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The History Of Herodotus Volume 2 of 2

Page: 233

110. And Amestris was informed that she had it; and having learnt that which was being done, she was not angry with the woman, but supposing that her mother was the cause and that she was bringing this about, she planned destruction for the wife of Masistes. She waited then until her husband Xerxes had a royal feast set before him:—this feast is served up once in the year on the day on which the king was born, and the name of this feast is in Persian tycta, which in the tongue of the Hellenes means "complete"; also on this occasion alone the king washes his head, 114 and he makes gifts then to the Persians:—Amestris, I say, waited for this day and then asked of Xerxes that the wife of Masistes might be given to her. And he considered it a strange and untoward thing to deliver over to her his brother's wife, especially since she was innocent of this matter; for he understood why she was making the request..

111. At last however as she continued to entreat urgently and he was compelled by the rule, namely that it is impossible among them that he who makes request when a royal feast is laid before the king should fail to obtain it, at last very much against his will consented; and in delivering her up he bade Amestris do as she desired, and meanwhile he sent for his brother and said these words: "Masistes, thou art the son of Dareios and my brother, and moreover in addition to this thou art a man of worth. I say to thee, live no longer with this wife with whom thou now livest, but I give thee instead of her my daughter; with her live as thy wife, but the wife whom thou now hast, do not keep; for it does not seem good to me that thou shouldest keep her." Masistes then, marvelling at that which was spoken, said these words: "Master, how unprofitable a speech is this which thou utterest to me, in that thou biddest me send away a wife by whom I have sons who are grown up to be young men, and daughters one of whom even thou thyself didst take as a wife for thy son, and who is herself, as it chances, very much to my mind,—that thou biddest me, I say, send away her and take to wife thy daughter! I, O king, think it a very great matter that I am judged worthy of thy daughter, but nevertheless I will do neither of these things: and do not thou urge me by force to do such a thing as this: but for thy daughter another husband will be found not in any wise inferior to me, and let me, I pray thee, live still with my own wife." He returned answer in some such words as these; and Xerxes being stirred with anger said as follows: "This then, Masistes, is thy case,—I will not give thee my daughter for thy wife, nor yet shalt thou live any longer with that one, in order that thou mayest learn to accept that which is offered thee." He then when he heard this went out, having first said these words: "Master, thou hast not surely brought ruin upon me?" 115.


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