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sleep : as soon as I enter, my wife will come to bed. There stands by the entrance a chair; on this she will lay her garments one by one as she takes them off, and then she will give you an opportunity to look at her at your leisure : but when she steps from the chair to the bed, and you are at her back, be careful that she does not see you as you are going out by the door."
Gyges therefore, finding he could not escape, prepared to obey. And Candaules, when it seemed to be time to go to bed, led him to the chamber, and the lady soon afterward appeared, and Gyges saw her enter and lay her clothes on the chair : when he was at her back, as the lady was going to the bed, he crept secretly out, but she saw him as he was going away. Perceiving what her husband had done, she neither cried out through modesty, nor appeared to notice it, purposing to take vengeance on Candaules ; for among the Lydians and almost all the barbarians, it is deemed a great disgrace even for a man to be seen naked.
At the time, therefore, having shown no consciousness of what had occurred, she held her peace; and as soon as it was day, having prepared such of her domestics as she knew were most to be trusted, she sent for Gyges. He, supposing that she knew nothing of what had happened, came when he was sent for, for he had been before used to attend whenever the queen sent for him. When Gyges came, the lady thus addressed him: “Gyges, I submit two proposals to your choice : either kill Candaules and take possession of me and of the Lydian kingdom, or expect immediate death, so that you may not, from your obedience to Candaules in all things, again see what you ought not. It is necessary that he who planned this, or that you who have seen me naked, and have done what is not decorous, should die."
Gyges for a time was stunned at what he heard ; but afterward he implored her not to compel him to make such a choice. He could not persuade her, however, but saw the necessity imposed on him either to kill his master Candaules or die himself by the hands of others; he therefore chose to survive, and made the following inquiry : “Since you compel me to kill my master against my will, tell me how we shall lay hands on him.”
She answered : “ The assault shall be made from the very spot whence he showed me naked; the attack shall be made on him while asleep."
When they had concerted their plan, on the approach of night he followed the lady to the chamber; then (for Gyges was not suffered to depart, nor was there any possibility of escape, but either he or Candaules must needs perish) she, having given him a dagger, concealed him behind the same door ; and after this, when Candaules was asleep, Gyges crept stealthily up and slew him, possessing himself both of the woman and the kingdom.
Thus Gyges obtained the kingdom, and was confirmed in it by the oracle at Delphi. For when the Lydians resented the murder of Candaules, and were up in arms, the partisans of Gyges and the other Lydians came to the following agreement : that if the oracle should pronounce him king of the Lydians, he should reign ; if not, he should restore the power to the Heraclide. The oracle, however, answered accordingly, and so Gyges became king. But the Pythian added this, “ that the Heraclidæ should be avenged on the fifth descendant of Gyges.” Of this prediction neither the Lydians nor their kings took any notice until it was actually accomplished.
Thus the Mermnadæ, having deprived the Heraclidæ, possessed themselves of the supreme power.
Gyges, when he obtained the sovereignty, led an army against Miletus and Smyrna, and took the city of Colophon; but as he performed no other great action during his reign of eight and thirty years, we will pass him over, having made this mention of him.
I will proceed to mention Ardys, the son and successor of Gyges. He took Priene, and invaded Miletus. During the time that he reigned at Sardis, the Cimmerians, being driven from their seats by the Scythian nomades, passed into Asia, and possessed themselves of all Sardis except the citadel.
When Ardys had reigned forty-nine years, his son Sadyattes succeeded him, and reigned twelve years; and Alyattes succeeded Sadyattes. He made war upon Cyaxares, a descendant of Deioces, and upon the Medes. He drove the Cimmerians out of Asia ; took Smyrna, which was founded from Colophon, and invaded Clazomenæ. From this place he departed, not as he could wish, but signally defeated.
Periander was king of Corinth, and the Corinthians say (and the Lesbians confirm their account) that a wonderful prodigy occurred in his lifetime. They say that Arion of Methymna, who was second to none of his time in accompanying the harp, and who was the first, that we are acquainted with, who composed, named, and represented the dithyrambus at Corinth, was carried to Tænarus on the back of a dolphin.
They say that this Arion, having continued a long time with Periander, was desirous of making a voyage to Italy and Sicily; and that having acquired great wealth, he determined to return to Corinth : that he set out from Tarentum, and hired a ship of certain Corinthians, because he put more confidence in them than in
any other nation ; but that these men, when they were in the open sea, conspired together to throw him overboard and seize his money, and he, being aware of this, offered them his money, and entreated them to spare his life. However, he could not prevail on them ; but the sailors ordered him either to kill himself, that he might be buried ashore, or to leap immediately into the sea.
Arion, reduced to this strait, entreated them, since such was their determination, to permit him to stand on the poop in his full dress and sing, and he promised when he had sung to make away with himself. The seamen, pleased that they should hear the best singer in the world, retired from the stern to the middle of the vessel. Arion, having put on all his robes, and taken his harp, stood on the rowing benches and went through the Orthian strain ; when the strain was ended he leaped into the sea as he was, in his full dress; and the sailors continued their voyage to Corinth: but they say that a dolphin received him on his back, and carried him to Tænarus; and that he, having landed, proceeded to Corinth in his full dress, and upon his arrival there, related all that had happened; but that Periander, giving no credit to his relation, put Arion under close confinement, and watched anxiously for the seamen: that when they appeared, he summoned them, and inquired if they could give any account of Arion ; but when they answered that he was safe in Italy, and that they had left him flourishing at Tarentum, Arion in that instant appeared before them just as he was when he leaped into the sea ; at which they were so astonished, that being fully convicted, they could no longer deny the fact. These things are reported by the Corinthians and Lesbians; and there is a small brazen statue of Arion at Tænarus, representing a man sitting on a dolphin.
Alyattes died when he had reigned fifty-seven years. After his death his son Croesus, who was then thirty-five years of age, succeeded to the kingdom. He attacked the Ephesians before any other Grecian people, and afterward the several cities of the Ionians and Æolians one after another, alleging different pretenses against different states, imputing graver charges against those in whom he was able to discover greater causes of blame, and against some of them alleging frivolous pretenses.
After he had reduced the Grecians in Asia to the payment of tribute, he formed a design to build ships and attack the Islanders. But when all things were ready for the building of ships, Bias of Priene (or, as others say, Pittacus of Mitylene), arriving at Sardis, put a stop to his shipbuilding by making this reply, when Cræsus inquired if he had any news from Greece: • O king, the Islanders are enlisting a large body of cavalry, with intention to make war upon you and Sardis.”
Cresus, thinking he had spoken the truth, said : “ May the gods put such a thought into the Islanders as to attack the sons of the Lydians with horse.” The other, answering, said: “Sire, you appear to wish above all things to see the Islanders on horseback upon the continent; and not without reason. But what can you imagine the Islanders more earnestly desire, after having heard of your resolution to build a fleet in order to attack them, than to catch the Lydians at sea, that they may revenge on you the cause of those Greeks who dwell on the continent, whom you hold in subjection?” Creesus was much pleased with the retort, put a stop to the shipbuilding, and made an alliance with the Ionians that inhabit the islands.
In course of time, when nearly all the nations that dwell within the river Halys, except the Cilicians and Lycians, were subdued, and Cræsus had added them to the Lydians, all the other wise men of that time, as each had opportunity, came from Greece to Sardis, which had then attained to the highest degree of prosperity: and among them Solon, an Athenian, who, having made laws for the Athenians at their request, absented himself for ten years, having sailed away under pretense of seeing the world, that he might not be compelled to abrogate any of the laws he had established; for the Athenians could not do it themselves, since they were bound by solemn oaths to observe for ten years whatever laws Solon should enact for them.
Solon therefore, having gone abroad for these reasons, and for the purposes of observation, arrived in Egypt at the court of Amasis, and afterward at that of Crcesus at Sardis. On his arrival he was hospitably entertained by Cræsus, and on the third or fourth day, by order of the king, the attendants conducted him round the treasury, and showed him all their grand and costly contents; and when he had seen and examined everything sufficiently, Cræsus asked him this question : “My Athenian guest, your great fame has reached even to us, as well of your wisdom as of your travels, how that as a philosopher you have traveled through various countries for the purpose of observation; I am therefore desirous of asking you, who is the most happy man you have seen?”
He asked this question, because he thought himself the most happy of men. But Solon, speaking the truth freely, without any flattery, answered, “ Tellus the Athenian.”
Cresus, astonished at his answer, eagerly asked him, “ On what account do you deem Tellus the happiest ?”
He replied: "Tellus, in the first place, lived in a well-governed commonwealth ; had sons who were virtuous and good; and he saw children born to them all, and all surviving: in the next place, when he had lived as happily as the condition of human affairs will permit, he ended his life in a most glorious manner; for, coming to the assistance of the Athenians in a battle with their neighbors of Eleusis, he put the enemy to flight, and died nobly. The Athenians buried him at the public charge in the place where he fell, and honored him greatly.'
When Solon had roused the attention of Creesus by relating many and happy circumstances concerning Tellus, Cresus, expecting at least to obtain the second place, asked whom he had seen next to him. “Cleobis,” said he, “and Biton; for they, being natives of Argos, possessed a sufficient fortune, and had withal such strength of body, that they were both alike victorious in the public games.
Moreover, the following story is told of them : when the Argives were celebrating a festival of Juno, it was necessary that their mother should be drawn to the temple in a chariot; but the oxen did not come from the field in time: the young men therefore, being pressed for time, put themselves beneath the yoke, and drew the car in which their mother sat; and having conveyed it forty-five stadia [eight miles), they reached the temple. After they had done this in sight of the assembled people, a most happy termination was put to their lives; and in them the Deity clearly showed that it is better for a man to die than to live. For the men of