<<<
>>>

The History Of Herodotus Volume 2 of 2

Page: 20

Thus the Athenians were freed from despots; and the things worthy to be narrated which they did or suffered after they were liberated, up to the time when Ionia revolted from Dareios and Aristagoras the Milesian came to Athens and asked them to help him, these I will set forth first before I proceed further.

66. Athens, which even before that time was great, then, after having been freed from despots, became gradually yet greater; and in it two men exercised power, namely Cleisthenes a descendant of Alcmaion, the same who is reported to have bribed the Pythian prophetess, and Isagoras, the son of Tisander, of a family which was highly reputed, but of his original descent I am not able to declare; his kinsmen however offer sacrifices to the Carian Zeus. These men came to party strife for power; and then Cleisthenes was being worsted in the struggle, he made common cause with the people. After this he caused the Athenians to be in ten tribes, who were formerly in four; and he changed the names by which they were called after the sons of Ion, namely Geleon, Aigicoreus, Argades, and Hoples, and invented for them names taken from other heroes, all native Athenians except Ajax, whom he added as a neighbour and ally, although he was no Athenian.

67. Now in these things it seems to me that this Cleisthenes was imitating his mother's father Cleisthenes the despot of Sikyon: for Cleisthenes when he went to war with Argos first caused to cease in Sikyon the contests of rhapsodists, which were concerned with the poems of Homer, because Argives and Argos are celebrated in them almost everywhere; then secondly, since there was (as still there is) in the market-place itself of the Sikyonians a hero-temple of Adrastos the son of Talaos, Cleisthenes had a desire to cast him forth out of the land, because he was an Argive. So having come to Delphi he consulted the Oracle as to whether he should cast out Adrastos; and the Pythian prophetess answered him saying that Adrastos was king of the Sikyonians, whereas he was a stoner 55 of them. So since the god did not permit him to do this, he went away home and considered means by which Adrastos should be brought to depart of his own accord: and when he thought that he had discovered them, he sent to Thebes in Boeotia and said that he desired to introduce into his city Melanippos the son of Astacos, and the Thebans gave him leave. So Cleisthenes introduced Melanippos into his city, and appointed for him a sacred enclosure within the precincts of the City Hall 56 itself, and established him there in the strongest position. Now Cleisthenes introduced Melanippos (for I must relate this also) because he was the greatest enemy of Adrastos, seeing that he had killed both his brother Mekisteus and his son-in-law Tydeus: and when he had appointed the sacred enclosure for him, he took away the sacrifices and festivals of Adrastos and gave them to Melanippos. Now the Sikyonians were accustomed to honour Adrastos with very great honours; for this land was formerly the land of Polybos, and Adrastos was daughter's son to Polybos, and Polybos dying without sons gave his kingdom to Adrastos: the Sikyonians then not only gave other honours to Adrastos, but also with reference to his sufferings they specially honoured him with tragic choruses, not paying the honour to Dionysos but to Adrastos. Cleisthenes however gave back the choruses to Dionysos, and the other rites besides this he gave to Melannipos..


<<<
>>>