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XLI. The king then sent for Adrastus the Phrygian; whom, on his appearing, he thus addressed: “I do not mean to remind you of your former calamities; but you must have in memory, that I expiated* you in your distress, took you into my family, and supplied all your necessities. I have now, therefore, to solicit that return of kindness which my conduct claims. In this proposed hunting excursion, you must be the guardian of my son: preserve him on the way from any secret treachery, which may threaten your common security. It is consistent that you should go where bravery may be distinguished, and reputation gained: valour has been the distinction of your family, and with personal vigour has descended to yourself.”
XLII. “ At your request, o king!” replied Adrastus, “I shall comply with what I should otherwise have refused. It becomes not a man, like myself, oppressed by so great a calamity, to appear among my more fortunate equals: I have never wished, and I have frequently avoided it. My gratitude, in the present instance, impels me to obey your commands. I will therefore engage to accompany and guard your son, and promise, as far as my care can avail, to restore him to you safe,”
I XLIII, Im
* If translated literally it should be, I purified you.
XLIII. Immediately a band of youths were selected, the dogs of chace prepared, and the train departed. Arriving in the vicinity of Olympus, they sought the beast; and having found his haunt, they surrounded it in a body, and attacked him with their spears. It so happened, that the stranger Adrastus, who had been purified for murder, directing a blow at the boar, missed his aim, and killed the son of Croesus. Thus he was destroyed by the point of a spear*, and the vision proved to be prophetic. A messenger immediately hastened to Sardis, informing Crosus of the event which occasioned the death of his son.
XLIV. Crcesus, much as he was afflicted with his domestic loss, bore it the less patiently, because it was inflicted by him whom he had himself puri
* The following singular story of a similar kind occurs in one of Mr. Pennant's entertaining volumes.
Sir Robert de Shurland, on a quarrel with his priest, buried the poor father alive: at that time it happened, that the king lay at anchor under the isle (Shepey). Sir Robert swam, on his horse, to the royal vessel, obtained his pardon, and returned to shore on his trusty steed. He then recollected that a witch had predicted he should owe his death to that horse. To render that void, le drew his sword and ungratefully put his faithful preserver to death.
Long after, passing by the spot, he saw its bones bleaching on the ground; he gave the skull a contemptuous kick; the bone wounded his foot: his foot mortified: the knight died, and the prediction was fulfilled,
fied and protected. He broke into violent complaints at his misfortune, and invoked Jupiter, the deity of expiation, in attestation of the injury he had received. He invoked him also as the guardian of hospitality and friendship 58 ; of hospitality, because, in receiving a stranger, he had received the murderer of his son; of friendship, because the man whose aid he might have expected, had proved his greatest enemy.
. XLV. Whilst his thoughts were thus occupied, the Lydians appeared with the body of his son 59: the homicide followed. He advanced towards Cresus, and, with extended hands, implored that
58 Guardian of hospitality and friendship.]– Jupiter was adored under different titles, according to the place and circumstance of his different worshippers.- Larcher.
The sky was the department of Jupiter: hence he was deemed the god of tempests. The following titles were given bim: Pluvius, Pluviosus, Fulgurator, Fulgurum Eflector, Descensor, Tonans. Other epithets were given him, relative to the wants of men, for wbich he was thought to provide, See Bos, Antiquities of Greece. The above observation is confined to the Greeks. — The epithets of the Roman Jupiter were almost without number; and there was hardly, as Spence observes, a town, or even hamlet, in Italy, that had not a Jupiter of its own.—T.
59 Body of his son.)-This solemn procession of the Lydians, bearing to the presence of the father the dead body of his so:), followed mournfully by the person who had killed him, would, it is presumed, afford no mean subject for an historical painting.–T.
he might suffer death upon the body of him whom he had slain. He recited his former calamities; to which was now to be added, that he was the destroyer of the man who had * expiated him: he was consequently no longer fit to live. Crasus listened to him with attention; and, although oppressed by his own paternal grief, he could not refuse his compassion to Adrastus; to whom he spake as follows: “My friend, I am sufficiently revenged by your voluntary condemnation of yourself.6o. You are not guilty of this evento, for you did it without design. The offended deity, who warned me of the evil, has accomplished it.” Cresus, therefore, buried his son with the proper ceremonies: but the unfortunate descendant of Midas, who had killed his brother and his friend, retired at the dead of night to the place where Atys was buried, and, confessing himself
* It was in fact Cræsus who expiated Adrastus; but Larcher observes, he might have delegated this office to his son, as a compliment on his marriage.
60 Condemnation of yourself.]--Diodorus Siculus relates, that it was the first intention of Croesus to have burned Adrastus alive ; but his voluntary offer to submit to death, deprecated his anger --T.
61 You are not guilty of this event.]-See Homer, Iliad 3d, where Priam thus addresses Helen:
No crime of thine our present suff’rings draws;
to be the most miserable of mankind, slew himself on the tomb.
XLVI. The two years which succeeded the death of his son, were passed by Croesus in ex-:; treme affliction. His grief was at length suspended by the increasing greatness of the Persian empire, as well as by that.of Cyrus son of Cambyses, who had deprived Astyages, son of Cyaxares, of his dominions. To restrain the power of Persia, before it should become too great and too extensive, was the object of his solicitude. Listening to these suggestions, he determined to consult the different oracles 62 of Greece, and also that of · Libya; and for this purpose he sent messengers to Delphi, the Phocian Abas, and to Dodona: he
62 Oracles.]-On the subject of oracles, it may not be improper, once for all, to inform the English reader, that the Apollo of Delphi was, to use Mr. Bayle's words, the judge without appeal; the greatest of the heathen gods not preserving, in relation to oracles, his advantage or superiority. The oracles of Trophonius, Dodona, and Hammon, had not so much credit as that of Delphi, nor did they equal it either in esteein or duration. The oracle at Abas was an oracle of Apollo; but, from the little mention that is made of it by ancient writers, it does not appear to have been held in the extremest veneration. At Dodona, as I describe it from Montfaucon, there were sounding kettles; from whence came the proverb of the Dodonean brass; which, according to Menander, if a man touched but once, would continue ringing the whole day. Others speak of the doves of Dodona, which spoke and delivered the oracles : of two