'King Candaules', after 1859. Artist: Jean-Leon Gerome
'King Candaules', after 1859. Found in the collection of the State A Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts, Moscow. Candaules was a king of the ancient kingdom of Lydia, ruling from 735 until 718 BC. According to The Histories of Herodotus, Candaules boasted of the beauty of his wife to his favourite bodyguard, Gyges. Believing that Gyges doubted his opinion, the king compelled him, despite his reluctance, to hide in his bedchamber and watch her undress so he would see for himself how beautiful she was. The queen spotted Gyges leaving and confronted him later, demanding that either he or her husband must die for dishonouring her. Gyges reluctantly agreed to murder Candaules, and he and the queen were later married.
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