Appendix. Instances of Trickery in Herodotus’ Histories

Trick Trickster Vocabulary Manipulation of signs? Successful? Sign Type Stage of Signification Process
1.21.1–22.3 Thrasyboulos tricks Alyattes into thinking Miletos has plenty of food μηχανᾶται 1.21.1 no yes    
1.59.3–6 Peisistratos mutilates himself as if attacked μηχανᾶται τοιάδε 1.59.3ὁ δὲ δῆμος . . . ἐξαπατηθείς 1.59.5 yes yes object (body as signifier) transmission
1.60.3–5 Phye and Peisistratos μηχανῶνται 1.60.3 yes yes object (body and clothing as signifiers) transmission
1.80.2 Kyros’ trick of using camels against Lydian cavalry   no yes    
1.96.2–98.2 Deiokes’ ruse to get power ἀνὴρ σοφός 1.96.2 no yes    
1.123.4 Harpagos and message in the hare ἐπιτεχνᾶται τοιόνδε 1.123.3 yes yes object (gift) transmission
1.125.1–6 Kyros’ rise to power: forges letter from Astyages ἐφρόντιζε ὅτεῳ τρόπῳ σοφωτάτῳ Πέρσας ἀναπείσει ἀπίστασθαι 1.125.1 yes yes object (seal, writing) transmission
1.187.1–5 Babylonian Nitokris and the trick grave ἀπάτην τοιήνδε τινὰ ἐμηχανήσατο 1.187.1 no yes    
1.191.1–6 Kyros takes Babylon by trick of diverting river   no yes    
1.207.6–7 Kroisos’ advice to Kyros to trick Massagetai with wine τοιούτῳ φαρμάκῳ δολώσας  1.212.2 (Tomyris) no yes    
2.100.2–4 Egyptian Nitokris and flooding chamber δόλῳ διαφθεῖραι 2.100.2 no yes    
2.121.α.1 Architect of Rhampsinitos’ treasury τὸν δὲ ἐργαζόμενον ἐπιβουλεύοντα τάδε μηχανᾶσθαι 2.121.α.1 no yes    
2.121.δ.1–6 Master thief tricks guards to retrieve his brother’s body ἐπιτεχνήσασθαι τοιάδε 2.121.δ.1 no yes    
2.121.ε.1–3 Rhampsinitos devises way to trick master thief   no yes    
2.121.ε.3–5 Master thief outwits Rhampsinitos again πολυτροπίῃ 2.121.ε.3, πολυφροσύνῃ, τόλμῃ 2.121.ζ.1 no yes    
2.133.1–5 Mykerinos and the oracle: Mykerinos makes 6 years into 12 by making nights into days with light ταῦτα δὲ ἐμηχανᾶτο 2.133.5 yes ? oracle reception
2.162.1 Soldier places helmet on Amasis’ head, declares him king   yes yes object, gesture transmission
2.172.1–5 Amasis and golden podaniptêr μετὰ δὲ σοφίῃ αὐτοὺς ὁ Ἄμασις, οὐκ ἀγνωμοσύνῃ, προσηγάγετο 2.172.2 yes yes object transmission
Trick Trickster Vocabulary Manipulation of signs? Successful? Sign Type Stage of Signification Process
3.1.3–5 Amasis tricks Kambyses by passing off Apries’ daughter as his own διαβεβλημένος 3.1.4 no yes    
3.4.1–2 Phanes outsmarts Amasis’ guards by getting them drunk σοφίῃ γάρ μιν περιῆλθε ὁ Φάνης 3.4.2 no yes    
3.16.6 Amasis’ final trick: has someone else’s corpse placed in his tomb to foil Kambyses   no yes    
3.61 Pseudo-Smerdis   yes yes (but see next entry) object (body), name transmission
3.69.3 Otanes uses absence of ears to identify pseudo-Smerdis   no yes    
3.85.1–3.86.2 Dareios and groom artificially produce agreed-upon sign: horse neighs σοφίην, μηχανῶ 3.85.1φάρμακα, σόφισμα, μηχανᾶσθαι 3.85.2 yes yes portent transmission
3.123.2 Oroites tricks Maiandrios, messenger of Polykrates, into thinking he has great wealth   no yes    
3.128.2–5 Bagaios, bodyguards, and killing of Oroites τάδε ἐμηχανήσατο, σοφίῃ καὶ μὴ βίῃ 3.127.2 yes yes object, writing transmission
3.130.1–2 Dareios and Demokedes   no yes    
3.153.1–158.2 Zopyros mutilates himself δόλον . . . ἐξέφαινε 3.158.2 yes yes object (body) transmission
4.134.3 Dareios’ scheme (following Gobryas) to leave Scythia secretly   no yes    
4.139.2 Histiaios tricks Scythians into thinking Ionians are destroying bridge over Istros.   no yes    
4.146.4 Wives of Minyai exchanging clothes with husbands to get them out of jail δόλον 4.146.3 yes yes object (clothing) transmission
4.154.3 Etearkhos uses open-ended oath on Themision ἀπατῇ 4.154.4 yes yes oath transmission
4.154.4 Themision’s counter-manipulation   yes yes oath reception
4.201.1–3 Manipulation of oath by Amasis the Persian δόλῳ 4.201.1 yes yes oath transmission
5.12.1–13.3 Two Paionian brothers aim for tyranny, device of sister   no no    
5.20.1–5 Alexander dresses men as women, who kill Persians at banquet   yes yes clothing transmission
Trick Trickster Vocabulary Manipulation of signs? Successful? Sign Type Stage of Signification Process
5.24.1–25.1 Dareios tricks Histiaios into leaving Miletos and coming to Sardis and Susa   No yes    
5.35.3 Histiaios and the tattooed head of the messenger   Yes yes object (body) transmission
5.49.1–50.3 Aristagoras tries to deceive Kleomenes with map σοφός, διαβάλλων 5.50.2 Yes no object transmission
5.63.1 Corruption of Pythia, Alkmaionidai and Kleisthenes (cf. 5.66.1) μηχανή 6.123.1 Yes yes oracle transmission
5.106.3–107 Histiaios tricks Dareios διέβαλλε 5.107 No yes    
6.62.1–2 Ariston’s manipulation of oath μηχανᾶται δὴ τοιάδε 6.62.1 τῆς ἀπάτης τῇ παραγωγῇ 6.62.2 yes yes oath transmission
6.65.3 Leotykhides swears falsely in public oath   No yes    
6.66.1–3 Kleomenes and Kobon corrupt Pythia   Yes yes oracle transmission
6.77.3 Argives detect and make use of Spartan signals   Yes yes military signal reception
6.78.1–2 Kleomenes’ counter-manipulation and change of code   Yes yes military signal transmission
6.79.1–2 Kleomenes tricks Argives into coming out of hiding   No yes    
6.125.3–5 Alkmeon and gold dust   No yes    
6.115, 6.121–124 Flashing shield shown at Marathon to Persian fleet as sign to sail to Athens   No no military signal  
7.6.3 Onomakritos inserts false oracles into collection of Musaios   Yes no oracle transmission
7.6.4 Onomakritos at Susa recites oracles selectively   Yes yes oracle transmission
7.15.3 Artabanos wears Xerxes’ clothing in order that the same dream appear to him   Yes yes object (clothing) transmission
7.239.3 Demaratos and the wax tablet μηχανᾶται τοιάδε 7.239.3 Yes yes object transmission
8.5.1–3 Themistokles tricks Eurybiades and Adeimantos into staying, keeps remainer of money for himself   No yes    
8.22.1–3 Themistokles uses inscription to invite Ionians to desert   Yes yes writing transmission
Trick Trickster Vocabulary Manipulation of signs? Successful? Sign Type Stage of Signification Process
8.24.1–25.2 Xerxes’ ruse to conceal true number of dead   No no    
8.27.3 Tellias uses chalk on Phocians for mutual identification σοφίζεται . . . τοιόνδε 8.27.3 Yes yes object (body) transmission
8.28 Phocians devise trap for Thessalian cavalry   No yes    
8.75.1–3 Themistokles’ secret message to Xerxes   No yes    
8.87.2–4 Artemisia sinks an allied ship to fool Greek pursuer and Xerxes   No yes    
8.109.1–5 Themistokles talks Athenians out of immediate pursuit of Persians to Hellespont διέβαλλε 8.110.1 no yes    
8.137.5 Perdikkas and the circle of sun   yes yes gesture reception
9.33.4–5 Teisamenos gets Spartans to make him and brother citizens   no yes    
9.34.1–2 Melampous gets the Argives to give him and brother part of kingdom   no yes    
9.94.1–3 People of Apollonia cheat Euenios out of full compensation   no yes    
9.98.2–4 Leotykhidas imitates Themistokles (8.22.1–3) re Ionians   no yes    
9.110.2–112 Amestris’ manipulation of traditional Persian birthday promise   yes yes oath transmission
9.116.2–3 Artayktes uses ambiguous words: pays lip service to truth διεβάλετο 9.116.2 yes yes ainetic speech transmission
9.120.2–4 Artayktes interprets portent: attempts to secure own release   yes no portent reception