Tales From Herodotus V. Stories of Amasis, who usurped the throne of Egypt


Translated from Greek

c) Former spendthrift and dishonest habits of Amasis; his unexpected treatment, after his accession to the throne, of the oracular shrines which had encouraged his practices.

Amasis said that even when he was a private citizen, he loved drinking and joking, and he was in no way a serious man, so much so that while he was drinking and making merry, he would run out of the necessities of life, and he would steal to survive. And those who claimed that he had [stolen] their wealth, they would take him, denying [his guilt], to whichever oracle was nearest each time. And although he was often convicted by the oracles, he was just as often acquitted.

And so when he became king, he did the following: whichever of the gods had set him free [saying] that he was not a thief, of these temples neither did he take care of them nor did he give them anything in reparation; he would not even sacrifice to them on the grounds that they were worthless, since they procured false prophecy; but whichever temples had convicted him as a thief, to these he gave the greatest care, since they were truly from the gods and supplied unerring prophecy.

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