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XI.63‑92

This webpage reproduces a section of
The Library of History

of
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!


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XII.22‑40

(Vol. IV) Diodorus Siculus
Library of History

p367 Book XII (beginning)

On the campaign of the Athenians against Cyprus (chaps. 1‑4).
On the revolt of the Megarians from the Athenians (chap. 5).
On the battle at Coroneia between the Athenians and Boeotians (chap. 6).
On the campaign of the Athenians against Euboea (chap. 7).
The war in Sicily between the Syracusans and the Acragantini (chap. 8).
The founding in Italy of Thurii and its civil strife (chaps. 9‑11).
How Charondas, who was chosen lawgiver of Thurii, was responsible for many benefits to his native city (chaps. 12‑19).
How Zaleucus, the lawgiver in Locri, won for himself great fame (chaps. 20‑21).
How the Athenians expelled the Hestiaeans and sent there their own colonists (chap. 22).
On the war between the Thurians and the Tarantini (chap. 23).
On the civil strife in Rome (chaps. 24‑26).
On the war between the Samians and the Milesians (chaps. 27‑28).
How the Syracusans campaigned against the Picenians and razed their city (chap. 29).
p369 How the Corinthian War, as it is called, broke out in Greece (chap. 30).
How the nation of the Campani was formed in Italy (chap. 31).
The naval battle between the Corinthians and the Cercyraeans (chaps. 31‑33).
The revolt of Potidaea and the Chalcidians from the Athenians (chap. 34).
On the campaign of the Athenians against the Potidaeans (chap. 34).
On the civil strife which arose in Thurii (chap. 35).
How Meton of Athens was the first to expound the nineteen-year cycle (chap. 36).
How the Tarantini founded the city of Heracleia in Italy (chap. 36).
How in Rome Spurius Maelius attempted to seize the supreme power and was put to death (chap. 37).
On the Peloponnesian War, as it is called (chaps. 38‑41).
On the battle between the Boeotians and the Plataeans (chap. 42).
How, when Methonê was being besieged by the Athenians, Brasidas the Spartan won distinction and fame (chap. 43).
How the Athenians campaigned against the Locrians and pillaged the city of Thronium (chap. 44).
How the Aeginetans, who had been expelled by the Athenians, colonized Thyreae, as it is called (chap. 44).
How the Lacedaemonians sent an army into Attica and destroyed the properties (chap. 45).
The second campaign of the Athenians against the Potidaeans (chap. 46).
p371 The campaign of the Lacedaemonians against Acarnania and the naval battle with the Athenians (chap. 47‑48).
The campaign of Sitalces against Macedonia, and of the Lacedaemonians against Attica (chaps. 50‑51).
On the embassy from Leontini to Athens and the powerful oratory of Gorgias their ambassador (chap. 53).
On the war between the Leontines and the Syracusans (chap. 54).
The revolt of the Lesbians from the Athenians and the seizure and destruction of Plataea by the Lacedaemonians (chaps. 55‑56).
The civil strife among the Cercyraeans (chap. 57).
How the Athenians were seized by a pestilential disease and lost many of their citizens (chap. 58).
How the Lacedaemonians founded Heracleia, a city in Trachis (chap. 59).
How the Athenians slew many of the Ambraciotes and laid waste their city (chap. 60).
On the Lacedaemonians who were made prisoners on the island of Sphacteria (chaps. 61‑63).
On the punishment inflicted by Postumius on his son because he left his place in the ranks (chap. 64).
On the war between the Lacedaemonians and Athenians over the Megarians (chap. 66).
The war between the Lacedaemonian and Athenians over the Chalcidians (chaps. 67‑68).
The battle in Boeotia between the Athenians and the Boeotians (chaps. 69‑70).
The campaign of the Athenians against the Lesbian exiles (chap. 72).
The expulsion of the Delians by the Athenians (chap. 73).
p373 The capture and destruction of Toronê by the Athenians (chap. 73).
How, after the Athenians and Lacedaemonians had conclude an alliance between them, the rest of the cities were alienated from them (chaps. 74‑76).
How the Delians were restored by the Athenians to their native state (chap. 77).
How the Lacedaemonians waged war upon the Mantineans and Argives (chaps. 78‑79).
The campaign of the Byzantians and Calchedonians against Bithynia (chap. 82).
On the reasons why the Athenians launched a campaign against Syracuse (chaps. 83‑84).

p375 1 1 A man may justly feel perplexed when he stops to consider the inconsistency that is to be found in the life of mankind; for no thing which we consider to be good is ever found to have been given to human beings unadulterated, nor is there any evil in an absolute form without some admixture of advantage. Proofs of this will be obtained if we give thought to the events of the past, especially to those of outstanding importance. 2 For instance, the campaign of Xerxes, the king of the Persians, against Greece aroused the greatest fear among the Greeks by reason of the immensity of his armaments, since the war they were entering might well decide their slavery, and since the Greek cities of Asia had already been enslaved, all men assumed that those of Greece would also suffer a similar fate. 3 But the war, contrary to expectation, came to an amazing end, and not only were the peoples of Greece freed of the dangers threatening them, but they also won for themselves great glory, and every city of Hellas enjoyed such an abundant prosperity that all men were filled with wonder at the complete reversal of their fortune. 4 For from this time over the next fifty years Greece made great advance in prosperity. In these years, for example, plenty brought increase to the arts, and the greatest artists of whom we have record, p377including the sculptor Pheidias, flourished at that time; and there was likewise great advance in education, and philosophy and oratory had a high place of honour among all Greeks, and especially the Athenians. 5 For the philosophers were Socrates and Plato and Aristotle, and the orators were Pericles1 and Isocrates and his pupils; and there were likewise men who have become renowned for generalship, Miltiades, Themistocles, Aristeides, Cimon, Myronides, and others more than these, regarding whom it would be a long task to write.

2 1 First place belonged to the Athenians, who had advanced so far in both fame and prowess that their name was known throughout practically the entire inhabited world; for they increased their leadership to such a degree that, by their own resources and without the aid of Lacedaemonians or Peloponnesians, they overcame great Persian armaments both on land and on sea, and humbled the famed leadership of the Persians to such an extent that they forced them by the terms of a treaty to liberate all the cities of Asia. 2 But of these matters we have given a detailed and fairly precise account in two Books, this and the preceding, and we shall turn now to the events next in order, after we have first set the time-limits of this section. 3 Now in the preceding Book we began with the campaign of Xerxes and presented a universal history down to the year before the campaign of the Athenians against Cyprus under the command of Cimon;2 and in this Book we shall commence with the campaign of the Athenians against Cyprus p379and continue as far as the war which the Athenians voted to undertake against the Syracusans.3

3 1 When Euthydemus4 was archon at Athens, the Romans elected as consuls Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus and Marcus Fabius Vibulanus. In this year the Athenians, who had been at war with the Persians on behalf of the Egyptians and had lost all their ships at the island which is known as Prosopitis,5 after a short time resolved to make war again upon the Persians on behalf of the Greeks in Asia Minor. And fitting out a fleet of two hundred triremes, they chose Cimon, the son of Miltiades, to be general and commanded him to sail to Cyprus to make war on the Persians. 2 And Cimon, taking the fleet which had been furnished with excellent crews and abundant supplies, sailed to Cyprus. At that time the generals of the Persian armaments were Artabazus and Megabyzus. Artabazus held the supreme command6 and was tarrying in Cyprus with three hundred triremes, and Megabyzus was encamped in Cilicia with the land forces, which numbered three hundred thousand men. 3 Cimon, when he arrived in Cyprus and was master of the sea, reduced by siege Citium and Marium, treating the conquered in humane fashion. But after this, when triremes from Cilicia and Phoenicia bore down upon the island, Cimon, putting out to sea against them and forcing battle upon them, sank many of the ships, captured one hundred together with their crews, and pursued the remainder as far as Phoenicia. 4 Now the Persians with the ships that were left sought refuge on the land in the region p381where Megabyzus lay encamped with the land force. And the Athenians, sailing up and disembarking the soldiers, joined battle, in the course of which Anaxicrates, the other general, who had fought brilliantly, ended his life heroically; but the rest were victorious in the battle and after slaying many returned to the ships. After this the Athenians sailed back again to Cyprus.

Such, then, were the events of the first year of the war.

4 1 When Pedieus was archon in Athens, the Romans elected as consuls Marcus Valerius Lactuca and Spurius Verginius Tricostus. In this year Cimon, the general of the Athenians, being master of the sea, subdued the cities of Cyprus. And since a large Persian garrison was there in Salamis and the city was filled with missiles and arms of every description, and of grain and supplies of every other kind, he decided that it would be to his advantage to reduce it by siege. 2 For Cimon reasoned that this would be the easiest way for him not only to become master of all Cyprus but also to confound the Persians, since their being unable to come to the aid of the Salaminians, because the Athenians were masters of the sea, and their having left their allies in the lurch would cause them to be despised, and that, in a word, the entire war would be decided if all Cyprus were reduced by arms. And that in which what actually happened. 3 The Athenians began the siege of Salamis and were making daily assaults, but the soldiers in the city, supplied as they were with missiles and matériel, were with ease warding off the besiegers from the walls. p3834 Artaxerxes the king, however, when he learned of the reverses his forces had suffered at Cyprus, took counsel on the war with his friends and decided that it was to his advantage to conclude a peace with the Greeks. 5 Accordingly he dispatched to the generals in Cyprus and to the satraps the written terms on which they were permitted to come to a settlement with the Greeks. Consequently Artabazus and Megabyzus sent ambassadors to Athens to discuss a settlement. The Athenians were favourable and dispatched ambassadors plenipotentiary, the leader of whom was Callias the son of Hipponicus; and so the Athenians and their allies concluded with the Persians a treaty of peace, the principal terms of which run as follows: All the Greekº cities are to live under laws of their own making; the satraps of the Persians are not to come nearer to the sea than a three days' journey and no Persian warship is to sail inside of Phaselis7 or the Cyanean Rocks;8 and if these terms are observed by the king and his generals, the Athenians are not to send troops into the territory over which the king is ruler.9 6 After the treaty had been solemnly concluded, the Athenians withdrew their armaments from Cyprus, having won a brilliant victory and concluded most noteworthy terms of peace. And it so happened that Cimon died of an illness during his stay in Cyprus.

5 1 When Philiscus was archon in Athens, the Romans elected as consuls Titus Romilius Vaticanus and Gaius Veturius Cichorius; and the Eleians p385celebrated the Eighty-third Olympiad, that in which Crison of Himera won the "stadion." 2 In this year the Megarians revolted from the Athenians, and dispatching ambassadors to the Lacedaemonians they concluded an alliance with them. Irritated at this the Athenians sent soldiers into the territory of the Megarians, plundering their properties and seizing much booty. And when the Megarians issued from their city to defend their territory, a battle ensued in which the Athenians were victorious and chased them back within their walls.

6 1 When Timarchides was archon in Athens, the Romans elected as consuls Spurius Tarpeius and Aulus Asterius Fontinius.10 In this year the Lacedaemonians invaded Attica and ravaged a large part of the countryside, and after laying siege to some of the Athenian fortresses they withdrew to the Peloponnesus; and Tolmides, the Athenian general, seized Chaeroneia. 2 And when the Boeotians gathered their forces and caught Tolmides' troops in an ambush, a violent battle took place at Coroneia, in the course of which Tolmides fell fighting and of the remaining Athenians some were massacred and others were taken alive. The result of a disaster of such magnitude was that the Athenians were compelled to allow all the cities throughout Boeotia to live under laws of their own making,11 in order to get back their captured citizens.

7 1 When Callimachus was archon in Athens, the Romans elected as consuls Sextus Quinctius . . . p387Trigeminus. In this year, since the Athenians had been weakened in Greece because of their defeat in Boeotia at Coroneia, many cities revolted from them. Since the inhabitants of Euboea were taking the lead in the revolution, Pericles, who had been chosen general, made a campaign against Euboea with a strong force, and taking the city of Hestiaea by storm he removed the inhabitants from their native city; and the other cities he terrified and forced back into obedience to the Athenians.

A truce12 was made for thirty years, Callias and Chares negotiating and confirming the peace.

8 1 In Sicily a war broke out between the Syracusans and Acragantini for the following reasons. The Syracusans had overcome Ducetius, the ruler of the Siceli, cleared him of all charges when he became a suppliant, and specified that he should make his home in the city of the Corinthians.13 2 But after Ducetius had spent a short time in Corinth he broke the agreement, and on the plea that the gods had given him an oracular reply that he should found a city on the Fair Shore14 (Calê Actê) of Sicily, he sailed to the island with a number of colonists; some Siceli were also included, among whom was Archonides, the ruler of Herbita. He, then, was busied with the colonization of Calê Actê.15 3 But the Acragantini, partly because they were envious of the Syracusans and partly because they were accusing them of letting Ducetius, who was their common enemy, go free without consulting them, declared war upon the Syracusans. 4 The cities of Sicily were divided, some p389of them taking the field with the Acragantini and others with the Syracusans, and so large armaments were mustered on both sides. Great emulation was shown by the cities as they pitched opposing camps at the Himera River, and in the conflict which followed the Syracusans were victorious and slew more than a thousand Acragantini. After the battle Acragantini sent ambassadors to discuss terms and the Syracusans conclude a peace.

9 1 These, then, were the events in Sicily. And in Italy the city of Thurii came to be founded,16 for the following reasons. When in former times the Greeks had founded Sybaris in Italy, the city had enjoyed a rapid growth because of the fertility of the land. 2 For lying as the city did between two rivers, the Crathis and the Sybaris, from which it derived its name, its inhabitants, who tilled an extensive and fruitful countryside, came to possess great riches. And since they kept granting citizenship to many aliens, they increased to such an extent that they were considered to be far the first among the inhabitants of Italy; indeed they so excelled in population that the city possessed three hundred thousand citizens.

Now there arose among the Sybarites a leader of the people named Telys,17 who brought charges against the most influential men and persuaded the Sybarites to exile the five hundred wealthiest citizens and confiscate their estates. 3 And when these exiles went to Croton and took refuge at the altars in the market-place, Telys dispatched ambassadors to the Crotoniates, commanding them either to deliver up the exiles p391or to expect war. 4 An assembly of the people was convened and deliberation proposed on the question whether they should surrender the suppliants to the Sybarites or face a war with a superior foe, and the Council and people were at a loss what to do. At first the sentiments of the masses, from fear of the war, leaned toward handing over the suppliants, but after this, when Pythagoras the philosopher advised that they grant safety to the suppliants, they changed their opinions and accepted the war on behalf of the safety of the suppliants. 5 When the Sybarites advanced against them with three hundred thousand men, the Crotoniates opposed them with one hundred thousand under the command of Milo the athlete, who by reason of his great physical strength was the first to put to flight his adversaries. 6 For we are told that this man, who had won the prize in Olympia six times and whose courage was of the measure of his physical body, came to battle wearing his Olympic crowns and equipped with the gear of Heracles, lion's skin and club; and he won the admiration of his fellow citizens as responsible for their victory.

10 1 Since the Crotoniates in their anger would take no prisoners but slew all who fell into their hands in the flight, the larger number of the Sybarites perished; and they plundered the city of Sybaris and laid it entirely waste. 2 Fifty-eight years later18 Thessalians joined in settling the city, but after a little while they were driven out by the Crotoniates, in the period we are now discussing. 3 And shortly thereafter the city was moved to another site and p393received another name, its founders being Lampon and Xenocritus; the circumstances of its founding were as follows.

The Sybarites who were driven a second time from their native city dispatched ambassadors to Greece, to the Lacedaemonians and Athenians, requesting that they assist their repatriation and take part in the settlement. 4 Now the Lacedaemonians paid no attention to them, but the Athenians promised to join in the enterprise, and they manned ten ships and sent them to the Sybarites under the leadership of Lampon and Xenocritus; they further sent word to the several cities of the Peloponnesus, offering a share in the colony to anyone who wished to take part in it. 5 Many accepted the offer and received an oracular response from Apollo that they should found a city in the place where there would be

Water to drink in due measure, but bread to each without measure.

They put in at Italy and arriving at Sybaris they set about hunting the place which the god had ordered them to colonize. 6 Having found not far from Sybaris a spring called Thuria, which had a bronze pipe which the natives of the region called medimnos,19 and believing this to be the place which the god had pointed out, they threw a wall about it, and founding a city there they named it Thurium for the spring. 7 They divided the city lengthwise by four streets, the first of which they named Heracleia, the second Aphrodisia, the third Olympias, and the fourth Dionysias, and breadthwise they divided it by three streets, of p395which the first was named Heroa, the second Thuria, and the last Thurina. And since the quarters formed by these streets were filled with dwellings, the construction of the city appeared to be good.

11 1 For a short time only did the Thurians live together in peace, and then they fell into serious civil strife, not without reason. The former Sybarites, it appears, were assigning the most important offices to themselves and the lower ones to the citizens who had been enrolled later; their wives they also thought should enjoy precedence among the citizenesses in the offering of sacrifices to the gods, and the wives of the later citizens should take second place to them; furthermore, the land lying near the city they were portioning out in allotments among themselves, and the more distant land to the newcomers. 2 And when a division arose for the causes we have mentioned, the citizens who had been added to the rolls after the others, being more numerous and more powerful, put to death practically all of the original Sybarites and took upon themselves the colonization of the city. Since the countryside was extensive and rich, they sent for colonists in large numbers from Greece, and to these they assigned parts of city and gave them equal shares of the land. 3 Those who continued to live in the city quickly came to possess great wealth, and concluding friendship with the Crotoniates they administered their state in admirable fashion. Establishing a democratic form of government, they divided the citizens into ten tribes, to each of which they assigned a name based on the nationality of those who constituted it: three tribes composed of peoples gathered from the Peloponnesus they named the Arcadian, the Achaean, and the p397Eleian; the same number, gathered from related peoples living outside the Peloponnesus, they named the Boeotian, Amphictyonian, and Dorian; and the remaining four, constituted from any other peoples, the Ionian, the Athenian, the Euboean, and the Islander. They also chose for their lawgiver the best man among such of their citizens as were admired for their learning, this being Charondas.20 4 He, after examining the legislations of all peoples, singled out the best principles and incorporated them in his laws; and he also worked out many principles which were his own discovery, and these it is not foreign to our purpose to mention for the edification of our readers.

12 1 First of all, in the case of men who brought home a stepmother over their children he ordained as their punishment that they should have no part in counselling their fatherland, since he believed that men who planned so badly with respect to their own children would likewise be bad counsellors for their fatherland. For, he said, whoever had been fortunate in their first marriages would rest satisfied with their good lot, whereas whoever had been unfortunate in marriage and then made the same mistake a second time should be regarded as men without sense. 2 Men who had been found guilty of false accusation should, he decreed, wear wherever they went a wreath of tamarisk, in order that they might show to all their fellow citizens that they had won the highest prize for wickedness. As a consequence certain men who had been judged guilty of this charge, being unable to bear their great disgrace, voluntarily removed themselves from life. When this took place, every man who had made a practice of false accusation was banished from the city, and the p399government enjoyed a blessed life of freedom from this evil.

3 Charondas also wrote a unique law on evil association, which had been overlooked by all other lawgivers. He took it for granted that the characters of good men are in some cases perverted to evil by reason of their found and intimacy with bad persons,21 and that badness, like a pestilent disease, sweeps over the life of mankind and infects the souls of the most upright; for the road to the worse slopes downward and so provides an easier way to take; and this is the reason why many men of fairly good character, ensnared by deceptive pleasures, get stranded upon very bad habits. Wishing, therefore, to remove this source of corruption, the lawgiver forbade the indulgence in friendship and intimacy with unprincipled persons, provided actions at law against evil association, and by means of severe penalties diverted from their course those who were about to err in this manner.

4 Charondas also wrote another law which is far superior to the one just mentioned and had also been overlooked by lawgivers before his time. He framed the law that all the sons of citizens should learn to read and write, the city providing the salaries of the teachers; for he assumed that men of no means and unable to provide the fees from their own resources would be cut off from the noblest pursuits.

13 1 In fact the lawgiver rated reading and writing p401above every other kind of learning, and with right good reason; for it is by means of them that most of the affairs of life and such as are most useful are concluded, like votes, letters, covenants, laws, and all other things which make the greatest contribution to orderly life. 2 What man, indeed, could compose a worthy laudation of the knowledge of letters? For it is by such knowledge alone that the dead are carried in the memory of the living and that men widely separated in space hold converse through written communication with those who are at the furthest distance from them, as if they were at their side; and in the case of covenants in time of war between states or kings the firmest guarantee that such agreements will abide is provided by the unmistakable character of writing. Indeed, speaking generally, it is writing alone which preserves the cleverest sayings of men of wisdom and the oracles of the gods, as well as philosophy and all knowledge, and is constantly handing them down to succeeding generations for the ages to come. 3 Consequently, while it is true that nature is the cause of life, the cause of the good life is the education which is based upon reading and writing. And so Charondas, believing as he did that the illiterate were being deprived of certain great advantages, by his legislation corrected this wrong and judged them to be deserving of concern and expense on the part of the state; 4 and he so far excelled former lawgivers who had required that private citizens when ill should enjoy the service of physicians at state expense that, whereas those legislators judged men's bodies to be worthy of healing, he gave healing to the souls which were in distress through want of education,22 and p403whereas it is our prayer that we may never have need of those physicians, it is our heart's desire that all our time may be spent in the company teachers of knowledge.

14 1 To both the matters we have mentioned above many poets have borne witness in verse; to the law on evil association as follows:23

The man who takes delight in converse with

The base, I never ask his kind, aware

He's just like those with whom he likes to be;

to the law he proclaimed on a stepmother as follows:24

Charondas, giver of laws, so men relate,

In legal code says many things, but this

Above all else: Let him who on his offspring

A second mother foists be held without

Esteem nor count among his countrymen

For aught, since it's a bane that he hath brought

From alien source upon his own affairs.

For if, he says to him, you fortunate were

When wedded first, forbear when you're well off,

And if your luck was bad, a madman's act

It surely is to try a second wife.

For in truth the man who errs twice in the same matter may justly be considered a fool. 2 And Philemon, the writer of comedy, when introducing men p405who repeatedly sail the seas, after commending the law, says:25

Amazement holds me, no longer if a man

Has gone to sea, but if he's done it twice.

Similarly one may say that one is not amazed if a man has married, but if he has married a second time; for it is better to expose oneself twice to the sea than to a woman. 3 Indeed the greatest and most grievous quarrels in homes between children and fathers are caused by stepmothers, and this fact is the cause of many lawless acts which are portrayed in tragic scenes upon the stage.

15 1 Charondas also wrote another law which merits approbation — that which deals with the protection of orphans. On the surface this allow appears to contain nothing unusual or worthy of approbation, but when it is scrutinized more closely and examined with care, it indicates not only earnest study but also a high claim to regard. 2 For his law provided that the property of orphans should be managed by the next of kin on the father's side, but that the orphans should be reared by their relatives on the mother's side. Now at first glance a man sees nothing wise or outstanding in this law, but when it is explored deeply it is found to be justly worthy of praise. For if the reason is sought out why he entrusted the property of orphans to one group and the rearing of them to another, the lawgiver is seen to have shown an unusual kind of ingenuity. 3 That is, the relatives on the mother's side will not plot to take the lives of the orphans, since they have no share in their inheritance, and the kin on the father's side do not p407have the opportunity to plot against their lives, since they are not entrusted with the care of their persons; furthermore, since they inherit the property if the orphans die of disease or some other circumstance, they will administer the estate with greater care, believing that they hold as their own what are hopes based upon an act of Fortune.

16 1 Charondas also wrote a law against men who had left their post in war or had refused to take up arms at all in defence of their fatherland. Other lawmakers had made death the punishment of such men, but Charondas ordered that they should sit for three days in the market-place dressed in women's clothes. 2 And this law is not only more humane than those of other peoples but it also imperceptibly, by the severity of the disgrace it inflicts, diverts others of like mind from cowardice; for it is better to die than to experience such a gross indignity in one's fatherland. Moreover, he did not do away with the guilty men but preserved them for the state against the needs of wartime, believing that they would make amends, by reason of the punishment caused by that disgrace, and would be eager to wipe out their former shame by bolder deeds of bravery.

3 The lawgiver also preserved the laws he made by means of their severity. That is, he commanded that under every circumstance obedience should be rendered to the law even if it had been altogether wrongly conceived; but he allowed any law to be corrected, if it needed correction. 4 For he took the position that although it was right enough that a man should be overruled by a lawgiver, to be overruled by one in private station was quite preposterous, p409even if that serves the general interest. And it was especially by this means that he prevented men who present in jury-courts the pretences and cunning devices of those who have violated the laws in place of the literal terms of the laws from destroying by inventive sophistries their supremacy. 5 As a consequence, we are told, to certain men who had offered such arguments before the jurors who were passing on the punishment of men who had violated the law, he said, "You must save either the law or the man."

17 1 But the most amazing legislation of Charondas, we are told, was that which related to revision of the laws. Observing that in most states the multitude of men who kept endeavouring to revise the laws led continually to the vitiation of the previously existing body of the laws and incite the masses to civil strife, he wrote a law which was peculiar and altogether unique. 2 He commanded, namely, that the man who proposed to revise any law should put his neck in a noose at the time he made his proposal of a revision, and remain in that position until the people had reached a decision on the revision of the law, and if the Assembly approved the revised law, the introducer was to be freed of the noose, but if the proposal of revision did not carry, the noose was to be drawn and the man die on the spot.26 3 Such being the legislation relating to revision, fear restrained subsequent lawmakers and not a man dared to utter a word about revising laws; and in all subsequent time history records but three men who p411proposed revision among the Thurians, and these appeared because circumstances arose which rendered proposals of revision imperative.

4 Thus, there was a law that if a man put out the eye of another, he should have his own eye put out, and man with but one eye, having had that eye put out and thus lost his entire sight, claimed that the offender, by the loss in requital of but one eye, had paid a less penalty; for, he maintained, if a man who had blinded a fellow citizen paid only the penalty fixed by the law, he would not have suffered the same loss; it would be just, therefore, that the man who had destroyed the entire sight of a man with but one ye should have both his eyes put out, if he were to receive a like punishment. 5 Consequently the man with one eye, taking the matter strongly to heart, made bold to raise in the Assembly the case of the loss he had suffered, at the same time both lamenting bitterly over his personal misfortune to his fellow citizens and suggesting to the commons that they revise the law; and in the end, putting his neck in a noose, he won his proposal, set at naught the existing law, and had the revision approved, and he escaped the death by the noose as well.

18 1 A second law, which gave a wife the right to divorce her husband and marry whomever she chose, was also revised. A certain man, who was well advanced in years and had a wife who was younger than he and had left him, proposed to the Thurians that they revise the law by the added provision that the wife who leaves a husband may marry whomever p413she chooses, provided the man is not younger than her former husband; and that likewise, if a man sends his wife away he may not marry a woman younger than the wife whom he had sent away. 2 The elderly man won his proposal and set at naught the former law, also escaping the peril of the noose which threatened him; and his wife, who had thus been prevented from living with a younger husband, married again the man she had left.

3 A third law to be revised had to do with heiresses and is also found in the legislation of Solon.27 Charondas ordered that the next of kin be assigned in marriage to an heiress and that likewise an heiress be assigned in marriage to her nearest relative, who was required to marry her or, if she were poor, to contribute five hundred drachmas as a dowry of the penniless heiress. 4 And a certain orphan who was an heiress, of good birth but altogether without means of support and so unable by reason of her poverty to find a husband, turned to the people for aid, explaining to them with tears how helpless and scorned she was; and she went on to outline the revision of the law whereby, in place of the payment of five hundred drachmas, it should specify that the next of kin be required to marry the heiress who had been assigned to him. The people took pity on her and voted for the revision of the law, and thus the orphan escaped the peril which threatened her from the noose, while the nearest of kin, who was wealthy, was compelled to take to wife a penniless heiress without a dowry.

19 1 It remains for us to speak of the death of Charondas, in connection with which a peculiar and unexpected thing happened to him. He had set out p415to the country carrying a dagger because of the robbers, and on his return the Assembly was in session and the commons in an uproar, whereupon he approached it because he was curious about the matter in dispute. 2 But he had made a law that no man should enter the Assembly carrying a weapon, and since he had forgotten he was carrying the dagger at his side, he provided certain of his enemies with an occasion to bring an accusation against him. And when one of them said, "You have annulled your own law," he replied, "Not so, by Zeus, I will uphold it," and drawing the dagger he slew himself. Some historians, however, attribute this act to Diocles, the lawgiver of the Syracusans.28

3 But now that we have discoursed at sufficient length upon Charondas the lawmaker, we wish to speak briefly also of the lawmaker Zaleucus, since the two men not only followed similar principles of life but were also natives of neighbouring cities.

20 1 Now Zaleucus was by birth a Locrian of Italy,29 a man of noble family, admired for his education, and a pupil of the philosopher Pythagoras. Having been accorded high favour in his native city, he was chosen lawmaker and committed to writing a thorough novel system of law, making his beginning, first of all, with the gods of the heavens. 2 For at the outset in the introduction to his legislation as a whole he declared it to be necessary that the inhabitants of the city should first of all assume as an article of their creed that gods exist, and that, as their minds survey the heavens and its orderly scheme and arrangement, they should judge that these creations are not the result of Chance or the work of men's hands; that they should p417revere the gods as the cause of all that is noble and good in the life of mankind; and that they should keep the soul pure from every kind of evil, in the belief that the gods take no pleasure in either the sacrifices or costly gifts of the wicked but in the just and honourable practices of good men. 3 And after inviting the citizens in this introduction to reverence and justice, he appended the further command that they should consider no one of their fellow citizens as an enemy with whom there can be no reconciliation, but that the quarrel be entered into with the thought that they will again come to agreement and friendship; and that the one who acts otherwise should be considered by his fellow citizens to be savage and untamed of soul. Also the magistrates were urged by him not to be wilful or arrogant, and not to render judgement out of enmity or friendship. And among his several ordinances a number were added of his own devising, which showed exceptionally great wisdom.

21 1 To cite examples, whereas everywhere else wayward wives were required to pay fines, Zaleucus stopped their licentious behaviour by a cunningly devised punishment. That is, he made the following laws: a free-born woman may not be accompanied by more than one female slave, unless she is drunk; she may not leave the city during the night, unless she is planning to commit adultery; she may not wear gold jewelry or a garment with a purple border, unless she is a courtesan; and a husband may not wear a gold-studded ring or a cloak of Milesian30 fashion unless he is bent upon prostitution or adultery. 2 Consequently, by the elimination, with its shameful p419implications,31 of the penalties he easily turned men aside from harmful luxury and wanton living; for no man wished to incur the sneers of his fellow citizens by acknowledging the disgraceful licentiousness. 3 He wrote many other excellent laws, such as those on contracts and other relations of life which are the cause of strife. But it would be a long task for us to recount them and foreign to the plan of our history, and so we shall resume our account at the point where we digressed from the course of our narrative.


The Loeb Editor's Notes:

1 Cp. chap. 40; but only Pericles and the generals named below belong in this period.

2 The years 480‑451 B.C.

3 The years 450‑416 B.C.

4 Euthynus, I. A. IV.1.22a.

5 Cp. Book 11.77.

6 Probably only of the fleet.

7 A city of Lycia on the Pamphylian Gulf.

8 At the entrance to the Black Sea at Byzantium.

9 There was a cessation of hostilities at this time between Athens and Persia; but the specific terms of the treaty, as they are stated here and in fourth-century orators, are clearly false. See Walker in Camb. Anc. Hist. 5, pp87‑88, 469‑471.

10 This is probably a corruption of Fontinalis.

11 The Athenians had established democracies in most of the cities of Boeotia and the oligarchs had consequently withdrawn from them into Thebes, where they mustered their forces to fall upon Tolmides.

12 Between Athens and Sparta.

13 Cp. Book 11.92.

14 The northern shore.

15 The city.

16 In 444 B.C., two years later than by Diodorus' chronology.

17 In 511 B.C.

18 In 453 B.C.

19 Medimnos among the Greeks was a measure of grain.

20 Charondas must be placed in the late 7th and early 6th centuries B.C. Aristotle (Politics, 2.12) states that he legislated for his native city of Catana and for the other Chalcidian cities of Sicily and Italy, and praises the precision of his laws. The legal fragments which Diodorus attributes to him are taken to be of Neo-Pythagorean origin.

21 Cp. Aeschylus, Seven Against Thebes, 599‑600:

ἐν παντὶ πράγει δ᾽ ἔσθ᾽ ὁμιλίας κακῆς

κακίον οὐδἐν, καρπὸς οὐ κομιστέος.

("In every issue naught is more evil than evil partnership — the fruit thereof must have no garnering." Tr. by Smyth in L. C. L.)

22 One wonders whether Diodorus, as he wrote these words, was recalling the inscription "Healing-place of the Soul," which, he told us, stood on the library of the Egyptian Pharaoh Osymandyas (Book 1.49.3).

23 Euripides, Phoenix (frag. 182, Nauck). The passage in fuller form is quoted by Aeschines, Timarchus, 152. These lines are also attributed to Menander, who, Kock thinks (Menander, frag. 414), may have quoted them from Euripides.

24 From an unknown comic poet (frag. Adesp. 110, Kock).

25 Frag. 183 (Kock).

26 Such a law is also attested for Locris; cp. Bonner-Smith, Administration of Justice from Homer to Aristotle, 1, p75.

27 See Plutarch, Solon, 20.

28 See Book 13.33.

29 As distinguished from the two Locri in Greece.

30 Miletus was noted for the luxurious life of its inhabitants.

31 The preceding legislation of Zaleucus has been cited as an example of "imperfect" laws, that is, those which lack any penal sanction other than the offender's sense of shame or the infamy attaching to him (cp. S. Pufendorf, De jure naturae et gentium, 1.6.14).


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