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When Themistocles was archon at Athens, at Rome Gaius Cornelius and Marcus Popilius succeeded to the consular office. During their term of office the Boeotians, after sacking much of the Phocian territory about the city named Hya,2 defeated their enemies and slew about seventy of them. [2] After this the Boeotians, having come to grips near Coroneia with the Phocians, were defeated and lost many men. When the Phocians now seized several cities of considerable size in Boeotia, the Boeotians took the field and destroyed the grain in enemy territory, but were defeated on the return journey. [3] While these things were going on, Phalaecus, the general of the Phocians, who was accused of stealing many of the sacred properties, was removed from his command.3 Three generals having been chosen to replace him, Deinocrates, Callias, and Sophanes, an investigation into the sacred property took place and the Phocians called upon those who had administered it to render an accounting. The man who had been in charge of most of it was Philon. [4] Since he was unable to render a proper accounting, he was adjudged guilty, and after being tortured by the generals disclosed the names of his accomplices in the theft, while he himself, after being subjected to the utmost torments, obtained the kind of death that suited his impiety. [5] Those who had diverted the properties to their own use restored whatever balance they still possessed of the stolen property and were themselves put to death as temple-robbers. Of the generals who had been in office previously, the first to hold the office, Philomelus, had kept his hands off the dedications,4 but the second, named Onomarchus, brother of Philomelus, squandered much of the god's money, while the third, Phayllus, the brother of Onomarchus, when he became general, struck into coin a large number of the dedications in order to pay the mercenaries. [6] For he coined for currency one hundred twenty gold bricks which had been dedicated by Croesus5 king of the Lydians weighing two talents each, and three hundred sixty golden goblets weighing two minae each, and golden statues of a lion and of a woman, weighing in all thirty talents of gold, so that the sum total of gold that was coined into money, referred to the standard of silver, is found to be four thousand talents, while of the silver offerings, those dedicated by Croesus and all the others, all three generals had spent more than six thousand talents' worth, and if to these were added the gold dedications, the sum surpassed ten thousand talents. [7] Some of the historians say that the pillaged property was not less than the sums acquired by Alexander6 in the treasure chambers of the Persians. The generals on the staff of Phalaecus took steps even to dig up the temple, because some one said that there was a treasure chamber in it containing much gold and silver, and they zealously dug up the ground about the hearth and the tripod. The man who gave information about the treasure offered as witness the most famous and ancient of poets Homer, who says in a certain passage:“ Nor all the wealth beneath the stony floor that lies
Where Phoebus, archer god, in rocky Pytho dwells.
Hom. Il. 9.404-405 [8]

But as the soldiers attempted to dig about the tripod, great earthquakes occurred and roused fear in the hearts of the Phocians, and since the gods clearly indicated in advance the punishment they would visit upon the temple-robbers, the soldiers desisted from their efforts. The leader of this sacrilege, the aforementioned Philon, was promptly punished as he deserved for his crime against the god.

1 347/6 B.C.

2 A town, usually called Hyampolis, situated at the entrance to Phocis from Thessaly and Boeotia; cp. Hdt. 8.28.

3 See Paus. 10.2.7.

4 Diodorus is inconsistent regarding Philomelus. In chap. 28.2 he makes the same statement as here; in chap. 30.1 he says the opposite.

5 Cp. Hdt. 1.50 and Plut. De Pythiae Oraculis 401e. F. For a discussion of values see Boeckh, Staatshaushandlung der Athener, 1(3). 10 (2nd edition translated by G. C. Lewis, The Political Economy of Athens, 10).

6 See Book 17.66 and 71.

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  • Commentary references to this page (1):
    • W. W. How, J. Wells, A Commentary on Herodotus, 1.50
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  • Cross-references in notes from this page (4):
    • Herodotus, Histories, 1.50
    • Herodotus, Histories, 8.28
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 10.2.7
    • Plutarch, De Pythiae oraculis, 401e
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