The inhabitants of Priene
recount that Bias1
ransomed from robbers some maidens of distinguished families of Messenia
and reared them in honour, as if they were his own
daughters. And after some time, when their kinsfolk came in search of them, he gave the maidens
over to them, asking for neither the cost of their rearing nor the price of their ransom, but
on the contrary giving them many presents from his own possessions. The maidens, therefore,
loved him as a father, both because they had lived in his home and because he had done so much
for them, so that, even when they had departed together with their own families to their native
land, they did not forget the kindness they had received in a foreign country.
Some Messenian fishermen, when casting
their net, brought up nothing at all except a brazen tripod, which bore the inscription, "To
the wisest." And they took the tripod out of the sea and gave it to Bias.
Bias was a most able speaker, and
surpassed in this respect all his contemporaries. But he used his great eloquence far otherwise
than do many men; for he employed it, not to gain fees or income, but to give aid to those who
were being wronged. Rarely indeed is a thing like this to be found.Const. Exc. 2 (1), pp.