III.80: And now when five days were gone, and the hubbub had settled down,
the conspirators met together to consult about the situation of affairs.
At this meeting speeches were made, to which many of the Hellenes give no credence,
but they were made nevertheless. Otanes recommended that the management of public
affairs should be entrusted to the whole nation. "To me," he said, "it seems advisable,
that we should no longer have a single man to rule over us---the rule of one is
neither good nor pleasant. You cannot have forgotten to what lengths Cambyses
went in his haughty tyranny, and the haughtiness of the Magi you have yourselves
experienced. How indeed is it possible that monarchy should be a well-adjusted
thing, when it allows a man to do as he likes without being answerable? Such licence
is enough to stir strange and unwonted thoughts in the heart of the worthiest
of men. Give a person this power, and straightway his manifold good things puff
him up with pride, while envy is so natural to human kind that it cannot but arise
in him. But pride and envy together include all wickedness---both of them leading
on to deeds of savage violence.
True it is that kings, possessing as they do all that heart can desire, ought
to be void of envy; but the contrary is seen in their conduct towards the citizens.
They are jealous of the most virtuous among their subjects, and wish their death;
while they take delight in the meanest and basest, being ever ready to listen
to the tales of slanderers. A king, besides, is beyond all other men inconsistent
with himself. Pay him court in moderation, and he is angry because you do not
show him more profound respect--- show him profound respect, and he is offended
again, because (as he says) you fawn on him. But the worst of all is, that he
sets aside the laws of the land, puts men to death without trial, and subjects
women to violence. The rule of the many, on the other hand, has, in the first
place, the fairest of names, to wit, isonomy; and further it is free from all
those outrages which a king is wont to commit. There, places are given by lot,
the magistrate is answerable for what he does, and measures rest with the commonalty.
I vote, therefore, that we do away with monarchy, and raise the people to power.
For the people are all in all."
III.81: Such were the sentiments of Otanes. Megabyzus spoke next, and advised
the setting up of an oligarchy: "In all that Otanes has said to persuade you to
put down monarchy," he observed, "I fully concur; but his recommendation that
we should call the people to power seems to me not the best advice. For there
is nothing so void of understanding, nothing so full of wantonness, as the unwieldy
rabble. It were folly not to be borne, for men, while seeking to escape the wantonness
of a tyrant, to give themselves up to the wantonness of a rude unbridled mob.
The tyrant, in all his doings, at least knows what is he about, but a mob is altogether
devoid of knowledge; for how should there be any knowledge in a rabble, untaught,
and with no natural sense of what is right and fit? It rushes wildly into state
affairs with all the fury of a stream swollen in the winter, and confuses everything.
Let the enemies of the Persians be ruled by democracies; but let us choose out
from the citizens a certain number of the worthiest, and put the government into
their hands. For thus both we ourselves shall be among the governors, and power
being entrusted to the best men, it is likely that the best counsels will prevail
in the state."
III.82: This was the advice which Megabyzus gave, and after him Darius came
forward, and spoke as follows: "All that Megabyzus said against democracy was
well said, I think; but about oligarchy he did not speak advisedly; for take these
three forms of government---democracy, oligarchy, and monarchy---and let them
each be at their best, I maintain that monarchy far surpasses the other two. What
government can possibly be better than that of the very best man in the whole
state? The counsels of such a man are like himself, and so he governs the mass
of the people to their heart's content; while at the same time his measures against
evil-doers are kept more secret than in other states. Contrariwise, in oligarchies,
where men vie with each other in the service of the commonwealth, fierce enmities
are apt to arise between man and man, each wishing to be leader, and to carry
his own measures; whence violent quarrels come, which lead to open strife, often
ending in bloodshed. Then monarchy is sure to follow; and this too shows how far
that rule surpasses all others.
Again, in a democracy, it is impossible but that there will be malpractices:
these malpractices, however, do not lead to enmities, but to close friendships,
which are formed among those engaged in them, who must hold well together to carry
on their villainies. And so things go on until a man stands forth as champion
of the commonalty, and puts down the evil-doers. Straightway the author of so
great a service is admired by all, and from being admired soon comes to be appointed
king; so that here too it is plain that monarchy is the best government. Lastly,
to sum up all in a word, whence, I ask, was it that we got the freedom which we
enjoy? Did democracy give it us, or oligarchy, or a monarch? As a single man recovered
our freedom for us, my sentence is that we keep to the rule of one. Even apart
from this, we ought not to change the laws of our forefathers when they work fairly;
for to do so is not well."
III.83: Such were the three opinions brought forward at this meeting; the four
other Persians voted in favor of the last. Otanes, who wished to give his countrymen
a democracy, when he found the decision against him, arose a second time, and
spoke thus before the assembly: "Brother conspirators, it is plain that the king
who is to be chosen will be one of ourselves, whether we make the choice by casting
lots for the prize, or by letting the people decide which of us they will have
to rule over them, in or any other way. Now, as I have neither a mind to rule
nor to be ruled, I shall not enter the lists with you in this matter. I withdraw,
however, on one condition---none of you shall claim to exercise rule over me or
my seed for ever." The six agreed to these terms, and Otanes withdraw and stood
aloof from the contest. And still to this day the family of Otanes continues to
be the only free family in Persia; those who belong to it submit to the rule of
the king only so far as they themselves choose; they are bound, however, to observe
the laws of the land like the other Persians.
III.84: After this the six took counsel together, as to the fairest way of
setting up a king: and first, with respect to Otanes, they resolved, that if any
of their own number got the kingdom, Otanes and his seed after him should receive
year by year, as a mark of special honor, a Median robe, and all such other gifts
as are accounted the most honorable in Persia. And these they resolved to give
him, because he was the man who first planned the outbreak, and who brought the
seven together. These privileges, therefore, were assigned specially to Otanes.
The following were made common to them all: It was to be free to each, whenever
he pleased, to enter the palace unannounced, unless the king were in the company
of one of his wives; and the king was to be bound to marry into no family excepting
those of the conspirators. Concerning the appointment of a king, the resolve to
which they came was the following: They would ride out together next morning into
the skirts of the city, and he whose steed first neighed after the sun was up
should have the kingdom.
III.85: Now Darius had a groom, a sharp-witted knave, called Oibares. After
the meeting had broken up, Darius sent for him, and said, "Oibares, this is the
way in which the king is to be chosen---we are to mount our horses, and the man
whose horse first neighs after the sun is up is to have the kingdom. If then you
have any cleverness, contrive a plan whereby the prize may fall to us, and not
go to another." "Truly, master," Oibares answered, "if it depends on this whether
you shall be king or no, set your heart at ease, and fear nothing: I have a charm
which is sure not to fail." "If you have really anything of the kind," said Darius,
"hasten to get it ready. The matter does not brook delay, for the trial is to
be tomorrow." So Oibares when he heard that, did as follows: When night came,
he took one of the mares, the chief favorite of the horse which Darius rode, and
tethering it in the suburb, brought his master's horse to the place; then, after
leading him round and round the mare several times, nearer and nearer at each
circuit, he ended by letting them come together.
III.86: And now, when the morning broke, the six Persians, according to agreement,
met together on horseback, and rode out to the suburb. As they went along they
neared the spot where the mare was tethered the night before, whereupon the horse
of Darius sprang forward and neighed. just at the same time, though the sky was
clear and bright, there was a flash of lightning, followed by a thunderclap. It
seemed as if the heavens conspired with Darius, and hereby inaugurated him king:
so the five other nobles leaped with one accord from their steeds, and bowed down
before him and owned him for their king.
III.87: This is the account which some of the Persians gave of the contrivance
of Oibares; but there are others who relate the matter differently. They say that
in the morning he stroked the mare with his hand, which he then hid in his trousers
until the sun rose and the horses were about to start, when he suddenly drew his
hand forth and put it to the nostrils of his master's horse, which immediately
snorted and neighed.
III.88: Thus was Darius, son of Hystaspes, appointed king; and, except the
Arabians, all they of Asia were subject to him; for Cyrus, and after him Cambyses,
had brought them all under. The Arabians were never subject as slaves to the Persians,
but had a league of friendship with them from the time when they brought Cambyses
on his way as he went into Egypt; for had they been unfriendly the Persians could
never have made their invasion.
And now Darius contracted marriages of the first rank, according to the notions
of the Persians: to wit, with two daughters of Cyrus, Atossa and Artystone; of
whom, Atossa had been twice married before, once to Cambyses, her brother, and
once to the Magus, while the other, Artystone, was a virgin. He married also Parmys,
daughter of Smerdis, son of Cyrus; and he likewise took to wife the daughter of
Otanes, who had made the discovery about the Magus. And now when his power was
established firmly throughout all the kingdoms, the first thing that he did was
to set up a carving in stone, which showed a man mounted upon a horse, with an
inscription in these words following: "Darius, son of Hystaspes, by aid of his
good horse" (here followed the horse's name), "and of his good groom Oibares,
got himself the kingdom of the Persians."
III.89: This he set up in Persia; and afterwards he proceeded to establish
twenty governments of the kind which the Persians call satrapies, assigning to
each its governor, and fixing the tribute which was to be paid him by the several
nations. And generally he joined together in one satrapy the nations that were
neighbors, but sometimes he passed over the nearer tribes, and put in their stead
those which were more remote. The following is an account of these governments,
and of the yearly tribute which they paid to the king: Such as brought their tribute
in silver were ordered to pay according to the Babylonian talent; while the Euboic
was the standard measure for such as brought gold. Now the Babylonian talent contains
seventy Euboic minae. During all the reign of Cyrus, and afterwards when Cambyses
ruled, there were no fixed tributes, but the nations severally brought gifts to
the king. On account of this and other like doings, the Persians say that Darius
was a huckster, Cambyses a master, and Cyrus a father; for Darius looked to making
a gain in everything; Cambyses was harsh and reckless; while Cyrus was gentle,
and procured them all manner of goods.
III.90: The Ionians, the Magnesians of Asia, the Aeolians, the Carians, the
Lycians, the Milyans, and the Pamphylians, paid their tribute in a single sum,
which was fixed at four hundred talents of silver. These formed together the first
The Mysians, Lydians, Lasonians, Cabalians, and Hygennians paid the sum of
five hundred talents. This was the second satrapy.
The Hellespontians, of the right coast as one enters the straits, the Phrygians,
the Asiatic Thracians, the Paphlagonians, the Mariandynians' and the Syrians paid
a tribute of three hundred and sixty talents. This was the third satrapy.
The Cilicians gave three hundred and sixty white horses, one for each day in
the year, and five hundred talents of silver. Of this sum one hundred and forty
talents went to pay the cavalry which guarded the country, while the remaining
three hundred and sixty were received by Darius. This was the fourth satrapy.
III.91: The country reaching from the city of Posideium (built by Amphilochus,
son of Amphiaraus, on the confines of Syria and Cilicia) to the borders of Egypt,
excluding therefrom a district which belonged to Arabia and was free from tax,
paid a tribute of three hundred and fifty talents. All Phoenicia, Palestine Syria,
and Cyprus, were herein contained. This was the fifth satrapy.
From Egypt, and the neighbouring parts of Libya, together with the towns of
Cyrene and Barca, which belonged to the Egyptian satrapy, the tribute which came
in was seven hundred talents. These seven hundred talents did not include the
profits of the fisheries of Lake Moeris, nor the corn furnished to the troops
at Memphis. Corn was supplied to 120,000 Persians, who dwelt at Memphis in the
quarter called the White Castle, and to a number of auxiliaries. This was the
The Sattagydians, the Gandarians, the Dadicae, and the Aparytae, who were all
reckoned together, paid a tribute of a hundred and seventy talents. This was the
Susa, and the other parts of Cissia, paid three hundred talents. This was the
III.92: From Babylonia, and the rest of Assyria, were drawn a yousand talents
of silver, and five hundred boy-eunuchs. This was the ninth satrapy.
Agbatana, and the other parts of Media, together with the Paricanians and Orthocorybantes,
paid in all four hundred and fifty talents. This was the tenth satrapy.
The Caspians, Pausicae, Pantimathi, and Daritae, were joined in one government,
and paid the sum of two hundred talents. This was the eleventh satrapy.
From the Bactrian tribes as far as the Aegli the tribute received was three
hundred and sixty talents. This was the twelfth satrapy.
III.93: From Pactyica, Armenia, and the countries reaching thence to the Euxine,
the sum drawn was four hundred talents. This was the thirteenth satrapy.
The Sagartians, Sarangians, Thamanaeans, Utians, and Mycians, together with
the inhabitants of the islands in the Erythraean sea, where the king sends those
whom he banishes, furnished altogether a tribute of six hundred talents. This
was the fourteenth satrapy.
The Sacans and Caspians gave two hundred and fifty talents. This was the fifteenth
The Parthians, Chorasmians, Sogdians, and Arians, gave three hundred. This
was the sixteenth satrapy.
III.94: The Paricanians and Ethiopians of Asia furnished a tribute of four
hundred talents. This was the seventeenth satrapy.
The Matienians, Saspeires, and Alarodians were rated to pay two hundred talents.
This was the eighteenth satrapy.
The Moschi, Tibareni, Macrones, Mosynoeci, and Mares had to pay three hundred
talents. This was the nineteenth satrapy.
The Indians, who are more numerous than any other nation with which we are
acquainted, paid a tribute exceeding that of every other people, to wit, three
hundred and sixty talents of gold-dust. This was the twentieth satrapy.
III.95: If the Babylonian money here spoken of be reduced to the Euboic scale,
it will make nine yousand five hundred and forty such talents; and if the gold
be reckoned at thirteen times the worth of silver, the Indian gold-dust will come
to four yousand six hundred and eighty talents. Add these two amounts together
and the whole revenue which came in to Darius year by year will be found to be
in Euboic money fourteen yousand five hundred and sixty talents, not to mention
parts of a talent.
III.96: Such was the revenue which Darius derived from Asia and a small part
of Libya. Later in his reign the sum was increased by the tribute of the islands,
and of the nations of Europe as far as Thessaly. The Great King stores away the
tribute which he receives after this fashion---he melts it down, and, while it
is in a liquid state, runs it into earthen vessels, which are afterwards removed,
leaving the metal in a solid mass. When money is wanted, he coins as much of this
bullion as the occasion requires.
III.97: Such then were the governments, and such the amounts of tribute at
which they were assessed respectively. Persia alone has not been reckoned among
the tributaries---and for this reason, because the country of the Persians is
altogether exempt from tax. The following peoples paid no settled tribute, but
brought gifts to the king: first, the Ethiopians bordering upon Egypt, who were
reduced by Cambyses when he made war on the long-lived Ethiopians, and who dwell
about the sacred city of Nysa, and have festivals in honour of Bacchus. The grain
on which they and their next neighbours feed is the same as that used by the Calantian
Indians. Their dwelling-houses are under ground. Every third year these two nations
brought---and they still bring to my day---two choenices of virgin gold, two hundred
logs of ebony, five Ethiopian boys, and twenty elephant tusks. The Colchians,
and the neighbouring tribes who dwell between them and the Caucasus---for so far
the Persian rule reaches, while north of the Caucasus no one fears them any longer---undertook
to furnish a gift, which in my day was still brought every fifth year, consisting
of a hundred boys, and the same number of maidens. The Arabs brought every year
a yousand talents of frankincense. Such were the gifts which the king received
over and above the tribute-money.
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