Welcome
   Home | Texts by category | | Quick Search:   
Authors
Works by Herodotus
Pages of Clio



Previous | Next
                  

Clio   


was given in his favour he became king. The Pythoness, however,
added that, in the fifth generation from Gyges, vengeance should
come for the Heraclides; a prophecy of which neither the Lydians nor
their princes took any account till it was fulfilled. Such was the way
in which the Mermnadae deposed the Heraclides, and themselves obtained
the sovereignty.
When Gyges was established on the throne, he sent no small
presents to Delphi, as his many silver offerings at the Delphic shrine
testify. Besides this silver he gave a vast number of vessels of gold,
among which the most worthy of mention are the goblets, six in number,
and weighing altogether thirty talents, which stand in the
Corinthian treasury, dedicated by him. I call it the Corinthian
treasury, though in strictness of speech it is the treasury not of the
whole Corinthian people, but of Cypselus, son of Eetion. Excepting
Midas, son of Gordias, king of Phrygia, Gyges was the first of the
barbarians whom we know to have sent offerings to Delphi. Midas
dedicated the royal throne whereon he was accustomed to sit and
administer justice, an object well worth looking at. It lies in the
same place as the goblets presented by Gyges. The Delphians call the
whole of the silver and the gold which Gyges dedicated, after the name
of the donor, Gygian.
As soon as Gyges was king he made an in-road on Miletus and
Smyrna, and took the city of Colophon. Afterwards, however, though
he reigned eight and thirty years, he did not perform a single noble
exploit. I shall therefore make no further mention of him, but pass on
to his son and successor in the kingdom, Ardys.
Ardys took Priene and made war upon Miletus. In his reign the
Cimmerians, driven from their homes by the nomads of Scythia,
entered Asia and captured Sardis, all but the citadel. He reigned
forty-nine years, and was succeeded by his son, Sadyattes, who reigned
twelve years. At his death his son Alyattes mounted the throne.
This prince waged war with the Medes under Cyaxares, the
grandson of Deioces, drove the Cimmerians out of Asia, conquered
Smyrna, the Colophonian colony, and invaded Clazomenae. From this last
contest he did not come off as he could have wished, but met with a
sore defeat; still, however, in the course of his reign, he
performed other actions very worthy of note, of which I will now
proceed to give an account.
Inheriting from his father a war with the Milesians, he pressed
the siege against the city by attacking it in the following manner.
When the harvest was ripe on the ground he marched his army into
Milesia to the sound of pipes and harps, and flutes masculine and
feminine. The buildings that were scattered over the country he
neither pulled down nor burnt, nor did he even tear away the doors,
but left them standing as they were. He cut down, however, and utterly
destroyed all the trees and all the corn throughout the land, and then
returned to his own dominions. It was idle for his army to sit down
before the place, as the Milesians were masters of the sea. The reason
that he did not demolish their buildings was that the inhabitants
might be tempted to use them as homesteads from which to go forth to
sow and till their lands; and so each time that he invaded the country
he might find something to plunder.
In this way he carried on the war with the Milesians for eleven
years, in the course of which he inflicted on them two terrible blows;
one in their own country in the district of Limeneium, the other in
the plain of the Maeander. During six of these eleven years,
Sadyattes, the son of Ardys who first lighted the flames of this
war, was king of Lydia, and made the incursions. Only the five
following years belong to the reign of Alyattes, son of Sadyattes, who
(as I said before) inheriting the war from his father, applied himself
to it unremittingly. The Milesians throughout the contest received
no help at all from any of the Ionians, excepting those of Chios,
who lent them troops in requital of a like service rendered them in
former times, the Milesians having fought on the side of the Chians

Previous | Next
Site Search