The Histories by Herodotus – Book I, “Clio” IV – Media Starts [95-106]

Engrave that shit in stone!

The Histories by Herodotus – Book I, “Clio”

IV – Media Starts [95-106]

A – Beginnings of Persia were in the Medes [95-102]

  • On to Cyrus and the Persians… the Assyrians were in Upper Asia for 520 years, when Medes revolted and got their freedom.
  • They had democracies for a short while but turned to kings. A Mede, Deioces, tried to build power, centralize authority and maintain law and order. His fellow villagers liked his style and put him in charge of local justice.
  • He saw more and more complaints and was tired of hearing about it and stopped listening. Lawlessness broke out again. Deioces said we need a king to bring order back.
  • Deioces was at the top of the list. They built him a palace and gave him a guard. He wanted a capital, Agbatana, with city walls, a treasury and a bit of flair.
  • The people lived outside the palace but no one had direct access to the king, only messengers. No one was allowed to see him. He became paranoid of jealous old friends who didn’t think he was so high and mighty.
  • He only “heard” cases written down and he sent out his judgment back by a messenger. He had spies who reported all evil deeds in the land and he’d have the perpetrators punished.
  • He brought Medes into a nation from a few tribes.
  • Deioces ruled 35 years and his son, Phraortes, took over and wanted to expand by attacking Persia and brought them into the fold. He attacked Assyria but died in the attack. He ruled the Medes for 22 years.

B – Scythians, the Plan-Foilers [103-106]

  • His son, Cyaxeres took over and was even more warlike than Dad was. He formalized the military. He fought against the Lydians. He marched on Nineveh to avenge his father’s death. He laid siege to the city but a band of Scythians attacked him.
  • The Scythians wandered into the place while invading Media. The Medes couldn’t handle them and the Scythians ruled Asia for a time.
  • The Scythians planned to go Egypt for some fun and adventure. They met the king of Palestine, who gave them money under the understanding that they wouldn’t go any further. On the way back up north, they pillaged parts of Syria, especially Venus’s temple in Ascalon. Venus gave them a disease to affect future generations.
  • The Scythians were in Asia for 28 years. They demanded tribute and taxes at their own whim and generally angered their subjects. Cyaxeres invited the leaders to a banquet, got them drunk and murdered them. The Medes were back and took Nineveh back. Cyaxeres ruled for 40 years including the Scythian interlude.

The Histories by Herodotus – Book I, “Clio” III – Croesus Turns Toward Persia [71-94]

We don’t need no water let the muthafucka burn!!

The Histories by Herodotus – Book I, “Clio”

III – Croesus Turns Toward Persia [71-94]

A – Croesus Looks to Expand [71-77]

  • Croesus read the Oracle’s words wrongly and led armies into Cappadocia (Syria), expecting to defeat Persia. A Lydian man, Sandania, told Croesus – You’re about to fight people who eat only what they can scrounge up, don’t drink wine and have no luxuries. If you beat them, they lose nothing. But if you lose, Lydia will lose everything and will hate you for it.
  • Cappadocian’s were under Media’s rule and then under Persian rule. The border between the two states was the River Halys, which goes from Armenia to Cilicia.
  • Croesus had 2 reasons to attack Cappadocia. 1 – He wanted the land. 2 – He wanted to avenge the death of Astyages, his brother-in-law. But the Scythians rode into Medes to crash. They came and went as it pleased them and Astyages’s father, Cyaxares, was annoyed at that. The Scythians were offended by this attitude and served him food, seemingly hunted food but was actually Median boys entrusted to the Scythians to train. They ran off to Lydia afterwards.
  • Alyattes allowed them in and this caused a war with Lydia and Media and it lasted 5 years. During a fight in the 5th year, a day battle suddenly turned night. Thales of Miletus predicted a solar eclipse and told the Ionians about it. The Medes and Lydians saw it and decided to stop fighting and settle for peace. Alyattes’s daughter Aryenis married Cyaxares’s son, Astyage and the Halys River became the border between the 2 lands.
  • Cyrus captured Astyages, his own grandfather. This upset Croesus and caused him to ask the Oracle if he should attack Persia. A vague answer made him think it was a good idea. Crossing the Halys. Thales changed the course of the river making it easier to cross.
  • Croesus moved into Cappadocia, where he chased around Syrians, becoming their masters. Cyrus tried to get the Ionians to desert Croesus, but they wouldn’t. Croesus took the main Syrian city, Pteria. There Cyrus fought them.
  • Croesus blamed the loss on a small number of troops. As Cyrus didn’t repeat this attack. Croesus went back to Sardis to call in help from the Egypt, Babylon and Sparta and disbanded his army for the winter.

B – Cyrus in Lydia [78-85]

  • Sardis tried to sort out a snake problem, which was seen as an omen. It was later proven out by Croesus was later taken prisoner.
  • Cyrus made a move for Sardis, seeing the Lydian army was on a break. Croesus tried to get his army together and fight back on horseback.
  • They met up outside of Sardis near the River Hermus. The Persians put their camels in front of the foot soldiers and cavalry. Croesus’s horses were turned off by the camel smell. It negated all positive effect of Lydian horses, which ran off and forced the Lydians to fight on foot. After a long battle, the Lydians fled.
  • Persia laid siege to Sardis. The Lydians called the Spartans and other allies for help.
  • The Spartans were bogged down with Argos and were blocked from using a land route to Asia. After a battle with Argos in Thyrea, then won.
  • The Lydian messenger showed up asking for help. Spartans got ready and were about to leave when word arrived that Lydia fell and Croesus was taken prisoner. The Spartans never left home.
  • After 14 days, Cyrus promised a prize for mounting the wall. They tried an assault with no luck. Later they found a weakness in the wall, climbed in and took the city.
  • Right as Croesus was about to be killed, his deaf and dumb son cried out to stop it. He was able to speak from then on.

B – Croesus Taken Prisoner [86-94]

  • Croesus’s rule lasted 14 years. The siege lasted 14 days to bring him down. The Oracle said if he attacked, a great power would fall… it was his own. Croesus was brought before Cyrus as a prisoner. Cyrus told him to say his prayers. He thought of Solon’s words, “no one is happy when he’s alive.” He repeated Solon’s name. They started to burn him alive. When Cyrus understood Croesus’s words, he asked the guards to stop the fire, it wasn’t working.
  • Croesus cried out to Apollo for help and suddenly it began to rain. They got him out of the fire and asked him why he began the war with Persia. Croesus answered that the Oracle encouraged him and he fell for it.
  • Croesus asked if he was free to speak and Cyrus allowed it. He asked what the Persians were doing. Cyrus said – plundering your city and riches. Croesus answered – no, they’re all yours now.
  • Croesus said the gods have made me your slave. The Persians are poor but have a strong spirit. But watch out for super greedy people. They’ll be coming for you next. You ought to keep the booty for yourself and do something about the pillagers.
  • Cyrus did just that and was impressed with Croesus as a ruler and a man. He allowed Lydian messengers to lay his chains on the threshold and ask if the gods if they weren’t ashamed to encourage his war with Persia.
  • They showed up and the Oracle responded. Even the gods can’t escape destiny. This was punishment from 5 generations back when Gyges became king. But Apollo tried to delay it and saved him from the fire. He was warned albeit cryptically about attacking Persia. Cyrus was the mule and won. Croesus took the blame for misunderstanding.
  • Most of Croesus’s offerings to Delphi are still around.
  • Most of Lydia doesn’t exist anymore except Alyattes’s tomb in Sardis.
  • The Lydians had many similar traits as the Greeks. They were the 1st to use metallic currency and had the same games as the Greeks played to avoid boredom and thinking of famine. During the famine, half the population was forced to establish colonies to avoid starvation there, they came in contact with the Greeks.

The Histories by Herodotus – Book I, “Clio” – II – Croesus, Cyrus & the State of Affairs in Greece [45-70]

More vague shit from the charlatan Pythoness.


The Histories by Herodotus – Book I, “Clio”

II – Croesus, Cyrus & the State of Affairs in Greece [46-70]

A – Croesus wonders about Cyrus [46-56]

  • 2 years after Atys’s death, Croesus learned that Cyrus was growing in power. He wondered what he could do about it and sent messengers to the Oracles in the area to hear what they said.
  • The Oracle in Delphi mentioned something about boiling lambs and tortoises in copper.
  • When he heard this, Croesus proclaimed it to be true and the Delphi Oracle was the only one to be true. They killed a lamb and tortoise, cut them up and boiled them in a brass cauldron and waited…
  • The Oracle responded and Lydians went to a shrine of Amphiaraus and performed rites there. He liked that Oracle too.
  • Croesus made sacrifices for Delphi of animals, clothes, gold, etc., hoping for good news.
  • The messengers were sent to ask the Oracles if he should go to war with the Persians or align with them. Both Oracles responded if he attacked Persia, a might empire would be destroyed. They also said to make an alliance with a large Greek state.
  • Croesus liked the responses, thinking he’d destroy Persia and gave more gifts to Delphi.
  • He asked the Oracle again if his kingdom would last long. She answered – when a mule is king of Media, you should hit the road.
  • He liked the answer. No mule (half-breed) would ever become king of Media, so he’d always be king. Now he thought of which city to ally with. The 2 biggest cities in Greece were Sparta and Athens.

B – Greek City-States [57-58]

  • Many cities had their strengths and alliances. Greece wasn’t completely homogeneous or even in contact with each other.
  • Most Greek languages and dialects were linked.

C – Athens & Pisistratus [59-64]

  • Athens under oppression by Pisistratus, a tyrant. Chilon of Sparta warned Hippocrates not to have a child (who would later become Pisistratus). Pisistratus faked an attack to get Athens to provide him with bodyguards. He used them to attack the citadel (Acropolis) and became tyrant.
  • Megacles and Lycurgus (Spartan) worked together to get rid of Pisistratus. But then Megacles allowed him to come back and reestablish power and marry his daughter. They needed a trick to get him accepted. They got a woman, Phya, to dress up in armor, put her on a chariot and called her Athena. They told the people to take Pisistratus back as leader.
  • Back in power, Pisistratus married Megacles’s daughter but refused to have children from the marriage. This angered Megacles and he led a group against him & he had to leave. While he was in exile he got a bit of money together and led an army.
  • After 10 years, he went back to Athens from Marathon to the Athenian temple. A seer came to Pisistratus and told him that he should pounce on the moment.
  • He agreed and moved on the city. He caught opponents at lunch or asleep. Once those who feared him fled, he assured the rest that everything was OK. He was tyrant for the 3rd
  • He hired mercenaries, set up shop and exiled his enemies to Naxos (Greek island in Aegean Sea). He eliminated any competition.

D – Sparta & Conquest of the Peloponnese [65-]

  • As for the Spartans, they were successful. They had been badly by Lycurgus fixed that after visiting the Oracle of Delphi. She said that he would be placed among the gods. She gave him a system of laws to give to the Spartans and spread them to Crete.
  • When he died, they built him a temple. Sparta grew in size and power and wanted to exercise it. They asked the Oracle about attacking Attica. She told him that it wouldn’t succeed initially but to go ahead and attack Tegea. That didn’t work though. The prisoners taken were enslaved.
  • Spartans were poor fighters at first but learned from their mistakes and got better. After losing, they consulted the Oracle, asking how to beat Tegea. She said to move the bones of Orestes to Sparta. They couldn’t find them. They had to ask her where they were. She gave a vague and unhelpful description. Eventually, they found a man who was familiar with the place.
  • The man, Lichas, showed them a place that coincided with the Oracle’s description. They brought the bones to Sparta and they were able to defeat Tegea and conquer the Peloponnese.
  • Croesus was aware of the state of Athens and Sparta, and wanted to side with Sparta. He sent gifts, saying that the Oracle said you’re the most powerful city in Greece and we want to be friends. As they’d been good trading partners before, Sparta agreed.
  • Some robbers got a hold of the presents and the money they got for the goods was later stolen too.

The Histories by Herodotus – Book I, “Clio” – I – Trojan War, Candaules & Gyges and Early Croesus Years [1-45]

Candaules & Gyges checking out the Queen

The Histories by Herodotus – Book I, “Clio”

I – Trojan War, Candaules & Gyges and Early Croesus Years [1-45]

A – Kidnappings and War [1-5]

  • Kidnappings of Io, Medea, Europé and Helen – The Phoenicians were originally from near the Indian Ocean but moved to the Mediterranean Sea. They traded with the Greeks, especially with Argos. One day, the Phoenicians kidnapped Argive women, including Io, the daughter of Inachus.
  • A group of Greeks went to Tyre and took the king’s daughter, Europé, in retaliation. The king demanded her back with reparations. Since the Phoenicians never did this with Io, the Greeks refused. They took Medea from Aea.
  • A generation later, Priam’s son, Alexander, took a Greek woman, Helen. The Greeks demanded her return with no response because of the Greek abduction of Europé and Medea. Threats of violence and war followed.
  • Kidnappings aside, the Persians blame the Trojan War on the Greeks since they started fighting first by leading an army to Troy. Asians would have let it go but the Greek burnt the city to the ground. This wars the origin of the European and Asian rift.

B – Candaules the Freak & Gyges the Ripper [6-14]

  • Croesus, son of Alyattes, a Lydia was king of all nations west of the River Halys (Central Turkey and westward). He was the first barbarian (Foreign) king to deal with Greece, conquering Aeolians, Ionians, and Dorians.
  • The throne of Lydia came to Croesus from the Mermnadae. Candaules, grandson of Hercules, was the last of the Mermnadae. The Lydian kings lasted 22 generations from Agron to Candaules (505 years).
  • Candaules was in love with his own wife (Poor fella). He would talk to his bodyguard, Gyges, about how beautiful his wife was. He wanted Gyges to see his wife naked. Gyges didn’t think that was a good idea.
  • Gyges went along with it. Candaules led him to a spot where he could see the queen change. She caught him as he was leaving. She was so pissed off at Candaules that she was determined to get revenge.
  • She had Gyges brought to her and gave him 2 choices: 1 – Kill Candaules, become my husband and King of Lydia. 2 – Die right now because you broke the law and you must die. He asked how he should kill Candaules. She said – On the same spot where you watched me naked.
  • That night he sneaked into their room while the king was sleeping and stabbed him to death. Gyges then became king.
  • The people were upset that their king was murdered but were eventually convinced to accept it once the Oracle of Delphi said it was legit. But she also said 5 generations later, vengeance will come.
  • Once he was crowned, Gyges sent tons of silver and gold gifts to Delphi. In Herodotus’s time, they were in Corinth. It was the first time a Barbarian king sent presents to Delphi. He then made moves on Miletus and Smyrna, as well as the city of Colophon. Not a lot else happened in his 38 years as ruler.

C – Alyattes [15-22]

  • Gyges’s son, Ardys, fought Miletus. The Cimmerians left Scythia for Asia, capturing Sardis. Ardys ruled for 49 years. His son, Sadyattes ruled for 12 years and his son, Alyattes began his rule.
  • Alyattes went to war with the Medes and ran out the Cimmerians from Asia, took Smyrna, Colophon and invaded Clazomenae (West Coast of Turkey) but lost that one.
  • He continued the fight with Miletus in sending an army into its territory, burning their crops without touching people or buildings, so they have to replant them every year.
  • They did this 11 years straight. Only the Chians offered Miletus any help.
  • In the 12th year, they lit the fields again, this time they accidentally burned a temple to Minerva. Soon after, Alyattes fell ill. A messenger heard from the Oracle who said that the Temple had to be rebuilt.
  • Herodotus got all this Delphians and Milesians. Periander of Corinth got wind of the Oracle’s message and took the ruler of Miletus, Thrasybulus.
  • Alyattes asked for a truce to rebuild the temple. Having heard what the Oracle said, Thrasybulus had all the grains put into the center of the city, and started to party when the Lydia envoy showed up.
  • He hoped the envoy would go home thinking the war didn’t affect them. The tricked worked and Alyattes asked for peace. He rebuilt the temple and built another one. Soon after, he got better and fought the Thracians.

D – Periander and Arion, the Dolphin Boy [23-24]

  • Periander was tyrant of Corinth. Both Corinthians and Lesbians agree on one story: Arion of Methymna, a world famous harp and poet, rode from Italy to Taernarum on the back of a dolphin
  • He was in Corinth in Periander’s court and then went to Italy and Sicily. On his way back to Greece, he hitched a ride with some Corinthians who decided to take his money and make him walk the plank. Before jumping, he played the harp and recited a poem. When he jumped, he rode a dolphin all the way back to Taenarum. He made his way to Corinth and told Periander what had happened, and he didn’t believe it. When the sailors came back, they were summoned and out popped Arion. They were so amazed he was still alive that they gave themselves away to Periander. Arion’s shrine in Taenarum has a bronze statue of him riding a dolphin.

E – Croesus’s Early Years

  • Alyattes died after 57 years of rule. He had sent just as many gifts to Delphi as Gyges did.
  • His son, Croesus became king at 35. He attacked all the Ionian and Aeolian Greek colonies he could
  • He landed over Greek cities in Asia demanding tribute and used the money to build an army and navy to take Greek islands. Bias of Priêné talked to him that the islanders had 10000 horsemen ready for attack. This made Croesus reconsider his plan to attack and ask for peace with them.
  • Croesus solidified power in Asia, west of the River Halys, except Lycia and Cilicia.
  • One of the Sages of Greece, Solon of Athens, was traveling the world mostly to avoid repealing unpopular and annoying laws in Athens. Only Solon could do that.
  • He went to Lydia to visit Croesus, who showed him his treasury and asked him, “Who’s the happiest man ever?” Solon thought about it and said, “Tellus of Athens because his country is flourishing in his own time. His sons grew up and had kids of their own. He lived in comfort and he died gloriously in battle, received the highest honors.
  • Croesus asked, “Who’s no. 2?” Solon answered, “Cleobis and Bito from Argos. They died carrying their mother to a festival and won many prizes. Their mother asked Juno to bless them. They fell asleep and died and were given their own shrine in Delphi.”
  • Croesus asked, “Where do I rank?” Solon answered, “Well, you’re rich and powerful but you aren’t dead yet. Things can change at any time. Only when you’re dead will we know if you lived a truly happy life.”
  • Croesus was looking for praise and Solon couldn’t tell him anything. It’s safe to say that Croesus was knocked down a few pegs. He then had dreams foreshadowing his downfall. His one son was deaf and dumb. The other, Atys, he had a dream about that he would die from an iron weapon; He was ordered to stay away from war and weapons.
  • During the wedding plans for his able son, a man came to Croesus from Sardis seeking redemption from accidentally killing his brother. He was Adrastus, son of Gordias. He was kicked out but welcomed by Croesus.
  • A large boar was ruining the countryside. Locals looked for help. Croesus wouldn’t let his son take part because of his dream. He sent other men.
  • His son, Atys, complained that he was being denied any glory. No bride or anyone could respect him.
  • Croesus told him about the dream he had about Atys dying from an iron weapon.
  • Atys answered that he could be wrong. A boar doesn’t use weapons. It would get me by his tusks. Please let me go.
  • Croesus allowed him to go.
  • Croesus asked Adrastus to keep an eye on his son during the hunt. “I think you’re a strong reliable man.”
  • Adrastus warned him that he was bad luck and was uncomfortable with the task.
  • The group went and split into 2. They surrounded the pig and Adrastus threw a spear, missed the pig and killed Atys.
  • Croesus was upset about his son and asked the gods, “WHY?!?!”
  • Adrastus asked to be sacrificed to make amends. Croesus wouldn’t let him because he knew it was an accident. Adrastus felt so guilty that he killed himself on Atys’s tomb.