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The History Of Herodotus Volume 2 of 2

Page: 125

151. Also some of the Hellenes report that the following event, in agreement with this account, came to pass many years after these things:—there happened, they say, to be in Susa the city of Memnon 137 envoys of the Athenians come about some other matter, namely Callias the son of Hipponicos and the others who went up with him; and the Argives at that very time had also sent envoys to Susa, and these asked Artoxerxes the son of Xerxes, whether the friendship which they had formed with Xerxes still remained unbroken, if they themselves desired to maintain it, 138 or whether they were esteemed by him to be enemies; and king Artoxerxes said that it most certainly remained unbroken, and that there was no city which he considered to be more his friend than Argos.

152. Now whether Xerxes did indeed send a herald to Argos saying that which has been reported, and whether envoys of the Argives who had gone up to Susa inquired of Artoxerxes concerning friendship, I am not able to say for certain; nor do I declare any opinion about the matters in question other than that which the Argives themselves report: but I know this much, that if all the nations of men should bring together into one place the evils which they have suffered themselves, desiring to make exchange with their neighbours, each people of them, when they had examined closely the evils suffered by their fellows, would gladly carry away back with them those which they had brought. 139 Thus it is not the Argives who have acted most basely of all. I however am bound to report that which is reported, though I am not bound altogether to believe it; and let this saying be considered to hold good as regards every narrative in the history: for I must add that this also is reported, namely that the Argives were actually those who invited the Persian to invade Hellas, because their war with the Lacedemonians had had an evil issue, being willing to suffer anything whatever rather than the trouble which was then upon them.

153. That which concerns the Argives has now been said: and meanwhile envoys had come to Sicily from the allies, to confer with Gelon, among whom was also Syagros from the Lacedemonians. Now the ancestor of this Gelon, he who was at Gela as a settler, 140 was a native of the island of Telos, which lies off Triopion; and when Gela was founded by the Lindians of Rhodes and by Antiphemos, he was not left behind. Then in course of time his descendants became and continued to be priests of the mysteries of the Earth goddesses, 141 an office which was acquired by Telines one of their ancestors in the following manner:—certain of the men of Gela, being worsted in a party struggle, had fled to Mactorion, the city which stands above Gela: these men Telines brought back to Gela from exile with no force of men but only with the sacred rites of these goddesses; but from whom he received them, or whether he obtained them for himself, 142 this I am not able to say; trusting in these however, he brought the men back from exile, on the condition that his descendants should be priests of the mysteries of the goddesses. To me it has caused wonder also that Telines should have been able to perform so great a deed, considering that which I am told; for such deeds, I think, are not apt to proceed from every man, but from one who has a brave spirit and manly vigour, whereas Telines is said by the dwellers in Sicily to have been on the contrary a man of effeminate character and rather poor spirit.


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