Please read the Book 1 of Homer's Iliad, which can be found at this URL:
While reading, ask yourself: what do the main characters want, and what arguments or pleas do
they use to get it?
Go to http://www.sacred-texts.com/cla/hesiod/theogony.htm Do not read the entire poem of
Hesiod's Theogony (which means "The Origins of the Gods"). Only read lines 1 to 225.
While reading, pay attention to what kind of children each of the gods has. Is there any
similarity between parents and children? Also, do you see any underlying meaning (or deeper
truth) behind the story of Father Heaven and his son, Cronos?
Go to the following website:
Do not read the entire biography; only read the following sections (which are indicated by the
red numbers on the web-page--there are 31 sections in all):
§ 1, 7-10, 14-20, 24-26, 28
Finally, note that this biography is the Life of Lycurgus. Lycurgus was the mythical "law-giver"
to the Spartans. The biographer, Plutarch, was a Greek who lived more than 500 years after the
events he is describing.
Read Sections 1-18, and 36-40 of Lucian's Anacharsis. Here is the URL:
The section numbers are in green on the far left side of the web page. The text is a fictional (and
comical) conversation between a Greek Athenian and a barbarian Scythian about Greek sports,
which the Scythian is completely bewildered by.
Read the following:
Archilochus, 1st Cologne Epode
Wayward and wildly pounding heart,
There is a girl who lives among us
Who watches you with foolish eyes,
A slender, lovely, graceful girl,
Just budding into supple line,
And you scare her and make her shy. "O daughter of the highborn Amphimedo,
I replied, of the widely remembered
Amphimedo now in the rich earth dead,
There are, do you know, so many pleasures
For young men to choose from
Among the skills of the delicious goddess…
"It's green to think the holy one's the only.
When the shadows go black and quiet,
Let us, you and I alone, and the gods,
Sort these matters out. Fear nothing:
I shall be tame, I shall behave
And reach, if I reach, with a civil hand.
I shall climb the wall and come to the gate.
You'll not say no, Sweetheart, to this?
I shall come no farther than the garden grass.
Neobulé I have forgotten, believe me, do.
Any man who wants her may have her.
Aiai! She's past her day, ripening rotten…"
The petals of her flower are all brown.
The grace that first she had is shot.
Don't you agree that she looks like a boy?
A woman like that would drive a man crazy.
She should get herself a job as a scarecrow.
I'd as soon hump her as [kiss a goat's butt].
A source of joy I'd be to the neighbors
With such a woman as her for a wife!
How could I ever prefer her to you?
You, O innocent, true heart and bold.
Each of her faces is as sharp as the other,
Which way she's turning you never can guess…
"She'd whelp like the proverb's luckless bitch
Were I to foster get upon her, throwing
Them blind, and all on the wrongest day."
I said no more, but took her hand,
Laid her down in a thousand flowers,
And put my soft wool cloak around her.
I slid my arm under her neck
To still the fear in her eyes,
For she was trembling like a fawn,
Touched her hot breasts with light fingers,
Spraddled her neatly and pressed
Against her fine, hard, bared crotch.
I caressed the beauty of all her body
And came in a sudden white spurt
While I was stroking her hair. Theognis of Megara
Of all things it is poverty that most subdues a noble man,
More even than hoary old age, Kyrnos, or fever;
Indeed, to avoid it one should even throw oneself into the sea's
Deep gulfs, Kyrnos, or off sheer cliffs.
For the man subdued by poverty can neither say
Nor do anything, because his tongue is tied.
Sappho of Lesbos, poem #31
That man to me seems equal to the gods,
the man who sits opposite you
and close by listens
to your sweet voice
and your enticing laughter—
that indeed has stirred up the heart in my breast.
For whenever I look at you even briefly
I can no longer say a single thing,
but my tongue is frozen in silence;
instantly a delicate flame runs beneath my skin;
with my eyes I see nothing;
my ears make a whirring noise.
A cold sweat covers me,
trembling seizes my body,
and I am greener than grass.
I seem just this side of death.
Again love, the limb-loosener, rattles me
bittersweet, irresistible, a crawling beast.
As a wind in the mountains
assaults an oak,
Love shook my breast.
Like a sweet-apple turning red high
on the tip of the topmost branch.
Forgotten by pickers.
Not forgotten—they couldn’t reach it.
Like a hyacinth
in the mountains
that shepherds crush underfoot.
Even on the ground
a purple flower. Lecture 014:
Read the Symposium, by Plato. It recounts the (probably fictional) events of a symposium held
in Athens, which the philosopher Socrates attended, where the various dinner guests discussed
the nature of Love.
Here is the URL:
Herodotus, The Histories (Excerpts)
The Persian King Xerxes gathers his army
Xerxes was gathering his army together, searching every region of the continent… During four
full years from the conquest of Egypt he was preparing the army and the things that were of
service for the army, and in the course of the fifth year he began his campaign with a host of
great multitude. For of all the armies of which we have knowledge this proved to be by far the
greatest;… For what nation did Xerxes not lead out of Asia against Hellas? and what water was
not exhausted, being drunk by his host, except only the great rivers? For some supplied ships,
and others were appointed to serve in the land- army; to some it was appointed to furnish
cavalry, and to others vessels to carry horses, while they served in the expedition themselves
also; others were ordered to furnish ships of war for the bridges, and others again ships with
Xerxes and his army cross the Hellespont on their march toward Greece.
Xerxes made his preparations intending to march to Abydos: and meanwhile they were bridging
over the Hellespont from Asia to Europe. Now there is in the Chersonese of the Hellespont
between the city of Sestos and Madytos, a broad foreland running down into the sea right
opposite Abydos;… To this foreland they on whom this work was laid were making their
bridges, starting from Abydos, the Phenicians constructing the one with ropes of white flax, and
the Egyptians the other, which was made with papyrus rope. Now from Abydos to the opposite
shore is a distance of seven furlongs. But when the strait had been bridged over, a great storm
came on and dashed together all the work that had been made and broke it up.
Then when Xerxes heard it he was exceedingly enraged, and bade them scourge the Hellespont
with three hundred strokes of the lash and let down into the sea a pair of fetters. Nay, I have
heard further that he sent branders also with them to brand the Hellespont. However this may be,
he enjoined them, as they were beating, to say Barbarian and presumptuous words as follows: "Thou bitter water, thy master lays upon thee this penalty, because thou didst wrong him not
having suffered any wrong from him: and Xerxes the king will pass over thee whether thou be
willing or no; but with right, as it seems, no man doeth sacrifice to thee, seeing that thou art a
treacherous and briny stream." The sea he enjoined them to chastise thus, and also he bade them
cut off the heads of those who were appointed to have charge over the bridging of the
Thus then the men did, to whom this ungracious office belonged; and meanwhile other chief-
constructors proceeded to make the bridges; and thus they made them:-- They put together fifty-
oared galleys and triremes, three hundred and sixty to be under the bridge towards the Euxine
Sea, and three hundred and fourteen to be under the other, the vessels lying in the direction of the
stream of the Hellespont (though crosswise in respect to the Pontus), to support the tension of the
ropes. They placed them together thus, and let down very large anchors, those on the one side
towards the Pontus because of the winds which blow from within outwards, and on the other
side, towards the West and the Aegean, because of the South-East and South Winds… When the
passage was bridged over, they sawed up logs of wood, and making them equal in length to the
breadth of the bridge they laid them above the stretched ropes, and having set them thus in order
they again fastened them above. When this was done, they carried on brushwood, and having set
the brushwood also in place, they carried on to it earth; and when they had stamped down the
earth firmly, they built a barrier along on each side, so that the baggage- animals and horses
might not be frightened by looking out over the sea.
When the construction of the bridges had been finished,…the army set forth from thence fully
equipped, at the beginning of spring, to march to Abydos; and when it had just set forth, the Sun
left his place in the heaven and was invisible, though there was no gathering of clouds and the
sky was perfectly clear; and instead of day it became night. When Xerxes saw and perceived this,
it became a matter of concern to him; and he asked the Magians what the appearance meant to
portend. These declared that the god was foreshowing to the Hellenes a leaving of their cities,
saying that the Sun was the foreshower of events for the Hellenes, but the Moon for the Persians.
Having been thus informed, Xerxes proceeded on the march with very great joy.
Xerxes reviews his army
When Xerxes had come into the midst of Abydos, he had a desire to see all the army; and there
had been made purposely for him beforehand upon a hill in this place a raised seat of white
stone, which the people of Abydos had built at the command of the king given beforehand. There
he took his seat, and looking down upon the shore he gazed both upon the land-army and the
ships; and gazing upon them he had a longing to see a contest take place between the ships; and
when it had taken place and the Phenicians of Sidon were victorious, he was delighted both with
the contest and with the whole armament.
And seeing all the Hellespont covered over with the ships, and all the shores and the plains of
Abydos full of men, then Xerxes pronounced himself a happy man, and after that he fell to
Artabanos his uncle therefore perceiving him,--the same who at first boldly declared his opinion
advising Xerxes not to march against Hellas,-- this man, I say, having observed that Xerxes wept, asked as follows: "O king, how far different from one another are the things which thou
hast done now and a short while before now! for having pronounced thyself a happy man, thou
art now shedding tears." He said: "Yea, for after I had reckoned up, it came into my mind to feel
pity at the thought how brief was the whole life of man, seeing that of these multitudes not one
will be alive when a hundred years have gone by"…
When Xerxes had crossed over into Europe, he gazed upon the army crossing under the lash; and
his army crossed over in seven days and seven nights, going on continuously without any pause.
Then, it is said, after Xerxes had now crossed over the Hellespont, a man of that coast exclaimed:
"Why, O Zeus, in the likeness of a Persian man and taking for thyself the name of Xerxes instead
of Zeus, art thou proposing to lay waste Hellas, taking with thee all the nations of men? for it
was possible for thee to do so even without the help of these."
Now of the number which each separate nation supplied I am not able to give certain
information, for this is not reported by any persons; but of the whole land-army taken together
the number proved to be one hundred and seventy myriads: and they numbered them throughout
in the following manner:--they gathered together in one place a body of ten thousand men, and
packing them together as closely as they could, they drew a circle round outside: and thus having
drawn a circle round and having let the ten thousand men go from it, they built a wall of rough
stones round the circumference of the circle, rising to the height of a man's navel. Having made
this, they caused others to go into the space which had been built round, until they had in this
manner numbered them all throughout: and after they had numbered them, they ordered them
separately by nations.The Spartan prince Demaratus was exiled from Sparta and fled to Persia.
He is asked by the
The Spartan prince Demaratus was exiled from Sparta and fled to Persia. He is asked by the
Persian King Xerxes for his opinion of Sparta, and praises it.
Xerxes sent for Demaratus the son of Ariston, who had accompanied him in his march upon
Greece, and said to him:
"Demaratus, I would like you to tell me something. As I hear, you are a Greek and a native of a
powerful city. Tell me, will the Greeks really fight against us? I think that even if all the Greeks
and all the barbarians of the West were gathered together in one place, they would not be able to
stop me, since they are so disunited. But I would like to know what you think about this."
Demaratus replied to Xerxes' question: "O king! Do you really want me to give a true answer, or
would you rather that I make you feel good about all this?"
The king commanded him to speak the plain truth, and promised that he would not on that
account hold him in less favour than before.
When he heard this promise, Demaratus spoke as follows: "O king! Since you command me to
speak the truth, I will not say what will one day prove me a liar. Difficulties have at all times
been present in our land, while Courage is an ally whom we have gained through wisdom and
strict laws. Her aid enables us to solve problems and escape being conquered. All Greeks are
brave, but what I am about to say does not concern all, but only the Spartans."
"First then, no matter what, the Spartans will never accept your terms. This would reduce Greece to slavery. They are sure to join battle with you even if all the rest of the Greeks surrendered to
you. As for Spartan numbers, do not ask how many or few they are, hoping for them to
surrender. For if a thousand of them should take the field, they will meet you in battle, and so
will any other number, whether it is less than this, or more."
When Xerxes heard this answer of Demaratus, he laughed and answered: "What wild words,
Demaratus! A thousand men join battle with such an army as mine! Come then, will you -- who
were once, as you say, their king -- fight alone right now against ten men? I think not. And yet, if
your fellow-citizens really are as you say, then according to your laws as their king, you should
be twice as tough and take on twenty all by yourself!"
But, if you Greeks, who think so hightly of yourselves, are simply the size and kind of men as
those I have seen at my court, or as yourself, Demaratus, then your bragging is weak. Use
common sense: how could a thousand men, or ten thousand, or even fifty thousand -- particularly
if they are all free, and not under one lord -- how could such a force stand against a united army
like mine? Even if the Greeks have larger numbers than our highest estimate, we still would
outnumber them 100 to 1."
If they had a single master as our troops have, their obedience to him might make them
courageous beyond their own desire, or they might be pushed onward by the whip against an
enemy which far outnumbered them. But left to their own free choice, they will surely act
differently. For my part, I believe that if the Greeks had to contend with the Persians only, and
the numbers were equal on both sides, the Greeks would still find it hard to stand their ground.
We too have men among us as tough as those you described -- not many perhaps, but enough.
For instance, some of my bodyguard would willing engage singly with three Greeks. But this
you did not know; and so you talked foolishly."
Demaratus answered him- "I knew, O king, that if I told you the truth, I would displease you. But
since you wanted the truth, I am telling you what the Spartans will do. I am not speaking out of
any love that I have for Sparta -- you know better than anyone how I feel about those who
robbed me of my rank, of my ancestral honours, and made me a homeless exile.... Look, I am no
match for ten men or even two, and given the choice, I would rather not fight at all. But if
necessary, I would rather go against those who boast that they are a match for any three Greeks."
"The same goes for the Spartans. One-against-one, they are as good as anyone in the world. But
when they fight in a body, they are the best of all. For though they are free men, they are not
entirely free. They accept Law as their master. And they respect this master more than your
subjects respect you. Whatever he commands, they do. And his command never changes: It
forbids them to flee in battle, whatever the number of their foes. He requires them to stand firm -
- to conquer or die. O king, if I seem to speak foolishly, I am content from this time forward to
remain silent. I only spoke now because you commanded me to. I do hope that everything turns
out according to your wishes."
This was the answer of Demaratus, and Xerxes was not angry with him at all, but only laughed,
and sent him away with words of kindness. The Persians offer the Athenians money and power if they will end their war against the Persians
and submit to King Xerxes. The Spartans send ambassadors to Athens, because they are afraid
the Athenians will break the Greek alliance against Persia.
To the Spartan ambassadors the Athenians said, “It was most human that the Spartans should
fear our making an agreement with the barbarian. We think that it is an ignoble thing to be afraid,
especially since we know the Athenian temper to be such that there is nowhere on earth such
store of gold or such territory of surpassing fairness and excellence that the gift of it should win
us to take the Persian part and enslave Hellas.
For there are many great reasons why we should not do this, even if we so desired; first and
foremost, the burning and destruction of the adornments and temples of our gods, whom we are
constrained to avenge to the utmost rather than make pacts with the perpetrator of these things,
and next the kinship of all Greeks in blood and speech, and the shrines of gods and the sacrifices
that we have in common, and the likeness of our way of life, to all of which it would not befit the
Athenians to be false.
Know this now, if you knew it not before, that as long as one Athenian is left alive we will make
no agreement with Xerxes. Nevertheless we thank you for your forethought concerning us, in
that you have so provided for our wasted state that you offer to nourish our households.
For your part, you have given us full measure of kindness, yet for ourselves, we will make shift
to endure as best we may, and not be burdensome to you. But now, seeing that this is so, send
your army with all speed, for as we guess, the barbarian will be upon us and invade our country
in no long time as soon as the message comes to him that we will do nothing that he requires of
us; therefore, before he comes into Attica, now is the time for us to march first into Boeotia.”
At this reply of the Athenians the envoys returned back to Sparta.
Read Plato’s Ion at http://classics.mit.edu/Plato/ion.html
The Ion is a discussion between Socrates and Ion about what makes Homer such an excellent
poet. Do you agree with the reasons Ion gives? Can you think of any other reasons you would
like to have added? Do you agree with any of Socrates criticisms of Homer?
SELECTION FROM HERODOTUS
1. This part of Herodotus's History tells a famous story of the encounter between the Lydian
King Croesus, reckoned as one of the richest men in the world, and Solon, the wise Athenian.
When all these conquests had been added to the Lydian empire, and the prosperity of Sardis was
now at its height, there came thither, one after another, all the sages of Greece living at the time,
and among them Solon, the Athenian. He was on his travels, having left Athens to be absent ten
years, under the pretence of wishing to see the world, but really to avoid being forced to repeal any of the laws which, at the request of the Athenians, he had made for them. Without his
sanction the Athenians could not repeal them, as they had bound themselves under a heavy curse
to be governed for ten years by the laws which should be imposed on them by Solon.
On this account, as well as to see the world, Solon set out upon his travels, in the course of which
he went to Egypt to the court of Amasis, and also came on a visit to Croesus at Sardis. Croesus
received him as his guest, and lodged him in the royal palace. On the third or fourth day after, he
bade his servants conduct Solon. over his treasuries, and show him all their greatness and
magnificence. When he had seen them all, and, so far as time allowed, inspected them, Croesus
addressed this question to him. "Stranger of Athens, we have heard much of thy wisdom and of
thy travels through many lands, from love of knowledge and a wish to see the world. I am
curious therefore to inquire of thee, whom, of all the men that thou hast seen, thou deemest the
most happy?" This he asked because he thought himself the happiest of mortals: but Solon
answered him without flattery, according to his true sentiments, "Tellus of Athens, sire." Full of
astonishment at what he heard, Croesus demanded sharply, "And wherefore dost thou deem
Tellus happiest?" To which the other replied, "First, because his country was flourishing in his
days, and he himself had sons both beautiful and good, and he lived to see children born to each
of them, and these children all grew up; and further because, after a life spent in what our people
look upon as comfort, his end was surpassingly glorious. In a battle between the Athenians and
their neighbours near Eleusis, he came to the assistance of his countrymen, routed the foe, and
died upon the field most gallantly. The Athenians gave him a public funeral on the spot where he
fell, and paid him the highest honours."
Thus did Solon admonish Croesus by the example of Tellus, enumerating the manifold
particulars of his happiness. When he had ended, Croesus inquired a second time, who after
Tellus seemed to him the happiest, expecting that at any rate, he would be given the second
place. "Cleobis and Bito," Solon answered; "they were of Argive race; their fortune was enough
for their wants, and they were besides endowed with so much bodily strength that they had both
gained prizes at the Games. Also this tale is told of them:- There was a great festival in honour of
the goddess Juno at Argos, to which their mother must needs be taken in a car. Now the oxen did
not come home from the field in time: so the youths, fearful of being too late, put the yoke on
their own necks, and themselves drew the car in which their mother rode. Five and forty furlongs
did they draw her, and stopped before the temple. This deed of theirs was witnessed by the whole
assembly of worshippers, and then their life closed in the best possible way. Herein, too, God
showed forth most evidently, how much better a thing for man death is than life. For the Argive
men, who stood around the car, extolled the vast strength of the youths; and the Argive women
extolled the mother who was blessed with such a pair of sons; and the mother herself, overjoyed
at the deed and at the praises it had won, standing straight before the image, besought the
goddess to bestow on Cleobis and Bito, the sons who had so mightily honoured her, the highest
blessing to which mortals can attain. Her prayer ended, they offered sacrifice and partook of the
holy banquet, after which the two youths fell asleep in the temple. They never woke more, but so
passed from the earth. The Argives, looking on them as among the best of men, caused statues of
them to be made, which they gave to the shrine at Delphi." When Solon had thus assigned these youths the second place, Croesus broke in angrily, "What,
stranger of Athens, is my happiness, then, so utterly set at nought by thee, that thou dost not even
put me on a level with private men?"
"Oh! Croesus," replied the other, "thou askedst a question concerning the condition of man, of
one who knows that the power above us is full of jealousy, and fond of troubling our lot. A long
life gives one to witness much, and experience much oneself, that one would not choose. Seventy
years I regard as the limit of the life of man. In these seventy years are contained, without
reckoning intercalary months, twenty-five thousand and two hundred days. Add an intercalary
month to every other year, that the seasons may come round at the right time, and there will be,
besides the seventy years, thirty-five such months, making an addition of one thousand and fifty
days. The whole number of the days contained in the seventy years will thus be twenty-six
thousand two hundred and fifty, whereof not one but will produce events unlike the rest. Hence
man is wholly accident. For thyself, oh! Croesus, I see that thou art wonderfully rich, and art the
lord of many nations; but with respect to that whereon thou questionest me, I have no answer to
give, until I hear that thou hast closed thy life happily. For assuredly he who possesses great
store of riches is no nearer happiness than he who has what suffices for his daily needs, unless it
so hap that luck attend upon him, and so he continue in the enjoyment of all his good things to
the end of life. For many of the wealthiest men have been unfavoured of fortune, and many
whose means were moderate have had excellent luck. Men of the former class excel those of the
latter but in two respects; these last excel the former in many. The wealthy man is better able to
content his desires, and to bear up against a sudden buffet of calamity. The other has less ability
to withstand these evils (from which, however, his good luck keeps him clear), but he enjoys all
these following blessings: he is whole of limb, a stranger to disease, free from misfortune, happy
in his children, and comely to look upon. If, in addition to all this, he end his life well, he is of a
truth the man of whom thou art in search, the man who may rightly be termed happy. Call him,
however, until he die, not happy but fortunate. Scarcely, indeed, can any man unite all these
advantages: as there is no country which contains within it all that it needs, but each, while it
possesses some things, lacks others, and the best country is that which contains the most; so no
single human being is complete in every respect- something is always lacking. He who unites the
greatest number of advantages, and retaining them to the day of his death, then dies peaceably,
that man alone, sire, is, in my judgment, entitled to bear the name of 'happy.' But in every matter
it behoves us to mark well the end: for oftentimes God gives men a gleam of happiness, and then
plunges them into ruin."
Such was the speech which Solon addressed to Croesus, a speech which brought him neither
largess nor honour. The king saw him depart with much indifference, since he thought that a man
must be an arrant fool who made no account of present good, but bade men always wait and
mark the end.
After Solon had gone away a dreadful vengeance, sent of God, came upon Croesus, to punish
him, it is likely, for deeming himself the happiest of men. First he had a dream in the night,
which foreshowed him truly the evils that were about to befall him in the person of his son. For
Croesus had two sons, one blasted by a natural defect, being deaf and dumb; the other,
distinguished far above all his co-mates in every pursuit. The name of the last was Atys. It was
this son concerning whom he dreamt a dream that he would die by the blow of an iron weapon. When he woke, he considered earnestly with himself, and, greatly alarmed at the dream, instantly
made his son take a wife, and whereas in former years the youth had been wont to command the
Lydian forces in the field, he now would not suffer him to accompany them. All the spears and
javelins, and weapons used in the wars, he removed out of the male apartments, and laid them in
heaps in the chambers of the women, fearing lest perhaps one of the weapons that hung against
the wall might fall and strike him.
Now it chanced that while he was making arrangements for the wedding, there came to Sardis a
man under a misfortune, who had upon him the stain of blood. He was by race a Phrygian, and
belonged to the family of the king. Presenting himself at the palace of Croesus, he prayed to be
admitted to purification according to the customs of the country. Now the Lydian method of
purifying is very nearly the same as the Greek. Croesus granted the request, and went through all
the customary rites, after which he asked the suppliant of his birth and country, addressing him
as follows:- "Who art thou, stranger, and from what part of Phrygia fleddest thou to take refuge
at my hearth? And whom, moreover, what man or what woman, hast thou slain?" "Oh! king,"
replied the Phrygian, "I am the son of Gordias, son of Midas. I am named Adrastus. The man I
unintentionally slew was my own brother. For this my father drove me from the land, and I lost
all. Then fled I here to thee." "Thou art the offspring," Croesus rejoined, "of a house friendly to
mine, and thou art come to friends. Thou shalt want for nothing so long as thou abidest in my
dominions. Bear thy misfortune as easily as thou mayest, so will it go best with thee."
Thenceforth Adrastus lived in the palace of the king.
It chanced that at this very same time there was in the Mysian Olympus a huge monster of a
boar, which went forth often from this mountain country, and wasted the corn-fields of the
Mysians. Many a time had the Mysians collected to hunt the beast, but instead of doing him any
hurt, they came off always with some loss to themselves. At length they sent ambassadors to
Croesus, who delivered their message to him in these words: "Oh! king, a mighty monster of a
boar has appeared in our parts, and destroys the labour of our hands. We do our best to take him,
but in vain. Now therefore we beseech thee to let thy son accompany us back, with some chosen
youths and hounds, that we may rid our country of the animal." Such was the tenor of their
But Croesus bethought him of his dream, and answered, "Say no more of my son going with you;
that may not be in any wise. He is but just joined in wedlock, and is busy enough with that. I will
grant you a picked band of Lydians, and all my huntsmen and hounds; and I will charge those
whom I send to use all zeal in aiding you to rid your country of the brute."
With this reply the Mysians were content; but the king's son, hearing what the prayer of the
Mysians was, came suddenly in, and on the refusal of Croesus to let him go with them, thus
addressed his father: "Formerly, my father, it was deemed the noblest and most suitable thing for
me to frequent the wars and hunting-parties, and win myself glory in them; but now thou keepest
me away from both, although thou hast never beheld in me either cowardice or lack of spirit.
What face meanwhile must I wear as I walk to the forum or return from it? What must the
citizens, what must my young bride think of me? What sort of man will she suppose her husband
to be? Either, therefore, let me go to the chase of this boar, or give me a reason why it is best for
me to do according to thy wishes." Then Croesus answered, "My son, it is not because I have seen in thee either cowardice or aught
else which has displeased me that I keep thee back; but because a vision which came before me
in a dream as I slept, warned me that thou wert doomed to die young, pierced by an iron weapon.
It was this which first led me to hasten on thy wedding, and now it hinders me from sending thee
upon this enterprise. Fain would I keep watch over thee, if by any means I may cheat fate of thee
during my own lifetime. For thou art the one and only son that I possess; the other, whose
hearing is destroyed, I regard as if he were not."
"Ah! father," returned the youth, "I blame thee not for keeping watch over me after a dream so
terrible; but if thou mistakest, if thou dost not apprehend the dream aright, 'tis no blame for me to
show thee wherein thou errest. Now the dream, thou saidst thyself, foretold that I should die
stricken by an iron weapon. But what hands has a boar to strike with? What iron weapon does he
wield? Yet this is what thou fearest for me. Had the dream said that I should die pierced by a
tusk, then thou hadst done well to keep me away; but it said a weapon. Now here we do not
combat men, but a wild animal. I pray thee, therefore, let me go with them."
"There thou hast me, my son," said Croesus, "thy interpretation is better than mine. I yield to it,
and change my mind, and consent to let thee go."
Then the king sent for Adrastus, the Phrygian, and said to him, "Adrastus, when thou wert
smitten with the rod of affliction- no reproach, my friend- I purified thee, and have taken thee to
live with me in my palace, and have been at every charge. Now, therefore, it behoves thee to
requite the good offices which thou hast received at my hands by consenting to go with my son
on this hunting party, and to watch over him, if perchance you should be attacked upon the road
by some band of daring robbers. Even apart from this, it were right for thee to go where thou
mayest make thyself famous by noble deeds. They are the heritage of thy family, and thou too art
so stalwart and strong."
Adrastus answered, "Except for thy request, Oh! king, I would rather have kept away from this
hunt; for methinks it ill beseems a man under a misfortune such as mine to consort with his
happier compeers; and besides, I have no heart to it. On many grounds I had stayed behind; but,
as thou urgest it, and I am bound to pleasure thee (for truly it does behove me to requite thy good
offices), I am content to do as thou wishest. For thy son, whom thou givest into my charge, be
sure thou shalt receive him back safe and sound, so far as depends upon a guardian's
Thus assured, Croesus let them depart, accompanied by a band of picked youths, and well
provided with dogs of chase. When they reached Olympus, they scattered in quest of the animal;
he was soon found, and the hunters, drawing round him in a circle, hurled their weapons at him.
Then the stranger, the man who had been purified of blood, whose name was Adrastus, he also
hurled his spear at the boar, but missed his aim, and struck Atys. Thus was the son of Croesus
slain by the point of an iron weapon, and the warning of the vision was fulfilled. Then one ran to
Sardis to bear the tidings to the king, and he came and informed him of the combat and of the
fate that had befallen his son. If it was a heavy blow to the father to learn that his child was dead, it yet more strongly affected
him to think that the very man whom he himself once purified had done the deed. In the violence
of his grief he called aloud on Jupiter Catharsius to be a witness of what he had suffered at the
Afterwards he invoked the same god as Jupiter Ephistius and Hetaereus- using the one term
because he had unwittingly harboured in his house the man who had now slain his son; and the
other, because the stranger, who had been sent as his child's guardian, had turned out his most
Presently the Lydians arrived, bearing the body of the youth, and behind them followed the
homicide. He took his stand in front of the corse, and, stretching forth his hands to Croesus,
delivered himself into his power with earnest entreaties that he would sacrifice him upon the
body of his son- "his former misfortune was burthen enough; now that he had added to it a
second, and had brought ruin on the man who purified him, he could not bear to live." Then
Croesus, when he heard these words, was moved with pity towards Adrastus, notwithstanding
the bitterness of his own calamity; and so he answered, "Enough, my friend; I have all the
revenge that I require, since thou givest sentence of death against thyself. But in sooth it is not
thou who hast injured me, except so far as thou hast unwittingly dealt the blow. Some god is the
author of my misfortune, and I was forewarned of it a long time ago." Croesus after this buried
the body of his son, with such honours