Herodotus The Histories Book 4 After taking Babylon, Darius himself marched against the Scythians. For since Asia was bursting with men and vast revenues were coming in, Darius desired to punish the Scythians for the wrong they had begun when they invaded Media first and defeated those who opposed them in battle.  For the Scythians, as I have said before, ruled upper Asia1 for twenty-eight years; they invaded Asia in their pursuit of the Cimmerians, and ended the power of the Medes, who were the rulers of Asia before the Scythians came.  But when the Scythians had been away from their homes for twenty-eight years and returned to their country after so long an absence, as much trouble as their Median war awaited them. They found themselves opposed by a great force; for the Scythian women, when their husbands were away for so long, turned to their slaves. 2. Now the Scythians blind all their slaves, because of the milk2 they drink; and this is how they get it: taking tubes of bone very much like flutes, they insert these into the genitalia of the mares and blow into them, some blowing while others milk. According to them, their reason for doing this is that blowing makes the mare's veins swell and her udder drop.  When done milking, they pour the milk into deep wooden buckets, and make their slaves stand around the buckets and shake the milk; they draw off what stands on the surface and value this most; what lies at the bottom is less valued. This is why the Scythians blind all prisoners whom they take: for they do not cultivate the soil, but are nomads. 3. So it came about that a younger generation grew up, born of these slaves and the women; and when the youths learned of their parentage, they came out to fight the Scythians returning from Media.  First they barred the way to their country by digging a wide trench from the Tauric mountains to the broadest part of the Maeetian lake;3 and then, when the Scythians tried to force a passage, they camped opposite them and engaged them in battle.  There were many fights, and the Scythians could gain no advantage; at last one of them said, “Men of Scythia, look at what we are doing! We are fighting our own slaves; they kill us, and we grow fewer; we kill them, and shall have fewer slaves.  Now, then, my opinion is that we should drop our spears and bows, and meet them with horsewhips in our hands. As long as they see us armed, they imagine that they are our equals and the sons of our equals; let them see us with whips and no weapons, and they will perceive that they are our slaves; and taking this to heart they will not face our attack.” 4. The Scythians heard this and acted on it; and their enemies, stunned by what they saw, did not think of fighting, but fled. Thus, the Scythians ruled Asia and were driven out again by the Medes, and returned to their own country in such a way. Desiring to punish them for what they had done, Darius assembled an army against them. 5. The Scythians say that their nation is the youngest in the world, and that it came into being in this way. A man whose name was Targitaüs appeared in this country, which was then desolate. They say that his parents were Zeus and a daughter of the Borysthenes river (I do not believe the story, but it is told).4  Such was Targitaüs' lineage; and he had three sons: Lipoxaïs, Arpoxaïs, and Colaxaïs, youngest of the three.  In the time of their rule (the story goes) certain implements—namely, a plough, a yoke, a sword, and a flask, all of gold—fell down from the sky into Scythia. The eldest of them, seeing these, approached them meaning to take them; but the gold began to burn as he neared, and he stopped.  Then the second approached, and the gold did as before. When these two had been driven back by the burning gold, the youngest brother approached and the burning stopped, and he took the gold to his own house. In view of this, the elder brothers agreed to give all the royal power to the youngest. 6. Lipoxaïs, it is said, was the father of the Scythian clan called Auchatae; Arpoxaïs, the second brother, of those called Katiari and Traspians; the youngest, who was king, of those called Paralatae.  All these together bear the name of Skoloti, after their king; “Scythians” is the name given them by Greeks. This, then, is the Scythians' account of their origin, 7. and they say that neither more nor less than a thousand years in all passed from the time of their first king Targitaüs to the entry of Darius into their country. The kings guard this sacred gold very closely, and every year offer solemn sacrifices of propitiation to it.  Whoever falls asleep at this festival in the open air, having the sacred gold with him, is said by the Scythians not to live out the year; for which reason5 (they say) as much land as he can ride round in one day is given to him. Because of the great size of the country, the lordships that Colaxaïs established for his sons were three, one of which, where they keep the gold, was the greatest.  Above and north of the neighbors of their country no one (they say) can see or travel further, because of showers of feathers;6 for earth and sky are full of feathers, and these hinder sight. 8. This is what the Scythians say about themselves and the country north of them. But the story told by the Greeks who live in Pontus is as follows. Heracles, driving the cattle of Geryones, came to this land, which was then desolate, but is now inhabited by the Scythians.  Geryones lived west of the Pontus,7 settled in the island called by the Greeks Erythea, on the shore of Ocean near Gadira, outside the pillars of Heracles. As for Ocean, the Greeks say that it flows around the whole world from where the sun rises, but they cannot prove that this is so.  Heracles came from there to the country now called Scythia, where, encountering wintry and frosty weather, he drew his lion's skin over him and fell asleep, and while he slept his mares, which were grazing yoked to the chariot, were spirited away by divine fortune. 9. When Heracles awoke, he searched for them, visiting every part of the country, until at last he came to the land called the Woodland, and there he found in a cave a creature of double form that was half maiden and half serpent; above the buttocks she was a woman, below them a snake.  When he saw her he was astonished, and asked her if she had seen his mares straying; she said that she had them, and would not return them to him before he had intercourse with her; Heracles did, in hope of this reward.  But though he was anxious to take the horses and go, she delayed returning them, so that she might have Heracles with her for as long as possible; at last she gave them back, telling him, “These mares came, and I kept them safe here for you, and you have paid me for keeping them, for I have three sons by you.  Now tell me what I am to do when they are grown up: shall I keep them here (since I am queen of this country), or shall I send them away to you?” Thus she inquired, and then (it is said) Heracles answered:  “When you see the boys are grown up, do as follows and you will do rightly: whichever of them you see bending this bow and wearing this belt so, make him an inhabitant of this land; but whoever falls short of these accomplishments that I require, send him away out of the country. Do so and you shall yourself have comfort, and my will shall be done.” 10. So he drew one of his bows (for until then Heracles always carried two), and showed her the belt, and gave her the bow and the belt, that had a golden vessel on the end of its clasp; and, having given them, he departed. But when the sons born to her were grown men, she gave them names, calling one of them Agathyrsus and the next Gelonus and the youngest Scythes; furthermore, remembering the instructions, she did as she was told.  Two of her sons, Agathyrsus and Gelonus, were cast out by their mother and left the country, unable to fulfill the requirements set; but Scythes, the youngest, fulfilled them and so stayed in the land.  From Scythes son of Heracles comes the whole line of the kings of Scythia; and it is because of the vessel that the Scythians carry vessels on their belts to this day. This alone his mother did for Scythes. This is what the Greek dwellers in Pontus say. 11. There is yet another story, to which account I myself especially incline. It is to this effect. The nomadic Scythians inhabiting Asia, when hard pressed in war by the Massagetae, fled across the Araxes8 river to the Cimmerian country (for the country which the Scythians now inhabit is said to have belonged to the Cimmerians before),  and the Cimmerians, at the advance of the Scythians, deliberated as men threatened by a great force should. Opinions were divided; both were strongly held, but that of the princes was the more honorable; for the people believed that their part was to withdraw and that there was no need to risk their lives for the dust of the earth; but the princes were for fighting to defend their country against the attackers.  Neither side could persuade the other, neither the people the princes nor the princes the people; the one party planned to depart without fighting and leave the country to their enemies, but the princes were determined to lie dead in their own country and not to flee with the people, for they considered how happy their situation had been and what ills were likely to come upon them if they fled from their native land.  Having made up their minds, the princes separated into two equal bands and fought with each other until they were all killed by each other's hands; then the Cimmerian people buried them by the Tyras river, where their tombs are still to be seen, and having buried them left the land; and the Scythians came and took possession of the country left empty. 12. And to this day there are Cimmerian walls in Scythia, and a Cimmerian ferry, and there is a country Cimmeria9 and a strait named Cimmerian.  Furthermore, it is evident that the Cimmerians in their flight from the Scythians into Asia also made a colony on the peninsula where the Greek city of Sinope has since been founded; and it is clear that the Scythians pursued them and invaded Media, missing their way;  for the Cimmerians always fled along the coast, and the Scythians pursued with the Caucasus on their right until they came into the Median land, turning inland on their way. That is the other story current among Greeks and foreigners alike. 13. There is also a story related in a poem by Aristeas son of Caüstrobius, a man of Proconnesus. This Aristeas, possessed by Phoebus, visited the Issedones; beyond these (he said) live the one-eyed Arimaspians, beyond whom are the griffins that guard gold, and beyond these again the Hyperboreans, whose territory reaches to the sea.  Except for the Hyperboreans, all these nations (and first the Arimaspians) are always at war with their neighbors; the Issedones were pushed from their lands by the Arimaspians, and the Scythians by the Issedones, and the Cimmerians, living by the southern sea, were hard pressed by the Scythians and left their country. Thus Aristeas' story does not agree with the Scythian account about this country. 14. Where Aristeas who wrote this came from, I have already said; I will tell the story that I heard about him at Proconnesus and Cyzicus. It is said that this Aristeas, who was as well-born as any of his townsfolk, went into a fuller's shop at Proconnesus and there died; the owner shut his shop and went away to tell the dead man's relatives,  and the report of Aristeas' death being spread about in the city was disputed by a man of Cyzicus, who had come from the town of Artace,10 and said that he had met Aristeas going toward Cyzicus and spoken with him. While he argued vehemently, the relatives of the dead man came to the fuller's shop with all that was necessary for burial;  but when the place was opened, there was no Aristeas there, dead or alive. But in the seventh year after that, Aristeas appeared at Proconnesus and made that poem which the Greeks now call the Arimaspea, after which he vanished once again. 15. Such is the tale told in these two towns. But this, I know, happened to the Metapontines in Italy, two hundred and forty years after the second disappearance of Aristeas, as reckoning made at Proconnesus and Metapontum shows me:  Aristeas, so the Metapontines say, appeared in their country and told them to set up an altar to Apollo, and set beside it a statue bearing the name of Aristeas the Proconnesian; for, he said, Apollo had come to their country alone of all Italian lands, and he—the man who was now Aristeas, but then when he followed the god had been a crow—had come with him.  After saying this, he vanished. The Metapontines, so they say, sent to Delphi and asked the god what the vision of the man could mean; and the Pythian priestess told them to obey the vision, saying that their fortune would be better.  They did as instructed. And now there stands beside the image of Apollo a statue bearing the name of Aristeas; a grove of bay-trees surrounds it; the image is set in the marketplace. Let it suffice that I have said this much about Aristeas. 16. As for the land of which my history has begun to speak, no one exactly knows what lies north of it; for I can find out from no one who claims to know as an eyewitness. For even Aristeas, whom I recently mentioned—even he did not claim to have gone beyond the Issedones, even though a poet; but he spoke by hearsay of what lay north, saying that the Issedones had told him.  But all that we have been able to learn for certain by report of the farthest lands shall be told. 17. North of the port of the Borysthenites,11 which lies midway along the coast of Scythia, the first inhabitants are the Callippidae, who are Scythian Greeks; and beyond them another tribe called Alazones; these and the Callippidae, though in other ways they live like the Scythians, plant and eat grain, onions, garlic, lentils, and millet.  Above the Alazones live Scythian farmers, who plant grain not to eat but to sell; north of these, the Neuri; north of the Neuri, the land is uninhabited so far as we know. 18. These are the tribes by the Hypanis river,12 west of the Borysthenes. But on the other side of the Borysthenes, the tribe nearest to the sea is the tribe of the Woodlands; and north of these live Scythian farmers, whom the Greek colonists on the Hypanis river (who call themselves Olbiopolitae) call Borystheneïtae.  These farming Scythians inhabit a land stretching east a three days' journey to a river called Panticapes,13 and north as far as an eleven days' voyage up the Borysthenes; and north of these the land is desolate for a long way;  after the desolation is the country of the Man-eaters, who are a nation apart and by no means Scythian; and beyond them is true desolation, where no nation of men lives, as far as we know. 19. But to the east of these farming Scythians, across the Panticapes river, you are in the land of nomadic Scythians, who plant nothing, nor plough; and all these lands except the Woodlands are bare of trees. These nomads inhabit a country to the east that stretches fourteen days' journey to the Gerrus river.14 20. Across the Gerrus are those lands called Royal, where the best and most numerous of the Scythians are, who consider all other Scythians their slaves; their territory stretches south to the Tauric land, and east to the trench that was dug by the sons of the blind men, and to the port called The Cliffs15 on the Maeetian lake; and part of it stretches to the Tanaïs river.  North of the Royal Scythians live the Blackcloaks, who are of another and not a Scythian stock; and beyond the Blackcloaks the land is all marshes and uninhabited by men, so far as we know. 21. Across the Tanaïs it is no longer Scythia; the first of the districts belongs to the Sauromatae, whose country begins at the inner end of the Maeetian lake and stretches fifteen days' journey north, and is quite bare of both wild and cultivated trees. Above these in the second district, the Budini inhabit a country thickly overgrown with trees of all kinds. 22. North of the Budini the land is uninhabited for seven days' journey; after this desolation, and somewhat more toward the east wind, live the Thyssagetae, a numerous and a separate nation, who live by hunting.  Adjoining these and in the same country live the people called Iyrkae; these also live by hunting, in the way that I will describe. The hunter climbs a tree, and sits there concealed; for trees grow thickly all over the land; and each man has his horse at hand, trained to flatten on its belly for the sake of lowness, and his dog; and when he sees the quarry from the tree, he shoots with the bow and mounts his horse and pursues it, and the dog follows close behind.  Beyond these and somewhat to the east live Scythians again, who revolted from the Royal Scythians and came to this country. 23. As for the countryside of these Scythians, all the land mentioned up to this point is level and its soil deep; but thereafter it is stony and rough.  After a long journey through this rough country, there are men inhabiting the foothills of high mountains, who are said to be bald from birth (male and female alike) and snub-nosed and with long beards; they speak their own language, and wear Scythian clothing, and their food comes from trees.  The tree by which they live is called “Pontic”; it is about the size of a fig-tree, and bears a fruit as big as a bean, with a stone in it. When this fruit is ripe, they strain it through cloth, and a thick black liquid comes from it, which they call “aschu”;16 they lick this up or drink it mixed with milk, and from the thickest lees of it they make cakes, and eat them.  They have few cattle, for the pasture in their land is not good. They each live under a tree, covering it in winter with a white felt cloth, but using no felt in summer.  These people are wronged by no man, for they are said to be sacred; nor have they any weapon of war. They judge the quarrels between their neighbors; furthermore, whatever banished man has taken refuge with them is wronged by no one. They are called Argippeans. 24. Now as far as the land of these bald men, we have full knowledge of the country and the nations on the near side of them; for some of the Scythians make their way to them, from whom it is easy to get knowledge, and from some of the Greeks, too, from the Borysthenes port and the other ports of Pontus; such Scythians as visit them transact their business with seven interpreters and in seven languages. 25. As far as these men this country is known, then, but what lies north of the bald men no one can say with exact knowledge; for high and impassable mountains bar the way, and no one crosses them. These bald men say (although I do not believe them) that the mountains are inhabited by men with goats' feet, and that beyond these are men who sleep for six months of the twelve. This I cannot accept as true at all.  But the country east of the bald-heads is known for certain to be inhabited by the Issedones; however, of what lies north either of the bald-heads or the Issedones we have no knowledge, except what comes from the report of these latter. 26. It is said to be the custom of the Issedones that, whenever a man's father dies, all the nearest of kin bring beasts of the flock and, having killed these and cut up the flesh, they also cut up the dead father of their host, and set out all the flesh mixed together for a feast.  As for his head, they strip it bare and clean and gild it, and keep it for a sacred relic, to which they offer solemn sacrifice yearly. Every son does this for his father, just like the Greeks in their festivals in honor of the dead. In other respects, these are said to be a law-abiding people, too, and the women to have equal power with the men. 27. Of these too, then, we have knowledge; but as for what is north of them, it is from the Issedones that the tale comes of the one-eyed men and the griffins that guard gold; this is told by the Scythians, who have heard it from them; and we have taken it as true from the Scythians, and call these people by the Scythian name, Arimaspians; for in the Scythian tongue “arima” is one, and “spou” is the eye. 28. All the aforesaid country is exceedingly cold: for eight months of every year there is unbearable frost, and during these you do not make mud by pouring out water but by lighting a fire; the sea freezes, as does all the Cimmerian Bosporus; and the Scythians living on this side of the trench lead armies over the ice, and drive their wagons across to the land of the Sindi.  So it is winter for eight months, and cold in that country for the four that remain. Here, there is a different sort of winter than the winters in other lands: for in the season for rain scarcely any falls, but all summer it rains unceasingly;  and when there are thunderstorms in other lands, here there are none, but in summer there are plenty of them; if there is a thunderstorm in winter they are apt to wonder at it as at a portent. And so, too, if there is an earthquake summer or winter, it is considered a portent in Scythia.  Horses have the endurance to bear the Scythian winter; mules and asses cannot bear it at all; and yet in other lands, while asses and mules can endure frost, horses that stand in it are frostbitten. 29. And in my opinion it is for this reason that the hornless kind of cattle grow no horns in Scythia. A verse of Homer in the Odyssey attests to my opinion: ““Libya, the land where lambs are born with horns on their foreheads,” ” Hom. Od. 4.85 in which it is correctly observed that in hot countries the horns grow quickly, whereas in very cold countries beasts hardly grow horns, or not at all. 30. In Scythia, then, this happens because of the cold. But I think it strange (for it was always the way of my history to investigate excurses) that in the whole of Elis no mules can be conceived although the country is not cold, nor is there any evident cause. The Eleans themselves say that it is because of a curse that mules cannot be conceived among them;  but whenever the season is at hand for the mares to conceive, they drive them into the countries of their neighbors, and then send the asses after them, until the mares are pregnant, and then they drive them home again. 31. But regarding the feathers of which the Scythians say that the air is full, so thickly that no one can see or traverse the land beyond, I have this opinion. North of that country snow falls continually, though less in summer than in winter, as is to be expected.  Whoever has seen snow falling thickly near him knows himself my meaning; for snow is like feathers; and because of the winter, which is as I have said, the regions to the north of this continent are uninhabited. I think therefore that in this story of feathers the Scythians and their neighbors only speak of snow figuratively. So, then, I have spoken of those parts that are said to be most distant. 32. Concerning the Hyperborean people, neither the Scythians nor any other inhabitants of these lands tell us anything, except perhaps the Issedones. And, I think, even they say nothing; for if they did, then the Scythians, too, would have told, just as they tell of the one-eyed men. But Hesiod speaks of Hyperboreans, and Homer too in his poem The Heroes' Sons,17 if that is truly the work of Homer. 33. But the Delians18 say much more about them than any others do. They say that offerings wrapped in straw are brought from the Hyperboreans to Scythia; when these have passed Scythia, each nation in turn receives them from its neighbors until they are carried to the Adriatic sea, which is the most westerly limit of their journey;  from there, they are brought on to the south, the people of Dodona being the first Greeks to receive them. From Dodona they come down to the Melian gulf, and are carried across to Euboea, and one city sends them on to another until they come to Carystus; after this, Andros is left out of their journey, for Carystians carry them to Tenos, and Tenians to Delos.  Thus (they say) these offerings come to Delos. But on the first journey, the Hyperboreans sent two maidens bearing the offerings, to whom the Delians give the names Hyperoche and Laodice, and five men of their people with them as escort for safe conduct, those who are now called Perpherees19 and greatly honored at Delos.  But when those whom they sent never returned, they took it amiss that they should be condemned always to be sending people and not getting them back, and so they carry the offerings, wrapped in straw, to their borders, and tell their neighbors to send them on from their own country to the next;  and the offerings, it is said, come by this conveyance to Delos. I can say of my own knowledge that there is a custom like these offerings; namely, that when the Thracian and Paeonian women sacrifice to the Royal Artemis, they have straw with them while they sacrifice. 34. I know that they do this. The Delian girls and boys cut their hair in honor of these Hyperborean maidens, who died at Delos; the girls before their marriage cut off a tress and lay it on the tomb, wound around a spindle  (this tomb is at the foot of an olive-tree, on the left hand of the entrance of the temple of Artemis); the Delian boys twine some of their hair around a green stalk, and lay it on the tomb likewise. 35. In this way, then, these maidens are honored by the inhabitants of Delos. These same Delians relate that two virgins, Arge and Opis, came from the Hyperboreans by way of the aforesaid peoples to Delos earlier than Hyperoche and Laodice;  these latter came to bring to Eileithyia the tribute which they had agreed to pay for easing child-bearing; but Arge and Opis, they say, came with the gods themselves,20 and received honors of their own from the Delians.  For the women collected gifts for them, calling upon their names in the hymn made for them by Olen of Lycia; it was from Delos that the islanders and Ionians learned to sing hymns to Opis and Arge, calling upon their names and collecting gifts (this Olen, after coming from Lycia, also made the other and ancient hymns that are sung at Delos).  Furthermore, they say that when the thighbones are burnt in sacrifice on the altar, the ashes are all cast on the burial-place of Opis and Arge, behind the temple of Artemis, looking east, nearest the refectory of the people of Ceos. 36. I have said this much of the Hyperboreans, and let it suffice; for I do not tell the story of that Abaris, alleged to be a Hyperborean, who carried the arrow over the whole world, fasting all the while. But if there are men beyond the north wind, then there are others beyond the south.  And I laugh to see how many have before now drawn maps of the world, not one of them reasonably; for they draw the world as round as if fashioned by compasses, encircled by the Ocean river, and Asia and Europe of a like extent. For myself, I will in a few words indicate the extent of the two, and how each should be drawn. 37. The land where the Persians live extends to the southern sea which is called Red; beyond these to the north are the Medes, and beyond the Medes the Saspires, and beyond the Saspires the Colchians, whose country extends to the northern sea21 into which the Phasis river flows; so these four nations live between the one sea and the other. 38. But west of this region two peninsulas stretch out from it into the sea, which I will now describe.  On the north side one of the peninsulas begins at the Phasis and stretches seaward along the Pontus and the Hellespont, as far as Sigeum in the Troad; on the south side, the same peninsula has a seacoast beginning at the Myriandric gulf that is near Phoenicia, and stretching seaward as far as the Triopian headland. On this peninsula live thirty nations. 39. This is the first peninsula. But the second, beginning with Persia, stretches to the Red Sea, and is Persian land; and next, the neighboring land of Assyria; and after Assyria, Arabia; this peninsula ends (not truly but only by common consent) at the Arabian Gulf, to which Darius brought a canal from the Nile.  Now from the Persian country to Phoenicia there is a wide and vast tract of land; and from Phoenicia this peninsula runs beside our sea by way of the Syrian Palestine and Egypt, which is at the end of it; in this peninsula there are just three nations. 40. So much for the parts of Asia west of the Persians. But what is beyond the Persians, and Medes, and Saspires, and Colchians, east and toward the rising sun, this is bounded on the one hand by the Red Sea, and to the north by the Caspian Sea and the Araxes river, which flows toward the sun's rising.  As far as India, Asia is an inhabited land; but thereafter, all to the east is desolation, nor can anyone say what kind of land is there. 41. Such is Asia, and such its extent. But Libya is on this second peninsula; for Libya comes next after Egypt. The Egyptian part of this peninsula is narrow; for from our sea to the Red Sea it is a distance of a hundred and twenty-five miles; that is, a thousand stades; but after this narrow part, the peninsula which is called Libya is very broad. 42. I wonder, then, at those who have mapped out and divided the world into Libya, Asia, and Europe; for the difference between them is great, seeing that in length Europe stretches along both the others together, and it appears to me to be wider beyond all comparison.  For Libya shows clearly that it is bounded by the sea, except where it borders on Asia. Necos king of Egypt first discovered this and made it known. When he had finished digging the canal which leads from the Nile to the Arabian Gulf, he sent Phoenicians in ships, instructing them to sail on their return voyage past the Pillars of Heracles until they came into the northern sea and so to Egypt.  So the Phoenicians set out from the Red Sea and sailed the southern sea; whenever autumn came they would put in and plant the land in whatever part of Libya they had reached, and there await the harvest;  then, having gathered the crop, they sailed on, so that after two years had passed, it was in the third that they rounded the pillars of Heracles and came to Egypt. There they said (what some may believe, though I do not) that in sailing around Libya they had the sun on their right hand.22 43. Thus was the first knowledge of Libya gained. The next story is that of the Carthaginians: for as for Sataspes son of Teaspes, an Achaemenid, he did not sail around Libya, although he was sent for that purpose; but he feared the length and loneliness of the voyage and so returned without accomplishing the task laid upon him by his mother.  For he had raped the virgin daughter of Zopyrus son of Megabyzus; and when on this charge he was to be impaled by King Xerxes, Sataspes' mother, who was Darius' sister, interceded for his life, saying that she would impose a heavier punishment on him than Xerxes;  for he would be compelled to sail around Libya, until he completed his voyage and came to the Arabian Gulf. Xerxes agreed to this, and Sataspes went to Egypt where he received a ship and a crew from the Egyptians, and sailed past the Pillars of Heracles.  Having sailed out beyond them, and rounded the Libyan promontory called Solois,23 he sailed south; but when he had been many months sailing over the sea, and always more before him, he turned back and made sail for Egypt.  Coming to King Xerxes from there, he related in his narrative that, when he was farthest distant, he sailed by a country of little men, who wore palm-leaf clothing; these, whenever he and his men put in to land with their ship, left their towns and fled to the hills; he and his men did no harm when they landed, and took nothing from the people except cattle.  As to his not sailing completely around Libya, the reason (he said) was that the ship could move no farther, but was stopped. But Xerxes did not believe that Sataspes spoke the truth, and, as the task appointed was unfulfilled, he impaled him, punishing him on the charge first brought against him.  This Sataspes had a eunuch, who as soon as he heard of his master's death escaped to Samos, with a great hoard of wealth, of which a man of Samos got possession. I know the man's name but deliberately omit it. 44. But as to Asia, most of it was discovered by Darius. There is a river, Indus, second of all rivers in the production of crocodiles. Darius, desiring to know where this Indus empties into the sea, sent ships manned by Scylax, a man of Caryanda, and others whose word he trusted;  these set out from the city of Caspatyrus and the Pactyic country, and sailed down the river toward the east and the sunrise until they came to the sea; and voyaging over the sea west, they came in the thirtieth month to that place from which the Egyptian king sent the above-mentioned Phoenicians to sail around Libya.  After this circumnavigation, Darius subjugated the Indians and made use of this sea. Thus it was discovered that Asia, except the parts toward the rising sun, was in other respects like Libya. 45. But it is plain that none have obtained knowledge of Europe's eastern or northern regions, so as to be able say if it is bounded by seas; its length is known to be enough to stretch along both Asia and Libya.  I cannot guess for what reason the earth, which is one, has three names, all women's, and why the boundary lines set for it are the Egyptian Nile river and the Colchian Phasis river (though some say that the Maeetian Tanaïs river and the Cimmerian Ferries24 are boundaries); and I cannot learn the names of those who divided the world, or where they got the names which they used.  For Libya is said by most Greeks to be named after a native woman of that name, and Asia after the wife of Prometheus;25 yet the Lydians claim a share in the latter name, saying that Asia was not named after Prometheus' wife Asia, but after Asies, the son of Cotys, who was the son of Manes, and that from him the Asiad clan at Sardis also takes its name.  But as for Europe, no men have any knowledge whether it is bounded by seas or not, or where it got its name, nor is it clear who gave the name, unless we say that the land took its name from the Tyrian Europa, having been (it would seem) before then nameless like the rest.  But it is plain that this woman was of Asiatic birth, and never came to this land which the Greeks now call Europe, but only from Phoenicia to Crete and from Crete to Lycia. Thus much I have said of these matters, and let it suffice; we will use the names established by custom. 46. Nowhere are men so ignorant as in the lands by the Euxine Pontus (excluding the Scythian nation) into which Darius led his army. For we cannot show that any nation within the region of the Pontus has any cleverness, nor do we know of (overlooking the Scythian nation and Anacharsis) any notable man born there.  But the Scythian race has made the cleverest discovery that we know in what is the most important of all human affairs; I do not praise the Scythians in all respects, but in this, the most important: that they have contrived that no one who attacks them can escape, and no one can catch them if they do not want to be found.  For when men have no established cities or forts, but are all nomads and mounted archers, not living by tilling the soil but by raising cattle and carrying their dwellings on wagons, how can they not be invincible and unapproachable? 47. They have made this discovery in a land that suits their purpose and has rivers that are their allies; for their country is flat and grassy and well-watered, and rivers run through it not very many fewer in number than the canals of Egypt.  As many of them as are famous and can be entered from the sea, I shall name. There is the Ister, which has five mouths, and the Tyras, and Hypanis, and Borysthenes, and Panticapes, and Hypacuris, and Gerrhus, and Tanaïs. Their courses are as I shall indicate. 48. The Ister, the greatest of all rivers which we know, flows with the same volume in summer and winter; it is most westerly Scythian river of all, and the greatest because other rivers are its tributaries.  Those that make it great, five flowing through the Scythian country, are these: the river called by Scythians Porata and by Greeks Pyretus,26 and besides this the Tiarantus, the Ararus, the Naparis, and the Ordessus.  The first-named of these rivers is a great stream flowing east and uniting its waters with the Ister; the second, the Tiarantus, is more westerly and smaller; the Ararus, Naparis, and Ordessus flow between these two and pour their waters into the Ister. 49. These are the native-born Scythian rivers that help to swell it; but the Maris river, which commingles with the Ister, flows from the Agathyrsi. The Atlas, Auras, and Tibisis, three other great rivers that pour into it, flow north from the heights of Haemus.27 The Athrys, the Noes, and the Artanes flow into the Ister from the country of the Crobyzi in Thrace; the Cius river, which cuts through the middle of Haemus, from the Paeonians and the mountain range of Rhodope.  The Angrus river flows north from Illyria into the Triballic plain and the Brongus river, and the Brongus into the Ister, which receives these two great rivers into itself. The Carpis and another river called Alpis also flow northward, from the country north of the Ombrici, to flow into it;  for the Ister traverses the whole of Europe, rising among the Celts, who are the most westerly dwellers in Europe, except for the Cynetes, and flowing thus clean across Europe it issues forth along the borders of Scythia. 50. With these rivers aforesaid, and many others, too, as its tributaries, the Ister becomes the greatest river of all, while river for river the Nile surpasses it in volume, since that owes its volume of water to no tributary river or spring.  But the Ister is always the same height in summer and winter, the reason for which, I think, is this. In winter it is of its customary size, or only a little greater than is natural to it, for in that country in winter there is very little rain, but snow everywhere.  In the summer, the abundant snow that has fallen in winter melts and pours from all sides into the Ister; so this snow-melt pours into the river and helps to swell it and much violent rain besides, as the summer is the season of rain.  And in proportion as the sun draws to itself more water in summer than in winter, the water that commingles with the Ister is many times more abundant in summer than it is in winter; these opposites keep the balance true, so that the volume of the river appears always the same. 51. One of the rivers of the Scythians, then, is the Ister. The next is the Tyras;28 this comes from the north, flowing at first out of a great lake, which is the boundary between the Scythian and the Neurian countries; at the mouth of the river there is a settlement of Greeks, who are called Tyritae. 52. The third river is the Hypanis; this comes from Scythia, flowing out of a great lake, around which wild, white horses graze. This lake is truly called the mother of the Hypanis.  Here, then, the Hypanis rises; for five days' journey its waters are shallow and still sweet; after that for four days' journey seaward it is amazingly bitter,  for a spring runs into it so bitter that although its volume is small its admixture taints the Hypanis, one of the few great rivers of the world. This spring is on the border between the farming Scythians29 and the Alazones; the name of it and of the place where it rises is in Scythian Exampaeus; in the Greek tongue, Sacred Ways.  The Tyras and the Hypanis draw near together in the Alazones' country; after that they flow apart, the intervening space growing wider. 53. The fourth is the Borysthenes river. This is the next greatest after the Ister, and the most productive, in our judgment, not only of the Scythian but of all rivers, except the Egyptian Nile, with which no other river can be compared.  But of the rest, the Borysthenes is the most productive; it provides the finest and best-nurturing pasture lands for beasts, and the fish in it are beyond all in their excellence and abundance. Its water is most sweet to drink, flowing with a clear current, whereas the other rivers are turbid. There is excellent soil on its banks, and very rich grass where the land is not planted;  and self-formed crusts of salt abound at its mouth; it provides great spineless fish, called sturgeons, for salting, and many other wonderful things besides.  Its course is from the north, and it is known as far as the Gerrhan land; that is, for forty days' voyage; beyond that, no one can say through what nations it flows; but it is plain that it flows through desolate country to the land of the farming Scythians, who live beside it for a ten days' voyage.  This is the only river, besides the Nile, whose source I cannot identify; nor, I think, can any Greek. When the Borysthenes comes near the sea, the Hypanis mingles with it, running into the same marsh;  the land between these rivers, where the land projects like a ship's beak, is called Hippolaus' promontory; a temple of Demeter stands there. The settlement of the Borystheneïtae is beyond the temple, on the Hypanis. 54. This is the produce of these rivers, and after these there is a fifth river called Panticapas; this also flows from the north out of a lake, and the land between it and the Borysthenes is inhabited by the farming Scythians; it flows into the woodland country, after passing which it mingles with the Borysthenes. 55. The sixth is the Hypacuris river,30 which rises from a lake, and flowing through the midst of the nomadic Scythians flows out near the city of Carcine, bordering on its right the Woodland and the region called the Racecourse of Achilles. 56. The seventh river, the Gerrhus, separates from the Borysthenes at about the place which is the end of our knowledge of that river; at this place it separates, and has the same name as the place itself, Gerrhus; then in its course to the sea it divides the country of the Nomads and the country of the Royal Scythians, and empties into the Hypacuris. 57. The eighth is the Tanaïs river;31 in its upper course, this begins by flowing out of a great lake, and enters a yet greater lake called the Maeetian, which divides the Royal Scythians from the Sauromatae; another river, called Hyrgis,32 is a tributary of this Tanaïs. 58. These are the rivers of note with which the Scythians are provided. For rearing cattle, the grass growing in Scythia is the most productive of bile of all pastures which we know; that this is so can be judged by opening up the bodies of the cattle. 59. The most important things are thus provided them. It remains now to show the customs which are established among them. The only gods whom they propitiate are these: Hestia in particular, and secondly Zeus and Earth, whom they believe to be the wife of Zeus; after these, Apollo, and the Heavenly Aphrodite, and Heracles, and Ares. All the Scythians worship these as gods; the Scythians called Royal sacrifice to Poseidon also.  In the Scythian tongue, Hestia is called Tabiti; Zeus (in my judgment most correctly so called) Papaeus;33 Earth is Apia; Apollo Goetosyrus; the Heavenly Aphrodite Argimpasa; Poseidon Thagimasadas. It is their practice to make images and altars and shrines for Ares, but for no other god. 60. In all their sacred rites they follow the same method of sacrifice; this is how it is offered. The victim stands with its forefeet shackled together; the sacrificer stands behind the beast, and throws it down by pulling the end of the rope;  as the victim falls, he invokes whatever god it is to whom he sacrifices. Then, throwing a noose around the beast's neck, he thrusts in a stick and twists it and so strangles the victim, lighting no fire nor offering the first-fruits, nor pouring any libation; and having strangled and skinned the beast, he sets about cooking it. 61. Now as the Scythian land is quite bare of wood, this is how they contrive to cook the meat. When they have skinned the victims, they strip the meat from the bones and throw it into the cauldrons of the country, if they have them: these are most like Lesbian bowls, except that they are much bigger; they throw the meat into these, then, and cook it by lighting a fire beneath with the bones of the victims. But if they have no cauldron, then they put all the meat into the victims' stomachs, adding water, and make a fire of the bones beneath,  which burn nicely; the stomachs easily hold the meat when it is stripped from the bones; thus a steer serves to cook itself, and every other victim does likewise. When the flesh is cooked, the sacrificer takes the first-fruits of the flesh and the entrails and casts them before him. They use all grazing animals for sacrifice, but mainly horses. 62. This is their way of sacrificing to other gods and these are the beasts offered; but their sacrifices to Ares are of this sort. Every district in each of the governments has a structure sacred to Ares; namely, a pile of bundles of sticks three eighths of a mile wide and long, but of a lesser height, on the top of which there is a flattened four-sided surface; three of its sides are sheer, but the fourth can be ascended.  Every year a hundred and fifty wagon-loads of sticks are heaped upon this; for the storms of winter always make it sink down. On this sacred pile an ancient scimitar of iron is set for each people: their image of Ares. They bring yearly sacrifice of sheep and goats and horses to this scimitar, offering to these symbols even more than they do to the other gods.  Of enemies that they take alive, they sacrifice one man in every hundred, not as they sacrifice sheep and goats, but differently. They pour wine on the men's heads and cut their throats over a bowl; then they carry the blood up on to the pile of sticks and pour it on the scimitar.  They carry the blood up above, but down below by the sacred pile they cut off all the slain men's right arms and hands and throw these into the air, and depart when they have sacrificed the rest of the victims; the arm lies where it has fallen, and the body apart from it. 63. These then are their established rites of sacrifice; but these Scythians make no offerings of swine; nor are they willing for the most part to rear them in their country. 64. As to war, these are their customs. A Scythian drinks the blood of the first man whom he has taken down. He carries the heads of all whom he has slain in the battle to his king; for if he brings a head, he receives a share of the booty taken, but not otherwise.  He scalps the head by making a cut around it by the ears, then grasping the scalp and shaking the head off. Then he scrapes out the flesh with the rib of a steer, and kneads the skin with his hands, and having made it supple he keeps it for a hand towel, fastening it to the bridle of the horse which he himself rides, and taking pride in it; for he who has most scalps for hand towels is judged the best man.  Many Scythians even make garments to wear out of these scalps, sewing them together like coats of skin. Many too take off the skin, nails and all, from their dead enemies' right hands, and make coverings for their quivers;the human skin was, as it turned out, thick and shining, the brightest and whitest skin of all, one might say.  Many flay the skin from the whole body, too, and carry it about on horseback stretched on a wooden frame. 65. The heads themselves, not all of them but those of their bitterest enemies, they treat this way. Each saws off all the part beneath the eyebrows, and cleans the rest. If he is a poor man, then he covers the outside with a piece of raw hide, and so makes use of it; but if he is rich, he covers the head with the raw hide, and gilds the inside of it and uses it for a drinking-cup.  Such a cup a man also makes out of the head of his own kinsman with whom he has been feuding, and whom he has defeated in single combat before the king; and if guests whom he honors visit him he will serve them with these heads, and show how the dead were his kinsfolk who fought him and were beaten by him; this they call manly valor. 66. Furthermore, once a year each governor of a province brews a bowl of wine in his own province, which those Scythians who have slain enemies drink; those who have not achieved this do not taste this wine but sit apart dishonored; and this they consider a very great disgrace; but as many as have slain not one but many enemies have two cups apiece and drink out of both. 67. There are many diviners among the Scythians, who divine by means of many wi!low wands as I will show. They bring great bundles of wands, which they lay on the ground and unfasten, and utter their divinations as they lay the rods down one by one; and while still speaking, they gather up the rods once more and place them together again;  this manner of divination is hereditary among them. The Enarees, who are hermaphrodites, say that Aphrodite gave them the art of divination, which they practise by means of lime-tree bark. They cut this bark into three portions, and prophesy while they braid and unbraid these in their fingers. 68. Whenever the king of the Scythians falls ill, he sends for the three most reputable diviners, who prophesy in the aforesaid way; and they generally tell him that such and such a man (naming whoever it may be of the people) has sworn falsely by the king's hearth;  for when the Scythians will swear their mightiest oath, it is by the king's hearth that they are accustomed to swear. Immediately, the man whom they allege to have sworn falsely is seized and brought in, and when he comes the diviners accuse him, saying that their divination shows him to have sworn falsely by the king's hearth, and that this is the cause of the king's sickness; and the man vehemently denies that he has sworn falsely.  When he denies it, the king sends for twice as many diviners: and if they too, consulting their art, prove him guilty of perjury, then he is instantly beheaded, and his goods are divided among the first diviners;  but if the later diviners acquit him, then other diviners come, and yet again others. If the greater number of them acquit the man, it is decreed that the first diviners themselves be put to death. 69. And this is how they die. Men yoke oxen to a wagon laden with sticks and tie the diviners up in these, fettering their legs and binding their hands behind them and gagging them; then they set fire to the sticks and drive the oxen away, stampeding them.  Often the oxen are burnt to death with the diviners, and often the yoke-pole of their wagon is burnt through and the oxen escape with a scorching. They burn their diviners for other reasons, too, in the way described, calling them false prophets.  When the king puts them to death, he does not leave the sons alive either, but kills all the males of the family; the females he does not harm. 70. As for giving sworn pledges to those who are to receive them, this is the Scythian way: they take blood from the parties to the agreement by making a little cut in the body with an awl or a knife, and pour it mixed with wine into a big earthenware bowl, into which they then dip a scimitar and arrows and an axe and a javelin; and when this is done those swearing the agreement, and the most honorable of their followers, drink the blood after solemn curses. 71. The burial-places of the kings are in the land of the Gerrhi, which is the end of the navigation of the Borysthenes. Whenever their king has died, the Scythians dig a great four-cornered pit in the ground there; when this is ready, they take up the dead man—his body enclosed in wax, his belly cut open and cleaned and filled with cut marsh-plants and frankincense, and parsley and anise seed, and sewn up again—and transport him on a wagon to another tribe.  Then those who receive the dead man on his arrival do the same as do the Royal Scythians: that is, they cut off a part of their ears, shave their heads, make cuts around their arms, tear their foreheads and noses, and pierce their left hands with arrows.  From there, the escorts transport the king's body on the wagon to another of the tribes that they rule, and those to whom they have already come follow them; and having carried the dead man to all in turn, they are at the place of burial, in the country of the Gerrhi, the farthest distant tribe of all under their rule.  Then, having laid the body on a couch in the tomb, they plant spears on each side of the body and lay wooden planks across them, which they then roof over with braided osiers; in the open space which is left in the tomb they bury one of the king's concubines, his cupbearer, his cook, his groom, his squire, and his messenger, after strangling them, besides horses, and first-fruits of everything else, and golden cups; for the Scythians do not use silver or bronze.  Having done this, they all build a great barrow of earth, vying eagerly with one another to make this as great as possible. 72. After a year has past, they next do as follows. They take the most trusted of the rest of the king's servants (and these are native-born Scythians, for only those whom he tells to do so serve the king, and none of the Scythians have servants bought by money)  and strangle fifty of these and fifty of their best horses and empty and clean the bellies of them all, fill them with chaff, and sew them up again.  Then they fasten half of a wheel to two posts, the hollow upward, and the other half to another pair of posts, until many posts thus prepared are planted in the ground, and, after driving thick stakes lengthways through the horses' bodies to their necks, they place the horses up on the wheels  so that the wheel in front supports the horse's forequarters and the wheel behind takes the weight of the belly by the hindquarters, and the forelegs and hindlegs hang free; and putting bridles and bits in the horses' mouths, they stretch the bridles to the front and fasten them with pegs.  Then they take each one of the fifty strangled young men and mount him on the horse; their way of doing it is to drive an upright stake through each body passing up alongside the spine to the neck leaving enough of the stake projecting below to be fixed in a hole made in the other stake, which passes through the horse. So having set horsemen of this fashion around the tomb, they ride away. 73. This is the way they bury their kings. All other Scythians, when they die, are laid in wagons and carried about among their friends by their nearest of kin; each receives them and entertains the retinue hospitably, setting before the dead man about as much of the fare as he serves to the rest. All but the kings are carried about like this for forty days and then buried.  After the burial the Scythians cleanse themselves as follows: they anoint and wash their heads and, for their bodies, set up three poles leaning together to a point and cover these over with wool mats; then, in the space so enclosed to the best of their ability, they make a pit in the center beneath the poles and the mats and throw red-hot stones into it. 74. They have hemp growing in their country, very like flax, except that the hemp is much thicker and taller. This grows both of itself and also by their cultivation, and the Thracians even make garments of it which are very like linen; no one, unless he were an expert in hemp, could determine whether they were hempen or linen; whoever has never seen hemp before will think the garment linen. 75. The Scythians then take the seed of this hemp and, crawling in under the mats, throw it on the red-hot stones, where it smoulders and sends forth such fumes that no Greek vapor-bath could surpass it.  The Scythians howl in their joy at the vapor-bath. This serves them instead of bathing, for they never wash their bodies with water.  But their women pound cypress and cedar and frankincense wood on a rough stone, adding water also, and with the thick stuff thus pounded they anoint their bodies and faces, as a result of which not only does a fragrant scent come from them, but when on the second day they take off the ointment, their skin becomes clear and shining. 76. But as regards foreign customs, the Scythians (like others) very much shun practising those of any other country, and particularly of Hellas, as was proved in the case of Anacharsis and also of Scyles.  For when Anacharsis was coming back to the Scythian country after having seen much of the world in his travels and given many examples of his wisdom, he sailed through the Hellespont and put in at Cyzicus;  where, finding the Cyzicenes celebrating the feast of the Mother of the Gods with great ceremony, he vowed to this same Mother that if he returned to his own country safe and sound he would sacrifice to her as he saw the Cyzicenes doing, and establish a nightly rite of worship.  So when he came to Scythia, he hid himself in the country called Woodland (which is beside the Race of Achilles, and is all overgrown with every kind of timber); hidden there, Anacharsis celebrated the goddess' ritual with exactness, carrying a small drum and hanging images about himself.  Then some Scythian saw him doing this and told the king, Saulius; who, coming to the place himself and seeing Anacharsis performing these rites, shot an arrow at him and killed him. And now the Scythians, if they are asked about Anacharsis, say they have no knowledge of him; this is because he left his country for Hellas and followed the customs of strangers.  But according to what I heard from Tymnes, the deputy for Ariapithes, Anacharsis was an uncle of Idanthyrsus king of Scythia, and he was the son of Gnurus, son of Lycus, son of Spargapithes. Now if Anacharsis was truly of this family, then let him know he was slain by his own brother; for Idanthyrsus was the son of Saulius, and it was Saulius who killed Anacharsis. 77. It is true that I have heard another story told by the Peloponnesians; namely, that Anacharsis had been sent by the king of Scythia and had been a student of the ways of Hellas, and after his return told the king who sent him that all Greeks were keen for every kind of learning, except the Lacedaemonians; but that these were the only Greeks who spoke and listened with discretion.  But this is a tale pointlessly invented by the Greeks themselves; and be this as it may, the man was put to death as I have said. 78. This, then, was how Anacharsis fared, owing to his foreign ways and consorting with Greeks; and a great many years afterward, Scyles, son of Ariapithes, suffered a like fate. Scyles was one of the sons born to Ariapithes, king of Scythia; but his mother was of Istria,34 and not native-born; and she taught him to speak and read Greek.  As time passed, Ariapithes was treacherously killed by Spargapithes, king of the Agathyrsi, and Scyles inherited the kingship and his father's wife, a Scythian woman whose name was Opoea, and she bore Scyles a son, Oricus.  So Scyles was king of Scythia; but he was in no way content with the Scythian way of life, and was much more inclined to Greek ways, from the upbringing that he had received. So this is what he would do: he would lead the Scythian army to the city of the Borysthenites (who say that they are Milesians), and when he arrived there would leave his army in the suburb of the city,  while he himself, entering within the walls and shutting the gates, would take off his Scythian apparel and put on Greek dress; and in it he would go among the townsfolk unattended by spearmen or any others (who would guard the gates, lest any Scythian see him wearing this apparel), and in every way follow the Greek manner of life, and worship the gods according to Greek usage.  When he had spent a month or more like this, he would put on Scythian dress and leave the city. He did this often; and he built a house in Borysthenes, and married a wife of the people of the country and brought her there. 79. But when things had to turn out badly for him, they did so for this reason: he conceived a desire to be initiated into the rites of the Bacchic Dionysus; and when he was about to begin the sacred mysteries, he saw the greatest vision.  He had in the city of the Borysthenites a spacious house, grand and costly (the same house I just mentioned), all surrounded by sphinxes and griffins worked in white marble; this house was struck by a thunderbolt. And though the house burnt to the ground, Scyles none the less performed the rite to the end.  Now the Scythians reproach the Greeks for this Bacchic revelling, saying that it is not reasonable to set up a god who leads men to madness.  So when Scyles had been initiated into the Bacchic rite, some one of the Borysthenites scoffed at the Scythians: “You laugh at us, Scythians, because we play the Bacchant and the god possesses us; but now this deity has possessed your own king, so that he plays the Bacchant and is maddened by the god. If you will not believe me, follow me now and I will show him to you.”  The leading men among the Scythians followed him, and the Borysthenite brought them up secretly onto a tower; from which, when Scyles passed by with his company of worshippers, they saw him playing the Bacchant; thinking it a great misfortune, they left the city and told the whole army what they had seen. 80. After this Scyles rode off to his own place; but the Scythians rebelled against him, setting up his brother Octamasades, son of the daughter of Teres, for their king.  Scyles, learning what had happened concerning him and the reason why it had happened, fled into Thrace; and when Octamasades heard this he led his army there. But when he was beside the Ister, the Thracians barred his way; and when the armies were about to engage, Sitalces sent this message to Octamasades:  “Why should we try each other's strength? You are my sister's son, and you have my brother with you; give him back to me, and I will give up your Scyles to you; and let us not endanger our armies.”  Such was the offer Sitalces sent to him; for Sitalces' brother had fled from him and was with Octamasades. The Scythian agreed to this, and took his brother Scyles, giving up his own uncle to Sitalces.  Sitalces then took his brother and carried him away, but Octamasades beheaded Scyles on the spot. This is how closely the Scythians guard their customs, and these are the penalties they inflict on those who add foreign customs to their own. 81. How numerous the Scythians are, I was not able to learn exactly, and the accounts that I heard did not tally, some saying that they are very numerous, and some that they are few, so far as they are true Scythians.  But this much they let me see for myself: there is a region between the Borysthenes and Hypanis rivers, whose name is Exampaeus; this is the land that I mentioned when I said that there is a spring of salt water in it, whose water makes the Hypanis unfit to drink.  In this region is a bronze vessel, as much as six times greater than the cauldron dedicated by Pausanias son of Cleombrotus at the entrance of the Pontus.35  For anyone who has not yet seen the latter, I will make my meaning plain: the Scythian bronze vessel easily contains five thousand four hundred gallons, and it is of six fingers' thickness. This vessel (so the people of the country said) was made out of arrowheads.  For their king, whose name was Ariantas, desiring to know the census of the Scythians, commanded every Scythian to bring him the point from an arrow, threatening death to all who did not.  So a vast number of arrow-heads was brought, and he decided to make and leave a memorial out of them; and he made of these this bronze vessel, and set it up in this country Exampaeus. This much I heard about the number of the Scythians. 82. As for marvels, there are none in the land, except that it has by far the greatest and the most numerous rivers in the world; and over and above the rivers and the great extent of the plains there is one most marvellous thing for me to mention: they show a footprint of Heracles by the Tyras river stamped on rock, like the mark of a man's foot, but forty inches in length. Having described this, I will now return to the story which I began to tell.36 83. While Darius was making preparations37 against the Scythians, and sending messengers to direct some to furnish infantry and some to furnish ships, and others again to bridge the Thracian Bosporus, Artabanus, son of Hystaspes and Darius' brother, by no means wanted him to make an expedition against the Scythians, telling him how hard that people were to deal with.  But when, for all his good advice, he could not deter the king, Artabanus ceased to advise, and Darius, all his preparations made, led his army from Susa. 84. Then the Persian Oeobazus, who had three sons, all with the army, asked Darius that one be left behind. “You are my friend,” said the king, “and your request is reasonable; I will leave all your sons.”  Oeobazus was very happy, supposing his sons released from service; but Darius told those whose job it was to execute all of Oeobazus' sons. So their throats were cut, and they were left there. 85. But Darius, when he came to that place in his march from Susa where the Bosporus was bridged in the territory of Calchedon, went aboard ship and sailed to the Dark Rocks38 (as they are called), which the Greeks say formerly moved; there, he sat on a headland and viewed the Pontus, a marvellous sight.  For it is the most wonderful sea of all. Its length is eleven thousand one hundred stades, and its breadth three thousand three hundred stades at the place where it is widest.39  The channel at the entrance of this sea is four stades across; the narrow neck of the channel, called Bosporus, across which the bridge was thrown, is about one hundred and twenty stades long. The Bosporus reaches as far as to the Propontis;  and the Propontis is five hundred stades wide and one thousand four hundred long; its outlet is the Hellespont, which is no wider than seven stades and four hundred long. The Hellespont empties into a gulf of the sea which we call Aegean. 86. These measurements have been made in this way: a ship will generally accomplish seventy thousand orguiae 40 in a long day's voyage, and sixty thousand by night.  This being granted, seeing that from the Pontus' mouth to the Phasis (which is the greatest length of the sea) it is a voyage of nine days and eight nights, the length of it will be one million one hundred and ten thousand orguiai, which make eleven thousand stades.  From the Sindic region to Themiscura on the Thermodon river (the greatest width of the Pontus) it is a voyage of three days and two nights; that is, of three hundred and thirty thousand orguiai, or three thousand three hundred stades.  Thus have I measured the Pontus and the Bosporus and Hellespont, and they are as I have said. Furthermore, a lake is seen issuing into the Pontus and not much smaller than the sea itself; it is called the Maeetian lake, and the mother of the Pontus. 87. After having viewed the Pontus, Darius sailed back to the bridge, whose architect was Mandrocles of Samos; and when he had viewed the Bosporus also, he set up two pillars of white marble by it, engraving on the one in Assyrian and on the other in Greek characters the names of all the nations that were in his army: all the nations subject to him. The full census of these, over and above the fleet, was seven hundred thousand men, including horsemen, and the number of ships assembled was six hundred.  These pillars were afterward carried by the Byzantines into their city and there used to build the altar of Orthosian41 Artemis, except for one column covered with Assyrian writing that was left beside the temple of Dionysus at Byzantium. Now if my reckoning is correct, the place where king Darius bridged the Bosporus was midway between Byzantium and the temple at the entrance of the sea. 88. After this, being pleased with his bridge of boats, Darius made a gift of ten of everything42 to Mandrocles the Samian, the architect of it; Mandrocles took the first-fruits of these and had a picture made with them, showing the whole bridge of the Bosporus, and Darius sitting aloft on his throne and his army crossing; he set this up in the temple of Hera, with this inscription:  ““After bridging the Bosporus that teems with fish, Mandrocles dedicated a memorial of the floating bridge to Hera, Having won a crown for himself, and fame for the Samians, Doing the will of King Darius.” ” This memorialized the builder of the bridge. 89. Darius, after rewarding Mandrocles, crossed over to Europe; he had told the Ionians to sail into the Pontus as far as the Ister river, and when they got to the Ister, to wait there for him, bridging the river meanwhile; for the fleet was led by Ionians and Aeolians and men of the Hellespont.  So the fleet passed between the Dark Rocks and sailed straight for the Ister and, after a two days' voyage up the river from the sea, set about bridging the narrow channel of the river where its various mouths separate.  But Darius, passing over the Bosporus on the floating bridge of ships, journeyed through Thrace to the sources of the Tearus river, where he camped for three days. 90. The Tearus is said by those living on it to be the best river of all for purposes of healing, especially for healing mange in men and horses. Its springs are thirty-eight in number, some cold and some hot, all flowing from the same rock.  There are two roads to the place, one from the town of Heraeum near Perinthus, one from Apollonia on the Euxine sea; each is a two days' journey. This Tearus is a tributary of the Contadesdus river, and that of the Agrianes, and that of the Hebrus, which empties into the sea near the city of Aenus. 91. Having come to this river and camped there, then, Darius was pleased with the sight of it, and set up yet another pillar there, cut with this inscription:  “From the headwaters of the river Tearus flows the best and finest water of all; and to them came, leading an army against the Scythians, the best and finest man of all, Darius son of Hystaspes, king of Persia and all the continent.” Such was the inscription. 92. From there, Darius set out and came to another river called Artescus, which flows through the country of the Odrysae; and having reached this river, he pointed out a spot to the army, and told every man to lay one stone as he passed in this spot that he pointed out. After his army did this, he led it away, leaving behind there great piles of stones. 93. But before he came to the Ister, he first took the Getae, who pretend to be immortal. The Thracians of Salmydessus and of the country above the towns of Apollonia and Mesambria, who are called Cyrmianae and Nipsaei, surrendered without a fight to Darius; but the Getae resisted stubbornly, and were enslaved at once, the bravest and most just Thracians of all. 94. Their belief in their immortality is as follows: they believe that they do not die, but that one who perishes goes to the deity Salmoxis, or Gebeleïzis, as some of them call him.  Once every five years they choose one of their people by lot and send him as a messenger to Salmoxis, with instructions to report their needs; and this is how they send him: three lances are held by designated men; others seize the messenger to Salmoxis by his hands and feet, and swing and toss him up on to the spear-points.  If he is killed by the toss, they believe that the god regards them with favor; but if he is not killed, they blame the messenger himself, considering him a bad man, and send another messenger in place of him. It is while the man still lives that they give him the message.  Furthermore, when there is thunder and lightning these same Thracians shoot arrows skyward as a threat to the god, believing in no other god but their own. 95. I understand from the Greeks who live beside the Hellespont and Pontus, that this Salmoxis was a man who was once a slave in Samos, his master being Pythagoras son of Mnesarchus;  then, after being freed and gaining great wealth, he returned to his own country. Now the Thracians were a poor and backward people, but this Salmoxis knew Ionian ways and a more advanced way of life than the Thracian; for he had consorted with Greeks, and moreover with one of the greatest Greek teachers, Pythagoras;  therefore he made a hall, where he entertained and fed the leaders among his countrymen, and taught them that neither he nor his guests nor any of their descendants would ever die, but that they would go to a place where they would live forever and have all good things.  While he was doing as I have said and teaching this doctrine, he was meanwhile making an underground chamber. When this was finished, he vanished from the sight of the Thracians, and went down into the underground chamber, where he lived for three years,  while the Thracians wished him back and mourned him for dead; then in the fourth year he appeared to the Thracians, and thus they came to believe what Salmoxis had told them. Such is the Greek story about him. 96. Now I neither disbelieve nor entirely believe the tale about Salmoxis and his underground chamber; but I think that he lived many years before Pythagoras;  and as to whether there was a man called Salmoxis or this is some deity native to the Getae, let the question be dismissed. 97. Such were the ways of the Getae, who were subdued by the Persians and followed their army. When Darius and the land army with him had come to the Ister, and all had crossed, he had the Ionians break the bridge and follow him in his march across the mainland, together with the men of the fleet.  So the Ionians were preparing to break the bridge and do Darius' bidding; but Cöes son of Erxander, the general of the Mytilenaeans, after first asking if Darius were willing to listen to advice from one who wanted to give it, said,  “Since, O King, you are about to march against a country where you will not find tilled lands or inhabited cities, let this bridge stay where it is, leaving those who made it to guard it.  Thus, if we find the Scythians and do what we want, we have a way of return; and even if we do not find them, at least our way back is safe; for my fear has never been that we shall be overcome by the Scythians in the field, but rather that we may not be able to find them, and so go astray to our harm.  Now it may perhaps be said that I say this for my own sake, because I want to remain behind; but it is not so; I only declare publicly the opinion that I think best for you, and I will follow you and do not want to be left here.”  Darius was very pleased with this advice, and he answered Cöes thus: “My friend from Lesbos, do not fail to show yourself to me when I return to my house safe, so that I may make you a good return for your good advice.” 98. After saying this, he tied sixty knots in a thong, and summoning the Ionian sovereigns to an audience said to them:  “Gentlemen of Ionia, I take back the decision which I delivered before about the bridge; now, take this thong and do as follows. Begin to reckon from the day when you see me march away against the Scythians, and untie one knot each day: and if the days marked by the knots have all passed and I have not returned, embark for your own homes.  But until then, since the plan is changed, guard the bridge, making every effort to keep and watch it. You will please me very much if you do this.” Having said this, Darius hastened to march further. 99. Thrace runs farther out into the sea than Scythia; and Scythia begins where a bay is formed in its coast, and the mouth of the Ister, facing southeast, is in that country.  Now I am going to describe the coast of the true Scythia from the Ister, and give its measurements. The ancient Scythian land begins at the Ister and faces south and the south wind, as far as the city called Carcinitis.  Beyond this place, the country fronting the same sea is hilly and projects into the Pontus; it is inhabited by the Tauric nation as far as what is called the Rough Peninsula; and this ends in the eastern sea.43  For the sea to the south and the sea to the east are two of the four boundary lines of Scythia, just as seas are boundaries of Attica; and the Tauri inhabit a part of Scythia like Attica, as though some other people, not Attic, were to inhabit the heights of Sunium from Thoricus to the town of Anaphlystus, if Sunium jutted farther out into the sea.  I mean, so to speak, to compare small things with great. Such a land is the Tauric country. But those who have not sailed along that part of Attica may understand from this other analogy: it is as though in Calabria some other people, not Calabrian, were to live on the promontory within a line drawn from the harbor of Brundisium to Tarentum. I am speaking of these two countries, but there are many others of a similar kind that Tauris resembles.44 100. Beyond the Tauric country the Scythians begin, living north of the Tauri and beside the eastern sea, west of the Cimmerian Bosporus and the Maeetian lake, as far as the Tanaïs river, which empties into the end of that lake.  Now it has been seen that on its northern and inland side, running from the Ister, Scythia is bounded first by the Agathyrsi, next by the Neuri, next by the Man-eaters, and last by the Black-cloaks. 101. Scythia, then, is a four-sided country, two of whose sides are coastline, the frontiers running inland and those that are by the sea making it a perfect square;  for it is a ten days' journey from the Ister to the Borysthenes, and the same from the Borysthenes to the Maeetian lake; and it is a twenty days' journey from the sea inland to the country of the Black-cloaks who live north of Scythia.  Now, as I reckon a day's journey at two hundred stades, the cross-measurement of Scythia would be a distance of five hundred miles, and the line drawn straight up inland the same. Such then is the extent of this land. 102. Convinced that they alone were not able to repel Darius' army in open warfare, the Scythians sent messengers to their neighbors, whose kings had already gathered and were deliberating on the presumption that a great army was marching against them.  The assembled kings were those of the Tauri, Agathyrsi, Neuri, Maneaters, Black-cloaks, Geloni, Budini, and Sauromatae. 103. Among these, the Tauri have the following customs: all ship-wrecked men, and any Greeks whom they capture in their sea-raids, they sacrifice to the Virgin goddess45 as I will describe: after the first rites of sacrifice, they strike the victim on the head with a club;  according to some, they then place the head on a pole and throw the body off the cliff on which their temple stands; others agree as to the head, but say that the body is buried, not thrown off the cliff. The Tauri themselves say that this deity to whom they sacrifice is Agamemnon's daughter Iphigenia.  As for enemies whom they defeat, each cuts his enemy's head off and carries it away to his house, where he places it on a tall pole and stands it high above the dwelling, above the smoke-vent for the most part. These heads, they say, are set up to guard the whole house. The Tauri live by plundering and war. 104. The Agathyrsi are the most refined of men and especially given to wearing gold. Their intercourse with women is promiscuous, so that they may be consanguine with one another and, all being relations, not harbor jealousy or animosity toward one another. In the rest of their customs they are like the Thracians. 105. The Neuri follow Scythian customs; but one generation before the advent of Darius' army, they happened to be driven from their country by snakes; for their land produced great numbers of these, and still more came down on them out of the desolation on the north, until at last the Neuri were so afflicted that they left their own country and lived among the Budini. It may be that these people are wizards;  for the Scythians, and the Greeks settled in Scythia, say that once a year every one of the Neuri becomes a wolf for a few days and changes back again to his former shape. Those who tell this tale do not convince me; but they tell it nonetheless, and swear to its truth. 106. The Man-eaters are the most savage of all men in their way of life; they know no justice and obey no law. They are nomads, wearing a costume like the Scythian, but speaking a language of their own; of all these, they are the only people that eat men. 107. The Black-cloaks all wear black clothing, from which they get their name; their customs are Scythian. 108. The Budini are a great and populous nation; the eyes of them all are very bright, and they are ruddy. They have a city built of wood, called Gelonus. The wall of it is three and three quarters miles in length on each side of the city; this wall is high and all of wood; and their houses are wooden, and their temples;  for there are temples of Greek gods among them, furnished in Greek style with images and altars and shrines of wood; and they honor Dionysus every two years with festivals and revelry. For the Geloni are by their origin Greeks, who left their trading ports to settle among the Budini; and they speak a language half Greek and half Scythian. But the Budini do not speak the same language as the Geloni, nor is their manner of life the same. 109. The Budini are indigenous; they are nomads, and the only people in these parts that eat fir-cones; the Geloni are farmers, eating grain and cultivating gardens; they are altogether unlike the Budini in form and in coloring. Yet the Greeks call the Budini too Geloni; but this is wrong.  Their whole country is thickly wooded with every kind of tree; in the depth of the forest there is a great, wide lake and a marsh surrounded by reeds; otter is trapped in it, and beaver, besides certain square-faced creatures whose skins are used to trim mantles, and their testicles are used by the people to heal sicknesses of the womb. 110. About the Sauromatae, the story is as follows. When the Greeks were at war with the Amazons (whom the Scythians call Oiorpata, a name signifying in our tongue killers of men, for in Scythian a man is “oior” and to kill is “pata”), the story runs that after their victory on the Thermodon they sailed away carrying in three ships as many Amazons as they had been able to take alive; and out at sea the Amazons attacked the crews and killed them.  But they knew nothing about ships, or how to use rudder or sail or oar; and with the men dead, they were at the mercy of waves and winds, until they came to the Cliffs by the Maeetian lake; this place is in the country of the free Scythians. The Amazons landed there, and set out on their journey to the inhabited country, and seizing the first troop of horses they met, they mounted them and raided the Scythian lands. 111. The Scythians could not understand the business; for they did not recognize the women's speech or their dress or their nation, but wondered where they had come from, and imagined them to be men all of the same age; and they met the Amazons in battle. The result of the fight was that the Scythians got possession of the dead, and so came to learn that their foes were women.  Therefore, after deliberation they resolved by no means to slay them as before, but to send their youngest men to them, of a number corresponding (as they guessed) to the number of the women. They directed these youths to camp near the Amazons and to imitate all that they did; if the women pursued them, not to fight, but to flee; and when the pursuit stopped, to return and camp near them. This was the plan of the Scythians, for they desired that children be born of the women. The young men who were sent did as they were directed. 112. When the Amazons perceived that the youths meant them no harm, they let them be; but every day the two camps drew nearer to each other. Now the young men, like the Amazons, had nothing but their arms and their horses, and lived as did the women, by hunting and plunder. 113. At midday the Amazons would scatter and go apart from each other singly or in pairs, roaming apart for greater comfort. The Scythians noticed this and did likewise; and as the women wandered alone, a young man laid hold of one of them, and the woman did not resist but let him do his will;  and since they did not understand each other's speech and she could not speak to him, she signed with her hand that he should come the next day to the same place and bring another youth with him (showing by signs that there should be two), and she would bring another woman with her.  The youth went away and told his comrades; and the next day he came himself with another to the place, where he found the Amazon and another with her awaiting them. When the rest of the young men learned of this, they had intercourse with the rest of the Amazons. 114. Presently they joined their camps and lived together, each man having for his wife the woman with whom he had had intercourse at first. Now the men could not learn the women's language, but the women mastered the speech of the men;  and when they understood each other, the men said to the Amazons, “We have parents and possessions; therefore, let us no longer live as we do, but return to our people and be with them; and we will still have you, and no others, for our wives.” To this the women replied:  “We could not live with your women; for we and they do not have the same customs. We shoot the bow and throw the javelin and ride, but have never learned women's work; and your women do none of the things of which we speak, but stay in their wagons and do women's work, and do not go out hunting or anywhere else.  So we could never agree with them. If you want to keep us for wives and to have the name of fair men, go to your parents and let them give you the allotted share of their possessions, and after that let us go and live by ourselves.” The young men agreed and did this. 115. So when they had been given the allotted share of possessions that fell to them, and returned to the Amazons, the women said to them:  “We are worried and frightened how we are to live in this country after depriving you of your fathers and doing a lot of harm to your land.  Since you propose to have us for wives, do this with us: come, let us leave this country and live across the Tanaïs river.” 116. To this too the youths agreed; and crossing the Tanaïs, they went a three days' journey east from the river, and a three days' journey north from lake Maeetis; and when they came to the region in which they now live, they settled there.  Ever since then the women of the Sauromatae have followed their ancient ways; they ride out hunting, with their men or without them; they go to war, and dress the same as the men. 117. The language of the Sauromatae is Scythian, but not spoken in its ancient purity, since the Amazons never learned it correctly. In regard to marriage, it is the custom that no maiden weds until she has killed a man of the enemy; and some of them grow old and die unmarried, because they cannot fulfill the law. 118. The kings of the aforesaid nations having gathered, then, the Scythian messengers came and laid everything before them, explaining how the Persian, now that the whole of the other continent was subject to him, had crossed over to their continent by a bridge thrown across the neck of the Bosporus, and how having crossed it and subjugated the Thracians he was now bridging the Ister, so as to make that whole region subject to him like the others.  “By no means stand aside and let us be destroyed,” they said; “rather, let us unite and oppose this invader. If you will not, then we shall either be driven out of our country or stay and make terms.  For what is to become of us if you will not help us? And afterward it will not be easy for you, either; for the Persian has come to attack you no less than us, and when he has subjugated us he will not be content to leave you alone.  We will give you a convincing proof of what we say: if indeed the Persian were marching against us alone, wanting vengeance for our former enslavement of his country, he ought to leave others alone and make straight for us, and would show everyone that Scythia and no other country was his goal.  But as it is, from the day he crossed over to this continent, he has been taming all that come in his way, and he holds in subjection not only the rest of Thrace, but also our neighbors the Getae.” 119. After the Scythians had made this speech, the kings who had come from the nations deliberated, and their opinions were divided. The kings of the Geloni and the Budini and the Sauromatae were of one mind and promised to help the Scythians; but the kings of the Agathyrsi and Neuri and Maneaters and Black-cloaks and Tauri gave this answer to the messengers:  “Had it not been you who wronged the Persians first and began the war, what you now ask would seem to us right, and we would listen and act together with you.  But as it is, you invaded their land without us and ruled the Persians for as long as god granted; and the Persians, urged on by the same god, are only repaying you in kind.  But we did these men no wrong at that former time, nor do we intend now to wrong them first; but if the Persian comes against our land too and begins the wrong-doing, then we will not accept it, either; but until we see that, we shall keep to ourselves. For in our judgment the Persians have not come for us but for those who were the agents of wrong.” 120. When this answer was brought back to the Scythians, they determined not to meet their enemy in the open field, since they could not get the allies that they sought, but rather to fall back driving off their herds, choking the wells and springs on their way and destroying the grass from the earth; and they divided themselves into two companies.  It was their decision that to one of their divisions, which Scopasis ruled, the Sauromatae be added; if the Persian marched that way, this group was to retire before him and fall back toward the Tanaïs river, by the Maeetian lake, and if the Persian turned to go back, then they were to pursue and attack him. This was one of the divisions of the royal people, and it was appointed to follow this course;  their two other divisions, namely, the greater whose ruler was Idanthyrsus, and the third whose king was Taxakis, were to unite, and taking with them also the Geloni and Budini, to draw off like the others at the Persian approach, always keeping one day's march ahead of the enemy, avoiding a confrontation and doing what had been determined.  First, then, they were to retreat in a straight line toward the countries which refused their alliance, so as to involve these, too, in the war; for if they did not of their own accord support the war against the Persians, they must be involved against their will; and after that, the division was to turn back to its own country, and attack the enemy, if in deliberation they thought this best. 121. Determined on this plan, the Scythians sent an advance guard of their best horsemen to meet Darius' army. As for the wagons in which their children and wives lived, all these they sent forward, with instructions to drive always northward; and they sent all their flocks with the wagons, keeping none back except what was required for their food. 122. After this convoy was first sent on its way, the advance guard of the Scythians found the Persians about a three days' march distant from the Ister; and having found them they camped a day's march ahead of the enemy and set about scorching the earth of all living things.  When the Persians saw the Scythian cavalry appear, they marched on its track, the horsemen always withdrawing before them; and then, making for the one Scythian division, the Persians held on in pursuit toward the east and the Tanaïs river;  when the horsemen crossed this, the Persians crossed also, and pursued until they had marched through the land of the Sauromatae to the land of the Budini. 123. As long as the Persians were traversing the Scythian and Sauromatic territory there was nothing for them to harm, as the land was dry and barren. But when they entered the country of the Budini, they found themselves before the wooden-walled town; the Budini had abandoned it and left nothing in it, and the Persians burnt the town.  Then going forward still on the horsemen's track, they passed through this country into desolation, which is inhabited by no one; it lies to the north of the Budini and its breadth is a seven days' march.  Beyond this desolation live the Thyssagetae; four great rivers flow from their country through the land of the Maeetians, and issue into the lake called the Maeetian; their names are Lycus, Oarus, Tanaïs, Syrgis. 124. When Darius came into the desolate country, he halted in his pursuit and camped on the Oarus river, where he built eight great forts, the ruins of which were standing even in my lifetime, all at an equal distance of about seven miles from one another.  While he was occupied with these, the Scythians whom he was pursuing doubled north and turned back into Scythia. Then, when they had altogether vanished and were no longer within the Persians' sight, Darius left those forts only half finished, and he too doubled about and marched west, thinking that those Scythians were the whole army, and that they were fleeing toward the west. 125. But when he came by forced marches into Scythia, he met the two divisions of the Scythians, and pursued them, who always kept a day's march away from him;  and because Darius would not stop pursuing them, the Scythians, according to the plan they had made, fell back before him to the countries of those who had refused their alliance, to the land of the Black-cloaks first.  The Scythians and Persians burst into their land, agitating them; and from there, the Scythians led the Persians into the country of the Man-eaters, agitating them too; from there, they drew off into the country of the Neuri and, agitating them also, fled to the Agathyrsi.  But the Agathyrsi, seeing their neighbors fleeing panic-stricken at the Scythians' approach, before the Scythians could break into their land sent a herald to forbid them to set foot across their borders, warning the Scythians that if they tried to break through they would have to fight with the Agathyrsi first.  With this warning, the Agathyrsi mustered on their borders, intending to stop the invaders. When the Persians and the Scythians broke into their lands, the Blackcloaks and Man-eaters and Neuri put up no resistance, but forgot their threats and fled panic-stricken north into the desolate country.  But warned off by the Agathyrsi, the Scythians made no second attempt on that country, but led the Persians from the lands of the Neuri into Scythia. 126. As this went on for a long time and did not stop, Darius sent a horseman to Idanthyrsus the Scythian king, with this message: “You crazy man, why do you always run, when you can do otherwise? If you believe yourself strong enough to withstand my power, stand and fight and stop running; but if you know you are the weaker, then stop running like this and come to terms with your master, bringing gifts of earth and water.” 127. Idanthyrsus the Scythian king replied: “It is like this with me, Persian: I never ran from any man before out of fear, and I am not running from you now; I am not doing any differently now than I am used to doing in time of peace, too.  As to why I do not fight with you at once, I will tell you why. We Scythians have no towns or cultivated land, out of fear for which, that the one might be taken or the other wasted, we would engage you sooner in battle. But if all you want is to come to that quickly, we have the graves of our fathers.  Come on, find these and try to destroy them: you shall know then whether we will fight you for the graves or whether we will not fight. Until then, unless we have reason, we will not engage with you.  As to fighting, enough; as to masters, I acknowledge Zeus my forefather and Hestia queen of the Scythians only. As for you, instead of gifts of earth and water I shall send such as ought to come to you; and for your boast that you are my master, I say ‘Weep!’” Such is the proverbial “Scythian speech.” 128. So the herald went to carry this message to Darius; but the Scythian kings were filled with anger when they heard the word “slavery”.  They then sent the division of the Scythians to which the Sauromatae were attached, and which was led by Scopasis, to speak with those Ionians guarding the bridge over the Ister; as for those of the Scythians who remained behind, it was decided that they should no longer decoy the Persians, but attack them whenever they were foraging for provision. So they watched for the time when Darius' men were foraging, and did as they had planned.  The Scythian horse always routed the Persian horse, and when the Persian cavalry would fall back in flight on their infantry, the infantry would come up to their aid; and the Scythians, once they had driven in the horse, turned back for fear of the infantry. The Scythians attacked in this fashion by night as well as by day. 129. Very strange to say, what aided the Persians and thwarted the Scythians in their attacks on Darius' army was the braying of the asses and the appearance of the mules.  For, as I have before indicated, Scythia produces no asses or mules; and there is not in most of Scythia an ass or a mule, because of the cold. Therefore the asses frightened the Scythian horses when they brayed loudly;  and often, when they were in the act of charging the Persians, the horses would shy in fear if they heard the asses bray or would stand still with ears erect, never having heard a noise like it or seen a like creature. 130. The Persians thus gained very little in the war, for when the Scythians saw that the Persians were shaken, they formed a plan to have them remain longer in Scythia and, remaining, be distressed by lack of necessities: they would leave some of their flocks behind with the shepherds, moving away themselves to another place; and the Persians would come and take the sheep, and be encouraged by this achievement. 131. After such a thing had happened several times, Darius was finally at a loss; and when they perceived this, the Scythian kings sent a herald to Darius with the gift of a bird, a mouse, a frog, and five arrows.  The Persians asked the bearer of these gifts what they meant; but he said that he had only been told to give the gifts and then leave at once; he told the Persians to figure out what the presents meant themselves, if they were smart enough. 132. When they heard this, the Persians deliberated. Darius' judgment was that the Scythians were surrendering themselves and their earth and their water to him; for he reasoned that a mouse is a creature found in the earth and eating the same produce as men, and a frog is a creature of the water and a bird particularly like a horse; and the arrows signified that the Scythians surrendered their fighting power.  This was the opinion declared by Darius; but the opinion of Gobryas, one of the seven who had slain the Magus, was contrary to it. He reasoned that the meaning of the gifts was,  “Unless you become birds, Persians, and fly up into the sky, or mice and hide in the earth, or frogs and leap into the lakes, you will be shot by these arrows and never return home.” 133. The Persians reasoned thus about the gifts. But when the first division of the Scythians came to the bridge—the division that had first been appointed to stand on guard by the Maeetian lake and had now been sent to the Ister to speak with the Ionians—they said,  “Ionians, we have come to bring you freedom, if you will only listen to us. We understand that Darius has directed you to guard the bridge for sixty days only, and if he does not come within that time, then to go away to your homes.  Now then, do what will leave you guiltless in his eyes as in ours: stay here for the time appointed; and after that, leave.” So the Ionians promised to do this, and the Scythians made their way back with all haste. 134. But after sending the gifts to Darius, the Scythians who had remained there came out with foot and horse and offered battle to the Persians. But when the Scythian ranks were set in order, a rabbit ran out between the armies; and every Scythian that saw it gave chase. So there was confusion and shouting among the Scythians; Darius asked about the clamor among the enemy; and when he heard that they were chasing a rabbit, he said to those with whom he was accustomed to speak,  “These men hold us in deep contempt; and I think now that Gobryas' opinion of the Scythian gifts was true. Since, then, my own judgment agrees with his, we need to consider carefully how we shall return safely.” To this Gobryas said : “O King, I understood almost by reason alone how difficult it would be to deal with these Scythians; but when I came here, I understood even better, watching them toying with us.  Now then, my advice is that at nightfall we kindle our campfires in the usual way, deceive those in our army who are least fit to endure hardship, and tether all our asses here, and ourselves depart, before the Scythians can march straight to the Ister to break up the bridge, or the Ionians take some action by which we may well be ruined.” 135. This was Gobryas' advice, and at nightfall Darius followed it. He left the men who were worn out, and those whose loss mattered least to him, there in the camp, and all the asses, too, tethered.  His reasons for leaving the asses, and the infirm among his soldiers, were the following: the asses, so that they would bray; the men, who were left because of their infirmity, he pretended were to guard the camp while he attacked the Scythians with the fit part of his army.  Giving this order to those who were left behind, and lighting campfires, Darius made all haste to reach the Ister. When the asses found themselves deserted by the multitude, they brayed the louder for it; and the Scythians heard them and assumed that the Persians were in the place. 136. But when it was day, the men left behind perceived that Darius had betrayed them, and they held out their hands to the Scythians and explained the circumstances; they, when they heard this, assembled their power in haste, the two divisions of their horde and the one division that was with the Sauromatae and Budini and Geloni, and made straight for the Ister in pursuit of the Persians.  And as the Persian army was for the most part infantry and did not know the roads (which were not marked), while the Scythians were horsemen and knew the short cuts, they went wide of each other, and the Scythians reached the bridge long before the Persians.  There, perceiving that the Persians had not yet come, they said to the Ionians, who were in their ships, “Ionians, the days have exceeded the number, and you are wrong to be here still.  Since it was fear that kept you here, now break the bridge in haste and go, free and happy men, thanking the gods and the Scythians. The one that was your master we shall impress in such a way that he will never lead an army against anyone again.” 137. Then the Ionians held a council. Miltiades the Athenian, general and sovereign of the Chersonesites of the Hellespont, advised that they do as the Scythians said and set Ionia free.  But Histiaeus of Miletus advised the opposite. He said, “It is owing to Darius that each of us is sovereign of his city; if Darius' power is overthrown, we shall no longer be able to rule, I in Miletus or any of you elsewhere; for all the cities will choose democracy rather than despotism.”  When Histiaeus explained this, all of them at once inclined to his view, although they had first sided with Miltiades. 138. Those high in Darius' favor who gave their vote were Daphnis of Abydos, Hippoclus of Lampsacus, Herophantus of Parium, Metrodorus of Proconnesus, Aristagoras of Cyzicus, Ariston of Byzantium,  all from the Hellespont and sovereigns of cities there; and from Ionia, Strattis of Chios, Aiaces of Samos, Laodamas of Phocaea, and Histiaeus of Miletus who opposed the plan of Miltiades. As for the Aeolians, their only notable man present was Aristagoras of Cymae. 139. When these accepted Histiaeus' view, they decided to act upon it in the following way: to break as much of the bridge on the Scythian side as a bowshot from there carried, so that they seem to be doing something when in fact they were doing nothing, and that the Scythians not try to force their way across the bridge over the Ister; and to say while they were breaking the portion of the bridge on the Scythian side, that they would do all that the Scythians desired.  This was the plan they adopted; and then Histiaeus answered for them all, and said, “You have come with good advice, Scythians, and your urgency is timely: you guide us well and we do you a convenient service; for, as you see, we are breaking the bridge, and will be diligent about it, as we want to be free.  But while we are breaking the bridge, this is your opportunity to go and find the Persians, and when you have found them, punish them as they deserve on our behalf and on your own.” 140. So the Scythians, trusting the Ionians' word once more, turned back to look for the Persians; but they missed the way by which their enemies returned. The Scythians themselves were to blame for this, because they had destroyed the horses' pasturage in that region and blocked the wells.  Had they not done, they could, if they had wished, easily have found the Persians. But as it was, that part of their plan which they had thought the best was the very cause of their going astray.  So the Scythians went searching for their enemies through the parts of their own country where there was forage for the horses and water, supposing that they, too, were heading for such places in their flight; but the Persians kept to their own former tracks, and so with much trouble they found the crossing.  But as they arrived at night and found the bridge broken, they were in great alarm lest the Ionians had abandoned them. 141. There was an Egyptian with Darius whose voice was the loudest in the world; Darius had this man stand on the bank of the Ister and call to Histiaeus the Milesian. This the Egyptian did; Histiaeus heard and answered the first shout, and sent all the ships to ferry the army over, and repaired the bridge. 142. Thus the Persians escaped. The Scythians sought the Persians, but missed them again. Their judgment of the Ionians is that if they are regarded as free men they are the basest and most craven in the world; but if they are reckoned as slaves, none love their masters more, or desire less to escape. Thus have the Scythians taunted the Ionians. 143. Darius marched through Thrace to Sestos on the Chersonesus; from there, he crossed over with his ships to Asia, leaving Megabazus as his commander in Europe, a Persian whom he once honored by saying among the Persians what I note here:  Darius was about to eat pomegranates, and no sooner had he opened the first of them than his brother Artabanus asked him what he would like to have as many of as there were seeds in his pomegranate; then Darius said that he would rather have that many men like Megabazus than make all Hellas subject to him.  By speaking thus among Persians, the king honored Megabazus; and now he left him behind as his commander, at the head of eighty thousand of his army. 144. This Megabazus is forever remembered by the people of the Hellespont for replying,  when he was told at Byzantium that the people of Calchedon had founded their town seventeen years before the Byzantines had founded theirs, that the Calchedonians must at that time have been blind, for had they not been, they would never have chosen the worse site for their city when they might have had the better.  This Megabazus, left now as commander in the country, subjugated all the people of the Hellespont who did not take the side of the Persians. 145. At the same time that he was doing this, another great force was sent against Libya, for the reason that I shall give after I finish the story that I am going to tell now.  The descendants of the crew of the Argo were driven out by the Pelasgians who carried off the Athenian women from Brauron; after being driven out of Lemnos by them, they sailed away to Lacedaemon, and there camped on Teügetum and kindled a fire.  Seeing it, the Lacedaemonians sent a messenger to inquire who they were and where they came from. They answered the messenger that they were Minyae, descendants of the heroes who had sailed in the Argo and put in at Lemnos and there begot their race.  Hearing the story of the lineage of the Minyae, the Lacedaemonians sent a second time and asked why they had come into Laconia and kindled a fire. They replied that, having been expelled by the Pelasgians, they had come to the land of their fathers, as was most just; and their wish was to live with their fathers' people, sharing in their rights and receiving allotted pieces of land.  The Lacedaemonians were happy to receive the Minyae46 on the terms which their guests desired; the chief cause of their consenting was that the Tyndaridae47 had been in the ship's company of the Argo; so they received the Minyae and gave them land and distributed them among their own tribes. The Minyae immediately married, and gave in marriage to others the women they had brought from Lemnos. 146. But in no time these Minyae became imperious, demanding an equal right to the kingship, and doing other impious things;  hence the Lacedaemonians resolved to kill them, and they seized them and cast them into prison. (When the Lacedaemonians execute, they do it by night, never by day.)  Now when they were about to kill the prisoners, the wives of the Minyae, who were natives of the country, daughters of leading Spartans, asked permission to enter the prison and each converse with her husband; the Lacedamonians granted this, not expecting that there would be any treachery from them.  But when the wives came into the prison, they gave their husbands all their own garments, and themselves put on the men's clothing; so the Minyae passed out in the guise of women dressed in women's clothing; and thus escaping, once more camped on Teügetum. 147. Now, about this same time, Theras, a descendant of Polynices through Thersander, Tisamenus, and Autesion, was preparing to lead out colonists from Lacedaemon.  This Theras was of the line of Cadmus and was an uncle on their mother's side to Aristodemus' sons Eurysthenes and Procles; and while these boys were yet children he held the royal power of Sparta as regent;  but when his nephews grew up and became kings, then Theras could not endure to be a subject when he had had a taste of supreme power, and said he would no longer stay in Lacedaemon but would sail away to his family.  On the island now called Thera, but then Calliste, there were descendants of Membliarus the son of Poeciles, a Phoenician; for Cadmus son of Agenor had put in at the place now called Thera during his search for Europa; and having put in, either because the land pleased him, or because for some other reason he desired to do so, he left on this island his own relation Membliarus together with other Phoenicians.  These dwelt on the island of Calliste for eight generations before Theras came from Lacedaemon. 148. It was these that Theras was preparing to join, taking with him a company of people from the tribes; his intention was to settle among the people of Calliste and not drive them out but claim them as in fact his own people.  So when the Minyae escaped from prison and camped on Teügetum, and the Lacedaemonians were planning to put them to death, Theras interceded for their lives, that there might be no killing, promising to lead them out of the country himself.  The Lacedaemonians consented to this, and Theras sailed with three thirty-oared ships to join the descendants of Membliarus, taking with him not all the Minyae but only a few;  for the greater part of them made their way to the lands of the Paroreatae and Caucones, and after having driven these out of their own country, they divided themselves into six companies and established the cities of Lepreum, Macistus, Phrixae, Pyrgus, Epium, and Nudium in the land they had won;48 most of these were in my time taken and sacked by the Eleans. As for the island Calliste, it was called Thera after its colonist. 149. But as Theras' son would not sail with him, his father said that he would leave him behind as a sheep among wolves; after which saying the boy got the nickname of Oeolycus,49 and it so happened that this became his customary name. He had a son, Aegeus, from whom the Aegidae, a great Spartan clan, take their name.  The men of this clan, finding that none of their children lived, set up a temple of the avenging spirits of Laïus and Oedipus, by the instruction of an oracle,50 after which their children lived. It fared thus, too, with the children of the Aegidae at Thera. 150. So far in the story the Lacedaemonian and Theraean records agree; for the rest, we have only the word of the Theraeans.  Grinnus son of Aesanius, king of Thera, a descendant of this same Theras, came to Delphi bringing a hecatomb from his city; among others of his people, Battus son of Polymnestus came with him, a descendant of Euphemus of the Minyan clan.  When Grinnus king of Thera asked the oracle about other matters, the priestess' answer was that he should found a city in Libya. “Lord, I am too old and heavy to stir; command one of these younger men to do this,” answered Grinnus, pointing to Battus as he spoke.  No more was said then. But when they departed, they neglected to obey the oracle, since they did not know where Libya was, and were afraid to send a colony out to an uncertain destination. 151. For seven years after this there was no rain in Thera; all the trees in the island except one withered. The Theraeans inquired at Delphi again, and the priestess mentioned the colony they should send to Libya.  So, since there was no remedy for their ills, they sent messengers to Crete to find any Cretan or traveller there who had travelled to Libya. In their travels about the island, these came to the town of Itanus, where they met a murex fisherman named Corobius, who told them that he had once been driven off course by winds to Libya, to an island there called Platea.51  They hired this man to come with them to Thera; from there, just a few men were sent aboard ship to spy out the land first; guided by Corobius to the aforesaid island Platea, these left him there with provision for some months, and themselves sailed back with all speed to Thera to bring news of the island. 152. But after they had been away for longer than the agreed time, and Corobius had no provisions left, a Samian ship sailing for Egypt, whose captain was Colaeus, was driven off her course to Platea, where the Samians heard the whole story from Corobius and left him provisions for a year;  they then put out to sea from the island and would have sailed to Egypt, but an easterly wind drove them from their course, and did not abate until they had passed through the Pillars of Heracles and came providentially to Tartessus.  Now this was at that time an untapped52 market; hence, the Samians, of all the Greeks whom we know with certainty, brought back from it the greatest profit on their wares except Sostratus of Aegina, son of Laodamas; no one could compete with him.  The Samians took six talents, a tenth of their profit, and made a bronze vessel with it, like an Argolic cauldron, with griffins' heads projecting from the rim all around; they set this up in their temple of Hera, supporting it with three colossal kneeling figures of bronze, each twelve feet high.  What the Samians had done was the beginning of a close friendship between them and the men of Cyrene and Thera. 153. As for the Theraeans, when they came to Thera after leaving Corobius on the island, they brought word that they had established a settlement on an island off Libya. The Theraeans determined to send out men from their seven regions, taking by lot one of every pair of brothers, and making Battus leader and king of all. Then they manned two fifty-oared ships and sent them to Platea. 154. This is what the Theraeans say; and now begins the part in which the Theraean and Cyrenaean stories agree, but not until now, for the Cyrenaeans tell a wholly different story about Battus, which is this. There is a town in Crete called Oaxus, of which one Etearchus became ruler. He was a widower with a daughter whose name was Phronime, and he married a second wife.  When the second wife came into his house, she thought fit to be the proverbial stepmother to Phronime, ill-treating her and devising all sorts of evil against her; at last she accused the girl of lewdness, and persuaded her husband that the charge was true. So Etearchus was persuaded by his wife and contrived a great sin against his daughter.  There was at Oaxus a Theraean trader, one Themison; Etearchus made this man his guest and friend, and got him to swear that he would do him whatever service he desired; then he gave the man his own daughter, telling him to take her away and throw her into the sea.  But Themison was very angry at being thus tricked on his oath and renounced his friendship with Etearchus; presently, he took the girl and sailed away, and so as to fulfill the oath that he had sworn to Etearchus, when he was on the high seas he bound her with ropes and let her down into the sea and drew her up again, and presently arrived at Thera. 155. There Polymnestus, a notable Theraean, took Phronime and made her his concubine. In time, a son of weak and stammering speech was born to him, to whom he gave the name Battus,53 as the Theraeans and Cyrenaeans say; but in my opinion the boy was given some other name,  and changed it to Battus on his coming to Libya, taking this new name because of the oracle given to him at Delphi and the honorable office which he received. For the Libyan word for king is “Battus,” and this (I believe) is why the Pythian priestess called him so in her prophecy, using a Libyan name because she knew that he was to be king in Libya.  For when he grew to adulthood, he went to Delphi to inquire about his voice; and the priestess in answer gave him this: ““Battus, you have come for a voice; but Lord Phoebus Apollo Sends you to found a city in Libya, nurse of sheep,” ” just as if she addressed him using the Greek word for “king,” “Basileus, you have come for a voice,” et cetera.  But he answered: “Lord, I came to you to ask about my speech; but you talk of other matters, things impossible to do; you tell me to plant a colony in Libya; where shall I get the power or strength of hand for it?” Battus spoke thus, but as the god would not give him another oracle and kept answering as before, he departed while the priestess was still speaking, and went away to Thera. 156. But afterward things turned out badly for Battus and the rest of the Theraeans; and when, ignorant of the cause of their misfortunes, they sent to Delphi to ask about their present ills,  the priestess declared that they would fare better if they helped Battus plant a colony at Cyrene in Libya. Then the Theraeans sent Battus with two fifty-oared ships; these sailed to Libya, but, not knowing what else to do, presently returned to Thera.  There, the Theraeans shot at them as they came to land and would not let the ship put in, telling them to sail back; which they did under constraint of necessity, and planted a colony on an island off the Libyan coast called (as I have said already) Platea. This island is said to be as big as the city of Cyrene is now. 157. Here they lived for two years; but as everything went wrong, the rest sailed to Delphi leaving one behind, and on their arrival questioned the oracle, and said that they were living in Libya, but that they were no better off for that.  Then the priestess gave them this reply: ““If you know Libya nurse of sheep better than I, Though I have been there and you have not, then I am very much astonished at your knowledge.” ” Hearing this, Battus and his men sailed back again; for the god would not let them do anything short of colonizing Libya itself;  and having come to the island and taken aboard the one whom they had left there, they made a settlement at a place in Libya itself, opposite the island which was called Aziris. This is a place enclosed on both sides by the fairest of groves, with a river flowing along one side of it. 158. Here they dwelt for six years; but in the seventh, the Libyans got them to leave the place, saying that they would lead them to a better;  and they brought the Greeks from Aziris and led them west, so calculating the hours of daylight that they led the Greeks past the fairest place in their country, called Irasa, at night, lest the Greeks see it in their journey.  Then they brought the Greeks to what is called the Fountain of Apollo, and said to them: “Here, Greeks, it is suitable for you to live; for here the sky is torn.”54 159. Now in the time of Battus the founder of the colony, who ruled for forty years, and of his son Arcesilaus who ruled for sixteen, the inhabitants of Cyrene were no more in number than when they had first gone out to the colony.  But in the time of the third ruler, Battus, who was called the Fortunate, the Pythian priestess warned all Greeks by an oracle to cross the sea and live in Libya with the Cyrenaeans; for the Cyrenaeans invited them, promising a distribution of land;  and this was the oracle: ““Whoever goes to beloved Libya after The fields are divided, I say shall be sorry afterward.” ”  So a great multitude gathered at Cyrene, and cut out great tracts of land from the territory of the neighboring Libyans. Robbed of their lands and treated violently by the Cyrenaeans, these then sent to Egypt together with their king, whose name was Adicran, and put their affairs in the hands of Apries, the king of that country.  Apries mustered a great force of Egyptians and sent it against Cyrene; the Cyrenaeans marched out to Irasa and the Thestes spring, and there fought with the Egyptians and beat them;  for the Egyptians had as yet had no experience of Greeks, and despised their enemy; as a result of which, they were so utterly destroyed that few of them returned to Egypt. Because of this misfortune, and because they blamed him for it, the Egyptians revolted from Apries.55 160. This Battus had a son Arcesilaus; on his first coming to reign, he quarrelled with his brothers, until they left him and went away to another place in Libya, where they founded a city for themselves, which was then and is now called Barce; and while they were founding it, they persuaded the Libyans to revolt from the Cyrenaeans.  Then Arcesilaus led an army into the country of the Libyans who had received his brothers and had also revolted; and they fled in fear of him to the eastern Libyans.  Arcesilaus pursued them until he came in his pursuit to Leucon in Libya, where the Libyans resolved to attack him; they engaged, and so wholly overcame the Cyrenaeans that seven thousand Cyrenaean soldiers were killed there.  After this disaster, Arcesilaus, being worn down and having taken a drug, was strangled by his brother Learchus; Learchus was deftly killed by Arcesilaus' wife, Eryxo. 161. Arcesilaus' kingship passed to his son Battus, who was lame and infirm in his feet. The Cyrenaeans, in view of the affliction that had overtaken them, sent to Delphi to ask what political arrangement would enable them to live best;  the priestess told them bring a mediator from Mantinea in Arcadia. When the Cyrenaeans sent their request, the Mantineans gave them their most valued citizen, whose name was Demonax.  When this man came to Cyrene and learned everything, he divided the people into three tribes;56 of which the Theraeans and dispossessed Libyans were one, the Peloponnesians and Cretans the second, and all the islanders the third; furthermore, he set apart certain domains and priesthoods for their king Battus, but all the rest, which had belonged to the kings, were now to be held by the people in common. 162. During the life of this Battus, these ordinances held good, but in the time of his son Arcesilaus much contention arose about the king's rights.  Arcesilaus, son of the lame Battus and Pheretime, would not abide by the ordinances of Demonax, but demanded back the prerogatives of his forefathers, and made himself head of a faction; but he was defeated and banished to Samos, and his mother fled to Salamis in Cyprus.  Now Salamis at this time was ruled by Evelthon, who dedicated that marvellous censer at Delphi which stands in the treasury of the Corinthians. Pheretime came to him, asking him for an army to bring her and her son back to Cyrene;  Evelthon was willing to give her everything else, only not an army, and when she accepted what he gave her, she said that it was fine, but it would be better to give her an army as she asked.  This she said whatever the gift, until at last Evelthon sent her a golden spindle and distaff, and wool, and when Pheretime uttered the same words as before, he answered that these, and not armies, were gifts for women. 163. Meanwhile Arcesilaus was in Samos, collecting all the men that he could and promising them a new division of land; and while a great army was thus gathering, he made a journey to Delphi, to ask the oracle about his return.  The priestess gave him this answer: ““For the lifetimes of four Battuses and four Arcesilauses, eight generations of men, Loxias grants to your house the kingship of Cyrene; more than this he advises you not even to try.  But you, return to your country and live there in peace. But if you find the oven full of amphora, do not bake the amphora, but let them go unscathed. And if you bake them in the oven, do not go into the tidal place; for if you do, then you shall be killed yourself, and also the bull that is fairest of the herd.”” This was the oracle given by the priestess to Arcesilaus. 164. But he returned to Cyrene with the men from Samos, and having made himself master of it he forgot the oracle, and demanded justice upon his enemies for his banishment.  Some of these left the country altogether; others, Arcesilaus seized and sent away to Cyprus to be killed there. These were carried off their course to Cnidus, where the Cnidians saved them and sent them to Thera. Others of the Cyrenaeans fled for refuge into a great tower that belonged to one Aglomachus, a private man, and Arcesilaus piled wood around it and burnt them there.  Then, perceiving too late that this was the meaning of the Delphic oracle which forbade him to bake the amphora if he found them in the oven, he deliberately refrained from going into the city of the Cyrenaeans, fearing the death prophesied and supposing the tidal place to be Cyrene.  Now he had a wife who was a relation of his, a daughter of Alazir king of the Barcaeans, and Arcesilaus went to Alazir; but men of Barce and some of the exiles from Cyrene were aware of him and killed him as he walked in the town, and Alazir his father-in-law too. So Arcesilaus whether with or without meaning to missed the meaning of the oracle and fulfilled his destiny. 165. While Arcesilaus was living at Barce, accomplishing his own destruction, his mother Pheretime held her son's prerogative at Cyrene, where she administered all his business and sat with others in council.  But when she learned of her son's death at Barce, she made her escape to Egypt, trusting to the good service which Arcesilaus had done Cambyses the son of Cyrus; for this was the Arcesilaus who gave Cyrene to Cambyses and agreed to pay tribute.  So, on her arrival in Egypt, Pheretime supplicated Aryandes, asking that he avenge her, on the plea that her son had been killed for allying himself with the Medes. 166. This Aryandes had been appointed viceroy of Egypt by Cambyses; at a later day, he was put to death for making himself equal to Darius. For, learning and seeing that Darius desired to leave a memorial of himself such as no king ever had, Aryandes imitated him, until he got his reward;  for Darius had coined money out of gold refined to an extreme purity,57 and Aryandes, then ruling Egypt, made a similar silver coinage; and now there is no silver money so pure as is the Aryandic. But when Darius heard that Aryandes was doing so, he put him to death, not on this charge but as a rebel. 167. At this time, Aryandes took pity on Pheretime and gave her all the Egyptian land and sea forces, appointing Amasis, a Maraphian, general of the army, and Badres of the tribe of the Pasargadae, admiral of the fleet.  But before despatching the troops, Aryandes sent a herald to Barce to ask who it was who had killed Arcesilaus. The Barcaeans answered that it was the deed of the whole city, for the many wrongs that Arcesilaus had done them; when he heard this, Aryandes sent his troops with Pheretime.  This was the pretext; but I myself think that the troops were sent to subjugate Libya. For the Libyan tribes are many and of different kinds, and though a few of them were the king's subjects, the greater part cared nothing for Darius. 168. Now, concerning the lands inhabited by Libyans, the Adyrmachidae are the people that live nearest to Egypt; they follow Egyptian customs for the most part, but dress like other Libyans. Their women wear twisted bronze ornaments on both legs; their hair is long; each catches her own lice, then bites and throws them away.  They are the only Libyans that do this, and who show the king all virgins that are to be married; the king then takes the virginity of whichever of these pleases him. These Adyrmachidae extend from Egypt to the harbor called Plynus. 169. Next to them are the Giligamae, who inhabit the country to the west as far as the island of Aphrodisias; in between lies the island of Platea, which the Cyrenaeans colonized, and on the mainland is the harbor called Menelaus, and the Aziris which was a settlement of the Cyrenaeans. Here the country of silphium begins,  which reaches from the island of Platea to the entrance of the Syrtis. This people is like the others in its customs. 170. The next people west of the Giligamae are the Asbystae, who live inland of Cyrene, not coming down to the coast, for that is Cyrenaean territory. These drive four-horse chariots to a greater extent than any other Libyans; it is their practice to imitate most of the Cyrenaean customs. 171. Next west of the Asbystae are the Auschisae, dwelling inland of Barce, and touching the coast at Euhesperidae. About the middle of the land of the Auschisae lives the little tribe of the Bacales, whose territory comes down to the sea at Tauchira, a town in the Barcaean country; their customs are the same as those of the dwellers inland of Cyrene. 172. Next west of these Auschisae is the populous country of the Nasamones, who in summer leave their flocks by the sea and go up to the land called Augila to gather dates from the palm-trees that grow there in great abundance and all bear fruit. They hunt locusts, which they dry in the sun, and after grinding sprinkle them into milk and drink it.  It is their custom for every man to have many wives; their intercourse with women is promiscuous, as among the Massagetae; a staff is placed before the dwelling, and then they have intercourse. When a man of the Nasamones weds, on the first night the bride must by custom lie with each of the whole company in turn; and each man after intercourse gives her whatever gift he has brought from his house.  As for their manner of swearing and divination, they lay their hands on the graves of the men reputed to have been the most just and good among them, and by these men they swear; their practice of divination is to go to the tombs of their ancestors, where after making prayers they lie down to sleep, and take for oracles whatever dreams come to them.  They give and receive pledges by each drinking from the hand of the other party; and if they have nothing liquid, they take the dust of the earth and lick it up. 173. On the borders of the Nasamones is the country of the Psylli, who perished in this way: the force of the south wind dried up their water-tanks, and all their country, lying in the region of the Syrtis, was waterless. After deliberating together, they marched south (I tell the story as it is told by the Libyans), and when they came into the sandy desert, a strong south wind buried them. So they perished utterly, and the Nasamones have their country. 174. Inland of these to the south, the Garamantes live in wild beast country. They shun the sight and fellowship of men, and have no weapons of war, nor know how to defend themselves. 175. These live inland of the Nasamones; the neighboring seaboard to the west is the country of the Macae, who shave their hair to a crest, leaving that on the top of their heads to grow and shaving clean off what is on either side; in war they carry shields made of ostrich skins.  The Cinyps river empties into their sea through their country from a hill called the Hill of the Graces. This hill is thickly wooded, while the rest of Libya of which I have spoken is bare of trees; it is twenty-five miles from the sea. 176. Next to these Macae are the Gindanes, where every woman wears many leather anklets, because (so it is said) she puts on an anklet for every man with whom she has had intercourse; and she who wears the most is reputed to be the best, because she has been loved by the most men. 177. There is a headland jutting out into the sea from the land of the Gindanes; on it live the Lotus Eaters, whose only fare is the lotus.58 The lotus fruit is the size of a mastich-berry: it has a sweet taste like the fruit of a date-palm; the Lotus Eaters not only eat it, but make wine of it. 178. Next to these along the coast are the Machlyes, who also use the lotus, but less than the aforesaid people. Their country reaches to a great river called the Triton,59 which empties into the great Tritonian lake, in which is an island called Phla. It is said that the Lacedaemonians were told by an oracle to plant a settlement on this island. 179. The following story is also told: it is said that Jason, when the Argo had been built at the foot of Pelion, put aboard besides a hecatomb a bronze tripod, and set out to sail around the Peloponnese, to go to Delphi.  But when he was off Malea, a north wind caught and carried him away to Libya; and before he saw land, he came into the shallows of the Tritonian lake. There, while he could find no way out yet, Triton (the story goes) appeared to him and told Jason to give him the tripod, promising to show the sailors the channel and send them on their way unharmed.  Jason did, and Triton then showed them the channel out of the shallows and set the tripod in his own temple; but first he prophesied over it, declaring the whole matter to Jason's comrades: namely, that should any descendant of the Argo's crew take away the tripod, then a hundred Greek cities would be founded on the shores of the Tritonian lake. Hearing this (it is said) the Libyan people of the country hid the tripod. 180. Next to these Machlyes are the Auseans; these and the Machlyes, separated by the Triton, live on the shores of the Tritonian lake. The Machlyes wear their hair long behind, the Auseans in front.  They celebrate a yearly festival of Athena, where their maidens are separated into two bands and fight each other with stones and sticks, thus (they say) honoring in the way of their ancestors that native goddess whom we call Athena. Maidens who die of their wounds are called false virgins.  Before the girls are set fighting, the whole people choose the fairest maid, and arm her with a Corinthian helmet and Greek panoply, to be then mounted on a chariot and drawn all along the lake shore.  With what armor they equipped their maidens before Greeks came to live near them, I cannot say; but I suppose the armor was Egyptian; for I maintain that the Greeks took their shield and helmet from Egypt.  As for Athena, they say that she was daughter of Poseidon and the Tritonian lake, and that, being for some reason angry at her father, she gave herself to Zeus, who made her his own daughter. Such is their tale. The intercourse of men and women there is promiscuous; they do not cohabit but have intercourse like cattle.  When a woman's child is well grown, the men assemble within three months and the child is adjudged to be that man's whom it is most like. 181. I have now described all the nomadic Libyans who live on the coast. Farther inland than these is that Libyan country which is haunted by wild beasts, and beyond this wild beasts' haunt runs a ridge of sand that stretches from Thebes of Egypt to the Pillars of Heracles.60  At intervals of about ten days' journey along this ridge there are masses of great lumps of salt in hills; on the top of every hill, a fountain of cold sweet water shoots up from the midst of the salt; men live around it who are farthest away toward the desert and inland from the wild beasts' country. The first on the journey from Thebes , ten days distant from there, are the Ammonians, who follow the worship of the Zeus of Thebes ; for, as I have said before, the image of Zeus at Thebes has the head of a ram.  They have another spring of water besides, which is warm at dawn, and colder at market-time, and very cold at noon;  and it is then that they water their gardens; as the day declines, the coldness abates, until at sunset the water grows warm. It becomes ever hotter and hotter until midnight, and then it boils and bubbles; after midnight it becomes ever cooler until dawn. This spring is called the Spring of the Sun. 182. At a distance of ten days' journey again from the Ammonians along the sandy ridge, there is a hill of salt like that of the Ammonians, and springs of water, where men live; this place is called Augila; it is to this that the Nasamones come to gather palm-fruit. 183. After ten days' journey again from Augila there is yet another hill of salt and springs of water and many fruit-bearing palms, as at the other places; men live there called Garamantes, an exceedingly great nation, who sow in earth which they have laid on the salt.  The shortest way to the Lotus Eaters' country is from here, thirty days' journey distant. Among the Garamantes are the cattle that go backward as they graze, the reason being that their horns curve forward;  therefore, not being able to go forward, since the horns would stick in the ground, they walk backward grazing. Otherwise, they are like other cattle, except that their hide is thicker and harder to the touch.  These Garamantes go in their four-horse chariots chasing the cave-dwelling Ethiopians: for the Ethiopian cave-dwellers are swifter of foot than any men of whom tales are brought to us. They live on snakes and lizards and such-like creeping things. Their speech is like no other in the world: it is like the squeaking of bats. 184. Another ten days' journey from the Garamantes there is again a salt hill and water, where men live called Atarantes. These are the only men whom we know who have no names; for the whole people are called Atarantes, but no man has a name of his own.  When the sun is high, they curse and very foully revile him, because his burning heat afflicts their people and their land.  After another ten days' journey there is again a hill of salt, and water, and men living there. Near to this salt is a mountain called Atlas, whose shape is slender and conical; and it is said to be so high that its heights cannot be seen, for clouds are always on them winter and summer. The people of the country call it the pillar of heaven.  These men get their name, which is Atlantes, from this mountain. It is said that they eat no living creature, and see no dreams in their sleep. 185. I know and can tell the names of all the peoples that live on the ridge as far as the Atlantes, but no farther than that. But I know this, that the ridge reaches as far as the Pillars of Heracles and beyond them.  There is a mine of salt on it every ten days' journey, and men live there. Their houses are all built of blocks of the salt; for these are parts of Libya where no rain falls; for the walls, being of salt, could not stand firm if there were rain.  The salt there is both white and purple. Beyond this ridge, the southern and inland parts of Libya are desolate and waterless: there are no wild beasts, no rain, no forests; this region is wholly without moisture. 186. Thus from Egypt to the Tritonian lake, the Libyans are nomads that eat meat and drink milk; for the same reason as the Egyptians too profess, they will not touch the flesh of cows; and they rear no swine.  The women of Cyrene, too, consider it wrong to eat cows' flesh, because of the Isis of Egypt; and they even honor her with fasts and festivals; and the Barcaean women refuse to eat swine too, as well as cows. 187. Thus it is with this region. But west of the Tritonian lake the Libyans are not nomads; they do not follow the same customs, or treat their children as the nomads do.  For the practice of many Libyan nomads (I cannot say absolutely whether it is the practice of all) is to take their children when four years old, and to burn the veins of their scalps or sometimes of their temples with grease of sheep's wool, so that the children may never afterward be afflicted by phlegm draining from the head.  They say that this makes their children quite healthy. In fact, the Libyans are the healthiest of all men whom we know; whether it is because of this practice, I cannot say absolutely; but they certainly are healthy. When the children smart from the pain of the burning, the Libyans have found a remedy; they soothe them by applications of goats' urine. This is what the Libyans themselves say. 188. The nomads' way of sacrificing is to cut a piece from the victim's ear for first-fruits and throw it over the house; then they wring the victim's neck. They sacrifice to no gods except the sun and moon; that is, this is the practice of the whole nation; but the dwellers by the Tritonian lake sacrifice to Athena chiefly, and next to Triton and Poseidon. 189. It would seem that the robe and aegis of the images of Athena were copied by the Greeks from the Libyan women; for except that Libyan women dress in leather, and that the tassels of their goatskin cloaks are not snakes but thongs of hide, in everything else their equipment is the same.  And in fact, the very name betrays that the attire of the statues of Pallas has come from Libya; for Libyan women wear the hairless tasselled “aegea” over their dress, colored with madder, and the Greeks have changed the name of these aegeae into their “aegides.”61  Furthermore, in my opinion the ceremonial chant62 first originated in Libya: for the women of that country chant very tunefully. And it is from the Libyans that the Greeks have learned to drive four-horse chariots. 190. The dead are buried by the nomads in Greek fashion, except by the Nasamones. They bury their dead sitting, being careful to make the dying man sit when he releases his spirit, and not die lying supine. Their dwellings are constructed of asphodel stalks63 twined about reeds; they can be carried here and there. Such are the Libyan customs. 191. West of the Triton river and next to the Aseans begins the country of Libyans who cultivate the soil and possess houses; they are called Maxyes; they wear their hair long on the right side of their heads and shave the left, and they paint their bodies with vermilion.  These claim descent from the men who came from Troy. Their country, and the rest of the western part of Libya, is much fuller of wild beasts and more wooded than the country of the nomads.  For the eastern region of Libya, which the nomads inhabit, is low-lying and sandy as far as the Triton river; but the land west of this, where the farmers live, is exceedingly mountainous and wooded and full of wild beasts.  In that country are the huge snakes and the lions, and the elephants and bears and asps, the horned asses, the dog-headed and the headless men that have their eyes in their chests, as the Libyans say, and the wild men and women, besides many other creatures not fabulous. 192. But in the nomads' country there are none of these; but there are others, white-rumped antelopes, gazelles, hartebeest, asses, not the horned asses, but those that are called “undrinking” (for indeed they never drink), the oryx, whose horns are made the horns of the lyre (this is a beast the size of a bull),  foxes, hyenas, porcupines, wild rams, the dictys, jackals, panthers, the borys,64 land crocodiles sixty inches long, very like lizards, and ostriches and little one-horned serpents; all these beasts besides those that are elsewhere too, except deer and wild boar; of these two kinds there are none at all in Libya.  There are in this country three kinds of mice, the two-footed,65 the “zegeries” (this is a Libyan word, meaning in our language “hills”), and the bristly-haired, as they are called. There are also weasels found in the silphium, very like to the weasels of Tartessus. So many are the wild creatures of the nomads' country, as far as by our utmost enquiry we have been able to learn. 193. Next to the Maxyes of Libya are the Zauekes, whose women drive their chariots to war. 194. Next to these are the Gyzantes, where much honey is made by bees, and much more yet (so it is said) by craftsmen.66 It is certain that they all paint themselves with vermilion and eat apes, with which their mountains swarm. 195. Off their coast (the Carthaginians say) lies an island called Cyrauis, twenty-five miles long and narrow across, accessible from the mainland; it is full of olives and vines.  It is said that there is a lake on this island from which the maidens of the country draw gold-dust out of the mud on feathers smeared with pitch. I do not know whether this is true; I just write what is said. But all things are possible; for I myself saw pitch drawn from the water of a pool in Zacynthus.  The pools there are numerous; the greatest of them is seventy feet long and broad, and twelve feet deep. Into this they drop a pole with a myrtle branch fastened to its end, and bring up pitch on the myrtle, smelling like asphalt, and for the rest better than the pitch of Pieria. Then they pour it into a pit that they have dug near the pool; and when a fair amount is collected there, they fill their vessels from the pit.  Whatever falls into the pool is carried under the ground and appears again in the sea, which is about a half a mile distant from the pool. So, then, the story that comes from the island lying off the Libyan coast is like the truth, too. 196. Another story is told by the Carthaginians. There is a place in Libya, they say, where men live beyond the Pillars of Heracles; they come here and unload their cargo; then, having laid it in order along the beach, they go aboard their ships and light a smoking fire. The people of the country see the smoke, and, coming to the sea, they lay down gold to pay for the cargo, and withdraw from the wares.  Then the Carthaginians disembark and examine the gold; if it seems to them a fair price for their cargo, they take it and go away; but if not, they go back aboard and wait, and the people come back and add more gold until the sailors are satisfied.  In this transaction, it is said, neither party defrauds the other: the Carthaginians do not touch the gold until it equals the value of their cargo, nor do the people touch the cargo until the sailors have taken the gold. 197. These are all the Libyans whom we can name, and the majority of their kings cared nothing for the king of the Medes at the time of which I write, nor do they care for him now.  I have this much further to say of this country: four nations and no more, as far as we know, inhabit it, two of which are aboriginal and two not; the Libyans in the north and the Ethiopians in the south of Libya are aboriginal; the Phoenicians and Greeks are later settlers. 198. In my opinion, there is in no part of Libya any great excellence for which it should be compared to Asia or Europe, except in the region which is called by the same name as its river, Cinyps.  But this region is a match for the most fertile farmland in the world, nor is it at all like to the rest of Libya. For the soil is black and well-watered by springs, and has no fear of drought, nor is it harmed by drinking excessive showers (there is rain in this part of Libya). Its yield of grain is of the same measure as in the land of Babylon.  The land inhabited by the Euhesperitae is also good; it yields at the most a hundredfold; but the land of the Cinyps region yields three hundredfold. 199. The country of Cyrene, which is the highest part of the Libya that the nomads inhabit, has the marvellous advantage of three harvest seasons. The fruits of the earth are ripe for reaping and picking on the coast first; when these have been gathered, the middle region above the coast, which they call the Hills, is ripe for gathering;  and no sooner has this yield of the middle country been gathered than the highest-lying crops are mellow and ripe, so that the latest fruits of the earth are coming in when the earliest are already spent by way of food and drink. Thus the Cyrenaeans have a harvest lasting eight months. Enough of these matters, then. 200. Now when the Persians that Aryandes sent from Egypt to avenge Pheretime came to Barce,67 they laid siege to the city, demanding the surrender of those who were guilty of the murder of Arcesilaus: but the Barcaeans, whose whole people were accessory to the deed, would not yield.  The Persians besieged Barce for nine months, digging underground passages leading to the walls, and making violent assaults. As for the tunnels, a blacksmith discovered them by the means of a bronze shield, and this is how he found them: carrying the shield around the inner side of the walls, he struck it against the ground of the city;  all the other places which he struck returned a dull sound; but where there were tunnels, the bronze of the shield rang clear. Here the Barcaeans made a counter-tunnel and killed those Persians who were digging underground. Thus the tunnels were discovered, and the assaults were repelled by the townsfolk. 201. When much time had been spent and many on both sides (not less of the Persians than of their enemies) slain, Amasis the general of the foot soldiers devised a plot, knowing that Barce could not be taken by force but might be taken by guile: he dug by night a wide trench and laid frail planks across it, which he then covered over with a layer of earth level with the ground about it.  Then when day came, he invited the Barcaeans to confer with him, and they readily consented; at last all agreed to conditions of peace. This was done thus: standing on the hidden trench, they gave and accepted a sworn assurance that their treaty would hold good while the ground where they stood was unchanged; the Barcaeans promised to pay a due sum to the king, and the Persians to do the Barcaeans no harm.  When the sworn agreement was made, the townsfolk, trusting in it and opening all their gates, themselves came out of the city, and let all their enemies who so desired enter within the walls. But the Persians broke down the hidden bridge and ran into the city. They broke down the bridge that they had made, so that they might keep the oath which they had sworn to the Barcaeans: namely, that this treaty would hold good for as long as the ground remained as it was; but if they broke the bridge the treaty held good no longer. 202. When they were delivered to her by the Persians, Pheretime took the most guilty of the Barcaeans and set them impaled around the top of the wall; the breasts of their women she cut off and planted around the wall in like manner.  As for the rest of the Barcaeans, she told the Persians to take them as their booty, except those who were of the house of Battus and not accessory to the murder: to these she turned over the city. 203. The Persians thus enslaved the rest of the Barcaeans, and went home. When they appeared before the city of Cyrene, the Cyrenaeans let them pass through their city, so that a certain oracle might be fulfilled.  As the army was passing through, Badres the admiral of the fleet was for taking the city, but Amasis the general of the land army would not consent, saying that he had been sent against Barce and no other Greek city; at last they passed through Cyrene and camped on the hill of Lycaean Zeus; there they regretted not having taken the city, and tried to enter it again, but the Cyrenaeans would not let them. Then, although no one attacked them, panic seized the Persians, and they fled to a place seven miles distant and camped there; and while they were there, a messenger from Aryandes came to the camp asking them to return. The Persians asked and received from the Cyrenaeans provisions for their march, after which they left to go to Egypt;  but then they fell into the hands of the Libyans, who killed the laggards and stragglers of the army for the sake of their garments and possessions; until at last they came to Egypt. 204. This Persian force advanced as far as Euhesperidae in Libya and no farther. As for the Barcaeans whom they had taken for slaves, they carried them from Egypt into banishment and brought them to the king, and Darius gave them a town of Bactria to live in. They gave this town the name Barce, and it remained an inhabited place in Bactria until my own lifetime. 205. But Pheretime did not end well, either. For as soon as she had revenged herself on the Barcaeans and returned to Egypt, she met an awful death. For while still alive she teemed with maggots: thus does over-brutal human revenge invite retribution from the gods. That of Pheretime, daughter of Battus, against the Barcaeans was revenge of this nature and this brutality.