Zonaras 7.10 Part III: Tarquinius Compared to Thrasybulus of Miletus

Zonaras compares the murderous counsel of two famous autocrats:

Herodotus relates a story similar to this. He says that Periander, the son of Cypselus and tyrant of Corinth, sent to Thrasybulus, the tyrant of Miletus, to find out how he could maintain his reign in security. Thrasybulus said nothing in response to the messenger, but took him out to a field where he cut off the tops of corn stalks and tossed them aside; he then sent the messenger back. When he returned and was asked about Thrasybulus’ counsel, the messenger said that he had been sent off to a madman; he explained what Thrasybulus had done, and how he had not said anything in response to what he was asked. But Periander understood the meaning of the Thrasybulus’ response, and killed all of the chief men among the Corinthians.

῞Ομοιον δέ τι τούτῳ καὶ ὁ ῾Ηρόδοτος ἱστορεῖ. Περίανδρον γὰρ τὸν Κυψέλου τύραννον Κορίνθου γενόμενόν φησι πρὸς Θρασύβουλον τὸν Μιλήτου τύραννον διαπέμψασθαι πυνθανόμενον ὅπως αὐτῷ τὰ τῆς ἀρχῆς ἀσφαλῶς ἕξει. τὸν δὲ Θρασύβουλον τῷ ἀπαγγείλαντι ταῦτα μηδὲν ἀποκρίνασθαι, ἀπαγαγόντα δ’ εἰς λήιον τῶν ἀσταχύων τοὺς ὑπερέχοντας ἐκτέμνειν τε καὶ ῥιπτεῖν, καὶ οὕτως ἀποπέμψαι τὸν ἐσταλμένον. τὸν δὲ ἐπανελθόντα καὶ τὴν Θρασυβούλου συμβουλὴν ἐρωτώμενον εἰπεῖν εἰς παραπλῆγα πεμφθῆναι, καὶ διηγεῖσθαι ὅσα ἐκεῖνος ἐποίησε, μή τι πρὸς ὃ ἠρωτήθη φθεγξάμενος· τὸν δὲ Περίανδρον συνεικέναι τὸν τοῦ Θρασυβούλου λογισμόν, καὶ τοὺς ὑπερέχοντας τῶν Κορινθίων ἅπαντας ἀπολέσαι.

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