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till they received certain information of the truth; and thus Babylon was taken for the first time.?
How great was the power of the Babylonians I can prove by many other circumstances, and especially by the following: the whole territory over which the great king reigns is di- . vided into districts for the purpose of furnishing subsistence for him and his army, in addition to the usual tribute; now, whereas there are twelve months in the year, the Babylonian territory provides him with subsistence for four months, and all the rest of Asia for the remaining eight: thus the territory of Assyria amounts to a third part of the power of all Asia, and the government of this region, which the Persians call a satrapy, is considerable; since it yielded a full artabe of silver every day to Tritæchmes, son of Artabazus, who held this district from the king : the artabe is a Persian measure, containing three Attic chænices more than the Attic medimnus And he had a private stud of horses, in addition to those used in war, of eight hundred stallions and sixteen thousand mares; for each stallion served twenty mares. He kept, too, such a number of Indian dogs that four considerable towns in the plains were exempted from all other taxes, and appointed to find food for the dogs. Such were the advantages accruing to the governor of Babylon. The land of Assyria is but little watered by rain, and that little nourishes the root of the corn; the stalk grows up, and the grain comes to maturity, by being irrigated from the river, not, as in Egypt, by the river overflowing the fields, but it is irrigated by the hand and by engines. For the Babylonian territory, like Egypt, is intersected by canals; and the largest of these is navigable, stretching in the direction of the winter sunrise; 2 and it extends from the Euphrates to another river, the river Tigris, on which the city of Nineveh stood. This is, of all lands with which we are acquainted, by far the best for the growth of corn: but it does not carry any show of producing trees of any kind, neither the fig, nor the vine, nor the olive; yet it is so fruitful in the produce of corn that it yields continually two hundred fold, and when it produces its best it yields even three hundred fold. The blades of wheat and barley grow there to full four fingers in breadth; and though I well know to what a height millet and sesame grow, I shall not mention it; for I am well assured that to those who have never been in the Babylonian country what has been said concerning its productions will appear to many incredible. They use no other oil than such as is drawn from sesame. They have palm 'It was again taken by Darius.
9 That is, southeast.
trees growing all over the plain; most of these bear fruit from which they make bread, wine, and honey. These they cultivate as fig trees, both in other respects, and they also tie the fruit of that which the Grecians call the male palm about those trees that bear dates, in order that the fly entering the date may ripen it, lest otherwise the fruit fall before maturity; for the males have flies in the fruit, just like wild fig trees.
The most wonderful thing of all here, next to the city itself, is what I now proceed to describe: their vessels that sail down the river to Babylon are circular, and made of leather. For when they have cut the ribs out of willows that grow in Armenia above Babylon, they cover them with hides extended on the outside, by way of a bottom; neither making any distinction in the stern, nor contracting the prow, but making them circular like a buckler; then having lined this vessel throughout with reeds, they suffer it to be carried down by the river freighted with merchandise, but they chiefly take down casks of palm wine. The vessel is steered by two spars, and two men standing upright, one of whom draws his spar in and the other thrusts his out. Some of these vessels are made very large, and others of a smaller size; but the largest of them carry a cargo of five thousand talents. Every vessel has a live ass on board, and the larger ones more. For after they arrive at Babylon, and have disposed of their freight, they sell the ribs of the boat and all the reeds by public auction; then having piled the skins on the asses, they return by land to Armenia, for it is not possible by any means to sail up the river by reason of the rapidity of the current: and for this reason they make their vessels of skins and not of wood, and at their return to Armenia with their asses they construct other vessels in the same manner. Such, then, is the description of their boats. For their dress, they wear a linen tunic that reaches down to the feet; over this they put another garment of wool, and over all a short white cloak; they have sandals peculiar to the country, very like the Bæotian clogs. They wear long hair, binding their heads with turbans, and anoint the whole body with perfumes. Every man has a seal, and a staff curiously wrought; and on every staff is carved either an apple, a rose, a lily, an eagle, or something of the kind; for it is not allowable to wear a stick without a device. Such, then, is their manner of adorning the body.
The following customs prevail among them: this, in my opinion, was the wisest, which I hear the Venetians, of Illyria, also practise. Once in every year the following course was