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The History Of Herodotus Volume 2 of 2

Page: 63

81. After this Cleomenes sent away the greater part of his army to go back to Sparta, but he himself took a thousand of the best men and went to the temple of Hera to sacrifice: and when he wished to sacrifice upon the altar, the priest forbade him, saying that it was not permitted by religious rule for a stranger to sacrifice in that place. Cleomenes however bade the Helots take away the priest from the altar and scourge him, and he himself offered the sacrifice. Having so done he returned back to Sparta;.

82, and after his return his opponents brought him up before the Ephors, saying that he had received gifts and therefore had not conquered Argos, when he might easily have conquered it. He said to them,—but whether he was speaking falsely or whether truly I am not able with certainty to say,—however that may be, he spoke and said that when he had conquered the sanctuary of Argos, it seemed to him that the oracle of the god had had its fulfilment for him; therefore he did not think it right to make an attempt on the city, at least until he should have had recourse to sacrifice, and should have learnt whether the deity 69 permitted him or whether she stood opposed to him: and as he was sacrificing for augury 70 in the temple of Hera, a flame of fire blazed forth from the breasts of the image; and thus he knew the certainty of the matter, namely that he would not conquer Argos: for if fire had blazed forth from the head of the image, he would have been conqueror of the city from top to bottom, 71 but since it blazed from the breasts, everything had been accomplished for him which the god desired should come to pass. Thus speaking he seemed to the Spartans to speak credibly and reasonably, and he easily escaped his pursuers. 72

83. Argos however was so bereft of men that their slaves took possession of all the State, ruling and managing it until the sons of those who had perished grew to be men. Then these, endeavouring to gain Argos back to themselves, cast them out; and the slaves being driven forth gained possession of Tiryns by fighting. Now for a time these two parties had friendly relations with one another; but afterwards there came to the slaves a prophet named Cleander, by race a Phigalian from Arcadia: this man persuaded the slaves to attack their masters, and in consequence of this there was war between them for a long time, until at last with difficulty the Argives overcame them.

84. The Argives then say that this was the reason why Cleomenes went mad and had an evil end: but the Spartans themselves say that Cleomenes was not driven mad by any divine power, but that he had become a drinker of unmixed wine from having associated with Scythians, and that he went mad in consequence of this: for the nomad Scythians, they say, when Dareios had made invasion of their land, desired eagerly after this to take vengeance upon him; and they sent to Sparta and tried to make an alliance, and to arrange that while the Scythians themselves attempted an invasion of Media by the way of the river Phasis, the Spartans should set forth from Ephesos and go up inland, and then that they should meet in one place: and they say that Cleomenes when the Scythians had come for this purpose, associated with them largely, and that thus associating more than was fit, he learnt the practice of drinking wine unmixed with water; and for this cause (as the Spartans think) he went mad. Thenceforth, as they say themselves, when they desire to drink stronger wine, they say "Fill up in Scythian fashion." 73 Thus the Spartans report about Cleomenes; but to me it seems that this was a retribution which Cleomenes paid for Demaratos.


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