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great, he pitied Adrastus, and said to him: “You have made me full satisfaction by condemning yourself to die. But you are not the author of this misfortune, except as far as you were the involuntary agent, but that god, whoever he was, that long since foreshadowed what was about to happen.
Cræsus therefore buried his son as the dignity of his birth required; but Adrastus, son of Gordius, son of Midas, who had been the slayer of his own brother, and the slayer of his purifier, when all was silent round the tomb, judging himself the most heavily afflicted of all men, killed himself on the tomb. But Crosus, bereaved of his son, continued disconsolate for two years.
Some time after, the overthrow of the kingdom of Astyages son of Cyaxares, by Cyrus son of Cambyses, and the growing power of the Persians, put an end to the grief of Cræsus ; and it entered into his thoughts whether he could by any means check the growing power of the Persians before they became forinidable. After he had formed this purpose, he determined to make trial as well of the oracles in Greece as of that in Libya ; and sent different persons to different places, with the following orders: that, computing the days from the time of their departure from Sardis, they should consult the oracles on the hundredth day, by asking what Cresus, son of Alyattes and king of the Lydians, was then doing; and that they should bring him the answer of each oracle in writing. Now, what were the answers given by the other oracles is mentioned by none ; but no sooner had the Lydians entered the temple of Delphi to consult the god, and asked the question enjoined them, than the Pythian thus spoke in hexameter verse : “I know the number of the sands, and the measure of the sea ; I understand the dumb, and hear him that does not speak; the savor of the hard-shelled tortoise boiled in brass with the flesh of lamb strikes on my senses ; brass is laid beneath it, and brass is put over it.”
The Lydians, having written down this answer of the Pythian, returned to Sardis. And when the rest, who had been sent to other places, arrived bringing the answers, Cresus, having opened each of them, examined their contents ; but none of them pleased him. When, however, he heard that from Delphi, he immediately adored it and approved of it, being convinced that the oracle at Delphi alone was a real oracle, because it had discovered what he had done. For when he had sent persons to consult the different oracles, watching the appointed day, he had recourse to the following contrivance : having thought of what it was impossible to discover or guess at, he cut up a tortoise and a lamb, and boiled them himself together in a brazen caldron, and put on it a cover of brass.
Such, then, was the answer given to Cræsus from Delphi : as regards the answer of the oracle of Amphiaraus, I cannot say what answer it gave to the Lydians, who performed the accustomed rites at the temple ; for nothing else is related than that he considered this also to be a true oracle.
After this he endeavored to propitiate the god at Delphi by magnificent sacrifices ; for he offered three thousand head of cattle of every kind fit for sacrifice, and having heaped up a great pile, he burned on it beds of gold and silver, vials of gold, and robes of purple and garments, hoping by that means more completely to conciliate the god; he also ordered all the Lydians to offer to the god whatever he was able. When the sacrifice was ended, having melted down a vast quantity of gold, he cast half-bricks from it; of which the longest were six palms in length, the shortest three, and in thickness one palm : their number was one hundred and seventeen : four of these, of pure gold, weighed each two talents and a half; the other half-bricks of pale gold weighed two talents each. He made also the figure of a lion of fine gold, weighing ten talents.
Cresus, having finished these things, sent them to Delphi, and with them two large bowls, one of gold, the other of silver, and four casks of silver; and he dedicated two lustral vases, one of gold, the other of silver ; at the same time he sent many other offerings : among them some round silver covers; and moreover, a statue of a woman in gold three cubits high, which the Delphians say is the image of Creesus' baking woman ; and to all these things he added the necklaces and girdles of his wife.
These were the offerings he sent to Delphi ; and to Amphiaraus, having ascertained his virtue and sufferings, he dedicated a shield all of gold, and a lance of solid gold, the shaft as well as the points being of gold ; and these are at Thebes, in the temple of Ismenian Apollo.
To the Lydians appointed to convey these presents to the temples, Creesus gave it in charge to inquire of the oracles whether he should make war on the Persians, and if he should unite any other nation as an ally. Accordingly, when the Lydians arrived at the places to which they were sent, and had dedicated the offerings, they consulted the oracles, saying: “Creesus, king of the Lydians and of other nations, esteeming these to be the only oracles among men, sends these presents in acknowledgment of your discoveries ; and now asks whether he should lead an army against the Persians, and whether he should join any auxiliary forces with his own." Such were their questions : and the opinions of both oracles concurred, foretelling " that if Cræsus should make war on the Persians, he would destroy a mighty empire;” and they advised him to engage the most powerful of the Grecians in his alliance.
When Cræsus heard the answers that were brought back, he was beyond measure delighted with the oracles ; and fully expecting that he should destroy the kingdom of Cyrus, he again sent to Delphi, and having ascertained the number of the inhabitants, presented each of them with two staters of gold. In return for this, the Delphians gave Crosus and the Lydians the right to consult the oracle before any others, and exemption from tribute, and the first seats in the temple, and the privilege of being made citizens of Delphi to as many as should desire it in all future time.
Crosus, having made these presents to the Delphians, sent a third time to consult the oracle ; for after he had ascertained the veracity of the oracle, he had frequent recourse to it. His demand now was, whether he should long enjoy the kingdom ? to which the Pythian gave this answer : " When a mule shall become king of the Medes, then, tenderfooted Lydian, flee over pebbly Hermus, nor tarry, nor blush to be a coward."
With this answer, when reported to him, Creesus was more than ever delighted, thinking that a mule should never be king of the Medes instead of a man, and consequently that neither he nor his posterity should ever be deprived of the kingdom. In the next place, he began to inquire carefully who were the most powerful of the Greeks whom he might gain over as allies ; and on inquiry, found that the Lacedæmonians and Athenians excelled the rest, the former being of Dorian, the latter of Ionic descent; for these were in ancient time the most distinguished, the latter being a Pelasgian, the other an Hellenic nation.
Cræsus then prepared to invade Cappadocia, hoping to overthrow Cyrus and the power of the Persians. While Cresus
was preparing for his expedition against the Persians, a certain Lydian, who before that time was esteemed a wise man, and on this occasion acquired a very great name in Lydia, gave him advice in these words (the name of this person was Sandanis): “O king, you are preparing to make war against a people who wear leather trousers, and the rest of their garments of leather ; who inhabit a barren country, and feed not on such things as they choose, but such as they can get. Besides, they do not habitually use wine, but drink water ; nor have they figs to eat, nor anything that is good. In the first place, then, if you should conquer, what will you take from them, since they have nothing? On the other hand, if you should be conquered, consider what good things you will lose ; for when they have tasted of our good things, they will become fond of them, nor will they be driven from them. As for me, I thank the gods that they have not put it into the thoughts of the Persians to make war on the Lydians." In saying this, he did not persuade Crosus.
Cræsus invaded Cappadocia for the following reasons : as well from a desire of adding it to his own dominions, as, especially, from his confidence in the oracle, and a wish to punish Cyrus on account of Astyages ; for Cyrus son of Cambyses had subjugated Astyages son of Cyaxares, who was brother-inlaw of Cræsus and king of the Medes. He had become brotherin-law to Cresus in the following manner :
A band of Scythian nomads having risen in rebellion, withdrew into Media. At that time Cyaxares son of Phraortes, grandson of Deioces, ruled over the Medes ; he at first received these Scythians kindly, as being suppliants ; so much so that, esteeming them very highly, he intrusted some youths to them to learn their language and the use of the bow. In course of time, it happened that these Scythians, who were constantly going out to hunt, and who always brought home something, on one occasion took nothing. On their returning emptyhanded, Cyaxares (for he was, as he proved, of a violent temper) treated them with most opprobrious language. The Scythians, having met with this treatment from Cyaxares, and considering it undeserved by them, determined to kill one of the youths that were being educated under their care ; and having prepared the flesh as they used to dress the beasts taken in hunting, to serve it up to Cyaxares as if it were game, and then to make their escape immediately to Alyattes son of Sadyattes,
at Sardis. This was accordingly done, and Cyaxares and his guests tasted of this flesh; and the Scythians, having done this, became suppliants to Alyattes.
After this (for Alyattes refused to deliver up the Scythians to Cyaxares when he demanded them), war lasted between the Lydians and the Medes for five years ; during this period the Medes often defeated the Lydians, and often the Lydians defeated the Medes ; and during this time they had a kind of nocturnal engagement. In the sixth year, when they were carrying on the war with nearly equal success, on occasion of an engagement, it happened that in the heat of the battle day was suddenly turned into night. This change of the day Thales the Milesian had foretold to the Ionians, fixing beforehand this year as the very period in which the change actually took place. The Lydians and Medes seeing night succeeding in the place of day, desisted from fighting, and both showed a great anxiety to make peace.
Syennesis the Cilician, and Labynetus the Babylonian, were the mediators of their reconciliation : these were they who hastened the treaty between them, and made a matrimonial connection ; for they persuaded Alyattes to give his daughter Aryenis in marriage to Astyages son of Cyaxares : for without strong necessity, agreements are not wont to remain firm. These nations in their federal contracts observe the same ceremonies as the Greeks ; and in addition, when they have cut their arms to the outer skin, they lick up one another's blood.
Cyrus had subdued this same Astyages, his grandfather by the mother's side, for reasons which I shall hereafter relate. Cresus, alleging this against him, sent to consult the oracle if he should make war on the Persians; and when an ambiguous answer came back, he, interpreting it to his own advantage, led his army against the territory of the Persians. When he arrived at the river Halys, Cræsus transported his forces, as I believe, by the bridges which are now there. But the common opinion of the Grecians is, that Thales the Milesian procured him a passage ; for, while Cræsus was in doubt how his army should pass over the river (for they say that these bridges were not at that time in existence), Thales, who was in the camp, caused the stream, which flowed along the left of the army, to flow likewise on the right; and he contrived it thus : having begun above the camp, he dug a deep trench, in the shape of a half-moon, so that the river, being turned into this from its old