Home | Texts by category | | Quick Search:   
Works by Herodotus
Pages of Euterpe

Previous | Next


their own citizens to enter the lists?" The Eleans answered, "That the
lists were open to all Greeks, whether they belonged to Elis or to any
other state." Hereupon the Egyptians observed, "That if this were
so, they departed from justice very widely, since it was impossible
but that they would favour their own countrymen and deal unfairly by
foreigners. If therefore they really wished to manage the games with
fairness, and if this was the object of their coming to Egypt, they
advised them to confine the contests to strangers, and allow no native
of Elis to be a candidate." Such was the advice which the Egyptians
gave to the Eleans.
Psammis reigned only six years. He attacked Ethiopia, and died
almost directly afterwards. Apries, his son, succeeded him upon the
throne, who, excepting Psammetichus, his great-grandfather, was the
most prosperous of all the kings that ever ruled over Egypt. The
length of his reign was twenty-five years, and in the course of it
he marched an army to attack Sidon, and fought a battle with the
king of Tyre by sea. When at length the time came that was fated to
bring him woe, an occasion arose which I shall describe more fully
in my Libyan history, only touching it very briefly here. An army
despatched by Apries to attack Cyrene, having met with a terrible
reverse, the Egyptians laid the blame on him, imagining that he had,
of malice prepense, sent the troops into the jaws of destruction. They
believed he had wished a vast number of them to be slain in order that
he himself might reign with more security over the rest of the
Egyptians. Indignant therefore at this usage, the soldiers who
returned and the friends of the slain broke instantly into revolt.
Apries, on learning these circumstances, sent Amasis to the rebels
to appease the tumult by persuasion. Upon his arrival, as he was seek.
ing to restrain the malcontents by his exhortations, one of them,
coming behind him, put a helmet on his head, saying, as he put it
on, that he thereby crowned him king. Amasis was not altogether
displeased at the action, as his conduct soon made manifest; for no
sooner had the insurgents agreed to make him actually their king
than he prepared to march with them against Apries. That monarch, on
tidings of these events reaching him, sent Patarbemis, one of his
courtiers, a man of high rank, to Amasis with orders to bring him
alive into his presence. Patarbemis, on arriving at the place where
Amasis was, called on him to come back with him to the king, whereupon
Amasis broke a coarse jest, and said, "Prythee take that back to thy
master." When the envoy, notwithstanding this reply, persisted in
his request, exhorting Amasis to obey the summons of the king, he made
answer "that this was exactly what he had long been intending to do;
Apries would have no reason to complain of him on the score of
delay; he would shortly come himself to the king, and bring others
with him." Patarbemis, upon this, comprehending the intention of
Amasis, partly from his replies and partly from the preparations which
he saw in progress, departed hastily, wishing to inform the king
with all speed of what was going on. Apries, however, when he saw
him approaching without Amasis, fell into a paroxysm of rage, and
not giving himself time for reflection, commanded the nose and ears of
Patarbemis to be cut off. Then the rest of the Egyptians, who had
hitherto espoused the cause of Apries, when they saw a man of such
note among them so shamefully outraged, without a moment's
hesitation went over to the rebels, and put themselves at the disposal
of Amasis.
Apries, informed of this new calamity, armed his mercenaries,
and led them against the Egyptians: this was a body of Carians and
Ionians, numbering thirty thousand men, which was now with him at
Says, where his palace stood- a vast building, well worthy of
notice. The army of Apries marched out to attack the host of the
Egyptians, while that of Amasis went forth to fight the strangers; and
now both armies drew near the city of Momemphis and prepared for the
coming fight.
The Egyptians are divided into seven distinct classes- these

Previous | Next
Site Search