115. Hearing this, Thonis seized Paris and detained his ships, and after that he brought the man himself up to Memphis and with him Helen and the wealth he had, and also in addition to them the suppliants. So when all had been conveyed up thither, Proteus began to ask Paris who he was and from whence he was voyaging; and he both recounted to him his descent and told him the name of his native land, and moreover related of his voyage, from whence he was sailing. After this Proteus asked him whence he had taken Helen; and when Paris went astray in his account and did not speak the truth, those who had become suppliants convicted him of falsehood, relating in full the whole tale of the wrong done.
At length Proteus declared to them this sentence, saying, “Were it not that I count it a matter of great moment not to slay any of those strangers who being driven from their course by winds have come to my land hitherto, I should have taken vengeance on you on behalf of the man of Hellas, seeing that you, most base of men, having received from him hospitality, did work against him a most impious deed. For you did go in to the wife of your own host; and even this was not enough for you, but you did stir her up with desire and have gone away with her like a thief. Moreover not even this by itself was enough for you, but you’ve come here with plunder taken from the house of thy host. Now therefore depart, seeing that I have counted it of great moment not to be a slayer of strangers. This woman indeed and the wealth which you have I will not allow you to carry away, but I shall keep them safe for the Greek who was thy host, until he come himself and desire to carry them off to his home; to yourself however and your fellow-voyagers I proclaim that you depart from your anchoring within three days and go from my land to some other; and if not, that you will be dealt with as enemies.”
– Herodotus, Book II
Herodotus made his living by being interesting. In a world where most people did not read and could not afford to buy a book even if they could, they would pay to listen to Herodotus recite from his books. They would not pay to be bored. In that world, the names that populate his stories would have some general familiarity to his audience. Their obscurity to us is a barrier that this series seeks to break down.
Because of lack of detail in maps as embedded images, we are providing links instead, enabling readers to view them full screen.