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The History Of Herodotus Volume 2 of 2

Page: 75

124. It may be said however that they had some cause of complaint against the people of the Athenians, and therefore endeavoured to betray their native city. But on the contrary there were no men in greater repute than they, among the Athenians at least, nor who had been more highly honoured. Thus it is not reasonable to suppose that by them a shield should have been displayed for any such purpose. A shield was displayed, however; that cannot be denied, for it was done: but as to who it was who displayed it, I am not able to say more than this.

125. Now the family of Alcmaionidai was distinguished in Athens in the earliest times also, and from the time of Alcmaion and of Megacles after him they became very greatly distinguished. For first Alcmaion the son of Megacles showed himself a helper of the Lydians from Sardis who came from Croesus to the Oracle at Delphi, and assisted them with zeal; and Croesus having heard from the Lydians who went to the Oracle that this man did him service, sent for him to Sardis; and when he came, he offered to give him a gift of as much gold as he could carry away at once upon his own person. With a view to this gift, its nature being such, Alcmaion made preparations and used appliances as follows:—he put on a large tunic leaving a deep fold in the tunic to hang down in front, and he draw on his feet the widest boots which he could find, and so went to the treasury to which they conducted him. Then he fell upon a heap of gold-dust, and first he packed in by the side of his legs so much of the gold as his boots would contain, and then he filled the whole fold of the tunic with the gold and sprinkled some of the gold dust on the hair of his head and took some into his mouth, and having so done he came forth out of the treasury, with difficulty dragging along his boots and resembling anything in the world rather than a man; for his mouth was stuffed full, and every part of him was swelled out: and upon Croesus came laughter when he saw him, and he not only gave him all that, but also presented him in addition with more not inferior in value to that. Thus this house became exceedingly wealthy, and thus the Alcmaion of whom I speak became a breeder of chariot-horses and won a victory at Olympia..

126. Then in the next generation after this, Cleisthenes the despot of Sikyon exalted the family, so that it became of much more note among the Hellenes than it had been formerly. For Cleisthenes the son of Arisonymos, the son of Myron, the son of Andreas, had a daughter whose name was Agariste; and as to her he formed a desire to find out the best man of all the Hellenes and to assign her to him in marriage. So when the Olympic games were being held and Cleisthenes was victor in them with a four-horse chariot, he caused a proclamation to be made, that whosoever of the Hellenes thought himself worthy to be the son-in-law of Cleisthenes should come on the sixtieth day, or before that if he would, to Sikyon; for Cleisthenes intended to conclude the marriage within a year, reckoning from the sixtieth day. Then all those of the Hellenes who had pride either in themselves or in their high descent, 112 came as wooers, and for them Cleisthenes had a running-course and a wrestling-place made and kept them expressly for their use..


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