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

Herodotus Book 2: Euterpe [100]

100. After this man the priests enumerated to me from a papyrus roll the names of other kings, three hundred and thirty in number; and in all these generations of men eighteen were Ethiopians, one was a woman, a native Egyptian, and the rest were men and of Egyptian race: and the name of the woman who reigned was the same as that of the Babylonian queen, namely Nitocris. Of her they said that desiring to take vengeance for her brother, whom the Egyptians had slain when he was their king and then, after having slain him, had given his kingdom to her,--desiring, I say, to take vengeance for him, she destroyed by craft many of the Egyptians. For she caused to be constructed a very large chamber under ground, and making as though she would handsel it but in her mind devising other things, she invited those of the Egyptians whom she knew to have had most part in the murder, and gave a great banquet. Then while they were feasting, she let in the river upon them by a secret conduit of large size. Of her they told no more than this, except that, when this had been accomplished, she threw herself into a room full of embers, in order that she might escape vengeance. 100. [1] μετὰ δὲ τοῦτον κατέλεγον οἱ ἱρέες ἐκ βύβλου ἄλλων βασιλέων τριηκοσίων καὶ τριήκοντα οὐνόματα. ἐν τοσαύτῃσι δὲ γενεῇσι ἀνθρώπων ὀκτωκαίδεκα μὲν Αἰθίοπες ἦσαν, μία δὲ γυνὴ ἐπιχωρίη, οἱ δὲ ἄλλοι ἄνδρες Αἰγύπτιοι. [2] τῇ δὲ γυναικὶ οὔνομα ἦν, ἥτις ἐβασίλευσε, τό περ τῇ Βαβυλωνίῃ, Νίτωκρις· τὴν ἔλεγον τιμωρέουσαν ἀδελφεῷ, τὸν Αἰγύπτιοι βασιλεύοντα σφέων ἀπέκτειναν, ἀποκτείναντες δὲ οὕτω ἐκείνῃ ἀπέδοσαν τὴν βασιληίην, τούτῳ τιμωρέουσαν πολλοὺς Αἰγυπτίων διαφθεῖραι δόλῳ. [3] ποιησαμένην γάρ μιν οἴκημα περίμηκες ὑπόγαιον καινοῦν τῷ λόγῳ, νόῳ δὲ ἄλλα μηχανᾶσθαι· καλέσασαν δέ μιν Αἰγυπτίων τοὺς μάλιστα μεταιτίους τοῦ φόνου ᾔδεε πολλοὺς ἱστιᾶν, δαινυμένοισι δὲ ἐπεῖναι τὸν ποταμὸν δι᾽ αὐλῶνος κρυπτοῦ μεγάλου. [4] ταύτης μὲν πέρι τοσαῦτα ἔλεγον, πλὴν ὅτι αὐτήν μιν, ὡς τοῦτο ἐξέργαστο, ῥίψαι ἐς οἴκημα σποδοῦ πλέον, ὅκως ἀτιμώρητος γένηται. 

101. As for the other kings, they could tell me of no great works which had been produced by them, and they said that they had no renown except only the last of them, Moris: he (they said) produced as a memorial of himself the gateway of the temple of Hephaistos which is turned towards the North Wind, and dug a lake, about which I shall set forth afterwards how many furlongs of circuit it has, and in it built pyramids of the size which I shall mention at the same time when I speak of the lake itself. He, they said, produced these works, but of the rest none produced any.

101. [1] τῶν δὲ ἄλλων βασιλέων οὐ γὰρ ἔλεγον οὐδεμίαν ἔργων ἀπόδεξιν καὶ οὐδὲν εἶναι λαμπρότητος, πλὴν ἑνὸς τοῦ ἐσχάτου αὐτῶν Μοίριος· [2] τοῦτον δὲ ἀποδέξασθαι μνημόσυνα τοῦ Ἡφαίστου τὰ πρὸς βορέην ἄνεμον τετραμμένα προπύλαια, λίμνην τε ὀρύξαι, τῆς ἡ περίοδος ὅσων ἐστὶ σταδίων ὕστερον δηλώσω, πυραμίδας τε ἐν αὐτῇ οἰκοδομῆσαι, τῶν τοῦ μεγάθεος πέρι ὁμοῦ αὐτῇ τῇ λίμνῃ ἐπιμνήσομαι· τοῦτον μὲν τοσαῦτα ἀποδέξασθαι, τῶν δὲ ἄλλων οὐδένα οὐδέν. 

102. Therefore passing these by I shall make mention of the king who came after these, whose name was Sesostris. He (the priests said) first of all set out with ships of war from the Arabian gulf and subdued those who dwelt by the shores of the Erythraian Sea, until as he sailed he came to a sea which could no further be navigated by reason of shoals: then secondly, after he had returned to Egypt, according to the report of the priests he took a great army and marched over the continent, subduing every nation which stood in his way: and those of them whom he found valiant and fighting desperately for their freedom, in their lands he set up pillars which told by inscriptions his own name and the name of his country, and how he had subdued them by his power; but as to those of whose cities he obtained possession without fighting or with ease, on their pillars he inscribed words after the same tenor as he did for the nations which had shown themselves courageous, and in addition he drew upon them the hidden parts of a woman, desiring to signify by this that the people were cowards and effeminate. 102. [1] παραμειψάμενος ὦν τούτους τοῦ ἐπὶ τούτοισι γενομένου βασιλέος, τῷ οὔνομα ἦν Σέσωστρις, τούτου μνήμην ποιήσομαι· [2] τὸν ἔλεγον οἱ ἱρέες πρῶτον μὲν πλοίοισι μακροῖσι ὁρμηθέντα ἐκ τοῦ Ἀραβίου κόλπου τοὺς παρὰ τὴν Ἐρυθρὴν θάλασσαν κατοικημένους καταστρέφεσθαι, ἐς ὃ πλέοντά μιν πρόσω ἀπικέσθαι ἐς θάλασσαν οὐκέτι πλωτὴν ὑπὸ βραχέων. [3] ἐνθεῦτεν δὲ ὡς ὀπίσω ἀπίκετο ἐς Αἴγυπτον, κατὰ τῶν ἱρέων τὴν φάτιν, πολλὴν στρατιὴν τῶν λαβὼν ἤλαυνε διὰ τῆς ἠπείρου, πᾶν ἔθνος τὸ ἐμποδὼν καταστρεφόμενος. [4] ὁτέοισι μέν νυν αὐτῶν ἀλκίμοισι ἐνετύγχανε καὶ δεινῶς γλιχομένοισι περὶ τῆς ἐλευθερίης, τούτοισι μὲν στήλας ἐνίστη ἐς τὰς χώρας διὰ γραμμάτων λεγούσας τό τε ἑωυτοῦ οὔνομα καὶ τῆς πάτρης, καὶ ὡς δυνάμι τῇ ἑωυτοῦ κατεστρέψατο σφέας· [5] ὅτεων δὲ ἀμαχητὶ καὶ εὐπετέως παρέλαβε τὰς πόλιας, τούτοισι δὲ ἐνέγραφε ἐν τῇσι στήλῃσι κατὰ ταὐτὰ καὶ τοῖσι ἀνδρηίοισι τῶν ἐθνέων γενομένοισι, καὶ δὴ καὶ αἰδοῖα γυναικὸς προσενέγραφε, δῆλα βουλόμενος ποιέειν ὡς εἴησαν ἀνάλκιδες. 

103. Thus doing he traversed the continent, until at last he passed over to Europe from Asia and subdued the Scythians and also the Thracians. These, I am of opinion, were the furthest people to which the Egyptian army came, for in their country the pillars are found to have been set up, but in the land beyond this they are no longer found. From this point he turned and began to go back; and when he came to the river Phasis, what happened then I cannot say for certain, whether the king Sesostris himself divided off a certain portion of his army and left the men there as settlers in the land, or whether some of his soldiers were wearied by his distant marches and remained by the river Phasis. 103. [1] ταῦτα δὲ ποιέων διεξήιε τὴν ἤπειρον, ἐς ὃ ἐκ τῆς Ἀσίης ἐς τὴν Εὐρώπην διαβὰς τούς τε Σκύθας κατεστρέψατο καὶ τοὺς Θρήικας. ἐς τούτους δέ μοι δοκέει καὶ προσώτατα ἀπικέσθαι ὁ Αἰγύπτιος στρατός· ἐν μὲν γὰρ τῇ τούτων χώρῃ φαίνονται σταθεῖσαι αἱ στῆλαι, τὸ δὲ προσωτέρω τούτων οὐκέτι. [2] ἐνθεῦτεν δὲ ἐπιστρέψας ὀπίσω ἤιε, καὶ ἐπείτε ἐγίνετο ἐπὶ Φάσι ποταμῷ, οὐκ ἔχω τὸ ἐνθεῦτεν ἀτρεκέως εἰπεῖν εἴτε αὐτὸς ὁ βασιλεὺς Σέσωστρις ἀποδασάμενος τῆς ἑωυτοῦ στρατιῆς μόριον ὅσον δὴ αὐτοῦ κατέλιπε τῆς χώρης οἰκήτορας, εἴτε τῶν τινες στρατιωτέων τῇ πλάνῃ αὐτοῦ ἀχθεσθέντες περὶ Φᾶσιν ποταμὸν κατέμειναν. 

104. For the people of Colchis are evidently Egyptian, and this I perceived for myself before I heard it from others. So when I had come to consider the matter I asked them both; and the Colchians had remembrance of the Egyptians more than the Egyptians of the Colchians; but the Egyptians said they believed that the Colchians were a portion of the army of Sesostris. That this was so I conjectured myself not only because they are dark-skinned and have curly hair (this of itself amounts to nothing, for there are other races which are so), but also still more because the Colchians, Egyptians, and Ethiopians alone of all the races of men have practised circumcision from the first. The Phenicians and the Syrians who dwell in Palestine confess themselves that they have learnt it from the Egyptians, and the Syrians about the river Thermodon and the river Parthenios, and the Macronians, who are their neighbours, say that they have learnt it lately from the Colchians. These are the only races of men who practise circumcision, and these evidently practise it in the same manner as the Egyptians. Of the Egyptians themselves however and the Ethiopians, I am not able to say which learnt from the other, for undoubtedly it is a most ancient custom; but that the other nations learnt it by intercourse with the Egyptians, this among others is to me a strong proof, namely that those of the Phenicians who have intercourse with Hellas cease to follow the example of the Egyptians in this matter, and do not circumcise their children. 104. [1] φαίνονται μὲν γὰρ ἐόντες οἱ Κόλχοι Αἰγύπτιοι, νοήσας δὲ πρότερον αὐτὸς ἢ ἀκούσας ἄλλων λέγω. ὡς δέ μοι ἐν φροντίδι ἐγένετο, εἰρόμην ἀμφοτέρους, καὶ μᾶλλον οἱ Κόλχοι ἐμεμνέατο τῶν Αἰγυπτίων ἢ οἱ Αἰγύπτιοι τῶν Κόλχων· [2] νομίζειν δ᾽ ἔφασαν οἱ Αἰγύπτιοι τῆς Σεσώστριος στρατιῆς εἶναι τοὺς Κόλχους. αὐτὸς δὲ εἴκασα τῇδε, καὶ ὅτι μελάγχροες εἰσὶ καὶ οὐλότριχες. καὶ τοῦτο μὲν ἐς οὐδὲν ἀνήκει· εἰσὶ γὰρ καὶ ἕτεροι τοιοῦτοι· ἀλλὰ τοῖσιδε καὶ μᾶλλον, ὅτι μοῦνοι πάντων ἀνθρώπων Κόλχοι καὶ Αἰγύπτιοι καὶ Αἰθίοπες περιτάμνονται ἀπ᾽ ἀρχῆς τὰ αἰδοῖα. [3] Φοίνικες δὲ καὶ Σύροι οἱ ἐν τῇ Παλαιστίνῃ καὶ αὐτοὶ ὁμολογέουσι παρ᾽ Αἰγυπτίων μεμαθηκέναι, Σύριοι δὲ οἱ περὶ Θερμώδοντα καὶ Παρθένιον ποταμὸν καὶ Μάκρωνες οἱ τούτοισι ἀστυγείτονες ἐόντες ἀπὸ Κόλχων φασὶ νεωστὶ μεμαθηκέναι. οὗτοι γὰρ εἰσὶ οἱ περιταμνόμενοι ἀνθρώπων μοῦνοι, καὶ οὗτοι Αἰγυπτίοισι φαίνονται ποιεῦντες κατὰ ταὐτά. [4] αὐτῶν δὲ Αἰγυπτίων καὶ Αἰθιόπων οὐκ ἔχω εἰπεῖν ὁκότεροι παρὰ τῶν ἑτέρων ἐξέμαθον· ἀρχαῖον γὰρ δή τι φαίνεται ἐόν. ὡς δὲ ἐπιμισγόμενοι Αἰγύπτῳ ἐξέμαθον, μέγα μοι καὶ τόδε τεκμήριον γίνεται· Φοινίκων ὁκόσοι τῇ Ἑλλάδι ἐπιμίσγονται, οὐκέτι Αἰγυπτίους μιμέονται κατὰ τὰ αἰδοῖα. ἀλλὰ τῶν ἐπιγινομένων οὐ περιτάμνουσι τὰ αἰδοῖα. 

105. Now let me tell another thing about the Colchians to show how they resemble the Egyptians:--they alone work flax in the same fashion as the Egyptians, and the two nations are like one another in their whole manner of living and also in their language: now the linen of Colchis is called by the Hellenes Sardonic, whereas that from Egypt is called Egyptian. 105. [1] φέρε νῦν καὶ ἄλλο εἴπω περὶ τῶν Κόλχων, ὡς Αἰγυπτίοισι προσφερέες εἰσί· λίνον μοῦνοι οὗτοί τε καὶ Αἰγύπτιοι ἐργάζονται καὶ κατὰ ταὐτά, καὶ ἡ ζόη πᾶσα καὶ ἡ γλῶσσα ἐμφερής ἐστι ἀλλήλοισι. λίνον δὲ τὸ μὲν Κολχικὸν ὑπὸ Ἑλλήνων Σαρδωνικὸν κέκληται, τὸ μέντοι ἀπ᾽ Αἰγύπτου ἀπικνεύμενον καλέεται Αἰγύπτιον. 

106. The pillars which Sesostris of Egypt set up in the various countries are for the most part no longer to be seen extant; but in Syria Palestine I myself saw them existing with the inscription upon them which I have mentioned and the emblem. Moreover in Ionia there are two figures of this man carved upon rocks, one on the road by which one goes from the land of Ephesos to Phocaia, and the other on the road from Sardis to Smyrna. In each place there is a figure of a man cut in the rock, of four cubits and a span in height, holding in his right hand a spear and in his left a bow and arrows, and the other equipment which he has is similar to this, for it is both Egyptian and Ethiopian: and from the one shoulder to the other across the breast runs an inscription carved in sacred Egyptian characters, saying thus, "This land with my shoulders I won for myself." But who he is and from whence, he does not declare in these places, though in other places he has declared this. Some of those who have seen these carvings conjecture that the figure is that of Memnon, but herein they are very far from the truth.

106. [1] αἱ δὲ στῆλαι τὰς ἵστα κατὰ τὰς χώρας ὁ Αἰγύπτου βασιλεὺς Σέσωστρις, αἱ μὲν πλεῦνες οὐκέτι φαίνονται περιεοῦσαι, ἐν δὲ τῇ Παλαιστίνῃ Συρίῃ αὐτὸς ὥρων ἐούσας καὶ τὰ γράμματα τὰ εἰρημένα ἐνεόντα καὶ γυναικὸς αἰδοῖα. [2] εἰσὶ δὲ καὶ περὶ Ἰωνίην δύο τύποι ἐν πέτρῃσι ἐγκεκολαμμένοι τούτου τοῦ ἀνδρός, τῇ τε ἐκ τῆς Ἐφεσίης ἐς Φώκαιαν ἔρχονται καὶ τῇ ἐκ Σαρδίων ἐς Σμύρνην. [3] ἑκατέρωθι δὲ ἀνὴρ ἐγγέγλυπται μέγαθος πέμπτης σπιθαμῆς, τῇ μὲν δεξιῇ χειρὶ ἔχων αἰχμὴν τῇ δὲ ἀριστερῇ τόξα, καὶ τὴν ἄλλην σκευὴν ὡσαύτως· καὶ γὰρ Αἰγυπτίην καὶ Αἰθιοπίδα ἔχει· [4] ἐκ δὲ τοῦ ὤμου ἐς τὸν ἕτερον ὦμον διὰ τῶν στηθέων γράμματα ἱρὰ Αἰγύπτια διήκει ἐγκεκολαμμένα, λέγοντα τάδε· «ἐγὼ τήνδε τὴν χώρην ὤμοισι τοῖσι ἐμοῖσι ἐκτησάμην.» ὅστις δὲ καὶ ὁκόθεν ἐστί, ἐνθαῦτα μὲν οὐ δηλοῖ, ἑτέρωθι δὲ δεδήλωκε· [5] τὰ δὴ καὶ μετεξέτεροι τῶν θεησαμένων Μέμνονος εἰκόνα εἰκάζουσί μιν εἶναι, πολλὸν τῆς ἀληθείης ἀπολελειμμένοι. 

107. As this Egyptian Sesostris was returning and bringing back many men of the nations whose lands he had subdued, when he came (said the priests) to Daphnai in the district of Pelusion on his journey home, his brother to whom Sesostris had entrusted the charge of Egypt invited him and with him his sons to a feast; and then he piled the house round with brushwood and set it on fire: and Sesostris when he discovered this forthwith took counsel with his wife, for he was bringing with him (they said) his wife also; and she counselled him to lay out upon the pyre two of his sons, which were six in number, and so to make a bridge over the burning mass, and that they passing over their bodies should thus escape. This, they said, Sesostris did, and two of his sons were burnt to death in this manner, but the rest got away safe with their father. 107. [1] τοῦτον δὴ τὸν Αἰγύπτιον Σέσωστριν ἀναχωρέοντα καὶ ἀνάγοντα πολλοὺς ἀνθρώπους τῶν ἐθνέων τῶν τὰς χώρας κατεστρέψατο, ἔλεγον οἱ ἱρέες, ἐπείτε ἐγίνετο ἀνακομιζόμενος ἐν Δάφνῃσι τῇσι Πηλουσίῃσι, τὸν ἀδελφεὸν ἑωυτοῦ, τῷ ἐπέτρεψε ὁ Σέσωστρις τὴν Αἴγυπτον, τοῦτον ἐπὶ ξείνια αὐτὸν καλέσαντα καὶ πρὸς αὐτῷ τοὺς παῖδας περινῆσαι ἔξωθεν τὴν οἰκίην ὕλῃ, περινήσαντα δὲ ὑποπρῆσαι. [2] τὸν δὲ ὡς μαθεῖν τοῦτο, αὐτίκα συμβουλεύεσθαι τῇ γυναικί· καὶ γὰρ δὴ καὶ τὴν γυναῖκα αὐτὸν ἅμα ἄγεσθαι· τὴν δέ οἱ συμβουλεῦσαι τῶν παίδων ἐόντων ἓξ τοὺς δύο ἐπὶ τὴν πυρὴν ἐκτείναντα γεφυρῶσαι τὸ καιόμενον, αὐτοὺς δὲ ἐπ᾽ ἐκείνων ἐπιβαίνοντας ἐκσώζεσθαι. ταῦτα ποιῆσαι τὸν Σέσωστριν, καὶ δύο μὲν τῶν παίδων κατακαῆναι τρόπῳ τοιούτῳ, τοὺς δὲ λοιποὺς ἀποσωθῆναι ἅμα τῷ πατρί. 

108. Then Sesostris, having returned to Egypt and having taken vengeance on his brother, employed the multitude which he had brought in of those whose lands he had subdued, as follows:--these were they who drew the stones which in the reign of this king were brought to the temple of Hephaistos, being of very great size; and also these were compelled to dig all the channels which now are in Egypt; and thus (having no such purpose) they caused Egypt, which before was all fit for riding and driving, to be no longer fit for this from thenceforth: for from that time forward Egypt, though it is plain land, has become all unfit for riding and driving, and the cause has been these channels, which are many and run in all directions. But the reason why the king cut up the land was this, namely because those of the Egyptians who had their cities not on the river but in the middle of the country, being in want of water when the river went down from them, found their drink brackish because they had it from wells. 108. [1] νοστήσας δὲ ὁ Σέσωστρις ἐς τὴν Αἴγυπτον καὶ τισάμενος τὸν ἀδελφεόν, τῷ μὲν ὁμίλῳ τὸν ἐπηγάγετο τῶν τὰς χώρας κατεστρέψατο, τούτῳ μὲν τάδε ἐχρήσατο· [2] τούς τέ οἱ λίθους τοὺς ἐπὶ τούτου τοῦ βασιλέος κομισθέντας ἐς τοῦ Ἡφαίστου τὸ ἱρόν, ἐόντας μεγάθεϊ περιμήκεας, οὗτοι ἦσαν οἱ ἑλκύσαντες, καὶ τὰς διώρυχας τὰς νῦν ἐούσας ἐν Αἰγύπτῳ πάσας οὗτοι ἀναγκαζόμενοι ὤρυσσον, ἐποίευν τε οὐκ ἑκόντες Αἴγυπτον, τὸ πρὶν ἐοῦσαν ἱππασίμην καὶ ἁμαξευομένην πᾶσαν, ἐνδεᾶ τούτων. [3] ἀπὸ γὰρ τούτου τοῦ χρόνου Αἴγυπτος ἐοῦσα πεδιὰς πᾶσα ἄνιππος καὶ ἀναμάξευτος γέγονε· αἴτιαι δὲ τούτων αἱ διώρυχες γεγόνασι ἐοῦσαι πολλαὶ καὶ παντοίους τρόπους ἔχουσαί. [4] κατέταμνε δὲ τοῦδε εἵνεκα τὴν χώρην ὁ βασιλεύς· ὅσοι τῶν Αἰγυπτίων μὴ ἐπὶ τῷ ποταμῷ ἔκτηντο τὰς πόλις ἀλλ᾽ ἀναμέσους, οὗτοι, ὅκως τε ἀπίοι ὁ ποταμός, σπανίζοντες ὑδάτων πλατυτέροισι ἐχρέωντο τοῖσι πόμασι, ἐκ φρεάτων χρεώμενοι. τούτων μὲν δὴ εἵνεκα κατετμήθη ἡ Αἴγυπτος.

109. For this reason Egypt was cut up; and they said that this king distributed the land to all the Egyptians, giving an equal square portion to each man, and from this he made his revenue, having appointed them to pay a certain rent every year: and if the river should take away anything from any man's portion, he would come to the king and declare that which had happened, and the king used to send men to examine and to find out by measurement how much less the piece of land had become, in order that for the future the man might pay less, in proportion to the rent appointed: and I think that thus the art of geometry was found out and afterwards came into Hellas also. For as touching the sun-dial and the gnomon and the twelve divisions of the day, they were learnt by the Hellenes from the Babylonians. 109. [1] κατανεῖμαι δὲ τὴν χώρην Αἰγυπτίοισι ἅπασι τοῦτον ἔλεγον τὸν βασιλέα, κλῆρον ἴσον ἑκάστῳ τετράγωνον διδόντα, καὶ ἀπὸ τούτου τὰς προσόδους ποιήσασθαι, ἐπιτάξαντα ἀποφορὴν ἐπιτελέειν κατ᾽ ἐνιαυτόν. [2] εἰ δὲ τινὸς τοῦ κλήρου ὁ ποταμός τι παρέλοιτο, ἐλθὼν ἂν πρὸς αὐτὸν ἐσήμαινε τὸ γεγενημένον· ὁ δὲ ἔπεμπε τοὺς ἐπισκεψομένους καὶ ἀναμετρήσοντας ὅσῳ ἐλάσσων ὁ χῶρος γέγονε, ὅκως τοῦ λοιποῦ κατὰ λόγον τῆς τεταγμένης ἀποφορῆς τελέοι. [3] δοκέει δέ μοι ἐνθεῦτεν γεωμετρίη εὑρεθεῖσα ἐς τὴν Ἑλλάδα ἐπανελθεῖν· πόλον μὲν γὰρ καὶ γνώμονα καὶ τὰ δυώδεκα μέρεα τῆς ἡμέρης παρὰ Βαβυλωνίων ἔμαθον οἱ Ἕλληνες. 

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