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The History Of Herodotus Volume 2 of 2

Page: 131

169. These then evaded the request of the Hellenes thus: but the Cretans, when those of the Hellenes who had been appointed to deal with these endeavoured to obtain their help, did thus, that is to say, they joined together and sent men to inquire of the god at Delphi whether it would be better for them if they gave assistance to Hellas: and the Pythian prophetess answered: "Ye fools, do ye think those woes too few, 160 which Minos sent upon you in his wrath, 161 because of the assistance that ye gave to Menelaos? seeing that, whereas they did not join with you in taking vengeance for his death in Camicos, ye nevertheless joined with them in taking vengeance for the woman who by a Barbarian was carried off from Sparta." When the Cretans heard this answer reported, they abstained from the giving of assistance.

170. For the story goes that Minos, having come to Sicania, which is now called Sicily, in search of Daidalos, died there by a violent death; and after a time the Cretans, urged thereto by a god, all except the men of Polichne and Praisos, came with a great armament to Sicania and besieged for seven years the city of Camicos, which in my time was occupied by the Agrigentines; and at last not being able either to capture it or to remain before it, because they were hard pressed by famine, they departed and went away. And when, as they sailed, they came to be off the coast of Iapygia, a great storm seized them and cast them away upon the coast; and their vessels being dashed to pieces, they, since they saw no longer any way of coming to Crete, founded there the city of Hyria; and there they stayed and were changed so that they became instead of Cretans, Messapians of Iapygia, and instead of islanders, dwellers on the mainland: then from the city of Hyria they founded those other settlements which the Tarentines long afterwards endeavoured to destroy and suffer great disaster in that enterprise, so that this in fact proved to be the greatest slaughter of Hellenes that is known to us, and not only of the Tarentines themselves but of those citizens of Rhegion who were compelled by Mikythos the son of Choiros to go to the assistance of the Tarentines, and of whom there were slain in this manner three thousand men: of the Tarentines themselves however, who were slain there, there was no numbering made. This Mikythos, who was a servant of Anaxilaos, had been left by him in charge of Rhegion; and he it was who after being driven out of Rhegion took up his abode at Tegea of the Arcadians and dedicated those many statues at Olympia.

171. This of the men of Rhegion and of the Tarentines has been an episode 162 in my narrative: in Crete however, as the men of Praisos report, after it had been thus stripped of inhabitants, settlements were made by various nations, but especially by Hellenes; and in the next generation but one after the death of Minos came the Trojan war, in which the Cretans proved not the most contemptible of those who came to assist Menelaos. Then after this, when they had returned home from Troy, famine and pestilence came upon both the men and their cattle, until at last Crete was stripped of its inhabitants for the second time, and a third population of Cretans now occupy it together with those which were left of the former inhabitants. The Pythian prophetess, I say, by calling these things to their minds stopped them from giving assistance to the Hellenes, though they desired to do so.


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