἶπεν· οἱ δ’ ὑπήκουσαν

οὐ πάντες, ἀλλ’ οὓς εἶχεν [οὕτερος δαίμων.

(". . . which the Phrygian Euphorubs discovered: who first of men drew triangles and scalenes and the seven-length circle and who bade men abstain from eating living things" and his teaching was hearkened to, not by all but by some misguided men.") Diodorus' Greek is clearly defective and had been variously emended before the discovery of the papyrus fragment. Schneider (Frag. 83 a) reconstructed the lines as follows:

ἃ ξεῦρε Φρὺξ Εὔφορβος, ὅστις ἀνθρώπους

τρίγωνά τε σκαληνὰ καὶ κύκλων ἑπτὰ

μήκη ’δίδαξε κἠδίδαξε νηστεύειν

τῶν ἐμπνεόντων· οἱ δ’ ἄρ’ οὐχ ὑπήκουσαν


To bring Diodorus' quotation into agreement with the Greek of the papyrus (itself mutilated, though the restorations appear plausible and yield sense) would require such drastic emendation that the Greek is left as it is given in the codex.

13 Philosopher, statesman, general, and mathematician of the early fourth century B.C.

14 Cicero (Tusc. Disp. 4.36) quotes with warm approval the words of Archytas: "Quo te modo, inquit, accepissem, nisi iratus essem" ("What a visitation you would have got, if I had not been angry"; tr. of King in L. C. L.).

15 Lysander, a Spartan admiral, died in 395 B.C.; Demades, the orator, in 319 B.C. Antipater once remarked of Demades, when he was an old man, that "he was like a victim when the sacrifice was over — nothing left but tongue and guts" (Plut. Phocion, 1).

16 Cp. Plato, Rep. 430E.

17 Ll. 1364‑1375. The passage runs:

Then, gazing Argos-ward, Polyneices prayed:

"Queen Hera — for thine am I since I wed

Adrastus' child, and dwell within thy land —

Grant me to slay my brother, and to stain

My warring hand with blood of victory!"

But unto golden-shielded Pallas' fane

Eteocles looked, and prayed: "Daughter of Zeus,

Grant that the conquering spear, of mine hand sped,

Yea, from this arm, may smite my brother's breast."

Tr. of Way in the L. C. L.

18 c. 530 B.C.

19 The distinguished Theban general and statesman, c. 420‑362 B.C.

20 Diodorus is probably still speaking about the Pythagoreans.

21 550 B.C.

22 King of Persia, 529‑522 B.C.

23 525 B.C.

24 The site of the oracle of Ammon, the present oasis of Siwah.

25 c. 540‑523 B.C.

26 Polycrates' purpose was clearly to force all who sailed the seas to become his allies.

27 The reference could well be to the deserved punishment of Polycrates (cp. Herodotus, 3.125).

28 A by-name of Hegesistratus.

29 Hippias was the real ruler, 527‑510 B.C.; Hipparchus was slain in 514 B.C.

30 Harmodius; Thucydides 6.54‑57 gives the most trustworthy account of this famous affair; cp. Book 9.1.4.

31 The rest of the story, such as the indignation of the citizens, the attack upon the tyrants in 514 B.C., the slaying of Hipparchus and Harmodius, and the like, are lacking in the Greek.

32 Zeno of Elea (Velia in Italy) in the middle of the 5th century B.C.; see the following paragraph.

33 c. 510 B.C. An account of the chequered career of Dorieus, of the royal line of Sparta, is given by Herodotus, 5.41‑48.

34 On the south coast of Sicily near Agrigentum.

35 The passage probably refers to the remark of a Babylonian that Darius would take Babylon when mules bear offspring. See Herodotus, 3.151 and passim for details of the account of the taking of Babylon.

36 Literally, "cut off the extremities of his face," i.e. the nose and ears; the story is given by Herodotus, 3.153 ff., who calls Zopyrus the son of Megabyzus. 520‑519 B.C.

37 In order to trick the Babylonians.

38 This probably refers to the boast of the Babylonians (Herodotus, 3.151) that the Persians would only take Babylon "when mules bear offspring." A little later one of Zopyrus' mules foaled.

39 519 B.C.

40 c. 520 B.C. Not to be confused with the Tyrrhenians (Etruscans) of Italy. These Tyrrhenians came to Lemnos in all probability from Asia Minor c. 700 B.C.

41 The famous hero of Marathon, 490 B.C.

42 These are presumably presents made out of dire necessity. Modern historians say that Miltiades "conquered" Lemnos c. 510 or c. 493 B.C.; see Herodotus, 6.140.

43 535‑510 B.C.

44 510 B.C. He was in the Roman army which was besieging the city of Ardea; see Livy 1.57 ff.; Dionysius Hal. 4.64 ff.; Dio Cassius fr. 10.12 ff.

45 He had the surname Collatinus.

46 Much the same liberty has been taken with the translation as the Byzantine excerptor undoubtedly took with the Greek of Diodorus, who never went to quite such pains to point a moral or was so involved.

47 The war, which took place in 510 B.C., is described more fully in Book 12.9‑10.

48 Over the Spartans; c. 506 B.C.

49 This is the form in which Herodotus (5.77) quoted the inscription as he read it upon the four-horse chariot. The original inscription was destroyed in 480 B.C. by the Persians when they sacked and burned the Acropolis and either melted down or carried off the bronze chariot. A sizable fragment of each of the two inscriptions has been recovered (IG I2.394; M. N. Tod, Greek Historical Inscriptions, 12, 43). The original inscription stressed the chains, giving the lines of the inscription before us in the order 3, 2, 1, 4. The latest extended discussion of the dedication together with a reconstruction of the chariot, mares, and driver, which were life size, is given by G. P. Stevens, Hesperia, 5 (1936), pp504 f.

50 Herodotus (5.102) says that the Persians gave the burning by Greeks of the temple of Cybele in Sardis as an excuse for their burning the temples of Greece.

51 The reference is to the Ionians as they saw themselves threatened by the Persian fleet. Cp. Herodotus, 6.7 f.

52 Herodotus, 5.36, 125 f. mentions Hecataeus in connection with the Ionian revolt, but not with any embassy like this, which has every appearance of being an invention.

53 The naval battle of Lade, in 494 B.C.

54 This may refer to Argos, where the slaves got control of the city for a time, because so many citizens had been slain in the wars with Sparta (cp. Herodotus, 6.83).

55 Of expelling his ancestor.

56 Eretria was plundered and burned by the Persians a few days before the battle of Marathon, 490 B.C.

57 In the battle of Helorus, c. 491 B.C.

58 Tyrant of Acragas, 488‑472 B.C.

59 Tyrant, but nominally "General," of Syracuse, 485‑478 B.C.

60 The distinguished Athenian admiral in the war between the Confederacy of Delos and the Persian Empire, and the leader of the conservative party in Athens until his ostracism in 461 B.C.

61 Miltiades was fined fifty talents for his unsuccessful attack upon the island of Paros in 489 B.C.

62 Stesagoras was the brother of Miltiades and so Cimon's uncle.

63 Granddaughter of the wealthy Megacles.

64 Elpinicê was the half-sister of Cimon, and Nepos (Cimon, 1.2) states that Athenian law allowed the marriage of brother and sister who had only the same father. But Wilamowitz-Moellendorf (Hermes, 12 (1877), p339, n23) clears Cimon of this scandalous charge. She was clearly a vigorous personality (cp. Plutarch, Cimon, 4.5). The stories about Elpinicê became more scandalous in the course of time (cp. Athenaeus 13.589E).

65 Three Ptolemies had sisters named Berenicê.

66 Euryptolemus, son of Megacles.

67 481 B.C.

68 480 B.C.

69 See Herodotus, 7.157 ff. But Gelon himself was in danger from an attack of the Carthaginians upon the Greeks of Sicily.

70 This and the following excerpts may well be from the speeches of the Greeks as they weighed the choice between fighting the Persians, with possible defeat, and putting themselves under the tyrant Gelon.

71 That is, the mother-cities of Greece should not seek aid from the colonies they had once founded in Sicily.

[image ALT: Valid HTML 4.01.]

Page updated: 24 Jul 17