previous next
[695a] yet knew not that the children to whom he should bequeath them were without training in their father's craft, which was a hard one, fit to turn out shepherds of great strength, able to camp out in the open and to keep watch and, if need be, to go campaigning. He overlooked the fact that his sons were trained by women and eunuchs and that the indulgence shown them as “Heaven's darlings” had ruined their training, whereby they became [695b] such as they were likely to become when reared with a rearing that “spared the rod.” So when, at the death of Cyrus, his sons took over the kingdom, over-pampered and undisciplined as they were, first, the one killed the other,1 through annoyance at his being put on an equality with himself, and presently, being mad with drink and debauchery, he lost his own throne at the hands of the Medes, under the man then called the Eunuch,2 who despised the stupidity of Cambyses.

That, certainly, is the story, and probably it is near to [695c] the truth.

Further, the story tells how the kingdom was restored to the Persians through Darius and the Seven.

It does.

Let us follow the story and see how things went.3 Darius was not a king's son, nor was he reared luxuriously. When he came and seized the kingdom, with his six companions, he divided it into seven parts, of which some small vestiges remain even to this day; [695d] and he thought good to manage it by enacting laws into which he introduced some measure of political equality, and also incorporated in the law regulations about the tribute-money which Cyrus had promised the Persians, whereby he secured friendliness and fellowship amongst all classes of the Persians, and won over the populace by money and gifts; and because of this, the devotion of his armies won for him as much more land as Cyrus had originally bequeathed. After Darius came Xerxes, and he again was brought up with the luxurious rearing of a royal house: “O Darius”—for it is thus one may rightly address the father—“how is it that you have ignored the blunder of Cyrus, [695e] and have reared up Xerxes in just the same habits of life in which Cyrus reared Cambyses?” And Xerxes, being the product of the same training, ended by repeating almost exactly the misfortunes of Cambyses. Since then there has hardly ever been a single Persian king who was really, as well as nominally, “Great.”4 And, as our argument asserts, the cause of this does not lie in luck,

1 i.e., Cambyses killed Smerdis.

2 i.e., the Magian, Gomates, who personated Smerdis and claimed the kingdom. After seven months' reign this usurper was slain by seven Persian nobles, of whom Darius was one (521 B.C.).

3 Cf. Hdt. 3.68-88.

4 The Persian monarch was commonly styled “the Great King.”

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

load focus Greek (1903)
hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
521 BC (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: