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The History Of Herodotus Volume 2 of 2

Page: 28

91. At this time, then, when the Lacedemonians had recovered the oracles and when they saw that the Athenians were increasing in power and were not at all willing to submit to them, observing that the Athenian race now that it was free was becoming 74 a match for their own, whereas when held down by despots it was weak and ready to be ruled,—perceiving, I say, all these things, they sent for Hippias the son of Peisistratos to come from Sigeion on the Hellespont, whither the family of Peisistratos go for refuge; 75 and when Hippias had come upon the summons, the Spartans sent also for envoys to come from their other allies and spoke to them as follows: "Allies, we are conscious within ourselves that we have not acted rightly; for incited by counterfeit oracles we drove out into exile men who were very closely united with us as guest-friends and who undertook the task of rendering Athens submissive to us, and then after having done this we delivered over the State to a thankless populace, which so soon as it had raised its head, having been freed by our means drove out us and our king with wanton outrage; and now exalted with pride 76 it is increasing in power, so that the neighbours of these men first of all, that is the Boeotians and Chalkidians, have already learnt, and perhaps some others also will afterwards learn, that they committed an error. 7601 As however we erred in doing those things of which we have spoken, we will try now to take vengeance on them, going thither together with you; 77 since it was for this very purpose that we sent for Hippias, whom ye see here, and for you also, to come from your cities, in order that with common counsel and a common force we might conduct him to Athens and render back to him that which we formerly took away."

92. Thus they spoke; but the majority of the allies did not approve of their words. The rest however kept silence, but the Corinthian Socles 78 spoke as follows: (a) "Surely now the heaven shall be below the earth, and the earth raised up on high above the heaven, and men shall have their dwelling in the sea, and fishes shall have that habitation which men had before, seeing that ye, Lacedemonians, are doing away with free governments 79 and are preparing to bring back despotism again into our cities, than which there is no more unjust or more murderous thing among men. For if in truth this seems to you to be good, namely that the cities should be ruled by despots, do ye yourselves first set up a despot in your own State, and then endeavour to establish them also for others: but as it is, ye are acting unfairly towards your allies, seeing that ye have had no experience of despots yourselves and provide with the greatest care at Sparta that this may never come to pass. If however ye had had experience of it, as we have had, ye would be able to contribute juster opinions of it than at present. (b) For the established order of the Corinthian State was this:—the government was an oligarchy, and the oligarchs, who were called Bacchiadai, had control over the State and made marriages among themselves. 80 Now one of these men, named Amphion, had a daughter born to him who was lame, and her name was Labda. This daughter, since none of the Bacchiadai wished to marry her, was taken to wife by Aëtion the son of Echecrates, who was of the deme of Petra, but by original descent a Lapith and of the race of Caineus. Neither from this wife nor from another were children born to him, therefore he set out to Delphi to inquire about offspring; and as he entered, forthwith the prophetess addressed him in these lines:

           

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