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The History Of Herodotus Volume 1 of 2

Page: 61

"Fence not the place with towers, nor dig the isthmus through; Zeus would have made your land an island, had he willed."

When the Pythian prophetess had given this oracle, the men of Cnidos not only ceased from their digging but delivered themselves to Harpagos without resistance, when he came against them with his army.

175. There were also the Pedasians, who dwelt in the inland country above Halicarnassos; and among these, whenever anything hurtful is about to happen either to themselves or to their neighbours, the priestess of Athene has a great beard: this befell them three times. These of all about Caria were the only men who held out for any time against Harpagos, and they gave him trouble more than any other people, having fortified a mountain called Lide.

176. After a time the Pedasians were conquered; and the Lykians, when Harpagos marched his army into the plain of Xanthos, came out against him 175 and fought, few against many, and displayed proofs of valour; but being defeated and confined within their city, they gathered together into the citadel their wives and their children, their property and their servants, and after that they set fire to this citadel, so that it was all in flames, and having done so and sworn terrible oaths with one another, they went forth against the enemy 176 and were slain in fight, that is to say all the men of Xanthos: and of the Xanthians who now claim to be Lykians the greater number have come in from abroad, except only eighty households; but these eighty households happened at that time to be away from their native place, and so they escaped destruction. Thus Harpagos obtained possession of Caunos, for the men of Caunos imitated in most respects the behaviour of the Lykians.

177. So Harpagos was conquering the coast regions of Asia; and Cyrus himself meanwhile was doing the same in the upper parts of it, subduing every nation and passing over none. Now most of these actions I shall pass over in silence, but the undertakings which gave him trouble more than the rest and which are the most worthy of note, of these I shall make mention.


178. Cyrus, so soon as he had made subject to himself all other parts of the mainland, proceeded to attack the Assyrians. Now Assyria has doubtless many other great cities, but the most famous and the strongest, and the place where the seat of their monarchy had been established after Nineveh was destroyed, was Babylon; which was a city such as I shall say.—It lies in a great plain, and in size it is such that each face measures one hundred and twenty furlongs, 177 the shape of the whole being square; thus the furlongs of the circuit of the city amount in all to four hundred and eighty. Such is the size of the city of Babylon, and it had a magnificence greater than all other cities of which we have knowledge. First there runs round it a trench deep and broad and full of water; then a wall fifty royal cubits in thickness and two hundred cubits in height: now the royal cubit is larger by three fingers than the common cubit. 178


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