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Author
Herodotus

Translated into English by G. C. MACAULAY, M.A. Credits
Gutenberg Project

VOLUME ONE

Book I
Page 01
   Page 02   Page 03   Page 04   Page 05   Page 06   Page 07   Page 08   Page 09

Book II
Page 10
   Page 11   Page 12   Page 13   Page 14   Page 15

Book III
Book 16
   Page 17   Page 18   Page 19   Page 20

Book IV
Page 21
   Page 22   Page 23   Page 24   Page 25   Page 26


VOLUME TWO

Book V
Page 27
   Page 28   Page 29   Page 30

Book VI
Page 31
   Page 32   Page 33   Page 34

Book VII
Page 35
   Page 36   Page 37   Page 38   Page 39   Page 40   Page 41

Book VIII
Page 42
   Page 43   Page 44   Page 45

Book IX
Page 46
   Page 47   Page 48   Page 49
 

 

The History of Herodotus: Page 08

Volume One - Book I

150. Now the Aiolians lost Smyrna in the following manner:--certain men of Colophon, who had been worsted in party strife and had been driven from their native city, were received there for refuge: and after this the Colophonian exiles watched for a time when the men of Smyrna were celebrating a festival to Dionysos outside the walls, and then they closed the gates against them and got possession of the city. After this, when the whole body of Aiolians came to the rescue, they made an agreement that the Ionians should give up the movable goods, and that on this condition the Aiolians should abandon Smyrna. When the men of Smyrna had done this, the remaining eleven cities divided them amongst themselves and made them their own citizens.

151. These then are the Aiolian cities upon the mainland, with the exception of those situated on Mount Ida, for these are separate from the rest. And of those which are in the islands, there are five in Lesbos, for the sixth which was situated in Lesbos, namely Arisba, was enslaved by the men of Methymna, though its citizens were of the same race as they; and in Tenedos there is one city, and another in what are called the "Hundred Isles." Now the Lesbians and the men of Tenedos, like those Ionians who dwelt in the islands, had no cause for fear; but the remaining cities came to a common agreement to follow the Ionians whithersoever they should lead.

152. Now when the messengers from the Ionians and Aiolians came to Sparta (for this business was carried out with speed), they chose before all others to speak for them the Phocaian, whose name was Pythermos. He then put upon him a purple cloak, in order that as many as possible of the Spartans might hear of it and come together, and having been introduced before the assembly[155] he spoke at length, asking the Spartans to help them.

The Lacedemonians however would not listen to him, but resolved on the contrary not to help the Ionians. So they departed, and the Lacedemonians, having dismissed the messengers of the Ionians, sent men notwithstanding in a ship of fifty oars, to find out, as I imagine, about the affairs of Cyrus and about Ionia. These when they came to Phocaia sent to Sardis the man of most repute among them, whose name was Lacrines, to report to Cyrus the saying of the Lacedemonians, bidding him do hurt to no city of the Hellas, since they would not permit it.

153. When the herald had spoken thus, Cyrus is said to have asked those of the Hellenes whom he had with him, what men the Lacedemonians were and how many in number, that they made this proclamation to him; and hearing their answer he said to the Spartan herald: "Never yet did I fear men such as these, who have a place appointed in the midst of their city where they gather together and deceive one another by false oaths: and if I continue in good health, not the misfortunes of the Ionians will be for them a subject of talk, but rather their own." These words Cyrus threw out scornfully with reference to the Hellenes in general, because they have got for themselves[156] markets and practise buying and selling there; for the Persians themselves are not wont to use markets nor have they any market-place at all. After this he entrusted Sardis to Tabalos a Persian, and the gold both of Crsus and of the other Lydians he gave to Pactyas a Lydian to take charge of, and himself marched away to Agbatana, taking with him Crsus and making for the present no account of the Ionians. For Babylon stood in his way still, as also the Bactrian nation and the Sacans and the Egyptians; and against these he meant to make expeditions himself, while sending some other commander about the Ionians.

154. But when Cyrus had marched away from Sardis, Pactyas caused the Lydians to revolt from Tabalos and from Cyrus. This man went down to the sea, and having in his possession all the gold that there had been in Sardis, he hired for himself mercenaries and persuaded the men of the sea-coast to join his expedition. So he marched on Sardis and besieged Tabalos, having shut himself up in the citadel.

155. Hearing this on his way, Cyrus said to Crsus as follows: "Crsus, what end shall I find of these things which are coming to pass? The Lydians will not cease as it seems, from giving trouble to me and from having it themselves. I doubt me if it were not best[157] to sell them all as slaves; for as it is, I see that I have done in like manner as if one should slay the father and then spare his sons: just so I took prisoner and am carrying away thee, who wert much more than the father of the Lydians, while to the Lydians themselves I delivered up their city; and can I feel surprise after this that they have revolted from me?" Thus he said what was in his mind, but Crsus answered him as follows, fearing lest he should destroy Sardis: "O king, that which thou hast said is not without reason; but do not thou altogether give vent to thy wrath, nor destroy an ancient city which is guiltless both of the former things and also of those which have come to pass now: for as to the former things it was I who did them and I bear the consequences heaped upon my head;[158] and as for what is now being done, since the wrongdoer is Pactyas to whom thou didst entrust the charge of Sardis, let him pay the penalty. But the Lydians I pray thee pardon, and lay upon them commands as follows, in order that they may not revolt nor be a cause of danger to thee:--send to them and forbid them to possess weapons of war, but bid them on the other hand put on tunics under their outer garments and be shod with buskins, and proclaim to them that they train their sons to play the lyre and the harp and to be retail-dealers; and soon thou shalt see, O king, that they have become women instead of men, so that there will be no fear that they will revolt from thee."

156. Crsus, I say, suggested to him this, perceiving that this was better for the Lydians than to be reduced to slavery and sold; for he knew that if he did not offer a sufficient reason, he would not persuade Cyrus to change his mind, and he feared lest at some future time, if they should escape the present danger, the Lydians might revolt from the Persians and be destroyed. And Cyrus was greatly pleased with the suggestion made and slackened from his wrath, saying that he agreed with his advice. Then he called Mazares a Mede, and laid charge upon him to proclaim to the Lydians that which Crsus suggested, and moreover to sell into slavery all the rest who had joined with the Lydians in the expedition to Sardis, and finally by all means to bring Pactyas himself alive to Cyrus.

157. Having given this charge upon the road, he continued his march to the native land of the Persians; but Pactyas hearing that an army was approaching to fight against him was struck with fear and fled away forthwith to Kyme. Then Mazares the Mede marched upon Sardis with a certain portion of the army of Cyrus, and as he did not find Pactyas or his followers any longer at Sardis, he first compelled the Lydians to perform the commands of Cyrus, and by his commands the Lydians changed the whole manner of their life. After this Mazares proceeded to send messengers to Kyme bidding them give up Pactyas: and the men of Kyme resolved to refer to the god at Branchidai the question what counsel they should follow. For there was there an Oracle established of old time, which all the Ionians and Aiolians were wont to consult; and this place is in the territory of Miletos above the port of Panormos.

158. So the men of Kyme sent messengers to the Branchidai[159] to inquire of the god, and they asked what course they should take about Pactyas so as to do that which was pleasing to the gods. When they thus inquired, the answer was given them that they should deliver up Pactyas to the Persians: and the men of Kyme, having heard this answer reported, were disposed to give him up. Then when the mass of the people were thus disposed, Aristodicos the son of Heracleides, a man of repute among the citizens, stopped the men of Kyme from doing so, having distrust of the answer and thinking that those sent to inquire were not speaking the truth; until at last other messengers were sent to the Oracle to ask a second time about Pactyas, and of them Aristodicos was one.

159. When these came to Branchidai, Aristodicos stood forth from the rest and consulted the Oracle, asking as follows: Lord,[160] there came to us a suppliant for protection Pactyas the Lydian, flying from a violent death at the hands of the Persians, and they demand him from us, bidding the men of Kyme give him up. But we, though we fear the power of the Persians, yet have not ventured up to this time to deliver to them the suppliant, until thy counsel shall be clearly manifested to us, saying which of the two things we ought to do." He thus inquired, but the god again declared to them the same answer, bidding them deliver up Pactyas to the Persians. Upon this Aristodicos with deliberate purpose did as follows:--he went all round the temple destroying the nests of the sparrows[161] and of all the other kinds of birds which had been hatched on the temple: and while he was doing this, it is said that a voice came from the inner shrine directed to Aristodicos and speaking thus: "Thou most impious of men, why dost thou dare to do this? Dost thou carry away by force from my temple the suppliants for my protection?" And Aristodicos, it is said, not being at all at a loss replied to this: "Lord, dost thou thus come to the assistance of thy suppliants, and yet biddest the men of Kyme deliver up theirs?" and the god answered him again thus: "Yea, I bid you do so, that ye may perish the more quickly for your impiety; so that ye may not at any future time come to the Oracle to ask about delivering up of suppliants."

160. When the men of Kyme heard this saying reported, not wishing either to be destroyed by giving him up or to be besieged by keeping him with them, they sent him away to Mytilene. Those of Mytilene however, when Mazares sent messages to them, were preparing to deliver up Pactyas for a price, but what the price was I cannot say for certain, since the bargain was never completed; for the men of Kyme, when they learnt that this was being done by the Mytilenians, sent a vessel to Lesbos and conveyed away Pactyas to Chios. After this he was dragged forcibly from the temple of Athene Poliuchos by the Chians and delivered up: and the Chians delivered him up receiving Atarneus in return, (now this Atarneus is a region of Mysia[162] opposition Lesbos). So the Persians having received Pactyas kept him under guard, meaning to produce him before Cyrus. And a long time elapsed during which none of the Chians either used barley-meal grown in this region of Atarneus, for pouring out in sacrifice to any god, or baked cakes for offering of the corn which grew there, but all the produce of this land was excluded from every kind of sacred service.

161. The men of Chios had then delivered up Pactyas; and after this Mazares made expedition against those who had joined in besieging Tabalos: and first he reduced to slavery those of Priene, then he overran the whole plain of the Maiander making spoil of it for his army, and Magnesia in the same manner: and straightway after this he fell sick and died.

162. After he was dead, Harpagos came down to take his place in command, being also a Mede by race (this was the man whom the king of the Medes Astyages feasted with the unlawful banquet, and who helped to give the kingdom to Cyrus). This man, being appointed commander then by Cyrus, came to Ionia and proceeded to take the cities by throwing up mounds against them: for when he had enclosed any people within their walls, then he threw up mounds against the walls and took their city by storm; and the first city of Ionia upon which he made an attempt was Phocaia.

163. Now these Phocaians were the first of the Hellenes who made long voyages, and these are they who discovered the Adriatic and Tyrsenia and Iberia and Tartessos: and they made voyages not in round ships, but in vessels of fifty oars. These came to Tartessos and became friends with the king of the Tartessians whose name was Arganthonios: he was ruler of the Tartessians for eighty years and lived in all one hundred and twenty. With this man, I say, the Phocaians became so exceedingly friendly, that first he bade them leave Ionia and dwell wherever they desired in his own land; and as he did not prevail upon the Phocaians to do this, afterwards, hearing from them of the Mede how his power was increasing, he gave them money to build a wall about their city: and he did this without sparing, for the circuit of the wall is many furlongs[163] in extent, and it is built all of large stones closely fitted together.

164. The wall of the Phocaians was made in this manner: and Harpagos having marched his army against them began to besiege them, at the same time holding forth to them proposals and saying that it was enough to satisfy him if the Phocaians were willing to throw down one battlement of their wall and dedicate one single house.[164] But the Phocaians, being very greatly grieved at the thought of subjection, said that they wished to deliberate about the matter for one day and after that they would give their answer; and they asked him to withdraw his army from the wall while they were deliberating. Harpagos said that he knew very well what they were meaning to do, nevertheless he was willing to allow them to deliberate. So in the time that followed, when Harpagos had withdrawn his army from the wall, the Phocaians drew down their fifty-oared galleys to the sea, put into them their children and women and all their movable goods, and besides them the images out of the temples and the other votive offerings except such as were made of bronze or stone or consisted of paintings, all the rest, I say, they put into the ships, and having embarked themselves they sailed towards Chios; and the Persians obtained possession of Phocaia, the city being deserted of the inhabitants.

165. But as for the Phocaians, since the men of Chios would not sell them at their request the islands called Oinussai, from the fear lest these islands might be made a seat of trade and their island might be shut out, therefore they set out for Kyrnos:[165] for in Kyrnos twenty years before this they had established a city named Alalia, in accordance with an oracle, (now Arganthonios by that time was dead). And when they were setting out for Kyrnos they first sailed to Phocaia and slaughtered the Persian garrison, to whose charge Harpagos had delivered the city; then after they had achieved this they made solemn imprecations on any one of them who should be left behind from their voyage, and moreover they sank a mass of iron in the sea and swore that not until that mass should appear again on the surface[166] would they return to Phocaia. However as they were setting forth to Kyrnos, more than half of the citizens were seized with yearning and regret for their city and for their native land, and they proved false to their oath and sailed back to Phocaia. But those of them who kept the oath still, weighed anchor from the islands of Oinussai and sailed.

166. When these came to Kyrnos, for five years they dwelt together with those who had come thither before, and they founded temples there. Then, since they plundered the property of all their neighbours, the Tyrsenians and Carthaginians[167] made expedition against them by agreement with one another, each with sixty ships. And the Phocaians also manned their vessels, sixty in number, and came to meet the enemy in that which is called the Sardinian sea: and when they encountered one another in the sea-fight the Phocaians won a kind of Cadmean victory, for forty of their ships were destroyed and the remaining twenty were disabled, having had their prows bent aside. So they sailed in to Alalia and took up their children and their women and their other possessions as much as their ships proved capable of carrying, and then they left Kyrnos behind them and sailed to Rhegion.

167. But as for the crews of the ships that were destroyed, the Carthaginians and Tyrsenians obtained much the greater number of them,[168] and these they brought to land and killed by stoning. After this the men of Agylla found that everything which passed by the spot where the Phocaians were laid after being stoned, became either distorted, or crippled, or paralysed, both small cattle and beasts of burden and human creatures: so the men of Agylla sent to Delphi desiring to purge themselves of the offence; and the Pythian prophetess bade them do that which the men of Agylla still continue to perform, that is to say, they make great sacrifices in honour of the dead, and hold at the place a contest of athletics and horse-racing. These then of the Phocaians had the fate which I have said; but those of them who took refuge at Rhegion started from thence and took possession of that city in the land of Oinotria which now is called Hyele. This they founded having learnt from a man of Poseidonia that the Pythian prophetess by her answer meant them to found a temple to Kyrnos, who was a hero, and not to found a settlement in the island of Kyrnos.[169]

168. About Phocaia in Ionia it happened thus, and nearly the same thing also was done by the men of Teos: for as soon as Harpagos took their wall with a mound, they embarked in their ships and sailed straightway for Thrace; and there they founded the city of Abdera, which before them Timesios of Clazomenai founded and had no profit therefrom, but was driven out by the Thracians; and now he is honoured as a hero by the Teans in Abdera.

169. These alone of all the Ionians left their native cities because they would not endure subjection: but the other Ionians except the Milesians did indeed contend in arms with Harpagos like those who left their homes, and proved themselves brave men, fighting each for his own native city; but when they were defeated and captured they remained all in their own place and performed that which was laid upon them: but the Milesians, as I have also said before, had made a sworn agreement with Cyrus himself and kept still. Thus for the second time Ionia had been reduced to subjection. And when Harpagos had conquered the Ionians on the mainland, then the Ionians who dwelt in the islands, being struck with fear by these things, gave themselves over to Cyrus.

170. When the Ionians had been thus evilly entreated but were continuing still to hold their gatherings as before at the Panionion, Bias a man of Priene set forth to the Ionians, as I am informed, a most profitable counsel, by following which they might have been the most prosperous of all the Hellenes. He urged that the Ionians should set forth in one common expedition and sail to Sardinia, and after that found a single city for all the Ionians: and thus they would escape subjection and would be prosperous, inhabiting the largest of all islands and being rulers over others; whereas, if they remained in Ionia, he did not perceive, he said, that freedom would any longer exist for them. This was the counsel given by Bias of Priene after the Ionians had been ruined; but a good counsel too was given before the ruin of Ionia by Thales a man of Miletos, who was by descent of Phenician race. He advised the Ionians to have one single seat of government,[170] and that this should be at Teos (for Teos, he said, was in the centre of Ionia), and that the other cities should be inhabited as before, but accounted just as if they were demes. These men[171] set forth to them counsels of the kind which I have said: 171, but Harpagos, after subduing Ionia, proceeded to march against the Carians and Caunians and Lykians, taking also Ionians and Aiolians to help him. Of these the Carians came to the mainland from the islands; for being of old time subjects of Minos and being called Leleges, they used to dwell in the islands, paying no tribute, so far back as I am able to arrive by hearsay, but whenever Minos required it, they used to supply his ships with seamen: and as Minos subdued much land and was fortunate in his fighting, the Carian nation was of all nations by much the most famous at that time together with him. And they produced three inventions of which the Hellenes adopted the use; that is to say, the Carians were those who first set the fashion of fastening crests on helmets, and of making the devices which are put onto shields, and these also were the first who made handles for their shields, whereas up to that time all who were wont to use shields carried them without handles and with leathern straps to guide them, having them hung about their necks and their left shoulders. Then after the lapse of a long time the Dorians and Ionians drove the Carians out of the islands, and so they came to the mainland. With respect to the Carians the Cretans relate that it happened thus; the Carians themselves however do not agree with this account, but suppose that they are dwellers on the mainland from the beginning,[172] and that they went always by the same name which they have now: and they point as evidence of this to an ancient temple of Carian Zeus at Mylasa, in which the Mysians and Lydians share as being brother races of the Carians, for they say that Lydos and Mysos were brothers of Car; these share in it, but those who being of another race have come to speak the same language as the Carians, these have no share in it.

172. It seems to me however that the Caunians are dwellers there from the beginning, though they say themselves that they came from Crete: but they have been assimilated to the Carian race in language, or else the Carians to the Caunian race, I cannot with certainty determine which. They have customs however in which they differ very much from all other men as well as from the Carians; for example the fairest thing in their estimation is to meet together in numbers for drinking, according to equality of age or friendship, both men, women, and children; and again when they had founded temples for foreign deities, afterwards they changed their purpose and resolved to worship only their own native gods, and the whole body of Caunian young men put on their armour and made pursuit as far as the borders of the Calyndians, beating the air with their spears; and they said that they were casting the foreign gods out of the land. Such are the customs which these have.

173. The Lykians however have sprung originally from Crete (for in old time the whole of Crete was possessed by Barbarians): and when the sons of Europa, Sarpedon and Minos, came to be at variance in Crete about the kingdom, Minos having got the better in the strife of parties drove out both Sarpedon himself and those of his party: and they having been expelled came to the land of Milyas in Asia, for the land which now the Lykians inhabit was anciently called Milyas, and the Milyans were then called Solymoi. Now while Sarpedon reigned over them, they were called by the name which they had when they came thither, and by which the Lykians are even now called by the neighbouring tribes, namely Termilai; but when from Athens Lycos the son of Pandion came to the land of the Termilai and to Sarpedon, he too having been driven out by his brother namely Aigeus, then by the name taken from Lycos they were called after a time Lykians. The customs which these have are partly Cretan and partly Carian; but one custom they have which is peculiar to them, and in which they agree with no other people, that is they call themselves by their mothers and not by their fathers; and if one asks his neighbour who he is, he will state his parentage on the mother's side and enumerate his mother's female ascendants: and if a woman who is a citizen marry a slave, the children are accounted to be of gentle birth; but if a man who is a citizen, though he were the first man among them, have a slave for wife or concubine, the children are without civil rights.

174. Now the Carians were reduced to subjection by Harpagos without any brilliant deed displayed either by the Carians themselves or by those of the Hellenes who dwell in this land. Of these last there are besides others the men of Cnidos, settlers from Lacedemon, whose land runs out into the sea,[173] being in fact the region which is called Triopion, beginning from the peninsula of Bybassos: and since all the land of Cnidos except a small part is washed by the sea (for the part of it which looks towards the North is bounded by the Gulf of Keramos, and that which looks to the South by the sea off Syme and Rhodes), therefore the men of Cnidos began to dig through this small part, which is about five furlongs across, while Harpagos was subduing Ionia, desiring to make their land an island: and within the isthmus all was theirs,[174] for where the territory of Cnidos ends in the direction of the mainland, here is the isthmus which they were digging across. And while the Cnidians were working at it with a great number of men, it was perceived that the men who worked suffered injury much more than might have been expected and in a more supernatural manner, both in other parts of their bodies and especially in their eyes, when the rock was being broken up; so they sent men to ask the Oracle at Delphi what the cause of the difficulty was. And the Pythian prophetess, as the men of Cnidos themselves report, gave them this reply in trimeter verse:-- "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]

179. I must also tell in addition to this for what purpose the earth was used, which was taken out of the trench, and in what manner the wall was made. As they dug the trench they made the earth which was carried out of the excavation into bricks, and having moulded enough bricks they baked them in kilns; and then afterwards, using hot asphalt for mortar and inserting reed mats at every thirty courses of brickwork, they built up first the edges of the trench and then the wall itself in the same manner: and at the top of the wall along the edges they built chambers of one story facing one another; and between the rows of chambers they left space to drive a four-horse chariot. In the circuit of the wall there are set a hundred gates made of bronze throughout, and the gate- posts and lintels likewise. Now there is another city distant from Babylon a space of eight days' journey, of which the name is Is; and there is a river there of no great size, and the name of the river is also Is, and it sends its stream into the river Euphrates. This river Is throws up together with its water lumps of asphalt in great abundance, and thence was brought the asphalt for the wall of Babylon.

180. Babylon then was walled in this manner; and there are two divisions of the city; for a river whose name is Euphrates parts it in the middle. This flows from the land of the Armenians and is large and deep and swift, and it flows out into the Erythraian sea. The wall then on each side has its bends[179] carried down to the river, and from this point the return walls stretch along each bank of the stream in the form of a rampart of baked bricks: and the city itself is full of houses of three and four stories, and the roads by which it is cut up run in straight lines, including the cross roads which lead to the river; and opposite to each road there were set gates in the rampart which ran along the river, in many in number as the ways,[180] and these also were of bronze and led like the ways[181] to the river itself.

181. This wall then which I have mentioned is as it were a cuirass[182] for the town, and another wall runs round within it, not much weaker for defence than the first but enclosing a smaller space.[183] And in each division of the city was a building in the midst, in the one the king's palace of great extent and strongly fortified round, and in the other the temple of Zeus Belos with bronze gates, and this exists still up to my time and measures two furlongs each way,[184] being of a square shape: and in the midst of the temple[185] is built a solid tower measuring a furlong both in length and in breadth, and on this tower another tower has been erected, and another again upon this, and so on up to the number of eight towers. An ascent to these has been built running outside round about all the towers; and when one reaches about the middle of the ascent one finds a stopping-place and seats to rest upon, on which those who ascend sit down and rest: and on the top of the last tower there is a large cell,[186] and in the cell a large couch is laid, well covered, and by it is placed a golden table: and there is no image there set up nor does any human being spend the night there except only one woman of the natives of the place, whomsoever the god shall choose from all the woman, as say the Chaldeans who are the priests of this god.

182. These same men say also, but I do not believe them, that the god himself comes often to the cell and rests upon the couch, as happens likewise in the Egyptian Thebes according to the report of the Egyptians, for there also a woman sleeps in the temple of the Theban Zeus (and both these women are said to abstain from commerce with men), and as happens also with the prophetess[187] of the god in Patara of Lykia, whenever there is one, for there is not always an Oracle there, but whenever there is one, then she is shut up during the nights in the temple within the cell.

183. There is moreover in the temple at Babylon another cell below, wherein is a great image of Zeus sitting, made of gold, and by it is placed a large table of gold, and his footstool and seat are of gold also; and, as the Chaldeans reported, the weight of the gold of which these things are made is eight hundred talents. Outside this cell is an altar of gold; and there is also another altar of great size, where full-grown animals[188] are sacrificed, whereas on the golden altar it is not lawful to sacrifice any but young sucklings only: and also on the larger altar the Chaldeans offer one thousand talents of frankincense every year at the time when they celebrate the feast in honour of this god. There was moreover in these precincts still remaining at the time of Cyrus,[189] a statue twelve cubits high, of gold and solid. This I did not myself see, but that which is related by the Chaldeans I relate. Against this statue Dareios the son of Hystaspes formed a design, but he did not venture to take it: it was taken however by Xerxes the son of Dareios, who also killed the priest when he forbade him to meddle with the statue. This temple, then, is thus adorned with magnificence, and there are also many private votive-offerings.


 

 

 

 

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