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When men make definite pronouncements on certain matters, saying that they can never possibly be brought to pass, their words usually are followed by a kind of retribution which exposes the weakness which is the lot of mankind.1 [2]

When Megabyzus, who was also called Zopyrus and was a friend of King Darius, had scourged himself and mutilated his countenance,2 because he had resolved to become a deserter3 and betray Babylon to the Persians, we are told that Darius was deeply moved and declared that he would rather have Megabyzus whole again, if it were possible, than bring ten Babylons under his power, although his wish could not be achieved. [3]

The Babylonians chose Megabyzus to be their general, being unaware that the benefaction he would render them would be a kind of bait to entice them to the destruction which was soon to follow. [4]

The successful turn of events constitutes a sufficient proof of what has been predicted.4 [5]

After Darius had made himself master of practically the whole of Asia, he desired to subdue Europe.5 For since the desires he entertained for further possessions were boundless and he had confidence in the greatness of the power of Persia, he was set upon embracing in his power the inhabited world, thinking it to be a disgraceful thing that the kings before his time, though possessing inferior resources, had reduced in war the greatest nations, whereas he, who had forces greater than any man before him had ever acquired, had accomplished no deed worthy of mention. [6]

When the Tyrrhenians6 were leaving Lemnos, because of their fear of the Persians, they claimed that they were doing so because of certain oracles, and they gave the island over to Miltiades.7 The leader of the Tyrrhenians in this affair was Hermon, and as a result presents of this kind have from that time been called "gifts of Hermon."8Const. Exc. 4, pp. 297-298.

1 The passage probably refers to the remark of a Babylonian that Darius would take Babylon when mules bear offspring. See Hdt. 3.151 and passim for details of the account of the taking of Babylon.

2 Literally, "cut off the extremities of his face," i.e. the nose and ears; the story is given by Hdt. 3.153 ff., who calls Zopyrus the son of Megabyzus. 520-519 B.C.

3 In order to trick the Babylonians.

4 This probably refers to the boast of the Babylonians (Hdt. 3.151) that the Persians would only take Babylon "when mules bear offspring." A little later one of Zopyrus' mules foaled.

5 519 B.C.

6 c. 520 B.C. Not to be confused with the Tyrrhenians (Etruscans) of Italy. These Tyrrhenians came to Lemnos in all probability from Asia Minor c. 700 B.C.

7 The famous hero of Marathon, 490 B.C.

8 These are presumably presents made out of dire necessity. Modern historians say that Miltiades "conquered" Lemnos c. 510 or c. 493 B.C.; see Hdt. 6.140.

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