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that they have discovered other trees that produce fruit of a peculiar kind, which the inhabitants, when they meet together in companies, and have lit a fire, throw on a fire, as they sit round in a circle; and that by inhaling the fumees of the burning fruit that has been thrown on, they become intoxicated by the odor, just as the Greeks do by wine; and that the more fruit is thrown on, the more intoxicated they become, until they rise up to dance and betake themselves to singing. In this manner these islanders are reported to live. The river Araxes flows from the Matienian mountains, whence also springs the river Gyndes, which Cyrus distributed into the three hundred and sixty trenches; and it gushes out from forty springs, all of which, except one, discharge themselves into fens and swamps, in which it is said men live who feed on raw fish, and clothe themselves in the skins of sea-calves; but the one stream of the Araxes flows through an unobstructed channel into the Caspian Sea. The Caspian is a sea by itself, having no communication with any other sea; for the whole of that which the Grecians navigate, and that beyond the Pillars, called the Atlantic, and the Red Sea, are all one. 203. But the Caspian is a separate sea of itself; being in length a fifteen days' voyage for a rowing boat, and in breadth, where it is widest, an eight days' voyage. On the western shore of this sea stretches the Caucasus, which is in extent the largest, and in height the loftiest of all mountains: it contains within itself many and various nations of men, who for the most part live upon the produce of wild fruit-trees. In this country, it is said, there are trees which produce leaves of such a nature, that by rubbing them and mixing them with water the people paint figures on their garments; these figures, they say, do not wash out, but grow old with the wool, as if they had been woven in from the first. It is said that sexual intercourse among these people takes place openly, as with cattle. 204. The Caucasus, then, bounds the western side of this sea, which is called the Caspian; and on the east, toward the rising sun, succeeds a plain in extent unbounded in the prospect. A great portion of this extensive plain is inhabited by the Massagetæ, against whom Cyrus resolved to make war; for the motives that urged and incited him to this enterprise were many and powerful; first of all his birth, which he thought was something more than
human; and, secondly, the good fortune which had attended him in his wars; for wherever Cyrus directed his arms, it was impossible for that nation to escape.
205. A woman whose husband was dead was queen of the Massagetæ ; her name was Tomyris; and Cyrus sent embassadors under pretense of wooing her, and made her an offer of marriage. But Tomyris, being aware that he was not wooing her, but the kingdom of the Massagetæ, forbade their approach. Upon this Cyrus, perceiving his artifice ineffectual, marched to the Araxes, and openly prepared to make war on the Massagetæ, by throwing bridges over the river, and building turrets on the boats which carried over his army. 206. While he was employed in this work, Tomyris sent a herald to him with this message ; “King of the Medes, desist from your great exertions; for you can not know if they will terminate to your advantage; and having desisted, reign over your own dominions, and bear to see me governing what is mine. But if you will not attend to my advice, and prefer every thing before peace in a word, if you are very anxious to make trial of the Massagetæ, toil no longer in throwing a bridge over the river, but do you cross over to our side, while we retire three days' march from the river; or if you had rather receive us on your side, do you the like.” When Cyrus heard this proposal, he called a council of the principal Persians; and having assembled them, he laid the matter before them, and demanded their opinion as to what he should do; they unanimously advised him to let Tomyris pass with her army into his territory. 207. But Creesus the Lydian, who was present and disapproved this advice, delivered a contrary opinion to that which was put forward, and said: “O king, I assured you long ago that, since Jupiter delivered me into your hands, I would to the utmost of my power avert whatever misfortune I should see impending over your house ; and my own calamities,' sad as they are, have been lessons to me. If you think yourself immortal, and that
command an army that is so too, it were needless for me to make known to you my opinion ; but if
know that you too are a man, and that
you command such as are men, learn this first of all, that there is a wheel in human affairs, which, continually revolv
9 This appears to have been a proverb mahnuara patñuara.
ing, does not suffer the same persons to be always successful. Now, therefore, I hold an opinion touching the matter before us wholly at variance with that already given; for if we shall receive the enemy into this country, there is this danger in so doing, if you are defeated, you will lose, besides, your whole empire; for it is plain that if the Massagetæ are victorious, they will not flee home again, but will march upon your territories; and if you are victorious, your victory is not so complete as if, having crossed over into their territory, you should conquer the Massagetæ, and pursue them in their flight; for I will carry the comparison throughout, it is plain that if you are victorious over your adversaries you will march directly into the dominions of Tomyris. In addition to what has been now stated, it were a disgrace and intolerable that Cyrus, the son of Cambyses, should give way and retreat before a woman. My opinion therefore is, that
pass over and advance as far as they retire; and then, by the following stratagem, endeavor to get the better of them. As I hear, the Massageta are unacquainted with the Persian luxuries, and are unused to the comforts of life. My opinion then is, that, having cut up and dressed abundance of cattle, you should lay out a feast in our camp for these men; and besides, bowls of unmixed wine without stint, and all other provisions; and that, having done this, and having left the weakest part of your army behind, the rest should return again toward the river; for the Massagetæ, if I mistake not, when they see so much excellent fare, will turn to immediately, and after that there remains for us the display of mighty achievements.”
208. Now these two contrary opinions were given. Cyrus, rejecting the former, and approving that of Cræsus, bade Tomyris retire, for that he would cross over to her. She accordingly retired, as she had promised at first. But Cyrus, having placed Crosus in the hands of his son Cambyses, to whom he also intrusted the kingdom, and having strictly charged him to honor Crosus, and treat him well, in case his inroad on the Massagetæ should fail-having given these injunctions, and sent them back to Persia, he himself crossed the river with his army.
209. When he had passed the Araxes, and night came on, he saw the following vision, as he was sleeping in the country of the Massagetæ. Cyrus fancied in his sleep that he saw the eldest son of Hystaspes
with wings on his shoulders; and that with one of these he overshadowed Asia, and with the other Europe. Now Darius, who was then about twenty years of age, was the eldest son of Hystaspes, son of Arsames, one of the Achæmenides; and he had been left in Persia, for he had not yet attained the age of military service. When, therefore, Cyrus awoke, he considered his dream with attention; and as it seemed to him of great moment, he summoned Hystaspes, and taking him aside, said, “ Hystaspes, your son has been detected plotting against me and my empire; and I will show you how I know it for a certainty. The gods watch over me, and forewarn me of every thing that is about to befall me. Now, in the past night, as I was sleeping, I saw the eldest of your sons with wings on his shoulders, and with one of these he overshadowed Asia, and Europe with the other; from this vision, it can not be otherwise than that your son is forming designs against me; do you, therefore, go back to Persia with all speed, and take care that, when I have conquered these people and return home, you bring your son before me to be examined.” 210. Cyrus spoke thus under a persuasion that Darius was plotting against him; but the deity forewarned him that he himself would die in that very expedition, and that his kingdom would devolve on Darius. Hystaspes, however, answered in these words: “God forbid, O king, that a Persian should be born who would plot against you! But if any such there be, may sudden destruction overtake him; for you have made the Persians free instead of being slaves, and instead of being ruled over by others, to rule over all; but if any vision informs you that my son is forming any plot against you, I freely surrender him to you to deal with as you please.” Hystaspes, having given this answer, repassed the Araxes and went to Persia, for the purpose of keeping his son Darius in custody
211. Cyrus, having advanced one day's march from the Araxes, proceeded to act according to the suggestion of Croe
After this, when Cyrus and the effective part of the Persian
army had marched back to the Araxes, leaving the ineffective part behind, a third division of the army of the Massagetæ attacked those of Cyrus's forces that had been left behind, and, after some resistance, put them to death. Then, seeing the feast laid out, as soon as they had overcome their enemies
they lay down and feasted, and being filled with food and wine, fell asleep. But the Persians having attacked them, put many of them to death, and took a still greater number prisoners, and among them the son of Queen Tomyris, who commanded the Massagetæ, and whose name was Spargapises. 212. She, when she heard what had befallen her army and her son, sent a herald to Cyrus with the following message: “Cyrus, insatiate with blood, be not elated with what has now happened, that by the fruit of the vine, with which ye yourselves, when filled with it, so rave, that when it descends into your bodies evil words float on your lipsbe not elated that by such a poison you have deceived and conquered my son, instead of by prowess in battle. Now, however, take the good advice that I offer you. Restore my son; depart out of this country unpunished for having insolently disgraced a third division of the army of the Massagetæ. But if you will not do this, I swear by the sun, the Lord of the Massagetæ, that, insatiable as you are, I will glut you with blood.” 213. Cyrus, however, paid no attention to this message; but Spargapises, the son of Queen Tomyris, as soon as he recovered from the effects of the wine, and perceived in what a plight he was, begged of Cyrus that he might be freed from his fetters; but as soon as he was set free, and found his hands at liberty, he put himself to death. Such was the end he met with. 214. But Tomyris, finding Cyrus did not listen to her, assembled all her forces, and engaged with him. I think that this battle was the most obstinate that was ever fought between barbarians; and I am informed that it took place in the following manner: it is related that, first of all, they stood at a distance and used their bows, and that afterward, when they had emptied their quivers, they engaged in close fight with their swords and spears, and that thus they continued fighting for a long time, and neither were willing to give way; but at length the Massagetæ got the better, and the greater part of the Persian army was cut in pieces on the spot, and Cyrus himself killed, after he had reigned twenty-nine years. But Tomyris, having filled a skin with human blood, sought for the body of Cyrus among the slain of the Persians, and having found it, thrust the head into the skin, and insulting the dead body, said: “Thou hast indeed ruined me, though alive and victorious in