15 years before the message of Demarata hidden on a wax tablet, Darius 1
reigns over the Persian Empire.
After returning from a military expedition to
Thrace, Darius The Great took Histiaeus, tyrant of the Greek city Miletus,
in Susa, the capital of the Persian Empire, to serve him as an advisor. It is
not a choice, it is a decision of the Great King !
Time passes and
Histiaeus suffers from homesickness. We are in 499 BC. and Histiaeus would
like to go back home to Miletus where Aristagoras, his son-in-law performs the
duties of tyrant in his place. He told himself that if the population of
Miletus gets to revolt, Darius will send him to restore order so that he
will finally go home.
In order to ask Aristagoras to cause a revolt, he
takes his most faithful slave, did him shaved, tattooed his message on the head
of the slave (Aeneas Tacticus wrote in his Poliorcetique - How to survive under
siege - that Histiaeus " had printed some letters with a hot iron on the
head of this bald ". Brrr !), waits for the hair growing again and send the " mail " with the
only instruction to tell Aristagoras to shave him and to examine his head.
As written by Herodotus : " Histiaeus, wanting to
order Aristagoras to revolt, found no other way to do it with safety,
because the roads were carefully guarded. " (Book V - Terpsichore, 35).
The trick works but nevertheless the following will be fatal to Histiaeus who
will in the end be crucified in 495 BC.
Herodotus does not say if Aristagoras
beheaded the unfortunate slave to archive the message...