Short URL for this page:

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

[image ALT: Click here for the text in ancient Greek.]

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

[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 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.
If you find a mistake though,
please let me know!


[image ALT: link to next section]

(Vol. III) Herodotus

 p189  Book VI: chapters 43‑93

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] 43 Rawlinson p442 H & W But at the beginning of spring,​1 the other generals being now deposed by the king from their offices, Mardonius son of Gobryas, a man young in years and lately wedded to Darius' daughter Artozostre, came down to the coast at the head of a very great army and fleet; with which when Mardonius was come to Cilicia, he himself embarked on shipboard and sailed with the rest of his ships, while the land army was led by other captains to the Hellespont. When Mardonius arrived at Ionia in his voyage by the coast of Asia, he did a thing which I here set down for the wonder of those Greeks who will not believe Otanes to have declared his opinion among the Seven that democracy was best for Persia.​2 Mardonius deposed all the Ionian despots and set up democracies in their cities. This done, he made all speed for the Hellespont; and a great multitude of ships and a great army being there assembled, the Persians crossed the Hellespont on shipboard and  p191 marched through Europe, with Eretria and Athens for their goal.

[link to original Greek text] 44 This was the avowed end of their expedition; but their intent being to subdue as many of the Greek cities as they could, first their fleet subdued the Thasians, who did not so much as lift up their hands against it; and next, their land army added the Macedonians to the slaves that they had already; for all the nations nearer to them than Macedonia had been made subject to the Persians ere this. Crossing then over from Thasos they voyaged near the land as far as Acanthus, and putting out from thence they would have rounded Athos. But as they sailed, there brake upon them a north wind great and irresistible, and dealt very roughly with them, driving many of their ships upon Athos; three hundred, it is said, was the tale of the ships that perished, and more than twenty thousand men. For inasmuch as these coasts of Athos abounded in wild beasts, some were carried off by these and so perished; others were dashed against the rocks; and those of them that could not swim perished by reason of that, and others again by the cold.

[link to original Greek text] 45 Rawlinson p444 Thus then it fared with the fleet; as for Mardonius and his land army, while they were encamped in Macedonia the Brygi of Thrace attacked them by night, and slew many of them, wounding Mardonius himself. Nevertheless not even these themselves could escape being enslaved by the Persians; for Mardonius did not depart out of those lands before he had made them subject to him. Yet when he had subdued them, he led his host away homewards, seeing that the Brygi had  p193 dealt a heavy blow to his army and Athos a blow yet heavier to his fleet. This expedition then after an inglorious adventure returned back to Asia.

[link to original Greek text] 46 H & W In the next year after this,​3 Darius first sent a message bidding the Thasians, of whom it was falsely reported by their neighbours that they were planning rebellion, destroy their walls and bring their ships to Abdera. For the Thasians, inasmuch as they had been besieged by Histiaeus of Miletus and had great revenues, had used their wealth to build their ships of war and encompass themselves with stronger walls. Their revenue came from the mainland and the mines. Eighty talents for the most part they drew from the gold-mines of the "Digged Forest";​4 and from the mines of Thasos itself, albeit less than that, yet so much that the Thasians, paying no tax for their crops, drew for the most part a yearly revenue from the mainland and the mines of two hundred talents, and three hundred when the revenue was greatest.

[link to original Greek text] 47 I myself have seen these mines; most marvellous by far were those of them that were found by the Phoenicians who came with Thasos and planted a settlement in this island, which is now called after the Phoenician Thasos. These Phoenician mines are between the place called Aenyra and Coenyra in Thasos, over against Samothrace; they are in a great hill that has been digged up in the searching. Thus much I have to say of this. The Thasians at the king's command destroyed their walls and brought all their ships to Abdera.

[link to original Greek text] 48 Rawlinson p446 After this, Darius essayed to learn whether  p195 the Greeks purposed to wage war against him or to surrender themselves. Therefore he sent heralds this way and that about Hellas as they were severally appointed, bidding them demand a gift of earth and water for the king. These he despatched to Hellas, and others he sent severally to his own tributary cities of the sea‑coast, commanding that ships of war and transports for horses be built.

[link to original Greek text] 49 So the cities set about these preparations; and the heralds that went to Hellas received that which the king's proclamation demanded, from many of the dwellers on the mainland and all the islanders to whom they came with the demand. Among the islanders that gave earth and water to Darius were the Aeginetans. These by so doing straightway brought the Athenians upon them, who supposed the Aeginetans to have given the gift out of enmity against Athens, that so they might join with the Persians in attacking the Athenians; and, gladly laying hold of this pretext, they betook themselves to Sparta and there accused the Aeginetans of an act that proved them traitors to Hellas.

[link to original Greek text] 50 On this impeachment, Cleomenes, son of Anaxandrides, being then a king of Sparta, crossed over to Aegina, that he might lay hands on the guiltiest of its people. But when he essayed to lay hands on them, Crius son of Polycritus, with other Aeginetans at his back, withstood him, and bade Cleomenes take no man of Aegina, or he would rue it; "for," said he, "you have no authority from the Spartans for what you do, but a bribe from Athens; had you such, the other king had come with you to take us." This he said, being so instructed in a letter by Demaratus. Being thus compelled to depart from Aegina, Cleomenes  p197 asked Crius what was his name; and when Crius told him what it was, "Now is the time to put bronze on your horns, Sir Ram,"​5 said Cleomenes, "for great calamity will confront you."

[link to original Greek text] 51 All this time Demaratus son of Ariston abode at Sparta and spread evil reports of Cleomenes. This Demaratus was also king of Sparta, but of the less worthy family of the two; not indeed in any other regard less worthy (for they have a common ancestor), but the house of Eurysthenes has in some sort the greater honour by right of primogeniture.6

[link to original Greek text] 52 H & W For by the Lacedaemonian story, wherewith no poet agrees, it was Aristodemus (the son of Aristomachus, who was the son of Cleodaeus, who was the son of Hyllus), and not his sons, who led them to that land which they now possess. After no long time Aristodemus' wife, whose name was Argeia, bore him offspring; she, they say, was daughter of Autesion, who was the son of Tisamenus, who was the son of Thersander, who was the son of Polynices; she bore him twins; Aristodemus lived to see the children, and presently died of a sickness. The Lacedaemonians of that day planned to follow their custom and make the eldest of the children king. But the children being in all respects alike, they knew not which to choose; and when they could not judge between them, or perchance even before they had essayed, they asked the mother. But she said that she knew no better than the Lacedaemonians which was the elder; this she said, though she knew right well, because she desired that you some means both might be made kings. Being  p199 then in a quandary (so the story goes), the Lacedaemonians sent to Delphi to enquire how they should deal with the matter. The priestess bade them make both the children kings, but honour the first of them most. On this answer of the priestess, the Lacedaemonians knowing no better than before how to discover the eldest child, a certain Messenian, called Panites, gave them counsel; and this was his counsel, that they should watch the mother and see which of the children she washed and fed before the other; and if in this she should ever follow one rule, they would then have all that they sought and desired to discover; but if she changed about in her practice at haphazard, then it was be manifest to the Lacedaemonians that she knew no more than they did, and they must betake them to some other means. Thereupon the Spartans did as the Messenian counselled, and watching the mother of Aristodemus' children, found her ever preferring the first-born of the two when she fed and washed them, she not knowing wherefore she was watched. So they took the child that was preferred by its mother and brought it up at the public charge as the first-born; and they called it Eurysthenes, and the other Procles. These two brothers, it is said, when they came to man's estate, were ever at feud with each other as long as they lived, and their descendants too continued in the same state.

[link to original Greek text] 53 Rawlinson p449 Such is the story told by the Lacedaemonians, but by no other Greeks. But I in what I write follow the Greek report, and hold that the Greeks are right in recording these kings of the Dorians as far back as to Perseus son of Danaë, — wherein they make  p201 no mention of the god,​7 — and in proving the said kings to be Greek; for by Perseus' time they had come to be reckoned as Greeks. As far back as Perseus, I say, and I take the matter no farther than that, because none is named as the mortal father of Perseus, as Amphitryon is named father of Heracles. It is plain, then, that I have right reason on my side when I say that the Greek record is right as far back as to Perseus; farther back than that, if the kings' ancestors in each generation, from Danaë daughter of Acrisius upward, be reckoned, then the leaders of the Dorians will be shown to be true-born Egyptians.

[link to original Greek text] 54 Rawlinson p450 Thus have I traced their lineage according to the Greek story; but the Persian tale is, that Perseus himself was an Assyrian, and became a Greek, which his forebears had not been; as for Acrisius (say the Persians),​8 his ancestors had no bond of kinship with Perseus, and they indeed were, as the Greeks say, Egyptians.

[link to original Greek text] 55 Enough of these matters. Now the reason why and for what achievements these men, being Egyptian, won the kingship of the Dorians, has been told by others; of this therefore I will say nothing, and will make mention of matters which others have not touched.

[link to original Greek text] 56 These prerogatives, then, the Spartans have given to their kings: — They shall have two priesthoods, of Zeus called Lacedaemon,​9 and Zeus of Heaven; they shall wage war against what land soever they will, and no Spartan shall hinder them  p203 therein, on peril of being laid under the curse. When the armies go forth the kings shall be first in the advance and last in the retreat. A hundred chosen men shall guard them in their campaigns. They shall use for sacrifice at the setting out of their expeditions as many sheep and goats as they will, and shall take the hides and the chines of all sacrificed beasts

[image ALT: missingALT. zzz.]

Relief from Sparta, showing a royal banquet of the Chthonic gods.

Photo © Livius.Org | Jan van Vliet, by kind permission.

[link to original Greek text] 57 Rawlinson p452 H & W Such are their rights in war; in peace the powers given them are according as I shall now show. At all public sacrifices the kings shall be first to sit down to the banquet, and shall be first served, each of them receiving a portion double of what is given to the rest of the company; theirs shall be the first libations, and theirs the hides of the sacrificed beasts. At each new moon and each seventh day of the first part of the month, there shall be given to each of them from the public store a full-grown victim for Apollo's temple, and a bushel of barley-meal and a Laconian quart​10 of wine, and chief seats set apart for them at the games. Moreover, to these it shall belong to appoint what citizens soever they will to be protectors of foreigners;​11 they shall choose the Pythians, each of them two. (The Pythians are messengers sent to enquire at Delphi, who eat with the kings at the public charge.) And if the kings come not to the public dinner there shall be sent to their houses two choenixes of barley-meal and half a pint of wine, but when they come they shall receive a double share of everything; and the same honour shall be theirs when they are bidden by private citizens to dinner. All oracles that are given  p205 shall be in the king's keeping, the Pythians also being cognisant thereof. The kings alone shall judge concerning the rightful possessor of an unwedded heiress, if her father have not betrothed her, and concerning the public ways, but in no other cases. And if a man desire to adopt a son he shall do it in the presence of the kings. And they shall sit with the twenty-eight elders in council; but if they come not thereto, then those elders that are nearest of kin to them shall have the king's prerogative, giving two votes over and above the third which is their own.12

[link to original Greek text] 58 Rawlinson p454 H & W These rights have the kings received from the Spartan commonwealth for their lifetime; when they die, their rights are as I shall now show. Horsemen proclaim their death in all parts of Laconia, and in the city women go about beating on a caldron. So when this is done, two free persons from each house, a man and a woman, must needs put on the signs of defilement, or incur heavy penalties if they fail so to do. The Lacedaemonians have the same custom at the deaths of their kings as have the foreign people of Asia; for the most of the foreigners use the same custom at their kings' deaths. For when a king of the Lacedaemonians is dead, from all Lacedaemon, besides the Spartans, such and such a number of their subject neighbours must perforce come to the funeral. These then and the helots and the Spartans themselves being assembled in one place to the number of many thousands, together with the women, they zealously smite their foreheads and  p207 make long and loud lamentation, calling that king that is lateliest dead, whoever he be, the best of all their kings. Whenever a king is slain in war, they make an image of him and carry it out on a well-bedecked bier, and after burial, for ten days thereafter there is no meeting for market or assize, nor for choosing of magistrates, but these are days of mourning.

[link to original Greek text] 59 Here is another matter wherein the Lacedaemonians are like to the Persians: — When one king is dead and another takes his office, this successor releases from debt what Spartan soever owed anything to the king or the commonwealth; so too among the Persians the king at the beginning of his reign forgives all cities their arrears of tribute.

[link to original Greek text] 60 Moreover the Lacedaemonians are like the Egyptians, in that their heralds and flute-players and cooks inherit the craft from their fathers, a flute-player's son being a flute-player, and a herald's son a herald; no others usurp their places, making themselves heralds by loudness of voice; they ply their craft by right of birth.

[link to original Greek text] 61 Rawlinson p456 Such is the way of these matters. But at the time whereof I speak, while Cleomenes was in the Aegina, there working for what should be afterwards the common advantage of Hellas, Demaratus spread ill reports of him, less because he cared for the Aeginetans, than out of jealousy and malice. When Cleomenes returned back from Aegina, he planned to depose Demaratus from his kingship; for what cause he thus assailed him I will now show. Ariston, king of Sparta, had married two wives, but no children were born to him. Believing that he  p209 himself was not in fault, he married a third wife; and this was how it came about. There was a certain Spartan who was Ariston's nearest and dearest friend. This man had a wife who was by far the fairest of Spartan women, yet albeit she was now the fairest she had been most ill‑favoured. For, she being of mean aspect, her nurse having in mind that the daughter of a wealthy house was so uncomely, and that her parents took her appearance much to heart, bethought her for these reasons of a plan, and carried the child every day to the shrine of Helen, which is in the place called Therapne,​13 above the temple of Phoebus. Thither the nurse would bear the child, and set her by the image, and pray the goddess to deliver her from her ill looks. Now on a day, as the nurse was departing out of the temple, a woman (it is said) appeared to her, and asked her what she bore in her arms. "It is a child," said the nurse. "Show it to me," said the woman. "That," quoth the nurse, "I cannot do; for I am forbidden by the parents to show it to any." "Nay," said the woman, "but you must by all means show me the child." So when the nurse saw that the woman was very desirous to see the child, she did then show it; whereupon the woman stroked the child's head, and said that this should be the fairest of all Spartan ladies. From that day, it is said, the child's appearance changed; and when she came to marriageable age she was wedded to that friend of Ariston, Agetus son of Alcidas.

[link to original Greek text] 62 H & W But Ariston, it would seem, conceived a passion for this woman; and this was his device to  p211 get her. He promised his friend, the husband of this woman, that he would make him a present of some one of his possessions, whatever the friend himself should choose, on condition that his friend should give him a recompense in like manner. Having no fear for his wife, — seeing that Ariston had a wife also, — Agetus consented thereto; and they swore an oath upon it. Then Ariston gave Agetus whatsoever it was that he chose out of Ariston's treasures; for himself, as the recompense that he was fain to win from Agetus, he essayed to take away his friend's wife. Agetus said he would consent to all else, save only that; howbeit he was compelled by his oath and the trick whereby he was deceived, and suffered Ariston to take her.

[link to original Greek text] 63 Rawlinson p458 Thus Ariston brought home his third wife, having divorced the second; and a shorter time than the full tenº months his wife bore him a child, the Demaratus aforesaid. He was sitting in council with the ephors when one of his households came to tell him that a son was born to him; and knowing the time of his marriage, he recorded the months on his fingers and said, with an oath, "The boy cannot be mine." The ephors heard that; but for the nonce they took no account of it. As the boy grew, Ariston repented him of what he had said; for he believed Demaratus to be in very truth his son. He called him Demaratus, because ere this the whole "people" of the Spartans had "prayed" that Ariston might have a son, he being held in greater honour than any king of Sparta.

[link to original Greek text] 64 For that cause the name Demaratus was  p213 given to the boy; and as time went on Ariston died, and Demaratus obtained his kingship. But fate (it would seem) willed that these matters should be discovered and lose Demaratus his kingship for some such reason as this. Cleomenes had been bitterly at enmity with Demaratus ere this, when Demaratus led his army away from Eleusis, and as bitterly now when he himself had crossed over to punish those Aeginetans who espoused the Persian cause.

[link to original Greek text] 65 Being therefore desirous of revenge, Cleomenes made an agreement with a man of Demaratus' family, Leutychides son of Menares, who was the son of Agis,α that if he made Leutychides king in Demaratus' stead, Leutychides should go with him against the Aeginetans. Now Leutychides was a mortal foe of Demaratus; for he having been betrothed to Percalus, daughter of Chilon the son of Demarmenus, Demaratus had plotted and robbed Leutychides of his bride, carrying her off before the marriage and wedding her himself. Such was the reason of Leutychides' feud with Demaratus; and now by Cleomenes' instigation he brought an accusation against Demaratus, alleging him to be no rightful king of Sparta, seeing that he was not the son of Ariston; which accusation being laid he impeached Demaratus in court, ever keeping in mind what Ariston had said when the servant brought news of the birth of a son, and on a reckoning of the months he swore that the boy was none of his. On that saying Leutychides took his stand, and strove to prove that Demaratus was no son of Ariston or rightful king of Sparta, by calling as witnesses those  p215 ephors who had then been sitting in council and heard Ariston say that.

[link to original Greek text] 66 Rawlinson p460 At the last, the matter being in dispute, the Spartans resolved to enquire of the Delphic oracle if Demaratus were the son of Ariston. This was reported to the Pythian priestess by the instigation of Cleomenes; who then gained the aid of Cobon son of Aristophantus, a man of very great power at Delphi; and Cobon over-persuaded Perialla, the prophetess, to say what Cleomenes desired to be said. On this the priestess, when the messengers enquired of her, gave judgment the Demaratus was not the son of Ariston. But at a later day these doings were discovered; Cobon was banished from Delphi and Perialla the prophetess was deprived of her honourable office.

[link to original Greek text] 67 This then was how Demaratus was deposed from his kingship; and he betook himself from Sparta into banishment among the Medes by reason of a reproach of which I will now tell. After he was deposed, Demaratus held an office whereto he had been elected. Now while the festival of the Naked Men​14 was celebrating, and Demaratus watching it, Leutychides, having by this time been made king in his place, sent his servant to ask Demaratus by way of mere mockery and insult how he liked his office after being a king. Wroth at that question, Demaratus made answer that he had made trial of both states, which Leutychides had not; but of that question (he said) 'twas likelier that huge calamity would come upon Lacedaemon than huge prosperity. Thus he spoke, and covering his head he quitted the  p217 theatre and went to his own house; there he made ready and sacrificed an ox to Zeus; after which sacrifice he called to him his mother.

[link to original Greek text] 68 H & W She came, and he put a part of the entrails in her hands, and said in entreaty: "My mother, I entreat you in the name of the gods, but especially Zeus of the household in whose presence we stand: tell me now truly, who was in very deed my father. For Leutychides said in those disputes, that you had a son in you by your first husband when you came to Ariston; and others there are that have a yet more random tale, saying that you consorted with one of the household that was the ass‑keeper, and that it is his son that I am. Therefore I entreat you by the gods to tell me the truth; for if you have done aught such as they say of you, not you only but many other women have done the like; and it is currently reported at Sparta that Ariston had it not in him to be a father, else would his former wives have borne him children."

[link to original Greek text] 69 Rawlinson p462 Thus he spoke, and thus she answered him: "My son, since you pray and entreat me to tell you the truth, the whole truth shall be told to you. On the third night after Ariston had brought me to his house, there came to me an appearance like to Ariston, and lay with me, and then put on me the garlands which he had. So when that figure was gone, presently Ariston came to me. Seeing the garlands on me, he asked me who had given them; I said they were his gift, but he denied it. Then I said, and swore it, that he did not well to deny it; for, I told him, he had come but a little while ago and lain with me and so given me the garlands. When Ariston saw that I swore to that, he perceived  p219 that the hand of heaven was in the matter; and not only were the garlands plainly seen to have come from the hero's shrine they call Astrobacus' shrine, that stands by the door of the courtyard, but the diviners declared that it was that same hero, Astrobacus, that had visited me. Thus, my son, you have all that you desire to know; for either you are the son of that hero, and the hero Astrobacus is your father, or Ariston is; for on that night did I conceive you. But as touching the plea that they most urge against you, namely, that Ariston himself, when your birth was announced to him, said in the hearing of many that you were not his son, the full ten months' time being not completed: that was an idle word that he spoke, as not knowing the truth of such matters; for not all women complete the full ten months' time, but some bear children after nine months, or even after seven; and you, my son, were born after seven months. It was not long ere Ariston himself came to know that this was a foolish word that had escaped him. Give no credence to any other tales concerning your birth; for this is very truth that I have told you; and for Leutychides himself and those that tell such tales, may they be cuckolded by their ass‑keepers."

[link to original Greek text] 70 Thus his mother spoke. Demaratus, having learnt what he desired, took provision for the way and journeyed to Elis, pretending that he journeyed to Delphi to enquire of the oracle. But the Lacedaemonians suspected that he planned to escape, and pursued after him; Demaratus was by some means beforehand with them and crossed the sea from Elis to Zacynthus; the Lacedaemonians crossed over after him and strove to lay hands on him, carrying  p221 off his servants. Then, the Zacynthians refusing to give him up, he crossed thence to Asia and betook himself to king Darius, who received him royally and gave him lands and cities. Thus and after such adventures came Demaratus to Asia, a man that had gained much renown in Lacedaemon by his many achievements and his wisdom, but most by making over to the state the victory in a chariot-race that he had won at Olympia; he was the only king of Sparta who did this.

[link to original Greek text] 71 Rawlinson p464 Demaratus being deposed, Leutychides son of Menares succeeded to his kingship; and there was born to him a son, Zeuxidemus, called by some of the Spartans Cyniscus. This Zeuxidemus never came to be king of Sparta; for he died in Leutychides' lifetime, leaving a son, Archidemus. Having thus lost Zeuxidemus, Leutychides married a second wife, Eurydame, sister of Menius and daughter of Diactorides; by her he had no male issue, but a daughter, Lampito, to whom Archidemus son of Zeuxidemus was married by Leutychides.

[link to original Greek text] 72 But neither did Leutychides himself win to old age in Sparta; he was punished for his dealing with Demaratus, as I will show: he led a Lacedaemonian army to Thessaly,​15 and when he might have subdued all the country he took a great bribe; and being caught in the very act of hoarding a sleeve full of silver there in the camp, he was brought before a court and banished from Sparta, and his house destroyed; and he went into exile at Tegea and there died.

[link to original Greek text] 73 H & W This befel long afterwards; but at the time of my story, Cleomenes, his dealing in the matter  p223 Demaratus being so sped, forthwith took Leutychides with him and went to punish the Aeginetans, against whom he was terribly wroth by reason of their despiteful usage of him. When the Aeginetans saw that both the kings were come after them, they now deemed it best to offer no further resistance; and the kings chose out ten men of Aegina who were most honoured for wealth and lineage, among them Crius son of Polycritus and Casambus son of Aristocrates, the two most power­ful men in Aegina; these they carried to Attica and gave them into the keeping of the Athenians, the bitterest foes of the Aeginetans.

[link to original Greek text] 74 Rawlinson p466 After this, Cleomenes' treacherous plot against Demaratus became known; and he was seized with fear of the Spartans and slunk away into Thessaly. Coming thence into Arcadia he wrought disorder in that country; for he strove to unite the Arcadians against Sparta; besides his other ways of binding them by oath to follow him to whatsoever enterprise he led them, he was fain to bring the chief men in Arcadia to the town of Nonacris and make them to swear by the water of Styx.​16 Near this town is said to be the Arcadian water of Styx, and this is its nature: it is a stream, small to behold, that flows from a cliff into a pool; a wall of stones runs round the pool. Nonacris, where this spring rises, is a town of Arcadia nigh to Pheneus.

[link to original Greek text] 75 When the Lacedaemonians learnt that such was Cleomenes' intent, they took fright, and brought him back to Sparta, there to be king as he had heretofore been. But Cleomenes had ere now been  p225 not wholly in his right mind, and now he fell sick of a madness; for any Spartan that he met he would smite in the face with his staff. For so doing, and for the frenzy that was on him, his nearest of kin made him fast in the stocks. But he saw in his bonds that his guard was left alone and none by, and he asked him for a dagger; the guard at first would not give it, but Cleomenes threatening what he would do to him thereafter, the guard, who was a helot, was affrighted by the threats and gave him the dagger. Then Cleomenes took the weapon and set about gashing himself from his shins upwards; from the shin to the thigh he cut his flesh lengthways, and from the thigh to the hip and the flank, till he reached the belly, and cut it into strips; thus he died, as the most of the Greeks say, because he over-persuaded the Pythian priestess to tell the tale of Demaratus; as the Athenians say (but none other) because he invaded Eleusis and laid waste the precinct of the gods; and as the Argives say, because when Argives had taken refuge after the battle in their temple of Argus​17 he brought them out thence and cut them down, and held the sacred grove itself in no regard but burnt it.

[link to original Greek text] 76 Rawlinson p468 For when Cleomenes was seeking a divination at Delphi, an oracle was given him that he should take Argos. When he came with Spartans to the river Erasinus, which is said to flow from the Stymphalian​18 lake (for this lake, they say, issues into a cleft out of sight and reappears at Argos, and from that place onwards the stream is called by the  p227 Argives Erasinus), — when Cleomenes came to this river he sacrificed victims to it; and being in nowise able to get favourable omens for his crossing, he said that he honoured the Erasinus for keeping true to its countrymen, but that even so the Argives should not go unscathed. Presently he withdrew thence and led his army seaward to Thyrea, where he sacrificed a bull to the sea and carried his men on shipboard to the region of Tiryns, and Nauplia.

[link to original Greek text] 77 Rawlinson p470 H & W Hearing of this, the Argives came to the coast to do battle with him; and when they had come near Tiryns and were at the place called Hesipaea, they encamped over against the Lacedaemonians, leaving but a little space between the armies. There the Argives had no fear of fair fighting, but rather than of being worsted by guile; for it was that which was signified by the oracle which the Pythian priestess gave to the Argives and Milesians in common, which ran thus:

Woe for the day when a woman shall vanquish a man in the battle,​19

Driving him far from the field and winning her glory in Argos:

Many an Argive dame her cheeks shall be rending in sorrow.

Yea, and in distant days this word shall be spoken of mortals:

"There lay slain by the spear that thrice-twined terrible serpent."

All these things meeting together spread fear among the Argives. Therefore they resolved to defend  p229 themselves by making the enemies' herald serve them, and, being so resolved, whenever the Spartan herald cried any command to the Lacedaemonians they, too, did the very thing that he bade.

[link to original Greek text] 78 When Cleomenes saw that the Argives did whatever was bidden by his herald, he gave command that when the herald cried the signal for the men to breakfast, they should then put on their armour and attack the Argives. The Lacedaemonians performed this bidding: for when they assaulted the Argives they caught them breakfasting in obedience to the herald's signal; many of them they slew, and more by far of the Argives fled for refuge into the grove of Argus, where the Lacedaemonians encamped round and closely watched them.

[link to original Greek text] 79 Then Cleomenes' plan was this: he had with him certain deserters, from whom he made due inquiry, and then sent a herald calling the names of the Argives that were shut up in the sacred precinct and inviting them to come out; saying therewith, that he had their ransom. Now among the Peloponnesians there is a fixed ransom to be paid for every prisoner, two minae for each. So Cleomenes invited about fifty Argives to come out, one after another, and slew them. It happened that this slaying was unknown to the rest that were in the temple precinct; for the grove being thick, they that were within could not see how it fared with them that were without, till one of them climbed a tree and saw what was being done. Thereafter they would not come out at the herald's call.

[link to original Greek text] 80 Rawlinson p472 On that Cleomenes bade all the helots pile wood about the grove; they obeyed, and he burnt the grove. When the fire was now burning, he  p231 asked one of the deserters, to what god the grove was sacred; "to Argus," said the man; when he heard that he cried loudly and lamentably: "Apollo, thou god of oracles, sorely has the thou deceived me with thy word that I should take Argos; this, I guess, is the fulfilment of that prophecy."

[link to original Greek text] 81 H & W Presently Cleomenes sent the more part of his army back to Sparta; he himself took with him a thousand that were his best warriors, and went to the temple of Here,​20 there to sacrifice. But when he would have sacrificed on the altar the priest forbade him, saying that no stranger might lawfully sacrifice there. Thereupon Cleomenes bade the helots bring the priest away from the altar and scourge him, and he himself offered sacrifice; which done, he returned to Sparta.

[link to original Greek text] 82 But after his returning his enemies brought him before the ephors, saying that it was for a bribe that he had not taken Argos, when he might have taken it easily. But Cleomenes alleged (whether falsely or truly, I cannot rightly say; but this he alleged in his speech) that he had supposed the god's oracle to be fulfilled by his taking of the temple of Argus; wherefore, he had thought it best not to make any assay on the city before he should have enquired by sacrifice and learnt whether the god would deliver it to him or withstand him; and while he took omens in Here's temple a flame of fire had shone forth from the breast of the image, whereby he had learnt the truth of the matter, that Argos was not for his taking. For (said he) had the flame come out of the head of the image, he would have taken the city from head to foot utterly; but its coming from the breast signified that he had done as  p233 much as it was the god's will should happen. This plea of his seemed to the Spartans to be credible and reasonable, and he far outdistanced the pursuit of his accusers.

[link to original Greek text] 83 But Argos was so wholly widowed of her men, that their slaves took all in possession, and ruled and governed, till the sons of them that were slain came to man's estate. Then these recovered Argos for themselves and cast out the slaves, who, being thrust out, took possession of Tiryns by force. For a while they were at peace with each other; but presently there came to the slaves one Cleander, a prophet, a man of Phigalea in Arcadia by birth; he persuaded the slaves to attack their masters. From this out for a long time there was war between them, till at last with much ado the Argives got the upper hand.21

[link to original Greek text] 84 Rawlinson p474 This was the reason (say the Argives) of Cleomenes' madness and his evil end; but the Spartans themselves say, that heaven had no hand in Cleomenes' madness, but by consorting with Scythians he became a drinker of strong wine, and thence the madness came. For (so they say) the nomad Scythians, after Darius had invaded their land, were fain to be revenged upon him, and made an alliance with Sparta by messengers sent thither; whereby it was agreed, that the Scythians themselves would essay to invade Media by way of the river Phasis, while the Spartans by their counsel should set out and march inland from Ephesus, and meet the Scythians. When the Scythians had come with this intent, Cleomenes, it is said, kept too close company with them, and by consorting with them out of measure learnt from them to drink strong wine; and  p235 this the Spartans hold to have been the cause of his madness. Ever since, as they themselves say, when they desire a strong draught they will call for "a Scythian cup." Such is the Spartan story of Cleomenes; but to my thinking, it was for what he did to Demaratus that he was punished thus.

[link to original Greek text] 85 H & W When Cleomenes was dead, and the Aeginetans heard of it, they sent messengers to Sparta to cry for justice on Leutychides, for the matter of the hostages that were held at Athens. The Lacedaemonians then assembled a court and gave judgment that Leutychides had done violence to the Aeginetans; and they condemned him to be given up and carried to Aegina, in requital for the men that were held at Athens. But when the Aeginetans were about to carry Leutychides away, a man of repute at Sparta, Theasides, son of Leoprepes, said to them, "Men of Aegina, what is this that you purpose to do? Would you have the king of the Spartans given up to you by the citizens and carry him away? Nay, if the Spartans have now so judged in their anger, look to it lest at a later day, if you do as you purpose, they bring utter destruction upon your country." Hearing this, the Aeginetans stayed their hand from carrying the king away, and made an agreement that Leutychides should go with them to Athens and restore the men to the Aeginetans.

[link to original Greek text] 86 So when Leutychides came to Athens and demanded that what had been entrusted be restored, and the Athenians, being loath to restore it, made excuses, and said that, having been charged with the trust by both the kings, they deemed it wrong to restore it to the one alone without the other, — when the Athenians refused to restore, Leutychides said to  p237 them: "Men of Athens, do whichever thing you desire; if you restore, you do righteously, if you restore not you do contrariwise; yet hear from me the story of what befel at Sparta in the matter of a trust. It is told by us Spartans that three generations agone there was at Lacedaemon one Glaucus, son of Epicydes. This man (so the story goes) added to his other excellences a reputation for justice above all men who at that time dwelt in Lacedaemon. But in the fitting time this, as it is told, befel him: — There came to Sparta a certain man of Miletus, desiring to hold converse with Glaucus, and making him this proffer: 'I am,' he said, 'of Miletus, and hither am I come, Glaucus! to reap advantage from your justice. For seeing that all about Hellas and Ionia too there was much talk of your justice, I bethought me in myself that Ionia is ever a land of dangers and Peloponnesus securely stablished, and in Ionia nowhere are the same men seen continuing in possession of wealth. Considering and taking counsel concerning these matters, I resolved to turn the half of my substance into silver and give it into your charge, being well assured that it will lie safe for me in your keeping. Do you then receive the sum, and take and keep these tokens; and restore the money to him that comes with the like tokens and demands it back.' Thus spoke the stranger who had come from Miletus, and Glaucus received the trust according to the agreement. When a long time had passed, there came to Sparta the sons of the man who had given the money in trust; they  p239 spoke with Glaucus, showing him the tokens and demanding the money back. But Glaucus put them off with a demurrer: 'I have no remembrance,' he said, 'of the matter, nor am I moved to any knowledge of that whereof you speak; let me bring it to mind, and I will do all that is just; if I took the money I will duly restore it, and if I never took it at all I will deal with you according to the customs of the Greeks. Suffer me, therefore, to delay making my words good till the fourth month from this day.' So the Milesians went away in sorrow, as men robbed of their possessions; but Glaucus journeyed to Delphi, to enquire of the oracle. When he asked the oracle whether he should swear and so ravish the money, the Pythian priestess threatened him in these verses:

Hear, Epicydes' son: 'twere much to thy present advantage

Couldst thou prevail by an oath and ravish the stranger's possessions:

Swear an thou wilt; death waits for the just no less than the unjust.

Ay — but an oath hath a son, a nameless avenger of evil:

Hands hath he none, nor feet; yet swiftly he runneth pursuing,

Grippeth his man at the last and maketh an end of his offspring.

Better endureth the line of the man that sweareth not falsely.

When Glaucus heard that, he entreated the god to pardon him for how he had said. But the priestess answered, that to tempt the god and to do the deed were of like effect. Glaucus, then, sent for the  p241 Milesian strangers and restored them their money; but hear now, Athenians! why I began to tell you this story. There is at this day no descendant of Glaucus, nor any household that bears Glaucus' name; he and his have been utterly uprooted out of Sparta. So good a thing it is not even to design aught concerning a trust, save the restoring of it on demand."

[link to original Greek text] 87 Rawlinson p478 Thus spoke Leutychides; but even so the Athenians would not listen to him, and he took his departure. But the Aeginetans, before paying the penalty for the high-handed wrong they had done the Athenians to please the Thebans, did as I will show. Having a grudge against Athens and deeming themselves wronged, they prepared to take vengeance on the Athenians. Among these there was now a five-yearly festival toward on Sunium; wherefore the Aeginetans set an ambush and took the ship that bore deputies to the festival, with many noble Athenians therein, and put in prison the men whom they took.

[link to original Greek text] 88 Thus mishandled by the Aeginetans, the Athenians delayed no longer to devise all mischief against Aegina. Now there was one Nicodromus, son of Cnoethus by name, a notable man in Aegina. He, having a grudge against the Aeginetans for his former banishment from the island, and learning now that the Athenians were set upon doing hurt to the Aeginetans, agreed with the Athenians to betray Aegina to them, naming the day whereon he would essay it and whereon they must come to aid him.

[link to original Greek text] 89 Presently, according to his agreement with the Athenians, Nicodromus took possession of the Old City, as it was called; but the Athenians failed of  p243 arriving at the right time; for it chanced that they had not ships enough to cope with the Aeginetans; wherefore they entreated the Corinthians to lend them ships, and by that delay their business was thwarted. The Corinthians, being at that time their close friends, consented to the Athenians' entreaty and gave them twenty ships, at a price of five drachmas apiece; for by their law they could not make a free gift of them. Taking these ships and their own, the Athenians manned seventy in all and sailed for Aegina, whither they came a day later than the time agreed.

[link to original Greek text] 90 Rawlinson p480 H & W But Nicodromus, the Athenians not being at hand on the day appointed, took ship and escaped from Aegina, he and other Aeginetans with him, to whom the Athenians gave Sunium to dwell in; making which their headquarters they harried the Aeginetans of the island.

[link to original Greek text] 91 This was done after the time whereof I have spoken.​22 But the rich men of Aegina gained the mastery over the commonalty, who had risen against them with Nicodromus, and having made them captive led them out to be slain. For this cause a curse fell upon them, whereof for all their devices they could not rid themselves by sacrifice, but they were driven out of their island ere the goddess would be merci­ful to them. For they had taken seven hundred of the commonalty alive; and as they led these out for slaughter one of them escaped from his bonds and fled to the temple gate of Demeter the Lawgiver, where he laid hold of the door-handles and clung to them; so when his enemies could not drag him away for all their striving, they cut off his hands,  p245 and brought him off; and those hands were left clinging fast to the door-handles.

[link to original Greek text] 92 Thus the Aeginetans dealt with each other; when the Athenians had come, they fought with them at sea with seventy ships, and being worsted in the sea‑fight they asked help of the Argives, as they had done before. But this time the Argives would not aid them, for a grudge that they bore the Aeginetans; since ships of Aegina had been taken perforce by Cleomenes and put in on the Argolid coast, where their crews landed with the Lacedaemonians; and there were men too from ships of Sicyon that took part in this same onfall; and the Argives laid on them the payment of a fine of a thousand talents, each people five hundred. The Sicyonians owned that they had done wrongfully and agreed to go scatheless for a payment of a hundred talents, but the Aeginetans made no such confession, and were stiff-necked. For this cause the Argive state sent no man at their entreaty to aid them, but about a thousand came of their own will, led by a captain whose name was Eurybates, a man practised in the five contests.​23 Of these the greater part never returned back but met their death by the hands of the Athenians in Aegina; Eurybates himself, their captain, fought in single combat and thus slew three men, but was slain by the fourth, Sophanes the son of Deceles.

[link to original Greek text] 93 Rawlinson p482 The Aeginetan ships found the Athenians in disarray, and attacked and overcame them, taking four Athenian ships and their crews.

The Loeb Editor's Notes:

1 492.

2 III.80.

3 491.

4 On the Thracian coast, opposite Thasos.

5 Κριός = ram.

6 "The most probable origin of this anomaly" (the dual kingship) "is the fusion of two distinct communities whose chiefs shared the throne." How and Wells, p82.

7 i.e. Zeus; Perseus being by one legend son of Zeus and Danaë.

8 But in VII.150 the Persian story is, that Perseus was son of Danaë daughter of Acrisius. Evidently the Perseus legends are manifold and inconsistent.

9 Here, as often, the cult of an "Olympian" deity is identified with an earlier local worship; cp. Zeus Amphiaraus, Zeus Agamemnon.

10 The content of a "Laconian τετάρτη" is uncertain; for the date, see How and Wells ad loc.

11 Usually, the πρόξενος is a citizen who out of friendship for a particular state undertakes the protection of its nationals in his city; e.g. Miltiades at Athens is the πρόξενος of Sparta. But here he is apparently an official appointed to watch over the interests of all foreign residents.

12 "Herodotus, though the expression is obscure, probably means not that each king had two votes, but that two votes were given for the two absent kings, and that the vote of the relative who acted as proxy for both was the third." How and Wells, p87.

13 S. E. of Sparta; the legendary burial-place of Menelaus and Helen. The foundations of a temple are still visible.

14 A midsummer festival, celebrated at Sparta by bands of naked boys and men.

15 The date is uncertain; about 475 or 470, probably.

16 The "water of Styx" is a mountain torrent flowing through a desolate ravine on the N. face of Chelmos.

Lendering's Note: That a small watercourse had been named after the mythological river may not be relevant. At any rate, swearing an oath at the waters of the Styx was considered to be the most binding of all possible oaths.

17 Cp. ch. 80.

18 The Stymphalian lake, near the base of Cyllene, discharges itself into a cavern at the foot of a cliff; the river which reappears near Argos (the Erasinus) has generally been identified with this stream.

19 This would be fulfilled by a victory of the female Σπάρτη over the male Ἄργος.

20 About four miles N. E. of Argos.

21 About 468, apparently.

22 That is, it was done between 490 and480.

23 The 'Pentathlum' consisted of jumping, discus-throwing, spear-throwing, running, and wrestling.

Thayer's Note: Full details are given in the article Pentathlon in Smith's Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities.

Lendering's Note:

α Either a slip by Herodotus or scribal corruption. Leutychides' grandfather was Hegesilaus (cf.  VIII.131).

[image ALT: Valid HTML 4.01.]

Page updated: 10 Dec 18