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battle, since thou hast taken my son by stratagem; but I will now glut thee with blood, as I threatened.” Of the many accounts given of the end of Cyrus, this appears to me most worthy of credit.
215. The Massagetae resemble the Scythians in their dress and mode of living; they have both horse and foot; for they have some of each ; and bow-men, and javelin-men, who are accustomed to carry battle-axes: they use gold and brass for every thing ; for in whatever concerns spears, and arrowpoints, and battle-axes, they use brass; but for the head, and belts, and shoulder-pieces, they are ornamented with gold. In like manner with regard to the chests of horses, they put on breastplates of brass ; but the bridle-bit and cheek-pieces are ornamented with gold. They make no use of silver or iron, for neither of those metals are found in their country, but they have brass and gold in abundance. 216. Their manners are as follows: each man marries a wife, but they use the women promiscuously; for what the Grecians say the Scythians do, is a mistake, for they do it not, but the Massagetae; for when a Massagetan desires to have the company of a woman he hangs up his quiver in front of her chariot, and has intercourse with her without shame. No particular term of life is prescribed to them ; but when a man has attained a great age, all his kinsmen meet, and sacrifice him, together with cattle of several kinds ; and when they have boiled the flesh, they feast on it. This death they account the most happy; but they do not eat the bodies of those who die of disease; but bury them in the earth, and think it a great misfortune that they did not reach the age to be sacrificed. They sow nothing, but live on cattle and fish, which the river Araxes yields in abundance, and they are drinkers of milk. They worship the sun only of all the gods, and sacrifice horses to him ; and this is the reason of this custom ; they think it right to offer the swiftest of all animals to the swiftest of all the gods.
AFTER the death of Cyrus, Cambyses succeeded to the kingdom: he was son of Cyrus, and Cassandane the daughter of Pharnaspes; who having died some time before, Cyrus both deeply mourned for her himself, and commanded all his subjects to mourn. Cambyses then, being son of this lady and Cyrus, considered the Ionians and Æolians as his hereditary slaves; when, therefore, he made an expedition against Egypt, he took with him others of his subjects, and also some of the Greeks over whom he bore rule. 2. The Egyptians, before the reign of Psammitichus, considered themselves to be the most ancient of mankind. But after Psammitichus, having come to the throne, endeavoured to ascertain who were the most ancient, from that time they consider the Phrygians to have been before them, and themselves before all others. Now, when Psammitichus was unable, by inquiry, to discover any solution of this question, who were the most ancient of men, he devised the following expedient. He gave two new-born children of poor parents to a shepherd, to be brought up among his flocks in the following manner: he gave strict orders that no one should utter a word in their presence, that they should lie in a solitary room by themselves, and that he should bring goats to them at certain times, and that when he had satisfied them with milk he should attend to his other employments. Psammitichus contrived and ordered this, for the purpose of hearing what word the children would first articulate, after they had given over their insignificant mewlings; and such accordingly was the result. For when the shepherd had pursued this plan for the space of two years, one day as he opened the door and went in, both the children falling upon him, and holding out their hands, cried “Becos.” The shepherd, when he first heard it, said nothing; but when this same word was constantly repeated to him whenever he went and tended the children, he at length acquainted his master, and by his command brought the children into his presence. When Psammitichus heard the same, he inquired what people call anything by the name of “Becos;” and on inquiry he discovered that the Phrygians call bread by that name. Thus the Egyptians, convinced by the above experiment, allowed that the Phrygians were more ancient than themselves. 3. This relation I had from the priests of Vulcan at Memphis. But the Greeks tell many other foolish things, and moreover that Psammitichus, having had the tongues of some women cut out, then had the children brought up by these women. Such is the account they gave of the nurture of the children. I heard other things also at Memphis in conversation with the priests of Vulcan. And on this very account I went also to Thebes, and to Heliopolis, in order to ascertain whether they would agree with the accounts given at Memphis; for the Heliopolitans are esteemed the most learned in history of all the Egyptians. The parts of the narration that I heard concerning divine things, I am not willing to relate, except only their names; and with these I suppose all men are equally well acquainted: but what more I shall relate of these matters, I shall relate from a necessity to keep up the thread of my story.
4. But as concerns human affairs, they agree with one another in the following account: that the Egyptians were the first to discover the year, which they divided into twelve parts; and they say that they made this discovery from the stars: and so far, I think, they act more wisely than the Grecians, in that the Grecians insert an intercalary month every third year, on account of the seasons; whereas the Egyptians, reckoning twelve months of thirty days each, add five days each year above that number, and so with them the circle of the seasons comes round to the same point. They say also, that the Egyptians were the first who introduced the names of the twelve gods, and that the Greeks borrowed those names from them; that they were the first to assign altars, images, and temples to the gods, and to carve the figures of animals on stone; and most of these things they proved were so in fact. They added, that Menes was the first mortal who reigned over Egypt, and that in his time all Egypt, except the district of Thebes, was a morass, and that no part of the land that now exists below Lake Myris was then above water: to this place from the sea is a seven days’ passage up the river. 5. And they seemed to me to give a good account of this region. For it is evident to a man of common understanding, who has not heard it before, but sees it, that the part of Egypt which the Greeks frequent with their shipping, is land acquired by the Egyptians, and a gift from the river; and the parts above this lake, during a three days’ passage, of which, however, they said nothing, are of the same description. For the nature of the soil of Egypt is of this kind; when you are first sailing to it, and are at the distance of a day's sail from land, if you cast the lead you will bring up mud, and will find yourself in eleven fathoms water: this so far shows that there is an alluvial deposit.
6. The length of Egypt along the sea-coast is sixty schoeni, according as we reckon it to extend from the Plinthinetic bay to Lake Serbonis, near which Mount Casius stretches: from this point then the length is sixty schoeni. Now, all men who are short of land measure their territory by fathoms; but those who are less short of land, by stades; and those who have much, by parasangs; and such as have a very great extent, by schoeni. Now, a parasang is equal to thirty stades, and each schoenus, which is an Egyptian measure, is equal to sixty stades. So the whole coast of Egypt is three thousand six hundred stades in length. 7. From thence, as far as Heliopolis, inland, Egypt is wide, being all flat, without water, and a swamp. The distance to Heliopolis, as one goes up from the sea, is about equal in length to the road from Athens, that is to say, from the altar of the twelve gods, to Pisa and the temple of Olympian Jupiter. For whoever will compare these roads will find, by computation, that the difference between them is but little, not exceeding fifteen stades, for the road from Athens to Pisa is only fifteen stades short of one thousand five hundred stades; but the road from the sea to Heliopolis amounts to just that number. 8. From Heliopolis upwards Egypt is narrow, for on one side the mountain of Arabia extends from north to south and south-west, stretching up continuously to that which is called the Red Sea. In this mountain are the stone quarries which were cut for the pyramids at Memphis; here, then, the mountain, deviating, turns to the parts above mentioned. But where its length is the greatest, I have heard that it is a two months' journey from east to west; and that eastward its confines produce frankincense. On that side of Egypt which borders upon Libya extends another rocky mountain, and covered with sand, on which the pyramids stand; and this stretches in the same direction as that part of the Arabian mountain that runs southward. So that from Heliopolis, the territory which belongs to Egypt is not very extensive; but for four days' sail up the river it is very narrow. Between the mountains before mentioned the land is level, and in the narrowest part appeared to me to be not more than two hundred stades in breadth, from the Arabian mountain to that called the Libyan ; but above this Egypt again becomes wide. Such then is the character of this country. 9. From Heliopolis to Thebes is a voyage up of nine days; the length of this journey is in stades four thousand eight hundred and sixty, which amount to eighty-one schoeni. Now, if we compute these stades together, the coast of Egypt, as I before explained, contains in length three thousand and six hundred stades: how far it is from the sea inland as far as Thebes, I will next show, namely, six thousand one hundred and twenty stades; and from Thebes to the city called Elephantine, one thousand eight hundred stades. 10. The greater part of all this country, as the priests informed me, and as appeared to me also to be the case, has been acquired by the Egyptians. For the space between the abovementioned mountains, that are situate beyond the city of Memphis, seem to me to have been formerly a bay of the sea; as is the case also with the parts about Ilium, Teuthrania, Ephesus, and the plain of the Maeander, if I may be permitted to compare small things with great; for of the rivers that have thrown up the soil that forms these countries, not one can justly be brought into comparison, as to size, with any one of the five mouths of the Nile. But there are other rivers not equal in size to the Nile, which have wrought great works; of these I could mention the names, and amongst them one of the most remarkable is the Achelous, which, flowing through Acarnania, and falling into the sea, has already converted one-half of the Echinades islands into continent. 11. There is also in the Arabian territory, not far from Egypt, branching from the Red Sea, a bay of the sea, of the H