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The History Of Herodotus Volume 1 of 2

Page: 144

15. As for the son, those who went for him found that he was no longer alive, but had been cut down first of all, but Psammenitos himself they raised from his place and brought him into the presence of Cambyses, with whom he continued to live for the rest of his time without suffering any violence; and if he had known how to keep himself from meddling with mischief, he would have received Egypt so as to be ruler of it, since the Persians are wont to honour the sons of kings, and even if the kings have revolted from them, they give back the power into the hands of their sons. Of this, namely that it is their established rule to act so, one may judge by many instances besides and especially 20 by the case of Thannyras the son of Inaros, who received back the power which his father had, and by that of Pausiris the son of Amyrtaios, for he too received back the power of his father: yet it is certain that no men ever up to this time did more evil to the Persians than Inaros and Amyrtaios. As it was, however, Psammenitos devised evil and received the due reward: for he was found to be inciting the Egyptians to revolt; and when this became known to Cambyses, Psammenitos drank bull's blood and died forthwith. Thus he came to his end.

16. From Memphis Cambyses came to the city of Saïs with the purpose of doing that which in fact he did: for when he had entered into the palace of Amasis, he forthwith gave command to bring the corpse of Amasis forth out of his burial-place; and when this had been accomplished, he gave command to scourge it and pluck out the hair and stab it, and to do to it dishonour in every possible way besides: and when they had done this too until they were wearied out, for the corpse being embalmed held out against the violence and did not fall to pieces in any part, Cambyses gave command to consume it with fire, enjoining thereby a thing which was not permitted by religion: for the Persians hold fire to be a god. To consume corpses with fire then is by no means according to the custom of either people, of the Persians for the reason which has been mentioned, since they say that it is not right to give the dead body of a man to a god; while the Egyptians have the belief established that fire is a living wild beast, and that it devours everything which it catches, and when it is satiated with the food it dies itself together with that which it devours: but it is by no means their custom to give the corpse of a man to wild beasts, for which reason they embalm it, that it may not be eaten by worms as it lies in the tomb. Thus then Cambyses was enjoining them to do that which is not permitted by the customs of either people. However, the Egyptians say that it was not Amasis who suffered this outrage, but another of the Egyptians who was of the same stature of body as Amasis; and that to him the Persians did outrage, thinking that they were doing it to Amasis: for they say that Amasis learnt from an Oracle that which was about to happen with regard to himself after his death; and accordingly, to avert the evil which threatened to come upon him, he buried the dead body of this man who was scourged within his own sepulchral chamber near the doors, and enjoined his son to lay his own body as much as possible in the inner recess of the chamber. These injunctions, said to have been given by Amasis with regard to his burial and with regard to the man mentioned, were not in my opinion really given at all, but I think that the Egyptians make pretence of it from pride and with no good ground.


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