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

Herodotus Book 4: Melpomene [60]

60. They have all the same manner of sacrifice established for all their religious rites equally, and it is thus performed:--the victim stands with its fore-feet tied, and the sacrificing priest stands behind the victim, and by pulling the end of the cord he throws the beast down; and as the victim falls, he calls upon the god to whom he is sacrificing, and then at once throws a noose round its neck, and putting a small stick into it he turns it round and so strangles the animal, without either lighting a fire or making any first offering from the victim or pouring any libation over it: and when he has strangled it and flayed off the skin, he proceeds to boil it. 60. [1] θυσίη δὲ ἡ αὐτὴ πᾶσι κατέστηκε περὶ πάντα τὰ ἱρὰ ὁμοίως, ἐρδομένη ὧδε· τὸ μὲν ἱρήιον αὐτὸ ἐμπεποδισμένον τοὺς ἐμπροσθίους πόδας ἔστηκε, ὁ δὲ θύων ὄπισθε τοῦ κτήνεος ἑστεὼς σπάσας τὴν ἀρχὴν τοῦ στρόφου καταβάλλει μιν, [2] πίπτοντος δὲ τοῦ ἱρηίου ἐπικαλέει τὸν θεὸν τῷ ἂν θύῃ, καὶ ἔπειτα βρόχῳ περὶ ὦν ἔβαλε τὸν αὐχένα, σκυταλίδα δὲ ἐμβαλὼν περιάγει καὶ ἀποπνίγει, οὔτε πῦρ ἀνακαύσας οὔτε καταρξάμενος οὔτ᾽ ἐπισπείσας· ἀποπνίξας δὲ καὶ ἀποδείρας τρέπεται πρὸς ἕψησιν.

61. Now as the land of Scythia is exceedingly ill wooded, this contrivance has been invented for the boiling of the flesh:--having flayed the victims, they strip the flesh off the bones and then put it into caldrons, if they happen to have any, of native make, which very much resemble Lesbian mixing-bowls except that they are much larger,--into these they put the flesh and boil it by lighting under it the bones of the victim: if however thy have not at hand the caldron, they put all the flesh into the stomachs of the victims and adding water they light the bones under them; and these blaze up beautifully, and the stomachs easily hold the flesh when it has been stripped off the bones: thus an ox is made to boil itself, and the other kinds of victims each boil themselves also. Then when the flesh is boiled, the sacrificer takes a first offering of the flesh and of the vital organs and casts it in front of him. And they sacrifice various kinds of cattle, but especially horses.

61. [1] τῆς δὲ γῆς τῆς Σκυθικῆς αἰνῶς ἀξύλου ἐούσης ὧδε σφι ἐς τὴν ἕψησιν τῶν κρεῶν ἐξεύρηται· ἐπειδὰν ἀποδείρωσι τὰ ἱρήια, γυμνοῦσι τὰ ὀστέα τῶν κρεῶν, ἔπειτα ἐσβάλλουσι, ἢν μὲν τύχωσι ἔχοντες, ἐς λέβητας ἐπιχωρίους, μάλιστα Λεσβίοισι κρητῆρσι προσεικέλους, χωρὶς ἢ ὅτι πολλῷ μέζονας· ἐς τούτους ἐσβάλλοντες ἕψουσι ὑποκαίοντες τὰ ὀστέα τῶν ἱρηίων. ἢν δὲ μή σφι παρῇ, ὁ λέβης, οἳ δὲ ἐς τὰς γαστέρας τῶν ἱρηίων ἐσβάλλοντες τὰ κρέα πάντα καὶ παραμίξαντες ὕδωρ ὑποκαίουσι τὰ ὀστέα· [2] τὰ δὲ αἴθεται κάλλιστα, αἱ δὲ γαστέρες χωρέουσι εὐπετέως τὰ κρέα ἐψιλωμένα τῶν ὀστέων· καὶ οὕτω βοῦς τε ἑωυτὸν ἐξέψει καὶ τἆλλα ἱρήια ἑωυτὸ ἕκαστον. ἐπεὰν δὲ ἑψηθῇ τὰ κρέα, ὁ θύσας τῶν κρεῶν καὶ τῶν σπλάγχνων ἀπαρξάμενος ῥίπτει ἐς τὸ ἔμπροσθε. θύουσι δὲ καὶ τὰ ἄλλα πρόβατα καὶ ἵππους μάλιστα. 

62. To the others of the gods they sacrifice thus and these kinds of beasts, but to Ares as follows:--In each district of the several governments they have a temple of Ares set up in this way:-- bundles of brushwood are heaped up for about three furlongs in length and in breadth, but less in height; and on the top of this there is a level square made, and three of the sides rise sheer but by the remaining one side the pile may be ascended. Every year they pile on a hundred and fifty waggon-loads of brushwood, for it is constantly settling down by reason of the weather. Upon this pile of which I speak each people has an ancient iron sword set up, and this is the sacred symbol of Ares. To this sword they bring yearly offerings of cattle and of horses; and they have the following sacrifice in addition, beyond what they make to the other gods, that is to say, of all the enemies whom they take captive in war they sacrifice one man in every hundred, not in the same manner as they sacrifice cattle, but in a different manner: for they first pour wine over their heads, and after that they cut the throats of the men, so that the blood runs into a bowl; and then they carry this up to the top of the pile of brushwood and pour the blood over the sword. This, I say, they carry up; and meanwhile below by the side of the temple they are doing thus:--they cut off all the right arms of the slaughtered men with the hands and throw them up into the air, and then when they have finished offering the other victims, they go away; and the arm lies wheresoever it has chanced to fall, and the corpse apart from it. 62. [1] τοῖσι μὲν δὴ ἄλλοισι τῶν θεῶν οὕτω θύουσι καὶ ταῦτα τῶν κτηνέων, τῷ δὲ Ἄρεϊ ὧδε. κατὰ νομοὺς ἑκάστους τῶν ἀρχέων ἐσίδρυται σφι Ἄρεος ἱρὸν τοιόνδε φρυγάνων φάκελοι συννενέαται ὅσον τ᾽ ἐπὶ σταδίους τρεῖς μῆκος καὶ εὖρος, ὕψος δὲ ἔλασσον· ἄνω δὲ τούτου τετράγωνον ἄπεδον πεποίηται, καὶ τὰ μὲν τρία τῶν κώλων ἐστὶ ἀπότομα, κατὰ δὲ τὸ ἓν ἐπιβατόν. [2] ἔτεος δὲ ἑκάστου ἁμάξας πεντήκοντα καὶ ἑκατὸν ἐπινέουσι φρυγάνων· ὑπονοστέει γὰρ δὴ αἰεὶ ὑπὸ τῶν χειμώνων. ἐπὶ τούτου δὴ τοῦ σηκοῦ ἀκινάκης σιδήρεος ἵδρυται ἀρχαῖος ἑκάστοισι, καὶ τοῦτ᾽ ἐστὶ τοῦ Ἄρεος τὸ ἄγαλμα. τούτῳ δὲ τῷ ἀκινάκῃ θυσίας ἐπετείους προσάγουσι προβάτων καὶ ἵππων, καὶ δὴ καὶ τοῖσιδ᾽ ἔτι πλέω θύουσι ἢ τοῖσι ἄλλοισι θεοῖσι· [3] ὅσους ἂν τῶν πολεμίων ζωγρήσωσι, ἀπὸ τῶν ἑκατὸν ἀνδρῶν ἄνδρα θύουσι τρόπῳ οὐ τῷ αὐτῷ καὶ τὰ πρόβατα, ἀλλ᾽ ἑτεροίῳ. ἐπεὰν γὰρ οἶνον ἐπισπείσωσι κατὰ τῶν κεφαλέων, ἀποσφάζουσι τοὺς ἀνθρώπους ἐς ἄγγος καὶ ἔπειτα ἀνενείκαντες ἄνω ἐπὶ τὸν ὄγκον τῶν φρυγάνων καταχέουσι τὸ αἷμα τοῦ ἀκινάκεω. [4] ἄνω μὲν δὴ φορέουσι τοῦτο, κάτω δὲ παρὰ τὸ ἱρὸν ποιεῦσι τάδε· τῶν ἀποσφαγέντων ἀνδρῶν τοὺς δεξιοὺς ὤμους πάντας ἀποταμόντες σὺν τῇσι χερσὶ ἐς τὸν ἠέρα ἱεῖσι, καὶ ἔπειτα καὶ τὰ ἄλλα ἀπέρξαντες ἱρήια ἀπαλλάσσονται. χεὶρ δὲ τῇ ἂν πέσῃ κέεται, καὶ χωρὶς ὁ νεκρός. 

63. Such are the sacrifices which are established among them; but of swine these make no use, nor indeed are they wont to keep them at all in their land.

63. [1] θυσίαι μέν νυν αὗταί σφι κατεστᾶσι. ὑσὶ δὲ οὗτοι οὐδὲν νομίζουσι, οὐδὲ τρέφειν ἐν τῇ χώρῃ τὸ παράπαν θέλουσι.

64. That which relates to war is thus ordered with them:--When a Scythian has slain his first man, he drinks some of his blood: and of all those whom he slays in the battle he bears the heads to the king; for if he has brought a head he shares in the spoil which they have taken, but otherwise not. And he takes off the skin of the head by cutting it round about the ears and then taking hold of the scalp and shaking it off; afterwards he scrapes off the flesh with the rib of an ox, and works the skin about with his hands; and when he has thus tempered it, he keeps it as a napkin to wipe the hands upon, and hangs it from the bridle of the horse on which he himself rides, and takes pride in it; for whosoever has the greatest number of skins to wipe the hands upon, he is judged to be the bravest man. Many also make cloaks to wear of the skins stripped off, sewing them together like shepherds' cloaks of skins; and many take the skin together with the finger-nails off the right hands of their enemies when they are dead, and make them into covers for their quivers: now human skin it seems is both thick and glossy in appearance, more brilliantly white than any other skin. Many also take the skins off the whole bodies of men and stretch them on pieces of wood and carry them about on their horses. 64. [1] τὰ δ᾽ ἐς πόλεμον ἔχοντα ὧδέ σφι διακέαται· ἐπεὰν τὸν πρῶτον ἄνδρα καταβάλῃ ἀνὴρ Σκύθης, τοῦ αἵματος ἐμπίνει, ὅσους δ᾽ ἂν φονεύσῃ ἐν τῇ μάχῃ, τούτων τὰς κεφαλὰς ἀποφέρει τῷ βασιλέι. ἀπενείκας μὲν γὰρ κεφαλὴν τῆς ληίης μεταλαμβάνει τὴν ἂν λάβωσι, μὴ ἐνείκας δὲ οὔ. [2] ἀποδείρει δὲ αὐτὴν τρόπῳ τοιῷδε· περιταμὼν κύκλῳ περὶ τὰ ὦτα καὶ λαβόμενος τῆς κεφαλῆς ἐκσείει, μετὰ δὲ σαρκίσας βοὸς πλευρῇ δέψει τῇσι χερσί, ὀργάσας δὲ αὐτὸ ἅτε χειρόμακτρον ἔκτηται, ἐκ δὲ τῶν χαλινῶν τοῦ ἵππου τὸν αὐτὸς ἐλαύνει, ἐκ τούτου ἐξάπτει καὶ ἀγάλλεται· ὃς γὰρ ἂν πλεῖστα δέρματα χειρόμακτρα ἔχῃ, ἀνὴρ ἄριστος οὗτος κέκριται. [3] πολλοὶ δὲ αὐτῶν ἐκ τῶν ἀποδερμάτων καὶ χλαίνας ἐπείνυσθαι ποιεῦσι, συρράπτοντες κατά περ βαίτας. πολλοὶ δὲ ἀνδρῶν ἐχθρῶν τὰς δεξιὰς χεῖρας νεκρῶν ἐόντων ἀποδείραντες αὐτοῖσι ὄνυξι καλύπτρας τῶν φαρετρέων ποιεῦνται. δέρμα δὲ ἀνθρώπου καὶ παχὺ καὶ λαμπρὸν ἦν ἄρα, σχεδὸν δερμάτων πάντων λαμπρότατον λευκότητι. [4] πολλοὶ δὲ καὶ ὅλους ἄνδρας ἐκδείραντες καὶ διατείναντες ἐπὶ ξύλων ἐπ᾽ ἵππων περιφέρουσι.

65. Such are their established customs about these things; and to the skulls themselves, not of all but of their greatest enemies, they do thus:--the man saws off all below the eyebrows and clears out the inside; and if he is a poor man he only stretches ox-hide round it and then makes use of it; but if he be rich, besides stretching the ox-hide he gilds it over within, and makes use of it as a drinking- cup. They do this also if any of their own family have been at variance with them and the man gets the better of his adversary in trial before the king; and when strangers come to him whom he highly esteems, he sets these skulls before them, and adds the comment that they being of his own family had made war against him, and that he had got the better of them; and this they hold to be a proof of manly virtue. 65. [1] ταῦτα μὲν δὴ οὕτω σφι νενόμισται, αὐτὰς δὲ τὰς κεφαλάς, οὔτι πάντων ἀλλὰ τῶν ἐχθίστων, ποιεῦσι τάδε· ἀποπρίσας ἕκαστος πᾶν τὸ ἔνερθε τῶν ὀφρύων ἐκκαθαίρει· καὶ ἢν μὲν ᾖ πένης, ὁ δὲ ἔξωθεν ὠμοβοέην μούνην περιτείνας οὕτω χρᾶται, ἢν δὲ ᾖ πλούσιος, τὴν μὲν ὠμοβοέην περιτείνει, ἔσωθεν δὲ καταχρυσώσας οὕτω χρᾶται ποτηρίῳ. [2] ποιεῦσι δὲ τοῦτο καὶ ἐκ τῶν οἰκηίων ἤν σφι διάφοροι γένωνται καὶ ἢν ἐπικρατήσῃ αὐτοῦ παρὰ τῷ βασιλέι, ξείνων δέ οἱ ἐλθόντων τῶν ἂν λόγον ποιέηται, τὰς κεφαλὰς ταύτας παραφέρει καὶ ἐπιλέγει ὡς οἱ ἐόντες οἰκήιοι πόλεμον προσεθήκαντο καί σφεων αὐτὸς ἐπεκράτησε, ταύτην ἀνδραγαθίην λέγοντες.

66. Once every year each ruler of a district mixes in his own district a bowl of wine, from which those of the Scythians drink by whom enemies have been slain; but those by whom this has not been done do not taste of the wine, but sit apart dishonoured; and this is the greatest of all disgraces among them: but those of them who have slain a very great number of men, drink with two cups together at the same time.

66. [1] ἅπαξ δὲ τοῦ ἐνιαυτοῦ ἑκάστου ὁ νομάρχης ἕκαστος ἐν τῷ ἑωυτοῦ νομῷ κιρνᾷ κρητῆρα οἴνου, ἀπ᾽ οὗ πίνουσι τῶν Σκυθέων τοῖσι ἂν ἄνδρες πολέμιοι ἀραιρημένοι ἔωσι. τοῖσι δ᾽ ἂν μὴ κατεργασμένον ᾖ τοῦτο, οὐ γεύονται τοῦ οἴνου τούτου, ἀλλ᾽ ἠτιμωμένοι ἀποκατέαται· ὄνειδος δέ σφι ἐστὶ μέγιστον τοῦτο. ὅσοι δὲ ἂν αὐτῶν καὶ κάρτα πολλοὺς ἄνδρας ἀραιρηκότες ἔωσι, οὗτοι δὲ σύνδυο κύλικας ἔχοντες πίνουσι ὁμοῦ. 

67. Diviners there are many among the Scythians, and they divine with a number of willow rods in the following manner:--they bring large bundles of rods, and having laid them on the ground they unroll them, and setting each rod by itself apart they prophesy; and while speaking thus, they roll the rods together again, and after that they place them in order a second time one by one. This manner of divination they have from their fathers: but the Enareës or "man-women" say that Aphrodite gave them the gift of divination, and they divine accordingly with the bark of the linden-tree. Having divided the linden-bark into three strips, the man twists them together in his fingers and untwists them again, and as he does this he utters the oracle. 67. [1] μάντιες δὲ Σκυθέων εἰσὶ πολλοί, οἳ μαντεύονται ῥάβδοισι ἰτεΐνῃσι πολλῇσι ὧδε· ἐπεὰν φακέλους ῥάβδων μεγάλους ἐνείκωνται, θέντες χαμαὶ διεξειλίσσουσι αὐτούς, καὶ ἐπὶ μίαν ἑκάστην ῥάβδον τιθέντες θεσπίζουσι, ἅμα τε λέγοντες ταῦτα συνειλέουσι τὰς ῥάβδους ὀπίσω καὶ αὖτις κατὰ μίαν συντιθεῖσι. [2] αὕτη μὲν σφι ἡ μαντικὴ πατρωίη ἐστί. οἱ δὲ Ἐνάρεες οἱ ἀνδρόγυνοι τὴν Ἀφροδίτην σφίσι λέγουσι μαντικὴν δοῦναι· φιλύρης δ᾽ ὧν φλοιῷ μαντεύονται· ἐπεὰν τὴν φιλύρην τρίχα σχίσῃ, διαπλέκων ἐν τοῖσι δακτύλοισι τοῖσι ἑωυτοῦ καὶ διαλύων χρᾷ.

68. When the king of the Scythians is sick, he sends for three of the diviners, namely those who are most in repute, who divine in the manner which has been said: and these say for the most part something like this, namely that so and so has sworn falsely by the hearth of the king, and they name one of the citizens, whosoever it may happen to be: now it is the prevailing custom of the Scythians to swear by the hearth of the king at the times when they desire to swear the most solemn oath. He then who they say has sworn falsely, is brought forthwith held fast on both sides; and when he has come the diviners charge him with this, that he is shown by their divination to have sworn falsely by the hearth of the king, and that for this reason the king is suffering pain: and he denies and says that he did not swear falsely, and complains indignantly: and when he denies it, the king sends for other diviners twice as many in number, and if these also by looking into their divination pronounce him guilty of having sworn falsely, at once they cut off the man's head, and the diviners who came first part his goods among them by lot; but if the diviners who came in afterwards acquit him, other diviners come in, and again others after them. If then the greater number acquit the man, the sentence is that the first diviners shall themselves be put to death. 68. [1] ἐπεὰν δὲ βασιλεὺς ὁ Σκυθέων κάμῃ, μεταπέμπεται τῶν μαντίων ἄνδρας τρεῖς τοὺς εὐδοκιμέοντας μάλιστα, οἳ τρόπῳ τῷ εἰρημένῳ μαντεύονται· καὶ λέγουσι οὗτοι ὡς τὸ ἐπίπαν μάλιστα τάδε, ὡς τὰς βασιληίας ἱστίας ἐπιώρκηκε ὃς καὶ ὅς, λέγοντες τῶν ἀστῶν τὸν ἂν δὴ λέγωσι. [2] τὰς δὲ βασιληίας ἱστίας νόμος Σκύθῃσι τὰ μάλιστα ἐστὶ ὀμνύναι τότε ἐπεὰν τὸν μέγιστον ὅρκον ἐθέλωσι ὀμνύναι. αὐτίκα δὲ διαλελαμμένος ἄγεται οὗτος τὸν ἂν δὴ φῶσι ἐπιορκῆσαι, ἀπιγμένον δὲ ἐλέγχουσι οἱ μάντιες ὡς ἐπιορκήσας φαίνεται ἐν τῇ μαντικῇ τὰς βασιληίας ἱστίας καὶ διὰ ταῦτα ἀλγέει ὁ βασιλεύς· ὁ δὲ ἀρνέεται, οὐ φάμενος ἐπιορκῆσαι, καὶ δεινολογέεται. [3] ἀρνεομένου δὲ τούτου ὁ βασιλεὺς μεταπέμπεται ἄλλους διπλησίους μάντιας· καὶ ἢν μὲν καὶ οὗτοι ἐσορῶντες ἐς τὴν μαντικὴν καταδήσωσι ἐπιορκῆσαι, τοῦ δὲ ἰθέως τὴν κεφαλὴν ἀποτάμνουσι, καὶ τὰ χρήματα αὐτοῦ διαλαγχάνουσι οἱ πρῶτοι τῶν μαντίων· [4] ἢν δὲ οἱ ἐπελθόντες μάντιες ἀπολύσωσι, ἄλλοι πάρεισι μάντιες καὶ μάλα ἄλλοι. ἢν ὦν οἱ πλεῦνες τὸν ἄνθρωπον ἀπολύσωσι, δέδοκται τοῖσι πρώτοισι τῶν μαντίων αὐτοῖσι ἀπόλλυσθαι.

69. They put them to death accordingly in the following manner:--first they fill a waggon with brushwood and yoke oxen to it; then having bound the feet of the diviners and tied their hands behind them and stopped their mouths with gags, they fasten them down in the middle of the brushwood, and having set fire to it they scare the oxen and let them go: and often the oxen are burnt to death together with the diviners, and often they escape after being scorched, when the pole to which they are fastened has been burnt: and they burn the diviners in the manner described for other causes also, calling them false prophets. Now when the king puts any to death, he does not leave alive their sons either, but he puts to death all the males, not doing any hurt to the females. 69. [1] ἀπολλῦσι δῆτα αὐτοὺς τρόπῳ τοιῷδε· ἐπεὰν ἅμαξαν φρυγάνων πλήσωσι καὶ ὑποζεύξωσι βοῦς, ἐμποδίσαντες τοὺς μάντιας καὶ χεῖρας ὀπίσω δήσαντες καὶ στομώσαντες κατεργνῦσι ἐς μέσα τὰ φρύγανα, ὑποπρήσαντες δὲ αὐτὰ ἀπιεῖσι φοβήσαντες τοὺς βοῦς. [2] πολλοὶ μὲν δὴ συγκατακαίονται τοῖσι μάντισι βόες, πολλοὶ δὲ περικεκαυμένοι ἀποφεύγουσι, ἐπεὰν αὐτῶν ὁ ῥυμὸς κατακαυθῇ. κατακαίουσι δὲ τρόπῳ τῷ εἰρημένω καὶ δι᾽ ἄλλας αἰτίας τοὺς μάντιας, ψευδομάντιας καλέοντες. [3] τοὺς δ᾽ ἂν ἀποκτείνῃ βασιλεύς, τούτων οὐδὲ τοὺς παῖδας λείπει, ἀλλὰ πάντα τὰ ἔρσενα κτείνει, τὰ δὲ θήλεα οὐκ ἀδικέει. 

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