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.