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The History Of Herodotus Volume 1 of 2

Page: 186

141. Dareios having heard this prepared to send an expedition with Otanes as commander of it, who had been one of the seven, charging him to accomplish for Syloson all that which he had requested. Otanes then went down to the sea-coast and was preparing the expedition.

142. Now Maiandrios the son of Maiandrios was holding the rule over Samos, having received the government as a trust from Polycrates; and he, though desiring to show himself the most righteous of men, did not succeed in so doing: for when the death of Polycrates was reported to him, he did as follows:—first he founded an altar to Zeus the Liberator and marked out a sacred enclosure round it, namely that which exists still in the suburb of the city: then after he had done this he gathered together an assembly of all the citizens and spoke these words: "To me, as ye know as well as I, has been entrusted the sceptre of Polycrates and all his power; and now it is open to me to be your ruler; but that for the doing of which I find fault with my neighbour, I will myself refrain from doing, so far as I may: for as I did not approve of Polycrates acting as master of men who were not inferior to himself, so neither do I approve of any other who does such things. Now Polycrates for his part fulfilled his own appointed destiny, and I now give the power into the hands of the people, and proclaim to you equality. 125 These privileges however I think it right to have assigned to me, namely that from the wealth of Polycrates six talents should be taken out and given to me as a special gift; and in addition to this I choose for myself and for my descendants in succession the priesthood of Zeus the Liberator, to whom I myself founded a temple, while I bestow liberty upon you." He, as I say, made these offers to the Samians; but one of them rose up and said: "Nay, but unworthy too art thou 126 to be our ruler, seeing that thou art of mean birth and a pestilent fellow besides. Rather take care that thou give an account of the money which thou hadst to deal with."

143. Thus said one who was a man of repute among the citizens, whose name was Telesarchos; and Maiandrios perceiving that if he resigned the power, some other would be set up as despot instead of himself, did not keep the purpose at all 127 of resigning it; but having retired to the fortress he sent for each man separately, pretending that he was going to give an account of the money, and so seized them and put them in bonds. These then had been put in bonds; but Maiandrios after this was overtaken by sickness, and his brother, whose name was Lycaretos, expecting that he would die, put all the prisoners to death, in order that he might himself more easily get possession of the power over Samos: and all this happened because, as it appears, they did not choose to be free.


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