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

Herodotus Book 4: Melpomene [30]

30. In that land then this takes place on account of the cold; but (since my history proceeded from the first seeking occasions for digression) I feel wonder that in the whole land of Elis mules cannot be bred, though that region is not cold, nor is there any other evident cause. The Eleians themselves say that in consequence of some curse mules are not begotten in their land; but when the time approaches for the mares to conceive, they drive them out into the neighbouring lands and there in the land of their neighbours they admit to them the he-asses until the mares are pregnant, and then they drive them back.

30. [1] ἐνθαῦτα μέν νυν διὰ τὰ ψύχεα γίνεται ταῦτα. θωμάζω δέ (προσθήκας γὰρ δή μοι ὁ λόγος ἐξ ἀρχῆς ἐδίζητο) ὅτι ἐν τῇ Ἠλείῃ πάσῃ χώρῃ οὐ δυνέαται γίνεσθαι ἡμίονοι, οὔτε ψυχροῦ τοῦ χώρου ἐόντος οὔτε ἄλλου φανεροῦ αἰτίου οὐδενός. φασὶ δὲ αὐτοὶ Ἠλεῖοι ἐκ κατάρης τευ οὐ γίνεσθαι σφίσι ἡμιόνους, [2] ἀλλ᾽ ἐπεὰν προσίῃ ἡ ὥρη κυΐσκεσθαι τὰς ἵππους, ἐξελαύνουσι ἐς τοὺς πλησιοχώρους αὐτάς, καὶ ἔπειτά σφι ἐν τῇ τῶν πέλας ἐπιεῖσι τοὺς ὄνους, ἐς οὗ ἂν σχῶσι αἱ ἵπποι ἐν γαστρί· ἔπειτα δὲ ἀπελαύνουσι.

31. As to the feathers of which the Scythians say that the air is full, and that by reason of them they are not able either to see or to pass through the further parts of the continent, the opinion which I have is this:--in the parts beyond this land it snows continually, though less in summer than in winter, as might be supposed. Now whomsoever has seen close at hand snow falling thickly, knows what I mean without further explanation, for the snow is like feathers: and on account of this wintry weather, being such as I have said, the Northern parts of this continent are uninhabitable. I think therefore that by the feathers the Scythians and those who dwell near them mean symbolically the snow. This then which has been said goes to the furthest extent of the accounts given.

31. [1] περὶ δὲ τῶν πτερῶν τῶν Σκύθαι λέγουσι ἀνάπλεον εἶναι τὸν ἠέρα, καὶ τούτων εἵνεκα οὐκ οἷοί τε εἶναι οὔτε ἰδεῖν τὸ πρόσω τῆς ἠπείρου οὔτε διεξιέναι, τήνδε ἔχω περὶ αὐτῶν γνώμην· τὰ κατύπερθε ταύτης τῆς χώρης αἰεὶ νίφεται, ἐλάσσονι δὲ τοῦ θέρεος ἢ τοῦ χειμῶνος, ὥσπερ καὶ οἰκός. [2] ἤδη ὦν ὅστις ἀγχόθεν χιόνα ἁδρὴν πίπτουσαν εἶδε οἶδε τὸ λέγω· ἔοικε γὰρ ἡ χιὼν πτεροῖσι καὶ διὰ τὸν χειμῶνα τοῦτον ἐόντα τοιοῦτον ἀνοίκητα τὰ πρὸς βορέην ἐστὶ τῆς ἠπείρου ταύτης. τὰ ὦν πτερὰ εἰκάζοντας τὴν χιόνα τοὺς Σκύθας τε καὶ τοὺς περιοίκους δοκέω λέγειν. ταῦτα μέν νυν τὰ λέγεται μακρότατα εἴρηται. 

32. About a Hyperborean people the Scythians report nothing, nor do any of those who dwell in this region, unless it be the Issedonians: but in my opinion neither do these report anything; for if they did the Scythians also would report it, as they do about the one-eyed people. Hesiod however has spoken of Hyperboreans, and so also has Homer in the poem of the "Epigonoi," at least if Homer was really the composer of that Epic. 32. [1] Ὑπερβορέων δὲ πέρι ἀνθρώπων οὔτε τι Σκύθαι λέγουσι οὐδὲν οὔτε τινὲς ἄλλοι τῶν ταύτῃ οἰκημένων, εἰ μὴ ἄρα Ἰσσηδόνες. ὡς δὲ ἐγὼ δοκέω, οὐδ᾽ οὗτοι λέγουσι οὐδέν· ἔλεγον γὰρ ἂν καὶ Σκύθαι, ὡς περὶ τῶν μουνοφθάλμων λέγουσι. ἀλλ᾽ Ἡσιόδῳ μὲν ἐστὶ περὶ Ὑπερβορέων εἰρημένα, ἔστι δὲ καὶ Ὁμήρῳ ἐν Ἐπιγόνοισι, εἰ δὴ τῷ ἐόντι γε Ὅμηρος ταῦτα τὰ ἔπεα ἐποίησε.

33. But much more about them is reported by the people of Delos than by any others. For these say that sacred offerings bound up in wheat straw are carried from the land of the Hyperboreans and come to the Scythians, and then from the Scythians the neighbouring nations in succession receive them and convey them Westwards, finally as far as the Adriatic: thence they are sent forward towards the South, and the people of Dodona receive them first of all the Hellenes, and from these they come down to the Malian gulf and are passed over to Eubœa, where city sends them on to city till they come to Carystos. After this Andros is left out, for the Carystians are those who bring them to Tenos, and the Tenians to Delos. Thus they say that these sacred offerings come to Delos; but at first, they say, the Hyperboreans sent two maidens bearing the sacred offerings, whose names, say the Delians, were Hyperoche and Laodike, and with them for their protection the Hyperboreans sent five men of their nation to attend them, those namely who are now called Perphereës and have great honours paid to them in Delos. Since however the Hyperboreans found that those who were sent away did not return back, they were troubled to think that it would always befall them to send out and not to receive back; and so they bore the offerings to the borders of their land bound up in wheat straw, and laid a charge upon their neighbours, bidding them send these forward from themselves to another nation. These things then, they say, come to Delos being thus sent forward; and I know of my own knowledge that a thing is done which has resemblance to these offerings, namely that the women of Thrace and Paionia, when they sacrifice to Artemis "the Queen," do not make their offerings without wheat straw. 33. [1] πολλῷ δέ τι πλεῖστα περὶ αὐτῶν Δήλιοι λέγουσι, φάμενοι ἱρὰ ἐνδεδεμένα ἐν καλάμῃ πυρῶν ἐξ Ὑπερβορέων φερόμενα ἀπικνέεσθαι ἐς Σκύθας, ἀπὸ δὲ Σκυθέων ἤδη δεκομένους αἰεὶ τοὺς πλησιοχώρους ἑκάστους κομίζειν αὐτὰ τὸ πρὸς ἑσπέρης ἑκαστάτω ἐπὶ τὸν Ἀδρίην, [2] ἐνθεῦτεν δὲ πρὸς μεσαμβρίην προπεμπόμενα πρώτους Δωδωναίους Ἑλλήνων δέκεσθαι, ἀπὸ δὲ τούτων καταβαίνειν ἐπὶ τὸν Μηλιέα κόλπον καὶ διαπορεύεσθαι ἐς Εὔβοιαν, πόλιν τε ἐς πόλιν πέμπειν μέχρι Καρύστου, τὸ δ᾽ ἀπὸ ταύτης ἐκλιπεῖν Ἄνδρον· Καρυστίους γὰρ εἶναι τοὺς κομίζοντας ἐς Τῆνον, Τηνίους δὲ ἐς Δῆλον. [3] ἀπικνέεσθαι μέν νυν οὕτω ταῦτα τὰ ἱρὰ λέγουσι ἐς Δῆλον· πρῶτον δὲ τοὺς Ὑπερβορέους πέμψαι φερούσας τὰ ἱρὰ δὺο κόρας, τὰς ὀνομάζουσι Δήλιοι εἶναι Ὑπερόχην τε καὶ Λαοδίκην· ἅμα δὲ αὐτῇσι ἀσφαλείης εἵνεκεν πέμψαι τοὺς Ὑπερβορέους τῶν ἀστῶν ἄνδρας πέντε πομπούς, τούτους οἳ νῦν Περφερέες καλέονται τιμὰς μεγάλας ἐν Δήλῳ ἔχοντες. [4] ἐπεὶ δὲ τοῖσι Ὑπερβορέοισι τοὺς ἀποπεμφθέντας ὀπίσω οὐκ ἀπονοστέειν, δεινὰ ποιευμένους εἰ σφέας αἰεὶ καταλάμψεται ἀποστέλλοντας μὴ ἀποδέκεσθαι, οὕτω δὴ φέροντας ἐς τοὺς οὔρους τὰ ἱρὰ ἐνδεδεμένα ἐν πυρῶν καλάμῃ τοὺς πλησιοχώρους ἐπισκήπτειν κελεύοντας προπέμπειν σφέα ἀπὸ ἑωυτῶν ἐς ἄλλο ἔθνος. [5] καὶ ταῦτα μὲν οὕτω προπεμπόμενα ἀπικνέεσθαι λέγουσι ἐς Δῆλον. οἶδα δὲ αὐτὸς τούτοισι τοῖσι ἱροῖσι τόδε ποιεύμενον προσφερές, τὰς Θρηικίας καὶ τὰς Παιονίδας γυναῖκας, ἐπεὰν θύωσι τῇ Ἀρτέμιδι τῇ βασιλείῃ, οὐκ ἄνευ πυρῶν καλάμης ἐχούσας τὰ ἱρά.

34. These I know do as I have said; and for those maidens from the Hyperboreans, who died in Delos, both the girls and the boys of the Delians cut off their hair: the former before marriage cut off a lock and having wound it round a spindle lay it upon the tomb (now the tomb is on the left hand as one goes into the temple of Artemis, and over it grows an olive-tree), and all the boys of the Delians wind some of their hair about a green shoot of some tree, and they also place it upon the tomb. 34. [1] καὶ ταῦτα μὲν δὴ ταύτας οἶδα ποιεύσας· τῇσι δὲ παρθένοισι ταύτῃσι τῇσι ἐξ Ὑπερβορέων τελευτησάσῃσι ἐν Δήλῳ κείρονται καὶ αἱ κόραι καὶ οἱ παῖδες οἱ Δηλίων· αἱ μὲν πρὸ γάμου πλόκαμον ἀποταμνόμεναι καὶ περὶ ἄτρακτον εἱλίξασαι ἐπὶ τὸ σῆμα τιθεῖσι [2] (τὸ δὲ σῆμα ἐστὶ ἔσω ἐς τὸ Ἀρτεμίσιον ἐσιόντι ἀριστερῆς χειρός, ἐπιπέφυκε δέ οἱ ἐλαίη), ὅσοι δὲ παῖδες τῶν Δηλίων, περὶ χλόην τινὰ εἱλίξαντες τῶν τριχῶν τιθεῖσι καὶ οὗτοι ἐπὶ τὸ σῆμα.

35. The maidens, I say, have this honour paid them by the dwellers in Delos: and the same people say that Arge and Opis also, being maidens, came to Delos, passing from the Hyperboreans by the same nations which have been mentioned, even before Hyperoche and Laodike. These last, they say, came bearing for Eileithuia the tribute which they had laid upon themselves for the speedy birth, but Arge and Opis came with the divinities themselves, and other honours have been assigned to them by the people of Delos: for the women, they say, collect for them, naming them by their names in the hymn which Olen a man of Lykia composed in their honour; and both the natives of the other islands and the Ionians have learnt from them to sing hymns naming Opis and Arge and collecting:--now this Olen came from Lukia and composed also the other ancient hymns which are sung in Delos:-- and moreover they say that when the thighs of the victim are consumed upon the altar, the ashes of them are used to cast upon the grave of Opis and Arge. Now their grave is behind the temple of Artemis, turned towards the East, close to the banqueting hall of the Keïeans.

35. [1] αὗται μὲν δὴ ταύτην τιμὴν ἔχουσι πρὸς τῶν Δήλου οἰκητόρων. φασὶ δὲ οἱ αὐτοὶ οὗτοι καὶ τὴν Ἄργην τε καὶ τὴν Ὦπιν ἐούσας παρθένους ἐξ Ὑπερβορέων κατὰ τοὺς αὐτοὺς τούτους ἀνθρώπους πορευομένας ἀπικέσθαι ἐς Δῆλον ἔτι πρότερον Ὑπερόχης τε καὶ Λαοδίκης. [2] ταύτας μέν νυν τῇ Εἰλειθυίῃ ἀποφερούσας ἀντὶ τοῦ ὠκυτόκου τὸν ἐτάξαντο φόρον ἀπικέσθαι, τὴν δὲ Ἄργην τε καὶ τὴν Ὦπιν ἅμα αὐτοῖσι θεοῖσι ἀπικέσθαι λέγουσι καὶ σφι τιμὰς ἄλλας δεδόσθαι πρὸς σφέων· [3] καὶ γὰρ ἀγείρειν σφι τὰς γυναῖκας ἐπονομαζούσας τὰ οὐνόματα ἐν τῷ ὕμνῳ τόν σφι Ὠλὴν ἀνὴρ Λύκιος ἐποίησε, παρὰ δὲ σφέων μαθόντας νησιώτας τε καὶ Ἴωνας ὑμνέειν Ὦπίν τε καὶ Ἄργην ὀνομάζοντάς τε καὶ ἀγείροντας (οὗτος δὲ ὁ Ὠλὴν καὶ τοὺς ἄλλους τοὺς παλαιοὺς ὕμνους ἐποίησε ἐκ Λυκίης ἐλθὼν τοὺς ἀειδομένους ἐν Δήλῳ), [4] καὶ τῶν μηρίων καταγιζομένων ἐπὶ τῷ βωμῷ τὴν σποδὸν ταύτην ἐπὶ τὴν θήκην τῆς Ὤπιός τε καὶ Ἄργης ἀναισιμοῦσθαι ἐπιβαλλομένην. ἡ δὲ θήκη αὐτέων ἐστὶ ὄπισθε τοῦ Ἀρτεμισίου, πρὸς ἠῶ τετραμμένη, ἀγχοτάτω τοῦ Κηίων ἱστιητορίου. 

36. Let this suffice which has been said of the Hyperboreans; for the tale of Abaris, who is reported to have been a Hyperborean, I do not tell, namely how he carried the arrow about all over the earth, eating no food. If however there are any Hyperboreans, it follows that there are also Hypernotians; and I laugh when I see that, though many before this have drawn maps of the Earth, yet no one has set the matter forth in an intelligent way; seeing that they draw Ocean flowing round the Earth, which is circular exactly as if drawn with compasses, and they make Asia equal in size to Europe. In a few words I shall declare the size of each division and of what nature it is as regards outline.

36. [1] καὶ ταῦτα μὲν Ὑπερβορέων πέρι εἰρήσθω· τὸν γὰρ περὶ Ἀβάριος λόγον τοῦ λεγομένου εἶναι Ὑπερβορέου οὐ λέγω, ὡς τὸν ὀιστὸν περιέφερε κατὰ πᾶσαν γῆν οὐδὲν σιτεόμενος. εἰ δὲ εἰσὶ ὑπερβόρεοι τινὲς ἄνθρωποι, εἰσὶ καὶ ὑπερνότιοι ἄλλοι. [2] γελῶ δὲ ὁρέων γῆς περιόδους γράψαντας πολλοὺς ἤδη καὶ οὐδένα νοονεχόντως ἐξηγησάμενον· οἳ Ὠκεανόν τε ῥέοντα γράφουσι πέριξ τὴν γῆν ἐοῦσαν κυκλοτερέα ὡς ἀπὸ τόρνου, καὶ τὴν Ἀσίην τῇ Εὐρώπῃ ποιεύντων ἴσην. ἐν ὀλίγοισι γὰρ ἐγὼ δηλώσω μέγαθός τε ἑκάστης αὐτέων καὶ οἵη τις ἐστὶ ἐς γραφὴν ἑκάστη. 

37. The Persians inhabit Asia extending to the Southern Sea, which is called the Erythraian; and above these towards the North Wind dwell the Medes, and above the Medes the Saspeirians, and above the Saspeirians the Colchians, extending to the Northern Sea, into which the river Phasis runs. These four nations inhabit from sea to sea. 37. [1] Πέρσαι οἰκέουσι κατήκοντες ἐπὶ τὴν νοτίην θάλασσαν τὴν, Ἐρυθρὴν καλεομένην, τούτων δὲ ὑπεροικέουσι πρὸς βορέην ἄνεμον Μῆδοι, Μήδων δὲ Σάσπειρες, Σασπείρων δὲ Κόλχοι κατήκοντες ἐπὶ τὴν βορηίην θάλασσαν, ἐς τὴν Φᾶσις ποταμὸς ἐκδιδοῖ. ταῦτα τέσσερα ἔθνεα οἰκέει ἐκ θαλάσσης ἐς θάλασσαν.

38. From them Westwards two peninsulas stretch out from Asia into the sea, and these I will describe. The first peninsula on the one of its sides, that is the Northern, stretches along beginning from the Phasis and extending to the sea, going along the Pontus and the Hellespont as far as Sigeion in the land of Troy; and on the Southern side the same peninsula stretches from the Myriandrian gulf, which lies near Phenicia, in the direction of the sea as far as the headland Triopion; and in this peninsula dwell thirty races of men. 38. [1] ἐνθεῦτεν δὲ τὸ πρὸς ἑσπέρης ἀκταὶ διφάσιαι ἀπ᾽ αὐτῆς κατατείνουσι ἐς θάλασσαν, τὰς ἐγὼ ἀπηγήσομαι· [2] ἔνθεν μὲν ἡ ἀκτὴ ἡ ἑτέρη τὰ πρὸς βορέην ἀπὸ Φάσιος ἀρξαμένη παρατέταται ἐς θάλασσαν παρά τε τὸν Πόντον καὶ τὸν Ἑλλήσποντον μέχρι Σιγείου τοῦ Τρωικοῦ· τὰ δὲ πρὸς νότου ἡ αὐτὴ αὕτη ἀκτὴ ἀπὸ τοῦ Μυριανδικοῦ κόλπου τοῦ πρὸς Φοινίκῃ κειμένου τείνει τὰ ἐς θάλασσαν μέχρι Τριοπίου ἄκρης. οἰκέει δὲ ἐν τῇ ἀκτῇ ταύτῃ ἔθνεα ἀνθρώπων τριήκοντα.

39. This then is one of the peninsulas, and the other beginning from the land of the Persians stretches along to the Erythraian Sea, including Persia and next after it Assyria, and Arabia after Assyria: and this ends, or rather is commonly supposed to end, at the Arabian gulf, into which Dareios conducted a channel from the Nile. Now in the line stretching to Phenicia from the land of the Persians the land is broad and the space abundant, but after Phenicia this peninsula goes by the shore of our Sea along Palestine, Syria, and Egypt, where it ends; and in it there are three nations only. 39. [1] αὕτη μέν νυν ἡ ἑτέρη τῶν ἀκτέων, ἡ δὲ δὴ ἑτέρη ἀπὸ Περσέων ἀρξαμένη παρατέταται ἐς τὴν Ἐρυθρὴν θάλασσαν, ἥ τε Περσικὴ καὶ ἀπὸ ταύτης ἐκδεκομένη ἡ Ἀσσυρίη καὶ ἀπὸ Ἀσσυρίης ἡ Ἀραβίη· λήγει δὲ αὕτη, οὐ λήγουσα εἰ μὴ νόμῳ, ἐς τὸν κόλπον τὸν Ἀράβιον, ἐς τὸν Δαρεῖος ἐκ τοῦ Νείλου διώρυχα ἐσήγαγε. [2] μέχρι μέν νυν Φοινίκης ἀπὸ Περσέων χῶρος πλατὺς καὶ πολλός ἐστι· τὸ δὲ ἀπὸ Φοινίκης παρήκει διὰ τῆσδε τῆς θαλάσσης ἡ ἀκτὴ αὕτη παρά τε Συρίην τὴν Παλαιστίνην καὶ Αἴγυπτον, ἐς τὴν τελευτᾷ· ἐν τῇ ἔθνεα ἐστὶ τρία μοῦνα.

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