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The story of Polycrates. H. explains its disproportionate length in c. 60; the story bears throughout marks of his personal observation, e.g. cc. 39. 4, 54, 60 (cf. for H.'s knowledge of Samos elsewhere, 146. 2, and for the Heraeum, Introd. § 25, p. 30). The connexion of events in Samos, however, with the course of Persian history was closer than H. suspected; Amasis had endeavoured to protect Egypt, in accordance with the usual policy of the Saite dynasty, by forming a league of maritime states; but the desertion of Cyprus and the submission of Phoenicia to the Persians (19. 3 n.) changed the balance of power, and Polycrates went over to the side of the stronger. H. ignores the real reasons of the policy of Polycrates, and gives us instead a story illustrating the Nemesis attendant on good fortune (cc. 40-3), which hides the treachery of Samos. But even in H. (c. 44) it is made clear that Polycrates was really the aggressor against Egypt.

The date of Polycrates' accession is about 532 B.C. as given by Eusebius (cf. Busolt, ii. 508); we know that (a) he died before Cambyses (cc. 125-6), i.e. before 521 (cf. c. 66 n.); (b) Thucydides (i. 13) speaks of him as τυραννῶν ἐπὶ Καμβύσου, which renders impossible the statement that he ‘flourished’ not later than 550 B. C. (Diog. Laert. ii. 1); (c) Eusebius (Arm. Vers.) gives the sixteen years of Samian ‘rule of the sea’ as from 531 to 515, i.e. to the fall of Maeandrius (cf. Myres, J. H. S. xxvi. 91, 101, for slightly different figures). Alexis of Samos (fr. 2; F. H. G. iv. 299) says that Polycrates had gained his influence by lavish liberality. Polyaenus (i. 23) describes how he seized the city during a festival (cf. Cylon at Athens, Thuc. i. 126) and was victorious by the aid of Lygdamis (cf. 120. 3 for a curious detail as to his conspiracy). His friendship with Lygdamis (cf. i. 61) and his enmity to Lesbos (cf. 39. 4 with v. 94) are the proofs given for his supposed friendship with Pisistratus.

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