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Title: The Boys' and Girls' Herodotus - Being Parts of the History of Herodotus Edited for Boys and Girls
Author: White, John S. (John Stuart)
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Boys' and Girls' Herodotus - Being Parts of the History of Herodotus Edited for Boys and Girls" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.

Transcriber's Note.

Apparent typographical errors have been corrected. The inconsistent use
of hyphens has been retained, as has the use of both "king" and "King".

Small capitals have been replaced by full capitals, while italics are
indicated by _underscores_. A phrase in black letter font is indicated
by +plus signs+.

An advertisement for another work by the same author has been shifted to
the back of the book.

The illustration titled "ALPHABET" does not identify which alphabet it
is, but it appears to illustrate Egyptian hieroglyphics.

The "Synchronistical Table of the Principal Events in Herodotus" towards
the end of the book extends over two pages in small font: one on the
Greeks and one on the "Barbarians". The text on the Persian Empire is
spread over several columns on the second page. In this version the
table on each page has been split into two, and the text on the Persian
Empire placed at the end.








 +The Knickerbocker Press+



Imagine yourself in the city of Athens near the close of the year 446
B.C. The proud city, after many years of supremacy over the whole of
Central Greece, has passed her zenith, and is surely on the decline. She
has never recovered from the blow received at Coronea. The year has been
one of gloom and foreboding. The coming spring will bring the end of the
five years' truce; and an invasion from the Peloponnesus is imminent.
But, as the centre of learning, refinement, and the arts, the lustre of
her fame is yet undimmed, and men of education throughout the world deem
their lives incomplete until they have sought and reached this
intellectual Mecca. During this year a stranger from Halicarnassus, in
Asia Minor, after many years of travel in Asia, Scythia, Libya, Egypt,
and Magna Græcia, has taken up his abode at Athens. He is still a young
man, hardly thirty-seven, yet his fame is that of the first and greatest
of historians. Dramatists and poets immortal there have been, but never
man has written such exquisite prose. Twenty centuries and more shall
wear away, and his history will be read in a hundred different tongues,
as well as in the beautiful and simple Greek that he wrote. His name
will grow into a household word; the school-boy will revel in his
delightful tales, and wise men will call him the Father of History! For
weeks the people of Athens have listened entranced to the public reading
of his great work, and now the Assembly has passed a decree tendering to
him the city's thanks, together with a most substantial gift in
recognition of his talents—a purse of money equal to twelve thousand
American dollars.

Such is the account which Eusebius gives, and others to whom we may
fairly accord belief; and it adds no slight tinge of romance to the
picture to discover among the listening throng the figure of the boy
Thucydides, moved to tears by the recital, who then and there received
the impulse that made of him also a great student and writer of history.
Herodotus, noticing how intensely his reading had affected the youth,
turned to Olorus, the father of Thucydides, who was standing near, and
said: "Olorus, thy son's soul yearns after knowledge."

Herodotus was born at Halicarnassus, 484 B.C., and died at Thurium in
Italy, about the year 425. As in the case of Plutarch, our knowledge of
his personal history is very meagre, aside from the little we glean from
his own writings. His parents, Lyxes and Rhœo, appear to have been of
high rank and consideration in Halicarnassus, and possessed of ample
means; and his acquaintance both at home and in Athens was of the best.
A lover of poetry and a poet by nature, the whole plan of his work, the
tone and character of his thoughts, and a multitude of words and
expressions, show him to have been perfectly familiar with the Homeric
writings. There is scarcely an author previous to his time with whose
works he does not appear to have been thoroughly acquainted. Hecatæus,
to be sure, was almost the only writer of prose who had attained any
distinction, for prose composition was practically in its infancy; but
from him and from several others, too obscure even to be named, he
freely quotes, while the poets, Hesiod, Olen, Musæus, Archilochus, the
authors of the "Cypria" and the "Epigoni," Alcæus, Sappho, Solon, Æsop,
Aristeas, Simonides of Ceos, Phrynichus, Æschylus, and Pindar, are
referred to, or quoted, in such a way as to show an intimate
acquaintance with their works.

The design of Herodotus was to record the struggles between the Greeks
and barbarians, but, in carrying it out, as Wheeler, the English analyst
of the writings of Herodotus, has happily expressed it, he is
perpetually led to trace the causes of the great events of his history;
to recount the origin of that mighty contest between liberty and
despotism which marked the whole period; to describe the wondrous
manners and mysterious religions of nations, and the marvellous
geography and fabulous productions of the various countries, as each
appeared on the great arena; to tell to an inquisitive and credulous
people of cities vast as provinces and splendid as empires; of
stupendous walls, temples and pyramids; of dreams, omens, and warnings
from the dead; of obscure traditions and their exact accomplishment;—and
thus to prepare their minds for the most wonderful story in the annals
of men, when all Asia united in one endless array to crush the states of
Greece; when armies bridged the seas and navies sailed through
mountains; when proud, stubborn-hearted men arose amid anxiety, terror,
confusion, and despair, and staked their lives and homes against the
overwhelming power of a foreign despot, till Heaven itself sympathized
with their struggles, and the winds and waves delivered their country,
and opened the way to victory and revenge.

The personal character of Herodotus, reflected from every page that he
wrote, renders his vivid story all the more happily suited to the
reading and study of boys and girls. He is as honest as the sun; equally
impartial to friends and foes; candid in the statement of both sides of
a question; and an artist withal in the gift of delineating a character
or a people with a few rapid strokes, so bold and masterly that the
sketch is placed before you with stereoscopic distinctness. For so early
a writer he presents a surprising unity of plan, combined with a variety
of detail that is amazing. What if he does crowd and enrich his story
with a world of anecdote? What if he feels bound always to paint for you
the customs, manners, dress, and peculiarities of a people before he
begins their history? This very biographical style is the charm of his
pen. Like the flowers of the magnolia-tree, his bright stories and vivid
descriptions at times almost overwhelm the root and branch of his
narrative; yet, after all, we remember the magnolia more because of its
cloud of snowy bloom in the few fleeting days of May than for all its
green and shade in the other months.

Herodotus, to be sure, lacks that far-seeing faculty of discerning
accurately the real causes of great movements, wars, and migrations of
men—a faculty possessed pre-eminently by Thucydides and largely by
Xenophon, but he is equally far removed from the coldness of the one and
the ostentatious display of the other. He is above all things natural,
simple, and direct. "He writes," says Aristotle, "sentences which have a
continuous flow, and which end only when the sense is complete."

I have allowed Herodotus, as I did Plutarch, to tell you his story in
his own words, as closely as the English idiom can reproduce the spirit
and flow of the Greek, calling gratefully to my aid the labors of such
students, analysts, and translators of Herodotus as Rawlinson, Dahlmann,
Cary, and Wheeler; and I have discarded from the text only what is
indelicate to the modern ear, or what the young reader might find
tedious, redundant, or irrelevant to the main story. But so small a part
comes under this head, that I am sure I can fairly say to you: "This is
Herodotus himself." If you read him through and do not like him, who
will be the disappointed one? Not you, but I!

NEW YORK, _June 15, 1884_.


 CHAPTER.                                                           PAGE


   I. Origin of the War between the Greeks and Barbarians              1
  II. History of Lydia                                                 4
 III. Origin of Athens and Sparta                                     17
  IV. Conquest of Lydia by Cyrus                                      25
   V. History of the Medes to the Reign of Cyrus                      35
  VI. The Asiatic Greeks and the Lydian Revolt                        54
 VII. The Conquest of Assyria and the War with the Massagetæ          65


   I. Physical History of Egypt                                       83
  II. Religion, Manners, Customs, Dress, and Animals
       of the Egyptians                                               91
 III. God-Kings Prior to Menes                                       107
  IV. First Line of 330 Kings, only Three Mentioned                  108
   V. From Sesostris to Sethon                                       110
  VI. Third Line from the Twelve Kings to Amasis                     127


   I. Expeditions of Cambyses                                        138
  II. Usurpation of Smerdis the Magus and Accession of Darius        157
 III. Indians, Arabians, and Ethiopians                              169
  IV. Reign of Darius to the Taking of Babylon                       174


   I. Description of Scythia and the Neighboring Nations             188
  II. Invasion of Scythia by Darius                                  203
 III. Description of Libya                                           210


   I. Conquests of the Generals of Darius                            219
  II. The Ionian Revolt                                              229


   I. The Suppression of the Ionian Revolt                           236
  II. Expedition of Mardonius                                        246
 III. Expedition of Datis and Artaphernes;
       The Battle of Marathon                                        252


   I. Death of Darius and Reign of Xerxes                            261
  II. Battle of Thermopylæ                                           280


   I. The Invasion of Attica and the Battle of Salamis               292
  II. Xerxes' Retreat                                                302


   I. The War Continued; Battle of Platæa and Siege of Thebes        307
  II. The Battle of Mycale                                           321
 Synchronistical Table of the Principal Events in Herodotus          326
 Herodotean Weights and Money, Dry and Liquid Measures,
  and Measurements of Lengths                                        328



 The Pyramids and Sphinx                                   _Frontispiece_
 Offering at the Temple of Delphi                                     14
 Athens from Mount Hymettus                                           19
 Assyrian Warriors in a Chariot                                       38
 Sphinx from S. W. Palace (Nimroud)                                   39
 Egyptian Hare                                                        47
 Winged Human-Headed Lion                                             69
 Sepulchral Vases                                                     80
 Map of Ægyptus                                                       82
 The Two Great Pyramids at the Time of the Inundation                 85
 Nile Boat                                                            89
 The Trochilus                                                        98
 Spearing the Crocodile                                               99
 Head of Rameses II.                                                 109
 Bust of Thothmes I.                                                 111
 Paris Carrying Away Helen                                           113
 Bes and Hi                                                          117
 The Great Pyramid, without the Surface Stone                        119
 Section of the Great Pyramid                                        121
 Section of Gallery in Pyramid                                       123
 Hall of Columns in the Great Temple of Karnak                       125
 Egyptian Bell Capitals                                              129
 Harpoon and Fish-Hooks                                              129
 Egyptian Helmets                                                    131
 The Great Sphinx                                                    135
 Egyptian Pottery                                                    139
 Sand Storm in the Desert                                            147
 Attack on Fort                                                      153
 The Obelisk                                                         155
 Mameluke Tomb, Cairo                                                163
 Egyptian War Chariot, Warrior, and Horse                            167
 Military Drum                                                       171
 Alphabet                                                            175
 Infantry Drilled by Sergeant                                        185
 Light-Armed Troops Marching                                         187
 Olive Trees                                                         217
 Head-Dress of a Riding Horse                                        221
 Amphitheatre at Pola                                                241
 Ruins of an Ancient Temple in Corinth                               249
 Tripolitza                                                          267
 The Tomb of Jonah, Konyunjik, and the Ruins Opposite Mosul          273
 Bridge over the Gortynius                                           277
 Cyclopean Walls at Cephalloma                                       281
 Island and Castle of Corfu                                          283
 Bridge at Corfu                                                     287
 Plains of Argos                                                     289
 Ancient Greek Walls Restored                                        293
 Celes Ridden by a Cupid                                             303
 Bœotia                                                              309
 Coat of Mail                                                        311
 The Fisherman                                                       313
 Juno                                                                315
 Elegant Vases and Amphoræ                                           317
 Bas-Relief of the Muses                                             325





This is a publication of the researches of Herodotus of Halicarnassus,
made in order that the actions of men may not be effaced by time, and
that the great and wondrous deeds displayed both by Greeks and
barbarians[1] may not be deprived of renown; and, furthermore, that the
cause for which they waged war upon each other may be known.

The learned among the Persians assert that the Phœnicians were the
original authors of the quarrel; that they migrated from that which is
called the Red Sea to the Mediterranean and, having settled in the
country which they now inhabit, forthwith applied themselves to distant
voyages; and that they exported Egyptian and Assyrian merchandise,
touching at other places, and also at Argos. Argos, at that period,
surpassed in every respect all those states which are now comprehended
under the general appellation of Greece. They say, that on their arrival
at Argos, the Phœnicians exposed their merchandise for sale, and that on
the fifth or sixth day after their arrival, when they had almost
disposed of their cargo, a great number of women came down to the
sea-shore, and among them Io the daughter of the king Inachus. While
these women were standing near the stern of the vessel, and were
bargaining for such things as most pleased them, the Phœnicians made an
attack upon them. Most of the women escaped, but Io with some others was
seized. Then the traders hurried on board and set sail for Egypt. Thus
the Persians say that Io went to Egypt, and that this was the beginning
of wrongs. After this certain Greeks (for they are unable to tell their
name), having touched at Tyre in Phœnicia, carried off the king's
daughter Europa. These must have been Cretans. Thus far they say that
they had only returned like for like, but that after this the Greeks
were guilty of the second provocation; for having sailed down in a
vessel of war to Æa, a city of Colchis on the river Phasis, when they
had accomplished the more immediate object of their expedition, they
carried off the king's daughter Medea; and the king of Colchis, having
despatched a herald to Greece, demanded satisfaction and the restitution
of the princess; but the Greeks replied, that as they of Asia had not
given satisfaction for the stealing of Io, they would not give any to
them. In the second generation after this, Alexander, the son of Priam,
having heard of these events, was desirous of obtaining a wife from
Greece by means of violence, being fully persuaded that he should not
have to give satisfaction, since the Greeks had not done so. When,
therefore, he had carried off Helen, the Greeks immediately sent
messengers to demand her back again and require satisfaction; but when
they brought forward these demands they were met with this reply: "You
who have not yourselves given satisfaction, nor made it when demanded,
now wish others to give it to you." After this the Greeks were greatly
to blame, for they levied war against Asia before the Asiatics did upon
Europe. Now, to carry off women by violence the Persians think is the
act of wicked men; to trouble one's self about avenging them when so
carried off is the act of foolish ones; and to pay no regard to them
when carried off, of wise men: for it is clear, that if they had not
been willing, they could not have been carried off. Accordingly the
Persians say, that they of Asia made no account of women that were
carried off; but that the Greeks for the sake of a Lacedæmonian woman
assembled a mighty fleet, sailed to Asia, and overthrew the empire of
Priam. From this event they had always considered the Greeks as their
enemies: for the Persians claim Asia, and the barbarous nations that
inhabit it, as their own, and consider Europe and the people of Greece
as totally distinct.

Such is the Persian account; and to the capture of Troy they ascribe the
commencement of their enmity to the Greeks. As relates to Io, the
Phœnicians do not agree with this account of the Persians but affirm
that she voluntarily sailed away with the traders. I, however, am not
going to inquire further as to facts; but having pointed out the person
whom I myself know to have been the first guilty of injustice toward the
Greeks, I will then proceed with my history, touching as well on the
small as the great estates of men: for of those that were formerly
powerful many have become weak, and some that were formerly weak became
powerful in my time. Knowing, therefore, the precarious nature of human
prosperity, I shall commemorate both alike.

Crœsus was a Lydian by birth, son of Alyattes, and sovereign of the
nations on this side the river Halys. This river flowing from the south
between the Syrians[2] and Paphlagonians, empties itself northward into
the Euxine Sea. This Crœsus was the first of the barbarians whom we know
of that subjected some of the Greeks to the payment of tribute, and
formed alliances with others. He subdued the Ionians and Æolians, and
those of the Dorians who had settled in Asia, and formed an alliance
with the Lacedæmonians; but before his reign all the Greeks were free.



The government, which formerly belonged to the Heraclidæ, passed to the
family of Crœsus, who were called Mermnadæ. Candaules, whom the Greeks
call Myrsilus, was tyrant of Sardis, and a descendant of Alcæus, son of
Hercules. For Agron, son of Ninus, grandson of Belus, great-grandson of
Alcæus, was the first of the Heraclidæ who became king of Sardis; and
Candaules, son of Myrsus, was the last. They who ruled over this country
before Agron, were descendants of Lydus, son of Atys, from whom this
whole people, anciently called Mæonians, derived the name of Lydians.
The Heraclidæ, descended from a female slave of Jardanus and Hercules,
having been intrusted with the government by these princes, retained the
supreme power in obedience to the declaration of an oracle: they reigned
for twenty-two generations, a space of five hundred and five years, the
son succeeding to the father to the time of Candaules, son of Myrsus.
Candaules was murdered by his favorite, Gyges, who thus obtained the
kingdom, and was confirmed in it by the oracle at Delphi. For when the
Lydians resented the murder of Candaules, and were up in arms, the
partisans of Gyges and the other Lydians came to the following
agreement, that if the oracle should pronounce him king of the Lydians,
he should reign; if not, he should restore the power to the Heraclidæ.
The oracle answered that Gyges should become king. But the Pythian added
this, "that the Heraclidæ should be avenged on the fifth descendant of
Gyges." Of this prediction neither the Lydians nor their kings took any
notice until it was actually accomplished.

Thus the Mermnadæ deprived the Heraclidæ of the supreme power. Gyges
sent many offerings to Delphi; indeed most of the silver offerings at
Delphi are his; and besides the silver, he gave a vast quantity of gold;
among the rest six bowls of gold, which now stand in the treasury of the
Corinthians, and are thirty talents in weight; though, to tell the
truth, this treasury does not belong to the people of Corinth, but
Cypselus son of Eetion. Gyges was the first of the barbarians of whom we
know who made offerings at Delphi, except Midas, son of Gordius, the
king of Phrygia, who dedicated the royal throne, on which he used to sit
and administer justice, a piece of workmanship deserving of admiration.
The throne stands in the same place as the bowls of Gyges.

Periander the son of Cypselus was king of Corinth, and the Corinthians
say (and the Lesbians confirm their account) that a wonderful prodigy
occurred in his life-time. Arion of Methymna, second to none of his time
in accompanying the harp, and the first who composed, named, and
represented the dithyrambus at Corinth, was carried to Tænarus on the
back of a dolphin. Arion, having continued a long time with Periander,
made a voyage to Italy and Sicily, acquired great wealth there, and
determined to return to Corinth. He set out from Tarentum, and hired a
ship of some Corinthians, because he put more confidence in them than in
any other nation; but these men, when they were in the open sea,
conspired together to throw him overboard and seize his money. Learning
of this he offered them his money, and entreated them to spare his life.
But he could not prevail on them; the sailors ordered him either to kill
himself, that he might be buried ashore, or to leap immediately into the
sea. Arion, reduced to this strait, entreated them, since such was their
determination, to permit him to stand on the stern of the vessel in his
full dress and sing, and he promised when he had sung to make way with
himself. The seamen, pleased that they should hear the best singer in
the world, retired from the stern to the middle of the vessel. Arion put
on all his robes, took his harp in his hands, stood on the rowing
benches and went through the Orthian strain; the strain ended, he leaped
into the sea as he was, in full dress; the sailors continuing their
voyage to Corinth: but a dolphin caught him upon his back, and carried
him to Tænarus; so that, having landed, he proceeded to Corinth in his
full dress, and upon his arrival there, related all that happened.
Periander gave no credit to his relation, put Arion under close
confinement, and watched anxiously for the arrival of the seamen. When
they appeared, he summoned them and inquired if they could give any
account of Arion. They answered that he was safe in Italy, and that they
had left him flourishing at Tarentum. At that instant Arion appeared
before them just as he was when he leaped into the sea; at which they
were so astonished that, being fully convicted, they could no longer
deny the fact. These things are reported by the Corinthians and
Lesbians; and there is a little bronze statue of Arion at Tænarus,
representing a man sitting on a dolphin.

Alyattes the Lydian and father of Crœsus, having waged a long war
against the Milesians, died after a reign of fifty-seven years. Once
upon recovery from an illness he dedicated at Delphi a large silver
bowl, with a saucer of iron inlaid; an object that deserves attention
above all the offerings at Delphi. It was made by Glaucus the Chian, who
first invented the art of inlaying iron.

At the death of Alyattes, Crœsus, then thirty-five years of age,
succeeded to the kingdom. He attacked the Ephesians before any other
Greek people. The Ephesians being besieged by him, consecrated their
city to Diana, by fastening a rope from the temple to the wall. The
distance between the old town, which was then besieged, and the temple,
is seven stadia. Crœsus afterward attacked the several cities of the
Ionians and Æolians in succession, alleging different pretences against
the various states. After he had reduced the Greeks in Asia to the
payment of tribute, he formed a design to build ships and attack the
Islanders. But when all things were ready for the building of ships,
Bias of Priene (or, as others say, Pittacus of Mitylene) arriving at
Sardis, put a stop to his ship-building by making this reply, when
Crœsus inquired if he had any news from Greece: "O king, the Islanders
are enlisting a large body of cavalry, with the intention of making war
upon you and Sardis." Crœsus, thinking he had spoken the truth, said:
"May the gods put such a thought into the Islanders, as to attack the
sons of the Lydians with horse." The other answering said: "Sire, you
appear to wish above all things to see the Islanders on horseback upon
the continent; and not without reason. But what can you imagine the
Islanders more earnestly desire, after having heard of your resolution
to build a fleet to attack them, than to catch the Lydians at sea, that
they may revenge on you the cause of those Greeks who dwell on the
continent, whom you hold in subjection?" Crœsus, much pleased with the
conclusion, and convinced, (for he appeared to speak to the purpose,)
put a stop to the ship-building, and made an alliance with the Ionians
that inhabit the islands.

In course of time, when nearly all the nations that dwell within the
river Halys, except the Cilicians and Lycians, were subdued, and Crœsus
had added them to the Lydians, all the wise men of that time, as each
had opportunity, came from Greece to Sardis, which had then attained to
the highest degree of prosperity; and amongst them Solon, an Athenian,
who made laws for the Athenians at their request, and absented himself
for ten years, sailing away under pretence of seeing the world, that he
might not be compelled to abrogate any of the laws he had established:
for the Athenians could not do it themselves, since they were bound by
solemn oaths to observe for ten years whatever laws Solon should enact
for them. On his arrival Solon was hospitably entertained by Crœsus, and
on the third or fourth day, by order of the king, the attendants
conducted him round the treasury, and showed him all their grand and
costly contents. After he had seen and examined every thing
sufficiently, Crœsus asked him this question: "My Athenian guest, the
great fame as well of your wisdom as of your travels has reached even to
us; I am therefore desirous of asking you who is the most happy man you
have seen?" He asked this question because he thought himself the most
happy of men. But Solon, speaking the truth freely, without any
flattery, answered, "Tellus, the Athenian." Crœsus, astonished at his
answer, eagerly asked him: "On what account do you deem Tellus the
happiest?" He replied: "Tellus, in the first place, lived in a
well-governed commonwealth; had sons who were virtuous and good; and he
saw children born to them all, and all surviving. In the next place,
when he had lived as happily as the condition of human affairs will
permit, he ended his life in a most glorious manner. For coming to the
assistance of the Athenians in a battle with their neighbors of Eleusis,
he put the enemy to flight and died nobly. The Athenians buried him at
the public charge in the place where he fell, and honored him greatly."

When Solon had roused the attention of Crœsus by relating many happy
circumstances concerning Tellus, Crœsus, expecting at least to obtain
the second place, asked, whom he had seen next to him. "Cleobis," said
he, "and Biton, natives of Argos, for they possessed a sufficient
fortune, and had withal such strength of body, that they were both alike
victorious in the public games; and moreover the following story is
related of them:—When the Argives were celebrating a festival of Juno,
it was necessary that their mother should be drawn to the temple in a
chariot; but the oxen did not come from the field in time, the young men
therefore put themselves beneath the yoke, and drew the car in which
their mother sat; and having conveyed it forty-five stades, they reached
the temple. After they had done this in sight of the assembled people, a
most happy termination was put to their lives; and in them the Deity
clearly showed that it is better for a man to die than to live. For the
men of Argos, who stood round, commended the strength of the youths, and
the women blessed her as the mother of such sons; but the mother
herself, transported with joy both on account of the action and its
renown, stood before the image and prayed that the goddess would grant
to Cleobis and Biton, her own sons, who had so highly honored her, the
greatest blessing man could receive. After this prayer, when they had
sacrificed and partaken of the feast, the youths fell asleep in the
temple itself, and never woke more, but met with such a termination of
life. Upon this the Argives, in commemoration of their filial affection,
caused their statues to be made and dedicated at Delphi."

Thus Solon adjudged the second place of felicity to these youths. Then
Crœsus was enraged, and said: "My Athenian friend, is my happiness then
so slighted by you as worth nothing, that you do not think me of so much
value as private men?" He answered: "Crœsus, do you inquire of me
concerning human affairs—of me, who know that the divinity is always
jealous, and delights in confusion. For in lapse of time men are
constrained to see many things they would not willingly see, and to
suffer many things they would not willingly suffer. Now I put the term
of man's life at seventy years; these seventy years then give
twenty-five thousand two hundred days, without including the intercalary
months of the leap years, and if we add that month to every other year,
in order that the seasons arriving at the proper time may agree, the
intercalary months will be thirty-five more in the seventy years, and
the days of these months will be one thousand and fifty. Yet in all this
number of twenty-six thousand two hundred and fifty days, that compose
these seventy years, one day produces nothing exactly the same as
another. Thus, then, O Crœsus, man is altogether the sport of fortune.
You appear to me to be master of immense treasures, and king of many
nations; but as relates to what you inquire of me, I cannot say, till I
hear that you have ended your life happily. For the richest of men is
not more happy than he that has a sufficiency for a day, unless good
fortune attend him to the grave, so that he ends his life in happiness.
Many men who abound in wealth are unhappy; and many who have only a
moderate competency are fortunate. He that abounds in wealth, and is yet
unhappy, surpasses the other only in two things; but the other surpasses
the wealthy and the miserable in many things. The former indeed is
better able to gratify desire and to bear the blow of adversity. But the
latter surpasses him in this; he is not indeed equally able to bear
misfortune or satisfy desire, but his good fortune wards off these
things from him; and he enjoys the full use of his limbs, he is free
from disease and misfortune, he is blessed with good children and a fine
form, and if, in addition to all these things, he shall end his life
well, he is the man you seek and may justly be called happy; but before
he die we ought to suspend our judgment, and not pronounce him happy,
but fortunate."

When Solon had spoken thus to Crœsus, Crœsus did not confer any favor on
him, but holding him in no account, dismissed him as a very ignorant
man, because he overlooked present prosperity, and bade men look to the
end of every thing.

After the departure of Solon, the indignation of the gods fell heavily
upon Crœsus, probably because he thought himself the most happy of all
men. A dream soon after visited him while sleeping, which pointed out to
him the truth of the misfortunes that were about to befall him in the
person of one of his sons. For Crœsus had two sons, of whom one was
grievously afflicted, for he was dumb; but the other, whose name was
Atys, far surpassed all the young men of his age. Now the dream
intimated to Crœsus that he would lose this Atys by a wound inflicted
with the point of an iron weapon. When he awoke, and had considered the
matter with himself, he relieved Atys from the command of the Lydian
troops, and never after sent him out on that business; and causing all
spears, lances, and such other weapons as men use in war, to be removed
from the men's apartments, he had them laid up in private chambers, that
none of them being suspended might fall upon his son. While Crœsus was
engaged with the nuptials of his son, a man oppressed by misfortune, and
whose hands were polluted, a Phrygian by birth, and of royal family,
arrived at Sardis. This man, having come to the palace of Crœsus, sought
permission to obtain purification according to the custom of the
country. Crœsus purified him, performing the usual ceremony, and then
inquired: "Stranger, who art thou, and from what part of Phrygia hast
thou come as a suppliant to my hearth? and what man or woman hast thou
slain?" The stranger answered: "I am the son of Gordius, and grandson of
Midas, and am called Adrastus. I unwittingly slew my own brother, and
being banished by my father and deprived of every thing, I have come
hither." Then said Crœsus: "You were born of parents who are our
friends, and you have come to friends, among whom, if you will stay, you
shall want nothing; and by bearing your misfortune as lightly as
possible you will be the greatest gainer." So Adrastus took up his abode
in the palace of Crœsus.

At this time a boar of enormous size appeared in Mysian Olympus, and
rushing down from that mountain, ravaged the fields of the Mysians. The
Mysians, though they often went out against him, could not hurt him, but
suffered much from him. At last deputies from the Mysians came to Crœsus
and said: "O king, a boar of enormous size has appeared in our country,
and ravages our fields: though we have often endeavored to take him, we
cannot. We therefore earnestly beg, that you will send with us your son
and some chosen youths with dogs, that we may drive him from the
country." But Crœsus, remembering the warning of his dream, answered:
"Make no further mention of my son; I shall not send him with you,
because he is lately married, but I will give you chosen Lydians, and
the whole hunting train, and will order them to assist you with their
best endeavors in driving the monster from your country." The Mysians
were content with this, but Atys, who had heard of their request, came
in, and earnestly protested: "Father, you used to permit me to signalize
myself in the two most noble and becoming exercises of war and hunting;
but now you keep me excluded from both, without having observed in me
either cowardice or want of spirit. How will men look on me when I go or
return from the forum? What kind of a man shall I appear to my
fellow-citizens? What to my newly married wife? Either let me then go to
this hunt, or convince me that it is better for me to do as you would
have me." "My son," said Crœsus, "I act thus, not because I have seen
any cowardice, or any thing else unbecoming in you; but a vision in a
dream warned me that you would be short-lived, and would die by the
point of an iron weapon. It was on account of this that I hastened your
marriage, and now refuse to send you on this expedition; taking care to
preserve you, if by any means I can, as long as I live; for you are my
only son; the other, who is deprived of his hearing, I consider as
lost." The youth answered: "You are not to blame, my father, if after
such a dream you take so much care of me; but you say the dream
signified that I should die by the point of an iron weapon. What hand,
or what pointed iron weapon has a boar, to occasion such fears in you?
Had it said I should lose my life by a tusk, you might do as you have,
but it said by the point of a weapon; then since we have not to contend
against men, let me go." "You have outdone me," replied Crœsus, "in
explaining the import of the dream, you shall go to the chase."

Then turning to the Phrygian Adrastus, he exclaimed: "Adrastus, I beg
you to be my son's guardian, when he goes to the chase, and take care
that no skulking villains show themselves in the way to do him harm.
Besides, you ought to go for your own sake, where you may signalize
yourself by your exploits; this was the glory of your ancestors, and you
are besides in full vigor." Adrastus answered: "On no other account, my
lord, would I take part in this enterprise; it is not fitting that one
in my unfortunate circumstances should join with his prosperous
compeers. But since you urge me, I ought to oblige you. Rest assured,
that your son, whom you bid me take care of, shall, as far as his
guardian is concerned, return to you uninjured."

Then all went away, well provided with chosen youths and dogs, and,
having arrived at Mount Olympus, they sought the wild beast, found him
and encircled him around. Among the rest, the stranger, Adrastus,
throwing his javelin at the boar, missed him, and struck the son of
Crœsus; thus fulfilling the warning of the dream. Upon this, some one
ran off to tell Crœsus what had happened, and having arrived at Sardis,
gave him an account of the action, and of his son's fate. Crœsus,
exceedingly distressed by the death of his son, lamented it the more
bitterly, because he fell by the hand of one, whom he himself had
purified from blood; and vehemently deploring his misfortune, he invoked
Jove the Expiator, attesting what he had suffered by this stranger. He
invoked also the same deity, by the name of the god of hospitality and
private friendship: as the god of hospitality, because by receiving a
stranger into his house, he had unawares fostered the murderer of his
son; as the god of private friendship, because, having sent him as a
guardian, he found him his greatest enemy. Soon the Lydians approached,
bearing the corpse, and behind it followed the murderer. He, having
advanced in front of the body, delivered himself up to Crœsus,
stretching out his hands and begging him to kill him upon it; for he
ought to live no longer. When Crœsus heard this, though his own
affliction was so great, he pitied Adrastus, and said to him: "You have
made me full satisfaction by condemning yourself to die. You are not the
author of this misfortune, except as far as you were the involuntary
agent; but that god, whoever he was, that long since foreshowed what was
about to happen." Crœsus buried his son as the dignity of his birth
required; but the son of Gordius, when all was silent around, judging
himself the most heavily afflicted of all men, killed himself on the

Some time after, the overthrow of the kingdom of Astyages, son of
Cyaxares, by Cyrus, son of Cambyses, and the growing power of the
Persians, put an end to the grief of Crœsus; and it entered into his
thoughts whether he could by any means check the growing power of the
Persians before they became formidable. After he had formed this
purpose, he determined to make trial as well of the oracles in Greece as
of that in Lydia; and sent different persons to different places, some
to Delphi, some to Abæ of Phocis, and some to Dodona.


He endeavored to propitiate the god at Delphi by magnificent sacrifices;
for he offered three thousand head of cattle of every kind fit for
sacrifice, and having heaped up a great pile, he burned on it beds of
gold and silver, vials of gold, and robes of purple and garments; hoping
by that means more completely to conciliate the god. When the sacrifice
was ended, having melted down a vast quantity of gold, he cast
half-bricks from it; of which the longest were six palms in length, the
shortest three, and in thickness one palm: their number was one hundred
and seventeen: four of these, of pure gold, weighed each two talents and
a half; the other half-bricks of pale gold, weighed two talents each. He
made also the figure of a lion of fine gold, weighing ten talents. This
lion, when the temple of Delphi was burned down, fell from the
half-bricks, for it had been placed on them; and it now lies in the
treasury of the Corinthians, weighing six talents and a half; for three
talents and a half were melted from it. Crœsus, having finished these
things sent them to Delphi, and with them these following: two large
bowls, one of gold, the other of silver; that of gold was placed on the
right hand as you enter the temple, and that of silver on the left; but
these also were removed when the temple was burnt down; and the golden
one weighing eight talents and a half and twelve minæ, is placed in the
treasury of Clazomenæ; the silver one, containing six hundred amphoræ,
lies in a corner of the vestibule, and is used by the Delphians for
mixing the wine on the Theophanian festival. The Delphians say it was
the workmanship of Theodorus the Samian; and I think so too, for it
appears to be no common work. He also sent four casks of silver, which
stand in the treasury of the Corinthians; and he dedicated two lustral
vases, one of gold, the other of silver: on the golden one is an
inscription, OF THE LACEDÆMONIANS, who say that it was their offering,
but wrongfully, for it was given by Crœsus: a certain Delphian made the
inscription, in order to please the Lacedæmonians; I know his name, but
forbear to mention it. The boy, indeed, through whose hand the water
flows, is their gift; but neither of the lustral vases. At the same time
Crœsus sent many other offerings without an inscription: amongst them
some round silver covers; and a statue of a woman in gold three cubits
high, which the Delphians say is the image of Crœsus's baking woman; and
to all these things he added the necklaces and girdles of his wife.

These were the offerings he sent to Delphi; and to Amphiaraus, having
ascertained his virtue and sufferings, he dedicated a shield all of
gold, and a lance of solid gold, the shaft as well as the points being
of gold. These are now at Thebes in the temple of Ismenian Apollo.

To the Lydians appointed to convey these presents to the temples, Crœsus
gave it in charge to inquire of the oracles, whether he should make war
on the Persians, and if he should invite any other nation as an ally.
Accordingly, when the Lydians arrived at the places to which they were
sent, and had dedicated the offerings, they consulted the oracles,
saying: "Crœsus, king of the Lydians and of other Nations, esteeming
these to be the only oracles among men, sends these presents in
acknowledgment of your discoveries; and now asks whether he should lead
an army against the Persians, and whether he should join any auxiliary
forces with his own?" Such were their questions; and the opinions of
both oracles concurred, foretelling: "That if Crœsus should make war on
the Persians, he would destroy a mighty empire;" and they advised him to
engage the most powerful of the Greeks in his alliance. When Crœsus
heard the answers that were brought back, he was beyond measure
delighted with the oracles; and fully expecting that he should destroy
the kingdom of Cyrus, he again sent to Delphi, and having ascertained
the number of the inhabitants, presented each of them with two staters
of gold. In return for this, the Delphians gave Crœsus and the Lydians
the right to consult the oracle before any others, and exemption from
tribute, and the first seats in the temple, and the privilege of being
made citizens of Delphi, to as many as should desire it in all future
time. Crœsus, having made these presents to the Delphians, sent a third
time to consult the oracle. For after he had ascertained the veracity of
the oracle, he had frequent recourse to it. His demand now was whether
he should long enjoy the kingdom? to which the Pythian gave this answer:
"When a mule shall become king of the Medes, then, tender-footed Lydian,
flee over pebbly Hermus, nor tarry, nor blush to be a coward." With this
answer, when reported to him, Crœsus was more than ever delighted,
thinking that a mule should never be king of the Medes instead of a man,
and consequently that neither he nor his posterity should ever be
deprived of the kingdom. In the next place he began to enquire carefully
who were the most powerful of the Greeks whom he might gain over as
allies; and on inquiry found that the Lacedæmonians and Athenians
excelled the rest, the former being of Dorian, the latter of Ionic
descent: for these were in ancient time the most distinguished, the
latter being a Pelasgian, the other an Hellenic nation.



What language the Pelasgians used I cannot with certainty affirm; but if
I may form a conjecture from those Pelasgians who now exist, and inhabit
the town of Crestona above the Tyrrhenians, and from those Pelasgians
settled at Placia and Scylace on the Hellespont, they spoke a barbarous
language. And if the whole Pelasgian body did so, the Attic race, being
Pelasgic, must at the time they changed into Hellenes have altered their
language. The Hellenic race, however, appears to have used the same
language from the time they became a people. At first insignificant, yet
from a small beginning they have increased to a multitude of nations,
chiefly by a union with many other barbarous nations. But the Pelasgic
race, being barbarous, never increased to any great extent.

Of these nations Crœsus learnt that the Attic was oppressed and
distracted by Pisistratus, then reigning in Athens. When a quarrel
happened between those who dwelt on the sea-coast and the Athenians, the
former headed by Megacles, the latter by Lycurgus, Pisistratus aiming at
the sovereign power, formed a third party; and having assembled his
partisans under color of protecting those of the mountains, he contrived
this stratagem. He wounded himself and his mules, drove his chariot into
the public square, as if he had escaped from enemies that designed to
murder him in his way to the country, and besought the people to grant
him a guard, having before acquired renown in the expedition against
Megara, by taking its port, Nisæa, and displaying other illustrious
deeds. The people of Athens, deceived by this, gave him such of the
citizens as he selected, who were not to be his javelin men, but
club-bearers, for they attended him with clubs of wood. These men,
joining in revolt with Pisistratus seized the Acropolis, and Pisistratus
assumed the government of the Athenians, neither disturbing the existing
magistracies, nor altering the laws; but he administered the government
according to the established institutions, liberally and well. Not long
after, the partisans of Megacles and Lycurgus became reconciled and
drove him out. In this manner Pisistratus first made himself master of
Athens, and, his power not being firmly rooted, lost it. But those who
expelled Pisistratus quarrelled anew with one another; and Megacles,
harassed by the sedition, sent a herald to Pisistratus to ask if he was
willing to marry his daughter, on condition of having the sovereignty.
Pisistratus having accepted the proposal and agreed to his terms, in
order to his restitution, they contrive the most ridiculous project
that, I think, was ever imagined; especially if we consider, that the
Greeks have from old been distinguished from the barbarians as being
more acute and free from all foolish simplicity, and more particularly
as they played this trick upon the Athenians, who are esteemed among the
wisest of the Greeks. In the Pæanean tribe was a woman named Phya, four
cubits high, wanting three fingers, and in other respects handsome; this
woman they dressed in a complete suit of armor, placed her on a chariot,
and having shown her beforehand how to assume the most becoming
demeanor, they drove her to the city, with heralds before, who, on their
arrival in the city, proclaimed what was ordered in these terms: "O
Athenians, receive with kind wishes Pisistratus whom Minerva herself
honoring above all men now conducts back to her own citadel." The report
was presently spread among the people that Minerva was bringing back
Pisistratus; and the people in the city believing this woman to be the
goddess, both adored a human being, and received Pisistratus.


Pisistratus having recovered the sovereignty in the manner above
described, married the daughter of Megacles in accordance with his
agreement, but Pisistratus soon hearing of designs that were being
formed against him, withdrew entirely out of the country, and arriving
in Eretria, consulted with his sons. The opinion of Hippias prevailing,
to recover the kingdom, they immediately began to collect contributions
from those cities which felt any gratitude to them for benefits
received; and though many gave large sums, the Thebans surpassed the
rest in liberality. At length (not to give a detailed account) time
passed, and every thing was ready for their return, for Argive
mercenaries arrived from Peloponnesus; and a man of Naxos, named
Lygdamis, who had come as a volunteer, and brought both men and money,
showed great zeal in the cause. Setting out from Eretria, they came back
in the eleventh year of their exile, and first of all possessed
themselves of Marathon. While they lay encamped in this place, their
partisans from the city joined them, and others from the various
districts, to whom a tyranny was more welcome than liberty, crowded to
them. The Athenians of the city, on the other hand, had shown very
little concern all the time Pisistratus was collecting money, or even
when he took possession of Marathon. But when they heard that he was
marching from Marathon against the city, they at length went out to
resist him; and marched with their whole force against the invaders. In
the mean time Pisistratus's party, advanced towards the city, and
arrived in a body at the temple of the Pallenian Minerva, and there took
up their position. Here Amphilytus, a prophet of Acarnania, moved by
divine impulse, approached Pisistratus, and pronounced this oracle in
hexameter verse:

  "The cast is thrown—the net expanded wide—
  At night the tunnies in the snare will glide."

He, inspired by the god, uttered this prophecy; and Pisistratus,
comprehending the oracle, and saying he accepted the omen, led on his
army. The Athenians of the city were then engaged at their breakfast,
and some of them after breakfast had betaken themselves to dice, others
to sleep; so that the army of Pisistratus, falling upon them by
surprise, soon put them to flight. As they were flying, Pisistratus
contrived a clever stratagem to prevent their rallying again, and forced
them thoroughly to disperse. He mounted his sons on horseback and sent
them forward. They, overtaking the fugitives, spoke as they were ordered
by Pisistratus, bidding them be of good cheer, and to depart every man
to his own home. The Athenians yielded a ready obedience, and thus
Pisistratus, having a third time possessed himself of Athens, secured
his power, more firmly, both by the aid of auxiliary forces, and by
revenues partly collected at home and partly drawn from the mines along
the river Strymon. He seized as hostages the sons of the Athenians who
had held out against him, and had not immediately fled, and settled them
at Naxos. He moreover purified the island of Delos, in obedience to an
oracle, and having dug up the dead bodies, as far as the prospect from
the temple reached, he removed them to another part of Delos.

Crœsus was informed that such was, at that time, the condition of the
Athenians; and that the Lacedæmonians, having extricated themselves out
of great difficulties, had gained the mastery over the Tegeans in war.
They had formerly been governed by the worst laws of all the people in
Greece, both as regarded their dealings with one another, and in holding
no intercourse with strangers. But they changed to a good government in
the following manner: Lycurgus, a man much esteemed by the Spartans,
having arrived at Delphi to consult the oracle, no sooner entered the
temple, than the Pythian spoke as follows:

  "Lycurgus, thou art come to my rich fane,
  Beloved by Zeus and all the heavenly train,
  But whether god or man I fear to say,
  Yet god thou must be more than mortal clay."

Some men say that, besides this, the Pythian also communicated to him
that form of government now established among the Spartans. But, as the
Lacedæmonians themselves affirm, Lycurgus being appointed guardian to
his nephew Leobotis,[3] king of Sparta, brought those institutions from
Crete. For as soon as he had taken the guardianship, he altered all
their customs, and took care that no one should transgress them.
Afterwards he established military regulations, and instituted the
ephori and senators. Thus, having changed their laws, they established
good institutions in their stead. They erected a temple to Lycurgus
after his death, and held him in the highest reverence. As they had a
good soil and abundant population, they quickly sprang up and
flourished. And now they were no longer content to live in peace; but
proudly considering themselves superior to the Arcadians, they sent to
consult the oracle at Delphi, touching the conquest of the whole country
of the Arcadians; and the Pythian gave them this answer: "Dost thou ask
of me Arcadia? thou askest a great deal; I cannot grant it thee. There
are many acorn-eating men in Arcadia, who will hinder thee. But I do not
grudge thee all; I will give thee Tegea to dance on with beating of the
feet, and a fair plain to measure out by the rod." When the
Lacedæmonians heard this answer reported, they laid aside their design
against all Arcadia; and relying on an equivocal oracle, led an army
against Tegea only, carrying fetters with them, as if they would surely
reduce the Tegeans to slavery. But being defeated in an engagement, as
many of them as were taken alive, were compelled to work, wearing the
fetters they had brought, and measuring the lands of the Tegeans with a
rod. Those fetters in which they were bound, were, even in my time,
preserved in Tegea, suspended around the temple of Alean Minerva.

In the first war, therefore, they had constantly fought against the
Tegeans with ill success, but in the time of Crœsus, and during the
reign of Anaxandrides and Ariston at Lacedæmon, they at length became
superior in the following manner: When they had always been worsted in
battle by the Tegeans, they sent to enquire of the oracle at Delphi,
what god they should propitiate, in order to become victorious over the
Tegeans. The Pythian answered, they should become so, when they had
brought back the bones of Orestes the son of Agamemnon. But as they were
unable to find the sepulchre of Orestes, they sent again to inquire of
the god in what spot Orestes lay interred, and the Pythian gave this
answer to the inquiries of those who came to consult her:

  "Down in Arcadia's level plain I know,
  Tegea lies:—and where woe lies on woe—
  Where two bound winds impatient of the yoke,
  Are forced to blow—where stroke replies to stroke:
  Beneath the earth lies Agamemnon's son,
  Bear him to Sparta and Tegea's won."

When the Lacedæmonians heard this, they were as far off the discovery as
ever, though they searched every where, till Lichas, one of the Spartans
who are called Agathoergi, found it. These Agathoergi consist of
citizens who are discharged from serving in the cavalry, such as are
senior, five in every year. It is their duty during the year in which
they are discharged from the cavalry, not to remain inactive, but go to
different places where they are sent by the Spartan commonwealth.
Lichas, who was one of these persons, discovered it in Tegea, both
meeting with good fortune and employing sagacity. For as the
Lacedæmonians had at that time intercourse with the Tegeans, he, coming
to a smithy, looked attentively at the iron being forged, and was struck
with wonder when he saw what was done. The smith perceiving his
astonishment desisted from his work, and said: "O Laconian stranger, you
would certainly have been astonished had you seen what I saw, since you
are so surprised at the working of iron. For as I was endeavoring to
sink a well in this enclosure, in digging, I came to a coffin seven
cubits long; and because I did not believe that men were ever taller
than they now are, I opened it and saw that the body was equal to the
coffin in length, and after I had measured it I covered it up again."
The man told him what he had seen, and Lichas, reflecting on what was
said, conjectured from the words of the oracle, that this must be the
body of Orestes, forming his conjecture on the following reasons: seeing
the smith's two bellows he discerned in them the two winds, and in the
anvil and hammer the stroke answering to stroke, and in the iron that
was being forged the woe that lay on woe; representing it in this way,
that iron had been invented to the injury of man. He then returned to
Sparta, and gave the Lacedæmonians an account of the whole matter; but
they brought a feigned charge against him and sent him into banishment.
He, going back to Tegea, related his misfortune to the smith, and wished
to hire the enclosure from him, but he would not let it. But in time,
when he had persuaded him, he took up his abode there; and having opened
the sepulchre and collected the bones, he carried them away with him to
Sparta. From that time, whenever they made trial of each other's
strength, the Lacedæmonians were by far superior in war; and the greater
part of Peloponnesus had been already subdued by them.



Crœsus being informed of all these things, sent ambassadors to Sparta,
with presents, and to request their alliance, having given them orders
what to say; and when they were arrived they spoke as follows: "Crœsus,
king of the Lydians and of other nations, has sent us with this message:
'O Lacedæmonians, since the deity has directed me by an oracle to unite
myself to a Grecian friend, therefore (for I am informed that you are
pre-eminent in Greece), I invite you in obedience to the oracle, being
desirous of becoming your friend and ally, without treachery or guile.'"
But the Lacedæmonians, who had before heard of the answer given by the
oracle to Crœsus, were gratified at the coming of the Lydians, and
exchanged pledges of friendship and alliance; and indeed certain favors
had been formerly conferred on them by Crœsus; for when the
Lacedæmonians sent to Sardis to purchase gold, wishing to use it in
erecting the statue of Apollo that now stands at Thornax in Laconia,
Crœsus gave it as a present to them. For this reason, and because he had
selected them from all the Greeks, and desired their friendship, the
Lacedæmonians accepted his offer of alliance; and in the first place
they promised to be ready at his summons; and in the next, having made a
great bronze bowl, capable of containing three hundred amphoræ, and
covered it outside to the rim with various figures, they sent it to him,
being desirous of making Crœsus a present in return. But this bowl never
reached Sardis, for one of the two following reasons: the Lacedæmonians
say, that when the bowl, on its way to Sardis, was off Samos, the
Samains having heard of it, sailed out in long ships, and took it away
by force. On the other hand the Samains affirm, that when the
Lacedæmonians who were conveying the bowl found they were too late, and
heard that Sardis was taken and Crœsus a prisoner, they sold the bowl in
Samos, and that some private persons, who bought it dedicated it in the
temple of Juno.

Crœsus, mistaking the oracle, prepared to invade Cappadocia, hoping to
overthrow Cyrus and the power of the Persians. Whilst Crœsus was
preparing for his expedition against the Persians, a Lydian named
Sandanis, who before that time was esteemed a wise man, and on this
occasion acquired a very great name in Lydia, gave him advice in these
words: "O king, you are preparing to make war against a people who wear
leather trousers, and the rest of their garments of leather; who inhabit
a barren country, and feed not on such things as they choose, but such
as they can get. Besides they do not habitually use wine, but drink
water; nor have they figs to eat, nor any thing that is good. In the
first place, then, if you should conquer, what will you take from them,
since they have nothing? On the other hand, if you should be conquered,
consider what good things you will lose. For when they have tasted of
our good things, they will become fond of them, nor will they be driven
from them. As for me, I thank the gods, that they have not put it into
the thoughts of the Persians to make war on the Lydians." Sandanis did
not, however, persuade Crœsus, for he proceeded to invade Cappadocia, as
well from a desire of adding it to his own dominions, as a wish to
punish Cyrus on account of Astyages. For Cyrus, son of Cambyses, had
subjugated Astyages, son of Cyaxares, who was brother-in-law of Crœsus,
and king of Medes.

Crœsus, alleging this against him, sent to ask the oracle, if he should
make war on the Persians; and when an ambiguous answer came back, he,
interpreting it to his own advantage, led his army against the territory
of the Persians. When he arrived at the river Halys, Crœsus transported
his forces, as I believe, by the bridges which are now there. But the
common opinion of the Greeks is, that Thales the Milesian procured him a
passage in the following way: Whilst Crœsus was in doubt how his army
should pass over the river, for they say that these bridges were not at
that time in existence, Thales, who was in the camp, caused the stream,
which flowed along the left of the army, to flow on the right instead.
He contrived it thus: having begun above the camp, he dug a deep trench,
in the shape of a half-moon, so that the river, being turned into this
from its old channel, might pass in the rear of the camp pitched where
it then was, and afterward, having passed by the camp, might fall into
its former course; so that as soon as the river was divided into two
streams it became fordable in both. Some say, that the ancient channel
of the river was entirely dried up; but this I cannot assent to; for how
then could they have crossed it on their return?

However, Crœsus, having passed the river with his army, came to a place
called Pteria, in Cappadocia. (Now Pteria is the strongest position of
the whole of this country, and is situated over against Sinope, a city
on the Euxine Sea.) Here he encamped and ravaged the lands of the
Syrians; and took the city of the Pterians, and enslaved the
inhabitants; he also took all the adjacent places, and expelled the
inhabitants, who had given him no cause for blame. But Cyrus, assembling
his own army, and taking with him all who inhabited the intermediate
country, went to meet Crœsus. But before he began to advance, he sent
heralds to the Ionians, to persuade them to revolt from Crœsus, which
the Ionians refused to do. When Cyrus had come up and encamped opposite
Crœsus, they made trial of each other's strength on the plains of
Pteria; but when an obstinate battle took place, and many fell on both
sides, they at last parted, on the approach of night, neither having
been victorious.

Crœsus laying the blame on his own army on account of the smallness of
its numbers, for his forces that engaged were far fewer than those of
Cyrus,—marched back to Sardis, designing to summon the Egyptians
according to treaty, and to require the presence of the Lacedæmonians at
a fixed time: having collected these together, and assembled his own
army, he purposed, when winter was over, to attack the Persians in the
beginning of the spring. With this design, when he reached Sardis, he
despatched ambassadors to his different allies, requiring them to meet
at Sardis before the end of five months; but the army that was with him,
and that had fought with the Persians, which was composed of mercenary
troops, he entirely disbanded, not imagining that Cyrus, who had come
off on such equal terms, would venture to advance upon Sardis. While
Crœsus was forming these plans the whole suburbs were filled with
serpents, and when they appeared, the horses, forsaking their pastures,
came and devoured them. When Crœsus beheld this, he considered it to be,
as it really was, a prodigy, and sent immediately to consult the
interpreters at Telmessus; but the messengers having arrived there, and
learnt from the Telmessians what the prodigy portended, were unable to
report it to Crœsus, for before they sailed back to Sardis, Crœsus had
been taken prisoner. The Telmessians had pronounced as follows: "that
Crœsus must expect a foreign army to invade his country, which, on its
arrival, would subdue the natives, because, they said, the serpent is a
son of the earth, but the horse is an enemy and a stranger."

Cyrus, as soon as Crœsus had retreated after the battle at Pteria,
having discovered that it was the intention of Crœsus to disband his
army, saw that it would be to his advantage to march with all possible
expedition on Sardis, before the forces of the Lydians could be a second
time assembled. Whereupon Crœsus, thrown into great perplexity, seeing
that matters had turned out contrary to his expectations, drew out the
Lydians to battle. At that time no nation in Asia was more valiant and
warlike than the Lydians. Their mode of fighting was from on horseback;
they were armed with long lances, and managed their horses with
admirable address.

The place where they met was the plain that lies before the city of
Sardis, which is extensive and bare; the Hyllus and several other rivers
flowing through it force a passage into the greatest, called the Hermus,
which, flowing from the sacred mountain of mother Cybele, falls into the
sea near the city of Phocæa. Here Cyrus, when he saw the Lydians drawn
up in order of battle, alarmed at the cavalry, had recourse to the
following stratagem, on the suggestion of Harpagus, a Mede. Collecting
together all the camels that followed his army with provisions and
baggage, and causing their burdens to be taken off, he mounted men upon
them equipped in cavalry accoutrements, and ordered them to go in
advance of the rest of his army against the Lydian horse; his infantry
he bade follow the camels, and placed the whole of his cavalry behind
the infantry. When all were drawn up in order, he charged them not to
spare any of the Lydians, but to kill every one they met; but on no
account to kill Crœsus, even if he should offer resistance when taken.
He drew up the camels in the front of the cavalry for this reason: a
horse is afraid of a camel, and cannot endure either to see its form or
to scent its smell; this then would render the cavalry useless to
Crœsus, by which the Lydian expected to signalize himself. Accordingly,
when they joined battle, the horses no sooner smelt the camels and saw
them, than they wheeled round, and the hopes of Crœsus were destroyed.
Nevertheless, the Lydians were not discouraged, but leaped from their
horses and engaged with the Persians on foot; but at last, when many had
fallen on both sides, the Lydians were put to flight, and being shut up
within the walls, were besieged by the Persians.

Sardis was taken in the following manner. On the fourteenth day after
Crœsus had been besieged, Cyrus sent horsemen throughout his army, and
proclaimed that he would liberally reward the man who should first mount
the wall; upon this several attempts were made, and as often failed;
till, after the rest had desisted, a Mardian, whose name was Hyrœades,
endeavored to climb up on that part of the citadel where no guard was
stationed, for on that side the citadel was precipitous and
impracticable. Hyrœades had seen a Lydian the day before come down this
precipice for a helmet that had rolled down, and carry it up again. He
thereupon ascended the same way, followed by divers Persians; and when
great numbers had gone up, Sardis was thus taken, and the whole town

The following incidents befel Crœsus himself. He had a son of whom I
have before made mention, who was dumb. Now, in the time of his former
prosperity, Crœsus had done every thing he could for him, and among
other expedients had sent to consult the oracle of Delphi concerning
him; but the Pythian gave him this answer:

  "O foolish king of Lydia, do not seek
  To hear thy son within thy palace speak!
  Better for thee that pleasure to forego—
  The day he speaks will be a day of woe."

When the city was taken, one of the Persians, not knowing Crœsus, was
about to kill him; Crœsus, though he saw him approach, took no heed of
him, caring not if he should die by the blow; but this speechless son of
his, when he saw the Persian advancing against him, through dread and
anguish, burst into speech, and said: "Man, kill not Crœsus." These were
the first words he ever uttered; but from that time he continued to
speak during the remainder of his life. So the Persians got possession
of Sardis, and made Crœsus prisoner, after he had reigned fourteen
years, been besieged fourteen days, and lost his great empire, as the
oracle had predicted. The Persians, having taken him, conducted him to
Cyrus; and he, having heaped up a great pile, placed Crœsus upon it,
bound with fetters, and with him fourteen young Lydians; designing
either to offer this sacrifice to some god, as the first fruits of his
victory, or wishing to perform a vow; or perhaps, having heard that
Crœsus was a religious person, he placed him on the pile for the purpose
of discovering whether any deity would save him from being burned alive.
When Crœsus stood upon the pile, notwithstanding the weight of his
misfortunes, the words of Solon recurred to him, as spoken by
inspiration of the deity, that "No living man could be justly called
happy." When this occurred to him, it is said, that after a long silence
he recovered himself, and uttering a groan, thrice pronounced the name
of Solon; when Cyrus heard him, he commanded his interpreters to ask
Crœsus whom it was he called upon; Crœsus for some time kept silence;
but at last, being constrained to speak, said: "I named a man, whose
discourses I more desire all tyrants might hear, than to be possessor of
the greatest riches." When he gave them this obscure answer, they again
inquired what he said, and were very importunate; he at length told them
that Solon, an Athenian, formerly visited him, and having viewed all his
treasures, made no account of them; telling, in a word, how every thing
had befallen him as Solon had warned him, though his discourse related
to all mankind as much as to himself, and especially to those who
imagine themselves happy. The pile now was kindled, and the outer parts
began to burn; when Cyrus, informed by the interpreters of what Crœsus
had said, relented, considering that being but a man, he was yet going
to burn another man alive, who had been no way inferior to himself in
prosperity; and moreover, fearing retribution, and reflecting that
nothing human is constant, commanded the fire to be instantly
extinguished, and Crœsus, with those who were about him, to be taken
down. But they with all their endeavors were unable to master the fire.
Crœsus, perceiving that Cyrus had altered his resolution, when he saw
every man endeavoring to put out the fire, but unable to get the better
of it, shouted aloud, invoking Apollo, and besought him, if ever any of
his offerings had been agreeable to him, to protect and deliver him from
the present danger. And the Lydians relate, as he with tears invoked the
god, on a sudden clouds were seen gathering in the air, which before was
serene, and that a violent storm burst forth and vehement rain fell and
extinguished the flames; by which Cyrus perceiving that Crœsus was
beloved by the gods, and a good man, when he had had him taken down from
the pile, asked him the following question: "Who persuaded you, Crœsus,
to invade my territories, and to become my enemy instead of my friend?"
He answered: "O king, I have done this for your good but my own evil
fortune, and the god of the Greeks who encouraged me to make war is the
cause of all. For no man is so void of understanding as to prefer war
before peace; for in the latter children bury their fathers; in the
former, fathers bury their children. But, I suppose, it pleased the gods
that these things should be so."

Cyrus, having set him at liberty, placed him by his own side, and showed
him great respect. But Crœsus, absorbed in thought remained silent; and
presently turning round and beholding the Persians sacking the city of
the Lydians, he said, "Does it become me, O king, to tell you what is
passing through my mind, or to keep silence?" Cyrus bade him say with
confidence whatever he wished; upon which Crœsus asked him, "What is
this vast crowd so earnestly employed about?" He answered, "They are
sacking your city, and plundering your riches." "Not so," Crœsus
replied, "they are neither sacking my city, nor plundering my riches,
for they are no longer mine; they are ravaging what belongs to you." The
reply of Crœsus attracted the attention of Cyrus; he therefore ordered
all the rest to withdraw, and asked Crœsus what he thought should be
done in the present conjuncture. He answered: "Since the gods have made
me your servant, I think it my duty to acquaint you, if I perceive
anything deserving of remark. The Persians, who are by nature
overbearing, are poor. If, therefore, you permit them to plunder and
possess great riches, you may expect the following results; whoso
acquires the greatest riches, be assured, will be ready to rebel.
Therefore, if you approve what I say, adopt the following plan: place
some of your body-guard as sentinels at every gate, with orders to take
the booty from all those who would go out, and to acquaint them that the
tenth must of necessity be consecrated to Jupiter; thus you will not
incur the odium of taking away their property; and they, acknowledging
your intention to be just, will readily obey." Cyrus was exceedingly
delighted at this suggestion, and ordered his guards to carry it out,
then turning to Crœsus, he said: "Since you are resolved to display the
deeds and words of a true king, ask whatever boon you desire on the
instant." "Sir," he answered, "the most acceptable favor you can bestow
upon me is, to let me send my fetters to the god of the Greeks, whom I
have honored more than any other deity, and to ask him, if it be his
custom to deceive those who deserve well of him." Certain Lydians were
accordingly sent to Delphi, with orders to lay his fetters at the
entrance of the temple, and to ask the god, if he were not ashamed to
have encouraged Crœsus by his oracles to make war on the Persians
assuring him that he would put an end to the power of Cyrus, of which
war such were the first-fruits (commanding them at these words to show
the fetters), and at the same time to ask if it were the custom of the
Grecian gods to be ungrateful. When the Lydians arrived at Delphi, and
had delivered their message, the Pythian is reported to have made this
answer: "The god himself even cannot avoid the decrees of fate; and
Crœsus has atoned for the crime of Gyges his ancestor in the fifth
generation, who, being one of the body-guard of the Heraclidæ, murdered
his master, Candaules, and usurped his dignity, to which he had no
right. But although Apollo was desirous that the fall of Sardis might
happen in the time of the sons of Crœsus, and not during his reign, yet
it was not in his power to avert the fates; but so far as they allowed
he accomplished, and conferred the boon on him; for he delayed the
capture of Sardis for the space of three years. Let Crœsus know,
therefore, that he was taken prisoner three years later than the fates
had ordained; and in the next place, he came to his relief, when he was
upon the point of being burnt alive. Then, as to the prediction of the
oracle, Crœsus has no right to complain; for Apollo foretold him that if
he made war on the Persians, he would subvert a great empire; and had he
desired to be truly informed, he ought to have sent again to inquire,
whether his own or that of Cyrus was meant. But since he neither
understood the oracle, nor inquired again, let him lay the blame on
himself. And when he last consulted the oracle, he did not understand
the answer concerning the mule; for Cyrus was that mule; inasmuch as he
was born of parents of different nations, the mother superior, but the
father inferior. For she was a Mede, and daughter of Astyages, king of
Media; but he was a Persian, subject to the Medes." When Crœsus heard
this reply of the priestess of Apollo, he acknowledged the fault to be
his and not the god's.

The customs of the Lydians differ little from those of the Greeks. They
are the first of all nations we know of that introduced the art of
coining gold and silver; and they were the first retailers. The Lydians
themselves say that the games which are now common to themselves and the
Greeks, were invented by them during the reign of Atys, when a great
scarcity of corn pervaded all Lydia. For when they saw famine staring
them in the face they sought for remedies, and some devised one thing,
some another; and at that time the games of dice, knucklebones, ball,
and all other kinds of games except draughts, were invented, (for the
Lydians do not claim the invention of this ancient game,) and having
made these inventions to alleviate the famine, they employed them as
follows: they used to play one whole day that they might not be in want
of food; and on the next, they ate and abstained from play. Thus they
passed eighteen years; but when the evil did not abate, but on the
contrary, became still more virulent, their king divided the whole
people into two parts, and cast lots which should remain and which quit
the country, and over that part whose lot it should be to stay he
appointed himself king; and over that part which was to emigrate he
appointed his own son, whose name was Tyrrhenus. Those to whose lot it
fell to leave their country went down to Smyrna, built ships, and having
put all their movables which were of use on board, set sail in search of
food and land, till having passed by many nations, they reached the
Ombrici, where they built towns, and dwell to this day. From being
called Lydians, they changed their name to one after the king's son, who
led them out; from him they gave themselves the appellation of



My history hence proceeds to inquire who Cyrus was that overthrew the
power of Crœsus, and how the Persians became masters of Asia. In which
narration I shall follow those Persians, who do not wish to magnify the
actions of Cyrus, but to relate the plain truth; though I am aware that
there are three other ways of relating Cyrus's history. After the
Assyrians had ruled over Upper Asia five hundred and twenty years, the
Medes first began to revolt from them; and they it seems, in their
struggle with the Assyrians for liberty, proved themselves brave men;
and having shaken off the yoke, became free: afterward the other nations
also did the same as the Medes. When all throughout the continent were
independent, they were again reduced under a despotic government. There
was among the Medes a man famous for wisdom, named Deioces, son of
Phraortes. This Deioces, aiming at absolute power, had recourse to the
following plan. The Medes were at that time distributed into villages,
and Deioces, who was already highly esteemed in his own district,
applied himself with great zeal to the exercise of justice; and this he
did, since great lawlessness prevailed throughout the whole of Media,
and he knew that injustice and justice are ever at variance. The Medes
of the same village, observing his conduct, chose him for their judge;
and he, constantly keeping the sovereign power in view, showed himself
upright and just. By this conduct he acquired no slight praise from his
fellow citizens, so much so that the inhabitants of other villages,
hearing that Deioces was the only one who judged uprightly, having
before met with unjust sentences, when they heard of him gladly came
from all parts to Deioces, in order to submit their quarrels to his
decision; and at last they would commit the decision to no one else. In
the end, when the number of those who had recourse to him continually
increased as men heard of the justice of his decisions, Deioces, seeing
the whole devolved upon himself, would no longer occupy the seat where
he used to sit to determine differences, and refused to act as judge any
more, for it was of no advantage to him to neglect his own affairs, and
spend the day in deciding the quarrels of others. Upon this, rapine and
lawlessness growing far more frequent throughout the villages than
before, the Medes called an assembly and consulted together about the
present state of things, but, as I suspect, the partisans of Deioces
spoke to the following purpose: "Since it is impossible for us to
inhabit the country if we continue in our present condition, let us
constitute a king over us, and so the country will be governed by good
laws, and we ourselves shall be able to attend to our business, nor be
any longer driven from our homes by lawlessness." By some such words
they persuaded them to submit to a kingly government. Upon their
immediately putting the question, whom they should appoint king, Deioces
was unanimously preferred and commended: so that at last they agreed
that he should be their king. But he required them to build him a palace
suitable to the dignity of a king, and give him guards for security of
his person. The Medes accordingly did so: and built him a strong and
spacious palace in the part of the country that he selected, and
permitted him to choose guards for his person out of all the Medes.
Being thus possessed of the power, he compelled the Medes to build one
city, and having carefully adorned that, to pay less attention to the
others. As the Medes obeyed him in this also, he built lofty and strong
walls, which now go under the name of Ecbatana,[4] one placed in a
circle within the other; and this fortification was so contrived, that
each circle was raised above the other by the height of the battlements
only. The situation of the ground, rising by an easy ascent, was very
favorable to the design. There were seven circles altogether, the king's
palace and the treasury, situated within the innermost of them. The
largest of these walls was about equal in circumference to the city of
Athens; the battlements of the first circle were white, of the second
black, of the third purple, of the fourth blue, of the fifth bright red.
Thus the battlements of all circles were painted with different colors;
but the two last had their battlements plated, the one with silver, the
other with gold.[5]

Deioces then built these fortifications for himself, and round his own
palace; and he commanded the rest of the people to fix their habitations
round the fortification; and when all the buildings were completed he,
for the first time, established the following regulations: that no man
should be admitted to the king's presence, but every one should consult
him by means of messengers, and, moreover, that it should be accounted
indecency for any one to laugh or spit before him. He established such
ceremony about his own person, in order that those who were brought up
with him, and of no meaner family, nor inferior to him in manly
qualities, might not, when they saw him, grieve and conspire against
him; but that he might appear to be of a different nature to those who
did not see him. When he had established these regulations, and settled
himself in the tyranny, he was very severe in the distribution of
justice. And the parties contending were obliged to send him their case
in writing. All other things were regulated by him: so that, if he
received information that any man had injured another, he would send for
him, and punish him in proportion to his offence. For this purpose he
had spies and eaves-droppers in every part of his dominions.

Now Deioces collected the Medes into one nation, and ruled over it. The
following are the tribes of the Medes, the Busæ, Parataceni, Struchates,
Arizanti, Budii, and the Magi. Deioces had a son, Phraortes, who, when
his father died, after a reign of fifty-three years, succeeded him in
the kingdom; but having so succeeded, he was not content to rule over
the Medes only, but made war on the Persians, and reduced them under the
dominion of the Medes. And afterward being master of these two nations,
both of them powerful, he subdued Asia, attacking one nation after
another; till at last he invaded the Assyrians, who inhabited the city
of Nineveh, and having made war on them, perished with the greater part
of his army, after he had reigned twenty-two years.


When Phraortes was dead, Cyaxares his son, grandson of Deioces,
succeeded him. He is said to have been more warlike than his ancestors.
He was the first to divide the people of Asia into cohorts, and then
into spearmen, archers, and cavalry; whereas before they had been
confusedly mixed together. It was he that fought with the Lydians, when
the day was turned into night, as they were fighting; and who subjected
the whole of Asia above the river Halys. He assembled the forces of all
his subjects, and marched against Nineveh to avenge his father, and
destroy that city. He took Nineveh (how they took it, I will relate in
another work),[6] and reduced the Assyrians into subjection, with the
exception of the Babylonian district. Having accomplished these things,
Cyaxares died, after a reign of forty years.


Astyages the son of Cyaxares succeeded him in the kingdom. He had a
daughter, to whom he gave the name of Mandane. When she arrived at a
marriageable age he gave her to no one of the Medes who was worthy of
her, but to a Persian, named Cambyses, whom he found descended of a good
family, and of a peaceful disposition, deeming him far superior to a
Mede of moderate rank. In the first year after Mandane was married to
Cambyses, Astyages saw a vision: it appeared to him that a vine sprang
from his daughter, and spread over all Asia. Having seen this and
communicated it to the interpreters of dreams, he sent to Persia for his
daughter, and her son the infant Cyrus, and upon her arrival he put her
under a guard, resolving to destroy her child, for the Magian
interpreters had signified to him from his vision, that the issue of his
daughter would reign in his stead. Astyages therefore, sent for
Harpagus, a kinsman of his, and the most faithful of all the Medes, and
the manager of all his affairs, and said to him: "Harpagus, on no
account fail to perform the business I now charge you with; nor expose
me to danger by deceiving me; nor, by preferring another, draw ruin upon
thy own head. Take the child of Mandane carry him to your own house and
kill him, and afterward bury him in whatever way you think fit."
Harpagus answered: "O king, you have never yet observed any ingratitude
in me, and I shall take care never to offend you for the future. If it
is your pleasure that this thing should be done, it is fitting that I
readily obey you." Harpagus, having given this answer, when the child
had been put into his hands, adorned as if for death, returned home
weeping; and upon his arrival he told his wife all that Astyages had
said. She asked him, "What then do you purpose to do?" He answered: "Not
as Astyages has commanded; though he should be yet more outrageous and
mad than he is, I will not comply with his wishes, nor will I submit to
him by performing such a murder: and for many reasons I will not murder
the child; both because he is my own relation, and because Astyages is
old, and has no male offspring; besides, if, after his death, the
sovereignty should devolve on his daughter, whose son he would now
murder by my means, what else remains for me but the greatest danger? It
is necessary, however, for my safety that the child should die, but as
necessary that one of Astyages' people should be the executioner, and
not one of mine." He accordingly sent a messenger for one of Astyages'
herdsmen, who he knew grazed his cattle on pastures most convenient for
the purpose, and on mountains abounding with wild beasts. His name was
Mitradates, and he had married his fellow-servant. The foot of the
mountains at which this herdsman grazed his cattle, lies to the north of
Ecbatana, toward the Euxine Sea. For the Medic territory on this side
toward the Saspires, is very mountainous, lofty, and covered with
forests; while all the rest of Media is level. When the herdsman,
summoned in great haste, arrived, Harpagus addressed him as follows:
"Astyages bids thee take this infant, and expose him on the bleakest
part of the mountains, that he may speedily perish; and has charged me
to add, that if thou by any means shouldst save the child, thou shalt
die by the most cruel death; and I am appointed to see the child
exposed." The herdsman, having heard these words, took the infant,
returned by the same way, and reached his cottage. It so happened that
an infant of his own lay dead at home. When he returned and came up to
his wife she asked him why Harpagus had sent for him in such haste.
"Wife," said he, "when I reached the city, I saw and heard what I wish I
had never seen, nor had ever befallen our masters. The whole house of
Harpagus was filled with lamentations; I, greatly alarmed, went in, and
as soon as I entered, I saw an infant lying before me, panting and
crying, dressed in gold and a robe of various colors. Harpagus bade me
to take up the child directly, and carry him away, and expose him in the
part of the mountain most frequented by wild beasts; telling me at the
same time, that it was Astyages who imposed this task on me, and
threatening the severest punishment if I should fail to do it. I took up
the infant and carried him away, supposing him to belong to one of the
servants; for I had then no suspicion whence he came; though I was
astonished at seeing him dressed in gold and fine apparel; and also at
the sorrow which evidently prevailed in the house of Harpagus. But soon
after, on my way home, I learnt the whole truth, from a servant who
accompanied me out of the city, and delivered the child into my hands;
that he was born of Mandane, Astyages' daughter, and of Cambyses son of
Cyrus, and that Astyages had commanded him to be put to death."

As the herdsman uttered these last words, he uncovered the child, and
showed it to his wife; she seeing that the child was large and of a
beautiful form, embraced the knees of her husband, and with tears
besought him by no means to expose it. He said that it was impossible to
do otherwise; for spies would come from Harpagus to see the thing done,
and he must himself die the most cruel death if he should fail to do it.
"Since, then" said she "I cannot persuade you not to expose the child,
do this: take our own dead child and expose it, and let us bring up the
son of Astyages' daughter as our own. Thus you will neither be convicted
of having wronged our masters, nor shall we have consulted ill for our
own interests; for the child that is dead will have a royal burial, and
the one that survives will not be deprived of life." The herdsman, happy
at the suggestion of his wife, gave to her the child that he had brought
for the purpose of putting to death, and his own, which was dead, he put
into the basket in which he had brought the other, and having dressed it
in all the finery of the other child, exposed it in the most desolate
part of the mountains. On the third day after the infant had been
exposed, the herdsman, having left one of his assistants as a guard,
went to the city, and arriving at the house of Harpagus, told him he was
ready to show the dead body of the infant. Harpagus accordingly sent
some of the most trusty of his guards, and by that means saw the body,
and buried the herdsman's child. The other, who afterwards had the name
of Cyrus, was brought up by the herdsman's wife, who gave him some other
name, and not that of Cyrus.

When the child attained the age of ten years, the following circumstance
discovered him. He was playing in the village in which the ox-stalls
were, with boys of his own age in the road. The boys had chosen this
reputed son of the herdsman for their king. He in sport appointed some
of them to build houses, and others to be his body-guards; one of them
to be the king's eye, and to another he gave the office of bringing
messages to him, assigning to each his proper duty. One of these boys
who was playing with him, son of Artembares, a man of rank among the
Medes, refused to obey the orders of Cyrus; he therefore commanded the
others to seize him, and when they obeyed, Cyrus scourged the boy very
severely. But the boy, as soon as he was let loose, considering that he
had been treated with great indignity, took it very much to heart, and
hastening to the city, complained to his father of the treatment he had
met with from the son of Astyages' herdsman. Artembares, in a transport
of anger, went immediately to Astyages, and taking his son with him,
said that he suffered treatment that was not to be borne, adding, "Thus,
O king, are we insulted by your slave, the son of a herdsman;" showing
the boy's shoulders. Astyages having heard and seen what was done,
resolving, on account of the rank of Artembares, to avenge the indignity
offered to the youth, sent for the herdsman and his son. When both came
into his presence, Astyages, looking upon Cyrus, said: "Have you, who
are the son of such a man as this, dared to treat the son of one of the
principal persons in my kingdom with such indignity?" But Cyrus
answered: "Sir, I treated him as I did with justice. For the boys of our
village, of whom he was one, in their play made me their king, because I
appeared to them the most fitted for that office. All the other boys
performed what they were ordered, but he refused to obey and paid no
attention to my commands, so he was punished: if I deserve punishment
for this here I am ready to submit to it." As the boy spoke Astyages
recognised him; the character of his face appeared like his own, and his
answer more free than accorded with his condition; the time also of the
exposure seemed to agree with the age of the boy. Alarmed at this
discovery, he was for some time speechless; and at last, having with
difficulty recovered himself (being desirous of sending Artembares away
in order that he might examine the herdsman in private), he said:
"Artembares, I will take care that neither you nor your son shall have
any cause of complaint," and dismissed him; but the servants, at the
command of Astyages, conducted Cyrus into an inner room; and when the
herdsman remained alone, he asked him in the absence of witnesses,
whence he had the boy, and from whose hands he received him? He affirmed
that the boy was his own son, and that the mother who bore him was still
living with him. Astyages told him, that he did not consult his own
safety in wishing to be put to the torture; and as he said this he made
a signal to his guards to seize him. The man, when brought to the
torture, discovered the whole matter, speaking the truth throughout; and
concluded with prayers and entreaties for pardon. Astyages, when the
herdsman had confessed the truth, did not concern himself much about him
afterwards; but attaching great blame to Harpagus, he ordered his guards
to summon him; and when Astyages asked, "Harpagus, by what kind of death
did you dispose of the child which I delivered to you, born of my
daughter?" Harpagus, seeing the herdsman present, had not recourse to
falsehood, lest he should be detected and convicted, but said, "O king,
when I had received the infant, I carefully considered how I could act
according to your wish and command, and, without offending you, I might
be free from the crime of murder both in your daughter's sight and in
yours. I therefore sent for this herdsman and gave him the child, saying
that you had commanded him to put it to death, and in saying this I did
not speak falsely, for such indeed were your orders. In this manner I
delivered the infant to him, charging him to place it in some desert
mountain, and to stay and watch till the child was dead, threatening the
severest punishment if he should not fully carry out these injunctions.
When he had executed these orders, and the child was dead, I sent some
of the most trusty of my servants, and by means of them beheld the body,
and buried it. This is the whole truth, O king, and such was the fate of
the child."

Thus Harpagus told the real truth; but Astyages, dissembling the anger
which he felt on account of what had been done, again related to
Harpagus the whole matter as he had heard it from the herdsman; and
afterwards, when he had repeated it throughout, he ended by saying that
the child was alive and all was well. "For," he added, "I suffered much
on account of what had been done regarding this child, and could not
easily bear the reproaches of my daughter; therefore, since fortune has
taken a more favorable turn, do you, in the first place, send your own
son to accompany the boy I have recovered; and, in the next place, (for
I propose to offer a sacrifice for the preservation of the child to the
gods, to whom that honor is due), do you be with me at supper."

Harpagus on hearing these words, when he had paid his homage, and had
congratulated himself that his fault had turned to so good account, and
that he was invited to the feast under such auspicious circumstances,
went to his own home. And as soon as he entered he sent his only son,
who was about thirteen years of age, and bade him go to Astyages, and do
whatever he should command; and then, being full of joy, he told his
wife what had happened. But when the son of Harpagus arrived, having
slain him and cut him into joints, Astyages roasted some parts of his
flesh and boiled others, and having had them well dressed, kept them in
readiness. At the appointed hour, when the other guests and Harpagus
were come, tables full of mutton were placed before the rest and
Astyages himself, but before Harpagus all the body of his son, except
the head, the hands and the feet; these were laid apart in a basket
covered over. When Harpagus seemed to have eaten enough, Astyages asked
him if he was pleased with the entertainment; and when Harpagus replied
that he was highly delighted, the officers appointed for that purpose
brought him the head of his son covered up with the hands and feet, and
standing before Harpagus, they bade him uncover the basket and take what
he chose. Harpagus doing as they desired, and uncovering the basket, saw
the remains of his son's body, but he expressed no alarm at the sight,
and retained his presence of mind; whereupon Astyages asked him if he
knew of what animal he had been eating. He said he knew very well, and
that whatever a king did was agreeable to him. After he had given this
answer he gathered the remains of the flesh and went home, purposing, as
I conjecture, to collect all that he could and bury it.

Astyages thus punished Harpagus; and then, considering what he should do
with Cyrus, summoned the Magi, who had formerly interpreted his dream.
When they were come, Astyages asked them in what way they had
interpreted his vision. They gave the same answer as before; and said
that if the boy was still alive, and had not already died, he must of
necessity be king. He answered them as follows: "The boy still survives,
and while living in the country, the boys of the village made him king,
and he has already performed all such things as kings really do, for he
has appointed guards, door-keepers, messengers, and all other things in
like manner; and now I desire to know to what do these things appear to
you to tend." The Magi answered, "If the boy be living and has already
been a king by no settled plan, you may take courage on his account and
make your mind easy, for he will not reign a second time. For some of
our predictions terminate in trifling results; and dreams, and things
like them, are fulfilled by slight events." To this Astyages replied: "I
too, O Magi, am very much of the same opinion, that since the child has
been named king, the dream is accomplished, and that the boy is no
longer an object of alarm to me; yet consider well, and carefully weigh
what will be the safest course for my family and yourselves." The Magi
answered: "O king, it is of great importance to us that your empire
should be firmly established, for otherwise it is alienated, passing
over to this boy, who is a Persian, and we, who are Medes, shall be
enslaved by Persians, and held in no account as being foreigners;
whereas while you, who are of our own country, are king, we have a share
in the government, and enjoy great honors at your hands. Thus, then, we
must on every account provide for your safety and that of your
government; and now if we saw any thing to occasion alarm we should tell
you of it beforehand; but now, since the dream has issued in a trifling
event, we ourselves take courage, and advise you to do the like, and to
send the boy out of your sight to his parents in Persia." When Astyages
heard this he was delighted, and, calling for Cyrus, said to him:
"Child, I have been unjust to you, by reason of a vain dream; but you
survive by your own destiny. Now go in happiness to Persia, and I will
send an escort to attend you; when you arrive there you will find a
father and mother very different from the herdsman Mitradates and his

Astyages thus sent Cyrus away, and, upon his arrival at the house of
Cambyses, his parents received him with the greatest tenderness and joy,
having been assured that he had died immediately after his birth; and
they inquired of him by what means his life had been preserved. He told
them, that till that time he believed he was the son of Astyages'
herdsman. He related that he had been brought up by the herdsman's wife;
and he went on constantly praising her.

[Illustration: EGYPTIAN HARE.]

When Cyrus had reached man's estate, and proved the most manly and
beloved of his equals in age, Harpagus paid great court to him, sending
him presents, from his desire to be avenged on Astyages; for he did not
see that he himself, who was but a private man, could be able to take
vengeance on Astyages; perceiving, therefore, that Cyrus was growing up
to be his avenger, he contracted a friendship with him, comparing the
sufferings of Cyrus with his own. And before this he had made the
following preparations. Seeing Astyages severe in his treatment of the
Medes, Harpagus holding intercourse with the chief persons of the
nation, one after another, persuaded them that they ought to place him
at their head, and depose Astyages. When he had effected his purpose,
and all was ready, Harpagus, wishing to discover his designs to Cyrus,
who resided in Persia, and having no other way left, because the roads
were all guarded, contrived the following artifice. Having cunningly
contrived a hare, by opening its belly, and tearing off none of the
hair, he put a letter, containing what he thought necessary to write,
into the body; and having sewed up the belly of the hare, he gave it
with some nets to the most trusty of his servants, dressed as a hunter,
and sent him to Persia; having by word of mouth commanded him to bid
Cyrus, as he gave him the hare, to open it with his own hand, and not to
suffer any one to be present when he did so. This was accordingly done,
and Cyrus having received the hare, opened it; and found the letter
which was in it, to the following purport: "Son of Cambyses, seeing the
gods watch over you, (for otherwise you could never have arrived at your
present fortune), do you now avenge yourself on your murderer Astyages;
for as far as regards his purpose you are long since dead, but by the
care of the gods and of me you survive. I suppose you have been long
since informed both what was done regarding yourself, and what I
suffered at the hands of Astyages, because I did not put you to death,
but gave you to the herdsman. Then, if you will follow my counsel, you
shall rule over the whole territory that Astyages now governs. Persuade
the Persians to revolt, and invade Media; and whether I or any other
illustrious Mede be appointed to command the army opposed to you, every
thing will turn out as you wish; for they, on the first onset, having
revolted from him, and siding with you, will endeavor to depose him.
Since, then, every thing is ready here, do as I advise, and do it

Cyrus, upon receiving this intelligence, began to consider by what
measures he could best persuade the Persians to revolt. Having written
such a letter as he thought fit, he called an assembly of the Persians,
read the letter and said that Astyages had appointed him general of the
Persians: "Now," he continued, "I require you to attend me, every man
with a sickle." When all had come with their sickles, as had been
ordered, Cyrus selected a tract of land in Persia, about eighteen or
twenty stadia square (nearly two and one half miles), which was
overgrown with briers, and directed them to clear it during the day:
when the Persians had finished the appointed task, he bade them come
again on the next day, washed and well attired. In the meantime Cyrus
collected all his father's flocks and herds, had them killed and
dressed, to entertain the Persian forces, and provided wine and bread in
abundance. The next day, when the Persians had assembled, he made them
lie down on the turf, and feasted them; and, after the repast was over,
asked them whether the treatment they had received the day before, or
the present, was preferable. They answered, that the difference was
great; for on the preceding day they had every hardship, but on the
present everything that was good. Then Cyrus discovered his intentions,
and said: "Men of Persia, the case stands thus; if you will hearken to
me, you may enjoy these, and numberless other advantages, without any
kind of servile labor; but if you will not hearken to me, innumerable
hardships, like those of yesterday, await you. Now, therefore, obey me,
and be free; for I am persuaded I am born by divine providence to
undertake this work; and I deem you to be men in no way inferior to the
Medes, either in other respects or in war; then revolt with all speed
from Astyages."

The Persians under such a leader, gladly asserted their freedom, having
for a long time felt indignant at being governed by the Medes. Astyages,
informed of what Cyrus was doing, sent a messenger and summoned him; but
Cyrus bade the messenger take back word, "that he would come to him
sooner than Astyages desired." When Astyages heard this, he armed all
the Medes; and, as if the gods had deprived him of understanding, made
Harpagus their general, utterly forgetting the outrage he had done him.
And when the Medes came to an engagement with the Persians, such of them
as knew nothing of the plot, fought; but others went over to the
Persians; and the far greater part purposely behaved as cowards and
fled. As soon as the news was brought to Astyages that the Medes were
thus shamefully dispersed, he exclaimed: "Not even so shall Cyrus have
occasion to rejoice." His first act was to impale the Magi, who had
interpreted his dream, and advised him to let Cyrus go; then he armed
all the Medes that were left in the city, old and young; and leading
them out, engaged the Persians, and was defeated. Astyages himself was
made prisoner, and lost all the Medes whom he had led out. Harpagus,
standing by Astyages after he was taken, exulted over him and jeered at
him; and among other galling words, he asked him about the supper, at
which he had feasted him with his son's flesh, and inquired, "how he
liked slavery in exchange for a kingdom." Astyages, looking steadfastly
on Harpagus, asked in return, whether he thought himself the author of
Cyrus's success. Harpagus said, he did, for, as he had written, the
achievement was justly due to himself. Astyages thereupon proved him to
be "the weakest and most unjust of all men; the weakest, in giving the
kingdom to another, which he might have assumed to himself, if indeed he
had effected this change; and the most unjust, because he had enslaved
the whole nation of the Medes on account of the supper."

So Astyages, after he had reigned thirty-five years, was deposed. But
Cyrus kept him with him till he died, without doing him any further
injury. Thus did Cyrus come to the throne, conquer Crœsus, and become
master of all Asia.

The Persians, according to my own knowledge, observe the following
customs:—It is not their practice to erect statues, or temples, or
altars, but they charge those with folly who do so; because, as I
conjecture, they do not think the gods have human forms, as the Greeks
do. They are accustomed to ascend the highest parts of the mountains,
and offer sacrifice to Jupiter, and they call the whole circle of the
heavens by the name of Jupiter. They sacrifice to the sun and moon, to
the earth, fire, water, and the winds. To these alone they sacrificed in
the earliest times: but they have since learnt from the Arabians and
Assyrians to sacrifice to Venus Urania, whom the Assyrians call Venus
Mylitta, the Arabians, Alitta, and the Persians Mitra. They do not erect
altars nor kindle fires when about to sacrifice; they do not use
libations, or flutes, or fillets, or cakes; but, when any one wishes to
offer sacrifice to any one of these deities, he leads the victim to a
clean spot, and invokes the god, usually having his tiara decked with
myrtle. He that sacrifices is not permitted to pray for blessings for
himself alone; but he is obliged to offer prayers for the prosperity of
all the Persians, and the king, for he is himself included in the
Persians. When he has cut the victim into small pieces, and boiled the
flesh, he strews under it a bed of tender grass, generally trefoil, and
then lays all the flesh upon it; when he has put every thing in order,
one of the Magi standing by sings an ode concerning the original of the
gods, which they say is the incantation; and without one of the Magi it
is not lawful for them to sacrifice. After having waited a short time,
he that has sacrificed carries away the flesh and disposes of it as he
thinks fit. It is their custom to honor their birthday above all other
days; and on this day they furnish their table in a more plentiful
manner than at other times. The rich then produce an ox, a horse, a
camel, and an ass, roasted whole in an oven; but the poor produce
smaller cattle. They are moderate at their meals, but eat of many
after-dishes, and those not served up together. On this account the
Persians say, "that the Greeks rise hungry from the table, because
nothing worth mentioning is brought in after dinner, and that if
anything were brought in, they would not leave off eating." The Persians
are much addicted to wine. They are accustomed to debate the most
important affairs when intoxicated; but whatever they have determined on
in such deliberation, is on the following day, when they are sober,
proposed to them by the master of the house where they have met to
consult; and if they approve of it when sober also, then they adopt it;
if not, they reject it. And whatever they have first resolved on when
sober, they reconsider when intoxicated. When they meet one another in
the streets, one may discover by the following custom, whether those who
meet are equals. For instead of accosting one another, they kiss on the
mouth; if one be a little inferior to the other, they kiss the cheek;
but if he be of a much lower rank, he prostrates himself before the

The Persians are of all nations the most ready to adopt foreign customs;
for they wear the Medic costume, thinking it handsomer than their own;
and in war they use the Egyptian cuirass. From the age of five years to
twenty, they instruct their sons in three things only: to ride, to use
the bow, and to speak the truth. Before he is five years of age, a son
is not admitted to the presence of his father, but lives entirely with
the women: the reason of this custom is, that if he should die in
childhood, he may occasion no grief to his father.

Now I much approve of the above custom, as also of the following, that
not even the king is allowed to put any one to death for a single crime,
nor any private Persian exercise extreme severity against any of his
domestics for one fault, but if on examination he should find that his
misdeeds are more numerous and greater than his services, he may in that
case give vent to his anger. They say that no one ever yet killed his
own father or mother. To tell a lie is considered by them the greatest
disgrace; next to that, to be in debt; for the reason that one who is in
debt must of necessity tell lies. Whosoever of the citizens has the
leprosy or scrofula, is not permitted to stay within a town, nor to have
communication with other Persians; and they say that a man is afflicted
with these diseases from having committed some offence against the sun.
Every stranger that is seized with these distempers they drive out of
the country; and they do the same to white pigeons, making the same
charge against them. They neither spit, nor wash their hands in a river,
but pay extreme veneration to all rivers. Another circumstance is also
peculiar to them which has escaped the notice of the Persians
themselves, but not of us. Their names, which correspond with their
personal forms and their rank, all terminate in the same letter (s)
which the Dorians call _San_, and the Ionians _Sigma_. If you inquire
into this you will find, that all Persian names, without exception, end
in the same letter. These things I can with certainty affirm to be true,
since I myself know them. But what follows, relating to the dead, is
only secretly mentioned, viz.: that the dead body of a Persian is never
buried until it has been torn by some bird or dog; but I know for a
certainty that the Magi do this, for they do it openly. The Persians
then, having covered the body with wax, conceal it in the ground. The
Magi differ very much from all other men, and particularly from the
Egyptian priests, for the latter hold it matter of religion not to kill
any thing that has life, except such things as they offer in sacrifice;
whereas the Magi kill every thing with their own hands, except a dog or
a man; and they think they do a meritorious thing, when they kill ants,
serpents, and other reptiles and birds.



The Ionians and Æolians, as soon as the Lydians were subdued by the
Persians, sent ambassadors to Cyrus at Sardis, wishing to become subject
to him, on the same terms as they had been to Crœsus. But, when he heard
their proposal, he told them this story: "A piper seeing some fishes in
the sea, began to pipe, expecting that they would come to shore; but
finding his hopes disappointed, he took a casting-net, with which he
caught a great number of fishes, and drew them out. When he saw them
leaping about, he said to the fishes: 'Cease your dancing, since when I
piped you would not come out and dance.'" Cyrus told this story to the
Ionians and Æolians, because the Ionians, when Cyrus pressed them by his
ambassador to revolt from Crœsus, refused to consent, and now, when the
business was done, were ready to listen to him. When the Ionians heard
this message, they severally fortified themselves with walls, and met
together at the Panionium, with the exception of the Milesians; for
Cyrus made an alliance with them on the same terms as the Lydians had
done. The rest of the Ionians resolved unanimously to send ambassadors
to Sparta, to implore them to succor the Ionians. These Ionians, to whom
the Panionium belongs, have built their cities under the finest sky and
climate of the world that we know of; for neither the regions that are
above it, nor those that are below, nor the parts to the east or west,
are at all equal to Ionia; for some of them are oppressed by cold and
rain, others by heat and drought. These Ionians do not all use the same
language, but have four varieties of dialect. Miletus, the first of
them, lies toward the south.

The Milesians were sheltered from danger, as they had made an alliance.
The islanders also had nothing to fear; for the Phœnicians were not yet
subject to the Persians, nor were the Persians themselves at all
acquainted with maritime affairs. Now the Milesians had seceded from the
rest of the Ionians only for this reason, that weak as the Grecian race
then was, the Ionian was weakest of all, and of least account; for
except Athens, there was no other city of note. The other Ionians,
therefore, and the Athenians shunned the name, and would not be called
Ionians; and even now many of them appear to me to be ashamed of the
name. But these twelve cities gloried in the name, and built a temple
for their own use, to which they gave the name of Panionium.

When the ambassadors of the Ionians and Æolians arrived at Sparta, they
made choice of a Phocæan, whose name was Pythermus, to speak in behalf
of all. Putting on a purple robe, in order that as many as possible of
the Spartans might hear of it and assemble, he addressed them at length,
imploring their assistance. But the Lacedæmonians would not listen to
him, and determined not to assist the Ionians: they therefore returned
home. Yet the Lacedæmonians, though they had rejected the Ionian
ambassadors, despatched men in a penteconter, to keep an eye upon the
affairs of Cyrus and Ionia. These men arriving in Phocæa, sent the most
eminent person among them, whose name was Lacrines, to Sardis, to warn
Cyrus in the name of the Lacedæmonians, "not to injure any city on the
Grecian territory, for in that case they would not pass it by
unnoticed." When the herald gave this message, it is related that Cyrus
inquired of the Greeks who were present, who the Lacedæmonians were, and
how many in number, that they sent him such a warning. And when
informed, he said to the Spartan herald, "I was never yet afraid of
those, who in the midst of their city have a place set apart, in which
they collect and cheat one another by false oaths; and if I continue in
health, not the calamities of the Ionians shall be talked about, but
their own." This taunt of Cyrus was levelled at the Greeks in general,
who have markets for the purposes of buying and selling; for the
Persians have no such a thing as a market. After this, Cyrus intrusted
Tabalus a Persian with the government of Sardis, and appointed Pactyas a
Lydian to bring away the gold, both that belonging to Crœsus and to the
other Lydians, and departed with Cyrus for Ecbatana, for from the first
he took no account of the Ionians. But Babylon was an obstacle to him,
as were also the Bactrians, the Sacæ, and the Egyptians; against whom he
resolved to lead an army in person, and to send some other general
against the Ionians. But as soon as Cyrus had marched from Sardis,
Pactyas prevailed on the Lydians to revolt from Tabalus and Cyrus; and
going down to the sea-coast, with all the gold taken from Sardis in his
possession, he hired mercenaries and persuaded the inhabitants of the
coast to join him; and then having marched against Sardis, he besieged
Tabalus, who was shut up in the citadel.

When Cyrus heard this news on his march, he said to Crœsus;

"Crœsus, what will be the end of these things? the Lydians, it seems,
will never cease to give trouble to me, and to themselves. I am in doubt
whether it will not be better to reduce them to slavery; for I appear to
have acted like one who, having killed the father, has spared the
children; so I am carrying away you, who have been something more than a
father to the Lydians, and have intrusted their city to the Lydians
themselves: and then I wonder at their rebellion!" Crœsus, fearing lest
he should utterly destroy Sardis, answered: "Sir, you have but too much
reason for what you say; yet do not give full vent to your anger, nor
utterly destroy an ancient city, which is innocent as well of the former
as of the present offence: for of the former I myself was guilty, and
now bear the punishment on my own head; but in the present instance
Pactyas, to whom you intrusted Sardis, is the culprit; let him therefore
pay the penalty. But pardon the Lydians, and enjoin them to observe the
following regulations, to the end that they may never more revolt, nor
be troublesome to you: send to them and order them to keep no weapons of
war in their possession; and enjoin them to wear tunics under their
cloaks, and buskins on their feet; and require them to teach their sons
to play on the cithara, to strike the guitar, and to sell by retail; and
then you will soon see them becoming women instead of men, so that they
will never give you any apprehensions about their revolting." Crœsus
suggested this plan, thinking it would be more desirable for the
Lydians, than that they should be sold for slaves; and being persuaded,
that unless he could suggest some feasible proposal, he should not
prevail with him to alter his resolution: and he dreaded also, that the
Lydians, if they should escape the present danger, might hereafter
revolt from the Persians, and bring utter ruin on themselves. Cyrus,
pleased with the expedient, laid aside his anger, and said that he would
follow his advice: then having sent for Mazares, a Mede, he commanded
him to order the Lydians to conform themselves to the regulations
proposed by Crœsus, and moreover to enslave all the rest who had joined
the Lydians in the attack on Sardis; but by all means to bring Pactyas
to him alive. Cyrus having given these orders on his way, proceeded to
the settlements of the Persians. But Pactyas heard that the army which
was coming against him was close at hand, and fled in great
consternation to Cyme. Mazares marched against Sardis with an
inconsiderable division of Cyrus's army, but found that Pactyas and his
party were no longer there. He, however, compelled the Lydians to
conform to the injunctions of Cyrus; who, by his order, completely
changed their mode of life: after this Mazares despatched messengers to
Cyme, requiring them to deliver up Pactyas. But the Cymæans, in order to
come to a decision, resolved to refer the matter to the deity at
Branchidæ, for an oracular shrine was there erected in former times,
which all the Ionians and Æolians were in the practice of consulting.
The Cymæans asked the oracle "what course they should pursue respecting
Pactyas, that would be most pleasing to the gods:" the answer to their
question was, that they should deliver up Pactyas to the Persians. When
this answer was reported, they determined to give him up; but,
Aristodicus the son of Heraclides, a man of high repute among the
citizens, distrusting the oracle, and suspecting the sincerity of the
consulters, prevented them from doing so; till at last other messengers,
among whom was Aristodicus, went to inquire a second time concerning
Pactyas. When they arrived at Branchidæ, Aristodicus consulted the
oracle in the name of all, inquiring in these words: "O king, Pactyas, a
Lydian, has come to us as a suppliant, to avoid a violent death at the
hands of the Persians. They now demand him, and require the Cymæans to
give him up. We, however, though we dread the Persian power, have not
yet dared to surrender the suppliant, till it be plainly declared by
thee what we ought to do." The oracle gave the same answer as before.
Upon this Aristodicus deliberately acted as follows; walking round the
temple, he took away all the sparrows and all other kinds of birds that
had built nests in the temple; whereupon a voice issued from the
sanctuary; addressing Aristodicus, it spoke as follows: "O most impious
of men, how darest thou do this? Dost thou tear my suppliants from my
temple?" Aristodicus without hesitation answered, "O king, art thou then
so careful to succor thy suppliants, but biddest the Cymæans to deliver
up theirs?" The oracle again rejoined: "Yes, I bid you do so; that
having acted impiously, ye may the sooner perish, and never more come
and consult the oracle about the delivering up of suppliants." When the
Cymæans heard this latter answer, not wishing to bring destruction on
themselves by surrendering Pactyas, or to subject themselves to a siege
by protecting him, they sent him away to Mitylene. But the Mitylenæans,
when Mazares sent a message to them requiring them to deliver up
Pactyas, were preparing to do so for some remuneration; what, I am
unable to say precisely, for the proposal was never completed. For the
Cymæans, being informed of what was being done by the Mitylenæans,
despatched a vessel to Lesbos, and transported Pactyas to Chios, whence
he was torn by violence from the temple of Minerva Poliuchus by the
Chians, and delivered up. The Chians delivered him up in exchange for
Atarneus, a place situate in Mysia, opposite Lesbos. In this manner
Pactyas fell into the hands of the Persians; who kept him under guard in
order that they might deliver him to Cyrus. For a long time after this,
none of the Chians would offer barley-meal from Atarneus to any of the
gods, or make any cakes of the fruit that came from them; but all the
productions of that country were excluded from the temples. Mazares,
after this, marched against those who had assisted in besieging Tabalus;
and in the first place reduced the Prienians to slavery, and in the next
overran the whole plain of the Mæander, and gave it to his army to
pillage; and he treated Magnesia in the same manner: but shortly
afterward fell sick and died.

On his death Harpagus came down as his successor in the command; he also
was by birth a Mede, the same whom Astyages king of the Medes
entertained at the impious feast, and who assisted Cyrus in ascending
the throne. This man being appointed general by Cyrus, on his arrival in
Ionia, took several cities by means of earth-works; for he forced the
people to retire within their fortifications, and then, having heaped up
mounds against the walls, he carried the cities by storm. Phocæa was the
first place in Ionia that he attacked.

These Phocæans were the first of all the Greeks who undertook long
voyages, and they are the people who discovered the Adriatic and
Tyrrhenian seas, Iberia, and Tartessus.[7] They made their voyages in
fifty-oared galleys, and not in merchant-ships. When they arrived at
Tartessus they were kindly received by the king of the Tartessians,
whose name was Arganthonius; he reigned eighty years over Tartessus, and
lived to the age of one hundred and twenty. The Phocæans became such
great favorites with him, that he at first solicited them to abandon
Ionia, and to settle in any part of his territory they should choose;
but afterward, finding he could not prevail with them to accept his
offer, and hearing from them the increasing power of the Mede, he gave
them money for the purpose of building a wall around their city; he must
have given it unsparingly, for the wall is not a few stades in
circumference, and is entirely built of large and well-compacted stones.
When Harpagus had marched his army against the Phocæans, he besieged
them, but offered these terms: "that he would be content if the Phocæans
would throw down only one of their battlements, and consecrate one house
_to the king's use_." The Phocæans, detesting slavery, said, "that they
wished for one day to deliberate, and would then give their answer"; but
while they were deliberating they required him to draw off his forces
from the wall. Harpagus said, that "though he well knew their design,
yet he would permit them to consult together." In the interval, then,
during which Harpagus withdrew his army from the wall, the Phocæans
launched their fifty-oared galleys, and having put their wives,
children, and goods on board, together with the images from the temples
and other offerings, except works of bronze or stone, or pictures, they
embarked themselves, and set sail for Chios: and the Persians took
possession of Phocæa, abandoned by all its inhabitants. The Phocæans,
when the Chians refused to sell them the Œnyssæ Islands, for fear they
should become the seat of trade, and their own island be thereby
excluded, directed their course to Cyrnus; where, by the admonition of
an oracle, they had twenty years before built a city, named Alalia. But
Arganthonius was at that time dead. On their passage to Cyrnus, having
first sailed down to Phocæa, they put to death the Persian garrison
which had been left by Harpagus to guard the city. Afterward, when this
was accomplished, they pronounced terrible imprecations on any who
should desert the fleet; besides this, they sunk a mass of red-hot iron,
and swore "that they would never return to Phocæa, till this burning
mass should appear again." Nevertheless, as they were on their way
toward Cyrnus, more than one half of the citizens were seized with
regret and yearning for their city and dwellings in the country, and
violating their oaths, sailed back to Phocæa; but such of them as kept
to their oath weighed anchor and sailed from the Œnyssæ Islands. On
their arrival at Cyrnus they lived for five years in common with the
former settlers: but as they ravaged the territories of all their
neighbors, the Tyrrhenians and Carthaginians combined together to make
war against them, each with sixty ships: and the Phocæans, on their
part, having manned their ships, consisting of sixty in number, met them
in the Sardinian Sea; and having engaged, the Phocæans obtained a kind
of Cadmean victory;[8] for forty of their own ships were destroyed, and
the twenty that survived were disabled, for their prows were blunted.
They therefore sailed back to Alalia, took on board their wives and
children, with what property their ships were able to carry, and leaving
Cyrnus, sailed to Rhegium. As to the men belonging to the ships
destroyed, most of them fell into the hands of the Carthaginians and
Tyrrhenians, who took them on shore and stoned them to death. But
afterward all animals belonging to the Argyllæans that passed by the
spot where the Phocæans who had been stoned lay, became distorted,
maimed, and crippled, as well sheep, as beasts of burden and men. The
Argyllæans, therefore, being anxious to expiate the guilt, sent to
Delphi; and the Pythian enjoined them to use those rites which they
still observe; for they commemorate their death with great magnificence,
and have established gymnastic and equestrian contests. This was the
fate of these Phocæans; but the others, who fled to Rhegium, left that
place, and got possession of the town in the territory of Œnotria, which
is now called Hyela, which they colonized by the advice of a certain
Posidonian, who told them the Pythia had directed them to establish
sacred rites to Cyrnus as being a hero, but not to colonize the island
of that name.

The Teians also acted nearly in the same manner as the Phocæans. For
when Harpagus by means of his earth-works had made himself master of
their walls, they all went on board their ships, and sailed away to
Thrace, and there settled in the city of Abdera; which Timesius of
Clazomenæ having formerly founded, did not enjoy, but was driven out by
the Thracians, and is now honored as a hero by the Teians of Abdera.

These were the only Ionians who abandoned their country rather than
submit to servitude. The rest, except the Milesians, gave battle to
Harpagus, and as well as those who abandoned their country, proved
themselves brave men, each fighting for his own; but defeated and
subdued, they remained in their own countries, and submitted to the
commands imposed on them. The Milesians, as I have before mentioned,
having made a league with Cyrus, remained quiet. So was Ionia a second
time enslaved, and the islanders, dreading the same fate, made their
submission to Cyrus. When the Ionians were brought into this wretched
condition, and nevertheless still held assemblies at Panionium, I am
informed that Bias of Priene gave them most salutary advice, which, had
they harkened to him, would have made them the most flourishing of all
the Greeks. He advised, "that the Ionians, should sail in one common
fleet to Sardinia, and there build one city for all the Ionians; thus
being freed from servitude, they would flourish, inhabiting the most
considerable of the islands, and governing the rest; whereas if they
remained in Ionia, he saw no hope of recovering their liberty." But
before Ionia was ruined, the suggestion of Thales, the Milesian, who was
of Phœnician extraction, was also good, who advised that the Ionians
should constitute one general council in Teos, which stands in the
centre of Ionia; and that the rest of the inhabited cities should be
governed as independent states.

Harpagus having subdued Ionia, marched against the Carians, Cannians,
Lycians, Ionians, and Æolians; of whom the Carians were by far the most
famous of all nations in those times. They introduced three inventions
which the Greeks have adopted. For the Carians set the example of
fastening crests upon helmets and of putting devices on shields; they
are also the first who attached handles to shields; until their time all
who used shields carried them without handles, guiding them with
leathern thongs, having them slung round their necks and left shoulders.

The Lycians were originally sprung from Crete, for in ancient time Crete
was entirely in the possession of barbarians. But a dispute having
arisen between Sarpedon and Minos, sons of Europa, respecting the
sovereign power, when Minos got the upper hand in the struggle, he drove
out Sarpedon with his partisans; and they being expelled came to the
land of Milyas in Asia, and were afterwards joined by Lycus son of
Pandion of Athens, who was likewise driven out by his brother Ægeus, and
came to be called Lycians after him. Their customs are partly Cretan and
partly Carian; but they have one peculiar to themselves, in which they
differ from all other nations: they take their name from their mothers
and not from their fathers; so that if any one asks another who he is,
he will describe himself by his mother's side, and reckon his ancestry
in the female line. And if a free-born woman marry a slave, the children
are accounted of pure birth; but if a man though a citizen, and of high
rank, marry a foreigner, the children are considered low born.

All Cnidia, except a small space, is surrounded by water; for the
Ceramic gulf bounds it on the north, and on the south the sea by Syme
and Rhodes: now this small space, which is about five stades in breadth,
the Cnidians, wishing to make their territory insular, designed to dig
through, while Harpagus was subduing Ionia. For the whole of their
dominions were within the isthmus; and where the Cnidian territory
terminates toward the continent, there is the isthmus that they designed
to dig through. But, as they were carrying on the work with great
diligence, the workmen appeared to be wounded to a greater extent and in
a more strange manner than usual, both in other parts of the body, and
particularly in the eyes, by the chipping of the rock; they therefore
sent deputies to Delphi to inquire what was the cause of the
obstruction; and, as the Cnidians say, the Pythia answered as follows in
trimeter verse: "Build not a tower on the isthmus, nor dig it through,
for Jove would have made it an island had he so willed." So the Cnidians
desisted from their work, and surrendered without resistance to
Harpagus, as soon as he approached with his army. The Pedasians were
situated inland above Halicarnassus. When any mischief is about to
befall them or their neighbors, the priestess of Minerva has a long
beard: this has three times occurred. These were the only people about
Caria who opposed Harpagus for any time and gave him much trouble, by
fortifying a mountain called Lyda. After some time, however, they were
subdued. The Lycians, when Harpagus marched his army toward the Xanthian
plain, went out to meet him, and engaging with very inferior numbers,
displayed great feats of valor. But being defeated and shut up within
their city, they collected their wives, children, property, and servants
within the citadel, and then set fire to it and burnt it to the ground.
When they had done this, and engaged themselves by the strongest oaths,
all the Xanthians went out and died fighting. Of the modern Lycians, who
are said to be Xanthians, all, except eighty families, are strangers;
but these eighty families happened at the time to be away from home and
so survived. Thus Harpagus got possession of Xanthus and Caunia almost
in the same manner; for the Caunians generally followed the example of
the Lycians.



While Harpagus was reducing the lower parts of Asia, Cyrus had conquered
the upper parts, subduing every nation without exception. The greatest
parts of these I shall pass by without notice; but I will make mention
of those which gave him most trouble, and are most worthy of being

Assyria contains many large cities, the most renowned and the strongest
of which, where the seat of government was established after the
destruction of Nineveh, was Babylon, which is of the following
description. The city stands in a spacious plain, and is quadrangular,
and shows a front on every side of one hundred and twenty stades [15
miles]; these stades make up the sum of four hundred and eighty in the
whole circumference. It was adorned in a manner surpassing any city we
are acquainted with. In the first place, a moat deep, wide, and full of
water, runs entirely round it; next, there is a wall fifty royal cubits
in breadth [about 84 feet], and in height two hundred [270 feet], but
the royal cubit is larger than the common one by three fingers' breadth.
And here I think I ought to explain how the earth, taken out of the
moat, was consumed, and in what manner the wall was built. As they dug
the moat they made bricks of the earth that was taken out; and when they
had moulded a sufficient number they baked them in kilns. Then making
use of hot asphalt for cement, and laying wattled reeds between the
thirty bottom courses of bricks, they first built up the sides of the
moat, and afterward the wall itself in the same manner; and on the top
of the wall, at the edges, they built dwellings of one story, fronting
each other, having spaces between these dwellings wide enough to turn a
chariot with four horses. In the circumference of the wall there were a
hundred gates, all of bronze, as also were the posts and lintels. Eight
days' journey from Babylon [200 miles] stands another city, called Is,
on a small river of the same name, which discharges its stream into the
Euphrates; this river brings down with its water many lumps of bitumen,
from which the bitumen used in the wall of Babylon was taken. The city
consists of two divisions, for the Euphrates, separates it in the
middle: this river, which is broad, deep, and rapid, flows from Armenia,
and falls into the Red Sea. The wall on either bank has an elbow carried
down to the river; and thence along the curvatures of each bank runs a
wall of baked bricks. The city itself, which is full of houses three and
four stories high, is cut up into straight streets running at right
angles to each other. At the end of each street a little gate is formed
in the wall along the river side, in number equal to the streets; and
they are all made of bronze, and lead down to the edge of the river.
This outer wall is the chief defence, but another wall runs round
within, not much inferior to the other in strength, though narrower. In
the middle of each division of the city fortified buildings were
erected; in one, the royal palace, with a spacious and strong enclosure,
bronze-gated; and in the other, the precinct of Jupiter Belus, which in
my time was still in existence, a square building of two stades [¼ of a
mile] on every side. In the midst of this precinct is built a solid
tower of one stade both in length and breadth, and on this tower rose
another, and another upon that, to the number of eight. And there is an
ascent to these outside, running spirally round all the towers. About
the middle of the ascent there is a landing-place and seats on which
those who go up may rest themselves; and in the uppermost tower stands a
spacious temple, handsomely furnished, and in it a large couch, with a
table of gold by its side. No statue has been erected within it, but as
the Chaldæans, who are priests of this deity, assert, though I cannot
credit what they say, the god himself comes to the temple and reclines
on the bed, in the same manner as the Egyptians say happens at Thebes in

There is also another temple below, within the precinct at Babylon; in
it is a large golden statue of Jupiter seated, and near it a great table
of gold; the throne also and the step are of gold, which together weigh
eight hundred talents [twenty-two tons], as the Chaldæans affirm.
Outside the temple is a golden altar; and another large altar, where
full-grown sheep are sacrificed; for on the golden altar only sucklings
may be offered. On the great altar the Chaldæans consume yearly a
thousand talents [twenty-seven tons] of frankincense when they celebrate
the festival of this god. There was also at that time within the
precincts of this temple a statue of solid gold, twelve cubits high
[eighteen feet]; I, indeed, did not see it, but only relate what is said
by the Chaldæans. Darius, son of Hystaspes, formed a design to take away
this statue, but dared not do so; but Xerxes, son of Darius, took it,
and killed the priest who forbade him to remove it.

There were many others who reigned over Babylon, whom I shall mention in
my Assyrian history, who beautified the walls and temples, and amongst
them were two women. The first of these, named Semiramis, lived five
generations before the other; she raised mounds along the plain, which
are worthy of admiration; for before, the river used to overflow the
whole plain like a sea. But the other, who was queen next after her, and
whose name was Nitocris, (and she was much more sagacious than the other
queen,) in the first place left monuments of herself, which I shall
presently describe; and in the next place, when she saw the power of the
Medes growing formidable and restless, and that, among other cities,
Nineveh was captured by them, she took every possible precaution for her
own defence. First of all, the River Euphrates, which before ran in a
straight line, and which flows through the middle of the city, by having
channels dug above, she made so winding, that in its course it touched
three times at one and the same village in Assyria, called Arderica: and
to this day, those who go from our sea to Babylon, if they travel by the
Euphrates, come three times to this village on three successive days.
She also raised on either bank of the river a mound, astonishing for its
magnitude and height. At a considerable distance above Babylon, she had
a reservoir for a lake dug, carrying it out some distance from the
river, and in the depth digging down to water, and in width making its
circumference of four hundred and twenty stades [about fifty-two and a
half miles]: she consumed the soil from this excavation by heaping it up
on the banks of the river, and when it was completely dug, she had
stones brought and built a casing to it all round. She had both these
works done, the river made winding, and the whole excavation a lake, in
order that the current, being broken by frequent turnings, might be more
slow, and the navigation to Babylon tedious, and that after the voyage,
a long march round the lake might follow. All this was done in that part
of the country where the approach to Babylon is nearest, and where is
the shortest way for the Medes; in order that the Medes might not, by
holding intercourse with her people, become acquainted with her affairs.
She enclosed herself, therefore, with these defences by digging, and
immediately afterwards made the following addition. As the city
consisted of two divisions, which were separated by the river, during
the reign of former kings, when any one had occasion to cross from one
division to the other, he was obliged to cross in a boat: and this, in
my opinion, was very troublesome: she therefore provided for this, for
after she had dug the reservoir for the lake, she left this other
monument built by similar toil. She had large blocks of stone cut, and
when they were ready and the place was completely dug out, she turned
the whole stream of the river into the place she had dug: while this was
filling, and the ancient channel had become dry, in the first place, she
lined with burnt bricks the banks of the river throughout the city, and
the descents that lead from the gates to the river, in the same manner
as the walls. In the next place, about the middle of the city, she built
a bridge with the stones she had prepared, and bound them together with
plates of lead and iron. Upon these stones she laid, during the day,
square planks of timber, on which the Babylonians might pass over; but
at night these planks were removed, to prevent people from crossing by
night and robbing one another. When the hollow that was dug had become a
lake filled by the river, and the bridge was finished, she brought back
the river to its ancient channel from the lake.


The same queen also contrived the following deception. Over the most
frequented gate of the city she prepared a sepulchre for herself, high
up above the gate itself; and on the sepulchre she had engraved,
NOT WELL. This monument remained undisturbed, until the kingdom
fell to Darius; but it seemed hard to Darius that this gate should be of
no use, and that when money was lying there, and this money inviting him
to take it, he should not do so; but no use was made of this gate for
this reason, that a dead body was over the head of any one who passed
through it. He therefore opened the sepulchre, and instead of money,
found only the body, and these words written: HADST THOU NOT BEEN

Cyrus made war against the son of this queen, who bore the name of his
father Labynetus, and had the empire of Assyria. Now when the great king
leads his army in person, he carries with him from home well prepared
provisions and cattle; and he takes with him water from the river
Choaspes, which flows past Susa, of which alone, the king drinks. A
great number of four-wheeled carriages drawn by mules carry the water of
this river, after it has been boiled in silver vessels, and follow him
from place to place wherever he marches. Cyrus, in his march against
Babylon, arrived at the river Gyndes, whose fountains are in the
Matianian mountains, and which flows through the land of the Dardanians,
and falls into another river, the Tigris; the latter, flowing by the
city of Opis, discharges itself into the Red Sea. When Cyrus was
endeavoring to cross this river Gyndes, which can be passed only in
boats, one of the sacred white horses through wantonness plunged into
the stream, and attempted to swim over, but the stream having carried
him away and drowned him, Cyrus was much enraged with the river for this
affront, and threatened to make his stream so weak, that henceforth
women should easily cross it without wetting their knees. After this
menace, deferring his expedition against Babylon, he divided his army
into two parts; and marked out by lines one hundred and eighty channels,
on each side of the river, diverging every way; then having distributed
his army, he commanded them to dig. His design was indeed executed by
the great numbers he employed; but they spent the whole summer in the
work. When Cyrus had avenged himself on the river Gyndes, by
distributing it into three hundred and sixty channels, and the second
spring began to shine, he then advanced against Babylon. But the
Babylonians, having taken the field, awaited his coming; and when he had
advanced near the city, the Babylonians gave battle, and, being
defeated, were shut up in the city. But as they had been long aware of
the restless spirit of Cyrus, and saw that he attacked all nations
alike, they had laid up provisions for many years; and therefore were
under no apprehensions about a siege. On the other hand, Cyrus found
himself in difficulty, since much time had elapsed, and his affairs were
not at all advanced. Whether therefore some one else made the suggestion
to him in his perplexity, or whether he himself devised the plan, he had
recourse to the following stratagem. Having stationed the bulk of his
army near the passage of the river where it enters Babylon, and again
having stationed another division beyond the city, where the river makes
its exit, he gave orders to his forces to enter the city as soon as they
should see the stream fordable. Having thus stationed his forces, and
given these directions, he himself marched away with the ineffective
part of his army; and coming to the lake, Cyrus did the same with
respect to the river and the lake as the queen of the Babylonians had
done. For having diverted the river, by means of a canal, into the lake,
which was before a swamp, he made the ancient channel fordable by the
sinking of the river. When this took place, the Persians who were
appointed to that purpose close to the stream of the river, which had
now subsided to about the middle of a man's thigh, entered Babylon by
this passage. If, however, the Babylonians had been aware of it
beforehand, or had known what Cyrus was about, they would not have
suffered the Persians to enter the city, but would have utterly
destroyed them; for having shut all the little gates that lead down to
the river, and mounting the walls that extend along the banks of the
river, they would have caught them as in a net; whereas the Persians
came upon them by surprise. It is related by the people who inhabited
this city, that on account of its great extent, when they who were at
the extremities were taken, those of the Babylonians who inhabited the
centre knew nothing of the capture (for it happened to be a festival)
but they were dancing at the time, and enjoying themselves, till they
received certain information of the truth. Thus was Babylon taken for
the first time.[9]

How great was the power of the Babylonians, I can prove by many other
circumstances, and especially by the following. The whole territory over
which the great king reigns, is divided into districts for the purpose
of furnishing subsistence for him and his army, in addition to the usual
tribute; of the twelve months in the year, the Babylonian territory
provides him with subsistence for four, and all the rest of Asia for the
remaining eight; so that the territory of Assyria amounts to a third
part of the power of all Asia, and the government of this region, which
the Persians call a satrapy, is remunerative; since it yielded a full
artabe of silver every day to Tritæchmes son of Artabazus, who held this
district from the king: the artabe is a Persian measure, containing
three Attic chœnices more than the Attic medimnus [or about twelve and a
half gallons]. And he had a private stud of horses, in addition to those
used in war, of eight hundred stallions, and sixteen thousand mares. He
kept, too, such a number of Indian dogs, that four considerable towns in
the plain were exempted from all other taxes and appointed to find food
for the dogs. Such were the advantages accruing to the governor of
Babylon. The land of Assyria is but little watered by rain, only enough
in fact to nourish the root of the corn; the stalk grows up, and the
grain comes to maturity only by being irrigated from the river, not, as
in Egypt, by the river overflowing the fields, but by the hand and by
engines. The Babylonian territory, like Egypt, is intersected by canals;
and the largest of these is navigable, stretching in the direction of
the winter sunrise[10]; and it extends from the Euphrates to another
river, the Tigris, on which the city of Nineveh stood. This is, of all
lands with which we are acquainted, by far the best for the growth of
corn: but it does not carry produce trees of any kind, either the fig,
or the vine, or the olive; yet it is so fruitful in the produce of corn,
that it yields continually two hundred-fold, and when it produces its
best, it yields even three hundred-fold. The blades of wheat and barley
grow there to fully four fingers (three inches) in breadth; and though I
well know to what a height millet and sesama grow, I shall not mention
it; for I am well assured, that to those who have never been in the
Babylonian country, what has been said concerning its productions will
appear to many incredible. They use no other oil than such as is drawn
from sesama. They have palm-trees growing all over the plain; most of
these bear fruit from which they make bread, wine, and honey. They also
tie the fruit of that which the Greeks call the male palm, about those
trees that bear dates, in order that the fly entering the date may ripen
it, lest otherwise the fruit may fall before maturity; for the male
palms have flies in the fruit, just like wild fig-trees.

The most wonderful thing of all, next to the city itself, is what I am
now going to describe: their vessels that sail down the river to Babylon
are circular, and made of leather. For when they have cut the ribs out
of willows that grow in Armenia above Babylon, they cover them with
hides extended on the outside, by way of a bottom; not making any
distinction in the stern, nor contracting the prow, but making them
circular like a buckler; then having lined this vessel throughout with
reeds, they suffer it to be carried down by the river freighted with
merchandise, chiefly casks of palm-wine. The vessel is steered by two
spars, held by two men standing upright, one of whom draws his spar in
and the other thrusts his out. Some of these vessels are made very
large, and others of a smaller size; but the largest of them carry a
cargo of five thousand talents [about one hundred and thirty-five tons].
Every vessel has a live ass on board, and the larger ones more. For
after they arrive at Babylon, and have disposed of their freight, they
sell the ribs of the boat and all the reeds by public auction; then
having piled the skins on the asses, they return by land to Armenia, for
it is not possible by any means to sail up the river because of the
rapidity of the current: and for this reason they make their vessels of
skins and not of wood, and upon their return to Armenia with their
asses, they construct other vessels in the same manner. For their dress,
they wear a linen tunic that reaches down to the feet; over this they
put another garment of wool, and over all a short white cloak; they have
sandals peculiar to the country, very much like the Bœotian clogs. They
wear long hair, binding their heads with turbans, and anoint the whole
body with perfumes. Every man has a seal, and a staff curiously wrought;
and on every staff is carved either an apple, a rose, a lily, an eagle,
or something of the kind; for it is not allowable to wear a stick
without a device.

Many curious customs prevail amongst them. This, in my opinion, is the
wisest, which I hear the Venetians, of Illyria, also practise. Once a
year, in every village, whatever maidens are of a marriageable age, they
collect together and bring in a body to one place; around them gathers a
crowd of men. Then a crier having made them stand up one by one, offers
them for sale, beginning with the most beautiful; and when she has been
sold for a large sum, he puts up another who is next in beauty. They are
sold on condition that they shall be married. Such men among the
Babylonians as are rich and desirous of marrying, bid against one
another, and purchase the handsomest. But such of the lower classes as
are desirous of marrying, do not require a beautiful form, but are
willing to take the plainer damsels with a sum of money. So when the
crier has finished selling the handsomest of the maidens, he makes the
ugliest stand up, or one that is a cripple, and puts her up to auction,
for the person who will marry her with the smallest sum, until she is
knocked down to the man who offers to take the least. This money is that
obtained from the sale of the handsome maidens; so that the beautiful
ones portion out the ugly and the crippled. A father is not allowed to
give his daughter in marriage to whom he pleases, nor can a purchaser
carry off a maiden without security; but he is first obliged to give
security that he will certainly marry her, and then he may take her
away. If they do not agree, a law has been enacted that the money shall
be repaid. It is also lawful for any one who pleases to come from
another village and purchase. They have also this other custom, second
only to the former in wisdom. They bring their sick to the market-place,
for they have no physicians; then those who pass by the sick person
confer with him about the disease, to discover whether they have
themselves been afflicted with the same disease, or have seen others so
afflicted. They then advise him to have recourse to the same treatment
as that by which they escaped a similar disease, or have known to cure
others. And no one passes by a sick person in silence, without inquiring
into the nature of his distemper. They embalm their dead in honey, and
their funeral lamentations are like those of the Egyptians.

There are three tribes among them that eat nothing but fish; these, when
they have taken and dried them in the sun, they treat in the following
manner: they put them into a mortar, and having pounded them with a
pestle, sift them through a fine cloth; then, whoever pleases, kneads
them into a cake, or bakes them like bread.

When Cyrus had conquered this nation, he was anxious to reduce the
Massagetæ to subjection. This nation is said to be both powerful and
valiant, dwelling toward the east and the rising sun beyond the river
Araxes, over against the Issedonians; there are some who say that this
nation is Scythian. The Araxes is reported by some persons to be
greater, by others less, than the Ister; they say that there are many
islands in it, some nearly equal in size to Lesbos; and that in them are
men, who during the summer feed upon all manner of roots, which they dig
out of the ground; and that they store up for food ripe fruits which
they find on the trees, and feed upon these during the winter. They add,
that they have discovered other trees that produce fruit of a peculiar
kind, which the inhabitants, when they meet together in companies, and
have lighted a fire, throw on it, as they sit around in a circle; and
that, inhaling the fumes of the burning fruit that has been thrown on,
they become intoxicated by the odor, just as the Greeks do by wine; and
that the more fruit is thrown on, the more intoxicated they become,
until they rise up to dance and betake themselves to singing. The river
Araxes flows from the Matienian mountains, whence also springs the river
Gyndes, which Cyrus distributed into the three hundred and sixty
trenches; and it gushes out from forty springs, all of which, except
one, discharge themselves into fens and swamps, in which it is said men
live who feed on raw fish, and clothe themselves in the skins of
sea-calves; but the one stream of the Araxes flows through an
unobstructed channel into the Caspian Sea. The Caspian is a sea by
itself, having no communication with any other sea; for the whole of
that which the Greeks navigate, and that beyond the Pillars, called the
Atlantic, and the Red Sea, are all one. But the Caspian is a separate
sea of itself; being in length a fifteen-days' voyage for a rowing boat;
and in breadth, where it is widest, an eight-days' voyage. On the
western shore of this sea stretches the Caucasus, which is in extent the
largest, and in height the loftiest, of all mountains; it contains
within itself many various nations of men, who for the most part live
upon the produce of wild fruit-trees. In this country, it is said, there
are trees which produce leaves of such a nature, that by rubbing them
and mixing them with water the people paint figures on their garments;
these figures do not wash out, but grow old with the wool, as if they
had been woven in from the first. East of the Caspian is a plain in
extent unbounded in the prospect. A great portion of this extensive
plain is inhabited by the Massagetæ, against whom Cyrus resolved to make
war; for the motives that urged and incited him to this enterprise were
many and powerful: first of all his birth, which he thought was
something more than human; and secondly, the good fortune which had
attended him in his wars; for wherever Cyrus directed his arms, it was
impossible for that nation to escape.

A woman whose husband was dead, was queen of the Massagetæ; her name was
Tomyris; and Cyrus sent ambassadors under pretence of wooing her, and
made her an offer of marriage. But Tomyris, being aware that he was not
wooing her, but the kingdom of the Massagetæ, forbade their approach.
Upon this Cyrus, perceiving his artifice ineffectual, marched to the
Araxes, and openly prepared to make war on the Massagetæ, by throwing
bridges over the river, and building turrets on the boats which carried
over his army. While he was employed in this work Tomyris sent a herald
to him with this message: "King of the Medes, desist from your great
exertions; for you cannot know if they will terminate to your advantage;
and having desisted, reign over your own dominions, and bear to see me
governing what is mine. But if you will not attend to my advice, and
prefer every thing before peace; in a word, if you are very anxious to
make trial of the Massagetæ, toil no longer in throwing a bridge over
the river; but do you cross over to our side, while we retire three
days' march from the river; or if you had rather receive us on your
side, do you the like." When Cyrus heard this proposal, he called a
council of the principal Persians, laid the matter before them, and
demanded their opinion as to what he should do: they unanimously advised
him to let Tomyris pass with her army into his territory. But Crœsus the
Lydian, who was present and disapproved this advice, delivered a
contrary opinion to that which was put forward, and said: "O king, I
assured you long ago, that since Jupiter delivered me into your hands, I
would to the utmost of my power avert whatever misfortune I should see
impending over your house; and my own calamities,[11] sad as they are,
have been lessons to me. If you think yourself immortal, and that you
command an army that is so too, it is needless for me to make known to
you my opinion. But if you know that you too are a man, and that you
command such as are men, learn this first of all, that there is a wheel
in human affairs, which, continually revolving, does not suffer the same
persons to be always successful. My opinion touching the matter before
us is wholly at variance with that already given. For if we shall
receive the enemy into this country, there is danger that if you are
defeated, you will lose, besides, your whole empire; for it is plain
that if the Massagetæ are victorious, they will not flee home again, but
will march upon your territories: and if you are victorious, your
victory is not so complete as if, having crossed over into their
territory, you should conquer the Massagetæ and put them to flight; for
then you can march directly into the dominions of Tomyris. It is a
disgrace too that Cyrus the son of Cambyses should give way and retreat
before a woman. My opinion, therefore, is, that you should pass over and
advance as far as they retire; and then, by the following stratagem,
endeavor to get the better of them. I hear the Massagetæ are
unacquainted with the Persian luxuries, and are unused to the comforts
of life. Suppose then that you cut up and dress an abundance of cattle,
and lay out a feast in our camp for these men; and besides, bowls of
unmixed wine without stint; then leave the weakest part of your army
behind, while the rest return again toward the river; for the Massagetæ,
if I mistake not, when they see so much excellent fare, will turn to
immediately, and after that there remains for us the display of mighty

Cyrus approved the suggestions of Crœsus and bade Tomyris retire, as he
would cross over to her. She accordingly retired, as she had promised.
Cyrus placed Crœsus in the hands of his son Cambyses, to whom he also
intrusted the kingdom, and having strictly charged him to honor Crœsus,
and treat him well in case his inroad on the Massagetæ should fail, sent
them back to Persia and crossed the river with his army. When he had
passed the Araxes, and night came on, he saw a vision, as he was
sleeping in the country of the Massagetæ. He fancied that he saw the
eldest son of Hystaspes with wings on his shoulders; and that with one
of these he overshadowed Asia, and with the other Europe. Now Darius,
who was then about twenty years of age, was the eldest son of Hystaspes,
son of Arsames, one of the Achæmenides; and he had been left in Persia,
for he had not yet attained the age of military service. When Cyrus
awoke he considered his dream with attention; and as it seemed to him of
great moment, he summoned Hystaspes, and taking him aside, said:
"Hystaspes, your son has been detected plotting against me and my
empire; and I will show you how I know it for a certainty. The gods
watch over me and forewarn me of every thing that is about to befall me.
Now, last night, as I was sleeping, I saw the eldest of your sons with
wings on his shoulders, and with one of these he overshadowed Asia, and
Europe with the other; from this vision, it cannot be otherwise than
that your son is forming designs against me; do you therefore go back to
Persia with all speed, and take care, that when I have conquered these
people and return home, you bring your son before me to be examined."
Cyrus spoke thus under a persuasion that Darius was plotting against
him; but the deity forewarned him that he himself would die in that very
expedition, and that his kingdom would devolve on Darius. Hystaspes,
however, answered in these words: "God forbid, O king, that a Persian
should be born who would plot against you! But if any such there be, may
sudden destruction overtake him, for you have made the Persians free
instead of being slaves, and instead of being ruled over by others to
rule over all; but if any vision informs you that my son is forming any
plot against you, I freely surrender him to you to deal with as you
please." And Hystaspes repassed the Araxes and went to Persia, for the
purpose of keeping his son Darius in custody for Cyrus.

[Illustration: SEPULCHRAL VASES.]

Cyrus having advanced one day's march from the Araxes, proceeded to act
according to the suggestion of Crœsus. After this, when Cyrus and the
effective part of the Persian army had marched back to the Araxes,
leaving the ineffective part behind, a third division of the army of the
Massagetæ attacked those of Cyrus' forces that had been left behind,
and, after some resistance, put them to death. Then, seeing the feast
laid out, as soon as they had overcome their enemies they lay down and
feasted; and being filled with food and wine, fell asleep. Then the
Persians attacked them, and put many of them to death, and took a still
greater number prisoners, among them the son of Queen Tomyris, who
commanded the Massagetæ, and whose name was Spargapises. When she heard
what had befallen her army and her son, she sent a herald to Cyrus with
the following message: "Cyrus, insatiate with blood, be not elated with
what has now happened, that by the fruit of the vine, with which ye
yourselves, when filled with it, so rave, that when it descends into
your bodies, evil words float on your lips; be not elated, that by such
a poison you have deceived and conquered my son, instead of by prowess
in battle. But take the good advice that I offer you. Restore my son;
depart out of this country unpunished for having insolently disgraced a
third division of the army of the Massagetæ. But if you will not do
this, I swear by the sun, the Lord of the Massagetæ, that, insatiable as
you are, I will glut you with blood." Cyrus, however, paid no attention
to this message; but Spargapises, the son of Queen Tomyris, as soon as
he recovered from the effects of the wine, and perceived in what a
plight he was, begged of Cyrus that he might be freed from his fetters;
and as soon as he was set free, and found his hands at liberty, he put
himself to death. But Tomyris, finding Cyrus did not listen to her,
assembled all her forces, and engaged with him. I think that this battle
was the most obstinate that was ever fought between barbarians. First of
all, they stood at a distance and used their bows; afterward, when they
had emptied their quivers, they engaged in close fight with their swords
and spears, and thus they continued fighting for a long time, and
neither was willing to give way; but at length the Massagetæ got the
better, and the greater part of the Persian army was cut in pieces on
the spot, and Cyrus himself was killed, after he had reigned twenty-nine
years. Tomyris filled a skin with human blood, sought for the body of
Cyrus among the slain of the Persians, and thrust the head into the
skin, and insulting the dead body, said: "Thou hast indeed ruined me
though alive and victorious in battle, since thou hast taken my son by
stratagem; but I will now glut thee with blood, as I threatened." Of the
many accounts given of the end of Cyrus, this appears to me most worthy
of credit.

The Massagetæ resemble the Scythians in their dress and mode of living;
they have both horse and foot bow-men, and javelin-men, who are
accustomed to carry battle-axes: they use gold and bronze for every
thing; for in whatever concerns spears, and arrow-points, and
battle-axes, they use bronze; but the head, and belts, and
shoulder-pieces, are ornamented with gold. In like manner with regard to
the chest of horses, they put on breastplates of bronze; but the
bridle-bit and cheek-pieces are ornamented with gold. They make no use
of silver or iron, for neither of those metals are found in their
country, but they have bronze and gold in abundance. Their manners are
as follows: when a man has attained a great age, all his kinsmen meet,
and sacrifice him, together with cattle of several kinds; and when they
have boiled the flesh, they feast on it. This death they account the
most happy; but they do not eat the bodies of those who die of disease;
but bury them in the earth, and think it a great misfortune that they
did not reach the age to be sacrificed. They sow nothing, but live on
cattle, and fish which the river Araxes yields in abundance, and they
are drinkers of milk. They worship the sun only of all the gods, and
sacrifice horses to him; and they assign as the reason of this custom
that they think it right to offer the swiftest of all animals to the
swiftest of all the gods.

[1] Under the name "barbarians" the Greeks included all who were not
sprung from themselves—all who did not speak the Greek language.

[2] Syria was at that time the name of Cappadocia, as Herodotus himself
elsewhere states.

[3] It is generally agreed that the name of Lycurgus's nephew was not
Leobotas, but Charilaus. See the life of Lycurgus in the "Boys' and
Girls' Plutarch."

[4] There is a Scriptural account of Ecbatana, in the Apocrypha. Judith
i 1-4.

[5] Major Robinson states that the seven colors described by Herodotus,
are those employed by the Orientals, to denote the seven planetary

[6] Several passages of our author seem to prove that Herodotus wrote
other histories than those which have come down to us. Elsewhere in this
book he speaks of his Assyrian history; and the second of the Libyan.

[7] Tartessus was situated between the two branches of the Bœtis, now
the Guadalquiver.

[8] A proverbial expression signifying "that the victors suffered more
than the vanquished."

[9] It was again taken by Darius; see end of Book III.

[10] That is, southeast.

[11] These words "pathemata mathemata" seem to have been a proverb in
the Greek.

[Illustration: ÆGYPTUS]




After the death of Cyrus, Cambyses succeeded to the kingdom. He was son
of Cyrus, and Cassandane the daughter of Pharnaspes; she having died
some time before, Cyrus deeply mourned for her himself, and commanded
all his subjects to mourn. Cambyses then considered the Ionians and
Æolians as his hereditary slaves, and when he made an expedition against
Egypt, he took with him some of the Greeks over whom he bore rule.

The Egyptians, before the reign of Psammitichus, considered themselves
to be the most ancient of mankind. But after Psammitichus came to the
throne, he endeavored to ascertain who really were the most ancient, and
from that time they have considered the Phrygians to have been an older
race than themselves. When Psammitichus was unable, by inquiry, to
discover any solution of the question, who were the most ancient of men,
he devised this expedient. He gave two new-born children of poor parents
to a shepherd, to be brought up among his flocks, with strict orders
that no one should utter a word in their presence, that they should lie
in a solitary room by themselves, and that the shepherd should bring
goats' milk to them at certain times, and listen to discover what word
the children would first articulate, after they had given over their
insignificant mewlings. When the shepherd had pursued this plan for the
space of two years, one day as he opened the door and went in, both the
children fell upon him, and holding out their hands, cried "Becos." At
first the shepherd said nothing; but as this same word was repeated to
him whenever he went and tended the children, he at length acquainted
his master, and by his command brought the children into his presence.
When Psammitichus heard it he inquired what people call any thing by the
name of "Becos"; and discovered that the Phrygians call bread by that
name. So the Egyptians, convinced by the experiment, allowed that the
Phrygians were more ancient than themselves. This relation I had from
the priests of Vulcan at Memphis. But the Greeks tell many other foolish
things, among them, that Psammitichus, having had the tongues of some
women cut out, had the children brought up by them.

The Egyptians were the first to discover the year, which they divided
into twelve parts, making this discovery from the stars; and so, I
think, they act more wisely than the Greeks, who insert an intercalary
month every third year, on account of the seasons; while the Egyptians,
reckoning twelve months of thirty days each, add five days each year
above that number, so that the circle of the seasons comes round to the
same point. They say also, that the Egyptians were the first who
introduced the names of the twelve gods, and that the Greeks borrowed
those names from them; that they were the first to assign altars,
images, and temples to the gods, and to carve the figures of animals on
stone. They add that Menes was the first mortal who reigned over Egypt,
and that in his time all Egypt, except the district of Thebes, was a
morass, and that no part of the land that now exists below Lake Myris
was then above water; to this place from the sea is a seven-days'
passage up the river. It is evident to a man of common understanding,
who sees it, that the part of Egypt which the Greeks frequent with their
shipping, is land reclaimed by the Egyptians, and a gift from the river;
for when you are at the distance of a day's sail from land, if you cast
the lead you will bring up mud, yet find yourself in eleven fathoms of
water; showing the immense alluvial deposit.


The length of Egypt along the sea-coast is sixty schœni (450 miles) from
the Plinthinetic Bay to Lake Serbonis, near which Mount Casius
stretches. Men who are short of land measure their territory by fathoms;
those who have some possessions, by stades; those who have much, by
parasangs; and such as have a very great extent, by schœni. A parasang
is equal to thirty stades, and each schœnus, which is an Egyptian
measure, is equal to sixty stades. So the whole coast of Egypt is three
thousand six hundred stades in length. As far as Heliopolis, inland,
Egypt is wide, flat, without water, and a swamp. The distance to
Heliopolis, as one goes up from the sea, is about equal in length to the
road from Athens—that is to say, from the altar of the twelve gods,—to
Pisa and the temple of Olympian Jupiter, or about fifteen hundred
stades. From Heliopolis upward Egypt is narrow, for on one side the
table-land of Arabia extends from north to south and southwest,
stretching up continuously to that which is called the Red Sea. In this
plateau are the stone quarries which were cut for the pyramids at
Memphis. Where its length is the greatest, I have heard that it is a
two-months' journey from east to west; and that eastward its confines
produce frankincense. On that side of Egypt which borders upon Libya
extends another rocky table-land covered with sand, on which the
pyramids stand, stretching in the same direction as that part of the
Arabian mountain that runs southward.

The greater part of all this country, as the priests informed me, has
been reclaimed by the Egyptians from the sea and the marshes. For the
space beyond the city of Memphis seems to me to have been formerly a bay
of the sea; as is the case also with the parts about Ilium, Teuthrania,
Ephesus, and the plain of the Mæander, if I may be permitted to compare
small things with great. There are other rivers not equal in size to the
Nile, which have wrought great works; amongst them one of the most
remarkable is the Achelous which, flowing through Acarnania, and falling
into the sea, has already converted one half of the Echinades islands
into a continent. There is in the Arabian territory, not far from Egypt,
branching from the Red Sea, a bay of the sea of such a length that the
voyage, from the innermost part of this bay to the broad sea, occupies
forty days for a vessel with oars; but the width, where the bay is
widest, only half a day's passage, and in it an ebb and flow takes place
daily; and I am of opinion that Egypt was formerly a similar bay; this
stretching from the Northern Sea toward Ethiopia; and the Arabian Bay,
which I am describing, from the south toward Syria; and that they almost
perforated their recesses so as to meet each other, overlapping to some
small extent. Now, if the Nile were to turn its stream into this Arabian
gulf, what could hinder it from being filled with soil by the river
within twenty thousand years?—for my part, I think it would be filled
within ten thousand. How, then, in the time that has elapsed before I
was born, might not even a much greater bay than this have been filled
up by such a great and powerful river? I therefore give credit to those
who relate these things concerning Egypt, when I see that Egypt projects
beyond the adjoining land; that shells are found on the mountains; that
a saline humor forms on the surface so as even to corrode the pyramids;
and that this mountain which is above Memphis is the only one in Egypt
that abounds in sand: add to which, that Egypt, in its soil, is neither
like Arabia or its confines, nor Libya, nor Syria, but is black and
crumbling, as if it were mud and alluvial deposit, brought down by the
river from Ethiopia; whereas we know that the earth of Libya is reddish,
and somewhat more sandy; and that of Arabia and Syria is clayey and

The priests relate that in the reign of Mœris, when the river rose at
least eight cubits, it irrigated all Egypt below Memphis; and yet Mœris
had not been nine hundred years dead when I received this information.
But now, unless the river rises sixteen cubits, or fifteen at least, it
does not overflow the country. It appears to me, therefore, that if the
soil continues to grow in height, in the same proportion, those
Egyptians below Lake Mœris, who inhabit other districts than that which
is called Delta, must, by reason of the Nile not overflowing their land,
for ever suffer the same calamity which they used to say the Greeks
would suffer from. For hearing that all the lands of Greece were watered
by rain, and not by rivers, as their own was, they said "that the Greeks
at some time or other would suffer miserably from famine." But let me
state how the matter stands with the Egyptians themselves: if, as I said
before, the land below Memphis should continue to increase in height in
the same proportion as it has done in time past, what else will happen
but that the Egyptians who inhabit this part will starve, if their land
shall neither be watered by rain, nor the river be able to inundate the
fields? Now, indeed, they gather in the fruits of the earth with less
labor than any other people, for they have not the toil of breaking up
the furrows with the plough, nor of hoeing, nor of any other work which
all other men must labor at to obtain a crop of corn; but when the river
has come of its own accord and irrigated their fields, and again
subsided, then each man sows his own land and turns swine into it; and
when the seed has been trodden in by the swine, he waits for
harvest-time; then he treads out the corn with his swine, and gathers it

All Egypt, beginning from the cataracts and the city of Elephantine, is
divided into two parts, and partakes of both names; one belongs to
Libya, and the other to Asia. The Nile, beginning from the cataracts,
flows to the sea, dividing Egypt in the middle. Now, as far as the city
of Cercasorus, the Nile flows in one stream; but from that point it is
divided into three channels. That which runs eastward is called the
Pelusiac mouth; another of the channels bends westward, and is called
the Canopic mouth; but the direct channel of the Nile is the following:
descending from above, it comes to the point of the Delta, where it
divides the Delta in the middle, and discharges itself into the sea,
supplying by this channel, not by any means the least quantity of water,
nor the least renowned; this is called the Sebennytic mouth. There are
also two other mouths, that diverge from the Sebennytic and flow into
the sea,—the Saitic, and the Mendesian. The Bolbitine and Bucolic mouths
are not natural, but artificial. The Nile, when full, inundates not only
Delta, but also part of the country said to belong to Libya and Arabia,
to the extent of about two days' journey on each side.

At the summer solstice it fills and overflows for a hundred days; then
falls short in its stream, and retires; so that it continues low all the
winter, until the return of the summer solstice. In parts of Ethiopia,
out of which the Nile flows, the inhabitants become black from the
excessive heat; kites and swallows continue there all the year; and the
cranes, to avoid the cold of Scythia, migrate to these parts as

[Illustration: NILE BOAT.]

With respect to the sources of the Nile, no man of all the Egyptians,
Libyans, or Greeks with whom I have conversed, ever pretended to know
any thing; except the registrar of Minerva's treasury at Sais in Egypt.
But even he seemed to be trifling with me, when he said he knew
perfectly well. His account was: "That there are two mountains rising
into a sharp peak, situated between the cities of Syene and Elephantine;
the names of these mountains are Crophi and Mophi. The sources of the
Nile, which are bottomless, flow from between these mountains, and half
of the water flows north over Egypt, and the other half to the southward
over Ethiopia. That the fountains of the Nile are bottomless, he said,
Psammitichus, king of Egypt, proved by experiment; for he twisted a line
many thousand fathoms in length and let it down, but could not find a
bottom." In my opinion, this simply proves that there are strong
whirlpools and an eddy here; so that the water beating against the
rocks, a sounding-line, when let down, cannot reach the bottom. As you
ascend the river above the city of Elephantine, the country is so steep
that it is necessary to attach a rope on both sides of a boat as you do
with an ox in a plough, and so proceed; but if the rope should happen to
break, the boat is carried away by the force of the stream. This kind of
country lasts for a four-days' passage (or eighty miles), and the Nile
here winds as much as the Mæander. After that you come to a level plain,
where the Nile flows round an island named Tachompso. Ethiopians inhabit
the country immediately above Elephantine, and one half of the island;
the other half is inhabited by Egyptians. Near to this island lies a
vast lake, on the borders of which Ethiopian nomads dwell; after sailing
through this lake, you come to the channel of the Nile, which flows into
it: then you have to land and travel forty days by the side of the
river, for sharp rocks rise in the Nile, and there are many sunken ones,
through which it is not possible to navigate a boat; you then must go on
board another boat, and sail for twelve days; and will at last arrive at
a large city called Meroe: this city is said to be the capital of all
Ethiopia. The inhabitants worship no other gods than Jupiter and
Bacchus; but these they honor with great magnificence; they have also an
oracle of Jupiter; and they make war, whenever that god bids them by an
oracular warning, and against whatever country he bids them. Sailing
from this city, you will arrive at the country of the Automoli, in a
space of time equal to that which you took in coming from Elephantine to
the capital of the Ethiopians. These Automoli are called by the name of
Asmak, which in the language of Greece signifies, "those that stand at
the left hand of the king." These, to the number of two hundred and
forty thousand of the Egyptian war-tribe, once revolted to the
Ethiopians, whose king made them the following recompense. There were
certain Ethiopians disaffected toward him; he bade them expel these, and
take possession of their land; by the settlement of these men among
them, the Ethiopians became more civilized, and learned the manners of
the Egyptians.



Egypt possesses more wonders than any other country, and exhibits works
greater than can be described, in comparison with all other regions;
therefore more must be said about it. The Egyptians besides having a
peculiar climate and a river differing in its nature from all other
rivers, have adopted customs and usages in almost every respect
different from the rest of mankind. Amongst them the women attend
markets and traffic, but the men stay at home and weave. Other nations,
in weaving, throw the wool upward; the Egyptians, downward. The men
carry burdens on their heads; the women, on their shoulders. No woman
can serve the office for any god or goddess; but men are employed for
both offices. Sons are not compelled to support their parents unless
they choose, but daughters are compelled to do so, whether they choose
or not. In other countries the priests of the gods wear long hair; in
Egypt they have it shaved. With other men it is customary in mourning
for the nearest relations to have their heads shorn; the Egyptians, on
occasions of death, let the hair grow both on the head and face, though
till then shaven. Other men feed on wheat and barley, but it is a very
great disgrace for an Egyptian to make food of them; but they make bread
from spelt, which some call zea. They knead the dough with their feet;
but mix clay with their hands. Every man wears two garments; the women,
but one. Other men fasten the rings and sheets of their sails outside;
but the Egyptians, inside. The Greeks write and cipher, moving the hand
from left to right; but the Egyptians, from right to left: and doing so,
they say they do it right-ways, and the Greeks left-ways. They have two
sorts of letters, one of which is called sacred, the other common.

They are of all men the most excessively attentive to the worship of the
gods, and observe the following ceremonies: They drink from cups of
bronze, which they scour every day. They wear linen garments, constantly
fresh-washed, thinking it better to be clean than handsome. The priests
shave their whole body every third day, that no impurity may be found
upon them when engaged in the service of the gods. The priests wear
linen only, and shoes of byblus, and are not permitted to wear any other
garments, or other shoes. They wash themselves in cold water twice every
day and twice every night, and use a great number of ceremonies. On the
other hand, they enjoy no slight advantages, for they do not consume or
expend any of their private property; but sacred food is cooked for
them, and a great quantity of beef and geese is allowed each of them
every day, with wine from the grape; but they must not taste of fish.
Beans the Egyptians do not sow at all in their country, nor do they eat
those that happen to grow there. The priests abhor the sight of that
pulse, accounting it impure. The service of each god is performed, not
by one, but by many priests, of whom one is chief; and, when one of them
dies, his son is put in his place. The male kine they deem sacred to
Epaphus, and to that end prove them in the following manner: If the
examiner finds one black hair upon him, he adjudges him to be unclean;
one of the priests appointed for this purpose makes this examination,
both when the animal is standing up and lying down; and he draws out the
tongue, to see if it is pure as to the prescribed marks, which I shall
mention in another part of my history. He also looks at the hairs of his
tail, to see whether they grow naturally. If the beast is found pure in
all these respects, he marks it by rolling a piece of byblus round the
horns, and then having put on it some sealing earth, he impresses it
with his signet; and so they drive him away. Any one who sacrifices one
that is unmarked is punished with death. The established mode of
sacrifice is this: they lead the victim, properly marked, to the altar
where they intend to sacrifice, and kindle a fire; then having poured
wine upon the altar, near the victim, they invoke the god, and kill it;
then cut off the head, and flay the body of the animal. Having
pronounced many imprecations on the head, they who have a market and
Greek merchants dwelling amongst them, carry it there and sell it; but
those who have no Greeks amongst them throw it into the river; and they
pronounce the following imprecations on the head: "If any evil is about
to befall either those that now sacrifice, or Egypt in general, may it
be averted on this head." But a different mode of disembowelling and
burning the victims prevails in different sacrifices. The practice with
regard to the goddess whom they consider the greatest, and in whose
honor they celebrate the most magnificent festival, is this: When they
have flayed the bullocks, having first offered up prayers, they take out
all the intestines, and leave the vitals with the fat in the carcass:
they then cut off the legs and the extremity of the hip, with the
shoulders and neck, and fill the body of the bullock with fine bread,
honey, raisins, figs, frankincense, myrrh, and other perfumes, and burn
it, pouring on it a great quantity of oil. They sacrifice after they
have fasted; and while the sacred things are being burnt, they all beat
themselves; after which they spread a banquet of what remains of the

All the Egyptians sacrifice the pure male kine and calves, but they are
not allowed to sacrifice the females, for they are sacred to Isis; the
image of Isis is made in the form of a woman with the horns of a cow, as
the Greeks represent Io; and all Egyptians alike pay a far greater
reverence to cows than to any other cattle. No Egyptian man or woman
will kiss a Greek on the mouth; or use the knife, spit, or cauldron of a
Greek, or taste of the flesh of a pure ox that has been divided by a
Greek knife. They bury the kine that die in the following manner: The
females they throw into the river, and the males they inter in the
suburbs, with one horn, or both, appearing above the ground, for a mark.
When it is putrified, and the appointed time arrives, a raft comes to
each city from the island called Prosopitis, in the Delta, which is nine
schœni in circumference. Now in this island Prosopitis there are several
cities; but that from which the rafts come to take away the bones of the
oxen, is called Atarbechis; in it a temple of Venus has been erected.
From this city then many persons go about to other towns; and having dug
up the bones, carry them away, and bury them in one place; and they bury
all other cattle that die in the same way that they do the oxen; for
they do not kill any of them. All those who have a temple erected to
Theban Jupiter, or belong to the Theban district, abstain from sheep,
and sacrifice goats only. For the Egyptians do not all worship the same
gods in the same manner, except Isis and Osiris, who, they say, is
Bacchus. On the other hand, those who frequent the temple of Mendes, and
belong to the Mendesian district, abstain from goats, and sacrifice
sheep. The Thebans say that this custom was established among them in
the following way: that Hercules was very desirous of seeing Jupiter,
but Jupiter was unwilling to be seen by him; at last, however, as
Hercules persisted, Jupiter flayed a ram, cut off the head, and held it
before himself, and then having put on the fleece, showed himself to
Hercules. From this circumstance the Egyptians make the image of Jupiter
with a ram's face; and the Ammonians, who are a colony of Egyptians and
Ethiopians, and who speak a language between both, have adopted the same
practice; and, as I conjecture, the Ammonians thus derived their name,
for the Egyptians call Jupiter, Ammon. The Thebans then do not sacrifice
rams, being for this reason accounted sacred by them; on one day in the
year, however, at the festival of Jupiter, they kill and flay one ram,
put it on this image of Jupiter, and bring an image of Hercules to it;
then all who are in the temple beat themselves in mourning for the ram,
and bury him in a sacred vault.

Of this Hercules I have heard that he is one of the twelve gods; but of
the other Hercules, who is known to the Greeks, I could never hear in
any part of Egypt. That the Egyptians did not derive the name of
Hercules from the Greeks, but rather the Greeks from the Egyptians, I
have many proofs to show. The parents of this Hercules, Amphitryon and
Alcmene, were both of Egyptian descent, and the Egyptians say they do
not know the names of Neptune and the Dioscuri, yet if they had derived
the name of any deity from the Greeks, they would certainly have
mentioned these above all others, since even at that time they made
voyages, and some of the Greeks were sailors. But Hercules is one of the
ancient gods of the Egyptians; and they say themselves it was seventeen
thousand years before the reign of Amasis, when the number of their gods
was increased from eight to twelve, of whom Hercules was accounted one.
Being desirous of obtaining certain information from whatever source I
could, I sailed to Tyre in Phœnicia, having heard that there was there a
temple dedicated to Hercules; and I saw it richly adorned with a great
variety of offerings, and in it were two pillars, one of fine gold, the
other of emerald stone, both shining exceedingly at night. Conversing
with the priests of this god, I inquired how long this temple had been
built, and I found that they did not agree with the Greeks. For they
said that the temple was built at the time when Tyre was founded, and
that two thousand three hundred years had elapsed since the foundation
of Tyre. In this city I also saw another temple dedicated to Hercules by
the name of Thasian; I went therefore to Thasos, and found there a
temple of Hercules built by the Phœnicians, who founded Thasos, when
they sailed in search of Europa, and this occurred five generations
before Hercules the son of Amphitryon appeared in Greece. The researches
then that I have made evidently prove that Hercules is a god of great
antiquity, and therefore those Greeks appear to me to have acted most
correctly, who have built two kinds of temples sacred to Hercules, and
who sacrifice to one as an immortal, under the name of Olympian, and
paid honor to the other as a hero. The Mendesians pay reverence to all
goats; at the death of a he-goat public mourning is observed throughout
the whole Mendesian district.

The Egyptians consider the pig to be an impure beast, and therefore if a
man in passing by a pig should touch him only with his garments, he
forthwith goes to the river and plunges in; and in the next place,
swineherds, although native Egyptians, are the only men who are not
allowed to enter any of their temples; neither will any man give his
daughter in marriage to one of them, nor take a wife from among them;
but the swineherds intermarry among themselves. The Egyptians do not
think it right to sacrifice swine to any deities but the moon and
Bacchus. In this sacrifice of pigs to the moon, when the sacrificer has
slain the victim, he puts together the tip of the tail, with the spleen
and the caul, covers them with the fat found about the belly of the
animal, and consumes them with fire: the rest of the flesh they eat
during the full moon in which they offer the sacrifices; but on no other
day would any one even taste it. The poor amongst them, through want of
means, form pigs of dough, and having baked them, offer them in

Whence each of the gods sprung, whether they existed always, and of what
form they were, was, so to speak, unknown till yesterday. For I am of
opinion that Hesiod and Homer lived four hundred years before my time,
and not more, and these were they who framed a theogony for the Greeks,
and gave names to the gods, and assigned to them honors and arts, and
declared their several forms.

The Egyptians were also the first who introduced public festivals,
processions, and solemn supplications; and the Greeks learned these from
them. The Egyptians hold public festivals several times in a year; that
which is best and most rigidly observed is in the city of Bubastis, in
honor of Diana; the second, in the city of Busiris, is in honor of Isis;
the largest temple of Isis is in this city, in the middle of the
Egyptian Delta. Isis is in the Grecian language called Demeter. The
third festival is held at Sais, in honor of Minerva; the fourth, at
Heliopolis, in honor of the sun; the fifth, at the city of Buto, in
honor of Latona; the sixth, at the city of Papremis, in honor of Mars.
When they are assembled at the sacrifice, in the city of Sais, they all
on a certain night kindle a great number of lamps in the open air,
around their houses; the lamps are flat vessels filled with salt and
oil, the wick floats on the surface and burns all night; hence the
festival is named "the lighting of lamps." The Egyptians who do not come
to this public assembly observe the rite of sacrifice, and all kindle
lamps, not only in Sais, but throughout all Egypt.

Egypt, though bordering on Libya, does not abound in wild beasts; but
all that they have are accounted sacred. Superintendents, consisting
both of men and women, are appointed to feed every kind separately; and
the son succeeds the father in this office. All the inhabitants of the
cities perform their vows to the superintendents. Having made a vow to
the god to whom the animal belongs, they shave either the whole heads of
their children, or a half, or a third part of the head, and then weigh
the hair in a scale against silver, and whatever the weight may be, they
give to the superintendent of the animals; she in return cuts up some
fish, and gives it as food to the animals; such is the usual mode of
feeding them. Should any one kill one of these beasts, if wilfully,
death is the punishment; if by accident, he pays such fine as the
priests choose to impose. But whoever kills an ibis or a hawk, whether
wilfully or by accident, must necessarily be put to death. When a
conflagration takes place, a supernatural impulse seizes on the cats.
The Egyptians, standing at a distance, take care of the cats, and
neglect to put out the fire; but the cats often make their escape, leap
over the men, and throw themselves into the fire; when this happens
great lamentations are made among the Egyptians. In whatever house a cat
dies of a natural death, all the family shave their eyebrows; but if a
dog die, they shave the whole body and the head. All cats that die are
carried to certain sacred houses, where they are first embalmed, and
then buried in the city of Bubastis. All persons bury their dogs in
sacred vaults within their own city; and ichneumons are buried in the
same manner as the dogs; but field-mice and hawks they carry to the city
of Buto; the ibis to Hermopolis; the bears, which are few in number, and
the wolves, which are not much larger than foxes, they bury wherever
they are found lying.

[Illustration: THE TROCHILUS.]

This is the nature of the crocodile:—During the four coldest months it
eats nothing, and though it has four feet, it is amphibious. It lays its
eggs on land, and there hatches them. It spends the greater part of the
day on the dry ground, but the whole night in the river; for the water
is then warmer than the air and dew. Of all living things with which we
are acquainted, this, from the least beginning, grows to be the largest.
For it lays eggs little larger than those of a goose, and the young is
at first in proportion to the egg; but when grown up it reaches to the
length of seventeen cubits (25½ feet), and even more. It has the eyes of
a pig, large teeth, and projecting tusks: it is the only animal that has
no tongue: it does not move the lower jaw, but is the only animal that
brings down its upper jaw to the under one. It has strong claws, and a
skin covered with scales, that cannot be broken on the back. It is blind
in the water, but very quick-sighted on land; and because it lives for
the most part in the water, its mouth is filled with leeches. All other
birds and beasts avoid him, but he is at peace with the trochilus,
because he receives benefit from that bird. For when the crocodile gets
out of the water on land, and then opens its jaws, which it does most
commonly toward the west, the trochilus enters its mouth and swallows
the leeches: the crocodile is so well pleased with this service that it
never hurts the trochilus. With some of the Egyptians crocodiles are
sacred; with others not, but they treat them as enemies. Those who dwell
about Thebes, and Lake Mœris consider them to be very sacred; and they
each of them train up a crocodile, which is taught to be quite tame; and
put crystal and gold ear-rings into their ears, and bracelets on their
fore paws; they give them appointed and sacred food, and treat them as
well as possible while alive, and when dead they embalm them, and bury
them in sacred vaults. But the people who dwell about the city of
Elephantine eat them, not considering them sacred. They are not called
crocodiles by the Egyptians, but "champsæ"; the Ionians gave them the
name of crocodiles, because they thought they resembled lizards, which
are also so called, and which are found in the hedges of their country.
The modes of taking the crocodile are many and various, but I shall only
describe that which seems to me most worthy of relation. When the
fisherman has baited a hook with the chine of a pig, he lets it down
into the middle of the river, and holding a young live pig on the brink
of the river, beats it; the crocodile, hearing the noise, goes in its
direction, and meeting with the chine, swallows it, and the men draw it
to land; when it is drawn out on shore, the sportsman first of all
plasters its eyes with mud, after which he manages it very easily; but
until he has done this, he has a great deal of trouble. The hippopotamus
is esteemed sacred in the district of Papremis, but not so by the rest
of the Egyptians. It is a quadruped, cloven-footed, with the hoofs of an
ox, snub-nosed, has the mane of a horse, projecting tusks, and the tail
and neigh of a horse. In size he is equal to a very large ox: his hide
is so thick that spear-handles are made of it when dry. Otters are also
met with in the river, which are deemed sacred; and amongst fish, they
consider that which is called the lepidotus, and the eel, sacred; these
they say are sacred to the Nile; and among birds, the vulpanser.


There is also another sacred bird, called the phœnix, which I have never
seen except in a picture; for it makes its appearance amongst them only
once in five hundred years, as the Heliopolitans affirm: they say that
it comes on the death of its sire. If he is like the picture, he is of
the following size and description: the plumage of his wings is partly
golden-colored, and partly red; in outline and size he is like an eagle.
They tell this incredible story about him:—They say that he comes from
Arabia, and brings the body of his father, enclosed in myrrh, to the
temple of the sun, and there buries him in the temple. He brings him in
this manner: first he moulds an egg of myrrh as large as he thinks
himself able to carry; then he tries to carry it, and when he has made
the experiment, he hollows out the egg, puts his parent into it, and
stops up with some more myrrh the hole through which he introduced the
body, so when his father is put inside, the weight is the same as
before; then he carries him to the temple of the sun in Egypt.

In the neighborhood of Thebes there are sacred serpents not at all
hurtful to men: they are diminutive in size, and carry two horns that
grow on the top of the head. When these serpents die they bury them in
the temple of Jupiter, for they say they are sacred to that God. There
is a place in Arabia, situated very near the city of Buto, to which I
went, on hearing of some winged serpents; there I saw bones and spines
of serpents in such quantities as it would be impossible to describe:
there were heaps upon heaps, some large, some smaller, scattered in a
narrow pass between two mountains, which leads into a spacious plain,
contiguous to the plain of Egypt: it is reported that at the beginning
of spring, winged serpents fly from Arabia toward Egypt; but that
ibises, a sort of bird, meet them at the pass, and do not allow the
serpents to go by, but kill them: for this service the Arabians say that
the ibis is highly reverenced by the Egyptians; and the Egyptians
acknowledge it. The ibis is all over a deep black; it has the legs of a
crane, its beak is much curved, and it is about the size of the crex.
Such is the form of the black ones, that fight with the serpents. But
those that are best known, for there are two species, are bare on the
head and the whole neck, have white plumage, except on the head, the
throat, and the tips of the wings and extremity of the tail; in all
these parts they are of a deep black; in their legs and beak they are
like the other kind. The form of the serpent is like that of the
water-snake; but he has wings without feathers, and as like as possible
to the wings of a bat. This must suffice for the description of sacred

Of the Egyptians, those who inhabit that part of Egypt which is sown
with corn, cultivate the memory of past events more than any other
people, and are the best-informed men I ever met. Their manner of life
is this: They purge themselves every month for three days successively,
seeking to preserve health by emetics and clysters, for they suppose
that all diseases to which men are subject proceed from the food they
use. And indeed in other respects the Egyptians, next to the Libyans,
are the most healthy people in the world, as I think, on account of the
seasons, because they are not liable to change; for men are most subject
to disease at periods of change, and above all others at the change of
the seasons. They feed on bread made into loaves of spelt, which they
call cyllestis; and they use wine made of barley, for they have no vines
in that country. Some fish they dry in the sun and eat raw, others
salted with brine; and of birds they eat quail, ducks, and smaller birds
raw, salting them first. All other things, whether birds or fishes, that
they have, except such as are accounted sacred, they eat either roasted
or boiled. At their convivial banquets, among the wealthy classes, when
they have finished supper, a man carries round in a coffin the image of
a dead body carved in wood, made as perfect a counterfeit as possible in
color and workmanship, and in size generally about one or two cubits in
length; and showing this to each of the company, he says: "Look upon
this, then drink and enjoy yourself; for when dead you will be like

They observe their ancient customs and acquire no new ones. Among other
memorable customs they have just one song called "Linus," which is sung
in Phœnicia, Cyprus, and elsewhere; in different nations it bears a
different name, but it agrees almost exactly with the same which the
Greeks sing, under the name of Linus. So that among the many wonderful
things in Egypt, the greatest wonder of all is where they got this
Linus; for they seem to have sung it from time immemorial. The "Linus"
in the Egyptian language is called Maneros; and the Egyptians say that
he was the only son of the first king of Egypt, and that happening to
die prematurely, he was honored by the Egyptians in this mourning dirge,
the first and only song they have. In the following particular the
Egyptians resemble the Lacedæmonians only among all the Greeks: the
young men, when they meet their elders, give way and turn aside; and
rise from their seats when they approach. But, unlike any nation of the
Greeks, instead of addressing one another in the streets, they salute by
letting the hand fall down as far as the knee. They wear linen tunics
fringed round the legs, which they call calasiris, and over these they
throw white woollen mantles; woollen clothes, however, are not carried
into the temples, nor are they buried with them, as this is accounted
profane—agreeing in this respect with the worshippers of Orpheus and
Bacchus, who are Egyptians and Pythagoreans: for they consider it
profane for one who is initiated in these mysteries to be buried in
woollen garments for some religious reason or other. The Egyptians have
discovered more prodigies than all the rest of the world. They have
amongst them oracles of Hercules, Apollo, Minerva, Diana, Mars, and
Jupiter; but that which they honor above all others is the oracle of
Latona in the city of Buto. The art of medicine is divided amongst them
into specialties, each physician applying himself to one disease only.
All places abound in physicians, some for the eyes, others for the head,
others for the teeth, others for cutaneous diseases, and others still
for internal disorders.

Their manner of mourning and burying is as follows: When a man of any
consideration dies, all the women of that family besmear their heads and
faces with mud, leave the body in the house, and wander about the city,
beating themselves, having their clothes girt up, their neck and breast
exposed, and all their relations accompany them. The men, too, beat
themselves in the same way. When they have done this, they carry out the
body to be embalmed. There are persons who are specially appointed for
this purpose; when the dead body is brought to them, they show to the
bearers wooden models of corpses, skilfully painted to illustrate the
various methods of embalming. They first show the most expensive manner
of embalming; then the second, which is inferior and less expensive; and
lastly, the third and cheapest. The relations stipulate which style they
prefer, agree on the price, and depart. To embalm a body in the most
expensive manner, they first draw out the brains through the nostrils
with an iron hook, perfecting the operation by the infusion of drugs.
Then with a sharp Ethiopian stone they make an incision in the side, and
take out all the bowels; and having cleansed the abdomen and rinsed it
with palm-wine, they next sprinkle it with pounded perfumes. Then they
fill the belly with pure myrrh pounded, and cassia, and other perfumes,
frankincense excepted, and sew it up again; this done, they steep it in
natrum, leaving it under for seventy days; a longer time than which it
is not lawful to steep it. At the expiration of the seventy days they
wash the corpse, and wrap the whole body in bandages of flaxen cloth,
smearing it with gum, which the Egyptians commonly use instead of glue.
After this the relations take the body back again, make a wooden case in
the shape of a man, enclose the body in it, and store it in a sepulchral
chamber, setting it upright against the wall. For those who, to avoid
great expense, desire the middle way, they prepare in the following
manner. Charging syringes with oil made from cedar, they fill the
abdomen of the corpse without making any incision or taking out the
bowels, but inject it at the fundament; and having prevented the
injection from escaping, they steep the body in natrum for the
prescribed number of days, on the last of which they let out from the
abdomen the oil of cedar which has such power that it brings away the
intestines and vitals in a state of dissolution; the natrum dissolves
the flesh, and nothing of the body remains but the skin and the bones.
The operation is then complete. The third method of embalming, which is
used only for the poorer sort, consists in thoroughly rinsing the
abdomen in syrmæa, and steeping it with natrum for the seventy days.
Should any person, whether Egyptian or stranger, be found to have been
seized by a crocodile, or drowned in the river, to whatever city the
body may be carried, the inhabitants are by law compelled to have the
body embalmed, and adorned in the handsomest manner, and buried in the
sacred vaults. Nor is it lawful for any one else, whether relations or
friends, to touch him; but the priests of the Nile bury the corpse with
their own hands, as being something more than human.

They avoid using Grecian customs; and, in a word, the customs of all
other people whatsoever.

The Egyptians who dwell in the morasses, have the same customs as the
rest of the Egyptians, and each man has but one wife, like the Greeks.
But to obtain food more easily, they have the following inventions: when
the river is full, and has made the plains like a sea, great numbers of
lilies, which the Egyptians call lotus, spring up in the water: these
they gather and dry in the sun; then having pounded the middle of the
lotus, which resembles a poppy, they make bread of it and bake it. The
root also of this lotus is fit for food, and is tolerably sweet; it is
round, and of the size of an apple. There are also other lilies, like
roses, that grow in the river, the fruit of which is contained in a
separate pod, that springs up from the root in form very much like a
wasp's nest; in this there are many berries fit to be eaten, of the size
of an olive stone, and they are eaten both fresh and dried. The byblus,
an annual plant, is found in the fens. They cut off the top and put it
to some other uses, but the lower part that is left, to the length of a
cubit, they eat and sell. Those who are anxious to eat the byblus
dressed in the most delicate manner, stew it in a hot pan and then eat

The Egyptians who live about the fens use an oil drawn from the fruit of
the sillicypria, which they call cici: they plant and cultivate these
sillicypria, which in Greece grow spontaneous and wild, on the banks of
the rivers and lakes: under cultivation these bear an abundance of
fruit, though of an offensive smell. Some bruise it and press out the
oil; others boil and stew it, and collect the liquid that flows from it;
this is fat, and no less suited for lamps than olive oil; but it emits a
disgusting smell. They contrive in various ways to protect themselves
from the mosquitoes, which are very abundant. Towers are of great
service to those who inhabit the upper parts of the marshes; for the
mosquitoes are prevented by the winds from flying high: but those who
live round the marshes have contrived another expedient. Every man has a
net, with which in the daytime he takes fish, and at night, in whatever
bed he sleeps, he throws the net around it, and crawls in underneath; if
he should wrap himself up in his clothes or in linen, the mosquitoes
would bite through them, but they never attempt to bite through the net.

Their ships in which they convey merchandise are made of the acacia,
which in shape is much like the Cyrenæan lotus, and exudes a gum. From
this acacia they cut planks about two cubits in length and join them
together like bricks, building their ships in the following manner: They
fasten the planks of two cubits length round stout and long ties: when
they have thus built the hulls, they lay benches across them. They make
no use of ribs, but caulk the seams inside with byblus. They make only
one rudder, and that is driven through the keel. They use a mast of
acacia, and sails of byblus. These vessels are unable to sail up the
stream unless a fair wind prevails, but are towed from the shore. They
are thus carried down the stream: there is a hurdle made of tamarisk,
wattled with a band of reeds, and a stone with a hole in the middle, of
about two talents in weight; of these two, the hurdle is fastened to a
cable, and let down at the prow of the vessel to be carried on by the
stream; and the stone by another cable at the stern; and by this means
the hurdle, by the stream bearing hard upon it, moves quickly and draws
along "the baris" (for this is the name given to these vessels), but the
stone being dragged at the stern, and sunk to the bottom, keeps the
vessel in its course. They have very many of these vessels, and some of
them carry many thousand talents. When the Nile inundates the country,
the cities alone are seen above its surface, like the islands dotting
the Ægean Sea. When this happens, they navigate no longer by the channel
of the river, but straight across the country.



In former time, the priests of Jupiter did to Hecatæus the historian,
when he was tracing his own genealogy, and connecting his family with a
god in the sixteenth degree, the same as they did to me, though I did
not endeavor to trace my genealogy. Conducting me into the interior of a
spacious edifice, and showing me four hundred and forty-five wooden
colossuses, they counted them over; for every high-priest places an
image of himself there during his lifetime; the priests pointed out that
the succession from father to son was unbroken. But when Hecatæus traced
his own genealogy, and connected himself with a god in the sixteenth
degree, they controverted his genealogy by computation, not admitting
that a man could be born from a god; and said that each of the
colossuses was a Piromis, sprung from a Piromis; until they pointed out
the three hundred and forty-five colossuses, each a Piromis, sprung from
a Piromis, and they did not connect them with any god or hero. Piromis
means, in the Grecian language, "a noble and good man." They said that
these were very far from being gods; but before the time of these men,
gods had been the rulers of Egypt, and had dwelt amongst men; and that
one of them always had the supreme power, and that Orus, the son of
Osiris, was the last who reigned over it. Now, Osiris in the Greek
language means Bacchus, and Orus is the equivalent of Apollo.

All the revenue from the city of Anthylla, which is of much importance,
is assigned to purchase shoes for the wife of the reigning king of Egypt.



The priests informed me, that Menes, who first ruled over Egypt, in the
first place protected Memphis by a mound; for the whole river formerly
ran close to the sandy mountain on the side of Libya; but Menes,
beginning about a hundred stades above Memphis, filled in the elbow
toward the south, dried up the old channel, and conducted the river into
a canal, so as to make it flow between the mountains. This bend of the
Nile is still carefully upheld by the Persians, and made secure every
year; for if the river should break through and overflow in this part,
there would be danger lest all Memphis should be flooded. When the part
cut off had been made firm land by this Menes, who was first king, he
built on it the city that is now called Memphis; and outside of it he
excavated a lake from the river toward the north and the west; for the
Nile itself bounds it toward the east. In the next place, they relate
that he built in it the temple of Vulcan, which is vast and well worthy
of mention. After this the priests enumerated from a book the names of
three hundred and thirty other kings. In so many generations of men,
there were eighteen Ethiopians and one native queen, the rest were
Egyptians. The name of this woman who reigned, was the same as that of
the Babylonian queen, Nitocris: they said that she avenged her brother,
whom the Egyptians had slain, while reigning over them. After they had
slain him, they delivered the kingdom to her; and she, to avenge him,
destroyed many of the Egyptians by this stratagem: she caused an
extensive apartment to be made underground, and pretended that she was
going to consecrate it, then inviting those of the Egyptians whom she
knew to have been principally concerned in the murder, she gave them a
great banquet, and in the midst of the feast let in the river upon them,
through a large concealed channel. Of the other kings they did not say
that they were in any respect renowned, except the last, Mœris; he
accomplished some memorable works, as the portal of Vulcan's temple,
facing the north wind; and dug a lake, and built pyramids in it, the
size of which I shall mention when I come to speak of the lake itself.

[Illustration: HEAD OF RAMESES II.]



I shall next mention king Sesostris. The priests said that he was the
first who, setting out in ships of war from the Arabian Gulf, subdued
those nations that dwell by the Red Sea.

There are also in Ionia two images of this king, carved on rocks, one on
the way from Ephesia to Phocæa, the other from Sardis to Smyrna. In both
places a man is carved, four cubits and a half high, holding a spear in
his right hand, and a bow in his left, and the rest of his equipment in
unison, for it is partly Egyptian and partly Ethiopian; from one
shoulder to the other across the breast extend sacred Egyptian
characters engraved, which have the following meaning: "I ACQUIRED

The priests tell a yarn of this Egyptian Sesostris, that returning and
bringing with him many men from the nations whose territories he had
subdued, when he arrived at the Pelusian Daphnæ, his brother, to whom he
had committed the government of Egypt, invited him to an entertainment,
and his sons with him, and caused wood to be piled up round the house
and set on fire: but that Sesostris, being informed of this, immediately
consulted with his wife, for he had taken his wife with him; she advised
him to extend two of his six sons across the fire, and form a bridge
over the burning mass, and that the rest should step on them and make
their escape. Sesostris did so, and two of his sons were in this manner
burned to death, but the rest, together with their father, were saved.
Sesostris having returned to Egypt, and taken revenge on his brother,
employed the multitude of prisoners whom he brought from the countries
he had subdued in many remarkable works: these were the men who drew the
huge stones which, in the time of this king, were conveyed to the temple
of Vulcan; they, too, were compelled to dig all the canals now seen in
Egypt; and thus by their involuntary labor made Egypt, which before was
throughout practicable for horses and carriages, unfit for these
purposes. But the king intersected the country with this network of
canals for the reason that such of the Egyptians as occupied the inland
cities, being in want of water when the river receded, were forced to
use a brackish beverage unfit to drink, which they drew from wells. They
said also that this king divided the country amongst all the Egyptians,
giving an equal square allotment to each; and thence drew his revenues
by requiring them to pay a fixed tax every year; if the river happened
to take away a part of any one's allotment, he was to come to him and
make known what had happened; whereupon the king sent persons to inspect
and measure how much the land was diminished, that in future he might
pay a proportionate part of the appointed tax. Land-measuring appears to
me to have had its beginning from this act, and to have passed over into
Greece; for the pole [12] and the sundial, and the division of the day
into twelve parts, the Greeks learned from the Babylonians. This king
was the only Egyptian that ever ruled over Ethiopia; he left as
memorials in front of Vulcan's temple statues of stone: two of thirty
cubits, of himself and his wife; and four, each of twenty cubits, of his
sons. A long time after, the priest of Vulcan would not suffer Darius
the Persian to place his statue before them, saying, "that deeds had not
been achieved by him equal to those of Sesostris the Egyptian: for
Sesostris had subdued other nations, not fewer than Darius had done, and
the Scythians besides; but that Darius was not able to conquer the
Scythians; wherefore it was not right for one who had not surpassed him
in achievements to place his statue before his offerings." They relate,
however, that Darius pardoned these observations.

[Illustration: BUST OF THOTHMES I.]

After the death of Sesostris, his son Pheron succeeded to the kingdom;
he undertook no military expedition, and happened to become blind
through the following occurrence: the river having risen to a very great
height for that time, eighteen cubits, it overflowed the fields, a storm
of wind arose, and the river was tossed about in waves; whereupon they
say that the king with great arrogance laid hold of a javelin, and threw
it into the midst of the eddies of the river; and that immediately
afterward he was seized with a pain in his eyes, and became blind. He
continued blind for ten years; but in the eleventh, having escaped from
this calamity, he dedicated offerings throughout all the celebrated
temples, the most worthy of mention being two stone obelisks to the
temple of the sun, each consisting of a single block of granite, and
each a hundred cubits in length and eight cubits in breadth.

A native of Memphis succeeded him in the kingdom, whose name in the
Grecian language is Proteus; there is to this day an enclosure sacred to
him at Memphis, which is very beautiful and richly adorned, situated to
the south side of the temple of Vulcan. The priests told me that when
Paris had carried Helen off from Sparta, violent winds drove him out of
his course in the Ægean into the Egyptian Sea, and from there (for the
gale did not abate) he came to Egypt, and in Egypt to that which is now
called the Canopic mouth of the Nile.


And Homer appears to me to have heard this relation; but as it was not
so well suited to epic poetry as the other which he has made use of, he
rejected it. He has told in the Iliad the wanderings of Paris; how,
while he was carrying off Helen, he was driven out of his course, and
wandered to other places, and how he arrived at Sidon of Phœnicia; and
in the exploits of Diomede, his verses are as follows: "Where were the
variegated robes, works of Sidonian women, which god-like Paris himself
brought from Sidon, sailing over the wide sea, along the course by which
he conveyed high-born Helen."[13] He mentions it also in the Odyssey, in
the following lines: "Such well-chosen drugs had the daughter of Jove,
of excellent quality, which Polydamna gave her, the Egyptian wife of
Thonis, where the fruitful earth produces many drugs, many excellent
when mixed, and many noxious."[14] Menelaus also says the following to
Telemachus: "The gods detained me in Egypt, though anxious to return
hither, because I did not offer perfect hecatombs to them."[15] He shows
in these verses, that he was acquainted with the wandering of Paris in
Egypt; for Syria borders on Egypt, and the Phœnicians, to whom Sidon
belongs, inhabit Syria. From these verses, and this first passage
especially, it is clear that Homer was not the author of the Cyprian
verses, but some other person. For in the Cyprian verses it is said,
that Paris reached Ilium from Sparta on the third day, when he carried
off Helen, having met with a favorable wind and a smooth sea; whereas
Homer in the Iliad says that he wandered far while taking her with him.

Rhampsinitus succeeded Proteus in the kingdom: He left as a monument the
portico of the temple of Vulcan, fronting to the west; and erected two
statues before the portico, twenty-five cubits high. Of these, the one
standing to the north the Egyptians call Summer; and that to the south,
Winter: and the one that they call Summer, they worship and do honor to;
but the one called Winter, they treat in a quite contrary way.

This king, they said, possessed a great quantity of money, such as no
one of the succeeding kings was able to attain. Wishing to treasure up
his wealth in safety, he built a chamber of stone, one of the walls of
which adjoined the outside of the palace. But the builder, forming a
plan against it, devised the following contrivance; he fitted one of the
stones so that it might be easily taken out by two men, or even one.
When the chamber was finished, the king laid up his treasures in it; in
the course of time the builder, finding his end approaching, called his
two sons to him, and described to them how he had provided when he was
building the king's treasury that they might have abundant sustenance;
and having clearly explained to them every thing relating to the removal
of the stone, he gave them its dimensions, and told them, if they would
observe his instructions, they would be stewards of the king's riches.
He died, and the sons were not long in applying themselves to the work;
coming by night to the palace, they found the stone in the building,
easily removed it, and carried off a great quantity of treasure. When
the king happened to open the chamber, he was astonished at seeing the
vessels deficient in treasure; but was not able to accuse any one, as
the seals were unbroken, and the chamber well secured. When on opening
it two or three times, the treasures were always evidently diminished
(for the thieves did not cease plundering), he adopted the following
plan: he ordered traps to be made, and placed them round the vessels in
which the treasures were. But when the thieves came as before, and one
of them had entered, as soon as he went near a vessel, he was
straightway caught in the trap; perceiving, therefore, in what a
predicament he was, he immediately called to his brother, and told him
what had happened, and bade him enter as quick as possible, and cut off
his head, lest, if he was seen and recognized, he should ruin him also:
the other thought that he spoke well, and did as he was advised; then,
having fitted in the stone, he returned home, taking with him his
brother's head. When day came, the king entered the chamber, and was
astonished at seeing the body of the thief in the trap without the head,
but the chamber secure, and without any means of entrance or exit. In
this perplexity he contrived another plan: he hung up the body of the
thief on a public wall, and having placed sentinels there, ordered them
to seize and bring before him whomsoever they should see weeping or
expressing commiseration at the spectacle. The mother was greatly
grieved at the body being suspended, and coming to words with her
surviving son, commanded him, by any means he could, to contrive how he
might take down and bring away the corpse of his brother; and if he
should neglect to do so, she threatened to go to the king, and inform
him that he had the treasures. Having got some asses, and filled some
skins with wine, he put them on the asses, and then drove them along;
but when he came near the sentinels that guarded the suspended corpse,
he drew out two or three of the necks of the skins that hung down, and
loosened them; and, as the wine ran out, he beat his head, and cried out
aloud, as if he knew not to which of the asses he should turn first. The
sentinels, when they saw wine flowing in abundance, ran into the road,
with vessels in their hands, caught the wine that was being spilt,
thinking it all their own gain; but the man, feigning anger, railed
bitterly against them all; however, as the sentinels soothed him, he at
length pretended to be pacified; and at last drove his asses out of the
road, and set them to rights again. When more conversation passed, and
one of the sentinels joked with him and set him laughing, he gave them
another of the skins; and they, just as they were, lay down and set to
to drink, and invited him to stay and drink with them. He was persuaded,
and remained with them; and as they treated him kindly during the
drinking, he gave them another of the skins; and the sentinels, having
taken very copious draughts, became royally drunk, and, overpowered by
the wine, fell asleep on the spot. Then he took down the body of his
brother, and having by way of insult shaved the right cheeks of all the
sentinels, laid the corpse on the asses, and drove home, having
performed his mother's injunctions. The king, upon being informed that
the body of the thief had been stolen, was exceedingly indignant, but
being unable by any means to find out the contriver of this artifice, he
grew so astonished at the shrewdness and daring of the man, that at
last, sending throughout all the cities, he caused a proclamation to be
made, offering a free pardon, and promising great reward to the man, if
he would discover himself. The thief, relying on this promise, went to
the king's palace; and Rhampsinitus greatly admired him, and gave him
his daughter in marriage, accounting him the most knowing of all men;
for while the Egyptians were superior to all others, he was superior to
the Egyptians.

After this, they said that this king descended alive into the place
which the Greeks call Hades, and there played at dice with Ceres, and
sometimes won, and other times lost; and that he came up again and
brought with him as a present from her a napkin of gold. Any person to
whom such things appear credible may adopt the accounts given by the
Egyptians; it is my object, however, throughout the whole history, to
write what I hear from each people. The Egyptians say that Ceres and
Bacchus hold the chief sway in the infernal regions; and the Egyptians
were also the first who asserted the doctrine that the soul of man is
immortal, and that when the body perishes the soul enters into some
other animal, constantly springing into existence; and when it has
passed through the different kinds of terrestrial, marine, and aërial
beings, it again enters into the body of a man that is born; and that
this revolution is made in three thousand years.

[Illustration: BES AND HI.]

Now, they told me that down to the reign of Rhampsinitus there was a
perfect distribution of justice, and that all Egypt was in a high state
of prosperity; but that after him Cheops, coming to reign over them,
plunged into every kind of wickedness. For, having shut up all the
temples, he first of all forbade them to offer sacrifice, and afterward
ordered all the Egyptians to work for him; some, accordingly, were
appointed to draw stones from the quarries in the Arabian mountain down
to the Nile, others he ordered to receive the stones when transported in
vessels across the river, and to drag them to the mountain called the
Libyan. And they worked to the number of a hundred thousand men at a
time, each party during three months. The time during which the people
were thus harassed by toil lasted ten years on the road which they
constructed, along which they drew the stones, a work, in my opinion,
not much less than the pyramid: for its length is five stades, and its
width ten orgyæ, and its height, where it is the highest, eight orgyæ;
and it is of polished stone, with figures carved on it: ten years, then,
were expended on this road, and in forming the subterraneous apartments
on the hill, on which the pyramids stand, which he had made as a burial
vault for himself, in an island, formed by draining a canal from the
Nile. Twenty years were spent in erecting the pyramid itself: of this,
which is square, each face is eight plethra, and the height is the same;
it is composed of polished stones, and joined with the greatest
exactness; none of the stones are less than thirty feet in length. This
pyramid was built in the form of steps, which some call crosssæ, others
bomides. When they had first built it in this manner, they raised the
stones for covering the surface by machines made of short pieces of
wood: having lifted them from the ground to the first range of steps,
when the stone arrived there it was put on another machine that stood
ready on the first range; from this it was drawn to the second range on
another machine; for the machines were equal in number to the ranges of
steps; or they removed the machine, which was only one, and portable, to
each range in succession, whenever they wished to raise the stone
higher; for I should relate it in both ways, as it was related to me.
The highest parts of it were first finished, and last of all the parts
on the ground. On the pyramid is shown an inscription, in Egyptian
characters, how much was expended in radishes, onions, and garlic for
the workmen; which the interpreter, as I well remember, reading the
inscription, told me amounted to one thousand six hundred talents of
silver. If this be really the case, how much more was probably expended
in iron tools, in bread, and in clothes for the laborers, since they
occupied in building the works the time which I mentioned, and no short
time besides, as I think, in cutting and drawing the stones, and in
forming the subterraneous excavation. It is related that Cheops in his
cruelty subjected his daughter to every sort of disgrace, but she
contrived to leave a monument of herself, and asked every one that she
met to give her a stone toward the edifice she designed: of these stones
they said the pyramid was built that stands in the middle of the three,
before the great pyramid, each side of which is a plethron and a half in
length. The Egyptians say that this Cheops reigned fifty years; and when
he died, his brother Chephren succeeded to the kingdom; and he followed
the same practices as the other, both in other respects, and in building
a pyramid. This does not come up to the dimensions of his brother's, for
I myself measured them; nor has it subterraneous chambers; nor does a
channel from the Nile flow to it, as to the other; but this flows
through an artificial aqueduct round an island within, in which they say
the body of Cheops is laid. Having laid the first course of variegated
Ethiopian stones, less in height than the other by forty feet, he built
it near the large pyramid. They both stand on the same hill, which is
about a hundred feet high. Chephren, they said, reigned fifty-six years.
Thus one hundred and six years are reckoned, during which the Egyptians
suffered all kinds of calamities, and for this length of time the
temples were never opened. From the hatred they bear them the Egyptians
are not very willing to mention their names; but call the pyramids after
Philition, a shepherd, who at that time kept his cattle in those parts.


They said that after him, Mycerinus, son of Cheops, reigned over Egypt;
that the conduct of his father was displeasing to him; and that he
opened the temples, and permitted the people, who were worn down to the
last extremity, to return to their employments, and to sacrifices; and
that he made the most just decisions of all their kings. On this
account, of all the kings that ever reigned in Egypt, they praise him
most, for he both judged well in other respects, and moreover, when any
man complained of his decision, he used to make him some present out of
his own treasury and pacify his anger. To this beneficent Mycerinus, the
beginning of misfortunes was the death of his daughter, who was his only
child; whereupon he, extremely afflicted, and wishing to bury her in a
more costly manner than usual, caused a hollow wooden image of a cow to
be made and covered with gold, into which he put the body of his
deceased daughter. This cow was not interred in the ground, but even in
my time was exposed to view in the city of Sais, placed in the royal
palace, in a richly furnished chamber. They burn near it all kinds of
aromatics every day, and a lamp is kept burning by it throughout each

The cow is covered with a purple cloth, except the head and the neck,
which are overlaid with very thick gold; and the orb of the sun imitated
in gold is placed between the horns. The cow is kneeling; in size equal
to a large, living cow.


After the loss of his daughter, a second calamity befell this king: an
oracle reached him from the city of Buto, importing, "that he had no
more than six years to live, and should die in the seventh." Thinking
this very hard, he sent a reproachful message to the god, complaining,
"that his father and uncle, who had shut up the temples, and paid no
regard to the gods, and moreover had oppressed men, had lived long;
whereas he who was religious must die so soon." But a second message
came to him from the oracle, stating, "that for this very reason his
life was shortened, because he had not done what he ought to have done;
for it was needful that Egypt should be afflicted during one hundred and
fifty years; and the two who were kings before him understood this, but
he did not." When Mycerinus heard this, and saw that this sentence was
now pronounced against him, he ordered a great number of lamps to be
made, which were lighted whenever night came on, and he drank and
enjoyed himself, never ceasing night or day, roving about the marshes
and groves, wherever he could hear of places most suited for pleasure.
He had recourse to this artifice for the purpose of convicting the
oracle of falsehood, that by turning the nights into days, he might have
twelve years instead of six.

This king also left a pyramid, but much smaller than that of his father,
being on each side twenty feet short of three plethra; it is
quadrangular, and built half way up of Ethiopian stone.

After Mycerinus, the priests said, that Asychis became king of Egypt,
and that he built the eastern portico to the temple of Vulcan, which is
by far the largest and most beautiful in its wealth of sculptured
figures and infinite variety of architecture. This king, being desirous
of surpassing his predecessors, left a pyramid, as a memorial, made of
bricks; on which is an inscription carved on stone, in the following
words: "Do not despise me in comparison with the pyramids of stone, for
I excel them as much as Jupiter, the other gods. For by plunging a pole
into a lake, and collecting the mire that stuck to the pole, men made
bricks, and in this manner built me."


After him there reigned a blind man of the city of Anysis, whose name
was Anysis. During his reign, the Ethiopians and their king, Sabacon,
invaded Egypt with a large force; whereupon this blind king fled to the
fens; and the Ethiopian reigned over Egypt for fifty years, during which
time he performed the following actions: When any Egyptians committed
any crime, he would not have any of them put to death, but passed
sentence upon each according to the magnitude of his offence, enjoining
them to heap up mounds of earth, each offender against his own city, and
by this means the cities were made much higher; for first of all they
had been raised considerably by those who dug the canals in the time of
king Sesostris. Although other cities in Egypt were carried to a great
height, in my opinion the greatest mounds were thrown up about the city
of Bubastis, in which is a beautiful temple of Bubastis corresponding to
the Grecian Diana. Her sacred precinct is thus situated: all except the
entrance is an island; for two canals from the Nile extend to it, not
mingling with each other, but each reaches as far as the entrance to the
precinct, one flowing round it on one side, the other on the other. Each
is a hundred feet broad, and shaded with trees. The portico is ten orgyæ
in height, and is adorned with figures six cubits high, that are
deserving of notice. This precinct, being in the middle of the city, is
visible on every side to a person going round it; for while the city has
been mounded up to a considerable height, the temple has not been moved,
so that it is conspicuous as it was originally built. A wall sculptured
with figures runs round it; and within is a grove of lofty trees,
planted round a large temple in which the image is placed. The width and
length of the precinct is each way a stade. Along the entrance is a road
paved with stone, four plethra in width and about three stades in
length, leading through the square eastward toward the temple of
Mercury; on each side of the road grow trees of enormous height. They
told me that the final departure of the Ethiopian occurred in the
following manner: it appeared to him in a vision that a man, standing by
him, advised him to assemble all the priests in Egypt, and to cut them
in two down the middle; but he, fearing that the gods held out this as a
pretext to him, in order that he, having been guilty of impiety in
reference to sacred things, might draw down some evil on himself from
gods or from men, would not do so; but as the time had expired during
which it was foretold that he should reign over Egypt, he departed
hastily from the country. When Sabacon of his own accord had departed
from Egypt, the blind king resumed the government, having returned from
the fens, where he had lived fifty years, on an island formed of ashes
and earth. For when any of the Egyptians came to him bringing
provisions, as they were severally ordered to do unknown to the
Ethiopian, he bade them bring some ashes also as a present. The kings
who preceded Amyrtæus were unable, for more than seven hundred years, to
find out where this island was. It was called Elbo, and was about ten
stades square.

After him reigned a priest of Vulcan, whose name was Sethon: he held in
no account the military caste of the Egyptians, as not having need of
their services; and accordingly, among other indignities, he took away
their lands; to each of whom, under former kings, twelve chosen acres
had been assigned. After this, when Sennacherib, king of the Arabians
and Assyrians, marched a large army against Egypt, the Egyptian warriors
refused to assist him; and the priest, being reduced to a strait,
entered the temple, and bewailed before the image the calamities he was
in danger of suffering. While he was lamenting, sleep fell upon him, and
it appeared to him in a vision, that the god stood by and encouraged
him, assuring him that he should suffer nothing disagreeable in meeting
the Arabian army, for he would himself send assistants to him. Confiding
in this vision, he took with him such of the Egyptians as were willing
to follow him, and encamped in Pelusium, at the entrance into Egypt; but
none of the military caste followed him, only tradesmen, mechanics, and
sutlers. When they arrived there, a number of field mice, pouring in
upon their enemies, devoured their quivers and their bows, and the
handles of their shields; so that on the next day, when they fled bereft
of their arms, many of them fell. And to this day, a stone statue of
this king stands in the temple of Vulcan, with a mouse in his hand, and
an inscription to the following effect: "Whoever looks on me, let him
revere the gods."


The Egyptians and the priests show that from the first king to this
priest of Vulcan who last reigned, were three hundred and forty-one
generations of men; and the same number of chief priests and kings. Now,
three hundred generations are equal to ten thousand years, for three
generations of men are one hundred years; and the forty-one remaining
generations that were over the three hundred, make one thousand three
hundred and forty years. Thus, they say, in eleven thousand three
hundred and forty years, no god has assumed the form of a man. They
relate that during this time the sun has four times risen out of his
usual quarter, and that he has twice risen where he now sets, and twice
set where he now rises; yet, that no change in the things in Egypt was
occasioned by this, either in respect to the productions of the earth or
the river, or to diseases or deaths.



What things both other men and the Egyptians agree in saying occurred in
this country, I shall now proceed to relate, and shall add to them some
things of my own observation. The Egyptians having become free, after
the reign of the priest of Vulcan, since they were at no time able to
live without a king, divided all Egypt into twelve parts and established
twelve others. These contracted intermarriages, and agreed that they
would not attempt the subversion of one another, and would maintain the
strictest friendship. They made these regulations and strictly upheld
them, for the reason that it had been foretold them by an oracle when
they first assumed the government, "that whoever among them should offer
a libation in the temple of Vulcan from a bronze bowl, should be king of
all Egypt"; for they used to assemble in all the temples. Now, being
determined to leave in common a memorial of themselves, they built a
labyrinth, a little above the lake of Mœris, situated near that called
the city of Crocodiles; this I have myself seen, and found it greater
than can be described. For if any one should reckon up all the buildings
and public works of the Greeks, they would be found to have cost less
labor and expense than this labyrinth alone, though the temple in
Ephesus is deserving of mention, and also that in Samos. The pyramids
likewise were beyond description, and each of them comparable to many of
the great Greek structures. Yet the labyrinth surpasses even the
pyramids. For it has twelve courts enclosed with walls, with doors
opposite each other, six facing the north, and six the south, contiguous
to one another; and the same exterior wall encloses them. It contains
two kinds of rooms, some under ground and some above, to the number of
three thousand, fifteen hundred of each. The rooms above ground I myself
went through and saw, and relate from personal inspection. But the
underground rooms I know only from report; for the Egyptians who have
charge of the building would, on no account, show me them, saying that
they held the sepulchres of the kings who originally built this
labyrinth, and of the sacred crocodiles. I can therefore only relate
what I have learnt by hearsay concerning the lower rooms; but the upper
ones, which surpass all human works, I myself saw. The passages through
the corridors, and the windings through the courts, from their great
variety, presented a thousand occasions of wonder, as I passed from a
court to the rooms, and from the rooms to halls, and to other corridors
from the halls, and to other courts from the rooms. The roofs of all
these are of stone, as also are the walls; but the walls are full of
sculptured figures. Each court is surrounded with a colonnade of white
stone, closely fitted. And adjoining the extremity of the labyrinth is a
pyramid, forty orgyæ in height, on which large figures are carved, and a
way to it has been made under ground.

Yet more wonderful than this labyrinth is the lake named from Mœris,
near which this labyrinth is built; its circumference measures three
thousand six hundred stades, or a distance equal to the sea-coast of
Egypt. The lake stretches lengthways, north and south, being in depth in
the deepest part fifty orgyæ. That it is made by hand and dry, this
circumstance proves, for about the middle of the lake stand two
pyramids, each rising fifty orgyæ above the surface of the water, and
the part built under water extends to an equal depth; on each of these
is placed a stone statue, seated on a throne. Thus these pyramids are
one hundred orgyæ in height. The water in this lake does not spring from
the soil, for these parts are excessively dry, but it is conveyed
through a channel from the Nile, and for six months it flows into the
lake, and six months out again into the Nile. And during the six months
that it flows out it yields a talent of silver every day to the king's
treasury from the fish; but when the water is flowing into it, twenty
minæ. The people of the country told me that this lake discharges itself
under ground into the Syrtis of Libya, running westward toward the
interior by the mountain above Memphis. But when I did not see anywhere
a heap of soil from this excavation, for this was an object of curiosity
to me, I inquired of the people who lived nearest the lake, where the
soil that had been dug out was to be found; they told me where it had
been carried, and easily persuaded me, because I had heard that a
similar thing had been done at Nineveh, in Assyria. For certain thieves
formed a design to carry away the treasures of Sardanapalus, King of
Nineveh, which were very large, and preserved in subterraneous
treasuries; the thieves, therefore, beginning from their own dwellings,
dug under ground by estimated measurement to the royal palace, and the
soil that was taken out of the excavations, when night came on, they
threw into the river Tigris, that flows by Nineveh; and so they
proceeded until they had effected their purpose. The same method I heard
was adopted in digging the lake in Egypt, except that it was not done by
night, but during the day; for the Egyptians who dug out the soil
carried it to the Nile, and the river receiving it, soon dispersed it.



While the twelve kings continued to observe justice, in course of time,
as they were sacrificing in the temple of Vulcan, and were about to
offer a libation on the last day of the festival, the high priest,
mistaking the number, brought out eleven of the twelve golden bowls with
which he used to make the libation. Whereupon he who stood last of them,
Psammitichus, since he had not a bowl, having taken off his helmet,
which was of bronze, held it out and made the libation. All the other
kings were in the habit of wearing helmets, and at that time had them
on. Psammitichus therefore, without any sinister intention, held out his
helmet; but they having taken into consideration what was done by
Psammitichus, and the oracle that had foretold to them, "that whoever
among them should offer a libation from a bronze bowl, should be sole
king of Egypt"; calling to mind the oracle, did not think it right to
put him to death, since upon examination they found that he had done it
by no premeditated design. But they determined to banish him to the
marshes, having divested him of the greatest part of his power; and they
forbade him to leave the marshes, or have any intercourse with the rest
of Egypt. With the design of avenging himself on his persecutors, he
sent to the city of Buto to consult the oracle of Latona, the truest
oracle that the Egyptians have, and the answer was returned "that
vengeance would come from the sea, when men of bronze should appear." He
was very incredulous that men of bronze would come to assist him; but
not long after a stress of weather compelled some Ionians and Carians,
who had sailed out for the purpose of piracy, to bear away to Egypt; and
when they had disembarked and were clad in bronze armor, an Egyptian,
who had never before seen men clad in such manner, went to the marshes
to Psammitichus, and told him that men of bronze had arrived from the
sea, and were ravaging the plains. He felt at once that the oracle was
accomplished, and treated these Ionians and Carians in a friendly
manner, and by promising them great things, persuaded them to join with
him; and, with their help and that of such Egyptians as were well
disposed toward him, he overcame the other kings.

[Illustration: EGYPTIAN HELMETS.]

Psammitichus, now master of all Egypt, constructed the portico to
Vulcan's temple at Memphis that faces the south wind; he built a court
for Apis, in which he is fed whenever he appears, opposite the portico,
surrounded by a colonnade, and full of sculptured figures; and instead
of pillars, statues twelve cubits high are placed under the piazza.
Apis, in the language of the Greeks, means Epaphus. To the Ionians, and
those who with them had assisted him, Psammitichus gave lands opposite
each other, with the Nile flowing between. These bear the name of
"Camps." He royally fulfilled all his promises; and he moreover put
Egyptian children under their care to be instructed in the Greek
language; from whom the present interpreters in Egypt are descended. The
Ionians and the Carians continued for a long time to inhabit these
lands, situated near the sea, a little below the city of Bubastis. They
were the first people of a different language who settled in Egypt. The
docks for their ships, and the ruins of their buildings, were to be seen
in my time in the places from which they had removed.

Psammitichus reigned in Egypt fifty-four years; during twenty-nine of
which he sat down before and besieged Azotus, a large city of Syria,
until he took it. This Azotus, of all the cities we know of, held out
against a siege the longest period. Neco was son of Psammitichus, and
became king of Egypt: he first set about the canal that leads to the Red
Sea, which Darius the Persian afterward completed. Its length is a
voyage of four days, and in width it was dug so that two triremes might
sail rowed abreast. The water is drawn into it from the Nile, and enters
it a little above the city Bubastis. The canal passes near the Arabian
city Patumos, and reaches to the Red Sea. In the digging of it one
hundred and twenty thousand Egyptians perished in the reign of Neco.

Psammis his son reigned only six years over Egypt. He made an expedition
into Ethiopia, and shortly afterward died, Apries his son succeeding to
the kingdom. He, next to his grandfather Psammitichus, enjoyed greater
prosperity than any of the former kings, during a reign of five and
twenty years, in which period he marched an army against Sidon, and
engaged the Tyrians by sea. But it was destined for him to meet with
adversity. For, having sent an army against the Cyrenæans, he met with a
signal defeat. And the Egyptians, complaining of this, revolted from
him, suspecting that Apries had designedly sent them to certain ruin, in
order that they might be destroyed, and he might govern the rest of the
Egyptians with greater security. Both those that returned and the
friends of those who perished, being very indignant at this, openly
revolted against him. Apries, having heard of this, sent Amasis to
appease them by persuasion. But when he had come to them, and was urging
them to desist from their enterprise, one of the Egyptians, standing
behind him, placed a helmet on his head, and said: "I put this on you to
make you king." And this action was not at all disagreeable to Amasis,
as he presently showed. When Apries heard of this, he armed his
auxiliaries and marched against the Egyptians with Carian and Ionian
auxiliaries to the number of thirty thousand. They met near the city
Momemphis, and prepared to engage with each other. Apries had a palace
in the city of Sais that was spacious and magnificent.

There are seven classes of people among the Egyptians—priests, warriors,
herdsmen, swineherds, tradesmen, interpreters, and pilots. Their
warriors are called Calasiries or Hermotybies. The Hermotybies number,
when they are most numerous, a hundred and sixty thousand. None of these
learn any business or mechanical art, but apply themselves wholly to
military affairs. The Calasiries number two hundred and fifty thousand
men: nor are these allowed to practise any art, but they devote
themselves to military pursuits alone, the son succeeding to his father.

When Apries, leading his auxiliaries, and Amasis, all the Egyptians, met
together at Momemphis, the foreigners fought well, but being far
inferior in numbers, were, on that account, defeated. Apries is said to
have been of opinion that not even a god could deprive him of his
kingdom, so securely did he think himself established; but he was
beaten, taken prisoner, and carried back to Sais, to that which was
formerly his own palace, but which now belonged to Amasis: here he was
maintained for some time in the royal palace, and Amasis treated him
well. But at length the Egyptians complaining that he did not act
rightly in preserving a man who was the greatest enemy both to them and
to him, he delivered Apries to the Egyptians. They strangled him, and
buried him in his ancestral sepulchre, in the sacred precinct of
Minerva, very near the temple, on the left hand as you enter.

Apries being thus dethroned, Amasis, who was of the Saitic district,
reigned in his stead; the name of the city from which he came was Siuph.
At first the Egyptians held him in no great estimation, as having been
formerly a private person, and of no illustrious family; but afterward
he conciliated them by an act of address, without any arrogance. He had
an infinite number of treasures among them a golden foot-pan, in which
Amasis himself and all his guests were accustomed to wash their feet.
This he broke in pieces, had the statue of a god made from it, and
placed it in the most suitable part of the city. The Egyptians flocked
to the image and paid it the greatest reverence. Thus, Amasis called the
Egyptians together and said: "This statue was made out of the foot-pan
in which the Egyptians formerly spat and washed their feet, and which
they then so greatly reverenced; now, the same has happened to me as to
the foot-pan; for though I was before but a private person, I now am
your king; you must therefore honor and respect me." By this means he
won over the Egyptians, so that they thought fit to obey him. He adopted
the following method of managing his affairs: early in the morning,
until the time of full-market, he assiduously despatched the business
brought before him; after that he drank and jested with his companions,
and talked loosely and sportively. But his friends, offended at this,
admonished him, saying: "You do not, O king, control yourself properly,
in making yourself too common. For it becomes you, who sit on a
venerable throne, to pass the day in transacting public business; thus
the Egyptians would know that they are governed by a great man, and you
would be better spoken of. But now you act in a manner not at all
becoming a king." But he answered them: "They who have bows, when they
want to use them, bend them; but when they have done using them, they
unbend them; for if the bow were to be kept always bent, it would break.
Such is the condition of man; if he should incessantly attend to serious
business, and not give himself up sometimes to sport, he would shortly
become mad or stupefied. I, being well aware of this, give up a portion
of my time to each."

He built an admirable portico to the temple of Minerva at Sais, far
surpassing all others both in height and size, as well as in the
dimensions and quality of the stones; he likewise dedicated large
statues, and huge andro-sphinxes, and brought other stones of a
prodigious size for repairs: some from the quarries near Memphis; but
those of greatest magnitude, from the city of Elephantine, distant from
Sais a passage of twenty days. But that which I rather the most admire,
is this: he brought a building of one stone from the city of
Elephantine, and two thousand men, who were appointed to convey it, were
occupied three whole years in its transport, and these men were all
pilots. The length of this chamber, outside, is twenty-one cubits, the
breadth fourteen, and the height eight. But inside, the length is
eighteen cubits and twenty digits, the width twelve cubits, and the
height five cubits. This chamber is placed near the entrance of the
sacred precinct; for they say that he did not draw it within the
precinct for the following reason: the architect, as the chamber was
being drawn along, heaved a deep sigh, being wearied with the work, over
which so long a time had been spent; whereupon Amasis, making a
religious scruple of this, would not suffer it to be drawn any farther.
Some persons however say, that one of the men employed at the levers was
crushed to death by it, and that on that account it was not drawn into
the precinct. Amasis dedicated in all the most famous temples, works
admirable for their magnitude; and amongst them, at Memphis, the
reclining colossus before the temple of Vulcan, of which the length is
seventy-five feet; and on the same base stand two statues of Ethiopian
stone, each twenty feet in height, one on each side of the temple. There
is also at Sais another similar statue, lying in the same manner as that
at Memphis. It was Amasis also who built the temple to Isis at Memphis,
which is spacious and well worthy of notice.

[Illustration: THE GREAT SPHINX.]

Under the reign of Amasis, Egypt is said to have enjoyed the greatest
prosperity, both in respect to the benefits derived from the river to
the land, and from the land to the people; and it is said to have
contained at that time twenty thousand inhabited cities. Amasis it was
who established the law among the Egyptians, that every Egyptian should
annually declare to the governor of his district, by what means he
maintained himself; and if he failed to do this, or did not show that he
lived by honest means, he should be punished with death. Solon the
Athenian brought this law from Egypt and established it at Athens.
Amasis, being partial to the Greeks, bestowed other favors on various of
the Greeks, and gave the city of Naucratis for such as arrived in Egypt
to dwell in; and to such as did not wish to settle there, but only to
trade by sea, he granted places where they might erect altars and
temples to the gods. Now, the most spacious of these sacred buildings,
which is also the most renowned and frequented, called the Hellenium,
was erected at the common charge of the following cities: of the
Ionians,—Chios, Teos, Phocæa, and Clazomenæ; of the Dorians,—Rhodes,
Cnidus, Halicarnassus, Phaselis; and of the Æolians,—Mitylene alone. So
that this temple belongs to them, and these cities appoint officers to
preside over the mart: and whatever other cities claim a share in it,
claim what does not belong to them. Besides this, the people of Ægina
built a temple to Jupiter for themselves; and the Samians another to
Juno, and the Milesians one to Apollo. Naucratis was anciently the only
place of resort for merchants, and there was no other in Egypt: and if a
man arrived at any other mouth of the Nile, he was obliged to swear
"that he had come there against his will"; and having taken such an
oath, he must sail in the same ship to the Canopic mouth; but if he
should be prevented by contrary winds from doing so, he was forced to
unload his goods and carry them in barges round the Delta until he
reached Naucratis. So great were the privileges of Naucratis. When the
Amphyctions contracted to build the temple that now stands at Delphi for
three hundred talents—for the temple that was formerly there had been
burned by accident, and it fell upon the Delphians to supply a fourth
part of the sum—the Delphians went about from city to city to solicit
contributions, and brought home no small amount from Egypt. For Amasis
gave them a thousand talents of alum, and the Greeks who were settled in
Egypt twenty minæ.

Amasis also dedicated offerings in Greece. In the first place, a gilded
statue of Minerva at Cyrene, and his own portrait painted; secondly, to
Minerva in Lindus two stone statues and a linen corselet well worthy of
notice; thirdly, to Juno at Samos two images of himself carved in wood,
which stood in the large temple even in my time, behind the doors. He
was the first who conquered Cyprus, and subjected it to the payment of

[12] By the Greek word Πόλος Herodotus means "a concave dial," shaped
like the vault of heaven.

[13] Iliad, vi., 289.

[14] Odyssey, iv., 227.

[15] Odyssey, iv., 351.




Cambyses, son of Cyrus, made war against Amasis, leading with him his
own subjects, together with Greeks, Ionians and Æolians. The cause of
the war was this: Cambyses sent a herald into Egypt to demand the
daughter of Amasis. The suggestion was made by an Egyptian physician,
who out of spite served Amasis in this manner, because Amasis had
selected him out of all the physicians in Egypt, torn him from his wife
and children, and sent him as a present to the Persians, when Cyrus had
sent to Amasis, and required of him the best oculist in Egypt. The
Egyptian therefore, having this spite against him, urged on Cambyses by
his suggestions, bidding him demand the daughter of Amasis, in order
that if he should comply he might be grieved, or if he refused he might
incur the hatred of Cambyses. But Amasis, dreading the power of the
Persians, resorted to a piece of deceit. There was a daughter of Apries,
the former king, very tall and beautiful, the only survivor of the
family, named Nitetis. This damsel, Amasis adorned with cloth of gold,
and sent to Persia as his own daughter. After a time, when Cambyses
saluted her, addressing her by her father's name, the damsel said to
him: "O king, you do not perceive that you have been imposed upon by
Amasis, who dressed me in rich attire, and sent me to you, presenting me
as his own daughter; whereas, I am really the daughter of Apries, whom
he put to death, after he had incited the Egyptians to revolt." These
words enraged Cambyses, and led him to invade Egypt.

[Illustration: EGYPTIAN POTTERY.]

A circumstance that few of those who have made voyages to Egypt have
noticed, I shall now proceed to mention. From every part of Greece, and
also from Phœnicia, earthen vessels filled with wine are imported into
Egypt twice every year, and yet not a single one of these wine jars is
afterward to be seen. In what way, then, you may ask, are they disposed
of? Every magistrate is obliged to collect all the vessels from his own
city, and send them to Memphis; the people of that city fill them with
water, and convey them to the arid parts of Syria; so that the earthen
vessels continually imported and landed in Egypt, are added to those
already in Syria. The Persians, as soon as they became masters of Egypt,
facilitated the passage into that country, by supplying it with water in
this manner. But as, at that time, water was not provided, Cambyses, by
the advice of a Halicarnassian stranger, sent ambassadors to the
Arabian, and requested a safe passage, which he obtained, giving to, and
receiving from him, pledges of faith.

The Arabians observe pledges as religiously as any people: when any wish
to pledge their faith, a third person, standing between the two parties,
makes an incision with a sharp stone in the palm of the hand, near the
longest fingers, of both the contractors; then taking some of the nap
from the garment of each, he smears seven stones, placed between them,
with the blood; and as he does this, he invokes Bacchus and Urania. When
this ceremony is completed, the person who pledges his faith, binds his
friends as sureties to the stranger, or the citizen, if the contract be
made with a citizen, and the friends also hold themselves obliged to
observe the engagement. They acknowledge no other gods than Bacchus and
Urania, and they say that their hair is cut in the same way as Bacchus'
is cut, in a circular form, banged round the temples. They call Bacchus,
Orotal; and Urania, Alilat. When the Arabian had exchanged pledges with
the ambassadors who came from Cambyses, he filled camels' skins with
water, loaded them on all his living camels, and drove them to the arid
region, and there awaited the army of Cambyses. This is the most
credible of the accounts that are given; yet it is right that one less
credible should be mentioned, since it is likewise affirmed. There is a
large river in Arabia called Corys, which discharges itself into the Red
Sea. From this river it is said that the king of the Arabians, having
sewn together a pipe of ox-hides and other skins, reaching in length to
the desert, conveyed the water through it; and that in the arid region
he dug large reservoirs, to receive and preserve the water. It is a
twelve days' journey from the river to the desert, yet he conveyed water
through three pipes into three different places.

Amasis died after a reign of forty-four years, during which no great
calamity had befallen him. He was embalmed and buried in the sepulchre
within the sacred precinct, which he himself had built. During the reign
of Psammenitus, son of Amasis, a most remarkable prodigy befell the
Egyptians; rain fell at Egyptian Thebes, which had never happened
before, nor since, to my time, as the Thebans themselves affirm. For no
rain ever falls in the upper regions of Egypt; but at that time rain
fell in drops at Thebes. The Persians, having marched through the arid
region, halted near the Egyptians, as if with a design of engaging;
there the auxiliaries of the Egyptians, consisting of Greeks and
Carians, condemning Phanes because he had led a foreign army against
Egypt, adopted the following expedient against him: Phanes had left his
sons in Egypt; these they brought to the camp, within sight of their
father, placed a bowl midway between the two armies, then dragging the
children one by one, they slew them over the bowl, into which they also
poured wine and water; then all the auxiliaries drank of the blood, and
immediately joined battle. After a hard fight, when great numbers had
fallen on both sides, the Egyptians were put to flight. Here I saw a
very surprising fact, of which the people of the country informed me. As
the bones of those who were killed in that battle lie scattered about
separately, the bones of the Persians in one place, and those of the
Egyptians in another, the skulls of the Persians were so weak that if
you should hit one with a single pebble, you would break a hole in it;
whereas those of the Egyptians are so hard, that you could scarcely
fracture them by striking them with a stone. The cause of this, they
told me (and I readily assented), is that the Egyptians begin from
childhood to shave their heads, and the bone is thickened by exposure to
the sun; from the same cause also they are less subject to baldness, and
one sees fewer persons bald in Egypt than in any other country. But the
Persians have weak skulls, because they shade them from the first,
wearing tiaras for hats.

The Egyptians fled in complete disorder from the battle. When they had
shut themselves up in Memphis, Cambyses sent a Mitylenæan bark up the
river, with a Persian herald on board, to invite the Egyptians to terms.
But when they saw the bark entering Memphis they rushed in a mass from
the wall, destroyed the ship, and having torn the crew to pieces, limb
by limb, they carried them into the citadel. After this the Egyptians
were besieged, and at length surrounded. The neighboring Libyans,
fearing what had befallen Egypt, gave themselves up without resistance,
submitted to pay a tribute, and sent presents, which Cambyses received
very graciously.

On the tenth day after Cambyses had taken the citadel of Memphis, he
seated Psammenitus, the King of the Egyptians, who had reigned only six
months, at the entrance of the city. And by way of insult, he dressed
his daughter in the habit of a slave, and sent her with a pitcher to
fetch water, with other maidens selected from the principal families,
dressed in the same manner. As the girls, with loud lamentation and
weeping, came into the presence of their fathers, all the other fathers
answered them with wailing and weeping, when they beheld their children
thus humiliated. But Psammenitus only bent his eyes to the ground. When
these water-carriers had passed by, he next sent his son, with two
thousand Egyptians of the same age, with halters about their necks, and
a bridle in their mouths; and they were led out to suffer retribution
for those Mitylenæans who had perished at Memphis with the ship. For the
royal judges had given sentence, that for each man ten of the principal
Egyptians should be put to death. Yet, when he saw them passing by, and
knew that his son was being led out to death, though all the rest of the
Egyptians who sat round him wept and made loud lamentations, he did the
same as he had done in his daughter's case. But just then it happened
that one of his boon-companions, a man somewhat advanced in years, who
had lost his all, and possessed nothing but such things as a beggar has,
asking alms of the soldiery, passed by Psammenitus, and the Egyptians
seated in the suburbs. Then, indeed, he wept bitterly, and calling his
companion by name, smote his head. Cambyses, surprised at this behavior,
sent a messenger to say: "Psammenitus, your master Cambyses inquires
why, when you saw your daughter humiliated and your son led to
execution, you did not bewail or lament; and have been so highly
concerned for a beggar, who is no way related to you, as he is
informed." Psammenitus answered: "Son of Cyrus, the calamities of my
family are too great to be expressed by lamentation; but the griefs of
my friend were worthy of tears, who, having fallen from abundance and
prosperity, has come to beggary on the threshold of old age." When this
answer was brought back by the messenger, it appeared to Cambyses to be
well said; and, as the Egyptians relate, Crœsus wept, for he had
attended Cambyses into Egypt, and the Persians that were present wept
also; Cambyses himself, touched with pity, gave immediate orders to
preserve his son out of those who were to perish, but those who were
sent found the son no longer alive, having been the first that suffered;
but Psammenitus himself they conducted to Cambyses, with whom he
afterward lived, without experiencing any violence. And had it not been
suspected that he was planning innovations, he would probably have
recovered Egypt, so as to have the government intrusted to him. For the
Persians are accustomed to honor the sons of kings, and even if they
have revolted from them, sometimes bestow the government upon their
children. Psammenitus, devising mischief, received his reward, for he
was discovered inciting the Egyptians to revolt; and when he was
detected by Cambyses he was compelled to drink the blood of a bull, and
died immediately.

Cambyses proceeded from Memphis to the city of Sais, and entering the
palace of Amasis, commanded the dead body of Amasis to be brought out of
the sepulchre; he gave orders then to scourge it, to pull off the hair,
to prick it, and to abuse it in every possible manner. But when they
were wearied with this employment, for the dead body, since it was
embalmed, resisted, and did not at all fall in pieces, Cambyses gave
orders to burn it, commanding what is impious. For to burn the dead is
on no account allowed by either nation: not by the Persians, for they
consider fire to be a god, and say it is not right to offer to a god the
dead body of a man; nor by the Egyptians, as fire is held by them to be
a living beast, which devours every thing it can lay hold of, and when
it is glutted with food it expires with what it has consumed; therefore,
as it is their law on no account to give a dead body to wild beasts, for
that reason they embalm them, that they may not lie and be eaten by

Cambyses determined to send to Elephantine for some of the Ichthyophagi,
who understood the Ethiopian language, that he might despatch them as
spies to Ethiopia. When the Ichthyophagi came, he despatched them to the
Ethiopians, having instructed them what to say, carrying presents,
consisting of a purple cloak, a golden necklace, bracelets, an alabaster
box of ointment, and a cask of palm wine. These Ethiopians, to whom
Cambyses sent, are said to be the tallest and handsomest of all men; and
have customs different from those of other nations, especially with
regard to the regal power; for they confer the sovereignty upon the man
whom they consider to be of the largest stature, and to possess strength
proportionate to his size.

When the Ichthyophagi arrived among this people, they gave the presents
to the king, and addressed him as follows: "Cambyses, King of the
Persians, desirous of becoming your friend and ally, has sent us to
confer with you, and he presents you with these gifts, which are such as
he himself most delights in." But the Ethiopian, knowing that they came
as spies, spoke thus to them: "Neither has the king of the Persians sent
you with presents to me, because he valued my alliance; nor do you speak
the truth; for ye are come as spies of my kingdom. Nor is he a just man;
for if he were just, he would not desire any other territory than his
own; nor would he reduce people into servitude who have done him no
injury. However, give him this bow, and say these words to him: 'The
king of the Ethiopians advises the king of the Persians, when the
Persians can thus easily draw a bow of this size, then to make war on
the Macrobian Ethiopians with more numerous forces; but until that time
let him thank the gods, who have not inspired the sons of the Ethiopians
with a desire of adding another land to their own.'" Having spoken thus
and unstrung the bow, he delivered it to the comers. Then taking up the
purple cloak, he asked what it was, and how made; and when the
Ichthyophagi told him the truth respecting the purple, and the manner of
dyeing, he said that the men are deceptive, and their garments are
deceptive also. Next he inquired about the necklace and bracelets, and
when the Ichthyophagi explained to him their use as ornaments, the king,
laughing, and supposing them to be fetters, said that they have stronger
fetters than these. Thirdly, he inquired about the ointment; and when
they told him about its composition and use, he made the same remark as
he had on the cloak. But when he came to the wine, and inquired how it
was made, being very much delighted with the draught, he further asked
what food the king made use of, and what was the longest age to which a
Persian lived. They answered, that he fed on bread, describing the
nature of wheat; and that the longest period of the life of a Persian
was eighty years. Upon this the Ethiopian said, that he was not at all
surprised if men who fed on earth lived so few years; and he was sure
they would not be able to live even so many years, if they did not
refresh themselves with this beverage, showing the wine to the
Ichthyophagi: for in this he admitted they were surpassed by the
Persians. The Ichthyophagi inquiring in turn of the king concerning the
life and diet of the Ethiopians, he said, that most of them attained to
a hundred and twenty years, and some even exceeded that term, and that
their food was boiled flesh, and their drink milk. When the spies
expressed their astonishment at the number of years, he led them to a
fountain, by washing in which they became more sleek, as if it had been
of oil, and an odor proceeded from it as of violets. The water of this
fountain, the spies said, is so weak, that nothing is able to float upon
it, neither wood, nor such things as are lighter than wood; but every
thing sinks to the bottom. If this water is truly such as it is said to
be, it may be they are long-lived by reason of the abundant use of it.
Leaving this fountain, he conducted them to the common prison, where all
were fettered with golden chains; for among these Ethiopians bronze is
the most rare and precious of all metals. After this, they visited last
of all their sepulchres, which are said to be prepared from crystal in
the following manner. When they have dried the body, either as the
Egyptians do, or in some other way, they plaster it all over with
gypsum, and paint it, making it as much as possible to resemble real
life; they then put round it a hollow column made of crystal, which they
dig up in abundance, and is easily wrought. The body being in the middle
of the column is plainly seen, and it does not emit an unpleasant smell,
nor is it in any way offensive; and it is all visible[16] as the body
itself. The nearest relations keep the column in their houses for a
year, offering to it the first-fruits of all, and performing sacrifices;
after that time they carry it out and place it somewhere near the city.

When the spies returned home and reported all that had passed, Cambyses,
in a great rage, immediately marched against the Ethiopians, without
making any provision for the subsistence of his army, or once
considering that he was going to carry his arms to the remotest parts of
the world; but, as a madman, and not in possession of his senses, as
soon as he heard the report of the Icthyophagi, he set out on his march,
ordering the Greeks who were present to stay behind, and taking with him
all his land forces. When the army reached Thebes, he detached about
fifty thousand men, and ordered them to reduce the Ammonians to slavery,
and to burn the oracular temple of Jupiter, while he with the rest of
his army marched against the Ethiopians. But before the army had passed
over a fifth part of the way, all the provisions that they had were
exhausted, and the beasts of burden themselves were eaten. Now if
Cambyses had at this juncture altered his purpose, and had led back his
army, he would have proved himself to be a wise man. But he obstinately
continued advancing. The soldiers supported life by eating herbs as long
as they could gather any from the ground; but when they reached the
sands, some of them had recourse to a dreadful expedient, for taking one
man in ten by lot, they devoured him: when Cambyses heard this, shocked
at their eating one another, he abandoned his expedition against the
Ethiopians, marched back and reached Thebes, after losing a great part
of his army. From Thebes he went down to Memphis, and suffered the
Greeks to sail away. Thus ended the expedition against the Ethiopians.
Those who had been sent against the Ammonians, after having set out from
Thebes, under the conduct of guides, are known to have reached the city
Oasis, which is inhabited by Samians, distant seven days' march from
Thebes, across the sands. This country in the Greek language is called
the Island of the Blessed. But afterward none, except the Ammonians and
those who have heard their report, are able to give any account of them;
for they neither reached the Ammonians, nor returned back. But the
Ammonians make the following report: When they had advanced from this
Oasis toward them across the sands, and were about half-way between them
and Oasis, as they were taking dinner, a vehement south wind blew,
carrying with it heaps of sand, and completely destroyed the whole army.


When Cambyses arrived at Memphis, Apis, whom the Greeks call Epaphus,
appeared to the Egyptians; and when this manifestation took place, the
Egyptians immediately put on their richest apparel, and kept festive
holiday. Cambyses, seeing them thus occupied, and concluding that they
made these rejoicings on account of his ill success, summoned the
magistrates of Memphis; and when they came into his presence, he asked
"why the Egyptians had done nothing of the kind when he was at Memphis
before, but did so now, when he had returned with the loss of a great
part of his army." They answered, that their god appeared to them, who
was accustomed to manifest himself at intervals, and that when he did
appear, then all the Egyptians were accustomed to rejoice and keep a
feast. Cambyses, having heard this, said they were liars, and put them
to death. Then he summoned the priests into his presence, and when the
priests gave the same account, he said, that he would find out whether a
god so tractable had come among the Egyptians; and commanded the priests
to bring Apis to him. This Apis, or Epaphus, the Egyptians say, is the
calf of a cow upon which the lightning has descended from heaven. It is
black, and has a square spot of white on the forehead; on the back the
figure of an eagle; and in the tail double hairs; and on the tongue a
beetle. When the priests brought Apis, Cambyses, like one almost out of
his senses, drew his dagger, meaning to strike the belly of Apis, but
hit the thigh; then falling into a fit of laughter, he said to the
priests: "Ye blockheads, are there such gods as these, consisting of
blood and flesh, and sensible of steel? This, truly, is a god worthy of
the Egyptians. But you shall not mock me with impunity." Then he gave
orders to scourge the priests, and kill all the Egyptians who should be
found feasting. Apis, wounded in the thigh, lay and languished in the
temple; and at length, when he had died of the wound, the priests buried
him without the knowledge of Cambyses.

But Cambyses, as the Egyptians say, immediately became mad in
consequence of this atrocity, though he really was not of sound mind
before. His first crime he committed against his brother Smerdis, who
was born of the same father and mother; him he sent back from Egypt to
Persia through envy, because he alone of all the Persians had drawn the
bow, which the Ichthyophagi brought from the Ethiopian, within two
fingers' breadth; of the other Persians no one was able to do this.
After the departure of Smerdis for Persia, Cambyses saw the following
vision in his sleep: he imagined that a messenger arrived from Persia
and informed him that Smerdis was seated on the royal throne, and
touched the heavens with his head. Upon this, fearing for himself, lest
his brother should kill him, and reign, he sent Prexaspes, the most
faithful to him of the Persians, to Persia, with orders to kill Smerdis.
Having gone up to Susa, he killed Smerdis; some say, when he had taken
him out to hunt; but others, that he led him to the Red Sea and drowned
him. This they say was the first of the crimes of Cambyses; the second
was that of marrying his own sister, who had accompanied him into Egypt.

The Greeks say, that one day Cambyses made the whelp of a lion fight
with a young dog; and this wife was also looking on; the dog being
over-matched, another puppy of the same litter broke his chain, and came
to his assistance, and thus the two dogs united got the better of the
whelp. Cambyses was delighted at the sight, but she, sitting by him,
shed tears. Cambyses, observing this, asked her why she wept. She
answered, that she wept seeing the puppy come to the assistance of his
brother, remembering Smerdis, and knowing that there was no one to
avenge him. The Greeks say, that for this speech she was put to death by
Cambyses. But the Egyptians say, that as they were sitting at table, his
wife took a lettuce, stripped off its leaves, and then asked her husband
"whether the lettuce stripped of its leaves, or thick with foliage, was
the handsomer." He said: "When thick with foliage." Whereupon she
remarked: "Then you have imitated this lettuce, in dismembering the
house of Cyrus." Whereupon he, in rage, kicked her and inflicted such
injuries that she died.

Thus madly did Cambyses behave toward his own family; whether on account
of Apis, or from some other cause, from which, in many ways, misfortunes
are wont to befall mankind. For Cambyses is said, even from infancy, to
have been afflicted with a certain severe malady, which some called the
sacred disease.[17] In that case, it was not at all surprising that,
when his body was so diseased, his mind should not be sound. And toward
the other Persians he behaved madly in the following instances: for it
is reported that he said to Prexaspes, whom he highly honored, and whose
office it was to bring messages to him, whose son was cupbearer to
Cambyses, no trifling honor by any means, he is reported to have said:
"Prexaspes, what sort of a man do the Persians think me? and what
remarks do they make about me?" He answered: "Sir, you are highly
extolled in every other respect, but they say you are too much addicted
to wine." The king enraged cried out: "Do the Persians indeed say that,
by being addicted to wine, I am beside myself, and am not in my senses?
then their former words were not true." For, on a former occasion, when
the Persians and Crœsus were sitting with him, Cambyses asked, what sort
of a man he appeared to be in comparison with his father Cyrus; they
answered, that he was superior to his father, because he held all that
Cyrus possessed, and had acquired besides Egypt and the empire of the
sea. Crœsus, who was not pleased with this decision, spoke thus to
Cambyses: "To me, O son of Cyrus, you do not appear comparable to your
father, for you have not yet such a son as he left behind him." Cambyses
was delighted at hearing this, and commended the judgment of Crœsus. So,
remembering this, he said in anger to Prexaspes: "Observe now yourself,
whether the Persians have spoken the truth, or whether they who say such
things are not out of their senses: for if I shoot that son of yours who
stands under the portico, and hit him in the heart, the Persians will
appear to have said nothing to the purpose; but if I miss, then say that
the Persians have spoken the truth, and that I am not of sound mind."
Having said this, and bent his bow, he hit the boy; and when the boy had
fallen, he ordered them to open him and examine the wound; and when the
arrow was found in the heart, he said to the boy's father, laughing:
"Prexaspes, it has been clearly shown to you that I am not mad, but that
the Persians are out of their senses. Now tell me, did you ever see a
man take so true an aim?" But Prexaspes, perceiving him to be out of his
mind, and being in fear for his own life, said: "Sir, I believe that a
god himself could not have shot so well." At another time, having,
without any just cause, seized twelve Persians of the first rank, he had
them buried alive up to the head.

While he was acting in this manner, Crœsus the Lydian thought fit to
admonish him in the following terms: "O king, do not yield entirely to
your youthful impulses and anger, but possess and restrain yourself. It
is a good thing to be provident, and wise to have forethought. You put
men to death who are your own subjects, having seized them without any
just cause; and you slay their children. If you persist in such a
course, beware lest the Persians revolt from you. Your father Cyrus
strictly charged me to admonish you, and suggest whatever I might
discover for your good." He thus manifested his good-will, in giving
this advice; but Cambyses answered: "Do you presume to give me advice,
you, who so wisely managed your own country; and so well advised my
father, when you persuaded him to pass the river Araxes, and advance
against the Massagetæ, when they were willing to cross over into our
territory? You have first ruined yourself by badly governing your own
country, and then ruined Cyrus, who was persuaded by your advice. But
you shall have no reason to rejoice; for I have long wanted to find a
pretext against you." So saying, he took up his bow for the purpose of
shooting him; but Crœsus jumped up and ran out. Cambyses, unable to
shoot him, commanded his attendants to seize him, and put him to death.
But the attendants, knowing his temper, concealed Crœsus for the
following reason, that if Cambyses should repent, and inquire for
Crœsus, they, by producing him, might receive rewards for preserving him
alive; or if he should not repent, or sorrow for him, then they would
put him to death. Not long afterward Cambyses did regret the loss of
Crœsus, whereupon the attendants acquainted him that he was still
living; on which Cambyses said: "I am rejoiced that Crœsus is still
alive; they, however, who disobeyed my orders and saved him, shall not
escape with impunity, but I will have them put to death." And he made
good his word.

He committed many such mad actions, both against the Persians and his
allies, while he stayed at Memphis opening ancient sepulchres, and
examining the dead bodies; he also entered the temple of Vulcan, and
derided the image, for the image of Vulcan is very much like the
Phœnician Pataici, which the Phœnicians place at the prows of their
triremes, and is a representation of a pigmy. He likewise entered the
temple of the Cabeiri, (into which it is unlawful for any one except the
priest to enter) and these images he burnt, after he had ridiculed them
in various ways: these also are like that of Vulcan; and they say that
they are the sons of this latter. It is in every way clear to me that
Cambyses was outrageously mad; otherwise he would not have attempted to
deride sacred things and established customs. For if any one should
propose to all men, to select the best institutions of all that exist,
each, after considering them all, would choose his own; so certain is it
that each thinks his own institutions by far the best. It is not
therefore probable, that any but a madman would make such things the
subject of ridicule. That all men are of this mind respecting their own
institutions may be inferred from many proofs, but is well illustrated
by the following incident: Darius once summoned some Greeks under his
sway, and asked them "for what sum they would feed upon the dead bodies
of their parents." They answered, that they would not do it for any sum.
Then Darius called to him some of the Indians called Callatians, who are
accustomed to eat their parents, and asked them, in the presence of the
Greeks, "for what sum they would consent to burn their fathers when they
die." But they made loud exclamations and begged he would speak words of
good omen. Such then is the effect of custom: and Pindar appears to me
to have said rightly "that custom is the king of all men."

[Illustration: ATTACK ON FORT.]

Whilst Cambyses was invading Egypt, the Lacedæmonians made an expedition
against Polycrates, who had made an insurrection and seized on Samos. At
first, having divided the state into three parts, he had shared it with
his brothers Pantagnotus and Syloson; but afterward, having put one of
them to death, and expelled Syloson, the younger, he held the whole of
Samos, and made a treaty of friendship with Amasis, King of Egypt,
sending presents, and receiving others from him in return. In a very
short time the power of Polycrates increased, and was noised abroad
throughout Ionia and the rest of Greece; for wherever he turned his
arms, everything turned out prosperously. He had a hundred fifty-oared
galleys, and a thousand archers. And he plundered all without
distinction; for he said that he gratified a friend more by restoring
what he had seized, than by taking nothing at all. He accordingly took
many of the islands, and many cities on the continent; he moreover
overcame in a sea-fight, and took prisoners, the Lesbians, who came to
assist the Milesians with all their forces; these, being put in chains,
dug the whole trench that surrounds the walls of Samos.

The Lacedæmonians, arriving with a great armament, besieged Samos,
attacked the fortifications, and passed beyond the tower that faced the
sea near the suburbs; but afterward, when Polycrates himself advanced
with a large force, they were driven back, and after forty days had been
spent in besieging Samos, finding their affairs were not at all
advanced, they returned to Peloponnesus; though a groundless report got
abroad, that Polycrates coined a large quantity of the money of the
country in lead, had it gilt, and gave it to them; whereupon they took
their departure. This was the first expedition that the Lacedæmonian
Dorians undertook against Asia.

Those of the Samians who had fomented the war against Polycrates set
sail for Siphnus when the Lacedæmonians were about to abandon them, for
they were in want of money. The Siphnians were at that time the richest
of all the islanders, having such gold and silver mines, that from the
tenth of the money accruing from them, a treasure was laid up at Delphi
equal to the richest; and they used every year to divide the product of
the mines. When they established this treasure, they asked the oracle,
whether their present prosperity would continue with them for a long
time; but the Pythian answered as follows: "When the Prytaneum in
Siphnus shall be white, and the market white-fronted, then shall there
be need of a prudent man to guard against a wooden ambush and a crimson
herald." The market and Prytaneum of the Siphnians were then adorned
with Parian marble. As soon as the Samians reached Siphnus, they sent
ambassadors to the city in a ship which, like all ships at that time,
was painted red. And this was what the Pythian meant by a wooden ambush
and a crimson herald. These ambassadors requested the Siphnians to lend
them ten talents; the Siphnians refused the loan, and the Samians
proceeded to ravage their territory. The Siphnians were beaten, and
compelled to give a hundred talents.

[Illustration: THE OBELISK.]

I have dwelt longer on the affairs of the Samians, because they have the
three greatest works that have been accomplished by all the Greeks. The
first is a mountain, one hundred and fifty orgyæ in height, in which is
dug a tunnel, beginning from the base, with an opening at each side. The
length of the excavation is seven stades, and the height and breadth
eight feet each; through the whole length of it is dug another
excavation twenty cubits deep, and three feet broad, through which the
water conveyed by pipes reaches the city, drawn from a copious fountain.
The architect of this excavation was a Megarian, Eupalinus, son of
Naustrophus. The second work is a mound in the sea round the harbor, in
depth about one hundred orgyæ; and in length more than two stades. The
third is a temple, the largest of all we have ever seen; of this, the
architect was Rhœcus, son of Phileus, a native.



While Cambyses, son of Cyrus, tarried in Egypt, and was acting madly,
two magi, who were brothers, revolted. One of these, Cambyses had left
steward of his palace, the other was a person very much like Smerdis,
son of Cyrus, whom Cambyses, his own brother, had put to death. The
magus Patizithes, having persuaded this man that he would manage every
thing for him, set him on the throne; and sent heralds in various
directions, particularly to Egypt, to proclaim to the army, that they
must in future obey Smerdis, son of Cyrus, and not Cambyses. The herald
who was appointed to Egypt, finding Cambyses and his army at Ecbatana in
Syria, stood in the midst and proclaimed what had been ordered by the
magus. Cambyses, believing that he spoke the truth, and that he had
himself been betrayed by Prexaspes, and that he, when sent to kill
Smerdis, had not done so, looked toward Prexaspes, and said: "Prexaspes,
hast thou thus performed the business I enjoined upon thee?" But he
answered: "Sire, it is not true that your brother Smerdis has revolted
against you, nor that you can have any quarrel, great or small, with
him. For I myself put your order into execution, and buried him with my
own hands. I think I understand the whole matter, O king: the magi are
the persons who have revolted against you,—Patizithes, whom you left
steward of the palace, and his brother Smerdis." When Cambyses heard the
name of Smerdis, the truth of this account and of the dream struck him:
for he fancied in his sleep that some one announced to him that Smerdis,
seated on the royal throne, touched the heavens with his head.
Perceiving, therefore, that he had destroyed his brother without a
cause, he wept bitterly for him, deplored the whole calamity, and leapt
upon his horse, resolving with all speed to march to Susa against the
magus. But as he was leaping on his horse, the chape of his sword's
scabbard fell off, and the blade, being laid bare, struck the thigh;
wounding him in that part where he himself had formerly smitten the
Egyptian god Apis. Mortally wounded, he asked what was the name of the
city. They said it was Ecbatana. And it had been before prophesied to
him from the city of Buto, that he should end his life in Ecbatana. He
had imagined that he should die an old man in Ecbatana of Media, where
all his treasures were; but the oracle in truth meant in Ecbatana of
Syria. When he had thus been informed of the name of the city, though
smitten by misfortune, he returned to his right mind; and comprehending
the oracle, said: "Here it is fated that Cambyses, son of Cyrus, should

Twenty days later he summoned the principal men of the Persians who were
with him, told them his vision and his great mistake, shed bitter tears,
and charged them never to permit the government to return into the hands
of the Medes. When the Persians saw their king weep, all rent the
garments they had on, and gave themselves up to lamentation. Soon the
bone became infected, the thigh mortified, and Cambyses, son of Cyrus,
died, after he had reigned in all seven years and five months, having
never had any children. Great incredulity stole over the Persians who
were present, as to the story that the magi had possession of the
government, and agreed that it must be Smerdis, son of Cyrus, who had
risen up and seized the kingdom. Prexaspes, moreover, vehemently denied
that he had killed Smerdis; for it was not safe for him, now that
Cambyses was dead, to own that he had killed the son of Cyrus with his
own hand.

The magus, after the death of Cambyses, relying on his having the same
name as Smerdis the son of Cyrus, reigned securely during the seven
months that remained to complete the eighth year of Cambyses; in which
time he treated all his subjects with such beneficence, that at his
death, all the people of Asia, except the Persians, regretted his loss.
For the magus, on assuming the sovereignty, despatched messengers to
every nation he ruled over, and proclaimed a general exemption from
military service and tribute for the space of three years. But in the
eighth month he was discovered in the following manner. Otanes, son of
Pharnaspes, was by birth and fortune equal to the first of the Persians.
This Otanes first suspected the magus not to be Smerdis the son of
Cyrus, from the fact, that he never went out of the citadel, and that he
never summoned any of the principal men of Persia to his presence.
Having conceived suspicion of him, he contrived the following artifice.
Cambyses had married his daughter, whose name was Phædyma; the magus of
course had her as his wife, as well as all the rest of the wives of
Cambyses. Otanes therefore, sending to his daughter, inquired whether
her husband was Smerdis, son of Cyrus, or some other person; she sent
back word to him, saying that she did not know. Otanes sent a second
time, saying: "If you do not yourself know Smerdis, son of Cyrus, then
inquire of Atossa, for she must of necessity know her own brother." To
this his daughter replied: "I can neither have any conversation with
Atossa, nor see any of the women who used to live with me; for as soon
as this man, whoever he is, succeeded to the throne, he dispersed us
all, assigning us separate apartments." When Otanes heard this, the
matter appeared much more plain; and he sent a third message to her in
these words: "Daughter, it becomes you, being of noble birth, to
undertake any peril that your father may require you to incur. For if
this Smerdis is not the son of Cyrus, but the person whom I suspect, it
is not fit that he should escape with impunity, but suffer the
punishment due to his offences. Now follow my directions: watch your
opportunity, and whenever you discover him to be sound asleep, touch his
ears; and if you find he has ears, be assured that he is Smerdis, son of
Cyrus; but if he has none, then he is Smerdis the magus." To this
message Phædyma answered, saying "that she should incur very great
danger by doing so; for he kept the sides of his head concealed, and if
he had no ears, and she should be discovered touching him, she well knew
that he would put her to death; nevertheless she would make the
attempt." Cyrus, during his reign, had cut off the ears of this Smerdis
the magus, for some grave offence. Phædyma, therefore, determining to
execute all that she had promised her father, catching the magus sound
asleep on his couch one day felt for his ears, and perceiving without
any difficulty that the man had no ears, as soon as it was day, she sent
and made known to her father what the case was.

Thereupon Otanes, having taken with him Aspathines and Gobryas, who were
the noblest of the Persians, and persons on whom he could best rely,
related to them the whole affair; and they agreed that each should
associate with himself a Persian in whom he could place most reliance.
Otanes accordingly introduced Intaphernes; Gobryas, Megabyzus; and
Aspathines, Hydarnes. Just at this time Darius, son of Hystaspes,
arrived at Susa from Persia, where his father was governor, and the six
Persians determined to admit Darius to the confederacy. These seven met,
exchanged pledges with each other, and conferred together. When it came
to the turn of Darius to declare his opinion, he addressed them as
follows: "I thought that I was the only person who knew that it was the
magus who reigns, and that Smerdis, son of Cyrus, is dead; and for this
very reason I hastened hither in order to contrive the death of the
magus. But since it proves that you also are acquainted with the fact,
it appears to me that we should act immediately." Otanes said to this:
"Son of Hystaspes, you are born of a noble father, and show yourself not
at all inferior to him; do not, however, so inconsiderately hasten this
enterprise, but set about it with more caution; for we must increase our
numbers, and then attempt it." Darius replied to this: "Be assured, ye
men who are here present, if you adopt the plan proposed by Otanes, you
will all miserably perish; for some one will discover it to the magus,
consulting his own private advantage; indeed, you ought to have carried
out your project immediately, without communicating it to any one else;
but since you have thought fit to refer it to others, and have disclosed
it to me, let us carry it out this very day, or be assured, that if this
day passes over, no one shall be beforehand with me and become my
accuser, but I myself will denounce you to the magus." Otanes, seeing
Darius so eager, replied: "Since you compel us to precipitate our
enterprise, and will not permit us to defer it, tell us in what way we
are to enter the palace and attack him; for you yourself know that
guards are stationed at intervals; and how shall we pass them?" "There
are many things," said Darius, "that can not be made clear by words, but
may by action; and there are other things that seem practicable in
description, but no signal effect proceeds from them. Be assured that
the guards stationed there will not be at all difficult to pass by: for
in the first place, seeing our rank, there is no one who will not allow
us to pass, partly from respect, and partly from fear; and in the next
place, I have a most specious pretext by which we shall gain admission,
for I will say that I have just arrived from Persia, and wish to report
a message to the king from my father. For when a lie must be told, let
it be told. Whoever of the doorkeepers shall willingly let us pass,
shall be rewarded in due time; but whoever offers to oppose us must
instantly be treated as an enemy." After this Gobryas said: "Friends,
shall we ever have a better opportunity to recover the sovereign power,
or if we shall be unable to do so, to die? seeing we who are Persians,
are governed by an earless Medic magus. Those among you who were present
with Cambyses when he lay sick, well remember the imprecations he
uttered at the point of death against the Persians, if they should not
attempt to repossess themselves of the sovereign power: we did not then
believe this story, but thought that Cambyses spoke from ill-will. I
give my voice that we yield to Darius, and that on breaking up this
conference we go direct to the magus." And all assented to his proposal.

Meantime the magi, on consultation, determined to make Prexaspes their
friend: both because he had suffered grievous wrong from Cambyses, who
shot his son dead with an arrow; and because he alone of all the
Persians knew of the death of Smerdis, son of Cyrus, as he had
despatched him with his own hand; and moreover, Prexaspes was in high
repute with the Persians. Therefore, having sent for Prexaspes, they
endeavored to win his friendship, binding him by pledges and oaths, that
he would never divulge to any man the cheat they had put upon the
Persians, assuring him that in return they would give him every thing
his heart could desire. When Prexaspes had promised that he would do as
the magi wished, they made a second proposal, saying, that they would
assemble all the Persians under the walls of the palace, and desired
that he would ascend a tower, and assure them that they were governed by
Smerdis, son of Cyrus. Prexaspes assented, and the magi, having convoked
the Persians, placed him on the top of a turret, and commanded him to
harangue the people. But he purposely forgot what they desired him to
say, and, beginning from Achæmenes, described the genealogy of Cyrus'
family; told them what great benefits Cyrus had done the Persians; and
finally declared the whole truth, saying that he had before concealed
it, as it was not safe for him to tell what had happened; but that in
the present emergency necessity constrained him to make it known. He
accordingly told them that he, being compelled by Cambyses, had put
Smerdis, son of Cyrus, to death, and that it was the magi who then
reigned. After he had uttered many imprecations against the Persians, if
they should not recover back the sovereign power, and punish the magi,
he threw himself headlong from the tower. Thus died Prexaspes, a man
highly esteemed during the course of his whole life.

[Illustration: MAMELUKE TOMB, CAIRO.]

The seven Persians, resolving to attack the magi without delay, had
offered prayers to the gods, and were in the midst of their way when
they were informed of all that Prexaspes had done, whereupon they again
conferred together; and some, with Otanes, strongly advised to defer the
enterprise while affairs were in such a ferment; but others, with
Darius, urged to proceed at once. While hotly disputing there appeared
seven pairs of hawks pursuing two pairs of vultures, and plucking and
tearing them. The seven, on seeing this, all approved the opinion of
Darius, and forthwith proceeded to the palace, emboldened by the omen.
When they approached the gates, it happened as Darius had supposed; for
the guards, out of respect for men of highest rank among the Persians,
and not suspecting any such design on their part, let them pass by,
moved as they were by divine impulse; nor did any one question them. But
when they reached the hall, they fell in with the eunuchs appointed to
carry in messages, who inquired of them for what purpose they had come;
and at the same time that they questioned them they threatened the
doorkeepers for permitting them to pass, and endeavored to prevent the
seven from proceeding any farther. They instantly drew their daggers,
stabbed all that opposed their passage on the spot, and then rushed to
the men's apartment. The magi happened to be both within at the time,
and were consulting about the conduct of Prexaspes. But seeing the
eunuchs in confusion, and hearing their outcry, they hurried out, and
put themselves on the defensive. One snatched up a bow, and the other a
javelin, and the parties engaged with each other. The one who had taken
up the bow, seeing his enemies were near and pressing upon them, found
it of no use; but the other made resistance with his spear, and first
wounded Aspathines in the thigh, and next Intaphernes in the eye; and
Intaphernes lost his eye from the wound, but did not die. The other
magus, when he found his bow of no service, fled to a chamber adjoining
the men's apartment, purposing to shut to the door, and two of the
seven, Darius and Gobryas, rushed in with him; and as Gobryas was
grappling with the magus, Darius standing by was in perplexity, fearing
that he should strike Gobryas in the dark; but Gobryas, seeing that he
stood by inactive, asked him why he did not use his hand. He answered:
"Fearing for you, lest I should strike you." "Never mind," said Gobryas,
"drive your sword through both of us." Darius obeyed, thrust with his
dagger, and by good fortune hit the magus.

Having slain the magi, and cut off their heads, they left the wounded of
their own party there, as well on account of their exhaustion as to
guard the acropolis; but the other five of them, carrying the heads of
the magi, ran out with shouting and clamor, and called upon the rest of
the Persians, relating what they had done, and showing them the heads;
and at the same time they slew every one of the magi that came in their
way. The Persians, informed of what had been done by the seven, and of
the fraud of the magi, determined themselves also to do the like; and
having drawn their daggers, they slew every magus they could find; and
if the night coming on had not prevented, they would not have left a
single magus alive. This day the Persians observe in common more than
any other, and in it they celebrate a great festival, which they call
"The Slaughter of the Magi." On that day no magus is allowed to be seen
in public.

When the tumult had subsided, and five days had elapsed, those who had
risen up against the magi deliberated on the state of affairs. Otanes
advised that they should commit the government to the Persians at large,
"for," said he, "how can a monarchy be a well-constituted government,
where one man is allowed to do whatever he pleases without control?"
Megabyzus advised them to intrust the government to an oligarchy, and
said: "Let us choose an association of the best men, and commit the
sovereign power to them, for among them we ourselves shall be included,
and it is reasonable to expect that the best counsels will proceed from
the best men." Darius expressed his opinion the third, saying: "What
Megabyzus has said concerning the people was spoken rightly, but if
three forms are proposed, and each the best in its kind, democracy,
oligarchy, and monarchy, I contend that the last is far superior. For
nothing can be found better than one man, who is the best; since acting
upon equally wise plans, he would govern the people without blame, and
would keep his designs most secret from the ill-affected. But in an
oligarchy, whilst many are exerting their energies for the public good,
strong private enmities commonly spring up; for each wishing to be
chief, and to carry his own opinions, they come to deep animosities one
against another, whence seditions arise; and from seditions, murder; and
from murder recourse is always had to a monarchy; and thus it is proved
that this form of government is the best. Also when the people rule, it
is impossible that evil should not spring up, and powerful combinations,
for they who injure the commonwealth act in concert; and this lasts
until some one of the people stands forward and puts them down; and on
this account, being admired by the people, he becomes a monarch; this
again shows that a monarchy is best. Moreover, we should not subvert the
institutions of our ancestors, when we see how good they are."

Four of the seven adhered to this opinion. Then said Otanes:
"Associates, since it is evident that some one of us must be made king,
I will not enter into competition with you; for I wish neither to govern
nor be governed. But on this condition I give up all claim to the
government, that neither I nor any of my posterity may be subject to any
one of you." The six agreed to these terms, and he withdrew from the
assembly; and this family alone, of all the Persians, retains its
liberty to this day, and yields obedience only so far as it pleases, but
without transgressing the laws of the Persians. The rest of the seven
consulted how they might appoint a king on the most equitable terms; and
they determined that Otanes and his posterity forever should be given a
Median vest yearly, by way of distinction, together with all such
presents as are accounted most honorable among the Persians, for he
first advised the enterprise, and associated them together. And they
made the resolution that every one of the seven should have liberty to
enter into the palace without being introduced, and that the king should
not be allowed to marry a wife out of any other family than of the
conspirators. With regard to the kingdom, they determined that he whose
horse should first neigh in the suburbs at sunrise, while they were
mounted, should have the kingdom.

Darius had a groom, a shrewd man, whose name was Œbares, to whom, when
the assembly had broken up, Darius said: "Œbares, we have determined
that he whose horse shall neigh first at sunrise, when we ourselves are
mounted, is to have the kingdom. Now, if you have any ingenuity,
contrive that I may obtain this honor, and not another." Œbares
answered: "If, sir, it depends on this, whether you shall be king or
not, keep up your spirits; for no one else shall be king before you; I
know a trick that will make him neigh." At dawn of day, the six, as they
had agreed, met together on horseback; and as they were riding round the
suburbs, Darius' horse, at the signal from Œbares, ran forward and
neighed, and at that instant lightning and thunder came from a clear
sky. These things consummated the auspices, as if done by appointment,
and the others, dismounting from their horses, did obeisance to Darius
as king.


Accordingly Darius, son of Hystaspes, was declared king, and all the
people of Asia, except the Arabians, were subject to him. The Arabians
never submitted to the Persian yoke, but were on friendly terms, and
gave Cambyses a free passage into Egypt; for without the consent of the
Arabians the Persians could not have penetrated into Egypt. Darius
contracted his first marriages with Persians; he married two daughters
of Cyrus, Atossa and Artystona; Atossa, you remember, had been before
married to her brother Cambyses, and afterward to the magus. He married
another also, daughter of Smerdis, son of Cyrus, whose name was Parmys;
and he had besides, the daughter of Otanes who detected the magus. His
power was fully established on all sides. He erected a stone statue,
representing a man on horseback; and he had engraved on it the following
inscription: "Darius, son of Hystaspes, by the sagacity of his horse,
(here mentioning the name,) and by the address of Œbares, his groom,
obtained the empire of the Persians." In Persia, he constituted twenty
governments, which they call satrapies; set governors over them, and
appointed tributes to be paid to him from each. In consequence of this
imposition of tribute, and other things of a similar kind, the Persians
say Darius was a trader, Cambyses a master, and Cyrus a father. The
first, because he made profit of every thing; the second, because he was
severe and arrogant; the last, because he was mild, and always aimed at
the good of his people. If the total of all his revenues is computed
together, fourteen thousand five hundred and sixty Euboic talents were
collected by Darius as an annual tribute,[18] passing over many small
sums which I do not mention. This tribute accrued to Darius from Asia
and a small part of Libya; but in the course of time another revenue
accrued from the islands, and the inhabitants of Europe as far as
Thessaly. This treasure the king melts and pours into earthen jars, and
knocking away the earthen mould when he wants money he cuts off as much
as he has occasion to use.

The Cilicians were required to send each year to Darius three hundred
and sixty white horses, one for every day. The Persian territory alone
was not subject to tribute; but the Persians brought gifts. The
Ethiopians bordering on Egypt, whom Cambyses subdued when he marched
against the Macrobian Ethiopians, and who dwell about the sacred city of
Nysa, celebrate festivals of Bacchus, use the same grain as the
Calantian Indians, and live in subterraneous dwellings. These brought
every third year two chœnices of unmolten gold, two hundred blocks of
ebony, five Ethiopian boys, and twenty large elephants' tusks.



That part of India toward the rising sun is all sand; for of the people
with whom we are acquainted, and of whom any thing certain is told, the
Indians live the farthest toward the east of all the inhabitants of
Asia; and the Indians' country toward the east is a desert, by reason of
the sands. There are many nations of Indians, and they do not all speak
the same language; some of them are nomads, and they inhabit the marshes
of the river, and feed on raw fish, which they take going out in boats
made of bamboo, one joint of which makes a boat. These Indians wear a
garment made of rushes cut from the river, beaten flat, platted like a
mat, and worn as a corselet. Other Indians, living to the east of these,
are nomads, and eat raw flesh; they are called Padæans. When any one of
this community is sick, if it be a man, the men who are his nearest
connections put him to death, alleging that if he wasted by disease his
flesh would be spoiled; and no matter if he denies that he is sick, they
are not likely to agree with him, but kill and feast upon him. And if a
woman be sick, the women who are most intimate with her do the same as
the men. And whoever reaches to old age, they sacrifice and feast upon;
but few among them succeed in growing old, for before that, every one
that falls into any distemper is put to death. Other Indians have
different customs: they neither kill any thing that has life, nor sow
any thing, nor are they wont to have houses, but they live upon herbs,
and have a grain of the size of millet, in a pod, which springs
spontaneously from the earth; this they gather, and boil and eat it with
the pod. When any one of them falls ill, he goes and lies down in the
desert, and no one takes any thought about him, whether dead or sick.
All these Indians whom I have mentioned have a complexion closely
resembling the Ethiopians. They are situated very far from the Persians,
toward the south, and were never subject to Darius.

Those who border on the city of Caspatyrus and the country of Pactyica
are the most warlike of the Indians, and these are they who are sent to
procure the gold. In this desert, and in the sand, there are ants in
size somewhat less indeed than dogs, but larger than foxes. Some of them
which were taken there, are in the possession of the king of the
Persians. These ants, forming their habitations under ground, heap up
the sand, as the ants in Greece do, and in the same manner; and they are
very much like them in shape. The sand thus heaped up is mixed with
gold. The Indians go to the desert to get this sand, each man having
three camels, on either side a male harnessed to draw by the side, and a
female in the middle; this last the man mounts himself, having taken
care to yoke one that has been separated from her young as recently born
as possible; for camels are not inferior to horses in swiftness, and are
much better able to carry burdens. What kind of figure the camel has I
shall not describe to the Greeks, as they are acquainted with it; but
what is not known respecting it I will mention. A camel has four thighs
and four knees in his hinder legs. The Indians then, adopting such a
plan of harnessing, set out for the gold, having before calculated the
time, so as to be engaged in their plunder during the hottest part of
the day, for during the heat the ants hide themselves under ground.
Amongst these people the sun is hottest in the morning, and not, as with
us, at mid-day; during this time it scorches much more than at mid-day
in Greece; so that, it is said, they then refresh themselves in water.
But as the day declines, the sun becomes to them as it is in the morning
to others; and after this, as it proceeds it becomes still colder, until
sunset, then it is very cold. When the Indians arrive at the spot with
their sacks, they fill them with the sand, and return as fast as
possible. For the ants, as the Persians say, immediately discovering
them by the smell, pursue them, and they are equalled in swiftness by no
other animal, so that if the Indians did not get the start of the ants
while they were assembling, not a man of them could be saved. Now the
male camels (for they are inferior in speed to the females) would
otherwise slacken their pace, dragging on, not both equally; but the
females, mindful of the young they have left, do not slacken their pace.
Thus the Indians obtain the greatest part of their gold.

[Illustration: MILITARY DRUM.]

The extreme parts of the inhabited world somehow possess the most
excellent products; while Greece enjoys by far the best-tempered
climate. In India, the farthest part of the inhabited world toward the
east, all animals, both quadrupeds and birds, are much larger than they
are in other countries, with the exception of horses; in this respect
they are surpassed by the Medic breed called the Nysæan horses. Then
there is an abundance of gold there, partly dug, partly brought down by
the rivers, and partly seized in the manner I have described. And
certain wild trees there bear wool instead of fruit, which in beauty and
quality excels that of sheep; and the Indians make their clothing from
these trees. Again, Arabia is the farthest of inhabited countries toward
the south; and this is the only region in which grow frankincense,
myrrh, cassia, cinnamon, and ledanum. All these, except myrrh, the
Arabians gather with difficulty. The frankincense they gather by burning
styrax, which the Phœnicians import into Greece. Winged serpents, small
in size, and various in form, guard the trees that bear frankincense, a
great number round each tree. These are the same serpents that invade
Egypt. They are driven from the trees by nothing else but the smoke of
the styrax. Vipers are found in all parts of the world; but flying
serpents in Arabia, and nowhere else; there they appear to be very

The Arabians obtain the cassia, which grows in marshes or shallow lakes,
by covering their whole body and face, except the eyes, with hides and
skins, and thus avoiding the attacks of the winged animals, like bats,
which infest the marshes, and screech fearfully, and are exceedingly
fierce. The cinnamon they collect in a still more wonderful manner.
Where it grows and what land produces it they are unable to tell; except
that some say it grows in those countries in which Bacchus was nursed.
Large birds bring those rolls of bark, which we, from the Phœnicians,
call cinnamon, for their nests, which are built with clay, against
precipitous mountains, where there is no access for man. The Arabians,
to surmount this difficulty, cut up into large pieces the limbs of dead
oxen, and asses, and other beasts of burden, carry them to these spots,
lay them near the nests, and retire to a distance. The birds fly down
and carry up the limbs of the beasts to their nests, which not being
strong enough to support the weight, break and fall to the ground. Then
the men, coming up, gather the cinnamon, much of which they export to
other countries. Still more wonderful is the fragrant ledanum. For it is
found sticking like gum to the beards of he-goats, which collect it from
the wood. It is useful for many ointments, and the Arabians burn it very
generally as a perfume. They are famous for their perfumes; and there
breathes from Arabia, as it were, a divine odor. They have two kinds of
sheep worthy of admiration, which are seen nowhere else. One kind has
large tails, not less than three cubits in length, which, if suffered to
trail, would ulcerate, by the tails rubbing on the ground. But every
shepherd knows enough of the carpenter's art to prevent this, for they
make little carts and fasten them under the tails, binding the tail of
each separate sheep to a separate cart. The other kind of sheep have
broad tails, even to a cubit in breadth. Where the meridian declines[19]
toward the setting sun, the Ethiopian territory extends, being the
extreme part of the habitable world. It produces much gold, huge
elephants, wild trees of all kinds, ebony, and men of large stature,
very handsome, and long-lived.

Such are the extremities of Asia and Libya. Concerning the western
extremities of Europe I am unable to speak with certainty, for I do not
admit that there is a river, called by barbarians Eridanus, which
discharges itself into the sea toward the north, from which amber is
said to come; nor am I acquainted with the Cassiterides Islands, whence
our tin comes. For in the first place, the name Eridanus shows that it
is Grecian and not barbarian, and coined by some poet; in the next
place, though I have diligently inquired, I have never been able to hear
from any man who has himself seen it, that there is a sea on that side
of Europe. However, both tin and amber come to us from the remotest
parts. Toward the north of Europe there is evidently a very great
quantity of gold, but how procured I am unable to say with certainty;
though it is said that the Arimaspians, a one-eyed people, steal it from
the griffins. Nor do I believe this, that any men are born with one eye,
and yet in other respects resemble the rest of mankind. However, the
extremities of the world seem to surround and enclose the rest of the
earth, and to possess those productions which we account most excellent
and rare.



Of the seven men that conspired against the magus, it happened that one
of them, Intaphernes, by an act of insolence, lost his life shortly
after the revolution. He wished to enter the palace in order to confer
with Darius; but the door-keeper and the messenger would not let him
pass, saying, that the king was engaged, but Intaphernes, suspecting
they told a falsehood, drew his scimetar, cut off their ears and noses,
and having strung them to straps taken from his bridle, hung them round
their necks, and dismissed them. They presented themselves to the king,
and told him the cause for which they had been so treated. Darius,
fearing lest the six had done this in concert, sent for them, one by
one, and endeavored to discover whether they approved of what had been
done. When he found that Intaphernes had not done this with their
knowledge, he seized Intaphernes himself, and his children, and all his
family, having many reasons to suspect that he, with his relations,
would raise a rebellion against him. And he bound them as for death: but
the wife of Intaphernes, going to the gates of the palace, wept and
lamented aloud; and prevailed on Darius to have compassion on her. He
therefore sent a messenger to say as follows: "Madam, king Darius allows
you to release one of your relations who are now in prison, whichever of
them all you please." She deliberated, and answered: "Since the king
grants me the life of one, I choose my brother from them all." Darius,
wondering at her choice, asked: "Madam, the king inquires the reason
why, leaving your husband and children, you have chosen that your
brother should survive; who is not so near related to you as your
children, and less dear to you than your husband?" "O king," she
answered, "I may have another husband if God will, and other children if
I lose these; but as my father and mother are no longer alive, I cannot
by any means have another brother; for this reason I spoke as I did."
This pleased Darius so well that he granted to her the one whom she
asked, and also her eldest son; all the rest he put to death.

[Illustration: ALPHABET.]

It happened not long after this that Darius, in leaping from his horse
while hunting, twisted his foot with such violence that the ankle-bone
was dislocated. At first thinking he had about him Egyptians who had the
first reputation for skill in the healing art, he made use of their
assistance. But they, by twisting the foot, and using force, made the
evil worse; and from the pain which he felt, Darius lay seven days and
seven nights without sleep. On the eighth day, as he still continued in
a bad state, some one who had before heard at Sardis of the skill of
Democedes the Crotonian, made it known to Darius; and he ordered them to
bring him to him as quickly as possible. They found him among the slaves
altogether neglected; and brought him forward, dragging fetters behind
him, and clothed in rags. As he stood before him, Darius asked him
whether he understood the art. He denied that he did, fearing lest, if
he discovered himself, he should be altogether precluded from returning
to Greece. But he appeared to Darius to dissemble, although he was
skilled in the art; he therefore commanded those who had brought him
thither to bring out whips and goads. Whereupon he owned up, saying that
he did not know it perfectly, but having been intimate with a physician,
he had some poor knowledge of the art. Upon which Darius put himself
under his care, and by using Grecian medicines, and applying lenitives
after violent remedies, he caused him to sleep, and in a little time
restored him to his health, though Darius had begun to despair of ever
recovering the use of his foot. After this cure, Darius presented him
with two pairs of golden fetters; but Democedes asked him, if he
purposely gave him a double evil because he had restored him to health.
Darius, pleased with the speech, introduced him to his wives, with the
remark that this was the man who had saved the king's life; whereupon
each of them dipped a goblet into a chest of gold, and presented it
brimful to Democedes—so munificent a gift, that a servant named Sciton,
following behind, picked up enough staters that fell from the goblets to
make him a rich man.

This Democedes had been so harshly treated at Crotona by his father, who
was of a severe temper, that he left him and went to Ægina; having
settled there, in the first year, though he was unprovided with means,
and had none of the instruments necessary for the exercise of his art,
he surpassed the most skilful of their physicians. In the second year,
the Æginetæ engaged him for a talent out of the public treasury; and in
the third year the Athenians, for a hundred minæ; and in the fourth year
Polycrates, for two talents; thus he came to Samos. From this man the
Crotonian physicians obtained a great reputation; for at this period the
physicians of Crotona were said to be the first throughout Greece, and
the Cyrenæans the second. At the same time the Argives were accounted
the most skilful of the Greeks in the art of music. Democedes, having
completely cured Darius at Susa, had a very large house, and a seat at
the king's table; and he had every thing he could wish for, except the
liberty of returning to Greece. He obtained from the king a pardon for
the Egyptian physicians who first attended the king, and were about to
be empaled, because they had been outdone by a Greek physician; and in
the next place he procured the liberty of a prophet of Elis, who had
attended Polycrates, and lay neglected among the slaves. In short,
Democedes had great influence with the king.

Not long after Atossa, daughter of Cyrus, and wife to Darius, had a
tumor on her breast; after some time it burst, and spread considerably.
As long as it was small, she concealed it, and from delicacy informed no
one of it; when it became dangerous, she sent for Democedes and showed
it to him. He said that he could cure her, but exacted a solemn promise,
that she in return would perform for him whatever he should require of
her, but added that he would ask nothing which might bring disgrace on
her. When therefore he had healed her, and restored her to health,
Atossa, instructed by Democedes, addressed Darius, in the following
words: "O king, you, who possess so great power, sit idle, and do not
add any nation or power to the Persians. It is right that a man who is
both young and master of such vast treasures should render himself
considerable by his actions, that the Persians may know that they are
governed by a man. Two motives should influence you, to such a course:
first, that the Persians may know that it is a worthy man who rules over
them; and secondly, that they may be worn in war, and not tempted by too
much ease to plot against you. You must perform some illustrious action
while you are in the flower of your age; for the mind grows with the
growth of the body, and as it grows old, grows old with it, and dull for
every action." She spoke thus according to her instructions, and he
answered: "Lady, you have mentioned the very things that I myself
propose to do; for I have determined to make a bridge and march from
this continent to the other, against the Scythians; and this shall
shortly be put in execution." Atossa replied: "Give up the thought of
marching first against the Scythians, for they will be in your power
whenever you choose; but take my advice, and lead an army into Greece;
for from the account I have heard, I am anxious to have Lacedæmonian,
Argive, Athenian, and Corinthian attendants: and you have the fittest
man in the world to show and inform you of every thing concerning
Greece; I mean the person who cured your foot." Said Darius: "Well,
since you think I ought to make my first attempt against Greece, I think
it better first to send some Persians thither as spies with the man you
mention; they, when they are informed of and have seen every particular,
will make a report to me; and then, being thoroughly informed, I will
turn my arms against them." No sooner said than done; for as soon as day
dawned, he summoned fifteen eminent Persians, and commanded them to
accompany Democedes along the maritime parts of Greece; and to take care
that Democedes did not escape from them, but they must by all means
bring him back again. He next summoned Democedes himself, and requested
that when he should have conducted the Persians through all Greece, and
shown it to them, to return; he also commanded him to take with him all
his movables as presents to his father and brothers, promising to give
him many times as much instead. Moreover, he said, that for the purpose
of transporting the presents he would give a merchant-ship, filled with
all kinds of precious things, which should accompany him on his voyage.
Now Darius, in my opinion, promised him these things without any
deceitful intention; but Democedes, fearing lest Darius was making trial
of him, received all that was given, without eagerness, but said that he
would leave his own goods where they were, that he might have them on
his return; the merchant-ship he said he would accept.

In Sidon, a city of Phœnicia, they manned two triremes, and with them
also a large trading vessel, laden with all kinds of precious things;
and set sail for Greece. Keeping to the shore, they surveyed the coasts,
and made notes in writing; at length, having inspected the greatest part
of it, and whatever was most remarkable, they proceeded to Tarentum in
Italy. There, out of kindness toward Democedes, Aristophilides, king of
the Tarentines, took off the rudders of the Median ships, and shut up
the Persians as spies. While they were in this condition Democedes went
to Crotona and when he had reached his own home, Aristophilides set the
Persians at liberty, and restored what he had taken from their ships.
The Persians pursuing Democedes, arrived at Crotona, found him in the
public market, and laid hands on him. Some of the Crotonians, dreading
the Persian power, were ready to deliver him up; but others seized the
Persians in turn, and beat them with staves, though they expostulated in
these terms: "Men of Crotona, have a care what you do, you are rescuing
a man who is a runaway from the king; how will king Darius endure to be
thus insulted? How can what you do end well, if you force this man from
us? What city shall we sooner attack than this? What sooner shall we
endeavor to reduce to slavery?" But they could not persuade the
Crotonians; so launching a small boat they sailed back to Asia; nor, as
they were deprived of their guide, did they attempt to explore Greece
any further. At their departure Democedes enjoined them to tell Darius
that he had Milo's daughter affianced to him as his wife, for the name
of Milo, the wrestler, stood high with the king; and on this account it
appears to me that Democedes spared no expense to hasten this marriage,
that he might appear to Darius to be a man of consequence in his own

After these things, king Darius took Samos, first of all the cities,
either Grecian or barbarian, and for the following reason. When
Cambyses, son of Cyrus, invaded Egypt, many Greeks resorted thither;
some, as one may conjecture, on account of trade; others, to serve as
soldiers; others, to view the country. Of these, the last was Syloson,
son of Æaces, brother to Polycrates, and an exile from Samos. The
following piece of good luck befel this Syloson: having put on a scarlet
cloak, he walked in the streets of Memphis; and Darius, who was one of
Cambyses' guard, and as yet a man of no great account, took a fancy to
the cloak, and coming up, wished to purchase it. But Syloson, perceiving
that Darius was very anxious to have the cloak, impelled by a divine
impulse, said: "I will not sell it for any sum, but I will give it you
for nothing, if so it must needs be." Darius accepted his offer with
thanks and took the cloak. Syloson thought afterward that he had lost it
through his good nature, but when, in course of time, Cambyses died, and
the seven rose up against the magus, and of the seven, Darius possessed
the throne, Syloson heard that the kingdom had devolved on the man to
whom he had given his cloak in Egypt on his requesting it; so he went up
to Susa and seated himself at the threshold of the king's palace, and
said he had been a benefactor to Darius. The porter reported it to the
king; who said: "What Greek is my benefactor, to whom I owe a debt of
gratitude, having so lately come to the throne? Scarcely one of them has
as yet come here; nor can I mention any thing that I owe to a Greek.
However, bring him in, that I may know the meaning of what he says." The
porter introduced Syloson, who related the story of the cloak, and said
that he was the person who gave it. "Most generous of men!" exclaimed
the king, "art thou then the man who, when as yet I had no power, made
me a present, small as it was? yet the obligation is the same as if I
were now to receive a thing of great value. In return I will give thee
abundance of gold and silver, so that thou shalt never repent having
conferred a favor on Darius son of Hystaspes." To this Syloson replied:
"O king, give me neither gold nor silver; but recover and give me back
my country, Samos, which now, since my brother Polycrates died by the
hands of Orœtes, a slave of ours has possessed. Give me this without
bloodshed and bondage." Then Darius sent an army under the conduct of
Otanes, one of the seven, with orders to accomplish whatever Syloson
should desire.

Mæandrius held the government of Samos, having had the administration
intrusted to him by Polycrates: though he wished to prove himself the
most just of men, he was unable to effect his purpose. For when the
death of Polycrates was made known to him, he erected an altar to
Jupiter Liberator, and marked round it the sacred enclosure, which is
now in the suburbs. Afterward, he summoned an assembly of all the
citizens, and said: "To me, as you know, the sceptre and all the power
of Polycrates has been intrusted, and I am now able to retain the
government. But what I condemn in another, I will myself, to the utmost
of my ability, abstain from doing. For neither did Polycrates please me
in exercising despotic power over men equal to himself, nor would any
other who should do the like. Now Polycrates has accomplished his fate;
and I, surrendering the government into your hands, proclaim equality to
all. I require, however, that the following remuneration should be
granted to myself; that six talents should be given me out of the
treasures of Polycrates; and in addition, I claim for myself and my
descendants for ever, the priesthood of the temple of Jupiter Liberator,
to whom I have erected an altar, and under whose auspices I restore to
you your liberties." But one of them rising up said, "You forsooth are
not worthy to rule over us, being as you are a base and pestilent
fellow; rather think how you will render an account of the wealth that
you have had the management of." Thus spoke a man of eminence among the
citizens, whose name was Telesarchus. But Mæandrius, perceiving that if
he should lay down the power, some other would set himself up as a
tyrant in his place, no longer thought of laying it down. To which end,
when he had withdrawn to the citadel, sending for each one severally, as
if about to give an account of the treasures, he seized them and put
them in chains. They were kept in confinement; but after this, disease
attacked Mæandrius; and his brother, whose name was Lycaretus, supposing
that he would die, in order that he might the more easily possess
himself of the government of Samos, put all the prisoners to death; for,
as it seems, they were not willing to be free.

When the Persians arrived at Samos, bringing Syloson with them, no one
raised a hand against them, and the partisans of Mæandrius, and
Mæandrius himself, said they were ready to quit the island under a
treaty; and when Otanes had assented to this, and had ratified the
agreement, the principal men of the Persians, having had seats placed
for them, sat down opposite the citadel. The tyrant Mæandrius had a
brother somewhat out of his senses, whose name was Charilaus; he, for
some fault he had committed, was confined in a dungeon; and having at
that time overheard what was doing, and having peeped through his
dungeon, when he saw the Persians sitting quietly down, he shouted and
said that he wished to speak with Mæandrius. Mæandrius commanded him to
be released, and brought into his presence; and as soon as he was
brought there, upbraiding and reviling his brother, he urged him to
attack the Persians, saying: "Me, O vilest of men, who am your own
brother, and have done nothing worthy of bonds, you have bound and
adjudged to a dungeon; but when you see the Persians driving you out and
making you houseless, you dare not avenge yourself, though they are so
easy to be subdued. But if you are in dread of them, lend me your
auxiliaries, and I will punish them for coming here, and I am ready also
to send you out of the island." Mæandrius accepted his offer, as I
think, not that he had reached such a pitch of folly as to imagine that
his own power could overcome that of the king, but rather out of envy to
Syloson, if without a struggle he should possess himself of the city
uninjured. Having therefore provoked the Persians, he wished to make the
Samian power as weak as possible, and then give it up; being well
assured that the Persians, if they suffered any ill-treatment, would be
exasperated against the Samians; and knowing also that he himself had a
safe retreat from the island, whenever he chose, for he had had a secret
passage dug leading from the citadel to the sea. Accordingly Mæandrius
himself sailed away from Samos; but Charilaus armed all the auxiliaries,
threw open the gates, sallied out upon the Persians, who did not expect
any thing of the kind, and slew those of the Persians who were seated in
chairs, and who were the principal men among them. But the rest of the
Persian army came to their assistance, and the auxiliaries, being hard
pressed, were shut up again within the citadel. But Otanes, the general,
when he saw that the Persians had suffered great loss, purposely
neglected to obey the orders which Darius had given him at his
departure, that he should neither kill nor take prisoner any of the
Samians, but deliver the island to Syloson without damage; on the
contrary, he commanded his army to put to death every one they met with,
both man and child alike. Whereupon, one part of the army besieged the
citadel, and the rest killed every one that came in their way, all they
met, as well within the temples as without. Mæandrius in the meantime
sailed to Lacedæmon, and carried with him all his treasures. One day
when he had set out his silver and golden cups, his servants began to
clean them; and he, at the same time, holding a conversation with
Cleomenes, son of Anaxandrides, then king of Sparta, led him on to his
house. When the king saw the cups, he was struck with wonder and
astonishment; upon which Mæandrius bade him take whatever he pleased,
and when Mæandrius had repeated this offer two or three times, Cleomenes
showed himself a man of the highest integrity, for he refused to accept
what was offered; and being informed that by giving to other citizens he
would gain their support, he went to the Ephori, and said that it would
be better for Sparta that this Samian stranger should quit the
Peloponnesus, lest he should persuade him or some other of the Spartans
to become base. They immediately banished Mæandrius by public
proclamation. The Persians, having drawn Samos as with a net, delivered
it to Syloson, utterly destitute of inhabitants. Afterward, however,
Otanes, the general, repeopled it, in consequence of a vision in a dream.

Whilst the naval armament was on its way to Samos, the Babylonians
revolted, having very well prepared themselves. For during all the time
the magus reigned, and the seven were rising up against him, they had
made preparations for a siege, and somehow in the confusion this had
escaped observation. But when they openly revolted they resorted to this
extraordinary means of husbanding their resources: gathering together
all the women, except their mothers, and one woman apiece, besides, whom
each one chose from his own family, they strangled them; the one woman
each man selected to cook his food, and they strangled the rest, that
they might not consume their provisions. When Darius was informed of
this, he collected all his forces, and marched against Babylon. But upon
laying siege to them he found that they were not at all solicitous about
the event, for the Babylonians mounted the ramparts, and danced, and
derided Darius and his army, and cried: "Why sit ye there, Persians?
will ye not be off? It will be a long day before you will take us."

When the nineteenth month of the siege had passed, Zopyrus, son of that
Megabyzus, who was one of the seven who dethroned the magus, went to
Darius and asked him whether he deemed the taking of Babylon of very
great importance. Learning that he valued it at a high price, he went
away and inflicted on himself an irremediable mutilation, for he cut off
his nose and ears, chopped his hair in a disgraceful manner, scourged
himself, and then presented himself before Darius. The latter was very
much grieved when he beheld a man of high rank so mutilated, and
starting from his throne, he shouted aloud and asked who had mutilated
him, and for what cause. He answered: "O King, there is no man except
yourself who could have power to treat me thus; no stranger has done it,
but I myself, deeming it a great indignity that the Assyrians should
deride the Persians." "Foolish man," said Darius, "because you are
mutilated, will the enemy sooner submit? Have you lost your senses, that
you have thus ruined yourself?" "If I had communicated to you what I was
about to do," he answered, "you would not have permitted me, but now, if
you are not wanting to your own interests, we shall take Babylon. For I,
as I am, will desert to the city, and will tell them that I have been
thus treated by you; and I think that when I have persuaded them that
such is the case, I shall obtain the command of their army. Do you then,
on the tenth day after I shall have entered the city, station a thousand
men of that part of your army whose loss you would least regret over
against the gates called after Semiramis; again, on the seventh day
after the tenth, station two thousand more against the gate called from
Nineveh; and from the seventh day let an interval of twenty days elapse,
and then place four thousand more against the gate called from the
Chaldæans; but let them carry no defensive arms except swords. After the
twentieth day, command the rest of the army to invest the wall on all
sides, but station the Persians for me at those called the Belidian and
Cissian gates; for, as I think, when I have performed great exploits,
the Babylonians will intrust every thing to me, and, moreover, the keys
of the gates, and then it will be mine and the Persians' care to do what
remains to be done."


Having given these injunctions, he went to the gates, turning round as
if he were really a deserter. Those who were stationed in that quarter,
seeing him from the turrets, ran down and opened one door of the gate a
little, and asked him who he was, and for what purpose he came. He told
them that he was Zopyrus, and had deserted to them: the door-keepers
then conducted him to the assembly of the Babylonians, and standing
before them he deplored his condition, saying that he had suffered from
Darius these injuries, and that he was so treated because he had advised
to raise the siege, since there appeared no means of taking the city.
"Now, therefore," he said, "I come to you, O Babylonians, as your
greatest blessing; and to Darius, his army, and the Persians, the
greatest mischief; for he shall not escape with impunity, having thus
mutilated me; and I am acquainted with all his designs." And the
Babylonians, seeing a man of distinction among the Persians deprived of
his ears and nose, and covered with stripes and blood, thoroughly
believing that he spoke the truth, and that he had come as an ally to
them, were ready to intrust him with whatever he should ask; and he,
having obtained the command of the forces, acted as he had preconcerted
with Darius; for on the tenth he led out the army of the Babylonians,
and surrounded the thousand whom he had instructed Darius to station
there, and cut them all in pieces. Then the Babylonians, perceiving that
he performed deeds such as he promised, were ready to obey him in every
thing. He then suffered the appointed number of days to elapse, and
again selected a body of Babylonians, led them out, and slaughtered the
two thousand of Darius' soldiers. The Babylonians witnessing this action
also, all had the praises of Zopyrus on their tongues. Then he again,
after the appointed number of days had elapsed, led out his troops
according to the settled plan, surrounded the four thousand, and cut
them in pieces. And when he had accomplished this, Zopyrus was every
thing to the Babylonians, and was appointed commander-in-chief and
guardian of the walls. But when Darius, according to agreement, invested
the wall all round, then Zopyrus discovered his whole treachery; for
while the Babylonians, mounting the wall, repelled the army of Darius
that was attacking them, Zopyrus opened the Cissian and Belidian gates
and led the Persians within the wall. Those of the Babylonians who saw
what was done, fled into the temple of Jupiter Belus; and those who did
not see it, remained each at his post, until they also discovered that
they had been betrayed.


Thus Babylon was taken a second time. But when Darius had made himself
master of the Babylonians, first of all, he demolished the walls and
bore away all the gates, for when Cyrus had taken Babylon before, he did
neither of these things; and secondly, Darius impaled about three
thousand of the principal citizens, and allowed the rest of the
Babylonians to inhabit the city. And that the Babylonians might have
wives to take the place of those they had strangled, Darius ordered the
neighboring provinces to send women to Babylon, taxing each at a certain
number, so that a total of fifty thousand women came together; and from
these the Babylonians of our time are descended. No Persian, in the
opinion of Darius, either of those who came after, or who lived before,
surpassed Zopyrus in great achievements, Cyrus only excepted; for with
him no Persian ever ventured to compare himself. It is also reported
that Darius frequently expressed this opinion, that he would rather
Zopyrus had not suffered such ignominious treatment than acquire twenty
Babylons in addition to that he had. And he honored him exceedingly; for
he every year presented him with those gifts which are most prized by
the Persians, and he assigned him Babylon to hold free from taxes during
his life.

[16] The Egyptian mummies could only be seen in front, the back being
covered by a box or coffin; the Ethiopian bodies could be seen all
round, as the column of glass was transparent.

[17] Epilepsy.

[18] Nearly $18,000,000 in all.

[19] That is, "southwest."




After the capture of Babylon, Darius made an expedition against the
Scythians, for as Asia was flourishing in men, and large revenues came
in, Darius was desirous of revenging himself upon the Scythians, because
they had formerly invaded the Median territory, and defeated in battle
those that opposed them. For the Scythians ruled over Upper Asia for
twenty-eight years. But when those Scythians returned to their own
country, after such an interval, a task no less than the invasion of
Media awaited them; for they found an army of no inconsiderable force
ready to oppose them; the wives of the Scythians, seeing their husbands
were a long time absent, had married their slaves. The Scythians deprive
all their slaves of sight for the sake of the milk which they drink,
doing as follows: when they have taken bone tubes very like flutes, they
thrust them into the veins of the mares, and blow with their mouth;
while some blow, others milk. They say they do this because the veins of
the mare, being inflated, become filled, and the udder is depressed.
When they have finished milking, they pour the milk into hollow wooden
vessels, and having placed the blind men round about the vessels, they
agitate the milk: then they skim off that which swims on the surface,
considering it the most valuable, but that which subsides is of less
value than the other. On this account the Scythians put out the eyes of
every prisoner they take; for they are not agriculturists, but feeders
of cattle. From these slaves then and the women a race of youths had
grown up, who, when they knew their own extraction, opposed those who
were returning from Media. And first they cut off the country by digging
a wide ditch, stretching from Mount Taurus to the lake Mæotis, which is
of great extent, and afterward encamping opposite, they came to an
engagement with the Scythians, who were endeavoring to enter. When
several battles had been fought, and the Scythians were unable to obtain
any advantage, one of them said: "Men of Scythia, what are we doing? by
fighting with our slaves not only are we ourselves by being slain
becoming fewer in number, but by killing them we shall hereafter have
fewer to rule over. So it seems to me that we should lay aside our
spears and bows, and that every one, taking a horsewhip, should go
directly to them; for so long as they saw us with arms, they considered
themselves equal to us, and born of equal birth; but when they shall see
us with our whips instead of arms, they will soon learn that they are
our slaves, and will no longer resist." The Scythians adopted the advice
on the spot; and the slaves, struck with astonishment, forgot to fight,
and fled.

As the Scythians say, theirs is the most recent of all nations. The
first man that appeared in this country, which was a wilderness, was
named Targitaus; they say that the parents of this Targitaus, in my
opinion relating what is incredible, were Jupiter and a daughter of the
river Borysthenes; and that Targitaus had three sons, who went by the
names of Lipoxais, Apovais, and Colaxais; that during their reign a
plough, a yoke, an axe, and a bowl of golden workmanship, dropping down
from heaven, fell on the Scythian territory; that the eldest, seeing
them first, approached, intending to take them up, but as he came near,
the gold began to burn; when he had retired the second went up, and it
did the same again; but when the youngest approached, the burning gold
became extinguished, and he carried the things home with him; and the
elder brothers, in consequence of this, giving way, surrendered the
whole authority to Alaxais the youngest. The Scythians reckon the whole
number of years from their beginning, from King Targitaus to the time
that Darius crossed over against them, to be just a thousand years. This
sacred gold the kings watch with the greatest care, and annually
approach it with magnificent sacrifices to render it propitious. If he
who has the sacred gold happens to fall asleep in the open air on the
festival, the Scythians say he cannot survive the year, and on this
account they give him as much land as he can ride round on horseback in
one day. The country being very extensive, Colaxais established three of
the kingdoms for his sons, and made that one the largest in which the
gold is kept. The parts beyond the north of the inhabited districts the
Scythians say can neither be seen nor passed through, by reason of the
feathers shed there; for the earth and air are so full of feathers that
the view is intercepted. With respect to these feathers I entertain the
following opinion: in the upper parts of this country it continually
snows, less in summer than in winter, as is reasonable; now, whoever has
seen snow falling thick near him, will know what I mean; for snow is
like feathers; and on account of the winter being so severe, the
northern parts of this continent are uninhabited.

Such is the account the Scythians give of themselves, and of the country
above them; but the Greeks who inhabit Pontus give the following
account: they say that Hercules, as he was driving away the herds of
Geryon, arrived in this country, which was then a desert, and that
Geryon, fixing his abode outside the Pontus, inhabited the island which
the Greeks call Erythia, situated near Gades, beyond the columns of
Hercules in the ocean. The ocean, they say, beginning from the sunrise,
flows round the whole earth, that Hercules thence came to the country
now called Scythia, and as a storm and frost overtook him, he drew his
lion's skin over him, and went to sleep; and in the meanwhile, his
mares, which were feeding apart from his chariot, vanished by some
divine chance. They add that when Hercules awoke, he sought for them;
and that having gone over the whole country, he at length came to the
land called Hylæa; there he found a monster, having two natures, half
virgin, half viper, of which the upper parts resembled a woman, and the
lower parts a serpent: in astonishment he asked her if she had anywhere
seen his strayed mares. She said that she herself had them, and would
not restore them to him unless he would make her his wife. Hercules
agreed. She, however, delayed giving back the mares, out of a desire to
detain Hercules as long as she could; but as he was desirous of
recovering them and departing, she at last restored the mares, saying:
"These mares that strayed hither I preserved for you, but now that you
will go away and leave me, tell me what I must do with our three sons
when they are grown up; shall I establish them here, for I possess the
rule over this country, or shall I send them to you?" He replied: "When
you see the children arrived at the age of men, you cannot err if you do
this: whichever of them you see able thus to bend this bow, and thus
girding himself with this girdle, make him an inhabitant of this
country; and whichever fails in these tasks which I enjoin, send out of
the country. If you do this you will please yourself and do wisely."
Then having drawn out one of his bows, for Hercules carried two at that
time, and having shown her the belt, he gave her both the bow and the
belt, which had a golden cup at the extremity of the clasp, and
departed. When the sons had attained to the age of men she gave them
names; to the first, Agathyrsis, to the second, Gelonus, and to the
youngest, Scythes; and, in the next place, she did what had been
enjoined; and two of her sons, Agathyrsis and Gelonus, being unable to
come up to the proposed task, left the country, being expelled by their
mother; but the youngest of them, Scythes, having accomplished it,
remained there. From this Scythes, son of Hercules, are descended those
who have been successively kings of the Scythians; and from the cup, the
Scythians even to this day wear cups hung from their belts.

Aristeas, of Proconnesus, says in his epic verses, that, inspired by
Apollo, he came to the Issedones; that beyond the Issedones dwell the
Arimaspians, a people that have only one eye; beyond them the
gold-guarding griffins; and beyond these the Hyperboreans, who reach to
the sea: that all these, except the Hyperboreans, beginning from the
Arimaspians, continually encroached upon their neighbors; that the
Issedones were expelled from their country by the Arimaspians, the
Scythians by the Issedones, and that the Cimmerians, who inhabited on
the South Sea, being pressed by the Scythians, abandoned their country.

No one knows with certainty what is beyond the country about which this
account speaks. But as far as we have been able to arrive at the truth
with accuracy from hearsay, the whole shall be related. From the port of
the Borysthenitæ, for this is the most central part of the sea-coast of
all Scythia, the first people are the Callipidæ, being Greek-Scythians;
beyond these is another nation called Alazones. These and the Callipidæ,
in other respects, follow the usages, of the Scythians, but they both
sow and feed on wheat, onions, garlic, lentils, and millet; but beyond
the Alazones dwell husbandmen, who do not sow wheat for food but for
sale. Beyond these the Neuri dwell; and to the north of the Neuri the
country is utterly uninhabited, as far as I know. These nations are by
the side of the river Hypanis, to the west of the Borysthenes. But if
one crosses the Borysthenes, the first country from the sea is Hylæa;
and from this higher up live Scythian agriculturists, where the Greeks
settled on the river Hypanis. These Scythian husbandmen occupy the
country eastward, for three days' journey, extending to the river whose
name is Panticapes; and northward a passage of eleven days up the
Borysthenes. Beyond this region the country is a desert for a great
distance; and beyond the desert Androphagi dwell, who are a distinct
people, not in any respect Scythian. Beyond this is really desert, and
no nation of men is found there, as far as we know. The country eastward
of these Scythian agriculturists, when one crosses the river Panticapes,
nomads occupy, who neither sow at all nor plough; and all this country
is destitute of trees except Hylæa. The nomads occupy a tract eastward
for fourteen days' journey, stretching to the river Gerrhus. Beyond the
Gerrhus are the parts called the Royal, and the most valiant and
numerous of the Scythians, who deem all other Scythians to be their
slaves. These extend southward to Taurica, and eastward to the trench,
which those sprung from the blind men dug, and to the port on the lake
Mæotis, which is called Cremni, and some of them reach to the river
Tanais. The parts above to the north of the Royal Scythians, the
Melanchlæni inhabit, a distinct race, and not Scythian. But above the
Melanchlæni are lakes, and an uninhabited desert, as far as we know.

After one crosses the river Tanais, it is no longer Scythian, but the
first region belongs to the Sauromatæ, who, beginning from the recess of
the lake Mæotis, occupy the country northward, for a fifteen days'
journey, all destitute both of wild and cultivated trees. Above these
dwell the Budini, occupying the second region, and possessing a country
thickly covered with all sorts of trees. Above the Budini, toward the
north, there is first a desert of seven days' journey, and next to the
desert, if one turns somewhat toward the east, dwell the Thyssagetæ, a
numerous and distinct race, and they live by hunting. Contiguous to
these, in the same regions, dwell those who are called Iyrcæ, who also
live by hunting in the following manner: the huntsman, having climbed a
tree, lies in ambush (and the whole country is thickly wooded), and each
man has a horse ready taught to lie on his belly, that he may not be
much above the ground, and a dog besides. When he sees any game from the
tree, having let fly an arrow, he mounts his horse, and goes in pursuit,
and the dog keeps close to him. Above these, as one bends toward the
east, dwell other Scythians, who revolted from the Royal Scythians, and
so came to this country. As far as the territory of these Scythians, the
whole country that has been described is level and deep-soiled; but
after this it is stony and rugged. When one has passed through a
considerable extent of the rugged country, a people are found living at
the foot of lofty mountains, who are said to be all bald from their
birth, both men and women, and are flat-nosed, and have large chins;
they speak a peculiar language, wear the Scythian costume, and live on
the fruit of a tree; the name of the tree on which they live is called
ponticon, and is about the size of a figtree; it bears fruit like a
bean, and has a stone. When this is ripe they strain it through a cloth,
and a thick and black liquor flows from it, to which they give the name
of aschy; this they suck, and drink mingled with milk; from the thick
sediment of the pulp they make cakes to eat, for they have not many
cattle in these parts, as the pastures there are not good. Every man
lives under a tree, which, in the winter, he covers with a thick white
woollen covering. No man does any injury to this people, for they are
accounted sacred; nor do they possess any warlike weapon. They determine
by arbitration the differences that arise among their neighbors; and
whoever takes refuge among them is injured by no one. They are called

As far, then, as these bald people, our knowledge respecting the country
and the nations before them is very good, for some Scythians frequently
go there from whom it is not difficult to obtain information, as well as
some Greeks belonging to the ports in Pontus. The Scythians who go to
them transact business by means of seven interpreters and seven
languages, but beyond the bald men no one can speak with certainty, for
lofty and impassable mountains form their boundary, which no one has
ever crossed; but these bald men say, what to me is incredible, that men
with goats' feet inhabit these mountains; and when one has passed beyond
them, other men are found, who sleep six months at a time, but this I do
not at all admit. However, the country eastward of the bald men is well
known, being inhabited by Issedones, who are said to observe this
extraordinary custom. When a man's father dies all his relations bring
cattle, which they sacrifice, and, having cut up the flesh, they cut up
also the dead parent of their host, and mingling all the flesh together,
they spread out a banquet; then making bare and cleansing his head they
gild it; and afterward treat it as a sacred image, performing grand
annual sacrifices to it. A son does this to his father, as the Greeks
celebrate the anniversary of their father's death. These people are
likewise accounted just; and the women have equal authority with the men.

Above them, the Issedones affirm, are the men with only one eye, and the
gold-guarding griffins. The Scythians repeat this account, having
received it from them; and we have adopted it from the Scythians, and
call them in the Scythian language, Arimaspi; for _Arima_, in the
Scythian language, signifies one, and _Spou_, the eye. All this country
which I have been speaking of is subject to such a severe winter, that
for eight months the frost is intolerable, so that if you pour water on
the ground you will not make mud, but if you light a fire you will. Even
the sea freezes, and the whole Cimmerian Bosphorus; and the Scythians
who live within the trench lead their armies and drive their chariots
over the ice to the Sindians, on the other side. Thus winter continues
eight months, and even during the other four it is cold there. And this
winter is different in character from the winters in all other
countries; for in this no rain worth mentioning falls in the usual
season, but during the summer it never leaves off raining. At the time
when there is thunder elsewhere there is none there, but in summer it is
violent: if there should be thunder in winter, it is counted a prodigy
to be wondered at. So, should there be an earthquake, whether in summer
or winter, in Scythia it is accounted a prodigy. Their horses endure
this cold, but asses and mules cannot endure it at all; whereas in other
places in the world horses that stand exposed to frost become
frost-bitten and waste away, but asses and mules endure it. On this
account also the race of beeves appears to me to be defective there, and
not to have horns; and the following verse of Homer, in his Odyssey,
confirms my opinion: "And Libya, where the lambs soon put forth their
horns," rightly observing, that in warm climates horns shoot out
quickly; but in very severe cold, the cattle do not produce them at all,
or with difficulty. Concerning the Hyperboreans, I do not relate the
story of Abaris, who was said to have carried an arrow round the whole
earth without eating any thing. But I smile when I see many persons
describing the circumference of the earth, who have no sound reason to
guide them; they describe the ocean as flowing around the earth, which
is made circular as if by a lathe, and make Asia equal to Europe.

In length Europe extends along both Libya and Asia, but in respect to
width, it is evidently much larger. Libya shows itself to be surrounded
by water, except so much of it as borders upon Asia. Neco, King of
Egypt, was the first whom we know of that proved this; when he had
ceased digging the canal leading from the Nile to the Arabian Gulf, he
sent certain Phœnicians in ships, with orders to sail back through the
pillars of Hercules into the Mediterranean Sea, and so return to Egypt.
The Phœnicians accordingly, setting out from the Red Sea, navigated the
southern sea; when autumn came they went ashore and sowed the land, by
whatever part of Libya they happened to be sailing, and waited for
harvest; then having reaped the corn, they put to sea again. When two
years had thus passed, in the third they doubled the pillars of
Hercules, arrived in Egypt, and related what to me does not seem
credible, but may to others, that as they sailed round Libya, they had
the sun on their right hand.[20] Ever since that the Carthaginians say
that Libya is surrounded by water.

A great part of Asia was explored under the direction of Darius. Being
desirous to know where the Indus, which is the second river that
produces crocodiles, discharges itself into the sea, he sent in ships
Scylax of Caryanda and others on whom he could rely to make a true
report. They accordingly set out from the city of Caspatyrus, sailed
down the river toward the sunrise to the sea; then sailing on the sea
westward, they arrived in the thirtieth month at that place where the
king of Egypt despatched the Phœnicians, whom I before mentioned, to
sail round Libya. After this Darius subdued the Indians, and frequented
this sea. Thus the other parts of Asia, except toward the rising sun,
are found to exhibit things similar to Libya.

Whether Europe is surrounded by water either toward the east or toward
the north, has not been fully discovered by any man; but in length it is
known to extend beyond both the other continents. Nor can I conjecture
for what reason three different names have been given to the earth,
which is but one, and why those should be derived from the names of
women, Libya is said by most of the Greeks to take its name from a
native woman of the name of Libya; and Asia, from the wife of
Prometheus. But the Lydians claim this name, saying that Asia was so
called after Asius, son of Cotys, son of Manes, and not after Asia the
wife of Prometheus; from whom also a tribe in Sardis is called the Asian
tribe; nor is it clear whence Europe received its name, nor who gave it,
unless we say that the region received the name from the Tyrian Europa:
yet she evidently belonged to Asia, and never came into the country
which is now called Europe by the Greeks.

The Euxine Sea exhibits the most ignorant nations: for we are unable to
mention any one nation of those on this side the Pontus that has any
pretensions to intelligence; nor have we ever heard of any learned man
among them, except the Scythian nation and Anacharsis. By the Scythian
nation one of the most important of human devices has been contrived
more wisely than by any others whom we know; their other customs,
however, I do not admire. This device has been contrived so that no one
who attacks them can escape; and that, if they do not choose to be
found, no one is able to overtake them. For they have neither cities nor
fortifications, but carry their houses with them; they are all
equestrian archers, living not from the cultivation of the earth, but
from cattle, and their dwellings are wagons,—how must not such a people
be invincible, and difficult to engage with? The country and the rivers
aid them: for the country, being level, abounds in herbage and is well
watered; and rivers flow through it almost as numerous as the canals in
Egypt. The Ister, which is the greatest of all the rivers we know, flows
always with an equal stream both in summer and winter, and has five

In each district of the Scythians, in the place where the magistrates
assemble, is erected a structure sacred to Mars, of the following kind.
Bundles of faggots are heaped up to the length and breadth of three
stades, but less in height; on the top of this a square platform is
formed; and three of the sides are perpendicular, but on the fourth it
is accessible. Every year they heap on it one hundred and fifty
wagon-loads of faggots, for it is continually sinking by reason of the
weather. On this heap an old iron scimetar is placed by each tribe, and
this is the image of Mars; they bring yearly sacrifices of cattle and
horses; and to these _scimetars_ they offer more sacrifices than to the
rest of the gods. Whatever enemies they take alive, of these they
sacrifice one in a hundred, not in the same manner as they do the
cattle, but in a different manner; for after they have poured a libation
of wine on their heads, they cut the throats of the men over a bowl;
then having carried _the bowl_ on the heap of faggots, they pour the
blood over the scimetar. Below at the sacred precinct, they do as
follows: having cut off all the right shoulders of the men that have
been killed, with the arms, they throw them into the air; and then,
having finished the rest of the sacrificial rites, they depart; but the
arm lies wherever it has fallen, and the body apart. Swine they never
use, nor suffer them to be used in their country at all.

When a Scythian overthrows his first enemy, he drinks his blood; and
presents the king with the heads of the enemies he has killed in battle;
for if he brings a head, he shares the booty that they take; but not, if
he does not bring one. He skins it in the following manner. Having made
a circular incision round the ears and taking hold of the skin, he
shakes it from the skull; then having scraped off the flesh with the rib
of an ox, he softens the skin with his hands, makes it supple, and uses
it as a napkin; each man hangs it on the bridle of the horse which he
rides, and prides himself on it; for whoever has the greatest number of
these skin napkins is accounted the most valiant man. Many of them make
cloaks of these skins, to throw over themselves, sewing them together
like shepherd's coats; and many, having flayed the right hands of their
enemies that are dead, together with the nails, make coverings for their
quivers; the skin of a man, which is both thick and shining, surpasses
almost all other skins in the brightness of its white. Many, having
flayed men whole, and stretched the skin on wood, carry it about on
horseback. The heads themselves, not indeed of all, but of their
greatest enemies, they treat as follows: each, having sawn off all below
the eye-brows, cleanses it, and if the man is poor, he covers only the
outside with leather, and so uses it; but if he is rich, he covers it
with leather, and gilds the inside, and so uses it for a drinking-cup.
They do this also to their relatives, if they are at variance, and one
prevails over another in the presence of the king. When strangers of
consideration come to him, he produces these heads, and relates how,
though they were his relatives, they made war against him, and he
overcame them, considering this a proof of bravery. Once in every year,
the governor of a district, each in his own district, mingles a bowl of
wine, from which those Scythians drink by whom enemies have been
captured; but they who have not achieved this, do not taste of this
wine, but sit at a distance in dishonor; this is accounted the greatest
disgrace: such of them as have killed very many men, having two cups at
once, drink them together.

Soothsayers among the Scythians are numerous, who divine by the help of
a number of willow rods, in the following manner. They lay large bundles
of twigs on the ground and untie them; and having placed each rod apart,
they utter their predictions; and whilst they are pronouncing them, they
gather up the rods again, and put them together again one by one. This
is their national mode of divination. But the Enarees, or Androgyni, say
that Venus gave them the power of divining by means of the bark of a
linden tree: when a man has split the linden-tree in three pieces,
twisting it round his own fingers, and then untwisting it, he utters a

When the king of the Scythians is sick, he sends for three of the most
famous of the prophets, who prophesy in the manner above mentioned. When
any of these prophets are proved to have sworn falsely, they put them to
death in the following manner: they fill a wagon with faggots, and yoke
oxen to it, then tie the feet of the prophets, bind their hands behind
them, gag them, and enclose them in the midst of the faggots; then
having set fire to them, they terrify the oxen, and let them go. Many
oxen are burnt with the prophets, and many escape very much scorched,
when the pole has been burnt asunder. Of the children of those whom he
puts to death, the king kills all the males, but does not hurt the

The sepulchres of the kings are in the country of the Gerrhi. There,
when their king dies, they dig a large square hole in the ground, to
receive the corpse. Then, having the body covered with wax, the belly
opened and cleaned, filled with bruised cypress, incense, parsley and
anise-seed, and sewn up again, they carry it in a chariot to another
nation; those who receive the corpse, brought to them, do the same as
the Royal Scythians; they cut off part of their ear, shave off their
hair, wound themselves on the arms, lacerate their forehead and nose,
and drive arrows through their left hand. Thence they carry the corpse
of the king to another nation whom they govern; and those to whom they
first came accompany them. When they have carried the corpse round all
the provinces, they arrive at the sepulchres among the Gerrhi, who are
the most remote of the nations they rule over. Then, when they have
placed the corpse in the grave on a bed of leaves, having fixed spears
on each side of the dead body, they lay pieces of wood over it, and
cover it over with mats. In the remaining space of the grave they bury
one of the king's wives, having strangled her, and his cup-bearer, a
cook, a groom, a page, a courier, and horses, and firstlings of
everything else, and golden goblets; they make no use of silver or
bronze. Then they all heap up a large mound, vieing with each other to
make it as large as possible. At the expiration of a year, they take the
most fitting of his remaining servants, all native Scythians; for
whomsoever the king may order serve him, and they have no servants
bought with money. Now when they have strangled fifty of these servants,
and fifty of the finest horses, they take out their bowels, cleanse
them, fill them with chaff, and sew them up again. Then placing the half
of a wheel, with its concave side uppermost, on two pieces of wood, and
the other half on two other pieces of wood, and preparing many of these
in the same manner, they thrust thick pieces of wood through the horses
lengthwise, up to the neck, mount them on the half-wheels; the foremost
part of the half-wheels supporting the shoulders of the horses, and the
hinder part the belly near the thighs, while the legs on both sides are
suspended in the air; then, having put bridles and bits on the horses,
they stretch them in front, and fasten them to a stake; they then mount
upon each horse one of the fifty young men that have been strangled.
They drive a straight piece of wood along the spine as far as the neck,
and a part of this wood which projects from the bottom they fix into a
hole bored in the other piece of wood that passes through the horse. The
horsemen are then placed round the monument, and they depart.

When the other Scythians die, their nearest relations carry them about
among their friends, laid in chariots; each one receives and entertains
the attendants, and sets the same things before the dead body, as before
the rest. In this manner private persons are carried about for forty
days, and then buried. After the burial the Scythians purify themselves
by wiping and thoroughly washing their heads and bodies. They set up
three pieces of wood leaning against each other, extend around them
woollen cloths; and having joined them together as closely as possible,
they throw red-hot stones into a vessel placed in the middle of the
pieces of wood and the cloths. They have a sort of hemp growing in this
country, much like flax, except in thickness and height; in this respect
the hemp is far superior: it grows both spontaneously and from
cultivation; and from it the Thracians make garments like linen, nor
would any one who is not well skilled in such matters distinguish
whether they are made of flax or hemp, but a person who has never seen
this hemp would think the garment was made of flax. The Scythians take
seed of this hemp, creep under the cloths, and put the seed on the
red-hot stones; this smokes, and produces such a steam, as no Grecian
vapor-bath could surpass. Transported with vapor, they shout aloud; and
this serves them instead of washing, for they never bathe the body in
water. Their women pound on a rough stone pieces of cypress, cedar, and
incense-tree, pouring on water; and then this pounded matter, when it is
thick, they smear over the whole body and face. This at the same time
gives them an agreeable odor, and when they take off the cataplasm on
the following day, they become clean and shining.

I have never been able to learn with accuracy the amount of the
population of the Scythians. There is a spot between the river
Borysthenes and the Hypanis, called Exampæus, containing a fountain of
bitter water, which renders the Hypanis unfit to be drunk. In this spot
lies a bronze cauldron, in size six times as large as the bowl at the
mouth of the Pontus, which Pausanias, son of Cleombrotus, dedicated. For
the benefit of any one who has never seen this, I will describe it: The
cauldron easily contains six hundred amphoræ; and is six fingers in
thickness. The inhabitants say that it was made from the points of
arrows; for their king, Ariantas, wishing to know the population of the
Scythians, commanded the Scythians to bring him each one point of an
arrow, and threatened death on whosoever should fail to bring it.
Accordingly, a vast number of arrow points were brought, and resolving
to leave a monument made from them, he made this bronze bowl, and
dedicated it at Exampæus. Their country has nothing wonderful, except
the rivers, which are very large and very many in number, and the
extensive plains. They show the print of the foot of Hercules upon a
rock near the river Tyras; it resembles the footstep of man, and is two
cubits in length.



Whilst Darius was making preparations against the Scythians, and sending
messages to command some to contribute land forces, and others a fleet,
and others to bridge over the Thracian Bosphorus, Artabanus, the son of
Hystaspes, and brother of Darius, entreated him on no account to make an
expedition against the Scythians, representing the poverty of Scythia;
but he could not persuade him. At that time Œobazus, a Persian, who had
three sons all serving in the army, besought Darius that one might be
left at home for him. The king answered him, as a friend, and one who
had made a moderate request, that he would leave him all his sons; he
therefore was exceedingly delighted, hoping that his sons would be
discharged from the army. But at Darius' command the proper officers put
all the sons of Œobazus to death, and left them on the spot.

When Darius, marching from Susa, reached Chalcedon on the Bosphorus, a
bridge was already laid across. There, sitting in the temple, he took a
view of the Euxine Sea, which is worthy of admiration, for of all seas
it is by nature the most wonderful.

Darius, pleased with the bridge, presented its architect, Mandrocles the
Samian, with ten of every thing, and he painted a picture of the whole
junction of the Bosphorus, with King Darius seated on a throne, and his
army crossing over, and dedicated it as first fruits in the temple of

When Darius reached the river Tearus he was so delighted with it that he
erected a pillar with this inscription: THE SPRINGS OF THE TEARUS

Before he reached the Ister, he subdued the Getæ, who think themselves
immortal, supposing that they themselves do not die, but that the
deceased go to the deity Zalmoxis. Every fifth year they dispatch one of
themselves, taken by lot, to Zalmoxis, with orders to let him know on
each occasion what they want. Their mode of sending him is this. Some
who are appointed hold three javelins; whilst others take up the man who
is to be sent to Zalmoxis by the hands and feet, swing him round, and
throw him into the air, upon the points. If he is transfixed and dies,
they think the god is propitious to them; if he does not die, they blame
the messenger himself, saying that he is a bad man, and dispatch another.

When Darius and his land forces reached the Ister and all had crossed,
Coes, general of the Mitylenians, advised the king to let the bridge
remain over it, leaving the men who constructed it as its guard. "Not,"
said he, "that I am at all afraid that we shall be conquered in battle
by the Scythians, but rather that, being unable to find them, we may
suffer somewhat in our wanderings." "Lesbian friend," replied Darius,
"when I am safe back in my own palace, fail not to present yourself to
me, that I may requite you for good advice with good deeds." Tying sixty
knots in a thong, he summoned the Ionian commanders to his presence, and
said: "Men of Ionia, I have changed my resolution concerning the bridge;
so take this thong, and as soon as you see me march against the
Scythians, untie one of these knots every day; and if I return not until
the days numbered by the knots have passed, sail away to your own
country. Till that time, since I have changed my determination, guard
the bridge, and apply the utmost care to preserve and secure it."

The Scythians determined to fight no battle in the open field, because
their allies did not come to their assistance; but to retreat and draw
off covertly, and fill up the wells and the springs as they passed by,
and destroy the herbage on the ground. They sent forward the best of
their cavalry as an advanced guard; but the wagons, in which all their
children and wives lived, they left behind.

Advancing with his army as quick as possible, he fell in with the
Scythian divisions and pursued them, but they kept a day's march before
him. The Scythians, for Darius did not relax his pursuit, fled, as had
been determined, toward those nations that had refused to assist them.
When this had continued for a considerable time, Darius sent a horseman
to Indathyrsus, king of the Scythians, with the following message: "Most
miserable of men, why dost thou continually fly, when it is in thy power
to do one of these two other things? For if thou thinkest thou art able
to resist my power, stand, and having ceased thy wanderings, fight; but
if thou art conscious of thy inferiority, in that case also cease thy
hurried march, and bringing earth and water as presents to thy master,
come to a conference." To this Indathyrsus, the king of the Scythians,
answered: "This is the case with me, O Persian; I never yet fled from
any man out of fear, nor do I now so flee from thee; nor have I done any
thing different now from what I am wont to do, even in time of peace;
but why I do not forthwith fight thee, I will explain. We have no cities
nor cultivated lands, for which we are under any apprehension lest they
should be taken or ravaged. Yet, if it is by all means necessary to come
to battle at once, we have the sepulchres of our ancestors, come, find
these, and attempt to disturb them, then you will know whether we will
fight for our sepulchres or not; but before that, unless we choose, we
will not engage with thee. The only masters I acknowledge are Jupiter my
progenitor, and Vesta, queen of the Scythians; but to thee, instead of
presents of earth and water, I will send such presents as are proper to
come to thee. And in answer to thy boast, that thou art my master, I bid
thee weep." (This is a Scythian saying.) The herald therefore departed
carrying this answer to Darius.

When the kings of the Scythians heard the name of servitude, they were
filled with indignation; whereupon they sent the division united with
the Sauromatæ, which Scopasis commanded, with orders to confer with the
Ionians, who guarded the bridge over the Ister. Those who were left
resolved no longer to lead the Persians about, but to attack them
whenever they were taking their meals; accordingly, observing the
soldiers of Darius taking their meals, they put their design in
execution. The Scythian cavalry always routed the Persian cavalry, but
the Persian horsemen in their flight fell back on the infantry, and the
infantry supported them. The Scythians, having beaten back the cavalry,
wheeled around through fear of the infantry. A very remarkable
circumstance, that was advantageous to the Persians and adverse to the
Scythians, when they attacked the camp of Darius, was the braying of the
asses and the appearance of the mules, for Scythia produces neither ass
nor mule; there is not in the whole Scythian territory a single ass or
mule, by reason of cold. The asses, then, growing playful, put the
Scythian horses into confusion; and frequently, as they were advancing
upon the Persians, when the horses heard, midway, the braying of the
asses, they wheeled round in confusion, and were greatly amazed,
pricking up their ears, as having never before heard such a sound, nor
seen such a shape; and this circumstance in some slight degree affected
the fortune of the war.

When the Scythians saw the Persians in great commotion, to detain them
longer in Scythia they left some of their own cattle in the care of the
herdsmen and withdrew to another spot; and the Persians coming up, took
the cattle and exulted in what they had done. When this had happened
several times, Darius at last was in a great strait, and the kings of
the Scythians, having ascertained this, sent a herald, bearing as gifts
to Darius, a bird, a mouse, a frog, and five arrows. The Persians asked
the bearer of the gifts the meaning of this present; but he answered
that he had no other orders than to deliver them and return immediately;
and he advised the Persians, if they were wise, to discover what the
gifts meant. Darius' opinion was that the Scythians meant to give
themselves up to him, as well as earth and water; forming his conjecture
thus: since a mouse is bred in the earth, and subsists on the same food
as a man; a frog lives in the water; a bird is very like a horse; and
the arrows they deliver up as their whole strength. But Gobryas, one of
the seven who had deposed the magus, did not coincide with this; he
conjectured that the presents intimated: "Unless, O Persians, ye become
birds and fly into the air, or become mice and hide yourselves beneath
the earth, or become frogs and leap into the lakes, ye shall never
return home again, but be stricken by these arrows." And thus the other
Persians interpreted the gifts.

The rest of the Scythians, after they had sent the presents to Darius,
drew themselves up opposite the Persians with their foot and horse, as
if they intended to come to an engagement; and as the Scythians were
standing in their ranks, a hare started in the midst of them; and each
went in pursuit of it. The Scythians being in great confusion, and
shouting loudly, Darius asked the meaning of the uproar in the enemy's
ranks; but when he heard that they were pursuing a hare, he said to
those he was accustomed to address on such occasions: "These men treat
us with great contempt; and I am convinced that Gobryas spoke rightly
concerning the Scythian presents. I feel that we have need of the best
advice, how our return home may be effected in safety." To this Gobryas
answered: "O king, I was in some measure acquainted by report with these
men; but I have learned much more since I came hither, and seen how they
make sport of us. My opinion is, that as soon as night draws on we
should light fires, as we are accustomed to do, and having deceived and
left behind those soldiers who are least able to bear hardships, and
having tethered all the asses, should depart before the Scythians direct
their march to the Ister, for the purpose of destroying the bridge, or
the Ionians take any resolution which may occasion our ruin." Darius
acted on this opinion: the infirm amongst the soldiers, and those whose
loss would be of the least consequence, he left on the spot in the camp.
And he left the asses, that they might make a noise; and the men were
left on this pretext, that he with the strength of his army was about to
attack the Scythians, and they, during that time, would defend the camp.
So Darius laid these injunctions on those he was preparing to abandon,
caused the fires to be lighted, and marched away with all speed toward
the Ister. The asses, deserted by the multitude, began to bray much
louder than usual; so that the Scythians, hearing them, supposed of
course that the Persians were still at their station. When day appeared,
the men that were abandoned, discovering that they had been betrayed by
Darius, extended their hands to the Scythians, and told them what had
occurred; when they heard this the divisions of the Scythians joined
forces as quickly as possible and pursued the Persians straight toward
the Ister. But as a great part of the Persian army consisted of
infantry, and they did not know the way, there being no roads cut, and
as the Scythian army consisted of cavalry, and knew the shortest route,
they missed each other, and the Scythians arrived at the bridge much
before the Persians. Finding that the Persians were not yet arrived,
they spoke to the Ionians who were on board the ships in these terms:
"Men of Ionia, the number of days appointed for your stay is already
passed, and you do not as you ought in continuing here; but if you
remained before through fear, now break up the passage and depart as
quickly as possible, rejoicing that you are free, and give thanks to the
gods and the Scythians. As for the man who before was your master, we
will so deal with him that he shall never hereafter make war on any

Upon this the Ionians held a consultation. The opinion of Miltiades the
Athenian, who commanded and reigned over the Chersonesites on the
Hellespont, was, that they should comply with the request of the
Scythians, and restore liberty to Ionia. But Histiæus the Milesian was
of a contrary opinion, and said, "that every one reigned over his own
city through Darius; and if Darius' power should be destroyed, neither
would he himself continue master of Miletus, nor any of the rest of
other places; because every one of the cities would choose to be
governed rather by a democracy than a tyranny." Histiæus had no sooner
delivered this opinion, than all went over to his side, who had before
assented to that of Miltiades. Approving of the opinion of Histiæus,
they determined to add to it the following acts and words. To break up
the bridge on the Scythian side, as far as a bow-shot might reach, that
they might seem to do something, when in effect they did nothing; and
that the Scythians might not attempt to use violence and purpose to
cross the Ister by the bridge; and to say, while they were breaking up
the bridge on the Scythian side, they would do every thing that might be
agreeable to the Scythians. And, Histiæus delivered the answer in the
name of all, saying as follows: "Men of Scythia, you have brought us
good advice, and urge it seasonably; you, on your part, have pointed out
the right way to us, and we on ours readily submit to you; for, as you
see, we are breaking up the passage, and will use all diligence,
desiring to be free. But while we are breaking it up, it is fitting you
should seek for them, and having found them, avenge us and yourselves on
them, as they deserve." The Scythians, believing a second time that the
Ionians were sincere, turned back to seek the Persians; but entirely
missed the way they had taken. The Scythians themselves were the cause
of this, as they had destroyed the pastures for the horses in this
direction, and filled in the wells; for if they had not done this, they
might easily have found the Persians; but now they erred in the very
thing which they thought they had contrived for the best. For the
Scythians sought the enemy by traversing those parts of the country
where there was forage and water for the horses, thinking that they too
would make their retreat by that way. But the Persians carefully
observing their former track, returned by it, and thus with difficulty
found the passage. As they arrived in the night, and perceived the
bridge broken off, they fell into the utmost consternation, lest the
Ionians had abandoned them. There was with Darius an Egyptian, who had
an exceedingly loud voice. This man Darius commanded to stand on the
bank of the Ister, and called Histiæus the Milesian. He did so, and
Histiæus, having heard the first shout, brought up all the ships to
carry the army across, and joined the bridge. Thus the Persians escaped.



Beginning from Egypt the Adrymachidæ are the first of the Libyans we
meet with: they for the most part observe the usages of Egypt, but they
wear the same dress as the other Libyans. The women wear a chain of
bronze on each leg, and allow their hair to grow long. Next to these are
the Giligammæ, who occupy the country westward, as far as the island
Aphrodisias. Midway on this coast the island of Platea is situated,
which the Cyrenæans colonized. The Asbystæ adjoin the Giligammæ
westward; they inhabit the country above Cyrene, but do not reach to the
sea; for the Cyrenæans occupy the sea-coast. They drive four-horsed
chariots, more than any of the Libyans, and endeavor to imitate most of
the customs of the Cyrenæans. The Nasamones, a very numerous people,
live to the westward. In summer they leave their cattle on the coast,
and go up to the region of Augila, in order to gather the fruit of the
palm-trees, which grow in great numbers to a large size, and are all
productive. They catch locusts, dry them in the sun, reduce them to
powder, and sprinkling them in milk, drink them. In their oaths and
divinations they swear, laying their hands on the sepulchres of those
who are generally esteemed to have been the most just and excellent
persons among them; and they divine, going to the tombs of their
ancestors, and after having prayed, they lie down to sleep, and whatever
dream they have, they avail themselves of. In pledging their faith, each
party gives the other to drink out of his hand, and drinks in turn from
the other's hand; and if they have no liquid, they take up some dust
from the ground and lick it.

Above these to the north, in a country abounding with wild beasts, live
the Garamantes, who avoid all men and the society of any others; they do
not possess any warlike weapon, nor do they know how to defend
themselves. The Macæ adjoin them on the sea-coast, westward; these shave
their heads so as to leave a tuft, and allowing the middle hair to grow,
keep both sides shaved close to the skin; in war they wear the skins of
ostriches for defensive armor. The river Cinyps, flowing through their
country from a hill called the Graces, discharges itself into the sea.
This hill of the Graces is thickly covered with trees, though all the
rest of Libya is bare. From the sea to this hill is a distance of two
hundred stades. The Lotophagi occupy the coast that projects to the sea
in front; they subsist only on the fruit of the lotus, which is equal in
size to the mastic berry, and in sweetness resembles the fruit of the
palm-tree. The Lotophagi make wine also from this fruit.

The Machlyes, who also use the lotus, but in a less degree than those
before mentioned, adjoin the Lotophagi on the sea-coast. They extend as
far as a large river called Triton, which discharges itself into the
great lake Tritonis; and in it is an island named Phla. They say that
the Lacedæmonians were commanded by an oracle to colonize this island.
The following story is also told: that Jason, when the building of the
Argo was finished at the foot of Mount Pelion, having put a hecatomb on
board, and a bronze tripod, sailed round the Peloponnesus, purposing to
go to Delphi; and as he was sailing off Malea, a north wind caught him
and drove him to Libya; and before he could descern the land, he found
himself in the shallows of the lake Tritonis; and as he was in doubt how
to extricate his ship, the story goes that a Triton appeared to him, and
bade Jason give him the tripod, promising that he would show them the
passage, and conduct them away in safety. Jason consented, and the
Triton showed them the passage out of the shallows, and placed the
tripod in his own temple; then pronouncing an oracle from the tripod, he
declared to Jason and his companions all that should happen,—that "when
one of the descendants of those who sailed with him in the Argo should
carry away the tripod, then it was fated that a hundred Grecian cities
should be built about the lake Tritonis." The neighboring nations of the
Libyans, when they heard this, concealed the tripods. The Auses adjoin
these Machlyes; they, as well as the Machlyes, dwell round the lake
Tritonis, and the Triton forms the boundary between them. The Machlyes
let the hair grow on the back of the head, and the Auses on the front.
At the annual festival of Minerva, their virgins, dividing themselves
into two companies, fight together with stones and staves, affirming
that they perform the ancient rites to their native goddess, whom we
call Minerva; and those of the virgins who die from their wounds they
call false virgins. But before they leave off fighting, they, with one
consent, deck the maiden that excels in beauty, with a Corinthian
helmet, and a suit of Grecian armor, and placing her in a chariot
conduct her round the lake. In what way they formerly decorated the
maidens before the Greeks settled in their neighborhood, I am unable to
say; but I conjecture that they were decked in Egyptian armor, for I am
of opinion that the shield and helmet were brought from Egypt into

Above these nomadic tribes, inland, Libya abounds in wild beasts; beyond
the wild-beast tract is a ridge of sand, stretching from the Egyptian
Thebes to the columns of Hercules. At intervals of a ten days' journey
in this ridge, there are pieces of salt in large lumps on hills; and at
the top of each hill, from the midst of the salt, cool, sweet water
gushes up. The first people you come to after a ten days' journey from
Thebes, are the Ammonians, who have a temple resembling that of Theban
Jupiter. For the image of Jupiter at Thebes has the head of a ram. They
have also another kind of spring water which in the morning is tepid,
becomes colder about the time of full forum, and at midday is very cold;
at that time they water their gardens. As the day declines it generally
loses its coldness, till the sun sets, then the water becomes tepid
again, and continuing to increase in heat till midnight, it then boils
and bubbles up; when midnight is passed, it gets cooler until morning.
This fountain is called after the sun. Next to the Ammonians, along the
ridge of sand, at the end of another ten days' journey, there is a hill
of salt, like that of the Ammonians, and water, and men live round it;
the name of this region is Augila; and thither the Nasamonians go to
gather dates. From the Augilæ, at the end of another ten days' journey,
is another hill of salt and water, and many fruit-bearing palm-trees, as
also in other places; and men inhabit it who are called Garamantes, a
very powerful nation; they lay earth upon the salt, and then sow their
ground. From these to the Lotophagi the shortest route is a journey of
thirty days; amongst them cattle that feed backwards are met with,
having horns that are so bent forward, that they are unable to feed
forwards, because their horns would stick in the ground. They differ
from other kine in no other respect, except that their hide is thicker
and harder. These Garamantes hunt the Ethiopian Troglodytes in
four-horse chariots; these Ethiopian Troglodytes are the swiftest of
foot of all men of whom we have heard any account given. The Troglodytes
feed upon serpents and lizards, and such kinds of reptiles; they speak a
language like no other, but screech like bats.

At the distance of another ten days' journey from the Garamantes is
another hill of salt and water, around which a people live who are
called Atarantes; they are the only race we know of who have not
personal names. For the name Atarantes belongs to them collectively, and
to each one of them no name is given. They curse the sun as he passes
over their heads, and moreover utter against him the foulest invectives,
because he consumes by his scorching heat, the men themselves and their
country. Afterward, at the end of still another ten days' journey, there
is one more hill of salt and water, and men live round it, near a
mountain called Atlas; it is narrow and circular on all sides, and is
said to be so lofty that its top can never be seen; it is never free
from clouds, either in summer or winter. The inhabitants say that it is
the Pillar of Heaven. From this mountain the men derive their
appellation, for they are called Atlantes. They are said neither to eat
the flesh of any animal, nor to see visions. As far, then, as these
Atlantes, I am able to mention the names of the nations that inhabit
this ridge, but not beyond them. This ridge, however, extends as far as
the pillars of Hercules, and even beyond; and there is a mine of salt in
it at intervals of ten days' journey, and men dwelling there. The houses
of them all are built of blocks of salt, for in these parts of Libya no
rain falls; walls being of salt could not of course stand long if rain
did fall. The salt dug out there is white and purple in appearance.
Above this ridge, to the south and interior of Libya, the country is a
desert, without water, without animals, without rain, and without wood;
and there is no kind of moisture in it.

Westward of lake Tritonis, the Libyans are no longer nomads, nor do they
follow the same customs, with respect to their children, as the nomads
are accustomed to do; for the nomadic Libyans, whether all I am unable
to say with certainty, but many of them, when their children are four
years old, burn the veins on the crown of their heads, with uncleaned
sheep's wool; and some of them do so on the veins in the temples; to the
end that humors flowing down from the head may not injure them as long
as they live: and, for this reason, they say they are so very healthy,
for the Libyans are in truth the most healthy of all men with whom we
are acquainted. But I simply repeat what the Libyans themselves say.
From the Libyan women the Greeks derived the attire and ægis of
Minerva's statues; for, except that the dress of the Libyan women is
leather, and the fringes that hang from the ægis are not serpents, but
made of thongs, they are otherwise equipped in the same way; and,
moreover, the very name proves that the garb of the Palladia comes from
Libya; for the Libyan women throw over their dress, goats' skins without
the hair, fringed and dyed with red. From these goats' skins the Greeks
have borrowed the name of Ægis. And the howlings in the temples were, I
think, first derived from there; for the Libyan women practise the same
custom, and do it well. The Greeks also learnt from the Libyans to yoke
four horses abreast. All the nomads, except the Nasamonians, inter their
dead in the same manner as the Greeks; these bury them in a sitting
posture, watching when one is about to expire, that they may set him up,
and he may not die supine. Their dwellings are compacted of the asphodel
shrub, interwoven with rushes, and are portable.

To the west of the river Triton, Libyans who are husbandmen next adjoin
the Auses; they are accustomed to live in houses, and are called Maxyes.
They let the hair grow on the right side of the head, and shave the
left; and bedaub the body with vermilion: they say that they are
descended from men who came from Troy. This region, and all the rest of
Libya westward, is much more infested by wild beasts and more thickly
wooded than the country of the nomads; for the eastern country of Libya,
which the nomads inhabit, is low and sandy, as far as the river Triton;
but the country westward of this, which is occupied by agriculturists,
is very mountainous, woody, and abounds with wild beasts. For amongst
them there are enormous serpents, and lions, elephants, bears, asps,
asses with horns, and monsters with dogs' heads and without heads, who
have eyes in their breasts, at least as the Libyans say, together with
wild men and wild women. None of these things are found among the
nomads, but others of the following kind: pygargi, antelopes, buffaloes,
and asses, not such as have horns, but others that never drink; and
oryes, from the horns of which are made the elbows of the Phœnician
citherns; in size this beast is equal to an ox; and foxes, hyænas,
porcupines, wild rams, dictyes, thoes, panthers, boryes, and land
crocodiles about three cubits long, very much like lizards; ostriches,
and small serpents, each with one horn. These, then, are the wild
animals in that country, besides such as are met with elsewhere, except
the stag and the wild boar; but the stag and the wild boar are never
seen in Libya. They have three sorts of mice there; some called dipodes,
or two-footed; others, zegeries, this name is Libyan, and means the same
as the word signifying hillocks in Greek; and hedgehogs. There are also
weasels produced in the silphium, like those at Tartessus.

The Zaveces adjoin the Maxyan Libyans; their women drive their chariots
in war. The Gyzantes adjoin them; amongst them bees make a great
quantity of honey, and it is said that confectioners make much more. All
these paint themselves with vermilion, and eat monkeys, which abound in
their mountains. Near them, the Carthaginians say, lies an island called
Cyraunis, two hundred stades in length, inconsiderable in breadth, easy
of access from the continent, and abounding in olive trees and vines. In
it is a lake, from the mud of which the girls of the country draw up
gold dust by means of feathers daubed with pitch. Whether this is true I
know not, but I write what is related; it may be so, however, for I have
myself seen pitch drawn up out of a lake and from water in Zacynthus;
and there are several lakes there, the largest of them is seventy feet
every way, and two orgyæ in depth; into this they let down a pole with a
myrtle branch fastened to the end, and then draw up pitch adhering to
the myrtle; it has the smell of asphalt, but is in other respects better
than the pitch of Pieria. They pour it into a cistern dug near the lake,
and when they have collected a sufficient quantity, draw it off from the
cistern into jars. All that falls into the lake passes under ground, and
appears again upon the surface of the sea, which is about four stades
distant from the lake. This account given of the island may probably be
true. The Carthaginians further say, that beyond the pillars of Hercules
there is an inhabited region of Libya; when they arrive among these
people and have unloaded their merchandise, they set it in order on the
shore, go on board their ships, and make a great smoke; the inhabitants,
seeing the smoke, come down to the sea, deposit gold in exchange for the
merchandise, and withdraw to some distance from the merchandise; the
Carthaginians then, going ashore, examine the gold, and if the quantity
seems sufficient for the merchandise they take it up and sail away; but
if it is not sufficient, they go on board their ships again and wait;
the natives then approach and deposit more gold, until they have
satisfied them; neither party ever wrongs the other; for they do not
touch the gold before it is made adequate to the value of the
merchandise, nor do the natives touch the merchandise before the other
party has taken the gold.

No part of Libya appears to me so good in fertility as to be compared
with Asia or Europe, except only the district of Cinyps; for the land
bears the same name as the river, and is equal to the best land for the
production of corn; nor is it at all like the rest of Libya; for the
soil is black, and well watered with springs, and it is neither affected
at all by drought, nor is it injured by imbibing too much rain, which
falls in this part of Libya. The proportion of the produce of this land
equals that of Babylon. The land also which the Euesperides occupy is
good; for when it yields its best, it produces a hundred-fold; but that
in Cinyps three hundred-fold. The district of Cyrene, which is the
highest of that part of Libya which the nomads occupy, has three
seasons, a circumstance worthy of admiration; for the first fruits near
the sea swell so as to be ready for the harvest and vintage; when these
are gathered in, the fruits of the middle region, away from the sea,
swell so as to be gathered in, these they call uplands; and just as this
middle harvest has been gathered in, that in the highest part becomes
ripe and swells. So that when the first crop has been drunk and eaten,
the last comes in. Thus harvest occupies the Cyrenæans during eight
months. This maybe sufficient to say concerning these things.

[Illustration: OLIVE TREES.]

The Persians once upon a time, sent against the city of Barce, laid
siege to it for nine months, digging passages under ground that reached
to the walls, and making vigorous assaults. Now these excavations were
discovered by a worker of bronze, carrying a bronze shield round within
the wall, and applying it to the ground within the city: in other places
to which he applied it, it made no noise, but at the parts that were
excavated, the metal of the shield sounded. The Barcæans, therefore,
countermining them in that part, slew the Persians who were employed in
the excavation. When much time had been spent, and many had fallen on
both sides, and not the fewest on the side of the Persians, Amasis,
general of the land forces, had recourse to the following stratagem:
Finding that the Barcæans could not be taken by force, but might be by
artifice, he dug a wide pit by night, laid weak planks of wood over it,
and on the surface over the planks he spread a heap of earth, making it
level with the rest of the ground. At daybreak he invited the Barcæans
to a conference; they gladly assented, thinking that at last they were
pleased to come to terms: and they made an agreement of the following
nature, concluding the treaty over the concealed pit: "That as long as
this earth shall remain as it is, the treaty should continue in force;
and that the Barcæans should pay a reasonable tribute to the king, and
that the Persians should form no new designs against the Barcæans."
After the treaty the Barcæans, confiding in the Persians, went freely
out of the city, and allowed any one of the Persians who chose to pass
within the wall, throwing open all the gates. But the Persians, having
broken down the concealed bridge, rushed within the wall: having not
fully kept their oath. The Persians reduced the Barcæans to slavery and
took their departure. But king Darius gave them a village in the
district of Bactria, to dwell in, and the name of Barce was given to
this village, which was still inhabited in my time, in the Bactrian

[20] Herodotus means that south of the equator the sun was in the north.




The Persians, left in Europe by Darius under the command of Megabazus,
subdued the Perinthians first of the Hellespontines, who were unwilling
to submit to Darius, and had been before roughly handled by the
Pæonians. For an oracle had admonished the Pæonians to invade the
Perinthians, and if the Perinthians, when encamped against them, should
challenge them, shouting to them by name, then to attack, but if they
should not shout out to them, not to attack. A threefold single combat
took place between them according to a challenge; for they matched a man
with a man, a horse with a horse, and a dog with a dog. The Perinthians,
victorious in two of these combats, through excess of joy sang the Pæon,
whereupon the Pæonians conjectured that this was the meaning of the
oracle, and said among themselves: "Now surely the oracle must be
accomplished; now it is our part to act." The Pæonians attacked the
Perinthians as they were singing the Pæon, gained a complete victory,
and left but few of them alive.

The nation of the Thracians is the greatest of all among men, except the
Indians; and if they were governed by one man, or acted in concert, they
would, in my opinion, be invincible, and by far the most powerful of all
nations. But as this is impracticable, and it is impossible that they
should ever be united, they are weak.

Beyond the Ister appears to be an interminable desert, and the only men
that I am able to hear of as dwelling there are those called Sigynnæ,
who wear the Medic dress; their horses are shaggy all over the body, to
five fingers in depth of hair; they are small, flat-nosed, and unable to
carry men; but when yoked to chariots are very fleet. They say that
these people are a colony of Medes. How they can have been a colony of
Medes I cannot comprehend; but any thing may happen in the course of

There is a curious people who inhabit Lake Prasias itself, who were not
at all subdued by Megabazus;—they live upon the lake in dwellings
erected upon planks fitted on lofty piles, which are driven in the
middle of the lake, with a narrow entrance from the main land by a
single bridge. These piles that support the planks all the citizens
anciently placed there at the common charge; but afterward they
established a law to the following effect: Whenever a man marries, for
each wife he sinks three piles, bringing wood from a mountain called
Orbelus: but every man has several wives. Each one has a hut on the
planks, in which he dwells, with a trap-door closely fitted in the
planks, and leading down to the lake. They tie the young children with a
cord around the foot, for fear they should fall into the lake beneath.
To their horses and beasts of burden they give fish for fodder; of which
there is such an abundance, that you have simply to open your trap-door,
let down an empty basket by a cord into the lake, when, after waiting a
short time, you draw it up full of fish.


Megabazus, after conquering the Pæonians, arrived at the Hellespont,
crossed over, and came to Sardis. In the meantime, Histiæus the Milesian
was building a wall around the place, which, at his own request, he had
received from Darius as a reward for his services in preserving the
bridge: this place was near the river Strymon, and its name Myrcinus.
Megabazus, upon learning what was being done by Histiæus, as soon as he
reached Sardis said to Darius: "O king, what have you done, in allowing
a crafty and subtle Greek to possess a city in Thrace, where there is an
abundance of timber fit for building ships and plenty of wood for oars,
and silver mines? A great multitude of Greeks and barbarians dwell
around, who, when they have obtained him as a leader, will do whatever
he may command, both by day and by night. Put a stop therefore to the
proceedings of this man, that you may not be harassed by a domestic war;
send for him in a gentle manner, and stop him: and when you have him in
your power, take care that he never returns to the Greeks." Megabazus
easily persuaded Darius, since he wisely foresaw what was to happen. So
Darius sent a messenger to Myrcinus, who spoke as follows: "Histiæus,
King Darius says thus: I find on consideration that there is no man
better affected to me and my affairs than thyself; and this I have
learnt, not by words, but actions; now, since I have great designs to
put in execution, come to me by all means, that I may communicate them
to thee." Histiæus, giving credit to these words, and at the time
considering it a great honor to become a counsellor of the king, went to
Sardis: when he arrived, Darius said, "Histiæus, I have sent for you on
this occasion. As soon as I returned from Scythia, and you were out of
my sight, I have wished for nothing so much as to see you and converse
with you again; being persuaded that a friend who is both intelligent
and well affected, is the most valuable of all possessions; both of
which I am able to testify from my own knowledge concur in you, as
regards my affairs. You have done well in coming, and I make you this
offer: Think no more of Miletus, nor of the new-founded city in Thrace;
but follow me to Susa, have the same that I have, and be the partner of
my table and counsels." And Darius appointed Artaphernes, his brother by
the same father, to be governor of Sardis, and departed for Susa, taking
Histiæus with him. He first nominated Otanes to be general of the forces
on the coast, whose father, Sisamnes, one of the royal judges, King
Cambyses had put to death and flayed, because he had given an unjust
judgment for a sum of money. He had his skin torn off, and cut into
thongs, and extended it on the bench on which he used to sit, when he
pronounced judgment; then Cambyses appointed as judge in the room of
Sisamnes, whom he had slain and flayed, the son of Sisamnes, admonishing
him to remember on what seat he sat to administer justice. This very
Otanes, then, being now appointed successor to Megabazus in the command
of the army, subdued the Byzantians and Chalcedonians, and took
Antandros, which belongs to the territory of Troas, and Lamponium; and
obtaining ships from the Lesbians, he took Lemnos and Imbrus, both of
which were then inhabited by Pelasgians. The Lemnians fought valiantly,
and defended themselves for some time, but were at length overcome; and
over those who survived, the Persians set up Lycaretus as governor, the
brother of Mæandrius, who had reigned in Samos. Otanes enslaved and
subdued them all for various alleged reasons: some he charged with
desertion to the Scythians; others he accused of having harassed Darius'
army in their return home from the Scythians.

Afterward, for the intermission from misfortune was not of long
duration, evils arose a second time to the Ionians from Naxos and
Miletus. For, on the one hand, Naxos surpassed all the islands in
opulence; and on the other, Miletus, at the same time, had attained the
summit of its prosperity, and was accounted the ornament of Ionia. Some
of the opulent men, exiled from Naxos by the people, went to Miletus:
the governor of Miletus happened to be Aristagoras, son of Molpagoras,
son-in-law and cousin of Histiæus, whom Darius detained at Susa. These
Naxians arrived at Miletus, entreated Aristagoras, if he could, by any
means, to give them some assistance so that they might return to their
own country. He, perceiving that if by his means they should return to
their city, he might get the dominion of Naxos, used the friendship of
Histiæus as a pretence, and addressed the following discourse to them:
"I am not able of myself to furnish you with a force sufficient to
reinstate you against the wishes of the Naxians, who are in possession
of the city, for I hear that the Naxians have eight thousand heavy-armed
men, and a considerable number of ships of war. Yet I will contrive some
way, and use my best endeavors; my scheme is this: Artaphernes happens
to be my friend; he is son of Hystaspes and brother of king Darius, and
commands all the maritime parts of Asia, and has a large army and navy.
This man, I am persuaded, will do whatever we desire." The Naxians urged
Aristagoras to go about it in the best way he could, and bade him
promise presents, and their expenses to the army, for they would repay
it; having great expectation that when they should appear at Naxos the
Naxians would do whatever they should order, as also would the other
islanders; for of these Cyclades islands not one was as yet subject to

Accordingly Aristagoras journeyed to Sardis, and told Artaphernes, that
Naxos was an island of no great extent, to be sure, but beautiful and
fertile, and near Ionia, and in it was much wealth and many slaves. "Do
send an army against this country, to reinstate those who have been
banished; and if you do this, I have, in the first place, a large sum of
money ready, in addition to the expenses of the expedition, for it is
just that we who lead you on should supply that; and in the next, you
will acquire for the king Naxos itself, and the islands dependent upon
it, Paros, Andros, and the rest that are called Cyclades. Setting out
from there you will easily attack Eubœa, a large and wealthy island, not
less than Cyprus, and very easy to be taken. A hundred ships are
sufficient to subdue them all." The reply was quickly given: "You
propose things advantageous to the king's house, and advise every thing
well, except the number of ships; instead of one hundred, two hundred
shall be ready at the commencement of the spring. But it is necessary
that the king himself should approve of the design." Aristagoras, wild
with delight, went back to Miletus. And Artaphernes, finding that Darius
himself approved of the plan, made ready two hundred triremes, and a
very numerous body of Persians and other allies: and he appointed
Megabates general, a Persian of the family of the Archimenidæ, his own
and Darius' nephew, whose daughter, if the report be true, was afterward
betrothed to Pausanias, son of Cleombrotus the Lacedæmonian, who aspired
to become tyrant of Greece. Artaphernes, having appointed Megabates
general, sent forward the army to Aristagoras.

Megabates, with Aristagoras, the Ionian forces, and the Naxians, sailed
professedly for the Hellespont; but when he arrived at Chios, anchored
at Caucasa, that he might cross over from there to Naxos by a north
wind. However, it was fated that the Naxians were not to perish by this
armament, as the following event occurred: As Megabates was going round
the watches on board the ships, he found no one on guard on board a
Myndian ship; indignant at this, he ordered his body-guards to find the
captain of this ship, whose name was Scylax, and to bind him with his
body half-way through the lower row-lock of the vessel, so that his head
should be on the outside of the vessel, and his legs within. Some one
told Aristagoras that Megabates had bound and disgraced his Myndian
friend. He went therefore and interceded for him with the Persian, but,
when he found he could obtain nothing, went himself and released him.
Megabates, hearing of this, was very indignant, and enraged at
Aristagoras, and told him so; "but," said Aristagoras, "what have you to
do with these matters? Did not Artaphernes send you to obey me, and to
sail wheresoever I should command?" Megabates, still more exasperated at
this, as soon as night arrived, dispatched men in a ship to Naxos, to
inform the Naxians of the impending danger. The Naxians, who had not a
suspicion that this armament was coming against them, immediately
carried every thing from the fields into the town, and, with plenty of
food and drink, prepared to undergo a siege, so the Persians had to
attack men well fortified, and after besieging them four months,
consumed all the supplies they had brought with them, together with
large sums furnished by Aristagoras, and wanting still more to carry on
the siege, they were forced to build a fortress for the Naxian exiles,
and retire to the continent unsuccessful.

Aristagoras was thus unable to fulfil his promise to Artaphernes; while
at the same time the expenses of the expedition pressed heavily on him
on account of the ill success of the army; and having incurred the ill
will of Megabates to such an extent that he feared that he should be
deprived of the government of Miletus, he meditated a revolt. It
happened at the same time that a messenger with his head tattooed came
from Susa from Histiæus, urging Aristagoras to revolt from the king. For
Histiæus, being desirous to communicate to Aristagoras his wish for him
to revolt, had no other means of signifying it with safety, because the
roads were guarded; therefore, having shaved the head of the most
trustworthy of his slaves, he marked it with a sharp iron, and waited
till the hair had grown again, then sent him to Miletus without other
instructions except that when he arrived at Miletus he should desire
Aristagoras to shave off his hair and look upon his head: the punctures,
as I have said before, signified a wish for him to revolt. Histiæus did
this because he looked upon his detention at Susa as a great misfortune;
while if a revolt should take place he had great hopes that he should be
sent down to the coast; but if Miletus made no new attempt, he thought
that he should never go there again. It was resolved to revolt, and
messengers were sent to the force that had returned from Naxos, and
which was at Myus, to seize the captains on board the ships. Aristagoras
thus openly revolted, devising every thing he could against Darius. And
first, in pretence, having laid aside the sovereignty, he established an
equality in Miletus, in order that the Milesians might more readily join
with him in the revolt. Afterward he effected the same throughout the
rest of Ionia, expelling some of the tyrants; and he delivered up those
whom he had taken from on board the ships that had sailed with him
against Naxos, to the cities, in order to gratify the people, giving
them up to the respective cities, from whence each came. The
Mityleneans, as soon as they received Coes, led him out, and stoned him
to death; but the Cymeans let their tyrant go; and in like manner most
of the others let theirs go. Accordingly there was a suppression of
tyrants throughout the cities. But Aristagoras enjoined them all to
appoint magistrates in each of the cities, and went himself in a trireme
as ambassador to Sparta, for it was necessary for him to procure some
powerful alliance.

Aristagoras arrived at Sparta, when Cleomenes held the government; and
he went to confer with him, as the Lacedæmonians say, carrying a bronze
tablet, on which was engraved the circumference of the whole earth, the
whole sea, and all rivers. "Wonder not, Cleomenes," said Aristagoras,
"at my eagerness in coming here, for it is a great sorrow to us that the
children of Ionians should be slaves instead of free, and above all
others it is a disgrace to you, inasmuch as you are at the head of
Greece. I adjure you by the Grecian gods, rescue the Ionians, who are of
your own blood, from servitude. It is easy for you to effect this, for
the barbarians are not valiant; whereas you, in matters relating to war,
have attained to the utmost height of glory; their mode of fighting is,
with bows and short spears, and they engage in battle wearing loose
trousers, and turbans on their heads, so that they are easy to be
overcome. Besides, there are treasures belonging to those who inhabit
that continent, such as are not possessed by all other nations together;
gold, silver, bronze, variegated garments, beasts of burden, and slaves;
all these you may have if you will. They live adjoining one another as I
will show you. Next to these Ionians are the Lydians, who inhabit a
fertile country, and abound in silver." As he said this he showed the
map of the earth, which he had brought with him, engraved on a tablet.
"Next to the Lydians," proceeded Aristagoras, "are these Phrygians to
the eastward, who are the richest in cattle and in corn of all with whom
I am acquainted. Next to the Phrygians are the Cappadocians, whom we
call Syrians; and bordering on them, the Cilicians, extending to this
sea in which the island of Cyprus is situated; they pay an annual
tribute of five hundred talents to the king. Next to the Cilicians are
these Armenians, who also abound in cattle; and next to the Armenians
are the Metienians, who occupy this country; and next them this
territory of Cissia, in which Susa is situated, on this river Choaspes,
and here the great king resides, and here are his treasures of wealth.
If you take this city, you may boldly contend with Jupiter in wealth. As
it is, you carry on war for a country of small extent, and not very
fertile, and of narrow limits, with the Messenians, who are your equals
in valor, and with the Arcadians and Argives, who have nothing akin to
gold or silver, the desire of which induces men to hazard their lives in
battle. But when an opportunity is offered to conquer all Asia with
ease, will you prefer any thing else?" "Milesian friend," said
Cleomenes, "I defer to give you an answer until the third day." They met
at the appointed time and place, and Cleomenes asked Aristagoras, how
many days' journey it was from the sea of the Ionians to the king.
Aristagoras, though he was cunning in other things, and had deceived him
with much address, made a slip in this; for he should not have told the
real fact, if he wished to draw the Spartans into Asia; whereas he told
him frankly that it was a three months' journey up there. Cutting short
the rest of the description which Aristagoras was proceeding to give of
the journey, Cleomenes said: "My friend, from Miletus, depart from
Sparta before sunset; for you speak no agreeable language to the
Lacedæmonians, in wishing to lead them a three months' journey from the
sea;" and Cleomenes went home. Aristagoras, nothing daunted, taking an
olive-branch in his hand, went to the house of Cleomenes, entered in, as
a suppliant, and besought Cleomenes to listen to him. The latter's
little child, a daughter, whose name was Gorgo, stood by him; she
happened to be his only child, and was about eight or nine years of age.
Cleomenes bade him say what he wished, and not mind the presence of the
little girl. Thereupon Aristagoras promised him ten talents, if he would
do as he desired; and as Cleomenes refused, Aristagoras went on
increasing his offers, until he promised fifty talents, when little
Gorgo cried out, "Papa, this stranger will corrupt you, if you don't
quickly depart." Cleomenes, pleased with the advice of the child,
retired to another apartment; and Aristagoras was forced to leave Sparta
altogether, without ever getting another opportunity to give further
particulars of the route to the city of the great king.

With respect to this road, the case is as follows: There are royal
stations all along, and excellent inns, and the whole road is through an
inhabited and safe country. There are twenty stations extending through
Lydia and Phrygia, and the distance is ninety-four parasangs and a half.
After Phrygia, the river Halys is met with, at which there are gates,
which it is absolutely necessary to pass through, and thus to cross the
river; there is also a considerable fort on it. When you cross over into
Cappadocia, and traverse that country to the borders of Cilicia, there
are eight and twenty stations, and one hundred and four parasangs; and
on the borders of these people, you go through two gates, and pass by
two forts. When you have gone through these and made the journey through
Cilicia, there are three stations, and fifteen parasangs and a half. The
boundary of Cilicia and Armenia is a river that is crossed in boats,
called the Euphrates. In Armenia there are fifteen stations for
resting-places, and fifty-six parasangs and a half; there is also a fort
at the stations. Four rivers that are crossed in boats flow through this
country, which it is absolutely necessary to ferry over. First, the
Tigris; then the second and third have the same name, though they are
not the same river, nor flow from the same source. For the first
mentioned of these flows from the Armenians, and the latter from the
Matienians. The fourth river is called the Gyndes, which Cyrus once
distributed into three hundred and sixty channels. As you enter from
Armenia into the country of Matiene, there are four stations; and from
thence as you proceed to the Cissian territory there are eleven
stations, and forty-two parasangs and a half, to the river Choaspes,
which also must be crossed in boats; on this Susa is built. All these
stations amount to one hundred and eleven,[21] as you go up from Sardis
to Susa. Now if the royal road has been correctly measured in parasangs,
and if the parasang is equal to thirty stades, as indeed it is, from
Sardis to the royal palace, called Memnonia, is a distance of thirteen
thousand five hundred stades, the parasangs being four hundred and
fifty; and by those who travel one hundred and fifty stades every day,
just ninety days are spent on the journey. So Aristagoras spoke
correctly when he stated the distance to Susa.



Aristagoras the Milesian, having been expelled from Sparta by Cleomenes
the Lacedæmonian, repaired to Athens; for this city was much more
powerful than the rest. Presenting himself before the people, he said
the same that he had done at Sparta, respecting the wealth of Asia and
the Persian mode of warfare, how they used neither shield nor spear, and
could be easily conquered. He said also that the Milesians were a colony
of the Athenians, and it was but reasonable that they, having such great
power, should rescue them. And as there was nothing he did not promise,
being very much in earnest, at length he persuaded them. It appears to
be more easy to impose upon a multitude than one man; this schemer, you
see, was not able to impose upon Cleomenes the Lacedæmonian singly, but
did upon thirty thousand Athenians. Twenty ships were sent to succor the
Ionians, and Melanthius commander over them, a citizen who was
universally esteemed. These ships proved the source of calamities both
to Greeks and barbarians. Aristagoras sailed first, arrived at Miletus,
and had recourse to a project from which no advantage could result to
the Ionians; nor did he employ it for that purpose, but that he might
vex king Darius. He sent a man into Phrygia, to the Pæonians, who had
been carried away captive by Megabazus, from the river Strymon, and
occupied a tract in Phrygia, and a village by themselves. Arrived among
the Pæonians, the messenger spoke as follows: "Men of Pæonia,
Aristagoras, tyrant of Miletus, has sent me to suggest to you a mode of
deliverance, if you will take his advice. For all Ionia has revolted
from the king, and offers you an opportunity of returning safe to your
own country; as far as to the coast take care of yourselves, and we will
provide for the rest." When the Pæonians heard these words, they
considered it a very joyful event, and taking with them their children
and wives, fled to the coast; though some of them, through fear,
remained where they were. When the Pæonians reached the coast, they
crossed over to Chios, when a large body of Persian cavalry came on
their heels, and sent orders to Chios to the Pæonians, commanding them
to return. The Pæonians did not listen to the proposal; but the Chians
conveyed them to Lesbos, and the Lesbians forwarded them to Doriscus;
thence proceeding on foot they reached Pæonia.

The Athenians arrived with twenty ships, bringing with them five
triremes of the Eretrians, who engaged in this expedition out of
good-will to the Milesians, in order to repay a former obligation; for
the Milesians had formerly joined the Eretrians in the war against the
Chalcidians. When these had arrived, and the rest of the allies had come
up, Aristagoras resolved to make an expedition to Sardis. He himself did
not march with the army, but remained at Miletus, and appointed as
generals of the Milesians, his own brother Charopinus, and of the other
citizens Hermophantus. The Ionians arrived at Ephesus with this force,
left their ships at Coressus, in the Ephesian territory, and advanced
with a numerous army, taking Ephesians for their guides; and marching by
the side of the river Cayster, they crossed Mount Tmolus, and reached
and took Sardis without opposition; all except the citadel, for
Artaphernes with a strong garrison defended the citadel. The following
accident prevented them, after they had taken the city, from plundering
it. Most of the houses in Sardis were built with reeds; and such of them
as were built with brick, had roof of reeds. A soldier happened to set
fire to one of these, and immediately the flame spread from house to
house, and consumed the whole city. While the city was burning, the
Lydians, and as many of the Persians as were in the city, being enclosed
on every side, and having no means of escaping from the city, rushed
together to the market-place, and to the river Pactolus, which, bringing
down grains of gold from Mount Tmolus, flows through the middle of the
market-place, and then discharges itself into the river Hermus, and that
into the sea. The Lydians and Persians, being assembled on this Pactolus
and at the market-place, were constrained to defend themselves: and the
Ionians, seeing some of the enemy standing on their defence, and others
coming up in great numbers, retired through fear to the mountain called
Tmolus, and thence under favor of the night retreated to their ships.
Thus Sardis was burnt, and in it the temple of the native goddess
Cybebe; the Persians, making a pretext of this, afterwards burnt in
retaliation the temples of Greece. As soon as the Persians who had
settlements on this side the river Halys were informed of these things,
they drew together and marched to assist the Lydians; the Ionians were
no longer at Sardis; but following on their track they overtook them at
Ephesus, where the Ionians drew out in battle-array against them, and
coming to an engagement, were sorely beaten; and the Persians slew many
of them, among other persons of distinction, Eualcis, general of the
Eretrians, who had gained the prize in the contests for the crown, and
had been much celebrated by Simonides the Cean. Those who escaped from
the battle were dispersed throughout the cities.

Such was the result of the encounter. Afterward, the Athenians, totally
abandoning the Ionians, though Aristagoras urgently solicited them by
ambassadors, refused to send them any assistance. The Ionians, deprived
of the alliance of the Athenians, (for they had conducted themselves in
such a manner toward Darius from the first,) nevertheless prepared for
war with the king. And sailing to the Hellespont, they reduced Byzantium
and all the other cities in that quarter to their obedience. They then
sailed out of the Hellespont, and gained over to their alliance the
greater part of Caria; for the city of Caunus, which before would not
join their alliance, when they had burnt Sardis, came over to their side.

When it was told king Darius, that Sardis had been taken and burnt by
the Athenians and Ionians, and that Aristagoras the Milesian was the
chief of the confederacy and the contriver of that enterprise, it is
related that he took no account of the Ionians, well knowing that they
would not escape unpunished for their rebellion, but inquired where the
Athenians were; then having been informed, he called for a bow, put an
arrow into it, let it fly toward heaven, and as he shot it into the air,
exclaimed: "O Jupiter, grant that I may revenge myself on the
Athenians!" Then he commanded one of his attendants, every time dinner
was set before him, to say thrice: "Sire, remember the Athenians."
Summoning to his presence Histiæus the Milesian, whom he had already
detained a long time, Darius said: "I am informed, Histiæus, that your
lieutenant, to whom you intrusted Miletus, has attempted innovations
against me; for he has brought men from the other continent, and with
them Ionians, who shall give me satisfaction for what they have done;
and has deprived me of Sardis. Now, can it appear to you that this is
right? Could such a thing have been done without your advice? Beware
lest hereafter you expose yourself to blame." To this Histiæus answered:
"O king, what have you said? That I should advise a thing from which any
grief, great or little, should ensue to you! With what object should I
do so? What am I in want of? I, who have all things the same as you, and
am deemed worthy to share all your counsels? But if my lieutenant has
done any such thing as you mention, be assured he has done it of his own
contrivance. But I do not believe the account, that the Milesians and my
lieutenant have attempted any innovations against your authority. Yet if
you have heard the truth, consider, O king, what mischief you have done
in withdrawing me from the coast. For the Ionians seem, when I was out
of their sight, to have done what they long ago desired to do; and had I
been in Ionia not one city would have stirred. Suffer me therefore to go
with all speed to Ionia, that I may restore all things there to their
former condition, and deliver into your hands this lieutenant of
Miletus, who has plotted the whole. When I have done this according to
your mind, I swear by the royal gods, not to put off the garments which
I shall wear when I go down to Ionia, before I have made the great
island Sardinia tributary to you." His speaking thus deceived the king;
Darius was persuaded, and let him go, charging him to return to Susa, as
soon as he should have accomplished what he had promised.

While the news concerning Sardis was going up to the king, tidings were
brought to Onesilus the Salaminian, as he was besieging the Amathusians,
that Artybius, a Persian, leading a large Persian force on shipboard,
was to be expected in Cyprus. Onesilus accordingly sent heralds to the
different parts of Ionia, inviting them to assist him; and the Ionians,
without any protracted deliberation, arrived at Cyprus with a large
armament. The Persians crossed over in ships from Cilicia, and marched
by land against Salamis.

Then the kings of the Cyprians drew up their forces in line, and
stationed the best of the Salaminians and Solians against the Persians.
Onesilus voluntarily took up his position directly against Artybius, the
general of the Persians. Artybius used to ride on a horse, that had been
taught to rear up against an armed enemy. Onesilus had a shield-bearer,
a Carian, well skilled in matters of war, and otherwise full of courage,
to whom he said: "I am informed that the horse of Artybius rears up, and
with his feet and mouth attacks whomsoever he is made to engage with;
tell me which you will watch and strike, whether the horse or Artybius
himself." His attendant answered: "I am ready to do both, or either of
them, but a king and a general ought, I think, to engage with a king and
a general. If you vanquish one who is a general, your glory is great;
while if he should vanquish you, which may the gods avert, to fall by a
noble hand is but half the calamity. We servants should engage with
other servants, and also against a horse, whose tricks you need not fear
at all; for I promise you he shall never again rear up against any man."
Forthwith the forces joined battle by land and sea. Now, the Ionians
fought valiantly on that day, when the armies met in close combat; and
when Artybius, seated on his horse, bore down upon Onesilus. Onesilus,
as he had concerted with his shield-bearer, struck Artybius himself; and
as the horse was throwing his feet against the shield of Onesilus, the
Carian with a scythe cut off the horse's feet. So that Artybius, the
general of the Persians, fell together with his horse on the spot. While
the rest were fighting, Stesenor, of Curium, deserted with no
inconsiderable body of men, and the chariots of war belonging to the
Salaminians did the same as the Curians. Consequently the Persians
became superior to the Cyprians. The army was put to flight, many fell,
and amongst them Onesilus, and the king of the Solians, Aristocyprus,
son of the Philocyprus whom Solon the Athenian, when he visited Cyprus,
celebrated in his verses above all tyrants. The Amathusians cut off the
head of Onesilus, because he had besieged them, took it to Amathus, and
suspended it over the gates; and when the head had become hollow, a
swarm of bees entered it, and filled it with honey-comb. An answer was
given to the Amathusians, who consulted the oracle respecting it, "that
they should take down the head and bury it, and sacrifice annually to
Onesilus, as to a hero, and that it would turn out better for them."

Afterward, the Persians crossed the Mæander and engaged the Carians on
the banks of the river Marsyas. They fought an obstinate battle, and at
last overpowered them. Of the Persians there fell about two thousand,
and of the Carians ten thousand. The Carians, however, afterward
recovered from this wound, and renewed the contest. For hearing that the
Persians designed to invade their cities, they placed an ambuscade on
the way to Pedasus, into which the Persians, falling by night, were cut
in pieces, with their generals Daurises, Amorges, and Sisamaces.

Hymees, who was one of those who pursued the Ionians that had attacked
Sardis, bending his march toward the Propontis, took Cius of Mysia. When
he heard that Daurises had quitted the Hellespont, and was marching
against Caria, he abandoned the Propontis, and led his army on the
Hellespont. He subdued all the Æolians who inhabited the territory of
Ilium, and subdued the Gergithæ, the remaining descendants of the
ancient Teucrians. Just then, however, he died of disease in the Troad.
But Artaphernes, governor of Sardis, and Otanes, who were appointed to
invade Ionia and the neighboring territory of Æolia, took Clazomenæ and

Aristagoras the Milesian, for he was not, as it proved, a man of strong
courage, after he had thus thrown Ionia into confusion, and raised great
disturbances, thought of flight, when he saw these results. Besides, it
appeared to him impossible to overcome King Darius; so calling his
partisans together, he suggested "that it would be better for them to
have some sure place of refuge, in case they should be expelled from
Miletus." He asked, therefore, whether he should lead them to Sardinia,
to found a colony, or to Myrcinus of the Edonians, which Histiæus had
begun to fortify, having received it as a gift from Darius. However, the
opinion of Hecatæus the historian, son of Hegesander, was, that they
should set out for neither of these places, but should build a fortress
in the island of Leros, and remain quiet, if they were compelled to quit
Miletus. But Aristagoras himself was decidedly in favor of proceeding to
Myrcinus; he therefore intrusted Miletus to Pythagoras, a citizen of
distinction, and, taking with him all who were willing, sailed to
Thrace, and took possession of the region to which he was bound. But
both Aristagoras himself and all his army perished while he was laying
siege to a city in Thrace.

[21] The detail of stations above-mentioned gives only eighty-one
instead of one hundred and eleven. The discrepancy can only be accounted
for by a supposed defect in the manuscripts.




Aristagoras thus induced the Ionians to revolt, and died; and Histiæus,
tyrant of Miletus, repaired to Sardis. When he arrived from Susa,
Artaphernes, Governor of Sardis, asked him for what reason he supposed
the Ionians had revolted. Histiæus said he did not know, and seemed
surprised at what had happened, as if he knew nothing of the present
state of affairs. But Artaphernes saw that he was dissembling, and being
aware of the exact truth as to the revolt, said: "Histiæus, the state of
the case is this: you made the shoe and Aristagoras has put it on."
Histiæus in alarm fled to the coast as soon as night came on, and
although he had promised to reduce the great island of Sardinia for
Darius, he insinuated himself into the command of the Ionians in the war
against him. At Chios he was taken and put in chains, being suspected by
the Chians of planning some new design against them in favor of Darius.
However, the Chians, being assured that he was an enemy to the king,
released him, and conveyed him to Miletus, at his own request; but the
Milesians, delighted at being rid of Aristagoras, were by no means
desirous to receive another tyrant into their country, as they had
tasted of freedom. Thereupon Histiæus, going down to Miletus by night,
endeavored to enter it by force, but was wounded in the thigh by one of
the Milesians. When he was repulsed from his own country, he went back
to Chios, and from there, since he could not persuade the Chians to help
him, he crossed over to Mitylene, and prevailed with the Lesbians to
furnish him with ships; they manned eight triremes, and sailed with
Histiæus to Byzantium. There taking up their station, they took all the
ships that sailed out of the Pontus, except such of them as said they
were ready to submit to Histiæus.

But a large naval and land-force was expected against Miletus itself.
For the Persian generals had united their forces and formed one camp to
march to Miletus, deeming the other cities of less consequence. The
Ionians, hearing of this, sent their respective deputies to the
Panionium, and determined not to assemble any land-forces to oppose the
Persians; but bade the Milesians themselves defend their walls, while
they should man their navy, without leaving a single ship behind, and
assemble as soon as possible at Lade, to fight in defence of Miletus.
Lade is a small island lying off the city of the Milesians. Soon the
Ionians came up with their ships manned, and formed their line, a fleet
three hundred and fifty-three triremes strong. On the side of the
barbarians the number of ships amounted to six hundred, and when they
arrived on the Milesian coast, and all their land-forces had come up,
the Persian generals began to fear they should not be strong enough to
overcome them, and so should be also unable to take Miletus, since they
were not masters at sea, and then might be in danger of receiving
punishment at the hands of Darius. Taking these things into
consideration, they summoned the tyrants of the Ionians, who had been
deprived of their governments by Aristagoras, and had fled to the Medes,
and who happened at that time to be serving in the army against Miletus.
"Men of Ionia," they said, "let each of you now show his zeal for the
king's house. For let each of you endeavor to detach his own countrymen
from the rest of the confederacy, and proclaim this, that they shall
suffer no hurt on account of their rebellion, nor shall their buildings,
whether sacred or profane, be burnt, nor shall they be treated with more
severity than they were before. But if they do not do this, and will at
all events come to the hazard of a battle, threaten that, when conquered
in battle, they shall all be enslaved." And the tyrants of the Ionians
sent each by night to his own countrymen, to make known the warning. But
the Ionians to whom these messages came, continued firm to their purpose
and would not listen to treachery; for each thought that the Persians
had sent this message.

When the Ionians had assembled at Lade, a council was held, and the
Phocæan general Dionysius spoke as follows: "Our affairs are in a
critical[22] state, O Ionians; we are to be freemen or slaves, and that
too run-away slaves. But if you are willing to undergo hardships, for
the present you will have to toil, but will be enabled, by overcoming
your enemies, to be free; on the other hand, if you abandon yourselves
to ease and disorder, I have no hope that you will escape punishment at
the hands of the king for your revolt. But be persuaded by me, and
entrust yourselves to my guidance, and I promise you, that if the gods
are impartial, either our enemies will not fight us at all, or if they
do fight with us, they will be completely beaten." The Ionians intrusted
themselves to the guidance of Dionysius without hesitation who daily led
out the ships into a line, exercised the rowers, by practising the
manœuvre of cutting through one another's line, put the marines under
arms, and kept the ships at anchor for the rest of the day. For seven
days they continued to obey, but on the eighth the Ionians, unaccustomed
to such toil, and worn down by hardships and the heat of the sun,
grumbled to each other in such terms as these: "What deity have we
offended to fill up this measure of affliction? we who were so beside
ourselves, as to have intrusted ourselves to the guidance of a
presumptuous Phocæan, who, all told, contributed only three ships, but
having got us under his control, afflicts us with intolerable hardships.
Many of us have already fallen into distempers, and many more must
expect to meet with the same fate. Instead of these evils, it would be
better for us to suffer anything else, and to endure the impending
servitude, be it what it may, than be oppressed by the present, Come,
let us no longer obey him." And from that moment no one would obey; but,
pitching their tents on the island, they continued under the shade, and
would not go on board the ships, or perform their exercise. When the
generals of the Samians observed what was passing among the Ionians, and
saw great disorder among them, they accepted the proposal of Æaces, son
of Syloson, which he had before sent them at the desire of the Persians,
exhorting them to abandon the confederacy of the Ionians. Besides, it
was clearly impossible for them to overcome the power of the king,
because they were convinced, that if they should overcome Darius with
his present fleet, another five times as large would come against them.
So laying hold of this pretext, as soon as they saw the Ionians refusing
to behave well, they deemed it for their advantage to preserve their own
buildings, sacred and profane.

When therefore the Phœnicians sailed against them, the Ionians drew out
their ships in line to oppose them; but when they came near and opposed
each other, I am unable to affirm with certainty who of the Ionians
proved themselves cowards, or brave men, in this sea-fight; for they
mutually accuse each other. The Samians however are said at that moment
to have hoisted sail, in pursuance of their agreement with Æaces, and
steered out of the line to Samos, with the exception of eleven ships;
the captains of which stayed and fought, refusing to obey their
commanders; and for this action the commonwealth of the Samians
conferred upon them the honor of having their names and ancestry
engraved on a column, as those who had proved themselves valiant men;
and this column now stands in the forum. The Lesbians also, seeing those
stationed next them flee, did the same as the Samians; and most of the
Ionians followed their example. Of those that persisted in the battle,
the Chians were most roughly handled, as they displayed signal proofs of
valor, and would not act as cowards. They had contributed one hundred
ships, and on board each of them forty chosen citizens served as
marines; and though they saw most of the confederates abandoning the
common cause, they disdained to follow the example of their treachery;
but choosing rather to remain with the few allies, they continued the
fight, cutting through the enemies' line, until, after they had taken
many of the enemies' ships, they lost most of their own. The Chians then
fled to their own country with the remainder of their fleet. Those
Chians whose ships were disabled in the fight, took refuge in Mycale,
ran their ships aground, and left them there, and marched over-land
across the continent. On their return they entered the territory of
Ephesus, and arrived near the city by night, at a time when the women
were celebrating the Thesmophoria; thereupon, the Ephesians, not having
before heard how it had fared with the Chians, and seeing an army enter
their territory, thinking they were certainly robbers, and had come to
seize their women, rushed out in a body, and slew the Chians. When
Dionysius the Phocæan perceived that the affairs of the Ionians were
utterly ruined, he took three of the enemies' ships and sailed away, not
indeed to Phocæa, well knowing that it would be enslaved with the rest
of Ionia, but directly to Phœnicia; and there having disabled some
merchantmen, and obtained great wealth, he sailed to Sicily, where he
established himself as a pirate, attacking none of the Greeks, but only
Carthaginians and Tyrrhenians.

When the Persians had conquered the Ionians in the sea-fight they
besieged Miletus by land and sea, undermined the walls, and bringing up
all kinds of military engines against it, took it completely, in the
sixth year after the revolt of Aristagoras. They reduced the city to
slavery, so that the event coincided with the oracle delivered
concerning Miletus. For when the Argives consulted the oracle at Delphi
respecting the preservation of their city, a double answer was given;
part concerning themselves, and the addition concerning the Milesians.
The part relating to the Argives I will mention when I come to that part
of the history; the words the Pythian uttered relative to the Milesians,
who were not present, were these: "Then Miletus, contriver of wicked
deeds, thou shalt become a feast and a rich gift to many: thy wives
shall wash the feet of many long-haired masters, and our temple at
Didymi shall be tended by others." These things befell the Milesians at
that time; for most of the men were killed by the Persians, who wear
long hair, their women and children were treated as slaves, and the
sacred enclosure at Didymi, both the temple and the shrine, were
pillaged and burnt. Of the riches in this temple I have frequently made
mention in other parts of my history. Such of the Milesians as were
taken alive were afterward conveyed to Susa; and King Darius did them no
harm, but settled them on the Red Sea, in the city of Ampe, near by
which the Tigris falls into the sea. Of the Milesian territory, the
Persians themselves retained the parts round the city and the plain; the
mountainous parts they gave to the Carians of Pedasus to occupy. When
the Milesians suffered this at the hands of the Persians, the Sybarites,
who inhabited Laos and Scydrus, did not show equal sympathy. But when
Sybaris was taken by the Crotonians, all the Milesians of every age had
shaved their heads and displayed marks of deep mourning: for these two
cities had been more strictly united in friendship than any others we
are acquainted with. The Athenians behaved in a very different manner;
for the Athenians made it evident that they were excessively grieved at
the capture of Miletus, both in many other ways, and more particularly
when Phrynichus had composed a drama of the capture of Miletus, and
represented it, the whole theatre burst into tears, and fined him a
thousand drachmas[23] for renewing the memory of their domestic
misfortunes; and they gave order that henceforth no one should act this


While Histiæus the Milesian was near Byzantium, intercepting the trading
ships of the Ionians that sailed out of the Pontus, news was brought him
of what had taken place at Miletus; he therefore intrusted his affairs
on the Hellespont to Bisaltes, son of Apollophanes, of Abydos, and with
the Lesbians sailed to Chios, and engaged with a garrison of Chians,
that would not admit him, at a place called Cœli in the Chian territory,
and killed great numbers of them. The deity is wont to give some
previous warning when any great calamities are about to befall city or
nation, and before these misfortunes great warnings happened to the
Chians. For in the first place, when they sent to Delphi a band of one
hundred youths, two only of them returned home, for a pestilence seized
and carried off the remaining ninety-eight. In the next place, a little
before the sea-fight, a house in the city fell in upon some boys, as
they were learning to read, so that of one hundred and twenty boys one
only escaped. After this, the sea-fight following, threw the city
prostrate; and after the sea-fight Histiæus with the Lesbians came upon
them; and as the Chians had been much shattered, he easily reduced them
to subjection. From there Histiæus proceeded to attack Thasus with a
large body of Ionians and Æolians; and while he was besieging Thasus,
Harpagus, the Persian, general of a considerable army, who, happening to
be in those parts, engaged with him after his landing, took Histiæus
himself prisoner, and destroyed the greater part of his army.

Now if, when Histiæus was taken prisoner, he had been conducted to king
Darius, in my opinion, he would have suffered no punishment, and the
king would have forgiven him his fault. But for this very reason, lest
by escaping he should again regain his influence with the king,
Artaphernes, Governor of Sardis, and Harpagus, who received him as soon
as he was conducted to Sardis, impaled his body on the spot, and
embalmed the head and sent it to Darius at Susa. Darius blamed those
that had done it, because they had not brought him alive into his
presence, and gave orders that they should wash and adorn the head of
Histiæus, and inter it honorably, as the remains of a man who had been a
great benefactor to himself and the Persians.

The naval force of the Persians wintered near Miletus. In the second
year it set sail for the islands lying near the continent, Chios,
Lesbos, and Tenedos, which it easily subdued. When they took any one of
these islands, the barbarians netted the inhabitants in this manner:
Taking one another by the hand, they would extend from the northern to
the southern sea, and so march over the island, hunting out the
inhabitants. They also took the Ionian cities on the continent with the
same ease; but did not net the inhabitants, for that was impossible.
Thus the Ionians were for the third time reduced to slavery; first by
the Lydians, then twice successively by the Persians. The naval force,
departing from Ionia, reduced all the places on the left of the
Hellespont as one sails in; and all the cities of the Chersonese, except
Cardia, they subdued.

Till that time Miltiades, son of Cimon, was tyrant of these cities,
Miltiades, son of Cypselus, having formally acquired this government in
the following manner: The Thracian Dolonci possessed this Chersonese;
these Dolonci, being pressed in war by the Apsynthians, sent their kings
to Delphi to consult the oracle concerning the war; the Pythian answered
them, "that they should take that man with them to their country to
found a colony, who after their departure from the temple should first
offer them hospitality." Accordingly the Dolonci, going by the sacred
way, went through the territories of the Phocians and Bœotians, and when
no one invited them, turned out of the road toward Athens. At that time
Pisistratus had the supreme power at Athens; but Miltiades, son of
Cypselus, had considerable influence; he was of a family that maintained
horses for the chariot-races, and was originally descended from Æacus
and Ægina, but in later times was an Athenian, Philæus, son of Ajax,
having been the first Athenian of that family. This Miltiades, being
seated in his own portico, and seeing the Dolonci passing by, wearing a
dress not belonging to the country, and carrying javelins, called out to
them: and upon their coming to him, he offered them shelter and
hospitality. They, grateful for their entertainment, made known to him
the whole oracle, and entreated him to obey the deity. Their words
persuaded Miltiades as soon as he heard them, for he was troubled with
the government of Pisistratus, and desired to get out of his way. He
therefore immediately set out to Delphi to ask the oracle whether he
should do that which the Dolonci requested of him. The Pythian having
bade him do so, Miltiades took with him all such Athenians as were
willing to join in the expedition, and set sail with the Dolonci, and
took possession of the country; and they who introduced him appointed
him tyrant. He, first of all, built a wall on the isthmus of the
Chersonese, from the city of Cardia to Pactya, in order that the
Apsynthians might not be able to injure them by making incursions into
their country. The width of this isthmus is thirty-six stades; and from
this isthmus the whole Chersonese inward is four hundred and twenty
stades in length. Miltiades next made war upon the Lampsacenians, who
laid an ambush and took him prisoner. But Miltiades was well known to
Crœsus, who, on hearing of this event, sent and commanded the
Lampsacenians to release Miltiades; if not, he threatened that he would
destroy them like a pine-tree. The Lampsacenians, uncertain as to what
was the meaning of this saying, discovered, with some difficulty, from
one of the elders, that the pine alone of all trees, when cut down, does
not send forth any more shoots, but perishes entirely: whereupon the
Lampsacenians, dreading the power of Crœsus, set Miltiades at liberty.
He accordingly escaped by means of Crœsus, and afterward died childless,
having bequeathed the government and his property to Stesagoras, his
brother by the same mother. When he was dead the Chersonesians
sacrificed to him, as is usual to a founder, and instituted equestrian
and gymnastic exercises, in which no Lampsacenian is permitted to
contend. The war with the Lampsacenians still continuing, it also befell
Stesagoras to die childless; being struck on the head with an axe in the
prytaneum, by a man who in pretence was a deserter, but was in fact an
enemy, and a very vehement one.

Upon the death of Stesagoras, the Pisistratidæ sent Miltiades, son of
Cimon, and brother of Stesagoras who had died, with one ship to the
Chersonese, to assume the government; they had also treated him with
kindness at Athens, as if they had not been parties to the death of his
father Cimon. Miltiades having arrived in the Chersonese, kept himself
at home under color of honoring the memory of his brother Stesagoras,
and the principal persons of all the cities assembled together from
every quarter, and came in a body with the intention of condoling with
him, whereupon they were all thrown into chains by him. Thus Miltiades
got possession of the Chersonese, maintaining five hundred auxiliaries,
and married Hegesipyle, daughter of Olorus, King of the Thracians. This
Miltiades, son of Cimon, had lately arrived in the Chersonese, but
having heard that the Phœnicians were at Tenedos, he loaded five
triremes with the property he had at hand, and sailed away for Athens.
But when he had set out from the city of Cardia, he sailed through the
gulf of Melas, and as he was passing by the Chersonese, the Phœnicians
fell in with his ships. Miltiades himself escaped with four of the ships
to Imbrus, but the fifth the Phœnicians pursued and took; of this ship,
Metiochus, the eldest of the sons of Miltiades, happened to be
commander, whom the Phœnicians took together with the ship. When they
heard that he was son of Miltiades, they took him up to the king,
thinking that they should obtain great favor for themselves, because
Miltiades had given an opinion to the Ionians advising them to comply
with the Scythians, when the Scythians requested them to loose the
bridge and return to their own country. But Darius did the young man no
injury, but many favors; for he gave him a house and an estate, and a
Persian wife, by whom he had children, who were reckoned among the
Persians. Meantime Miltiades arrived safely at Athens.



In the beginning of the spring, the other generals were dismissed by the
king, but Mardonius, son of Gobryas, went down to the coast, taking with
him a very large land-army, and a numerous naval force: he was young in
years, and had lately married king Darius' daughter, Artazostra. When he
arrived in Cilicia, and had gone in person on board ship, he proceeded
with the rest of the fleet, while the other generals led the land-army
to the Hellespont. When Mardonius reached Ionia, he did a thing, which,
when I mention it, will be a matter of very great astonishment to those
Greeks, who cannot believe that Otanes, one of the seven Persians, gave
an opinion that it was right for the Persians to be governed by a
democracy; for Mardonius deposed the tyrants of the Ionians, and
established democracies in the cities.

After this, Darius made trial of what were the intentions of the Greeks,
whether to make war with him or to deliver themselves up. He therefore
despatched heralds, appointing different persons to go to different
parts throughout Greece, with orders to ask earth and water for the
king, the Persian method of demanding submission. These he sent to
Greece, and despatched other heralds to the tributary cities on the
coast, with orders to build ships of war and transports for horses. To
the heralds who came to Greece many of the inhabitants of the continent
gave what the Persian demanded, as did all the islanders also, and
moreover the Æginetæ, whereupon the Athenians forthwith threatened them,
thinking that the Æginetæ had given earth and water out of ill-will
toward themselves, in order that they might make war on them in
conjunction with the Persian. And the Athenians laying hold of the
pretext, sent to Sparta to accuse the Æginetæ of what they had done as
betraying Greece.

The Spartans say, that once upon a time there lived in Lacedæmon one
Glaucus, son of Epicydes. This man attained to the first rank in all
respects, and bore the highest character for justice of all who at that
time dwelt at Lacedæmon. In the course of time a certain Milesian came
to Sparta and wished to have a conference with him, and said: "I am a
Milesian, and have come, Glaucus, with the desire of profiting by your
justice, of which, throughout all the rest of Greece, and particularly
in Ionia, there is great talk. Ionia is so continually exposed to great
dangers, while with us one can never see the same persons retaining
property. Having, therefore, reflected and deliberated on these things,
I determined to change half of my whole substance into silver and
deposit it with you, being well assured that with you, it would be safe.
Do you, then, take this money, and preserve these tokens; and whosoever
possessing these shall demand it back again, restore it to him." So
spoke the stranger who came from Miletus, and Glaucus received the
deposit, on the condition mentioned. After a long time had elapsed, the
sons of this man who had deposited the money came to Sparta, and
addressed themselves to Glaucus, showed the tokens, and demanded back
the money. Glaucus repulsed them, answering as follows: "I don't
remember the matter, nor any of the circumstances you mention; but if I
can recall it to my mind, I am willing to do every thing that is just;
if I really received it, I wish to restore it correctly; but if I have
not received it at all, I shall have recourse to the laws of the Greeks
against you. I therefore defer settling this matter with you for four
months from the present time." The Milesians in disappointment departed,
taking greatly to heart the loss of their money. But Glaucus went to
Delphi to consult the oracle; and, when he asked the oracle whether he
should make a booty of the money by an oath, the Pythian assailed him in
the following words: "Glaucus, son of Epicydes, thus to prevail by an
oath, and to make a booty of the money, will be a present gain. But
there is a nameless son of Perjury, who has neither hands nor feet; he
pursues swiftly, until he has seized and destroyed the whole race, and
all the house of him who has falsely sworn. But the race of a man who
keeps his oath is afterward more blessed." Glaucus, hearing this,
entreated the god to pardon the words he had spoken. But the Pythian
said, that to tempt the god, and to commit the crime, were the same
thing. So Glaucus sent for the Milesian strangers, and restored them the
money. There is at present not a single descendant of Glaucus, nor any
house which is supposed to have belonged to Glaucus; but he is utterly
extirpated from Sparta. Thus it is right to have no other thought
concerning a deposit, than to restore it when it is demanded.


The Æginetæ, offended at what they considered a great affront, prepared
to revenge themselves on the Athenians: and as the Athenians happened to
have a five-benched galley at Sunium, they formed an ambuscade and took
the ship "Theoris"[24] filled with the principal Athenians, and put the
men in chains. The Athenians, thus treated by the Æginetæ, no longer
delayed to devise all sorts of plans against them. Now there was in
Ægina an eminent man named Nicodromus, son of Cnœthus; incensed against
the Æginetæ on account of his former banishment from the island, and now
hearing that the Athenians were preparing to do a mischief to the
Æginetæ, he entered into an agreement with the Athenians for the
betrayal of Ægina, mentioning on what day he would make the attempt, and
on what it would be necessary for them to come to his assistance.
Nicodromus, according to his agreement, on the appointed day seized that
which is called the old town. The Athenians, however, did not arrive at
the proper time, for they happened not to have a sufficient number of
ships to engage with the Æginetæ; and while they were entreating the
Corinthians to furnish them with ships, their plan was ruined. The
Corinthians, for they were then on very friendly terms with them, at
their request supplied the Athenians with twenty ships, hiring them out
at a nominal price of five drachmæ each; because by their laws they were
forbidden to give them for nothing. The Athenians, taking these and
their own, manned seventy ships in all, sailed to Ægina, and arrived one
day after that agreed upon. When the Athenians did not arrive at the
proper time, Nicodromus embarked on shipboard and made his escape from
Ægina; and others of the Æginetæ accompanied him, to whom the Athenians
gave Sunium for a habitation; and they, sallying from thence, plundered
the Æginetæ in the island. This, however, happened subsequently. In the
meantime the most wealthy of the Æginetæ overpowered the common people,
who, together with Nicodromus, had revolted against them, and led them
out to execution. On this occasion they incurred a guilt, which they
were unable to expiate by any contrivance, as they were ejected out of
the island before the goddess became propitious to them. For having
taken seven hundred of the common people prisoners, they led them out to
execution; and one of them, who escaped from his bonds, fled to the
porch of Ceres the lawgiver, and seizing the door-handle, held it fast;
when they were unable by dragging to tear him away, they cut off his
hands, and so took him away; and the hands were left sticking on the
door-handles. So did the Æginetæ treat their own people. But when the
Athenians arrived with their seventy ships, they came to an engagement,
and being conquered in the sea-fight, they called upon the same persons
as before for assistance, that is, on the Argives. They, however, would
not any longer succor them, but complained that the ships of the
Æginetæ, having been forcibly seized by Cleomenes, had touched on the
territory of Argos, and the crews had disembarked with the
Lacedæmonians. Some men had also disembarked from Sicyonian ships in the
same invasion; and a penalty was imposed upon them by the Argives, to
pay a thousand talents, five hundred each. The Sicyonians, acknowledging
that they had acted unjustly, made an agreement to pay one hundred
talents, and be free from the rest; but the Æginetæ would not own
themselves in the wrong, and were very obstinate. On this account,
therefore, none of the Argives were sent by the commonwealth to assist
them; but, on their request, volunteers went to the number of a
thousand; a general, whose name was Eurybates, and who had practised for
the pentathlon, led them. The greater number of these never returned
home, but were slain by the Athenians in Ægina. The general, Eurybates,
engaging in single combat, killed three several antagonists in that
manner, but was slain by the fourth, Sophanes of Decelea. But the
Æginetæ attacked the fleet of the Athenians when they were in disorder,
and obtained a victory, and took four of their ships with the men on



War was accordingly kindled between the Athenians and Æginetæ. But the
Persian pursued his own design, for the servant continually reminded him
to remember the Athenians, and the Pisistratidæ constantly importuned
him and accused the Athenians; and at the same time Darius was desirous
of subduing those people of Greece who had refused to give him earth and
water. He therefore dismissed Mardonius from his command, because he had
succeeded ill in his expedition; and appointed other generals, whom he
sent against Eretria and Athens, namely, Datis, who was a Mede by birth,
and Artaphernes, son of Artaphernes, his own nephew; and he despatched
them with strict orders to enslave Athens and Eretria, and bring the
bondsmen into his presence. When these generals who were appointed left
the king, and reached the Aleian plain of Cilicia, bringing with them a
numerous and well-equipped army, they encamped there until the whole
naval force required from each people came up: the horse-transports were
also present, which Darius in the preceding year had commanded his
tributaries to prepare. They put the horses on board of these, and
embarked the land-forces in the ships, and sailed for Ionia with six
hundred triremes. From there they did not steer their ships along the
continent direct to the Hellespont and Thrace; but parting from Samos
they bent their course across the Icarian sea, and through the islands,
dreading the circumnavigation of Athos, because in the preceding year,
in attempting a passage that way, they had sustained great loss.

While they were doing this, the Delians also, abandoning Delos, fled to
Tenos; but as the fleet was sailing down toward it, Datis would not
permit the ships to anchor near the island, but further on, off Rhenea;
and he, having ascertained where the Delians were, sent a herald and
addressed them as follows: "Sacred men, why have you fled, forming an
unfavorable opinion of me? For both I myself have so much wisdom, and am
so ordered by the king, that in the region where the two deities[25]
were born, no harm should be done either to the country itself or its
inhabitants. Return, therefore, to your houses, and resume possession of
the island." This message he sent to the Delians by means of a herald;
and afterward heaped up three hundred talents of frankincense upon the
altar, and burnt it. Then Datis sailed with the army first against
Eretria, taking with him both Ionians and Æolians. But after he had put
out to sea from there, Delos was shaken by an earthquake, as the Delians
say, the first and last time that it was ever so affected. And the deity
assuredly by this portent intimated to men the evils that were about to
befall them. For during the three successive reigns of Darius, son of
Hystaspes, of Xerxes, son of Darius, and of Artaxerxes, son of Xerxes,
more disasters befell Greece than during the twenty generations that
preceded the time of Darius, partly brought upon it by the Persians, and
partly by the chief men amongst them contending for power. So that it is
not at all improbable that Delos should be moved at that time, though
until then unmoved; and in an oracle respecting it, it had been thus
written: "I will move even Delos, although hitherto unmoved." And in the
Greek language these names mean: Darius, "one who restrains"; Xerxes, "a
warrior"; and Artaxerxes, "a mighty warrior."

After the barbarians had parted from Delos, and touched at the islands,
they took with them men to serve in the army, and carried away the sons
of the islanders for hostages. Having subdued Eretria, and rested a few
days, they sailed to Attica, pressing the inhabitants very close, and
expecting to treat them in the same way as they had the Eretrians. Now
as Marathon was the spot in Attica best adapted for cavalry, and nearest
to Eretria, they gathered their forces there. When the Athenians heard
of this, they also sent their forces to Marathon: and ten generals led
them, of whom the tenth was Miltiades, whose father, Cimon, had been
banished from Athens by Pisistratus. During his exile, it was his good
fortune to obtain the Olympic prize in the four-horse chariot race, the
honor of which victory he transferred to Miltiades, his brother by the
same mother; afterward, in the next Olympiad, being victorious with the
same mares, he permitted Pisistratus to be proclaimed victor, and
returned home under terms. But after he had gained a third Olympic prize
with the same mares, it happened that he died by the hands of the sons
of Pisistratus, when Pisistratus himself was no longer alive; they slew
him near the Prytaneum, having placed men to waylay him by night. Cimon
was buried in front of the city, beyond that which is called the road to
Cœla, and opposite him these same mares were buried, which won the three
Olympic prizes. Stesagoras, the elder son of Cimon, was at that time
being educated by his uncle in the Chersonese, but the younger by Cimon
himself at Athens, and he had the name of Miltiades, from Miltiades, the
founder of the Chersonese. At that time, then, this Miltiades, coming
from the Chersonese, and having escaped a twofold death, became general
of the Athenians; for in the first place, the Phœnicians pursued him as
far as Imbros, exceedingly desirous of seizing him and carrying him up
to the king; and in the next, when he had escaped them, and had returned
to his own country, and thought himself in safety, his enemies attacked
him, and brought him before a court of justice, to prosecute him for
tyranny in the Chersonese. These also he escaped, and was at length
appointed general of the Athenians by the choice of the people.

And first, while the generals were yet in the city, they despatched a
herald to Sparta, one Phidippides, an Athenian, a courier by profession,
who arrived in Sparta on the following day after his departure from the
city of the Athenians, and on coming in presence of the magistrates,
said: "Lacedæmonians, the Athenians entreat you to assist them, and not
to suffer the most ancient city among the Greeks to fall into bondage to
barbarians; for Eretria is already reduced to slavery, and Greece has
become weaker by the loss of a renowned city." He delivered the message
according to his instructions, and they resolved to assist the
Athenians; but it was out of their power to do so immediately, as they
were unwilling to violate the law; for it was the ninth day of the
current month; and they said they could not march out until the moon's
circle should be full.

Meanwhile the traitor Hippias, son of Pisistratus, had guided the
barbarians to Marathon. He first of all landed the slaves from Eretria
on the island of the Styreans, called Ægilia; and next he moored the
ships as they came to Marathon, and drew up the barbarians as they
disembarked on land. But as he was busied in doing this, it happened
that he sneezed and coughed more violently than he was accustomed; and
as he was far advanced in years, several of his teeth were loose, so
that through the violence of his cough he threw out one of these teeth.
It fell on the sand, and he used every endeavor to find it; but when the
tooth could nowhere be found, he drew a deep sigh, and said to the
bystanders: "This country is not ours, nor shall we be able to subdue
it; whatever share belongeth to me, my tooth possesses."

When the Athenians were drawn up in a place sacred to Hercules, the
Platæans came to their assistance with all their forces. For the
Platæans had given themselves up to the Athenians, as the Athenians had
already undergone many toils on their account.

The opinions of the Athenian generals were divided: one party not
consenting to engage, "because they were too few to engage with the army
of the Medes"; and the others, among whom was Miltiades, urging them to
give battle. There was an eleventh voter who was appointed minister of
war among the Athenians, who had an equal vote with the generals, and at
that time Callimachus of Aphidnæ was minister of war. To him Miltiades
came and spoke as follows: "It now depends on you, Callimachus, either
to enslave Athens, or, by preserving its liberty, to leave a memorial of
yourself to every age, such as not even Harmodius and Aristogeiton have
left. For the Athenians were never in so great danger from the time they
were first a people. If they succumb to the Medes, it has been
determined what they are to suffer when delivered up to Hippias; but if
the city survives, it will become the first of the Greek cities. How,
then, this can be brought to pass, and how the power of deciding the
matter depends on you, I will now proceed to explain. The opinions of us
generals, who are ten, are equally divided; the one party urging that we
should engage, the other that we should not. Now, if we do not engage, I
expect that some great dissension arising amongst us will shake the
minds of the Athenians so as to induce them to a compliance with the
Medes. But if we engage before any dastardly thought arises in the minds
of some of the Athenians, if the gods are impartial, we shall be able to
get the better in the engagement. All these things now entirely depend
on you. For if you will support my opinion, your country will be free,
and the city the first in Greece; but if you join with those who would
dissuade us from an engagement, the contrary of the advantages I have
enumerated will fall to your lot." Miltiades, by these words, gained
over Callimachus, and it was determined to engage. Afterward the
generals whose opinions had been given to engage, as the command for the
day devolved upon each of them, gave it up to Miltiades; but though he
accepted it, he would not come to an engagement before his own turn to
command came.

The war-minister, Callimachus, commanded the right wing, for the law at
that time was so settled among the Athenians; the Platæans were drawn
out last of all, occupying the left wing. Now, ever since that battle,
when the Athenians offer sacrifices and celebrate the public festivals
which take place every five years, the Athenian herald prays, saying:
"May blessings attend both the Athenians and the Platæans." Their line
was equal in extent to the Medic line, but the middle of it was but few
deep, and there the line was weakest, while each wing was strong in
numbers. When they were drawn up, and the victims were favorable, the
Athenians, at the order to charge, advanced against the barbarians in
double-quick time; and the space between them was not less than eight
stades. The Persians, seeing them charging at full speed, prepared to
receive them, laughing at their madness when they saw that they were so
few in number, and that they rushed on at full speed without cavalry or
archers. The Athenians, however, when they engaged in close ranks with
the barbarians, fought in a manner worthy of record. For they, the first
of all the Greeks whom we know of, charged the enemy at full speed, and
first endured the sight of the Medic garb and the men that wore it; for
until that time the very name of the Medes was a terror to the Greeks.
The battle at Marathon lasted a long time: and in the middle of the
line, where the Persians themselves and the Sacæ were arrayed, the
barbarians were victorious, and having broken the line, pursued to the
interior; but in both wings the Athenians and the Platæans were
victorious. Here they allowed the defeated portion of the barbarians to
flee; and having united both wings, they fought with those who had
broken their centre until at last the Athenians were victorious. They
followed the Persians in their flight, cutting them to pieces, till,
reaching the shore, they called for fire and attacked the ships.

In this battle the brave war-minister, Callimachus, was killed, and
among the generals, Stesilaus, son of Thrasylas, perished; Cynægeirus,
son of Euphorion, laid hold of a ship's stern and had his hand severed
by an axe and fell; and besides, many other distinguished Athenians were
slain. In this manner the Athenians made themselves masters of seven
ships: but with the rest the barbarians rowed rapidly back, and after
taking off the Eretrian slaves from the island in which they had left
them, sailed round Sunium, wishing to anticipate the Athenians in
reaching the city. But the Athenians marched with all speed to the
assistance of the city, and reached it before the barbarians arrived;
and as they had come from the precinct of Hercules at Marathon, they
took up their station in another precinct of Hercules at Cynosarges. The
barbarians, having laid to with their fleet off Phalerum for a time,
soon sailed away for Asia. In this battle at Marathon there died of the
barbarians about six thousand four hundred men; and of the Athenians,
one hundred and ninety-two. An Athenian, Epizelus, son of Cuphagoras,
while fighting in the medley, and behaving valiantly, was deprived of
sight, though wounded in no part of his body, nor struck from a
distance; and he continued to be blind from that time for the remainder
of his life. I have heard that he used to give the following account of
his loss. He thought that a large heavy-armed man stood before him,
whose beard shaded the whole of his shield; that this spectre passed by
him, and killed the man that stood by his side, smiting him with this
loss as it passed.

King Darius, before the Eretrians were made captive, harbored a deep
resentment against them, as the Eretrians had been the first to begin
acts of injustice: but when he saw them brought into his presence, and
subject to his power, he did them no other harm, but settled them in the
Cissian territory at a station of his own, the name of which is
Ardericca; it is two hundred and ten stades distant from Susa, and forty
from the well which produces three different substances; for asphalt,
salt, and oil are drawn up from it, in the following manner. It is
pumped up by means of a swipe, and, instead of a bucket, half of a
wine-skin is attached to it; having dipped down with this, a man draws
it up and then pours the contents into a receiver; and being poured from
this into another, it assumes three different forms: the asphalt and the
salt immediately become solid, but the oil they collect, and the
Persians call it rhadinace; it is black and emits a strong odor. Here
king Darius settled the Eretrians; who, even to my time, occupied this
territory, retaining their ancient language. Two thousand of the
Lacedæmonians came to Athens after the full moon, making such haste to
be in time, that they arrived in Attica on the third day after leaving
Sparta. Too late for the battle, they, nevertheless, proceeded to
Marathon, saw the slain, commended the Athenians and their achievement,
and returned home.

After the defeat of the Persians at Marathon, Miltiades, asked of the
Athenians seventy ships, and troops, and money, without telling them
what country he purposed to invade, but saying that he would make them
rich if they would follow him, for he would take them to a country, from
which they would easily bring an abundance of gold, and the Athenians,
elated by these hopes, granted the ships. Miltiades, accordingly took
the troops and sailed against Paros, alleging as a pretext, that the
Parians had first begun hostilities by sending a trireme with the
Persians to Marathon. But his real reason was that he had a grudge
against the Parians on account of Lysagoras, son of Tisias, who was a
Parian by birth and who had calumniated him to Hydarnes the Persian.
Miltiades arrived with his forces and besieged the Parians, who were
driven within their walls; and sent a herald to them to demand a hundred
talents, saying, that if they did not furnish him that sum, he would not
draw off his army until he had destroyed them. The Parians never
entertained the thought of giving Miltiades any money; but devised means
by which they might defend the city; and in several parts where the wall
was most exposed to attack, they raised it, during the night, to double
its former height. Up to this point of the story all the Greeks agree;
but after this the Parians themselves say that it happened as follows.
That when Miltiades was in a state of perplexity, a captive woman, by
birth a Parian, and named Timo, conferred with him; she was an inferior
priestess of the infernal goddesses. When she came into the presence of
Miltiades, she advised him, if he deemed it of great consequence to take
Paros, to act as she should suggest. Following out her suggestions he
came to the mound before the city and leaped over the fence of Ceres
Thesmophora, as he was unable to open the door; and went to the temple,
for the purpose either to move some of the things that may not be moved,
or to do something or other, I know not what. He was just at the door,
when suddenly a thrill of horror came over him, and he went back by the
same way; and in leaping over the fence his thigh was dislocated, or his
knee was hurt. Miltiades, in a bad plight, sailed back home, neither
bringing money to the Athenians, nor having reduced Paros, but having
besieged it for six and twenty days, and ravaged the island. When the
Parians were informed that Timo, the priestess of the goddesses, had
directed Miltiades, they desired to punish her, and sent deputies to the
oracle at Delphi, as soon as they were relieved from the siege, to
inquire whether they should put to death the priestess of the goddesses,
for having made known to the enemy the means of capturing the country,
and for having discovered to Miltiades sacred things, which ought not to
be revealed to the male sex. But the Pythian did not allow them, but
said, "that Timo was not to blame for this, but that it was fated
Miltiades should come to a miserable end, and she had appeared to him as
a guide to misfortune." When Miltiades returned from Paros, the
Athenians were loud in their complaints against him, especially
Xanthippus, son of Ariphron, who brought a capital charge against
Miltiades before the people, and prosecuted him for deception.
Miltiades, though present in person, made no defence, through inability,
as his thigh had begun to mortify. But while he lay on a couch his
friends made a defence for him, dwelling much on the battle that had
been fought at Marathon, and on the capture of Lemnos; since he had
taken Lemnos, and inflicted vengeance on the Pelasgians, and had given
it up to the Athenians. The people so far favored him as to acquit him
of the capital offence, but fined him fifty talents for the injury he
had done. Miltiades soon after ended his life by the mortification of
his thigh, and his son Cimon paid the fifty talents.

[22] The Greek words, literally translated, mean "on a razor's edge."

[23] There is very good reason to believe that this fine was really
imposed for the adoption of a modern theme by Phrynichus, when hitherto
only the gods and heroes had been permissible subjects.

[24] The "Theoris" was a vessel which was sent every year to Delos to
offer sacrifice to Apollo.

[25] Apollo and Diana.




When the news of the battle fought at Marathon reached Darius, who was
before much exasperated with the Athenians on account of the attack upon
Sardis, he grew still more eager to prosecute the war against Greece. He
therefore immediately sent messengers to the several cities, and bade
them prepare an army much greater than they had furnished before, and
ships, horses, corn, and transports. Asia was thrown into agitation
during the space of three years, the bravest men being enrolled and
prepared for the purpose of invading Greece. In the fourth year the
Egyptians, who had been subdued by Cambyses, revolted from the Persians;
whereupon Darius only became the more eager to march against both. Just
then a violent dissension arose between the sons of Darius concerning
the sovereignty; for by the customs of the Persians he was obliged to
nominate his successor before he marched out on any expedition. Before
Darius became king, he had three sons born to him by his former wife,
the daughter of Gobryas; and after his accession to the throne, four
others by Atossa, daughter of Cyrus. Of the former, Artabazanes was the
eldest; of those born after, Xerxes: and these two, not being of the
same mother, were at variance. Artabazanes urged that he was the eldest
of all the sons, and that it was the established usage among all men
that the eldest son should succeed to the sovereignty: on the other
hand, Xerxes alleged that he was son of Atossa, daughter of Cyrus, and
that it was Cyrus who had acquired freedom for the Persians. At this
very juncture, when Darius had not yet declared his opinion, Demaratus,
son of Ariston, happened to come up to Susa, deprived of his kingly
office at Sparta, and having imposed on himself a voluntary exile from
Lacedæmon. This man went to Xerxes, as report has it, and advised him to
say in addition to what he had already said, that "he was born after his
father Darius had become king, and was possessed of the empire of the
Persians; whereas Artabazanes was born while he was yet a private
person; wherefore it was not reasonable or just that any other should
possess that dignity in preference to himself." "Since in Sparta also,"
Demaratus continued to suggest, "this custom prevailed, that if some
children were born before their father became king, and one was born
subsequently, when he had come to the throne, this last-born son should
succeed to the kingdom." Darius acknowledged this point, and declared
Xerxes king. But it appears to me that even without this suggestion
Xerxes would have been made king, for Atossa had unbounded influence. So
Darius appointed Xerxes to be king over the Persians, and prepared to
march. But just at this juncture, and in the year after the revolt of
Egypt, Darius himself, while making preparations, died, having reigned
thirty-six years in all; nor was he able to avenge himself either on the
Egyptians, who had revolted, or on the Athenians; and when Darius was
dead, the kingdom devolved on his son Xerxes.

Xerxes was at first by no means inclined to make war against Greece, but
he levied forces for the reduction of Egypt. Mardonius, son of Gobryas,
who was cousin to Xerxes, and son of Darius' sister, and who had the
greatest influence with him of all the Persians, constantly held the
following language: "Sire, it is not right that the Athenians, who have
already done so much mischief to the Persians, should go unpunished?
However, for the present, finish the enterprise you have in hand; and
when you have quelled the insolence of Egypt, lead your army against
Athens; that you may acquire a good reputation among men, and any one
for the future may be cautious of marching against your territory." This
language was used by him for the purpose of revenge, but he frequently
made the following addition to it, that "Europe was a very beautiful
country, and produced all kinds of cultivated trees,—and was very
fertile, and worthy to be possessed by the king alone of all mortals."
Mardonius was desirous of new enterprises, and wished to be himself
governor of Greece, and in time he persuaded Xerxes to do as he advised.
Xerxes, in the second year after the death of Darius, reduced all Egypt
to a worse state of servitude than ever under Darius, and committed the
government to Achæmenes, his brother.

He then convoked an assembly of the principal Persians, that he might
hear their opinions, and make known his intentions to them all. "Men of
Persia," said Xerxes, "I learn from older men that we have never
remained inactive since we wrested the sovereign power from the Medes,
and Cyrus overthrew Astyages; but the deity has led the way, and we have
followed his guidance to our advantage. What deeds Cyrus and Cambyses
and my father Darius have achieved, and what nations they have added to
our empire, no one need mention to you who know them well. But since I
have succeeded to the throne, I have carefully considered how I may not
fall short of my predecessors in honor, nor acquire less additional
power to the Persians."

"I have now called you together, that I may communicate to you what I
purpose to do. I intend to throw a bridge over the Hellespont, and to
march an army through Europe against Greece, that I may punish the
Athenians for the injuries they have done to the Persians and to my
father. You have already seen Darius preparing to make war against those
people; but he died, and had it not in his power to avenge himself. But
I, in his cause and that of the other Persians, will not rest till I
have taken and burnt Athens; for they began by doing acts of injustice
against my father and me. First they came to Sardis, with Aristagoras
the Milesian, our servant, and burnt down the groves and the temples.
You all know well enough how they treated us on our making a descent on
their territory, when Datis and Artaphernes led our forces. For these
reasons, therefore, I have resolved to make war upon them. And I am sure
that if we subdue them, and their neighbors, who inhabit the country of
Pelops the Phrygian, we shall make the Persian territory co-extensive
with the air of heaven, for the sun will not look down upon any land
that borders on ours. When I shall have informed you of the time, it
will be the duty of each of you to come promptly. And whosoever shall
appear with the best-appointed troops, to him I will give such presents
as are accounted most honorable in our country."

After this, when Xerxes had resolved to undertake the expedition, a
vision appeared to him in his sleep, which the magi interpreted to
signify that all mankind should serve him. Xerxes imagined that he was
crowned with the sprig of an olive tree, whose branches covered the
whole earth; and that afterward the crown that was placed on his head
disappeared. After the magi had given this interpretation, all the
Persians who were assembled departed immediately to their own
governments, and used all diligence to execute what had been ordered,
every man hoping to obtain the proposed reward; Xerxes thus levied his
army, searching out every region of the continent. He was employed four
whole years in assembling his forces and providing things necessary for
the expedition. In the fifth he began his march with a vast multitude of
men. For this was by far the greatest of all the expeditions with which
we are acquainted. What nation did not Xerxes lead out of Asia against
Greece? what stream, except that of great rivers, did not his army drink
dry? Some supplied ships; others were ordered to furnish men for the
infantry, others cavalry, some transports for horses, together with men
to serve in the army; others had to furnish long ships for the bridges,
and others provisions and vessels.

And first of all, as those who had first attempted to double Mount Athos
had met with disaster, preparations were made for nearly three years to
cut Athos off by a canal. Triremes were stationed at Eleus in the
Chersonese, and from there men of every nation from the army dug under
the lash. They went in succession; and the people who dwelt round Athos
dug also. Bubares, son of Megabazus, and Artachæus, son of Artæus, both
Persians, presided over the work. Athos is a vast and celebrated
mountain, stretching into the sea, and inhabited by men. Where the
mountain terminates toward the continent, it is in the form of a
peninsula connected with the continent by an isthmus of about twelve
stades; this is a plain with hills of no great height from the sea of
the Acanthians to the sea which is opposite Torone. On this isthmus
stands Sana, a Grecian city; and on Athos itself are the cities of Dion,
Olophyxus, Acrothoon, Thyssus, and Cleonæ. To make the excavation the
barbarians divided the ground among the several nations, having drawn a
straight line near the city of Sana. When the trench was deep, some
stood at the bottom and continued to dig, and others handed the soil
that was dug out to men who stood above on ladders; they again in turn
handed it to others, until they reached those that were at the top; the
last carried it off and threw it away. In the case of all, except the
Phœnicians, the brink of the excavation fell in and gave double labor,
for as they made the upper and the lower opening of equal dimensions,
this must necessarily happen. But the Phœnicians, who show their skill
in other works, did so especially in this; for they dug the portion that
fell to their share, making the upper opening of the trench twice as
large as it was necessary for the trench itself to be; and as the work
proceeded they contracted it gradually, so that when they came to the
bottom the work was equal in width to the rest; near adjoining is a
meadow, where they had a market and bazaar, and great abundance of meal
was brought to them from Asia. According to my deliberate opinion,
Xerxes ordered this excavation to be made from motives of ostentation,
wishing to display his power, and to leave a memorial of himself. For
though it was possible, without any great labor, to have drawn the ships
over the isthmus, he commanded them to dig a channel for the sea of such
a width that two triremes might pass through rowed abreast. And the same
persons, to whom the excavation was committed, were ordered also to
throw a bridge over the river Strymon. He also caused cables of papyrus
and of white flax to be prepared for the bridges, and ordered the
Phœnicians and Egyptians to lay up provisions for the army, that neither
the men nor the beasts of burden might suffer from famine on their march
toward Greece, conveying them to various quarters in merchant-ships and
transports from all parts of Asia.

While these men were employed in their appointed task, the whole
land-forces marched with Xerxes to Sardis, setting out from Critalla in
Cappadocia, where it had been ordered that all the troops throughout the
continent should assemble. They crossed the river Halys, entered
Phrygia, and arrived at Celænæ, where rise the springs of the Mæander,
and of another river not less than the Mæander, which is called the
Catarractes, which, springing up in the very forum of the Celænians,
discharges itself into the Mæander; in this city the skin of Silenus
Marsyas is suspended, which, as the Phrygians report, was stripped off
and suspended by Apollo. In this city Pythius, son of Atys, a Lydian,
being in waiting, entertained the whole army of the king, and Xerxes
himself, with most sumptuous feasts; and he offered to contribute money
toward the expense of the war. Xerxes asked the Persians near him who
this Pythius was, and what riches he possessed, that he made such an
offer. They answered: "O king, this is the person who presented your
father Darius with the golden plane tree and the vine; and he is now the
richest man we know of in the world, next to yourself." Xerxes in
surprise next asked Pythius what was the amount of his wealth. He said:
"O king, as soon as I heard you were coming down to the Grecian sea,
wishing to present you with money for the war, I made inquiry, and found
by computation that I had two thousand talents of silver, and of gold
four millions of Doric staters, lacking seven thousand. These I freely
give you; for myself I have sufficient subsistence from my slaves and
lands." Xerxes, delighted with his offer, replied: "My Lydian friend,
since I left the Persian country I have met with no man to the present
moment who was willing to entertain my army, or who, having come into my
presence, has voluntarily offered to contribute money toward the war.
But you have entertained my army magnificently, and have offered me vast
sums; in return for this, I make you my friend. Keep what you have
acquired, and I will myself make up to you the seven thousand staters
which you lack of four millions. Be careful always to continue such as
you are, and you shall never repent hereafter."

[Illustration: TRIPOLITZA.]

From Phrygia he entered Lydia, crossed the river Mæander, and passed by
the city of Callatebus, in which confectioners make honey with tamarisk
and wheat. Xerxes, by the way, met with a plane-tree, which, on account
of its beauty, he presented with golden ornaments, and having committed
it to the care of one of the Immortals,[26] on the next day he arrived
at Sardis, the capital of the Lydians.

In the meanwhile those who were appointed had joined the Hellespont from
Asia to Europe. There is in the Chersonese on the Hellespont, between
the city of Sestos and Madytus, a craggy shore extending into the sea,
directly opposite Abydos. From this shore to Abydos, they had
constructed two bridges, the Phœnicians one with white flax, and the
Egyptians the other with papyrus. The distance is seven stades. When the
strait was thus united, a violent storm arose and broke in pieces and
scattered the whole work. When Xerxes heard of this, exceedingly
indignant, he commanded that the Hellespont should be stricken with
three hundred lashes with a scourge, and that a pair of fetters should
be let down into the sea. I have moreover heard that with them he
likewise sent branding instruments to brand the Hellespont. He certainly
charged those who flogged the waters to utter these barbarous and
impious words: "Thou bitter water! thy master inflicts this punishment
upon thee, because thou hast injured him, although thou hadst not
suffered any harm from him. And king Xerxes will cross over thee,
whether thou wilt or not; it is with justice that no man sacrifices to
thee, because thou art both a deceitful and briny river!" He accordingly
commanded them to chastise the sea in this manner, and to cut off the
heads of those who had to superintend the joining of the Hellespont.
They on whom this thankless office was imposed, carried it into
execution; and other engineers constructed bridges in the following
manner. They connected together penteconters and triremes, under the
bridge toward the Euxine sea, three hundred and sixty; and under the
other, three hundred and fourteen, obliquely to the Pontus, but in the
direction of the current of the Hellespont, that it might keep up the
tension of the cables. They then let down very long anchors, some on the
bridge toward the Pontus, on account of the winds that blew from it
within; others on the other bridge toward the west and the Ægean, on
account of the south and southeast winds. They left an opening as a
passage through between the penteconters, in three places, that any one
who wished might be able to sail into the Pontus in light vessels, and
from the Pontus outward. Having done this, they stretched the cables
from the shore, twisting them with wooden capstans, not as before using
the two kinds separately, but assigning to each two of white flax and
four of papyrus. The thickness and quality was the same, but those of
flax were stronger in proportion, every cubit weighing a full talent.
When the passage was bridged over, they sawed up trunks of trees, equal
in length to the width of the bridge, and laid them upon the extended
cables in regular order, fastening them securely together. They put
brush-wood on the top, and earth over the whole; and having pressed down
the earth, they drew a fence on each side, that the beasts of burden and
horses might not be frightened by looking down upon the sea.

At last the works at the bridges and Mount Athos were completed, as well
as the mounds at the mouths of the canal which had been made on account
of the tide in order that the mouths of the trench might not be choked
up. News was brought that all was ready, and the army, fresh from their
winter at Sardis, set out fully prepared at the beginning of the spring
toward Abydos. But just as they were on the point of starting, the sun
quit his seat in the heavens and disappeared, though there were no
clouds, and the air was perfectly serene, and night ensued in the place
of day. This occasioned Xerxes much uneasiness; but the magi said "The
deity foreshows to the Greeks the extinction of their cities; the sun is
the portender of the future to the Greeks, and the moon to the
Persians." Xerxes, at this, was much delighted, and set out upon his
march. As he was leading his army away, Pythius the Lydian, terrified by
the prodigy in the heavens, and emboldened by the gifts of Xerxes, went
to the king and spoke thus: "Sire, would you indulge me by granting a
boon I wish to obtain, which is easy for you to grant, and of much
importance to me." Xerxes, expecting that he would wish for anything
rather than what he did ask, said that he would grant his request, and
bade him declare what he wanted. "Sire," said he, "I have five sons; and
it happens that they are all attending you in the expedition against
Greece. But pity me, O king, who am advanced in years, and release one
of my sons from the service, that he may take care of me and my
property. Take the other four with you, accomplish your designs, and
return home." Xerxes was highly incensed, and answered: "Base man! hast
thou dared, when I am marching in person against Greece, and taking with
me my children, and brothers, and kinsmen, and friends to make mention
of thy son? thou who art my slave, and who wert bound in duty to follow
me with all thy family, even with thy wife. But I promise to grant your
request; I will leave your dearest son." When he had given this answer,
he immediately commanded to find out the eldest of the sons of Pythius,
and to cut his body into two halves, and to stand one on the right of
the road, and the other on the left, while the army should pass between

This done the army passed between. The baggage-bearers and beasts of
burden first led the way; after them came a host of all nations. When
more than one half of the army had passed, an interval was left that
they might not mix with the king's troops. Before him a thousand
horsemen led the van, chosen from among all the Persians; and next to
them a thousand spearmen, these also chosen from among all, carrying
their lances turned downwards to the earth. After these, ten immense
sacred horses, gorgeously caparisoned, called Nisæan, from the plain in
the Medic territory, which produces them; then came the sacred chariot
of Jupiter, drawn by eight white horses, followed by a charioteer on
foot, holding the reins; for no mortal ever ascends this seat. Behind
this came Xerxes himself on a chariot drawn by Nisæan horses; and a
charioteer walked at his side, whose name was Patiramphes. In this
manner Xerxes marched out of Sardis, and whenever he thought right, he
used to pass from the chariot to a covered carriage. Behind him marched
a thousand spearmen, the bravest and noblest of the Persians, carrying
their spears in the usual manner; and after them another body of a
thousand horse, chosen from among the Persians; then ten thousand chosen
Persian infantry. Of these, one thousand had golden pomegranates on
their spears instead of ferrules, and they enclosed the others all
round; the nine thousand within had silver pomegranates. Those also that
carried their spears turned to the earth had golden pomegranates, and
those that followed nearest to Xerxes had golden apples. Behind the ten
thousand foot were placed ten thousand Persian cavalry; and after the
cavalry was left an interval of two stades; then the rest of the throng
followed promiscuously.

Once when the army halted during the night under Mount Ida, thunder and
lightning fell upon them, and destroyed a considerable number of the
troops on the spot. At the Scamander, the first river on their march
from Sardis, the stream failed and did not afford sufficient drink for
the army and beasts of burden. Here Xerxes went up to the Pergamus or
citadel of Priam, and sacrificed a thousand oxen to the Ilian Minerva,
and the magi poured out libations in honor of the heroes of the Trojan
War. At Abydos, Xerxes wished to behold the whole army. And there had
been previously erected on a hill at this place, for his use, a lofty
throne of white marble; the people of Abydos had made it, in obedience
to an order of the king. Seated there, he beheld both the land army and
the fleet; he desired also to see a contest take place between the
ships, in which the Sidonian Phœnicians were victorious. Exceedingly
gratified he was, both with the contest and the army. But while he was
viewing the whole Hellespont covered by the ships, and all the shores
and the plains of Abydos full of men, he suddenly burst into tears.
Artabanus, his paternal uncle, observed him, and exclaimed: "O king, a
moment ago you pronounced yourself happy, but now you weep." "Alas," he
answered: "Commiseration seized me, when I considered how brief all
human life is, since of these, numerous as they are, not one will be
alive in a hundred years!"

That day they made preparations for the passage over; and on the
following they waited for the sun, as they wished to see it rising, in
the mean time burning all sorts of perfumes on the bridges, and strewing
the road with myrtle branches. When the sun rose, Xerxes poured a
libation into the sea out of a golden cup, and offered up a prayer to
the sun, that no such accident might befall him as would prevent him
from subduing Europe, until he had reached its utmost limits. After the
prayer, he threw the cup into the Hellespont, and a golden bowl, and a
Persian sword, which they call acinace. But I cannot determine with
certainty, whether he dropped these things into the sea as an offering
to the sun, or whether he repented of having scourged the Hellespont,
and presented these gifts to the sea as a compensation. These ceremonies
finished, the infantry and all the cavalry crossed over by that bridge
which was toward the Pontus; and the beasts of burden and the attendants
by that toward the Ægean. I have heard that Xerxes crossed over last of
all. In seven days and seven nights without a halt his army crossed. On
this occasion it is related, that when Xerxes had crossed over the
Hellespont, a certain Hellespontine said: "O Jupiter, why, assuming the
form of a Persian, and taking the name of Xerxes, do you wish to subvert
Greece, bringing all mankind with you? since without them it was in your
power to do this."


Doriscus is a shore and extensive plain of Thrace. Through it flows a
large river, the Hebrus. A royal fort had been built, and a Persian
garrison had been established in it by Darius, from the time that he
marched against the Scythians. At Doriscus Xerxes numbered his army. The
whole land forces were found to be seventeen hundred thousand. They were
computed in this manner: having drawn together ten thousand men in one
place, and crowded them as close together as it was possible, they
traced a circle on the outside; removed the ten thousand, threw up a
stone fence on the circle, a yard high, and made others enter within the
enclosed space, until they had in this manner computed all.

The Persians were equipped as follows: On their heads they wore loose
coverings, called tiaras; on the body various-colored sleeved
breastplates, with iron scales like those of fish; and on their legs,
loose trousers; instead of shields they had bucklers made of osiers; and
under them their quivers were hung. They had short spears, long bows,
and arrows made of cane, besides daggers suspended from the girdle on
the right thigh. They had for their general, Otanes, father of Amestris,
wife of Xerxes. They were formerly called Cephenes by the Grecians, but
by themselves and neighbors, Artæans. But when Perseus, son of Danae and
Jupiter, came to Cepheus, son of Belus, and married his daughter
Andromeda, he had a son to whom he gave the name of Perses; and from him
they derived their appellation. The Medes marched equipped in the same
manner as the Persians; for the above is a Medic and not a Persian
costume. The Medes had for their general, Tigranes, of the family of the
Achæmenidæ: they were formerly called Arians by all nations; but when
Medea of Colchis came from Athens to these Arians, they also changed
their names. The Assyrians who served in the army had helmets of bronze,
twisted in a barbarous fashion, not easy to describe; and shields and
spears, with daggers similar to those of the Egyptians, besides wooden
clubs knotted with iron, and linen cuirasses. By the Greeks they were
called Syrians, but by the barbarians, Assyrians. Among them were the
Chaldeans; and Otaspes, son of Artachæus commanded them. The Bactrians
had turbans on their heads, very much like those of the Medes, and bows
made of cane peculiar to their country, and short spears. The Sacæ, who
are Scythians, had on their heads caps, which came to a point and stood
erect: they also wore loose trousers, and carried bows peculiar to their
country, and daggers, and also battle-axes, called sagares. The Indians,
clad with garments made of cotton, had bows of cane, and arrows of cane
tipped with iron.

The Arabians wore cloaks fastened by a girdle; and carried on their
right sides long bows which bent backward. The Ethiopians were clothed
in panthers' and lions' skins, and carried long bows, not less than four
cubits in length, made from branches of the palm-tree; and on them they
placed short arrows made of cane, instead of iron, tipped with a stone,
which was made sharp, and of the sort on which they engrave seals.
Besides, they had javelins, and at the tip was an antelope's horn, made
sharp, like a lance; they had also knotted clubs. When they were going
to battle, they smeared one half of their body with chalk, and the other
half with red ochre. The Arabians and Ethiopians who dwell above Egypt
were commanded by Arsames, son of Darius and Artystone, daughter of
Cyrus, whom Darius loved more than all his wives, and whose image he had
made of beaten gold. The Ethiopians from the sun-rise (for two kinds
served in the expedition) were marshalled with the Indians, and did not
at all differ from the others in appearance, except in their language
and their hair. For the eastern Ethiopians are straight-haired; but
those of Libya have hair more curly than that of any other people. These
Ethiopians from Asia were accoutred almost the same as the Indians; but
they wore on their heads skins of horses' heads, as masks, stripped off
with the ears and mane; and the mane served instead of a crest, and the
horses' ears were fixed erect; and as defensive armor they used the
skins of cranes instead of shields. The Libyans marched, clad in
leathern garments, and made use of javelins hardened by fire. They had
for their general, Massages, son of Oarizus. The Paphlagonians joined
the expedition, wearing on their heads plated helmets, and carried small
shields, and not large spears, besides javelins and daggers: and on
their feet they wore boots, peculiar to their country, reaching up to
the middle of the leg. The Thracians wore fox-skins on their heads, and
tunics around their bodies, and over them they were clothed with
various-colored cloaks, and on their feet and legs they had buskins of
fawn-skin, and carried javelins, light bucklers, and small daggers.
These people having crossed over into Asia, were called Bithynians; but
formerly, as they themselves say, were called Strymonians, as they dwelt
on the river Strymon.

These, with very many others, were the nations that marched on the
continent and composed the infantry. Over these and the whole infantry
was appointed as general, Mardonius, son of Gobryas. But of the ten
thousand chosen Persians, Hydarnes was general. These Persians were
called Immortal, for the following reason: If any one of them made a
deficiency in the number, compelled either by death or disease, another
was ready chosen to supply his place; so that they were never either
more or less than ten thousand. The Persians displayed the greatest
splendor of all, and were also the bravest; their equipment was such as
has been described; but besides this, they were conspicuous from having
a great profusion of gold. They also brought with them covered chariots
and a numerous and well-equipped train of attendants. Camels and other
beasts of burden conveyed their provisions, apart from that of the rest
of the soldiers.


All these nations have cavalry; they did not, however, all furnish
horse, but only the following. First, the Persians, equipped in the same
manner as their infantry, except that on their heads some of them wore
bronze and wrought-steel ornaments. There is a certain nomadic race,
called Sagartians, of Persian extraction and language, who wear a dress
fashioned between the Persian and the Pactyan fashion; they furnished
eight thousand horse, but they are not accustomed to carry arms either
of bronze or iron, except daggers: they use lassos made of twisted
thongs. The mode of fighting of these men is as follows: When they
engage with the enemy they throw out the ropes, which have nooses at the
end, and whatever any one catches, whether horse or man, he drags toward
himself; and they that are entangled in the coils are put to death. The
Arabians had the same dress as their infantry, but all rode camels not
inferior to horses in speed. The number of the horse amounted to eighty
thousand, besides the camels and chariots. All the rest of the cavalry
were marshalled in troops; but the Arabians were stationed in the rear,
as horses cannot endure camels. Armamithres and Tithæus, sons of Datis,
were generals of the cavalry. Their third colleague in command,
Pharnuches, had been left at Sardis sick. For as they were setting out
from Sardis he met with a sad accident. When he was mounted, a dog ran
under the legs of his horse, and the horse, frightened, reared and threw
Pharnuches, who vomited blood, and the disease turned to a consumption.
With respect to the horse, his servants immediately led him to the place
where he had thrown his master, and cut off his legs at the knees.

The number of the triremes amounted to twelve hundred and seven.

Persians, Medes, and Sacæ served as marines on board all the ships. Of
these the Phœnicians furnished the best sailing ships, and of the
Phœnicians the Sidonians. The admirals of the navy were: Ariabignes, son
of Darius; Prexaspes, son of Aspathines; Megabazus son of Megabates; and
Achæmenes, son of Darius. Of the other captains I make no mention, as I
deem it unnecessary, except of Artemisia, whom I most admire, as having,
though a woman, joined this expedition against Greece. Her husband was
dead, but, holding the sovereignty while her son was under age, she
joined the expedition from a feeling of courage and manly spirit, though
there was no necessity for her doing so. Her name was Artemisia, and she
was the daughter of Lygdamis, by birth of Halicarnassus on her father's
side, and on her mother's a Cretan. She commanded the Halicarnassians,
the Coans, the Nisyrians, and the Calyndians, having contributed five
ships: and of the whole fleet, next to the Sidonians, she furnished the
most renowned ships, and of all the allies, gave the best advice to the
king. The cities which I have mentioned as being under her command, I
pronounce to be all of Doric origin; the Halicarnassians being
Trœzenians, and the rest Epidaurians.

When Xerxes had numbered his forces, and the army was drawn up he
desired to pass through and inspect them in person. Accordingly he drove
through in a chariot, by each separate nation, made inquiries, and his
secretaries wrote down the answers; until he had gone from one extremity
to the other, both of the horse and foot. When he had finished this, and
the ships had been launched into the sea, Xerxes, in a Sidonian ship,
under a gilded canopy, sailed by the prows of the ships, asking
questions of each, as he had done with the land-forces, and having the
answers written down.

When Xerxes arrived at Therma, he ordered his army to halt. And seeing
from Therma the Thessalonian mountains, Olympus and Ossa, which are of
vast size, and having learnt that there was a narrow pass between them,
through which the river Peneus runs, and hearing that at that spot there
was a road leading to Thessaly, very much wished to sail and see the
mouth of the Peneus. When Xerxes arrived, and beheld its mouth, he was
struck with great astonishment. For several rivers, five of them greatly
noted, the Peneus, the Apidanus, the Onochonus, the Enipeus, and the
Pamisus, meeting together in this plain from the mountains that enclose
Thessaly, discharge themselves into the sea through one channel, and
that a narrow one; but as soon as they have mingled together, from that
spot the names of the other rivers merge in that of the Peneus.[27] The
Thessalians say, that Neptune made the pass through which the Peneus
flows; and their story is probable. For whoever thinks that Neptune
shakes the earth, and that rents occasioned by earthquakes are the works
of this god, on seeing this, would say that Neptune formed it. For it
appears evident to me, that the separation of these mountains is the
effect of an earthquake.



When the Greeks arrived at the Isthmus they consulted in what way and in
what places they should prosecute the war. The opinion which prevailed
was that they should defend the pass at Thermopylæ; for it appeared to
be narrower than that into Thessaly, and at the same time nearer to
their own territories. On the western side of Thermopylæ is an
inaccessible and precipitous mountain, stretching to Mount Œta; and on
the eastern side of the way is the sea and a morass. In this passage
there are hot baths, which the inhabitants call Chytri, and above these
is an altar to Hercules. A wall had been built in this pass, and
formerly there were gates in it. The Phocians built it through fear,
when the Thessalians came from Thesprotia to settle in the Æolian
territory which they now possess, apprehending that the Thessalians
would attempt to subdue them; at the same time they diverted the hot
water into the entrance, that the place might be broken into clefts;
having recourse to every contrivance to prevent the Thessalians from
making inroads into their country. Now this old wall had been built a
long time, and the greater part of it had already fallen through age;
but they determined to rebuild it, and in that place to repel the
barbarian from Greece. Very near this road there is a village called
Alpeni, from which they expected to obtain provisions.


The naval forces of Xerxes, setting out from the city of Therma,
advanced with ten of the fastest sailing ships straight to Scyathus,
where were three Greek ships keeping a look-out, a Trœzenian an
Æginetan, and an Athenian. These, seeing the ships of the barbarians at
a distance, betook themselves to flight. The Trœzenian ship, which
Praxinus commanded, the barbarians pursued and soon captured; and then,
having led the handsomest of the marines to the prow of the ship, they
slew him, deeming it a good omen that the first Greek they had taken was
also very handsome. The name of the man that was slain was Leon, and
perhaps he in some measure reaped the fruits of his name. The Æginetan
ship, which Asonides commanded, gave them some trouble, Pytheas, son of
Ischenous, being a marine on board, a man who on this day displayed the
most consummate valor; who, when the ship was taken, continued fighting
until he was almost cut to pieces. But when they found that he was not
dead, but still breathed, the Persians who served on board the ships
were very anxious to save him alive, on account of his valor, healing
his wounds with myrrh, and binding them with bandages of flaxen cloth.
And when they returned to their own camp, they showed him with
admiration to the whole army, and treated him well; but the others, whom
they took in this ship, they treated as slaves. Thus, two of the ships
were taken; but the third, which Phormus, an Athenian, commanded, in its
flight ran ashore at the mouth of the Peneus; and the barbarians got
possession of the ship, but not of the men: for as soon as the Athenians
had run the ship aground, they leaped out, and, proceeding through
Thessaly, reached Athens. The Greeks who were stationed at Artemisium
were informed of this event by signal-fires from Scyathus.

As far as Thermopylæ, the army of Xerxes had suffered no loss, and the
numbers were at that time, as I find by calculation of those in ships
from Asia, a total of five hundred and seventeen thousand six hundred
and ten. Of infantry there were seventeen hundred thousand, and of
cavalry eighty thousand; to these I add the Arabians who rode camels,
and the Libyans who drove chariots, reckoning the number of twenty
thousand men. Accordingly, the numbers on board the ships and on the
land added together, make up two millions three hundred and seventeen
thousand six hundred and ten, exclusive of the servants that followed,
and the provision ships, and the men that were on board them. But the
force brought from Europe must still be added to this whole number, of
which I suppose that there were three hundred thousand men. So that
these myriads added to those from Asia, make a total of two millions six
hundred and forty one thousand six hundred and ten fighting men. I think
that the servants who followed them, together with those on board the
provision ships and other vessels that sailed with the fleet, were not
fewer than the fighting men, probably more numerous; but supposing them
to be equal in number with the fighting men, Xerxes, son of Darius, led
five millions two hundred and eighty-three thousand two hundred and
twenty men to Thermopylæ. This, then, was the number of the whole force
of Xerxes. But the number of women who made bread, wives of officers,
and servants, no one could mention with accuracy; nor of draught-cattle
and other beasts of burden; nor of Indian dogs that followed. I am not
astonished that the streams of some rivers failed; rather is it a wonder
to me how the provisions held out for so many myriads. For I find by
calculation, if each man had a chœnix of wheat daily, and no more, one
hundred and ten thousand three hundred and forty medimni must have been
consumed every day; and I have not reckoned the food for the women,
beasts of burden, and dogs. But, of so many myriads of men, not one of
them, for beauty and stature, was more entitled than Xerxes himself to
possess this power.


The Greeks who awaited the Persian at Thermopylæ were: of Spartans three
hundred heavy-armed men; of Tegeans and Mantineans one thousand, half of
each; from Orchomenus in Arcadia one hundred and twenty; and from the
rest of Arcadia one thousand; from Corinth four hundred; from Phlius two
hundred men, and from Mycenæ eighty. These came from Peloponnesus. From
Bœotia, of Thespians seven hundred, and of Thebans four hundred. In
addition to these, the Opuntian Locrians, being invited, came with all
their forces, and a thousand Phocians. These nations had separate
generals for their several cities; but the one most admired, and who
commanded the whole army, was a Lacedæmonian, Leonidas, son of
Anaxandrides, and a descendant of Hercules, who had unexpectedly
succeeded to the throne of Sparta. For as he had two elder brothers,
Cleomenes and Dorieus, he was far from any thought of the kingdom.
However, Cleomenes and Dorieus both died, and the kingdom thus devolved
upon Leonidas. He had chosen the three hundred men allowed by law, and
marched to Thermopylæ.

When the Persian came near the pass, the Greeks, alarmed, consulted
about a retreat, and it seemed best to the other Peloponnesians to
retire to Peloponnesus, and guard the Isthmus; but Leonidas, perceiving
the Phocians and Locrians very indignant at this proposition, determined
to stay there, and to despatch messengers to the cities, desiring them
to come to their assistance, as being too few to repel the army of the
Medes. Meantime Xerxes sent a scout on horseback, to see how many they
were, and what they were doing. For while he was still in Thessaly, he
had heard that a small army had been assembled at that spot, whose
leader was Leonidas, of the race of Hercules. When the horseman rode up
to the camp, he reconnoitred, and saw not indeed the whole camp, for it
was not possible that they should be seen who were posted within the
wall, but he had a clear view of those on the outside, whose arms were
piled in front of the wall. At this some of the Lacedæmonians were
performing gymnastic exercises, and others combing their hair. On
beholding this he was astonished, but having ascertained their number,
he rode back at his leisure, for no one pursued him, and he met with
general contempt. On his return he gave an account to Xerxes of all that
he had seen, who could not comprehend the truth, that the Greeks were
preparing to be slain and to slay to the utmost of their power.

Xerxes let five days pass, constantly expecting that they would betake
themselves to flight. But on the fifth day, as they had not retreated,
but appeared to him to stay through arrogance and rashness, in rage he
sent the Medes and Cissians against them, with orders to take them
alive, and bring them into his presence. When the Medes bore down
impetuously upon the Greeks, many of them fell; others followed to the
charge, and were not repulsed, though they suffered greatly. But they
made it evident to every one, and not least of all to the king himself,
that they were indeed many men, but few soldiers. The engagement lasted
through the day. The Medes, roughly handled, retired; and the Persians
whom the king called "Immortal," and whom Hydarnes commanded, took their
place and advanced to the attack, thinking that they indeed should
easily settle the business. But they succeeded no better than the Medic
troops, but just the same, as they fought in a narrow space, and used
shorter spears than the Greeks, and were unable to avail themselves of
their numbers. The Lacedæmonians fought memorably, showing that they
knew how to fight with men who knew not, and whenever they turned their
backs, they retreated in close order; but the barbarians seeing them
retreat, followed with a shout and clamor; then they, being overtaken,
wheeled round so as to front the barbarians and overthrew an
inconceivable number of the Persians; and then some few of the Spartans
themselves fell. So that when the Persians were unable to gain any thing
in their attempt on the pass, by attacking in troops and in every
possible manner, they retired. It is said that during these onsets of
the battle, the king, who witnessed them, thrice sprang from his throne,
being alarmed for his army. On the following day the barbarians fought
with no better success; for considering that the Greeks were few in
number, and expecting that they were covered with wounds, and would not
be able to raise their heads against them any more, they renewed the
contest. But the Greeks were marshalled in companies and according to
their several nations, and each fought in turn, except the Phocians, who
were stationed at the mountain to guard the pathway. Again the Persians
failed and retired.

While the king was in doubt what course to take, Ephialtes, son of
Eurydemus, a Malian, obtained an audience of him, expecting that he
should receive a great reward from the king, and informed him of the
path which leads over the mountain to Thermopylæ; and by that means
caused the destruction of those Greeks who were stationed there.
Afterwards, fearing the Lacedæmonians, he fled to Thessaly, and a price
was set on his head by the Pylagori, when the Amphictyons were assembled
at Pylæ. But some time after, he went down to Anticyra, and was killed
by Athenades, a Trachinian. This Athenades killed him for another
reason, which I shall mention in a subsequent part of my history;[28] he
was however rewarded none the less by the Lacedæmonians. Xerxes,
exceedingly delighted with what Ephialtes promised to perform,
immediately despatched Hydarnes with his troops from the camp about the
hour of lamp-lighting.

All night long the Persians marched, and at dawn reached the summit of
the mountain. Here, as I have already mentioned, a thousand heavy-armed
Phocians kept guard, to defend their own country, and to secure the
pathway. The whole mountain was covered with oaks; there was a perfect
calm, and as a considerable rustling took place from the leaves strewn
under foot, the Phocians sprang up and put on their arms, just as the
barbarians made their appearance. Hit by many thick-falling arrows, the
Phocians fled to the summit of the mountain, prepared to perish. But the
Persians took no further notice of the Phocians, but marched down the
mountain with all speed.

[Illustration: BRIDGE AT CORFU.]

To the Greeks at Thermopylæ, the augur Megistias, having inspected the
sacrifices, first made known the death that would befall them in the
morning; certain deserters afterwards came and brought intelligence of
the circuit the Persians were taking while it was yet night; and,
thirdly, the scouts running down from the heights, as soon as day
dawned, brought the same intelligence. It had been announced to the
Spartans, by the oracle of Apollo, when they went to consult concerning
this war, "that either Lacedæmon must be overthrown by the barbarians,
or their king perish." This answer the prophetess gave in hexameter
verses to this effect:

  "Hear me, ye men of spacious Lacedæmon!
  Either your glorious town must be destroyed,
  By the fell hand of warriors sprung from Perseus,
  Or else the confines of fair Lacedæmon
  Must mourn a king of Heracleidan race,
  For all the strength of lions or of bulls
  Is nought to him who has the strength of Zeus;
  And never shall that monarch be restrained
  Until he takes your city or your king."

Xerxes poured out libations at sun-rise, waited a short time, and began
his attack about the time of full market, as he had been instructed by
Ephialtes. The Greeks with Leonidas, marching out as if for certain
death, now advanced much farther than before into the wide part of the
defile. For the fortification of the wall had protected them, on the
preceding day, in the narrow part. But now engaging outside the narrows,
great numbers of the barbarians fell. The officers of the companies from
behind, with scourges, flogged every man, constantly urging them
forward, so that many of them falling into the sea, perished, and many
more were trampled alive under foot by one another; and no regard was
paid to any that perished. The Greeks, knowing that death awaited them
at the hands of those who were going round the mountain, were desperate,
and regardless of their own lives, displayed the utmost possible valor
against the barbarians. Already were most of their javelins broken, and
they had begun to despatch the Persians with their swords. In this part
of the struggle fell Leonidas, fighting valiantly, and with him other
eminent Spartans, whose names, seeing they were deserving men, I have
ascertained; indeed I have ascertained the names of the whole three
hundred. On the side of the Persians, also, many other eminent men fell
on this occasion, amongst them two sons of Darius, Abrocomes and
Hyperanthes, fighting for the body of Leonidas; and there was a violent
struggle between the Persians and Lacedæmonians, until at last the
Greeks rescued it by their valor, and four times repulsed the enemy.
Thus the contest continued until the Greeks heard that those with
Ephialtes were approaching. Then they retreated to the narrow part of
the way, and, passing beyond the wall, came and took up their position
on the rising ground, all in a compact body, with the exception of the
Thebans: the rising ground is at the entrance where the stone lion now
stands to the memory of Leonidas. On this spot they defended themselves,
first with their swords, then with their hands and teeth, until the
barbarians overwhelmed them with missiles in front, and from above, and
on every side.

[Illustration: PLAINS OF ARGOS.]

Dieneces, a Spartan, is said to have been the bravest man. They relate
that before the engagement with the Medes, having heard a Trachinian
say, that when the barbarians let fly their arrows, they would obscure
the sun by the multitude of their shafts, so great were their numbers,
he replied, not at all alarmed: "That's good; we shall have the
pleasure, then, of fighting in the shade." In honor of the slain, who
were buried on the spot where they fell, and of those who died before,
these inscriptions have been engraved upon stones above them; the first:

  "From Peloponnesus came four thousand men;
  And on this spot fought with three hundred myriads."

The second was in honor of the three hundred Spartans:

  "Go, stranger! tell the Lacedæmonians, here
  We lie, obedient to their stern commands!"

An engraved monument was also erected to Megistias the augur, by his
friend Simonides, and was as follows:

  "The monument of famed Megistias,—
  Slain by the Medes what time they passed the Sperchius;
  A seer, who though he knew impending fate,
  Would not desert the gallant chiefs of Sparta."

Two of these three hundred, Eurytus and Aristodemus, had been dismissed
from the camp by Leonidas, and were lying at Alpeni desperately
afflicted with a disease of the eyes. But when Eurytus heard of the
circuit made by the Persians, he called for his arms and ordered his
helot to lead him to the combatants; and, while the slave in terror ran
away, his brave half-blind master rushed into the midst of the throng
and perished; but Aristodemus, failing in courage, was left behind. Now
if it had happened that Aristodemus had returned sick to Sparta, or if
both had gone home together, in my opinion the Spartans would not have
shown any anger against them. But since one of them perished, and the
other, who had only the same excuse, refused to die, they must needs get
exceedingly angry with Aristodemus. On his return to Lacedæmon he was
met with insults and infamy. Not one of the Spartans would either give
him fire or converse with him: and he was jeered and hooted at by the
boys who called him "Aristodemus the coward." However, in the battle of
Platæa he removed all the disgrace that attached to him, for he earned
the title of the bravest of the Spartans, and recklessly lost his life.
Xerxes after the massacre passed through among the dead; and having
heard that Leonidas was king and general of the Lacedæmonians, he
commanded them to cut off his head, and fix it upon a pole. It is clear
to me from many other proofs, and not least of all from this, that king
Xerxes was more highly incensed against Leonidas during his life, than
against any other man; for otherwise he would never have violated the
respect due to his dead body; since the Persians, most of all men with
whom I am acquainted, are wont to honor men who are brave in war.

[26] One of the ten thousand chosen men called Immortals, of whom we
shall hear more hereafter.

[23] Literally, "the river Peneus gaining the victory as to the name,
causes the others to be nameless."

[28] The promised account is no where given in any extant writings of
the historian.




The Greek fleet from Artemisium put in at Salamis at the request of the
Athenians, who wished to remove their children and wives out of Attica,
and consult what measures were to be taken. The Athenians caused
proclamation to be made, "that every one should save his children and
family by the best means he could." Thereupon the greatest part sent
away their families to Trœzen, some to Ægina, and others to Salamis.
They used all diligence to remove them to a place of safety, from a
desire to obey the oracle, but more particularly for the following
reason. The Athenians say that a large serpent used to live in the
temple as a guard to the Acropolis; they used to do it honor by placing
before it its monthly food, consisting of a honey-cake: this honey-cake
in former time had always been consumed, but now it remained untouched.
When the priestess made this known, the Athenians, with more readiness,
abandoned the city, since even the goddess had forsaken the Acropolis.
As soon as every thing had been deposited in a place of safety, they
sailed to the encampment. Many more ships were assembled together than
had fought at Artemisium, and from a greater number of cities. The same
admiral commanded them as at Artemisium, Eurybiades, son of Euryclides,
a Spartan, though he was not of the royal family. The Athenians,
however, furnished by far the most and the best sailing ships. The whole
number of ships besides the penteconters, amounted to three hundred and

When the leaders from the various cities met together at Salamis, they
held a council, in which Eurybiades proposed that any one who chose
should deliver his opinion, where he thought it would be most
advantageous to come to an engagement by sea, of all the places of which
they were still in possession: for Attica was already given up. Most of
the opinions of those who spoke coincided, that they should sail to the
Isthmus, and fight before Peloponnesus; alleging this reason, that if
they should be conquered by sea while they were at Salamis, they would
be besieged in the island, where no succor could reach them; but if at
the Isthmus, they might escape to their own cities.


While the commanders from Peloponnesus were debating these matters, an
Athenian arrived with intelligence, that the barbarian had entered
Attica, and was devastating the whole of it by fire. The army with
Xerxes were thus three months en route from the passage over the
Hellespont, till they arrived at Athens. They took the city, deserted of
inhabitants, but found a few of the Athenians in the temple, with the
treasurers of the temple and some poor people; who, having fortified the
Acropolis with planks and stakes, tried to keep off the invaders: they
had not withdrawn to Salamis, partly through want of means, and moreover
they thought they had found out the meaning of the oracle which the
Pythian delivered to them, that the wooden wall "should be impregnable";
imagining, that this was the refuge according to the oracle, and not the
ships. The Persians, posting themselves on the hill opposite the
Acropolis, which the Athenians call the Areopagus, wrapped tow round
their arrows, and setting fire to it, shot them at the fence. But those
Athenians who were besieged, still defended themselves, though driven to
the last extremity, and the fence had failed them; nor, when the
Pisistratidæ proposed them, would they listen to terms of capitulation;
but still defending themselves, they contrived other means of defence,
and when the barbarians approached the gates, they hurled down large
round stones; so that Xerxes was for a long time kept in perplexity, not
being able to capture them. At length, in the midst of these
difficulties, an entrance was discovered by the barbarians; for it was
necessary, according to the oracle, that all Attica, on the continent,
should be subdued by the Persians. In front of the Acropolis, but behind
the gates and where no one kept guard, nor would ever have expected that
any man would ascend, there some of them ascended near the temple of
Cecrops' daughter Aglauros. When the Athenians saw that the enemy were
in the Acropolis, some threw themselves down from the wall and perished,
and others took refuge in the recess of the temple. But the Persians who
had ascended first turned to the gates, opened them, and put the
suppliants to death: and when all were thrown prostrate, they pillaged
the temple and set fire to the whole Acropolis.

The Greeks at Salamis, when intelligence was brought them how matters
stood in Athens, were thrown into such consternation, that some of the
generals would not wait until the subject before them was decided on,
but rushed to their ships and hoisted sail, as about to hurry away; by
such of them as remained it was determined to come to an engagement
before the Isthmus. Night came on, and they, being dismissed from the
council, went on board their ships. Thereupon Mnesiphilus, an Athenian,
inquired of Themistocles, on his return to his ship, what had been
determined on by them. And being informed by him that it was resolved to
conduct the ships to the Isthmus, and to come to an engagement before
the Peloponnesus, he said, "If they remove the ships from Salamis, you
will no longer fight for any country; for they will each betake
themselves to their cities; and neither will Eurybiades nor any one else
be able to detain them, so that the fleet should not be dispersed; and
Greece will perish through want of counsel. But, if there is any
possible contrivance, go and endeavor to annul the decree, if by any
means you can induce Eurybiades to alter his determination, so as to
remain here." The suggestion pleased Themistocles exceedingly; and
without answer he went to the ship of Eurybiades, and said that he
wished to confer with him on public business. He desired him to come on
board his ship, and say what he wished. Thereupon Themistocles, seating
himself by him, repeated all that he had heard from Mnesiphilus, making
it his own, and adding much more, until he prevailed on him, by
entreaty, to leave his ship, and assemble the commanders in council. The
upshot of the matter was that Themistocles persuaded the generals in
council to remain and fight at Salamis. Day came, and at sunrise an
earthquake took place on land and at sea. They determined to pray to the
gods, and to invoke the Æacidæ as allies. For having prayed to all the
gods, they forthwith, from Salamis, invoked Ajax and Telamon; and sent a
ship to Ægina for Æacus, and the Æacidae. In the mean time, all the
admirals and captains of Xerxes' fleet advised engaging in a sea-fight,
except Artemisia, who spoke as follows: "Tell the king from me,
Mardonius, that I say this. It is right that I, sire, who proved myself
by no means a coward in the sea-fight off Eubœa, and performed
achievements not inferior to others, should declare my real opinion, and
state what I think best for your interest. Therefore I say this, abstain
from using your ships, nor risk a sea-fight; for these men are as much
superior to your men by sea, as men are to women. And why must you run a
risk by a naval engagement? Have you not possession of Athens, for the
sake of which you undertook this expedition, and have you not the rest
of Greece? They will not be able to hold out long against you; but will
soon disperse, and fly to their cities."

Xerxes was very much pleased with the opinion of Artemisia; he had
before thought her an admirable woman, but now he praised her much more.
However, he gave orders to follow the advice of the majority in this
matter, thinking that they had behaved ill at Eubœa on purpose, because
he was not present. He now prepared in person to behold them engaging by

Meanwhile, those at Salamis were growing alarmed, and wondered at the
imprudence of Eurybiades; till at last their discontent broke out
openly, and a council was called, and much was said on the subject. Some
said that they ought to sail for the Peloponnesus, and hazard a battle
for that, and not stay and fight for a place already taken by the enemy;
but the Athenians, Æginetæ, and Megareans, declared that they should
stay there and defend themselves. Thereupon, Themistocles, when he saw
his opinion was overruled by the Peloponnesians, went secretly out of
the council, and despatched a man in a boat to the encampment of the
Medes instructing him what to say: his name was Sicinnus, and he was a
domestic, and preceptor to the children of Themistocles. After these
events, Themistocles got him made a Thespian, when the Thespians
augmented the number of their citizens, and gave him a competent
fortune. He, arriving in the boat, spoke as follows to the generals of
the barbarians: "The general of the Athenians has sent me, unknown to
the rest of the Greeks, (for he is in the interest of the king, and
wishes that your affairs may prosper, rather than those of the Greeks,)
to inform you that the Greeks, in great consternation, are deliberating
on flight; and you have now an opportunity of achieving the most
glorious of all enterprises, if you do not suffer them to escape. For
they do not agree among themselves, nor will they oppose you; but you
will see those who are in your interest, and those who are not, fighting
with one another." Having delivered this message to them, he immediately
departed. As these tidings appeared to them worthy of credit, they
immediately landed a considerable number of Persians on the little
island of Psyttalea, lying between Salamis and the continent; and, when
it was midnight, they got their western wing under way, drawing it in a
circle toward Salamis, and those who were stationed about Ceos and
Cynosura got under way and occupied the whole passage as far as Munychia
with their ships, so that the Greeks might have no way to escape, but,
being shut up in Salamis, might suffer punishment for the conflicts at
Artemisium; and they landed the Persians at the little island of
Psyttalea for this reason: that, when an engagement should take place,
as they expected the greater part of the men and wrecks would be driven
there, they might save the one and destroy the other. These things they
did in silence, that the enemy might not know what was going on.

I am unable to speak against the truth of oracles, when I think of the
remarkable oracle of Bacis: "When they shall bridge with ships the
sacred shore of "Diana with the golden sword," and sea-girt Cynosura,
having with mad hope destroyed beautiful Athens, then divine Vengeance
shall quench strong Presumption, son of Insolence, when thinking to
subvert all things. For bronze shall engage with bronze, and Mars shall
redden the sea with blood. Then the far-thundering son of Saturn and
benign victory shall bring a day of freedom to Greece." After such a
prediction and its fulfilment, I neither dare myself say any thing in
contradiction to oracles, nor allow others to do so.

All this night there was a great altercation between the generals at
Salamis. They did not yet know that the barbarians had surrounded them
with their ships. They supposed that they were in the same place where
they had seen them stationed during the day. While the generals were
disputing, Aristides, son of Lysimachus, crossed over from the Ægina. He
was an Athenian, but had been banished by ostracism. From what I have
heard of his manner of life, I consider him to have been the best and
most upright man in Athens. He, standing at the entrance of the council,
called Themistocles out, who was not indeed his friend, but his most
bitter enemy; yet from the greatness of the impending danger, he forgot
that, and called him, for he had already heard that those from
Peloponnesus were anxious to get the ships under way for the Isthmus.
When Themistocles came out, Aristides spoke as follows: "It is right
that we should strive, both on other occasions, and particularly on
this, which of us shall do the greatest service to our country. I assure
you, that to say little or much to the Peloponnesians about sailing from
here is a waste of breath; for I, an eye-witness, tell you, now, even if
they would, neither the Corinthians, nor Eurybiades himself, will be
able to sail away; for we are on all sides enclosed by the enemy. Go in,
and acquaint them with this." But Themistocles bade Aristides go in
himself and convey the tidings. This he did, but the generals would not
even then give credence to his report until there arrived a trireme of
Tenians that had deserted, which Panætius, son of Socimenes, commanded,
and which brought an account of the whole truth. For that action the
name of the Tenians was engraved on the tripod at Delphi, among those
who had defeated the barbarian. With this ship that came over at
Salamis, and with the Lemnian before, off Artemisium, the Grecian fleet
was made up to the full number of three hundred and eighty ships; for
before it wanted two of that number.

Day dawned, and when they had mustered the marines, Themistocles, above
all the others, harangued them most eloquently. His speech was entirely
taken up in contrasting better things with worse, exhorting them to
choose the best of all those things which depended on the nature and
condition of man. As soon as the trireme from Ægina, which had gone to
fetch the Æacidæ returned the Greeks got all their ships under way. The
barbarians immediately fell upon them. Now all the other Greeks began to
back water and make for the shore; but Aminias of Pallene, an Athenian,
being carried onward, attacked a ship; and his ship becoming entangled
with the other, and the crew not being able to clear, the rest thereupon
came to the assistance of Aminias and engaged. Thus the Athenians say
the battle commenced; but the Æginetæ affirm that the ship which went to
Ægina to fetch the Æacidæ, was the first to begin. It is also said, that
a phantom of a woman appeared to them, that she cheered them on, so that
the whole fleet of Greeks heard her, after she had first reproached them
in these words: "Dastards, how long will you back water?" Opposite the
Athenians the Phœnicians were drawn up, for they occupied the wing
toward Eleusis and westward; opposite the Lacedæmonians, the Ionians
occupied the wing toward the east and the Piræus. Of these some few
behaved ill on purpose, in compliance with the injunctions of
Themistocles. The greater part of the ships were run down at Salamis;
some being destroyed by the Athenians, others by the Æginetæ. For the
Greeks fought in good order, in line, but the barbarians were neither
properly formed nor did any thing with judgment. However they proved
themselves to be far braver on this day than off Eubœa, every one
exerting himself vigorously, and dreading Xerxes; for each thought that
he himself was observed by the king.

I am unable to say with certainty how each of the barbarians or Greeks
fought; but with respect to Artemisia, the following incident occurred,
by which she obtained still greater credit with the king. For when the
king's forces were in great confusion, the ship of Artemisia was chased
by an Attic ship, and not being able to escape, she resolved upon a
stratagem. For being pursued by the Athenian, she bore down upon a
friendly ship, manned by Calyndians, and with Damasithymus himself, king
of the Calyndians, on board; whether she had any quarrel with him while
they were at the Hellespont, I am unable to say, or whether she did it
on purpose, or whether the ship of the Calyndians happened by chance to
be in her way; however, she ran it down, and sunk it, and by good
fortune gained a double advantage to herself. For when the captain of
the Attic ship saw her bearing down on a ship of the barbarians, he
concluded Artemisia's ship to be either a Greek or one that had deserted
from the enemy and was assisting them, and so turned aside and attacked
others. Thus she escaped, and in consequence of it became still more in
favor with Xerxes. For it is said that Xerxes, looking on, observed her
ship making the attack, and that some near him said: "Sire, do you see
how well Artemisia fights; she has sunk one of the enemy's ships?"
Whereupon he asked if it was in truth the exploit of Artemisia; they
answered "that they knew the ensign of her ship perfectly well." But
they thought that it was an enemy that was sunk; for no one of the crew
of the Calyndian ship lived to tell the tale and accuse her. And it is
related that Xerxes exclaimed: "My men have become women, and my women

In this battle perished the admiral, Ariabignes, son of Darius, and
brother of Xerxes, and many other illustrious men of the Persians and
Medes, and the other allies; but only a very few of the Greeks: for as
they knew how to swim, they whose ships were destroyed, and who did not
perish in actual conflict, swam safe to Salamis; whereas, many of the
barbarians, not knowing how to swim, perished in the sea. When the
foremost ships were put to flight, then the greatest number were
destroyed; for those who were stationed behind, endeavoring to pass on
with their ships to the front, that they, too, might give the king some
proof of their courage, fell foul of their own flying ships. The
following event also occurred in this confusion. Some Phœnicians, whose
ships were destroyed, went to the king and accused the Ionians of
destroying their ships and betraying him. It, however, turned out that
the Ionian captains were not put to death, but that those Phœnicians who
accused them, received the following reward. For while they were yet
speaking, a Samothracian ship bore down on an Athenian ship and sunk it.
Just then an Æginetan ship, coming up, sunk the ship of the
Samothracians. But the Samothracians being javelin-men, by hurling their
javelins, drove the marines from the ship that had sunk them, and
boarded and got possession of it. This action saved the Ionians: for
when Xerxes saw them perform so great an exploit, he turned round upon
the Phœnicians, and ordered their heads to be struck off, that they who
had proved themselves cowards, might no more accuse those who were

The barbarians turned to flight, and sailing away towards Phalerus, the
Æginetæ waylaid them in the strait, and performed actions worthy of
record. For the Athenians in the rout ran down both those ships that
resisted and those that fled; and the Æginetæ, those that sailed away
from the battle: so that when any escaped the Athenians they fell into
the hands of the Æginetæ.

In this engagement the Æginetæ obtained the greatest renown; and next,
the Athenians. Aristides, of whom I made mention a little before as a
most upright man, in this confusion that took place about Salamis, took
with him a considerable number of heavy-armed men, who were stationed
along the shore of the Salaminian territory and were Athenians by race,
landed them on the island of Psyttalea, and put to the sword all the
Persians who were on that little island.



When the sea-fight was ended, the Greeks hauled on shore at Salamis all
the wrecks that still happened to be there and held themselves ready for
another battle, expecting the king would still make use of the ships
that survived. But a west wind carrying away many of the wrecks, drove
them on the shore of Attica, which is called Colias, so as to fulfil
both all the other oracles delivered by Bacis and Musæus concerning this
battle, and also that relating to the wrecks which were drifted on this
shore, which many years before had been delivered by Lysistratus, an
Athenian augur, but had not been understood by any of the Greeks: "The
Colian women shall broil their meat with oars."

When Xerxes saw the defeat he had sustained he was afraid that some of
the Ionians might suggest to the Greeks, or might themselves resolve to
sail to the Hellespont, for the purpose of breaking up the bridges, and
shut him up in Europe. So he planned immediate flight. But wishing that
his intention should not be known either to the Greeks or his own
people, he pretended to throw a mound across to Salamis. He fastened
together Phœnician merchantmen, that they might serve instead of a raft
and a wall, and made preparation for war, as if about to fight another
battle at sea. Every body who saw him thus occupied, was firmly
convinced that he had seriously determined to stay and continue the war,
except Mardonius, who was well acquainted with his design. At the same
time Xerxes despatched a messenger to the Persians, to inform them of
the misfortune that had befallen him. There is nothing mortal that
reaches its destination more rapidly than these couriers of the
Persians. They say that as many days as are occupied in the whole
journey, so many horses and men are posted at regular intervals; neither
snow nor rain, nor heat, nor night, prevents them from performing their
appointed stage as quickly as possible. The first courier delivers his
orders to the second, the second to the third, and so it passes
throughout, being delivered from one to the other, just like the
torch-bearing among the Greeks, which they perform in honor of Vulcan.
The first message that reached Susa, with the news that Xerxes was in
possession of Athens, caused so great joy among the Persians who had
been left behind, that they strewed all the roads with myrtle, burnt
perfumes, and gave themselves up to sacrifices and festivity. But the
arrival of the second messenger threw them into such consternation, that
they all rent their garments, and uttered unbounded shouts and
lamentations, laying the blame on Mardonius, not so much grieved for the
ships as anxious for Xerxes himself. And this the Persians continued to
do until Xerxes himself arrived home.

[Illustration: CELES RIDDEN BY A CUPID.]

Mardonius, seeing Xerxes much afflicted by the defeat at Salamis, and
suspecting he was meditating a retreat, thus addressed the king: "Sire,
do not think you have suffered any great loss in consequence of what has
happened; for the contest with us does not depend on wood alone, but on
men and horses. Be not discouraged; for the Greeks have no means of
escape from rendering an account of what they have done now and
formerly, and from becoming your slaves. If you have resolved not to
stay here, return to Susa, and take with you the greatest part of the
army; but give me three hundred thousand picked men and I will deliver
Greece to you reduced to slavery." Xerxes, delighted and relieved,
granted Mardonius his request. As to Xerxes himself, if all the men and
women of the world had advised him to stay, in my opinion, he would not
have yielded, so great was his terror. Leaving Mardonius in Thessaly, he
marched in all haste to the Hellespont; and arrived at the place of
crossing in forty-five days, bringing back no part of his army, so to
speak. Wherever, and among whatever nation, they happened to be
marching, they seized and consumed their corn; but if they found no
fruit, overcome by hunger, they ate up the herbage as it sprung from the
ground, and from sheer hunger stripped off the bark of trees, and
gathered leaves, both of wild and cultivated plants. But a pestilence
and dysentery falling on the army, destroyed them on their march. Such
of them as were sick, Xerxes left behind, ordering the cities through
which he happened to be passing, to take care of and feed them: some in
Thessaly, others at Siris of Pæonia, and in Macedonia. It was here he
had left the sacred chariot of Jupiter, when he marched against Greece,
but he did not receive it back, as he returned; for the Pæonians had
given it to the Thracians, and when Xerxes demanded it back, said that
the mares had been stolen, as they were feeding, by the upper Thracians,
who dwell round the sources of the Strymon. There the king of the
Bisaltæ and of the Crestonian territory, a Thracian, perpetrated a most
unnatural deed; he declared that he would not willingly be a slave to
Xerxes, but he went up to the top of Mount Rhodope, and enjoined his
sons not to join the expedition against Greece. They, however,
disregarded his prohibition, from a desire to see the war, and served in
the army with the Persian: but when they all returned safe, six in
number, their father had their eyes put out for this disobedience.

The Persians, in great haste crossed over the Hellespont to Abydos in
their ships; for they found the rafts no longer stretched across, but
broken up by a storm. While detained there, they got more food than on
their march, and having filled themselves immoderately, and drunk of
different water, a great part of the army that survived, died; the rest
with Xerxes reached Sardis. Another account is also given, that when
Xerxes in his retreat from Athens arrived at Eïon on the Strymon, from
there he no longer continued his journey by land, but committed the army
to Hydarnes to conduct to the Hellespont, and he himself went on board a
Phœnician ship to pass over to Asia. During his voyage a violent and
tempestuous wind from the Strymon overtook him; the storm increased in
violence, and the ship was overloaded, many of the Persians having
accompanied Xerxes. Then the king, becoming alarmed, calling aloud, and
asked the pilot if there was any hope of safety for them; and he said:
"There is none, sire, unless we get rid of some of this crowd of
passengers." Xerxes, hearing this answer, said: "O Persians, now let
some among you show his regard for the king, for on you my safety seems
to depend." Many having done homage, leapt into the sea, and the ship,
being lighted, thus got safe to Asia. It is added, that Xerxes,
immediately after he landed, presented the pilot with a golden crown,
because he had saved the king's life; but ordered his head to be struck
off, because he had occasioned the loss of many Persians. This story
appears to me not at all deserving of credit, for if such a speech had
been made by the pilot to Xerxes, I should not find one opinion in ten
thousand to deny that the king would have sent down into the hold of the
ship those who were on deck, since they were Persians, and Persians of
high rank, and would have thrown into the sea a number of Phœnicians,
equal to that of the Persians.

When the division of the booty, after the battle of Salamis was
completed, the Greeks sailed to the Isthmus, for the purpose of
conferring the palm of valor upon him among the Greeks who had proved
himself most deserving throughout the war. The generals distributed the
ballots at the altar of Neptune, selecting the first and second out of
all; thereupon every one gave his vote for himself, each thinking
himself the most valiant; but with respect to the second place, the
majority concurred in selecting Themistocles. So each had but one vote,
for first place, but Themistocles had a great majority for the second
honor. Though the Greeks, out of envy, would not determine this matter,
but returned to their several countries without coming to a decision,
yet Themistocles was applauded and extolled throughout all Greece, as
being by far the wisest man of the Greeks. Because he was not honored by
those who fought at Salamis, although victorious, he immediately
afterward went to Lacedæmon, hoping to be honored there. The
Lacedæmonians received him nobly, and paid him the greatest honors. They
gave the prize of valor to Eurybiades, a crown of olive; and of wisdom
and dexterity to Themistocles, also a crown of olive. And they presented
him with the most magnificent chariot in Sparta; praising him highly,
and on his departure, three hundred chosen Spartans, called knights,
escorted him as far as the Tegean boundaries. He is the only man that we
know of whom the Spartans ever escorted on his journey.

Mardonius' first movement was to send Alexander, son of Amyntas, a
Macedonian, as an ambassador to Athens; as well because the Persians
were related to him as because he had been informed that Alexander was a
friend and benefactor of the Athenians. For in this way he thought he
should best be able to gain over the Athenians, having heard that they
were a numerous and valiant people; and besides, he knew that the
Athenians had been the principal cause of the late disaster of the
Persians at sea. If these were won over, he hoped that he should easily
become master at sea, which indeed would have been the case; and on land
he imagined that he was much superior: thus he calculated that his power
would get the upper hand of the Greeks. But the Athenians gave the
following answer to Alexander: "We ourselves are aware that the power of
the Medes is far greater than ours; so that there is no need to insult
us with that. But do not you attempt to persuade us to come to terms
with the barbarian, for we will not. Go, and tell Mardonius that the
Athenians say: 'So long as the sun shall continue in the same course as
now, we will never make terms with Xerxes; but we will go out to oppose
him, trusting in the gods, who fight for us, and in the heroes, whose
temples and images he has burned. Know, therefore, if you did not know
it before, that so long as one Athenian is left alive, the fight shall
be continued.'"

[29] Seated on the mountain side upon a magnificent throne of ivory
and gold, as others relate.




When Alexander returned and made known to Mardonius the answer of the
Athenians, he set out from Thessaly, and led his army in haste against
Athens; and wherever he arrived from time to time, he joined the people
to his own forces. So far were the leaders of Thessaly from repenting of
what had been before done, that they urged on the Persian much more: and
Thorax of Larissa, who had assisted in escorting Xerxes in his flight,
now openly gave Mardonius a passage into Greece. When the army on its
march arrived among the Bœotians, the Thebans endeavored to restrain
Mardonius from advancing farther, assuring him that to take up his
station there would be equivalent to subduing the whole of Greece
without a battle. For if the Greeks should continue firmly united, as
they had done before, it would be difficult even for all mankind to
overcome them. "But," they continued, "if you do what we advise, you
will without difficulty frustrate all their plans. Send money to the
most powerful men in the cities; split Greece into parties, and then,
with the assistance of those who side with you, you may easily subdue
those who are not in your interest." But he was infatuated with a
vehement desire to taking Athens a second time, and fondly hoped, by
signal-fires across the islands, to make known to the king while he was
at Sardis, that he was in possession of Athens. When he arrived in
Attica, he did not find the Athenians there; but was informed that most
of them were at Salamis on board their ships. So he took the deserted
city ten months after its capture by the king.

But Mardonius was by no means desirous to stay longer in Attica. He
lingered awhile there to see what the Athenians would do, but neither
ravaged nor injured the Attic territory, being in expectation all along
that they would come to terms. But when he could not persuade them he
withdrew, before the Spartans, under Pausanias, could reach the Isthmus,
having first set fire to Athens, and if any part of the walls, or
houses, or temples happened to be standing, these he threw down and laid
all in ruins. He marched out for the reason that the Attic country was
not adapted for cavalry; and if he should be conquered in an engagement,
there was no way to escape except through a narrow pass, so that a very
small number of men could intercept them. He determined therefore to
retire to Thebes, and to fight near a friendly city, and in a country
adapted for cavalry.

[Illustration: BŒOTIA.]

The Lacedæmonians arrived at the Isthmus and went into camp. When the
rest of the Peloponnesians, who favored the better cause, saw the
Spartans marching out, they thought it would be a disgrace to absent
themselves from the expedition of the Lacedæmonians. Accordingly, when
the victims proved favorable, they all marched out from the Isthmus and
advanced to Eleusis. The Athenians crossed over from Salamis, and joined
them there. At Erythræ in Bœotia, they learnt that the barbarians were
encamped on the Asopus, at which they consulted together, and formed
opposite, at the foot of Mount Cithæron. When the Greeks did not come
down to the plain, Mardonius sent against them all his cavalry, under
command of Masistius, a man highly esteemed among the Persians. He was
mounted on a Nisæan horse, that had a golden bit, and was otherwise
gorgeously caparisoned. When the cavalry rode up to the Greeks, they
charged them in squadrons, and called them women. By chance the
Megarians happened to be stationed in that part which was most exposed,
and there the cavalry chiefly made their attack. The Megarians, being
hard pressed, sent a herald to the Greek generals with this message:
"The Megarians say, We, O confederates, are not able alone to sustain
the Persian cavalry. So far we have held out against them by our
constancy and courage, though hard pressed; but now, unless you will
send some others to relieve us, we must abandon our post." Pausanias
immediately called for volunteers to go to that position, and relieve
the Megarians. When all the others refused, three hundred chosen men of
the Athenians undertook to do it, whom Olympiodorus, son of Lampon,
commanded. After a short but spirited battle, as the cavalry were
charging, the horse of Masistius, being in advance of the others, was
wounded in the flank by an arrow, and in pain, reared and threw
Masistius. As he fell, the Athenians immediately seized his horse and
attacked him. At first they were unable to kill Masistius, he was so
thoroughly armed. Underneath he had a golden cuirass covered with
scales, and over the cuirass a purple cloak. By striking against the
cuirass they did nothing; until one of them, perceiving what was the
matter, pierced him in the eye. So he fell and died. The whole Persian
army, and Mardonius most of all, mourned the loss of Masistius. They cut
off their own hair and that of their horses and beasts of burden, and
gave themselves up to unbounded lamentations. The sound reached over all
Bœotia, of mourning for the loss of a man who, next to Mardonius, was
most esteemed by the Persians and the king.

The Greeks placed the body on a carriage, and carried it along the
line—an object worthy of admiration, on account of its stature and
beauty—and the men, leaving their ranks, came out to view Masistius.
After this, they determined to go down toward Platæa, for the Platæan
territory appeared to be much more convenient for them to encamp in than
the Erythræan, as it was better supplied with water. Over the foot of
Mount Cithæron near Hysiæ, into the Platæan territory they marched, and
formed in line, nation by nation, near the fountain of Gargaphia, and
the precinct of the hero Androcrates, on slight elevations and the level
plain. The whole Grecian army assembled at Platæa, reckoning heavy-armed
and light-armed fighting men, amounted to one hundred and ten thousand.

When the barbarians, with Mardonius, had ceased to mourn for Masistius,
they also marched to the Asopus, which flows by Platæa, and on their
arrival were drawn up by Mardonius. Of barbarians there were three
hundred thousand, as has been already shown; but of Greeks who were
allies of Mardonius no one knows the number, for they were not reckoned
up; but, to make a guess, I conjecture that they were assembled to the
number of fifty thousand. These were infantry; the cavalry were
marshalled apart.

On the second day, both sides offered sacrifices. For the Greeks,
Tisamenus, son of Antiochus, was the person who sacrificed, for he
accompanied this army as diviner. The sacrifices were favorable to the
Greeks, if they stood on the defensive; but if they crossed the Asopus,
and began the battle, not so.

[Illustration: COAT OF MAIL.]

To Mardonius, who was very desirous to begin the battle, the sacrifices
were not propitious; but to him also, if he stood on the defensive, they
were favorable: for he too adopted the Greek sacrifices, having for his
diviner Hegesistratus, an Elean, and the most renowned of the Telliadæ.
This man, before these events, the Spartans had taken and bound for
death, because they had suffered many atrocious things from him. In this
sad condition, as being in peril for his life, and having to suffer many
tortures before death, he performed a deed beyond belief. For as he was
confined in stocks bound with iron, he got possession of a knife, which
had by some means been carried in, and immediately cut off the broad
part of his foot—the most resolute deed I ever heard of. Then, as he was
guarded by sentinels, he dug a hole through the wall and escaped to
Tegea, travelling by night, and by day hiding himself in the woods and
tarrying there. Thus, though the Lacedæmonians searched for him with
their whole population, on the third night he arrived at Tegea; but they
were struck with great amazement at his daring, when they saw half his
foot lying on the ground, and were not able to find him. In time, cured
of his wounds, he procured a wooden foot, and became an avowed enemy to
the Lacedæmonians. However, at last his hatred conceived against the
Lacedæmonians did not benefit him; for he was taken by them when acting
as diviner at Zacynthus, and put to death. The death of Hegesistratus
took place after the battle of Platæa: but at that time, on the Asopus,
he was hired by Mardonius for no small sum to sacrifice, and was very
zealous, both from hatred to the Lacedæmonians and from a love of gain.

Meantime, Timagenides, a Theban, advised Mardonius to guard the passes
of Mount Cithæron; saying, that the Greeks were continually pouring in
every day, and that he would intercept great numbers. Eight days had
already elapsed since they had been posted opposite each other; but
Mardonius thought the suggestion good, and as soon as it was night, sent
some cavalry to the passes of Cithæron, that lead to Platæa, which the
Bœotians call The Three Heads; but the Athenians, The Heads of Oak. The
horsemen that were sent did not arrive in vain; for issuing on the
plain, they took five hundred beasts carrying provisions from
Peloponnesus to the army, with the men who attended the beasts of
burden. The Persians not only took the booty, but killed without mercy,
sparing neither beast nor man. Two more days passed, neither being
willing to begin the battle; but when the eleventh day after the two
armies had been encamped opposite each other in Platæa was almost gone,
and the night was far advanced, and silence appeared to prevail
throughout the camps, Alexander, son of Amyntas, who was general and
king of the Macedonians, rode up on horseback to the sentries of the
Athenians, and desired to confer with their generals. Most of the
sentries remained at their posts, while some ran to the generals, and
told them, "that a man had come on horseback from the camp of the Medes,
who uttered not a word more, but, naming the generals, said he wished to
confer with them." They immediately repaired to the out-posts, and
Alexander addressed them as follows: "O Athenians, I leave these words
with you as a deposit, entreating you to keep them secret, and not tell
them to any other than Pausanias, lest you should ruin me. I should not
utter them, were I not extremely concerned for the safety of all Greece;
for I am myself a Greek by origin, and would by no means wish to see
Greece enslaved instead of free. I tell you, then, that the victims have
not been favorable to Mardonius and his army, or else you would have
fought long ago; but now, he has determined to dismiss the victims, and
to come to an engagement at dawn of day; fearing, as I conjecture, that
you may assemble in greater numbers. Therefore be ready. But if
Mardonius should defer the engagement, and not undertake it, persevere
remaining where you are, for in a few days provisions will fail him. And
if this war should terminate according to your wishes, it is right that
you should bear it in mind to effect my freedom, who on behalf of the
Greeks have undertaken so hazardous a task, as to acquaint you with the
intention of Mardonius, in order that the barbarians may not fall upon
you unexpectedly. I am Alexander the Macedonian." Thus having spoken, he
rode back to the camp and his own station.

[Illustration: THE FISHERMAN.]

The generals of the Athenians went to the right wing, and told Pausanias
what they had heard from Alexander; but as the army was deprived of
water and harassed by the cavalry of Mardonius, they remained to
deliberate on these and other matters. They had no longer any
provisions, and their attendants, who had been despatched to the
Peloponnesus to get provisions, were shut out by the cavalry, and unable
to reach the camp.

On consultation the generals of the allies resolved, if the Persians
should defer making the attack on that day, to remove to the island of
Oëroë, ten stades distant from the Asopus, on which they were then
encamped. This is an island in the midst of the continent. For the
river, dividing higher up, flows down to the plain from Mount Cithæron,
having its streams about three stades separate from each other, and
united together below. To this place they determined to remove, that
they might have an abundant supply of water, and the cavalry might not
harass them, as when they were directly opposite. So, in the night, at
the hour agreed upon, they fled from the cavalry toward the city of the
Platæans until they arrived at the temple of Juno, which stands before
the city of the Platæans, twenty stades distant from the fountain of
Gargaphia. They then encamped round the Heræum and stood to their arms
before the sacred precinct.

When Mardonius was informed that the Greeks had withdrawn under cover of
night, and saw the place deserted, he summoned Thorax, of Larissa, and
said: "O son of Aleuas, what will you say now, when you see this ground
deserted? For you, their neighbor, said that the Lacedæmonians never
fled from battle, but were the first of men in matters of war; but now
we all see that they have fled away during the past night, in terror of
us, who are truly the most valiant in the world." Then without more ado
he led the Persians at full speed, crossing the Asopus in the track of
the Greeks, as if they had betaken themselves to flight. He directed his
course only against the Lacedæmonians and Tegeans; for on account of the
hills he did not espy the Athenians, who had turned into the plain. The
rest of the commanders of the barbarians' brigades, seeing the Persians
advancing to pursue the Greeks, all immediately took up their standards,
and pursued, each as quick as he could, without observing either rank or
order; thus they advanced with a shout and in a throng, as if they were
about to overwhelm the Greeks.

The Persians made a fence with their osier-shields, and let fly their
arrows so incessantly that the Spartans being hard pressed, and the
victims continuing unfavorable, Pausanias looked toward the temple of
Juno of the Platæans, and invoked the goddess, praying that they might
not be disappointed of their hopes.

[Illustration: JUNO.]

While he was yet making this invocation, the Tegeans, starting first,
advanced against the barbarians; and immediately after the prayer of
Pausanias, the victims became favorable to the Lacedæmonians. Then they
advanced against the Persians, who withstood them, laying aside their
bows. First of all a battle took place about the fence of bucklers; and
when that was thrown down, a long, obstinate fight ensued near the
temple of Ceres, till at last they came to close conflict, when the
barbarians laid hold of the Spartan spears and broke them. Indeed, in
courage and strength, the Persians were not inferior, but were lightly
armed, ignorant of military discipline, and not equal to their
adversaries in skill. They rushed forward upon the Spartans, only to
perish. In that part where Mardonius happened to be, fighting upon a
white horse, at the head of a thousand chosen men, the best of the
Persians, there they pressed their adversaries most vigorously. For as
long as Mardonius survived, they held out, defended themselves, and
overthrew many of the Lacedæmonians; but when Mardonius had died, and
the troops stationed round him, which were the strongest, had fallen,
then the rest turned to flight, and gave way to the Lacedæmonians. Their
dress, too, was particularly disadvantageous to them, being destitute of
defensive armor. Here satisfaction for the death of Leonidas, according
to the oracle, was paid to the Spartans by Mardonius; and Pausanias
obtained the most signal victory we have ever heard of. Mardonius died
by the hand of Aïmnestus, a man of distinction at Sparta, who, some time
after the Medic affairs, at the head of three hundred men, engaged at
Stenyclerus with all the Messenians, and he himself perished and his
three hundred. When the Persians at Platæa were put to flight by the
Lacedæmonians, they fled in disorder to their own camp, and to the
wooden fortification which they had made in the Theban territory. It is
a wonder to me that, when they fought near the grove of Ceres, not one
of the barbarians was seen to enter into the sacred enclosure, or to die
in it, but most fell round the precinct in unconsecrated ground. I am of
opinion, if it is allowable to form an opinion concerning divine things,
that the goddess would not receive them because they had burnt her royal
temple at Eleusis.

When the Persians and the rest of the throng arrived in their flight at
the wooden wall, they mounted the towers before the Lacedæmonians came
up, and defended the wall in the best way they could; so that when the
Lacedæmonians arrived, a vigorous battle took place before the walls. So
long as the Athenians were absent, the barbarians defended themselves,
and had much the advantage over the Lacedæmonians, as they were not
skilled in attacking fortifications; but when the Athenians came, then a
vehement fight at the walls took place, and continued for a long time.
But at length the Athenians, by their valor and pluck, surmounted the
wall, and made a breach; there at length the Greeks poured in. The
Tegeans entered first, and plundered the tent of Mardonius, and among
other things took away the manger for his horse, all of bronze, and well
worth seeing. This manger of Mardonius the Tegeans placed in the temple
of the Alean Minerva; but all the other things they took they carried to
the same place as the rest of the Greeks. The barbarians no longer kept
in close order, nor did any one think of valor; but they were in a state
of consternation, as so many myriads of men were enclosed within so
small a space; and the Greeks had such an easy opportunity of
slaughtering them, that of an army of three hundred thousand men, except
forty thousand with whom Artabazus fled, not three thousand survived. Of
Lacedæmonians from Sparta, all that died in the engagement were
ninety-one; of Tegeans, sixteen; and of Athenians, fifty-two.


Pausanias made proclamation that no one should touch the booty, and
commanded the helots to bring together all the treasures. Dispersing
themselves through the camp, they found tents decked with gold and
silver, and couches gilt and plated, and golden bowls, and cups, and
other drinking vessels; they also found sacks on the waggons, in which
were discovered gold and silver cauldrons: and from the bodies that lay
dead they stripped bracelets, necklaces, and scimetars of gold; but no
account at all was taken of the variegated apparel. Of this the helots
stole a great deal and sold it to the Æginetæ, so that the great wealth
of the Æginetæ here had its beginning, for they purchased gold from the
helots as if it had been bronze. They collected the treasures together,
and took from them a tithe for the god at Delphi, from which the golden
tripod was dedicated, which stands on the three-headed bronze serpent,
close to the altar; they also took a tithe for the god at Olympia, from
which they dedicated the bronze Jupiter, ten cubits high; and a tithe to
the god at the Isthmus, from which was made the bronze Neptune, seven
cubits high. They divided the rest, and each took the share he was
entitled to, of the gold, silver, and other treasures, and beasts of
burden. Now what choice treasures were given those others who most
distinguished themselves at Platæa, is mentioned by no one. But for
Pausanias, ten of every thing was selected and given him—slaves, horses,
talents, camels, and all other treasures in like manner. It is said also
that when Xerxes fled from Greece, he left all his own equipage to
Mardonius; Pausanias, therefore, seeing Mardonius' equipage furnished
with gold, silver, and various-colored hangings, ordered the bakers and
cooks to prepare a supper in the same manner as for Mardonius: and,
astonished at the profusion set before him of gold and silver couches
handsomely carved, and gold and silver tables, and magnificent
preparations for the supper, he in derision ordered his own attendants
to prepare a Laconian supper by the side of it, and when the repast was
spread, the difference was so ridiculous that he laughed, and sent for
the generals of the Greeks and said: "Men of Greece, I have called you
together to show you the folly of the leader of the Medes, who left such
sumptuous fare as this, to come to us, who have such poor fare, to take
it from us." A considerable time after these events, many of the
Platæans found chests of gold and silver, and other precious things. And
still later was discovered a skull without any seam, consisting of one
bone, and an upper jaw which had teeth growing in a piece, all in one
bone, both the front teeth and the grinders; and there was likewise
discovered the skeleton of a man five cubits high.

When the Greeks had buried their dead in Platæa, they immediately
determined, on consultation, to march against Thebes, and to demand the
surrender of those who had sided with the Medes, amongst the first of
them Timegenides and Attaginus, who were the chief leaders; and, if they
should not give them up, they resolved not to depart from the city
before they had taken it. On the eleventh day after the engagement, they
arrived and besieged the Thebans, requiring them to give up the men;
and, receiving "No" for an answer, they ravaged the country, and
attacked the walls. As they did not cease damaging them, on the
twentieth day Timegenides spoke thus to the Thebans: "Men of Thebes,
since the Greeks have so resolved that they will not give over besieging
us until either they have taken Thebes, or you have delivered us up to
them, let not the Bœotian territory suffer any more on our account. But
if, being desirous of money, they demand us as a pretence, let us give
them money from the public treasury; for we sided with the Mede by
general consent, and not of ourselves alone. If, however, they carry on
the siege really because they want us, we will present ourselves before
them to plead our cause." He appeared to speak well and to the purpose;
and the Thebans immediately sent a herald to Pausanias, expressing their
willingness to surrender the men. When they had agreed on these terms,
Attaginus escaped from the city, and his sons, who were brought before
him, Pausanias acquitted from the charge, saying that boys could have no
part in the guilt of siding with the Mede. As to the others whom the
Thebans delivered up, they thought that they should be admitted to plead
their cause, and moreover trusted to repel the charge by bribery; but
he, as soon as he had them in his power, suspecting this very thing,
dismissed the whole army of the allies, and, conducting the men to
Corinth, put them to death.



On the same day on which the defeat at Platæa occurred, another happened
to take place at Mycale in Ionia. For while the Greeks were stationed at
Delos, there came to them as ambassadors from Samos, Lampon,
Athenagoras, and Hegesistratus, being sent by the Samians, unknown to
the Persians. When they came to the generals, Hegesistratus urged that
"if only the Ionians should see them, they would revolt from the
Persians, and that the barbarians would not withstand them; or, if they
should withstand them, the Greeks would not find any other such booty."
Invoking, too, their common gods, he besought them to deliver Grecian
men from servitude, and to repel the barbarian; and he said, "that this
would be easy for them to do, for their ships sailed badly, and were not
fit to fight with them; and, if they suspected at all that they were
leading them on deceitfully, they were themselves ready to go on board
their ships as hostages." The Samian stranger was so earnest in his
entreaties, that Leotychides asked: "O Samian friend, what is your
name?" "Hegesistratus," he answered; upon which, interrupting the
rest of his discourse, Leotychides exclaimed: "I accept the
"Hegesistratus,"[30] my Samian friend; only do you take care that before
you sail away both you yourself and those who are with you, pledge your
faith that the Samians will be zealous allies to us." The Samians
immediately pledged their faith and made oath of confederacy with the
Greeks. The others sailed home, but he ordered Hegesistratus to sail
with the fleet, regarding his name as an omen. The Greeks tarried that
day, and on the next sacrificed auspiciously, Deiphonus, son of Evenius,
of Apollonia in the Ionian gulf, acting as diviner.

The following incident befel his father, Evenius. There are in this
Apollonia sheep sacred to the sun, which by day feed near the river that
flows from Mount Lacmon through the Apollonian territory into the sea,
near the port of Oricus; but by night, chosen men, the most eminent of
the citizens for wealth and birth, keep watch over them, each for a
year: for the Apollonians set a high value upon these sheep, in
consequence of some oracle. They are folded in a cavern at a distance
from the city. There, once on a time, Evenius, being chosen, kept watch,
and one night when he had fallen asleep during his watch, wolves entered
the cave, and destroyed about sixty of the sheep. When he discovered
what had happened, he mentioned it to no one, purposing to buy others,
and put them in their place. This occurrence, however, did not escape
the notice of the Apollonians; and as soon as they discovered it, they
brought him to trial, and gave sentence that, for having fallen asleep
during his watch, he should be deprived of sight. But after they had
blinded Evenius, from that time forward neither did their sheep
multiply, nor did the land yield its usual fruit. An admonition was
given them at Dodona and Delphi, when they inquired of the prophets the
cause of the present calamities "that they had unjustly deprived
Evenius, the keeper of the sacred sheep, of his sight; for they
themselves had sent the wolves, and would not cease avenging him, until
the people should give such satisfaction for what they had done, as he
himself should choose, and think sufficient: then, the gods themselves
would give such a present to Evenius, that most men would pronounce him
happy, from possessing it." The Apollonians, keeping this answer secret,
deputed some of their citizens to negociate the matter with Evenius. One
day when he was seated on a bench, they went and sat down by him, and
conversed on different subjects, till at length they began to
commiserate his misfortune, and leading him artfully on, they asked,
"what reparation he would choose, if the Apollonians were willing to
give him satisfaction for what they had done." Not having heard of the
oracle he made this choice, "if any one would give him the lands of
certain citizens," naming those who he knew had the two best estates in
Apollonia, "and besides these a house," which he knew was the handsomest
in the city, he said, "he would thenceforth forego his anger, and this
reparation would content him." Immediately taking him up they said, "the
Apollonians make you this reparation for the loss of your eyes, in
obedience to an oracle they have received." He thereupon was very
indignant, on hearing the whole truth, for he had been deceived; but the
Apollonians bought the property from the owners, and gave him what he
had chosen, and immediately the gift of divination was implanted in him,
so that he became very celebrated.

Deiphonus, the son of this Evenius, was brought by the Corinthians to
officiate as diviner to the army.

The Greeks at length determined to sail to the continent: having
therefore prepared boarding-ladders, and all other things that were
necessary for a sea-fight, they sailed to Mycale. No one was seen near
the camp, ready to meet them, but they beheld the ships drawn up within
the fortification, and a numerous land-force disposed along the beach,
thereupon Leotychides, advancing first in a ship, and nearing the beach
as closely as possible, made proclamation by a herald to the Ionians,
saying: "Men of Ionia, as many of you as hear me, attend to what I say;
for the Persians will understand nothing of the advice I give you. When
we engage, it behooves every one first of all to remember Liberty; and
next the watch-word, Hebe; and let him who does not hear this, learn it
from those who do hear." The meaning of this proceeding was the same as
that of Themistocles at Artemisium; for either these words, being
concealed from the barbarians, would induce the Ionians to revolt, or,
if they should be reported to the barbarians, would make them
distrustful of the Greeks. Then the Greeks put their ships to shore,
landed on the beach, and drew up in order of battle. But when the
Persians saw them preparing for action, and knew that they had
admonished the Ionians, they suspected that the Samians favored the
Greeks, and took away their arms.

Then the Greeks advanced toward the barbarians; and a rumor flew through
the whole army that a herald's staff was seen lying on the beach and
that the Greeks had fought and conquered the army of Mardonius in
Bœotia. Thus the interposition of heaven is manifest by many plain
signs; since on this same day on which the defeat at Platæa took place,
and when that at Mycale was just about to happen, a rumor reached the
Greeks in this latter place; so that the army was inspired with much
greater courage, and was more eager to meet danger.

The Athenians, and those who were drawn up next to them, forming about
half the army, had to advance along the shore over level ground; but the
Lacedæmonians and their associates, along a ravine and some hills. So
that whilst the Lacedæmonians were making a circuit, those in the other
wing were already engaged. Now, so long as the bucklers of the Persians
remained standing, they defended themselves strenuously, and had not the
worst of the battle; but when the Athenians and their comrades mutually
encouraged one another, in order that the victory might belong to them,
and not to the Lacedæmonians, they flew with such vigor into the battle,
that the face of affairs was immediately changed. They broke through the
bucklers and fell in a body upon the Persians. They sustained the attack
and defended themselves for a time but at last fled to the
fortification. The Athenians, Corinthians, Sicyonians, and Trœzenians,
drawn up in order together, following close upon them, rushed into the
fortification at the same time. When the fortification was taken, the
barbarians no longer thought of resisting, but all except the Persians
betook themselves to flight; they, in small detachments, fought with the
Greeks who were continually rushing within the fortification. And of the
Persian generals, two made their escape, and two died. Artayntes and
Ithramitres, commanders of the naval forces escaped; but Mardontes, and
Tigranes, generals of the land army, died fighting. While the Persians
were still fighting, the Lacedæmonians came up, and assisted in
accomplishing the rest. Of the Greeks themselves many fell on this
occasion, especially the Sicyonians, and their general Perilaus. The
Samians, who were in the camp of the Medes and had been deprived of
their arms, as soon as they saw the battle turning, did all they could,
wishing to help the Greeks; and the rest of the Ionians, as the Samians
led the way, fled from the Persians and attacked the barbarians. The
Milesians had been appointed to guard the passes for the Persians so
that in the event of failure they might have guides to conduct them to
the heights of Mycale. They, however, did every thing contrary to what
was ordered; guiding them in their flight by other ways which led to the
enemy, and at last themselves assisted in slaying them. Thus Ionia
revolted a second time from the Persians. In this battle of the Greeks,
the Athenians most distinguished themselves. When they had killed most
of the barbarians, some fighting and others flying, they brought out all
the booty on the beach, including several chests of money, and burnt the
ships and the whole fortification. Then they took into their alliance
the Samians, Chians, Lesbians, and other islanders, who were then
serving with the Greeks, bound them by pledges and oaths that they would
remain firm and not revolt; then sailed to the Hellespont, and home.

[Illustration: BAS-RELIEF OF THE MUSES.]




 Rape of Io from Argos                       1687
 Pelops conq. the Pelopon                    1362
 Eurystheus conquered                        1311
 Rape of Helen                               1290
 Aristodemus conq. the Pelo.                 1190

       _Lacedæmon._         |    _Corinth._
 Procles and Eurysthenes    |  Oligarchy of
   kings               1178 |    Bacchiadæ.
 Theras col. Callista       |  Cypselus born  700
   (Thera)             1150 |
 Lycurgus               884 |  Seizes the
 Battus migrates            |    trannny      663
   from Cal. and            |  Periander      633
   founds Cyrene        632 |  Banishes
 First war with             |    Lycophron    575
 Tegea                  620 | Sends 300
 Ariston and                |   Corcyræan
   Anaxandrides,            |   boys to
   kings of Lacedæmon   574 |   Alyattes      565
 Ally with Crœsus    554    | Dies            563
                            | Miltiades, son
 Tegea taken            546 |   of Cypselus,
 War with Argives           |   founds
   about Thyrea         545 |   Chersonesus   560
 Send troops ag't.          |
   Polycrates           525 |
 Demaratus              520 | Stesagoras
 Cleomenes              515 |   succeeds      531
 Dorieus migrates           |
   to Libya             515 | Miltiades, son of
 Cleo. violates the         |   Cimon, succeeds
   Argive grove         514 |                 515
 Cleomenes expels           |
   Clisthenes               |
   from Athens          508 | Takes Lemnos    510
 Invades Attica         507 |
 Demaratus exiled       492 | Retires before the
                            |   Scythians     507
 Leotychides king       492 |
 Cleomenes kills            | Escapes from the
   himself              490 |   Persians to
 Leonidas slain at          |   Imbros        497
   Thermopylæ           480 |
 Pausanias wins             |
   at Platæa            479 | At the battle
 Leotychides at             |   of Salamis    480
   Mycale               479 |

     _Attica, Bœotia,       |    _Greeks in Asia
    Phocis, Ætolia, etc._   |    and the Islands._
                       B.C. |                     B.C.
 Deucalion             1570 | Ion goes to Asia    1391
 Cecrops               1550 |
 Erectheus             1510 | Æolian migrations
 Ion, son of Xuthus    1427 |   under Orestes,
 Rape of Medea by the       |   Penthilus, and
   Argonauts           1349 |   Echelatus    1210-1174
 Theseus defeated           |
   Eurystheus          1311 | Ionian migrations
 Decaleans give up          |   (driven from the
   Helen to the Tyndaridæ   |   Pelop. by the
                       1296 |   Achæans)          1130
 Pelasgians expelled        |
   from Attica, conquer     | Dorian migration
   Lemnos              1162 | Samians reach
 Codrus                1153 |   Tartessus          640
 Rape of Ath. women         | Thrasybulus          625
   from Brauron        1152 | Conquered by
 Alcmæon, the last          |   Crœsus
   Archon               683 | Conquered by
 Conspiracy of Ceylon   612 |   Harpagus           542
 Legislation of Solon   594 | Phocæans defeat
 Megacles mar. Clisthenes'  |   Carthaginians,
   daughter             570 |   etc.
 Pisistratus, tyrant    561 | Found Hyela          535
 Expelled               559 | Polycrates tyrant
 Re-established         555 |   at Samos       532-523
 Re-expelled            553 |
 Regains it             542 | Samians found
 Dies                   528 |   Cydonia            524
 Hipparchus succeeds    528 | Syloson obtains
 Assassina. of Cimon    527 |   Samos              512
 Hipparchus assassinated    | Ionians commence
                        514 |   disturbances       504
 Hippias succeeds       514 |
 Expelled               510 | Burn Sardis          503
 Factions of Clisthenes     | Joined by the
   and Isagoras         509 |   Cyprians           502
 Clisthenes expelled    508 | Miletus taken        498
 Inv. of Cleomenes      507 | Aristagoras slain    498
 Athenians defeat the       |
   Bœotians, invade         | Samians take Zancle  497
   Eubœa, and conquer       | Chios, Tenedos,
   the Chalcidians      506 |   etc., taken by
 Miltiades gains the        |   the Persians       497
   battle of Marathon   490 | Phocians defeat
 Dies                   489 |   Thessalians        482
 Xerxes takes Athens    480 |
 Battle of Salamis      480 | Ionians join the
 Mardonius retakes          |   allies at Mycale   479
   Athens               479 |


                    |                     |    _Scythians
   _Phœnicians._    |    _Egyptians._     |       and
                    |                     |   Cimmerians._
                    |                     |
     Migrated       |      God-kings,     |    Cimmerians
     from the       |        17570        |      invade
     Erythræan      |          to         |      Asia,
        to          |        15570.       |       but
    Phoenicia,      |                     |     expelled
       about        |        Menes        |      by the
       2267.        |          to         |    Scythians
                    |       Mœris,        |      about
    Colonized       |         2235        |       624.
      Thasos,       |          to         |
       1550.        |         1416.       |    Scythians
                    |                     |       rule
      Founded       |       Sesostris     |      Upper
     Carthage,      |          to         |      Asia,
         819.       |        Sethon,      |       624
                    |         1416        |        to
   Circumnavigate   |          to         |       596.
       Libya,       |         671.        |
         609.       |                     |     Invaded
                    |     Twelve kings    |        by
                    |          to         |     Darius,
                    |        Amasis       |       508.
                    |         671         |
                    |          to         |      Invade
                    |         525.        |       the
                    |                     |   Chersonesus;
                    |                     |    Miltiades
                    |                     |     retires,
                    |                     |       507.

        _Assyrians and Babylonians._      |   _Lydians._
                                   B.C.   |
  Empire                         1221-711 |    Atyadæ to
  Semiramis                       747-733 |      1221.
  Medic revolt                        711 |    Heraclidæ
                                          |    1221-716.
     _Babylonia._   |    _Media, etc._    |   Gyges, 716.
                    |                     |   Ardys, 678.
      Nitocris,     |   Deioces, 700.     |   Cimmerians
      604-561.      |  Div. the Medes.    |   take Sardis,
      Turns the     |  Phraortes, 647.    |       634.
      Euphrates     |  Invades Assyria    |   Sadyattes,
    and improves    |  Perished before    |       629.
       Babylon.     |      Nineveh.       |  Milesian war,
                    |   Cyaxares, 625.    |     622-610.
      Labynetus     |   Conq. Assyria.    |  Alyattes, 617.
    (Belshazzar),   |      Besieges       |    Drove out
     son of         |   Nineveh, 603.     |   Cimmerians,
      Nitocris,     | Scythian invasion,  |       613.
      succeeds.     |      624-596.       |     War with
     Arbitrates     |   Astyages, 585.    |  Cyaxares, 602.
       between      |     CYRUS born,     | Crœsus, 560.
      Cyaxares      |        571.         |
         and        |   King in sport,    |    Conquers
      Alyattes.     |        561.         |     Greeks.
                    |                     |
                    |                     |   Visited by
                    |                     |     Solon.
                    |   _Persian Empire_  |

CYRUS, king 550.

Attacked by Crœsus. Conquers Lydia, and takes Sardis. Mazares punishes
Lydian rebels. Harpagus takes Phocæa, conquers Ionia and Æolis.

Babylon taken by Cyrus, 536.

Massagetan expedition. Cyrus slain, 530.

CAMBYSES, 530-523. Conquers Egypt, 525. Unsuccessful expedition against
the Ethiopians and Ammonians. Wounds Apis. Goes mad. Slays his brother
Smerdis. Marries and kills his sister. Magian revolt. Dies, 523.

SMERDIS MAGUS, 523. Conspiracy of the Seven. Death of the Magi.

DARIUS, 522-485. Sends Democydes to spy Greece. Babylonian revolt.
Babylon taken by Zopyrus, 516. Restores Syloson to Samos, 512. Barca
conquered, 512. Invades Scythia, 508. Megabazus subdues Thrace. Otanes
subdues Lemnos and Imbros. Disturbances in Ionia. Burning of Sardis,
503. Cyprians join the revolt, 502; conquered, 501. Miletus taken, 498.
Pacification of Ionia, 497. Mardonius marches against Greece, 495.
Wrecked at Athos. Darius sends to Greece for earth and water, 493.
Expedition of Datis and Artaphernes, 492; enslave Naxos and Eretria,
490. Marathon, 490. Preparations for another invasion, 489. Egyptian
revolt, 486.

XERXES, 485-479. Subdues Egypt, 484. Prepares for a Greek expedition.
Leaves Susa, April, 481. Winters at Sardis. Battle of Thermopylæ, 480.
Takes Athens, 480. Battle of Salamis, Sept., 480. Retires to Asia.
Mardonius defeated at Platæa, and the Persian fleet at Mycale, the same
day, Sept. 22, 479.


_Eubœic or Attic Silver Weights and Money._

                                WEIGHT (Avoirdupois).    VALUE.
                                  lbs.   oz.   grs.
   1 Obol                           —     —    11.08     $.033
   6 Obols         1 Drachma        —     —    66.5       .198
 100 Drachmæ       1 Mina           —    15    33.75    19.784
  60 Minæ          1 Talent        56    15¼  100.32  1187.00

_Æginetan Silver Weights and Money._

                                  lbs.   oz.   grs.
   1 Obol                           —     —    16        $.04½
   6 Obols         1 Drachma        —     —    96       27.00
 100 Drachmæ       1 Mina           1     5¾   78.96       —
  60 Minæ          1 Talent        82     3¾   30.46  1620.00

The gold Stater of Crœsus and the gold Daric are each supposed to be
worth about 20 Attic silver drachmæ, or about $4.00 in our money.

Herodotus makes the Babylonian Talent equal to 70 Eubœic Minæ, but
Hussey calculates its weight at 71_lbs._ 1½_oz._ 69.45_grs._ If,
however, these are reckoned by comparison with our gold money, they are
worth much more.

_Attic Dry Measures._

                                      Gallons.  Quarts.
  1 Chœnix                              —         1
 48 Chœnices        1 Medimnus         12         —
  1 Medimnus and }
  3 Chœnices     }  1 Persian Artaba   12         3

_Liquid Measures._

                                      Gallons.   Pints.
  1 Chœnix                              —         1½
 48 Chœnices        1 Amphora           9         —

Hesychius considers the Aryster to be the same as the Cotyla, which
Hussey calculates to hold half a pint.

_Measures of Length._

                                               Miles. Yards. Feet. Inches.
   1 Digit (finger's breadth)                    —      —      —     .7584
   4 Digits               1 Palm (hand-breadth)  —      —      —    3.0336
   3 Palms                1 Span                 —      —      —    9.1008
   4 Palms                1 Foot                 —      —      1    0.135
   2 Spans or 6 Palms     1 Cubit                —      —      1    6.2016
   1 Cubit and 6 Digits   1 Royal Cubit          —      —      1    8.4768
   4 Cubits               1 Fathom (Orgya)       —      —      6    0.81
 100 Feet or 16⅔ Orgyæ    1 Plethrum             —     33      2    1.5
   6 Plethra              1 Stadium              —    202      0    9
  30 Stadia               1 Persian Parasan      3    787      1    6
   2 Parasangs            1 Schœnus              6½   494      3    0

The Egyptian Cubit contained nearly 17¾ inches.

The Arura contained 21,904 square English feet, or a fraction over half
an acre.

[30] Hegesistratus means "leader of an army."


PLUTARCH FOR BOYS AND GIRLS. Selected and edited by Prof. John S. White.
Quarto, with many illustrations $3 00.

This edition contains all the "Lives" and "Parallels" in Plutarch's own
words, with such omissions only as were necessary to adapt them for
young readers. There is also an Introduction and Life of Plutarch by the
editor. As a standard work, adapted to both boys and girls, its wealth
of anecdote and faithful portrayal of character render it peculiarly

"Precious ore and no dross."—_Home Journal._

"It is a pleasure to see in so beautiful and elegant a form, one
of the great books of the world. The best Plutarch for young
readers."—_Literary World._

"Shows admirable scholarship and judgment."—_The Critic._


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