THE HISTORY OF HERODOTUS
4. THE FOURTH BOOK OF THE HISTORIES, CALLED MELPOMENE
1. After Babylon had been taken, the march of Dareios himself 1 against the Scythians took place: for now that Asia was flourishing in respect of population, and large sums were being gathered in as revenue, Dareios formed the desire to take vengeance upon the Scythians, because they had first invaded the Median land and had overcome in fight those who opposed them; and thus they had been the beginners of wrong. The Scythians in truth, as I have before said, 2 had ruled over Upper Asia 3 for eight-and-twenty years; for they had invaded Asia in their pursuit of the Kimmerians, and they had deposed 4 the Medes from their rule, who had rule over Asia before the Scythians came. Now when the Scythians had been absent from their own land for eight-and-twenty years, as they were returning to it after that interval of time, they were met by a contest 5 not less severe than that which they had had with the Medes, since they found an army of no mean size opposing them. For the wives of the Scythians, because their husbands were absent from them for a long time, had associated with the slaves.
2. Now the Scythians put out the eyes of all their slaves because of the milk which they drink; and they do as follows:—they take blow-pipes of bone just like flutes, and these they insert into the vagina of the mare and blow with their mouths, and others milk while they blow: and they say that they do this because the veins of the mare are thus filled, being blown out, and so the udder is let down. When they had drawn the milk they pour it into wooden vessels hollowed out, and they set the blind slaves in order about 6 the vessels and agitate the milk. Then that which comes to the top they skim off, considering it the more valuable part, whereas they esteem that which settles down to be less good than the other. For this reason 7 the Scythians put out the eyes of all whom they catch; for they are not tillers of the soil but nomads.
3. From these their slaves then, I say, and from their wives had been born and bred up a generation of young men, who having learnt the manner of their birth set themselves to oppose the Scythians as they were returning from the Medes. And first they cut off their land by digging a broad trench extending from the Tauric mountains to the Maiotian lake, at the point where 8 this is broadest; then afterwards when the Scythians attempted to invade the land, they took up a position against them and fought; and as they fought many times, and the Scythians were not able to get any advantage in the fighting, one of them said: "What a thing is this that we are doing, Scythians! We are fighting against our own slaves, and we are not only becoming fewer in number ourselves by being slain in battle, but also we are killing them, and so we shall have fewer to rule over in future. Now therefore to me it seems good that we leave spears and bows and that each one take his horse-whip and so go up close to them: for so long as they saw us with arms in our hands, they thought themselves equal to us and of equal birth; but when they shall see that we have whips instead of arms, they will perceive that they are our slaves, and having acknowledged this they will not await our onset."
4. When they heard this, the Scythians proceeded to do that which he said, and the others being panic-stricken by that which was done forgot their fighting and fled. Thus the Scythians had ruled over Asia; and in such manner, when they were driven out again by the Medes, they had returned to their own land. For this Dareios wished to take vengeance upon them, and was gathering together an army to go against them.
5. Now the Scythians say that their nation is the youngest of all nations, and that this came to pass as follows:—The first man who ever existed in this region, which then was desert, was one named Targitaos: and of this Targitaos they say, though I do not believe it for my part, however they say the parents were Zeus and the daughter of the river Borysthenes. Targitaos, they report, was produced from some such origin as this, and of him were begotten three sons, Lipoxaïs and Arpoxaïs and the youngest Colaxaïs. In the reign of these 9 there came down from heaven certain things wrought of gold, a plough, a yoke, a battle-axe, 10 and a cup, and fell in the Scythian land: and first the eldest saw and came near them, desiring to take them, but the gold blazed with fire when he approached it: then when he had gone away from it, the second approached, and again it did the same thing. These then the gold repelled by blazing with fire; but when the third and youngest came up to it, the flame was quenched, and he carried them to his own house. The elder brothers then, acknowledging the significance of this thing, delivered the whole of the kingly power to the youngest.
6. From Lixopaïs, they say, are descended those Scythians who are called the race of the Auchatai; from the middle brother Arpoxaïs those who are called Catiaroi and Traspians, and from the youngest of them the "Royal" tribe, 11 who are called Paralatai: and the whole together are called, they say, Scolotoi, after the name of their king; 12 but the Hellenes gave them the name of Scythians.
7. Thus the Scythians say they were produced; and from the time of their origin, that is to say from the first king Targitaos, to the passing over of Dareios against them, they say that there is a period of a thousand years and no more. Now this sacred gold is guarded by the kings with the utmost care, and they visit it every year with solemn sacrifices of propitiation: moreover if any one goes to sleep while watching in the open air over this gold during the festival, the Scythians say that he does not live out the year; and there is given him for this so much land as he shall ride round himself on his horse in one day. Now as the land was large, Colaxaïs, they say, established three kingdoms for his sons; and of these he made one larger than the rest, and in this the gold is kept. But as to the upper parts which lie on the North side of those who dwell above this land, they say one can neither see nor pass through any further by reason of feathers which are poured down; for both the earth and the air are full of feathers, and this is that which shuts off the view.
8. Thus say the Scythians about themselves and about the region above them; but the Hellenes who dwell about the Pontus say as follows:—Heracles driving the cattle of Geryones came to this land, then desert, which the Scythians now inhabit; and Geryones, says the tale, dwelt away from the region of the Pontus, living in the island called by the Hellenes Erytheia, near Gadeira which is outside the Pillars of Heracles by the Ocean.—As to the Ocean, they say indeed that it flows round the whole earth beginning from the place of the sunrising, but they do not prove this by facts.—From thence Heracles came to the land now called Scythia; and as a storm came upon him together with icy cold, he drew over him his lion's skin and went to sleep. Meanwhile the mares harnessed in his chariot disappeared by a miraculous chance, as they were feeding.
9. Then when Heracles woke he sought for them; and having gone over the whole land, at last he came to the region which is called Hylaia; and there he found in a cave a kind of twofold creature formed by the union of a maiden and a serpent, whose upper parts from the buttocks upwards were those of a woman, but her lower parts were those of a snake. Having seen her and marvelled at her, he asked her then whether she had seen any mares straying anywhere; and she said that she had them herself and would not give them up until he lay with her; and Heracles lay with her on condition of receiving them. She then tried to put off the giving back of the mares, desiring to have Heracles with her as long as possible, while he on the other hand desired to get the mares and depart; and at last she gave them back and said: "These mares when they came hither I saved for thee, and thou didst give me reward for saving them; for I have by thee three sons. Tell me then, what must I do with these when they shall be grown to manhood, whether I shall settle them here, for over this land I have power alone, or send them away to thee?" She thus asked of him, and he, they say, replied: "When thou seest that the boys are grown to men, do this and thou shalt not fail of doing right:—whichsoever of them thou seest able to stretch this bow as I do now, and to be girded 1201 with this girdle, him cause to be the settler of this land; but whosoever of them fails in the deeds which I enjoin, send him forth out of the land: and if thou shalt do thus, thou wilt both have delight thyself and perform that which has been enjoined to thee."
10. Upon this he drew one of his bows (for up to that time Heracles, they say, was wont to carry two) and showed her the girdle, and then he delivered to her both the bow and the girdle, which had at the end of its clasp a golden cup; and having given them he departed. She then, when her sons had been born and had grown to be men, gave them names first, calling one of them Agathyrsos and the next Gelonos and the youngest Skythes; then bearing in mind the charge given to her, she did that which was enjoined. And two of her sons, Agathyrsos and Gelonos, not having proved themselves able to attain to the task set before them, departed from the land, being cast out by her who bore them; but Skythes the youngest of them performed the task and remained in the land: and from Skythes the son of Heracles were descended, they say, the succeeding kings of the Scythians (Skythians): and they say moreover that it is by reason of the cup that the Scythians still even to this day wear cups attached to their girdles: and this alone his mother contrived for Skythes. 13 Such is the story told by the Hellenes who dwell about the Pontus.
11. There is however also another story, which is as follows, and to this I am most inclined myself. It is to the effect that the nomad Scythians dwelling in Asia, being hard pressed in war by the Massagetai, left their abode and crossing the river Araxes came towards the Kimmerian land (for the land which now is occupied by the Scythians is said to have been in former times the land of the Kimmerians); and the Kimmerians, when the Scythians were coming against them, took counsel together, seeing that a great host was coming to fight against them; and it proved that their opinions were divided, both opinions being vehemently maintained, but the better being that of their kings: for the opinion of the people was that it was necessary to depart and that they ought not to run the risk of fighting against so many, 14 but that of the kings was to fight for their land with those who came against them: and as neither the people were willing by means to agree to the counsel of the kings nor the kings to that of the people, the people planned to depart without fighting and to deliver up the land to the invaders, while the kings resolved to die and to be laid in their own land, and not to flee with the mass of the people, considering the many goods of fortune which they had enjoyed, and the many evils which it might be supposed would come upon them, if they fled from their native land. Having resolved upon this, they parted into two bodies, and making their numbers equal they fought with one another: and when these had all been killed by one another's hands, then the people of the Kimmerians buried them by the bank of the river Tyras (where their burial-place is still to be seen), and having buried them, then they made their way out from the land, and the Scythians when they came upon it found the land deserted of its inhabitants.
12. And there are at the present time in the land of Scythia Kimmerian walls, and a Kimmerian ferry; and there is also a region which is called Kimmeria, and the so-called Kimmerian Bosphorus. It is known moreover that the Kimmerians, in their flight to Asia from the Scythians, also made a settlement on that peninsula on which now stands the Hellenic city of Sinope; and it is known too that the Scythians pursued them and invaded the land of Media, having missed their way; for while the Kimmerians kept ever along by the sea in their flight, the Scythians pursued them keeping Caucasus on their right hand, until at last they invaded Media, directing their course inland. This then which has been told is another story, and it is common both to Hellenes and Barbarians.
13. Aristeas however the son of Caÿstrobios, a man of Proconnesos, said in the verses which he composed, that he came to the land of the Issedonians being possessed by Phoebus, and that beyond the Issedonians dwelt Arimaspians, a one-eyed race, and beyond these the gold-guarding griffins, and beyond them the Hyperboreans extending as far as the sea: and all these except the Hyperboreans, beginning with the Arimaspians, were continually making war on their neighbours, and the Issedonians were gradually driven out of their country by the Arimaspians and the Scythians by the Issedonians, and so the Kimmerians, who dwelt on the Southern Sea, being pressed by the Scythians left their land. Thus neither does he agree in regard to this land with the report of the Scythians.
14. As to Aristeas who composed 15 this, I have said already whence he was; and I will tell also the tale which I heard about him in Proconnesos and Kyzicos. They say that Aristeas, who was in birth inferior to none of the citizens, entered into a fuller's shop in Proconnesos and there died; and the fuller closed his workshop and went away to report the matter to those who were related to the dead man. And when the news had been spread abroad about the city that Aristeas was dead, a man of Kyzicos who had come from the town of Artake entered into controversy with those who said so, and declared that he had met him going towards Kyzicos and had spoken with him: and while he was vehement in dispute, those who were related to the dead man came to the fuller's shop with the things proper in order to take up the corpse for burial; and when the house was opened, Aristeas was not found there either dead or alive. In the seventh year after this he appeared at Proconnesos and composed those verses which are now called by the Hellenes the Arimaspeia, and having composed them he disappeared the second time.
15. So much is told by these cities; and what follows I know happened to the people of Metapontion in Italy 16 two hundred 17 and forty years after the second disappearance of Aristeas, as I found by putting together the evidence at Proconnesos and Metapontion. The people of Metapontion say that Aristeas himself appeared in their land and bade them set up an altar of Apollo and place by its side a statue bearing the name of Aristeas of Proconnesos; for he told them that to their land alone of all the Italiotes 18 Apollo had come, and he, who now was Aristeas, was accompanying him, being then a raven when he accompanied the god. Having said this he disappeared; and the Metapontines say that they sent to Delphi and asked the god what the apparition of the man meant: and the Pythian prophetess bade them obey the command of the apparition, and told them that if they obeyed, it would be the better for them. They therefore accepted this answer and performed the commands; and there stands a statue now bearing the name of Aristeas close by the side of the altar dedicated to Apollo, 19 and round it stand laurel trees; and the altar is set up in the market-place. Let this suffice which has been said about Aristeas.
16. Now of the land about which this account has been begun, no one knows precisely what lies beyond it: 20 for I am not able to hear of any one who alleges that he knows as an eye-witness; and even Aristeas, the man of whom I was making mention just now, even he, I say, did not allege, although he was composing verse, 21 that he went further than the Issedonians; but that which is beyond them he spoke of by hearsay, and reported that it was the Issedonians who said these things. So far however as we were able to arrive at certainty by hearsay, carrying inquiries as far as possible, all this shall be told.
17. Beginning with the trading station of the Borysthenites,—for of the parts along the sea this is the central point of all Scythia,—beginning with this, the first regions are occupied by the Callipidai, who are Hellenic Scythians; and above these is another race, who are called Alazonians. 22 These last and the Callipidai in all other respects have the same customs as the Scythians, but they both sow corn and use it as food, and also onions, leeks, lentils and millet. Above the Alazonians dwell Scythians who till the ground, and these sow their corn not for food but to sell.
18.Beyond them dwell the Neuroi; and beyond the Neuroi towards the North Wind is a region without inhabitants, as far as we know. These races are along the river Hypanis to the West of the Borysthenes; but after crossing the Borysthenes, first from the sea-coast is Hylaia, and beyond this as one goes up the river dwell agricultural Scythians, whom the Hellenes who live upon the river Hypanis call Borysthenites, calling themselves at the same time citizens of Olbia. 23 These agricultural Scythians occupy the region which extends Eastwards for a distance of three days' journey, 24 reaching to a river which is called Panticapes, and Northwards for a distance of eleven days' sail up the Borysthenes. Then immediately beyond these begins the desert 25 and extends for a great distance; and on the other side of the desert dwell the Androphagoi, 26 a race apart by themselves and having no connection with the Scythians. Beyond them begins a region which is really desert and has no race of men in it, as far as we know.
19. The region which lies to the East of these agricultural Scythians, after one has crossed the river Panticapes, is occupied by nomad Scythians, who neither sow anything nor plough the earth; and this whole region is bare of trees except Hylaia. These nomads occupy a country which extends to the river Gerros, a distance of fourteen 27 days' journey Eastwards.
20. Then on the other side of the Gerros we have those parts which are called the "Royal" lands and those Scythians who are the bravest and most numerous and who esteem the other Scythians their slaves. These reach Southwards to the Tauric land, and Eastwards to the trench which those who were begotten of the blind slaves dug, and to the trading station which is called Cremnoi 28 upon the Maiotian lake; and some parts of their country reach to the river Tanaïs. Beyond the Royal Scythians towards the North Wind dwell the Melanchlainoi, 29 of a different race and not Scythian. The region beyond the Melanchlainoi is marshy and not inhabited by any, so far as we know.
21. After one has crossed the river Tanaïs the country is no longer Scythia, but the first of the divisions belongs to the Sauromatai, who beginning at the corner of the Maiotian lake occupy land extending towards the North Wind fifteen days' journey, and wholly bare of trees both cultivated and wild. Above these, holding the next division of land, dwell the Budinoi, who occupy a land wholly overgrown with forest consisting of all kinds of trees.
22. Then beyond the Budinoi towards the North, first there is desert for seven days' journey; and after the desert turning aside somewhat more towards the East Wind we come to land occupied by the Thyssagetai, a numerous people and of separate race from the others. These live by hunting; and bordering upon them there are settled also in these same regions men who are called Irycai, who also live by hunting, which they practise in the following manner:—the hunter climbs up a tree and lies in wait there for his game (now trees are abundant in all this country), and each has a horse at hand, which has been taught to lie down upon its belly in order that it may make itself low, and also a dog: and when he sees the wild animal from the tree, he first shoots his arrow and then mounts upon his horse and pursues it, and the dog seizes hold of it. Above these in a direction towards the East dwell other Scythians, who have revolted from the Royal Scythians and so have come to this region.
23. As far as the country of these Scythians the whole land which has been described is level plain and has a deep soil; but after this point it is stony and rugged. Then when one has passed through a great extent of this rugged country, there dwell in the skirts of lofty mountains men who are said to be all bald-headed from their birth, male and female equally, and who have flat noses and large chins and speak a language of their own, using the Scythian manner of dress, and living on the produce of trees. The tree on the fruit of which they live is called the Pontic tree, and it is about the size of a fig-tree: this bears a fruit the size of a bean, containing a stone. When the fruit has ripened, they strain it through cloths and there flows from it a thick black juice, and this juice which flows from it is called as-chy. This they either lick up or drink mixed with milk, and from its lees, that is the solid part, they make cakes and use them for food; for they have not many cattle, since the pastures there are by no means good. Each man has his dwelling under a tree, in winter covering the tree all round with close white felt-cloth, and in summer without it. These are injured by no men, for they are said to be sacred, and they possess no weapon of war. These are they also who decide the disputes rising among their neighbours; and besides this, whatever fugitive takes refuge with them is injured by no one: and they are called Argippaians. 30
24. Now as far as these bald-headed men there is abundantly clear information about the land and about the nations on this side of them; for not only do certain of the Scythians go to them, from whom it is not difficult to get information, but also some of the Hellenes who are at the trading-station of the Borysthenes and the other trading-places of the Pontic coast: and those of the Scythians who go to them transact their business through seven interpreters and in seven different languages.
25. So far as these, I say, the land is known; but concerning the region to the North of the bald-headed men no one can speak with certainty, for lofty and impassable mountains divide it off, and no one passes over them. However these bald-headed men say (though I do not believe it) that the mountains are inhabited by men with goats' feet; and that after one has passed beyond these, others are found who sleep through six months of the year. This I do not admit at all as true. However, the country to the East of the bald-headed men is known with certainty, being inhabited by the Issedonians, but that which lies beyond both the bald-headed men and the Issedonians towards the North Wind is unknown, except so far as we know it from the accounts given by these nations which have just been mentioned.
26. The Issedonians are said to have these customs:—when a man's father is dead, all the relations bring cattle to the house, and then having slain them and cut up the flesh, they cut up also the dead body of the father of their entertainer, and mixing all the flesh together they set forth a banquet. His skull however they strip of the flesh and clean it out and then gild it over, and after that they deal with it as a sacred thing 31 and perform for the dead man great sacrifices every year. This each son does for his father, just as the Hellenes keep the day of memorial for the dead. 32 In other respects however this race also is said to live righteously, and their women have equal rights with the men.
27. These then also are known; but as to the region beyond them, it is the Issedonians who report that there are there one-eyed men and gold-guarding griffins; and the Scythians report this having received it from them, and from the Scythians we, that is the rest of mankind, have got our belief; and we call them in Scythian language Arimaspians, for the Scythians call the number one arima and the eye spu.
28. This whole land which has been described is so exceedingly severe in climate, that for eight months of the year there is frost so hard as to be intolerable; and during these if you pour out water you will not be able to make mud, but only if you kindle a fire can you make it; and the sea is frozen and the whole of the Kimmerian Bosphorus, so that the Scythians who are settled within the trench make expeditions and drive their waggons over into the country of the Sindians. Thus it continues to be winter for eight months, and even for the remaining four it is cold in those parts. This winter is distinguished in its character from all the winters which come in other parts of the world; for in it there is no rain to speak of at the usual season for rain, whereas in summer it rains continually; and thunder does not come at the time when it comes in other countries, but is very frequent, 33 in the summer; and if thunder comes in winter, it is marvelled at as a prodigy: just so, if an earthquake happens, whether in summer or in winter, it is accounted a prodigy in Scythia. Horses are able to endure this winter, but neither mules nor asses can endure it at all, whereas in other countries horses if they stand in frost lose their limbs by mortification, while asses and mules endure it.
29. I think also that it is for this reason that the hornless breed of oxen in that country have no horns growing; and there is a verse of Homer in the Odyssey 34 supporting my opinion, which runs this:—
"Also the Libyan land, where the sheep very quickly grow hornèd,"
for it is rightly said that in hot regions the horns come quickly, whereas in extreme cold the animals either have no horns growing at all, or hardly any. 35
30. In that land then this takes place on account of the cold; but (since my history proceeded from the first seeking occasions for digression) 36 I feel wonder that in the whole land of Elis mules cannot be bred, though that region is not cold, nor is there any other evident cause. The Eleians themselves say that in consequence of some curse mules are not begotten in their land; but when the time approaches for the mares to conceive, they drive them out into the neighbouring lands and there in the land of their neighbours they admit to them the he-asses until the mares are pregnant, and then they drive them back.
31. As to the feathers of which the Scythians say that the air is full, and that by reason of them they are not able either to see or to pass through the further parts of the continent, the opinion which I have is this:—in the parts beyond this land it snows continually, though less in summer than in winter, as might be supposed. Now whomsoever has seen close at hand snow falling thickly, knows what I mean without further explanation, for the snow is like feathers: and on account of this wintry weather, being such as I have said, the Northern parts of this continent are uninhabitable. I think therefore that by the feathers the Scythians and those who dwell near them mean symbolically the snow. This then which has been said goes to the furthest extent of the accounts given.
32. About a Hyperborean people the Scythians report nothing, nor do any of those who dwell in this region, unless it be the Issedonians: but in my opinion neither do these report anything; for if they did the Scythians also would report it, as they do about the one-eyed people. Hesiod however has spoken of Hyperboreans, and so also has Homer in the poem of the "Epigonoi," at least if Homer was really the composer of that Epic.
33. But much more about them is reported by the people of Delos than by any others. For these say that sacred offerings bound up in wheat straw are carried from the land of the Hyperboreans and come to the Scythians, and then from the Scythians the neighbouring nations in succession receive them and convey them Westwards, finally as far as the Adriatic: thence they are sent forward towards the South, and the people of Dodona receive them first of all the Hellenes, and from these they come down to the Malian gulf and are passed over to Euboea, where city sends them on to city till they come to Carystos. After this Andros is left out, for the Carystians are those who bring them to Tenos, and the Tenians to Delos. Thus they say that these sacred offerings come to Delos; but at first, they say, the Hyperboreans sent two maidens bearing the sacred offerings, whose names, say the Delians, were Hyperoche and Laodike, and with them for their protection the Hyperboreans sent five men of their nation to attend them, those namely who are now called Perphereës and have great honours paid to them in Delos. Since however the Hyperboreans found that those who were sent away did not return back, they were troubled to think that it would always befall them to send out and not to receive back; and so they bore the offerings to the borders of their land bound up in wheat straw, and laid a charge upon their neighbours, bidding them send these forward from themselves to another nation. These things then, they say, come to Delos being thus sent forward; and I know of my own knowledge that a thing is done which has resemblance to these offerings, namely that the women of Thrace and Paionia, when they sacrifice to Artemis "the Queen," do not make their offerings without wheat straw.
34. These I know do as I have said; and for those maidens from the Hyperboreans, who died in Delos, both the girls and the boys of the Delians cut off their hair: the former before marriage cut off a lock and having wound it round a spindle lay it upon the tomb (now the tomb is on the left hand as one goes into the temple of Artemis, and over it grows an olive-tree), and all the boys of the Delians wind some of their hair about a green shoot of some tree, and they also place it upon the tomb.
35. The maidens, I say, have this honour paid them by the dwellers in Delos: and the same people say that Arge and Opis also, being maidens, came to Delos, passing from the Hyperboreans by the same nations which have been mentioned, even before Hyperoche and Laodike. These last, they say, came bearing for Eileithuia the tribute which they had laid upon themselves for the speedy birth, 37 but Arge and Opis came with the divinities themselves, and other honours have been assigned to them by the people of Delos: for the women, they say, collect for them, naming them by their names in the hymn which Olen a man of Lykia composed in their honour; and both the natives of the other islands and the Ionians have learnt from them to sing hymns naming Opis and Arge and collecting:—now this Olen came from Lukia and composed also the other ancient hymns which are sung in Delos:—and moreover they say that when the thighs of the victim are consumed upon the altar, the ashes of them are used to cast upon the grave of Opis and Arge. Now their grave is behind the temple of Artemis, turned towards the East, close to the banqueting hall of the Keïeans.
36. Let this suffice which has been said of the Hyperboreans; for the tale of Abaris, who is reported to have been a Hyperborean, I do not tell, namely 3701 how he carried the arrow about all over the earth, eating no food. If however there are any Hyperboreans, it follows that there are also Hypernotians; and I laugh when I see that, though many before this have drawn maps of the Earth, yet no one has set the matter forth in an intelligent way; seeing that they draw Ocean flowing round the Earth, which is circular exactly as if drawn with compasses, and they make Asia equal in size to Europe. In a few words I shall declare the size of each division and of what nature it is as regards outline.
37. The Persians inhabit Asia 38 extending to the Southern Sea, which is called the Erythraian; and above these towards the North Wind dwell the Medes, and above the Medes the Saspeirians, and above the Saspeirians the Colchians, extending to the Northern Sea, into which the river Phasis runs. These four nations inhabit from sea to sea.
38. From them Westwards two peninsulas 39 stretch out from Asia into the sea, and these I will describe. The first peninsula on the one of its sides, that is the Northern, stretches along beginning from the Phasis and extending to the sea, going along the Pontus and the Hellespont as far as Sigeion in the land of Troy; and on the Southern side the same peninsula stretches from the Myriandrian gulf, which lies near Phenicia, in the direction of the sea as far as the headland Triopion; and in this peninsula dwell thirty races of men.
39. This then is one of the peninsulas, and the other beginning from the land of the Persians stretches along to the Erythraian Sea, including Persia and next after it Assyria, and Arabia after Assyria: and this ends, or rather is commonly supposed to end, 40 at the Arabian gulf, into which Dareios conducted a channel from the Nile. Now in the line stretching to Phenicia from the land of the Persians the land is broad and the space abundant, but after Phenicia this peninsula goes by the shore of our Sea along Palestine, Syria, and Egypt, where it ends; and in it there are three nations only.
40. These are the parts of Asia which tend towards the West from the Persian land; but as to those which lie beyond the Persians and Medes and Saspeirians and Colchians towards the East and the sunrising, on one side the Erythraian Sea runs along by them, and on the North both the Caspian Sea and the river Araxes, which flows towards the rising sun: and Asia is inhabited as far as the Indian land; but from this onwards towards the East it becomes desert, nor can any one say what manner of land it is.
41. Such and so large is Asia: and Libya is included in the second peninsula; for after Egypt Libya succeeds at once. Now about Egypt this peninsula is narrow, for from our Sea to the Erythraian Sea is a distance there of ten myriads of fathoms, 41 which would amount to a thousand furlongs; but after this narrow part, the portion of the peninsula which is called Libya is, as it chances, extremely broad.
42. I wonder then at those who have parted off and divided the world into Libya, Asia, and Europe, since the difference between these is not small; for in length Europe extends along by both, while in breadth it is clear to me that it is beyond comparison larger; 42 for Libya furnishes proofs about itself that it is surrounded by sea, except so much of it as borders upon Asia; and this fact was shown by Necos king of the Egyptians first of all those about whom we have knowledge. He when he had ceased digging the channel 43 which goes through from the Nile to the Arabian gulf, sent Phenicians with ships, bidding them sail and come back through the Pillars of Heracles to the Northern Sea and so to Egypt. The Phenicians therefore set forth from the Erythraian Sea and sailed through the Southern Sea; and when autumn came, they would put to shore and sow the land, wherever in Libya they might happen to be as they sailed, and then they waited for the harvest: and having reaped the corn they would sail on, so that after two years had elapsed, in the third year they turned through the Pillars of Heracles and arrived again in Egypt. And they reported a thing which I cannot believe, but another man may, namely that in sailing round Libya they had the sun on their right hand.
43. Thus was this country first known to be what it is, and after this it is the Carthaginians who make report of it; for as to Sataspes the son of Teaspis the Achaimenid, he did not sail round Libya, though he was sent for this very purpose, but was struck with fear by the length of the voyage and the desolate nature of the land, and so returned back and did not accomplish the task which his mother laid upon him. For this man had outraged a daughter of Zopyros the son of Megabyzos, a virgin; and then when he was about to be impaled by order of king Xerxes for this offence, the mother of Sataspes, who was a sister of Dareios, entreated for his life, saying that she would herself lay upon him a greater penalty than Xerxes; for he should be compelled (she said) to sail round Libya, until in sailing round it he came to the Arabian gulf. So then Xerxes having agreed upon these terms, Sataspes went to Egypt, and obtaining a ship and sailors from the Egyptians, he sailed to the Pillars of Heracles; and having sailed through them and turned the point of Libya which is called the promontory of Soloeis, he sailed on towards the South. Then after he had passed over much sea in many months, as there was needed ever more and more voyaging, he turned about and sailed back again to Egypt: and having come from thence into the presence of king Xerxes, he reported saying that at the furthest point which he reached he was sailing by dwarfish people, who used clothing made from the palm-tree, and who, whenever they came to land with their ship, left their towns and fled away to the mountains: and they, he said, did no injury when they entered into the towns, but took food 4301 from them only. And the cause, he said, why he had not completely sailed round Libya was that the ship could not advance any further but stuck fast. Xerxes however did not believe that he was speaking the truth, and since he had not performed the appointed task, he impaled him, inflicting upon him the penalty pronounced before. A eunuch belonging to this Sataspes ran away to Samos as soon as he heard that his master was dead, carrying with him large sums of money; and of this a man of Samos took possession, whose name I know, but I purposely pass it over without mention.
44. Of Asia the greater part was explored by Dareios, who desiring to know of the river Indus, which is a second river producing crocodiles of all the rivers in the world,—to know, I say, of this river where it runs out into the sea, sent with ships, besides others whom he trusted to speak the truth, Skylax also, a man of Caryanda. These starting from the city of Caspatyros and the land of Pactyïke, sailed down the river towards the East and the sunrising to the sea; and then sailing over the sea Westwards they came in the thirtieth month to that place from whence the king of the Egyptians had sent out the Phenicians of whom I spoke before, to sail round Libya. After these had made their voyage round the coast, Dareios both subdued the Indians and made use of this sea. Thus Asia also, excepting the parts of it which are towards the rising sun, has been found to be similar 44 to Libya.
45. As to Europe, however, it is clearly not known by any, either as regards the parts which are towards the rising sun or those towards the North, whether it be surrounded by sea: but in length it is known to stretch along by both the other divisions. And I am not able to understand for what reason it is that to the Earth, which is one, three different names are given derived from women, and why there were set as boundaries to divide it the river Nile of Egypt and the Phasis in Colchis (or as some say the Maiotian river Tanaïs and the Kimmerian ferry); nor can I learn who those persons were who made the boundaries, or for what reason they gave the names. Libya indeed is said by most of the Hellenes to have its name from Libya a woman of that country, and Asia from the wife of Prometheus: but this last name is claimed by the Lydians, who say that Asia has been called after Asias the son of Cotys the son of Manes, and not from Asia the wife of Prometheus; and from him too they say the Asian tribe in Sardis has its name. As to Europe however, it is neither known by any man whether it is surrounded by sea, nor does it appear whence it got this name or who he was who gave it, unless we shall say that the land received its name from Europa the Tyrian; and if so, it would appear that before this it was nameless like the rest. She however evidently belongs to Asia and did not come to this land which is now called by the Hellenes Europe, but only from Phenicia to Crete, and from Crete to Lykia. Let this suffice now which has been said about these matters; for we will adopt those which are commonly accepted of the accounts.
46. Now the region of the Euxine upon which Dareios was preparing to march has, apart from the Scythian race, the most ignorant nations within it of all lands: for we can neither put forward any nation of those who dwell within the region of Pontus as eminent in ability, nor do we know of any man of learning 45 having arisen there, apart from the Scythian nation and Anacharsis. By the Scythian race one thing which is the most important of all human things has been found out more cleverly than by any other men of whom we know; but in other respects I have no great admiration for them: and that most important thing which they have discovered is such that none can escape again who has come to attack them, and if they do not desire to be found, it is not possible to catch them: for they who have neither cities founded nor walls built, but all carry their houses with them and are mounted archers, living not by the plough but by cattle, and whose dwellings are upon cars, these assuredly are invincible and impossible to approach.
47. This they have found out, seeing that their land is suitable to it and at the same time the rivers are their allies: for first this land is plain land and is grassy and well watered, and then there are rivers flowing through it not much less in number than the channels in Egypt. Of these as many as are noteworthy and also can be navigated from the sea, I will name: there is Ister with five mouths, and after this Tyras, Hypanis, Borysthenes, Panticapes, Kypakyris, Gerros and Tanaïs. These flow as I shall now describe.
48. The Ister, which is the greatest of all the rivers which we know, flows always with equal volume in summer and winter alike. It is the first towards the West of all the Scythian rivers, and it has become the greatest of all rivers because other rivers flow into it. And these are they which make it great: 46—five in number are those 47 which flow through the Scythian land, namely that which the Scythians call Porata and the Hellenes Pyretos, and besides this, Tiarantos and Araros and Naparis and Ordessos. The first-mentioned of these is a great river lying towards the East, and there it joins waters with the Ister, the second Tiarantos is more to the West and smaller, and the Araros and Naparis and Ordessos flow into the Ister going between these two.
49. These are the native Scythian rivers which join to swell its stream, while from the Agathyrsians flows the Maris and joins the Ister, and from the summits of Haimos flow three other great rivers towards the North Wind and fall into it, namely Atlas and Auras and Tibisis. Through Thrace and the Thracian Crobyzians flow the rivers Athrys and Noes and Artanes, running into the Ister; and from the Paionians and Mount Rhodope the river Kios, 48 cutting through Haimos in the midst, runs into it also. From the Illyrians the river Angros flows Northwards and runs out into the Triballian plain and into the river Brongos, and the Brongos flows into the Ister; thus the Ister receives both these, being great rivers. From the region which is above the Ombricans, the river Carpis and another river, the Alpis, flow also towards the North Wind and run into it; for the Ister flows in fact through the whole of Europe, beginning in the land of the Keltoi, who after the Kynesians dwell furthest towards the sun-setting of all the peoples of Europe; and thus flowing through all Europe it falls into the sea by the side of Scythia.
50. So then it is because these which have been named and many others join their waters together, that Ister becomes the greatest of rivers; since if we compare the single streams, the Nile is superior in volume of water; for into this no river or spring flows, to contribute to its volume. And the Ister flows at an equal level always both in summer and in winter for some such cause as this, as I suppose:—in winter it is of the natural size, or becomes only a little larger than its nature, seeing that this land receives very little rain in winter, but constantly has snow; whereas in summer the snow which fell in the winter, in quantity abundant, melts and runs from all parts into the Ister. This snow of which I speak, running into the river helps to swell its volume, and with it also many and violent showers of rain, for it rains during the summer: and thus the waters which mingle with the Ister are more copious in summer than they are in winter by about as much as the water which the Sun draws to himself in summer exceeds that which he draws in winter; and by the setting of these things against one another there is produced a balance; so that the river is seen to be of equal volume always.
51. One, I say, of the rivers which the Scythians have is the Ister; and after it the Tyras, which starts from the North and begins its course from a large lake which is the boundary between the land of the Scythians and that of the Neuroi. At its mouth are settled those Hellenes who are called Tyritai.
52. The third river is the Hypanis, which starts from Scythia and flows from a great lake round which feed white wild horses; and this lake is rightly called "Mother of Hypanis." From this then the river Hypanis takes its rise and for a distance of five days' sail it flows shallow and with sweet water still; 49 but from this point on towards the sea for four days' sail it is very bitter, for there flows into it the water of a bitter spring, which is so exceedingly bitter that, small as it is, it changes the water of the Hypanis by mingling with it, though that is a river to which few are equal in greatness. This spring is on the border between the lands of the agricultural Scythians and of the Alazonians, and the name of the spring and of the place from which it flows is in Scythian Exampaios, and in the Hellenic tongue Hierai Hodoi. 50 Now the Tyras and the Hypanis approach one another in their windings in the land of the Alazonians, but after this each turns off and widens the space between them as they flow.
53. Fourth is the river Borysthenes, which is both the largest of these after the Ister, and also in our opinion the most serviceable not only of the Scythian rivers but also of all the rivers of the world besides, excepting only the Nile of Egypt, for to this it is not possible to compare any other river: of the rest however the Borysthenes is the most serviceable, seeing that it provides both pastures which are the fairest and the richest for cattle, and fish which are better by far and more numerous than those of any other river, and also it is the sweetest water to drink, and flows with clear stream, though others beside it are turbid, and along its banks crops are produced better than elsewhere, while in parts where it is not sown, grass grows deeper. Moreover at its mouth salt forms of itself in abundance, and it produces also huge fish without spines, which they call antacaioi, to be used for salting, and many other things also worthy of wonder. Now as far as the region of the Gerrians, 51 to which it is a voyage of forty 52 days, the Borysthenes is known as flowing from the North Wind; but above this none can tell through what nations it flows: it is certain however that it runs through desert 53 to the land of the agricultural Scythians; for these Scythians dwell along its banks for a distance of ten days' sail. Of this river alone and of the Nile I cannot tell where the sources are, nor, I think, can any of the Hellenes. When the Borysthenes comes near the sea in its course, the Hypanis mingles with it, running out into the same marsh; 5301 and the space between these two rivers, which is as it were a beak of land, 54 is called the point of Hippoles, and in it is placed a temple of the Mother, 55 and opposite the temple upon the river Hypanis are settled the Borysthenites.
54. This is that which has to do with these rivers; and after these there is a fifth river besides, called Panticapes. This also flows 56 both from the North and from a lake, and in the space between this river and the Borysthenes dwell the agricultural Scythians: it runs out into the region of Hylaia, and having passed by this it mingles with the Borysthenes.
55. Sixth comes the river Hypakyris, which starts from a lake, and flowing through the midst of the nomad Scythians runs out into the sea by the city of Carkinitis, skirting on its right bank the region of Hylaia and the so-called racecourse of Achilles.
56. Seventh is the Gerros, which parts off from the Borysthenes near about that part of the country where the Borysthenes ceases to be known,—it parts off, I say, in this region and has the same name which this region itself has, namely Gerros; and as it flows to the sea it borders the country of the nomad and that of the Royal Scythians, and runs out into the Hypakyris.
57. The eighth is the river Tanaïs, which starts in its flow at first from a large lake, and runs out into a still larger lake called Maiotis, which is the boundary between the Royal Scythians and the Sauromatai. Into this Tanaïs falls another river, whose name is Hyrgis.
58. So many are the rivers of note with which the Scythians are provided: and for cattle the grass which comes up in the land of Scythia is the most productive of bile of any grass which we know; and that this is so you may judge when you open the bodies of the cattle.
59. Thus abundant supply have they of that which is most important; and as for the rest their customs are as follows. The gods whom they propitiate by worship are these only:—Hestia most of all, then Zeus and the Earth, supposing that Earth is the wife of Zeus, and after these Apollo, and Aphrodite Urania, and Heracles, and Ares. Of these all the Scythians have the worship established, and the so-called Royal Scythians sacrifice also to Poseidon. Now Hestia is called in Scythian Tabiti, and Zeus, being most rightly named in my opinion, is called Papaios, and Earth Api, 57 and Apollo Oitosyros, 58 and Aphrodite Urania is called Argimpasa, 59 and Poseidon Thagimasidas. 60 It is not their custom however to make images, altars or temples to any except Ares, but to him it is their custom to make them.
60. They have all the same manner of sacrifice established for all their religious rites equally, and it is thus performed:—the victim stands with its fore-feet tied, and the sacrificing priest stands behind the victim, and by pulling the end of the cord he throws the beast down; and as the victim falls, he calls upon the god to whom he is sacrificing, and then at once throws a noose round its neck, and putting a small stick into it he turns it round and so strangles the animal, without either lighting a fire or making any first offering from the victim or pouring any libation over it: and when he has strangled it and flayed off the skin, he proceeds to boil it.
61. Now as the land of Scythia is exceedingly ill wooded, this contrivance has been invented for the boiling of the flesh:—having flayed the victims, they strip the flesh off the bones and then put it into caldrons, if they happen to have any, of native make, which very much resemble Lesbian mixing-bowls except that they are much larger,—into these they put the flesh and boil it by lighting under it the bones of the victim: if however thy have not at hand the caldron, they put all the flesh into the stomachs of the victims and adding water they light the bones under them; and these blaze up beautifully, and the stomachs easily hold the flesh when it has been stripped off the bones: thus an ox is made to boil itself, and the other kinds of victims each boil themselves also. Then when the flesh is boiled, the sacrificer takes a first offering of the flesh and of the vital organs and casts it in front of him. And they sacrifice various kinds of cattle, but especially horses.
62. To the others of the gods they sacrifice thus and these kinds of beasts, but to Ares as follows:—In each district of the several governments 61 they have a temple of Ares set up in this way:—bundles of brushwood are heaped up for about three furlongs 62 in length and in breadth, but less in height; and on the top of this there is a level square made, and three of the sides rise sheer but by the remaining one side the pile may be ascended. Every year they pile on a hundred and fifty waggon-loads of brushwood, for it is constantly settling down by reason of the weather. 63 Upon this pile of which I speak each people has an ancient iron sword 64 set up, and this is the sacred symbol 65 of Ares. To this sword they bring yearly offerings of cattle and of horses; and they have the following sacrifice in addition, beyond what they make to the other gods, that is to say, of all the enemies whom they take captive in war they sacrifice one man in every hundred, not in the same manner as they sacrifice cattle, but in a different manner: for they first pour wine over their heads, and after that they cut the throats of the men, so that the blood runs into a bowl; and then they carry this up to the top of the pile of brushwood and pour the blood over the sword. This, I say, they carry up; and meanwhile below by the side of the temple they are doing thus:—they cut off all the right arms of the slaughtered men with the hands and throw them up into the air, and then when they have finished offering the other victims, they go away; and the arm lies wheresoever it has chanced to fall, and the corpse apart from it.
63. Such are the sacrifices which are established among them; but of swine these make no use, nor indeed are they wont to keep them at all in their land.
64. That which relates to war is thus ordered with them:—When a Scythian has slain his first man, he drinks some of his blood: and of all those whom he slays in the battle he bears the heads to the king; for if he has brought a head he shares in the spoil which they have taken, but otherwise not. And he takes off the skin of the head by cutting it round about the ears and then taking hold of the scalp and shaking it off; afterwards he scrapes off the flesh with the rib of an ox, and works the skin about with his hands; and when he has thus tempered it, he keeps it as a napkin to wipe the hands upon, and hangs it from the bridle of the horse on which he himself rides, and takes pride in it; for whosoever has the greatest number of skins to wipe the hands upon, he is judged to be the bravest man. Many also make cloaks to wear of the skins stripped off, sewing them together like shepherds' cloaks of skins; 66 and many take the skin together with the finger-nails off the right hands of their enemies when they are dead, and make them into covers for their quivers: now human skin it seems is both thick and glossy in appearance, more brilliantly white than any other skin. Many also take the skins off the whole bodies of men and stretch them on pieces of wood and carry them about on their horses.
65. Such are their established customs about these things; and to the skulls themselves, not of all but of their greatest enemies, they do thus:—the man saws off all below the eyebrows and clears out the inside; and if he is a poor man he only stretches ox-hide round it and then makes use of it; but if he be rich, besides stretching the ox-hide he gilds it over within, and makes use of it as a drinking-cup. They do this also if any of their own family have been at variance with them and the man gets the better of his adversary in trial before the king; and when strangers come to him whom he highly esteems, he sets these skulls before them, and adds the comment that they being of his own family had made war against him, and that he had got the better of them; and this they hold to be a proof of manly virtue.
66. Once every year each ruler of a district mixes in his own district a bowl of wine, from which those of the Scythians drink by whom enemies have been slain; but those by whom this has not been done do not taste of the wine, but sit apart dishonoured; and this is the greatest of all disgraces among them: but those of them who have slain a very great number of men, drink with two cups together at the same time.
67. Diviners there are many among the Scythians, and they divine with a number of willow rods in the following manner:—they bring large bundles of rods, and having laid them on the ground they unroll them, and setting each rod by itself apart they prophesy; and while speaking thus, they roll the rods together again, and after that they place them in order a second time one by one. 67 This manner of divination they have from their fathers: but the Enareës or "man-women" 68 say that Aphrodite gave them the gift of divination, and they divine accordingly with the bark of the linden-tree. Having divided the linden-bark into three strips, the man twists them together in his fingers and untwists them again, and as he does this he utters the oracle.
68. When the king of the Scythians is sick, he sends for three of the diviners, namely those who are most in repute, who divine in the manner which has been said: and these say for the most part something like this, namely that so and so has sworn falsely by the hearth of the king, and they name one of the citizens, whosoever it may happen to be: now it is the prevailing custom of the Scythians to swear by the hearth of the king at the times when they desire to swear the most solemn oath. He then who they say has sworn falsely, is brought forthwith held fast on both sides; and when he has come the diviners charge him with this, that he is shown by their divination to have sworn falsely by the hearth of the king, and that for this reason the king is suffering pain: and he denies and says that he did not swear falsely, and complains indignantly: and when he denies it, the king sends for other diviners twice as many in number, and if these also by looking into their divination pronounce him guilty of having sworn falsely, at once they cut off the man's head, and the diviners who came first part his goods among them by lot; but if the diviners who came in afterwards acquit him, other diviners come in, and again others after them. If then the greater number acquit the man, the sentence is that the first diviners shall themselves be put to death.
69. They put them to death accordingly in the following manner:—first they fill a waggon with brushwood and yoke oxen to it; then having bound the feet of the diviners and tied their hands behind them and stopped their mouths with gags, they fasten them down in the middle of the brushwood, and having set fire to it they scare the oxen and let them go: and often the oxen are burnt to death together with the diviners, and often they escape after being scorched, when the pole to which they are fastened has been burnt: and they burn the diviners in the manner described for other causes also, calling them false prophets. Now when the king puts any to death, he does not leave alive their sons either, but he puts to death all the males, not doing any hurt to the females.
70. In the following manner the Scythians make oaths to whomsoever they make them:—they pour wine into a great earthenware cup and mingle with it blood of those who are taking the oath to one another, either making a prick with an awl or cutting with a dagger a little way into their body, and then they dip into the cup a sword and arrows and a battle-axe and a javelin; and having done this, they invoke many curses on the breaker of the oath, and afterwards they drink it off, both they who are making the oath and the most honourable of their company.
71. The burial-place of the kings is in the land of the Gerrians, the place up to which the Borysthenes is navigable. In this place, when their king has died, they make a large square excavation in the earth; and when they have made this ready, they take up the corpse (the body being covered over with wax and the belly ripped up and cleansed, and then sewn together again, after it has been filled with kyperos 69 cut up and spices and parsley-seed and anise), and they convey it in a waggon to another nation. Then those who receive the corpse thus conveyed to them do the same as the Royal Scythians, that is they cut off a part of their ear and shave their hair round about and cut themselves all over the arms and tear their forehead and nose and pass arrows through their left hand. Thence they convey in the waggon the corpse of the king to another of the nations over whom they rule; and they to whom they came before accompany them: and when they have gone round to all conveying the corpse, then they are in the land of the Gerrians, who have their settlements furthest away of all the nations over whom they rule, and they have reached the spot where the burial place is. After that, having placed the corpse in the tomb upon a bed of leaves, they stick spears along on this side and that of the corpse and stretch pieces of wood over them, and then they cover the place in with matting. Then they strangle and bury in the remaining space of the tomb one of the king's mistresses, his cup-bearer, his cook, his horse-keeper, his attendant, and his bearer of messages, and also horses, and a first portion of all things else, and cups of gold; for silver they do not use at all, nor yet bronze. 70 Having thus done they all join together to pile up a great mound, vying with one another and zealously endeavouring to make it as large as possible.
72. Afterwards, when the year comes round again, they do as follows:—they take the most capable of the remaining servants,—and these are native Scythians, for those serve him whom the king himself commands to do so, and his servants are not bought for money,—of these attendants then they strangle fifty and also fifty of the finest horses; and when they have taken out their bowels and cleansed the belly, they fill it with chaff and sew it together again. Then they set the half of a wheel upon two stakes with the hollow side upwards, and the other half of the wheel upon other two stakes, and in this manner they fix a number of these; and after this they run thick stakes through the length of the horses as far as the necks, and they mount them upon the wheels; and the front pieces of wheel support the shoulders of the horses, while those behind bear up their bellies, going by the side of the thighs; and both front and hind legs hang in the air. On the horses they put bridles and bits, and stretch the bridles tight in front of them and then tie them up to pegs: and of the fifty young men who have been strangled they mount each one upon his horse, having first 71 run a straight stake through each body along by the spine up to the neck; and a part of this stake projects below, which they fasten into a socket made in the other stake that runs through the horse. Having set horsemen such as I have described in a circle round the tomb, they then ride away.
73. Thus they bury their kings; but as for the other Scythians, when they die their nearest relations carry them round laid in waggons to their friends in succession; and of them each one when he receives the body entertains those who accompany it, and before the corpse they serve up of all things about the same quantity as before the others. Thus private persons are carried about for forty days, and then they are buried: and after burying them the Scythians cleanse themselves in the following way:—they soap their heads and wash them well, and then, for their body, they set up three stakes leaning towards one another and about them they stretch woollen felt coverings, and when they have closed them as much as possible they throw stones heated red-hot into a basin placed in the middle of the stakes and the felt coverings.
74. Now they have hemp growing in their land, which is very like flax except in thickness and in height, for in these respects the hemp is much superior. This grows both of itself and with cultivation; and of it the Thracians even make garments, which are very like those made of flaxen thread, so that he who was not specially conversant with it would not be able to decide whether the garments were of flax or of hemp; and he who had not before seen stuff woven of hemp would suppose that the garment was made of flax.
75. The Scythians then take the seed of this hemp and creep under the felt coverings, and then they throw the seed upon the stones which have been heated red-hot: and it burns like incense and produces a vapour so think that no vapour-bath in Hellas would surpass it: and the Scythians being delighted with the vapour-bath howl like wolves. 72 This is to them instead of washing, for in fact they do not wash their bodies at all in water. Their women however pound with a rough stone the wood of the cypress and cedar and frankincense tree, pouring in water with it, and then with this pounded stuff, which is thick, they plaster over all their body and also their face; and not only does a sweet smell attach to them by reason of this, but also when they take off the plaster on the next day, their skin is clean and shining.
76. This nation also 73 is very averse to adopting strange customs, rejecting even those of other tribes among themselves, 74 but especially those of the Hellenes, as the history of Anacharsis and also afterwards of Skyles proved. 75 For as to Anacharsis first, when he was returning to the abodes of the Scythians, after having visited many lands 76 and displayed in them much wisdom, as he sailed through the Hellespont he put in to Kyzicos: and since he found the people of Kyzicos celebrating a festival very magnificently in honour of the Mother of the gods, Anacharsis vowed to the Mother that if he should return safe and sound to his own land, he would both sacrifice to her with the same rites as he saw the men of Kyzicos do, and also hold a night festival. So when he came to Scythia he went down into the region called Hylaia (this is along by the side of the racecourse of Achilles and is quite full, as it happens, of trees of all kinds),—into this, I say, Anacharsis went down, and proceeded to perform all the ceremonies of the festival in honour of the goddess, with a kettle-drum and with images hung about himself. And one of the Scythians perceived him doing this and declared it to Saulios the king; and the king came himself also, and when he saw Anacharsis doing this, he shot him with an arrow and killed him. Accordingly at the present time if one asks about Anacharsis, the Scythians say that they do not know him, and for this reason, because he went out of his own country to Hellas and adopted foreign customs. And as I heard from Tymnes the steward 77 of Ariapeithes, he was the uncle on the father's side of Idanthyrsos king of the Scythians, and the son of Gnuros, the son of Lycos, the son of Spargapeithes. If then Anacharsis was of this house, let him know that he died by the hand of his brother, for Idanthyrsos was the son of Saulios, and Saulios was he who killed Anacharsis.
77. However I have heard also another story, told by the Peloponnesians, that Anacharsis was sent out by the king of the Scythians, and so made himself a disciple of Hellas; and that when he returned back he said to him that had sent him forth, that the Hellenes were all busied about every kind of cleverness except the Lacedemonians; but these alone knew how to exchange speech sensibly. This story however has been invented 78 without any ground by the Hellenes themselves; and however that may be, the man was slain in the way that was related above.
78. This man then fared thus badly by reason of foreign customs and communication with Hellenes; and very many years afterwards Skyles the son of Ariapeithes suffered nearly the same fate as he. For Ariapeithes the king of the Scythians with other sons had Skyles born to him: and he was born of a woman who was of Istria, and certainly not a native of Scythia; and this mother taught him the language and letters of Hellas. Afterwards in course of time Ariapeithes was brought to his end by treachery at the hands of Spargapeithes the king of the Agathyrsians, and Skyles succeeded to the kingdom; and he took not only that but also the wife of his father, whose name was Opoia: this Opoia was a native Scythian and from her was born Oricos to Ariapeithes. Now when Skyles was king of the Scythians, he was by no means satisfied with the Scythian manner of life, but was much more inclined towards Hellenic ways because of the training with which he had been brought up, and he used to do somewhat as follows:—When he came with the Scythians in arms to the city of the Borysthenites (now these Borysthenites say that they are of Miletos),—when Skyles came to these, he would leave his band in the suburbs of the city and go himself within the walls and close the gates. After that he would lay aside his Scythian equipments and take Hellenic garments, and wearing them he would go about in the market-place with no guards or any other man accompanying him (and they watched the gates meanwhile, that none of the Scythians might see him wearing this dress): and while in other respects too he adopted Hellenic manners of life, he used also to perform worship to the gods according to the customs of the Hellenes. Then having stayed a month or more than that, he would put on the Scythian dress and depart. This he did many times, and he both built for himself a house in Borysthenes and also took to it a woman of the place as his wife.
79. Since however it was fated that evil should happen to him, it happened by an occasion of this kind:—he formed a desire to be initiated in the rites of Bacchus-Dionysos, and as he was just about to receive 79 the initiation, there happened a very great portent. He had in the city of the Borysthenites a house of great size and built with large expense, of which also I made mention a little before this, and round it were placed sphinxes and griffins of white stone: on this house Zeus 7901 caused a bolt to fall; and the house was altogether burnt down, but Skyles none the less for this completed his initiation. Now the Scythians make the rites of Bacchus a reproach against the Hellenes, for they say that it is not fitting to invent a god like this, who impels men to frenzy. So when Skyles had been initiated into the rites of Bacchus, one of the Borysthenites went off 80 to the Scythians and said: "Whereas ye laugh at us, O Scythians, because we perform the rite of Bacchus and because the god seizes us, now this divinity has seized also your king; and he is both joining in the rite of Bacchus and maddened by the influence of the god. And if ye disbelieve me, follow and I will show you." The chief men of the Scythians followed him, and the Borysthenite led them secretly into the town and set them upon a tower. So when Skyles passed by with the company of revellers, and the Scythians saw him joining in the rite of Bacchus, they were exceedingly grieved at it, and they went out and declared to the whole band that which they had seen.
80. After this when Skyles was riding out again to his own abode, the Scythians took his brother Octamasades for their leader, who was a son of the daughter of Teres, and made insurrection against Skyles. He then when he perceived that which was being done to his hurt and for what reason it was being done, fled for refuge to Thrace; and Octamasades being informed of this, proceeded to march upon Thrace. So when he had arrived at the river Ister, the Thracians met him; and as they were about to engage battle, Sitalkes sent a messenger to Octamasades and said: "Why must we make trial of one another in fight? Thou art my sister's son and thou hast in thy power my brother. Do thou give him back to me, and I will deliver to thee thy brother Skyles: and let us not either of us set our armies in peril, either thou or I." Thus Sitalkes proposed to him by a herald; for there was with Octamasades a brother of Sitalkes, who had gone into exile for fear of him. And Octamasades agreed to this, and by giving up his own mother's brother to Sitalkes he received his brother Skyles in exchange: and Sitalkes when he received his brother led him away as a prisoner, but Octamasades cut off the head of Skyles there upon the spot. Thus do the Scythians carefully guard their own customary observances, and such are the penalties which they inflict upon those who acquire foreign customs besides their own.
81. How many the Scythians are I was not able to ascertain precisely, but I heard various reports of the number: for reports say both that they are very many in number and also that they are few, at least as regards the true Scythians. 81 Thus far however they gave me evidence of my own eyesight:—there is between the river Borysthenes and the Hypanis a place called Exampaios, of which also I made mention somewhat before this, saying that there was in it a spring of bitter water, from which the water flows and makes the river Hypanis unfit to drink. In this place there is set a bronze bowl, in size at least six times as large as the mixing-bowl at the entrance of the Pontus, which Pausanias the son of Cleombrotos dedicated: and for him who has never seen that, I will make the matter clear by saying that the bowl in Scythia holds easily six hundred amphors, 82 and the thickness of this Scythian bowl is six fingers. This then the natives of the place told me had been made of arrow-heads: for their king, they said, whose name was Ariantas, wishing to know how many the Scythians were, ordered all the Scythians to bring one arrow-head, each from his own arrow, and whosoever should not bring one, he threatened with death. So a great multitude of arrow-heads was brought, and he resolved to make of them a memorial and to leave it behind him: from these then, they said, he made this bronze bowl and dedicated it in this place Exampaios.
82. This is what I heard about the number of the Scythians. Now this land has no marvellous things except that it has rivers which are by far larger and more numerous than those of any other land. One thing however shall be mentioned which it has to show, and which is worthy of wonder even besides the rivers and the greatness of the plain, that is to say, they point out a footprint of Heracles in the rock by the bank of the river Tyras, which in shape is like the mark of a man's foot but in size is two cubits long. This then is such as I have said; and I will go back now to the history which I was about to tell at first.
83. While Dareios was preparing to go against the Scythians and was sending messengers to appoint to some the furnishing of a land-army, to others that of ships, and to others the bridging over of the Thracian Bosphorus, Artabanos, the son of Hystaspes and brother of Dareios, urged him by no means to make the march against the Scythians, telling him how difficult the Scythians were to deal with. Since however he did not persuade him, though he gave him good counsel, he ceased to urge; and Dareios, when all his preparations had been made, began to march his army forth from Susa.
84. Then one of the Persians, Oiobazos, made request to Dareios that as he had three sons and all were serving in the expedition, one might be left behind for him: and Dareios said that as he was a friend and made a reasonable request, he would leave behind all the sons. So Oiobazos was greatly rejoiced, supposing that his sons had been freed from service, but Dareios commanded those who had the charge of such things to put to death all the sons of Oiobazos.
85. These then were left, having been slain upon the spot where they were: and Dareios meanwhile set forth from Susa and arrived at the place on the Bosphorus where the bridge of ships had been made, in the territory of Chalcedon; and there he embarked in a ship and sailed to the so-called Kyanean rocks, which the Hellenes say formerly moved backwards and forwards; and taking his seat at the temple 83 he gazed upon the Pontus, which is a sight well worth seeing. Of all seas indeed it is the most marvellous in its nature. The length of it is eleven thousand one hundred furlongs, 84 and the breadth, where it is broadest, three thousand three hundred: and of this great Sea the mouth is but four furlongs broad, and the length of the mouth, that is of the neck of water which is called Bosphorus, where, as I said, the bridge of ships had been made, is not less than a hundred and twenty furlongs. This Bosphorus extends to the Propontis; and the Propontis, being in breadth five hundred furlongs and in length one thousand four hundred, has its outlet into the Hellespont, which is but seven furlongs broad at the narrowest place, though it is four hundred furlongs in length: and the Hellespont runs out into that expanse of sea which is called the Egean.
86. These measurements I have made as follows:—a ship completes on an average in a long day a distance of seventy thousand fathoms, and in a night sixty thousand. Now we know that to the river Phasis from the mouth of the Sea (for it is here that the Pontus is longest) is a voyage of nine days and eight nights, which amounts to one hundred and eleven myriads 85 of fathoms; and these fathoms are eleven thousand one hundred furlongs. Then from the land of the Sindians to Themiskyra on the river Thermodon (for here is the broadest part of the Pontus) it is a voyage of three days and two nights, which amounts to thirty-three myriads 86 of fathoms or three thousand three hundred furlongs. This Pontus then and also the Bosphorus and the Hellespont have been measured by me thus, and their nature is such as has been said: and this Pontus also has a lake which has its outlet into it, which lake is not much less in size than the Pontus itself, and it is called Maiotis and "Mother of the Pontus."
87. Dareios then having gazed upon the Pontus sailed back to the bridge, of which Mandrocles a Samian had been chief constructor; and having gazed upon the Bosphorus also, he set up two pillars 8601 by it of white stone with characters cut upon them, on the one Assyrian and on the other Hellenic, being the names of all the nations which he was leading with him: and he was leading with him all over whom he was ruler. The whole number of them without the naval force was reckoned to be seventy myriads 87 including cavalry, and ships had been gathered together to the number of six hundred. These pillars the Byzantians conveyed to their city after the events of which I speak, and used them for the altar of Artemis Orthosia, excepting one stone, which was left standing by the side of the temple of Dionysos in Byzantion, covered over with Assyrian characters. Now the place on the Bosphorus where Dareios made his bridge is, as I conclude, 8701 midway between Byzantion and the temple at the mouth of the Pontus.
88. After this Dareios being pleased with the floating bridge rewarded the chief constructor of it, Mandrocles the Samian, with gifts tenfold; 88 and as an offering from these Mandrocles had a painting made of figures to present the whole scene of the bridge over the Bosphorus and king Dareios sitting in a prominent seat and his army crossing over; this he caused to be painted and dedicated it as an offering in the temple of Hera, with the following inscription:
"Bosphorus having bridged over, the straits fish-abounding, to Hera Mandrocleës dedicates this, of his work to record; A crown on himself he set, and he brought to the Samians glory, And for Dareios performed everything after his mind."
89. This memorial was made of him who constructed the bridge: and Dareios, after he had rewarded Mandrocles with gifts, passed over into Europe, having first commanded the Ionians to sail into the Pontus as far as the river Ister, and when they arrived at the Ister, there to wait for him, making a bridge meanwhile over the river; for the chief of his naval force were the Ionians, the Aiolians and the Hellespontians. So the fleet sailed through between the Kyanean rocks and made straight for the Ister; and then they sailed up the river a two days' voyage from the sea and proceeded to make a bridge across the neck, as it were, of the river, where the mouths of the Ister part off. Dareios meanwhile, having crossed the Bosphorus on the floating bridge, was advancing through Thrace, and when he came to the sources of the river Tearos he encamped for three days.
90. Now the Tearos is said by those who dwell near it to be the best of all rivers, both in other respects which tend to healing and especially for curing diseases of the skin 89 both in men and in horses: and its springs are thirty-eight in number, flowing all from the same rock, of which some are cold and others warm. The way to them is of equal length from the city of Heraion near Perinthos and from Apollonia upon the Euxine Sea, that is to say two days' journey by each road. This Tearos runs into the river Contadesdos and the Contadesdos into the Agrianes and the Agrianes into the Hebros, which flows into the sea by the city of Ainos.
91. Dareios then, having come to this river and having encamped there, was pleased with the river and set up a pillar there also, with an inscription as follows: "The head-springs of the river Tearos give the best and fairest water of all rivers; and to them came leading an army against the Scythians the best and fairest of all men, Dareios the son of Hystaspes, of the Persians and of all the Continent king." These were the words which were there written.
92. Dareios then set out from thence and came to another river whose name is Artescos, which flows through the land of the Odrysians. Having come to this river he did as follows:—he appointed a place for his army and bade every man as he passed out by it place one stone in this appointed place: and when the army had performed this, then he marched away his army leaving behind great mounds of these stones.
93. But before he came to the Ister he conquered first the Getai, who believe in immortality: for the Thracians who occupy Salmydessos and are settled above the cities of Apollonian and Mesambria, called the Kyrmianai 90 and the Nipsaioi, delivered themselves over to Dareios without fighting; but the Getai, who are the bravest and the most upright in their dealings of all the Thracians, having betaken themselves to obstinacy were forthwith subdued.
94. And their belief in immortality is of this kind, that is to say, they hold that they do not die, but that he who is killed goes to Salmoxis, 91 a divinity, 92 whom some of them call Gebeleizis; and at intervals of four years 93 they send one of themselves, whomsoever the lot may select, as a messenger to Salmoxis, charging him with such requests as they have to make on each occasion; and they send him thus:—certain of them who are appointed for this have three javelins, and others meanwhile take hold on both sides of him who is being sent to Salmoxis, both by his hands and his feet, and first they swing him up, then throw him into the air so as to fall upon the spear-points: and if when he is pierced through he is killed, they think that the god is favourable to them; but if he is not killed, they find fault with the messenger himself, calling him a worthless man, and then having found fault with him they send another: and they give him the charge beforehand, while he is yet alive. These same Thracians also shoot arrows up towards the sky when thunder and lightning come, and use threats to the god, not believing that there exists any other god except their own.
95. This Salmoxis I hear from the Hellenes who dwell about the Hellespont and the Pontus, was a man, and he became a slave in Samos, and was in fact a slave of Pythagoras the son of Mnesarchos. Then having become free he gained great wealth, and afterwards returned to his own land: and as the Thracians both live hardly and are rather simple-minded, this Salmoxis, being acquainted with the Ionian way of living and with manners more cultivated 94 than the Thracians were used to see, since he had associated with Hellenes (and not only that but with Pythagoras, not the least able philosopher 95 of the Hellenes), prepared a banqueting-hall, 96 where he received and feasted the chief men of the tribe and instructed them meanwhile that neither he himself nor his guests nor their descendants in succession after them would die; but that they would come to a place where they would live for ever and have all things good. While he was doing that which has been mentioned and was saying these things, he was making for himself meanwhile a chamber under the ground; and when his chamber was finished, he disappeared from among the Thracians and went down into the underground chamber, where he continued to live for three years: and they grieved for his loss and mourned for him as dead. Then in the fourth year he appeared to the Thracians, and in this way the things which Salmoxis said became credible to them.
96. Thus they say that he did; but as to this matter and the chamber under ground, I neither disbelieve it nor do I very strongly believe, but I think that this Salmoxis lived many years before Pythagoras. However, whether there ever lived a man Salmoxis, or whether he is simply a native deity of the Getai, let us bid farewell to him now.
97. These, I say, having such manners as I have said, were subdued by the Persians and accompanied the rest of the army: and when Dareios and with him the land-army arrived at the Ister, then after all had passed over, Dareios commanded the Ionians to break up the floating bridge and to accompany him by land, as well as the rest of the troops which were in the ships: and when the Ionians were just about to break it up and to do that which he commanded, Coës the son of Erxander, who was commander of the Mytilenians, said thus to Dareios, having first inquired whether he was disposed to listen to an opinion from one who desired to declare it: "O king, seeing that thou art about to march upon a land where no cultivated ground will be seen nor any inhabited town, do thou therefore let this bridge remain where it is, leaving to guard it those same men who constructed it. Then, if we find the Scythians and fare as we desire, we have a way of return; and also even if we shall not be able to find them, at least our way of return is secured: for that we should be worsted by the Scythians in fight I never feared yet, but rather that we might not be able to find them, and might suffer some disaster in wandering about. Perhaps some one will say that in speaking thus I am speaking for my own advantage, in order that I may remain behind; but in truth I am bringing forward, O king, the opinion which I found best for thee, and I myself will accompany thee and not be left behind." With this opinion Dareios was very greatly pleased and made answer to him in these words: "Friend from Lesbos, when I have returned safe to my house, be sure that thou appear before me, in order that I may requite thee with good deeds for good counsel."
98. Having thus said and having tied sixty knots in a thong, he called the despots of the Ionians to speak with him and said as follows: "Men of Ionia, know that I have given up the opinion which I formerly declared with regard to the bridge; and do ye keep this thong and do as I shall say:—so soon as ye shall have seen me go forward against the Scythians, from that time begin, and untie a knot on each day: and if within this time I am not here, and ye find that the days marked by the knots have passed by, then sail away to your own lands. Till then, since our resolve has thus been changed, guard the floating bridge, showing all diligence to keep it safe and to guard it. And thus acting, ye will do for me a very acceptable service." Thus said Dareios and hastened on his march forwards.
99. Now in front of Scythia in the direction towards the sea 97 lies Thrace; and where a bay is formed in this land, there begins Scythia, into which the Ister flows out, the mouth of the river being turned towards the South-East Wind. Beginning at the Ister then I am about to describe the coast land of the true Scythia, with regard to measurement. At once from the Ister begins this original land of Scythia, and it lies towards the midday and the South Wind, extending as far as the city called Carkinitis. After this the part which lies on the coast of the same sea still, a country which is mountainous and runs out in the direction of the Pontus, is occupied by the Tauric race, as far as the peninsula which is called the "Rugged Chersonese"; and this extends to the sea which lies towards the East Wind: for two sides of the Scythian boundaries lie along by the sea, one by the sea on the South, and the other by that on the East, just as it is with Attica: and in truth the Tauroi occupy a part of Scythia which has much resemblance to Attica; it is as if in Attica another race and not the Athenians occupied the hill region 98 of Sunion, supposing it to project more at the point into the sea, that region namely which is cut off by a line from Thoricos to Anaphlystos. Such I say, if we may be allowed to compare small things such as this with great, is the form of the Tauric land. 99 For him however who has not sailed along this part of the coast of Attica I will make it clear by another comparison:—it is as if in Iapygia another race and not the Iapygians had cut off for themselves and were holding that extremity of the land which is bounded by a line beginning at the harbour of Brentesion and running to Taras. And in mentioning these two similar cases I am suggesting many other things also to which the Tauric land has resemblance.
100. After the Tauric land immediately come Scythians again, occupying the parts above the Tauroi and the coasts of the Eastern sea, that is to say the parts to the West of the Kimmerian Bosphorus and of the Maiotian lake, as far as the river Tanaïs, which runs into the corner of this lake. In the upper parts which tend inland Scythia is bounded (as we know) 100 by the Agathyrsians first, beginning from the Ister, and then by the Neuroi, afterwards by the Androphagoi, and lastly by the Melanchlainoi.
101. Scythia then being looked upon as a four-sided figure with two of its sides bordered by the sea, has its border lines equal to one another in each direction, that which tends inland and that which runs along by the sea: for from Ister to the Borysthenes is ten days' journey, and from the Borysthenes to the Maiotian lake ten days' more; and the distance inland to the Melanchlainoi, who are settled above the Scythians, is a journey of twenty days. Now I have reckoned the day's journey at two hundred furlongs: 101 and by this reckoning the cross lines of Scythia 102 would be four thousand furlongs in length, and the perpendiculars which tend inland would be the same number of furlongs. Such is the size of this land.
102. The Scythians meanwhile having considered with themselves that they were not able to repel the army of Dareios alone by a pitched battle, proceeded to send messengers to those who dwelt near them: and already the kings of these nations had come together and were taking counsel with one another, since so great an army was marching towards them. Now those who had come together were the kings of the Tauroi, Agathyrsians, Neuroi, Androphagoi, Melanchlainoi, Gelonians, Budinoi and Sauromatai.
103. Of these the Tauroi have the following customs:—they sacrifice to the "Maiden" both ship-wrecked persons and also those Hellenes whom they can capture by putting out to sea against them; 103 and their manner of sacrifice is this:—when they have made the first offering from the victim they strike his head with a club: and some say that they push the body down from the top of the cliff (for it is upon a cliff that the temple is placed) and set the head up on a stake; but others, while agreeing as to the heads, say nevertheless that the body is not pushed down from the top of the cliff, but buried in the earth. This divinity to whom they sacrifice, the Tauroi themselves say is Iphigeneia the daughter of Agamemnon. Whatsoever enemies they have conquered they treat in this fashion:—each man cuts off a head and bears it away to his house; then he impales it on a long stake and sets it up above his house raised to a great height, generally above the chimney; and they say that these are suspended above as guards to preserve the whole house. This people has its living by plunder and war.
104. The Agathyrsians are the most luxurious of men and wear gold ornaments for the most part: also they have promiscuous intercourse with their women, in order that they may be brethren to one another and being all nearly related may not feel envy or malice one against another. In their other customs they have come to resemble the Thracians.
105. The Neuroi practise the Scythian customs: and one generation before the expedition of Dareios it so befell them that they were forced to quit their land altogether by reason of serpents: for their land produced serpents in vast numbers, and they fell upon them in still larger numbers from the desert country above their borders; until at last being hard pressed they left their own land and settled among the Budinoi. These men it would seem are wizards; for it is said of them by the Scythians and by the Hellenes who are settled in the Scythian land that once in every year each of the Neuroi becomes a wolf for a few days and then returns again to his original form. For my part I do not believe them when they say this, but they say it nevertheless, and swear it moreover.
106. The Androphagoi have the most savage manners of all human beings, and they neither acknowledge any rule of right nor observe any customary law. They are nomads and wear clothing like that of the Scythians, but have a language of their own; and alone of all these nations they are man-eaters.
107. The Melanchlainoi wear all of them black clothing, whence also they have their name; and they practise the customs of the Scythians.
108. The Budinoi are a very great and numerous race, and are all very blue-eyed and fair of skin: and in their land is built a city of wood, the name of which is Gelonos, and each side of the wall is thirty furlongs in length and lofty at the same time, all being of wood; and the houses are of wood also and the temples; for there are in it temples of Hellenic gods furnished after Hellenic fashion with sacred images and altars and cells, 104 all of wood; and they keep festivals every other year 105 to Dionysos and celebrate the rites of Bacchus: for the Gelonians are originally Hellenes, and they removed 106 from the trading stations on the coast and settled among the Budinoi; and they use partly the Scythian language and partly the Hellenic. The Budinoi however do not use the same language as the Gelonians, nor is their manner of living the same:
109, for the Budinoi are natives of the soil and a nomad people, and alone of the nations in these parts feed on fir-cones; 107 but the Gelonians are tillers of the ground and feed on corn and have gardens, and resemble them not at all either in appearance or in complexion of skin. However by the Hellenes the Budinoi also are called Gelonians, not being rightly so called. Their land is all thickly overgrown with forests of all kinds of trees, and in the thickest forest there is a large and deep lake, and round it marshy ground and reeds. In this are caught otters and beavers and certainly other wild animals with square-shaped faces. The fur of these is sewn as a fringe round their coats of skin, and the testicles are made use of by them for curing diseases of the womb.
110. About the Sauromatai the following tale is told:—When the Hellenes had fought with the Amazons,—now the Amazons are called by the Scythians Oiorpata, 108 which name means in the Hellenic tongue "slayers of men," for "man" they call oior, and pata means "to slay,"—then, as the story goes, the Hellenes, having conquered them in the battle at the Thermodon, were sailing away and conveying with them in three ships as many Amazons as they were able to take prisoners. These in the open sea set upon the men and cast them out of the ships; but they knew nothing about ships, nor how to use rudders or sails or oars, and after they had cast out the men they were driven about by wave and wind and came to that part of the Maiotian lake where Cremnoi stands; now Cremnoi is in the land of the free Scythians. 109 There the Amazons disembarked from their ships and made their way into the country, and having met first with a troop of horses feeding they seized them, and mounted upon these they plundered the property of the Scythians.
111. The Scythians meanwhile were not able to understand the matter, for they did not know either their speech or their dress or the race to which they belonged, but were in wonder as to whence they had come and thought that they were men, of an age corresponding to their appearance: and finally they fought a battle against them, and after the battle the Scythians got possession of the bodies of the dead, and thus they discovered that they were women. They took counsel therefore and resolved by no means to go on trying to kill them, but to send against them the youngest men from among themselves, making conjecture of the number so as to send just as many men as there were women. These were told to encamp near them, and do whatsoever they should do; if however the women should come after them, they were not to fight but to retire before them, and when the women stopped, they were to approach near and encamp. This plan was adopted by the Scythians because they desired to have children born from them.
112. The young men accordingly were sent out and did that which had been commanded them: and when the Amazons perceived that they had not come to do them any harm, they let them alone; and the two camps approached nearer to one another every day: and the young men, like the Amazons, had nothing except their arms and their horses, and got their living, as the Amazons did, by hunting and by taking booty.
113. Now the Amazons at midday used to scatter abroad either one by one or by two together, dispersing to a distance from one another to ease themselves; and the Scythians also having perceived this did the same thing: and one of the Scythians came near to one of those Amazons who were apart by themselves, and she did not repulse him but allowed him to lie with her: and she could not speak to him, for they did not understand one another's speech, but she made signs to him with her hand to come on the following day to the same place and to bring another with him, signifying to him that there should be two of them, and that she would bring another with her. The young man therefore, when he returned, reported this to the others; and on the next day he came himself to the place and also brought another, and he found the Amazon awaiting him with another in her company. Then hearing this the rest of the young men also in their turn tamed for themselves the remainder of the Amazons;
114, and after this they joined their camps and lived together, each man having for his wife her with whom he had had dealings at first; and the men were not able to learn the speech of the women, but the women came to comprehend that of the men. So when they understood one another, the men spoke to the Amazons as follows: "We have parents and we have possessions; now therefore let us no longer lead a life of this kind, but let us go away to the main body of our people and dwell with them; and we will have you for wives and no others." They however spoke thus in reply: "We should not be able to live with your women, for we and they have not the same customs. We shoot with bows and hurl javelins and ride horses, but the works of women we never learnt; whereas your women do none of these things which we said, but stay in the waggons and work at the works of women, neither going out to the chase nor anywhither else. We therefore should not be able to live in agreement with them: but if ye desire to keep us for your wives and to be thought honest men, go to your parents and obtain from them your share of the goods, and then let us go and dwell by ourselves."
115. The young men agreed and did this; and when they had obtained the share of the goods which belonged to them and had returned back to the Amazons, the women spoke to them as follows: "We are possessed by fear and trembling to think that we must dwell in this place, having not only separated you from your fathers, but also done great damage to your land. Since then ye think it right to have us as your wives, do this together with us,—come and let us remove from this land and pass over the river Tanaïs and there dwell."
116. The young men agreed to this also, and they crossed over the Tanaïs and made their way towards the rising sun for three days' journey from Tanaïs, and also towards the North Wind for three days' journey from the Maiotian lake: and having arrived at the place where they are now settled, they took up their abode there: and from thenceforward the women of the Sauromatai practise their ancient way of living, going out regularly on horseback to the chase both in company with the men and apart from them, and going regularly to war, and wearing the same dress as the men.
117. And the Sauromatai make use of the Scythian tongue, speaking it barbarously however from the first, since the Amazons did not learn it thoroughly well. As regards marriages their rule is this, that no maiden is married until she has slain a man of their enemies; and some of them even grow old and die before they are married, because they are not able to fulfil the requirement of the law.
118. To the kings of these nations then, which have been mentioned in order, the messengers of the Scythians came, finding them gathered together, and spoke declaring to them how the Persian king, after having subdued all things to himself in the other continent, had laid a bridge over the neck of the Bosphorus and had crossed over to that continent, and having crossed over and subdued the Thracians, was making a bridge over the river Ister, desiring to bring under his power all these regions also. "Do ye therefore," they said, "by no means stand aloof and allow us to be destroyed, but let us become all of one mind and oppose him who is coming against us. If ye shall not do so, we on our part shall either be forced by necessity to leave our land, or we shall stay in it and make a treaty with the invader; for what else can we do if ye are not willing to help us? and for you after this 110 it will be in no respect easier; for the Persian has come not at all less against you than against us, nor will it content him to subdue us and abstain from you. And of the truth of that which we say we will mention a strong evidence: if the Persian had been making his expedition against us alone, because he desired to take vengeance for the former servitude, he ought to have abstained from all the rest and to have come at once to invade our land, and he would thus have made it clear to all that he was marching to fight against the Scythians and not against the rest. In fact however, ever since he crossed over to this continent, he has compelled all who came in his way to submit to him, and he holds under him now not only the other Thracians but also the Getai, who are our nearest neighbours."
119. When the Scythians proposed this, the kings who had come from the various nations took counsel together, and their opinions were divided. The kings of the Gelonians, of the Budinoi and of the Sauromatai agreed together and accepted the proposal that they should help the Scythians, but those of the Agathyrsians, Neuroi, Androphagoi, Melanchlainoi and Tauroi returned answer to the Scythians as follows: "If ye had not been the first to do wrong to the Persians and to begin war, then we should have surely thought that ye were speaking justly in asking for those things for which ye now ask, and we should have yielded to your request and shared your fortunes. As it is however, ye on the one hand made invasion without us into their land, and bare rule over the Persians for so long a time as God permitted you; and they in their turn, since the same God stirs them up, are repaying you with the like. As for us however, neither at that time did we do any wrong to these men nor now shall we attempt to do any wrong to them unprovoked: if however the Persians shall come against our land also, and do wrong first to us, we also shall refuse to submit 111: but until we shall see this, we shall remain by ourselves, for we are of opinion that the Persians have come not against us, but against those who were the authors of the wrong."
120. When the Scythians heard this answer reported, they planned not to fight a pitched battle openly, since these did not join them as allies, but to retire before the Persians and to drive away their cattle from before them, choking up with earth the wells and the springs of water by which they passed and destroying the grass from off the ground, having parted themselves for this into two bodies; and they resolved that the Sauromatai should be added to one of their divisions, namely that over which Scopasis was king, and that these should move on, if the Persians turned in that direction, straight towards the river Tanaïs, retreating before him by the shore of the Maiotian lake; and when the Persian marched back again, they should come after and pursue him. This was one division of their kingdom, appointed to go by the way which has been said; and the other two of the kingdoms, the large one over which Idanthyrsos was king, and the third of which Taxakis was king, were to join together in one, with the Gelonians and the Budinoi added to them, and they also were to retire before the Persians one day's march in front of them, going on out of their way and doing that which had been planned. First they were to move on straight for the countries which had refused to give their alliance, in order that they might involve these also in the war, and though these had not voluntarily undertaken the war with the Persians, they were to involve them in it nevertheless against their will; and after that they were to return to their own land and attack the enemy, if it should seem good to them in council so to do.
121. Having formed this plan the Scythians went to meet the army of Dareios, sending off the best of their horsemen before them as scouts; but all 112 the waggons in which their children and their women lived they sent on, and with them all their cattle (leaving only so much as was sufficient to supply them with food), and charged them that they should proceed continually towards the North Wind. These, I say, were being carried on before:
122, but when the scouts who went in front of the Scythians discovered the Persians distant about three days' march from Ister, then the Scythians having discovered them continued to pitch their camp one day's march in front, destroying utterly that which grew from the ground: and when the Persians saw that the horsemen of the Scythians had made their appearance, they came after them following in their track, while the Scythians continually moved on. After this, since they had directed their march towards the first of the divisions, the Persians continued to pursue towards the East and the river Tanaïs; and when the Scythians crossed over the river Tanaïs, the Persians crossed over after them and continued still to pursue, until they had passed quite through the land of the Sauromatai and had come to that of the Budinoi.
123. Now so long as the Persians were passing through Scythia and the land of the Sauromatai, they had nothing to destroy, seeing that the land was bare, 113 but when they invaded the land of the Budinoi, then they fell in with the wooden wall, which had been deserted by the Budinoi and left wholly unoccupied, and this they destroyed by fire. Having done so they continued to follow on further in the tracks of the enemy, until they had passed through the whole of this land and had arrived at the desert. This desert region is occupied by no men, and it lies above the land of the Budinoi, extending for a seven days' journey; and above this desert dwell the Thyssagetai, and four large rivers flow from them through the land of the Maiotians and run into that which is called the Maiotian lake, their names being as follows,—Lycos, Oaros, Tanaïs, Syrgis. 114
124. When therefore Dareios came to the desert region, he ceased from his course and halted his army upon the river Oaros. Having so done he began to build eight large fortifications at equal distances from one another, that is to say about sixty furlongs, of which the ruins still existed down to my time; and while he was occupied in this, the Scythians whom he was pursuing came round by the upper parts and returned back to Scythia. Accordingly, since these had altogether disappeared and were no longer seen by the Persians at all, Dareios left those fortifications half finished, and turning back himself began to go towards the West, supposing that these were the whole body of the Scythians and that they were flying towards the West.
125. And marching his army as quickly as possible, when he came to Scythia he met with the two divisions of the Scythians together, and having fallen in with these he continued to pursue them, while they retired out of his way one day's journey in advance: and as Dareios did not cease to come after them, the Scythians according to the plan which they had made continued to retire before him towards the land of those who had refused to give their alliance, and first towards that of the Melanchlainoi; and when Scythians and Persians both together had invaded and disturbed these, the Scythians led the way to the country of the Androphagoi; and when these had also been disturbed, they proceeded to the land of the Neuroi; and while these too were being disturbed, the Scythians went on retiring before the enemy to the Agathyrsians. The Agathyrsians however, seeing that their next neighbours also were flying from the Scythians and had been disturbed, sent a herald before the Scythians invaded their land and proclaimed to the Scythians not to set foot upon their confines, warning them that if they should attempt to invade the country, they would first have to fight with them. The Agathyrsians then having given this warning came out in arms to their borders, meaning to drive off those who were coming upon them; but the Melanchlainoi and Androphagoi and Neuroi, when the Persians and Scythians together invaded them, did not betake themselves to brave defence but forgot their former threat 115 and fled in confusion ever further towards the North to the desert region. The Scythians however, when the Agathyrsians had warned them off, did not attempt any more to come to these, but led the Persians from the country of the Neuroi back to their own land.
126. Now as this went on for a long time and did not cease, Dareios sent a horseman to Idanthyrsos king of the Scythians and said as follows: "Thou most wondrous man, why dost thou fly for ever, when thou mightest do of these two things one?—if thou thinkest thyself able to make opposition to my power, stand thou still and cease from wandering abroad, and fight; but if thou dost acknowledge thyself too weak, cease then in that case also from thy course, and come to speech with thy master, bringing to him gifts of earth and water."
127. To this the king of the Scythians Idanthyrsos made answer thus: "My case, O Persian, stands thus:—Never yet did I fly because I was afraid, either before this time from any other man, or now from thee; nor have I done anything different now from that which I was wont to do also in time of peace: and as to the cause why I do not fight with thee at once, this also I will declare to thee. We have neither cities nor land sown with crops, about which we should fear lest they should be captured or laid waste, and so join battle more speedily with you; but if it be necessary by all means to come to this speedily, know that we have sepulchres in which our fathers are buried; therefore come now, find out these and attempt to destroy them, and ye shall know then whether we shall fight with you for the sepulchres or whether we shall not fight. Before that however, unless the motion comes upon us, we shall not join battle with thee. About fighting let so much as has been said suffice; but as to masters, I acknowledge none over me but Zeus my ancestor and Hestia the queen of the Scythians. To thee then in place of gifts of earth and water I shall send such things as it is fitting that thou shouldest receive; and in return for thy saying that thou art my master, for that I say, woe betide thee." 116 This is the proverbial "saying of the Scythians." 117
128. The herald then had departed to report this to Dareios; and the kings of the Scythians, having heard mention of subjection to a master, were filled with wrath. They sent accordingly the division which was appointed to be joined with the Sauromatai, that division of which Scopasis was in command, bidding them come to speech with the Ionians, namely those who were guarding the bridge of the Ister, and meanwhile they who were left behind resolved not to lead the Persians wandering about any more, but to attack them constantly as they were getting provisions. Therefore they observed the soldiers of Dareios as they got provisions, and did that which they had determined: and the cavalry of the Scythians always routed that of the enemy, but the Persian horsemen as they fled fell back upon the men on foot, and these would come up to their assistance; and meanwhile the Scythians when they had driven in the cavalry turned back, fearing the men on foot. Also by night the Scythians used to make similar attacks:
129, and the thing which, strange to say, most helped the Persians and hindered the Scythians in their attacks upon the camp of Dareios, I will mention, namely the voice of the asses and the appearance of the mules; for Scythia produces neither ass nor mule, as I have declared before, nor is there at all in the Scythian country either ass or mule on account of the cold. The asses accordingly by riotously braying used to throw into confusion the cavalry of the Scythians; and often, as they were in the middle of riding against the Persians, when the horses heard the voice of the asses they turned back in confusion and were possessed with wonder, pricking up their ears, because they had never heard such a voice nor seen the form of the creature before.
130. So far then the Persians had the advantage for a small part of the war. 118 But the Scythians, whenever they saw that the Persians were disquieted, then in order that they might remain a longer time in Scythia and in remaining might suffer by being in want of everything, would leave some of their own cattle behind with the herdsmen, while they themselves rode out of the way to another place, and the Persians would come upon the cattle and take them, and having taken them they were elated at what they had done.
131. As this happened often, at length Dareios began to be in straits; and the kings of the Scythians perceiving this sent a herald bearing as gifts to Dareios a bird and a mouse and a frog and five arrows. The Persians accordingly asked the bearer of the gifts as to the meaning of the gifts which were offered; but he said that nothing more had been commanded to him but to give them and get away as speedily as possible; and he bade the Persians find out for themselves, if they had wisdom, that which the gifts were meant to express.
132. Having heard this the Persians took counsel with one another; and the opinion of Dareios was that the Scythians were giving to him both themselves and also earth and water, making his conjecture by this, namely that a mouse is produced in the earth and feeds on the same produce of the earth as man, and a frog in the water, while a bird has great resemblance to a horse; 119 and moreover that in giving the arrows they were delivering up their own might in battle. This was the opinion expressed by Dareios; but the opinion of Gobryas, one of the seven men who killed the Magian, was at variance with it, for he conjectured that the gifts expressed this: "Unless ye become birds and fly up into the heaven, O Persians, or become mice and sink down under the earth, or become frogs and leap into the lakes, ye shall not return back home, but shall be smitten by these arrows."
133. The Persians then, I say, were making conjecture of the gifts: and meanwhile the single division of the Scythians, that which had been appointed at first to keep guard along the Maiotian lake and then to go to the Ister and come to speech with the Ionians, when they arrived at the bridge spoke as follows: "Ionians, we have come bringing you freedom, if at least ye are willing to listen to us; for we are informed that Dareios gave you command to guard the bridge for sixty days only, and then, if he had not arrived within that time, to get you away to your own land. Now therefore, if ye do as we say, ye will be without blame from his part and without blame also from ours: stay the appointed days and then after that get you away." They then, when the Ionians had engaged themselves to do this, hastened back again by the quickest way:
134, and meanwhile, after the coming of the gifts to Dareios, the Scythians who were left had arrayed themselves against the Persians with both foot and horse, meaning to engage battle. Now when the Scythians had been placed in battle-array, a hare darted through them into the space between the two armies, and each company of them, as they saw the hare, began to run after it. When the Scythians were thus thrown into disorder and were raising loud cries, Dareios asked what was this clamour arising from the enemy; and hearing that they were running after the hare, he said to those men to whom he was wont to say things at other times: "These men have very slight regard for us, and I perceive now that Gobryas spoke rightly about the Scythian gifts. Seeing then that now I myself too think that things are so, we have need of good counsel, in order that our retreat homewards may be safely made." To this replied Gobryas and said: "O king, even by report I was almost assured of the difficulty of dealing with these men; and when I came I learnt it still more thoroughly, since I saw that they were mocking us. Now therefore my opinion is, that as soon as night comes on, we kindle the camp-fires as we are wont to do at other times also, and deceive with a false tale those of our men who are weakest to endure hardships, and tie up all the asses and get us away, before either the Scythians make for the Ister to destroy the bridge or something be resolved by the Ionians which may be our ruin."
135. Thus Gobryas advised; and after this, when night came on, Dareios acted on this opinion. Those of his men who were weakened by fatigue and whose loss was of least account, these he left behind in the camp, and the asses also tied up: and for the following reasons he left behind the asses and the weaker men of his army,—the asses in order that they might make a noise which should be heard, and the men really because of their weakness, but on a pretence stated openly that he was about to attack the Scythians with the effective part of the army, and that they meanwhile were to be defenders of the camp. Having thus instructed those who were left behind, and having kindled camp-fires, Dareios hastened by the quickest way towards the Ister: and the asses, having no longer about them the usual throng, 120 very much more for that reason caused their voice to be heard; 121 so the Scythians, hearing the asses, supposed surely that the Persians were remaining in their former place.
136. But when it was day, those who were left behind perceived that they had been betrayed by Dareios, and they held out their hands in submission to the Scythians, telling them what their case was; and the Scythians, when they heard this, joined together as quickly as possible, that is to say the two combined divisions of the Scythians and the single division, and also the Sauromatai, 122 Budinoi, and Gelonians, and began to pursue the Persians, making straight for the Ister: but as the Persian army for the most part consisted of men on foot, and was not acquainted with the roads (the roads not being marked with tracks), while the Scythian army consisted of horsemen and was acquainted with the shortest cuts along the way, they missed one another and the Scythians arrived at the bridge much before the Persians. Then having learnt that the Persians had not yet arrived, they said to the Ionians who were in the ships: "Ionians, the days of your number are past, and ye are not acting uprightly in that ye yet remain waiting: but as ye stayed before from fear, so now break up the passage as quickly as ye may, and depart free and unhurt, 123 feeling thankfulness both to the gods and to the Scythians: and him who was formerly your master we will so convince, that he shall never again march with an army upon any nation."
137. Upon this the Ionians took counsel together; and Miltiades the Athenian on the one hand, who was commander and despot of the men of the Chersonese in Hellespont, was of opinion that they should follow the advice of the Scythians and set Ionia free: but Histiaios the Milesian was of the opposite opinion to this; for he said that at the present time it was by means of Dareios that each one of them was ruling as despot over a city; and if the power of Dareios should be destroyed, neither he himself would be able to bear rule over the Milesians, nor would any other of them be able to bear rule over any other city; for each of the cities would choose to have popular rather than despotic rule. When Histiaios declared his opinion thus, forthwith all turned to this opinion, whereas at the first they were adopting that of Miltiades.
138. Now these were they who gave the vote between the two opinions, and were men of consequence in the eyes of the king, 124—first the despots of the Hellespontians, Daphnis of Abydos, Hippoclos of Lampsacos, Herophantos of Parion, Metrodoros of Proconnesos, Aristagoras of Kyzicos, and Ariston of Byzantion, these were those from the Hellespont; and from Ionia, Strattis of Chios, Aiakes of Samos, Laodamas of Phocaia, and Histiaios of Miletos, whose opinion had been proposed in opposition to that of Miltiades; and of the Aiolians the only man of consequence there present was Aristagoras of Kyme.
139. When these adopted the opinion of Histiaios, they resolved to add to it deeds and words as follows, namely to break up that part of the bridge which was on the side towards the Scythians, to break it up, I say, for a distance equal to the range of an arrow, both in order that they might be thought to be doing something, though in fact they were doing nothing, and for fear that the Scythians might make an attempt using force and desiring to cross the Ister by the bridge: and in breaking up that part of the bridge which was towards Scythia they resolved to say that they would do all that which the Scythians desired. This they added to the opinion proposed, and then Histiaios coming forth from among them made answer to the Scythians as follows: "Scythians, ye are come bringing good news, and it is a timely haste that ye make to bring it; and ye on your part give us good guidance, while we on ours render to you suitable service. For, as ye see, we are breaking up the passage, and we shall show all zeal in our desire to be free: and while we are breaking up the bridge, it is fitting that ye should be seeking for those of whom ye speak, and when ye have found them, that ye should take vengeance on them on behalf of us as well as of yourselves in such manner as they deserve."
140. The Scythians then, believing for the second time that the Ionians were speaking the truth, turned back to make search for the Persians, but they missed altogether their line of march through the land. Of this the Scythians themselves were the cause, since they had destroyed the pastures for horses in that region and had choked up with earth the springs of water; for if they had not done this, it would have been possible for them easily, if they desired it, to discover the Persians: but as it was, by those things wherein they thought they had taken their measures best, they failed of success. The Scythians then on their part were passing through those regions of their own land where there was grass for the horses and springs of water, and were seeking for the enemy there, thinking that they too were taking a course in their retreat through such country as this; while the Persians in fact marched keeping carefully to the track which they had made before, and so they found the passage of the river, though with difficulty: 125 and as they arrived by night and found the bridge broken up, they were brought to the extreme of fear, lest the Ionians should have deserted them.
141. Now there was with Dareios an Egyptian who had a voice louder than that of any other man on earth, and this man Dareios ordered to take his stand upon the bank of the Ister and to call Histiaios of Miletos. He accordingly proceeded to do so; and Histiaios, hearing the first hail, produced all the ships to carry the army over and also put together the bridge.
142. Thus the Persians escaped, and the Scythians in their search missed the Persians the second time also: and their judgment of the Ionians is that on the one hand, if they be regarded as free men, they are the most worthless and cowardly of all men, but on the other hand, if regarded as slaves, they are the most attached to their master and the least disposed to run away of all slaves. This is the reproach which is cast against the Ionians by the Scythians.
143. Dareios then marching through Thrace arrived at Sestos in the Chersonese; and from that place, he passed over himself in his ships to Asia, but to command his army in Europe he left Megabazos a Persian, to whom Dareios once gave honour by uttering in the land of Persia 126 this saying:—Dareios was beginning to eat pomegranates, and at once when he opened the first of them, Artabanos his brother asked him of what he would desire to have as many as there were seeds in the pomegranate: and Dareios said that he would desire to have men like Megabazos as many as that in number, rather than to have Hellas subject to him. In Persia, I say, he honoured him by saying these words, and at this time he left him in command with eight myriads 127 of his army.
144. This Megabazos uttered one saying whereby he left of himself an imperishable memory with the peoples of Hellespont: for being once at Byzantion he heard that the men of Calchedon had settled in that region seventeen years before the Byzantians, and having heard it he said that those of Calchedon at that time chanced to be blind; for assuredly they would not have chosen the worse place, when they might have settled in that which was better, if they had not been blind. This Megabazos it was who was left in command at that time in the land of the Hellespontians, and he proceeded to subdue all who did not take the side of the Medes.
145. He then was doing thus; and at this very same time a great expedition was being made also against Libya, on an occasion which I shall relate when I have first related this which follows.—The children's children of those who voyaged in the Argo, having been driven forth by those Pelasgians who carried away at Brauron the women of the Athenians,—having been driven forth I say by these from Lemnos, had departed and sailed to Lacedemon, and sitting down on Mount Taÿgetos they kindled a fire. The Lacedemonians seeing this sent a messenger to inquire who they were and from whence; and they answered the question of the messenger saying that they were Minyai and children of heroes who sailed in the Argo, for 128 these, they said, had put in to Lemnos and propagated the race of which they sprang. The Lacedemonians having heard the story of the descent of the Minyai, sent a second time and asked for what purpose they had come into the country and were causing a fire to blaze. They said that they had been cast out by the Pelasgians, and were come now to the land of their fathers, 129 for most just it was that this should so be done; and they said that their request was to be permitted to dwell with these, having a share of civil rights and a portion allotted to them of the land. And the Lacedemonians were content to receive the Minyai upon the terms which they themselves desired, being most of all impelled to do this by the fact that the sons of Tyndareus were voyagers in the Argo. So having received the Minyai they gave them a share of land and distributed them in the tribes; and they forthwith made marriages, and gave in marriage to others the women whom they brought with them from Lemnos.
146. However, when no very long time had passed, the Minyai forthwith broke out into insolence, asking for a share of the royal power and also doing other impious things: therefore the Lacedemonians resolved to put them to death; and having seized them they cast them into a prison. Now the Lacedemonians put to death by night all those whom they put to death, but no man by day. When therefore they were just about to kill them, the wives of the Minyai, being native Spartans and daughters of the first citizens of Sparta, entreated to be allowed to enter the prison and come to speech every one with her own husband: and they let them pass in, not supposing that any craft would be practised by them. They however, when they had entered, delivered to their husbands all the garments which they were wearing, and themselves received those of their husbands: thus the Minyai having put on the women's clothes went forth out of prison as women, and having escaped in this manner they went again to Taÿgetos and sat down there.
147. Now at this very same time Theras the son of Autesion, the son of Tisamenos, the son of Thersander, the son of Polyneikes, was preparing to set forth from Lacedemon to found a settlement. This Theras, who was of the race of Cadmos, was mother's brother to the sons of Aristodemos, Eurysthenes and Procles; and while these sons were yet children, Theras as their guardian held the royal power in Sparta. When however his nephews were grown and had taken the power into their hands, then Theras, being grieved that he should be ruled by others after he had tasted of rule himself, said that he would not remain in Lacedemon, but would sail away to his kinsmen. Now there were in the island which is now called Thera, but formerly was called Callista, descendants of Membliaros the son of Poikiles, a Phenician: for Cadmos the son of Agenor in his search for Europa put in to land at the island which is now called Thera; and, whether it was that the country pleased him when he had put to land, or whether he chose to do so for any other reason, he left in this island, besides other Phenicians, Membliaros also, of his own kinsmen. These occupied the island called Callista for eight generations of men, before Theras came from Lacedemon.
148. To these then, I say, Theras was preparing to set forth, taking with him people from the tribes, and intending to settle together with those who have been mentioned, not with any design to drive them out, but on the contrary claiming them very strongly as kinfolk. And when the Minyai after having escaped from the prison went and sat down on Taÿgetos, Theras entreated of the Lacedemonians, as they were proposing to put them to death, that no slaughter might take place, and at the same time he engaged himself to take them forth out of the land. The Lacedemonians having agreed to this proposal, he sailed away with three thirty-oared galleys to the descendants of Membliaros, not taking with him by any means all the Minyai, but a few only; for the greater number of them turned towards the land of the Paroreatai and Caucones, and having driven these out of their country, they parted themselves into six divisions and founded in their territory the following towns,—Lepreon, Makistos, Phrixai, Pyrgos, Epion, Nudion; of these the Eleians sacked the greater number within my own lifetime. The island meanwhile got its name of Thera after Theras 130 who led the settlement.
149. And since his son said that he would not sail with him, therefore he said that he would leave him behind as a sheep among wolves; and in accordance with that saying this young man got the name of Oiolycos, 131 and it chanced that this name prevailed over his former name: then from Oiolycos was begotten Aigeus, after whom are called the Aigeidai, a powerful clan 132 in Sparta: and the men of this tribe, since their children did not live to grow up, established by the suggestion of an oracle a temple to the Avenging Deities 133 of Laïos and OEdipus, and after this the same thing was continued 134 in Thera by the descendants of these men.
150. Up to this point of the story the Lacedemonians agree in their report with the men of Thera; but in what is to come it is those of Thera alone who report that it happened as follows. Grinnos 135 the son of Aisanios, a descendant of the Theras who has been mentioned, and king of the island of Thera, came to Delphi bringing the offering of a hecatomb from his State; and there were accompanying him, besides others of the citizens, also Battos the son of Polymnestos, who was by descent of the family of Euphemos 136 of the race of the Minyai. Now when Grinnos the king of the Theraians was consulting the Oracle about other matters, the Pythian prophetess gave answer bidding him found a city in Libya; and he made reply saying: "Lord, 137 I am by this time somewhat old and heavy to stir, but do thou bid some one of these younger ones do this." As he thus said he pointed towards Battos. So far at that time: but afterwards when he had come away they were in difficulty about the saying of the Oracle, neither having any knowledge of Libya, in what part of the earth it was, nor venturing to send a colony to the unknown.
151. Then after this for seven years there was no rain in Thera, and in these years all the trees in their island were withered up excepting one: and when the Theraians consulted the Oracle, the Pythian prophetess alleged this matter of colonising Libya to be the cause. As then they had no remedy for their evil, they sent messengers to Crete, to find out whether any of the Cretans or of the sojourners in Crete had ever come to Libya. These as they wandered round about the country came also the city of Itanos, and there they met with a fisher for purple named Corobios, who said that he had been carried away by winds and had come to Libya, and in Libya to the island of Platea. This man they persuaded by payment of money and took him to Thera, and from Thera there set sail men to explore, at first not many in number; and Corobios having guided them to this same island of Platea, they left Corobios there, leaving behind with him provisions for a certain number of months, and sailed themselves as quickly as possible to make report about the island to the men of Thera.
152. Since however these stayed away longer than the time appointed, Corobios found himself destitute; and after this a ship of Samos, of which the master was Colaios, while sailing to Egypt was carried out of its course and came to this island of Platea; and the Samians hearing from Corobios the whole story left him provisions for a year. They themselves then put out to sea from the island and sailed on, endeavouring to reach Egypt but carried away continually by the East Wind; and as the wind did not cease to blow, they passed through the Pillars of Heracles and came to Tartessos, guided by divine providence. Now this trading-place was at that time untouched by any, so that when these returned back home they made profit from their cargo greater than any other Hellenes of whom we have certain knowledge, with the exception at least of Sostratos the son of Laodamas the Eginetan, for with him it is not possible for any other man to contend. And the Samians set apart six talents, the tenth part of their gains, and had a bronze vessel made like an Argolic mixing-bowl with round it heads of griffins projecting in a row; and this they dedicated as an offering in the temple of Hera, setting as supports under it three colossal statues of bronze seven cubits in height, resting upon their knees. By reason first of this deed great friendship was formed by those of Kyrene and Thera with the Samians.
153. The Theraians meanwhile, when they arrived at Thera after having left Corobios in the island, reported that they had colonised an island on the coast of Libya: and the men of Thera resolved to send one of every two brothers selected by lot and men besides taken from all the regions of the island, which are seven in number; and further that Battos should be both their leader and their king. Thus then they sent forth two fifty-oared galleys to Platea.
154. This is the report of the Theraians; and for the remainder of the account from this point onwards the Theraians are in agreement with the men of Kyrene: from this point onwards, I say, since in what concerns Battos the Kyrenians tell by no means the same tale as those of Thera; for their account is this:—There is in Crete a city called Oäxos 138 in which one Etearchos became king, who when he had a daughter, whose mother was dead, named Phronime, took to wife another woman notwithstanding. She having come in afterwards, thought fit to be a stepmother to Phronime in deed as well as in name, giving her evil treatment and devising everything possible to her hurt; and at last she brings against her a charge of lewdness and persuades her husband that the truth is so. He then being convinced by his wife, devised an unholy deed against the daughter: for there was in Oäxos one Themison, a merchant of Thera, whom Etearchos took to himself as a guest-friend and caused him to swear that he would surely serve him in whatsoever he should require: and when he had caused him to swear this, he brought and delivered to him his daughter and bade him take her away and cast her into the sea. Themison then was very greatly vexed at the deceit practised in the matter of the oath, and he dissolved his guest-friendship and did as follows, that is to say, he received the girl and sailed away, and when he got out into the open sea, to free himself from blame as regards the oath which Etearchos had made him swear, he tied her on each side with ropes and let her down into the sea, and then drew her up and came to Thera.
155. After that, Polymnestos, a man of repute among the Theraians, received Phronime from him and kept her as his concubine; and in course of time there was born to him from her a son with an impediment in his voice and lisping, to whom, as both Theraians and Kyrenians say, was given the name Battos, but I think that some other name was then given, 139 and he was named Battos instead of this after he came to Libya, taking for himself this surname from the oracle which was given to him at Delphi and from the rank which he had obtained; for the Libyans call a king battos: and for this reason, I think, the Pythian prophetess in her prophesying called him so, using the Libyan tongue, because she knew that he would be a king in Libya. For when he had grown to be a man, he came to Delphi to inquire about his voice; and when he asked, the prophetess thus answered him:
"For a voice thou camest, O Battos, but thee lord Phoebus Apollo Sendeth as settler forth to the Libyan land sheep-abounding,"
just as if she should say using the Hellenic tongue, "For a voice thou camest, O king." He thus made answer: "Lord, I came to thee to inquire concerning my voice, but thou answerest me other things which are not possible, bidding me go as a settler to Libya; but with what power, or with what force of men should I go?" Thus saying he did not at all persuade her to give him any other reply; and as she was prophesying to him again the same things as before, Battos departed while she was yet speaking, 140 and went away to Thera.
156. After this there came evil fortune both to himself and to the other men of Thera; 141 and the Theraians, not understanding that which befell them, sent to Delphi to inquire about the evils which they were suffering: and the Pythian prophetess gave them reply that if they joined with Battos in founding Kyrene in Libya, they would fare the better. After this the Theraians sent Battos with two fifty-oared galleys; and these sailed to Libya, and then came away back to Thera, for they did not know what else to do: and the Theraians pelted them with missiles when they endeavoured to land, and would not allow them to put to shore, but bade them sail back again. They accordingly being compelled sailed away back, and they made a settlement in an island lying near the coast of Libya, called, as was said before, Platea. This island is said to be of the same size as the now existing city of Kyrene.
157. In this they continued to dwell two years; but as they had no prosperity, they left one of their number behind and all the rest sailed away to Delphi, and having come to the Oracle they consulted it, saying that they were dwelling in Libya and that, though they were dwelling there, they fared none the better: and the Pythian prophetess made answer to them thus:
"Better than I if thou knowest the Libyan land sheep-abounding, Not having been there than I who have been, at thy wisdom I wonder.
Having heard this Battos and his companions sailed away back again; for in fact the god would not let them off from the task of settlement till they had come to Libya itself: and having arrived at the island and taken up him whom they had left, they made a settlement in Libya itself at a spot opposite the island, called Aziris, which is enclosed by most fair woods on both sides and a river flows by it on one side.
158. In this spot they dwelt for six years; and in the seventh year the Libyans persuaded them to leave it, making request and saying that they would conduct them to a better region. So the Libyans led them from that place making them start towards evening; and in order that the Hellenes might not see the fairest of all the regions as they passed through it, they led them past it by night, having calculated the time of daylight: and this region is called Irasa. Then having conducted them to the so-called spring of Apollo, they said, "Hellenes, here is a fit place for you to dwell, for here the heaven is pierced with holes."
159. Now during the lifetime of the first settler Battos, who reigned forty years, and of his son Arkesilaos, who reigned sixteen years, the Kyrenians continued to dwell there with the same number as 142 when they first set forth to the colony; but in the time of the third king, called Battos the Prosperous, the Pythian prophetess gave an oracle wherein she urged the Hellenes in general to sail and join with the Kyrenians in colonising Libya. For the Kyrenians invited them, giving promise of a division of land; and the oracle which she uttered was as follows:
"Who to the land much desirèd, to Libya, afterwards cometh, After the land be divided, 143 I say he shall some day repent it."
Then great numbers were gathered at Kyrene, and the Libyans who dwelt round had much land cut off from their possessions; therefore they with their king whose name was Adicran, as they were not only deprived of their country but also were dealt with very insolently by the Kyrenians, sent to Egypt and delivered themselves over to Apries king of Egypt. He then having gathered a great army of Egyptians, sent it against Kyrene; and the men of Kyrene marched out to the region of Irasa and to the spring Theste, 144 and there both joined battle with the Egyptians and defeated them in the battle: for since the Egyptians had not before made trial of the Hellenes in fight and therefore despised them, they were so slaughtered that but few of them returned back to Egypt. In consequence of this and because they laid the blame of it upon Apries, the Egyptians revolted from him.
160. This Battos had a son called Arkesilaos, who first when he became king made a quarrel with his own brothers, until they finally departed to another region of Libya, and making the venture for themselves founded that city which was then and is now called Barca; and at the same time as they founded this, they induced the Libyans to revolt from the Kyrenians. After this, Arkesilaos made an expedition against those Libyans who had received them and who had also revolted from Kyrene, and the Libyans fearing him departed and fled towards the Eastern tribes of Libyans: and Arkesilaos followed after them as they fled, until he arrived in his pursuit at Leucon in Libya, and there the Libyans resolved to attack him. Accordingly they engaged battle and defeated the Kyrenians so utterly that seven thousand hoplites of the Kyrenians fell there. After this disaster Arkesilaos, being sick and having swallowed a potion, was strangled by his brother Haliarchos, 145 and Haliarchos was killed treacherously by the wife of Arkesilaos, whose name was Eryxo.
161. Then Battos the son of Arkesilaos succeeded to the kingdom, who was lame and not sound in his feet: and the Kyrenians with a view to the misfortune which had befallen them sent men to Delphi to ask what form of rule they should adopt, in order to live in the best way possible; and the Pythian prophetess bade them take to themselves a reformer of their State from Mantineia of the Arcadians. The men of Kyrene accordingly made request, and those of Mantineia gave them the man of most repute among their citizens, whose name was Demonax. This man therefore having come to Kyrene and having ascertained all things exactly, 146 in the first place caused them to have three tribes, distributing them thus:—one division he made of the Theraians and their dependants, 147 another of the Peloponnesians and Cretans, and a third of all the islanders. 148 Then secondly for the king Battos he set apart domains of land and priesthoods, but all the other powers which the kings used to possess before, he assigned as of public right to the people.
162. During the reign of this Battos things continued to be thus, but in the reign of his son Arkesilaos there arose much disturbance about the offices of the State: for Arkesilaos son of Battos the Lame and of Pheretime said that he would not suffer it to be according as the Mantineian Demonax had arranged, but asked to have back the royal rights of his forefathers. After this, stirring up strife he was worsted and went as an exile to Samos, and his mother to Salamis in Cyprus. Now at that time the ruler of Salamis was Euelthon, the same who dedicated as an offering the censer at Delphi, a work well worth seeing, which is placed in the treasury of the Corinthians. To him having come, Pheretime asked him for an army to restore herself and her son to Kyrene. Euelthon however was ready to give her anything else rather than that; and she when she received that which he gave her said that this too was a fair gift, but fairer still would be that other gift of an army for which she was asking. As she kept saying this to every thing which was given, at last Euelthon sent out to her a present of a golden spindle and distaff, with wool also upon it: and when Pheretime uttered again the same saying about this present, Euelthon said that such things as this were given as gifts to women and not an army.
163. Arkesilaos meanwhile, being in Samos, was gathering every one together by a promise of dividing land; and while a great host was being collected, Arkesilaos set out to Delphi to inquire of the Oracle about returning from exile: and the Pythian prophetess gave him this answer: "For four named Battos and four named Arkesilaos, eight generations of men, Loxias grants to you to be kings of Kyrene, but beyond this he counsels you not even to attempt it. Thou however must keep quiet when thou hast come back to thy land; and if thou findest the furnace full of jars, heat not the jars fiercely, but let them go with a fair wind: if however thou heat the furnace fiercely, enter not thou into the place flowed round by water; for if thou dost thou shalt die, both thou and the bull which is fairer than all the rest."
164. Thus the Pythian prophetess gave answer to Arkesilaos; and he, having taken to him those in Samos, made his return to Kyrene; and when he had got possession of the power, he did not remember the saying of the Oracle but endeavoured to exact penalties from those of the opposite faction for having driven him out. Of these some escaped out of the country altogether, but some Arkesilaos got into his power and sent them away to Cyprus to be put to death. These were driven out of their course to Cnidos, and the men of Cnidos rescued them and sent them away to Thera. Some others however of the Kyrenians fled to a great tower belonging to Aglomachos a private citizen, and Arkesilaos burnt them by piling up brushwood round. Then after he had done the deed he perceived that the Oracle meant this, in that the Pythian prophetess forbade him, if he found the jars in the furnace, to heat them fiercely; and he voluntarily kept away from the city of the Kyrenians, fearing the death which had been prophesied by the Oracle and supposing that Kyrene was flowed round by water. 149 Now he had to wife a kinswoman of his own, the daughter of the king of Barca whose name was Alazeir: to him he came, and men of Barca together with certain of the exiles from Kyrene, perceiving him going about in the market-place, killed him, and also besides him his father-in-law Alazeir. Arkesilaos accordingly, having missed the meaning of the oracle, whether with his will or against his will, fulfilled his own destiny.
165. His mother Pheretime meanwhile, so long as Arkesilaos having worked evil for himself dwelt at Barca, herself held the royal power of her son at Kyrene, both exercising his other rights and also sitting in council: but when she heard that her son had been slain in Barca, she departed and fled to Egypt: for she had on her side services done for Cambyses the son of Cyrus by Arkesilaos, since this was the Arkesilaos who had given over Kyrene to Cambyses and had laid a tribute upon himself. Pheretime then having come to Egypt sat down as a suppliant of Aryandes, bidding him help her, and alleging as a reason that it was on account of his inclination to the side of the Medes that her son had been slain. 166. Now this Aryandes had been appointed ruler of the province of Egypt by Cambyses; and after the time of these events he lost his life because he would measure himself with Dareios. For having heard and seen that Dareios desired to leave behind him as a memorial of himself a thing which had not been made by any other king, he imitated him, until at last he received his reward: for whereas Dareios refined gold and made it as pure as possible, and of this caused coins to be struck, Aryandes, being ruler of Egypt, did the same thing with silver; and even now the purest silver is that which is called Aryandic. Dareios then having learnt that he was doing this put him to death, bringing against him another charge of attempting rebellion.
167. Now at the time of which I speak this Aryandes had compassion on Pheretime and gave her all the troops that were in Egypt, both the land and the sea forces, appointing Amasis a Maraphian to command the land-army and Badres, of the race of the Pasargadai, to command the fleet: but before he sent away the army, Aryandes despatched a herald to Barca and asked who it was who had killed Arkesilaos; and the men of Barca all took it upon themselves, for they said they suffered formerly many great evils at his hands. Having heard this, Aryandes at last sent away the army together with Pheretime. This charge then was the pretext alleged; but in fact the army was being sent out (as I believe) for the purpose of subduing Libya: for of the Libyans there are many nations of nations of various kinds, and but few of them are subject to the king, while the greater number paid no regard to Dareios.
168. Now the Libyans have their dwelling as follows:—Beginning from Egypt, first of the Libyans are settled the Adyrmachidai, who practise for the most part the same customs as the Egyptians, but wear clothing similar to that of the other Libyans. Their women wear a bronze ring 150 upon each leg, and they have long hair on their heads, and when they catch their lice, each one bites her own in retaliation and then throws them away. These are the only people of the Lybians who do this; and they alone display to the king their maidens when they are about to be married, and whosoever of them proves to be pleasing to the king is deflowered by him. These Adyrmachidai extend along the coast from Egypt as far as the port which is called Plynos.
169. Next after these come the Giligamai, 151 occupying the country towards the West as far as the island of Aphrodisias. In the space within this limit lies off the coast the island of Platea, where the Kyrenians made their settlement; and on the coast of the mainland there is Port Menelaos, and Aziris, where the Kyrenians used to dwell. From this point begins the silphion 152 and it extends along the coast from the island of Platea as far as the entrance of the Syrtis. This nation practises customs nearly resembling those of the rest.
170. Next to the Giligamai on the West are the Asbystai: 153 these dwell above 154 Kyrene, and the Asbystai do not reach down the sea, for the region along the sea is occupied by Kyrenians. These most of all the Libyans are drivers of four-horse chariots, and in the greater number of their customs they endeavour to imitate the Kyrenians.
171. Next after the Asbystai on the West come the Auchisai: these dwell above Barca and reach down to the sea by Euesperides: and in the middle of the country of the Auchisai dwell the Bacales, 155 a small tribe, who reach down to the sea by the city of Taucheira in the territory of Barca: these practise the same customs as those above Kyrene.
172. Next after these Auschisai towards the West come the Nasamonians, a numerous race, who in the summer leave their flocks behind by the sea and go up to the region of Augila to gather the fruit of the date-palms, which grow in great numbers and very large and are all fruit-bearing: these hunt the wingless locusts, and they dry them in the sun and then pound them up, and after that they sprinkle them upon milk and drink them. Their custom is for each man to have many wives, and they make their intercourse with them common in nearly the same manner as the Massagetai, 156 that is they set up a staff in front of the door and so have intercourse. When a Nasamonian man marries his first wife, the custom is for the bride on the first night to go through the whole number of the guests having intercourse with them, and each man when he has lain with her gives a gift, whatsoever he has brought with him from his house. The forms of oath and of divination which they use are as follows:—they swear by the men among themselves who are reported to have been the most righteous and brave, by these, I say, laying hands upon their tombs; and they divine by visiting the sepulchral mounds of their ancestors and lying down to sleep upon them after having prayed; and whatsoever thing the man sees in his dream, this he accepts. They practise also the exchange of pledges in the following manner, that is to say, one gives the other to drink from his hand, and drinks himself from the hand of the other; and if they have no liquid, they take of the dust from the ground and lick it.
173. Adjoining the Nasamonians is the country of the Psylloi. These have perished utterly in the following manner:—The South Wind blowing upon them dried up all their cisterns of water, and their land was waterless, lying all within the Syrtis. They then having taken a resolve by common consent, marched in arms against the South Wind (I report that which is reported by the Libyans), and when they had arrived at the sandy tract, the South Wind blew and buried them in the sand. These then having utterly perished, the Nasamonians from that time forward possess their land.
174. Above these towards the South Wind in the region of wild beasts dwell the Garamantians, 157 who fly from every man and avoid the company of all; and they neither possess any weapon of war, nor know how to defend themselves against enemies.
175. These dwell above the Nasamonians; and next to the Nasamonians along the sea coast towards the West come the Macai, who shave their hair so as to leave tufts, letting the middle of their hair grow long, but round this on all sides shaving it close to the skin; and for fighting they carry shields made of ostrich skins. Through their land the river Kinyps runs out into the sea, flowing from a hill called the "Hill of the Charites." This Hill of the Charites is overgrown thickly with wood, while the rest of Libya which has been spoken of before is bare of trees; and the distance from the sea to this hill is two hundred furlongs.
176. Next to these Macai are the Gindanes, whose women wear each of them a number of anklets made of the skins of animals, for the following reason, as it is said:—for every man who has commerce with her she binds on an anklet, and the woman who has most is esteemed the best, since she has been loved by the greatest number of men.
177. In a peninsula which stands out into the sea from the land of these Gindanes dwell the Lotophagoi, who live by eating the fruit of the lotos only. Now the fruit of the lotos is in size like that of the mastich-tree, and in flavour 158 it resembles that of the date-palm. Of this fruit the Lotophagoi even make for themselves wine.
178. Next after the Lotophagoi along the sea-coast are the Machlyans, who also make use of the lotos, but less than those above mentioned. These extend to a great river named the river Triton, and this runs out into a great lake called Tritonis, in which there is an island named Phla. About this island they say there was an oracle given to the Lacedemonians that they should make a settlement in it.
179. The following moreover is also told, namely that Jason, when the Argo had been completed by him under Mount Pelion, put into it a hecatomb and with it also 159 a tripod of bronze, and sailed round Pelopponese, desiring to come to Delphi; and when in sailing he got near Malea, a North Wind seized his ship and carried it off to Libya, and before he caught sight of land he had come to be in the shoals of the lake Tritonis. Then as he was at a loss how he should bring his ship forth, the story goes that Triton appeared to him and bade Jason give him the tripod, saying that he would show them the right course and let them go away without hurt: and when Jason consented to it, then Triton showed them the passage out between the shoals and set the tripod in his own temple, after having first uttered a prophecy over the tripod 160 and having declared to Jason and his company the whole matter, namely that whensoever one of the descendants of those who sailed with him in the Argo should carry away this tripod, then it was determined by fate that a hundred cities of Hellenes should be established about the lake Tritonis. Having heard this the native Libyans concealed the tripod.
180. Next to these Machlyans are the Auseans. These and the Machlyans dwell round the lake Tritonis, and the river Triton is the boundary between them: and while the Machlyans grow their hair long at the back of the head, the Auseans do so in front. At a yearly festival of Athene their maidens take their stand in two parties and fight against one another with stones and staves, and they say that in doing so they are fulfilling the rites handed down by their fathers for the divinity who was sprung from that land, whom we call Athene: and those of the maidens who die of the wounds received they call "false-maidens." But before they let them begin the fight they do this:—all join together and equip the maiden who is judged to be the fairest on each occasion, with a Corinthian helmet and with full Hellenic armour, and then causing her to go up into a chariot they conduct her round the lake. Now I cannot tell with what they equipped the maidens in old time, before the Hellenes were settled near them; but I suppose that they used to be equipped with Egyptian armour, for it is from Egypt that both the shield and the helmet have come to the Hellenes, as I affirm. They say moreover that Athene is the daughter of Poseidon and of the lake Tritonis, and that she had some cause of complaint against her father and therefore gave herself to Zeus, and Zeus made her his own daughter. Such is the story which these tell; and they have their intercourse with women in common, not marrying but having intercourse like cattle: and when the child of any woman has grown big, he is brought before a meeting of the men held within three months of that time, 161 and whomsoever of the men the child resembles, his son he is accounted to be.
181. Thus then have been mentioned those nomad Libyans who live along the sea-coast: and above these inland is the region of Libya which has wild beasts; and above the wild-beast region there stretches a raised belt of sand, extending from Thebes of the Egyptians to the Pillars of Heracles. In this belt at intervals of about ten days' journey there are fragments of salt in great lumps forming hills, and at the top of each hill there shoots up from the middle of the salt a spring of water cold and sweet; and about the spring dwell men, at the furthest limit towards the desert, and above the wild-beast region. First, at a distance of ten days' journey from Thebes, are the Ammonians, whose temple is derived from that of the Theban Zeus, for the image of Zeus in Thebes also, as I have said before, 162 has the head of a ram. These, as it chances, have also other water of a spring, which in the early morning is warm; at the time when the market fills, 163 cooler; when midday comes, it is quite cold, and then they water their gardens; but as the day declines, it abates from its coldness, until at last, when the sun sets, the water is warm; and it continues to increase in heat still more until it reaches midnight, when it boils and throws up bubbles; and when midnight passes, it becomes cooler gradually till dawn of day. This spring is called the fountain of the Sun.
182. After the Ammonians, as you go on along the belt of sand, at an interval again of ten days' journey there is a hill of salt like that of the Ammonians, and a spring of water, with men dwelling about it; and the name of this place is Augila. To this the Nasamonians come year by year to gather the fruit of the date-palms.
183. From Augila at a distance again of ten days' journey there is another hill of salt and spring of water and a great number of fruit-bearing date-palms, as there are also in the other places: and men dwell here who are called the Garmantians, a very great nation, who carry earth to lay over the salt and then sow crops. From this point is the shortest way to the Lotophagoi, for from these it is a journey of thirty days to the country of the Garmantians. Among them also are produced the cattle which feed backwards; and they feed backwards for this reason, because they have their horns bent down forwards, and therefore they walk backwards as they feed; for forwards they cannot go, because the horns run into the ground in front of them; but in nothing else do they differ from other cattle except in this and in the thickness and firmness to the touch 164 of their hide. These Garamantians of whom I speak hunt the "Cave-dwelling" 165 Ethiopians with their four-horse chariots, for the Cave-dwelling Ethiopians are the swiftest of foot of all men about whom we hear report made: and the Cave-dwellers feed upon serpents and lizards and such creeping things, and they use a language which resembles no other, for in it they squeak just like bats.
184. From the Garmantians at a distance again of ten days' journey there is another hill of salt and spring of water, and men dwell round it called Atarantians, who alone of all men about whom we know are nameless; for while all taken together have the name Atarantians, each separate man of them has no name given to him. These utter curses against the Sun when he is at his height, 166 and moreover revile him with all manner of foul terms, because he oppresses them by his burning heat, both themselves and their land. After this at a distance of ten days' journey there is another hill of salt and spring of water, and men dwell round it. Near this salt hill is a mountain named Atlas, which is small in circuit and rounded on every side; and so exceedingly lofty is it said to be, that it is not possible to see its summits, for clouds never leave them either in the summer or in the winter. This the natives say is the pillar of the heaven. After this mountain these men got their name, for they are called Atlantians; and it is said that they neither eat anything that has life nor have any dreams.
185. As far as these Atlantians I am able to mention in order the names of those who are settled in the belt of sand; but for the parts beyond these I can do so no more. However, the belt extends as far as the Pillars of Heracles and also in the parts outside them: and there is a mine of salt in it at a distance of ten days' journey from the Atlantians, and men dwelling there; and these all have their houses built of the lumps of salt, since these parts of Libya which we have now reached 167 are without rain; for if it rained, the walls being made of salt would not be able to last: and the salt is dug up there both white and purple in colour. 168 Above the sand-belt, in the parts which are in the direction of the South Wind and towards the interior of Libya, the country is uninhabited, without water and without wild beasts, rainless and treeless, and there is no trace of moisture in it.
186. I have said that from Egypt as far as the lake Tritonis Libyans dwell who are nomads, eating flesh and drinking milk; and these do not taste at all of the flesh of cows, for the same reason as the Egyptians also abstain from it, nor do they keep swine. Moreover the women of the Kyrenians too think it not right to eat cows' flesh, because of the Egyptian Isis, and they even keep fasts and celebrate festivals for her; and the women of Barca, in addition from cows' flesh, do not taste of swine either.
187. Thus it is with these matters: but in the region to the West of lake Tritonis the Libyans cease to be nomads, and they do not practise the same customs, nor do to their children anything like that which the nomads are wont to do; for the nomad Libyans, whether all of them I cannot say for certain, but many of them, do as follows:—when their children are four years old, they burn with a greasy piece of sheep's wool the veins in the crowns of their heads, and some of them burn the veins of the temples, so that for all their lives to come the cold humour may not run down from their heads and do them hurt: and for this reason it is (they say) that they are so healthy; for the Libyans are in truth the most healthy of all races concerning which we have knowledge, whether for this reason or not I cannot say for certain, but the most healthy they certainly are: and if, when they burn the children, a convulsion comes on, they have found out a remedy for this; for they pour upon them the water of a he-goat and so save them. I report that which is reported by the Libyans themselves.
188. The following is the manner of sacrifice which the nomads have:—they cut off a part of the animal's ear as a first offering and throw it over the house, 169 and having done this they twist its neck. They sacrifice only to the Sun and the Moon; that is to say, to these all the Libyans sacrifice, but those who dwell round the lake Tritonis sacrifice most of all to Athene, and next to Triton and Poseidon.
189. It would appear also that the Hellenes made the dress and the aigis of the images of Athene after the model of the Libyan women; for except that the dress of the Libyan women is of leather, and the tassels which hang from their aigis are not formed of serpents but of leather thongs, in all other respects Athene is dressed like them. Moreover the name too declares that the dress of the figures of Pallas has come from Libya, for the Libyan women wear over their other garments bare goat-skins (aigeas) with tasselled fringes and coloured over with red madder, and from the name of these goat-skins the Hellenes formed the name aigis. I think also that in these regions first arose the practice of crying aloud during the performance of sacred rites, for the Libyan women do this very well. 170 The Hellenes learnt from the Libyans also the yoking together of four horses.
190. The nomads bury those who die just in the same manner as the Hellenes, except only the Nasamonians: these bury bodies in a sitting posture, taking care at the moment when the man expires to place him sitting and not to let him die lying down on his back. They have dwellings composed of the stems of asphodel entwined with rushes, and so made that they can be carried about. Such are the customs followed by these tribes.
191. On the West of the river Triton next after the Auseans come Libyans who are tillers of the soil, and whose custom it is to possess fixed habitations; and they are called Maxyans. They grow their hair long on the right side of their heads and cut it short upon the left, and smear their bodies over with red ochre. These say that they are of the men who came from Troy.
This country and the rest of Libya which is towards the West is both much more frequented by wild beasts and much more thickly wooded than the country of the nomads: for whereas the part of Libya which is situated towards the East, where the nomads dwell, is low-lying and sandy up to the river Triton, that which succeeds it towards the West, the country of those who till the soil, is exceedingly mountainous and thickly-wooded and full of wild beasts: for in the land of these are found both the monstrous serpent and the lion and the elephant, and bears and venomous snakes and horned asses, besides the dog-headed men, and the headless men with their eyes set in their breasts (at least so say the Libyans about them), and the wild men and wild women, and a great multitude of other beasts which are not fabulous like these. 171
192. In the land of the nomads however there exist none of these, but other animals as follows:—white-rump antelopes, gazelles, buffaloes, asses, not the horned kind but others which go without water (for in fact these never drink), oryes, 172 whose horns are made into the sides of the Phenician lyre (this animal is in size about equal to an ox), small foxes, hyenas, porcupines, wild rams, wolves, 173 jackals, panthers, boryes, land-crocodiles about three cubits in length and very much resembling lizards, ostriches, and small snakes, each with one horn: these wild animals there are in this country, as well as those which exist elsewhere, except the stag and the wild-boar; but Libya has no stags nor wild boars at all. Also there are in this country three kinds of mice, one is called the "two-legged" mouse, another the zegeris (a name which is Libyan and signifies in the Hellenic tongue a "hill"), and a third the "prickly" mouse. 174 There are also weasels produced in the silphion, which are very like those of Tartessos. Such are the wild animals which the land of the Libyans possesses, so far as we were able to discover by inquiries extended as much as possible.
193. Next to the Maxyan Libyans are the Zauekes, 175 whose women drive their chariots for them to war.
194. Next to these are the Gyzantes, 176 among whom honey is made in great quantity by bees, but in much greater quantity still it is said to be made by men, who work at it as a trade. However that may be, these all smear themselves over with red ochre and eat monkeys, which are produced in very great numbers upon their mountains.
195. Opposite these, as the Carthaginians say, there lies an island called Kyrauis, two hundred furlongs in length but narrow, to which one may walk over from the mainland; and it is full of olives and vines. In it they say there is a pool, from which the native girls with birds' feathers smeared over with pitch bring up gold-dust out of the mud. Whether this is really so I do not know, but I write that which is reported; and nothing is impossible, 177 for even in Zakynthos I saw myself pitch brought up out of a pool of water. There are there several pools, and the largest of them measures seventy feet each way and is two fathoms in depth. Into this they plunge a pole with a myrtle-branch bound to it, and then with the branch of the myrtle they bring up pitch, which has the smell of asphalt, but in other respects it is superior to the pitch of Pieria. This they pour into a pit dug near the pool; and when they have collected a large quantity, then they pour it into the jars from the pit: and whatever thing falls into the pool goes under ground and reappears in the sea, which is distant about four furlongs from the pool. Thus then the report about the island lying near the coast of Libya is also probably enough true.
196. The Carthaginians say also this, namely that there is a place in Libya and men dwelling there, outside the Pillars of Heracles, to whom when they have come and have taken the merchandise forth from their ships, they set it in order along the beach and embark again in their ships, and after that they raise a smoke; and the natives of the country seeing the smoke come to the sea, and then they lay down gold as an equivalent for the merchandise and retire to a distance away from the merchandise. The Carthaginians upon that disembark and examine it, and if the gold is in their opinion sufficient for the value of the merchandise, they take it up and go their way; but if not, they embark again in their ships and sit there; and the others approach and straightway add more gold to the former, until they satisfy them: and they say that neither party wrongs the other; for neither do the Carthaginians lay hands on the gold until it is made equal to the value of their merchandise, nor do the others lay hands on the merchandise until the Carthaginians have taken the gold.
197. These are the Libyan tribes whom we are able to name; and of these the greater number neither now pay any regard to the king of the Medes nor did they then. Thus much also I have to say about this land, namely that it is occupied by four races and no more, so far as we know; and of these races two are natives of the soil and the other two not so; for the Libyans and the Ethiopians are natives, the one race dwelling in the Northern parts of Libya and the other in the Southern, while the Phenicians and the Hellenes are strangers.
198. I think moreover that (besides other things) in goodness of soil Libya does not very greatly excel 178 as compared with Asia or Europe, except only the region of Kinyps, for the same name is given to the land as to the river. This region is equal to the best of lands in bringing forth the fruit of Demeter, 179 nor does it at all resemble the rest of Libya; for it has black soil and is watered by springs, and neither has it fear of drought nor is it hurt by drinking too abundantly of rain; for rain there is in this part of Libya. Of the produce of the crops the same measures hold good here as for the Babylonian land. And that is good land also which the Euesperites occupy, for when it bears best it produces a hundred-fold, but the land in the region of Kinyps produces sometimes as much as three-hundred-fold.
199. Moreover the land of Kyrene, which is the highest land of the part of Libya which is occupied by nomads, has within its confines three seasons of harvest, at which we may marvel: for the parts by the sea-coasts first have their fruits ripe for reaping and for gathering the vintage; and when these have been gathered in, the parts which lie above the sea-side places, those situated in the middle, which they call the hills, 180 are ripe for the gathering in; and as soon as this middle crop has been gathered in, that in the highest part of the land comes to perfection and is ripe; so that by the time the first crop has been eaten and drunk up, the last is just coming in. Thus the harvest for the Kyrenians lasts eight months. Let so much as has been said suffice for these things.
200. Now when the Persian helpers of Pheretime, 181 having been sent from Egypt by Aryandes, had arrived at Barca, they laid siege to the city, proposing to the inhabitants that they should give up those who were guilty of the murder of Arkesilaos: but as all their people had taken a share in the guilt, they did not accept the proposals. Then they besieged Barca for nine months, both digging underground passages which led to the wall and making vigorous attacks upon it. Now the passages dug were discovered by a worker of bronze with a shield covered over with bronze, who had thought of a plan as follows:—carrying it round within the wall he applied it to the ground in the city, and whereas the other places to which he applied it were noiseless, at those places where digging was going on the bronze of the shield gave a sound; and the men of Barca would make a countermine there and slay the Persians who were digging mines. This then was discovered as I have said, and the attacks were repulsed by the men of Barca.
201. Then as they were suffering hardship for a long time and many were falling on both sides, and especially on that of the Persians, Amasis the commander of the land-army contrived as follows:—perceiving that the Barcaians were not to be conquered by force but might be conquered by guile, he dug by night a broad trench and over it he laid timber of no great strength, and brought earth and laid it above on the top of the timber, making it level with the rest of the ground: then at daybreak he invited the men of Barca to a parley; and they gladly consented, and at last they agreed to make a treaty: and the treaty they made with one another was taken over the hidden trench, namely that so long as this earth should continue to be as it was, so long the oath should remain firm, and that the men of Barca should promise to pay tribute of due amount to the king, and the Persians should do no further violence to the men of Barca. 182 After the oath the men of Barca trusting to these engagements both went forth themselves from their city and let any who desired it of the enemy pass within their walls, having opened all the gates; but the Persians first broke down the concealed bridge and then began to run inside the city wall. And the reason why they broke down the bridge which they had made was that they might keep their goats, since they had sworn to the men of Barca that the oath should remain firm continually for so long time as the earth should remain as it then was, but after that they had broken it down, the oath no longer remained firm.
202. Now the most guilty of the Barcaians, when they were delivered to her by the Persians, Pheretime impaled in a ring round about the wall; and she cut off the breasts of their wives and set the wall round with these also in order: but the rest of the men of Barca she bade the Persians carry off as spoil, except so many of them as were of the house of Battos and not sharers in the guilt of the murder; and to these Pheretime gave the city in charge.
203. So the Persians having made slaves of the rest of the Barcaians departed to go back: and when they appeared at the gates of the city of Kyrene, the Kyrenians let them go through their town in order to avoid neglect of some oracle. Then as the army was going through, Badres the commander of the fleet urged that they should capture the city, but Amasis the commander of the land-army would not consent to it; for he said that they had been sent against no other city of the Hellenes except Barca. When however they had passed through and were encamping on the hill of Zeus Lycaios, they repented of not having taken possession of Kyrene; and they endeavoured again to pass into it, but the men of Kyrene would not allow them. Then upon the Persians, although no one fought against them, there fell a sudden panic, and they ran away for about sixty furlongs and then encamped. And when the camp had been placed here, there came to it a messenger from Aryandes summoning them back; so the Persians asked the Kyrenians to give them provisions for their march and obtained their request; and having received these, they departed to go to Egypt. After this the Libyans took them up, 183 and killed for the sake of their clothes and equipment those of them who at any time were left or straggled behind, until at last they came to Egypt.
204. This army of the Persians reached Euesperides, and this was their furthest point in Libya: and those of the Barcaians whom they had reduced to slavery they removed again from Egypt and brought them to the king, and king Dareios gave them a village in the land of Bactria in which to make a settlement. To this village they gave the name of Barca, and it still continued to be inhabited by them even down to my own time, in the land of Bactria.
205. Pheretime however did not bring her life happily to an end any more than they: for as soon as she had returned from Libya to Egypt after having avenged herself on the Barcaians, she died an evil death, having become suddenly full of worms while yet alive: for, as it seems, too severe punishments inflicted by men prove displeasing 184 to the gods. Such and so great was the punishment inflicted by Pheretime the wife of Battos on the men of Barca.