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Melpomene   


by Learchus, one of his brothers. This Learchus was afterwards
entrapped by Eryxo, the widow of Arcesilaus, and put to death.
Battus, Arcesilaus' son, succeeded to the kingdom, a lame man, who
limped in his walk. Their late calamities now induced the Cyrenaeans
to send to Delphi and inquire of the god what form of government
they had best set up to secure themselves prosperity. The Pythoness
answered by recommending them to fetch an arbitrator from Mantinea
in Arcadia. Accordingly they sent; and the Mantineans gave them a
man named Demonax, a person of high repute among the citizens; who, on
his arrival at Cyrene, having first made himself acquainted with all
the circumstances, proceeded to enrol the people in three tribes.
One he made to consist of the Theraeans and their vassals; another
of the Peloponnesians and Cretans; and a third of the various
islanders. Besides this, he deprived the king Battus of his former
privileges, only reserving for him certain sacred lands and offices;
while, with respect to the powers which had hitherto been exercised by
the king, he gave them all into the hands of the people.
Thus matters rested during the lifetime of this Battus, but when
his son Arcesilaus came to the throne, great disturbance arose about
the privileges. For Arcesilaus, son of Battus the lame and
Pheretima, refused to submit to the arrangements of Demonax the
Mantinean, and claimed all the powers of his forefathers. In the
contention which followed Arcesilaus was worsted, whereupon he fled to
Samos, while his mother took refuge at Salamis in the island of
Cyprus. Salamis was at that time ruled by Evelthon, the same who
offered at Delphi the censer which is in the treasury of the
Corinthians, a work deserving of admiration. Of him Pheretima made
request that he would give her an army whereby she and her son might
regain Cyrene. But Evelthon, preferring to give her anything rather
than an army, made her various presents. Pheretima accepted them
all, saying, as she took them: "Good is this too, O king! but better
were it to give me the army which I crave at thy hands." Finding
that she repeated these words each time that he presented her with a
gift, Evelthon at last sent her a golden spindle and distaff, with the
wool ready for spinning. Again she uttered the same speech as
before, whereupon Evelthon rejoined-"These are the gifts I present
to women, not armies."
At Samos, meanwhile, Arcesilaus was collecting troops by the
promise of granting them lands. Having in this way drawn together a
vast host, he sent to Delphi to consult the oracle about his
restoration. The answer of the Pythoness was this: "Loxias grants
thy race to rule over Cyrene, till four kings Battus, four
Arcesilaus by name, have passed away. Beyond this term of eight
generations of men, he warns you not to seek to extend your reign.
Thou, for thy part, be gentle, when thou art restored. If thou findest
the oven full of jars, bake not the jars; but be sure to speed them on
their way. If, however, thou heatest the oven, then avoid the island
else thou wilt die thyself, and with thee the most beautiful bull."
So spake the Pythoness. Arcesilaus upon this returned to Cyrene,
taking with him the troops which he had raised in Samos. There he
obtained possession of the supreme power; whereupon, forgetful of
the oracle, he took proceedings against those who had driven him
into banishment. Some of them fled from him and quitted the country
for good; others fell into his hands and were sent to suffer death
in Cyprus. These last happening on their passage to put in through
stress of weather at Cnidus, the Cnidians rescued them, and sent
them off to Thera. Another body found a refuge in the great tower of
Aglomachus, a private edifice, and were there destroyed by Arcesilaus,
who heaped wood around the place, and burnt them to death. Aware,
after the deed was done, that this was what the Pythoness meant when
she warned him, if he found the jars in the oven, not to bake them, he
withdrew himself of his own accord from the city of Cyrene,
believing that to be the island of the oracle, and fearing to die as
had been prophesied. Being married to a relation of his own, a

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