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The History Of Herodotus Volume 2 of 2

Page: 3

9. Of the region lying further on towards the North of this country no one can declare accurately who the men are who dwell in it; but the parts which lie immediately beyond the Ister are known to be uninhabited and vast in extent. The only men of whom I can hear who dwell beyond the Ister are those who are said to be called Sigynnai, and who use the Median fashion of dress. Their horses, it is said, have shaggy hair all over their bodies, as much as five fingers long; and these are small and flat-nosed and too weak to carry men, but when yoked in chariots they are very high-spirited; therefore the natives of the country drive chariots. The boundaries of this people extend, it is said, to the parts near the Enetoi, who live on the Adriatic; and people say that they are colonists from the Medes. In what way however these have come to be colonists from the Medes I am not able for my part to conceive, but everything is possible in the long course of ages. However that may be, the Ligurians who dwell in the region inland above Massalia call traders sigynnai, and the men of Cyprus give the same name to spears.

10. Now the Thracians say that the other side of the Ister is occupied by bees, and that by reason of them it is not possible to pass through and proceed further: but to me it seems that when they so speak, they say that which is not probable; for these creatures are known to be intolerant of cold, and to me it seems that the regions which go up towards the pole are uninhabitable by reason of the cold climate. These then are the tales reported about this country; and however that may be, Megabazos was then making the coast-regions of it subject to the Persians.

11. Meanwhile Dareios, so soon as he had crossed over the Hellespont and come to Sardis, called to mind the service rendered to him by Histiaios the Milesian and also the advice of the Mytilenian Coës, and having sent for them to come to Sardis he offered them a choice of rewards. Histiaios then, being despot of Miletos, did not make request for any government in addition to that, but he asked for the district of Myrkinos which belonged to the Edonians, desiring there to found a city. Histiaios chose this for himself; but Coës, not being a despot but a man of the people, asked to be made despot of Mitylene.

12. After the desires of both had been fulfilled, they betook themselves to that which they had chosen: and at this same time it chanced that Dareios saw a certain thing which made him desire to command Megabazos to conquer the Paionians and remove them forcibly from Europe into Asia: and the thing was this:—There were certain Paionians named Pigres and Mantyas, who when Dareios had crossed over into Asia, came to Sardis, because they desired themselves to have rule over the Paionians, and with them they brought their sister, who was tall and comely. Then having watched for a time when Dareios took his seat publicly in the suburb of the Lydian city, they dressed up their sister in the best way they could, and sent her to fetch water, having a water-jar upon her head and leading a horse after her by a bridle round her arm, and at the same time spinning flax. Now when the woman passed out of the city by him, Dareios paid attention to the matter, for that which was done by the woman was not of Persian nor yet of Lydian fashion, nor indeed after the manner of any people of Asia. He sent therefore some of his spearmen, bidding them watch what the woman would do with the horse. They accordingly followed after her; and she having arrived at the river watered the horse, and having watered him and filled her jar with the water, she passed along by the same way, bearing the water upon her head, leading the horse after her by a bridle round her arm, and at the same time turning the spindle.


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