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The History Of Herodotus Volume 1 of 2

Page: 161

65. So much only he said at that time; but about twenty days afterwards he sent for the most honourable of the Persians who were with him, and said to them as follows: "Persians, it has become necessary for me to make known to you the thing which I was wont to keep concealed beyond all other things. Being in Egypt I saw a vision in my sleep, which I would I had never seen, and it seemed to me that a messenger came from home and reported to me that Smerdis was sitting upon the royal throne and had touched the heaven with his head. Fearing then lest I should be deprived of my power by my brother, I acted quickly rather than wisely; for it seems that it is not possible for man 55 to avert that which is destined to come to pass. I therefore, fool that I was, sent away Prexaspes to Susa to kill Smerdis; and when this great evil had been done, I lived in security, never considering the danger that some other man might at some time rise up against me, now that Smerdis had been removed: and altogether missing the mark of that which was about to happen, I have both made myself the murderer of my brother, when there was no need, and I have been deprived none the less of the kingdom; for it was in fact Smerdis the Magian of whom the divine power declared to me beforehand in the vision that he should rise up against me. So then, as I say, this deed has been done by me, and ye must imagine that ye no longer have Smerdis the son of Cyrus alive: but it is in truth the Magians who are masters of your kingdom, he whom I left as guardian of my household and his brother Smerdis. The man then who ought above all others to have taken vengeance on my behalf for the dishonour which I have suffered from the Magians, has ended his life by an unholy death received from the hands of those who were his nearest of kin; and since he is no more, it becomes most needful for me, as the thing next best of those which remain, 56 to charge you, O Persians, with that which dying I desire should be done for me. This then I lay upon you, calling upon the gods of the royal house to witness it,—upon you and most of all upon those of the Achaemenidai who are present here,—that ye do not permit the return of the chief power to the Medes, but that if they have acquired it by craft, by craft they be deprived of it by you, or if they have conquered it by any kind of force, by force and by a strong hand ye recover it. And if ye do this, may the earth bring forth her produce and may your wives and your cattle be fruitful, while ye remain free for ever; but if ye do not recover the power nor attempt to recover it, I pray that curses the contrary of these blessings may come upon you, and moreover that each man of the Persians may have an end to his life like that which has come upon me." Then as soon as he had finished speaking these things, Cambyses began to bewail and make lamentation for all his fortunes.


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