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Notes and Reflections on Books and Media

by Hannah Leitheiser

soothsayers

histories

herodotus

440 bc

Link

2017-10-07

"the soothsayers tell him that by their art it is clear he has sworn a false oath by the royal hearth, and so caused the illness of the king- he denies the charge, protests that he has sworn no false oath, and loudly complains of the wrong done to him. upon this the king sends for six new soothsayers, who try the matter by soothsaying. if they too find the man guilty of the offence, straightway he is beheaded by those who first accused him, and his goods are parted among them: if, on the contrary, they acquit him, other soothsayers, and again others, are sent for, to try the case. should the greater number decide in favour of the man's innocence, then they who first accused him forfeit their lives." - herodotus

have to imagine there's a lot of politics going on in these sorts of situations. target people we don't like, gifts for favorable outcomes. or maybe not, of course, you can only guess.