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But, since we have mentioned the Rhodian histories, I myself am now going to tell you something about fish, from the account given of the beautiful Rhodes, which that delightful writer Lynceus says is full of excellent fish. Ergias the Rhodian, then, in his Account of his own Country, having first made mention of the Phoenicians, who inhabited the island, says—"That Phalanthus, and his friends, having a very strong city in Ialysus, called Achaia, and being very economical of their provisions, held out for a long time against Iphiclus, who besieged them. For they had also a prophecy given them by some oracle, that they should keep the place till crows became white, and till fish were seen in their goblets. They therefore, expecting that these things would never happen, prosecuted the war with less vigour. But Iphiclus, having heard from some one of the oracles of the Phœnicians, and having waylaid a highly-trusted adherent of Phalanthus, whose name was Larcas, as he was going for water, and having entered into a covenant with him, caught some fish at the spring, and putting them into the ewer, gave them to Larcas, and bade him carry the water back, and pour it into the goblet from which he was used to pour out wine for Phalanthus: and he did so. And Iphiclus also caught some crows, and smeared them over with gypsum, and let them fly again. But when Phalanthus saw the crows, he went to his goblet; and when he saw the fish there, he considered that the place no longer belonged to him and his party, and so he sent a herald to Iphiclus, demanding permission to retire, with all his troops, under the protection of a treaty, And when Iphiclus agreed to this, Phalanthus devised the follow- [p. 569] ing contrivance. Having slain some victims, and taken out the entrails, he endeavoured to put in some silver and gold, and so to carry it away. But when Iphiclus percieved this, he prevented it. And when Phalanthus alleged against him the oath which he had taken, when he swore to allow them to take away whatever they had in their bellies, he met them with a counter device, giving them vessels to go away in, but taking away the rudders, and the oars, and the sails, saying that he had sworn to give them boats, and nothing further. And as the Phœnicians were in great perplexity, they buried a great deal of their riches underground, marking the places where they buried it, that at some future time they might come and take it up again; but they left a great deal for Iphiclus. And so, when the Phœnicians had left the place in this manner, the Greeks became masters of it.” And Polyzelus has given the same account, in his History of Rhodian Affairs; and says—“That the only people who knew the secret about the fishes and the crows were Phaces and his daughter Dorcia; and she, being beloved by Iphiclus, and having come to an agreement to marry him through the intervention of her nurse, persuaded the man who brought the water to bring the fish and put them into the goblet; and she herself whitewashed the crows, and let them go.”
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