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The History Of Herodotus Volume 2 of 2

Page: 84

4. Then having designated Xerxes to the Persians as their king, Dareios wished to go on his expeditions. However in the next year after this and after the revolt of Egypt, it came to pass that Dareios himself died, having been king in all six-and-thirty years; and thus he did not succeed in taking vengeance either upon the revolted Egyptians or upon the Athenians.

5. Dareios being dead the kingdom passed to his son Xerxes. Now Xerxes at the first was by no means anxious to make a march against Hellas, but against Egypt he continued to gather a force. Mardonios however, the son of Gobryas, who was a cousin of Xerxes, being sister's son to Dareios, was ever at his side, and having power with him more than any other of the Persians, he kept continually to such discourse as this which follows, saying: "Master, it is not fitting that the Athenians, after having done to the Persians very great evil, should not pay the penalty for that which they have done. What if thou shouldest 2 at this present time do that which thou hast in thy hands to do; and when thou hast tamed the land of Egypt, which has broken out insolently against us, then do thou march an army against Athens, that a good report may be made of thee by men, and that in future every one may beware of making expeditions against thy land." Thus far his speech had to do with vengeance, 3 and to this he would make addition as follows, saying that Europe was a very fair land and bore all kinds of trees that are cultivated for fruit, and was of excellent fertility, and such that the king alone of all mortals was worthy to possess it.

6. These things he was wont to say, since he was one who had a desire for perilous enterprise and wished to be himself the governor of Hellas under the king. So in time he prevailed upon Xerxes and persuaded him to do this; for other things also assisted him and proved helpful to him in persuading Xerxes. In the first place there had come from Thessaly messengers sent by the Aleuadai, who were inviting the king to come against Hellas and were showing great zeal in his cause, (now these Aleuadai were kings of Thessaly): and then secondly those of the sons of Peisistratos who had come up to Susa were inviting him also, holding to the same arguments as the Aleuadai; and moreover they offered him yet more inducement in addition to these; for there was one Onomacritos an Athenian, who both uttered oracles and also had collected and arranged the oracles of Musaios; 4 and with this man they had come up, after they had first reconciled the enmity between them. For Onomacritos had been driven forth from Athens by Hipparchos the son of Peisistratos, having been caught by Lasos of Hermion interpolating in the works of Musaios an oracle to the effect that the islands which lie off Lemnos should disappear 5 under the sea. For this reason Hipparchos drove him forth, having before this time been very much wont to consult him. Now however he had gone up with them; and when he had come into the presence of the king, the sons of Peisistratos spoke of him in magnificent terms, and he repeated some of the oracles; and if there was in them anything which imported disaster to the Barbarians, of this he said nothing; but choosing out of them the most fortunate things he told how it was destined that the Hellespont should be yoked with a bridge by a Persian, and he set forth the manner of the march. He then thus urged Xerxes with oracles, while the sons of Peisistratos and the Aleuadai pressed him with their advice.


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