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ately to Alyattes, son of Sadyattes, at Sardis. This was accordingly done : and Cyaxares and his guests tasted of this flesh; and the Scythians, having done this, became suppliants to Alyattes. 74. After this, (for Alyattes refused to deliver up the Scythians to Cyaxares when he demanded them,) war lasted between the Lydians and the Medes for five years: during this period the Medes often defeated the Lydians, and often the Lydians defeated the Medes; and during this time they had a kind of nocturnal engagement. In the sixth year, when they were carrying on the war with nearly equal success, on occasion of an engagement, it happened that in the heat of the battle day was suddenly turned into night. This change of the day Thales the Milesian had foretold to the Ionians, fixing beforehand this year as the very period, in which the change actually took place. r. The Lydians and Medes seeing night succeeding in the place of day, desisted from fighting, and both showed a great anxiety to make peace. Syennesis" the Cilician, and Labynetus” the Babylonian, were the mediators of their reconciliation; these were they who hastened the treaty between them, and made a matrimonial connexion; for they persuaded Alyattes to give his daughter Aryenis in marriage to Astyages, son of Cyaxares. For without strong necessity, agreements are not wont to remain firm. These nations in their federal contracts observe the same ceremonies as the Greeks; and in addition, when they have cut their arms to the outer skin, they lick up one another's blood.
75. Cyrus had subdued this same Astyages, his grandfather by the mother's side, for reasons which I shall hereafter relate.” Croesus, alleging this against him, sent to consult the oracle, if he should make war on the Persians ; and when an ambiguous answer came back, he, interpreting it to his own
advantage, led his army against the territory of the Persians.
When he arrived at the river Halys, Croesus transported his forces, as I believe, by the bridges which are now there. But the common opinion of the Grecians is, that Thales the Milesian procured him a passage. For, whilst Croesus was in doubt how his army should pass over the river, (for they say that these bridges were not at that time in existence,) Thales, who was in the camp, caused the stream, which flowed along the left of the army, to flow likewise on the right; and he contrived it thus: having begun above the camp, he dug a deep trench, in the shape of a half-moon, so that the river, being turned into this from its old channel, might pass in the rear of the camp pitched where it then was, and afterwards, having passed by the camp, might fall into its former course; so that as soon as the river was divided into two streams it became fordable in both. Some say, that the ancient channel of the river was entirely dried up; but this I cannot assent to ; for how then could they have crossed it on their return ? 76. However, Croesus, having passed the river with his army, came to a place called Pteria, in Cappadocia. (Now Pteria is the strongest position of the whole of this country, and is situated over against Sinope, a city on the Euxine Sea.) Here he encamped, and ravaged the lands of the Syrians; and took the city of the Pterians, and enslaved the inhabitants; he also took all the adjacent places, and expelled the inhabitants, who had given him no cause for blame. But Cyrus, having assembled his own army, and having taken with him all who inhabited the intermediate country, went to meet Croesus. But before he began to advance, he sent heralds to the Ionians, to persuade them to revolt from Croesus: the Ionians however refused. When Cyrus had come up and encamped opposite Croesus, they made trial of each other's strength on the plains of Pteria: but when an obstinate battle took place, and many fell on both sides, they at last parted, on the approach of night, neither having been victorious. In this manner did the two armies engage. 77. But Croesus laying the blame on his own army on account of the smallness of its numbers, for his forces that engaged were far fewer than those of Cyrus, laying the blame on this, when on the following day Cyrus did not attempt to attack him, he marched back to Sardis, designing to summon the Egyptians according to treaty, for he had made an alliance with Amasis king of Egypt before he had with the Lacedaemonians; and to send for the Babylonians, (for he had made an alliance with them also, and Labynetus at this time reigned over the Babylonians,) and to require the presence of D
7 Syennesis seems to have been a name common to the kings of Cilicia. In addition to the one here mentioned, we meet with another in the time of Darius (W. 118), and a third in the time of Xerxes (VII. 98). * The same, says Prideaux, with the Nebuchadnezzar of Scripture. 9 See ch. 121–130.
the Lacedaemonians at a fixed time : having collected these together, and assembled his own army, he purposed, when winter was over, to attack the Persians in the beginning of the spring. With this design, when he reached Sardis, he despatched ambassadors to his different allies, requiring them to meet at Sardis before the end of five months; but the army that was with him, and that had fought with the Persians, which was composed of mercenary troops, he entirely disbanded, not imagining that Cyrus, who had come off on such equal terms, would venture to advance upon Sardis. 78. While Croesus was forming these plans the whole suburbs were filled with serpents, and when they appeared, the horses, forsaking their pastures, came and devoured them. When Croesus beheld this, he considered it to be, as it really was, a prodigy, and sent immediately to consult the interpreters at Telmessus; but the messengers having arrived there, and learnt from the Telmessians what the prodigy portended, were unable to report it to Croesus, for before they sailed back to Sardis Croesus had been taken prisoner. The Telmessians had pronounced as follows: “that Croesus must expect a foreign army to invade his country, which, on its arrival, would subdue the natives, because, they said, the serpent is a son of the earth, but the horse is an enemy and a stranger.” This answer the Telmessians gave to Croesus when he had been already taken; yet without knowing what had happened with respect to Sardis or Croesus himself. 79. But Cyrus, as soon as Croesus had retreated after the battle at Pteria, having discovered that it was the intention of Croesus to disband his army, found, upon deliberation, that it would be to his advantage to march with all possible expedition on Sardis, before the forces of the Lydians could be a second time assembled ; and when he had thus determined, he put his plan into practice with all possible expedition, for having marched his army into Lydia, he brought this news of his own enterprise to Croesus. Thereupon Croesus, being thrown into great perplexity, seeing that matters had turned out contrary to his expectations, nevertheless drew out the Lydians to battle ; and at that time no nation in Asia was more valiant and warlike than the Lydians. Their mode of fighting was from on horseback; they were armed with long lances, and managed their horses with admirable address. 80. The place where they met was the plain that lies before the city of Sardis, which is extensive and bare; several rivers, as well as the Hyllus, flowing through it, force a passage into the greatest, called the Hermus, which flowing from the sacred mountain of mother Cybele, falls into the sea near the city of Phocaea. Here Cyrus, when he saw the Lydians drawn up in order of battle, alarmed at the cavalry, had recourse to the following stratagem, on the suggestion of Harpagus, a Mede. Having collected together all the camels that followed his army with provisions and baggage, and having caused their burdens to be taken off, he mounted men upon them equipped in cavalry accoutrements, and having furnished them, he ordered them to go in advance of the rest of his army against the Lydian horse ; and he commanded his infantry to follow the camels, and he placed the whole of his cavalry behind the infantry. When all were drawn up in order, he charged them not to spare any of the Lydians, but to kill every one they met; but on no account to kill Croesus, even if he should offer resistance when taken. Such were the orders he gave. He drew up the camels in the front of the cavalry, for this reason; a horse is afraid of a camel, and cannot endure either to see its form or to scent its smell: for this reason, then, he had recourse to this stratagem, that the cavalry might be useless to Croesus, by which the Lydian expected to signalize himself. Accordingly, when they joined battle, the horses no sooner smelt the camels and saw them, than they wheeled round, and the hopes of Croesus were destroyed. Nevertheless the Lydians were not therefore discouraged, but when they perceived what had happened, leaped from their horses and engaged with the Persians on foot; at last, when many had fallen on both sides, the Lydians were put to flight, and being shut up within the walls, were besieged by the Persians. 81. Siege was then laid to them; but Croesus, thinking it would last a long time, sent other messengers from the city to his allies; for those who were before sent requested them to assemble at Sardis on the fifth month, but he sent out these last to request them to succour him with all speed, as he was already besieged. 82. He sent therefore to the rest of his allies, and especially to the Lacedaemonians; but at that very time the Spartans themselves happened to have a quarrel with the Argians about a tract called Thyrea; for this Thyrea, which properly belongs to the territory of Argos, the Spartans had seized. And indeed the country that lies westward as far as Malea, both on the continent, and the island Cythera and the other islands, belongs to the Argians. The Argians having advanced to the defence of their country which had been thus seized upon, both parties, upon a conference, agreed that three hundred men on each side should engage, and that whichever party was victorious should be entitled to the disputed territory: but it was stipulated, that the main body of each army should withdraw to their own country, and not remain while the engagement was going on, lest if the armies were present, either side seeing their countrymen in distress, should come in to their assistance. Having agreed to these terms, the armies withdrew, and the picked men on each side remaining behind engaged: they fought with such equal success, that of the six hundred, three men only were left alive; of the Argians, Alcenor and Chromius, and of the Lacedaemonians, Othryades; these survived when night came on. The two Argians thinking themselves victorious, ran to Argos with the news; but Othryades, the Lacedaemonian, having stripped the corpses of the Argians, and carried their arms to his own camp, continued at his post. On the next day both armies, being informed of the event, met again in the same place; and for a time both laid claim to the victory; the one side alleging that the greater number of their men survived; the other side urging that those survivors had fled, and that their countryman had kept the field and spoiled their dead. At length, from words they betook themselves to blows; and when many had fallen on both sides, the Lacedaemonians obtained the victory. From that time the Argians, cutting off their hair, which they had before been compelled to wear long, enacted a law, which was confirmed by a curse, that no Argian should suffer his hair to grow, nor any woman wear ornaments of gold, till they should recover Thyrea. On the other hand, the Lacedaemonians made a contrary law, enjoining all their people to wear long hair, which they had never done before. As to Othryades, who was the only one that survived of the three hundred, they say that, being ashamed to return to Sparta when all his fellow soldiers had perished, he put an end to himself at Thyrea. 83. When the affairs of i. Spartans were in this