Otanes Metamorphoses: The Vices Of Monarchy

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According to Otanes, no good can come from a monarchy. During his speech Otanes states that monarchy cannot be fit into a system of ethics, since the ruler is allowed to do whatever he pleases without question or consequence. Otanes goes on to say that the vices of every monarch are envy and pride – “envy, because it is a natural human weakness, and pride, because excessive wealth and power lead to the delusion that he is something more than a man. These two vices vices…lead to acts of savage and unnatural violence” (207). He also says that no ruler can escape the wickedness that monarchy creates, for “even the best of men raised to such a position would be bound to change for the worse” (207). Lastly, and most importantly, according to Otanes, a monarch “breaks up the structure of ancient tradition and law, …show more content…
After this, Cambyses went to the royal judges to ask about ancient laws allowing men to marry their sisters, to which they answered that “though they could discover no law which allowed brother to marry sister, there was undoubtedly a law which permitted the king of Persia to do what he pleased” (184). Cambyses proceeded to marry two of his sisters and then killed one of them; Herodotus describes these crimes as “acts of a madman” (184). While in Memphis, Cambyses also “entered the temple of the Cabiri, which no one but the priest is allowed to do, made fun of the images there…and actually burnt them” (187). As for Polycrates, he came into sole power by killing one of his brothers and banishing the other. Herodotus writes that Polycrates raided many places with the defense that “a friend would be more grateful if he gave him back what he had taken, than if he had never taken it” (188). Polycrates also had the wives and children of the Samains locked in boathouses, to prevent them from turning on him, and was “prepared to burn them, sheds and all, in case of need” (190). Perianders, like the others, committed numerous wicked acts. Herodotus writes that

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