Corrupt judge, Sisamnes, skinned alive for taking bribe - Global Quest Magazine



Friday, July 8, 2022

Corrupt judge, Sisamnes, skinned alive for taking bribe

Christiana Gold

Sisamnes was a corrupt royal judge at the time of Cambyses ll in Persia. It was discovered that he took a bribe in court and passed an unfair judgement. As a consequence the king ordered that he be arrested for his corruption and ordered that he be skinned alive.

Before passing judgement the king asked Sisamnes who he wished to nominate as his successor. Sisamnes, in his greed, chose his son, Otanes. The king agreed and appointed Otanes  to replace his father. He subsequently passed judgement and ordered that Sisamnes removed skin should be used to upholster the seat on which the new judge would sit in court to remind him of the potential consequences of corruption.

Otanes, in his deliberations, was forced to always remember that he was always sitting on the skin of his executed father. This helped to ensure fairness and equity in all his hearings, deliberations and sentences.
"Cambyses learned that Sisamnes had accepted a bribe to influence a verdict, he had him promptly arrested and sentenced him to be flayed alive. He had the skin of the flayed Sisamnes cut into leather strips. Cambyses then appointed Otanes, the son of the condemned Sisamnes, as his father's judicial successor. In order to remind Otanes what happens to corrupt judges and not forget the importance of judicial integrity, Cambyses ordered that the new judge's chair be draped in the leather strips made from the skin of the flayed Sisamnes. Otanes later became a Satrap in Ionia.  Cambyses warned Otanes to continually keep in mind the source of the leather of the chair upon which he would be seated to deliberate and deliver his judgment. The story was also referred to by the first century Latin author  Valerius Maximus in his Factorum ac dictorum memorabilium libri IX"

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