translated by Shlomo Felberbaum

Parthenon, Athens
photographs by Shane Solow

Text and photographs Copyright © 1999—2003 Lost Trails
all rights reserved

Installment 5

As to marvels, the land of Lydia has them for writing down not exceedingly, like, at any rate, another country, in fact, does, besides the gold-dust that comes down from Tmolus. And it supplies one work that’s far the largest, except for the Egyptian works and the Babylonian; there is in that place Alyattes the father of Croesus’ grave, whose foundation is of large stones, and the rest of the grave is a mound of earth. The human beings whose business is in the public square, the masters of handicrafts and the young working girls that ply their trade about the town had the work built. Its boundary-stones, being five, still even to my time were up on the grave, and on them letters had been carved that stated the parts of the work that each group had had built. And so, it was manifest, when the work of the young girls was measured, that it was the largest part. For all the Lydian people's daughters prostitute themselves and collect their own dowries by doing that until they cohabit, and they themselves give themselves away in marriage. The circumference of the grave, then, is six stades and two plethra and its breadth is thirteen plethra. A large lake is next to the grave, which, the Lydians say, is always full, and it is called Gygian.

That work, then, is like that, and the Lydians observe nearly the same laws as the Greeks, except that they prostitute their female offspring. They were the first of the human beings that we know of to strike coin of gold and silver and use it and were the first also to become retailers. The Lydians for their part assert that the games that are established among themselves and the Greeks, too, were invented by their own. At the same time they got invented by themselves, they say, as they sent a colony to Tyrsenia, and they say an account about those events like this: in the time of King Atys, the son of Manes, a severe food shortage came about throughout all Lydia, and the Lydians a while continued to persevere, but afterward, when it would not cease, they searched for cures, and one of them contrived one against it, another another. It was at that time, then, that there got invented the various kinds of dice, of bones, of ball, and of all the rest of the games, except draughts. (For, in fact, the inventing of that the Lydians do not claim as their own.) So they acted like this in view of the famine on inventing those things: one of the days they played games throughout, just that they might not have to seek food, while the other they ate food and ceased from their games. In a manner like that they continued for twenty years but two. And since the evil would not abate, but rather grew violent to a still greater extent, just then their king divided all the Lydians into two portions: he allotted to the one to remain in and to the other to go out of the country, and over the one of the portions that received by lot to remain there he assigned himself as king, while over the other that departed his own son, whose name was Tyrsenus. So the second group of them, on receiving by lot to go out of the country, went down to Smyrna and built by contrivance boats, into which they placed all the good movables that were theirs, and sailed off in search of livelihood and land, until, after passing by many nations, they came to the Ombrikians, where they erected cities and were settled until now. Instead of Lydians they were named a new name after the king’s son, who had led them up; after him they had their naming and were named Tyrsenians.

The Lydians, then, were enslaved under the Persians, and so indeed henceforth our account goes on to seek Cyrus, who he was that put down the rule of Croesus, and the Persians, in what manner they became the leader of Asia. Therefore, in accordance with that which several of the Persians say, who want not to make Cyrus’ affairs august, but to speak the account of what was, I will write, although I know how to bring to light three other ways of giving an account about Cyrus also. After the Assyrians had ruled Upper Asia for five hundred and twenty years, the Medes were the first to begin to revolt from them; and, I think, they fought with the Assyrians about their freedom and proved good men, and they thrust away from themselves their slavery and were free. After them, all the other nations, too, did the same as the Medes.

When all were autonomous throughout the mainland, they devolved back to tyrannies this way: a man among the Medes proved wise, whose name was Deioces, and he was the son of Phraortes. That Deioces fell in love with tyranny and acted like this: the Medes having their settlements in villages, he, being in his own, both previously was esteemed and even somewhat more eagerly applied himself to and practiced justice; and that, too, although there was lawlessness throughout all the Median land, he did, since he knew that to the just the unjust is an enemy. So the Medes, seeing his manners, chose him as their judge. He, then, inasmuch as he was wooing rule, was straight and just, and as a result, doing that, he had no little praise from his fellow citizens so that those in all the other villages learned by inquiry that Deioces was the only man to judge in accordance with what’s correct, and, although previously they fell in with unjust decisions, then, after they had heard of him, they gladly went constantly to Deioces, on their own indeed, to receive judgement, and finally they entrusted themselves to no other. When the group that went constantly on each and every occasion grew larger, inasmuch as they learned by inquiry that their lawsuits came out in accordance with what was, Deioces, come to the knowledge that everything was referred to himself, as he was unwilling to sit down any longer right where previously he had sat publicly and judged, so he said he would not judge any longer, since it was not profitable for him, careless of his own, to judge for his neighbors throughout the day. Accordingly, there being seizure and lawlessness still far more throughout the villages than was before, the Medes collected in the same place and deliberated with themselves; they said about the present situation (and, as I think, the friends of Deioces said it most), “Because, if we keep our present manner, indeed we are unable to be settled in our country, come let us set over ourselves a king, and thus our country will have good laws and we ourselves will turn to work and not be made to migrate by lawlessness.” Saying nearly that, they persuaded themselves to be a monarchy. At once, from when they were putting forward whom they should set themselves as king, Deioces was prevalent, since by every man he was both put forward and praised, until they consented that he should be king. He then bade them build a palace for himself worthy of the kingdom and strengthen him with lance-bearers. The Medes, indeed, did that; for they built him a large and powerful palace, where he himself pointed out in the country, and, as for lance-bearers, they entrusted to him to select them for himself from all the Medes. He then, when he had gotten hold of the rule, made it necessary for the Medes to make one borough and, because of their efforts to maintain it, to have less care for all the others.

As the Medes were persuaded to do that, too, he had built those large and strong walls that now are called Agbatana, one circle standing in the preceding. That wall is so contrived that one circle is taller than the preceding by its battlements alone; on the one hand, its spot, in fact, is something so near to an ally, since it is a hill, that it would be like that naturally, while, on the other, it was made even somewhat more so by art. The circles being all together seven, right in the last is the royal palace and the treasuries. The largest of them is a wall pretty near to the circle of the Athenians in its size. Of the first circle, then, the battlements are white, and of the second, black; the third circle’s are red, the fourth's, blue, and the fifth's, orange. Thus all those circles’ battlements are adorned as with flowers by paints; as to the last two, one has its battlements silvered, the other gilded. Those walls, then, Deioces had erected for himself round his palace, and the rest of the people he bade to be settled round the wall.

After everything had been built, Deioces first was the establisher of this order: no one should go into the king’s chamber, but should act in all matters through messengers, and the king should be seen by no one; further, in addition to that, to laugh and to spit in his presence, that, indeed, to quite all should be shameful. He made those august rules concerning himself for this reason, that, not seeing him, his contemporaries, who were brought up with him and of a not meaner house and who were not left behind in respect to manly goodness, might not be pained and plot against him, but he might seem to them to be of another kind, since they did not see him. And when that he had ordered completely and he was strengthening himself in his tyranny, he was, in his guarding of what’s just, difficult. As consequently men wrote down their lawsuits and sent them inside into him, so he decided those that went in and sent them out. That, concerning the lawsuits, he did, and the following orders were made by him: if he learned by inquiry that anyone was insolent, whenever he summoned him, in accordance with the deserts of each injustice he rendered judgement, and lookers and listeners were throughout the whole country over which he was ruler. Now, Deioces united the Median nation and that he ruled. There are among the Medes these many races: the Bousians, the Paretacenians, the Strouchatians, the Arizantians, the Boudians, and the Magians. The races of the Medes, then, are these many.

Then there was born Deioces’ son, Phraortes, who, when Deioces had met with his end, after he had reigned fifty-three years, inherited the rule. And, when he had inherited it, he was not content to rule the Medes alone, but, on advancing with an army against the Persians, he attacked them first and rendered them the Medes’ first subjects. Afterward, with those two nations and both powerful, he subjected Asia by going from one nation to another, until, when he had advanced with an army against the Assyrians, and of the Assyrians against those that had Ninus, in fact that had previously ruled all, although then they were alone without allies, seeing that they had revolted, but they yet were in other respects well off for themselves, after against those very men he had advanced with an army, Phraortes himself was killed, who had ruled twenty-two years, and the greater part of his army.

Phraortes, when he had met with his end, Cyaxares, the son of Phraortes, the son of Deioces, succeeded. He, it is said, proved still far more valorous than his forebears. Indeed he was the first to divide those in Asia into divisions by squadrons and the first to set in array each group to be separate, the spear-bearers, the bow-bearers and the horsemen; before that, confusedly, everything alike was confounded. That man was the one who had fought with the Lydians when the day had become night for them as they were fighting, and the one who had joined all Asia above the Halys river to himself. Then he, on collecting all those under his rule, advanced with an army against Ninus, because he was taking revenge for his father and wished to remove that city. And to him, after he had encountered and prevailed over the Assyrians by besieging Ninus, came the Scythians’ large army, and the king of the Scythians, Madyes, Protothyes’ son, led them; they had made an invasion into Asia and thrown the Cimmerians out of Europe; while they attended to them as they fled, they thus came into the Median land.

It is from the Maeetian lake over the Phasis river and to the Colchians a journey of thirty days for a well-girt man, and from the Colchian land it’s not far to go over into the Median land, but there is one nation in the middle of them, the Saspeirians, and, when men pass by it, they are in the Median land. However, the Scythians indeed made no invasion there, but turned out along the far longer upper road, with mount Caucasus on the right. Thereupon the Medes, when they had encountered the Scythians and been worsted in the battle, were deposed from their rule, and the Scythians occupied all Asia. Thence they went against Egypt. And when they had come to be in Palaestinian Syria, Psammetichus, Egypt's king, met them with gifts and entreaties and turned them from making their way farther. So, when they were returning back and came to be in Syria in the city of Ascalon, although the greater of the Scythians went by and out unharmed, some few of them were left behind and plundered the heavenly Aphrodite's shrine. That shrine is, as I have learned by inquiry and found, the most ancient of all shrines that are that god’s (for, in fact, the shrine in Cyprus originated thence, as the Cyprians themselves say) and that among the Cytherians—Phoenicians were the ones who set it up and they were from that Syria. Thus on those of the Scythians who had plundered the shrine in Ascalon and on the descendants of them the god let fall a female illness; and so the Scythians say that at the same time, on account of that, those were ill and they who came to the Scythian land saw among them how those were disposed, whom the Scythians call Enarees. Now, for twenty-eight years the Scythians were the ruler of Asia, and everything was made to migrate by their insolence and belittling, since, for one thing, as tribute they exacted from each group what on each they imposed and, for another, besides the tribute, they seized as they rode round that which each had. At length the greater number of those, indeed, Cyaxares and the Medes, after they had received them as guests and made them drunk, slaughtered, and thus the Medes brought back to safety their rule and were master of those very things of which they had been earlier as well, and they took Ninus (how they took it, in other accounts I will make clear) and brought the Assyrians into their power except the Babylonian portion.

After that, Cyaxares, when he had been king forty years, including those that the Scythians had ruled, met with his end, and Astyages, the son of Cyaxares, succeeded to the kingdom. And to him was born a daughter, whose name he made Mandane, who Astyages dreamt in his sleep made so much water that she filled his own city and inundated besides all Asia as well. After he had made over to the oneirocritics of the Magians his dream, he was afraid on learning from them the details of its lesson. So afterward, that Mandane, who was by then ripe for a husband, he gave as a wife to none of the Medes worthy of himself, since he was in a state of fear at the vision, but he gave her to a Persian, whose name was Cambyses, whom he had found to be of a good house and a quiet manner, because he held him far below a Median man of a middle rank.

While Mandane cohabited with Cambyses, Astyages in the first year saw another vision; it appeared to him that from the genitals of that daughter grew a vine, and the vine occupied all Asia. After he had seen that and made it over to the oneirocritics of the Magians, he summoned from the Persians his daughter, who was about to bring forth, and, on her coming, he guarded her, since he wanted to destroy that which issued from her; for, on the basis of his vision, the oneirocritics of the Magians indicated to him that the issue of his daughter was to be king instead of him. It was that, then, which Astyages was on guard against and, when Cyrus had been born, he called Harpagus, a man of his house, the most loyal of the Medes and trustee of all his affairs, and spoke to him like this, “Harpagus, whatever matter I will attach to you, in no way treat it indifferently and, with a choice of others, latterly meet with your own ruin. Take hold of the son that Mandane has brought forth, and bring it to your own house and kill it; afterward bury it in whatever manner you want.” And he answered, “O king, neither at another time yet did you notice in this man here anything unagreeable, and we are on guard for you also for the time hereafter to make no error. But if it’s dear to you for that thus to be done, as far as concerns me, there must be rendered service suitably.” Harpagus answered with that and, after the small child, adorned for the way to death, had been handed over to him, he went weeping to his house. And, on entering, he pointed out to his wife the whole speech that had been said by Astyages. And she said to him, “Then what is now in your mind to do?” And he answered, “Not as Astyages enjoined, not even if he will go out of his mind and be mad worse than now he is mad; I for my part will not attach myself to his judgement nor render service for a killing like that. For many reasons I will not kill him, indeed because the child is my relative and because Astyages is old and without a male child of issue; if then, at his meeting with his end, the tyranny will go over to that daughter, whose son he now seeks to kill through me, is anything left thereafter for me other than the greatest of dangers? Well, although for the sake of preventing my fall that child must meet his end, yet one of the men of Astyages himself must become the killer and not one of mine.” He said that and at once he sent a messenger to him of the cowherds of Astyages whom he knew pastured the most suitable pasturages and the most beast-filled mountains, whose name was Mitradates. He cohabited with his fellow slave, and the woman’s name, with whom he cohabited, was Kyno in the Greeks’ tongue and in the Median, Spako; for the Medes call the kyon “spax”. The foothills of the mountains, where that very cowherd had his pasturages for his cows, are toward the north wind from Agbatana and toward the Hospitable sea. For there the Median country toward the Saspeirians is very mountainous, high and covered with woods, while the rest of the Median country is completely flat. Accordingly when the cowherd with much haste had come at being called, Harpagus said this: “Astyages bade that you should take hold of that young child and put it on the most desolate of the mountains, that it might be killed most quickly. Moreover this he bade to say to you, that, if you did not kill it, but in any manner preserve it alive, with the worst kind of destruction he would use you fatally, and to look upon it exposed I am appointed.”

After the cowherd had heard that and taken up the young child, he went by the same road back and came to his steading. Now, to him, lo! even to himself, his wife, who had been about to bring forth all day, somewhere near that time through a divinity brought forth, while the cowherd was gone to the city. In the meanwhile, both had been engaged in anxious thinking about each other, he being afraid because of the bringing forth of his wife, and his wife in that unaccustomedly Harpagus had summoned her husband. So when he had returned back and stood at his place, inasmuch as unexpectedly his wife saw him, she first asked why so eagerly Harpagus had summoned him. And he said, “O wife, I saw, on going into the city, and heard what I would that neither I had seen nor had happened to our masters. The whole house of Harpagus was taken up with wailing and I, in astonishment, went inside. And as soon as I had gone in, I saw a young child, lying before them, wriggling and mewling, adorned with gold and embroidered clothing. Then Harpagus, when he had seen me, bade me the quickest way, after I had taken up the young child, to be gone with it and put it where was the most beast-filled of the mountains, and he said that he who laid that charge on me was Astyages, and he made many threats, if I did not do it. So I took up and carried it, while I thought it was one of the household slaves’; for I would never have guessed whence it really was. But I was astounded at seeing that it was adorned with gold and clothes and that, also, in addition, wailing was established publicly in Harpagus’. And then quite suddenly along the road I learned by inquiry the whole account from a servant, who, escorting me out of the city, put the newborn in my hands, that after all, it was the child of Mandane, the daughter of Astyages, and Cambyses, the son of Cyrus, and Astyages enjoined to kill it; and now here he is.” At the same time as the cowherd said that, he also uncovered and showed him forth.

Then when she had seen that the young child was large and a possessor of good looks, bursting into tears and taking her hold of the knees of her husband, she desired that by no means he should expose it. And he asserted that he was unable to bring it about otherwise, since watchers from Harpagus would resort there to look upon the deed and he would be killed in the worst way, if he did not do it. So when lo! she could not persuade her husband, as the next best thing, the wife said this: “Since, therefore, I cannot persuade you to not expose it, you, then, do as follows, if indeed there’s truly every necessity for it to be seen exposed: because I, too, have brought forth, but have brought forth a dead child, that one carry and put out, but the other, the daughter of Astyages’ child, as if it were born of us, let us bring up. And thus neither you will be caught acting unjustly against your masters nor by us badly counsel will be taken. For the dead will obtain a royal burial and the surviving will not lose his life.” His wife very much seemed to the cowherd in view of the present situation to speak well, and at once he did that. That one child that he had carried to put to death, he handed over to his wife, and the other, his child, being a corpse, he took hold of and put into the vessel, in which he had carried the first and, after adorning him with every adornment of the first child, he carried him to the most desolate of the mountains and put him there. And when the third day had come for the young child who was exposed, the cowherd went to the city, on leaving behind one of the assistant cowherds as guard there, and, on going to Harpagus’, he said that he was ready to show forth the young child's dead body. Then Harpagus, after he had sent the most loyal of his own lance-bearers, saw through their agency and had the cowherd's young son buried. And so the one was buried, and the other, who later than that was named Cyrus, the wife of the cowherd took over and brought up, and she made him some other name and not Cyrus.

And just when the child was ten years old, a matter happened to him like the following and revealed him: He was playing in that village, in which were those above-mentioned cow-pastures, and he was playing with others, his contemporaries, in the road. The children, while they were playing, chose to be king of themselves that very one who was in name the cowherd's child. So he appointed some of them to build homes, others to be lance-bearers, some of them to be the eye of the king, and to some other he gave the dignity of bringing in messages; after his own way, each task he commanded. Then one of those children, playing with them, who was Artembares’ son, a man esteemed among the Medes, because indeed he had not done what had been commanded by Cyrus, he bade all the other children to arrest him and, when the children obeyed, Cyrus treated the child very harshly by whipping him. He, as soon as he had been let go, on the ground that indeed he had suffered things unworthy of himself, was aggrieved somewhat more and, on going down to the city, he complained to his father of what he had met with by Cyrus’ agency, and he did not say “Cyrus”, since that name did not yet exist, but rather “from the cowherd of Astyages’ son.” And Artembares angrily, as he was, came to Astyages and at the same time took with him his son; he asserted that he had suffered untoward things by saying, “O king, by your slave, the cowherd's son, we have been treated very insolently,” and he showed his son's shoulders.

Astyages, after he had heard and seen, since he wished to take revenge for the child for the sake of Artembares’ honor, summoned the cowherd and his son. When both were present, Astyages cast his gaze at Cyrus and said, “Did you, being this man here’s son, who is like that, dare the son of this man here, who is the first at my court, treat injuriously like this?” And he answered this way: “O master, but I did that to him with justice. For the children from the village, among whom was this one here, too, while they were playing, set me over themselves as their king, because I seemed to them to be most suitable for that. Now, all the other children brought to completion the commands laid on them, but that one would not listen and refused to give any account, until he received justice. If indeed, therefore, for that I am deserving of any evil, here I am present for you.” As the child said that, into Astyages entered a recognition of him, and to himself the character of his face seemed to approach to his own and his reply to be more that of a free man, while the time of the exposure seemed to agree with the age of the child. In astonishment at that, for a time he was speechless, and with difficulty, at last, he came to himself and said, since he wished to send away Artembares, that he might take hold of the cowherd alone and put him to the touchstone, “Artembares, I will so do those deeds of yours as for you and your son to find no fault.” Artembares, then, he sent, and Cyrus the servants led inside at the bidding of Astyages. And when the cowherd had been left behind alone, quite alone, Astyages asked him this, whence he took hold of the child and who was he who had handed him over. And he asserted that he had been born of himself and she who had brought him forth still was at his home. And Astyages asserted that he was not taking counsel well by desiring to come to the instruments of torture and, at the same time as he said that, he gave the signal to his lance-bearers to take hold of him. The moment he was being led to the instruments of torture, just then he began to bring to light the account of what was.

Beginning from the beginning, he went through it and told the truth, and he concluded with entreaties and by bidding him to pardon himself. Astyages, when the cowherd had revealed the truth, by then considered him of even less account, but with Harpagus he found fault very greatly and bade his lance-bearers to call him. When Harpagus was present for him, Astyages asked him, “Harpagus, with just what manner of death did you use the child mortally, whom I had handed over to you, born of my daughter?” And Harpagus, when he had seen that the cowherd was within, did not take to the false road, that he might not be caught being convicted, but he said this: “O king, after I had taken over the young child, I took counsel and looked to how I was to act according to your mind, while I, for my part, proving guiltless to you, was to be murderer neither in your daughter's eyes nor yours. I then acted this way: I called this cowherd and handed over the young child, and I said that you were he who bade kill it. And in saying that, at any rate, I refused to lie; for you enjoined thus. Now, I handed it over to this man here after this fashion: I enjoined him to put it on a desolate mountain and to remain by and guard it until it should meet with its end, and I threatened this man here with all kinds of things, if he did not carry this out to completion. And when, at that man’s doing what was bidden, the young child had met with its end, after I had sent the most loyal of the eunuchs, I both saw through their agency and had it buried. Thus it was, o king, concerning that matter, and the child had a death like that.” Harpagus, then, brought to light the straight account, and Astyages, hiding the wrath that he had in himself at him on account of what had happened, first, just as he himself had heard the matter from the cowherd, related it again to Harpagus, and afterward, when it had been repeated by him, he concluded by saying that the child survived and what had happened was beautiful. “For by what had been done,” he asserted by speaking, “to that child, I was greatly distressed and, since I had fallen out with my daughter, I considered it not in a light way. Therefore, on the ground that fortune has changed well, on the one hand, send away your own child to the newly come child, and on the other, because I am to sacrifice a reward for saving the child to those of the gods to whom that is assigned as an honor, be present with me for dinner.”

Harpagus, when he had heard that, after paying obeisance and considering great that his failing had turned out opportunely and that in view of his good fortunes he had been called to dinner, went to his house and, on going to it the quickest way, since one son alone was his, he sent him out and bade him go to Astyages’ and do whatever he bade. Then he himself, being very gratified, pointed out to his wife what had occurred. But Astyages, when the son of Harpagus had come to him, after killing him by cutting his throat and dividing him up, limb by limb, baked some of the pieces of meat and boiled the others; he had prepared them well and kept them so. So when, at the hour of the dinner's coming, all the other banqueters and Harpagus were present, by all the others and by Astyages himself were placed tables filled up with sheep's meat, and by Harpagus all the other pieces of his own son, except the head and the ends of his arms and legs; those were placed separately in a reed-basket and covered up. And when Harpagus thought there was enough of the food, Astyages asked him whether he took any pleasure in the meal and, after Harpagus had said he had taken very much pleasure indeed, those, to whom it was assigned, produced the child's covered up head, hands and feet, and they, standing by, bade Harpagus uncover them and take what he wanted of them. Then Harpagus, when he had obeyed and uncovered them, saw his son's remains and, on seeing them, both did not become astonished and contained himself. And Astyages asked him whether he knew which beast's meat he had devoured. And he said both that he knew and that everything that the king performed was pleasing. At length, when he had answered with that and taken up what was left of the meat, he went to his house and thereafter he was, as I think, after gathering it, to bury it all.

On Harpagus Astyages inflicted that as justice, while about Cyrus he took counsel and called the same men among the Magians who had interpreted his dream that above-mentioned way. And, on their coming, Astyages asked what way they interpreted his vision. And they spoke in the same fashion, in that they said that the child would have had to become king, if he had lived on and not died. And he answered them with this: “The child exists and survives, and him, while he dwelt in the country, the children of his village set over themselves as king. He, then, completed the doing of all the very things that the kings by a true account do; for he appointed lance-bearers, doorkeepers, message-bearers, and all the remaining offices and ruled. Accordingly, to what does that now appear to you to lead?” The Magians said, “If the child survives and was king without any forethought, take courage because of that and be of good spirit, since he will no longer rule a second time. For even some of our prophetic speeches have turned out of little moment, while what pertains to dreams, at any rate, comes completely to nought.” Astyages answered with this: “I myself too, o Magians, am most of that opinion, that, at the child's being named king, the dream has come to accomplishment and that child to me is no longer anything fearful. Yet nevertheless advise me by reflecting well what is to be most safe for my house and you.” Thereupon the Magians said, “O king, to ourselves too it is worth much for your rule to prosper. For in that case, if it devolves to that child, it belongs to others, since he is a Persian, and we, being Medes, are made slaves and are considered of no account by the Persians, because we are foreigners, but, as long as you are appointed king, since you are a fellow citizen, we both rule in part and have great honors from you. So then at all events we must look after you and your rule. Accordingly if we were now observing anything frightening, we would point it all out to you in advance. But as it is, the dream falling out mean, we ourselves take courage and to you we make another recommendation like that, and that child send away out of eye to the Persians and his begetters.” On hearing that, Astyages took pleasure, and he called Cyrus and said to him this: “O child, because I acted unjustly against you on account of a dream’s vision that came not to completion, and you survive because of your own portion, go, then, now with impunity to the Persians, and I will send along escorts. And, on going there, you will find a father and mother unlike Mitradates the cowherd and his wife.”

After saying that, Astyages sent away Cyrus. And, on his returning to Cambyses’ house, his begetters received him, and when they had received him, after they had learned about him by inquiry, they greeted him with great warmth, inasmuch as they indeed thought that at once at that time he had met with his end, and inquired in what manner he had come to survive. And he spoke to them and said that before then he had not the knowledge, but had erred most greatly, and along the road he had learned by inquiry of all his suffering, since he thought that he was the son of Astyages’ cowherd, but on the road thence had learned by inquiry from his escorts the whole account; he said that he had been brought up by the wife of the cowherd, and he went on praising her continually; in his speech everything was Kyno. So his parents took over that name and, that their son might seem to the Persians to have survived more divinely, sowed a report that a bitch had brought up the exposed Cyrus.

From there that report was spread abroad, and to Cyrus, become a man and being of his contemporaries most manly and most friendly, Harpagus was attached by sending gifts, because he desired to punish Astyages. For from himself, who was a private person, he could not observe that there would be revenge against Astyages, but of Cyrus, as he saw that he was growing up, he made an ally through likening the sufferings of Cyrus to those of himself. And still earlier than that this had been accomplished by him: as Astyages was bitter to the Medes, Harpagus had intercourse with each one of the first Medes and convinced them that they must set up Cyrus their leader and remove Astyages from the kingdom. That accomplished by him and the thing being ready, just then to Cyrus, who dwelt among the Persians, Harpagus wanted to make clear his own judgement and could not any other way, seeing that the roads were guarded, and so he devised a plan like this: after he had gotten by contrivance a hare, slit open its belly and plucked nothing, then, as he was, thus he put into it a paper, once he had written what seemed good to him. And he sewed up the hare's belly, gave nets, as if to a hunter, to the most loyal of his household slaves, and dispatched him to the Persians, with the injunction to him that by word of mouth, while he offered the hare to Cyrus, he should say beside that with his own hand he should divide it up and no one should be present with him as he did that. It was that, then, that came to completion and Cyrus took over and slit open the hare. Then, on finding that the paper was in it, he took hold and read it. And the letter said this: “O son of Cambyses, since gods watch over you, because otherwise you never would have come to so great a degree of fortune, you, then, punish Astyages, your killer. For so far as depends on his desire you are dead, but so far as what depends on gods and me you survive. I think you have quite long known everything thoroughly about yourself, how it was done and what kinds of things I have suffered at Astyages’ hands, in that you I did not kill, but gave to the cowherd. You then, if you want to obey me, all that very country that Astyages rules, you will rule. So convince the Persians to revolt, and drive an army against the Medes. Indeed if I am appointed general by Astyages against you, what you want is yours, as well as if any other of the esteemed Medes are, since they, revolted from him and come to your side, will be the first to try to put down Astyages. Therefore, on the ground that what is here, at least, is ready, do that and do it quickly.”

(to be continued)

bronze sculpture of mounted boy

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