translated by Shlomo Felberbaum

Text and photographs Copyright © 1999—2003 Lost Trails
all rights reserved

Installment 17

Against Cambyses, the son of Cyrus, who was spending time round Egypt and was out of his senses, stood up Magian men, two brothers, the one of which Cambyses had left behind as the caretaker of his house. Indeed that one then stood up against him, after he had learned of the death of Smerdis, that it was hidden when it had happened, and that those of the Persians who knew him were few, but the many thought he survived. Thereupon he planned the following and set his hand to the king’s affairs: a brother was his, who I have said joined him in his standing up against, resembling very much in his looks Smerdis, the son of Cyrus, whom Cambyses, although he was his brother, had killed. Indeed he was similar in looks to Smerdis and, what’s more, he had the same name, Smerdis. The Magus Patizeides, having convinced that man that he himself would perform all for him, lead him to and seated him on the royal seat. Then having done that, he sent heralds in various directions everywhere else and in particular to Egypt to proclaim to the army that they must listen to Smerdis, the son of Cyrus, for the future, but not Cambyses.

Then indeed all the other heralds proclaimed that and especially the one appointed to Egypt, since he found Cambyses and his army were in Syria in Agbatana, proclaimed, as he stood in their midst, what had been enjoined by the Magus. So when Cambyses had heard that from the herald and supposed that he gave true accounts and that he himself had been betrayed by Prexaspes, because sent to kill Smerdis, he did not do that, he cast a glance at Prexaspes and said, “Prexaspes, thus you performed for me the deed that I had put on you?”. And he said, “O master, that is not true, how at any time your brother, Smerdis, has stood up against you, and not how any contention will be for you from that man, either large or small. For I myself did what you were bidding me and I buried him with my own hands. Now. if the dead stand up, expect that Astyages the Mede too will stand up against you, but if it is just as before, nothing new, at least from him, will ever spring up for you. Hence now it seems best to me for men to pursue after the herald and examine him closely by asking from whom he has come and proclaims to us to listen to Smerdis as a king”.

At Prexaspes’ saying that, since it pleased Cambyses, immediately the herald came to be pursued after and was present. Then on his coming, Prexaspes asked this: “O human being, as you assert that you have come a messenger from Smerdis the son of Cyrus, therefore say now the truth and go away with impunity, whether Smerdis himself appeared to your sight and enjoined that or one of his underlings”. And he said, “Since King Cambyses drove against Egypt, I have not yet seen Smerdis, but the Magus, whom Cambyses had shown forth as guardian of his house, that man enjoined that and asserted that Smerdis, the son of Cyrus, was he who had laid on the speaking of that before you”. He indeed spoke to them with the addition of no lie and Cambyses said, “Praxaspes, you have escaped blame, seeing that as a good man you have done what was commanded, but against me who of Persians could be he who has stood up and is setting his foot on Smerdis’ name?”. And he said, “I seem to myself to comprehend that which has happened, o king; the Magians are those who have stood up against you, he whom you left as caretaker of your house, Patizeithes, and his brother, Smerdis”.

Thereupon, when Cambyses had heard Smerdis’ name, the truth of the speeches and the vision in sleep struck him, who thought in his sleep that someone announced out to him that Smerdis sat on the royal chair and touched with his head the sky. So, having learned that he had destroyed his brother in vain, he wept for Smerdis and, when he had finished weeping and being very aggrieved at his misfortune, he leapt up on a horse as he had in mind the quickest way to advance with an army to Susa against the Magus. And as he leapt up on the horse the tip fell off of the scabbard of his sword and the sword, laid bare, smote his thigh. So, wounded at that spot where he himself previously had struck the god of the Egyptians, Apis, as it seemed to him that he had been hit aptly, Cambyses asked what was the city’s name. Still earlier an oracle had been given to him from the city of Bouto that he would meet with his end in Agbatana. He indeed thought he would meet with his end in old age in the Median Agbatana, in which were all his affairs, but the oracle was saying in the Agbatana in Syria after all. And indeed, when then he had asked about and learned by inquiry the city’s name, utterly struck by the misfortune from the Magus and the wound, he became sane and, comprehending the divine response, he said, “Here Cambyses, the son of Cyrus, is fated to meet with his end”.

Then so much, but about twenty days later he summoned the greatest to speak of the Persians who were present and said this to them: “O Persians, it has befallen me to bring out to light for you that which I was trying to hide most of all affairs. For, while I was in Egypt, I saw a vision in my sleep, which I would I had not seen at all, as I thought to myself that a messenger had come from my house and was announcing that Smerdis sat on the royal chair and touched with his head the sky. So in fear lest I be taken away from my rule by my brother, I acted more quickly than wisely; for in human nature there is not after all to turn away what is to come about and I, the foolish, sent Prexaspes away to Susa to kill Smerdis. Then, so great an evil having been worked out, I dwelt without fear and considered not at all that with Smerdis taken off any other among human beings should stand up against me. Hence having missed the mark of everything that was to be, I have become a fratricide, it being nothing necessary, and am bereft of my kingdom none the less. For Smerdis of course was the Magus, who the divinity was bringing forth to light in the vision would stand up against me. Indeed the work has been worked out by me and reckon that Smerdis, the son of Cyrus, no longer exists for you; the Magians then to your disadvantage have power over the royal domains, he whom I left as the guardian of my house and his brother, Smerdis. Now, that man, who most should have taken vengeance for me, because I had experienced shameful sufferings at the hands of the Magians, through an unholy doom has met with his end by the nearest of his house’s agency. Hence, since that one is no longer, the next best thing of the remaining, on you, o Persians, it proves most necessary for me to enjoin what I wish to come about for me, as I am meeting with the end of my life, and so on you this I let fall and I call on the royal gods, both on all of you and most on those of the Achaimenids who are present, to not overlook the leadership’s coming back round to the Medes, but if they acquired and have it through treachery, for it to be taken back through treachery by you, and if maybe they worked it back and do through some strength, to bring it back to safety for yourselves with force through strength. And if you do that, may earth put out fruit and women and flocks bring forth, while you are free for all time, but if you do not bring back to safety for yourselves the rule and do not put your hand to bringing it back to safety, I pray that the contrary of that come about for you and further in addition to that that the end supervene for each of the Persians such as has supervened for me.” So, at the same time as he said that, Cambyses was bewailing all his faring.

When the Persians had seen the king had let out wailing, they all rent that which they had that had the nature of clothing and made continual use of unbegrudged lamentation. Then after that, as soon as the bone had become gangrenous and the thigh had rotted, it carried off Cambyses, the son of Cyrus, who had been king the whole of seven years and five months and was entirely childless, without male or female generation. Yet in those of the Persians who were present much disbelief was spread that the Magians had control of the affairs, but they thought Cambyses had said what he had said about Smerdis’ death for slander that the whole Persian people might be stirred up to war against him.

Now, those thought that Smerdis, the son of Cyrus, stood in as king, since Prexaspes also was terribly a denier that he indeed had killed Smerdis, as it was not safe for him, Cambyses having met with his end, to assert that Cyrus’ son had perished with his own hand. And the Magus indeed at Cambyses’ meeting with his end was king without fear, as he set his foot on his namesake, Smerdis, the son of Cyrus, the seven months remaining of the filling out of Cambyses’ eight years, in which he had shown forth great benefactions for all his subjects so as for all those in Asia, when he had died, to have a longing for him besides the Persians. For the Magus had sent in different directions to every nation over which he ruled and proclaimed that there should be freedom from taxes for military service and tribute for three years.

He proclaimed that immediately he stood in for the rule, but the eighth month he came to be discovered in a manner like this: there was an Otanes, Pharnaspes’ son and in race and money similar to the first of the Persians. That Otanes was the first to suspect the Magus, that he was not Smerdis, the son of Cyrus, but the very one who he was, by reckoning in this way, that he wouldn’t go out of the acropolis and that he wouldn’t call to his sight any of the Persians to speak of. So with a suspicion of him he did this: Cambyses had taken his daughter as a wife, whose name was Phaidymia; that very same woman the Magus then had and with her cohabited and with all the other wives of Cambyses. Therefore indeed Otanes sent to that daughter and inquired by whom of human beings she slept, whether with Smerdis, the son of Cyrus, or with some other. Then she sent in reply to him and asserted that she could not know; for she neither had seen the son of Cyrus, Smerdis, at all nor knew who was he who cohabited with her. Otanes sent a second time and said, “If you yourself do not know Smerdis, the son of Cyrus, then inquire you from Atossa who is that man with whom she herself cohabits as well as you; for indeed in every way doubtless she knows her own brother at least.” His daughter thereupon sent in reply, “I am neither able to come into speeches with Atossa nor see any other of the women who sit down with him; for as soon as that man, whoever he is, had taken up the kingdom, he dispersed us and stationed one in one place, another in another.”

So, when Otanes was hearing that, the matter was more clear to him. Then he sent a third message within to her that said that following statement: “O daughter, you must, since you are well born, take up for yourself whatever danger your father bids undertake; for, if indeed he is not the son of Cyrus, Smerdis, but who I firmly believe, look you, he in sleeping with you and having the Persians’ power must not get off with impunity, but pay the penalty. Therefore now do this: whenever he lies with you and you learn that he is asleep, feel for his ears and, if he manifestly has ears, believe that you cohabit with Smerdis, the son of Cyrus, but if he manifestly has not, then you do with the Magus Smerdis.” Thereupon Phaidymia sent in reply and asserted that she would run the risk greatly, if she did that; for, if indeed he in fact had not ears and she would be caught feeling for them, she knew well that he would make her unseen; however nonetheless she would do that. She indeed promised that she would work that out for her father, and of that Magus, Smerdis, Cyrus, the son of Cambyses, when he was ruling, had cut off the ears for not a small reason indeed. Then indeed that Phaidymia, Otanes’ daughter, was bringing to completion all that she had promised to her father and, when her turn was come about for coming into the Magus (for indeed in rotation do their women go into the Persians), on coming. she lay by him and, after the Magus was soundly asleep, felt for his ears. So, since she had learned not difficultly but easily that the man had no ears, as soon as day had come, she sent and indicated to her father what had happened.

Then Otanes took along Aspathines and Gobryes, who were the first of the Persians and most well-disposed to him for trusting, and he related the whole matter. And they, even themselves, after all were suspecting that was so and, when Otanes had brought it up, they accepted his words and it seemed good to them for each to take as a companion that man among the Persians, in whomever they put the most trust. Now, Otanes brought in for himself Intaphrenes, Gobryes, Megabyxus and Aspathines, Hydarnes. So, those having become six, Darius, the son of Hystaspes, arrived in Susa, as he had come from the Persians; for indeed his father was the governor of those there. Hence when he had come, it seemed good to the six of the Persians to take up as a companion Darius as well.

After those, being seven, had gone together, they offered words and pledges among themselves and, when it had come to Darius to bring forth to light an opinion, he said this to them: “I thought I myself alone knew that, that the Magus was the king and Smerdis, the son of Cyrus, had met with his end, and for that very reason I have come in haste with the intention that I will muster death against the Magus. But since it happened so as for you too to know and not me alone, it seems good to me to act immediately and not to delay; for it’s not better.” Thereupon Otanes said, “O son of Hystaspes, you are of a good father and seem to bring out to light that you are nothing less than your father; however, stop hurrying that laying on of hands so without counsel, but try to take hold of it on a more reasonable basis; for we must become more and thus lay on hands.” Thereupon Darius spoke, “You men who are present, of this manner spoken of by Otanes, if you will make use, know that you will perish in the worst way; for someone will bring it out to the Magus in an attempt to cast profits round himself privately. Now, most of all you ought to have cast on yourselves and done that, but since it seemed good to you to bring it to more men and you communicated it to me, either let us act today or know for you that, if the present day passes over, how no other than I will be an accuser first, but I myself will make those accusations to the Magus.”

Thereupon Otanes spoke, when he saw Darius was heated, “Since you make necessary for us to hurry and don’t allow us to delay, come expound in what manner we will go into the royal palace and lay our hands on them. For indeed you, even yourself, doubtless know guards stand at intervals, if not by seeing, then by hearing. Them in what manner will we pass?” Darius replied with this: “Otanes, many things exist that, although it’s not possible to make clear by speech, yet it’s by deed, while others exist that, although it’s possible by speech, yet no brilliant deed comes about from them. So know you that the established guards are nothing difficult to go by. For, on the one hand, since we are of this sort, there’s no one who will not let us by, partly because doubtless they respect us, partly because doubtless they also fear, and on the other hand I myself have a most specious pretext, by which we will go by, as I will assert that I have just come from the Persians and want to indicate a word from my father to the king. For, where a falsehood must be spoken, let it be spoken, since we, those who lie and those who constantly use the truth, strive after the same. Some in fact lie then whenever they are to have any profit by persuading through their falsehoods; some tell the truth that they may draw on themselves a profit by their truth and someone may turn to them more. Thus, although we have not the same practices, we embrace the same. And if they should have no profit, alike he who tells the truth would be false and he who lies true. Now, whoever of the gatekeepers willingly lets us go by, for him by himself it will be better at the time, but whoever tries to stand in opposition, let him be shown clearly then to be an enemy and thereupon let us thrust ourselves within and set to work.”

Gobryes spoke after that, “Dear men, for us when will it be possible to bring back to safety for ourselves the rule more beautifully or, if in fact we will not be able to take it back, to die, when in fact we are ruled, although we are Persians, by a Mede, a Magian man, and that without ears? In short, they of you who came to be by Cambyses in his illness, in every way doubtless you remember what he had let fall on the Persians as he was meeting with the end of his life, if they would not try to acquire back the rule, which then we would not take in, but we thought Cambyses had said for slander. I now then place my voting-pebble for obeying Darius and not for being parted from this assembly except as we go against the Magus immediately.” That Gobryes said and all expressed agreement by that way.

Then, while those were taking that counsel, this was happening by coincidence: to the Magians it seemed good in their taking counsel to gain over Prexaspes as a friend, because he had undergone untoward sufferings at Cambyses’ hands, who had shot an arrow at and destroyed his son, and on account of the fact that he alone knew of Smerdis the son of Cyrus’ death, since he had killed him by his own hand, and further in addition in that he was in the greatest repute among the Persians. Indeed, because of that they called him and tried to win him over as a friend by taking him with a pledge and oaths that yea verily he would keep by his side and not bring out to any among human beings the deceit done by them against the Persians and they promised they would give him in all countless gifts. So, as Prexaspes undertook to do that, after the Magians had convinced him, they next put forward a proposal and they asserted that they themselves would call together all Persians under the royal wall and bade him to go up to the tower and proclaim that they were ruled by the son of Cyrus, Smerdis, and by no other. And they enjoined that thus on the ground that forsooth he was the most trusted man among the Persians and often had shown forth the opinion that the son of Cyrus, Smerdis, survived and denied his killing.

Then, since Prexaspes asserted that he was ready to do that too, having called the Persians together, the Magians caused him to go up to the tower and bade him make a proclamation. But he that which indeed they requested of him willingly forgot and, beginning from Achaimenes. he genealogized the paternal lineage of Cyrus and afterward, when he had come down to him, in ending he spoke of all the good that Cyrus had done the Persians and, having gone through that, he brought forth to light the truth, as he asserted that previously he was hiding it, because it was not safe for him to speak of what had happened, but in the present necessity overtook him to bring it to light. And so he spoke of the son of Cyrus, Smerdis, how he himself, compelled by Cambyses, had killed him and that the Magians were king. At length, after he had put many curses on the Persians, if they did not acquire the rule back again and punish the Magians, he let himself go to land on his head from the tower above. Now, Prexaspes, who was an esteemed man all the time, thus met with his end.

Indeed the seven of the Persians, as soon as they had taken counsel to lay their hands on the Magians and not delay, went, after they had prayed to the gods, with no knowledge of what had been done concerning Prexaspes. Right in the middle of the way they came to be in their going and they learned by inquiry of what had happened concerning Prexaspes. Then they stood out of the way and again exchanged speeches among themselves and those round Otanes absolutely bade delay and not, while the affairs were in a ferment, make an attack, while those round Darius bade go immediately and do what had seemed good and not delay. As they were wrangling, there appeared seven pairs of hawks who two pairs of vultures pursued and plucked and scratched them. So, having seen that, the seven all praised the opinion of Darius and thereupon went to the royal palace emboldened by the birds.

When they stood at the gates, there came about something like Darius’ opinion imported; for, since the guards respected the first men among the Persians and supected that nothing like that would be from them, they let them go by as divinely sent and no one asked a question. And when they had even entered into the court , they met with the eunuchs who were bringing in the messages, who inquired of them with what wish had they come and at the same time as they were inquiring of them they were threatening the gatekeepers because they had let them go by and they tried to restrain the seven who wanted to enter farther in. But after they had cheered each other on and drawn their daggers, they stabbed at once right there those who were trying to restrain them and they themselves in a rush went into the men’s apartment.

Now, both the Magians in fact were at that time within and were in deliberation about what had been done by Prexaspes. Hence, when they had seen the eunuchs alarmed and shouting, they jumped back up and after they had learned what was being done, they turned to resistance. Indeed one of them took down his bow and arrows in time and the other turned to his spear. Right then they joined battle with each other. Indeed to the one of them, who had taken up his bow and arrows, since his enemies were near and pressing hard, they were not at all useful, but the other was defending himself with his spear and, on the one hand, smote Aspathines at his thigh and, on the other, Intaphrenes at his eye and, although Intaphrenes was bereft of his eye from the wound, yet at any rate he did not die. So indeed one of the Magians wounded those and the other, since his bow and arrows proved not at all serviceable, because indeed there was a chamber that entered into the men’s apartment, fled down into that and wished to shut the leaves of its door. And with him rushed in two of the seven, Darius and Gobryes. Then, when Gobryes had become intertwined with the Magus, Darius, standing near, was at a loss, seeing that he was in darkness, out of concern lest he strike Gobryes. So, seeing he was standing near idle, Gobryes asked why he didn’t use his hand and he said, “Out of concern for you lest I strike”. Then Gobryes replied, “Thrust the sword even through both”. And Darius, obeying, thrust his dagger and somehow hit the Magus.

Then, after they had killed the Magians and cut off their heads, they left their wounded there both because of their powerlessness and for the purpose of guarding the acropolis and the five of them, shouting and making noise, ran outside with the heads of the Magians and called on all the other Persians and related the deed and showed the heads. And at the same time they killed every one of the Magians who had come to be at their feet. So, when the Persians had learned what had been done by the seven and the Magians’ deceit, they thought just, even they themselves, to do other acts like that and they drew their daggers and performed a killing, wherever they found a Magian. And if night had not fallen and held so, they would have left not even one Magian. To that day the Persians jointly tend most among the days and on it they conduct a great festival that is called Killing of the Magians by the Persians, on which it is not permitted for even one Magian to appear in the daylight, but at home the Magians keep themselves that day.

So, when the commotion had settled down and had been done outside of five days, they who had stood up against the Magians took counsel concerning all their affairs and although speeches were spoken incredible to some of the Greeks, they were spoken anyhow. Otanes for his part bade put down their affairs in the midst of the Persians and said this: “It seems good to me for one of us no longer to become monarch, since it’s neither pleasant nor good. For you saw Cambyses’ insolence over how great an extent it went out and have had a share of the Magian’s insolence too. Moreover how could monarchy be an ordered thing, by which it is permitted to one who is not accountable to do what he wants? For in fact the best of all men, should he stand in that rule, it would stand outside of his wonted thoughts, because insolence arises in him through the agency of the goods that are present and envy from the beginning grows in a human being. And, if he has those two things, he has every kind of badness, since partly, when glutted with insolence, and partly, when with envy, he does many presumptuous acts. Now, a man who’s a tyrant should be without envy, because at any rate he has all the goods, but he is by nature the opposite of this to his fellow-citizens; for he envies the best, when they survive and live, rejoices in the worst of the townsmen and is best at taking in slanders. And most discordant of all: if you marvel at him moderately, he is vexed in that he is not ministered to very much, and if anyone ministers very much, he is vexed as if at a flatterer. And indeed I am going to speak of his greatest acts; he changes his fathers’ usages, violates women and kills the untried. A multitude’s ruling, however, first has the most beautiful name of all, equality before the law,and next does none of those deeds that the monarch does; it rules what it rules by lot, has a rule that’s accountable and refers all plans to the commonwealth. Therefore, I propose as my opinion that we should let go of monarchy and exalt the multitude; for all is in the the greater number.” Otanes indeed brought forward that opinion.

But Megabyxus bade entrust to oligarchy and said this: “What Otanes said in his attempt to stop tyranny, let that be said by me too, but in respect to the command that he gave to bring the power to the multitude, he has missed the mark of the best opinion; for nothing is more unintelligent and more insolent than a useless crowd. Now, for men to flee a tyrant’s insolence and fall to an unruly people’s insolence is in no way tolerable, since, if the one does anything, he does knowingly, but in the other there is not even knowing; for how could it know that neither was taught nor saw anything beautiful of its own and rushes in and thrusts on its affairs mindlessly, similar to a winter-flowing river? Now, let those who have bad in mind for the Persians make use of the people and let us for our part pick out a band of the best men and put the power round them, because indeed among them we, even ourselves, will be and from the best men it’s reasonable for the best plans to come about.” Megabyxus indeed brought forward that opinion.

Then third Darius showed forth an opinion and said: “To me, what Megabyxus said that relates to the multitude, it seems he spoke correctly, but that relates to oligarchy, not correctly. For, when the three are put forth and all are the best in speech, the best people, oligarchy and monarch, that latter excels by much I say, because nothing would appear better than the one man who’s the best, since, should he use an opinion of that sort, he would blamelessly be guardian of the multitude and plans against men of ill will would be silenced thus most, but within an oligarchy in many, who make a practice of virtue in regard to the commonwealth, strong private enmities love to come about, because, as each himself wants to be a chief and prevail with opinions, they come to great enmities with each other, from which factions arise, and from the factions killing and from the killing things result in monarchy, and in that it appears clearly by how much that is best. And on the other hand, when the people rule, it’s impossible for badness not to arise; then, badness arising for the commonwealths, enmities arise not among the bad, but strong friendships, as they treat badly the commonwealths and act in concert. Then that proves like that until someone should stand at the head of the people and stop those like that and on the basis of that action that one indeed is marvelled at by the people and, marvelled at, he then quite manifestly is monarch, and in that he also makes clear that monarchy is best. So, to comprehend all in one word and say it, whence did freedom come about for us and at whose giving? From the people or an oligarchy or a monarch? I have then an opinion that, since we were made free on account of one man, we should maintaiin that sort of thing and, apart from that, not break our fathers’ laws, because they are good; for it’s not better.”

Those indeed were the three opinions put forth and four of the seven attached themselves to that latter. And, since Otanes had been worsted in respect to his opinion, who was eager to bring about equality before the law for the Persians, he spoke in their midst this: “Men of faction, as it’s quite clear that some one of us in fact must become king, either probably by being chosen by a lot or by our entrusting to the Persians’ multitude whomever it chooses or by some other device, now, I for my part will not compete among you; for I wish neither to rule nor be ruled, and on that condition I stand apart from the rule, on condition that I will not be ruled by any of you, neither I myself nor those descended from me on each and every occasion.” After he had said that, when the six were agreeing to that condition, that one indeed would not compete among them, but sat down out of their midst. Even now that house continues to be the only free one among the Persians and so many rules are held as it wishes without its trangressing the laws of the Persians.

The remaining of the seven took counsel how they would set a king over themselves most justly and it seemed good to them to Otanes and those descended from Otanes on each and every occasion, if the kingdom came to another of the seven, there should be offered as perquisites Median clothing each year and the entirety of the gift that proves most honored among the Persians. And for the following reason they took counsel that that should be offered to him, because he was the first to give counsel about the deed and muster them. Those indeed were Otanes’ perquisites and they took the following counsel in general, that every one of the seven who wanted should enter into the royal palace without one to announce in, if the king in fact was not sleeping with a wife, and it should not be permitted to the king to marry from somewhere other than from among those who joined in the standing up against. Moreover, they took a counsel of this sort: whosever horse at the sun’s rising up was first to make a sound in the suburb after they had mounted, that one should have the kingdom.

Now, Darius’ horsegroom was a wise man, whose name was Oebares. To that man, when they had broken up, Darius said this: “Oebares, it has been decided by us concerning the kingdom to act after this fashion: whosever horse is first to make a sound together with the sun’s going up after they had mounted up, that one should have the kingdom. If then you now have any piece of wisdom, contrive that we may have that prize of honor and no one else.” Oebares replied with this: “If indeed, o lord, there is in that for you either to be king or not, be bold because of that and maintain a good spirit that no other will be king before you; I have drugs like that.” Darius said, “If then you have a wise device like that, it’s the hour to contrive and not delay how in the oncoming day the contest will be ours.” Having heard that, Oebares acted like this: when night was coming, having led one of the female horses, that which Darius’ horse was most fond of, into the suburb, he tied it up and led it to Darius’ horse and more often he led it near round the mare and brought it near the female and finally let the horse go to mount.

Then, together with day’s dawning, the six, according as they had covenanted, were present on their horses and, as they were taking a ride out and through in the suburb, when they were coming to be at that place, where the night gone by the female horse had been tied up, then Darius’ horse ran forward and let out a whinny. And together with the horse’s doing that from a clear sky lightning and thunder were produced. So that supervened for Darius and confirmed him just as if it had been produced by a covenant and the others leapt down from their horses and bowed to Darius.

Some indeed assert that Oebares contrived that and others like this (for in fact an account is given by the Persians for both sides), that that mare’s genitals he touched with his hand and kept it by concealment in his pants and, when together with the sun’s going up they were to let their horses go, that Oebares put forth his hand and brought it to Darius’ horse’s nostrils and it, on perceiving that, snorted and whinnied.

Indeed Darius, the son of Hystaspes, was shown forth as king and all in Asia were his subjects except the Arabians, since Cyrus had subjected them and later afterward Cambyses. The Arabians, however, were in no way subject to the Persians with a view to slavery, but became foreign friends, because they had let Cambyses go by against Egypt; for, should the Arabians have been unwilling, the Persians could not have made an attack against Egypt. And Darius made his first marriages among the Persians with Cyrus’ two daughters, Atossa and Artystone, the one, Atossa, her who previously had cohabited with Cambyses, her brother, and afterward with the Magian and the other, Artystone, a maiden. Moreover, he married another, Smerdis the son of Cyrus’ daughter, whose name was Parmys, and had as wife also Otanes’ daughter, who had caused the Magian to be discovered. In short all was filled with power for him. Now, he first made a stone model and set it up and on it was a figure, a horseman, and he had inscribed letters that said this: “Darius, the son of Hystaspes, with his horse’s virtue”—and he had the name said—“and Oebares his horsegroom’s acquired the Persians' kingdom.”

(to be continued)

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