(Chapter 182) Herodotus shows us that Hellas means to him all lands inhabited by Greeks, not the territory called Greece, but including Asia Minor, Sicily, Italy, and North Africa. Amasis' interests in Greek things is demonstrated by his donations to religious sites in Hellas. He gives a gilded statue of Athena and a portrait of himself to Cyrene, two stone statues and a linen pectoral to Athena at Lindus in Rhodes, and twin wooden statues of himself to Hera in Samos. These gifts smack of self-advertisement as much as of reverence, but he obviously did want his friendship with Hellas to be remembered. He also brought Cyprus under his domination, and made it pay tribute to him. Incidentally, powerful Greek cities, like Athens, exacted tribute from their subordinates as well. Herodotus did not know that Sargon II of Assyria had conquered Cyprus before 700 BC, and claims Amasis was the first. This ends our account of Amasis. There is a little more in Book III, which deals with the Persian conquest.
This selection offers several useful lessons. We realize that some important verbs can change radically between the present, imperfect, and aorist. Examples are given in the vocabulary box. Also, Herodotus has a habit of using ato in place of nto in the imperfect third person plural, which we have seen at least once before. There are some vocabulary issues as well. It is often very difficult to sum up the meaning of a Greek verb in one English word. Look up prosecw in Liddell and Scott as an example. The meanings are related in sense, but are hard to summarize. Also, words can acquire very different connotations, as a famous example in the vocabulary shows. Finally, there is an example of a list, in which each item begins with touto, like the Latin item.
Amasis also dedicated offerings in Hellas. This: in Cyrene a gilt image of Athena and a realistic portrait of himself; [and] this: to Athena in Lindus, two stone images and a wonderful linen pectoral; [and] this: to Hera in Samos, twin wooden statues of himself, which were set, still in my time, in the great hall behind the doors. He dedicated in Samos because of his friendship with Polycrates son of Aeaces, in Lindus for no [human] friendship, but because it is said that the temple of Athena was founded by the daughters of Danaus when they touched there in their flight from the sons of Egyptus. These things Amasis dedicated, [and he also] seized Cyprus first of [all] men, and compelled it to pay tribute.
Return to Pharaoh
Composed by J. B. Calvert
Last revised 11 July 1999