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Herodotus on Psammetic II

1 Psammetic II, r. 594-587
2 Greek state on the Peloponnesus
When Psammis1 was king of Egypt, envoys from Elis2 came to see him, who boasted that they had arranged the Olympic games with the best order and all possible fairness for everybody, and claimed that not even the Egyptians, who were thought to be the wisest of all men, could any do better.
 
When the Eleans came to Egypt and announced why they had come, Psammis convoked the Egyptians said to be wisest. These came together and learned all that the Eleans were to do regarding the games; after explaining this, the Eleans said that they had come to learn whether the Egyptians could invent any better order.
 
The Egyptians deliberated, and then inquired of the Eleans if their own citizens contended in the contests. The Eleans answered that they did: all Greeks from Elis or elsewhere might contend.
 
Then the Egyptians declared that in setting this rule they missed the mark of complete fairness: For there is no way that you will not favor your own citizens in the contest and do wrong to the stranger; if you wish in fact to make just rules and have come to Egypt for that reason, you should admit only strangers to the contest, and not one Elean. This was the counsel of the Egyptians to the Eleans.
3 Wahibre, r. 587-569 Psammis reigned over Egypt for only six years. He took the field in Ethiopia, and just thereafter died, and Apries3 the son of Psammis reigned in his place.

Histories 2,160 f

 


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