Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Free Classic E-books

THE HISTORY OF HERODOTUS, Volume 1 by Herodotus

Part 5 out of 8

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 0.9 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

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

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

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

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

[131] {stadioi}.

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

[133] Cp. ch. 112.

[134] {neos}.

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

[136] {erpase}, "took as plunder."

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

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

[138] Cp. iv. 159.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[144a] {pente mneai}.

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

[146] {tou neou}.

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

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

[149] {pugonos}.

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

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

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

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

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

[155] "thou hast surely perished."



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

106. It seems indeed that the extremities of the inhabited world had
allotted to them by nature the fairest things, just as it was the lot
of Hellas to have its seasons far more fairly tempered than other
lands: for first, India is the most distant of inhabited lands towards
the East, as I have said a little above, and in this land not only the
animals, birds as well as four-footed beasts, are much larger than in
other places (except the horses, which are surpassed by those of Media
called Nessaian), but also there is gold in abundance there, some got
by digging, some brought down by rivers, and some carried off as I
explained just now: and there also the trees which grow wild produce
wool which surpasses in beauty and excellence that from sheep, and the
Indians wear clothing obtained from these trees. 107. Then again
Arabia is the furthest of inhabited lands in the direction of the
midday, and in it alone of all lands grow frankincense and myrrh and
cassia and cinnamon and gum-mastich. All these except myrrh are got
with difficulty by the Arabians. Frankincense they collect by burning
the storax, which is brought thence to the Hellenes by the Phenicians,
by burning this, I say, so as to produce smoke they take it; for these
trees which produce frankincense are guarded by winged serpents, small
in size and of various colours, which watch in great numbers about
each tree, of the same kind as those which attempt to invade
Egypt:[97a] and they cannot be driven away from the trees by any other
thing but only the smoke of storax. 108. The Arabians say also that
all the world would have been by this time filled with these serpents,
if that did not happen with regard to them which I knew happened with
regard to vipers: and it seems that the Divine Providence, as indeed
was to be expected, seeing that it is wise, has made all those animals
prolific which are of cowardly spirit and good for food, in order that
they may not be all eaten up and their race fail, whereas it has made
those which are bold and noxious to have small progeny. For example,

Book of the day:
Facebook Google Reddit StumbleUpon Twitter Pinterest