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Stein makes θόρυβος subject of ἐγένετο, and translates ‘when the confusion had died down, and when more than five days had since passed’; but it is easier to take ἐγένετο as impersonal. The sense is the same. Sextus Empiricus (in Math. ii. 33) says ‘the Persian nobles have a custom, when their king is dead, to spend the five following days in lawlessness’, in order to learn how evil ἀνομία was. This custom, if a fact, may be referred to here; but Sextus Empiricus is probably giving a mere inference from H.

The discussion of the conspirators which follows (cc. 80-2) is most important in three respects.

A. Its bearing on the composition of H.'s work.

(1) He refers to criticisms on it (VI. 43); hence it has been inferred that Book III was written and published before Book VI (cf. Introd. p. 13 n.). The more probable inference, however, is that H. went on adding to his work after parts of it had become known to the public.

(2) It is quoted as proof of the theory that H.'s history is partly a compilation from the works of previous authors (cf. 46. 2). Maass (Hermes, xxii. 581 seq.) thinks that the arguments are borrowed from a sophistic dialogue, probably one of the ‘negative arguments’ (καταβάλλοντες λόγοι) of Protagoras, and that the same source was used by Isocrates (Nicocles, 14 seq.). The resemblances, however, between H. and Isocrates are merely accidental, and Meyer (F. i. 201-2) completely demolishes the theory; he sums up (cf. 81. 2 n.) ‘Maass makes H. a simpleton if he imagines that he could impose on the public inventions of his good friend Protagoras as historical facts’.

B. The historical reality of the facts.

H. vouches for this in the strongest way, ‘they were said, in spite of all objections’ (δ᾽ ὦν).

Probably H. is following the account of a Hellenized Persian (cf. J. H. S. xxvii. 40); the questions actually discussed were—‘Should the Persians revert to the natural condition of the old Iranian society, and let all clans live under their immemorial customs?’ or ‘should they continue the centralized monarchy?’ i.e. the liberty claimed was simply the rights of the great nobles (cf. Mahaffy, G. L. ii. 32 n., and on the Oriental idea of ‘Liberty’, Beavan, House of Seleucus, i. 3 seq.).

C. The passage is the beginning of Greek political philosophy. (Cf. Freeman's Sicily, iii. 644 seq., for the threefold division of constitutions and early references to it.) H. here, as always, clothes Persian ideas in the phrases of his own countrymen (cf. i. 96, the story of Deioces), as all men of genius do, e. g. Shakespeare's Venetians are Elizabethan Englishmen and Racine's Greeks are courtiers of Le Grand Monarque. It is against this arbitrary introduction of speeches that Thucydides (by implication) protests in i. 22. 1; his own speeches he claims were appropriate to what the occasion demanded.


The essence of the Greek tyrant was that he was ‘irresponsible’; it is curious that Arist. does not use the word ἀνυπεύθυνος of the tyrant, though he lays stress on the fact.


ὕβρι κεκορημένος. On the close connexion of κόρος and ὕβρις cf. viii. 77 n. Darius (B. I. i. 13) lays stress on the cruelty of the Magian.

ἀρίστοισι. For this feature in the tyrant cf. Plato, Rep. viii, p. 567; he must remove all who are ἀνδρεῖοι, μεγαλόφρονες, φρόνιμοι, πλούσιοι. Tyranny is πονηρόφιλον (cf. Arist. Pol. 1314 a, with Newman's notes; Sall. Cat. 7 ‘regibus boni quam mali suspectiores sunt’; and Tac. Ann. i. 80). Stein takes ἄριστοι, κάκιστοι in the political sense, ‘bestborn,’ &c., but this is less likely.


For the difficulty of intercourse with a tyrant cf. the fable of the lion and his courtiers, and Tac. Ann. i. 12.2 contrasted with iii. 65. 3; Tiberius is equally offended by free speech and by servility.

For the lawless lust of tyrants cf. the long list of brutalities in Arist. Pol. 1311.


This line might be the text for the panegyric on democracy in the Funeral Speech (Thuc. ii. 37); ‘equality of opportunity’ is the boast of Pericles. For H.'s own praise of ἰσηγορίη cf. v. 78.

The three marks of democracy are (1) election by lot (cf. Arist. Pol. 1294 b 7 and Headlam, ‘Lot at Athens,’ p. 11 seq., which discusses admirably the purpose of the lot); (2) responsibility of officers (Pol. ii. 12.4; 1274 a: Solon gave the Athenians ἀναγκαιοτάτη δύναμις, i. e. to elect their officers and to call them to account); (3) popular control of all measures.

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