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The History Of Herodotus Volume 1 of 2

Page: 27

76. And Croesus, when he had passed over with his army, came to that place in Cappadokia which is called Pteria (now Pteria is the strongest place in this country, and is situated somewhere about in a line with the city of Sinope 91 on the Euxine). Here he encamped and ravaged the fields of the Syrians. Moreover he took the city of the Pterians, and sold the people into slavery, and he took also all the towns that lay about it; and the Syrians, who were not guilty of any wrong, he forced to remove from their homes. 92 Meanwhile Cyrus, having gathered his own forces and having taken up in addition to them all who dwelt in the region between, was coming to meet Croesus. Before he began however to lead forth his army, he had sent heralds to the Ionians and tried to induce them to revolt from Croesus; but the Ionians would not do as he said. Then when Cyrus was come and had encamped over against Croesus, they made trial of one another by force of arms in the land of Pteria: and after hard fighting, when many had fallen on both sides, at length, night having come on, they parted from one the other with no victory on either side.

77. Thus the two armies contended with one another: and Croesus being ill satisfied with his own army in respect of number (for the army which he had when he fought was far smaller than that of Cyrus), being dissatisfied with it I say on this account, as Cyrus did not attempt to advance against him on the following day, marched back to Sardis, having it in his mind to call the Egyptians to his help according to the oath which they had taken (for he had made an alliance with Amasis king of Egypt before he made the alliance with the Lacedemonians), and to summon the Babylonians as well (for with these also an alliance had been concluded by him, Labynetos 93 being at that time ruler of the Babylonians), and moreover to send a message to the Lacedemonians bidding them appear at a fixed time: and then after he had got all these together and had gathered his own army, his design was to let the winter go by and at the coming of spring to march against the Persians. So with these thoughts in his mind, as soon as he came to Sardis he proceeded to send heralds to his several allies to give them notice that by the fifth month from that time they should assemble at Sardis: but the army which he had with him and which had fought with the Persians, an army which consisted of mercenary troops, 94 he let go and disbanded altogether, never expecting that Cyrus, after having contended against him with such even fortune, would after all march upon Sardis.

78. When Croesus had these plans in his mind, the suburb of the city became of a sudden all full of serpents; and when these had appeared, the horses leaving off to feed in their pastures came constantly thither and devoured them. When Croesus saw this he deemed it to be a portent, as indeed it was: and forthwith he despatched messengers to the dwelling of the Telmessians, who interpret omens: and the messengers who were sent to consult arrived there and learnt from the Telmessians what the portent meant to signify, but they did not succeed in reporting the answer to Croesus, for before they sailed back to Sardis Croesus had been taken prisoner. The Telmessians however gave decision thus: that an army speaking a foreign tongue was to be looked for by Croesus to invade his land, and that this when it came would subdue the native inhabitants; for they said that the serpent was born of the soil, while the horse was an enemy and a stranger. The men of Telmessos thus made answer to Croesus after he was already taken prisoner, not knowing as yet anything of the things which had happened to Sardis and to Croesus himself.


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