A Dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology

Smith, William

A Dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology. William Smith, LLD, ed. 1890

(Κανδαύλης), known also among the Greeks by the name of Myrsilus, was the last Heracleid king of Lydia. According to the account in Herodotus and Justin, he was extremely proud of his wife's beauty, and insisted on exhibiting her unveiled charms, but without her knowledge, to Gyges, his favourite officer. Gyges was seen by the queen as he was stealing from her chamber, and the next day she summoned him before her, intent on vengeance, and bade him choose whether he would undergo the punishment of death himself, or would consent to murder Candaules and receive the kingdom together with her hand. He chose the latter alternative, and became the founder of the dynasty of the Mennnadae, about B. C. 715. In Plato the story, in the form of the well-known fable of the ring of Gyges, serves the purpose of moral allegory. Plutarch, following in one place the story of Herodotus, speaks in another of Gyges as making war against Candaules with the help of some Carian auxiliaries. (Hdt. 1.7_13; Just. 1.7; Plat. de Repub. ii. pp. 359, 360; Cic. de Off. 3.9; Plut. Quaest. Graec. 45, Sympos. 1.5.1; comp. Thirlwall's Greece, vol. ii. p. 158.) Candaules is mentioned by Pliny in two passages as having given Bularchus, the painter, a large sum of money (" pari rependit auro") for a picture representing a battle of the Magnetes. (Plin. Nat. 7.38, 35.8; comp. Dict. of Ant. p. 682.)