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Tiresias: The Ancient Mediterranean Religions Source Database



6465
Herodotus, Histories, 3.108.1


nanThe Arabians also say that the whole country would be full of these snakes if the same thing did not occur among them that I believe occurs among vipers.


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1. Herodotus, Histories, 1.32.1, 3.40.2, 3.108-3.109, 3.108.2, 7.17.2, 9.16.4 (5th cent. BCE - 5th cent. BCE)

1.32.1. Thus Solon granted second place in happiness to these men. Croesus was vexed and said, “My Athenian guest, do you so much despise our happiness that you do not even make us worth as much as common men?” Solon replied, “Croesus, you ask me about human affairs, and I know that the divine is entirely grudging and troublesome to us. 3.40.2. It is pleasant to learn that a friend and ally is doing well. But I do not like these great successes of yours; for I know the gods, how jealous they are, and I desire somehow that both I and those for whom I care succeed in some affairs, fail in others, and thus pass life faring differently by turns, rather than succeed at everything. 3.108. The Arabians also say that the whole country would be full of these snakes if the same thing did not occur among them that I believe occurs among vipers. ,Somehow the forethought of God (just as is reasonable) being wise has made all creatures prolific that are timid and edible, so that they do not become extinct through being eaten, whereas few young are born to hardy and vexatious creatures. ,On the one hand, because the hare is hunted by every beast and bird and man, therefore it is quite prolific; alone of all creatures it conceives during pregcy; some of the unborn young are hairy, some still naked, some are still forming in the womb while others are just conceived. ,On the one hand there is this sort of thing, but on the other hand the lioness, that is so powerful and so bold, once in her life bears one cub; for in the act of bearing she casts her uterus out with her cub. The explanation of this is that when the cub first begins to stir in the mother, its claws, much sharper than those of any other creature, tear the uterus, and the more it grows the more it scratches and tears, so that when the hour of birth is near seldom is any of the uterus left intact. 3.108.2. Somehow the forethought of God (just as is reasonable) being wise has made all creatures prolific that are timid and edible, so that they do not become extinct through being eaten, whereas few young are born to hardy and vexatious creatures. 3.109. So too if the vipers and the winged serpents of Arabia were born in the natural manner of serpents life would be impossible for men; but as it is, when they copulate, while the male is in the act of procreation and as soon as he has ejaculated his seed, the female seizes him by the neck, and does not let go until she has bitten through. ,The male dies in the way described, but the female suffers in return for the male the following punishment: avenging their father, the young while they are still within the womb gnaw at their mother and eating through her bowels thus make their way out. ,Other snakes, that do no harm to men, lay eggs and hatch out a vast number of young. The Arabian winged serpents do indeed seem to be numerous; but that is because (although there are vipers in every land) these are all in Arabia and are found nowhere else. 7.17.2. “Are you the one who dissuades Xerxes from marching against Hellas, because you care for him? Neither in the future nor now will you escape with impunity for striving to turn aside what must be. To Xerxes himself it has been declared what will befall him if he disobeys.” 9.16.4. Marvelling at these words, Thersander answered: “Must you not then tell this to Mardonius and those honorable Persians who are with him?” “Sir,” said the Persian, “that which a god wills to send no man can turn aside, for even truth sometimes finds no one to believe it.
2. Thucydides, The History of The Peloponnesian War, 3.58.5, 3.59.2, 5.112.2, 7.69.2, 7.77.2-7.77.4 (5th cent. BCE - 4th cent. BCE)

3.58.5. Pausanias buried them thinking that he was laying them in friendly ground and among men as friendly; but you, if you kill us and make the Plataean territory Theban, will leave your fathers and kinsmen in a hostile soil and among their murderers, deprived of the honors which they now enjoy. What is more, you will enslave the land in which the freedom of the Hellenes was won, make desolate the temples of the gods to whom they prayed before they overcame the Medes, and take away your ancestral sacrifices from those who founded and instituted them. 3.59.2. We, as we have a right to do and as our need impels us, entreat you, calling aloud upon the gods at whose common altar all the Hellenes worship, to hear our request, to be not unmindful of the oaths which your fathers swore, and which we now plead—we supplicate you by the tombs of your fathers, and appeal to those that are gone to save us from falling into the hands of the Thebans and their dearest friends from being given up to their most detested foes. We also remind you of that day on which we did the most glorious deeds, by your fathers' sides, we who now, on this are like to suffer the most dreadful fate. 5.112.2. ‘Our resolution, Athenians, is the same as it was at first. We will not in a moment deprive of freedom a city that has been inhabited these seven hundred years; but we put our trust in the fortune by which the gods have preserved it until now, and in the help of men, that is, of the Lacedaemonians; and so we will try and save ourselves. 7.69.2. Meanwhile Nicias, appalled by the position of affairs, realizing the greatness and the nearness of the danger now that they were on the point of putting out from shore, and thinking, as men are apt to think in great crises, that when all has been done they have still something left to do, and when all has been said that they have not yet said enough, again called on the captains one by one, addressing each by his father's name and by his own, and by that of his tribe, and adjured them not to belie their own personal renown, or to obscure the hereditary virtues for which their ancestors were illustrious; he reminded them of their country, the freest of the free, and of the unfettered discretion allowed in it to all to live as they pleased; and added other arguments such as men would use at such a crisis, and which, with little alteration, are made to serve on all occasions alike—appeals to wives, children, and national gods,—without caring whether they are thought common-place, but loudly invoking them in the belief that they will be of use in the consternation of the moment. 7.77.2. I myself who am not superior to any of you in strength—indeed you see how I am in my sickness—and who in the gifts of fortune am, I think, whether in private life or otherwise, the equal of any, am now exposed to the same danger as the meanest among you; and yet my life has been one of much devotion towards the gods, and of much justice and without offence towards men. 7.77.3. I have, therefore, still a strong hope for the future, and our misfortunes do not terrify me as much as they might. Indeed we may hope that they will be lightened: our enemies have had good fortune enough; and if any of the gods was offended at our expedition, we have been already amply punished. 7.77.4. Others before us have attacked their neighbors and have done what men will do without suffering more than they could bear; and we may now justly expect to find the gods more kind, for we have become fitter objects for their pity than their jealousy. And then look at yourselves, mark the numbers and efficiency of the heavy infantry marching in your ranks, and do not give way too much to despondency, but reflect that you are yourselves at once a city wherever you sit down, and that there is no other in Sicily that could easily resist your attack, or expel you when once established.


Subjects of this text:

subject book bibliographic info
aristotle Kingsley Monti and Rood, The Authoritative Historian: Tradition and Innovation in Ancient Historiography (2022) 149
athenians at melos (speech of), and divine Joho, Style and Necessity in Thucydides (2022) 140
causes Kingsley Monti and Rood, The Authoritative Historian: Tradition and Innovation in Ancient Historiography (2022) 149
divine, the (τὸ θεῖον, τὸ δαιμόνιον etc.), in herodotus Joho, Style and Necessity in Thucydides (2022) 140, 141
divine, the (τὸ θεῖον, τὸ δαιμόνιον etc.), in melian dialogue Joho, Style and Necessity in Thucydides (2022) 140, 141
divine, the (τὸ θεῖον, τὸ δαιμόνιον etc.), vs. personal labels Joho, Style and Necessity in Thucydides (2022) 140
divine, the (τὸ θεῖον, τὸ δαιμόνιον etc.), vs. the human Joho, Style and Necessity in Thucydides (2022) 140
empedocles Kingsley Monti and Rood, The Authoritative Historian: Tradition and Innovation in Ancient Historiography (2022) 149
herodotus, coincidences and synchronisms Kingsley Monti and Rood, The Authoritative Historian: Tradition and Innovation in Ancient Historiography (2022) 149
nicias, and personal gods Joho, Style and Necessity in Thucydides (2022) 140
plataea and plataeans Joho, Style and Necessity in Thucydides (2022) 140
substantivized neuter phrases, based on adjectives Joho, Style and Necessity in Thucydides (2022) 140, 141
truth' Kingsley Monti and Rood, The Authoritative Historian: Tradition and Innovation in Ancient Historiography (2022) 149
τύχη (chance, fortune), in melian dialogue Joho, Style and Necessity in Thucydides (2022) 140