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The History Of Herodotus Volume 1 of 2

Page: 16

45. After this the Lydians came bearing the corpse, and behind it followed the slayer: and he taking his stand before the corpse delivered himself up to Croesus, holding forth his hands and bidding the king slay him over the corpse, speaking of his former misfortune and saying that in addition to this he had now been the destroyer of the man who had cleansed him of it; and that life for him was no more worth living. But Croesus hearing this pitied Adrastos, although he was himself suffering so great an evil of his own, and said to him: "Guest, I have already received from thee all the satisfaction that is due, seeing that thou dost condemn thyself to suffer death; and not thou alone art the cause of this evil, except in so far as thou wert the instrument of it against thine own will, but some one, as I suppose, of the gods, who also long ago signified to me that which was about to be." So Croesus buried his son as was fitting: but Adrastos the son of Gordias, the son of Midas, he who had been the slayer of his own brother and the slayer also of the man who had cleansed him, when silence came of all men round about the tomb, recognising that he was more grievously burdened by misfortune than all men of whom he knew, slew himself upon the grave.

46. For two years then Croesus remained quiet in his mourning, because he was deprived of his son: but after this period of time the overthrowing of the rule of Astyages the son of Kyaxares by Cyrus the son of Cambyses, and the growing greatness of the Persians caused Croesus to cease from his mourning, and led him to a care of cutting short the power of the Persians, if by any means he might, while yet it was in growth and before they should have become great.

So having formed this design he began forthwith to make trial of the Oracles, both those of the Hellenes and that in Libya, sending messengers some to one place and some to another, some to go to Delphi, others to Abai of the Phokians, and others to Dodona; and some were sent to the shrine of Amphiaraos and to that of Trophonios, others to Branchidai in the land of Miletos: these are the Oracles of the Hellenes to which Croesus sent messengers to seek divination; and others he sent to the shrine of Ammon in Libya to inquire there. Now he was sending the messengers abroad to the end that he might try the Oracles and find out what knowledge they had, so that if they should be found to have knowledge of the truth, he might send and ask them secondly whether he should attempt to march against the Persians.

47. And to the Lydians whom he sent to make trial of the Oracles he gave charge as follows,—that from the day on which they set out from Sardis they should reckon up the number of the days following and on the hundredth day they should consult the Oracles, asking what Croesus the son of Alyattes king of the Lydians chanced then to be doing: and whatever the Oracles severally should prophesy, this they should cause to be written down 39 and bear it back to him. Now what the other Oracles prophesied is not by any reported, but at Delphi, so soon as the Lydians entered the sanctuary of the temple 40 to consult the god and asked that which they were commanded to ask, the Pythian prophetess spoke thus in hexameter measure:

          

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