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The History Of Herodotus Volume 1 of 2

Page: 38

104. Now from the Maiotian lake to the river Phasis and to the land of the Colchians is a journey of thirty days for one without encumbrance; 117 and from Colchis it is not far to pass over to Media, for there is only one nation between them, the Saspeirians, and passing by this nation you are in Media. However the Scythians did not make their invasion by this way, but turned aside from it to go by the upper road 118 which is much longer, keeping Mount Caucasus on their right hand. Then the Medes fought with the Scythians, and having been worsted in the battle they lost their power, and the Scythians obtained rule over all Asia.

105. Thence they went on to invade Egypt; and when they were in Syria which is called Palestine, Psammetichos king of Egypt met them; and by gifts and entreaties he turned them from their purpose, so that they should not advance any further: and as they retreated, when they came to the city of Ascalon in Syria, most of the Scythians passed through without doing any damage, but a few of them who had stayed behind plundered the temple of Aphrodite Urania. Now this temple, as I find by inquiry, is the most ancient of all the temples which belong to this goddess; for the temple in Cyprus was founded from this, as the people of Cyprus themselves report, and it was the Phenicians who founded the temple in Kythera, coming from this land of Syria. So these Scythians who had plundered the temple at Ascalon, and their descendants for ever, were smitten by the divinity 119 with a disease which made them women instead of men: and the Scythians say that it was for this reason that they were diseased, and that for this reason travellers who visit Scythia now, see among them the affection of those who by the Scythians are called Enareës.

106. For eight-and-twenty years then the Scythians were rulers of Asia, and by their unruliness and reckless behaviour everything was ruined; for on the one hand they exacted that in tribute from each people which they laid upon them, 120 and apart from the tribute they rode about and carried off by force the possessions of each tribe. Then Kyaxares with the Medes, having invited the greater number of them to a banquet, made them drunk and slew them; and thus the Medes recovered their power, and had rule over the same nations as before; and they also took Nineveh,—the manner how it was taken I shall set forth in another history, 121—and made the Assyrians subject to them excepting only the land of Babylon.

107. After this Kyaxares died, having reigned forty years including those years during which the Scythians had rule, and Astyages son of Kyaxares received from him the kingdom. To him was born a daughter whom he named Mandane; and in his sleep it seemed to him that there passed from her so much water as to fill his city and also to flood the whole of Asia. This dream he delivered over 122 to the Magian interpreters of dreams, and when he heard from them the truth at each point he became afraid. And afterwards when this Mandane was of an age to have a husband, he did not give her in marriage to any one of the Medes who were his peers, because he feared the vision; but he gave her to a Persian named Cambyses, whom he found to be of a good descent and of a quiet disposition, counting him to be in station much below a Mede of middle rank.


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