The Agathyrsians for their part are the most luxurious men and wearers of gold in the highest degree. Moreover, they have their intercourse with the women promiscuously, that they may be kinsmen of each other and all, being of one house, may use neither envy nor enmity in regard to each other. But in respect to all the other customs they have approached near to the Thracians.
The Neurians for their part use Scythian laws, and one generation earlier than Darius’ driving of an army it befell them to abandon all their country by snakes’ agency. For the country brought up to light many snakes for them and the greater number from inland from the deserts on them fell, until they, oppressed, settled with the Boudinians and their own land abandoned. And those human beings run the risk of being wizards. For they are the subjects of an account given by the Scythians and the Greeks that have settlements down in the Scythian land, that once each year each of the Neurians becomes a wolf a few days and again back to the same state is reestablished. Now, although they give that account, they persuade me not, but they give the account nonetheless and even swear, when they give the account.
The Maneaters for their part have the most savage habits of all human beings, as they neither employ justice customarily nor use any law. Moreover, they are pastoral and they wear clothing similar to the Scythian, but have a peculiar tongue and eat human beings alone of those.
The Blackcloaks for their part all wear black garments, after which they have their appellations too, and use Scythian laws.
The Boudinians for their part, being a large and numerous nation, is all mightily blue-eyed and ruddy. And a city among them has been built, a wooden city, and the name of the city is Gelonus. Of its wall then in size each side is of thirty stades and high and all wooden. And their homes are wooden and their shrines. For indeed there is in the very place Greek gods’ shrines adorned in the Greek way with images, altars and wooden temples and for Dionysus festivals in a third year they celebrate and are Bacchantes, because the Gelonians are anciently Greeks and, having stood up from the marts, they settled among the Boudinians; further they use a tongue partly Scythian and partly Greek.
The Boudinians use not the same tongue as the Gelonians and there’s no same way of living; for the Boudinians, being autochthonous, are pastoral and eat lice alone of those there, and the Gelonians are earth’s workers, bread-eaters and possessors of gardens, in no respect similar in their appearance and their coloring. However, by the Greeks the Boudinians too are called Gelonians, although they are called not correctly. Moreover, their country in its entirety is wooded with forests of all kinds and in the greatest forest is a large and wide lake and a marsh and reed round it. In that then otters are taken and beavers as well as other beasts with square faces, whose skins along their jerkins are sewn, and their testicles are useful for wombs’ healing.
About the Sauromatians for their part an account is given this way: when the Greeks fought the Amazons (and the Scythians call the Amazons Oiorpata and that name means according to the Greek tongue mankillers; for they call a man oior and that pata is to kill), then there’s an account that the Greeks, having won in the fight on Thermodon, sailed away and led off with three boats all of the Amazons that they were able to take alive and they on the open sea made an attack and cut off the men. Yet they knew not boats and could not use rudders, sails and oarage, but when they had had cut off the men, they were borne according to wave and wind and came in the Maeetian lake to the Cliffs (and the Cliffs are in the land of the free Scythians). Thereupon, having stepped off the boats, the Amazons made their way to the settled land. Then, having met up with a herd of horses first, they seized that completely and, on those doing their horseriding, they plundered the things of the Scythians.
Now, the Scythians were not able to comprehend the matter; for neither speech nor clothing nor the nation did they know, but were in a state of marvel about whence they had gone and thought they were men who had their first youth; in short, they engaged in a fight indeed with them. Then after the fight the Scythians got mastery over the corpses and thus came to know that they were women. Hence, to them, when they were taking counsel, it seemed good no longer to kill them in any manner, but to send away their own youngest males to them, after they had made a multitude like precisely all that those females were, for those males to encamp near those females and to do too precisely whatever those did and, if they pursued them, to fight not, but to flee from under, and whenever they stopped, for them to go and encamp near. That counsel the Scythians took, because they wanted children to be born from those females.
So, sent away, the young men did what had been enjoined. And when the Amazons had come to learn that they had come for no harm, they let them be, and they appoached nearer, camp to camp, on each day. Further, the young men too had nothing, just as in fact the Amazons, except weapons and horses, but lived the same life as those, as they hunted and plundered.
Now, the Amazons at midday acted like this: they came to be dispersed by ones or twos, because they separated quite far from each other for easement. And having come to learn, the Scythians also did that same thing. And one male, when the females had been made alone, to one of them drew close and the Amazon would not perform a thrusting away from herself, but overlooked being used. And she was not able to speak, because they could not understand each other, but she with her hand pointed out that the morrow he should go to the same spot and bring another-by making an indication there should come to be two-and that she herself would bring another. Then the young man, when he had gone away, said that to those remaining and the next day that one himself went to the spot and brought another and he found the second Amazon herself was awaiting. So the remaining young men, when they had learned of that by inquiry, even themselves, tamed the remaining of the Amazons.
Then afterwards having joined their camps in intercourse, they settled together, each with that woman, with whom at the first he had been joined in intercourse. And, although the speech of the women the men were not able to come to learn, yet that of the men the women comprehended. So when they had come to understand each other, the men said to the the Amazons this: “Ours are parents and are possessions. Now therefore let us no longer more time have a way of living like this, but let us go away to our multitude and have our dwelling. And as wives we will have you and no others.” Then they thereupon said this: “We would not be able to settle with your women; for not the same customs are ours and theirs. We for our part shoot bows, throw javelins and ride horses and have not come to learn women’s works, while your women nothing of that that we have recounted do, but women’s work they work at, while they remain in their wagons, without going either to hunting or anyplace else. Therefore we would not be able have an agreement with those. But if you want as wives to have us and to be thought to be most just, go to your parents and get as your share your part of their possessions and thereafter let us go and settle by ourselves.”
The young men were persuaded of and did that. And when, having got as their share that of the possessions that fell to them, they had gone back to the Amazons, the women said to them this: “Of us has a hold a fear and a dread of how we must settle in this place, after on the one hand we have deprived you of fathers and on the other hand have harmed your land much. But since you think worthy to have us as wives, do this together with us: come, let us stand up out of this land and, having passed the Tanais river, let us settle.”
The young men were persuaded of that too. Then, having gone across the Tanais, they made their way toward the sun’s going up three days’ way from the Tanais and three’s from the Maeetian lake toward the north wind. Then, having come to that place, down in which now they have their settlements, they settled that. And as a way of life from that time the Sauromatians’ women use the ancient, as they go out constantly to hunting on horses, together with the men and apart from the men, go constantly to war and wear the same dress as the men.
And as a language the Sauromatians make use of the Scythian customarily, although they have been solecizing in it from the ancient time, since the Amazons came to its complete learning not well. And what’s concerning marriages this way by them is laid down: no maiden is married before she should kill a man among their enemies and some of them meet with their end aged, before they get married, because they are unable to fulfill the law.
Hence, to those nations recounted’s kings, when they were gathered, came the Scythians’ messengers and said in offering a complete teaching that the Persian, when by him all on the other mainland had been subjected, having thrown a bridge on the neck of the Bosporus, had gone across to this mainland and, having gone across and subjected the Thracians, he was bridging the river Ister, since he wanted to bring all this here too under himself. “You then do not in any manner, sitting down out of our midst, overlook our being destroyed, but with the same mind let us go in opposition to the incomer. You will not then do that? We for our part, being oppressed, either will abandon our country or, remaining, we will make use of an agreement. For what suffering are we to undergo, if you do not want to offer succour? Moreover, yours after that will be nothing lighter; for the Persian has come in no way at all against us rather than also against you and it will not suffice for him to subject us and keep himself away from you. And we will say to you a significant piece of evidence for these accounts of ours: if in fact the Persian were driving an army against us alone, because he wanted to carry out punishment for his former slavery, he would have to keep himself away from all the others and go thus against our land and would make clear to all that he is driving against the Scythians and not against all the others. But as it is, as soon as he had gone over to this mainland, he began taming all who on each and every occasion came to be at his feet. All the other Thracians indeed he has under himself and, in particular, the Getians who are our neighbors.”
The Scythians having announced that out, the kings who had come from the nations took counsel with themselves and their opinions were split. The Gelonian, the Boudinian and the Sauromatian, having come to be in the same way, promised to succour the Scythians, while the Agathyrsian, Neurian, Maneater and those of the Blackcloaks and Taurians this answer to the Scythians did give: “If you were not the ones who had previously acted unjustly against the Persians and begun war, in requesting that which now you are requesting you would appear to us to give correct accounts and we, heeding, would do the same as you. But as it is, you, having made an attack on their land without us, gained mastery over the Persians all the time that the god gave over to you, and those, since the same god stirs them up, give back the like to you. But we neither then did any injustice to those men at all nor now will earlier try to do injustice. However, if he goes also into our land and begins doing injustice, we also will not suffer it. Yet, until we should see that, we will remain in our own place; for we think the Persians have come not against us, but against those who proved the cause of the injustice.”
When the Scythians had learned by inquiry that that had been brought back, they took counsel to engage in no stand-up fight in the open, when indeed to them those at any rate as allies would not be added, but while they performed a going out secretly and performed a driving out secretly, to bring together heaps in the wells, by which they themselves went out, and in the springs and to rub out the grass from the earth, after they had divided themselves up in two, and that with one of the parts, of which Scopasis was king, the Sauromatians should join—those indeed should lead themselves slowly off, if to that part the Persian turned himself, and flee a little straight to the Tanais river alongside the Maeetian lake and, the Persian driving away, should go after and give pursuit (that for its part was for them one part of the kingdom and was appointed that very way that has been stated)—and that two of the kingdom’s parts, the large one, of which Idanthyrsus was ruler, and the third, of which Taxakis was king, after they had gone together to the same spot and the Gelonians and the Boudinians had been added, those too, should keep a day’s way in front of the Persians and lead themselves away slowly by going off slowly and performing the counsels that had been taken, that, now, first they should lead themselves away slowly straight to the countries that had refused their alliance, that those too they might stir up to war, because, if they undertook not willingly at any rate the war against the Persians, yet unwillingly they should stir them up to war, and after that they should turn back to their own land and lay on hands, if indeed to them, when they were taking counsel, it seemed good.
Having taken that counsel, the Scythians went to meet Darius’ host, after as forerunners they had dispatched their horsemen’s best. And the wagons, in which their offspring dwelled as well as all their wives, and all their cattle, except all that was sufficient for their food, because they had left behind so many, all the other together with the wagons, they sent forth, when they had given the injunction to drive on each and every occasion over what’s toward the north.
That indeed was conveyed forth and the Scythians’ forerunners, when they had found the Persians were approximately three days’ way distant from the Ister, those, having found those, keeping a day’s way in front, encamped and ground up what was being grown from the earth. Then the Persians, when they had seen that there had appeared forth the Scythians’ horse, went out on the track of those as they on each and every occasion led themselves secretly off. And thereafter (for they went straight to one of the parts) the Persians pursued toward the east and the Tanais. So, when those had gone across the Tanais river, the Persians went across after and were giving pursuit, until they went out through the Sauromatians’ country and came to the Boudinians’.
Indeed all the time that the Persians went through the Scythian and the Sauromatian country, they then were able to do no harm, seeing that the country was barren, but when they made an invasion into the Boudinians’ country, then indeed they, having come upon the wooden wall, when the Boudinians had performed an abandonment and the wall had been emptied of everything, burned it down. Further, having done that, they followed on each and every occasion farther on the track, until they, having gone out through that land there, came to the desert. And that desert is inhabited by no men and lies above the Boudinians’ country; it is in breadth of seven days’ way. And above the desert the Thyssagetians settle and four large rivers flow from them through the Maeetians and disembogues into the lake called Maeetian, to which as names are given these: Lycus, Oarus, Tanais and Syrgis.
Hence, when Darius had gone to the desert, he ceased from his running and seated his host on the river Oarus. Then, having done that, he began building a walling of eight large walls that were equally distant from each other, somewhere pretty near about sixty stades, whose ruins still to my time had been preserved. And while that one had turned himself to that, the Scythians that were being pursued, having gone round the parts inland, turned back to the Scythian land. So, after those had been made to disappear entirely, when no longer they appeared to them, thus indeed Darius let go of those walls half-worked and himself, having turned back, went to the west, since he thought those were all the Scythians and to the west they were fleeing.
Then in driving the quickest way the army, when he had come to the Scythian land, he met with both parts of the Scythians and, having come upon them, he pursued them as they kept ahead a day’s way. And because Darius would not let go of going after, the Scythians in accordance with the counsels that had been taken fled a little to those who had refused their alliance’s and first to the Blackcloaks’ land. So, when in making their invasion the Scythians and the Persians had disturbed those, the Scythians performed a leading down into the Maneaters’ places and, when those had been disturbed too, they led themselves in retreat to the Neurian land and, when those too were being disturbed, the Scythians went and fled a little to the Agathyrsians. But the Agathyrsians, seeing that both their neighbors were fleeing at the hands of the Scythians and were disturbed, before the Scythians should make an invasion of them, sent a herald and forbade the Scythians to set foot on their borders by proclaiming that, if they would make trial by invading, with them they would first fight to the end. The Agathyrsians, having proclaimed that, came to the rescue to their borders, since they had in mind to check those who were trying to go within, but the Blackcloaks, the Maneaters and the Neurians, when the Persians had made an invasion together with the Scythians, both turned not to valor and, having forgotten their threat, they fled on each and every occasion over what’s to the north to the desert, since they had been disturbed. So the Scythians against the Agathyrsians, because they had spoken their forbidding, no longer came, but they from the Neurian country to their own led down the Persians.
Now, when that proved prevalent and was not stopping, Darius sent a horseman to the Scythians’ king, Idanthyrsus, and said this: “Divine among men, why do you flee on each and every occasion, it being permitted to you to do the other of these matters here? For if you seem to yourself to be sufficient to oppose my affairs, then, after you have come to a stand and ceased from wandering, fight, but if you admit for yourself that you are weaker, then, also after you have ceased from running thus, with earth and water as gifts for your master come to speeches.”
Thereupon the Scythians’ king, Idanthyrsus. said this: “Thus my way is, o Persian: I not yet in fear of any among human beings fled neither previously nor now you am I fleeing and of nothing newer am I the doer than also in peace I was wont to do. And why not immediately am I fighting with you, I that too will indicate; ours are neither towns nor planted land, concerning which, in fear lest they be taken or it be cut down, more quickly with you we would join for battle. But if by all means you should have to come to that with speed, in fact ours are our fathers’ graves. Come, find out and try to confound them and you will know then whether we will fight with you about the graves or maybe will not fight, but earlier, unless a reason takes hold of us, we will not join battle with you. About fighting let so much be said and as to my masters I consider Zeus, my ancestor, and Istia, the Scythians’ queen, to be my only. So to you instead of earth and water as gifts I will send gifts like those that it is fitting to come to you and instead of that which you asserted, that you are my master, that you should weep I say.” That was the statement from the Scythians.
The herald indeed was gone to announce that to Darius, but the Scythians’ kings, having heard slavery’s name, were filled with anger. Indeed the part that had been stationed with the Sauromatians, of which Scopasis was the ruler, they sent and bade come to speeches with the Ionians, those who were guarding the bridging of the Ister, and to those of them who were being left behind it seemed good to make the Persians wander no longer, but on each occasion when they were taking up pieces of food, to attack them. Hence, when they were observing that Darius’ men were taking up pieces of food, they performed the counsels that had been taken. Indeed the horse of the Scythians routed their horse on each and every occasion and the Persians’ horsemen in fleeing fell on the foot and their foot would come to their aid, while the Scythians, having forced in their horse, turned back, because they feared their foot. And the Scythians also during the nights performed similar assaults.
Now, what was allied to the Persians and opposed to the Scythians, when they were attacking Darius’ camp, a very great marvel, I will say, the asses’ voice and the mules’ looks. For neither ass nor mule does the Scythian land produce, as has been made clear by me also previously, and there is not in all the Scythian country entirely either ass or mule on account of the cold spells. Hence, by behaving insolently the asses were disturbing the horse of the Scythians and often, in the midst of their driving against the Persians, whenever the horse heard the asses’ voice, they were disturbed and were turned back, and were in a state of marvel and stood their ears upright, seeing that they had neither heard a voice like that previously nor seen looks. Now, that prize during a short space of the war men were winning.
Now, the Scythians, whenever they saw there Persians were alarmed, that they might remain near for a longer time in the Scythian land and by remaining near be distressed, because they were in need of everything, acted like this: whenever some of their own cattle they left behind with the herdsmen, they drove out secretly to another place and the Persians, having gone in, took the cattle and, having taken them, were encouraged by what had been done.
So, when it happened like that often, finally Darius was held in the grip of difficulties and the Scythians’ kings, having learned that, sent a herald with gifts for Darius: a bird, a mouse, a frog and five arrows. And the Persians asked the bringer of the gifts about the meaning of what was being offered and he asserted that no other injunction had been enjoined on him than to give the gift and depart the quickest way and he bade the Persians themselves, if they were wise, to come to know what the gifts meant to say. Having heard that, the Persians took counsel.
Now, Darius’ opinion was that the Scythians were offering themselves to him as well as earth and water, because with the use of likenesses he thought this way, that a mouse is born on earth and feeds on the same fruit as a human being, a frog is in water, a bird most resembles a horse, and they gave over the arrows as their valor. That opinion was shown forth by Darius, but at odds with that opinion was that of Gobryes,one of the seven men who had taken down the Magus, who with the use of likenesses thought about the gifts, that said: “Unless you become birds and fly up to the sky, o Persians, or become mice and sink down under the earth or become frogs and leap into the lakes, you will not return back round when you are shot by these arrows.”
The Persian indeed with the use of likenesses thought about the gifts, while the one part of the Scythians that had been appointed previously to keep guard alongside the Maeetian lake, but then to go to the Ister to speeches with the Ionians, when they had come to the bridge, said this: “Ionian men, freedom for you we have come with, if in fact at least you are willing to listen. For we have learned by inquiry that Darius has enjoined on you sixty days only to guard the bridge and, if he does not come to be present in that time, to depart to your land. Therefore now by doing this you will be outside of blame on his part and outside it on ours: after the proposed days you have remained by, from that point on depart.” Now, those, when the Ionians had promised they would do that, hurried back the quickest way.
But against the Persians after the gifts’ having gone to Darius were arrayed the Scythians who had been left behind with foot and horses with the intention that they would give battle. Then for the Scythian in their array a hare into the space between darted across and, when each group of them was seeing the hare, they gave pursuit. So, the Scythians disturbed and making use of shouting, Darius asked about his opponents in war’s commotion and, having learned by inquiry they were pursuing the hare, he said now to the very ones that he was wont to speak everything else also: “Those men think very slightly of us and to me now Gobryes appears to have spoken about the Scythian gifts correctly. On the ground therefore that by now they are thought to myself too to be thus, there is need of good deliberation on how there will be the way of being conveyed safely for us the distance back.” Thereupon Gobryes said, “O king, although I almost knew by word of mouth too those men’s unapproachability, yet having gone, I came to learn it more thoroughly, when I saw they were mocking at us. Therefore now it seems good to me, as soon as whenever night comes on, after we have enkindled fires as we are wont to do also at other times, once we have utterly deceived those of our soldiers most lacking in strength for hardships and tied down all the asses, to depart, before maybe the Scythians should go straight to the Ister to break up the bridge or maybe something should seem good to the Ionians which will be able to work us mortally.” Gobryes advised that and afterward night came about and Darius made use of that advice; the worn out among the men, those of whom would be the least account, if they were perishing, and all the asses, after he had performed a tying down, he left behind there in the very place, in the camp, and he left behind the asses and those of the host lacking in strength for these reasons, that the asses might furnish from themselves a shout, while the human beings were left behind because of lack of strength and this pretext quite obviously, that he himself with the sound part of the army might be to attack the Scythians and those might guard the camp during that time. Darius, having suggested that to those who were being left behind and enkindled fires, the quickest way hurried to the Ister. Then the asses, having been deserted by the crowd, thus indeed far more uttered from their voice and the Scythians, having heard the asses, wholly supposed that the Persians were in place.
Now, when it had come to be day, those left behind, having come to know that they had been betrayed by Darius, stretched forth for themselves their hands to the Scythians and spoke of the present situation, and they, when they had heard that, having been joined together the quickest way, the two parts of the Scythians, the part with the Sauromatians, the Boudinians and the Gelonians, pursued the Persians straight to the Ister. So seeing that the greater part of the Persian army was foot and knew not the ways, on the ground that ways were not cut, and the Scythian was a horseman and knew the short cuts of the way, they missed each other and the Scythian were far before the Persians in coming to the bridge. And having come to learn that the Persians had not yet come, they said to the Ionians who were in their ships: “Ionian men, the days for you have gone by the number and you are not doing just acts by still remaining near. But since you were remaining previously because you were afraid, now break the passage the quickest way and go away with impunity free with an acknowledgement of gratitude to the gods and the Scythians, and the one who was previously your master we will set by for ourselves so as for him to advance with an army no longer against any human beings.”
Thereupon the Ionians took counsel. Of Miltiades the Athenian, being general and tyrant of the Chersonesitians on the Hellespont, the opinion was to be persuaded by the Scythians and to liberate Ionia and of Histiaeus the Milesian the opposite to that, as he said that now on account of Darius each of them was tyrant of a city and, if Darius’ power were taken down, neither he himself would be able to rule the Milesians nor anyone any; for each of the cities would want to be governed by the people rather than to be governed by a tyrant. So, when Istiaeus was showing forth that as an opinion, immediately all were turning themselves to that opinion, although previously they were choosing that of Miltiades.
Those who cast their pebble differently and were of account in the king’s eyes were on the one hand tyrants of the Hellespontians, Daphnis the Abydian, Hippoclus the Lampsacian, Herophantus the Parian, Metrodorus the Proconnesian, Aristagores the Cyzician and Ariston the Byzantian; those on the one hand were those from the Hellespont and from Ionia on the other hand were Strattis the Chian, Aeaces the Phocaeian and Histiaeus the Milesian, whose was the judgement that was proposed as opposite to that of Miltiades. And of the Aeolians was present worth mentioning only Aristagores the Cymian.
As to those then, when they were choosing the judgement of Histiaeus, it seemed good to them to that to add these deeds and words: a breaking of the parts of the bridge that were near the Scythians and a breaking over as much distance as an arrow reaches, that both they might seem to do something, although they did nothing, and the Scythians might not attempt by using force to go across the Ister along the bridge, and a saying, when they were breaking the part of the bridge that extended to the Scythian land, that they would do everything that was in pleasure’s place for the Scythians. That they added to the judgement and afterwards out of all answered Histiaeus by saying this: “Scythian men, you have come with good things and at the right time hurry. Both what’s from you for us is led out as a way well and what’s from us to you is being performed as a service suitably. For, as you see, we both are breaking the passage and will have every kind of eagerness, since we wish to be free. And while we are breaking this, for you it is the right time to look for those and, when you have found them, on behalf of us and yourselves to punish thus as it is fitting those.”
The Scythians, having put their trust for the second time in the Ionians to give true accounts, turned back to seeking the Persians and missed their going through and out. And the Scythians were the cause of that, because they had destroyed the pasturages of the horse there and brought together heaps in the waters. For if they had not done that, it would have been possible, if they had wanted, easily to discover the Persians. But as it was, because of that counsel that seemed to them to have been taken best they were tripped up. Now, the Scythians the land there in their own country, where was fodder for their horses and waters, went through and out and looked for their opponents in war, because they thought those too through parts like that were fleeing in their flight, but indeed the Persians over their track that had been made previously, as they were keeping to that, went and thus with difficulty found the passage. And seeing that they had come at night and arrived at the bridge, when it had been broken, they came to every kind of fear lest the Ionians had abandoned them.
Now, there was round Darius an Egyptian man with the loudest voice among human beings; that man stand down on the lip of the Ister Darius bade and call Histiaeus the Milesian. He indeed did that and Histiaeus, having given a hearing to the first bidding, furnished all the ships together to ferry across the host and threw the bridge.
Now then, the Persians thus fled off and the Scythians looked for and, also for the second time, missed the Persians, and on the one hand, on the ground that the Ionians were free, judged them to be the worst and most unmanly of all human beings together and, on the other hand, on the ground that they were presenting an account of the Ionians as slaves, asserted they were servants master-loving and undisposed to fleeing most.
Those insults indeed by the Scythians onto the Ionians were cast off and Darius, making his way through Thrace, came to Sestus on the Chersonesus. Then thence he himself went through with his ships to Asia and left as general in Europe Megabazus, a Persian man, to whom Darius once had given an honor, when he had said a saying like this among the Persians: when Darius was set off to eat pomegranates, as soon as he had opened the first of the pomegranates, his brother asked him what he would want his to become so great in multitude as seeds in the pomegranate, and Darius said that Megabazuses so many in number his to become he would want rather than Greece a subject. Indeed among the Persians by saying that he honored him and at that time him he left behind as general with eight myriads of his host.