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The History of Herodotus, parallel English/Greek, tr. G. C. Macaulay, [1890], at

Herodotus Book 1: Clio [190]

190. When Cyrus had taken vengeance on the river Gyndes by dividing it into three hundred and sixty channels, and when the next spring was just beginning, then at length he continued his advance upon Babylon: and the men of Babylon had marched forth out of their city and were awaiting him. So when in his advance he came near to the city, the Babylonians joined battle with him, and having been worsted in the fight they were shut up close within their city. But knowing well even before this that Cyrus was not apt to remain still, and seeing him lay hands on every nation equally, they had brought in provisions beforehand for very many years. So while these made no account of the siege, Cyrus was in straits what to do, for much time went by and his affairs made no progress onwards. 190. [1] ὡς δὲ τὸν Γύνδην ποταμὸν ἐτίσατο Κῦρος ἐς τριηκοσίας καὶ ἑξήκοντα διώρυχάς μιν διαλαβών, καὶ τὸ δεύτερον ἔαρ ὑπέλαμπε, οὕτω δὴ ἤλαυνε ἐπὶ τὴν Βαβυλῶνα. οἱ δὲ Βαβυλώνιοι ἐκστρατευσάμενοι ἔμενον αὐτόν. ἐπεὶ δὲ ἐγένετο ἐλαύνων ἀγχοῦ τῆς πόλιος, συνέβαλόν τε οἱ Βαβυλώνιοι καὶ ἑσσωθέντες τῇ μάχῃ κατειλήθησαν ἐς τὸ ἄστυ. [2] οἷα δὲ ἐξεπιστάμενοι ἔτι πρότερον τὸν Κῦρον οὐκ ἀτρεμίζοντα, ἀλλ᾽ ὁρέοντες αὐτὸν παντὶ ἔθνεϊ ὁμοίως ἐπιχειρέοντα, προεσάξαντο σιτία ἐτέων κάρτα πολλῶν. ἐνθαῦτα οὗτοι μὲν λόγον εἶχον τῆς πολιορκίης οὐδένα, Κῦρος δὲ ἀπορίῃσι ἐνείχετο, ἅτε χρόνου τε ἐγγινομένου συχνοῦ ἀνωτέρω τε οὐδὲν τῶν πρηγμάτων προκοπτομένων. 

191. Therefore, whether it was some other man who suggested it to him when he was in a strait what to do, or whether he of himself perceived what he ought to do, he did as follows:--The main body of his army he posted at the place where the river runs into the city, and then again behind the city he set others, where the river issues forth from the city; and he proclaimed to his army that so soon as they should see that the stream had become passable, they should enter by this way into the city. Having thus set them in their places and in this manner exhorted them he marched away himself with that part of his army which was not fit for fighting: and when he came to the lake, Cyrus also did the same things which the queen of the Babylonians had done as regards the river and the lake; that is to say, he conducted the river by a channel into the lake, which was at that time a swamp, and so made the former course of the river passable by the sinking of the stream. When this had been done in such a manner, the Persians who had been posted for this very purpose entered by the bed of the river Euphrates into Babylon, the stream having sunk so far that it reached about to the middle of a man's thigh. Now if the Babylonians had had knowledge of it beforehand or had perceived that which was being done by Cyrus, they would have allowed the Persians to enter the city and then destroyed them miserably; for if they had closed all the gates that led to the river and mounted themselves upon the ramparts which were carried along the banks of the stream, they would have caught them as it were in a fish- wheal: but as it was, the Persians came upon them unexpectedly; and owing to the size of the city (so it is said by those who dwell there) after those about the extremities of the city had suffered capture, those Babylonians who dwelt in the middle did not know that they had been captured; but as they chanced to be holding a festival, they went on dancing and rejoicing during this time until they learnt the truth only too well.

Babylon then had thus been taken for the first time:

191. [1] εἴτε δὴ ὦν ἄλλος οἱ ἀπορέοντι ὑπεθήκατο, εἴτε καὶ αὐτὸς ἔμαθε τὸ ποιητέον οἱ ἦν, ἐποίεε δὴ τοιόνδε. [2] τάξας τὴν στρατιὴν ἅπασαν ἐξ ἐμβολῆς τοῦ ποταμοῦ, τῇ ἐς τὴν πόλιν ἐσβάλλει, καὶ ὄπισθε αὖτις τῆς πόλιος τάξας ἑτέρους, τῇ ἐξιεῖ ἐκ τῆς πόλιος ὁ ποταμός, προεῖπε τῷ στρατῷ, ὅταν διαβατὸν τὸ ῥέεθρον ἴδωνται γενόμενον, ἐσιέναι ταύτῃ ἐς τὴν πόλιν. οὕτω τε δὴ τάξας καὶ κατὰ ταῦτα παραινέσας ἀπήλαυνε αὐτὸς σὺν τῷ ἀχρηίῳ τοῦ στρατοῦ. [3] ἀπικόμενος δὲ ἐπὶ τὴν λίμνην, τά περ ἡ τῶν Βαβυλωνίων βασίλεια ἐποίησε κατά τε τὸν ποταμὸν καὶ κατὰ τὴν λίμνην, ἐποίεε καὶ ὁ Κῦρος ἕτερα τοιαῦτα· τὸν γὰρ ποταμὸν διώρυχι ἐσαγαγὼν ἐς τὴν λίμνην ἐοῦσαν ἕλος, τὸ ἀρχαῖον ῥέεθρον διαβατὸν εἶναι ἐποίησε, ὑπονοστήσαντος τοῦ ποταμοῦ. [4] γενομένου δὲ τούτου τοιούτου, οἱ Πέρσαι οἵ περ ἐτετάχατο ἐπ᾽ αὐτῷ τούτῳ κατὰ τὸ ῥέεθρον τοῦ Εὐφρήτεω ποταμοῦ ὑπονενοστηκότος ἀνδρὶ ὡς ἐς μέσον μηρὸν μάλιστά κῃ, κατὰ τοῦτο ἐσήισαν ἐς τὴν Βαβυλῶνα. [5] εἰ μέν νυν προεπύθοντο ἢ ἔμαθον οἱ Βαβυλώνιοι τὸ ἐκ τοῦ Κύρου ποιεύμενον, οἳ δ᾽ ἂν περιιδόντες τοὺς Πέρσας ἐσελθεῖν ἐς τὴν πόλιν διέφθειραν ἂν κάκιστα· κατακληίσαντες γὰρ ἂν πάσας τὰς ἐς τὸν ποταμὸν πυλίδας ἐχούσας καὶ αὐτοὶ ἐπὶ τὰς αἱμασιὰς ἀναβάντες τὰς παρὰ τὰ χείλεα τοῦ ποταμοῦ ἐληλαμένας, ἔλαβον ἂν σφέας ὡς ἐν κύρτῃ. [6] νῦν δὲ ἐξ ἀπροσδοκήτου σφι παρέστησαν οἱ Πέρσαι. ὑπὸ δὲ μεγάθεος τῆς πόλιος, ὡς λέγεται ὑπὸ τῶν ταύτῃ οἰκημένων, τῶν περὶ τὰ ἔσχατα τῆς πόλιος ἑαλωκότων τοὺς τὸ μέσον οἰκέοντας τῶν Βαβυλωνίων οὐ μανθάνειν ἑαλωκότας, ἀλλὰ τυχεῖν γάρ σφι ἐοῦσαν ὁρτήν, χορεύειν τε τοῦτον τὸν χρόνον καὶ ἐν εὐπαθείῃσι εἶναι, ἐς ὃ δὴ καὶ τὸ κάρτα ἐπύθοντο. καὶ Βαβυλὼν μὲν οὕτω τότε πρῶτον ἀραίρητο.

192. and as to the resources of the Babylonians how great they are, I shall show by many other proofs and among them also by this:--For the support of the great king and his army, apart from the regular tribute the whole land of which he is ruler has been distributed into portions. Now whereas twelve months go to make up the year, for four of these he has his support from the territory of Babylon, and for the remaining eight months from the whole of the rest of Asia; thus the Assyrian land is in regard to resources the third part of all Asia: and the government, or satrapy as it is called by the Persians, of this territory is of all the governments by far the best; seeing that when Tritantaichmes son of Artabazos had this province from the king, there came in to him every day an artab full of silver coin (now the artab is a Persian measure and holds more than the medimnos of Attica by three Attic choinikes); and of horses he had in this province as his private property, apart from the horses for use in war, eight hundred stallions and sixteen thousand mares, for each of these stallions served twenty mares: of Indian hounds moreover such a vast number were kept that four large villages in the plain, being free from other contributions, had been appointed to provide food for the hounds. 192. [1] τὴν δὲ δύναμιν τῶν Βαβυλωνίων πολλοῖσι μὲν καὶ ἄλλοισι δηλώσω ὅση τις ἐστί, ἐν δὲ δὴ καὶ τῷδε. βασιλέι τῷ μεγάλῳ ἐς τροφὴν αὐτοῦ τε καὶ τῆς στρατιῆς διαραίρηται, πάρεξ τοῦ φόρου, γῆ πᾶσα ὅσης ἄρχει· δυώδεκα ὦν μηνῶν ἐόντων ἐς τὸν ἐνιαυτὸν τοὺς τέσσερας μῆνας τρέφει μιν ἡ Βαβυλωνίη χωρῇ, τοὺς δὲ ὀκτὼ τῶν μηνῶν ἡ λοιπὴ πᾶσα Ἀσίη. [2] οὕτω τριτημορίη ἡ Ἀσσυρίη χώρη τῇ δυνάμι τῆς ἄλλης Ἀσίης. καὶ ἡ ἀρχὴ τῆς χώρης ταύτης, τὴν οἱ Πέρσαι σατραπηίην καλέουσι, ἐστὶ ἁπασέων τῶν ἀρχέων πολλόν τι κρατίστη, ὅκου Τριτανταίχμῃ τῷ Ἀρταβάζου ἐκ βασιλέος ἔχοντι τὸν νομὸν τοῦτον ἀργυρίου μὲν προσήιε ἑκάστης ἡμέρης ἀρτάβη μεστή. [3] ἡ δὲ ἀρτάβη, μέτρον ἐὸν Περσικόν, χωρέει μεδίμνου Ἀττικοῦ πλέον χοίνιξι τρισὶ Ἀττικῇσι, ἵπποι δὲ οἱ αὐτοῦ ἦσαν ἰδίῃ, πάρεξ τῶν πολεμιστηρίων, οἱ μὲν ἀναβαίνοντες τὰς θηλέας ὀκτακόσιοι, αἱ δὲ βαινόμεναι ἑξακισχίλιαι καὶ μυρίαι· ἀνέβαινε γὰρ ἕκαστος τῶν ἐρσένων τούτων εἴκοσι ἵππους. [4] κυνῶν δὲ Ἰνδικῶν τοσοῦτο δή τι πλῆθος ἐτρέφετο ὥστε τέσσερες τῶν ἐν τῷ πεδίῳ κῶμαι μεγάλαι, τῶν ἄλλων ἐοῦσαι ἀτελέες, τοῖσι κυσὶ προσετετάχατο σιτία παρέχειν. τοιαῦτα μὲν τῷ ἄρχοντι τῆς Βαβυλῶνος ὑπῆρχε ἐόντα. 

193. Such was the wealth which belonged to the ruler of Babylon. Now the land of the Assyrians has but little rain; and this little gives nourishment to the root of the corn, but the crop is ripened and the ear comes on by the help of watering from the river, not as in Egypt by the coming up of the river itself over the fields, but the crop is watered by hand or with swing-buckets. For the whole Babylonian territory like the Egyptian is cut up into channels, and the largest of the channels is navigable for ships and runs in the direction of the sunrising in winter from the Euphrates to another river, namely the Tigris, along the bank of which lay the city of Nineveh. This territory is of all that we know the best by far for producing corn: as to trees, it does not even attempt to bear them, either fig or vine or olive, but for producing corn it is so good that it returns as much as two-hundred-fold for the average, and when it bears at its best it produces three-hundred-fold. The leaves of the wheat and barley there grow to be full four fingers broad; and from millet and sesame seed how large a tree grows, I know myself but shall not record, being well aware that even what has already been said relating to the crops produced has been enough to cause disbelief in those who have not visited the Babylonian land. They use no oil of olives, but only that which they make of sesame seed; and they have date-palms growing over all the plain, most of them fruit-bearing, of which they make both solid food and wine and honey; and to these they attend in the same manner as to fig-trees, and in particular they take the fruit of those palms which the Hellenes call male-palms, and tie them upon the date-bearing palms, so that their gall-fly may enter into the date and ripen it and that the fruit of the palm may not fall off: for the male-palm produces gall-flies in its fruit just as the wild-fig does.

193. [1] ἡ δὲ γῆ τῶν Ἀσσυρίων ὕεται μὲν ὀλίγῳ, καὶ τὸ ἐκτρέφον τὴν ῥίζαν τοῦ σίτου ἐστὶ τοῦτο· ἀρδόμενον μέντοι ἐκ τοῦ ποταμοῦ ἁδρύνεταί τε τὸ λήιον καὶ παραγίνεται ὁ σῖτος, οὐ κατὰ περ ἐν Αἰγύπτῳ αὐτοῦ τοῦ ποταμοῦ ἀναβαίνοντος ἐς τὰς ἀρούρας, ἀλλὰ χερσί τε καὶ κηλωνηίοισι ἀρδόμενος. [2] ἡ γὰρ Βαβυλωνίη χώρη πᾶσα, κατά περ ἡ Αἰγυπτίη, κατατέτμηται ἐς διώρυχας· καὶ ἡ μεγίστη τῶν διωρύχων ἐστὶ νηυσιπέρητος, πρὸς ἥλιον τετραμμένη τὸν χειμερινόν, ἐσέχει δὲ ἐς ἄλλον ποταμὸν ἐκ τοῦ Εὐφρήτεω, ἐς τὸν Τίγρην, παρ᾽ ὃν Νίνος πόλις οἴκητο. ἔστι δὲ χωρέων αὕτη πασέων μακρῷ ἀρίστη τῶν ἡμεῖς ἴδμεν Δήμητρος καρπὸν ἐκφέρειν ... [3] τὰ γὰρ δὴ ἄλλα δένδρεα οὐδὲ πειρᾶται ἀρχὴν φέρειν, οὔτε συκέην οὔτε ἄμπελον οὔτε ἐλαίην. τὸν δὲ τῆς Δήμητρος καρπὸν ὧδε ἀγαθὴ ἐκφέρειν ἐστὶ ὥστε ἐπὶ διηκόσια μὲν τὸ παράπαν ἀποδιδοῖ, ἐπειδὰν δὲ ἄριστα αὐτὴ ἑωυτῆς ἐνείκῃ, ἐπὶ τριηκόσια ἐκφέρει. τὰ δὲ φύλλα αὐτόθι τῶν τε πυρῶν καὶ τῶν κριθέων τὸ πλάτος γίνεται τεσσέρων εὐπετέως δακτύλων. [4] ἐκ δὲ κέγχρου καὶ σησάμου ὅσον τι δένδρον μέγαθος γίνεται, ἐξεπιστάμενος μνήμην οὐ ποιήσομαι, εὖ εἰδὼς ὅτι τοῖσι μὴ ἀπιγμένοισι ἐς τὴν Βαβυλωνίην χώρην καὶ τὰ εἰρημένα καρπῶν ἐχόμενα ἐς ἀπιστίην πολλὴν ἀπῖκται. χρέωνται δὲ οὐδὲν ἐλαίῳ ἀλλ᾽ ἢ ἐκ τῶν σησάμων ποιεῦντες. εἰσὶ δέ σφι φοίνικες πεφυκότες ἀνὰ πᾶν τὸ πεδίον, οἱ πλεῦνες αὐτῶν καρποφόροι, ἐκ τῶν καὶ σιτία καὶ οἶνον καὶ μέλι ποιεῦνται· [5] τοὺς συκέων τρόπον θεραπεύουσι τά τε ἄλλα καὶ φοινίκων τοὺς ἔρσενας Ἕλληνὲς καλέουσι, τούτων τὸν καρπὸν περιδέουσι τῇσι βαλανηφόροισι τὸν φοινίκων, ἵνα πεπαίνῃ τε σφι ὁ ψὴν τὴν βάλανον ἐσδύνων καὶ μὴ ἀπορρέῃ ὁ καρπὸς τοῦ φοίνικος· ψῆνας γὰρ δὴ φέρουσι ἐν τῷ καρπῷ οἱ ἔρσενες κατά περ δὴ οἱ ὄλυνθοι. 

194. But the greatest marvel of all the things in the land after the city itself, to my mind is this which I am about to tell: Their boats, those I mean which go down the river to Babylon, are round and all of leather: for they make ribs for them of willow which they cut in the land of the Armenians who dwell above the Assyrians, and round these they stretch hides which serve as a covering outside by way of hull, not making broad the stern nor gathering in the prow to a point, but making the boats round like a shield: and after that they stow the whole boat with straw and suffer it to be carried down the stream full of cargo; and for the most part these boats bring down casks of palm- wood filled with wine. The boat is kept straight by two steering- oars and two men standing upright, and the man inside pulls his oar while the man outside pushes. These vessels are made both of very large size and also smaller, the largest of them having a burden of as much as five thousand talents' weight; and in each one there is a live ass, and in those of larger size several. So when they have arrived at Babylon in their voyage and have disposed of their cargo, they sell by auction the ribs of the boat and all the straw, but they pack the hides upon their asses and drive them off to Armenia: for up the stream of the river it is not possible by any means to sail, owing to the swiftness of the current; and for this reason they make their boats not of timber but of hides. Then when they have come back to the land of the Armenians, driving their asses with them, they make other boats in the same manner. 194. [1] τὸ δὲ ἁπάντων θῶμα μέγιστόν μοι ἐστὶ τῶν ταύτῃ μετά γε αὐτὴν τὴν πόλιν, ἔρχομαι φράσων· τὰ πλοῖα αὐτοῖσι ἐστὶ τὰ κατὰ τὸν ποταμὸν πορευόμενα ἐς τὴν Βαβυλῶνα, ἐόντα κυκλοτερέα, πάντα σκύτινα. [2] ἐπεὰν γὰρ ἐν τοῖσι Ἀρμενίοισι τοῖσι κατύπερθε Ἀσσυρίων οἰκημένοισι νομέας ἰτέης ταμόμενοι ποιήσωνται, περιτείνουσι τούτοισι διφθέρας στεγαστρίδας ἔξωθεν ἐδάφεος τρόπον, οὔτε πρύμνην ἀποκρίνοντες οὔτε πρῴρην συνάγοντες, ἀλλ᾽ ἀσπίδος τρόπον κυκλοτερέα ποιήσαντες καὶ καλάμης πλήσαντες πᾶν τὸ πλοῖον τοῦτο ἀπιεῖσι κατὰ τὸν ποταμὸν φέρεσθαι, φορτίων πλήσαντες· μάλιστα δὲ βίκους φοινικηίους κατάγουσι οἴνου πλέους. [3] ἰθύνεται δὲ ὑπό τε δύο πλήκτρων καὶ δύο ἀνδρῶν ὀρθῶν ἑστεώτων, καὶ ὃ μὲν ἔσω ἕλκει τὸ πλῆκτρον ὁ δὲ ἔξω ὠθέει. ποιέεται δὲ καὶ κάρτα μεγάλα ταῦτα τὰ πλοῖα καὶ ἐλάσσω· τὰ δὲ μέγιστα αὐτῶν καὶ πεντακισχιλίων ταλάντων γόμον ἔχει. ἐν ἑκάστῳ δὲ πλοίῳ ὄνος ζωὸς ἔνεστι, ἐν δὲ τοῖσι μέζοσι πλεῦνες. [4] ἐπεὰν ὦν ἀπίκωνται πλέοντες ἐς τὴν Βαβυλῶνα καὶ διαθέωνται τὸν φόρτον, νομέας μὲν τοῦ πλοίου καὶ τὴν καλάμην πᾶσαν ἀπ᾽ ὦν ἐκήρυξαν, τὰς δὲ διφθέρας ἐπισάξαντες ἐπὶ τοὺς ὄνους ἀπελαύνουσι ἐς τοὺς Ἀρμενίους. [5] ἀνὰ τὸν ποταμὸν γὰρ δὴ οὐκ οἷά τε ἐστὶ πλέειν οὐδενὶ τρόπῳ ὑπὸ τάχεος τοῦ ποταμοῦ· διὰ γὰρ ταῦτα καὶ οὐκ ἐκ ξύλων ποιεῦνται τὰ πλοῖα ἀλλ᾽ ἐκ διφθερέων. ἐπεὰν δὲ τοὺς ὄνους ἐλαύνοντες ἀπίκωνται ὀπίσω ἐς τοὺς Ἀρμενίους, ἄλλα τρόπῳ τῷ αὐτῷ ποιεῦνται πλοῖα. 

195. Such are their boats; and the following is the manner of dress which they use, namely a linen tunic reaching to the feet, and over this they put on another of wool, and then a white mantle thrown round, while they have shoes of a native fashion rather like the Bœotian slippers. They wear their hair long and bind their heads round with fillets, and they are anointed over the whole of their body with perfumes. Each man has a seal and a staff carved by hand, and on each staff is carved either an apple or a rose or a lily or an eagle or some other device, for it is not their custom to have a staff without a device upon it.

195. [1] τὰ μὲν δὴ πλοῖα αὐτοῖσι ἐστὶ τοιαῦτα· ἐσθῆτι δὲ τοιῇδε χρέωνται, κιθῶνι ποδηνεκέι λινέῳ, καὶ ἐπὶ τοῦτον ἄλλον εἰρίνεον κιθῶνα ἐπενδύνει καὶ χλανίδιον λευκὸν περιβαλλόμενος, ὑποδήματα ἔχων ἐπιχώρια, παραπλήσια τῇσι Βοιωτίῃσι ἐμβάσι. κομῶντες δὲ τὰς κεφαλὰς μίτρῃσι ἀναδέονται, μεμυρισμένοι πᾶν τὸ σῶμα. σφρηγῖδα δὲ ἕκαστος ἔχει καὶ σκῆπτρον χειροποίητον· [2] ἐπ᾽ ἑκάστῳ δὲ σκήπτρῳ ἔπεστι πεποιημένον ἢ μῆλον ἢ ῥόδον ἢ κρίνον ἢ αἰετὸς ἢ ἄλλο τι· ἄνευ γὰρ ἐπισήμου οὔ σφι νόμος ἐστὶ ἔχειν σκῆπτρον. αὕτη μὲν δή σφι ἄρτισις περὶ τὸ σῶμα ἐστί· νόμοι δὲ αὐτοῖσι ὧδε κατεστᾶσι.

196. Such is the equipment of their bodies: and the customs which are established among them are as follows, the wisest in our opinion being this, which I am informed that the Enetoi in Illyria also have. In every village once in each year it was done as follows:--When the maidens grew to the age for marriage, they gathered these all together and brought them in a body to one place, and round them stood a company of men: and the crier caused each one severally to stand up, and proceeded to sell them, first the most comely of all, and afterwards, when she had been sold and had fetched a large sum of money, he would put up another who was the most comely after her: and they were sold for marriage. Now all the wealthy men of the Babylonians who were ready to marry vied with one another in bidding for the most beautiful maidens; those however of the common sort who were ready to marry did not require a fine form, but they would accept money together with less comely maidens. For when the crier had made an end of selling the most comely of the maidens, then he would cause to stand up that one who was least shapely, or any one of them who might be crippled in any way, and he would make proclamation of her, asking who was willing for least gold to have her in marriage, until she was assigned to him who was willing to accept least: and the gold would be got from the sale of the comely maidens, and so those of beautiful form provided dowries for those which were unshapely or crippled; but to give in marriage one's own daughter to whomsoever each man would, was not allowed, nor to carry off the maiden after buying her without a surety; for it was necessary for the man to provide sureties that he would marry her, before he took her away; and if they did not agree well together, the law was laid down that he should pay back the money. It was allowed also for any one who wished it to come from another village and buy. This then was their most honourable custom; it does not however still exist at the present time, but they have found out of late another way, in order that the men may not ill-treat them or take them to another city: for since the time when being conquered they were oppressed and ruined, each one of the common people when he is in want of livelihood prostitutes his female children.

196. [1] ὁ μὲν σοφώτατος ὅδε κατὰ γνώμην τὴν ἡμετέρην, τῷ καὶ Ἰλλυριῶν Ἐνετοὺς πυνθάνομαι χρᾶσθαι. κατὰ κώμας ἑκάστας ἅπαξ τοῦ ἔτεος ἑκάστου ἐποιέετο τάδε· ὡς ἂν αἱ παρθένοι γενοίατο γάμων ὡραῖαι, ταύτας ὅκως συναγάγοιεν πάσας, ἐς ἓν χωρίον ἐσάγεσκον ἁλέας, πέριξ δὲ αὐτὰς ἵστατο ὅμιλος ἀνδρῶν, [2] ἀνιστὰς δὲ κατὰ μίαν ἑκάστην κῆρυξ πωλέεσκε, πρῶτα μὲν τὴν εὐειδεστάτην ἐκ πασέων· μετὰ δέ, ὅκως αὕτη εὑροῦσα πολλὸν χρυσίον πρηθείη, ἄλλην ἂν ἐκήρυσσε ἣ μετ᾽ ἐκείνην ἔσκε εὐειδεστάτη· ἐπωλέοντο δὲ ἐπὶ συνοικήσι. ὅσοι μὲν δὴ ἔσκον εὐδαίμονες τῶν Βαβυλωνίων ἐπίγαμοι, ὑπερβάλλοντες ἀλλήλους ἐξωνέοντο τὰς καλλιστευούσας· ὅσοι δὲ τοῦ δήμου ἔσκον ἐπίγαμοι, οὗτοι δὲ εἴδεος μὲν οὐδὲν ἐδέοντο χρηστοῦ, οἳ δ᾽ ἂν χρήματά τε καὶ αἰσχίονας παρθένους ἐλάμβανον. [3] ὡς γὰρ δὴ διεξέλθοι ὁ κῆρυξ πωλέων τὰς εὐειδεστάτας τῶν παρθένων ἀνίστη ἂν τὴν ἀμορφεστάτην, ἢ εἴ τις αὐτέων ἔμπηρος εἴη, καὶ ταύτην ἂν ἐκήρυσσε, ὅστις θέλοι ἐλάχιστον χρυσίον λαβὼν συνοικέειν αὐτῇ, ἐς ὃ τῷ τὸ ἐλάχιστον ὑπισταμένῳ προσέκειτο. τὸ δὲ ἂν χρυσίον ἐγίνετο ἀπὸ τῶν εὐειδέων παρθένων καὶ οὕτω αἱ εὔμορφοι τὰς ἀμόρφους καὶ ἐμπήρους ἐξεδίδοσαν. ἐκδοῦναι δὲ τὴν ἑωυτοῦ θυγατέρα ὅτεῳ βούλοιτο ἕκαστος οὐκ ἐξῆν, οὐδὲ ἄνευ ἐγγυητέω ἀπάγεσθαι τὴν παρθένον πριάμενον, ἀλλ᾽ ἐγγυητὰς χρῆν καταστήσαντα ἡ μὲν συνοικήσειν αὐτῇ, οὕτω ἀπάγεσθαι. [4] εἰ δὲ μὴ συμφεροίατο, ἀποφέρειν τὸ χρυσίον ἔκειτο νόμος. ἐξῆν δὲ καὶ ἐξ ἄλλης ἐλθόντα κώμης τὸν βουλόμενον ὠνέεσθαι. [5] ὁ μέν νυν κάλλιστος νόμος οὗτός σφι ἦν, οὐ μέντοι νῦν γε διατελέει ἐών, ἄλλο δέ τι ἐξευρήκασι νεωστὶ γενέσθαι [ἵνα μὴ ἀδικοῖεν αὐτὰς μηδ᾽ εἰς ἑτέραν πόλιν ἄγωνται]· ἐπείτε γὰρ ἁλόντες ἐκακώθησαν καὶ οἰκοφθορήθησαν, πᾶς τις τοῦ δήμου βίου σπανίζων καταπορνεύει τὰ θήλεα τέκνα. 

197. Next in wisdom to that, is this other custom which was established among them:--they bear out the sick into the market- place; for of physicians they make no use. So people come up to the sick man and give advice about his disease, if any one himself has ever suffered anything like that which the sick man has, or saw any other who had suffered it; and coming near they advise and recommend those means by which they themselves got rid of a like disease or seen some other get rid of it: and to pass by the sick man in silence is not permitted to them, nor until one has asked what disease he has.

197. [1] δεύτερος δὲ σοφίῃ ὅδε ἄλλος σφι νόμος κατέστηκε· τοὺς κάμνοντας ἐς τὴν ἀγορὴν ἐκφορέουσι· οὐ γὰρ δὴ χρέωνται ἰητροῖσι. προσιόντες ὦν πρὸς τὸν κάμνοντα συμβουλεύουσι περὶ τῆς νούσου, εἴ τις καὶ αὐτὸς τοιοῦτο ἔπαθε ὁκοῖον ἂν ἔχῃ ὁ κάμνων ἢ ἄλλον εἶδε παθόντα, ταῦτα προσιόντες συμβουλεύουσι καὶ παραινέουσι ἅσσα αὐτὸς ποιήσας ἐξέφυγε ὁμοίην νοῦσον ἢ ἄλλον εἶδε ἐκφυγόντα. σιγῇ δὲ παρεξελθεῖν τὸν κάμνοντα οὔ σφι ἔξεστι, πρὶν ἂν ἐπείρηται ἥντινα νοῦσον ἔχει. 

198. They bury their dead in honey, and their modes of lamentation are similar to those used in Egypt. And whenever a Babylonian man has intercourse with his wife, he sits by incense offered, and his wife does the same on the other side, and when it is morning they wash themselves, both of them, for they will touch no vessel until they have washed themselves: and the Arabians do likewise in this matter.

198. [1] ταφαὶ δέ σφι ἐν μέλιτι, θρῆνοι δὲ παραπλήσιοι τοῖσι ἐν Αἰγύπτῳ. ὁσάκις δ᾽ ἂν μιχθῇ γυναικὶ τῇ ἑωυτοῦ ἀνὴρ Βαβυλώνιος, περὶ θυμίημα καταγιζόμενον ἵζει, ἑτέρωθι δὲ ἡ γυνὴ τὠυτὸ τοῦτο ποιέει, ὄρθρου δὲ γενομένου λοῦνται καὶ ἀμφότεροι· ἄγγεος γὰρ οὐδενὸς ἅψονται πρὶν ἂν λούσωνται. ταὐτὰ δὲ ταῦτα καὶ Ἀράβιοι ποιεῦσι. 

199. Now the most shameful of the customs of the Babylonians is as follows: every woman of the country must sit down in the precincts of Aphrodite once in her life and have commerce with a man who is a stranger: and many women who do not deign to mingle with the rest, because they are made arrogant by wealth, drive to the temple with pairs of horses in covered carriages, and so take their place, and a large number of attendants follow after them; but the greater number do thus,--in the sacred enclosure of Aphrodite sit great numbers of women with a wreath of cord about their heads; some come and others go; and there are passages in straight lines going between the women in every direction, through which the strangers pass by and make their choice. Here when a woman takes her seat she does not depart again to her house until one of the strangers has thrown a silver coin into her lap and has had commerce with her outside the temple, and after throwing it he must say these words only: "I demand thee in the name of the goddess Mylitta": now Mylitta is the name given by the Assyrians to Aphrodite: and the silver coin may be of any value; whatever it is she will not refuse it, for that is not lawful for her, seeing that this coin is made sacred by the act: and she follows the man who has first thrown and does not reject any: and after that she departs to her house, having acquitted herself of her duty to the goddess, nor will you be able thenceforth to give any gift so great as to win her. So then as many as have attained to beauty and stature are speedily released, but those of them who are unshapely remain there much time, not being able to fulfil the law; for some of them remain even as much as three or four years: and in some parts of Cyprus too there is a custom similar to this.

199. [1] ὁ δὲ δὴ αἴσχιστος τῶν νόμων ἐστὶ τοῖσι Βαβυλωνίοισι ὅδε· δεῖ πᾶσαν γυναῖκα ἐπιχωρίην ἱζομένην ἐς ἱρὸν Ἀφροδίτης ἅπαξ ἐν τῇ ζόῃ μιχθῆναι ἀνδρὶ ξείνῳ. πολλαὶ δὲ καὶ οὐκ ἀξιούμεναι ἀναμίσγεσθαι τῇσι ἄλλῃσι, οἷα πλούτῳ ὑπερφρονέουσαι, ἐπὶ ζευγέων ἐν καμάρῃσι ἐλάσασαι πρὸς τὸ ἱρὸν ἑστᾶσι· θεραπηίη δέ σφι ὄπισθε ἕπεται πολλή. [2] αἱ δὲ πλεῦνες ποιεῦσι ὧδε· ἐν τεμένεϊ Ἀφροδίτης κατέαται στέφανον περὶ τῇσι κεφαλῇσι ἔχουσαι θώμιγγος πολλαὶ γυναῖκες· αἳ μὲν γὰρ προσέρχονται, αἳ δὲ ἀπέρχονται. σχοινοτενέες δὲ διέξοδοι πάντα τρόπον ὁδῶν ἔχουσι διὰ τῶν γυναικῶν, δι᾽ ὧν οἱ ξεῖνοι διεξιόντες ἐκλέγονται· [3] ἔνθα ἐπεὰν ἵζηται γυνή, οὐ πρότερον ἀπαλλάσσεται ἐς τὰ οἰκία ἤ τίς οἱ ξείνων ἀργύριον ἐμβαλὼν ἐς τὰ γούνατα μιχθῇ ἔξω τοῦ ἱροῦ· ἐμβαλόντα δὲ δεῖ εἰπεῖν τοσόνδε· «ἐπικαλέω τοι τὴν θεὸν Μύλιττα.» Μύλιττα δὲ καλέουσι τὴν Ἀφροδίτην Ἀσσύριοι. [4] τὸ δὲ ἀργύριον μέγαθος ἐστὶ ὅσον ὦν· οὐ γὰρ μὴ ἀπώσηται· οὐ γάρ οἱ θέμις ἐστί· γίνεται γὰρ ἱρὸν τοῦτο τὸ ἀργύριον. τῷ δὲ πρώτῳ ἐμβαλόντι ἕπεται οὐδὲ ἀποδοκιμᾷ οὐδένα. ἐπεὰν δὲ μιχθῇ, ἀποσιωσαμένη τῇ θεῷ ἀπαλλάσσεται ἐς τὰ οἰκία, καὶ τὠπὸ τούτου οὐκ οὕτω μέγα τί οἱ δώσεις ὥς μιν λάμψεαι. [5] ὅσσαι μέν νυν εἴδεός τε ἐπαμμέναι εἰσὶ καὶ μεγάθεος, ταχὺ ἀπαλλάσσονται, ὅσαι δὲ ἄμορφοι αὐτέων εἰσί, χρόνον πολλὸν προσμένουσι οὐ δυνάμεναι τὸν νόμον ἐκπλῆσαι· καὶ γὰρ τριέτεα καὶ τετραέτεα μετεξέτεραι χρόνον μένουσι. ἐνιαχῇ δὲ καὶ τῆς Κύπρου ἐστὶ παραπλήσιος τούτῳ νόμος. 

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