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The History Of Herodotus Volume 1 of 2

Page: 165

73. Then said Gobryas: "Friends, at what time will there be a fairer opportunity for us either to recover our rule, or, if we are not able to get it again, to die? seeing that we being Persians on the one hand lie under the rule of a Mede, a Magian, and that too a man whose ears have been cut off. Moreover all those of you who stood by the side of Cambyses when he was sick remember assuredly what he laid upon the Persians as he was bringing his life to an end, if they should not attempt to win back the power; and this we did not accept then, but supposed that Cambyses had spoken in order to deceive us. Now therefore I give my vote that we follow the opinion of Dareios, and that we do not depart from this assembly to go anywhither else but straight to attack the Magian." Thus spoke Gobryas, and they all approved of this proposal.

74. Now while these were thus taking counsel together, it was coming to pass by coincidence as follows:—The Magians taking counsel together had resolved to join Prexaspes with themselves as a friend, both because he had suffered grievous wrong from Cambyses, who had killed his son by shooting him, and because he alone knew for a certainty of the death of Smerdis the son of Cyrus, having killed him with his own hands, and finally because Prexaspes was in very great repute among the Persians. For these reasons they summoned him and endeavoured to win him to be their friend, engaging him by pledge and with oaths, that he would assuredly keep to himself and not reveal to any man the deception which had been practised by them upon the Persians, and promising to give him things innumerable 64 in return. After Prexaspes had promised to do this, the Magians, having persuaded him so far, proposed to him a second thing, and said that they would call together all the Persians to come up to the wall of the palace, and bade him go up upon a tower and address them, saying that they were living under the rule of Smerdis the son of Cyrus and no other. This they so enjoined because they supposed 65 that he had the greatest credit among the Persians, and because he had frequently declared the opinion that Smerdis the son of Cyrus was still alive, and had denied that he had slain him.

75. When Prexaspes said that he was ready to do this also, the Magians having called together the Persians caused him to go up upon a tower and bade him address them. Then he chose to forget those things which they asked of him, and beginning with Achaimenes he traced the descent of Cyrus on the father's side, and then, when he came down to Cyrus, he related at last what great benefits he had conferred upon the Persians; and having gone through this recital he proceeded to declare the truth, saying that formerly he kept it secret, since it was not safe for him to tell of that which had been done, but at the present time he was compelled to make it known. He proceeded to say how he had himself slain Smerdis the son of Cyrus, being compelled by Cambyses, and that it was the Magians who were now ruling. Then he made imprecation of many evils on the Persians, if they did not win back again the power and take vengeance upon the Magians, and upon that he let himself fall down from the tower head foremost. Thus Prexaspes ended his life, having been throughout his time a man of repute.


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