The History of Herodotus

20090420_herodotus_-_the_histories_v1.0_(iphone_misc)THE HISTORY OF HERODOTUS

Translated into English



{e Herodotou diathesis en apasin epieikes, kai tois men agathois
sunedomene, tois de kakois sunalgousa}.–Dion. Halic.

{monos ‘Erodotos ‘Omerikhotatos egeneto}.–Longinus.


This text was prepared from an edition dated 1890, published by
MacMillan and Co., London and New York.

Greek text has been transliterated and marked with brackets, as in
the opening citation above.


If a new translation of Herodotus does not justify itself, it will
hardly be justified in a preface; therefore the question whether it
was needed may be left here without discussion. The aim of the
translator has been above all things faithfulness–faithfulness to the
manner of expression and to the structure of sentences, as well as to
the meaning of the Author. At the same time it is conceived that the
freedom and variety of Herodotus is not always best reproduced by such
severe consistency of rendering as is perhaps desirable in the case of
the Epic writers before and the philosophical writers after his time:
nor again must his simplicity of thought and occasional quaintness be
reproduced in the form of archaisms of language; and that not only
because the affectation of an archaic style would necessarily be
offensive to the reader, but also because in language Herodotus is not
archaic. His style is the “best canon of the Ionic speech,” marked,
however, not so much by primitive purity as by eclectic variety. At
the same time it is characterised largely by the poetic diction of the
Epic and Tragic writers; and while the translator is free to employ
all the resources of modern English, so far as he has them at his
command, he must carefully retain this poetical colouring and by all
means avoid the courtier phrase by which the style of Herodotus has
too often been made “more noble.”[1]

As regards the text from which this translation has been made, it is
based upon that of Stein’s critical edition (Berlin, 1869-1871), that
is to say the estimate there made of the comparative value of the
authorities has been on the whole accepted as a just one, rather than
that which depreciates the value of the Medicean MS. and of the class
to which it belongs. On the other hand the conjectural emendations
proposed by Stein have very seldom been adopted, and his text has been
departed from in a large number of other instances also, which will
for the most part be found recorded in the notes.

As it seemed that even after Stein’s re-collation of the Medicean MS.
there were doubts felt by some scholars[2] as to the true reading in
some places of this MS., which is very generally acknowledged to be
the most important, I thought it right to examine it myself in all
those passages where questions about text arise which concern a
translator, that is in nearly five hundred places altogether; and the
results, when they are worth observing, are recorded in the notes. At
the same time, by the suggestion of Dr. Stein, I re-collated a large
part of the third book in the MS. which is commonly referred to as F
(i.e. Florentinus), called by Stein C, and I examined this MS. also in
a certain number of other places. It should be understood that
wherever in the notes I mention the reading of any particular MS. by
name, I do so on my own authority.

The notes have been confined to a tolerably small compass. Their
purpose is, first, in cases where the text is doubtful, to indicate
the reading adopted by the translator and any other which may seem to
have reasonable probability, but without discussion of the
authorities; secondly, where the rendering is not quite literal (and
in other cases where it seemed desirable), to quote the words of the
original or to give a more literal version; thirdly, to add an
alternative version in cases where there seems to be a doubt as to the
true meaning; and lastly, to give occasionally a short explanation, or
a reference from one passage of the author to another.

For the orthography of proper names reference may be made to the note
prefixed to the index. No consistent system has been adopted, and the
result will therefore be open to criticism in many details; but the
aim has been to avoid on the one hand the pedantry of seriously
altering the form of those names which are fairly established in the
English language of literature, as distinguished from that of
scholarship, and on the other hand the absurdity of looking to Latin
rather than to Greek for the orthography of the names which are not so
established. There is no intention to put forward any theory about

The index of proper names will, it is hoped, be found more complete
and accurate than those hitherto published. The best with which I was
acquainted I found to have so many errors and omissions[3] that I was
compelled to do the work again from the beginning. In a collection of
more than ten thousand references there must in all probability be
mistakes, but I trust they will be found to be few.

My acknowledgments of obligation are due first to Dr. Stein, both for
his critical work and also for his most excellent commentary, which I
have had always by me. After this I have made most use of the editions
of Krüger, Bähr, Abicht, and (in the first two books) Mr. Woods. As to
translations, I have had Rawlinson’s before me while revising my own
work, and I have referred also occasionally to the translations of
Littlebury (perhaps the best English version as regards style, but
full of gross errors), Taylor, and Larcher. In the second book I have
also used the version of B. R. reprinted by Mr. Lang: of the first
book of this translation I have access only to a fragment written out
some years ago, when the British Museum was within my reach. Other
particular obligations are acknowledged in the notes.


[1] See the remarks of P.-L. Courier (on Larcher’s version) in the
preface to his specimens of a new translation of Herodotus
(/Œuvres complètes de P.-L. Courier/, Bruxelles, 1828).

[2] Mr. Woods, for example, in his edition of the first book
(published in 1873) gives a list of readings for the first and
second books, in which he almost invariably prefers the authority
of Gronovius to that of Stein, where their reports differ. In so
doing he is wrong in all cases (I think) except one, namely i. 134
{to degomeno}. He is wrong, for examine, in i. 189, where the MS.
has {touto}, i. 196 {an agesthai}, i. 199 {odon}, ii. 15 {te de},
ii. 95 {up auto}, ii. 103 {kai prosotata}, ii. 124 {to addo}
(without {dao}), ii. 181 {no}. Abicht also has made several
inaccurate statements, e.g. i. 185, where the MS. has {es ton
Euphreten}, and vii. 133 {Xerxes}.

[3] For example in the index of proper names attached to Stein’s
annotated edition (Berlin, 1882), to which I am under obligation,
having checked my own by it, I find that I have marked upwards of
two hundred mistakes or oversights: no doubt I have been saved by
it from at least as many.




This is the Showing forth of the Inquiry of Herodotus of
Halicarnassos, to the end that[1] neither the deeds of men may be
forgotten by lapse of time, nor the works[2] great and marvellous,
which have been produced some by Hellenes and some by Barbarians, may
lose their renown; and especially that the causes may be remembered
for which these waged war with one another.

1. Those of the Persians who have knowledge of history declare that
the Phenicians first began the quarrel. These, they say, came from
that which is called the Erythraian Sea to this of ours; and having
settled in the land where they continue even now to dwell, set
themselves forthwith to make long voyages by sea. And conveying
merchandise of Egypt and of Assyria they arrived at other places and
also at Argos; now Argos was at that time in all points the first of
the States within that land which is now called Hellas;–the
Phenicians arrived then at this land of Argos, and began to dispose of
their ship’s cargo: and on the fifth or sixth day after they had
arrived, when their goods had been almost all sold, there came down to
the sea a great company of women, and among them the daughter of the
king; and her name, as the Hellenes also agree, was Io the daughter of
Inachos. These standing near to the stern of the ship were buying of
the wares such as pleased them most, when of a sudden the Phenicians,
passing the word from one to another, made a rush upon them; and the
greater part of the women escaped by flight, but Io and certain others
were carried off. So they put them on board their ship, and forthwith
departed, sailing away to Egypt. 2. In this manner the Persians report
that Io came to Egypt, not agreeing therein with the Hellenes,[3] and
this they say was the first beginning of wrongs. Then after this, they
say, certain Hellenes (but the name of the people they are not able to
report) put in to the city of Tyre in Phenicia and carried off the
king’s daughter Europa;–these would doubtless be Cretans;–and so
they were quits for the former injury. After this however the
Hellenes, they say, were the authors of the second wrong; for they
sailed in to Aia of Colchis and to the river Phasis with a ship of
war, and from thence, after they had done the other business for which
they came, they carried off the king’s daughter Medea: and the king of
Colchis sent a herald to the land of Hellas and demanded satisfaction
for the rape[4] and to have his daughter back; but they answered that,
as the Barbarians had given them no satisfaction for the rape of Io
the Argive, so neither would they give satisfaction to the Barbarians
for this.

3. In the next generation after this, they say, Alexander the son of
Priam, having heard of these things, desired to get a wife for himself
by violence[4] from Hellas, being fully assured that he would not be
compelled to give any satisfaction for this wrong, inasmuch as the
Hellenes gave none for theirs. So he carried off Helen, and the
Hellenes resolved to send messengers first and to demand her back with
satisfaction for the rape; and when they put forth this demand, the
others alleged to them the rape of Medea, saying that the Hellenes
were now desiring satisfaction to be given to them by others, though
they had given none themselves nor had surrendered the person when
demand was made.

4. Up to this point, they say, nothing more happened than the carrying
away of women on both sides; but after this the Hellenes were very
greatly to blame; for they set the first example of war, making an
expedition into Asia before the Barbarians made any into Europe. Now
they say that in their judgment, though it is an act of wrong to carry
away women by force, it is a folly to set one’s heart on taking
vengeance for their rape, and the wise course is to pay no regard when
they have been carried away; for it is evident that they would never
be carried away if they were not themselves willing to go. And the
Persians say that they, namely the people of Asia, when their women
were carried away by force, had made it a matter of no account, but
the Hellenes on account of a woman of Lacedemon gathered together a
great armament, and then came to Asia and destroyed the dominion of
Priam; and that from this time forward they had always considered the
Hellenic race to be their enemy: for Asia and the Barbarian races
which dwell there the Persians claim as belonging to them; but Europe
and the Hellenic race they consider to be parted off from them.

5. The Persians for their part say that things happened thus; and they
conclude that the beginning of their quarrel with the Hellenes was on
account of the taking of Ilion: but as regards Io the Phenicians do
not agree with the Persians in telling the tale thus; for they deny
that they carried her off to Egypt by violent means, and they say on
the other hand that when they were in Argos she was intimate with the
master of their ship, and perceiving that she was with child, she was
ashamed to confess it to her parents, and therefore sailed away with
the Phenicians of her own will, for fear of being found out. These are
the tales told by the Persians and the Phenicians severally: and
concerning these things I am not going to say that they happened thus
or thus,[4a] but when I have pointed to the man who first within my
own knowledge began to commit wrong against the Hellenes, I shall go
forward further with the story, giving an account of the cities of
men, small as well as great: for those which in old times were great
have for the most part become small, while those that were in my own
time great used in former times to be small: so then, since I know
that human prosperity never continues steadfast, I shall make mention
of both indifferently.


6. Crœsus was Lydian by race, the son of Alyattes and ruler of the
nations which dwell on this side of the river Halys; which river,
flowing from the South between the Syrians[5] and the Paphlagonians,
runs out towards the North Wind into that Sea which is called the
Euxine. This Crœsus, first of all the Barbarians of whom we have
knowledge, subdued certain of the Hellenes and forced them to pay
tribute, while others he gained over and made them his friends. Those
whom he subdued were the Ionians, the Aiolians, and the Dorians who
dwell in Asia; and those whom he made his friends were the
Lacedemonians. But before the reign of Crœsus all the Hellenes were
free; for the expedition of the Kimmerians, which came upon Ionia
before the time of Crœsus, was not a conquest of the cities but a
plundering incursion only.[6] 7. Now the supremacy which had belonged
to the Heracleidai came to the family of Crœsus, called Mermnadai, in
the following manner:–Candaules, whom the Hellenes call Myrsilos, was
ruler of Sardis and a descendant of Alcaios, son of Heracles: for
Agron, the son of Ninos, the son of Belos, the son of Alcaios, was the
first of the Heracleidai who became king of Sardis, and Candaules the
son of Myrsos was the last; but those who were kings over this land
before Agrond, were descendants of Lydos the son of Atys, whence this
whole nation was called Lydian, having been before called Meonian.
From these the Heracleidai, descended from Heracles and the slave-girl
of Iardanos, obtained the government, being charged with it by reason
of an oracle; and they reigned for two-and-twenty generations of men,
five hundred and five years, handing on the power from father to son,
till the time of Clandaules the son of Myrsos. 8. This Candaules then
of whom I speak had become passionately in love with his own wife; and
having become so, he deemed that his wife was fairer by far than all
other women; and thus deeming, to Gyges the son of Daskylos (for he of
all his spearmen was the most pleasing to him), to this Gyges, I say,
he used to impart as well the more weighty of his affairs as also the
beauty of his wife, praising it above measure: and after no long time,
since it was destined that evil should happen to Candaules, he said to
Gyges as follows: “Gyges, I think that thou dost not believe me when I
tell thee of the beauty of my wife, for it happens that men’s ears are
less apt of belief than their eyes: contrive therefore means by which
thou mayest look upon her naked.” But he cried aloud and said:
“Master, what word of unwisdom is this which thou dost utter, bidding
me look upon my mistress naked? When a woman puts off her tunic she
puts off her modesty also. Moreover of old time those fair sayings
have been found out by men, from which we ought to learn wisdom; and
of these one is this,–that each man should look on his own: but I
believe indeed that she is of all women the fairest and I entreat thee
not to ask of me that which it is not lawful for me to do.” 9. With
such words as these he resisted, fearing lest some evil might come to
him from this; but the king answered him thus: “Be of good courage,
Gyges, and have no fear, either of me, that I am saying these words to
try thee, or of my wife, lest any harm may happen to thee from her.
For I will contrive it so from the first that she shall not even
perceive that she has been seen by thee. I will place thee in the room
where we sleep, behind the open door;[7] and after I have gone in, my
wife also will come to lie down. Now there is a seat near the entrance
of the room, and upon this she will lay her garments as she takes them
off one by one; and so thou wilt be able to gaze upon her at full
leisure. And when she goes from the chair to the bed and thou shalt be
behind her back, then let it be thy part to take care that she sees
thee not as thou goest through the door.” 10. He then, since he might
not avoid it, gave consent: and Candaules, when he considered that it
was time to rest, led Gyges to the chamber; and straightway after this
the woman also appeared: and Gyges looked upon her after she came in
and as she laid down her garments; and when she had her back turned
towards him, as she went to the bed, then he slipped away from his
hiding-place and was going forth. And as he went out, the woman caught
sight of him, and perceiving that which had been done by her husband
she did not cry out, though struck with shame,[8] but she made as
though she had not perceived the matter, meaning to avenge herself
upon Candaules: for among the Lydians as also among most other
Barbarians it is a shame even for a man to be seen naked. 11. At the
time then she kept silence, as I say, and made no outward sign; but as
soon as day had dawned, and she made ready those of the servants whom
she perceived to be the most attached to herself, and after that she
sent to summon Gyges. He then, not supposing that anything of that
which had been done was known to her, came upon her summons; for he
had been accustomed before to go[9] whenever the queen summoned him.
And when Gyges was come, the woman said to him these words: “There are
now two ways open to thee, Gyges, and I give thee the choice which of
the two thou wilt prefer to take. Either thou must slay Candaules and
possess both me and the kingdom of Lydia, or thou must thyself here on
the spot be slain, so that thou mayest not in future, by obeying
Candaules in all things, see that which thou shouldest not. Either he
must die who formed this design, or thou who hast looked upon me naked
and done that which is not accounted lawful.” For a time then Gyges
was amazed at these words, and afterwards he began to entreat her that
she would not bind him by necessity to make such a choice: then
however, as he could not prevail with her, but saw that necessity was
in truth set before him either to slay his master or to be himself
slain by others, he made the choice to live himself; and he inquired
further as follows: “Since thou dost compel me to take my master’s
life against my own will, let me hear from thee also what is the
manner in which we shall lay hands upon him.” And she answering said:
“From that same place shall the attempt be, where he displayed me
naked; and we will lay hands upon him as he sleeps.” 12. So after they
had prepared the plot, when night came on, (for Gyges was not let go
nor was there any way of escape for him, but he must either be slain
himself or slay Candaules), he followed the woman to the bedchamber;
and she gave him a dagger and concealed him behind that very same
door. Then afterwards, while Candaules was sleeping, Gyges came
privily up to him[10] and slew him, and he obtained both his wife and
his kingdom: of him moreover Archilochos the Parian, who lived about
that time, made mention in a trimeter iambic verse.[11] 13. He
obtained the kingdom however and was strengthened in it by means of
the Oracle at Delphi; for when the Lydians were angry because of the
fate of Candaules, and had risen in arms, a treaty was made between
the followers of Gyges and the other Lydians to this effect, that if
the Oracle should give answer that he was to be king of the Lydians,
he should be king, and if not, he should give back the power to the
sons of Heracles. So the Oracle gave answer, and Gyges accordingly
became king: yet the Pythian prophetess said this also, that vengeance
for the Heracleidai should come upon the descendants of Gyges in the
fifth generation. Of this oracle the Lydians and their kings made no
account until it was in fact fulfilled.

14. Thus the Mermnadai obtained the government having driven out from
it the Heracleidai: and Gyges when he became ruler sent votive
offerings to Delphi not a few, for of all the silver offerings at
Delphi his are more in number than those of any other man; and besides
the silver he offered a vast quantity of gold, and especially one
offering which is more worthy of mention than the rest, namely six
golden mixing-bowls, which are dedicated there as his gift: of these
the weight is thirty talents, and they stand in the treasury of the
Corinthians, (though in truth this treasury does not belong to the
State of the Corinthians, but is that of Kypselos the son of
Aëtion).[12] This Gyges was the first of the Barbarians within our
knowledge who dedicated votive offerings at Delphi, except only Midas
the son of Gordias king of Phrygia, who dedicated for an offering the
royal throne on which he sat before all to decide causes; and this
throne, a sight worth seeing, stands in the same place with the bowls
of Gyges. This gold and silver which Gyges dedicated is called Gygian
by the people of Delphi, after the name of him who offered it.

Now Gyges also,[13] as soon as he became king, led an army against
Miletos and Smyrna, and he took the lower town of Colophon:[14] but no
other great deed did he do in his reign, which lasted eight-and-thirty
years, therefore we will pass him by with no more mention than has
already been made, 15, and I will speak now of Ardys the son of Gyges,
who became king after Gyges. He took Priene and made an invasion
against Miletos; and while he was ruling over Sardis, the Kimmerians
driven from their abodes by the nomad Scythians came to Asia and took
Sardis except the citadel.

16. Now when Ardys had been king for nine-and-forty years, Sadyattes
his son succeeded to his kingdom, and reigned twelve years; and after
him Alyattes. This last made war against Kyaxares the descendant of
Deïokes and against the Medes,[15] and he drove the Kimmerians forth
out of Asia, and he took Smyrna which had been founded from Colophon,
and made an invasion against Clazomenai. From this he returned not as
he desired, but with great loss: during his reign however he performed
other deeds very worthy of mention as follows:–17. He made war with
those of Miletos, having received this war as an inheritance from his
father: for he used to invade their land and besiege Miletos in the
following manner:–whenever there were ripe crops upon the land, then
he led an army into their confines, making his march to the sound of
pipes and harps and flutes both of male and female tone: and when he
came to the Milesian land, he neither pulled down the houses that were
in the fields, nor set fire to them nor tore off their doors, but let
them stand as they were; the trees however and the crops that were
upon the land he destroyed, and then departed by the way he came: for
the men of Miletos had command of the sea, so that it was of no use
for his army to blockade them: and he abstained from pulling down the
houses to the end that the Milesians might have places to dwell in
while they sowed and tilled the land, and by the means of their labour
he might have somewhat to destroy when he made his invasion. 18. Thus
he continued to war with them for eleven years; and in the course of
these years the Milesians suffered two great defeats, once when they
fought a battle in the district of Limenion in their own land, and
again in the plain of Maiander. Now for six of the eleven years
Sadyattes the son of Ardys was still ruler of the Lydians, the same
who was wont to invade the land of Miletos at the times mentioned;[16] for this Sadyattes was he who first began the war: but for the five
years which followed these first six the war was carried on by
Alyattes the son of Sadyattes, who received it as an inheritance from
his father (as I have already said) and applied himself to it
earnestly. And none of the Ionians helped those of Miletos bear the
burden of this war except only the men of Chios. These came to their
aid to pay back like with like, for the Milesians had formerly
assisted the Chians throughout their war with the people of Erythrai.
19. Then in the twelfth year of the war, when standing corn was being
burnt by the army of the Lydians, it happened as follows:–as soon as
the corn was kindled, it was driven by a violent wind and set fire to
the temple of Athene surnamed of Assessos; and the temple being set on
fire was burnt down to the ground. Of this no account was made then;
but afterwards when the army had returned to Sardis, Alyattes fell
sick, and as his sickness lasted long, he sent messengers to inquire
of the Oracle at Delphi, either being advised to do so by some one, or
because he himself thought it best to send and inquire of the god
concerning his sickness. But when these arrived at Delphi, the Pythian
prophetess said that she would give them no answer, until they should
have built up again the temple of Athene which they had burnt at
Assessos in the land of Miletos. 20. Thus much I know by the report of
the people of Delphi; but the Milesians add to this that Periander the
son of Kypselos, being a special guest-friend of Thrasybulos the then
despot of Miletos, heard of the oracle which had been given to
Alyattes, and sending a messenger told Thrasybulos, in order that he
might have knowledge of it beforehand and take such counsel as the
case required. This is the story told by the Milesians. 21. And
Alyattes, when this answer was reported to him, sent a herald
forthwith to Miletos, desiring to make a truce with Thrasybulos and
the Milesians for so long a time as he should be building the temple.
He then was being sent as envoy to Miletos; and Thrasybulos in the
meantime being informed beforehand of the whole matter and knowing
what Alyattes was meaning to do, contrived this device:–he gathered
together in the market-place all the store of provisions which was
found in the city, both his own and that which belonged to private
persons; and he proclaimed to the Milesians that on a signal given by
him they should all begin to drink and make merry with one another.
22. This Thrasybulos did and thus proclaimed to the end that the
herald from Sardis, seeing a vast quantity of provisions carelessly
piled up, and the people feasting, might report this to Alyattes: and
so on fact it happened; for when the herald returned to Sardis after
seeing this and delivering to Thrasybulos the charge which was given
to him by the king of Lydia, the peace which was made, came about, as
I am informed, merely because of this. For Alyattes, who thought that
there was a great famine in Miletos and that the people had been worn
down to the extreme of misery, heard from the herald, when he returned
from Miletos, the opposite to that which he himself supposed. And
after this the peace was made between them on condition of being
guest-friends and allies to one another, and Alyattes built two
temples to Athene at Assessos in place of one, and himself recovered
from his sickness. With regard then to the war waged by Alyattes with
the Milesians and Thrasybulos things went thus.

23. As for Periander, the man who gave information about the oracle to
Thrasybulos, he was the son of Kypselos, and despot of Corinth. In his
life, say the Corinthians, (and with them agree the Lesbians), there
happened to him a very great marvel, namely that Arion of Methymna was
carried ashore at Tainaron upon a dolphin’s back. This man was a
harper second to none of those who then lived, and the first, so far
as we know, who composed a dithyramb, naming it so and teaching it to
a chorus[17] at Corinth. 24. This Arion, they say, who for the most
part of his time stayed with Periander, conceived a desire to sail to
Italy[18] and Sicily; and after he had there acquired large sums of
money, he wished to return again to Corinth. He set forth therefore
from Taras,[19] and as he had faith in Corinthians more than in other
men, he hired a ship with a crew of Corinthians. These, the story
says, when out in open sea, formed a plot to cast Arion overboard and
so possess his wealth; and he having obtained knowledge of this made
entreaties to them, offering them his wealth and asking them to grant
him his life. With this however he did not prevail upon them, but the
men who were conveying him bade him either slay himself there, that he
might receive burial on the land, or leap straightway into the sea. So
Arion being driven to a strait entreated them that, since they were so
minded, they would allow him to take his stand in full minstrel’s garb
upon the deck[20] of the ship and sing; and he promised to put himself
to death after he had sung. They then, well pleased to think that they
should hear the best of all minstrels upon earth, drew back from the
stern towards the middle of the ship; and he put on the full
minstrel’s garb and took his lyre, and standing on the deck performed
the Orthian measure. Then as the measure ended, he threw himself into
the sea just as he was, in his full minstrel’s garb; and they went on
sailing away to Corinth, but him, they say, a dolphin supported on its
back and brought him to shore at Tainaron: and when he had come to
land he proceeded to Corinth with his minstrel’s garb. Thither having
arrived he related all that had been done; and Periander doubting of
his story kept Arion in guard and would let him go nowhere, while he
kept careful watch for those who had conveyed him. When these came, he
called them and inquired of them if they had any report to make of
Arion; and when they said that he was safe in Italy and that they had
left him at Taras faring well, Arion suddenly appeared before them in
the same guise as when he made his leap from the ship; and they being
struck with amazement were no longer able to deny when they were
questioned. This is the tale told by the Corinthians and Lesbians
alike, and there is at Tainaron a votive offering of Arion of no great
size,[21] namely a bronze figure of a man upon a dolphin’s back.

25. Alyattes the Lydian, when he had thus waged war against the
Milesians, afterwards died, having reigned seven-and-fifty years. This
king, when he recovered from his sickness, dedicated a votive offering
at Delphi (being the second of his house who had so done), namely a
great mixing-bowl of silver with a stand for it of iron welded
together, which last is a sight worth seeing above all the offerings
at Delphi and the work of Glaucos the Chian, who of all men first
found out the art of welding iron.

26. After Alyattes was dead Crœsus the son of Alyattes received the
kingdom in succession, being five-and-thirty years of age. He (as I
said) fought against the Hellenes and of them he attacked the
Ephesians first. The Ephesians then, being besieged by him, dedicated
their city to Artemis and tied a rope from the temple to the wall of
the city: now the distance between the ancient city, which was then
being besieged, and the temple is seven furlongs.[22] These, I say,
where the first upon whom Crœsus laid hands, but afterwards he did the
same to the other Ionian and Aiolian cities one by one, alleging
against them various causes of complaint, and making serious charges
against those in whose cases he could find serious grounds, while
against others of them he charged merely trifling offences.

27. Then when the Hellenes in Asia had been conquered and forced to
pay tribute, he designed next to build for himself ships and to lay
hands upon those who dwelt in the islands; and when all was prepared
for his building of ships, they say that Bias of Priene (or, according
to another account, Pittacos of Mytilene) came to Sardis, and being
asked by Crœsus whether there was any new thing doing in Hellas,
brought to an end his building of ships by this saying: “O king,” said
he, “the men of the islands are hiring a troop of ten thousand horse,
and with this they mean to march to Sardis and fight against thee.”
And Crœsus, supposing that what he reported was true, said: “May the
gods put it into the minds of the dwellers of the islands to come with
horses against the sons of the Lydians!” And he answered and said: “O
king, I perceive that thou dost earnestly desire to catch the men of
the islands on the mainland riding upon horses; and it is not
unreasonable that thou shouldest wish for this: what else however
thinkest thou the men of the islands desire and have been praying for
ever since the time they heard that thou wert about to build ships
against them, than that they might catch the Lydians upon the sea, so
as to take vengeance upon thee for the Hellenes who dwell upon the
mainland, whom thou dost hold enslaved?” Crœsus, they say, was greatly
pleased with this conclusion,[23] and obeying his suggestion, for he
judged him to speak suitably, he stopped his building of ships; and
upon that he formed a friendship with the Ionians dwelling in the

28. As time went on, when nearly all those dwelling on this side the
river Halys had been subdued, (for except the Kilikians and Lykians
Crœsus subdued and kept under his rule all the nations, that is to say
Lydians, Phrygians, Mysians, Mariandynoi, Chalybians, Paphlagonians,
Thracians both Thynian and Bithynian, Carians, Ionians, Dorians,
Aiolians, and Pamphylians),[24] 29, when these, I say, had been
subdued, and while he was still adding to his Lydian dominions, there
came to Sardis, then at the height of its wealth, all the wise men[25] of the Hellas who chanced to be alive at that time, brought thither
severally by various occasions; and of them one was Solon the
Athenian, who after he had made laws for the Athenians at their
bidding, left his native country for ten years and sailed away saying
that he desired to visit various lands, in order that he might not be
compelled to repeal any of the laws which he had proposed.[26] For of
themselves the Athenians were not competent to do this, having bound
themselves by solemn oaths to submit for ten years to the laws which
Solon should propose for them.

30. So Solon, having left his native country for this reason and for
the sake of seeing various lands, came to Amasis in Egypt, and also to
Crœsus at Sardis. Having there arrived he was entertained as a guest
by Crœsus in the king’s palace; and afterwards, on the third or fourth
day, at the bidding of Crœsus his servants led Solon round to see his
treasuries; and they showed him all things, how great and magnificent
they were: and after he had looked upon them all and examined them as
he had occasion, Crœsus asked him as follows: “Athenian guest, much
report of thee has come to us, both in regard to thy wisdom and thy
wanderings, how that in thy search for wisdom thou hast traversed many
lands to see them; now therefore a desire has come upon me to ask thee
whether thou hast seen any whom thou deemest to be of all men the most
happy.”[27] This he asked supposing that he himself was the happiest
of men; but Solon, using no flattery but the truth only, said: “Yes, O
king, Tellos the Athenian.” And Crœsus, marvelling at that which he
said, asked him earnestly: “In what respect dost thou judge Tellos to
be the most happy?” And he said: “Tellos, in the first place, living
while his native State was prosperous, had sons fair and good and saw
from all of them children begotten and living to grow up; and secondly
he had what with us is accounted wealth, and after his life a most
glorious end: for when a battle was fought by the Athenians at Eleusis
against the neighbouring people, he brought up supports and routed the
foe and there died by a most fair death; and the Athenians buried him
publicly where he fell, and honoured him greatly.” 31. So when Solon
had moved Crœsus to inquire further by the story of Tellos, recounting
how many points of happiness he had, the king asked again whom he had
seen proper to be placed next after this man, supposing that he
himself would certainly obtain at least the second place; but he
replied: “Cleobis and Biton: for these, who were of Argos by race,
possessed a sufficiency of wealth and, in addition to this, strength
of body such as I shall tell. Both equally had won prizes in the
games, and moreover the following tale is told of them:–There was a
feast of Hera among the Argives and it was by all means necessary that
their mother should be borne in a car to the temple. But since their
oxen were not brought up in time from the field, the young men, barred
from all else by lack of time, submitted themselves to the yoke and
drew the wain, their mother being borne by them upon it; and so they
brought it on for five-and-forty furlongs,[28] and came to the temple.
Then after they had done this and had been seen by the assembled
crowd, there came to their life a most excellent ending; and in this
the deity declared that it was better for man to die than to continue
to live. For the Argive men were standing round and extolling the
strength[29] of the young men, while the Argive women were extolling
the mother to whose lot it had fallen to have such sons; and the
mother being exceedingly rejoiced both by the deed itself and by the
report made of it, took her stand in front of the image of the goddess
and prayed that she would give to Cleobis and Biton her sons, who had
honoured her[30] greatly, that gift which is best for man to receive:
and after this prayer, when they had sacrificed and feasted, the young
men lay down to sleep within the temple itself, and never rose again,
but were held bound in this last end.[31] And the Argives made statues
in the likeness of them and dedicated them as offerings at Delphi,
thinking that they had proved themselves most excellent.” 32. Thus
Solon assigned the second place in respect of happiness to these: and
Crœsus was moved to anger and said: “Athenian guest, hast thou then so
cast aside our prosperous state as worth nothing, that thou dost
prefer to us even men of private station?” And he said: “Crœsus, thou
art inquiring about human fortunes of one who well knows that the
Deity is altogether envious and apt to disturb our lot. For in the
course of long time a man may see many things which he would not
desire to see, and suffer also many things which he would not desire
to suffer. The limit of life for a man I lay down at seventy years:
and these seventy years give twenty-five thousand and two hundred
days, not reckoning for any intercalated month. Then if every other
one of these years shall be made longer by one month, that the seasons
may be caused to come round at the due time of the year, the
intercalated months will be in number five-and-thirty besides the
seventy years; and of these months the days will be one thousand and
fifty. Of all these days, being in number twenty-six thousand two
hundred and fifty, which go to the seventy years, one day produces
nothing at all which resembles what another brings with it. Thus then,
O Crœsus, man is altogether a creature of accident. As for thee, I
perceive that thou art both great in wealth and king of many men, but
that of which thou didst ask me I cannot call thee yet, until I learn
that thou hast brought thy life to a fair ending: for the very rich
man is not at all to be accounted more happy than he who has but his
subsistence from day to day, unless also the fortune go with him of
ending his life well in possession of all things fair. For many very
wealthy men are not happy,[32] while many who have but a moderate
living are fortunate;[33] and in truth the very rich man who is not
happy has two advantages only as compared with the poor man who is
fortunate, whereas this latter has many as compared with the rich man
who is not happy. The rich man is able better to fulfil his desire,
and also to endure a great calamity if it fall upon him; whereas the
other has advantage over him in these things which follow:–he is not
indeed able equally with the rich man to endure a calamity or to
fulfil his desire, but these his good fortune keeps away from him,
while he is sound of limb,[34] free from disease, untouched by
suffering, the father of fair children and himself of comely form; and
if in addition to this he shall end his life well, he is worthy to be
called that which thou seekest, namely a happy man; but before he
comes to his end it is well to hold back and not to call him yet happy
but only fortunate. Now to possess all these things together is
impossible for one who is mere man, just as no single land suffices to
supply all tings for itself, but one thing it has and another it
lacks, and the land that has the greatest number of things is the
best: so also in the case of a man, no single person is complete in
himself, for one thing he has and another he lacks; but whosoever of
men continues to the end in possession of the greatest number of these
things and then has a gracious ending of his life, he is by me
accounted worthy, O king, to receive this name. But we must of every
thing examine the end and how it will turn out at the last, for to
many God shows but a glimpse of happiness and then plucks them up by
the roots and overturns them.” 33. Thus saying he refused to gratify
Crœsus, who sent him away from his presence holding him in no esteem,
and thinking him utterly senseless in that he passed over present good
things and bade men look to the end of every matter.

34. After Solon had departed, a great retribution from God came upon
Crœsus, probably because he judged himself to be the happiest of all
men. First there came and stood by him a dream, which showed to him
the truth of the evils that were about to come to pass in respect of
his son. Now Crœsus had two sons, of whom one was deficient, seeing
that he was deaf and dumb, while the other far surpassed his
companions of the same age in all things: and the name of this last
was Atys. As regards this Atys then, the dream signified to Crœsus
that he should lose him by the blow of an iron spear-point:[35] and
when he rose up from sleep and considered the matter with himself, he
was struck with fear on account of the dream; and first he took for
his son a wife; and whereas his son had been wont to lead the armies
of the Lydians, he now no longer sent him forth anywhere on any such
business; and the javelins and lances and all such things which men
use for fighting he conveyed out of the men’s apartments and piled
them up in the inner bed-chambers, for fear lest something hanging up
might fall down upon his son. 35. Then while he was engaged about the
marriage of his son, there came to Sardis a man under a misfortune and
with hands not clean, a Phrygian by birth and of the royal house. This
man came to the house of Crœsus, and according to the customs which
prevail in that land made request that he might have cleansing; and
Crœsus gave him cleansing: now the manner of cleansing among the
Lydians is the same almost as that which the Hellenes use. So when
Crœsus had done that which was customary, he asked of him whence he
came and who he was, saying as follows: “Man, who art thou, and from
what region of Phrygia didst thou come to sit upon my hearth? And whom
of men or women didst thou slay?” And he replied: “O king, I am the
son of Gordias, the son of Midas, and I am called Adrastos; and I slew
my own brother against my will, and therefore am I here, having been
driven forth by my father and deprived of all that I had.” And Crœsus
answered thus: “Thou art, as it chances, the offshoot of men who are
our friends and thou hast come to friends, among whom thou shalt want
of nothing so long as thou shalt remain in our land: and thou wilt
find it most for thy profit to bear this misfortune as lightly as may
be.” So he had his abode with Crœsus.[36]

36. During this time there was produced in the Mysian Olympos a boar
of monstrous size. This, coming down from the mountain aforesaid,
ravaged the fields of the Mysians, and although the Mysians went out
against it often, yet they could do it no hurt, but rather received
hurt themselves from it; so at length messengers came from the Mysians
to Crœsus and said: “O king, there has appeared in our land a boar of
monstrous size, which lays waste our fields; and we, desiring eagerly
to take it, are not able: now therefore we ask of thee to send with us
thy son and also a chosen band of young men with dogs, that we may
destroy it out of our land.” Thus they made request, and Crœsus
calling to mind the words of the dream spoke to them as follows: “As
touching my son, make no further mention of him in this matter; for I
will not send him with you, seeing that he is newly married and is
concerned now with the affairs of his marriage: but I will send with
you chosen men of the Lydians and the whole number of my hunting dogs,
and I will give command to those who go, to be as zealous as may be in
helping you to destroy the wild beast out of your land.”

37. Thus he made reply, and while the Mysians were being contented
with this answer, there came in also the son of Crœsus, having heard
of the request made by the Mysians: and when Crœsus said that he would
not send his son with them, the young man spoke as follows: “My
father, in times past the fairest and most noble part was allotted to
us, to go out continually to wars and to the chase and so have good
repute; but now thou hast debarred me from both of these, although
thou hast not observed in me any cowardly or faint-hearted spirit. And
now with what face must I appear when I go to and from the market-
place of the city? What kind of a man shall I be esteemed by the
citizens, and what kind of a man shall I be esteemed by my newly-
married wife? With what kind of a husband will she think that she is
mated? Therefore either let me go to the hunt, or persuade me by
reason that these things are better for me done as now they are.” 38.
And Crœsus made answer thus: “My son, not because I have observed in
thee any spirit of cowardice or any other ungracious thing, do I act
thus; but a vision of a dream came and stood by me in my sleep and
told me that thou shouldest be short-lived, and that thou shouldest
perish by a spear-point of iron. With thought of this vision therefore
I both urged on this marriage for thee, and I refuse now to send thee
upon the matter which is being taken in hand, having a care of thee
that I may steal thee from thy fate at least for the period of my own
life, if by any means possible for me to do so. For thou art, as it
chances, my only son: the other I do not reckon as one, seeing that he
is deficient in hearing.” 39. The young man made answer thus: “It may
well be forgiven in thee, O my father, that thou shouldest have a care
of me after having seen such a vision; but that which thou dost not
understand, and in which the meaning of the dream has escaped thee, it
is right that I should expound to thee. Thou sayest the dream declared
that I should end my life by means of a spear-point of iron: but what
hands has a boar, or what spear-point of iron, of which thou art
afraid? If the dream had told thee that I should end my life by a
tusk, or any other thing which resembles that, it would be right for
thee doubtless to do as thou art doing; but it said ‘by a spear-
point.’ Since therefore our fight will not be with men, let me now
go.” 40. Crœsus made answer: “My son, thou dost partly prevail with me
by declaring thy judgment about the dream; therefore, having been
prevailed upon by thee, I change my resolution and allow thee to go to
the chase.”

41. Having thus said Crœsus went to summon Adrastos the Phrygian; and
when he came, he addressed him thus: “Adrastos, when thou wast struck
with a grievous misfortune (with which I reproach thee not), I
cleansed thee, and I have received thee into my house supplying all
thy costs. Now therefore, since having first received kindness from me
thou art bound to requite me with kindness, I ask of thee to be the
protector of my son who goes forth to the chase, lest any evil robbers
come upon you by the way to do you harm; and besides this thou too
oughtest to go where thou mayest become famous by thy deeds, for it
belongs to thee as an inheritance from thy fathers so to do, and
moreover thou hast strength for it.” 42. Adrastos made answer: “O
king, but for this I should not have been going to any such contest of
valour; for first it is not fitting that one who is suffering such a
great misfortune as mine should seek the company of his fellows who
are in prosperity, and secondly I have no desire for it; and for many
reasons I should have kept myself away. But now, since thou art urgent
with me, and I ought to gratify thee (for I am bound to requite thee
with kindness), I am ready to do this: expect therefore that thy son,
whom thou commandest me to protect, will return home to thee unhurt,
so far as his protector may avail to keep him safe.” 43. When he had
made answer to Crœsus in words like these, they afterwards set forth
provided with chosen young men and with dogs. And when they were come
to Mount Olympos, they tracked the animal; and having found it and
taken their stand round in a circle, they were hurling against it
their spears. Then the guest, he who had been cleansed of
manslaughter, whose name was Adrastos, hurling a spear at it missed
the boar and struck the son of Crœsus. So he being struck by the
spear-point fulfilled the saying of the dream. And one ran to report
to Crœsus that which had come to pass, and having come to Sardis he
signified to him of the combat and of the fate of his son. 44. And
Crœsus was very greatly disturbed by the death of his son, and was
much the more moved to complaining by this, namely that his son was
slain by the man whom he had himself cleansed of manslaughter. And
being grievously troubled by the misfortune he called upon Zeus the
Cleanser, protesting to him that which he had suffered from his guest,
and he called moreover upon the Protector of Suppliants[37] and the
Guardian of Friendship,[38] naming still the same god, and calling
upon him as the Protector of Suppliants because when he received the
guest into his house he had been fostering ignorantly the slayer of
his son, and as the Guardian of Friendship because having sent him as
a protector he had found him the worst of foes. 45. After this the
Lydians came bearing the corpse, and behind it followed the slayer:
and he taking his stand before the corpse delivered himself up to
Crœsus, holding forth his hands and bidding the king slay him over the
corpse, speaking of his former misfortune and saying that in addition
to this he had now been the destroyer of the man who had cleansed him
of it; and that life for him was no more worth living. But Crœsus
hearing this pitied Adrastos, although he was himself suffering so
great an evil of his own, and said to him: “Guest, I have already
received from thee all the satisfaction that is due, seeing that thou
dost condemn thyself to suffer death; and not thou alone art the cause
of this evil, except in so far as thou wert the instrument of it
against thine own will, but some one, as I suppose, of the gods, who
also long ago signified to me that which was about to be.” So Crœsus
buried his son as was fitting: but Adrastos the son of Gordias, the
son of Midas, he who had been the slayer of his own brother and the
slayer also of the man who had cleansed him, when silence came of all
men round about the tomb, recognising that he was more grievously
burdened by misfortune than all men of whom he knew, slew himself upon
the grave.

46. For two years then Crœsus remained quiet in his mourning, because
he was deprived of his son: but after this period of time the
overthrowing of the rule of Astyages the son of Kyaxares by Cyrus the
son of Cambyses, and the growing greatness of the Persians caused
Crœsus to cease from his mourning, and led him to a care of cutting
short the power of the Persians, if by any means he might, while yet
it was in growth and before they should have become great.

So having formed this design he began forthwith to make trial of the
Oracles, both those of the Hellenes and that in Libya, sending
messengers some to one place and some to another, some to go to
Delphi, others to Abai of the Phokians, and others to Dodona; and some
were sent to the shrine of Amphiaraos and to that of Trophonios,
others to Branchidai in the land of Miletos: these are the Oracles of
the Hellenes to which Crœsus sent messengers to seek divination; and
others he sent to the shrine of Ammon in Libya to inquire there. Now
he was sending the messengers abroad to the end that he might try the
Oracles and find out what knowledge they had, so that if they should
be found to have knowledge of the truth, he might send and ask them
secondly whether he should attempt to march against the Persians. 47.
And to the Lydians whom he sent to make trial of the Oracles he gave
charge as follows,–that from the day on which they set out from
Sardis they should reckon up the number of the days following and on
the hundredth day they should consult the Oracles, asking what Crœsus
the son of Alyattes king of the Lydians chanced then to be doing: and
whatever the Oracles severally should prophesy, this they should cause
to be written down[39] and bear it back to him. Now what the other
Oracles prophesied is not by any reported, but at Delphi, so soon as
the Lydians entered the sanctuary of the temple[40] to consult the god
and asked that which they were commanded to ask, the Pythian
prophetess spoke thus in hexameter measure:

“But the number of sand I know,[41] and the measure of drops in the ocean;
The dumb man I understand, and I hear the speech of the speechless:
And there hath come to my soul the smell of a strong-shelled tortoise
Boiling in caldron of bronze, and the flesh of a lamb mingled with it;
Under it bronze is laid, it hath bronze as a clothing upon it.”

48. When the Pythian prophetess had uttered this oracle, the Lydians
caused the prophecy to be written down, and went away at once to
Sardis. And when the rest also who had been sent round were there
arrived with the answers of the Oracles, then Crœsus unfolded the
writings one by one and looked upon them: and at first none of them
pleased him, but when he heard that from Delphi, forthwith he did
worship to the god and accepted the answer,[42] judging that the
Oracle at Delphi was the only true one, because it had found out what
he himself had done. For when he had sent to the several Oracles his
messengers to consult the gods, keeping well in mind the appointed day
he contrived the following device,–he thought of something which it
would be impossible to discover or to conceive of, and cutting up a
tortoise and a lamb he boiled them together himself in a caldron of
bronze, laying a cover of bronze over them. 49. This then was the
answer given to Crœsus from Delphi; and as regards the answer of
Amphiaraos, I cannot tell what he replied to the Lydians after they
had done the things customary in his temple,[43] for there is no
record of this any more than of the others, except only that Crœsus
thought that he also[44] possessed a true Oracle.

50. After this with great sacrifices he endeavoured to win the favour
of the god at Delphi: for of all the animals that are fit for
sacrifice he offered three thousand of each kind, and he heaped up
couches overlaid with gold and overlaid with silver, and cups of gold,
and robes of purple, and tunics, making of them a great pyre, and this
he burnt up, hoping by these means the more to win over the god to the
side of the Lydians: and he proclaimed to all the Lydians that every
one of them should make sacrifice with that which each man had. And
when he had finished the sacrifice, he melted down a vast quantity of
gold, and of it he wrought half-plinths[45] making them six palms[46] in length and three in breadth, and in height one palm; and their
number was one hundred and seventeen. Of these four were of pure
gold[47] weighing two talents and a half[48] each, and others of gold
alloyed with silver[49] weighing two talents. And he caused to be made
also an image of a lion of pure gold weighing ten talents; which lion,
when the temple of Delphi was being burnt down, fell from off the
half-plinths, for upon these it was set,[50] and is placed now in the
treasury of the Corinthians, weighing six talents and a half, for
three talents and a half were melted away from it. 51. So Crœsus
having finished all these things sent them to Delphi, and with them
these besides:–two mixing bowls of great size, one of gold and the
other of silver, of which the golden bowl was placed on the right hand
as one enters the temple, and the silver on the left, but the places
of these also were changed after the temple was burnt down, and the
golden bowl is now placed in the treasury of the people of Clazomenai,
weighing eight and a half talents and twelve pounds over,[51] while
the silver one is placed in the corner of the vestibule[52] and holds
six hundred amphors[53] (being filled with wine by the Delphians on
the feast of the Theophania): this the people of Delphi say is the
work of Theodoros the Samian,[54] and, as I think, rightly, for it is
evident to me that the workmanship is of no common kind: moreover
Crœsus sent four silver wine-jars, which stand in the treasury of the
Corinthians, and two vessels for lustral water,[55] one of gold and
the other of silver, of which the gold one is inscribed “from the
Lacedemonians,” who say that it is their offering: therein however
they do not speak rightly; for this also is from Crœsus, but one of
the Delphians wrote the inscription upon it, desiring to gratify the
Lacedemonians; and his name I know but will not make mention of it.
The boy through whose hand the water flows is from the Lacedemonians,
but neither of the vessels for lustral water. And many other votive
offerings Crœsus sent with these, not specially distinguished, among
which are certain castings[56] of silver of a round shape, and also a
golden figure of a woman three cubits high, which the Delphians say is
a statue of the baker of Crœsus. Moreover Crœsus dedicated the
ornaments from his wife’s neck and her girdles. 52. These are the
things which he sent to Delphi; and to Amphiaraos, having heard of his
valour and of his evil fate, he dedicated a shield made altogether of
gold throughout, and a spear all of solid gold, the shaft being of
gold also as well as the two points, which offerings were both
remaining even to my time at Thebes in the temple of Ismenian Apollo.

53. To the Lydians who were to carry these gifts to the temples Crœsus
gave charge that they should ask the Oracles this question also,–
whether Crœsus should march against the Persians, and if so, whether
he should join with himself any army of men as his friends. And when
the Lydians had arrived at the places to which they had been sent and
had dedicated the votive offerings, they inquired of the Oracles and
said: “Crœsus, king of the Lydians and of other nations, considering
that these are the only true Oracles among men, presents to you[57] gifts such as your revelations deserve, and asks you again now whether
he shall march against the Persians, and if so, whether he shall join
with himself any army of men as allies.” They inquired thus, and the
answers of both the Oracles agreed in one, declaring to Crœsus that if
he should march against the Persians he should destroy a great empire:
and they counselled him to find out the most powerful of the Hellenes
and join these with himself as friends. 54. So when the answers were
brought back and Crœsus heard them, he was delighted with the oracles,
and expecting that he would certainly destroy the kingdom of Cyrus, he
sent again to Pytho,[58] and presented to the men of Delphi, having
ascertained the number of them, two staters of gold for each man: and
in return for this the Delphians gave to Crœsus and to the Lydians
precedence in consulting the Oracle and freedom from all payments, and
the right to front seats at the games, with this privilege also for
all time, that any one of them who wished should be allowed to become
a citizen of Delphi. 55. And having made presents to the men of
Delphi, Crœsus consulted the Oracle the third time; for from the time
when he learnt the truth of the Oracle, he made abundant use of
it.[59] And consulting the Oracle he inquired whether his monarchy
would endure for a long time. And the Pythian prophetess answered him

“But when it cometh to pass that a mule of the Medes shall be monarch
Then by the pebbly Hermos, O Lydian delicate-footed,
Flee and stay not, and be not ashamed to be callèd a coward.”

56. By these lines when they came to him Crœsus was pleased more than
by all the rest, for he supposed that a mule would never be ruler of
the Medes instead of a man, and accordingly that he himself and his
heirs would never cease from their rule. Then after this he gave
thought to inquire which people of the Hellenes he should esteem the
most powerful and gain over to himself as friends. And inquiring he
found that the Lacedemonians and the Athenians had the pre-eminence,
the first of the Dorian and the others of the Ionian race. For these
were the most eminent races in ancient time, the second being a
Pelasgian and the first a Hellenic race: and the one never migrated
from its place in any direction, while the other was very exceedingly
given to wanderings; for in the reign of Deucalion this race dwelt in
Pthiotis, and in the time of Doros the son of Hellen in the land lying
below Ossa and Olympos, which is called Histiaiotis; and when it was
driven from Histiaiotis by the sons of Cadmos, it dwelt in Pindos and
was called Makednian; and thence it moved afterwards to Dryopis, and
from Dryopis it came finally to Peloponnesus, and began to be called

57. What language however the Pelasgians used to speak I am not able
with certainty to say. But if one must pronounce judging by those that
still remain of the Pelasgians who dwelt in the city of Creston[60] above the Tyrsenians, and who were once neighbours of the race now
called Dorian, dwelling then in the land which is now called
Thessaliotis, and also by those that remain of the Pelasgians who
settled at Plakia and Skylake in the region of the Hellespont, who
before that had been settlers with the Athenians,[61] and of the
natives of the various other towns which are really Pelasgian, though
they have lost the name,–if one must pronounce judging by these, the
Pelasgians used to speak a Barbarian language. If therefore all the
Pelasgian race was such as these, then the Attic race, being
Pelasgian, at the same time when it changed and became Hellenic,
unlearnt also its language. For the people of Creston do not speak the
same language with any of those who dwell about them, nor yet do the
people of Phakia, but they speak the same language one as the other:
and by this it is proved that they still keep unchanged the form of
language which they brought with them when they migrated to these
places. 58. As for the Hellenic race, it has used ever the same
language, as I clearly perceive, since it first took its rise; but
since the time when it parted off feeble at first from the Pelasgian
race, setting forth from a small beginning it has increased to that
great number of races which we see,[62] and chiefly because many
Barbarian races have been added to it besides. Moreover it is true, as
I think,[62a] of the Pelasgian race also,[63] that so far as it
remained Barbarian it never made any great increase.

59. Of these races then Crœsus was informed that the Athenian was held
subject and torn with faction by Peisistratos[64] the son of
Hippocrates, who then was despot of the Athenians. For to Hippocrates,
when as a private citizen he went to view the Olympic games, a great
marvel had occurred. After he had offered the sacrifice, the caldrons
which were standing upon the hearth, full of pieces of flesh and of
water, boiled without fire under them and ran over. And Chilon the
Lacedemonian, who chanced to have been present and to have seen the
marvel, advised Hippocrates first not to bring into his house a wife
to bear him children, and secondly, if he happened to have one
already, to dismiss her, and if he chanced to have a son, to disown
him. When Chilon had thus recommended, Hippocrates, they say, was not
willing to be persuaded, and so there was born to him afterwards this
Peisistratos; who, when the Athenians of the shore[65] were at feud
with those of the plain, Megacles the son of Alcmaion being leader of
the first faction, and Lycurgos the son of Aristolaïdes of that of the
plain, aimed at the despotism for himself and gathered a third party.
So then, after having collected supporters and called himself leader
of the men of the mountain-lands,[66] he contrived a device as
follows:–he inflicted wounds upon himself and upon his mules, and
then drove his car into the market-place, as if he had just escaped
from his opponents, who, as he alleged, had desired to kill him when
he was driving into the country: and he asked the commons that he
might obtain some protection from them, for before this he had gained
reputation in his command against the Megarians, during which he took
Nisaia and performed other signal service. And the commons of the
Athenians being deceived gave him those[67] men chosen from the
dwellers in the city who became not indeed the spear-men[68] of
Peisistratos but his club-men; for they followed behind him bearing
wooden clubs. And these made insurrection with Peisistratos and
obtained possession of the Acropolis. Then Peisistratos was ruler of
the Athenians, not having disturbed the existing magistrates nor
changed the ancient laws; but he administered the State under that
constitution of things which was already established, ordering it
fairly and well. 60. However, no long time after this the followers of
Megacles and those of Lycurgos joined together and drove him forth.
Thus Peisistratos had obtained possession of Athens for the first
time, and thus he lost the power before he had it firmly rooted. But
those who had driven out Peisistratos became afterwards at feud with
one another again. And Megacles, harassed by the party strife,[69] sent a message to Peisistratos asking whether he was willing to have
his daughter to wife on condition of becoming despot. And Peisistratos
having accepted the proposal and made an agreement on these terms,
they contrived with a view to his return a device the most simple by
far, as I think, that ever was practised, considering at least that it
was devised at a time when the Hellenic race had been long marked off
from the Barbarian as more skilful and further removed from foolish
simplicity, and among the Athenians who are accounted the first of the
Hellenes in ability.[70] In the deme of Paiania there was a woman
whose name was Phya, in height four cubits all but three fingers,[71] and also fair of form. This woman they dressed in full armour and
caused her to ascend a chariot and showed her the bearing in which she
might best beseem her part,[72] and so they drove to the city, having
sent on heralds to run before them, who, when they arrived at the
city, spoke that which had been commanded them, saying as follows: “O
Athenians, receive with favour Peisistratos, whom Athene herself,
honouring him most of all men, brings back to her Acropolis.” So the
heralds went about hither and thither saying this, and straightway
there came to the demes in the country round a report that Athene was
bringing Peisistratos back, while at the same time the men of the
city, persuaded that the woman was the very goddess herself, were
paying worship to the human creature and receiving Peisistratos. 61.
So having received back the despotism in the manner which has been
said, Peisistratos according to the agreement made with Megacles
married the daughter of Megacles; but as he had already sons who were
young men, and as the descendants of Alcmaion were said to be under a
curse,[73] therefore not desiring that children should be born to him
from his newly-married wife, he had commerce with her not in the
accustomed manner. And at first the woman kept this secret, but
afterwards she told her mother, whether in answer to her inquiry or
not I cannot tell; and the mother told her husband Megacles. He then
was very indignant that he should be dishonoured by Peisistratos; and
in his anger straightway he proceeded to compose his quarrel with the
men of his faction. And when Peisistratos heard of that which was
being done against himself, he departed wholly from the land and came
to Eretria, where he took counsel together with his sons: and the
advice of Hippias having prevailed, that they should endeavour to win
back the despotism, they began to gather gifts of money from those
States which owed them obligations for favours received: and many
contributed great sums, but the Thebans surpassed the rest in the
giving of money. Then, not to make the story long, time elapsed and at
last everything was prepared for their return. For certain Argives
came as mercenaries from the Peloponnesus, and a man of Naxos had come
to them of his own motion, whose name was Lygdamis, and showed very
great zeal in providing both money and men. 62. So starting from
Eretria after the lapse of ten years[74] they returned back; and in
Attica the first place of which they took possession was Marathon.
While they were encamping here, their partisans from the city came to
them, and also others flowed in from the various demes, to whom
despotic rule was more welcome than freedom. So these were gathering
themselves together; but the Athenians in the city, so long as
Peisistratos was collecting the money, and afterwards when he took
possession of Marathon, made no account of it; but when they heard
that he was marching from Marathon towards the city, then they went to
the rescue against him. These then were going in full force to fight
against the returning exiles, and the forces of Peisistratos, as they
went towards the city starting from Marathon, met them just when they
came to the temple of Athene Pallenis, and there encamped opposite to
them. Then moved by divine guidance[75] there came into the presence
of Peisistratos Amphilytos the Arcarnanian,[76] a soothsayer, who
approaching him uttered an oracle in hexameter verse, saying thus:

“But now the cast hath been made and the net hath been widely extended,
And in the night the tunnies will dart through the moon-lighted waters.”

63. This oracle he uttered to him being divinely inspired, and
Peisistratos, having understood the oracle and having said that he
accepted the prophecy which was uttered, led his army against the
enemy. Now the Athenians from the city were just at that time occupied
with the morning meal, and some of them after their meal with games of
dice or with sleep; and the forces of Peisistratos fell upon the
Athenians and put them to flight. Then as they fled, Peisistratos
devised a very skilful counsel, to the end that the Athenians might
not gather again into one body but might remain scattered abroad. He
mounted his sons on horseback and sent them before him; and overtaking
the fugitives they said that which was commanded them by Peisistratos,
bidding them be of good cheer and that each man should depart to his
own home. 64. Thus then the Athenians did, and so Peisistratos for the
third time obtained possession of Athens, and he firmly rooted his
despotism by many foreign mercenaries and by much revenue of money,
coming partly from the land itself and partly from about the river
Strymon, and also by taking as hostages the sons of those Athenians
who had remained in the land and had not at once fled, and placing
them in the hands of Naxos; for this also Peisistratos conquered by
war and delivered into the charge of Lygdamis. Moreover besides this
he cleansed the island of Delos in obedience to the oracles; and his
cleansing was of the following kind:–so far as the view from the
temple extended[77] he dug up all the dead bodies which were buried in
this part and removed them to another part of Delos. So Peisistratos
was despot of the Athenians; but of the Athenians some had fallen in
the battle, and others of them with the sons of Alcmaion were exiles
from their native land.

65. Such was the condition of things which Crœsus heard was prevailing
among the Athenians during this time; but as to the Lacedemonians he
heard that they had escaped from great evils and had now got the
better of the Tegeans in the war. For when Leon and Hegesicles were
kings of Sparta, the Lacedemonians, who had good success in all their
other wars, suffered disaster in that alone which they waged against
the men of Tegea. Moreover in the times before this they had the worst
laws of almost all the Hellenes, both in matters which concerned
themselves alone and also in that they had no dealings with strangers.
And they made their change to a good constitution of laws thus:–
Lycurgos, a man of the Spartans who was held in high repute, came to
the Oracle at Delphi, and as he entered the sanctuary of the
temple,[40] straightway the Pythian prophetess said as follows:

“Lo, thou art come, O Lycurgos, to this rich shrine of my temple,
Loved thou by Zeus and by all who possess the abodes of Olympos.
Whether to call thee a god, I doubt, in my voices prophetic,
God or a man, but rather a god I think, O Lycurgos.”

Some say in addition to this that the Pythian prophetess also set
forth to him the order of things which is now established for the
Spartans; but the Lacedemonians themselves say that Lycurgos having
become guardian of Leobotes his brother’s son, who was king of the
Spartans, brought in these things from Crete. For as soon as he became
guardian, he changed all the prevailing laws, and took measures that
they should not transgress his institutions: and after this Lycurgos
established that which appertained to war, namely /Enomoties/ and
/Triecads/ and Common Meals,[77a] and in addition to this the Ephors
and the Senate. [66] Having changed thus, the Spartans had good laws;
and to Lycurgos after he was dead they erected a temple, and they pay
him great worship. So then, as might be supposed, with a fertile land
and with no small number of men dwelling in it, they straightway shot
up and became prosperous: and it was no longer sufficient for them to
keep still; but presuming that they were superior in strength to the
Arcadians, they consulted the Oracle at Delphi respecting conquest of
the whole of Arcadia; and the Pythian prophetess gave answer thus:

“The land of Arcadia thou askest; thou askest me much; I refuse it;
Many there are in Arcadian land, stout men, eating acorns;
These will prevent thee from this: but I am not grudging towards thee;
Tegea beaten with sounding feet I will give thee to dance in,
And a fair plain I will give thee to measure with line and divide it.”

When the Lacedemonians heard report of this, they held off from the
other Arcadians, and marched against the Tegeans with fetters in their
hands, trusting to a deceitful[78] oracle and expecting that they
would make slaves of the men of Tegea. But having been worsted in the
encounter, those of them who were taken alive worked wearing the
fetters which they themselves brought with them and having “measured
with line and divided”[79] the plain of the Tegeans. And these fetters
with which they had been bound were preserved even to my own time at
Tegea, hanging about the temple of Athene Alea.[80] 67. In the former
war then I say they struggled against the Tegeans continually with ill
success; but in the time of Crœsus and in the reign of Anaxandrides
and Ariston at Lacedemon the Spartans had at length become victors in
the war; and they became so in the following manner:–As they
continued to be always worsted in the war by the men of Tegea, they
sent messengers to consult the Oracle at Delphi and inquired what god
they should propitiate in order to get the better of the men of Tegea
in the war: and the Pythian prophetess made answer to them that they
should bring into their land the bones of Orestes the son of
Agamemnon. Then as they were not able to find the grave of Orestes,
they sent men again to go to the god and to inquire about the spot
where Orestes was laid: and when the messengers who were sent asked
this, the prophetess said as follows:

“Tegea there is, in Arcadian land, in a smooth place founded;
Where there do blow two blasts by strong compulsion together;
Stroke too there is and stroke in return, and trouble on trouble.
There Agamemnon’s son in the life-giving earth is reposing;
Him if thou bring with thee home, of Tegea thou shalt be master.”[81]

When the Lacedemonians had heard this they were none the less far from
finding it out, though they searched all places; until the time that
Lichas, one of those Spartans who are called “Well-doers,”[82] discovered it. Now the “Well-doers” are of the citizens the eldest who
are passing from the ranks of the “Horsemen,” in each year five; and
these are bound during that year in which they pass out from the
“Horsemen,” to allow themselves to be sent without ceasing to various
places by the Spartan State. 68. Lichas then, being one of these,
discovered it in Tegea by means both of fortune and ability. For as
there were at that time dealings under truce with the men of Tegea, he
had come to a forge there and was looking at iron being wrought; and
he was in wonder as he saw that which was being done. The smith
therefore, perceiving that he marvelled at it, ceased from his work
and said: “Surely, thou stranger of Lacedemon, if thou hadst seen that
which I once saw, thou wouldst have marvelled much, since now it falls
out that thou dost marvel so greatly at the working of this iron; for
I, desiring in this enclosure to make a well, lighted in my digging
upon a coffin of seven cubits in length; and not believing that ever
there had been men larger than those of the present day, I opened it,
and I saw that the dead body was equal in length to the coffin: then
after I had measured it, I filled in the earth over it again.” He then
thus told him of that which he had seen; and the other, having thought
upon that which was told, conjectured that this was Orestes according
to the saying of the Oracle, forming his conjecture in the following
manner:–whereas he saw that the smith had two pairs of bellows, he
concluded that these were the winds spoken of, and that the anvil and
the hammer were the stroke and the stroke in return, and that the iron
which was being wrought was the trouble laid upon trouble, making
comparison by the thought that iron has been discovered for the evil
of mankind. Having thus conjectured he came back to Sparta and
declared the whole matter to the Lacedemonians; and they brought a
charge against him on a fictitious pretext and drove him out into
exile.[83] So having come to Tegea, he told the smith of his evil
fortune and endeavoured to hire from him the enclosure, but at first
he would not allow him to have it: at length however Lichas persuaded
him and he took up his abode there; and he dug up the grave and
gathered together the bones and went with them away to Sparta. From
that time, whenever they made trial of one another, the Lacedemonians
had much the advantage in the war; and by now they had subdued to
themselves the greater part of Peloponnesus besides.

69. Crœsus accordingly being informed of all these things was sending
messengers to Sparta with gifts in their hands to ask for an alliance,
having commanded them what they ought to say: and they when they came
said: “Crœsus king of the Lydians and also of other nations sent us
hither and saith as follows: O Lacedemonians, whereas the god by an
oracle bade me join with myself the Hellene as a friend, therefore,
since I am informed that ye are the chiefs of Hellas, I invite you
according to the oracle, desiring to be your friend and your ally
apart from all guile and deceit.” Thus did Crœsus announce to the
Lacedemonians through his messengers; and the Lacedemonians, who
themselves also had heard of the oracle given to Crœsus, were pleased
at the coming of the Lydians and exchanged oaths of friendship and
alliance: for they were bound to Crœsus also by some services rendered
to them even before this time; since the Lacedemonians had sent to
Sardis and were buying gold there with purpose of using it for the
image of Apollo which is now set up on Mount Thornax in the
Lacedemonian land; and Crœsus, when they desired to buy it, gave it
them as a gift. 70. For this reason therefore the Lacedemonians
accepted the alliance, and also because he chose them as his friends,
preferring them to all the other Hellenes. And not only were they
ready themselves when he made his offer, but they caused a mixing-bowl
to be made of bronze, covered outside with figures round the rim and
of such a size as to hold three hundred amphors,[84] and this they
conveyed, desiring to give it as a gift in return to Crœsus. This bowl
never came to Sardis for reasons of which two accounts are given as
follows:–The Lacedemonians say that when the bowl was on its way to
Sardis and came opposite the land of Samos, the men of Samos having
heard of it sailed out with ships of war and took it away; but the
Samians themselves say that the Lacedemonians who were conveying the
bowl, finding that they were too late and hearing that Sardis had been
taken and Crœsus was a prisoner, sold the bowl in Samos, and certain
private persons bought it and dedicated it as a votive offering in the
temple of Hera; and probably those who had sold it would say when they
returned to Sparta that it had been taken from them by the Samians.

71. Thus then it happened about the mixing-bowl: but meanwhile Crœsus,
mistaking the meaning of the oracle, was making a march into
Cappadokia, expecting to overthrow Cyrus and the power of the
Persians: and while Crœsus was preparing to march against the
Persians, one of the Lydians, who even before this time was thought to
be a wise man but in consequence of this opinion got a very great name
for wisdom among the Lydians, had advised Crœsus as follows (the name
of the man was Sandanis):–“O king, thou art preparing to march
against men who wear breeches of leather, and the rest of their
clothing is of leather also; and they eat food not such as they desire
but such as they can obtain, dwelling in a land which is rugged; and
moreover they make no use of wine but drink water; and no figs have
they for dessert, nor any other good thing. On the one hand, if thou
shalt overcome them, what wilt thou take away from them, seeing they
have nothing? and on the other hand, if thou shalt be overcome,
consider how many good things thou wilt lose; for once having tasted
our good things, they will cling to them fast and it will not be
possible to drive them away. I for my own part feel gratitude to the
gods that they do not put it into the minds of the Persians to march
against the Lydians.” Thus he spoke not persuading Crœsus: for it is
true indeed that the Persians before they subdued the Lydians had no
luxury nor any good thing.

72. Now the Cappadokians are called by the Hellenes Syrians;[85] and
these Syrians, before the Persians had rule, were subjects of the
Medes, but at this time they were subjects of Cyrus. For the boundary
between the Median empire and the Lydian was the river Halys; and this
flows from the mountain-land of Armenia through the Kilikians, and
afterwards, as it flows, it has the Matienians on the right hand and
the Phrygians on the other side; then passing by these and flowing up
towards the North Wind, it bounds on the one side the Cappadokian
Syrians and on the left hand the Paphlagonians. Thus the river Halys
cuts off from the rest almost all the lower parts of Asia by a line
extending from the sea that is opposite Cyprus to the Euxine. And this
tract is the neck of the whole peninsula, the distance of the journey
being such that five days are spent on the way by a man without

73. Now for the following reasons Crœsus was marching into Cappadokia:
–first because he desired to acquire the land in addition to his own
possessions, and then especially because he had confidence in the
oracle and wished to take vengeance on Cyrus for Astyages. For Cyrus
the son of Cambyses had conquered Astyages and was keeping him in
captivity, who was brother by marriage to Crœsus and king of the
Medes: and he had become the brother by marriage of Crœsus in this
manner:–A horde of the nomad Scythians at feud with the rest withdrew
and sought refuge in the land of the Medes: and at this time the ruler
of the Medes was Kyaxares the son of Phraortes, the son of Deïokes,
who at first dealt well with these Scythians, being suppliants for his
protection; and esteeming them very highly he delivered boys to them
to learn their speech and the art of shooting with the bow. Then time
went by, and the Scythians used to go out continually to the chase and
always brought back something; till once it happened that they took
nothing, and when they returned with empty hands Kyaxares (being, as
he showed on this occasion, not of an eminently good disposition[87])
dealt with them very harshly and used insult towards them. And they,
when they had received this treatment from Kyaxares, considering that
they had suffered indignity, planned to kill and to cut up one of the
boys who were being instructed among them, and having dressed his
flesh as they had been wont to dress the wild animals, to bear it to
Kyaxares and give it to him, pretending that it was game taken in
hunting; and when they had given it, their design was to make their
way as quickly as possible to Alyattes the son of Sadyattes at Sardis.
This then was done; and Kyaxares with the guests who ate at his table
tasted of that meat, and the Scythians having so done became
suppliants for the protection of Alyattes. 74. After this, seeing that
Alyattes would not give up the Scythians when Kyaxares demanded them,
there had arisen war between the Lydians and the Medes lasting five
years; in which years the Medes often discomfited the Lydians and the
Lydians often discomfited the Medes (and among others they fought also
a battle by night):[88] and as they still carried on the war with
equally balanced fortune, in the sixth year a battle took place in
which it happened, when the fight had begun, that suddenly the day
became night. And this change of the day Thales the Milesian had
foretold to the Ionians laying down as a limit this very year in which
the change took place. The Lydians however and the Medes, when they
saw that it had become night instead of day, ceased from their
fighting and were much more eager both of them that peace should be
made between them. And they who brought about the peace between them
were Syennesis the Kilikian and Labynetos the Babylonian:[89] these
were they who urged also the taking of the oath by them, and they
brought about an interchange of marriages; for they decided that
Alyattes should give his daughter Aryenis to Astyages the son of
Kyaxares, seeing that without the compulsion of a strong tie
agreements are apt not to hold strongly together. Now these nations
observe the same ceremonies in taking oaths as the Hellenes, and in
addition to them they make incision into the skin of their arms, and
then lick up the blood each of the other.

75. This Astyages then, being his mother’s father, Cyrus had conquered
and made prisoner for a reason which I shall declare in the history
which comes after.[90] This then was the complaint which Crœsus had
against Cyrus when he sent to the Oracles to ask if he should march
against the Persians; and when a deceitful answer had come back to
him, he marched into the dominion of the Persians, supposing that the
answer was favourable to himself. And when Crœsus came to the river
Halys, then, according to my account, he passed his army across by the
bridges which there were; but, according to the account which prevails
among the Hellenes, Thales the Milesian enabled him to pass his army
across. For, say they, when Crœsus was at a loss how his army should
pass over the river (since, they add, there were not yet at that time
the bridges which now there are), Thales being present in the army
caused the river, which flowed then on the left hand of the army, to
flow partly also on the right; and he did it thus:–beginning above
the camp he proceeded to dig a deep channel, directing it in the form
of a crescent moon, so that the river might take the camp there
pitched in the rear, being turned aside from its ancient course by
this way along the channel, and afterwards passing by the camp might
fall again into its ancient course; so that as soon as the river was
thus parted in two it became fordable by both branches: and some say
even that the ancient course of the river was altogether dried up. But
this tale I do not admit as true, for how then did they pass over the
river as they went back? 76. And Crœsus, when he had passed over with
his army, came to that place in Cappadokia which is called Pteria (now
Pteria is the strongest place in this country, and is situated
somewhere about in a line with the city of Sinope[91] on the Euxine).
Here he encamped and ravaged the fields of the Syrians. Moreover he
took the city of the Pterians, and sold the people into slavery, and
he took also all the towns that lay about it; and the Syrians, who
were not guilty of any wrong, he forced to remove from their
homes.[92] Meanwhile Cyrus, having gathered his own forces and having
taken up in addition to them all who dwelt in the region between, was
coming to meet Crœsus. Before he began however to lead forth his army,
he had sent heralds to the Ionians and tried to induce them to revolt
from Crœsus; but the Ionians would not do as he said. Then when Cyrus
was come and had encamped over against Crœsus, they made trial of one
another by force of arms in the land of Pteria: and after hard
fighting, when many had fallen on both sides, at length, night having
come on, they parted from one the other with no victory on either

77. Thus the two armies contended with one another: and Crœsus being
ill satisfied with his own army in respect of number (for the army
which he had when he fought was far smaller than that of Cyrus), being
dissatisfied with it I say on this account, as Cyrus did not attempt
to advance against him on the following day, marched back to Sardis,
having it in his mind to call the Egyptians to his help according to
the oath which they had taken (for he had made an alliance with Amasis
king of Egypt before he made the alliance with the Lacedemonians), and
to summon the Babylonians as well (for with these also an alliance had
been concluded by him, Labynetos[93] being at that time ruler of the
Babylonians), and moreover to send a message to the Lacedemonians
bidding them appear at a fixed time: and then after he had got all
these together and had gathered his own army, his design was to let
the winter go by and at the coming of spring to march against the
Persians. So with these thoughts in his mind, as soon as he came to
Sardis he proceeded to send heralds to his several allies to give them
notice that by the fifth month from that time they should assemble at
Sardis: but the army which he had with him and which had fought with
the Persians, an army which consisted of mercenary troops,[94] he let
go and disbanded altogether, never expecting that Cyrus, after having
contended against him with such even fortune, would after all march
upon Sardis.

78. When Crœsus had these plans in his mind, the suburb of the city
became of a sudden all full of serpents; and when these had appeared,
the horses leaving off to feed in their pastures came constantly
thither and devoured them. When Crœsus saw this he deemed it to be a
portent, as indeed it was: and forthwith he despatched messengers to
the dwelling of the Telmessians, who interpret omens: and the
messengers who were sent to consult arrived there and learnt from the
Telmessians what the portent meant to signify, but they did not
succeed in reporting the answer to Crœsus, for before they sailed back
to Sardis Crœsus had been taken prisoner. The Telmessians however gave
decision thus: that an army speaking a foreign tongue was to be looked
for by Crœsus to invade his land, and that this when it came would
subdue the native inhabitants; for they said that the serpent was born
of the soil, while the horse was an enemy and a stranger. The men of
Telmessos thus made answer to Crœsus after he was already taken
prisoner, not knowing as yet anything of the things which had happened
to Sardis and to Crœsus himself.

79. Cyrus, however, so soon as Crœsus marched away after the battle
which had been fought in Pteria, having learnt that Crœsus meant after
he had marched away to disband his army, took counsel with himself and
concluded that it was good for him to march as quickly as possible to
Sardis, before the power of the Lydians should be again gathered
together. So when he had resolved upon this, he did it without delay:
for he marched his army into Lydia with such speed that he was himself
the first to announce his coming to Crœsus. Then Crœsus, although he
had come to a great strait, since his affairs had fallen out
altogether contrary to his own expectation, yet proceeded to lead
forth the Lydians into battle. Now there was at this time no nation in
Asia more courageous or more stout in battle than the Lydian; and they
fought on horseback carrying long spears, the men being excellent in
horsemanship. 80. So when the armies had met in that plain which is in
front of the city of Sardis,–a plain wide and open, through which
flow rivers (and especially the river Hyllos) all rushing down to join
the largest called Hermos, which flows from the mountain sacred to the
Mother surnamed “of Dindymos”[95] and runs out into the sea by the
city of Phocaia,–then Cyrus, when he saw the Lydians being arrayed
for battle, fearing their horsemen, did on the suggestion of Harpagos
a Mede as follows:–all the camels which were in the train of his army
carrying provisions and baggage he gathered together, and he took off
their burdens and set men upon them provided with the equipment of
cavalry: and having thus furnished them forth he appointed them to go
in front of the rest of the army towards the horsemen of Crœsus; and
after the camel-troop he ordered the infantry to follow; and behind
the infantry he placed his whole force of cavalry. Then when all his
men had been placed in their several positions, he charged them to
spare none of the other Lydians, slaying all who might come in their
way, but Crœsus himself they were not to slay, not even if he should
make resistance when he was captured. Such was his charge: and he set
the camels opposite the horsemen for this reason,–because the horse
has a fear of the camel and cannot endure either to see his form or to
scent his smell: for this reason then the trick had been devised, in
order that the cavalry of Crœsus might be useless, that very force
wherewith the Lydian king was expecting most to shine. And as they
were coming together to the battle, so soon as the horses scented the
camels and saw them they turned away back, and the hopes of Crœsus
were at once brought to nought. The Lydians however for their part did
not upon that act as cowards, but when they perceived what was coming
to pass they leapt from their horses and fought with the Persians on
foot. At length, however, when many had fallen on either side, the
Lydians turned to flight; and having been driven within the wall of
their fortress they were besieged by the Persians.

81. By these then a siege had been established: but Crœsus, supposing
that the siege would last a long time, proceeded to send from the
fortress other messengers to his allies. For the former messengers
were sent round to give notice that they should assemble at Sardis by
the fifth month, but these he was sending out to ask them to come to
his assistance as quickly as possible, because Crœsus was being
besieged. 83. So then in sending to his other allies he sent also to
Lacedemon. But these too, the Spartans I mean, had themselves at this
very time (for so it had fallen out) a quarrel in hand with the
Argives about the district called Thyrea. For this Thyrea, being part
of the Argive possessions, the Lacedemonians had cut off and taken for
themselves. Now the whole region towards the west extending as far
down as Malea[96] was then possessed by the Argives, both the parts
situated on the mainland and also the island of Kythera with the other
islands. And when the Argives had come to the rescue to save their
territory from being cut off from them, then the two sides came to a
parley together and agreed that three hundred should fight of each
side, and whichever side had the better in the fight that nation
should possess the disputed land: they agreed moreover that the main
body of each army should withdraw to their own country, and not stand
by while the contest was fought, for fear lest, if the armies were
present, one side seeing their countrymen suffering defeat should come
up to their support. Having made this agreement they withdrew; and
chosen men of both sides were left behind and engaged in fight with
one another. So they fought and proved themselves to be equally
matched; and there were left at last of six hundred men three, on the
side of the Argives Alkenor and Chromios, and on the side of the
Lacedemonians Othryades: these were left alive when night came on. So
then the two men of the Argives, supposing that they were the victors,
set off to run to Argos, but the Lacedemonian Othryades, after having
stripped the corpses of the Argives and carried their arms to his own
camp, remained in his place. On the next day both the two sides came
thither to inquire about the result; and for some time both claimed
the victory for themselves, the one side saying that of them more had
remained alive, and the others declaring that these had fled away,
whereas their own man had stood his ground and had stripped the
corpses of the other party: and at length by reason of this dispute
they fell upon one another and began to fight; and after many had
fallen on both sides, the Lacedemonians were the victors. The Argives
then cut their hair short, whereas formerly they were compelled by law
to wear it long, and they made a law with a curse attached to it, that
from that time forth no man of the Argives should grow the hair long
nor their women wear ornaments of gold, until they should have won
back Thyrea. The Lacedemonians however laid down for themselves the
opposite law to this, namely that they should wear long hair from that
time forward, whereas before that time they had not their hair long.
And they say that the one man who was left alive of the three hundred,
namely Othryades, being ashamed to return to Sparta when all his
comrades had been slain, slew himself there in Thyrea. 83. Such was
the condition of things at Sparta when the herald from Sardis arrived
asking them to come to the assistance of Crœsus, who was being
besieged. And they notwithstanding their own difficulties, as soon as
they heard the news from the herald, were eager to go to his
assistance; but when they had completed their preparations and their
ships were ready, there came another message reporting that the
fortress of the Lydians had been taken and that Crœsus had been made
prisoner. Then (and not before) they ceased from their efforts, being
grieved at the event as at a great calamity.

84. Now the taking of Sardis came about as follows:–When the
fourteenth day came after Crœsus began to be besieged, Cyrus made
proclamation to his army, sending horsemen round to the several parts
of it, that he would give gifts to the man who should first scale the
wall. After this the army made an attempt; and when it failed, then
after all the rest had ceased from the attack, a certain Mardian whose
name was Hyroiades made an attempt to approach on that side of the
citadel where no guard had been set; for they had no fear that it
would ever be taken from that side, seeing that here the citadel is
precipitous and unassailable. To this part of the wall alone Meles
also, who formerly was king of Sardis, did not carry round the lion
which his concubine bore to him, the Telmessians having given decision
that if the lion should be carried round the wall, Sardis should be
safe from capture: and Meles having carried it round the rest of the
wall, that is to say those parts of the citadel where the fortress was
open to attack, passed over this part as being unassailable and
precipitous: now this is a part of the city which is turned towards
Tmolos. So then this[97] Mardian Hyroiades, having seen on the day
before how one of the Lydians had descended on that side of the
citadel to recover his helmet which had rolled down from above, and
had picked it up, took thought and cast the matter about in his own
mind. Then he himself[98] ascended first, and after him came up others
of the Persians, and many having thus made approach, Sardis was
finally taken and the whole city was given up to plunder. 85.
Meanwhile to Crœsus himself it happened thus:–He had a son, of whom I
made mention before, who was of good disposition enough but deprived
of speech. Now in his former time of prosperity Crœsus had done
everything that was possible for him, and besides other things which
he devised he had also sent messengers to Delphi to inquire concerning
him. And the Pythian prophetess spoke to him thus:

“Lydian, master of many, much blind to destiny, Crœsus,
Do not desire to hear in thy halls that voice which is prayed for,
Voice of thy son; much better if this from thee were removèd,
Since he shall first utter speech in an evil day of misfortune.”

Now when the fortress was being taken, one of the Persians was about
to slay Crœsus taking him for another; and Crœsus for his part, seeing
him coming on, cared nothing for it because of the misfortune which
was upon him, and to him it was indifferent that he should be slain by
the stroke; but this voiceless son, when he saw the Persian coming on,
by reason of terror and affliction burst the bonds of his utterance
and said: “Man, slay not Crœsus.” This son, I say, uttered voice then
first of all, but after this he continued to use speech for the whole
time of his life. 86. The Persians then had obtained possession of
Sardis and had taken Crœsus himself prisoner, after he had reigned
fourteen years and had been besieged fourteen days, having fulfilled
the oracle in that he had brought to an end his own great empire. So
the Persians having taken him brought him into the presence of Cyrus:
and he piled up a great pyre and caused Crœsus to go up upon it bound
in fetters, and along with him twice seven sons of Lydians, whether it
was that he meant to dedicate this offering as first-fruits of his
victory to some god, or whether he desired to fulfil a vow, or else
had heard that Crœsus was a god-fearing man and so caused him to go up
on the pyre because he wished to know if any one of the divine powers
would save him, so that he should not be burnt alive. He, they say,
did this; but to Crœsus as he stood upon the pyre there came, although
he was in such evil case, a memory of the saying of Solon, how he had
said with divine inspiration that no one of the living might be called
happy. And when this thought came into his mind, they say that he
sighed deeply[99] and groaned aloud, having been for long silent, and
three times he uttered the name of Solon. Hearing this, Cyrus bade the
interpreters ask Crœsus who was this person on whom he called; and
they came near and asked. And Crœsus for a time, it is said, kept
silence when he was asked this, but afterwards being pressed he said:
“One whom more than much wealth I should have desired to have speech
with all monarchs.” Then, since his words were of doubtful import,
they asked again of that which he said; and as they were urgent with
him and gave him no peace, he told how once Solon an Athenian had
come, and having inspected all his wealth had made light of it, with
such and such words; and how all had turned out for him according as
Solon had said, not speaking at all especially with a view to Crœsus
himself, but with a view to the whole human race and especially those
who seem to themselves to be happy men. And while Crœsus related these
things, already the pyre was lighted and the edges of it round about
were burning. Then they say that Cyrus, hearing from the interpreters
what Crœsus had said, changed his purpose and considered that he
himself also was but a man, and that he was delivering another man,
who had been not inferior to himself in felicity, alive to the fire;
and moreover he feared the requital, and reflected that there was
nothing of that which men possessed which was secure; therefore, they
say, he ordered them to extinguish as quickly as possible the fire
that was burning, and to bring down Crœsus and those who were with him
from the pyre; and they using endeavours were not able now to get the
mastery of the flames. 87. Then it is related by the Lydians that
Crœsus, having learned how Cyrus had changed his mind, and seeing that
every one was trying to put out the fire but that they were no longer
able to check it, cried aloud entreating Apollo that if any gift had
ever been given by him which had been acceptable to the god, he would
come to his aid and rescue him from the evil which was now upon him.
So he with tears entreated the god, and suddenly, they say, after
clear sky and calm weather clouds gathered and a storm burst, and it
rained with a very violent shower, and the pyre was extinguished. Then
Cyrus, having perceived that Crœsus was a lover of the gods and a good
man, caused him to be brought down from the pyre and asked him as
follows: “Crœsus, tell me who of all men was it who persuaded thee to
march upon my land and so to become an enemy to me instead of a
friend?” and he said: “O king, I did this to thy felicity and to my
own misfortune, and the causer of this was the god of the Hellenes,
who incited me to march with my army. For no one is so senseless as to
choose of his own will war rather peace, since in peace the sons bury
their fathers, but in war the fathers bury their sons. But it was
pleasing, I suppose, to the divine powers that these things should
come to pass thus.”

88. So he spoke, and Cyrus loosed his bonds and caused him to sit near
himself and paid to him much regard, and he marvelled both himself and
all who were about him at the sight of Crœsus. And Crœsus wrapt in
thought was silent; but after a time, turning round and seeing the
Persians plundering the city of the Lydians, he said: “O king, must I
say to thee that which I chance to have in my thought, or must I keep
silent in this my present fortune?” Then Cyrus bade him say boldly
whatsoever he desired; and he asked him saying: “What is the business
that this great multitude of men is doing with so much eagerness?” and
he said: “They are plundering thy city and carrying away thy wealth.”
And Crœsus answered: “Neither is it my city that they are plundering
nor my wealth which they are carrying away; for I have no longer any
property in these things: but it is thy wealth that they are carrying
and driving away.” 89. And Cyrus was concerned by that which Crœsus
had said, and he caused all the rest to withdraw and asked Crœsus what
he discerned for his advantage as regards that which was being done;
and he said: “Since the gods gave me to thee as a slave, I think it
right if I discern anything more than others to signify it to thee.
The Persians, who are by nature unruly,[100] are without wealth: if
therefore thou shalt suffer them to carry off in plunder great wealth
and to take possession of it, then it is to be looked for that thou
wilt experience this result, thou must expect namely that whosoever
gets possession of the largest share will make insurrection against
thee. Now therefore, if that which I say is pleasing to thee, do this:
–set spearmen of thy guard to watch at all the gates, and let these
take away the things, and say to the men who were bearing them out of
the city that they must first be tithed for Zeus: and thus thou on the
one hand wilt not be hated by them for taking away the things by
force, and they on the other will willingly let the things go,[101] acknowledging within themselves that thou art doing that which is
just.” 90. Hearing this, Cyrus was above measure pleased, because he
thought that Crœsus advised well; and he commended him much and
enjoined the spearmen of his guard to perform that which Crœsus had
advised: and after that he spoke to Crœsus thus: “Crœsus, since thou
art prepared, like a king as thou art, to do good deeds and speak good
words, therefore ask me for a gift, whatsoever thou desirest to be
given thee forthwith.” And he said: “Master, thou wilt most do me a
pleasure if thou wilt permit me to send to the god of the Hellenes,
whom I honoured most of all gods, these fetters, and to ask him
whether it is accounted by him right to deceive those who do well to
him.” Then Cyrus asked him what accusation he made against the god,
that he thus requested; and Crœsus repeated to him all that had been
in his mind, and the answers of the Oracles, and especially the votive
offerings, and how he had been incited by the prophecy to march upon
the Persians: and thus speaking he came back again to the request that
it might be permitted to him to make this reproach[102] against the
god. And Cyrus laughed and said: “Not this only shalt thou obtain from
me, Crœsus, but also whatsoever thou mayst desire of me at any time.”
Hearing this Crœsus sent certain of the Lydians to Delphi, enjoining
them to lay the fetters upon the threshold of the temple and to ask
the god whether he felt no shame that he had incited Crœsus by his
prophecies to march upon the Persians, persuading him that he should
bring to an end the empire of Cyrus, seeing that these were the first-
fruits of spoil which he had won from it,–at the same time displaying
the fetters. This they were to ask, and moreover also whether it was
thought right by the gods of the Hellenes to practice ingratitude. 91.
When the Lydians came and repeated that which they were enjoined to
say, it is related that the Pythian prophetess spoke as follows: “The
fated destiny it is impossible even for a god to escape. And Crœsus
paid the debt due for the sin of his fifth ancestor, who being one of
the spearmen of the Heracleidai followed the treacherous device of a
woman, and having slain his master took possession of his royal
dignity, which belonged not to him of right. And although Loxias
eagerly desired that the calamity of Sardis might come upon the sons
of Crœsus and not upon Crœsus himself, it was not possible for him to
draw the Destinies aside from their course; but so much as these
granted he brought to pass, and gave it as a gift to Crœsus: for he
put off the taking of Sardis by three years; and let Crœsus be assured
that he was taken prisoner later by these years than the fated time:
moreover secondly, he assisted him when he was about to be burnt. And
as to the oracle which was given, Crœsus finds fault with good ground:
for Loxias told him beforehand that if he should march upon the
Persians he should destroy a great empire: and he upon hearing this,
if he wished to take counsel well, ought to have sent and asked
further whether the god meant his own empire or that of Cyrus: but as
he did not comprehend that which was uttered and did not ask again,
let him pronounce himself to be the cause of that which followed. To
him also[103] when he consulted the Oracle for the last time Loxias
said that which he said concerning a mule; but this also he failed to
comprehend: for Cyrus was in fact this mule, seeing that he was born
of parents who were of two different races, his mother being of nobler
descent and his father of less noble: for she was a Median woman,
daughter of Astyages and king of the Medes, but he was a Persian, one
of a race subject to the Medes, and being inferior in all respects he
was the husband of one who was his royal mistress.” Thus the Pythian
prophetess replied to the Lydians, and they brought the answer back to
Sardis and repeated it to Crœsus; and he, when he heard it,
acknowledged that the fault was his own and not that of the god. With
regard then to the empire of Crœsus and the first conquest of Ionia,
it happened thus.

92. Now there are in Hellas many other votive offerings made by Crœsus
and not only those which have been mentioned: for first at Thebes of
the Bœotians there is a tripod of gold, which he dedicated to the
Ismenian Apollo; then at Ephesos there are the golden cows and the
greater number of the pillars of the temple; and in the temple of
Athene Pronaia at Delphi a large golden shield. These were still
remaining down to my own time, but others of his votive offerings have
perished: and the votive offerings of Crœsus at Branchidai of the
Milesians were, as I am told, equal in weight and similar to those at
Delphi. Now those which he sent to Delphi and to the temple of
Amphiaraos he dedicated of his own goods and as first-fruits of the
wealth inherited from his father; but the other offerings were made of
the substance of a man who was his foe, who before Crœsus became king
had been factious against him and had joined in endeavouring to make
Pantaleon ruler of the Lydians. Now Pantaleon was a son of Alyattes
and a brother of Crœsus, but not by the same mother, for Crœsus was
born to Alyattes of a Carian woman, but Pantaleon of an Ionian. And
when Crœsus had gained possession of the kingdom by the gift of his
father, he put to death the man who opposed him, drawing him upon the
carding-comb; and his property, which even before that time he had
vowed to dedicate, he then offered in the manner mentioned to those
shrines which have been named. About his votive offerings let it
suffice to have said so much.

93. Of marvels to be recorded the land of Lydia has no great store as
compared with other lands,[104] excepting the gold-dust which is
carried down from Tmolos; but one work it has to show which is larger
far than any other except only those in Egypt and Babylon: for there
is there the sepulchral monument of Alyattes the father of Crœsus, of
which the base is made of larger stones and the rest of the monument
is of earth piled up. And this was built by contributions of those who
practised trade and of the artisans and the girls who plied their
traffic there; and still there existed to my own time boundary-stones
five in number erected upon the monument above, on which were carved
inscriptions telling how much of the work was done by each class; and
upon measurement it was found that the work of the girls was the
greatest in amount. For the daughters of the common people in Lydia
practice prostitution one and all, to gather for themselves dowries,
continuing this until the time when they marry; and the girls give
themselves away in marriage. Now the circuit of the monument is six
furlongs and two hundred feet,[105] and the breadth is thirteen
hundred feet.[106] And adjoining the monument is a great lake, which
the Lydians say has a never-failing supply of water, and it is called
the lake of Gyges.[107] Such is the nature of this monument.

94. Now the Lydians have very nearly the same customs as the Hellenes,
with the exception that they prostitute their female children; and
they were the first of men, so far as we know, who struck and used
coin of gold or silver; and also they were the first retail-traders.
And the Lydians themselves say that the games which are now in use
among them and among the Hellenes were also their invention. These
they say were invented among them at the same time as they colonised
Tyrsenia,[108] and this is the account they give of them:–In the
reign of Atys the son of Manes their king there came to be a grievous
dearth over the whole of Lydia; and the Lydians for a time continued
to endure it, but afterwards, as it did not cease, they sought for
remedies; and one devised one thing and another of them devised
another thing. And then were discovered, they say, the ways of playing
with the dice and the knucklebones and the ball, and all the other
games excepting draughts (for the discovery of this last is not
claimed by the Lydians). These games they invented as a resource
against the famine, and thus they used to do:–on one of the days they
would play games all the time in order that they might not feel the
want of food, and on the next they ceased from their games and had
food: and thus they went on for eighteen years. As however the evil
did not slacken but pressed upon them ever more and more, therefore
their king divided the whole Lydian people into two parts, and he
appointed by lot one part to remain and the other to go forth from the
land; and the king appointed himself to be over that one of the parts
which had the lot to stay in the land, and his son to be over that
which was departing; and the name of his son was Tyrsenos. So the one
party of them, having obtained the lot to go forth from the land, went
down to the sea at Smyrna and built ships for themselves, wherein they
placed all the movable goods which they had and sailed away to seek
for means of living and a land to dwell in; until after passing by
many nations they came at last to the land of the Ombricans,[109] and
there they founded cities and dwell up to the present time: and
changing their name they were called after the king’s son who led them
out from home, not Lydians but Tyrsenians, taking the name from him.


The Lydians then had been made subject to the Persians as I say: 95,
and after this our history proceeds to inquire about Cyrus, who he was
that destroyed the empire of Crœsus, and about the Persians, in what
manner they obtained the lead of Asia. Following then the report of
some of the Persians,–those I mean who do not desire to glorify the
history of Cyrus but to speak that which is in fact true,–according
to their report, I say, I shall write; but I could set forth also the
other forms of the story in three several ways.

The Assyrians ruled Upper Asia[110] for five hundred and twenty years,
and from them the Medes were the first who made revolt. These having
fought for their freedom with the Assyrians proved themselves good
men, and thus they pushed off the yoke of slavery from themselves and
were set free; and after them the other nations also did the same as
the Medes: and when all on the continent were thus independent, they
returned again to despotic rule as follows:–96. There appeared among
the Medes a man of great ability whose name was Deïokes, and this man
was the son of Phraortes. This Deïokes, having formed a desire for
despotic power, did thus:–whereas the Medes dwelt in separate
villages, he, being even before that time of great repute in his own
village, set himself to practise just dealing much more and with
greater zeal than before; and this he did although there was much
lawlessness throughout the whole of Media, and although he knew that
injustice is ever at feud with justice. And the Medes of the same
village, seeing his manners, chose him for their judge. So he, since
he was aiming at power, was upright and just, and doing thus he had no
little praise from his fellow-citizens, insomuch that those of the
other villages learning that Deïokes was a man who more than all
others gave decision rightly, whereas before this they had been wont
to suffer from unjust judgments, themselves also when they heard it
came gladly to Deïokes to have their causes determined, and at last
they trusted the business to no one else. 97. Then, as more and more
continually kept coming to him, because men learnt that his decisions
proved to be according to the truth, Deïokes perceiving that
everything was referred to himself would no longer sit in the place
where he used formerly to sit in public to determine causes, and said
that he would determine causes no more, for it was not profitable for
him to neglect his own affairs and to determine causes for his
neighbours all through the day. So then, since robbery and lawlessness
prevailed even much more in the villages than they did before, the
Medes having assembled together in one place considered with one
another and spoke about the state in which they were: and I suppose
the friends of Deïokes spoke much to this effect: “Seeing that we are
not able to dwell in the land under the present order of things, let
us set up a king from among ourselves, and thus the land will be well
governed and we ourselves shall turn to labour, and shall not be
ruined by lawlessness.” By some such words as these they persuaded
themselves to have a king. 98. And when they straightway proposed the
question whom they should set up to be king, Deïokes was much put
forward and commended by every one, until at last they agreed that he
should be their king. And he bade them build for him a palace worthy
of the royal dignity and strengthen him with a guard of spearmen. And
the Medes did so: for they built him a large and strong palace in that
part of the land which he told them, and they allowed him to select
spearmen from all the Medes. And when he had obtained the rule over
them, he compelled the Medes to make one fortified city and pay chief
attention to this, having less regard to the other cities. And as the
Medes obeyed him in this also, he built large and strong walls, those
which are now called Agbatana, standing in circles one within the
other. And this wall is so contrived that one circle is higher than
the next by the height of the battlements alone. And to some extent, I
suppose, the nature of the ground, seeing that it is on a hill,
assists towards this end; but much more was it produced by art, since
the circles are in all seven in number.[111] And within the last
circle are the royal palace and the treasure-houses. The largest of
these walls is in size about equal to the circuit of the wall round
Athens; and of the first circle the battlements are white, of the
second black, of the third crimson, of the fourth blue, of the fifth
red: thus are the battlements of all the circles coloured with various
tints, and the two last have their battlements one of them overlaid
with silver and the other with gold. 99. These walls then Deïokes
built for himself and round his own palace, and the people he
commanded to dwell round about the wall. And after all was built,
Deïokes established the rule, which he was the first to establish,
ordaining that none should enter into the presence of the king, but
that they deal with him always through messengers; and that the king
should be seen by no one; and moreover that to laugh or to spit in
presence is unseemly, and this last for every one without
exception.[112] Now he surrounded himself with this state[113] to the
end that his fellows, who had been brought up with him and were of no
meaner family nor behind him in manly virtue, might not be grieved by
seeing him and make plots against him, but that being unseen by them
he might be thought to be of different mould. 100. Having set these
things in order and strengthened himself in his despotism, he was
severe in preserving justice; and the people used to write down their
causes and send them in to his presence, and he determined the
questions which were brought in to him and sent them out again. Thus
he used to do about the judgment of causes; and he also took order for
this, that is to say, if he heard that any one was behaving in an
unruly manner, he sent for him and punished him according as each act
of wrong deserved, and he had watchers and listeners about all the
land over which he ruled.

101. Deïokes then united the Median race alone, and was ruler of this:
and of the Medes there are the tribes which here follow, namely,
Busai, Paretakenians, Struchates, Arizantians, Budians, Magians: the
tribes of the Medes are so many in number. 102. Now the son of Deïokes
was Phraortes, who when Deïokes was dead, having been king for three-
and-fifty years, received the power in succession; and having received
it he was not satisfied to be ruler of the Medes alone, but marched
upon the Persians; and attacking them first before others, he made
these first subject to the Medes. After this, being ruler of these two
nations and both of them strong, he proceeded to subdue Asia going
from one nation to another, until at last he marched against the
Assyrians, those Assyrians I mean who dwelt at Nineveh, and who
formerly had been rulers of the whole, but at that time they were left
without support their allies having revolted from them, though at home
they were prosperous enough.[114] Phraortes marched, I say, against
these, and was both himself slain, after he had reigned two-and-twenty
years, and the greater part of his army was destroyed.

103. When Phraortes had brought his life to an end, Kyaxares the son
of Phraortes, the son of Deïokes, received the power. This king is
said to have been yet much more warlike than his forefathers; and he
first banded the men of Asia into separate divisions, that is to say,
he first arrayed apart from one another the spearmen and the archers
and the horsemen, for before that time they were all mingled together
without distinction. This was he who fought with the Lydians when the
day became night as they fought, and who also united under his rule
the whole of Asia above the river Halys.[115] And having gathered
together all his subjects he marched upon Nineveh to avenge his
father, and also because he desired to conquer that city. And when he
had fought a battle with the Assyrians and had defeated them, while he
was sitting down before Nineveh there came upon him a great army of
Scythians,[116] and the leader of them was Madyas the son of
Protohyas, king of the Scythians. These had invaded Asia after driving
the Kimmerians out of Europe, and in pursuit of them as they fled they
had come to the land of Media. 104. Now from the Maiotian lake to the
river Phasis and to the land of the Colchians is a journey of thirty
days for one without encumbrance;[117] and from Colchis it is not far
to pass over to Media, for there is only one nation between them, the
Saspeirians, and passing by this nation you are in Media. However the
Scythians did not make their invasion by this way, but turned aside
from it to go by the upper road[118] which is much longer, keeping
Mount Caucasus on their right hand. Then the Medes fought with the
Scythians, and having been worsted in the battle they lost their
power, and the Scythians obtained rule over all Asia. 105. Thence they
went on to invade Egypt; and when they were in Syria which is called
Palestine, Psammetichos king of Egypt met them; and by gifts and
entreaties he turned them from their purpose, so that they should not
advance any further: and as they retreated, when they came to the city
of Ascalon in Syria, most of the Scythians passed through without
doing any damage, but a few of them who had stayed behind plundered
the temple of Aphrodite Urania. Now this temple, as I find by inquiry,
is the most ancient of all the temples which belong to this goddess;
for the temple in Cyprus was founded from this, as the people of
Cyprus themselves report, and it was the Phenicians who founded the
temple in Kythera, coming from this land of Syria. So these Scythians
who had plundered the temple at Ascalon, and their descendants for
ever, were smitten by the divinity[119] with a disease which made them
women instead of men: and the Scythians say that it was for this
reason that they were diseased, and that for this reason travellers
who visit Scythia now, see among them the affection of those who by
the Scythians are called /Enareës/.

106. For eight-and-twenty years then the Scythians were rulers of
Asia, and by their unruliness and reckless behaviour everything was
ruined; for on the one hand they exacted that in tribute from each
people which they laid upon them,[120] and apart from the tribute they
rode about and carried off by force the possessions of each tribe.
Then Kyaxares with the Medes, having invited the greater number of
them to a banquet, made them drunk and slew them; and thus the Medes
recovered their power, and had rule over the same nations as before;
and they also took Nineveh,–the manner how it was taken I shall set
forth in another history,[121]–and made the Assyrians subject to them
excepting only the land of Babylon.

107. After this Kyaxares died, having reigned forty years including
those years during which the Scythians had rule, and Astyages son of
Kyaxares received from him the kingdom. To him was born a daughter
whom he named Mandane; and in his sleep it seemed to him that there
passed from her so much water as to fill his city and also to flood
the whole of Asia. This dream he delivered over[122] to the Magian
interpreters of dreams, and when he heard from them the truth at each
point he became afraid. And afterwards when this Mandane was of an age
to have a husband, he did not give her in marriage to any one of the
Medes who were his peers, because he feared the vision; but he gave
her to a Persian named Cambyses, whom he found to be of a good descent
and of a quiet disposition, counting him to be in station much below a
Mede of middle rank. 108. And when Mandane was married to Cambyses, in
the first year Astyages saw another vision. It seemed to him that from
the womb of this daughter a vine grew, and this vine overspread the
whole of Asia. Having seen this vision and delivered it to the
interpreters of dreams, he sent for his daughter, being then with
child, to come from the land of the Persians. And when she had come he
kept watch over her, desiring to destroy that which should be born of
her; for the Magian interpreters of dreams signified to him that the
offspring of his daughter should be king in his room. Astyages then
desiring to guard against this, when Cyrus was born, called Harpagos,
a man who was of kin near him and whom he trusted above all the other
Medes, and had made him manager of all his affairs; and to him he said
as follows: “Neglect not by any means, Harpagos, the matter which I
shall lay upon thee to do, and beware lest thou set me aside,[123] and
choosing the advantage of others instead, bring thyself afterwards to
destruction. Take the child which Mandane bore, and carry it to thy
house and slay it; and afterwards bury it in whatsoever manner thou
thyself desirest.” To this he made answer: “O king, never yet in any
past time didst thou discern in me an offence against thee, and I keep
watch over myself also with a view to the time that comes after, that
I may not commit any error towards thee. If it is indeed thy pleasure
that this should so be done, my service at least must be fitly
rendered.” 109. Thus he made answer, and when the child had been
delivered to him adorned as for death, Harpagos went weeping to his
wife all the words which had been spoken by Astyages. And she said to
him: “Now, therefore, what is it in thy mind to do?” and he made
answer: “Not according as Astyages enjoined: for not even if he shall
come to be yet more out of his senses and more mad than he now is,
will I agree to his will or serve him in such a murder as this. And
for many reasons I will not slay the child; first because he is a kin
to me, and then because Astyages is old and without male issue, and if
after he is dead the power shall come through me, does not the
greatest of dangers then await me? To secure me, this child must die;
but one of the servants of Astyages must be the slayer of it, and not
one of mine.” 110. Thus he spoke, and straightway sent a messenger to
that one of the herdsmen of Astyages who he knew fed his herds on the
pastures which were most suitable for his purpose, and on the
mountains most haunted by wild beasts. The name of this man was
Mitradates, and he was married to one who was his fellow-slave; and
the name of the woman to whom he was married was Kyno in the tongue of
the Hellenes and in the Median tongue Spaco, for what the Hellenes
call /kyna/ (bitch) the Medes call /spaca/. Now, it was on the skirts
of the mountains that this herdsman had his cattle-pastures, from
Agbatana towards the North Wind and towards the Euxine Sea. For here
in the direction of the Saspeirians the Median land is very
mountainous and lofty and thickly covered with forests; but the rest
of the land of Media is all level plain. So when this herdsman came,
being summoned with much urgency, Harpagos said these words: “Astyages
bids thee take this child and place it on the most desolate part of
the mountains, so that it may perish as quickly as possible. And he
bade me to say that if thou do not kill it, but in any way shalt
preserve it from death, he will slay thee by the most evil kind of
destruction:[124] and I have been appointed to see that the child is
laid forth.” 111. Having heard this and having taken up the child, the
herdsman went back by the way he came, and arrived at his dwelling.
And his wife also, as it seems, having been every day on the point of
bearing a child, by a providential chance brought her child to birth
just at that time, when the herdsman was gone to the city. And both
were in anxiety, each for the other, the man having fear about the
child-bearing of his wife, and the woman about the cause why Harpagos
had sent to summon her husband, not having been wont to do so
aforetime. So as soon as he returned and stood before her, the woman
seeing him again beyond her hopes was the first to speak, and asked
him for what purpose Harpagos had sent for him so urgently. And he
said: “Wife, when I came to the city I saw and heard that which I
would I had not seen, and which I should wish had never chanced to
those whom we serve. For the house of Harpagos was all full of
mourning, and I being astonished thereat went within: and as soon as I
entered I saw laid out to view an infant child gasping for breath and
screaming, which was adorned with gold ornaments and embroidered
clothing: and when Harpagos saw me he bade me forthwith to take up the
child and carry it away and lay it on that part of the mountains which
is most haunted by wild beasts, saying that it was Astyages who laid
this task upon me, and using to me many threats, if I should fail to
do this. And I took it up and bore it away, supposing that it was the
child of some one of the servants of the house, for never could I have
supposed whence it really was; but I marvelled to see it adorned with
gold and raiment, and I marvelled also because mourning was made for
it openly in the house of Harpagos. And straightway as we went by the
road, I learnt the whole of the matter from the servant who went with
me out of the city and placed in my hands the babe, namely that it was
in truth the son of Mandane the daughter of Astyages, and of Cambyses
the son of Cyrus, and that Astyages bade slay it. And now here it is.”
112. And as he said this the herdsman uncovered it and showed it to
her. And she, seeing that the child was large and of fair form, wept
and clung to the knees of her husband, beseeching him by no means to
lay it forth. But he said that he could not do otherwise than so, for
watchers would come backwards and forwards sent by Harpagos to see
that this was done, and he would perish by a miserable death if he
should fail to do this. And as she could not after all persuade her
husband, the wife next said as follows: “Since then I am unable to
persuade thee not to lay it forth, do thou this which I shall tell
thee, if indeed it needs must be seen laid forth. I also have borne a
child, but I have borne it dead. Take this and expose it, and let us
rear the child of the daughter of Astyages as if it were our own. Thus
thou wilt not be found out doing a wrong to those whom we serve, nor
shall we have taken ill counsel for ourselves; for the dead child will
obtain a royal burial and the surviving one will not lose his life.”
113. To the herdsman it seemed that, the case standing thus, his wife
spoke well, and forthwith he did so. The child which he was bearing to
put to death, this he delivered to his wife, and his own, which was
dead, he took and placed in the chest in which he had been bearing the
other; and having adorned it with all the adornment of the other
child, he bore it to the most desolate part of the mountains and
placed it there. And when the third day came after the child had been
laid forth, the herdsman went to the city, leaving one of his under-
herdsmen to watch there, and when he came to the house of Harpagos he
said that he was ready to display the dead body of the child; and
Harpagos sent the most trusted of his spearmen, and through them he
saw and buried the herdsman’s child. This then had had burial, but him
who was afterwards called Cyrus the wife of the herdsman had received,
and was bringing him up, giving him no doubt some other name, not

114. And when the boy was ten years old, it happened with regard to
him as follows, and this made him known. He was playing in the village
in which were stalls for oxen, he was playing there, I say, with other
boys of his age in the road. And the boys in their play chose as their
king this one who was called the son of the herdsman: and he set some
of them to build palaces and others to be spearmen of his guard, and
one of them no doubt he appointed to be the eye of the king, and to
one he gave the office of bearing the messages,[124a] appointing a
work for each one severally. Now one of these boys who was playing
with the rest, the son of Artembares a man of repute among the Medes,
did not do that which Cyrus appointed him to do; therefore Cyrus bade
the other boys seize him hand and foot,[125] and when they obeyed his
command he dealt with the boy very roughly, scourging him. But he, so
soon as he was let go, being made much more angry because he
considered that he had been treated with indignity, went down to the
city and complained to his father of the treatment which he had met
with from Cyrus, calling him not Cyrus, for this was not yet his name,
but the son of the herdsman of Astyages. And Artembares in the anger
of the moment went at once to Astyages, taking the boy with him, and
he declared that he had suffered things that were unfitting and said:
“O king, by thy slave, the son of a herdsman, we have been thus
outraged,” showing him the shoulders of his son. 115. And Astyages
having heard and seen this, wishing to punish the boy to avenge the
honour of Artembares, sent for both the herdsman and his son. And when
both were present, Astyages looked at Cyrus and said: “Didst thou
dare, being the son of so mean a father as this, to treat with such
unseemly insult the son of this man who is first in my favour?” And he
replied thus: “Master, I did so to him with right. For the boys of the
village, of whom he also was one, in their play set me up as king over
them, for I appeared to them most fitted for this place. Now the other
boys did what I commanded them, but this one disobeyed and paid no
regard, until at last he received the punishment due. If therefore for
this I am worthy to suffer any evil, here I stand before thee.” 116.
While the boy thus spoke, there came upon Astyages a sense of
recognition of him and the lineaments of his face seemed to him to
resemble his own, and his answer appeared to be somewhat over free for
his station, while the time of the laying forth seemed to agree with
the age of the boy. Being struck with amazement by these things, for a
time he was speechless; and having at length with difficulty recovered
himself, he said, desiring to dismiss Artembares, in order that he
might get the herdsman by himself alone and examine him: “Artembares,
I will so order these things that thou and thy son shall have no cause
to find fault”; and so he dismissed Artembares, and the servants upon
the command of Astyages led Cyrus within. And when the herdsman was
left alone with the king, Astyages being alone with him asked whence
he had received the boy, and who it was who had delivered the boy to
him. And the herdsman said that he was his own son, and that the
mother was living with him still as his wife. But Astyages said that
he was not well advised in desiring to be brought to extreme
necessity, and as he said this he made a sign to the spearmen of his
guard to seize him. So he, as he was being led away to the
torture,[126] then declared the story as it really was; and beginning
from the beginning he went through the whole, telling the truth about
it, and finally ended with entreaties, asking that he would grant him

117. So when the herdsman had made known the truth, Astyages now cared
less about him, but with Harpagos he was very greatly displeased and
bade his spearmen summon him. And when Harpagos came, Astyages asked
him thus: “By what death, Harpagos, didst thou destroy the child whom
I delivered to thee, born of my daughter?” and Harpagos, seeing that
the herdsman was in the king’s palace, turned not to any false way of
speech, lest he should be convicted and found out, but said as
follows: “O king, so soon as I received the child, I took counsel and
considered how I should do according to thy mind, and how without
offence to thy command I might not be guilty of murder against thy
daughter and against thyself. I did therefore thus:–I called this
herdsman and delivered the child to him, saying first that thou wert
he who bade him slay it–and in this at least I did not lie, for thou
didst so command. I delivered it, I say, to this man commanding him to
place it upon a desolate mountain, and to stay by it and watch it
until it should die, threatening him with all kinds of punishment if
he should fail to accomplish this. And when he had done that which was
ordered and the child was dead, I sent the most trusted of my eunuchs
and through them I saw and buried the child. Thus, O king, it happened
about this matter, and the child had this death which I say.” 118. So
Harpagos declared the truth, and Astyages concealed the anger which he
kept against him for that which had come to pass, and first he related
the matter over again to Harpagos according as he had been told it by
the herdsman, and afterwards, when it had been thus repeated by him,
he ended by saying that the child was alive and that that which had
come to pass was well, “for,” continued he, “I was greatly troubled by
that which had been done to this child, and I thought it no light
thing that I had been made at variance with my daughter. Therefore
consider that this is a happy change of fortune, and first send thy
son to be with the boy who is newly come, and then, seeing that I
intend to make a sacrifice of thanksgiving for the preservation of the
boy to those gods to whom that honour belongs, be here thyself to dine
with me.” 119. When Harpagos heard this, he did reverence and thought
it a great matter that his offence had turned out for his profit and
moreover that he had been invited to dinner with happy augury;[127] and so he went to his house. And having entered it straightway, he
sent forth his son, for he had one only son of about thirteen years
old, bidding him go to the palace of Astyages and do whatsoever the
king should command; and he himself being overjoyed told his wife that
which had befallen him. But Astyages, when the son of Harpagos
arrived, cut his throat and divided him limb from limb, and having
roasted some pieces of the flesh and boiled others he caused them to
be dressed for eating and kept them ready. And when the time arrived
for dinner and the other guests were present and also Harpagos, then
before the other guests and before Astyages himself were placed tables
covered with flesh of sheep; but before Harpagos was placed the flesh
of his own son, all but the head and the hands and the feet,[128] and
these were laid aside covered up in a basket. Then when it seemed that
Harpagos was satisfied with food, Astyages asked him whether he had
been pleased with the banquet; and when Harpagos said that he had been
very greatly pleased, they who had been commanded to do this brought
to him the head of his son covered up, together with the hands and the
feet; and standing near they bade Harpagos uncover and take of them
that which he desired. So when Harpagos obeyed and uncovered, he saw
the remains of his son; and seeing them he was not overcome with
amazement but contained himself: and Astyages asked him whether he
perceived of what animal he had been eating the flesh: and he said
that he perceived, and that whatsoever the king might do was well
pleasing to him. Thus having made answer and taking up the parts of
the flesh which still remained he went to his house; and after that, I
suppose, he would gather all the parts together and bury them.

120. On Harpagos Astyages laid this penalty; and about Cyrus he took
thought, and summoned the same men of the Magians who had given
judgment about his dream in the manner which has been said: and when
they came, Astyages asked how they had given judgment about his
vision; and they spoke according to the same manner, saying that the
child must have become king if he had lived on and had not died
before. He made answer to them thus: “The child is alive and not
dead:[129] and while he was dwelling in the country, the boys of the
village appointed him king; and he performed completely all those
things which they do who are really kings; for he exercised rule,[130] appointed to their places spearmen of the guard and doorkeepers and
bearers of messages and all else. Now therefore, to what does it seem
to you that these things tend?” The Magians said: “If the child is
still alive and became king without any arrangement, be thou confident
concerning him and have good courage, for he shall not be ruler again
the second time; since some even of our oracles have had but small
results,[131] and that at least which has to do with dreams comes
often in the end to a feeble accomplishment.” Astyages made answer in
these words: “I myself also, O Magians, am most disposed to believe
that this is so, namely that since the boy was named king the dream
has had its fulfilment and that this boy is no longer a source of
danger to me. Nevertheless give counsel to me, having well considered
what is likely to be most safe both for my house and for you.”
Replying to this the Magians said: “To us also, O king, it is of great
consequence that thy rule should stand firm; for in the other case it
is transferred to strangers, coming round to this boy who is a
Persian, and we being Medes are made slaves and become of no account
in the eyes of the Persians, seeing that we are of different race; but
while thou art established as our king, who art one of our own nation,
we both have our share of rule and receive great honours from thee.
Thus then we must by all means have a care of thee and of thy rule.
And now, if we saw in this anything to cause fear, we would declare
all to thee beforehand: but as the dream has had its issue in a
trifling manner, both we ourselves are of good cheer and we exhort
thee to be so likewise: and as for this boy, send him away from before
thine eyes to the Persians and to his parents.” 121. When he heard
this Astyages rejoiced, and calling Cyrus spoke to him thus: “My son,
I did thee wrong by reason of a vision of a dream which has not come
to pass, but thou art yet alive by thine own destiny; now therefore go
in peace to the land of the Persians, and I will send with thee men to
conduct thee: and when thou art come thither, thou shalt find a father
and a mother not after the fashion of Mitradates the herdsman and his
wife.” 122. Thus having spoken Astyages sent Cyrus away; and when he
had returned and come to the house of Cambyses, his parents received
him; and after that, when they learnt who he was, they welcomed him
not a little, for they had supposed without doubt that their son had
perished straightway after his birth; and they inquired in what manner
he had survived. And he told them, saying that before this he had not
known but had been utterly in error; on the way, however, he had
learnt all his own fortunes: for he had supposed without doubt that he
was the son of the herdsman of Astyages, but since his journey from
the city began he had learnt the whole story from those who conducted
him. And he said that he had been brought up by the wife of the
herdsman, and continued to praise her throughout, so that Kyno was the
chief person in his tale. And his parents took up this name from him,
and in order that their son might be thought by the Persians to have
been preserved in a more supernatural manner, they set on foot a
report that Cyrus when he was exposed had been reared by a bitch:[132] and from that source has come this report.

123. Then as Cyrus grew to be a man, being of all those of his age the
most courageous and the best beloved, Harpagos sought to become his
friend and sent him gifts, because he desired to take vengeance on
Astyages. For he saw not how from himself, who was in a private
station, punishment should come upon Astyages; but when he saw Cyrus
growing up, he endeavoured to make him an ally, finding a likeness
between the fortunes of Cyrus and his own. And even before that time
he had effected something: for Astyages being harsh towards the Medes,
Harpagos communicated severally with the chief men of the Medes, and
persuaded them that they must make Cyrus their leader and cause
Astyages to cease from being king. When he had effected this and when
all was ready, then Harpagos wishing to make known his design to
Cyrus, who lived among the Persians, could do it no other way, seeing
that the roads were watched, but devised a scheme as follows:–he made
ready a hare, and having cut open its belly but without pulling off
any of the fur, he put into it, just as it was, a piece of paper,
having written upon it that which he thought good; and then he sewed
up again the belly of the hare, and giving nets as if he were a hunter
to that one of his servants whom he trusted most, he sent him away to
the land of the Persians, enjoining him by word of mouth to give the
hare to Cyrus, and to tell him at the same time to open it with his
own hands and let no one else be present when he did so. 124. This
then was accomplished, and Cyrus having received from him the hare,
cut it open; and having found within it the paper he took and read it
over. And the writing said this: “Son of Cambyses, over thee the gods
keep guard, for otherwise thou wouldst never have come to so much good
fortune. Do thou therefore[133] take vengeance on Astyages who is thy
murderer, for so far as his will is concerned thou art dead, but by
the care of the gods and of me thou art still alive; and this I think
thou hast long ago learnt from first to last, both how it happened
about thyself, and also what things I have suffered from Astyages,
because I did not slay thee but gave thee to the herdsman. If
therefore thou wilt be guided by me, thou shalt be ruler of all that
land over which now Astyages is ruler. Persuade the Persians to
revolt, and march any army against the Medes: and whether I shall be
appointed leader of the army against thee, or any other of the Medes
who are in repute, thou hast what thou desirest; for these will be the
first to attempt to destroy Astyages, revolting from him and coming
over to thy party. Consider then that here at least all is ready, and
therefore do this and do it with speed.” 125. Cyrus having heard this
began to consider in what manner he might most skilfully persuade the
Persians to revolt, and on consideration he found that this was the
most convenient way, and so in fact he did:–He wrote first on a paper
that which he desired to write, and he made an assembly of the
Persians. Then he unfolded the paper and reading from it said that
Astyages appointed him commander of the Persians; “and now, O
Persians,” he continued, “I give you command to come to me each one
with a reaping-hook.” Cyrus then proclaimed this command. (Now there
are of the Persians many tribes, and some of them Cyrus gathered
together and persuaded to revolt from the Medes, namely those, upon
which all the other Persians depend, the Pasargadai, the Maraphians
and the Maspians, and of these the Pasargadai are the most noble, of
whom also the Achaimenidai are a clan, whence are sprung the
Perseïd[134] kings. But other Persian tribes there are, as follows:–
the Panthaliaians, the Derusiaians and the Germanians, these are all
tillers of the soil; and the rest are nomad tribes, namely the Daoi,
Mardians, Dropicans and Sagartians.) 126. Now there was a certain
region of the Persian land which was overgrown with thorns, extending
some eighteen or twenty furlongs in each direction; and when all had
come with that which they had been before commanded to bring, Cyrus
bade them clear this region for cultivation within one day: and when
the Persians had achieved the task proposed, then he bade them come to
him on the next day bathed and clean. Meanwhile Cyrus, having gathered
together in one place all the flocks of goats and sheep and the herds
of cattle belonging to his father, slaughtered them and prepared with
them to entertain the host of the Persians, and moreover with wine and
other provisions of the most agreeable kind. So when the Persians came
on the next day, he made them recline in a meadow and feasted them.
And when they had finished dinner, Cyrus asked them whether that which
they had on the former day or that which they had now seemed to them
preferable. They said that the difference between them was great, for
the former day had for them nothing but evil, and the present day
nothing but good. Taking up this saying Cyrus proceeded to lay bare
his whole design, saying: “Men of the Persians, thus it is with you.
If ye will do as I say, ye have these and ten thousand other good
things, with no servile labour; but if ye will not do as I say, ye
have labours like that of yesterday innumerable. Now therefore do as I
say and make yourselves free: for I seem to myself to have been born
by providential fortune to take these matters in hand; and I think
that ye are not worse men than the Medes, either in other matters or
in those which have to do with war. Consider then that this is so, and
make revolt from Astyages forthwith.”

127. So the Persians having obtained a leader willingly attempted to
set themselves free, since they had already for a long time been
indignant to be ruled by the Medes: but when Astyages heard that Cyrus
was acting thus, he sent a messenger and summoned him; and Cyrus bade
the messenger report to Astyages that he would be with him sooner than
he would himself desire. So Astyages hearing this armed all the Medes,
and blinded by divine providence he appointed Harpagos to be the
leader of the army, forgetting what he had done to him. Then when the
Medes had marched out and began to fight with the Persians, some of
them continued the battle, namely those who had not been made
partakers in the design, while others went over to the Persians; but
the greater number were wilfully slack and fled. 128. So when the
Median army had been shamefully dispersed, so soon as Astyages heard
of it he said, threatening Cyrus: “But not even so shall Cyrus at
least escape punishment.” Thus having spoken he first impaled the
Magian interpreters of dreams who had persuaded him to let Cyrus go,
and then he armed those of the Medes, youths and old men, who had been
left behind in the city. These he led out and having engaged battle
with the Persians he was worsted, and Astyages himself was taken
alive, and he lost also those of the Medes whom he had led forth. 129.
Then when Astyages was a prisoner, Harpagos came and stood near him
and rejoiced over him and insulted him; and besides other things which
he said to grieve him, he asked him especially how it pleased him to
be a slave instead of a king, making reference to that dinner at which
Astyages had feasted him with the flesh of his own son.[135] He
looking at him asked him in return whether he claimed the work of
Cyrus as his own deed: and Harpagos said that since he had written the
letter, the deed was justly his. Then Astyages declared him to be at
the same time the most unskilful and the most unjust of men; the most
unskilful because, when it was in his power to become king (as it was,
if that which had now been done was really brought about by him), he
had conferred the chief power on another, and the most unjust, because
on account of that dinner he had reduced the Medes to slavery. For if
he must needs confer the kingdom on some other and not keep it
himself, it was more just to give this good thing to one of the Medes
rather than to one of the Persians; whereas now the Medes, who were
guiltless of this, had become slaves instead of masters, and the
Persians who formerly were slaves of the Medes had now become their
masters. 130. Astyages then, having been king for five-and-thirty
years, was thus caused to cease from being king; and the Medes stooped
under the yoke of the Persians because of his cruelty, after they had
ruled Asia above the river Halys for one hundred and twenty-eight
years, except during that period for which the Scythians had
rule.[136] Afterwards however it repented them that they had done
this, and they revolved from Dareios, and having revolted they were
subdued again, being conquered in a battle. At this time then, I say,
in the reign of Astyages, the Persians with Cyrus rose up against the
Medes and from that time forth were rulers of Asia: but as for
Astyages, Cyrus did no harm to him besides, but kept him with himself
until he died. Thus born and bred Cyrus became king; and after this he
subdued Crœsus, who was the first to begin the quarrel, as I have
before said; and having subdued him he then became ruler of all Asia.


131. These are the customs, so far as I know, which the Persians
practise:–Images and temples and altars they do not account it lawful
to erect, nay they even charge with folly those who do these things;
and this, as it seems to me, because they do not account the gods to
be in the likeness of men, as do the Hellenes. But it is their wont to
perform sacrifices to Zeus going up to the most lofty of the
mountains, and the whole circle of the heavens they call Zeus: and
they sacrifice to the Sun and the Moon and the Earth, to Fire and to
Water and to the Winds: these are the only gods to whom they have
sacrificed ever from the first; but they have learnt also to sacrifice
to Aphrodite Urania, having learnt it both from the Assyrians and the
Arabians; and the Assyrians call Aphrodite Mylitta, the Arabians
Alitta,[136a] and the Persians Mitra. 132. Now this is the manner of
sacrifice for the gods aforesaid which is established among the
Persians:–they make no altars neither do they kindle fire; and when
they mean to sacrifice they use no libation nor music of the pipe nor
chaplets[137] nor meal for sprinkling;[138] but when a man wishes to
sacrifice to any one of the gods, he leads the animal for sacrifice to
an unpolluted place and calls upon the god, having his /tiara/[138a] wreathed round generally with a branch of myrtle. For himself alone
separately the man who sacrifices may not request good things in his
prayer, but he prays that it may be well with all the Persians and
with the king; for he himself also is included of course in the whole
body of Persians. And when he has cut up the victim into pieces and
boiled the flesh, he spreads a layer of the freshest grass and
especially clover, upon which he places forthwith all the pieces of
flesh; and when he has placed them in order, a Magian man stands by
them and chants over them a theogony (for of this nature they say that
their incantation is), seeing that without a Magian it is not lawful
for them to make sacrifices. Then after waiting a short time the
sacrificer carries away the flesh and uses it for whatever purpose he
pleases. 133. And of all days their wont is to honour most that on
which they were born, each one: on this they think it right to set out
a feast more liberal than on other days; and in this feast the
wealthier of them set upon the table an ox or a horse or a camel or an
ass, roasted whole in an oven, and the poor among them set out small
animals in the same way. They have few solid dishes,[139] but many
served up after as dessert, and these not in a single course; and for
this reason the Persians say that the Hellenes leave off dinner
hungry, because after dinner they have nothing worth mentioning served
up as dessert, whereas if any good dessert were served up they would
not stop eating so soon. To wine-drinking they are very much given,
and it is not permitted for a man to vomit or to make water in
presence of another. Thus do they provide against these things; and
they are wont to deliberate when drinking hard about the most
important of their affairs, and whatsoever conclusion has pleased them
in their deliberation, this on the next day, when they are sober, the
master of the house in which they happen to be when they deliberate
lays before them for discussion: and if it pleases them when they are
sober also, they adopt it, but if it does not please them, they let it
go: and that on which they have had the first deliberation when they
are sober, they consider again when they are drinking. 134. When they
meet one another in the roads, by this you may discern whether those
who meet are of equal rank,–for instead of greeting by words they
kiss one another on the mouth; but if one of them is a little inferior
to the other, they kiss one another on the cheeks, and if one is of
much less noble rank than the other, he falls down before him and does
worship to him.[140] And they honour of all most after themselves
those nations which dwell nearest to them, and next those which dwell
next nearest, and so they go on giving honour in proportion to
distance; and they hold least in honour those who dwell furthest off
from themselves, esteeming themselves to be by far the best of all the
human race on every point, and thinking that others possess merit
according to the proportion which is here stated,[141] and that those
who dwell furthest from themselves are the worst. And under the
supremacy of the Medes the various nations used also to govern one
another according to the same rule as the Persians observe in giving
honour,[142] the Medes governing the whole and in particular those who
dwelt nearest to themselves, and these having rule over those who
bordered upon them, and those again over the nations that were next to
them: for the race went forward thus ever from government by
themselves to government through others. 135. The Persians more than
any other men admit foreign usages; for they both wear the Median
dress judging it to be more comely than their own, and also for
fighting the Egyptian corslet: moreover they adopt all kinds of
luxuries when they hear of them, and in particular they have learnt
from the Hellenes to have commerce with boys. They marry each one
several lawful wives, and they get also a much larger number of
concubines. 136. It is established as a sign of manly excellence next
after excellence in fight, to be able to show many sons; and to those
who have most the king sends gifts every year: for they consider
number to be a source of strength. And they educate their children,
beginning at five years old and going on till twenty, in three things
only, in riding, in shooting, and in speaking the truth: but before
the boy is five years old he does not come into the presence of his
father, but lives with the women; and it is so done for this reason,
that if the child should die while he is being bred up, he may not be
the cause of any grief to his father. 137. I commend this custom of
theirs, and also the one which is next to be mentioned, namely that
neither the king himself shall put any to death for one cause alone,
nor any of the other Persians for one cause alone shall do hurt that
is irremediable to any of his own servants; but if after reckoning he
finds that the wrongs done are more in number and greater than the
services rendered,[143] then only he gives vent to his anger. Moreover
they say that no one ever killed his own father or mother, but
whatever deeds have been done which seemed to be of this nature, if
examined must necessarily, they say, be found to be due either to
changelings or to children of adulterous birth; for, say they, it is
not reasonable to suppose that the true parent would be killed by his
own son. 138. Whatever things it is not lawful for them to do, these
it is not lawful for them even to speak of: and the most disgraceful
thing in their estimation is to tell an lie, and next to this to owe
money, this last for many other reasons, but especially because it is
necessary, they say, for him who owes money, also sometimes to tell
lies: and whosoever of the men of the city has leprosy or whiteness of
skin, he does not come into a city nor mingle with the other Persians;
and they say that he has these diseases because he has offended in
some way against the Sun: but a stranger who is taken by these
diseases, in many regions[144] they drive out of the country
altogether, and also white doves, alleging against them the same
cause. And into a river they neither make water nor spit, neither do
they wash their hands in it, nor allow any other to do these things,
but they reverence rivers very greatly. 139. This moreover also has
chanced to them, which the Persians have themselves failed to notice
but I have not failed to do so:–their names, which are formed to
correspond with their bodily shapes or their magnificence of station,
end all with the same letter, that letter which the Dorians call /san/
and the Ionians /sigma/; with this you will find, if you examine the
matter, that all the Persian names end, not some with this and others
with other letters, but all alike.

140. So much I am able to say for certain from my own knowledge about
them: but what follows is reported about their dead as a secret
mystery and not with clearness, namely that the body of a Persian man
is not buried until it has been torn by a bird or a dog. (The Magians
I know for a certainty have this practice, for they do it openly.)
However that may be, the Persians cover the body with wax and then
bury it in the earth. Now the Magians are distinguished in many ways
from other men, as also from the priests in Egypt: for these last
esteem it a matter of purity to kill no living creature except the
animals which they sacrifice; but the Magians kill with their own
hands all creatures except dogs and men, and they even make this a
great end to aim at, killing both ants and serpents and all other
creeping and flying things. About this custom then be it as it was
from the first established; and I return now to the former


141. The Ionians and Aiolians, as soon as the Lydians had been subdued
by the Persians, sent messengers to Cyrus at Sardis, desiring to be
his subjects on the same terms as they had been subjects of Crœsus.
And when he heard that which they proposed to him, he spoke to them a
fable, saying that a certain player on the pipe saw fishes in the sea
and played on his pipe, supposing that they would come out to land;
but being deceived in his expectation, he took a casting-net and
enclosed a great multitude of the fishes and drew them forth from the
water: and when he saw them leaping about, he said to the fishes:
“Stop dancing I pray you now, seeing that ye would not come out and
dance before when I piped.” Cyrus spoke this fable to the Ionians and
Aiolians for this reason, because the Ionians had refused to comply
before, when Cyrus himself by a messenger requested them to revolt
from Crœsus, while now when the conquest had been made they were ready
to submit to Cyrus. Thus he said to them in anger, and the Ionians,
when they heard this answer brought back to their cities, put walls
round about them severally, and gathered together to the Panionion,
all except the men of Miletos, for with these alone Cyrus had sworn an
agreement on the same terms as the Lydians had granted. The rest of
the Ionians resolved by common consent to send messengers to Sparta,
to ask the Spartans to help the Ionians.

142. These Ionians to whom belongs the Panionion had the fortune to
build their cities in the most favourable position for climate and
seasons of any men whom we know: for neither the regions above Ionia
nor those below, neither those towards the East nor those towards the
West,[146] produce the same results as Ionia itself, the regions in
the one direction being oppressed by cold and moisture, and those in
the other by heat and drought. And these do not use all the same
speech, but have four different variations of language.[147] First of
their cities on the side of the South lies Miletos, and next to it
Myus and Priene. These are settlements made in Caria, and speak the
same language with one another; and the following are in Lydia,–
Ephesos, Colophon, Lebedos, Teos, Clazomenai, Phocaia: these cities
resemble not at all those mentioned before in the speech which they
use, but they agree one with another. There remain besides three
Ionian cities, of which two are established in the islands of Samos
and Chios, and one is built upon the mainland, namely Erythrai: now
the men of Chios and of Erythrai use the same form of language, but
the Samians have one for themselves alone. Thus there result four
separate forms of language.

143. Of these Ionians then those of Miletos were sheltered from
danger, since they had sworn an agreement; and those of them who lived
in islands had no cause for fear, for the Phenicians were not yet
subjects of the Persians and the Persians themselves were not sea-men.
Now these[148] were parted off from the other Ionians for no other
reason than this:–The whole Hellenic nation was at that time weak,
but of all its races the Ionian was much the weakest and of least
account: except Athens, indeed, it had no considerable city. Now the
other Ionians, and among them the Athenians, avoided the name, not
wishing to be called Ionians, nay even now I perceive that the greater
number of them are ashamed of the name: but these twelve cities not
only prided themselves on the name but established a temple of their
own, to which they gave the name of Panionion, and they made
resolution not to grant a share in it to any other Ionians (nor indeed
did any ask to share it except those of Smyrna); 144, just as the
Dorians of that district which is now called the Five Cities[149] but
was formerly called the Six Cities,[150] take care not to admit any of
the neighbouring Dorians to the temple of Triopion, and even exclude
from sharing in it those of their own body who commit any offence as
regards the temple. For example, in the games of the Triopian Apollo
they used formerly to set bronze tripods as prizes for the victors,
and the rule was that those who received them should not carry them
out of the temple but dedicate them then and there to the god. There
was a man then of Halicarnassos, whose name was Agasicles, who being a
victor paid no regard to this rule, but carried away the tripod to his
own house and hung it up there upon a nail. On this ground the other
five cities, Lindos, Ialysos and Cameiros, Cos and Cnidos, excluded
the sixth city Halicarnassos from sharing in the temple. 145. Upon
these they laid this penalty: but as for the Ionians, I think that the
reason why they made of themselves twelve cities and would not receive
any more into their body, was because when they dwelt in Peloponnesus
there were of them twelve divisions, just as now there are twelve
divisions of the Achaians who drove the Ionians out: for first,
(beginning from the side of Sikyon) comes Pellene, then Aigeira and
Aigai, in which last is the river Crathis with a perpetual flow
(whence the river of the same name in Italy received its name), and
Bura and Helike, to which the Ionians fled for refuge when they were
worsted by the Achaians in fight, and Aigion and Rhypes and Patreis
and Phareis and Olenos, where is the great river Peiros, and Dyme and
Tritaieis, of which the last alone has an inland position.[151] These
form now twelve divisions of the Achaians, and in former times they
were divisions of the Ionians. 146. For this reason then the Ionians
also made for themselves twelve cities; for at any rate to say that
these are any more Ionians than the other Ionians, or have at all a
nobler descent, is mere folly, considering that a large part of them
are Abantians from Eubœa, who have no share even in the name of Ionia,
and Minyai of Orchomenos have been mingled with them, and Cadmeians
and Dryopians and Phokians who seceded from their native State and
Molossians and Pelasgians of Arcadia and Dorians of Epidauros and many
other races have been mingled with them; and those of them who set
forth to their settlements from the City Hall of Athens and who esteem
themselves the most noble by descent of the Ionians, these, I say,
brought no women with them to their settlement, but took Carian women,
whose parents they slew: and on account of this slaughter these women
laid down for themselves a rule, imposing oaths on one another, and
handed it on to their daughters, that they should never eat with their
husbands, nor should a wife call her own husband by name, for this
reason, because the Ionians had slain their fathers and husbands and
children and then having done this had them to wife. This happened at
Miletos. 147. Moreover some of them set Lykian kings over them,
descendants of Glaucos and Hippolochos, while others were ruled by
Cauconians of Pylos, descendants of Codros the son of Melanthos, and
others again by princes of the two races combined. Since however these
hold on to the name more than the other Ionians, let them be called,
if they will, the Ionians of truly pure descent; but in fact all are
Ionians who have their descent from Athens and who keep the feast of
Apaturia; and this all keep except the men of Ephesos and Colophon:
for these alone of all the Ionians do not keep the Apaturia, and that
on the ground of some murder committed. 148. Now the Panionion is a
sacred place on the north side of Mycale, set apart by common
agreement of the Ionians for Poseidon of Helike[152]; and this Mycale
is a promontory of the mainland running out Westwards towards Samos,
where the Ionians gathering together from their cities used to hold a
festival which they called the Panionia. (And not only the feasts of
the Ionians but also those of all the Hellenes equally are subject to
this rule, that their names all end in the same letter, just like the
names of the Persians.)[153]

These then are the Ionian cities: 149, and those of Aiolia are as
follows:–Kyme, which is called Phriconis, Larisai, Neon-teichos,
Temnos, Killa, Notion, Aigiroëssa, Pitane, Aigaiai, Myrina, Gryneia;
these are the ancient cities of the Aiolians, eleven in number, since
one, Smyrna, was severed from them by the Ionians; for these cities,
that is those on the mainland, used also formerly to be twelve in
number. And these Aiolians had the fortune to settle in a land which
is more fertile than that of the Ionians but in respect of climate
less favoured.[154] 150. Now the Aiolians lost Smyrna in the following
manner:–certain men of Colophon, who had been worsted in party strife
and had been driven from their native city, were received there for
refuge: and after this the Colophonian exiles watched for a time when
the men of Smyrna were celebrating a festival to Dionysos outside the
walls, and then they closed the gates against them and got possession
of the city. After this, when the whole body of Aiolians came to the
rescue, they made an agreement that the Ionians should give up the
movable goods, and that on this condition the Aiolians should abandon
Smyrna. When the men of Smyrna had done this, the remaining eleven
cities divided them amongst themselves and made them their own
citizens. 151. These then are the Aiolian cities upon the mainland,
with the exception of those situated on Mount Ida, for these are
separate from the rest. And of those which are in the islands, there
are five in Lesbos, for the sixth which was situated in Lesbos, namely
Arisba, was enslaved by the men of Methymna, though its citizens were
of the same race as they; and in Tenedos there is one city, and
another in what are called the “Hundred Isles.” Now the Lesbians and
the men of Tenedos, like those Ionians who dwelt in the islands, had
no cause for fear; but the remaining cities came to a common agreement
to follow the Ionians whithersoever they should lead.

152. Now when the messengers from the Ionians and Aiolians came to
Sparta (for this business was carried out with speed), they chose
before all others to speak for them the Phocaian, whose name was
Pythermos. He then put upon him a purple cloak, in order that as many
as possible of the Spartans might hear of it and come together, and
having been introduced before the assembly[155] he spoke at length,
asking the Spartans to help them. The Lacedemonians however would not
listen to him, but resolved on the contrary not to help the Ionians.
So they departed, and the Lacedemonians, having dismissed the
messengers of the Ionians, sent men notwithstanding in a ship of fifty
oars, to find out, as I imagine, about the affairs of Cyrus and about
Ionia. These when they came to Phocaia sent to Sardis the man of most
repute among them, whose name was Lacrines, to report to Cyrus the
saying of the Lacedemonians, bidding him do hurt to no city of the
Hellas, since they would not permit it. 153. When the herald had
spoken thus, Cyrus is said to have asked those of the Hellenes whom he
had with him, what men the Lacedemonians were and how many in number,
that they made this proclamation to him; and hearing their answer he
said to the Spartan herald: “Never yet did I fear men such as these,
who have a place appointed in the midst of their city where they
gather together and deceive one another by false oaths: and if I
continue in good health, not the misfortunes of the Ionians will be
for them a subject of talk, but rather their own.” These words Cyrus
threw out scornfully with reference to the Hellenes in general,
because they have got for themselves[156] markets and practise buying
and selling there; for the Persians themselves are not wont to use
markets nor have they any market-place at all. After this he
entrusted Sardis to Tabalos a Persian, and the gold both of Crœsus and
of the other Lydians he gave to Pactyas a Lydian to take charge of,
and himself marched away to Agbatana, taking with him Crœsus and
making for the present no account of the Ionians. For Babylon stood in
his way still, as also the Bactrian nation and the Sacans and the
Egyptians; and against these he meant to make expeditions himself,
while sending some other commander about the Ionians.

154. But when Cyrus had marched away from Sardis, Pactyas caused the
Lydians to revolt from Tabalos and from Cyrus. This man went down to
the sea, and having in his possession all the gold that there had been
in Sardis, he hired for himself mercenaries and persuaded the men of
the sea-coast to join his expedition. So he marched on Sardis and
besieged Tabalos, having shut himself up in the citadel. 155. Hearing
this on his way, Cyrus said to Crœsus as follows: “Crœsus, what end
shall I find of these things which are coming to pass? The Lydians
will not cease as it seems, from giving trouble to me and from having
it themselves. I doubt me if it were not best[157] to sell them all as
slaves; for as it is, I see that I have done in like manner as if one
should slay the father and then spare his sons: just so I took
prisoner and am carrying away thee, who wert much more than the father
of the Lydians, while to the Lydians themselves I delivered up their
city; and can I feel surprise after this that they have revolted from
me?” Thus he said what was in his mind, but Crœsus answered him as
follows, fearing lest he should destroy Sardis: “O king, that which
thou hast said is not without reason; but do not thou altogether give
vent to thy wrath, nor destroy an ancient city which is guiltless both
of the former things and also of those which have come to pass now:
for as to the former things it was I who did them and I bear the
consequences heaped upon my head;[158] and as for what is now being
done, since the wrongdoer is Pactyas to whom thou didst entrust the
charge of Sardis, let him pay the penalty. But the Lydians I pray thee
pardon, and lay upon them commands as follows, in order that they may
not revolt nor be a cause of danger to thee:–send to them and forbid
them to possess weapons of war, but bid them on the other hand put on
tunics under their outer garments and be shod with buskins, and
proclaim to them that they train their sons to play the lyre and the
harp and to be retail-dealers; and soon thou shalt see, O king, that
they have become women instead of men, so that there will be no fear
that they will revolt from thee.” 156. Crœsus, I say, suggested to him
this, perceiving that this was better for the Lydians than to be
reduced to slavery and sold; for he knew that if he did not offer a
sufficient reason, he would not persuade Cyrus to change his mind, and
he feared lest at some future time, if they should escape the present
danger, the Lydians might revolt from the Persians and be destroyed.
And Cyrus was greatly pleased with the suggestion made and slackened
from his wrath, saying that he agreed with his advice. Then he called
Mazares a Mede, and laid charge upon him to proclaim to the Lydians
that which Crœsus suggested, and moreover to sell into slavery all the
rest who had joined with the Lydians in the expedition to Sardis, and
finally by all means to bring Pactyas himself alive to Cyrus.

157. Having given this charge upon the road, he continued his march to
the native land of the Persians; but Pactyas hearing that an army was
approaching to fight against him was struck with fear and fled away
forthwith to Kyme. Then Mazares the Mede marched upon Sardis with a
certain portion of the army of Cyrus, and as he did not find Pactyas
or his followers any longer at Sardis, he first compelled the Lydians
to perform the commands of Cyrus, and by his commands the Lydians
changed the whole manner of their life. After this Mazares proceeded
to send messengers to Kyme bidding them give up Pactyas: and the men
of Kyme resolved to refer to the god at Branchidai the question what
counsel they should follow. For there was there an Oracle established
of old time, which all the Ionians and Aiolians were wont to consult;
and this place is in the territory of Miletos above the port of
Panormos. 158. So the men of Kyme sent messengers to the
Branchidai[159] to inquire of the god, and they asked what course they
should take about Pactyas so as to do that which was pleasing to the
gods. When they thus inquired, the answer was given them that they
should deliver up Pactyas to the Persians: and the men of Kyme, having
heard this answer reported, were disposed to give him up. Then when
the mass of the people were thus disposed, Aristodicos the son of
Heracleides, a man of repute among the citizens, stopped the men of
Kyme from doing so, having distrust of the answer and thinking that
those sent to inquire were not speaking the truth; until at last other
messengers were sent to the Oracle to ask a second time about Pactyas,
and of them Aristodicos was one. 159. When these came to Branchidai,
Aristodicos stood forth from the rest and consulted the Oracle, asking
as follows: Lord,[160] there came to us a suppliant for protection
Pactyas the Lydian, flying from a violent death at the hands of the
Persians, and they demand him from us, bidding the men of Kyme give
him up. But we, though we fear the power of the Persians, yet have not
ventured up to this time to deliver to them the suppliant, until thy
counsel shall be clearly manifested to us, saying which of the two
things we ought to do.” He thus inquired, but the god again declared
to them the same answer, bidding them deliver up Pactyas to the
Persians. Upon this Aristodicos with deliberate purpose did as
follows:–he went all round the temple destroying the nests of the
sparrows[161] and of all the other kinds of birds which had been
hatched on the temple: and while he was doing this, it is said that a
voice came from the inner shrine directed to Aristodicos and speaking
thus: “Thou most impious of men, why dost thou dare to do this? Dost
thou carry away by force from my temple the suppliants for my
protection?” And Aristodicos, it is said, not being at all at a loss
replied to this: “Lord, dost thou thus come to the assistance of thy
suppliants, and yet biddest the men of Kyme deliver up theirs?” and
the god answered him again thus: “Yea, I bid you do so, that ye may
perish the more quickly for your impiety; so that ye may not at any
future time come to the Oracle to ask about delivering up of
suppliants.” 160. When the men of Kyme heard this saying reported, not
wishing either to be destroyed by giving him up or to be besieged by
keeping him with them, they sent him away to Mytilene. Those of
Mytilene however, when Mazares sent messages to them, were preparing
to deliver up Pactyas for a price, but what the price was I cannot say
for certain, since the bargain was never completed; for the men of
Kyme, when they learnt that this was being done by the Mytilenians,
sent a vessel to Lesbos and conveyed away Pactyas to Chios. After this
he was dragged forcibly from the temple of Athene Poliuchos by the
Chians and delivered up: and the Chians delivered him up receiving
Atarneus in return, (now this Atarneus is a region of Mysia[162] opposition Lesbos). So the Persians having received Pactyas kept him
under guard, meaning to produce him before Cyrus. And a long time
elapsed during which none of the Chians either used barley-meal grown
in this region of Atarneus, for pouring out in sacrifice to any god,
or baked cakes for offering of the corn which grew there, but all the
produce of this land was excluded from every kind of sacred service.

161. The men of Chios had then delivered up Pactyas; and after this
Mazares made expedition against those who had joined in besieging
Tabalos: and first he reduced to slavery those of Priene, then he
overran the whole plain of the Maiander making spoil of it for his
army, and Magnesia in the same manner: and straightway after this he
fell sick and died. 162. After he was dead, Harpagos came down to take
his place in command, being also a Mede by race (this was the man whom
the king of the Medes Astyages feasted with the unlawful banquet, and
who helped to give the kingdom to Cyrus). This man, being appointed
commander then by Cyrus, came to Ionia and proceeded to take the
cities by throwing up mounds against them: for when he had enclosed
any people within their walls, then he threw up mounds against the
walls and took their city by storm; and the first city of Ionia upon
which he made an attempt was Phocaia.

163. Now these Phocaians were the first of the Hellenes who made long
voyages, and these are they who discovered the Adriatic and Tyrsenia
and Iberia and Tartessos: and they made voyages not in round ships,
but in vessels of fifty oars. These came to Tartessos and became
friends with the king of the Tartessians whose name was Arganthonios:
he was ruler of the Tartessians for eighty years and lived in all one
hundred and twenty. With this man, I say, the Phocaians became so
exceedingly friendly, that first he bade them leave Ionia and dwell
wherever they desired in his own land; and as he did not prevail upon
the Phocaians to do this, afterwards, hearing from them of the Mede
how his power was increasing, he gave them money to build a wall about
their city: and he did this without sparing, for the circuit of the
wall is many furlongs[163] in extent, and it is built all of large
stones closely fitted together.

164. The wall of the Phocaians was made in this manner: and Harpagos
having marched his army against them began to besiege them, at the
same time holding forth to them proposals and saying that it was
enough to satisfy him if the Phocaians were willing to throw down one
battlement of their wall and dedicate one single house.[164] But the
Phocaians, being very greatly grieved at the thought of subjection,
said that they wished to deliberate about the matter for one day and
after that they would give their answer; and they asked him to
withdraw his army from the wall while they were deliberating. Harpagos
said that he knew very well what they were meaning to do, nevertheless
he was willing to allow them to deliberate. So in the time that
followed, when Harpagos had withdrawn his army from the wall, the
Phocaians drew down their fifty-oared galleys to the sea, put into
them their children and women and all their movable goods, and besides
them the images out of the temples and the other votive offerings
except such as were made of bronze or stone or consisted of paintings,
all the rest, I say, they put into the ships, and having embarked
themselves they sailed towards Chios; and the Persians obtained
possession of Phocaia, the city being deserted of the inhabitants.
165. But as for the Phocaians, since the men of Chios would not sell
them at their request the islands called Oinussai, from the fear lest
these islands might be made a seat of trade and their island might be
shut out, therefore they set out for Kyrnos:[165] for in Kyrnos twenty
years before this they had established a city named Alalia, in
accordance with an oracle, (now Arganthonios by that time was dead).
And when they were setting out for Kyrnos they first sailed to Phocaia
and slaughtered the Persian garrison, to whose charge Harpagos had
delivered the city; then after they had achieved this they made solemn
imprecations on any one of them who should be left behind from their
voyage, and moreover they sank a mass of iron in the sea and swore
that not until that mass should appear again on the surface[166] would
they return to Phocaia. However as they were setting forth to Kyrnos,
more than half of the citizens were seized with yearning and regret
for their city and for their native land, and they proved false to
their oath and sailed back to Phocaia. But those of them who kept the
oath still, weighed anchor from the islands of Oinussai and sailed.
166. When these came to Kyrnos, for five years they dwelt together
with those who had come thither before, and they founded temples
there. Then, since they plundered the property of all their
neighbours, the Tyrsenians and Carthaginians[167] made expedition
against them by agreement with one another, each with sixty ships. And
the Phocaians also manned their vessels, sixty in number, and came to
meet the enemy in that which is called the Sardinian sea: and when
they encountered one another in the sea-fight the Phocaians won a kind
of Cadmean victory, for forty of their ships were destroyed and the
remaining twenty were disabled, having had their prows bent aside. So
they sailed in to Alalia and took up their children and their women
and their other possessions as much as their ships proved capable of
carrying, and then they left Kyrnos behind them and sailed to Rhegion.
167. But as for the crews of the ships that were destroyed, the
Carthaginians and Tyrsenians obtained much the greater number of
them,[168] and these they brought to land and killed by stoning. After
this the men of Agylla found that everything which passed by the spot
where the Phocaians were laid after being stoned, became either
distorted, or crippled, or paralysed, both small cattle and beasts of
burden and human creatures: so the men of Agylla sent to Delphi
desiring to purge themselves of the offence; and the Pythian
prophetess bade them do that which the men of Agylla still continue to
perform, that is to say, they make great sacrifices in honour of the
dead, and hold at the place a contest of athletics and horse-racing.
These then of the Phocaians had the fate which I have said; but those
of them who took refuge at Rhegion started from thence and took
possession of that city in the land of Oinotria which now is called
Hyele. This they founded having learnt from a man of Poseidonia that
the Pythian prophetess by her answer meant them to found a temple to
Kyrnos, who was a hero, and not to found a settlement in the island of

168. About Phocaia in Ionia it happened thus, and nearly the same
thing also was done by the men of Teos: for as soon as Harpagos took
their wall with a mound, they embarked in their ships and sailed
straightway for Thrace; and there they founded the city of Abdera,
which before them Timesios of Clazomenai founded and had no profit
therefrom, but was driven out by the Thracians; and now he is honoured
as a hero by the Teïans in Abdera.

169. These alone of all the Ionians left their native cities because
they would not endure subjection: but the other Ionians except the
Milesians did indeed contend in arms with Harpagos like those who left
their homes, and proved themselves brave men, fighting each for his
own native city; but when they were defeated and captured they
remained all in their own place and performed that which was laid upon
them: but the Milesians, as I have also said before, had made a sworn
agreement with Cyrus himself and kept still. Thus for the second time
Ionia had been reduced to subjection. And when Harpagos had conquered
the Ionians on the mainland, then the Ionians who dwelt in the
islands, being struck with fear by these things, gave themselves over
to Cyrus.

170. When the Ionians had been thus evilly entreated but were
continuing still to hold their gatherings as before at the Panionion,
Bias a man of Priene set forth to the Ionians, as I am informed, a
most profitable counsel, by following which they might have been the
most prosperous of all the Hellenes. He urged that the Ionians should
set forth in one common expedition and sail to Sardinia, and after
that found a single city for all the Ionians: and thus they would
escape subjection and would be prosperous, inhabiting the largest of
all islands and being rulers over others; whereas, if they remained in
Ionia, he did not perceive, he said, that freedom would any longer
exist for them. This was the counsel given by Bias of Priene after the
Ionians had been ruined; but a good counsel too was given before the
ruin of Ionia by Thales a man of Miletos, who was by descent of
Phenician race. He advised the Ionians to have one single seat of
government,[170] and that this should be at Teos (for Teos, he said,
was in the centre of Ionia), and that the other cities should be
inhabited as before, but accounted just as if they were demes.

These men[171] set forth to them counsels of the kind which I have
said: 171, but Harpagos, after subduing Ionia, proceeded to march
against the Carians and Caunians and Lykians, taking also Ionians and
Aiolians to help him. Of these the Carians came to the mainland from
the islands; for being of old time subjects of Minos and being called
Leleges, they used to dwell in the islands, paying no tribute, so far
back as I am able to arrive by hearsay, but whenever Minos required
it, they used to supply his ships with seamen: and as Minos subdued
much land and was fortunate in his fighting, the Carian nation was of
all nations by much the most famous at that time together with him.
And they produced three inventions of which the Hellenes adopted the
use; that is to say, the Carians were those who first set the fashion
of fastening crests on helmets, and of making the devices which are
put onto shields, and these also were the first who made handles for
their shields, whereas up to that time all who were wont to use
shields carried them without handles and with leathern straps to guide
them, having them hung about their necks and their left shoulders.
Then after the lapse of a long time the Dorians and Ionians drove the
Carians out of the islands, and so they came to the mainland. With
respect to the Carians the Cretans relate that it happened thus; the
Carians themselves however do not agree with this account, but suppose
that they are dwellers on the mainland from the beginning,[172] and
that they went always by the same name which they have now: and they
point as evidence of this to an ancient temple of Carian Zeus at
Mylasa, in which the Mysians and Lydians share as being brother races
of the Carians, for they say that Lydos and Mysos were brothers of
Car; these share in it, but those who being of another race have come
to speak the same language as the Carians, these have no share in it.
172. It seems to me however that the Caunians are dwellers there from
the beginning, though they say themselves that they came from Crete:
but they have been assimilated to the Carian race in language, or else
the Carians to the Caunian race, I cannot with certainty determine
which. They have customs however in which they differ very much from
all other men as well as from the Carians; for example the fairest
thing in their estimation is to meet together in numbers for drinking,
according to equality of age or friendship, both men, women, and
children; and again when they had founded temples for foreign deities,
afterwards they changed their purpose and resolved to worship only
their own native gods, and the whole body of Caunian young men put on
their armour and made pursuit as far as the borders of the Calyndians,
beating the air with their spears; and they said that they were
casting the foreign gods out of the land. Such are the customs which
these have. 173. The Lykians however have sprung originally from Crete
(for in old time the whole of Crete was possessed by Barbarians): and
when the sons of Europa, Sarpedon and Minos, came to be at variance in
Crete about the kingdom, Minos having got the better in the strife of
parties drove out both Sarpedon himself and those of his party: and
they having been expelled came to the land of Milyas in Asia, for the
land which now the Lykians inhabit was anciently called Milyas, and
the Milyans were then called Solymoi. Now while Sarpedon reigned over
them, they were called by the name which they had when they came
thither, and by which the Lykians are even now called by the
neighbouring tribes, namely Termilai; but when from Athens Lycos the
son of Pandion came to the land of the Termilai and to Sarpedon, he
too having been driven out by his brother namely Aigeus, then by the
name taken from Lycos they were called after a time Lykians. The
customs which these have are partly Cretan and partly Carian; but one
custom they have which is peculiar to them, and in which they agree
with no other people, that is they call themselves by their mothers
and not by their fathers; and if one asks his neighbour who he is, he
will state his parentage on the mother’s side and enumerate his
mother’s female ascendants: and if a woman who is a citizen marry a
slave, the children are accounted to be of gentle birth; but if a man
who is a citizen, though he were the first man among them, have a
slave for wife or concubine, the children are without civil rights.

174. Now the Carians were reduced to subjection by Harpagos without
any brilliant deed displayed either by the Carians themselves or by
those of the Hellenes who dwell in this land. Of these last there are
besides others the men of Cnidos, settlers from Lacedemon, whose land
runs out into the sea,[173] being in fact the region which is called
Triopion, beginning from the peninsula of Bybassos: and since all the
land of Cnidos except a small part is washed by the sea (for the part
of it which looks towards the North is bounded by the Gulf of Keramos,
and that which looks to the South by the sea off Syme and Rhodes),
therefore the men of Cnidos began to dig through this small part,
which is about five furlongs across, while Harpagos was subduing
Ionia, desiring to make their land an island: and within the isthmus
all was theirs,[174] for where the territory of Cnidos ends in the
direction of the mainland, here is the isthmus which they were digging
across. And while the Cnidians were working at it with a great number
of men, it was perceived that the men who worked suffered injury much
more than might have been expected and in a more supernatural manner,
both in other parts of their bodies and especially in their eyes, when
the rock was being broken up; so they sent men to ask the Oracle at
Delphi what the cause of the difficulty was. And the Pythian
prophetess, as the men of Cnidos themselves report, gave them this
reply in trimeter verse:–

“Fence not the place with towers, nor dig the isthmus through;
Zeus would have made your land an island, had he willed.”

When the Pythian prophetess had given this oracle, the men of Cnidos
not only ceased from their digging but delivered themselves to
Harpagos without resistance, when he came against them with his army.

175. There were also the Pedasians, who dwelt in the inland country
above Halicarnassos; and among these, whenever anything hurtful is
about to happen either to themselves or to their neighbours, the
priestess of Athene has a great beard: this befell them three times.
These of all about Caria were the only men who held out for any time
against Harpagos, and they gave him trouble more than any other
people, having fortified a mountain called Lide.

176. After a time the Pedasians were conquered; and the Lykians, when
Harpagos marched his army into the plain of Xanthos, came out against
him[175] and fought, few against many, and displayed proofs of valour;
but being defeated and confined within their city, they gathered
together into the citadel their wives and their children, their
property and their servants, and after that they set fire to this
citadel, so that it was all in flames, and having done so and sworn
terrible oaths with one another, they went forth against the
enemy[176] and were slain in fight, that is to say all the men of
Xanthos: and of the Xanthians who now claim to be Lykians the greater
number have come in from abroad, except only eighty households; but
these eighty households happened at that time to be away from their
native place, and so they escaped destruction. Thus Harpagos obtained
possession of Caunos, for the men of Caunos imitated in most respects
the behaviour of the Lykians.

177. So Harpagos was conquering the coast regions of Asia; and Cyrus
himself meanwhile was doing the same in the upper parts of it,
subduing every nation and passing over none. Now most of these actions
I shall pass over in silence, but the undertakings which gave him
trouble more than the rest and which are the most worthy of note, of
these I shall make mention.


178. Cyrus, so soon as he had made subject to himself all other parts
of the mainland, proceeded to attack the Assyrians. Now Assyria has
doubtless many other great cities, but the most famous and the
strongest, and the place where the seat of their monarchy had been
established after Nineveh was destroyed, was Babylon; which was a city
such as I shall say.–It lies in a great plain, and in size it is such
that each face measures one hundred and twenty furlongs,[177] the
shape of the whole being square; thus the furlongs of the circuit of
the city amount in all to four hundred and eighty. Such is the size of
the city of Babylon, and it had a magnificence greater than all other
cities of which we have knowledge. First there runs round it a trench
deep and broad and full of water; then a wall fifty royal cubits in
thickness and two hundred cubits in height: now the royal cubit is
larger by three fingers than the common cubit.[178] 179. I must also
tell in addition to this for what purpose the earth was used, which
was taken out of the trench, and in what manner the wall was made. As
they dug the trench they made the earth which was carried out of the
excavation into bricks, and having moulded enough bricks they baked
them in kilns; and then afterwards, using hot asphalt for mortar and
inserting reed mats at every thirty courses of brickwork, they built
up first the edges of the trench and then the wall itself in the same
manner: and at the top of the wall along the edges they built chambers
of one story facing one another; and between the rows of chambers they
left space to drive a four-horse chariot. In the circuit of the wall
there are set a hundred gates made of bronze throughout, and the gate-
posts and lintels likewise. Now there is another city distant from
Babylon a space of eight days’ journey, of which the name is Is; and
there is a river there of no great size, and the name of the river is
also Is, and it sends its stream into the river Euphrates. This river
Is throws up together with its water lumps of asphalt in great
abundance, and thence was brought the asphalt for the wall of Babylon.
180. Babylon then was walled in this manner; and there are two
divisions of the city; for a river whose name is Euphrates parts it in
the middle. This flows from the land of the Armenians and is large and
deep and swift, and it flows out into the Erythraian sea. The wall
then on each side has its bends[179] carried down to the river, and
from this point the return walls stretch along each bank of the stream
in the form of a rampart of baked bricks: and the city itself is full
of houses of three and four stories, and the roads by which it is cut
up run in straight lines, including the cross roads which lead to the
river; and opposite to each road there were set gates in the rampart
which ran along the river, in many in number as the ways,[180] and
these also were of bronze and led like the ways[181] to the river
itself. 181. This wall then which I have mentioned is as it were a
cuirass[182] for the town, and another wall runs round within it, not
much weaker for defence than the first but enclosing a smaller
space.[183] And in each division of the city was a building in the
midst, in the one the king’s palace of great extent and strongly
fortified round, and in the other the temple of Zeus Belos with bronze
gates, and this exists still up to my time and measures two furlongs
each way,[184] being of a square shape: and in the midst of the
temple[185] is built a solid tower measuring a furlong both in length
and in breadth, and on this tower another tower has been erected, and
another again upon this, and so on up to the number of eight towers.
An ascent to these has been built running outside round about all the
towers; and when one reaches about the middle of the ascent one finds
a stopping-place and seats to rest upon, on which those who ascend sit
down and rest: and on the top of the last tower there is a large
cell,[186] and in the cell a large couch is laid, well covered, and by
it is placed a golden table: and there is no image there set up nor
does any human being spend the night there except only one woman of
the natives of the place, whomsoever the god shall choose from all the
woman, as say the Chaldeans who are the priests of this god. 182.
These same men say also, but I do not believe them, that the god
himself comes often to the cell and rests upon the couch, as happens
likewise in the Egyptian Thebes according to the report of the
Egyptians, for there also a woman sleeps in the temple of the Theban
Zeus (and both these women are said to abstain from commerce with
men), and as happens also with the prophetess[187] of the god in
Patara of Lykia, whenever there is one, for there is not always an
Oracle there, but whenever there is one, then she is shut up during
the nights in the temple within the cell. 183. There is moreover in
the temple at Babylon another cell below, wherein is a great image of
Zeus sitting, made of gold, and by it is placed a large table of gold,
and his footstool and seat are of gold also; and, as the Chaldeans
reported, the weight of the gold of which these things are made is
eight hundred talents. Outside this cell is an altar of gold; and
there is also another altar of great size, where full-grown
animals[188] are sacrificed, whereas on the golden altar it is not
lawful to sacrifice any but young sucklings only: and also on the
larger altar the Chaldeans offer one thousand talents of frankincense
every year at the time when they celebrate the feast in honour of this
god. There was moreover in these precincts still remaining at the time
of Cyrus,[189] a statue twelve cubits high, of gold and solid. This I
did not myself see, but that which is related by the Chaldeans I
relate. Against this statue Dareios the son of Hystaspes formed a
design, but he did not venture to take it: it was taken however by
Xerxes the son of Dareios, who also killed the priest when he forbade
him to meddle with the statue. This temple, then, is thus adorned with
magnificence, and there are also many private votive-offerings.

184. Of this Babylon, besides many other rulers, of whom I shall make
mention in the Assyrian history, and who added improvement to the
walls and temples, there were also two who were women. Of these, the
one who ruled first, named Semiramis, who lived five generations
before the other, produced banks of earth in the plain which are a
sight worth seeing; and before this the river used to flood like a sea
over the whole plain. 185. The queen who lived after her time, named
Nitocris, was wiser than she who had reigned before; and in the first
place she left behind her monuments which I shall tell of; then
secondly, seeing that the monarchy of the Medes was great and not apt
to remain still, but that besides other cities even Nineveh had been
captured by it, she made provision against it in so far as she was
able. First, as regards the river Euphrates which flows through the
midst of their city, whereas before this it flowed straight, she by
digging channels above made it so winding that it actually comes three
times in its course to one of the villages in Assyria; and the name of
the village to which the Euphrates comes is Ardericca; and at this day
those who travel from this Sea of ours to Babylon, in their voyage
down the river Euphrates[189a] arrive three times at this same village
and on three separate days. This she did thus; and she also piled up a
mound along each bank of the river, which is worthy to cause wonder
for its size and height: and at a great distance above Babylon, she
dug a basin for a lake, which she caused to extend along at a very
small distance from the river,[190] excavating it everywhere of such
depth as to come to water, and making the extent such that the circuit
of it measured four hundred and twenty furlongs: and the earth which
was dug out of this excavation she used up by piling it in mounds
along the banks of the river: and when this had been dug by her she
brought stones and set them all round it as a facing wall. Both these
two things she did, that is she made the river to have a winding
course, and she made the place which was dug out all into a swamp, in
order that the river might run more slowly, having its force broken by
going round many bends, and that the voyages might be winding to
Babylon, and after the voyages there might succeed a long circuit of
the pool. These works she carried out in that part where the entrance
to the country was, and the shortest way to it from Media, so that the
Medes might not have dealings with her kingdom and learn of her

186. These defences she cast round her city from the depth; and she
made the following addition which was dependent upon them:–The city
was in two divisions, and the river occupied the space between; and in
the time of the former rulers, when any one wished to pass over from
the one division to the other, he had to pass over in a boat, and
that, as I imagine, was troublesome: she however made provision also
for this; for when she was digging the basin for the lake she left
this other monument of herself derived from the same work, that is,
she caused stones to be cut of very great length, and when the stones
were prepared for her and the place had been dug out, she turned aside
the whole stream of the river into the place which she had been
digging; and while this was being filled with water, the ancient bed
of the river being dried up in the meantime, she both built up with
baked bricks after the same fashion as the wall the edges of the
river, where it flows through the city, and the places of descent
leading from the small gateways to the river; and also about the
middle of the city, as I judge, with the stones which she had caused
to be dug out she proceeded to build a bridge, binding together the
stones with iron and lead: and upon the top she laid squared timbers
across, to remain there while it was daytime, over which the people of
Babylon made the passage across; but at night they used to take away
these timbers for this reason, namely that they might not go backwards
and forwards by night and steal from one another: and when the place
dug out had been made into a lake full of water by the river, and at
the same time the bridge had been completed, then she conducted the
Euphrates back into its ancient channel from the lake, and so the
place dug out being made into a swamp was thought to have served a
good purpose, and there had been a bridge set up for the men of the

187. This same queen also contrived a snare of the following kind:–
Over that gate of the city through which the greatest number of people
passed she set up for herself a tomb above the very gate itself. And
on the tomb she engraved writing which said thus: “If any of the kings
of Babylon who come after me shall be in want of wealth, let him open
my tomb and take as much as he desires; but let him not open it for
any other cause, if he be not in want; for that will not be
well.”[191] This tomb was undisturbed until the kingdom came to
Dareios; but to Dareios it seemed that it was a monstrous thing not to
make any use of this gate, and also, when there was money lying there,
not to take it, considering that the money itself invited him to do
so. Now the reason why he would not make any use of this gate was
because the corpse would have been above his head as he drove through.
He then, I say, opened the tomb and found not indeed money but the
corpse, with writing which said thus: “If thou hadst not been
insatiable of wealth and basely covetous, thou wouldest not have
opened the resting-places of the dead.”

188. This queen then is reported to have been such as I have
described: and it was the son of this woman, bearing the same name as
his father, Labynetos, and being ruler over the Assyrians, against
whom Cyrus was marching. Now the great king makes his marches not only
well furnished[192] from home with provisions for his table and with
cattle, but also taking with him water from the river Choaspes, which
flows by Susa, of which alone and of no other river the king drinks:
and of this water of the Choaspes boiled, a very great number of
waggons, four-wheeled and drawn by mules, carry a supply in silver
vessels, and go with him wherever he may march at any time. 189. Now
when Cyrus on his way towards Babylon arrived at the river Gyndes,–of
which river the springs are in the mountains of the Matienians, and it
flows through the Dardanians and runs into another river, the Tigris,
which flowing by the city of Opis runs out into the Erythraian Sea,–
when Cyrus, I say, was endeavouring to cross this river Gyndes, which
is a navigable stream, then one of his sacred white horses in high
spirit and wantonness went into the river and endeavoured to cross,
but the stream swept it under water and carried it off forthwith. And
Cyrus was greatly moved with anger against the river for having done
thus insolently, and he threatened to make it so feeble that for the
future even women could cross it easily without wetting the knee. So
after this threat he ceased from his march against Babylon and divided
his army into two parts; and having divided it he stretched lines and
marked out straight channels,[193] one hundred and eighty on each bank
of the Gyndes, directed every way, and having disposed his army along
them he commanded them to dig: so, as a great multitude was working,
the work was completed indeed, but they spent the whole summer season
at this spot working.

190. When Cyrus had taken vengeance on the river Gyndes by dividing it
into three hundred and sixty channels, and when the next spring was
just beginning, then at length he continued his advance upon Babylon:
and the men of Babylon had marched forth out of their city and were
awaiting him. So when in his advance he came near to the city, the
Babylonians joined battle with him, and having been worsted in the
fight they were shut up close within their city. But knowing well even
before this that Cyrus was not apt to remain still, and seeing him lay
hands on every nation equally, they had brought in provisions
beforehand[194] for very many years. So while these made no account of
the siege, Cyrus was in straits what to do, for much time went by and
his affairs made no progress onwards. 191. Therefore, whether it was
some other man who suggested it to him when he was in a strait what to
do, or whether he of himself perceived what he ought to do, he did as
follows:–The main body of his army[195] he posted at the place where
the river runs into the city, and then again behind the city he set
others, where the river issues forth from the city; and he proclaimed
to his army that so soon as they should see that the stream had become
passable, they should enter by this way into the city. Having thus set
them in their places and in this manner exhorted them he marched away
himself with that part of his army which was not fit for fighting: and
when he came to the lake, Cyrus also did the same things which the
queen of the Babylonians had done as regards the river and the lake;
that is to say, he conducted the river by a channel into the lake,
which was at that time a swamp, and so made the former course of the
river passable by the sinking of the stream. When this had been done
in such a manner, the Persians who had been posted for this very
purpose entered by the bed of the river Euphrates into Babylon, the
stream having sunk so far that it reached about to the middle of a
man’s thigh. Now if the Babylonians had had knowledge of it beforehand
or had perceived that which was being done by Cyrus, they would have
allowed[196] the Persians to enter the city and then destroyed them
miserably; for if they had closed all the gates that led to the river
and mounted themselves upon the ramparts which were carried along the
banks of the stream, they would have caught them as it were in a fish-
wheal: but as it was, the Persians came upon them unexpectedly; and
owing to the size of the city (so it is said by those who dwell there)
after those about the extremities of the city had suffered capture,
those Babylonians who dwelt in the middle did not know that they had
been captured; but as they chanced to be holding a festival, they went
on dancing and rejoicing during this time until they learnt the truth
only too well.

Babylon then had thus been taken for the first time: 192, and as to
the resources of the Babylonians how great they are, I shall show by
many other proofs and among them also by this:–For the support of the
great king and his army, apart from the regular tribute the whole land
of which he is ruler has been distributed into portions. Now whereas
twelve months go to make up the year, for four of these he has his
support from the territory of Babylon, and for the remaining eight
months from the whole of the rest of Asia; thus the Assyrian land is
in regard to resources the third part of all Asia: and the government,
or satrapy as it is called by the Persians, of this territory is of
all the governments by far the best; seeing that when Tritantaichmes
son of Artabazos had this province from the king, there came in to him
every day an /artab/ full of silver coin (now the /artab/ is a Persian
measure and holds more than the /medimnos/ of Attica[197] by three
Attic /choinikes/); and of horses he had in this province as his
private property, apart from the horses for use in war, eight hundred
stallions and sixteen thousand mares, for each of these stallions
served twenty mares: of Indian hounds moreover such a vast number were
kept that four large villages in the plain, being free from other
contributions, had been appointed to provide food for the hounds. 193.
Such was the wealth which belonged to the ruler of Babylon. Now the
land of the Assyrians has but little rain; and this little gives
nourishment to the root of the corn, but the crop is ripened and the
ear comes on by the help of watering from the river, not as in Egypt
by the coming up of the river itself over the fields, but the crop is
watered by hand or with swing-buckets. For the whole Babylonian
territory like the Egyptian is cut up into channels, and the largest
of the channels is navigable for ships and runs in the direction of
the sunrising in winter from the Euphrates to another river, namely
the Tigris, along the bank of which lay the city of Nineveh. This
territory is of all that we know the best by far for producing
corn:[198] as to trees,[199] it does not even attempt to bear them,
either fig or vine or olive, but for producing corn it is so good that
it returns as much as two-hundred-fold for the average, and when it
bears at its best it produces three-hundred-fold. The leaves of the
wheat and barley there grow to be full four fingers broad; and from
millet and sesame seed how large a tree grows, I know myself but shall
not record, being well aware that even what has already been said
relating to the crops produced has been enough to cause disbelief in
those who have not visited the Babylonian land. They use no oil of
olives, but only that which they make of sesame seed; and they have
date-palms growing over all the plain, most of them fruit-bearing, of
which they make both solid food and wine and honey; and to these they
attend in the same manner as to fig-trees, and in particular they take
the fruit of those palms which the Hellenes call male-palms, and tie
them upon the date-bearing palms, so that their gall-fly may enter
into the date and ripen it and that the fruit of the palm may not fall
off: for the male-palm produces gall-flies in its fruit just as the
wild-fig does.

194. But the greatest marvel of all the things in the land after the
city itself, to my mind is this which I am about to tell: Their boats,
those I mean which go down the river to Babylon, are round and all of
leather: for they make ribs for them of willow which they cut in the
land of the Armenians who dwell above the Assyrians, and round these
they stretch hides which serve as a covering outside by way of hull,
not making broad the stern nor gathering in the prow to a point, but
making the boats round like a shield: and after that they stow the
whole boat with straw and suffer it to be carried down the stream full
of cargo; and for the most part these boats bring down casks of palm-
wood[200] filled with wine. The boat is kept straight by two steering-
oars and two men standing upright, and the man inside pulls his oar
while the man outside pushes.[201] These vessels are made both of very
large size and also smaller, the largest of them having a burden of as
much as five thousand talents’ weight;[202] and in each one there is a
live ass, and in those of larger size several. So when they have
arrived at Babylon in their voyage and have disposed of their cargo,
they sell by auction the ribs of the boat and all the straw, but they
pack the hides upon their asses and drive them off to Armenia: for up
the stream of the river it is not possible by any means to sail, owing
to the swiftness of the current; and for this reason they make their
boats not of timber but of hides. Then when they have come back to the
land of the Armenians, driving their asses with them, they make other
boats in the same manner. 195. Such are their boats; and the following
is the manner of dress which they use, namely a linen tunic reaching
to the feet, and over this they put on another of wool, and then a
white mantle thrown round, while they have shoes of a native fashion
rather like the Bœotian slippers. They wear their hair long and bind
their heads round with fillets,[203] and they are anointed over the
whole of their body with perfumes. Each man has a seal and a staff
carved by hand, and on each staff is carved either an apple or a rose
or a lily or an eagle or some other device, for it is not their custom
to have a staff without a device upon it.

196. Such is the equipment of their bodies: and the customs which are
established among them are as follows, the wisest in our opinion being
this, which I am informed that the Enetoi in Illyria also have. In
every village once in each year it was done as follows:–When the
maidens[204] grew to the age for marriage, they gathered these all
together and brought them in a body to one place, and round them stood
a company of men: and the crier caused each one severally to stand up,
and proceeded to sell them, first the most comely of all, and
afterwards, when she had been sold and had fetched a large sum of
money, he would put up another who was the most comely after her: and
they were sold for marriage. Now all the wealthy men of the
Babylonians who were ready to marry vied with one another in bidding
for the most beautiful maidens; those however of the common sort who
were ready to marry did not require a fine form, but they would accept
money together with less comely maidens. For when the crier had made
an end of selling the most comely of the maidens, then he would cause
to stand up that one who was least shapely, or any one of them who
might be crippled in any way, and he would make proclamation of her,
asking who was willing for least gold to have her in marriage, until
she was assigned to him who was willing to accept least: and the gold
would be got from the sale of the comely maidens, and so those of
beautiful form provided dowries for those which were unshapely or
crippled; but to give in marriage one’s own daughter to whomsoever
each man would, was not allowed, nor to carry off the maiden after
buying her without a surety; for it was necessary for the man to
provide sureties that he would marry her, before he took her away; and
if they did not agree well together, the law was laid down that he
should pay back the money. It was allowed also for any one who wished
it to come from another village and buy. This then was their most
honourable custom; it does not however still exist at the present
time, but they have found out of late another way, in order that the
men may not ill-treat them or take them to another city:[205] for
since the time when being conquered they were oppressed and ruined,
each one of the common people when he is in want of livelihood
prostitutes his female children.

197. Next in wisdom to that, is this other custom which was
established[206] among them:–they bear out the sick into the market-
place; for of physicians they make no use. So people come up to the
sick man and give advice about his disease, if any one himself has
ever suffered anything like that which the sick man has, or saw any
other who had suffered it; and coming near they advise and recommend
those means by which they themselves got rid of a like disease or seen
some other get rid of it: and to pass by the sick man in silence is
not permitted to them, nor until one has asked what disease he has.

198. They bury their dead in honey, and their modes of lamentation are
similar to those used in Egypt. And whenever a Babylonian man has
intercourse with his wife, he sits by incense offered, and his wife
does the same on the other side, and when it is morning they wash
themselves, both of them, for they will touch no vessel until they
have washed themselves: and the Arabians do likewise in this matter.

199. Now the most shameful of the customs of the Babylonians is as
follows: every woman of the country must sit down in the
precincts[207] of Aphrodite once in her life and have commerce with a
man who is a stranger: and many women who do not deign to mingle with
the rest, because they are made arrogant by wealth, drive to the
temple with pairs of horses in covered carriages, and so take their
place, and a large number of attendants follow after them; but the
greater number do thus,–in the sacred enclosure of Aphrodite sit
great numbers of women with a wreath of cord about their heads; some
come and others go; and there are passages in straight lines going
between the women in every direction,[208] through which the strangers
pass by and make their choice. Here when a woman takes her seat she
does not depart again to her house until one of the strangers has
thrown a silver coin into her lap and has had commerce with her
outside the temple, and after throwing it he must say these words
only: “I demand thee in the name of the goddess Mylitta”:[209] now
Mylitta is the name given by the Assyrians to Aphrodite: and the
silver coin may be of any value; whatever it is she will not refuse
it, for that is not lawful for her, seeing that this coin is made
sacred by the act: and she follows the man who has first thrown and
does not reject any: and after that she departs to her house, having
acquitted herself of her duty to the goddess[210], nor will you be
able thenceforth to give any gift so great as to win her. So then as
many as have attained to beauty and stature[211] are speedily
released, but those of them who are unshapely remain there much time,
not being able to fulfil the law; for some of them remain even as much
as three or four years: and in some parts of Cyprus too there is a
custom similar to this.

200. These customs then are established among the Babylonians: and
there are of them three tribes[212] which eat nothing but fish only:
and when they have caught them and dried them in the sun they do thus,
–they throw them into brine, and then pound them with pestles and
strain them through muslin; and they have them for food either kneaded
into a soft cake, or baked like bread, according to their liking.

201. When this nation also had been subdued by Cyrus, he had a desire
to bring the Massagetai into subjection to himself. This nation is
reputed to be both great and warlike, and to dwell towards the East
and the sunrising, beyond the river Araxes and over against[213] the
Issedonians: and some also say that this nation is of Scythian race.
202. Now the Araxes is said by some to be larger and by others to be
smaller than the Ister: and they say that there are many islands in it
about equal in size to Lesbos, and in them people dwelling who feed in
the summer upon roots of all kinds which they dig up and certain
fruits from trees, which have been discovered by them for food, they
store up, it is said, in the season when they are ripe and feed upon
them in the winter. Moreover it is said that other trees have been
discovered by them which yield fruit of such a kind that when they
have assembled together in companies in the same place and lighted a
fire, they sit round in a circle and throw some of it into the fire,
and they smell the fruit which is thrown on, as it burns, and are
intoxicated by the scent as the Hellenes are with wine, and when more
of the fruit is thrown on they become more intoxicated, until at last
they rise up to dance and begin to sing. This is said to be their
manner of living: and as to the river Araxes, it flows from the land
of the Matienians, whence flows the Gyndes which Cyrus divided into
the three hundred and sixty channels, and it discharges itself by
forty branches, of which all except one end in swamps and shallow
pools; and among them they say that men dwell who feed on fish eaten
raw, and who are wont to use as clothing the skins of seals: but the
one remaining branch of the Araxes flows with unimpeded course into
the Caspian Sea.

203. Now the Caspian Sea is apart by itself, not having connection
with the other Sea: for all that Sea which the Hellenes navigate, and
the Sea beyond the Pillars, which is called Atlantis, and the
Erythraian Sea are in fact all one, but the Caspian is separate and
lies apart by itself. In length it is a voyage of fifteen days if one
uses oars,[214] and in breadth, where it is broadest, a voyage of
eight days. On the side towards the West of this Sea the Caucasus runs
along by it, which is of all mountain-ranges both the greatest in
extent and the loftiest: and the Caucasus has many various races of
men dwelling in it, living for the most part on the wild produce of
the forests; and among them there are said to be trees which produce
leaves of such a kind that by pounding them and mixing water with them
they paint figures upon their garments, and the figures do not wash
out, but grow old with the woollen stuff as if they had been woven
into it at the first: and men say that the sexual intercourse of these
people is open like that of cattle. 204. On the West then of this Sea
which is called Caspian the Caucasus is the boundary, while towards
the East and the rising sun a plain succeeds which is of limitless
extent to the view. Of this great plain then the Massagetai occupy a
large part, against whom Cyrus had become eager to march; for there
were many strong reasons which incited him to it and urged him
onwards,–first the manner of his birth, that is to say the opinion
held of him that he was more than a mere mortal man, and next the
success which he had met with[215] in his wars, for whithersoever
Cyrus directed his march, it was impossible for that nation to escape.
205. Now the ruler of the Massagetai was a woman, who was queen after
the death of her husband, and her name was Tomyris. To her Cyrus sent
and wooed her, pretending that he desired to have her for his wife:
but Tomyris understanding that he was wooing not herself but rather
the kingdom of the Massagetai, rejected his approaches: and Cyrus
after this, as he made no progress by craft, marched to the Araxes,
and proceeded to make an expedition openly against the Massagetai,
forming bridges of boats over the river for his army to cross, and
building towers upon the vessels which gave them passage across the

206. While he was busied about this labour, Tomyris sent a herald and
said thus: “O king of the Medes, cease to press forward the work which
thou art now pressing forward; for thou canst not tell whether these
things will be in the end for thy advantage or no; cease to do so, I
say, and be king over thine own people, and endure to see us ruling
those whom we rule. Since however I know that thou wilt not be willing
to receive this counsel, but dost choose anything rather than to be at
rest, therefore if thou art greatly anxious to make trial of the
Massagetai in fight, come now, leave that labour which thou hast in
yoking together the banks of the river, and cross over into our land,
when we have first withdrawn three days’ journey from the river: or if
thou desirest rather to receive us into your land, do thou this same
thing thyself.” Having heard this Cyrus called together the first men
among the Persians, and having gathered these together he laid the
matter before them for discussion, asking their advice as to which of
the two things he should do: and their opinions all agreed in one,
bidding him receive Tomyris and her army into his country. 207. But
Crœsus the Lydian, being present and finding fault with this opinion,
declared an opinion opposite to that which had been set forth, saying
as follows: “O king, I told thee in former time also, that since Zeus
had given me over to thee, I would avert according to my power
whatever occasion of falling I might see coming near thy house: and
now my sufferings, which have been bitter,[216] have proved to be
lessons of wisdom to me. If thou dost suppose that thou art immortal
and that thou dost command an army which is also immortal, it will be
of no use for me to declare to thee my judgment; but if thou hast
perceived that thou art a mortal man thyself and dost command others
who are so likewise, then learn this first, that for the affairs of
men there is a revolving wheel, and that this in its revolution
suffers not the same persons always to have good fortune. I therefore
now have an opinion about the matter laid before us, which is opposite
to that of these men: for if we shall consent to receive the enemy
into our land, there is for thee this danger in so doing:–if thou
shalt be worsted thou wilt lose in addition all thy realm, for it is
evident that if the Massagetai are victors they will not turn back and
fly, but will march upon the provinces of thy realm; and on the other
hand if thou shalt be the victor, thou wilt not be victor so fully as
if thou shouldest overcome the Massagetai after crossing over into
their land and shouldest pursue them when they fled. For against that
which I said before I will set the same again here, and say that thou,
when thou hast conquered, wilt march straight against the realm of
Tomyris. Moreover besides that which has been said, it is a disgrace
and not to be endured that Cyrus the son of Cambyses should yield to a
woman and so withdraw from her land. Now therefore it seems good to me
that we should cross over and go forward from the crossing as far as
they go in their retreat, and endeavour to get the better of them by
doing as follows:–The Massagetai, as I am informed, are without
experience of Persian good things, and have never enjoyed any great
luxuries. Cut up therefore cattle without stint and dress the meat and
set out for these men a banquet in our camp: moreover also provide
without stint bowls of unmixed wine and provisions of every kind; and
having so done, leave behind the most worthless part of thy army and
let the rest begin to retreat from the camp towards the river: for if
I am not mistaken in my judgment, they when they see a quantity of
good things will fall to the feast, and after that it remains for us
to display great deeds.”

208. These were the conflicting opinions; and Cyrus, letting go the
former opinion and choosing that of Crœsus, gave notice to Tomyris to
retire, as he was intending to cross over to her. She then proceeded
to retire, as she had at first engaged to do, but Cyrus delivered
Crœsus into the hands of his son Cambyses, to whom he meant to give
the kingdom, and gave him charge earnestly to honour him and to treat
him well, if the crossing over to go against the Massagetai should not
be prosperous. Having thus charged him and sent these away to the land
of the Persians, he crossed over the river both himself and his army.
209. And when he had passed over the Araxes, night having come on he
saw a vision in his sleep in the land of the Massagetai, as follows:–
in his sleep it seemed to Cyrus that he saw the eldest of the sons of
Hystaspes having upon his shoulders wings, and that with the one of
these he overshadowed Asia and with the other Europe. Now of Hystaspes
the son of Arsames, who was a man of the Achaimenid clan, the eldest
son was Dareios, who was then, I suppose, a youth of about twenty
years of age, and he had been left behind in the land of the Persians,
for he was not yet of full age to go out to the wars. So then when
Cyrus awoke he considered with himself concerning the vision: and as
the vision seemed to him to be of great import, he called Hystaspes,
and having taken him apart by himself he said: “Hystaspes, thy son has
been found plotting against me and against my throne: and how I know
this for certain I will declare to thee:–The gods have a care of me
and show me beforehand all the evils that threaten me. So in the night
that is past while sleeping I saw the eldest of thy sons having upon
his shoulders wings, and with the one of these he overshadowed Asia
and with the other Europe. To judge by this vision then, it cannot be
but that he is plotting against me. Do thou therefore go by the
quickest way back to Persia and take care that, when I return thither
after having subdued these regions, thou set thy son before me to be
examined.” 210. Cyrus said thus supposing that Dareios was plotting
against him; but in fact the divine powers were showing him beforehand
that he was destined to find his end there and that his kingdom was
coming about to Dareios. To this then Hystaspes replied as follows: “O
king, heaven forbid[217] that there should be any man of Persian race
who would plot against thee, and if there be any, I pray that he
perish as quickly as may be; seeing that thou didst make the Persians
to be free instead of slaves, and to rule all nations instead of being
ruled by others. And if any vision announces to thee that my son is
planning rebellion against thee, I deliver him over to thee to do with
him whatsoever thou wilt. 211. Hystaspes then, having made answer with
these words and having crossed over the Araxes, was going his way to
the Persian land to keep watch over his son Dareios for Cyrus; and
Cyrus meanwhile went forward and made a march of one day from the
Araxes according to the suggestion of Crœsus. After this when Cyrus
and the best part of the army[218] of the Persians had marched back to
the Araxes, and those who were unfit for fighting had been left
behind, then a third part of the army of the Massagetai came to the
attack and proceeded to slay, not without resistance,[219] those who
were left behind of the army of Cyrus; and seeing the feast that was
set forth, when they had overcome their enemies they lay down and
feasted, and being satiated with food and wine they went to sleep.
Then the Persians came upon them and slew many of them, and took alive
many more even than they slew, and among these the son of the queen
Tomyris, who was leading the army of the Massagetai; and his name was
Spargapises. 212. She then, when she heard that which had come to pass
concerning the army and also the things concerning her son, sent a
herald to Cyrus and said as follows: “Cyrus, insatiable of blood, be
not elated with pride by this which has come to pass, namely because
with that fruit of the vine, with which ye fill yourselves and become
so mad that as the wine descends into your bodies, evil words float up
upon its stream,–because setting a snare, I say, with such a drug as
this thou didst overcome my son, and not by valour in fight. Now
therefore receive the word which I utter, giving thee good advice:–
Restore to me my son and depart from this land without penalty,
triumphant over a third part of the army of the Massagetai: but if
thou shalt not do so, I swear to thee by the Sun, who is lord of the
Massagetai, that surely I will give thee thy fill of blood, insatiable
as thou art.” 213. When these words were reported to him Cyrus made no
account of them; and the son of the queen Tomyris, Spargapises, when
the wine left him and he learnt in what evil case he was, entreated
Cyrus that he might be loosed from his chains and gained his request,
and then so soon as he was loosed and had got power over his hands he
put himself to death. 214. He then ended his life in this manner; but
Tomyris, as Cyrus did not listen to her, gathered together all her
power and joined battle with Cyrus. This battle of all the battles
fought by Barbarians I judge to have been the fiercest, and I am
informed that it happened thus:–first, it is said, they stood apart
and shot at one another, and afterwards when their arrows were all
shot away, they fell upon one another and engaged in close combat with
their spears and daggers; and so they continued to be in conflict with
one another for a long time, and neither side would flee; but at last
the Massagetai got the better in the fight: and the greater part of
the Persian army was destroyed there on the spot, and Cyrus himself
brought his life to an end there, after he had reigned in all thirty
years wanting one. Then Tomyris filled a skin with human blood and had
search made among the Persian dead for the corpse of Cyrus: and when
she found it, she let his head down into the skin and doing outrage to
the corpse she said at the same time this: “Though I yet live and have
overcome thee in fight, nevertheless thou didst undo me by taking my
son with craft: but I according to my threat will give thee thy fill
of blood.” Now as regards the end of the life of Cyrus there are many
tales told, but this which I have related is to my mind the most
worthy of belief.

215. As to the Massagetai, they wear a dress which is similar to that
of the Scythians, and they have a manner of life which is also like
theirs; and there are of them horsemen and also men who do not ride on
horses (for they have both fashions), and moreover there are both
archers and spearmen, and their custom it is to carry battle-
axes;[220] and for everything they use either gold or bronze, for in
all that has to do with spear-points or arrow-heads or battle-axes
they use bronze, but for head-dresses and girdles and belts round the
arm-pits[221] they employ gold as ornament: and in like manner as
regards their horses, they put breast-plates of bronze about their
chests, but on their bridles and bits and cheek-pieces they employ
gold. Iron however and silver they use not at all, for they have them
not in their land, but gold and bronze in abundance. 216. These are
the customs which they have:–Each marries a wife, but they have their
wives in common; for that which the Hellenes say that the Scythians
do, is not in fact done by the Scythians but by the Massagetai, that
is to say, whatever woman a man of the Massagetai may desire he hangs
up his quiver in front of the waggon and has commerce with her freely.
They have no precise limit of age laid down for their life, but when a
man becomes very old, his nearest of kin come together and slaughter
him solemnly[222] and cattle also with him; and then after that they
boil the flesh and banquet upon it. This is considered by them the
happiest lot; but him who has ended his life by disease they do not
eat, but cover him up in the earth, counting it a misfortune that he
did not attain to being slaughtered. They sow no crops but live on
cattle and on fish, which last they get in abundance from the river
Araxes; moreover they are drinkers of milk. Of gods they reverence the
Sun alone, and to him they sacrifice horses: and the rule[223] of the
sacrifice is this:–to the swiftest of the gods they assign the
swiftest of all mortal things.


[1] {‘Erodotou ‘Alikarnesseos istories apodexis ede, os k.t.l.} The
meaning of the word {istorie} passes gradually from “research” or
“inquiry” to “narrative,” “history”; cp. vii. 96. Aristotle in
quoting these words writes {Thouriou} for {‘Alikarnesseos}
(“Herodotus of Thurii”), and we know from Plutarch that this
reading existed in his time as a variation.

[2] Probably {erga} may here mean enduring monuments like the pyramids
and the works at Samos, cp. i. 93, ii. 35, etc.; in that case {ta
te alla} refers back to {ta genomena}, though the verb
{epolemesan} derives its subject from the mention of Hellenes and
Barbarians in the preceding clause.

[3] Many Editors have “with the Phenicians,” on the authority of some
inferior MSS. and of the Aldine edition.

[4] {arpages}.

[4a] “thus or in some other particular way.”

[5] {Surion}, see ch. 72. Herodotus perhaps meant to distinguish
{Surioi} from {Suroi}, and to use the first name for the
Cappadokians and the second for the people of Palestine, cp. ii.
104; but they are naturally confused in the MSS.

[6] {ex epidromes arpage}.

[7] {tes anoigomenes thures}, “the door that is opened.”

[8] Or “because she was ashamed.”

[9] {phoitan}.

[10] {upeisdus}: Stein adopts the conjecture {upekdus}, “slipping out
of his hiding-place.

[11] This last sentence is by many regarded as an interpolation. The
line referred to is {Ou moi ta Gugeo tou polukhrosou melei}.

[12] See v. 92.

[13] i.e. like other kings of Lydia who came after him.

[14] {Kolophonos to astu}, as opposed apparently to the acropolis, cp.
viii. 51.

[15] See ch. 73.

[16] {o kai esballon tenikauta es ten Milesien ten stratien}: an
allusion apparently to the invasions of the Milesian land at
harvest time, which are described above. All the operations
mentioned in the last chapter have been loosely described to
Alyattes, and a correction is here added to inform the reader that
they belong equally to his father. It will hardly mend matters
much if we take {o Audos} in ch. 17 to include both father and

[17] {didaxanta}.

[18] This name is applied by Herodotus to the southern part of the
peninsula only.

[19] Tarentum.

[20] {en toisi edolioisi}: properly “benches,” but probably here the
raised deck at the stern.

[21] {ou mega}: many of the MSS. have {mega}.

[22] {stadioi}: furlongs of about 606 English feet.

[23] {to epilogo}.

[24] This list of nations is by some suspected as an interpolation;
see Stein’s note on the passage.

[25] {sophistai}: cp. ii. 49, and iv. 95.

[26] {etheto}.

[27] {olbiotaton}.

[28] {stadious}.

[29] {romen}: many of the MSS. have {gnomen}, “good disposition.”

[30] i.e. their mother: but some understand it to mean the goddess.

[31] {en telei touto eskhonto}.

[32] {anolbioi}.

[33] {eutukhees}.

[34] {aperos}: the MSS. have {apeiros}.

[35] {aikhme sideree blethenta}.

[36] “in the house of Crœsus.”

[37] {‘Epistion}.

[38] {‘Etaireion}.

[39] {suggrapsamenous}, i.e. have it written down by the {propsetes}
(see vii. 111 and viii. 37), who interpreted and put into regular
verse the inspired utterances of the prophetess {promantis}.

[40] {es to megaron}.

[41] {oida d’ ego}: oracles often have a word of connection such as
{de} or {alla} at the beginning (cp. ch. 55, 174, etc.), which may
indicate that they are part of a larger connected utterance.

[42] Cp. vii. 178 and ix. 91 (“I accept the omen.”)

[43] See viii. 134.

[44] {kai touton}, i.e. Amphiaraos: many Editors retain the readings
of the Aldine edition, {kai touto}, “that in this too he had found
a true Oracle.”

[45] {emiplinthia}, the plinth being supposed to be square.

[46] {exapalaiota}, the palm being about three inches, cp. ii. 149.

[47] {apephthou khrusou}, “refined gold.”

[48] {triton emitalanton}: the MSS. have {tria emitalanta}, which has
been corrected partly on the authority of Valla’s translation.

[49] “white gold.”

[50] Arranged evidently in stages, of which the highest consisted of
the 4 half-plinths of pure gold, the second of 15 half-plinths,
the third of 35, the fourth of 63, making 117 in all: see Stein’s

[51] {elkon stathmon einaton emitalanton kai eti duodeka mneas}. The
{mnea} (mina) is 15.2 oz., and 60 of them go to a talent.

[52] {epi tou proneiou tes gonies}, cp. viii. 122: the use of {epi}
seems to suggest some kind of raised corner-stone upon which the
offerings stood.

[53] The {amphoreus} is about 9 gallons.

[54] Cp. iii. 41.

[55] {perirranteria}.

[56] {kheumata}, which some translate “jugs” or “bowls.”

[57] {umin}, as if both Oracles were being addressed together.

[58] i.e. Delphi.

[59] {enephoreeto}, “he filled himself with it.”

[60] {Krestona}: Niebuhr would read {Krotona} (Croton or Cortona in
Etruria), partly on the authority of Dionysius: see Stein’s note.
Two of the best MSS. are defective in this part of the book.

[61] See ii. 51 and vi. 137.

[62] {auxetai es plethos ton ethneon pollon}: “has increased to a
multitude of its races, which are many.” Stein and Abicht both
venture to adopt the conjecture {Pelasgon} for {pollon},
“Pelasgians especially being added to them, and also many other
Barbarian nations.”

[62a] {pros de on emoige dokeei}: the MSS. have {emoi te}. Some
Editors read {os de on} (Stein {prosthe de on}) for {pros de on}.
This whole passage is probably in some way corrupt, but it can
hardly be successfully emended.

[63] i.e. as it is of the Hellenic race before it parted from the
Pelasgian and ceased to be Barbarian.

[64] {katekhomenon te kai diespasmenon . . . upo Peisistratou}.
Peisistratos was in part at least the cause of the divisions.

[65] {paralon}.

[66] {uperakrion}.

[67] {toutous}: some read by conjecture {triekosious}, “three
hundred,” the number which he actually had according to Polyænus,
i. 21.

[68] {doruphoroi}, the usual word for a body-guard.

[69] {perielaunomenos de te stasi}: Stein says “harassed by attacks of
his own party,” but the passage to which he refers in ch. 61,
{katallasseto ten ekhthren toisi stasiotesi}, may be referred to
in the quarrel made with his party by Megacles when he joined

[70] More literally, “since from ancient time the Hellenic race had
been marked off from the Barbarians as being more skilful and more
freed from foolish simplicity, (and) since at that time among the
Athenians, who are accounted the first of the Hellenes in ability,
these men devised a trick as follows.”

[71] The cubit is reckoned as 24 finger-breadths, i.e. about 18

[72] So Rawlinson.

[73] See v. 70.

[74] {dia endekatou eteos}. Not quite the same as {dia evdeka eteon}
(“after an interval of eleven years”); rather “in the eleventh
year” (i.e. “after an interval of ten years”).

[75] {thein pompe khreomenos}.

[76] For {‘Akarnan} it has been suggested to read {‘Akharneus},
because this man is referred to as an Athenian by various writers.
However Acarnanians were celebrated for prophetic power, and he
might be called an Athenian as resident with Peisistratos at

[77] Or “for that part of the land from which the temple could be
seen,” but cp. Thuc. iii. 104. In either case the meaning is the

[77a] {enomotias kai triekadas kai sussitia}. The {enomotia} was the
primary division of the Spartan army: of the {triekas} nothing is
known for certain.

[78] {kibdelo}, properly “counterfeit”: cp. ch. 75.

[79] {skhoino diametresamenoi}: whether actually, for the purpose of
distributing the work among them, or because the rope which
fastened them together lay on the ground like a measuring-tape, is
left uncertain.

[80] Cp. ix. 70.

[81] {epitarrothos}. Elsewhere (that is in Homer) the word always
means “helper,” and Stein translates it so here, “thou shalt be
protector and patron of Tegea” (in the place of Orestes). Mr.
Woods explains it by the parallel of such phrases as {Danaoisi
makhes epitarrothoi}, to mean “thou shalt be a helper (of the
Lacedemonians) in the matter of Tegea,” but this perhaps would be
a form of address too personal to the envoy, who is usually
addressed in the second person, but only as representative of
those who sent him. The conjectural reading {epitarrothon exeis},
“thou shalt have him as a helper against Tegea,” is tempting.

[82] {agathoergon}.

[83] This was to enable him the better to gain his ends at Tegea.

[84] Cp. ch. 51, note.

[85] See ch. 6.

[86] {euzono andri}: cp. ch. 104 and ii. 34. The word {euzonos} is
used of light-armed troops; Hesychius says, {euzonos, me ekhon

[87] {orgen ouk akros}: this is the reading of all the best MSS., and
it is sufficiently supported by the parallel of v. 124, {psukhen
ouk akros}. Most Editors however have adopted the reading {orgen
akros}, as equivalent to {akrakholos}, “quick-tempered.”

[88] It has been suggested by some that this clause is not genuine. It
should not, however, be taken to refer to the battle which was
interrupted by the eclipse, for (1) that did not occur in the
period here spoken of; (2) the next clause is introduced by {de}
(which can hardly here stand for {gar}); (3) when the eclipse
occurred the fighting ceased, therefore it was no more a
{nuktomakhin} than any other battle which is interrupted by
darkness coming on.

[89] See ch. 188. /Nabunita/ was his true name.

[90] See ch. 107 ff.

[91] Not “somewhere near the city of Sinope,” for it must have been at
a considerable distance and probably far inland. Sinope itself is
at least fifty miles to the west of the Halys. I take it to mean
that Pteria was nearly due south of Sinope, i.e. that the nearest
road from Pteria to the sea led to Sinope. Pteria no doubt was the
name of a region as well as of a city.

[92] {anastatous epoiese}.

[93] This is the son of the man mentioned in ch. 74.

[94] {us en autou xeinikos}. Stein translates “so much of it as was
mercenary,” but it may be doubted if this is possible. Mr. Woods,
“which army of his was a foreign one.”

[95] {Metros Dindumenes}, i.e. Kybele: the mountain is Dindymos in

[96] i.e. the whole strip of territory to the West of the peninsula of
Argolis, which includes Thyrea and extends southwards to Malea:
“westwards as far as Malea” would be absurd.

[97] {outos}: a conjectural emendation of {autos}.

[98] {autos}: some MSS. read {o autos}, “this same man.”

[99] {aneneikamenon}, nearly equivalent to {anastemaxanta} (cp. Hom.
Il. xix. 314), {mnesamenos d’ adinos aneneikato phonesen te}. Some
translate it here, “he recovered himself,” cp. ch. 116,

[100] {ubristai}.

[101] {proesousi}: a conjectural emendation of {poiesousi}, adopted in
most of the modern editions.

[102] {touto oneidisai}: or {touton oneidisai}, “to reproach the god
with these things.” The best MSS. have {touto}.

[103] {to kai . . . eipe ta eipe Loxias k.t.l.}: various emendations
have been proposed. If any one is to be adopted, the boldest would
perhaps be the best, {to de kai . . . eipe Loxias}.

[104] {oia te kai alle khore}, “such as other lands have.”

[105] {stadioi ex kai duo plethra}.

[106] {plethra tria kai deka}.

[107] {Gugaie}.

[108] Or “Tyrrhenia.”

[109] Or “Umbrians.”

[110] {tes ano ‘Asies}, i.e. the parts which are removed from the

[111] i.e. nature would not be likely to supply so many regularly
ascending circles. Stein alters the text so that the sentence runs
thus, “and whereas there are seven circles of all, within the last
is the royal palace,” etc.

[112] i.e. “to laugh or to spit is unseemly for those in presence of
the king, and this last for all, whether in the presence of the
king or not.” Cp. Xen. Cyrop. i. 2. 16, {aiskhron men gar eti kai
nun esti Persais kai to apoptuein kai to apomuttesthai}, (quoted
by Stein, who however gives a different interpretation).

[113] {tauta de peri eouton esemnune}: the translation given is that
of Mr. Woods.

[114] {allos mentoi eouton eu ekontes}: the translation is partly due
to Mr. Woods.

[115] i.e. East of the Halys: see note on ch. 95.

[116] See iv. 12.

[117] Cp. ch. 72.

[118] {ten katuperthe odon}, i.e. further away from the Euxine

[119] {o theos}.

[120] {khoris men gar phoron}: many Editors substitute {phoron} for
{phoron}, but {phoron} may stand if taken not with {khoris} but
with {to ekastoisi epeballon}.

[121] Cp. ch. 184, “the Assyrian history.”

[122] {uperthemenos}, a conjectural emendation of {upothemenos}, cp.
ch. 108 where the MSS. give {uperthemenos}, (the Medicean with
{upo} written above as a correction).

[123] Or “expose me to risk,” “stake my safety.”

[124] Or “thou wilt suffer the most evil kind of death”: cp. ch. 167.

[124a] {tas aggelias pherein}, i.e. to have the office of
{aggeliephoros} (ch. 120) or {esaggeleus} (iii. 84), the
chamberlain through whom communications passed.

[125] {dialabein}. So translated by Mr. Woods.

[126] {es tas anagkas}, “to the necessity,” mentioned above.

[127] Or “to celebrate good fortune.”

[128] {akreon kheiron te kai podon}: cp. ii. 121 (e), {apotamonta en
to omo ten kheira}.

[129] {esti te o pais kai periesti}. So translated by Mr. Woods.

[130] {erkhe}: a few inferior MSS. have {eikhe}, which is adopted by
several Editors.

[131] {para smikra . . . kekhoreke}, “have come out equal to trifles.”

[132] {kuon}: cp. ch. 110.

[133] {su nun}, answering to {se gar theoi eporeousi}: the MSS. and
some Editors read {su nun}.

[134] i.e. of the race of Perses: see vii. 61.

[135] “how his change from a throne to slavery was as compared with
that feast, etc.,” i.e. what did he think of it as a retribution.

[136] See ch. 106. The actual duration of the Median supremacy would
be therefore a hundred years.

[136a] This is by some altered to “Alilat,” by comparison of iii. 8.

[137] {stemmasi}, i.e. the chaplets wound round with wool which were
worn at Hellenic sacrifices.

[138] {oulesi}.

[138a] Cp. vii. 61.

[139] {sitoisi}: perhaps “plain dishes.”

[140] {proskuneei}, i.e. kisses his feet or the ground.

[141] {ton legomenon}, a correction of {to legomeno}. (The Medicean
MS. has {toi legomenoi} like the rest, not {toi legomeno}, as
stated by Stein.)

[142] {ekhomenon, kata ton auton de logon}: the MSS. and most Editors
have {ekhomenon}. {kata ton auton de logon}; “and this same rule
the Persians observe in giving honour.” This, however, makes it
difficult (though not impossible) to refer {to ethnos} in the next
clause to the Medes, and it can hardly be referred to the
Persians, who certainly had not the same system of government.
Perhaps however we may translate thus, “for each race extended
forward thus their rule or their deputed authority.”

[143] Cp. vii. 194.

[144] {polloi}: omitted, or corrected variously, by Editors. There is,
perhaps, something wrong about the text in the next clause also,
for it seems clear that white doves were not objected to by the
Persians. See Stein’s note.

[145] See ch. 95.

[146] These words, “neither those towards the East nor those towards
the West” have perhaps been interpolated as an explanation of {ta
ano} and {ta kato}. As an explanation they can hardly be correct,
but the whole passage is vaguely expressed.

[147] {tropous tesseras paragogeon}.

[148] i.e. the Asiatic Ionians who had formed a separate confederacy.
Some understand it to mean the Milesians, but this would give no
satisfactory connection with what follows.

[149] {pentapolios}.

[150] {exapolios}.

[151] {mesogaioi}. Several of the other cities are at some distance
from the coast, but the region is meant in each case rather than
the city (hence such forms as {Tritaiees}.

[152] {‘Elikonio}.

[153] This is condemned as an interpolation by some Editors.

[154] {oreon de ekousan ouk omoios}.

[155] {katastas}: cp. iii. 46.

[156] {ktesamenoi}: Stein reads {stesamenoi} by conjecture: cp. vi.

[157] {phrontizo me ariston e}. The translation is Rawlinson’s.

[158] {kephale anamaxas}: cp. Hom. Od. xix. 92.

[159] {es tous Bragkhidas}, i.e. the priests of the temple. The name
of the place {Bragkhidai} is feminine, cp. ch. 92.

[160] {onax}, addressing Apollo.

[161] {exaipee tous strouthous k.t.l.} The verb is one which is
commonly used of the destruction and depopulation of cities, cp.
ch. 176. (Stein.)

[162] {tou de ‘Atarneos toutou esti khoros tes Musies}.

[163] {ouk oligoi stadioi}.

[164] {katirosai}, i.e. dedicate it to the king as a token of

[165] i.e. Corsica.

[166] {anaphanenai}: the MSS. have {anaphenai}, which can only be
translated by supplying {ton ponton} from {katepontosan}, “till
the sea produced it again,” but this is hardly satisfactory.

[167] {Karkhedonioi}.

[168] {elakhon te auton pollo pleious}. Several Editors suppose that
words have been lost or that the text is corrupt. I understand it
to mean that many more of them fell into the hands of the enemy
than were rescued by their own side. Some translate “divided most
of them by lot”; but this would be {dielakhon}, and the proceeding
would have no object if the prisoners were to be put to death at
once. For {pleious} Stein reads {pleistous}.

[169] {ton Kurnon . . . ktisai eron eonta, all’ ou ten neson}.

[170] {bouleuterion}.

[171] {outoi}: the MSS. have {outo}.

[172] {autokhthonas epeirotas}.

[173] Many Editors insert {oi} before {tes khores tes spheteres} and
alter the punctuation accordingly.

[174] Or “all their land came within the isthmus.”

[175] {epexiontes}: the MSS. have {upexiontes}, which Mr. Woods
explains to mean “coming forth suddenly.”

[176] {epexelthontes}: the MSS. have {upexelthontes}.

[177] {stadion}, and so throughout.

[178] The “royal cubit” appears to have measured about twenty-one

[179] {tous agkhonas}, the walls on the North and South of the city,
called so because built at an angle with the side walls.

[180] {laurai}, “lanes.”

[181] {kai autai}, but perhaps the text is not sound.

[182] {thorex}, as opposed to the inner wall, which would be the
{kithon} (cp. vii. 139).

[183] {steinoteron}: Mr. Woods says “of less thickness,” the top of
the wall being regarded as a road.

[184] {duo stadion pante}, i.e. 404 yards square.

[185] {tou irou}, i.e. the sacred precincts; cp. {en to temenei

[186] {neos}, the inner house of the temple.

[187] {promantis}.

[188] {ta telea ton probaton}.

[189] “at that time.”

[189a] {katapleontes ton Euphreten}: the MSS. have {katapleontes es
ton E}. (It is not true, as stated by Abicht, that the Medicean
MS. omits {es}.)

[190] {oligon ti parateinousa apo tou potamou}.

[191] {ou gar ameinon}, an Epic phrase, cp. iii. 71 and 82.

[192] {eskeuasmenos}, a conjectural emendation of {eskeuasmenoisi},
“with provisions well prepared.”

[193] {kateteine skhoinoteneas upodexas diorukhas}. Stein understands
{kateteine ten stratien} (resumed afterwards by {diataxas}, “he
extended his army, having first marked out channels straight by

[194] {proesaxanto}, from {proesago}: it may be however from
{prosatto}, “they had heaped together provisions for themselves

[195] {ten stratien apasan}. Stein thinks that some correction is

[196] {oi d’ an perudontes k.t.l.}: the MSS. have {oud’ an
perudontes}, “they would not even have allowed them to enter the
city (from the river),” but the negative is awkward referring to
the participle alone, and the admission of the enemy to the river-
bed within the city would have been an essential part of the
scheme, not to be omitted in the description.

[197] The Attic /medimnos/ (= 48 /choinikes/) was rather less than 12

[198] {ton tes Demetros karpon}.

[199] Stein supposes that words have fallen out before {ta gar de alla
dendrea}, chiefly because some mention of the palm-trees might
have been expected here.

[200] {phoinikeious}: some Editors (following Valla) have altered this
to {phoinikeiou} (“casks of palm-wine”), but it is not likely that
palm-wine would have been thus imported, see ch. 193.

[201] {kai o men eso elkei to plektron o de exo otheei}. I take it to
mean that there is one steering-oar on each side, and the “inside”
is the side nearer to the bank of the river. The current would
naturally run faster on the “outside” and consequently would tend
to turn the boat round, and therefore the inside oarsman pulls his
oar constantly towards himself and the outside man pushes his oar
from himself (i.e. backs water), to keep the boat straight.
Various explanations are given. Stein takes {eso, exo} with the
verbs, “one draws the boat towards himself, the other pushes it
from himself.” Mr. Woods understands that only one oar is used at
a time and by two men looking different ways, of whom {o men eso}
is he who stands nearest to the side of the boat.

[202] If the talents meant are Euboic, this would be about 170 tons.

[203] {mitresi}: cp. vii. 62.

[204] {os an ai parthenoi ginoiato}, equivalent to {osai aei parthenoi
ginoiato}, which Stein suggests as a correction.

[205] This sentence, “in order that–city,” is thought by Stein to be
either interpolated or misplaced.

[206] {katestekee}: some Editors adopt the correction {katesteke}, “is

[207] {iron}, afterwards called {temenos}.

[208] {panta tropon odon}: some MSS. have {odon} for {odon}, and {odon
ekhousi} might perhaps mean “afford a passage.” (The reading of
the Medicean MS. is {odon}.)

[209] “I call upon Mylitta against thee”; or perhaps, “I call upon
Mylitta to be favourable to thee.”

[210] {aposiosamene te theo}.

[211] {eideos te epammenai eisi kai megatheos}.

[212] {patriai}.

[213] {antion}.

[214] That is perhaps, “if one rows as well as sails,” using oars when
the wind is not favourable, cp. ii. 11.

[215] {genomene}, or {ginomene}, “which he met with.”

[216] {eonta akharita}: most of the MSS. have {ta eonta akharita},
with which reading the sentence would be, “the sufferings which I
have, have proved bitter lessons of wisdom to me.”

[217] {me eie}.

[218] {tou katharou stratou}, perhaps “the effective part,” without
the encumbrances, cp. iv. 135.

[219] {alexomenous}.

[220] {sagaris nomizontes ekhein}: cp. iv. 5.

[221] {maskhalisteras}.

[222] {thuousi}.

[223] {nomos}: the conjecture {noos}, “meaning,” which is adopted by
many Editors, may be right; but {nomos} seems to mean the
“customary rule” which determines this form of sacrifice, the rule
namely of “swift to the swift.”



1. When Cyrus had brought his life to an end, Cambyses received the
royal power in succession, being the son of Cyrus and of Cassandane
the daughter of Pharnaspes, for whose death, which came about before
his own, Cyrus had made great mourning himself and also had proclaimed
to all those over whom he bore rule that they should make mourning for
her: Cambyses, I say, being the son of this woman and of Cyrus,
regarded the Ionians and Aiolians as slaves inherited from his father;
and he proceeded to march an army against Egypt, taking with him as
helpers not only the other nations of which he was the ruler, but also
those of the Hellenes over whom he had power besides.


2. Now the Egyptians, before the time when Psammetichos[1] became king
over them, were wont to suppose that they had come into being first of
all men; but since the time when Psammetichos having become king
desired to know what men had come into being first, they suppose that
the Phrygians came into being before themselves, but they themselves
before all other men. Now Psammetichos, when he was not able by
inquiry to find out any means of knowing who had come into being first
of all men, contrived a device of the following kind:–Taking two new-
born children belonging to persons of the common sort he gave them to
a shepherd to bring up at the place where his flocks were, with a
manner of bringing up such as I shall say, charging him namely that no
man should utter any word in their presence, and that they should be
placed by themselves in a room where none might come, and at the
proper time he should bring to them she-goats, and when he had
satisfied them with milk he should do for them whatever else was
needed. These things Psammetichos did and gave him this charge wishing
to hear what word the children would let break forth first, after they
had ceased from wailings without sense. And accordingly so it came to
pass; for after a space of two years had gone by, during which the
shepherd went on acting so, at length, when he opened the door and
entered, both the children fell before him in entreaty and uttered the
word /bekos/, stretching forth their hands. At first when he heard
this the shepherd kept silence; but since this word was often
repeated, as he visited them constantly and attended to them, at last
he declared the matter to his master, and at his command he brought
the children before his face. Then Psammetichos having himself also
heard it, began to inquire about what nation of men named anything
/bekos/, and inquiring he found that the Phrygians had this name for
bread. In this manner and guided by an indication such as this, the
Egyptians were brought to allow that the Phrygians were a more ancient
people than themselves. 3. That so it came to pass I heard from the
priests of that Hephaistos who dwells at Memphis;[2] but the Hellenes
relate, besides many other idle tales, that Psammetichos cut out the
tongues of certain women, and then caused the children to live with
these women.

With regard then to the rearing of the children they related so much
as I have said: and I heard also other things at Memphis when I had
speech with the priests of Hephaistos. Moreover I visited both Thebes
and Heliopolis[3] for this very cause, namely because I wished to know
whether the priests at these places would agree in their accounts with
those at Memphis; for the men of Heliopolis are said to be the most
learned in records of the Egyptians. Those of their narrations which I
heard with regard to the gods I am not earnest to relate in full, but
I shall name them only,[4] because I consider that all men are equally
ignorant of these matters:[5] and whatever things of them I may
record, I shall record only because I am compelled by the course of
the story. 4. But as to those matters which concern men, the priests
agreed with one another in saying that the Egyptians were the first of
all men on earth to find out the course of the year, having divided
the seasons into twelve parts to make up the whole; and this they said
they found out from the stars: and they reckon to this extent more
wisely than the Hellenes, as it seems to me, inasmuch as the Hellenes
throw in an intercalated month every other year, to make the seasons
right, whereas the Egyptians, reckoning the twelve months at thirty
days each, bring in also every year five days beyond the number, and
thus the circle of their seasons is completed and comes round to the
same point whence it set out. They said moreover that the Egyptians
were the first who brought into use appellations for the twelve gods
and the Hellenes took up the use from them; and that they were the
first who assigned altars and images and temples to the gods, and who
engraved figures on stones; and with regard to the greater number of
these things they showed me by actual facts that they had happened so.
They said also that the first man[6] who became king of Egypt was
Min;[7] and that in his time all Egypt except the district of
Thebes[8] was a swamp, and none of the regions were then above water
which now lie below the lake of Moiris, to which lake it is a voyage
of seven days up the river from the sea: 5, and I thought that they
said well about the land; for it is manifest in truth even to a person
who has not heard it beforehand but has only seen, at least if he have
understanding, that the Egypt to which the Hellenes come in ships is a
land which has been won by the Egyptians as an addition, and that it
is a gift of the river: moreover the regions which lie above this lake
also for a distance of three days’ sail, about which they did not go
on to say anything of this kind, are nevertheless another instance of
the same thing: for the nature of the land of Egypt is as follows:–
First when you are still approaching it in a ship and are distant a
day’s run from the land, if you let down a sounding-line you will
bring up mud and will find yourself in eleven fathoms. This then so
far shows that there is a silting forward of the land. 6. Then
secondly, as to Egypt itself, the extent of it along the sea is sixty
/schoines/, according to our definition of Egypt as extending from the
Gulf of Plinthine to the Serbonian lake, along which stretches Mount
Casion; from this lake then[9] the sixty /schoines/ are reckoned: for
those of men who are poor in land have their country measured by
fathoms, those who are less poor by furlongs, those who have much land
by parasangs, and those who have land in very great abundance by
/schoines/: now the parasang is equal to thirty furlongs, and each
/schoine/, which is an Egyptian measure, is equal to sixty furlongs.
So there would be an extent of three thousand six hundred furlongs for
the coast-land of Egypt.[10] 7. From thence and as far as Heliopolis
inland Egypt is broad, and the land is all flat and without springs of
water[11] and formed of mud: and the road as one goes inland from the
sea to Heliopolis is about the same in length as that which leads from
the altar of the twelve gods at Athens to Pisa and the temple of
Olympian Zeus: reckoning up you would find the difference very small
by which these roads fail of being equal in length, not more indeed
than fifteen furlongs; for the road from Athens to Pisa wants fifteen
furlongs of being fifteen hundred, while the road to Heliopolis from
the sea reaches that number completely. 8. From Heliopolis however, as
you go up, Egypt is narrow; for on the one side a mountain-range
belonging to Arabia stretches along by the side of it, going in a
direction from North towards the midday and the South Wind, tending
upwards without a break to that which is called the Erythraian Sea, in
which range are the stone-quarries which were used in cutting stone
for the pyramids at Memphis. On this side then the mountain ends where
I have said, and then takes a turn back;[12] and where it is widest,
as I was informed, it is a journey of two months across from East to
West; and the borders of it which turn towards the East are said to
produce frankincense. Such then is the nature of this mountain-range;
and on the side of Egypt towards Libya another range extends, rocky
and enveloped in sand: in this are the pyramids, and it runs in the
same direction as those parts of the Arabian mountains which go
towards the midday. So then, I say, from Heliopolis the land has no
longer a great extent so far as it belongs to Egypt,[13] and for about
four[14] days’ sail up the river Egypt properly so called is narrow:
and the space between the mountain-ranges which have been mentioned is
plain-land, but where it is narrowest it did not seem to me to exceed
two hundred furlongs from the Arabian mountains to those which are
called the Libyan. After this again Egypt is broad. 9. Such is the
nature of this land: and from Heliopolis to Thebes is a voyage up the
river of nine days, and the distance of the journey in furlongs is
four thousand eight hundred and sixty, the number of the /schoines/
being eighty-one. If these measures of Egypt in furlongs be put
together the result is as follows:–I have already before this shown
that the distance along the sea amounts to three thousand six hundred
furlongs, and I will now declare what the distance is inland from the
sea to Thebes, namely six thousand one hundred and twenty furlongs:
and again the distance from Thebes to the city called Elephantine is
one thousand eight hundred furlongs.

10. Of this land then, concerning which I have spoken, it seemed to
myself also, according as the priests said, that the greater part had
been won as an addition by the Egyptians; for it was evident to me
that the space between the aforesaid mountain-ranges, which lie above
the city of Memphis, once was a gulf of the sea, like the regions
about Ilion and Teuthrania and Ephesos and the plain of the Maiander,
if it be permitted to compare small things with great; and small these
are in comparison, for of the rivers which heaped up the soil in those
regions none is worthy to be compared in volume with a single one of
the mouths of the Nile, which has five mouths.[15] Moreover there are
other rivers also, not in size at all equal to the Nile, which have
performed great feats; of which I can mention the names of several,
and especially the Acheloös, which flowing through Acarnania and so
issuing out into the sea has already made half of the Echinades from
islands into mainland. 11. Now there is in the land of Arabia, not far
from Egypt, a gulf of the sea running in from that which is called the
Erythraian Sea, very long and narrow, as I am about to tell. With
respect to the length of the voyage along it, one who set out from the
innermost point to sail out through it into the open sea, would spend
forty days upon the voyage, using oars;[16] and with respect to
breadth, where the gulf is broadest it is half a day’s sail across:
and there is in it an ebb and flow of tide every day. Just such
another gulf I suppose that Egypt was, and that the one ran in towards
Ethiopia from the Northern Sea, and the other, the Arabian, of which I
am about to speak,[17] tended from the South towards Syria, the gulfs
boring in so as almost to meet at their extreme points, and passing by
one another with but a small space left between. If then the stream of
the Nile should turn aside into this Arabian gulf, what would hinder
that gulf from being filled up with silt as the river continued to
flow, at all events within a period of twenty thousand years? indeed
for my part I am of opinion that it would be filled up even within ten
thousand years. How, then, in[18] all the time that has elapsed before
I came into being should not a gulf be filled up even of much greater
size than this by a river so great and so active? 12. As regards Egypt
then, I both believe those who say that things are so, and for myself
also I am strongly of opinion that they are so; because I have
observed that Egypt runs out into the sea further than the adjoining
land, and that shells are found upon the mountains of it, and an
efflorescence of salt forms upon the surface, so that even the
pyramids are being eaten away by it, and moreover that of all the
mountains of Egypt, the range which lies above Memphis is the only one
which has sand: besides which I notice that Egypt resembles neither
the land of Arabia, which borders upon it, nor Libya, nor yet Syria
(for they are Syrians who dwell in the parts of Arabia lying along the
sea), but that it has soil which is black and easily breaks up,[19] seeing that it is in truth mud and silt brought down from Ethiopia by
the river: but the soil of Libya, we know, is reddish in colour and
rather sandy, while that of Arabia and Syria is somewhat clayey and
rocky.[19a] 13. The priests also gave me a strong proof concerning
this land as follows, namely that in the reign of king Moiris,
whenever the river reached a height of at least eight cubits[20] it
watered Egypt below Memphis; and not yet nine hundred years had gone
by since the death of Moiris, when I heard these things from the
priests: now however, unless the river rises to sixteen cubits, or
fifteen at the least, it does not go over the land. I think too that
those Egyptians who dwell below the lake of Moiris and especially in
that region which is called the Delta, if that land continues to grow
in height according to this proportion and to increase similarly in
extent,[21] will suffer for all remaining time, from the Nile not
overflowing their land, that same thing which they themselves said
that the Hellenes would at some time suffer: for hearing that the
whole land of the Hellenes has rain and is not watered by rivers as
theirs is, they said that the Hellenes would at some time be
disappointed of a great hope and would suffer the ills of famine. This
saying means that if the god[22] shall not send them rain, but shall
allow drought to prevail for a long time, the Hellenes will be
destroyed by hunger; for they have in fact no other supply of water to
save them except from Zeus alone. 14. This has been rightly said by
the Egyptians with reference to the Hellenes: but now let me tell how
matters are with the Egyptians themselves in their turn. If, in
accordance with what I before said, their land below Memphis (for this
is that which is increasing) shall continue to increase in height
according to the same proportion as in past time, assuredly those
Egyptians who dwell here will suffer famine, if their land shall not
have rain nor the river be able to go over their fields. It is certain
however that now they gather in fruit from the earth with less labour
than any other men and also with less than the other Egyptians; for
they have no labour in breaking up furrows with a plough nor in hoeing
nor in any other of those labours which other men have about a crop;
but when the river has come up of itself and watered their fields and
after watering has left them again, then each man sows his own field
and turns into it swine, and when he has trodden the seed into the
ground by means of the swine, after that he waits for the harvest; and
when he has threshed the corn by means of the swine, then he gathers
it in.

15. If we desire to follow the opinions of the Ionians as regards
Egypt, who say that the Delta alone is Egypt, reckoning its sea-coast
to be from the watch-tower called of Perseus to the fish-curing houses
of Pelusion, a distance of forty /schoines/, and counting it to extend
inland as far as the city of Kercasoros, where the Nile divides and
runs to Pelusion and Canobos, while as for the rest of Egypt, they
assign it partly to Libya and partly to Arabia,–if, I say, we should
follow this account, we should thereby declare that in former times
the Egyptians had no land to live in; for, as we have seen, their
Delta at any rate is alluvial, and has appeared (so to speak) lately,
as the Egyptians themselves say and as my opinion is. If then at the
first there was no land for them to live in, why did they waste their
labour to prove that they had come into being before all other men?
They needed not to have made trial of the children to see what
language they would first utter. However I am not of opinion that the
Egyptians came into being at the same time as that which is called by
the Ionians the Delta, but that they existed always ever since the
human race came into being, and that as their land advanced forwards,
many of them were left in their first abodes and many came down
gradually to the lower parts. At least it is certain that in old times
Thebes had the name of Egypt, and of this[23] the circumference
measures six thousand one hundred and twenty furlongs. 16. If then we
judge aright of these matters, the opinion of the Ionians about Egypt
is not sound: but if the judgment of the Ionians is right, I declare
that neither the Hellenes nor the Ionians themselves know how to
reckon since they say that the whole earth is made up of three
divisions, Europe, Asia, and Libya: for they ought to count in
addition to these the Delta of Egypt, since it belongs neither to Asia
nor to Libya; for at least it cannot be the river Nile by this
reckoning which divides Asia from Libya,[24] but the Nile is cleft at
the point of this Delta so as to flow round it, and the result is that
this land would come between Asia and Libya.[25]

17. We dismiss then the opinion of the Ionians, and express a judgment
of our own in this matter also, that Egypt is all that land which is
inhabited by Egyptians, just as Kilikia is that which is inhabited by
Kilikians and Assyria that which is inhabited by Assyrians, and we
know of no boundary properly speaking between Asia and Libya except
the borders of Egypt. If however we shall adopt the opinion which is
commonly held by the Hellenes, we shall suppose that the whole of
Egypt, beginning from the Cataract[26] and the city of Elephantine, is
divided into two parts and that it thus partakes of both the names,
since one side will thus belong to Libya and the other to Asia; for
the Nile from the Cataract onwards flows to the sea cutting Egypt
through the midst; and as far as the city of Kercasoros the Nile flows
in one single stream, but from this city onwards it is parted into
three ways; and one, which is called the Pelusian mouth, turns towards
the East; the second of the ways goes towards the West, and this is
called the Canobic mouth; but that one of the ways which is straight
runs thus,–when the river in its course downwards comes to the point
of the Delta, then it cuts the Delta through the midst and so issues
out to the sea. In this we have[27] a portion of the water of the
river which is not the smallest nor the least famous, and it is called
the Sebennytic mouth. There are also two other mouths which part off
from the Sebennytic and go to the sea, and these are called, one the
Saïtic, the other the Mendesian mouth. The Bolbitinitic and Bucolic
mouths, on the other hand, are not natural but made by digging. 18.
Moreover also the answer given by the Oracle of Ammon bears witness in
support of my opinion that Egypt is of the extent which I declare it
to be in my account; and of this answer I heard after I had formed my
own opinion about Egypt. For those of the city of Marea and of Apis,
dwelling in the parts of Egypt which border on Libya, being of opinion
themselves that they were Libyans and not Egyptians, and also being
burdened by the rules of religious service, because they desired not
to be debarred from the use of cows’ flesh, sent to Ammon saying that
they had nought in common with the Egyptians, for they dwelt outside
the Delta and agreed with them in nothing; and they said they desired
that it might be lawful for them to eat everything without
distinction. The god however did not permit them to do so, but said
that that land which was Egypt which the Nile came over and watered,
and that those were Egyptians who dwelling below the city of
Elephantine drank of that river. Thus it was answered to them by the
Oracle about this: 19, and the Nile, when it is in flood, goes over
not only the Delta but also of the land which is called Libyan and of
that which is called Arabian sometimes as much as two days’ journey on
each side, and at times even more than this or at times less.

As regards the nature of the river, neither from the priests nor yet
from any other man was I able to obtain any knowledge: and I was
desirous especially to learn from them about these matters, namely why
the Nile comes down increasing in volume from the summer solstice
onwards for a hundred days, and then, when it has reached the number
of these days, turns and goes back, failing in its stream, so that
through the whole winter season it continues to be low, and until the
summer solstice returns. Of none of these things was I able to receive
any account from the Egyptians, when I inquired of them what power the
Nile has whereby it is of a nature opposite to that of other rivers.
And I made inquiry, desiring to know both this which I say and also
why, unlike all other rivers, it does not give rise to any breezes
blowing from it. 20. However some of the Hellenes who desired to gain
distinction for cleverness have given an account of this water in
three different ways: two of these I do not think it worth while even
to speak of except only to indicate their nature; of which the one
says that the Etesian Winds are the cause that makes the river rise,
by preventing the Nile from flowing out into the sea. But often the
Etesian Winds fail and yet the Nile does the same work as it is wont
to do; and moreover, if these were the cause, all the other rivers
also which flow in a direction opposed to the Etesian Winds ought to
have been affected in the same way as the Nile, and even more, in as
much as they are smaller and present to them a feebler flow of stream:
but there are many of these rivers in Syria and many also in Libya,
and they are affected in no such manner as the Nile. 21. The second
way shows more ignorance than that which has been mentioned, and it is
more marvellous to tell;[28] for it says that the river produces these
effects because it flows from the Ocean, and that the Ocean flows
round the whole earth. 22. The third of the ways is much the most
specious, but nevertheless it is the most mistaken of all: for indeed
this way has no more truth in it than the rest, alleging as it does
that the Nile flows from melting snow; whereas it flows out of Libya
through the midst of the Ethiopians, and so comes out into Egypt. How
then should it flow from snow, when it flows from the hottest parts to
those which are cooler? And indeed most of the facts are such as to
convince a man (one at least who is capable of reasoning about such
matters), that it is not at all likely that it flows from snow.[29] The first and greatest evidence is afforded by the winds, which blow
hot from these regions; the second is that the land is rainless always
and without frost, whereas after snow has fallen rain must necessarily
come within five days, so that if it snowed in those parts rain would
fall there; the third evidence is afforded by the people dwelling
there, who are of a black colour by reason of the burning heat.
Moreover kites and swallows remain there through the year and do not
leave the land; and cranes flying from the cold weather which comes on
in the region of Scythia come regularly to these parts for wintering:
if then it snowed ever so little in that land through which the Nile
flows and in which it has its rise, none of these things would take
place, as necessity compels us to admit. 23. As for him who talked
about the Ocean, he carried his tale into the region of the unknown,
and so he need not be refuted;[30] since I for my part know of no
river Ocean existing, but I think that Homer or one of the poets who
were before him invented the name and introduced it into his verse.

24. If however after I have found fault with the opinions proposed, I
am bound to declare an opinion of my own about the matters which are
in doubt, I will tell what to my mind is the reason why the Nile
increases in the summer. In the winter season the Sun, being driven
away from his former path through the heaven[31] by the stormy winds,
comes to the upper parts of Libya. If one would set forth the matter
in the shortest way, all has now been said; for whatever region this
god approaches most and stands directly above, this it may reasonably
be supposed is most in want of water, and its native streams of rivers
are dried up most. 25. However, to set it forth at greater length,
thus it is:–the Sun passing in his course by the upper parts of
Libya, does thus, that is to say, since at all times the air in those
parts is clear and the country is warm, because there are no cold
winds,[32] in passing through it the Sun does just as he was wont to
do in the summer, when going through the midst of the heaven, that is
he draws to himself the water, and having drawn it he drives it away
to the upper parts of the country, and the winds take it up and
scattering it abroad melt it into rain; so it is natural that the
winds which blow from this region, namely the South and South-west
Winds, should be much the most rainy of all the winds. I think however
that the Sun does not send away from himself all the water of the Nile
of each year, but that he also lets some remain behind with himself.
Then when the winter becomes milder, the Sun returns back again to the
midst of the heaven, and from that time onwards he draws equally from
all rivers; but in the meanwhile they flow in large volume, since
water of rain mingles with them in great quantity, because their
country receives rain then and is filled with torrent streams. In
summer however they are weak, since not only the showers of rain fail
then, but also they are drawn by the Sun. The Nile however, alone of
all rivers, not having rain and being drawn by the Sun, naturally
flows during this time of winter in much less than its proper volume,
that is much less than in summer;[33] for then it is drawn equally
with all the other waters, but in winter it bears the burden alone.
Thus I suppose the Sun to be the cause of these things. 26. He is also
the cause in my opinion that the air in these parts is dry, since he
makes it so by scorching up his path through the heaven:[34] thus
summer prevails always in the upper parts of Libya. If however the
station of the seasons had been changed, and where now in the heaven
are placed the North Wind and winter, there was the station of the
South Wind and of the midday, and where now is placed the South Wind,
there was the North, if this had been so, the Sun being driven from
the midst of the heaven by the winter and the North Wind would go to
the upper parts of Europe, just as now he comes to the upper parts of
Libya, and passing in his course throughout the whole of Europe I
suppose that he would do to the Ister that which he now works upon the
Nile. 27. As to the breeze, why none blows from the river, my opinion
is that from very hot places it is not natural that anything should
blow, and that a breeze is wont to blow from something cold.

28. Let these matters then be as they are and as they were at the
first: but as to the sources of the Nile, not one either of the
Egyptians or of the Libyans or of the Hellenes, who came to speech
with me, professed to know anything, except the scribe of the sacred
treasury of Athene at the city of Saïs in Egypt. To me however this
man seemed not to be speaking seriously when he said that he had
certain knowledge of it; and he said as follows, namely that there
were two mountains of which the tops ran up to a sharp point, situated
between the city of Syene, which is in the district of Thebes, and
Elephantine, and the names of the mountains were, of the one Crophi
and of the other Mophi. From the middle between these two mountains
flowed (he said) the sources of the Nile, which were fathomless in
depth, and half of the water flowed to Egypt and towards the North
Wind, the other half to Ethiopia and the South Wind. As for the
fathomless depth of the source, he said that Psammetichos king of
Egypt came to a trial of this matter; for he had a rope twisted of
many thousands of fathoms and let it down in this place, and it found
no bottom. By this the scribe (if this which he told me was really as
he said) gave me to understand[35] that there were certain strong
eddies there and a backward flow, and that since the water dashed
against the mountains, therefore the sounding-line could not come to
any bottom when it was let down. 29. From no other person was I able
to learn anything about this matter; but for the rest I learnt so much
as here follows by the most diligent inquiry;[36] for I went myself as
an eye-witness as far as the city of Elephantine and from that point
onwards I gathered knowledge by report. From the city of Elephantine
as one goes up the river there is country which slopes steeply; so
that here one must attach ropes to the vessel on both sides, as one
fastens an ox, and so make one’s way onward; and if the rope break,
the vessel is gone at once, carried away by the violence of the
stream. Through this country it is a voyage of about four days in
length, and in this part the Nile is winding like the river Maiander,
and the distance amounts to twelve /schoines/, which one must traverse
in this manner. Then you will come to a level plain, in which the Nile
flows round an island named Tachompso. (Now in the regions above
Elephantine there dwell Ethiopians at once succeeding, who also occupy
half of the island,[37] and Egyptians the other half.) Adjoining this
island there is a great lake, round which dwell Ethiopian nomad
tribes; and when you have sailed through this you will come to the
stream of the Nile again, which flows into this lake. After this you
will disembark and make a journey by land of forty days; for in the
Nile sharp rocks stand forth out of the water, and there are many
reefs, by which it is not possible for a vessel to pass. Then after
having passed through this country in the forty days which I have
said, you will embark again in another vessel and sail for twelve
days; and after this you will come to a great city called Meroe. This
city is said to be the mother-city of all the other Ethiopians: and
they who dwell in it reverence of the gods Zeus and Dionysos alone,
and these they greatly honour; and they have an Oracle of Zeus
established, and make warlike marches whensoever this god commands
them by prophesyings and to whatsoever place he commands. 30. Sailing
from this city you will come to the “Deserters” in another period of
time equal to that in which you came from Elephantine to the mother-
city of the Ethiopians. Now the name of these “Deserters” is /Asmach/,
and this word signifies, when translated into the tongue of the
Hellenes, “those who stand on the left hand of the king.” These were
two hundred and forty thousand Egyptians of the warrior class, who
revolted and went over to the Ethiopians for the following cause:–In
the reign of Psammetichos garrisons were set, one towards the
Ethiopians at the city of Elephantine, another towards the Arabians
and Assyrians at Daphnai of Pelusion, and another towards Libya at
Marea: and even in my own time the garrisons of the Persians too are
ordered in the same manner as these were in the reign of Psammetichos,
for both at Elephantine and at Daphnai the Persians have outposts. The
Egyptians then of whom I speak had served as outposts for three years
and no one relieved them from their guard; accordingly they took
counsel together, and adopting a common plan they all in a body
revolted from Psammetichos and set out for Ethiopia. Hearing this
Psammetichos set forth in pursuit, and when he came up with them he
entreated them much and endeavoured to persuade them not to desert the
gods of their country and their children and wives: upon which it is
said that one of them pointed to his privy member and said that
wherever this was, there would they have both children and wives. When
these came to Ethiopia they gave themselves over to the king of the
Ethiopians; and he rewarded them as follows:–there were certain of
the Ethiopians who had come to be at variance with him; and he bade
them drive these out and dwell in their land. So since these men
settled in the land of the Ethiopians, the Ethiopians have come to be
of milder manners, from having learnt the customs of the Egyptians.

31. The Nile then, besides that part of its course which is in Egypt,
is known as far as a four months’ journey by river and land: for that
is the number of months which are found by reckoning to be spent in
going from Elephantine to these “Deserters”: and the river runs from
the West and the setting of the sun. But what comes after that no one
can clearly say; for this land is desert by reason of the burning
heat. 32. Thus much however I heard from men of Kyrene, who told me
that they had been to the Oracle of Ammon, and had come to speech with
Etearchos king of the Ammonians: and it happened that after speaking
of other matters they fell to discourse about the Nile and how no one
knew the sources of it; and Etearchos said that once there had come to
him men of the Nasamonians (this is a Libyan race which dwells in the
Syrtis, and also in the land to the East of the Syrtis reaching to no
great distance), and when the Nasamonians came and were asked by him
whether they were able to tell him anything more than he knew about
the desert parts of Libya, they said that there had been among them
certain sons of chief men, who were of unruly disposition; and these
when they grew up to be men had devised various other extravagant
things and also they had told off by lot five of themselves to go to
see the desert parts of Libya and to try whether they could discover
more than those who had previously explored furthest: for in those
parts of Libya which are by the Northern Sea, beginning from Egypt and
going as far as the headland of Soloeis, which is the extreme point of
Libya, Libyans (and of them many races) extend along the whole coast,
except so much as the Hellenes and Phenicians hold; but in the upper
parts, which lie above the sea-coast and above those people whose land
comes down to the sea, Libya is full of wild beasts; and in the parts
above the land of wild beasts it is full of sand, terribly waterless
and utterly desert. These young men then (said they), being sent out
by their companions well furnished with supplies of water and
provisions, went first through the inhabited country, and after they
had passed through this they came to the country of wild beasts, and
after this they passed through the desert, making their journey
towards the West Wind; and having passed through a great tract of sand
in many days, they saw at last trees growing in a level place; and
having come up to them, they were beginning to pluck the fruit which
was upon the trees: but as they began to pluck it, there came upon
them small men, of less stature than men of the common size, and these
seized them and carried them away; and neither could the Nasamonians
understand anything of their speech nor could those who were carrying
them off understand anything of the speech of the Nasamonians: and
they led them (so it was said) through very great swamps, and after
passing through these they came to a city in which all the men were in
size like those who carried them off and in colour of skin black; and
by the city ran a great river, which ran from the West towards the
sunrising, and in it were seen crocodiles. 33. Of the account given by
Etearchos the Ammonian let so much suffice as is here said, except
that, as the men of Kyrene told me, he alleged that the Nasamonians
returned safe home, and that the people to whom they had come were all
wizards. Now this river which ran by the city, Etearchos conjectured
to be the Nile, and moreover reason compels us to think so; for the
Nile flows from Libya and cuts Libya through in the midst, and as I
conjecture, judging of what is not known by that which is evident to
the view, it starts at a distance from its mouth equal to that of the
Ister: for the river Ister begins from the Keltoi and the city of
Pyrene and so runs that it divides Europe in the midst (now the Keltoi
are outside the Pillars of Heracles and border upon the Kynesians, who
dwell furthest towards the sunset of all those who have their dwelling
in Europe); and the Ister ends, having its course through the whole of
Europe, by flowing into the Euxine Sea at the place where the
Milesians have their settlement of Istria. 34. Now the Ister, since it
flows through land which is inhabited, is known by the reports of
many; but of the sources of the Nile no one can give an account, for
the part of Libya through which it flows is uninhabited and desert.
About its course however so much as it was possible to learn by the
most diligent inquiry has been told; and it runs out into Egypt. Now
Egypt lies nearly opposite to the mountain districts of Kilikia; and
from thence to Sinope, which lies upon the Euxine Sea, is a journey in
the same straight line of five days for a man without
encumbrance;[37a] and Sinope lies opposite to the place where the
Ister runs out into the sea: thus I think that the Nile passes through
the whole of Libya and is of equal measure with the Ister.


Of the Nile then let so much suffice as has been said. 35. Of Egypt
however I shall make my report at length, because it has wonders more
in number than any other land, and works too it has to show as much as
any land, which are beyond expression great: for this reason then more
shall be said concerning it.

The Egyptians in agreement with their climate, which is unlike any
other, and with the river, which shows a nature different from all
other rivers, established for themselves manners and customs in a way
opposite to other men in almost all matters: for among them the women
frequent the market and carry on trade, while the men remain at home
and weave; and whereas others weave pushing the woof upwards, the
Egyptians push it downwards: the men carry their burdens upon their
heads and the women upon their shoulders: the women make water
standing up and the men crouching down: they ease themselves in their
houses and they eat without in the streets, alleging as reason for
this that it is right to do secretly the things that are unseemly
though necessary, but those which are not unseemly, in public: no
woman is a minister either of male or female divinity, but men of all,
both male and female: to support their parents the sons are in no way
compelled, if they do not desire to do so, but the daughters are
forced to do so, be they never so unwilling. 36. The priests of the
gods in other lands wear long hair, but in Egypt they shave their
heads: among other men the custom is that in mourning those whom the
matter concerns most nearly have their hair cut short, but the
Egyptians, when deaths occur, let their hair grow long, both that on
the head and that on the chin, having before been close shaven: other
men have their daily living separated from beasts, but the Egyptians
have theirs together with beasts: other men live on wheat and barley,
but to any one of the Egyptians who makes his living on these it is a
great reproach; they make their bread of maize,[38] which some call
spelt;[39] they knead dough with their feet and clay with their hands,
with which also they gather up dung: and whereas other men, except
such as have learnt otherwise from the Egyptians, have their members
as nature made them, the Egyptians practise circumcision: as to
garments, the men wear two each and the women but one: and whereas
others make fast the rings and ropes of the sails outside the ship,
the Egyptians do this inside: finally in the writing of characters and
reckoning with pebbles, while the Hellenes carry the hand from the
left to the right, the Egyptians do this from the right to the left;
and doing so they say that they do it themselves rightwise and the
Hellenes leftwise: and they use two kinds of characters for writing,
of which the one kind is called sacred and the other common.[40]

37. They are religious excessively beyond all other men, and with
regard to this they have customs as follows:–they drink from cups of
bronze and rinse them out every day, and not some only do this but
all: they wear garments of linen always newly washed, and this they
make a special point of practice: they circumcise themselves for the
sake of cleanliness, preferring to be clean rather than comely. The
priests shave themselves all over their body every other day, so that
no lice or any other foul thing may come to be upon them when they
minister to the gods; and the priests wear garments of linen only and
sandals of papyrus, and any other garment they may not take nor other
sandals; these wash themselves in cold water twice in the day and
twice again in the night; and other religious services they perform
(one may almost say) of infinite number.[41] They enjoy also good
things not a few, for they do not consume or spend anything of their
own substance, but there is sacred bread baked for them and they have
each great quantity of flesh of oxen and geese coming in to them each
day, and also wine of grapes is given to them; but it is not permitted
to them to taste of fish: beans moreover the Egyptians do not at all
sow in their land, and those which grow they neither eat raw nor boil
for food; nay the priests do not endure even to look upon them,
thinking this to be an unclean kind of pulse: and there is not one
priest only for each of the gods but many, and of them one is chief-
priest, and whenever a priest dies his son is appointed to his place.

38. The males of the ox kind they consider to belong to Epaphos, and
on account of him they test them in the following manner:–If the
priest sees one single black hair upon the beast he counts it not
clean for sacrifice; and one of the priests who is appointed for the
purpose makes investigation of these matters, both when the beast is
standing upright and when it is lying on its back, drawing out its
tongue moreover, to see if it is clean in respect of the appointed
signs, which I shall tell of in another part of the history:[42] he
looks also at the hairs of the tail to see if it has them growing in
the natural manner: and if it be clean in respect of all these things,
he marks it with a piece of papyrus, rolling this round the horns, and
then when he has plastered sealing-earth over it he sets upon it the
seal of his signet-ring, and after that they take the animal away. But
for one who sacrifices a beast not sealed the penalty appointed is
death. 39. In this way then the beast is tested; and their appointed
manner of sacrifice is as follows:–they lead the sealed beast to the
altar where they happen to be sacrificing and then kindle a fire:
after that, having poured libations of wine over the altar so that it
runs down upon the victim and having called upon the god, they cut its
throat, and having cut its throat they sever the head from the body.
The body then of the beast they flay, but upon the head[43] they make
many imprecations first, and then they who have a market and Hellenes
sojourning among them for trade, these carry it to the market-place
and sell it, while they who have no Hellenes among them cast it away
into the river: and this is the form of imprecation which they utter
upon the heads, praying that if any evil be about to befall either
themselves who are offering sacrifice or the land of Egypt in general,
it may come rather upon this head. Now as regards the heads of the
beasts which are sacrificed and the pouring over them of the wine, all
the Egyptians have the same customs equally for all their sacrifices;
and by reason of this custom none of the Egyptians eat of the head
either of this or of any other kind of animal: 40, but the manner of
disembowelling the victims and of burning them is appointed among them
differently for different sacrifices; I shall speak however of the
sacrifices to that goddess whom they regard as the greatest of all,
and to whom they celebrate the greatest feast.–When they have flayed
the bullock and made imprecation, they take out the whole of its lower
entrails but leave in the body the upper entrails and the fat; and
they sever from it the legs and the end of the loin and the shoulders
and the neck: and this done, they fill the rest of the body of the
animal with consecrated[44] loaves and honey and raisins and figs and
frankincense and myrrh and every other kind of spices, and having
filled it with these they offer it, pouring over it great abundance of
oil. They make their sacrifice after fasting, and while the offerings
are being burnt, they all beat themselves for mourning, and when they
have finished beating themselves they set forth as a feast that which
they left unburnt of the sacrifice. 41. The clean males then of the ox
kind, both full-grown animals and calves, are sacrificed by all the
Egyptians; the females however they may not sacrifice, but these are
sacred to Isis; for the figure of Isis is in the form of a woman with
cow’s horns, just as the Hellenes present Io in pictures, and all the
Egyptians without distinction reverence cows far more than any other
kind of cattle; for which reason neither man nor woman of Egyptian
race would kiss a man who is a Hellene on the mouth, nor will they use
a knife or roasting-spits or a caldron belonging to a Hellene, nor
taste of the flesh even of a clean animal if it has been cut with the
knife of a Hellene. And the cattle of this kind which die they bury in
the following manner:–the females they cast into the river, but the
males they bury, each people in the suburb of their town, with one of
the horns, or sometimes both, protruding to mark the place; and when
the bodies have rotted away and the appointed time comes on, then to
each city comes a boat[45] from that which is called the island of
Prosopitis (this is in the Delta, and the extent of its circuit is
nine /schoines/). In this island of Prosopitis is situated, besides
many other cities, that one from which the boats come to take up the
bones of the oxen, and the name of the city is Atarbechis, and in it
there is set up a holy temple of Aphrodite. From this city many go
abroad in various directions, some to one city and others to another,
and when they have dug up the bones of the oxen they carry them off,
and coming together they bury them in one single place. In the same
manner as they bury the oxen they bury also their other cattle when
they die; for about them also they have the same law laid down, and
these also they abstain from killing.

42. Now all who have a temple set up to the Theban Zeus or who are of
the district of Thebes, these, I say, all sacrifice goats and abstain
from sheep: for not all the Egyptians equally reverence the same gods,
except only Isis and Osiris (who they say is Dionysos), these they all
reverence alike: but they who have a temple of Mendes or belong to the
Mendesian district, these abstain from goats and sacrifice sheep. Now
the men of Thebes and those who after their example abstain from
sheep, say that this custom was established among them for the cause
which follows:–Heracles (they say) had an earnest desire to see Zeus,
and Zeus did not desire to be seen of him; and at last when Heracles
was urgent in entreaty Zeus contrived this device, that is to say, he
flayed a ram and held in front of him the head of the ram which he had
cut off, and he put on over him the fleece and then showed himself to
him. Hence the Egyptians make the image of Zeus into the face of a
ram; and the Ammonians do so also after their example, being settlers
both from the Egyptians and from the Ethiopians, and using a language
which is a medley of both tongues: and in my opinion it is from this
god that the Ammonians took the name which they have, for the
Egyptians call Zeus /Amun/. The Thebans then do not sacrifice rams but
hold them sacred for this reason; on one day however in the year, on
the feast of Zeus, they cut up in the same manner and flay one single
ram and cover with its skin the image of Zeus, and then they bring up
to it another image of Heracles. This done, all who are in the temple
beat themselves in lamentation for the ram, and then they bury it in a
sacred tomb.

43. About Heracles I heard the account given that he was of the number
of the twelve gods; but of the other Heracles whom the Hellenes know I
was not able to hear in any part of Egypt: and moreover to prove that
the Egyptians did not take the name of Heracles from the Hellenes, but
rather the Hellenes from the Egyptians,–that is to say those of the
Hellenes who gave the name Heracles to the son of Amphitryon,–of
that, I say, besides many other evidences there is chiefly this,
namely that the parents of this Heracles, Amphitryon and Alcmene, were
both of Egypt by descent,[46] and also that the Egyptians say that
they do not know the names either of Poseidon or of the Dioscuroi, nor
have these been accepted by them as gods among the other gods; whereas
if they had received from the Hellenes the name of any divinity, they
would naturally have preserved the memory of these most of all,
assuming that in those times as now some of the Hellenes were wont to
make voyages[46a] and were sea-faring folk, as I suppose and as my
judgment compels me to think; so that the Egyptians would have learnt
the names of these gods even more than that of Heracles. In fact
however Heracles is a very ancient Egyptian god; and (as they say
themselves) it is seventeen thousand years to the beginning of the
reign of Amasis from the time when the twelve gods, of whom they count
that Heracles is one, were begotten of the eight gods. 44. I moreover,
desiring to know something certain of these matters so far as might
be, made a voyage also to Tyre of Phenicia, hearing that in that place
there was a holy temple of Heracles; and I saw that it was richly
furnished with many votive offerings besides, and especially there
were in it two pillars,[47] the one of pure gold and the other of an
emerald stone of such size as to shine by night:[48] and having come
to speech with the priests of the god, I asked them how long time it
was since their temple had been set up: and these also I found to be
at variance with the Hellenes, for they said that at the same time
when Tyre was founded, the temple of the god also had been set up, and
that it was a period of two thousand three hundred years since their
people began to dwell at Tyre. I saw also at Tyre another temple of
Heracles, with the surname Thasian; and I came to Thasos also and
there I found a temple of Heracles set up by the Phenicians, who had
sailed out to seek for Europa and had colonised Thasos; and these
things happened full five generations of men before Heracles the son
of Amphitryon was born in Hellas. So then my inquiries show clearly
that Heracles is an ancient god, and those of the Hellenes seem to me
to act most rightly who have two temples of Heracles set up, and who
sacrifice to the one as an immortal god and with the title Olympian,
and make offerings of the dead[49] to the other as a hero. 45.
Moreover, besides many other stories which the Hellenes tell without
due consideration, this tale is especially foolish which they tell
about Heracles, namely that when he came to Egypt, the Egyptians put
on him wreaths and led him forth in procession to sacrifice him to
Zeus; and he for some time kept quiet, but when they were beginning
the sacrifice of him at the altar, he betook himself to prowess and
slew them all. I for my part am of opinion that the Hellenes when they
tell this tale are altogether without knowledge of the nature and
customs of the Egyptians; for how should they for whom it is not
lawful to sacrifice even beasts, except swine[50] and the males of
oxen and calves (such of them as are clean) and geese, how should
these sacrifice human beings? Besides this, how is it in nature
possible that Heracles, being one person only and moreover a man (as
they assert), should slay many myriads? Having said so much of these
matters, we pray that we may have grace from both the gods and the
heroes for our speech.

46. Now the reason why those of the Egyptians whom I have mentioned do
not sacrifice goats, female or male, is this:–the Mendesians count
Pan to be one of the eight gods (now these eight gods they say came
into being before the twelve gods), and the painters and image-makers
represent in painting and in sculpture the figure of Pan, just as the
Hellenes do, with goat’s face and legs, not supposing him to be really
like this but to resemble the other gods; the cause however why they
represent him in this form I prefer not to say. The Mendesians then
reverence all goats and the males more than the females (and the
goatherds too have greater honour than other herdsmen), but of the
goats one especially is reverenced, and when he dies there is great
mourning in all the Mendesian district: and both the goat and Pan are
called in the Egyptian tongue /Mendes/. Moreover in my lifetime there
happened in that district this marvel, that is to say a he-goat had
intercourse with a woman publicly, and this was so done that all men
might have evidence of it.

47. The pig is accounted by the Egyptians an abominable animal; and
first, if any of them in passing by touch a pig, he goes into the
river and dips himself forthwith in the water together with his
garments; and then too swineherds, though they be native Egyptians,
unlike all others do not enter any of the temples in Egypt, nor is
anyone willing to give his daughter in marriage to one of them or to
take a wife from among them; but the swineherds both give in marriage
to one another and take from one another. Now to the other gods the
Egyptians do not think it right to sacrifice swine; but to the Moon
and to Dionysos alone at the same time and on the same full-moon they
sacrifice swine, and then eat their flesh: and as to the reason why,
when they abominate swine at all their other feasts, they sacrifice
them at this, there is a story told by the Egyptians; and this story I
know, but it is not a seemly one for me to tell. Now the sacrifice of
the swine to the Moon is performed as follows:–when the priest has
slain the victim, he puts together the end of the tail and the spleen
and the caul, and covers them up with the whole of the fat of the
animal which is about the paunch, and then he offers them with fire;
and the rest of the flesh they eat on that day of full moon upon which
they have held the sacrifice, but on any day after this they will not
taste of it: the poor however among them by reason of the scantiness
of their means shape pigs of dough and having baked them they offer
these as a sacrifice. 48. Then for Dionysos on the eve of the festival
each one kills a pig by cutting its throat before his own doors, and
after that he gives the pig to the swineherd who sold it to him, to
carry away again; and the rest of the feast of Dionysos is celebrated
by the Egyptians in the same way as by the Hellenes in almost all
things except choral dances, but instead of the /phallos/ they have
invented another contrivance, namely figures of about a cubit in
height worked by strings, which women carry about the villages, with
the privy member made to move and not much less in size than the rest
of the body: and a flute goes before and they follow singing the
praises of Dionysos. As to the reason why the figure has this member
larger than is natural and moves it, though it moves no other part of
the body, about this there is a sacred story told. 49. Now I think
that Melampus the son of Amytheon was not without knowledge of these
rites of sacrifice, but was acquainted with them: for Melampus is he
who first set forth to the Hellenes the name of Dionysos and the
manner of sacrifice and the procession of the /phallos/. Strictly
speaking indeed, he when he made it known did not take in the whole,
but those wise men who came after him made it known more at large.
Melampus then is he who taught of the /phallos/ which is carried in
procession for Dionysos, and from him the Hellenes learnt to do that
which they do. I say then that Melampus being a man of ability
contrived for himself an art of divination, and having learnt from
Egypt he taught the Hellenes many things, and among them those that
concern Dionysos, making changes in some few points of them: for I
shall not say that that which is done in worship of the god in Egypt
came accidentally to be the same with that which is done among the
Hellenes, for then these rites would have been in character with the
Hellenic worship and not lately brought in; nor certainly shall I say
that the Egyptians took from the Hellenes either this or any other
customary observance: but I think it most probable that Melampus
learnt the matters concerning Dionysos from Cadmos the Tyrian and from
those who came with him from Phenicia to the land which we now call

50. Moreover the naming[51] of almost all the gods has come to Hellas
from Egypt: for that it has come from the Barbarians I find by inquiry
is true, and I am of opinion that most probably it has come from
Egypt, because, except in the case of Poseidon and the Dioscuroi (in
accordance with that which I have said before), and also of Hera and
Hestia and Themis and the Charites and Nereïds, the Egyptians have had
the names of all the other gods in their country for all time. What I
say here is that which the Egyptians think themselves: but as for the
gods whose names they profess that they do not know, these I think
received their naming from the Pelasgians, except Poseidon; but about
this god the Hellenes learnt from the Libyans, for no people except
the Libyans have had the name of Poseidon from the first and have paid
honour to this god always. Nor, it may be added, have the Egyptians
any custom of worshipping heroes. 51. These observances then, and
others besides these which I shall mention, the Hellenes have adopted
from the Egyptians; but to make, as they do, the images of Hermes with
the /phallos/ they have learnt not from the Egyptians but from the
Pelasgians, the custom having been received by the Athenians first of
all the Hellenes and from these by the rest; for just at the time when
the Athenians were beginning to rank among the Hellenes, the
Pelasgians became dwellers with them in their land, and from this very
cause it was that they began to be counted as Hellenes. Whosoever has
been initiated in the mysteries of the Cabeiroi, which the
Samothrakians perform having received them from the Pelasgians, that
man knows the meaning of my speech; for these very Pelasgians who
became dwellers with the Athenians used to dwell before that time in
Samothrake, and from them the Samothrakians received their mysteries.
So then the Athenians were the first of the Hellenes who made the
images of Hermes with the /phallos/, having learnt from the
Pelasgians; and the Pelasgians told a sacred story about it, which is
set forth in the mysteries in Samothrake. 52. Now the Pelasgians
formerly were wont to make all their sacrifices calling upon the gods
in prayer, as I know from that which I heard at Dodona, but they gave
no title or name to any of them, for they had not yet heard any, but
they called them gods ({theous}) from some such notion as this, that
they had set ({thentes}) in order all things and so had the
distribution of everything. Afterwards, when much time had elapsed,
they learnt from Egypt the names of the gods, all except Dionysos, for
his name they learnt long afterwards; and after a time the Pelasgians
consulted the Oracle at Dodona about the names, for this prophetic
seat is accounted to be the most ancient of the Oracles which are
among the Hellenes, and at that time it was the only one. So when the
Pelasgians asked the Oracle at Dodona whether they should adopt the
names which had come from the Barbarians, the Oracle in reply bade
them make use of the names. From this time they sacrificed using the
names of the gods, and from the Pelasgians the Hellenes afterwards
received them: 53, but whence the several gods had their birth, or
whether they all were from the beginning, and of what form they are,
they did not learn till yesterday, as it were, or the day before: for
Hesiod and Homer I suppose were four hundred years before my time and
not more, and these are they who made a theogony for the Hellenes and
gave the titles to the gods and distributed to them honours and arts,
and set forth their forms: but the poets who are said to have been
before these men were really in my opinion after them. Of these things
the first are said by the priestesses of Dodona, and the latter
things, those namely which have regard to Hesiod and Homer, by myself.

54. As regards the Oracles both that among the Hellenes and that in
Libya, the Egyptians tell the following tale. The priests of the
Theban Zeus told me that two women in the service of the temple had
been carried away from Thebes by Phenicians, and that they had heard
that one of them had been sold to go into Libya and the other to the
Hellenes; and these women, they said, were they who first founded the
prophetic seats among the nations which have been named: and when I
inquired whence they knew so perfectly of this tale which they told,
they said in reply that a great search had been made by the priests
after these women, and that they had not been able to find them, but
they had heard afterwards this tale about them which they were
telling. 55. This I heard from the priests at Thebes, and what follows
is said by the prophetesses[52] of Dodona. They say that two black
doves flew from Thebes to Egypt, and came one of them to Libya and the
other to their land. And this latter settled upon an oak-tree[53] and
spoke with human voice, saying that it was necessary that a prophetic
seat of Zeus should be established in that place; and they supposed
that that was of the gods which was announced to them, and made one
accordingly: and the dove which went away to the Libyans, they say,
bade the Libyans to make an Oracle of Ammon; and this also is of Zeus.
The priestesses of Dodona told me these things, of whom the eldest was
named Promeneia, the next after her Timarete, and the youngest
Nicandra; and the other people of Dodona who were engaged about the
temple gave accounts agreeing with theirs. 56. I however have an
opinion about the matter as follows:–If the Phenicians did in truth
carry away the consecrated women and sold one of them into Libya and
the other into Hellas, I suppose that in the country now called
Hellas, which was formerly called Pelasgia, this woman was sold into
the land of the Thesprotians; and then being a slave there she set up
a sanctuary of Zeus under a real oak-tree;[54] as indeed it was
natural that being an attendant of the sanctuary of Zeus at Thebes,
she should there, in the place to which she had come, have a memory of
him; and after this, when she got understanding of the Hellenic
tongue, she established an Oracle, and she reported, I suppose, that
her sister had been sold in Libya by the same Phenicians by whom she
herself had been sold. 57. Moreover, I think that the women were
called doves by the people of Dodona for the reason that they were
Barbarians and because it seemed to them that they uttered voice like
birds; but after a time (they say) the dove spoke with human voice,
that is when the woman began to speak so that they could understand;
but so long as she spoke a Barbarian tongue she seemed to them to be
uttering voice like a bird: for had it been really a dove, how could
it speak with human voice? And in saying that the dove was black, they
indicate that the woman was Egyptian. The ways of delivering oracles
too at Thebes in Egypt and at Dodona closely resemble one another, as
it happens, and also the method of divination by victims has come from

58. Moreover, it is true also that the Egyptians were the first of men
who made solemn assemblies[55] and processions and approaches to the
temples,[56] and from them the Hellenes have learnt them, and my
evidence for this is that the Egyptian celebrations of these have been
held from a very ancient time, whereas the Hellenic were
introduced[57] but lately. 59. The Egyptians hold their solemn
assemblies not once in the year but often, especially and with the
greatest zeal and devotion[58] at the city of Bubastis for Artemis,
and next at Busiris for Isis; for in this last-named city there is a
very great temple of Isis, and this city stands in the middle of the
Delta of Egypt; now Isis is in the tongue of the Hellenes Demeter:
thirdly, they have a solemn assembly at the city of Saïs for Athene,
fourthly at Heliopolis for the Sun (Helios), fifthly at the city of
Buto in honour of Leto, and sixthly at the city of Papremis for Ares.
60. Now, when they are coming to the city of Bubastis they do as
follows:–they sail men and women together, and a great multitude of
each sex in every boat; and some of the women have rattles and rattle
with them, while some of the men play the flute during the whole time
of the voyage, and the rest, both women and men, sing and clap their
hands; and when as they sail they come opposite to any city on the way
they bring the boat to land, and some of the women continue to do as I
have said, others cry aloud and jeer at the women in that city, some
dance, and some stand up and pull up their garments. This they do by
every city along the river-bank; and when they come to Bubastis they
hold festival celebrating great sacrifices, and more wine of grapes is
consumed upon that festival than during the whole of the rest of the
year. To this place (so say the natives) they come together year by
year[59] even to the number of seventy myriads[59a] of men and women,
besides children. 61. Thus it is done here; and how they celebrate the
festival in honour of Isis at the city of Busiris has been told by me
before:[60] for, as I said, they beat themselves in mourning after the
sacrifice, all of them both men and women, very many myriads of
people; but for whom they beat themselves it is not permitted to me by
religion to say: and so many as there are of the Carians dwelling in
Egypt do this even more than the Egyptians themselves, inasmuch as
they cut their foreheads also with knives; and by this it is
manifested that they are strangers and not Egyptians. 62. At the times
when they gather together at the city of Saïs for their sacrifices, on
a certain night[61] they all kindle lamps many in number in the open
air round about the houses; now the lamps are saucers full of salt and
oil mixed, and the wick floats by itself on the surface, and this
burns during the whole night; and to the festival is given the name
/Lychnocaia/ (the lighting of the lamps). Moreover those of the
Egyptians who have not come to this solemn assembly observe the night
of the festival and themselves also light lamps all of them, and thus
not in Saïs alone are they lighted, but over all Egypt: and as to the
reason why light and honour are allotted to this night,[62] about this
there is a sacred story told. 63. To Heliopolis and Buto they go year
by year and do sacrifice only: but at Papremis they do sacrifice and
worship as elsewhere, and besides that, when the sun begins to go
down, while some few of the priests are occupied with the image of the
god, the greater number of them stand in the entrance of the temple
with wooden clubs, and other persons to the number of more than a
thousand men with purpose to perform a vow, these also having all of
them staves of wood, stand in a body opposite to those: and the image,
which is in a small shrine of wood covered over with gold, they take
out on the day before to another sacred building. The few then who
have been left about the image, draw a wain with four wheels, which
bears the shrine and the image that is within the shrine, and the
other priests standing in the gateway try to prevent it from entering,
and the men who are under a vow come to the assistance of the god and
strike them, while the others defend themselves.[63] Then there comes
to be a hard fight with staves, and they break one another’s heads,
and I am of opinion that many even die of the wounds they receive; the
Egyptians however told me that no one died. This solemn assembly the
people of the place say that they established for the following
reason:–the mother of Ares, they say, used to dwell in this temple,
and Ares, having been brought up away from her, when he grew up came
thither desiring to visit his mother, and the attendants of his
mother’s temple, not having seen him before, did not permit him to
pass in, but kept him away; and he brought men to help him from
another city and handled roughly the attendants of the temple, and
entered to visit his mother. Hence, they say, this exchange of blows
has become the custom in honour of Ares upon his festival.

64. The Egyptians were the first who made it a point of religion not
to lie with women in temples, nor to enter into temples after going
away from women without first bathing: for almost all other men except
the Egyptians and the Hellenes lie with women in temples and enter
into a temple after going away from women without bathing, since they
hold that there is no difference in this respect between men and
beasts: for they say that they see beasts and the various kinds of
birds coupling together both in the temples and in the sacred
enclosures of the gods; if then this were not pleasing to the god, the
beasts would not do so.

65. Thus do these defend that which they do, which by me is
disallowed: but the Egyptians are excessively careful in their
observances, both in other matters which concern the sacred rites and
also in those which follow:–Egypt, though it borders upon Libya,[63a] does not very much abound in wild animals, but such as they have are
one and all accounted by them sacred, some of them living with men and
others not. But if I should say for what reasons the sacred animals
have been thus dedicated, I should fall into discourse of matters
pertaining to the gods, of which I most desire not to speak; and what
I have actually said touching slightly upon them, I said because I was
constrained by necessity. About these animals there is a custom of
this kind:–persons have been appointed of the Egyptians, both men and
women, to provide the food for each kind of beast separately, and
their office goes down from father to son; and those who dwell in the
various cities perform vows to them thus, that is, when they make a
vow to the god to whom the animal belongs, they shave the head of
their children either the whole or the half or the third part of it,
and then set the hair in the balance against silver, and whatever it
weighs, this the man gives to the person who provides for the animals,
and she cuts up fish of equal value and gives it for food to the
animals. Thus food for their support has been appointed: and if any
one kill any of these animals, the penalty, if he do it with his own
will, is death, and if against his will, such penalty as the priests
may appoint: but whosoever shall kill an ibis or a hawk, whether it be
with his will or against his will, must die. 66. Of the animals that
live with men there are great numbers, and would be many more but for
the accidents which befall the cats. For when the females have
produced young they are no longer in the habit of going to the males,
and these seeking to be united with them are not able. To this end
then they contrive as follows,–they either take away by force or
remove secretly the young from the females and kill them (but after
killing they do not eat them), and the females being deprived of their
young and desiring more, therefore come to the males, for it is a
creature that is fond of its young. Moreover when a fire occurs, the
cats seem to be divinely possessed;[64] for while the Egyptians stand
at intervals and look after the cats, not taking any care to
extinguish the fire, the cats slipping through or leaping over the
men, jump into the fire; and when this happens, great mourning comes
upon the Egyptians. And in whatever houses a cat has died by a natural
death, all those who dwell in this house shave their eyebrows only,
but those in whose houses a dog has died shave their whole body and
also their head. 67. The cats when they are dead are carried away to
sacred buildings in the city of Bubastis, where after being embalmed
they are buried; but the dogs they bury each people in their own city
in sacred tombs; and the ichneumons are buried just in the same way as
the dogs. The shrew-mice however and the hawks they carry away to the
city of Buto, and the ibises to Hermopolis;[65] the bears (which are
not commonly seen) and the wolves, not much larger in size than foxes,
they bury on the spot where they are found lying.

68. Of the crocodile the nature is as follows:–during the four most
wintry months this creature eats nothing: she has four feet and is an
animal belonging to the land and the water both; for she produces and
hatches eggs on the land, and the most part of the day she remains
upon dry land, but the whole of the night in the river, for the water
in truth is warmer than the unclouded open air and the dew. Of all the
mortal creatures of which we have knowledge this grows to the greatest
bulk from the smallest beginning; for the eggs which she produces are
not much larger than those of geese and the newly-hatched young one is
in proportion to the egg, but as he grows he becomes as much as
seventeen cubits long and sometimes yet larger. He has eyes like those
of a pig and teeth large and tusky, in proportion to the size of his
body; but unlike all other beasts he grows no tongue, neither does he
move his lower jaw, but brings the upper jaw towards the lower, being
in this too unlike all other beasts. He has moreover strong claws and
a scaly hide upon his back which cannot be pierced; and he is blind in
the water, but in the air he is of very keen sight. Since he has his
living in the water he keeps his mouth all full within of leeches; and
whereas all other birds and beasts fly from him, the trochilus is a
creature which is at peace with him, seeing that from her he receives
benefit; for the crocodile having come out of the water to the land
and then having opened his mouth (this he is wont to do generally
towards the West Wind), the trochilus upon that enters into his mouth
and swallows down the leeches, and he being benefited is pleased and
does no harm to the trochilus. 69. Now for some of the Egyptians the
crocodiles are sacred animals, and for others not so, but they treat
them on the contrary as enemies: those however who dwell about Thebes
and about the lake of Moiris hold them to be most sacred, and each of
these two peoples keeps one crocodile selected from the whole number,
which has been trained to tameness, and they put hanging ornaments of
molten stone and of gold into the ears of these and anklets round the
front feet, and they give them food appointed and victims of
sacrifices and treat them as well as possible while they live, and
after they are dead they bury them in sacred tombs, embalming them:
but those who dwell about the city of Elephantine even eat them, not
holding them to be sacred. They are called not crocodiles but
/champsai/, and the Ionians gave them the name of crocodile, comparing
their form to that of the crocodiles (lizards) which appear in their
country in the stone walls. 70. There are many ways in use of catching
them and of various kinds: I shall describe that which to me seems the
most worthy of being told. A man puts the back of a pig upon a hook as
bait, and lets it go into the middle of the river, while he himself
upon the bank of the river has a young live pig, which he beats; and
the crocodile hearing its cries makes for the direction of the sound,
and when he finds the pig’s back he swallows it down: then they pull,
and when he is drawn out to land, first of all the hunter forthwith
plasters up his eyes with mud, and having so done he very easily gets
the mastery of him, but if he does not do so he has much trouble.

71. The river-horse is sacred in the district of Papremis, but for the
other Egyptians he is not sacred; and this is the appearance which he
presents: he is four-footed, cloven-hoofed like an ox,[66] flat-nosed,
with a mane like a horse and showing teeth like tusks, with a tail and
voice like a horse, and in size as large as the largest ox; and his
hide is so exceedingly thick that when it has been dried shafts of
javelins are made of it. 72. There are moreover otters in the river,
which they consider to be sacred; and of fish also they esteem that
which is called the /lepidotos/ to be sacred, and also the eel; and
these they say are sacred to the Nile: and of birds the fox-goose.

73. There is also another sacred bird called the phœnix which I did
not myself see except in painting, for in truth he comes to them very
rarely, at intervals, as the people of Heliopolis say, of five hundred
years; and these say that he comes regularly when his father dies; and
if he be like the painting, he is of this size and nature, that is to
say, some of his feathers are of gold colour and others red, and in
outline and size he is as nearly as possible like an eagle. This bird
they say (but I cannot believe the story) contrives as follows:–
setting forth from Arabia he conveys his father, they say, to the
temple of the Sun (Helios) plastered up in myrrh, and buries him in
the temple of the Sun; and he conveys him thus:–he forms first an egg
of myrrh as large as he is able to carry, and then he makes trial of
carrying it, and when he has made trial sufficiently, then he hollows
out the egg and places his father within it and plasters over with
other myrrh that part of the egg where he hollowed it out to put his
father in, and when his father is laid in it, it proves (they say) to
be of the same weight as it was; and after he has plastered it up, he
conveys the whole to Egypt to the temple of the Sun. Thus they say
that this bird does.

74. There are also about Thebes sacred serpents, not at all harmful to
men, which are small in size and have two horns growing from the top
of the head: these they bury when they die in the temple of Zeus, for
to this god they say that they are sacred. 75. There is a region
moreover in Arabia, situated nearly over against the city of Buto, to
which place I came to inquire about the winged serpents: and when I
came thither I saw bones of serpents and spines in quantity so great
that it is impossible to make report of the number, and there were
heaps of spines, some heaps large and others less large and others
smaller still than these, and these heaps were many in number. This
region in which the spines are scattered upon the ground is of the
nature of an entrance from a narrow mountain pass to a great plain,
which plain adjoins the plain of Egypt; and the story goes that at the
beginning of spring winged serpents from Arabia fly towards Egypt, and
the birds called ibises meet them at the entrance to this country and
do not suffer the serpents to go by but kill them. On account of this
deed it is (say the Arabians) that the ibis has come to be greatly
honoured by the Egyptians, and the Egyptians also agree that it is for
this reason that they honour these birds. 76. The outward form of the
ibis is this:–it is a deep black all over, and has legs like those of
a crane and a very curved beak, and in size it is about equal to a
rail: this is the appearance of the black kind which fight with the
serpents, but of those which most crowd round men’s feet (for there
are two several kinds of ibises) the head is bare and also the whole
of the throat, and it is white in feathering except the head and neck
and the extremities of the wings and the rump (in all these parts of
which I have spoken it is a deep black), while in legs and in the form
of the head it resembles the other. As for the serpent its form is
like that of the watersnake; and it has wings not feathered but most
nearly resembling the wings of the bat. Let so much suffice as has
been said now concerning sacred animals.


77. Of the Egyptians themselves, those who dwell in the part of Egypt
which is sown for crops[67] practise memory more than any other men
and are the most learned in history by far of all those of whom I have
had experience: and their manner of life is as follows:–For three
successive days in each month they purge, hunting after health with
emetics and clysters, and they think that all the diseases which exist
are produced in men by the food on which they live; for the Egyptians
are from other causes also the most healthy of all men next after the
Libyans (in my opinion on account of the seasons, because the seasons
do not change, for by the changes of things generally, and especially
of the seasons, diseases are most apt to be produced in men), and as
to their diet, it is as follows:–they eat bread, making loaves of
maize, which they call /kyllestis/, and they use habitually a wine
made out of barley, for vines they have not in their land. Of their
fish some they dry in the sun and then eat them without cooking,
others they eat cured in brine. Of birds they eat quails and ducks and
small birds without cooking, after first curing them; and everything
else which they have belonging to the class of birds or fishes, except
such as have been set apart by them as sacred, they eat roasted or
boiled. 78. In the entertainments of the rich among them, when they
have finished eating, a man bears round a wooden figure of a dead body
in a coffin, made as like the reality as may be both by painting and
carving, and measuring about a cubit or two cubits each way;[68] and
this he shows to each of those who are drinking together, saying:
“When thou lookest upon this, drink and be merry, for thou shalt be
such as this when thou art dead.” Thus they do at their carousals. 79.
The customs which they practise are derived from their fathers and
they do not acquire others in addition; but besides other customary
things among them which are worthy of mention, they have one
song,[68a] that of Linos, the same who is sung of both in Phenicia and
in Cyprus and elsewhere, having however a name different according to
the various nations. This song agrees exactly with that which the
Hellenes sing calling on the name of Linos,[69] so that besides many
other things about which I wonder among those matters which concern
Egypt, I wonder especially about this, namely whence they got the song
of Linos.[70] It is evident however that they have sung this song from
immemorial time, and in the Egyptian tongue Linos is called Maneros.
The Egyptians told me that he was the only son of him who first became
king of Egypt, and that he died before his time and was honoured with
these lamentations by the Egyptians, and that this was their first and
only song. 80. In another respect the Egyptians are in agreement with
some of the Hellenes, namely with the Lacedemonians, but not with the
rest, that is to say, the younger of them when they meet the elder
give way and move out of the path, and when their elders approach they
rise out of their seat. In this which follows however they are not in
agreement with any of the Hellenes,–instead of addressing one another
in the roads they do reverence, lowering their hand down to their
knee. 81. They wear tunics of linen about their legs with fringes,
which they call /calasiris/; above these they have garments of white
wool thrown over: woollen garments however are not taken into the
temples, nor are they buried with them, for this is not permitted by
religion. In these points they are in agreement with the observances
called Orphic and Bacchic (which are really Egyptian),[71] and also
with those of the Pythagoreans, for one who takes part in these
mysteries is also forbidden by religious rule to be buried in woollen
garments; and about this there is a sacred story told.

82. Besides these things the Egyptians have found out also to what god
each month and each day belongs, and what fortunes a man will meet
with who is born on any particular day, and how he will die, and what
kind of a man he will be: and these inventions were taken up by those
of the Hellenes who occupied themselves about poesy. Portents too have
been found out by them more than by all other men besides; for when a
portent has happened, they observe and write down the event which
comes of it, and if ever afterwards anything resembling this happens,
they believe that the event which comes of it will be similar. 83.
Their divination is ordered thus:–the art is assigned not to any man,
but to certain of the gods, for there are in their land Oracles of
Heracles, of Apollo, of Athene, of Artemis, of Ares, and of Zeus, and
moreover that which they hold most in honour of all, namely the Oracle
of Leto which is in the city of Buto. The manner of divination however
is not yet established among them according to the same fashion
everywhere, but is different in different places. 84. The art of
medicine among them is distributed thus:–each physician is a
physician of one disease and of no more; and the whole country is full
of physicians, for some profess themselves to be physicians of the
eyes, others of the head, others of the teeth, others of the
affections of the stomach, and others of the more obscure ailments.

85. Their fashions of mourning and of burial are these:–Whenever any
household has lost a man who is of any regard amongst them, the whole
number of women of that house forthwith plaster over their heads or
even their faces with mud. Then leaving the corpse within the house
they go themselves to and fro about the city and beat themselves, with
their garments bound up by a girdle[72] and their breasts exposed, and
with them go all the women who are related to the dead man, and on the
other side the men beat themselves, they too having their garments
bound up by a girdle; and when they have done this, they then convey
the body to the embalming. 86. In this occupation certain persons
employ themselves regularly and inherit this as a craft. These,
whenever a corpse is conveyed to them, show to those who brought it
wooden models of corpses made like reality by painting, and the best
of the ways of embalming they say is that of him whose name I think it
impiety to mention when speaking of a matter of such a kind;[73] the
second which they show is less good than this and also less expensive;
and the third is the least expensive of all. Having told them about
this, they inquire of them in which way they desire the corpse of
their friend to be prepared. Then they after they have agreed for a
certain price depart out of the way, and the others being left behind
in the buildings embalm according to the best of these ways thus:–
First with a crooked iron tool they draw out the brain through the
nostrils, extracting it partly thus and partly by pouring in drugs;
and after this with a sharp stone of Ethiopia they make a cut along
the side and take out the whole contents of the belly, and when they
have cleared out the cavity and cleansed it with palm-wine they
cleanse it again with spices pounded up: then they fill the belly with
pure myrrh pounded up and with cassia and other spices except
frankincense, and sew it together again. Having so done they keep it
for embalming covered up in natron for seventy days, but for a longer
time than this it is not permitted to embalm it; and when the seventy
days are past, they wash the corpse and roll its whole body up in fine
linen[74] cut into bands, smearing these beneath with gum,[75] which
the Egyptians use generally instead of glue. Then the kinsfolk receive
it from them and have a wooden figure made in the shape of a man, and
when they have had this made they enclose the corpse, and having shut
it up within, they store it then in a sepulchral chamber, setting it
to stand upright against the wall. 87. Thus they deal with the corpses
which are prepared in the most costly way; but for those who desire
the middle way and wish to avoid great cost they prepare the corpse as
follows:–having filled their syringes with the oil which is got from
cedar-wood, with this they forthwith fill the belly of the corpse, and
this they do without having either cut it open or taken out the
bowels, but they inject the oil by the breech, and having stopped the
drench from returning back they keep it then the appointed number of
days for embalming, and on the last of the days they let the cedar oil
come out from the belly, which they before put in; and it has such
power that it brings out with it the bowels and interior organs of the
body dissolved; and the natron dissolves the flesh, so that there is
left of the corpse only the skin and the bones. When they have done
this they give back the corpse at once in that condition without
working upon it any more. 88. The third kind of embalming, by which
are prepared the bodies of those who have less means, is as follows:–
they cleanse out the belly with a purge and then keep the body for
embalming during the seventy days, and at once after that they give it
back to the bringers to carry away. 89. The wives of men of rank when
they die are not given at once to be embalmed, nor such women as are
very beautiful or of greater regard than others, but on the third or
fourth day after their death (and not before) they are delivered to
the embalmers. They do so about this matter in order that the
embalmers may not abuse their women, for they say that one of them was
taken once doing so to the corpse of a woman lately dead, and his
fellow-craftsman gave information. 90. Whenever any one, either of the
Egyptians themselves or of strangers, is found to have been carried
off by a crocodile or brought to his death by the river itself, the
people of any city by which he may have been cast up on land must
embalm him and lay him out in the fairest way they can and bury him in
a sacred burial-place, nor may any of his relations or friends besides
touch him, but the priests of the Nile themselves handle the corpse
and bury it as that of one who was something more than man.

91. Hellenic usages they will by no means follow, and to speak
generally they follow those of no other men whatever. This rule is
observed by most of the Egyptians; but there is a large city named
Chemmis in the Theban district near Neapolis, and in this city there
is a temple of Perseus the son of Danae which is of a square shape,
and round it grow date-palms: the gateway of the temple is built of
stone and of very great size, and at the entrance of it stand two
great statues of stone. Within this enclosure is a temple-house[76] and in it stands an image of Perseus. These people of Chemmis say that
Perseus is wont often to appear in their land and often within the
temple, and that a sandal which has been worn by him is found
sometimes, being in length two cubits, and whenever this appears all
Egypt prospers. This they say, and they do in honour of Perseus after
Hellenic fashion thus,–they hold an athletic contest, which includes
the whole list of games, and they offer in prizes cattle and cloaks
and skins: and when I inquired why to them alone Perseus was wont to
appear, and wherefore they were separated from all the other Egyptians
in that they held an athletic contest, they said that Perseus had been
born of their city, for Danaos and Lynkeus were men of Chemmis and had
sailed to Hellas, and from them they traced a descent and came down to
Perseus: and they told me that he had come to Egypt for the reason
which the Hellenes also say, namely to bring from Libya the Gorgon’s
head, and had then visited them also and recognised all his kinsfolk,
and they said that he had well learnt the name of Chemmis before he
came to Egypt, since he had heard it from his mother, and that they
celebrated an athletic contest for him by his own command.

92. All these are customs practised by the Egyptians who dwell above
the fens: and those who are settled in the fen-land have the same
customs for the most part as the other Egyptians, both in other
matters and also in that they live each with one wife only, as do the
Hellenes; but for economy in respect of food they have invented these
things besides:–when the river has become full and the plains have
been flooded, there grow in the water great numbers of lilies, which
the Egyptians call /lotos/; these they cut with a sickle and dry in
the sun, and then they pound that which grows in the middle of the
lotos and which is like the head of a poppy, and they make of it
loaves baked with fire. The root also of this lotos is edible and has
a rather sweet taste:[77] it is round in shape and about the size of
an apple. There are other lilies too, in flower resembling roses,
which also grow in the river, and from them the fruit is produced in a
separate vessel springing from the root by the side of the plant
itself, and very nearly resembles a wasp’s comb: in this there grow
edible seeds in great numbers of the size of an olive-stone, and they
are eaten either fresh[78] or dried. Besides this they pull up from
the fens the papyrus which grows every year, and the upper parts of it
they cut off and turn to other uses, but that which is left below for
about a cubit in length they eat or sell: and those who desire to have
the papyrus at its very best bake it in an oven heated red-hot, and
then eat it. Some too of these people live on fish alone, which they
dry in the sun after having caught them and taken out the entrails,
and then when they are dry, they use them for food.

93. Fish which swim in shoals are not much produced in the rivers, but
are bred in the lakes, and they do as follows:–When there comes upon
them the desire to breed, they swim out in shoals towards the sea; and
the males lead the way shedding forth their milt as they go, while the
females, coming after and swallowing it up, from it become
impregnated: and when they have become full of young in the sea they
swim up back again, each shoal to its own haunts. The same however no
longer lead the way as before, but the lead comes now to the females,
and they leading the way in shoals do just as the males did, that is
to say they shed forth their eggs by a few grains at a time,[79] and
the males coming after swallow them up. Now these grains are fish, and
from the grains which survive and are not swallowed, the fish grow
which afterwards are bred up. Now those of the fish which are caught
as they swim out to sea are found to be rubbed on the left side of the
head, but those which are caught as they swim up again are rubbed on
the right side. This happens to them because as they swim down to the
sea they keep close to the land on the left side of the river, and
again as they swim up they keep to the same side, approaching and
touching the bank as much as they can, for fear doubtless of straying
from their course by reason of the stream. When the Nile begins to
swell, the hollow places of the land and the depressions by the side
of the river first begin to fill, as the water soaks through from the
river, and so soon as they become full of water, at once they are all
filled with little fishes; and whence these are in all likelihood
produced, I think that I perceive. In the preceding year, when the
Nile goes down, the fish first lay eggs in the mud and then retire
with the last of the retreating waters; and when the time comes round
again, and the water once more comes over the land, from these eggs
forthwith are produced the fishes of which I speak.

94. Thus it is as regards the fish. And for anointing those of the
Egyptians who dwell in the fens use oil from the castor-berry,[80] which oil the Egyptians call /kiki/, and thus they do:–they sow along
the banks of the rivers and pools these plants, which in a wild form
grow of themselves in the land of the Hellenes; these are sown in
Egypt and produce berries in great quantity but of an evil smell; and
when they have gathered these, some cut them up and press the oil from
them, others again roast them first and then boil them down and
collect that which runs away from them. The oil is fat and not less
suitable for burning than olive-oil, but it gives forth a disagreeable
smell. 95. Against the gnats, which are very abundant, they have
contrived as follows:–those who dwell above the fen-land are helped
by the towers, to which they ascend when they go to rest; for the
gnats by reason of the winds are not able to fly up high: but those
who dwell in the fen-land have contrived another way instead of the
towers, and this is it:–every man of them has got a casting net, with
which by day he catches fish, but in the night he uses it for this
purpose, that is to say he puts the casting-net round about the bed in
which he sleeps, and then creeps in under it and goes to sleep: and
the gnats, if he sleeps rolled up in a garment or a linen sheet, bite
through these, but through the net they do not even attempt to bite.

96. Their boats with which they carry cargoes are made of the thorny
acacia, of which the form is very like that of the Kyrenian lotos, and
that which exudes from it is gum. From this tree they cut pieces of
wood about two cubits in length and arrange them like bricks,
fastening the boat together by running a great number of long bolts
through the two-cubit pieces; and when they have thus fastened the
boat together, they lay cross-pieces[81] over the top, using no ribs
for the sides; and within they caulk the seams with papyrus. They make
one steering-oar for it, which is passed through the bottom of the
boat; and they have a mast of acacia and sails of papyrus. These boats
cannot sail up the river unless there be a very fresh wind blowing,
but are towed from the shore: down-stream however they travel as
follows:–they have a door-shaped crate made of tamarisk wood and reed
mats sewn together, and also a stone of about two talents weight bored
with a hole; and of these the boatman lets the crate float on in front
of the boat, fastened with a rope, and the stone drag behind by
another rope. The crate then, as the force of the stream presses upon
it, goes on swiftly and draws on the /baris/ (for so these boats are
called), while the stone dragging after it behind and sunk deep in the
water keeps its course straight. These boats they have in great
numbers and some of them carry many thousands of talents’ burden.

97. When the Nile comes over the land, the cities alone are seen
rising above the water, resembling more nearly than anything else the
islands in the Egean sea; for the rest of Egypt becomes a sea and the
cities alone rise above water. Accordingly, whenever this happens,
they pass by water not now by the channels of the river but over the
midst of the plain: for example, as one sails up from Naucratis to
Memphis the passage is then close by the pyramids, whereas the usual
passage is not the same even here,[82] but goes by the point of the
Delta and the city of Kercasoros; while if you sail over the plain to
Naucratis from the sea and from Canobos, you will go by Anthylla and
the city called after Archander. 98. Of these Anthylla is a city of
note and is especially assigned to the wife of him who reigns over
Egypt, to supply her with sandals, (this is the case since the time
when Egypt came to be under the Persians): the other city seems to me
to have its name from Archander the son-in-law of Danaos, who was the
son of Phthios, the son of Achaios; for it is called the City of
Archander. There might indeed be another Archander, but in any case
the name is not Egyptian.


99. Hitherto my own observation and judgment and inquiry are the
vouchers for that which I have said; but from this point onwards I am
about to tell the history of Egypt according to that which I heard, to
which will be added also something of that which I have myself seen.

Of Min, who first became king of Egypt, the priests said that on the
one hand he banked off the site of Memphis from the river: for the
whole stream of the river used to flow along by the sandy mountain-
range on the side of Libya, but Min formed by embankments that bend of
the river which lies to the South about a hundred furlongs above
Memphis, and thus he dried up the old stream and conducted the river
so that it flowed in the middle between the mountains: and even now
this bend of the Nile is by the Persians kept under very careful
watch, that it may flow in the channel to which it is confined,[83] and the bank is repaired every year; for if the river should break
through and overflow in this direction, Memphis would be in danger of
being overwhelmed by flood. When this Min, who first became king, had
made into dry land the part which was dammed off, on the one hand, I
say, he founded in it that city which is now called Memphis; for
Memphis too is in the narrow part of Egypt;[84] and outside the city
he dug round it on the North and West a lake communicating with the
river, for the side towards the East is barred by the Nile itself.
Then secondly he established in the city the temple of Hephaistos a
great work and most worthy of mention. 100. After this man the priests
enumerated to me from a papyrus roll the names of other kings, three
hundred and thirty in number; and in all these generations of men
eighteen were Ethiopians, one was a woman, a native Egyptian, and the
rest were men and of Egyptian race: and the name of the woman who
reigned was the same as that of the Babylonian queen, namely Nitocris.
Of her they said that desiring to take vengeance for her brother, whom
the Egyptians had slain when he was their king and then, after having
slain him, had given his kingdom to her,–desiring, I say, to take
vengeance for him, she destroyed by craft many of the Egyptians. For
she caused to be constructed a very large chamber under ground, and
making as though she would handsel it but in her mind devising other
things, she invited those of the Egyptians whom she knew to have had
most part in the murder, and gave a great banquet. Then while they
were feasting, she let in the river upon them by a secret conduit of
large size. Of her they told no more than this, except that, when this
had been accomplished, she threw herself into a room full of embers,
in order that she might escape vengeance. 101. As for the other kings,
they could tell me of no great works which had been produced by them,
and they said that they had no renown[85] except only the last of
them, Moris: he (they said) produced as a memorial of himself the
gateway of the temple of Hephaistos which is turned towards the North
Wind, and dug a lake, about which I shall set forth afterwards how
many furlongs of circuit it has, and in it built pyramids of the size
which I shall mention at the same time when I speak of the lake
itself. He, they said, produced these works, but of the rest none
produced any.

102. Therefore passing these by I shall make mention of the king who
came after these, whose name was Sesostris. He (the priests said)
first of all set out with ships of war from the Arabian gulf and
subdued those who dwelt by the shores of the Erythraian Sea, until as
he sailed he came to a sea which could no further be navigated by
reason of shoals: then secondly, after he had returned to Egypt,
according to the report of the priests he took a great army[86] and
marched over the continent, subduing every nation which stood in his
way: and those of them whom he found valiant and fighting desperately
for their freedom, in their lands he set up pillars which told by
inscriptions his own name and the name of his country, and how he had
subdued them by his power; but as to those of whose cities he obtained
possession without fighting or with ease, on their pillars he
inscribed words after the same tenor as he did for the nations which
had shown themselves courageous, and in addition he drew upon them the
hidden parts of a woman, desiring to signify by this that the people
were cowards and effeminate. 103. Thus doing he traversed the
continent, until at last he passed over to Europe from Asia and
subdued the Scythians and also the Thracians. These, I am of opinion,
were the furthest[87] people to which the Egyptian army came, for in
their country the pillars are found to have been set up, but in the
land beyond this they are no longer found. From this point he turned
and began to go back; and when he came to the river Phasis, what
happened then I cannot say for certain, whether the king Sesostris
himself divided off a certain portion of his army and left the men
there as settlers in the land, or whether some of his soldiers were
wearied by his distant marches and remained by the river Phasis. 104.
For the people of Colchis are evidently Egyptian, and this I perceived
for myself before I heard it from others. So when I had come to
consider the matter I asked them both; and the Colchians had
remembrance of the Egyptians more than the Egyptians of the Colchians;
but the Egyptians said they believed that the Colchians were a portion
of the army of Sesostris. That this was so I conjectured myself not
only because they are dark-skinned and have curly hair (this of itself
amounts to nothing, for there are other races which are so), but also
still more because the Colchians, Egyptians, and Ethiopians alone of
all the races of men have practised circumcision from the first. The
Phenicians and the Syrians[88] who dwell in Palestine confess
themselves that they have learnt it from the Egyptians, and the
Syrians[89] about the river Thermodon and the river Parthenios, and
the Macronians, who are their neighbours, say that they have learnt it
lately from the Colchians. These are the only races of men who
practise circumcision, and these evidently practise it in the same
manner as the Egyptians. Of the Egyptians themselves however and the
Ethiopians, I am not able to say which learnt from the other, for
undoubtedly it is a most ancient custom; but that the other nations
learnt it by intercourse with the Egyptians, this among others is to
me a strong proof, namely that those of the Phenicians who have
intercourse with Hellas cease to follow the example of the Egyptians
in this matter, and do not circumcise their children. 105. Now let me
tell another thing about the Colchians to show how they resemble the
Egyptians:–they alone work flax in the same fashion as the
Egyptians,[90] and the two nations are like one another in their whole
manner of living and also in their language: now the linen of Colchis
is called by the Hellenes Sardonic, whereas that from Egypt is called
Egyptian. 106. The pillars which Sesostris of Egypt set up in the
various countries are for the most part no longer to be seen extant;
but in Syria Palestine I myself saw them existing with the inscription
upon them which I have mentioned and the emblem. Moreover in Ionia
there are two figures of this man carved upon rocks, one on the road
by which one goes from the land of Ephesos to Phocaia, and the other
on the road from Sardis to Smyrna. In each place there is a figure of
a man cut in the rock, of four cubits and a span in height, holding in
his right hand a spear and in his left a bow and arrows, and the other
equipment which he has is similar to this, for it is both Egyptian and
Ethiopian: and from the one shoulder to the other across the breast
runs an inscription carved in sacred Egyptian characters, saying thus,
“This land with my shoulders I won for myself.” But who he is and from
whence, he does not declare in these places, though in other places he
has declared this. Some of those who have seen these carvings
conjecture that the figure is that of Memnon, but herein they are very
far from the truth.

107. As this Egyptian Sesostris was returning and bringing back many
men of the nations whose lands he had subdued, when he came (said the
priests) to Daphnai in the district of Pelusion on his journey home,
his brother to whom Sesostris had entrusted the charge of Egypt
invited him and with him his sons to a feast; and then he piled the
house round with brushwood and set it on fire: and Sesostris when he
discovered this forthwith took counsel with his wife, for he was
bringing with him (they said) his wife also; and she counselled him to
lay out upon the pyre two of his sons, which were six in number, and
so to make a bridge over the burning mass, and that they passing over
their bodies should thus escape. This, they said, Sesostris did, and
two of his sons were burnt to death in this manner, but the rest got
away safe with their father. 108. Then Sesostris, having returned to
Egypt and having taken vengeance on his brother, employed the
multitude which he had brought in of those whose lands he had subdued,
as follows:–these were they who drew the stones which in the reign of
this king were brought to the temple of Hephaistos, being of very
great size; and also these were compelled to dig all the channels
which now are in Egypt; and thus (having no such purpose) they caused
Egypt, which before was all fit for riding and driving, to be no
longer fit for this from thenceforth: for from that time forward
Egypt, though it is plain land, has become all unfit for riding and
driving, and the cause has been these channels, which are many and run
in all directions. But the reason why the king cut up the land was
this, namely because those of the Egyptians who had their cities not
on the river but in the middle of the country, being in want of water
when the river went down from them, found their drink brackish because
they had it from wells. 109. For this reason Egypt was cut up; and
they said that this king distributed the land to all the Egyptians,
giving an equal square portion to each man, and from this he made his
revenue, having appointed them to pay a certain rent every year: and
if the river should take away anything from any man’s portion, he
would come to the king and declare that which had happened, and the
king used to send men to examine and to find out by measurement how
much less the piece of land had become, in order that for the future
the man might pay less, in proportion to the rent appointed: and I
think that thus the art of geometry was found out and afterwards came
into Hellas also. For as touching the sun-dial[91] and the gnomon[92] and the twelve divisions of the day, they were learnt by the Hellenes
from the Babylonians. 110. He moreover alone of all the Egyptian kings
had rule over Ethiopia; and he left as memorials of himself in front
of the temple of Hephaistos two stone statues of thirty cubits each,
representing himself and his wife, and others of twenty cubits each
representing his four sons: and long afterwards the priest of
Hephaistos refused to permit Dareios the Persian to set up a statue of
himself in front of them, saying that deeds had not been done by him
equal to those which were done by Sesostris the Egyptian; for
Sesostris had subdued other nations besides, not fewer than he, and
also the Scythians; but Dareios had not been able to conquer the
Scythians: wherefore it was not just that he should set up a statue in
front of those which Sesostris had dedicated, if he did not surpass
him in his deeds. Which speech, they say, Dareios took in good part.

111. Now after Sesostris had brought his life to an end, his son
Pheros, they told me, received in succession the kingdom, and he made
no warlike expedition, and moreover it chanced to him to become blind
by reason of the following accident:–when the river had come down in
flood rising to a height of eighteen cubits, higher than ever before
that time, and had gone over the fields, a wind fell upon it and the
river became agitated by waves: and this king (they say) moved by
presumptuous folly took a spear and cast it into the midst of the
eddies of the stream; and immediately upon this he had a disease of
the eyes and was by it made blind. For ten years then he was blind,
and in the eleventh year there came to him an oracle from the city of
Buto saying that the time of his punishment had expired, and that he
should see again if he washed his eyes with the water of a woman who
had accompanied with her own husband only and had not knowledge of
other men: and first he made trial of his own wife, and then, as he
continued blind, he went on to try all the women in turn; and when he
had at last regained his sight he gathered together all the women of
whom he had made trial, excepting her by whose means he had regained
his sight, to one city which now is named Erythrabolos,[93] and having
gathered them to this he consumed them all by fire, as well as the
city itself; but as for her by whose means he had regained his sight,
he had her himself to wife. Then after he had escaped the malady of
his eyes he dedicated offerings at each one of the temples which were
of renown, and especially (to mention only that which is most worthy
of mention) he dedicated at the temple of the Sun works which are
worth seeing, namely two obelisks of stone, each of a single block,
measuring in length a hundred cubits each one and in breadth eight

112. After him, they said, there succeeded to the throne a man of
Memphis, whose name in the tongue of the Hellenes was Proteus; for
whom there is now a sacred enclosure at Memphis, very fair and well
ordered, lying on that side of the temple of Hephaistos which faces
the North Wind. Round about this enclosure dwell Phenicians of Tyre,
and this whole region is called the Camp of the Tyrians.[94] Within
the enclosure of Proteus there is a temple called the temple of the
“foreign Aphrodite,” which temple I conjecture to be one of Helen the
daughter of Tyndareus, not only because I have heard the tale how
Helen dwelt with Proteus, but also especially because it is called by
the name of the “foreign Aphrodite,” for the other temples of
Aphrodite which there are have none of them the addition of the word
“foreign” to the name. 113. And the priests told me, when I inquired,
that the things concerning Helen happened thus:–Alexander having
carried off Helen was sailing away from Sparta to his own land, and
when he had come to the Egean Sea contrary winds drove him from his
course to the Sea of Egypt; and after that, since the blasts did not
cease to blow, he came to Egypt itself, and in Egypt to that which is
now named the Canobic mouth of the Nile and to Taricheiai. Now there
was upon the shore, as still there is now, a temple of Heracles, in
which if any man’s slave take refuge and have the sacred marks set
upon him, giving himself over to the god, it is not lawful to lay
hands upon him; and this custom has continued still unchanged from the
beginning down to my own time. Accordingly the attendants of
Alexander, having heard of the custom which existed about the temple,
ran away from him, and sitting down as suppliants of the god, accused
Alexander, because they desired to do him hurt, telling the whole tale
how things were about Helen and about the wrong done to Menelaos; and
this accusation they made not only to the priests but also to the
warden of this river-mouth, whose name was Thonis. 114. Thonis then
having heard their tale sent forthwith a message to Proteus at
Memphis, which said as follows: “There hath come a stranger, a
Teucrian by race, who hath done in Hellas an unholy deed; for he hath
deceived the wife of his own host, and is come hither bringing with
him this woman herself and very much wealth, having been carried out
of his way by winds to thy land.[95] Shall we then allow him to sail
out unharmed, or shall we first take away from him that which he
brought with him?” In reply to this Proteus sent back a messenger who
said thus: “Seize this man, whosoever he may be, who has done impiety
to his own host, and bring him away into my presence, that I may know
what he will find to say.” 115. Hearing this, Thonis seized Alexander
and detained his ships, and after that he brought the man himself up
to Memphis and with him Helen and the wealth he had, and also in
addition to them the suppliants. So when all had been conveyed up
thither, Proteus began to ask Alexander who he was and from whence he
was voyaging; and he both recounted to him his descent and told him
the name of his native land, and moreover related of his voyage, from
whence he was sailing. After this Proteus asked him whence he had
taken Helen; and when Alexander went astray in his account and did not
speak the truth, those who had become suppliants convicted him of
falsehood, relating in full the whole tale of the wrong done. At
length Proteus declared to them this sentence, saying, “Were it not
that I count it a matter of great moment not to slay any of those
strangers who being driven from their course by winds have come to my
land hitherto, I should have taken vengeance on thee on behalf of the
man of Hellas, seeing that thou, most base of men, having received
from him hospitality, didst work against him a most impious deed. For
thou didst go in to the wife of thine own host; and even this was not
enough for thee, but thou didst stir her up with desire and hast gone
away with her like a thief. Moreover not even this by itself was
enough for thee, but thou art come hither with plunder taken from the
house of thy host. Now therefore depart, seeing that I have counted it
of great moment not to be a slayer of strangers. This woman indeed and
the wealth which thou hast I will not allow thee to carry away, but I
shall keep them safe for the Hellene who was thy host, until he come
himself and desire to carry them off to his home; to thyself however
and thy fellow-voyagers I proclaim that ye depart from your anchoring
within three days and go from my land to some other; and if not, that
ye will be dealt with as enemies.”

116. This the priests said was the manner of Helen’s coming to
Proteus; and I suppose that Homer also had heard this story, but since
it was not so suitable to the composition of his poem as the other
which he followed, he dismissed it finally,[96] making it clear at the
same time that he was acquainted with that story also: and according
to the manner in which he described[97] the wanderings of Alexander in
the Iliad (nor did he elsewhere retract that which he had said) it is
clear that when he brought Helen he was carried out of his course,
wandering to various lands, and that he came among other places to
Sidon in Phenicia. Of this the poet has made mention in the “prowess
of Diomede,” and the verses run this:[98]

“There she had robes many-coloured, the works of women of Sidon,
Those whom her son himself the god-like of form Alexander
Carried from Sidon, what time the broad sea-path he sailed over
Bringing back Helene home, of a noble father begotten.”

And in the Odyssey also he has made mention of it in these verses:[99]

“Such had the daughter of Zeus, such drugs of exquisite cunning,
Good, which to her the wife of Thon, Polydamna, had given,
Dwelling in Egypt, the land where the bountiful meadow produces
Drugs more than all lands else, many good being mixed, many evil.”

And thus too Menelaos says to Telemachos:[100]

“Still the gods stayed me in Egypt, to come back hither desiring,
Stayed me from voyaging home, since sacrifice was due I performed not.”

In these lines he makes it clear that he knew of the wandering of
Alexander to Egypt, for Syria borders upon Egypt and the Phenicians,
of whom is Sidon, dwell in Syria. 117. By these lines and by this
passage[101] it is also most clearly shown that the “Cyprian Epic” was
not written by Homer but by some other man: for in this it is said
that on the third day after leaving Sparta Alexander came to Ilion
bringing with him Helen, having had a “gently-blowing wind and a
smooth sea,” whereas in the Iliad it says that he wandered from his
course when he brought her.

118. Let us now leave Homer and the “Cyprian” Epic; but this I will
say, namely that I asked the priests whether it is but an idle tale
which the Hellenes tell of that which they say happened about Ilion;
and they answered me thus, saying that they had their knowledge by
inquiries from Menelaos himself. After the rape of Helen there came
indeed, they said, to the Teucrian land a large army of Hellenes to
help Menelaos; and when the army had come out of the ships to land and
had pitched its camp there, they sent messengers to Ilion, with whom
went also Menelaos himself; and when these entered within the wall
they demanded back Helen and the wealth which Alexander had stolen
from Menelaos and had taken away; and moreover they demanded
satisfaction for the wrongs done: and the Teucrians told the same tale
then and afterwards, both with oath and without oath, namely that in
deed and in truth they had not Helen nor the wealth for which demand
was made, but that both were in Egypt; and that they could not justly
be compelled to give satisfaction for that which Proteus the king of
Egypt had. The Hellenes however thought that they were being mocked by
them and besieged the city, until at last they took it; and when they
had taken the wall and did not find Helen, but heard the same tale as
before, then they believed the former tale and sent Menelaos himself
to Proteus. 119. And Menelaos having come to Egypt and having sailed
up to Memphis, told the truth of these matters, and not only found
great entertainment, but also received Helen unhurt, and all his own
wealth besides. Then however, after he had been thus dealt with,
Menelaos showed himself ungrateful to the Egyptians; for when he set
forth to sail away, contrary winds detained him, and as this condition
of things lasted long, he devised an impious deed; for he took two
children of natives and made sacrifice of them. After this, when it
was known that he had done so, he became abhorred, and being pursued
he escaped and got away in his ships to Libya; but whither he went
besides after this, the Egyptians were not able to tell. Of these
things they said that they found out part by inquiries, and the rest,
namely that which happened in their own land, they related from sure
and certain knowledge.

120. Thus the priests of the Egyptians told me; and I myself also
agree with the story which was told of Helen, adding this
consideration, namely that if Helen had been in Ilion she would have
been given up to the Hellenes, whether Alexander consented or no; for
Priam assuredly was not so mad, nor yet the others of his house, that
they were desirous to run risk of ruin for themselves and their
children and their city, in order that Alexander might have Helen as
his wife: and even supposing that during the first part of the time
they had been so inclined, yet when many others of the Trojans besides
were losing their lives as often as they fought with the Hellenes, and
of the sons of Priam himself always two or three or even more were
slain when a battle took place (if one may trust at all to the Epic
poets),–when, I say, things were coming thus to pass, I consider that
even if Priam himself had had Helen as his wife, he would have given
her back to the Achaians, if at least by so doing he might be freed
from the evils which oppressed him. Nor even was the kingdom coming to
Alexander next, so that when Priam was old the government was in his
hands; but Hector, who was both older and more of a man than he, would
have received it after the death of Priam; and him it behoved not to
allow his brother to go on with his wrong-doing, considering that
great evils were coming to pass on his account both to himself
privately and in general to the other Trojans. In truth however they
lacked the power to give Helen back; and the Hellenes did not believe
them, though they spoke the truth; because, as I declare my opinion,
the divine power was purposing to cause them utterly to perish, and so
make it evident to men that for great wrongs great also are the
chastisements which come from the gods. And thus have I delivered my
opinion concerning these matters.

121. After Proteus, they told me, Rhampsinitos received in succession
the kingdom, who left as a memorial of himself that gateway to the
temple of Hephaistos which is turned towards the West, and in front of
the gateway he set up two statues, in height five-and-twenty cubits,
of which the one which stands on the North side is called by the
Egyptians Summer and the one on the South side Winter; and to that one
which they call Summer they do reverence and make offerings, while to
the other which is called Winter they do the opposite of these things.
(a) This king, they said, got great wealth of silver, which none of
the kings born after him could surpass or even come near to; and
wishing to store his wealth in safety he caused to be built a chamber
of stone, one of the walls whereof was towards the outside of his
palace: and the builder of this, having a design against it, contrived
as follows, that is, he disposed one of the stones in such a manner
that it could be taken out easily from the wall either by two men or
even by one. So when the chamber was finished, the king stored his
money in it, and after some time the builder, being near the end of
his life, called to him his sons (for he had two) and to them he
related how he had contrived in building the treasury of the king, and
all in forethought for them, that they might have ample means of
living. And when he had clearly set forth to them everything
concerning the taking out of the stone, he gave them the measurements,
saying that if they paid heed to this matter they would be stewards of
the king’s treasury. So he ended his life, and his sons made no long
delay in setting to work, but went to the palace by night, and having
found the stone in the wall of the chamber they dealt with it easily
and carried forth for themselves great quantity of the wealth within.
(b) And the king happening to open the chamber, he marvelled when he
saw the vessels falling short of the full amount, and he did not know
on whom he should lay the blame, since the seals were unbroken and the
chamber had been close shut; but when upon his opening the chamber a
second and a third time the money was each time seen to be diminished,
for the thieves did not slacken in their assaults upon it, he did as
follows:–having ordered traps to be made he set these round about the
vessels in which the money was; and when the thieves had come as at
former times and one of them had entered, then so soon as he came near
to one of the vessels he was straightway caught in the trap: and when
he perceived in what evil case he was, straightway calling his brother
he showed him what the matter was, and bade him enter as quickly as
possible and cut off his head, for fear lest being seen and known he
might bring about the destruction of his brother also. And to the
other it seemed that he spoke well, and he was persuaded and did so;
and fitting the stone into its place he departed home bearing with him
the head of his brother. (c) Now when it became day, the king entered
into the chamber and was very greatly amazed, seeing the body of the
thief held in the trap without his head, and the chamber unbroken,
with no way to come in or go out: and being at a loss he hung up the
dead body of the thief upon the wall and set guards there, with charge
if they saw any one weeping or bewailing himself to seize him and
bring him before the king. And when the dead body had been hung up,
the mother was greatly grieved, and speaking with the son who survived
she enjoined him, in whatever way he could, to contrive means by which
he might take down and bring home the body of his dead brother; and if
he should neglect to do this, she earnestly threatened that she would
go and give information to the king that he had the money. (d) So as
the mother dealt hardly with the surviving son, and he though saying
many things to her did not persuade her, he contrived for his purpose
a device as follows:–Providing himself with asses he filled some
skins with wine and laid them upon the asses, and after that he drove
them along: and when he came opposite to those who were guarding the
corpse hung up, he drew towards him two or three of the necks[102] of
the skins and loosened the cords with which they were tied. Then when
the wine was running out, he began to beat his head and cry out
loudly, as if he did not know to which of the asses he should first
turn; and when the guards saw the wine flowing out in streams, they
ran together to the road with drinking vessels in their hands and
collected the wine that was poured out, counting it so much gain; and
he abused them all violently, making as if he were angry, but when the
guards tried to appease him, after a time he feigned to be pacified
and to abate his anger, and at length he drove his asses out of the
road and began to set their loads right. Then more talk arose among
them, and one or two of them made jests at him and brought him to
laugh with them; and in the end he made them a present of one of the
skins in addition to what they had. Upon that they lay down there
without more ado, being minded to drink, and they took him into their
company and invited him to remain with them and join them in their
drinking: so he (as may be supposed) was persuaded and stayed. Then as
they in their drinking bade him welcome in a friendly manner, he made
a present to them also of another of the skins; and so at length
having drunk liberally the guards became completely intoxicated; and
being overcome by sleep they went to bed on the spot where they had
been drinking. He then, as it was now far on in the night, first took
down the body of his brother, and then in mockery shaved the right
cheeks of all the guards; and after that he put the dead body upon the
asses and drove them away home, having accomplished that which was
enjoined him by his mother. (e) Upon this the king, when it was
reported to him that the dead body of the thief had been stolen away,
displayed great anger; and desiring by all means that it should be
found out who it might be who devised these things, did this (so at
least they said, but I do not believe the account),–he caused his own
daughter to sit in the stews, and enjoined her to receive all equally,
and before having commerce with any one to compel him to tell her what
was the most cunning and what the most unholy deed which had been done
by him in all his life-time; and whosoever should relate that which
had happened about the thief, him she must seize and not let him go
out. Then as she was doing that which was enjoined by her father, the
thief, hearing for what purpose this was done and having a desire to
get the better of the king in resource, did thus:–from the body of
one lately dead he cut off the arm at the shoulder and went with it
under his mantle: and having gone in to the daughter of the king, and
being asked that which the others also were asked, he related that he
had done the most unholy deed when he cut off the head of his brother,
who had been caught in a trap in the king’s treasure-chamber, and the
most cunning deed in that he made drunk the guards and took down the
dead body of his brother hanging up; and she when she heard it tried
to take hold of him, but the thief held out to her in the darkness the
arm of the corpse, which she grasped and held, thinking that she was
holding the arm of the man himself; but the thief left it in her hands
and departed, escaping through the door. (f) Now when this also was
reported to the king, he was at first amazed at the ready invention
and daring of the fellow, and then afterwards he sent round to all the
cities and made proclamation granting a free pardon to the thief, and
also promising a great reward if he would come into his presence. The
thief accordingly trusting to the proclamation came to the king, and
Rhampsinitos greatly marvelled at him, and gave him this daughter of
his to wife, counting him to be the most knowing of all men; for as
the Egyptians were distinguished from all other men, so was he from
the other Egyptians.

122. After these things they said this king went down alive to that
place which by the Hellenes is called Hades, and there played at dice
with Demeter, and in some throws he overcame her and in others he was
overcome by her; and he came back again having as a gift from her a
handkerchief of gold: and they told me that because of the going down
of Rhampsinitos the Egyptians after he came back celebrated a feast,
which I know of my own knowledge also that they still observe even to
my time; but whether it is for this cause that they keep the feast or
for some other, I am not able to say. However, the priests weave a
robe completely on the very day of the feast, and forthwith they bind
up the eyes of one of them with a fillet, and having led him with the
robe to the way by which one goes to the temple of Demeter, they
depart back again themselves. This priest, they say, with his eyes
bound up is led by two wolves to the temple of Demeter, which is
distant from the city twenty furlongs, and then afterwards the wolves
lead him back again from the temple to the same spot. 123. Now as to
the tales told by the Egyptians, any man may accept them to whom such
things appear credible; as for me, it is to be understood throughout
the whole of the history[103] that I write by hearsay that which is
reported by the people in each place. The Egyptians say that Demeter
and Dionysos are rulers of the world below; and the Egyptians are also
the first who reported the doctrine that the soul of man is immortal,
and that when the body dies, the soul enters into another creature
which chances then to be coming to the birth, and when it has gone the
round of all the creatures of land and sea and of the air, it enters
again into a human body as it comes to the birth; and that it makes
this round in a period of three thousand years. This doctrine certain
Hellenes adopted, some earlier and some later, as if it were of their
own invention, and of these men I know the names but I abstain from
recording them.

124. Down to the time when Rhampsinitos was king, they told me there
was in Egypt nothing but orderly rule, and Egypt prospered greatly;
but after him Cheops became king over them and brought them[104] to
every kind of evil: for he shut up all the temples, and having first
kept them from sacrificing there, he then bade all the Egyptians work
for him. So some were appointed to draw stones from the stone-quarries
in the Arabian mountains to the Nile, and others he ordered to receive
the stones after they had been carried over the river in boats, and to
draw them to those which are called the Libyan mountains; and they
worked by a hundred thousand men at a time, for each three months
continually. Of this oppression there passed ten years while the
causeway was made by which they drew the stones, which causeway they
built, and it is a work not much less, as it appears to me, than the
pyramid; for the length of it is five furlongs[105] and the breadth
ten fathoms and the height, where it is highest, eight fathoms, and it
is made of stone smoothed and with figures carved upon it. For this,
they said, the ten years were spent, and for the underground chambers
on the hill upon which the pyramids stand, which he caused to be made
as sepulchral chambers for himself in an island, having conducted
thither a channel from the Nile. For the making of the pyramid itself
there passed a period of twenty years; and the pyramid is square, each
side measuring eight hundred feet, and the height of it is the same.
It is built of stone smoothed and fitted together in the most perfect
manner, not one of the stones being less than thirty feet in length.
125. This pyramid was made after the manner of steps, which some call
“rows”[106] and others “bases”:[107] and when they had first made it
thus, they raised the remaining stones with machines made of short
pieces of timber, raising them first from the ground to the first
stage of the steps, and when the stone got up to this it was placed
upon another machine standing on the first stage, and so from this it
was drawn to the second upon another machine; for as many as were the
courses of the steps, so many machines there were also, or perhaps
they transferred one and the same machine, made so as easily to be
carried, to each stage successively, in order that they might take up
the stones; for let it be told in both ways, according as it is
reported. However that may be, the highest parts of it were finished
first, and afterwards they proceeded to finish that which came next to
them, and lastly they finished the parts of it near the ground and the
lowest ranges. On the pyramid it is declared in Egyptian writing how
much was spent on radishes and onions and leeks for the workmen, and
if I rightly remember that which the interpreter said in reading to me
this inscription, a sum of one thousand six hundred talents of silver
was spent; and if this is so, how much besides is likely to have been
expended upon the iron with which they worked, and upon bread and
clothing for the workmen, seeing that they were building the works for
the time which has been mentioned and were occupied for no small time
besides, as I suppose, in the cutting and bringing of the stones and
in working at the excavation under the ground? 126. Cheops moreover
came, they said, to such a pitch of wickedness, that being in want of
money he caused his own daughter to sit in the stews, and ordered her
to obtain from those who came a certain amount of money (how much it
was they did not tell me); but she not only obtained the sum appointed
by her father, but also she formed a design for herself privately to
leave behind her a memorial, and she requested each man who came in to
her to give her one stone upon her building: and of these stones, they
told me, the pyramid was built which stands in front of the great
pyramid in the middle of the three,[108] each side being one hundred
and fifty feet in length.

127. This Cheops, the Egyptians said, reigned fifty years; and after
he was dead his brother Chephren succeeded to the kingdom. This king
followed the same manner as the other, both in all the rest and also
in that he made a pyramid, not indeed attaining to the measurements of
that which was built by the former (this I know, having myself also
measured it), and moreover[109] there are no underground chambers
beneath nor does a channel come from the Nile flowing to this one as
to the other, in which the water coming through a conduit built for it
flows round an island within, where they say that Cheops himself is
laid: but for a basement he built the first course of Ethiopian stone
of divers colours; and this pyramid he made forty feet lower than the
other as regards size,[110] building it close to the great pyramid.
These stand both upon the same hill, which is about a hundred feet
high. And Chephren they said reigned fifty and six years. 128. Here
then they reckon one hundred and six years, during which they say that
there was nothing but evil for the Egyptians, and the temples were
kept closed and not opened during all that time. These kings the
Egyptians by reason of their hatred of them are not very willing to
name; nay, they even call the pyramids after the name of Philitis[111] the shepherd, who at that time pastured flocks in those regions. 129.
After him, they said, Mykerinos became king over Egypt, who was the
son of Cheops; and to him his father’s deeds were displeasing, and he
both opened the temples and gave liberty to the people, who were
ground down to the last extremity of evil, to return to their own
business and to their sacrifices;: also he gave decisions of their
causes juster than those of all the other kings besides. In regard to
this then they commend this king more than all the other kings who had
arisen in Egypt before him; for he not only gave good decisions, but
also when a man complained of the decision, he gave him recompense
from his own goods and thus satisfied his desire. But while Mykerinos
was acting mercifully to his subjects and practising this conduct
which has been said, calamities befell him, of which the first was
this, namely that his daughter died, the only child whom he had in his
house: and being above measure grieved by that which had befallen him,
and desiring to bury his daughter in a manner more remarkable than
others, he made a cow of wood, which he covered over with gold, and
then within it he buried this daughter who, as I said, had died. 130.
This cow was not covered up in the ground, but it might be seen even
down to my own time in the city of Saïs, placed within the royal
palace in a chamber which was greatly adorned; and they offer incense
of all kinds before it every day, and each night a lamp burns beside
it all through the night. Near this cow in another chamber stand
images of the concubines of Mykerinos, as the priests at Saïs told me;
for there are in fact colossal wooden statues, in number about twenty,
made with naked bodies; but who they are I am not able to say, except
only that which is reported. 131. Some however tell about this cow and
the colossal statues the following tale, namely that Mykerinos was
enamoured of his own daughter and afterwards ravished her; and upon
this they say that the girl strangled herself for grief, and he buried
her in this cow; and her mother cut off the hands of the maids who had
betrayed the daughter to her father; wherefore now the images of them
have suffered that which the maids suffered in their life. In thus
saying they speak idly, as it seems to me, especially in what they say
about the hands of the statues; for as to this, even we ourselves saw
that their hands had dropped off from lapse of time, and they were to
be seen still lying at their feet even down to my time. 132. The cow
is covered up with a crimson robe, except only the head and the neck,
which are seen, overlaid with gold very thickly; and between the horns
there is the disc of the sun figured in gold. The cow is not standing
up but kneeling, and in size it is equal to a large living cow. Every
year it is carried forth from the chamber, at those times, I say, the
Egyptians beat themselves for that god whom I will not name upon
occasion of such a matter; at these times, I say, they also carry
forth the cow to the light of day, for they say that she asked of her
father Mykerinos, when she was dying, that she might look upon the sun
once in the year.

133. After the misfortune of his daughter it happened, they said,
secondly to this king as follows:–An oracle came to him from the city
of Buto, saying that he was destined to live but six years more, in
the seventh year to end his life: and he being indignant at it sent to
the Oracle a reproach against the god,[112] making complaint in reply
that whereas his father and uncle, who had shut up the temples and had
not only not remembered the gods, but also had been destroyers of men,
had lived for a long time, he himself, who practised piety, was
destined to end his life so soon: and from the Oracle there came a
second message, which said that it was for this very cause that he was
bringing his life to a swift close;[113] for he had not done that
which it was appointed for him to do, since it was destined that Egypt
should suffer evils for a hundred and fifty years, and the two kings
who had risen before him had perceived this, but he had not. Mykerinos
having heard this, and considering that this sentence had been passed
upon him beyond recall, procured many lamps, and whenever night came
on he lighted these and began to drink and take his pleasure, ceasing
neither by day nor by night; and he went about to the fen-country and
to the woods and wherever he heard there were the most suitable places
for enjoyment. This he devised (having a mind to prove that the Oracle
spoke falsely) in order that he might have twelve years of life
instead of six, the nights being turned into days.

134. This king also left behind him a pyramid, much smaller than that
of his father, of a square shape and measuring on each side three
hundred feet lacking twenty, built moreover of Ethiopian stone up to
half the height. This pyramid some of the Hellenes say was built by
the courtesan Rhodopis, not therein speaking rightly: and besides this
it is evident to me that they who speak thus do not even know who
Rhodopis was, for otherwise they would not have attributed to her the
building of a pyramid like this, on which have been spent (so to
speak) innumerable thousands of talents: moreover they do not know
that Rhodopis flourished in the reign of Amasis, and not in this
king’s reign; for Rhodopis lived very many years later than the kings
who left behind the pyramids. By descent she was of Thrace, and she
was a slave of Iadmon the son of Hephaistopolis a Samian, and a
fellow-slave of Esop the maker of fables; for he too was once the
slave of Iadmon, as was proved especially in this fact, namely that
when the people of Delphi repeatedly made proclamation in accordance
with an oracle, to find some one who would take up[114] the blood-
money for the death of Esop, no one else appeared, but at length the
grandson of Iadmon, called Iadmon also, took it up; and thus it is
shown that Esop too was the slave of Iadmon. 135. As for Rhodopis, she
came to Egypt brought by Xanthes the Samian, and having come thither
to exercise her calling she was redeemed from slavery for a great sum
by a man of Mytilene, Charaxos son of Scamandronymos and brother of
Sappho the lyric poet. Thus was Rhodopis set free, and she remained in
Egypt and by her beauty won so much liking that she made great gain of
money for one like Rhodopis,[115] though not enough to suffice for the
cost of such a pyramid as this. In truth there is no need to ascribe
to her very great riches, considering that the tithe of her wealth may
still be seen even to this time by any one who desires it: for
Rhodopis wished to leave behind her a memorial of herself in Hellas,
namely to cause a thing to be made such as happens not to have been
thought of or dedicated in a temple by any besides, and to dedicate
this at Delphi as a memorial of herself. Accordingly with the tithe of
her wealth she caused to be made spits of iron of size large enough to
pierce a whole ox, and many in number, going as far therein as her
tithe allowed her, and she sent them to Delphi: these are even at the
present time lying there, heaped all together behind the altar which
the Chians dedicated, and just opposite to the cell of the
temple.[116] Now at Naucratis, as it happens, the courtesans are
rather apt to win credit;[117] for this woman first, about whom the
story to which I refer is told, became so famous that all the Hellenes
without exception come to know the name of Rhodopis, and then after
her one whose name was Archidiche became a subject of song over all
Hellas, though she was less talked of than the other. As for Charaxos,
when after redeeming Rhodopis he returned back to Mytilene, Sappho in
an ode violently abused him.[118] Of Rhodopis then I shall say no

136. After Mykerinos the priests said Asychis became king of Egypt,
and he made for Hephaistos the temple gateway[119] which is towards
the sunrising, by far the most beautiful and the largest of the
gateways; for while they all have figures carved upon them and
innumerable ornaments of building[120] besides, this has them very
much more than the rest. In this king’s reign they told me that, as
the circulation of money was very slow, a law was made for the
Egyptians that a man might have that money lent to him which he
needed, by offering as security the dead body of his father; and there
was added moreover to this law another, namely that he who lent the
money should have a claim also to the whole sepulchral chamber
belonging to him who received it, and that the man who offered that
security should be subject to this penalty, if he refused to pay back
the debt, namely that neither the man himself should be allowed to
have burial when he died, either in that family burial-place or in any
other, nor should he be allowed to bury any one of his kinsmen whom he
lost by death. This king desiring to surpass the kings of Egypt who
had arisen before him left as a memorial of himself a pyramid which he
made of bricks, and on it there is an inscription carved in stone and
saying thus: “Despise not me in comparison with the pyramids of stone,
seeing that I excel them as much as Zeus excels the other gods; for
with a pole they struck into the lake, and whatever of the mud
attached itself to the pole, this they gathered up and made bricks,
and in such manner they finished me.”

Such were the deeds which this king performed; 137, and after him
reigned a blind man of the city of Anysis, whose name was Anysis. In
his reign the Ethiopians and Sabacos the king of the Ethiopians
marched upon Egypt with a great host of men; so this blind man
departed, flying to the fen-country, and the Ethiopian was king over
Egypt for fifty years, during which he performed deeds as follows:–
whenever any man of the Egyptians committed any transgression, he
would never put him to death, but he gave sentence upon each man
according to the greatness of the wrong-doing, appointing them work at
throwing up an embankment before that city from whence each man came
of those who committed wrong. Thus the cities were made higher still
than before; for they were embanked first by those who dug the
channels in the reign of Sesostris, and then secondly in the reign of
the Ethiopian, and thus they were made very high: and while other
cities in Egypt also stood[121] high, I think in the town at Bubastis
especially the earth was piled up. In this city there is a temple very
well worthy of mention, for though there are other temples which are
larger and built with more cost, none more than this is a pleasure to
the eyes. Now Bubastis in the Hellenic tongue is Artemis, 138, and her
temple is ordered thus:–Except the entrance it is completely
surrounded by water; for channels come in from the Nile, not joining
one another, but each extending as far as the entrance of the temple,
one flowing round on the one side and the other on the other side,
each a hundred feet broad and shaded over with trees; and the gateway
has a height of ten fathoms, and it is adorned with figures six cubits
high, very noteworthy. This temple is in the middle of the city and is
looked down upon from all sides as one goes round, for since the city
has been banked up to a height, while the temple has not been moved
from the place where it was at the first built, it is possible to look
down into it: and round it runs a stone wall with figures carved upon
it, while within it there is a grove of very large trees planted round
a large temple-house, within which is the image of the goddess: and
the breadth and length of the temple is a furlong every way. Opposite
the entrance there is a road paved with stone for about three
furlongs, which leads through the market-place towards the East, with
a breadth of about four hundred feet; and on this side and on that
grow trees of height reaching to heaven: and the road leads to the
temple of Hermes. This temple then is thus ordered.

139. The final deliverance from the Ethiopian came about (they said)
as follows:–he fled away because he had seen in his sleep a vision,
in which it seemed to him that a man came and stood by him and
counselled him to gather together all the priests of Egypt and cut
them asunder in the midst. Having seen this dream, he said that it
seemed to him that the gods were foreshowing him this to furnish an
occasion against him,[122] in order that he might do an impious deed
with respect to religion, and so receive some evil either from the
gods or from men: he would not however do so, but in truth (he said)
the time had expired, during which it had been prophesied to him that
he should rule Egypt before he departed thence. For when he was in
Ethiopia the Oracles which the Ethiopians consult had told him that it
was fated for him to rule Egypt fifty years: since then this time was
now expiring, and the vision of the dream also disturbed him, Sabacos
departed out of Egypt of his own free will.

140. Then when the Ethiopian had gone away out of Egypt, the blind man
came back from the fen-country and began to rule again, having lived
there during fifty years upon an island which he had made by heaping
up ashes and earth: for whenever any of the Egyptians visited him
bringing food, according as it had been appointed to them severally to
do without the knowledge of the Ethiopian, he bade them bring also
some ashes for their gift.[123] This island none was able to find
before Amyrtaios; that is, for more than seven hundred years[124] the
kings who arose before Amyrtaios were not able to find it. Now the
name of this island is Elbo, and its size is ten furlongs each way.

141. After him there came to the throne the priest of Hephaistos,
whose name was Sethos. This man, they said, neglected and held in no
regard the warrior class of the Egyptians, considering that he would
have no need of them; and besides other slights which he put upon
them, he also took from them the yokes of corn-land[125] which had
been given to them as a special gift in the reigns of the former
kings, twelve yokes to each man. After this, Sanacharib king of the
Arabians and of the Assyrians marched a great host against Egypt. Then
the warriors of the Egyptians refused to come to the rescue, and the
priest, being driven into a strait, entered into the sanctuary of the
temple[126] and bewailed to the image of the god the danger which was
impending over him; and as he was thus lamenting, sleep came upon him,
and it seemed to him in his vision that the god came and stood by him
and encouraged him, saying that he should suffer no evil if he went
forth to meet the army of the Arabians; for he himself would send him
helpers. Trusting in these things seen in sleep, he took with him,
they said, those of the Egyptians who were willing to follow him, and
encamped in Pelusion, for by this way the invasion came: and not one
of the warrior class followed him, but shop-keepers and artisans and
men of the market. Then after they came, there swarmed by night upon
their enemies mice of the fields, and ate up their quivers and their
bows, and moreover the handles of their shields, so that on the next
day they fled, and being without defence of arms great numbers fell.
And at the present time this king stands in the temple of Hephaistos
in stone, holding upon his hand a mouse, and by letters inscribed he
says these words: “Let him who looks upon me learn to fear the gods.”

142. So far in the story the Egyptians and the priests were they who
made the report, declaring that from the first king down to this
priest of Hephaistos who reigned last, there had been three hundred
and forty-one generations of men, and that in them there had been the
same number of chief-priests and of kings: but three hundred
generations of men are equal to ten thousand years, for a hundred
years is three generations of men; and in the one-and-forty
generations which remain, those I mean which were added to the three
hundred, there are one thousand three hundred and forty years. Thus in
the period of eleven thousand three hundred and forty years they said
that there had arisen no god in human form; nor even before that time
or afterwards among the remaining kings who arose in Egypt, did they
report that anything of that kind had come to pass. In this time they
said that the sun had moved four times from his accustomed place of
rising, and where he now sets he had thence twice had his rising, and
in the place from whence he now rises he had twice had his
setting;[127] and in the meantime nothing in Egypt had been changed
from its usual state, neither that which comes from the earth nor that
which comes to them from the river nor that which concerns diseases or
deaths. 143. And formerly when Hecataios the historian was in Thebes,
and had traced his descent and connected his family with a god in the
sixteenth generation before, the priests of Zeus did for him much the
same as they did for me (though I had not traced my descent). They led
me into the sanctuary of the temple, which is of great size, and they
counted up the number, showing colossal wooden statues in number the
same as they said; for each chief-priest there sets up in his lifetime
an image of himself: accordingly the priests, counting and showing me
these, declared to me that each one of them was a son succeeding his
own father, and they went up through the series of images from the
image of the one who had died last, until they had declared this of
the whole number. And when Hecataios had traced his descent and
connected his family with a god in the sixteenth generation, they
traced a descent in opposition to this, besides their numbering, not
accepting it from him that a man had been born from a god; and they
traced their counter-descent thus, saying that each one of the statues
had been /piromis/ son of /piromis/, until they had declared this of
the whole three hundred and forty-five statues, each one being
surnamed /piromis/; and neither with a god nor a hero did they connect
their descent. Now /piromis/ means in the tongue of Hellas “honourable
and good man.” 144. From their declaration then it followed, that they
of whom the images were had been of form like this, and far removed
from being gods: but in the time before these men they said that gods
were the rulers in Egypt, not mingling[128] with men, and that of
these always one had power at a time; and the last of them who was
king over Egypt was Oros the son of Osiris, whom the Hellenes call
Apollo: he was king over Egypt last, having deposed Typhon. Now Osiris
in the tongue of Hellas is Dionysos.

145. Among the Hellenes Heracles and Dionysos and Pan are accounted
the latest-born of the gods; but with the Egyptians Pan is a very
ancient god, and he is one of those which are called the eight gods,
while Heracles is of the second rank, who are called the twelve gods,
and Dionysos is of the third rank, namely of those who were born of
the twelve gods. Now as to Heracles I have shown already how many
years old he is according to the Egyptians themselves, reckoning down
to the reign of Amasis, and Pan is said to have existed for yet more
years than these, and Dionysos for the smallest number of years as
compared with the others; and even for this last they reckon down to
the reign of Amasis fifteen thousand years. This the Egyptians say
that they know for a certainty, since they always kept a reckoning and
wrote down the years as they came. Now the Dionysos who is said to
have been born of Semele the daughter of Cadmos, was born about
sixteen hundred years before my time, and Heracles who was the son of
Alcmene, about nine hundred years, and that Pan who was born of
Penelope, for of her and of Hermes Pan is said by the Hellenes to have
been born, came into being later than the wars of Troy, about eight
hundred years before my time. 146. Of these two accounts every man may
adopt that one which he shall find the more credible when he hears it.
I however, for my part, have already declared my opinion about
them.[129] For if these also, like Heracles the son of Amphitryon, had
appeared before all men’s eyes and had lived their lives to old age in
Hellas, I mean Dionysos the son of Semele and Pan the son of Penelope,
then one would have said that these also[130] had been born mere men,
having the names of those gods who had come into being long before:
but as it is, with regard to Dionysos the Hellenes say that as soon as
he was born Zeus sewed him up in his thigh and carried him to Nysa,
which is above Egypt in the land of Ethiopia; and as to Pan, they
cannot say whither he went after he was born. Hence it has become
clear to me that the Hellenes learnt the names of these gods later
than those of the other gods, and trace their descent as if their
birth occurred at the time when they first learnt their names.

Thus far then the history is told by the Egyptians themselves; 147,
but I will now recount that which other nations also tell, and the
Egyptians in agreement with the others, of that which happened in this
land: and there will be added to this also something of that which I
have myself seen.

Being set free after the reign of the priest of Hephaistos, the
Egyptians, since they could not live any time without a king, set up
over them twelve kings, having divided all Egypt into twelve parts.
These made intermarriages with one another and reigned, making
agreement that they would not put down one another by force, nor seek
to get an advantage over one another, but would live in perfect
friendship: and the reason why they made these agreements, guarding
them very strongly from violation, was this, namely that an oracle had
been given to them at first when they began to exercise their rule,
that he of them who should pour a libation with a bronze cup in the
temple of Hephaistos, should be king of all Egypt (for they used to
assemble together in all the temples). 148. Moreover they resolved to
join all together and leave a memorial of themselves; and having so
resolved they caused to be made a labyrinth, situated a little above
the lake of Moiris and nearly opposite to that which is called the
City of Crocodiles. This I saw myself, and I found it greater than
words can say. For if one should put together and reckon up all the
buildings and all the great works produced by the Hellenes, they would
prove to be inferior in labour and expense to this labyrinth, though
it is true that both the temple at Ephesos and that at Samos are works
worthy of note. The pyramids also were greater than words can say, and
each one of them is equal to many works of the Hellenes, great as they
may be; but the labyrinth surpasses even the pyramids. It has twelve
courts covered in, with gates facing one another, six upon the North
side and six upon the South, joining on one to another, and the same
wall surrounds them all outside; and there are in it two kinds of
chambers, the one kind below the ground and the other above upon
these, three thousand in number, of each kind fifteen hundred. The
upper set of chambers we ourselves saw, going through them, and we
tell of them having looked upon them with our own eyes; but the
chambers under ground we heard about only; for the Egyptians who had
charge of them were not willing on any account to show them, saying
that here were the sepulchres of the kings who had first built this
labyrinth and of the sacred crocodiles. Accordingly we speak of the
chambers below by what we received from hearsay, while those above we
saw ourselves and found them to be works of more than human greatness.
For the passages through the chambers, and the goings this way and
that way through the courts, which were admirably adorned, afforded
endless matter for marvel, as we went through from a court to the
chambers beyond it, and from the chambers to colonnades, and from the
colonnades to other rooms, and then from the chambers again to other
courts. Over the whole of these is a roof made of stone like the
walls; and the walls are covered with figures carved upon them, each
court being surrounded with pillars of white stone fitted together
most perfectly; and at the end of the labyrinth, by the corner of it,
there is a pyramid of forty fathoms, upon which large figures are
carved, and to this there is a way made under ground.

149. Such is this labyrinth; but a cause for marvel even greater than
this is afforded by the lake, which is called the lake of Moiris,
along the side of which this labyrinth is built. The measure of its
circuit is three thousand six hundred furlongs[131] (being sixty
/schoines/), and this is the same number of furlongs as the extent of
Egypt itself along the sea. The lake lies extended lengthwise from
North to South, and in depth where it is deepest it is fifty fathoms.
That this lake is artificial and formed by digging is self-evident,
for about in the middle of the lake stand two pyramids, each rising
above the water to a height of fifty fathoms, the part which is built
below the water being of just the same height; and upon each is placed
a colossal statue of stone sitting upon a chair. Thus the pyramids are
a hundred fathoms high; and these hundred fathoms are equal to a
furlong of six hundred feet, the fathom being measured as six feet or
four cubits, the feet being four palms each, and the cubits six. The
water in the lake does not come from the place where it is, for the
country there is very deficient in water, but it has been brought
thither from the Nile by a canal: and for six months the water flows
into the lake, and for six months out into the Nile again; and
whenever it flows out, then for the six months it brings into the
royal treasury a talent of silver a day from the fish which are
caught, and twenty pounds[132] when the water comes in. 150. The
natives of the place moreover said that this lake had an outlet under
ground to the Syrtis which is in Libya, turning towards the interior
of the continent upon the Western side and running along by the
mountain which is above Memphis. Now since I did not see anywhere
existing the earth dug out of this excavation (for that was a matter
which drew my attention), I asked those who dwelt nearest to the lake
where the earth was which had been dug out. These told me to what
place it had been carried away; and I readily believed them, for I
knew by report that a similar thing had been done at Nineveh, the city
of the Assyrians. There certain thieves formed a design once to carry
away the wealth of Sardanapallos son of Ninos, the king, which wealth
was very great and was kept in treasure-houses under the earth.
Accordingly they began from their own dwelling, and making estimate of
their direction they dug under ground towards the king’s palace; and
the earth which was brought out of the excavation they used to carry
away, when night came on, to the river Tigris which flows by the city
of Nineveh, until at last they accomplished that which they desired.
Similarly, as I heard, the digging of the lake in Egypt was effected,
except that it was done not by night but during the day; for as they
dug the Egyptians carried to the Nile the earth which was dug out; and
the river, when it received it, would naturally bear it away and
disperse it. Thus is this lake said to have been dug out.

151. Now the twelve kings continued to rule justly, but in course of
time it happened thus:–After sacrifice in the temple of Hephaistos
they were about to make libation on the last day of the feast, and the
chief-priest, in bringing out for them the golden cups with which they
had been wont to pour libations, missed his reckoning and brought
eleven only for the twelve kings. Then that one of them who was
standing last in order, namely Psammetichos, since he had no cup took
off from his head his helmet, which was of bronze, and having held it
out to receive the wine he proceeded to make libation: likewise all
the other kings were wont to wear helmets and they happened to have
them then. Now Psammetichos held out his helmet with no treacherous
meaning; but they taking note of that which had been done by
Psammetichos and of the oracle, namely how it had been declared to
them that whosoever of them should make libation with a bronze cup
should be sole king of Egypt, recollecting, I say, the saying of the
Oracle, they did not indeed deem it right to slay Psammetichos, since
they found by examination that he had not done it with any
forethought, but they determined to strip him of almost all his power
and to drive him away into the fen-country, and that from the fen-
country he should not hold any dealings with the rest of Egypt. 152.
This Psammetichos had formerly been a fugitive from the Ethiopian
Sabacos who had killed his father Necos, from him, I say, he had then
been a fugitive in Syria; and when the Ethiopian had departed in
consequence of the vision of the dream, the Egyptians who were of the
district of Saïs brought him back to his own country. Then afterwards,
when he was king, it was his fate to be a fugitive a second time on
account of the helmet, being driven by the eleven kings into the fen-
country. So then holding that he had been grievously wronged by them,
he thought how he might take vengeance on those who had driven him
out: and when he had sent to the Oracle of Leto in the city of Buto,
where the Egyptians have their most truthful Oracle, there was given
to him the reply that vengeance would come when men of bronze appeared
from the sea. And he was strongly disposed not to believe that bronze
men would come to help him; but after no long time had passed, certain
Ionians and Carians who had sailed forth for plunder were compelled to
come to shore in Egypt, and they having landed and being clad in
bronze armour, one of the Egyptians, not having before seen men clad
in bronze armour, came to the fen-land and brought a report to
Psammetichos that bronze men had come from the sea and were plundering
the plain. So he, perceiving that the saying of the Oracle was coming
to pass, dealt in a friendly manner with the Ionians and Carians, and
with large promises he persuaded them to take his part. Then when he
had persuaded them, with the help of those Egyptians who favoured his
cause and of these foreign mercenaries he overthrew the kings. 153.
Having thus got power over all Egypt, Psammetichos made for Hephaistos
that gateway of the temple at Memphis which is turned towards the
South Wind; and he built a court for Apis, in which Apis is kept when
he appears, opposite to the gateway of the temple, surrounded all with
pillars and covered with figures; and instead of columns there stand
to support the roof of the court colossal statues twelve cubits high.
Now Apis is in the tongue of the Hellenes Epaphos. 154. To the Ionians
and to the Carians who had helped him Psammetichos granted portions of
land to dwell in, opposite to one another with the river Nile between,
and these were called “Encampments”:[133] these portions of land he
gave them, and he paid them besides all that he had promised: moreover
he placed with them Egyptian boys to have them taught the Hellenic
tongue; and from these, who learnt the language thoroughly, are
descended the present class of interpreters in Egypt. Now the Ionians
and Carians occupied these portions of land for a long time, and they
are towards the sea a little below the city of Bubastis, on that which
is called the Pelusian mouth of the Nile. These men king Amasis
afterwards removed from thence and established them at Memphis, making
them into a guard for himself against the Egyptians: and they being
settled in Egypt, we who are Hellenes know by intercourse with them
the certainty of all that which happened in Egypt beginning from king
Psammetichos and afterwards; for these were the first men of foreign
tongue who settled in Egypt: and in the land from which they were
removed there still remained down to my time the sheds where their
ships were drawn up and the ruins of their houses.

Thus then Psammetichos obtained Egypt: 155, and of the Oracle which is
in Egypt I have made mention often before this, and now I will give an
account of it, seeing that it is worthy to be described. This Oracle
which is in Egypt is sacred to Leto, and it is established in a great
city near that mouth of the Nile which is called Sebennytic, as one
sails up the river from the sea; and the name of this city where the
Oracle is found is Buto, as I have said before in mentioning it. In
this Buto there is a temple of Apollo and Artemis; and the temple-
house[134] of Leto, in which the Oracle is, is both great in itself
and has a gateway of the height of ten fathoms: but that which caused
me most to marvel of the things to be seen there, I will now tell.
There is in this sacred enclosure a house[134] of Leto made of one
single stone as regards both height and length, and of which all the
walls are in these two directions equal, each being forty cubits; and
for the covering in of the roof there lies another stone upon the top,
the cornice measuring four cubits.[135] 156. This house[134] then of
all the things that were to be seen by me in that temple is the most
marvellous, and among those which come next is the island called
Chemmis. This is situated in a deep and broad lake by the side of the
temple at Buto, and it is said by the Egyptians that this island is a
floating island. I myself did not see it either floating about or
moved from its place, and I feel surprise at hearing of it, wondering
if it be indeed a floating island. In this island of which I speak
there is a great temple-house[134] of Apollo, and three several altars
are set up within, and there are planted in the island many palm-trees
and other trees, both bearing fruit and not bearing fruit. And the
Egyptians, when they say that it is floating, add this story, namely
that in this island, which formerly was not floating, Leto, being one
of the eight gods who came into existence first, and dwelling in the
city of Buto where she has this Oracle, received Apollo from Isis as a
charge and preserved him, concealing him in the island which is said
now to be a floating island, at that time when Typhon came after him
seeking everywhere and desiring to find the son of Osiris. Now they
say that Apollo and Artemis are children of Dionysos and of Isis, and
that Leto became their nurse and preserver; and in the Egyptian tongue
Apollo is Oros, Demeter is Isis, and Artemis is Bubastis. From this
story and from no other Æschylus the son of Euphorion took[136] this
which I shall say, wherein he differs from all the preceding poets; he
represented namely that Artemis was the daughter of Demeter. For this
reason then, they say, it became a floating island.

Such is the story which they tell; 157, but as for Psammetichos, he
was king over Egypt for four-and-fifty years, of which for thirty
years save one he was sitting before Azotos, a great city of Syria,
besieging it, until at last he took it: and this Azotos of all cities
about which we have knowledge held out for the longest time under a

158. The son of Psammetichos was Necos, and he became king of Egypt.
This man was the first who attempted the channel leading to the
Erythraian Sea, which Dareios the Persian afterwards completed: the
length of this is a voyage of four days, and in breadth it was so dug
that two triremes could go side by side driven by oars; and the water
is brought into it from the Nile. The channel is conducted a little
above the city of Bubastis by Patumos the Arabian city, and runs into
the Erythraian Sea: and it is dug first along those parts of the plain
of Egypt which lie towards Arabia, just above which run the mountains
which extend opposite Memphis, where are the stone-quarries,–along
the base of these mountains the channel is conducted from West to East
for a great way; and after that it is directed towards a break in the
hills and tends from these mountains towards the noon-day and the
South Wind to the Arabian gulf. Now in the place where the journey is
least and shortest from the Northern to the Southern Sea (which is
also called Erythraian), that is from Mount Casion, which is the
boundary between Egypt and Syria, the distance is exactly[137] a
thousand furlongs to the Arabian gulf; but the channel is much longer,
since it is more winding; and in the reign of Necos there perished
while digging it twelve myriads[137a] of the Egyptians. Now Necos
ceased in the midst of his digging, because the utterance of an Oracle
impeded him, which was to the effect that he was working for the
Barbarian: and the Egyptians call all men Barbarians who do not agree
with them in speech. 159. Thus having ceased from the work of the
channel, Necos betook himself to waging wars, and triremes were built
by him, some for the Northern Sea and others in the Arabian gulf for
the Erythraian Sea; and of these the sheds are still to be seen. These
ships he used when he needed them; and also on land Necos engaged
battle at Magdolos with the Syrians, and conquered them; and after
this he took Cadytis, which is a great city of Syria: and the dress
which he wore when he made these conquests he dedicated to Apollo,
sending it to Branchidai of the Milesians. After this, having reigned
in all sixteen years, he brought his life to an end, and handed on the
kingdom to Psammis his son.

160. While this Psammis was king of Egypt, there came to him men sent
by the Eleians, who boasted that they ordered the contest at Olympia
in the most just and honourable manner possible and thought that not
even the Egyptians, the wisest of men, could find out anything
besides, to be added to their rules. Now when the Eleians came to
Egypt and said that for which they had come, then this king called
together those of the Egyptians who were reputed the wisest, and when
the Egyptians had come together they heard the Eleians tell of all
that which it was their part to do in regard to the contest; and when
they had related everything, they said that they had come to learn in
addition anything which the Egyptians might be able to find out
besides, which was juster than this. They then having consulted
together asked the Eleians whether their own citizens took part in the
contest; and they said that it was permitted to any one who desired
it, both of their own people and of the other Hellenes equally, to
take part in the contest: upon which the Egyptians said that in so
ordering the games they had wholly missed the mark of justice; for it
could not be but that they would take part with the man of their own
State, if he was contending, and so act unfairly to the stranger: but
if they really desired, as they said, to order the games justly, and
if this was the cause for which they had come to Egypt, they advised
them to order the contest so as to be for strangers alone to contend
in, and that no Eleian should be permitted to contend. Such was the
suggestion made by the Egyptians to the Eleians.

161. When Psammis had been king of Egypt for only six years and had
made an expedition to Ethiopia and immediately afterwards had ended
his life, Apries the son of Psammis received the kingdom in
succession. This man came to be the most prosperous of all the kings
up to that time except only his forefather Psammetichos; and he
reigned five-and-twenty years, during which he led an army against
Sidon and fought a sea-fight with the king of Tyre. Since however it
was fated that evil should come upon him, it came by occasion of a
matter which I shall relate at greater length in the Libyan
history,[138] and at present but shortly. Apries having sent a great
expedition against the Kyrenians, met with correspondingly great
disaster; and the Egyptians considering him to blame for this revolted
from him, supposing that Apries had with forethought sent them out to
evident calamity, in order (as they said) that there might be a
slaughter of them, and he might the more securely rule over the other
Egyptians. Being indignant at this, both these men who had returned
from the expedition and also the friends of those who had perished
made revolt openly. 162. Hearing this Apries sent to them Amasis, to
cause them to cease by persuasion; and when he had come and was
seeking to restrain the Egyptians, as he was speaking and telling them
not to do so, one of the Egyptians stood up behind him and put a
helmet[139] upon his head, saying as he did so that he put it on to
crown him king. And to him this that was done was in some degree not
unwelcome, as he proved by his behaviour; for as soon as the revolted
Egyptians had set him up as king, he prepared to march against Apries:
and Apries hearing this sent to Amasis one of the Egyptians who were
about his own person, a man of reputation, whose name was Patarbemis,
enjoining him to bring Amasis alive into his presence. When this
Patarbemis came and summoned Amasis, the latter, who happened to be
sitting on horseback, lifted up his leg and behaved in an unseemly
manner,[140] bidding him take that back to Apries. Nevertheless, they
say, Patarbemis made demand of him that he should go to the king,
seeing that the king had sent to summon him; and he answered him that
he had for some time past been preparing to do so, and that Apries
would have no occasion to find fault with him. Then Patarbemis both
perceiving his intention from that which he said, and also seeing his
preparations, departed in haste, desiring to make known as quickly as
possible to the king the things which were being done: and when he
came back to Apries not bringing Amasis, the king paying no regard to
that which he said,[141] but being moved by violent anger, ordered his
ears and his nose to be cut off. And the rest of the Egyptians who
still remained on his side, when they saw the man of most repute among
them thus suffering shameful outrage, waited no longer but joined the
others in revolt, and delivered themselves over to Amasis. 163. Then
Apries having heard this also, armed his foreign mercenaries and
marched against the Egyptians: now he had about him Carian and Ionian
mercenaries to the number of thirty thousand; and his royal palace was
in the city of Saïs, of great size and worthy to be seen. So Apries
and his army were going against the Egyptians, and Amasis and those
with him were going against the mercenaries; and both sides came to
the city of Momemphis and were about to make trial of one another in

164. Now of the Egyptians there are seven classes, and of these one
class is called that of the priests, and another that of the warriors,
while the others are the cowherds, swineherds, shopkeepers,
interpreters, and boatmen. This is the number of the classes of the
Egyptians, and their names are given them from the occupations which
they follow. Of them the warriors are called Calasirians and
Hermotybians, and they are of the following districts,[142]–for all
Egypt is divided into districts. 165. The districts of the
Hermotybians are those of Busiris, Saïs, Chemmis, Papremis, the island
called Prosopitis, and the half of Natho,–of these districts are the
Hermotybians, who reached when most numerous the number of sixteen
myriads.[142a] Of these not one has learnt anything of handicraft, but
they are given up to war entirely. 166. Again the districts of the
Calasirians are those of Thebes, Bubastis, Aphthis, Tanis, Mendes,
Sebennytos, Athribis, Pharbaithos, Thmuïs Onuphis, Anytis, Myecphoris,
–this last is on an island opposite to the city of Bubastis. These
are the districts of the Calasirians; and they reached, when most
numerous, to the number of five-and-twenty myriads[142b] of men; nor
is it lawful for these, any more than for the others, to practise any
craft; but they practise that which has to do with war only, handing
down the tradition from father to son. 167. Now whether the Hellenes
have learnt this also from the Egyptians, I am not able to say for
certain, since I see that the Thracians also and Scythians and
Persians and Lydians and almost all the Barbarians esteem those of
their citizens who learn the arts, and the descendants of them, as
less honourable than the rest; while those who have got free from all
practice of manual arts are accounted noble, and especially those who
are devoted to war: however that may be, the Hellenes have all learnt
this, and especially the Lacedemonians; but the Corinthians least of
all cast slight upon those who practise handicrafts.

168. The following privilege was specially granted to this class and
to none others of the Egyptians except the priests, that is to say,
each man had twelve yokes[143] of land specially granted to him free
from imposts: now the yoke of land measures a hundred Egyptian cubits
every way, and the Egyptian cubit is, as it happens, equal to that of
Samos. This, I say, was a special privilege granted to all, and they
also had certain advantages in turn and not the same men twice; that
is to say, a thousand of the Calasirians and a thousand of the
Hermotybians acted as body-guard to the king during each year;[144] and these had besides their yokes of land an allowance given them for
each day of five pounds weight[144a] of bread to each man, and two
pounds of beef, and four half-pints[145] of wine. This was the
allowance given to those who were serving as the king’s bodyguard for
the time being.

169. So when Apries leading his foreign mercenaries, and Amasis at the
head of the whole body of the Egyptians, in their approach to one
another had come to the city of Momemphis, they engaged battle: and
although the foreign troops fought well, yet being much inferior in
number they were worsted by reason of this. But Apries is said to have
supposed that not even a god would be able to cause him to cease from
his rule, so firmly did he think that it was established. In that
battle then, I say, he was worsted, and being taken alive was brought
away to the city of Saïs, to that which had formerly been his own
dwelling but from thenceforth was the palace of Amasis. There for some
time he was kept in the palace, and Amasis dealt well with him; but at
last, since the Egyptians blamed him, saying that he acted not rightly
in keeping alive him who was the greatest foe both to themselves and
to him, therefore he delivered Apries over to the Egyptians; and they
strangled him, and after that buried him in the burial-place of his
fathers: this is in the temple of Athene, close to the sanctuary, on
the left hand as you enter. Now the men of Saïs buried all those of
this district who had been kings, within the temple; for the tomb of
Amasis also, though it is further from the sanctuary than that of
Apries and his forefathers, yet this too is within the court of the
temple, and it consists of a colonnade of stone of great size, with
pillars carved to imitate date-palms, and otherwise sumptuously
adorned; and within the colonnade are double-doors, and inside the
doors a sepulchral chamber. 170. Also at Saïs there is the burial-
place of him whom I account it not pious to name in connexion with
such a matter, which is in the temple of Athene behind the house of
the goddess,[146] stretching along the whole wall of it; and in the
sacred enclosure stand great obelisks of stone, and near them is a
lake adorned with an edging of stone and fairly made in a circle,
being in size, as it seemed to me, equal to that which is called the
“Round Pool”[147] in Delos. 171. On this lake they perform by night
the show of his sufferings, and this the Egyptians call Mysteries. Of
these things I know more fully in detail how they take place, but I
shall leave this unspoken; and of the mystic rites of Demeter, which
the Hellenes call /thesmophoria/, of these also, although I know, I
shall leave unspoken all except so much as piety permits me to tell.
The daughters of Danaos were they who brought this rite out of Egypt
and taught it to the women of the Pelasgians; then afterwards when all
the inhabitants of Peloponnese were driven out by the Dorians, the
rite was lost, and only those who were left behind of the
Peloponnesians and not driven out, that is to say the Arcadians,
preserved it.

172. Apries having thus been overthrown, Amasis became king, being of
the district of Saïs, and the name of the city whence he was is Siuph.
Now at the first the Egyptians despised Amasis and held him in no
great regard, because he had been a man of the people and was of no
distinguished family; but afterwards Amasis won them over to himself
by wisdom and not wilfulness. Among innumerable other things of price
which he had, there was a foot-basin of gold in which both Amasis
himself and all his guests were wont always to wash their feet. This
he broke up, and of it he caused to be made the image of a god, and
set it up in the city, where it was most convenient; and the Egyptians
went continually to visit the image and did great reverence to it.
Then Amasis, having learnt that which was done by the men of the city,
called together the Egyptians and made known to them the matter,
saying that the image had been produced from the foot-basin, into
which formerly the Egyptians used to vomit and make water, and in
which they washed their feet, whereas now they did to it great
reverence; and just so, he continued, had he himself now fared, as the
foot-basin; for though formerly he was a man of the people, yet now he
was their king, and he bade them accordingly honour him and have
regard for him. 173. In such manner he won the Egyptians to himself,
so that they consented to be his subjects; and his ordering of affairs
was thus:–In the early morning, and until the time of the filling of
the market he did with a good will the business which was brought
before him; but after this he passed the time in drinking and in
jesting at his boon-companions, and was frivolous and playful. And his
friends being troubled at it admonished him in some such words as
these: “O king, thou dost not rightly govern thyself in thus letting
thyself descend to behaviour so trifling; for thou oughtest rather to
have been sitting throughout the day stately upon a stately throne and
administering thy business; and so the Egyptians would have been
assured that they were ruled by a great man, and thou wouldest have
had a better report: but as it is, thou art acting by no means in a
kingly fashion.” And he answered them thus: “They who have bows
stretch them at such time as they wish to use them, and when they have
finished using them they loose them again;[148] for if they were
stretched tight always they would break, so that the men would not be
able to use them when they needed them. So also is the state of man:
if he should always be in earnest and not relax himself for sport at
the due time, he would either go mad or be struck with stupor before
he was aware; and knowing this well, I distribute a portion of the
time to each of the two ways of living.” Thus he replied to his
friends. 174. It is said however that Amasis, even when he was in a
private station, was a lover of drinking and of jesting, and not at
all seriously disposed; and whenever his means of livelihood failed
him through his drinking and luxurious living, he would go about and
steal; and they from whom he stole would charge him with having their
property, and when he denied it would bring him before the judgment of
an Oracle, whenever there was one in their place; and many times he
was convicted by the Oracles and many times he was absolved: and then
when finally he became king he did as follows:–as many of the gods as
had absolved him and pronounced him not to be a thief, to their
temples he paid no regard, nor gave anything for the further adornment
of them, nor even visited them to offer sacrifice, considering them to
be worth nothing and to possess lying Oracles; but as many as had
convicted him of being a thief, to these he paid very great regard,
considering them to be truly gods, and to present Oracles which did
not lie. 175. First in Saïs he built and completed for Athene a
temple-gateway which is a great marvel, and he far surpassed herein
all who had done the like before, both in regard to height and
greatness, so large are the stones and of such quality. Then secondly
he dedicated great colossal statues and man-headed sphinxes very
large, and for restoration he brought other stones of monstrous size.
Some of these he caused to be brought from the stone-quarries which
are opposite Memphis, others of very great size from the city of
Elephantine, distant a voyage of not less than twenty days from Saïs:
and of them all I marvel most at this, namely a monolith chamber which
he brought from the city of Elephantine; and they were three years
engaged in bringing this, and two thousand men were appointed to
convey it, who all were of the class of boatmen. Of this house the
length outside is one-and-twenty cubits, the breadth is fourteen
cubits, and the height eight. These are the measures of the monolith
house outside; but the length inside is eighteen cubits and five-
sixths of a cubit,[149] the breadth twelve cubits, and the height five
cubits. This lies by the side of the entrance to the temple; for
within the temple they did not draw it, because, as it said, while the
house was being drawn along, the chief artificer of it groaned aloud,
seeing that much time had been spent and he was wearied by the work;
and Amasis took it to heart as a warning and did not allow them to
draw it further onwards. Some say on the other hand that a man was
killed by it, of those who were heaving it with levers, and that it
was not drawn in for that reason. 176. Amasis also dedicated in all
the other temples which were of repute, works which are worth seeing
for their size, and among them also at Memphis the colossal statue
which lies on its back in front of the temple of Hephaistos, whose
length is five-and-seventy feet; and on the same base made of the same
stone[150] are set two colossal statues, each of twenty feet in
length, one on this side and the other on that side of the large
statue.[151] There is also another of stone of the same size in Saïs,
lying in the same manner as that at Memphis. Moreover Amasis was he
who built and finished for Isis her temple at Memphis, which is of
great size and very worthy to be seen.

177. In the reign of Amasis it is said that Egypt became more
prosperous than at any other time before, both in regard to that which
comes to the land from the river and in regard to that which comes
from the land to its inhabitants, and that at this time the inhabited
towns in it numbered in all twenty thousand. It was Amasis too who
established the law that every year each one of the Egyptians should
declare to the ruler of his district, from what source he got his
livelihood, and if any man did not do this or did not make declaration
of an honest way of living, he should be punished with death. Now
Solon the Athenian received from Egypt this law and had it enacted for
the Athenians, and they have continued to observe it, since it is a
law with which none can find fault.

178. Moreover Amasis became a lover of the Hellenes; and besides other
proofs of friendship which he gave to several among them, he also
granted the city of Naucratis for those of them who came to Egypt to
dwell in; and to those who did not desire to stay, but who made
voyages thither, he granted portions of land to set up altars and make
sacred enclosures for their gods. Their greatest enclosure and that
one which has most name and is most frequented is called the
Hellenion, and this was established by the following cities in common:
–of the Ionians Chios, Teos, Phocaia, Clazomenai, of the Dorians
Rhodes, Cnidos, Halicarnassos, Phaselis, and of the Aiolians Mytilene
alone. To these belongs this enclosure and these are the cities which
appoint superintendents of the port; and all other cities which claim
a share in it, are making a claim without any right.[152] Besides this
the Eginetans established on their own account a sacred enclosure
dedicated to Zeus, the Samians one to Hera, and the Milesians one to
Apollo. 179. Now in old times Naucratis alone was an open trading-
place, and no other place in Egypt: and if any one came to any other
of the Nile mouths, he was compelled to swear that he came not thither
of his own will, and when he had thus sworn his innocence he had to
sail with his ship to the Canobic mouth, or if it were not possible to
sail by reason of contrary winds, then he had to carry his cargo round
the head of the Delta in boats to Naucratis: thus highly was Naucratis
privileged. 180. Moreover when the Amphictyons had let out the
contract for building the temple which now exists at Delphi, agreeing
to pay a sum of three hundred talents, (for the temple which formerly
stood there had been burnt down of itself), it fell to the share of
the people of Delphi to provide the fourth part of the payment; and
accordingly the Delphians went about to various cities and collected
contributions. And when they did this they got from Egypt as much as
from any place, for Amasis gave them a thousand talents’ weight of
alum, while the Hellenes who dwelt in Egypt gave them twenty pounds of

181. Also with the people of Kyrene Amasis made an agreement for
friendship and alliance; and he resolved too to marry a wife from
thence, whether because he desired to have a wife of Hellenic race, or
apart from that, on account of friendship for the people of Kyrene:
however that may be, he married, some say the daughter of Battos,
others of Arkesilaos,[154] and others of Critobulos, a man of repute
among the citizens; and her name was Ladike. Now whenever Amasis lay
with her he found himself unable to have intercourse, but with his
other wives he associated as he was wont; and as this happened
repeatedly, Amasis said to his wife, whose name was Ladike: “Woman,
thou hast given me drugs, and thou shalt surely perish[155] more
miserably than any other woman.” Then Ladike, when by her denials
Amasis was not at all appeased in his anger against her, made a vow in
her soul to Aphrodite, that if Amasis on that night had intercourse
with her (seeing that this was the remedy for her danger), she would
send an image to be dedicated to her at Kyrene; and after the vow
immediately Amasis had intercourse, and from thenceforth whenever
Amasis came in to her he had intercourse with her; and after this he
became very greatly attached to her. And Ladike paid the vow that she
had made to the goddess; for she had an image made and sent it to
Kyrene, and it was still preserved even to my own time, standing with
its face turned away from the city of the Kyrenians. This Ladike
Cambyses, having conquered Egypt and heard from her who she was, sent
back unharmed to Kyrene.

182. Amasis also dedicated offerings in Hellas, first at Kyrene an
image of Athene covered over with gold and a figure of himself made
like by painting; then in the temple of Athene at Lindson two images
of stone and a corslet of linen worthy to be seen; and also at Samos
two wooden figures of himself dedicated to Hera, which were standing
even to my own time in the great temple, behind the doors. Now at
Samos he dedicated offerings because of the guest-friendship between
himself and Polycrates the son of Aiakes; at Lindos for no guest-
friendship but because the temple of Athene at Lindos is said to have
been founded by the daughters of Danaos, who had touched land there at
the time when they were fleeing from the sons of Aigyptos. These
offerings were dedicated by Amasis; and he was the first of men who
conquered Cyprus and subdued it so that it paid him tribute.


[1] Some write “Psammitichos” with less authority.

[2] {tou en Memphi}: many Editors read {en Memphi}, “I heard at
Memphis from the priests of Hephaistos,” but with less authority.

[3] {‘Eliou polin} or {‘Elioupolin}, cp. {‘Elioupolitai} below.

[4] {exo e ta ounamata auton mounon}. Some understand “them” to mean
“the gods”; rather perhaps the meaning is that accounts of such
things will not be related in full, but only touched upon.

[5] {ison peri auton epistasthai}.

[6] {anthropon}, emphatic, for the rulers before him were gods (ch.

[7] {Mina}: others read {Mena}, but the authority of the MSS. is
strong for {Mina} both here and in ch. 99.

[8] {tou Thebaikou nomou}, cp. ch. 164.

[9] {tautes on apo}: some MSS. omit {apo}, “this then is the land for
which the sixty /schoines/ are reckoned.”

[10] For the measures of length cp. ch. 149. The furlong ({stadion})
is equal to 100 fathoms ({orguiai}), i.e. 606 feet 9 inches.

[11] Or “without rain”: the word {anudros} is altered by some Editors
to {enudros} or {euudros}, “well watered.”

[12] I have followed Stein in taking {es ta eiretai} with {legon},
meaning “at the Erythraian Sea,” {taute men} being a repetition of
{te men} above. The bend back would make the range double, and
hence partly its great breadth. Others translate, “Here (at the
quarries) the range stops, and bends round to the parts mentioned
(i.e. the Erythraian Sea).”

[13] {os einai Aiguptou}: cp. iv. 81. Others translate, “considering
that it belongs to Egypt” (a country so vast), i.e. “as measures
go in Egypt.” In any case {Aiguptos eousa} just below seems to
repeat the same meaning.

[14] Some Editors alter this to “fourteen.”

[15] {pentastomou}: some less good MSS. have {eptastomou}, “which has
seven mouths.”

[16] See note on i. 203.

[17] {ton erkhomai lexon}: these words are by many Editors marked as
spurious, and they certainly seem to be out of place here.

[18] {kou ge de}: “where then would not a gulf be filled up?”

[19] {katarregnumenen}: some Editors read {katerregmenen} (“broken up
by cracks”) from {katerregnumenen}, which is given by many MSS.

[19a] Or possibly “with rock below,” in which case perhaps
{upopsammoteren} would mean “rather sandy underneath.”

[20] We do not know whether these measurements are in the larger
Egyptian cubit of 21 inches or the smaller (equal to the ordinary
Hellenic cubit) of 18½ inches, cp. i. 178.

[21] {kai to omoion apodido es auxesin}, “and to yield the like return
as regards increased extent.” (Mr. Woods); but the clause may be
only a repetition of the preceding one.

[22] i.e. Zeus.

[23] i.e. of the district of Thebes, the Thebaïs.

[24] {te Libue}.

[25] The meaning seems to be this: “The Ionians say that Egypt is the
Delta, and at the same time they divide the world into three
parts, Europe, Asia, and Libya, the last two being divided from
one another by the Nile. Thus they have left out Egypt altogether;
and either they must add the Delta as a fourth part of the world,
or they must give up the Nile as a boundary. If the name Egypt be
extended, as it is by the other Hellenes, to the upper course of
the Nile, it is then possible to retain the Nile as a boundary,
saying that half of Egypt belongs to Asia and half to Libya, and
disregarding the Delta (ch. 17). This also would be an error of
reckoning, but less serious than to omit Egypt together.” The
reasoning is obscure because it alludes to theories (of Hecataios
and other writers) which are presumed to be already known to the

[26] {Katadoupon}, i.e. the first cataract.

[27] “and it gives us here, etc.” ({parekhomenos}).

[28] {logo de eipein thoumasiotere}. Or perhaps, “and it is more
marvellous, so to speak.”

[29] {ton ta polla esti andri ke k.t.l.} I take {ton} to refer to the
nature of the country, as mentioned above; but the use of {os} can
hardly be paralleled, and the passage probably requires
correction. Some Editors read {ton tekmeria polla esti k.t.l.}
“wherein there are many evidences to prove, etc.” Stein omits
{ton} and alters the punctuation, so that the clauses run thus,
“when it flows from the hottest parts to those which for the most
part are cooler? For a man who is capable of reasoning about such
matters the first and greatest evidence to prove that it is not
likely to flow from snow, is afforded by the winds, etc.”

[30] {ouk ekhei elegkhon}, “cannot be refuted” (because we cannot
argue with him), cp. Thuc. iii. 53, {ta de pseude elegkhon ekhei}.
Some translate, “does not prove his case.”

[31] {tes arkhaies diexodou}, “his original (normal) course.”

[32] {ouk eonton anemon psukhron}: the best MSS. read {kai anemon
psukhron} (“and there are cold winds”), which Stein retains,
explaining that the cold North winds would assist evaporation.

[33] {autos eoutou peei pollo upodeesteros e tou thereos}.

[34] {diakaion ten diexodon auto}, i.e. {to reri}. Some Editors read
{autou} (with inferior MSS.) or alter the word to {eoutou}.

[35] “set forth, so far as I understood.”

[36] {epi makrotaton}, “carrying the inquiry as far as possible,” cp.
ch. 34.

[37] I have little doubt that this means the island of Elephantine;
for at this point only would such a mixture of races be found. To
this the writer here goes back parenthetically, and then resumes
the account of the journey upwards from Tachompso. This view is
confirmed by the fact that Strabo relates the same thing with
regard to the island of Philai just above Elephantine.

[37a] Cp. i. 72, note 86.

[38] {oleureon}.

[39] {zeias}.

[40] i.e. the hieratic and the demotic characters.

[41] {murias, os eipein logo}.

[42] Referring apparently to iii. 28, where the marks of Apis are
given. Perhaps no animal could be sacrificed which had any of
these marks.

[43] {kephale keine}, “that head,” cp. {koilien keinen} in the next

[44] {katharon}.

[45] {baris}, cp. ch. 96.

[46] Or, “descended from Aigyptos.”

[46a] Or, “assuming that in those days as now, they were wont to make
voyages, and that some of the Hellenes were seafaring folk.”

[47] {stelai}, “upright blocks.”

[48] {lampontos tas nuktas megathos}: some Editors alter {megathos} to
{megalos} or {mega phos}.

[49] {enagizousi}.

[50] {uon}: some Editors read {oion} “sheep,” on the authority of one

[51] {ta ounamata}, which means here rather the forms of
personification than the actual names.

[52] {ai pramanteis}.

[53] {phegon}.

[54] {upo phego pephukuie}, i.e. the oak-tree of the legend was a real
growing tree, though the dove was symbolical.

[55] {panegurias}.

[56] {prosagogas}, with the idea of bringing offerings or introducing

[57] {epoiethesan}, “were first celebrated.”

[58] So B.R.

[59] {sumphoiteousi}.

[59a] i.e. 700,000.

[60] See ch. 40.

[61] {tesi thusiesi, en tini nukti}: some MSS. give {en te nukti}:
hence several Editors read {tes thusies en te nukti}, “on the
night of the sacrifice.”

[62] Or, “for what end this night is held solemn by lighting of lamps”
(B.R.), making {phos kai timen} one idea.

[63] {alexomenous}: this, which is adopted by most Editors, is the
reading of some less good MSS.; the rest have {alexomenoi},
“strike them and defend themselves.”

[63a] {eousa e Aiguptos k.t.l.}: the MSS. have {eousa de Aiguptos}:
Stein reads {eousa gar Aiguptos}.

[64] {theia pregmata katalambanei tous aielourous}, which may mean
only, “a marvellous thing happens to the cats.”

[65] {es ‘Ermeo polin}.

[66] {dikhelon, oplai boos}, “he is cloven-footed, and his foot is
that of an ox.” The words {oplai boos} are marked as spurious by

[67] i.e. above the marshes, cp. ch. 92.

[68] {pante}, which by some is translated “taken all together,” “at
most.” Perhaps there is some corruption of text, and the writer
meant to say that it measured two cubits by one cubit.

[68a] The reading of the Medicean MS. is {en esti}, not {enesti} as
hitherto reported.

[69] Or, “calling the song Linos.”

[70] {ton Linon okothen elabon}: the MSS. have {to ounoma} after
{elabon}, but this is omitted by almost all Editors except Stein,
who justifies it by a reference to ch. 50, and understands it to
mean “the person of Linos.” No doubt the song and the person are
here spoken off indiscriminately, but this explanation would
require the reading {tou Linou}, as indeed Stein partly admits by
suggesting the alteration.

[71] The words “and Bacchic (which are really Egyptian),” are omitted
by several of the best MSS.

[72] {epezosmenai}.

[73] In connexion with death apparently, cp. ch. 132, 170. Osiris is

[74] {sindonos bussines}.

[75] {to kommi}.

[76] {nros}.

[77] Or, “a pleasant sweet taste.”

[78] {apala}, “soft.”

[79] {kat oligous ton kegkhron}.

[80] {apo ton sillikuprion tou karpou}.

[81] {zuga}, to tie the sides and serve as a partial deck.

[82] {esti de oud’ outos}: a few MSS. have {ouk} instead of {oud’},
and most Editors follow them. The meaning however seems to be that
even here the course in time of flood is different, and much more
in the lower parts.

[83] {os apergmenos ree}: the MSS. mostly have {os apergmenos reei},
in place of which I have adopted the correction of Stein. Most
other Editors read {os apergmenos peei} (following a few inferior
MSS.), “the bend of the Nile which flows thus confined.”

[84] Not therefore in the Delta, to which in ch. 15 was assigned a
later origin than this.

[85] {kat’ ouden einai lamprotetos}: Stein reads {kai} for {kat’},
thus making the whole chapter parenthetical, with {ou gar elegon}
answered by {parameipsamenos on}, a conjecture which is ingenious
but not quite convincing.

[86] {stratien pollen labon}: most of the MSS. have {ton} after
{pollen}, which perhaps indicates that some words are lost.

[87] {kai prosotata}: many MSS. have {kai ou prosotata}, which is
defended by some Editors in the sense of a comparative, “and not

[88] {Suroi} in the better MSS.; see note in i.6.

[89] {Surioi}.

[90] {kata tauta}: the better MSS. have {kai kata tauta}, which might
be taken with what follows, punctuating after {ergazontai} (as in
the Medicean MS.): “they and the Egyptians alone of all nations
work flax; and so likewise they resemble one another in their
whole manner of living.”

[91] {polon}, i.e. the concave sun-dial, in shape like the vault of

[92] The gnomon would be an upright staff or an obelisk for
observation of the length of the shadow.

[93] i.e. Red Clod.

[94] {Turion stratopedon}, i.e. “the Tyrian quarter” of the town: cp.
ch. 154.

[95] {ten sen}, or {tauten}, “this land.”

[96] {es o meteke auton}, “until at last he dismissed it”; but the
construction is very irregular, and there is probably some
corruption of text. Stein reads {ekon} by conjecture for {es o}.

[97] {delon de kata per epoiese}: a conjectural emendation of {delon
de’ kata gar epoiese}, which some editors retain, translating
thus, “and this is clear; for according to the manner in which
Homer described the wanderings of Alexander, etc., it is clear
how, etc.”

[98] Il. vi. 289. The sixth book is not ordinarily included in the
{Diomedeos aristeia}.

[99] Od. iv. 227. These references to the Odyssey are by some thought
to be interpolations, because they refer only to the visit of
Menelaos to Egypt after the fall of Troy; but Herodotus is arguing
that Homer, while rejecting the legend of Helen’s stay in Egypt
during the war, yet has traces of it left in this later visit to
Egypt of Menelaos and Helen, as well as in the visit of Paris and
Helen to Sidon.

[100] Od. iv. 351.

[101] {kai tode to khorion}: probably {to khorion} ought to be struck
out: “this also is evident.”

[102] {podeonas}, being the feet of the animals whose skins they were.

[103] Cp. vii. 152.

[104] {elasai}, which may be intransitive, “rushed into every kind of

[105] {stadioi}.

[106] {krossas}.

[107] {bomidas}.

[108] i.e. the three small pyramids just to the East of the great

[109] {oute gar k.t.l.}, “for there are no underground chambers,” etc.
Something which was in the mind of the writer has been omitted
either by himself or his copyists, “and inferior to it also in
other respects, for,” etc. unless, as Stein supposes, we have here
a later addition thrown in without regard to the connexion.

[110] {touto megathos}, “as regards attaining the same size,” but
probably the text is corrupt. Stein reads {to megathos} in his
later editions.

[111] Or, “Philition.”

[112] {to theo}, the goddess Leto, cp. i. 105.

[113] {suntakhunein auton ton bion}: some MSS. and Editors read {auto}
for {auton}, “that heaven was shortening his life.”

[114] More literally, “bidding him take up the blood-money, who
would.” The people of Delphi are said to have put Esop to death
and to have been ordered by the Oracle to make compensation.

[115] {os an einai ‘Podopin}: so the MSS. Some Editors read
{‘Podopios}, others {‘Podopi}.

[116] {antion de autout tou neou}.

[117] {epaphroditoi ginesthai}.

[118] {katekertomese min}: Athenæus says that Sappho attacked the
mistress of Charaxos; but here {min} can hardly refer to any one
but Charaxos himself, who doubtless would be included in the same

[119] {propulaia}.

[120] “innumerable sights of buildings.”

[121] {tassomenon}, “posted,” like an army; but the text is probably
unsound: so also in the next line, where the better MSS. have {men
Boubasti poli}, others {e en Boubasti polis}. Stein reads {e en
Boubasti poli}, “the earth at the city of Bubastis.” Perhaps {e en
Boubasti polis} might mean the town as opposed to the temple, as
Mr. Woods suggests.

[122] Cp. ch. 161, {egeneto apo prophasios, ton k.t.l.} Perhaps
however {prophasin} is here from {prophaino} (cp. Soph. Trach.
662), and it means merely “that the gods were foreshowing him this
in order that,” etc. So Stein.

[123] i.e. for their customary gift or tribute to him as king.

[124] The chronology is inconsistent, and some propose, without
authority, to read “three hundred years.”

[125] {tas arouras}, cp. ch. 168, where the {aroura} is defined as a
hundred Egyptian units square, about three-quarters of an acre.

[126] {es to megaron}.

[127] Not on two single occasions, but for two separate periods of
time it was stated that the sun had risen in the West and set in
the East; i.e. from East to West, then from West to East, then
again from East to West, and finally back to East again. This
seems to be the meaning attached by Herodotus to something which
he was told about astronomical cycles.

[128] {ouk eontas}: this is the reading of all the best MSS., and also
fits in best with the argument, which was that in Egypt gods were
quite distinct from men. Most Editors however read {oikeontas} on
the authority of a few MSS., “dwelling with men.” (The reading of
the Medicean MS. is {ouk eontas}, not {oukeontas} as stated by

[129] i.e. that the Hellenes borrowed these divinities from Egypt, see
ch. 43 ff. This refers to all the three gods above mentioned and
not (as Stein contended) to Pan and Dionysos only.

[130] {kai toutous allous}, i.e. as well as Heracles; but it may mean
“that these also, distinct from the gods, had been born,” etc. The
connexion seems to be this: “I expressed my opinion on all these
cases when I spoke of the case of Heracles; for though the
statement there about Heracles was in one respect inapplicable to
the rest, yet in the main conclusion that gods are not born of men
it applies to all.”

[131] {stadioi}.

[132] {mneas}, of which 60 go to the talent.

[133] Cp. ch. 112.

[134] {neos}.

[135] I understand that each wall consisted of a single stone, which
gave the dimensions each way: “as regards height and length”
therefore it was made of a single stone. That it should have been
a monolith, except the roof, is almost impossible, not only
because of the size mentioned (which in any case is suspicious),
but because no one would so hollow out a monolith that it would be
necessary afterwards to put on another stone for the roof. The
monolith chamber mentioned in ch. 175, which it took three years
to convey from Elephantine, measured only 21 cubits by 14 by 8.
The {parorophis} or “cornice” is not an “eave projecting four
cubits,” but (as the word is explained by Pollux) a cornice
between ceiling and roof, measuring in this instance four cubits
in height and formed by the thickness of the single stone: see
Letronne, Recherches pour servir, etc. p. 80 (quoted by Bähr).

[136] {erpase}, “took as plunder.”

[137] {aparti}: this word is not found in any MS. but was read here by
the Greek grammarians.

[137a] i.e. 120,000.

[138] Cp. iv. 159.

[139] {kuneen}, perhaps the royal helmet or /Pschent/, cp. ch. 151.

[140] {apemataise}, euphemism for breaking wind.

[141] {oudena logon auto donta}: many Editors change {auto} to
{eouto}, in which case it means “taking no time to consider the
matter,” as elsewhere in Herodotus; but cp. iii. 50 {istoreonti
logon audena edidou}.

[142] {nomon}, and so throughout the passage.

[142a] i.e. 160,000.

[142b] i.e. 250,000.

[143] {arourai}, cp. ch. 141.

[144] {ekaston}: if {ekastoi} be read (for which there is more MS.
authority) the meaning will be that “a thousand Calasirians and a
thousand Hermotybians acted as guards alternately, each for a
year,” the number at a time being 1000 not 2000.

[144a] {pente mneai}.

[145] {arusteres},={kotulai}.

[146] {tou neou}.

[147] {e trokhoiedes kaleomene}, “the Wheel.”

[148] The last words, “and when–again,” are not found in the best
MSS., and are omitted by Stein. However their meaning, if not
expressed, is implied.

[149] {pugonos}.

[150] {tou autou eontes lithou}: some MSS. and many Editors have
{Aithiopikou} for {tou autou}, “of Ethiopian stone.” For {eontes}
the MSS. have {eontos}, which may be right, referring to {tou
bathrou} understood, “the base being made of,” etc.

[151] {tou megalou}, a conjecture founded upon Valla’s version, which
has been confirmed by a MS. The other MSS. have {tou megarou},
which is retained by some Editors, “on each side of the

[152] “are claiming a share when no part in it belongs to them.”

[153] Or possibly of alum: but the gift seems a very small one in any
case. Some propose to read {eikosi mneas khrusou}.

[154] Or, according to a few MSS., “Battos the son of Arkesilaos.”

[155] “thou hast surely perished.”



1. Against this Amasis then Cambyses the son of Cyrus was making his
march, taking with him not only other nations of which he was ruler,
but also Hellenes, both Ionians and Aiolians:[1] and the cause of the
expedition was as follows:–Cambyses sent an envoy to Egypt and asked
Amasis to give him his daughter; and he made the request by counsel of
an Egyptian, who brought this upon Amasis[2] having a quarrel with him
for the following reason:–at the time when Cyrus sent to Amasis and
asked him for a physician of the eyes, whosoever was the best of those
in Egypt, Amasis had selected him from all the physicians in Egypt and
had torn him away from his wife and children and delivered him up to
Persia. Having, I say, this cause of quarrel, the Egyptian urged
Cambyses on by his counsel bidding him ask Amasis for his daughter, in
order that he might either be grieved if he gave her, or if he refused
to give her, might offend Cambyses. So Amasis, who was vexed by the
power of the Persians and afraid of it, knew neither how to give nor
how to refuse: for he was well assured that Cambyses did not intend to
have her as his wife but as a concubine. So making account of the
matter thus, he did as follows:–there was a daughter of Apries the
former king, very tall and comely of form and the only person left of
his house, and her name was Nitetis. This girl Amasis adorned with
raiment and with gold, and sent her away to Persia as his own
daughter: but after a time, when Cambyses saluted her calling her by
the name of her father, the girl said to him: “O king, thou dost not
perceive how thou hast been deceived by Amasis; for he adorned me with
ornaments and sent me away giving me to thee as his own daughter,
whereas in truth I am the daughter of Apries against whom Amasis rose
up with the Egyptians and murdered him, who was his lord and master.”
These words uttered and this occasion having arisen, led Cambyses the
son of Cyrus against Egypt, moved to very great anger. 2. Such is the
report made by the Persians; but as for the Egyptians they claim
Cambyses as one of themselves, saying that he was born of this very
daughter of Apries; for they say that Cyrus was he who sent to Amasis
for his daughter, and not Cambyses. In saying this however they say
not rightly; nor can they have failed to observe (for the Egyptians
fully as well as any other people are acquainted with the laws and
customs of the Persians), first that it is not customary among them
for a bastard to become king, when there is a son born of a true
marriage, and secondly that Cambyses was the son of Cassandane the
daughter of Pharnaspes, a man of the Achaimenid family, and not the
son of the Egyptian woman: but they pervert the truth of history,
claiming to be kindred with the house of Cyrus. Thus it is with these
matters; 3, and the following story is also told, which for my part I
do not believe, namely that one of the Persian women came in to the
wives of Cyrus, and when she saw standing by the side of Cassandane
children comely of form and tall, she was loud in her praises of them,
expressing great admiration; and Cassandane, who was the wife of
Cyrus, spoke as follows: “Nevertheless, though I am the mother of such
children of these, Cyrus treats me with dishonour and holds in honour
her whom he has brought in from Egypt.” Thus she spoke, they say,
being vexed by Nitetis, and upon that Cambyses the elder of her sons
said: “For this cause, mother, when I am grown to be a man, I will
make that which is above in Egypt to be below, and that which is below
above.” This he is reported to have said when he was perhaps about ten
years old, and the women were astonished by it: and he, they say, kept
it ever in mind, and so at last when he had become a man and had
obtained the royal power, he made the expedition against Egypt.

4. Another thing also contributed to this expedition, which was as
follows:–There was among the foreign mercenaries[3] of Amasis a man
who was by race of Halicarnassos, and his name was Phanes, one who was
both capable in judgment and valiant in that which pertained to war.
This Phanes, having (as we may suppose) some quarrel with Amasis, fled
away from Egypt in a ship, desiring to come to speech with Cambyses:
and as he was of no small repute among the mercenaries and was very
closely acquainted with all the affairs of Egypt, Amasis pursued him
and considered it a matter of some moment to capture him: and he
pursued by sending after him the most trusted of his eunuchs with a
trireme, who captured him in Lykia; but having captured him he did not
bring him back to Egypt, since Phanes got the better of him by
cunning; for he made his guards drunk and escaped to Persia. So when
Cambyses had made his resolve to march upon Egypt, and was in
difficulty about the march, as to how he should get safely through the
waterless region, this man came to him and besides informing of the
other matters of Amasis, he instructed him also as to the march,
advising him to send to the king of the Arabians and ask that he would
give him safety of passage through this region. 5. Now by this way
only is there a known entrance to Egypt: for from Phenicia to the
borders of the city of Cadytis belongs to the Syrians[4] who are
called of Palestine, and from Cadytis, which is a city I suppose not
much less than Sardis, from this city the trading stations on the sea-
coast as far as the city of Ienysos belong to the king of Arabia, and
then from Ienysos again the country belongs to the Syrians as far as
the Serbonian lake, along the side of which Mount Casion extends
towards the Sea. After that, from the Serbonian lake, in which the
story goes that Typhon is concealed, from this point onwards the land
is Egypt. Now the region which lies between the city of Ienysos on the
one hand and Mount Casion and the Serbonian lake on the other, which
is of no small extent but as much as a three days’ journey, is
grievously destitute of water. 6. And one thing I shall tell of, which
few of those who go in ships to Egypt have observed, and it is this:–
into Egypt from all parts of Hellas and also from Phenicia are brought
twice every year earthenware jars full of wine, and yet it may almost
be said that you cannot see there one single empty[5] wine-jar. In
what manner, then, it will be asked, are they used up? This also I
will tell. The head-man[6] of each place must collect all the
earthenware jars from his own town and convey them to Memphis, and
those at Memphis must fill them with water and convey them to these
same waterless regions of Syria: this the jars which come regularly to
Egypt and are emptied[7] there, are carried to Syria to be added to
that which has come before. [7] It was the Persians who thus prepared
this approach to Egypt, furnishing it with water in the manner which
has been said, from the time when they first took possession of Egypt:
but at the time of which I speak, seeing that water was not yet
provided, Cambyses, in accordance with what he was told by his
Halicarnassian guest, sent envoys to the Arabian king and from him
asked and obtained the safe passage, having given him pledges of
friendship and received them from him in return. 8. Now the Arabians
have respect for pledges of friendship as much as those men in all the
world who regard them most; and they give them in the following
manner:–A man different from those who desire to give the pledges to
one another, standing in the midst between the two, cuts with a sharp
stone the inner parts of the hands, along by the thumbs, of those who
are giving the pledges to one another, and then he takes a thread from
the cloak of each one and smears with the blood seven stones laid in
the midst between them; and as he does this he calls upon Dionysos and
Urania. When the man has completed these ceremonies, he who has given
the pledges commends to the care of his friends the stranger (or the
fellow-tribesman, if he is giving the pledges to one who is a member
of his tribe), and the friends think it right that they also should
have regard for the pledges given. Of gods they believe in Dionysos
and Urania alone: moreover they say that the cutting of their hair is
done after the same fashion as that of Dionysos himself; and they cut
their hair in a circle round, shaving away the hair of the temples.
Now they call Dionysos Orotalt[8] and Urania they call Alilat.

9. So then when the Arabian king had given the pledge of friendship to
the men who had come to him from Cambyses, he contrived as follows:–
he took skins of camels and filled them with water and loaded them
upon the backs of all the living camels that he had; and having so
done he drove them to the waterless region and there awaited the army
of Cambyses. This which has been related is the more credible of the
accounts given, but the less credible must also be related, since it
is a current account. There is a great river in Arabia called Corys,
and this runs out into the Sea which is called Erythraian. From this
river then it is said that the king of the Arabians, having got a
conduit pipe made by sewing together raw ox-hides and other skins, of
such a length as to reach to the waterless region, conducted the water
through these forsooth,[9] and had great cisterns dug in the waterless
region, that they might receive the water and preserve it. Now it is a
journey of twelve days from the river to this waterless region; and
moreover the story says that he conducted the water by three[10] conduit-pipes to three different parts of it.

10. Meanwhile Psammenitos the son of Amasis was encamped at the
Pelusian mouth of the Nile waiting for the coming of Cambyses: for
Cambyses did not find Amasis yet living when he marched upon Egypt,
but Amasis had died after having reigned forty and four years during
which no great misfortune had befallen him: and when he had died and
had been embalmed he was buried in the burial-place in the temple,
which he had built for himself.[11] Now when Psammenitos son of Amasis
was reigning as king, there happened to the Egyptians a prodigy, the
greatest that had ever happened: for rain fell at Thebes in Egypt,
where never before had rain fallen nor afterwards down to my time, as
the Thebans themselves say; for in the upper parts of Egypt no rain
falls at all: but at the time of which I speak rain fell at Thebes in
a drizzling shower.[12] 11. Now when the Persians had marched quite
through the waterless region and were encamped near the Egyptians with
design to engage battle, then the foreign mercenaries of the Egyptian
king, who were Hellenes and Carians, having a quarrel with Phanes
because he had brought against Egypt an army of foreign speech,
contrived against him as follows:–Phanes had children whom he had
left behind in Egypt: these they brought to their camp and into the
sight of their father, and they set up a mixing-bowl between the two
camps, and after that they brought up the children one by one and cut
their throats so that the blood ran into the bowl. Then when they had
gone through the whole number of the children, they brought and poured
into the bowl both wine and water, and not until the mercenaries had
all drunk of the blood, did they engage battle. Then after a battle
had been fought with great stubbornness, and very many had fallen of
both the armies, the Egyptians at length turned to flight.

12. I was witness moreover of a great marvel, being informed of it by
the natives of the place; for of the bones scattered about of those
who fell in this fight, each side separately, since the bones of the
Persians were lying apart on one side according as they were divided
at first, and those of the Egyptians on the other, the skulls of the
Persians are so weak that if you shall hit them only with a pebble you
will make a hole in them, while those of the Egyptians are so
exceedingly strong that you would hardly break them if you struck them
with a large stone. The cause of it, they say, was this, and I for my
part readily believe them, namely that the Egyptians beginning from
their early childhood shave their heads, and the bone is thickened by
exposure to the sun: and this is also the cause of their not becoming
bald-headed; for among the Egyptians you see fewer bald-headed men
than among any other race. This then is the reason why these have
their skulls strong; and the reason why the Persians have theirs weak
is that they keep them delicately in the shade from the first by
wearing /tiaras/, that is felt caps. So far of this: and I saw also a
similar thing to this at Papremis, in the case of those who were slain
together with Achaimenes the son of Dareios, by Inaros the Libyan.

13. The Egyptians when they turned to flight from the battle fled in
disorder: and they being shut up in Memphis, Cambyses sent a ship of
Mytilene up the river bearing a Persian herald, to summon the
Egyptians to make terms of surrender; but they, when they saw the ship
had entered into Memphis, pouring forth in a body from the
fortress[13] both destroyed the ship and also tore the men in it limb
from limb, and so bore them into the fortress. After this the
Egyptians being besieged, in course of time surrendered themselves;
and the Libyans who dwell on the borders of Egypt, being struck with
terror by that which had happened to Egypt, delivered themselves up
without resistance, and they both laid on themselves a tribute and
sent presents: likewise also those of Kyrene and Barca, being struck
with terror equally with[14] the Libyans, acted in a similar manner:
and Cambyses accepted graciously the gifts which came from the
Libyans, but as for those which came from the men of Kyrene, finding
fault with them, as I suppose, because they were too small in amount
(for the Kyrenians sent in fact five hundred pounds’ weight[15] of
silver), he took the silver by handfuls and scattered it with his own
hand among his soldiers.

14. On the tenth day after that on which he received the surrender of
the fortress of Memphis, Cambyses set the king of the Egyptians
Psammenitos, who had been king for six months, to sit in the suburb of
the city, to do him dishonour,–him I say with other Egyptians he set
there, and he proceeded to make trial of his spirit as follows:–
having arrayed his daughter in the clothing of a slave, he sent her
forth with a pitcher to fetch water, and with her he sent also other
maidens chosen from the daughters of the chief men, arrayed as was the
daughter of the king: and as the maidens were passing by their fathers
with cries and lamentation, the other men all began to cry out and
lament aloud,[16] seeing that their children had been evilly
entreated, but Psammenitos when he saw it before his eyes and
perceived it bent himself down to the earth. Then when the water-
bearers had passed by, next Cambyses sent his son with two thousand
Egyptians besides who were of the same age, with ropes bound round
their necks and bits placed in their mouths; and these were being led
away to execution to avenge the death of the Mytilenians who had been
destroyed at Memphis with their ship: for the Royal Judges[17] had
decided that for each man ten of the noblest Egyptians should lose
their lives in retaliation. He then, when he saw them passing out by
him and perceived that his son was leading the way[18] to die, did the
same as he had done with respect to his daughter, while the other
Egyptians who sat round him were lamenting and showing signs of grief.
When these also had passed by, it chanced that a man of his table
companions, advanced in years, who had been deprived of all his
possessions and had nothing except such things as a beggar possesses,
and was asking alms from the soldiers, passed by Psammenitos the son
of Amasis and the Egyptians who were sitting in the suburb of the
city: and when Psammenitos saw him he uttered a great cry of
lamentation, and he called his companion by name and beat himself upon
the head. Now there was, it seems, men set to watch him, who made
known to Cambyses all that he did on the occasion of each going forth:
and Cambyses marvelled at that which he did, and he sent a messenger
and asked him thus: “Psammenitos, thy master Cambyses asks thee for
what reason, when thou sawest thy daughter evilly entreated and thy
son going to death, thou didst not cry aloud nor lament for them,
whereas thou didst honour with these signs of grief the beggar who, as
he hears from others, is not in any way related to thee?” Thus he
asked, and the other answered as follows: “O son of Cyrus, my own
troubles were too great for me to lament them aloud, but the trouble
of my companion was such as called for tears, seeing that he has been
deprived of great wealth, and has come to beggary upon the threshold
of old age.” When this saying was reported by the messenger, it seemed
to them[19] that it was well spoken; and, as is reported by the
Egyptians, Crœsus shed tears (for he also, as fortune would have it,
had accompanied Cambyses to Egypt) and the Persians who were present
shed tears also; and there entered some pity into Cambyses himself,
and forthwith he bade them save the life of the son of Psammenitos
from among those who were being put to death, and also he bade them
raise Psammenitos himself from his place in the suburb of the city and
bring him into his own presence. 15. As for the son, those who went
for him found that he was no longer alive, but had been cut down first
of all, but Psammenitos himself they raised from his place and brought
him into the presence of Cambyses, with whom he continued to live for
the rest of his time without suffering any violence; and if he had
known how to keep himself from meddling with mischief, he would have
received Egypt so as to be ruler of it, since the Persians are wont to
honour the sons of kings, and even if the kings have revolted from
them, they give back the power into the hands of their sons. Of this,
namely that it is their established rule to act so, one may judge by
many instances besides and especially[20] by the case of Thannyras the
son of Inaros, who received back the power which his father had, and
by that of Pausiris the son of Amyrtaios, for he too received back the
power of his father: yet it is certain that no men ever up to this
time did more evil to the Persians than Inaros and Amyrtaios. As it
was, however, Psammenitos devised evil and received the due reward:
for he was found to be inciting the Egyptians to revolt; and when this
became known to Cambyses, Psammenitos drank bull’s blood and died
forthwith. Thus he came to his end.

16. From Memphis Cambyses came to the city of Saïs with the purpose of
doing that which in fact he did: for when he had entered into the
palace of Amasis, he forthwith gave command to bring the corpse of
Amasis forth out of his burial-place; and when this had been
accomplished, he gave command to scourge it and pluck out the hair and
stab it, and to do to it dishonour in every possible way besides: and
when they had done this too until they were wearied out, for the
corpse being embalmed held out against the violence and did not fall
to pieces in any part, Cambyses gave command to consume it with fire,
enjoining thereby a thing which was not permitted by religion: for the
Persians hold fire to be a god. To consume corpses with fire then is
by no means according to the custom of either people, of the Persians
for the reason which has been mentioned, since they say that it is not
right to give the dead body of a man to a god; while the Egyptians
have the belief established that fire is a living wild beast, and that
it devours everything which it catches, and when it is satiated with
the food it dies itself together with that which it devours: but it is
by no means their custom to give the corpse of a man to wild beasts,
for which reason they embalm it, that it may not be eaten by worms as
it lies in the tomb. Thus then Cambyses was enjoining them to do that
which is not permitted by the customs of either people. However, the
Egyptians say that it was not Amasis who suffered this outrage, but
another of the Egyptians who was of the same stature of body as
Amasis; and that to him the Persians did outrage, thinking that they
were doing it to Amasis: for they say that Amasis learnt from an
Oracle that which was about to happen with regard to himself after his
death; and accordingly, to avert the evil which threatened to come
upon him, he buried the dead body of this man who was scourged within
his own sepulchral chamber near the doors, and enjoined his son to lay
his own body as much as possible in the inner recess of the chamber.
These injunctions, said to have been given by Amasis with regard to
his burial and with regard to the man mentioned, were not in my
opinion really given at all, but I think that the Egyptians make
pretence of it from pride and with no good ground.

17. After this Cambyses planned three several expeditions, one against
the Carthaginians, another against the Ammonians, and a third against
the “Long-lived” Ethiopians, who dwell in that part of Libya which is
by the Southern Sea: and in forming these designs he resolved to send
his naval force against the Carthaginians, and a body chosen from his
land-army against the Ammonians; and to the Ethiopians to send spies
first, both to see whether the table of the Sun existed really, which
is said to exist among these Ethiopians, and in addition to this to
spy out all else, but pretending to be bearers of gifts for their
king. 18. Now the table of the Sun is said to be as follows:–there is
a meadow in the suburb of their city full of flesh-meat boiled of all
four-footed creatures; and in this, it is said, those of the citizens
who are in authority at the time place the flesh by night, managing
the matter carefully, and by day any man who wishes comes there and
feasts himself; and the natives (it is reported) say that the earth of
herself produces these things continually. 19. Of such nature is the
so-called table of the Sun said to be. So when Cambyses had resolved
to send the spies, forthwith he sent for those men of the
Ichthyophagoi who understood the Ethiopian tongue, to come from the
city of Elephantine: and while they were going to fetch these men, he
gave command to the fleet to sail against Carthage: but the Phenicians
said that they would not do so, for they were bound not to do so by
solemn vows, and they would not be acting piously if they made
expedition against their own sons: and as the Phenicians were not
willing, the rest were rendered unequal to the attempt. Thus then the
Carthaginians escaped being enslaved by the Persians; for Cambyses did
not think it right to apply force to compel the Phenicians, both
because they had delivered themselves over to the Persians of their
own accord and because the whole naval force was dependent upon the
Phenicians. Now the men of Cyprus also had delivered themselves over
to the Persians, and were joining in the expedition against Egypt.

20. Then as soon as the Ichthyophagoi came to Cambyses from
Elephantine, he sent them to the Ethiopians, enjoining them what they
should say and giving them gifts to bear with them, that is to say a
purple garment, and a collar of twisted gold with bracelets, and an
alabaster box of perfumed ointment, and a jar of palm-wine. Now these
Ethiopians to whom Cambyses was sending are said to be the tallest and
the most beautiful of all men; and besides other customs which they
are reported to have different from other men, there is especially
this, it is said, with regard to their regal power,–whomsoever of the
men of their nation they judge to be the tallest and to have strength
in proportion to his stature, this man they appoint to reign over
them. 21. So when the Ichthyophagoi had come to this people they
presented their gifts to the king who ruled over them, and at the same
time they said as follows: “The king of the Persians Cambyses,
desiring to become a friend and guest to thee, sent us with command to
come to speech with thee, and he gives thee for gifts these things
which he himself most delights to use.” The Ethiopian however,
perceiving that they had come as spies, spoke to them as follows:
“Neither did the king of the Persians send you bearing gifts because
he thought it a matter of great moment to become my guest-friend, nor
do ye speak true things (for ye have come as spies of my kingdom), nor
again is he a righteous man; for if he had been righteous he would not
have coveted a land other than his own, nor would he be leading away
into slavery men at whose hands he has received no wrong. Now however
give him this bow and speak to him these words: The king of the
Ethiopians gives this counsel to the king of the Persians, that when
the Persians draw their bows (of equal size to mine) as easily as I do
this, then he should march against the Long-lived Ethiopians, provided
that he be superior in numbers; but until that time he should feel
gratitude to the gods that they do not put it into the mind of the
sons of the Ethiopians to acquire another land in addition to their
own.” 22. Having thus said and having unbent the bow, he delivered it
to those who had come. Then he took the garment of purple and asked
what it was and how it had been made: and when the Ichthyophagoi had
told him the truth about the purple-fish and the dyeing of the tissue,
he said that the men were deceitful and deceitful also were their
garments. Then secondly he asked concerning the twisted gold of the
collar and the bracelets; and when the Ichthyophagoi were setting
forth to him the manner in which it was fashioned, the king broke into
a laugh and said, supposing them to be fetters, that they had stronger
fetters than those in their country. Thirdly he asked about the
perfumed ointment, and when they had told him of the manner of its
making and of the anointing with it, he said the same as he had said
before about the garment. Then when he came to the wine, and had
learned about the manner of its making, being exceedingly delighted
with the taste of the drink he asked besides what food the king ate,
and what was the longest time that a Persian man lived. They told him
that he ate bread, explaining to him first the manner of growing the
wheat, and they said that eighty years was the longest term of life
appointed for a Persian man. In answer to this the Ethiopian said that
he did not wonder that they lived but a few years, when they fed upon
dung; for indeed they would not be able to live even so many years as
this, if they did not renew their vigour with the drink, indicating to
the Ichthyophagoi the wine; for in regard to this, he said, his people
were much behind the Persians. 23. Then when the Ichthyophagoi asked
the king in return about the length of days and the manner of life of
his people, he answered that the greater number of them reached the
age of a hundred and twenty years, and some surpassed even this; and
their food was boiled flesh and their drink was milk. And when the
spies marvelled at the number of years, he conducted them to a certain
spring, in the water of which they washed and became more sleek of
skin, as if it were a spring of oil; and from it there came a scent as
it were of violets: and the water of this spring, said the spies, was
so exceedingly weak that it was not possible for anything to float
upon it, either wood or any of those things which are lighter than
wood, but they all went to the bottom. If this water which they have
be really such as it is said to be, it would doubtless be the cause
why the people are long-lived, as making use of it for all the
purposes of life. Then when they departed from this spring, he led
them to a prison-house for men, and there all were bound in fetters of
gold. Now among these Ethiopians bronze is the rarest and most
precious of all things. Then when they had seen the prison-house they
saw also the so-called table of the Sun: 24, and after this they saw
last of all their receptacles of dead bodies, which are said to be
made of crystal in the following manner:–when they have dried the
corpse, whether it be after the Egyptian fashion or in some other way,
they cover it over completely with plaster[21] and then adorn it with
painting, making the figure as far as possible like the living man.
After this they put about it a block of crystal hollowed out; for this
they dig up in great quantity and it is very easy to work: and the
dead body being in the middle of the block is visible through it, but
produces no unpleasant smell nor any other effect which is unseemly,
and it has all its parts visible like the dead body itself. For a year
then they who are most nearly related to the man keep the block in
their house, giving to the dead man the first share of everything and
offering to him sacrifices: and after this period they carry it out
and set it up round about the city.

25. After they had seen all, the spies departed to go back; and when
they reported these things, forthwith Cambyses was enraged and
proceeded to march his army against the Ethiopians, not having ordered
any provision of food nor considered with himself that he was
intending to march an army to the furthest extremities of the earth;
but as one who is mad and not in his right senses, when he heard the
report of the Ichthyophagoi he began the march, ordering those of the
Hellenes who were present to remain behind in Egypt, and taking with
him his whole land force: and when in the course of his march he had
arrived at Thebes, he divided off about fifty thousand of his army,
and these he enjoined to make slaves of the Ammonians and to set fire
to the seat of the Oracle of Zeus, but he himself with the remainder
of his army went on against the Ethiopians. But before the army had
passed over the fifth part of the way, all that they had of provisions
came to an end completely; and then after the provisions the beasts of
burden also were eaten up and came to an end. Now if Cambyses when he
perceived this had changed his plan and led his army back, he would
have been a wise man in spite of[22] his first mistake; as it was,
however, he paid no regard, but went on forward without stopping. The
soldiers accordingly, so long as they were able to get anything from
the ground, prolonged their lives by eating grass; but when they came
to the sand, some did a fearful deed, that is to say, out of each
company of ten they selected by lot one of themselves and devoured
him: and Cambyses, when he heard it, being alarmed by this eating of
one another gave up the expedition against the Ethiopians and set
forth to go back again; and he arrived at Thebes having suffered loss
of a great number of his army. Then from Thebes he came down to
Memphis and allowed the Hellenes to sail away home.

26. Thus fared the expedition against the Ethiopians: and those of the
Persians who had been sent to march against the Ammonians set forth
from Thebes and went on their way with guides; and it is known that
they arrived at the city of Oasis, which is inhabited by Samians said
to be of the Aischrionian tribe, and is distant seven days’ journey
from Thebes over sandy desert: now this place is called in the speech
of the Hellenes the “Isle of the Blessed.” It is said that the army
reached this place, but from that point onwards, except the Ammonians
themselves and those who have heard the account from them, no man is
able to say anything about them; for they neither reached the
Ammonians nor returned back. This however is added to the story by the
Ammonians themselves:–they say that as the army was going from this
Oasis through the sandy desert to attack them, and had got to a point
about mid-way between them and the Oasis, while they were taking their
morning meal a violent South Wind blew upon them, and bearing with it
heaps of the desert sand it buried them under it, and so they
disappeared and were seen no more. Thus the Ammonians say that it came
to pass with regard to this army.

27. When Cambyses arrived at Memphis, Apis appeared to the Egyptians,
whom the Hellenes call Epaphos: and when he had appeared, forthwith
the Egyptians began to wear their fairest garments and to have
festivities. Cambyses accordingly seeing the Egyptians doing thus, and
supposing that they were certainly acting so by way of rejoicing
because he had fared ill, called for the officers who had charge of
Memphis; and when they had come into his presence, he asked them why
when he was at Memphis on the former occasion, the Egyptians were
doing nothing of this kind, but only now, when he came there after
losing a large part of his army. They said that a god had appeared to
them, who was wont to appear at intervals of long time, and that
whenever he appeared, then all the Egyptians rejoiced and kept
festival. Hearing this Cambyses said that they were lying, and as
liars he condemned them to death. 28. Having put these to death, next
he called the priests into his presence; and when the priests answered
him after the same manner, he said that it should not be without his
knowledge if a tame god had come to the Egyptians; and having so said
he bade the priests bring Apis away into his presence: so they went to
bring him. Now this Apis-Epaphos is a calf born of a cow who after
this is not permitted to conceive any other offspring; and the
Egyptians say that a flash of light comes down from heaven upon this
cow, and of this she produces Apis. This calf which is called Apis is
black and has the following signs, namely a white square[23] upon the
forehead, and on the back the likeness of an eagle, and in the tail
the hairs are double, and on[24] the tongue there is a mark like a
beetle. 29. When the priests had brought Apis, Cambyses being somewhat
affected with madness drew his dagger, and aiming at the belly of
Apis, struck his thigh: then he laughed and said to the priests: “O ye
wretched creatures, are gods born such as this, with blood and flesh,
and sensible of the stroke of iron weapons? Worthy indeed of Egyptians
is such a god as this. Ye however at least shall not escape without
punishment for making a mock of me.” Having thus spoken he ordered
those whose duty it was to do such things, to scourge the priests
without mercy, and to put to death any one of the other Egyptians whom
they should find keeping the festival. Thus the festival of the
Egyptians had been brought to an end, and the priests were being
chastised, and Apis wounded by the stroke in his thigh lay dying in
the temple. 30. Him, when he had brought his life to an end by reason
of the wound, the priests buried without the knowledge of Cambyses:
but Cambyses, as the Egyptians say, immediately after this evil deed
became absolutely mad, not having been really in his right senses even
before that time: and the first of his evil deeds was that he put to
death his brother Smerdis, who was of the same father and the same
mother as himself. This brother he had sent away from Egypt to Persia
in envy, because alone of all the Persians he had been able to draw
the bow which the Ichthyophagoi brought from the Ethiopian king, to an
extent of about two finger-breadths; while of the other Persians not
one had proved able to do this. Then when Smerdis had gone away to
Persia, Cambyses saw a vision in his sleep of this kind:–it seemed to
him that a messenger came from Persia and reported that Smerdis
sitting upon the royal throne had touched the heaven with his head.
Fearing therefore with regard to this lest his brother might slay him
and reign in his stead, he sent Prexaspes to Persia, the man whom of
all the Persians he trusted most, with command to slay him. He
accordingly went up to Susa and slew Smerdis; and some say that he
took him out of the chase and so slew him, others that he brought him
to the Erythraian Sea and drowned him.

31. This they say was the first beginning of the evil deeds of
Cambyses; and next after this he put to death his sister, who had
accompanied him to Egypt, to whom also he was married, she being his
sister by both parents. Now he took her to wife in the following
manner (for before this the Persians had not been wont at all to marry
their sisters):–Cambyses fell in love with one of his sisters, and
desired to take her to wife; so since he had it in mind to do that
which was not customary, he called the Royal Judges and asked them
whether there existed any law which permitted him who desired it to
marry his sister. Now the Royal Judges are men chosen out from among
the Persians, and hold their office until they die or until some
injustice is found in them, so long and no longer. These pronounce
decisions for the Persians and are the expounders of the ordinances of
their fathers, and all matters are referred to them. So when Cambyses
asked them, they gave him an answer which was both upright and safe,
saying that they found no law which permitted a brother to marry his
sister, but apart from that they had found a law to the effect that
the king of the Persians might do whatsoever he desired. Thus on the
one hand they did not tamper with the law for fear of Cambyses, and at
the same time, that they might not perish themselves in maintaining
the law, they found another law beside that which was asked for, which
was in favour of him who wished to marry his sisters. So Cambyses at
that time took to wife her with whom he was in love, but after no long
time he took another sister. Of these it was the younger whom he put
to death, she having accompanied him to Egypt. 32. About her death, as
about the death of Smerdis, two different stories are told. The
Hellenes say that Cambyses had matched a lion’s cub in fight with a
dog’s whelp, and this wife of his was also a spectator of it; and when
the whelp was being overcome, another whelp, its brother, broke its
chain and came to help it; and having become two instead of one, the
whelps then got the better of the cub: and Cambyses was pleased at the
sight, but she sitting by him began to weep; and Cambyses perceived it
and asked wherefore she wept; and she said that she had wept when she
saw that the whelp had come to the assistance of its brother, because
she remembered Smerdis and perceived that there was no one who would
come to his[25] assistance. The Hellenes say that it was for this
saying that she was killed by Cambyses: but the Egyptians say that as
they were sitting round at table, the wife took a lettuce and pulled
off the leaves all round, and then asked her husband whether the
lettuce was fairer when thus plucked round or when covered with
leaves, and he said “when covered with leaves”: she then spoke thus:
“Nevertheless thou didst once produce the likeness of this lettuce,
when thou didst strip bare the house of Cyrus.” And he moved to anger
leapt upon her, being with child, and she miscarried and died.

33. These were the acts of madness done by Cambyses towards those of
his own family, whether the madness was produced really on account of
Apis or from some other cause, as many ills are wont to seize upon
men; for it is said moreover that Cambyses had from his birth a
certain grievous malady, that which is called by some the “sacred”
disease:[26] and it was certainly nothing strange that when the body
was suffering from a grievous malady, the mind should not be sound
either. 34. The following also are acts of madness which he did to the
other Persians:–To Prexaspes, the man whom he honoured most and who
used to bear his messages[26a] (his son also was cup-bearer to
Cambyses, and this too was no small honour),–to him it is said that
he spoke as follows: “Prexaspes, what kind of a man do the Persians
esteem me to be, and what speech do they hold concerning me?” and he
said: “Master, in all other respects thou art greatly commended, but
they say that thou art overmuch given to love of wine.” Thus he spoke
concerning the Persians; and upon that Cambyses was roused to anger,
and answered thus: “It appears then that the Persians say I am given
to wine, and that therefore I am beside myself and not in my right
mind; and their former speech then was not sincere.” For before this
time, it seems, when the Persians and Crœsus were sitting with him in
council, Cambyses asked what kind of a man they thought he was as
compared with his father Cyrus;[27] and they answered that he was
better than his father, for he not only possessed all that his father
had possessed, but also in addition to this had acquired Egypt and the
Sea. Thus the Persians spoke; but Crœsus, who was present and was not
satisfied with their judgment, spoke thus to Cambyses: “To me, O son
of Cyrus, thou dost not appear to be equal to thy father, for not yet
hast thou a son such as he left behind him in you.” Hearing this
Cambyses was pleased, and commended the judgment of Crœsus. 35. So
calling to mind this, he said in anger to Prexaspes: “Learn then now
for thyself whether the Persians speak truly, or whether when they say
this they are themselves out of their senses: for if I, shooting at
thy son there standing before the entrance of the chamber, hit him in
the very middle of the heart, the Persians will be proved to be
speaking falsely, but if I miss, then thou mayest say that the
Persians are speaking the truth and that I am not in my right mind.”
Having thus said he drew his bow and hit the boy; and when the boy had
fallen down, it is said that he ordered them to cut open his body and
examine the place where he was hit; and as the arrow was found to be
sticking in the heart, he laughed and was delighted, and said to the
father of the boy: “Prexaspes, it has now been made evident, as thou
seest, that I am not mad, but that it is the Persians who are out of
their senses; and now tell me, whom of all men didst thou ever see
before this time hit the mark so well in shooting?” Then Prexaspes,
seeing that the man was not in his right senses and fearing for
himself, said: “Master, I think that not even God himself could have
hit the mark so fairly.” Thus he did at that time: and at another time
he condemned twelve of the Persians, men equal to the best, on a
charge of no moment, and buried them alive with the head downwards.

36. When he was doing these things, Crœsus the Lydian judged it right
to admonish him in the following words: “O king, do not thou indulge
the heat of thy youth and passion in all things, but retain and hold
thyself back: it is a good thing to be prudent, and forethought is
wise. Thou however are putting to death men who are of thine own
people, condemning them on charges of no moment, and thou art putting
to death men’s sons also. If thou do many such things, beware lest the
Persians make revolt from thee. As for me, thy father Cyrus gave me
charge, earnestly bidding me to admonish thee, and suggest to thee
that which I should find to be good.” Thus he counselled him,
manifesting goodwill towards him; but Cambyses answered: “Dost /thou/
venture to counsel me, who excellently well didst rule thine own
country, and well didst counsel my father, bidding him pass over the
river Araxes and go against the Massagetai, when they were willing to
pass over into our land, and so didst utterly ruin thyself by ill
government of thine own land, and didst utterly ruin Cyrus, who
followed thy counsel. However thou shalt not escape punishment now,
for know that before this I had very long been desiring to find some
occasion against thee.” Thus having said he took his bow meaning to
shoot him, but Crœsus started up and ran out: and so since he could
not shoot him, he gave orders to his attendants to take and slay him.
The attendants however, knowing his moods, concealed Crœsus, with the
intention that if Cambyses should change his mind and seek to have
Crœsus again, they might produce him and receive gifts as the price of
saving his life; but if he did not change his mind nor feel desire to
have him back, then they might kill him. Not long afterwards Cambyses
did in fact desire to have Crœsus again, and the attendants perceiving
this reported to him that he was still alive: and Cambyses said that
he rejoiced with Crœsus that he was still alive, but that they who had
preserved him should not get off free, but he would put them to death:
and thus he did.

37. Many such acts of madness did he both to Persians and allies,
remaining at Memphis and opening ancient tombs and examining the dead
bodies. Likewise also he entered into the temple of Hephaistos and
very much derided the image of the god: for the image of Hephaistos
very nearly resembles the Phenician /Pataicoi/, which the Phenicians
carry about on the prows of their triremes; and for him who has not
seen these, I will indicate its nature,–it is the likeness of a
dwarfish man. He entered also into the temple of the Cabeiroi, into
which it is not lawful for any one to enter except the priest only,
and the images there he even set on fire, after much mockery of them.
Now these also are like the images of Hephaistos, and it is said that
they are the children of that god.

38. It is clear to me therefore by every kind of proof that Cambyses
was mad exceedingly; for otherwise he would not have attempted to
deride religious rites and customary observances. For if one should
propose to all men a choice, bidding them select the best customs from
all the customs that there are, each race of men, after examining them
all, would select those of his own people; thus all think that their
own customs are by far the best: and so it is not likely that any but
a madman would make a jest of such things. Now of the fact that all
men are thus wont to think about their customs, we may judge by many
other proofs and more specially by this which follows:–Dareios in the
course of his reign summoned those of the Hellenes who were present in
his land, and asked them for what price they would consent to eat up
their fathers when they died; and they answered that for no price
would they do so. After this Dareios summoned those Indians who are
called Callatians, who eat their parents, and asked them in presence
of the Hellenes, who understood what they said by help of an
interpreter, for what payment they would consent to consume with fire
the bodies of their fathers when they died; and they cried out aloud
and bade him keep silence from such words. Thus then these things are
established by usage, and I think that Pindar spoke rightly in his
verse, when he said that “of all things law is king.”[28]


39. Now while Cambyses was marching upon Egypt, the Lacedemonians also
had made an expedition against Samos and against Polycrates the son of
Aiakes, who had risen against the government and obtained rule over
Samos. At first he had divided the State into three parts and had
given a share to his brothers Pantagnotos and Syloson; but afterwards
he put to death one of these, and the younger, namely Syloson, he
drove out, and so obtained possession of the whole of Samos. Then,
being in possession,[29] he made a guest-friendship with Amasis the
king of Egypt, sending him gifts and receiving gifts in return from
him. After this straightway within a short period of time the power of
Polycrates increased rapidly, and there was much fame of it not only
in Ionia, but also over the rest of Hellas: for to whatever part he
directed his forces, everything went fortunately for him: and he had
got for himself a hundred fifty-oared galleys and a thousand archers,
and he plundered from all, making no distinction of any; for it was
his wont to say that he would win more gratitude from his friend by
giving back to him that which he had taken, than by not taking at
all.[30] So he had conquered many of the islands and also many cities
of the continent, and besides other things he gained the victory in a
sea-fight over the Lesbians, as they were coming to help the Milesians
with their forces, and conquered them: these men dug the whole trench
round the wall of the city of Samos working in chains. 40. Now Amasis,
as may be supposed, did not fail to perceive that Polycrates was very
greatly fortunate, and[31] it was to him an object of concern; and as
much more good fortune yet continued to come to Polycrates, he wrote
upon a paper these words and sent them to Samos: “Amasis to Polycrates
thus saith:–It is a pleasant thing indeed to hear that one who is a
friend and guest is faring well; yet to me thy great good fortune is
not pleasing, since I know that the Divinity is jealous; and I think
that I desire, both for myself and for those about whom I have care,
that in some of our affairs we should be prosperous and in others
should fail, and thus go through life alternately faring[32] well and
ill, rather than that we should be prosperous in all things: for never
yet did I hear tell of any one who was prosperous in all things and
did not come to an utterly[33] evil end at the last. Now therefore do
thou follow my counsel and act as I shall say with respect to thy
prosperous fortunes. Take thought and consider, and that which thou
findest to be the most valued by thee, and for the loss of which thou
wilt most be vexed in thy soul, that take and cast away in such a
manner that it shall never again come to the sight of men; and if in
future from that time forward good fortune does not befall thee in
alternation with calamities,[34] apply remedies in the manner by me
suggested.” 41. Polycrates, having read this and having perceived by
reflection that Amasis suggested to him good counsel, sought to find
which one of his treasures he would be most afflicted in his soul to
lose; and seeking he found this which I shall say:–he had a signet
which he used to wear, enchased in gold and made of an emerald stone;
and it was the work of Theodoros the son of Telecles of Samos.[35] Seeing then that he thought it good to cast this away, he did thus:–
he manned a fifty-oared galley with sailors and went on board of it
himself; and then he bade them put out into the deep sea. And when he
had got to a distance from the island, he took off the signet-ring,
and in the sight of all who were with him in the ship he threw it into
the sea. Thus having done he sailed home; and when he came to his
house he mourned for his loss. 42. But on the fifth or sixth day after
these things it happened to him as follows:–a fisherman having caught
a large and beautiful fish, thought it right that this should be given
as a gift to Polycrates. He bore it therefore to the door of the
palace and said that he desired to come into the presence of
Polycrates, and when he had obtained this he gave him the fish,
saying: “O king, having taken this fish I did not think fit to bear it
to the market, although I am one who lives by the labour of his hands;
but it seemed to me that it was worthy of thee and of thy monarchy:
therefore I bring it and present it to thee.” He then, being pleased
at the words spoken, answered thus: “Thou didst exceedingly well, and
double thanks are due to thee, for thy words and also for thy gift;
and we invite thee to come to dinner.” The fisherman then, thinking
this a great thing, went away to this house; and the servants as they
were cutting up the fish found in its belly the signet-ring of
Polycrates. Then as soon as they had seen it and taken it up, they
bore it rejoicing to Polycrates, and giving him the signet-ring they
told him in what manner it had been found: and he perceiving that the
matter was of God, wrote upon paper all that he had done and all that
had happened to him, and having written he despatched it to Egypt.[36] 43. Then Amasis, when he had read the paper which had come from
Polycrates, perceived that it was impossible for man to rescue man
from the event which was to come to pass, and that Polycrates was
destined not to have a good end, being prosperous in all things,
seeing that he found again even that which he cast away. Therefore he
sent an envoy to him in Samos and said that he broke off the guest-
friendship; and this he did lest when a fearful and great mishap
befell Polycrates, he might himself be grieved in his soul as for a
man who was his guest.

44. It was this Polycrates then, prosperous in all things, against
whom the Lacedemonians were making an expedition, being invited by
those Samians who afterwards settled at Kydonia in Crete, to come to
their assistance. Now Polycrates had sent an envoy to Cambyses the son
of Cyrus without the knowledge of the Samians, as he was gathering an
army to go against Egypt, and had asked him to send to him in Samos
and to ask for an armed force. So Cambyses hearing this very readily
sent to Samos to ask Polycrates to send a naval force with him against
Egypt: and Polycrates selected of the citizens those whom he most
suspected of desiring to rise against him and sent them away in forty
triremes, charging Cambyses not to send them back. 45. Now some say
that those of the Samians who were sent away by Polycrates never
reached Egypt, but when they arrived on their voyage at Carpathos,[37] they considered with themselves, and resolved not to sail on any
further: others say that they reached Egypt and being kept under guard
there, they made their escape from thence. Then, as they were sailing
in to Samos, Polycrates encountered them with ships and engaged battle
with them; and those who were returning home had the better and landed
in the island; but having fought a land-battle in the island, they
were worsted, and so sailed to Lacedemon. Some however say that those
from Egypt defeated Polycrates in the battle; but this in my opinion
is not correct, for there would have been no need for them to invite
the assistance of the Lacedemonians if they had been able by
themselves to bring Polycrates to terms. Moreover, it is not
reasonable either, seeing that he had foreign mercenaries and native
archers very many in number, to suppose that he was worsted by the
returning Samians, who were but few. Then Polycrates gathered together
the children and wives of his subjects and confined them in the ship-
sheds, keeping them ready so that, if it should prove that his
subjects deserted to the side of the returning exiles, he might burn
them with the sheds.

46. When those of the Samians who had been driven out by Polycrates
reached Sparta, they were introduced before the magistrates and spoke
at length, being urgent in their request. The magistrates however at
the first introduction replied that they had forgotten the things
which had been spoken at the beginning, and did not understand those
which were spoken at the end. After this they were introduced a second
time, and bringing with them a bag they said nothing else but this,
namely that the bag was in want of meal; to which the others replied
that they had overdone it with the bag.[38] However, they resolved to
help them. 47. Then the Lacedemonians prepared a force and made
expedition to Samos, in repayment of former services, as the Samians
say, because the Samians had first helped them with ships against the
Messenians; but the Lacedemonians say that they made the expedition
not so much from desire to help the Samians at their request, as to
take vengeance on their own behalf for the robbery of the mixing-bowl
which they had been bearing as a gift to Crœsus,[39] and of the
corslet which Amasis the king of Egypt had sent as a gift to them; for
the Samians had carried off the corslet also in the year before they
took the bowl; and it was of linen with many figures woven into it and
embroidered with gold and with cotton; and each thread of this corslet
is worthy of admiration, for that being itself fine it has in it three
hundred and sixty fibres, all plain to view. Such another as this
moreover is that which Amasis dedicated as an offering to Athene at

48. The Corinthians also took part with zeal in this expedition
against Samos, that it might be carried out; for there had been an
offence perpetrated against them also by the Samians a generation
before[40] the time of this expedition and about the same time as the
robbery of the bowl. Periander the son of Kypselos had despatched
three hundred sons of the chief men of Corcyra to Alyattes at Sardis
to be made eunuchs; and when the Corinthians who were conducting the
boys had put in to Samos, the Samians, being informed of the story and
for what purpose they were being conducted to Sardis, first instructed
the boys to lay hold of the temple of Artemis, and then they refused
to permit the Corinthians to drag the suppliants away from the temple:
and as the Corinthians cut the boys off from supplies of food, the
Samians made a festival, which they celebrate even to the present time
in the same manner: for when night came on, as long as the boys were
suppliants they arranged dances of maidens and youths, and in
arranging the dances they made it a rule of the festival that sweet
cakes of sesame and honey should be carried, in order that the
Corcyrean boys might snatch them and so have support; and this went on
so long that at last the Corinthians who had charge of the boys
departed and went away; and as for the boys, the Samians carried them
back to Corcyra. 49. Now, if after the death of Periander the
Corinthians had been on friendly terms with the Corcyreans, they would
not have joined in the expedition against Samos for the cause which
has been mentioned; but as it is, they have been ever at variance with
one another since they first colonised the island.[41] This then was
the cause why the Corinthians had a grudge against the Samians.

50. Now Periander had chosen out the sons of the chief men of Corcyra
and was sending them to Sardis to be made eunuchs, in order that he
might have revenge; since the Corcyreans had first begun the offence
and had done to him a deed of reckless wrong. For after Periander had
killed his wife Melissa, it chanced to him to experience another
misfortune in addition to that which had happened to him already, and
this was as follows:–He had by Melissa two sons, the one of seventeen
and the other of eighteen years. These sons their mother’s father
Procles, who was despot of Epidauros, sent for to himself and kindly
entertained, as was to be expected seeing that they were the sons of
his own daughter; and when he was sending them back, he said in taking
leave of them: “Do ye know, boys, who it was that killed your mother?”
Of this saying the elder of them took no account, but the younger,
whose name was Lycophron, was grieved so greatly at hearing it, that
when he reached Corinth again he would neither address his father, nor
speak to him when his father would have conversed with him, nor give
any reply when he asked questions, regarding him as the murderer of
his mother. At length Periander being enraged with his son drove him
forth out of his house. 51. And having driven him forth, he asked of
the elder son what his mother’s father had said to them in his
conversation. He then related how Procles had received them in a
kindly manner, but of the saying which he had uttered when he parted
from them he had no remembrance, since he had taken no note of it. So
Periander said that it could not be but that he had suggested to them
something, and urged him further with questions; and he after that
remembered, and told of this also. Then Periander taking note of
it[42] and not desiring to show any indulgence, sent a messenger to
those with whom the son who had been driven forth was living at that
time, and forbade them to receive him into their houses; and whenever
having been driven away from one house he came to another, he was
driven away also from this, since Periander threatened those who
received him, and commanded them to exclude him; and so being driven
away again he would go to another house, where persons lived who were
his friends, and they perhaps received him because he was the son of
Periander, notwithstanding that they feared. 52. At last Periander
made a proclamation that whosoever should either receive him into
their houses or converse with him should be bound to pay a fine[43] to
Apollo, stating the amount that it should be. Accordingly, by reason
of this proclamation no one was willing either to converse with him or
to receive him into their house; and moreover even he himself did not
think it fit to attempt it, since it had been forbidden, but he lay
about in the porticoes enduring exposure: and on the fourth day after
this, Periander seeing him fallen into squalid misery and starvation
felt pity for him; and abating his anger he approached him and began
to say: “Son, which of these two is to be preferred, the fortune which
thou dost now experience and possess,[44] or to inherit the power and
wealth which I possess now, by being submissive to thy father’s will?
Thou however, being my son and the prince[45] of wealthy Corinth,
didst choose nevertheless the life of a vagabond by making opposition
and displaying anger against him with whom it behoved thee least to
deal so; for if any misfortune happened in those matters, for which
cause thou hast suspicion against me, this has happened to me first,
and I am sharer in the misfortune more than others, inasmuch as I did
the deed[46] myself. Do thou however, having learnt by how much to be
envied is better than to be pitied, and at the same time what a
grievous thing it is to be angry against thy parents and against those
who are stronger than thou, come back now to the house.” Periander
with these words endeavoured to restrain him; but he answered nothing
else to his father, but said only that he ought to pay a fine to the
god for having come to speech with him. Then Periander, perceiving
that the malady of his son was hopeless and could not be overcome,
despatched a ship to Corcyra, and so sent him away out of his sight,
for he was ruler also of that island; and having sent him away,
Periander proceeded to make war against his father-in-law Procles,
esteeming him most to blame for the condition in which he was; and he
took Epidauros and took also Procles himself and made him a prisoner.
53. When however, as time went on, Periander had passed his prime and
perceived within himself that he was no longer able to overlook and
manage the government of the State, he sent to Corcyra and summoned
Lycophron to come back and take the supreme power; for in the elder of
his sons he did not see the required capacity, but perceived clearly
that he was of wits too dull. Lycophron however did not deign even to
give an answer to the bearer of his message. Then Periander, clinging
still in affection to the youth, sent to him next his own daughter,
the sister of Lycophron, supposing that he would yield to her
persuasion more than to that of others; and she arrived there and
spoke to him thus: “Boy, dost thou desire that both the despotism
should fall to others, and also the substance of thy father, carried
off as plunder, rather than that thou shouldest return back and
possess them? Come back to thy home: cease to torment thyself. Pride
is a mischievous possession. Heal not evil with evil. Many prefer that
which is reasonable to that which is strictly just; and many ere now
in seeking the things of their mother have lost the things of their
father. Despotism is an insecure thing, and many desire it: moreover
he is now an old man and past his prime. Give not thy good things unto
others.” She thus said to him the most persuasive things, having been
before instructed by her father: but he in answer said, that he would
never come to Corinth so long as he heard that his father was yet
alive. When she had reported this, Periander the third time sent an
envoy, and said that he desired himself to come to Corcyra, exhorting
Lycophron at the same time to come back to Corinth and to be his
successor on the throne. The son having agreed to return on these
terms, Periander was preparing to sail to Corcyra and his son to
Corinth; but the Corcyreans, having learnt all that had taken place,
put the young man to death, in order that Periander might not come to
their land. For this cause it was that Periander took vengeance on
those of Corcyra.

54. The Lacedemonians then had come with a great armament and were
besieging Samos; and having made an attack upon the wall, they
occupied the tower which stands by the sea in the suburb of the city,
but afterwards when Polycrates came up to the rescue with a large body
they were driven away from it. Meanwhile by the upper tower which is
upon the ridge of the mountain there had come out to the fight the
foreign mercenaries and many of the Samians themselves, and these
stood their ground against the Lacedemonians for a short while and
then began to fly backwards; and the Lacedemonians followed and were
slaying them. 55. Now if the Lacedemonians there present had all been
equal on that day to Archias and Lycopas, Samos would have been
captured; for Archias and Lycopas alone rushed within the wall
together with the flying Samians, and being shut off from retreat were
slain within the city of the Samians. I myself moreover had converse
in Pitane (for to that deme he belonged) with the third in descent
from this Archias, another Archias the son of Samios the son of
Archias, who honoured the Samians of all strangers most; and not only
so, but he said that his own father had been called Samios because
/his/ father Archias had died by a glorious death in Samos; and he
said that he honoured Samians because his grandfather had been granted
a public funeral by the Samians. 56. The Lacedemonians then, when they
had been besieging Samos for forty days and their affairs made no
progress, set forth to return to Peloponnesus. But according to the
less credible account which has been put abroad of these matters
Polycrates struck in lead a quantity of a certain native coin, and
having gilded the coins over, gave them to the Lacedemonians, and they
received them and upon that set forth to depart. This was the first
expedition which the Lacedemonians (being Dorians)[46a] made into

57. Those of the Samians who had made the expedition against
Polycrates themselves also sailed away, when the Lacedemonians were
about to desert them, and came to Siphnos: for they were in want of
money, and the people of Siphnos were then at their greatest height of
prosperity and possessed wealth more than all the other islanders,
since they had in their island mines of gold and silver, so that there
is a treasury dedicated at Delphi with the tithe of the money which
came in from these mines, and furnished in a manner equal to the
wealthiest of these treasuries: and the people used to divide among
themselves the money which came in from the mines every year. So when
they were establishing the treasury, they consulted the Oracle as to
whether their present prosperity was capable of remaining with them
for a long time, and the Pythian prophetess gave them this reply:

“But when with white shall be shining[47] the hall of the city[48] in Siphnos,
And when the market is white of brow, one wary is needed
Then, to beware of an army[49] of wood and a red-coloured herald.”

Now just at that time the market-place and city hall[48] of the
Siphnians had been decorated with Parian marble. 58. This oracle they
were not able to understand either then at first or when the Samians
had arrived: for as soon as the Samians were putting in[50] to Siphnos
they sent one of their ships to bear envoys to the city: now in old
times all ships were painted with red, and this was that which the
Pythian prophetess was declaring beforehand to the Siphnians, bidding
them guard against the “army of wood” and the “red-coloured herald.”
The messengers accordingly came and asked the Siphnians to lend them
ten talents; and as they refused to lend to them, the Samians began to
lay waste their lands: so when they were informed of it, forthwith the
Siphnians came to the rescue, and having engaged battle with them were
defeated, and many of them were cut off by the Samians and shut out of
the city; and the Samians after this imposed upon them a payment of a
hundred talents. 59. Then from the men of Hermion they received by
payment of money the island of Hydrea, which is near the coast of
Peloponnese, and they gave it in charge to the Troizenians, but they
themselves settled at Kydonia which is in Crete, not sailing thither
for that purpose but in order to drive the Zakynthians out of the
island. Here they remained and were prosperous for five years, so much
so that they were the builders of the temples which are now existing
in Kydonia, and also of the house of Dictyna.[51] In the sixth year
however the Eginetans together with the Cretans conquered them in a
sea-fight and brought them to slavery; and they cut off the prows of
their ships, which were shaped like boars, and dedicated them in the
temple of Athene in Egina. This the Eginetans did because they had a
grudge against the Samians; for the Samians had first made expedition
against Egina, when Amphicrates was king in Samos, and had done much
hurt to the Eginetans and suffered much hurt also from them. Such was
the cause of this event: 60, and about the Samians I have spoken at
greater length, because they have three works which are greater than
any others that have been made by Hellenes: first a passage beginning
from below and open at both ends, dug through a mountain not less than
a hundred and fifty fathoms[52] in height; the length of the passage
is seven furlongs[53] and the height and breadth each eight feet, and
throughout the whole of it another passage has been dug twenty cubits
in depth and three feet in breadth, through which the water is
conducted and comes by the pipes to the city, brought from an abundant
spring: and the designer of this work was a Megarian, Eupalinos the
son of Naustrophos. This is one of the three; and the second is a mole
in the sea about the harbour, going down to a depth of as much as[54] twenty fathoms; and the length of the mole is more than two furlongs.
The third work which they have executed is a temple larger than all
the other temples of which we know. Of this the first designer was
Rhoicos the son of Philes, a native of Samos. For this reason I have
spoken at greater length of the Samians.


61. Now while Cambyses the son of Cyrus was spending a long time in
Egypt and had gone out of his right mind, there rose up against him
two brothers, Magians, of whom the one had been left behind by
Cambyses as caretaker of his household. This man, I say, rose up
against him perceiving that the occurrence of the death of Smerdis was
being kept secret, and that there were but few of the Persians who
were aware of it, while the greater number believed without doubt that
he was still alive. Therefore he endeavoured to obtain the kingdom,
and he formed his plan as follows:–he had a brother (that one who, as
I said, rose up with him against Cambyses), and this man in form very
closely resembled Smerdis the son of Cyrus, whom Cambyses had slain,
being his own brother. He was like Smerdis, I say, in form, and not
only so but he had the same name, Smerdis. Having persuaded this man
that he would manage everything for him, the Magian Patizeithes
brought him and seated him upon the royal throne: and having so done
he sent heralds about to the various provinces, and among others one
to the army in Egypt, to proclaim to them that they must obey Smerdis
the son of Cyrus for the future instead of Cambyses. 62. So then the
other heralds made this proclamation, and also the one who was
appointed to go to Egypt, finding Cambyses and his army at Agbatana in
Syria, stood in the midst and began to proclaim that which had been
commanded to him by the Magian. Hearing this from the herald, and
supposing that the herald was speaking the truth and that he had
himself been betrayed by Prexaspes, that is to say, that when
Prexaspes was sent to kill Smerdis he had not done so, Cambyses looked
upon Prexaspes and said: “Prexaspes, was it thus that thou didst
perform for me the thing which I gave over to thee to do?” and he
said: “Master, the saying is not true that Smerdis thy brother has
risen up against thee, nor that thou wilt have any contention arising
from him, either great or small: for I myself, having done that which
thou didst command me to do, buried him with my own hands. If
therefore the dead have risen again to life, then thou mayest expect
that Astyages also the Mede will rise up against thee; but if it is as
it was beforetime, there is no fear now that any trouble shall spring
up for you, at least from him. Now therefore I think it well that some
should pursue after the herald and examine him, asking from whom he
has come to proclaim to us that we are to obey Smerdis as king.” 63.
When Prexaspes had thus spoken, Cambyses was pleased with the advice,
and accordingly the herald was pursued forthwith and returned. Then
when he had come back, Prexaspes asked him as follows: “Man, thou
sayest that thou art come as a messenger from Smerdis the son of
Cyrus: now therefore speak the truth and go away in peace. I ask thee
whether Smerdis himself appeared before thine eyes and charged thee to
say this, or some one of those who serve him.” He said: “Smerdis the
son of Cyrus I have never yet seen, since the day that king Cambyses
marched to Egypt: but the Magian whom Cambyses appointed to be
guardian of his household, he, I say, gave me this charge, saying that
Smerdis the son of Cyrus was he who laid the command upon me to speak
these things to you.” Thus he spoke to them, adding no falsehoods to
the first, and Cambyses said: “Prexaspes, thou hast done that which
was commanded thee like an honest man, and hast escaped censure; but
who of the Persians may this be who has risen up against me and
usurped the name of Smerdis?” He said: “I seem to myself, O king, to
have understanding of this which has come to pass: the Magians have
risen against thee, Patizeithes namely, whom thou didst leave as
caretaker of thy household, and his brother Smerdis.” 64. Then
Cambyses, when he heard the name of Smerdis, perceived at once the
true meaning of this report and of the dream, for he thought in his
sleep that some one had reported to him that Smerdis was sitting upon
the royal throne and had touched the heaven with his head: and
perceiving that he had slain his brother without need, he began to
lament for Smerdis; and having lamented for him and sorrowed greatly
for the whole mishap, he was leaping upon his horse, meaning as
quickly as possible to march his army to Susa against the Magian; and
as he leapt upon his horse, the cap of his sword-sheath fell off, and
the sword being left bare struck his thigh. Having been wounded then
in the same part where he had formerly struck Apis the god of the
Egyptians, and believing that he had been struck with a mortal blow,
Cambyses asked what was the name of that town, and they said
“Agbatana.” Now even before this he had been informed by the Oracle at
the city of Buto that in Agbatana he should bring his life to an end:
and he supposed that he should die of old age in Agbatana in Media,
where was his chief seat of power; but the oracle, it appeared, meant
in Agbatana of Syria. So when by questioning now he learnt the name of
the town, being struck with fear both by the calamity caused by the
Magian and at the same time by the wound, he came to his right mind,
and understanding the meaning of the oracle he said: “Here it is fated
that Cambyses the son of Cyrus shall end his life.” 65. So much only
he said at that time; but about twenty days afterwards he sent for the
most honourable of the Persians who were with him, and said to them as
follows: “Persians, it has become necessary for me to make known to
you the thing which I was wont to keep concealed beyond all other
things. Being in Egypt I saw a vision in my sleep, which I would I had
never seen, and it seemed to me that a messenger came from home and
reported to me that Smerdis was sitting upon the royal throne and had
touched the heaven with his head. Fearing then lest I should be
deprived of my power by my brother, I acted quickly rather than
wisely; for it seems that it is not possible for man[55] to avert that
which is destined to come to pass. I therefore, fool that I was, sent
away Prexaspes to Susa to kill Smerdis; and when this great evil had
been done, I lived in security, never considering the danger that some
other man might at some time rise up against me, now that Smerdis had
been removed: and altogether missing the mark of that which was about
to happen, I have both made myself the murderer of my brother, when
there was no need, and I have been deprived none the less of the
kingdom; for it was in fact Smerdis the Magian of whom the divine
power declared to me beforehand in the vision that he should rise up
against me. So then, as I say, this deed has been done by me, and ye
must imagine that ye no longer have Smerdis the son of Cyrus alive:
but it is in truth the Magians who are masters of your kingdom, he
whom I left as guardian of my household and his brother Smerdis. The
man then who ought above all others to have taken vengeance on my
behalf for the dishonour which I have suffered from the Magians, has
ended his life by an unholy death received from the hands of those who
were his nearest of kin; and since he is no more, it becomes most
needful for me, as the thing next best of those which remain,[56] to
charge you, O Persians, with that which dying I desire should be done
for me. This then I lay upon you, calling upon the gods of the royal
house to witness it,–upon you and most of all upon those of the
Achaemenidai who are present here,–that ye do not permit the return
of the chief power to the Medes, but that if they have acquired it by
craft, by craft they be deprived of it by you, or if they have
conquered it by any kind of force, by force and by a strong hand ye
recover it. And if ye do this, may the earth bring forth her produce
and may your wives and your cattle be fruitful, while ye remain free
for ever; but if ye do not recover the power nor attempt to recover
it, I pray that curses the contrary of these blessings may come upon
you, and moreover that each man of the Persians may have an end to his
life like that which has come upon me.” Then as soon as he had
finished speaking these things, Cambyses began to bewail and make
lamentation for all his fortunes. 66. And the Persians, when they saw
that the king had begun to bewail himself, both rent the garments
which they wore and made lamentation without stint. After this, when
the bone had become diseased and the thigh had mortified, Cambyses the
son of Cyrus was carried off by the wound, having reigned in all seven
years and five months, and being absolutely childless both of male and
female offspring. The Persians meanwhile who were present there were
very little disposed to believe[57] that the power was in the hands of
the Magians: on the contrary, they were surely convinced that Cambyses
had said that which he said about the death of Smerdis to deceive
them, in order that all the Persians might be moved to war against
him. These then were surely convinced that Smerdis the son of Cyrus
was established to be king; for Prexaspes also very strongly denied
that he had slain Smerdis, since it was not safe, now that Cambyses
was dead, for him to say that he had destroyed with his own hand the
son of Cyrus.

67. Thus when Cambyses had brought his life to an end, the Magian
became king without disturbance, usurping the place of his namesake
Smerdis the son of Cyrus; and he reigned during the seven months which
were wanting yet to Cambyses for the completion of the eight years:
and during them he performed acts of great benefit to all his
subjects, so that after his death all those in Asia except the
Persians themselves mourned for his loss: for the Magian sent
messengers abroad to every nation over which he ruled, and proclaimed
freedom from military service and from tribute for three years. 68.
This proclamation, I say, he made at once when he established himself
upon the throne: but in the eighth month it was discovered who he was
in the following manner:–There was one Otanes the son of Pharnaspes,
in birth and in wealth not inferior to any of the Persians. This
Otanes was the first who had had suspicion of the Magian, that he was
not Smerdis the son of Cyrus but the person that he really was,
drawing his inference from these facts, namely that he never went
abroad out of the fortress, and that he did not summon into his
presence any of the honourable men among the Persians: and having
formed a suspicion of him, he proceeded to do as follows:–Cambyses
had taken to wife his daughter, whose name was Phaidyme;[58] and this
same daughter the Magian at that time was keeping as his wife and
living with her as with all the rest also of the wives of Cambyses.
Otanes therefore sent a message to this daughter and asked her who the
man was by whose side she slept, whether Smerdis the son of Cyrus or
some other. She sent back word to him saying that she did not know,
for she had never seen Smerdis the son of Cyrus, nor did she know
otherwise who he was who lived with her. Otanes then sent a second
time and said: “If thou dost not thyself know Smerdis the son of
Cyrus, then do thou ask of Atossa who this man is, with whom both she
and thou live as wives; for assuredly it must be that she knows her
own brother.” 69. To this the daughter sent back word: “I am not able
either to come to speech with Atossa or to see any other of the women
who live here with me; for as soon as this man, whosoever he may be,
succeeded to the kingdom, he separated us and placed us in different
apartments by ourselves.” When Otanes heard this, the matter became
more and more clear to him, and he sent another message in to her,
which said: “Daughter, it is right for thee, nobly born as thou art,
to undertake any risk which thy father bids thee take upon thee: for
if in truth this is not Smerdis the son of Cyrus but the man whom I
suppose, he ought not to escape with impunity either for taking thee
to his bed or for holding the dominion of Persians, but he must pay
the penalty. Now therefore do as I say. When he sleeps by thee and
thou perceivest that he is sound asleep, feel his ears; and if it
prove that he has ears, then believe that thou art living with Smerdis
the son of Cyrus, but if not, believe that it is with the Magian
Smerdis.” To this Phaidyme sent an answer saying that, if she should
do so, she would run a great risk; for supposing that he should chance
not to have his ears, and she were detected feeling for them, she was
well assured that he would put her to death; but nevertheless she
would do this. So she undertook to do this for her father: but as for
this Magian Smerdis, he had had his ears cut off by Cyrus the son of
Cambyses when he was king, for some grave offence. This Phaidyme then,
the daughter of Otanes, proceeding to perform all that she had
undertaken for her father, when her turn came to go to the Magian (for
the wives of the Persians go in to them regularly each in her turn),
came and lay down beside him: and when the Magian was in deep sleep,
she felt his ears; and perceiving not with difficulty but easily that
her husband had no ears, so soon as it became day she sent and
informed her father of that which had taken place.

70. Then Otanes took to him Aspathines and Gobryas,[59] who were
leading men among the Persians and also his own most trusted friends,
and related to them the whole matter: and they, as it then appeared,
had suspicions also themselves that it was so; and when Otanes
reported this to them, they readily accepted his proposals. Then it
was resolved by them that each one should associate with himself that
man of the Persians whom he trusted most; so Otanes brought in
Intaphrenes,[60] Gobryas brought in Megabyzos, and Aspathines brought
in Hydarnes. When they had thus become six, Dareios the son of
Hystaspes arrived at Susa, having come from the land of Persia, for of
this his father was governor. Accordingly when he came, the six men of
the Persians resolved to associate Dareios also with themselves. 71.
These then having come together, being seven in number, gave pledges
of faith to one another and deliberated together; and when it came to
Dareios to declare his opinion, he spoke to them as follows: “I
thought that I alone knew this, namely that it was the Magian who was
reigning as king and that Smerdis the son of Cyrus had brought his
life to an end; and for this very reason I am come with earnest
purpose to contrive death for the Magian. Since however it has come to
pass that ye also know and not I alone, I think it well to act at once
and not to put the matter off, for that is not the better way.” To
this replied Otanes: “Son of Hystaspes, thou art the scion of a noble
stock, and thou art showing thyself, as it seems, in no way inferior
to thy father: do not however hasten this enterprise so much without
consideration, but take it up more prudently; for we must first become
more in numbers, and then undertake the matter.” In answer to this
Dareios said: “Men who are here present, if ye shall follow the way
suggested by Otanes, know that ye will perish miserably; for some one
will carry word to the Magian, getting gain thereby privately for
himself. Your best way would have been to do this action upon your own
risk alone; but since it seemed good to you to refer the matter to a
greater number, and ye communicated it to me, either let us do the
deed to-day, or be ye assured that if this present day shall pass by,
none other shall prevent me[61] as your accuser, but I will myself
tell these things to the Magian.” 72. To this Otanes, when he saw
Dareios in violent haste, replied: “Since thou dost compel us to
hasten the matter and dost not permit us to delay, come expound to us
thyself in what manner we shall pass into the palace and lay hands
upon them: for that there are guards set in various parts, thou
knowest probably thyself as well as we, if not from sight at least
from hearsay; and in what manner shall we pass through these?” Dareios
made reply with these words: “Otanes, there are many things in sooth
which it is not possible to set forth in speech, but only in deed; and
other things there are which in speech can be set forth, but from them
comes no famous deed. Know ye however that the guards which are set
are not difficult to pass: for in the first place, we being what we
are, there is no one who will not let us go by, partly, as may be
supposed, from having respect for us, and partly also perhaps from
fear; and secondly I have myself a most specious pretext by means of
which we may pass by; for I shall say that I am just now come from the
Persian land and desire to declare to the king a certain message from
my father: for where it is necessary that a lie be spoken, let it be
spoken; seeing that we all aim at the same object, both they who lie
and they who always speak the truth; those lie whenever they are
likely to gain anything by persuading with their lies, and these tell
the truth in order that they may draw to themselves gain by the truth,
and that things[62] may be entrusted to them more readily. Thus, while
practising different ways, we aim all at the same thing. If however
they were not likely to make any gain by it, the truth-teller would
lie and the liar would speak the truth, with indifference. Whosoever
then of the door-keepers shall let us pass by of his own free will,
for him it shall be the better afterwards; but whosoever shall
endeavour to oppose our passage, let him then and there be marked as
our enemy,[63] and after that let us push in and set about our work.”
73. Then said Gobryas: “Friends, at what time will there be a fairer
opportunity for us either to recover our rule, or, if we are not able
to get it again, to die? seeing that we being Persians on the one hand
lie under the rule of a Mede, a Magian, and that too a man whose ears
have been cut off. Moreover all those of you who stood by the side of
Cambyses when he was sick remember assuredly what he laid upon the
Persians as he was bringing his life to an end, if they should not
attempt to win back the power; and this we did not accept then, but
supposed that Cambyses had spoken in order to deceive us. Now
therefore I give my vote that we follow the opinion of Dareios, and
that we do not depart from this assembly to go anywhither else but
straight to attack the Magian.” Thus spoke Gobryas, and they all
approved of this proposal.

74. Now while these were thus taking counsel together, it was coming
to pass by coincidence as follows:–The Magians taking counsel
together had resolved to join Prexaspes with themselves as a friend,
both because he had suffered grievous wrong from Cambyses, who had
killed his son by shooting him, and because he alone knew for a
certainty of the death of Smerdis the son of Cyrus, having killed him
with his own hands, and finally because Prexaspes was in very great
repute among the Persians. For these reasons they summoned him and
endeavoured to win him to be their friend, engaging him by pledge and
with oaths, that he would assuredly keep to himself and not reveal to
any man the deception which had been practised by them upon the
Persians, and promising to give him things innumerable[64] in return.
After Prexaspes had promised to do this, the Magians, having persuaded
him so far, proposed to him a second thing, and said that they would
call together all the Persians to come up to the wall of the palace,
and bade him go up upon a tower and address them, saying that they
were living under the rule of Smerdis the son of Cyrus and no other.
This they so enjoined because they supposed[65] that he had the
greatest credit among the Persians, and because he had frequently
declared the opinion that Smerdis the son of Cyrus was still alive,
and had denied that he had slain him. 75. When Prexaspes said that he
was ready to do this also, the Magians having called together the
Persians caused him to go up upon a tower and bade him address them.
Then he chose to forget those things which they asked of him, and
beginning with Achaimenes he traced the descent of Cyrus on the
father’s side, and then, when he came down to Cyrus, he related at
last what great benefits he had conferred upon the Persians; and
having gone through this recital he proceeded to declare the truth,
saying that formerly he kept it secret, since it was not safe for him
to tell of that which had been done, but at the present time he was
compelled to make it known. He proceeded to say how he had himself
slain Smerdis the son of Cyrus, being compelled by Cambyses, and that
it was the Magians who were now ruling. Then he made imprecation of
many evils on the Persians, if they did not win back again the power
and take vengeance upon the Magians, and upon that he let himself fall
down from the tower head foremost. Thus Prexaspes ended his life,
having been throughout his time a man of repute.

76. Now the seven of the Persians, when they had resolved forthwith to
lay hands upon the Magians and not to delay, made prayer to the gods
and went, knowing nothing of that which had been done with regard to
Prexaspes: and as they were going and were in the middle of their
course, they heard that which had happened about Prexaspes. Upon that
they retired out of the way and again considered with themselves,
Otanes and his supporters strongly urging that they should delay and
not set to the work when things were thus disturbed,[66] while Dareios
and those of his party urged that they should go forthwith and do that
which had been resolved, and not delay. Then while they were
contending, there appeared seven pairs of hawks pursuing two pairs of
vultures, plucking out their feathers and tearing them. Seeing this
the seven all approved the opinion of Dareios and thereupon they went
to the king’s palace, encouraged by the sight of the birds. 77. When
they appeared at the gates, it happened nearly as Dareios supposed,
for the guards, having respect for men who were chief among the
Persians, and not suspecting that anything would be done by them of
the kind proposed, allowed them to pass in under the guiding of
heaven, and none asked them any question. Then when they had passed
into the court, they met the eunuchs who bore in the messages to the
king; and these inquired of them for what purpose they had come, and
at the same time they threatened with punishment the keepers of the
gates for having let them pass in, and tried to stop the seven when
they attempted to go forward. Then they gave the word to one another
and drawing their daggers stabbed these men there upon the spot, who
tried to stop them, and themselves went running on towards the chamber
of the men.[66a] 78. Now the Magians happened both of them to be there
within, consulting about that which had been done by Prexaspes. So
when they saw that the eunuchs had been attacked and were crying
aloud, they ran back[67] both of them, and perceiving that which was
being done they turned to self-defence: and one of them got down his
bow and arrows before he was attacked, while the other had recourse to
his spear. Then they engaged in combat with one another; and that one
of them who had taken up his bow and arrows found them of no use,
since his enemies were close at hand and pressed hard upon him, but
the other defended himself with his spear, and first he struck
Aspathines in the thigh, and then Intaphrenes in the eye; and
Intaphrenes lost his eye by reason of the wound, but his life he did
not lose. These then were wounded by one of the Magians, but the
other, when his bow and arrows proved useless to him, fled into a
bedchamber which opened into the chamber of the men, intending to
close the door; and with him there rushed in two of the seven, Dareios
and Gobryas. And when Gobryas was locked together in combat with the
Magian, Dareios stood by and was at a loss what to do, because it was
dark, and he was afraid lest he should strike Gobryas. Then seeing him
standing by idle, Gobryas asked why he did not use his hands, and he
said: “Because I am afraid lest I may strike thee”: and Gobryas
answered: “Thrust with thy sword even though it stab through us both.”
So Dareios was persuaded, and he thrust with his danger and happened
to hit the Magian. 79. So when they had slain the Magians and cut off
their heads, they left behind those of their number who were wounded,
both because they were unable to go, and also in order that they might
take charge of the fortress, and the five others taking with them the
heads of the Magians ran with shouting and clashing of arms and called
upon the other Persians to join them, telling them of that which had
been done and showing the heads, and at the same time they proceeded
to slay every one of the Magians who crossed their path. So the
Persians when they heard of that which had been brought to pass by the
seven and of the deceit of the Magians, thought good themselves also
to do the same, and drawing their daggers they killed the Magians
wherever they found one; so that if night had not come on and stopped
them, they would not have left a single Magian alive. This day the
Persians celebrate in common more than all other days, and upon it
they keep a great festival which is called by the Persians the
festival of the slaughter of the Magians,[67a] on which no Magian is
permitted to appear abroad, but the Magians keep themselves within
their houses throughout that day.

80. When the tumult had subsided and more than five days had
elapsed,[68] those who had risen against the Magians began to take
counsel about the general state, and there were spoken speeches which
some of the Hellenes do not believe were really uttered, but spoken
they were nevertheless.[69] On the one hand Otanes urged that they
should resign the government into the hands of the whole body of the
Persians, and his words were as follows: “To me it seems best that no
single one of us should henceforth be ruler, for that is neither
pleasant nor profitable. Ye saw the insolent temper of Cambyses, to
what lengths it went, and ye have had experience also of the insolence
of the Magian: and how should the rule of one alone be a well-ordered
thing, seeing that the monarch may do what he desires without
rendering any account of his acts? Even the best of all men, if he
were placed in this disposition, would be caused by it to change from
his wonted disposition: for insolence is engendered in him by the good
things which he possesses, and envy is implanted in man from the
beginning; and having these two things, he has all vice: for he does
many deeds of reckless wrong, partly moved by insolence proceeding
from satiety, and partly by envy. And yet a despot at least ought to
have been free from envy, seeing that he has all manner of good
things. He is however naturally in just the opposite temper towards
his subjects; for he grudges to the nobles that they should survive
and live, but delights in the basest of citizens, and he is more ready
than any other man to receive calumnies. Then of all things he is the
most inconsistent; for if you express admiration of him moderately, he
is offended that no very great court is paid to him, whereas if you
pay court to him extravagantly, he is offended with you for being a
flatterer. And the most important matter of all is that which I am
about to say:–he disturbs the customs handed down from our fathers,
he is a ravisher of women, and he puts men to death without trial. On
the other hand the rule of many has first a name attaching to it which
is the fairest of all names, that is to say ‘Equality’;[70] next, the
multitude does none of those things which the monarch does: offices of
state are exercised by lot, and the magistrates are compelled to
render account of their action: and finally all matters of
deliberation are referred to the public assembly. I therefore give as
my opinion that we let monarchy go and increase the power of the
multitude; for in the many is contained everything.”

81. This was the opinion expressed by Otanes; but Megabyzos urged that
they should entrust matters to the rule of a few, saying these words:
“That which Otanes said in opposition to a tyranny, let it be counted
as said for me also, but in that which he said urging that we should
make over the power to the multitude, he has missed the best counsel:
for nothing is more senseless or insolent than a worthless crowd; and
for men flying from the insolence of a despot to fall into that of
unrestrained popular power, is by no means to be endured: for he, if
he does anything, does it knowing what he does, but the people cannot
even know; for how can that know which has neither been taught
anything noble by others nor perceived anything of itself,[71] but
pushes on matters with violent impulse and without understanding, like
a torrent stream? Rule of the people then let them adopt who are foes
to the Persians; but let us choose a company of the best men, and to
them attach the chief power; for in the number of these we shall
ourselves also be, and it is likely that the resolutions taken by the
best men will be the best.”

82. This was the opinion expressed by Megabyzos; and thirdly Dareios
proceeded to declare his opinion, saying: “To me it seems that in
those things which Megabyzos said with regard to the multitude he
spoke rightly, but in those which he said with regard to the rule of a
few, not rightly: for whereas there are three things set before us,
and each is supposed[72] to be the best in its own kind, that is to
say a good popular government, and the rule of a few, and thirdly the
rule of one, I say that this last is by far superior to the others;
for nothing better can be found than the rule of an individual man of
the best kind; seeing that using the best judgment he would be
guardian of the multitude without reproach; and resolutions directed
against enemies would so best be kept secret. In an oligarchy however
it happens often that many, while practising virtue with regard to the
commonwealth, have strong private enmities arising among themselves;
for as each man desires to be himself the leader and to prevail in
counsels, they come to great enmities with one another, whence arise
factions among them, and out of the factions comes murder, and from
murder results the rule of one man; and thus it is shown in this
instance by how much that is the best. Again, when the people rules,
it is impossible that corruption[73] should not arise, and when
corruption arises in the commonwealth, there arise among the corrupt
men not enmities but strong ties of friendship: for they who are
acting corruptly to the injury of the commonwealth put their heads
together secretly to do so. And this continues so until at last some
one takes the leadership of the people and stops the course of such
men. By reason of this the man of whom I speak is admired by the
people, and being so admired he suddenly appears as monarch. Thus he
too furnishes herein an example to prove that the rule of one is the
best thing. Finally, to sum up all in a single word, whence arose the
liberty which we possess, and who gave it to us? Was it a gift of the
people or of an oligarchy or of a monarch? I therefore am of opinion
that we, having been set free by one man, should preserve that form of
rule, and in other respects also that we should not annul the customs
of our fathers which are ordered well; for that is not the better

83. These three opinions then had been proposed, and the other four
men of the seven gave their assent to the last. So when Otanes, who
was desirous to give equality to the Persians, found his opinion
defeated, he spoke to those assembled thus: “Partisans, it is clear
that some one of us must become king, selected either by casting lots,
or by entrusting the decision to the multitude of the Persians and
taking him whom it shall choose, or by some other means. I therefore
shall not be a competitor with you, for I do not desire either to rule
or to be ruled; and on this condition I withdraw from my claim to
rule, namely that I shall not be ruled by any of you, either I myself
or my descendants in future time.” When he had said this, the six made
agreement with him on those terms, and he was no longer a competitor
with them, but withdrew from the assembly; and at the present time
this house remains free alone of all the Persian houses, and submits
to rule only so far as it wills to do so itself, not transgressing the
laws of the Persians.

84. The rest however of the seven continued to deliberate how they
should establish a king in the most just manner; and it was resolved
by them that to Otanes and his descendants in succession, if the
kingdom should come to any other of the seven, there should be given
as special gifts a Median dress every year and all those presents
which are esteemed among the Persians to be the most valuable: and the
reason why they determined that these things should be given to him,
was because he first suggested to them the matter and combined them
together. These were special gifts for Otanes; and this they also
determined for all in common, namely that any one of the seven who
wished might pass in to the royal palaces without any to bear in a
message, unless the king happened to be sleeping with his wife; and
that it should not be lawful for the king to marry from any other
family, but only from those of the men who had made insurrection with
him: and about the kingdom they determined this, namely that the man
whose horse should first neigh at sunrise in the suburb of the city
when they were mounted upon their horses, he should have the kingdom.

85. Now Dareios had a clever horse-keeper, whose name was Oibares. To
this man, when they had left their assembly, Dareios spoke these
words: “Oibares, we have resolved to do about the kingdom thus, namely
that the man whose horse first neighs at sunrise, when we are mounted
upon our horses he shall be king. Now therefore, if thou hast any
cleverness, contrive that we may obtain this prize, and not any other
man.” Oibares replied thus: “If, my master, it depends in truth upon
this whether thou be king or no, have confidence so far as concerns
this and keep a good heart, for none other shall be king before thee;
such charms have I at my command.” Then Dareios said: “If then thou
hast any such trick, it is time to devise it and not to put things
off, for our trial is to-morrow.” Oibares therefore hearing this did
as follows:–when night was coming on he took one of the mares, namely
that one which the horse of Dareios preferred, and this he led into
the suburb of the city and tied her up: then he brought to her the
horse of Dareios, and having for some time led him round her, making
him go so close by so as to touch the mare, at last he let the horse
mount. 86. Now at dawn of day the six came to the place as they had
agreed, riding upon their horses; and as they rode through by the
suburb of the city, when they came near the place where the mare had
been tied up on the former night, the horse of Dareios ran up to the
place and neighed; and just when the horse had done this, there came
lightning and thunder from a clear sky: and the happening of these
things to Dareios consummated his claim, for they seemed to have come
to pass by some design, and the others leapt down from their horses
and did obeisance to Dareios. 87. Some say that the contrivance of
Oibares was this, but others say as follows (for the story is told by
the Persians in both ways), namely that he touched with his hands the
parts of this mare and kept his hand hidden in his trousers; and when
at sunrise they were about to let the horses go, this Oibares pulled
out his hand and applied it to the nostrils of the horse of Dareios;
and the horse, perceiving the smell, snorted and neighed.

88. So Dareios the son of Hystaspes had been declared king; and in
Asia all except the Arabians were his subjects, having been subdued by
Cyrus and again afterwards by Cambyses. The Arabians however were
never obedient to the Persians under conditions of subjection, but had
become guest-friends when they let Cambyses pass by to Egypt: for
against the will of the Arabians the Persians would not be able to
invade Egypt. Moreover Dareios made the most noble marriages possible
in the estimation of the Persians; for he married two daughters of
Cyrus, Atossa and Artystone, of whom the one, Arossa, had before been
the wife of Cambyses her brother and then afterwards of the Magian,
while Artystone was a virgin; and besides them he married the daughter
of Smerdis the son of Cyrus, whose name was Parmys; and he also took
to wife the daughter of Otanes, her who had discovered the Magian; and
all things became filled with his power. And first he caused to be a
carving in stone, and set it up; and in it there was the figure of a
man on horseback, and he wrote upon it writing to this effect:
“Dareios son of Hystaspes by the excellence of his horse,” mentioning
the name of it, “and of his horse-keeper Oibares obtained the kingdom
of the Persians.”

89. Having so done in Persia, he established twenty provinces, which
the Persians themselves call /satrapies/; and having established the
provinces and set over them rulers, he appointed tribute to come to
him from them according to races, joining also to the chief races
those who dwelt on their borders, or passing beyond the immediate
neighbours and assigning to various races those which lay more
distant. He divided the provinces and the yearly payment of tribute as
follows: and those of them who brought in silver were commanded to pay
by the standard of the Babylonian talent, but those who brought in
gold by the Euboïc talent; now the Babylonian talent is equal to
eight-and-seventy Euboïc pounds.[74] For in the reign of Cyrus, and
again of Cambyses, nothing was fixed about tribute, but they used to
bring gifts: and on account of this appointing of tribute and other
things like this, the Persians say that Dareios was a shopkeeper,
Cambyses a master, and Cyrus a father; the one because he dealt with
all his affairs like a shopkeeper, the second because he was harsh and
had little regard for any one, and the other because he was gentle and
contrived for them all things good.

90. From the Ionians and the Magnesians who dwell in Asia and the
Aiolians, Carians, Lykians, Milyans and Pamphylians (for one single
sum was appointed by him as tribute for all these) there came in four
hundred talents of silver. This was appointed by him to be the first
division.[75] From the Mysians and Lydians and Lasonians and Cabalians
and Hytennians[76] there came in five hundred talents: this is the
second division. From the Hellespontians who dwell on the right as one
sails in and the Phrygians and the Thracians who dwell in Asia and the
Paphlagonians and Mariandynoi and Syrians[77] the tribute was three
hundred and sixty talents: this is the third division. From the
Kilikians, besides three hundred and sixty white horses, one for every
day in the year, there came also five hundred talents of silver; of
these one hundred and forty talents were spent upon the horsemen which
served as a guard to the Kilikian land, and the remaining three
hundred and sixty came in year by year to Dareios: this is the fourth
division. 91. From that division which begins with the city of
Posideion, founded by Amphilochos the son of Amphiaraos on the borders
of the Kilikians and the Syrians, and extends as far as Egypt, not
including the territory of the Arabians (for this was free from
payment), the amount was three hundred and fifty talents; and in this
division are the whole of Phenicia and Syria which is called Palestine
and Cyprus: this is the fifth division. From Egypt and the Libyans
bordering upon Egypt, and from Kyrene and Barca, for these were so
ordered as to belong to the Egyptian division, there came in seven
hundred talents, without reckoning the money produced by the lake of
Moiris, that is to say from the fish;[77a] without reckoning this, I
say, or the corn which was contributed in addition by measure, there
came in seven hundred talents; for as regards the corn, they
contribute by measure one hundred and twenty thousand[78] bushels for
the use of those Persians who are established in the “White Fortress”
at Memphis, and for their foreign mercenaries: this is the sixth
division. The Sattagydai and Gandarians and Dadicans and Aparytai,
being joined together, brought in one hundred and seventy talents:
this is the seventh division. From Susa and the rest of the land of
the Kissians there came in three hundred: this is the eighth division.
92. From Babylon and from the rest of Assyria there came in to him a
thousand talents of silver and five hundred boys for eunuchs: this is
the ninth division. From Agbatana and from the rest of Media and the
Paricanians and Orthocorybantians, four hundred and fifty talents:
this is the tenth division. The Caspians and Pausicans[79] and
Pantimathoi and Dareitai, contributing together, brought in two
hundred talents: this is the eleventh division. From the Bactrians as
far as the Aigloi the tribute was three hundred and sixty talents:
this is the twelfth division. 93. From Pactyïke and the Armenians and
the people bordering upon them as far as the Euxine, four hundred
talents: this is the thirteenth division. From the Sagartians and
Sarangians and Thamanaians and Utians and Mycans and those who dwell
in the islands of the Erythraian Sea, where the king settles those who
are called the “Removed,”[80] from all these together a tribute was
produced of six hundred talents: this is the fourteenth division. The
Sacans and the Caspians[81] brought in two hundred and fifty talents:
this is the fifteenth division. The Parthians and Chorasmians and
Sogdians and Areians three hundred talents: this is the sixteenth
division. 94. The Paricanians and Ethiopians in Asia brought in four
hundred talents: this is the seventeenth division. To the Matienians
and Saspeirians and Alarodians was appointed a tribute of two hundred
talents: this is the eighteenth division. To the Moschoi and
Tibarenians and Macronians and Mossynoicoi and Mares three hundred
talents were ordered: this is the nineteenth division. Of the Indians
the number is far greater than that of any other race of men of whom
we know; and they brought in a tribute larger than all the rest, that
is to say three hundred and sixty talents of gold-dust: this is the
twentieth division.

95. Now if we compare Babylonian with Euboïc talents, the silver is
found to amount to nine thousand eight hundred and eighty[82] talents;
and if we reckon the gold at thirteen times the value of silver,
weight for weight, the gold-dust is found to amount to four thousand
six hundred and eighty Euboïc talents. These being all added together,
the total which was collected as yearly tribute for Dareios amounts to
fourteen thousand five hundred and sixty Euboïc talents: the sums
which are less than these[83] I pass over and do not mention.

96. This was the tribute which came in to Dareios from Asia and from a
small part of Libya: but as time went on, other tribute came in also
from the islands and from those who dwell in Europe as far as
Thessaly. This tribute the king stores up in his treasury in the
following manner:–he melts it down and pours it into jars of
earthenware, and when he has filled the jars he takes off the
earthenware jar from the metal; and when he wants money he cuts off so
much as he needs on each occasion.

97. These were the provinces and the assessments of tribute: and the
Persian land alone has not been mentioned by me as paying a
contribution, for the Persians have their land to dwell in free from
payment. The following moreover had no tribute fixed for them to pay,
but brought gifts, namely the Ethiopians who border upon Egypt, whom
Cambyses subdued as he marched against the Long-lived Ethiopians,
those[84] who dwell about Nysa, which is called “sacred,” and who
celebrate the festivals in honour of Dionysos: these Ethiopians and
those who dwell near them have the same kind of seed as the Callantian
Indians, and they have underground dwellings.[85] These both together
brought every other year, and continue to bring even to my own time,
two quart measures[86] of unmelted gold and two hundred blocks of
ebony and five Ethiopian boys and twenty large elephant tusks. The
Colchians also had set themselves among those who brought gifts, and
with them those who border upon them extending as far as the range of
the Caucasus (for the Persian rule extends as far as these mountains,
but those who dwell in the parts beyond Caucasus toward the North Wind
regard the Persians no longer),–these, I say, continued to bring the
gifts which they had fixed for themselves every four years[87] even
down to my own time, that is to say, a hundred boys and a hundred
maidens. Finally, the Arabians brought a thousand talents of
frankincense every year. Such were the gifts which these brought to
the king apart from the tribute.

98. Now this great quantity of gold, out of which the Indians bring in
to the king the gold-dust which has been mentioned, is obtained by
them in a manner which I shall tell:–That part of the Indian land
which is towards the rising sun is sand; for of all the peoples in
Asia of which we know or about which any certain report is given, the
Indians dwell furthest away towards the East and the sunrising; seeing
that the country to the East of the Indians is desert on account of
the sand. Now there are many tribes of Indians, and they do not agree
with one another in language; and some of them are pastoral and others
not so, and some dwell in the swamps of the river[88] and feed upon
raw fish, which they catch by fishing from boats made of cane; and
each boat is made of one joint of cane. These Indians of which I speak
wear clothing made of rushes: they gather and cut the rushes from the
river and then weave them together into a kind of mat and put it on
like a corslet. 99. Others of the Indians, dwelling to the East of
these, are pastoral and eat raw flesh: these are called Padaians, and
they practise the following customs:–whenever any of their tribe
falls ill, whether it be a woman or a man, if a man then the men who
are his nearest associates put him to death, saying that he is wasting
away with the disease and his flesh is being spoilt for them:[89] and
meanwhile he denies stoutly and says that he is not ill, but they do
not agree with him; and after they have killed him they feast upon his
flesh: but if it be a woman who falls ill, the women who are her
greatest intimates do to her in the same manner as the men do in the
other case. For[90] in fact even if a man has come to old age they
slay him and feast upon him; but very few of them come to be reckoned
as old, for they kill every one who falls into sickness, before he
reaches old age. 100. Other Indians have on the contrary a manner of
life as follows:–they neither kill any living thing nor do they sow
any crops nor is it their custom to possess houses; but they feed on
herbs, and they have a grain of the size of millet, in a sheath, which
grows of itself from the ground; this they gather and boil with the
sheath, and make it their food: and whenever any of them falls into
sickness, he goes to the desert country and lies there, and none of
them pay any attention either to one who is dead or to one who is
sick. 101. The sexual intercourse of all these Indians of whom I have
spoken is open like that of cattle, and they have all one colour of
skin, resembling that of the Ethiopians: moreover the seed which they
emit is not white like that of other races, but black like their skin;
and the Ethiopians also are similar in this respect. These tribes of
Indians dwell further off than the Persian power extends, and towards
the South Wind, and they never became subjects of Dareios.

102. Others however of the Indians are on the borders of the city of
Caspatyros and the country of Pactyïke, dwelling towards the North[91] of the other Indians; and they have a manner of living nearly the same
as that of the Bactrians: these are the most warlike of the Indians,
and these are they who make expeditions for the gold. For in the parts
where they live it is desert on account of the sand; and in this
desert and sandy tract are produced ants, which are in size smaller
than dogs but larger than foxes, for[92] there are some of them kept
at the residence of the king of Persia, which are caught here. These
ants then make their dwelling under ground and carry up the sand just
in the same manner as the ants found in the land of the Hellenes,
which they themselves[93] also very much resemble in form; and the
sand which is brought up contains gold. To obtain this sand the
Indians make expeditions into the desert, each one having yoked
together three camels, placing a female in the middle and a male like
a trace-horse to draw by each side. On this female he mounts himself,
having arranged carefully that she shall be taken to be yoked from
young ones, the more lately born the better. For their female camels
are not inferior to horses in speed, and moreover they are much more
capable of bearing weights. 103. As to the form of the camel, I do not
here describe it, since the Hellenes for whom I write are already
acquainted with it, but I shall tell that which is not commonly known
about it, which is this:–the camel has in the hind legs four thighs
and four knees,[94] and its organs of generation are between the hind
legs, turned towards the tail. 104. The Indians, I say, ride out to
get the gold in the manner and with the kind of yoking which I have
described, making calculations so that they may be engaged in carrying
it off at the time when the greatest heat prevails; for the heat
causes the ants to disappear underground. Now among these nations the
sun is hottest in the morning hours, not at midday as with others, but
from sunrise to the time of closing the market: and during this time
it produces much greater heat than at midday in Hellas, so that it is
said that then they drench themselves with water. Midday however has
about equal degree of heat with the Indians as with other men, while
after midday their sun becomes like the morning sun with other men,
and after this, as it goes further away, it produces still greater
coolness, until at last at sunset it makes the air very cool indeed.
105. When the Indians have come to the place with bags, they fill them
with the sand and ride away back as quickly as they can, for forthwith
the ants, perceiving, as the Persians allege, by the smell, begin to
pursue them: and this animal, they say, is superior to every other
creature in swiftness, so that unless the Indians got a start in their
course, while the ants were gathering together, not one of them would
escape. So then the male camels, for they are inferior in speed of
running to the females, if they drag behind are even let loose[95] from the side of the female, one after the other;[96] the females
however, remembering the young which they left behind, do not show any
slackness in their course.[97] Thus it is that the Indians get most
part of the gold, as the Persians say; there is however other gold
also in their land obtained by digging, but in smaller quantities.

106. It seems indeed that the extremities of the inhabited world had
allotted to them by nature the fairest things, just as it was the lot
of Hellas to have its seasons far more fairly tempered than other
lands: for first, India is the most distant of inhabited lands towards
the East, as I have said a little above, and in this land not only the
animals, birds as well as four-footed beasts, are much larger than in
other places (except the horses, which are surpassed by those of Media
called Nessaian), but also there is gold in abundance there, some got
by digging, some brought down by rivers, and some carried off as I
explained just now: and there also the trees which grow wild produce
wool which surpasses in beauty and excellence that from sheep, and the
Indians wear clothing obtained from these trees. 107. Then again
Arabia is the furthest of inhabited lands in the direction of the
midday, and in it alone of all lands grow frankincense and myrrh and
cassia and cinnamon and gum-mastich. All these except myrrh are got
with difficulty by the Arabians. Frankincense they collect by burning
the storax, which is brought thence to the Hellenes by the Phenicians,
by burning this, I say, so as to produce smoke they take it; for these
trees which produce frankincense are guarded by winged serpents, small
in size and of various colours, which watch in great numbers about
each tree, of the same kind as those which attempt to invade
Egypt:[97a] and they cannot be driven away from the trees by any other
thing but only the smoke of storax. 108. The Arabians say also that
all the world would have been by this time filled with these serpents,
if that did not happen with regard to them which I knew happened with
regard to vipers: and it seems that the Divine Providence, as indeed
was to be expected, seeing that it is wise, has made all those animals
prolific which are of cowardly spirit and good for food, in order that
they may not be all eaten up and their race fail, whereas it has made
those which are bold and noxious to have small progeny. For example,
because the hare is hunted by every beast and bird as well as by man,
therefore it is so very prolific as it is: and this is the only one of
all beasts which becomes pregnant again before the former young are
born, and has in its womb some of its young covered with fur and
others bare; and while one is just being shaped in the matrix, another
is being conceived. Thus it is in this case; whereas the lioness,
which is the strongest and most courageous of creatures, produces one
cub once only in her life; for when she produces young she casts out
her womb together with her young; and the cause of it is this:–when
the cub being within the mother[98] begins to move about, then having
claws by far sharper than those of any other beast he tears the womb,
and as he grows larger he proceeds much further in his scratching: at
last the time of birth approaches and there is now nothing at all left
of it in a sound condition. 109. Just so also, if vipers and the
winged serpents of the Arabians were produced in the ordinary course
of their nature, man would not be able to live upon the earth; but as
it is, when they couple with one another and the male is in the act of
generation, as he lets go from him the seed, the female seizes hold of
his neck, and fastening on to it does not relax her hold till she has
eaten it through. The male then dies in the manner which I have said,
but the female pays the penalty of retribution for the male in this
manner:–the young while they are still in the womb take vengeance for
their father by eating through their mother,[99] and having eaten
through her belly they thus make their way out for themselves. Other
serpents however, which are not hurtful to man, produce eggs and hatch
from them a very large number of offspring. Now vipers are distributed
over all the earth; but the others, which are winged, are found in
great numbers together in Arabia and in no other land: therefore it is
that they appear to be numerous. 110. This frankincense then is
obtained thus by the Arabians; and cassia is obtained as follows:–
they bind up in cows’-hide and other kinds of skins all their body and
their face except only the eyes, and then go to get the cassia. This
grows in a pool not very deep, and round the pool and in it lodge, it
seems, winged beasts nearly resembling bats, and they squeak horribly
and are courageous in fight. These they must keep off from their eyes,
and so cut the cassia. 111. Cinnamon they collect in a yet more
marvellous manner than this: for where it grows and what land produces
it they are not able to tell, except only that some say (and it is a
probable account) that it grows in those regions where Dionysos was
brought up; and they say that large birds carry those dried sticks
which we have learnt from the Phenicians to call cinnamon, carry them,
I say, to nests which are made of clay and stuck on to precipitous
sides of mountains, which man can find no means of scaling. With
regard to this then the Arabians practise the following contrivance:–
they divide up the limbs of the oxen and asses that die and of their
other beasts of burden, into pieces as large as convenient, and convey
them to these places, and when they have laid them down not far from
the nests, they withdraw to a distance from them: and the birds fly
down and carry the limbs[100] of the beasts of burden off to their
nests; and these are not able to bear them, but break down and fall to
the earth; and the men come up to them and collect the cinnamon. Thus
cinnamon is collected and comes from this nation to the other
countries of the world. 112. Gum-mastich however, which the Arabians
call /ladanon/, comes in a still more extraordinary manner; for though
it is the most sweet-scented of all things, it comes in the most evil-
scented thing, since it is found in the beards of he-goats, produced
there like resin from wood: this is of use for the making of many
perfumes, and the Arabians use it more than anything else as incense.
113. Let what we have said suffice with regard to spices; and from the
land of Arabia there blows a scent of them most marvellously sweet.
They have also two kinds of sheep which are worthy of admiration and
are not found in any other land: the one kind has the tail long, not
less than three cubits in length; and if one should allow these to
drag these after them, they would have sores[101] from their tails
being worn away against the ground; but as it is, every one of the
shepherds knows enough of carpentering to make little cars, which they
tie under the tails, fastening the tail of each animal to a separate
little car. The other kind of sheep has the tail broad, even as much
as a cubit in breadth.

114. As one passes beyond the place of the midday, the Ethiopian land
is that which extends furthest of all inhabited lands towards the
sunset. This produces both gold in abundance and huge elephants and
trees of all kinds growing wild and ebony, and men who are of all men
the tallest, the most beautiful and the most long-lived.

115. These are the extremities in Asia and in Libya; but as to the
extremities of Europe towards the West, I am not able to speak with
certainty: for neither do I accept the tale that there is a river
called in Barbarian tongue Eridanos, flowing into the sea which lies
towards the North Wind, whence it is said that amber comes; nor do I
know of the real existence of “Tin Islands”[102] from which tin[103] comes to us: for first the name Eridanos itself declares that it is
Hellenic and that it does not belong to a Barbarian speech, but was
invented by some poet; and secondly I am not able to hear from any one
who has been an eye-witness, though I took pains to discover this,
that there is a sea on the other side of Europe. However that may be,
tin and amber certainly come to us from the extremity of Europe. 116.
Then again towards the North of Europe, there is evidently a quantity
of gold by far larger than in any other land: as to how it is got,
here again I am not able to say for certain, but it is said to be
carried off from the griffins by Arimaspians, a one-eyed race of
men.[104] But I do not believe this tale either, that nature produces
one-eyed men which in all other respects are like other men. However,
it would seem that the extremities which bound the rest of the world
on every side and enclose it in the midst, possess the things which by
us are thought to be the most beautiful and the most rare.

117. Now there is a plain in Asia bounded by mountains on all sides,
and through the mountains there are five clefts. This plain belonged
once to the Chorasmians, and it lies on the borders of the Chorasmians
themselves, the Hyrcanians, Parthians, Sarangians, and Thamanaians;
but from the time that the Persians began to bear rule it belongs to
the king. From this enclosing mountain of which I speak there flows a
great river, and its name is Akes. This formerly watered the lands of
these nations which have been mentioned, being divided into five
streams and conducted through a separate cleft in the mountains to
each separate nation; but from the time that they have come to be
under the Persians they have suffered as follows:–the king built up
the clefts in the mountains and set gates at each cleft; and so, since
the water has been shut off from its outlet, the plain within the
mountains is made into a sea, because the river runs into it and has
no way out in any direction. Those therefore who in former times had
been wont to make use of the water, not being able now to make use of
it are in great trouble: for during the winter they have rain from
heaven, as also other men have, but in the summer they desire to use
the water when they sow millet and sesame seed. So then, the water not
being granted to them, they come to the Persians both themselves and
their wives, and standing at the gates of the king’s court they cry
and howl; and the king orders that for those who need it most, the
gates which lead to their land shall be opened; and when their land
has become satiated with drinking in the water, these gates are
closed, and he orders the gates to be opened for others, that is to
say those most needing it of the rest who remain: and, as I have
heard, he exacts large sums of money for opening them, besides the
regular tribute.

118. Thus it is with these matters: but of the seven men who had risen
against the Magian, it happened to one, namely Intaphrenes, to be put
to death immediately after their insurrection for an outrage which I
shall relate. He desired to enter into the king’s palace and confer
with the king; for the law was in fact so, that those who had risen up
against the Magian were permitted to go in to the king’s presence
without any one to announce them, unless the king happened to be lying
with his wife. Accordingly Intaphrenes did not think it fit that any
one should announce his coming; but as he was one of the seven, he
desired to enter. The gatekeeper however and the bearer of messages
endeavoured to prevent him, saying that the king was lying with his
wife: but Intaphrenes believing that they were not speaking the truth,
drew his sword[105] and cut off their ears and their noses, and
stringing these upon his horse’s bridle he tied them round their necks
and so let them go. 119. Upon this they showed themselves to the king
and told the cause for which they had suffered this; and Dareios,
fearing that the six might have done this by common design, sent for
each one separately and made trial of his inclinations, as to whether
he approved of that which had been done: and when he was fully assured
that Intaphrenes had not done this in combination with them, he took
both Intaphrenes himself and his sons and all his kinsmen, being much
disposed to believe that he was plotting insurrection against him with
the help of his relations; and having seized them he put them in bonds
as for execution. Then the wife of Intaphrenes, coming constantly to
the doors of the king’s court, wept and bewailed herself; and by doing
this continually after the same manner she moved Dareios to pity her.
Accordingly he sent a messenger and said to her: “Woman, king Dareios
grants to thee to save from death one of thy kinsmen who are lying in
bonds, whomsoever thou desirest of them all.” She then, having
considered with herself, answered thus: “If in truth the king grants
me the life of one, I choose of them all my brother.” Dareios being
informed of this, and marvelling at her speech, sent and addressed her
thus: “Woman, the king asks thee what was in thy mind, that thou didst
leave thy husband and thy children to die, and didst choose thy
brother to survive, seeing that he is surely less near to thee in
blood than thy children, and less dear to thee than thy husband.” She
made answer: “O king, I might, if heaven willed, have another husband
and other children, if I should lose these; but another brother I
could by no means have, seeing that my father and my mother are no
longer alive. This was in my mind when I said those words.” To Dareios
then it seemed that the woman had spoken well, and he let go not only
him for whose life she asked, but also the eldest of her sons because
he was pleased with her: but all the others he slew. One therefore of
the seven had perished immediately in the manner which has been

120. Now about the time of the sickness of Cambyses it had come to
pass as follows:–There was one Oroites, a Persian, who had been
appointed by Cyrus to be governor of the province of Sardis.[106] This
man had set his desire upon an unholy thing; for though from
Polycrates the Samian he had never suffered anything nor heard any
offensive word nor even seen him before that time, he desired to take
him and put him to death for a reason of this kind, as most who report
the matter say:–while Oroites and another Persian whose name was
Mitrobates, ruler of the province of Daskyleion,[107] were sitting at
the door of the king’s court, they came from words to strife with one
another; and as they debated their several claims to excellence,
Mitrobates taunting Oroites said: “Dost /thou/[108] count thyself a
man, who didst never yet win for the king the island of Samos, which
lies close to thy province, when it is so exceedingly easy of conquest
that one of the natives of it rose up against the government with
fifteen men-at-arms and got possession of the island, and is now
despot of it?” Some say that because he heard this and was stung by
the reproach, he formed the desire, not so much to take vengeance on
him who said this, as to bring Polycrates to destruction at all costs,
since by reason of him he was ill spoken of: 121, the lesser number
however of those who tell the tale say that Oroites sent a herald to
Samos to ask for something or other, but what it was is not mentioned;
and Polycrates happened to be lying down in the men’s chamber[109] of
his palace, and Anacreon also of Teos was present with him: and
somehow, whether it was by intention and because he made no account of
the business of Oroites, or whether some chance occurred to bring it
about, it happened that the envoy of Oroites came into his presence
and spoke with him, and Polycrates, who chanced to be turned away[110] towards the wall, neither turned round at all nor made any answer.
122. The cause then of the death of Polycrates is reported in these
two different ways, and we may believe whichever of them we please.
Oroites however, having his residence at that Magnesia which is
situated upon the river Maiander, sent Myrsos the son of Gyges, a
Lydian, to Samos bearing a message, since he had perceived the designs
of Polycrates. For Polycrates was the first of the Hellenes of whom we
have any knowledge, who set his mind upon having command of the sea,
excepting Minos the Cnossian and any other who may have had command of
the sea before his time. Of that which we call mortal race Polycrates
was the first; and he had great expectation of becoming ruler of Ionia
and of the islands. Oroites accordingly, having perceived that he had
this design, sent a message to him and said thus: “Oroites to
Polycrates saith as follows: I hear that thou art making plans to get
great power, and that thou hast not wealth according to thy high
thoughts. Now therefore if thou shalt do as I shall say, thou wilt do
well for thyself on the one hand, and also save me from destruction:
for king Cambyses is planning death for me, and this is reported to me
so that I cannot doubt it. Do thou then carry away out of danger both
myself and with me my wealth; and of this keep a part for thyself and
a part let me keep, and then so far as wealth may bring it about, thou
shalt be ruler of all Hellas. And if thou dost not believe that which
I say about the money, send some one, whosoever happens to be most
trusted by thee, and to him I will show it.” 123. Polycrates having
heard this rejoiced, and was disposed to agree; and as he had a great
desire, it seems, for wealth, he first sent Maiandrios the son of
Maiandrios, a native of Samos who was his secretary, to see it: this
man was the same who not long after these events dedicated all the
ornaments of the men’s chamber[109] in the palace of Polycrates,
ornaments well worth seeing, as an offering to the temple of Hera.
Oroites accordingly, having heard that the person sent to examine
might be expected soon to come, did as follows, that is to say, he
filled eight chests with stones except a small depth at the very top
of each, and laid gold above upon the stones; then he tied up the
chests and kept them in readiness. So Maiandrios came and looked at
them and brought back word to Polycrates: 124, and he upon that
prepared to set out thither, although the diviners and also his
friends strongly dissuaded him from it, and in spite moreover of a
vision which his daughter had seen in sleep of this kind,–it seemed
to her that her father was raised up on high and was bathed by Zeus
and anointed by the Sun. Having seen this vision, she used every kind
of endeavour to dissuade Polycrates from leaving his land to go to
Oroites, and besides that, as he was going to his fifty-oared galley
she accompanied his departure with prophetic words: and he threatened
her that if he should return safe, she should remain unmarried for
long; but she prayed that this might come to pass, for she desired
rather, she said, to be unmarried for long than to be an orphan,
having lost her father. 125. Polycrates however neglected every
counsel and set sail to go to Oroites, taking with him, besides many
others of his friends, Demokedes also the son of Calliphon, a man of
Croton, who was a physician and practised his art better than any
other man of is time. Then when he arrived at Magnesia, Polycrates was
miserably put to death in a manner unworthy both of himself and of his
high ambition: for excepting those who become despots of the
Syracusans, not one besides of the Hellenic despots is worthy to be
compared with Polycrates in magnificence. And when he had killed him
in a manner not fit to be told, Oroites impaled his body: and of those
who accompanied him, as many as were Samians he released, bidding them
be grateful to him that they were free men; but all those of his
company who were either allies or servants, he held in the estimation
of slaves and kept them. Polycrates then being hung up accomplished
wholly the vision of his daughter, for he was bathed by Zeus whenever
it rained,[110a] and anointed by the Sun, giving forth moisture
himself from his body.

126. To this end came the great prosperity of Polycrates, as Amasis
the king of Egypt had foretold to him:[111] but not long afterwards
retribution overtook Oroites in his turn for the murder of Polycrates.
For after the death of Cambyses and the reign of the Magians Oroites
remained at Sardis and did no service to the Persians, when they had
been deprived of their empire by the Medes; moreover during this time
of disturbance he slew Mitrobates the governor in Daskyleion, who had
brought up against him the matter of Polycrates as a reproach; and he
slew also Cranaspes the son of Mitrobates, both men of repute among
the Persians: and besides other various deeds of insolence, once when
a bearer of messages had come to him from Dareios, not being pleased
with the message which he brought he slew him as he was returning,
having set men to lie in wait for him by the way; and having slain him
he made away with the bodies both of the man and of his horse. 127.
Dareios accordingly, when he had come to the throne, was desirous of
taking vengeance upon Oroites for all his wrongdoings and especially
for the murder of Mitrobates and his son. However he did not think it
good to act openly and to send an army against him, since his own
affairs were still in a disturbed state[112] and he had only lately
come to the throne, while he heard that the strength of Oroites was
great, seeing that he had a bodyguard of a thousand Persian spearmen
and was in possession of the divisions[113] of Phrygia and Lydia and
Ionia. Therefore Dareios contrived as follows:–having called together
those of the Persians who were of most repute, he said to them:
“Persians, which of you all will undertake to perform this matter for
me with wisdom, and not by force or with tumult? for where wisdom is
wanted, there is no need of force. Which of you, I say, will either
bring Oroites alive to me or slay him? for he never yet did any
service to the Persians, and on the other hand he has done to them
great evil. First he destroyed two of us, Mitrobates and his son; then
he slays the men who go to summon him, sent by me, displaying
insolence not to be endured. Before therefore he shall accomplish any
other evil against the Persians, we must check his course by death.”
128. Thus Dareios asked, and thirty men undertook the matter, each one
separately desiring to do it himself; and Dareios stopped their
contention and bade them cast lots: so when they cast lots, Bagaios
the son of Artontes obtained the lot from among them all. Bagaios
accordingly, having obtained the lot, did thus:–he wrote many papers
dealing with various matters and on them set the seal of Dareios, and
with them he went to Sardis. When he arrived there and came into the
presence of Oroites, he took the covers off the papers one after
another and gave them to the Royal Secretary to read; for all the
governors of provinces have Royal Secretaries. Now Bagaios thus gave
the papers in order to make trial of the spearmen of the guard,
whether they would accept the motion to revolt from Oroites; and
seeing that they paid great reverence to the papers and still more to
the words which were recited from them, he gave another paper in which
were contained these words: “Persians, king Dareios forbids you to
serve as guards to Oroites”: and they hearing this lowered to him the
points of their spears. Then Bagaios, seeing that in this they were
obedient to the paper, took courage upon that and gave the last of the
papers to the secretary; and in it was written: “King Dareios commands
the Persians who are in Sardis to slay Oroites.” So the spearmen of
the guard, when they heard this, drew their swords and slew him
forthwith. Thus did retribution for the murder of Polycrates the
Samian overtake Oroites.

129. When the wealth of Oroites had come or had been carried[114] up
to Susa, it happened not long after, that king Dareios while engaged
in hunting wild beasts twisted his foot in leaping off his horse, and
it was twisted, as it seems, rather violently, for the ball of his
ankle-joint was put out of the socket. Now he had been accustomed to
keep about him those of the Egyptians who were accounted the first in
the art of medicine, and he made use of their assistance then: but
these by wrenching and forcing the foot made the evil continually
greater. For seven days then and seven nights Dareios was sleepless
owing to the pain which he suffered; and at last on the eighth day,
when he was in a wretched state, some one who had heard talk before
while yet at Sardis of the skill of Demokedes of Croton, reported this
to Dareios; and he bade them bring him forthwith into his presence. So
having found him somewhere unnoticed among the slaves of Oroites, they
brought him forth into the midst dragging fetters after him and
clothed in rags. 130. When he had been placed in the midst of them,
Dareios asked him whether he understood the art; but he would not
admit it, fearing lest, if he declared himself to be what he was, he
might lose for ever the hope of returning to Hellas: and it was clear
to Dareios that he understood that art but was practising
another,[115] and he commanded those who had brought him thither to
produce scourges and pricks. Accordingly upon that he spoke out,
saying that he did not understand it precisely, but that he had kept
company with a physician and had some poor knowledge of the art. Then
after this, when Dareios had committed the case to him, by using
Hellenic drugs and applying mild remedies after the former violent
means, he caused him to get sleep, and in a short time made him
perfectly well, though he had never hoped to be sound of foot again.
Upon this Dareios presented him with two pairs of golden fetters; and
he asked him whether it was by design that he had given to him a
double share of his suffering, because he had made him well. Being
pleased by this saying, Dareios sent him to visit his wives, and the
eunuchs in bringing him in said to the women that this was he who had
restored to the king his life. Then each one of them plunged a cup
into the gold-chest[116] and presented Demokedes with so abundant a
gift that his servant, whose name was Skiton, following and gathering
up the coins[117] which fell from the cups, collected for himself a
very large sum of gold.

131. This Demokedes came from Croton, and became the associate of
Polycrates in the following manner:–at Croton he lived in strife with
his father, who was of a harsh temper, and when he could no longer
endure him, he departed and came to Egina. Being established there he
surpassed in the first year all the other physicians, although he was
without appliances and had none of the instruments which are used in
the art. In the next year the Eginetan State engaged him for a payment
of one talent, in the third year he was engaged by the Athenians for a
hundred pounds weight of silver,[118] and in the fourth by Polycrates
for two talents. Thus he arrived in Samos; and it was by reason of
this man more than anything else that the physicians of Croton got
their reputation: for this event happened at the time when the
physicians of Croton began to be spoken of as the first in Hellas,
while the Kyrenians were reputed to have the second place. About this
same time also the Argives had the reputation of being the first
musicians in Hellas.[119]

132. Then Demokedes having healed king Dareios had a very great house
in Susa, and had been made a table-companion of the king; and except
the one thing of returning to the land of the Hellenes, he had
everything. And first as regards the Egyptian physicians who tried to
heal the king before him, when they were about to be impaled because
they had proved inferior to a physician who was a Hellene, he asked
their lives of the king and rescued them from death: then secondly, he
rescued an Eleian prophet, who had accompanied Polycrates and had
remained unnoticed among the slaves. In short Demokedes was very great
in the favour of the king.

133. Not long time after this another thing came to pass which was
this:–Atossa the daughter of Cyrus and wife of Dareios had a tumour
upon her breast, which afterwards burst and then was spreading
further: and so long as it was not large, she concealed it and said
nothing to anybody, because she was ashamed; but afterwards when she
was in evil case, she sent for Demokedes and showed it to him: and he
said that he would make her well, and caused her to swear that she
would surely do for him in return that which he should ask of her; and
he would ask, he said, none of such things as are shameful. 134. So
when after this by his treatment he had made her well, then Atossa
instructed by Demokedes uttered to Dareios in his bedchamber some such
words as these: “O king, though thou hast such great power, thou dost
sit still, and dost not win in addition any nation or power for the
Persians: and yet it is reasonable that a man who is both young and
master of much wealth should be seen to perform some great deed, in
order that the Persians may know surely that he is a man by whom they
are ruled. It is expedient indeed in two ways that thou shouldest do
so, both in order that the Persians may know that their ruler is a
man, and in order that they may be worn down by war and not have
leisure to plot against thee. For now thou mightest display some great
deed, while thou art still young; seeing that as the body grows the
spirit grows old also with it, and is blunted for every kind of
action.” Thus she spoke according to instructions received, and he
answered thus: “Woman, thou hast said all the things which I myself
have in mind to do; for I have made the plan to yoke together a bridge
from this continent to the other and to make expedition against the
Scythians, and these designs will be by way of being fulfilled within
a little time.” Then Atossa said: “Look now,–forbear to go first
against the Scythians, for these will be in thy power whenever thou
desirest: but do thou, I pray thee, make an expedition against Hellas;
for I am desirous to have Lacedemonian women and Argive and Athenian
and Corinthian, for attendants, because I hear of them by report: and
thou hast the man who of all men is most fitted to show thee all
things which relate to Hellas and to be thy guide, that man, I mean,
who healed thy foot.” Dareios made answer: “Woman, since it seems good
to thee that we should first make trial of Hellas, I think it better
to send first to them men of the Persians together with him of whom
thou speakest, to make investigation, that when these have learnt and
seen, they may report each several thing to us; and then I shall go to
attack them with full knowledge of all.”

135. Thus he said, and he proceeded to do the deed as he spoke the
word: for as soon as day dawned, he summoned fifteen Persians, men of
repute, and bade them pass through the coasts of Hellas in company
with Demokedes, and take care not to let Demokedes escape from them,
but bring him back at all costs. Having thus commanded them, next he
summoned Demokedes himself and asked him to act as a guide for the
whole of Hellas and show it to the Persians, and then return back: and
he bade him take all his movable goods and carry them as gifts to his
father and his brothers, saying that he would give him in their place
many times as much; and besides this, he said, he would contribute to
the gifts a merchant ship filled with all manner of goods, which
should sail with him. Dareios, as it seems to me, promised him these
things with no crafty design; but Demokedes was afraid that Dareios
was making trial of him, and did not make haste to accept all that was
offered, but said that he would leave his own things where they were,
so that he might have them when he came back; he said however that he
accepted the merchant ship which Dareios promised him for the presents
to his brothers. Dareios then, having thus given command to him also,
sent them away to the sea. 136. So these, when they had gone down to
Phenicia and in Phenicia to the city of Sidon, forthwith manned two
triremes, and besides them they also filled a large ship of burden
with all manner of goods. Then when they had made all things ready
they set sail for Hellas, and touching at various places they saw the
coast regions of it and wrote down a description, until at last, when
they had seen the greater number of the famous places, they came to
Taras[120] in Italy. There from complaisance[121] to Demokedes
Aristophilides the king of the Tarentines unfastened and removed the
steering-oars of the Median ships, and also confined the Persians in
prison, because, as he alleged, they came as spies. While they were
being thus dealt with, Demokedes went away and reached Croton; and
when he had now reached his own native place, Aristophilides set the
Persians free and gave back to them those parts of their ships which
he had taken away. 137. The Persians then sailing thence and pursuing
Demokedes reached Croton, and finding him in the market-place they
laid hands upon him; and some of the men of Croton fearing the Persian
power were willing to let him go, but others took hold of him and
struck with their staves at the Persians, who pleaded for themselves
in these words: “Men of Croton, take care what ye are about: ye are
rescuing a man who was a slave of king Dareios and who ran away from
him. How, think you, will king Dareios be content to receive such an
insult; and how shall this which ye do be well for you, if ye take him
away from us? Against what city, think you, shall we make expedition
sooner than against this, and what city before this shall we endeavour
to reduce to slavery?” Thus saying they did not however persuade the
men of Croton, but having had Demokedes rescued from them and the ship
of burden which they were bringing with them taken away, they set sail
to go back to Asia, and did not endeavour to visit any more parts of
Hellas or to find out about them, being now deprived of their guide.
This much however Demokedes gave them as a charge when they were
putting forth to sea, bidding them say to Dareios that Demokedes was
betrothed to the daughter of Milon: for the wrestler Milon had a great
name at the king’s court; and I suppose that Demokedes was urgent for
this marriage, spending much money to further it, in order that
Dareios might see that he was held in honour also in his own country.
138. The Persians however, after they had put out from Croton, were
cast away with their ships in Iapygia; and as they were remaining
there as slaves, Gillos a Tarentine exile rescued them and brought
them back to king Dareios. In return for this Dareios offered to give
him whatsoever thing he should desire; and Gillos chose that he might
have the power of returning to Taras, narrating first the story of his
misfortune: and in order that he might not disturb all Hellas, as
would be the case if on his account a great armament should sail to
invade Italy, he said it was enough for him that the men of Cnidos
should be those who brought him back, without any others; because he
supposed that by these, who were friends with the Tarentines, his
return from exile would most easily be effected. Dareios accordingly
having promised proceeded to perform; for he sent a message to Cnidos
and bade them being back Gillos to Taras: and the men of Cnidos obeyed
Dareios, but nevertheless they did not persuade the Tarentines, and
they were not strong enough to apply force. Thus then it happened with
regard to these things; and these were the first Persians who came
from Asia to Hellas, and for the reason which has been mentioned these
were sent as spies

139. After this king Dareios took Samos before all other cities,
whether of Hellenes or Barbarians, and for a cause which was as
follows:–When Cambyses the son of Cyrus was marching upon Egypt, many
Hellenes arrived in Egypt, some, as might be expected, joining in the
campaign to make profit,[122] and some also coming to see the land
itself; and among these was Syoloson the son of Aiakes and brother of
Polycrates, an exile from Samos. To this Syloson a fortunate chance
occurred, which was this:–he had taken and put upon him a flame-
coloured mantle, and was about the market-place in Memphis; and
Dareios, who was then one of the spearmen of Cambyses and not yet held
in any great estimation, seeing him had a desire for the mantle, and
going up to him offered to buy it. Then Syloson, seeing that Dareios
very greatly desired the mantle, by some divine inspiration said: “I
will not sell this for any sum, but I will give it thee for nothing,
if, as it appears, it must be thine at all costs.” To this Dareios
agreed and received from him the garment. 140. Now Syloson supposed
without any doubt that he had altogether lost this by easy simplicity;
but when in course of time Cambyses was dead, and the seven Persians
had risen up against the Magian, and of the seven Dareios had obtained
the kingdom, Syloson heard that the kingdom had come about to that man
to whom once in Egypt he had given the garment at his request:
accordingly he went up to Susa and sat down at the entrance[123] of
the king’s palace, and said that he was a benefactor of Dareios. The
keeper of the door hearing this reported it to the king; and he
marvelled at it and said to him: “Who then of the Hellenes is my
benefactor, to whom I am bound by gratitude? seeing that it is now but
a short time that I possess the kingdom, and as yet scarcely one[124] of them has come up to our court; and I may almost say that I have no
debt owing to a Hellene. Nevertheless bring him in before me, that I
may know what he means when he says these things.” Then the keeper of
the door brought Syloson before him, and when he had been set in the
midst, the interpreters asked him who he was and what he had done,
that he called himself the benefactor of the king. Syloson accordingly
told all that had happened about the mantle, and how he was the man
who had given it; to which Dareios made answer: “O most noble of men,
thou art he who when as yet I had no power gavest me a gift, small it
may be, but nevertheless the kindness is counted with me to be as
great as if I should now receive some great thing from some one.
Therefore I will give thee in return gold and silver in abundance,
that thou mayest not ever repent that thou didst render a service to
Dareios the son of Hystaspes.” To this Syloson replied: “To me, O
king, give neither gold nor silver, but recover and give to me my
fatherland Samos, which now that my brother Polycrates has been slain
by Oroites is possessed by our slave. This give to me without
bloodshed or selling into slavery.” 141. Dareios having heard this
prepared to send an expedition with Otanes as commander of it, who had
been one of the seven, charging him to accomplish for Syloson all that
which he had requested. Otanes then went down to the sea-coast and was
preparing the expedition.

142. Now Maiandrios the son of Maiandrios was holding the rule over
Samos, having received the government as a trust from Polycrates; and
he, though desiring to show himself the most righteous of men, did not
succeed in so doing: for when the death of Polycrates was reported to
him, he did as follows:–first he founded an altar to Zeus the
Liberator and marked out a sacred enclosure round it, namely that
which exists still in the suburb of the city: then after he had done
this he gathered together an assembly of all the citizens and spoke
these words: “To me, as ye know as well as I, has been entrusted the
sceptre of Polycrates and all his power; and now it is open to me to
be your ruler; but that for the doing of which I find fault with my
neighbour, I will myself refrain from doing, so far as I may: for as I
did not approve of Polycrates acting as master of men who were not
inferior to himself, so neither do I approve of any other who does
such things. Now Polycrates for his part fulfilled his own appointed
destiny, and I now give the power into the hands of the people, and
proclaim to you equality.[125] These privileges however I think it
right to have assigned to me, namely that from the wealth of
Polycrates six talents should be taken out and given to me as a
special gift; and in addition to this I choose for myself and for my
descendants in succession the priesthood of Zeus the Liberator, to
whom I myself founded a temple, while I bestow liberty upon you.” He,
as I say, made these offers to the Samians; but one of them rose up
and said: “Nay, but unworthy too art /thou/[126] to be our ruler,
seeing that thou art of mean birth and a pestilent fellow besides.
Rather take care that thou give an account of the money which thou
hadst to deal with.” 143. Thus said one who was a man of repute among
the citizens, whose name was Telesarchos; and Maiandrios perceiving
that if he resigned the power, some other would be set up as despot
instead of himself, did not keep the purpose at all[127] of resigning
it; but having retired to the fortress he sent for each man
separately, pretending that he was going to give an account of the
money, and so seized them and put them in bonds. These then had been
put in bonds; but Maiandrios after this was overtaken by sickness, and
his brother, whose name was Lycaretos, expecting that he would die,
put all the prisoners to death, in order that he might himself more
easily get possession of the power over Samos: and all this happened
because, as it appears, they did not choose to be free.

144. So when the Persians arrived at Samos bringing Syloson home from
exile, no one raised a hand against them, and moreover the party of
Maiandrios and Maiandrios himself said that they were ready to retire
out of the island under a truce. Otanes therefore having agreed on
these terms and having made a treaty, the most honourable of the
Persians had seats placed for them in front of the fortress and were
sitting there. 145. Now the despot Maiandrios had a brother who was
somewhat mad, and his name was Charilaos. This man for some offence
which he had been committed had been confined in an underground
dungeon,[128] and at this time of which I speak, having heard what was
being done and having put his head through out of the dungeon, when he
saw the Persians peacefully sitting there he began to cry out and said
that he desired to come to speech with Maiandrios. So Maiandrios
hearing his voice bade them loose him and bring him into his presence;
and as soon as he was brought he began to abuse and revile him, trying
to persuade him to attack the Persians, and saying thus: “Thou basest
of men, didst thou put me in bonds and judge me worthy of the dungeon
under ground, who am thine own brother and did no wrong worthy of
bonds, and when thou seest the Persians casting thee forth from the
land and making thee homeless, dost thou not dare to take any revenge,
though they are so exceedingly easy to be overcome? Nay, but if in
truth thou art afraid of them, give me thy mercenaries and I will take
vengeance on them for their coming here; and thyself I am willing to
let go out of the island.” 146. Thus spoke Charilaos, and Maiandrios
accepted that which he said, not, as I think, because he had reached
such a height of folly as to suppose that his own power would overcome
that of the king, but rather because he grudged Syloson that he should
receive from him the State without trouble, and with no injury
inflicted upon it. Therefore he desired to provoke the Persians to
anger and make the Samian power as feeble as possible before he gave
it up to him, being well assured that the Persians, when they had
suffered evil, would be likely to be as bitter against the Samians as
well as against those who did the wrong,[129] and knowing also that he
had a safe way of escape from the island whenever he desired: for he
had had a secret passage made under ground, leading from the fortress
to the sea. Maiandrios then himself sailed out from Samos; but
Charilaos armed all the mercenaries, and opening wide the gates sent
them out upon the Persians, who were not expecting any such thing, but
supposed that all had been arranged: and the mercenaries falling upon
them began to slay those of the Persians who had seats carried for
them[130] and were of most account. While these were thus engaged, the
rest of the Persian force came to the rescue, and the mercenaries were
hard pressed and forced to retire to the fortress. 147. Then Otanes
the Persian commander, seeing that the Persians had suffered greatly,
purposely forgot the commands which Dareios gave him when he sent him
forth, not to kill any one of the Samians nor to sell any into
slavery, but to restore the island to Syloson free from all suffering
of calamity,–these commands, I say, he purposely forgot, and gave the
word to his army to slay every one whom they should take, man or boy,
without distinction. So while some of the army were besieging the
fortress, others were slaying every one who came in their way, in
sanctuary or out of sanctuary equally. 148. Meanwhile Maiandrios had
escaped from Samos and was sailing to Lacedemon; and having come
thither and caused to be brought up to the city the things which he
had taken with him when he departed, he did as follows:–first, he
would set out his cups of silver and of gold, and then while the
servants were cleaning them, he would be engaged in conversation with
Cleomenes the son of Anaxandrides, then king of Sparta, and would
bring him on to his house; and when Cleomenes saw the cups he
marvelled and was astonished at them, and Maiandrios would bid him
take away with him as many of them as he pleased. Maiandrios said this
twice or three times, but Cleomenes herein showed himself the most
upright of men; for he not only did not think fit to take that which
was offered, but perceiving that Maiandrios would make presents to
others of the citizens, and so obtain assistance for himself, he went
to the Ephors and said that it was better for Sparta that the stranger
of Samos should depart from Peloponnesus, lest he might persuade
either himself or some other man of the Spartans to act basely. They
accordingly accepted his counsel, and expelled Maiandrios by
proclamation. 149. As to Samos, the Persians, after sweeping the
population off it,[131] delivered it to Syloson stripped of men.
Afterwards however the commander Otanes even joined in settling people
there, moved by a vision of a dream and by a disease which seized him,
so that he was diseased in the genital organs.

150. After a naval force had thus gone against Samos, the Babylonians
made revolt, being for this exceedingly well prepared; for during all
the time of the reign of the Magian and of the insurrection of the
seven, during all this time and the attendant confusion they were
preparing themselves for the siege of their city: and it chanced by
some means that they were not observed to be doing this. Then when
they made open revolt, they did as follows:–after setting apart their
mothers first, each man set apart also for himself one woman,
whosoever he wished of his own household, and all the remainder they
gathered together and killed by suffocation. Each man set apart the
one who has been mentioned to serve as a maker of bread, and they
suffocated the rest in order that they might not consume their
provisions. 151. Dareios being informed of this and having gathered
together all his power, made expedition against them, and when he had
marched his army up to Babylon he began to besiege them; but they
cared nothing about the siege, for the Babylonians used to go up to
the battlements of the wall and show contempt of Dareios and of his
army by gestures and by words; and one of them uttered this saying:
“Why, O Persians, do ye remain sitting here, and not depart? For then
only shall ye capture us, when mules shall bring forth young.” This
was said by one of the Babylonians, not supposing that a mule would
ever bring forth young. 152. So when a year and seven months had now
passed by, Dareios began to be vexed and his whole army with him, not
being able to conquer the Babylonians. And yet Dareios had used
against them every kind of device and every possible means, but not
even so could he conquer them, though besides other devices he had
attempted it by that also with which Cyrus conquered them; but the
Babylonians were terribly on their guard and he was not able to
conquer them. 153. Then in the twentieth month there happened to
Zopyros the son of that Megabyzos who had been of the seven men who
slew the Magian, to this Zopyros, I say, son of Megabyzos there
happened a prodigy,–one of the mules which served as bearers of
provisions for him produced young: and when this was reported to him,
and Zopyros had himself seen the foal, because he did not believe the
report, he charged those who had seen it not to tell that which had
happened to any one, and he considered with himself what to do. And
having regard to the words spoken by the Babylonian, who had said at
first that when mules should produce young, then the wall would be
taken, having regard (I say) to this ominous saying, it seemed to
Zopyros that Babylon could be taken: for he thought that both the man
had spoken and his mule had produced young by divine dispensation.
154. Since then it seemed to him that it was now fated that Babylon
should be captured, he went to Dareios and inquired of him whether he
thought it a matter of very great moment to conquer Babylon; and
hearing in answer that he thought it of great consequence, he
considered again how he might be the man to take it and how the work
might be his own: for among the Persians benefits are accounted worthy
of a very high degree of honour.[132] He considered accordingly that
he was not able to make conquest of it by any other means, but only if
he should maltreat himself and desert to their side. So, making light
esteem of himself, he maltreated his own body in a manner which could
not be cured; for he cut off his nose and his ears, and shaved his
hair round in an unseemly way, and scourged himself, and so went into
the presence of Dareios. 155. And Dareios was exceedingly troubled
when he saw the man of most repute with him thus maltreated; and
leaping up from his seat he cried aloud and asked him who was the
person who had maltreated him, and for what deed. He replied: “That
man does not exist, excepting thee, who has so great power as to bring
me into this condition; and not any stranger, O king, has done this,
but I myself to myself, accounting it a very grievous thing that the
Assyrians should make a mock of the Persians.” He made answer: “Thou
most reckless of men, thou didst set the fairest name to the foulest
deed when thou saidest that on account of those who are besieged thou
didst bring thyself into a condition which cannot be cured. How, O
thou senseless one, will the enemy surrender to us more quickly,
because thou hast maltreated thyself? Surely thou didst wander out of
thy senses in thus destroying thyself.” And he said, “If I had
communicated to thee that which I was about to do, thou wouldst not
have permitted me to do it; but as it was, I did it on my own account.
Now therefore, unless something is wanting on thy part, we shall
conquer Babylon: for I shall go straightway as a deserter to the wall;
and I shall say to them that I suffered this treatment at thy hands:
and I think that when I have convinced them that this is so, I shall
obtain the command of a part of their forces. Do thou then on the
tenth day from that on which I shall enter within the wall take of
those troops about which thou wilt have no concern if they be
destroyed,–of these, I say, get a thousand by[133] the gate of the
city which is called the gate of Semiramis; and after this again on
the seventh day after the tenth set, I pray thee, two thousand by the
gate which is called the gate of the Ninevites; and after this seventh
day let twenty days elapse, and then lead other four thousand and
place them by the gate called the gate of the Chaldeans: and let
neither the former men nor these have any weapons to defend them
except daggers, but this weapon let them have. Then after the
twentieth day at once bid the rest of the army make an attack on the
wall all round, and set the Persians, I pray thee, by those gates
which are called the gate of Belos and the gate of Kissia: for, as I
think, when I have displayed great deeds of prowess, the Babylonians
will entrust to me, besides their other things, also the keys which
draw the bolts of the gates. Then after that it shall be the care of
myself and the Persians to do that which ought to be done.” 156.
Having thus enjoined he proceeded to go to the gate of the city,
turning to look behind him as he went, as if he were in truth a
deserter; and those who were set in that part of the wall, seeing him
from the towers ran down, and slightly opening one wing of the gate
asked who he was, and for what purpose he had come. And he addressed
them and said that he was Zopyros, and that he came as a deserter to
them. The gate-keepers accordingly when they heard this led him to the
public assembly of the Babylonians; and being introduced before it he
began to lament his fortunes, saying that he had in fact suffered at
his own hands, and that he had suffered this because he had counselled
the king to withdraw his army, since in truth there seemed to be no
means of taking the town: “And now,” he went on to say, “I am come for
very great good to you, O Babylonians, but for very great evil to
Dareios and his army, and to the Persians,[134] for he shall surely
not escape with impunity for having thus maltreated me; and I know all
the courses of his counsels.” 157. Thus he spoke, and the Babylonians,
when they saw the man of most reputation among the Persians deprived
of nose and ears and smeared over with blood from scourging, supposing
assuredly that he was speaking the truth and had come to be their
helper, were ready to put in his power that for which he asked them,
and he asked them that he might command a certain force. Then when he
had obtained this from them, he did that which he had agreed with
Dareios that he would do; for he led out on the tenth day the army of
the Babylonians, and having surrounded the thousand men whom he had
enjoined Dareios first to set there, he slew them. The Babylonians
accordingly, perceiving that the deeds which he displayed were in
accordance with his words, were very greatly rejoiced and were ready
to serve him in all things: and after the lapse of the days which had
been agreed upon, he again chose men of the Babylonians and led them
out and slew the two thousand men of the troops of Dareios. Seeing
this deed also, the Babylonians all had the name of Zopyros upon their
tongues, and were loud in his praise. He then again, after the lapse
of the days which had been agreed upon, led them out to the place
appointed, and surrounded the four thousand and slew them. When this
also had been done, Zopyros was everything among the Babylonians, and
he was appointed both commander of their army and guardian of their
walls. 158. But when Dareios made an attack according to the agreement
on every side of the wall, then Zopyros discovered all his craft: for
while the Babylonians, having gone up on the wall, were defending
themselves against the attacks of the army of Dareios, Zopyros opened
the gates called the gates of Kissia and of Belos, and let in the
Persians within the wall. And of the Babylonians those who saw that
which was done fled to the temple of Zeus Belos, but those who did not
see remained each in his own appointed place, until at last they also
learnt that they had been betrayed.

159. Thus was Babylon conquered for the second time: and Dareios when
he had overcome the Babylonians, first took away the wall from round
their city and pulled down all the gates; for when Cyrus took Babylon
before him, he did neither of these things: and secondly Dareios
impaled the leading men to the number of about three thousand, but to
the rest of the Babylonians he gave back their city to dwell in: and
to provide that the Babylonians should have wives, in order that their
race might be propagated, Dareios did as follows (for their own wives,
as has been declared at the beginning, the Babylonians had suffocated,
in provident care for their store of food):–he ordered the nations
who dwelt round to bring women to Babylon, fixing a certain number for
each nation, so that the sum total of fifty thousand women was brought
together, and from these women the present Babylonians are descended.

160. As for Zopyros, in the judgment of Dareios no one of the Persians
surpassed him in good service, either of those who came after or of
those who had gone before, excepting Cyrus alone; for to Cyrus no man
of the Persians ever yet ventured to compare himself: and Dareios is
said to have declared often that he would rather that Zopyros were
free from the injury than that he should have twenty Babylons added to
his possession in addition to that one which he had. Moreover he gave
him great honours; for not only did he give him every year those
things which by the Persians are accounted the most honourable, but
also he granted him Babylon to rule free from tribute, so long as he
should live; and he added many other gifts. The son of this Zopyros
was Megabyzos, who was made commander in Egypt against the Athenians
and their allies; and the son of this Megabyzos was Zopyros, who went
over to Athens as a deserter from the Persians.


[1] See ii. 1.

[2] {‘Amasin}. This accusative must be taken with {eprexe}. Some
Editors adopt the conjecture {‘Amasi}, to be taken with
{memphomenos} as in ch. 4, “did this because he had a quarrel with

[3] See ii. 152, 154.

[4] {Suron}: see ii. 104.

[5] {keinon}: most MSS. and many editions have {keimenon}, “laid up.”

[6] {demarkhon}.

[7] {exaireomenos}: explained by some “disembarked” or “unloaded.”

[8] Or “Orotal.”

[9] {dia de touton}.

[10] {trion}: omitted by some good MSS.

[11] See ii. 169.

[12] {alla kai tote uathesan ai Thebai psakadi}.

[13] The so-called {Leukon teikhon} on the south side of Memphis: cp.
ch. 91.

[14] {omoios kai} omitting {a}.

[15] {pentakosias mneas}.

[16] {aneklaion}: perhaps {anteklaion}, which has most MS. authority,
may be right, “answer their lamentations.”

[17] See ch. 31.

[18] {egeomenon}: some Editors adopt the conjecture {agomenon}, “was
being led.”

[19] {sphi}: so in the MSS.: some editions (following the Aldine) have

[20] {to te}: a correction for {tode}: some Editors read {tode, to},
“by this, namely by the case of,” etc.

[21] “gypsum.”

[22] {epi}, lit. “after.”

[23] {leukon tetragonon}: so the MSS. Some Editors, in order to bring
the statement of Herodotus into agreement with the fact, read
{leukon ti trigonon}, “a kind of white triangle”: so Stein.

[24] {epi}: this is altered unnecessarily by most recent Editors to
{upo}, on the authority of Eusebius and Pliny, who say that the
mark was under the tongue.

[25] {ekeino}: some understand this to refer to Cambyses, “that there
was no one now who would come to the assistance of Cambyses, if he
were in trouble,” an office which would properly have belonged to
Smerdis, cp. ch. 65: but the other reference seems more natural.

[26] Epilepsy or something similar.

[26a] Cp. note on i. 114.

[27] {pros ton patera [telesai] Kuron}: the word {telesai} seems to be
corrupt. Stein suggests {eikasai}, “as compared with.” Some
Editors omit the word.

[28] {nomon panton basilea pheras einai}: but {nomos} in this fragment
of Pindar is rather the natural law by which the strong prevail
over the weak.

[29] {iakhon}: Stein reads by conjecture {skhon}, “having obtained

[30] {mede}: Abicht reads {meden} by conjecture.

[31] {alla}, under the influence of the preceding negative.

[32] {prosson} refers grammatically only to {autos}, and marks the
reference as being chiefly to himself throughout the sentence.

[33] {prorrizos}, “by the roots.”

[34] {toi tesi pathesi}: the MSS. mostly have {toi autaisi} or

[35] See i. 51.

[36] {es Aigupton epetheke}, “delivered it (to a messenger to convey)
to Egypt.”

[37] The island of Carpathos, the modern /Scarpanto/.

[38] {to thulako periergasthai}: which is susceptible of a variety of
meanings. In a similar story told of the Chians the Spartans are
made to say that it would have been enough to show the empty bag
without saying anything. (Sext. Empir. ii. 23.) Probably the
meaning here is that if they were going to say so much, they need
not have shown the bag, for the words were enough without the
sight of the bag: or it may be only that the /words/ {o thulakos}
were unnecessary in the sentence {o thulakos alphiton deitai}.

[39] See i. 70.

[40] {genee}. To save the chronology some insert {trite} before
{genee}, but this will be useless unless the clause {kata de ton
auton khronon tou kreteros te arpage} be omitted, as it is also
proposed to do. Periander is thought to have died about 585 B.C.;
but see v. 95.

[41] The MSS. add {eontes eoutoisi}, and apparently something has been
lost. Stein and others follow Valckenär in adding {suggenees},
“are ever at variance with one another in spite of their kinship.”

[42] {noo labon}: the MSS. have {now labon kai touto}.

[43] {iren zemien}.

[44] {tauta ta nun ekhon presseis}: the form of sentence is determined
by its antithesis to {ta agatha ta nun ego ekho}.

[45] {basileus}, because already destined as his father’s successor.

[46] {sphea}: the MSS. have {sphe} here, and in the middle of the next

[46a] The Lacedemonians who were not Dorians had of course taken part
in the Trojan war.

[47] {leuka genetai}.

[48] {prutaneia}.

[49] {lokhon}.

[50] {prosiskhon}: some read {proseskhon}, “had put in.”

[51] {kai ton tes Diktunes neon}: omitted by some Editors.

[52] {orguias}.

[53] {stadioi}.

[54] {kai}: the MSS. have {kata}.

[55] {en te gar anthropeie phusi ouk enen ara}.

[56] Or possibly, “the most necessary of those things which remain to
be done, is this.”

[57] {apistie polle upekekhuto}, cp. ii. 152.

[58] Or perhaps Phaidymia.

[59] {Gobrues} or {Gobrues}.

[60] {‘Intaphrenea}: this form, which is given by at least one MS.
throughout, seems preferable, as being closer to the Persian name
which it represents, “Vindafrana,” cp. v. 25. Most of the MSS.
have {‘Intaphernea}.

[61] {phthas emeu}.

[62] {ti}: some MSS. have {tis}, “in order that persons may trust
(themselves) to them more.”

[63] i.e. “let him be killed on the spot.”

[64] {ta panta muria}, “ten thousand of every possible thing,” (or,
“of all the usual gifts”; cp. ch. 84 {ten pasan doreen}).

[65] {dethen}.

[66] {oideonton ton pregmaton}: “while things were swelling,” cp. ch.
127: perhaps here, “before things came to a head.”

[66a] {andreona}, as in ch. 121.

[67] {ana te edramon palin}, i.e. they ran back into the room out of
which they had come to see what was the matter; with this
communicated a bedchamber which had its light only by the open
door of communication.

[67a] {magophonia}.

[68] Or, “after it had lasted more than five days,” taking {thorubos}
as the subject of {egeneto}. The reason for mentioning the
particular number five seems to be contained in the passage quoted
by Stein from Sextus Empiricus, {enteuphen kai oi Person
kharientes nomon ekhousi, basileos par’ autois teleutesantos pente
tas ephexes emeras anomian agein}.

[69] See vi. 43.

[70] {isonomie}, “equal distribution,” i.e. of civil rights.

[71] {ouden oikeion}: the MSS. have {ouden oud’ oikeion}, which might
be translated “anything of its own either.”

[72] {to lego}: the MSS. have {ton lego}, “each of the things /about
which I speak/ being best in its own kind.” The reading {to logo},
which certainly gives a more satisfactory meaning, is found in
Stobæus, who quotes the passage.

[73] {kakoteta}, as opposed to the {arete} practised by the members of
an aristocracy.

[74] {okto kaiebdomekonta mneas}: the MSS. have {ebdomekonta mneas}
only, and this reading seems to have existed as early as the
second century of our era: nevertheless the correction is
required, not only by the facts of the case, but also by
comparison with ch. 95.

[75] {nomos}, and so throughout.

[76] or “Hygennians.”

[77] i.e. the Cappadokians, see i. 6.

[77a] See ii. 149.

[78] {muriadas}: the MSS. have {muriasi}. With {muriadas} we must
supply {medimnon}. The {medimnos} is really about a bushel and a

[79] {Pausikai}: some MSS. have {Pausoi}.

[80] {tous anaspastous kaleomenous}.

[81] {Kaspioi}: some read by conjecture {Kaspeiroi}, others {Kasioi}.

[82] {ogdokonta kai oktakosia kai einakiskhilia}: the MSS. have
{tesserakonta kai pentakosia kai einakiskhilia} (9540), which is
irreconcilable with the total sum given below, and also with the
sum obtained by adding up the separate items given in Babylonian
talents, whether we reduce them by the proportion 70:60 given by
the MSS. in ch. 89, or by the true proportion 78:60. On the other
hand the total sum given below is precisely the sum of the
separate items (after subtracting the 140 talents used for the
defence of Kilikia), reduced in the proportion 78:60; and this
proves the necessity of the emendation here ({thop} for {thphm})
as well as supplying a strong confirmation of that adopted in ch.

[83] The reckoning throughout is in round numbers, nothing less than
the tens being mentioned.

[84] {oi peri te Nusen}: perhaps this should be corrected to {oi te
peri Nusen}, because the {sunamphoteroi} which follows seem to
refer to two separate peoples.

[85] The passage “these Ethiopians–dwellings” is marked by Stein as
doubtful on internal grounds. The Callantian Indians mentioned
seem to be the same as the Callantians mentioned in ch. 38.

[86] {khoinikas}.

[87] {dia penteteridos}.

[88] i.e. the Indus.

[89] Either {auton tekomenon} is to be taken absolutely, equivalent to
{autou tekomenou}, and {ta krea} is the subject of
{diaphtheiresthai}; or {auton} is the subject and {ta krea} is
accusative of definition, “wasting away in his flesh.” Some MSS.
have {diaphtheirein}, “that he is spoiling his flesh for them.”

[90] {gar}: some would read {de}, but the meaning seems to be, “this
is done universally, for in the case of weakness arising from old
age, the same takes place.”

[91] {pros arktou te kai boreo anemou}.

[92] This clause indicates the manner in which the size is so exactly

[93] {autoi}, i.e. in themselves as well as in their habits. Some MSS.
read {to} for {autoi}, which is adopted by several Editors; others
adopt the conjecture {autois}.

[94] i.e. two in each hind-leg.

[95] {kai paraluesthai}: {kai} is omitted in some MSS. and by some

[96] {ouk omou}: some Editors omit {ouk}: the meaning seems to be that
in case of necessity they are thrown off one after another to
delay the pursuing animals.

[97] The meaning of the passage is doubtful: possibly it should be
translated (omitting {kai}) “the male camels, being inferior in
speed to the females, flag in their course and are dragged along,
first one and then the other.”

[97a] See ii. 75.

[98] {metri}: the MSS. have {metre}, “womb,” but for this Herod. seems
to use the plural.

[99] {metera}: most MSS. have {metran}.

[100] Most of the MSS. have {auton} before {ta melea}, which by some
Editors is omitted, and by others altered to {autika}. If {auton}
is to stand it must be taken with {katapetomenas}, “flying down
upon them,” and so it is punctuated in the Medicean MS.

[101] {elkea}. There is a play upon the words {epelkein} and {elkea}
which can hardly be reproduced in translation.

[102] {Kassiteridas}.

[103] {o kassiteros}.

[104] cp. iv. 13.

[105] {akinakea}.

[106] This is the second of the satrapies mentioned in the list, see
ch. 90, named from its chief town. Oroites also possessed himself
of the first satrapy, of which the chief town was Magnesia (ch.
122), and then of the third (see ch. 127).

[107] The satrapy of Daskyleion is the third in the list, see ch. 90.

[108] {su gar en andron logo}.

[109] Or, “banqueting hall,” cp. iv. 95.

[110] {apestrammenon}: most of the MSS. have {epestrammenon}, “turned
towards (the wall).”

[110a] “whenever he (i.e. Zeus) rained.”

[111] This clause, “as Amasis the king of Egypt had foretold to him,”
is omitted in some MSS. and by some Editors.

[112] {oideonton eti ton pregmaton}: cp. ch. 76.

[113] i.e. satrapies: see ch. 89, 90.

[114] {apikomenon kai anakomisthenton}: the first perhaps referring to
the slaves and the other to the rest of the property.

[115] i.e. the art of evasion.

[116] {es tou khrosou ten theken}: {es} is not in the MSS., which have
generally {tou khrusou sun theke}: one only has {tou khrusou ten

[117] {stateras}: i.e. the {stater Dareikos} “Daric,” worth about £1;
cp. note on vii. 28.

[118] {ekaton mneon}, “a hundred minae,” of which sixty go to the

[119] This passage, from “for this event happened” to the end of the
chapter, is suspected as an interpolation by some Editors, on
internal grounds.

[120] Tarentum. Italy means for Herodotus the southern part of the
peninsula only.

[121] {restones}: so one inferior MS., probably by conjectural
emendation: the rest have {krestones}. The Ionic form however of
{rastone} would be {reistone}. Some would read {khrestones}, a
word which is not found, but might mean the same as {kresmosunes}
(ix. 33), “in consequence of the /request/ of Demokedes.”

[122] {kat’ emporien strateuomenoi}: some MSS. read {kat’ emporien, oi
de strateuomenoi}, “some for trade, others serving in the army.”

[123] {prothura}.

[124] {e tis e oudeis}.

[125] {isonomien}: see ch. 80, note.

[126] {all’ oud’ axios eis su ge}. Maiandrios can claim no credit or
reward for giving up that of which by his own unworthiness he
would in any case have been deprived.

[127] {ou de ti}: some read {oud’ eti} or {ou de eti}, “no longer kept
the purpose.”

[128] {en gorgure}: the word also means a “sewer” or “conduit.”

[129] {prosempikraneesthai emellon toisi Samioisi}.

[130] {tous diphrophoreumenous}: a doubtful word: it seems to be a
sort of title belonging to Persians of a certain rank, perhaps
those who were accompanied by men to carry seats for them, the
same as the {thronoi} mentioned in ch. 144; or, “those who were
borne in litters.”

[131] {sageneusantes}: see vi. 31. The word is thought by Stein to
have been interpolated here.

[132] Or, “are very highly accounted and tend to advancement.”

[133] “opposite to.”

[134] The words “and to the Persians” are omitted in some MSS.



1. After Babylon had been taken, the march of Dareios himself[1] against the Scythians took place: for now that Asia was flourishing in
respect of population, and large sums were being gathered in as
revenue, Dareios formed the desire to take vengeance upon the
Scythians, because they had first invaded the Median land and had
overcome in fight those who opposed them; and thus they had been the
beginners of wrong. The Scythians in truth, as I have before said,[2] had ruled over Upper Asia[3] for eight-and-twenty years; for they had
invaded Asia in their pursuit of the Kimmerians, and they had
deposed[4] the Medes from their rule, who had rule over Asia before
the Scythians came. Now when the Scythians had been absent from their
own land for eight-and-twenty years, as they were returning to it
after that interval of time, they were met by a contest[5] not less
severe than that which they had had with the Medes, since they found
an army of no mean size opposing them. For the wives of the Scythians,
because their husbands were absent from them for a long time, had
associated with the slaves. 2. Now the Scythians put out the eyes of
all their slaves because of the milk which they drink; and they do as
follows:–they take blow-pipes of bone just like flutes, and these
they insert into the vagina of the mare and blow with their mouths,
and others milk while they blow: and they say that they do this
because the veins of the mare are thus filled, being blown out, and so
the udder is let down. When they had drawn the milk they pour it into
wooden vessels hollowed out, and they set the blind slaves in order
about[6] the vessels and agitate the milk. Then that which comes to
the top they skim off, considering it the more valuable part, whereas
they esteem that which settles down to be less good than the other.
For this reason[7] the Scythians put out the eyes of all whom they
catch; for they are not tillers of the soil but nomads. 3. From these
their slaves then, I say, and from their wives had been born and bred
up a generation of young men, who having learnt the manner of their
birth set themselves to oppose the Scythians as they were returning
from the Medes. And first they cut off their land by digging a broad
trench extending from the Tauric mountains to the Maiotian lake, at
the point where[8] this is broadest; then afterwards when the
Scythians attempted to invade the land, they took up a position
against them and fought; and as they fought many times, and the
Scythians were not able to get any advantage in the fighting, one of
them said: “What a thing is this that we are doing, Scythians! We are
fighting against our own slaves, and we are not only becoming fewer in
number ourselves by being slain in battle, but also we are killing
them, and so we shall have fewer to rule over in future. Now therefore
to me it seems good that we leave spears and bows and that each one
take his horse-whip and so go up close to them: for so long as they
saw us with arms in our hands, they thought themselves equal to us and
of equal birth; but when they shall see that we have whips instead of
arms, they will perceive that they are our slaves, and having
acknowledged this they will not await our onset.” 4. When they heard
this, the Scythians proceeded to do that which he said, and the others
being panic-stricken by that which was done forgot their fighting and
fled. Thus the Scythians had ruled over Asia; and in such manner, when
they were driven out again by the Medes, they had returned to their
own land. For this Dareios wished to take vengeance upon them, and was
gathering together an army to go against them.


5. Now the Scythians say that their nation is the youngest of all
nations, and that this came to pass as follows:–The first man who
ever existed in this region, which then was desert, was one named
Targitaos: and of this Targitaos they say, though I do not believe it
for my part, however they say the parents were Zeus and the daughter
of the river Borysthenes. Targitaos, they report, was produced from
some such origin as this, and of him were begotten three sons,
Lipoxaïs and Arpoxaïs and the youngest Colaxaïs. In the reign of
these[9] there came down from heaven certain things wrought of gold, a
plough, a yoke, a battle-axe,[10] and a cup, and fell in the Scythian
land: and first the eldest saw and came near them, desiring to take
them, but the gold blazed with fire when he approached it: then when
he had gone away from it, the second approached, and again it did the
same thing. These then the gold repelled by blazing with fire; but
when the third and youngest came up to it, the flame was quenched, and
he carried them to his own house. The elder brothers then,
acknowledging the significance of this thing, delivered the whole of
the kingly power to the youngest. 6. From Lixopaïs, they say, are
descended those Scythians who are called the race of the Auchatai;
from the middle brother Arpoxaïs those who are called Catiaroi and
Traspians, and from the youngest of them the “Royal” tribe,[11] who
are called Paralatai: and the whole together are called, they say,
Scolotoi, after the name of their king;[12] but the Hellenes gave them
the name of Scythians. 7. Thus the Scythians say they were produced;
and from the time of their origin, that is to say from the first king
Targitaos, to the passing over of Dareios against them, they say that
there is a period of a thousand years and no more. Now this sacred
gold is guarded by the kings with the utmost care, and they visit it
every year with solemn sacrifices of propitiation: moreover if any one
goes to sleep while watching in the open air over this gold during the
festival, the Scythians say that he does not live out the year; and
there is given him for this so much land as he shall ride round
himself on his horse in one day. Now as the land was large, Colaxaïs,
they say, established three kingdoms for his sons; and of these he
made one larger than the rest, and in this the gold is kept. But as to
the upper parts which lie on the North side of those who dwell above
this land, they say one can neither see nor pass through any further
by reason of feathers which are poured down; for both the earth and
the air are full of feathers, and this is that which shuts off the

8. Thus say the Scythians about themselves and about the region above
them; but the Hellenes who dwell about the Pontus say as follows:–
Heracles driving the cattle of Geryones came to this land, then
desert, which the Scythians now inhabit; and Geryones, says the tale,
dwelt away from the region of the Pontus, living in the island called
by the Hellenes Erytheia, near Gadeira which is outside the Pillars of
Heracles by the Ocean.–As to the Ocean, they say indeed that it flows
round the whole earth beginning from the place of the sunrising, but
they do not prove this by facts.–From thence Heracles came to the
land now called Scythia; and as a storm came upon him together with
icy cold, he drew over him his lion’s skin and went to sleep.
Meanwhile the mares harnessed in his chariot disappeared by a
miraculous chance, as they were feeding. 9. Then when Heracles woke he
sought for them; and having gone over the whole land, at last he came
to the region which is called Hylaia; and there he found in a cave a
kind of twofold creature formed by the union of a maiden and a
serpent, whose upper parts from the buttocks upwards were those of a
woman, but her lower parts were those of a snake. Having seen her and
marvelled at her, he asked her then whether she had seen any mares
straying anywhere; and she said that she had them herself and would
not give them up until he lay with her; and Heracles lay with her on
condition of receiving them. She then tried to put off the giving back
of the mares, desiring to have Heracles with her as long as possible,
while he on the other hand desired to get the mares and depart; and at
last she gave them back and said: “These mares when they came hither I
saved for thee, and thou didst give me reward for saving them; for I
have by thee three sons. Tell me then, what must I do with these when
they shall be grown to manhood, whether I shall settle them here, for
over this land I have power alone, or send them away to thee?” She
thus asked of him, and he, they say, replied: “When thou seest that
the boys are grown to men, do this and thou shalt not fail of doing
right:–whichsoever of them thou seest able to stretch this bow as I
do now, and to be girded[12a] with this girdle, him cause to be the
settler of this land; but whosoever of them fails in the deeds which I
enjoin, send him forth out of the land: and if thou shalt do thus,
thou wilt both have delight thyself and perform that which has been
enjoined to thee.” 10. Upon this he drew one of his bows (for up to
that time Heracles, they say, was wont to carry two) and showed her
the girdle, and then he delivered to her both the bow and the girdle,
which had at the end of its clasp a golden cup; and having given them
he departed. She then, when her sons had been born and had grown to be
men, gave them names first, calling one of them Agathyrsos and the
next Gelonos and the youngest Skythes; then bearing in mind the charge
given to her, she did that which was enjoined. And two of her sons,
Agathyrsos and Gelonos, not having proved themselves able to attain to
the task set before them, departed from the land, being cast out by
her who bore them; but Skythes the youngest of them performed the task
and remained in the land: and from Skythes the son of Heracles were
descended, they say, the succeeding kings of the Scythians
(Skythians): and they say moreover that it is by reason of the cup
that the Scythians still even to this day wear cups attached to their
girdles: and this alone his mother contrived for Skythes.[13] Such is
the story told by the Hellenes who dwell about the Pontus.

11. There is however also another story, which is as follows, and to
this I am most inclined myself. It is to the effect that the nomad
Scythians dwelling in Asia, being hard pressed in war by the
Massagetai, left their abode and crossing the river Araxes came
towards the Kimmerian land (for the land which now is occupied by the
Scythians is said to have been in former times the land of the
Kimmerians); and the Kimmerians, when the Scythians were coming
against them, took counsel together, seeing that a great host was
coming to fight against them; and it proved that their opinions were
divided, both opinions being vehemently maintained, but the better
being that of their kings: for the opinion of the people was that it
was necessary to depart and that they ought not to run the risk of
fighting against so many,[14] but that of the kings was to fight for
their land with those who came against them: and as neither the people
were willing by means to agree to the counsel of the kings nor the
kings to that of the people, the people planned to depart without
fighting and to deliver up the land to the invaders, while the kings
resolved to die and to be laid in their own land, and not to flee with
the mass of the people, considering the many goods of fortune which
they had enjoyed, and the many evils which it might be supposed would
come upon them, if they fled from their native land. Having resolved
upon this, they parted into two bodies, and making their numbers equal
they fought with one another: and when these had all been killed by
one another’s hands, then the people of the Kimmerians buried them by
the bank of the river Tyras (where their burial-place is still to be
seen), and having buried them, then they made their way out from the
land, and the Scythians when they came upon it found the land deserted
of its inhabitants. 12. And there are at the present time in the land
of Scythia Kimmerian walls, and a Kimmerian ferry; and there is also a
region which is called Kimmeria, and the so-called Kimmerian
Bosphorus. It is known moreover that the Kimmerians, in their flight
to Asia from the Scythians, also made a settlement on that peninsula
on which now stands the Hellenic city of Sinope; and it is known too
that the Scythians pursued them and invaded the land of Media, having
missed their way; for while the Kimmerians kept ever along by the sea
in their flight, the Scythians pursued them keeping Caucasus on their
right hand, until at last they invaded Media, directing their course
inland. This then which has been told is another story, and it is
common both to Hellenes and Barbarians.

13. Aristeas however the son of Caÿstrobios, a man of Proconnesos,
said in the verses which he composed, that he came to the land of the
Issedonians being possessed by Phœbus, and that beyond the Issedonians
dwelt Arimaspians, a one-eyed race, and beyond these the gold-guarding
griffins, and beyond them the Hyperboreans extending as far as the
sea: and all these except the Hyperboreans, beginning with the
Arimaspians, were continually making war on their neighbours, and the
Issedonians were gradually driven out of their country by the
Arimaspians and the Scythians by the Issedonians, and so the
Kimmerians, who dwelt on the Southern Sea, being pressed by the
Scythians left their land. Thus neither does he agree in regard to
this land with the report of the Scythians.

14. As to Aristeas who composed[15] this, I have said already whence
he was; and I will tell also the tale which I heard about him in
Proconnesos and Kyzicos. They say that Aristeas, who was in birth
inferior to none of the citizens, entered into a fuller’s shop in
Proconnesos and there died; and the fuller closed his workshop and
went away to report the matter to those who were related to the dead
man. And when the news had been spread abroad about the city that
Aristeas was dead, a man of Kyzicos who had come from the town of
Artake entered into controversy with those who said so, and declared
that he had met him going towards Kyzicos and had spoken with him: and
while he was vehement in dispute, those who were related to the dead
man came to the fuller’s shop with the things proper in order to take
up the corpse for burial; and when the house was opened, Aristeas was
not found there either dead or alive. In the seventh year after this
he appeared at Proconnesos and composed those verses which are now
called by the Hellenes the /Arimaspeia/, and having composed them he
disappeared the second time. 15. So much is told by these cities; and
what follows I know happened to the people of Metapontion in Italy[16] two hundred[17] and forty years after the second disappearance of
Aristeas, as I found by putting together the evidence at Proconnesos
and Metapontion. The people of Metapontion say that Aristeas himself
appeared in their land and bade them set up an altar of Apollo and
place by its side a statue bearing the name of Aristeas of
Proconnesos; for he told them that to their land alone of all the
Italiotes[18] Apollo had come, and he, who now was Aristeas, was
accompanying him, being then a raven when he accompanied the god.
Having said this he disappeared; and the Metapontines say that they
sent to Delphi and asked the god what the apparition of the man meant:
and the Pythian prophetess bade them obey the command of the
apparition, and told them that if they obeyed, it would be the better
for them. They therefore accepted this answer and performed the
commands; and there stands a statue now bearing the name of Aristeas
close by the side of the altar dedicated to Apollo,[19] and round it
stand laurel trees; and the altar is set up in the market-place. Let
this suffice which has been said about Aristeas.

16. Now of the land about which this account has been begun, no one
knows precisely what lies beyond it:[20] for I am not able to hear of
any one who alleges that he knows as an eye-witness; and even
Aristeas, the man of whom I was making mention just now, even he, I
say, did not allege, although he was composing verse,[21] that he went
further than the Issedonians; but that which is beyond[20] them he
spoke of by hearsay, and reported that it was the Issedonians who said
these things. So far however as we were able to arrive at certainty by
hearsay, carrying inquiries as far as possible, all this shall be

17. Beginning with the trading station of the Borysthenites,–for of
the parts along the sea this is the central point of all Scythia,–
beginning with this, the first regions are occupied by the Callipidai,
who are Hellenic Scythians; and above these is another race, who are
called Alazonians.[22] These last and the Callipidai in all other
respects have the same customs as the Scythians, but they both sow
corn and use it as food, and also onions, leeks, lentils and millet.
Above the Alazonians dwell Scythians who till the ground, and these
sow their corn not for food but to sell. Beyond them dwell the Neuroi;
and beyond the Neuroi towards the North Wind is a region without
inhabitants, as far as we know. These races are along the river
Hypanis to the West of the Borysthenes; but after crossing the
Borysthenes, first from the sea-coast is Hylaia, and beyond this as
one goes up the river dwell agricultural Scythians, whom the Hellenes
who live upon the river Hypanis call Borysthenites, calling themselves
at the same time citizens of Olbia.[23] These agricultural Scythians
occupy the region which extends Eastwards for a distance of three
days’ journey,[24] reaching to a river which is called Panticapes, and
Northwards for a distance of eleven days’ sail up the Borysthenes.
Then immediately beyond[20] these begins the desert[25] and extends
for a great distance; and on the other side of the desert dwell the
Androphagoi,[26] a race apart by themselves and having no connection
with the Scythians. Beyond[20] them begins a region which is really
desert and has no race of men in it, as far as we know. 19. The region
which lies to the East of these agricultural Scythians, after one has
crossed the river Panticapes, is occupied by nomad Scythians, who
neither sow anything nor plough the earth; and this whole region is
bare of trees except Hylaia. These nomads occupy a country which
extends to the river Gerros, a distance of fourteen[27] days’ journey
Eastwards. 20. Then on the other side of the Gerros we have those
parts which are called the “Royal” lands and those Scythians who are
the bravest and most numerous and who esteem the other Scythians their
slaves. These reach Southwards to the Tauric land, and Eastwards to
the trench which those who were begotten of the blind slaves dug, and
to the trading station which is called Cremnoi[28] upon the Maiotian
lake; and some parts of their country reach to the river Tanaïs.
Beyond[20] the Royal Scythians towards the North Wind dwell the
Melanchlainoi,[29] of a different race and not Scythian. The region
beyond the Melanchlainoi is marshy and not inhabited by any, so far as
we know.

21. After one has crossed the river Tanaïs the country is no longer
Scythia, but the first of the divisions belongs to the Sauromatai, who
beginning at the corner of the Maiotian lake occupy land extending
towards the North Wind fifteen days’ journey, and wholly bare of trees
both cultivated and wild. Above these, holding the next division of
land, dwell the Budinoi, who occupy a land wholly overgrown with
forest consisting of all kinds of trees. 22. Then beyond[20] the
Budinoi towards the North, first there is desert for seven days’
journey; and after the desert turning aside somewhat more towards the
East Wind we come to land occupied by the Thyssagetai, a numerous
people and of separate race from the others. These live by hunting;
and bordering upon them there are settled also in these same regions
men who are called Irycai, who also live by hunting, which they
practise in the following manner:–the hunter climbs up a tree and
lies in wait there for his game (now trees are abundant in all this
country), and each has a horse at hand, which has been taught to lie
down upon its belly in order that it may make itself low, and also a
dog: and when he sees the wild animal from the tree, he first shoots
his arrow and then mounts upon his horse and pursues it, and the dog
seizes hold of it. Above these in a direction towards the East dwell
other Scythians, who have revolted from the Royal Scythians and so
have come to this region.

23. As far as the country of these Scythians the whole land which has
been described is level plain and has a deep soil; but after this
point it is stony and rugged. Then when one has passed through a great
extent of this rugged country, there dwell in the skirts of lofty
mountains men who are said to be all bald-headed from their birth,
male and female equally, and who have flat noses and large chins and
speak a language of their own, using the Scythian manner of dress, and
living on the produce of trees. The tree on the fruit of which they
live is called the Pontic tree, and it is about the size of a fig-
tree: this bears a fruit the size of a bean, containing a stone. When
the fruit has ripened, they strain it through cloths and there flows
from it a thick black juice, and this juice which flows from it is
called /as-chy/. This they either lick up or drink mixed with milk,
and from its lees, that is the solid part, they make cakes and use
them for food; for they have not many cattle, since the pastures there
are by no means good. Each man has his dwelling under a tree, in
winter covering the tree all round with close white felt-cloth, and in
summer without it. These are injured by no men, for they are said to
be sacred, and they possess no weapon of war. These are they also who
decide the disputes rising among their neighbours; and besides this,
whatever fugitive takes refuge with them is injured by no one: and
they are called Argippaians.[30]

24. Now as far as these bald-headed men there is abundantly clear
information about the land and about the nations on this side of them;
for not only do certain of the Scythians go to them, from whom it is
not difficult to get information, but also some of the Hellenes who
are at the trading-station of the Borysthenes and the other trading-
places of the Pontic coast: and those of the Scythians who go to them
transact their business through seven interpreters and in seven
different languages. 25. So far as these, I say, the land is known;
but concerning the region to the North of[20] the bald-headed men no
one can speak with certainty, for lofty and impassable mountains
divide it off, and no one passes over them. However these bald-headed
men say (though I do not believe it) that the mountains are inhabited
by men with goats’ feet; and that after one has passed beyond these,
others are found who sleep through six months of the year. This I do
not admit at all as true. However, the country to the East of the
bald-headed men is known with certainty, being inhabited by the
Issedonians, but that which lies beyond both the bald-headed men and
the Issedonians towards the North Wind is unknown, except so far as we
know it from the accounts given by these nations which have just been
mentioned. 26. The Issedonians are said to have these customs:–when a
man’s father is dead, all the relations bring cattle to the house, and
then having slain them and cut up the flesh, they cut up also the dead
body of the father of their entertainer, and mixing all the flesh
together they set forth a banquet. His skull however they strip of the
flesh and clean it out and then gild it over, and after that they deal
with it as a sacred thing[31] and perform for the dead man great
sacrifices every year. This each son does for his father, just as the
Hellenes keep the day of memorial for the dead.[32] In other respects
however this race also is said to live righteously, and their women
have equal rights with the men. 27. These then also are known; but as
to the region beyond[20] them, it is the Issedonians who report that
there are there one-eyed men and gold-guarding griffins; and the
Scythians report this having received it from them, and from the
Scythians we, that is the rest of mankind, have got our belief; and we
call them in Scythian language Arimaspians, for the Scythians call the
number one /arima/ and the eye /spu/.

28. This whole land which has been described is so exceedingly severe
in climate, that for eight months of the year there is frost so hard
as to be intolerable; and during these if you pour out water you will
not be able to make mud, but only if you kindle a fire can you make
it; and the sea is frozen and the whole of the Kimmerian Bosphorus, so
that the Scythians who are settled within the trench make expeditions
and drive their waggons over into the country of the Sindians. Thus it
continues to be winter for eight months, and even for the remaining
four it is cold in those parts. This winter is distinguished in its
character from all the winters which come in other parts of the world;
for in it there is no rain to speak of at the usual season for rain,
whereas in summer it rains continually; and thunder does not come at
the time when it comes in other countries, but is very frequent,[33] in the summer; and if thunder comes in winter, it is marvelled at as a
prodigy: just so, if an earthquake happens, whether in summer or in
winter, it is accounted a prodigy in Scythia. Horses are able to
endure this winter, but neither mules nor asses can endure it at all,
whereas in other countries horses if they stand in frost lose their
limbs by mortification, while asses and mules endure it. 29. I think
also that it is for this reason that the hornless breed of oxen in
that country have no horns growing; and there is a verse of Homer in
the Odyssey[34] supporting my opinion, which runs this:–

“Also the Libyan land, where the sheep very quickly grow hornèd,”

for it is rightly said that in hot regions the horns come quickly,
whereas in extreme cold the animals either have no horns growing at
all, or hardly any.[35]

30. In that land then this takes place on account of the cold; but
(since my history proceeded from the first seeking occasions for
digression)[36] I feel wonder that in the whole land of Elis mules
cannot be bred, though that region is not cold, nor is there any other
evident cause. The Eleians themselves say that in consequence of some
curse mules are not begotten in their land; but when the time
approaches for the mares to conceive, they drive them out into the
neighbouring lands and there in the land of their neighbours they
admit to them the he-asses until the mares are pregnant, and then they
drive them back.

31. As to the feathers of which the Scythians say that the air is
full, and that by reason of them they are not able either to see or to
pass through the further parts of the continent, the opinion which I
have is this:–in the parts beyond this land it snows continually,
though less in summer than in winter, as might be supposed. Now
whomsoever has seen close at hand snow falling thickly, knows what I
mean without further explanation, for the snow is like feathers: and
on account of this wintry weather, being such as I have said, the
Northern parts of this continent are uninhabitable. I think therefore
that by the feathers the Scythians and those who dwell near them mean
symbolically the snow. This then which has been said goes to the
furthest extent of the accounts given.

32. About a Hyperborean people the Scythians report nothing, nor do
any of those who dwell in this region, unless it be the Issedonians:
but in my opinion neither do these report anything; for if they did
the Scythians also would report it, as they do about the one-eyed
people. Hesiod however has spoken of Hyperboreans, and so also has
Homer in the poem of the “Epigonoi,” at least if Homer was really the
composer of that Epic. 33. But much more about them is reported by the
people of Delos than by any others. For these say that sacred
offerings bound up in wheat straw are carried from the land of the
Hyperboreans and come to the Scythians, and then from the Scythians
the neighbouring nations in succession receive them and convey them
Westwards, finally as far as the Adriatic: thence they are sent
forward towards the South, and the people of Dodona receive them first
of all the Hellenes, and from these they come down to the Malian gulf
and are passed over to Eubœa, where city sends them on to city till
they come to Carystos. After this Andros is left out, for the
Carystians are those who bring them to Tenos, and the Tenians to
Delos. Thus they say that these sacred offerings come to Delos; but at
first, they say, the Hyperboreans sent two maidens bearing the sacred
offerings, whose names, say the Delians, were Hyperoche and Laodike,
and with them for their protection the Hyperboreans sent five men of
their nation to attend them, those namely who are now called
/Perphereës/ and have great honours paid to them in Delos. Since
however the Hyperboreans found that those who were sent away did not
return back, they were troubled to think that it would always befall
them to send out and not to receive back; and so they bore the
offerings to the borders of their land bound up in wheat straw, and
laid a charge upon their neighbours, bidding them send these forward
from themselves to another nation. These things then, they say, come
to Delos being thus sent forward; and I know of my own knowledge that
a thing is done which has resemblance to these offerings, namely that
the women of Thrace and Paionia, when they sacrifice to Artemis “the
Queen,” do not make their offerings without wheat straw. 34. These I
know do as I have said; and for those maidens from the Hyperboreans,
who died in Delos, both the girls and the boys of the Delians cut off
their hair: the former before marriage cut off a lock and having wound
it round a spindle lay it upon the tomb (now the tomb is on the left
hand as one goes into the temple of Artemis, and over it grows an
olive-tree), and all the boys of the Delians wind some of their hair
about a green shoot of some tree, and they also place it upon the
tomb. 35. The maidens, I say, have this honour paid them by the
dwellers in Delos: and the same people say that Arge and Opis also,
being maidens, came to Delos, passing from the Hyperboreans by the
same nations which have been mentioned, even before Hyperoche and
Laodike. These last, they say, came bearing for Eileithuia the tribute
which they had laid upon themselves for the speedy birth,[37] but Arge
and Opis came with the divinities themselves, and other honours have
been assigned to them by the people of Delos: for the women, they say,
collect for them, naming them by their names in the hymn which Olen a
man of Lykia composed in their honour; and both the natives of the
other islands and the Ionians have learnt from them to sing hymns
naming Opis and Arge and collecting:–now this Olen came from Lukia
and composed also the other ancient hymns which are sung in Delos:–
and moreover they say that when the thighs of the victim are consumed
upon the altar, the ashes of them are used to cast upon the grave of
Opis and Arge. Now their grave is behind the temple of Artemis, turned
towards the East, close to the banqueting hall of the Keïeans.

36. Let this suffice which has been said of the Hyperboreans; for the
tale of Abaris, who is reported to have been a Hyperborean, I do not
tell, namely[37a] how he carried the arrow about all over the earth,
eating no food. If however there are any Hyperboreans, it follows that
there are also Hypernotians; and I laugh when I see that, though many
before this have drawn maps of the Earth, yet no one has set the
matter forth in an intelligent way; seeing that they draw Ocean
flowing round the Earth, which is circular exactly as if drawn with
compasses, and they make Asia equal in size to Europe. In a few words
I shall declare the size of each division and of what nature it is as
regards outline.

37. The Persians inhabit Asia[38] extending to the Southern Sea, which
is called the Erythraian; and above these towards the North Wind dwell
the Medes, and above the Medes the Saspeirians, and above the
Saspeirians the Colchians, extending to the Northern Sea, into which
the river Phasis runs. These four nations inhabit from sea to sea. 38.
From them Westwards two peninsulas[39] stretch out from Asia into the
sea, and these I will describe. The first peninsula on the one of its
sides, that is the Northern, stretches along beginning from the Phasis
and extending to the sea, going along the Pontus and the Hellespont as
far as Sigeion in the land of Troy; and on the Southern side the same
peninsula stretches from the Myriandrian gulf, which lies near
Phenicia, in the direction of the sea as far as the headland Triopion;
and in this peninsula dwell thirty races of men. 39. This then is one
of the peninsulas, and the other beginning from the land of the
Persians stretches along to the Erythraian Sea, including Persia and
next after it Assyria, and Arabia after Assyria: and this ends, or
rather is commonly supposed to end,[40] at the Arabian gulf, into
which Dareios conducted a channel from the Nile. Now in the line
stretching to Phenicia from the land of the Persians the land is broad
and the space abundant, but after Phenicia this peninsula goes by the
shore of our Sea along Palestine, Syria, and Egypt, where it ends; and
in it there are three nations only. 40. These are the parts of Asia
which tend towards the West from the Persian land; but as to those
which lie beyond the Persians and Medes and Saspeirians and Colchians
towards the East and the sunrising, on one side the Erythraian Sea
runs along by them, and on the North both the Caspian Sea and the
river Araxes, which flows towards the rising sun: and Asia is
inhabited as far as the Indian land; but from this onwards towards the
East it becomes desert, nor can any one say what manner of land it is.

41. Such and so large is Asia: and Libya is included in the second
peninsula; for after Egypt Libya succeeds at once. Now about Egypt
this peninsula is narrow, for from our Sea to the Erythraian Sea is a
distance there of ten myriads of fathoms,[41] which would amount to a
thousand furlongs; but after this narrow part, the portion of the
peninsula which is called Libya is, as it chances, extremely broad.

42. I wonder then at those who have parted off and divided the world
into Libya, Asia, and Europe, since the difference between these is
not small; for in length Europe extends along by both, while in
breadth it is clear to me that it is beyond comparison larger;[42] for
Libya furnishes proofs about itself that it is surrounded by sea,
except so much of it as borders upon Asia; and this fact was shown by
Necos king of the Egyptians first of all those about whom we have
knowledge. He when he had ceased digging the channel[43] which goes
through from the Nile to the Arabian gulf, sent Phenicians with ships,
bidding them sail and come back through the Pillars of Heracles to the
Northern Sea and so to Egypt. The Phenicians therefore set forth from
the Erythraian Sea and sailed through the Southern Sea; and when
autumn came, they would put to shore and sow the land, wherever in
Libya they might happen to be as they sailed, and then they waited for
the harvest: and having reaped the corn they would sail on, so that
after two years had elapsed, in the third year they turned through the
Pillars of Heracles and arrived again in Egypt. And they reported a
thing which I cannot believe, but another man may, namely that in
sailing round Libya they had the sun on their right hand. 43. Thus was
this country first known to be what it is, and after this it is the
Carthaginians who make report of it; for as to Sataspes the son of
Teaspis the Achaimenid, he did not sail round Libya, though he was
sent for this very purpose, but was struck with fear by the length of
the voyage and the desolate nature of the land, and so returned back
and did not accomplish the task which his mother laid upon him. For
this man had outraged a daughter of Zopyros the son of Megabyzos, a
virgin; and then when he was about to be impaled by order of king
Xerxes for this offence, the mother of Sataspes, who was a sister of
Dareios, entreated for his life, saying that she would herself lay
upon him a greater penalty than Xerxes; for he should be compelled
(she said) to sail round Libya, until in sailing round it he came to
the Arabian gulf. So then Xerxes having agreed upon these terms,
Sataspes went to Egypt, and obtaining a ship and sailors from the
Egyptians, he sailed to the Pillars of Heracles; and having sailed
through them and turned the point of Libya which is called the
promontory of Soloeis, he sailed on towards the South. Then after he
had passed over much sea in many months, as there was needed ever more
and more voyaging, he turned about and sailed back again to Egypt: and
having come from thence into the presence of king Xerxes, he reported
saying that at the furthest point which he reached he was sailing by
dwarfish people, who used clothing made from the palm-tree, and who,
whenever they came to land with their ship, left their towns and fled
away to the mountains: and they, he said, did no injury when they
entered into the towns, but took food[43a] from them only. And the
cause, he said, why he had not completely sailed round Libya was that
the ship could not advance any further but stuck fast. Xerxes however
did not believe that he was speaking the truth, and since he had not
performed the appointed task, he impaled him, inflicting upon him the
penalty pronounced before. A eunuch belonging to this Sataspes ran
away to Samos as soon as he heard that his master was dead, carrying
with him large sums of money; and of this a man of Samos took
possession, whose name I know, but I purposely pass it over without

44. Of Asia the greater part was explored by Dareios, who desiring to
know of the river Indus, which is a second river producing crocodiles
of all the rivers in the world,–to know, I say, of this river where
it runs out into the sea, sent with ships, besides others whom he
trusted to speak the truth, Skylax also, a man of Caryanda. These
starting from the city of Caspatyros and the land of Pactyïke, sailed
down the river towards the East and the sunrising to the sea; and then
sailing over the sea Westwards they came in the thirtieth month to
that place from whence the king of the Egyptians had sent out the
Phenicians of whom I spoke before, to sail round Libya. After these
had made their voyage round the coast, Dareios both subdued the
Indians and made use of this sea. Thus Asia also, excepting the parts
of it which are towards the rising sun, has been found to be
similar[44] to Libya. 45. As to Europe, however, it is clearly not
known by any, either as regards the parts which are towards the rising
sun or those towards the North, whether it be surrounded by sea: but
in length it is known to stretch along by both the other divisions.
And I am not able to understand for what reason it is that to the
Earth, which is one, three different names are given derived from
women, and why there were set as boundaries to divide it the river
Nile of Egypt and the Phasis in Colchis (or as some say the Maiotian
river Tanaïs and the Kimmerian ferry); nor can I learn who those
persons were who made the boundaries, or for what reason they gave the
names. Libya indeed is said by most of the Hellenes to have its name
from Libya a woman of that country, and Asia from the wife of
Prometheus: but this last name is claimed by the Lydians, who say that
Asia has been called after Asias the son of Cotys the son of Manes,
and not from Asia the wife of Prometheus; and from him too they say
the Asian tribe in Sardis has its name. As to Europe however, it is
neither known by any man whether it is surrounded by sea, nor does it
appear whence it got this name or who he was who gave it, unless we
shall say that the land received its name from Europa the Tyrian; and
if so, it would appear that before this it was nameless like the rest.
She however evidently belongs to Asia and did not come to this land
which is now called by the Hellenes Europe, but only from Phenicia to
Crete, and from Crete to Lykia. Let this suffice now which has been
said about these matters; for we will adopt those which are commonly
accepted of the accounts.

46. Now the region of the Euxine upon which Dareios was preparing to
march has, apart from the Scythian race, the most ignorant nations
within it of all lands: for we can neither put forward any nation of
those who dwell within the region of Pontus as eminent in ability, nor
do we know of any man of learning[45] having arisen there, apart from
the Scythian nation and Anacharsis. By the Scythian race one thing
which is the most important of all human things has been found out
more cleverly than by any other men of whom we know; but in other
respects I have no great admiration for them: and that most important
thing which they have discovered is such that none can escape again
who has come to attack them, and if they do not desire to be found, it
is not possible to catch them: for they who have neither cities
founded nor walls built, but all carry their houses with them and are
mounted archers, living not by the plough but by cattle, and whose
dwellings are upon cars, these assuredly are invincible and impossible
to approach. 47. This they have found out, seeing that their land is
suitable to it and at the same time the rivers are their allies: for
first this land is plain land and is grassy and well watered, and then
there are rivers flowing through it not much less in number than the
channels in Egypt. Of these as many as are noteworthy and also can be
navigated from the sea, I will name: there is Ister with five mouths,
and after this Tyras, Hypanis, Borysthenes, Panticapes, Kypakyris,
Gerros and Tanaïs. These flow as I shall now describe.

48. The Ister, which is the greatest of all the rivers which we know,
flows always with equal volume in summer and winter alike. It is the
first towards the West of all the Scythian rivers, and it has become
the greatest of all rivers because other rivers flow into it. And
these are they which make it great:[46]–five in number are those[47] which flow through the Scythian land, namely that which the Scythians
call Porata and the Hellenes Pyretos, and besides this, Tiarantos and
Araros and Naparis and Ordessos. The first-mentioned of these is a
great river lying towards the East, and there it joins waters with the
Ister, the second Tiarantos is more to the West and smaller, and the
Araros and Naparis and Ordessos flow into the Ister going between
these two. 49. These are the native Scythian rivers which join to
swell its stream, while from the Agathyrsians flows the Maris and
joins the Ister, and from the summits of Haimos flow three other great
rivers towards the North Wind and fall into it, namely Atlas and Auras
and Tibisis. Through Thrace and the Thracian Crobyzians flow the
rivers Athrys and Noes and Artanes, running into the Ister; and from
the Paionians and Mount Rhodope the river Kios,[48] cutting through
Haimos in the midst, runs into it also. From the Illyrians the river
Angros flows Northwards and runs out into the Triballian plain and
into the river Brongos, and the Brongos flows into the Ister; thus the
Ister receives both these, being great rivers. From the region which
is above[20] the Ombricans, the river Carpis and another river, the
Alpis, flow also towards the North Wind and run into it; for the Ister
flows in fact through the whole of Europe, beginning in the land of
the Keltoi, who after the Kynesians dwell furthest towards the sun-
setting of all the peoples of Europe; and thus flowing through all
Europe it falls into the sea by the side of Scythia. 50. So then it is
because these which have been named and many others join their waters
together, that Ister becomes the greatest of rivers; since if we
compare the single streams, the Nile is superior in volume of water;
for into this no river or spring flows, to contribute to its volume.
And the Ister flows at an equal level always both in summer and in
winter for some such cause as this, as I suppose:–in winter it is of
the natural size, or becomes only a little larger than its nature,
seeing that this land receives very little rain in winter, but
constantly has snow; whereas in summer the snow which fell in the
winter, in quantity abundant, melts and runs from all parts into the
Ister. This snow of which I speak, running into the river helps to
swell its volume, and with it also many and violent showers of rain,
for it rains during the summer: and thus the waters which mingle with
the Ister are more copious in summer than they are in winter by about
as much as the water which the Sun draws to himself in summer exceeds
that which he draws in winter; and by the setting of these things
against one another there is produced a balance; so that the river is
seen to be of equal volume always.

51. One, I say, of the rivers which the Scythians have is the Ister;
and after it the Tyras, which starts from the North and begins its
course from a large lake which is the boundary between the land of the
Scythians and that of the Neuroi. At its mouth are settled those
Hellenes who are called Tyritai. 52. The third river is the Hypanis,
which starts from Scythia and flows from a great lake round which feed
white wild horses; and this lake is rightly called “Mother of
Hypanis.” From this then the river Hypanis takes its rise and for a
distance of five days’ sail it flows shallow and with sweet water
still;[49] but from this point on towards the sea for four days’ sail
it is very bitter, for there flows into it the water of a bitter
spring, which is so exceedingly bitter that, small as it is, it
changes the water of the Hypanis by mingling with it, though that is a
river to which few are equal in greatness. This spring is on the
border between the lands of the agricultural Scythians and of the
Alazonians, and the name of the spring and of the place from which it
flows is in Scythian Exampaios, and in the Hellenic tongue Hierai
Hodoi.[50] Now the Tyras and the Hypanis approach one another in their
windings in the land of the Alazonians, but after this each turns off
and widens the space between them as they flow.

53. Fourth is the river Borysthenes, which is both the largest of
these after the Ister, and also in our opinion the most serviceable
not only of the Scythian rivers but also of all the rivers of the
world besides, excepting only the Nile of Egypt, for to this it is not
possible to compare any other river: of the rest however the
Borysthenes is the most serviceable, seeing that it provides both
pastures which are the fairest and the richest for cattle, and fish
which are better by far and more numerous than those of any other
river, and also it is the sweetest water to drink, and flows with
clear stream, though others beside it are turbid, and along its banks
crops are produced better than elsewhere, while in parts where it is
not sown, grass grows deeper. Moreover at its mouth salt forms of
itself in abundance, and it produces also huge fish without spines,
which they call /antacaioi/, to be used for salting, and many other
things also worthy of wonder. Now as far as the region of the
Gerrians,[51] to which it is a voyage of forty[52] days, the
Borysthenes is known as flowing from the North Wind; but above this
none can tell through what nations it flows: it is certain however
that it runs through desert[53] to the land of the agricultural
Scythians; for these Scythians dwell along its banks for a distance of
ten days’ sail. Of this river alone and of the Nile I cannot tell
where the sources are, nor, I think, can any of the Hellenes. When the
Borysthenes comes near the sea in its course, the Hypanis mingles with
it, running out into the same marsh;[53a] and the space between these
two rivers, which is as it were a beak of land,[54] is called the
point of Hippoles, and in it is placed a temple of the Mother,[55] and
opposite the temple upon the river Hypanis are settled the

54. This is that which has to do with these rivers; and after these
there is a fifth river besides, called Panticapes. This also flows[56] both from the North and from a lake, and in the space between this
river and the Borysthenes dwell the agricultural Scythians: it runs
out into the region of Hylaia, and having passed by this it mingles
with the Borysthenes. 55. Sixth comes the river Hypakyris, which
starts from a lake, and flowing through the midst of the nomad
Scythians runs out into the sea by the city of Carkinitis, skirting on
its right bank the region of Hylaia and the so-called racecourse of
Achilles. 56. Seventh is the Gerros, which parts off from the
Borysthenes near about that part of the country where the Borysthenes
ceases to be known,–it parts off, I say, in this region and has the
same name which this region itself has, namely Gerros; and as it flows
to the sea it borders the country of the nomad and that of the Royal
Scythians, and runs out into the Hypakyris. 57. The eighth is the
river Tanaïs, which starts in its flow at first from a large lake, and
runs out into a still larger lake called Maiotis, which is the
boundary between the Royal Scythians and the Sauromatai. Into this
Tanaïs falls another river, whose name is Hyrgis.

58. So many are the rivers of note with which the Scythians are
provided: and for cattle the grass which comes up in the land of
Scythia is the most productive of bile of any grass which we know; and
that this is so you may judge when you open the bodies of the cattle.

59. Thus abundant supply have they of that which is most important;
and as for the rest their customs are as follows. The gods whom they
propitiate by worship are these only:–Hestia most of all, then Zeus
and the Earth, supposing that Earth is the wife of Zeus, and after
these Apollo, and Aphrodite Urania, and Heracles, and Ares. Of these
all the Scythians have the worship established, and the so-called
Royal Scythians sacrifice also to Poseidon. Now Hestia is called in
Scythian Tabiti, and Zeus, being most rightly named in my opinion, is
called Papaios, and Earth Api,[57] and Apollo Oitosyros,[58] and
Aphrodite Urania is called Argimpasa,[59] and Poseidon
Thagimasidas.[60] It is not their custom however to make images,
altars or temples to any except Ares, but to him it is their custom to
make them.

60. They have all the same manner of sacrifice established for all
their religious rites equally, and it is thus performed:–the victim
stands with its fore-feet tied, and the sacrificing priest stands
behind the victim, and by pulling the end of the cord he throws the
beast down; and as the victim falls, he calls upon the god to whom he
is sacrificing, and then at once throws a noose round its neck, and
putting a small stick into it he turns it round and so strangles the
animal, without either lighting a fire or making any first offering
from the victim or pouring any libation over it: and when he has
strangled it and flayed off the skin, he proceeds to boil it. 61. Now
as the land of Scythia is exceedingly ill wooded, this contrivance has
been invented for the boiling of the flesh:–having flayed the
victims, they strip the flesh off the bones and then put it into
caldrons, if they happen to have any, of native make, which very much
resemble Lesbian mixing-bowls except that they are much larger,–into
these they put the flesh and boil it by lighting under it the bones of
the victim: if however thy have not at hand the caldron, they put all
the flesh into the stomachs of the victims and adding water they light
the bones under them; and these blaze up beautifully, and the
stomachs easily hold the flesh when it has been stripped off the
bones: thus an ox is made to boil itself, and the other kinds of
victims each boil themselves also. Then when the flesh is boiled, the
sacrificer takes a first offering of the flesh and of the vital organs
and casts it in front of him. And they sacrifice various kinds of
cattle, but especially horses.

62. To the others of the gods they sacrifice thus and these kinds of
beasts, but to Ares as follows:–In each district of the several
governments[61] they have a temple of Ares set up in this way:–
bundles of brushwood are heaped up for about three furlongs[62] in
length and in breadth, but less in height; and on the top of this
there is a level square made, and three of the sides rise sheer but by
the remaining one side the pile may be ascended. Every year they pile
on a hundred and fifty waggon-loads of brushwood, for it is constantly
settling down by reason of the weather.[63] Upon this pile of which I
speak each people has an ancient iron sword[64] set up, and this is
the sacred symbol[65] of Ares. To this sword they bring yearly
offerings of cattle and of horses; and they have the following
sacrifice in addition, beyond what they make to the other gods, that
is to say, of all the enemies whom they take captive in war they
sacrifice one man in every hundred, not in the same manner as they
sacrifice cattle, but in a different manner: for they first pour wine
over their heads, and after that they cut the throats of the men, so
that the blood runs into a bowl; and then they carry this up to the
top of the pile of brushwood and pour the blood over the sword. This,
I say, they carry up; and meanwhile below by the side of the temple
they are doing thus:–they cut off all the right arms of the
slaughtered men with the hands and throw them up into the air, and
then when they have finished offering the other victims, they go away;
and the arm lies wheresoever it has chanced to fall, and the corpse
apart from it. 63. Such are the sacrifices which are established among
them; but of swine these make no use, nor indeed are they wont to keep
them at all in their land.

64. That which relates to war is thus ordered with them:–When a
Scythian has slain his first man, he drinks some of his blood: and of
all those whom he slays in the battle he bears the heads to the king;
for if he has brought a head he shares in the spoil which they have
taken, but otherwise not. And he takes off the skin of the head by
cutting it round about the ears and then taking hold of the scalp and
shaking it off; afterwards he scrapes off the flesh with the rib of an
ox, and works the skin about with his hands; and when he has thus
tempered it, he keeps it as a napkin to wipe the hands upon, and hangs
it from the bridle of the horse on which he himself rides, and takes
pride in it; for whosoever has the greatest number of skins to wipe
the hands upon, he is judged to be the bravest man. Many also make
cloaks to wear of the skins stripped off, sewing them together like
shepherds’ cloaks of skins;[66] and many take the skin together with
the finger-nails off the right hands of their enemies when they are
dead, and make them into covers for their quivers: now human skin it
seems is both thick and glossy in appearance, more brilliantly white
than any other skin. Many also take the skins off the whole bodies of
men and stretch them on pieces of wood and carry them about on their
horses. 65. Such are their established customs about these things; and
to the skulls themselves, not of all but of their greatest enemies,
they do thus:–the man saws off all below the eyebrows and clears out
the inside; and if he is a poor man he only stretches ox-hide round it
and then makes use of it; but if he be rich, besides stretching the
ox-hide he gilds it over within, and makes use of it as a drinking-
cup. They do this also if any of their own family have been at
variance with them and the man gets the better of his adversary in
trial before the king; and when strangers come to him whom he highly
esteems, he sets these skulls before them, and adds the comment that
they being of his own family had made war against him, and that he had
got the better of them; and this they hold to be a proof of manly
virtue. 66. Once every year each ruler of a district mixes in his own
district a bowl of wine, from which those of the Scythians drink by
whom enemies have been slain; but those by whom this has not been done
do not taste of the wine, but sit apart dishonoured; and this is the
greatest of all disgraces among them: but those of them who have slain
a very great number of men, drink with two cups together at the same

67. Diviners there are many among the Scythians, and they divine with
a number of willow rods in the following manner:–they bring large
bundles of rods, and having laid them on the ground they unroll them,
and setting each rod by itself apart they prophesy; and while speaking
thus, they roll the rods together again, and after that they place
them in order a second time one by one.[67] This manner of divination
they have from their fathers: but the Enareës or “man-women”[68] say
that Aphrodite gave them the gift of divination, and they divine
accordingly with the bark of the linden-tree. Having divided the
linden-bark into three strips, the man twists them together in his
fingers and untwists them again, and as he does this he utters the
oracle. 68. When the king of the Scythians is sick, he sends for three
of the diviners, namely those who are most in repute, who divine in
the manner which has been said: and these say for the most part
something like this, namely that so and so has sworn falsely by the
hearth of the king, and they name one of the citizens, whosoever it
may happen to be: now it is the prevailing custom of the Scythians to
swear by the hearth of the king at the times when they desire to swear
the most solemn oath. He then who they say has sworn falsely, is
brought forthwith held fast on both sides; and when he has come the
diviners charge him with this, that he is shown by their divination to
have sworn falsely by the hearth of the king, and that for this reason
the king is suffering pain: and he denies and says that he did not
swear falsely, and complains indignantly: and when he denies it, the
king sends for other diviners twice as many in number, and if these
also by looking into their divination pronounce him guilty of having
sworn falsely, at once they cut off the man’s head, and the diviners
who came first part his goods among them by lot; but if the diviners
who came in afterwards acquit him, other diviners come in, and again
others after them. If then the greater number acquit the man, the
sentence is that the first diviners shall themselves be put to death.
69. They put them to death accordingly in the following manner:–first
they fill a waggon with brushwood and yoke oxen to it; then having
bound the feet of the diviners and tied their hands behind them and
stopped their mouths with gags, they fasten them down in the middle of
the brushwood, and having set fire to it they scare the oxen and let
them go: and often the oxen are burnt to death together with the
diviners, and often they escape after being scorched, when the pole to
which they are fastened has been burnt: and they burn the diviners in
the manner described for other causes also, calling them false
prophets. Now when the king puts any to death, he does not leave alive
their sons either, but he puts to death all the males, not doing any
hurt to the females. 70. In the following manner the Scythians make
oaths to whomsoever they make them:–they pour wine into a great
earthenware cup and mingle with it blood of those who are taking the
oath to one another, either making a prick with an awl or cutting with
a dagger a little way into their body, and then they dip into the cup
a sword[64] and arrows and a battle-axe and a javelin; and having done
this, they invoke many curses on the breaker of the oath, and
afterwards they drink it off, both they who are making the oath and
the most honourable of their company.

71. The burial-place of the kings is in the land of the Gerrians, the
place up to which the Borysthenes is navigable. In this place, when
their king has died, they make a large square excavation in the earth;
and when they have made this ready, they take up the corpse (the body
being covered over with wax and the belly ripped up and cleansed, and
then sewn together again, after it has been filled with /kyperos/[69] cut up and spices and parsley-seed and anise), and they convey it in a
waggon to another nation. Then those who receive the corpse thus
conveyed to them do the same as the Royal Scythians, that is they cut
off a part of their ear and shave their hair round about and cut
themselves all over the arms and tear their forehead and nose and pass
arrows through their left hand. Thence they convey in the waggon the
corpse of the king to another of the nations over whom they rule; and
they to whom they came before accompany them: and when they have gone
round to all conveying the corpse, then they are in the land of the
Gerrians, who have their settlements furthest away of all the nations
over whom they rule, and they have reached the spot where the burial
place is. After that, having placed the corpse in the tomb upon a bed
of leaves, they stick spears along on this side and that of the corpse
and stretch pieces of wood over them, and then they cover the place in
with matting. Then they strangle and bury in the remaining space of
the tomb one of the king’s mistresses, his cup-bearer, his cook, his
horse-keeper, his attendant, and his bearer of messages, and also
horses, and a first portion of all things else, and cups of gold; for
silver they do not use at all, nor yet bronze.[70] Having thus done
they all join together to pile up a great mound, vying with one
another and zealously endeavouring to make it as large as possible.
72. Afterwards, when the year comes round again, they do as follows:–
they take the most capable of the remaining servants,–and these are
native Scythians, for those serve him whom the king himself commands
to do so, and his servants are not bought for money,–of these
attendants then they strangle fifty and also fifty of the finest
horses; and when they have taken out their bowels and cleansed the
belly, they fill it with chaff and sew it together again. Then they
set the half of a wheel upon two stakes with the hollow side upwards,
and the other half of the wheel upon other two stakes, and in this
manner they fix a number of these; and after this they run thick
stakes through the length of the horses as far as the necks, and they
mount them upon the wheels; and the front pieces of wheel support the
shoulders of the horses, while those behind bear up their bellies,
going by the side of the thighs; and both front and hind legs hang in
the air. On the horses they put bridles and bits, and stretch the
bridles tight in front of them and then tie them up to pegs: and of
the fifty young men who have been strangled they mount each one upon
his horse, having first[71] run a straight stake through each body
along by the spine up to the neck; and a part of this stake projects
below, which they fasten into a socket made in the other stake that
runs through the horse. Having set horsemen such as I have described
in a circle round the tomb, they then ride away. 73. Thus they bury
their kings; but as for the other Scythians, when they die their
nearest relations carry them round laid in waggons to their friends in
succession; and of them each one when he receives the body entertains
those who accompany it, and before the corpse they serve up of all
things about the same quantity as before the others. Thus private
persons are carried about for forty days, and then they are buried:
and after burying them the Scythians cleanse themselves in the
following way:–they soap their heads and wash them well, and then,
for their body, they set up three stakes leaning towards one another
and about them they stretch woollen felt coverings, and when they have
closed them as much as possible they throw stones heated red-hot into
a basin placed in the middle of the stakes and the felt coverings. 74.
Now they have hemp growing in their land, which is very like flax
except in thickness and in height, for in these respects the hemp is
much superior. This grows both of itself and with cultivation; and of
it the Thracians even make garments, which are very like those made of
flaxen thread, so that he who was not specially conversant with it
would not be able to decide whether the garments were of flax or of
hemp; and he who had not before seen stuff woven of hemp would suppose
that the garment was made of flax. 75. The Scythians then take the
seed of this hemp and creep under the felt coverings, and then they
throw the seed upon the stones which have been heated red-hot: and it
burns like incense and produces a vapour so think that no vapour-bath
in Hellas would surpass it: and the Scythians being delighted with the
vapour-bath howl like wolves.[72] This is to them instead of washing,
for in fact they do not wash their bodies at all in water. Their women
however pound with a rough stone the wood of the cypress and cedar and
frankincense tree, pouring in water with it, and then with this
pounded stuff, which is thick, they plaster over all their body and
also their face; and not only does a sweet smell attach to them by
reason of this, but also when they take off the plaster on the next
day, their skin is clean and shining.

76. This nation also[73] is very averse to adopting strange customs,
rejecting even those of other tribes among themselves,[74] but
especially those of the Hellenes, as the history of Anacharsis and
also afterwards of Skyles proved.[75] For as to Anacharsis first, when
he was returning to the abodes of the Scythians, after having visited
many lands[76] and displayed in them much wisdom, as he sailed through
the Hellespont he put in to Kyzicos: and since he found the people of
Kyzicos celebrating a festival very magnificently in honour of the
Mother of the gods, Anacharsis vowed to the Mother that if he should
return safe and sound to his own land, he would both sacrifice to her
with the same rites as he saw the men of Kyzicos do, and also hold a
night festival. So when he came to Scythia he went down into the
region called Hylaia (this is along by the side of the racecourse of
Achilles and is quite full, as it happens, of trees of all kinds),–
into this, I say, Anacharsis went down, and proceeded to perform all
the ceremonies of the festival in honour of the goddess, with a
kettle-drum and with images hung about himself. And one of the
Scythians perceived him doing this and declared it to Saulios the
king; and the king came himself also, and when he saw Anacharsis doing
this, he shot him with an arrow and killed him. Accordingly at the
present time if one asks about Anacharsis, the Scythians say that they
do not know him, and for this reason, because he went out of his own
country to Hellas and adopted foreign customs. And as I heard from
Tymnes the steward[77] of Ariapeithes, he was the uncle on the
father’s side of Idanthyrsos king of the Scythians, and the son of
Gnuros, the son of Lycos, the son of Spargapeithes. If then Anacharsis
was of this house, let him know that he died by the hand of his
brother, for Idanthyrsos was the son of Saulios, and Saulios was he
who killed Anacharsis. 77. However I have heard also another story,
told by the Peloponnesians, that Anacharsis was sent out by the king
of the Scythians, and so made himself a disciple of Hellas; and that
when he returned back he said to him that had sent him forth, that the
Hellenes were all busied about every kind of cleverness except the
Lacedemonians; but these alone knew how to exchange speech sensibly.
This story however has been invented[78] without any ground by the
Hellenes themselves; and however that may be, the man was slain in the
way that was related above.

78. This man then fared thus badly by reason of foreign customs and
communication with Hellenes; and very many years afterwards Skyles the
son of Ariapeithes suffered nearly the same fate as he. For
Ariapeithes the king of the Scythians with other sons had Skyles born
to him: and he was born of a woman who was of Istria, and certainly
not a native of Scythia; and this mother taught him the language and
letters of Hellas. Afterwards in course of time Ariapeithes was
brought to his end by treachery at the hands of Spargapeithes the king
of the Agathyrsians, and Skyles succeeded to the kingdom; and he took
not only that but also the wife of his father, whose name was Opoia:
this Opoia was a native Scythian and from her was born Oricos to
Ariapeithes. Now when Skyles was king of the Scythians, he was by no
means satisfied with the Scythian manner of life, but was much more
inclined towards Hellenic ways because of the training with which he
had been brought up, and he used to do somewhat as follows:–When he
came with the Scythians in arms to the city of the Borysthenites (now
these Borysthenites say that they are of Miletos),–when Skyles came
to these, he would leave his band in the suburbs of the city and go
himself within the walls and close the gates. After that he would lay
aside his Scythian equipments and take Hellenic garments, and wearing
them he would go about in the market-place with no guards or any other
man accompanying him (and they watched the gates meanwhile, that none
of the Scythians might see him wearing this dress): and while in other
respects too he adopted Hellenic manners of life, he used also to
perform worship to the gods according to the customs of the Hellenes.
Then having stayed a month or more than that, he would put on the
Scythian dress and depart. This he did many times, and he both built
for himself a house in Borysthenes and also took to it a woman of the
place as his wife. 79. Since however it was fated that evil should
happen to him, it happened by an occasion of this kind:–he formed a
desire to be initiated in the rites of Bacchus-Dionysos, and as he was
just about to receive[79] the initiation, there happened a very great
portent. He had in the city of the Borysthenites a house of great size
and built with large expense, of which also I made mention a little
before this, and round it were placed sphinxes and griffins of white
stone: on this house Zeus[79a] caused a bolt to fall; and the house
was altogether burnt down, but Skyles none the less for this completed
his initiation. Now the Scythians make the rites of Bacchus a reproach
against the Hellenes, for they say that it is not fitting to invent a
god like this, who impels men to frenzy. So when Skyles had been
initiated into the rites of Bacchus, one of the Borysthenites went
off[80] to the Scythians and said: “Whereas ye laugh at us, O
Scythians, because we perform the rite of Bacchus and because the god
seizes us, now this divinity has seized also your king; and he is both
joining in the rite of Bacchus and maddened by the influence of the
god. And if ye disbelieve me, follow and I will show you.” The chief
men of the Scythians followed him, and the Borysthenite led them
secretly into the town and set them upon a tower. So when Skyles
passed by with the company of revellers, and the Scythians saw him
joining in the rite of Bacchus, they were exceedingly grieved at it,
and they went out and declared to the whole band that which they had
seen. 80. After this when Skyles was riding out again to his own
abode, the Scythians took his brother Octamasades for their leader,
who was a son of the daughter of Teres, and made insurrection against
Skyles. He then when he perceived that which was being done to his
hurt and for what reason it was being done, fled for refuge to Thrace;
and Octamasades being informed of this, proceeded to march upon
Thrace. So when he had arrived at the river Ister, the Thracians met
him; and as they were about to engage battle, Sitalkes sent a
messenger to Octamasades and said: “Why must we make trial of one
another in fight? Thou art my sister’s son and thou hast in thy power
my brother. Do thou give him back to me, and I will deliver to thee
thy brother Skyles: and let us not either of us set our armies in
peril, either thou or I.” Thus Sitalkes proposed to him by a herald;
for there was with Octamasades a brother of Sitalkes, who had gone
into exile for fear of him. And Octamasades agreed to this, and by
giving up his own mother’s brother to Sitalkes he received his brother
Skyles in exchange: and Sitalkes when he received his brother led him
away as a prisoner, but Octamasades cut off the head of Skyles there
upon the spot. Thus do the Scythians carefully guard their own
customary observances, and such are the penalties which they inflict
upon those who acquire foreign customs besides their own.

81. How many the Scythians are I was not able to ascertain precisely,
but I heard various reports of the number: for reports say both that
they are very many in number and also that they are few, at least as
regards the true Scythians.[81] Thus far however they gave me evidence
of my own eyesight:–there is between the river Borysthenes and the
Hypanis a place called Exampaios, of which also I made mention
somewhat before this, saying that there was in it a spring of bitter
water, from which the water flows and makes the river Hypanis unfit to
drink. In this place there is set a bronze bowl, in size at least six
times as large as the mixing-bowl at the entrance of the Pontus, which
Pausanias the son of Cleombrotos dedicated: and for him who has never
seen that, I will make the matter clear by saying that the bowl in
Scythia holds easily six hundred amphors,[82] and the thickness of
this Scythian bowl is six fingers. This then the natives of the place
told me had been made of arrow-heads: for their king, they said, whose
name was Ariantas, wishing to know how many the Scythians were,
ordered all the Scythians to bring one arrow-head, each from his own
arrow, and whosoever should not bring one, he threatened with death.
So a great multitude of arrow-heads was brought, and he resolved to
make of them a memorial and to leave it behind him: from these then,
they said, he made this bronze bowl and dedicated it in this place
Exampaios. 82. This is what I heard about the number of the Scythians.
Now this land has no marvellous things except that it has rivers which
are by far larger and more numerous than those of any other land. One
thing however shall be mentioned which it has to show, and which is
worthy of wonder even besides the rivers and the greatness of the
plain, that is to say, they point out a footprint of Heracles in the
rock by the bank of the river Tyras, which in shape is like the mark
of a man’s foot but in size is two cubits long. This then is such as I
have said; and I will go back now to the history which I was about to
tell at first.


83. While Dareios was preparing to go against the Scythians and was
sending messengers to appoint to some the furnishing of a land-army,
to others that of ships, and to others the bridging over of the
Thracian Bosphorus, Artabanos, the son of Hystaspes and brother of
Dareios, urged him by no means to make the march against the
Scythians, telling him how difficult the Scythians were to deal with.
Since however he did not persuade him, though he gave him good
counsel, he ceased to urge; and Dareios, when all his preparations had
been made, began to march his army forth from Susa. 84. Then one of
the Persians, Oiobazos, made request to Dareios that as he had three
sons and all were serving in the expedition, one might be left behind
for him: and Dareios said that as he was a friend and made a
reasonable request, he would leave behind all the sons. So Oiobazos
was greatly rejoiced, supposing that his sons had been freed from
service, but Dareios commanded those who had the charge of such things
to put to death all the sons of Oiobazos. 85. These then were left,
having been slain upon the spot where they were: and Dareios meanwhile
set forth from Susa and arrived at the place on the Bosphorus where
the bridge of ships had been made, in the territory of Chalcedon; and
there he embarked in a ship and sailed to the so-called Kyanean rocks,
which the Hellenes say formerly moved backwards and forwards; and
taking his seat at the temple[83] he gazed upon the Pontus, which is a
sight well worth seeing. Of all seas indeed it is the most marvellous
in its nature. The length of it is eleven thousand one hundred
furlongs,[84] and the breadth, where it is broadest, three thousand
three hundred: and of this great Sea the mouth is but four furlongs
broad, and the length of the mouth, that is of the neck of water which
is called Bosphorus, where, as I said, the bridge of ships had been
made, is not less than a hundred and twenty furlongs. This Bosphorus
extends to the Propontis; and the Propontis, being in breadth five
hundred furlongs and in length one thousand four hundred, has its
outlet into the Hellespont, which is but seven furlongs broad at the
narrowest place, though it is four hundred furlongs in length: and the
Hellespont runs out into that expanse of sea which is called the
Egean. 86. These measurements I have made as follows:–a ship
completes on an average in a long day a distance of seventy thousand
fathoms, and in a night sixty thousand. Now we know that to the river
Phasis from the mouth of the Sea (for it is here that the Pontus is
longest) is a voyage of nine days and eight nights, which amounts to
one hundred and eleven myriads[85] of fathoms; and these fathoms are
eleven thousand one hundred furlongs. Then from the land of the
Sindians to Themiskyra on the river Thermodon (for here is the
broadest part of the Pontus) it is a voyage of three days and two
nights, which amounts to thirty-three myriads[86] of fathoms or three
thousand three hundred furlongs. This Pontus then and also the
Bosphorus and the Hellespont have been measured by me thus, and their
nature is such as has been said: and this Pontus also has a lake which
has its outlet into it, which lake is not much less in size than the
Pontus itself, and it is called Maiotis and “Mother of the Pontus.”

87. Dareios then having gazed upon the Pontus sailed back to the
bridge, of which Mandrocles a Samian had been chief constructor; and
having gazed upon the Bosphorus also, he set up two pillars[86a] by it
of white stone with characters cut upon them, on the one Assyrian and
on the other Hellenic, being the names of all the nations which he was
leading with him: and he was leading with him all over whom he was
ruler. The whole number of them without the naval force was reckoned
to be seventy myriads[87] including cavalry, and ships had been
gathered together to the number of six hundred. These pillars the
Byzantians conveyed to their city after the events of which I speak,
and used them for the altar of Artemis Orthosia, excepting one stone,
which was left standing by the side of the temple of Dionysos in
Byzantion, covered over with Assyrian characters. Now the place on the
Bosphorus where Dareios made his bridge is, as I conclude,[87a] midway
between Byzantion and the temple at the mouth of the Pontus. 88. After
this Dareios being pleased with the floating bridge rewarded the chief
constructor of it, Mandrocles the Samian, with gifts tenfold;[88] and
as an offering from these Mandrocles had a painting made of figures to
present the whole scene of the bridge over the Bosphorus and king
Dareios sitting in a prominent seat and his army crossing over; this
he caused to be painted and dedicated it as an offering in the temple
of Hera, with the following inscription:

“Bosphorus having bridged over, the straits fish-abounding, to Hera
Mandrocleës dedicates this, of his work to record;
A crown on himself he set, and he brought to the Samians glory,
And for Dareios performed everything after his mind.”

89. This memorial was made of him who constructed the bridge: and
Dareios, after he had rewarded Mandrocles with gifts, passed over into
Europe, having first commanded the Ionians to sail into the Pontus as
far as the river Ister, and when they arrived at the Ister, there to
wait for him, making a bridge meanwhile over the river; for the chief
of his naval force were the Ionians, the Aiolians and the
Hellespontians. So the fleet sailed through between the Kyanean rocks
and made straight for the Ister; and then they sailed up the river a
two days’ voyage from the sea and proceeded to make a bridge across
the neck, as it were, of the river, where the mouths of the Ister part
off. Dareios meanwhile, having crossed the Bosphorus on the floating
bridge, was advancing through Thrace, and when he came to the sources
of the river Tearos he encamped for three days. 90. Now the Tearos is
said by those who dwell near it to be the best of all rivers, both in
other respects which tend to healing and especially for curing
diseases of the skin[89] both in men and in horses: and its springs
are thirty-eight in number, flowing all from the same rock, of which
some are cold and others warm. The way to them is of equal length from
the city of Heraion near Perinthos and from Apollonia upon the Euxine
Sea, that is to say two days’ journey by each road. This Tearos runs
into the river Contadesdos and the Contadesdos into the Agrianes and
the Agrianes into the Hebros, which flows into the sea by the city of
Ainos. 91. Dareios then, having come to this river and having encamped
there, was pleased with the river and set up a pillar there also, with
an inscription as follows: “The head-springs of the river Tearos give
the best and fairest water of all rivers; and to them came leading an
army against the Scythians the best and fairest of all men, Dareios
the son of Hystaspes, of the Persians and of all the Continent king.”
These were the words which were there written.

92. Dareios then set out from thence and came to another river whose
name is Artescos, which flows through the land of the Odrysians.
Having come to this river he did as follows:–he appointed a place for
his army and bade every man as he passed out by it place one stone in
this appointed place: and when the army had performed this, then he
marched away his army leaving behind great mounds of these stones. 93.
But before he came to the Ister he conquered first the Getai, who
believe in immortality: for the Thracians who occupy Salmydessos and
are settled above the cities of Apollonian and Mesambria, called the
Kyrmianai[90] and the Nipsaioi, delivered themselves over to Dareios
without fighting; but the Getai, who are the bravest and the most
upright in their dealings of all the Thracians, having betaken
themselves to obstinacy were forthwith subdued. 94. And their belief
in immortality is of this kind, that is to say, they hold that they do
not die, but that he who is killed goes to Salmoxis,[91] a
divinity,[92] whom some of them call Gebeleizis; and at intervals of
four years[93] they send one of themselves, whomsoever the lot may
select, as a messenger to Salmoxis, charging him with such requests as
they have to make on each occasion; and they send him thus:–certain
of them who are appointed for this have three javelins, and others
meanwhile take hold on both sides of him who is being sent to
Salmoxis, both by his hands and his feet, and first they swing him up,
then throw him into the air so as to fall upon the spear-points: and
if when he is pierced through he is killed, they think that the god is
favourable to them; but if he is not killed, they find fault with the
messenger himself, calling him a worthless man, and then having found
fault with him they send another: and they give him the charge
beforehand, while he is yet alive. These same Thracians also shoot
arrows up towards the sky when thunder and lightning come, and use
threats to the god, not believing that there exists any other god
except their own. 95. This Salmoxis I hear from the Hellenes who dwell
about the Hellespont and the Pontus, was a man, and he became a slave
in Samos, and was in fact a slave of Pythagoras the son of Mnesarchos.
Then having become free he gained great wealth, and afterwards
returned to his own land: and as the Thracians both live hardly and
are rather simple-minded, this Salmoxis, being acquainted with the
Ionian way of living and with manners more cultivated[94] than the
Thracians were used to see, since he had associated with Hellenes (and
not only that but with Pythagoras, not the least able philosopher[95] of the Hellenes), prepared a banqueting-hall,[96] where he received
and feasted the chief men of the tribe and instructed them meanwhile
that neither he himself nor his guests nor their descendants in
succession after them would die; but that they would come to a place
where they would live for ever and have all things good. While he was
doing that which has been mentioned and was saying these things, he
was making for himself meanwhile a chamber under the ground; and when
his chamber was finished, he disappeared from among the Thracians and
went down into the underground chamber, where he continued to live for
three years: and they grieved for his loss and mourned for him as
dead. Then in the fourth year he appeared to the Thracians, and in
this way the things which Salmoxis said became credible to them. 96.
Thus they say that he did; but as to this matter and the chamber under
ground, I neither disbelieve it nor do I very strongly believe, but I
think that this Salmoxis lived many years before Pythagoras. However,
whether there ever lived a man Salmoxis, or whether he is simply a
native deity of the Getai, let us bid farewell to him now.

97. These, I say, having such manners as I have said, were subdued by
the Persians and accompanied the rest of the army: and when Dareios
and with him the land-army arrived at the Ister, then after all had
passed over, Dareios commanded the Ionians to break up the floating
bridge and to accompany him by land, as well as the rest of the troops
which were in the ships: and when the Ionians were just about to break
it up and to do that which he commanded, Coës the son of Erxander, who
was commander of the Mytilenians, said thus to Dareios, having first
inquired whether he was disposed to listen to an opinion from one who
desired to declare it: “O king, seeing that thou art about to march
upon a land where no cultivated ground will be seen nor any inhabited
town, do thou therefore let this bridge remain where it is, leaving to
guard it those same men who constructed it. Then, if we find the
Scythians and fare as we desire, we have a way of return; and also
even if we shall not be able to find them, at least our way of return
is secured: for that we should be worsted by the Scythians in fight I
never feared yet, but rather that we might not be able to find them,
and might suffer some disaster in wandering about. Perhaps some one
will say that in speaking thus I am speaking for my own advantage, in
order that I may remain behind; but in truth I am bringing forward, O
king, the opinion which I found best for thee, and I myself will
accompany thee and not be left behind.” With this opinion Dareios was
very greatly pleased and made answer to him in these words: “Friend
from Lesbos, when I have returned safe to my house, be sure that thou
appear before me, in order that I may requite thee with good deeds for
good counsel.” 98. Having thus said and having tied sixty knots in a
thong, he called the despots of the Ionians to speak with him and said
as follows: “Men of Ionia, know that I have given up the opinion which
I formerly declared with regard to the bridge; and do ye keep this
thong and do as I shall say:–so soon as ye shall have seen me go
forward against the Scythians, from that time begin, and untie a knot
on each day: and if within this time I am not here, and ye find that
the days marked by the knots have passed by, then sail away to your
own lands. Till then, since our resolve has thus been changed, guard
the floating bridge, showing all diligence to keep it safe and to
guard it. And thus acting, ye will do for me a very acceptable
service.” Thus said Dareios and hastened on his march forwards.


99. Now in front of Scythia in the direction towards the sea[97] lies
Thrace; and where a bay is formed in this land, there begins Scythia,
into which the Ister flows out, the mouth of the river being turned
towards the South-East Wind. Beginning at the Ister then I am about to
describe the coast land of the true Scythia, with regard to
measurement. At once from the Ister begins this original land of
Scythia, and it lies towards the midday and the South Wind, extending
as far as the city called Carkinitis. After this the part which lies
on the coast of the same sea still, a country which is mountainous and
runs out in the direction of the Pontus, is occupied by the Tauric
race, as far as the peninsula which is called the “Rugged Chersonese”;
and this extends to the sea which lies towards the East Wind: for two
sides of the Scythian boundaries lie along by the sea, one by the sea
on the South, and the other by that on the East, just as it is with
Attica: and in truth the Tauroi occupy a part of Scythia which has
much resemblance to Attica; it is as if in Attica another race and not
the Athenians occupied the hill region[98] of Sunion, supposing it to
project more at the point into the sea, that region namely which is
cut off by a line from Thoricos to Anaphlystos. Such I say, if we may
be allowed to compare small things such as this with great, is the
form of the Tauric land.[99] For him however who has not sailed along
this part of the coast of Attica I will make it clear by another
comparison:–it is as if in Iapygia another race and not the Iapygians
had cut off for themselves and were holding that extremity of the land
which is bounded by a line beginning at the harbour of Brentesion and
running to Taras. And in mentioning these two similar cases I am
suggesting many other things also to which the Tauric land has
resemblance. 100. After the Tauric land immediately come Scythians
again, occupying the parts above the Tauroi and the coasts of the
Eastern sea, that is to say the parts to the West of the Kimmerian
Bosphorus and of the Maiotian lake, as far as the river Tanaïs, which
runs into the corner of this lake. In the upper parts which tend
inland Scythia is bounded (as we know)[100] by the Agathyrsians first,
beginning from the Ister, and then by the Neuroi, afterwards by the
Androphagoi, and lastly by the Melanchlainoi. 101. Scythia then being
looked upon as a four-sided figure with two of its sides bordered by
the sea, has its border lines equal to one another in each direction,
that which tends inland and that which runs along by the sea: for from
Ister to the Borysthenes is ten days’ journey, and from the
Borysthenes to the Maiotian lake ten days’ more; and the distance
inland to the Melanchlainoi, who are settled above the Scythians, is a
journey of twenty days. Now I have reckoned the day’s journey at two
hundred furlongs:[101] and by this reckoning the cross lines of
Scythia[102] would be four thousand furlongs in length, and the
perpendiculars which tend inland would be the same number of furlongs.
Such is the size of this land.


102. The Scythians meanwhile having considered with themselves that
they were not able to repel the army of Dareios alone by a pitched
battle, proceeded to send messengers to those who dwelt near them: and
already the kings of these nations had come together and were taking
counsel with one another, since so great an army was marching towards
them. Now those who had come together were the kings of the Tauroi,
Agathyrsians, Neuroi, Androphagoi, Melanchlainoi, Gelonians, Budinoi
and Sauromatai. 103. Of these the Tauroi have the following customs:–
they sacrifice to the “Maiden” both ship-wrecked persons and also
those Hellenes whom they can capture by putting out to sea against
them;[103] and their manner of sacrifice is this:–when they have made
the first offering from the victim they strike his head with a club:
and some say that they push the body down from the top of the cliff
(for it is upon a cliff that the temple is placed) and set the head up
on a stake; but others, while agreeing as to the heads, say
nevertheless that the body is not pushed down from the top of the
cliff, but buried in the earth. This divinity to whom they sacrifice,
the Tauroi themselves say is Iphigeneia the daughter of Agamemnon.
Whatsoever enemies they have conquered they treat in this fashion:–
each man cuts off a head and bears it away to his house; then he
impales it on a long stake and sets it up above his house raised to a
great height, generally above the chimney; and they say that these are
suspended above as guards to preserve the whole house. This people has
its living by plunder and war. 104. The Agathyrsians are the most
luxurious of men and wear gold ornaments for the most part: also they
have promiscuous intercourse with their women, in order that they may
be brethren to one another and being all nearly related may not feel
envy or malice one against another. In their other customs they have
come to resemble the Thracians. 105. The Neuroi practise the Scythian
customs: and one generation before the expedition of Dareios it so
befell them that they were forced to quit their land altogether by
reason of serpents: for their land produced serpents in vast numbers,
and they fell upon them in still larger numbers from the desert
country above their borders; until at last being hard pressed they
left their own land and settled among the Budinoi. These men it would
seem are wizards; for it is said of them by the Scythians and by the
Hellenes who are settled in the Scythian land that once in every year
each of the Neuroi becomes a wolf for a few days and then returns
again to his original form. For my part I do not believe them when
they say this, but they say it nevertheless, and swear it moreover.
106. The Androphagoi have the most savage manners of all human beings,
and they neither acknowledge any rule of right nor observe any
customary law. They are nomads and wear clothing like that of the
Scythians, but have a language of their own; and alone of all these
nations they are man-eaters. 107. The Melanchlainoi wear all of them
black clothing, whence also they have their name; and they practise
the customs of the Scythians. 108. The Budinoi are a very great and
numerous race, and are all very blue-eyed and fair of skin: and in
their land is built a city of wood, the name of which is Gelonos, and
each side of the wall is thirty furlongs in length and lofty at the
same time, all being of wood; and the houses are of wood also and the
temples; for there are in it temples of Hellenic gods furnished after
Hellenic fashion with sacred images and altars and cells,[104] all of
wood; and they keep festivals every other year[105] to Dionysos and
celebrate the rites of Bacchus: for the Gelonians are originally
Hellenes, and they removed[106] from the trading stations on the coast
and settled among the Budinoi; and they use partly the Scythian
language and partly the Hellenic. The Budinoi however do not use the
same language as the Gelonians, nor is their manner of living the
same: 109, for the Budinoi are natives of the soil and a nomad people,
and alone of the nations in these parts feed on fir-cones;[107] but
the Gelonians are tillers of the ground and feed on corn and have
gardens, and resemble them not at all either in appearance or in
complexion of skin. However by the Hellenes the Budinoi also are
called Gelonians, not being rightly so called. Their land is all
thickly overgrown with forests of all kinds of trees, and in the
thickest forest there is a large and deep lake, and round it marshy
ground and reeds. In this are caught otters and beavers and certainly
other wild animals with square-shaped faces. The fur of these is sewn
as a fringe round their coats of skin, and the testicles are made use
of by them for curing diseases of the womb.

110. About the Sauromatai the following tale is told:–When the
Hellenes had fought with the Amazons,–now the Amazons are called by
the Scythians /Oiorpata/,[108] which name means in the Hellenic tongue
“slayers of men,” for “man” they call /oior/, and /pata/ means “to
slay,”–then, as the story goes, the Hellenes, having conquered them
in the battle at the Thermodon, were sailing away and conveying with
them in three ships as many Amazons as they were able to take
prisoners. These in the open sea set upon the men and cast them out of
the ships; but they knew nothing about ships, nor how to use rudders
or sails or oars, and after they had cast out the men they were driven
about by wave and wind and came to that part of the Maiotian lake
where Cremnoi stands; now Cremnoi is in the land of the free
Scythians.[109] There the Amazons disembarked from their ships and
made their way into the country, and having met first with a troop of
horses feeding they seized them, and mounted upon these they plundered
the property of the Scythians. 111. The Scythians meanwhile were not
able to understand the matter, for they did not know either their
speech or their dress or the race to which they belonged, but were in
wonder as to whence they had come and thought that they were men, of
an age corresponding to their appearance: and finally they fought a
battle against them, and after the battle the Scythians got possession
of the bodies of the dead, and thus they discovered that they were
women. They took counsel therefore and resolved by no means to go on
trying to kill them, but to send against them the youngest men from
among themselves, making conjecture of the number so as to send just
as many men as there were women. These were told to encamp near them,
and do whatsoever they should do; if however the women should come
after them, they were not to fight but to retire before them, and when
the women stopped, they were to approach near and encamp. This plan
was adopted by the Scythians because they desired to have children
born from them. 112. The young men accordingly were sent out and did
that which had been commanded them: and when the Amazons perceived
that they had not come to do them any harm, they let them alone; and
the two camps approached nearer to one another every day: and the
young men, like the Amazons, had nothing except their arms and their
horses, and got their living, as the Amazons did, by hunting and by
taking booty. 113. Now the Amazons at midday used to scatter abroad
either one by one or by two together, dispersing to a distance from
one another to ease themselves; and the Scythians also having
perceived this did the same thing: and one of the Scythians came near
to one of those Amazons who were apart by themselves, and she did not
repulse him but allowed him to lie with her: and she could not speak
to him, for they did not understand one another’s speech, but she made
signs to him with her hand to come on the following day to the same
place and to bring another with him, signifying to him that there
should be two of them, and that she would bring another with her. The
young man therefore, when he returned, reported this to the others;
and on the next day he came himself to the place and also brought
another, and he found the Amazon awaiting him with another in her
company. Then hearing this the rest of the young men also in their
turn tamed for themselves the remainder of the Amazons; 114, and after
this they joined their camps and lived together, each man having for
his wife her with whom he had had dealings at first; and the men were
not able to learn the speech of the women, but the women came to
comprehend that of the men. So when they understood one another, the
men spoke to the Amazons as follows: “We have parents and we have
possessions; now therefore let us no longer lead a life of this kind,
but let us go away to the main body of our people and dwell with them;
and we will have you for wives and no others.” They however spoke thus
in reply: “We should not be able to live with your women, for we and
they have not the same customs. We shoot with bows and hurl javelins
and ride horses, but the works of women we never learnt; whereas your
women do none of these things which we said, but stay in the waggons
and work at the works of women, neither going out to the chase nor
anywhither else. We therefore should not be able to live in agreement
with them: but if ye desire to keep us for your wives and to be
thought honest men, go to your parents and obtain from them your share
of the goods, and then let us go and dwell by ourselves.” 115. The
young men agreed and did this; and when they had obtained the share of
the goods which belonged to them and had returned back to the Amazons,
the women spoke to them as follows: “We are possessed by fear and
trembling to think that we must dwell in this place, having not only
separated you from your fathers, but also done great damage to your
land. Since then ye think it right to have us as your wives, do this
together with us,–come and let us remove from this land and pass over
the river Tanaïs and there dwell.” 116. The young men agreed to this
also, and they crossed over the Tanaïs and made their way towards the
rising sun for three days’ journey from Tanaïs, and also towards the
North Wind for three days’ journey from the Maiotian lake: and having
arrived at the place where they are now settled, they took up their
abode there: and from thenceforward the women of the Sauromatai
practise their ancient way of living, going out regularly on horseback
to the chase both in company with the men and apart from them, and
going regularly to war, and wearing the same dress as the men. 117.
And the Sauromatai make use of the Scythian tongue, speaking it
barbarously however from the first, since the Amazons did not learn it
thoroughly well. As regards marriages their rule is this, that no
maiden is married until she has slain a man of their enemies; and some
of them even grow old and die before they are married, because they
are not able to fulfil the requirement of the law.

118. To the kings of these nations then, which have been mentioned in
order, the messengers of the Scythians came, finding them gathered
together, and spoke declaring to them how the Persian king, after
having subdued all things to himself in the other continent, had laid
a bridge over the neck of the Bosphorus and had crossed over to that
continent, and having crossed over and subdued the Thracians, was
making a bridge over the river Ister, desiring to bring under his
power all these regions also. “Do ye therefore,” they said, “by no
means stand aloof and allow us to be destroyed, but let us become all
of one mind and oppose him who is coming against us. If ye shall not
do so, we on our part shall either be forced by necessity to leave our
land, or we shall stay in it and make a treaty with the invader; for
what else can we do if ye are not willing to help us? and for you
after this[110] it will be in no respect easier; for the Persian has
come not at all less against you than against us, nor will it content
him to subdue us and abstain from you. And of the truth of that which
we say we will mention a strong evidence: if the Persian had been
making his expedition against us alone, because he desired to take
vengeance for the former servitude, he ought to have abstained from
all the rest and to have come at once to invade our land, and he would
thus have made it clear to all that he was marching to fight against
the Scythians and not against the rest. In fact however, ever since he
crossed over to this continent, he has compelled all who came in his
way to submit to him, and he holds under him now not only the other
Thracians but also the Getai, who are our nearest neighbours.” 119.
When the Scythians proposed this, the kings who had come from the
various nations took counsel together, and their opinions were
divided. The kings of the Gelonians, of the Budinoi and of the
Sauromatai agreed together and accepted the proposal that they should
help the Scythians, but those of the Agathyrsians, Neuroi,
Androphagoi, Melanchlainoi and Tauroi returned answer to the Scythians
as follows: “If ye had not been the first to do wrong to the Persians
and to begin war, then we should have surely thought that ye were
speaking justly in asking for those things for which ye now ask, and
we should have yielded to your request and shared your fortunes. As it
is however, ye on the one hand made invasion without us into their
land, and bare rule over the Persians for so long a time as God
permitted you; and they in their turn, since the same God stirs them
up, are repaying you with the like. As for us however, neither at that
time did we do any wrong to these men nor now shall we attempt to do
any wrong to them unprovoked: if however the Persians shall come
against our land also, and do wrong first to us, we also shall refuse
to submit[111]: but until we shall see this, we shall remain by
ourselves, for we are of opinion that the Persians have come not
against us, but against those who were the authors of the wrong.” 120.
When the Scythians heard this answer reported, they planned not to
fight a pitched battle openly, since these did not join them as
allies, but to retire before the Persians and to drive away their
cattle from before them, choking up with earth the wells and the
springs of water by which they passed and destroying the grass from
off the ground, having parted themselves for this into two bodies; and
they resolved that the Sauromatai should be added to one of their
divisions, namely that over which Scopasis was king, and that these
should move on, if the Persians turned in that direction, straight
towards the river Tanaïs, retreating before him by the shore of the
Maiotian lake; and when the Persian marched back again, they should
come after and pursue him. This was one division of their kingdom,
appointed to go by the way which has been said; and the other two of
the kingdoms, the large one over which Idanthyrsos was king, and the
third of which Taxakis was king, were to join together in one, with
the Gelonians and the Budinoi added to them, and they also were to
retire before the Persians one day’s march in front of them, going on
out of their way and doing that which had been planned. First they
were to move on straight for the countries which had refused to give
their alliance, in order that they might involve these also in the
war, and though these had not voluntarily undertaken the war with the
Persians, they were to involve them in it nevertheless against their
will; and after that they were to return to their own land and attack
the enemy, if it should seem good to them in council so to do.

121. Having formed this plan the Scythians went to meet the army of
Dareios, sending off the best of their horsemen before them as scouts;
but all[112] the waggons in which their children and their women lived
they sent on, and with them all their cattle (leaving only so much as
was sufficient to supply them with food), and charged them that they
should proceed continually towards the North Wind. These, I say, were
being carried on before: 122, but when the scouts who went in front of
the Scythians discovered the Persians distant about three days’ march
from Ister, then the Scythians having discovered them continued to
pitch their camp one day’s march in front, destroying utterly that
which grew from the ground: and when the Persians saw that the
horsemen of the Scythians had made their appearance, they came after
them following in their track, while the Scythians continually moved
on. After this, since they had directed their march towards the first
of the divisions, the Persians continued to pursue towards the East
and the river Tanaïs; and when the Scythians crossed over the river
Tanaïs, the Persians crossed over after them and continued still to
pursue, until they had passed quite through the land of the Sauromatai
and had come to that of the Budinoi. 123. Now so long as the Persians
were passing through Scythia and the land of the Sauromatai, they had
nothing to destroy, seeing that the land was bare,[113] but when they
invaded the land of the Budinoi, then they fell in with the wooden
wall, which had been deserted by the Budinoi and left wholly
unoccupied, and this they destroyed by fire. Having done so they
continued to follow on further in the tracks of the enemy, until they
had passed through the whole of this land and had arrived at the
desert. This desert region is occupied by no men, and it lies above
the land of the Budinoi, extending for a seven days’ journey; and
above this desert dwell the Thyssagetai, and four large rivers flow
from them through the land of the Maiotians and run into that which is
called the Maiotian lake, their names being as follows,–Lycos, Oaros,
Tanaïs, Syrgis.[114] 124. When therefore Dareios came to the desert
region, he ceased from his course and halted his army upon the river
Oaros. Having so done he began to build eight large fortifications at
equal distances from one another, that is to say about sixty furlongs,
of which the ruins still existed down to my time; and while he was
occupied in this, the Scythians whom he was pursuing came round by the
upper parts and returned back to Scythia. Accordingly, since these had
altogether disappeared and were no longer seen by the Persians at all,
Dareios left those fortifications half finished, and turning back
himself began to go towards the West, supposing that these were the
whole body of the Scythians and that they were flying towards the
West. 125. And marching his army as quickly as possible, when he came
to Scythia he met with the two divisions of the Scythians together,
and having fallen in with these he continued to pursue them, while
they retired out of his way one day’s journey in advance: and as
Dareios did not cease to come after them, the Scythians according to
the plan which they had made continued to retire before him towards
the land of those who had refused to give their alliance, and first
towards that of the Melanchlainoi; and when Scythians and Persians
both together had invaded and disturbed these, the Scythians led the
way to the country of the Androphagoi; and when these had also been
disturbed, they proceeded to the land of the Neuroi; and while these
too were being disturbed, the Scythians went on retiring before the
enemy to the Agathyrsians. The Agathyrsians however, seeing that their
next neighbours also were flying from the Scythians and had been
disturbed, sent a herald before the Scythians invaded their land and
proclaimed to the Scythians not to set foot upon their confines,
warning them that if they should attempt to invade the country, they
would first have to fight with them. The Agathyrsians then having
given this warning came out in arms to their borders, meaning to drive
off those who were coming upon them; but the Melanchlainoi and
Androphagoi and Neuroi, when the Persians and Scythians together
invaded them, did not betake themselves to brave defence but forgot
their former threat[115] and fled in confusion ever further towards
the North to the desert region. The Scythians however, when the
Agathyrsians had warned them off, did not attempt any more to come to
these, but led the Persians from the country of the Neuroi back to
their own land.

126. Now as this went on for a long time and did not cease, Dareios
sent a horseman to Idanthyrsos king of the Scythians and said as
follows: “Thou most wondrous man, why dost thou fly for ever, when
thou mightest do of these two things one?–if thou thinkest thyself
able to make opposition to my power, stand thou still and cease from
wandering abroad, and fight; but if thou dost acknowledge thyself too
weak, cease then in that case also from thy course, and come to speech
with thy master, bringing to him gifts of earth and water.” 127. To
this the king of the Scythians Idanthyrsos made answer thus: “My case,
O Persian, stands thus:–Never yet did I fly because I was afraid,
either before this time from any other man, or now from thee; nor have
I done anything different now from that which I was wont to do also in
time of peace: and as to the cause why I do not fight with thee at
once, this also I will declare to thee. We have neither cities nor
land sown with crops, about which we should fear lest they should be
captured or laid waste, and so join battle more speedily with you; but
if it be necessary by all means to come to this speedily, know that we
have sepulchres in which our fathers are buried; therefore come now,
find out these and attempt to destroy them, and ye shall know then
whether we shall fight with you for the sepulchres or whether we shall
not fight. Before that however, unless the motion comes upon us, we
shall not join battle with thee. About fighting let so much as has
been said suffice; but as to masters, I acknowledge none over me but
Zeus my ancestor and Hestia the queen of the Scythians. To thee then
in place of gifts of earth and water I shall send such things as it is
fitting that thou shouldest receive; and in return for thy saying that
thou art my master, for that I say, woe betide thee.”[116] This is the
proverbial “saying of the Scythians.”[117]

128. The herald then had departed to report this to Dareios; and the
kings of the Scythians, having heard mention of subjection to a
master, were filled with wrath. They sent accordingly the division
which was appointed to be joined with the Sauromatai, that division of
which Scopasis was in command, bidding them come to speech with the
Ionians, namely those who were guarding the bridge of the Ister, and
meanwhile they who were left behind resolved not to lead the Persians
wandering about any more, but to attack them constantly as they were
getting provisions. Therefore they observed the soldiers of Dareios as
they got provisions, and did that which they had determined: and the
cavalry of the Scythians always routed that of the enemy, but the
Persian horsemen as they fled fell back upon the men on foot, and
these would come up to their assistance; and meanwhile the Scythians
when they had driven in the cavalry turned back, fearing the men on
foot. Also by night the Scythians used to make similar attacks: 129,
and the thing which, strange to say, most helped the Persians and
hindered the Scythians in their attacks upon the camp of Dareios, I
will mention, namely the voice of the asses and the appearance of the
mules; for Scythia produces neither ass nor mule, as I have declared
before, nor is there at all in the Scythian country either ass or mule
on account of the cold. The asses accordingly by riotously braying
used to throw into confusion the cavalry of the Scythians; and often,
as they were in the middle of riding against the Persians, when the
horses heard the voice of the asses they turned back in confusion and
were possessed with wonder, pricking up their ears, because they had
never heard such a voice nor seen the form of the creature before.
130. So far then the Persians had the advantage for a small part of
the war.[118] But the Scythians, whenever they saw that the Persians
were disquieted, then in order that they might remain a longer time in
Scythia and in remaining might suffer by being in want of everything,
would leave some of their own cattle behind with the herdsmen, while
they themselves rode out of the way to another place, and the Persians
would come upon the cattle and take them, and having taken them they
were elated at what they had done. 131. As this happened often, at
length Dareios began to be in straits; and the kings of the Scythians
perceiving this sent a herald bearing as gifts to Dareios a bird and a
mouse and a frog and five arrows. The Persians accordingly asked the
bearer of the gifts as to the meaning of the gifts which were offered;
but he said that nothing more had been commanded to him but to give
them and get away as speedily as possible; and he bade the Persians
find out for themselves, if they had wisdom, that which the gifts were
meant to express. 132. Having heard this the Persians took counsel
with one another; and the opinion of Dareios was that the Scythians
were giving to him both themselves and also earth and water, making
his conjecture by this, namely that a mouse is produced in the earth
and feeds on the same produce of the earth as man, and a frog in the
water, while a bird has great resemblance to a horse;[119] and
moreover that in giving the arrows they were delivering up their own
might in battle. This was the opinion expressed by Dareios; but the
opinion of Gobryas, one of the seven men who killed the Magian, was at
variance with it, for he conjectured that the gifts expressed this:
“Unless ye become birds and fly up into the heaven, O Persians, or
become mice and sink down under the earth, or become frogs and leap
into the lakes, ye shall not return back home, but shall be smitten by
these arrows.”

133. The Persians then, I say, were making conjecture of the gifts:
and meanwhile the single division of the Scythians, that which had
been appointed at first to keep guard along the Maiotian lake and then
to go to the Ister and come to speech with the Ionians, when they
arrived at the bridge spoke as follows: “Ionians, we have come
bringing you freedom, if at least ye are willing to listen to us; for
we are informed that Dareios gave you command to guard the bridge for
sixty days only, and then, if he had not arrived within that time, to
get you away to your own land. Now therefore, if ye do as we say, ye
will be without blame from his part and without blame also from ours:
stay the appointed days and then after that get you away.” They then,
when the Ionians had engaged themselves to do this, hastened back
again by the quickest way: 134, and meanwhile, after the coming of the
gifts to Dareios, the Scythians who were left had arrayed themselves
against the Persians with both foot and horse, meaning to engage
battle. Now when the Scythians had been placed in battle-array, a hare
darted through them into the space between the two armies, and each
company of them, as they saw the hare, began to run after it. When the
Scythians were thus thrown into disorder and were raising loud cries,
Dareios asked what was this clamour arising from the enemy; and
hearing that they were running after the hare, he said to those men to
whom he was wont to say things at other times: “These men have very
slight regard for us, and I perceive now that Gobryas spoke rightly
about the Scythian gifts. Seeing then that now I myself too think that
things are so, we have need of good counsel, in order that our retreat
homewards may be safely made.” To this replied Gobryas and said: “O
king, even by report I was almost assured of the difficulty of dealing
with these men; and when I came I learnt it still more thoroughly,
since I saw that they were mocking us. Now therefore my opinion is,
that as soon as night comes on, we kindle the camp-fires as we are
wont to do at other times also, and deceive with a false tale those of
our men who are weakest to endure hardships, and tie up all the asses
and get us away, before either the Scythians make for the Ister to
destroy the bridge or something be resolved by the Ionians which may
be our ruin.” 135. Thus Gobryas advised; and after this, when night
came on, Dareios acted on this opinion. Those of his men who were
weakened by fatigue and whose loss was of least account, these he left
behind in the camp, and the asses also tied up: and for the following
reasons he left behind the asses and the weaker men of his army,–the
asses in order that they might make a noise which should be heard, and
the men really because of their weakness, but on a pretence stated
openly that he was about to attack the Scythians with the effective
part of the army, and that they meanwhile were to be defenders of the
camp. Having thus instructed those who were left behind, and having
kindled camp-fires, Dareios hastened by the quickest way towards the
Ister: and the asses, having no longer about them the usual
throng,[120] very much more for that reason caused their voice to be
heard;[121] so the Scythians, hearing the asses, supposed surely that
the Persians were remaining in their former place. 136. But when it
was day, those who were left behind perceived that they had been
betrayed by Dareios, and they held out their hands in submission to
the Scythians, telling them what their case was; and the Scythians,
when they heard this, joined together as quickly as possible, that is
to say the two combined divisions of the Scythians and the single
division, and also the Sauromatai,[122] Budinoi, and Gelonians, and
began to pursue the Persians, making straight for the Ister: but as
the Persian army for the most part consisted of men on foot, and was
not acquainted with the roads (the roads not being marked with
tracks), while the Scythian army consisted of horsemen and was
acquainted with the shortest cuts along the way, they missed one
another and the Scythians arrived at the bridge much before the
Persians. Then having learnt that the Persians had not yet arrived,
they said to the Ionians who were in the ships: “Ionians, the days of
your number are past, and ye are not acting uprightly in that ye yet
remain waiting: but as ye stayed before from fear, so now break up the
passage as quickly as ye may, and depart free and unhurt,[123] feeling
thankfulness both to the gods and to the Scythians: and him who was
formerly your master we will so convince, that he shall never again
march with an army upon any nation.” 137. Upon this the Ionians took
counsel together; and Miltiades the Athenian on the one hand, who was
commander and despot of the men of the Chersonese in Hellespont, was
of opinion that they should follow the advice of the Scythians and set
Ionia free: but Histiaios the Milesian was of the opposite opinion to
this; for he said that at the present time it was by means of Dareios
that each one of them was ruling as despot over a city; and if the
power of Dareios should be destroyed, neither he himself would be able
to bear rule over the Milesians, nor would any other of them be able
to bear rule over any other city; for each of the cities would choose
to have popular rather than despotic rule. When Histiaios declared his
opinion thus, forthwith all turned to this opinion, whereas at the
first they were adopting that of Miltiades. 138. Now these were they
who gave the vote between the two opinions, and were men of
consequence in the eyes of the king,[124]–first the despots of the
Hellespontians, Daphnis of Abydos, Hippoclos of Lampsacos, Herophantos
of Parion, Metrodoros of Proconnesos, Aristagoras of Kyzicos, and
Ariston of Byzantion, these were those from the Hellespont; and from
Ionia, Strattis of Chios, Aiakes of Samos, Laodamas of Phocaia, and
Histiaios of Miletos, whose opinion had been proposed in opposition to
that of Miltiades; and of the Aiolians the only man of consequence
there present was Aristagoras of Kyme. 139. When these adopted the
opinion of Histiaios, they resolved to add to it deeds and words as
follows, namely to break up that part of the bridge which was on the
side towards the Scythians, to break it up, I say, for a distance
equal to the range of an arrow, both in order that they might be
thought to be doing something, though in fact they were doing nothing,
and for fear that the Scythians might make an attempt using force and
desiring to cross the Ister by the bridge: and in breaking up that
part of the bridge which was towards Scythia they resolved to say that
they would do all that which the Scythians desired. This they added to
the opinion proposed, and then Histiaios coming forth from among them
made answer to the Scythians as follows: “Scythians, ye are come
bringing good news, and it is a timely haste that ye make to bring it;
and ye on your part give us good guidance, while we on ours render to
you suitable service. For, as ye see, we are breaking up the passage,
and we shall show all zeal in our desire to be free: and while we are
breaking up the bridge, it is fitting that ye should be seeking for
those of whom ye speak, and when ye have found them, that ye should
take vengeance on them on behalf of us as well as of yourselves in
such manner as they deserve.”

140. The Scythians then, believing for the second time that the
Ionians were speaking the truth, turned back to make search for the
Persians, but they missed altogether their line of march through the
land. Of this the Scythians themselves were the cause, since they had
destroyed the pastures for horses in that region and had choked up
with earth the springs of water; for if they had not done this, it
would have been possible for them easily, if they desired it, to
discover the Persians: but as it was, by those things wherein they
thought they had taken their measures best, they failed of success.
The Scythians then on their part were passing through those regions of
their own land where there was grass for the horses and springs of
water, and were seeking for the enemy there, thinking that they too
were taking a course in their retreat through such country as this;
while the Persians in fact marched keeping carefully to the track
which they had made before, and so they found the passage of the
river, though with difficulty:[125] and as they arrived by night and
found the bridge broken up, they were brought to the extreme of fear,
lest the Ionians should have deserted them. 141. Now there was with
Dareios an Egyptian who had a voice louder than that of any other man
on earth, and this man Dareios ordered to take his stand upon the bank
of the Ister and to call Histiaios of Miletos. He accordingly
proceeded to do so; and Histiaios, hearing the first hail, produced
all the ships to carry the army over and also put together the bridge.
142. Thus the Persians escaped, and the Scythians in their search
missed the Persians the second time also: and their judgment of the
Ionians is that on the one hand, if they be regarded as free men, they
are the most worthless and cowardly of all men, but on the other hand,
if regarded as slaves, they are the most attached to their master and
the least disposed to run away of all slaves. This is the reproach
which is cast against the Ionians by the Scythians.

143. Dareios then marching through Thrace arrived at Sestos in the
Chersonese; and from that place, he passed over himself in his ships
to Asia, but to command his army in Europe he left Megabazos a
Persian, to whom Dareios once gave honour by uttering in the land of
Persia[126] this saying:–Dareios was beginning to eat pomegranates,
and at once when he opened the first of them, Artabanos his brother
asked him of what he would desire to have as many as there were seeds
in the pomegranate: and Dareios said that he would desire to have men
like Megabazos as many as that in number, rather than to have Hellas
subject to him. In Persia, I say, he honoured him by saying these
words, and at this time he left him in command with eight myriads[127] of his army. 144. This Megabazos uttered one saying whereby he left of
himself an imperishable memory with the peoples of Hellespont: for
being once at Byzantion he heard that the men of Calchedon had settled
in that region seventeen years before the Byzantians, and having heard
it he said that those of Calchedon at that time chanced to be blind;
for assuredly they would not have chosen the worse place, when they
might have settled in that which was better, if they had not been
blind. This Megabazos it was who was left in command at that time in
the land of the Hellespontians, and he proceeded to subdue all who did
not take the side of the Medes.


145. He then was doing thus; and at this very same time a great
expedition was being made also against Libya, on an occasion which I
shall relate when I have first related this which follows.–The
children’s children of those who voyaged in the Argo, having been
driven forth by those Pelasgians who carried away at Brauron the women
of the Athenians,–having been driven forth I say by these from
Lemnos, had departed and sailed to Lacedemon, and sitting down on
Mount Taÿgetos they kindled a fire. The Lacedemonians seeing this sent
a messenger to inquire who they were and from whence; and they
answered the question of the messenger saying that they were Minyai
and children of heroes who sailed in the Argo, for[128] these, they
said, had put in to Lemnos and propagated the race of which they
sprang. The Lacedemonians having heard the story of the descent of the
Minyai, sent a second time and asked for what purpose they had come
into the country and were causing a fire to blaze. They said that they
had been cast out by the Pelasgians, and were come now to the land of
their fathers,[129] for most just it was that this should so be done;
and they said that their request was to be permitted to dwell with
these, having a share of civil rights and a portion allotted to them
of the land. And the Lacedemonians were content to receive the Minyai
upon the terms which they themselves desired, being most of all
impelled to do this by the fact that the sons of Tyndareus were
voyagers in the Argo. So having received the Minyai they gave them a
share of land and distributed them in the tribes; and they forthwith
made marriages, and gave in marriage to others the women whom they
brought with them from Lemnos. 146. However, when no very long time
had passed, the Minyai forthwith broke out into insolence, asking for
a share of the royal power and also doing other impious things:
therefore the Lacedemonians resolved to put them to death; and having
seized them they cast them into a prison. Now the Lacedemonians put to
death by night all those whom they put to death, but no man by day.
When therefore they were just about to kill them, the wives of the
Minyai, being native Spartans and daughters of the first citizens of
Sparta, entreated to be allowed to enter the prison and come to speech
every one with her own husband: and they let them pass in, not
supposing that any craft would be practised by them. They however,
when they had entered, delivered to their husbands all the garments
which they were wearing, and themselves received those of their
husbands: thus the Minyai having put on the women’s clothes went forth
out of prison as women, and having escaped in this manner they went
again to Taÿgetos and sat down there. 147. Now at this very same time
Theras the son of Autesion, the son of Tisamenos, the son of
Thersander, the son of Polyneikes, was preparing to set forth from
Lacedemon to found a settlement. This Theras, who was of the race of
Cadmos, was mother’s brother to the sons of Aristodemos, Eurysthenes
and Procles; and while these sons were yet children, Theras as their
guardian held the royal power in Sparta. When however his nephews were
grown and had taken the power into their hands, then Theras, being
grieved that he should be ruled by others after he had tasted of rule
himself, said that he would not remain in Lacedemon, but would sail
away to his kinsmen. Now there were in the island which is now called
Thera, but formerly was called Callista, descendants of Membliaros the
son of Poikiles, a Phenician: for Cadmos the son of Agenor in his
search for Europa put in to land at the island which is now called
Thera; and, whether it was that the country pleased him when he had
put to land, or whether he chose to do so for any other reason, he
left in this island, besides other Phenicians, Membliaros also, of his
own kinsmen. These occupied the island called Callista for eight
generations of men, before Theras came from Lacedemon. 148. To these
then, I say, Theras was preparing to set forth, taking with him people
from the tribes, and intending to settle together with those who have
been mentioned, not with any design to drive them out, but on the
contrary claiming them very strongly as kinfolk. And when the Minyai
after having escaped from the prison went and sat down on Taÿgetos,
Theras entreated of the Lacedemonians, as they were proposing to put
them to death, that no slaughter might take place, and at the same
time he engaged himself to take them forth out of the land. The
Lacedemonians having agreed to this proposal, he sailed away with
three thirty-oared galleys to the descendants of Membliaros, not
taking with him by any means all the Minyai, but a few only; for the
greater number of them turned towards the land of the Paroreatai and
Caucones, and having driven these out of their country, they parted
themselves into six divisions and founded in their territory the
following towns,–Lepreon, Makistos, Phrixai, Pyrgos, Epion, Nudion;
of these the Eleians sacked the greater number within my own lifetime.
The island meanwhile got its name of Thera after Theras[130] who led
the settlement. 149. And since his son said that he would not sail
with him, therefore he said that he would leave him behind as a sheep
among wolves; and in accordance with that saying this young man got
the name of Oiolycos,[131] and it chanced that this name prevailed
over his former name: then from Oiolycos was begotten Aigeus, after
whom are called the Aigeidai, a powerful clan[132] in Sparta: and the
men of this tribe, since their children did not live to grow up,
established by the suggestion of an oracle a temple to the Avenging
Deities[133] of Laïos and Œdipus, and after this the same thing was
continued[134] in Thera by the descendants of these men.

150. Up to this point of the story the Lacedemonians agree in their
report with the men of Thera; but in what is to come it is those of
Thera alone who report that it happened as follows. Grinnos[135] the
son of Aisanios, a descendant of the Theras who has been mentioned,
and king of the island of Thera, came to Delphi bringing the offering
of a hecatomb from his State; and there were accompanying him, besides
others of the citizens, also Battos the son of Polymnestos, who was by
descent of the family of Euphemos[136] of the race of the Minyai. Now
when Grinnos the king of the Theraians was consulting the Oracle about
other matters, the Pythian prophetess gave answer bidding him found a
city in Libya; and he made reply saying: “Lord,[137] I am by this time
somewhat old and heavy to stir, but do thou bid some one of these
younger ones do this.” As he thus said he pointed towards Battos. So
far at that time: but afterwards when he had come away they were in
difficulty about the saying of the Oracle, neither having any
knowledge of Libya, in what part of the earth it was, nor venturing to
send a colony to the unknown. 151. Then after this for seven years
there was no rain in Thera, and in these years all the trees in their
island were withered up excepting one: and when the Theraians
consulted the Oracle, the Pythian prophetess alleged this matter of
colonising Libya to be the cause. As then they had no remedy for their
evil, they sent messengers to Crete, to find out whether any of the
Cretans or of the sojourners in Crete had ever come to Libya. These as
they wandered round about the country came also the city of Itanos,
and there they met with a fisher for purple named Corobios, who said
that he had been carried away by winds and had come to Libya, and in
Libya to the island of Platea. This man they persuaded by payment of
money and took him to Thera, and from Thera there set sail men to
explore, at first not many in number; and Corobios having guided them
to this same island of Platea, they left Corobios there, leaving
behind with him provisions for a certain number of months, and sailed
themselves as quickly as possible to make report about the island to
the men of Thera. 152. Since however these stayed away longer than the
time appointed, Corobios found himself destitute; and after this a
ship of Samos, of which the master was Colaios, while sailing to Egypt
was carried out of its course and came to this island of Platea; and
the Samians hearing from Corobios the whole story left him provisions
for a year. They themselves then put out to sea from the island and
sailed on, endeavouring to reach Egypt but carried away continually by
the East Wind; and as the wind did not cease to blow, they passed
through the Pillars of Heracles and came to Tartessos, guided by
divine providence. Now this trading-place was at that time untouched
by any, so that when these returned back home they made profit from
their cargo greater than any other Hellenes of whom we have certain
knowledge, with the exception at least of Sostratos the son of
Laodamas the Eginetan, for with him it is not possible for any other
man to contend. And the Samians set apart six talents, the tenth part
of their gains, and had a bronze vessel made like an Argolic mixing-
bowl with round it heads of griffins projecting in a row; and this
they dedicated as an offering in the temple of Hera, setting as
supports under it three colossal statues of bronze seven cubits in
height, resting upon their knees. By reason first of this deed great
friendship was formed by those of Kyrene and Thera with the Samians.
153. The Theraians meanwhile, when they arrived at Thera after having
left Corobios in the island, reported that they had colonised an
island on the coast of Libya: and the men of Thera resolved to send
one of every two brothers selected by lot and men besides taken from
all the regions of the island, which are seven in number; and further
that Battos should be both their leader and their king. Thus then they
sent forth two fifty-oared galleys to Platea.

154. This is the report of the Theraians; and for the remainder of the
account from this point onwards the Theraians are in agreement with
the men of Kyrene: from this point onwards, I say, since in what
concerns Battos the Kyrenians tell by no means the same tale as those
of Thera; for their account is this:–There is in Crete a city called
Oäxos[138] in which one Etearchos became king, who when he had a
daughter, whose mother was dead, named Phronime, took to wife another
woman notwithstanding. She having come in afterwards, thought fit to
be a stepmother to Phronime in deed as well as in name, giving her
evil treatment and devising everything possible to her hurt; and at
last she brings against her a charge of lewdness and persuades her
husband that the truth is so. He then being convinced by his wife,
devised an unholy deed against the daughter: for there was in Oäxos
one Themison, a merchant of Thera, whom Etearchos took to himself as a
guest-friend and caused him to swear that he would surely serve him in
whatsoever he should require: and when he had caused him to swear
this, he brought and delivered to him his daughter and bade him take
her away and cast her into the sea. Themison then was very greatly
vexed at the deceit practised in the matter of the oath, and he
dissolved his guest-friendship and did as follows, that is to say, he
received the girl and sailed away, and when he got out into the open
sea, to free himself from blame as regards the oath which Etearchos
had made him swear, he tied her on each side with ropes and let her
down into the sea, and then drew her up and came to Thera. 155. After
that, Polymnestos, a man of repute among the Theraians, received
Phronime from him and kept her as his concubine; and in course of time
there was born to him from her a son with an impediment in his voice
and lisping, to whom, as both Theraians and Kyrenians say, was given
the name Battos, but I think that some other name was then given,[139] and he was named Battos instead of this after he came to Libya, taking
for himself this surname from the oracle which was given to him at
Delphi and from the rank which he had obtained; for the Libyans call a
king /battos/: and for this reason, I think, the Pythian prophetess in
her prophesying called him so, using the Libyan tongue, because she
knew that he would be a king in Libya. For when he had grown to be a
man, he came to Delphi to inquire about his voice; and when he asked,
the prophetess thus answered him:

“For a voice thou camest, O Battos, but thee lord Phœbus Apollo
Sendeth as settler forth to the Libyan land sheep-abounding,”

just as if she should say using the Hellenic tongue, “For a voice thou
camest, O king.” He thus made answer: “Lord, I came to thee to inquire
concerning my voice, but thou answerest me other things which are not
possible, bidding me go as a settler to Libya; but with what power, or
with what force of men should I go?” Thus saying he did not at all
persuade her to give him any other reply; and as she was prophesying
to him again the same things as before, Battos departed while she was
yet speaking,[140] and went away to Thera. 156. After this there came
evil fortune both to himself and to the other men of Thera;[141] and
the Theraians, not understanding that which befell them, sent to
Delphi to inquire about the evils which they were suffering: and the
Pythian prophetess gave them reply that if they joined with Battos in
founding Kyrene in Libya, they would fare the better. After this the
Theraians sent Battos with two fifty-oared galleys; and these sailed
to Libya, and then came away back to Thera, for they did not know what
else to do: and the Theraians pelted them with missiles when they
endeavoured to land, and would not allow them to put to shore, but
bade them sail back again. They accordingly being compelled sailed
away back, and they made a settlement in an island lying near the
coast of Libya, called, as was said before, Platea. This island is
said to be of the same size as the now existing city of Kyrene.

157. In this they continued to dwell two years; but as they had no
prosperity, they left one of their number behind and all the rest
sailed away to Delphi, and having come to the Oracle they consulted
it, saying that they were dwelling in Libya and that, though they were
dwelling there, they fared none the better: and the Pythian prophetess
made answer to them thus:

“Better than I if thou knowest the Libyan land sheep-abounding,
Not having been there than I who have been, at thy wisdom I wonder.”

Having heard this Battos and his companions sailed away back again;
for in fact the god would not let them off from the task of settlement
till they had come to Libya itself: and having arrived at the island
and taken up him whom they had left, they made a settlement in Libya
itself at a spot opposite the island, called Aziris, which is enclosed
by most fair woods on both sides and a river flows by it on one side.
158. In this spot they dwelt for six years; and in the seventh year
the Libyans persuaded them to leave it, making request and saying that
they would conduct them to a better region. So the Libyans led them
from that place making them start towards evening; and in order that
the Hellenes might not see the fairest of all the regions as they
passed through it, they led them past it by night, having calculated
the time of daylight: and this region is called Irasa. Then having
conducted them to the so-called spring of Apollo, they said,
“Hellenes, here is a fit place for you to dwell, for here the heaven
is pierced with holes.”

159. Now during the lifetime of the first settler Battos, who reigned
forty years, and of his son Arkesilaos, who reigned sixteen years, the
Kyrenians continued to dwell there with the same number as[142] when
they first set forth to the colony; but in the time of the third king,
called Battos the Prosperous, the Pythian prophetess gave an oracle
wherein she urged the Hellenes in general to sail and join with the
Kyrenians in colonising Libya. For the Kyrenians invited them, giving
promise of a division of land; and the oracle which she uttered was as

“Who to the land much desirèd, to Libya, afterwards cometh,
After the land be divided,[143] I say he shall some day repent it.”

Then great numbers were gathered at Kyrene, and the Libyans who dwelt
round had much land cut off from their possessions; therefore they
with their king whose name was Adicran, as they were not only deprived
of their country but also were dealt with very insolently by the
Kyrenians, sent to Egypt and delivered themselves over to Apries king
of Egypt. He then having gathered a great army of Egyptians, sent it
against Kyrene; and the men of Kyrene marched out to the region of
Irasa and to the spring Theste,[144] and there both joined battle with
the Egyptians and defeated them in the battle: for since the Egyptians
had not before made trial of the Hellenes in fight and therefore
despised them, they were so slaughtered that but few of them returned
back to Egypt. In consequence of this and because they laid the blame
of it upon Apries, the Egyptians revolted from him.

160. This Battos had a son called Arkesilaos, who first when he became
king made a quarrel with his own brothers, until they finally departed
to another region of Libya, and making the venture for themselves
founded that city which was then and is now called Barca; and at the
same time as they founded this, they induced the Libyans to revolt
from the Kyrenians. After this, Arkesilaos made an expedition against
those Libyans who had received them and who had also revolted from
Kyrene, and the Libyans fearing him departed and fled towards the
Eastern tribes of Libyans: and Arkesilaos followed after them as they
fled, until he arrived in his pursuit at Leucon in Libya, and there
the Libyans resolved to attack him. Accordingly they engaged battle
and defeated the Kyrenians so utterly that seven thousand hoplites of
the Kyrenians fell there. After this disaster Arkesilaos, being sick
and having swallowed a potion, was strangled by his brother
Haliarchos,[145] and Haliarchos was killed treacherously by the wife
of Arkesilaos, whose name was Eryxo. 161. Then Battos the son of
Arkesilaos succeeded to the kingdom, who was lame and not sound in his
feet: and the Kyrenians with a view to the misfortune which had
befallen them sent men to Delphi to ask what form of rule they should
adopt, in order to live in the best way possible; and the Pythian
prophetess bade them take to themselves a reformer of their State from
Mantineia of the Arcadians. The men of Kyrene accordingly made
request, and those of Mantineia gave them the man of most repute among
their citizens, whose name was Demonax. This man therefore having come
to Kyrene and having ascertained all things exactly,[146] in the first
place caused them to have three tribes, distributing them thus:–one
division he made of the Theraians and their dependants,[147] another
of the Peloponnesians and Cretans, and a third of all the
islanders.[148] Then secondly for the king Battos he set apart domains
of land and priesthoods, but all the other powers which the kings used
to possess before, he assigned as of public right to the people.

162. During the reign of this Battos things continued to be thus, but
in the reign of his son Arkesilaos there arose much disturbance about
the offices of the State: for Arkesilaos son of Battos the Lame and of
Pheretime said that he would not suffer it to be according as the
Mantineian Demonax had arranged, but asked to have back the royal
rights of his forefathers. After this, stirring up strife he was
worsted and went as an exile to Samos, and his mother to Salamis in
Cyprus. Now at that time the ruler of Salamis was Euelthon, the same
who dedicated as an offering the censer at Delphi, a work well worth
seeing, which is placed in the treasury of the Corinthians. To him
having come, Pheretime asked him for an army to restore herself and
her son to Kyrene. Euelthon however was ready to give her anything
else rather than that; and she when she received that which he gave
her said that this too was a fair gift, but fairer still would be that
other gift of an army for which she was asking. As she kept saying
this to every thing which was given, at last Euelthon sent out to her
a present of a golden spindle and distaff, with wool also upon it: and
when Pheretime uttered again the same saying about this present,
Euelthon said that such things as this were given as gifts to women
and not an army. 163. Arkesilaos meanwhile, being in Samos, was
gathering every one together by a promise of dividing land; and while
a great host was being collected, Arkesilaos set out to Delphi to
inquire of the Oracle about returning from exile: and the Pythian
prophetess gave him this answer: “For four named Battos and four named
Arkesilaos, eight generations of men, Loxias grants to you to be kings
of Kyrene, but beyond this he counsels you not even to attempt it.
Thou however must keep quiet when thou hast come back to thy land; and
if thou findest the furnace full of jars, heat not the jars fiercely,
but let them go with a fair wind: if however thou heat the furnace
fiercely, enter not thou into the place flowed round by water; for if
thou dost thou shalt die, both thou and the bull which is fairer than
all the rest.” 164. Thus the Pythian prophetess gave answer to
Arkesilaos; and he, having taken to him those in Samos, made his
return to Kyrene; and when he had got possession of the power, he did
not remember the saying of the Oracle but endeavoured to exact
penalties from those of the opposite faction for having driven him
out. Of these some escaped out of the country altogether, but some
Arkesilaos got into his power and sent them away to Cyprus to be put
to death. These were driven out of their course to Cnidos, and the men
of Cnidos rescued them and sent them away to Thera. Some others
however of the Kyrenians fled to a great tower belonging to Aglomachos
a private citizen, and Arkesilaos burnt them by piling up brushwood
round. Then after he had done the deed he perceived that the Oracle
meant this, in that the Pythian prophetess forbade him, if he found
the jars in the furnace, to heat them fiercely; and he voluntarily
kept away from the city of the Kyrenians, fearing the death which had
been prophesied by the Oracle and supposing that Kyrene was flowed
round by water.[149] Now he had to wife a kinswoman of his own, the
daughter of the king of Barca whose name was Alazeir: to him he came,
and men of Barca together with certain of the exiles from Kyrene,
perceiving him going about in the market-place, killed him, and also
besides him his father-in-law Alazeir. Arkesilaos accordingly, having
missed the meaning of the oracle, whether with his will or against his
will, fulfilled his own destiny.

165. His mother Pheretime meanwhile, so long as Arkesilaos having
worked evil for himself dwelt at Barca, herself held the royal power
of her son at Kyrene, both exercising his other rights and also
sitting in council: but when she heard that her son had been slain in
Barca, she departed and fled to Egypt: for she had on her side
services done for Cambyses the son of Cyrus by Arkesilaos, since this
was the Arkesilaos who had given over Kyrene to Cambyses and had laid
a tribute upon himself. Pheretime then having come to Egypt sat down
as a suppliant of Aryandes, bidding him help her, and alleging as a
reason that it was on account of his inclination to the side of the
Medes that her son had been slain. 166. Now this Aryandes had been
appointed ruler of the province of Egypt by Cambyses; and after the
time of these events he lost his life because he would measure himself
with Dareios. For having heard and seen that Dareios desired to leave
behind him as a memorial of himself a thing which had not been made by
any other king, he imitated him, until at last he received his reward:
for whereas Dareios refined gold and made it as pure as possible, and
of this caused coins to be struck, Aryandes, being ruler of Egypt, did
the same thing with silver; and even now the purest silver is that
which is called Aryandic. Dareios then having learnt that he was doing
this put him to death, bringing against him another charge of
attempting rebellion.

167. Now at the time of which I speak this Aryandes had compassion on
Pheretime and gave her all the troops that were in Egypt, both the
land and the sea forces, appointing Amasis a Maraphian to command the
land-army and Badres, of the race of the Pasargadai, to command the
fleet: but before he sent away the army, Aryandes despatched a herald
to Barca and asked who it was who had killed Arkesilaos; and the men
of Barca all took it upon themselves, for they said they suffered
formerly many great evils at his hands. Having heard this, Aryandes at
last sent away the army together with Pheretime. This charge then was
the pretext alleged; but in fact the army was being sent out (as I
believe) for the purpose of subduing Libya: for of the Libyans there
are many nations of nations of various kinds, and but few of them are
subject to the king, while the greater number paid no regard to


168. Now the Libyans have their dwelling as follows:–Beginning from
Egypt, first of the Libyans are settled the Adyrmachidai, who practise
for the most part the same customs as the Egyptians, but wear clothing
similar to that of the other Libyans. Their women wear a bronze
ring[150] upon each leg, and they have long hair on their heads, and
when they catch their lice, each one bites her own in retaliation and
then throws them away. These are the only people of the Lybians who do
this; and they alone display to the king their maidens when they are
about to be married, and whosoever of them proves to be pleasing to
the king is deflowered by him. These Adyrmachidai extend along the
coast from Egypt as far as the port which is called Plynos. 169. Next
after these come the Giligamai,[151] occupying the country towards the
West as far as the island of Aphrodisias. In the space within this
limit lies off the coast the island of Platea, where the Kyrenians
made their settlement; and on the coast of the mainland there is Port
Menelaos, and Aziris, where the Kyrenians used to dwell. From this
point begins the /silphion/[152] and it extends along the coast from
the island of Platea as far as the entrance of the Syrtis. This nation
practises customs nearly resembling those of the rest. 170. Next to
the Giligamai on the West are the Asbystai:[153] these dwell
above[154] Kyrene, and the Asbystai do not reach down the sea, for the
region along the sea is occupied by Kyrenians. These most of all the
Libyans are drivers of four-horse chariots, and in the greater number
of their customs they endeavour to imitate the Kyrenians. 171. Next
after the Asbystai on the West come the Auchisai: these dwell above
Barca and reach down to the sea by Euesperides: and in the middle of
the country of the Auchisai dwell the Bacales,[155] a small tribe, who
reach down to the sea by the city of Taucheira in the territory of
Barca: these practise the same customs as those above Kyrene. 172.
Next after these Auschisai towards the West come the Nasamonians, a
numerous race, who in the summer leave their flocks behind by the sea
and go up to the region of Augila to gather the fruit of the date-
palms, which grow in great numbers and very large and are all fruit-
bearing: these hunt the wingless locusts, and they dry them in the sun
and then pound them up, and after that they sprinkle them upon milk
and drink them. Their custom is for each man to have many wives, and
they make their intercourse with them common in nearly the same manner
as the Massagetai,[156] that is they set up a staff in front of the
door and so have intercourse. When a Nasamonian man marries his first
wife, the custom is for the bride on the first night to go through the
whole number of the guests having intercourse with them, and each man
when he has lain with her gives a gift, whatsoever he has brought with
him from his house. The forms of oath and of divination which they use
are as follows:–they swear by the men among themselves who are
reported to have been the most righteous and brave, by these, I say,
laying hands upon their tombs; and they divine by visiting the
sepulchral mounds of their ancestors and lying down to sleep upon them
after having prayed; and whatsoever thing the man sees in his dream,
this he accepts. They practise also the exchange of pledges in the
following manner, that is to say, one gives the other to drink from
his hand, and drinks himself from the hand of the other; and if they
have no liquid, they take of the dust from the ground and lick it.

173. Adjoining the Nasamonians is the country of the Psylloi. These
have perished utterly in the following manner:–The South Wind blowing
upon them dried up all their cisterns of water, and their land was
waterless, lying all within the Syrtis. They then having taken a
resolve by common consent, marched in arms against the South Wind (I
report that which is reported by the Libyans), and when they had
arrived at the sandy tract, the South Wind blew and buried them in the
sand. These then having utterly perished, the Nasamonians from that
time forward possess their land. 174. Above these towards the South
Wind in the region of wild beasts dwell the Garamantians,[157] who fly
from every man and avoid the company of all; and they neither possess
any weapon of war, nor know how to defend themselves against enemies.
175. These dwell above the Nasamonians; and next to the Nasamonians
along the sea coast towards the West come the Macai, who shave their
hair so as to leave tufts, letting the middle of their hair grow long,
but round this on all sides shaving it close to the skin; and for
fighting they carry shields made of ostrich skins. Through their land
the river Kinyps runs out into the sea, flowing from a hill called the
“Hill of the Charites.” This Hill of the Charites is overgrown thickly
with wood, while the rest of Libya which has been spoken of before is
bare of trees; and the distance from the sea to this hill is two
hundred furlongs. 176. Next to these Macai are the Gindanes, whose
women wear each of them a number of anklets made of the skins of
animals, for the following reason, as it is said:–for every man who
has commerce with her she binds on an anklet, and the woman who has
most is esteemed the best, since she has been loved by the greatest
number of men. 177. In a peninsula which stands out into the sea from
the land of these Gindanes dwell the Lotophagoi, who live by eating
the fruit of the /lotos/ only. Now the fruit of the lotos is in size
like that of the mastich-tree, and in flavour[158] it resembles that
of the date-palm. Of this fruit the Lotophagoi even make for
themselves wine. 178. Next after the Lotophagoi along the sea-coast
are the Machlyans, who also make use of the lotos, but less than those
above mentioned. These extend to a great river named the river Triton,
and this runs out into a great lake called Tritonis, in which there is
an island named Phla. About this island they say there was an oracle
given to the Lacedemonians that they should make a settlement in it.
179. The following moreover is also told, namely that Jason, when the
Argo had been completed by him under Mount Pelion, put into it a
hecatomb and with it also[159] a tripod of bronze, and sailed round
Pelopponese, desiring to come to Delphi; and when in sailing he got
near Malea, a North Wind seized his ship and carried it off to Libya,
and before he caught sight of land he had come to be in the shoals of
the lake Tritonis. Then as he was at a loss how he should bring his
ship forth, the story goes that Triton appeared to him and bade Jason
give him the tripod, saying that he would show them the right course
and let them go away without hurt: and when Jason consented to it,
then Triton showed them the passage out between the shoals and set the
tripod in his own temple, after having first uttered a prophecy over
the tripod[160] and having declared to Jason and his company the whole
matter, namely that whensoever one of the descendants of those who
sailed with him in the Argo should carry away this tripod, then it was
determined by fate that a hundred cities of Hellenes should be
established about the lake Tritonis. Having heard this the native
Libyans concealed the tripod.

180. Next to these Machlyans are the Auseans. These and the Machlyans
dwell round the lake Tritonis, and the river Triton is the boundary
between them: and while the Machlyans grow their hair long at the back
of the head, the Auseans do so in front. At a yearly festival of
Athene their maidens take their stand in two parties and fight against
one another with stones and staves, and they say that in doing so they
are fulfilling the rites handed down by their fathers for the divinity
who was sprung from that land, whom we call Athene: and those of the
maidens who die of the wounds received they call “false-maidens.” But
before they let them begin the fight they do this:–all join together
and equip the maiden who is judged to be the fairest on each occasion,
with a Corinthian helmet and with full Hellenic armour, and then
causing her to go up into a chariot they conduct her round the lake.
Now I cannot tell with what they equipped the maidens in old time,
before the Hellenes were settled near them; but I suppose that they
used to be equipped with Egyptian armour, for it is from Egypt that
both the shield and the helmet have come to the Hellenes, as I affirm.
They say moreover that Athene is the daughter of Poseidon and of the
lake Tritonis, and that she had some cause of complaint against her
father and therefore gave herself to Zeus, and Zeus made her his own
daughter. Such is the story which these tell; and they have their
intercourse with women in common, not marrying but having intercourse
like cattle: and when the child of any woman has grown big, he is
brought before a meeting of the men held within three months of that
time,[161] and whomsoever of the men the child resembles, his son he
is accounted to be.

181. Thus then have been mentioned those nomad Libyans who live along
the sea-coast: and above these inland is the region of Libya which has
wild beasts; and above the wild-beast region there stretches a raised
belt of sand, extending from Thebes of the Egyptians to the Pillars of
Heracles. In this belt at intervals of about ten days’ journey there
are fragments of salt in great lumps forming hills, and at the top of
each hill there shoots up from the middle of the salt a spring of
water cold and sweet; and about the spring dwell men, at the furthest
limit towards the desert, and above the wild-beast region. First, at a
distance of ten days’ journey from Thebes, are the Ammonians, whose
temple is derived from that of the Theban Zeus, for the image of Zeus
in Thebes also, as I have said before,[162] has the head of a ram.
These, as it chances, have also other water of a spring, which in the
early morning is warm; at the time when the market fills,[163] cooler;
when midday comes, it is quite cold, and then they water their
gardens; but as the day declines, it abates from its coldness, until
at last, when the sun sets, the water is warm; and it continues to
increase in heat still more until it reaches midnight, when it boils
and throws up bubbles; and when midnight passes, it becomes cooler
gradually till dawn of day. This spring is called the fountain of the

182. After the Ammonians, as you go on along the belt of sand, at an
interval again of ten days’ journey there is a hill of salt like that
of the Ammonians, and a spring of water, with men dwelling about it;
and the name of this place is Augila. To this the Nasamonians come
year by year to gather the fruit of the date-palms. 183. From Augila
at a distance again of ten days’ journey there is another hill of salt
and spring of water and a great number of fruit-bearing date-palms, as
there are also in the other places: and men dwell here who are called
the Garmantians, a very great nation, who carry earth to lay over the
salt and then sow crops. From this point is the shortest way to the
Lotophagoi, for from these it is a journey of thirty days to the
country of the Garmantians. Among them also are produced the cattle
which feed backwards; and they feed backwards for this reason, because
they have their horns bent down forwards, and therefore they walk
backwards as they feed; for forwards they cannot go, because the horns
run into the ground in front of them; but in nothing else do they
differ from other cattle except in this and in the thickness and
firmness to the touch[164] of their hide. These Garamantians of whom I
speak hunt the “Cave-dwelling”[165] Ethiopians with their four-horse
chariots, for the Cave-dwelling Ethiopians are the swiftest of foot of
all men about whom we hear report made: and the Cave-dwellers feed
upon serpents and lizards and such creeping things, and they use a
language which resembles no other, for in it they squeak just like

184. From the Garmantians at a distance again of ten days’ journey
there is another hill of salt and spring of water, and men dwell round
it called Atarantians, who alone of all men about whom we know are
nameless; for while all taken together have the name Atarantians, each
separate man of them has no name given to him. These utter curses
against the Sun when he is at his height,[166] and moreover revile him
with all manner of foul terms, because he oppresses them by his
burning heat, both themselves and their land. After this at a distance
of ten days’ journey there is another hill of salt and spring of
water, and men dwell round it. Near this salt hill is a mountain named
Atlas, which is small in circuit and rounded on every side; and so
exceedingly lofty is it said to be, that it is not possible to see its
summits, for clouds never leave them either in the summer or in the
winter. This the natives say is the pillar of the heaven. After this
mountain these men got their name, for they are called Atlantians; and
it is said that they neither eat anything that has life nor have any

185. As far as these Atlantians I am able to mention in order the
names of those who are settled in the belt of sand; but for the parts
beyond these I can do so no more. However, the belt extends as far as
the Pillars of Heracles and also in the parts outside them: and there
is a mine of salt in it at a distance of ten days’ journey from the
Atlantians, and men dwelling there; and these all have their houses
built of the lumps of salt, since these parts of Libya which we have
now reached[167] are without rain; for if it rained, the walls being
made of salt would not be able to last: and the salt is dug up there
both white and purple in colour.[168] Above the sand-belt, in the
parts which are in the direction of the South Wind and towards the
interior of Libya, the country is uninhabited, without water and
without wild beasts, rainless and treeless, and there is no trace of
moisture in it.

186. I have said that from Egypt as far as the lake Tritonis Libyans
dwell who are nomads, eating flesh and drinking milk; and these do not
taste at all of the flesh of cows, for the same reason as the
Egyptians also abstain from it, nor do they keep swine. Moreover the
women of the Kyrenians too think it not right to eat cows’ flesh,
because of the Egyptian Isis, and they even keep fasts and celebrate
festivals for her; and the women of Barca, in addition from cows’
flesh, do not taste of swine either. 187. Thus it is with these
matters: but in the region to the West of lake Tritonis the Libyans
cease to be nomads, and they do not practise the same customs, nor do
to their children anything like that which the nomads are wont to do;
for the nomad Libyans, whether all of them I cannot say for certain,
but many of them, do as follows:–when their children are four years
old, they burn with a greasy piece of sheep’s wool the veins in the
crowns of their heads, and some of them burn the veins of the temples,
so that for all their lives to come the cold humour may not run down
from their heads and do them hurt: and for this reason it is (they
say) that they are so healthy; for the Libyans are in truth the most
healthy of all races concerning which we have knowledge, whether for
this reason or not I cannot say for certain, but the most healthy they
certainly are: and if, when they burn the children, a convulsion comes
on, they have found out a remedy for this; for they pour upon them the
water of a he-goat and so save them. I report that which is reported
by the Libyans themselves. 188. The following is the manner of
sacrifice which the nomads have:–they cut off a part of the animal’s
ear as a first offering and throw it over the house,[169] and having
done this they twist its neck. They sacrifice only to the Sun and the
Moon; that is to say, to these all the Libyans sacrifice, but those
who dwell round the lake Tritonis sacrifice most of all to Athene, and
next to Triton and Poseidon. 189. It would appear also that the
Hellenes made the dress and the /aigis/ of the images of Athene after
the model of the Libyan women; for except that the dress of the Libyan
women is of leather, and the tassels which hang from their /aigis/ are
not formed of serpents but of leather thongs, in all other respects
Athene is dressed like them. Moreover the name too declares that the
dress of the figures of Pallas has come from Libya, for the Libyan
women wear over their other garments bare goat-skins (/aigeas/) with
tasselled fringes and coloured over with red madder, and from the name
of these goat-skins the Hellenes formed the name /aigis/. I think also
that in these regions first arose the practice of crying aloud during
the performance of sacred rites, for the Libyan women do this very
well.[170] The Hellenes learnt from the Libyans also the yoking
together of four horses. 190. The nomads bury those who die just in
the same manner as the Hellenes, except only the Nasamonians: these
bury bodies in a sitting posture, taking care at the moment when the
man expires to place him sitting and not to let him die lying down on
his back. They have dwellings composed of the stems of asphodel
entwined with rushes, and so made that they can be carried about. Such
are the customs followed by these tribes.

191. On the West of the river Triton next after the Auseans come
Libyans who are tillers of the soil, and whose custom it is to possess
fixed habitations; and they are called Maxyans. They grow their hair
long on the right side of their heads and cut it short upon the left,
and smear their bodies over with red ochre. These say that they are of
the men who came from Troy.

This country and the rest of Libya which is towards the West is both
much more frequented by wild beasts and much more thickly wooded than
the country of the nomads: for whereas the part of Libya which is
situated towards the East, where the nomads dwell, is low-lying and
sandy up to the river Triton, that which succeeds it towards the West,
the country of those who till the soil, is exceedingly mountainous and
thickly-wooded and full of wild beasts: for in the land of these are
found both the monstrous serpent and the lion and the elephant, and
bears and venomous snakes and horned asses, besides the dog-headed
men, and the headless men with their eyes set in their breasts (at
least so say the Libyans about them), and the wild men and wild women,
and a great multitude of other beasts which are not fabulous like
these.[171] 192. In the land of the nomads however there exist none of
these, but other animals as follows:–white-rump antelopes, gazelles,
buffaloes, asses, not the horned kind but others which go without
water (for in fact these never drink), oryes,[172] whose horns are
made into the sides of the Phenician lyre (this animal is in size
about equal to an ox), small foxes, hyenas, porcupines, wild rams,
wolves,[173] jackals, panthers, boryes, land-crocodiles about three
cubits in length and very much resembling lizards, ostriches, and
small snakes, each with one horn: these wild animals there are in this
country, as well as those which exist elsewhere, except the stag and
the wild-boar; but Libya has no stags nor wild boars at all. Also
there are in this country three kinds of mice, one is called the “two-
legged” mouse, another the /zegeris/ (a name which is Libyan and
signifies in the Hellenic tongue a “hill”), and a third the “prickly”
mouse.[174] There are also weasels produced in the /silphion/, which
are very like those of Tartessos. Such are the wild animals which the
land of the Libyans possesses, so far as we were able to discover by
inquiries extended as much as possible.

193. Next to the Maxyan Libyans are the Zauekes,[175] whose women
drive their chariots for them to war. 194. Next to these are the
Gyzantes,[176] among whom honey is made in great quantity by bees, but
in much greater quantity still it is said to be made by men, who work
at it as a trade. However that may be, these all smear themselves over
with red ochre and eat monkeys, which are produced in very great
numbers upon their mountains. 195. Opposite these, as the
Carthaginians say, there lies an island called Kyrauis, two hundred
furlongs in length but narrow, to which one may walk over from the
mainland; and it is full of olives and vines. In it they say there is
a pool, from which the native girls with birds’ feathers smeared over
with pitch bring up gold-dust out of the mud. Whether this is really
so I do not know, but I write that which is reported; and nothing is
impossible,[177] for even in Zakynthos I saw myself pitch brought up
out of a pool of water. There are there several pools, and the largest
of them measures seventy feet each way and is two fathoms in depth.
Into this they plunge a pole with a myrtle-branch bound to it, and
then with the branch of the myrtle they bring up pitch, which has the
smell of asphalt, but in other respects it is superior to the pitch of
Pieria. This they pour into a pit dug near the pool; and when they
have collected a large quantity, then they pour it into the jars from
the pit: and whatever thing falls into the pool goes under ground and
reappears in the sea, which is distant about four furlongs from the
pool. Thus then the report about the island lying near the coast of
Libya is also probably enough true.

196. The Carthaginians say also this, namely that there is a place in
Libya and men dwelling there, outside the Pillars of Heracles, to whom
when they have come and have taken the merchandise forth from their
ships, they set it in order along the beach and embark again in their
ships, and after that they raise a smoke; and the natives of the
country seeing the smoke come to the sea, and then they lay down gold
as an equivalent for the merchandise and retire to a distance away
from the merchandise. The Carthaginians upon that disembark and
examine it, and if the gold is in their opinion sufficient for the
value of the merchandise, they take it up and go their way; but if
not, they embark again in their ships and sit there; and the others
approach and straightway add more gold to the former, until they
satisfy them: and they say that neither party wrongs the other; for
neither do the Carthaginians lay hands on the gold until it is made
equal to the value of their merchandise, nor do the others lay hands
on the merchandise until the Carthaginians have taken the gold.

197. These are the Libyan tribes whom we are able to name; and of
these the greater number neither now pay any regard to the king of the
Medes nor did they then. Thus much also I have to say about this land,
namely that it is occupied by four races and no more, so far as we
know; and of these races two are natives of the soil and the other two
not so; for the Libyans and the Ethiopians are natives, the one race
dwelling in the Northern parts of Libya and the other in the Southern,
while the Phenicians and the Hellenes are strangers.

198. I think moreover that (besides other things) in goodness of soil
Libya does not very greatly excel[178] as compared with Asia or
Europe, except only the region of Kinyps, for the same name is given
to the land as to the river. This region is equal to the best of lands
in bringing forth the fruit of Demeter,[179] nor does it at all
resemble the rest of Libya; for it has black soil and is watered by
springs, and neither has it fear of drought nor is it hurt by drinking
too abundantly of rain; for rain there is in this part of Libya. Of
the produce of the crops the same measures hold good here as for the
Babylonian land. And that is good land also which the Euesperites
occupy, for when it bears best it produces a hundred-fold, but the
land in the region of Kinyps produces sometimes as much as three-
hundred-fold. 199. Moreover the land of Kyrene, which is the highest
land of the part of Libya which is occupied by nomads, has within its
confines three seasons of harvest, at which we may marvel: for the
parts by the sea-coasts first have their fruits ripe for reaping and
for gathering the vintage; and when these have been gathered in, the
parts which lie above the sea-side places, those situated in the
middle, which they call the hills,[180] are ripe for the gathering in;
and as soon as this middle crop has been gathered in, that in the
highest part of the land comes to perfection and is ripe; so that by
the time the first crop has been eaten and drunk up, the last is just
coming in. Thus the harvest for the Kyrenians lasts eight months. Let
so much as has been said suffice for these things.


200. Now when the Persian helpers of Pheretime,[181] having been sent
from Egypt by Aryandes, had arrived at Barca, they laid siege to the
city, proposing to the inhabitants that they should give up those who
were guilty of the murder of Arkesilaos: but as all their people had
taken a share in the guilt, they did not accept the proposals. Then
they besieged Barca for nine months, both digging underground passages
which led to the wall and making vigorous attacks upon it. Now the
passages dug were discovered by a worker of bronze with a shield
covered over with bronze, who had thought of a plan as follows:–
carrying it round within the wall he applied it to the ground in the
city, and whereas the other places to which he applied it were
noiseless, at those places where digging was going on the bronze of
the shield gave a sound; and the men of Barca would make a countermine
there and slay the Persians who were digging mines. This then was
discovered as I have said, and the attacks were repulsed by the men of
Barca. 201. Then as they were suffering hardship for a long time and
many were falling on both sides, and especially on that of the
Persians, Amasis the commander of the land-army contrived as follows:
–perceiving that the Barcaians were not to be conquered by force but
might be conquered by guile, he dug by night a broad trench and over
it he laid timber of no great strength, and brought earth and laid it
above on the top of the timber, making it level with the rest of the
ground: then at daybreak he invited the men of Barca to a parley; and
they gladly consented, and at last they agreed to make a treaty: and
the treaty they made with one another was taken over the hidden
trench, namely that so long as this earth should continue to be as it
was, so long the oath should remain firm, and that the men of Barca
should promise to pay tribute of due amount to the king, and the
Persians should do no further violence to the men of Barca.[182] After
the oath the men of Barca trusting to these engagements both went
forth themselves from their city and let any who desired it of the
enemy pass within their walls, having opened all the gates; but the
Persians first broke down the concealed bridge and then began to run
inside the city wall. And the reason why they broke down the bridge
which they had made was that they might keep their goats, since they
had sworn to the men of Barca that the oath should remain firm
continually for so long time as the earth should remain as it then
was, but after that they had broken it down, the oath no longer
remained firm. 202. Now the most guilty of the Barcaians, when they
were delivered to her by the Persians, Pheretime impaled in a ring
round about the wall; and she cut off the breasts of their wives and
set the wall round with these also in order: but the rest of the men
of Barca she bade the Persians carry off as spoil, except so many of
them as were of the house of Battos and not sharers in the guilt of
the murder; and to these Pheretime gave the city in charge.

203. So the Persians having made slaves of the rest of the Barcaians
departed to go back: and when they appeared at the gates of the city
of Kyrene, the Kyrenians let them go through their town in order to
avoid neglect of some oracle. Then as the army was going through,
Badres the commander of the fleet urged that they should capture the
city, but Amasis the commander of the land-army would not consent to
it; for he said that they had been sent against no other city of the
Hellenes except Barca. When however they had passed through and were
encamping on the hill of Zeus Lycaios, they repented of not having
taken possession of Kyrene; and they endeavoured again to pass into
it, but the men of Kyrene would not allow them. Then upon the
Persians, although no one fought against them, there fell a sudden
panic, and they ran away for about sixty furlongs and then encamped.
And when the camp had been placed here, there came to it a messenger
from Aryandes summoning them back; so the Persians asked the Kyrenians
to give them provisions for their march and obtained their request;
and having received these, they departed to go to Egypt. After this
the Libyans took them up,[183] and killed for the sake of their
clothes and equipment those of them who at any time were left or
straggled behind, until at last they came to Egypt.

204. This army of the Persians reached Euesperides, and this was their
furthest point in Libya: and those of the Barcaians whom they had
reduced to slavery they removed again from Egypt and brought them to
the king, and king Dareios gave them a village in the land of Bactria
in which to make a settlement. To this village they gave the name of
Barca, and it still continued to be inhabited by them even down to my
own time, in the land of Bactria.

205. Pheretime however did not bring her life happily to an end any
more than they: for as soon as she had returned from Libya to Egypt
after having avenged herself on the Barcaians, she died an evil death,
having become suddenly full of worms while yet alive: for, as it
seems, too severe punishments inflicted by men prove displeasing[184] to the gods. Such and so great was the punishment inflicted by
Pheretime the wife of Battos on the men of Barca.


[1] Some enterprises had been entrusted to others, e.g. the attack on
Samos; but this had not been the case with the capture of Babylon,
therefore some Editors have proposed corrections, e.g. {au tou}
(Schweighäuser), and {autika} (Stein).

[2] See i. 106.

[3] {tes ano ‘Asies}: this means Eastern Asia as distinguished from
the coasts of Asia Minor; see i. 103 and 177.

[4] {katapausantes}: the expression is awkward if meant to be
equivalent to {kai katepausan}, but it is hardly improved by the
alteration to {katapausontes}. Perhaps the clause is out of place.

[5] {ponos}.

[6] {peristixantes}: so the two best MSS.; others have {peristesantes}
or {peristexantes}. The word {peristixantes} would be from
{peristikho}, equivalent to {peristikhizo}, and is acknowledged in
this sense by Hesychius.

[7] The connexion is not clear either at the beginning of the chapter
or here. This clause would seem to be a repetition of that at the
beginning of the chapter, and that which comes between should be
an explanation of the reason why the slaves are blinded. As it
stands, however, we can only refer it to the clause which follows,
{ou gar arotai eisi alla nomades}, and even so there is no real
solution of the difficulty, for it is not explained why nomads
should have blinded slaves. Perhaps the best resource is to
suppose that some part of the explanation, in connexion with the
manner of dealing with the milk, has been lost.

[8] {te per}: a conjectural emendation for {e per}, “which is a very
great lake.”

[9] {epi touton arkhonton}: the word {arkhonton} is omitted in some
MSS. and by some Editors.

[10] {sagarin}.

[11] {tous basileious}: so Wesseling. The MSS. have {tous basileas},
“the kings,” which may perhaps be used here as equivalent to {tous
basileious}: some Editors, including Stein, adopt the conjecture
{tou basileos}, “from the youngest of them who, was king, those
who,” etc.

[12] {tou basileos}: some Editors read by conjecture {Skolotou
basileos}, “after their king Scolotos.”

[12a] {katazonnumenon}: or {kata tade zonnumenon}, “girded in this

[13] {mekhanesasthai ten metera Skuthe}: the better MSS. read
{mekhanasthai} and {Skuthen}: the meaning seems doubtful, and some
Editors would omit the clause as an interpolation.

[14] {pros pollous deomenon}: the better MSS. read {pro pollou
deomena}. The passage has been emended in various ways, e.g. {pros
pollous deoi menontas} (Buttmann), {pros pollous menontas}
(Bredow), {pro spodou deomenon} (Stein).

[15] {poiesas}: some authorities have {eipas}.

[16] Italy means for Herodotus only the Southern part of the

[17] {diekosioisi}: so the best authorities; others have

[18] {‘Italioteon}, i.e. Hellenic settlers in Italy.

[19] {to agalmati to ‘Apollonos}: {agalma} is used for anything
dedicated to a god, most commonly the sacred image.

[20] {katuperthe}: “above,” i.e. beyond them towards the North.
Similarly when dealing with Libya the writer uses the same word of
those further from the coast towards the South; see ch. 174.

[21] {en autoisi toisi epesi poieon}: “even in the verses which he
composed,” in which he might be expected as a poet to go somewhat
beyond the literal truth.

[22] Or, “Alizonians.”

[23] {‘Olbiopolitas}.

[24] See ch. 101, where the day’s journey is reckoned at 200 stades
(23 English miles).

[25] The meaning of {eremos} here is not waste and barren land, but
land without settled inhabitants.

[26] i.e. “Man-eaters.”

[27] This is the reading of the MSS., but it is not consistent with
the distance given in ch. 101, nor with the actual facts: some
Editors therefore read “four” instead of “fourteen.”

[28] i.e. “Cliffs.”

[29] i.e. “Black-cloaks.”

[30] {‘Argippaioi}: it is not certain that this is the form which
ought to be read here: Latin writers make the name “Arimphaei,”
and in some MSS. it is given here as {‘Orgempaioi}.

[31] {agalmati}.

[32] {ta genesia}.

[33] Or, “violent.”

[34] Od. iv. 85.

[35] {e phuonta phuein mogis}.

[36] {prosthekas}, “additions.”

[37] i.e. of Apollo and Artemis.

[37a] Omitting {legon}.

[38] The word “Asia” is not contained in the MSS. and need not be
inserted in the text, but it is implied, if not expressed; see
chap. 41.

[39] {aktai}.

[40] {ou legousa ei me nomo}.

[41] i.e. 100,000 fathoms, equivalent to 1000 stades; see ii. 6, note

[42] {oude sumballein axie}.

[43] ii. 158.

[43a] {brota}: some MSS. have {probata} “cattle.”

[44] {omoia parekhomene}: the construction is confused, but the
meaning is that all but the Eastern parts are known to be
surrounded by sea.

[45] {logion}: some MSS. have {logimon}, “of reputation.”

[46] Stein reads {eisi de} for {eisi de}, and punctuates so that the
meaning is, “it has become the greatest of all rivers in the
following manner:–besides other rivers which flow into it, those
which especially make it great are as follows.”

[47] {pente men oi}: this perhaps requires emendation, but the
corrections proposed are hardly satisfactory, e.g. {pente megaloi}
or {pente monoi}.

[48] Or “Skios”: called by Thucydides “Oskios” (ii. 96).

[49] {eti}: most of the MSS. give {esti}, which is adopted by some

[50] “Sacred Ways.”

[51] {Gerreon}: in some MSS. {Gerrou}, “the region called Gerros.”

[52] {tesserakonta}: some Editors have altered this number, but
without authority or sufficient reason.

[53] {di eremou}: see note 25 on ch. 18. The region here spoken of is
that between the Gerrians and the agricultural Scythians.

[53a] {es touto elos}: i.e. the Dneiper-Liman. (The Medicean and
Florentine MSS. read {es to elos}, not {es to telos}, as hitherto

[54] {eon embolon tes khores}.

[55] {Metros}: i.e. the Mother of the gods, Kybele, cp. ch. 76; some
less good authorities have {Demetros}.

[56] {reei de}: most MSS. have {reei men gar}.

[57] Or, “Apia.”

[58] Or, “Goitosyros.”

[59] The MSS. have also “Arippasa” and “Artimpasa.”

[60] The authorities have also “Thagimasa” and “Thamimasidas.”

[61] {ton arkheion}: some read by conjecture {en to arkheio}, “at the
seat of government,” or “in the public place.”

[62] {eson t’ epi stadious treis}.

[63] {upo ton kheimonon}.

[64] {akinakes}.

[65] {agalma}: see note 19 on ch. 15.

[66] {kata per baitas}.

[67] Or, “and put them together in one bundle.”

[68] See i. 105.

[69] {kuperou}: it is not clear what plant is meant.

[70] i.e. for this purpose. The general use of bronze is attested by
ch. 81.

[71] {ode anabibazontes, epean k.t.l}: the reference of {ode} is
directly to the clause {epean—-trakhelou}, though in sense it
refers equally to the following, {katothen de k.t.l}. Some Editors
punctuate thus, {ode anabibazontes epean} and omit {de} after
{katothen}, making the reference of {ode} to the latter clause

[72] {oruontai}, as in iii. 117, but here they howl for pleasure.

[73] Like the Egyptians for example, cp. ii. 91.

[74] {mete ge on allelon}: the MSS. have {me ti ge on allelon}. Most
Editors read {allon} for {allelon} and alter the other words in
various ways ({me toi ge on, me toigaron} etc.), taking {me} as in
{me oti} (/ne dicam aliorum/). The reading which I have adopted is
based on that of Stein, who reads {mete teon allon} and quotes
vii. 142, {oute ge alloisi ‘Ellenon oudamoisi, umin de de kai dia
panton ekista}. With {allon} the meaning is, “rejecting those of
other nations and especially those of the Hellenes.” For the use
of {me} after {pheugein} cp. ii. 91.

[75] Or, according to some MSS., “as they proved in the case of
Anacharsis and afterwards of Skyles.”

[76] {gen pollen}.

[77] {epitropou}.

[78] {peplastai}: some authorities give {pepaistai}, “has been
invented as a jest.”

[79] {es kheiras agesthai}.

[79a] {o theos}.

[80] {diepresteuse}: this or {epresteuse} is the reading of most of
the MSS. The meaning is uncertain, since the word does not occur
elsewhere. Stein suggests that it may mean “scoffed (at the
Scythians).” Various conjectures have been tried, e.g.
{diedresteuse}, {diedrepeteuse}, etc.

[81] {os Skuthas einai}: cp. ii. 8. Some (e.g. Dindorf and Bähr)
translate “considering that they are Scythians,” i.e. for a nation
so famous and so widely extended.

[82] i.e. about 5300 gallons.

[83] {epi to iro}: the MSS. mostly have {epi iro}, and Stein adopts
the conjecture {epi rio}, “on a projecting point.” The temple
would be that of {Zeus ourios} mentioned in ch. 87. (In the
Medicean MS. the omitted {i} is inserted above the line /before/
the {r}, not directly over it, as represented by Stein, and the
accent is not omitted.)

[84] {stadioi}, and so throughout.

[85] i.e. 1,110,000.

[86] i.e. 330,000.

[86a] {stelas}, i.e. “square blocks”; so also in ch. 91.

[87] i.e. 700,000.

[87a] {os emoi dokeei sumballomeno}, “putting the evidence together”.

[88] {pasi deka}: probably a loose expression like {ta panta muria},
iii. 74.

[89] {psoren}, “mange.”

[90] Or (less probably) “Skyrmiadai.”

[91] {Salmoxin}: some inferior MSS. have {Zalmoxin}, or {Zamolxin},
and the spelling in other writers varies between these forms.

[92] {daimona}, sometimes used for deified men as distinguished from
gods, cp. ch. 103.

[93] {dia penteteridos}.

[94] {bathutera}.

[95] {ou to asthenestato sophiste}. No depreciation seems to be
intended here.

[96] {andreona}.

[97] i.e. the Mediterranean: or the passage may mean simply, “Thrace
runs out further into the sea than Scythia.”

[98] {gounon}.

[99] More literally, “I say this, so far as it is allowed to compare,
etc. Such is the form of the Tauric land.”

[100] {ede}. The Agathyrsians however have not been mentioned before
in this connection.

[101] {stadia}.

[102] {tes Skuthikes ta epikarsia}, i.e. the lines running from West
to East.

[103] {epanakhthentes}: so the Medicean MS. and another: the rest have
{epanakhthentas}. Some Editors read by conjecture
{apeneikhthentas}, “cast away on their coast.”

[104] {neoisi}.

[105] {trieteridas}.

[106] Or, “were driven out.”

[107] {phtheirotrageousi}.

[108] Or, “/Aiorpata/,” and “/aior/” below.

[109] i.e. the Royal Scythians: see ch. 20.

[110] {epi touto}, the reading of the Aldine edition. The MSS. have
{epi touto}. Stein suggests {dia touto}.

[111] {ou peisometha}: some MSS. read {ouk oisometha}. Editors have
emended by conjecture in various ways, e.g. {ou periopsometha},
“we shall not allow it”; {oi epoisometha} or {oi epeisometha}, “we
shall go out to attack him”; {aposometha}, “we shall repel him.”

[112] {paras}, or {pasai}, belonging to {gunaikes}.

[113] {khersou}, “dry.”

[114] Perhaps the same as the “Hyrgis” mentioned in ch. 57. Some
Editors read “Hyrgis” in this passage.

[115] See ch. 119.

[116] {klaiein lego}.

[117] {touto esti e apo Skutheon resis}: this refers to the last
words, {klaiein lego}. Most Editors have doubts about the
genuineness of the sentence, regarding it a marginal gloss which
has crept into the text; but perhaps without sufficient reason.

[118] Or, “with some slight effect on the course of the war.”

[119] See i. 216.

[120] {eremothentes tou omilou}.

[121] {iesan tes phones}.

[122] {e mia kai Sauromatai}: some Editors read {e meta Sauromateon}.
The MSS. give {e mia Sauromatai} (some {Sauromateon}). Stein
inserts {kai}.

[123] {khairontes eleutheroi}.

[124] The list includes only those who voted in favour of the proposal
of Histiaios (i.e. Miltiades is not included in it): hence perhaps
Stein is right in suggesting some change in the text, e.g. {oi
diapherontes te ten psephon basileos kai eontes logou pleistou}.
The absence of the name of Coës is remarked by several
commentators, who forget that he had accompanied Dareios: see ch.

[125] Or, “and even so they found the passage of the river with

[126] {en Persesi}.

[127] i.e. 80,000.

[128] {gar}: some MSS. read {de}; so Stein and other Editors.

[129] i.e. Castor and Polydeukes the sons of Tyndareus, who were among
the Argonauts.

[130] {Phera} (genitive).

[131] From {ois} “sheep” and {lukos} “wolf” ({oin en lukoisi}).

[132] {phule}, the word being here apparently used loosely.

[133] {‘Erinuon}.

[134] {meta touto upemeine touto touto}: some Editors mark a lacuna
after {upemeine}, or supply some words like {sunebe de}: “after
this the children survived, and the same thing happened also in
Thera, etc.”

[135] Or, “Grinos.”

[136] {Euphemides}: the MSS. have {Euthumides}: the correction is from
Pindar, Pyth. iv. 455.

[137] {onax}, the usual form of address to Apollo; so in ch. 155.

[138] Or, “Axos.”

[139] i.e. Aristoteles, Pind. Pyth. v. 87.

[140] {metaxu apolipon}.

[141] Or, “it happened both to himself and to the other men of Thera
according to their former evil fortune”; but this would presuppose
the truth of the story told in ch. 151, and {paligkotos} may mean
simply “adverse” or “hostile.”

[142] {eontes tosoutoi osoi k.t.l.} They could hardly have failed to
increase in number, but no new settlers had been added.

[143] {usteron elthe gas anadaiomenes}, “too late for the division of

[144] Or, “Thestis.”

[145] The MSS. give also “Aliarchos” and “Learchos.”

[146] {mathon ekasta}.

[147] {ton terioikon}: i.e. conquered Libyans.

[148] {nesioteon panton}: i.e. the natives of the Cyclades, cp. vi.

[149] {amphirruton ten Kurenen einai}: some Editors read by conjecture
{ten amphirruton Kurenen einai} (or {Kurenen ten amph, einai}),
“that Kyrene was the place flowed round by water.”

[150] {pselion}.

[151] Or, “Giligammai.”

[152] i.e. the plant so called, figured on the coins of Kyrene and

[153] Or, “Asbytai.”

[154] i.e. further from the coast, so {katuperthe}, ch. 174 etc., cp.
ch. 16.

[155] Or “Cabales.”

[156] See i. 216.

[157] Distinct from the people of the same name mentioned in ch. 183:
those here mentioned are called “Gamphasantes” by Pliny.

[158] {glukuteta}, “sweetness.”

[159] {allen te ekatomben kai de kai}.

[160] {epithespisanta to tripodi}, which can hardly mean “prophesied
sitting upon the tripod.”

[161] Lit. “the men come together regularly to one place within three
months,” which seems to mean that meetings are held every three
months, before one of which the child is brought.

[162] See ii. 42.

[163] i.e. in the middle of the morning.

[164] {tripsin}: the “feel” to the touch: hence it might mean either
hardness or softness according to the context.

[165] {troglodutas}: “Troglodytes.”

[166] {uperballonti}: “when his heat is greatest.”

[167] {ede}.

[168] Or “red.”

[169] {domon}: Reiske reads {omon} by conjecture, “over his shoulder.”

[170] Or (according to some MSS.), “practise this much and do it

[171] {akatapseusta}. Several Editors have adopted the conjecture
{katapseusta}, “other fabulous beasts.”

[172] {orues}: perhaps for {oruges} from {orux}, a kind of antelope.

[173] {diktues}: the meaning is uncertain.

[174] {ekhinees}, “urchins.”

[175] Or “Zabykes.”

[176] Or “Zygantes.”

[177] {eie d’ an pan}: cp. v. 9. Some translate, “and this might well
be so.”

[178] {oud’ areten einai tis e Libue spoudaie}.

[179] i.e. corn; cp. i. 193.

[180] {bounous}.

[181] See ch. 167.

[182] {meden allo neokhmoun kata Barkaious}: cp. v. 19.

[183] {paralabontes}.

[184] {epiphthonoi}.

End of The History of Herodotus V1 by Herodotus

This etext was retrieved by ftp from
It is also available from

Etext prepared by John Bickers,
and Dagny,
[Note: This is Volume 1, we also have Volume 2]THE HISTORY OF HERODOTUS

Translated into English



{e Herodotou diathesis en apasin epieikes, kai tois men agathois
sunedomene, tois de kakois sunalgousa}.–Dion. Halic.


This text was prepared from the third edition, printed in 1914, by
MacMillan and Co., Limited, St. Martin’s Street, London.

Greek text has been transliterated and marked with brackets, as in
the opening citation above.




1. In the meantime those of the Persians who had been left behind in
Europe by Dareios, of whom Megabazos was the commander, had subdued
the people of Perinthos first of the Hellespontians, since they
refused to be subject to Dareios. These had in former times also been
hardly dealt with by the Paionians: for the Paionians from the Strymon
had been commanded by an oracle of their god to march against the
Perinthians; and if the Perinthians, when encamped opposite to them,
should shout aloud and call to them by their name, they were to attack
them; but if they should not shout to them, they were not to attack
them: and thus the Paionians proceeded to do. Now when the Perinthians
were encamped opposite to them in the suburb of their city, a
challenge was made and a single combat took place in three different
forms; for they matched a man against a man, and a horse against a
horse, and a dog against a dog. Then, as the Perinthians were getting
the better in two of the three, in their exultation they raised a
shout of /paion/,[1] and the Paionians conjectured that this was the
very thing which was spoken of in the oracle, and said doubtless to
one another, “Now surely the oracle is being accomplished for us, now
it is time for us to act.” So the Paionians attacked the Perinthians
when they had raised the shout of paion, and they had much the better
in the fight, and left but few of them alive. 2. Thus it happened with
respect to those things which had been done to them in former times by
the Paionians; and at this time, although the Perinthians proved
themselves brave men in defence of their freedom, the Persians and
Megabazos got the better of them by numbers. Then after Perinthos had
been conquered, Megabazos marched his army through the length of
Thracia, forcing every city and every race of those who dwell there to
submit to the king, for so it had been commanded him by Dareios, to
subdue Thracia.

3. Now the Thracian race is the most numerous, except the Indians, in
all the world: and if it should come to be ruled over by one man, or
to agree together in one, it would be irresistible in fight and the
strongest by far of all nations, in my opinion. Since however this is
impossible for them and cannot ever come to pass among them,[2] they
are in fact weak for that reason. They have many names, belonging to
their various tribes in different places; but they all follow customs
which are nearly the same in all respects, except the Getai and
Trausians and those who dwell above the Crestonians. 4. Of these the
practices of the Getai, who believe themselves to be immortal, have
been spoken of by me already:[3] and the Trausians perform everything
else in the same manner as the other Thracians, but in regard to those
who are born and die among them they do as follows:–when a child has
been born, the nearest of kin sit round it and make lamentation for
all the evils of which he must fulfil the measure, now that he is
born,[3a] enumerating the whole number of human ills; but when a man
is dead, they cover him up in the earth with sport and rejoicing,
saying at the same time from what great evils he has escaped and is
now in perfect bliss. 5. Those who dwell above the Crestonians do as
follows:–each man has many wives, and when any man of them is dead, a
great competition takes place among his wives, with much exertion on
the part of their friends, about the question of which of them was
most loved by their husband; and she who is preferred by the decision
and so honoured, is first praised by both men and women, then her
throat is cut over the tomb by her nearest of kin, and afterwards she
is buried together with her husband; and the others are exceedingly
grieved at it, for this is counted as the greatest reproach to them.
6. Of the other Thracians the custom is to sell their children to be
carried away out of the country; and over their maidens they do not
keep watch, but allow them to have commerce with whatever men they
please, but over their wives they keep very great watch; and they buy
their wives for great sums of money from their parents. To be pricked
with figures is accounted a mark of noble rank, and not to be so
marked is a sign of low birth.[4] Not to work is counted most
honourable, and to be a worker of the soil is above all things
dishonourable: to live on war and plunder is the most honourable
thing. 7. These are their most remarkable customs; and of the gods
they worship only Ares and Dionysos and Artemis. Their kings, however,
apart from the rest of the people, worship Hermes more than all gods,
and swear by him alone; and they say that they are descended from
Hermes. 8. The manner of burial for the rich among them is this:–for
three days they expose the corpse to view, and they slay all kinds of
victims and feast, having first made lamentation. Then they perform
the burial rites, either consuming the body with fire or covering it
up in the earth without burning; and afterwards when they have heaped
up a mound they celebrate games with every kind of contest, in which
reasonably the greatest prizes are assigned for single combat.[5] This
is the manner of burial among the Thracians.

9. Of the region lying further on towards the North of this country no
one can declare accurately who the men are who dwell in it; but the
parts which lie immediately beyond the Ister are known to be
uninhabited and vast in extent. The only men of whom I can hear who
dwell beyond the Ister are those who are said to be called Sigynnai,
and who use the Median fashion of dress. Their horses, it is said,
have shaggy hair all over their bodies, as much as five fingers long;
and these are small and flat-nosed and too weak to carry men, but when
yoked in chariots they are very high-spirited; therefore the natives
of the country drive chariots. The boundaries of this people extend,
it is said, to the parts near the Enetoi, who live on the Adriatic;
and people say that they are colonists from the Medes. In what way
however these have come to be colonists from the Medes I am not able
for my part to conceive, but everything is possible in the long course
of ages. However that may be, the Ligurians who dwell in the region
inland above Massalia call traders /sigynnai/, and the men of Cyprus
give the same name to spears. 10. Now the Thracians say that the other
side of the Ister is occupied by bees, and that by reason of them it
is not possible to pass through and proceed further: but to me it
seems that when they so speak, they say that which is not probable;
for these creatures are known to be intolerant of cold, and to me it
seems that the regions which go up towards the pole are uninhabitable
by reason of the cold climate. These then are the tales reported about
this country; and however that may be, Megabazos was then making the
coast-regions of it subject to the Persians.

11. Meanwhile Dareios, so soon as he had crossed over the Hellespont
and come to Sardis, called to mind the service rendered to him by
Histiaios the Milesian and also the advice of the Mytilenian Coës, and
having sent for them to come to Sardis he offered them a choice of
rewards. Histiaios then, being despot of Miletos, did not make request
for any government in addition to that, but he asked for the district
of Myrkinos which belonged to the Edonians, desiring there to found a
city. Histiaios chose this for himself; but Coës, not being a despot
but a man of the people, asked to be made despot of Mitylene. 12.
After the desires of both had been fulfilled, they betook themselves
to that which they had chosen: and at this same time it chanced that
Dareios saw a certain thing which made him desire to command Megabazos
to conquer the Paionians and remove them forcibly from Europe into
Asia: and the thing was this:–There were certain Paionians named
Pigres and Mantyas, who when Dareios had crossed over into Asia, came
to Sardis, because they desired themselves to have rule over the
Paionians, and with them they brought their sister, who was tall and
comely. Then having watched for a time when Dareios took his seat
publicly in the suburb of the Lydian city, they dressed up their
sister in the best way they could, and sent her to fetch water, having
a water-jar upon her head and leading a horse after her by a bridle
round her arm, and at the same time spinning flax. Now when the woman
passed out of the city by him, Dareios paid attention to the matter,
for that which was done by the woman was not of Persian nor yet of
Lydian fashion, nor indeed after the manner of any people of Asia. He
sent therefore some of his spearmen, bidding them watch what the woman
would do with the horse. They accordingly followed after her; and she
having arrived at the river watered the horse, and having watered him
and filled her jar with the water, she passed along by the same way,
bearing the water upon her head, leading the horse after her by a
bridle round her arm, and at the same time turning the spindle. 13.
Then Dareios, marvelling both at that which he heard from those who
went to observe and also at that which he saw himself, bade them bring
her into his presence: and when she was brought, her brothers also
came, who had been watching these things at no great distance off. So
then when Dareios asked of what country she was, the young men said
that they were Paionians and that she was their sister; and he
replied: “Who then are these Paionians, and where upon the earth do
they dwell?” and he asked them also what they desired, that they had
come to Sardis. They declared to him that they had come to give
themselves up to him, and that Paionia was a country situated upon the
river Strymon, and that the Strymon was not far from the Hellespont,
and finally that they were colonists from the Teucrians of Troy. All
these things severally they told him; and he asked whether all the
women of that land were as industrious as their sister; and they very
readily replied to this also, saying that it was so, for it was with a
view to that very thing that they had been doing this. 14. Then
Dareios wrote a letter to Megabazos, whom he had left to command his
army in Thrace, bidding him remove the Paionians from their place of
habitation and bring them to the king, both themselves and their
children and their wives. Then forthwith a horseman set forth to ride
in haste bearing the message to the Hellespont, and having passed over
to the other side he gave the paper to Megabazos. So he having read it
and having obtained guides from Thrace, set forth to march upon
Paionia: 15, and the Paionians, being informed that the Persians were
coming against them, gathered all their powers together and marched
out in the direction of the sea, supposing that the Persians when they
invaded them would make their attack on that side. The Paionians then
were prepared, as I say, to drive off the army of Megabazos when it
came against them; but the Persians hearing that the Paionians had
gathered their powers and were guarding the entrance which lay towards
the sea, directed their course with guides along the upper road; and
passing unperceived by the Paionians they fell upon their cities,
which were left without men, and finding them without defenders they
easily took possession of them. The Paionians when they heard that
their cities were in the hands of the enemy, at once dispersed, each
tribe to its own place of abode, and proceeded to deliver themselves
up to the Persians. Thus then it happened that these tribes of the
Paionians, namely the Siropaionians,[6] the Paioplians and all up to
the lake Prasias, were removed from their place of habitation and
brought to Asia; 16, but those who dwell about mount Pangaion, and
about the Doberians and Agrianians and Odomantians,[7] and about the
lake Prasias itself, were not conquered at all by Megabazos. He tried
however to remove even those who lived in the lake and who had their
dwellings in the following manner:–a platform fastened together and
resting upon lofty piles stood in the middle of the water of the lake,
with a narrow approach to it from the mainland by a single bridge. The
piles which supported the platform were no doubt originally set there
by all the members of the community working together, but since that
time they continue to set them by observance of this rule, that is to
say, every man who marries brings from the mountain called Orbelos
three piles for each wife and sets them as supports; and each man
takes to himself many wives. And they have their dwelling thus, that
is each man has possession of a hut upon the platform in which he
lives and of a trap-door[8] leading through the platform down to the
lake: and their infant children they tie with a rope by the foot, for
fear that they should roll into the water. To their horses and beasts
of burden they give fish for fodder; and of fish there is so great
quantity that if a man open the trap-door and let down an empty basket
by a cord into the lake, after waiting quite a short time he draws it
up again full of fish. Of the fish there are two kinds, and they call
them /paprax/ and /tilon/.

17. So then those of the Paionians who had been conquered were being
brought to Asia: and Megabazos meanwhile, after he had conquered the
Paionians, sent as envoys to Macedonia seven Persians, who after
himself were the men of most repute in the army. These were being sent
to Amyntas to demand of him earth and water for Dareios the king. Now
from lake Prasias there is a very short way into Macedonia; for first,
quite close to the lake, there is the mine from which after this time
there came in regularly a talent of silver every day to Alexander; and
after the mine, when you have passed over the mountain called Dysoron,
you are in Macedonia. 18. These Persians then, who had been sent to
Amyntas, having arrived came into the presence of Amyntas and
proceeded to demand earth and water for king Dareios. This he was
willing to give, and also he invited them to be his guests; and he
prepared a magnificent dinner and received the Persians with friendly
hospitality. Then when dinner was over, the Persians while drinking
pledges to one another[9] said thus: “Macedonian guest-friend, it is
the custom among us Persians, when we set forth a great dinner, then
to bring in also our concubines and lawful wives to sit beside us. Do
thou then, since thou didst readily receive us and dost now entertain
us magnificently as thy guests, and since thou art willing to give to
king Dareios earth and water, consent to follow our custom.” To this
Amyntas replied: “Persians, among us the custom is not so, but that
men should be separate from women. Since however ye being our masters
make this request in addition, this also shall be given you.” Having
so said Amyntas proceeded to send for the women; and when they came
being summoned, they sat down in order opposite to the Persians. Then
the Persians, seeing women of comely form, spoke to Amyntas and said
that this which had been done was by no means well devised; for it was
better that the women should not come at all, than that they should
come and should not seat themselves by their side, but sit opposite
and be a pain to their eyes. So Amyntas being compelled bade them sit
by the side of the Persians; and when the women obeyed, forthwith the
Persians, being much intoxicated, began to touch their breasts, and
some no doubt also tried to kiss them. 19. Amyntas seeing this kept
quiet, notwithstanding that he felt anger, because he excessively
feared the Persians; but Alexander the son of Amyntas, who was present
and saw this, being young and without experience of calamity was not
able to endure any longer; but being impatient of it he said to
Amyntas: “My father, do thou grant that which thy age demands, and go
away to rest, nor persevere longer in the drinking; but I will remain
here and give to our guests all that is convenient.” On this Amyntas,
understanding that Alexander was intending to do some violence, said:
“My son, I think that I understand thy words, as the heat of anger
moves thee, namely that thou desirest to send me away and then do some
deed of violence: therefore I ask of thee not to do violence to these
men, that it may not be our ruin, but endure to see that which is
being done: as to my departure, however, in that I will do as thou
sayest.” 20. When Amyntas after having made of him this request had
departed, Alexander said to the Persians: “With these women ye have
perfect freedom, guests, to have commerce with all, if ye so desire,
or with as many of them as ye will. About this matter ye shall be they
who give the word; but now, since already the hour is approaching for
you to go to bed and I see that ye have well drunk, let these women go
away, if so it is pleasing to you, to bathe themselves; and