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[1312a] [1] as somebody killed Sardanapallus1 when he saw him combing his hair with his women (if this story told by the narrators of legends is true—and if it did not happen with Sardanapallus, it might quite well be true of somebody else), and Dion attacked the younger Dionysius2 because he despised him, when he saw the citizens despising him and the king himself always drunk. And contempt has led some even of the friends of monarchs to attack them, for they despise them for trusting them and think they will not be found out. And contempt is in a manner the motive of those who attack monarchs thinking that they are able to seize the government; for they make the attempt with a light heart, feeling that they have the power and because of their power despising the danger, as generals commanding the armies attack their monarchs; for instance Cyrus attacked Astyages3 when he despised both his mode of life and his power, because his power had waned and he himself was living luxuriously, and the Thracian Seuthes attacked Amadocus4 when his general. Others again attack monarchs for more than one of these motives, for instance both because they despise them and for the sake of gain, as Mithridates5 attacked Ariobarzanes.6 And it is men of bold nature and who hold a military office with monarchs who most often make the attempt for this reason; for courage possessing power is boldness, [20] and they make their attacks thinking that with courage and power they will easily prevail. But with those whose attack is prompted by ambition the motive operates in a different way from those spoken of before; some men attack tyrants because they see great profits and great honors belonging to them, but that is not the reason that in each case leads the persons who attack from motives of ambition to resolve on the venture; those others are led by the motive stated, but these attack monarchs from a wish to gain not monarchy but glory, just as they would wish to take part in doing any other uncommon deed that makes men famous and known to their fellows. Not but what those who make the venture from this motive are very few indeed in number, for underlying it there must be an utter disregard of safety, if regard for safety is not to check the enterprise; they must always have present in their minds the opinion of Dion, although it is not easy for many men to have it; Dion marched with a small force against Dionysius, saying that his feeling was that, whatever point he might be able to get to, it would be enough for him to have had that much share in the enterprise—for instance, if it should befall him to die as soon as he had just set foot in the country, that death would satisfy him.

And one way in which tyranny is destroyed, as is each of the other forms of constitution also, is from without,

1 Last king of the Assyrian empire at Nineveh.

2 Tyrant of Syracuse 367-356 and 346-343 B.C., cf. 1312a 34 ff.

3 The last king of Media, reigned 594-559 B.C.

4 Both these Thracian kings became allies of Athens 390 B.C., but the event referred to may be later.

5 Perhaps Mithridates II., who succeeded his father Ariobarzanes as satrap of Pontus 336 B.C.

6 The following sentence may have been shifted by mistake from the end of 8.14 above.

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