In the first place, then, he undertook and made preparations to persuade the citizens by his own efforts, and committed to memory a speech written by Cleon, the Halicarnassian, for the purpose. In the second place, seeing that the novelty and magnitude of his innovation demanded a more audacious support, he brought stage machinery to bear upon the citizens,1
as it were,
by collecting and arranging responses and oracles of Apollo; convinced that Cleon's clever rhetoric would not help him at all unless he should first terrify and subdue his countrymen by vague religious fear and superstitious terror, and then bring them under the influence of his argument.
Well, then, Ephorus tells us that after an attempt to corrupt the Pythian priestess, and after a second failure to persuade the priestesses of Dodona by means of Pherecles, he went up to the temple of Ammon and had a conference with that god's interpreters there, at which he offered them much money, but that they took this ill, and sent certain messengers to Sparta to denounce him; and further, that when Lysander was acquitted of their charges, the Libyans said, as they went away,
‘But we will pass better judgments than yours, O Spartans, when ye come to dwell with us in Libya;’ for they knew that there was a certain ancient oracle bidding the Lacedaemonians to settle in Libya.
But since the whole plot and concoction was no insignificant one, nor yet carelessly undertaken, but made many important assumptions, like a mathematical demonstration, and proceeded to its conclusion through premises which were difficult and hard to obtain, we shall follow, in our description of it, the account of one who was both a historian and a philosopher.2