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"The Arrest of Sisamnes", by Gerard David.
"The Flaying of Sisamnes", by Gerard David.

According to Herodotus, Sisamnes was a corrupt judge under Cambyses II of Persia. He accepted a bribe and delivered an unjust verdict. As a result, the king had him arrested and flayed alive. His skin was then used to cover the seat in which his son would sit in judgment.

Sisamnes was the subject of two paintings by Gerard David, "The Arrest of Sisamnes" and "Flaying of Sisamnes" both done in 1498. Together they make up The Judgement of Cambyses diptych, which was commissioned to hang in the Aldermen's Room in the Bruges City Hall. (Historical images of judgment were commonly used to decorate chambers of justice in 15th-century Europe.)

Sisamnes had a son named Otanes who replaced him as a judge, and later became a Satrap in Ionia.[1]


  1. ^ Perseus Under Philologic: Hdt. 5.25.1.
  2. ^ Metropolitan Museum of Art
  3. ^ Thronus Iustitiae. British Museum.