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speech. This at least seems evident to me. It was a branch of the
Pelasgic, which separated from the main body, and at first was
scanty in numbers and of little power; but it gradually spread and
increased to a multitude of nations, chiefly by the voluntary entrance
into its ranks of numerous tribes of barbarians. The Pelasgi, on the
other hand, were, as I think, a barbarian race which never greatly
On inquiring into the condition of these two nations, Croesus
found that one, the Athenian, was in a state of grievous oppression
and distraction under Pisistratus, the son of Hippocrates, who was
at that time tyrant of Athens. Hippocrates, when he was a private
citizen, is said to have gone once upon a time to Olympia to see the
Games, when a wonderful prodigy happened to him. As he was employed in
sacrificing, the cauldrons which stood near, full of water and of
the flesh of the victims, began to boil without the help of fire, so
that the water overflowed the pots. Chilon the Lacedaemonian, who
happened to be there and to witness the prodigy, advised
Hippocrates, if he were unmarried, never to take into his house a wife
who could bear him a child; if he already had one, to send her back to
her friends; if he had a son, to disown him. Chilon's advice did not
at all please Hippocrates, who disregarded it, and some time after
became the father of Pisistratus. This Pisistratus, at a time when
there was civil contention in Attica between the party of the
Sea-coast headed by Megacles the son of Alcmaeon, and that of the
Plain headed by Lycurgus, one of the Aristolaids, formed the project
of making himself tyrant, and with this view created a third party.
Gathering together a band of partisans, and giving himself out for the
protector of the Highlanders, he contrived the following stratagem. He
wounded himself and his mules, and then drove his chariot into the
market-place, professing to have just escaped an attack of his
enemies, who had attempted his life as he was on his way into the
country. He besought the people to assign him a guard to protect his
person, reminding them of the glory which he had gained when he led
the attack upon the Megarians, and took the town of Nisaea, at the
same time performing many other exploits. The Athenians, deceived by
his story, appointed him a band of citizens to serve as a guard, who
were to carry clubs instead of spears, and to accompany him wherever
he went. Thus strengthened, Pisistratus broke into revolt and seized
the citadel. In this way he acquired the sovereignty of Athens,
which he continued to hold without disturbing the previously
existing offices or altering any of the laws. He administered the
state according to the established usages, and his arrangements were
wise and salutary.
However, after a little time, the partisans of Megacles and
those of Lycurgus agreed to forget their differences, and united to
drive him out. So Pisistratus, having by the means described first
made himself master of Athens, lost his power again before it had time
to take root. No sooner, however, was he departed than the factions
which had driven him out quarrelled anew, and at last Megacles,
wearied with the struggle, sent a herald to Pisistratus, with an offer
to re-establish him on the throne if he would marry his daughter.
Pisistratus consented, and on these terms an agreement was concluded
between the two, after which they proceeded to devise the mode of
his restoration. And here the device on which they hit was the
silliest that I find on record, more especially considering that the
Greeks have been from very ancient times distinguished from the
barbarians by superior sagacity and freedom from foolish simpleness,
and remembering that the persons on whom this trick was played were
not only Greeks but Athenians, who have the credit of surpassing all
other Greeks in cleverness. There was in the Paeanian district a woman
named Phya, whose height only fell short of four cubits by three
fingers' breadth, and who was altogether comely to look upon. This
woman they clothed in complete armour, and, instructing her as to
the carriage which she was to maintain in order to beseem her part,

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