Diabolē

iranian.225x0-is-pid6619
Achaemenid nobleman

This is part 3 of 3. Part 1 is here. Part 2 is here.

Σοὶ μὲν δὴ ταῦτα, ὦ βασιλεῦ, συμβουλεύω· σὺ δέ, ὦ παῖ Γωβρύεω, παῦσαι λέγων λόγους ματαίους περὶ Ἑλλήνων οὐκ ἐόντων ἀξίων φλαύρως ἀκούειν. Ἕλληνας γὰρ διαβάλλων ἐπείρεις αὐτὸν βασιλέα στρατεύεσθαι· αὐτοῦ δὲ τούτου εἵνεκα δοκέεις μοι πᾶσαν προθυμίην ἐκτείνειν. μή νυν οὕτω γένηται. διαβολὴ γάρ ἐστι δεινότατον, ἐν τῇ δύο μέν εἰσι οἱ ἀδικέοντες, εἷς δὲ ὁ ἀδικεόμενος. ὁ μὲν γὰρ διαβάλλων ἀδικέει οὐ παρεόντος κατηγορέων, ὁ δὲ ἀδικέει ἀναπειθόμενος πρὶν ἢ ἀτρεκέως ἐκμάθῃ· ὁ δὲ δὴ ἀπεὼν τοῦ λόγου τάδε ἐν αὐτοῖσι ἀδικέεται, διαβληθείς τε ὑπὸ τοῦ ἑτέρου καὶ νομισθεὶς πρὸς τοῦ ἑτέρου κακὸς εἶναι. ἀλλ’ εἰ δὴ δεῖ γε πάντως ἐπὶ τοὺς ἄνδρας τούτους στρατεύεσθαι, φέρε, βασιλεὺς μὲν αὐτὸς ἐν ἤθεσι τοῖσι Περσέων μενέτω, ἡμέων δὲ ἀμφοτέρων παραβαλλομένων τὰ τέκνα στρατηλάτεε αὐτὸς σὺ ἐπιλεξάμενός τε ἄνδρας τοὺς ἐθέλεις καὶ λαβὼν στρατιὴν ὁκόσην τινὰ βούλεαι. καὶ ἢν μὲν τῇ σὺ λέγεις ἀναβαίνῃ βασιλέϊ τὰ πρήγματα, κτεινέσθων οἱ ἐμοὶ παῖδες, πρὸς δὲ αὐτοῖσι καὶ ἐγώ· ἢν δὲ τῇ ἐγὼ προλέγω, οἱ σοὶ ταῦτα πασχόντων, σὺν δέ σφι καὶ σύ, ἢν ἀπονοστήσῃς. εἰ δὲ ταῦτα μὲν ὑποδύνειν οὐκ ἐθελήσεις, σὺ δὲ πάντως στράτευμα ἀνάξεις ἐπὶ τὴν Ἑλλάδα, ἀκούσεσθαί τινά φημι τῶν αὐτοῦ τῇδε ὑπολειπομένων Μαρδόνιον, μέγα τι κακὸν ἐξεργασάμενον Πέρσας, ὑπὸ κυνῶν τε καὶ ὀρνίθων διαφορεύμενον ἤ κου ἐν γῇ τῇ Ἀθηναίων ἤ σέ γε ἐν τῇ Λακεδαιμονίων, εἰ μὴ ἄρα καὶ πρότερον κατ’ ὁδόν, γνόντα ἐπ᾽ οἵους ἄνδρας ἀναγινώσκεις στρατεύεσθαι βασιλέα.
(Herodotus, Hist. 7.10ζ-θ)

So that is my advice to you, my lord. As for you, son of Gobryas, you should stop making rude and defamatory remarks about the Greeks when they don’t deserve them. By disparaging the Greeks you encourage the king to march against them; in fact, I think that is exactly what all this effort of yours is for. But I hope this campaign never materializes. Slander is a truly terrible thing, because it involves two men ganging up to wrong a single victim. The one who casts the aspersions does wrong by accusing someone in his absence, and the other person does wrong by believing the lie before he has found out the truth. Meanwhile, the person who is missing from the discussion is the victim of the situation in the sense that he has been defamed by the one person and has acquired a bad reputation in the other one’s mind. However, if there is absolutely no help for it and we must make war on these Greeks, then consider this proposal, Mardonius. While the king stays here in Persia, in his homeland, you pick your men, take an army of any size you want, and lead the expedition. Let each of us gamble the lives of our children on the outcome. If matters turn out as you say they will for the king, let my children be put to death, and I will join them; but if things turn out as I am predicting, let your children suffer that fate, and you too, if you make it back home. If you aren’t prepared to run this risk, but are still determined to take the army overseas to Greece, I can tell you what news of Mardonius will reach the ears of those who stay behind here: they will be told that Mardonius was the cause of a great disaster for Persia, and that you were then torn apart by dogs and birds somewhere in Athenian territory or somewhere in Lacedaemon—that is, if this doesn’t happen earlier, on the way there. Then you will know what kind of men you are trying to persuade the king to attack.’ (tr. Robin Waterfield)

Bouleuesthai

p.txt

This is part 2 of 3. Part 1 is here. Part 3 is here.

Ἐγὼ δὲ οὐδεμιῇ σοφίῃ οἰκηίῃ αὐτὸς ταῦτα συμβάλλομαι, ἀλλ’ οἷόν κοτε ἡμέας ὀλίγου ἐδέησε καταλαβεῖν πάθος, ὅτε πατὴρ ὁ σός ζεύξας Βόσπορον τὸν Θρηίκιον, γεφυρώσας δὲ ποταμὸν Ἴστρον διέβη ἐπὶ Σκύθας. τότε παντοῖοι ἐγένοντο Σκύθαι δεόμενοι Ἰώνων λῦσαι τὸν πόρον, τοῖσι ἐπετέτραπτο ἡ φυλακὴ τῶν γεφυρέων τοῦ Ἴστρου. καὶ τότε γε Ἱστιαῖος ὁ Μιλήτου τύραννος εἰ ἐπέσπετο τῶν ἄλλων τυράννων τῇ γνώμῃ μηδὲ ἠντιώθη, διέργαστο ἂν τὰ Περσέων πρήγματα. καίτοι καὶ λόγῳ ἀκοῦσαι δεινόν, ἐπ’ ἀνδρί γε ἑνὶ πάντα τὰ βασιλέος πρήγματα γεγενῆσθαι. σὺ ὦν μὴ βούλευ ἐς κίνδυνον μηδένα τοιοῦτον ἀπικέσθαι μηδεμιῆς ἀνάγκης ἐούσης, ἀλλὰ ἐμοὶ πείθευ· νῦν μὲν τὸν σύλλογον τόνδε διάλυσον· αὖτις δέ, ὅταν τοι δοκῇ, προσκεψάμενος ἐπὶ σεωυτοῦ προαγόρευε τά τοι δοκέει εἶναι ἄριστα. τὸ γὰρ εὖ βουλεύεσθαι κέρδος μέγιστον εὑρίσκω ἐόν· εἰ γὰρ καὶ ἐναντιωθῆναί τι θέλει, βεβούλευται μὲν οὐδὲν ἧσσον εὖ, ἕσσωται δὲ ὑπὸ τῆς τύχης τὸ βούλευμα· ὁ δὲ βουλευσάμενος αἰσχρῶς, εἴ οἱ ἡ τύχη ἐπίσποιτο, εὕρημα εὕρηκε, ἧσσον δὲ οὐδέν οἱ κακῶς βεβούλευται. ὁρᾷς τὰ ὑπερέχοντα ζῷα ὡς κεραυνοῖ ὁ θεὸς οὐδὲ ἐᾷ φαντάζεσθαι, τὰ δὲ σμικρὰ οὐδέν μιν κνίζει· ὁρᾷς δὲ ὡς ἐς οἰκήματα τὰ μέγιστα αἰεὶ καὶ δένδρεα τὰ τοιαῦτα ἀποσκήπτει τὰ βέλεα. φιλέει γὰρ ὁ θεὸς τὰ ὑπερέχοντα πάντα κολούειν. οὕτω δὲ καὶ στρατὸς πολλὸς ὑπὸ ὀλίγου διαφθείρεται κατὰ τοιόνδε· ἐπεάν σφι ὁ θεὸς φθονήσας φόβον ἐμβάλῃ ἢ βροντήν, δι’ ὧν ἐφθάρησαν ἀναξίως ἑωυτῶν. οὐ γὰρ ἐᾷ φρονέειν μέγα ὁ θεὸς ἄλλον ἢ ἑωυτόν. ἐπειχθῆναι μέν νυν πᾶν πρῆγμα τίκτει σφάλματα, ἐκ τῶν ζημίαι μεγάλαι φιλέουσι γίνεσθαι· ἐν δὲ τῷ ἐπισχεῖν ἔνεστι ἀγαθά, εἰ μὴ παραυτίκα δοκέοντα εἶναι, ἀλλ’ ἀνὰ χρόνον ἐξεύροι τις ἄν.
(Herodotus, Hist. 7.10γ-ε)

I don’t have any special expertise that leads me to this conclusion; it’s just that disaster very nearly overwhelmed us once before under similar circumstances, when your father built a pontoon bridge across the Thracian Bosporus, bridged the River Ister, crossed it, and invaded Scythia. On that occasion the Scythians did everything they could to persuade the Ionians, whose job it was to guard the bridges across the Ister, to dismantle the causeway. And if Histiaeus the tyrant of Miletus had gone along with all his fellow tyrants, rather than opposing their view, that would have been the end of Persia. However terrifying it is even to hear it said, the whole of the king’s affairs depended on a single man. You should not choose to run that kind of risk when you don’t really have to. No, listen to me instead. Dissolve this meeting now, think things over by yourself and then later, whenever you like, give us whatever orders you see fit. In my experience, nothing is more advantageous than good planning. I mean, even if a set-back happens, that doesnt alter the fact that the plan was sound; it’s just that the plan was defeated by chance. However, if someone who hasn’t laid his plans properly is attended by fortune, he may have had a stroke of luck, but that doesn’t alter the fact that his plan was unsound. You can see how the god blasts living things that are prominent and prevents their display of superiority, while small creatures don’t irritate him at all; you can see that it is always the largest buildings and the tallest trees on which he hurls his thunderbolts. It is the god’s way to curtail anything excessive. And so even a massive army may be destroyed by a small force if it attracts the god’s resentment and he sends panic or thunder, until they are shamefully destroyed. This happens because the god does not allow anyone but himself to feel pride. The offspring of haste in any venture is error, and error in turn tends to lead to serious harm. Benefits come from waiting; even if they aren’t apparent at first, one will discover them in time. (tr. Robin Waterfield)

Ameinonas

Xerxes_I_relief
Xerxes I

This is part 1 of 3. Part 2 is here. Part 3 is here.

Ὦ βασιλεῦ, μὴ λεχθεισέων μὲν γνωμέων ἀντιέων ἀλλήλῃσι οὐκ ἔστι τὴν ἀμείνω αἱρεόμενον ἑλέσθαι, ἀλλὰ δεῖ τῇ εἰρημένῃ χρᾶσθαι, λεχθεισέων δὲ ἔστι, ὥσπερ τὸν χρυσὸν τὸν ἀκήρατον αὐτὸν μὲν ἐπ᾽ ἑωυτοῦ οὐ διαγινώσκομεν, ἐπεὰν δὲ παρατρίψωμεν ἄλλῳ χρυσῷ, διαγινώσκομεν τὸν ἀμείνω. ἐγὼ δὲ καὶ πατρὶ τῷ σῷ, ἀδελφεῷ δὲ ἐμῷ Δαρείῳ ἠγόρευον μὴ στρατεύεσθαι ἐπὶ Σκύθας, ἄνδρας οὐδαμόθι γῆς ἄστυ νέμοντας· ὁ δέ ἐλπίζων Σκύθας τοὺς νομάδας καταστρέψεσθαι, ἐμοί τε οὐκ ἐπείθετο, στρατευσάμενός τε πολλοὺς καὶ ἀγαθοὺς τῆς στρατιῆς ἀποβαλὼν ἀπῆλθε. σὺ δέ, ὦ βασιλεῦ, μέλλεις ἐπ’ ἄνδρας στρατεύεσθαι πολλὸν ἔτι ἀμείνονας ἢ Σκύθας, οἳ κατὰ θάλασσάν τε ἄριστοι καὶ κατὰ γῆν λέγονται εἶναι. τὸ δὲ αὐτοῖσι ἔνεστι δεινόν, ἐμέ σοι δίκαιόν ἐστι φράζειν. ζεύξας φὴς τὸν Ἑλλήσποντον ἐλᾶν στρατὸν διὰ τῆς Εὐρώπης ἐς τὴν Ἑλλάδα. καὶ δὴ καὶ συνήνεικε ἤτοι κατὰ γῆν ἢ καὶ κατὰ θάλασσαν ἑσσωθῆναι, ἢ καὶ κατ’ ἀμφότερα· οἱ γὰρ ἄνδρες λέγονται εἶναι ἄλκιμοι, πάρεστι δὲ καὶ σταθμώσασθαι, εἰ στρατιήν γε τοσαύτην σὺν Δάτι καὶ Ἀρταφρένεϊ ἐλθοῦσαν ἐς τὴν Ἀττικὴν χώρην μοῦνοι Ἀθηναῖοι διέφθειραν. οὐκ ὦν ἀμφοτέρῃ σφι ἐχώρησε· ἀλλ’ ἢν τῇσι νηυσὶ ἐμβάλωσι καὶ νικήσαντες ναυμαχίῃ πλέωσι ἐς τὸν Ἑλλήσποντον καὶ ἔπειτα λύσωσι τὴν γέφυραν, τοῦτο δή, βασιλεῦ, γίνεται δεινόν.
(Herodotus, Hist. 7.10α-β)

‘My lord,’ he* said, ‘unless opposing views are heard, it is impossible to pick and choose between various plans and decide which one is best. All one can do is go along with the opinion that has been voiced. However, if opposing views are heard, it is possible to decide. Think of a piece of pure gold: taken all by itself it is impossible to tell that it is pure; only by rubbing it on the touchstone and comparing gold with gold can we tell which one is best. I told your father, my brother Darius, not to attack the Scythians, people with no established settlement anywhere, but he didn’t listen to me; he was sure he could defeat the nomad Scythians. So he launched a campaign against them and when he came back he had lost a great many brave fighting men from his army. But this campaign you’re planning, my lord, is against men who are vastly superior to the Scythians; they have the highest reputation for bravery on both land and sea. There is danger involved, and it is only right for me to point it out to you. You say that you will bridge the Hellespont and march through Europe to Greece. Now, suppose you suffer defeat in a land or naval engagement, or even in both. After all, these Greeks do have a reputation as fighters. In fact, we can assess their abilities from the fact that the Athenians alone destroyed an army of the size of the one that invaded Attica under Datis and Artaphrenes. Anyway, suppose things don’t go their way in both spheres, but that they engage us at sea, defeat us, and then sail to the Hellespont and dismantle the bridge. That is where the danger lies, my lord.

* Artabanus, Xerxes’ uncle.

(tr. Robin Waterfield)

Basilea

cc947675ce0ac0c98617f27425843c35_XL

Αὐτίκα δὲ προβαλλομένων ὅντινα στήσονται βασιλέα, ὁ Δηιόκης ἦν πολλὸς ὑπὸ παντὸς ἀνδρὸς καὶ προβαλλόμενος καὶ αἰνεόμενος, ἐς ὃ τοῦτον καταινέουσι βασιλέα σφίσι εἶναι. ὁ δ’ ἐκέλευε αὐτοὺς οἰκία τε ἑωυτῷ ἄξια τῆς βασιληίης οἰκοδομῆσαι καὶ κρατῦναι αὐτὸν δορυφόροισι· ποιεῦσι δὴ ταῦτα οἱ Μῆδοι. οἰκοδομέουσί τε γὰρ αὐτῷ οἰκία μεγάλα τε καὶ ἰσχυρά, ἵνα αὐτὸς ἔφρασε τῆς χώρης, καὶ δορυφόρους αὐτῷ ἐπιτρέπουσι ἐκ πάντων Μήδων καταλέξασθαι. ὁ δὲ ὡς ἔσχε τὴν ἀρχήν, τοὺς Μήδους ἠνάγκασε ἓν πόλισμα ποιήσασθαι καὶ τοῦτο περιστέλλοντας τῶν ἄλλων ἧσσον ἐπιμέλεσθαι. πειθομένων δὲ καὶ ταῦτα τῶν Μήδων οἰκοδομέει τείχεα μεγάλα τε καὶ καρτερὰ ταῦτα τὰ νῦν Ἀγβάτανα κέκληται, ἕτερον ἑτέρῳ κύκλῳ ἐνεστεῶτα. μεμηχάνηται δὲ οὕτω τοῦτο τὸ τεῖχος ὥστε ὁ ἕτερος τοῦ ἑτέρου κύκλος τοῖσι προμαχεῶσι μούνοισι ἐστι ὑψηλότερος. τὸ μέν κού τι καὶ τὸ χωρίον συμμαχέει κολωνὸς ἐὼν ὥστε τοιοῦτο εἶναι, τὸ δὲ καὶ μᾶλλόν τι ἐπετηδεύθη. κύκλων δ’ ἐόντων τῶν συναπάντων ἑπτά, ἐν δὴ τῷ τελευταίῳ τὰ βασιλήια ἔνεστι καὶ οἱ θησαυροί. τὸ δ’ αὐτῶν μέγιστόν ἐστι τεῖχος κατὰ τὸν Ἀθηνέων κύκλον μάλιστά κῃ τὸ μέγαθος. τοῦ μὲν δὴ πρώτου κύκλου οἱ προμαχεῶνες εἰσὶ λευκοί, τοῦ δὲ δευτέρου μέλανες, τρίτου δὲ κύκλου φοινίκεοι, τετάρτου δὲ κυάνεοι, πέμπτου δὲ σανδαράκινοι. οὕτω τῶν πέντε κύκλων οἱ προμαχεῶνες ἠνθισμένοι εἰσὶ φαρμάκοισι· δύο δὲ οἱ τελευταῖοί εἰσὶ ὁ μὲν καταργυρωμένους ὁ δὲ κατακεχρυσωμένους ἔχων τοὺς προμαχεῶνας. ταῦτα μὲν δὴ ὁ Δηιόκης ἑωυτῷ τε ἐτείχεε καὶ περὶ τὰ ἑωυτοῦ οἰκία, τὸν δὲ ἄλλον δῆμον πέριξ ἐκέλευε τὸ τεῖχος οἰκέειν. οἰκοδομηθέντων δὲ πάντων κόσμον τόνδε Δηιόκης πρῶτός ἐστι ὁ καταστησάμενος, μήτε ἐσιέναι παρὰ βασιλέα μηδένα, δι’ ἀγγέλων δὲ πάντα χρᾶσθαι, ὁρᾶσθαι τε βασιλέα ὑπὸ μηδενός, πρός τε τούτοισι ἔτι γελᾶν τε καὶ ἀντίον πτύειν καὶ ἅπασι εἶναι τοῦτό γε αἰσχρόν. ταῦτα δὲ περὶ ἑωυτὸν ἐσέμνυνε τῶνδε εἵνεκεν, ὅκως ἂν μὴ ὁρῶντες οἱ ὁμήλικες, ἐόντες σύντροφοί τε ἐκείνῳ καὶ οἰκίης οὐ φλαυροτέρης οὐδὲ ἐς ἀνδραγαθίην λειπόμενοι, λυπεοίατο καὶ ἐπιβουλεύοιεν, ἀλλ’ ἑτεροῖός σφι δοκέοι εἶναι μὴ ὁρῶσι.
(Herodotus, Hist. 1.98-99)

They were immediately faced with the question of whom to appoint as king. Everyone was full of praise for Deioces and wholeheartedly endorsed his nomination, until at length they agreed that he should be their king. He ordered them to build him a palace fit for a king and to assign him personal guards for his protection, and the Medes did so: they built him a large, secure residence in a part of the country he designated, and they let him pick his personal guards from among the whole Median population. Once power was in his hands, Deioces insisted that the Medes build a single city and maintain this one place, which involved caring less for their other communities. The Medes obeyed him in this too; they built the place which is now known as Ecbatana—a huge, impregnable stronghold consisting of concentric circles of defensive walls. This stronghold is designed so that each successive circle is higher than the one below it just by the height of its bastions. This design is helped, of course, to a certain extent by the fact that the place is on a hill, but it was also deliberately made that way. There are seven circles altogether, and the innermost one contains the royal palace and the treasuries. The largest of the walls is approximately the same size as the wall around Athens. The bastions of the outer five circles have all been painted various colours—first white, then black, red, blue, and orange. But as for the bastions of the last two circles, the first are covered in silver and the second in gold. So Deioces had this stronghold built for himself, surrounding his own residence, but he told the whole population to build their houses outside the stronghold. Once the building programme was completed, Deioces was the first to establish the following rules: no one was to enter “into the king’s presence, but all business was to be conducted through messengers; the king was to be seen by no one; and furthermore absolutely no one was to commit the offence of laughing or spitting in the king’s presence. The reason he instituted this grandiose system of how to behave in relation to himself was to prevent any of his peers seeing him. They had been brought up with him, their lineage was no worse than his, and they were just as brave as he was, so he was worried that if they saw him they might get irritated and conspire against him; on the other hand, if they could not see him, they might think that he had changed. (tr. Robin Waterfield)

Katadoulōsai

20120209-Xerxes_I

Πρὸς μὲν Ἀλέξανδρον ταῦτα ὑπεκρίναντο, πρὸς δὲ τοὺς ἀπὸ Σπάρτης ἀγγέλους τάδε· “τὸ μὲν δεῖσαι Λακεδαιμονίους μὴ ὁμολογήσωμεν τῷ βαρβάρῳ, κάρτα ἀνθρωπήϊον ἦν· ἀτὰρ αἰσχρῶς γε οἴκατε ἐξεπιστάμενοι τὸ Ἀθηναίων φρόνημα ἀρρωδῆσαι, ὅτι οὔτε χρυσός ἐστι γῆς οὐδαμόθι τοσοῦτος οὔτε χώρη κάλλεϊ καὶ ἀρετῇ μέγα ὑπερφέρουσα, τὰ ἡμεῖς δεξάμενοι ἐθέλοιμεν ἂν μηδίσαντες καταδουλῶσαι τὴν Ἑλλάδα. πολλά τε γὰρ καὶ μεγάλα ἐστι τὰ διακωλύοντα ταῦτα μὴ ποιέειν μηδ’ ἢν ἐθέλωμεν, πρῶτα μὲν καὶ μέγιστα τῶν θεῶν τὰ ἀγάλματα καὶ τὰ οἰκήματα ἐμπεπρησμένα τε καὶ συγκεχωσμένα, τοῖσι ἡμέας ἀναγκαίως ἔχει τιμωρέειν ἐς τὰ μέγιστα μᾶλλον ἤ περ ὁμολογέειν τῷ ταῦτα ἐργασαμένῳ, αὖτις δὲ τὸ Ἑλληνικὸν ἐὸν ὅμαιμόν τε καὶ ὁμόγλωσσον καὶ θεῶν ἱδρύματά τε κοινὰ καὶ θυσίαι ἤθεά τε ὁμότροπα, τῶν προδότας γενέσθαι Ἀθηναίους οὐκ ἂν εὖ ἔχοι. ἐπίστασθέ τε οὕτω, εἰ μὴ πρότερον ἐτυγχάνετε ἐπιστάμενοι, ἔστ’ ἂν καὶ εἷς περιῇ Ἀθηναίων, μηδαμὰ ὁμολογήσοντας ἡμέας Ξέρξῃ. ὑμέων μέντοι ἀγάμεθα τὴν προνοίην τὴν πρὸς ἡμέας ἐοῦσαν, ὅτι προείδετε ἡμέων οἰκοφθορημένων οὕτω ὥστε ἐπιθρέψαι ἐθέλειν ἡμέων τοὺς οἰκέτας. καὶ ὑμῖν μὲν ἡ χάρις ἐκπεπλήρωται, ἡμεῖς μέντοι λιπαρήσομεν οὕτω ὅκως ἂν ἔχωμεν, οὐδὲν λυπέοντες ὑμέας. νῦν δέ, ὡς οὕτω ἐχόντων, στρατιὴν ὡς τάχιστα ἐκπέμπετε. ὡς γὰρ ἡμεῖς εἰκάζομεν, οὐκ ἑκὰς χρόνου παρέσται ὁ βάρβαρος ἐσβαλὼν ἐς τὴν ἡμετέρην, ἀλλ’ ἐπειδὰν τάχιστα πύθηται τὴν ἀγγελίην ὅτι οὐδὲν ποιήσομεν τῶν ἐκεῖνος ἡμέων προσεδέετο. πρὶν ὦν παρεῖναι ἐκεῖνον ἐς τὴν Ἀττικήν, ἡμέας καιρός ἐστι προβοηθῆσαι ἐς τὴν Βοιωτίην.” οἱ μὲν ταῦτα ὑποκριναμένων Ἀθηναίων ἀπαλλάσσοντο ἐς Σπάρτην.
(Herodotus, Hist. 8.144)

This was the Athenian reply to Alexander. To the messengers from Sparta they spoke as follows: ‘It may have been natural for you to worry in case we came to terms with Xerxes, but we still think your fear reflects badly on you, because you are perfectly well aware of the Athenian temperament. You should have known that there isn’t enough gold on earth, or any land of such outstanding beauty and fertility, that we would accept it in return for collaborating with the enemy and enslaving Greece. Even if we were inclined to do so, there are plenty of important obstacles in the way. First and foremost, there is the burning and destruction of the statues and homes of our gods; rather than entering into a treaty with the perpetrator of these deeds, we are duty-bound to do our utmost to avenge them. Then again, there is the fact that we are all Greeks—one race speaking one language, with temples to the gods and religious rites in common, and with a common way of life. It would not be good for Athens to betray all this shared heritage. So if you didn’t know it before, we can assure you that so long as even a single Athenian remains alive, we will never come to terms with Xerxes. However, we would like to thank you for your thoughtful offer to look after our families during our time of economic ruin. Your kindness leaves nothing to be desired, but we’ll find some way to hold out, without troubling you. So there we are, then; what you must do now is get an army in the field as quickly as possible. It looks as though it won’t be long before the Persian comes and invades our country; he’ll do so just as soon as he receives our message and finds out that we are turning him down flat. It would be a good idea for us† to have an army in Boeotia to pre-empt his attempt to invade Attica.’ After listening to the Athenian reply, the messengers returned to Sparta. (tr. Robin Waterfield)

Paraphroneein

prexaspes
Cambyses and Prexaspes

Τάδε δ’ ἐς τοὺς ἄλλους Πέρσας ἐξεμάνη. λέγεται γὰρ εἰπεῖν αὐτὸν πρὸς Πρηξάσπεα, τὸν ἐτίμα τε μάλιστα καί οἱ τὰς ἀγγελίας ἐφόρεε οὗτος, τούτου τε ὁ παῖς οἰνοχόος ἦν τῷ Καμβύσῃ, τιμὴ δὲ καὶ αὕτη οὐ σμικρή· εἰπεῖν δὲ λέγεται τάδε. “Πρήξασπες, κοῖόν με τινὰ νομίζουσι Πέρσαι εἶναι ἄνδρα τίνας τε λόγους περὶ ἐμέο ποιεῦνται;” τὸν δὲ εἰπεῖν “ὦ δέσποτα, τὰ μὲν ἄλλα πάντα μεγάλως ἐπαινέαι, τῇ δὲ φιλοινίῃ σε φασὶ πλεόνως προσκέεσθαι.” τὸν μὲν δὴ λέγειν ταῦτα περὶ Περσέων, τὸν δὲ θυμωθέντα τοιάδε ἀμείβεσθαι. “νῦν ἄρα με φασὶ Πέρσαι οἴνῳ προσκείμενον παραφρονέειν καὶ οὐκ εἶναι νοήμονα· οὐδ’ ἄρα σφέων οἱ πρότεροι λόγοι ἦσαν ἀληθέες.” πρότερον γὰρ δὴ ἄρα, Περσέων οἱ συνέδρων ἐόντων καὶ Κροίσου, εἴρετο Καμβύσης κοῖός τις δοκέοι ἀνὴρ εἶναι πρὸς τὸν πατέρα τελέσαι Κῦρον, οἳ δὲ ἀμείβοντο ὡς εἴη ἀμείνων τοῦ πατρός· τά τε γὰρ ἐκείνου πάντα ἔχειν αὐτὸν καὶ προσεκτῆσθαι Αἴγυπτόν τε καὶ τὴν θάλασσαν. Πέρσαι μὲν ταῦτα ἔλεγον, Κροῖσος δὲ παρεών τε καὶ οὐκ ἀρεσκόμενος τῇ κρίσι εἶπε πρὸς τὸν Καμβύσεα τάδε. “ἐμοὶ μέν νυν, ὦ παῖ Κύρου, οὐ δοκέεις ὅμοιος εἶναι τῷ πατρί· οὐ γάρ κώ τοι ἐστὶ υἱὸς οἷον σε ἐκεῖνος κατελίπετο.” ἥσθη τε ταῦτα ἀκούσας ὁ Καμβύσης καὶ ἐπαίνεε τὴν Κροίσου κρίσιν. τούτων δὴ ὦν ἐπιμνησθέντα ὀργῇ λέγειν πρὸς τὸν Πρηξάσπεα “σύ νυν μάθε εἰ λέγουσι Πέρσαι ἀληθέα εἴτε αὐτοὶ λέγοντες ταῦτα παραφρονέουσι· εἰ μὲν γὰρ τοῦ παιδὸς τοῦ σοῦ τοῦδε ἑστεῶτος ἐν τοῖσι προθύροισι βαλὼν τύχοιμι μέσης τῆς καρδίης, Πέρσαι φανέονται λέγοντες οὐδέν· ἢν δὲ ἁμάρτω, φάναι Πέρσας τε λέγειν ἀληθέα καί με μὴ σωφρονέειν.” ταῦτα δὲ εἰπόντα καὶ διατείναντα τὸ τόξον βαλεῖν τὸν παῖδα, πεσόντος δὲ τοῦ παιδὸς ἀνασχίζειν αὐτὸν κελεύειν καὶ σκέψασθαι τὸ βλῆμα· ὡς δὲ ἐν τῇ καρδίῃ εὑρεθῆναι ἐνεόντα τὸν ὀιστόν, εἰπεῖν πρὸς τὸν πατέρα τοῦ παιδὸς γελάσαντα καὶ περιχαρέα γενόμενον “Πρήξασπες, ὡς μὲν ἐγὼ τε οὐ μαίνομαι Πέρσαι τε παραφρονέουσι, δῆλά τοι γέγονε. νῦν δέ μοι εἰπέ, τίνα εἶδες ἤδη πάντων ἀνθρώπων οὕτω ἐπίσκοπα τοξεύοντα;” Πρηξάσπεα δὲ ὁρῶντα ἄνδρα οὐ φρενήρεα καὶ περὶ ἑωυτῷ δειμαίνοντα εἰπεῖν “δέσποτα, οὐδ’ ἂν αὐτὸν ἔγωγε δοκέω τὸν θεὸν οὕτω ἂν καλῶς βαλεῖν.”
(Herodotus, Hist. 3.34-35)

He committed mad acts against the rest of the Persians as well. The case of Prexaspes, for instance, is mentioned. Cambyses gave Prexaspes the outstanding honour of bringing messages to him, and Prexaspes’ son was Cambyses’ wine-server, which was also a distinguished position to hold. It is said that Cambyses once asked him, ‘Prexaspes, what sort of man do the Persians think I am? What do they say about me?’ ‘Master,’ Prexaspes replied, ‘they have nothing but good to say about you, except in one respect: they say that you are rather too fond of wine.’ Prexaspes’ news about what the Persians were saying made Cambyses angry, and he retorted, ‘In fact the Persians are saying that my fondness for wine is driving me mad and making me lose my mind. It follows, then, that their earlier statements were false.’ The point is that once before, at a meeting between Cambyses, his Persian advisers, and Croesus, Cambyses asked what sort of man they thought him to be, compared to his father Cyrus. The Persians replied that he was a better man than his father, because he had control over the whole of his father’s possessions, while also adding dominion over Egypt and the sea. Croesus was there, however, and the Persians’ reply did not satisfy him, so he said to Cambyses, ‘In my opinion, my lord, you do not bear comparison with your father, because you do not yet have a son of the calibre of the one he left behind.’ Cambyses was delighted with this reply of Croesus’ and used to mention it with approval. This is what he was remembering when he spoke angrily to Prexaspes. ‘You’ll see whether the Persians are speaking the truth,’ he said, ‘or whether in saying this they are out of their minds. There’s your son, standing on the porch. I’ll shoot at him, and if I hit him right in the heart, that will be proof that the Persians are talking nonsense, whereas if I miss, you can say that the Persians are right and that I am out of my mind.’ With these words, he drew his bow and shot the boy with an arrow. The boy fell to the ground and Cambyses ordered his men to slit him open and examine the wound. When it was found that the arrow had pierced his heart, he turned to the boy’s father with a laugh and said delightedly, ‘So there you have it, Prexaspes! This proves that I am quite sane, and the Persians are out of their minds. Now, tell me: do you know anyone else in the world who can shoot an arrow with such accuracy?’ Prexaspes saw that he was quite mad and was afraid for himself. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I don’t think that even the god could have made such a good shot.’ (tr. Robin Waterfield)

Deipnon

unwell-7_wide

Ἑξῆς δὲ λεκτέον καὶ περὶ τῶν Λακωνικῶν συμποσίων. Ἡρόδοτος μὲν οὖν ἐν τῇ ἐνάτῃ τῶν ἱστοριῶν περὶ τῆς Μαρδονίου παρασκευῆς λέγων καὶ μνημονεύσας Λακωνικῶν συμποσίων φησί· Ξέρξης φεύγων ἐκ τῆς Ἑλλάδος Μαρδονίῳ τὴν παρασκευὴν κατέλιπε τὴν αὑτοῦ. Παυσανίαν οὖν ἰδόντα τὴν τοῦ Μαρδονίου παρασκευὴν χρυσῷ καὶ ἀργύρῳ καὶ παραπετάσμασι ποικίλοις κατεσκευασμένην κελεῦσαι τοὺς ἀρτοποιοὺς καὶ ὀψοποιοὺς κατὰ ταὐτὰ καθὼς Μαρδονίῳ δεῖπνον παρασκευάσαι. ποιησάντων δὲ τούτων τὰ κελευσθέντα τὸν Παυσανίαν ἰδόντα κλίνας χρυσᾶς καὶ ἀργυρᾶς ἐστρωμένας καὶ τραπέζας ἀργυρᾶς καὶ παρασκευὴν μεγαλοπρεπῆ δείπνου ἐκπλαγέντα τὰ προκείμενα κελεῦσαι ἐπὶ γέλωτι τοῖς ἑαυτοῦ διακόνοις παρασκευάσαι Λακωνικὸν δεῖπνον. καὶ παρασκευασθέντος γελάσας ὁ Παυσανίας μετεπέμψατο τῶν Ἑλλήνων τοὺς στρατηγοὺς καὶ ἐλθόντων ἐπιδείξας ἑκατέρου τῶν δείπνων τὴν παρασκευὴν εἶπεν· “ἄνδρες Ἕλληνες, συνήγαγον ὑμᾶς βουλόμενος ἐπιδεῖξαι τοῦ Μήδων ἡγεμόνος τὴν ἀφροσύνην, ὃς τοιαύτην δίαιταν ἔχων ἦλθεν ὡς ἡμᾶς οὕτω ταλαίπωρον ἔχοντας.” φασὶ δέ τινες καὶ ἄνδρα Συβαρίτην ἐπιδημήσαντα τῇ Σπάρτῃ καὶ συνεστιαθέντα ἐν τοῖς φιδιτίοις εἰπεῖν: “εἰκότως ἀνδρειότατοι ἁπάντων εἰσὶ Λακεδαιμόνιοι· ἕλοιτο γὰρ ἄν τις εὖ φρονῶν μυριάκις ἀποθανεῖν ἢ οὕτως εὐτελοῦς διαίτης μεταλαβεῖν.”
(Athenaeus, Deipn. 4.138b-e)

The next topic that requires discussion is Spartan symposia. Now Herodotus in Book IX (82) of his Histories describes Mardonius’ personal property and mentions Spartan symposia, saying: When Xerxes was fleeing Greece, he left his personal property to Mardonius. So when Pausanias saw Mardonius’ property, which was adorned with gold and silver and embroidered tapestries, he ordered the bakers and cooks to prepare a dinner exactly as they did for Mardonius. They did what they were told; and when Pausanias saw the gold and silver couches covered with bed-clothes, the silver tables, and the ostentatious preparations for dinner, he was astonished at what lay before him, and as a joke he ordered his own attendants to prepare a Spartan dinner. When it was ready, Pausanias laughed and sent for the Greek generals. When they arrived, he showed them how each dinner had been prepared and said: “Greeks sirs, I assembled you because I wanted to show you the folly of the Median commander who, although he lives like this, attacked us, who are so poor.” Some authorities also report that a Sybarite who had spent time in Sparta and eaten with them in the public messes said: “It’s no surprise that the Spartans are the bravest men there are; anyone with any sense would rather die a million times than share such a miserable life!” (tr. Stuart Douglas Olson)