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The History Of Herodotus Volume 1 of 2

Page: 181

127. Dareios accordingly, when he had come to the throne, was desirous of taking vengeance upon Oroites for all his wrongdoings and especially for the murder of Mitrobates and his son. However he did not think it good to act openly and to send an army against him, since his own affairs were still in a disturbed state 112 and he had only lately come to the throne, while he heard that the strength of Oroites was great, seeing that he had a bodyguard of a thousand Persian spearmen and was in possession of the divisions 113 of Phrygia and Lydia and Ionia. Therefore Dareios contrived as follows:—having called together those of the Persians who were of most repute, he said to them: "Persians, which of you all will undertake to perform this matter for me with wisdom, and not by force or with tumult? for where wisdom is wanted, there is no need of force. Which of you, I say, will either bring Oroites alive to me or slay him? for he never yet did any service to the Persians, and on the other hand he has done to them great evil. First he destroyed two of us, Mitrobates and his son; then he slays the men who go to summon him, sent by me, displaying insolence not to be endured. Before therefore he shall accomplish any other evil against the Persians, we must check his course by death."

128. Thus Dareios asked, and thirty men undertook the matter, each one separately desiring to do it himself; and Dareios stopped their contention and bade them cast lots: so when they cast lots, Bagaios the son of Artontes obtained the lot from among them all. Bagaios accordingly, having obtained the lot, did thus:—he wrote many papers dealing with various matters and on them set the seal of Dareios, and with them he went to Sardis. When he arrived there and came into the presence of Oroites, he took the covers off the papers one after another and gave them to the Royal Secretary to read; for all the governors of provinces have Royal Secretaries. Now Bagaios thus gave the papers in order to make trial of the spearmen of the guard, whether they would accept the motion to revolt from Oroites; and seeing that they paid great reverence to the papers and still more to the words which were recited from them, he gave another paper in which were contained these words: "Persians, king Dareios forbids you to serve as guards to Oroites": and they hearing this lowered to him the points of their spears. Then Bagaios, seeing that in this they were obedient to the paper, took courage upon that and gave the last of the papers to the secretary; and in it was written: "King Dareios commands the Persians who are in Sardis to slay Oroites." So the spearmen of the guard, when they heard this, drew their swords and slew him forthwith. Thus did retribution for the murder of Polycrates the Samian overtake Oroites.


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