« PreviousContinue »
finding that Amasis was not at all appeased by her denial of the fact, made a mental vow to Venus that if Amasis should have intercourse with her that night (for this was the only remedy left) she would send a statue of the goddess to Cyrene. Immediately after the yow Amasis had intercourse with her; and from that time forward, whenever he came to her, he was able to have connection; and after this he was exceedingly fond of her. But Ladice performed her vow to the goddess, for, having caused a statue to be made, she sent it to Cyrene, and it was still safe in my time, facing out of the city of Cyrene. When Cambyses had conquered Egypt, and learned who this Ladice was, he sent her back unharmed to Cyrene. Amasis also dedicated offerings in Greece. In the first place, a gilded statue of Minerva at Cyrene, and his own portrait painted; secondly, to Minerva in Lindus two stone statues and a linen corselet well worthy of notice; thirdly, to Juno at Samos two images of himself carved in wood, which stood in the large temple even in my time, behind the doors. Now he made this offering at Samos, on account of the friendship that subsisted between himself and Polycrates, the son of Æaces; but those at Lindus, not on account of any friendship, but because it is reported that the daughters of Danaus founded the Temple of Minerva at Lindus, when they touched there in their flight from the sons of Egyptus: and these were the offerings that Amasis made. He was the first who conquered Cyprus, and subjected it to the payment of tribute.
AGAINST this Amasis, Cambyses, son of Cyrus, made
war, leading with him both others, his own subjects, and of the Grecians, Ionians, and Æolians. The cause
of the warwas this : Cambyses, having sent a herald into Egypt, demanded the daughter of Amasis; and he made this demand at the suggestion of an Egyptian physician, who out of spite served Amasis in this manner, because, having selected him out of all the physicians in Egypt, and torn him from his wife and children, he had sent him as a present to the Persians, when Cyrus, having sent to Amasis, required of him the best oculist in Egypt. The Egyptian therefore, having this spite against him, urged on Cambyses by his suggestions, bidding him demand the daughter of Amasis, in order that if he should comply he might be grieved, or if he refused he might incur the hatred of Cambyses. But Amasis, dreading the power of the Persians, and being alarmed, knew not whether to give or to deny; for he was well aware that Cambyses purposed to take her, not as his wife, but his mistress. Having considered these things, he did as follows: There was a daughter of Apries, the former king, very tall and beautiful, the only survivor of the family; her name was Nitetis. This damsel, Amasis, having adorned with cloth of gold, sent to Persia as his own daughter. After a time, when Cambyses saluted her, addressing her by her father's name, the damsel said to him: “O king, you do not perceive that you have been imposed upon by Amasis, who, having dressed me in rich attire, sent me to you, presenting me as his own daughter; whereas, in truth, I am the daughter of Apries, whom he, though he was his own master, put to death, after he had incited the Egyptians to revolt." These words, and this accusation, induced Cambyses, the son of Cyrus, being greatly enraged, to invade Egypt. Such is the account the Persians give. But the Egyptians claim Cambyses as their own, saying that he was born from this daughter of Apries; for that it was Cyrus, and not Cambyses, who sent to Amasis for his daughter; but in saying this they err. Nor indeed could it escape their notice (for if any people are well acquainted with the Persian customs, the Egyptians are so) that, first of all, it is not customary with them for a natural son to reign when there is a legitimate son living; and secondly, that Cambyses was the son of Cassandane, daughter of Pharnaspes, one of the Achæmenidæ, and not of the Egyptian woman. But they pervert the truth, claiming to be related to the family of Cyrus. And this is the real state of the case. This other story is also told, which to me seems incredible. A certain Persian lady visited Cyrus's women, and when she saw the children of Cassandane, beautiful and tall, standing by her, praised them highly, being exceedingly struck with them; but Cassandane, wife of Cyrus, said, “Though I am the mother of such children, Cyrus holds me in disdain, and honours her whom he has obtained from Egypt.” This she said through envy of Nitetis; but the eldest of her sons, Cambyses, said, “ Therefore, mother, when I am a man, I will turn all Egypt upside down.” He said this when he was about ten years of age, and the women were much astonished; but he, bearing it in mind when he grew up and was possessed of the kingdom, accordingly invaded Egypt.
The following other incident also occurred to promote this invasion : There was among the auxiliaries of Amasis a man by birth an Halicarnassian, whose name was Phanes, one able in counsel and valiant in war. This Phanes, owing some spite to Amasis, escaped in a ship from Egypt, with a design to confer with Cambyses. But as he was a man of no small consequence among the auxiliaries, and was very accurately acquainted with the affairs of Egypt, Amasis sent in pursuit of him, making every effort to take him; and he sent the most trusty of his eunuchs in pursuit of him, with a trireme, who caught him in Lycia, but having taken him, did not bring him back to Egypt, for Phanes overreached him by artifice; for having intoxicated his guards, he got away to the Persians; and coming over to Cambyses as he was preparing to march against Egypt, and was in doubt about his route, how he should pass the arid desert, he informed him both of other affairs of Amasis, and explained to him the route, advising him to send to the King of the Arabians, and ask him to grant him a safe passage through his territories. By this way only is there an open passage into Egypt. For from Phænicia to the confines of the city of Cadytis, which belongs
to those who are called the Syrians of Palestine, and from Cadytis, which is a city in my opinion not much less than Sardis, the seaports as far as the city of Jenysus belong to the Arabian king; and again, from Jenysus, as far as the Lake Serbonis, near which Mount Casius stretches to the sea, belongs to the Syrians: and from the Lake Serbonis, in which Typhon is reported to have been concealed, Egypt begins. Now, the country between the city of Jenysus, Mount Casius, and the Lake Serbonis, which is no small tract, but about a three days' journey, is utterly destitute of water. A circumstance that few of those who have made voyages to Egypt have noticed, I shall now proceed to mention. From every part of Greece, and also from Phænicia, earthen vessels filled with wine are imported into Egypt twice every year, and yet, so to speak, not a single one of these wine jars is afterward to be seen. In what way, then, some one may ask, are they disposed of? This I will also relate. Every magistrate is obliged to collect all the vessels from his own city, and send them to Memphis; but the people of that city, having filled them with water, convey them to those arid parts of Syria; so the earthen vessels continually imported and landed in Egypt are added to those already in Syria. Thus the Persians, as soon as they became masters of Egypt, facilitated the passage into that country by supplying it with water in the manner above mentioned. But as, at that time, water was not provided, Cambyses, by the advice of the Halicarnassian stranger, sent ambassadors to the Arabian, and requested a safe passage, which he obtained, giving to and receiving from him pledges of faith.
The Arabians observe pledges as religiously as any people; and they make them in the following manner: When any wish to pledge their faith, a third person, standing between the two parties, makes an incision with a sharp stone in the palm of the hand, near the longest fingers, of both the contractors; then taking some of the nap from the garment of each, he smears seven stones, placed between them, with the blood; and as he does this he invokes Bacchus and Urania. When this ceremony is completed, the person who pledges his faith binds his friends as sureties to the stranger, or the citizen if the contract be made with a citizen, and the friends also hold themselves obliged to observe the engagement. They acknowledge no other gods than Bacchus and Urania, and they say that their hair is cut in the same way as Bacchus's is cut; but they cut it in a circular form, shearing it round the temples. They call Bacchus, Orotal; and Urania, Alilat. When, therefore, the Arabian had exchanged pledges with the ambassadors who came from Cambyses, he adopted the following contrivance: Having filled camels' skins with water, he loaded them on all his living camels, and having done this he drove them to the arid region, and there awaited the army of Cambyses. This is the most credible of the accounts that are given; yet it is right that one less credible should be mentioned, since it is likewise affirmed. There is a large river in Arabia called Corys, which discharges itself into that called the Red Sea. From this river, then, it is said that the King of the Arabians having sewn together a pipe of ox-hides and other skins, reaching in length to the arid region, conveyed the water through it; and that in the arid region he dug large reservoirs to receive and preserve the water. It is a twelve days' journey from the river to the arid region; he therefore conveyed water through three several pipes into three different places.
Psammenitus, the son of Amasis, lay encamped at that called the Pelusiac mouth of the Nile awaiting Cambyses; for Cambyses did not find Amasis alive when he marched against Egypt; but Amasis died after a reign of forty-four years, during which no great calamity had befallen him. But having died, and being embalmed, he was buried in the sepulchre that is in the sacred precinct, which he himself had built. During the reign of Psammenitus, son of Amasis, a most remarkable prodigy befell the Egyptians; for rain fell at Egyptian Thebes, which had never happened before, nor since, to my time, as the Thebans themselves affirm. For no rain ever falls in the upper regions of Egypt; but at that time rain fell in drops at Thebes. The Persians having marched through the arid region, halted near the Egyptians, as if with a design of engaging; there the auxiliaries of the Egyptians, consisting of Greeks and Carians, condemning Phanes because he had led a foreign army against Egypt, adopted the following expedient against him: Phanes had left his sons in Egypt; these they brought to the camp, within sight of their father, and placed a bowl midway between the two armies, then dragging the children one by one, they slew them over the bowl. When they slaughtered all the children, they poured wine and water into the bowl; and after all the auxiliaries had drunk of the blood, they immediately joined battle. A hard battle having been fought, and when great numbers had fallen on both sides, the Egyptians were put to fight. Here I saw a very surprising fact, which the people of the country informed me of. For as the bones of those who were killed