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But Lysander, when the dispatch-scroll reached him at the Hellespont, was much disturbed, and since he feared the denunciations of Pharnabazus above all others, he hastened to hold a conference with him, hoping to compose their quarrel. At this conference he begged Pharnabazus to write another letter about him to the magistrates, stating that he had not been wronged at all, and had no complaints to make. [2] But in thus ‘playing the Cretan against a Cretan,’ as the saying is, he misjudged his opponent. For Pharnabazus, after promising to do all that he desired, openly wrote such a letter as Lysander demanded, but secretly kept another by him ready written. And when it came to putting on the seals, he exchanged the documents, which looked exactly alike, and gave him the letter which had been secretly written. [3] Accordingly, when Lysander arrived at Sparta and went, as the custom is, into the senate-house, he gave the ephors the letter of Pharnabazus, convinced that the greatest of the complaints against him was thus removed; for Pharnabazus was in high favour with the Lacedaemonians, because he had been, of all the King's generals, most ready to help them in the war. [4] But when the ephors, after reading the letter, showed it to him, and he understood that

Odysseus, then, is not the only man of guile,
1 for the time being he was mightily confounded and went away. But a few days afterwards, on meeting the magistrates, he said that he was obliged to go up to the temple of Ammon2 and sacrifice to the god the sacrifices which he had vowed before his battles. [5] Now some say that when he was besieging the city of Aphytae in Thrace, Ammon really stood by him in his sleep; wherefore he raised the siege, declaring that the god had commanded it, and ordered the Aphytaeans to sacrifice to Ammon, and was eager to make a journey into Libya and propitiate the god. [6] But the majority believed that he made the god a pretext, and really feared the ephors, and was impatient of the yoke at home, and unable to endure being under authority, and therefore longed to wander and travel about somewhat, like a horse which comes back from unrestricted pasturage in the meadows to his stall, and is put once more to his accustomed work. Ephorus, it is true, assigns another reason for this absence abroad, which I shall mention by and by.3

1 An iambic trimeter of some unknown poet.

2 In an oasis of the great desert of Libya. Cf. Plut. Cim. 18.6 f.

3 Plut. Lys. 25.3

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  • Commentary references to this page (1):
    • W. W. How, J. Wells, A Commentary on Herodotus, 2.32
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  • Cross-references in notes from this page (2):
    • Plutarch, Cimon, 18.6
    • Plutarch, Lysander, 25.3
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