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chief subject of his talk. His parents having taken up this name, (in order that the Persians might suppose that the child was somewhat miraculously preserved for them,) spread about a report, that a bitch had nourished him when exposed : hence this report was propagated. 123. When Cyrus had reached man's estate, and proved the most manly and beloved of his equals in age, Harpagus paid great court to him, sending him presents, from his desire to be avenged on Astyages ; for he did not see that he himself, who was but a private man, could be able to take vengeance on Astyages ; perceiving, therefore, that Cyrus was growing up to be his avenger, he contracted a friendship with him, comparing the sufferings of Cyrus with his own. And before this he had made the following preparations. Seeing Astyages severe in his treatment of the Medes, Harpagus, holding intercourse with the chief persons of the nation, one after another, persuaded them that they ought to place him at their head, and depose Astyages. When he had effected his purpose in this respect, and all was ready, Harpagus, wishing to discover his designs to Cyrus, who resided in Persia, and having no other way left, because the roads were all guarded, contrived the following artifice. Having cunningly contrived a hare, by opening its belly, and tearing off none of the hair, he put a letter, containing what he thought necessary to write, into the body; and having sewed up the belly , of the hare, he gave it with some nets to the most trusty of his servants, dressed as a hunter, and sent him to Persia ; having by word of mouth commanded him to bid Cyrus, as he gave him the hare, to open it with his own hand, and not to suffer any one to be present when he did so. 124. This was accordingly done, and Cyrus having received the hare, opened it ; and finding the letter which was in it, he read it ; and it was to the following purport :
« Son of Cambyses, seeing the gods watch over you, (for otherwise you could never have arrived at your present fortune,) do you now avenge yourself on your murderer Astyages ; for as far as regards his purpose you are long since dead, but by the care of the gods and of me you survive. I suppose you have been long since informed both what was done regårding yourself, and what I suffered at the hands of Astyages. because I did not put you to death, but gave you to the
herdsman. If, then, you will follow my counsel, you shall rule over the whole territory that Astyages now governs. Persuade the Persians to revolt, and invade Media ; and whether I or any other illustrious Mede be appointed to command the army opposed to you, every thing will turn out as you wish; for they, on the first onset, having revolted from him, and siding with you, will endeavour to depose him. Since, then, every thing is ready here, do as I advise, and do it quickly."
125. Cyrus, having received this intelligence, began to consider by what measures he could best persuade the Persians to revolt; and after mature consideration, he fixed upon the following as the most proper ; and accordingly he put it in practice. Having written such a letter as he thought fit, he called an assembly of the Persians, and then, having opened the letter and read it, he said that Astyages had appointed him general of the Persians : Now,” he continued, “ I require you to attend me, every man with a sickle.” Cyrus then issued such an order. Now the Persians are divided into many tribes ;
and some of them Cyrus assembled together, and persuaded to revolt from the Medes ; these are they upon whom the rest of the Persians are dependent: the Pasargada, the Maraphians, and the Maspians : of these the Pasargadæ are the most noble ; among them is the family of the Achæmenidæ, from which the kings of Persia are descended. The rest are as follows : the Panthialæans, the Derusiæans, and the Germanians ; these are all husbandmen : the rest are pastoral ; Daians, Mardians, Dropicians, and Sagartians. 126. When all were come with their sickles, as had been ordered, Cyrus selected a tract of land in Persia, which was overgrown with briers, and about eighteen or twenty stadia square, and directed them to clear it during the day: when the Persians had finished the appointed task, he next told them to come again on the next day, having first washed themselves. In the mean time Cyrus, having collected together all his father's flocks and herds, had them killed and dressed, as purposing to entertain the Persian forces, and he provided wine and bread in abundance. The next day, when the Persians were assembled, he made them lie down on the turf, and feasted them; and after the repast was over, Cyrus asked them whether the treatment they had received
the day before, or the present, were preferable. They answered, that the difference was great; for on the preceding day they had every hardship, but on the present every thing that was good. Cyrus therefore having received this answer, discovered his intentions, and said, “ Men of Persia, the case stands thus ; if
you will hearken to me, you may enjoy these, and numberless other advantages, without any kind of servile labour; but if you will not hearken to me, innumerable hardships, like those of yesterday, await you. Now, therefore, obey me, and be free; for I am persuaded I am born by divine providence to undertake this work; and I deem you to be men in no way inferior to the Medes, either in other respects or in war: since then these things are so, revolt with all speed from Astyages."
127. The Persians then having obtained a leader, gladly asserted their freedom, having for a long time felt indignant at being governed by the Medes. Astyages, being informed of what Cyrus was doing, sent a messenger and summoned him ; but Cyrus bade the messenger take back word, “ that he would come to him sooner than Astyages desired.” When Astyages heard this, he armed all the Medes ; and, as if the gods had deprived him of understanding, made Harpagus their general, utterly forgetting the outrage he had done him. And when the Medes came to an engagement with the Persians, such of them as knew nothing of the plot, fought; but others went over to the Persians; and the far greater part purposely behaved as cowards and fled. 128. The army of the Medes being thus shamefully dispersed, as soon as the news was brought to Astyages, he exclaimed, threatening Cyrus, “Not even so shall Cyrus have occasion to rejoice.' Having so said, he first impaled the Magi, who had interpreted his dream, and advised him to let Cyrus go ; then he armed all the Medes that were left in the city, both old and young; and leading them out, be engaged the Persians, and was defeated. Astyages himself was made prisoner, and he lost all the Medes whom he had led out. 129. Harpagus, standing by Astyages after he was taken, exulted over him and jeered him; and among other galling words, he asked him also about the supper, at which he had feasted him with his son's flesh, and inquired, “how he liked slavery in exchange for a kingdom.” Astyages, looking stedfastly on Harpagus, asked in return, whether he
thought himself the author of Cyrus s success. Harpagus said, he did, for, as he had written, the achievement was justly due to himself. Astyages thereupon proved him to be “the weakest and most unjust of all men: the weakest, in giving the kingdom to another, which he might have assumed to himself, if indeed he had effected this change; and the most unjust, because he had enslaved the Medes on account of the supper. For if it were absolutely necessary to transfer the kingdom to some one else, and not to take it himself, he might with more justice have conferred this benefit on some one of the Medes than on a Persian : whereas now the Medes, who were not at all in fault, had become slaves instead of masters; and the Persians, who before were slaves to the Medes, had now become their masters.”
130. So Astyages, after he had reigned thirty-five years, was thus deposed ; and by reason of his cruelty the Medes bent under the Persian yoke, after they had ruled over all Asia beyond the river Halys for the space of one hundred and twenty-eight years, excepting the interval of the Scythian dominion. At a later period, however, they repented of what they had done, and revolted from Darius, but being conquered in battle, were again subdued : but now in the time of Astyages, the Persians, under the conduct of Cyrus, having risen against the Medes, have from that time been masters of Asia. As for Astyages, Cyrus kept him with him till he died, without doing him any further injury. Cyrus therefore, having been thus born and educated, came to the throne ; and after these events he conquered Crosus, who gave the first provocation, as I have already related, and having subdued him, he became master of all Asia.
131. The Persians, according to my own knowledge, observe the following customs. It is not their practice to erect statues, or temples, or altars, but they charge those with folly
? According to Herodotus, Deioces reigned 53 years
150 If from this number we subtract 28, the time that the Scythians reigned, there remain but 122; so that in all probability a mistake has been made in the text by some copyist.-Larcher.
who do so; because, as I conjecture, they do not think the gods have human forms, as the Greeks do. They are accustomed to ascend the highest parts of the mountains, and offer: sacrifice to Jupiter, and they call the whole circle of the heavens by the name of Jupiter. They sacrifice to the sun and moon, to the earth, fire, water, and the winds. To these alone they have sacrificed from the earliest times: but they have since learnt from the Arabians and Assyrians to sacrifice to Venus Urania, whom the Assyrians call Venus Mylitta, the Arabians, Alitta, and the Persians, Mitra. 132. The following is the established mode of sacrifice to the abovementioned deities: they do not erect altars nor kindle fires when about to sacrifice; they do not use libations, or flutes, or fillets, or cakes ; but, when any one wishes to offer sacrifice to any one of these deities, he leads the victim to a clean spot, and invokes the god, usually having his tiara decked with myrtle. He that sacrifices is not permitted to pray for blessings for himself alone; but he is obliged to offer prayers for the prosperity of all the Persians, and the king, for he is himself included in the Persians. When he has cut the victim into small pieces, and boiled the flesh, he strews under it a bed of tender grass, generally trefoil, and then lays all the flesh upon it: when he has put every thing in order, one of the Magi standing by sings an ode concerning the original of the gods, which they say is the incantation ; and without one of the Magi it is not lawful for them to sacrifice. After having waited a short time, he that has sacrificed carries away the flesh and disposes of it as he thinks fit. 133. It is their custom to honour their birth-day above all other days; and on this day they furnish their table in a more plentiful manner than at other times. The rich then produce an ox, a horse, a camel, and an ass, roasted whole in an oven; but the poor produce smaller cattle. They are moderate at their meals, but eat of many after dishes, and those not served up together. On this account the Persians say, “ that the Greeks rise hungry from table, because nothing worth mentioning is brought in after dinner, and that if any thing were brought in, they would not leave off eating.” The Persians are much addicted to wine; they are not allowed to vomit or make water in presence of another. These customs are observed to this day. They are used to debate the most