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The History of Herodotus, parallel English/Greek, tr. G. C. Macaulay, [1890], at

Herodotus Book 1: Clio [130]

130. Astyages then, having been king for five-and-thirty years, was thus caused to cease from being king; and the Medes stooped under the yoke of the Persians because of his cruelty, after they had ruled Asia above the river Halys for one hundred and twenty-eight years, except during that period for which the Scythians had rule. Afterwards however it repented them that they had done this, and they revolved from Dareios, and having revolted they were subdued again, being conquered in a battle. At this time then, I say, in the reign of Astyages, the Persians with Cyrus rose up against the Medes and from that time forth were rulers of Asia: but as for Astyages, Cyrus did no harm to him besides, but kept him with himself until he died. Thus born and bred Cyrus became king; and after this he subdued Crœsus, who was the first to begin the quarrel, as I have before said; and having subdued him he then became ruler of all Asia.

130. [1] Ἀστυάγης μέν νυν βασιλεύσας ἐπ᾽ ἔτεα πέντε καὶ τριήκοντα οὕτω τῆς βασιληίης κατεπαύσθη, Μῆδοι δὲ ὑπέκυψαν Πέρσῃσι διὰ τὴν τούτου πικρότητα, ἄρξαντες τῆς ἄνω Ἅλυος ποταμοῦ Ἀσίης ἐπ᾽ ἔτεα τριήκοντα καὶ ἑκατὸν δυῶν δέοντα, πάρεξ ἢ ὅσον οἱ Σκύθαι ἦρχον. [2] ὑστέρῳ μέντοι χρόνῳ μετεμέλησέ τέ σφι ταῦτα ποιήσασι καὶ ἀπέστησαν ἀπὸ Δαρείου, ἀποστάντες δὲ ὀπίσω κατεστράφθησαν μάχῃ νικηθέντες. τότε δὲ ἐπὶ Ἀστυάγεος οἱ Πέρσαι τε καὶ ὁ Κῦρος ἐπαναστάντες τοῖσι Μήδοισι ἦρχον τὸ ἀπὸ τούτου τῆς Ἀσίης. [3] Ἀστυάγεα δὲ Κῦρος κακὸν οὐδὲν ἄλλο ποιήσας εἶχε παρ᾽ ἑωυτῷ, ἐς ὃ ἐτελεύτησε. οὕτω δὴ Κῦρος γενόμενός τε καὶ τραφεὶς ἐβασίλευσε καὶ Κροῖσον ὕστερον τούτων ἄρξαντα ἀδικίης κατεστρέψατο, ὡς εἴρηταί μοι πρότερον, τοῦτον δὲ καταστρεψάμενος οὕτω πάσης τῆς Ἀσίης ἦρξε. 

131. These are the customs, so far as I know, which the Persians practise:--Images and temples and altars they do not account it lawful to erect, nay they even charge with folly those who do these things; and this, as it seems to me, because they do not account the gods to be in the likeness of men, as do the Hellenes. But it is their wont to perform sacrifices to Zeus going up to the most lofty of the mountains, and the whole circle of the heavens they call Zeus: and they sacrifice to the Sun and the Moon and the Earth, to Fire and to Water and to the Winds: these are the only gods to whom they have sacrificed ever from the first; but they have learnt also to sacrifice to Aphrodite Urania, having learnt it both from the Assyrians and the Arabians; and the Assyrians call Aphrodite Mylitta, the Arabians Alitta, and the Persians Mitra. 131. [1] Πέρσας δὲ οἶδα νόμοισι τοιοῖσιδε χρεωμένους, ἀγάλματα μὲν καὶ νηοὺς καὶ βωμοὺς οὐκ ἐν νόμῳ ποιευμένους ἱδρύεσθαι, ἀλλὰ καὶ τοῖσι ποιεῦσι μωρίην ἐπιφέρουσι, ὡς μὲν ἐμοὶ δοκέειν, ὅτι οὐκ ἀνθρωποφυέας ἐνόμισαν τοὺς θεοὺς κατά περ οἱ Ἕλληνες εἶναι· [2] οἳ δὲ νομίζουσι Διὶ μὲν ἐπὶ τὰ ὑψηλότατα τῶν ὀρέων ἀναβαίνοντες θυσίας ἔρδειν, τὸν κύκλον πάντα τοῦ οὐρανοῦ Δία καλέοντες· θύουσι δὲ ἡλίῳ τε καὶ σελήνῃ καὶ γῇ καὶ πυρὶ καὶ ὕδατι καὶ ἀνέμοισι. [3] τούτοισι μὲν δὴ θύουσι μούνοισι ἀρχῆθεν, ἐπιμεμαθήκασι δὲ καὶ τῇ Οὐρανίῃ θύειν, παρά τε Ἀσσυρίων μαθόντες καὶ Ἀραβίων. καλέουσι δὲ Ἀσσύριοι τὴν Ἀφροδίτην Μύλιττα, Ἀράβιοι δὲ Ἀλιλάτ, Πέρσαι δὲ Μίτραν. 

132. Now this is the manner of sacrifice for the gods aforesaid which is established among the Persians:--they make no altars neither do they kindle fire; and when they mean to sacrifice they use no libation nor music of the pipe nor chaplets nor meal for sprinkling; but when a man wishes to sacrifice to any one of the gods, he leads the animal for sacrifice to an unpolluted place and calls upon the god, having his tiara wreathed round generally with a branch of myrtle. For himself alone separately the man who sacrifices may not request good things in his prayer, but he prays that it may be well with all the Persians and with the king; for he himself also is included of course in the whole body of Persians. And when he has cut up the victim into pieces and boiled the flesh, he spreads a layer of the freshest grass and especially clover, upon which he places forthwith all the pieces of flesh; and when he has placed them in order, a Magian man stands by them and chants over them a theogony (for of this nature they say that their incantation is), seeing that without a Magian it is not lawful for them to make sacrifices. Then after waiting a short time the sacrificer carries away the flesh and uses it for whatever purpose he pleases. 132. [1] θυσίη δὲ τοῖσι Πέρσῃσι περὶ τοὺς εἰρημένους θεοὺς ἥδε κατέστηκε· οὔτε βωμοὺς ποιεῦνται οὔτε πῦρ ἀνακαίουσι μέλλοντες θύειν, οὐ σπονδῇ χρέωνται, οὐκὶ αὐλῷ, οὐ στέμμασι, οὐκὶ οὐλῇσι· τῶν δὲ ὡς ἑκάστῳ θύειν θέλῃ, ἐς χῶρον καθαρὸν ἀγαγὼν τὸ κτῆνος καλέει τὸν θεόν, ἐστεφανωμένος τὸν τιάραν μυρσίνῃ μάλιστα. [2] ἑωυτῷ μὲν δὴ τῷ θύοντι ἰδίῃ μούνῳ οὔ οἱ ἐγγίνεται ἀρᾶσθαι ἀγαθά, ὁ δὲ τοῖσι πᾶσι Πέρσῃσι κατεύχεται εὖ γίνεσθαι καὶ τῷ βασιλέι· ἐν γὰρ δὴ τοῖσι ἅπασι Πέρσῃσι καὶ αὐτὸς γίνεται. ἐπεὰν δὲ διαμιστύλας κατὰ μέλεα τὸ ἱρήιον ἑψήσῃ τὰ κρέα ὑποπάσας ποίην ὡς ἁπαλωτάτην, μάλιστα δὲ τὸ τρίφυλλον, ἐπὶ ταύτης ἔθηκε ὦν πάντα τὰ κρέα. [3] διαθέντος δὲ αὐτοῦ Μάγος ἀνὴρ παρεστεὼς ἐπαείδει θεογονίην, οἵην δὴ ἐκεῖνοι λέγουσι εἶναι τὴν ἐπαοιδήν· ἄνευ γὰρ δὴ Μάγου οὔ σφι νόμος ἐστὶ θυσίας ποιέεσθαι. ἐπισχὼν δὲ ὀλίγον χρόνον ἀποφέρεται ὁ θύσας τὰ κρέα καὶ χρᾶται ὅ τι μιν λόγος αἱρέει. 

133. And of all days their wont is to honour most that on which they were born, each one: on this they think it right to set out a feast more liberal than on other days; and in this feast the wealthier of them set upon the table an ox or a horse or a camel or an ass, roasted whole in an oven, and the poor among them set out small animals in the same way. They have few solid dishes, but many served up after as dessert, and these not in a single course; and for this reason the Persians say that the Hellenes leave off dinner hungry, because after dinner they have nothing worth mentioning served up as dessert, whereas if any good dessert were served up they would not stop eating so soon. To wine-drinking they are very much given, and it is not permitted for a man to vomit or to make water in presence of another. Thus do they provide against these things; and they are wont to deliberate when drinking hard about the most important of their affairs, and whatsoever conclusion has pleased them in their deliberation, this on the next day, when they are sober, the master of the house in which they happen to be when they deliberate lays before them for discussion: and if it pleases them when they are sober also, they adopt it, but if it does not please them, they let it go: and that on which they have had the first deliberation when they are sober, they consider again when they are drinking. 133. [1] ἡμέρην δὲ ἁπασέων μάλιστα ἐκείνην τιμᾶν νομίζουσι τῇ ἕκαστος ἐγένετο. ἐν ταύτῃ δὲ πλέω δαῖτα τῶν ἀλλέων δικαιεῦσι προτίθεσθαι· ἐν τῇ οἱ εὐδαίμονες αὐτῶν βοῦν καὶ ἵππον καὶ κάμηλον καὶ ὄνον προτιθέαται ὅλους ὀπτοὺς ἐν καμίνοισι, οἱ δὲ πένητες αὐτῶν τὰ λεπτὰ τῶν προβάτων προτιθέαται. [2] σίτοισι δὲ ὀλίγοισι χρέωνται, ἐπιφορήμασι δὲ πολλοῖσι καὶ οὐκ ἁλέσι· καὶ διὰ τοῦτο φασὶ Πέρσαι τοὺς Ἕλληνας σιτεομένους πεινῶντας παύεσθαι, ὅτι σφι ἀπὸ δείπνου παραφορέεται οὐδὲν λόγου ἄξιον· εἰ δέ τι παραφέροιτο, ἐσθίοντας ἂν οὐ παύεσθαι. [3] οἴνῳ δὲ κάρτα προσκέαται, καί σφι οὐκ ἐμέσαι ἔξεστι, οὐκὶ οὐρῆσαι ἀντίον ἄλλου. ταῦτα μέν νυν οὕτω φυλάσσεται, μεθυσκόμενοι δὲ ἐώθασι βουλεύεσθαι τὰ σπουδαιέστατα τῶν πρηγμάτων· [4] τὸ δ᾽ ἂν ἅδῃ σφι βουλευομένοισι, τοῦτο τῇ ὑστεραίῃ νήφουσι προτιθεῖ ὁ στέγαρχος, ἐν τοῦ ἂν ἐόντες βουλεύωνται, καὶ ἢν μὲν ἅδῃ καὶ νήφουσι, χρέωνται αὐτῷ, ἢν δὲμὴ ἅδῃ, μετιεῖσι. τὰ δ᾽ ἂν νήφοντες προβουλεύσωνται, μεθυσκόμενοι ἐπιδιαγινώσκουσι. 

134. When they meet one another in the roads, by this you may discern whether those who meet are of equal rank,--for instead of greeting by words they kiss one another on the mouth; but if one of them is a little inferior to the other, they kiss one another on the cheeks, and if one is of much less noble rank than the other, he falls down before him and does worship to him. And they honour of all most after themselves those nations which dwell nearest to them, and next those which dwell next nearest, and so they go on giving honour in proportion to distance; and they hold least in honour those who dwell furthest off from themselves, esteeming themselves to be by far the best of all the human race on every point, and thinking that others possess merit according to the proportion which is here stated, and that those who dwell furthest from themselves are the worst. And under the supremacy of the Medes the various nations used also to govern one another according to the same rule as the Persians observe in giving honour, the Medes governing the whole and in particular those who dwelt nearest to themselves, and these having rule over those who bordered upon them, and those again over the nations that were next to them: for the race went forward thus ever from government by themselves to government through others. 134. [1] ἐντυγχάνοντες δ᾽ ἀλλήλοισι ἐν τῇσι ὁδοῖσι, τῷδε ἄν τις διαγνοίη εἰ ὅμοιοί εἰσὶ οἱ συντυγχάνοντες· ἀντὶ γὰρ τοῦ προσαγορεύειν ἀλλήλους φιλέουσι τοῖσι στόμασι· ἢν δὲ ᾖ οὕτερος ὑποδεέστερος ὀλίγῳ, τὰς παρειὰς φιλέονται· ἢν δὲ πολλῷ ᾖ οὕτερος ἀγεννέστερος, προσπίπτων προσκυνέει τὸν ἕτερον. [2] τιμῶσι δὲ ἐκ πάντων τοὺς ἄγχιστα ἑωυτῶν οἰκέοντας μετά γε ἑωυτούς, δευτέρα δὲ τοὺς δευτέρους· μετὰ δὲ κατὰ λόγον προβαίνοντες τιμῶσι· ἥκιστα δὲ τοὺς ἑωυτῶν ἑκαστάτω οἰκημένους ἐν τιμῇ ἄγονται, νομίζοντες ἑωυτοὺς εἶναι ἀνθρώπων μακρῷ τὰ πάντα ἀρίστους, τοὺς δὲ ἄλλους κατὰ λόγον τῆς ἀρετῆς ἀντέχεσθαι, τοὺς δὲ ἑκαστάτω οἰκέοντας ἀπὸ ἑωυτῶν κακίστους εἶναι. [3] ἐπὶ δὲ Μήδων ἀρχὸν τῶν καὶ ἦρχε τὰ ἔθνεα ἀλλήλων, συναπάντων μὲν Μῆδοι καὶ τῶν ἄγχιστα οἰκεόντων σφίσι, οὗτοι δὲ καὶ τῶν ὁμούρων, οἳ δὲ μάλα τῶν ἐχομένων, κατὰ τὸν αὐτὸν δὴ λόγον καὶ οἱ Πέρσαι τιμῶσι· προέβαινε γὰρ δὴ τὸ ἔθνος ἄρχον τε καὶ ἐπιτροπεῦον. 

135. The Persians more than any other men admit foreign usages; for they both wear the Median dress judging it to be more comely than their own, and also for fighting the Egyptian corslet: moreover they adopt all kinds of luxuries when they hear of them, and in particular they have learnt from the Hellenes to have commerce with boys. They marry each one several lawful wives, and they get also a much larger number of concubines. 135. [1] ξεινικὰ δὲ νόμαια Πέρσαι προσίενται ἀνδρῶν μάλιστα. καὶ γὰρ δὴ τὴν Μηδικὴν ἐσθῆτα νομίσαντες τῆς ἑωυτῶν εἶναι καλλίω φορέουσι, καὶ ἐς τοὺς πολέμους τοὺς Αἰγυπτίους θώρηκας· καὶ εὐπαθείας τε παντοδαπὰς πυνθανόμενοι ἐπιτηδεύουσι, καὶ δὴ καὶ ἀπ᾽ Ἑλλήνων μαθόντες παισὶ μίσγονται. γαμέουσι δὲ ἕκαστος αὐτῶν πολλὰς μὲν κουριδίας γυναῖκας, πολλῷ δ᾽ ἔτι πλεῦνας παλλακὰς κτῶνται. 

136. It is established as a sign of manly excellence next after excellence in fight, to be able to show many sons; and to those who have most the king sends gifts every year: for they consider number to be a source of strength. And they educate their children, beginning at five years old and going on till twenty, in three things only, in riding, in shooting, and in speaking the truth: but before the boy is five years old he does not come into the presence of his father, but lives with the women; and it is so done for this reason, that if the child should die while he is being bred up, he may not be the cause of any grief to his father. 136. [1] ἀνδραγαθίη δὲ αὕτη ἀποδέδεκται, μετὰ τὸ μάχεσθαι εἶναι ἀγαθόν, ὃς ἂν πολλοὺς ἀποδέξῃ παῖδας· τῷ δὲ τοὺς πλείστους ἀποδεικνύντι δῶρα ἐκπέμπει βασιλεὺς ἀνὰ πᾶν ἔτος. τὸ πολλὸν δ᾽ ἡγέαται ἰσχυρὸν εἶναι. [2] παιδεύουσι δὲ τοὺς παῖδας ἀπὸ πενταέτεος ἀρξάμενοι μέχρι εἰκοσαέτεος τρία μοῦνα, ἰχνεύειν καὶ τοξεύειν καὶ ἀληθίζεσθαι. πρὶν δὲ ἢ πενταέτης γένηται, οὐκ ἀπικνέεται ἐς ὄψιν τῷ πατρί, ἀλλὰ παρὰ τῇσι γυναιξὶ δίαιταν ἔχει. τοῦδε δὲ εἵνεκα τοῦτο οὕτω ποιέεται, ἵνα ἢν ἀποθάνῃ τρεφόμενος, μηδεμίαν ἄσην τῷ πατρὶ προσβάλῃ. 

137. I commend this custom of theirs, and also the one which is next to be mentioned, namely that neither the king himself shall put any to death for one cause alone, nor any of the other Persians for one cause alone shall do hurt that is irremediable to any of his own servants; but if after reckoning he finds that the wrongs done are more in number and greater than the services rendered, then only he gives vent to his anger. Moreover they say that no one ever killed his own father or mother, but whatever deeds have been done which seemed to be of this nature, if examined must necessarily, they say, be found to be due either to changelings or to children of adulterous birth; for, say they, it is not reasonable to suppose that the true parent would be killed by his own son. 137. [1] αἰνέω μέν νυν τόνδε τὸν νόμον, αἰνέω δὲ καὶ τόνδε, τὸ μὴ μιῆς αἰτίης εἵνεκα μήτε αὐτὸν τὸν βασιλέα μηδένα φονεύειν, μήτε τῶν ἄλλων Περσέων μηδένα τῶν ἑωυτοῦ οἰκετέων ἐπὶ μιῇ αἰτίῃ ἀνήκεστον πάθος ἔρδειν· ἀλλὰ λογισάμενος ἢν εὑρίσκῃ πλέω τε καὶ μέζω τὰ ἀδικήματα ἐόντα τῶν ὑπουργημάτων, οὕτω τῷ θυμῷ χρᾶται. [2] ἀποκτεῖναι δὲ οὐδένα κω λέγουσι τὸν ἑωυτοῦ πατέρα οὐδὲ μητέρα, ἀλλὰ ὁκόσα ἤδη τοιαῦτα ἐγένετο, πᾶσαν ἀνάγκην φασὶ ἀναζητεόμενα ταῦτα ἀνευρεθῆναι ἤτοι ὑποβολιμαῖα ἐόντα ἢ μοιχίδια· οὐ γὰρ δή φασι οἰκὸς εἶναι τόν γε ἀληθέως τοκέα ὑπὸ τοῦ, ἑωυτοῦ παιδὸς ἀποθνήσκειν. 

138. Whatever things it is not lawful for them to do, these it is not lawful for them even to speak of: and the most disgraceful thing in their estimation is to tell an lie, and next to this to owe money, this last for many other reasons, but especially because it is necessary, they say, for him who owes money, also sometimes to tell lies: and whosoever of the men of the city has leprosy or whiteness of skin, he does not come into a city nor mingle with the other Persians; and they say that he has these diseases because he has offended in some way against the Sun: but a stranger who is taken by these diseases, in many regions they drive out of the country altogether, and also white doves, alleging against them the same cause. And into a river they neither make water nor spit, neither do they wash their hands in it, nor allow any other to do these things, but they reverence rivers very greatly. 138. [1] ἅσσα δέ σφι ποιέειν οὐκ ἔξεστι, ταῦτα οὐδὲ λέγειν ἔξεστι. αἴσχιστον δὲ αὐτοῖσι τὸ ψεύδεσθαι νενόμισται, δεύτερα δὲ τὸ ὀφείλειν χρέος, πολλῶν μὲν καὶ ἄλλων εἵνεκα, μάλιστα δὲ ἀναγκαίην φασὶ εἶναι τὸν ὀφείλοντα καί τι ψεῦδος λέγειν. ὃς ἂν δὲ τῶν ἀστῶν λέπρην ἢ λεύκην ἔχῃ, ἐς πόλιν οὗτος οὐ κατέρχεται οὐδὲ συμμίσγεται τοῖσι ἄλλοισι Πέρσῃσι· φασὶ δέ μιν ἐς τὸν ἥλιον ἁμαρτόντα τι ταῦτα ἔχειν. [2] ξεῖνον δὲ πάντα τὸν λαμβανόμενον ὑπὸ τουτέων πολλοὶ ἐξελαύνουσι ἐκ τῆς χώρης, καὶ τὰς λευκὰς περιστεράς, τὴν αὐτὴν αἰτίην ἐπιφέροντες. ἐς ποταμὸν δὲ οὔτε ἐνουρέουσι οὔτε ἐμπτύουσι, οὐ χεῖρας ἐναπονίζονται, οὐδὲ ἄλλον οὐδένα περιορῶσι, ἀλλὰ σέβονται ποταμοὺς μάλιστα. 

139. This moreover also has chanced to them, which the Persians have themselves failed to notice but I have not failed to do so:--their names, which are formed to correspond with their bodily shapes or their magnificence of station, end all with the same letter, that letter which the Dorians call san and the Ionians sigma; with this you will find, if you examine the matter, that all the Persian names end, not some with this and others with other letters, but all alike.

139. [1] καὶ τόδε ἄλλο σφι ὧδε συμπέπτωκε γίνεσθαι, τὸ Πέρσας μὲν αὐτοὺς λέληθε, ἡμέας μέντοι οὔ· τὰ οὐνόματά σφι ἐόντα ὅμοια τοῖσι σώμασι καὶ τῇ μεγαλοπρεπείῃ τελευτῶσι πάντα ἐς τὠυτὸ γράμμα, τὸ Δωριέες μὲν σὰν καλέουσι, Ἴωνες δὲ σίγμα· ἐς τοῦτο διζήμενος εὑρήσεις τελευτῶντα τῶν Περσέων τὰ οὐνόματα, οὐ τὰ μὲν τὰ δ᾽ οὔ, ἀλλὰ πάντα ὁμοίως. 

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