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

Herodotus Book 1: Clio [210]

210. Cyrus said thus supposing that Dareios was plotting against him; but in fact the divine powers were showing him beforehand that he was destined to find his end there and that his kingdom was coming about to Dareios. To this then Hystaspes replied as follows: "O king, heaven forbid that there should be any man of Persian race who would plot against thee, and if there be any, I pray that he perish as quickly as may be; seeing that thou didst make the Persians to be free instead of slaves, and to rule all nations instead of being ruled by others. And if any vision announces to thee that my son is planning rebellion against thee, I deliver him over to thee to do with him whatsoever thou wilt. 210. [1] Κῦρος μὲν δοκέων οἱ Δαρεῖον ἐπιβουλεύειν ἔλεγε τάδε· τῷ δὲ ὁ δαίμων προέφαινε ὡς αὐτὸς μὲν τελευτήσειν αὐτοῦ ταύτῃ μέλλοι, ἡ δὲ βασιληίη αὐτοῦ περιχωρέοι ἐς Δαρεῖον. [2] ἀμείβεται δὴ ὦν ὁ Ὑστάσπης τοῖσιδε. «ὦ βασιλεῦ, μὴ εἴη ἀνὴρ Πέρσης γεγονὼς ὅστις τοὶ ἐπιβουλεύσειε, εἰ δ᾽ ἐστί, ἀπόλοιτο ὡς τάχιστα· ὃς ἀντὶ μὲν δούλων ἐποίησας ἐλευθέρους Πέρσας εἶναι, ἀντὶ δὲ ἄρχεσθαι ὑπ᾽ ἄλλων ἄρχειν ἁπάντων. [3] εἰ δέ τις τοὶ ὄψις ἀπαγγέλλει παῖδα τὸν ἐμὸν νεώτερα βουλεύειν περὶ σέο, ἐγώ τοι παραδίδωμι χρᾶσθαι αὐτῷ τοῦτο ὅ τι σὺ βούλεαι.» Ὑστάσπης μὲν τούτοισι ἀμειψάμενος καὶ διαβὰς τὸν Ἀράξεα ἤιε ἐς Πέρσας φυλάξων Κύρῳ τὸν παῖδα Δαρεῖον.

211. Hystaspes then, having made answer with these words and having crossed over the Araxes, was going his way to the Persian land to keep watch over his son Dareios for Cyrus; and Cyrus meanwhile went forward and made a march of one day from the Araxes according to the suggestion of Crœsus. After this when Cyrus and the best part of the army of the Persians had marched back to the Araxes, and those who were unfit for fighting had been left behind, then a third part of the army of the Massagetai came to the attack and proceeded to slay, not without resistance, those who were left behind of the army of Cyrus; and seeing the feast that was set forth, when they had overcome their enemies they lay down and feasted, and being satiated with food and wine they went to sleep. Then the Persians came upon them and slew many of them, and took alive many more even than they slew, and among these the son of the queen Tomyris, who was leading the army of the Massagetai; and his name was Spargapises. 211. [1] Κῦρος δὲ προελθὼν ἀπὸ τοῦ Ἀράξεω ἡμέρης ὁδὸν ἐποίεε κατὰ τὰς Κροίσου ὑποθήκας. [2] μετὰ δὲ ταῦτα Κύρου τε καὶ Περσέων τοῦ καθαροῦ στρατοῦ ἀπελάσαντος ὀπίσω ἐπὶ τὸν Ἀράξεα, λειφθέντος δὲ τοῦ ἀχρηίου, ἐπελθοῦσα τῶν Μασσαγετέων τριτημορὶς τοῦ στρατοῦ τούς τε λειφθέντας τῆς Κύρου στρατιῆς ἐφόνευε ἀλεξομένους καὶ τὴν προκειμένην ἰδόντες δαῖτα, ὡς ἐχειρώσαντο τοὺς ἐναντίους, κλιθέντες ἐδαίνυντο, πληρωθέντες δὲ φορβῆς καὶ οἴνου ηὗδον. [3] οἱ δὲ Πέρσαι ἐπελθόντες πολλοὺς μὲν σφέων ἐφόνευσαν, πολλῷ δ᾽ ἔτι πλεῦνας ἐζώγρησαν καὶ ἄλλους καὶ τὸν τῆς βασιλείης Τομύριος παῖδα στρατηγέοντα Μασσαγετέων, τῷ οὔνομα ἦν Σπαργαπίσης. 

212. She then, when she heard that which had come to pass concerning the army and also the things concerning her son, sent a herald to Cyrus and said as follows: "Cyrus, insatiable of blood, be not elated with pride by this which has come to pass, namely because with that fruit of the vine, with which ye fill yourselves and become so mad that as the wine descends into your bodies, evil words float up upon its stream,--because setting a snare, I say, with such a drug as this thou didst overcome my son, and not by valour in fight. Now therefore receive the word which I utter, giving thee good advice:-- Restore to me my son and depart from this land without penalty, triumphant over a third part of the army of the Massagetai: but if thou shalt not do so, I swear to thee by the Sun, who is lord of the Massagetai, that surely I will give thee thy fill of blood, insatiable as thou art." 212. [1] ἣ δὲ πυθομένη τά τε περὶ τὴν στρατιὴν γεγονότα καὶ τὰ περὶ τὸν παῖδα, πέμπουσα κήρυκα παρὰ Κῦρον ἔλεγε τάδε. [2] «ἄπληστε αἵματος Κῦρε, μηδὲν ἐπαερθῇς τῷ γεγονότι τῷδε πρήγματι, εἰ ἀμπελίνῳ καρπῷ, τῷ περ αὐτοὶ ἐμπιπλάμενοι μαίνεσθε οὕτω ὥστε κατιόντος τοῦ οἴνου ἐς τὸ σῶμα ἐπαναπλέειν ὑμῖν ἔπεα κακά, τοιούτῳ φαρμάκῳ δολώσας ἐκράτησας παιδὸς τοῦ ἐμοῦ, ἀλλ᾽ οὐ μάχῃ κατὰ τὸ καρτερόν. [3] νῦν ὦν μευ εὖ παραινεούσης ὑπόλαβε τὸν λόγον· ἀποδούς μοι τὸν παῖδα ἄπιθι ἐκ τῆσδε τῆς χώρης ἀζήμιος, Μασσαγετέων τριτημορίδι τοῦ στρατοῦ κατυβρίσας. εἰ δὲ ταῦτα οὐ ποιήσεις, ἥλιον ἐπόμνυμί τοι τὸν Μασσαγετέων δεσπότην, ἦ μέν σε ἐγὼ καὶ ἄπληστον ἐόντα αἵματος κορέσω.» 

213. When these words were reported to him Cyrus made no account of them; and the son of the queen Tomyris, Spargapises, when the wine left him and he learnt in what evil case he was, entreated Cyrus that he might be loosed from his chains and gained his request, and then so soon as he was loosed and had got power over his hands he put himself to death. 213. [1] Κῦρος μὲν ἐπέων οὐδένα τούτων ἀνενειχθέντων ἐποιέετο λόγον· ὁ δὲ τῆς βασιλείης Τομύριος παῖς Σπαργαπίσης, ὥς μιν ὅ τε οἶνος ἀνῆκε καὶ ἔμαθε ἵνα ἦν κακοῦ, δεηθεὶς Κύρου ἐκ τῶν δεσμῶν λυθῆναι ἔτυχε, ὡς δὲ ἐλύθη τε τάχιστα καὶ τῶν χειρῶν ἐκράτησε, διεργάζεται ἑωυτόν. 

214. He then ended his life in this manner; but Tomyris, as Cyrus did not listen to her, gathered together all her power and joined battle with Cyrus. This battle of all the battles fought by Barbarians I judge to have been the fiercest, and I am informed that it happened thus:--first, it is said, they stood apart and shot at one another, and afterwards when their arrows were all shot away, they fell upon one another and engaged in close combat with their spears and daggers; and so they continued to be in conflict with one another for a long time, and neither side would flee; but at last the Massagetai got the better in the fight: and the greater part of the Persian army was destroyed there on the spot, and Cyrus himself brought his life to an end there, after he had reigned in all thirty years wanting one. Then Tomyris filled a skin with human blood and had search made among the Persian dead for the corpse of Cyrus: and when she found it, she let his head down into the skin and doing outrage to the corpse she said at the same time this: "Though I yet live and have overcome thee in fight, nevertheless thou didst undo me by taking my son with craft: but I according to my threat will give thee thy fill of blood." Now as regards the end of the life of Cyrus there are many tales told, but this which I have related is to my mind the most worthy of belief.

214. [1] καὶ δὴ οὗτος μὲν τρόπῳ τοιούτῳ τελευτᾷ· Τόμυρις δέ, ὥς οἱ Κῦρος οὐκ ἐσήκουσε, συλλέξασα πᾶσαν τὴν ἑωυτῆς δύναμιν συνέβαλε Κύρῳ. ταύτην τὴν μάχην, ὅσαι δὴ βαρβάρων ἀνδρῶν μάχαι ἐγένοντο, κρίνω ἰσχυροτάτην γενέσθαι, καὶ δὴ καὶ πυνθάνομαι οὕτω τοῦτο γενόμενον. [2] πρῶτα μὲν γὰρ λέγεται αὐτοὺς διαστάντας ἐς ἀλλήλους τοξεύειν, μετὰ δὲ ὥς σφι τὰ βέλεα ἐξετετόξευτο, συμπεσόντας τῇσι αἰχμῇσί τε καὶ τοῖσι ἐγχειριδίοισι συνέχεσθαι. χρόνον τε δὴ ἐπὶ πολλὸν συνεστάναι μαχομένους καὶ οὐδετέρους ἐθέλειν φεύγειν. τέλος δὲ οἱ Μασσαγέται περιεγένοντο, [3] ἥ τε δὴ πολλὴ τῆς Περσικῆς στρατιῆς αὐτοῦ ταύτῃ διεφθάρη καὶ δὴ καὶ αὐτὸς Κῦρος τελευτᾷ, βασιλεύσας τὰ πάντα ἑνὸς δέοντα τριήκοντα ἔτεα. [4] ἀσκὸν δὲ πλήσασα αἵματος ἀνθρωπηίου Τόμυρις ἐδίζητο ἐν τοῖσι τεθνεῶσι τῶν Περσέων τὸν Κύρου νέκυν, ὡς δὲ εὗρε, ἐναπῆκε αὐτοῦ τὴν κεφαλὴν ἐς τὸν ἀσκόν, λυμαινομένη δὲ τῷ νεκρῷ ἐπέλεγε τάδε· [5] «σὺ μὲν ἐμὲ ζῶσάν τε καὶ νικῶσάν σε μάχῃ ἀπώλεσας, παῖδα τὸν ἐμὸν ἑλὼν δόλῳ· σὲ δ᾽ ἐγώ, κατά περ ἠπείλησα, αἵματος κορέσω.» τὰ μὲν δὴ κατὰ τὴν Κύρου τελευτὴν τοῦ βίου, πολλῶν λόγων λεγομένων, ὅδε μοι ὁ πιθανώτατος εἴρηται. 

215. As to the Massagetai, they wear a dress which is similar to that of the Scythians, and they have a manner of life which is also like theirs; and there are of them horsemen and also men who do not ride on horses (for they have both fashions), and moreover there are both archers and spearmen, and their custom it is to carry battle- axes; and for everything they use either gold or bronze, for in all that has to do with spear-points or arrow-heads or battle-axes they use bronze, but for head-dresses and girdles and belts round the arm-pits they employ gold as ornament: and in like manner as regards their horses, they put breast-plates of bronze about their chests, but on their bridles and bits and cheek-pieces they employ gold. Iron however and silver they use not at all, for they have them not in their land, but gold and bronze in abundance. 215. [1] Μασσαγέται δὲ ἐσθῆτά τε ὁμοίην τῇ Σκυθικῇ φορέουσι καὶ δίαιταν ἔχουσι, ἱππόται δὲ εἰσὶ καὶ ἄνιπποι (ἀμφοτέρων γὰρ μετέχουσι) καὶ τοξόται τε καὶ αἰχμοφόροι, σαγάρις νομίζοντες ἔχειν. χρυσῷ δὲ καὶ χαλκῷ τὰ πάντα χρέωνται· ὅσα μὲν γὰρ ἐς αἰχμὰς καὶ ἄρδις καὶ σαγάρις, χαλκῷ τὰ πάντα χρέωνται, ὅσα δὲ περὶ κεφαλὴν καὶ ζωστῆρας καὶ μασχαλιστῆρας, χρυσῷ κοσμέονται. [2] ὣς δ᾽ αὕτως τῶν ἵππων τὰ μὲν περὶ τὰ στέρνα χαλκέους θώρηκας περιβάλλουσι, τὰ δὲ περὶ τοὺς χαλινοὺς καὶ στόμια καὶ φάλαρα χρυσῷ. σιδήρῳ δὲ οὐδ᾽ ἀργύρῳ χρέωνται οὐδέν· οὐδὲ γὰρ οὐδέ σφι ἐστὶ ἐν τῇ χωρῇ, ὁ δὲ χρυσὸς καὶ ὁ χαλκὸς ἄπλετος. 

216. These are the customs which they have:--Each marries a wife, but they have their wives in common; for that which the Hellenes say that the Scythians do, is not in fact done by the Scythians but by the Massagetai, that is to say, whatever woman a man of the Massagetai may desire he hangs up his quiver in front of the waggon and has commerce with her freely. They have no precise limit of age laid down for their life, but when a man becomes very old, his nearest of kin come together and slaughter him solemnly and cattle also with him; and then after that they boil the flesh and banquet upon it. This is considered by them the happiest lot; but him who has ended his life by disease they do not eat, but cover him up in the earth, counting it a misfortune that he did not attain to being slaughtered. They sow no crops but live on cattle and on fish, which last they get in abundance from the river Araxes; moreover they are drinkers of milk. Of gods they reverence the Sun alone, and to him they sacrifice horses: and the rule of the sacrifice is this:--to the swiftest of the gods they assign the swiftest of all mortal things. 216. [1] νόμοισι δὲ χρέωνται τοιοῖσιδε. γυναῖκα μὲν γαμέει ἕκαστος, ταύτῃσι δὲ ἐπίκοινα χρέωνται· τὸ γὰρ Σκύθας φασὶ Ἕλληνες ποιέειν, οὐ Σκύθαι εἰσὶ οἱ ποιέοντες ἀλλὰ Μασσαγέται· τῆς γὰρ ἐπιθυμήσῃ γυναικὸς Μασσαγέτης ἀνήρ, τὸν φαρετρεῶνα ἀποκρεμάσας πρὸ τῆς ἁμάξης μίσγεται ἀδεῶς. [2] οὖρος δὲ ἡλικίης σφι πρόκειται ἄλλος μὲν οὐδείς· ἐπεὰν δὲ γέρων γένηται κάρτα, οἱ προσήκοντές οἱ πάντες συνελθόντες θύουσί μιν καὶ ἄλλα πρόβατα ἅμα αὐτῷ, ἑψήσαντες δὲ τὰ κρέα κατευωχέονται. [3] ταῦτα μὲν τὰ ὀλβιώτατά σφι νενόμισται, τὸν δὲ νούσῳ τελευτήσαντα οὐ κατασιτέονται ἀλλ᾽ γῇ κρύπτουσι, συμφορὴν ποιεύμενοι ὅτι οὐκ ἵκετο ἐς τὸ τυθῆναι. σπείρουσι δὲ οὐδέν, ἀλλ᾽ ἀπὸ κτηνέων ζώουσι καὶ ἰχθύων· οἳ δὲ ἄφθονοί σφι ἐκ τοῦ Ἀράξεω ποταμοῦ παραγίνονται· [4] γαλακτοπόται δ᾽ εἰσί. θεῶν δὲ μοῦνον ἥλιον σέβονται, τῷ θύουσι ἵππους. νόος δὲ οὗτος τῆς θυσίης· τῶν θεῶν τῷ ταχίστῳ πάντων τῶν θνητῶν τὸ τάχιστον δατέονται.

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