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This webpage reproduces a section of
published in Vol. III
of the Loeb Classical Library edition,

The text is in the public domain.

This page has been carefully proofread
and I believe it to be free of errors.
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(Vol. III) Herodotus

 p29  Book V: chapters 28‑54

The flags in the text are links to the Greek as printed on facing pages in the Loeb edition.
In the left margin, links to Rawlinson's translation (Vol. III, with valuable notes),
and to the running commentary by How and Wells.
Cartouches are links to in‑depth articles at Livius.Org or LacusCurtius.

[link to original Greek text] 28 Rawlinson p235 H & W All this Otanes achieved when he had been made governor. Thereafter, when there had been no long surcease of evils, trouble began to come on the Ionians from Naxos and Miletus once more. For Naxos surpassed all the other islands in prosperity, and about the same time Miletus was then at the height of her fortunes, insomuch that she was the chief ornament of Ionia; but for two generations before this she had been very greatly troubled by faction, till the Parians made peace among them, being chosen out of all Greeks by the Milesians to be peace-makers.

[link to original Greek text] 29 Rawlinson p236 The Parians reconciled them in this manner: — Their best men came to Miletus, and seeing the Milesian households sadly wasted, said that they desired to go about their country. Doing this, and visiting all the territory of Miletus, whenever they found any well-tilled farm in the desolation of the land, they wrote down the name of the owner of that farm. Then, having travelled over the whole country and found but few such men, no sooner had they returned to the city than they assembled the people and appointed as rulers of the state those  p31 whose lands they had found well tilled; for these (they said) were like to take as good care of public affairs as they had of their own; and they ordained that the rest of Milesians who had been at feud should obey these men.

[link to original Greek text] 30 Thus the Parians made peace in Miletus. But now these cities began to bring trouble upon Ionia, and thus it befel: — Certain men of substance, being banished from Naxos by the commonalty, betook themselves to Miletus. Now it chanced that the deputy ruling Miletus was Aristagoras son of Molpagoras, son-in‑law and cousin of that Histiaeus son of Lysagoras whom Darius kept with him at Susa; for Histiaeus was despot of Miletus, and was at Susa when the Naxians came; and they had been guests and friends of Histiaeus. The Naxians then on their coming to Miletus asked of Aristagoras if haply he could give them some power and so they might return to their own country. Considering that if by his means they were restored to their city he would be ruler of Naxos, and making a pretext of their friendship with Histiaeus, he made them this proposal: "For myself, it lies not in my rights to give you such a power as will restore you, against the will of the Naxians who hold your city; for I am assured that the Naxians have eight thousand men that bear shields, and many ships of war; but I will use all diligence to contrive the matter. And this is my plan. Artaphrenes is my friend; now know, that Artaphrenes is Hystaspes' son and brother to Darius the king; he is governor of all the sea‑coast peoples of Asia and has a great army and many ships; this man then will, I think, do whatever we  p33 desire." Hearing this, the Naxians left the matter for Aristagoras to deal with as best he could, bidding him promise gifts and the costs of the army, for which they would themselves be chargeable; for they had great hope that when they should appear off Naxos the Naxians would obey all their commands, and that the rest of the islanders would do likewise. For as yet none of these Cyclades islands was subject to Darius.

[link to original Greek text] 31 Rawlinson p238 Aristagoras came to Sardis and told Artaphrenes that Naxos was indeed an island of no great size, but for the rest a fair and a good land and near to Ionia, with much wealth withal and many slaves therein. "Do you therefore send an armament against that country, bringing back the men who have been banished thence. And if you so do, I have a great sum at your service, over and above the costs of the armament; for it is but just that we, who bring you, should be chargeable for that; and further, you will win new dominions for the king, Naxos itself and the islands which are its dependants, Paros, Andros, and the rest of those that are called Cyclades. Making these your starting-point, you will easily attack Euboea, which is a great and a wealthy island, no smaller than Cyprus​a and very easy to take. An hundred ships suffice for the conquest of all these." "This plan which you set forth," Artaphrenes answered, "is profitable for the king's house, and all this your counsel is good, save as to the number of the ships; not one hundred but two hundred ships shall be ready for you when the spring comes. But the king too must himself consent to this."

[link to original Greek text] 32 H & W When Aristagoras heard that, he went away to  p35 Miletus in great joy. Artaphrenes sent a messenger to Susa with the news of what Aristagoras said; and Darius himself too consenting to the plan, he equipped two hundred triremes and a very great company of Persians and their allies besides, and appointed for their general Megabates, a Persian of the Achaemenid family, cousin to himself and to Darius; this was he whose daughter (if indeed the tale be true) Pausanias the Lacedaemonian, son of Cleombrotus, at a later date betrothed to himself, being ambitious of the sovereignty of Hellas. Having appointed Megabates general, Artaphrenes sent his army away to Aristagoras.

[link to original Greek text] 33 Rawlinson p240 Then Megabates​1 brought Aristagoras from Miletus, and the Ionian army, and the Naxians, and pretended to make sail to the Hellespont; but when he came to Chios he put in with his ships at Caucasa,​2 that he might cross with a north wind to Naxos. But, since it was not written that the Naxians were to be destroyed by this armament, this befel which I here relate. For when Megabates went his rounds among the ships' watches, it chanced that on a ship of Myndus there was no watch kept; whereat Megabates, being very angry, bade his guards find the captain of this ship (whose name was Scylax) and thrust him partly through an oar‑hole of the ship and bind him there, in such fashion that his head was outside the ship and his body inside. So Scylax was bound; and one brought word to Aristagoras, that his Myndian friend was bound and despitefully entreated by Megabates. Aristagoras went then and pleaded with the Persian for Scylax, but obtained  p37 nothing that he requested; whereupon he came and released the man himself. When Megabates learnt this, he was very angry, and was violent against Aristagoras. But Aristagoras said, "But you — what have you to do with these matters? Did not Artaphrenes send you to obey me and to sail whithersoever I bid you? Why are you so meddlesome?" So said Aristagoras; Megabates, enraged by this, sent men at nightfall in a boat to Naxos, to tell the Naxians of the trouble in store for them.

[link to original Greek text] 34 For the Naxians had no suspicion at all that it was they who were to be attacked by that armament. Howbeit, when they learnt the truth, straightway they brought within their walls all that was in their fields, and stored both meat and drink against a siege, and strengthened their walls. So they made all preparations to face the onset of war; and when their enemies had brought their ships over from Chios to Naxos, it was a city fortified that they attacked, and for four months they besieged it. Then, when the Persians had expended all the money with which they had come, and Aristagoras himself had spent much beside, and ever more was needful for the siege, they built a stronghold for the banished Naxians, and betook themselves to the mainland in very evil case.

[link to original Greek text] 35 Rawlinson p242 Aristagoras had no way of fulfilling his promise to Artaphrenes; he was hard pressed by demands for the costs of the armament, and he feared what might come of the ill‑success of the army and Megabates' displeasure against him; it was like, he thought, that his lordship of Miletus would be taken away from him. With all these fears in his mind, he began to plan revolt; for it chanced  p39 that at that very time there came from Susa Histiaeus' messenger, the man with the marked head, signifying that Aristagoras should revolt from the king. For Histiaeus desired to signify to Aristagoras that he should revolt; and having no other safe way of so doing (for the roads were guarded) he shaved and pricked marks on the head of his trustiest slave, and waited till the hair grew again; as soon as it was grown, he sent the man to Miletus with no other message save that when he came to Miletus he must bid Aristagoras shave his hair and examine his head. The writing pricked thereon signified revolt, as I have already said. This Histiaeus did, because he sorely misliked his enforced sojourn at Susa; now he had a good hope that if there were a revolt he would be sent away to the sea‑coast; but if Miletus remained at peace, he reckoned that he would return thither no more.

[link to original Greek text] 36 H & W With this intent, then, Histiaeus sent his messenger, and it chanced that all these things came upon Aristagoras at one and the same time. He took counsel therefore with those of his faction, and declared his own opinion and what had come to him from Histiaeus. All the rest spoke their minds to the same effect, favouring revolt, save only Hecataeus the historian; he advised them that they would be best guided not to make war on the king of Persia, recounting to them the tale of the nations subject to Darius, and all his power. But when they would not be persuaded by him, he counselled them that their next best plan was to make themselves masters of the seas. This, said he in his  p41 speech, he could see no way of accomplishing save one: Miletus, he knew, was a city of no great wealth; but if they took away from the temple at Branchidae3 the treasure which Croesus the Lydian had dedicated there, he had good hope that they would gain the mastery of the sea, and so they would have the use of that treasure and their enemies could not plunder it. The treasure was very great, as I have shown in the first book of my history. This counsel was not approved; nevertheless, they resolved that they would revolt, and that one of themselves should sail to Myus, to the army which had left Naxos and was there, and essay to seize the generals who were aboard the ships.

[link to original Greek text] 37 Rawlinson p244 Iatragoras, being sent for this very purpose, craftily seized Oliatus of Mylasa son of Ibanollis, and Histiaeus of Termera son of Tymnes, and Coes son of Erxandrus, — to whom Darius gave Mytilene, — Aristagoras of Cyme, son of Heraclides, and many others besides; which done, Aristagoras revolted openly, devising all he could to Darius' hurt. And first he made a pretence of giving up his despotism and gave Miletus equality of government, that so the Milesians might readily join in his revolt; then he did likewise in the rest of Ionia; some of the despots he banished; as for those despots whom he had taken out of the ships that sailed with him against Naxos, he gave them over and delivered them each and all to their own cities severally, for he wished to please the cities.

[link to original Greek text] 38 So Coes, when the Mytilenaeans received him, was taken out by them and stoned; but the Cymaeans let their own man go, and so did most of the others.  p43 Thus an end was made of despots in the cities. Aristagoras of Miletus, having made an end of the despots, bade all to set up governors in each city; and next he went on an embassy in a trireme to Lacedaemon; for it was needful that he should find some strong ally.4

[link to original Greek text] 39 At Sparta, Anaxandrides the son of Leon, who had been king, was now no longer alive but was dead, and Cleomenes son of Anaxandrides held the royal power. This he had won not by manly spirit but by right of birth. For Anaxandrides had to wife his own sister's daughter, and he was well content with her; but no children were born to him. This being so, the Ephors called him to them, and said, "If you care not to provide for yourself, yet we cannot suffer it to come to pass that the house of Eurysthenes should perish. Do you therefore send away the wife that you have, seeing that she bears you no children, and wed another; this do, and you will please the Spartans." But Anaxandrides answered and said that he would do neither the one nor the other: "And you," said he, "are no good counsellors, when you bid me send away the wife that I have, who is void of offence against me, and take another to my house; I will not consent to it."

[link to original Greek text] 40 Rawlinson p246 H & W Then the Ephors and Elders took counsel, and laid this proposal before Anaxandrides: "Seeing then that you cleave, as we see, to the wife that you have, do this our command, and stand not out against it, lest the Spartans find some new way of dealing with you. As for the wife that you have, we ask not that you should send her away; rather, give her  p45 all that you give her now, and marry another woman besides who can give you children." So they spoke, and Anaxandrides consented; and presently he had two wives and kept two households, a thing in nowise customary at Sparta.

[link to original Greek text] 41 After no long time the second wife gave birth to the Cleomenes afore-mentioned. So she gave the Spartans an heir to the royal power; and (as luck would have it) the first wife, having hitherto been barren, did at that very time conceive. She being verily with child, the friends of the later wife learnt of it and began to trouble her; for, they said, she was making a vain boast, that she might substitute a child; and as they were angry, and her time drew nigh, the Ephors would not believe her and sat round to watch her in childbirth; and she gave birth first to Dorieus, then straightway bore Leonidas, and straightway after him Cleombrotus; though some say that Cleombrotus and Leonidas were twins. But the later wife, Cleomenes' mother (she was the daughter of Prinetadas son of Demarmenus), bore no more children.

[link to original Greek text] 42 Now Cleomenes, as the story goes, was not in his right senses, but crazy; but Dorieus was first among all of like age with himself; and he fully believed that he would be made king for his manly worth. Being thus minded, when at Anaxandrides' death the Lacedaemonians followed their custom and made Cleomenes king by right of age, Dorieus was very angry and would not brook to be subject to Cleomenes; and he asked the Spartans for a company  p47 of folk, whom he took away as colonists; he neither enquired of the oracle at Delphi in what land he should plant his settlement, nor did aught else that was customary; but he set sail in great wrath for Libya, with men of Thera to guide him. Thither he came, and settled by the Cinyps river, in the fairest part of Libya; but in the third year he was driven out by the Macae and Libyans and Carchedonians, and returned to Peloponnesus.

[link to original Greek text] 43 Rawlinson p248 There Antichares, a man of Eleon,​5 counselled him to plant a colony at Heraclea in Sicily, according to the word of one of Laius' oracles; for Heracles​6 himself (said Antichares) had won all the region of Eryx, and it belonged to his descendants. When Dorieus heard that, he went away to Delphi to enquire of the oracle if he should win the place whither he was preparing to go; and the priestess telling him that so it should be, he took with him the company that he had led to Libya, and went to Italy.

[link to original Greek text] 44 H & W Now at this time,​7 as the Sybarites say, they and their king Telys were making ready to march against Croton, and the men of Croton, being greatly affrighted, entreated Dorieus to come to their aid; their request was granted; Dorieus marched with them to Sybaris and helped them to take it. Such is the story which the Sybarites tell of Dorieus and his companions; but the Crotoniats say that they were aided by no stranger in their war with Sybaris save only by Callias, an Elean diviner of the Iamid clan; of whom the story was that he had fled to Croton from Telys, the despot of Sybaris, because  p49 when he was sacrificing for victory over Croton he could get no favourable omens.

[image ALT: missingALT. It is an ancient Greek bottle of the type known as a lecythus.]

From the city founded by Dorieus, and contemporaneous with him, is this little bottle — a lecythus — showing two Greek hoplites in action.

Archaeological Museum, Eraclea Minoa.
Photo © Livius.Org | Marco Prins, by kind permission.

[link to original Greek text] 45 Rawlinson p250 This is their tale. Both cities bring proof of the truth of what they say: the Sybarites show a precinct and a temple beside the dry bed of the Crathis, which, they say, Dorieus founded in honour of Athene of Crathis, after he had helped to take their city; and moreover they find their strongest proof in his death, because he perished in the doing of more than the oracle bade him; for had he done that for which he set out and nought beyond it, he would have taken and held the Erycine region, and so neither he nor his army would have perished. But the Crotoniats on the other hand show many gifts of land in the country of Croton that were set apart for Callias of Elis (on which lands Callias' posterity dwelt even to my time), but no gift to Dorieus and his descendants. Yet (they plead) had Dorieus aided them in their war with Sybaris, he would have received a reward many times greater than what was given to Callias. These, then, are the proofs brought by each party; we may take whichever side seems to deserve most credence.

[link to original Greek text] 46 Other Spartans too sailed with Dorieus to found his colony, namely, Thessalus, Paraebates, Celees, and Euryleon. These, having come with all their company to Sicily, were overcome and slain in battle by the Phoeniciansand Egestans, — all save Euryleon, who was the only settler that survived this disaster. He mustered the remnant of his army and took Minoa, the colony from Selinus, and aided in freeing the people of Selinus from their monarch Pithagoras. Having deposed this man he himself essayed to be despot of Selinus, and  p51 was monarch there, but for a little while only; for the people of the place rose against him and slew him at the altar of Zeus of the Market-place, whither he had fled for refuge.

[link to original Greek text] 47 Another that followed Dorieus and was with him slain was Philippus of Croton, son of Butacides; he had betrothed himself to the daughter of Telys of Sybaris and was banished from Croton; but being disappointed of his marriage he sailed away to Cyrene, whence he set forth and followed Dorieus, bringing his own trireme and paying all charges for his men; this Philippus was a victor at Olympia and the goodliest Greek of his day. For the beauty of his person he received honours from the Egestans accorded to none else: they built a hero's shrine by his grave, and offer him sacrifices of propitiation.

[link to original Greek text] 48 Rawlinson p252 Such, then, was the manner of Dorieus' death. Had he endured Cleomenes' rule and stayed at Sparta, he would have been king of Lacedaemon; for Cleomenes reigned no long time,α and died leaving no son but one only daughter, whose name was Gorgo.

[link to original Greek text] 49 H & W I return to my story. It was in the reign of Cleomenes that Aristagoras the despot of Miletus came to Sparta; and when he had audience of the king (so the Lacedaemonians say) he brought with him a bronze tablet on which the map of all the earth was engraved, and all the sea and all the rivers. Having been admitted to converse with Cleomenes, Aristagoras spoke thus to him: "Wonder not, Cleomenes, that I have been so zealous to come hither; for such is our present state: that the sons of the Ionians should be slaves and not free men is a shame and grief to ourselves in especial, and of all  p53 others to you, inasmuch as you are the leaders of Hellas. Now, therefore, we beseech you by the gods of Hellas, save your Ionian kinsmen from slavery. This is a thing that you may easily achieve; for the strangers are no valiant men, and your valour in war is preëminent. And for their fashion of fighting, they carry bows and short spears; and they go to battle with breeches on their legs and turbans​b on their heads; so they are easy to overcome. Further, the dwellers in that continent have more good things than all other men together, gold first, and silver too and bronze and coloured raiment and beasts of burden and slaves; all this you can have at your heart's desire. And the lands wherein they dwell lie next to each other, as I shall show you: — here are the Ionians, and here the Lydians, who inhabit a good land and have great store of silver" (showing as he spoke the map of the earth which he had brought engraved on the tablet), "and next to the Lydians" (said Aristagoras in his speech) "you see the Phrygians, to the east, men that of all known to me are the richest in flocks and in the earth's produce. Close by them are the Cappadocians, whom we call Syrians; and their neighbours are the Cilicians, whose land reaches to the sea yonder, wherein you see the island of Cyprus lying; the yearly tribute which they pay to the king is five hundred talents. Next to the Cilicians, here are the Armenians, another people rich in flocks, and after the Armenians the Matieni, whose country I show you; and you see the Cissian land adjoining theirs; therein, on the Choaspes (yonder it is), lies that Susa where lives the great king, and there are the storehouses of  p55 his wealth; take that city, and then you need not fear to challenge Zeus for riches. What! you must needs then fight for straitened strips of land of no great worth — fight for that with Messenians, who are as strong as you, and Arcadians and Argives, men that have nought in the way of gold or silver, for which things many are spurred by zeal to fight and die: yet when you can readily be masters of all Asia, will you refuse to essay it?" Thus spoke Aristagoras. Cleomenes replied: "Milesian, my guest, wait till the third day for my answer."

[link to original Greek text] 50 Rawlinson p257 Thus far they advanced at that hearing. But when on the day appointed for the answer they came to the place whereon they had agreed, Cleomenes asked Aristagoras how many days' journey it was from the Ionian sea to the king. Till now, Aristagoras had been cunning and fooled the Spartan right well; but here he made a false step; for if he desired to bring the Spartans away into Asia he should never have told the truth; but he did tell it, and said that it was a three months' journey inland. At that, Cleomenes cut short all the rest that Aristagoras began to tell him about the journey, and bade his Milesian guest depart from Sparta before sunset; for never (he said) would the Lacedaemonians listen to the plan, if Aristagoras desired to lead them a three month's journey from the sea.

[link to original Greek text] 51 Rawlinson p258 Having thus spoken Cleomenes went to his house; but Aristagoras took a suppliant's garb and followed him thither, and entering in he used a  p57 suppliant's right to beseech Cleomenes to hear him, but first send the child away; for Cleomenes' daughter, whose name was Gorgo, was standing by him; she was his only child, and was about eight or nine years of age. Cleomenes bade him say what he would and not let the child's presence hinder him. Then Aristagoras began to promise Cleomenes from ten talents upwards, if he would grant his request. Cleomenes refusing, Aristagoras offered him ever more and yet more, till when he promised fifty talents the child cried out, "Father, the stranger will corrupt you, unless you leave him and go away." Cleomenes was pleased with the child's counsel and went into another room; and Aristagoras departed clean out of Sparta, and could find no occasion for telling further of the journey inland to the king's place.

[link to original Greek text] 52 Now the nature of this road​8 is as I shall show. All along it are the king's stages and exceeding good hostelries, and the whole of it passes through country that is inhabited and safe. Its course through Lydia and Phrygia is of the length of twenty stages, and ninety-four and a half parasangs. Next after Phrygia it comes to the river Halys, where there is a defile, which must be passed ere the river can be crossed, and a great fortress to guard it. After the passage into Cappadocia the road in that land as far as the borders of Cilicia is of twenty-eight stages and an hundred and four parasangs. On this frontier you must ride through two defiles and pass two fortresses;  p59 ride past these, and you will have a journey through Cilicia of three stages and fifteen and a half parasangs. The boundary of Cilicia and Armenia is a navigable river whereof the name is Euphrates. In Armenia there are fifteen resting-stages, and fifty‑six parasangs and a half, and there is a fortress there. From Armenia the road enters the Matienian land, wherein are thirty-four stages, and an hundred and thirty-seven parasangs. Through this land flow four navigable rivers, that must needs be passed by ferries, first the Tigris, then a second and a third of the same name, yet not the same stream nor flowing from the same source; for the first-mentioned of them flows from the Armenians and the second from the Matieni; and the fourth river is called Gyndes, that Gyndes which Cyrus parted once into three hundred and sixty channels.​9 When this country is passed, the road is in the Cissian land, where are eleven stages and forty‑two and a half parasangs, as far as yet another navigable river, the Choaspes, whereon stands the city of Susa.

[link to original Greek text] 53 Rawlinson p260 H & W Thus the whole tale of stages is an hundred and seven. So many resting-stages then there are in the going up from Sardis to Susa. If I have rightly numbered the parasangs of the royal road, and the parasang is of thirty furlongs' length (which assuredly it is), then between Sardis and the king's abode called Memnonian​10 there are thirteen thousand and five hundred furlongs, the number of  p61 parasangs being four hundred and fifty; and if each day's journey be an hundred and fifty furlongs, then the sum of days spent is ninety, neither more nor less.

[link to original Greek text] 54 Thus Aristagoras of Miletus spoke the truth to Cleomenes the Lacedaemonian when he said that the journey inland was three months long. But if any desire a measurement yet exacter, I will give him that too; for the journey from Ephesus to Sardis must be added to the rest. So then I declare that from the Greek sea to Susa (for that is the city called Memnonian) it is a journey of fourteen thousand and forty stades;º for there are five hundred and forty furlongs from Ephesus to Sardis, and thus the three months' journey is made longer by three days.

The Loeb Editor's Notes:

1 Megabates' expedition was in 499.

2 Evidently a harbour on the S. W. coast of Chios.

3 Cp. I.46.

4 Aristagoras went to Lacedaemon in 499.

5 In Boeotia, near Tanagra.

6 The reference appears to be to a cult of the Phoenician Melkart (identified with Heracles) on Mt. Eryx.

7 About 510.

8 "The royal road from Sardis to Susa is far older than the Persian empire," say Messrs. How and Wells. Evidence points to the existence of a Hittite capital in Cappadocia, to connect which with Sardis on the one hand and Assyria on the other was the purpose of the road.

Thayer's Note: For further details, see the article Royal Road.

9 Cp. I.189.

10 Memnon was the legendary king of the "eastern Ethiopians," or Assyrians. When tradition began to place the Homeric Ethiopians in Libya, Memnon, the Ethiop king, came to be associated with Thebes in Egypt.

Thayer's Notes:

a Euboea (today) has an area of 3685 km2 as compared to Cyprus at 9251 km2.

b Herodotus' Greek has κυρβασίας, which is usually translated as a sort of peaked bonnet; and in fact, Herodotus himself, when he uses the same word in VII.64, characterizes them as "erect and stiff and tapering to a point" (ἐς ὀξὺ ἀπηγμένας ὀρθάς): where of necessity, Godley follows suit and translates "tall caps".

For an illustration and some citations (in which, however, instances of κυρβασία and τιάρα are commingled), see the article Tiara in Smith's Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities.

Lendering's Note:

α In fact, Cleomenes ruled for some thirty years (c. 520‑488).

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