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when the day was turned into night,” as they were fighting; and who subjected the whole of Asia above the river Halys. He assembled the forces of all his subjects, and marched against Nineveh to avenge his father, and destroy that city. However, when he had obtained a victory over the Assyrians, and while he was besieging Nineveh, a great army of Scythians came upon him, under the conduct of their king Madyes, son of Protothyas. These Scythians had driven the Cimmerians out of Europe, and pursuing them into Asia, by that means entered the territories of the Medes. 104. The distance from the lake Maeotis to the river Phasis and to Colchis, is a journey of thirty days to a well-girt man,” but the route from Colchis to Media is not long, for there is only one nation, the Saspires, between them: when one has passed over this, one finds oneself in Media. The Scythians, however, did not pass by this way, but turned to the higher road by a much longer route, having Mount Caucasus on the right,” and there the Medes coming to an engagement with the Scythians, and being worsted in the battle, lost their dominion; but the Scythians became masters of all Asia. 105. From thence they proceeded to Egypt, and when they reached Palestine in Syria, Psammitichus, king of Egypt, having met them with presents and prayers, diverted them from advancing further. In their return, however, they came to Ascalon, a city of Syria, and when most of them had marched through without doing any injury, some few, who were left behind, pillaged the temple of Celestial Venus. This temple, as I find by inquiry, is the most ancient of all the temples dedicated to this goddess: for that in Cyprus was built after this, as the Cyprians themselves confess; and that in Cythera was erected by Phoenicians who came from the same part of Syria. However, the goddess inflicted on the Scythians who robbed her temple at Ascalon, and on all their posterity, a female disease; so that the Scythians confess that they are afflicted with it on this account, and those who visit Scythia may see in what a state they are whom the Scythians call Enarees.
106. For twenty-eight years, then, the Scythians governed Asia, and every thing was overthrown by their licentiousness and neglect; for besides the usual tribute, they exacted from
each whatever they chose to impose; and, in addition to the tribute, they rode round the country and plundered them of all their possessions. Now Cyaxares and the Medes invited the greatest part of them to a feast, and having made them drunk, put them to death; and so the Medes recovered their former power, and all they had possessed before; and they took Nineveh, (how they took it, I will relate in another work,”) and reduced the Assyrians into subjection, with the exception of the Babylonian district. Having accomplished these things, Cyaxares died, after he had reigned forty years, including the time of the Scythian dominion. 107. Astyages the son of Cyaxares succeeded him in the kingdom. He had a daughter, to whom he gave the name of Mandane. He dreamt that she made so great a quantity of water, as not only filled his own city, but overflowed all Asia. And having communicated this dream to those of the Magi who interpret dreams, he was exceedingly alarmed when informed by them of every particular; and he afterwards gave this Mandane, when arrived at a marriageable age, to no one of the Medes who was worthy of her, through dread of the vision; but to a Persian, named Cambyses, whom he found descended of a good family, and of a peaceful disposition, deeming him far inferior to a Mede of moderate rank. 108. In the first year after Mandane was married to Cambyses, Astyages saw another vision: it appeared to him that a vine grew up from his daughter's womb, and that the vine covered all Asia. Having seen this and communicated it to the interpreters of dreams, he sent to Persia for his daughter, who was then near her time of delivery; and upon her arrival he put her under a guard, resolving to destroy whatever should be born of her; for the Magian interpreters had signified to him from his vision, that the issue of his daughter would reign in his stead. Astyages therefore, guarding against this, as soon as Cyrus was born, sent for Harpagus, a kinsman of his, and the most faithful of all the Medes, and the manager of all his affairs, and said to him, “Harpagus, on no account fail to perform the business I now charge you
* Several passages of our author seem to prove that Herodotus wrote other histories than those which have come down to us. In the 184th chapter of this book he speaks of his Assyrian history; in the 161st of the 2nd of the Libyan.
with ; nor expose me to danger by deceiving me; nor, by preferring another, draw ruin upon thy own head. Take the child that Mandane has given birth to, carry him to your own house and kill him, and afterwards bury him in whatever way you think fit.” Harpagus answered, “O king, you have never yet observed any ingratitude in me, and I shall take care never to offend you for the future. If therefore it is your pleasure that this thing should be done, it is fitting that I readily obey you.” 109. Harpagus, having given this answer, when the child had been put into his hands, adorned as if for death, returned home weeping; and upon his arrival he told his wife all that Astyages had said. She asked him, “What then do you purpose to do?” He answered, “ Not as Astyages has commanded; though he should be yet more outrageous and mad than he is, I will not comply with his wishes, nor will I submit to him by performing such a murder: and for many reasons I will not murder the child; both because he is my own relation, and because Astyages is old, and has no male offspring; besides, if, after his death, the sovereignty should devolve on this daughter, whose son he would now murder by my means, what else remains for me but the greatest danger? It is necessary, however, for my safety that the child should die, but as necessary that one of Astyages' people should be the executioner, and not one of mine.” 110. Thus he spoke, and immediately sent a messenger for one of Astyages' herdsmen, who he knew grazed his cattle on pastures most convenient for the purpose, and on mountains abounding with wild beasts. His name was Mitradates, and he had married his fellow-servant. The name of the woman to whom he was married, in the language of Greece was Cyno, and in that of the Medes Spaco, for the Medes call a bitch Spaca. The foot of the mountains at which this herdsman grazed his cattle, lies to the north of Ecbatana, towards the Euxine Sea. For the Medic territory on this side towards the Saspires, is very mountainous, lofty, and covered with forests; whereas all the rest of Media is level. When therefore the herdsman, being summoned in great haste, arrived, Harpagus addressed him as follows: “Astyages bids thee take this infant, and expose him on the bleakest part of the mountains, that he may speedily perish ; and has charged me to add, that if thou by any means shouldst save the child, thou shalt die by the E
most cruel death; and I am appointed to see the child exposed.” 111. The herdsman, having heard these words, took the infant, returned back by the same way, and reached his cottage. It so happened that his own wife, whose confinement had been daily expected, was brought to bed whilst he was absent in the city. And each had been in a state of anxiety for the other; he being alarmed about his wife's delivery; and the woman, because Harpagus, who had not been accustomed to do so, had sent for her husband. When he returned and came up to her, she seeing him thus unexpectedly, first asked him why Harpagus had sent for him in such haste. “Wife,” said he, “when I reached the city, I saw and heard what I wish I had never seen, nor had ever befallen our masters. The whole house of Harpagus was filled with lamentations; I, greatly alarmed, went in, and as soon as I entered, I saw an infant lying before me, panting and crying, dressed in gold and a robe of various colours. When Harpagus saw me, he ordered me to take up the child directly, and carry him away, and expose him in the part of the mountain most frequented by wild beasts; telling me at the same time, that it was Astyages who imposed this task on me, and threatening the severest punishment if I should fail to do it. I took up the infant and carried him away, supposing him to belong to one of the servants; for I had then no suspicion whence he came ; though I was astonished at seeing him dressed in gold and fine apparel; and also at the sorrow which evidently prevailed in the house of Harpagus. But soon after, on my way home, I learnt the whole truth, from a servant who accompanied me out of the city, and delivered the child into my hands; that he was born of Mandane, Astyages' daughter, and of Cambyses son of Cyrus, and that Astyages had commanded him to be put to death.” 112. As the herdsman uttered these last words, he uncovered the child, and showed it to his wife; she seeing that the child was large and of a beautiful form, embraced the knees of her husband, and with tears besought him by no means to expose it. He said that it was impossible to do otherwise; for that spies would come from Harpagus to see the thing done, and he must himself die the most cruel death if he should fail to do it. The woman, finding she could not persuade her husband, again addressed him as follows: “Since,
then, I cannot persuade you not to expose the child, do this at least, if it is absolutely necessary that he should be seen exposed: now I too have been delivered, and delivered of a stillborn child, then take this and expose it, and let us bring up the son of Astyages' daughter as our own. Thus you will neither be convicted of having wronged our masters, nor shall we have consulted ill for our own interests; for the child that is dead will have a royal burial, and the one that survives will not be deprived of life.” 113. The herdsman thought his wife spoke very much to the purpose under existing circumstances, and immediately proceeded to act accordingly: the child that he had brought for the purpose of putting to death he delivered to his wife; his own, which was dead, he put into the basket in which he had brought the other, and having dressed it in all the finery of the other child, he exposed it in the most desolate part of the mountains. On the third day after the infant had been exposed, the herdsman, having left one of his assistants as a guard, went to the city, and arriving at the house of Harpagus, told him he was ready to show the dead body of the infant. Harpagus accordingly sent some of the most trusty of his guards, and by that means saw the body, and buried the herdsman's child. Thus this child was buried. The other, who afterwards had the name of Cyrus, was brought up by the herdsman's wife, who gave him some other name, and not that of Cyrus.” 114. When the child attained the age of ten years, a circumstance of the following nature discovered him. He was playing in the village in which the ox-stalls were, with boys of his own age, in the road. The boys who were playing chose this reputed son of the herdsman for their king. But he appointed some of them to build houses, and others to be his body-guards; one of them to be the king's eye, and to another he gave the office of bringing messages to him, assigning to each his proper duty. Now one of these boys who was playing with him, being son of Artembares, a man of rank among the Medes, refused to obey the orders of Cyrus ; he therefore commanded the others to seize him, and when they obeyed, Cyrus scourged the boy very severely. But the boy, as soon as he was let loose, considering that he had been treated with great indignity, took it very much to heart, and hastening to the city, compling to his father of the treatE