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detached about fifty thousand men, and ordered them to reduce the Ammonians to slavery, and to burn the oracular temple of Jupiter, while he with the rest of his army marched against the Ethiopians. But before the army had passed over a fifth part of the way, all the provisions 6 that they had were exhausted, and after the provisions, the beasts of burden were eaten and likewise failed. Now if Cambyses, when he learnt this, had altered his purpose, and had led back his army, even after his first error, he would have proved himself to be a wise man. But now, without any reflection, he still continued advancing. The soldiers, as long as they could gather any from the earth, supported life by eating herbs; but when they reached the sands, some of them had recourse to a horrid expedient, for taking one man in ten by lot, they devoured him : when Cambyses beard this, shocked at their eating one another, he abandoned his pedition against the Ethiopians, marched back and reached Thebes, after losing a great part from his army. From Thebes he went down to Memphis, and suffered the Greeks to sail away. Thus ended the expedition against the Ethiopians. 26. Those who had been sent on the expedition against the Ammonians, after having set out from Thebes, marched under the conduct of guides, and are known to have reached the city Oasis, which is inhabited by Samians, said to be of the Æschrionian tribe ; and they are distant seven days' march from Thebes, across the sands. This country in the Greek language is called the Island of the Blessed. It is said then that the army reached this country; but afterwards none, except the Ammonians and those who have heard their report, are able to give any account of them; for they neither reached the Ammonians, nor returned back. But the Ammonians make the following report: when they had advanced from this Oasis towards them across the sands, and were about half-way between them and Oasis, as they were taking dinner, a strong and vehement south wind blew, and carrying with it heaps of sand, covered them over, and in this manner they disappeared. The Ammonians say that such was the fate of this army.
27. When Cambyses arrived at Memphis, Apis, whom the 6 The Greek is oitiwv éxóueva. This expression is very common in Herodotus. So Book I. 120, Tá twv óverpátwv éxóueva, dreams. So also V 44. and VIII. 142.
Greeks call Epaphus, appeared to the Egyptians; and when this manifestation took place, the Egyptians immediately put on their richest apparel, and kept festive holiday. Cambyses, seeing them thus occupied, and concluding that they made these rejoicings on account of his ill success, summoned the magistrates of Memphis ; and when they came into his presence, he asked “why the Egyptians had done nothing of the kind when he was at Memphis before, but did so now, when he had returned with the loss of a great part of his army." They answered, that their god appeared to them, who was accustomed to manifest himself at distant intervals, and that when he did appear, then all the Egyptians were used to rejoice and keep a feast. Cambyses, having heard this, said they lied, and as liars he put them to death. 28. Having slain them, he next summoned the priests into his presence; and when the priests gave the same account, he said, that he would find out whether a god so tractable had come among the Egyptians ; and having said this, he commanded the priests to bring Apis to him; they therefore went away to fetch him. This Apis, or Epaphus, is the calf of a cow incapable of conceiving another offspring; and the Egyptians say, that lightning descends upon the cow from heaven, and that from thence it brings forth Apis. This calf, which is called Apis, has the following marks : it is black, and has a square spot of white on the forehead; and on the back the figure of an eagle; and in the tail double hairs; and on the tongue a beetle. 29. When the priests brought Apis, Cambyses, like one almost out of his senses, drew his dagger, meaning to strike the belly of Apis, but hit the thigh; then falling into a fit of laughter, he said to the priests, “ Ye blockheads, are there such gods as these, consisting of blood and flesh, and sensible of steel? This, truly, is a god worthy of the Egyptians. But you shall not mock me with impunity.” Having spoken thus, he commanded those, whose business it was, to scourge the priests, and to kill all the Egyptians whom they should find feasting. Thus the festival of the Egyptians was put an end to, and the priests were punished. But Apis, being wounded in the thigh, lay and languished in the temple; and at length, when he had died of the wound, the priests buried him without the knowledge of Cambyses.
30. But Cambyses, as the Egyptians say, immediately became
mad in consequence of this atrocity, though indeed he was not of sound mind before. His first crime he committed against his brother Smerdis, who was born of the same father and mother; him he sent back from Egypt to Persia through envy, because he alone of all the Persians had drawn the bow, which the Ichthyophagi brought from the Ethiopian, within two fingers' breadth: of the other Persians no one was able to do this. After the departure of Smerdis for Persia, Cambyses saw the following vision in his sleep: he imagined that a messenger arrived from Persia and informed him that Smerdis was seated on the royal throne, and touched the heavens with his head. Upon this, fearing for himself, lest his brother should kill him, and reign, he sent Prexaspes, who was a man the most faithful to him of the Persians, to Persia, with orders to kill Smerdis. And he, having gone up to Susa, killed Smerdis ; some say, when he had taken him out to hunt; but others, that he led him to the Red Sea and drowned him. 31. This they say was the first of the crimes of Cambyses : the second he committed against his sister, who had accompanied him into Egypt, and whom he married, and who was his sister by both parents. He married her in the following way: for before, the Persians were on no account accustomed to intermarry with their sisters. Cambyses became enamoured of one of his sisters, and then being desirous of making her his wife, because he purposed doing what was not customary, he summoned the royal judges, and asked them if there was any law permitting one who wished to marry his sister. The royal judges are men chosen from among Persians, who continue in office until they die, or are convicted of some injustice. They determine causes between the Persians, and are the interpreters of the ancient constitutions, and all questions are referred to them. When, therefore, Cambyses put the question, they gave an answer that was both just and safe ; saying that they could find no law permitting a brother to marry his sister, but had discovered another law which permitted the king of Persia to do whatever he pleased. Thus they did not abrogate the law through fear of Cambyses; but that they might not lose their lives by upholding the law, they found out another that favoured his desire of marrying his sister. Thereupon, Cambyses married her of whom he was enamoured, and shortly afterwards he had another sister. The
youngest of these, then, who followed him into Egypt, he put to death. 32. With respect to her death, as well as that of Smerdis, a twofold account is given. The Greeks say, that Cambyses made the whelp of a lion fight with a young dog ; and that this wife was also looking on; and that the dog being over-matched, another puppy of the same litter broke his chain, and came to his assistance, and thus the two dogs united got the better of the whelp. Cambyses was delighted at the sight, but she, sitting by him, shed tears. Cambyses observing this, asked her why she wept. She answered, that she wept seeing the puppy come to the assistance of his brother, remembering Smerdis, and knowing that there was no one to avenge him. The Greeks say, that for this speech she was put to death by Cambyses. But the Egyptians say, that as they were sitting at table, his wife took a lettuce, and stripped off its leaves, and then asked her husband, “Whether the lettuce stripped of its leaves, or thick with foliage, was the handsomer :” he said, “When thick with foliage :” whereupon she remarked, “ Then you have imitated this lettuce, in dismembering the house of Cyrus." Whereupon he, being enraged, kicked her when she was with child ; and she miscarried and died.
33. Thus madly did Cambyses behave towards his own family; whether on account of Apis, or from some other cause, from which, in many ways, misfortunes are wont to befal mankind. For Cambyses is said, even from infancy, to have been afflicted with a certain severe malady, which some called the sacred disease. 7 In that case, it was not at all surprising that, when his body was so diseased, his mind should not be sound. 34. And towards the other Persians he behaved madly in the following instances: for it is reported that he said to Prexaspes, whom he highly honoured, and whose office it was to bring messages to him, and whose son was cup-bearer to Cambyses, and this is no trifling honour : he is reported to have spoken as follows : “Prexaspes, what sort of a man do the Persians think me? and what remarks do they make about me?” He answered, “Sir, you are highly extolled in every other respect, but they say you are too much addicted to wine.” Prexaspes said this of the Persians, but the king, enraged, answered as follows: “Do the Persians
indeed say that, by being addicted to wine, I am beside myself, and am not in my senses ? then their former words were not true.” For, on a former occasion, when the Persians and Cresus were sitting with him, Cambyses asked, what sort of a man he appeared to be in comparison with his father Cyrus ; they answered, that he was superior to his father, for that he held all that Cyrus possessed, and had acquired besides Egypt and the empire of the sea. Cræsus, being present, not being pleased with this decision, spoke thus to Cambyses : “ To me now, O son of Cyrus, you do not appear comparable to your father, for you have not yet such a son as he left behind him." Cambyses was delighted at hearing this, and commended the judgment of Crosus. 35. Therefore, remembering this, he said in anger to Prexaspes, “Observe now yourself, whether the Persians have spoken the truth, or whether they who say such things are not out of their senses : for if I shoot that son of yours who stands under the portico, and hit him in the heart, the Persians will appear to have said nothing to the purpose ; but if I miss, then say that the Persians have spoken truth, and that I am not of sound mind.” Having said this, and bent his bow, he hit the boy ; and when the boy had fallen, he ordered them to open him and examine the wound ; and when the arrow was found in the heart, he said to the boy's father, laughing, “Prexaspes, it has been clearly shown to you that I am not mad, but that the Persians are out of their senses. Now tell me, did you ever see a man take so true an aim ?” But Prexaspes, perceiving him to be out of his mind, and being in fear for his own life, said, “Sir, I believe that a god himself could not have shot so well." At that time he committed such an atrocity; and at another time, having, without any just cause, seized twelve Persians of the first rank, he had them buried alive up to the head.
36. While he was acting in this manner, Cræsus the Lydian thought fit to admonish him in the following terms: “O king, do not yield entirely to your youthful impulses and anger, but possess and restrain yourself. It is a good thing to be provident, and wise to have forethought. You put men to death who are your own subjects, having seized them without any just cause ; and you slay their children. If you persist in such a course, beware lest the Persians revolt from