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I will now relate his mad dealings with the rest of Persia. He said, as they report, to Prexaspes—whom he held in particular honor, who brought him all his messages, whose son held the very honorable office of Cambyses' cup-bearer—thus, I say, he spoke to Prexaspes: “What manner of man, Prexaspes, do the Persians think me to be, and how do they speak of me?” “Sire,” said Prexaspes, “for all else they greatly praise you, but they say that you love wine too well.” So he reported of the Persians. The king angrily replied: “If the Persians now say that it is my fondness for wine that drives me to frenzy and madness, then it would seem that their former saying also was a lie.” For it is said that before this, while some Persians and Croesus were sitting with him, Cambyses asked what manner of man they thought him to be in comparison with Cyrus his father; and they answered, “Cambyses was the better man; for he had all of Cyrus' possessions and had won Egypt and the sea besi
When the Persians saw their king weep, they all tore the clothing which they wore and wailed loud and long. But when after this the bone rotted and the thigh rapidly putrefied, it carried off Cambyses son of Cyrus, who had reigned in all seven years and five months, but was altogether childless, without male or female issue. To the Persians who were present it was quite incredible that the Magi were masters of the kingdom; they believed that Cambyses' intent was to deceive them with his story of Smerdis' death, so that all Persia might be embroiled in a war against him.
When Otanes heard that, he saw more clearly how the matter stood; and he sent her this third message: “Daughter, your noble birth obliges you to run any risk that your father commands you to face. If this man is not Smerdis son of Cyrus but who I think he is, then he must not get away with sleeping with you and sitting on the throne of Persia, but be punished. Now, then, when he lies with you and you see that he is sleeping, feel his ears; if he has ears, rest assured that you are living with Smerdis son of Cyrus; but if he has none, it is Smerdis the Magus.” Phaedyme answered by messenger that she would run a very great risk by so doing; for if it should turn out that he had no ears, and she were caught feeling for them, he would surely kill her; nevertheless she would do it. So she promised to do this for her father. Cyrus son of Cambyses during his reign cut off the ears of this Magus Smerdis for some grave reason. So Phaedyme, daughter of Otanes, performed her promise to her fat
When Prexaspes said that he was ready to do this too, the Magi summoned the Persians together, and brought him up on to a tower and bade him speak. Then, deliberately forgetting all the Magi's instructions, he traced the lineage of Cyrus from Achaemenes downwards; when he came at last to the name of Cyrus, he recounted all the good which that king had done to Persia, and after he had narrated this, he revealed the truth, saying that he had concealed it before, as it had not been safe for him to tell what had happened, but at the present time necessity forced him to reveal it: and he said that he himself, forced by Cambyses, had killed Smerdis son of Cyrus, and that the Magi were in power. Then, invoking a terrible curse on the Persians if they did not win back the throne and take vengeance on the Magi, he threw himself headlong down from the tower; so Prexaspes, a man who was always well thought of, perished in this way.
When they came to the gate, it turned out as Darius had expected; the guards, out of respect for the leading men in Persia and never suspecting that there would be trouble from them, allowed them to pass, who enjoyed divine guidance, and no one asked any questions. And when they came to the court, they met the eunuchs that carry messages, who asked the seven why they had come; and while they were questioning these, they were threatening the watchmen for letting them pass, and restraining the seven who wanted to go on. These gave each other the word, drew their knives, and stabbing the eunuchs who barred their way, went forward at a run to the men's apartment.