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Clio   


blessing of self-government, but they fell again under the sway of
kings, in the manner which I will now relate. There was a certain Mede
named Deioces, son of Phraortes, a man of much wisdom, who had
conceived the desire of obtaining to himself the sovereign power. In
furtherance of his ambition, therefore, he formed and carried into
execution the following scheme. As the Medes at that time dwelt in
scattered villages without any central authority, and lawlessness in
consequence prevailed throughout the land, Deioces, who was already
a man of mark in his own village, applied himself with greater zeal
and earnestness than ever before to the practice of justice among
his fellows. It was his conviction that justice and injustice are
engaged in perpetual war with one another. He therefore began his
course of conduct, and presently the men of his village, observing his
integrity, chose him to be the arbiter of all their disputes. Bent
on obtaining the sovereign power, he showed himself an honest and an
upright judge, and by these means gained such credit with his
fellow-citizens as to attract the attention of those who lived in
the surrounding villages. They had long been suffering from unjust and
oppressive judgments; so that, when they heard of the singular
uprightness of Deioces, and of the equity of his decisions, they
joyfully had recourse to him in the various quarrels and suits that
arose, until at last they came to put confidence in no one else.
The number of complaints brought before him continually
increasing, as people learnt more and more the fairness of his
judgments, Deioces, feeling himself now all important, announced
that he did not intend any longer to hear causes, and appeared no more
in the seat in which he had been accustomed to sit and administer
justice. "It did not square with his interests," he said, "to spend
the whole day in regulating other men's affairs to the neglect of
his own." Hereupon robbery and lawlessness broke out afresh, and
prevailed through the country even more than heretofore; wherefore the
Medes assembled from all quarters, and held a consultation on the
state of affairs. The speakers, as I think, were chiefly friends of
Deioces. "We cannot possibly," they said, "go on living in this
country if things continue as they now are; let us therefore set a
king over us, that so the land may be well governed, and we
ourselves may be able to attend to our own affairs, and not be
forced to quit our country on account of anarchy." The assembly was
persuaded by these arguments, and resolved to appoint a king.
It followed to determine who should be chosen to the office.
When this debate began the claims of Deioces and his praises were at
once in every mouth; so that presently all agreed that he should be
king. Upon this he required a palace to be built for him suitable to
his rank, and a guard to be given him for his person. The Medes
complied, and built him a strong and large palace, on a spot which
he himself pointed out, and likewise gave him liberty to choose
himself a bodyguard from the whole nation. Thus settled upon the
throne, he further required them to build a single great city, and,
disregarding the petty towns in which they had formerly dwelt, make
the new capital the object of their chief attention. The Medes were
again obedient, and built the city now called Agbatana, the walls of
which are of great size and strength, rising in circles one within the
other. The plan of the place is that each of the walls should
out-top the one beyond it by the battlements. The nature of the
ground, which is a gentle hill, favours this arrangement in some
degree, but it was mainly effected by art. The number of the circles
is seven, the royal palace and the treasuries standing within the
last. The circuit of the outer wall is very nearly the same with
that of Athens. Of this wall the battlements are white, of the next
black, of the third scarlet, of the fourth blue, of the fifth
orange; all these are coloured with paint. The two last have their
battlements coated respectively with silver and gold.
All these fortifications Deioces caused to be raised for himself
and his own palace. The people were required to build their

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