Herodotus: The Histories

ca. 460 - 420 BCE

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Herodotus The Histories Book 1 This is the display of the inquiry of Herodotus of Halicarnassus, so that things done by man not be forgotten in time, and that great and marvelous deeds, some displayed by the Hellenes, some by the barbarians, not lose their glory, including among others what was the cause of their waging war on each other. The Persian learned men say that the Phoenicians were the cause of the dispute. These (they say) came to our seas from the sea which is called Red,1 and having settled in the country which they still occupy, at once began to make long voyages. Among other places to which they carried Egyptian and Assyrian merchandise, they came to Argos, [2] which was at that time preeminent in every way among the people of what is now called Hellas. The Phoenicians came to Argos, and set out their cargo. [3] On the fifth or sixth day after their arrival, when their wares were almost all sold, many women came to the shore and among them especially the daughter of the king, whose name was Io (according to Persians and Greeks alike), the daughter of Inachus. [4] As these stood about the stern of the ship bargaining for the wares they liked, the Phoenicians incited one another to set upon them. Most of the women escaped: Io and others were seized and thrown into the ship, which then sailed away for Egypt. 2. In this way, the Persians say (and not as the Greeks), was how Io came to Egypt, and this, according to them, was the first wrong that was done. Next, according to their story, some Greeks (they cannot say who) landed at Tyre in Phoenicia and carried off the king's daughter Europa. These Greeks must, I suppose, have been Cretans. So far, then, the account between them was balanced. But after this (they say), it was the Greeks who were guilty of the second wrong. [2] They sailed in a long ship to Aea, a city of the Colchians, and to the river Phasis:2 and when they had done the business for which they came, they carried off the king's daughter Medea. [3] When the Colchian king sent a herald to demand reparation for the robbery and restitution of his daughter, the Greeks replied that, as they had been refused reparation for the abduction of the Argive Io, they would not make any to the Colchians. 3. Then (they say), in the second generation after this, Alexandrus, son of Priam, who had heard this tale, decided to get himself a wife from Hellas by capture; for he was confident that he would not suffer punishment. [2] So he carried off Helen. The Greeks first resolved to send messengers demanding that Helen be restored and atonement made for the seizure; but when this proposal was made, the Trojans pleaded the seizure of Medea, and reminded the Greeks that they asked reparation from others, yet made none themselves, nor gave up the booty when asked. 4. So far it was a matter of mere seizure on both sides. But after this (the Persians say), the Greeks were very much to blame; for they invaded Asia before the Persians attacked Europe. [2] “We think,” they say, “that it is unjust to carry women off. But to be anxious to avenge rape is foolish: wise men take no notice of such things. For plainly the women would never have been carried away, had they not wanted it themselves. [3] We of Asia did not deign to notice the seizure of our women; but the Greeks, for the sake of a Lacedaemonian woman, recruited a great armada, came to Asia, and destroyed the power of Priam. [4] Ever since then we have regarded Greeks as our enemies.” For the Persians claim Asia for their own, and the foreign peoples that inhabit it; Europe and the Greek people they consider to be separate from them. 5. Such is the Persian account; in their opinion, it was the taking of Troy which began their hatred of the Greeks. [2] But the Phoenicians do not tell the same story about Io as the Persians. They say that they did not carry her off to Egypt by force. She had intercourse in Argos with the captain of the ship. Then, finding herself pregnant, she was ashamed to have her parents know it, and so, lest they discover her condition, she sailed away with the Phoenicians of her own accord. [3] These are the stories of the Persians and the Phoenicians. For my part, I shall not say that this or that story is true, but I shall identify the one who I myself know did the Greeks unjust deeds, and thus proceed with my history, and speak of small and great cities of men alike. [4] For many states that were once great have now become small; and those that were great in my time were small before. Knowing therefore that human prosperity never continues in the same place, I shall mention both alike. 6. Croesus was a Lydian by birth, son of Alyattes, and sovereign of all the nations west of the river Halys, which flows from the south between Syria and Paphlagonia and empties into the sea called Euxine. [2] This Croesus was the first foreigner whom we know who subjugated some Greeks and took tribute from them, and won the friendship of others: the former being the Ionians, the Aeolians, and the Dorians of Asia, and the latter the Lacedaemonians. [3] Before the reign of Croesus, all Greeks were free: for the Cimmerian host which invaded Ionia before his time did not subjugate the cities, but raided and robbed them. 7. Now the sovereign power that belonged to the descendants of Heracles3 fell to the family of Croesus, called the Mermnadae, in the following way. [2] Candaules, whom the Greeks call Myrsilus, was the ruler of Sardis; he was descended from Alcaeus, son of Heracles; Agron son of Ninus, son of Belus, son of Alcaeus, was the first Heraclid king of Sardis and Candaules son of Myrsus was the last. [3] The kings of this country before Agron were descendants of Lydus, son of Atys, from whom this whole Lydian district got its name; before that it was called the land of the Meii. [4] The Heraclidae, descendants of Heracles and a female slave of Iardanus, received the sovereignty from these and held it, because of an oracle; and they ruled for twenty-two generations, or five hundred and five years, son succeeding father, down to Candaules son of Myrsus. 8. This Candaules, then, fell in love with his own wife, so much so that he believed her to be by far the most beautiful woman in the world; and believing this, he praised her beauty beyond measure to Gyges son of Dascylus, who was his favorite among his bodyguard; for it was to Gyges that he entrusted all his most important secrets. [2] After a little while, Candaules, doomed to misfortune, spoke to Gyges thus: “Gyges, I do not think that you believe what I say about the beauty of my wife; men trust their ears less than their eyes: so you must see her naked.” Gyges protested loudly at this. [3] “Master,” he said, “what an unsound suggestion, that I should see my mistress naked! When a woman's clothes come off, she dispenses with her modesty, too. [4] Men have long ago made wise rules from which one ought to learn; one of these is that one should mind one's own business. As for me, I believe that your queen is the most beautiful of all women, and I ask you not to ask of me what is lawless.” 9. Speaking thus, Gyges resisted: for he was afraid that some evil would come of it for him. But this was Candaules' answer: “Courage, Gyges! Do not be afraid of me, that I say this to test you, or of my wife, that you will have any harm from her. I will arrange it so that she shall never know that you have seen her. [2] I will bring you into the chamber where she and I lie and conceal you behind the open door; and after I have entered, my wife too will come to bed. There is a chair standing near the entrance of the room: on this she will lay each article of her clothing as she takes it off, and you will be able to look upon her at your leisure. [3] Then, when she moves from the chair to the bed, turning her back on you, be careful she does not see you going out through the doorway.” 10. As Gyges could not escape, he consented. Candaules, when he judged it to be time for bed, brought Gyges into the chamber; his wife followed presently, and when she had come in and was laying aside her garments, Gyges saw her; [2] when she turned her back upon him to go to bed, he slipped from the room. The woman glimpsed him as he went out, and perceived what her husband had done. But though shamed, she did not cry out or let it be seen that she had perceived anything, for she meant to punish Candaules; [3] since among the Lydians and most of the foreign peoples it is felt as a great shame that even a man be seen naked. 11. For the present she made no sign and kept quiet. But as soon as it was day, she prepared those of her household whom she saw were most faithful to her, and called Gyges. He, supposing that she knew nothing of what had been done, answered the summons; for he was used to attending the queen whenever she summoned him. [2] When Gyges came, the lady addressed him thus: “Now, Gyges, you have two ways before you; decide which you will follow. You must either kill Candaules and take me and the throne of Lydia for your own, or be killed yourself now without more ado; that will prevent you from obeying all Candaules' commands in the future and seeing what you should not see. [3] One of you must die: either he, the contriver of this plot, or you, who have outraged all custom by looking on me uncovered.” Gyges stood awhile astonished at this; presently, he begged her not to compel him to such a choice. [4] But when he could not deter her, and saw that dire necessity was truly upon him either to kill his master or himself be killed by others, he chose his own life. Then he asked: “Since you force me against my will to kill my master, I would like to know how we are to lay our hands on him.” [5] She replied, “You shall come at him from the same place where he made you view me naked: attack him in his sleep.” 12. When they had prepared this plot, and night had fallen, Gyges followed the woman into the chamber (for Gyges was not released, nor was there any means of deliverance, but either he or Candaules must die). She gave him a dagger and hid him behind the same door; [2] and presently he stole out and killed Candaules as he slept. Thus he made himself master of the king's wife and sovereignty. He is mentioned in the iambic verses of Archilochus of Parus who lived about the same time. 13. So he took possession of the sovereign power and was confirmed in it by the Delphic oracle. For when the Lydians took exception to what was done to Candaules, and took up arms, the faction of Gyges came to an agreement with the rest of the people that if the oracle should ordain him king of the Lydians, then he would reign; but if not, then he would return the kingship to the Heraclidae. [2] The oracle did so ordain, and Gyges thus became king. However, the Pythian priestess declared that the Heraclidae would have vengeance on Gyges' posterity in the fifth generation; an utterance to which the Lydians and their kings paid no regard until it was fulfilled. 14. Thus the Mermnadae robbed the Heraclidae of the sovereignty and took it for themselves. Having gotten it, Gyges sent many offerings to Delphi: there are very many silver offerings of his there; and besides the silver, he dedicated a hoard of gold, among which six golden bowls are the offerings especially worthy of mention. [2] These weigh thirty talents4 and stand in the treasury5 of the Corinthians; although in truth it is not the treasury of the Corinthian people but of Cypselus son of Eetion. This Gyges then was the first foreigner whom we know who placed offerings at Delphi after the king of Phrygia, Midas son of Gordias. [3] For Midas too made an offering: namely, the royal seat on which he sat to give judgment, and a marvellous seat it is. It is set in the same place as the bowls of Gyges. This gold and the silver offered by Gyges is called by the Delphians “Gygian” after its dedicator. 15. As soon as Gyges came to the throne, he too, like others, led an army into the lands of Miletus and Smyrna; and he took the city of Colophon. But as he did nothing else great in his reign of thirty-eight years, I shall say no more of him, and shall speak instead of Ardys son of Gyges, who succeeded him. He took Priene and invaded the country of Miletus; and it was while he was monarch of Sardis that the Cimmerians, driven from their homes by the nomad Scythians, came into Asia, and took Sardis, all but the acropolis. 16. Ardys reigned for forty-nine years and was succeeded by his son Sadyattes, who reigned for twelve years; and after Sadyattes came Alyattes, [2] who waged war against Deioces' descendant Cyaxares and the Medes, drove the Cimmerians out of Asia, took Smyrna (which was a colony from Colophon), and invaded the lands of Clazomenae. But he did not return from these as he wished, but with great disaster. Of other deeds done by him in his reign, these were the most notable: 17. He continued the war against the Milesians which his father had begun. This was how he attacked and beseiged Miletus: he sent his army, marching to the sound of pipes and harps and bass and treble flutes, to invade when the crops in the land were ripe; [2] and whenever he came to the Milesian territory, he neither demolished nor burnt nor tore the doors off the country dwellings, but let them stand unharmed; but he destroyed the trees and the crops of the land, and so returned to where he came from; [3] for as the Milesians had command of the sea, it was of no use for his army to besiege their city. The reason that the Lydian did not destroy the houses was this: that the Milesians might have homes from which to plant and cultivate their land, and that there might be the fruit of their toil for his invading army to lay waste. 18. He waged war in this way for eleven years, and in these years two great disasters overtook the Milesians, one at the battle of Limeneion in their own territory, and the other in the valley of the Maeander. [2] For six of these eleven years Sadyattes son of Ardys was still ruler of Lydia, and it was he who invaded the lands of Miletus, for it was he who had begun the war; for the following five the war was waged by Sadyattes' son Alyattes, who, as I have indicated before, inherited the war from his father and carried it on vigorously. [3] None of the Ionians helped to lighten this war for the Milesians, except the Chians: these lent their aid in return for a similar service done for them; for the Milesians had previously helped the Chians in their war against the Erythraeans. 19. In the twelfth year, when the Lydian army was burning the crops, the fire set in the crops, blown by a strong wind, caught the temple of Athena called Athena of Assesos,6 and the temple burned to the ground. [2] For the present no notice was taken of this. But after the army had returned to Sardis, Alyattes fell ill; and, as his sickness lasted longer than it should, he sent to Delphi to inquire of the oracle, either at someone's urging or by his own wish to question the god about his sickness. [3] But when the messengers came to Delphi, the Pythian priestess would not answer them before they restored the temple of Athena at Assesos in the Milesian territory, which they had burnt. 20. I know this much to be so because the Delphians told me. The Milesians add that Periander son of Cypselus, a close friend of the Thrasybulus who then was sovereign of Miletus, learned what reply the oracle had given to Alyattes, and sent a messenger to tell Thrasybulus so that his friend, forewarned, could make his plans accordingly. 21. The Milesians say it happened so. Then, when the Delphic reply was brought to Alyattes, he promptly sent a herald to Miletus, offering to make a truce with Thrasybulus and the Milesians during his rebuilding of the temple. So the envoy went to Miletus. But Thrasybulus, forewarned of the whole matter, and knowing what Alyattes meant to do, devised the following plan: [2] he brought together into the marketplace all the food in the city, from private stores and his own, and told the men of Miletus all to drink and celebrate together when he gave the word. 22. Thrasybulus did this so that when the herald from Sardis saw a great heap of food piled up, and the citizens celebrating, he would bring word of it to Alyattes: [2] and so it happened. The herald saw all this, gave Thrasybulus the message he had been instructed by the Lydian to deliver, and returned to Sardis; and this, as I learn, was the sole reason for the reconciliation. [3] For Alyattes had supposed that there was great scarcity in Miletus and that the people were reduced to the last extremity of misery; but now on his herald's return from the town he heard an account contrary to his expectations; [4] so presently the Lydians and Milesians ended the war and agreed to be friends and allies, and Alyattes built not one but two temples of Athena at Assesos, and recovered from his illness. That is the story of Alyattes' war against Thrasybulus and the Milesians. 23. Periander, who disclosed the oracle's answer to Thrasybulus, was the son of Cypselus, and sovereign of Corinth. The Corinthians say (and the Lesbians agree) that the most marvellous thing that happened to him in his life was the landing on Taenarus of Arion of Methymna, brought there by a dolphin. This Arion was a lyre-player second to none in that age; he was the first man whom we know to compose and name the dithyramb7 which he afterwards taught at Corinth. 24. They say that this Arion, who spent most of his time with Periander, wished to sail to Italy and Sicily, and that after he had made a lot of money there he wanted to come back to Corinth. [2] Trusting none more than the Corinthians, he hired a Corinthian vessel to carry him from Tarentum.8 But when they were out at sea, the crew plotted to take Arion's money and cast him overboard. Discovering this, he earnestly entreated them, asking for his life and offering them his money. [3] But the crew would not listen to him, and told him either to kill himself and so receive burial on land or else to jump into the sea at once. [4] Abandoned to this extremity, Arion asked that, since they had made up their minds, they would let him stand on the half-deck in all his regalia and sing; and he promised that after he had sung he would do himself in. [5] The men, pleased at the thought of hearing the best singer in the world, drew away toward the waist of the vessel from the stern. Arion, putting on all his regalia and taking his lyre, stood up on the half-deck and sang the “Stirring Song,”9 and when the song was finished he threw himself into the sea, as he was with all his regalia. [6] So the crew sailed away to Corinth; but a dolphin (so the story goes) took Arion on his back and bore him to Taenarus. Landing there, he went to Corinth in his regalia, and when he arrived, he related all that had happened. [7] Periander, skeptical, kept him in confinement, letting him go nowhere, and waited for the sailors. When they arrived, they were summoned and asked what news they brought of Arion. While they were saying that he was safe in Italy and that they had left him flourishing at Tarentum, Arion appeared before them, just as he was when he jumped from the ship; astonished, they could no longer deny what was proved against them. [8] This is what the Corinthians and Lesbians say, and there is a little bronze memorial of Arion on Taenarus, the figure of a man riding upon a dolphin. 25. Alyattes the Lydian, his war with the Milesians finished, died after a reign of fifty-seven years. [2] He was the second of his family to make an offering to Delphi (after recovering from his illness) of a great silver bowl on a stand of welded iron. Among all the offerings at Delphi, this is the most worth seeing, and is the work of Glaucus the Chian, the only one of all men who discovered how to weld iron. 26. After the death of Alyattes, his son Croesus, then thirty-five years of age, came to the throne10. The first Greeks whom he attacked were the Ephesians. [2] These, besieged by him, dedicated their city to Artemis; they did this by attaching a rope to the city wall from the temple of the goddess, which stood seven stades away from the ancient city which was then besieged. [3] These were the first whom Croesus attacked; afterwards he made war on the Ionian and Aeolian cities in turn, upon different pretexts: he found graver charges where he could, but sometimes alleged very petty grounds of offense. 27. Then, when he had subjugated all the Asiatic Greeks of the mainland and made them tributary to him, he planned to build ships and attack the islanders; [2] but when his preparations for shipbuilding were underway, either Bias of Priene or Pittacus of Mytilene (the story is told of both) came to Sardis and, asked by Croesus for news about Hellas, put an end to the shipbuilding by giving the following answer: [3] “O King, the islanders are buying ten thousand horse, intending to march to Sardis against you.” Croesus, thinking that he spoke the truth, said: “Would that the gods would put this in the heads of the islanders, to come on horseback against the sons of the Lydians!” Then the other answered and said: [4] “O King, you appear to me earnestly to wish to catch the islanders riding horses on the mainland, a natural wish. And what else do you suppose the islanders wished, as soon as they heard that you were building ships to attack them, than to catch Lydians on the seas, so as to be revenged on you for the Greeks who dwell on the mainland, whom you enslaved?” [5] Croesus was quite pleased with this conclusion, for he thought the man spoke reasonably and, heeding him, stopped building ships. Thus he made friends with the Ionians inhabiting the islands. 28. As time went on, Croesus subjugated almost all the nations west of the Halys; for except the Cilicians and Lycians, all the rest Croesus held subject under him. These were the Lydians, Phrygians, Mysians, Mariandynians, Chalybes, Paphlagonians, the Thracian Thynians and Bithynians, Carians, Ionians, Dorians, Aeolians, and Pamphylians; 29. and after these were subdued and subject to Croesus in addition to the Lydians, all the sages from Hellas who were living at that time, coming in different ways, came to Sardis, which was at the height of its property; and among them came Solon the Athenian, who, after making laws for the Athenians at their request, went abroad for ten years, sailing forth to see the world, he said. This he did so as not to be compelled to repeal any of the laws he had made, [2] since the Athenians themselves could not do that, for they were bound by solemn oaths to abide for ten years by whatever laws Solon should make. 30. So for that reason, and to see the world, Solon went to visit Amasis in Egypt and then to Croesus in Sardis. When he got there, Croesus entertained him in the palace, and on the third or fourth day Croesus told his attendants to show Solon around his treasures, and they pointed out all those things that were great and blest. [2] After Solon had seen everything and had thought about it, Croesus found the opportunity to say, “My Athenian guest, we have heard a lot about you because of your wisdom and of your wanderings, how as one who loves learning you have traveled much of the world for the sake of seeing it, so now I desire to ask you who is the most fortunate man you have seen.” [3] Croesus asked this question believing that he was the most fortunate of men, but Solon, offering no flattery but keeping to the truth, said, “O King, it is Tellus the Athenian.” [4] Croesus was amazed at what he had said and replied sharply, “In what way do you judge Tellus to be the most fortunate?” Solon said, “Tellus was from a prosperous city, and his children were good and noble. He saw children born to them all, and all of these survived. His life was prosperous by our standards, and his death was most glorious: [5] when the Athenians were fighting their neighbors in Eleusis, he came to help, routed the enemy, and died very finely. The Athenians buried him at public expense on the spot where he fell and gave him much honor.” 31. When Solon had provoked him by saying that the affairs of Tellus were so fortunate, Croesus asked who he thought was next, fully expecting to win second prize. Solon answered, “Cleobis and Biton. [2] They were of Argive stock, had enough to live on, and on top of this had great bodily strength. Both had won prizes in the athletic contests, and this story is told about them: there was a festival of Hera in Argos, and their mother absolutely had to be conveyed to the temple by a team of oxen. But their oxen had not come back from the fields in time, so the youths took the yoke upon their own shoulders under constraint of time. They drew the wagon, with their mother riding atop it, traveling five miles until they arrived at the temple. [3] When they had done this and had been seen by the entire gathering, their lives came to an excellent end, and in their case the god made clear that for human beings it is a better thing to die than to live. The Argive men stood around the youths and congratulated them on their strength; the Argive women congratulated their mother for having borne such children. [4] She was overjoyed at the feat and at the praise, so she stood before the image and prayed that the goddess might grant the best thing for man to her children Cleobis and Biton, who had given great honor to the goddess. [5] After this prayer they sacrificed and feasted. The youths then lay down in the temple and went to sleep and never rose again; death held them there. The Argives made and dedicated at Delphi statues of them as being the best of men.” 32. Thus Solon granted second place in happiness to these men. Croesus was vexed and said, “My Athenian guest, do you so much despise our happiness that you do not even make us worth as much as common men?” Solon replied, “Croesus, you ask me about human affairs, and I know that the divine is entirely grudging and troublesome to us. [2] In a long span of time it is possible to see many things that you do not want to, and to suffer them, too. I set the limit of a man's life at seventy years; [3] these seventy years have twenty-five thousand, two hundred days, leaving out the intercalary month.11 But if you make every other year longer by one month, so that the seasons agree opportunely, then there are thirty-five intercalary months during the seventy years, and from these months there are one thousand fifty days. [4] Out of all these days in the seventy years, all twenty-six thousand, two hundred and fifty of them, not one brings anything at all like another. So, Croesus, man is entirely chance. [5] To me you seem to be very rich and to be king of many people, but I cannot answer your question before I learn that you ended your life well. The very rich man is not more fortunate than the man who has only his daily needs, unless he chances to end his life with all well. Many very rich men are unfortunate, many of moderate means are lucky. [6] The man who is very rich but unfortunate surpasses the lucky man in only two ways, while the lucky surpasses the rich but unfortunate in many. The rich man is more capable of fulfilling his appetites and of bearing a great disaster that falls upon him, and it is in these ways that he surpasses the other. The lucky man is not so able to support disaster or appetite as is the rich man, but his luck keeps these things away from him, and he is free from deformity and disease, has no experience of evils, and has fine children and good looks. [7] If besides all this he ends his life well, then he is the one whom you seek, the one worthy to be called fortunate. But refrain from calling him fortunate before he dies; call him lucky. [8] It is impossible for one who is only human to obtain all these things at the same time, just as no land is self-sufficient in what it produces. Each country has one thing but lacks another; whichever has the most is the best. Just so no human being is self-sufficient; each person has one thing but lacks another. [9] Whoever passes through life with the most and then dies agreeably is the one who, in my opinion, O King, deserves to bear this name. It is necessary to see how the end of every affair turns out, for the god promises fortune to many people and then utterly ruins them.” 33. By saying this, Solon did not at all please Croesus, who sent him away without regard for him, but thinking him a great fool, because he ignored the present good and told him to look to the end of every affair. 34. But after Solon's departure divine retribution fell heavily on Croesus; as I guess, because he supposed himself to be blessed beyond all other men. Directly, as he slept, he had a dream, which showed him the truth of the evil things which were going to happen concerning his son. [2] He had two sons, one of whom was ruined, for he was mute, but the other, whose name was Atys, was by far the best in every way of all of his peers. The dream showed this Atys to Croesus, how he would lose him struck and killed by a spear of iron. [3] So Croesus, after he awoke and considered, being frightened by the dream, brought in a wife for his son, and although Atys was accustomed to command the Lydian armies, Croesus now would not send him out on any such enterprise, while he took the javelins and spears and all such things that men use for war from the men's apartments and piled them in his store room,12 lest one should fall on his son from where it hung. 35. Now while Croesus was occupied with the marriage of his son, a Phrygian of the royal house came to Sardis, in great distress and with unclean hands. This man came to Croesus' house, and asked to be purified according to the custom of the country; so Croesus purified him ( [2] the Lydians have the same manner of purification as the Greeks), and when he had done everything customary, he asked the Phrygian where he came from and who he was: [3] “Friend,” he said, “who are you, and from what place in Phrygia do you come as my suppliant? And what man or woman have you killed?” “O King,” the man answered, “I am the son of Gordias the son of Midas, and my name is Adrastus; I killed my brother accidentally, and I come here banished by my father and deprived of all.” [4] Croesus answered, “All of your family are my friends, and you have come to friends, where you shall lack nothing, staying in my house. As for your misfortune, bear it as lightly as possible and you will gain most.” 36. So Adrastus lived in Croesus' house. About this same time a great monster of a boar appeared on the Mysian Olympus, who would come off that mountain and ravage the fields of the Mysians. The Mysians had gone up against him often; but they never did him any harm but were hurt by him themselves. [2] At last they sent messengers to Croesus, with this message: “O King, a great monster of a boar has appeared in the land, who is destroying our fields; for all our attempts, we cannot kill him; so now we ask you to send your son and chosen young men and dogs with us, so that we may drive him out of the country.” [3] Such was their request, but Croesus remembered the prophecy of his dream and answered them thus: “Do not mention my son again: I will not send him with you. He is newly married, and that is his present concern. But I will send chosen Lydians, and all the huntsmen, and I will tell those who go to be as eager as possible to help you to drive the beast out of the country.” 37. This was his answer, and the Mysians were satisfied with it. But the son of Croesus now entered, having heard what the Mysians had asked for; and when Croesus refused to send his son with them, the young man said, [2] “Father, it was once thought very fine and noble for us to go to war and the chase and win renown; but now you have barred me from both of these, although you have seen neither cowardice nor lack of spirit in me. With what face can I now show myself whenever I go to and from the market-place? [3] What will the men of the city think of me, and what my newly wedded wife? With what kind of man will she think that she lives? So either let me go to the hunt, or show me by reasoning that what you are doing is best for me.” 38. “My son,” answered Croesus, “I do this not because I have seen cowardice or anything unseemly in you, but the vision of a dream stood over me in my sleep, and told me that you would be short-lived, for you would be killed by a spear of iron. [2] It is because of that vision that I hurried your marriage and do not send you on any enterprise that I have in hand, but keep guard over you, so that perhaps I may rob death of you during my lifetime. You are my only son: for that other, since he is ruined, he doesn't exist for me.” 39. “Father,” the youth replied, “no one can blame you for keeping guard over me, when you have seen such a vision; but it is my right to show you what you do not perceive, and why you mistake the meaning of the dream. [2] You say that the dream told you that I should be killed by a spear of iron? But has a boar hands? Has it that iron spear which you dread? Had the dream said I should be killed by a tusk or some other thing proper to a boar, you would be right in acting as you act; but no, it was to be by a spear. Therefore, since it is not against men that we are to fight, let me go.” 40. Croesus answered, “My son, your judgment concerning the dream has somewhat reassured me; and being reassured by you, I change my thinking and permit you to go to the chase.” 41. Having said this, Croesus sent for Adrastus the Phrygian and when he came addressed him thus: “Adrastus, when you were struck by ugly misfortune, for which I do not blame you, it was I who cleansed you, and received and still keep you in my house, defraying all your keep. [2] Now then, as you owe me a return of good service for the good which I have done you, I ask that you watch over my son as he goes out to the chase. See that no thieving criminals meet you on the way, to do you harm. [3] Besides, it is only right that you too should go where you can win renown by your deeds. That is fitting for your father's son; and you are strong enough besides.” 42. “O King,” Adrastus answered, “I would not otherwise have gone into such an arena. One so unfortunate as I should not associate with the prosperous among his peers; nor have I the wish so to do, and for many reasons I would have held back. [2] But now, since you urge it and I must please you (since I owe you a return of good service), I am ready to do this; and as for your son, in so far as I can protect him, look for him to come back unharmed.” 43. So when Adrastus had answered Croesus thus, they went out provided with chosen young men and dogs. When they came to Mount Olympus, they hunted for the beast and, finding him, formed a circle and threw their spears at him: [2] then the guest called Adrastus, the man who had been cleansed of the deed of blood, missed the boar with his spear and hit the son of Croesus. [3] So Atys was struck by the spear and fulfilled the prophecy of the dream. One ran to tell Croesus what had happened, and coming to Sardis told the king of the fight and the fate of his son. 44. Distraught by the death of his son, Croesus cried out the more vehemently because the killer was one whom he himself had cleansed of blood, [2] and in his great and terrible grief at this mischance he called on Zeus by three names—Zeus the Purifier, Zeus of the Hearth, Zeus of Comrades: the first, because he wanted the god to know what evil his guest had done him; the second, because he had received the guest into his house and thus unwittingly entertained the murderer of his son; and the third, because he had found his worst enemy in the man whom he had sent as a protector. 45. Soon the Lydians came, bearing the corpse, with the murderer following after. He then came and stood before the body and gave himself up to Croesus, holding out his hands and telling him to kill him over the corpse, mentioning his former misfortune, and that on top of that he had destroyed the one who purified him, and that he was not fit to live. [2] On hearing this, Croesus took pity on Adrastus, though his own sorrow was so great, and said to him, “Friend, I have from you the entire penalty, since you sentence yourself to death. But it is not you that I hold the cause of this evil, except in so far as you were the unwilling doer of it, but one of the gods, the same one who told me long ago what was to be.” [3] So Croesus buried his own son in such manner as was fitting. But Adrastus, son of Gordias who was son of Midas, this Adrastus, the destroyer of his own brother and of the man who purified him, when the tomb was undisturbed by the presence of men, killed himself there by the sepulcher, seeing clearly now that he was the most heavily afflicted of all whom he knew. 46. After the loss of his son, Croesus remained in deep sorrow for two years. After this time, the destruction by Cyrus son of Cambyses of the sovereignty of Astyages son of Cyaxares, and the growth of the power of the Persians, distracted Croesus from his mourning; and he determined, if he could, to forestall the increase of the Persian power before they became great. [2] Having thus determined, he at once made inquiries of the Greek and Libyan oracles, sending messengers separately to Delphi, to Abae in Phocia, and to Dodona, while others were despatched to Amphiaraus and Trophonius,13 and others to Branchidae in the Milesian country. [3] These are the Greek oracles to which Croesus sent for divination: and he told others to go inquire of Ammon in Libya. His intent in sending was to test the knowledge of the oracles, so that, if they were found to know the truth, he might send again and ask if he should undertake an expedition against the Persians. 47. And when he sent to test these shrines he gave the Lydians these instructions: they were to keep track of the time from the day they left Sardis, and on the hundredth day inquire of the oracles what Croesus, king of Lydia, son of Alyattes, was doing then; then they were to write down whatever the oracles answered and bring the reports back to him. [2] Now none relate what answer was given by the rest of the oracles. But at Delphi, no sooner had the Lydians entered the hall to inquire of the god and asked the question with which they were entrusted, than the Pythian priestess uttered the following hexameter verses: [3] ““I know the number of the grains of sand and the extent of the sea, And understand the mute and hear the voiceless. The smell has come to my senses of a strong-shelled tortoise Boiling in a cauldron together with a lamb's flesh, Under which is bronze and over which is bronze.” ” 48. Having written down this inspired utterance of the Pythian priestess, the Lydians went back to Sardis. When the others as well who had been sent to various places came bringing their oracles, Croesus then unfolded and examined all the writings. Some of them in no way satisfied him. But when he read the Delphian message, he acknowledged it with worship and welcome, considering Delphi as the only true place of divination, because it had discovered what he himself had done. [2] For after sending his envoys to the oracles, he had thought up something which no conjecture could discover, and carried it out on the appointed day: namely, he had cut up a tortoise and a lamb, and then boiled them in a cauldron of bronze covered with a lid of the same. 49. Such, then, was the answer from Delphi delivered to Croesus. As to the reply which the Lydians received from the oracle of Amphiaraus when they had followed the due custom of the temple, I cannot say what it was, for nothing is recorded of it, except that Croesus believed that from this oracle too he had obtained a true answer. 50. After this, he tried to win the favor of the Delphian god with great sacrifices. He offered up three thousand beasts from all the kinds fit for sacrifice, and on a great pyre burnt couches covered with gold and silver, golden goblets, and purple cloaks and tunics; by these means he hoped the better to win the aid of the god, to whom he also commanded that every Lydian sacrifice what he could. [2] When the sacrifice was over, he melted down a vast store of gold and made ingots of it, the longer sides of which were of six and the shorter of three palms' length, and the height was one palm. There were a hundred and seventeen of these. Four of them were of refined gold, each weighing two talents and a half; the rest were of gold with silver alloy, each of two talents' weight. [3] He also had a figure of a lion made of refined gold, weighing ten talents. When the temple of Delphi was burnt, this lion fell from the ingots which were the base on which it stood; and now it is in the treasury of the Corinthians, but weighs only six talents and a half, for the fire melted away three and a half talents. 51. When these offerings were ready, Croesus sent them to Delphi, with other gifts besides: namely, two very large bowls, one of gold and one of silver. The golden bowl stood to the right, the silver to the left of the temple entrance. [2] These too were removed about the time of the temple's burning, and now the golden bowl, which weighs eight and a half talents and twelve minae,14 is in the treasury of the Clazomenians, and the silver bowl at the corner of the forecourt of the temple. This bowl holds six hundred nine-gallon measures: for the Delphians use it for a mixing-bowl at the feast of the Divine Appearance.15 [3] It is said by the Delphians to be the work of Theodorus of Samos, and I agree with them, for it seems to me to be of no common workmanship. Moreover, Croesus sent four silver casks, which stand in the treasury of the Corinthians, and dedicated two sprinkling-vessels, one of gold, one of silver. The golden vessel bears the inscription “Given by the Lacedaemonians,” who claim it as their offering. But they are wrong, [4] for this, too, is Croesus' gift. The inscription was made by a certain Delphian, whose name I know but do not mention, out of his desire to please the Lacedaemonians. The figure of a boy, through whose hand the water runs, is indeed a Lacedaemonian gift; but they did not give either of the sprinkling-vessels. [5] Along with these Croesus sent, besides many other offerings of no great distinction, certain round basins of silver, and a female figure five feet high, which the Delphians assert to be the statue of the woman who was Croesus' baker. Moreover, he dedicated his own wife's necklaces and girdles. 52. Such were the gifts which he sent to Delphi. To Amphiaraus, of whose courage and fate he had heard, he dedicated a shield made entirely of gold and a spear all of solid gold, point and shaft alike. Both of these were until my time at Thebes, in the Theban temple of Ismenian Apollo. 53. The Lydians who were to bring these gifts to the temples were instructed by Croesus to inquire of the oracles whether he was to send an army against the Persians and whether he was to add an army of allies. [2] When the Lydians came to the places where they were sent, they presented the offerings, and inquired of the oracles, in these words: “Croesus, king of Lydia and other nations, believing that here are the only true places of divination among men, endows you with such gifts as your wisdom deserves. And now he asks you whether he is to send an army against the Persians, and whether he is to add an army of allies.” [3] Such was their inquiry; and the judgment given to Croesus by each of the two oracles was the same: namely, that if he should send an army against the Persians he would destroy a great empire. And they advised him to discover the mightiest of the Greeks and make them his friends. 54. When the divine answers had been brought back and Croesus learned of them, he was very pleased with the oracles. So, altogether expecting that he would destroy the kingdom of Cyrus, he sent once again to Pytho and endowed the Delphians, whose number he had learned, with two gold staters16 apiece. [2] The Delphians, in return, gave Croesus and all Lydians the right of first consulting the oracle, exemption from all charges, the chief seats at festivals, and perpetual right of Delphian citizenship to whoever should wish it. 55. After his gifts to the Delphians, Croesus made a third inquiry of the oracle, for he wanted to use it to the full, having received true answers from it; and the question which he asked was whether his sovereignty would be of long duration. To this the Pythian priestess answered as follows: [2] ““When the Medes have a mule as king, Just then, tender-footed Lydian, by the stone-strewn Hermus Flee and do not stay, and do not be ashamed to be a coward.” ” 56. When he heard these verses, Croesus was pleased with them above all, for he thought that a mule would never be king of the Medes instead of a man, and therefore that he and his posterity would never lose his empire. Then he sought very carefully to discover who the mightiest of the Greeks were, whom he should make his friends. [2] He found by inquiry that the chief peoples were the Lacedaemonians among those of Doric, and the Athenians among those of Ionic stock. These races, Ionian and Dorian, were the foremost in ancient time, the first a Pelasgian and the second a Hellenic people. The Pelasgian race has never yet left its home; the Hellenic has wandered often and far. [3] For in the days of king Deucalion17 it inhabited the land of Phthia, then the country called Histiaean, under Ossa and Olympus, in the time of Dorus son of Hellen; driven from this Histiaean country by the Cadmeans, it settled about Pindus in the territory called Macedonian; from there again it migrated to Dryopia, and at last came from Dryopia into the Peloponnese, where it took the name of Dorian.18 57. What language the Pelasgians spoke I cannot say definitely. But if one may judge by those that still remain of the Pelasgians who live above the Tyrrheni19 in the city of Creston—who were once neighbors of the people now called Dorians, and at that time inhabited the country which now is called Thessalian— [2] and of the Pelasgians who inhabited Placia and Scylace on the Hellespont, who came to live among the Athenians, and by other towns too which were once Pelasgian and afterwards took a different name: if, as I said, one may judge by these, the Pelasgians spoke a language which was not Greek. [3] If, then, all the Pelasgian stock spoke so, then the Attic nation, being of Pelasgian blood, must have changed its language too at the time when it became part of the Hellenes. For the people of Creston and Placia have a language of their own in common, which is not the language of their neighbors; and it is plain that they still preserve the manner of speech which they brought with them in their migration into the places where they live. 58. But the Hellenic stock, it seems clear to me, has always had the same language since its beginning; yet being, when separated from the Pelasgians, few in number, they have grown from a small beginning to comprise a multitude of nations, chiefly because the Pelasgians and many other foreign peoples united themselves with them. Before that, I think, the Pelasgic stock nowhere increased much in number while it was of foreign speech. 59. Now of these two peoples, Croesus learned that the Attic was held in subjection and divided into factions by Pisistratus, son of Hippocrates, who at that time was sovereign over the Athenians. This Hippocrates was still a private man when a great marvel happened to him when he was at Olympia to see the games: when he had offered the sacrifice, the vessels, standing there full of meat and water, boiled without fire until they boiled over. [2] Chilon the Lacedaemonian, who happened to be there and who saw this marvel, advised Hippocrates not to take to his house a wife who could bear children, but if he had one already, then to send her away, and if he had a son, to disown him. [3] Hippocrates refused to follow the advice of Chilon; and afterward there was born to him this Pisistratus, who, when there was a feud between the Athenians of the coast under Megacles son of Alcmeon and the Athenians of the plain under Lycurgus son of Aristolaides, raised up a third faction, as he coveted the sovereign power. He collected partisans and pretended to champion the uplanders, and the following was his plan. [4] Wounding himself and his mules, he drove his wagon into the marketplace, with a story that he had escaped from his enemies, who would have killed him (so he said) as he was driving into the country. So he implored the people to give him a guard: and indeed he had won a reputation in his command of the army against the Megarians, when he had taken Nisaea and performed other great exploits. [5] Taken in, the Athenian people gave him a guard of chosen citizens, whom Pisistratus made clubmen instead of spearmen: for the retinue that followed him carried wooden clubs. [6] These rose with Pisistratus and took the Acropolis; and Pisistratus ruled the Athenians, disturbing in no way the order of offices nor changing the laws, but governing the city according to its established constitution and arranging all things fairly and well. 60. But after a short time the partisans of Megacles and of Lycurgus made common cause and drove him out. In this way Pisistratus first got Athens and, as he had a sovereignty that was not yet firmly rooted, lost it. Presently his enemies who together had driven him out began to feud once more. [2] Then Megacles, harassed by factional strife, sent a message to Pisistratus offering him his daughter to marry and the sovereign power besides. [3] When this offer was accepted by Pisistratus, who agreed on these terms with Megacles, they devised a plan to bring Pisistratus back which, to my mind, was so exceptionally foolish that it is strange (since from old times the Hellenic stock has always been distinguished from foreign by its greater cleverness and its freedom from silly foolishness) that these men should devise such a plan to deceive Athenians, said to be the subtlest of the Greeks. [4] There was in the Paeanian deme20 a woman called Phya, three fingers short of six feet, four inches in height, and otherwise, too, well-formed. This woman they equipped in full armor and put in a chariot, giving her all the paraphernalia to make the most impressive spectacle, and so drove into the city; heralds ran before them, and when they came into town proclaimed as they were instructed: [5] “Athenians, give a hearty welcome to Pisistratus, whom Athena herself honors above all men and is bringing back to her own acropolis.” So the heralds went about proclaiming this; and immediately the report spread in the demes that Athena was bringing Pisistratus back, and the townsfolk, believing that the woman was the goddess herself, worshipped this human creature and welcomed Pisistratus. 61. Having got back his sovereignty in the manner which I have described, Pisistratus married Megacles' daughter according to his agreement with Megacles. But as he already had young sons, and as the Alcmeonid family were said to be under a curse, he had no wish that his newly-wedded wife bear him children, and therefore had unusual intercourse with her. [2] At first the woman hid the fact: presently she told her mother (whether interrogated or not, I do not know) and the mother told her husband. Megacles was very angry to be dishonored by Pisistratus; and in his anger he patched up his quarrel with the other faction. Pisistratus, learning what was going on, went alone away from the country altogether, and came to Eretria where he deliberated with his sons. [3] The opinion of Hippias prevailing, that they should recover the sovereignty, they set out collecting contributions from all the cities that owed them anything. Many of these gave great amounts, the Thebans more than any, [4] and in course of time, not to make a long story, everything was ready for their return: for they brought Argive mercenaries from the Peloponnese, and there joined them on his own initiative a man of Naxos called Lygdamis, who was most keen in their cause and brought them money and men. 62. So after ten years they set out from Eretria and returned home. The first place in Attica which they took and held was Marathon: and while encamped there they were joined by their partisans from the city, and by others who flocked to them from the country—demesmen who loved the rule of one more than freedom. These, then, assembled; [2] but the Athenians in the city, who while Pisistratus was collecting money and afterwards when he had taken Marathon took no notice of it, did now, and when they learned that he was marching from Marathon against Athens, they set out to attack him. [3] They came out with all their force to meet the returning exiles. Pisistratus' men encountered the enemy when they had reached the temple of Pallenian Athena in their march from Marathon towards the city, and encamped face to face with them. [4] There (by the providence of heaven) Pisistratus met Amphilytus the Acarnanian, a diviner, who came to him and prophesied as follows in hexameter verses: ““The cast is made, the net spread, The tunny-fish shall flash in the moonlit night.” ” 63. So Amphilytus spoke, being inspired; Pisistratus understood him and, saying that he accepted the prophecy, led his army against the enemy. The Athenians of the city had by this time had breakfast, and after breakfast some were dicing and some were sleeping: they were attacked by Pisistratus' men and put to flight. [2] So they fled, and Pisistratus devised a very subtle plan to keep them scattered and prevent them assembling again: he had his sons mount and ride forward: they overtook the fugitives and spoke to them as they were instructed by Pisistratus, telling them to take heart and each to depart to his home. 64. The Athenians did, and by this means Pisistratus gained Athens for the third time, rooting his sovereignty in a strong guard and revenue collected both from Athens and from the district of the river Strymon, and he took hostage the sons of the Athenians who remained and did not leave the city at once, and placed these in Naxos. [2] (He had conquered Naxos too and put Lygdamis in charge.) And besides this, he purified the island of Delos as a result of oracles, and this is how he did it: he removed all the dead that were buried in ground within sight of the temple and conveyed them to another part of Delos. [3] So Pisistratus was sovereign of Athens: and as for the Athenians, some had fallen in the battle, and some, with the Alcmeonids, were exiles from their native land. 65. So Croesus learned that at that time such problems were oppressing the Athenians, but that the Lacedaemonians had escaped from the great evils and had mastered the Tegeans in war. In the kingship of Leon and Hegesicles at Sparta, the Lacedaemonians were successful in all their other wars but met disaster only against the Tegeans. [2] Before this they had been the worst-governed of nearly all the Hellenes and had had no dealings with strangers, but they changed to good government in this way: Lycurgus, a man of reputation among the Spartans, went to the oracle at Delphi. As soon as he entered the hall, the priestess said in hexameter: [3] “You have come to my rich temple, Lycurgus, A man dear to Zeus and to all who have Olympian homes. I am in doubt whether to pronounce you man or god, But I think rather you are a god, Lycurgus. ” [4] Some say that the Pythia also declared to him the constitution that now exists at Sparta, but the Lacedaemonians themselves say that Lycurgus brought it from Crete when he was guardian of his nephew Leobetes, the Spartan king. [5] Once he became guardian, he changed all the laws and took care that no one transgressed the new ones. Lycurgus afterwards established their affairs of war: the sworn divisions, the bands of thirty, the common meals; also the ephors and the council of elders. 66. Thus they changed their bad laws to good ones, and when Lycurgus died they built him a temple and now worship him greatly. Since they had good land and many men, they immediately flourished and prospered. They were not content to live in peace, but, confident that they were stronger than the Arcadians, asked the oracle at Delphi about gaining all the Arcadian land. [2] She replied in hexameter: “You ask me for Arcadia? You ask too much; I grant it not. There are many men in Arcadia, eaters of acorns, Who will hinder you. But I grudge you not. I will give you Tegea to beat with your feet in dancing, And its fair plain to measure with a rope. ” [3] When the Lacedaemonians heard the oracle reported, they left the other Arcadians alone and marched on Tegea carrying chains, relying on the deceptive oracle. They were confident they would enslave the Tegeans, but they were defeated in battle. [4] Those taken alive were bound in the very chains they had brought with them, and they measured the Tegean plain with a rope21 by working the fields. The chains in which they were bound were still preserved in my day, hanging up at the temple of Athena Alea. 67. In the previous war the Lacedaemonians continually fought unsuccessfully against the Tegeans, but in the time of Croesus and the kingship of Anaxandrides and Ariston in Lacedaemon the Spartans had gained the upper hand. This is how: [2] when they kept being defeated by the Tegeans, they sent ambassadors to Delphi to ask which god they should propitiate to prevail against the Tegeans in war. The Pythia responded that they should bring back the bones of Orestes, son of Agamemnon. [3] When they were unable to discover Orestes' tomb, they sent once more to the god22 to ask where he was buried. The Pythia responded in hexameter to the messengers: [4] “There is a place Tegea in the smooth plain of Arcadia, Where two winds blow under strong compulsion. Blow lies upon blow, woe upon woe. There the life-giving earth covers the son of Agamemnon. Bring him back, and you shall be lord of Tegea. ” [5] When the Lacedaemonians heard this, they were no closer to discovery, though they looked everywhere. Finally it was found by Lichas, who was one of the Spartans who are called “doers of good deeds.”. These men are those citizens who retire from the knights, the five oldest each year. They have to spend the year in which they retire from the knights being sent here and there by the Spartan state, never resting in their efforts. 68. It was Lichas, one of these men, who found the tomb in Tegea by a combination of luck and skill. At that time there was free access to Tegea, so he went into a blacksmith's shop and watched iron being forged, standing there in amazement at what he saw done. [2] The smith perceived that he was amazed, so he stopped what he was doing and said, “My Laconian guest, if you had seen what I saw, then you would really be amazed, since you marvel so at ironworking. [3] I wanted to dig a well in the courtyard here, and in my digging I hit upon a coffin twelve feet long. I could not believe that there had ever been men taller than now, so I opened it and saw that the corpse was just as long as the coffin. I measured it and then reburied it.” So the smith told what he had seen, and Lichas thought about what was said and reckoned that this was Orestes, according to the oracle. [4] In the smith's two bellows he found the winds, hammer and anvil were blow upon blow, and the forging of iron was woe upon woe, since he figured that iron was discovered as an evil for the human race. [5] After reasoning this out, he went back to Sparta and told the Lacedaemonians everything. They made a pretence of bringing a charge against him and banishing him. Coming to Tegea, he explained his misfortune to the smith and tried to rent the courtyard, but the smith did not want to lease it. [6] Finally he persuaded him and set up residence there. He dug up the grave and collected the bones, then hurried off to Sparta with them. Ever since then the Spartans were far superior to the Tegeans whenever they met each other in battle. By the time of Croesus' inquiry, the Spartans had subdued most of the Peloponnese. 69. Croesus, then, aware of all this, sent messengers to Sparta with gifts to ask for an alliance, having instructed them what to say. They came and said: [2] “Croesus, King of Lydia and other nations, has sent us with this message: ‘Lacedaemonians, the god has declared that I should make the Greek my friend; now, therefore, since I learn that you are the leaders of Hellas, I invite you, as the oracle bids; I would like to be your friend and ally, without deceit or guile.’” [3] Croesus proposed this through his messengers; and the Lacedaemonians, who had already heard of the oracle given to Croesus, welcomed the coming of the Lydians and swore to be his friends and allies; and indeed they were obliged by certain benefits which they had received before from the king. [4] For the Lacedaemonians had sent to Sardis to buy gold, intending to use it for the statue of Apollo which now stands on Thornax23 in Laconia; and Croesus, when they offered to buy it, made them a free gift of it. 70. For this reason, and because he had chosen them as his friends before all the other Greeks, the Lacedaemonians accepted the alliance. So they declared themselves ready to serve him when he should require, and moreover they made a bowl of bronze, engraved around the rim outside with figures, and large enough to hold twenty-seven hundred gallons, and brought it with the intention of making a gift in return to Croesus. [2] This bowl never reached Sardis, for which two reasons are given: the Lacedaemonians say that when the bowl was near Samos on its way to Sardis, the Samians descended upon them in warships and carried it off; [3] but the Samians themselves say that the Lacedaemonians who were bringing the bowl, coming too late, and learning that Sardis and Croesus were taken, sold it in Samos to certain private men, who set it up in the the temple of Hera. And it may be that the sellers of the bowl, when they returned to Sparta, said that they had been robbed of it by the Samians. Such are the tales about the bowl. 71. Croesus, mistaking the meaning of the oracle, invaded Cappadocia, expecting to destroy Cyrus and the Persian power. [2] But while he was preparing to march against the Persians, a certain Lydian, who was already held to be a wise man, and who, from the advice which he now gave, won a great name among the Lydians, advised him as follows (his name was Sandanis): “O King, you are getting ready to march against men who wear trousers of leather and whose complete wardrobe is of leather, and who eat not what they like but what they have; for their land is stony. [3] Further, they do not use wine, but drink water, have no figs to eat, or anything else that is good. Now if you conquer them, of what will you deprive them, since they have nothing? But if on the other hand you are conquered, then look how many good things you will lose; for once they have tasted of our blessings they will cling so tightly to them that nothing will pry them away. [4] For myself, then, I thank the gods that they do not put it in the heads of the Persians to march against the Lydians.” Sandanis spoke thus but he did not persuade Croesus. Indeed, before they conquered the Lydians, the Persians had no luxury and no comforts. 72. Now the Cappadocians are called by the Greeks Syrians, and these Syrians before the Persian rule were subjects of the Medes, and, at this time, of Cyrus. [2] For the boundary of the Median and Lydian empires was the river Halys, which flows from the Armenian mountains first through Cilicia and afterwards between the Matieni on the right and the Phrygians on the other hand; then, passing these and still flowing north, it separates the Cappadocian Syrians on the right from the Paphlagonians on the left. [3] Thus the Halys river cuts off nearly the whole of the lower part of Asia from the Cyprian to the Euxine sea. Here is the narrowest neck of all this land; the length of the journey across for a man traveling unencumbered is five days.24 73. The reasons for Croesus' expedition against Cappadocia were these: he desired to gain territory in addition to his own, and (these were the chief causes) he trusted the oracle and wished to avenge Astyages on Cyrus; for Cyrus, son of Cambyses, had conquered Astyages and held him in subjection. [2] Now Astyages, son of Cyaxares and the king of Media, was Croesus' brother-in-law: and this is how he came to be so. [3] A tribe of wandering Scythians separated itself from the rest, and escaped into Median territory. This was then ruled by Cyaxares, son of Phraortes, son of Deioces. Cyaxares at first treated the Scythians kindly, as suppliants for his mercy; and, as he had a high regard for them, he entrusted boys to their tutelage to be taught their language and the skill of archery. [4] As time went on, it happened that the Scythians, who were accustomed to go hunting and always to bring something back, once had taken nothing, and when they returned empty-handed, Cyaxares treated them very roughly and contemptuously (being, as appears from this, prone to anger). [5] The Scythians, feeling themselves wronged by the treatment they had from Cyaxares, planned to take one of the boys who were their pupils and cut him in pieces; then, dressing the flesh as they were accustomed to dress the animals which they killed, to bring and give it to Cyaxares as if it were the spoils of the hunt; and after that, to make their way with all speed to Alyattes son of Sadyattes at Sardis. All this they did. [6] Cyaxares and the guests who ate with him dined on the boy's flesh, and the Scythians, having done as they planned, fled to Alyattes for protection. 74. After this, since Alyattes would not give up the Scythians to Cyaxares at his demand, there was war between the Lydians and the Medes for five years; each won many victories over the other, and once they fought a battle by night. [2] They were still warring with equal success, when it happened, at an encounter which occurred in the sixth year, that during the battle the day was suddenly turned to night. Thales of Miletus had foretold this loss of daylight to the Ionians, fixing it within the year in which the change did indeed happen.25 [3] So when the Lydians and Medes saw the day turned to night, they stopped fighting, and both were the more eager to make peace. Those who reconciled them were Syennesis the Cilician and Labynetus the Babylonian; [4] they brought it about that there should be a sworn agreement and a compact of marriage between them: they judged that Alyattes should give his daughter Aryenis to Astyages, son of Cyaxares; for without strong constraint agreements will not keep their force. [6] These nations make sworn compacts as do the Greeks; and besides, when they cut the skin of their arms, they lick each other's blood. 75. Cyrus had subjugated this Astyages, then, Cyrus' own mother's father, for the reason which I shall presently disclose. [2] Having this reason to quarrel with Cyrus, Croesus sent to ask the oracles if he should march against the Persians; and when a deceptive answer came he thought it to be favorable to him, and so led his army into the Persian territory. [3] When he came to the river Halys, he transported his army across it—by the bridges which were there then, as I maintain; but the general belief of the Greeks is that Thales of Miletus got the army across. [4] The story is that, as Croesus did not know how his army could pass the river (as the aforesaid bridges did not yet exist then), Thales, who was in the encampment, made the river, which flowed on the left of the army, also flow on the right, in the following way. [5] Starting from a point on the river upstream from the camp, he dug a deep semi-circular trench, so that the stream, turned from its ancient course, would flow in the trench to the rear of the camp and, passing it, would issue into its former bed, with the result that as soon as the river was thus divided into two, both channels could be forded. [6] Some even say that the ancient channel dried up altogether. But I do not believe this; for in that case, how did they pass the river when they were returning? 76. Passing over with his army, Croesus then came to the part of Cappadocia called Pteria (it is the strongest part of this country and lies on the line of the city of Sinope on the Euxine sea), where he encamped and devastated the farms of the Syrians; [2] and he took and enslaved the city of the Pterians, and took all the places around it also, and drove the Syrians from their homes, though they had done him no harm. Cyrus, mustering his army, advanced to oppose Croesus, gathering to him all those who lived along the way. [3] But before beginning his march, he sent heralds to the Ionians to try to draw them away from Croesus. The Ionians would not be prevailed on; but when Cyrus arrived and encamped face to face with Croesus, there in the Pterian country the armies had a trial of strength. [4] The fighting was fierce, many on both sides fell, and at nightfall they disengaged with neither side victorious. The two sides contended thus. 77. Croesus was not content with the size of his force, for his army that had engaged was far smaller than that of Cyrus; therefore, when on the day after the battle Cyrus did not try attacking again, he marched away to Sardis, intending to summon the Egyptians in accordance with their treaty [2] (for before making an alliance with the Lacedaemonians he had made one also with Amasis king of Egypt), and to send for the Babylonians also (for with these too he had made an alliance, Labynetus at this time being their sovereign), [3] and to summon the Lacedaemonians to join him at a fixed time. He had in mind to muster all these forces and assemble his own army, then to wait until the winter was over and march against the Persians at the beginning of spring. [4] With such an intention, as soon as he returned to Sardis, he sent heralds to all his allies, summoning them to assemble at Sardis in five months' time; and as for the soldiers whom he had with him, who had fought with the Persians, all of them who were mercenaries he discharged, never thinking that after a contest so equal Cyrus would march against Sardis. 78. This was how Croesus reasoned. Meanwhile, snakes began to swarm in the outer part of the city; and when they appeared the horses, leaving their accustomed pasture, devoured them. When Croesus saw this he thought it a portent, and so it was. [2] He at once sent to the homes of the Telmessian interpreters,26 to inquire concerning it; but though his messengers came and learned from the Telmessians what the portent meant, they could not bring back word to Croesus, for he was a prisoner before they could make their voyage back to Sardis. [3] Nonetheless, this was the judgment of the Telmessians: that Croesus must expect a foreign army to attack his country, and that when it came, it would subjugate the inhabitants of the land: for the snake, they said, was the offspring of the land, but the horse was an enemy and a foreigner. This was the answer which the Telmessians gave Croesus, knowing as yet nothing of the fate of Sardis and of the king himself; but when they gave it, Croesus was already taken. 79. When Croesus marched away after the battle in the Pterian country, Cyrus, learning that Croesus had gone intending to disband his army, deliberated and perceived that it would be opportune for him to march quickly against Sardis, before the power of the Lydians could be assembled again. [2] This he decided, and this he did immediately; he marched his army into Lydia and so came himself to bring the news of it to Croesus. All had turned out contrary to Croesus' expectation, and he was in a great quandary; nevertheless, he led out the Lydians to battle. [3] Now at this time there was no nation in Asia more valiant or warlike than the Lydian. It was their custom to fight on horseback, carrying long spears, and they were skillful at managing horses. 80. So the armies met in the plain, wide and bare, that is before the city of Sardis: the Hyllus and other rivers flow across it and run violently together into the greatest of them, which is called Hermus (this flows from the mountain sacred to the Mother Dindymene27 and empties into the sea near the city of Phocaea). [2] When Cyrus saw the Lydians maneuvering their battle-lines here, he was afraid of their cavalry, and therefore at the urging of one Harpagus, a Mede, he did as I shall describe. Assembling all the camels that followed his army bearing food and baggage, he took off their burdens and mounted men upon them equipped like cavalrymen; having equipped them, he ordered them to advance before his army against Croesus' cavalry; he directed the infantry to follow the camels, and placed all his cavalry behind the infantry. [3] When they were all in order, he commanded them to kill all the other Lydians who came in their way, and spare none, but not to kill Croesus himself, even if he should defend himself against capture. [4] Such was his command. The reason for his posting the camels to face the cavalry was this: horses fear camels and can endure neither the sight nor the smell of them; this then was the intention of his maneuver, that Croesus' cavalry, on which the Lydian relied to distinguish himself, might be of no use. [5] So when battle was joined, as soon as the horses smelled and saw the camels they turned to flight, and all Croesus' hope was lost. [6] Nevertheless the Lydians were no cowards; when they saw what was happening, they leaped from their horses and fought the Persians on foot. Many of both armies fell; at length the Lydians were routed and driven within their city wall, where they were besieged by the Persians. 81. So then they were besieged. But Croesus, supposing that the siege would last a long time, again sent messengers from the city to his allies; whereas the former envoys had been sent to summon them to muster at Sardis in five months' time, these were to announce that Croesus was besieged and to plead for help as quickly as possible. 82. So he sent to the Lacedaemonians as well as to the rest of the allies. Now at this very time the Spartans themselves were feuding with the Argives over the country called Thyrea; [2] for this was a part of the Argive territory which the Lacedaemonians had cut off and occupied. (All the land towards the west, as far as Malea, belonged then to the Argives, and not only the mainland, but the island of Cythera and the other islands.) [3] The Argives came out to save their territory from being cut off, then after debate the two armies agreed that three hundred of each side should fight, and whichever party won would possess the land. The rest of each army was to go away to its own country and not be present at the battle, since, if the armies remained on the field, the men of either party might render assistance to their comrades if they saw them losing. [4] Having agreed, the armies drew off, and picked men of each side remained and fought. Neither could gain advantage in the battle; at last, only three out of the six hundred were left, Alcenor and Chromios of the Argives, Othryades of the Lacedaemonians: these three were left alive at nightfall. [5] Then the two Argives, believing themselves victors, ran to Argos; but Othryades the Lacedaemonian, after stripping the Argive dead and taking the arms to his camp, waited at his position. On the second day both armies came to learn the issue. [6] For a while both claimed the victory, the Argives arguing that more of their men had survived, the Lacedaemonians showing that the Argives had fled, while their man had stood his ground and stripped the enemy dead. [7] At last from arguing they fell to fighting; many of both sides fell, but the Lacedaemonians gained the victory. The Argives, who before had worn their hair long by fixed custom, shaved their heads ever after and made a law, with a curse added to it, that no Argive grow his hair, and no Argive woman wear gold, until they recovered Thyreae; [8] and the Lacedaemonians made a contrary law, that they wear their hair long ever after; for until now they had not worn it so. Othryades, the lone survivor of the three hundred, was ashamed, it is said, to return to Sparta after all the men of his company had been killed, and killed himself on the spot at Thyreae. 83. The Sardian herald came after this had happened to the Spartans to ask for their help for Croesus, now besieged; nonetheless, when they heard the herald, they prepared to send help; but when they were already equipped and their ships ready, a second message came that the fortification of the Lydians was taken and Croesus a prisoner. Then, though very sorry indeed, they ceased their efforts. 84. This is how Sardis was taken. When Croesus had been besieged for fourteen days, Cyrus sent horsemen around in his army to promise to reward whoever first mounted the wall. [2] After this the army made an assault, but with no success. Then, when all the others were stopped, a certain Mardian28 called Hyroeades attempted to mount by a part of the acropolis where no guard had been set, since no one feared that it could be taken by an attack made here. [3] For here the height on which the acropolis stood is sheer and unlikely to be assaulted; this was the only place where Meles the former king of Sardis had not carried the lion which his concubine had borne him, the Telmessians having declared that if this lion were carried around the walls, Sardis could never be taken. Meles then carried the lion around the rest of the wall of the acropolis where it could be assaulted, but neglected this place, because the height was sheer and defied attack. It is on the side of the city which faces towards Tmolus. [4] The day before, then, Hyroeades, this Mardian, had seen one of the Lydians come down by this part of the acropolis after a helmet that had fallen down, and fetch it; he took note of this and considered it. [5] And now he climbed up himself, and other Persians after him. Many ascended, and thus Sardis was taken and all the city sacked. 85. I will now relate what happened to Croesus himself. He had a son, whom I have already mentioned, fine in other respects, but mute. Now in his days of prosperity past Croesus had done all that he could for his son; and besides resorting to other devices he had sent to Delphi to inquire of the oracle concerning him. [2] The Pythian priestess answered him thus: ““Lydian, king of many, greatly foolish Croesus, Wish not to hear in the palace the voice often prayed for Of your son speaking. It were better for you that he remain mute as before; For on an unlucky day shall he first speak.” ” [3] So at the taking of the fortification a certain Persian, not knowing who Croesus was, came at him meaning to kill him. Croesus saw him coming, but because of the imminent disaster he was past caring, and it made no difference to him whether he were struck and killed. [4] But this mute son, when he saw the Persian coming on, in fear and distress broke into speech and cried, “Man, do not kill Croesus!” This was the first word he uttered, and after that for all the rest of his life he had power of speech. 86. The Persians gained Sardis and took Croesus prisoner. Croesus had ruled fourteen years and been besieged fourteen days. Fulfilling the oracle, he had destroyed his own great empire. The Persians took him and brought him to Cyrus, [2] who erected a pyre and mounted Croesus atop it, bound in chains, with twice seven sons of the Lydians beside him. Cyrus may have intended to sacrifice him as a victory-offering to some god, or he may have wished to fulfill a vow, or perhaps he had heard that Croesus was pious and put him atop the pyre to find out if some divinity would deliver him from being burned alive. [3] So Cyrus did this. As Croesus stood on the pyre, even though he was in such a wretched position it occurred to him that Solon had spoken with god's help when he had said that no one among the living is fortunate. When this occurred to him, he heaved a deep sigh and groaned aloud after long silence, calling out three times the name “Solon.” [4] Cyrus heard and ordered the interpreters to ask Croesus who he was invoking. They approached and asked, but Croesus kept quiet at their questioning, until finally they forced him and he said, “I would prefer to great wealth his coming into discourse with all despots.” Since what he said was unintelligible, they again asked what he had said, [5] persistently harassing him. He explained that first Solon the Athenian had come and seen all his fortune and spoken as if he despised it. Now everything had turned out for him as Solon had said, speaking no more of him than of every human being, especially those who think themselves fortunate. While Croesus was relating all this, the pyre had been lit and the edges were on fire. [6] When Cyrus heard from the interpreters what Croesus said, he relented and considered that he, a human being, was burning alive another human being, one his equal in good fortune. In addition, he feared retribution, reflecting how there is nothing stable in human affairs. He ordered that the blazing fire be extinguished as quickly as possible, and that Croesus and those with him be taken down, but despite their efforts they could not master the fire. 87. Then the Lydians say that Croesus understood Cyrus' change of heart, and when he saw everyone trying to extinguish the fire but unable to check it, he invoked Apollo, crying out that if Apollo had ever been given any pleasing gift by him, let him offer help and deliver him from the present evil. [2] Thus he in tears invoked the god, and suddenly out of a clear and windless sky clouds gathered, a storm broke, and it rained violently, extinguishing the pyre. Thus Cyrus perceived that Croesus was dear to god and a good man. He had him brought down from the pyre and asked, [3] “Croesus, what man persuaded you to wage war against my land and become my enemy instead of my friend?” He replied, “O King, I acted thus for your good fortune, but for my own ill fortune. The god of the Hellenes is responsible for these things, inciting me to wage war. [4] No one is so foolish as to choose war over peace. In peace sons bury their fathers, in war fathers bury their sons. But I suppose it was dear to the divinity that this be so.” 88. Croesus said this, and Cyrus freed him and made him sit near and was very considerate to him, and both he and all that were with him were astonished when they looked at Croesus. He for his part was silent, deep in thought. [2] Presently he turned and said (for he saw the Persians sacking the city of the Lydians), “O King, am I to say to you what is in my mind now, or keep silent?” When Cyrus urged him to speak up boldly, Croesus asked, [3] “The multitude there, what is it at which they are so busily engaged?” “They are plundering your city,” said Cyrus, “and carrying off your possessions.” “No,” Croesus answered, “not my city, and not my possessions; for I no longer have any share of all this; it is your wealth that they are pillaging.” 89. Cyrus thought about what Croesus had said and, telling the rest to withdraw, asked Croesus what fault he saw in what was being done. “Since the gods have made me your slave,” replied the Lydian, “it is right that if I have any further insight I should point it out to you. [2] The Persians being by nature violent men are poor; so if you let them seize and hold great possessions, you may expect that he who has got most will revolt against you. Therefore do this, if you like what I say. [3] Have men of your guard watch all the gates; let them take the spoil from those who are carrying it out, and say that it must be paid as a tithe to Zeus. Thus you shall not be hated by them for taking their wealth by force, and they, recognizing that you act justly, will give up the spoil willingly.” 90. When Cyrus heard this, he was exceedingly pleased, for he believed the advice good; and praising him greatly, and telling his guard to act as Croesus had advised, he said: “Croesus, now that you, a king, are determined to act and to speak with integrity, ask me directly for whatever favor you like.” [2] “Master,” said Croesus, “you will most gratify me if you will let me send these chains of mine to that god of the Greeks whom I especially honored and to ask him if it is his way to deceive those who serve him well.” When Cyrus asked him what grudge against the god led him to make this request, [3] Croesus repeated to him the story of all his own aspirations, and the answers of the oracles, and more particularly his offerings, and how the oracle had encouraged him to attack the Persians; and so saying he once more insistently pled that he be allowed to reproach the god for this. At this Cyrus smiled, and replied, “This I will grant you, Croesus, and whatever other favor you may ever ask me.” [4] When Croesus heard this, he sent Lydians to Delphi, telling them to lay his chains on the doorstep of the temple, and to ask the god if he were not ashamed to have persuaded Croesus to attack the Persians, telling him that he would destroy Cyrus' power; of which power (they were to say, showing the chains) these were the first-fruits. They should ask this; and further, if it were the way of the Greek gods to be ungrateful. 91. When the Lydians came, and spoke as they had been instructed, the priestess (it is said) made the following reply. “No one may escape his lot, not even a god. Croesus has paid for the sin of his ancestor of the fifth generation before, who was led by the guile of a woman to kill his master, though he was one of the guard of the Heraclidae, and who took to himself the royal state of that master, to which he had no right. [2] And it was the wish of Loxias that the evil lot of Sardis fall in the lifetime of Croesus' sons, not in his own; but he could not deflect the Fates. [3] Yet as far as they gave in, he did accomplish his wish and favor Croesus: for he delayed the taking of Sardis for three years. And let Croesus know this: that although he is now taken, it is by so many years later than the destined hour. And further, Loxias saved Croesus from burning. [4] But as to the oracle that was given to him, Croesus is wrong to complain concerning it. For Loxias declared to him that if he led an army against the Persians, he would destroy a great empire. Therefore he ought, if he had wanted to plan well, to have sent and asked whether the god spoke of Croesus' or of Cyrus' empire. But he did not understood what was spoken, or make further inquiry: for which now let him blame himself. [5] When he asked that last question of the oracle and Loxias gave him that answer concerning the mule, even that Croesus did not understand. For that mule was in fact Cyrus, who was the son of two parents not of the same people, of whom the mother was better and the father inferior: [6] for she was a Mede and the daughter of Astyages king of the Medes; but he was a Persian and a subject of the Medes and although in all respects her inferior he married this lady of his.” This was the answer of the priestess to the Lydians. They carried it to Sardis and told Croesus, and when he heard it, he confessed that the sin was not the god's, but his. And this is the story of Croesus' rule, and of the first overthrow of Ionia. 92. There are many offerings of Croesus' in Hellas, and not only those of which I have spoken. There is a golden tripod at Thebes in Boeotia, which he dedicated to Apollo of Ismenus; at Ephesus29 there are the oxen of gold and the greater part of the pillars; and in the temple of Proneia at Delphi, a golden shield.30 All these survived to my lifetime; but other of the offerings were destroyed. [2] And the offerings of Croesus at Branchidae of the Milesians, as I learn by inquiry, are equal in weight and like those at Delphi. Those which he dedicated at Delphi and the shrine of Amphiaraus were his own, the first-fruits of the wealth inherited from his father; the rest came from the estate of an enemy who had headed a faction against Croesus before he became king, and conspired to win the throne of Lydia for Pantaleon. [3] This Pantaleon was a son of Alyattes, and half-brother of Croesus: Croesus was Alyattes' son by a Carian and Pantaleon by an Ionian mother. [4] So when Croesus gained the sovereignty by his father's gift, he put the man who had conspired against him to death by drawing him across a carding-comb, and first confiscated his estate, then dedicated it as and where I have said. This is all that I shall say of Croesus' offerings. 93. There are not many marvellous things in Lydia to record, in comparison with other countries, except the gold dust that comes down from Tmolus. [2] But there is one building to be seen there which is much the greatest of all, except those of Egypt and Babylon. In Lydia is the tomb of Alyattes, the father of Croesus, the base of which is made of great stones and the rest of it of mounded earth. It was built by the men of the market and the craftsmen and the prostitutes. [3] There survived until my time five corner-stones set on the top of the tomb, and in these was cut the record of the work done by each group: and measurement showed that the prostitutes' share of the work was the greatest. [4] All the daughters of the common people of Lydia ply the trade of prostitutes, to collect dowries, until they can get themselves husbands; and they themselves offer themselves in marriage. [5] Now this tomb has a circumference of thirteen hundred and ninety yards, and its breadth is above four hundred and forty yards; and there is a great lake hard by the tomb, which, the Lydians say, is fed by ever-flowing springs; it is called the Gygaean lake. Such then is this tomb. 94. The customs of the Lydians are like those of the Greeks, except that they make prostitutes of their female children. They were the first men whom we know who coined and used gold and silver currency; and they were the first to sell by retail. [2] And, according to what they themselves say, the games now in use among them and the Greeks were invented by the Lydians: these, they say, were invented among them at the time when they colonized Tyrrhenia. This is their story: [3] In the reign of Atys son of Manes there was great scarcity of food in all Lydia. For a while the Lydians bore this with what patience they could; presently, when the famine did not abate, they looked for remedies, and different plans were devised by different men. Then it was that they invented the games of dice and knuckle-bones and ball and all other forms of game except dice, which the Lydians do not claim to have discovered. [4] Then, using their discovery to lighten the famine, every other day they would play for the whole day, so that they would not have to look for food, and the next day they quit their play and ate. This was their way of life for eighteen years. [5] But the famine did not cease to trouble them, and instead afflicted them even more. At last their king divided the people into two groups, and made them draw lots, so that the one group should remain and the other leave the country; he himself was to be the head of those who drew the lot to remain there, and his son, whose name was Tyrrhenus, of those who departed. [6] Then the one group, having drawn the lot, left the country and came down to Smyrna and built ships, in which they loaded all their goods that could be transported aboard ship, and sailed away to seek a livelihood and a country; until at last, after sojourning with one people after another, they came to the Ombrici,31 where they founded cities and have lived ever since. [7] They no longer called themselves Lydians, but Tyrrhenians, after the name of the king's son who had led them there. The Lydians, then, were enslaved by the Persians. 95. But the next business of my history is to inquire who this Cyrus was who took down the power of Croesus, and how the Persians came to be the rulers of Asia. I mean then to be guided in what I write by some of the Persians who desire not to magnify the story of Cyrus but to tell the truth, though there are no less than three other accounts of Cyrus which I could give. [2] After the Assyrians had ruled Upper Asia for five hundred and twenty years,32 the Medes were the first who began to revolt from them. These, it would seem, proved their bravery in fighting for freedom against the Assyrians; they cast off their slavery and won freedom. Afterwards, the other subject nations, too, did the same as the Medes. 96. All of those on the mainland were now free men; but they came to be ruled by monarchs again, as I will now relate. There was among the Medes a clever man called Deioces: he was the son of Phraortes. [2] Deioces was infatuated with sovereignty, and so he set about gaining it. Already a notable man in his own town (one of the many towns into which Media was divided), he began to profess and practice justice more constantly and zealously than ever, and he did this even though there was much lawlessness throughout the land of Media, and though he knew that injustice is always the enemy of justice. Then the Medes of the same town, seeing his behavior, chose him to be their judge, and he (for he coveted sovereign power) was honest and just. [3] By acting so, he won no small praise from his fellow townsmen, to such an extent that when the men of the other towns learned that Deioces alone gave fair judgments (having before suffered from unjust decisions), they came often and gladly to plead before Deioces; and at last they would submit to no arbitration but his. 97. The number of those who came grew ever greater, for they heard that each case turned out in accord with the truth. Then Deioces, seeing that everything now depended on him, would not sit in his former seat of judgment, and said he would give no more decisions; for it was of no advantage to him (he said) to leave his own business and spend all day judging the cases of his neighbors. [2] This caused robbery and lawlessness to increase greatly in the towns; and, gathering together, the Medes conferred about their present affairs, and said (here, as I suppose, the main speakers were Deioces' friends), [3] “Since we cannot go on living in the present way in the land, come, let us set up a king over us; in this way the land will be well governed, and we ourselves shall attend to our business and not be routed by lawlessness.” With such words they persuaded themselves to be ruled by a king. 98. The question was at once propounded: Whom should they make king? Then every man was loud in putting Deioces forward and praising Deioces, until they agreed that he should be their king. [2] He ordered them to build him houses worthy of his royal power, and strengthen him with a bodyguard. The Medes did so. They built him a big and strong house wherever in the land he indicated to them, and let him choose a bodyguard out of all the Medes. [3] And having obtained power, he forced the Medes to build him one city and to fortify and care for this more strongly than all the rest. The Medes did this for him, too. So he built the big and strong walls, one standing inside the next in circles, which are now called Ecbatana.33 [4] This fortress is so designed that each circle of walls is higher than the next outer circle by no more than the height of its battlements; to which plan the site itself, on a hill in the plain, contributes somewhat, but chiefly it was accomplished by skill. [5] There are seven circles in all; within the innermost circle are the palace and the treasuries; and the longest wall is about the length of the wall that surrounds the city of Athens.34 The battlements of the first circle are white, of the second black, of the third circle purple, of the fourth blue, and of the fifth orange: [6] thus the battlements of five circles are painted with colors; and the battlements of the last two circles are coated, the one with silver and the other with gold. 99. Deioces built these walls for himself and around his own quarters, and he ordered the people to dwell outside the wall. And when it was all built, Deioces was first to establish the rule that no one should come into the presence of the king, but everything should be done by means of messengers; that the king should be seen by no one; and moreover that it should be a disgrace for anyone to laugh or to spit in his presence. [2] He was careful to hedge himself with all this so that the men of his own age (who had been brought up with him and were as nobly born as he and his equals in courage), instead of seeing him and being upset and perhaps moved to plot against him, might by reason of not seeing him believe him to be different.35 100. When he had made these arrangements and strengthened himself with sovereign power, he was a hard man in the protection of justice. They would write down their pleas and send them in to him; then he would pass judgment on what was brought to him and send his decisions out. [2] This was his manner of deciding cases at law, and he had other arrangements too; for when he heard that a man was doing violence he would send for him and punish him as each offense deserved: and he had spies and eavesdroppers everywhere in his domain. 101. Deioces, then, united the Median nation by itself and ruled it. The Median tribes are these: the Busae, the Paretaceni, the Struchates, the Arizanti, the Budii, the Magi. Their tribes are this many. 102. Deioces had a son, Phraortes, who inherited the throne when Deioces died after a reign of fifty-three years.36 Having inherited it, he was not content to rule the Medes alone: marching against the Persians, he attacked them first, and they were the first whom he made subject to the Medes. [2] Then, with these two strong nations at his back, he subjugated one nation of Asia after another, until he marched against the Assyrians; that is, against those of the Assyrians who held Ninus. These had formerly been rulers of all; but now their allies had deserted them and they were left alone, though well-off themselves. Marching against these Assyrians, then, Phraortes and most of his army perished, after he had reigned twenty-two years. 103. At his death he was succeeded by his son Cyaxares. He is said to have been a much greater soldier than his ancestors: it was he who first organized the men of Asia in companies and posted each arm apart, the spearmen and archers and cavalry: before this they were all mingled together in confusion. [2] This was the king who fought against the Lydians when the day was turned to night in the battle, and who united under his dominion all of Asia that is beyond the river Halys. Collecting all his subjects, he marched against Ninus, wanting to avenge his father and to destroy the city. [3] He defeated the Assyrians in battle; but while he was besieging their city, a great army of Scythians came down upon him, led by their king Madyes son of Protothyes. They had invaded Asia after they had driven the Cimmerians out of Europe: pursuing them in their flight, the Scythians came to the Median country.37 104. It is a thirty days' journey for an unencumbered man from the Maeetian lake38 to the river Phasis and the land of the Colchi; from the Colchi it is an easy matter to cross into Media: there is only one nation between, the Saspires; to pass these is to be in Media. [2] Nevertheless, it was not by this way that the Scythians entered; they turned aside and came by the upper and much longer way, keeping the Caucasian mountains on their right. There, the Medes met the Scythians, who defeated them in battle, deprived them of their rule, and made themselves masters of all Asia. 105. From there they marched against Egypt: and when they were in the part of Syria called Palestine, Psammetichus king of Egypt met them and persuaded them with gifts and prayers to come no further. [2] So they turned back, and when they came on their way to the city of Ascalon in Syria, most of the Scythians passed by and did no harm, but a few remained behind and plundered the temple of Heavenly Aphrodite.39 [3] This temple, I discover from making inquiry, is the oldest of all the temples of the goddess, for the temple in Cyprus was founded from it, as the Cyprians themselves say; and the temple on Cythera was founded by Phoenicians from this same land of Syria. [4] But the Scythians who pillaged the temple, and all their descendants after them, were afflicted by the goddess with the “female” sickness: and so the Scythians say that they are afflicted as a consequence of this and also that those who visit Scythian territory see among them the condition of those whom the Scythians call “Hermaphrodites”.40 106. The Scythians, then, ruled Asia for twenty-eight years: and the whole land was ruined because of their violence and their pride, for, besides exacting from each the tribute which was assessed, they rode about the land carrying off everyone's possessions. [2] Most of them were entertained and made drunk and then slain by Cyaxares and the Medes: so thus the Medes took back their empire and all that they had formerly possessed; and they took Ninus (how, I will describe in a later part of my history), and brought all Assyria except the province of Babylon under their rule. 107. Afterwards, Cyaxares died after a reign of forty years (among which I count the years of the Scythian domination) and his son Astyages inherited the sovereignty. Astyages had a daughter, whom he called Mandane: he dreamed that she urinated so much that she filled his city and flooded all of Asia. He communicated this vision to those of the Magi who interpreted dreams, and when he heard what they told him he was terrified; [2] and presently, when Mandane was of marriageable age, he feared the vision too much to give her to any Mede worthy to marry into his family, but married her to a Persian called Cambyses, a man whom he knew to be wellborn and of a quiet temper: for Astyages held Cambyses to be much lower than a Mede of middle rank. 108. But during the first year that Mandane was married to Cambyses, Astyages saw a second vision. He dreamed that a vine grew out of the genitals of this daughter, and that the vine covered the whole of Asia. [2] Having seen this vision, and communicated it to the interpreters of dreams, he sent to the Persians for his daughter, who was about to give birth, and when she arrived kept her guarded, meaning to kill whatever child she bore: for the interpreters declared that the meaning of his dream was that his daughter's offspring would rule in his place. [3] Anxious to prevent this, Astyages, when Cyrus was born, summoned Harpagus, a man of his household who was his most faithful servant among the Medes and was administrator of all that was his, and he said: [4] “Harpagus, whatever business I turn over to you, do not mishandle it, and do not leave me out of account and, giving others preference, trip over your own feet afterwards. Take the child that Mandane bore, and carry him to your house, and kill him; and then bury him however you like.” [5] “O King,” Harpagus answered, “never yet have you noticed anything displeasing in your man; and I shall be careful in the future, too, not to err in what concerns you. If it is your will that this be done, then my concern ought to be to attend to it scrupulously.” 109. Harpagus answered thus. The child was then given to him, consigned to its death, and he went to his house weeping. When he came in, he told his wife the entire speech uttered by Astyages. [2] “Now, then,” she said to him, “what do you propose to do?” “Not to obey Astyages' instructions,” he answered, “not even if he should lose his mind and be more frantic than he is now: I will not lend myself to his plan or be an accessory to such a murder. [3] There are many reasons why I will not kill him: because the child is related to me, and because Astyages is old and has no male children. [4] Now if the sovereignty passes to this daughter of his after his death, whose son he is now killing by means of me, what is left for me but the gravest of all dangers? For the sake of my safety this child has to die; but one of Astyages' own people has to be the murderer and not one of mine.” 110. So saying, he sent a messenger at once to one of Astyages' cowherds, who he knew pastured his herds in the likeliest spots and where the mountains were most infested with wild beasts. The man's name was Mitradates, and his wife was a slave like him; her name was in the Greek language Cyno, in the Median Spako: for “spax” is the Median word for dog. [2] The foothills of the mountains where this cowherd pastured his cattle are north of Ecbatana, towards the Euxine sea; for the rest of Media is everywhere a level plain, but here, on the side of the Saspires,41 the land is very high and mountainous and covered with woods. [3] So when the cowherd came in haste at the summons, Harpagus said: “Astyages wants you to take this child and leave it in the most desolate part of the mountains so that it will perish as quickly as possible. And he wants me to tell you that if you do not kill it, but preserve it somehow, you will undergo the most harrowing death; and I am ordered to see it exposed.” 111. Hearing this, the cowherd took the child and went back the same way and came to his dwelling. Now as it happened his wife too had been on the verge of delivering every day, and as the divinity would have it, she did in fact give birth while the cowherd was away in the city. Each of them was anxious for the other, the husband being afraid about his wife's labor, and the wife because she did not know why Harpagus had so unexpectedly sent for her husband. [2] So when he returned and stood before her, she was startled by the unexpected sight and asked him before he could speak why Harpagus had so insistently summoned him. “Wife,” he said, “when I came to the city, I saw and heard what I ought never to have seen, and what ought never to have happened to our masters. Harpagus' whole house was full of weeping; astonished, I went in; [3] and immediately I saw a child lying there struggling and crying, adorned in gold and embroidered clothing. And when Harpagus saw me, he told me to take the child in haste and bring it away and leave it where the mountains are the most infested with wild beasts. It was Astyages, he said, who enjoined this on me, and Harpagus threatened me grievously if I did not do it. [4] So I took him and brought him away, supposing him to be the child of one of the servants; for I could never have guessed whose he was. But I was amazed at seeing him adorned with gold and clothing, and at hearing, too, the evident sound of weeping in the house of Harpagus. [5] Very soon on the way I learned the whole story from the servant who brought me out of the city and gave the child into my custody: namely, that it was the son of Mandane the king's daughter and Cambyses the son of Cyrus, and that Astyages gave the command to kill him. And now, here he is.” 112. And as he said this the cowherd uncovered it and showed it. But when the woman saw how fine and fair the child was, she began to cry and laid hold of the man's knees and begged him by no means to expose him. But the husband said he could not do otherwise; for, he said, spies would be coming from Harpagus to see what was done, and he would have to die a terrible death if he did not obey. [2] Being unable to move her husband, the woman then said: “Since I cannot convince you not to expose it, then, if a child has to be seen exposed, do this: I too have borne a child, but I bore it dead. [3] Take this one and put it out, but the child of the daughter of Astyages let us raise as if it were our own; this way, you won't be caught disobeying our masters, and we will not have plotted badly. For the dead child will have royal burial, and the living will not lose his life.” 113. Thinking that his wife advised him excellently in his present strait, the cowherd immediately did as she said. He gave his wife the child whom he had brought to kill, and his own dead child he put into the chest in which he carried the other, [2] and dressed it with all the other child's finery and left it out in the most desolate part of the mountains. Then on the third day after leaving the child out, the cowherd left one of his herdsmen to watch it and went to the city, where he went to Harpagus' house and said he was ready to show the child's dead body. [3] Harpagus sent the most trusted of his bodyguard, and these saw for him and buried the cowherd's child. So it was buried: and the cowherd's wife kept and raised the boy who was afterwards named Cyrus; but she did not give him that name, but another. 114. Now when the boy was ten years old, the truth about him was revealed in some such way as this. He was playing in the village where these herdsmen's quarters were, playing in the road with others of his age. The boys while playing chose to be their king this one who was supposed to be the son of the cowherd. [2] Then he assigned some of them to the building of houses, some to be his bodyguard, one doubtless to be the King's Eye; to another he gave the right of bringing him messages; to each he gave his proper work. [3] Now one of these boys playing with him was the son of Artembares, a notable Mede; when he did not perform his assignment from Cyrus, Cyrus told the other boys to seize him, and when they did so he handled the boy very roughly and whipped him. [4] As soon as he was let go, very upset about the indignity he had suffered, he went down to his father in the city and complained of what he had received at the hands of the son of Astyages' cowherd—not calling him Cyrus, for that name had not yet been given. [5] Artembares, going just as angry as he was to Astyages and bringing his son along, announced that an impropriety had been committed, saying, “O King, by your slave, the son of a cowherd, we have been outraged thus”: and with that he bared his son's shoulders. 115. When Astyages heard and saw, he was ready to avenge the boy in view of Artembares' rank: so he sent for the cowherd and his son. When they were both present, Astyages said, fixing his eyes on Cyrus, [2] “Is it you, then, the child of one such as this, who have dared to lay hands on the son of the greatest of my courtiers?” Cyrus answered, “Master, what I did to him I did with justice. The boys of the village, of whom he was one, chose me while playing to be their king, for they thought me the most fit for this. [3] The other boys then did as assigned: but this one was disobedient and cared nothing for me, for which he got what he deserved. Now, if I deserve punishment for this, here I am to take it.” 116. While the boy spoke, it seemed to Astyages that he recognized him; the character of his face was like his own, he thought, and his manner of answering was freer than customary: and the date of the exposure seemed to agree with the boy's age. [2] Astonished at this, he sat a while silent; but when at last with difficulty he could collect his wits, he said (for he wanted to be rid of Artembares and question the cowherd with no one present), “I shall act in such a way, Artembares, that you and your son shall have no cause of complaint.” [3] So he sent Artembares away, and the attendants led Cyrus inside at Astyages' bidding. When the cowherd was left quite alone, Astyages asked him where he had got the boy and who had been the giver. [4] The cowherd answered that Cyrus was his own son and that the mother was still with him. Astyages said that he was not well advised if he wished to find himself in a desperate situation, and as he said this made a sign to the spearbearers to seize him. [5] Then, under stress of necessity, the cowherd disclosed to him the whole story, telling everything exactly as it had happened from the beginning, and at the end fell to entreaty and urged the king to pardon him. 117. When the cowherd had disclosed the true story, Astyages took less interest in him, but he was very angry with Harpagus and had the guards summon him. [2] Harpagus came, and Astyages asked him “Harpagus, how did you kill the boy, my daughter's son, whom I gave you?” Harpagus, when he saw the cowherd was there, did not take the way of falsehood, lest he be caught and confuted: [3] “O King,” he said,” when I took the boy, I thought and considered how to do what you wanted and not be held a murderer by your daughter or by you even though I was blameless toward you. [4] So I did this: I summoned this cowherd here, and gave the child to him, telling him that it was you who gave the command to kill it. And that was the truth; for such was your command. But I gave the child with the instructions that the cowherd was to lay it on a desolate mountainside and wait there and watch until it was dead; and I threatened all sorts of things if he did not accomplish this. [5] Then, when he had done what he was told, and the child was dead, I sent the most trusted of my eunuchs and had the body viewed and buried. This, O king, is the story, and such was the end of the boy.” 118. Harpagus told the story straight, while Astyages, hiding the anger that he felt against him for what had been done, first repeated the story again to Harpagus exactly as he had heard it from the cowherd, then, after repeating it, ended by saying that the boy was alive and that the matter had turned out well. [2] “For,” he said, “I was greatly afflicted by what had been done to this boy, and it weighed heavily on me that I was estranged from my daughter. Now, then, in this good turn of fortune, send your own son to this boy newly come, and (since I am about to sacrifice for the boy's safety to the gods to whom this honor is due) come here to dine with me.” 119. When Harpagus heard this, he bowed and went to his home, very pleased to find that his offense had turned out for the best and that he was invited to dinner in honor of this fortunate day. [2] Coming in, he told his only son, a boy of about thirteen years of age, to go to Astyages' palace and do whatever the king commanded, and in his great joy he told his wife everything that had happened. [3] But when Harpagus' son came, Astyages cut his throat and tore him limb from limb, roasted some of the flesh and boiled some, and kept it ready after he had prepared it. [4] So when the hour for dinner came and the rest of the guests and Harpagus were present, Astyages and the others were served dishes of lamb's meat, but Harpagus that of his own son, all but the head and hands and feet, which lay apart covered up in a wicker basket. [5] And when Harpagus seemed to have eaten his fill, Astyages asked him, “Did you like your meal, Harpagus?” “Exceedingly,” Harpagus answered. Then those whose job it was brought him the head of his son and hands and feet concealed in the basket, and they stood before Harpagus and told him to open and take what he liked. [6] Harpagus did; he opened and saw what was left of his son: he saw this, but mastered himself and did not lose his composure. Astyages asked him, “Do you know what beast's meat you have eaten?” [7] “I know,” he said, “and all that the king does is pleasing.” With that answer he took the remains of the meat and went home. There he meant, I suppose, after collecting everything, to bury it. 120. Thus Astyages punished Harpagus. But, to help him to decide about Cyrus, he summoned the same Magi who had interpreted his dream as I have said: and when they came, Astyages asked them how they had interpreted his dream. They answered as before, and said that the boy must have been made king had he lived and not died first. [2] Then Astyages said, “The boy is safe and alive, and when he was living in the country the boys of his village made him king, and he duly did all that is done by true kings: for he assigned to each individually the roles of bodyguards and sentinels and messengers and everything else, and so ruled. And what do you think is the significance of this?” [3] “If the boy is alive,” said the Magi, “and has been made king without premeditation, then be confident on this score and keep an untroubled heart: he will not be made king a second time. Even in our prophecies, it is often but a small thing that has been foretold and the consequences of dreams come to nothing in the end.” [4] “I too, Magi,” said Astyages, “am very much of your opinion: that the dream came true when the boy was called king, and that I have no more to fear from him. Nevertheless consider well and advise me what will be safest both for my house and for you.” [5] The Magi said, “O King, we too are very anxious that your sovereignty prosper: for otherwise, it passes from your nation to this boy who is a Persian, and so we Medes are enslaved and held of no account by the Persians, as we are of another blood, but while you, our countryman, are established king, we have our share of power, and great honor is shown us by you. [6] Thus, then, we ought by all means to watch out for you and for your sovereignty. And if at the present time we saw any danger we would declare everything to you: but now the dream has had a trifling conclusion, and we ourselves are confident and advise you to be so also. As for this boy, send him out of your sight to the Persians and to his parents.” 121. Hearing this, Astyages was glad, and calling Cyrus, said, “My boy, I did you wrong because of a vision I had in a dream, that meant nothing, but by your own destiny you still live; now therefore, go to the Persians, and good luck go with you; I will send guides with you. When you get there you will find a father and mother unlike the cowherd, Mitradates, and his wife.” 122. After saying this, Astyages sent Cyrus away. When he returned to Cambyses' house, his parents received him there, and learning who he was they welcomed him enthusiastically, for they had supposed that long ago he had been killed, and they asked him how his life had been saved. [2] Then he told them, and said that until now he had known nothing but been very deceived, but that on the way he had heard the whole story of his misfortune; for he had thought, he said, that Astyages' cowherd was his father, but in his journey from the city his escort had told him the whole story. [3] And he had been raised, he said, by the cowherd's wife, and he was full of her praises, and in his tale he was constantly speaking of Cyno. Hearing this name, his parents circulated a story that Cyrus was suckled by a dog when exposed, thinking in this way to make the story of his salvation seem more marvellous to the Persians. 123. This then was the beginning of that legend. But as Cyrus grew up to be the manliest and best loved of his peers, Harpagus courted him and sent him gifts, wishing to be avenged on Astyages; for he saw no hope for a private man like himself of punishing Astyages, but as he saw Cyrus growing up, he tried to make him an ally, for he likened Cyrus' misfortune to his own. [2] Even before this the following had been done by him: since Astyages was harsh toward the Medes, he associated with each of the chief Medes and persuaded them to make Cyrus their leader and depose Astyages. [3] So much being ready and done, Harpagus wanted to reveal his intent to Cyrus, who then lived among the Persians. But the roads were guarded, and he had no plan for sending a message but this: [4] he carefully slit the belly of a hare, and then leaving it as it was without further harm he put into it a paper on which he wrote what he thought best. Then he sewed up the hare's belly, and sent it to Persia by the most trusted of his servants, giving him nets to carry as if he were a huntsman. The messenger was instructed to give Cyrus the hare and tell him by word of mouth to cut it open with his own hands, with no one else present. 124. All this was done. Cyrus took the hare and slit it and read the paper which was in it; the writing was as follows: “Son of Cambyses, since the gods watch over you (otherwise you would not have prospered so) avenge yourself now on Astyages, your murderer; [2] for thanks to his intention you are dead, while thanks to the gods, and me, you live. I expect that long ago you heard the story of what was done concerning you and how Astyages treated me because I did not kill you but gave you to the cowherd. If, then, you will listen to me, you shall rule all the country which is now ruled by Astyages. Persuade the Persians to rebel, and lead their army against the Medes; [3] then you have your wish, whether I am appointed to command the army against you or some other notable man among the Medes: for they will of themselves revolt from Astyages and join you and try to pull him down. Seeing then that all is ready here, do as I say and do it quickly.” 125. When Cyrus read this, he deliberated as to what was the shrewdest way to persuade the Persians to revolt; and what he thought to be most effective, he did: [2] writing what he liked on a paper, he assembled the Persians, and then unfolded the paper and declared that in it Astyages appointed him leader of the Persian armies. “Now,” he said in his speech, “I command you, men of Persia, to come, each provided with a sickle.” This is what Cyrus said. [3] Now there are many tribes in Persia: those of them that Cyrus assembled and persuaded to revolt from the Medes were the Pasargadae, the Maraphii, and the Maspii. On these all the other Persians depend. The chief tribe is that of the Pasargadae; to them belongs the clan of the Achaemenidae, the royal house of Persia. [4] The other Persian tribes are the Panthialaei, the Derusiaei, and the Germanii, all tillers of the soil, and the Dai, the Mardi, the Dropici, the Sagartii, all wandering herdsmen. 126. So when they all came with sickles as ordered, Cyrus commanded them to reclaim in one day a thorny tract of Persia, of two and one quarter or two and one half miles each way in extent. [2] The Persians accomplished the task appointed; Cyrus then commanded them to wash themselves and come the next day; meanwhile, collecting his father's goats and sheep and oxen in one place, he slaughtered and prepared them as a feast for the Persian host, providing also wine and all the foods that were most suitable. [3] When the Persians came on the next day he had them sit and feast in a meadow. After dinner he asked them which they liked more: their task of yesterday or their present pastime. [4] They answered that the difference was great: all yesterday they had had nothing but evil, to-day nothing but good. Then, taking up their word, Cyrus laid bare his whole purpose, and said: [5] “This is your situation, men of Persia: obey me and you shall have these good things and ten thousand others besides with no toil and slavery; but if you will not obey me, you will have labors unnumbered like your toil of yesterday. [6] Now, then, do as I tell you, and win your freedom. For I think that I myself was born by a divine chance to undertake this work; and I hold you fully as good men as the Medes in war and in everything else. All this is true; therefore revolt from Astyages quickly now!” 127. The Persians had long been discontent that the Medes ruled them, and now having got a champion they were glad to win their freedom. But when Astyages heard that Cyrus was about this business, he sent a messenger to summon him; [2] Cyrus told the messenger to take back word that Astyages would see him sooner than he liked. Hearing this, Astyages armed all his Medes, and was distracted by Providence so that he forgot what he had done to Harpagus, and appointed him to command the army. [3] So when the Medes marched out and engaged with the Persians, those who were not in on the plan fought, while others deserted to the enemy, and most were deliberate cowards and ran. 128. Thus the Median army was shamefully scattered. As soon as Astyages heard, he sent a threatening message to Cyrus: “Nevertheless, Cyrus shall not rejoice”; [2] and with that he took the Magi who interpreted dreams, who had persuaded him to let Cyrus go free, and impaled them; then he armed the Medes who were left in the city, the very young and very old men. [3] Leading these out, and engaging the Persians, he was beaten: Astyages himself was taken prisoner, and lost the Median army which he led. 129. When Astyages was a captive, Harpagus came and exulted over him and taunted him, and besides much other bitter mockery he recalled his banquet, when Astyages had fed Harpagus his son's flesh, and asked Astyages what it was like to be a slave after having been a king. [2] Fixing his gaze on Harpagus, Astyages asked, “Do you imagine that this, which Cyrus has done, is your work?” “It was I,” said the other, “who wrote the letter; the accomplishment of the work is rightly mine.” [3] “Then,” said Astyages, “you stand confessed the most foolish and most unjust man on earth; most foolish, in giving another the throne which you might have had for yourself, if the present business is indeed your doing; most unjust, in enslaving the Medes because of that banquet. [4] For if in any event another and not you had to possess the royal power, then in justice some Mede should have had it, not a Persian: but now you have made the Medes, who did you no harm, slaves instead of masters and the Persians, who were the slaves, are now the masters of the Medes.” 130. Thus Astyages was deposed from his sovereignty after a reign of thirty-five years: and the Medes had to bow down before the Persians because of Astyages' cruelty. They had ruled all Asia beyond the Halys for one hundred and twenty-eight years,42 from which must be subtracted the time when the Scythians held sway. [2] At a later time they repented of what they now did, and rebelled against Darius43 ; but they were defeated in battle and brought back into subjection. But now, in Astyages' time, Cyrus and the Persians rose in revolt against the Medes, and from this time ruled Asia. [3] As for Astyages, Cyrus did him no further harm, and kept him in his own house until Astyages died. This is the story of the birth and upbringing of Cyrus, and of how he became king; and afterwards, as I have already related, he subjugated Croesus in punishment for the unprovoked wrong done him; and after this victory he became sovereign of all Asia. 131. As to the customs of the Persians, I know them to be these. It is not their custom to make and set up statues and temples and altars, but those who do such things they think foolish, because, I suppose, they have never believed the gods to be like men, as the Greeks do; [2] but they call the whole circuit of heaven Zeus, and to him they sacrifice on the highest peaks of the mountains; they sacrifice also to the sun and moon and earth and fire and water and winds. [3] From the beginning, these are the only gods to whom they have ever sacrificed; they learned later to sacrifice to the “heavenly”44 Aphrodite from the Assyrians and Arabians. She is called by the Assyrians Mylitta, by the Arabians Alilat, by the Persians Mitra. 132. And this is their method of sacrifice to the aforesaid gods: when about to sacrifice, they do not build altars or kindle fire, employ libations, or music, or fillets, or barley meal: when a man wishes to sacrifice to one of the gods, he leads a beast to an open space and then, wearing a wreath on his tiara, of myrtle usually, calls on the god. [2] To pray for blessings for himself alone is not lawful for the sacrificer; rather, he prays that the king and all the Persians be well; for he reckons himself among them. He then cuts the victim limb from limb into portions, and, after boiling the flesh, spreads the softest grass, trefoil usually, and places all of it on this. [3] When he has so arranged it, a Magus comes near and chants over it the song of the birth of the gods, as the Persian tradition relates it; for no sacrifice can be offered without a Magus. Then after a little while the sacrificer carries away the flesh and uses it as he pleases. 133. The day which every man values most is his own birthday. On this day, he thinks it right to serve a more abundant meal than on other days: oxen or horses or camels or asses, roasted whole in ovens, are set before the rich; the poorer serve the lesser kinds of cattle. [2] Their courses are few, the dainties that follow many, and not all served together. This is why the Persians say of Greeks that they rise from table still hungry, because not much dessert is set before them: were this too given to Greeks (the Persians say) they would never stop eating. [3] They are very partial to wine. No one may vomit or urinate in another's presence: this is prohibited among them. Moreover, it is their custom to deliberate about the gravest matters when they are drunk; [4] and what they approve in their deliberations is proposed to them the next day, when they are sober, by the master of the house where they deliberate; and if, being sober, they still approve it, they act on it, but if not, they drop it. And if they have deliberated about a matter when sober, they decide upon it when they are drunk. 134. When one man meets another on the road, it is easy to see if the two are equals; for, if they are, they kiss each other on the lips without speaking; if the difference in rank is small, the cheek is kissed; if it is great, the humbler bows and does obeisance to the other. [2] They honor most of all those who live nearest them, next those who are next nearest, and so going ever onwards they assign honor by this rule: those who dwell farthest off they hold least honorable of all; for they think that they are themselves in all regards by far the best of all men, that the rest have only a proportionate claim to merit, until those who live farthest away have least merit of all. [3] Under the rule of the Medes, one tribe would even govern another; the Medes held sway over all alike and especially over those who lived nearest to them; these ruled their neighbors, and the neighbors in turn those who came next to them, on the same scheme by which the Persians assign honor; for the nation kept advancing its rule and dominion.45 135. But the Persians more than all men welcome foreign customs. They wear the Median dress, thinking it more beautiful than their own, and the Egyptian cuirass in war. Their luxurious practices are of all kinds, and all borrowed: the Greeks taught them pederasty. Every Persian marries many lawful wives, and keeps still more concubines. 136. After valor in battle it is accounted noble to father the greatest number of sons: the king sends gifts yearly to him who gets most. Strength, they believe, is in numbers. [2] They educate their boys from five to twenty years old, and teach them only three things: riding and archery and honesty. A boy is not seen by his father before he is five years old, but lives with the women: the point of this is that, if the boy should die in the interval of his rearing, the father would suffer no grief. 137. This is a law which I praise; and it is a praiseworthy law, too, which does not allow the king himself to slay any one for a single offense, or any other Persian to do incurable harm to one of his servants for one offense. Not until an accounting shows that the offender's wrongful acts are more and greater than his services may a man give rein to his anger. [2] They say that no one has ever yet killed his father or mother; when such a thing has been done, it always turns out on inquest that the doer is shown to be a changeling or the fruit of adultery; for it is not to be believed (say they) that a son should kill his true parent. 138. Furthermore, of what they may not do, they may not speak, either. They hold lying to be the most disgraceful thing of all and next to that debt; for which they have many other reasons, but this in particular: it is inevitable (so they say) that the debtor also speak some falsehood. The citizen who has leprosy or the white sickness may not come into town or mingle with other Persians. They say that he is so afflicted because he has sinned in some way against the sun. [2] Every stranger who gets such a disease, many drive out of the country; and they do the same to white doves, for the reason given. Rivers they especially revere; they will neither urinate nor spit nor wash their hands in them, nor let anyone else do so. 139. There is another thing that always happens among them; we have noted it although the Persians have not: their names, which agree with the nature of their persons and their nobility, all end in the same letter, that which the Dorians call san, and the Ionians sigma; you will find, if you search, that not some but all Persian names alike end in this letter. 140. So much I can say of them from my own certain knowledge. But there are other matters concerning the dead which are secretly and obscurely told: how the dead bodies of Persians are not buried before they have been mangled by birds or dogs. [2] That this is the way of the Magi, I know for certain; for they do not conceal the practice. But this is certain, that before the Persians bury the body in earth they embalm it in wax. These Magi are as unlike the priests of Egypt as they are unlike all other men: [3] for the priests consider it sacrilege to kill anything that lives, except what they sacrifice; but the Magi kill with their own hands every creature, except dogs and men; they kill all alike, ants and snakes, creeping and flying things, and take great pride in it. Leaving this custom to be such as it has been from the first,46 I return now to my former story. 141. As soon as the Lydians had been subjugated by the Persians, the Ionians and Aeolians sent messengers to Cyrus, offering to be his subjects on the same terms as those which they had under Croesus. After hearing what they proposed, Cyrus told them a story. Once, he said, there was a flute-player who saw fish in the sea and played upon his flute, thinking that they would come out on to the land. [2] Disappointed of his hope, he cast a net and gathered it in and took out a great multitude of fish; and seeing them leaping, “You had best,” he said, “stop your dancing now; you would not come out and dance before, when I played to you.” [3] The reason why Cyrus told the story to the Ionians and Aeolians was that the Ionians, who were ready to obey him when the victory was won, had before refused when he sent a message asking them to revolt from Croesus. [4] So he answered them in anger. But when the message came to the Ionians in their cities, they fortified themselves with walls, and assembled in the Panionion,47 all except the Milesians, with whom alone Cyrus made a treaty on the same terms as that which they had with the Lydians. The rest of the Ionians resolved to send envoys in the name of them all to Sparta, to ask help for the Ionians. 142. Now these Ionians possessed the Panionion, and of all men whom we know, they happened to found their cities in places with the loveliest of climate and seasons. [2] For neither to the north of them nor to the south does the land effect the same thing as in Ionia [nor to the east nor to the west], affected here by the cold and wet, there by the heat and drought. [3] They do not all have the same speech but four different dialects. Miletus lies farthest south among them, and next to it come Myus and Priene; these are settlements in Caria, and they have a common language; Ephesus, Colophon, Lebedos, Teos, Clazomenae, Phocaea, all of them in Lydia, [4] have a language in common which is wholly different from the speech of the three former cities. There are yet three Ionian cities, two of them situated on the islands of Samos and Chios, and one, Erythrae, on the mainland; the Chians and Erythraeans speak alike, but the Samians have a language which is their own and no one else's. It is thus seen that there are four modes of speech. 143. Among these Ionians, the Milesians were safe from the danger (for they had made a treaty), and the islanders among them had nothing to fear: for the Phoenicians were not yet subjects of the Persians, nor were the Persians themselves mariners. [2] But those of Asia were cut off from the rest of the Ionians only in the way that I shall show. The whole Hellenic stock was then small, and the last of all its branches and the least regarded was the Ionian; for it had no considerable city except Athens. [3] Now the Athenians and the rest would not be called Ionians, but spurned the name; even now the greater number of them seem to me to be ashamed of it; but the twelve cities aforesaid gloried in this name, and founded a holy place for themselves which they called the Panionion, and agreed among themselves to allow no other Ionians to use it (nor in fact did any except the men of Smyrna ask to be admitted); 144. just as the Dorians of what is now the country of the “Five Cities”—formerly the country of the “Six Cities”—forbid admitting any of the neighboring Dorians to the Triopian temple, and even barred from using it those of their own group who had broken the temple law. [2] For long ago, in the games in honor of Triopian Apollo, they offered certain bronze tripods to the victors; and those who won these were not to carry them away from the temple but dedicate them there to the god. [3] Now when a man of Halicarnassus called Agasicles won, he disregarded this law, and, carrying the tripod away, nailed it to the wall of his own house. For this offense the five cities—Lindus, Ialysus, Camirus, Cos, and Cnidus—forbade the sixth city—Halicarnassus—to share in the use of the temple. Such was the penalty imposed on the Halicarnassians. 145. As for the Ionians, the reason why they made twelve cities and would admit no more was in my judgment this: there were twelve divisions of them when they dwelt in the Peloponnese, just as there are twelve divisions of the Achaeans who drove the Ionians out—Pellene nearest to Sicyon; then Aegira and Aegae, where is the never-failing river Crathis, from which the river in Italy took its name; Bura and Helice, where the Ionians fled when they were worsted in battle by the Achaeans; Aegion; Rhype; Patrae; Phareae; and Olenus, where is the great river Pirus; Dyme and Tritaeae, the only inland city of all these—these were the twelve divisions of the Ionians, as they are now of the Achaeans. 146. For this reason, and for no other, the Ionians too made twelve cities; for it would be foolishness to say that these are more truly Ionian or better born than the other Ionians; since not the least part of them are Abantes from Euboea, who are not Ionians even in name, and there are mingled with them Minyans of Orchomenus, Cadmeans, Dryopians, Phocian renegades from their nation, Molossians, Pelasgian Arcadians, Dorians of Epidaurus, and many other tribes; [2] and as for those who came from the very town-hall of Athens and think they are the best born of the Ionians, these did not bring wives with them to their settlements, but married Carian women whose parents they had put to death. [3] For this slaughter, these women made a custom and bound themselves by oath (and enjoined it on their daughters) that no one would sit at table with her husband or call him by his name, because the men had married them after slaying their fathers and husbands and sons. This happened at Miletus. 147. And as kings, some of them chose Lycian descendants of Glaucus son of Hippolochus, and some Caucones of Pylus, descendants of Codrus son of Melanthus, and some both. Yet since they set more store by the name than the rest of the Ionians, let it be granted that those of pure birth are Ionians; [2] and all are Ionians who are of Athenian descent and keep the feast Apaturia.48 All do keep it, except the men of Ephesus and Colophon; these are the only Ionians who do not keep it, and these because, they say, of a certain pretext of murder. 148. The Panionion is a sacred ground in Mykale, facing north; it was set apart for Poseidon of Helicon by the joint will of the Ionians. Mykale is a western promontory of the mainland opposite Samos; the Ionians used to assemble there from their cities and keep the festival to which they gave the name of Panionia. [2] Not only the Ionian festivals, but all those of all the Greeks alike, end in the same letter, just as do the names of the Persians. 149. Those are the Ionian cities, and these are the Aeolian: Cyme (called “Phriconian”),49 Lerisae, Neon Teichos, Temnos, Cilla, Notion, Aegiroessa, Pitane, Aegaeae, Myrina, Gryneia.50 These are the ancient Aeolian cities, eleven in number; but one of them, Smyrna, was taken away by the Ionians; for these too were once twelve, on the mainland. [2] These Aeolians had settled where the land was better than the Ionian territory, but the climate was not so good. 150. Now this is how the Aeolians lost Smyrna. Some men of Colophon, the losers in civil strife and exiles from their country, had been received by them into the town. These Colophonian exiles waited for the time when the men of Smyrna were holding a festival to Dionysus outside the walls; then they shut the gates and so got the city. [2] Then all the Aeolians came to recover it; and an agreement was made, whereby the Aeolians would receive back their movable goods from the Ionians, and leave the city. After this was done, the other eleven cities divided the Smyrnaeans among themselves and made them citizens of their own. 151. These then are the Aeolian cities on the mainland, besides those that are situated on Ida and are separate. [2] Among those on the islands, five divide Lesbos among them (there was a sixth on Lesbos, Arisba, but its people were enslaved by their kinfolk of Methymna); there is one on Tenedos, and one again in the “Hundred Isles,”51 as they are called. [3] The men of Lesbos and Tenedos, then, like the Ionian islanders, had nothing to fear. The rest of the cities deliberated together and decided to follow the Ionians' lead. 152. So when the envoys of the Ionians and Aeolians came to Sparta (for they set about this in haste) they chose a Phocaean, whose name was Pythennos, to speak for all. He then put on a purple cloak, so that as many Spartans as possible might assemble to hear him, and stood up and made a long speech asking aid for his people. [2] But the Lacedaemonians would not listen to him and refused to help the Ionians. So the Ionians departed; but the Lacedaemonians, though they had rejected their envoys, did nevertheless send men in a ship of fifty oars to see (as I suppose) the situation with Cyrus and Ionia. [3] These, after coming to Phocaea, sent Lacrines, who was the most esteemed among them, to Sardis, to repeat there to Cyrus a proclamation of the Lacedaemonians, that he was to harm no city on Greek territory, or else the Lacedaemonians would punish him. 153. When the herald had proclaimed this, Cyrus is said to have asked the Greeks who were present who and how many in number these Lacedaemonians were who made this declaration. When he was told, he said to the Spartan herald, “I never yet feared men who set apart a place in the middle of their city where they perjure themselves and deceive each other. They, if I keep my health, shall talk of their own misfortunes, not those of the Ionians.” [2] He uttered this threat against all the Greeks, because they have markets and buy and sell there; for the Persians themselves were not used to resorting to markets at all, nor do they even have a market of any kind. [3] Presently, entrusting Sardis to a Persian called Tabalus, and instructing Pactyes, a Lydian, to take charge of the gold of Croesus and the Lydians, he himself marched away to Ecbatana, taking Croesus with him, and at first taking no notice of the Ionians. [4] For he had Babylon on his hands and the Bactrian nation and the Sacae and Egyptians; he meant to lead the army against these himself, and to send another commander against the Ionians. 154. But no sooner had Cyrus marched away from Sardis than Pactyes made the Lydians revolt from Tabalus and Cyrus; and he went down to the sea, where, as he had all the gold of Sardis, he hired soldiers and persuaded the men of the coast to join his undertaking. Then, marching to Sardis, he penned Tabalus in the acropolis and besieged him there. 155. When Cyrus heard of this on his journey, he said to Croesus, “What end to this business, Croesus? It seems that the Lydians will never stop making trouble for me and for themselves. It occurs to me that it may be best to make slaves of them; for it seems I have acted like one who slays the father and spares the children. [2] So likewise I have taken with me you who were more than a father to the Lydians, and handed the city over to the Lydians themselves; and then indeed I marvel that they revolt!” So Cyrus uttered his thought; but Croesus feared that he would destroy Sardis, and answered him thus: [3] “O King, what you say is reasonable. But do not ever yield to anger, or destroy an ancient city that is innocent both of the former and of the present offense. For the former I am responsible, and bear the punishment on my head; while Pactyes, in whose charge you left Sardis, does this present wrong; let him, then, pay the penalty. [4] But pardon the Lydians, and give them this command so that they not revolt or pose a danger to you: send and forbid them to possess weapons of war, and order them to wear tunics under their cloaks and knee-boots on their feet, and to teach their sons lyre-playing and song and dance and shop-keeping. And quickly, O king, you shall see them become women instead of men, so that you need not fear them, that they might revolt.” 156. Croesus proposed this to him, because he thought this was better for the Lydians than to be sold as slaves; he knew that without some reasonable plea he could not change the king's mind, and feared that even if the Lydians should escape this time they might later revolt and be destroyed by the Persians. [2] Cyrus was pleased by this counsel; he relented in his anger and said he would follow Croesus' advice. Then calling Mazares, a Mede, he told him to give the Lydians the commands that Croesus advised; further, to enslave all the others who had joined the Lydians in attacking Sardis; and as for Pactyes himself, by all means to bring him into his presence alive. 157. After giving these commands on his journey, he marched away into the Persian country. But Pactyes, learning that an army sent against him was approaching, was frightened and fled to Cyme. [2] Mazares the Mede, when he came to Sardis with the part that he had of Cyrus' host and found Pactyes' followers no longer there, first of all compelled the Lydians to carry out Cyrus' commands; and by his order they changed their whole way of life. [3] After this, he sent messengers to Cyme demanding that Pactyes be surrendered. The Cymaeans resolved to make the god at Branchidae their judge as to what course they should take; for there was an ancient place of divination there, which all the Ionians and Aeolians used to consult; the place is in the land of Miletus, above the harbor of Panormus. 158. The men of Cyme, then, sent to Branchidae to inquire of the shrine what they should do in the matter of Pactyes that would be most pleasing to the gods; and the oracle replied that they must surrender Pactyes to the Persians. [2] When this answer came back to them, they set about surrendering him. But while the greater part were in favor of doing this, Aristodicus son of Heraclides, a notable man among the citizens, stopped the men of Cyme from doing it; for he did not believe the oracle and thought that those who had inquired of the god spoke falsely; until at last a second band of inquirers was sent to inquire concerning Pactyes, among whom was Aristodicus. 159. When they came to Branchidae, Aristodicus, speaking for all, put this question to the oracle: “Lord, Pactyes the Lydian has come to us a suppliant fleeing a violent death at the hands of the Persians; and they demand him of us, telling the men of Cyme to surrender him. [2] But we, as much as we fear the Persian power, have not dared give up this suppliant of ours until it is clearly made known to us by you whether we are to do this or not.” Thus Aristodicus inquired; and the god again gave the same answer, that Pactyes should be surrendered to the Persians. [3] With that Aristodicus did as he had already decided; he went around the temple, and took away the sparrows and all the families of nesting birds that were in it. But while he was doing so, a voice (they say) came out of the inner shrine calling to Aristodicus, and saying, “Vilest of men, how dare you do this? Will you rob my temple of those that take refuge with me?” [4] Then Aristodicus had his answer ready: “Lord,” he said, “will you save your own suppliants, yet tell the men of Cyme to deliver up theirs?” But the god replied, “Yes, I do command them, so that you may perish all the sooner for your impiety, and never again come to inquire of my oracle about giving up those that seek refuge with you.” 160. When the Cymaeans heard this answer, they sent Pactyes away to Mytilene; for they were anxious not to perish for delivering him up or to be besieged for keeping him with them. [2] Then Mazares sent a message to Mytilene demanding the surrender of Pactyes, and the Mytilenaeans prepared to give him, for a price; I cannot say exactly how much it was, for the bargain was never fulfilled; [3] for when the Cymaeans learned what the Mytilenaeans were about, they sent a ship to Lesbos and took Pactyes away to Chios. From there he was dragged out of the temple of City-guarding Athena and delivered up by the Chians, [4] who received in return Atarneus, which is a district in Mysia opposite Lesbos. The Persians thus received Pactyes and kept him guarded, so that they might show him to Cyrus; [5] and for a long time no one would use barley meal from this land of Atarneus in sacrifices to any god, or make sacrificial cakes of what grew there; everything that came from that country was kept away from any sacred rite. 161. The Chians, then, surrendered Pactyes, and afterwards Mazares led his army against those who had helped to besiege Tabalus, and he enslaved the people of Priene, and overran the plain of the Maeandrus, giving it to his army to pillage and Magnesia likewise. Immediately after this he died of an illness. 162. After his death, Harpagus, a Mede like Mazares, came down to succeed him in his command; this is the Harpagus who was entertained by Astyages the king of the Medes at that unnatural feast, and who helped win the kingship for Cyrus. [2] This man was now made general by Cyrus. When he came to Ionia, he took the cities by means of earthworks; he would drive the men within their walls and then build earthworks against the walls and so take the cities. 163. Phocaea was the first Ionian town that he attacked. These Phocaeans were the earliest of the Greeks to make long sea-voyages, and it was they who discovered the Adriatic Sea, and Tyrrhenia, and Iberia, and Tartessus,52 [2] not sailing in round freightships but in fifty-oared vessels. When they came to Tartessus they made friends with the king of the Tartessians, whose name was Arganthonius; he ruled Tartessus for eighty years and lived a hundred and twenty.53 [3] The Phocaeans won this man's friendship to such a degree that he invited them to leave Ionia and settle in his country wherever they liked; and then, when he could not persuade them to, and learned from them how the Median power was increasing, he gave them money to build a wall around their city. [4] He gave it generously: for the circuit of the wall is of not a few stades, and all this is made of great stones well fitted together. 164. In such a manner the Phocaeans' wall was built. Harpagus marched against the city and besieged it, but he made overtures, and said that it would suffice him if the Phocaeans would demolish one rampart of the wall and dedicate one house. [2] But the Phocaeans, very indignant at the thought of slavery, said they wanted to deliberate for a day, and then they would answer; but while they were deliberating, Harpagus must withdraw his army from the walls, they said. Harpagus said that he well knew what they intended to do, but that nevertheless he would allow them to deliberate. [3] So when Harpagus withdrew his army from the walls, the Phocaeans launched their fifty-oared ships, embarked their children and women and all their movable goods, besides the statues from the temples and everything dedicated in them except bronze or stonework or painting, and then embarked themselves and set sail for Chios; and the Persians took Phocaea, left thus uninhabited. 165. The Phocaeans would have bought the islands called Oenussae from the Chians;54 but the Chians would not sell them, because they feared that the islands would become a market and so their own island be cut off from trade: so the Phocaeans prepared to sail to Cyrnus,55 where at the command of an oracle they had built a city called Alalia twenty years before. [2] Arganthonius was by this time dead. While getting ready for their voyage, they first sailed to Phocaea, where they destroyed the Persian guard to whom Harpagus had entrusted the defense of the city; and when this was done, they called down mighty curses on any one of them who should stay behind when the rest sailed. [3] Not only this, but they sank a mass of iron in the sea, and swore never to return to Phocaea before the iron should appear again. But while they prepared to sail to Cyrnus, more than half of the citizens were overcome with longing and pitiful sorrow for the city and the life of their land, and they broke their oath and sailed back to Phocaea. Those of them who kept the oath put out to sea from the Oenussae. 166. And when they came to Cyrnus they lived there for five years as one community with those who had come first, and they founded temples there. But they harassed and plundered all their neighbors, as a result of which the Tyrrhenians and Carthaginians made common cause against them, and sailed to attack them with sixty ships each. [2] The Phocaeans also manned their ships, sixty in number, and met the enemy in the sea called Sardonian. They engaged and the Phocaeans won, yet it was only a kind of Cadmean victory;56 for they lost forty of their ships, and the twenty that remained were useless, their rams twisted awry. [3] Then sailing to Alalia they took their children and women and all of their possessions that their ships could hold on board, and leaving Cyrnus they sailed to Rhegium. 167. As for the crews of the disabled ships, the Carthaginians and Tyrrhenians drew lots for them, and of the Tyrrhenians the Agyllaioi57 were allotted by far the majority and these they led out and stoned to death. But afterwards, everything from Agylla that passed the place where the stoned Phocaeans lay, whether sheep or beasts of burden or men, became distorted and crippled and palsied. [2] The Agyllaeans sent to Delphi, wanting to mend their offense; and the Pythian priestess told them to do what the people of Agylla do to this day: for they pay great honors to the Phocaeans, with religious rites and games and horse-races. [3] Such was the end of this part of the Phocaeans. Those of them who fled to Rhegium set out from there and gained possession of that city in the Oenotrian58 country which is now called Hyele;59 [4] they founded this because they learned from a man of Posidonia that the Cyrnus whose establishment the Pythian priestess ordained was the hero, and not the island. 168. Thus, then, it went with the Ionian Phocaea. The Teians did the same things as the Phocaeans: when Harpagus had taken their walled city by building an earthwork, they all embarked aboard ship and sailed away for Thrace. There they founded a city, Abdera, which before this had been founded by Timesius of Clazomenae; yet he got no profit of it, but was driven out by the Thracians. This Timesius is now honored as a hero by the Teians of Abdera. 169. These were the only Ionians who left their native lands, unable to endure slavery. The rest of the Ionians, except the Milesians, though they faced Harpagus in battle as did the exiles, and conducted themselves well, each fighting for his own country, yet, when they were defeated and their cities taken, they remained where they were and did as they were told. [2] The Milesians, as I have already said, made a treaty with Cyrus himself and struck no blow. Thus Ionia was enslaved for the second time: and when Harpagus had conquered the Ionians of the mainland, the Ionians of the islands, fearing the same fate, surrendered to Cyrus. 170. When the Ionians, despite their evil plight, nonetheless assembled at the Panionion, Bias of Priene, I have learned, gave them very useful advice, and had they followed it they might have been the most prosperous of all Greeks: [2] for he advised them to put out to sea and sail all together to Sardo and then found one city for all Ionians: thus, possessing the greatest island in the world and ruling others, they would be rid of slavery and have prosperity; but if they stayed in Ionia he could see (he said) no hope of freedom for them. [3] This was the advice which Bias of Priene gave after the destruction of the Ionians; and that given before the destruction by Thales of Miletus, a Phoenician by descent, was good too; he advised that the Ionians have one place of deliberation, and that it be in Teos (for that was the center of Ionia), and that the other cities be considered no more than demes. Thus Bias and Thales advised. 171. Harpagus, after subjugating Ionia, made an expedition against the Carians, Caunians, and Lycians, taking Ionians and Aeolians with him. [2] Of these, the Carians have come to the mainland from the islands; for in the past they were islanders, called Leleges and under the rule of Minos, not (as far as I can learn by report) paying tribute, but manning ships for him when he needed them. [3] Since Minos had subjected a good deal of territory for himself and was victorious in war, this made the Carians too at that time by far the most respected of all nations. [4] They invented three things in which they were followed by the Greeks: it was the Carians who originated wearing crests on their helmets and devices on their shields, and who first made grips for their shields; until then all who used shields carried them without these grips, and guided them with leather belts which they slung round the neck and over the left shoulder.60 [5] Then, a long time afterwards, the Carians were driven from the islands by Dorians and Ionians and so came to the mainland. This is the Cretan story about the Carians; but the Carians themselves do not subscribe to it, but believe that they are aboriginal inhabitants of the mainland and always bore the name which they bear now; [6] and they point to an ancient shrine of Carian Zeus at Mylasa, to which Mysians and Lydians, as brethren of the Carians (for Lydus and Mysus, they say, were brothers of Car), are admitted, but not those who spoke the same language as the Carians but were of another people. 172. I think the Caunians are aborigines of the soil, but they say that they came from Crete. Their speech has become like the Carian, or the Carian like theirs (for I cannot clearly decide), but in their customs they diverge widely from the Carians, as from all other men. Their chief pleasure is to assemble for drinking-bouts in groups according to their ages and friendships: men, women, and children. [2] Certain foreign rites of worship were established among them; but afterwards, when they were inclined otherwise, and wanted to worship only the gods of their fathers, all Caunian men of full age put on their armor and went together as far as the boundaries of Calynda, striking the air with their spears and saying that they were casting out the alien gods. 173. Such are their ways. The Lycians were from Crete in ancient times (for in the past none that lived on Crete were Greek). [2] Now there was a dispute in Crete about the royal power between Sarpedon and Minos, sons of Europa; Minos prevailed in this dispute and drove out Sarpedon and his partisans; who, after being driven out, came to the Milyan land in Asia. What is now possessed by the Lycians was in the past Milyan, and the Milyans were then called Solymi. [3] For a while Sarpedon ruled them, and the people were called Termilae, which was the name that they had brought with them and that is still given to the Lycians by their neighbors; but after Lycus son of Pandion came from Athens—banished as well by his brother, Aegeus—to join Sarpedon in the land of the Termilae, they came in time to be called Lycians after Lycus. [4] Their customs are partly Cretan and partly Carian. But they have one which is their own and shared by no other men: they take their names not from their fathers but from their mothers, [5] and when one is asked by his neighbor who he is, he will say that he is the son of such a mother, and rehearse the mothers of his mother. Indeed, if a female citizen marries a slave, her children are considered pure-blooded; but if a male citizen, even the most prominent of them, takes an alien wife or concubine, the children are dishonored. 174. Neither the Carians nor any Greeks who dwell in this country did any thing notable before they were all enslaved by Harpagus. [2] Among those who inhabit it are certain Cnidians, colonists from Lacedaemon. Their country (it is called the Triopion) lies between the sea and that part of the peninsula which belongs to Bubassus, and all but a small part of the Cnidian territory is washed by the sea [3] (for it is bounded on the north by the gulf of Ceramicus, and on the south by the sea off Syme and Rhodes). Now while Harpagus was conquering Ionia, the Cnidians dug a trench across this little space, which is about two-thirds of a mile wide, in order that their country might be an island. So they brought it all within the entrenchment; for the frontier between the Cnidian country and the mainland is on the isthmus across which they dug. [4] Many of them were at this work; and seeing that the workers were injured when breaking stones more often and less naturally than usual, some in other ways, but most in the eyes, the Cnidians sent envoys to Delphi to inquire what it was that opposed them. [5] Then, as they themselves say, the priestess gave them this answer in iambic verse: ““Do not wall or trench the isthmus: Zeus would have given you an island, if he had wanted to.” ” [6] At this answer from the priestess, the Cnidians stopped their digging, and when Harpagus came against them with his army they surrendered to him without resistance. 175. There were Pedaseans dwelling inland above Halicarnassus; when any misfortune was approaching them or their neighbors, the priestess of Athena grew a long beard. This had happened to them thrice. These were the only men near Caria who held out for long against Harpagus, and they gave him the most trouble; they fortified a hill called Lide. 176. The Pedaseans were at length taken, and when Harpagus led his army into the plain of Xanthus, the Lycians came out to meet him, and showed themselves courageous fighting few against many; but being beaten and driven into the city, they gathered their wives and children and goods and servants into the acropolis, and then set the whole acropolis on fire. [2] Then they swore great oaths to each other, and sallying out fell fighting, all the men of Xanthus. [3] Of the Xanthians who claim now to be Lycians the greater number, all except eighty households, are of foreign descent; these eighty families as it happened were away from the city at that time, and thus survived. So Harpagus gained Xanthus, and Caunus too in a somewhat similar manner, the Caunians following for the most part the example of the Lycians. 177. Harpagus, then, made havoc of lower Asia; in the upper country, Cyrus himself vanquished every nation, leaving none untouched. Of the greater part of these I will say nothing, but will speak only of those which gave Cyrus the most trouble and are most worthy of being described. 178. When Cyrus had made all the mainland submit to him, he attacked the Assyrians. In Assyria there are many other great cities, but the most famous and the strongest was Babylon, where the royal dwelling had been established after the destruction of Ninus.61 Babylon was a city such as I will now describe. [2] It lies in a great plain, and is in shape a square, each side fifteen miles in length; thus sixty miles make the complete circuit of the city. Such is the size of the city of Babylon; and it was planned like no other city of which we know. [3] Around it runs first a moat deep and wide and full of water, and then a wall eighty three feet thick and three hundred thirty three feet high. The royal measure is greater by three fingers' breadth than the common measure.62 179. Further, I must relate where the earth was used as it was dug from the moat and how the wall was constructed. As they dug the moat, they made bricks of the earth which was carried out of the place they dug, and when they had moulded bricks enough, they baked them in ovens; [2] then using hot bitumen for cement and interposing layers of wattled reeds at every thirtieth course of bricks, they built first the border of the moat and then the wall itself in the same fashion. [3] On the top, along the edges of the wall, they built houses of a single room, facing each other, with space enough between to drive a four-horse chariot. There are a hundred gates in the circuit of the wall, all of bronze, with posts and lintels of the same. [4] There is another city, called Is,63 eight days' journey from Babylon, where there is a little river, also named Is, a tributary of the Euphrates river; from the source of this river Is, many lumps of bitumen rise with the water; and from there the bitumen was brought for the wall of Babylon. 180. Thus, then, this wall was built; the city is divided into two parts; for it is cut in half by a river named Euphrates, a wide, deep, and swift river, flowing from Armenia and issuing into the Red Sea. [2] The angles of the wall, then, on either side are built quite down to the river; here they turn, and from here a fence of baked bricks runs along each bank of the stream. [3] The city itself is full of houses three and four stories high; and the ways that traverse it, those that run crosswise towards the river and the rest, are all straight. [4] Further, at the end of each road there was a gate in the riverside fence, one gate for each alley; these gates also were of bronze, and these too opened on the river. 181. These walls are the city's outer armor; within them there is another encircling wall, nearly as strong as the other, but narrower. [2] In the middle of one division of the city stands the royal palace, surrounded by a high and strong wall; and in the middle of the other is still to this day the sacred enclosure of Zeus Belus,64 a square of four hundred and forty yards each way, with gates of bronze. [3] In the center of this sacred enclosure a solid tower has been built, two hundred and twenty yards long and broad; a second tower rises from this and from it yet another, until at last there are eight. [4] The way up them mounts spirally outside the height of the towers; about halfway up is a resting place, with seats for repose, where those who ascend sit down and rest. [5] In the last tower there is a great shrine; and in it stands a great and well-covered couch, and a golden table nearby. But no image has been set up in the shrine, nor does any human creature lie there for the night, except one native woman, chosen from all women by the god, as the Chaldaeans say, who are priests of this god. 182. These same Chaldaeans say (though I do not believe them) that the god himself is accustomed to visit the shrine and rest on the couch, as in Thebes of Egypt, as the Egyptians say [2] (for there too a woman sleeps in the temple of Theban Zeus,65 and neither the Egyptian nor the Babylonian woman, it is said, has intercourse with men), and as does the prophetess of the god66 at Patara in Lycia, whenever she is appointed; for there is not always a place of divination there; but when she is appointed she is shut up in the temple during the night. 183. In the Babylonian temple there is another shrine below, where there is a great golden image of Zeus, sitting at a great golden table, and the footstool and the chair are also gold; the gold of the whole was said by the Chaldeans to be eight hundred talents' weight. [2] Outside the temple is a golden altar. There is also another great altar, on which are sacrificed the full-grown of the flocks; only nurslings may be sacrificed on the golden altar, but on the greater altar the Chaldeans even offer a thousand talents' weight of frankincense yearly, when they keep the festival of this god; and in the days of Cyrus there was still in this sacred enclosure a statue of solid gold twenty feet high. [3] I myself have not seen it, but I relate what is told by the Chaldeans. Darius son of Hystaspes proposed to take this statue but dared not; Xerxes his son took it, and killed the priest who warned him not to move the statue. Such is the furniture of this temple, and there are many private offerings besides. 184. Now among the many rulers of this city of Babylon (whom I shall mention in my Assyrian history) who finished the building of the walls and the temples, there were two that were women. The first of these lived five generations earlier than the second, and her name was Semiramis: it was she who built dikes on the plain, a notable work; before that the whole plain used to be flooded by the river. 185. The second queen, whose name was Nitocris, was a wiser woman than the first. She left such monuments as I shall record; and moreover, seeing that the kingdom of Media was great and restless and Ninus itself among other cities had fallen to it, she took such precautions as she could for her protection. [2] First she dealt with the river Euphrates, which flows through the middle of her city; this had been straight before; but by digging canals higher up she made the river so crooked that its course now passes one of the Assyrian villages three times; the village which is so approached by the Euphrates is called Ardericca. And now those who travel from our sea to Babylon must spend three days as they float down the Euphrates coming three times to the same village. [3] Such was this work; and she built an embankment along either shore of the river, marvellous for its greatness and height. [4] Then a long way above Babylon she dug the reservoir of a lake, a little way off from the river, always digging deep enough to find water, and making the circumference a distance of fifty two miles; what was dug out of this hole, she used to embank either edge of the river; [5] and when she had it all dug, she brought stones and made a quay all around the lake. [6] Her purpose in making the river wind and turning the hole into marsh was this: that the current might be slower because of the many windings that broke its force, and that the passages to Babylon might be crooked, and that right after them should come also the long circuit of the lake. [7] All this work was done in that part of the country where the passes are and the shortest road from Media, so that the Medes might not mix with her people and learn of her affairs. 186. So she made the deep river her protection; and this work led to another which she added to it. Her city was divided into two parts by the river that flowed through the middle. In the days of the former rulers, when one wanted to go from one part to the other, one had to cross in a boat; and this, I suppose, was a nuisance. But the queen also provided for this; she made another monument of her reign out of this same work when the digging of the basin of the lake was done. [2] She had very long blocks of stone cut; and when these were ready and the place was dug, she turned the course of the river into it, and while it was filling, the former channel now being dry, she bricked the borders of the river in the city and the descent from the gate leading down to the river with baked bricks, like those of the wall; and near the middle of the city she built a bridge with the stones that had been dug up, binding them together with iron and lead. [3] Each morning, she laid square-hewn logs across it, on which the Babylonians crossed; but these logs were removed at night, lest folk always be crossing over and stealing from one another. [4] Then, when the basin she had made for a lake was filled by the river and the bridge was finished, Nitocris brought the Euphrates back to its former channel out of the lake; thus she had served her purpose, as she thought, by making a swamp of the basin, and her citizens had a bridge made for them. 187. There was a trick, too, that this same queen contrived. She had a tomb made for herself and set high over the very gate of that entrance of the city which was used most, with writing engraved on the tomb, which read: [2] “If any king of Babylon in the future is in need of money, let him open this tomb and take as much as he likes: but let him not open it unless he is in need; for it will be the worse for him.” [3] This tomb remained untouched until the kingship fell to Darius. He thought it a very strange thing that he should never use this gate, or take the money when it lay there and the writing itself invited him to. [4] The reason he did not use the gate was that the dead body would be over his head as he passed through. [5] After opening the tomb, he found no money there, only the dead body, with writing which read: “If you were ever satisfied with what you had and did not disgrace yourself seeking more, you would not have opened the coffins of the dead.” Such a woman, it is recorded, was this queen. 188. Cyrus, then, marched against Nitocris' son, who inherited the name of his father Labynetus and the sovereignty of Assyria. Now when the Great King campaigns, he marches well provided with food and flocks from home; and water from the Choaspes river that flows past Susa is carried with him, the only river from which the king will drink. [2] This water of the Choaspes67 is boiled, and very many four-wheeled wagons drawn by mules carry it in silver vessels, following the king wherever he goes at any time. 189. When Cyrus reached the Gyndes river on his march to Babylon,68 which rises in the mountains of the Matieni and flows through the Dardanean country into another river, the Tigris, that again passes the city of Opis and empties into the Red Sea—when, I say, Cyrus tried to cross the Gyndes, which was navigable there, one of his sacred white horses dashed recklessly into the river trying to get through it, but the current overwhelmed him and swept him under and away. [2] At this violence of the river Cyrus was very angry, and he threatened to make it so feeble that women could ever after cross it easily without wetting their knees. [3] After uttering this threat, he paused in his march against Babylon, and, dividing his army into two parts, drew lines planning out a hundred and eighty canals running every way from either bank of the Gyndes; then he organized his army along the lines and made them dig. [4] Since a great multitude was at work, it went quickly; but they spent the whole summer there before it was finished. 190. Then at the beginning of the following spring, when Cyrus had punished the Gyndes by dividing it among the three hundred and sixty canals, he marched against Babylon at last. The Babylonians sallied out and awaited him; and when he came near their city in his march, they engaged him, but they were beaten and driven inside the city. [2] There they had stored provisions enough for very many years, because they knew already that Cyrus was not a man of no ambitition, and saw that he attacked all nations alike; so now they were indifferent to the siege; and Cyrus did not know what to do, being so long delayed and gaining no advantage. 191. Whether someone advised him in his difficulty, or whether he perceived for himself what to do, I do not know, but he did the following. [2] He posted his army at the place where the river goes into the city, and another part of it behind the city, where the river comes out of the city, and told his men to enter the city by the channel of the Euphrates when they saw it to be fordable. Having disposed them and given this command, he himself marched away with those of his army who could not fight; [3] and when he came to the lake, Cyrus dealt with it and with the river just as had the Babylonian queen: drawing off the river by a canal into the lake, which was a marsh, he made the stream sink until its former channel could be forded. [4] When this happened, the Persians who were posted with this objective made their way into Babylon by the channel of the Euphrates, which had now sunk to a depth of about the middle of a man's thigh. [5] Now if the Babylonians had known beforehand or learned what Cyrus was up to, they would have let the Persians enter the city and have destroyed them utterly; for then they would have shut all the gates that opened on the river and mounted the walls that ran along the river banks, and so caught their enemies in a trap. [6] But as it was, the Persians took them unawares, and because of the great size of the city (those who dwell there say) those in the outer parts of it were overcome, but the inhabitants of the middle part knew nothing of it; all this time they were dancing and celebrating a holiday which happened to fall then, until they learned the truth only too well. 192. And Babylon, then for the first time, was taken in this way. I shall show how great the power of Babylon is by many other means, but particularly by this. All the land that the great King rules is parcelled out to provision him and his army, and pays tribute besides: now the territory of Babylon feeds him for four of the twelve months in the year, the whole of the rest of Asia providing for the other eight. [2] Thus the wealth of Assyria is one third of the entire wealth of Asia. The governorship of this land, which the Persians call “satrapy,” is by far the most powerful of all the governorships, since the daily income of Tritantaechmes son of Artabazus, who governed this province by the king's will, was an artaba full of silver [3] (the artaba is a Persian measure, containing more than an Attic medimnus by three Attic choenixes),69 and besides warhorses he had eight hundred stallions in his stables, and sixteen thousand brood mares, each stallion servicing twenty mares. [4] Moreover he kept so great a number of Indian dogs that four great villages of the plain were appointed to provide food for the dogs and exempted from all other burdens. Such were the riches of the governor of Babylon. 193. There is little rain in Assyria. This nourishes the roots of the grain; but it is irrigation from the river that ripens the crop and brings the grain to fullness. In Egypt, the river itself rises and floods the fields; in Assyria, they are watered by hand and by swinging beams.70 [2] For the whole land of Babylon, like Egypt, is cut across by canals. The greatest of these is navigable: it runs towards where the sun rises in winter, from the Euphrates to another river, the Tigris, on which stood the city of Ninus. This land is by far the most fertile in grain which we know. [3] It does not even try to bear trees, fig, vine, or olive, but Demeter's grain is so abundant there that it yields for the most part two hundred fold, and even three hundred fold when the harvest is best. The blades of the wheat and barley there are easily four fingers broad; [4] and for millet and sesame, I will not say to what height they grow, though it is known to me; for I am well aware that even what I have said regarding grain is wholly disbelieved by those who have never visited Babylonia. They use no oil except what they make from sesame.71 There are palm trees there growing all over the plain, most of them yielding fruit, from which food is made and wine and honey. [5] The Assyrians tend these like figs, and chiefly in this respect, that they tie the fruit of the palm called male by the Greeks to the date-bearing palm, so that the gall-fly may enter the dates and cause them to ripen, and that the fruit of the palm may not fall; for the male palms, like unripened figs, have gall-flies in their fruit. 194. I am going to indicate what seems to me to be the most marvellous thing in the country, next to the city itself. Their boats which ply the river and go to Babylon are all of skins, and round. [2] They make these in Armenia, higher up the stream than Assyria. First they cut frames of willow, then they stretch hides over these for a covering, making as it were a hold; they neither broaden the stern nor narrow the prow, but the boat is round, like a shield. They then fill it with reeds and send it floating down the river with a cargo; and it is for the most part palm wood casks of wine that they carry down. [3] Two men standing upright steer the boat, each with a paddle, one drawing it to him, the other thrusting it from him. These boats are of all sizes, some small, some very large; the largest of them are of as much as five thousand talents72 burden. There is a live ass in each boat, or more than one in the larger. [4] So when they have floated down to Babylon and disposed of their cargo, they sell the framework of the boat and all the reeds; the hides are set on the backs of asses, which are then driven back to Armenia, [5] for it is not by any means possible to go upstream by water, because of the swiftness of the current; it is for this reason that they make their boats of hides and not of wood. When they have driven their asses back into Armenia, they make more boats in the same way. 195. Such then are their boats. For clothing, they wear a linen tunic, reaching to the feet; over this the Babylonian puts on another tunic, of wool, and wraps himself in a white mantle; he wears the shoes of his country, which are like Boeotian sandals. Their hair is worn long, and covered by caps; the whole body is perfumed. [2] Every man has a seal and a carved staff, and on every staff is some image, such as that of an apple or a rose or a lily or an eagle: no one carries a staff without an image. 196. This is the equipment of their persons. I will now speak of their established customs. The wisest of these, in our judgment, is one which I have learned by inquiry is also a custom of the Eneti in Illyria. It is this: once a year in every village all the maidens as they attained marriageable age were collected and brought together into one place, with a crowd of men standing around. [2] Then a crier would display and offer them for sale one by one, first the fairest of all; and then, when she had fetched a great price, he put up for sale the next most attractive, selling all the maidens as lawful wives. Rich men of Assyria who desired to marry would outbid each other for the fairest; the ordinary people, who desired to marry and had no use for beauty, could take the ugly ones and money besides; [3] for when the crier had sold all the most attractive, he would put up the one that was least beautiful, or crippled, and offer her to whoever would take her to wife for the least amount, until she fell to one who promised to accept least; the money came from the sale of the attractive ones, who thus paid the dowry of the ugly and the crippled. But a man could not give his daughter in marriage to whomever he liked, nor could one that bought a girl take her away without giving security that he would in fact make her his wife. [4] And if the couple could not agree, it was a law that the money be returned. Men might also come from other villages to buy if they so desired. [5] This, then, was their best custom; but it does not continue at this time; they have invented a new one lately [so that the women not be wronged or taken to another city]; since the conquest of Babylon made them afflicted and poor, everyone of the people that lacks a livelihood prostitutes his daughters. 197. I come now to the next wisest of their customs: having no use for physicians, they carry the sick into the market-place; then those who have been afflicted themselves by the same illness as the sick man's, or seen others in like case, come near and advise him about his disease and comfort him, telling him by what means they have themselves recovered from it or seen others recover. No one may pass by the sick man without speaking and asking after his sickness. 198. The dead are embalmed in honey for burial, and their dirges are like the dirges of Egypt. Whenever a Babylonian has had intercourse with his wife, they both sit before a burnt offering of incense, and at dawn they wash themselves; they will touch no vessel before this is done. This is the custom in Arabia also. 199. The foulest Babylonian custom is that which compels every woman of the land to sit in the temple of Aphrodite and have intercourse with some stranger once in her life. Many women who are rich and proud and disdain to mingle with the rest, drive to the temple in covered carriages drawn by teams, and stand there with a great retinue of attendants. [2] But most sit down in the sacred plot of Aphrodite, with crowns of cord on their heads; there is a great multitude of women coming and going; passages marked by line run every way through the crowd, by which the men pass and make their choice. [3] Once a woman has taken her place there, she does not go away to her home before some stranger has cast money into her lap, and had intercourse with her outside the temple; but while he casts the money, he must say, “I invite you in the name of Mylitta” (that is the Assyrian name for Aphrodite). [4] It does not matter what sum the money is; the woman will never refuse, for that would be a sin, the money being by this act made sacred. So she follows the first man who casts it and rejects no one. After their intercourse, having discharged her sacred duty to the goddess, she goes away to her home; and thereafter there is no bribe however great that will get her. [5] So then the women that are fair and tall are soon free to depart, but the uncomely have long to wait because they cannot fulfill the law; for some of them remain for three years, or four. There is a custom like this in some parts of Cyprus. 200. These are established customs among the Babylonians. Furthermore, there are three tribes in the country that eat nothing but fish, which they catch and dry in the sun; then, after throwing it into a mortar, they pound it with pestles and strain everything through linen. Then whoever desires kneads as it were a cake of it and eats it; others bake it like bread. 201. When Cyrus had conquered this nation, too, he wanted to subject the Massagetae. These are said to be a great and powerful people dwelling towards the east and the sunrise, beyond the Araxes and opposite the Issedones; and some say that they are a Scythian people. 202. The Araxes is said by some to be greater and by some to be less than the Ister. It is reported that there are many islands in it as big as Lesbos, and men on them who in summer live on roots of all kinds that they dig up, and in winter on fruit that they have got from trees when it was ripe and stored for food; [2] and they know (it is said) of trees bearing a fruit whose effect is this: gathering in groups and kindling a fire, the people sit around it and throw the fruit into the flames; then the fumes of it as it burns make them drunk as the Greeks are with wine, and more and more drunk as more fruit is thrown on the fire, until at last they rise up to dance and even sing. Such is said to be their way of life. [3] The Araxes73 flows from the country of the Matieni (as does the Gyndes, which Cyrus divided into the three hundred and sixty channels) and empties itself through forty mouths, of which all except one issue into bogs and swamps, where men are said to live whose food is raw fish, and their customary dress sealskins. [4] The one remaining stream of the Araxes flows in a clear channel into the Caspian sea. This is a sea by itself, not joined to the other sea. For that on which the Greeks sail, and the sea beyond the pillars of Heracles, which they call Atlantic, and the Red Sea, are all one: 203. but the Caspian is separate and by itself. Its length is what a ship rowed by oars can traverse in fifteen days, and its breadth, where it is broadest, is an eight days' journey. Along its western shore stretches the range of Caucasus, which has more and higher peaks than any other range. Many and all kinds of nations dwell in the Caucasus, and the most of them live on the fruits of the forest. [2] Here, it is said, are trees growing leaves that men crush and mix with water and use for painting figures on their clothing; these figures cannot be washed out, but last as long as the wool, as if they had been woven into it from the first. Men and women here (they say) have intercourse openly, like beasts of the flock. 204. This sea called Caspian is hemmed in to the west by the Caucasus: towards the east and the sunrise there stretches from its shores a boundless plain as far as the eye can see. The greater part of this wide plain is the country of the Massagetae, against whom Cyrus was eager to lead his army. [2] For there were many weighty reasons that impelled and encouraged him to do so: first, his birth, because of which he seemed to be something more than mortal; and next, his victories in his wars: for no nation that Cyrus undertook to attack could escape from him. 205. Now at this time the Massagetae were ruled by a queen called Tomyris, whose husband was dead. Cyrus sent a message with a pretence of wanting her for his wife, but Tomyris would have none of his advances, well understanding that he wanted not her but the kingdom of the Massagetae. [2] So when guile was of no avail, Cyrus marched to the Araxes and openly prepared to attack the Massagetae; he bridged the river for his army to cross, and built towers on the pontoons bridging the river. 206. But while he was busy at this, Tomyris sent a herald to him with this message: “O king of the Medes, stop hurrying on what you are hurrying on, for you cannot know whether the completion of this work will be for your advantage. Stop, and be king of your own country; and endure seeing us ruling those whom we rule. [2] But if you will not take this advice, and will do anything rather than remain at peace, then if you so greatly desire to try the strength of the Massagetae, stop your present work of bridging the river, and let us withdraw three days' journey from the Araxes; and when that is done, cross into our country. [3] Or if you prefer to receive us into your country, then withdraw yourself as I have said.” Hearing this, Cyrus called together the leading Persians and laid the matter before them, asking them to advise him which he should do. They all spoke to the same end, urging him to let Tomyris and her army enter his country. 207. But Croesus the Lydian, who was present, was displeased by their advice and spoke against it. “O King,” he said, “you have before now heard from me that since Zeus has given me to you I will turn aside to the best of my ability whatever misadventure I see threatening your house. And disaster has been my teacher. [2] Now, if you think that you and the army that you lead are immortal, I have no business giving you advice; but if you know that you and those whom you rule are only men, then I must first teach you this: men's fortunes are on a wheel, which in its turning does not allow the same man to prosper forever. [3] So, if that is the case, I am not of the same opinion about the business in hand as these other counsellors of yours. This is the danger if we agree to let the enemy enter your country: if you lose the battle, you lose your empire also, for it is plain that if the Massagetae win they will not retreat but will march against your provinces. [4] And if you conquer them, it is a lesser victory than if you crossed into their country and routed the Massagetae and pursued them; for I weigh your chances against theirs, and suppose that when you have beaten your adversaries you will march for the seat of Tomyris' power. [5] And besides what I have shown, it would be a shameful thing and not to be endured if Cyrus the son of Cambyses should yield and give ground before a woman. Now then, it occurs to me that we should cross and go forward as far as they draw back, and that then we should endeavor to overcome them by doing as I shall show. [6] As I understand, the Massagetae have no experience of the good things of Persia, and have never fared well as to what is greatly desirable. Therefore, I advise you to cut up the meat of many of your sheep and goats into generous portions for these men, and to cook it and serve it as a feast in our camp, providing many bowls of unmixed wine and all kinds of food. [7] Then let your army withdraw to the river again, leaving behind that part of it which is of least value. For if I am not mistaken in my judgment, when the Massagetae see so many good things they will give themselves over to feasting on them; and it will be up to us then to accomplish great things.” 208. So these opinions clashed; and Cyrus set aside his former plan and chose that of Croesus; consequently, he told Tomyris to draw her army off, for he would cross (he said) and attack her; so she withdrew as she had promised before. Then he entrusted Croesus to the care of his own son Cambyses, to whom he would leave his sovereignty, telling Cambyses to honor Croesus and treat him well if the crossing of the river against the Massagetae should not go well. With these instructions, he sent the two back to Persia, and he and his army crossed the river. 209. After he had crossed the Araxes, he dreamed that night while sleeping in the country of the Massagetae that he saw the eldest of Hystapes' sons with wings on his shoulders, the one wing overshadowing Asia and the other Europe. [2] Hystaspes son of Arsames was an Achaemenid, and Darius was the eldest of his sons, then about twenty years old; this Darius had been left behind in Persia, not yet being of an age to go on campaign. [3] So when Cyrus awoke he considered his vision, and because it seemed to him to be of great importance, he sent for Hystaspes and said to him privately, “Hystaspes, I have caught your son plotting against me and my sovereignty; and I will tell you how I know this for certain. [4] The gods care for me and show me beforehand all that is coming. Now then, I have seen in a dream in the past night your eldest son with wings on his shoulders, overshadowing Asia with the one and Europe with the other. [5] From this vision, there is no way that he is not plotting against me. Therefore hurry back to Persia, and see that when I come back after subjecting this country you bring your son before me to be questioned about this.” 210. Cyrus said this, thinking that Darius was plotting against him; but in fact, heaven was showing him that he himself was to die in the land where he was and Darius inherit his kingdom. [2] So then Hystaspes replied with this: “O King, may there not be any Persian born who would plot against you! But if there is, may he perish suddenly; for you have made the Persians free men instead of slaves and rulers of all instead of subjects of any. [3] But if your vision does indeed signify that my son is planning revolution, I give him to you to treat as you like.” 211. After having given this answer and crossed the Araxes, Hystaspes went to Persia to watch his son for Cyrus; and Cyrus, advancing a day's journey from the Araxes, acted according to Croesus' advice. [2] Cyrus and the sound portion of the Persian army marched back to the Araxes, leaving behind those that were useless; a third of the Massagetae forces attacked those of the army who were left behind and destroyed them despite resistance; then, when they had overcome their enemies, seeing the banquet spread they sat down and feasted, and after they had had their fill of food and wine, they fell asleep. [3] Then the Persians attacked them, killing many and taking many more alive, among whom was the son of Tomyris the queen, Spargapises by name, the leader of the Massagetae. 212. When Tomyris heard what had happened to her army and her son, she sent a herald to Cyrus with this message: [2] “Cyrus who can never get enough blood, do not be elated by what you have done; it is nothing to be proud of if, by the fruit of the vine—with which you Persians fill yourselves and rage so violently that evil words rise in a flood to your lips when the wine enters your bodies—if, by tricking him with this drug, you got the better of my son, and not by force of arms in battle. [3] Now, then, take a word of good advice from me: give me back my son and leave this country unpunished, even though you have savaged a third of the Massagetae army. But if you will not, then I swear to you by the sun, lord of the Massagetae, that I shall give even you who can never get enough of it your fill of blood.” 213. Cyrus dismissed this warning when it was repeated to him. But Spargapises, the son of the queen Tomyris, after the wine wore off and he recognized his evil plight, asked Cyrus to be freed from his bonds; and this was granted him; but as soon as he was freed and had the use of his hands, he did away with himself. 214. Such was the end of Spargapises. Tomyris, when Cyrus would not listen to her, collected all her forces and engaged him. This fight I judge to have been the fiercest ever fought by men that were not Greek; and indeed I have learned that this was so. [2] For first (it is said) they shot arrows at each other from a distance; then, when their arrows were all spent, they rushed at each other and fought with their spears and swords; and for a long time they stood fighting and neither would give ground; but at last the Massagetae got the upper hand. [3] The greater part of the Persian army was destroyed there on the spot, and Cyrus himself fell there, after having reigned for one year short of thirty years. [4] Tomyris filled a skin with human blood, and searched among the Persian dead for Cyrus' body; and when she found it, she pushed his head into the skin, and insulted the dead man in these words: [5] “Though I am alive and have defeated you in battle, you have destroyed me, taking my son by guile; but just as I threatened, I give you your fill of blood.” Many stories are told of Cyrus' death; this, that I have told, is the most credible. 215. These Massagetae are like the Scythians in their dress and way of life. They are both cavalry and infantry (having some of each kind), and spearmen and archers; and it is their custom to carry battle-axes. They always use gold and bronze; all their spear-points and arrow-heads and battle-axes are bronze and the adornment of their headgear and belts and girdles is gold. [2] They equip their horses similarly, protecting their chests with bronze breastplates and putting gold on reins, bits, and cheekplates. But they never use iron and silver, for there is none at all in their country, but gold and bronze abound. 216. Now for their customs: each man marries a wife, but the wives are common to all. The Greeks say this is a Scythian custom; it is not, but a custom of the Massagetae. There, when a man desires a woman, he hangs his quiver before her wagon, and has intercourse with her without fear. [2] Though they fix no certain term to life, yet when a man is very old all his family meet together and kill him, with beasts of the flock besides, then boil the flesh and feast on it. [3] This is held to be the happiest death; when a man dies of an illness, they do not eat him, but bury him in the earth, and lament that he did not live to be killed. They never plant seed; their fare is their livestock and the fish which they take in abundance from the Araxes. [4] Their drink is milk. The sun is the only god whom they worship; they sacrifice horses to him; the reasoning is that he is the swiftest of the gods, and therefore they give him the swiftest of mortal things.