Herodotus VI: 125


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Greek

οἱ δὲ Ἀλκμεωνίδαι ἦσαν μὲν καὶ τὰ ἀνέκαθεν λαμπροὶ ἐν τῇσι Ἀθήνῃσι, ἀπὸ δὲ Ἀλκμέωνος καὶ αὖτις Μεγακλέος ἐγένοντο καὶ κάρτα λαμπροί. [2] τοῦτο μὲν γὰρ Ἀλκμέων ὁ Μεγακλέος τοῖσι ἐκ Σαρδίων Λυδοῖσι παρὰ Κροίσου ἀπικνεομένοισι ἐπὶ τὸ χρηστήριον τὸ ἐν Δελφοῖσι συμπρήκτωρ τε ἐγίνετο καὶ συνελάμβανε προθύμως, καί μιν Κροῖσος πυθόμενος τῶν Λυδῶν τῶν ἐς τὰ χρηστήρια φοιτεόντων ἑωυτὸν εὖ ποιέειν μεταπέμπεται ἐς Σάρδις, ἀπικόμενον δὲ δωρέεται χρυσῷ τὸν ἂν δύνηται τῷ ἑωυτοῦ σώματι ἐξενείκασθαι ἐσάπαξ. [3] ὁ δὲ Ἀλκμέων πρὸς τὴν δωρεὴν ἐοῦσαν τοιαύτην τοιάδε ἐπιτηδεύσας προσέφερε: ἐνδὺς κιθῶνα μέγαν καὶ κόλπον βαθὺν καταλιπόμενος τοῦ κιθῶνος, κοθόρνους τε τοὺς εὕρισκε εὐρυτάτους ἐόντας ὑποδησάμενος, ἤιε ἐς τὸν θησαυρὸν ἐς τόν οἱ κατηγέοντο. [4] ἐσπεσὼν δὲ ἐς σωρὸν ψήγματος πρῶτα μὲν παρέσαξε παρὰ τὰς κνήμας τοῦ χρυσοῦ ὅσον ἐχώρεον οἱ κόθορνοι, μετὰ δὲ τὸν κόλπον πάντα πλησάμενος τοῦ χρυσοῦ καὶ ἐς τὰς τρίχας τῆς κεφαλῆς διαπάσας τοῦ ψήγματος καὶ ἄλλο λαβὼν ἐς τὸ στόμα, ἐξήιε ἐκ τοῦ θησαυροῦ ἕλκων μὲν μόγις τοὺς κοθόρνους, παντὶ δὲ τεῷ οἰκὼς μᾶλλον ἢ ἀνθρώπῳ: τοῦ τό τε στόμα ἐβέβυστο καὶ πάντα ἐξώγκωτο. [5] ἰδόντα δὲ τὸν Κροῖσον γέλως ἐσῆλθε, καί οἱ πάντα τε ἐκεῖνα διδοῖ καὶ πρὸς ἕτερα δωρέεται οὐκ ἐλάσσω ἐκείνων. οὕτω μὲν ἐπλούτησε ἡ οἰκίη αὕτη μεγάλως, καὶ ὁ Ἀλκμέων οὗτος οὕτω τεθριπποτροφήσας Ὀλυμπιάδα ἀναιρέεται.

Translation

The Alcmeonidae had in the first place been men of renown at Athens even in the old days, but from the time of Alcmeon and then Megacles they became really very distinguished. (2) When the Lydians from Sardis came from Croesus to the Delphic oracle, Alcmeon son of Megacles worked with them and helped them enthusiastically; when Croesus heard from the Lydians who visited the oracle that Alcmeon was doing him good service, he summoned him to Sardis, and there made him a gift of just as much gold as he could carry away at one time on his person. (3) Considering the nature of the gift, Alcmeon planned and employed this scheme: he put on a wide tunic, leaving a deep fold in it, and put on the widest boots that he could find, then went into the treasury to which they were leading him. (4) Falling upon a heap of gold-dust, first he packed next to his legs as much gold as his boots would contain; then he filled all the fold of his tunic with gold and sprinkled the dust among the hair of his head, and took more of it into his mouth; when he came out of the treasury, hardly dragging his boots, he was like anything rather than a human being, and his mouth had been crammed full and all his body had been swollen. (5) Laughter got the better of Croesus as he saw him, and he gave him all that gold and in addition he presented him with another amount, no less than this. Thus this family grew extremely rich; and thus is was that this Alcmeon came to keep four-horse chariots and won with them at Olympia.