Page images

months. This may be sufficient to say concerning these things.

The Persians sent to avenge Pheretime, when, having been despatched from Egypt by Aryandes, they arrived at Barce, laid siege to the city, demanding the surrender of the persons concerned in the death of Arcesilaus; but as the whole people were implicated, they did not listen to the proposal. Thereupon they besieged Barce for nine months, digging passages under ground that reached to the walls, and making vigorous assaults. Now the excavations a worker of brass discovered by means of a brazen shield, having recourse to the following expedient: Carrying it round within the wall, he applied it to the ground within the city : in other places to which he applied it, it made no noise, but at the parts that were excavated the brass of the shield sounded. The Barcæans, therefore, countermining them in that part, slew the Persians who were employed in the excavation; thus, then, this was discovered ; and the assaults the Barcæans repulsed. When much time had been spent, and many had fallen on both sides, and not the fewest on the side of the Persians, Amasis, general of the land forces, had recourse to the following stratagem: Finding that the Barcæans could not be taken by force, but might be by artifice, he did thus: having dug a wide pit by night, he laid weak planks of wood over it, and on the surface over the planks he spread a heap of earth, making it level with the rest of the ground. At daybreak he invited the Barcæans to a conference, and they gladly assented, so that at last they were pleased to come to terms: and they made an agreement of the following nature, concluding the treaty over the concealed pit: That as long as this earth shall remain as it is, the treaty should continue in force; and that the Barcæans should pay a reasonable tribute to the king, and that the Persians should form no new designs against the Barcæans. After the treaty the Barcæans, confiding in the Persians, both themselves went out of the city, and allowed any one of the Persians who chose to pass within the wall, having thrown open all the gates. But the Persians, having broken down the concealed bridge, rushed within the wall: and they broke down the bridge that they had made for the following reason, that they might keep their oath, having made a compact with the Barcæans that the treaty should continue so long as the earth should remain as it then was; but when they had broken down the bridge the treaty no longer remained in force.

Those of the Barcæans who were most to blame Pheretime impaled round the walls when they had been delivered up to

her by the Persians; and having cut off the breasts of their wives, she studded the wall with them. The rest of the Barcæans she gave up as booty to the Persians, except such of them as were Battiadæ, and had not participated in the murder; to these Pheretime intrusted the city. The Persians, therefore, having reduced the rest of the Barcæans to slavery, took their departure; and when they halted at the city of the Cyrenæans, the Cyrenæans, to absolve themselves from obedience to some oracle, permitted them to pass through the city. But as the army was going through, Bares, the commander of the naval forces, urged them to take the city; but Amasis, the commander of the land forces, would not allow it, for that he was sent against no other Grecian city than that of Barce. However, when they had passed through, and encamped on the hill of the Lycæan Jupiter, they began to repent that they had not possessed themselves of Cyrene, and attempted to enter it a second time. But the Cyrenæans would not suffer them, and a panic struck the Persians, although no one attacked them; and having run away for a distance of sixty stades, they pitched their camp. When the army was encamped here, a messenger came from Aryandes to recall them. The Persians, having requested the Cyrenæans to give them provisions for their march, obtained their request, and having received them, marched away toward Egypt. And from thence the Libyans, laying wait for them, put to death those that strayed and loitered behind, for the sake of their dress and baggage, until they reached Egypt. The farthest point of Africa to which this Persian army penetrated was the country of the Euesperides. The Barcæans, whom they had enslaved, they transported from Egypt to the king; and King Darius gave them a village in the district of Bactria to dwell in. They gave then the name of Barce to this village, which was still inhabited in my time, in the Bactrian territory. Pheretime, however, did not close her life happily; for immediately after she returned from Libya to Egypt, having avenged herself on the Barcæans, she died miserably; for even while alive she swarmed with maggots. So odious to the gods are the excesses of human vengeance. Such and so great was the vengeance of Pheretime, wife of Battus, on the Barcæans.



[ocr errors]

HE Persians, left in Europe by Darius under the command of Megabyzus, subdued the Perinthians first of the Hellespontines, who were unwilling to submit to

Darius, and had been before roughly handled by the Pæonians. For the Pæonians from the Strymon, an oracle having admonished them to invade the Perinthians, and if the Perinthians, when encamped over against them, should challenge them, shouting to them by name, then to attack, but if they should not shout out to them, not to attack; the Pæonians did accordingly. The Perinthians having encamped opposite to them in the suburbs, a threefold single combat there took place according to a challenge; for they matched a man with a man, a horse with a horse, and a dog with a dog. But the Perinthians being victorious in two of these combats, when through excess of joy they sang the Pæon, the Pæonians conjectured that this was the meaning of the oracle, and said among themselves : “Now surely the oracle must be accomplished; now it is our part to act." Thus the Pæonians attacked the Perinthians as they were singing the Pæon, and gained a complete victory, and left but few of them alive. Such, then, had formerly been the achievements of the Pæonians; but at that time, though the Perinthians proved themselves valiant in defence of their liberty, the Persians and Megabyzus overcame them by numbers. When Perinthus was subdued, Megabyzus marched his army through Thrace, subjecting to the king every city and every nation of those dwelling in that country; for this command had been given him by Darius to subdue Thrace.

The nation of the Thracians is the greatest of any among men, at least except the Indians; and if they were governed by one man, or acted in concert, they would, in my opinion, be invincible, and by far the most powerful of all nations. But as this is impracticable, and it is impossible that they should ever be united, they are therefore weak. They have various

The Darius to country;ety city anis arm

names, according to their respective regions, but all observe similar customs in every respect, except the Getæ, the Trausi, and those who dwell above the Crestonæans. Of these, what are the customs of the Getæ, who pretend to be immortal, I have already described. The Trausi, in all other respects, observe the same usages as the rest of the Thracians; but with regard to one born among them, or that dies, they do as follows: The relatives, seating themselves round one that is newly born, bewail him, deploring the many evils he must needs fulfil, since he has been born; enumerating the various sufferings incident to mankind: but one that dies they bury in the earth, making merry and rejoicing, recounting the many evils from which being released, he is now in perfect bliss. Those above the Crestonæans do as follows: Each man has several wives; when, therefore, a husband dies, a great contest arises among the wives, and violent disputes among their friends, on this point, which of them was most loved by him. She who is adjudged to have been so, and is so honoured, having been extolled both by men and women, is slain on the tomb by her own nearest relative, and when slain is buried with her husband; the others deem this a great misfortune, for this is the utmost disgrace to them. There is, moreover, this custom among the rest of the Thracians: they sell their children for exportation. They keep no watch over their unmarried daughters, but suffer them to have intercourse with what men they choose. But they keep a strict watch over their wives, and purchase them from their parents at high prices. To be marked with punctures is accounted a sign of noble birth; to be without punctures, ignoble. To be idle is most honourable; but to be a tiller of the soil, most dishonourable; to live by war and rapine is most glorious. These are the most remarkable of their customs. They worship the following gods only: Mars, Bacchus, and Diana. But their kings, to the exception of the other citizens, reverence Mercury most of all the gods; they swear by him only, and say that they are themselves sprung from Mercury. The funerals of the wealthy among them are celebrated in this manner: They expose the corpse during three days: and having slain all kinds of victims, they feast, having first made lamentation. Then they bury them, having first burned them, or at all events placing them under ground; then having thrown up a mound, they celebrate all kinds of games, in which the greatest rewards are adjudged to single combat, according to the estimation in which they are held. Such are the funeral rites of the Thracians.

To the north of this region no one is able to say with certainty who are the people that inhabit it. But beyond the Ister appears to be a desert and interminable tract: the only men that I am able to hear of as dwelling beyond the Ister are those called Sigynnæ, who wear the Medic dress: their horses are shaggy all over the body, to five fingers in depth of hair; they are small, flat-nosed, and unable to carry men; but when yoked to chariots they are very fleet, therefore the natives drive chariots. Their confines extend as far as the Eneti on the Adriatic: and they say that they are a colony of Medes. How they can have been a colony of the Medes I can not comprehend; but anything may happen in course of time. Now, the Ligyes, who live above Massilia, call traders Sigynnæ, and the Cyprians give that name to spears. The Thracians say bees occupy the parts beyond the Ister, and by reason of them it is impossible to penetrate farther; to me, however, in saying this they appear to say what is improbable, for these creatures are known to be impatient of cold; but the regions beneath the Bear seem to be uninhabited by reason of the cold. Such is the account given of this country. Megabyzus, then, subjected its maritime parts to the Persians.

Darius, as soon as he had crossed the Hellespont and reached Sardis, remembered the good offices of Histiæus the Milesian, and the advice of Coes the Mitylenian. Having, therefore, sent for them to Sardis, he gave them their choice of a recompense. Histiæus, as being already tyrant of Miletus, desired no other government in addition; but asked for Myrcinus of Edonia, wishing to build a city there. But Coes, as not being a tyrant, but a private citizen, asked for the government of Mitylene. When their requests were granted to both of them, they betook themselves to the places they had chosen. It happened that Darius, having witnessed a circumstance of the following kind, was desirous of commanding Megabyzus to seize the Pæonians and transplant them out of Europe into Asia. Pigres and Mantyes were Pæonians, who, when Darius had crossed over into Asia, being desirous to rule over the Pæonians, came to Sardis, bringing with them their sister, who was tall and beautiful: and having watched the opportunity when Darius was seated in public in the suburb of the Lydians, they did as follows: Having dressed their sister in the best manner they could, they sent her for water, carrying a pitcher on her head, leading a horse on her arm, and spinning flax. As the woman passed by, it attracted the attention of Darius, for what she was doing was neither according to

« PreviousContinue »