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The History Of Herodotus Volume 2 of 2

Page: 210

34. By saying this he followed the example of Melampus in his request, 42 if one may compare royal power with mere citizenship; for Melampus on his part, when the women in Argos had been seized by madness, and the Argives endeavoured to hire him to come from Pylos and to cause their women to cease from the malady, proposed as payment for himself the half of the royal power; and the Argives did not suffer this, but departed: and afterwards, when more of their women became mad, at length they accepted that which Melampus had proposed, and went to offer him this: but he then seeing that they had changed their minds, increased his demand, and said that he would not do that which they desired unless they gave to his brother Bias also the third share in the royal power. 43 And the Argives, being driven into straits, consented to this also. 35. Just so the Spartans also, being very much in need of Tisamenos, agreed with him on any terms which he desired: and when the Spartans had agreed to this demand also, then Tisamenos the Eleian, having become a Spartan, had part with them in winning five of the greatest contests as their diviner: and these were the only men who ever were made fellow-citizens of the Spartans. Now the five contests were these: one and the first of them was this at Plataia; and after this the contest at Tegea, which took place with the Tegeans and the Argives; then that at Dipaieis against all the Arcadians except the Mantineians; after that the contest with the Messenians at Ithome; 44 and last of all that which took place at Tanagra against the Athenians and Argives. This, I say, was accomplished last of the five contests.

36. This Tisamenos was acting now as diviner for the Hellenes in the Plataian land, being brought by the Spartans. Now to the Hellenes the sacrifices were of good omen if they defended themselves only, but not if they crossed the Asopos and began a battle;.

37, and Mardonios too, who was eager to begin a battle, found the sacrifices not favourable to this design, but they were of good omen to him also if he defended himself only; for he too used the Hellenic manner of sacrifice, having as diviner Hegesistratos an Eleian and the most famous of the Telliadai, whom before these events the Spartans had taken and bound, in order to put him to death, because they had suffered much mischief from him. He then being in this evil case, seeing that he was running a course for his life and was likely moreover to suffer much torment before his death, had done a deed such as may hardly be believed. Being made fast on a block bound with iron, he obtained an iron tool, which in some way had been brought in, and contrived forthwith a deed the most courageous of any that we know: for having first calculated how the remaining portion of his foot might be got out of the block, he cut away the flat of his own foot, 45 and after that, since he was guarded still by warders, he broke through the wall and so ran away to Tegea, travelling during the nights and in the daytime entering a wood and resting there; so that, though the Lacedemonians searched for him in full force, he arrived at Tegea on the third night; and the Lacedemonians were possessed by great wonder both at his courage, when they saw the piece of the foot that was cut off lying there, and also because they were not able to find him. So he at that time having thus escaped them took refuge at Tegea, which then was not friendly with the Lacedemonians; and when he was healed and had procured for himself a wooden foot, he became an open enemy of the Lacedemonians. However in the end the enmity into which he had fallen with the Lacedemonians was not to his advantage; for he was caught by them while practising divination in Zakynthos, and was put to death.


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