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C II A P. II. 

Ihe name of Sesostris * 79 , who lived after these 
monarchs, claims our attention. According to 
the priests, he was the first who, passing the Ara- 
bian gulph in a fleet of long vessels, reduced under 
his authority the inhabitants bordering on the 

179 Sesostris."] — See Boubicr's Chronological Account of 
the Kings of -Egypt from Maris to Cambyses, according to 
which iMoeris died in the year of the world 336'0, and was 
succeeded by Sesostris in 336l. 

Diodorus Siculus makes this prince posterior to Moeris by 
seven generations; but, as Larcher justly observes, this 
writer cannot be entitled to an equal degree of credit with 
Herodotus. Sesostris has been differently named : Tacitus 
calls him Rhampses; Scaliger, both llhamesses and/Egyptus. 
He is named Sesostris in Diodorus Siculus; Sesosis in 
Pliny, &c— T. 

Vol. II. B Erythrean 

* £ U T E E P E. 

Erythrean Sea. He proceeded yet farther, till he 
came to a sea, which on account of the number 
of shoals was not navigable. On his return to 
JEgypt, as I learned from the same authority, he 
levied a mighty army, and made a martial pro- 
gress by land, subduing all the nations whom he 
met with on his march. Whenever he was op- 
posed by a people who proved themselves brave, 
and who discovered an ardour for liberty, he 
erected columns in their country, upon which he 
inscribed his own name, and that of his nation, 
and how he had here conquered by the force of 
his arms ; but where he met with little or no op- 
position, upon similar columns ,8 ° which he erected, 
he added the private parts of a woman, expres- 
sive of the pusillanimity of the people. 

CM. Continuing his progress, he passed over 
from Asia to Europe *, and subdued the countries 


180 Upon similar columns, 4"C-]"~" Diodorus Siculus relates 
the same facts, with this addition, that upon the columns in- 
tended to commemorate the bravery of the vanquished, 
Sesostris added the private parts of a man.— 7'. 

Nous ignorons si les Hermes caracterises par la nature 
feminine, et eriges par Sesostris dans les pays qu'il avoit 
conquis sans resistance, avoient etc figures de la mcme ma- 
niere; ou si, pour indiquer le sexe, ils avoient un triangle, 
par lequel les iEgyptiens avoient coutume de le designer.— 

* Grobert, above cited, thinks that Sesostris must un- 
doubtedly have vanquished Italy. Any one, says he, that 



X)f Scythia and Thrace 181 . Here I believe he 
stopped *, for monuments of his victory are disr 
covered thus far, but no farther. On his return, 
he came to the river Phasis ; but I am by no 
means certain whether he left l8z a detachment of 

will be at the trouble of comparing the physiognomy and 
manners of the people of Calabria with those of the -'Egyp- 
tians, will easily believe this to have been the fact. 

131 Thrace.] — According to another tradition preserved in 
Valerius Flaccus, the Getus, the bravest and most upright of 
the Thracians, vanquished Sesostris ; and it was doubtless to 
secure his retreat, that he left a detachment of his troops in 

Cunabula gentis 
Colchidos hie ortusque tuens : ut prima Sesostris 
Intulerit rex belia Getis: ut clade suoruin 
Territus, hos Tliebas patriumque reducat ad amnera 
Phasidis hos imponat agris, Colchosque vocari 
Imperet. Lurcher, 

* Among the arguments adduced by Robertson against the 
probability that Sesostris conquered India, the following is 
much entitled to attention : 

It is remarkable that Herodotus, who inquired with the 
most persevering diligence into the ancient history of 
iEgypt, and who received all the information concerning it 
which the priests of Memphis, Heliopolis, and Thebes could 
communicate, although he relates the history of Sesostris 
at some length, does not mention his conquest of India. 
That tale, it is probable, was invented in the period between 
the age of Herodotus and that of Diodorus Siculus, from 
whom we receive a particular detail of the Indian expedition 
of Sesostris. — Robertson on India, p. 336. 

I have little scruple in avowing my belief that almost the 
whole of the story of Sesostris is fabulous. 

,8a Whether he left, fyc] — Pliny assures us, though I know 
not on what authority, that Sesostris was defeated by the 
Colchians. — Lurcher. 

£ C his 


his forces as a colony in this district, or whethgfr 
some of his men, fatigued with their laborious 
service, remained here of their own accord. 

CIV. The Colchians certainly appear to be of 
./Egyptian origin; which indeed, before I had 
conversed with any one on the subject, I had 
always believed. But as I was desirous of being 
satisfied, I interrogated the people of both coun- 
tries : the result was, that the Colchians seemed 
to have better remembrance of the /Egyptians, 
than the .Egyptians had of the Colchians. The 
^Egyptians were of opinion, that the Colchians 
were descended from part of the troops of Se- 
sostris. To this I myself was also inclined, be- 
cause they are black, and have short and curling 
hair l8? ; which latter circumstance may not, how- 
ever, be insisted upon as evidence, because it is 
common to many other nations. But a second 
and better argument is, that the inhabitants of 
Colchos, iEgypt, and iEthiopia, are the only 
people who from time immemorial have used cir- 
cumcision. The Phoenicians and the Syrians of 

,£? Short and curling hair.] — " That is," says Volney, in 
his remark on this passage, " that the ancient /Egyptians 
v/ere real negroes, of the same species with all the natives 
of Africa; and though, as might be expected, after mixing 
for so many ages With the Greeks and Romans, they Lave 
lost the intensity of their first colour, yet they still retain 
strong marks of their original conformation." 



Palestine * l84 acknowledge that they borrowed this 
custom from iEgypt Those Syrians who live 
near the rivers Thermodon and Parthenius, and 
their neighbours the Macrones, confess that they 

* The following note from Shaw deserves attention ; p. 3.90. 
Herodotus, always too credulous with regard to these 
boasted antiquities of the .Egyptians, insists likewise that 
circumcision was much earlier received by them than by the 
rians of Palestine, i. e. the Hebrews or Israelites; for the 
Philistines themselves, who were originally /Egyptians, and 
■-." name to the country, were uncircumcised. Now by 
considering Gen. xlv. ver. 12, in the original text, agreeably to 
the Hebrew diction and brevity of expression, we may re- 
ive one plausible argument why Herodotus may be equally 
mistaken in this assertion. For the Rabbinical commen- 
tators observe upon the sense which we l-anslate, Andbehold, 
your eyes see, and the i ny bi oilier Benjamin, that it is my 

mouth that speaketh unto you, that Joseph gave the patriarchs 
therein three proofs of Ids being their brother. The first 
was the token of circumcision, peculiar at that time, as they 
affirm, to the family of Abraham, which he is supposed to 
have discovered by unfolding his gar] ient whilst they stood 
near him, and bidding them regard it. Behold, says he, your 
eyes .sec by this token that I am no stranger, but of the 
lineage of Abraham. And then to shew that he was not 
descended from Ishmael, he lays down for his second proof 
the near resemblance of his own features to those of his 
brother Benjamin., who was born of the same mother. And 
behold, he continues, the eyes or countenance of my brother 
Benjamin; how nearly they resemble my own. The third 
proof was his language, ,&c. cvc. The whole of what follows 
is i "o'y ingenious and very corroborative of the main 

It seems to be implied also, Jeremiah ix. ver. 25, 26 > that 
the /Egyptians were not circumcised at the time when that 
prophet lived, viz. 630 or 6"40 years before Christ, which was 
not 200 years before Herodotus flourished and wrote his 

b 3 learned 

6 E U T E R P E., 

learned it, and that too in modern times, frorn 
the Colchians. These are the only people who 
use circumcision, and who use it precisely like the 
^Egyptians. As this practice can be traced both 
in iEgypt and ^Ethiopia to the remotest antiquity, 
it is not possible to say who first introduced it. 
The ^Egyptians certainly communicated it to the 
other nations by means of their commercial in- 
tercourse. The Phoenicians, who are connected 
with Greece, do not any longer imitate the 
^Egyptians in this particular, their male children 
not being circumcised. 

CV. But the Colchians have another mark of 
resemblance to the ^Egyptians. Their manufac- 
ture of linen l85 is alike, and peculiar to those two 

nations ; 

,5 * Syrians of Palestine.]— Mr. Gibbon takes the oppor- 
tunity of this passage to make it appear, that under the As- 
syrian and Persian monarchies, the Jews languished for many 
ages the most despised portion of their slaves. " Hero- 
dotus," says the English historian, « who visited Asia whilst 
it obeyed the Persian empire, slightly mentions the Jews of 
Palestine." But this seems to be a partial quotation ; for 
taking into consideration the whole of the context, Hero- 
dotus seems precluded from mentioning the Syrians of Pa- 
lestine in this place otherwise than slightly. — T. 

It is indeed certain that Herodotus could know nothing 
of the Jews, for it is utterly impossible that they should con- 
fess that they borrowed the rite of circumcision from the 

123 Manufacture of linen.]— Ses chapter xxxvii. of this 
book.— T. 

To which may be added the following remark from Har- 
roer, vol. ii. p. 349. 



nations ; they have similar manners, and the same 
language, The linen which comes from Colchis 
the Greeks call Sardonian l86 ; the linen of iEgypt, 

As for the linen yarn mentioned in Scripture, it is still, 
according to Norden, one of the principal of their mer- 
chandises, and is sent away in prodigious quantities along 
with unmanufactured flax and cotton spun. To which I 
would add this remark of Sanutus, who lived about 400 
years ago, that though Christian countries abounded in his 
time in flax, yet the goodness of the .Egyptian was such that 
it was dispersed all about, even into the West; for the same 
reason, without doubt, the Jews, Hittites, and Syrians an- 
ciently purchased the linen yarn of this country, though they 
had flax growing in their own. 

186 Sardonian.] — In the original, for "Zx^ovmov, Larcher 
recommends the reading of E^oi«niy.oi>, which he justifies by 
saying that Sardis was a far more proper and convenient 
market for this kind of linen than Sardinia. 

This latter country in ancient times had the character of 
being remarkably unhealthy. " Remember," says Cicero, 
writing to his brother, " though in perfect health, you are 
in Sardinia." Martial also, 

J\ T ullo fata loco possis excludere, cum mors 
Venerit, in medio Tibure, Sardinia est. 

This country also gave rise to many peculiar phrases : 
,Sardi venales, Risus Sardonicus, Sardonia tinctura, &c. The 
first is differently explained ; Cicero, applying it to Gracchus, 
who after the capture of Sardinia wasted much time in sell- 
ing his prisoners, makes it to signify any matter tediously 
protracted. Others, applying it to the Asiatic Sardis, make 
it signify persons who are venal. The Sardonic laugh is 
that beneath which the severest uneasiness is concealed. 
" Sardinia," says Solinus, " produces a herb which has this 

U 4 singular 


C VI. The greater part of the pillars which Se- 
sostris erected in the places which he conquered, 
are no longer to be found. Some of them I my- 
self have seen in Palestine of Syria, with the pri- 
vate members of a woman, and with the inscrip- 
tions which I have before mentioned. In Ionia 
there are two figures of this king, formed out of a 
rock; one is in the road from Ephesu's to Pho- 
crea, the other betwixt Sardis and Smyrna. Both * 
of them represent a man, five palms in height ; 
the right hand holds a javelin, the left a bow ; the 
rest of the armour is partly /Egyptian and partly 
./Ethiopian. Across his breast, from shoulder to 


singular property, that whilst it destroys whoever eats it, it 
so contracts the features, and in particular of the mouth, 
into a grin, as to make the sufferer appear to die laughing." 
Of this herb, Solinus relates other strange properties. Sar- 
dinia was also famous for a very beautiful colour, whence 
Sardonia tinctura was made to signify a modest blush. See 
Pliny, Solinus, Hoffman, 6cc. 

Larcher observes that Mingrelia, the antient Colchis, is 
still famous for such manufacture of linen. The linen of 
/Egypt is thus mentioned in Ezekiel, c. xxvii. v. 7. 

Fine linen, with broidered work from /Egypt, was that 
which thou spreadest forth to be, thy sail. 

.Again, in Proverbs, c. vii. v. l6. 

I have decked my bed with coverings of tapestry, with 
carved works, with fine linen of /Egypt. 

* Either no travellers have taken the rout from Phoca?a 
to Ephesus, and from Sardis to Smyrna, or they have ne- 
glected to inquire whether any traces of these stupendous 
statues are yet visible. 


shoulder, there is this inscription in the sacred 
characters of TEgypt, " I conquered this country 
by the force of my arms *." Who the person here 
represented is, or of what country, is not speci- 
fied ; both are told elsewhere. Some have been 
induced, on examination, to pronounce this to be 
the figure of Menmon, but they must certainly 
be mistaken. 

CVII. The same priests informed me that Se- 
sostris returned to /Egypt with an immense num- 
ber of captives, of the different nations which he 
had conquered. On his arrival at the Pelusian 
Daphne, his brother, to whom he had confided 
the government in his absence, invited him and 
his family to take up their abode with him; 
which when they had done, he surrounded their 
apartments with combustibles, and set fire to the 
building l87 . As soon as Sesostris discovered the 
villainy, he deliberated with his wife, who hap- 

* The following line from Claudian appears, says Larcher, 
to be a translation of this passage of Herodotus : 

Ast ego quns terras humeris pontumque subegi. 

137 Set fire to the building.'] — Diodorus Siculus relates the 
matter differently. The brother of Sesostris made him and 
his attendants drunk, and in the night set tire to his apart- 
ment. The guards, being intoxicated, were unable to assist 
their master ; but Sesostris, imploring the interposition of 
tHe jjods, fortunately escaped. He expressed his gratitude 
to the deities in gei I, and to Vulcan in particular, to 
whose kindness principally he thought himself indebted. — T. 



pened to be with him, what measures to pursue ; 
she advised him to place two of their six children 
across the parts which were burning, that they 
might serve as a bridge for the preservation of 
themselves and of the rest. This Sesostris exe- 
cuted : two of the children consequently pe- 
rished, the remainder were saved with their 

CVIII, Sesostris did not omit to avenge him- 
self on his brother : on his return to iEgypt, he 
employed the captives of the different nations he 
bad vanquished, to collect those immense stones 
which were employed in the temple of Vulcan. 
They were also compelled to make those vast 
and numerous canals lS8 by which iEgypt is in- 

|3S Numerous canals,]-*— Probably one reason why Sesostris 
opened canals, was to prevent these hurtful inundations, as 
well as to convey water to those places where they might 
think proper to have villages built, and to water the lands, 
more conveniently, at such times as the waters might retire 
early; for they might find by experience, after the canals, 
were opened, that, instead of apprehending inundations, they 
had greater reason, as at present, to fear a want of water. — . 

There are still eighty canals in TEgypt like rivers, several 
of which are twenty, thirty, and forty leagues in length. — 

The same author adds, that the chain-buckets used in 
.'Egypt to disperse the water over the high lands gave to Ar- 
chimedes, during his voyage in IEgypt, the idea of his inge- 
nious screw, which is still in use. 

* A country 


tersected. In consequence of their involuntary 
labours, iEgypt, which was before conveniently 
adapted to those who travelled on horseback or 
in carriages, became unfit for both. The canals 


A country where nothing is so seldom met with as a 
spring, and where rain is an extraordinary phenomenon, 
could only have been fertilized by the Nile. Accordingly 
from times of the most remote antiquity, fourscore consi- 
derable canals were digged at the entrance of the kingdom, 
"beside a great number of small ones, which distributed these 
waters all over ./Egypt. — Rai/na/. 

The following note, abridged, from Larcher, is highly 
honourable to him : 

Sesostris, says Volney, lived before Moses, and, according 
to Herodotus, cut so many canals in ./Egypt, that it became 
impossible to travel in chariots. The Bible, therefore, must 
relate a fable, for it says that Pharaoh pursued the Israelites 
in six hundred chariots. 

Unluckily for Volney, replies Larcher, the first assertion 
is not true. The passage of the Red Sea took place one 
hundred and seventy-five years before the time of Sesostris. 
This miracle took place in the year 3183, of the Julian pe- 
riod, 1531 years before our aera. Sesostris mounted the 
throne in the year 3358, of the Julian year, which is 1356 
years before our rera. 

Volney should have remembered that he was a candidate 
for a prize at the Academy of Belles Lettres, on a subject 
relating to chronology. His memoir was indignantly re- 
jected, as indeed it deserved. I advise him to study chro- 
nology, or rather never again to write on subjects connected 
with it. 

I have much satisfaction in introducing the above casti- 
gation of an author, whose bold assertions and fallacious 
reasonings have done so much mischief to the public, parti- 
cularly from a pen so well qualified to detect and expose 
his errors and falshoods. 


occur so often, and in so many winding direo 
tions, that to travel on horseback is disagreeable, 
l)n t in carriages impossible. The prince however 
Mas influenced by a patriotic motive : before his 
time those who inhabited the inland parts of the 
country, at a distance from the river, on the ebb- 
ing of the Nile suffered great distress from the 
want of water, of which they had none but from 
muddy wells. 

CIX. The same authority informed me, that 
Sesostris made a regular distribution of the lands 
of iEgypt. He assigned to each ./Egyptian a 
square piece of ground ; and his revenues were 
drawn from the rent, which every individual an- 
nually paid him. Whoever was a sufferer by 
the inundation of the Nile, was permitted to 
make the king acquainted with his loss. Certain 
officers were appointed to inquire into the parti- 
culars of the .injury, that no man might be taxed 
beyond his ability. It may not be improbable to 
suppose that this was the origin of geometry 189 , 
and that the Greeks learned it from hence. As 

139 Origin tf geometry.] — The natives of Thebes, above all 
others, were renowned for their great wisdom. Their im- 
provements in geometry are thought to have been owing to 
the nature of their country ; for, the land of ^gypt being 
annually overflowed, and all property confounded, they were 
obliged upon the retreat of the waters to have recourse to 
geometrical decision, in order* to determine the limits of 
their possessions^ — Bryant. 



to the pole, the gnomon I9 °, and the division of 
the day' 91 into twelve parts, the Greeks re- 
ceived them from the Babylonians. 

190 The pole, the gnomon.]— The text is a literal translation 
of the original, to which as it stands it will not be very easy 
to annex any meaning. My own opinion, from reflecting 
on the context, is, that it signifies a dial with its index. Wes- 
seling, in his note on this passage, informs us from Pollux, 
that many considered ttoaov and apoMyw as synonymous ex- 
pressions. Scaliger is of the same opinion, to which Wes- 
seling himself accedes. Salmasius thinks differently, and 
says of this particular passage, ne hoc quidem quidquam ad 
horologiorum usum facit. Larcher's interpretation seems 
far-fetched. " lie," says the learned Frenchman, " who 
wishes to form a solar quadrant must necessarily know the 
altitude of the pole." — When it is considered that the more 
ancient dials were divided by the .first twelve letters of the 
alphabet, 1 cannot help adhering to the interpretation I 
have given of it. — T. 

191 Division of the day.."] — From this passage it appears, 
that in the time of Herodotus the day was divided into 
twelve parts : at the same time we may not conclude, with 
Leo Allatius, and Wesseling, that to these twelve parts the 
name of hours was given. It is by no means certain when 
the twenty-four parts of the day were first distinguished by 
the name oi hours, but it was doubtless very late; and the 
passages cited from Anacreon and Xenophon to prove the 
contrary ought not to be interpreted by what we call hours. 

The passage in Anacreon, ^g-owkhqh: nob';, means 
nothing more than the middle of the night. Nuktcj cty.oXyZ. 
in Homer, whirl; signifies an advanced time of the night, » 
explained by the Scholiast » m iJ.eo-owx.Tiu vpa, the very ex- 
pression of Anacreon. The passage from Xenophon is nol 
more decisive. — Larcher. 

Upon tins subject we have the following curious note in 
the Voyage du Jeune Anaeharsis: — Of the dials of the an- 
cients we may form some idea from the following example:'" 
Palladius Rutilius, who lived about the fifth century, and 



CX. Except Sesostris, no monarch of iEgypt 
was ever master of ^Ethiopia. This prince placed 
as a monument ,91 some marble statues before 
the temple of Vulcan * : two of these were thirty 


who has left us a treatise on agriculture, has put at the end 
of every month a table, in which one sees the correspondence 
of the divisions of the day to the different lengths of the 
shadow of the gnomon. It must be observed in the first 
place, that this correspondence is the same in the months 
equally distant from the solstice. January and December, 
February and November, &c. Secondly, that the length of 
the shadow is the same for the hours equalty distant from 
the mid-day point. The following is the table for January : 

Hours. Feet. 

I. and XI. - - - 29 

II. and X. >_-]() 

III. and IX. - - - 15 

IV. and VIII. - 12 
V. and VII. - - - 10 

VI. - - 9 

This dial seems to have been adapted for the climate of 
Rome. • Similar dials were constructed for the climate of 

192 Placed as a monument.] — Larcher, in his version, adds 
in this place, " to commemorate the danger he had es- 
caped." The text will not justify this version, though the 
learned Frenchman's opinion, that this is the implied mean- 
ing, rests on the positive assertion of Diodorus Siculus, who, 
relating the fact of the statues circumstantiall} 7 , adds that 
they were erected by Sesostris in gratitude to Vulcan, by 
whose interposition he escaped the treachery of his brother. 

* One of the trophies brought by our victorious army 
from iEgypt, is the fist of a colossean statue. It was found 
by the French in the ruins of Memphis, and very possibly 
belonged to a statue of Vulcan. 

E U T E R P E. 15 

cubits in height, and represented him and his 
queen ; four others, of twenty cubits each, re- 
presented his four children. A long time after- 
wards, Darius king of Persia was desirous of 
placing before these a statue of himself' 93 , but 
the high priest of Vulcan violently opposed it, 
urging that the actions of Darius were far less 
splendid than those of the ^Egyptian Scsostris. 
This latter prince had vanquished as many na- 
tions as Darius, and had also subdued the Scy- 
thians, who had never yielded to the arms of 
Darius. Therefore, says he, it can never be just 
to place before the statues of Sesostris, the figure 
of a prince, whose exploits have not been equally 
illustrious. They told me that Darius forgave 
this remonstrance 59+ . 

193 A statue of himself.'] — After a series of ages, when 
-ZEgypt was reduced under the power of Persia, Darius, the 
father of Xerxes, was desirous of placing an image of himself 
at Memphis, before the statue of Scsostris. This was stre- 
nuously opposed by the chief priest, in an assembly of his 
order, -who asserted that the acts of Darius had not yet sur- 
passed those of Sesostris. The king did not take this free- 
dom amiss, but was rather pleased with it; saying, that if 
he lived as long as Sesostris, he would endeavour to equal 
him. — Diodorus Sicultis. 

194 Forgave, this remonstrance.] — It does not however ap- 
pear from hence that Darius was ever in /Egypt. The re- 
sistaiice of the chief priest might probably be told him, and 
he might forgive it. It appears by a passage in Aristotle, 
that Darius attacked and conquered this country ; if so, the 
priest of Vulcan might personally oppose Darius. The au- 
thority of Aristotle is of no weight, compared with that of 



CXI. On the death of Sesostris, his son Pfig- 
ron ,9S , as the priests informed me, succeeded to 
his throne. This prince undertook no military 
expedition ; but by the action I am going to 
relate, he lost the use of his eyes : — When the 
Nile was at its extreme height of eighteen cubits, 
and had overflowed the fields, a sudden wind 
arose, which made the waters impetuously swell. 
At this juncture the prince hurled a javelin into 
the vortex of the stream : he was in a moment 
deprived of sight, and continued blind for the 
space of ten years ; in the eleventh, an oracle was 
communicated to him from Butos, intimating 
that the period of his punishment was expired, 
and that he should recover his sight, by washing 
his eyes with the urine of a woman, who had 
never known any man but her husband. Pheron 
first made the experiment with the urine of his 
own wife, and when this did not succeed, he ap- 
plied that of other women indiscriminately. Hav- 
ing at length recovered his sight, he assembled 
all the women, except her whose urine had re- 

our historian ; and probably, in that writer, instead of Darius 
we should read Xerxes. — Lurcher. 

If Darius Hystaspes be intended, this prince certainly was 
in JEyypt, in the army of Cambyses, but I believe not whilst 
a king. 

195 Pheron.} — This prince is supposed to be the first 
Egyptian Pharaoh; but this must be erroneous, for the 
Israelites were oppressed by Pharaoh one hundred and 
seventy years before this reign. 


moved his calamity, in a city which is to this 
day called Erythrebolos' 96 ; all these, with the 
town itselfj he destroyed by fire, but he married 
the female who had deserved his gratitude. On 
his recovery he sent magnificent presents to all 
the more celebrated temples ; to that of the sun 
he sent two obelisks, too remarkable to be un- 
noticed; each was formed of one solid stone, 
one hundred cubits high, and eight broad. 

CXII. The successor of Pheron, as the same 
priests informed me, was a citizen of Memphis, 
whose name in the Greek tongue was Proteus I9? . 


190 Eri/threbolos.~\ — Diodorus Siculus calls this place He- 
liopolis; and says that the woman, through whose means 
Pheron was cured of his blindness, was the wife of a gar- 

This certainly proves that great corruption of manners 
prevailed at this time in /Egypt, and Larcher judiciously 
refers, at this passage, to the precaution taken by Abraham 
on entering this country. See Genesis, c. xii. v. 11. 

The profligacy also of the wife of Potiphar towards Joseph, 
affords a similar testimony.— T. 

ly7 Proteus."] — Proteus was an .Egyptian title of the deity, 
under which he was worshipped, both in the Pharos and at 
aphis. He Was the same as Osiris and Canopus, and 
particularly the god of mariners, who confined his depart- 
ment to the sea. From hence I think, we may unravel the 
mystery about the pilot of Menelaus, who is said to have 
. named Canopus, and to have given name to the prin- 
cipal sea-port in /Egvpt. — Bryant. 

Vol. II. C Scylax 


His shrine is still to be seen at Memphis ; it is 
situated -to the south of the temple of Vulcan, 
and is very magnificently decorated. The Phoe- 
nicians of Tyre dwell in its vicinity, and indeed 
the whole of the place, is denominated the Ty- 
rian camp. In this spot, consecrated to Proteus, 
there is also a small temple, dedicated to Venus 
the Stranger ,9S : this Venus I conjecture is no 


Scylax speaks of Cfinopus as if he seriously thought the 
island was denominated from the pilot of Menelaus. 

No antique figure has yet been met with of Proteus : upon 
this circumstance Mr. Spence remarks, that his character 
was far more manageable for poets, than for sculptors or 
painters. The former might very well describe all the va- 
riety of shapes that he could put, on, and point out the 
transition from one to the other, but the artists must have 
been content to shew him either in his own natural shape, 
or in some one alone of all his various forms. Of this deity 
the best description is given in the Georgics of Virgil. — T. 

It is remarkable, that if we were to write the ./Egyptian 
name,of Proteus, as given by the Greeks, in Phoenician cha- 
racters, we should make use of the same letters we pro- 
nounce Pharao ; the final o in the Hebrew is an //, which at 
the end of words frequently becomes r. — Vuhcy. 

,y3 Venus the St ranger.] — It is doubtless this Venus to 
whom Horace alludes in the following verses : 

Oh quee beatarn diva teuesCyprum, et 
Memphim carentem Sithonia nive 

Strabo also speaks of this temple, and tells us that some be- 
lieved it dedicated to the moon. — T. 



other than Helen, the daughter of Tyndaris, be- 
cause she, I was told, resided for some time at 
the court of Proteus, and because this building 
is dedicated to Venus the Stranger; no other 
temple of Venus is distinguished by this ap- 

CXIII. To my inquiries on the subject f " of 
Helen, these priests answered as follows : Paris 
having carried off Helen from Sparta, was re- 
turning home, but meeting with contrary winds 


The ancients had very little scruple or delicacy in build- 
ing temples to their favourite beauties, simply adding Venus 
to their names. 

Thus in /Egypt there was a temple at Alexandria to Venus 
Belestria, Belestria being the name of a slave of great beauty, 
the favourite of an ^Egyptian prince. Venus Arsinoe was 
somewhat similar. — T. 

159 Inquiries on the subject.] — Upon no subject, ancient 
or modern, have writers been more divided, than about the 
precise period of the Trojan war. Larcher, after discussing 
this matter very fully, in his Essay on Chronology, is of opi- 
nion, and his arguments appear to me at least, satisfactory, 
that it took place 1263 years before the vulgar aara. — T. 

Since the publication of the first edition of this work, our 
countryman, Bryant, has produced a learned and elaborate 
work, to prove that the Trojan war never took place. 
This ha's of course led to a number of profound and critical 
investigation's on the subject, in which the weight of argu- 
iin nt and evidence appears to be against Bryant. I rather 
wonder that Lurcher lias taken no notice of BryantV work. 

C 2 


in the iEgean, he was driven into the ^Egyptian 
sea. As the winds continued unfavourable, he 
proceeded to iEgypt, and was driven to the Ca- 
nopian mouth of the Nile, and to Tarichea : in 
this place was a temple of Hercules, which still 
remains ; if any slave fled to this for refuge, and 
in testimony of his consecrating himself to the 
service of the god, submitted to be marked with 
certain sacred characters, no one was suffered to 
molest him. This custom has been strictly ob- 
served, from its first institution to the present 
period. The servants of Paris, aware of the pri- 
vileges of this temple, fled thither from their mas- 
ter, and with the view of injuring Paris, became 
the suppliants of the divinity. They published 
many accusations against their master, disclosing 
the whole affair of Helen, and the wrong done 
to Menelaus : this they did, not only in the pre- 
sence of the priests, but also before Thonis 20 °, 
the governor of the district. 

200 Thonis."} — Some writers pretend that Thonis was prince 
, of the Canopian mouth of the Nile, and that he was the 
inventor of medicine in JEgypt. Before he saw Helen he 
treated Menelaus with great respect; when he had seen her 
he made his court to her, and even endeavoured to violate 
her person: Menelaus on hearing this put him to death. 
The city of Thonis, and Thoth, the first ^Egyptian month, 
take their names from him. 

This narrative seems less probable than that of Hero- 
,dotus: Theth, or the Mercury of the ./Egyptians, was much 
more ancient. — Larcher. 


CXIV. Thonis instantly dispatched a messen- 
ger to Memphis, with orders to say thus to Pro- 
teus : " There is arrived here a Trojan, who has 
perpetrated an atrocious crime in Greece ; he 
has seduced the wife of his host, and has carried 
her away, with a great quantity of treasure ; ad- 
verse winds have forced him hither ; shall I suffer 
him to depart without molestation, or shall I 
seize his person and property?" The answer 
which Proteus sent was thus conceived : " Who- 
ever that man is who has violated the rights of 
hospitality, seize and bring him before me, that I 
may examine him." 

CXV. Thonis upon this seized Paris, and de- 
taining his vessels, instantly sent him to Proteus, 
with Helen i01 and all his wealth : on their arrival, 
Proteus enquired of Paris who he was, and whence 
he came : Paris faithfully related the name of his 
family and country, and from whence he last set 
sail. But when Proteus proceeded to make en- 
quiries concerning Helen, and how he obtained 
possession of her person, Paris hesitated in his 

'■ 0l This incident of the detention of Helen by Proteus, is 
the argument of one of the tragedies of Euripides. 

The poet supposes that Helen never was at Troy, but that 
Paris carried thither a cloud in her form :— On the drath of 
Proteus, his son Theaclymenus prepared to make Helen his 
wife; at this juncture Menelaus was driven on the coast, 
saw Helen again, and with her concerted and accomplished 
their return to Greece,-*-! 7 . 

c 3 answers; 


answers; his slaves who had deserted, him, ex- 
plained and proved the particulars of his guilt ; 
in consequence of which Proteus made this de- 
termination : " If. I did not esteem it a very 
heinous crime to put any stranger to death, 
whom unfavourable winds have driven to my 
coast, I would assuredly, thou most abandoned 
man, avenge that Greek whose hospitality thou 
hast treacherously violated. Thou hast not only 
seduced his wife, but, having violently taken her 
away, still criminally detainest her ; and, as if 
this were not enough, thou hast robbed and 
plundered him ! But as I can by no means pre- 
vail upon myself to put a stranger to death, I 
shall suffer you to depart ; the woman and your 
wealth I shall detain, till the Greek himself thinks 
proper to demand her.-— Do you and your com- 
panions depart within three days from my coasts, 
or expect to be treated as enemies." 

CXVI. 'Thus, according to the narrative of 
the priests, did Helen come to the court of Pro- 
teus. I conceive that this circumstance could 
not be unknown to Homer ; but as he thought it 
less ornamental to his poem, he forbore to use 
it. That he actually did know it, is evident from 
that part of the Iliad, where he describes the 
voyage of Paris ; this evidence he has no where 
retracted. He informs us, that Paris, after va- 
rious wanderings, at length Arrived at Sidon, in 

Phoenicia ; 

E U T E R P E. 23 

Phoenicia; it is in the Bravery of Diomed loi ; 
the passage is this : 

There lay the vestures of no vulgar art, 
Sidonian maids embroider'd every part; 
When from soft Sidon youthful Paris bore, 
With Helen touching on the Tyrian shore. 

II. vi. 390. 

He again introduces this subject in the Odyssey : 

These drugs, so friendly to the joys of life, 
Bright Helen learn'd from Thone's imperial 

wife : 
Who sway'd the sceptre where prolific Nile 
With various simples clothes the fatten'd soil, 
With wholesome herbage mixM, the direful 

Of vegetable venom taints the plain. 

Od. iv. 315. 

201 Bravery of Dionied.] — The different parts of Homer's 
poems were known anciently by names taken from the sub- 
jects treated in them : — Thus the fifth book of the Iliad was 
called the Bravery ofDiomed ; and in like manner the eleventh 
the Bravery of Agamemnon ; the tenth the Night-watch, or 
the Death of Do/on, fyc.; all of which titles are prefixed to 
the respective books in Clarke's and other editions from Eu- 
stathius: — See also yElian, Var. Hist. Book xiii. c. 14. This 
division was more ancient than that into books, and there- 
fore does not always coincide with it: thus the second Iliad 
lias two names, the Dream or the Trial, and the Catalogue ; 
whereas four or five books of the Odyssey are supposed 
to be comprized under the name of the Story of Alcinous. 
Valcnaer erroneously supposed this to be a later division of 
the grammarians, and therefore endeavoured to explain away 
the expression of Herodotus, which evidently refers to it. — T. 

c 4 Menelaus 


Menelaus also says thus to Telemachus : 

Long on the ^Egyptian coast by calms confin'd, 
Heaven to my fleet refas'd a prosperous wind ; 
No vows had we prefer'd, no victim slain, 
For this the gods each favouring gale restrain. 

Od. iv. 473. 

In these passages, Homer confesses himself ac- 
quainted with the voyage of Paris to iEgypt ; for 
Syria borders upon iEgypt, and the Phoenicians, 
to whom Sidon belongs, inhabit part of Syria. 

CXVII. The last passage of these, confirms 
sufficiently the argument, which may be deduced 
from the former, that the Cyprian verses 2 ° 3 were 

203 Cyprian verses,] — On the subject of these verses the 
following sentence occurs in Athenreus. 

" The person who composed the Cyprian verses, whether 
he was some Cyprian or Stasinus, or by whatever name he 
chooses to be distinguished," &c. From which it appears, 
that Athenaeus had no idea of their being written by Homer. 
But we are told by ALlian, in his Various History, that 
Homer certainly did compose these verses, and gave them 
as a marriage portion with his daughter. — See JElian, Book ix. 
chap. 15, in the note to which, this subject is amply dis- 
cussed. — T. 

The subject of this poem was the Trojan war, after the 
birth of Helen. Venus caused this princess to be born, that 
she might be able to promise Paris an accomplished beauty; 
to this Jupiter, by the advice of Momus, had consented, in 
order to destroy the human race again by the war of Troy, 
which was to take place on her account. As the author of 
this poem refers all the events of this war to Venus, goddess 
Of Cyprus, the work was called by her name. " It is evi- 
dent," says M. Larcher in continuation, " that Herodotus 
would have told the name of the author, had he known it." 

*"* never 



never written by Homer. These relate that Paris, 
in company with Helen, assisted by a favourable 
wind and sea, passed in three days from Sparta 
to Troy; on the contrary, it is asserted in the 
Iliad, that Paris, after carrying away Helen, 
wandered about to various places. But enough 
of Homer and the Cyprian verses. 

CXVIII. On my desiring to know of the same 
priests whether what ihe Greeks affirm concern- 
ing Troy, was true or false, they told me the fol- 
lowing particulars, which they assured me they 
received from Menelaus himself. After the loss 
of Helen, the Greeks assembled in great numbers 
at Teucris, to assist Menelaus ; they disem- 
barked and encamped : they then dispatched 
ambassadors to Troy, whom Menelaus himself 
accompanied. On their arrival, they made a 
formal demand of Helen, and of the wealth 
which Paris had at the same time clandestinely 
taken, as well as general satisfaction for the in- 
jury. The Trojans then and afterwards uni- 
formly persisted in declaring, that they had among 
them, neither the person nor the wealth of 
Helen, but that both were in iEgypt ; and 
they thought it hard that they should be made 
I ible for what Proteus king of iEgypt 
certainly possessed. The Greeks, believing them- 
selves deluded, laid siege to Troy, and perse# 
vered till they took it. But when Helen was not 
to be found in the captured town, and the same 



assertions concerning her were continued, they 
at length obtained credit, and Menelaus himself 
was dispatched to Proteus. 

CXIX. As soon as he arrived in /Egypt he 
proceeded up the Nile to Memphis. On his re- 
lating the object of his journey, he was honourably 
entertained ; Helen, who had been treated with 
respect, was restored to him, and with her, all 
his treasures. Inattentive to these acts of kind- 
ness, Menelaus perpetrated a great enormity 
against the ^Egyptians : the winds preventing his 
departure, he took two children 204 of the people 
of the country, and with great barbarity offered 

- c4 Two children.'] — This was doubtless to appease the 
winds. This kind of sacrifice was frequent in Greece, but 
detestable in ^Egypt. 

Sanguine placastis ventos et virgine ctesa. — Virgil. 

See Book vii. chap. 191. — Larcher. 

In the early times of all religions, when nations were yet 
barbarous and savage, there was ever an aptness or tendency 
towards the dark part of superstition, which among many 
other horrors produced that of human sacrifice. — Lord 

Lord S. might, and would, if he had been honest, have 
excepted the Jewish religion. 

That the custom of human sacrifice, alike cruel and ab- 
surd, gives way but very slowly to the voice of nature and 
of reason, is evident from its having been practised at so late 
a period by the enlightened people of Greece. Porphyry 
%lbO informs us, that even in his time, who lived 233 years 
after the Christian au-a, human sacrifices were common in 
Arcadia and at Carthage. — T. 



them in sacrifice. As soon as the circumstance 
was known, universal indignation was excited 
against him, and he was pursued ; but he fled by 
sea into Africa, and the ^Egyptians could trace 
him no further. Of the above facts, some they 
knew, as having happened among themselves, and 
others were the result of much diligent inquiry. 

CXX. This intelligence concerning Helen, I 
received from the iEgyptian priests, to which I 
am inclined to add, as my opinion, that if Helen 
had been actually in Troy, they would certainly 
have restored her to the Greeks, with or without • 
the consent of Paris. Priam and his connections 
could never have been so infatuated, as to en- 
danger the preservation of themselves and their 
children, merely that Paris might enjoy Helen ; 
but even if such had been their determination at 
first, still after having lost, in their different con- 
tests with the Greeks, many of their countrymen, 
and among these, if the poets may be believed, 
several of their kinefs own sons, I cannot imagine 
but that Priam, even if he had married her him- 
self, would have restored Helen, if no other 
means had existed of averting these calamities. 
"We may add to this, that Paris was not the imme- 
diate heir to the crown, for Hector was his su- 
perior both in age and valour: Paris, therefore, 
could not have possessed any remarkable influ- 


ence in the state, neither would Hector have 
countenanced the misconduct of his brother, from 
which he himself, and the rest of his countrymen, 
had experienced so many and such great cala- 
mities. But the restoration of Helen was not in 
their power, and the Greeks placed no depen- 
dence on their asse tions, which were indisputably 
true ; but all this, with the subsequent destruction 
of Troy, might be ordained by Providence, to in- 
struct mankind that the gods proportioned pu- 
nishments to crimes. 

1 CXXI. The same instructors farther told me, 
that Proteus was succeeded by Rhampsinitus i0S : 
he built the west entrance of the temple of Vul- 
can ; in the same situation lie also erected two 
statues, twenty-five cubits in height. That which 
faces the north the ^Egyptians call summer, the 
one to the south winter : this latter is treated 
with no manner of respect, but they worship the 
former, and make offerings before it. This prince 
possessed such abundance of wealth, that far 
from surpassing, none of his successors ever 
equalled him in affluence. For the security of 
his riches, he constructed a stone edifice, con- 

405 Rhamp.sihitus.] — Diodorus Siculus calls him Rhemphis, 
lie greatly oppressed his subjects by his avarice and ex- 
tortions: he amassed in gold and silver four hundred thou- 
sand talents ; a most incredible sum. — Larcher. 



nectcd with his palace by a wall. The man 
whom he employed zo °, with a dishonest view, so 
artfully disposed one of the stones, that two or 
even one person might remove it from its place. 
In this building, when completed, the king de- 
posited his treasures. Some time afterwards, 
the artist found his end approaching; and having 
two sons, he called them both before him, and 
informed them in what manner, with a view to 
their future emolument and prosperity, he had 
built the king's treasury. He then explained the 
particular circumstance and situation of the stone, 
gave them minutely its dimensions, by observance 
of which, they might become the managers of the 
kind's richer On the d atb of the father, the 
sons were not long before they availed themselves 
of their secret. Under the advantage of the 
night, they visited the building, discovered and 
removed the stone, and carried away with them 
a large sum of money. As soon as the king en- 
tered the apartment, he saw the vessels which 
contained his money materially diminished : he 
was astonished beyond measure, for as the seals 
were unbroken, and every entrance properly se- 
cured, he could not possibly direct his suspicion 
against any one. This was several times re- 

206 The man whom he employed.] — Pausauias relates a similar 
fable of Trophonius, whose cave became so famous. — Lar- 

peated ; 

30 E U T E R P E. 

peated ; the thieves continued their visits, and 
the king as regularly saw his money decrease. 
To effect a discovery, he ordered some traps to 
be placed round the vessels which contained his 
riches. The robbers came as before ; one of 
them proceeding as usual directly to the vessels, 
was caught in the snare : as soon as he was sen- 
sible of his situation, he called his brother, and 
acquainted him with it ; he withal intreated him 
to cut off his head without a moment's delay, as 
the only means of preventing his own detection 
and consequent loss of life ; he approved and 
obeyed his advice, and replacing properly the 
stone, he returned home with the head of his 
brother. As soon as it was light the kino; en- 
tered the apartment, and seeing the body secured 
in the snare without a head, the building in no 
part disturbed, nor the smallest appearance of 
any one having been there, he was more asto- 
nished than ever. In this perplexity lie com- 
manded the body to be hanged from the wall, 
and having stationed guards on the spot, he di- 
rected them to seize and bring before him who- 
ever should discover any symptoms of compas- 
sion or sorrow at sight of the deceased. The 
mother being much exasperated at this exposure 
of her son, threatened the surviving brother, that 
if he did not contrive and execute some means of 
removing the body, she would immediately go to 
the king, and disclose all the circumstances of 


E U T E R P E. 31 

the robbery. The young man in vain endea- 
voured to alter the woman's determination ; he 
therefore put in practice the following expe- 
dient : — He got together some asses, which he 
loaded with flasks of wine; he then drove them 
near the place where the guards were stationed to 
watch the body of his brother ; as soon as he ap- 
proached, he secretly removed the pegs from 
the mouths of two or three of the skins, and 
when he saw the wine running about, he began 
to beat his head, and to cry out vehemently, with 
much pretended confusion and distress. The 
soldiers, perceiving the accident, instantly ran 
with vessels, and such wine as they were able to 
catch they considered as so much gain to them- 
selves. At first, with great apparent anger, he 
reproached and abused them, but he gradually 
listened to their endeavours to console and pa- 
cify him : he then proceeded at leisure to turn 
his asses out of the road, and to secure his flasks. 
lie soon entered into conversation with the 
guards, and affecting ro be pleased with the 
drollery of one of them, he gave them a flask of 
Mine; they accordingly sat down to drink, and 
insisted upon his bearing them company: he 
complied with their solicitations, and a second 
flask Mas presently the effect of their civility to 
him. The wine had soon its effect, the guards 
became exceedingly drunk, and fell fast asleep ; . 
under the advantage of the night the voung man 



took down the body of his brother, and in deri- 
sion shaved # the right cheeks of the guards ; he 
placed the body on one of the asses, and re- 
turned home, having thus satisfied his mother. 
When the king heard of what had happened, he 
was enraged beyond measure; but still deter- 
mined on the detection of the criminal, he con- 


* This, as Larcher observes, was, throughout the East, 
considered as the greatest mark of ignominy and contempt 
that could possibly be imposed upon a man. Hanun, King 
of the Ammonites, shaved the messengers of David by way of 
contempt, and sent them away. See 2 Sam. c. x. v. 4, 5. 

Wherefore Hanun took David's servants, and shaved off 
the one half of their beards, and cut off their garments in 
the middle, even to their buttocks, and sent them away. 

When they told it unto David, he sent to meet them, be- 
cause the men were greatly ashamed : and the king said, tarry 
at Jericho until your beards be grown, and then return. 

In this place Larcher makes a false reference, namely, to 
the second Book of Kings, instead of the second Book of 
Samuel.' See also 1 Chronicles c. xix. v. 4. 

See also a very strong parabolical expression in Isaiah, 
c. vii. v. 20. 

" In the same day shall the Lord shave with a razor that is 
hired, namely, by them beyond the river, by the king of 
Assyria, the head, and the hair of the feet, and it shall also 
consume the beard." 

Consult Bishop Lowth on this passage. 
The expression denotes the utter devastation of the coun- 
try from one end to the other, and the plundering of the 
people from the highest to the lowest. 

To pluck a man's beard in the East is the highest mark of 
insult which can be shewn. " I gave my back to the smiters, 
and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair." Isaiah, 
c. 1. v. 6". 

A fine 


trived this, which to me seems a most impro- 
bable l0? part of the story : — He commanded his 
daughter to prostitute her person indiscrimi- 
nately to every comer, upon condition that, 
before enjoyment, each should tell her the most 
artful as well as the most wicked thing he had 
ever done; if any one should disclose the cir- 
cumstance Of Avhich he wished to be informed, 
she was to seize him, and prevent his escape. 
The daughter obeyed the injunction of her father ; 
the thief, knowing what was intended, prepared 
still farther to disappoint and deceive the king. 
He cut off the arm near the shoulder from his 
brother's recently dead body, and, concealing it 
under his cloak, he visited the king's daughter : 
when he was asked the same question as the rest, 


A fine beard is still held in great veneration in all Eastern 
countries ; and inferiors sometimes kiss the beards of their 
superiors, but it is a great indignity to touch it, unless with 

Thcvenot informs us that it is customary among the Turks 
to swear by the beard. 

Shylock, in the Merchant of Venice, complains of the 
indignity offered him in this respect: 

You that did void your rheum upon my beard, 
And foot me as you spurn a stranger eur. 

*° 7 Most improbable, ,] — Herodotus, we may perceive from 
this passage, did not implicitly credit all the priests told 
him. Many other passages occur in the process of tbe 
work, to prove that our historian was by no means so cr«- 
«iulous as lias been generally imagined. — La re her. 

Vol. II. D 


he replied, " That the most wicked thing he had 
ever done was the cutting off the head of his 
brother, who Avas caught in a snare in the king's 
treasury ; the most artful thing, was his making 
the guards drunk, and by that means effecting 
the removal of his brother's body." On hearing 
this, she endeavoured to apprehend him, but he, 
favoured by the night, put out to her the dead 
arm, which she seizing was thus deluded, whilst 
he made his escape. On hearing this also, the 
king was equally astonished at the art and auda- 
city of the man ; he was afterwards induced to 
make a proclamation through the different parts 
of his dominions, that if the offender would ap- 
pear before him, he would not only pardon but 
liberally reward him. The thief, trusting to his 
word, appeared ; Rhampsinitus was delighted 
with the man, and, thinking his ingenuity beyond 
all parallel, gave him his daughter. The king 
conceived the /Egyptians superior in subtlety to 
all the world", but he thought this man superior 
even to the /Egyptians. 

CXXII. After this event, they told me that 
the same kin<? zo8 descended alive beneath the 
earth, to what the Greeks call the infernal re- 
gions, where he played at dice with the goddess 


408 The same king.] — The kings of .^gypt had many names 
and titles; these names and titles have been branched out 
into persons, and inserted in the lists of the real monarchs. 

I have 


Ceres' -09 , and alternately won and lost 110 . On 
his return she presented him with a napkin em- 
broidered with gold. This period of his return 
was observed by the ^Egyptians as a solemn fes- 
tival, and has continued to the time of my re- 
membrance; whether the above, or some other 


I have mentioned of Osiris, that he was exposed in an ark, 
and for a long time in a state of death; the like is said of 
Orus, Adonis, Thamuz, and Talus, Tulus, or Thoulos. 
Lastly, it is said of Rhameses, whom Herodotus calls Rhamp- 
sinitus, that, he descended to the mansions of death, and 
after some stay returned to light. I mention these thinss to 
show that the whole is one and the same history, and that 
all these names are titles of the same person. They have 
however been otherwise esteemed^ and we find them ac- 
cordingly inserted in the lists of kings, by which means the 
chronology of /Egypt has been greatly embarrassed. — 

2C5 > Ceres.]— In the Greek, Dcmcter. " The /Egyptians," 
says Diodorus Siculus, " rated the earth as the common 
womb of all things, Meter, which the an easy ad- 
dition, afterwards altered to Demeter." — T. 

210 Alternately icon and lost.] — Valcnaer informs us in a 
note, that this circumstance of playing at dice with Ceres, 
and alternately conquering and being conquered, has been 
ingeniously explained to mean no more, quam Cererem 
almam et fautricem vel vicissim inimicam experiri, to find 
agricultural experiments sometimes successful and sometimes 
otherwise. I think there was probably something also alle- 
gorical and mysterious in the story — possibly there might be 
in this feast something similar to the Elcusinian mysteries; 
the particular mention of Ceres suggests that opinion. — T. 

It should be added that Valcnaer refers the alternate vic- 
tory and defeat of Rhampsinitus and Ceres to the years of 
plenty and scarcity under Pharaoh. 

JD 2 


incident, was the occasion of this feast, I will not 
take upon me to determine. The ministers of 
this solemnity have a vest woven within the space 
of the day ; this is worn by a priest whose eyes are 
covered with a bandage. They conduct him to 
the path which leads to the temple of Ceres, and 
there leave him. They assert, that two wolves 
meet the priest thus blinded, and lead him to the 
temple, though at the distance of twenty stadia 
from the city, and afterwards conduct him back 
again to the place where they found him. 

CXXIII. Every reader must determine for 
himself with respect to the credibility of what I 
have related ; for my own part I heard these 
things from the ^Egyptians, and think it neces- 
sary to transcribe the result of my inquiries. 
The ^Egyptians esteem Ceres and Bacchus as 
the great deities of the realms below ; they are 
also the first of mankind who have defended the 
immortality of the soul z ". They believe, that on 


axx Immortality of the soul.] — The doctrine of the resur- 
rection was first entertained by the /Egyptians ; and their 
mummies were embalmed, their pyramids were constructed, 
to preserve the ancient mansion of the soul during a period 
of three, thousand years. But the attempt is partial and 
unavailing; and it is with a more philosophic spirit that 
Mahomet relies on the omnipotence of the Creator, whose 
word can reanimate the breathless clay, and collect the in- 
numerable atoms that no longer retain their form or sub- 
stance. The intermediate state of the soul it is hard to 
decide ; and those who most firmly believe her immaterial 



the dissolution of the body the soul immediately 
enters some other animal, and that, after using as 


nature are at a loss to understand how she can think or act 
without the agency of the organs of sense. — Gibbon. 

The Platonic doctrine esteemed the body a kind of prison 
with respect to the soul. Somewhat similar to this was the 
opinion of the Marcionites, who called the death of the 
body the resurrection of the soul.— 2'. 

The soul, by reason of its anxiety and impotence, being 
unable to stand by itself, wanders up and down to seek out 
consolations, hopes, and foundations, to which she adheres 
and fixes. But 'tis wonderful to observe how short the most 
constant and obstinate maintainers of this just and clear 
persuasion of the immortality of the soul do fall, and how 
weak their arguments are when they go about to prove it by 
human reason. — Montaigne. 

To enumerate the various opinions which have prevailed 
concerning the soul of man, would be an undertaking alike 
arduous and unprofitable. Some of the ancients considered 
it as part of the substance of God ; the doctrine of the pro- 
pagation of souls prevailed, according to Bayle, or rather 
subsisted, to a very late period of the Christian a?ra: Aver- 
hoes affirmed its mortality, and most of the pagan philoso- 
phers believed it to be material ; but the arguments for its 
immortality, which are afforded us in the word of God, at the 
same time animate our piety and satisfy our reason. — T. 

What Gibbon says about Mahomet is as artful as it is 
absurd. lie wants his readers to believe that Mahomet was 
the ingenious author of a regular and wtll-contrived system : 
whereas the truth is, that Mahomet had no contrivance or 
invention whatever; he borrowed every thing, and invented 
nothing; nor can he at all pretend to any original ideas on 
the immortality of the soul, the belief of which had been re- 
ceived and established many centuries before him. 

Bruce observes that the scarabanis was not considered by 
the ./Egyptians as an emblem of the immortality of the soul, 

D 3 or 


vehicles every species of terrestrial, aquatic, and 
winged creatures, it finally enters a second time 
into a human body. They affirm that it under- 
goes all these changes in the space of three thou- 
sand years. This opinion some amongst the 
Greeks ZI * have at different periods of time 


or its resurrection, " neither of which were at that time in 

Larcher, who is somewhat too eager on all occasions to 
censure Bruce, observes on this passage, that it would be 
easy to prove that the ^Egyptians always entertained a belief 
of the soul's immortality. 

Brace's expression is not quite perspicuous ; and it may 
be doubted whether Larcher's translation of it conveys the 
meaning which the author intended. Larcher renders it, 
" L'Immortalite n'etoit point encore l'objet des reflexions 
des hommes." 

It is Larcher's opinion, that the doctrine of the soul's im- 
mortality degenerated by degrees into that of the transmi- 
gration of souls ; that the Indians caught this latter opi- 
nion ; but that Osiris, and Sesostris, who subdued the Indians, 
brought it back again into /Egypt. The learned Frenchman 
remarks, that the immortality of the soul was from a very 
early period known to the Greeks, and that the compositions 
of Homer evidently presume this. According to Cicero, 
Pherecydes of Syros was the first who supported this doc- 

Pherecydes Syrius primus dixit animos esse hominum sem- 

2i2 Some amongst the Greeks.] — He doubtless means to 
speak of Pherecydes of Syros, and Pythagoras. — Larcher. 

Pherecydes was the disciple of Pitiacus, and the master 
of Pythagoras, and also of Thales the Milesian. He lived in 
the time of Servius Tullius, and, as Cicero tells us, primum 
dixit animos hominum esse sempiternos, first taught that the 
souls of men were immortal. His life is given at some length 
by Diogenes Laerlius. — T. 


adopted as their own ; but I shall not, though I 
am able, specify their names. 

CXXIV. I was also informed by the same 
priests, that, till the reign of Rhampsinitus, iEgypt 
was not only remarkable for its abundance, but 
for its excellent laws. Cheops, who succeeded 
this prince, degenerated into the extremest pro- 
fligacy of conduct Zl \ He barred the avenues to 


113 Profligacy of conduct. ,] — It is not easy to see what could 
induce M. de Pauw to attempt the vindication of this prince, 
and to reject as fabulous what Herodotus relates of his des- 
potism, as if this were not the infirmity of these princes, and 
as if they did not all endeavour to establish it within their - 
dominions. -/Egypt enjoyed good laws at the first, they were 
observed during some ages, and the people were consequently 
happy; but their princes endeavoured to free themselves 
from the restraints imposed upon them, and by degrees they 
succeeded. M. de Voltaire was justified in considering the 
construction of the pyramids as a proof of the slavery of the 
./Egyptians; and it is with much justice he remarks, that it 
would not be possible to compel the English to erect similar 
masses, who are faf more powerful than the ^Egyptians at 
that time were. This is perfectly true, and M. de Pauw, in 
attacking Voltaire, has wandered from the question. He 
ought to have proved, that the kings of England were really 
able to compel their subjects to raise similar monuments, as 
Herodotus positively asserts of the princes of ;Egypt. He 
ought, I say, to have proved this, and not to have advanced 
that the cultivation of their lands cost the English nine times 
more labour than it docs in ./Egypt ; and that their marine in 
one year occasions the destruction of more people than the 
construction of all the pyramids would have done in a long scries 
if ages. M. de Pauw would not see that a spirit of ambition, 

D 4 a desire 


every temple, and forbad the ^Egyptians to offer 
sacrifices ; he proceeded next to make them labour 
servilely for himself. Some he compelled to hew 
stones in the quarries of the Arabian mountains, 
and drag them to the banks of the Nile * ; others 
were appointed to receive them in vessels, and 


a desire of wealth, &c. induce the English eagerly to under- 
take the most laborious enterprizes; that they are not obliged 
to do this; and in one word, that it is optional with them; 
on the contrary, the ./Egyptians were compelled by their 
sovereigns to labours the most painful, humiliating, and ser- 
vile.— Larc/ier. 

* Dr. Shaw does not believe that the stones employed in 
the pyramids were brought from Arabia. Notwithstanding, 
says he, the great extravagance and surprizing undertakings 
of the ./Egyptian kings, it doth not seem probable that they 
would have been at the vast labour and expence of bringing 
materials from so great a distance, when they might have 
been supplied from the very places where they were to em? 
ploy them. Now the stone, which makes the bulk and out- 
side of all these pyramids, is of the same nature and con- 
texture, hath the like accidents and appearances of spars, 
fossil shells, cerulean substances, &c. as are common to the 
mountains of Libya. In like manner Joseph's Well, the 
quarries of Irouel near Cairo, the catacombs of Sahara, the 
Sphinx, and the chambers that are cut out of the natural 
rock on the East and West side of these pyramids, do all of 
them discover the specific marks and characteristics of the 
pyramidal stones, and, as far as I could perceive, were not 
to be distinguished from them. The pyramidal stones, therer 
fore, were in all probability taken from this neighbour- 
hood ; nay, perhaps they were those very stones that had 
been dug away to give the Sphinx and the chambers their 
proper views and elevations. Shaw, p. 416. 


transport them to a mountain of Libya. For this 
service an hundred thousand men were em- 
ployed, who were relieved every three months. 
Ten years were consumed in the hard labour of 
forming the road, through which these stones 
were to be drawn ; a work, in my estimation, of 
no less fatigue and difficulty than the pyramid 
itself i,+ . This causeway 11S is five stadia in length, 


4,4 The pyramid itself.]-— For the satisfaction of the English 
reader, I shall in few words enumerate the different uses for 
which the learned have supposed the pyramids to have been 
erected. Some have imagined that, by the hieroglyphics in- 
scribed on their external surface, the ./Egyptians wished to 
convey to the remotest posterity their. national history, as 
well as their improvements in science and the arts. This, 
however ingenious, seems but little probable; for the inge* 
nuity which was equal to contrive, and the industry which 
persevered to execute, structures like the pyramids, could not 
but foresee that, however the buildings themselves might 
from their solidity and form defy the effects of time, the out- 
ward surface, in such a situation and climate, could not be 
proportionably permanent; add to this, that the hierogly- 
phics were a sacred language, and, obscure in themselves, 
and revealed but to a select number, might to posterity 
afford opportunity of ingenious conjecture, but were a very 
inadecmate vehicle of historical facts. 

Others have believed the pyramids intended merely as 
observatories to extend philosophic and astronomical know- 
ledge ; but in defence of this opinion little can be said : 
the adjacent country is a flat and even surface; buildings, 
therefore, of such a height, were both absurd and unne- 
cessary; besides that, for such a purpose, it would have 
been very preposterous to have constructed such a number 
of costly and massy piles, differing so little in altitude. 


* ,s For this note, see page 43. 


forty cubits wide, and its extreme height thirty- 
two cubits, the whole is of polished marble, 


To tliis may be added, that it does not appear, from an 
examination of the pyramids, that access to the summit was 
ever practicable, during their perfect state. 

By some they have been considered as repositories for 
corn, erected by Joseph, and called the granaries of Pha- 
raoh. The argument against this is very convincing, and is 
afforded us by Pliny. " In the building of the largest of the 
pyramids, 366,000 men," says he, " were employed twenty 
years together/' This, therefore, will be found but ill to 
correspond with the Scriptural history of Joseph. The years 
of plenty which he foretold were only seven; which fact is of 
itself a sufficient answer to the above. 

It remains, therefore, to mention the more popular and 
the more probable opinion, which is, that they were intended 
for the sepulchres of the Egyptian monarchs. 

Instead of useful works, like nature, great, 

Enormous cruel wonders crush'd the land, 

And round a tyrant's tomb, who none deserv'd, 

For one vile carcass perish'd countless lives. — Thomson. 

When we consider the leligious prejudices of the Egyp- 
tians, their opinion concerning the soul, the pride, the 
despotism, and the magnificence of their ancient princes, 
together with the modern discoveries with respect to the 
interior of these enormous piles, there seems to remain but 
little occasion for argument, or reason for doubt. 

The following is from Mr. Wilford, Asiatic Res. vol. iii. 
p. 439- 

On my describing the great Egyptian pyramid to several 
very learned Brahmins, they declared it at once to have 
been a temple; and one of them asked if it had not a com- 
munication underground with the river Cali (Nile) ; when I 
answered that such a passage was mentioned as having ex- 
isted, and that a well was at this day to be seen; they una- 
1 nimouslv 


adorned with the figures of animals. Ten years, 
as I remarked, were exhausted in forming this 


liimously agreed that it was a place appropriated to the 
worship of Padma Devi, and that the supposed tomb was a 
trough which on certain festivals her priests used to fill with 
the sacred water and Lotos flowers. What Pliny says of 
the labyrinth is applicable also to the pyramid; some in- 
sisted that it was the palace of a certain king, some that it 
had been the tomb of Moeris, and others, that it was built 
for the purpose of holy rites ; a diversity of opinion among 
the Greeks, which shows how little we can rely on them; 
and, in truth, their pride made them in general very careless 
and superficial inquirers into the antiquities and literature 
of other nations. 

Whatever attention the foregoing part of this observation 
may deserve, the conclusion is too hasty. With what truth 
can it be said that Herodotus was a superficial observer, who 
travelled to so many places for the sake of information and 
knowledge ? Did not Plato and many others of the most 
accomplished Greeks do the same? Indeed the contrary of 
this assertion is the fact. The more ingenious of the Greeks 
were distinguished by their ardour for science, and the inde- 
fatigable pains which they took to obtain it. 

21 s Causeway.] — The stones might be conveyed by the 
canal that runs about two miles north of the pyramids, and 
from thence part of the way by this extraordinary cause- 
way. For at this time there is a causeway from that part, 
extending about a thousand yards in length, and twenty feet 
wide, built of hewn stone. The length of it agreeing so well 
with the account of Herodotus, is a strong confirmation that 
this causeway has been kept up ever since, though some of 
the materials of it may have been changed, all being now- 
built with free-stone. It is strengthened on each side with 
semicircular buttresses, about fourteen feet diameter, and 
thirty feet apart; there are sixty -one of these buttresses, be- 


causeway, not to mention the time employed in 
the vaults* 16 of the hill*' 7 upon which the pyra- 
mids are erected. These he intended as a place 
of burial for himself, and were in an island which 
he formed by introducing the waters of the Nile *. 


ginning from the north. Sixty feet farther it turns to the 
west for a little way, then there is a bridge of about twelve 
arches, twenty feet wide, built on piers that are ten feet 
wide. Above one hundred yards farther there is such 
another bridge, beyond which the causeway continues about 
one hundred yards to the south, ending about a mile from 
the pyramids, where the ground is higher. The country 
over which the causeway is built, being low, and the water 
lying on it a great while, seems to be the reason for build- 
ing this causeway at first, and continuing to keep it in repair. 
— Pococke. 

The two bridges described by Pococke are also mentioned 
particularly by Norden. The two travellers differ essentially 
in the dimensions which they give of the bridges they seve- 
rally measured ; which induces M. Larcher reasonably to 
suppose that Pococke described one bridge, and Norden the 
other.— 7'. 

* 16 Vaults.] — The second pyramid has a fosse cut in the 
rock to the north and west of it, which is about ninet}' feet 
wide, and thirty feet deep. There are small apartments cut 
from it into the rock, &c. 

2,7 The hill, ,] — The pyramids are not situated in plains, 
but upon the rock that is at the foot of the high mountains 
which accompany the Nile in its course, and which make 
the separation betwixt /Egypt and Libya. It may have 
fourscore feet of perpendicular elevation above the horizon 
of the ground, that is always overflowed by the Nile. It is 
a Danish league in circumference. — Norden. 

* No writer or traveller has made any mention of this 
canal, which is again spoken of in chapter 127; not even 
Diodorus Siculus. See Grobert, p. 25. - 


The pyramid itself was a work of twenty years : 
it is of a square form ; every front is eight ple- 
thra 2l8 long, and as many in height ; the stones 


**■ Eight plethra.] — To this day the dimensions of the 
great pyramid are. problematical. Since the time of Hero- 
dotus, many travellers and men of learning have measured 
it; and the difference of their calculations, far from remo- 
ving, have but augmented doubt. I will give you a table of 
their admeasurements, which at least will serve to prove 
how difficult it is to come at truth. 

Height of the Width of 

great pyramid. one side. 

Ancients. Feet. Feet. 

Herodotus ... S00 800 

Strabo - - - - 625 ------- 6*00 

Diodorus - - - 6*00 some inches - - - 700 

Pliny 70S 


Le Brun - - - - 6l6" ------- 704 

Prosp. Alpinus - - 625 ------- 750 

Thevenot - - - 520 - - 6l2 

Niebuhr - - - - 440 - - - r - - - 710 

Greaves - - - - 444 ------- 648 

Number of the layers or steps. 

Greaves - - - 207 

Maillet - - - 20S 

Albert Lewenstein 260 

Pococke - - - 212 

Belon - - - - 250 

Thevenot - - - 208 

To me it seems evident that Greaves and Niebuhr are 
prodigiously deceived in the perpendicular height of the 
great pyramid. All travellers agree it contains at least two 
hundred and seven layers, which layers are from four to two 
feet high. The highest are at the base, and they decrease 
insensibly to the top. I measured several, which were more 



very skilfully cemented, and none of them of less 
dimensions than thirty feet. 

CXXV. The ascent of the pyramid was re- 
gularly graduated by what some call steps, and 
others altars *. Having finished the first flight, 


than three feet high, and I found none that were less than 
two ; therefore the least mean height that can be allowed 
them is two feet and a half, which, according to the calcu- 
lation of Greaves himself, who counted two hundred and 
seven, will give live hundred and seventeen feet six inches 
in perpendicular height. — Salary. 

See the conclusion of this book for farther remarks on the 

* Shaw takes occasion from this passage to intimate his 
opinion that the original design of the pyramids never was 

" Neither does it appear that either this or any other of 
the three greater pyramids was ever finished. For the stones 
in the entrance into the greatest being placed arcrnvise, and 
at a greater height than seems necessary for so small a pas- 
sage ; there being also a large space left on each side of it, 
by discontinuing several of the parallel rows of steps, which, 
in other places, run quite round the pyramid ; these circum- 
stances, I say, in the architecture of this building, seem to 
point out to us some further design, and that originally there 
might have been intended a large and magnificent portico. 
Neither were the steps, or tittle altars, as Herodotus calls 
them, to remain in the same condition they have been in from 
the earliest records of Time : for these were all of them to 
be filled up in such a manner with prismatical stones, that 
each side of the pyramid, as in that of Cestius, at Rome, was 
to be smooth and upon a plane. Now nothing of this kind 
appears to have been ever attempted in the lesser or greater 
of these pyramids (the latter of which wants likewise a great 



they elevated the stones to the second by the aid 
of machines 219 constructed of short pieces of 
wood ; from the second, by a similar engine, they 


part of the pointy where this filling up was most probably to 
commence) ; but in the second, commonly called Chephrcn's 
pyramids, which may hint to us what was intended in them 
all, we see near a quarter of the whole pile very beautifully 
filled up, and ending at the top like the point of a diamond. 
These stones, agreeable perhaps to the depth of the strata 
from whence they were hewn, are from five to thirty feet 
long, and from three to four feet high. Yet notwithstand- 
ing the weight and massiveness of the greatest part of them, 
they have all been laid in mortar, which at present is easily 
crumbled to powder, though originally perhaps it might be 
of greater tenacity, as the composition of it seems to be the 
same with that of Barbary." 

z ' 9 Aid of machines.] — Mr. Greaves thinks that this ac- 
count of Herodotus is full of difficulty. " How, in erecting 
and placing so many machines, charged with such massy 
stones, and those continually passing over the lower de- 
grees, could it be avoided, but that they must either unsettle 
them, or endanger the breaking of some portions of them ? 
Which mutilations would have been like scars in the face of 
so magnificent a building." 

I own that I am of a different opinion from Mr. Greaves ; 
for such massy stones as Herodotus has described would not 
be discomposed by an engine resting upon them, and which, 
by the account of Herodotus, I take to be only the pulley. 
The account that Diodorus gives of raising the stones by 
imaginary ^paTsjn (heaps of earth) engines not being then, 
as he supposes, invented, is too absurd to take notice ol. 
And the description that Herodotus has given, notwithstand- 
ing all the objections that have been raised to it, and which 
have arisen principally from misrepresenting him, appears 
to me very clear and sensible. — Dr. Templemaris Notes to 


were raised to the third, and so on to the sum- 
mit. Thus there were as many machines as there 
were regular divisions in the ascent of the pyra- 
mid, though in fact there might only be one, 
which, being easily manageable, might be removed 
from one range of the building to another, as 
often as occasion made it necessary : both modes 
have been told me, and I know not which best 
deserves credit. The summit of the pyramid was 
first of all finished" 8 ; descending thence, they 
regularly completed the whole. Upon the out- 
side were inscribed, in ^Egyptian characters *", 
the various sums of money expended, in the pro- 
gress of the work, for the radishes, onions, and 


i - 1 ° First of all finished.] — The word in the text is {|E7ro»y y 9ij, 
which Larcher has rendered, " On commenca revetir et per- 

Great doubts have arisen amongst travellers and the 
learned, whether the pyramid was coated or not. Pliny 
tells us, that at Busiris lived people who had the agility to 
mount to the top of the pyramid. If it was graduated by 
steps, little agility would be requisite to do this ; if regu- 
larly coated it is hard to conceive how any agility could 
accomplish it. 

Norden says, that there is not the least mark to be per- 
ceived to prove that the pyramid has been coated by marble. 

Savary is of a contrary opinion : " That it was coated," 
says he, " is an incontestable fact, proved by the remains of 
mortar, still found in several parts of the steps, mixed with 
fragments of white marble." Upon the whole, it seems more 
reasonable to conclude that it was coated. — T, 

zzl JEgyptian char act e/ - s.]— Probably in common charac- 
ters, and not in hieroglyphics. — Larcher. 


garlic consumed by the artificers. This, as I well 
remember, my interpreter informed me, amounted 
to no less a sum than one thousand six hundred 
talents. If this be true, how much more must it 
have necessarily cost for iron tools, food, and 
clothes for the workmen, particularly when we 
consider the length of time they were employed 
on the building itself, adding what was spent in 
the hewing and conveyance of the stones, and the 
construction of the subterraneous apartments ? 

CXXVI. Cheops having exhausted his wealth, 
was so flagitious, that he prostituted his daughter 2 ", 
commanding her to make the most of her person. 
She complied with her father's injunctions, but I 
was not told what sum she thus procured, at the 
same time she took care to perpetuate the me- 
mory of herself; with which view she solicited 
every one of her lovers to present her with a 
stone. With these it is reported the middle of 
the three pyramids" 5 , fronting the larger one, 


a** Prostituted his daughter.] — This account of the king's 
prostituting his daughter has been thought so full of horror, 
that many have doubted the truth of it ; but we have had 
in our own country an instance of as detestable a crime in 
a husband's prostituting his wife merely from an unnatural 
passion. — See State Trials, the Case of Mervin Lord Audley. 

223 The middle of the three pyramids.] — The acts of mag- 
nificence which the courtesans of antiquity were enabled to 
accomplish from the produce o; their charms, almost exceed 

Vol. II. E belief. 


was constructed, the elevation of which on eacb 
side is one hundred and fifty feet. 

CXXVII. According to the ^Egyptians, this 
Cheops reigned fifty years. His brother Che- 
phren 2i4 , succeeded to his throne, and adopted a 
similar conduct. He also built a pyramid, but 
this was less than his brother's, for I measured 
them both ; it has no subterraneous chambers, nor 
any channel for the admission of the Nile, which 
in the other pyramid surrounds an island, where 
the body of Cheops is said to be deposited "*. 
Of this latter pyramid, the first ascent is entirely 


belief. It is told of Lamia, the charming mistress of De- 
metrius Poliorcetes, that she erected at Sicyon a portico, so 
beautiful and superb, that an author named Polemo wrote a 
book to describe it. — See Athenccus, and the Letters of Al- 
ciphron. — T. 

*** His brother Chephreii.] — Diodorus Siculus remarks, 
that some authors are of opinion, that it was not his brother 
who succeeded him, but his son Chabryis, or Chabryen. 
Probably, says M. Larcher, the same word differently written. 

ii5 Is said to be deposit ed.~\ — The kings designed these py- 
ramids for their sepulchres, yet it happened that their 
remains were not here deposited. The people were so 
exasperated against them, by the severe labours they had 
been compelled to endure, and were so enraged at the op- 
pressive cruelty of their princes, that they threatened to 
take their bodies from their tombs, and cast them to the 
dogs. Both of them, therefore, when dying, ordered their 
relations to bury them in some secret place. — Diodorm 


of ^Ethiopian marble * of divers colours, but it is 
not so high as the larger pyramid, near which it 
stands, by forty feet. This Chephren reigned 
fifty-six years ; the pyramid he built stands on 
the same hill with that erected by his brother : 
the hill itself is near one hundred feet high)'. 

CXXVIII. Thus for the space of one hun- 
dred and six years the ^Egyptians were exposed 
to every species of oppression and calamity, not 
having in all this period, permission to worship 
in their temples. They have so extreme an 
aversion for the memory of these two monarchs, 
that they are not very willing to mention their 
names" 6 . They call their pyramids by the name 


* Larcher thinks this was the stone which Pliny calls 
pyropoecilos, that is granite, and might, the learned French- 
man is of opinion, be brought from Syene, which being on 
the borders of /Ethiopia, might, in less accurate language, 
ha- termed ./Ethiopia itself. 

f Herodote accuse 100 pieds environ pour 1'elevation du 
rocher. M. Norden, c. 3. Mais aucun de ces auteuia 
n'indique le point duquel il est parti pour apprecier cette 
hauteur. Le defaut d'evaluer a l'ceeil des dimensions dont 
la verification etait difficile, parait avoir ete de tous les 
tems : c'est, a man avis un des motifs des contradictions 
que l'on rencontre dans differens ouvrages. Jai cru que le 
niveau des eaux indiquant le point le plus bas, il fullait 
niveler depuis le canal jusqu'au bas de l'arrete N. E. du 
Cheops. — G ratio t. 

ii6 Mention (/air names.] — Part of the punishment an- 
nexed in France to high-treason, and other enormous 
offences, was the irrevocable extinction of the family name 
of the convicted persons.. 

E 2 This 

52 E U T E R F E. 

of the shepherd Philitis 117 , who at that time fed 
his cattle in those places. 

This is probably the reason, observes M. Larcher, why 
historians are so much divided in opinion concerning the 
names of the princes who erected the pyramids. 

This seems a proper place to do an act of justice to our 
countryman Shaw. 

In his remarks on this passage of Herodotus, Shaw says, 
Herodotus indeed, who has preserved these reports, doth 
not give much credit to them, which his French translator 
has thus ignorantly rendered : — " II faut avouer cepenclant 
que Herodote qui nous a transmis to us ces beaux contes ne 
merite pas d'etre era a cet regard." Shaw says no such 
thing; he is, however, evidently mistaken, when he says that 
of the two great pyramids, Cheops erected the first, and the 
daughter of Cheops the second. According to Herodotus, 
Cheops constructed the first, Chephren the second, and My- 
cerinus the third. That which the daughter of Cheops built 
was opposite to the first and largest, and in the middle 
between the two others. 

127 Philitis.'] — Some of the pyramids in /Egypt were styled 
the pyramids of the shepherd Philitis, and were said to have 
been built by people whom the ./Egyptians held in abomi- 
nation ; from whence we may form a judgment of the per- 
sons by whom these edifices were erected. Many hills and 
places of reputed sanctity were denominated from shep- 
herds. Caucasus, in the vicinity of Colchis, had its name 
conferred by Jupiter, in memory of Caucasus, a shepherd. 
Mount Cithaeron, in Boeotia, was called Asterius, but re- 
ceived the former name from one Cithaeron, a shepherd, sup- 
posed to have been there slain. — Bryant. 

The shepherds alluded to were probably the Israelites. 
See some acute remarks on the superstitions and ignorance 
of the ancient ^Egyptians in the time of Herodotus, in Gil- 
ford's excellent translation of Juvenal, p. 471, 2, 3. 

Qui de iis scripserunt, says Pliny, speaking of the pyra- 
mids, sunt Herodotus, Euhemerus, Duris Samius, Arista- 
goras, Dionysius, Artemidorus, Alexander Polyhistor, Buto- 



CXXIX. Mycerinus, the son of Cheops, suc- 
ceeded Chephren: as he evidently disapproved 
of his father's conduct, he commanded the tem- 
ples to be opened, and the people, who had been 
reduced to the extrcmest affliction, were again 
permitted to offer sacrifice, at the shrines of their 
gods. He excelled all that went before him, in 
his administration of justice. The /Egyptians re- 
vere his memory beyond that of all his prede- 
cessors, not only for the equity of his deci- 
sions " 8 , but because, if complaint was ever made 
of his conduct as a judge, he condescended to 
remove and redress the injury" 9 . Whilst Myce- 
rinus thus distinguished himself by his exem- 
plary conduct to his subjects, he lost his daughter 
and only child, the first misfortune he expe- 
rienced. Her death excessively afflicted him; 
and wishing; to honour her funeral with more 
than ordinary splendour, he enclosed her body 


aides, A'ntisthenes, Demetrius, Demeteles, Apion. Inter eos 
omnes non constat a quibus facta; suit, justissimo obli- 
terans tantce vanitatis auctoribus. 

228 Equity of his decisions.] — It appears, as well from this 
paragraph as the remainder of the chapter, that the kings 
administered justice to their subjects in person. It is not, 
therefore, very easy to see what could induce M. Pauw to 
assert that the sovereigns of JEgypt had not the power of 
d< ciding in any civil cause. — hardier. 

119 Redress the injury.} — Diodorus Siculus relates the same 
fact; and says, that he expended large sums of money in 
Making compensation to such as he thought injured byjudi- 
tial decisions.— T. 


in an heifer i3 ° made of wood, and richly orna- 
mented with gold 131 . 

i3 ° In an heifer.] — The Patrica were not only rites of Mi- 
thres, but also of Osiris, who was in reality the same deity. 
We have a curious inscription to this purpose, and a repre- 
sentation which was first exhibited by the learned John 
Price, in his observations upon Apuleius. It is copied from 
an original which he saw at Venice, and there is an engraving 
from it in the edition of Herodotus by Gronovius, as well 
as in that by Wesseling, but about the purport of it they are 
strangely mistaken. They suppose it to relate to a daughter 
of Mycerinus, the son of Cheops. She died, it seems, and 
her father was so affected with her death, that he made a 
bull of wood, which he gilt, and in it interred his daughter. 
Herodotus says that he saw the bull of Mycerinus, and that 
it alluded to this history. But notwithstanding the authority 
of this great author, we may be assured, that it was an em- 
blematical representation, and an image of the sacred bull, 
Apis and Mnevis. — Bryant. 

Larcher is very severe on Mr. Bryant for his mistake about 
the print abovementioned. But after all there is nothing but 
the cow, the cloth over her, and the incense burning before 
her, that has the smallest reference to the story of the 
daughter of Mycerinus ; nor is it easy to see how the inscrip- 
tion can be applied to it. If it represents an /Egyptian cere- 
mony, it is more natural to assign it to that of the month 
Athyr, mentioned by Plutarch. How Larcher found out that 
this print represents a cow, and not a bull, does not appear. 

Besides all this, Herodotus does not say that he saw either 
bull or heifer. He says, indeed, that it remained to his 
time, but that he relates only what he was told. 

231 Gold.] — The prophet Isaiah threatening the people of 
Israel for their blind confidence in ./Egypt, says, " Ye shall 
defile also the covering of thy graven images of silver, and 
the ornaments of thy molten images of gold." Winkelmann, 
speaking of the antiquity of art in JEgypt, says, " Les figures 
taillees originairement en bois, et les statues jettees en fonte, 
ont.toutes leur denomination particuliere dans la langue 
Hebraique : par la suite des tems les premieres furent dorees 
ou revalues de lames d'or." — T, 


CXXX. This heifer was not buried ; it re- 
'mained even to my time, in the palace of Sais, 
placed in a superb hall. Every day, costly aro- 
matics were burnt before it, and every night it 
was splendidly illuminated ; in an adjoining apart- 
ment are deposited statues of the different con- 
cubines of Mycerinus, as the priests of Sais in- 
formed me. These are to the number of twentv, 
they are colossal figures, made of wood, and in a 
naked state, but what women they .are intended 
to represent, I presume not to say : I merely 
relate what I was told. 

CXXXI. Of this heifer, and these colossal 
figures, there are some who speak thus : Myce- 
rinus, they say, conceived an unnatural passion 
for his daughter, and offered violence to her per- 
son. She having, in the anguish of her mind, 
stranded herself, her father buried her in the 
manner we have described. The mother cut off 
the hands of those female attendants, who as- 
sisted the king in his designs upon his daughter, 
and therefore these figures are marked by the 
same imperfections, as distinguished the persons 
they represent, when alive. The whole of this 
story 231 , and that in particular which relates to 


i3 - The whole of this story.] — In the old version of Hero- 
dotus before quoted, this passage is rendered thus : " But 
this is as true as the man in the'moone, for that a man with 

E 4 hdlfe 


the hands of these figures, to me seems very pre- 
posterous. I myself saw the hands lying on the 
ground, merely, as I thought, from the effect of 

CXXXII. The body of this heifer is covered 
with a purple cloth 233 , whilst the head and neck 
are very richly gilt : betwixt the horns there is a 
golden star; it is made to recline on its knees, 
and is about the size of a large cow. Every year 
it is brought from its apartment ; at the period 
when the ./Egyptians flagellate themselves in ho- 
nour of a certain god, whom it does not become 
me to name, this heifer is produced to the light : 
it was the request, they say, of the dying princess 
to her father, that she might once every year 
behold the sun. 

CXXXIII. Mycerinus after the loss of his 
daughter, met with a second calamity ; an oracle 
from the city Butos informed him that he should 


halfe an eye may clearely perceive that their hands fel off 
for very age, by reason that the wood, through long conti- 
nuance of time, was spaked and perished." — Herodotus his 
second Booke e/itituled Euterpe. 

* 3J With a -purple cloth.] — " The ^Egyptians," says Plu- 
tarch, " have a custom in the month Athyr, of ornamenting 
a golden image of a bull, which they cover with a black robe 
of the finest linen. This they do in commemoration of 
Isis, and her grief for the loss of Orus." 


live six years, but die in the seventh ; the intel- 
ligence astonished him, and he sent a message in 
return to reproach the goddess*'* with injustice; 
for that his father and his uncle, who had been 
injurious to mankind, and impious to the gods, 
had enjoyed each a length of life of which he was 
to be deprived, who was distinguished for his 
piety. The reply of the oracle told him, that his 
early death* was the consequence of the conduct 
for which he commended himself; he had not 
fulfilled the purpose of the fates, who had de- 
creed that for the space of one hundred and fifty 
years iEgypt should be oppressed ; of which de- 
termination the two preceding monarchs had been 
aware, but he had not. As soon as Mycerinus 
knew that his destiny was immutable, he caused 
an immense number of lamps to be made, by the 
light of which, when evening approached, he 
passed his hours in the festivity of the banquet ZJS : 
he frequented by day and by night the groves and 
streams, and whatever places he thought product- 
ive of delight: by this method of changing night 


*3* j> yepyoach the goddess.] — Instead of to 0ew Yalcnaer 
proposes to read rij Giu: " No god," says he, " had an oracle 
at Butos, but the goddess called by the Greeks Latona, the 
nurse of Apollo the son of Ibis, who had an oracle at Butos 
held in the highest estimation." — T, 

* lie could not be very young; he was probably born 
some years before the death of his aged parent, and that 
was fifty-seven years before he began to reign. 

235 Of the l)(i)!(juct.]— .i'.lian records many examples similar 
\.o this of Mycerinus, in his Various History, book u. chap.41. 


into day, and apparently multiplying his six years 
into twelve, he thought to convict the oracle of 

CXXXIV. This prince also built a pyra- 
mid * 2j6 , but it was not by twenty feet so high as 
his father's ; it was a regular square on every 
side, three hundred feet in height, and as far as 
the middle of ^Ethiopian stone. Some of the 
Greeks erroneously believe this to have been 


* This pyramid of Mycerinus, as well as that of Che- 
phrens, could not possibly be built for sepulchres. It is 
evident that no passage was left to enter them, which was 
not the case with the great pyramid ; and there is no tradi- 
tion when they were erected by pious successors over the 
tombs of their. ancestors. 

i3r ' Built a pyramid.] — " If," says Diodorus Siculus, speak- 
ing of this pyramid, " it is less in size and extent than the 
others, it is superior to them in the costliness of the mate- 
rials, and excellence of the workmanship." — T. 

To the East of it is the third pyramid, said to be built by 
Mycerinus. 'Herodotus speaks of it as three hundred feet 
square. I measured it at the top, fourteen feet on the North 
side, and twelve on the East, and counting seventy-eight 
steps, at one foot nine inches broad, it amounts to about the 
number of feet. Our author affirms that it was built half 
way up with ^Ethiopian marble, that is cased with it. Dio- 
dorus mentions fifteen tier, so that computing each tier on 
the outside to be five feet deep, as I found them, that will 
amount to seventy-five feet, which answers within six feet 
of the height, computed at one hundred and fifty-six feet, 
supposing the steps to be two feet high. On this account 
Strabo says it was as expensive a work as the others. All 
round it are remains of the granite it was adorned with, 
which has been pulled down, and great part of it carried 
away. — Pococke. v. i. p. 47. 


erected by Rhodopis 137 the courtesan, but they 
do not seem to me even to know who this Rho- 
dopis was; if they had, they never could have 
ascribed to her the building of a pyramid, pro- 
duced at the expense of several thousand ta- 
lents** 38 : besides this, Rhodopis lived at a dif- 

* Yet Herodotus tells a similar story of the daughter of 

137 Rhodopis.] — The following account of this Rhodopis 
is from Strabo. 

It is said that this pyramid was erected by the lovers of 
Rhodopis, by Sappho called Doricha: she was the mistress 
of her brother Charaxus, who carried to Naucratis, Lesbian 
wine, in which article he dealt ; others call her Rhodope. 
It is reported of her, that one day when she was in the bath, 
an eagle snatched one of her slippers from an attendant, and 
carried it to Memphis. The king was then sitting in his tri- 
bunal; the eagle, settling above his head, let fall the slipper 
into his bosom : the prince, astonished at this singular event, 
and at the smallness of the slipper, ordered a search to be 
made through the country for the female to whom it be- 
longed. Having found her at Naucratis, she was presented 
to the king, who made her his wife: when she died she was 
buried in the manner we have described. 

Diodorus Siculus says, that this pyramid was believed to 
have be< n erected to the memory of Rhodopis, at the ex- 
pense of some governors who had been her admirers. 

Perizonius, in his notes on ./Elian, says, that there were two 
of this name ; one a courtesan, who afterwards became the 
v ifc of Psammitichus ; the other the fellow-slave of /Esop, 
who lived in the time of Amasis ; but Larcher satisfactorily 
shews that Perizonius was mistaken. — T. 

138 Several thousand talents.'] — Demetrius Poliorcetes com- 
pelled the Athenians to raise fo him immediately the sum of 
two hundred and fifty talents, which he sent to his mistress 
3 Lamia, 


ferent period, in the time, not of Mycerinus, but 
Amasis, and many years after the monarchs who 
erected the pyramids. Rhodopis was born in 
Thrace, the slave of Iadmon, the son of He- 
pha?stopolis the Samian : she was the fellow-ser- 
vant of i&sop, who wrote fables a39 , and was also 


Lamia, saying it was for soap, When I inform the reader 
that she spent this immense sum in a feast given to her 
lord, what is here related of Rhodopis may seem less incre- 
dible.— T. 

z3 ° JEsop, u-ho wrote fables.'] — This name is so familiar, 
that it may at first sight seem superfluous and inconsistent 
to say any thing on the subject ; but possibly every English 
reader may not know, that the fables which go under his 
name were certainly not of his composition; indeed but 
little concerning him can be ascertained as fact. Plutarch 
assures us, that Croesus sent iEsop to the oracle of Delphi ; 
that /Esop and Solon were together at the court of Croesus ; 
that the inhabitants of Delphi put him to death, and afterwards 
made atonement to his memory: and finally, that Socrates 
versified his fables. Plato, who would not admit Homer into 
his commonwealth, gave iEsop an honourable place in them, 
at least such is the expression of Fontaine. 

It remains to do away one absurd and vulgar prejudice 
concerning him. Modern painters and artists have often 
thought proper to represent Bacchus as a gross, vulgar, and 
bloated personage; on the contrary, all the ancient poets 
and artists represented him as a youth of most exquisite 
beauty. A similar error has prevailed with respect to 
vEsop ; that it is an error, Bentley's reasoning must satisfac- 
torily prove to whoever gives it the attention which it merits. 
" In Plato's feast," says he, " they are very merry upon 
Socrates' face, which resembled old Silenus. iEsop was 
one of the guests, but nobody presumes to jest on his ugli- 
ness." Philostratus has given, in two books, a description 



the slave of Iaclmon ; all which may be thus 
easily proved : The Delphians, in compliance 
with the directions of the oracle, had desired pub- 
licly to know, if any one required atonement to 
be made for the death of /Esop ; but none ap- 
peared to do this, except a grandson of Iadmon, 
bearing the same name. 


CXXXV. Rhodopiswas first carried to -Egypt 
by Xanthus of Samos, whose view was to make 


of a gallery of pictures; one is Msop, with a chorus of 
animals about him ; he is painted smiling and looking 
thoughtfully on the ground, but not a word on his de- 
formity : the Athenians erected a statue in his honour. Sen 
Phcedrus's Fab. 1. 11. 

iEsopo ingentem statuam posuere Attici 
Servumque collocarunt aeterna in vasi 
Patere honoris scirent ut cunctis viam 
Nee gencri tribui sed virtuti gloriam. 

If he had been deformed, continues Bentley, a statue had 
been no more than a monument of his ugliness, it would 
have been kinder to his memory to have let it alone. But 
after all, the strongest argument to prove that he was not 
of a disagreeable form, is that he must have been sold into 
Samos by a trader in slaves. It is well known that the 
people bought up the most handsome youths they could 
procure. If we may judge of him from his companion and 
contubernalis, we must believe him a comely person. Rho- 
dopis was the greatest beauty of her age, even to a proverb— 
ccrruvd opoioc. xj PoOoj7tk; v> kol\vi. 

The compilers ot the Encyclopaedia Britannica have given 
into the vulgar error, and scruple not to pronounce /Esop a 
person of striking deformity. — T. 


money by her person. Her liberty was purchased 
for an immense sum by Charaxus 24 ° of Mytilene, 
son of Scamandronymus, and brother of Sappho 
the poetess', thus becoming free, she afterwards 
continued in iEgypt, where her beauty procured 
her considerable wealth, though by no means 
adequate to the construction of such a pyramid ; 
the tenth part of her riches, whoever pleases may 
even now ascertain, and they will not be found 
so great as has been represented. Wishing to 
perpetuate her name in Greece, she contrived 
what had never before been imagined, as an 
offering for the Delphic temple : she ordered a 
tenth part of her property to be expended in 
making a number of iron spits, each large enough 
to roast an ox ; they were sent to Delphi, where 


a4 ° Charaxus.] — Sappho had two other brothers, Eurvgius 
and Larychus, or rather Larichus, as it is written in Athe- 
nseus, the Dorians being partial to terminations in ic/ios. — ■ 

Athenceus asserts, that the courtesan of Naucratis, beloved 
by Charaxus, and satirised by Sappho, was called Dorica. 
The same author adds, that Herodotus calls her Rhodopis 
from ignorance ; but the opinion of Herodotus is confirmed 
by Strabo. — Larcher. 

See Athenasus, 1. 12, c. 7. 

Naucratis produced many celebrated courtesans, and of 
great beauty. Among these was Dorica, whom Sappho re- 
prehends in some satirical verses, because being beloved 
Kv Charaxus, her brother, who had visited Naucratis on 
some commercial business, she extorted a great deal of 
money from him. 


they are now to be seen 141 behind the altar pre- 
sented by the Chians. The courtesans of Nau- 
cratis i4 * are generally beautiful ; she of whom we 
speak, was so universally celebrated that her name 
is familiar to every Greek. There was also 
another courtesan, named Archidice 145 , well 
known in Greece, though of less repute than 


141 Where they are now to be seen.] — They were not to be 
seen in the time of Plutarch; in his tract assigning the rea- 
sons why the Pythian ceased to deliver her oracles in verse, 
Brasidias, whose office it was to shew the curiosities of the 
place, points out the place where they formerly stood. — T. 

242i The courtesans of Naucratis.] — " Howbeit such arrant 
honest women as are fishe for everye man, have in no place 
the like credite as in the city of Naucrates. Forsomuch as 
this stalant of whom we speake, had her fame so bruted in all 
places, as almost there was none in Greece that had not 
heard of the fame of Rhodope ; after whome there sprang 
up also another as good as ever ambled, by name Archidice, 
&c." — Herodotus his second booke, entituled Euterpe. 

143 Archidice.] — Of this courtesan the following anecdote 
is related by iElian : She demanded a great sum of money 
of a young man who loved her ; the bargain broke off, and 
the lover withdrew re infecta : he dreamed in the night that 
he lay with the woman, which cured his passion. Archi- 
dice, on learning this, pretended that the young man oua,ht 
to pay her, and summoned him before the judges: the judge 
ordered the man to put the sum of money required,' into a 
purse, and to move it so that its shadow might fall on Ar- 
chidice ; his meaning was, that the young man's pleasure was 
but the shadow of a real one. The celebrated Lamia con- 
demned this decision as unjust; the shadow of the purse, 
she observed, had not cured the courtesan's passion for the 
money, whereas the dream had cured the young man's pas- 
sion for the woman. 


Rhodopis. Charaxus, after giving Rhodopis her 
liberty, returned to Mytilene, this woman was 
severely handled by Sappho in some satirical 
verses : — but enough has been said on the subject 
of Rhodopis. 

CXXXVI. After Mycerinus, as the priests 
informed me, Asychis reigned in iEgypt; he 
erected the east entrance to the temple of Vulcan, 
which is far the greatest and most magnificent. 
Each of the above-mentioned vestibules is ele- 
gantly adorned with figures well carved, and 
other ornaments of buildings, but this is superior 
to them all. In this reign, when commerce was 
checked and injured from the extreme want of 
money, an ordinance passed, that any one might 
borrow money, giving the body of his father as 
a pledge : by this law the sepulchre of the 
debtor became in the power of the creditor ; for 
if the debt was not discharged he could neither 
be buried with his family, nor in any other vault, 
nor was he suffered to inter one of his de- 
scendants*. This prince, desirous of surpass- 
ing all his predecessors, left as a monument of 
his fame a pyramid of brick, with this inscrip- 
tion on a piece of marble. — " Do not disparage 


* The laws of England allow the arrest of a person's dead 
body till his debts are paid ; this mentioned by Herodotus 
is the first example perhaps on record of such a custom, 


" my worth by comparing me to those pyramids 
" composed of stone ; I am as much superior to 
" them, as Jove is to the rest of the deities ; I 
a am formed of bricks 24f , which were made of 
" mud adhering to poles drawn from the bottom 
" of the lake." — This was the most memorable 
of this kind's actions. 

CXXXVII. He was succeeded by an inha- 
bitant of Anysis, whose name was Anysis, and 

**' Formed of bricks.] — Mr. Greaves asserts, that all the 
pyramids were made of stone, of course he did not pene- 
trate Far enough into /Egypt to see the one here mentioned; 
it is situated about four leagues from Cairo, and is noticed 
both by Norden and Pococke. — T. 

As to .what concerns the works on which the Israelites 
were employed in .Egypt, I admit that I have not been able 
to find any ruins of bricks burnt in the fire. There is in- 
deed a wall of that kind which is sunk very deep in the 
ground, and is very long, near to the pyramids, and adjoin- 
ing to the bridges of the Saracens, that are situated in the 
plain ; but it appears too modern to think that the bricks 
of which it is formed were made by the Israelites. All that 
1 have seen elsewhere of brick building, is composed of the 
large kind of bricks hardened in the sun, such as those of 
the brick pyramid. — Norden. 

The nature of the bricks made by the Israelites may be 
easily understood; they were unburnt bricks, of which straw 
made a part of.the composition. Such have been seen from 
Ancient Babylon; one of this description is preserved in the 
British Museum. They are every where to be seen in hot 
climates. Such could not be burnt without consuming the 
straw, which would involve an absurdity. 

The brick hi the British Museum, brought from the site of 
ancient Babylon, is evidently sun-dried. It is of a friable 
nature, and pieces of broken reeds are clearly to be seen. 

Vol, II, F who 

60 E U T E 11 P E. 

who was blind. In his reign, Sabacus '^ 6 king of 
JEthiopia overran ^Egypt with a numerous army ; 
Anysis fled to the morasses, and saved his life ; 
but Sabacus continued master of iEgypt for the 
space of fifty years. Whilst he retained his au- 
thority, he made it a rule not to punish any crime 
with death, but according to the magnitude of 
the offence he condemned the criminal to raise 
the ground near the place to which he be- 
longed ; by which means the situation of the 
different cities became more and more elevated : 
they were somewhat raised under the reign of 
Sesostris by the digging of the canals, but they 
became still more so under the reign of the ^Ethi- 
opian. This was the case with all the cities of 
^Egypt, but more particularly with the city of 
Bubastis *. There is in this city a temple, which 


146 Sabacus.] — This event happened in the beginning of 
the reign of Ilezekiah. Prideaux, on the authority of Syn- 
cellus, says he took Bocchoris, and burnt him alive ; but it 
is more generally believed that Bocchoris was anterior to 
Sabacus: this last is the person mentioned in the book of 
Kings, by the name of So.— T. 

* Bubastis.] — The reader will do well to consult the 
French Memoires sur L'iEgypte, (vol. i. p. 215, et seq.) for 
the description of the ruins of the Temple of Bubastis, or 
Bastus, now called in the Vernacular tongue, Thai Baslah. 
It is wonderful how very minutely the description given by 
the French travellers corresponds with this of Herodotus, 
exhibiting another most striking instance of his veracity and 
accuracy. The ruins of the temple are of granite, and form, 
as the French writer expresses himself, a school of ^Egyptian 
architecture. The position of Bubastis being found, gives 



well deserves our attention ; there may be others 
larger as well as more splendid, but none which 
have a more delightful situation. Bubastis in 
Qreek is synonymous with Artemis or Diana 147 . 

CXXXVIII. This temple, taking away the 
entrance, forms an island ; two branches of the 
Nile meet at the entrance of the temple, and 
then separating, flow on each side entirely round 
it; each of these branches is one hundred feet 
wide, and regularly shaded with trees ; the ves- 
tibule is fortv cubits high, and ornamented with 
various figures, none of which are less than six 
cubits. The temple is in the centre of the town, 
and is in every part a conspicuous object; its 
situation has never been altered, though every 
other part of the city has been elevated ; a wall 
ornamented with sculpture surrounds the build- 
ing; in the interior part, a grove of lofty trees 


us a point in the course of the old Pelusiac branch of the 
Nile, and this has been expressed by Major Renhel in the 
corrected map of /Egypt, which by hia kind permission ac- 
companies this work. 

147 Artemis or Diana.] — Bubastis was a virgin, presided 
at childbirths, and was the symbol of the moon. This re- 
semblance with their Diana caused the Greeks to name ba- 
the Diana of the /Egyptians : yet the similitude was far from 
perfect, for with the latter she was not the eoddess of the 
mountains, the woods, and the chase. 


shades the temple, in the centre of which is the 
statue of the goddess : the length and breadth of 
the temple each way, is one stadium. There is a 
paved way which leads through the public square 
of the city, from the entrance of this temple to 
that of Mercury 248 , which is about thirty stadia 
in length. 

2+15 Mercury.] — The ^Egyptian Mercury was named Thoth 
or Theuth. Thoth with the /Egyptians was the inventor of 
the sciences; and as Mercury with the Greeks presided over 
the sciences, this last people called Thoth in their tongue 
by the name of Hermes or Mercury : they had also given 
the name of Mercury to Anubis, on account of some fancied 
similitude betwixt those deities. " It is not," says Plutarch, 
" a dog properly so called, which they revere under the 
name of Mercury, it is his vigilance and fidelity, the instinct 
which teaches him to distinguish a friend from an enemy, 
that which (to use the expression of Plato) makes this 
animal a suitable emblem to the god, the" immediate patron 
of reason." 

Servius on Virgil has a remark to the same effect. — 
La rch er. 

TJiis deity also with the Romans was esteemed the patron 
of arts, and the protector of learned men. See the ode 
addressed to him by Horace, beginning with 

Mercuri, (nam te docilis magistro 
Movit Amphion lapides canendo,) 
Tuque testudo, resonare septem 
Callida nervis, &c. 

Where he is not only represented as the patron, but the 
teacher of music. Learned men also were called Viri 

Nisi Faunus ictum 
Dcxtra levasset, Mercurialium 
Custos virorum, — Horace. T. 


CXXXIX. The deliverance of /Egypt from 
the ./Ethiopian was, as" they told me, effected by a 
vision, which induced him to leave the country : 
a person appeared to him in a dream, advising 
him to assemble all the priests of iEgypt, and 
afterwards cut them in pieces. This vision to 
him seemed to demonstrate, that in consequence 
of some act of impiety, which he was thus tempted 
to perpetrate, his ruin was at hand, from Heaven 
or from man. Determined not to do this deed, 
he conceived it more prudent to withdraw him- 
self; particularly as the time of his reigning over 
iEgypt was, according to the declarations of the 
oracles, now to terminate. During his former 
residence in ^Ethiopia, the oracles of his coun- 
try 2,49 had told him, that he should reign fifty 
years over iEgypt: this period being accom- 
plished, he was so terrified by the vision, that he 
voluntarily withdrew himself, 

CXL. Immediately on his departure* 10 from 
/Egypt, the blind prince quitted his place of re- 
fuge, and resumed the government: he had re- 

149 The oracles of his country.] — The oracles in ^Ethiopia 
were the oracles of Jupiter. — T. 

a, ° On his departure.] — Diodorus Siculus says, that after 
the departure of Sabacus there was an anarchy of two years, 
which was succeeded by the reign of twelve kings, who at 
their joint expence constructed the labyrinth. 

F 3 


sided for the period of fifty years in a solitary 
island, which he himself had formed of ashes and 
of earth. He directed those ^Egyptians who fre- 
quented his neighbourhood for the purpose of 
disposing of their corn, to bring with them, un- 
known to their ^Ethiopian master, ashes for his 
use. Amyrtaeus was the first person who dis^ 
covered this island, which all the princes who 
reigned during the space of five hundred years ZS1 
before Amyrtasus, were unable to do : it is called 
Elbo *, and is on each side ten stadia in length. 

CXLI. The successor of this prince was Sethos, 
a priest of Vulcan z$z ; he treated the military of 


251 Five hundred years,]— N. Larcher says that the term 
of seven hundred is a mistake, and crept into the manuf- 
script of Herodotus from a confusion of the numeral letters 
by copyists. The remark is as old as Perizonius, and ac- 
counted for by Bouhier. I ha\e accordingly, on their joint 
authority, altered the reading from seven to five hundred, 
which indeed is also more consistent with probability. 

The El in this word, as well as in others which occur, 
seems to indicate that these were Arabic names, and that 
the El is the article. 

*5* Priest of Vulcan.] — The following account is given by 
M. Larcher, from Plato, Plutarch, and Diodorus Siculus. 

A prince cannot reign in /Egypt if he be ignorant of sacred 
affairs. It an individual of any other class comes acci- 
dentally to the crown, he must be immediately admitted of 
the sacerdotal order. " The kings," says Plutarch, " must 
be either of the order of priests or soldiers, these two classes 
being distinguished, the one by their wisdom, the other by 



iEgypt with extreme contempt, and as if be had 
no occasion for their services. Anions; other in- 
dignities, he deprived them of their arura3 zs? , or 
fields of fifty feet square, which, by way of re- 
ward, his predecessors had given to each soldier : 
the result was, that when Sennacherib, king of 
Arabia and Assyria, attacked iEgypt with a 
mighty army, the warriors, whom he had thus 
treated, refused to assist him. In this perplexity 
the priest retired to the shrine of his god, before 
which he lamented his danger and misfortunes : 
here he sunk into a profound sleep, and his deity 


their valour." — When they have chosen a warrior for king, 
he is instantly admitted into the order of priests, who in- 
struct him in their mysterious philosophy. The priests may 
censure the prince, give him advice, and regulate his ac- 
tions. By them is fixed the time when he may walk, bathe, 
or visit his wife. 

" Such privileges as the above," says M. Larcher, " must 
necessarily inspire them with contempt for the rest of the 
nation, and must have excited a spirit of disgust in a people 
not blinded by superstition." Sethos however experienced 
how dangerous it was to follow the maxims of the priesthood 

aS3 Amrcc.] — Arura is a Greek word, which signifies lite- 
rally a field ploughed for corn, and is sometimes used for 
the corn itself. It was also an Egyptian measure. " y£gypt," 
says Strabo, " was divided into prefectures, which again 
were divided into Toparchice, and these into other portions, 
the smallest of which were termed ufti^cci." Suidas says it 
was a measure of fifty feet : from this word is derived artum, 
aro, txc— Sec Hoffman on this ■word. 

F 4 


promised him in a dream, that if he marched to 
meet the Assyrians he should experience no in- 
jury, for that he would furnish him with assistance, 
The vision inspired him with confidence ; he put 
himself at the head of his adherents, and marched 
to Pelusium, the entrance of /Egypt; not a soldier 
accompanied the party, which was entirely com- 
posed of tradesmen 254 and artizans. On their 
arrival at Pelusium, so immense a number of 
mice 1SS infested by night the enemy's camp, that 


25 * Tradesmen.] — The /Egyptians were divided into three 
classes; those of rank, who, with the priests, occupied the 
most distinguished honours of the state; the military, who 
were also husbandmen ; and artizans, who exercised the 
meaner employments. The above is from Diodorus Siculu^, 
who speaks probably of the three principal divisions : He* 
rodotus mentions seven classes.— Lurcher. 

251 Immense a number of mice.] — The Babylonish Talmud 
hath it, that this destruction upon the army of the Assyrfans 
was executed by lightning, and some of the Targums are 
quoted for saying the same thing : but it seemeth most likely, 
that it was effected by bringing on them the hot wind, which 
is frequent in those parts, and often when it lights among a 
multitude destroys great numbers of them in a moment, as 
it frequently happens in those vast caravans of the Maho- 
metans who go their annual pilgrimages to Mecca; and the 
words of Isaiah, which threatened Sennacherib with a blast 
that God would send upon him, seem to denote this thing. 

Herodotus gives us some kind of a disguised account of 
this deliverance from the Assyrians, in a fabulous appli- 
cation of it to the city of Pelusium, instead of Jerusalem, 
and to Sethos the /Egyptian, instead of Hezekiah. 

It is particularly to be remarked, that Herodotus calls the 
lung of Assyria Sennacherib, as the Scriptures do, and the 



their quivers and bows, together with what se* 
cured their shields to their arms, were gnawed in 
pieces. In the morning the Arabians, finding 
themselves without arms, fled in confusion, and 
lost great numbers of their men. There is now 
to be seen in the temple of Vulcan, a marble 
statue of this king, having a mouse in his hand, 


time in both doth also well agree ; which plainly shows that 
it is the same fact that is referred to by Herodotus, although 
much disguised in the relation; which may be easily ac- 
counted for, when we consider that it comes to us through 
the hands of such as had the greatest aversion both to the 
nation and to the religion of the Jews, and therefore would 
relate nothing in such a manner as would give reputation to 
cither. — Prideaux's Connection. 

M. Lurcher, in a note of five pages on the above, says 
little more than our countryman, except that he adopts, 
with respect to the destruction of the army of Sennacherib, 
the opinion of Josephus, whose words are these; 

" Sennacherib, on Ins return from the /Egyptian war, found 
his army, which he had left under Rabshakeh, almost quite 
destroyed by a judicial pestilence, which swept away, in 
officers and common soldiers, the first night they sat down 
before the city, one hundred eighty-five thousand men." 

In his first edition, Larcher adopted the opinion of Jo- 
sephus, that this destruction of Sennacherib's army was occa- 
sioned by a judicial pestilence; but in his second he retracts 
this, and considers it as erroneous, and for these reasons : 
there are no stagnant waters in the neighbourhood of Pelu^ 
sium, and consequently no putrid exhalations to corrupt the 
air, or injure the health of the Assyrians. But suppose there 
had, how could these have effected the destruction of one 
hundred and eighty-five thousand meivin the space of three 
days. This could only have been by a miracle not less than 
that recorded in Scripture. Thus, Larcher pertinently ob- 
serves, in order to detract from Scripture, men, without per 
reiving it, fall into the most disgusting absurdities. 


and with this inscription: "Whoever thou art, 
" learn, from my fortune, to reverence the gods." 

CXLII. Thus, according to the information of 
the .Egyptians and their priests, from the first 
king to this last, who was priest of Vulcan^ a 
period of three hundred and forty-one gene- 
rations had passed, in which there had been as 
many high priests, and the same number of kings. 
Three generations are equal to one hundred 
years, and therefore three hundred generations 
are the same as ten thousand years; the forty- 
one generations that remain, make one thousand 
three hundred and forty years. During the above 
space of eleven thousand three hundred and forty 
years, they assert that no divinity appeared in a 
human form; but they do not say the same of 
the time anterior to this account, or of that of 
the kings who reigned afterwards. During the 
above period of time the sun, they told me, had 
four times * deviated from his ordinary course, 
having twice risen where he uniformly goes down, 
and twice gone down where he uniformly rises. 
This however had produced no alteration in the 
climate of iEgypt; the fruits of the earth, and 
the phenomena of the Nile, had always been the 


* After examining the different attempts to explain this 
story of the sun's changing his place four times, Larcher 
cuts the knot by representing this as an extravagant rodo- 
montade of the priests. 

1 The 


same, nor had any extraordinary or fatal diseases 

CXLIII. When the historian Hecatreus zs6 was 
at Thebes, he recited to the priests of Jupiter the 


7 - 1 f 

The Greeks had a fabulous tradition of the same kind. 
Plato relates, that under the reign of Atreus, the sun and 
stars changed their situation in the heavens. 

And if to those ^Egyptian wizards old, 

Which in star rede were wont have best insight. 

Faith may be given, it is by them told 

That since the time they first took the sun's height. 

Four times his place he shifted hath in sight, 

And twice hath risen where he now doth west, 

And wested twice where he ought rise aright. 

Spenser, book v. stanz. 8. 

466 When the historian Ilecafceus.'] — Athenzeus relates the 
same circumstance as from Hecatoaus, which may serve to 
confirm the assertion of Porphyry, that Herodotus took 
great part of bis second book, with very slight alteration, 
from Hecataeus. If this fact be once allowed, Herodotus 
will lose the character that he has long supported, of an 
honest man, and a faithful historian. But it appears from 
Athena?us himself, that the work which in later ages passed 
under the name of Hecataeus the Milesian, was not univer- 
sally acknowledged for genuine ; and Callimachus, who em- 
ployed much of his time and pains in distinguishing genuine 
from spurious authors, attributes the supposed work of He- 
cataeus to another and a later writer. But what is perhaps 
even a stronger proof in our author's favour, is that he is 
never charged with the crime of theft by Plutarch, whose 
knowledge of this plagiarism, if it had ever existed, cannot 
be questioned, when we consider his extensive and accurate 
learning; and whose zeal to discover it cannot be doubted, 
when we reflect that he has written a treatise expressly to 



particulars of his descent, and endeavoured to 
prove that he was the sixteenth in a right line 
from some god. But they did to him what they 
afterwards did to me, who had said nothing on 
the suhject of my family. They introduced me 
into a spacious temple, and displayed to me a 
number of figures in wood ; this number I have 
before specified, for every high priest places here, 


prove the malignity of Herodotus, though in fact it only 
proves his own. Could Plutarch miss such an opportunity 
of taxing Herodotus? Could he have failed of saying, that 
this historian was at once, so malicious and so ungrateful as 
to speak with disrespect and contempt of the author to 
whom he was obliged for a considerable portion of his own 
history ? 

Our materials for an account of Hecataeus are at best but 
scanty. He was a native of Miletus, and son of one /Egi- 
sander ; he was one of the very first writers of prose, with 
Cadmus and Pherecydes of Scyros. Salmasius contends 
that he was older than Pherecydes, but younger than Eu- 
melus. The most ample account of him is found in Vossius. 
He certainly wrote a book of genealogies; and the sentence 
with which he commences his history is preserved in Deme- 
trius Phalereus : it is to this effect, " What follows is the 
recital of llecatams of Miletus; I write what seerrjs to me 
to be true. The Greeks in my opinion have related many 
things contradictory and ridiculous." 

The /Egyptian priests absolutely denied to Hecatasus the 
possibility of a human being's descent from a god. Bergier 
'had connected this sentence with the declaration of the same 
priests to Herodotus, that no divinity appeared in a human 
form for a specified number of years. Larcher not attend- 
ing to this, blames Bergier, as if the other passage did not, 
occur in Herodotus. — T. 


during his life, a wooden figure of himself. The 
pries Is enumerated them before me, and proved, 
as they ascended from the last to the first, that 
the son followed the father in regular succession. 
When Hecataeus, in the explanation of his genea- 
logy, ascended regularly, and traced his descent 
in the sixteenth line from a god, they opposed a 
similar mode of reasoning to his, and absolutely 
denied the possibility of a human being's descent 
from a god. They informed him that each of 
these colossal figures was a Piromis* 57 , descended 


217 Piromis.] — There are many strange, and contradictory 
opinions about this passage, which, if I do not deceive my- 
self, is very plain, and the purport of it this : — " After the 
fabulous accounts, there had been an uninterrupted suc- 
cession of Piromis after Piromis, and the /Egyptians re- 
ferred none of these to the dynasties of either the gods or 
heroes, who were supposed to have first possessed the 
country." — From hence I think it is manifest that Piromis 
signifies a man. — Bryant. 

M. Lacroze observes, that Brama, which the Indians of 
■Malabar pronounce Biroumas, in the Sanscreet or sacred 
language of India, signifies the same as Piromis: and that 
Pirimia, in the language of the inhabitants of Ceylon, means 
also at this day a man. Quaere, is this coincidence the effect 
of chance, or of the conquests of Sesostris, who left colonics 
in various parts of Asia? — Lurcher. 

If it were admitted that /Egypt was colonized from India, 
every difficulty of this kind vanishes at once. J. archer either 
did not think of this mode of solving it, or distrusted the 
feet. Nothing certainly appears more absurd than this 
double line of priests and kings, who each reigned for thirty- 
three years, fcr three hundred and forty-one - us. 



from a Piromis ; and they further asserted, that 
without any variation this had uniformly occurred 
to the number of the three hundred and forty- 
one, but in this whole series there was no refe- 
rence either to a god or a hero. Piromis in the 
/Egyptian language means one " beautiful and 

CXLIV. From these priests I learned, that 
the individuals whom these figures represented, 
so far from possessing any divine attributes, had 
all been what I have described. But in the times 
which preceded, immortal beings 258 had reigned 


It is hardly possible that Herodotus should have been 
mistaken in his explanation of this word. We have a suffi- 
cient number of examples in our own language what variation 
of meaning, words undergo by the process of time. Thus, 
from the Saxon gode, good, we have God; the original 
meaning of man was sin. See Casaubon's remarks on this 
circumstance. In the old Saxon manuscripts these words 
good and evil, Avhen they signify God and man, are distin- 
guished by a particular accent. If the reader wishes to see 
more on this subject, he may consult Casaubon de Lingua 
Anglica Vetere, p. 23o\ 

258 Immortal beings.] — M. Larcher says, that all govern- 
ments were at first theocratic, and afterwards became mo- 
narchic and democratic. In the theocratic form the priests 
governed alone, who also preserved a considerable influence 
in monarchies and republics. What prevents our supposing 
that iligypt was governed many thousand years by priests ; 
and that this government, in reality theocratic, was named 



in JEgypt, that they had communication with 
men, and had uniformly one superior; that 
Orus 1S9 , whom the Greeks call Apollo, was the 
last of these ; he was the son of Osiris, and, after 
he had expelled Typhon* 60 , himself succeeded to 


from that deity to whom the high priest who enjoyed tha 
sovereign authority attached himself? 

In all this, Larchcr is wrong, and ought to be corrected. 
The first governments were patriarchal, then monarchical. 
The conclusion of the learned Frenchman's remark is absurd 
enough. -/Egypt was governed by kings in the time of 
Moses : the high antiquity of .Egypt is still among the pre- 
vailin" cant of infidels. Larcher should have reconsidered 
this note. 

459 Orut.] — According to Plutarch, the .Egyptians held 
two principles, one good, the other evil. The good principle 
consisted of three persons, father, mother, and son; Osiris 
was the father, Isis the mother, and Orus the son. The bad 
principle was Tvphon: Osiris, strictly speaking, was syno- 
nymous with reason; Tvphon the passions, uXoyos, withe ul 

reason. — T. 

20 '' Typ/ion.] — Tvphon, as the principle of evil* was ahvava 
inclined to it; all bad passions, diseases, tempests, and 
earthquakes, were imputed to him. Like the untutored In- 
dians and savages, the ^Egyptians paid adoration to Typhou 
from fear ; they consecrated to him the hippopotamos, the 
crocodile, and the ass. According to .Tablonski, the word 
Typhon is derived from Thcu a wind, and phou pernicious. 

To Osiris is ascribed the introduction of the vine ; " and 
where," says Mr. Bryant, " that was not adapted to the soil, 
he showed the people the way to make wine of barley." — T. 

The Greeks considered Osiris the same person as Bacchus, 
because they discovered a great resemblance between the 
tables related of Bacchus and the traditions of the .Egyptians 



the throne ; it is also to be observed, that in the 
Greek tongue Osiris is synonymous with Bacchus. 

CXLV. The Greeks consider Hercules, Bac- 
chus, and Pan, as the youngest of their deities; 
but /Egypt esteems Pan as the most ancient of 
the gods, and even of those eight 161 who are ac- 
counted the first. Hercules was among those of 
the second rank in point of antiquity, and one of 


concerning Osiris. Learned men of modern times have 
believed that Isuren, one of the three divinities to whom the 
Indians now pay adoration, is the ancient Osiris, but this 
remains to be proved. — Larcher. 

The three Indian deities are Brama, Vishnou, and Seeva ; 
where Larcher found Isuren, I cannot imagine. 

3.61 E Ten of those eight."] — The ark, according to the tra- 
ditions of the Gentile world, was prophetic, and was looked 
upon as a kind of temple or place of residence of the Deity. 
In the compass of eight persons it comprehended all man- 
kind ; which eight persons were thought to be so highly 
favoured by Heaven, that they were looked up to by their 
posterity with great reverence, and came at last to he re- 
puted deities. Hence in the ancient mythology of iEgypt 
there were precisely eight gods; of these the sun was chief, 
and was said to have reigned first. Some made Hephaistus 
the first king of that country ; whilst others supposed it to 
have been Pan. There is no real inconsistency in these 
accounts ; they were all three titles of the same deity, the 
Sun. — Errant. 

Herodotus says, eight of the first sort ; he also tells, us 
that Orus, the Apollo of the Greeks, was the last god that 
reigned : what then can Mr. Bryant mean by saying he waa 
the first ? 


those called the twelve gods. Bacchus was of 
the third rank, and among those whom the twelve 
produced. I have before specified the number 
of years which the ^Egyptians reckon from the 
time of Hercules to the reign of Amasis : from 
the time of Pan a still more distant period is 
reckoned ; from Bacchus, the youngest of all, to 
the time of Amasis, is a period, they say, of fif- 
teen thousand years. On this subject the iEgyp- 
tians have no doubts, for they profess to have 
always computed the years, and to have kept 
written accounts of them with the minutest ac- 
curacy. From Bacchus, who is said to be the 
son of Semele, the daughter of Cadmus i6a , to 
the present time, is one thousand six hundred 
years ; from Hercules, the reputed son of Alc- 
mena, is nine hundred years; and from Pan, 
whom the Greeks call the son of Penelope and 
Mercury, is eight hundred years, before which 
time was the Trojan war. 

CXLYI. Upon this subject I have given my 
own opinion, leaving it to my readers to deter- 

rCz Daughter of CadmztS.] — The son of Cadmus is sup- 
posed to hive lived at the time of the Trojan war; his 
daughter Serhele is said t« have been sixteen hundred years 
before Herodotus, h\ that writer's own account: — She was 
at this rate prior to the foundation of Argos, and many cen- 
turies before her father, near a thousand years before her 
brother. — Bryant, 

Vol. II. G mine 


mine for themselves. If these deities had been 
known in Greece, and then grown old, like Her- 
cules the son of Amphitryon, Bacchus the son of 
Semele, and Pan the son of Penelope, it might 
have been asserted of them, that although mor- 
tals, they possessed the names of those deities 
known in Greece in the times which preceded. 
The Greeks affirm of Bacchus, that as soon as he 
was born l6? Jove inclosed him in his thigh, and 
carried him to Nysa*, a town of ^Ethiopia 


163 As soon as he teas bom.] — Upon this subject I have 
somewhere met an opinion to the following effect : When 
the ancients spoke of the nativity of their gods, we are to, 
understand the time in which their worship was first intro- 
duced ; when mention is made of their marriage, reference 
is to be made to the time when the worship of one was com- 
bined with that of another. Some of the ancients speak of 
the tombs of their gods, and that of Jupiter in Crete was 
notorious, the solution of which is, that the gods sometimes 
appeared on earth, and after residing for a time amongst 
men, returned k) their native skies : the period of their re- 
turn was that of their supposed deaths. 

The following remark is found in Cicero's Tusculan Ques- 
tions: " Ipsi illi majorum gentium dii qui habentur hinc a 
nobis in ccelum profecti reperiuntur/' — The gods of the, po- 
pular religions were all but deceased mortals advanced from 
earth to heaven. — T. 

* Diodorus Siculus makes the same remark, and adds, 
that from this circumstance he derived his name of Dio- 
nusos, from his father, and the place where he was brought 

. "p. 

There were places of this name in Arabia, Cappadocia, 

Caria, India, and Lydia. 


beyond ./Egypt: with regard to the nativity of 
Pan they have no tradition among them; from 
all which, I am convinced, that these deities were 
the last known among the Greeks, and that they 
date the period of their nativity from the precise 
time that their names came amongst them ; — the 
^Egyptians are of the same opinion. 

CXLVII. I shall now give some account of 
the internal history of iEgypt ; to what I learned 
from the natives themselves, and the information 
of strangers, I shall add what I myself beheld. 
At the death of their sovereign, the priest of 
Vulcan, the ^Egyptians recovered their freedom . 
but as they could not live without kings, they 
chose twelve, among whom they divided the dif- 
ferent districts of /Egypt. These princes con- 
nected themselves with each other by intermar- 
riages, engaging solemnly to promote their com- 
mon interest, and never to engage in any acts of 
separate polic}^ The principal motive of their 
union was to guard against the declaration of an 
oracle, which had said, that whoever among them 
should offer in the temple of Vulcan a libation 
from a brazen vessel, should be sole sovereign of 
iEgypt; and it is to be remembered that they 
assembled indifferently in every temple. 

CXLVIII. It was the resolution of them all, 
to leave behind them a common monument of 

g <a their 


their fame : — With this view, beyond the lake 
Mceris, near the city of crocodiles 164 , they con- 
structed a labyrinth* 65 , which exceeds, I can truly 


*•* City of crocodiles.] — We are ignorant of the real name 
of this city ; it is very probable that it was called from the 
word Champsis, which according to our author was th» 
Egyptian term for crocodile. — Larcher. 

165 A labyrinth.] — Diodorus says this was built as a se- 
pulchre for Mendes ; Strabo, that it was near the sepulchre 
of the king that built it, which was probably Imandes. Pom- 
ponius Mela speaks of it as built by Psammitichus ; but as 
Menes or Imandes is mentioned by several, possibly he 
might be one of the twelve kings of greatest influence and 
authority, who might have the chief ordering and direction 
of this great building, and as a peculiar honour might have 
his sepulchre apart from the others. 

It was such an extraordinary building, that it was said 
Da?dalus came to ./Egypt on purpose to see it, and built the 
labyrinth in Crete for king Minos on the model of this. See 
a minute description of the labyrinth and temple of the 
labyrinth by Pococke. 

Amidst the ruins of the town of Caroun, the attention is 
particularly fixed by several narrow, low, and very long 
cells, which seem to have had no other use than of con- 
taining the bodies of the sacred crocodiles : these remains 
can only correspond with the labyrinth. Strabo, Hero- 
dotus, and Ptolemy, all agree in placing the labyrinth 
beyond the city Arsinoe toward Libya, and on the bank of 
the lake Maris:, which is the precise situation of these ruins. 

Strabo's account of this place does not exactly accord 
with that of Herodotus, but it confirms it in general : Strabo 
describes winding and various passages so artfully contrived, 
that it was impossible to enter any one of the palaces, or to 
leave it when entered, without a guide. — Savary. 



say, all that has been said of it; whoever will 
take the trouble to compare them, will find all 
the works of Greece much inferior to this, both 
in regard to the workmanship and expence. The 
temples of Ephesus and Samos may justly claim 


The architect who should be employed to make a plan of 
the labyrinth, from the description of Herodotus, would find 
himself greatly embarrassed. We cannot form an idea of 
the parts which composed it ; and as the apartments were 
then so differently formed from ours, what was not obscure 
in the time of our author, is too much so for us at present. 
M. Lurcher proceeds in an attempt to describe its archi- 
tecture ; and informs the reader, that he conceives the 
courts must have been in the style of the hotel de Soubise. 

There were anciently four celebrated labyrinths ; one in 
/Egypt, a second in Crete, a third at Lemnos, and a fourth 
erected by Porsenna in Tuscany. That at Lemnos is de- 
scribed in very high terms by Pliny. 

Labyrinth, in its original sense, means any perplexed and 
twisted place. Suidas addsAsysTa^s wti tm (pxvu^oiv, and it is 
used of prating silly people: in its figurative sense it is ap- 
plied to any obscure or complicated question, or to any 
argument which leaves us where we first set out. 

The construction of the labyrinth has been imputed to 
many different persons, on which account the learned have 
supposed, that there were more labyrinths than one. That 
this was not the case is satisfactorily proved by Larcher in a 
very elaborate note. 

Larcher, after a long investigation of the subject, finally 
determines the situation of the labyrinth to have been at 
Sennour, in opposition to the authority of Pococke, the 
Abbe Banier, Savary, and others, but in conformity with the 
opinion of M. Gibcrt. See Memoires de l'Academie de 
Inscriptions, v. xxviii, p. 241. 

G 3 


admiration, and the pyramids may individually 
be compared to many of the magnificent struc- 
tures of -Greece, but even these are inferior to 
the labyrinth. It is composed of twelve courts, 
all of which are covered ; their entrances are 
opposite to each other, six to the north and six 
to the south ; one wall encloses the whole ; the 
apartments are of two kinds, there are fifteen 
hundred above the surface of the ground, and as 
many beneath, in all three thousand. Of the 
former I speak from my own knowledge and ob- 
servation; of the latter, from the information I 
received. The /Egyptians who had the care of 
the subterraneous apartments would not suffer 
me to see them, and the reason they alleged 
was, that in these were preserved the sacred cro- 
codiles *, and the . bodies of the kings who con- 

'? The following note is from Mr. Wilford's Dissertation 
on /Egypt and the Nile, in the third volume of the Asiatic 
Researches, p. 425. 

From the account given by Herodotus, we may conjecture 
that the coffins of the sacred crocodiles, as they were called, 
contained, in fact, the bodies of those princes whom both 
^Egyptians and Hindoos named Sucas, though sue means a 
parrot in Sanscrit, and a crocodile in the Coptic dialect : 
the Sanscrit words for a crocodile are cumbhira and nacra, 
to which some expositors of the Amarcosh add avagraha and 
gnaha; but if the royal name was symbolical, and implied a 
peculiar ability to seize and hold, the symbol might be taken 
from a bird of prey, as well as from the lizard kind, espe- 
cially as a sect of the .Egyptians abhorred the crocodile, and 



strutted the labyrinth : of these therefore I pre- 
sume not to speak ; but the upper apartments, I 
myself examined, and I pronounce them among 
the greatest efforts of human industry and art. 
The almost infinite number of winding passages 
through the different courts, excited my warmest 
admiration : from spacious halls I passed through 
smaller apartments, and from them again to large 
and magnificent courts, almost without end. 
The ceilings and walls are all of marble, the 
latter richly adorned with the finest sculpture ; 
around each court are pillars of the whitest and 
most polished marble : at the point where the 
labyrinth terminates, stands a pyramid one hun- 
dred and sixty cubits high, having large figures 
of animals engraved on its outside, and the en- 
trance to it is by a subterraneous path. 

CXLIX. Wonderful as this labyrinth is, the 
lake Maris i66 , near which it stands, is still more 

extraordinary : 

would not have applied it as an emblem of any legal and 
respectable power, which they would rather have expressed 
by a hawk or some distinguished bird of that order ; others, 
indeed, worshipped crocodiles, and I am told that the very 
legend before us, framed according to their notions, may be 
found in some of the Puranas, 

zM The lake Maris.'] — That the reader may compare what 
modern writers and travellers have said on this subject, I 
••hall place before them, from Larcher, Pococke, Korden, 
Savary, &c. what to me seems most worthy of attention. 

q 4 I shall 


extraordinary : the circumference of this is three 
thousand six hundred stadia, or sixty schaeni, 


I shall first remark, that Herodotus, Diodorus, and Poin- 
ponius Mela, differ but little in opinion concerning its ex- 
tent : according to the former it was four hundred and fifty 
miles in circumference, the latter savs it was five hundred; 
the former assert also that in some places it was three hun- 
dred feet deep. The design of it was probably to hinder the 
Nile from overflowing the country too much, which was 
effected by drawing off such a quantity of water, when it was 
apprehended that there might be an inundation sufficient to 
hurt the land. The water, Pococke observes, is of a dis- 
agreeable muddy taste, and almost as salt as the sea, which 
quality it probably contracts from the nitre that is in the 
earth, and the salt which is every year left in the mud. 

The circumference of the lake at present is no more than 
fifty leagues. Larcher says we must distinguish betwixt the 
lake itself, and the canal of communication from the Nile ; 
that the former was the work of nature, the latter of art. 
This canal, a most stupendous effort of art, is still entire; it 
is called Bahr Yousoph, the river of Joseph, according to 
Savary forty leagues in length. There were two other canals 
with sluices at their mouths, from the lake to the river, 
which were alternately shut and opened when the Nile in- 
creased or decreased. This work united every advantage, 
and supplied the deficiencies of a low inundation, by retain- 
ing water which would uselessly have been expended in the 
sea. It was still more beneficial when the increase of the 
Nile was too great, by receiving that superfluit}' which would 
have prevented seed-time. 

Were the canal of Joseph cleansed, the ancient mounds re- 
paired, and the sluices restored, this lake might again serve 
the same purposes. — The pyramids described by Herodotus 
no longer subsist, neither are they mentioned by Strabo. 
When it is considered that this was the work of an indi- 


which is the length of -/Egypt about the coast. 
This lake stretches itself from north to south, 
and in its deepest parts is two hundred cubits ; it 
is entirely the produce of human industry, which 
indeed the work itself testifies, for in its centre 
may be seen two pyramids, each of which is two 
hundred cubits above and as many beneath the 
water ; upon the summit of each is a colossal 
statue of marble, in a sitting attitude. The pre- 
cise altitude of these pyramids is consequently 
four hundred cubits ; these four hundred cubits, 
or one hundred orgyise, are adapted to a stadium 
of six hundred feet; an orgyia is six feet, or four 
cubits, for a foot is four palms, and a cubit six. 

The waters of the lake are not supplied by 
springs; the ground which it occupies is of itself 
remarkably dry, but it communicates by a secret 
channel with the Nile ; for six months the lake 
empties itself into the Nile, and the remaining 


vidual, ami that its object was the advantage and comfort of 
a numerous people, it must be agreed, with M. Savary, that. 
Maris, who constructed it,' performed a far more glorious 
work than either the pyramids or the labyrinth. — T. 

The stupendous pyramid, said to have been six hundred 
feel high, in the midst of the lake Moeris, was raised, we aic 
told, by a king named Moeris, Myris, Marros, Maindes, 
Mendes, and Imandes, a strong instance of one name va- 
iv corrupted; and I have no doubt that the original of 
all these variations was Merhi or Medhi. Even to this day 
m India the pillars or obelisks often raised in the middle 
of the tanks or pools, arc called Merhis. — JVilford. 


six the Nile supplies the lake. During the six 
months in which the waters of the lake ebb, the 
fishery* 67 which is here carried on furnishes the 
royal treasury with a talent of silver 168 every 
day ; but as soon as the Nile begins to pour its 
waters into the lake *, it produces no more than 
twenty minae. 

CL, The inhabitants affirm of this lake, that it 
has a subterraneous passage inclining inland 


* e? TV/f^V^ry.]— Diodorus Siculus informs us, that in this 
lake were found twenty-two different sorts of fish, and that 
so great a quantity were caught, that the immense number 
of hands perpetually employed in salting them were hardly 
equal to the work. — T. 

26X Talent of silver.] — The silver which the fishery of this 
lake produced was appropriated to find the queen with 
clothes and perfumes. — Lurcher. 

* It is difficult to believe that the course of the Nile ever 
lay through the lake of Kaeroun (Moeris) ; first, because the 
lake is said to be shut up by elevated lands, and, secondly, 
because it is probable that in early times the bed of the Nile 
was too low to admit its waters to flow into the hollow tract 
which now contains the lake. 

Concerning the lake Mceris the ancient stories are so im- 
probable, that one naturally looks for a more rational ac- 
count of its formation. Might not the opening of a canal 
for the purpose of filling the hollow space which now con- 
tains the lake, be the great work of forming the lake Moeris ? 
They might have built the edifices described by Herodotus 
previous to the final influx of the water. The circumstance 
of the water flowing alternately into the lake and back 
again into the Nile, according to the season?, is perfectly 



towards the west, to the mountains above Mem- 
phis, where it discharges itself into the Libyan 
sands. I was anxious to know what became of 
the earth 269 , which must somewhere have neces- 
sarily been heaped up in digging this lake ; as my 
search alter it was fruitless, I made inquiries 
concerning it of those who lived nearer the 
lake. I was the more willing to believe them, 
when they told me where it was carried, as I 
had before heard of a similar expedient used at 
Nineveh, an Assyrian city. Some robbers, who 
were solicitous to get possession of the immense 
treasures of Sardanapalus king of Nineveh, which 


reasonable, since the passage to it was narrow, and the ex- 
panse of water very great. Pococke reckons it fifty miles 
in length, by ten wide; Mr. Brown says, p. l6'<), the length 
may be between thirty and forty miles, the breadth nearly 
six. Nothing, says he, can present an appearance so unlike 
the works of men; on the N. E. and S. is a rocky ridge in 
every appearance primaeval. — Rennet. 

™ rj What became of the earth.] — Herodotus, when he viewed 
this lake, might well be surprized at the account they gave 
him, that it was made by art; and had reason to ask them 
what they did with the earth they dug out. But he seems to 
have too much credulity, in being satisfied when they told 
hiin that they carried the earth to the Nile, and so it was 
washed away by the river; for it was very extraordinary to 
cuitv such a vast quantity of earth above ten miles from the 
nearest part of the lake, and fifty or sixty from the further 
parts, even though they might contrive water-carriage for a 
great part of the way. This I should imagine a tiling beyond 
belief, e\en if the lake were no larger than it is at present, 
that is, it may be fifty miles long and ten broad. — Pococke. 

92 E U T E R P E. 

were deposited in subterraneous apartments, 
began from the place where they lived to dig 
under ground, in a direction towards them. Hav- 
ing taken the most accurate measurement, they 
continued their mine to the palace of the king; 
as night approached they regularly emptied the 
earth into the Tigris, which Hows near Nineveh, 
and at length accomplished their purpose. A 
plan entirely similar was executed in iEgypt, ex- 
cept that the work was here carried on not by 
night but by day ; the /Egyptians threw the earth 
into the Nile, as they dug it from the trench; 
thus it was regularly dispersed, and this, as they 
told me, was the process of the lake's formation. 

CLI. These twelve kings were eminent for the 
justice of their administration. Upon a certain 
occasion they were offering sacrifice in the tem- 
ple of Vulcan, and on the last day of the festival 
were about to make the accustomed libation a7 ° ; 
for this purpose the chief priest handed to them 
the golden cups used on these solemnities, but 


i7 ° To make the accustomed libation.] — As the kings were 
also priests, they did not before the time of Psammitichus 
drink wine; and if sometimes they made libations to the 
gods with this liquor, it was not that they believed it agree- 
able to them, but that they considered it as the blood of 
the gods who had formerly fought against them: they 
thought that their bodies, incorporated with the earth, had 
produced the vine. — Plutarch, de hide fy Osiride. 


he mistook the number, and instead of twelve 
gave only eleven. Psammitichus* 71 , who Avas the 
last of them, not having a cup, took off his hel- 
met z71 , which happened to be of brass, and from 
this poured his libation. The other princes wore 
helmets in common, and had them on the present 
occasion, so that the circumstance of this one 
king having and using his, was accidental and 
innocent. Observing, however, this action of 
Psammitichus, they remembered the prediction 
of the oracle, " that he among them who should 
pour a libation from a brazen vessel, should be 


171 Psamtmiichus.] — In the eight-and-twentieth year of the 
reign of Manasseh ; the twelve confederated kings of /Egypt. 
after they had jointly reigned there fifteen years, falling out 
among themselves, expelled Psammitichus, one of their num- 
ber, out of his share which he had hitherto had with them 
in the government of the kingdom, and drove him into 
banishment; whereupon flying into the fens near the sea, he 
lay hid there, till having gotten together, out of the Arabian 
free-booters and the pirates ofCariaand Ionia, such a num- 
ber of soldiers as with the /Egyptians of his party made a 
considerable army, he marched with it against the other 
eleven; and having overthrown them in battle, slew several 
of them, and drove the rest out of the land, and thereon 

■i/ing the whole kingdom to himself reigned over it in great 
prosperity fifty-and-four years*— -Pridi an v. 

a7 * Hh helmet.] — It is certain that the ancients made use 
of their helmets on various occasions ; whenever any thing 
was to be decided by lots, the lots were cast into a helmet; 
and as they appear very obvious for such a purpose, so many- 
instances in ancient writers occur of soldiers drinking out of 
them, as we may now do occasionally out of our hats. — T. 


sole monarch of iEgypt. " They minutely in- 
vestigated the matter, and being satisfied that 
this action of Psammitichus was entirely the 
effect of accident, they could not think him 
worthy of death ; they nevertheless deprived him 
of a considerable part of his power, and confined 
him to the marshy parts of the country, for- 
bidding him to leave this situation, or to com- 
municate with the rest of iEgypt. 

CLII. This Psammitichus had formerly fled 
to Syria, from Sabacus the /Ethiopian, who had 
killed his father Necos; when the ^Ethiopian, 
terrified by the vision, had abandoned his domi- 
nions, those ^Egyptians who lived near Sais had 
solicited Psammitichus to return. He was now 
a second time driven into exile amongst the fens, 
by the eleven kings, from this circumstance of 
the brazen helmet. He felt the strongest resent- 
ment for the injury, and determined to avenge 
himself on his persecutors ; he sent therefore to 
the oracle, of Latona, at IJutos Z73 , which has 


173 Latona, at Butvs.] — This goddess, one of the eight most 
ancient divinities of the country, was called Buto, and par- 
ticularly honoured in the city of that name; she had been 
the nurse of Apollo and Diana, that is to say, of Orus and 
Bubastis, whom she had preserver! from the fury of Typhon ; 
the mole was sacred to her. \ntoninus Liberalis says, that 
she assumed the form of this little animal to elude the pur- 


among the ^Egyptians the highest character for 
veracity. lie was informed, that the sea should 
avenge his cause, by producing brazen figures of 
men. He was little inclined to believe that such 
a circumstance could ever occur; but some time 
afterwards, a body of lonians and Carians* 7 *, 
who had been engaged in a voyage of plunder, 
were compelled by distress to touch at-JSgypt; 
they landed in brazen armour. Some ^Egyptians 
hastened to inform Psammitichus in his marshes 
of this incident ; and as the messenger had never 
before seen persons so armed, he said, that some 
brazen men had arisen from the sea, and were 


suit of Tvphon. Plutarch says, that the ^Egyptians rendered 
divine honours to the mole on account of its blindness ; 
darkness, according to them, being more ancient than light. 
M. Larcher adds, as a remark upon the observation of Plu- 
tarch, what indeed the researches of natural historians have 
made manifest, that the mole is not blind, but has eyes, 
though very minute. 

* 7 * lonians and Carians.] — See Prideaux's note in the pre- 
ceding chapter. — T. 

Psammitichus destroyed Tementhes king of /Egypt. The 
god Amnion had cautioned Tementhes, who consul Led him, 
to beware of cocks. Psammitichus being intimately ac- 
quainted with Pignes the Carian, learned from him that the 
Carians were the first who wore crests upon their helmets : 
he instantly comprehended the meaning of the oracle, and 
engaged the assistance of a large bod)' of Carians; these he 
led towards Memphis, and fixed his camp near the temple 
of Isis ; here he engaged and conquered his adversary. — 

06 E U T E II P E. 

plundering the country. He instantly conceived 
this to be the accomplishment of the oracle's 
prediction, and entered into alliance with the 
strangers, engaging them by splendid promises 
to assist him ; with them and his ^Egyptian ad- 
herents, he vanquished the eleven kings. 

CLIII. After he thus became sole sovereign 
of iEgypt, he built at Memphis the vestibule of 
the temple of Vulcan, which is towards the south; 
opposite to this he erected an edifice for Apis, in 
which he is kept, when publicly exhibited : it is 
supported by colossal figures twelve cubits high, 
which serve as columns ; the whole of the build- 
ing is richly decorated with sculpture. Apis, in 
the language of Greece, is Epaphus. 

CLIV. In acknowledgement of the assistance 
he had received, Psammitichus conferred on the 
Ionians and Carians certain lands, which were 
termed the Camp, immediately opposite to each 
other, and separated by the Nile : he fulfilled 
also his other engagements with them, and en- 
trusted to their care some /Egyptian children, to 
be instructed in the Greek language, from whom 
come those who, in /Egypt, act as interpreters. 
This district, which is near the sea, somewhat 
below Bubastis, at the Pelusian mouth of the 
Nile, was inhabited by the Ionians and Carians 
for a considerable time. At a succeeding pe- 

£ U T E R P E. 97 

riod, Amasis, to avail himself of their assistance 
against the ./Egyptians, removed them to Mem- 
phis. Since the time of their first settlement in 
/Egypt, they have preserved a constant commu- 
nication with Greece, so that we have a perfect 
knowledge of /Egyptian affairs from the reign of 
Psammitichus. They were the first foreigners 
whom the ^Egyptians received among them : 
within my remembrance, in the places which 
they formerly occupied, the docks for their ships, 
and vestiges of their buildings, might be seen. 

CLV. Of the /Egyptian oracle I have spoken 
already, but it so well deserves attention, that I 
shall expatiate still farther on the subject. It is 
sacred to Latona, and, as I have before said, id 
a large city called Butos, at the Sebennitic mouth 
of the Nile, as approached from the sea. In this 
city stands a temple of Apollo and Diana; that 
of Latona, whence the oracular communications 
are made, is very magnificent, having porticos 
forty cubits high. What most excited my admi- 
ration, was the shrine of the goddess * 7S ; it was 


175 Shrine of the goddess.] — This enormous rock, two hun- 
dred and forty feet in circumference, was brought from a quarry 
in the isle of Philae (or Philoe) near the cataracts, on rafts, for 
the space of two hundred leagues, to its destined place, and 
without contradiction was the heaviest weight ever moved 
by human power. Many thousand workmen, according to 

VOL. II. II history, 


of one solid stone 176 , having equal sides; the 
length of each was forty cubits; the roof is of 
another solid stone, no less than four cubits in 

CLVI. Of all the things which here excite 
attention, this shrine is, in my opinion, the most 


history, were three j-ears employed in taking it to its place 
of destination. — Senary. 

276 One solid stone.]— About ihis isle (Elephantine) there 
are several smaller islands, as two to the west, and four to 
the south, which are high above the water, and also several 
large rocks of red granite. Two of them appear to have 
been worked as quarries, as well as the south end of Ele- 
phantine. Out of one of these islands probably that entire 
room was cut of one stone, that was carried to Sais, taking, 
it may be, the advantage of the situation of the rock, so as 
to have only the labour of separating the bottom of it from 
the quarry, and having first probably hollowed the stone into 
a room of the dimensions described when I spoke of Sais. — 

The grand and sublime ideas which the ancients enter- 
tained on subjects of architecture, and other monuments of 
art, almost exceed our powers of description. This before 
us is a most extraordinary effort of human industry and 
power; but it appears minute and trifling, compared with an 
undertaking of a man named Stesicrates, proposed to Alex- 1 
ander, and recorded by Plutarch. lie offered to convert 
mount A thus into a statue of that prince. This would have 
been in circumference no less than one hundred and twenty 
miles, in height ten. The left arm of Alexander was to be 
the base of a city, capable of containing ten thousand inha- 
bitants. The right arm was to hold an urn, from which a 
river was to empty itself into the sea. — T. 


to be admired. Next to this, is the island of 
Chemmis, which is near the temple of Latona, 
and stands in a deep and spacious lake; the 
./Egyptians affirm it to be a floating island 277 : I 
did not witness the fact, and was astonished to 
hear that such a thing existed. In this island is 
a large edifice sacred to Apollo, having three 
altars, and surrounded by palms, the natural 
produce of the soil. There are also great va- 
rieties of other plants, some of which produce 
fruit, others are barren. The ^Egyptians thus 
explain the circumstance of this island's floating : 
it was once fixed and immoveable, when Latona, 
who has ever been esteemed one of the eight pri- 
mary divinities, dwelt at Butos. Having received 
Apollo in trust from Isis, she consecrated and 
preserved him in this island, which, according to 


~ 77 Floating island.] — I am ignorant whether Chemmis lias 
ever been a floating island. The Greeks pretend that Delos 
floated. I am persuaded they only invented that fable from 
the recital of .Egyptians settled amongst them ; and that liny 
attributed to Delos, the birth-place of Apollo, what the 
^Egyptians related of Chemmis, the place of retreat to their 
Apollo. A rock two thousand toises long could not float 
upon the Waves; but the Greeks, who clearly loved the mar- 
vellous, did not examine things so closely. — Lareker. 

In marshy lakes, nothing is more likely than that these 
should sometimes be floating masses of vegetation closely 
matted together. Major Rennel informs me he has seen and 
been actually upon a small island of this kind. 

II 3 


their account, now floats. This happened when 
Typhon, earnestly endeavouring to discover the 
son of Osiris, came hither. Their tradition says, 
that Apollo and Diana were the offspring of Bac- 
chus and Isis, and that Latona was their nurse 
and preserver. Apollo, Ceres, and Diana, the 
^Egyptians respectively call Orus, Isis, and Bu- 
bastis. From this alone, iEschylus 278 , son of 
Euphorion, the first poet who represented Diana 
as the daughter of Ceres, took his account, and 
referred to this incident the circumstance of the 
island's floating. 

CLVIL Psammitichus reigned in JEgypt fifty- 
four years, twenty-nine of which he consumed in 
the siege of a great city of Syria, which he after- 
wards took ; the name of this place was Azotus 179 » 

I know 

178 IEschylwi.~\ — This was doubtless in some piece not come 
down to us. Pausanias says also, that iEschylus, son of 
Euphorion, was the first who communicated to the Greeks 
the ./Egyptian history; that Diana was the daughter of 
Ceres, and not of Latona. — Larchcr. 

The same remark is made by Valcnaer, in Wesseling's edi- 
tion of Herodotus. But all are united in the opinion, that 
Pausanias made his remark from this passage of Herodotus, 
— T. 

* 79 Azotus.] — The modern name of this place is Ezdoud, 
of which Volney remarks, that it is now famous only for its 
scorpions. It was one of the live satrapies of the Philistines, 
who kept here, the idol of their god Pagon. Its Scriptural < 



I know not that any town ever sustained so long 
and obstinate a siege. 

^© v 

CLVIII. Psammitichus had a son, whose name 
was Necos, by whom he was succeeded in his 
authority. This prince first commenced that 
canal 2So leading to the Red Sea, which Darius, 


name was Ashdod. When the Philistines took the ark from 
the Jews, they placed it in the temple of Dagon, at Ashdod. 
See 1 Samuel, chap. v. 2, 3. 

" When the Philistines took the ark of God, they brought 
it into the house of Dagon, and set it by Dagon. 

" And when they of Ashdod arose early on the morrow, 
behold, Dagon was fallen upon his face to the earth before 
the ark of the Lord," &c. 

This place is also mentioned in the Acts. Philip, having 
' baptized the eunuch of Candace, was caught away by the 
Spirit of the Lord, and found at Azotus. There is still in 
this place an old structure, with fine marble pillars, which 
the inhabitants say was the house which Samson pulled 
down.— T. 

a!o That canal.]'— The account given by Diodorus Siculus 
is this : — The canal reaching from the Pelusian mouth of the 
Nile to the Sinus Arabicus and the Ked Sea, was made by 
hands. Necos, the son of Psammitichus, was the first that 
attempted it, and after him Darius the Persian carried on 
the work something farther, but left it at length unfinished ; 
for he was informed by some, that in thus digging through 
the isthmus he would cause jEgypt to be deluged, for they 
shewed him that the Red Sea was higher than the land of 
./Egypt. Afterwards Ptolemy the Second finished the canal, 
and in the most proper place contrived a sluice for confining 
the water, which was opened when they wanted to sail 
through, and was immediately closed again, the use of it 

jt 3 answering 


king of Persia, afterwards continued. The length 
of this canal is equal to a, four days voyage, and 
it is wide enough to admit two triremes abreast. 
The water enters it from the Nile, a little above 
the city Bubastis : it terminated in the Erythrean 
Sea, not far from Patumos, an Arabian town. 
They began to sink this canal in that part of 
iEgypt which is nearest Arabia. Contiguous to 
it is a mountain which stretches towards Mem- 
phis, and contains quarries of stone. Com- . 
mencing at the foot of this, it extends from west 
to east, through a considerable tract of country, 
and where a mountain opens to the south, is 
discharged into the Arabian gulph. From the 
northern to the southern, or, as it is generally 
called, the Erythrean Sea, the shortest passage is 
over mount Cassius, which divides iEgypt from 
Syria, from whence to the Arabian gulph are ex- 
actly * a thousand stadia. The way by the canal, 


answering extremely well the design. The river flowing 
through this canal is called the Ptolem;ean, from the name 
of its author. Where it discharges itself into the sea it has 
a city named Arsinoc. Of this canal, Norden remarks that 
he was unable to discover the smallest trace, either in the 
town of Kieni, or the adjacent parts. Indeed I am myself 
strongly inclined to believe that no such junction ever took 

* It is evident both from the Scholiast and Suidas, that 
the word W7raiprt has been omitted in the text. 

This chapter, as Larcher observes, very satisfactorily 
proves that the Arabian gulph was called the Erythrean 
Sea, long before the time of- Alexander. See Gosselin's 
Geographical Work. 


on account of the different circuinflexions, is 
considerably longer. In the prosecution of this 
work, under Necos, no less than one hundred and 
twenty thousand ^Egyptians perished. He at 
length desisted from his undertaking, being ad- 
monished by an oracle, that all his labour would 
. turn to the advantage of a barbarian ; and it is 
to be observed, that the ^Egyptians term all bar- 
barians, * who speak a language different from 
their own. 

CLIX. As soon as Necos discontinued his la- 
bours with respect to the canal, he turned all his 
thoughts to military enterprizes. He built vessels 
of war, both on the Northern Ocean, and in that 
part of the Arabian gulph which is near the 
Erythreanf Sea. Vestiges of his naval under- 
takings are still to be seen. His fleets were oc- 
casionally employed, but he also by land con- 
quered the Syrians in an engagement near the 
town of Magdolurn lSl , and after his victory ob- 

* This is a singular remark from a Greek, whose nation 
esteemed all other nations barbarians. 

t By the Northern Ocean Herodotus here means the Me- 
diterranean Sea. The lirythrean Sea comprehends both the 
Arabian (Julph and the sea beyond the Straits of Babel- 
ma ndeb. 

131 3Iagdoliim.~\ — The battle here mentioned was against 
Josias, king of Judah. It did not take place at Magdolurn, 
a place in Lower jEgypt, but at Magiddo. The resemblance 
of the names deceived Herodotus. — hardier, 

11 4 


tained possession of Cadytis i82 , a Syrian city, 
The vest which he wore when he got this victory, 
he consecrated to Apollo, and sent to the Mile- 
sian Branchidoe. After a reign of seventeen 
years, he died, leaving the kingdom to his son 

CLX. During the reign of this prince, some 
ambassadors arrived in iEgypt from the Eleans. 
This people boasted that the establishment of the 
Olympic games possessed every excellence, and 
was not surpassed even by the ^Egyptians, though 
the wisest of mankind. On their arrival, they 
explained the motives of their journey; in con- 
sequence of Avhich the prince called a meeting 
of the wisest of his subjects : at this assembly the 
Eleans * described the particular regulations they 


252 Cadytis,] — This city of Cadytis could be no other than 
Jerusalem. Herodotus afterwards describes this to be a 
mountainous city in Palestine, of the bigness of Sardis. 
There could be no other equal to Sardis, but Jerusalem. It 
is certain from Scripture, that after this battle Necos did 
take Jerusalem, for he was there when he made Jehoiakim 
king. — See Pricleaux, Connect, i. 56' — 7. 

D'Anville also considers Cadytis as Jerusalem, though 
some authors dissent. See what I have said before on this 

• The Eleans did not follow the advice of the ^Egyptians; 
nevertheless there seems no occasion to accuse them of 
undue partiality. When they became subject to the Ro- 

mans s 


had established ; and desired to know if the 
^Egyptians could recommend any improvement. 
After some deliberation, the ./Egyptians inquired 
whether their fellow-citizens were permitted to 
contend at these games. They were informed in 
reply, that all the Greeks without distinction 
were suffered to contend. The ./Egyptians ob- 
served, that this must of course lead to injustice, 
for it was impossible not to favour their fellow- 
citizens, in preference to strangers. If, there- 
fore, the object of their voyage to iEgypt was to 
render their regulations perfect, they should suffer 
only strangers to contend in their games, and 
particularly exclude the Eleans. 

CLXI. Psammis reigned but six years; he 
made an expedition to /Ethiopia, and died soon 
afterwards. He was succeeded by his son 
Apries* 83 , who, next to his grandfather Psam- 


mans, some of the great men of Rome occasionally wrote 
to them in behalf of some of the combatants: but the judges 
of the games made a point of not opening these letters till 
after the prizes had been decided. 

2S * jlprics.] — This is the same who in Scripture is called 
Pharaoh liophra. It was at this period that Ezekiel was 
carried to Jerusalem, and shewn the different kinds of ido- 
latry then practised by the Jews, which makes up the sub- 
ject of the 8th, 9th, 10th, and 11th chapters of bis prophe- 
cies. — See Pridcuux. 


mitichus, wc-s fortunate 234 beyond all his pre- 
decessors, and reigned five-and-twenty years 285 . 
He made war upon Sidon, and engaged the king 
of Tyre in battle by sea. I shall briefly mention 
in this place the calamities which afterwards befel 
him ; but I shall discuss them more fully z86 when 
I treat of the Libyan' affairs. Apries having 
sent an army against the Cyreneans, received a 
severe check. The ^Egyptians ascribed this mis- 
fortune to his own want of conduct : and imasiin- 
ing themselves marked out for destruction, re- 
volted from his authority. They supposed his 
views were, by destroying them, to secure his 
tyranny over the rest of their country. The 
friends, therefore, of such as had been slain, 
with those who returned in safety, openly re- 

CLXII. Oh discovery of this, Apries sent 


4B+ Was fortunate.'] — Herodotus in this place seemingly 
contradicts himself: how could he be termed most for- 
tunate, who was dethroned and strangled by his subjects ? 
He probably, as M. Larcher also observes, means to be un- 
derstood of the time preceding the revolt.— T. 

a8s Five-and-twenty years.} — Diodorus Siculus says- he 
reigned twenty-two years; Syncellus, nineteen. 

236 Discuss them more fully.] — This refers to book the 
fourth, chap. clix. of our author; but Herodotus probably 
forgot the promise here made, for no particulars of the mis* 
fortunes of Apries are there mentioned.— I 7 . 


Amasis to sooth the malcontents. Whilst this 
officer was persuading them to desist from their 
purpose, an ./Egyptian standing behind him placed 
an helmet on his head i87 , saying that by this act 
he made him king. The sequel proved that 
Amasis was not averse iSS to the deed ; for as 
soon as the rebels had declared him king, he pre- 
pared to march against Apries ; on intelligence 
of this event, the king sent Patarbemis, one of 
the most faithful of those who yet adhered to 
him, with directions to brina; Amasis alive to his 
presence. Arriving where he was, he called to 
Amasis. Amasis was on horseback, and lifting 
up his leg, he broke wind, and bade him carry 
that to his master. Patarbemis persisted in de- 
siring him to obey the king ; Amasis replied, he 
had long determined to do so, and that Apries 
should have no reason to complain of him, for 
he would soon be with him, and bring others 
also. Patarbemis was well aware of the purport 
of this answer ; taking, therefore, particular no- 
tice of the hostile preparations of the rebels, he 
returned, intending instantly to inform the king 


2,7 Htlmct on his head.]— The helmet in /Egypt was the 
distinction of royali . 

288 Was not averse.]— DiodorusSicnlus relates, that Amasis, 
so far from making any great effort to bring back those who 
had abandoned Apries, according to the orders he had re- 
ceived iVom his master, enci u raged them to persist in their 
rebellion, and joined himself to them. 


of his danger. Apries, when he saw him, without 
hearing him speak, as he did not bring Amasis, 
ordered his nose and ears to be cut off. The 
./Egyptians of his party, incensed at this treat- 
ment of a man much and deservedly respected, 
immediately went over to Amasis. 

CLXIII. Apries on this, put himself at the 
head of his Ionian and Carian auxiliaries, who 
were with him to the amount of thirty thousand 
men, and marched against the ^Egyptians. De- 
parting from Sais, where he had a magnificent 
palace, he proceeded against his subjects ; Amasis 
also prepared to meet his master and the foreign 
mercenaries. The two armies met at Momenv 
phis, and made ready for battle, 

CLXIV. The ^Egyptians are divided into 
seven classes aS9 . These are, the priests, the mi- 

a8!> Seven classes.]— I have remarked on this subject, chap, 
cxli. from Diodorus, that the division of the ^Egyptians was 
in fact but into three classes, the last of which was subdi- 
vided into others. 

The Indians are divided into four principal casts, each of 
which is again subdivided ;— Bramins, the military, labourers, 
and artizans.- —T. 

It is observable of the Iberians, that they were divided 
into different casts, each of which had its proper function. 
The rank and office of every tribe were hereditary and un- 
changeable. This rule of invariable distinction prevailed n0« 
where pise except in India and in iEgypt.-— Bryant* 


litary, herdsmen, swineherds, tradesmen, inter- 
preters, and pilots. They take their names from 
their professions. iEgypt is divided into pro- 
vinces, and the soldiers, from those which they 
inhabit, are called Calasiries and Hermotybies. 

CLXV. The Hermotybian district contains 
Busiris, Sais, Chemmis, Papremis, the island of 
Prosopis, and part of Natho ; which places, at 
the highest calculation, furnish one hundred and 
sixty thousand Hermotybians. These, avoiding 
all mercantile employments, follow the profes- 
sion of arms 19 °. 

*9o Profession of arms.] — With the following remark of 
M. Larcher, the heart of every Englishman must he in 
unison. To hear a native of France avow an abhorrence of 
despotism, and a warm attachment to liberty, has been a most 
unusual circumstance. On the subject of standing armies, 
nothing, perhaps, has been written with greater energy and 
effect than by Mr. Moyle. 

" Every country," says M. Larcher, " which encourages 
a standing army of foreigners, and where the profession of 
arms is the road to the highest honours, is either enslaved, 
or on the point of being so. Foreign soldiers in arms, are 
never so much the defenders of the citizens, as the attend- 
ants of the despot. Patriotism, that passion of elevated 
souls, which prompts us to noble actions, weakens and ex- 
pires. The interest which forms an union betwixt the prince 
and his subjects, ceases to be the same, and the real defence 
of the state can no longer be vigorous. Of this, iEgypt is a 
proof: its despots, not satisfied with the national troops, 
always ready for service, had recourse to foreign merce- 
naries. They were depressed, and passed with little diffi- 


CLXVI. The Calasirians inhabit Thebes, Bu- 
bastis, Apthis, Tanis, Mendes, Sebennis, Athribis, 
Pharbcethis, Thmuis, Onuphis, Anysis, and My- 
cephoris, which is an island opposite to Bubastis. 
In their most perfect state of population, these 
places furnish' two hundred and fifty thousand 
men. Neither must these follow mechanic em- 
ployments, but the son regularly succeeds the 
father * 91 in a military life. 

culty under the dominion of the Persians, afterwards under 
that of Greece and of Rome, of the Mamelukes, and the 
Turks. The tyrant could not be loved by his slaves, and 
without the love of his subjects, the prince totters on his 
throne, and is ready to fall when he thinks his situation the 
most secure." 

" Amongst men," says ^Eschines, " there are three sorts 
of governments, monarchic, oligarchic, and republican. Mo- 
narchies and oligarchies are governed by the caprice of 
those who have the management of affairs, republics by esta- 
blished laws. Know then, O Athenians ! that a free peo- 
ple preserve their liberty and lives by the laws, monarchies 
and oligarchies by tyranny and a standing army." 

To the above, I cannot resist the inclination I have to add 
from Mr. Moyle the underwritten : 

" The Israelites, Athenians, Corinthians, Achaians, La- 
cedaemonians, Thebans, Samnites, and Romans, none of 
them, when they kept their liberty, were ever known to main- 
tain any soldier in constant pay within their cities, or ever 
suffered any of their subjects to make war their profession, 
well knowing that the sword and sovereignty always march 
hand in hand."—? 7 . 

291 Regularly succeeds the father.] — We know very well, 
that nothing is more injurious to the police or municipal 
constitution of any city or colony, than the forcing of a par- 


CLXVII. I am not able to decide whether 
the Greeks borrowed this last-mentioned custom 


ticular trade; nothing more dangerous than the over-peo- 
pling any manufacture, or multiplying the traders and dealers, 
.of whatever vocation, beyond their natural proportion, and 
the public demand. Now it happened of old in /Egypt, the 
mother land of superstition, that the sons of certain artists 
were by law obliged always to follow the same calling with 
their father.— See Lord Shaftesbury's Miscellaneous Reflections. 

Before the invention of letters, mankind may be said to 
have been perpetually in their infancy, as the arts of one age 
or country generally died with their possessors ; whence 
arose the policy which still continues in Indostan, of obli- 
ging the son to practise the profession of his father.— See 
notes to a poem called The Loves of the Plants, p. 58. 

The resemblance between the ancient ^Egyptians and the 
Hindoos is manifest from various circumstances. The fol- 
lowing extract is from Robertson's Disquisition on India: 

The whole body of the people was divided into four orders, 
or casts. The members of the first, deemed the most sacred, 
had it for their province, to study the principles of religion, 
to perform its functions, and to cultivate the sciences ; they 
were the priests, the instructors, and philosophers of the 
nation. The members of the second order were entrusted 
with the government and defence of the state: in peace, 
they were its rulers and magistrates ; in war, they were the 
generals who commanded its armies, and the soldiers who 
fought its battle.-;. The third was composed of husbandmen 
and merchants ; and the fourth of artisans, labourers, and 
servants. None of these can ever quit his own cast, or be 
admitted into another. The station of every individual is 
unalterably fixed, his destiny is irrevocable, and the walk of 
life is marked out, from which he must never deviate. This 
line of separation is not only established by civil authority, 
but confirmed and sanctioned by religion; and each order, 



from the ^Egyptians, for I have also seen it ob- 
served in various parts of Thrace, Scythia, Per- 
sia, and Lydia. It seems, indeed, to be an esta- 
blished prejudice, even among nations the least 
refined, to consider mechanics and their de- 
scendants in the lowest rank of citizens, and to 
esteem those as the most noble who were of no 
profession, annexing the highest degrees of ho- 
nour to the exercise of arms. This idea prevails 
throughout Greece, but more particularly at La- 
cedaemon ; the Corinthians, however, do not hold 
mechanics in disesteem, 

CLXVIII. The soldiers and the priests are' 
the only ranks in iEgypt which are honourably 
distinguished ; these each of them receive from 
the public a portion of ground of twelve arurae, 
free from all taxes. Each arura contains art 
hundred ^Egyptian cubits *, which are the same 


or cast, is said to have proceeded from the Divinity in such a 
different manner, that to mingle and confound them would- 
be deemed an act of most daring impiety. Nor is it be- 
tween the four different tribes alone that such inseparable 
barriers are fixed; the members of each cast adhere inva- 
riably to the profession of their forefathers. From gene- 
ration to generation the same families have followed, and 
will always continue to follow, one uniform line of life. 

* But the cuLit itself, or peek (snjvwj), as it is stiil called, 
has not continued the same; for Herodotus acquaints us, 
that in his time the ^Egyptian peek, or cubit, was the same 



as so many cubits of Samos. Besides this, the 
military enjoy, in their turns, other advantages : 
one thousand Calasirians and as many Hermoty- 
bians are every year on duty as the king's guards ; 
whilst on this service, in addition to their assign- 
ments of land, each man has a daily allowance of 
five pounds of bread, two of beef, with four 
arusteres * 91 of wine. 

CLXIX. Apries with his auxiliaries, and Ama- 
sis at the head of the Egyptians, met and fought 
at Momemphis. The mercenaries displayed great 
valour, but, being much inferior in number, were 
ultimately defeated. Apries is said to have en- 

with the Samian, which, being no other than the common 
Grecian or Attic cubit, contained very little more than a 
foot and a half of English measure. Three or four centuries 
afterwards, when the famous statue of the Nile, that is still 
preserved at Rome, was made, the cubit seems to have' been, 
a little more or less, twenty inches; for of that height, ac- 
cording to the exactest measure that could be taken, are the 
sixteen little children that are placed upon it, which, ac- 
cording to Philostratus and Pliny, represented so many 
cubits. The present cubit is still greater, though it Avill be 
difficult to determine the precise length of it; and, indeed, 
with regard to the measures of the Arabians, as well as of 
some other nations, we have very few accounts or standards 
we can trust to.— Shaw. 

29% Arusteres.] — llesychius makes the word upvi-yg syno- 
nymous with y.oTvhn, which is a measure somewhat less than 
a pint. — T. 

Vol. II. J 

114 E U T E 11 P E. 

tertained so high an opinion of, the permanence 
of his authority, that he conceived it not to be 
in the power even of a deity to dethrone him. 
lie was, however, conquered and taken prisoner ; 
after his captivity he was conducted to Sais, to 
what was formerly his own, but then the palace of 
Amasis. He was here confined for some time, 
and treated by Amasis with much kindness and 
attention. But the ^Egyptians soon began to re- 
proach him for preserving a person who was their 
common enemy, and he was induced to deliver 
up Apries to their power. They strangled 293 , 
and afterwards buried him in the tomb of his 
ancestors, which stands in the temple of Minerva, 


483 They strangled, fyc] — It is to this prince, whom, as I 
before mentioned, the Scriptures denote by the name of 
Pharaoh Hophra, that the following passages allude : 

" The land of /Egypt shall be desolate and waste; and 
they shall know that I am the Lord : because he hath said, 
The river is mine, and I have made it. 

" Behold, therefore, I am against thee, and against thy 
rivers, and I will make the land of /Egypt utterly waste and 
desolate." Ezekiel, xxix. 9, 10. 

" Thus saith the Lord, I will give Pharaoh Hophra, king 
of .Egypt, into the hand of his enemies, and into the hand 
of them that seek his life." Jeremiah, xliv. 30. 

See also Jeremiah, xliii. xliv. xlv. Ezekiel, xxix. xxx. 
xxxi. xxxii. In the person of Apries all these prophecies 
were accomplished. See also Prideuux Connect, i. 39. — T. 

" Apryes was perswaded that neither God nor the divell 
coulde havejoynted his nose, of the empyre," — Herodotus hk 
second booke, entituled Euterpe: 


On the left side of the vestibule. In this temple 
the inhabitants of Sais buried all the princes who 
were of their province, but the tomb of Amasis is 
more remote from the buildihg, than that of 
Apries and his ancestors. 


CLXX. In the area before this temple, is a 
large marble chamber*, magnificently adorned 
with obelisks, in the shape of palm-trees, with 
various other ornaments ; in this chamber is a 
nich with two doors, and here his body was 
placed. They have also at Sais the tomb of a 
certain personage, whom I do not think myself 
permitted to name. It is behind the temple of 
Minerva, and is continued the whole length of 
the wall of that building. Around this are many 
large obelisks, near which is a lake, whose banks 


* This is one of the most difficult passages in Herodotus ; 
h, as il -perplexed Valeuaer, Toup, and Lurcher, may 
well be supposed to have tormented me. 

The following e from Pococke seems to be as illus- 

trative of the meaning of Herodotus, as any thing I could 
possibly oiler. 

The most extraordinary catacombs are towards the further 
end, and may be reckoned among the finest that have been 
discovered, being beautiful rooms cut out of a rock, and 
niches in many of them, so as to deposit the bodies in, 
adorned with a sort of Doric pilasters on each side. The 
round room, and that leading to it, are very beautiful, and 
so are the four rooms with niches, 

I a 

fie? EUTERPE. 

are lined with stone ; it is of a circular form, 
and, as I should think, as large as that of Delos, 
which is called Trochoeides. 

CLXXI. Upon this lake are represented by 
night the accidents which happened to him whom 
I dare not name : the ^Egyptians call them their 
mysteries i ' 4 '. Concerning these, at the same 
time that I confess myself sufficiently informed, I 
feel myself compelled to be silent. Of the cere- 
monies also in honour of Ceres, which the Greeks 
call Thesmophoria* 9 *, I may not venture to speak, 


* 9+ Their mysteries.]-— I low very sacred the ancients deemed 
their mysteries, appears from the following passage of Apol- 
lonius Rhodius: 

To Samothrace, Electra's isle, they steer, 
That there initiated in rites divine 
Safe might they sail the navigable brine. 
"But, muse, presume not of those rites to tell : 
Farewell, dread isle, dire deities, farewell ! 
Let not my verse those mysteries explain, 
To name is impious, to reveal profane. 

i9S TJiesmophoria.] — These mysteries were celebrated at 
stated seasons of the year, with solemn shows, and a great 
pomp of machinery, which drew a mighty concourse to them 
from all countries. L. Crassus, the great orator, happened 
to come two days after they were over, and would gladly 
have persuaded the magistrates to renew them; but not 
being able to prevail, left the city in disgust. This shews 
how cautious they were of making them too cheap. The 
shows are supposed to have represented heaven, hell, ely- 
* sium, 


further than the obligations of religion will allow 
me. They were brought from iEgypt by the 
daughters of Danaus, and by them revealed to 
the Pelasgian women. But when the tranquil- 
lity of the Peloponnese was disturbed by the 
Dorians, and the ancient inhabitants expelled, 


sium, purgatory, and all that related to the future state of 
the dead : being contrived to inculcate more sensibly, and 
exemplify the doctrines delivered to the initiated. As they 
were a proper subject for poetry, so they are frequently 
alluded to by the ancient poets. This confirms also the 
probability of that ingenious comment which the author of 
the Divine Legation has given in the sixth book of the 
iEneid, where Virgil, as he observes, in describing the de- 
scent into hell, is but tracing out in their genuine order the 
several scenes of the Eleusinian shows. — Middlctoiis Life of 

These feasts were celebrated in honour of Ceres, with re- 
spect to her character as a lawgiver and agriculturist: 

Prima Ceres unco glebam dimovit aratro ; 
Prima dedit fruges, alimentaque mitiaterris; 
Prima dedit leges. Cereris sumus omnia munus. 

©£a-//,oj, according to Ilesychius, signifies a divine law, i/ ^ej 
fiaoj. The men were not allowed to be present, and only 
women of superior rank. The sacred books were carried by 
virgins. According to Ovid, they continued nine days, 
during which time the women had no connection with their 

Festa pise Cereris celebrabant annua matres 
Ilia, quibus nivea velata? corpora veste 
Primitias frugum dant spicea serta suarum : 
Perque novem noctes Venerem tactusque viriles 
In vetitis numerant. — 

I 3 

us E U T E II p 1. 

these rites were insensibly neglected or forgotten. 
The Arcadians, who retained their original ha- 
bitations, were the only people who preserved 

CLXXII. Such being the fate of Apries, 
Amasis, who was oT the city of Siuph, in the dis- 
trict of Sais, succeeded to the throne. At the 
commencement of his reign, the ^Egyptians, re- 
membering his plebeian origin 2 ° 6 , 'held him in 
contempt ; but his mild conduct and political 
sagacity afterwards conciliated their affection. 
Among other valuables which he possessed, was 
a gold vessel, in which he and his guests were ac- 
customed to spit, make water, arid wash their 
feet : of the materials of this he made a statue of 
some god, which he placed in the most conspi- 
cuous part of the city. The /Egyptians assem- 
bling before it, paid it divine honours : on hear- 
ing which, the king called them together, and 
informed them that the image they thus venerated 
was made of a vessel of gold, which he and they 
had formerly used for the most unseemly pur- 
poses, He afterwards explained to them the 


493 Pleoeian origin.] — We are told in Athenaeus, that the 
rise of Amasis was owing to his having presented Apries on 
his birth-day with a beautiful chaplet of flowers. The king 
was so delighted with this mark of his attention, that he 
invited him to the feast, and received him amongst the num- 
ber of his friends. — T. 


similar circumstances of his own fortune, who, 
though formerly a plebeian, was now their sove- 
reign, and entitled to their reverence. By such 
means he secured their attachment, as well as 
their submissive obedience to his authority. 

CLXXIII. The same prince thus regulated 
his time : from the dawn of the day to such time 
as the public square of the city was filled with 
people, he gave audience to whoever required it. 
The rest of the day he spent at the table; where 
he drank, laughed, and diverted himself with his 
guests, indulging in every species of licentious 
conversation. Upon this conduct some of his 
friends remonstrated: — " Sir," they observed, 
" do you not dishonour your rank by these ex- 
" cessive and unbecoming levities ? From your 
" awful throne you ought to employ yourself in 
" the administration of public affairs, and by 
" such conduct increase the dignity of your 
" name, and the veneration of your subjects. 
" Your present life is most unworthy of a king." 
*' They," replied Amasis, " who have a bow*, 

" bend 

'this is a proverbial expression to be found almost in all 

u ages. 
Plutarch has almost verbatim the same saying, in his 
tract on, Whether the Government ought to be in the 
Hand's ol an old Man — to^ov piv, asQxjiv, nnTtn/o[Aii/o» (nyvvran. 

I 4 The 





" bend it only at the time they want it; when 
" not in use, they suffer it to be relaxed; it 
" would otherwise break, and not be of service 
when exigence required. It is precisely the 
same with a man; if, without some intervals 
of amusement, he applied himself constantly 
to serious pursuits, he would imperceptibly 
lose his vigour both of mind and body. It is 
il the conviction of this truth which influences 
" me in the division of my time." 

CLXXIV. It is asserted of this Amasis, that 
whilst he was in a private condition he avoided 
every serious avocation, and gave himself entirely 
up to drinking and jollity. If at any time he 
wanted money for his expensive pleasures, he 
had recourse to robbery. By those who sus- 
pected him as the author of their loss, he was 
frequently, on his protesting himself innocent, 
carried before the oracle, by which he was fre- 
quently condemned, and as often acquitted. As 
soon as he obtained the supreme authority, such 
deities as had pronounced him innocent, he treated 
with the greatest contumely, neglecting their tem- 
ples, and never offering them either presents or 

sacrifice ; 

The Italian expression is : 

L'Arco si rompe se sta troppo teso. Arcus nimis intensus, 

Ray has it ;— A bow long bent, at last waxeth weak. 


eacrifice ; this he did by way of testifying his disr 
like of their false declarations. Such, however, 
as decided on his guilt, in testimony of their 
truth and justice he reverenced, as true gods, 
with every mark of honour and esteem. 

CLXXV. This prince erected at Sais, in ho- 
nour of Minerva, a magnificent portico, exceed- 
ing every thing of the kind in size and grandeur. 
The stones of which it was composed, were of a 
very uncommon size and quality, and decorated 
with a number of colossal statues and andro- 
sphynges * 97 of enormous magnitude. To repair 


a " 7 Androsphynges.] — This was a monstrous figure, with 
the body of a lion, and face of a man. The artists of 
/Egypt, however, commonly represented the sphinx with the 
body of a lion, and the face of a young woman. These were 
generally placed at the entrance of temples, to serve as a 
type of the amigmatic nature of the ./Egyptian theology. — 

" Lts sphinx des /Egypliens ont les deux sexes, c'est a 
dire, qu'ils sont femelles par devant, ayaut une tete de 
fern me, & males derriere, ou les testicules sont apparantes. 
C'est une remarque personne n'avoit encore faite: 

" U rcsulte de 1'inspection de quelques monumens que 
les artistes Grecs donnoient aussi des natures composees a 
pes etres mixtes, et qu'ils faisoient meme des sphinx barbus 
eomme le prouve un bas relief en tcrre cuite, conserve a la 
fainchina. Lorsque Herodote nomine les sphinx des an- 
drosphynges, il a voulu designer par cette expression la du- 
plicite de leur sexe. Les sphinx qui sont aux quatre faces 
<le la pointe de l'obelisque du soleil, sont remarquables par 



this temple, he also collected stones of an ama* 
zing thickness, part of which he brought from the 
quarries of Memphis, and part from the city of 
Elephantine, which is distant from Sais a journey 
of about twenty days. But what, in my opinion, 
is most of all to be admired, was an edifice which 
he brought from Elephantine, constructed of one 
entire stone. The carriage of it employed two 
thousand men, all of whom were pilots, for an 
entire period of three years. The length of this 
structure on the outside is twenty-one cubits, it 
is fourteen wide, and eight high ; in the inside, 


leur mains d'hommes armees d'ongles crochus, commes lcs 
griffes des betes f&TOces."*~Winkelmann. 

Dr. Pococke observes, that this sphinx is cut out of a 
solid rock. This extraordinary monument is said to have 
been the sepulchre of Amasis, though I think it is men- 
tioned by none of the ancient authors, except Pliny. 

M. Maillet is of opinion, that the union of the head of a 
virgin with the body of a lion, is a symbol of what happens 
in /Egypt when the sun is in the signs of Leo and Virgo, 
and the Nile overflows. — See Norden's Travels. 

Opposite the second pyramid, eastward, is the enormous 
sphinx, the whole body of which is buried in the sand,.* the 
top of the back onlv to be seen, which is above a hundred 
feet long, and is of a single stone, making part of the rock 
on which the pyramids rest. Its head rises about seven-and- 
twenty feet above the sand. Mahomet has taught the Arabs 
to hold all images of men or animals in detestation, and they 
have disfigured the face with their arrows and lances. 

M. Pauw says, these sphinxes, the body of which is half a 
virgin, half a lion, are images of the deity, whom they re- 
present as an hermaphrodite. — Saxcry. 


the length of it is twenty-two cubits and twenty 
digits, twelve cubits wide, and five high. It is 
placed at the entrance of the temple ; the reason 
it was carried no further is this ; the architect, 
reflecting upon his long and continued fatigue, 
sighed" deeply, which incident Amasis construed 
as an omen, and obliged him to desist. Some, 
however, affirm that one of those employed to 
move it by levers, was crushed by it ; for which 
reason it was advanced no farther, 

CLXXVI. To other temples also, Amasis 
made many and magnificent presents. At Mem- 
phis, before the temple of Vulcan, he placed a 
colossal * recumbent figure, which was seventy- 
five feet lona;. Upon the same pediment are two 
other colossal figures, formed out of the same , 
stone, and each twenty feet high. Of the same 
size, and in the same attitude, another colossal 
statue may be seen at Sais. This prince built 
also at Memphis the temple of Isis, the grandeur 
of which excites universal admiration. 

* The clenched hand of a colossal statue, and not im- 
probably of the one which is here actually described, now 
adorns the British Museum, and constitutes one of the 
British trophies from ./Egypt. Here again Herodotus was not 
believed, but doubtless the principal part of Memphis is 
pOT'ered lip with mud, by the rising of the ground, from 
the accumulated inundations ; considering the nature of 
its situation, this is obvious enough. See Major Rennel on 
this subject, who quotes Maillet, 



CLXXVII. With respect to all those ad- 
vantages which the river confers upon the soil, 
and the soil on the inhabitants, the reign of 
Amasis was auspicious to the ^Egyptians, who 
under this prince could boast of twenty thousand 
cities 198 well inhabited. Amasis is further re- 
markable for having instituted that law which 
obliges every ^Egyptian once in the year to ex- 
plain to the chief magistrate of his district, the 
means by which lie obtains his subsistence. The 


* 93 Twenty thousand cities.] — This country was once the 
most populous of the known world, and now it does not 
appear inferior to any ? In ancient times it had eighteen 
thousand as well considerable towns as cities, as may be seen 
by the sacred registers. In the time of Ptolemy Lagus there 
•were three thousand, which still remain. In a general ac- 
count once taken of the inhabitants, they amounted to seven 
millions, and there are no less than three millions at pre- 
sent. — Diodorus Siculus. 

Ancient iEgypt supplied food to eight millions of inha- 
bitants, and to Italy and the neighbouring provinces like- 
wise. At present the estimate is not one half. I do not 
think, with Herodotus and Pliny, that this kingdom con- 
tained twenty thousand cities in the time of Amasis: but 
the astonishing ruins every where to be found, and in unin- 
habited places, prove they must have been thrice as nume- 
rous as they are. — Salary. 

It is impracticable to form a just estimate of the popu- 
lation of .-Egypt. Nevertheless, as it is known that the 
number of towns and villages does not exceed two thousand 
three hundred, and the number of inhabitants in each of 
them, one with another, including Cairo itself, is not more 
than a thousand, the total cannot be more than two millions 
three hundred thousand. — Yolney, 


refusal to comply with this ordinance, or the not 
being able to prove that a livelihood was pro- 
cured by honest means, was a capital offence. 
This law Solon 2 " borrowed from JEgypt, and 
established at Athens, where it still remains in 
force, experience having proved its wisdom. 

CLXXVIII. This king was very partial to the 
Greeks, and favoured them upon every occasion. 
Such as wished to have a regular communication 
with iEgypt, he permitted to have a settlement at 
Naucratis. To others, who did not require a 
fixed residence, as being only engaged in occa- 
sional commerce, he assigned certain places for 
the construction of altars, and the performance 
of their religious rites. The most spacious and 
celebrated temple which the Greeks have, they 
call Hellenium. It was built at the joint ex- 
pense of the Ionians of Chios, Teos, Phocea, 
and Clazomenre; of the Dorians of Rhodes, 
Cnidus, Halicarnassus, and Phaselis ; of the YEo- 
lians of Mitylene only. Hellenium is the com- 
mon property of all these cities, who also appoint 
proper officers for the regulation of their com- 
merce : the claims of other cities to these dis- 

* w This law Solon.] — It should rather seem that this law 
was established at Athens by Draco, and that Solon com- 
muted the punishment of death to that of infamy, against all 
those who had thrice oflended. 


tinctions and privileges are absurd and false. 
The iEginetae, it must be observed, constructed 
by themselves a temple to Jupiter, as did the Sa- 
mians to Juno, and the Milesians to Apollo. 

CLXXIX. Formerly Naucratis was the sole 
emporium of iEgypt ; whoever came to any other 
than the Canopian mouth of the Nile, was com- 
pelled to swear that it was entirely accidental, 
and was, in the same vessel, obliged to go thither*. 
Naucratis was held in such great estimation, that 
if contrary winds prevented a passage, the mer- 
chant was obliged to move his goods on board the 
common boats of the river, and carry them round 
the Delta to Naucratis. 

CLXXX. By some accident the ancient tem- 
ple of Delphi was once consumed by fire, and 
the Amphictyons voted a sum* of three hundred 
talents to be levied for the purpose of rebuilding 


* Somewhat similar to this arrangement of the ancient 
^Egyptians with respect to Naucratis, is that of the modern 
Chinese at present at Canton. This is Major Rennel's opi- 
nion. See his excellent work, p. 530. 

Perhaps this restriction originated in the same jealousy 
which in the empift* of China limits the trade of Europeans 
to the port of Canton ; and one cannot help remarking how 
parallel the two cases are in this respect. The Greeks were 
permitted to have a commercial establishment at Naucratis, 
and they were allowed places for the construction of tem- 
ples for their religious riles. 


it. A fourth part of this was assigned to the 
Pelphians, who, to collect their quota, went about 
to different cities, and obtained a very consi- 
derable sum from iEgypt. Amasis presented 
them 30 ° with a thousand talents of alum. The 
Greeks who resided in iEgypt made a collection 
of twenty mina?. 

CLXXXI. This kins made a strict and ami- 
cable confederacy with the Cyrenians ; to cement 
which, he determined to take a wife of that 
country, either to shew his particular attachment 
to the Cyrenians, or his partiality to a woman of 
Greece. She whom he married is reported by 
some to have been the daughter of Battus, by 
others of Arcesilaus, or, as some say, of Crito- 
bulus. She was certainly descended of an ho- 
nourable family, and her name was Ladice. 
When the nuptials came to be consummated, the 
king found himself afflicted with an imbecility 
which he experienced with no other woman. The 


300 Amasis presented litem.] — Different species of animal, 
were the deities of the different sects among the /Egyptians ; 
and the deities being in continual war, engaged their vo 
taries in the same contention. The worshippers of do^s 
could not long remain in peace with the adorers of cats and 
wolves. Rut where that reason took not place, the /Egyp- 
tian superstition was not so incompatible as is commonly 
imagined, since we learn from Herodotus, that very large 
contributions were given by Amasis towards rebuilding th? 
temple of Delphi.— Hume, 


continuance of this induced him thus to address 
his wife : " You have certainly practised some 
" charm to my injury ; expect not therefore to 
" escape, but prepare to undergo the most cruel 
" death." When the woman found all expos- 
tulations ineffectual, she vowed, in the temple of 
Venus, " that if on the following night her hus- 
" band should be able to enjoy her, she would 
" present a statue to her at Cyrene." Her 
wishes were accomplished, Amasis found his vi- 
gour restored, and ever afterwards distinguished 
her by the kindest affection. Ladice performed 
her vow, and sent a statue to Venus ; it has re- 
mained to my time, and may be seen near the 
city of Cyrene. This same Ladice, when Cam- 
byses afterwards conquered iEgypt, was, as soon 
as he discovered who she was, sent back without 
injury to Cyrene. 

CLXXXII. Numerous were the marks of 
liberality which Amasis bestowed on Greece, To 
Cyrene he sent a golden statue of Minerva, with 
a portrait of himself 301 . To the temple of Mi- 

301 Portrait of himself .] — The art of painting was probably 
known in iEgypt in the first ages, but they do not seem to 
have succeeded in this art better than in sculpture. Anti- 
quity does not mention any painter or sculptor of ^Egypt, 
who had acquired celebrity. — Savary. 


E U T E R P E. 129 

nerva at Lindus he gave two marble statues, with a 
linen corselet, which latter well deserves inspection. 


At what period we may venture to fix the origin of 
painting, is a subject involved in great difficulty. Perhaps 
we are not extravagant in saying, that it was known in the 
time of the Trojan war. The following note is to be found 
in Servius, Annot. ad vEneid. ii. ver. 392. " Scutis Grae- 
corum Neptunus, Trojanorum fuit Minerva depicta." 

With respect to the ^Egyptians, it is asserted by Tacitus, 
that they knew the art of designing before they were ac- 
quainted with letters. " Primi per figuras animalium /Egyptii 
sensus mentis effingebant et antiquissima monumenta me- 
moriae humanae impressa saxis cernuntur." Annal. lib. x. 
cap. 14-. 

It is ingeniously remarked by Webb, in favour of the anti- 
quity of painting, that when the Spaniards first arrived in 
America, the news was sent to the emperor in painted ex- 
presses, they not having at that time the use of letters. 

Mr. Norden says, that in the higher /Egypt to this day 
may be seen, amongst the ruins of superb edifices, marbles 
artificially stained, so exquisitely fresh in point of colour, 
that they seemed recently dismissed from the hand of the 
artist. Winkelmann says, that in the /Egyptian mummies 
which have been minutely examined, there are apparent the 
six distinct colours of white, black, blue, red, yellow, and 
green ; but these, in point of effect, are contemptible, coin- 
pared with the columns alluded to above, seen and described 
by Norden. Pococke also tells us, that in the ruins of the 
palaces of the kings of Thebes, the picture of the king is 
painted at full length on stone. Both the sides and ceilings 
of the room in which this is to be seen are cut with hiero- 
glyphics of birds and beasts, and some of them painted, be- 
ing as fresh as if they were but just finished, though they must 
be much above two thousand years old. 

Vol. II. K The 

130 E U T E II P E. 

lie presented two figures of himself, carved in 
wood, to the temple of Juno at Samos ; they were 
placed immediately behind the gates; where they 
still remain. His kindness to Samos was owing 
to the hospitality 301 which subsisted between him 
and Polycrates, the son of iEax. He had no 
such motive of attachment to Lindus, but was 
moved by the report that the temple of Minerva 


The ancient heathens were accustomed to paint their idols 
of a red colour, as appears from the following extract from 
the Wisdom of Solomon : 

" The carpenter carved it diligently when he had nothing 
else to do, and formed it by the skill of his understanding, 
and fashioned it to the image of a man, or made it like some 
vile beast, laying it over with vennillion, and with paint 
colouring it red, and covering every spot therein." 

It seems rather a far-fetched explanation, to say that this 
was done because the first statues were set up in memory of 
warriors, remarkable for shedding much blood. Yet it is so 
interpreted in Harmer's Observations on Passages of Scrip- 
ture. Of ancient painting, the reliques are indeed but few: 
but those extolled by Pococke and Norden, and since the 
period of their travels, by Bruce, who also visited Thebes, 
and the beautiful specimens which have at different times 
been dug up at Kerculaneum, are sufficient to shew that the 
artists possessed extraordinary excellence. That in parti- 
cular of Chiron and Achilles, which many ingenious men 
have not scrupled to ascribe to Parrhasius, is said to be re- 
markably beautiful. 

30a Hospitality. .] — That tie among the ancients, which was 
ratified by particular ctremonies, and considered as the most 
sacred of all engagements: nor dissolved except with certain 
solemn forms, and for weighty reasons. 


was erected there by the daughters of Danaus, 
when they fled from the sons of iEgyptus. — Such 
was the munificence of Amasis, who was also the 
first person that conquered Cyprus, and com- 
pelled it to pay him tribute. 

At the conclusion of the first volume, I inserted an extract 
from our countryman, Sir Robert Wilson, descriptive of the 
modern state of the pyramids. I take the opportunity of 
the conclusion of this book to refer the reader to the French 
accounts of their modern condition, as given by Denon and 

Of these, perhaps, neither will be found satisfactory ; the 
first author appeared more desirous to please by his nar- 
ration, than to instruct the reader; the latter affects scien- 
tific description, but will by no means bear the test of care- 
ful examination. 

Grobert, indeed, gives the number and the height of the 
steps, but he has omitted to say whether lie found the planes 
of the steps horizontal. It is, therefore, not approaching at 
all nearer the mark, to give their individual height; as we 
may reasonably conclude that he did not find the planes 

After all, Graves appears to afford the greatest satisfac- 
tion, as there can be no doubt but he went scientifically 
about his work. He tells us that the four triangular sides 
of the great pyramid are equilateral, excepting the plateau 
on the top, of not many feet. He also affirms that he as- 
certained the sides of those triangles, and of course the 
height of the pyramid; and I see no reason to doubt him. 

Grobert says that the pyramid is 440. 11. 7. French, 
which is equal to 470 English feet very nearly. Graves 
gives 4S1 feet for the height, and 6'93 for the sides and dia- 
gonal. It is very wonderful that hardly any two persons 
should have come near each other in their reports of the 
height and dimensions of the great pyramid. The French 
had certainly the best opportunities possible, but they do 

K 3 not 


not appear to have availed themselves of them. Grobert 
reports the length of the sides to be equal to 745| English 
feet, whilst Graves allows only 693J, making a difference of 
no less than 5~|- feet ; which is really astonishing. One 
cause of variation must necessarily be the difference of foot- 
measures, which we know sometimes to vary even half an 
inch in a two-foot rule. Few of these measures possibly 
vary less than ~ of an inch in a foot ; so that this would 
make a difference in the height, of more than 20 feet. 
Graves may be supposed to have used every proper mea- 
sure, and to him I think we must look with most confidence 
on this subject. 



T II A L I A\ 

C II A P. I. 

GAINST thisAmasis, Cam- 
byscs, the son of Cyrus, led an 
army, composed as well of his 
other subjects, as of the Ionic 
and iEolic Greeks. His induce- 
| ments were these : by an am- 
bassador whom he dispatched for this purpose 
into JEgypt, he demanded the daughter of Amasis, 


1 Thalia.'] — On the commencement of his observations on 
this book, M. Larcher remarks, that the names of the muses 
were only afiixed to the books of Herodotus at a subsequent 
and later period. Porphyry does not distinguish the second 
book of our historian by the name of Euterpe, but is satisfied 
with calling it the book which treats of the affairs of .-Egypt. 
Athenaeus also says, the first or the second book of the his- 
tories of Herodotus. 

I am nevertheless rather inclined to believe that these 
names were annexed to the books of Herodotus from the 
spontaneous-impulse of admiration which was excited amongst 
the first hearers of them at the Olympic games, 

K 3 According 

134 T H A L I A. 

which he did at the suggestion of a certain Egyp- 
tian who had entertained an enmity against his 
master. This man was a physician, and when 
Cyrus had once requested of Amasis, the best 
medical advice which JEgypt could afford, for a 
disorder in his eyes, the king had forced him, in 
preference to all others, from his wife and family, 
and sent him into Persia. In revenge for which 


According to Pausanias, there were originally no more 
than three muses ; whose names were MsAstu, Mvypn, and 
Aot^'/i. Their number was afterwards increased to nine, their 
residence confined to Parnassus, and the direction or pa- 
tronage of them, if these be not improper terms, assigned to 
Apoljo. Their contest for superiority with the nine daughters 
of Evippe, and consequent victory, is agreeably described by 
Ovid. Met. book v. Their order and influence seem in a 
great measure to have been arbitrary. The names of the 
books of Herodotus have been generally adopted as deter- 
minate with respect to their order. This was, however, 
without any assigned motive, perverted by Ausonius, in the 
{subjoined epigram: 

Clio gesta canens, transactis tempora reddit. 

Melpomene tragic'o proclamat mcesta boatu. 

Comica lascivo gaudet sermone Thalia. 

Dulciloquos calamos Euterpe fiatibus urget. 

Terpsichore affectus citharis movet, imperat, auget. 

Plectra gerens Erato saltat pede, carmine vultu. 

Carmina Calliope libris heroica mandat. 

Uranie cceli motus scrutatur et astra. 

Signat cuncta manu loquitur Polyhymnia gestu 

Mentis Apollineas vis has movet undique musas 

Jn medio residens complectitur omnia Phoebus, — X, 

T II A L I A. 135 

treatment, this ^Egyptian instigated Cambyses to 
require the daughter of Amasis, that he might 
either suffer affliction from the loss of his child, 
or, by refusing to send her, provoke the resent- 
ment of Cambyses. Amasis both dreaded and 
detested the power of Persia, and was unwilling 
to accept, though fearful of refusing, the over- 
ture. But he well knew that his daughter was 
not meant to be the wife but the concubine of 
Cambyses, and therefore he determined on this 
mode of conduct: Apries, the former king, had 
left an only daughter : her name was Nitetis 2 , 
and she was possessed of much elegance and 
beauty. The king, having decorated her with 
great splendour of dress, sent her into Persia as 


2 Nitetis.] — Cambyses had not long been king, ere lie re- 
solved upon a war with the /Egyptians, by reason of some 
offence taken against Amasis their king. Herodotus tells us 
it was because Amasis, when he desired of him one of his 
daughters to wife, sent him a daughter of Apries instead of 
his own. But this could not be true, because, Apries having 
been dead above forty years before, no daughter of his could 
be young enough to be acceptable to Cambyses. — So far Pri- 
deaux; but Lurcher endeavours to reconcile the apparent 
improbability, by saying that there is great reason to sup- 
pose that Apries lived a prisoner many years after Amasis 
dethroned him and succeeded to his power; and that there 
is no impossibility in the opinion that Nitetis might, there- 
fore, be no more than twenty or twenty-two years of age 
when she was sent to Cambyses. — T. 

Jablonski observes that these names of Nitetis, Nitocris, 
and the like, are derived from Neith, who was the Minerva 
of the /Egyptians. 

K 4 




136 THALIA. 

his own child. Not long after, when Cambyses 
occasionally addressed her as the daughter of 
Amasis, " Sir," said she, " you are greatly mis- 
taken, and Amasis has deceived you ; he has 
adorned my person, and sent me to you as his 
daughter ; but Apries was my father, whom 
Amasis, with his other rebellious subjects, de- 
throned and put to death." This speech and this 
occasion immediately prompted Cambyses in great 
wrath, to commence hostilities against ./Egypt— 
Such is the Persian account of the story. 

II. The ^Egyptians claim Cambyses as their 
own, by asserting that this incident did not hap- 
pen to him, but to Cyrus 3 , from whom, and from 
this daughter of Apries, they say he was born 4 . 
This, however, is certainly not true. The iEgyp- 
tians are of all mankind the best conversant with 


3 But to Cyrus.'] — They speak with more probability, who 
say it was Cyrus, and not Cambyses, to whom this daughter 
of Apries was sent. — Pridcaitx. 

* They say he was born.] — Polyagnus, in his Stratagemata, 
relates the affair in this manner : — Nitetis, who was in re- 
ality the daughter of Apries, cohabited a long time with 
Cyrus as the daughter of Amasis. After having many chil- 
dren by Cyrus, she disclosed to him who she really was; 
for though Amasis was dead, she wished to revenge herself 
on his somPsammenitus. Cyrus acceded to her wishes, but 
died in the midst of his preparations for an /Egyptian war. 
This', Cambyses was persuaded by his mother to undertake, 
and revenged on the ^Egyptians the cause of the family of 
Apries. — T. 

THALIA. 137 

the Persian manners, and they must have known 
that a natural child could never succeed to the 
throne of Persia, while a legitimate one was 
alive. It was equally certain that Cambyses 
was not born of an /Egyptian woman, but was 
the son of Cassandane, the daughter of Phar- 
naspe, of the race of the Achaemenides. This 
story, therefore, was invented by the /Egyptians, 
that they might from this pretence claim a con- 
nection with the house of Cyrus. 

III. Another story also is asserted, which to 
me seems improbable *. They say that a Persian 
lady once visiting the wives of Cyrus, saw stand- 
ing near their mother, the children of Cassandane 
whom she complimented in high terms on their 
superior excellence of form and person. " Me," 
replied Cassandane, " who am the mother of 
" these children, Cyrus neglects and despises ; all 
" his kindness is bestowed on this /Egyptian 
" female." This she said from resentment against 
Nitetis. They add that Cambyses, her eldest 
son, instantly exclaimed, " Mother, as soon as 
" I am a man, I will effect the utter destruction 
" of iEgypt 5 ." These words, from a prince 


* This story, which Herodotus deems improbable, seems 
to me much the most likely to be true. 


5 1 toill effect the utter destruction of JEgypt.— Literally, I 
will turn ./Egypt upside down. 

M. Larchcr 

138 T H A L I A. 

who was then only ten years of age, surprized 
and delighted the women ; and as soon as he be- 
came a man, and succeeded to the throne, he re- 
membered the incident, and commenced hosti- 
lities against iEgypt. 

IV. He had another inducement to this under- 
taking. Among the auxiliaries of Amasis was a 
man named Phanes, a native of Halicarnassus> 
and greatly distinguished by his mental as well as 
military accomplishments. This person beino;, 
for I know not what reason, incensed against 
Amasis, fled in a vessel from jEgypt, to have a 
conference with Carnbyses. As he possessed 
great influence among the auxiliaries, and was 


M. Larcher enumerates, from Athenseus, various and de- 
structive wars which had originated on account of women ; 
lie adds, what a number of illustrious families had, from a 
similar cause, been utterly extinguished. The impression of 
this idea, added to the vexations which he had himself ex- 
perienced in domestic life, probably extorted from our great 
poet, Milton, the following energetic lines : 

Oh, why did God, 
Creator wise, that peopled highest heaven 
With spirits masculine, create at last 
This novelty on earth, this fair defect 
Of nature, and not fill the world at once 
With men as angels, without feminine, 
Or find some other way to generate 
Mankind ? This mischief bad not then befall'n, 
And more that shall befall, innumerable 
disturbances en earth through female snares! — T, 

THALIA. 139 

perfectly acquainted with the affairs of JEgypt, 
Amasis ordered him to be rigorously pursued, 
and for this purpose, equipped, under the care of 
the most faithful of his eunuchs, a three-banked 
galley. The pursuit was successful, and Phanes 
was taken in Lydia, but he was not carried back 
to JEgypt, for he circumvented his guards, and by 
making them drunk effected his escape. He fled 
instantly to Persia: Cambyses was then medi- 
tating the expedition against iEgypt, but was de- 
terred by the difficulty of marching an army over 
the deserts, where so little water was to be pro- 
cured. Phanes explained to the king all the con- 
cerns of Amasis; and to obviate the above dif- 
ficulty, advised him to send and ask of the king 
of the Arabs, a safe passage through his terri- 

V. This is indeed the only avenue by which 
./Egypt can possibly be entered. The whole 
country, from Phoenicia to Cadytis # , a city which 
belongs to the Syrians of Palestine f , and in my 


* I have in another place supposed this place to be Jeru- 
salem. Wesselius thinks not; but my opinion is confirmed 
by Major Itennel, who gives it as his opinion, that Cadytis 
is synonymous with Al Kads, which means the holy. See 
Jlcnnel, p. 6*83. 

f What the Greeks called Palestine, was by the Arabians 
named Falastin, which certainly is the Philistine of Sacred 

14© THALIA. 

opinion equal to Sardis, together with all the 
commercial towns as far as Jenysus 6 , belong to 
the Arabians. This is also the case with that 
space of land which extends from the Syrian 
Jenysus to the lake of Serbonis, from the vicinity 
of which, mount Casius 7 stretches to the sea. 
At this lake, where, as was reported, Typhon was 
concealed, iEgypt commences. This tract, which 


c Jenysus.~\ — Stephanus Byzantinus calls this city Inys, (for 
that is manifestly the name he gives it, if we take away the 
Greek termination) : but Herodotus, from whom he bor- 
rows, renders it Jenis. It would have been more truly 
rendered Dorice Janis, for that was nearer to the real name. 
The historian, however, points it out plainly by saying, that 
it was three days journey from mount Casius, and that the 
whole way was through the Arabian desert. — Bryant. 

Mr. Bryant is certainly mistaken with respect to the situ- 
ation of this place. It was an Arabian town, on this side 
lake Serbonis compared with Syria, on the other compared 
with /Egypt. When Herodotus says that this place was three 
days journey from mount Casius, he must be understood as 
speaking of the Syrian side ; if otherwise, Cambyses could 
not have been so embarrassed from want of water, &c. — See 
Larcher farther on this subject. Jenysus is recognized in the 
Khan Jones of Thevenot and others, and also in D'Anville. 
The lake Sarbonis, like the Natron lake, appears to be filled 
up with sand. 

7 Mount Casius, .] — This place is now called by seamen 
mount Tenere ; here anciently was a temple sacred to Ju- 
piter Casius ; in this mountain also was Pompey the Great 
buried, as some affirm, being murdered at its foot. This, 
however, is not true ; his body was burnt on the shore by 
one of his freedmen, with the planks of an old fishing-boat, 
and his ashes, being conveyed to Rome, were deposited pri- 
vately by his wife Cornelia in a vault of his Alban villa.— 
Sue Middleton's Life of Cicero. — T„ 

THALIA. i4i 

comprehends the city Jenysus, mount Casius, and 
the lake of Serbonis, is of no trifling extent: it 
is a three days journey over a very dry and 
parched desert. 

VI. I shall now explain what is known to very 
few of those who travel into iEgypt by sea. Twice 
in every year there are exported from different 
parts of Greece to iEgypt, and from Phoenicia in 
particular, wine secured in earthen jars, not one 
of which jars is afterwards to be seen. I shall 
describe to what purpose they are applied : the 
principal magistrate of every town is obliged to 
collect all the earthen vessels imported to the 
place where he resides, and send them to Mem- 
phis. The Memphians fill them with water 8 , and 


8 With water.] — The water of the Nile never becomes im- 
pure, whether reserved at home, or exported abroad. On. 
board the vessels which pass from /Egypt to Italy, the 
water, which remains at the end of the voyage, is good, 
whilst what they happen to take in during their voyage cor- 
rupts. The .Egyptians are the only people we kuow who 
preserve this water in jars, as others do wine. They keep it 
• iree or four years, and sometimes longer, and the age oj 
this water is with them an increase of its value, as the age of 
wine is elsewhere. — Aristides Orat. jEgyptiac. 

Modern writers and travellers are agreed about the ex- 
cellence of the water of the Nile ; but the above assertion, 
with respect to its keeping, wants to be corroborated. Much 
the same, however, is said, and universally by "mariners, re- 
specting the water of the Thames. 


142 T H A L I A. 

afterwards transport thern to the Syrian deserts. 
Thus all the earthen vessels carried into iEgypt, 
and there carefully collected, are continually 
added to those already in Syria. 

VII. Such are the means which the Persians 
have constantly adopted to provide themselves 
with water in these deserts, from the time that 
they were first masters of iEgypt. But as, at the 
time of which I speak, they had not this resource, 
Cambyses listened to the advice of his Halicar- 
nassian guest, and solicited of the Arabian prince 
a safe passage through his territories ; which was 
granted, after mutual promises of friendship, 

VIII. These are the ceremonies which the Ara- 
bians observe when they make alliances, of which 
no people in the world are more tenacious 9 . On 


We learn from Diodorus Siculus, b. xix. c. 6, that the 
people whom he calls Nabatheans preserved rain-water in 
vessels of earth. These were deposited beneath the earth, 
and considered as a reservoir from which the water wanted 
for common use was taken. 

9 Tenacious.] — How faithful the Arabs are at this day, 
when they have pledged themselves to be so, is a topic of 
admiration and of praise with all modern travellers. They 
who once put themselves under their protection have no- 
thing afterwards to fear ; for their word is sacred. Singular 
as the mode here described of forming alliances may appear 
to an English reader, that of taking an oath by putting the 
3 hand 

T H A L I A. 143 occasions some one connected with both 
parties stands betwixt them, and with a sharp 
stone opens a vein of the hand, near the middle 
finger, of those who are about to contract. He 
then takes a piece of the vest of each person, and 
dips it in their blood, with which he stains several 
stones purposely placed in the midst of the as- 
sembly, invoking, during the process, Bacchus 
■and Urania. When this is finished, he who soli- 
cits the compact to be made, pledges his friends 
for the sincerity of his engagements to the stranger 
or citizen, or whoever it may happen to be ; and 
all of them conceive an indispensable necessity 
to exist, of performing what they promise. Bac- 
chus and Urania are the only deities whom they 
venerate. They cut off their hair, round their 
temples, from the supposition that Bacchus wore 


hand under the thigh, in use amongst the patriarchs, was 
surely not less so. 

" Abraham said unto the eldest servant of his house that 
ruled Qver all that he had ; Put, I pray thee, thy hand under 
my thigh." Gen. xxiv. '2. — T. 

The following interesting anecdote is from Denon: 
A French officer had been several months prisoner to a 
chief of the Arabs, whose camp was surprized in the night 
by our cavalry, and who had barely time to escape, his tents, 
cattle, and provisions having fallen into our hands. On the 
following clay, fugitive, solitary, and without any resources, 
he drew from his pocket a cake, and, presenting the half of it. 
to his prisoner, said to him, " I do not know when we shall 
have any more food: but I shall not be accused of having 
refused to share n.y last morsel with one whom I esteem as 
my friend." 

144 T H A L I A. 

his in that form ; hiin they call Urotalt ; Urania 
has the name of Alilat 10 . 

IX. When the Arabian prince had made an 
alliance with the messengers of Cambyses, he or- 
dered all his camels to be laden with camel-skins 
filled with water, and to be driven to the deserts, 
there to wait the arrival of Cambyses and his 
army: Of this incident, the above seems to me 
the more probable narrative. There is also 
another, which however I may disbelieve, I think 
I ought not to omit. In Arabia is a large river 
called Corys, which loses itself in the Red Sea: 
from this river, the Arabian is said to have formed 
a canal of the skins of oxen and other animals 
sewed together, which was continued to the 
above-mentioned deserts, where he also sunk a 
number of cisterns to receive the water so intro- 
duced. From the river to the desert is a journey 
of twelve days ; and they say that the water was 
conducted by three distinct canals into as many 
different places *. 

10 Alilat.] — According to Selden, in his treatise De Diis 
Syris, the Mitra of the Persians is the same with the Alitta 
or Alilat of the Arabians. In this term Alilat we doubtless 
recognize the Allah of the modern Arabians. 

* This last account exceeds all possibility of belief. The 
first drinkable water between the desert here mentioned, 
and /Egypt, is at Salahiah. This, therefore, is the key of 
./Egypt on this side, and here, of course, the French esta- 
blished a military post. We have yet to learn what arrange- 
ments were made by Bonaparte to obtain water in crossing 
the desert. But the task must be much easier from the side 
of ./Egypt, than from that of Syria. 

THALIA. 145 

X. At the Pelusian mouth of the Nile, Psam- 
menitus, the son of Amasis, was encamped, and 
expected Cambyses in arms. Amasis himself, 
after a reign of forty-four years, died before 
Cambyses had advanced to iEgypt, and during 
the whole enjoyment of his power, he expe- 
rienced no extraordinary calamity. At his death 
his body was embalmed, and deposited in a se- 
pulchre which he had erected for himself in the 
temple of Minerva". During the reign of his 
son Psammenitus, iEgypt beheld a most re- 
markable prodigy ; there was rain at the /Egyp- 
tian Thebes, a circumstance which never hap- 
pened before, and which, as the Thebans them- 
selves assert, has never occurred since. In the 
higher parts of iEgypt it never rains, but at that 
period we read it rained at Thebes in distinct 
drops I2 . 

11 Temple of Minerva.] — Minerva is not expressed in the 
original text, but it was evident that it is in the temple of 
Minerva, from chap, clxix. of the second book. — T. 

lz In distinct drops.] — Herodotus is perhaps thus parti- 
cular, to distinguish rain from mist. 

Denon, when in the neighbourhood of Lycopolis, thus ex- 
presses himself: 

We found several roads marked out, which convinced us 
that they might with a very little expense be made excel- 
lent, and most completely durable, in a country like this, 
where neither rain or frost are ever seen. 

It is a little remarkable that all the mention which Hero- 
dotus makes of the ancient Thebes, is in this passage, and in 
this slight manner. In book ii. chap. xv. he informs us that 
all ."Egypt was formerly called Thebes. — 7'. 

Vol. II. L 

146 THALIA. 

XL The Persians having passed the deserts, 
fixed their camp opposite to the ./Egyptians, as 
if with the design of offering them battle. The 
Greeks and Carians, who were the confederates 
of the Egyptians, to shew their resentment 
against Phanes, for introducing a foreign army 
against iEgypt, adopted this expedient : they 
brought his sons, whom he had left behind, into 
the camp, and in a conspicuous place, and in 
the sight of their father, they put them one by 
one to death upon a vessel brought thither for 
that purpose. When they had done this, they 
filled the vase which had received the blood with 
wine and water; having drank which 15 , all the 


13 Haling drank ulnc/i.] — They probably swore at the same 
time to avenge the treason of Phanes, or perish. The blood 
of an human victim mixed with wine accompanied the most 
solemn forms of execration among the ancients. Catiline 
made use of this superstition to blind his adherents to se- 
cresy : " He carried round," says Sallust, " the blood of an 
human victim, mixed with wine; and when all had tasted it, 
after a set form of execration (sicut in solennibus sacris fieri 
consuevit) he imparted his design." — T. 

Xenophon describes the ceremonies observed by the Greeks 
and Persians on their agreeing to become allies and friends. 
They sacrificed a boar, a bull, a wolf, and a ram; they 
mixed their blood together in the hollow part of a shield, 
after which the Persians dipped a spear into it, and the 
Greeks a sword. See the Anabasis, b. ii. A very extraor- 
dinary form of oath is described in Ysbrant Ide's Voyage 
from Russia to China. Arriving among the Tungusian Tar- 

THALIA. 147 

auxiliaries immediately engaged the enemy. The 
battle was obstinately disputed, but after consi- 
derable loss on both sides, the ./Egyptians fled. 

XII. By the people inhabiting the place where 
this battle was fought, a very surprizing thing 
was pointed out to my attention. The bones of 
those who fell in the engagement were soon after- 
wards collected, and separated into two distinct 
heaps. It was observed of the Persians, that 
their heads were so extremely soft as to yield to 
the slight impression even of a pebble ; those of 
the ^Egyptians, on the contrary, were so firm, 
that the blow of a large stone could hardly break 


tars, two of them fell out, when one of them accused the 
other before the magistrate of having angered his deceased 
brother to death. The waywode (magistrate) asked the ac- 
cuser if he would, according to the Tungusian custom, put 
the accused to his oath ? To this he answered in the af- 
firmative. The accused then took a live dog, laid him on 
the ground, and with a knife stuck him into the body, just 
finder his left foot, and immediately applied his mouth to 
the wound, and sucked out the dog's blood, as long as he 
could get any. He then lifted him up, laid him on his 
shoulders, and clapped his mouth again to the wound, to 
suck the remaining blood. This is the greatest oath, and 
most solemn mode of confirmation among these people. 

It is a very curious circumstance, that among so many 
nations of the world, divided by distance, and contrasted in 
other respects by manners, the spilling of blood should be 
thought an indispensable act in confirmation of an oath. — T. 

L 2 

148 T II A L I A. 

them. The reason which they gave for this was 
very satisfactory — the ^Egyptians from a very 
early age shave their heads ' 4 , which by being con- 
stantly exposed to the action of the sun, become 
firm and hard; this treatment also prevents bald- 
ness, very few instances of which are ever to be 
seen in iEgypt. Why the skulls of the Persians 
are so soft may be explained from their being 
from their infancy accustomed to shelter them 
from the sun, bv the constant use of turbans. 
I made the very same remark at Papremis, after 
examining the bones of those who, under the 
conduct of Achsemenes I? , son of Darius, were 
defeated by Inards the African. 

XIII. The Egyptians after their defeat fled 
in great disorder to Memphis. Cambyses dis- 

14 Shave their heads.] — The same custom still subsists: I 
have seen every where the children of the common people* 
whether running in the fields, assembled round the villages, 
or swimming in the waters, with their heads shaved and 
bare. Let us but imagine the hardness a skull must acquire 
thus exposed to the scorching sun, and we shall not be as- 
tonished at the remark of Herodotus. — Satan/. ' 

15 Aeliamenes.] — Herodotus and Diodorus Siculus say, 
that it was Achamienes, the brother of Xerxes, and uncle of 
Artaxerxes, the same who before had the government of 
•Egypt in the beginning of the reign of Xerxes, that had the 
conduct of this war; but herein they were deceived by the 
similitude of names; for it appears by Ctesias, that he was 
the son of Hamestris, whom Artaxerxes sent with his army 
into Maypt.-*~Prideai<x. 

THALIA. 149 

patched a Persian up the river in a Mitylcnian 
vessel to treat with them ; but as soon as they 
saw the vessel enter Memphis, they rushed in a 
crowd from the citadel, destroyed the vessel, tore 
the crew in pieces ,6 , and afterwards carried them 
into the citadel. Siege was immediately laid to 
the place, and the ^Egyptians were finally com- 
pelled to surrender. Those Africans who lived 
nearest to JEgvpl, apprehensive of a similar fate, 
submitted without contest, imposing a tribute on 
themselves, and sending presents to the Persians. 
Their example was followed by the Cyreneans 
and Barceans, who were struck with the like 
panic. Cambyses received the African presents 
very graciously, but he expressed much resent- 
ment at those of the Cyreneans, as I think, on 
account of their meanness. They sent him five 
hundred mince of silver, which, as soon as he 
received, with his own hands he threw amongst 
his soldiers. 

XIV. On the tenth day after the surrender of 
the citadel of Memphis, Psammenitus, the Egyp- 
tian king, who had reigned no more than six 


,c Tare the crew in pieces.] — They were two hundred in 
number ; this appears from a following paragraph, where we 
find that for every Mitylenian massacred on this occasion 
ten /Egyptians were put to death, aud that two thousand 
./Egyptians thus perished. — Larchcr. 

T Q 

150 T H A L I A. 

months, was by order of Cambyses ignominiously 
conducted, with other ^Egyptians, to the outside 
of the walls, and by way of trial of his dispo- 
sition, thus treated: His daughter, in the habit 
of a slave, Avas sent with a pitcher to draw water; 
she was accompanied by a number of young wo- 
men clothed in the same garb, and selected from 
families of the first distinction. They passed, 
with much and loud lamentation, before their 
parents, from whom their treatment excited a 
correspondent violence of grief. But when Psam- 
menitus beheld the spectacle, he merely declined 
his eyes upon the ground ; when this train was 
gone by, the son of Psammenitus, with two thou- 
sand ./Egyptians of the same age, were made to 
walk in procession, with ropes round their necks, 
and bridles in their mouths. These were intended 
to avenge the death of those Mitylenians who, 
with their vessel, had been torn to pieces at 
Memphis. The king's counsellors had deter- 
mined that for every one put to death on that 
occasion, ten of the highest rank of the Mgyp- 
tians should be sacrificed. Psammenitus ob- 
served these as they passed, but although he per- 
ceived that his son was going to be executed, and 
whilst all the ^Egyptians around him wept and 
lamented aloud, he continued unmoved as before. 
When this scene also disappeared, he beheld a 
venerable personage, who had formerly partaken 
of the royal table, deprived of all he had pos- 

T H A L I A. 15] 

sessed, and in the dress of a mendicant asking 
charity through the different ranks of the army. 
This man stopped to beg an alms of Psamme- 
nitus, the son of Amasis, aiid of the other noble 
./Egyptians who were sitting with him ; which 
when Psammenitus beheld, he could no longer 
suppress his emotions, but calling on his friend 
by name, wept aloud I7 , and beat his head. This 
the spies, who were placed near him to observe 
his conduct on each incident, reported to Cam- 
byses; who, in astonishment at such behaviour, 
sent a messenger, who was thus directed to ad- 
dress him, " Your lord and master, Cambyses, 
" is desirous to know why, after beholding with 
" so much indifference your daughter treated as 
; a slave, and your son conducted to death, you 
: expressed so lively a concern for that mendi- 

" cant, 

17 Wept aloud.] — A very strange effect of grief is related 
by Mr. Gibbon, in the story of Golimer, king of the Van- 
dals, when after an obstinate resistance he was obliged to 
surrender himself to Belisarius. " The first public inter- 
view," says our historian, " was in one of the suburbs of 
Carthage ; and when the royal captive accosted his con- 
queror, he burst into a fit of laughter. The crowd might 
naturally believe that extreme grief had deprived Gelimer 
of his senses; but in this mournful state unseasonable mirth 
insinuated to more intelligent observers that the vain and 
transitory scenes of human greatness are unworthy of a 
serious thought." All that can be said in answer to Gib- 
bon's remark is, that Psammenitus acted like a man; Goli- 
mer like a barbarian idiot. 

L 4 

1.52 THALIA. 

" cant, who, as he has been informed, is not at 
" all related to you?" Psammenitus made this 
reply : " Son of Cyrus, my domestic misfortunes 
" were too great to suffer me to shed tears l8 ; 
" but it was consistent that I should weep for 
" my friend, who, from a station of honour and 
" of wealth, is in the last stage of life reduced to 
" penury." Cambyses heard and was satisfied 
with his answer. The ./Egyptians say that Croesus, 
who attended Cambyses in this /Egyptian expe- 
dition, wept at the incident # , The Persians also 


lS Shed tears.]-— This idea of extreme affliction or anger 
tending to check the act of weeping, is expressed by Shakes- 
peare with wonderful sublimity and pathos. It is part of a 
speech of Lear : 

You see me here, ye gods, a poor old man, 
As full of grief as age, wretched in both. 
If it be you that stir these daughters hearts. 
Against their father, fool me not so much 
To bear it tamely : Touch me with noble anger, 
And let not women's weapons, water drops, 
Stain my man's cheeks. No, you unnatural hags, 
I will have such revenges on you both 

That all the world shall 1 will do such things, 

What they are yet I know not, but they shall be 

The terrors of the earth. You think I'll weep — ■ 

No, I'll not weep. I have full cause of weeping; 

But this heart shall break into a hundred thousand flaws 

Or e'er I weep. T. 

* It might have been reasonably supposed that the lessons 
which Cambyses had immediately before him, would have 
inspired his heart with some sentiments of humanity, and 
afibrded him a warning of the fallability of human greatness. 


THALIA. 153 

who were present were exceedingly moved, and 
Cambyses himself yielded so far to compassion, 
that he ordered the son of Psammenitus to be 
preserved out of those who had been condemned 
to die, and Psammenitus himself to be conducted 
from the place where he was, to his presence. 

XV. The emissaries employed for the purpose 
found the young prince had suffered first, and 
was already dead ; the father, they led to Cam- 
byses, with whom he afterwards lived, and re- 
ceived no farther ill-treatment; and, could he 
have refrained from ambitious attempts, would 
probably have been intrusted with the government 
of iEgypt. The Persians hold the sons of sove- 
reigns in the greatest reverence, and even if the 
fathers revolt, they will permit the sons to succeed 
to their authority ; that such is really their con- 
duct may be proved by various examples. Than- 
nyras the son of Inarus ' 9 , received the kingdom 


The degradation of Croesus, and the miserable end of his 
father Cyrus, might have suggested some disposition to pity, 
and some warning of the policy of forbearance. But it must 
be remembered, that the salutary influence of Christianity 
was then unknown, and the emotions of false pride and false 
ambition had no check from the idea of a state of future 

,9 Inarus.] — The revolt of Inarus happened in the first 
year of the 80th Olympiad, 460 before the Christian aera. 
He rebelled against Artaxerxes Longimanus, and with the 


154 T H A L I A. 

which his father governed ; Pausiris also, the son 
of Amyrtagus, was permitted to reign after his 
father, although the Persians had never met with 
more obstinate enemies than both Inarus and 
Amvrtaeus. Psammenitus revolted, and suffered 
for his offence : he was detected in stirring up 
the ^Egyptians to rebel ; and being convicted by 
Cambyses, was made to drink a quantity of bul- 
lock's blood zo , which immediately occasioned his 
death. — Such was the end of Psammenitus *. 

assistance of the Athenians defied the power of Persia for 
nearly five years. After he was reduced, Amyrtaeus held 
out for some time longer in the marshy country. — The par- 
ticulars may be found in the first book of Thucydides, 
chap. civ. &c. 

ao Bullock's blood.]— Bull's blood, taken fresh from the 
animal, was considered by the ancients as a powerful poison, 
and supposed to act by coagulating in the stomach. The- 
mistocles, and several other personages of antiquity, were 
said to have died by taking it. — See Plut. in Themist. and 
Pliny, book xxviii. ch. ix. Aristophanes, in the 'iwarsj?, 
alludes to this account of the death of Themistocles. 

BiKnrov 'ny.^v aip,a retvgeiov wteTv 

* I cannot deny myself the satisfaction of transcribing the 
substance of Larcher's remarks on this chapter. 

The following expressions concerning ./Egypt occur in 
Ezekiel, c. xxx. v. 13. 

" Thus saith the Lord God ; I will also destroy the idols, 
and I will cause their images to cease out of Noph ; and 
there shall be no more a prince of the land of ./Egypt : and 
I will put a fear in the land of .Egypt." 

This prophecy, observes Larcher, has been literally ful- 

T H A L I A„ 155 

XVI. From Sais, Cambyses proceeded to 
Memphis, to execute a purpose he had in view. 
As soon as he entered the palace of Amasis, he 
ordered the body of that prince to be removed 
from his tomb. When this was done, he com- 
manded it to be beaten with rods, the hair to be 
plucked out, and the flesh to be goaded with sharp 
instruments, to which he added other marks of 
ignominy. As the body was embalmed, their ef- 
forts made but little impression ; when therefore 
they were fatigued with these outrages, he or- 
dered it to be burned. In this last act, Cam- 
byses paid no regard to the religion of his coun- 
try, for the Persians venerate fire as a divinity ". 


filled. ./Egypt, on the death of Psammenitus, passed under 
the dominion of the Persians. The Greeks afterwards sub- 
dued it, and after them the Romans. The Arabians con- 
quered it from the Romans, and after the Arabians, the 
Saracens and Mamelukes have had possession of it. 

The authority of the Grand Signior is merely nominal ; for, 
on the invasion of the French, it was governed by the Beys. 

In addition to Larcher's remarks, it may now be observed, 
that the present condition of ./Egypt exhibits a still more 
literal fulfilment of Ezekiel's prediction. 

41 Venerate fire as a divinity.] — This expression must not 
be understood in too rigorous a sense. Fire was certainly 
regarded by the Persians as something sacred, and perhaps 
they might render it some kind of religious worship, which 
in its origin referred only to the deity of which this element 
was an emblem. But it is certain that this nation did not 
believe fire to be a deity, otherwise how would they have 
dared to have extinguished it throughout Persia, on the 


156 T H A L I A. 

The custom of burning the dead does not prevail 
in either of the two nations ; for the reason 
above mentioned, the Persians do not use it, 
thinking it profane to feed a divinity with human 
carcases ; and the ./Egyptians abhor it, being 
fully persuaded that fire is a voracious animal, 
which devours whatever it can seize, and when 
saturated finally expires with what it has con- 
sumed. They hold it unlawful to expose the 
bodies of the dead" to any animals, for which 


death of the sovereign, 'as we learn from Diodorus Siculus ? 
— See an epigram of Dioscorides, Brunk's Analecta, vol. i. 
503. — Larcher. 

According to Diodorus Siculus, the /Egyptians venerated 
fire as a divinity, under the name of Hephaistus. His words 
are these : " The /Egyptians considered fire, to which they 
gave the name of Hephaistus, as a Greek deity {^tyav Geos)." 
L. l. 

It was one of the distinctions of the Persian sovereigns to 
have fire carried before them on an altar. This custom was 
borrowed by the Romans of the Persians, and accordingly 
we find that the Roman Emperors had fire carried before 
them. There is a dissertation on this ancient custom in the 
Memoires de l'Academie des Belles Lettres, v. xxxi. p. 155. 

zz Bodies of the dead.] — We learn from Xenophon, that 
the interment of bodies was common in Greece; and Homer 
tells us that the custom of burning the dead was in use before 
the Trojan war. It is therefore probable that both customs 
were practised at the same time ; this was also the case at 
Rome, as appears from many ancient monuments : the cus- 
tom, however, of interment, seems to have preceded that of 
burning. " At mini quidem antiquissimum sepultura genus 
id fuisse videtur quo apud Xenophontem Cyrus utitur. Red- 




reason they embalm them, fearing lest, after in- 
terment, they might become the prey of worms*. 
The ^Egyptians assert, that the above indignities 
were not inflicted upon the body of Amasis, but 


ditur enim terra corpus et ita locatum et situm quasi operi- 
mento matris obducitur." — Cicero de legibus, lib. ii. 22. 

" That seems to me to have been the most ancient kind 
of burial, which, according to Xenophon, was used by Cyrus. 
For the body is returned to the earth, and so placed as to be 
covered with the veil of its mother." The custom of burn- 
ing at Rome, according to Montfaucon, ceased about the 
time of Theodosius the younger. 

Sylla was the first of the Cornelian family whose body was 
burnt, whence some have erroneously advanced that he was 
the first Roman ; but both methods are mentioned in the 
laws of the twelve tables, and appear to have been equally 
prevalent. After Sylla, burning became general. — T. 

* The ancients had great horror at the idea of not receiv- 
ing the rites of burial. 

When Ulysses visited the infernal regions, he is made to 

There, wandering thro' the gloom, I first survey *d, 
New to the realms of death, Elpenor's shade; 
His cold remains, all naked to the sky, 
On distant shores, unwept, unburied lie. 

1 The ghost implores of Ulysses the rites of sepulture, in 
these pathetic strains : 

But lend me aid, 1 now conjure thee lend, 
By the soft tie and sacred name of friend ; 
By thy fond consort, by thy father's cares, 
By loved Telemachus's blooming year?. 

* • #' * * S * * * 

The tribute of a tear is all I crave, 
And the .possession of a peaceful grave. 

158 T H A L I A. 

that the Persians were deceived, and perpetrated 
these insults on some other ^Egyptian of the 
same age with that prince. Amasis, they say, 
was informed by an oracle of the injuries in- 
tended against his body, to prevent which he 
ordered the person who really sustained them, 
to be buried at the entrance of his tomb, whilst 
he himself, by his own directions given to his 
son, was placed in some secret and interior re- 
cess of the sepulchre. These assertions I cannot 
altogether believe, and am rather inclined to im- 
pute them to the vanity of the ^Egyptians, 

XVII. Cambyses afterwards determined to 
commence hostilities against three nations at 
once, the Carthaginians, the Ammonians, and 
the Macrobian * ^Ethiopians, who inhabit that 
part of Lybia which lies towards the southern 
ocean. He accordingly resolved to send against 
the Carthaginians a naval armament; a detach- 
ment of his troops was to attack the Ammonians 
by land ; and he sent spies into iEthiopia, who, 
under pretence of carrying presents to the prince, 
were to ascertain the reality of the celebrated 
table of the sun 2? , and to examine the condition 
of the country. 

* i. e. long-lived. 

23 Table of the sun.] — Solinus speaks of this table of the 
sun as something marvellous, and Pomponius Mela seems to 


T II A L I A. 159 

XVIII. What they called the table of the sun 
was this : — A plain in the vicinity of the city was 
filled to the height of four feet with the roasted 
flesh of all kinds of animals, which was carried 
there in the night, under the inspection of the 
magistrates ; during the day whoever pleased was 
at liberty to go and satisfy his hunger. The na- 
tives of the place affirm, that the earth sponta- 
neously produces all these viands : this, however, 
is what they term the table of the sun. 

XIX. As soon as Cambyses had resolved on 
the measures he meant to pursue, with respect to 
the ^Ethiopians, he sent to the city of Elephantine 
for some of the Ichthyophagi who were skilled 
in their language. In the mean time he directed 
his naval forces to proceed against the Cartha- 
ginians; but the Phoenicians refused to assist 
him in this purpose, pleading the solemnity of 


have had the same idea. Pausanias considers what was re- 
ported of it as fabulous. " If," says he, " we credit all 
these marvels on the faith of the Greeks, we ought also to 
receive as true what the /Ethiopians above Syene relate of 
the table of the sun." In adhering to the recital of Hero- 
dotus, a considerable portion of the marvellous disappears. 
— Larchcr. 

The explanation of Vossius may be admitted. As the 
lhdit of the sun was for the common benefit of mankind, so 
this table for the benefit of all the ^Ethiopians. It 
seems very probable that the well-known fable of the gods 
going to visit the ^Ethiopians for twelve days, had its orh?i» 
in the sacrifice -to the sun, which is here recorded. 

160 THALIA. 

their engagements with that people, arid the im- 
piety of committing acts of violence against their 
own descendants. — Such was the conduct of the 
Phoenicians, and the other armaments were not 
powerful enough to proceed. Thus, therefore, 
the Carthaginians escaped being made tributary 
to Persia, for Cambyses did not choose to use 
compulsion with the Phoenicians, who had volun- 
tarily become his dependants, and who consti- 
tuted the most essential part of his naval power. 
The Cyprians had also submitted without contest 
to the Persians, and had served in the Egyptian 

XX. As soon as the Ichthyophagi * arrived 
from Elephantine, Cambyses dispatched them to 
^Ethiopia. They were commissioned to deliver, 
with certain presents, a particular message to the 
prince. The presents consisted of a purple vest, 
a gold chain for the neck, bracelets, an alabaster 
box of perfumes** and a cask of palm wine f. 
The ^Ethiopians to whom Cambyses sent, are 


* The Ichthyophagi are not distinctly marked in ancient 
writers. There were people thus denominated in Gadrasia, 
as well as on the coasts of Arabia and Africa. See Vincent's 

24 Alabaster box of perfumes.] — It seems probable that per- 
fumes-in more ancient times were kept in shells. Arabia is 
the country of perfumes, and the Red Sea throws upon the 

-! Fvr this note, see the next page. 


reported to be superior to all other men in the 
perfections of size and beauty : their manners 


coast a number of large and beautiful shells, very convenient 
for such a purpose.— See Horace : 

Funde capacibus 
Unguenta de conchis. 

That to make a present of perfumes was deemed a mark 
of reverence and honour in the remotest times amongst the 
Orientals, appears from the following passage in Daniel: 

" Then the king Nebuchadnezzar feli upon his face, and 
worshipped Daniel, and commanded that they should offer 
an oblation and sweet odours to him." 

This offering to Daniel is considered by some as a sacri- 
fice to a deity. 

See also St. Mark, xiv. 3 : 

" There came a woman having an alabaster box of oint- 
ment of spikenard, very precious; and she brake the box, 
and poured it on his head." 

See also Matth. xxvi. 7- 

To sprinkle the apartments and the persons of the guests 
with rose-water, and other aromatics, still continues in the 
East to be a mark of respectful attention. 

Alabastvon did not properly signify a vessel made of the 
stone now called alabaster, but one without handles, /*« typv 

Alabaster obtained its name from being frequently used 
for this purpose ; the ancient name for the stone was ala- 
hastritcs, and perfumes were thought to keep better in it 
than in any other substance. Pliny has informed us of the 
shape of these vessels, by comparing to them the pearls 
called elenchi, which are known to have been shaped like 
pears, or, as he expresses it, fastigiata. longitudine, alabas- 
trorum figura, in pleniorem orbem desinentes; lib. ix. 
cap. 35.— T. 

f Palm wine.] — Larcher observes that Herodotus no where 
VOL. II, M distinguishes 

164 THALIA. 

and customs, which differ also from those of all 
other nations, have, besides, this singular distinc- 
tion ; the supreme authority is given to him who 
excels all his fellow citizens 45 in size and pro- 
portionable strength. 

XXI. The Ichthyophagi on their arrival offered 
the presents, and thus addressed the king : " Cam- 
" byses, sovereign of Persia, from his anxious 
" desire of becoming your friend and ally, has 
" sent us to communicate with you, and to de- 
" sire your acceptance of these presents, from 
" the use of which he himself derives the greatest 
" pleasure." The Ethiopian prince, who was 
aware of the object they had in view, made them 
this answer : — " The kins; of Persia has not sent 
u you with these presents, from any desire of ob- 



distinguishes the different wines he mentions by the name of 
the places which produced them, but the articles of which 
they are made. Thus, in the second book, he speaks of wine 
of barley; in the fourth book, of wine of the lotos, wine of 
the vine, and wine of palms, dates, &c. ; which latter wine is 
at this day the ordinary beverage of the Orientals. 

25 Who excels all his fellow citizens, See."] — That the quality 
of strength and accomplishments of person were, in the first 
institution of society, the principal recommendations to ho- 
nour, is thus represented by Lucretius : 

Condere coeperunt urbeis, arcemque locare 

Presidium reges ipsi sibi perfugiumque : 

Et pecudes et agros divisere atque dedere 

Pro facie cujusque, et viribus ingenioque 

Nam facies multum valuit, viresque vigebant. T. 





u taining my alliance ; neither do you speak the 
" truth, who, to facilitate the unjust designs of 
your master, are come to examine the state of 
my dominions : if he were influenced by prin- 
ciples of integrity, he would be satisfied with 
his own, and not covet the possessions of 
u another ; nor would he attempt to reduce those 
" to servitude from whom he has received no in- 
" jury. Give him therefore this bow> and in my 
81 name speak to him thus : The king of iEthi- 
" opia sends this counsel to the king of Persia — 
" when his subjects shall be able to bend this 
" bow with the same ease that I do, then with a 
"- superiority of numbers he may venture to attack 
" the Macrobian ^Ethiopians. In the mean time 
" let him be thankful to the gods, that the iEthi- 
" opians have not been inspired with the same 
" ambitious views of extending their posses- 

tc * _ ?) 


XXII. When he had finished, he unbent the 
bow *, and placed it in their hands ; after which, 


* It is surprizing to see how much Mr. Bruce talks at ran- 
dom on the subject of this historical anecdote ; in all of which, 
these two words of Herodotus refute him. 

Bruce tells a long story of a custom of the Shangallas, 
whom he will call the Macrobians, which consisted in hang- 
ing upon their bows a ring from the skins of the different 
animals they kill, till the bow intircly loses its elasticity, and 

M 2 cannot 

i64 T II A L I A. 

taking the purple vest, he inquired what it was, 
and how it was made : the Ichthyophagi properly 
explained to him the process hy which the purple 
tincture was communicated; but he told them 
that they and their vests were alike deceitful. 
He then made similar inquiries concerning the 
bracelets and the gold chains for the neck : upon 
their describing the nature of those ornaments, 
he laughed, and conceiving them to be chains z6 , 


cannot be used. It was one of these inflexible bows, says 
he, which the /Ethiopian prince sent to Cambyses. Instead 
of this, Herodotus says, " the prince unbent the bow," 
&c. &c. 

I can hardly wonder that Larcher should speak of Bruce 
with such severity, having had myself frequent occasion to 
reproach him with haste and inaccuracy. 

iC ' Conceiving them to be chains.]— We learn from a passage 
in Genesis, xxiv. 22, that the bracelets of the Orientals were 
remarkably heavy; which seems in some measure to justify 
the sentiment of the ./Ethiopian prince, who thought them 
chains simply because they were made of gold, which was 
used for that purpose in his country. — See chap, xxiii. 

" And it came to pass as the camels had done drinking, 
that the man took a golden ear-ring of half a shekel weight, 
and two bracelets for her hands, of ten shekels weight of 

That the bracelet was formerly an ensign of royalty 
amongst the Orientals, Mr. Manner, in his Observations on 
Passages of Scripture, infers from the circumstance of the 
Amalckite's bringing to David the bracelet which he found 
on Saul's arm, along with his crown. That it was a mark of 
dignity there can be little doubt; but it by no means follows 
that it was a mark of royalty, though the remark is certainly 
I ingenious. 



remarked, that the ^Ethiopians possessed much 
stronger. He proceeded lastly to ask them the 
use of the perfumes ; and when they informed 
him how they were made and applied, he made 
the same observation as he had before done of 
the purple robe * 7 . When he came to the wine, 


ingenious. If it was, there existed a peculiar propriety in 
making it the part of a present from one prince to another. 
By the Roman generals they were given to their soldiers, as 
a reward of bravery. Small chains were also in the remotest 
times worn round the neck, not only by women but by the 
men. That these were also worn by princes, appears from 
Judges, viii. 26. 

" And the weight of the golden ear-rings that he requested, 
was a thousand and seven hundred shekels of gold ; beside 
ornaments, and collars, and purple raiment that was on the 
kings of Midian; and beside the chains that were about 
their camels' necks." Which last circumstance tends also to 
prove that they thus also decorated the animals they used ; 
which fashion is to this day observed by people of distinc- 
tion in /Egypt. — T. 

27 Purple robe.'] — It is a circumstance well known at pre- 
sent, that on the coast of Guagaquil, as well as on that of 
Guatima, are found those snails which yield the purple dye 
so celebrated by the ancients, and which the moderns have 
supposed to have been lost. The shell that contains them is 
fixed to rocks that are watered by the sea; it is of the size 
of a large nut. The juice may be extracted from the animal 
in two ways ; some persons kill the animal after they have 
taken it out of the shell, they then press it from the head to 
the tail with a knife, and, separating from the body that part 
in which the liquor is collected, they throw away the rest. 
When this operation, repeated upon several of the snails, 
hath yielded a certain quantity of the juice, the thread that 

M 3 is ' 

166 T H A L I A. 

and learned how it was made, he drank it with 
particular satisfaction; and inquired upon what 
food the Persian monarch subsisted, and what 
was the longest period of a Persian's life. The 
king, they told him, lived chiefly upon bread ; 
and they then described to him the properties of 
corn : they added, that the longest period of life 
in Persia was about eighty years. " I am not at 
" all surprized," said the ./Ethiopian prince, 
" that, subsisting on dung, the term of life is so 
u short among them; and unless," he continued, 
pointing to the wine, " they mixed it with this 
" liquor, they would not live so long:" for in 
this he allowed that they excelled the ^Ethiopians. 

XXIII. The Ichthyophagi in their turn ques- 
tioned the prince concerning the duration of life 
in ^Ethiopia, and the kind of food there in use : 
They were told, that the majority of the people 
lived to the age of one hundred and twenty years, 
but that some exceeded even that period ; that 


is to be dyed is dipped in it, and the business is done. The 
colour, which is at first as white as milk, becomes afterwards 
green, and does not turn purple till the thread is dry. 

We know of no colour that can be compared to the one 
we have been speaking of, either in lustre or in permanency. 
— Raynal. 

Pliny describes the pttrpura as a turbinated shell like the 
buccinum, but with spines upon it ; which may lead us to 
suspect the Abbe's account of the snails of a little inac= 
euracy.— >T. 

THALIA. 167 

their meat was baked flesh*, their drink milk. 
When the spies expressed astonishment at the 
length of life in ./Ethiopia, they were conducted 
to a certain fountain, in which having bathed, 
they became shining as if anointed with oil, and 
emitted from their bodies the perfume of violets f. 
But they asserted that the water of this fountain 
was of so insubstantial a nature, that neither 
wood, nor any thing still lighter than wood, 
would float upon its surface, but every thing in- 
stantly sunk to the bottom. If their repre- 
sentation of this water was true, the constant 
use of it may probably explain the extreme 
length of life which the Ethiopians attain. 
From the fountain they were conducted to the 


* This is the second place in which Herodotus asserts that 
these ^Ethiopians lived on baked or roasted flesh; never- 
theless, Bruce, vvith his accustomed carelessness and inac- 
curacy, affirms, as if from our historian, that they lived on 
raw flesh, which, he adds, they continue to do to this very 

f Cada Mosto, who made a voyage to Senegal in the 
year 1455, affirms that the natives made use of a certain oil 
in the preparation of their victuals, which possessed a three- 
fold property ; that of smelling like violets, tasting like oil of 
olives, and of tinging the victuals with a colour more beau- 
tiful than saffron. The present inhabitants of this part of 
Africa extract an oil from the kernels of the palm-nuts ; this 
is used for the same purposes as the palm-oil, but, as Dr. 
Winterbottom observes, more nearly resembles butter, as it 
has no smell. 

M 4 

1G8 T H A L I A. 

public prison, where all that were confined were 
secured by chains of gold ; for among these 
^Ethiopians, brass is the rarest of all the metals. 
After visiting the prison they saw also what is 
called the table of the sun. 

XXIV. Finally they were shewn the ^Ethi- 
opian coffins 18 , which are said to be constructed 


28 Coffins, .] — Coffins, though anciently used in the East, 
and considered as marks of distinction, are not now there 
applied to the dead either by Turks or Christians. 

" With us," says Mr. Harmer, in his Observations on Pas- 
sages of Scripture, " the poorest people have their coffins : 
if the relations cannot afford them, the parish is at the ex- 
pence. In the East, on the contrary, they are not now at 
all made use of. Turks and Christians, Thevenot assures us, 
agree in this. The ancient Jews probably buried their dead 
in the same manner: neither was the body of our Lord, it 
should seem, put into a coffin, nor that of Elisha, whose 
bones were touched by the corpse that was let down a little 
after into his sepulchre; 2 Kings, xiii. 21. That they, how- 
ever, were anciently made use of in ./Egypt, all agree ; and 
antique coffins, of stone and sycamore wood, are still to be 
seen in that country, not to mention those said to be made 
of a kind of paste-board, formed by folding and glueing 
cloth together a great number of times, which were cu- 
riously plaistered, and then painted with hieroglyphics. Its 
being an ancient ./Egyptian custom, and its not being used 
in the neighbouring countries, were doubtless the cause that 
the sacred historian expressly observes of Joseph, that he 
was not only embalmed, but put into a coffin too, both 
being managements peculiar in a manner to the ^Egyptians." 
—Observations on Passages of Scripture, vol. ii. 154. 


THALIA. 169 

of crystal, and in this manner: — After all the 
moisture is exhausted from the body, by the 


Mr. Harmer's observation in the foregoing note is not 
strictly true. The use of coffins might very probably be un- 
known in Syria, from whence Joseph came; but that they 
were used by all nations contiguous on one side at least to 
iEgypt, the passage before us proves sufficiently. I have not 
been able to ascertain at what period the use of coffins was 
introduced in this country, but it appears from the following 
passage of our celebrated antiquary, Mr. Strutt, that from 
very remote times our ancestors were interred in some kind 
of coffin. " It was customary in the Christian burials of 
the Anglo Saxons to leave the head and shoulders of the 
corpse uncovered till the time of burial, that relations, &c. 
might take a last view of their deceased friend." We have 
also the following in Durant, " Corpus totum at sudore ob- 
volutum ac loculo conditum veteres in coenaculis, seu tri- 
cliniis exponebant." 

We learn from a passage in Strabo, that there was a tem- 
ple at Alexandria, in which the body of Alexander was de- 
posited, in a coffin of gold ; it was stolen by Seleucus Cy- 
biosactes, who left a coffin of glass in its place. This is the 
only author, except Herodotus, in whom I can remember to 
have seen mention made of a coffin of glass. The urns of 
ancient Rome, in which the ashes of the dead were depo- 
sited, were indifferently made of gold, silver, brass, alabaster, 
porphyry, and marble ; these were externally ornamented 
according to the rank of the deceased. A minute descrip- 
tion of these, with a multitude of specimens, may be seen in 
Montfaucon.— T. 

On the subject of the leaden coffins of the Saxons, see 
Gough's Sepulchral Monuments of Great Britain; Intro- 
duction, p. 11. 

One reason for not having coffins in the East, may be the 
quickness of interment, and the cool retreats in which the 
bodies were deposited, at a distance from the towns. 

170 THALIA. 

^Egyptian or some other process, they cover it 
totally with a kind of plaster, which they adorn 
with various colours, and make it exhibit as near 
a resemblance as may be, of the person of the 
deceased. They then inclose it in a hollow pillar 
of crystal * 9 , which is dug up in great abundance, 
and of a kind that is easily worked. The de- 
ceased is very conspicuous through the crystal, 
has no disagreeable smell, nor any thing else that 
is offensive. The nearest relations keep this 
coffin for a twelvemonth in their houses, offering 
before it different kinds of victims, and the first- 
fruits of their lands; these are afterwards re- 
moved and set up round the city. 

XXV. The spies, after executing their com- 
mission, returned ; and Cambyses was so exas- 
perated at their recital, that he determined in- 
stantly to proceed against the ^Ethiopians, with- 
out ever providing for the necessary sustenance 


'■ 9 Pillar of crystal.] — " Our glass," says M. Larcher, " is 
not the production of the earth, it must be manufactured 
with much trouble." According to Ludolf, they find in 
some parts of ^Ethiopia large quantities of fossil salt, which 
is transparent, and which indurates in the air : this is per- 
haps what they took for glass. 

We have the testimony of the Scholiast on Aristophanes, 
that iaXo?, though afterwards used for glass, signified an- 
ciently crystal : as therefore Herodotus informs us that this 
substance was digged from the earth, why should we hesitate 
to translate it crystal ? — T. 

THALIA. 171 

of his army, or reflecting that he was about to 
visit the extremities of the earth. The moment 
that he heard the report of the Ichthyophagi, like 
one deprived of all the powers of reason, he com- 
menced his march with the whole body of his in- 
fantry, leaving no forces behind but such Greeks 
as had accompanied him to iEgypt. On his ar- 
rival at Thebes, he selected from his army about 
fifty thousand men, whom he ordered to make an 
incursion against the Ammonians, and to burn 
the place from whence the oracles of Jupiter 
were delivered : he himself, with the remainder 
of his troops, marched against the ^Ethiopians. 
Before he had performed a fifth part * of his in- 
tended expedition, the provisions he had with 
him were totally consumed. They proceeded to 
eat the beasts which carried the baggage, till these 
also failed. If after these incidents Cambyses 
had permitted his passions to cool, and had led 
his army back again, notwithstanding his indis- 
cretion, he still might have deserved praise. In- 
stead of this, his infatuation continued, and he 
proceeded on his march. The soldiers, as long 


• Thus it appears that Cambyses never penetrated beyond 
the desert of Selima, that is, says Rennel, on the supposition 
that he set out from Thebes, and that Sennar was the en- 
trance into the country of the Macrobians. The desert here 
alluded to must necessarily have been that in which Bruce 
suffered such dreadful hardships, namely, that above Syene. 

172 THALIA. 


as the earth afforded them any sustenance, were 
content to feed on vegetables; but as soon as 
they arrived among the sands and the deserts, 
some of them were prompted by famine to pro- 
ceed to the most horrid extremities. They drew 
lots, and every tenth man was destined to satisfy 
the hunger of the rest ?Q . When Cambyses re- 
ceived intelligence of this fact, alarmed at the 
idea of his troops devouring one another, he 
abandoned his designs upon the Ethiopians, and 
returning homeward arrived at length at Thebes, 
after losing a considerable number of his men. 
From Thebes he proceeded to Memphis, from 
whence he permitted the Greeks to embark. — 
Such was the termination of the Ethiopian ex- 

30 Satisfy the hunger of the rest.] — The whole of this nar- 
rative is transcribed by Seneca, with some little variation, 
in his treatise de Iru; who at the conclusion adds, though we 
know not from what authority, that notwithstanding these 
dreadful sufferings of his troops, the king's table was served 
with abundance of delicacies. Servabantur interim illi ge- 
nerosa; aves, et instrumenta epularum camelis vehebantur. 

Perhaps the most horrid example on record of suffering 
from famine, is the description given by Josephus of the siege 
of Jerusalem. Eleven thousand prisoners were starved to 
death after the capture of the city, during the storm. Whilst 
the Romans were engaged in pillage, on entering several 
houses they found whole families dead, and the houses 
crammed with starved carcases ; but what is still more 
shocking, it was a notorious fact, that a mother killed, 
dressed, and eat her own child. — T. 

THALIA. lit 

XXVI. The troops who were dispatched against 
the Ammonians left Thebes with guides, and pe- 
netrated, as it should seem, as far as Oasis*. 
This place is distant from Thebes about a seven 
days journey over the sands, and is said to be 
inhabited by Samians, of the iEschryonian tribe. 
The country is called, in Greek, " The happy 
Islands." The army is reported to have pro- 
ceeded thus far; but what afterwards became of 
them it is impossible to know, except from the 
Ammonians, or from those whom the Ammonians 
have instructed on this head. It is certain that 
they never arrived among the Ammonians, and 
that they never returned JI . The Ammonians 
affirm, that as they were marching forwards from 
Oasis through the sands, they halted at some 
place of middle distance, for the purpose of tak- 


* Thus it appears that Herodotus applies this name of 
Oasis to the greater Oasis only, which is the El, or El Wall 
of the present day. Indeed, Wall means the Oasis, and El 
Wall is therefore The Oasis. See on this subject Major 
Rennel, p. 555. 

31 Never returned.] — The route of the army makes it plain 
that the guides, who detested the Persians, led them astray 
amidst the deserts; for they should have departed from the 
lake Mareotis to this temple, or from the environs of Mem-' 
phis. The /Egyptians, intending the destruction of their 
enemies, led them from Thebes to the great Oasis, three 
days journey from Abydus; and having brought them into 
the vast solitudes of Libya, they no doubt abandoned them 
in the night, and delivered them over to death. — Savary. 

174 THALIA. 

ing repast, which whilst they were doing, a strong 
south wind arose, and overwhelmed them be- 
neath a mountain of sand J1 , so that they were 
seen no more. — Such, as the Ammonians relate, 
was the fate of this army. 

XXVII. Soon after the return of Cambyses 
to Memphis, the god Apis appeared, called by 


31 Mountain of sand] — What happens at present in per- 
forming this journey, proves the event to be very credible. 
Travellers, departing from the fertile valley lying under the 
tropic, march seven days before they come to the first town 
in ^Ethiopia. They find their way in the day-time by look- 
ing at marks, and at night by observing the stars. The sand- 
hills they had observed on the preceding journey having 
often been carried away by the winds, deceive the guides ; 
and if they wander the least out of the road, the camels, hav- 
ing passed five or six days without drinking, sink under their 
burden, and die : the men are not long before they submit to 
the same fate, and sometimes, out of a great number, not a 
single traveller escapes; at others the burning winds from 
the south raise vortexes of dust, which suffocate man and 
beast, and the next caravan sees the ground strewed with 
bodies totally parched up.— Savary. 

Mr. Brown, however, one of the last travellers in these 
regions, does not easily give credit to the idea of living per- 
sons being overwhelmed with sand. I think with my friend 
Major Rennel, that it is more probable that they perished 
from fatigue and the want of water. The proper rout would 
certainly have been from Memphis, from whence Amnion 
was also one-third nearer. See Rennel, p. 578. To this it 
may be added, that the nature of the desert round Seiva, or 
-Seewa, does not appear to be constituted of that shifting 
sand of which the Western desert is composed. 


THALIA. 175 

the Greeks, Epaphus u . Upon this occasion the 
./Egyptians clothed themselves in their richest ap- 
parel, and made great rejoicings. Cambyses 
took notice of this, and imagined it was done 
on account of his late unfortunate projects. He 
ordered, therefore, the magistrates of Memphis 
to attend him ; and he asked them why they had 
done nothing of this kind when he was formerly 
at Memphis, and had only made rejoicings now 
that he had returned with the loss of so many 
of his troops. They told him, that their deity u 


53 Epaphus.] — Epaphus was the son of Io, the daughter of 
Inachus. The Greeks pretended he was the same person as 
the god Apis ; this the Egyptians rejected as fabulous, and 
asserted that Epaphus was posterior to Apis by many cen- 

3+ Their de«Yj/.]— It is probable that Apis was not always 
considered as a deity; perhaps they regarded him as a sym- 
bol of Osiris, and it was from this that the ^Egyptians were 
induced to pay him veneration. Others assert confidently 
that he was the same as Osiris; and some have said that 
Osiris having been killed by Typhon, Isis inclosed his limbs 
in an heifer made of wood. Apis was sacred to the moon, 
as was the bull Mnevis to the sun. Others supposed, that 
both were sacred to Osiris, who is the same with the sun. 
When he died, there was an universal mourning in ./Egypt. 
They sought for another, and having found him, the mourn- 
ing ended. The priests conducted him to Nilopolis, where 
they kept him forty days. They afterwards removed him in 
a magnificent vessel to Memphis, where he had an apart- 
ment ornamented with gold. During the forty days above 
mentioned, the women only were suffered to see him. They 


176 THALIA. 

had appeared to them, which after a long ab- 
sence it was his custom to do ; and that when 


stood i-ound him, and lifting up their garments, discovered 
to him what modesty forbids us to name. Afterwards the 
sight of the god was forbidden them. 

Every year they brought him an heifer, which had also 
certain marks. According to the sacred books, he was only 
permitted to live a stipulated time; when this came, he was 
drowned in a sacred fountain. — Larcher. 

A few other particulars concerning this Apis may not be 
unacceptable to an English reader. 

The homage paid him was not confined to ^Egypt; many 
illustrious conquerors and princes of foreign nations, Alex- 
ander, Titus, and Adrian, bowed themselves before him, 
Larcher says that he was considered as sacred to the moon ; 
but Porphyry expressly says, that he was sacred to both sun 
and moon. The following passage is from Plutarch : " The 
priests affirm that the moon sheds a generative light, with 
which should a cow wanting the bull be struck, she con- 
ceives Apis, who bears the sign of that planet." Strabo 
says, that he was brought out from his apartment to gratify 
the curiosity of strangers, and might always be seen through 
a window. Pliny relates with great solemnity that he re- 
fused food from the hand of Germanicus, who died soon 
after; and one ancient historian asserts, that during the 
seven days when the birth of Apis was celebrated, crocodiles 
forgot their natural ferocity, and became tame. 

The bishop of Avranches, M. Huet, endeavoured to prove 
that Apis was a symbol of the patriarch Joseph. 

It has been generally allowed, that Osiris was reverenced 
in the homage paid to Apis. Osiris introduced agriculture, 
m which the utility of the bull is obvious; and this appears 
to be the most rational explanation that can be given of 
this part of the ^Egyptian superstition. See Savary, Po~ 
cockc, c^c— T. 


THALIA. 177 

this happened, it was customary for all the Egyp- 
tians to hold a solemn festival. Cambyses dis- 
believed what they told him, and condemned 
them to death, as guilty of falshood. 

XXVIII. As soon as they were executed, he 
sent for the priests, from whom he received the 
same answer. " If," said he, " any deity has 
" shown himself familiarly in iEgypt, I must see 
" and know him." He then commanded them 


The reader will remember that one of the plagues in- 
flicted on iEgypt by the hand of Moses, was the destruction 
of the cattle, in which, as the ./Egyptians venerated cattle as 
divinities, there appears, according to Mr. Bryant, peculiar 
fitness and analogy. See Bryant on the Plagues of ./Egypt, 
p. 102. 

This judgment displayed upon the kine of ./Egypt, was very 
significant in its execution and purport; for when the. dis- 
temper spread irresistably over the country, the ./Egyptians 
not only suffered a severe loss, but what was of far greater 
consequence, they saw the representatives of their deities, 
and their deities themselves, sink before the god of the He- 
brews. They thought that the soul of Osiris was uniformly 
resident in the body of the bull Apis; a notion not unlike 
that concerning the Deli Lama, in Elith, Tangat, and Thibet. 
But Osiris had no power to save his brute representatives. 
Both the Apis and Mnevis were carried off by the same ma- 
lady which swept away all the herds of deities, these Dii 
Stercorii who lived on grass and hay. There is reason to 
think that both the camel and ass were held in some degree 
sacred, who were involved in the same calamity. Hence it 
is said by the sacred writer, upon their gods also the Lord 
executed judgment. 

Vol. II. N 

178 THALIA. 

to bring Apis before him, which they prepared 
to do. This Apis, or Epaphus, is the calf of a 
cow which can have n'o more young. The iEgyp- 
tians say, that on this occasion the cow is struck 
with lightning, from which she conceives and 
brings forth Apis. The young one so produced, 
and thus named, is known by certain marks : 
The skin is black, but on its forehead is a white 
star of a triangular form. It has the figure of 
an eagle on the back, the tail 35 is divided, and 
under the tongue 36 it has an insect like a beetle. 

XXIX. When the priests conducted Apis to 
his presence, Cambyses was transported with 
rage. He drew his dagger, and endeavouring to 
stab him in the belly, wounded him in the thigh ; 
then turning to the priests with an insulting 
smile, " Wretches," he exclaimed, " think ye 

" that 

35 The tail.] — The Scholiast of Ptolemy says, but I know- 
not on what authority, that the tail of the bull increased or 
diminished according to the age of the moon. — Larchcr. 

36 Under the tongue.] — In all the copies of Herodotus, it 
is 1 7H h t» yXuo-o-ri, upon the tongue ; but it is plain from 
Pliny and Eusebius that it ought to be l?ro, under. The 
former explains what it was, Nodus sub lingua quern can- 
tharum appellant, " a knot under the tongue, which they 
call cantharus, or the beetle." viii. 46. The spot on the 
forehead is also changed by the commentators from qua- 
drangular to triangular. Plinjr mentions also a mark like a 
crescent on the right side, and is silent about the eagle* 
The beetle was considered as an emblem of the sun.--~T. 


THALIA. 179 

that gods are formed of flesh and blood, and 
" thus susceptible of wounds ? This, indeed, is 
" a deity worthy of ^Egyptians: but you shall 
" find that I am not to be mocked with impu- 
" nity." He then called the proper officers, and 
commanded the priests to be scourged : he di- 
rected also that whatever ^Egyptian was found 
celebrating this festival, should be put to death. 
The priests were thus punished, and no further 
solemnities observed. Apis himself languished 
and died in the temple, from the wound of his 
thigh, and was buried 37 by the priests without 
the knowledge of Cambyses. 

XXX. The ^Egyptians affirm, that in conse- 
quence of this impiety, Cambyses became imme- 
diately mad, who indeed did not before appear to 
have had the proper use of his reason. The first 
impulse of his fury, was directed against Smerdis, 
his own brother, who had become the object of 
his jealousy, because he was the only Persian who 
had been able to bend the bow, which the Ich- 
thyophagi brought from ^Ethiopia, the breadth of 
two lingers. He was therefore ordered to return 
to Persia, where as soon as he arrived, Cambyses 


37 Buried by the priests.] — This account is contradicted by 
Plutarch, who tells us, that Apis having been slain by Cam- 
byses, was by his order exposed and devoured by dogs. — T. 

N <2 

180 T H A L I A. 

saw this vision : a messenger appeared to arrive 
from Persia, informing him that Smerdis, seated 
on the roval throne, touched the heavens with his 
head. Cambyses was instantly struck with the 
apprehension that Smerdis would kill him, and 
seize his dominions ; to prevent which he dis- 
patched Prexaspes, a Persian, and one of his 
most faithful adherents, to put him to death. He 
arrived at Susa, and destroyed Smerdis, some say, 
by taking him aside whilst engaged in the diver- 
sion of the chace ; others believe that he drowned 
him in the Red Sea; this, however, was the com- 
mencement of the calamities of Cambyses. 

XXXI. The next victim of his fury was his 
sister, who had accompanied him to /Egypt. She 
was also his wife, which thing he thus accom- 
plished : before this prince, no Persian had ever 
been known to marry his sister 38 ; but Cambyses, 
being passionately fond of one of his, and know- 
ing that there was no precedent to justify his 


38 Marry his sister.] — Ingenious and learned men of all 
ages have amused themselves with drawing a comparison be- 
twixt the laws of Solon and Lycurgus. The following par- 
ticularity affords ample room for conjecture and discussion r 
At Athens a man was suffered to marry his sister by the 
father, but forbidden to marry his sister by the mother. At 
Laced cemon things were totally reversed, a man was allowed 
to marry his sister by the mother, and forbidden to marry 
his sister by the father. — See what Bayle says on the circum- 
stance of a man's marrying his sister, article Sarah.-~T. 

T II A L I A. 181 

making her his wife, assembled those who were 
called the royal judges ; of them, he desired to 
know whether there was any law which would 
permit a brother to marry his sister, if he thought 
proper to do so. The royal judges in Persia are 
men of the most approved integrity, who hold 
their places for life, or till they shall be convicted 
of some crime 39 . Every thing is referred to their 


39 Of some crime] — Our judges formerly held their offices 
durante bene placito, and the King might remove them at 
pleasure- This continued till the passing of the act 13 Wil- 
liam III. chap. 2, which was expressly made for the pur- 
pose of maintaining the dignity and independence of the 
judges in the superior courts; and which enacted, that the 
commissions of the judges should be made quam diu se 
bene gesserint, and that their salaries should be fixed and 
established, but they were still liable to be removed on the 
address of both houses of parliament, and their seats were 
vacated upon any demise of the crown. 

By the 1st Geo. III. chap. 23, the judges are at liberty to 
continue in their offices during their good behaviour, not- 
withstanding any demise of the crown, and their salaries 
are absolutely secured to them. This act was made at the 
express recommendation of his Majesty, from the throne ; 
his words are memorable; he was pleased to declare that 
" he looked upon the independence and uprightness of the 
judges as essential to the impartial administration of justice; 
as one of the best securities of the rights and liberties of 
his subjects; and as most conducive to the honour of the 
crown." 1st Blac. Com. 2.37- 

These and various other acts which have been passed 
since the Revolution in loSS, such as the bill of rights, to- 
leration act, septennial parliament, <xc. have considerably 
reduced the executive power; but it has on the other hand 
Acquired so much streugth from the riot- act, the establish- 

N 3 mcnt 

isc T II ALIA. 

decision, they are the interpreters of the laws, 
and determine all private disputes. In answer 
to the inquiry of Cainbyses, they replied shrewdly, 
though with truth, that although they could find 
no law which would permit a brother to marry 
his sister, they had discovered one which enabled 
a monarch of Persia to do what he pleased. In 
this answer, the awe of Cambyses prevented their 
adopting literally the spirit of the Persian laws; 
and to secure their persons, they took care to 
discover what would justify him, who wished to 
marry his sister. Cambyses, therefore, instantly 
married the sister whom he loved 40 , and not 
long afterwards a second 41 . The younger of 
these, who accompanied him to iEgypt, he put 
to death. 

XXXII. The manner of her death, like that 
of Smerdis, is differently related. The Greeks 
say that Gambyses made the cub of a lioness and 
a young whelp engage each other, and that this 
princess was present at the combat; when this 
latter was vanquished, another whelp of the same 


ment of a standing army, and a funded debt, and the man- 
ner of raising those loans that are appropriated to pay off 
the interest, that it seems fair to conclude that what the 
crown has lost in prerogative it has gained in influence. 

*° Whom he lured.'] — Her name, according to the Scholiast 
of Lucian, was Atossa, who next married Smerdis, one of the 
magi, and afterwards Darius, son of Hystaspes. — Larcher. 

41 Afterwards a second.] — If Libanius maybe credited, the 
name of this lady was Meroe, — Wcsseli/tg, 

T II ALIA. 183 

litter broke what confined it, and flew to assist 
the other, and that both together were too much 
for the young lion. Cambyses seeing this, ex- 
pressed great satisfaction; but the princess burst 
into tears. Cambyses observed her weep, and 
inquired the reason ; she answered, that seeing 
one whelp assist another of the same brood, she 
could not but remember Smerdis, whose death 
she feared nobody would revenge. For which 
saying, the Greeks affirm, that Cambyses put 
her to death. On the contrary, if we may believe 
the ^Egyptians, this princess was sitting at table 
with her husband, and took a lettuce in her hand, 
dividing it leaf' by leaf: " Which,'" said she, 
" seems in your eyes most agreeable, this lettuce 
" whole, or divided into leaves?" He replied, 
" When whole." " You," says she, " resemble 
" this lettuce, as I have divided it, for you have 
" thus torn in sunder the house of Cyrus." 
Cambyses was so greatly incensed, that he threw 
her down, and leaped upon her ; and being preg- 
nant, she was delivered before her time, and lost 
her life. 

XXXIII. To such excesses in his own family 
was Cambyses impelled, either on account of his 
impious treatment of Apis, or from some other 
of those numerous calamities which afflict man- 
kind. From the first hour of his birth, he la- 
boured under what by some is termed the sacred 

n 4 disease. 

184 T H A L I A. 

disease *. It is, therefore, by no means astonish- 
ing that so great a bodily infirmity should at 
length injure the mind. 

XXXIV. His phrenzy, however, extended to 
the other Persians. He once made a remarkable 
speech to Prexaspes, for whom he professed the 
greatest regard, who received all petitions to the 
king, and whose son enjoyed the honourable office 
of royal cnp-bearer. " What," says he, upon 
some occasion, " do the Persians think of me, 
" or in what terms do they speak of me?" 
" Sir," he replied, " in all other respects they 
" speak of you with honour; but it is the ge- 
" neral opinion that you are too much addicted 
" to wine." " What !" returned the prince in 
anger, " I suppose they say that I drink to ex- 
" cess, and am deprived of reason ; their former 
" praise, therefore, could not be sincere." At 
some preceding period he had asked of those 
whom he used most familiarly, and of Croesus 
among the rest, whether they thought he had 
equalled the greatness of his father Cyrus. In 
reply they told him, that he was the greater of 
the two, for that to all which Cyrus had pos- 

This disease, as Larcher observes, means the epilepsy, 
and was named the sacred disease by jugglers and ignorant 
pretenders to the medical art, because they did not know? 
how to treat it. 


sessed, he had added the empire of iEgypt and 
of the ocean. Croesus, who was present, did not 
assent to this. " Sir," said he to Cambyses, 
" in my opinion you are not equal to your fa- 
" ther; you have not such a son as he left be- 
" hind him." Which speech of Croesus was 
highly agreeable to Cambyses. 

XXXV. Remembering this, he turned with 
great anger to Prexaspes : " You," said he, 
" shall presently be witness of the truth or fals- 
" hood of what the Persians say. If I hit di- 
" rectly through the heart 4 * your son, who stands 

" yonder, 

41 Through the heart.]— The story of William Tell, the 
great deliverer of the Swiss cantons from the yoke of the 
Germans, maybe properly introduced in this place. Grisler 
governed Switzerland for the Emperor Albert. lie ordered 
William Tell, a Swiss of some importance, for a pretended 
offence, to place an apple on the head of one of his chil- 
dren, and to hit it, on pain of death, with an arrow. He 
■was dexterous enough to do so, without hurting his child. 
Grisler, when the affair was over, took notice that Tell had 
another arrow concealed under his cloak, and asked him 
what it was for ?" " I intended," replied Tell, " to have 
shot you to the heart, if I had killed my child." The gover- 
nor ordered Tell to be hanged ; but the Swiss, defending 
their countryman, flew to arms, destroyed their governor, 
and made themselves independent. See this historical anec- 
dote referred to by Smollet, in his sublime Ode to Inde- 
pendence : 

Who with the generous rustics sate 
On Uri's rock, in close divan, 
And wing'd that arrow, sure as fate, 

Which ascertain'd the sacred rights of man. — T. 


186 T H A L I A. 

" yonder, it will be evident that they speak of 
" me maliciously ; if I miss my aim, they will 
" say true in affirming that I am mad." No 
sooner had he spoken, than he bent his bow, 
and struck the young man. When he fell, the 
king ordered his body to be opened, and the 
wound to be examined. He was rejoiced to find 
that the arrow had penetrated his heart; and 
turning to the father with a malicious smile, 
" You observe," said he, " that it is not I that 
" am mad, but the Persians who are foolish. 
" Tell me," he continued, " if you ever saw a 
*' man send an arrow surer to its mark ?" Prex- 
aspes, seeing he was mad, and fearing for him- 
self, replied, " I do not think, Sir, that even the 
" deity* could have aimed so well." — Such was 
his treatment of Prexaspes. At another time, 
without the smallest provocation, he commanded 
twelve Persians of distinction to be buried alive. 

XXXVI. Whilst he was pursuing these ex- 
travagancies, Crcesus gave him this advice : " Do 
" not, Sir, yield thus intemperately to the warmth 
" of your age and of your temper. Restrain 
" yourself, and remember that moderation is the 

" part 

The above anecdote appears to be worth preserving; yet it 
is proper to observe that Mr. Planta, in his history of Swit- 
zerland, is silent concerning it, from which circumstance its 
authenticity may very reasonably be doubted. 

* The deity. — That is, says Bellanger, Apollo himself, the 
god of the' bow. But how came Prexaspes to know any 
thing of Apollo ; the Persians had no such deity ? 

THALIA. 187 




part of a wise man, and it becomes every one 
to weigh the consequences of his actions. 
" Without any adequate offence you destroy your 
" fellow-citizens, and put even children to death. 
If you continue these excesses, the Persians 
" may be induced to revolt from you. In giv- 
" ing you these admonitions, I do but fulfil the 
" injunctions which the king your father repeat- 
" edly laid upon me, to warn you of whatever I 
thought necessary to your welfare.'" Kind as 
were the intentions of Croesus, he received this 
answer from Cambyses : " I am astonished at 
" your presumption in speaking to me thus, as 
if you had been remarkable either for the judi- 
cious government of your own dominions, or 
for the wise advice which you gave my father. 
" I cannot forget that, instead of waiting for the 
" attack of the Massagetae, you counselled him 
" to advance and encounter them in their own 
" territories. By your misconduct you lost your 
" own dominions, and by your ill advice were 
" the cause of my father's ruin. But do not ex- 
" pect to escape with impunity ; indeed I have 
" long wished for an opportunity to punish you." 
He then eagerly snatched his bow 43 , intending to 


* s Snatched his bow.] — The mental derangement under 
which Saul laboured, previous to the elevation of David, 
bears somo resemblance to the character here given of Cam- 
byses; and the escape of the son of Jesse from the javelin of 

the king of Israel, will admit of a comparison with that of 
us from the arrow of Cambyses.— 2'. 



188 THALIA. 

pierce Croesus with an arrow, but by an expedi- 
tious flight he escaped. Cambyses instantly or- 
dered him to be seized and put to death ; but as 
his officers were well acquainted with their 
prince's character, they concealed Croesus, think- 
ing that if at any future period he should show 
contrition, they might by producing him obtain a 
reward ; but if no farther inquiries were made 
concerning him, they might then kill him. Not 
long afterwards Cambyses expressed regret for 
Croesus, which when his attendants perceived, 
they told him that he was alive. He demonstrated 
particular satisfaction at the preservation of 
Croesus, but he would not forgive the disobe- 
dience of his servants, who were accordingly 

XXXVII. He perpetrated many things of 
this kind against the Persians and his allies, 
whilst he stayed at Memphis : neither did he 
hesitate to violate the tombs, and examine the 
bodies of the dead. He once entered the tem- 
ple of Vulcan, and treated the shrine of that 
deity with much contempt. The statue of this 
god exceedingly resembles the Pataici *, which 
the Phoenicians place at the prow of their trire- 

* By no other author are these Pataici mentioned.- They 
were probably images of tutelar deities. Hesychius calls 
them foot (pomxot, Phoenician deities, placed by them at the 
stern, or, as Heliodorus affirms, from Herodotus, at the head 
of their vessels, 

THALIA. 189 

-mes : they who have not seen them, may suppose 
them to resemble the figure of a pigmy. Cam- 
byses also entered the temple of the Cabiri 44 , to 
which access is denied to all but the priests. He 
burned their statues, after exercising upon them 
his wit and raillery. These statues resemble Vul- 
can, whose sons the Cabiri are supposed to be. 


XXXVIII. For my own part I am satisfied 
that Cambyses was deprived of his reason * ; he 


4+ Cabiri.]'— Concerning these see book ii. chap. li. 

* On these observations of Herodotus, exhibited in this 
chapter, Major Rennel speaks with a spirit so congenial to 
my own, that I have particular satisfaction in transcribing 
his words : 

Wheresoever Herodotus speaks of history, or of morals, 
he fails not to give information and satisfaction, these being 
his proper walks. 

We could with pleasure dwell on this subject, if the scope 
of our work permitted it, for the justice and propriety of his 
remarks on matters of common life prove his observations 
to be very acute, and his judgment no less clear. But wc 
cannot resist the temptation of inserting the following re- 
marks at this time, as they shew the strong contrast between 
a virtuous republican of Greece, and a modern republican 
formed on a Gallic model; and yet no one can doubt that 
the permanent comfort and happiness of the human species 
were to the full as much the object of the former as of the 

Major Rennel then quotes the commencement of this 
chapter; after which, he says, 

These are the sentiments of a republican, who, in order to 
enjoy a greater degree of civil liberty, quitted his native city, 
Halicarnassus, when its system of laws was violated by the 
tyrant Lygdamis; p. 7- 

190 T H A L I A. 

would not otherwise have disturbed the sanctity 
of temples, or of established customs. Whoever 
had the opportunity of choosing for their own 
observance, from all the nations of the world, 
such laws and customs as to them seemed the 
best, would, I am of opinion, after the most 
careful examination, adhere to their own. Each 
nation believes that their own laws are by far the 
most excellent; no one, therefore, but a mad- 
man, would treat such prejudices with contempt. 
That all men are really thus tenacious of their 
own customs, appears from this, amongst other 
instances : Darius once sent for such of the 
Greeks as were dependent on his power, and 
asked them Avhat reward would induce them to 
eat the bodies of their deceased parents; they 
replied that no sum could prevail on them to 
commit such a deed. In the presence of the 
same Greeks, who by an interpreter were in- 
formed of what passed, he sent also for the Cal- 
latioe, a people of India known to eat the bodies 
of their parents. He asked them for what sum 
they would consent to burn the bodies of their 
parents. The Indians were disgusted at the 
question, and intreated him to forbear such lan- 
guage. — Such is the force of custom ; and Pin- 
dar 45 seems to me to have spoken with peculiar 


45 Pindar.] — The passage in Pindar which is here referred 
to, is preserved in the Scholia ad Nem. ix. 35. It is this : — 

No^o; o 7rxvTui/ ficcathioi; Qvxtov te Kg aQctvcnvv a,va $mcc.m)> to 


THALIA. 191 

propriety, when he observed that custom 46 was 
the universal sovereign. 

XXXIX. Whilst Cambyses was engaged in 
his ^Egyptian expedition, the Lacedaemonians 
were prosecuting a war against Polycrates, the 
son of iEaces, who had forcibly possessed himself 
of Samos. He had divided it into three parts, 
assigning one to each of his brothers Pantag- 
notus and Syloson. He afterwards, having killed 
Pantagnotus, and banished Syloson, who was the 
younger, seized the whole. Whilst he was thus 


@uh>tktov v/re^Tccra yt^- — " Custom is the sovereign of mor- 
tals and of gods ; with its powerful hand it regulates things 
the most violent." — T. 

45 Custom.] — Many writers on this subject appear not to 
have discriminated accurately betwixt custom and habit : 
the sovereign power of both must be confessed ; but it will 
be found, on due deliberation, that custom has reference to 
the action, and habit to the actor. That the Athenians, the 
most refined and polished nation of the world, could bear 
to see human sacrifices represented on their theatres, could 
listen with applause and with delight to the misery of (Edi- 
pus, and the madness of Orestes, is to be accounted for alone 
from the powerful operation of their national customs. The 
equally forcible sway of habit, referring to an individual, 
was never perhaps expressed with so much beauty as in the 
following lines of our favourite Shakespeare: 

How use doth breed a habit in a man ! 

This shadowy desert, unff%quented woods, 

1 better brook than nourishing peopled towns. 

Here I can sit alone, unseen of any, 

And to the nightingale's complaining notes 

Tune my distresses, and record my woes. T. 

192 THALIA. 

circumstanced, he made a treaty of alliance with 
Amasis, king of iEgypt, which was cemented by 
various presents on both sides. His fame had so 
increased, that he was celebrated through Ionia 
and the rest of Greece. Success attended all his 
military undertakings; he had a hundred fifty- 
oared vessels, and a thousand archers. He made 
no discrimination in the objects of his attacks, 
thinking that he conferred a greater favour 47 
even on a friend, by restoring what he had vio- 
lently taken, than by not molesting him at all. 
He took a great number of islands, and became 
master of several cities on the continent. The 
Lesbians, who with all their forces were pro- 
ceeding to assist the Milesians, he attacked and 
conquered in a great sea-fight. Those whom he 
made prisoners he put in chains, and compelled 
to sink the trench 48 which surrounds the walls of 

47 A greater favour. ,] — This sentiment is false, and Libanius 
seems to me to have spoken with truth, when, in a discourse 
which is not come down to us, he says, " An instance of 
good fortune never gives a man so much satisfaction as the 
loss of it does uneasiness." 

He, continues Larcher, who takes his property from 
another, inflicts a wound which the restitution of that pro- 
perty does not heal. The mind of him who has received the 
injury, invariably remembers it with resentment. 

43 Sink the trench.] — It would be an interesting labour to 

investigate, from ages the most remote and nations the most 

barbarous, the various treatment which prisoners of war 

have experienced : from the period, and from those who put 

3 in 

THALIA. 193 

XL. The great prosperity of Poly crates ex- 
cited both the attention and anxiety of Amasis. 
As his success continually increased, he was in- 
duced to write and send this letter to Samos : 

" Amasis to Polycrates. 

" The success of a friend and an ally fills me 
" with particular satisfaction ; but as I know the 
" invidiousness of fortune 49 , your extraordinary 

" prosperity 

in practice against their unfortunate captives every species 
of oppression and of cruelty, to the present period, when the 
refinement of manners, and the progress of the milder vir- 
tues, soften the asperity, and take much from the horrors 
of war. — T. 

49 Invidiousness of for tune. .] — Three verj 7 distinct qualities 
of mind have been imputed to the three Greek historians, 
Herodotus, Thucydides, and Xenophon, with respect to their 
manner of reflecting on the facts which they relate. Of the 
first, it has been said that he seems to have considered the 
deity as viewing man with a jealous eye, as only promoting 
his successes to make the catastrophe of his fate the more 
calamitous. This is pointed out by Plutarch with the se- 
verest reprehension. Thucydides, on the contrary, admits 
of no divine interposition in human affairs, but makes the 
good or ill fortune of those whose history he gives us depend 
on the wisdom or folly of their own conduct. Xenophon, 
in distinction from both, invariably considers the kindness 
or the vengeance of Heaven as influencing the event of hu- 
man enterprizes. " That is," says the Abbe Barthclemy, 
" according to the first, all sublunary things are governed 
by a fatality; according to the second, by human prudence; 
according to the last, by the piety of the individual." — The 

VOL, II, O inconstancy 

194 THALIA. 

" prosperity excites my apprehensions. If I 
" might determine for myself, and for those 
" whom I regard, I would rather have my af- 
" fairs sometimes flattering, and sometimes per- 
" verse. I would wish to pass through life with 

" the 

inconstancy of fortune is admirably described in the follow- 
ing passage from Horace ; and with the sentiment with which 
the lines conclude, every ingenuous mind must desire to be 
in unison. 

Fortuna sa3VO lata negotio, et 
Ludum insolentem ludere pertinax, 
Transmutat incertos honores, 
Nunc mihi, nunc aliis benigna. 

Laudo manentem : si celeres quatit 

Pennas, resigno quse dedit, et mea 

Virtute me involvo, probamque 

Pauperiem sine dote quasro. 

It would be inexcusable not to insert Dryden's version,, oi" 
rather paraphrase, of the above passage. 

Fortune, that with malicious joy 
Does man her slave oppress, 

Proud of her office to destroy, 
Is seldom pleas'd to bless : 

Still various, and inconstant still, 

But with an inclination to be ill. 

Promotes, degrades, delights in strife, 

And makes a lottery of life. 
I can enjoy her while she's kind, 
But when she dances in the wind, 

And shakes the wings, and will not stay, 

I puff the prostitute away : 
The little or the much she gave is quietly resign'd. 

Content with poverty, my soul I arm, 

And virtue, tho' in rags, will keep me warm. T. 





T H A L I A. 195 

the alternate experience of good and evil, ra- 
" flier than with uninterrupted good fortune. I 
do not remember to have heard of any man 
remarkable for a constant succession of pro- 
sperous events, whose end has not been finally 
calamitous. If, therefore, you value my coun- 
sel, you will provide this remedy against the 
excess of your prosperity : — Examine well 
" what thing it is which you deem of the highest 
" consequence to your happiness, and the loss 
" of which would most afflict you/ When you 
" shall have ascertained this, banish it from you, 
" so that there may be no possibility of its re- 
" turn. If after this, your good fortune shall still 
" continue without diminution or change, you 
" will do well to repeat the remedy I propose." 

XLL Polycrates received this letter, and seri- 
ously deliberated on its contents. The advice of 
Amasis appeared sagacious, and he resolved to 
follow it. He accordingly searched among his 
treasures for something, the loss of which would 
most afflict him. He conceived this to be a seal- 
ring 50 , which he occasionally wore; it was an 


50 A seal-ring.] — This ring has been the subject of some 
controversy amongst the learned, both as to what it repre- 
sented, and of what precious stone it was formed. 

Clemens Alexandrinus says it represented a lyre. Pliny 
says it was a sardonyx; and that in his time there existed 

O % one 

196 THALIA. 

emerald set in gold, and the workmanship of 
Theodorus the Samian, the son of Telecles. De- 
termining to deprive himself of this, he embarked 
in a fifty-oared vessel, with orders to be carried 
into the open sea : when he was at some distance 
from the island, in the presence of all his at- 
tendants, he took the ring from his finger and 
cast it into the sea ; having done this he sailed 
back again. 

XLIL Returning home, he regretted his loss; 
but in the course of five or six days this accident 
occurred : — A fisherman caught a fish of such size 


one in the temple of Concord, the gift of Augustus, affirmed 
to be this of Polycrates. Solinus asserts also, that it was a 
sardonyx ; but Herodotus expressly tells us, it was an eme- 
rald. At this period the art of engraving precious stones 
must have been in its infancy, which might probably en- 
hance the value of his ring to Polycrates. It is a little 
remarkable that the moderns have never been able to equal 
the ancients in the exquisite delicacy and beauty of their 
performances on precious stones. Perhaps it may not be 
loo much to add, that we have never attained the perfection 
with which they executed all works in miniature. Pliny 
says, that Cicero once saw the Iliad of Homer written so 
very finely, that it might have been contained ' in nuce,' in 
a nut-shell. Aulas Gellius mentions a pigeon made of 
wood, which imitated the motions of a living bird; and 
yElian speaks of an artist, who wrote a distich in letters of 
gold, which he inclosed in the rind of a grain of corn. Other 
instances of a similar kind are collected by the learned 
Mr. Dutens, in his Enquiry into the Origin of the Disco- 
veries attributed to the Moderns. — T. 

THALIA. 197 

and beauty, that he deemed it a proper present 
for Polycrates. He went therefore to the pa- 
lace, and demanded an audience ; being admitted, 
he presented his fish to Polycrates, with these 
words : " Although, sir, I live by the produce of 
" my industry, I could not think of exposing this 
^ fish, which I have taken, to sale in the market- 
" place, believing it worthy of you to accept, 
" which I hope you will." The king was much 
gratified, and made him this reply : " My good 
" friend, your present and your speech are 
" equally acceptable to me ; and I beg that I 
" may see you, hi? supper 51 ." The fisherman, 


51 See you at supper.] — The circumstance of a sovereign 
prince asking a common fisherman to sup with him, seems 
at first sight so intirely repugnant, not only to modern man- 
ners but also to consistency, as to justify disgust and provoke 
suspicion. But let it be remembered, that in ancient times 
the rites of hospitality were paid without any distinction of 
person ; and the same simplicity of manners, which would 
allow an individual of the meanest rank to solicit and ob- 
tain an audience of his prince, diminishes the act of conde- 
scension which is here recorded, and which to a modern 
reader may appear ridiculous. — T. 

The story of the fisherman, in the fourth Satire of Juvenal, 
will here occur to the reader. He carried his enormous 
fish to the prince, who, by the way, did not ask him to sup- 
per, which marks the progress of refinement, the times of 
Domitian being comparatively modern. The present, how- 
ever, was accompanied by a speech, which I shall insert, in 
Mr. Gifford's version. 

This, which no subject's kitchen can contain ; 
This fish, reserved for your auspicious reign, 

3 O chipf, 

198 T H A L I A. 

delighted with his reception, returned to his house. 
The servants proceeding to open the fish, found 
in its paunch the ring of Polycrates ; with great 
eagerness and joy, they hastened to carry it to 
the king, telling him where they had met with it. 
Polycrates concluded that this incident bore evi- 
dent marks of divine interposition ; he therefore 
wrote down every particular of what had hap- 
pened, and transmitted it to JEgypt. 

XLIII. Amasis, after perusing the letter of 
his friend, was convinced that it was impossible 
for one mortal, to deliver anht *er from the des- 
tiny which awaited him ; he was satisfied that 
Polycrates could not terminate his days in tran- 
quillity, whose good fortune had never suffered 
interruption, and who had even recovered what 
he had taken pains to lose. He sent therefore a 
herald to Samos, to disclaim all future connec- 
tion sz ; his motive for doing which; was the ap- 

O chief, accept : to free your stomach haste, 
And here at large indulge your princely taste. 
No toils 1 set; he longecl his lord to treat, 
And rushed a willing victim to the net. 

51 Future connection.~\ — This may be adduced as one 
amongst numerous other instances, to prove, that where the 
human mind has no solid hopes of the future, nor any firm 
basis of religious faith, the conduct will ever be wayward 
and irregular ; and although there may exist great qualities, 
capable of occasionally splendid actions, there will also be 
extraordinary weaknesses, irreconcileable to common sense 


THALIA. 109 

prehension, that in an)' future calamity which 
might befal Polycrates, he, as a friend and ally, 
might be obliged to bear a part. 

XLIV. Against this Polycrates, in all things 
so prosperous, the Lacedaemonians undertook an 
expedition, to which they were induced by those 
Samians who afterwards built the city of Cydon 
in Crete SJ . To counteract this blow, Polycrates 
sent privately to Cambyses, who was then pre- 
paring for hostilities against iEgypt, entreating 
him to demand supplies and assistance of the Sa- 
mians. With this Cambyses willingly complied, 
and sent to solicit, in favour of Polycrates, some 
naval force to serve in his ./Egyptian expedition. 
The Samian prince selected those from the rest 
whose principles and intentions he most sus- 
pected, and sent them in forty triremes to Cam- 

or common humanity. Diodorus Siculus, however, gives a 
very different account of the matter, and ascribes the beha- 
viour of Amasis to a very different motive : — " The /Egyp- 
tian," says he, " was so disgusted with the tyrannical beha- 
viour of Polycrates, not only to his subjects but to strangers, 
that he foresaw his fate to be unavoidable, and therefore was 
cautious not to be involved in his ruin." — T. 

53 Cydon in Crete.] — This place is now called Canea : some 
say it was at first called Apollonia, because built by Cydon 
the son of Apollo. Pausanias says, it was built by Cydon, 
son of Tegetes. It was once a place of great power, and the 
largest city in the island; for a description of its present 
condition, see Savory's Letters on Greece, — T. 

o 4 

<200 THALIA. 

byses, requesting him by all means to prevent 
their return. 

XLV. There are some who assert, that the Sa- 
mians sent by Polycrates, never arrived in iEgypt, 
but that as soon as they reached the Carpathian 
sea they consulted together, and determined to 
proceed no further. Others, on the contrary, 
affirm, that they did arrive in iEgypt, but that 
they escaped from their guards, and returned to 
Samos : they add, that Polycrates met and en- 
gaged them at sea, where he was defeated; but 
that, landing afterwards on the island, they had a 
second engagement by land, in which they were 
totally routed, and obliged to fly to Lacedaemon. 
They who assert that the Samians returned from 
/Egypt, and obtained a victory over Polycrates, 
are in my opinion mistaken ; for if their own 
force was sufficient to overcome him, there was 
no necessity for their applying to the Lacedae- 
monians for assistance. Neither is it at all con- 
sistent with probability, that a prince who had so 
many forces under his command, composed as 
well of foreign auxiliaries as of archers of his 
own, could possibly be overcome by the few Sa- 
mians who were returning home. Polvcrates, 
moreover, had in his power the wives and chil- 
dren of his Samian subjects : these were all as- 
sembled and confined in his different harbours ; 
and he was determined to destroy them by fire, 
and the harbours along Avith them, in case of any 


THALIA. 201 

treasonable conjunction between the inhabitants 
and the Samians who were returning. 

XLVI. The Samians who were expelled by 
Polycrates, immediately on their arrival at Sparta, 
obtained an audience of the magistrates, and 
spoke a great while in the language of suppliants. 
The answer which they first received informed 
them, that the commencement of their discourse 
was not remembered, and the conclusion not un- 
derstood. At the second interview they simply 
produced a leathern bag, and complained that it 
contained no bread; even to this, the Lacedae- 
monians replied, that their observation was un- 
necessary S4 ; — they determined nevertheless to 
assist them. 

** Observation was unnecessary.] — The Spartans were always 
remarkable for their contempt of oratory and eloquence. 
The following curious examples of this are recorded in Sex- 
tus Empiricus : — " A young Spartan went abroad, and en- 
deavoured to accomplish himself in the art of speaking; on 
his return he was punished by the Ephori, for having con- 
ceived the design of deluding his countrymen. Another 
Spartan was sent to Tissaphernes, a Persian satrap, to engage 
him to prefer the alliance of Sparta to that of Athens ; he 
said but little, but when he found the Athenians employed 
great pomp and profusion of words, he drew two lines, both 
terminating in the same point, but one was straight, the 
other very crooked ; pointing these out to Tissaphernes, he 
merely said, " Choose." The story here related of the 
Samians, by Herodotus, is found also in Sextus Empiricus, 
but is by him applied on a different occasion, and to a dif- 
ferent people. — T. 

tot THALIA. 

XLVII. After the necessary preparations, ' the 
Lacedaemonians embarked with an army against 
Samos : if the Samians may be credited, the con- 
duct of the Lacedaemonians in this business was 
the effect of gratitude, they themselves having 
formerly received a supply of ships against the 
Messenians. But the Lacedaemonians assert, that 
they engaged in this expedition not so much to 
satisfy the wishes of those Samians who had 
sought their assistance, as to obtain satisfaction 
for an injury which they had formerly received. 
The Samians had violently taken away a goblet 
which the Lacedaemonians were carrying to 
Croesus, and a corselet", which was given them 
by Amasis king of JEgypt. This latter incident 
took place at the interval of a year after the 
former: the corselet* was made of linen, but 
there were interwoven in the piece, a great num- 
ber of animals richly embroidered with cotton 
and gold ; every part of it deserved admiration : 
it was composed of chains, each of which con- 
tained three hundred and sixty threads distinctly 


55 A corselet.] — Some fragments of this were to be seen in 
the time of Pliny, who complains that so curious a piece of 
workmanship should be spoiled, by its being unravelled by 
different people, to gratify curiosity, or to ascertain the fact 
here asserted. — T. 

* This corselet is mentioned with praise by Herodotus, in 
Euterpe, c. 182, by Pliny, Nat. Hist, book xix. c. ], and by 
iElian. Hist. Au. book ix. c. 17. 

THALIA. £0^ 

visible. Amasis presented another corselet, in- 
tirely resembling this, to the Minerva of Lindus. 

XLVIII. To this expedition against Samos, 
the Corinthians also contributed, with consi- 
derable ardour. In the age which preceded, and 
about the time in which the goblet had been 
taken, this people had been insulted by the Sa- 
mians. Periander 56 , the son of Cypselus, had 
sent to Alyattes, at Sardis, three hundred chil- 
dren of the principal families of the Corcyrcans, 
to be made eunuchs. They were intrusted to 


3 * Periander.'] — The life of Periander is given by Dio- 
genes Laertius ; from which I have extracted such parti- 
culars as seem most worthy the attention of the English 

lie was of the family of the Heraclidse ; and the reason 
of his sending the young Corcyreans, with the purpose men- 
tioned by Herodotus, was on account of their having killed 
his son, to whom he wished to resign his power. He was 
the first prince who used guards for the defence of his per- 
son. He was by some esteemed one of the seven wise men; 
Plato, however, does not admit him amongst them. His 
celebrated saying was, that " Perseverance may do every 

In an epigram inserted in Stephens's Anthologia, and 
translated by Ausonius, %oAa Kpalmv is the maxim attributed 
to Periander, " Restrain your anger :" of which rule he 
must have severely felt the necessity, if, as Laertius relates, 
he killed his wife Melissa in a transport of passion, by kick- 
ing her or throwing a chair at her when pregnant. Her 
name, according to the same author, was Lyside; Melissa 
was probably substituted through fondness, certain nymphs 
and departed human souls being called Melissa:. — Menage. 

-204 THALIA. 

the care of certain Corinthians, who, by distress 
of weather, were compelled to touch at Samos. 
The Samians soon learned the purpose of the 
. expedition, and accordingly instructed the chil- 
dren to fly for protection to the temple of Diana, 
from whence they would not suffer the Corin- 
thians to take them. But as the Corinthians 
prevented their receiving any food, the Samians 
instituted a festival on the occasion, which they 
yet observe. At the approach of night, and as 
long as the children continued as suppliants in 
the temple, they introduced a company of youths 
and virgins, who, in a kind of religious dance, 
were to carry cakes made of honey and flour 57 
in their hands. This was done that the young 
Corcyreans, by snatching them away, might satisfy 
their hunger, and was repeated till the Corin- 
thians who guarded the children departed. The 
Samians afterwards sent the children back to 
Corcyra s8 . 

37 Honey and flour.] — The cakes of Samos were very 
famous. — See Atkenmts, book xiv. c. 13. 

5 * Back to Corcyra.] — Plutarch, in his Treatise on the Ma- 
lignity of Herodotus, says, " that the young Corcyreans 
were not preserved by the Samians, but by the Cnidians." — 
This assertion is examined and refuted by Larcher. 

Pliny says, that the fish called echines stopped the vessel 
going swift before the wind, on board of which were mes- 
sengers of Periander, having it in command to castrate the 
sons of the Cnidian noblemen; for which reason these shells 
were highly reverenced in the temple of Venus at Cnidos. 
M. Larcher, avowedly giving the reader the above passage 
from Pliny, is guilty of a misquotation: " these shells," 


THALIA. 205 

XLIX. If after the death of Periander, there 
had existed any friendship betwixt the Corin- 
thians and the Corcyreans, it might be supposed 
that they would not have assisted in this expe- 
dition against Samos. But notwithstanding these 
people had the same origin (the Corinthians hav- 
ing built Corcyra) they had always lived in a 
state of enmity. The Corinthians, therefore, did 
not forget the affront which they had received at 
Samos ; and it was in resentment of injuries for- 
merly received from the Corcyreans, that Peri- 
ander had sent to Sardis these three hundred 
youths of the first families of Corcyra, with the 
intention of their being made eunuchs. 

L. When Periander had put his wife Melissa 
to death, he was involved in an additional cala- 
mity. By Melissa*, he had two sons, one of 


says he, " arreterent le vaisseau ou etoient ces enfansj" 
whereas the words of Pliny (see Gronovius's edition, vol. i. 
page 609) are these, " Quibus inhaerentibus stetisse navem 
portantem nuncios a. Periandro ut castrarentur nobiles 
pueri." — T. 

* The story of Melissa is thus related in Athenreus, 
book xiii. c. 6. 

Pythaenetus, in his third book of the history of Mgina, 
says that Periander, having seen Melissa, the daughter of 
Procles of Epidaurus, in a Peloponnesian dress, without any 
robe, in one simple vest, and serving out wine to the la- 
bourers, fell in love with and married her. 

The following is from Diogenes Lacrtius: 

He had two sons by Melissa, Cypselus and Lycophron. 
At some succeeding period, being exasperated against her by 


206 THALIA. 

whom was seventeen, the other eighteen years 
old : Procles, their grandfather by the mother's 
side, had sent for them to Epidaurus, of which 
place he was prince ; and had treated them with 
all the kindness due to the children of his 
daughter. At the time appointed for their de- 
parture, he took them aside, and asked them if 
they knew who had killed their mother. To 
these words the elder brother paid no attention ; 
font the younger, whose name was Lycophron, 
took it so exceedingly to heart, that at his return 
to Corinth he would neither salute his father, 
converse with, nor answer him ; in indignation 
at which behaviour, Periander banished him his 

LI. After the above event, Periander asked his 
elder son, what their grandfather had said to 
them. The youth informed him, that their grand- 
father had received them very affectionately, but 
as he did not remember, he could not relate the 
words he had used to them at parting. The 
father, however, continued to press him ; saying, 
it was impossible that their grandfather should 
dismiss them without some advice. This induced 
the young man more seriously to reflect on what 
had passed ; and he afterwards informed his father 


the calumny of one of his concubines, he was the cause o 
her death, by kicking her when she was pregnant. 

According to Pausanias, there was a monument in honour 
of this Melissa Epidaurus. 

THALIA. £07 

of every particular. Upon this, Periander was 
determined not at all to relax from his severity, 
but immediately sent to those who had received 
his son under their protection, commanding them 
to dismiss him. Lycophron was thus driven 
from one place to another, and from thence to a 
third, and from this last also the severity of Pe- 
riander expelled him. Yet, fearful as people 
were to entertain him, he still found an asylum, 
from the consideration of his being the son of 

LII. Periander at length commanded it to be 
publicly proclaimed, that whoever harboured his 
son, or held any conversation with him, should 
pay a stipulated fine for the use of Apollo's tem- 
ple. After this no person presumed either to 
receive or converse with him, and Lycophron 
himself acquiesced in the injunction, by retiring 
to the public portico. On the fourth day, Pe- 
riander himself observed him in this situation, 
covered with filth * and perishing with hunger : 
his heart relenting, he approached, and thus ad- 
dressed him : " My son, which do you think 
" preferable, your present extremity of distress, 
" or to return to your obedience, and share with 

" me 

* The original is a?.8<ri>ja-», literally with unwashed things. 
In warm countries, before the use of linen, the frequent ap- 
plication of the bath, and of washing, must have been pecu- 
liarly necessary, and makes this expression striking and 

£08 T H A L I A. 

me my authority and riches ? You who are 
my son, and a prince of the happy Corinth, 
choose the life of a mendicant, and persevere 
in irritating him, who has the strongest claims 
upon your duty. If the incident which in- 
duces you to think unfavourably of my con- 
duct, has any evil resulting from it, the whole 
is fallen upon myself; and I feel it the more 
sensibly, from the reflection that I was myself 
the author of it. Experience has taught you 
how much better it is to be envied than pi- 
tied 59 , and how dangerous it is to provoke a 
superior and a parent — return therefore to my 
house." To this speech Periander received 
no other answer from his son, than that he him- 
self, by conversing with him, had incurred the 
penalty which his edict had imposed. The king, 


59 Envied than pitied.] — Of this, M. Larcher remarks, that 
it is a proverbial expression in the French language : it is 
no less so in our own. The same sentiment in Pindar is 
referred to by the learned Frenchman, which is thus trans- 
lated by Mr. West. 

Nor less distasteful is excessive fame 

To the sour palate of the envious mind ; 
Who hears with grief his neighbour's goodly name, 

And hates the fortune that he ne'er shall find; 
Yet in thy virtue, Hiero, persevere, 

Since to be envied is a nobler fate 
Than to be pitied, and let strict justice steer 

With equitable hand the helm of state, 
And arm thy tongue with truth : O king ! beware 

Of every step : a prince can never lightly err. T, 

T II ALIA. 209 

perceiving the perverseness of his son to be im- 
mutable, determined to remove him from his 
sight ; he therefore sent him in a vessel to Cor- 
cyra, which place also belonged to him. After 
this, Pcriander made war upon his father-in-law 
Procles, whom he considered as the principal 
occasion of what had happened. He made him- 
self master of Epidaurus 60 , and took Procles 
prisoner ; whom nevertheless he preserved alive. 

LIII. In process of time, as Periander ad- 

*° Epidaurus."} — This was a city of the Peloponnese, famous 
for a temple of /Esculapius. When the Romans were once 
afflicted by a grievous pestilence, they were ordered by the 
oracle to bring /Esculapius to Rome; they accordingly dis- 
patched am ; >ass.idors to Epidaurus to accomplish this. The 
Epidaurians refusing to part with their god, the Romans 
prepared to depart: as their vessel was quitting the port, an 
immense serpent came swimming towards them, and finally 
writhed itself round the prow; the crew, thinking it to be 
/Esculapius himself, carried him with much veneration to 
Home. — lhs entrance is finely described by Ovid: — 

Jamque caput rerum Romanam intraverat urbem, 
Erigitur serpens — summoque acclivia malo 
Colla movet : sedesque sibi circumspicit aptas. 
Which description, fully considered, would perhaps afford 
no mean subject for an historical painting. 

Epidaurus was also famous for its breed of horses. — See 
Virgil, Georgic iii. 43, -*. 

Vocat ingenti clamore Cithasron 
Taygetique canes, domitrixque Epidaurus equorum. 

The same fact is also mentioned by Strabo, book viii.— T. 
Vol. II. P 

210 THALIA. 

vanced in years, he began to feel himself inad< 
quate to the cares of government ; he sent there- 
fore for Lycophron to Corcyra, to take upon 
him the administration of affairs : his eldest son * 
appeared improper for such a station, and was 
indeed dull and stupid. Lycophron disdained to 
take the smallest notice of the messenger who 
brought him this intelligence. But Periander, as 
he felt his affection for the young man to be un- 
alterable, sent his sister to him, thinking her 
interposition most likely to succeed. When she 
saw him, " Brother," said she, " will you suffer 
the sovereign authority to pass into other 
hands, and the riches of our family to be dis- 
persed, rather than return to enjoy them your- 
self ? Let me entreat you to punish yourself 
no more; return to your country and your 
" family : obstinacy like yours is but an unwel- 
" come guest, it only adds one evil to another. 
" Pity is by many preferred to justice ; and 
" many, from their anxiety to fulfil their duty 
" to a mother, have violated that which a father 
" might expect. Power, which many so assi- 
" duously court, is in its nature precarious f. 

" Your 

* That is Cypselus. See chap. 5 — note, 
f A similar sentiment occurs in the Iphigenia in Aulis of 
Euripides, which is thus translated by Mr. Wodhull: 
Yet such splendour oft is found 
Precarious. — Empire, tempting to the view, 
Comes laden with affliction. 

• This 

T II A L I A. 211 

* Your father is growing old, do not therefore 
" resign to others, honours which are properly 
" your own." Thus instructed by her father, 
she used every argument likely to influence her 
brother ; but he briefly answered, " that as long 
" as his father lived he would not return to Co- 
" rinth." When she had communicated this 
answer to Periander, he sent a third messenger 
to his son, informing him, that it was his inten- 
tion to retire to Corcyra; but that Lycophron 
might return to Corinth, and take possession of 
the supreme authority. This proposition was ac- 
cepted, and Periander prepared to depart for 
Corcyra, the young man for Corinth. But when 
the Corcyreans were informed of the business, to 
prevent the arrival of Periander among them, 
they put his son to death. — This was what in- 
duced that prince to take vengeance on the 

LIV. The Lacedaemonians arriving with a 
powerful fleet, laid siege to Samos, and advanc- 
ing towards the walls, they passed by a tower 
which stands in the suburbs, not far from the 
sea. At this juncture Polycrates attacked them, 


This version is by no means accurate. The Greek is— 

T«to 01 y s<7Ti to X0&X01/ atpaXepuv. 

For this, iiuiT»ely power, is an unstable good. 

P 2 

212 T II A L I A. 

at the head of a considerable force, and com- 
pelled them to retreat. He was instantly se- 
conded by a band of auxiliaries, and a great 
number of Samians, who falling upon the enemy 
from a fort which was behind the mountain, after 
a short conflict effectually routed them, and con- 
tinued the pursuit with great slaughter of the 

LV. If all the Lacedaemonians had behaved 
in this engagement like Archias and Lycopas, 
Samos must certainly have been taken ; for these 
two alone entered the city, with those Samians 
who sought security within the walls, and having 
no means of retreat were there slain. I myself 
one day met with a person of the same name, 
who was the 1 son of Samius, and grandson of the 
Archias above mentioned ; I saw him at Pitane 61 , 


** Pitane.] — This proper name involves some perplexity, 
unci has afforded exercise for much acute and ingenious cri- 
ticism. Martiniere, from mistaking a passage of Pausanias, 
asserts that it was merely a quarter, or rather suburbs of La- 
cedaDmon, and is consequently often confounded with it. 
This mistake is ably pointed out and refuted by Bellanger, 
in his Critique de quelques Articles du Diet, de M. la Mar- 
tiniere. This word is found in Hcsychius, as descriptive of 
a distinct tribe ; in Thucydides of a small town ; and in 
Herodotus of a whole people : — See book ix. chap. 52, where 
he speaks of the cohort of Pitane, which in the glorious 
battle of Platea was commanded by Amompharetus. It is 



T H A L I A. 213 

of which place he was a native. This person paid 
more attention to Samians than to other fo- 
reigners ; and he told me, that his father was 
called Samius, as being the immediate descendant 
of him, who with so much honour had lost his life 
at Samos. The reason of his thus distinguishing 
the Samians, was because they had honoured his 
grandfather by a public funeral 62 . 

certain that there were several places of this name; the one 
here specified was doubtless on the banks of the Eurotas, in 
Laconia. — See Essais de Critique, fyc. 316". — T. 

64 Public funerals—The manner in which the funerals of 
those who had died in defence of their country were so- 
lemnized at Athens, cannot fail of giving the English reader 
an elevated idea of that polished people. 

On an appointed day a number of coffins made of cypress 
wood, and containing the bones of the deceased, were ex- 
posed to view beneath a large tent erected for the purpose; 
they who had relations to deplore, assembled to weep over 
them, and pay the duties dictated by tenderness or enjoined 
by religion. Three days afterwards the coffins were placed 
upon as many cars as there were tribes, and were carried 
slowly through the town, to the Ceramicus, where funeral 
games were celebrated. The bodies were deposited in the 
earth, and their relations and friends paid for the last time 
the tribute of (heir tears; an orator appointed by the re- 
public- from an elevated place pronounced a funeral oration 
over his valiant countrymen; each tribe raised over the 
graves some kind of column, upon which was inscribed the 
names of the deceased, their age, and the place where they 

The above solemnities were conducted under the inspec- 
tion of one of the principal magistrates. 

The most magnificent public funeral of which we have any 
account, was that of Alexander the Great, when his body 

P o was 

214 THALIA. 

LVI. The Lacedaemonians, after remaining 
forty days before the place without any advan- 
tage, returned to the Peloponnese. It is re- 
ported, though most absurdly, that Polycrates 
struck off a great number of pieces of lead cased 
with gold 6 ', like the coin of the country, and that 


was brought from Babylon to Alexandria; a minute descrip- 
tion of which is given by Diodorus Siculus. 

For a particular description of the ceremonies observed at 
public and private funerals, amongst the Romans, consult 
Montfaucon. — T. 

63 Lead cased with gold.] — Similar to this artifice, was that 
practised on the people of Gortyna in Crete, by Hannibal, as 
recorded bv Justin. After the defeat of Antiochus by the 
Romans, Hannibal retired to Gortyna, carrying with him an 
immense treasure. This circumstance exciting, the envy of 
the people against him, he pretended to deposit his riches in 
the temple of Diana, to which place he carried with much 
ceremony several vessels filled with lead. He soon took an 
opportunity of passing over into Asia with his real wealth, 
which he had concealed in the images of the gods he af- 
fected to worship. 

No such coins as those mentioned by Herodotus having 
been ever discovered, is perhaps a sufficient justification of 
our author, for the discredit which he has here thrown upon, 
the story concerning the artifice of Polycrates. That spu- 
rious coins, however, of this kind were fabricated in very 
early times, is a fact with which every Medallist must be suf- 
ficiently acquainted. The collection of Dr. Hunter will 
afford several examples. One instance of a leaden coin, 
cased with silver, as remote as the time of Seleucus the First, 
of Syria, may be seen in that cabinet, where is also a similar 
coin of the city of Naples. The collection at the British 
Museum, would doubtless afford several instances of the 


THALIA. 215 

with these he purchased their departure. — Thi* 
was the first expedition of the Dorians * of La- 
cedosmon into Asia. 

like forgery. In the Roman Series, Neumann (Num. Vet. 
Anecdoti, pars xi. p. 201) makes mention of a remarkable 
instance from Schulzius, of a leaden coin of Nero, which 
had been antiently circulated for brass, in which metal it 
was enclosed. Of leaden coins covered with gold there are 
two examples in the cabinet of Dr. Hunter; one belonging 
to the Emperor Trajan, and the other to his successor, Ha- 
drian. The lead, however, in these coins seems to have 
been hardened by a mixture of some other metal, perhaps 
tin, or a small portion of silver. Demosthenes relates, from 
Solon, that several cities in Greece adulterated their coins as 
Well with lead as with brass — agyvgiu <n%o<; -^olK-mv y.oKv@$ov 
v.vAga\/,ivu. Oratione adv. Timocratem, vol. iii. p. 44-0. Edit. 
Taylor. And Dion Cassius informs us, that the Emperor 
Caracalla, instead of gold and silver, issued brass and leaden 
money; the first of which, for the purpose of concealing his 
fraud, he caused to be washed or cased with gold, and the 
latter with silver — to, te ccgyvpiov x«» to y/gvo-iov 6 'ssxpei^sv v/juv, 
to fAiv bk /xoAfjSdoi' y.ocTa,Qyv(>ti[jt,ivoii, to 6b ex. ^xXy.ov y.ccru- 
X^vo-UfAEvov Bcrx.eva.izro. Lib. 77- p. 876, edit. Leunclavii. 

-Many Samian coins are to be seen in the cabinets of col- 
lectors. These have sometimes been mistaken for the coins 
of Salamis in Cyprus, owing to the circumstance of their 
having only the two initial letters of the inscription upon 
them. The French writers still remain in this error, and 
confound the coins of both the above places. 

There cannot, however, be any reasonable doubt enter- 
tained upon this point, since we have in our own country, 
in the Hunterian collection, a genuine, coin of this people, 
which, while it agrees in every other respect with those at- 
tributed to Salamis, differs in the important particular of 

P 4 preserving 

* For this note, see the next page. 

216 T H A L I A. 

LVII. Those Samians who had taken up arms 
against Polycrates, when they saw themselves for- 
saken by the Lacedaemonians, and were distressed 
from want of money, embarked for Siphnos 64 . 


preserving the impression of the name at full length — 
SAMIftN. See Pellerin Recucil de Medailles de Pcuples et dc 
Villes, torn. 3, pi. 101. Catalogue d'unc Collection cTcm- 
preintes en soufre dc Medailles Grccques et Romaines, a Paris, 
An. &, p. 53. Hunteri Num. Vet. Populorum ct Urbium, 
p. lb S, tab. 47- Do?n. Scstini Classes Generates Geographic 
Numismatic, pars xi. p. S4. 

* Larcher, in his first edition, had omitted the term of 
Lacedremon, thinking with Valcknaer, that Dorians was suf- 
ficient of itself. In his second edition he has rendered it 
Lacedaemonian Dorians. 

64 Sip/inos.] — This was one of those small islands lying 
opposite to Attica: They were seventeen in number, and 
called, from their situation with respect to each other, the 
Cyclades ; they were all eminently beautiful, and severally 
distinguished by some appropriate eNcellence. The marble 
of Paros was of inimitable whiteness, and of the finest grain;. 
Andros and Naxos produced the most exquisite wine; 
Amengos was famous for a dye made from a lichen, growing 
there in vast abundance. The riches of Siphnos are ex- 
tolled by many ancient writers ; it is now called Siphanto. 

The following account of the modern circumstances of 
Siphnos, is extracted principally from Tournefort. 

It is remarkable for the purity of its air; the water, fruit, 
and poultry are very excellent. Although covered with 
marble and granite, it is one of the most fertile islands 
of the Archipelago. They have a famous manufactory of 
.straw hats, which are sold all over the Archipelago, by the 
name of Siphanto castors : though once so famous for its 
mines of gold and silver, the inhabitants can now hardly tell 


THALIA. 217 

At this time the power of the Siphnians was very 
considerable, and they were the richest of all the 
inhabitants of the islands. Their soil produced 
both the sold and silver metals in such abun- 
dance, that from a tenth part of their revenues, 
they had a treasury at Delphi, equal in value to 
the richest which that temple possessed. Every 
year they made an equal distribution among 
themselves, of the value of their mines: whilst 
their wealth was thus accumulating, they con- 
sulted the oracle, to know whether they should 
long continue in the enjoyment of their present 
good fortune. From the Pythian they received 
this answer : 

When Siphnos shall a milk-white senate show, 
And all her market wear a front of snow ; 
Him let her prize whose wit suspects the most, 
A scarlet envoy from a wooden host. 

At this period the prytaneum, and the forum of 
Siphnos, were adorned with Parian marble. 

L-Vill. This reply of the oracle, the Siphnians 
were unable to comprehend, both before and 
after the arrival of the Samians. As soon as the 


you where they were. They have plenty of lead, which the 
rains discover. The ladies of Siphauto cover their faces 
with linen bandages so dextrously, that you can only see 
their mouth, nose, and white of the eyes. — T, 

*18 T H A L I A. 

Samians touched at Siphnos, they dispatched a 
messenger to the town, in one of their vessels. 
According to the ancient custom, all ships were 
painted of a red colour; and it was this which 
induced the Pythian, to warn the Siphnians 
against a wooden snare, and a red ambassador. 
On their arrival, the Samian ambassadors en- 
treated the inhabitants to lend them ten talents : 
on being refused, they plundered the country. 
The Siphnians hearing of this, collected their 
forces, and were defeated in a regular engage- 
ment ; a great number were, in the retreat, cut 
off from the town, and the Samians afterwards 
exacted from them an hundred talents. 

LIX. Instead of money the Samians had re- 
ceived of the Hermionians, the island of Thyrea *, 
adjacent to the Peloponnese : this they after- 
wards gave as a pledge to the Traszenians. They 
afterwards made a voyage to Crete, where they 
built Cydonia, although their object in going 
there, was to expel the Zacynthians. In this 
place they continued five years, during which 
period they were so exceedingly prosperous, that 
they not only erected all those temples which are 


* There was another place of this name in Arcadia. See 
Pausanias, book 8, 1. 35. In the original text it is Hydrea; 
but this, by common consent of the best manuscripts, is er- 


now seen in Cydonia, but built also the temple 
of Dictynna 65 . In the sixth year, from a junc- 
tion being made with the Cretans by the JEgi- 
netae, they were totally vanquished in a sea en- 
gagement, and reduced to servitude. The prows 
of their vessels were taken away and defaced, 
and afterwards suspended in the temple of Mi- 
nerva at iEgina. The iEginetre were impelled to 
this conduct towards the Samians, in resentment 
of a former injury. When Amphicrates * reigned 
at Samos, he had carried on a war against the 
JEginetae, by which they materially suffered ; this, 
however, they severely retaliated. 

LX. I have been thus particular in my ac- 
count of the Samians, because this people pro- 
duced the greatest monuments 66 of art which are 


6s Dictgnna.] — Diana was worshipped in Crete, indif- 
ferently under the name of Dyctynna and of Britomartis. 
Britu, in the Cretan language, meant sweet, and martis, a 
virgin! Britomartis was also the name of a virgin greatly be- 
loved by Diana ; and what is said by Diodorus Siculus on the 
subject seems most worthy of attention. His story is this : — 
Dictynna was born in Cseron ; she invented hunters toils 
and netsj and ihcnce her name. She was the daughter of 
Jupiter, which renders it exceedingly improbable that she 
should be obliged to fly from Minos, and leap into the sea, 
where she was caught in some fishers nets. The Mons Dic- 
tynnams of Pliny is now called Cape Spada. — T. 

* This prince is mentioned by no other author. 

66 The greatest monuments.'] — Of these monuments some 
vestiges are still to be seen, consult Tournefort, i. 314. 


ceo T II A L I A. 

to be seen in Greece. They have a mountain 
which is one hundred and fifty orgyise in height ; 
they have made a passage entirely through this, 
the length of which is seven stadia, it is moreover 
eight feet high, and as many wide. By the side 
of this there is also an artificial canal, which in 
like manner goes quite through the mountain, 
and though only three feet in breadth, is twenty 
cubits deep This, by the. means of pipes, con- 
veys to the city the waters of a copious spring 67 . 


Port Tigani is in form of a half moon, and regards the 
south-east; its left horn is that famous Jettee which Hero-. 
dotus reckoned amongst the three wonders of Samos. This 
work, at that time of day, is an evidence of the Saimans 1 ap- 
plication to maritime matters. t 

67 Copious spring.] — On the left of the dale, near, to the 
aqueduct which crosses it, are certain caverns, the entrance 
of some of them artificially cut. In all appearance some of 
these artificial caverns were what Herodotus says were 
ranked among the most wonderful performances of the 
Greek nation. The beautiful spring which templed them to 
go upon so great a work, is doubtless that of Metelinous', 
the best in the island, the disposition of the place proving 
perfectly favourable, the moment they had conquered the 
difficulty of boring ii ; but in all probability they were not 
exact enough in levelling the ground, for they were obliged 
to dig a canal of twenty cubits deep for carrying the spring 
to the place designed. There must have been some mis- 
take in this passage of Herodotus; for neither the Samians 
nor any other people could make a canal forty feet deep by 
only three wide. 

Some five hundred paces from the sea, and almost the 
like distance from the river Imbrasis to Cape Cera, are the 
ruins of the famous temple of the Saurian Juno. But for 


T II A L I A. 2Gi 

This is their first work, and constructed by Eu- 
palinus, the son of Naustrophus, an inhabitant 
of Megara. Their second is a mole, which pror 
jects from the harbour into the sea, and is two 
stadia or more in length, and about twenty or- 
gyite in height. Their last performance was a 
temple, which exceeds in grandeur all that I 
have seen. This structure was first commenced 
by a native of the country, whose name was 
Rhcecus 63 , son of Phileus. 

LXI. Whilst Cambyses, the son of Cyrus, 
passed his time in iEgypt, committing various 
excesses, two magi, who were brothers, and one 


Herodotus we should never have known the name of the 
architect, lie employed a very particular order of columns, 
as may be now seen. It is indeed neither better nor worse 
than the Ionian order in its infancy, void of that beauty 
which it afterwards acquired. — Thus far Tournefort. 

Its ancient names were Parthenias, Anthemus, and Me- 
lamphissus. It was the birth-place of Pythagoras, and the 
school of Epicurus. Pococke says, that there are no remains 
which he could prevail upon himself to believe to belong to 
this canal. He adds, that the inhabitants are remarkably 
profligate and poor. Tournefort makes a similar remark. 
There arc no disciples of Pythagoras, observes the French- 
man, now left in Samos; the modern Samians are no more 
fond of fasting, than they are lovers of silence. — T. 

63 li/iariis.] — This Rhoecus was not only a skilful architect, 
but he farther invented, in conjunction with Theodorus of 
Samos, the art of making moulds with clay, long before the 
Bacchiades had been driven from Corinth; they were also 
the first who made casts in brass, of which they formed 

• tat ■ 

222 THALIA. 

of whom Cambvses had left in Persia as the ma-* 
nager of his domestic concerns, excited a revolt 
against him. The death of Smerdis, which had 
been studiously kept secret, and was known to 
very few of the Persians, who in general believed 
that he was alive, was a circumstance to which the 
last mentioned of these magi had been privy, and 
of which he determined to avail himself. His 
brother, who, as we have related, joined with him 
in this business, not only resembled in person 6g , 
but bore the very name of the young prince, the 
son of Cyrus, who had been put to death by the 
order of his brother Cambyses. This man, Pa- 
tizithes, the other magus, publicly introduced and 
placed upon the royal throne, having previously 


statues. Pausanias relates the same tact, with this addition, 
that upoa a pedestal behind the altar of Diana, called Pro- 
tothenia, there is a statue byRhoecus: it is a woman in 
bronze, said by the Ephesians to be that of Night. He had' 
two son=, Telecles and Theodorus, both ingenious statuaries. 

69 llesembled in person.]— Similar historical incidents will 
here occur to the most common reader, there having been 
no state whose annals are come down to us, in which, from 
the similitude of person, factious individuals have not ex- 
cited commotions. In the Roman government a false Pom- 
pey and a false Drusus claim our attention, because one 
exercised the political sagacity of Cicero, the other em- 
ployed the pen of Tacitus. Neither have we in our own 
country been without similar impostors, the examples of 
which must be too familiar to require insertion here. If 
other examples be thought necessary, not many years have 
passed since the Russian empire was nearly overturned by a 
false Demetrius. — T. 

T H A L I A. 223 

instructed him in the part he was to perform. 
Having done this, he sent messengers to dif- 
ferent places, and one in particular to the ^Egyp- 
tian army, ordering them to obey Smerdis, the 
son of Cyrus, alone. 

LXII. These orders were every where obeyed. 
The messenger who came to iEgypt found Cam- 
byses with the army, at Ecbatana, in Syria. He 
entered into the midst of the troops 70 , and exe- 

70 Into the midst of the troops.] — It may to an English 
reader at first sight seem extraordinary that any person 
should dare to execute such a commission as this, and 
should venture himself on such a business amongst the 
troops of a man whose power had been so long established, 
and whose cruelty must have been notorious But the per- 
sons of heralds, as the functions they were to perform were 
the most important possible, were on all occasions sacred. 
Homer more than once calls them the sacred ministers of 
gods and men; they denounced war, and proclaimed peace. 
It has been a matter of dispute amongst the learned from 
whence this sanctity was conferred on them ; they were said 
to be descended from Ceryx, the son of Mercury, and under 
the protection of that god. This office, in Athens and 
Sparta, was hereditary. In Athens, as I have observed, the 
heralds were 'said to be derived from Cenyx; in Sparta from 
Talthybius, the celebrated herald of Agamemnon. They 
usually carried a staff of laurel in their hands, sometimes of 
olive, round this two serpents were twisted. To what an 
extreme this reverence for the persons of ambassadors or 
heralds was carried, will appear from the book Polymnia, 
chap. \3i. It is almost unnecessary to add, that in modern 
times the persons of ambassadors are in like manner deemed 
sacred, unless the treatment which in case of war they re- 

224 T H A L I A. 

cuted the commission which had been given hint* 
When Cambyses heard this, he was not aware of 
any fallacy, but imagined that Prexaspes, whom 
he had sent to put Smerdis to death, had neg- 
lected to obey his commands. " Prexaspes," 
said the king, " thou hast not fulfilled my orders.*' 
" Sir," he replied, " you are certainly deceived ; 
" it is impossible that your brother should rebel 
" against you, or occasion you the smallest trou- 
iC ble. I not only executed your orders concern- 
" ing Smerdis, but I buried him with my own 
" hands. If the dead can rise again, you may 
" expect also a rebellion from Astyages the 
" Mode ;. but if things go on in their usual course, 
" you can have nothing to apprehend from your 
" brother. I would recommend, therefore, that 
" you send for this herald, and demand by what 
" authority he claims our allegiance to Smerdis.'* 

LXIII. This advice was agreeable to Cam- 
byses : the person of the herald was accordingly 
seized, and he was thus addressed by Prexaspes : 
" You say," my friend, " that you come from 
" Smerdis, the son of Cyrus; but I would advise 

" you 

ceive at Constantinople be deemed an exception. The mo- 
ment that war is declared against any foreign power, the re- 
presentative of that power is seized, and sent as a prisoner 
to the Black Tower. Neither is the case much better in France, 
where the Portuguese minister v. as not long since thrown into 
the common jail, and the ministers of other foreign courts, 
not excepting our own, shamefully insulted. — T. 

THALIA. . d-5 

" you to be cautious, as your safety will depend 
" upon your speaking the truth ; tell me, there- 
" fore, did Smerdis himself intrust you with this 
" commission, or did you receive it from some 
" one of his officers ?" " I must confess," re- 
plied the herald, " that since the departure of 
" Cambyses on this ^Egyptian expedition, I have 
" never seen Smerdis, the son of Cyrus. I re- 
" ceived my present commission from the magus 
" to whom Cambyses intrusted the management 
" of his domestic affairs ; he it was who told me 
" that Smerdis, the son of Cyrus, commanded 
" me to execute this business/' This was the 
sincere answer of the herald; upon which, Cam- 
byses thus addressed Prexaspes : " I perceive 
" that, like a man of integrity, you performed 
" my commands, and have been guilty of no 
" crime: but what Persian, assuming the name 
" of Smerdis, has revolted against me?" " Sir," 
answered Prexaspes, " I believe I comprehend 
" the whole of this business: the magi have ex- 
" cited this rebellion against you, namely, Pati- 
" zithes, to whom you intrusted the manage- 
" rnent of your household, and Smerdis, his 
" brother." 

LXIV. As soon as Cambyses heard the name 
of Smerdis, he was impressed with conviction of 
the truih ; and he immediately perceived the real 
signification of the dream in which he had seen 

Vol. II. Q, Smerdis 

226 THALIA. 

Smerdis seated on the royal throne, and touching 
the firmament with his head. Acknowledging 
that he had destroyed his brother without any 
just cause, he lamented him with tears. xVfter 
indulging for a while in the extremest sorrow-, 
which a sense of his misfortunes prompted, he 
leaped hastily upon his horse, determining to lead 
his army instantly to Susa, against the rebels. 
In doing this, the sheath fell from his sword 71 , 


71 The sheath fell from' his sword.] — The first swords were 
probably made of brass ; for, as Lucretius observes, 

Et prior a?ris erat quam ferri cognitus usus. 

It has been remarked, on the following passage of Virgil,. 

i£rata?que micant pelta?, micat ceneus ensis, 

that the poet only uses brass poetically instead of iron ; 
this, however, seems forced and improbable. More an- 
ciently, which indeed appears from Homer, the sword was 
worn over the shoulder; if, therefore, the attitude of Cam- 
byses in the act of mounting his horse be considered, his 
receiving the wound here described does not appear at all 
unlikely. In contradiction to modern custom, the Romans 
sometimes wore two swords, one on each side ; when they 
wore but one it was usually, though not always, on the right 
side. On this subject, see Montfaucon, where different spe- 
cimens of ancient swords may be seen. The Persian swords 
were called acinaces, or scymetars. — T. 

In order to see how the ancient Persians wore their 
swords, we have only to look at the figures on the ruins 
of Persepolis, where we shall see the swords, or rather dag- 
gers, on the right side. 

In all our more ancient monuments also, there is a sword 
at the left, and a dagger at the right side. 

THALIA. 227 

which, being thus naked, wounded him in the 
thigh. The wound was in the very place in 
which he had before struck Apis, the deity of 
the ^Egyptians. As soon as the blow appeared 
to be mortal, Cambyses anxiously inquired the 
name of the place where he was : they told him 
it was called Ecbatana. An oracle from Butos 
had warned him that he should end his life at 
Ecbatana; this he understood of Ecbatana 74 of 
the Medes, where all his treasures were depo- 
sited, and where he conceived he was to die in 
his old age. The oracle, however, spoke of the 


7 * Ecbatana.] — Ctesias makes this prince die at Babylon ; 
but this is not the only place in which he contradicts Hero- 
dotus. — Larchcr. 

It appears by the context, that this Ecbatana was in Syria; 
an obscure place, probably, and unheard of by Cambyses till 
this moment. A similar fiction of a prophecy occurs in our 
own history. Henry the Fourth had been told he was to die 
ifi Jerusalem, but died in the Jerusalem-chamber at West- 
minster. Which tale Shakespeare has immortalized by no- 
ticing it. 

It hath been prophesy' d to me many years 
I should not die but in Jerusalem, 
Which vainly I suppos'd the Holv Land. 
But bear me to that chamber, there I'll lie, 
In that Jerusalem shall Harry die. 

This fiction was common in all ages, and indeed Shakes- 
peare has three or four others. 

Batangea in Palestine marks the place of this Syrian Ec- 
batana. — See D'AnxUle. 

(I 2 

228 THALIA. 

Syrian Ecbatana. When he learned the nam 
of the town, the vexation arising from the rebel- 
lion of the magus, and the pain of his wound, 
restored him to his proper senses. " This/' he 
exclaimed, remembering the oracle, " is doubt- 
" less the place, in which Cambyses, son of 
" Cyrus, is destined to die." 

LXV. On the twentieth day after the above 
event, he convened the more illustrious of the 
Persians who were with him, and thus addressed 
them : " What has happened to me, compels me 
" to disclose to you what I anxiously desired to 
" conceal. Whilst I was in iEgypt, I beheld in 
" my sleep a vision, which I could wish had 
" never appeared to me. A messenger seemed 
" to arrive from home, informing me that Smer- 
" dis, sitting on the royal throne, touched the 
'■ heavens with his head. It is not in the power 
of men to counteract destiny ; but fearing that 
my brother would deprive me of my kingdom, 
" I yielded to passion rather than to prudence. 
" Infatuated as I was, I dispatched Prexaspes 
" to Susa, to put Smerdis to death, After this 
" great crime, I lived with more confidence, be- 
" lieving that, Smerdis being dead, no one else 
" would rise up against me. But my ideas of 
the future were fallacious; I have murdered 
my brother, a crime equally unnecessary and 
" atrocious, and am nevertheless deprived of my 

" power. 




" power. It was Smerdis the magus 73 , whom 
li the divinity pointed out to me in my dream, 

" and 

73 Smerdis the magus.] — Mr. Richardson, in his Disser- 
tation on the Language, &c. of Eastern nations, speaking of 
the disagreement between the Grecian and Asiatic history of 
Persia, makes the following remarks: 

From this period (6"l0 before Christ) till the Macedonian 
conquest, we have the history of the Persians as given us by 
the Greeks, and the history of the Persians as written by 
themselves. Between these classes of writers we might na- 
turally expect some difference of facts, but we should as 
naturally look for a few great lines which might mark seme 
similarity of story: yet from every research which I have 
had an opportunity to make, there seems to be nearly as 
much resemblance between the annals of England and Japan, 
as between the European and Asiatic relations of the same 
empire. The names and numbers of their kings have no 
analogy! and in regard to the most splendid facts of the 
Greek historians, the Persians are entirely silent. We have 
no mention of the great Cyrus, nor of any king of Persia 
who in the events of his reign can apparently be forced into 
a similitude. We have no Croesus, king of Lydia; not a 
syllable of Cambyscs, or of his frantic expedition against 
the .Ethiopians. Smerdis Magus, and the succession of 
Darius, the son of Hystaspes, by the neighing of his horse, 
are to the Persians circumstances equally unknown, as the 
numerous assassinations recorded by the Greeks, <Scc. 

To do away, at least in part, any impression to the pre- 
judice of Grecian history, which may be made by perusing 
the above remarks of Mr. Richardson, the reader is pre- 
sented with the following sentiments of Mr. Gibbon. 

" So little has been preserved of Eastern history before 
Mahomet, that the modern Persians are totally ignorant of 
the victory of Sapor, an event so glorious to their nation." 

The incident here mentioned is the victory of Sapor over 
Valerian the Roman emperor, who was defeated, taken pri- 

q 3 60ncr > 

230 THALIA. 




and who has now taken arms against me. 
Things being thus circumstanced, it becomes 
you to remember that Smerdis, the son of 
Cyrus, is actually dead, and that the two magi, 
one with whom I left the care of my household, 
and Smerdis his brother, are the men who now 
claim your obedience. He, whose office it 
" would have been to have revenged on these 
" magi any injuries done to me, has unjustly 
" perished by those who were nearest to him : 
" but since he is no more, I must now tell you, 
" O Persians ! what I would have you do when 
" I am dead. — I intreat you all, by those gods 
" who watch over kings, and chiefly you who are 
of the race of the Achaemenides, that you will 
never permit this empire to revert to the 
Medes. If by any stratagem they shall have 
seized it, by stratagem do you recover it. If 
they have by force obtained it, do you by force 
wrest it from them. If you shall obey my ad- 
vice, may the earth give you its fruits in abun- 
dance ! may you ever be free, and your wives 
and your flocks prolific ! If you do not obey 
me, if you neither recover, nor attempt to re- 



" cover 

soner, and died in captivity. This happened in the year 
'260 of the Christian sra. Mahomet was born in the year 
571 of the sameasra; if, therefore, Mr. Gibbon's observation 
be well founded, which it appears to be, Mr. Richardson's 
objections fall to the ground. It may be observed, indeed, 
that Richardson has discovered a great want of judgment in 
his account of the Persian history. — T. 

T H A L I A. 231 


cover the empire, may the reverse of my wishes 
befal you, and may every Persian meet a fate 
u like mine !" 

LXVI. Cambyses, having thus spoken, be- 
wailed his misfortunes. When the Persians saw 
the king thus involved in sorrow, they tore their 
garments, and expressed their grief aloud. After 
a very short interval, the bone became infected, 
the whole of the thigh mortified, and death en- 
sued. Thus died Cambyses, son of Cyrus, after 
a reign of seven years and five months 74 , leaving 
no offspring, male or female. The Persians who 
were present could not be persuaded that the 
magi had assumed the supreme authority, but 
"rather believed that what Cambyses had asserted 
concerning the death of Smerdis, was prompted 
by his hatred of that prince, and his wish to ex- 
cite the general animosity of the Persians against 
him. They were, therefore, generally satisfied 
that it was really Smerdis, the son of Cyrus, who 
had assumed the sovereignty. To which they 
were the more inclined, because Prexaspes after- 
wards positively denied that he had put Smerdis 
to death. When Cambyses was dead, he could 
not safely have confessed that he had killed the 
son of Cyrus. 

74 Seven years and Jive months.] — Clemens Alexandrinus 
makes him reigu ten years. — Lurcher. 

Q 4 

232 THALIA. 

LXVII. After the death of Cambyses, the 
magus, by the favour of his name, pretending to 
be Smerdis, the son of Cyrus, reigned in security 
during the seven months, which completed the 
eighth year of the reign of Cambyses. In this 
period he distinguished the various dependents 
on his power by his great munificence, so that 
after his death he Avas seriously regretted by all 
the inhabitants of Asia, except the Persians. He 
commenced his reign by publishing every where 
an edict which exempted his subjects, for the 
space of three years, both from tribute and mi- 
litary service. 

LXVIII. In the eighth month he was de- 
tected in the following manner : Otanes, son of 
Pharnaspes, was of the first rank of the Persians, 
both with regard to birth and affluence. This 
nobleman was the first who suspected that this 
was not Smerdis, the son of Cyrus ; and was in- 
duced to suppose who he really was, from his 
never quitting the citadel, and from his not in- 
viting any of the nobles to his presence. Sus- 
picious of the imposture, he took these measures : 
He had a daughter named Phoedyma, who had 
been married to Cambyses, and whom, with the 
other wives of the late king, the usurper had 
taken to himself. Otanes sent a message to her> 
to know whether she cohabited with Smerdis, the 
son of Cyrus, or with any other person. She 

• . returned 

THALIA. i23a 

returned for answer, " that she could not tell, 
" as she had never seen Smerdis, the son of 
" Cyrus, nor did she know the person with 
" whom she cohabited." Otanes sent a second 
time to his daughter: " If," says he, " you do 
" not know the person of Smerdis, the son of 
" Cyrus, inquire of Atossa who it is with whom 
" you and she cohabit, for she must necessarily 
" know her brother." To which she thus re- 
plied, " I can neither speak to Atossa, nor in- 
" deed see any of the women that live with him. 
" Since this person, whoever he is, came to the 
" throne, the women have all been kept sepa- 
" rate 75 ." 

75 Kept separata.] — Chardin, speaking of the death of a 
king of Persia, and the intemperate grief of his wives, says, 
that the reason why the women upon such occasions are so 
deeply afflicted, is not only fur the loss of the king their 
husband, but for the loss of that shadow of liberty which 
they enjoyed during his life; for no sooner is the prince laid 
in his tomb, but they are all shut up in particular houses. 
Tourneibrt tells us, that after the death of the sultan at 
Constantinople, the women whom he honoured with his cm- 
braces, and their eldest daughters, are removed into the old 
seraglio of Constantinople ; the younger are sometimes left 
for the new emperor, or are married to the bashas. 

It appears that in the East from the remotest times, females 
have been jealously secluded from the other sex. Never- 
theless, we learn from modern travellers, that this is done 
with some restrictions, and that they are not only suffered 
to communicate with each other, but on certain days to 
leave the haram or seraglio, and take their amusements 


234 T II A L I A. 

LXIX. This reply more and more justified 
the suspicions of Otanes; he sent, therefore, a 
third time to his daughter: " My daughter," he 
observed, " it becomes you, who are nobly born, 
" to engage in a dangerous enterprize, when 
" your father commands you. If this Smerdis 7<s 
' ; be not the son of Cyrus, but the man whom I 

" suspect, 

Where a plurality of wives is allowed, each, it should 
seem from Tournefort, has a distinct and separate apart- 
ment. " I was extremely at a loss," says he, " how to he- 
have to the great men of the East, when I was called in, and 
visited, as a physician, the apartments of their wives. These 
apartments are just like the dormitories of our religious, 
and at every door I found an arm covered with gauze, thrust 
out through a small loop-hole, made on purpose : at first I 
fancied they were arms of wood or brass, to serve for sconces 
to light up candles in at night; but it surprized me when I 
was told I must cure the persons to whom these arms be- 
longed." The Easterns listen with much astonishment to 
the familiarity prevailing betwixt the sexes in Europe. 
When told that no evil results from this, they answer with a 
proverb, " Bring butter too near the fire, and you will 
hardly keep it from melting/' — T. 

76 If this Smerdis ] — That Cambyses was the Ahasuerus, 
and Smerdis the Artaxerxes, that obstructed the work of 
the temple, is plain from hence, that they are said in Scrip- 
ture to be the kings of Persia that reigned between the time 
of Cyrus and the time of that Darius by whose decree the 
temple was finished ; but, that Darius being Darius Hys- 
taspes, and none reigning between Cyrus and that Darius in 
Persia, but Cambyses and Smerdis, it must follow from 
hence, that none but Cambyses and Smerdis could be the 
Ahasuerus and Artaxerxes, who are said in Ezra to have 
put a stop to this work. — Prideaux. 


" suspect, he ought not, possessing your person, 

and the sovereignty of Persia, to escape with 
impunity. Do this, therefore — when next you 
shall be admitted to his bed, and shall observe 
" that he is asleep, examine whether he has any 
" ears ; if he has, you may be secure you are 
" with Smerdis, the son of Cyrus; but if he has 
" not, it can be no other than Smerdis, one of 
" the magi." To this Phaedyma replied, " That 
" she would obey him, notwithstanding the dan- 
(f ger she incurred ; being well assured, that if 
" he had no ears, and should discover her in 
" endeavouring to know this, she should be in- 
" stantly put to death." Cyrus had in his life- 
time deprived this Smerdis of his ears" for some 
atrocious crime. 

Phaedyma complied in all respects with the 


77 This Smerdis of his ears.] — The discovery of this im- 
posture was long celebrated in Persia as an annual festival. 
By reason of the great slaughter of the magians then made, 
it was called magophonia. It was also from this time that 
they first had the name of magians, which signified the 
cropt-eared, which was then given them on account of this 
impostor, who was thus erupt. Mige-gush signified, in the 
language of the country then in use, one that had his ears 
cropt; and from a ringleader of that sect who was thus 
cropt, the author of the famous Arabic lexicon called Ca- 
mus, tells us they all had this name given them; and what 
Herodotus and Justin, and other authors, write of this 
Smerdis, plainly shews that he was the man. — Pridcaux. 

236 T H A L I A. 

injunctions of her father. The wives of the Per- 
sians sleep with their husbands by turns 7S . When 
this lady next slept with the magus, as soon as 
she saw him in a profound sleep, she tried to 
touch his ears, and being perfectly satisfied that 
he had none, as soon as it was day, she commu- 
nicated the intelligence to her father. 

LXX. Otanes instantly revealed the secret to 
Aspathines and Gobryas, two of the noblest of 
the Persians, upon whose fidelity he could de- 
pend, and who had themselves suspected the im- 
posture. It was agreed that each should disclose 
the business to the friend in whom he most con- 
fided. Otanes therefore chose Intaphernes ; Go- 
bryas, Megabyzus; and Aspathines, Hydarnes. 
The conspirators being thus six in number, Da- 

7S The wives of the Persians sleep with their husbands by 
funis.] — By the Mahometan law, the Persians, Turks, and 
indeed all true believers, are permitted to have wives of 
three different descriptions; those whom they espouse, those 
whom they hire, and those whom they purchase. Of the' 
first kind they are limited to four, of the two last they may 
have as many as they please or can afford. Amongst the 
singularities sanctified by the Alcoran, the following is not 
the least : a woman legally espoused may insist on a divorce 
from her husband, if he is impotent, if he is given to unna- 
tural enjoyment, or, to use Tournefort's expression, if he 
does not pay his tribute upon Thursday and Friday night, 
which are the times consecrated to the conjugal duties.—- r .!\ 

THALIA. o 37 

Tins, son of Hystaspes, arrived at Susa, from 
Persia, where his father was governor ; when they 
instantly agreed to make him also an associate. 

LXXI. These seven met 79 , and after mutual 
vows of fidelity consulted together. As soon as 
Darius was to speak, he thus addressed his con- 
federates : " I was of opinion that the death of 
" Smerdis, son of Cyrus, and the usurpation of 
" the magus, were circumstances known only to 
" myself, and my immediate purpose in coming 
" hither, was to accomplish the usurper's death. 
" But since you are also acquainted with the 
" matter, I think that all delay will be dangerous, 
" and that we should instantly execute our 
" intentions." " Son of Hystaspes," replied 
Otanes, " born of a noble parent, you seem the 
" inheritor of your father's virtue ; nevertheless, 
" be not precipitate, but let us enter on this bu- 
" siness with caution : for my own part, I am 
" averse to undertake any thing, till we shall have 
" strengthened our party." " My friends," re- 
sumed Darius, " if you follow the advice of 
" Otanes, your ruin is inevitable. The hope of 
" reward will induce some one to betray your 

" designs 

79 These seven met.~\ — Mithridates, king of Pontus, who 
afterwards gave so much trouble to the Romans, was de- 
scended from one of these conspirators: see book vu, 
chap. ii. — Lurcher. 


' designs to the magus. An enterprize like this 
1 should be accomplished by yourselves, disdain- 
c ing all assistance. But since you have re- 
{ vealed the secret, and added me to your party, 
' let us this very day put our designs in exe- 
' cution ; for I declare, if this day pass without 
' our fulfilling our intentions, no one shall to- 
' morrow betray me ; I will myself disclose the 
1 conspiracy, to the magus." 

LXII. When Otanes observed the ardour of 
Darius; " Since," he replied, " you will not 
' suffer us to defer, but precipitate us to the 
' termination of our purpose, explain how we 
' shall obtain entrance into the palace, and at- 
1 tack the usurpers. That there are guards re- 
' gularly stationed, if you have not seen them 
* yourself, you must have known from others ; 
1 how shall we elude these?" " There are 
' many circumstances, Otanes," returned Da- 
ius, " which we cannot so well explain by our 
1 words as by our actions. There are others 
1 which may be made very plausible by words, 
1 but are capable of no splendour in the execu- 
' tion. You cannot suppose that it will be dif- 
' ficult for us to pass the guards ; who among 
' them will not be impelled by reverence of our 
' persons, or fear of our authority, to admit us ? 
' Besides this, I am furnished with an uncle- 
' niable excuse ; I can say that I am just ar- 

" rived 




T II ALIA. 239 

rived from Persia, and have business from my 
father with the king. If a falsehood must be 
spoken 8o , let it be so. They who are sincere, 
and they who are not, have the same object in 
view. Falsehood is prompted by views of in- 
terest, and the language of truth is dictated by 
some promised benefit, or by the hope of in- 
spiring confidence. So that, in fact, these are 
only two different paths to the same end : if 
no emolument were proposed, the sincere man 

" would 

80 If a falsehood must be spoken."] — This morality, says Lar- 
cher, is not very rigid; but it ought, he continues, to be 
remembered, that Herodotus is here speaking of falsehood 
which operates to no one's injury. Bryant, on the contrary, 
remarks, that we may rest assured these are the author's 
own sentiments, though attributed to another person; 
hence, he adds, we must not wonder if his veracity be some- 
times called in question. But when we remember that one 
of the first rudiments of Persian education was to speak the 
truth, the little scruple with which Darius here adopts a 
falsehood, must appear very remarkable. Upon this subject 
of sincerity, Lord Shaftesbury has some very curious re- 
marks. " The chief of ancient critics," says he, " extol> 
Homer above all things for understanding how to lye in 
perfection. His lyes, according to that master's opinion, 
and the judgment of the gravest and most venerable writers, 
were in themselves the justest moral truths, and e.xhibitive 
of the best doctrine and instruction in life and manners." 
It is well remarked by one of the ancients, though I do not 
remember which, that a violation of truth implies a contempt 
of God, and fear of man. Yet the gravest of our moralists 
and divines have allowed that there may be occasions in 
which a deviation from strict truth is venial. — T. 

240 THALIA. 

would be false, and the false man sincere. As 
to the guards, he who suffers us to pass shall 
hereafter be remembered to his advantage ; he 
who opposes us shall be deemed an enemy : let 
us, therefore, now hasten to the palace, and 
execute our purpose." 

LXXIII. When he had finished, Gobryas 
spake as follows: " My friends, to recover the 

" empire will indeed be glorious ; but if we fail, 

" it will be nobler to die, than for Persians to 

" live in subjection to a Mede, and he too de- 

" prived of his ears. You who were present at 

" the last hours of Cambyses, cannot but re- 

" member the imprecations which he uttered 

" against the Persians, if they did not attempt 

" the recovery of the empire. We then refused 

" him attention, thinking him influenced by ma- 

" lignity and resentment; but now I at least 

" second the proposal of Darius, nor would I 

" have this assembly break up, but to proceed 

" instantly against the magus." The sentiments 

" of Gobryas gave universal satisfaction. 

LXXI V. During the interval of this consulta- 
tion, the two magi had together determined to 
make a friend of Prexaspes : they were aware 
that he had been injured by Cambyses, who had 
slain his son with an arrow ; and that he alone 
was privy to the death of Smerdis, the son of 



Cyrus, having been his executioner ; they were 
conscious also that he was highly esteemed by 
the Persians. They accordingly sent for him, 
and made him the most liberal promises ; they 
made him swear that he would on no account 
disclose the fallacy which they practised on the 
Persians ; and they promised him, in reward of 
his fidelity, rewards without number. Prexaspes 
engaged to comply with their wishes ; they then 
told him of their intention to assemble the Per- 
sians beneath the tower 81 which was the royal re- 
sidence, from whence they desired him to declare 
aloud that he who then sate on the throne of Per- 
sia was Smerdis, the son of Cyrus, and no other. 
They Avere induced to this measure, from a con- 
sideration of the great authority of Prexaspes, 
and because he had frequently declared that he 
had never put Smerdis, the son of Cyrus, to 
death, but that he was still alive. 

LXXV. Prexaspes agreed to comply with all 
that they proposed ; the magi accordingly as- 

81 Beneath the tower.] — This was the citadel. Anciently 
the kings lodged here for security. In cliap. lxviii. Hero- 
dotus observes (hat the magus would not stir from the cita- 
del, and in chap, lxxix. he says that the conspirators left 
behind in the citadel such of their friends as were wounde-4 
in attacking the magi. — Larcher. 

Vol. II, R 

242 T H A L I A. 

sembled the Persians, and leading Prexaspes to- 
the top of the tower, commanded him to make 
an oration. He, without paying the least atten- 
tion to the promises he had made, recited the 
genealogy of the family of Cyrus, beginning 
with Achaemenes. When he came to Cyrus him- 
self, he enumerated the services which that prince 
had rendered the Persians. He then made a full 
discovery of the truth, excusing himself for con- 
cealing it so long, from the danger which the 
revealing it would have incurred, but that it was 
now forced from him. lie assured them that he 
actually had killed Smerdis, by the order of Cam- 
byses, and that the magi now exercised the sove- 
reign authority. When he had imprecated many 
curses 82- upon the Persians, if they did not at- 

81 Imprecated many curses."] — In ancient time?, and amongst 
the Orientals in particular, these kind of imprecations were 
very frequent, and supposed to have an extraordinary in- 
fluence. The curse of a father was believed to be particu- 
larly fatal; and the Furies were always thought to execute 
the imprecations of parents upon disobedient children. When 
Joshua destroyed Jericho, he imprecated a severe curse upon 
whoever should attempt to rebuild it. This was at a distant 
period of time accomplished. We have two examples of 
solemn imprecations on record, which have always been 
deemed worthy of attention. The one occurred in ancient 
Rome : When Crassus, in defiance of the auspices, prepared 
to make an expedition against the Parthians. The tribune 
Ateius waited for him at the gates of the city, with an altar. 
a fire, and a sacrifice ready prepared, and with the most 
3 horrid 

THALIA. 243 

tempt the recovery of their rights, and take ven- 
geance upon the usurpers, he threw himself from 
the tower. — Such was the end of Prexaspes, a 
man who through every period of his life merited 
esteem 8 '. 

LXXVI. The seven Persians, having deter- 
mined instantly to attack the magi, proceeded, 
after imploring the aid of the gods, to execute 


horrid solemnity devoted him to destruction. The other 
example is more modern, it is the imprecation which Aver- 
roes, the famous Arabian philosopher, uttered against his 
son. As it is less generally known, I shall recite it at length : 
Averroes was one day seriously conversing with some grave 
friends, when his son, in a riotous manner, intruded himself, 
accompanied by some dissolute companions. The old man, 
viewing him with great indignation, spoke two verses to the 
following effect : " Thy own beauties could not content thee, 
thou hast stripped the wild goat of his beauties; and they 
who are as beautiful as thyself admire thee. Thou hast got 
his wanton heart, his lecherous eyes, and his senseless head ; 
but to-morrow thou shalt find thy father will have his push- 
ing horns. Cursed be all extravagancies ! when I was young, 
I sometimes punished my father; now I am old, I cannot 
punish my son; but I beg of God to deprive him rather of 
life, than suffer him to be disobedient." It is related that 
the young man died within ten months. — T. 

83 Merited cstecm.~] — Upon this incident M. Larcher re- 
marks, that this last noble action of his life but ill cor- 
responds with the mean and dastardly behaviour which 
Prexaspes had before exhibited to the murderer of his son. 
Larcher, however, forgets the profound veneration which 
the Persians invariably paid to their sovereigns.. 

It 2 

244 T II A L I A. 

their purpose. They were at first ignorant of 
the fate of Prexaspes, but they learned it as 
they went along. They withdrew for a while 
to deliberate together ; they who sided with 
Otancs, thought that their enterprize should 
be deferred, at least during the present tu- 
mult of affairs. The friends of Darius, on the 
contrary, were averse to any delay, and were 
anxious to execute what they had resolved, im- 
mediately. Whilst they remained in this sus- 
pence, they observed seven pair of hawks 8 *, 
which, pursuing two pair of vultures, beat and 
severely tore them. At this sight, the conspi- 
rators came immediately into the designs of Da- 
rius : 

8+ Seven pair of hazels. ] — The superstition of the ancients, 
with respect to the fight or flight of birds, has often exer- 
cised the sagacity and aeuteness of philosophers and scholars. 
Si me birds furnished omens from their chattering, as crows, 
owls, See. ; others from the direction in which they flew, as 
eagles, vultures, hawks, &c. An eagle seen to the right was 
fortunate. — The sight of an eagle was supposed to foretel 
to Tarquinius Friscus, that he should obtain the crown; 
it predicted, also, the conquests of Alexander; and the loss 
of their dominions to Tarquin the Proud, and Dionvsius 
tyrant of Syracuse ; innumerable other examples must here 
occur to every reader. A raven seen on the left hand was 

Sa?pe sinistra cava prasdixit ab ilice cornix. — Virgil. 

Upon the subject of the auspicia, the most satisfactory in- 
telligence is to be obtained from the treatise of Cicero dc 
Divinatione. From the Latin word auspicia, from ares m- 
ej>icere } comes our English word auspicious. — T. 

T II A L I A. 245 

rius ; and, relying on the omen of the birds, 
advanced boldly to the palace. 

LXXVII. On their arrival at the gates, it 
happened as Darius had foreseen. The guards, 
unsuspicious of what was intended, and awed by 
their dignity S; of rank, who, in this instance, 
•seemed to act from a divine impulse, without any 
questions, permitted them to enter. As soon as 
they came to the interior part of the palace, they 
met with the eunuchs, who were employed as the 
royal messengers ; these asked their business, 
and at the same time threatened the guards for 
suffering them to enter. On their opposing their 
farther entrance, the conspirators drew their 
swords, and, encouraging each other, put the 
eunuchs to death ; from hence they instantly 
rushed to the inner apartments. 

LXXVIII. Here the two magi happened to 


8s Awed bu their dignity. ,]-r-The most memorable instance 
m history, of the effects of this kind of impression, is that of 
the soldier sent into the pri ion to kill Caius Marius : — The 
story is related at length by Plutarch. When the man en- 

i the prison with his sword drawn, " Fellow," exclai 
the stern Roman, " darest thou kill Caius Marius?" Upon 
which the soldier dropped his sword, and rushed out of doors. 
This fact, however, being no where mentioned by Cicero, 
who speaks very largely on die subject of .Marius, has given 
Dr. Middleton reason to suppose, that the whole is a fabulous 
narration. — T. 

II 3 

246 THALIA. 

be, in consultation about what was to be done in 
consequence of the conduct of Prexaspes. As 
soon as tncy perceived the tumult, and heard the 
cries of the eunuchs, they ran towards them, and 
preparing in a manly manner to defend them- 
selves, the one seized a bow and the other a 
lance. As the conspirators drew near to the at-^ 
tack, the bow became useless; but the other 
magus, who was armed with the lance, wounded 
Aspathines in the thigh, and deprived Inta- 
phernes of one of his eyes, though the blow was 
not fatal. The magus who found his bow of no 
service retreated to an adjoining apartment, into 
which he was followed by Darius and Gobryas. 
This latter seized the magus round the waist 8<s ; 
but as this happened in the dark, Darius stood 
in hesitation, fearing to strike, lest he should 
wound Gobryas, When Gobryas perceived this, 


s<! Round the xcaist.] — Not unlike to this was the manner 
in which David Rizio, the favourite of the unfortunate Mary 
queen of Scots, was murdered. Rizio was at supper with 
his mistrets, attended by a few domestics, when the king, 
who had chosen this place and opportunity to satisfy his 
vengeance, entered the apartment with Ruthven and his ac- 
complices;. The wretched favourite, conceiving himself \he 
victim whose death was required, flew for protection to the 
queen, whom he seized round tiie waist. This attitude did 
not save him from the dagger of Ruthven ; and before he 
could be dragged to the next apartment, the rage of his ene- 
mies put an end to his life, piercing his bodv with fifty-six 
pounds. — See the account in Robert sun's History of Siothuul, 
vol. i. 359,?zsT< 

THALIA. 247 

lie inquired why he was thus inactive : when Da- 
rius replied, " that it was from his fear of wound- 
" ing his friend;" " Strike," exclaimed Gobryas, 
" though you should pierce both." — Darius in- 
stantly complied, and ran his sword through the 

LXXIX. Having thus slain the magi 87 , they 
instantly cut off their heads. Their two friends 


* 7 The magi.] — It may not in this place be impertinent, 
to give a succinct account of the magi or niagians, as selected 
from various writers on the subject. This sect originating 
in the East, abominating all images, worshipped God only 
by tire. Their chief doctrine was, that there were two prin- 
ciples, one of which was the cause of all good, the other the 
cause of all evil ; the former is represented by light, the 
other by darkness; and that from these two all things in the 
world were made. The good god they named Yazdan or 
Ormund ; the evil god, Ahraman : the former is by the 
Creeks named Oramasdes, the latter Arimanius. Concern- 
in' 1 these two gods, some held both of them to have been 
from eternity ; others contended the good being only to be 
eternal, the other created : both agreed in this, that there 
will be a continual opposition between these two till the end 
of the world, when the good god shall overcome the evil 
god; and that afterwards each shall have his world to him- 
self, the good god have all good men with him, the evil god 
all wicked men. Of this system, Zoroaster was the first 
founder, whom Hyde and Prjdeaux make contemporary with 
Darius llystaspes, but whose sera, as appears from Movie, 
the Greek writers of the age of Darius make many hundred 
years before their own time. After giving a concise but 
animated account of the theology of Zoroaster, Mr, Gibbon 

r 4 has 

248 THALIA. 

who were wounded were left behind, as well to 
guard the citadel, as on account of their inability 


has this foolish and preposterous remark : " Every mode of 
religion, to make a deep and lasting impression on the human 
mind, must exercise our obedience, by enjoining practices of 
devotion for which we can assign no reason ; and must acquire 
our esteem by inculcating moral duties, analogous to the dic- 
tates of our own hearts." The religion of Zoroaster was abun- 
dantly provided with the former, and possessed a sufficient 
portion of the latter. At the age of puberty the faithful Per- 
sian was invested with a mysterious girdle; from which mo- 
ment the most indifferent action of his life was sanctified by 
prayers, ejaculations, and genuflexions, the omission of which 
was a grievous sin. The moral duties, however, were required 
of the disciple of Zoroaster, who wished to escape the perse- 
cution of Arimanius, or, as Mr. Gibbon writes it, Ahriman, 
and to live with Ormund or Ormusd in a blissful eternity, 
where the degree of felicity will be exactly proportioned to 
the degree of virtue and piety. In the time ofTheodosius the 
younger, the Christians enjoyed a full toleration in Persia ; 
but, Abdas indiscreetly pulling down a temple in which the 
Persians worshipped fire, a persecution against the Chris- 
tians was excited, and prosecuted with unrelenting cruelty. 
The magi are still known in Persia, under the name of parsi 
or parses; their superstition is contained in three books, 
named Zend, Pazend, and Vestna, said by themselves to be 
composed by Zerdascht, whom they confound with the pa- 
triarch Abraham. The Oriental Christians pretend, that the 
magi who adored Jesus Christ, were disciples of Zoroaster, 
who predicted to them the coming of the: Messiah, and the 
iii \v star which appeared at his birth. Upon this latter sub- 
ject a modern writer has ingeniously remarked, that the pre- 
sents which the magi made to Christ, indicated their esteem- 
ing him a royal child, notwithstanding his mean situation 
and appearance: they gave him gold, frankincense, and 


THALIA. 249 

to follow them. The remaining five ran out into 
the public street, having the heads of the magi in 
their hands, and making violent outcries. They 
called aloud to the Persians, explaining what had 
happened, and exposing the heads of the usurpers; 
at the same time, whoever of the magi appeared 
was instantly put to death. The Persians hear- 
ing what these seven noblemen had effected, and 
learning the imposture practised on them by the 
magi, were seized with the desire of imitating 
their conduct. Sallying forth with drawn swords, 
they killed every magus whom they met ; and if 
night had not checked their rage, not one would 
have escaped. The anniversary of this day the 
Persians celebrate with great solemnity ; the fes- 
tival they observe is called the magophonia, or 
the slaughter of the magi. On this occasion no 
magus is permitted to be seen in public, they are 
obliged to confine themselves at home. 

LXXX. When the tumult had subsided, and 
an interval of five days was elapsed, the conspi- 
rators met to deliberate on the situation of affairs. 
Their sentiments, as delivered on this occasion, 


myrrh, such as the queen of Sheba presented to Solomon 
in bis glory. 

It seems almost unnecessary to add, that from these magi 
or magians the English word magic is derived : — See Pri- 
ix, Gibbon, Bayle, Bibliotheque Orientale, and Maimer's 
Observations on Passages of Scripture.— 7 1 . 

250 T II A L I A. 

however they may want credit with many of the 
Greeks, were in fact as follows. — Otanes recom- 
mended a republican form of government : " It 
does not," says he, " seem to me adviseable, 
that the government of Persia 88 should here- 
after be entrusted to any individual person, 
this being neither popular nor wise. We all 
know the extreme lengths to which the arro- 
gance of Cambyses proceeded, and some of 
us have felt its influence. How can that form 
of government possibly be good, in which an 
individual with impunity may indulge his pas- 
sions, and which is apt to transport even the 
best of men beyond the bounds of reason ? 
When a man, naturally envious, attains great- 
ness, he instantly becomes insolent : Insolence 
and jealousy are the distinguishing vices of tv- 
rants, and when combined lead to the most 

" enormous 

bS Government of Persia.] — Machiavel, reasoning upon the 
conquests of Alexander the Great, and upon the unresisting 
submission which his successors experienced from the Per* 
sians, takes it for granted, that amongst the ancient Persians 
there was no distinction of nobility. This, however, was by 
no means the case: and what Mr. Hume remarks of the 
Florentine secretary was undoubtedly true, that he was far 
better acquainted with Roman than with Greek authors :-— 
See the Essay of .Mr. Hume, where he asserts that " Politics 
may be reduced to a science ;" with his note at the end of 
the volume, which contains an enuqieration of various Per- 
sian noblemen of different periods, as well as a refutation of; 
MachjaveVs absurd position above stated., -e-'^f, 

T H A L I A. 251 

enormous crimes. He who is placed at the 
summit of power, ought indeed to be a stranger 
to envy; but we know, by fatal experience, 
that the contrary happens. We know also, 
that the worthiest citizens excite the jealousy 
of tyrants, who are pleased only with the most 
abandoned : they are ever prompt to listen to 
the voice of calumny. If we pay them tem- 
perate respect, they take umbrage that we are 
not more profuse in our attentions : if the re- 
spect with which they are treated seem immo- 
derate, they call it adulation. The severest 
misfortune of all is, that they pervert the in- 
stitutions of their country, offer violence to 
our le males, and put those whom they dislike 
to death, without the formalities of justice. 
Cut a democracy in the first place bears the 
honourable name of an equality 89 ; the dis- 

" orders 

* 9 Equaliti/.]— The word in the original is to-ovofjuw, which 
means equality of laws. M. Larcher translates it literally 
isonomie : but in English, as we have no authority for the 
use of it, isonomy would perhaps seem pedantic. The fol- 
lowing passage from Lord Shaftesbury fully explains the 
word in question. — Speaking of the influence of tyranny on 
the arts, " The high spirit of tragedy," says he, " can ill 
subsist where the spirit of liberty is wanting." The genius 
of this poetry consists in the lively representation of the dis- 
orders and misery of the great; to the end that the people, 
ami those of a lower condition, may be taught the better to 
content themselves with privacy, enjoy their safer state, and 
prize the equality and justice of their guardian laws. — This 
however is but a jejune account of tragedy, and as incorrect 







<2.,e THALIA. 

" orders which prevail in a monarchy cannot 
" there take place. The magistrate is appointed 
" by lot, he is accountable for his administration, 
" and whatever is done, must be with the general 
" consent. I am, therefore, of opinion, that 
" monarchy should be abolished, and that, as 
" every thing depends on the people 90 , a popular 
" government should be established." — Such 
Avere the sentiments of Otanes. 

LXXXI. Megabyzus, however, was inclined 
to an oligarchy; in favour of which he thus ex- 
pressed himself: " All that Otanes has urged, 
" concerning the extirpation of tyranny, meets 
" with my intire approbation ; but when he re- 
" commends the supreme authority to be en- 
" trusted to the people, he seems to me to err 
" in the extreme. Tumultuous assemblies of 
" the people are never distinguished by wisdom, 
'' but always by insolence ; neither can any thing 

" be 

as it is faulty. Could Lord Shaftesbury think of the line 
tragedies under Louis XIV r— T. 

90 Evert/ f/iing depends on the people] — In this place the 
favourite adage of Vox populi vox Dei, must occur to every 
reader; the truth of which, as far as power is concerned, is 
certainly indisputable ; but with respect to political sagacity, 
thesentimcat of Horace may be more securely vindicated; 

Interdum vulgus rectum vjdet, est ubi peccat. 

fl hjcb Pope happily renders, 

The people's voice is odd ; 
It is. and it i^ not, the voice of God, T, 

THALIA. 253 

be possibly more preposterous, than to fly 
from the tyranny of an individual to the in- 
temperate caprice of the vulgar. Whatever 
a tyrant undertakes, has the merit of previous 
concert and design ; but the people are always 
rash and ignorant. And how can they be 
otherwise, who are uninstructed, and with no 
internal sense 91 of what is good and right? 
Destitute of judgment, their actions resemble 
the violence of a torrent 94 . To me, a de- 



91 No interna/ sense.] — The original is somewhat per- 
plexed ; but the acute Valcnaer, by reading ow.&iv for ohwb*. 
at once removes all difficulty. — T. 

9Z Their actions resemble the \iolence of a torrent.] — Upon 
the subject of popular assemblies, the following remarks of 
M. de Lolme seem very ingenious, as well as just. 

u Those who compose a popular assembly are not a< - 
tuated, kr the course of their deliberations, by any clear or 
precise view of any present or positive personal interest. As 
they see themselves lost as it were in the crowd' of those 
who are called upon to exercise the same function with 
themselves; as they know that their individual vote will 
make no change in the public resolution, and that to what- 
ever side they may incline, the general result will neverthe- 
less be the same, they do not undertake to inquire how far 
the things proposed to them agree with the whole of the 
laws already in being, or wit 1 the present circumstances of 
the state. As few among them have previously considered 
the subjects on which they are called upon to determine, 
very few carry along with them any opinion or inclination 
of their own, and to which they are resolved to adhere. As, 
however, it is necessary at last to come to some resolution, 
the major part of them are determined, by reasons which 


254 THALIA. 

mocracy seems to involve the ruin of our 
country : let us, therefore, entrust the go- 
vernment to a few individuals, selected for 
" their talents and their virtues. Let us con- 
" stitute a part of these ourselves, and from the 
" exercise of authority so deposited, we may be 
" justified in expecting the happiest events." 

LXXXII. Darius was the third who delivered 
his opinion. " The sentiments of Megabyzus," 
he observed, " as they relate to a popular go- 

" vernment, 

they would blush to pay any regard to on much less serious 
occasions : an unusual sight, a change of the ordinary place 
of assembly, a sudden disturbance, a rumour, are, amidst 
the general want of a spirit of decision, the sufficiens ratio of 
the determination of the greatest part; and from this assem- 
blage of separate wills, thus formed, hastily and without 
reflection, a general will results, which is also without re- 
flection." — Constitution of' England, 250, 251. 

Quod enim fretum, quern Euripum, tot motus, tantas et 
tarn varias habere putatis agitationes fluctuum, quantas per- 
turbationes et quantos asstus habet ratio comitiorum.— 
Cicero Oraf. pro Murcena. 

Larcher has quoted the following remark of Gognet, which 
it may be wondered that the vigilance of Bonaparte's satel- 
lites suffered to pass. 

The best 1 writers of antiquity have invariably expressed 
themselves in favour of a monarchy, Herodotus, Plato r 
Aristotle, Xenophon, Isocrates, Cicero, Seneca, Tacitus, 
Plutarch, and others, have considered a monarchical govern- 
ment as the most advantageous and the most perfect of all 
those which mankind have, invented. It is singular enough 
that the greater part of the above writers flourished in re- 


T H A L I A. «55 

" vernment, are unquestionably wise and just; 
" but from his opinion of an oligarchy, I totally 
" dissent*. Supposing the three different forms 
of government, monarchy, democracy, and an 
oligarchy, severally to prevail in the greatest 
perfection, I am of opinion that monarchy has 
greatly the advantage. Indeed nothing can 
" be better than the government of an individual 
" eminent for his virtue. He will not only have 
" regard to the general welfare of bis subjects, 
" but his resolutions will be cautiously concealed 
from the public enemies of the state. In an 
" oligarchy, the majority who have the care of 

" the 

f I must regret that the limits I have found it necessary 
to propose to myself, will not allow me to transcribe the 
whole of M. Larcher's noble and excellent sentiments on 
the subject of these speeches of the Persian noblemen. He 
contrasts the situation of the Athenians whilst under their 
kings, and when in their democratic state. Under their 
kings, says he, the people were happy, but they were never 
so under a democratic government. 'Whether he had in his 
eye the government under which he lives, when he thus ex- 
pressed himself, I leave to the reader's sagacity to determine. 

The governing power, conducting itself alone by caprice 
and passion, destroyed on one day the proceedings of the 
former; controlled by demagogues, it thought to control 
them, but in reality was enslaved. In a word, it neither 
knew how to command, nor to obey. It often changed the 
forms of government, without adhering to any, like those 
diseased persons who every moment change their posture 
without being satisfied with any but that in which they are 
not. What he says a little further on is no less pertinent 
and spirited, and our only surprize is, that it was endured. 





256 T H A L I A. 

the state, though employed in the exercise of 
virtue for the public good, will be the objects 
of mutual envy and dislike. Every individual 
will be anxious to extend his own personal 
importance, from which will proceed, faction, 
sedition, and bloodshed. The sovereign power 
coming by these means to the hands of a 
single person, constitutes the strongest argu- 
ment to prove what form of government is 
best. Whenever the people possess the su- 
preme authority, disorders in the state are 
" unavoidable : such disorders introduced in a 
" republic, do not separate the bad and the pro- 
fligate from each other, they unite them in the 
closest bonds of connection. They who mu- 
tually injure the state, mutually support each 
other ; this evil exists till some individual, as- 
suming authority, suppresses the sedition; he 
of course obtains popular admiration, which 
ends in his becoming the sovereign 9? ; and 
this again tends to prove, that a monarchy is 
of all governments the most excellent. To 
comprehend all that can be said at once, to 
what are we indebted for our liberty ? did we 

" derive 

1)3 Ends in Iiis becoming the sovereign.] — It is probable that 
the ascendant of one man over multitudes began during a 
state of war, where the superiority of courage and of genius 
discovers itself most visibly, where unanimity and concert 
are most requisite, and where the pernicious effects of dis- 
order are most sensibly felt. — ffume, 



THALIA. 257 

" derive it from the people, an oligarchy, or an 
" individual ? For my own part, as we were 
" certainly indebted to one man for freedom, I 
" think that to one alone the government should 
" be intrusted. Neither can w T e without dancer 
" change the customs of our country." 

LXXXIII. Such were the three different opi- 
nions delivered, the latter of which was approved 
by four out of the seven 94 . When Otanes saw 
his desire to establish an equality in Persia, re- 
jected, he spoke thus : " As it seems determined 
" that Persia shall be governed by one person, 

" whether 

9 * Four out of t fie seven.] — This majority certainly decided 
in favour of that species of government which is most simple 
ana natural ; and which would be, if always vested in proper 
hands, the best : but the abuse of absolute power is so pro- 
bable, and so destructive, that it is necessary by all means 
to guard against it. Aristotle inclines to the opinion of 
those, who esteem a mixed government the best that can be 
devised. Of this they considered the Lacedaemonian con- 
stitution a good specimen; the kings connecting it with mo- 
narchy, the senate with oligarchy, and the ephori and syssytia 
with democracy. — Aristot. Pol. 1. ii. cap. 4. Modern spe- 
culators on this subject, with one accord allow the consti- 
tution of Great Britain, as it stands at present, to be a much 
more judicious and perfect mixture of the three powers, 
which are so contrived as to check and counterbalance each 
other, without impeding that action of the whole machine, 
which is necessary to the well-being of the people. The 
sixth book of Polybius opens with a dissertation on the dif- 
ferent forms of government ; which deserves attention. — T. 

Vol. II. S 


258 THALIA. 

" whether chosen among ourselves by lot, or by 
the suffrages of the people, or by some other 
method, you shall have no opposition from me : 
I am equally averse to govern or obey. I 
" therefore yield, on condition that no one of 
" you shall ever reign over me, or any of my 
" posterity." The rest of the conspirators as- 
senting to this, he made no farther opposition, 
but retired from the assembly. At the present 
period this is the only family in Persia which 
retains its liberty, for all that is required of them 
is not to transgress the laws of their country. 

LXXXIV. The remaining six noblemen con- 
tinued to consult about the most equitable mode 
of electing a king ; and they severally deter- 
mined, that if the choice should fall upon any of 
themselves, Otanes himself and all his posterity 
should be annually presented with a Median 
habit 95 , as well as with every other distinction 


95 Presented with a Median habit. ~\ — The custom of giving 
vests or robes in Oriental countries, as a mark of honour 
and distinction, may be traced to the remotest antiquity, 
and still prevails. On this subject the following passage is 
given, from a manuscript of Sir John Chardin, by Mr. Har- 
mer, in his Observations on Passages of Scripture. 

" The kings of Persia have great wardrobes, where there 
are always many hundreds of habits ready, designed for pre- 
sents, and sorted. The)' pay great attention to the quality 
"i merit of those to whom these vestments or habits ;i re 

given : 

THALIA. 250 

magnificent in itself, and deemed honourable in 
Persia. They decreed him this tribute of re- 
spect, as he had first agitated the matter, and 
called them together. These were their deter- 
minations respecting Otanes; as to themselves, 
they mutually agreed that access to the royal 
palace should be permitted to each of them, 


given : those that are given to the great men have as much 
difference as there is between the degrees of honour they 
possess in the state." 

All modern travellers to the East speak of the same cus- 
tom. We find also in the Old Testament various examples 
of a similar kind. Chardin also, in his account of the coro- 
nation of Solynian the Third, king of Persia, has the follow- 
ing passage : 

" His majesty, as every grandee had paid him his sub- 
missions, honoured him with a calate or royal vest. This 
Persian word, according to its etymology, signifies intire, 
perfect, accomplished, to signify either the excellency of 
the habit, or the dignity of him that wears it ; for it is an 
infallible mark of the particular esteem which the sovereign 
has for the person to whom he sends it, and that he has free 
liberty to approach his person; for when the kingdom has 
changed its lord and master, the grandees who have not re- 
ceived this vest dare not presume to appear before the king 
without hazard of their lives." 

This Median habit was made of silk ; it was indeed, among 
the elder Greeks, only another name for a silken robe, as we 
learn from Procopius, t»j» kt^tu — i>* irxXui, ^v 'JEA*»j»s« l&thxni 
ex«Xaj>, wv Se Zv^y.riv ovopatpvc-iv. The remainder of this pas- 
sage, literally translated, is, " and all that present which in 
Persia is most honourable/' This gift is fully explained by 
Xenophon in the first book of the Anabasis; it consisted of 

S 2 a horse 

260 THALIA. 

without the ceremony of a previous messenger 96 , 
except when the king should happen to be in bed 
with his wife. They also resolved, that the king 
should marry no woman but from the family of 
one of the conspirators. The mode they adopted 
to elect a king was this : — They agreed to meet 
on horseback at sun-rise * in the vicinity of the 
city, and to make him king, whose horse should 
neigh the first. 

LXXXV. Darius had a groom, whose name 
was (Ebares, a man of considerable ingenuity, 
for whom, on his return home, he immediately 
sent. " (Ebares, " said he, " it is determined 
" that we are to meet at sun-rise on horse- 
" back, and that he among us shall be king;, 
" whose horse shall first neigh. Whatever acute- 
" ness you have, exert it on this occasion, that 

" no 

a horse with a gilt bridle, a golden collar, bracelets, and a 
sword of the kind peculiar to Media, called acinaces, besides 
the silken vest. His expressions are so similar to those of 
Herodotus, as to satisfy us that these specific articles pro- 
perly made up the gift of honour. — T. 

$6 Previous messenger.] — Visits to the great in Eastern 
countries are always preceded by messengers, who carry pre- 
sents, differing i ; ae according to the dignity of the per- 
son who is to receive them. Without some present or other 
no visit must be made, nor favour expected. — T. 

* Their appointing this period to determine who was to 
be prince, arose probably from the custom always observed 
by the Persians of paying adoration to the rising sun. 



THALIA. 261 

" no one but myself may obtain this honour." 
" Sir," replied (Ebares, " if your being a king 
" or not depends on what you say, be not afraid ; 
" I have a kind of charm, which will prevent 
any one's being preferred to yourself." — 
Whatever," replied Darius, " this charm may 
be, it must be applied without delay, as the 
" morning will decide the matter." (Ebares, 
therefore, as soon as evening came, conducted to 
the place before the city a mare, to which he 
knew the horse of Darius was particularly in- 
clined : he afterwards brought the horse there, 
and after carrying him several times round and 
near the mare, he finally permitted him to cover 

LXXXVI. The next morning as soon as it 
was light the six Persians assembled, as had been 
agreed, on horseback. After riding up and down 
at the place appointed, they came at length to 
the spot where, the preceding evening, the mare 
had been brought ; here the horse of Darius in- 
stantly began to neigh, which, though the sky 
was remarkably clear, was instantly succeeded 
by thunder and lightning. The heavens thus 
seemed to favour, and indeed to act in concert 
with Darius. Immediately the other noblemen 
dismounted, and falling at his feet, hailed him 
kinjy 97 . 


91 Hailed him king'] — Darius was about twenty years old 

S S when 

262 THALIA. 

LXXXVII. Such, according to some, was the 
stratagem of CEbares ; others, however, relate 
the matter differently; and both accounts prevail 
in Persia. These last affirm, that the groom, hav- 
ing rubbed his hand against the private parts of 
the mare, afterwards folded it up in his vest, and 
that in the morning, as the horses were about to 
depart, he drew it out from his garment, and 
touched the nostrils of the horse of Darius, and 
that this scent instantly made him snort and 

LXXXVIII. Darius the son of Hystaspes 98 


when Cyrus died. Cambyses reigned seven years and five 
months ; Smerdis Magus was only seven months on the 
throne; thus Darius was about twenty-nine years old when 
he came to the crown. — Larcher. 

This circumstance of thunder and lightning from a cloud- 
less sky, is often mentioned by the ancients, and was con- 
sidered by them as the highest omen. Horace has left an 
ode upon it, as a circumstance which staggered his Epicu- 
rean notions, and impressed him with awe and veneration, 
1, i. Od. 34 ; and the commentators give us instances enough 
of similar accounts. With us there is no thunder without 
clouds, except such as is too distant to have much effect ; 
it may be otherwise in hot climates, where the state of the 
air is much more electrical. — T. 

98 Darius the. son of Hystaspes.] — Archbishop Usher holdeth 
that it was Darius Hystaspes that was the king Ahasuerus, 
who married Esther; and that Atossa was the Vashti, and 
Antystone the Esther of the holy scriptures. But Herodotus 
positively tells us, that Antystone was the daughter of Cyrus, 
and therefore she could not be Esther: and that Atossa had 


THALIA. 26s 

was thus proclaimed king ; and, except the Ara- 
bians, all the nations of Asia who had been sub- 
dued first by Cyrus, and afterwards by Cam- 
byses, acknowledged his authority. The Ara- 
bians * were never reduced to the subjection of 
Persia ", but were in its alliance : they afforded 


four sons by Darius, besides daughters, all born to him after 
he was king ; and therefore she could not be that queen 
Vashti, who was divorced from the king her husband in the 
third year of his reign, nor he that Ahasuerus that divorced 
her. — Prideaux. 

* Perhaps it may be said of the Arabians with greater 
truth than of any other nation, that they have never been 

On this subject Larcher refers to Genesis, c. xvi. v. 12, 
where God says of Ismael, the parent of the Arabians : 

" And he will be a wild man, his hand will be against 
every man, and every man's hand against him, and he shall 
dwell in the prefence of all his brethren." 

99 Never reduced to the subjection of Persia.] — The inde- 
pendence of the Arabs has always been a theme of praise 
and admiration, from the remotest ages to the present. 
Upon this subject the following animated apostrophe from 
Mr. Gibbon, includes all that need be said. " The arms of 
Sesostris and Cyrus, of Pompey and Trajan, could never 
achieve the conquest of Arabia. The present sovereign of 
the Turks may exercise a shadow of jurisdiction, but his 
pride is reduced to solicit the friendship of a people whom 
it is dangerous to provoke, and fruitless to attack. The ob- 
vious causes of their freedom are inscribed on the character 
and country of the Arabs; the patient and active virtues of 
a soldier are insensibly nursed in the habits and discipline 
of a pastoral life. The long memory of their independence 
is the firmest pledge of its perpetuity ; and succeeding gene- 
rations are animated to prove their descent, and to maintain 

S 4 their 

C64 T H A L I A. 

Cambyscs the means of penetrating into ^Egypt 
\\ ithoiit which he could never have accomplished 
his purpose. Darius first of all married two wo- 
men of Persia, both of them daughters of Cyrus, 
Atossa who had first been married to Cambyses, 
and afterwards to the magus, and Antystone a 
virgin. He then married Parmys, daughter of 
Smerdis, son of Cyrus *, and also that daughter 
of Otanes who had been the instrument in disco- 
vering the magus. Being firmly established on 
tlje throne, his first work was the erection of an 
equestrian statue, with this inscription : " Da- 
" rius, son of Hystaspes, obtained the sovereignty 
" of Persia by the sagacity of his horse, and the 
" ingenuity of CEbares his groom." The name 
of the horse was also inserted. 

LXXXIX. The next act of his authority was 
to divide Persia into twenty provinces f, which 


their inheritance. When they advance to battle, the hope 
of victory is in the front, and in the rear the assurance of a 
retreat. Their horses and camels, who in eight or ten days 
can perform a march of four or five hundred miles, disappear 
before the conqueror : the secret waters of the desert elude 
his search ; and his victorious troops are consumed with 
hunger, thirst, and fatigue, in the pursuit of an invisible foe, 
who scorns his efforts, and safely reposes in the heart of 
the burning solitude." 

* Namely Phcedyma. See c. 6S. 

+ The account given of the Persian monarchy by Hero- 
dotus is curious, and seems to have been copied from some 
9 public 

THALIA. £65 

they call satrapies, to each of which a governor 
was appointed. He then ascertained the tribute 
they were severally to pay, connecting sometimes 
many nations together, which were near each 
other, under one district ; and sometimes he 
passed over many which were adjacent, forming 
one department* of various remote and scat- 
tered nations. His particular division of the 
provinces, and the mode fixed for the payment 
of their annual tribute, was this: They whose 
payment was to be made in silver, were to take 
the Babylonian talent 10 ° for their standard ; the 


public record, which had been communicated to him. Ac- 
cording to it, the Persian empire was divided into twenty 
satrapies, or governments. The tribute levied from each is 
specified, amounting in all to ] 4,56*0 Eubaean talents, which 
Dr. Arbuthnot reckons to be equal to £.2,807,437 sterling 
money; a sum extremely small for the revenue of the great 
king, and which ill accords with many facts concerning the 
mines, magnificence, and luxury of the East, that occur in 
ancient authors. — Robertson on India. 

* Much as 1 dislike the word department, it seems the 
only one here which will express the meaning of the author. 
It certainly may be doubted whether Darius connected these 
scattered nations in one government. Darius the Mede, 
usually understood to be Cyaxares the Second, divided his 
empire, which consisted of the territories of Babylon and 
Media, into 120 provinces; these were subject to three pre- 
sidents, of whom Daniel was the first. See Daniel, c. vi. v. J. 
Major Urn net, 23 1. 

*°° Bain/Ionian talent.] — What follows on the subject of 
the. talent, is extracted principally from Arbuthnot's tables 
of ancient coins. 



Euboic talent was to regulate those who made 
their payment in gold ; the Babylonian talent, it 
is to be observed, is equal to seventy Euboic 
minre. During the reign of Cyrus, and indeed 
of Cambyses, there were no specific tributes ,0 ', 
but presents were made to the sovereign. On 
account of these and similar innovations, the 
Persians call Darius a merchant, Cambyses a 
despot, but Cyrus a parent. Darius seemed to 


The word talent in Homer, is used to signify a balance, 
and in general it was applied either to a weight or a sum of 
money, differing in value according to the ages and countries 
in which it was used. Every talent consists, of 60 minae, and 
every miua of 100 drachma?, but the talents differed in 
weight according to the minae and drachma; of which they 
were composed. 

What Herodotus here affirms of the Babylonian talent, is 
confirmed by Pollux and by ./Elian. 

The Euboic talent was so called from the island Euboea; 
it was generally thought to be the same with the Attic 
talent, because both these countries used the same weights : 
the mina Euboica, and the mina Attica, each consisted of 
100 drachmas. 

According to the above, the Babylonian talent would 
amount, in English money, to about £.226"; the Euboic or 
Attic talent to £. 103. 15 s. — T. 

101 No specific tributes.] — This seemingly contradicts what 
was said above, that the magus exempted the Persians for 
three years from every kind of impost. It must be ob- 
served that these imposts were not for a constancy, they 
only subsisted in time of war, and were rather a gratuity 
than an impost. Those imposed by Darius were perpetual; 
thus Herodotus does not in fact contradict himself.- - 

THALIA. 267 

have no other object in view but the acquisition 
of gain ; Cambyses was negligent and severe ; 
whilst Cyrus was of a mild and gentle temper, 
ever studious of the good of his subjects. 

XC. The Ionians and Magnesians of Asia, 
the iEolians, Carians, Lycians, Melyeans 10 *, and 
Pamphylians, were comprehended under one dis- 
trict, and jointly paid a tribute of four hundred 
talents of silver ; they formed the first satrapy. 
The second, which paid five hundred talents, was 
composed of the Mysians, Lydians, Alysonians, 
Cabalians, and Hygennians l03 . A tribute of 
three hundred and sixty talents was paid by those 
who inhabit the right side of the Hellespont, by 
the Phrygians and Thracians of Asia, by the 
Paphlagonians, Mariandynians I0+ , and Syrians ; 

. and 

, * 1 Melyeans.'] — These people are in all probability the 
same with the Milyans of whom Herodotus speaks, book i. 
c. clxxiii. and book vii. c. clxxvii. They were sometimes 
called Minyans, from Minos, king of Crete. — T. 

103 Hygennians.] — For Hygennians Wesseling proposes to 
read Obigenians. — T. 

10+ Mariandynians.] — These were on the coast of Bithynia, 
where was said to be the Acherusian cave, through which 
Hercules dragged up Cerberus to light, whose foam then 
produced aconite. Thus Dionysius Penegetes, 1. 78S. 

That sacred plain where erst, as fablers tell, 
The deep-voie'd dog of Pluto, struggling hard 
Against the potent grasp of Hercules, 
With foamy drops impregnating the earth, 
Produc'd dire poison to destroy mankind. 

268 THALIA. 

and these nations constituted the third satrapy*. 
The Cilicians were obliged to produce every day 
a white horse, that is to say, three hundred and 
sixty annually, with five hundred talents of sil- 
ver ; of these one hundred and forty were ap- 
pointed for the payment of the cavalry who 
formed the guard of the country ; the remaining 


* For a most perspicuous and most satisfactory eluci- 
dation of the geographical situation of these satrapies, I 
cannot do better than once for all refer the reader to Major 
. Kennel's excellent work, from p. 23-1? to p. 323. The con- 
clusion of this portion of Major Rennel's work breathes sen- 
timents worthy a soldier and a Briton. I cannot deny my- 
self the satisfaction of transcribing the last paragraph : 

*• If the enemy is bent on our destruction, what have we to 
do, but to dispute the point, even to extermination ? What 
worse tan befal us, by contesting it, than by submitting ? 
Take the examples of conquest, of submission, and of fra- 
ternization, severally ; and then let any one, if he can, point 
out the distinction between the treatment that the French 
government has shewn to the different people who have 
fallen under its power, by those different modes ! We have 
therefore nothing to hope but from our own exertions, under 
the favour of Heaven : and let us trust, that the contest will 
Terminate gloriously, and perpetuate the system of liberty 
transmitted to us by our ancestors, and thus hold out an- 
other bright example to succeeding times. The hatred of 
Europe is rising against France (or rather against its govern- 
ment ; for we hope that this distinction may be made in 
favour of a great proportion of the people, who may not 
be made accomplices in its guilt) ; that hatred must in- 
crease, and become general; and all Frenchmen who leave 
their own country on schemes of hostility, must in the end 
be hunted down as enemies to the peace and comfort of 
mankind. We will hope that the time is not far distant." 

THALIA. 269 

three hundred and sixty were received by Da- 
rius : these formed the fourth satrapy. 

XCI. The tribute levied from the fifth satrapy 
was three hundred and fifty talents. Under this 
district, was comprehended the tract of country 
which extended from the city Posideium, built 
on the frontiers of Cilicia and Syria*, by Am- 
philochus, son of Amphiaraus I0S , as far as iEgypt, 
part of Arabia alone excluded, which paid no 
tribute. The same satrapy, moreover, included 
all Phoenicia, the Syrian Palestine, and the isle 
of Cyprus. Seven hundred talents were exacted 


* It should be remembered that Syria is always regarded 
by Herodotus as synonymous with Assyria. 

What the Greeks called Palestine the Arabs call Falastin, 
which is the Philistines of Scripture. 

10s Aniphilochus, son of Amphiaraus.] — For an account of 
Amphiaraus, see book the first, chap. xlvi. The name of 
the mother of Amphilochus, according to Pausanias, was 
Eriphyle. lie appears to have obtained an esteem and ve- 
neration equal to that which was paid to his father. He had 
an oracle at Mallus, in Cilicia, which place he built; he had 
also an altar erected to his honour at Athens. His oracle 
continued in the time of Plutarch, and the mode of consult- 
ing it was this : — The person who wished an answer to some 
inquiry passed a night in the temple, and was sure to have a 
vision, which was to be considered as the reply. There is 
an example in Dion Cassias, of a picture which was painted 
in the time of Commodus, descriptive of an answer commu- 
nicated by this oracle. — T. 

270 T H A L I A. 

from iEgypt, from the Africans which border* 
upon JEgypt, from Cyrene and Barce, which are 
comprehended in the ^Egyptian district. The 
produce of the fishery of the lake Mceris was not 
included in this, neither was the corn, to the 
amount of seven hundred talents more ; one hun- 
dred and twenty thousand measures of which, 
were applied to the maintenance of the Persians 
and their auxiliary troops garrisoned within the 
white castle of Memphis : this was the sixth 
satrapy. The seventh was composed of the Sat- 
gagydos, the Gandarii, the Dadicae and Aparyto?, 
who together paid one hundred and seventy 
talents. The eighth satrapy furnished three hun- 
dred talents, and consisted of Susa* and the rest 
of the Cissians. 

XCII. Babylon and the other parts of Assy- 
ria constituted the ninth satrapy, and paid a thou- 
sand talents of silver, with five hundred young 
eunuchs. The tenth satrapy furnished four hun- 
dred and fifty talents, and consisted of Ecbatana, 
the rest of Media, the Parycanii, and the Ortho- 


* The modern Khusistan answers to this division. The 
Persian monarchs had more than one residence, and accord- 
ing to Major Rennel, Susa and Persepolis were their winter 
habitations. In the time of Herodotus, however, Susa was 
the capital. 

THALIA. 271 

eorybantes. The Caspians, the Pausica?, the Pan- 
timathi, and the Daritce, contributed amongst 
them two hundred talents, and formed the ele- 
venth satrapy. The twelfth produced three hun- 
dred and sixty talents, and was composed of the 
whole country from the Bactrians to iEglos. 

XCIII. From the thirteenth satrapy four hun- 
dred talents were levied ; this comprehended 
Pactyi'ca, the Armenians, with the contiguous 
nations, as far as the Euxine. The fourteenth 
satrapy consisted of the Sangatians, the Saran- 
gaeans, the Thamana^ans, Utians, and Menci, 
with those who inhabit the islands of the Red' 
Sea, where the kins; sends those whom he ba- 
nishes ,o6 ; these jointly contributed six hundred 


. ,06 Whom he banishes.] — Banishment seems to have been 
adopted as a punishment at a very early period of the world ; 
and it may be supposed that, in the infancy of society, men, 
reluctant to sanguinary measures, would have recourse to 
the expulsion of mischievous or unworthy members, as the 
simpler and less odious remedy. When we consider the 
effect which exile has had upon the minds of the greatest 
and wisest of mankind, and reflect on that attractive sweet- 
ness of the natal soil, which whilst we admire in poetic de- 
scription we still feel to be ratione valentior on/ni, it seems 
wonderful that banishment should not more frequently su- 
persede the necessity of sanguinary punishments. That 
Ovid, whose mind was enervated by licentious habits, should 
drplorc, in strains the most melancholy, the absence of what 
alone could make life supportable, may not perhaps be 


272 THALIA. 

talents. The Sacoe and Cash* formed the fif- 
teenth satrapy, and provided two hundred and 
fifty talents. Three hundred talents were levied 
from the Parthians, Chorasmians, Sogdians, and 
Arians, who were the sixteenth satrapy. 

XCIV. The Paricanii and ^Ethiopians of Asia 
paid four hundred talents, and formed the seven- 
teenth satrapy. The eighteenth was taxed at 
two hundred talents, and was composed of the 
Matieni, the Saspirians, and Alarodians. The 
Moschi, Tibareni, Macrones, Mosynoeci, and 
Mardians, provided three hundred talents, and 
were the nineteenth satrapy. The Indians, the 
most numerous nation of whom we have any 
knowledge, were proportionally taxed ; they 


thought wonderful : but that Cicero, whose whole life was 
a life of philosophic discipline, should so intirely lose his 
firmness, and forget his dignity, may justify our concluding 
of the punishment of exile, that human vengeance need not 
inflict a more severe calamity. In opposition to what I 
have asserted above, some reader will perhaps be inclined to 
cite the example of Lord Bolingbroke, his conduct, and his 
reflections upon exile; but I think I can discern through 
that laboured apology, a secret chagrin and uneasiness, 
which convinces me at least, that whilst he acted the philo- 
sopher and the stoic, he had the common feelings and infir- 
mities of man. — T. 

* I have altered this word, which was Caspii in the for- 
mer edition, to Cash, on the authority of Major RenneL 
The Caspii have already been concluded with the Darit2e r 
in c. 92, and the Kashgurians actually join to the Sacs. 


formed the twentieth satrapy, and furnished six 
hundred talents in golden ingots*. 

& v 

XCV. If the Babylonian money be reduced,, 
to the standard of the Euboic talent, the aggre- 
gate sum will be found to be nine thousand eight 
hundred and eighty talents in silver ; and, esti* 
mating the gold at thirteen times 107 the value of 
silver, there will be found, according to the Eu- 
boic talent, four thousand six hundred and eighty 
of these talents. The whole being estimated 
together, it will appear that the annual tribute ,oS 



* Gold was found in the rivers of India, in the region 
which was towards Persia; so says the Ayin Acbary. The 
number of six hundred must be a mistake ; it is out of all 
proportion, and would make this satrapy pay four times and 
a half as much as Babylonia and Assyria, which was one of 
the richest satrapies. See Rennel, as before. 

107 Thirteen times the value of diver.] — The proportion of 
<rold to silver varied at different times, according to the 
abundance of these two metals. In the time of Darius it 
was thirteen to one; in the time of Plato, twelve ; and in the 
•time of Menander, the comic poet, it was ten. — Larchcr. 

In the time of Julius Caesar the proportion of gold to silver 
at Home was no more than nine to one. This arose from 
the prodigious quantity of gold which Cresar had obtained 
from the plunder of cities and temples. It is generally sup- 
posed amongst the learned, that in the gold coin of the an- 
cients one-fiftieth part was alloy. — T. 

,c "* The annual tribute] — The comparison of two passages 
in Herodotus (book i. chap, excii. and book iii. chaps, lxxxix. 
xcvi.) reveals an important difference between the gross and 

Vol. II. T the 

•274 T II A L I A. 

paid to Darius was fourteen thousand five hun- 
dred and sixty talents, omitting many trifling 
sums not deserving our attention *. 


XCVI. Such was the sum which Asia prin- 
cipally, and Africa in some small proportion, 
paid to Darius. In process of time, the islands 
also were taxed, as was that part of Europe 
which extends to Thessaly. The manner in which 
the king deposited these riches in his treasury, 
was this : — The gold and silver were melted and 
poured into earthen vessels ; the vessel, when 
full, was removed, leaving the metal in a mass. 
When any was wanted, such a piece was broken 
off, as the contingence required, 

XCVII. We have thus described the different 


the net revenue of Persia, the sums paid by the provinces, 
and the gold or silver deposited in the royal treasury. The 
monarch might annually save three millions six hundred 
thousand pounds of the seventeen or eighteen millions 
raised upon the people — Gibbon. 

* Taking the value of the Euboic talent at £. 1 93. 15*. 
according to Arbuthnot's valuation, the sum arising on the 
above number of talents is about £. 2,82 J, 000. If to this 
be added, according to the above statement, 700 talents for 
the value of the ./Egyptian grain, and 1000 more for the con- 
tribution of the Arabians, and if we are allowed to value 
the gratuities from the Persians, the Ethiopians, and the Col- 
chians, at 2000 more, that is 3700 talents in addition, the 
aggregate will be about £.3,650,000, or somewhat more 
than three millions and a half of our money. — Renncl. 

T H A L I A. B7S 

Satrapies, and the impost on each. Persia is the 
only province which I have not mentioned as 
tributary. The Persians are not compelled to 
pay any specific taxes, but they present a regular 
gratuity. The /Ethiopians who border upon 
iEgypt, subdued by Cambyses in his expedition 
against the /Ethiopian Macrobians, are similarly 
circumstanced, as are also the inhabitants of the 
sacred town of Nyssa, who have festivals in ho- 
nour of Bacchus. These /Ethiopians, with their 
neighbours, resemble in their customs the Calan- 
tian Indians: they have the same rites of sepul- 
ture '° 9 , and their dwelling's are subterraneous. 
Once in every three years these two nations pre- 
sent to the king two chcenices of gold unrefined, 
two hundred blocks of ebony, twenty large ele- 
phants teeth, and five ^Ethiopian youths; which 
custom has been continued to my time. The 
people of Colchos n .° and their neighbours, as far 


,0( J The same rites of sepulture.'] — The word in the text is 
•Tri^aT., which means grains: to say of two different na- 
tions that they use the same grain, seems ridiculous enough. 
Vuhnaer proposes to read fw/miti. I have followed Valcnaer, 
though I think the transition somewhat violent. To say that 
they used the same kind of grain, namely Spelt, would make 
very good sense. 

110 The people of Colchos.] — It was the boast of the Col- 
chians, that their ancestors had checked the victories of 
Sesostris, but they sunk without any memorable effort under 
i : <■ arms of Cyrus, followed in distant wars the standard of 
the great king, and presented him every fitth year with a 
hundred boys and as many virgins, the fairest produce of 

T 2 the 

276 T II A L I A. 

as mount Caucasus, imposed upon themselves 
the payment of a gratuity. To this latter place 
the Persian authority extends ; northward of this, 
their name inspires no respect. Every five years 
the nations above-mentioned present the king 
with an hundred youths and an hundred virgins *", 
which also has been continued within my remem- 
brance. The Arabians contribute every year 
frankincense to the amount of a thousand ta- 
lents. — Independent of the tributes before spe- 
cified, these were the presents which the king 

XCVIII. The Indians * procure the great num- 
ber of golden ingots, which, as I have observed, 


the land. Yet he accepted this gift like the gold and ebony 
of India, the frankincense of the Arabs, and the negroes and 
ivory of ^Ethiopia : The Colchians were not subject to the 
dominion of a satrap, and they continued to enjoy the 
name as well as substance of national independence.— 

111 Hundred virgins.]— -The native race of Persians is small 
and ugly, but it has been improved by the perpetual mixture 
of Circassian blood. This remark Mr. Gibbon applies to 
the Persian women in the time of Julian. Amongst modern 
travellers, the beauty of the Persian ladies is a constant 
theme of praise and admiration. — T. 

* Herodotus's very confined knowledge of India is proved 
by the extraordinary reports which he has detailed concern- 
ing its inhabitants, some of which are highly injurious to the 
character of that industrious, inoffensive, and highly civilized 


THALIA. 277 

they present as a donative to the king, in this 
manner : — That part of India which lies towards 
the east is verv sandy ; and indeed, of all nations 
concerning whom we have any authentic ac- 
counts, the Indians are the people of Asia who 
are nearest to the east, and the place of the ri- 
sing sun. The part most eastward, is a perfect 
desert, from the sand. Under the name of In- 
dians many nations are comprehended, using dif- 
ferent languages ; of these, some attend princi- 
pally to the care of cattle, others not ; some in- 
habit the marshes, and live on raw fish, which 
they catch in boats made of reeds, divided at the 
joint, and every joint llz makes one canoe. These 
Indians have cloth made of rushes 115 , which ha- 


people. For, with many particulars that are true respecting 
their customs and manners, he has mixed a greater number 
that are false, and of such a nature as to brand their cha- 
racters with a charge of odious and obscene practices, from 
which they arc perfectly free at this time, and were so no 
doubt then. — Rennei. 

"* Every joint.] — This assertion seems wonderful; but 
Pliny, book wi. chap, 56', treating of reeds, canes, and 
aquatic shrubs, affirms the same, with this precaution in- 
deed, " if it may be credited." His expression is this:— 
Harundini quidem Indie ae arborea amplitudo, quales vulgo 
in tempi is vidtnms.— Spissius mari corpus, fcemince capacius. 
Navigiorumque etiam vicern prasstant (si credimus) singula 
internodia. The Si credimus is nut improbably a sneer at 
Herodotus. — T. 

113 Cloth made of rushes.] — To trace the modern dress 
back to the simplicity of the first skins, and leaves, and 

X 3 feathers, 


ving mowed and cut, they weave together like 
a mat, and wear in the manner of a cuirass. 

XCIX. To the east of these are other Indians, 
called Padaei " 4 , who lead a pastoral life, live on 
raw flesh " s , and are said to observe these cus- 
toms : 

feathers, that were worn by mankind in the primitive ages, 
it" it were possible, would be almost endless; the fashion has 
been often changed, while the materials remained the same : 
the materials have been different as they were gradually pro- 
duced by successive arts, that converted a raw hide into 
leather, the wool of the sheep into cloth, the web of the 
worm into silk, and flax and cotton into linen of various 
kinds. One garment also has been added to another, and 
ornaments have been multiplied on ornaments, with a va- 
ricty almost infinite, produced by the caprice of human 
vanity, or the new necessities to which man rendered himself 
subject by those many inventions which took place after he 
ceased to be, as God had created him, upright.— See histo- 
rical remarks on dress, prefixed to a collection of the dresses 
of different nations, ancient and modern. 

The canoes and dresses here described, will strike the 
reader as much resembling those seen and described bv 
modern voyagers to the South Seas. — T. 
1I+ Padmu\— 

Iinpia nee saevis celebrans convivia mensis 
Ultima vicinus Phcebo tenet arva Padseus. 

Tibull. 1. iv. 144. 

Herodotus does not appear to have heard of the Ganges, 
but these Padaei probably inhabited the banks of that river. 
The Sanscrit and proper name of the Ganges is Padda. 
Major Rennel is of opinion that these Padaei may answer to 
{he Gangaridae of the later Greek writers. 

1,5 On raw fash.] — Not at all more incredible is the cus- 

T H A L I A. £7Q 

tonis : — If any man among them be diseased, his 
nearest connections put him to death, alleging 
in excuse that sickness would waste and injure 
his flesh. They pay no regard to his assertions 
that he is not really ill, but without the smallest 
compunction deprive him of life. If a woman 
be ill, her female connections treat her in the 
same manner. The more aged among them are 
regularly killed and eaten ; but there are very few 
who arrive at old age, for in case of sickness they 
put every one to death. 

C. There are other Indians, who, differing in 
manners from the above, put no animal to 


torn said to be prevalent among the Abyssinians, of eating a 
slice of meat raw from the living ox, and esteeming it one of 
the greatest delicacies. The assertion of this fact by Mr. 
Bruce, the celebrated traveller, excited a clamour against 
him, and by calling his veracity in question, probably 
operated, amongst other causes, to the delay of his publi- 
cation. This very fact, however, is also asserted of the 
Abyssinians by Lobo and Poncet. If it be allowed without 
reserve, an argument is deduciblc from it, to prove that 
bullock's blood, in contradiction to what is asserted by 
our historian, in chap. 15 of this book, is not a poison; 
unless we suppose that the quantity thus taken into the 
stomach would be too small to produce the effect. 
Lobo, as well as Bruce, affirms, that the Abyssinians eat 
beef, not only in a raw state, but reeking from the ox 
— T. 

T 4 

2so THALIA. 

death" 6 , sow no grain, have no fixed habitation 
and live solely upon vegetables. They have a 
particular grain, nearly of the size of millet, 
which the soil spontaneously produces, which is 
protected by a calyx, the whole of this they bake 
and eat. If any of these Indians be taken sick, 
they retire to some solitude, and there remain, 
no one expressing the least concern about them 
during their illness, or after their death. 

CI. Among all these Indians whom I have 
specified, the communication between the sexes * 
is like that of the beasts, open and unrestrained. 
They are all of the same complexion, and much 
resembling the ^Ethiopians. The semen which 
their males emit is not, like that of other men, 
white, but black like their bodies 117 , which is 
also the case with the .-Ethiopians. These In- 

116 Put no animal to death.~\ — Nicholas Damascenus has 
preserved the name of this people. He calls them Arito- 
nians. On this name Mr. Wilkins observes that it may be a 
corrupt reading of Barrata, or Bharata, which is the San- 
scrit name of India. I cannot help thinking Mr. Wilkins a 
little fanciful on this subject. — Larcher. 

See in Melpomene an account of the Issedenes, and in 
Clio what Herodotus says of the Massagetse. 
* See Clio, c. 2l6\ 

117 Black like their bodies.] — Semen si probe concoc'tum 
merit, colore album et splendens esse oportet, ut vel hinc 
pateat quam parum vere Herodotus scribat semen nigrum 
iEthiopes promere. Rodericvs a Castro de universa mulierum 
medicina.—- Aristotle had before said the same tiling, in hi* 
history of animals. — Larcher. 

THALIA. 281 

dians are very remote from Persia towards the 
south*, and were never in subjection to Darius. 

CII. There are still other Indians towards the 
north, who dwell near the city of Caspatyrum, 
and the country of Pactyica. Of all the Indians 
these in their manners most resemble the Bac- 
trians ; they are distinguished above the rest by 
their bravery, and are those who are employed 
in searching for the gold f. In the vicinity of 
this district there are vast deserts of sand, in 
which a species of ants 1 " 8 is produced, not so 


* Thus it appears that Herodotus had a very good idea of 
the form and extent of the Erythrean sea, but he certainly 
did not know that India extended so far southward as it 
actually does. 

f See Vincent's Nearchus, p. 70, and Ptennel, p. 4 TO. 

1,8 Species of ants.] — Of these ants Pliny also makes men- 
tion, in the following terms : 

" In the temple of Hercules, at Erytlme, the horns of an 
Indian ant were to be seen, an astonishing object. In the 
country of the northern Indians, named Danda?, these ants 
cast up gold from holes within the earth. In colour they 
resemble cats, and are as large as the wolves of /Egypt. 
This gold, which they throw up in the winter, the Indians 
contrive to steal in the summer, when the ants, on account 
of the heat, hide themselves under ground. But if they hap- 
pen to smell them, the ants rush from their holes, and will 
often tear them in pieces, though mounted on their swiftest 
camels; such is the swiftness and fierceness they display from 
the love of their gold." 

I pon the above, Larcher has this remark : — The little com- 

<3®s T II ALIA. 

large as a dog, but bigger than a fox. Some of 
these, taken by hunting, are preserved in the 
palace of the Persian monarch. Like the ants 
common in Greece, which in form also they 
nearly resemble, they make themselves habita- 
tions in the ground, by digging under the sand. 
The sand thus thrown up is mixed with gold- 
dust, to collect which, the Indians are dispatched 
into the deserts. To this expedition they pro- 
ceed, each with three camels fastened together, a 
female being secured between two males, and 
upon her the Indian is mounted, taking parti- 
cular care to have one which has recently foaled. 
The females of this description are in all respects 


munication which the Greeks had with the Indians, pre- 
vented their investigating the truth with respect to this 
animal ; and their love of the marvellous inclined them to 
assent to this description of Herodotus. Demetrius Tricli- 
nius says, on the Antigone of Sophocles, doubtless from some 
ancient Scholiast which he copies, that there are in India 
winged animals, named ants, which dig up gold. Herodotus 
and Pliny say nothing of their having wings. Most of our 
readers will be induced to consider the description of these 
ants as fabulous; nevertheless, De Thou, an author of great 
credit, tells us, that Shah Thomas, sophi of Persia, sent, in 
the year 1559, to Soliman an ant like these here described. 

They who had seen the vast nests of the termites, or white 
ants, might easily be persuaded that the animals which 
formed them were as large as foxes. The disproportion be- 
tween the insect, though large, and its habitation, is very 
extraordinary. — T. 

The reader will find an elaborate account of the termites 
in the Philosophical Transactions for 1781. 

THALIA. ess 

&s swift as horses, and capable of bearing much 
greater burdens 119 . 

*'* Greater burdens.] — Of all the descriptions I have met 
with of this wonderful animal, the following, from Volney, 
seems the most animated and interesting : — 

No creature seems so peculiarly fitted to the climate in 
which it exists, as the camel. Designing the camel to dwell 
in a country where he can find little nourishment, nature 
has been sparing of her materials in the whole of his form- 
ation. She has not bestowed upon him the fleshiness of the 
ox, horse, or elephant, but limiting herself to what is strictly 
necessary, she has given him a small head without ears, at 
the end of a long neck without flesh. She has taken from 
his legs and thighs every muscle not immediately requisite 
for motion, and in short has bestowed on his withered body 
only the vessels and tendons necessary to connect its frame 
together. She has furnished him with a strong jaw, that he 
may grind the hardest aliments; but, lest he should con- 
sume too much, she has straitened his stomach, and obliged 
him to chew the cud. She has lined his foot with a lump of 
flesh, which, sliding in the mud, and being no way adapted 
to climbing, fits him only for a dry, level, and sandy soil, 
like that of Arabia : she has evidently destined him likewise 
for slavery, by refusing him every sort of defence against his 
enemies. So great, in short, is the importance of the camel 
to the desert, that were it deprived of that useful animal, it 
must infallibly lose every inhabitant. — Volney. 

With respect to the burdens which camels arc capable of 
carrying, Russel tells us, that the Arab camel will carry one 
hundred rotoloes, or five hundred pounds weight ; but the 
Turcomans camel's common load is one hundred and sixty 
rotoloes, or eight hundred pounds weight. Their ordinary 
pace is very slow, Volney says, not more than thirty-six hun- 
dred yards in an hour; it is needless to press them, they 
will go no quicker. Raynal says, that the Arabs qualify the 
camels for expedition by matches, in which the horse runs 


284 THALIA. 

CIII. As my countrymen of Greece are well 
acquainted with the form of the camel, I shall 
not here describe it; I shall only mention those 
particulars concerning it with which I conceive 
them to be less acquainted 120 . Behind, the ca- 
mel has four thigh and as many knee joints ; the 
member of generation falls from between the 
hinder legs, and is turned towards the tail. 

CIV. Having thus connected their camels, the 
Indians proceed in search of the gold, choosing 


against him ; the camel, less active and nimble, tires out his 
rival in a long course. There is one peculiarity with respect 
to camels, which not being generally known, I give the reader, 
as translated from the Latin of Father Strope, a learned Ger- 
man missionary. " The camels which have had the honour 
to bear presents to Mecca and Medina are not to be treated 
afterwards as common animals; they are considered as con- 
secrated to Mahomet, which exempts them from all labour 
and service. They have cottages built for their abodes, 
where they live at ease, and receive plenty of food, with the 
most careful attention." — T. 

120 To be less acquainted.'] — These farther particulars con- 
cerning the camel, are taken from Mr. Pennant. 
> The one-bunched camel, is the Arabian 'Camel, the two- 
bunched, the Bactrian. The Arabian has six callosities or* 
the legs, willkneel down to be loaded, but rises the moment 
he finds the burthen equal to his strength. They are gentle 
always, except when in heat, when they are seized with a sort 
of madness, which makes it unsafe to approach them. The 
Bactrian camel is larger and more generous than the domes- 
ticated race. The Chinese have a swift variety of this, which 
they call by the expressive name of Fong Kyo Fo, or camels- 
with feet of the wind. 

THALIA. 285 

the hottest time of the day as most proper for 
their purpose, for then it is that the ants conceal 
themselves under the earth. In distinction from 
all other nations, the heat with these people is 
greatest, not at mid-day, but in the morning. 
They have a vertical sun till about the time when 
with us, people withdraw from the forum TiI ; du- 


t ~ l People withdraw from the forum.'] — The periods of the 
forum were so exactly ascertained, as to serve for a notation 
of time. The time of full forum is mentioned by many au- 
thors, as Thucydides, Xenophon, Diodorus Siculus, Lucian, 
and others, and is said by Suidas to have been the third hour 
in the morning, that is, nine o'clock ; and Dio Chrysostom 
places it at an intermediate point between morning, or sun- 
rise, and noon, which agrees also with nine o'clock. One 
passage in Suidas speaks also of the fourth, fifth, and sixth 
hours ; but either they were fora of different kinds, or the 
author is there mistaken, or the passage is corrupt. See 
yElian, xii. 30. and Athenaeus, xiv. 1. the time of breaking 
up the forum, ayo^ hxhvc-n;, is not, I believe, mentioned, 
except. here, by Iierodotus; but by this passage it appears 
that it must have been also a stated time, and before noon ; 
probably ten or eleven o'clock. This account of a sun, 
hotter and more vertical in the morning than at noon, is go 
perfectly unphilosophical, that it proves decisively, what the 
hypothesis of our author concerning the overflowing of the 
Nile gave strong reason to suspect, that Herodotus was en- 
tirely uninformed on subjects of this kind. Mid-day, or 
noon, can be only, at all places, when the sun is highest and 
consequently hottest, unless any clouds or periodical winds 
had been assigned as causes of this singular effect. Whoever 
fabricated the account, winch he here repeats, thought it ne- 
cessary to give an appearance of novelty even to the celestial 
phenomena of the place. 


«80 T 11 A L I A. 

ring which period the warmth is more excessive 
than the mid-day sun in Greece, so that the in- 
habitants are then said to go into the water for 
refreshment. Their mid-day is nearly of the same 
temperature as in other places ; after which the 
warmth of the air becomes like the morning else- 
where; it then progressively grows milder, till a% 
the setting sun it becomes very cool. 

C V. As soon as they arrive at the spot, the In- 
dians precipitately fill their bags with sand, and 
return as expeditiously as possible. The Persians 
say that these ants know and pursue the Indians 
by their smell, with inconceivable swiftness. They 
affirm, that if the Indians did not make consider- 
able progress whilst the ants were collecting them- 
selves together, it would be impossible for any of 
them to escape. For this reason, at different in- 

Herodotus himself uses the term of it^a^a. uyo^s in book 
ii. ch. 173, and vii. 223. — T. 

Whatever credit Herodotus may be in various respects en- 
titled to, this and other passages demonstrate him to have 
been grossly ignorant of natural philosophy. He did not be- 
lieve the earth to be globular. See Melpomene, c. 36'. He 
did not credit the existence of snow in elevated situations in 
warmer climates ; and most unphilosophically indeed does he 
explain the phenomena of the inundation of the Nile, Eu- 
terpe, c. 24. See again, Melpomene, c. 42, his account of 
the voyage of Nechao. See on the subject Rennel, p. 8. 

THALIA. 287 

tervals nl , they separate one of the male camels 
from the female, which are always fleeter than 
the males, and are at this time additionally in- 
cited by the remembrance of their young whom 
they had left. Thus, according to the Persians, 
the Indians obtain their greatest quantity of gold; 
what they procure by digging is of much inferior 

CVI. Thus it appears that the extreme parts 
of the habitable world, are distinguished by the 
possession of many beautiful things, as Greece is 
for its agreeable and temperate seasons. India, 
as I have already remarked, is the last inhabited 
country towards the east *, where every species of 
birds and of quadrupeds, horses excepted' 23 , are 


IZI At different intenah.] — This passage is somewhat per- 
plexing. The reader must remember that the Indian rode 
upor the female camel, which was betwixt two males. Tins 
being the swiftest, he trusted to it for his own personal secu- 
rity ; and it may be supposed that he untied one or both of 
the male camels, as the enemy approached, or as his fears 
got the better of his avarice. — T. 

The knowledge which Herodotus had of India was ob- 
tained from the Persians, which, says Dr. Robertson, ren- 
ders it probable that in the time of the Historian very liitle 
intercourse subsisted between Egypt and India. 

* See Rennel, p. l66, 7» and 197. 

" J Ilui/is excepted.] — Every thing of moment which is in- 
volved in the natural history of the horse, may be found in 
M. Button: but, as Mr. Pennant observes, we may in this 


288 THALIA. 

much larger than in any other part of the world. 
Their horses are not so large as the Nisrean horses 
of Media. They have also a great abundance of 
gold, which they procure partly by digging, partly 
from the rivers, but principally by the method 


country boast a variety which no other single kingdom pos- 
sesses. Most other countries produce but one kind, while 
ours, by a judicious mixture of the several species, by the 
happy difference of our soil, and by our superior skill in 
management, may triumph over the rest of Europe in having 
brought each quality of this noble animal to the highest per- 
fection. The same author tells us, that the horse is in some 
places found wild ; that these are less than the domestic kinds, 
of a mouse colour, have greater heads than the tame, their 
foreheads remarkably arched, go in great herds, will often 
surround the horses of the Mongals and Kalkas while they 
are grazing, and carry them away. These are excessively vi- 
gilant : a centinel placed on an eminence gives notice to the 
herd of any approaching danger, by neighing aloud, when they 
all run off with amazing swiftness. These are sometimes 
taken by the means of hawks, which fax on their heads, and 
distress them so as to give the pursuers time to overtake 
them. In the interior parts of Ceylon is a small variety of 
the horse, not exceeding thirty inches in height, which is 
sometimes brought to Europe as a rarity. It may not, in this 
place, be impertinent to inform the reader, that in the East 
the riding on a horse is deemed very honourable, and that 
Europeans are very seldom permitted to do it. In the book of 
Ecclesiastes, chap. x. ver. 7. we meet with this expression, 
" I have seen servants on horses," which we may of course 
understand to be spoken of a thing very unusual and im- 

To conclude this subject, I have only to observe, that the 
Arabian horses are justly allowed to be the finest in the 
world in point of beauty and of swiftness, and are sent into 
all parts to improve the breed of this animal.— T. 

THALIA. £89 

tibove described. They possess likewise a kind 
of plant, which, instead of fruit, produces 
wool ,i+ , of a finer and better quality than that 
of sheep : of this the natives make their cloaths. 

CVTI. The last inhabited country towards the 
south, is Arabia, the only region of the earth 
which produces frankincense 1 * 5 , myrrh, cinna- 
mon Ii6 , casia ,i7 , and ledanum !a8 . Except the- 


■** Produces wool.]-— This was doubtless the cotton shrub, 
called by the ancients byssus. This plant grows to the height 
of about four feet: it has a yellow flower, streaked with red, 
not unlike that of the mallow; the pistil becomes a pod of 
the size of a small egg; in this are from three to four cells, 
each of which, on bursting, is found to contain seeds in- 
volved in a whitish substance, which is the cotton. The 
time of gathering the cotton is when the fruit bursts, which 
happens in the months of March and April. The scientific 
name of this plant is gossypium. — T. 

■*• Frankincense] — This, of all perfumes, was the most 
esteemed by the ancients ; it was used in divine worship, and 
was in a manner appropriated to princes and great men. 
Those employed in preparing it were naked, they had only a 
girdle about their loins, which their master had the pre- 
caution to secure with his own seal. — T. 

116 Cinnamon] — is a species of laurel, the bark of which 
constitutes its valuable part. This is taken off in the months 
of September and Februar}\ When cut into small slices, it 
is exposed to the sun, the heat of which curls it up in the 
form in which we receive and use it. The berry, when 
boiled in water, yields, according to Raynal, an oil, which, 

" 7 — 1X9 For these notes, see next page. 

Vol. II. U 

290 THALIA. 

myrrh, the Arabians obtain all these aromatics 
without any considerable trouble. To collect 
the frankincense, they burn under the tree which 
produces it a quantity of the styrax I29 , which the 
Phoenicians export into Greece ; for these trees 
are each of them guarded by a prodigious num- 
ber of flying serpents, small of body, and of dif- 
ferent colours, which are dispersed by the smoke 
of the gum. It is this species of serpent which, 
in an immense body, infests iEgypt. 

suffered to congeal, acquires a whiteness. Of this, candles 
are made, of a very aromatic smell, which are reserved for 
the sole use of the king of Ceylon, in which place it is prin- 
cipally found. — T. 

It is now well understood that the substance called cin- 
namon by the ancients was extremely different from this of 
ours, which is peculiar to the island of Ceylon. The cin- 
namon of the ancients, as well as their other spices, ledanum 
excepted, came most probably through Arabia, from India. 
These tales of Herodotus were most likely invented by the 
Arabians, to conceal a fact of such importance to their in- 

" 7 Casia.] — This is, I believe, a bastard kind of cinnamon, 
called in Europe cassia lignea; the merchants mix it with 
true cinnamon, which is four times its value ; it is to be dis- 
tinguished by a kind of viscidity perceived in chewing it. T. 

■ 2 * Ledanum.] — Ledanum, or ladanum, according to Pliny, 
was a gum made of the dew which was gathered from a shrub 
called lada.— T. 

" 9 Styrax.] — This is the gum of the storax tree, is very 
aromatic, and brought to this country in considerable quan- 
tities from the Archipelago. It is obtained by making inci- 
sions in the tree. The Turks adulterate it with saw-dust. 
Another species of storax is imported to Europe from Ame- 
rica, and is procured from the liquid-amber-tree.— T. 

THALIA. 291 

CVIII. The Arabians, moreover, affirm, that 
their whole country would be filled with these 
serpents, if the same thing were not to happen 
with respect to them which we know happens, 
and, as it should seem, providentially, to the 
vipers. Those animals, which are more timid, 
and which serve for the purpose of food, to pre- 
vent their total consumption are always re- 
markably prolific 110 , which is not the case with 
those which are fierce and venomous. The hare, 
for instance, the prey of every beast and bird, as 
well as of man, produces young abundantly. It 
is the singular property of this animal IJI , that it 
conceives a second time, when it is already preg- 
nant, and at the same time carries in its womb 
young ones covered with down, others not yet 


130 Remarkably prolific.'] — See Derham's chapter on the 
balance of animals, Physico-Theology, b. iv. chap. x. and 
ch. xiv. § 3. 

1SI The singular property of this animal.] — With respect to 
the superfoetation of this animal, Pliny makes the same re- 
mark, assigning the same reason. Lepus omnium pra?das 
nascens, solus pra3ter Dasypodem superfcetat, aliud educans, 
aliud in utero pilis vestitum, aliud implume, aliud incho- 
atum gerens pariter. This doctrine of superfoetation is stre- 
nuously defended by Sir T. Brown, in his Vulgar Errors; 
and, as far as it respects the animal in question, is credited 
by Larcher : but Mr. Pennant very sensibly remarks, that as 
the hare breeds very frequently in the course of the year, 
there is no necessity for having recourse to this dostrine to 
account for their numbers.— T. 

V 2 

<292 T H A L I A. 

formed, others just beginning to be formed, whilst 
the mother herself is again ready to conceive. 
But the lioness, of all animals the strongest and 
most ferocious, produces but one young one 131 
in her life, for at the birth of her cub she lose& 
her matrix. The reason of this seems to be, that 
as the claws of the lion are sharper by much 
than those of any other animal, the cub, as soon 
as it begins to stir in the womb, injures and tear& 
the matrix, which it does still more and more as 
it grows bigger, so that at the time of its birth no 
part of the womb remains whole, 

CIX. Thus, therefore, if vipers and those 
winged serpents of Arabia were to generate in 
the ordinary course of nature, the natives could 
not live. But it happens, that when they are 
incited by lust to copulate, at the very instant 
of emission, the female seizes the male by the 
neck, and does not quit her hold till she has quite 
devoured it 1 ". The male thus perishes, but the 
female is also punished ; for whilst the young are 
still within the womb, as the time of birth ap- 
proaches, to make themselves a passage they tear 


* 3 * But one young one.] — This assertion is perfectly absurd 
and false. The lioness has from two to six young ones, and 
the same lioness has been known to litter four or five times. 
— T. 

131 Quite devoured it.] — This narrative must also be con- 
sidered as intirely fabulous.— T. 

THALIA. 293 

in pieces the matrix, thus avenging their father's 
death. Those serpents which are not injurious 
to mankind lay eggs, and produce a great quan- 
tity of young. There are vipers in every part of 
the world, but winged serpents are found only in 
Arabia, where there are great numbers. 

CX. We have described how the Arabians 
procure their frankincense ; their mode of ob- 
taining the cassia is this : — they cover the whole 
of their body, and the face, except the eyes, 
Avith skins of different kinds ; they thus proceed 
to the place where it grows, which is in a marsh 
not very deep, but infested by a winged species 
of animal much resembling a bat, very strong, 
and making a hideous noise ; they protect their 
eyes from these, and then gather the cassia. 

CXI. Their manner of collecting the cinna- 
mon ,J+ is still more extraordinary. In what par- 

1,4 Cinnamon.'] — The substance of Lai-Cher's very long 
and learned note on this subject, may, if I mistake not, be 
comprised in very few words : by cinnamomum the ancients 
understood a branch of that tree, bark and all, of which the 
cassia was the bark only. The cutting of these branches is 
now prohibited, because found destructive of the tree. I 
have before observed, that of cinnamon there are different 
kinds; the cassia of Herodotus was, doubtless, what we in 
general understand to be cinnamon, of which our cassia, or 
cassia lignea, is an inferior kind. — T. 

U S 

294 T H A L I A. 

ticular spot it is produced, they themselves are 
unable to certify. There are some who assert 
that it grows in the region where Bacchus was 
educated, and their mode of reasoning is by no 
means improbable. These affirm that the vege- 
table substance, which we, as instructed by the 
Phoenicians' 3 *, call cinnamon, is by certain large 


135 As instructed by the Phoenicians.] — I cannot resist the 
pleasure of giving at full length the note of Larcher on this 
passage, which detects and explains two of the most singular 
and unaccountable errors ever committed in literature. 

" The above is the true sense of the passage, which Pliny 
has mistaken. He makes Herodotus say that the cinnamon 
and casia are found in the nests of certain birds, and in par- 
ticular of the phccnix. Cinnamomum et casias, fabulose nar- 
ravit antiquitas, princepsve Herodotus, avium nidis et pri- 
vatim pheenicis, in quo situ Liber Pater educatus esset, ex 
inviis rupibus arboribusque decuti. The above passage from 
Pliny, Dupin has translated, most ridiculously, ' l'antiquite 
fabuleuse, et le prince des menteurs, Herodote, disent', &c. 
He should have said Herodotus first of all, for princeps, in 
this place, does not mean prince, and menteur cannot pos- 
sibly be implied from the text of Pliny. Pliny had reason 
to consider the circumstance as fabulous, but he ought not 
to have imputed it to our historian, who says no such thing. 
13ut the authority of Pliny has imposed not only on Statius, 

Phariieque exempta volucri 

where Pharia volucris means the phoenix ; and on Avienus, 

Internis etiam procul undique ab oris 
Ales arnica deo largum congessit amomum ; 

but also on Van Stapel, in his Commentaries on Theophras- 
tus. Pliny had, doubtless, read too hastily this passage of 
Herodotus, which is sufficiently clear. Suidas and the Ety- 
mologicum Magnum, are right in the word ftiwu^ot." 

THALIA. 295 

birds carried to their nests constructed of clay, 
and placed in the cavities of inaccessible rocks. 
To procure it thence, the Arabians have contrived 
this stratagem : — they cut in very large pieces the 
dead bodies of oxen, asses, or other beasts of 
burden, and carry them near these nests : they 
then retire to some distance ; the birds soon fly 
to the spot, and carry these pieces of flesh to 
their nests, which not being able to support the 
weight, fall in pieces to the ground. The Ara- 
bians take this opportunity of gathering the cin- 
namon *, which they afterwards dispose of to dif- 
ferent countries, 

CXII. The ledanum 156 , or, as the natives 
term it, ladanum, is gathered in a more remark- 

* The same cause that allotted a. place in Herodotus to the 
description of the ants that were said to dig up gold in 
India, and to that of the mode of collecting cinnamon in 
Arabia, namely, the difficulty of getting at the truth, gave 
occasion also to the description of the table of the sun in, 
/Ethiopia. — Rennel. 

The mode here described of getting the cinnamon, re- 
sembles in many particulars one of the adventures of Sinbad 
the Sailor, in the Arabian Nights Entertainments. 

136 Ledanum.] — The following further particulars concern- 
ing this aromatic are taken from Tournefort. 

It is gathered by the means of whips, which have long 
handles, and two rows of straps ; with these they brush the 
plants, and to these will stick the odoriferous glue which 
hangs on the leaves; when the whips are sufficiently laden 

V 4 Nvitl * 

296 T IT ALIA. 

able manner than even the cinnamon. In itself 
it is particularly fragrant, though gathered from 
a place as much the contrary. It is found stick- 
ing to the beards of he-goats, like the mucus of 
trees. It is mixed by the Arabians in various 
aromatics, and indeed it is with this that they 
commonly perfume themselves. 

CXIII. I have thought it proper to be thus 
minute on the subject of the Arabian perfumes ; 
and we may add, that the v/hole of Arabia ex- 
hales a most delicious fragrance. There are also 
in this country two species of sheep, well deserv- 
ing admiration, and to be found no where else. 
One of them is remarkable for an enormous 
length of tail 137 , extending to three cubits, if not 


with this glue, they take a knife and scrape it clean off the 


In the time of Dioscorides, and before, they used to gather 
the ledanum not only with whips, but they also were careful 
in combing off such of it as was found sticking to the beards 
and thighs of the goats, which fed upon nothing but the 
leaves of the cistus. They still observe the same process ; 
and the Abbe Manite describes it at length in his account of 


The ledum is a species of cistus. 

137 Enormous length of tail.] — The following description of 
the broad-tailed sheep, from Pennant, takes away from the 
seeming improbability of this account. 

" This species," says Mr. Pennant, " is common in Syria, 
Earbary, and /Ethiopia. Some of their tails end in a point, 


THALIA. 297 

more. If they were permitted to trail them 
along the ground, they would certainly ulcerate 
from the friction. But the shepherds of the 
country are skilful enough to make little car- 
riages, upon which they secure the tails of the 
sheep : the tails of the other species are of the 
size of one cubit. 

CXIV. ^Ethiopia, which is the extremity of 
the habitable world, is contiguous to this country 
on the south-west. This produces gold in great 
quantities, elephants with their prodigious teeth, 
trees and shrubs of every kind, as well as ebony ; 
its inhabitants are also remarkable for their size, 
their beauty, and their length of life *, 

CXV. The above are the two extremes of 
Asia and Africa. Of that part of Europe nearest 
to the west, I am not able to speak with decision. 
I by no means believe that the Barbarians give 
the name of Eridanus I38 to a river which empties 


but are oftener square or round. They are so long as to 
trail on the ground, and the shepherds are obliged to put 
boards with small wheels under the tails, to keep them from 
galling. These tails are esteemed a great delicacy, are of a 
substance between fat and marrow, and are eaten with the 
lean of the mutton. Some of these tails weigh 50lb. each." 

* Herodotus remarks in another place, Melpomene, c. IS", 
that, whatever may be the cause, the Africans are more ex- 
empt from disease than any other men. 

138 Eridanus.'] — Bellanger was of opinion, that Herodotus 
intended here to speak of the Eridanus, a river in Italy ; 


egs THALIA. 

itself into the Northern Sea, whence, as it is said, 
our amber comes. Neither am I better ac- 
quainted with the islands called the Cassite- 
rides I39 , from which we are said to have our tin. 


Pliny thought so too, and expresses his surprize that Hero- 
dotus should be unable to meet with a person who had seen 
this river, although part of his life was spent at Thuria, in 
Magna Gra?cia. 

But this very reflection ought to have convinced both 
Pliny and Bellanger, that Herodotus had another Eridanus 
in view. 

The Eridanus here alluded to, could not possibly be any 
other than the Rho-daune, which empties itself into the 
Vistula, near Dantzic, and on the banks of which amber is 
now found in large quantities. — Larcher. 

The historian's want of information on this matter, could 
only, as Rennel observes, be occasioned by the jealousy of 
the Phoenicians. 

139 Cassiterides.] — Pliny says these islands were thus called 
from their yielding abundance of lead ; Strabo says, that they 
were known only to the Phoenicians ; Larcber is of opinion 
that Great Britain was in the number of these. 

The Phoenicians, who were exceedingly jealous of their 
commerce, studiously concealed the situation of the Cassi- 
terides, as long as they were able ; which fully accounts for 
the ignorance so honestly avowed by Herodotus. Camden 
and d'Anville agree in considering the Scilly Isles as un- 
doubtedly the Cassiterides of the ancients. Strabo makes 
them ten in number, lying to the north of Spain ; and the 
principal of the Scilly isles are ten, the rest being very in- 
considerable. Dionysius Periegetes expressly distinguishes 
them from the British isles : 

A'ov&t pjjct-oj tuat B^e'ccuoii, — V. o63. 


THALIA. 299 

The name Eridanus is certainly not barbarous, it 
is of Greek derivation, and, as I should con- 
ceive, introduced by one of our poets. I have 
endeavoured, but without success, to meet with 
some one who from ocular observation might de- 
scribe to me the sea which lies in that part of 
Europe. It is nevertheless certain, that both our 
tin and our amber ,4 ° are brought from those ex- 

treme regions. 

Yet it is not an improbable conjecture of his commentator 
Hill, that the promontory of Cornwall might perhaps at ri, 
be considered as another island. Diodorus Siculus describes 
the carrying of tin from the Cassiterides, and from Britain, 
to the northern coast of France, and thence on horses to 
Marseille?, thirty days journey ; this must be a new trade 
established by the Romans, who employed great perse- 
verance to learn the secret from the Phoenicians. Strabo 
tells us of one Phoenician captain, who rinding himself fol- 
lowed by a Roman vessel, purposely steered into the shal- 
lows, and thus destroyed both his own ship and the other; 
his life, however, was saved, and he was rewarded by his 
countrymen for his patriotic resolution. 

Eustathius, in his comment on Dionysius, reckons al o 
ten Cassiterides; but his account affords no new proof, as it 
is manifestly copied from Strabo, to the text of which author 
jt affords a remarkable correction. — T. 

My friend Major Kennel observes, that what is related 
by Diodorus Siculus concerning the island to which tin was 
carried at low water, seems to point to Cornwall. The 
island might be St. .Michael's Mount, in Mount's Bay. 

Xi ° Amber.] — Amber takes its name from ambra, the Ara- 
bian name for this substance; the science of electricity is so 
called from dtcfrum, the Creek word for amber. This term 
of electricity is now applied not only to the power of at- 

soo T II ALIA. 

CXVI. It is certain that in the north of Eu- 
rope* there is a prodigious quantity of gold', 
but how it is produced I am not able to tell with 
certainty. It is affirmed indeed, that the Ari- 
maspif, a people who have but one eye, take 
this gold away violently from the griffins ; but I 
can never persuade myself that there are any 
men who, having but one eye, enjoy in all other 
respects the nature and qualities of other human 


trading lighter bodies, which amber possesses, but to many 
other powers of a similar nature. Amber is certainly not of 
the use, and consequently not of the value, which it has 
been, but it is still given in medicine, and is, as I am in- 
formed, the basis of all varnishes. It is found in various 
places, but Prussia is said to produce the most and the 
best.— T. 

* By the north of Europe, the north-west part of Asia is 
intended. The Europe of Herodotus is extended indefi- 
nitely to the east, Asia being placed to the south rather 
than to the east of Europe. 

f Of this fable, Milton makes a happy use in his second 
took ,of Paradise Lost : 

As when a griffin thro' the wilderness 
With winged course, o'er hill or mossy dale, 
Pursues the Arimaspian, who by stealth 
Had from his wakeful custody purloined 
The guarded gold. 

Lucan speaks of the Arimaspians as a people who orna- 
mented their hair with gold. 

Auroque ligatas 
Substringens Arimaspe comas. 

Pliny relates the same fable with Herodotus. See Nat. 
Hist. 1. vii. c.2. See agaiu Melpomene, 13 and '27. 

T II A L I A. 301 

beings. Thus much seems unquestionable, that 
these extreme parts of the world contain within 
themselves things the most beautiful as well as 

CXVTI. There is in Asia a large plain, sur- 
rounded on every part by a ridge of hills, through 
which there are five different apertures. It for- 
merly belonged to the Chorasmians, who inhabit 
those hills in common with the Hyrcanians, Par- 
tisans, Sarangensians, and Thomaneans ; but 
after the subjection of these nations to Persia, 
it became the property of the great king. Prom 
these surrounding; hills there issues a large river 
called Aces*: this formerly, being conducted 
through the openings of the mountain, watered 
the several countries above mentioned. But 
when these regions came under the power of the 
Persians, the apertures were closed, and gates 
placed at each of them, to prevent the passage of 
the river. Thus on the inner side, from the wa- 

* This story, so improbably told, seems to relate either 
to the river Oxus, or to the Ochus, both of which have un- 
dergone considerable changes in their courses, partly by the 
management of dams, partly by their own depositions, for 
they certainly flow near the countries of .the Chorasmians, 
the Hyrcanians, and Partisans ; but the Sarangajans, if 
taken for the people of Zarang, that is Segistan, as no 
doubt they ought to be, are out of the question as to an\ 
connection with these rivers. — Rennell. 

302 THALIA. 

tcrs having no issue, this plain became a sea, and 
the neighbouring nations, deprived of their ac- 
customed resource, were reduced to the extremest 
distress from the want of water. In winter they, 
in common with other nations, had the benefit of 
the rains, but in summer, after sowing their mil- 
lot and sesamum, they required water but in vain. 
Not being assisted in their distress, the inha- 
bitants of both sexes hastened to Persia, and pre- 
senting themselves before the palace of the king, 
made loud complaints. In consequence of this, 
the monarch directed the gates to be opened to- 
wards those parts where water was most imme- 
diately wanted ; ordering them again to be closed 
after the lands had been sufficiently refreshed : 
the same was done with respect to them all, be- 
ginning where moisture was wanted the most. 
I have, however, been informed, that this is only 
granted in consideration of a large donative 
above the usual tribute. 

CXVIII. Intaphernes, one of the seven who 
had conspired against the magus, lost his life 
from the following act of insolence. Soon after 
the death of the usurpers, he went to the palace, 
with the view of having a conference with the 
king ; for the conspirators had mutually agreed, 
that, except the king should happen to be in bed 
with his wife, they might any of them have ac- 
cess to the royal presence, without sending a pre- 

THALIA. 303 

vious messenger. Intaphernes, not thinking any 
introduction necessary, was about to enter, but 
the porter and the introducing officer * prevented 
him, pretending that the king was retired with 
one of his wives. He, not believing their asser- 
tion, drew his sword, and cut off their ears and 
noses ; then taking the bridle from his horse, he 
tied them together, and so dismissed them. 

CXIX. In this condition they presented them' 
selves before the king, telling him why they had 
been thus treated. Darius, thinking that this 
might have been done with the consent of the 
other conspirators, sent for them separately, and 
desired to know whether they approved of what 
had happened. As soon as he was convinced that 
Intaphernes had perpetrated this deed without 
any communication with the rest, he ordered 
him, his son, and all his family, to be taken into 
custody ; having many reasons to suspect, that in 
concert with his friends he might excite a sedi- 
tion : he afterwards commanded them all to be 
put in chains, and prepared for execution. The 
wife of Intaphernes then presented herself before 
the royal palace, exhibiting every demonstration 


* Introducing officer.] — This was an officer of the highest 
rank in the empire, as appears from both Cornelius Nepos 
and /Elian. 

304 T II A L I A. 

of grief*. As she regularly continued this con- 
duct, her frequent appearance at length excited 
the compassion of Darius; who thus addressed 
her by a messenger : " Woman, king Darius 
" offers you the liberty of any individual of your 
" family, whom you may most desire to pre- 
? ' serve." After some deliberation with herself, 
she made this reply : " If the king will grant me 
" the life of any one of my family, I choose my 
" brother in preference to the rest." Her de- 
termination greatly astonished the king; he sent 
to her therefore a second message to this effect : 
" The king desires to know why you have thought 
" proper to pass over your children and your 
" husband, and to preserve your brother ; who 
" is certainly a more remote connection than 
" your children, and cannot be so dear to you 

" as 

* Grief.] — Bruce amuses himself and his readers with 
drawing a parallel between the manners of the Abys.sinianal 
and those of the ancient Persians. In one place he goes so far 
as to intimate that Abyssinia might not improbably have been 
colonized from Persia. — But he here exhibits a notable proof 
of his extreme carelessness and inaccuracy, for in referring to 
this passage, after telling us, that in Abyssinia it was the eus^ 
torn for supplicants to croud round the royal palace with 
noisy complaints of their grievances, he says Herodotus tells 
us that in Persia the people in great crowds and of both 
sexes come roaring and crying to the doors of the palace, 
and Intaphernes is also said to come to the door of the king 
making great lamentations. 

Herodotus expressly says it was the wife of Intaphernes; 
Intaphernes himself was in chains. 

THALIA. 305 

" as your husband?" She answered thus: "O 

" king ! if it please the deity, I may have ano- 

" ther husband ; and if I be deprived of these, 

" may have other children ; but as my parents 

" are both of them dead, it is certain that I can 

" have no other brother 14 '." The answer ap- 

141 I can have no other brother.']—' This very singular and, I 
do not scruple to add, preposterous sentiment, is imitated 
very minutely by Sophocles, in the Antigone. That the 
reader may the better understand, by comparing the differ- 
ent application of these words, in the historian and the poet, 
I shall subjoin a part of the argument of the Antigone. 

Eteoeles and Polynices were the sons of (Edipus, and suc- 
cessors of his power ; they had agreed to reign year by year 
alternately; but Eteoeles breaking the contract, the brothers 
determined to decide the dispute in a single combat ; they 
fought, and mutually slew each other. The first act of their 
uncle Creon, who succeeded to the throne, was to forbid the 
rites of sepulture to Polynices, denouncing immediate death 
upon whoever should dare to bury him. Antigone trans- 
gressed this ordinance, and was detected in the fact of bury- 
ing her brother; she was commanded to be interred alive ; 
and what follows is part of what is suggested by her situation 
and danger: 

And thus, my Polynices, for my care 
Of thee, I am rewarded, and the good 
Alone shall praise me : for a husband dead, 
Nor, had I been a mother, for my children 
Would I have dar'd to violate the laws. — ■ 
Another husband and another child 
Might sooth affliction ; but, my parents dead, 
A brother's loss can never be repair'd. 

Franklin's Sophocles, 

The reader will not forget to observe, that the piety of An- 
tigone is directed to a lifeless corpse, but that of the wife of 
VOL. II. X Intapherne* 

so6 T H A L I A. 

peared to Darius very judicious; indeed he was so 
well pleased with it, that he not only gave the 
woman the life of her brother, but also pardoned 
her eldest son: the rest were all of them put to 
death. Thus, at no great interval of time, perished 
one of the seven conspirators. 

CXX. About the time of the last illness of 
Cambyses, the following accident happened. 
The governor of Sardis was a Persian, named 
Oroetes*, who had been promoted by Cyrus. 
This man conceived the atrocious design of ac- 
complishing the death of Polycrates of Samos, 
by whom he had never in word or deed been in- 
jured, and whose person he never had beheld. 
His assigned motive was commonly reported to 
be this : Oroetes one day sitting at the gates of 


Intaphernes to her living brother, which is surely less repug- 
nant to reason, and the common feelings of the human heart_ 
not to speak of the superior claims of duty. 

There is an incident similar to this in Lucian : — See the 
tract called Toxaris, or Amicitia, where a Scythian is de- 
scribed to neglect his wife and children, whilfi he incurs the 
greatest danger to preserve his friend from the flames. 
" Other children," says he, " I may easily have, and they 
are at best but a precarious blessing ; but such a friend I 
could no where obtain." — T. 

* Historians are not quite agreed about the name of this 
man. He is called by some Orontes. See Valerius Maximums, 
book 6. chap. 9. Comprehensum enim Orontes Darii Regis 
Praefectus in excelsissimo montis vertice cruci aftixit. Lucian, 
however, in more than one place calls him Orontes. 

O f I «. 


the palace 142 with another Persian, whose name 
was Mitrobates, governor of Dascylium, entered 
into a conversation with him, which at length ter- 
minated in dispute. The subject about which 
they contended was military virtue : " Can you," 
says Mitrobates to Oroetes, " have any preten- 
" sions to valour, Avho have never added Samos 
to the dominions of your master, contiguous as 
" it is to your province ; and which indeed may 
: so easily be taken, that one of its own citizens 
" made himself master of it, with the help of 
" fifteen men in arms, and still retains the su- 
" preme authority?" This made a deep impres- 
sion upon the mind of Oroetes ; but without me- 
ditating revenge against the person who had af- 
fronted him, he determined to effect the death of 
Polycrates, on whose account he had been re- 

"> 4 At the gates of the palace.] — In the Greek it is at the 
king's gate. The grandees waited at the gate of the Persian 
kings: — This custom, established by Cyrus, continued as long 
as the monarchy, and at this day, in Turkey, we say the Otto- 
man port, for the Ottoman court. — Lurcher, 

Ignorance of this custom has caused several mistakes, par- 
ticularly in the history of Mordecai, in the book of Esther, 
who is by many authors, and even by Prideaux, represented 
as meanly situated when placed there. Many traces of this 
custom may be found in Xenophon's Cyropasdia. Plutarch, 
in his life of Themistoeles, uses the expression of those at the 
king's gate, run i%\ Qv(>-. (3ct?i\tu<;, as a general designation for 
nobles and state officers. — See Brisson, de Regno Persarum? 
lib. i.— T. 

x 2 

308 T H A L I A. 

CXXI. There are some, but not many, who 
affirm that Oroetes sent a messenger to Samos, to 
propose 'some question to Polycrates, but of 
what nature is unknown ; and that he found Poly- 
crates in the men's apartment, reclining on a 
couch, with Anacreon of Teos 143 by his side. 
The man advanced to deliver his message ; but 
Polycrates, either by accident, or to demonstrate 
the contempt ,4+ in which he held Oroetes, con- 

** 3 Anacreon of TeosJ] — It is by no means astonishing to 
find, in the court of a tyrant, a poet who is eternally singing 
in praise of wine and love : his verses are full of the enco- 
miums of Polycrates. How different was the conduct of Py- 
thagoras ! That philosopher, perceiving that tyranny was 
established in Samos, went to iEgypt, and from thence to 
Babylon, for the sake of improvement: returning to his coun- 
try, he found that tyranny still subsisted ; he went therefore 
to Italy, and there finished his days. — Larcher. 

This poet was not only beloved by Polycrates, he was the 
favourite also of Hipparchus the Athenian tyrant. And, 
nothwithstanding the inference which Larcher seems inclined 
to draw, from contrasting his conduct with that of Pythagoras, 
he was called <?<j$o<; by Socrates himself; and the terms 
wQoq uyaQog, are applied to him by Athenosus. By the 
way, much as has been said on the compositions of Anacreon 
by H. Stephens, Scaliger, M. Dacier, and'others, many of the 
learned are in doubt whether the works ascribed to him by 
the moderns are genuine. Anacreontic verse is so called, 
from its being much used by Anacreon ; it consists of three 
Iambic feet and a half, of which there is no instance in the 
Lyrics of Horace.- — See the Prolegomena to Barnes's Anacreon, 
§. 12. 

,4 + Demonstrate the contempt.] — This behaviour of Poly- 
^r-ates, which was doubtless intended to be expressive of 


T H A L I A. SW 

tlnued all the time he was speaking with his face 
towards the wall, and did not vouchafe any reply. 

CXXIL These are the two assigned motives 
for the destruction of Folycrates : every one will 
prefer that which seems most probable. Ocertes, 
who lived at Magnesia, which is on the banks of 
the Maeander ,45 , sent Myrsus the Lydian, son of 
Gyges, with a message to Folycrates at Samos. 
With the character of Polycrates, Orcetes was 
well acquainted ; for, except Minos 146 the Cnos- 
sian, or whoever before him accomplished it, he 
was the first Greek who formed the design of 
making himself master of the sea. But as far as 
historical tradition may be depended upon, Poly- 
crates is the only individual who projected the 
subjection of Ionia and the islands. Perfectly 
aware of these circumstances, Orcetes sent this 

message : 

*.* Orcetes 

contempt, brings to mind the ftory of Charles the Twelfth of 
Sweden, who ut an interview with the Grand Vizier, ex- 
pressed his contempt and indignation by tearing the minister's 
robe with his spur, and afterwards leaving the apartment 
without saying a word. 

145 On the banks of the Mccandcr.~\ — This is added in order 
to distinguish that city from the Magnesia on the Sipyius, 
lying between Sardes and Phocaga, 

146 Except Minos.] — What Herodotus says of the maritime 
power of Minos, is confirmed by Thucydides and Diodorus 
Siculus. His teftimony concerning Polycrates is supported 
also by Thucydides and Strabo. — Lurcher. 

x 3 

310 T H A I, I A. 


" I understand that you are revolving some 
" vast project in your mind, but have not money 
" responsible to your views. Be advised by me, 
" and you will at the same time promote your 
" own advantage and preserve me.. I am in- 
" formed, and I believe it to be true, that king 
" Cambyses has determined on my death. Re- 
" ceive, therefore, me with mv wealth, part of 
" which shall be at your disposal, part at mine : 
" with the assistance of this you may easily ob- 
" tain the sovereignty of Greece. If you have 
any suspicions, send to me some one who is in 
your intimate confidence, and he shall be con- 
vinced by demonstration." 



CXXIII. With these overtures, Polycrates was 
so exceedingly delighted, that he was eager to 
comply with them immediately, for his love of 
money was excessive. He sent, first of all, to 
examine into the truth of the affair, Moeandrius 
his secretary, called so after his father. This 

4/ J 

Maeandrius, not long afterwards, placed as a 
sacred donative in the temple of Juno, the rich 
furniture of the apartment of Polycrates. Oroetes, 
knowing the motive for which this man came, 
contrived and executed the following artifice : 
lie filled eight chests nearly to the top with 
-stones, then covering over the surface with gold, 


THALIA. 311 

they were tied together ,47 , as if ready to be re- 
moved. Maeandrius on his arrival saw the above 
chests, and returned to make his report to Poly- 

CXXIV. Polycrates, notwithstanding the pre- 
dictions of the soothsayers, and the remonstrances 
of his friends, was preparing to meet Oroetes, 
when his daughter in a dream saw this vision : 
She beheld her father aloft in the air, washed by 
Jupiter, and anointed by the sun. Terrified by 


147 Tied together.] — Before the use of locks, it was the 
custom in more ancient times to secure things with knots : 
of these some were so difficult, that he alone who possessed 
the secret was able to unravel them. The famous Gordian 
knot must be known to every one; this usage is often also 
alluded to by Homer: 

Then bending with full force, around he roll'd 
A labyrinth of bands in fold on fold, 
Clos'd with Circaean art. 

According to Eustathius, keys were a more modern inven- 
tion, for which the Lacedaemonians are to be thanked. 

Upon the above passage from Eustathius, Larcher re- 
marks, that it is somewhat singular, that the Lacedaemo- 
nians, whose property was in common, should be the in- 
ventors of keys. 

The version of Pope which I have given in the foregoing 
lines, is very defective, and certainly inadequate to the ex- 
pression of 

Aim* iv/i^TVi iru^a., Gowg a im dWftoc i>?As 

TLbiKihov, OV 7T0TE \)M $Z$UB Q^iat 7T9T»H* K»£X>}.— T. 

X 4 

sis T H A L I A. 

this incident, she used every means in her power 
to prevent his going to meet Orcetes ; and as he 
was about to embark for this purpose, on board 
a fifty-oared galley, she persisted in auguring un- 
favourably of his expedition. At this he was so 
incensed, as to declare, that if he returned safe 
she should remain lono; unmarried. To this she 
expressed herself very desirous to submit; being 
willing to continue long a virgin u8 , rather than 
be deprived of her father, 

CXXV. Polycrates, disregarding all that had 
been said to him, set sail to meet Orcetes. He 
was accompanied by many of his friends, and 
amongst the rest by Democedes I49 , the son of 

Calliphon ; 

148 Long a •virgin. I—To die a virgin, or without having 
any children, was amongst the ancients esteemed a very 
serious calamity. Electra in Sophocles enumerates this in 
the catalogue of her misfortunes : 

TaXam , a.iVjx<pBvro; u.w ot^uj.— 166. 

Electra makes a similar complaint, in the Orestes of Euri- 
pides ; as does also Polyxena at the point of death, in the 
Hecuba of Euripides. — T. 

145 Democedes.] — Of this personage, a farther account is 
given in the fourth book. He is mentioned also by /Elian, 
in his Various History, book viii. chap. 17; and also by 
Athenaeus, book xii. chap. 4. which last author informs us, 
that the physicians of Crotona were, on account of De- 
mocedes, esteemed the first in Greece. — See also chap. 131, 
of this book. — T. 

T II ALIA. 313 

Calliphon ; he was a physician of Crotona, and 
the most skilful practitioner of his time. As 
soon as Polycrates arrived at Magnesia, he was 
put to a miserable death, unworthy of his rank 
and superior endowments. Of all the princes 
who ever reigned in Greece, those of Syracuse 
alone excepted, none equalled Polycrates in 
magnificence. Orcetes, having basely put him to 
death IS0 , fixed his body to a cross ; his attend- 
ants he sent back to Samos, telling them, " They 
" ought to be thankful, that he had not made 
" them slaves." The strangers, and the ser- 
vants of those who had accompanied Polycrates, 
he detained in servitude. The circumstance of 
his being suspended on a cross, fulfilled the vision 
of the daughter of Polycrates : for he was washed 
by Jupiter, that is to say, by the rain, and he was 
anointed by the sun, for it extracted the moisture 
from his body. The great prosperity of Poly- 

150 Put him to death.] — The Persians generally beheaded 
or flayed those whom they crucified : see an account of their 
treatment of IIistia?us, book vi. chap. 30, and of Leonidas, 
book vii. 23S.—T. 

The beautiful and energetic lines which Juvenal applied 
to Sejanus, are remarkably apposite to the circumstances 
and fate of Polycrates : 

Qui inimios optabat honores, 
Et nimias poscebat opes, numerosa parabat 
Excelsae turris tabulata, unde altior esset 
Casus, et impulse pra?ceps humane ruinae, 

314 T H A L I A. 

crates terminated in this unfortunate death, which 
indeed had been foretold him by Amasis king of 

CXXVI. But it was not long before Orcetes 
paid ample vengeance to the manes of Poly crates. 
After the death of Cambyses, and the usurpation 
of the magi, Oroetes, who had never deserved 
well of the Persians, whom the Medes had 
fraudulently deprived of the supreme authority, 
took the advantage of the disorder of the times ,sr , 
to put to death Mitrobates, the governor of Das- 
cylium, and his son Cranapes. Mitrobates was 
the person who had formerly reproached Orcetes ; 
and both he and his son were highly esteemed in 
Persia. In addition to his other numerous and 
atrocious crimes, he compassed the death of a 
messenger, sent to him from Darius, for no other 
reason but because the purport of the message 
was not agreeable to him. He ordered the man 
to be way-laid in his return, and both he and his 
horse were slain, and their bodies concealed. 

CXXVII. As soon as Darius ascended the 
throne, he determined to punish Oroetes for his 
various enormities, but more particularly for the 


151 Disorder of the times.] — For bv tccvrn r-n etex?* which 
pri vailed in preceding editions, Wesseling proposes to read 
iv rctvTp -zfz,xy, which removes all perplexity. — T-. 

T H A L I A. 515 

murder of Mitrobates and his son. He did not 
think it prudent to send an armed force cpenly 
against him, as the state was still unsettled, and 
as his own authority had been so recently ob- 
tained ; he was informed, moreover, that Orcetes 
possessed considerable strength : his government 
extended over Phrygia, Lydia, and Ionia, and he 
was regularly attended by a guard of a thousand 
men. Darius was, therefore, induced to adopt 
this mode of proceeding : He assembled the 
noblest of the Persians, and thus addressed them; 
" Which of you, O Persians ! will undertake 
for me the accomplishment of a project which 
" requires sagacity alone, without military aid, or 
" any kind of violence ? for where wisdom is re- 
" quired, force is of little avail ; — which of you 
" will bring me the body of Orcetes, alive or 
" dead ? He has never deserved well of the Per- 
sians ; and, in addition to his numerous crimes, 
he has killed two of our countrymen, Mitro- 
bates and his son. He has also, with intole- 
rable insolence, put a messenger of mine to 
death: we must prevent, therefore, his per- 
petrating any greater evils against us, by put- 


. L 

li ting him to death." 

CXXVIII. When Darius had thus spoken, 
thirty Persians offered to accomplish what he 
wished. As they were disputing on the subject, 
the king ordered the decision to be made by lot ; 


516 T H A L I A. 

which fell upon Bagoeus, the son of Artontes. 
To attain the end which he proposed, he caused 
a number of letters to be written on a variety of 
subjects, and sealing them with the seal of Da- 
rius, he proceeded with them to Sardis. As soon 
as he came to the presence of Orcetes, he deli- 
vered the letters one by one to the king's secre- 
tary ; one of whom is regularly attendant upon 
the governors of provinces. The motive of Ba- 
ga?us in delivering the letters separately was to 
observe the disposition of the guards, and how 
far they might be inclined to revolt from Orcetes. 
When he saw that they treated the letters with 
great respect 152 , and their contents with still 
greater, he delivered one to this effect : " Per- 
" sians, king Darius forbids you serving any 
" longer Oroetes as guards:" in a moment they 
threw down their arms. Bagaeus, observing their 
prompt obedience in this instance, assumed still 
Greater confidence, he delivered the last of his 
letters, of which these were the contents : " King 
" Darius commands the Persians who are at 
" Sardis to put Orcetes to death:" without hesi- 


,52, Treated the letters wnfh great respezt.] — At the present 
period, the distinction observed with regard to letters in the 
East is this : those sent to common persons are rolled up, 
and not sealed ; those sent to noblemen and princes are 
sealed up, and inclosed in rich bags of silk or satin iu» 
riously embroidered. — T\ 

THALIA. 317 

tation they drew their swords and kilted him. 
In this manner was the death of Polycrates of 
Samos revenged on Oroetes the Persian. 

CXXIX. Upon the death of Oroetes, his ef- 
fects were all removed to Susa. Not long after 
which, Darius, as he was engaged in the chace, 
in leaping from his horse, twisted his foot with so 
much violence, that the ancle-bone was dislocated. 
Having at his court some /Egyptians, supposed 
to be the most skilful of the medical profession, 
he trusted to their assistance. They, however, 
increased the evil, by twisting and otherwise vio- 
lently handling the part affected : from the ex- 
treme pain which he endured, the king passed 
seven days and as many nights without sleep. 
In this situation, on the eighth day, some one 
ventured to recommend Democedes of Crotona, 
having before heard of his reputation at Sardis. 
Darius immediately sent for him : he was disco- 
vered amongst the slaves of Oroetes, where he 
had continued in neglect, and was brought to 
the king just as he was found, in chains and in 

CXXX. As soon as he appeared, Darius 
asked him if he had any knowledge of medicine ? 
In the apprehension that if he discovered his art, 
he should never have the power of returning to 
(Jreece, Democedes for a while dissembled; 


hlB T H A L I A. 

which Darius perceiving, he ordered those whc* 
had brought him to produce the instruments of 
punishment and torture. Democedes began then 
to be more explicit,, and confessed that, although 
he possessed no great knowledge of the art, yet 
by his connection with a physician he had ob- 
tained some little proficiency. The manage- 
ment of the case was then intrusted to him ; he 
accordingly applied such medicines and strong 
fomentations as were customary in Greece; by 
which means Darius, who began to despair of 
ever recovering the intire use of his foot, was not 
only enabled to sleep, but in a short time per- 
fectly restored to health. In acknowledgment 
of his cure, Darius presented him with two pair 
of fetters of gold : upon which Democedes ven- 
tured to ask the king, whether, in return for his 
restoring him to health, he wished to double his 
calamity IJ3 ? The king, delighted with the re- 


153 Double his calamity.] — The ancients were very fond of 
this play upon words : — See, in the Septem contra Thebas of 
-SLschylus, a play on the word Polynices : 

Oi O'/j't' o^ug x.a.T i7ru'jvp,in» 
Kai vcoTwynxsic, 

JTiXofT OCCtfiil dkMVOlCC. — V. S35. 

The particular point in this passage is omitted by Mr. 
Potter, probably because he did not find it suited to the 
genius of the English language. 

See also Ovid's description of the flower: 

Ipse suos gemitus foliis inscribit et ai ai 
Flos habet inscriptum. T. 

THALIA. 319 

ply, sent the man to the apartments of his wo- 
men : the eunuchs who conducted him informed 
them, that this was the man who had restored the 
king to life; accordingly, every one of them 
taking out a vase of gold I54 , gave it to Democedes 
with the case. The present was so very valuable, 
that a servant who followed him behind, whose 
name was Sciton, by gathering up the stater/, 
which fell to the ground, obtained a prodigious 
sum of money. 

CXXXI. The following incident was what in- 
duced Democedes to forsake Crotona, and attach 
himself to Poly crates. At Crotona he suffered 
continual restraint from the austere temper of 
his father ; this becoming insupportable, he left 
him, and went to iEgina. In the first year of 
his residence at this place, he excelled the most 


154 Taking out a xafc of gold.] — This is one of the most 
perplexed passages in Herodotus j and the conjectures of the 
critics are proportionably numerous. The great difficulty 
consists in ascertaining what is designed by t>7j-JWJtf<r« and 
Gjjxij. The tpiocM appears to have been ajar or vase, probably 
itself of gold. Few have doubted that the passage is cor- 
rupt : the best conjectural reading gives this sense, " that 
each, taking gold out of a chest in a vase (<pi«;\>j), gave it. 
vase and all, to Democedes. 'YTr&WWa is thus made to 
signify plunging the vase among the gold to fill it, as a pitcher 
into water; which sense is confirmed by good authorities. 
The idea more immediately excited by the word is, that they 
struck the bottom of the vase to fhake out all the gold; but 
according to this interpretation, the vase itself is the fi^n, or 
case. — T. 

3Z0 T H ALIA. 

skilful of the medical profession, without having 
had any regular education, and indeed without 
the common instruments of the art. His reputa- 
tion, however, was so great that, in the second 
year, the inhabitants of iEgina, by general con- 
sent, engaged his services at the price of one ta- 
lent. In the third year, the Athenians retained 
him, at a salary of one hundred minae 15J ; and in 


155 One hundred mince.] — Valcnaer suspects that this place 
has been altered by some copyifts. Athens, in the time of 
its greatest splendour, allowed their ambassadors but two 
drachmas a day; and a hundred drachma; make butonemina. 
If when the Athenians were rich, they gave no more to an 
ambassador, how is it likely that, when they were exceedingly 
poor, they should give a hundred minaj to a physician ? 
Thus far Valcnaer. From this and other passages in the an- 
cient writers, it appears that in remoter times it was usual to 
hire physicians for the assistance of a whole city by the year. 
The fees which were given physicians for a single incidental 
visit, were very inconsiderable, as appears from the famous 
verses of Crates, preserved by Diogenes Laertms, 

T»0fi payney<; osy. , Icltpu ogaxpyi* 
KoXecta ra.Xa.vToe. nrivrt, ervpBtiKu xwirvcv, 
Tlopyft tccXccvtov, <p:\ocra(pu> TPiuijSo^ov. 

" To a cook 30/. ; to a physician two groats ; to a flatterer 
900/.; to a counsellor nothing; to a whore ISO/.; to a phi- 
losopher a groat." The above is supposed to describe part of 
the accounts of a man of fortune. See Arbuthnot on Coins, 
p. 19s. — The yearly pension paid Demoeedes the physician, 
by the Athenians, was one hundred minse, or 322/. 18*. 4*/. 
The Eginetse paid him yearly the pension of a talent, or 
i93/. 15*. He had a pension from Pqlycrates of Sanaos of 

two talents, 387/. 10*. 


THALIA. 321 

the fourth year Polycrates engaged to give him 
two talents. His residence was then fixed at 
Samos ; and to this man the physicians of Crotona 
are considerably indebted for the reputation which 
they enjoy; for at this period, in point of medi- 
cal celebrity, the physicians of Crotona held the 
first, and those of Cyrene, the next place. At 
this time also the Argives had the credit of being 
the most skilful musicians' 56 of Greece. 

CXXXII. Dcmocedes having in this manner 
restored the king to health, had a sumptuous 
house provided him at Susa t was entertained at 
the king's own table, and, except the restriction 
of not being able to return to Greece, enjoyed 
all that he could wish. The .-Egyptian physi- 
cians, who, before this event, had the care of the 
king's health, Mere on account of their inferiority 
to Dcmocedes, a Greek, condemned to the cross, 
but he obtained their pardon. He also procured 
the liberty of an Elean soothsayer, who having 
followed Polvcrates was detained and neglected 


The daily allowance of two drachmae to an ambassador is 
KW. or '„'.;/. \\s. 5\d. per annum. All that can be said of 
the difference is the high opinion entertained of a skilful phy- 
sician both at Athens and in Persia. — T. 

156 Musicians.] — Music was an important part of Grecian 
education. 15oys till they were ten years old were taught to 
read by the grammatistes ; they were then taught music three 
years by thecitharistcs; after the thirteenth year they learned 
the gymnastic exercises, under the care of thepaidotades. — T. 
Vol. II. Y 

3M T H A L I A. 

among his other slaves. It may be added, that 
Democedes remained in the highest estimation 
with the king. 

CXXXIII. It happened not long afterwards, 
that Atossa, daughter of Cyrus, and wife of Da- 
rius, had an ulcer on her breast, which finally 
breaking, spread itself considerably. As long as it 
was small, she was induced by delicacy to con- 
ceal it; but when it grew more troublesome, she 
sent for Democedes, and shewed it to him. He 
told her he was able to cure it ; but exacted of 
her an oath, that in return she should serve him 
in whatever he might require, which he assured 
her, should be nothing to disgrace her 

C XXX IV. Atossa was cured by his skill, and r 
observant of her own promise and his instructions, - 
she took the opportunity of thus addressing Da- 
rius, while she was in bed with him : " It is won- 
" derftil, my lord, that having such a numerous 
" army at command, you have neither increased 
" the power of Persia*, nor at all extended your 
" dominions. It becomes a man like you, in 
" the vigour of your age, and master of so many 
" and such powerful resources, to perform some 
" act which may satisfy the Persians of the spirit 
" and virtue of their prince. There are two rea- 
" sons which give importance to what I recom- 
mend : — The one, that your subjects may ve- 
nerate the manly accomplishments of their 
'.' master ; the other, that you may prevent the 

" indolence 


T II ALIA. 323 

indolence of peace exciting them to tumult and 
sedition. Do not therefore consume your 
youth in inactivity, for the powers of the 
mind I57 increase and improve with those of the 
body; and in like manner as old age comes on 
they become weaker and weaker, till they are 
finally blunted to every thing." " What you 
say 158 ,'' answered Darius, " coincides with 
what was passing in my mind. I had intended 
to make war against Scythia, and to construct 
a bridge to unite our continent with the other; 
which things shall soon be executed." Will it 
not, Sir," returned Atossa, " be better to de- 

* S1 Powers of the mind.] — This opinion is thus expressed by 
Lucretius, which I give the reader from the version of 

Resides, 'tis plain that souls are born and grow, 

And all by age decay as bodies do : 

To prove this truth, in infants, minds appear 

Infirm and tender, as their bodies are; 

In man the mind is strong; when age prevails, 

And the quick vigour of each member fails, 

The mind's pow'rs too decrease and waste apace, 

And grave and reverend folly takes the place. T. 

* sB What you say.] — I have not translated il yvtou, which 
is in the original, because I do not think we have any 
correspondent word in our language. O woman! would be 
vulgar; and according to our norma loquendi, O wife ! would 
not be adequate. In the Ajax of Sophocles, v. 293, yvw is 
used to express contempt; but in the passage before us it 
certainly denotes tenderness. The address of our Saviour to 
his mother proves this most satisfactorily :— See also Homer. 
K«» tfin t«& vjarxa, tufoj, y\.im, — T, 

Y 2 




S24 T H A L I A. 

11 fer your intentions against the Scythians, who 
" will at any time afford you an easy conquest ? 
" Rather make an expedition against Greece : I 
" wish much to have for my attendants some 
women of Sparta, Argos, Athens, and Co- 
1 rinth, of whom I have heard so much. You 
have, moreover, in the man who healed the 
" wound of your foot, the person of all others the 
best qualified to describe and explain to you 
every thing which relates to Greece." If it 
be your wish," replied Darius, " that I should 
first make a military excursion against Greece, 
it will be proper to send previously thither some 
Persians as spies, in company with the man to 
" whom you allude. As soon as they return, 
" and shall have informed me of the result of 
" their observations, I will proceed against 
" Greece." 

CXXXV. Darius having delivered his senti- 
ments, no time was lost in fulfilling them. As 
soon as the morning appeared, he sent for fifteen 
Persians of approved reputation, and com- 
manded them, in company with Democedes, to 
examine every part of the sea-coast of Greece, 
enjoining them to be very watchful of Demo- 
cedes, and by all means to bring him back with 
them. When he had done this, he next sent for 
Democedes himself, and after desiring him to 
examine and explain to the Persians every thing 
which related to Greece, he entreated him to 
return in their company. All the valuables which 


THALIA. 325 

he possessed, he recommended him to take, as 
presents to his father and his brethren, assuring 
him that he should be provided with a greater 
number on his return. He moreover informed 
him, that he had directed a vessel to accompany 
him, which was to be furnished with various things 
of value. In these professions Darius, as I am 
of opinion, was perfectly sincere ; but Demo- 
cedes, apprehending that the king meant to make 
trial of his fidelity, accepted these proposals with- 
out much acknowledgement. He desired, how- 
ever, to leave his own effects, that they might be 
ready for his use at his return ; but he accepted the 
vessel which was to carry the presents for his fa- 
mily. Darius, after giving these injunctions to 
Democedes, dismissed the party to prosecute 
their voyage. 

CXXXVI. As soon as they arrived at Sidon, 
in Phoenicia, they manned two triremes, and loaded 
a large transport with different articles of wealth ; 
after this, they proceeded to Greece, examining 
the sea-coasts with the most careful attention. 
When they had informed themselves of the parti- 
culars relating to the most important places in 
Greece, they passed over to Tarentum ,59 in Italy. 
Here Aristophilides, prince of Tarentum, and a 


,S9 Tarentum] — These places, with the slightest variation 
possible, retain their ancient names. We now say the gulph 
9i Tarento ; and Crotona is now called Cottrone. — T. 

y 3 

S26 T H A L I A. 

native of Crotona, took away the helms of the 
Median vessels, and detained the Persians as spies. 
Whilst his companions were in this predicament, 
Democedes himself went to Crotona. Upon his 
arrival at his native place, Aristophilides gave the 
Persians their libertv, and restored what he had 
taken from them. 

CXXXVII. The Persians, as soon as they re- 
covered their liberty, sailed to Crotona, in pur- 
suit of Democedes, and meeting with him in 
the forum, seized his person. Some of the in- 
habitants, through fear of the Persian power, 
were willing to deliver him up ; others, on the 
contrary, beat the Persians with clubs ; who ex- 
claimed, " Men of Crotona, consider what ye 
" do, in taking away from us a fugitive from our 
" king. Do you imagine that you will derive 
" any advantage from this insult to Darius; will 
" not rather your city be the first object of our 
" hostilities, the first that we shall plunder and 
" reduce to servitude ?" These menaces had 
but little effect upon the people of Crotona, for 
they not only assisted Democedes to escape, but 
also deprived the Persians of the vessel which 
accompanied them. They were, therefore, under 
the necessity of returning to Asia, without ex- 
ploring any more of Greece, being thus deprived 
of their conductor. On their departure, Demo- 
cedes commissioned them to inform Darius, that 
he was married to a daughter of Milo, the name 


T H A L I A. 327 

of Milo* the wrestler being well known to the 
Persian monarch. To me it seems that he has- 
tened his marriage, and expended a vast sum of 
money on the occasion, to convince Darius that 
he enjoyed considerable reputation in his own 

CXXXVIII. The Persians, leaving Crotona. 
were driven by contrary winds to Japygia ,6 *, 
where they were made slaves. Gillus, an exile 
of Tarentum, ransomed them, and sent them home 
to Darius. For this service, the king declared him- 
self willing to perform whatever Gillus should re- 
quire; who accordingly explaining the circum- 
stances of his misfortune, requested to be restored 
to his country. But Darius thinking that if, for 
the purpose of effecting the restoration of this 
man, a large fleet should be fitted out, all Greece 
would take alarm ; Gillus affirmed that theCnidians 
would of themselves be able to accomplish it: 
imagining that as this people were in alliance with 
the Tarentines, it might be effected without diffi- 
culty. Darius acceded to his wishes, and sent a 
messenger to Cnidos ,<Jl , requiring them to restore 


* For an account of Milo, see the translation of Aulus 
Gellius, b. 15. c. 16. There was a statue of Milo erected at 
Olympia, the work of Damesas of Crotona. See also Philo- 
stratus, in his life of Apollonius, 1. 4. c. 28. 

,6 ° Japygia-] — This place is now called Cape de Leuca. — T. 

,6 ' Cnidos. ~\ — At this remote period, when navigation was 
certainly in its infancy, it seems not a little singular that 

y 4 there 

328 T H A L I A. 

Gillus to Tarentum. The Cnidians wished to sa- 
tisfy Darius ; but their solicitations had no effect 
on the Tarentines, and they were not in a situation 
to employ force. — Of these particulars, the above 
is a faithful relation, and these were the first Per- 
sians who, with the view of examining the state of 
Greece, passed over thither from Asia. 

CXXXIX. Not long afterwards, Darius be- 
sieged and took Samos. This was the first city, 
either of Greeks or barbarians, which felt the 
force of his arms, and for these reasons: Camby- 
ses, in his expedition against iEgypt, was accom- 
panied by a great number of Greeks. Some, as it 
is probable, attended him from commercial views, 
others as soldiers, and many from no other mo- 
tive than curiosity. Among these last was Sylo- 
son, an exile of Samos, son of iEaces, and brother 
of Polycrates. It happened one day very fortu- 
nately for this Syloson, that he was walking in the 
great square of Memphis with a red cloak folded 
about him, Darius, who was then in the king's 


there should be any communication or alliance between the 
people of Tarentum and of Cnidos. The distance is not in- 
considerable, and the passage cerainly intricate. Ctesias the 
historian was a native of Cnidos: here also was the beautiful 
statue of Venus, by Praxiteles; here also was Venus worship- 
ped. O Venus, regina Cnidi Paphiquc, &c. 

It is now a very miserable place, and called Cape Chio or 
Cpio.— T. 

THALIA. sag 

guards, and of no particular consideration, saw 
him, and was so delighted with his cloak, that he 
went up to him with the view of purchasing it. 
Syloson, observing that Darius was very solicitous 
to have the cloak, happily, as it proved for him, 
expressed himself thus : " I would not part with 
" this cloak for any pecuniary consideration what- 
" ever ; but if it must be so, I will make you a 
" present of it." Darius praised his generosirv, 
and accepted the cloak. 

CXL. Syloson for a while thought he had fool- 
ishly lost his cloak, but afterwards when Camby- 
sesdied, and the seven conspirators had destroyed 
the Magus, he learned that Darius, one of these 
seven, had obtained the kingdom, and was the 
very man to whom formerly, at his request, in 
JEgypt, he had given his cloak. He went, there- 
fore, to Susa, and presenting himself before the 
royal palace, said that he had once done a service to 
the king. Of this circumstance the porter informed 
the king; who was much astonished, and ex- 
claimed, " To what Greek can I possibly be 
: obliged for any services ? I have not long been 
" in possession of my authority, and since this 
" time no Greek has been admitted to my pre- 
" sence, nor can I at all remember being indebted 
" to one of that nation. Introduce him, how- 
" ever, that I may know what he has to say." 
Syloson was accordingly admitted to the royal 
presence ; and being interrogated by interpreters 
who he was, and in what circumstance he had ren- 


330 THALIA. 

dered service to the king, he told the story of the 
cloak, and said that he was the person who had given 
it. In reply, Darius exclaimed, " Are you then 
" that generous man, who, at a time when I was 
c$ possessed of no authority, made me a present, 
" which, though small, was as valuable to me then, 
u as any thing of importance would be to me 
" now ? I will give you in return, that you may 
u never repent of your kindness to Darius, the 
" son of Hystaspes, abundance of gold and 
" silver." " Sir," replied Syloson, " I would 
" have neither gold nor silver ; give me Samos 
my country, and deliver it from servitude. 
Since the death of Poly crates my brother, whom 
n Orcetes slew, it has been in the hands of one of 
" our slaves. Give me this, Sir, without any ef- 
" fusion of blood, or reducing my countrymen to 
" servitude." 

CXLI. On hearing this, Darius sent an army, 
commanded by Otanes, one of the seven, with 
orders to accomplish all that Syloson had desired. 
Otanes proceeded to the sea, and embarked with 
his troops. 

CXLII. The supreme authority at Samos was 
then possessed by Mfeandrius son of Maeandrius, 
to whom it had been confided by Polycrates him- 
self. He was desirous of proving himself a very 
honest man, but the times would not permit him. 
As soon as he was informed of the death of Poly- 
crates, the first thing he did was to erect an altar 
5 to 


to Jupiter Liberator, tracing round it the sacred 
ground, which may now be seen in the neighbour- 
hood of the city. Having done this, he assembled 
the citizens of Samos, and thus addressed them : 
" You are well acquainted that Polycrates con- 
" tided to me his sceptre and his power, which if 
" I think proper I may retain ; but I shall cer- 
" tainly avoid doing that myself, which I deemed 
* reprehensible in another. The ambition of Poly- 
" crates to rule over men who were his equals, 
" always seemed to me unjust; nor can I approve 
of a like conduct in any man. Polycrates has 
yielded to his destiny; and for my part, I 
* " lay down the supreme authority, and restore 
you all to an equality of power. I only claim, 
which I think I reasonably may, six talents to 
" be given me from the wealth of Polycrates, as 
well as the appointment in perpetuity, to me 
and my posterity of the priesthood of Jupiter 
" Liberator, whose temple I have traced out; and 
" then I restore you to liberty." , When Maean- 
drius had thus spoken, a Samian exclaimed from 
the midst of the assembly, " You arc not worthy 
to rule over us, your principles are bad, and 
your conduct reproachable. Rather let us 
make you give an account of the wealth which 
has passed through your hands." The name of 
this person was Telesarchus, a man much re- 
spected by his fellow-citizens. 

CXLIII. j\I;eandrius revolved this circum- 
stance in his mind ; and being convinced that if he 




352 THALIA. 

resigned his power, some other would assume it, 
he determined to continue as he was. Returning 
to the citadel, he sent for the citizens, as if to give 
them an account of the monies which had been 
alluded to, instead of which he seized and con- 
fined them. Whilst they remained in imprison- 
ment, Mreandrius was taken ill ; his brother Lyca- 
retus, not thinking he would recover, that he 
might the more easily succeed in his views upon 
Samos, put the citizens who were confined to 
death; indeed it did not appear that they were 
desirous of life under the government of a 
tyrant 1 **. 

CXLIV. When, therefore, the Persians ar- 
rived at Samos, with the view of restoring Syloson, 
they met with no resistance*. The Masandrian 
faction expressed themselves on certain conditions 


lSl The government of a tyrant. — See Wesseling's note and 
Pauw's conjecture upon this passage. — 

The Greek says, they did not, as it seems, desire to be free, 

ov yotp m Eoixas-i tZuXeulo tiyctx itevQtfot. — PaUW reads anXtvQefot, 
and Wesseling explains it, they did not wish for liberty on 
such terms. Perhaps it may be doubted whether ttevQipm 
here means political liberty, or merely a release from prison 
as opposed to ho-polzs- 

* Literally, no man lifted up his hands against them. Thus, 
in the Septuagint, 1 Kings, c. ii. v. 27, " Jeroboam lifted 
up his hands against the king, Rehoboam." See also Genesis, 
c. xli. v. 44. " And Pharoah said to Joseph, I am Pharaoh, 
and without thee fhall no man lift up his hand or foot in all 
the land. of /Egypt." See, too, 2 Sam. c. xx. v. 21. " A man of 
Mount Ephraim hath lifted up his hand against the king, even 
against David." 

THALIA. 353 

ready to submit : and Maeandrius himself con- 
seated to leave the island. Their propositions 
were accepted by Otanes; and whilst they were 
employed in ratifying them, the principal men of 
the Persians had seats brought, on which they 
placed themselves in front of the citadel. 

CXLV. Maeandrius had a brother, whose name 
was Charileus, who was of an untoward disposi- 
tion, and for some offence was kept chained in a 
dungeon. As soon as he heard what was doing,, 
and beheld from his place of confinement the Per- 
sians sitting at their ease, he clamorously requested 
to speak with Maeandrius. Maeandrius, hearing 
this, ordered him to be unbound, and brought be- 
fore him. As soon as Charileus came into his 
presence, he began to reproach and abuse him, 
earnestly importuning him 10 attack the Persians. 
" Me," he exclaimed, " who am your brother, 
" and who have done nothing worthy of chains, 
" you have most basely kept bound in a dun- 
" geon ; but on the Persians, who would afford 
" you an easy victory, and who mean to drive 
" you into exile, you dare not take revenge. If 
" your fears prevent you, give me your auxiliary 
" troops, who am equally disposed to punish them 
" for coming here, and to expel you also from 
" from our island." 

CXLVI. To this discourse Maeandrius gave 
a' favourable ear, not, I believe, that he was ab- 

334 THALIA. 

surd enough to imagine himself equal to a contest 
with the forces of the king, but from a spirit of 
envy against Syloson, and to prevent his receiv- 
ing the government of Samos without trouble or 
exertion. He wished, by irritating the Persians, 
to debilitate the power of Samos, and then to de- 
liver it into their hands; for he well knew that 
the Persians would resent whatever insults they 
might receive, upon the Samians, and as to him- 
self he was certain that whenever he pleased he 
could depart unmolested, for he had provided a 
secret path, which led immediately from the cita- 
del to the sea, by which he afterwards escaped. 
In the mean while Charileus, having armed the 
auxiliaries, opened the gates, and sallied forth to 
attack the Persians, who, so far from expecting any 
thing of the kind, believed that a truce had been 
agreed upon, and was then in force. Upon these 
Persians, who were sitting at their ease, and who 
were persons of distinction, the Samians sallied, 
and put them to death ; the rest of the troops, 
however, soon came to their assistance, by whom 
the party of Charileus was repulsed, and again 
obliged to seek shelter in the citadel. 

CXLVIL Otanes, the commander in chief, had 
hitherto observed the orders of Darius, not to put 
any Samian to death, or to take any prisoners, but 
to deliver the island to Syloson, secure and with- 
out injury : but seeing so> great a slaughter of his 
countrymen, his indignation prevailed, and he 


THALIA. 335 

ordered his soldiers to put every Samian they 
could meet with to death, without any distinction 
of age. Part of his forces immediately blockaded 
the citadel, whilst another part were putting the 
inhabitants to the sword, not suffering the sacred 
places to afford any protection. 

CXLVIII. Maeandrius, leaving Samos, sailed 
to Lacedaemon. On his arrival there with his 
wealth, he set in order his goblets of gold and 
silver, and directed his servants to clean them. 
Having entered into conversation with Cleo- 
menes l6} , son of Anaxandrides, the king of Sparta, 
he invited him to his house. Cleomenes saw his 
plate, and was struck with astonishment. Maean- 
drius desired him to accept of what he pleased ,64 , 


161 Cleumcncs.] — Of this Cleomenes. a memorable saying is 
preserved in the Apophthegms of Plutarch. It relates to 
Homer and Ilesiod ; the former he called the poet of the 
Lacedemonians, the latter the poet of the Helots, or the 
slaves ; because Homer gave directions for military conduct, 
Ilesiod about the cultivation of the earth. — T. 

,fi4 To accept of v/taf he pleased.]— -This self-denial will ap- 
pear less extraordinary to an English reader, when he is in- 
formed, that according to the institutions of Lycurgus, it \va- 
a capital offence for a Spartan to have any gold or silver in 
his possession. This we learn from Xenophon ; and it is also 
ascertained by the following passage. from Athenceus; see the 
sixth book of the Deipnosoph : " The divine Plato and Ly- 
curgus of Sparta would not suffer in their republics either 
gold or silver, thinking that of all the metals iron and brass 
were sufficient." Plutarch, in the life of Lysander, tells us of 
a man named Therax, who, though the friend and colleague 
of Lysander, was put to death by the ephori, because some 


3 36 T II A L I A. 

bat Cleomenes was a man of the strictest probity, 
and although Maeandrius persisted in importuning 
him to take something, he would by no means 
consent ; but hearing that some of his fellow-citi- 
zens had received presents from Masandrius, he 
went to the ephori, and gave it as his opinion, that 
it would be better for the interests of Sparta to 
expel this Samian from the Peloponnese, lest 
either he himself, or any other Spartan, should be 
corrupted by him. The advice of Cleomenes 
was generally approved, and Maeandrius received 
a public order to depart. 

CXLIX. When the Persians had taken the 
Samians as in a net ,6 \ thev delivered the island 
to Syloson almost without an inhabitant ,C6 . After 
a' certain interval, however, Otanes, the Persian 
general, re-peopled it, on account of some vision 


silver was found in his house. The self-denial, therefore, or 
rather forbearance of the ancient Romans, amongst whom no 
such interdiction existed, seems better entitled to our praise. 
This sumptuary law, with respect to gold and silver, took its 
rise from an oracle, which affirmed that the destruction of 
Sparta would' be owing to its avarice : — it was this, 

tfi As in a net.] — The Greek is c-ecyYiytvcrxili;, which was 
the custom of the Persians, and was also done with respect 
to the islands of Chios, Lesbos, and Tenedos, see book vi. 
chap. 31 , where their manner of doing it is described. — T. 

116 Without an inhabitant.] — Strabo imputes this want of 
inhabitants to the cruelty of Syloson, and not to the severity 
of the Persians. — Lurcher. 

THALIA. 337 

which he had, as well as from a disorder which 
seized his privities. 

CL. Whilst the expedition against Samos was 
on foot, the Babylonians, being very well pre- 
pared, revolted. During the reign of the Magus, 
and whilst the seven were engaged in their con- 
spiracy against him, they had taken advantage of 
the confusion of the times to provide against a 
siege, and their exertions had never been disco- 
vered. When they had once resolved on the re- 
covery of their liberties, they took this measure : 
— Excepting their mothers, every man chose from 
his family the female whom he liked best, the re- 
mainder were all of them assembled together and 
strangled l67 . Their reserve of one woman was 
to bake their bread l68 : the rest were destroved 
to prevent a famine. 

CLI. On the first intelligence of this event, 


167 Assembled together and strangled.] — Prideaux, making 
mention of this strange and unnatural action, omits inform- 
ing his readers that the Babylonians made an exception in 
favour of their mothers ; but by this barbarous action the pro- 
phecy of Isaiah against this people was very signally ful- 
filled :— 

" But these two things shall come to thee in a moment, in 
one day, the loss of children, and widowhood ; they shall 
come upon thee in their perfection, for the multitude of thy 
sorceries, and for the great abundance of thine enchantments." 
Isaiah, xlvii. 9. — T. 

168 Bake their bread.] — This anciently was the employment 
of the women; see book vii. chap. ISJ. — T . 

Vol. II. Z 

338 T H A L I A. 

Darius assembled his forces, and marched against 
them : on his arrival before the city, he besieged 
it in form. This, however, made so little impres- 
sion upon them, that they assembled upon the 
ramparts, amused themselves with dancing, and 
treated Darius and his army with the extremest 
contempt. One among them exclaimed, " Per- 
" sians, why do you lose your time? if you be 
" wise, depart. When mules produce young 1<59 , 
" you shall take Babylon." This was the speech 
of a Babylonian, not believing such a thing pos- 

CLII. A whole year and seven months having 
been consumed before the place, Darius and his 


169 Mules produce young.] — -Upon this passage M. Larcher 
remarks, that mules but seldom engender. As I have never 
seen nor heard of any well authenticated account of such a 
circumstance, I give the reader the following passage from 
Pennant, with some confidence of its being invariably the 
case. " Neither mules, nor the spurious offspring of any 
other animal, generate any farther : all these productions 
may be looked upon as monsters ; therefore, nature, to pre- 
serve the original species of animals entire and pure, wisely 
stops, in instances of deviation, the powers of propagation." 

What Theophrastus or Pliny may have asserted, in contra- 
diction to the above, will weigh but very little against the 
unqualified assertion of so able a naturalist as Mr. Pennant. 
The circumstance was ever considered as a prodigy, as appears 
from the following lines of Juvenal : 

Egregium, sanctumque virum si cerno, bimembri 
Hoc monstrum puero, vel miranti sub aratro 
Piscibu? inventis etfwtce comparo mulcc. — T. 

THALIA. 359 

army began to be hopeless with respect to the 
event. They had applied all the offensive engines, 
and every stratagem, particularly those which 
Cyrus had before successfully used against the 
Babylonians ; but every attempt proved ineffec- 
tual, from the unremitting vigilance of the be- 

CLIII. In the twentieth month of the siege, the 
following remarkable prodigy happened to Zopy- 
rus, son of Megabyzus, who was one of the seven 
that dethroned the Magus : one of the mules em- 
ployed to carry his provisions produced a young one; 
which, when it was first told him, he disbelieved, 
and desired to see it ■ forbidding those who had 
witnessed the fact to disclose it, he revolved it se- 
riously in his mind 5 and remembering the words 
of the Babylonian, who had said the city should 
be taken when a mule brought forth, he from 
this conceived that Babylon was not impregnable. 
The prophecy itself, and the mule's having a youm? 
one, seemed to indicate something supernatural. 

CLIV. Having satisfied himself I hat Babylon 
might be taken, he went to Darius, and inquired 
if the capture of this city was of particular import- 
ance to him. Hearing that it really was, lie began 
to think how he might have the honour of effecting 
it by himself: for in Persia there is no more cer- 
tain road to greatness, than by the performance 
of illustrious actions. He conceived there was 
no more probable means of obtaining his end, 

z 2 than 


than nrst to mutilate himself, and thus pass over 
to the enemy. He made no scruple to wound 
himself beyond the power of being healed, for he 
cut off his nose and his ears, and clipping his hair 
close, so as to give it a mean appearance ,7 °, he 
scourged himself; and in this condition present- 
ed himself before Darius. 

CLV. When the king beheld a man of his il- 
lustrious rank in so deplorable a condition, he in- 
stantly leaped in anger from his throne ,7, 5 and 
asked who had dared to treat him with such bar- 
barity ? Zopyrus made this reply, " No man, 
" Sir, except yourself, could have this power 
" over my person : I alone have thus disfigured 
" my body, which I was prompted to do from 

" vexation 

170 To give it a mean appearance.]— I do not remember an 
instance of the hair being cut off as a punishment; it was 
frequently done as expressive of mourning in the most re- 
mote times; and it was one characteristic mark of the servile 
condition. See Juvenal, sat. v. book i. 170. 

Omnia ferre 
Si potes et debes pulsandum vertice raso 
Prrebebis quandoque caput nee dura tenebis 
Flagra pati, his epulis et tali dignus amico. 
It was also, as I have elsewhere observed, done in ridicule. 

171 Leaped in anger from his throne.]— This incident, with 
the various circumstances attending it, properly considered, 
would furnish an artist with an excellent subject for an histo- 
rical painting. The city of Babylon at a distance, the Per- 
sian camp, the king's tent, himself and principal nobles m 
deep consultation, with the sudden appearance of Zopyrus in 
the' mutilated condition here described, might surely be in- 
troduced and arranged with the most admirable effect.— T. 

THALIA. 341 

" vexation at beholding the Assyrians * thus 
" mock us." — " Wretched man," answered the 
king, " do you endeavour to disguise the shame- 
" ful action you have perpetrated under an ho- 
" nourable name ? Do you suppose that because 
" you have thus deformed yourself, the enemy 
" will the sooner surrender ? I fear what you have 

: done has been occasioned by some defect of 
" your reason." " Sir," answered Zopyrus " If 
I had previously disclosed to you my inten- 
" tions, you would have prevented their accom- 
" plishment ; my present situation is the result of 
" my own determination only. If you do not 
" fail me, Babylon is our own. I propose to go, 
" in the condition in which you see me, as a de- 
" serter to the Babylonians : it is my hope to 
" persuade them that I have suffered these cruel- 
" ties from you, and that they will, in conse- 
" quence, give me some place of military trust. 
" Do you, on the tenth day after my departure, 

" detach to the gate of Semiramis 172 a thousand 

" men 

* Assyrians and Babylonians are used as synonymous terms 
in Clio, c. 106, 178, as well as elsewhere. 

* 7 * The gate of Semiramis.]— Mr. Bryant's remark on this 
word is too curious to be omitted : — 

Semiramis was an emblem, and the name was a compound, 
of Sama-Ramas, or Ramis: it signified the divine token, the 
type of providence ; and as a military ensign, it may witli 
some latitude be interpreted the standard of the Most High. 
It consisted of the figure of a dove, which was probably en- 
circled with the Iris, as those two emblems were often repre- 
sented together. All who went under that standard, or who 

Z 3 payed 




342 THALIA. 

" men of your army, whose loss will be of no 
consequence; at an interval of seven days 
more send to the Ninian gates other two thou- 
sand; again, after twenty days, let another 
party, to the number of four thousand, be or- 
" dered to the Chaldean gates, but let none of 
these detachments have any weapons but their 
swords ; after this last-mentioned period, let your 
{C whole army advance, and surround the walls. 
" Be careful that Persians are stationed at the 
" Belidian and Cissian gates. I think that the 
" Babylonians, after witnessing my exploits in 
" the field, will entrust me with the keys of those 
if gates. Doubt not but the Persians, with my 
" aid, will then accomplish the rest." 

CLVI. After giving these injunctions, he pro-* 
ceeded towards the gates ; and, to be consistent 
in the character which lie assumed ,7J , he fre- 

payed any deference to that emblem, were styled Semarim 
and Samorim. One of the gates of Babylon was styled the 
gate of Semiramis, undoubtedly from having the sacred em- 
blem of Sama-Ramas, or the dove, engraved by way of dis- 
tinction over it. Probably the lofty obelisk of Semiramis, 
mentioned by Diodorus, was named from the same hiero- 
glyphic. — This note was inserted in the first edition, but I now 
think it liable to many objections. Sama-Rama is an Indian 
deity, and has nothing to do" with a dove. It is an emblem 
of power. It seems much more reasonable and natural to 
suppose that the gates of Babylon were named from the an- 
cient monarchs, Bel, Ninus, &c. 

173 The character which he assumed.'] — Many circumstances 

in the history of Zopyrus resemble those of Sinon in the /Eneid: 

3 Qui 

T H A L I A. 343 

quently stopped to look behind him. The cen- 
tinels on the watch-towers, observing this, ran 
down to tiie gate, which, opening a little, they 
inquired who he was, and what he wanted ? 
When he told them his name was Zopyrus, and 
that he had deserted from the Persians, they con- 
ducted him before their magistrates. He then 
began a miserable tale of the injuries he had suf- 
fered from Darius, for no other reason but that 
he had advised him to withdraw his army, seeing 
no likelihood of his taking the city. " And 
now," says he, " men of Babylon, I come 
a friend to you, but a fatal enemy to Darius 
and his army. I am well acquainted with all 
his designs, and his treatment of me shall not 
be unrevenged." 

- Qui se ignotum venientibus ultro 

Hoc ipsum ut strueret, Trojamque aperiret Achivis, 
Obtulerat, fidens aniini, atque in utrumque paratus 
Seu versare dolos, seu certa? occumbcre morti. — 

Both tell a miserable tale of injuries received from their 
countrymen, and both affect an extraordinary zeal to dis- 
tinguish themselves in the service of their natural enemies. 

Sinon says of himself; 

Cui ncque apud Danaos usquam locus, et super ipsi 
Dardanidae infensi poenas cum sanguine poscunt. — 

Again he says, 

Fas mihi Graiorum sacrata resolvere jura 

Fas odisse viros, atque omnia ferre sub auras 

Si qua tegunt ; teneor patriae nee legibus ullis. T, 

Z 4 

344 T H A L I A. 

CLVII. When the Babylonians beheld a Per- 
sian of such high rank deprived of his ears and 
nose, and covered with wounds and blood, they 
tertained no doubts of his sincerity, or of the 
friendliness of his intentions towards them. 
They were prepared to accede to all that he 
desired ; and on his requesting a military com- 
mand, they gave it him without hesitation. He 
then proceeded to the execution of what he had 
concerted with Darius. On the tenth day, at 
the- head of some Babylonian troops, he made a 
sally from the town, and encountering the Per- 
sians, who had been stationed for this purpose 
by Darius, he put every one of them to death. 
The Babylonians, observing that his actions cor- 
responded with his professions, were full of ex- 
ultation, and were ready to yield him the most 
implicit obedience. A second time, at the head 
of a chosen detachment of -the besieged, he ad- 
vanced from the town at the time appointed, and 
slew the two thousand soldiers of Darius. The 
joy of the citizens at this second exploit was so 
extreme, that the name of Zopyrus resounded 
with praise from every tongue. The third time 
also, after the number of days agreed upon had 
passed, he led forth his troops, attacked and 
slaughtered the four thousand. Zopyrus, after 
this, was every thing with the Babylonians, so 
that they made him the commander of their army, 
and guardian of their walls. . 

T H A L I A. 34.5 

CLVIII. At the time appointed, Darius ad- 
vanced with all his forces to the walls. The per- 
fidy of Zopyrus then became apparent; for as 
soon as the Babylonians mounted the wall to 
repel the Persian assault, he immediately opened 
to his countrymen what are called the Belidian 
and Cissian gates. Those Babylonians who saw 
this transaction fled for refuge to the temple of 
Jupiter Bel us; they who saw it not, continued 
in their posts, till the circumstance of their being 
betrayed became notorious to all. 

CLIX. Thus was Babylon a second time taken. 
As soon as Darius became master of the place ,7 * 
he levelled the walls *, and took away the gates, 


174 Master of the place.] — Plutarch informs us, in his 
Apophthegms, that Xerxes being incensed against the Ba- 
bylonians for revolting, after having conquered them a second 
time, forbad their carrying arms, and commanded them to 
employ their time in singing, music, and all kinds of dissi- 
pation, &c. 

The Babylonians did not revolt under Xerxes. Plutarch 
assigns to him a fact, which regards Darius; however this 
may be, after the reduction of Babylon the Persian naonarchs 
fixed their residence in three great cities; the winter they 
passed at Babylon, the summer at Media, doubtless at Ecba- 
tane, and the greater part of the spring at Susa. — Larcher. 

* I think with Major Kennel that this expression must be 
understood with some reserve. The following are M. Ken- 
nel's words on this subject : 

It must not be omitted that Herodotus states that Da- 
rius Hystaspes, on the taking of Babylon by the stratagem of 


346 THALIA. 

neither of which things Cyrus had done before. 
He ordered three thousand of the most distin- 
guifhcd nobility to be crucified : the rest were 
suffered to continue where they were. He took 
care also to provide them with women, for the 
Babylonians, as we have before remarked, to pre- 
vent a famine, had strangled their wives. Darius 
ordered the neighbouring nations to send females 
to Babylon, each being obliged to furnish a sti- 
pulated number. These in all amounted to fifty 
thousand, from whom the Babylonians of the 
present day are descended. 

CLX. With respect to the merit of Zopyrus, 
in the opinion of Darius, it was exceeded by no 
Persian of any period, unless by Cyrus; to him, 


Zopyrus, levelled the walls, and took away the gates; neither 
of which things Cyrus had done before. But let it be re- 
marked that Darius lived about a century and a half before 
Alexander, in whose time the walls appear to have been in 
their original state, or at least nothing is said that implies 
the contrary. And it cannot be believed, that if Darius had 
even taken the trouble to level thirty-four miles of so pro- 
digious a rampart as that of Babylon, that ever it would 
have been rebuilt in the manner described by Ctesias, Cli- 
tarchus, and others, who describe it at a much later period. 
Besides, it would have been quite unnecessary to level more 
than a part of the wall, in order to lay the place open, and 
in this way probably the historian ought to be understood. 

It is much to be lamented that no traveller has taken 
pains to investigate the site and ruins of Babylon, which 
would surely well repay the care and labour of the under- 

T H A L I A. 347 

indeed, he thought no one of his countrymen 
could possibly be compared. It is affirmed of 
Darius, that he used frequently to assert, that he 
would rather Zopyrus had suffered no injury, 
than have been master of twenty Babylons, He 
rewarded him magnificently : every year he pre- 
sented him with the gifts deemed most honour- 
able in Persia ; he made him also governor of 
Babylon for life, free from the payment of any 
tribute, and to these he added other marks of 
liberality. Megabyzus, who commanded in iEgypt 
against the Athenians and their allies, Mas a son 
of this Zopyrus ; which Megabyzus had a son 
named Zopyrus ,7 '', who deserted from the Per- 
sians to the Athenians. 

175 A soti named Zopyrus.~\ — Zopyrus, son of Megabyzus, 
and grandson of the famous Zopyrus, revolted from Arta- 
jjerxes after the death of his father and mother, and advanced 
towards Athens, on account of the friendship which sub- 
sisted betwixt his mother and the Athenians. lie went by 
sea to Caunus, and commanded the inhabitants to give up 
the place to the Athenians who were with him. The Cau- 
nians replied, that they were willing to surrender it to him, 
but they refused to admit any Athenians. Upon this he 
mounted the wall; but a Caunian, named Alcides, knocked 
him on the head with a stone. His grandmother Amestris 
afterwards crucified this Caunian. — Larc/icr. 





AR I U S, after the capture of 
Babylon, undertook an expe- 
dition against Scythia. Asia 
was now both populous and 
rich, and he was desirous of 
avenging on the Scythians, the 
injuries they had formerly committed, by entering 
Media, and defeating those who opposed them. 
During a period of twenty-eight years, the Scy- 
thians, as I have before remarked, retained the 
sovereignty of the Upper Asia; entering into 
which, when in pursuit of the Cimmerians \ they 


1 Cimmerians.'] — From this people came the proverb of 
Cimmerian darkness. 

We reach'd old ocean's utmost bounds, 
Where rocks control his waves with ever-during mounds ; 
There in a lonely land, and gloomy cells, 
The dusky nation of Cimmeria dwells. 


350 M E L P O M E N E. 

expelled the Medes, its ancient possessors. After 
this long absence from their country, the Scy- 
thians were desirous to return, but here as great 
a labour awaited them, as they had experienced in 
their expedition into Media ; for the women, de- 
prived so long of their husbands, had connected 
themselves with their slaves, and they found a 
numerous body in arms ready to dispute their 

The sun ne'er views th' uncomfortable seats, 
When radiant he advances or retreats. 
Unhappy race ! whom endless night invades, 
Clouds the dull air, and wraps them round in shades. 

Odyss. book xi. 

Of this proverb, Ammianus Marcellinus makes a happy 
use, when censuring the luxury and effeminacy of the Roman 
nobility. " If," says he, (I use the version of Mr. Gibbon,) 
" a fly should presume to settle in the silken folds of their 
gilded umbrellas, should a sun-beam penetrate through some 
unguarded and imperceptible chink, they deplore their in- 
tolerable hardships, and lament in affected language that 
they were not born in the land of the Cimmerians, the regions 
of eternal darkness." 

Ovid also chooses the vicinity of Cimmeria as theproperest 
place for the palace of the god of sleep: 

Est prope Cimmerios, longo spelunca recessu, 
Mons cavus, ignavi domus et penetralia Somhi, 
Quo nunquam radiis oriens, mediusve, cadensve 
Phoebus adire potest, nebulaa caligine mixtae 
Exhalantur humo, dubiaeque crepuscula lucis. 

The region assigned to this people in ancient geography 
was part of European Scythia,now called Little Tartary.—T- 

M E L P O M E N E. 35i 

II. It is a custom with the Scythians to deprive 
all their slaves of sight z on account of the milk 3 , 
which is their customary drink. They have a par- 
ticular kind of bone, shaped like a flute : this is 


* Deprive all their slaves of sight. ~\ — Barbarous as this con- 
duct may appear to every humane reader, although practifcd 
amongstan uncivilized race of men, he will be far more shocked 
when I remind him that in the most refined period of the Roman 
empire those who were deemed the wisest and most virtuous 
of mankind did not scruple to use their slaves with yet more 
atrocious cruelty. It was customary at Rome to expose 
slaves who were sick, old, and useless, to perish miserably in 
an island of theTyber. Plutarch tells us, in his Life of Cato, 
that it was his custom to sell his old slaves for any price, to 
get rid of the burden. They were employed, and frequently 
in chains, in the most laborious offices, and for trivial of- 
fences, and not seldom on mere suspicion, were made to 
expire under the moft horrid tortures that can be imagined. 

3 On account of the milk,"] — Of this people, Homer speaks 
in the following lines : 

And where the far-fam'd Hippomolgian strays, 
Renown'd for justice and for length of days, 
Thrice happy race, that, innocent of blood, 
From milk innoxious seek their simple food. — 11. xiii. 

Upon this subject Larcher gives the following passage from 
Niebuhr : — 

" J'entendis et vis moi-meme, a Bafra, quelorsnu'un Arabe 
trait la fcmclle du bufle, un ai":re lui fourre la main et le 
bras jusqu'au coude, dans la vulva, parce qu'on pretend sa- 
voir par experience qu'etant chatouuT" u Jt"\ la sorte, elle 
donne plus de lait. Cette methode r 3 tr % beaucoup a 
celle des Scythes." — We learn, irom' tus s P e "lines pf Anti- 
phanes, preserved in Athenaeus, that ocythians gave thiv 
milk to their children as soon us they wevo bora. 


applied to the private parts of a mare, and blown 
into from the mouth. It is one man's office to 
blow, another's to milk the mare. Their idea is> 
that, the veins of the animal being thus inflated, 
the dugs are proportionally filled. When the 
milk is thus obtained, they place it in deep wooden 
vessels, and the slaves are directed to keep it in 
continual agitation. Of this, that which remains 
at top 4 is most esteemed, what subsides is of 
inferior value. This it is which induces the Scy- 
thians to deprive all their captives of sight, for 


Oi yBvojjt.zvoK7iv tvvsui; Tan; TraicioK 
Aia^iooacru/ wrruv x^ $ouv irntiy yotKx. 

" Do not those Scythians appear to you remarkably; wise 
who give to their children, as soon as ever they are born, the 
milk of mares and cows ?" — T. 

4 Remains at top.] — Is it not surprising, asks M. Larcher 
in this place, that neither the Greeks nor the Latins had any 
term in their language to express cream ? 

Butter also was unknown to the Greeks and Romans till a 
late period. Pliny speaks of it as a common article of food 
among barbarous nations, and used by them as an unction. 
The very name of butter (/SsTugon) which signifies cheese, or 
coagulum of cows' milk, implies an imperfect notion of the 
thing. It is clear that Hc v odotus here describes the making 
of butter, though he knew' no name for the product. Pliny 
remarks, that the barbarous nations were as peculiar in ne- 
glecting chees"* ' l making butter. Spuma lactis, which that 
author uses in a . 'ng what butter is, seems a very proper 
phrase for cream,, , -tter is often mentioned in Scripture ; 
see Manner's curiot. accounts of the modes of making it in 
the East, vol. i. and iii. — T. 

M E L P O M E N E. 553 

they do not cultivate the ground, but lead a pas- 
toral 5 life. 

Ill From the union of these slaves with the 
Scythian women, a numerous progeny was born, 
who, when informed of their origin, readily ad- 
vanced to oppose those, who were returning from 
Media. Their first exertion was to intersect the 
country by a large and deep trench*, which ex- 
tended from the mountains of Tauris, to the Palus 


5 Lead a pastoral life.] — The influence of food or climate, 
which in a more improved state of society is suspended or 
subdued by so many moral causes, most powerfully contri- 
butes to form and to maintain the national character of bar- 
barians. In every age, the immense plains of Scythia or Tar- 
tary have been inhabited by vagrant tribes of hunters and 
shepherds, whose indolence refuses to cultivate the earth, 
and whose restless spirit disdains the confinement of a seden- 
tary life.— Gibbon. 

* It is by no means easy to conceive what mountains can 
here be intended. Larchcr translates the passage as I do. 
and thus expresses himself in a note : 

The Chersonesus Taurica is surrounded on all sides by the 
Euxine, the Cimmerian Bosphorus, and the Palus Maeotica, 
except in one narrow neck which separates the gulph of 
Carcinitis from the Palus Mreotis. It is in this spot, I suppose, 
that the trench mentioned by Herodotus was sunk. It com- 
mences at the spot called Taphrse, where the city Perekop 
now stands, which according to P. Briel in the Tarta- 
rian language signifies a trench. The Emperor Constantine 
Porphyrogenitus tells us that in his time this trench was filled 
up. The mountains of which Herodotus speaks were within 
Tauris; there arc none beyond it. 

VOL. II. A A Perhaps, 

354 M E L P O M E N E. 

Palus Meeotis. They then encamped opposite to 
the Scythians, who were endeavouring to effect 
their passage. Various engagements* ensued, in 
which the Scythians obtained no advantage. " My 
" countrymen," at length one of them exclaimed, 
" what are we doing ? In this contest with our 
" slaves, every action diminishes our number, 
" and by killing those who oppose us, the value 
" of victory decreases : let us throw aside our 
" darts and our arrows, and rush upon them only 
" with the whips which we , use for our horses. 
** Whilst they see us with arms, they think them- 
" selves our equals in birth and importance ; 
" but as soon as they shall perceive the whip in 
" our hands, they will be impressed with the sense 
" of their servile condition, and resist no longer." 

IV. The Scythians approved the advice ; their 
opponents forgot their former exertions, and fled ; 
in this manner the Scythians obtained the sove- 
reignty of Asia ; and thus, after having been ex- 
pelled by the Medes, they returned to their coun- 
try. From the above motives Darius, eager for 
revenge, prepared to lead an army against them. 

V. The Scythians affirm of their country that 


Perhaps, says my friend Major Rennel, the passage is cor- 
rupt, and it may be from some part of Tauris to the Palus 
Masotis. — May it not then be the trench which separates the 
Peninsula of the Crimea from the main land? 


it was of all others the last formed 6 , which hap- 
pened in this manner : When this region was 
in its original and desert state, the first inhabi- 
tant was named Targitaus*, a son, as they say (but 
which to me seems incredible) of Jupiter, by a 
daughter of the Borysthenes. This Targitaus 
had three sons, Lipoxais, Arpoxais, and lastly 
Colaxais. Whilst they possessed the country, 
there fell from heaven into the Scythian district a 
plough, a yoke, an axe, and a goblet, all of gold. 
The eldest of the brothers was the first who saw 
them ; who, running to take them, was burnt by 
the gold. On his retiring, the second brother ap- 
proached, and was burnt also. When these two 
had been repelled by the burning gold, last of all 
the youngest brother advanced; upon him the 
gold had no effect, and he carried it to his house. 
The two elder brothers, observing what had hap- 
pened, resigned all authority to the youngest. 

VI. From LipOxais those Scythians were de- 

6 Last formed.]-— Justin informs us, that the Scythians pre- 
tended to Inrmore ancient than the Egyptians. — T. 

* The fabulous accounts of the origin of the Scythians 
merit little attention as matters of history ; but there are cer- 
tain accordances in respect of names with the modern tradi- 
tions amongst the inhabitants of Western Tartary that appear 
remarkable. See Rennel farther on this subject, p. 73. 
M. Rennel thinks he perceives in the Targitaus of Herodotus 
some affinity to the name Turk, the reputed son of Japhet, 
and the patriarch of the Tribes of Turkestan and Tartary, 

A A 3 

350 M E L P O M E N E. 

scended who are termed the Auchatas ; from 
Arpoxais, the second brother, those who are 
called the Catiari and the Traspies ; from the 
youngest, who was king, came the . Paralatse 7 . 
Generally speaking, these people are named 
Scoloti, from a surname of their king, but the 
Greeks call them Scythians. 

VII. This is the account which the Scythians 
give of their origin ; and they add, that from 
their first king Targitaus, to the invasion of their 
country by Darius, is a period of a thousand 
years, and no more. The sacred gold is preserved 
by their kings with the greatest care ; and every 
year there are solemn sacrifices, at which the 
prince assists. They have a tradition, that if the 
person who has the custody of this gold, sleeps 
in the open air during the time of their annual 
festival, he dies before the end of the year ; for 
this reason they give him as much land 8 as he can 
pass over on horseback in the course of a day 9 . 


7 Paralatx.] — This passage will be involved in much per- 
plexity, unless for t«? |3acriAn«?, we read tou @<z.c-Mv)oq. — T. 

8 They give him as much land.] — Thisis, beyond 'oubt, a very- 
perplexed and difficult passage; and all that the trfferent an- 
notators have done, has been to intimate their conjectures. 
I have followed that which to my judgment seemed the hap- 
piest.— T. 

9 On horseback in the course of a day.'] — Larcher adduces, 
from Pliny, Ovid, and Seneca, the three following passages, to 
prove that anciently this was the mode of rewarding merit. 


M E L P O M E N E. 357 

As this region is extensive, king Colaxais divided 
the country into three parts, which he gave to 
three sons, making that portion the largest in 
which the gold was deposited. As to the district 
which lies farther to the north, and bevond the 
extreme inhabitants of the country, they say that 
it neither can be passed, nor yet discerned with 
the eye, on account of the feathers la which are 
continually falling: with these both the earth 
and the air are so filled, as effectually to obstruct 
the view. 

VIII. Such is the manner in which the Scv- 
thians describe themselves and the country be- 
yond them. The Greeks who inhabit Pontus 
speak of both as follows: Hercules, when he 


Dona amplissima imperatorum et fortium civium quantum 
quis uno die plurimum circumaravisset. — Pliny. 
This from Ovid is more pertinent : 

At proceres ■ 

Ruris honorati tantum tibi Cipe dedere 
Quantum depresso subjectis bobus aratro 
Gomplecti posses ad finem solis ab ortu. — 

See also Seneca :— 

Illi ob virtutem et bene gestam rempublicam tantum agri 
decerneretur, quantum arando uno die circuire potuisset. 
5 On account of the feathers.] — It must immediately occur 

to the reader that these leathers can be nothing but snow ; 
"d so Herodotus himself explains it. See c. 31. 

A A 3 

358 M E L P O M E N E. 

was driving away the heifers of Geryon ", came 
to this region, now inhabited by the Scythians, 
but which then was a desert. This Geryon lived 
beyond Pontus, in an island which the Greeks 
call Erythia, near Gades, which is situate in the 
ocean, and beyond the Columns of Hercules. 
The ocean, they say, commencing at the east, 
flows round all the earth ,4 ; this, however, they 


" Geryon.] — To this personage the poets assigned three 
heads and <hree bodies. Hesiod calls him rpix£ipa*oi<, and 
Euripides r^aoj^arov. See also Horace : — 

Qui ter amplum 
Geryonem, Tityonique tristi 
Compescit unda. — 
Virgil calls him Tergeminus : but the minutest description 
is found in Silius Italicus; the most satisfactory in Palce- 
phatus de incredibilibus : — 

Qualis Atlantiaco memoratur litore quondam 
Monstruni Geryones immane tricorporis ine, 
Cui tres in pugna dextra? varia arma gerebant 
Una ignes scevos, ast altera pone sagittas 
Fundebat, validam torquebat tertia cornum, 
Atque uno diversa dabat tria vulnera nisu. — 

Punic. Bell. 13. 200. 
Palaephatus, says he, lived at Tricarenia; and that, being 
called the Tricarenian Geryon, he was afterwards said to 
have had three heads. — T. 

11 Flow's round the earth.] — Upon this passage the follow- 
ing remark occurs in Stillingrleet's Origin. Sacr. book i. 
c. -k— 

" It cannot be denied but agreat deal of useful history may 
be fetched out of Herodotus ; yet who can excuse his igno- 
rance, when he not only denies there is an ocean compass- 
ing the land, but condemns the geographers for asserting it r" 
This assertion of Stiilingfleet is not true, for Herodotus 
neither denies the fact, nor condemns the geographers. 

M E L P O M E N E. 359 

affirm without proving it. Hercules coming from 
thence, arrived at this country, now called Scy- 
thia, where, finding himself overtaken by a severe 
storm, and being exceedingly cold, he wrapped 
himself up in his lion's skin, and went to sleep. 
They add, that his mares, which he had de- 
tached from his chariot to feed, by some divme 
interposition disappeared during his sleep. 

IX. As soon as he awoke, he wandered over 
all the country in search of his mares, till at 
length he came to the district which is called 
Hylcea: there in a cave he discovered a female 
of most unnatural appearance, resembling a wo- 
man as far as the thighs, but whose lower parts 
were like a serpent' 3 . Hercules beheld her with 
astonishment, but he was not deterred from ask- 
ing her whether she had seen his mares ? She 
made answer, that they were in her custody ; 
she refused, however, to restore them, but upon 
condition of his cohabiting with her. The terms 
proposed, induced Hercules to consent; but she 


13 Like a serpent.] — M. Pelloutier calls this monster a 
syren, but Homer represents the Syrens as very lovely 

Diodorus Sioulus speaks also of this monster, describing it 
in terms like Herodotus. He makes her the mistress of 
Jupiter, by whom she had Scythes, who gave his name to 
the nation. — Lan/tcr, 

A A 4 


still deferred restoring his mares, from the wish 
of retaining him longer with her, whilst Her- 
cules was equally anxious to obtain them and 
depart. After a while she restored them with 
these words : "- Your mares, which wandered 
" here, I have preserved ; you have paid what 
" was due to my care, I have conceived by you 
" three sons ; I wish you to say how I shall dis- 
" pose of them hereafter ; whether I shall detain 
" them here, where I am the sole sovereign, or 
" whether I shall send them to you." The 
reply of Hercules was to this effect : " As. soon 
" as they shall be grown up to man's estate, 
" observe this, and you cannot err; whichever 
u of them you shall see bend this bow, and wear 
this belt I4 as I do, him detain in this country : 
the others, who shall not be able to do this, 
you may send away. By minding what I say, 
you will have pleasure yourself, and will satisfy 
my wishes." 




I+ This belt.'} — It was assigned to Hercules as one of his 
labours by Eurystheus, to whom he was subject, to deprive 
Hippolyta, fpieen of tie Amazons, of her belt. Ausonius, 
in the inscription which he probably wrote for some ancient 
relievo, mentions it as the sixth labour; 

Threiciam sexto spoliavit Amazona balthep. 

This labour is also mentioned thus by Martial : 

Peltatam Scythico discinxit Amazona nodo. 

Whether Herodotus means to speak of this belt I pretend 
not to determine. — T. 


X. Having said this, Hercules took one of 
his bows, for thus far he had carried two, and 
shewing her also his belt, at the end of which 
a golden cup was suspended, he gave her them, 
and departed. As soon as the boys of whom 
she was delivered grew up, she called the eldest 
Agathyrsus, the second Gelonus, and the youngest 
Scytha. She remembered also the injunctions 
she had received ; and two of her sons, Agathyr- 
sus and Gelonus, who were incompetent to the 
trial which was proposed, were sent away by their 
mother from this country. Scytha the youngest 
was successful in his exertions, and remained. 
From this Scytha, the son of Hercules, the Scy- 
thian monarchs are descended ; and from the 
golden cup the Scythians to this day have a cup 
at the end of their belts. 

XL This is the story which the Greek inha- 
bitants of Pontus relate ; but there is also an- 
other, to which I am more inclined to assent: — 
The Scythian Nomades of Asia, having been ha- 
rassed by the Massagetae in war, passed the 
Araxis, and settled in Cimmeria ; for it is to be 
observed, that the country now possessed by the 
Scythians belonged formerly to the Cimmerians. 
This people, when attacked by the Scythians, de- 
liberated what it was most adviseable to do 
against the inroad of so vast a multitude. Their 
sentiments were divided ; both were violent, but 


S6Q. M E L P O M E N E. 

that of the kings appears preferable. The people 
Mere of opinion, that it would be better not to 
hazard an engagement, but to retreat in security ; 
the kings were at all events for resisting the 
enemy. Neither party would recede from their 
opinions, the people and the princes mutually 
refusing to yield ; the people wished to retire 
before the invaders, the princes determined 
rather to die where they were, reflecting upon 
what they had enjoyed before, and alarmed by 
the fears of future calamities. From verbal dis- 
putes they soon came to actual engagement, and 
they happened to be nearly equal in number. 
All those who perished by the hands of their 
countrymen were buried by the Cimmerians near 
the river Tyre", where their monuments may still 
be seen. The survivors fled from their country, 
which in its abandoned state was seized and oc- 
cupied by the Scythians. 

XII. There are still to be found in Scvthia 
walls * and bridges which are termed Cim- 
merian ; 

* Respecting the walls still found in the time of Hero- 
dotus, under the name of Cimmerian, he does not say they 
were in the Peninsula, but the context implies it, and it is 
not improbable that he had seen them. Baron Tott saw, in 
the. mountainous part of the Crimea, ancient castles and 
other buildings, a part of which were excavated from the 
live rock, together with subterraneous passages from one to 
' 3 the 

ft E L P O M E N E. 363 

merian ; the same name is also given to a whole 
district, as well as to a narrow sea. It is certain 
that when the Cimmerians were expelled their 
country by the Scythians, they fled to the Asiatic 
Chersonese, where the Greek city of Sinop6 ,s is 
at present situated. It is also apparent, that, 
whilst engaged in the pursuit,' the Scythians de- 
viated from their proper course, and entered 
Media. The Cimmerians in their flight* kept 


the other. These were, he says, always on mountains dif- 
ficult of access. lie refers them to the Genoese; with what 
justice we know not : it is possible they might have made 
use of them: but it is more than probable that these are the 
works alluded to by our author, for it may be remarked that 
■works of this kind are commonly of very ancient date. See 

15 Sinupe.] — There were various opinions amongst the an- 
cients concerning this city. Some said it was built by au 
Amazon so called ; others affirm it was founded by the Mi- 
lesians; Strabo calls it the most illustrious city of Pontus. 
It is thus mentioned by Valerius Flaccus, an author not so 
much read as he deserves : 

Assyrios complexa sinus stat opima Sinope 
Nympha prius, blahdosque Jovis qua? 1 user at ignes 
Ccelicolis immota precis. 

There was also a celebrated courtesan of this name, from 
whom Sinopissare became a proverb for being very lasci- 

The modern name of the place is Sinub. — T. 

* Such migrations as these, observes Major Rennel, have 
frequently happened; and we may quote, in particular, the 
famous migration of the Kalmucs in 1/70, 1771, when they 
moved, or rather took flight from the \Vest of the river 



uniformly by the sea-coast ; but the Scythians, 
having Mount Caucasus to their right, continued 
the pursuit, till by following an inland direction 
they entered Media. 

XIII. There is still another account, which 
has obtained credit both with the Greeks and 
barbarians. Aristeas ,6 the poet, a native of 
Proconnesus, and son of Caustrobius, relates, 
that under the influence of Apollo he came to 
the Issedones, that beyond this people he found 
the Arimaspi l7 } a nation who have but one eye ; 

farther - 

Wolga to the Balchaler Lake, called also Paikata Nor, and 
Lake of the Kalmucs. 

The numbers were said to be from 55 to 60 thousand fa- 
milies, perhaps 350,000 persons. 

16 An/teas.] — This person is mentioned also by Pliny and 
Aulus Gellius; it is probable that he lived in the time of 
Cyrus and Croesus. Longinus has preserved six of his verses; 
see chap. 10; of which he remarks, that they are rather florid 
than sublime. Tzetzes has preserved six more. The ac- 
count given of him by Herodotus is far from satisfactory. 

17 Arimaspi.] — The Arimaspians were Hyperborean Cy- 
clopean?, and had temples named Charis or Charisia, in the 
top of which was preserved a perpetual fire. They were of 
the same family as those of Sicily, and had the same rites, 
and particularly worshipped the Ophite deity under the 
name of Opis. Aristeas Proconnesius wrote their history, 
and among other things mentioned that they had but one 
eye, which was placed in their graceful forehead. How 
could the front of a Cyclopean, one of the most hideous 
monsters that ever poetic fancy framed, be styled graceful? 
The whole is a mistake of terms, and what this writer had 



farther on were the Gryphins 18 , the guardians of 
the gold; and beyond these the Hyperboreans 19 , 
who possess the whole country' quite to the sea, 
and that all these nations, except the Hyper- 
boreans, are continually engaged in war with 
their neighbours. Of these hostilities the Ari- 
maspians were the first authors, for they drove 
out the Issedones, who did the same to the Scy- 

thians : 

misapplied related to CKaris a tower, and the eye was a 
easement in the top of the edifice, where a light and fire 
were kept up.— Bryant. 

With all due respect for Mr. Bryant, it does not seem that 
the Arimaspians could have much to do with fire-towers. 
They did not dwell on the sea-coast between which and 
them, according to Herodotus, were two nations. 
* s Gryphins.] — 

Thus the Gryphins, 
Those dumb and ravenous dogs of Jove, avoid 
The Arimaspian troops, whose frowning foreheads 
Glare with one blazing eye : along the banks 
Where Pluto rolls his streams of gold, they rein 
Their foaming steeds. 

Prometheus Vinctus; TEschyl. Potter's Translation. 
Pausanias tells us, that the Gryphins are represented b) 
Aristeas as monsters resembling lions, with the beaks and 
wings of eagles. By the way, Dionysius of Halicarnass • 
of opinion that no such poem as this of Aristeas ever 
isted. — T. 

19 Hyperboreans.'] — The ancients do not appear to have 
had any precise ideas of the country of this people. The 
Hyperborean mountains are also frequently mentioned, 
which, as appears from Virgil, were the same as the Ry- 
phean : 

Talis Hyperboreo septem subjecta trioni 

Gens effraena virum Riphaeo tunditur Euro 

Et pecudum fulvis velatur corpora satis. T. 

S66 M E L P O M E N E. 

thians : the Scythians compelled the Cimmerians, 
who possessed the country towards the south, to 
abandon their native land. Thus it appears, 
that the narrative of Aristeas differs also from 
that of the Scythians. 

XIV. Of what country the relater of the above 
account was, we have already seen ; but I ought 
not to omit what I have heard of this personage, 
both at Proconnesus and Cyzicus 2C . It is said 
of this Aristeas, that he was of one of the best 
families of his country, and that he died in the 
workshop of a fuller, into which he had acci- 
dentally gone. The fuller immediately secured 
his shop, and went to inform the relations of the 
deceased of what had happened. The report 
having circulated through the city, that Aristeas 
was dead, there came a man of Cyzicus, of the 
city of Artaces, who affirmed that this assertion 
was false, for that he had met Aristeas going to 


ao Cyzicus.]— -This was one of the most flourishing cities 
of Mysia, situate in a small island of the Propontis, and 
built by the Milesians. It is thus mentioned by Ovid : 

Inde Propontiacis hasreatern Cyzicon oris 
Cyzicon /EmoniaJ nobile gentis opus. 

The people of this place were remarkable for their' effe- 
minacy and cowardice ; whence tinctura Cyzicena became 
proverbial for any dastardly character. It has now become 
a peninsula, by the filling up of the small channel by which 
it was divided from the continent, — T. 


Cyzicus 11 , and had spoken with him. In con- 
sequence of his positive assertions, the friends of 
Aristeas hastened to the fuller's shop with every 
thing which was necessary for his funeral, but 
when they came there, no Aristeas was to be 
found, alive or dead. Seven years afterwards it 
is said that he re-appeared at Proconnesus, and 
composed those verses which the Greeks call 
Arimaspian ; after which he vanished a second 

XV. This is the manner in which these cities 
speak of Aristeas : but I am about to relate a 
circumstance which to my own knowledge hap- 
pened to the Metapontines of Italy, three hun- 
dred and forty years after Aristeas had a second 
time disappeared, according to my conjecture, as 
it agrees with what I heard at Proconnesus and 
Metapontus. The inhabitants of this latter place 
affirm, that Aristeas, having appeared in their 
city, directed them to construct an altar to 
Apollo, and near it a statue to Aristeas of Pro- 

aj Going to Cyzicus.} — Upon this story Larcher remarks, 

there are innumerable others like it, both among t\ ie 

uts and moderns. A very ridiculous one is related by 

irch, in his Life of Romulus: — A man named Cleomedes, 

tig himself pursued, jumped into a great chest, which 

d upon him: after many ineffectual attempts to open 

they broke it in pieces, but no Cleomedes was to be 

nd ; alive or dead.—/ 7 . 

$68 M E L P O M E N E. 

connesus. He told them that they were tho 
only people of Italy whom Apollo had ever ho- 
noured by his presence, and that he himself had 
attended the god under the form of a crow " : 
having said this, he disappeared. The Metapon- 
tines relate, that in consequence of this they sent 
to Delphi, to inquire what that unnatural ap- 
pearance might mean ; the Pythian told them 
in reply, to perform what had been directed, for 
that they would find their obedience rewarded ; 
they obeyed accordingly, and there, now stands 
near the statue of Apollo himself, another bear- 
ing the name of Aristeas : it is placed in the 
public square of the city, surrounded with laurels. 

XVI. Thus much of Aristeas. — No certain 
knowledge is to be obtained of the places which 
lie remotely beyond the country of which I before 
spake : on this subject I could not meet with 


** Underthe form of a crow.] — Pliny relates this some- 
what differently. lie says, it was the scul of Aristeas, which 
having left his body appeared in the form of a crow. His 
words are these: Aristea; etiam visam evolantem ex ore in 
Proconneso, corvi effigie magna qua; sequitur fabulositate. — 
La re her. 

The crow was sacred to Apollo, as appears from /Elian de 
Animalibus, book vii. 18. We learn also from Scaliger, in 
his Notes on Manilius, that a crow sitting on a tripod was 
found on some ancient coins, to which Statius also alludes 
in the following line: 

Non comes obscurus tripodum. 3". 


any person able to speak from his own know- 
ledge. Aristeas above-mentioned confesses, in 
the poem which he wrote, that he did not pene- 
trate beyond the Issedones ; and that what he 
related of the countries more remote, he learned 
of the Issedones themselves. For my own part, 
all the intelligence which the most assiduous re- 
searches, and the greatest attention to authen- 
ticity, have been able to procure, shall be faith* 
fully related. 

XVII. As we advance from the port of the 
Borysthenites, which is unquestionably the centre 
of all the maritime parts of Scythia, the first 
people who are met with are the Callipidae 23 , 
who are Greek Scythians: beyond these is an- 
other nation, called the Halizones 2+ . These two 
people in general observe the customs of the 
Scythians, except that for food they soav corn, 
onions, garlick, lentils, and millet. Beyond the 
Halizones dwell some Scythian husbandmen, who 
sow corn not to eat, but for sale. Still more 
remote arc the Neuri iS , whose country towards 


* 3 Callipidcc] — Solinus culls these people Callipodes. — T. 

a+ Halizones.] — So called because surrounded on all sides 
by the sea, as the word itself obviously testifies. — T. 

25 Neuri."] — Mela, book ii. 1, says of this people, that 
they had the power of transforming themselves into wolves, 
and resuming their former shape at pleasure. — Neuris statum 
j-ingulis tempus est, quo &i velint in lupos, iterumque in eos 
qui fuere matentur. — T. 

Vol. II. B b 


the north, as far as I have been able to learn, h 
totally uninhabited. All these nations dwell near 
the river Hypanis, to the west of the Borysthenes, 

XVIII. Having crossed the Borysthenes, the 
first country towards the sea is Hylcea, conti- 
guous to which are some Scythian husbandmen, 
who call themselves Olbiopolitie, but who, by the 
Greeks living near the Hypanis, are called 13o- 
rysthenites i6 . The country possessed by these 
Scythians towards the east is the space of a three 
days journey, as far as the river Panticapes ; to 
the north, their lands extend to the amount of an 
eleven days voyage along the Borysthenes. The 
space beyond this is a vast inhospitable desert ; 
and remoter still are the Androphagi, or men- 
eaters, a separate nation, and by no means Scy- 
thian. As we pass farther from these, the coun- 
try is altogether desert, not containing, to our 
knowledge, any inhabitants. 

XIX. To the east of these Scythians, who are 
husbandmen, and beyond the river Panticapes, 
are the Scythian Nomades or shepherds, who are 
totally unacquainted with agriculture : except 
Hyloea, all this country is naked of trees. These 
Nomades inhabit a district to the extent of a 


23 Borysthenites.] — These people are called by Propertius 
IJhe Borysthenidce : 

Gloria ad bybernos lata Boristhenidas. T, 

M E L P O M E N E. 371 

fourteen days journey towards the east, as far as 
the river Gerrhus. 

XX. Beyond the Gerrhus is situate what is 
termed the royal province of Scythia, possessed 
by the more numerous part and the noblest of 
the Scythians, who consider all the rest of their 
countrymen as their slaves.. From the south 
they extend to Tauris, and from the east as far 
as the trench which was sunk b} r the descendants 
of the blinded slaves, and again as far as the 
port of the Palus Mceotis, called Chemni, and 
indeed many of them are spread as far as the 
Tanais. Beyond these, to the north, live the 
Melanchlaeni, another nation who are not Scy- 
thians. Beyond the Melanchlaeni the lands are 
low and marshy, and as we believe intirely unin- 

XXI. Beyond the Tanais the region of Scythia 
terminates, and the first nation we meet with are 
the Sauromata?, who, commencing at the remote 
parts of the Palus Moeotis, inhabit a space to the 
north, equal to a fifteen days journey ; the 
country is totally destitute of trees, both wild 
and cultivated. Beyond these are the Budini, 
who are husbandmen, and in whose country trees 
arc found in great abundance. 


XXII. To the north, beyond the Budini, 
aii immense desert of eight days journey ; 

b b 2 passing 

372 M E L P O M E N E. 

passing which to the east are the Thyssagetce, a 
singular but populous nation, who support them- 
selves by hunting. Contiguous to these, in the 
same region, are a people called Iyrcce i7 ; they 
also live by the chace, which they thus pursue : — 
Having ascended the tops of the trees, which 
every where abound, they watch for their prey. 
Each man has a horse, instructed to lie close to 
the ground, that it may not be seen ; they have 
each also a doc;. As soon as the man from the 
tree discovers his game, he wounds it with an 
arrow, then mounting his horse he pursues it, 
followed by his dog. Advancing from this people 
still nearer to the east, we again meet with Scy- 
thians, who having seceded from the Royal Scy- 
thians, established themselves here. 

XXIII. As far as these Scythians, the whole 
country is flat, and the soil excellent ; beyond 
them it becomes- barren and stony. After tra- 
velling over a considerable space, a people are 
found living at the foot of some lofty mountains, 
who, both male and female, are said to be bald 
from their birth, having large chins, and nostrils 
like the ape species. They have a language of 


17 Iyrcce.] — It is in vain that Messieurs Falconnet and 
Mallet, are desirous of reading here Tv^a, the Turks, the 
same as it occurs in Pomponius Mela ; it would be better, 
with Pintianus, to correct the text of the geographer by that 
of Herodotus. Pliny also joins this people with the Thyssa- 
get<£. — Lurcher. ^ 

M E L P O M E N E. 373 

their own, but their dress is Scythian ; they live 
chiefly upon the produce of a tree which is called 
the ponticus ; it is as large as a fig, and has a 
kernel not unlike a bean : when it is ripe they 
press it through a cloth; it produces a thick black 
liquor which they call aschy; this they drink, mix- 
ing it with milk ; the grosser parts which remain 
they form into balls* and eat. They have but 
few cattle, from the want of proper pasturage. 
Each man dwells under his tree; this during the 
winter they cover with a thick white cloth, which 
in the summer is removed ; they live unmolested 
by any one, being considered as sacred, and hav- 
ing among them no offensive weapon. Their 
neighbours apply to them for decision in matters 
of private controversy ; and whoever seeks an 
asylum amongst them is secure from injury. They 
are called the Argippaei 28 . 

* Balls.] — This probably refers to the balls of cheese which 
the Tartars prepare and soften in milk and water, before they 
eat them. 

zS Argippcci.] — These people are said to have derived their 
name from the white horses with which their country 
abounded. The Tartars of the present day are said to hold 
white horses in great estimation ; how much they were es- 
teemed in ancient times, appears from various passages of 
different writers, who believed that they excelled in swift- 
ness all horses of a different colour. 

Qui candore nives anteirent, cursibus auras. 

It still seems a little singular, that a district described as 
stony, barren, and without proper pasturage, should ever 
have been celebrated for its horses. — T. 

B B 3 We 

374 M E L P O M E N E. 

XXIV. As far as these people who are bald, 
the knowledge of the country and intermediate 
nations is clear and satisfactory; it may be ob- 
tained from the Scythians, who have frequent 
communication with them, from the Greeks of 
the port on the Borysthenes, and from many other 
places of trade on the Euxine. As these nations 
have seven different languages, the Scythians who 
communicate with them have occasion for as 
many interpreters. 

XXV. Beyond these Argippasi, no certain in- 
telligence is to be had, a chain of lofty and inac- 
cessible mountains precluding all discovery. The 


We regard the Argippaei as the people who inhabited the 
eastern part of the Great Steppe, bordering northward on the 
great chain of mountains that divides the Steppe from S. E. 
to N. W. and which separates the northern from the southern 
waters in that quarter. It is a marked feature in the geo- 
graphy, and is described by the Arabian geographers to be 
remarkably lofty, steep, and difficult of access. 

The Argippasi would also border eastward on the moun- 
tains that separate the Ocgur country from 'the Steppe, or 
which, perhaps with more propriety, may be regarded as the 
western declivity of the elevated region inhabited by the 
Kalmuc Eluths. A part of these mountains are named Arga 
and Argia in Strahterberg and the map of Russia. Ac- 
cording to these suppositions the Argippaei must have occu- 
pied the northern part of the tract now in the possession of 
the greater or eastern horde of the Kirgees, who are de- 
pendent on China, as the middle and western hordes are on 
Russia. — Rennel. 


people who are bald assert, what I can by no 
means believe, that these mountains are inhabited 
by men, who in their lower parts resemble a 
goat ; and that beyond these are a race who 
sleep away six months of the year : neither does 
this seem at all more probable, To the east of 
the Argippcei it is beyond all doubt that the 
country is possessed by the Issedones; but be- 
yond them to the north neither the Issedones nor 
the Argippsei know any thing more than I have 
already related. 

VI. The Issedones have these, among other 
customs : — As often as any one loses his father, 
his relations severally provide some cattle ; these 
they kill, and having cut them in pieces, they dis- 
member also the body of the deceased, and, mix- 
ing the whole together, feast upon it ; the head 
alone is preserved; from this they carefully re- 
move the hair, and cleansing it thoroughly set it 
in gold z ° : it is afterwards esteemed sacred, and 


* 9 Set in gold.] — We learn from Livy, that the Boii,' a 
people of Gaul, did exactly the same with respect to the 
sculls of their enemies. — Purgato inde capite ut mos iis est, 
calvum auro caelavere : idque sacrum vas iis erat, quo so- 
letnnibus libarent. — See Livy, chap. xxiv. book 23. 

It appears that the Issedones do the same by the sculls of 
their friends, as the Scythians and others with those of their 
inveterate enemies. The author has seen brought from 

B B 4 Bootan, 

37G M E L P O M E N E. 

produced in their solemn annual sacrifices. 
Every man observes the above rites in honour 
pf his father, as the Greeks do theirs in memory 
of the dead J0 , In other respects it is said that 


Bootan, nearly in the same region with Ocgur, in the country 
of the Issedonts, sculls that were taken out of temples or 
places of worship ; but it is not known whether the motive 
to their preservation was friendship or enmity ; it might 
very probably be the former. They were formed into 
drinking-bowls in the manner described by our author, 
Melpom. 6*5. by cutting them off below the eyebrows, and they 
were neatly varnished all o\tr. — Rennet. 

s ° In memory of the dead.]— The Greeks had anniversary 
days in remembrance of departed friends. These were in- 
differently termed Nipiauz, as being solemnized on the fes- 
tival of Nemesis, figa*«, and rs>sata. This latter word seems 
to intimate that these were feasts instituted to commemorate 
the birth-days ; but these, it appears, were observed by sur- 
viving relations and friends upon the anniversary of a per- 
son's death. Amongst many other customs which distin- 
guished these TenTia, some were remarkable for their sim- 
plicity and elegance. They strewed flowers on the tomb, 
they encircled il with myrtle, they placed locks of their hair 
upon it, they tenderly invoked the names of those departed, 
and lastly they poured sweet ointments upon the grave. 

These observances, with little variation, took place both in 
Greece and Rome. — See the beautiful Ode of Anacreon : 

Tt at dsi XiGov pv^iQiiv 

E//E fjiacXXon, 10$ st» £<£ 


Thus rendered by Cowley : 

Why do we precious ointments show'r, 
Noble wines why do we pour, 



they venerate the principles of justice ; and that 
their females enjoy equal authority * with the 


XXVII. The Issedones themselves affirm, that 
the country beyond them is inhabited by a race 
of men who have but one eye, and by Gryphins 
who are guardians of the gold. — Such is the in- 
formation which the Scvthians have from the 
Issedones, and we from the Scythians ; in the Scy- 
thian tongue they arc called Arimaspians, from 
Arima, the Scythian word for one, and spu, an 

Beauteous flowers why do we spread 
Upon the mon'ments of the dead ? 
Nothing they but dust can shew, 
Or bones that hasten to be so ; 
Crown me with roses whilst I live. 

See also the much-admired apostrophe addressed by Virgil 
to the memory of Marcellus: 

Heu miserande puer, si qua fata aspera rumpas, 
Tu Marcellus eris : manibus date lilia plenis, 
Purpureos spargarn flores, animamque nepotis 
His saltern accumulem donis. T. 

'' Rcnnel remarks, that this evinced a degree of refine- 
ment far above the standard of Scythian nations. But as 
we learn, he continues, that the Ocgurs were a lettered 
nation, and that they alone furnished the conqueror Jenghis 
Kan wit!) secretaries: we are the less surprized at the re- 
finements of their ancestors. The physical geography of 
their country is such, being one of the most elevated tracts 
in the center of Asia, as is likely to preserve national man- 
ners through a long course of ages. P. 147". 

378 M E L POME N E. 

XXVIII. Through all the region of which we 
have been speaking, the winter season, which con- 
tinues for eight months, is intolerably severe and 
cold. At this time if water be poured upon the 
ground, unless it be near a fire, it will not make 
clay. The sea itself 31 , and all the Cimmerian 
Eosphorus, is congealed ; and the Scythians who 
live within the trench before mentioned make 
hostile incursions upon the ice, and penetrate 
with their w 7 aggons as far as Sindica*. During 
eight months the climate is thus severe, and the 
remaining four are sufficiently cold. In this re- 
gion the winter is by no means the same as in 


31 The sea itself.] — The Greeks, who had no knowledge of 
tins country, were of opinion that the sea could not be con- 
gealed ; they consequently considered this passage of Hero- 
dotus as fabulous. The moderns, who are better acquainted 
with the regions of the north, well know that Herodotus was 
right. — Larchey. 

Upon this subject the following whimsical passage occurs 
in Maerobius. — Nam quod Herodotus historiarum scriptor, 
contra omnium ferme qui ha^c qua?siverunt, opinionem scrip- 
sit, mare Bosporicum, quod et Cimmerium appellat, earum- 
que partium mare omne quod Scythicum dicitur, id gelu 
constriugi et consistere, aliter est quam putatur ; nam non 
marina aqua contrabitur, sed quia plurimum in illis regi- 
orribus fluviorum est, et pallidum in ipsa maria influentium, 
superficies maris cui dulces aquae innatant, congelascit, et 
incolumi aqua marina videtur in mari gelu, sed de advenis 
u'ndis coactum, &c. 

* This region is opposite to the Cimmerian Bosphorus. 
See chapter 86, where Sindica is placed opposite to the river 


other climates; for at this time, when it rains 
abundantly elsewhere, it here scarcely rains at all, 
whilst in the summer the rains are incessant 
At the season when thunder is common in other 
places, here it is never heard, but during the 
summer it is very heavy. If it be ever known to 
thunder in the winter, it is considered as ominous. 
If earthquakes happen in Seythia, in either season 
of the year, it is thought a prodigy. Their horses 
are able to bear the extrcmest severity of the 
climate, which the asses and mules frequently 
cannot 32 ; though in other regions the cold which 
destroys the former has little effect upon the 

XXIX. This circumstance of their climate 
seems to explain the reason why their cattle are 


34 Asses and mvles frequently cannot.]— This assertion of 
Herodotus is confirmed by Pliny, who says, " Ipsum animal 
(asinus) frigoris maxime inipatiens: ideo non genCratur in 
Ponto, nee axquinoctis verno, etcaetcra pecua adajittitur sed 
colstitio." The ass is a native of Arabia; the warmer the 
climate in which they are produced, the larger and the 
better they are. " Their size and their spirit," says Mr. 
Pennant, " regularly decline as they advance into colder 
regions." Hollingshed says, in his time " our lande 
did yeelde no asses." At present they appear to be natu- 
ralized in our country; and M. Larcher's observation, that 
the}- are not common in England, must have arisen from 
misinformation. That the English breed of asses is com- 
paratively less beautiful must be acknowledged. — T. 

380 M E L P O M E N E. 

without horns"; and Homer in the Odyssey has 
a line which confirms my opinion: — " And Ly- 
bia, where the sheep have always horns 54 ; 1 ' 
■which is as much as to say, that in warm climates 
horns will readily grow ; but in places which are 
extremely cold they either will not grow at all, 
or are always diminutive. 

XXX. The peculiarities of Scythia are thus 
explained from the coldness of the climate; but 
as I have accustomed myself from the com- 
mencement of this history to deviate occasionally 
from my subject, I cannot here avoid expressing 
my surprize, that the district of Elis never pro- 
duces mules ; yet the air is by no means cold, 
nor can any other satisfactory reason be assigned. 
The inhabitants themselves believe that their not 
possessing mules is the effect of some curse 55 . 


33 Without horns. 1 — Hippocrates, speaking of the Scythian 
chariots, says, they are drawn by oxen which have no horns, 
and that the cold prevents their having any. — Larcher. 

34 Always horns.] — The line here quoted from Homer is 
thus rendered by Pope: 

And two fair crescents of translucent horn 

The brows of ail their young increase adorn. T. 

35 Of some curse.] — The following passage is found in Plu- 
tarch's Greek questions. 

Q. Why do the men of Elis lead their mares beyond their 
borders when they would have them covered ? 

■* A. Was 

M EL P O M E N E. 38 1 

When their mares require the male, the Eleans 
take them out of the limits of their own terri- 

A. Was it because /Enomaus, being remarkable for his 
great love of horses, imprecated many horrid curses upon 
mares that should be (thus) covered in Elis, and that the 
people, in terror of his curses, will not sutler it to be done 
within their district? 

It is indisputably evident, that something is omitted or 
corrupted in this passage of Plutarch. As it stands at pre- 
sent it appears that the ma; es were to be covered by horses, 
and so the translators have rendered it; but the love of 
^Enomaus for horses, would hardly lead him to so absurd an 
inconsistency as that of cursing the breed of them within his 
kingdom. The truth is, it was the breed of mules which he 
loaded with imprecations; and it was only when the mares 
were to be covered by asses, that it was necessary to remove 
them, to avoid falling under his curse. Some word express- 
ing this ought therefore to be found in Plutarch, and the sus- 
picion of corruption naturally falls at once on the unintel- 
ligible word ho^xq, which is totally omitted in the Latin ver- 
sion, and given up by Xylander as inexplicable; Wesseling 
would change it to IvSoga?, but that does not remove the 
fault: if we read e»o3ux8< all will be easy. The question will 
then stand thus: " Why do the men of Elis lead those mares 
which are to receive asses, beyond their borders to be co- 
vered ?" And we must render afterwards, " that should be 
thus covered," instead of covered only : ovofroxa;, being a com- 
pound formed at pleasure, according to the genius of the 
Greek language, but not in common use, might easily be cor- 
rupted by a cart less or ignorant transcriber. I should not 
have dwelt so long on a verbal criticism of this kind, had not 
the emendation appeared important, and calculated to throw 
additional light on this passage of Herodotus. 

Conformable to this is the account of Pausanias : — " In 
Elis," says he, " mares will not produce from asses, though. 


382 M E L P O M EN E. 

lories, and there suffer asses to cover them; 
when they have conceived they return. 

XXXI. Concerning those feathers, which, as 
the Scythians say, so cloud the atmosphere that 
they cannot penetrate nor even discern what lies 
beyond them, my opinion is this : — In those re- 
moter regions there is a ^perpetual fall of snow, 
which, as may be supposed, is less in summer 
than in winter. Whoever observes snow falling 
continually, will easily conceive what I say ; for 
it has a great resemblance to feathers. These 
regions, therefore, which are thus situated re- 
motely to the north, are uninhabitable from the 
unremitting severity of the climate ; and the Scy- 
thians, with the neighbouring nations, mistake 
the snow for feathers' 6 . — But on this subject I 
have said quite enough. 

they will in the places contiguous : this the people impute to 
some curse." Book v. p. 3S4. 

And Eustathius has a similar remark in his Comment on 
Dionysius, 1. 409- 

Upon the above Larcher remarks, that this doubtless was 
the reason why the race of chariots drawn by mules was 
abolished at the Olympic games, which had been introduced 
there in the seventieth Olympiad by Thersias of Thessaly. 

36 Snow for feathers.] — The comparison of falling snow to 
fleeces of wool, as being very obvious and natural, is found 
in abundance of writers, ancient and modern. 

See Psalm cxlvii. ver. 5. — Who sendeth his snow like 


M E L POME N E. G33 

XXXII. Of the Hyperboreans 37 neither the 
Scythians nor any of the neighbouring people, 
the Issedoncs alone excepted, have any know- 
ledge ; and indeed what they say merits but 
little attention. The Scythians speak of these 
as they do of the Arimaspians. It must be con- 
fessed that Hesiod mentions these Hyperboreans, 
as Homer also does in the Epigonoi 3S , if he was 
really the author of those verses. 

XXXIII. On this subject of the Hyperbo T 

reans, ' 

Martial beautifully calls snow densum tacitarum vellus 

In whose capacious womb 
A vapoury deluge lies to snow congeal'd ; 
Heavy they roll their fleecy world along. — Thomson. 

37 Hyperboreans.'] — It appears from the Scholiast on Pin- 
dar, that the Greeks called the Thracians Boreans; there is 
therefore great probability that they called the people beyond 
these the Hyperboreans. — Larcker. — Doubtless, the inhabi- 
tants of Russia and part of Siberia. The Hyperboreans of 
the Romans corresponded with the Gog and Magog of the 

3S Epigonoi.] — That Homer was the author of various 
poems besides the Iliad and the Odyssey, there seems little 
reason to doubt; that he was the author of these in ques- 
tion can hardly be made appear. The Scholiast of Aristo- 
phanes assigns "them to Antimachus; but Antimachus of 
Colophon was later than Herodotus, or at least his cotem- 
porary. The subject of these verses were the supposed au- 
thors of the second Theban wai \\ the time m which 
Homer flourished, the wars of Thebes and of Troy were the 
subjects of universal curiosity and attention. — T. 

384 M E L P O M E N E. 

reans, the Delians are more communicative. 
They affirm, that some sacred offerings of this 
people, carefully folded in straw, were given to 
the Scythians, from whom descending regularly 
through every contiguous nation 3 - 9 , they arrived 
at length at the Adriatic. From hence, trans- 
ported towards the south, they were first of all 
received by the Dodoneans of Greece ; from 
them again they were transmitted to the gulph of 
JMelis , whence passing into Euboea, they were 
sent from one town to another, till they arrived 
at Carystus ; not stopping at Andros, the Ca- 
rystians carried them to Tenos, the Tenians to 
Delos ; at which place the Delians affirm they 
came as we have related. They farther observe, 
that to bring these offerings the Hyperboreans 4 * 


39 Through every contiguous nation.] — On this subject the 
Athenians have another tradition. — See Pausanias, c. xxxi. 

p. 77- 

According to them, these offerings were given by the Hy- 
perboreans to the Arimaspians, by the Arimaspians to the 
Scythians, by the Scythians carried to Sinope. The Greeks 
from thence passed them from one to another, till they 
arrived at Prasis, a plt>ce dependant on Athens; the Athe- 
nians ultimately sent them to Delos. " This," says M. Lar- 
cher, " seems to me a less probable account than that of 
the Delians." 

40 Hyperboreans.'] — Upon the subject of the Hyperboreans, 
our learned mythologist Mr. Bryant has a very curious 
chapter. The reader will do well to consult the whole; but 
the following extract is particularly applicable to the chap- 
ter before us. 



sent two young women, whose names were Hy- 
peroche and Laodice: five of their countrymen 
accompanied them as a guard, who are held in 
great veneration at Deios, and called the Peri- 
pheres* 1 . As these men never returned, the 
Hyperboreans were greatly offended, and took 
the following method to prevent a repetition of 
this evil : — They carried to their frontiers their 


Of all other people the Hyperboreans seem most to have 
respected the people of Delos. To this island they used to 
send continually mystic presents, which were greatly re- 
verenced : in consequence of this, the Delians knew more of 
their history than any other community of Greece. Calli- 
machus, in his hymn to Delos, takes notice both of the Hy- 
perboreans and their offerings. 

This people were esteemed very sacred ; and it is said that 
Apollo, when exiled from heaven, and when he had seen his 
offspring slain, retired to their country. It seems he wept; 
and there was a tradition that every tear was amber. 

See Apollonius Rhodius, book iv. 6ll. 

The Celtic sages a tradition hold, 
That every drop of amber was a tear 
Shed by Apollo, when he fled from heaven ; 
For sorely did he weep, and sorrowing pass'd 
Thro' many a doleful region, till he reach'd 
The sacred Hyperboreans. 

See Bryant, vol. iii. 491. 

4,1 Peripheres.] — Those whom the different states of Greece 
sent to consult Apollo, or to offer him sacrifice in the name 
of their country, they called Theoroi. They gave the name 
of Deliastoi to those whom they sent to Delos ; and of Py- 
thastoi to those who went to Delphi.— Lqrchen 

Vol. II. C c 


offerings, folded in barley-straw *, and com- 
mitting them to the care of their neighbours, 
directed them to forward them progressively, till, 
as is reported, they thus arrived at Delos. This 
singularity observed by the Hyperboreans is prac- 
tised, as I myself have seen, amongst the women 
of Thrace and Pasonia, who in their sacrifices to 
the regal Diana make use of barley-straw. 

XXXIV. In honour of the Hyperborean vir- 
gins who died at Delos, the Delian youth of both 
sexes celebrate certain rites, in which they cut 
off their hair 41 ; this ceremony is observed by 
virgins previous to their marriage, who, having 


* Pliny mentions this circumstance, and seems to inti- 
mate that the Hyperboreans suspected that these individuals 
were not fairly dealt with. Pliny says these offerings were 
composed of the first fruits of their corn. 

* a Cut off their hair.] — The custom of offering the hair to 
the gods is of very great antiquity. Sometimes it was de- 
posited in the temples, as in the case of Berenice, who con- 
secrated hers in the temple of Venus ; sometimes it was sus- 
pended upon trees. — Lurcher. 

When the hair was cut off in honour of the dead, it was 
done in a circular form. Allusion is made to this ceremony 
in the Electra of Sophocles, line 52. See also Ovid : 

Scisss cum veste capillos. 

This custom, by the way, was strictly forbidden by the 
Jews. Pope has a very ludicrous allusion to it: — 

When fortune or a mistress frowns, 
Some plunge in business, others shave their crowns.— 2V 

M E L P O M E N E. 387 

deprived themselves of their hair, wind it round 
a spindle, and place it on the tomb. This stands 
in the vestibule of the temple of Diana, on the 
left side of the entrance, and is shaded by an 
olive, which grows there naturally. The young 
men of Delos wind some of their hair round a 
certain herb, and place it on the tomb. — Such 
are the honours which the Delians pay to these 

XXXV. The Delians add, that in the same 
age, and before the arrival of Hyperoche and 
Laodice at Delos, two other Hyperborean virgins 
came there, whose names were Argis and Opis* J ; 
their object was to bring an offering to Lucina, 
in acknowledgment of the happy delivery of their 
females ; but that Argis and Opis were accom- 
panied by the deities themselves. They are, 


43 Opis.] — Orion, who was beloved by Aurora, and whom 
Phen cycles asserts to have been the son of Neptune and 
Euryale, or, according to other authors, of Terra, endea- 
vouring to offer violence to Opis, was slain with an arrow 
by Diana. 

The first Hyperboreans who carried offerings to Delos 
were, according to Callhnachus, named Oupis, Loxo, and 
Hecaerge, daughter of Boreas. — Larcher. 

Opis is thus mentioned by Virgil : 

Opis ad /Etherium pennis aufertur Olympum. 

According to Servius, Opis, Loxo, and Hecaerge, were sy- 
nonymous terms for the moon. Opis was also the name of 
a city on the Tigris.— J". 

C C 2 


therefore, honoured with other solemn rites. 
The women assemble together, and in a hymn 
composed for the occasion by Olen of Lycia 4 * r 
they call on the names of Argis and Opis. In- 
structed by these the islanders and Ionians hold 
similar assemblies, introducing the same two 
names in their hymns. This Olen was a native 
of Lycia, who composed other ancient hymns in 
use at Delos. When the thighs of the victims 
are consumed on the altar, the ashes are col- 
lected and scattered over the tomb of Opis and 


** Olen of Lycia.] — Olen, a priest and very ancient poet, 
was before Homer; he was the first Greek poet, and the 
first also who declared the oracles of Apollo. The inha- 
bitants of Delphi chanted the hymns Which he composed 
for them. In one of his hymns he called Ilithya the mother 
of Love; in another h : & affirmed that Juno was educated by 
the Hours, and was the mother of Mars and Hebe.— 

The word Olen was properly an /Egyptian sacred term, 
and expressed Olen, Olenus, Ailinus, and Linus, but is of 
unknown meaning. We read of Olenium sidus, Olenia ca- 
pella, and the like. 

Nascitur Olenije sidus pluviale capella\ — Ovid. 

A sacred stone in Elis was called Petra Olenia. If then 
this Olen, styled an Hyperborean, came from Lycia and 
/Egypt, it makes me persuaded of what I have often sus- 
pected, that the term Hyperborean is not of that purport 
which the Grecians have assigned to it. There were people 
of this family from the north, and the name has been dis- 
torted, and adapted solely to people of those parts. But 
there were Hyperboreans from the east, as we find in the 
history of Olen. — See Bryant further on this subject, vol- iii. 


Arsis. This tomb is behind the temple of Diana, 
facing the east, and near the place where the 
Ceians celebrate their festivals. 

XXXVI. Concerning these Hyperboreans we 
have spoken sufficiently at large, for the story of 
Abaris 45 , who was said to be an Hyperborean, 
and to have made a circuit of the earth with- 
out food, and carried on an arrow 46 , merits no 
attention. As there are Hyperboreans, or in- 
habitants of the extreme parts of the north, one 
would suppose there ought also to be Hyper- 
notians, or inhabitants of the corresponding parts 
of the south. For my own part I cannot but 
think it exceedingly ridiculous to hear some 
men talk of the circumference of the earth, pre- 

** Abaris.] — Jamblicus says of this Abaris, that he was 
the disciple of Pythagoras; some say he was older than 
Solon ; he foretold earthquakes, plagues, &c. Authors differ 
much as to the time of his coming into Greece: Harpo- 
cration says it was in the time of Croesus.-— T. 

4 ' 5 On an arrow.] — There is a fragment preserved in the 
Anecdota Graca, a translation of which Larcher gives in his 
notes, which throws much light upon this singular passage; 
it is this : a famine having made its appearance amongst the 
Ilypeiboreans, Abaris went to Greece, and entered into the 
service of Apollo. The deity taught him to declare oracles. 
In consequence of this, he travelled through Greece, de- 
claring oracles, having in his hand an arrow, the symbol of 
Apollo. — An acute friend has suggested to me that this must 
be an allusion to the introduction of the letters of the alpha- 
bet. It is certain that Herodotus did not understand it. 

C C 8 

3f)0 M E L P O M E N E. 

tending, without the smallest reason or proba- 
bility, that the ocean encompasses the earth*; 
that the earth is round, as if mechanically formed 
so ; and that Asia is equal to Europe. I will, 
therefore, concisely describe the figure and the 
size of each of these portions of the earth. 

XXXVII. The region occupied by the Per- 
sians extends southward to the Red Sea; beyond 
these to the north are the Medes, next to them 
are the Sapiriansf. Contiguous to the Sapi- 
rians, and where the Phasis empties itself into 
the Northern Sea, are the Coichians. These 
four nations occupy the space between the two 

XXXVIII. From hence to the west two tracts 
of land stretch themselves towards the sea, which 
I shall describe : The one on the north side com- 
mences at the Phasis, and extends to the sea 
along the Euxine and the Hellespont, as far as 
the Sigeum of Troy. On the south side it begins 
at the bay of Margandius £, contiguous to Phoe- 
nicia, and is continued to the sea as far as the 


* We might be induced to conclude, from this incidental 
sneer of Herodotus, that there were some excellent astrono- 
mers and geographers in his time, although, like Copernicus 
and others, they did not obtain much credit among their 

f These are elsewhere called Saperians. 

X The Gulph of Issus. The Mariandini are on the coast 
ol the Euxine. 


Triopian promontory ; this space of country is 
inhabited by thirty different nations. 

XXXIX. The other district commences in 
Persia, and is continued to the Red Sea 47 . Be- 
sides Persia, it comprehends Assyria and Arabia, 
naturally terminating in the Arabian Gulph, into 
which Darius introduced 48 a channel of the Nile. 
The interval from Persia to Phoenicia is very ex- 
tensive. From Phoenicia it again continues be- 
yond Syria of Palestine, as far as iEgypt, where 


*' The Red Sea.] — It is necessary to be observed, thaf^ot 
only the Arabian Gulph was known by this name, but also 
the Persian Gulph and the Southern Ocean, that is to say, 
that vast tract of sea which lies between the two gulphs.-— 

What Herodotus calls the Erythrean Sea, must be under- 
stood to be that between Ethiopia and India, generally. 
This includes the Arabian Gulph, but which he particularly 
distinguishes by that name in several places, as also the sea 
into which the Euphrates and Tigris discharge themselves, 
but winch Herodotus conceived to be an open sea, and not a 

Both Herodotus and Agathemenus industriously distin- 
guish the Erythrean Sea from the Arabian Gulph, though 
the latter was certainly so called, and had the name of Ery- 
threan. The Parthic empire, which included Persis, is by 
Pliny said to be bounded to the south by the Mare Ru- 
bruni, which was the boundary also of the Persians : by 
Mare Rubrum he here means the great southern sea. — 
B n/ant. 

48 Darius introduced.] — See book the second, chap. 158. 

C C 4 


it terminates. The whole of this region is occu- 
pied by three nations only. — Such is the division 
of Asia from Persia westward. 

XL. To the east beyond Persia, Media, the 
Sapirians and Colchians, the country is bounded 
by the Red Sea ; to the north by the Caspian and 
the river Araxes, which directs its course to- 
wards the east. As far as India, Asia is well 
inhabited; but from India eastward the whole 
country is one vast desert, unknown and unex- 

XLI. The second tract comprehends Lybia, 
which begins where iEgypt ends. About iEgypt 
the country is very narrow. One hundred thou- 
sand orgyiae, or one thousand stadia, compre- 
hend the space between this and the Red Sea 49 . 
Here the country expands, and takes the name 
of Lybia. 

XLII. I am much surprised at those who 


49 This and the Red Sea.] — Here we must necessarily un- 
derstand the isthmus between the Mediterranean and the 
Arabian Gulph or Red Sea. Herodotus says, book ii» 
chap. 158, that the shortest way betwixt one sea and the 
other was one thousand stadia. Ag'ippa says, on the au- 
thority of Pliny, that from Pelusium to Arsinoe on the Red 
Sea was one hundred and twenty-five miles, which comes 
to the same thing, that author always reckoning eight stadia 
to a mile. — Larcher. 


have divided and defined the limits of Lybia, 
Asia, and Europe, betwixt which the difference is 
far from small. Europe, for instance, in length 
much exceeds the other two, but is of far inferior 
breadth : except in that particular part which is 
contiguous to Asia, the whole of Lybia is sur- 
rounded by the sea. The first person who has 
proved this, was, as far as we are able to judge, 
Necho king of iEgypt. When he had desisted 
from his attempt to join by a canal the Nile with 
the Arabian Gulph, he dispatched some ves- 
sels s °, under the conduct of Phoenicians, with 
directions to pass by the columns of Hercules, 


50 Dispatched some vessels.] — This Necho is the same who 
in Scripture is called Pharaoh Necho. He made an attempt 
to join the Nile and the Red Sea, by drawing a canal from 
the one to the other ; but after he had consumed an hundred 
and twenty thousand men in the work, he was forced to de- 
sist from it. But he had better success in another under- 
taking; for having gotten some of the expertest Phoenician 
sailors into his service, he sent them out by the Red Sea, 
through the straits of Babelmandel, to discover the coasts 
of Africa, who having sailed round it came home the third 
year through the straits of Gibraltar and the Mediterranean 
Sea, which was a very extraordinary voyage to be made in 
those days, when the use of the loadstone was not known. 
This voyage was performed about two thousand one hundred 
years before Vasquez de Gama, a Portugueze, by discover- 
ing the Cape of Good Hope in 1497, found out the same 
way from hence to the Indies by which these Phoenicians 
came from thence. Since that it hath been made the com- 
mon passage thither from all these western parts of the 
world.— P> ideaux. 

594 MELPO M E N E. 

and after penetrating the Northern Ocean to 
return to iEgypt. These Phoenicians, taking 
their course from the Red Sea, entered into the 
Southern Ocean* : on the approach of autumn 
they landed in Lybia, and planted some corn in 
the place where they happened to find themselves; 
iv hen this was ripe, and they had cut it down, 
they again departed. Having thus consumed two 
years, they in the third doubled the columns of 
Hercules, and returned to iEgypt. Their rela- 
tion may obtain attention from others, but to me 
it seems incredible 51 , for they affirmed, that 


* Meaning the Ocean that washes Africa on the East 
The circumnavigators are said to have entered the Southern 
Ocean, when they quitted the Arabian Gulph. 

Dr. Vincent observes (see his Nearchus, p. 275, 6.) that 
it is very doubtful whether this voyage was performed bv the 
Phoenicians ; it requires more evidence, more particulars, 
and a clearer detail of facts to enable us to form a judgment. 
See also the very learned Doctor's Periplus, p. 175, where 
he thus expresses himself. 

It must be confessed that the facts he gives us of this 
voyage though few are consistent. The shadow falling to 
the South, the delay of stopping to sow grain and reap a 
harvest, and the space of three years employed in the circum- 
navigation, joined with the simplicity of the narrative, are 
all points so strong, and so convincing, that if they are in- 
sisted on by those who believe the possibility of effecting the 
passage by the ancients, no arguments to the contrary, how- 
ever founded upon a different opinion, can leave the mind 
without a doubt upon the question. 

£1 Tome it seems incredible.] — Herodotus does not doubt 
that the Phoenicians made the circuit of Africa, and returned 



having sailed round Lybia, they had the sun on 
their right hand. — Thus was Lybia for the first 
time known. 

XLIII. If the Carthaginian account may be 
credited, Sataspes, son of Teaspes, of the race of 
the Acha^rnenides, received a commission to cir- 
cumnavigate Lybia, which he never executed : 
alarmed by the length of the voyage, and the 
solitary appearance of the country, he returned 
without accomplishing the task enjoined him by 
his mother. This man had committed violence 
on a virgin, daughter of Zopyrus, son of Mega- 
byzus, for which offence Xerxes had ordered him 
to be crucified ; but the influence of his mother, 
who was sister to Darius, saved his life. She 
avowed, however, that it was her intention to in- 
flict a still severer punishment upon him, by 
obliging him to sail round Lybia, till he should 
arrive at the Arabian Gulph. To this Xerxes 
assented, and Sataspes accordingly departed for 
iEgypt ; he here embarked with his crew, and 


to /Egypt by (he ftraits of Gibraltar; but he could not be- 
lieve that in the course of the voyage they had the sun on 
their right hand. This, however, must necessarily have been 
the case after the Phoenicians had passed the line; and this 
curious circumstance, which never could have been imagined 
in an age when astronomy was yet in its infancy, is an evi- 
dence to the truth of a voyage, which without this might 
have been doubted. — Larchcr. 

306 M E L P O M E N E. 

proceeded to the columns of Hercules ; passing 
these, he doubled the promontory which is called 
Syloes *, keeping a southern course. Continuing 
his voyage for several months, in which he passed 
over an immense tract of sea, he saw no probable 
termination of his labours, and therefore sailed 
back to iEgypt. Returning to the court of 
Xerxes, he amongst other things related, that in 
the most remote places he had visited he had seen 
a people of diminutive appearance, clothed in 
red garments 52 , who on the approach of his 


* Often written Soloeis. 

It appears, says Rennet, that the Soloeis of Hanno, and of 
Scylax, and the Solis of Pliny, and of Ptolemy, must have 
been situated between the Capes Blanco and Geen on the 
coast of Morocco, in which quarter also the Soloeis of He- 
rodoius, as being a part of the inhabited tract, must of 
necessity be situated. 

ss Red Garme?its.~\ — This passage has been indifferently 
rendered Phoenician garments, and red garments; the original 
isto-GijT* <J>ouno)iV — Larcher, dissenting from both these, trans- 
lates it " des habits de palmier:" his reasoning upon it does 
not appear quite satisfactory. "It seems very suspicious," 
says he, " that people so savage as these are described by 
Herodotus, should either have cloth or stuff", or if they had, 
fhould possess the means of dyeing it red." But m the first 
place, Herodotus does not call these a savage people; and, 
in the next, the narrative of Sataspes was intended to excite 
astonishment, by representing to Xerxes what tobim at least 
teemed marvellous. That a race of uncivilized men mould 
clothe themselves with skins, or garments made of the 
leaves or bark of trees, could not appear wonderful to a sub- 
ject of Xerxes, to whom many barbarous nations were per- 
* fcctlv 


vessel to the shore, had deserted their habitations, 
and fled to the mountains. But he affirmed, that 
his people, satisfied with taking a supply of pro- 
visions, offered them no violence. He denied the 
possibility of his making the circuit of Lybia, as 
his vessel was totally unable to proceed 53 . Xerxes 
gave no credit to his assertions * ; and, as he had 
not fulfilled the terms imposed upon him, he was 
executed according to his former sentence. An 
eunuch belonging to this Sataspes, hearing of his 
master's death, fled with a great sum of money to 
Samos, but he was there robbed of his property 


fectly well known. His surprise would be much more power- 
fully excited, at seeing a race of men of whom they hud no 
knowledge, habited like the members of a civilized society ; 
add to this, that granting them to be what they are not here 
represented, Barbarians, they might still have in their country 
some natural or prepared substances, communicative of 
different colours. I therefore accede to the interpretation of 
rubra, utentes veste, which is given by Valla and Gronovius, 
and which the word fl>oin*»»»] will certainly justify. — T. 

53 Unable to proceed.] — This was, according to all appear- 
ances, the east wind which impeded the progress of the 
which constantly blows in that sea during a certain 
period. — Lurcher. — See the note of Wesseling. 

*Thisy says Major Kennel, reminds me of the fate of Sir 
Walter Raleigh. It is very possible, continues the Major, that 
Sataspes was discouraged from prosecuting his voyage by 
the adverse winds and currents that prevail on the coast of 
Sierra Leone, &c. from April to October, and which would 
be felt by those who left ^Egypt or Carthage in the Spring, a 
more likely season to undertake an expedition of this sort 
than in winter, when the order'of things is different. — P. 71o. 


by a native of the place, whose name I know, but 
forbear to mention. 

XLI V. Avery considerable part of Asia was first 
discovered by Darius. He was extremely desirous 
of ascertaining where the Indus meets the ocean, 
the only river but one in which crocodiles are 
found ; to effect this, he sent, among other 
men in whom he could confide, Scylax of Cary- 
andia 5 *. Departing from Caspatyrus in the 


54> Scijlax of Cart/andia.] — About this time, Darius being 
desirous to enlarge his dominions eastward, in order to the 
conquering of those countries, laid a design of first making a 
discovery of them : for which reason, having built a fleet of 
(hips at Caspatyrus, a city on the river Indus, and as far upon 
it as the borders of Scythia, he gave the command of it to 
Scylax, a Grecian of Caryandia, a city in Caria, and one 
well skilled in maritime affairs, and sent him down the river 
to make the best discoveries he could, of all the parts which 
lay on the banks of it on either side; ordering him for this 
end to sail down the current till he should arrive at tho 
mouth of the river ; and that then passing through it into 
the Southern Ocean, he should shape his course westward, and 
that way return home. Which orders he having exactly 
executed, he returned by the straits of Babelmandel and the 
Red Sea; and on the thirtieth month after his first setting 
out from Caspatyrus landed in ^Egypt, at the same place 
from whence Necho king of iEgypt formerly sent out his 
Phoenicians to sail round the coasts of Africa, which it is most 
likely was the port where now the town of Suez stands, at 
the hither end of the said Red Sea. — Pridcaux. 

There were three eminent persons of this place, and of 
this name: — The one flourished under Darius Hystaspes, the 
second under Darius Nothus, the third lived in the time of 


M E L P O M E N E. S99 

Pactyian territories, they followed the eastern 
course of the river, till they came to the sea ; 
then sailing westward, they arrived, after a voyage 
of thirty months, at the very point from whence, 
as I have before related, the ^Egyptian prince 
dispatched the Phoenicians to circumnavigate 
Lybia. After this voyage Darius subdued the 
Indians, and became master of that ocean : 
whence it appears that Asia in all its parts, except 
those more remotely to the east, entirely resembles 

Polybius. This was also the name of a celebrated river iu 
Cappadocia. — T. 

* See Vincent as before quoted, Nearchus, p. 2/5, and 
Periplus, 178. From the last I extract what follows, as 
highly deserving attention. 

The name of Sataspes still lives in the same page of Hero- 
dotus, whom Xerxes put to death because he attempted the 
same circumnavigation in vain from the straits of Gades; 
and the following page celebrates Scyiax of Caryandia, who 
passed from the Indus into the Gulph of Arabia, to the point 
from whence the Phoenicians had commenced their expedi- 
tion. 1 have as little faith in the voyage of Scyiax as in that 
of the Phoenicians; but it is unjust that Darius should suffer 
the name of the iuferior to survive, while Necho should 
totally suppress the fame of the superior. The great argu- 
ment against both is the total failure of all consequences 
whatsoever,' the total want of all collateral evidence, and the 
total silence of all other historians, but those who have 
copied from Herodotus. 

This argument of the learned Dean seems to me conclu- 
sive : it is surely improbable that so great a discovery should 
neither be followed up, nor substantiated by other evidence, 
nor proclaimed by other writers. Major Kennel, however, 
thinks otherwise, and what he says of course demands the 
highest respect. — See p. 718. 

ioo M E L P O M E N E. 

XLV. It is certain that Europe has not hitherto 
been carefully examined ; it is by no means de- 
termined whether to the east and north it is 
limited by the ocean. In length it unquestionably 
exceeds the two other divisions of the earth ; but 
I am far from satisfied why to one continent 
three different names, taken from women, have 
been assigned. To one of these divisions some 
have given as a boundary the iEgyptian Nile, and 
theColchian Phasis; others the Tanais, the Cim- 
merian Bosphorus, and the Palus Masotis. The 
names of those who have thus distinguished the 
earth, or the first occasion of their different 
appellations, I have never been able to learn. 
Lybia, is by many of the Greeks said to have 
been so named from Lybia, a woman of the 
country ; and Asia from the wife of Prome- 
theus. The Lydians contradict this, and affirm 
that Asia 55 was so called from Asias, a son 
of Cotys, and grandson of Manis, and not from 
the wife of Prometheus ; to confirm this, they 


ss Asia.] — In reading the poets of antiquity, it is necessary 
carefully to have in mind the distinction of this division of 
the earth into Asia Major and Minor.— When Virgil says 

Postquam res Asias, Priamique evertere gentem 
Immeritam visum superis, 

it is evident that he can only mean to speak of a small por- 
tion of what we now understand to be Asia; it may not 
be amiss to remember, that there was a large lake of this 
name near Mount Tmolus, which had its first syllable long. 


adduce the name of a tribe at Sardis, called the 
Asian tribe. It has certainly never been ascer- 
tained, whether Europe be surrounded by the 
ocean: it is a matter of equal uncertainty, whence 
or from whom it derives its name. We cannot 
willingly allow that it took its name from the Sy- 
rian Europa, though we know that, like the other 
two, it was formerly without any. We are well as- 
sured that Europa was an Asiatic, and that she 
never saw the region which the Greeks now call 
Europe ; fhe only went from Phoenicia to Crete, 
from Crete to Lycia. — I shall now quit this sub- 
ject, upon which I have given the opinions ge- 
nerally received. 

XLVI. Except Scythia, the countries of the 
Euxine, against which Darius undertook an ex- 
pedition, are of all others the most barbarous ; 
among the people who dwell within these limits, 
we have found no individual of superior learning 
and accomplishments, but Anacharsis 5<5 the Scy- 

Longa canoros 
Dant per colla modos, sonat amniset Asia longe 
Pulsat pains. 

By Asia palus, the poet probably meant the Lake of Grygaus, 
near Sardis, and beneath mount Tmolus. — T. 

56 Anacharsis.] — Of Anacharsis the life is given at some 
length by Diogenes Laertius; his moral character was of such 
high estimation, that Cicero does not scruple to call him 
sobrius,continens, a'ustinens, et temperans. He gave rise to 

Vol. II, D d the 


thian. Even of the Scythian nation I cannot in 
general speak with extraordinary commendation ; 
they have, however, one observance, which for 
its wisdom excels every thing I have met with. 
The possibility of escape is cut off from those who 
attack them ; and if they are averse to be seen, 
their places of retreat can never be discovered : 
for they have no towns nor fortified cities, their 
habitations they constantly carry along with 
them, their bows and arrows they manage on 
horseback, and they support themselves not by 
agriculture, but by their cattle S7 ; their constant 


the proverb, applicable to men of extraordinary endowments, 
of Anacharsis inter Scythas : he flourished in the time of 
Solon. The idea of his superior wisdom and desire of learn- 
ing, has given rise to an excellent modern work by the Abbe 
Barthelemy, called the Voyage du jeune Anacharsis. With 
respect to what Herodotus here says concerning Anacharsis, 
he seemingly contradicts himself in chap, xciv and xcv of 
this book, where he confesses his belief that Zamolxis, the 
supposed deity of the Scythians, was a man eminent for his 
virtue and his wisdom. 

Dicenus also was a wise and learned Scythian ; and one of 
the most beautiful and interesting of Lucian's works is named 
from a celebrated Scythian physician, called Toxaris. 

It must be remembered, that subsequent to the Christian 
aera many exalted and accomplished characters were pro- 
duced from the Scythians or Goths. — T. 

37 By their cuttle.']-— " The skilful practitioners of the 
medical art," says Mr. Gibbon, " may determine, if they are 
able to determine, how far the temper of the human mind 
may be affected by the use of animal or of vegetable food ; 



abode may be said to be in their waggons 58 . How 
can a people so circumstanced afford the means 
of victory, or even of attack ? 

and whether the common association of carnivorous and 
cruel, deserves to be considered in any other light than that 
of an innocent, perhaps a salutary prejudice of humanity. 
Yet if it be true, that the sentiment of compassion is imper- 
ceptibly weakened by the sight and practice of domestic 
cruelty, we may observe that the horrid objects which are 
disguised by the arts of European refinement are exhibited 
in their naked and most disgusting simplicity in the tent of a 
Tartarian shepherd. The ox or the sheep are slaughtered 
by the same hand from which they were accustomed to re- 
ceive their daily food ; and the bleeding limbs are served with 
very little preparation at the table of their unfeeling mur- 
derer." — Mr. Gibbon afterward gives the reader the follow- 
ing curious quotation from the Emile of Rousseau: 

" II est certain que les grands mangeurs de viande sont en 
general cruels et feroces plus que les autres hommes. Cette 
observation est de touts les lieux, et de touts les terns : la 
barbarite Angloise est connue," &c. — I hope this reproach 
has long ceased to be applied to England by those who really 
know it, and that the dispositions of our countrymen may 
furnifh a proof against the system, in favour of which they 
were thus adduced. 

As for Rtjusseau, he deserves to be lashed for his impu- 
dence : for it is very certain that the French have committed 
more cruelties within fifteen years, than all the flesh-eaters 
in the world ever committed in fifteen hundred. 

58 In their waggons.] — See the advice of Prometheus to Io, 
in ./Eschylus : 

First then, from hence 
Turn to the orient sun, and pass the height 
Of these uncultur'd mountains: thence descend 
To where the wandering Scythians, train'd to beni' 
The distant-wounding bow, on wheels aloft 
Roll on their wattl'd cottages. Potter. 

See also Gibbon's description of the habitation of more 

D d o modern 

404 M ELPOME N E. 

LXVII. Their particular mode of life may 
be imputed partly to the situation of their coun- 
try, and the advantage they derive from their 
rivers ; their lands are well watered, and well 
adapted for pasturage. The number of rivers is 
almost equal to the channels of the Nile ; the 
more celebrated of them, and those which are 
navigable to the sea I shall enumerate ; they are 
these : The Danube *, having five mouths, the 


modern Scythians. " The houses of the Tartars are no more 
than small teats of an oval form, which afford a cold and 
dirty habitation for the promiscuous youth of both sexes. 
The palaces of the rich consist of wooden huts, of such a size 
that they may be conveniently fixed on large waggons, and 
drawn by a team, perhaps of twenty or thirty oxen." The 
same circumstance respecting the Scythians is thus men- 
tioned by Horace : 

Campestres melius Scythe, 

Quorum plaustra vagas rite trahunt domos, 

Vivunt et rigidi Gets 

Immetata quibus jugera, liberas 

Fruges et Cererem ferunt, 

Nee cultura placet longior annua. T. 

* Of these rivers the Danube is the most Western, the 
Tana'is the most Eastern. 

The Tyres, orTyras, answers in ail respects to the Dneister. 
There were many rivers which bore the name of Hypanis, 
but this, as Major Rennel, p. 56, observes, answers to the 
Bog. The Boristhenes is the largest river next to the 
Danube. The port of Cherson, established by Catherine of 
Russia, seems to answer to the situation of the Boristhenitae. 
The following three rivers, viz. the Panticapcs, Hypacyris, 
and Gerrhus, must have been of inferior note, nor have their 
situations been defined by modern geographers. The last 
river, the Tana'is, is unquestionably the Don. Don, says 



Tyres, the Hypanis, the Borysthenes, Pantica- 
pes, Hypacyris, Gerrhus, and the Tanais. 

XLVIII. No river of which we have any 
knowledge is so vast as the Danube ; it is always 
of the same depth, experiencing no variation 
from summer or from winter. It is the first river 
of Scythia to the east, and it is the greatest of all, 
for it is swelled by the influx of many others : there 
are five which particularly contribute to increase 
its size ; one of these the Greeks call Pyreton, 
the Scythians Porata ; the other four are the 
Tiarantus, Ararus *, Naparis, and the Ordessus. 
The first of these rivers is of immense size; flowing 
toward the east, it mixes with the Danube : the 
second, the Tiarantus, is smaller, having an in- 
clination to the west : betwixt these the Ararus, 
Naparis, and Ordessus have their course, and 
empty themselves into the Danube. These rivers 
have their rise in Scythia, and swell the waters 
of the Danube 59 . 

Major Itennel, seems to be a corruption of Tana, the proper 
name of a city which stood on or near the site of Azoph. 
Tana and Tanais are obviously the same. 

* D'Anville recognises the Porata in the Pruth, the 
Ararus in the Siret, the Neparis in the Proava, and the 
Ordessus in the Argis ; but the Tiarantus he has not made 
out. See Rennel, p. 9« 

58 JVatcrs'of the Danube.'] — Mr. Bryant's observations on 
this river are too curious to be omitted. 

The river Danube was properly the river of Noah, ex- 

P P 3 pressed 


XLIX. The Maris also, commencing among 
the Agathyrsi, is emptied into the Danube, which 
is likewise the case with the three great rivers, 
Atlas, Auras, and Tibisis ; these flow from the 
summits of Mount Haemus, and have the same 
termination. Into the same river are received 
the waters of the Athres, Noes, and Artanes, 
which flow through Thrace, and the country of the 
Thracian Crobyzi. The Cius, which, rising in 
Peeonia, near Mount Rhodope, divides Mount 
Haemus, is also poured into the Danube. The 
Angrus comes from Illyria, and with a northward 
course passes over the Tribalian plains, and mixes 


pressed Da-Nau, Da-Nauos, Da-Nauvas, Da-Naubus. He- 
rodotus plainly calls it the River of Noah, without the prefix; 
but appropriates the name only to one branch, giving th( 
name of liter to the chief stream. 

It is mentioned by Valerius Flaccus: 

Quas Tanais, flavusque Lycus, Hypanisque Noasque. 
This some would alter to Novasque, but the true reading 
is ascertained from other passages where it occurs ; and 
particularly by this author, who mentions it in another 
place : 

Hyberna qui terga Noae, gelidumque securi 
Haurit, et in tota non audit Amazona ripa. 

Most writers compound it with the particle Da, and 
express it Da-Nau, Da-Nauvis, Da-Naubis. Stephanus 
Byzantinus speaks of it both by the name of Danoubis, and 
Danousis, &c. ; vol. ii. 33£>. 

The reader will find a very fine description of the Danube 
and its alluvions, in Polybius, book iv. chap. 5. — It is obvious 
that Herodotus had never heard of the Ganges, the Burram- 
pooter, and other great rivers of India and China. 

M E L P O M E N E. 407 

with the Brongus ; the Brongus meets the Da- 
nube, which thus receives the waters of these 
two great rivers. The Carpis, moreover, which 
rises in the country beyond the Umbrici, and the 
Alpis, which flows towards the north, are both 
lost in the Danube. Commencing with the Celtae, 
who, except the Cynetae, are the most remote in- 
habitants in the west of Europe, this river passes 
directly through the center of Europe, and by .a 
certain inclination enters Scythia. 

L. By the union of these and of many other 
waters, the Danube becomes the greatest of all 
rivers ; but if one be compared with another, the 
preference must be given to the Nile, into which 
no stream nor fountain enters *. The reason 
why in the two opposite seasons of the year the 
Danube is uniformly the same j~, seems to me to 
be this : in the winter it is at its full natural height, 
or perhaps somewhat more, at which season 
there is, in the regions through which it passes, 
abundance of snow, but very little rain ; but in 


* This assertion must be understood with some limitation ; 
after the Nile actually enters /Egypt, it certainly is inert afed 
by no stream; but in its progress through Abyssinia it is cer- 
tainly swelled by many rivers, some of which are of consider- 
able magnitude. — T. 

+ The Danube however certainly varies in its bulk at 
different seasons, as is proved by Marsigli. 

D D 4 

408 M E L P O M E N E. 

the summer all this snow is dissolved, and emptied 
into the Danube, which together with frequent 
and heavy rains greatly augment it. But in pro- 
portion as the body of its waters is thus multiplied, 
are the. exhalations of the summer sun. The 
result of this action and re-action on the Da- 
nube, is that its waters are constantly of the same 

LI. Thus of the rivers which flow through Scy- 
thia, the Danube is the first ; next to this is the 
Tyres, which rising in the north from an immense 
marsh, divides Scythia from Neuris. At the 
mouth of this river those Greeks live who are 
known by the name of the Tyritse. 

LI I. The third is the Hypanis ; this comes 
from Scythia, rising from an immense lake, 
round which are found wild white horses, and 
which is properly enough called the mother of the 
Hypanis 6o . This river through a space of five 
days journey from its first rise, is small, and its 
waters are sweet, but from thence to the sea, 
which is a journey of four days more, it becomes 



The Ifi/panis.] — There were three rivers of this name : 
— One in Scythia. one in the Cimmerian Bosphorus, and a 
third in India, the largeft of that region, and the limits of the 
conquests of Alexander the Great. This last was sometimes 
called the Hypasis. — T, 

M E L P O M E N E. 409 

exceedingly bitter. This is occasioned by a small 
fountain, which it receives in its passage, and 
which is of so very bitter a quality 61 , that it in- 
fects this river, though by no means contemptible 
in point of size : this fountain rises in the coun- 
try of the ploughing Scythians*, and of the 
Alazoncs. It takes the name of the place where 
it springs, which in the Scythian tongue is £x- 
ampoeus, corresponding in Greek to the " Sacred 
" Ways." In the district of the Alazones the 
streams of the Tyres and the Hypanis have an 
inclination towards each other, but they soon 
separate again to a considerable distance. 

LIII. The fourth river, and the largest next 
to the Danube, is the Borysthenes 6 *. In my 
opinion this river is more fertile, not only than 
all the rivers of Scythia, but than every other 


ai Bitter a quality.] — This circumstance respecting the 
Hypanis is thus mentioned by Ovid : 

Quid non etScythicis Hypanis a montibus ortus 
Qui fuerat dulcis salibus vitiatur amaris. 

It is mentioned also by Pomponius Mela, book ii. c. 1. — T. 

* Herodotus distinguishes the XkvQki agorngs?, from thereat 

c * Borysthenes.J — The emperor Hadrian had a famous 
horse, to which lie gave this name ; when the horse died, his 
master, not satisfied with erecting a superb monument to his 
memory, inscribed to him some elegant verses, which are still 
in being. — T. 

410 M E L P O M E N E. 

in the world, except the ./Egyptian Nile. The 
Nile, it must be confessed, disdains all compa- 
rison ; the Borysthenes nevertheless affords most 
agreeable and excellent pasturage, and contains 
great abundance of the more delicate fish. Al- 
though it flows in the midst of many turbid rivers, 
its waters are perfectly clear and sweet ; its banks 
are adorned by the richest harvests, and in those 
places where corn is not sown the grass grows to 
a surprising height ; at its mouth a large mass of 
salt is formed of itself. It produces also a spe- 
cies of large fish, which is called Antacaeus ; 
these, which have no prickly fins, the inhabitants - 
salt : it possesses various other things which de- 
serve our admiration. The course of the stream 
may be pursued as far as the country called 
Gerrhus, through a voyage of forty days, and 
it is known to flow.from the north. But of the 
remoter places through which it passes, no one 
can speak with certainty ; it seems probable that 
it runs toward the district of the Scythian hus- 
bandmen, through a pathless desert. For the 
space of a ten days journey these Scythians in- 
habit its banks. The sources of this river, like 
those of the Nile, are to me unknown, as I 
believe they are to every other Greek. This 
river, as it approaches the sea, is joined by the 
Hypanis, and they have both the same termina- 
tion : the neck of land betwixt these two streams 
is called the Hippoleon promontory, in which a 
3 templQ 

M E L P O M E N E. 4ii 

temple is erected to Ceres 63 . Beyond this temple 
as far as the Hypanis, dwell the Borysthenites. — 
But on this subject enough has been said. 

LIV. Next to theabove, is a fifth river, called 
the Panticapes; this also rises in the north, and 
from a lake. The interval betwixt this and the 
Borysthenes is possessed by the Scythian husband- 
men. Having passed through Uylcea, the Panti- 
capes mixes with the Borysthenes. 

LV. The sixth river is called the Hypacyris : 
this, rising from a lake, and passing through the 
midst of the Scythian Nomades, empties itself 
into the sea near the town of Carcinitis 6 *. In. 
its course it bounds to the right Hylsea, and what 
is called the course of Achilles. 

LVI. The name of the seventh river is the 
Gerrhus; it takes its name from the place Gerrhus, 


6i To Ceres.] — Some manuscripts read to " Ceres/' others 
to " the Mother"; by this latter expression Geres must be 
understood, and not Vesta, as Gronovius would have it. In 
his observation, that the Scythians were acquainted neither 
with Ceres nor Cybele, he was perfectly right; but he ought 
to have remembered that the Borysthenites or Olbiopolita* 
were of Greek origin, and that they had retained many of 
the customs and usages of their ancestors. — Larcher. 

6 * Carcinitis."] — Many are of opinion that this is what is 
now called Golfo di Moscovia ; but as this is in the Taurica 
Chersonesus, now Crimea, it may rather perhaps be Precop, 
or some adjoining town. 


near which it separates itself from the Borys- 
thenes, and where this latter river is first known. 
In its passage toward the sea, it divides the 
Scythian Nomades from the Royal Scythians, and 
then mixes with the Hypacyris. 

LVII. The eighth river is called the Tanais 6 *; 
rising from one immense lake, it empties itself 
into another still greater, named the Mseotis, 
which separates the Royal Scythians from the 
Sauromatae. — The Tanais is increased by the 
waters of another river, called the Hyrgis. 

LVIII. Thus the Scythians have the advantage 
of all these celebrated rivers. The grass which 


65 Tanais.] — This river is now called the Don. According 
to Plutarch, in his Treatise of celebrated Rivers, it derived 
its name from a young man called Tanis, who, avowing an 
hatred of the female sex, was by Venus caused to feel an 
unnatural passion for his own mother; and he drowned 
himself in consequence in this river. It was also called the 
river of the Amazons; and, as appears from an old scholiast 
on Horace, was sometimes confounded with the Danube. — 
It divides Europe from Asia: 


See also Quintus Curtius. — Tanais Europam et Asiam me- 
dius interfkut. 1. vi. c. 2. Of this riververy frequent mention 
is made by ancient writers; by Horace prettily enough, in the 
Ode beginning with " Extremum Tanaim si biberes Lyce, 
&c."— T, 


this country produces is of all that we know the 
fullest of moisture, which evidently appears from 
the dissection of their cattle. 

LXI. We have shewn that this people possess 
the greatest abundance; their particular laws and 
observances are these: Of their divinities 66 , 
Vesta is without competition the first, then Ju- 
piter, and Tellus, whom they believe to be the 
wife of Jupiter*; next to these are Apollo, the 
Coelestial Venus, Hercules, and Mars. All the 
Scythians revere these as deities, but the Royal 
Scythians pay divine rites also to Neptune. In 
the Scythian tongue Vesta is called Tabiti ; Jupi- 
ter, and, as I think very properly, Pappus f ; 


66 Of their divinities.'] — It is not unworthy the attention 
of the English reader, that Herodotus is the first author who 
makes any mention of the religion of the Scythians. In most 
writings on the subject of ancient mythology, Vesta is placed 
next to Juno, whose sister she was generally supposed to be: 
Montfaucon also remarks, that the figures which remain of 
Vesta have a great resemblance to those of Juno. With 
respect to this goddess, the ancients were much divided in 
opinion ; Euripides and Dionysius of Ilalicarnassus, agree . 
in calling her Tellus. Ovid seems also to have had this in 
his mind when lie paid " Stat vi terra sua, vi stando Vesta 
yocatur." Most of the difficulties on this subject may be 
solved, by supposing there were two Vestas. — T. 

* Jortin on Spenser, 57. 

f Papccits] — or Pappaeus, signifying father; as being, ac- 
cording to Homer, sralng a*\a> t« din* re, the sire of gods and 
men. in every lar says Larcher, it is notorious that 

ap, pa, and papa, are the first sounds by which infants dis- 
tinguish their fathers. 

414 M E L P O M E N E. 

Tellus, Apia ; Apollo, (Etosyrus ; the Coelestial 
Venus, Artimpasa ; and Neptune, Thamimasa- 
das. Among all these deities Mars is the only 
one to whom they think it proper to erect altars, 
shrines, and temples. 

LX. Their mode of sacrifice in every place ap- 
pointed for the purpose is precisely the same, and 
it is this : The victim is secured with a rope, by 
its two fore feet; the person who offers the sacri- 
fice 6? , standing behind, throws the animal down 
by means of this rope ; as it falls he invokes the 
name of the divinity, to whom the sacrifice is 
offered ; he then fastens a cord round the neck of 
the victim, and strangles it, by winding the cord 
round a stick ; all this is done without fire, with- 
out libations, or without any of the ceremonies in 
use amongst us. When the beast is strangled, the 
sacrificer takes off its skin, and prepares to 
dress it. 

LXI. As Scythia is very barren of wood, they 
have the following contrivance to dress the flesh 
of the victim: — Having flayed .the animal, they 


«7 Who offers the sacrifice.}— Montfaucon, in his account 
of the gods of the Scythians, apparently gives a translation 
of this passage, except that he says " the sacrificing priest, 
after having turned aside part of his veil :" Herodotus says 
no such thing, nor does any writer on this subject whom I 
have had the opportunity of consulting. — T. 


strip the flesh from the bones, and if they have 
them at hand, they throw it into certain pots 
made in Scythia, and resembling the Lesbian 
caldrons, though somewhat larger ; under these a 
fire is made with the bones' 8 . If these pots can- 

66 Fire is made with the bones.'] — Montfaucon remarks on 
this passage, that he does not see how this could be done. 
Resources equally extraordinary seem to be applied in the 
eastern countries, where there is a great scarcity of fuel. In 
Persia it appears from Sir John Chardin they burn heath ; 
in Arabia they burn cow-dung; and according to Dr. Russel 
they burn parings of fruit, and such like things. The prophet 
Ezekiel was ordered to bake his food with human dung. See 
Ezekiel, chap, iv. 12. " Thou shalt bake it with dung that 
cometh out of man." Voltaire, in his remarks on this pas- 
tage, pretends to understand that the prophet was to eat the 
dung with his food. — " Comme il n'est point d'usage de 
manger de telles confitures sur son pain, la plupart des 
hommes trouvent ces commandemens indignes de la Ma- 
jeste divin." The passage alluded to admits of no such in- 
ference : but it may be concluded, that the burning of bones 
for the purpose of fuel was not a very unusual circumstance, 
from another passage in Ezekiel. — See chap. xxiv. 5. " Take 
also the choice of the flock, and burn the bones under it, 
aad make it boil well." — T. — See on this subject of fuel in 
Eastern countries, Russel's Aleppo, i. p. 39. 

The fuel employed for heating them (the bagnios) consists 
chiefly of the dung of animals, the filth of stables, and the 
parings of fruit, with the offals collected by persons who go 
about the streets for that purpose. These materials, accumu- 
lated in a yard belonging to the bagnios, both in drying and 
when burning are extremely offensive to the neighbourhood. 
The bakehouses use brushwood, but these are only trouble- 
some an hour or two in the day. Cow-dung is seldom used 


416 M E L P O M E N E. 

not be procured, they enclose the flesh with a cer- 
tain quantity of water in the paunch* of the victim, 
and make a fire with the bones as before. The 
bones being very inflammable, and the paunch 
without difficulty made to contain the flesh sepa- 
rated from the bone, the ox is thus made to dress 
itself, which is also the case with the other victims. 
When the whole is ready, he who sacrifices, throws 
down with some solemnity before him the entrails, 
and the more choice pieces. They sacrifice dif- 
ferent animals, but horses in particular. 

LXII. Such are the sacrifices and ceremonies 
observed with respect to their other deities ; but 
to the god Mars, the particular rites which are 
paid are these : — In every district, they construct 
a temple to this divinity, of this kind ; bundles of 
small wood are heaped together, to the length of 
three stadia, and quite as broad, but not so high ; 
the top is a regular square, three of the sides are 
steep and broken, but the fourth is an inclined 
plane forming the ascent. To this place are 
every year brought one hundred and fifty wag- 

in the city, but by the Arabs and peasants it is not cnly 
used as fuel but employed to make a fiat pan, in which they 
fry their eggs. Camel and sheeps dung with brushwood, or 
stalks of such plants as grow in the desert, are the common' 

* I have also heard that in the Isle of Portland, and in 
other parts of England, fuel is made of dried cow-dung. — 
The same was done, and probably is still done, in Scotland, 


gons full of these bundles of wood, to repair the 
structure, which the severity of the climate is apt 
to destroy. Upon the summit of such a pile, 
each Scythian tribe places an ancient soymetar 69 , 
which is considered as the shrine of Mars, and is 
annually honoured by the sacrifice of sheep and 
horses ; indeed more victims are offered to this 
deity, than to all the other divinities. It is 
their custom also to sacrifice every hundredth 
captive, but in a different manner from their 
other victims*. Having poured libations upon 


tTj Ancient scymetar.] — It was natural enough that the Scy- 
thians should adore with peculiar devotion the god of war; 
but as they were incapable of forming either an abstract 
idea, or a corporeal representation, they Worshipped their 
tutelar deity under the symbol of an iron cimeter. — Gibbon. 

In addition to this iron cymetar or cimeter, Luciah tells 
us that the Scythians worshipped Zamolxis as a god. See 
also Ammianus Marcellinus, xxx. 2. — Nee templum apud 
eos visitur, aut delubrum, ne tugurium quidem culmo tec- 
tum cerni usquam potest, seel gladius Barbarico ritu hurhi 
figitur nudus, eumque et Martem regionem quas circumcir- 
cant praesulem verecundius coluut. 

Larcher, who quotes the above passage from Amm. Mar. 
tells us from Yarro, that anciently at Home the head of a 
spear was considered as a representation of Marc. 

Varro, Festus, and Clemens Alexandrinus, affirm that 
Mars was worshipped by the Sabines and Romans under 
ihe form of a spear. Plutarch, in his Life of Romulus, says, 
the spear placed in the Royal Palace was called Curis or 

* See the History of the Conquest of Mexico, by Bernal 
Vol. II. E E *>iaa 

418 M ELPO M E N E. 

their heads, they cut their throats into a vessel 
placed for that purpose. With this, carried to 
the summit of the pile, they besmear the above- 
mentioned scymetar. Whilst this is doing above, 
the following ceremony is observed below : — 
From these human victims they cut off the right 
arms close to the shoulder, and throw them up 
into the air. This ceremon}* being performed 
on each victim severally, they depart : the arms 
remain where they happen to fall, the bodies- 
else where. 

LXIII. The above is a description of their 
sacrifices. Swine are never used for this purpose, 
nor will they suffer them to be kept in their 

LXIV. Their military customs are these: — 
Every Scythian drinks the blood of the first per- 

Diaz del Castillo, translated by Maurice Keating, Esq. 
p. 142. 

These animals were fed with game, fowls, dogs, and, as I 
have heard, the bodies of Indians who were sacrificed ; the 
manner of which, I have been informed, is this : they open 
the body of the victim, when living, with large knives of stone ; 
they take out his heart and blood, which they offer to their 
gods, and then they cut off the limbs and the head, upon 
which they feast, giving the body to be devoured by the wild 
beasts, and the sculls they hang up in their temples. How- 
singular must it appear, that in nations so remote, so similar, 
examples of cruelty and superstition should prevail ! — T. 


son he slays ; the heads of all the enemies who 
fall by his hand in battle, he presents to his king: 
this offering entitles him to a share of the plun- 
der, which he could not otherwise claim. Their 
mode of stripping the skin from the head 7 ° is 
this : — They make a circular incision behind the 
ears, then, taking hold of the head at the top, 
they gradually flay it, drawing it towards them. 
They next soften it in their hands, removing 
every fleshy part which may remain, by rubbing 
it with an ox's hide; they afterwards suspend it, 


70 The shin from the head.] — To cut off the heads of ene- 
mies slain in battle, seems no unnatural action amongst a 
race of fierce and warlike barbarians. The art of scalping 
the head was probably introduced to avoid the trouble and 
fatigue of carrying these sanguinary trophies to any con- 
siderable distance. Many incidents which are here related 
of the Scythians, will necessarily remind the reader of what 
is told of the native Americans. The following war-song, 
from Bossu's Travels through Louisiana, places the re- 
semblance in a striking point of view: — " I go to war to 
revenge the death of my brothers — I shall kill— I shall ex- 
terminate — I shall burn my enemies— I shall bring away 
slaves — I shall devour their hearts, dry their flesh, drink 
their blood — I shall tear off their scalps, and make cups of 
their sculls." 

The quickness and dexterity with which the Indians per- 
form the horrid operation of scalping is too well known to 
require any description. This coincidence of manners is 
very striking, and serves greatly to corroborate the hypo- 
thesis, that America was peopled originally from the northern 
parts of tjie old continent. — T. 

E E "3 

420 HELP O M E N £. 

thus prepared, from the bridles of their horseS, 
when they both use it as a napkin, and are proud 
of it as a trophy. Whoever possesses the greater 
number of these, is deemed the most illustrious. 
Some there are who sew together several of these 
portions of human skin, and convert them into a 
kind of shepherd's garment. There are others 
who. preserve the skins of the right arms, nails 
and all, of such enemies as they kill, and use 
them as a covering for their quivers. The hu- 
man skin is of all others certainly the whitest, 
and of a very firm texture; many Scythians will 
take the whole skin of a man, and having stretch- 
ed it upon wood, use it as a covering to their 

LXV. Such are the customs of this people : 
this treatment, however, of their enemies, heads, 
is not universal, it is only perpetrated on those 
whom they most detest. They cut off the scull, 
below the eye-brows, and having cleansed it 
thoroughly, if they are poor, they merely cover it 
with a piece of leather; if they are rich, in ad- 
dition to this, they decorate the inside with gold ; 
it is afterwards used as a drinking cup *. They 


* William de llubruquis travelled through Thibet in the 
13th century ; and it could not be very far from thence that 
these Scythians lived in the time of Herodotus. Speaking 



do the same with respect to their nearest con- 
nections, if any dissensions have arisen, and they 
overcome them in combat before the king. If 
any stranger whom they deem of consequence, 
happen to visit them, they make a display of 
these heads 71 , and relate every circumstance of 


of the inhabitants, he says, " In times past they bestowed on 
their parents no other sepulchre than their own bowels, and 
yet in part retaine it, makyng fine cuppes of their deceased 
parents skulls, that drinking out of them in the middest of 
their jollitie, they may not forget their progenitors." See 
Purchas, 430. Hole on the Arabian Nights, p. 257. 

71 Display of these heads.] — Many instances may be ad- 
duced, from the Roman and Greek historians, of the heads of 
enemies vanquished in battle being carried in triumph, or 
exposed as trophies; examples also occur in Scripture of the 
same custom. Thus David carried the Philistine's head in 
triumph; the head of Ishbosheth was brought to David as a 
trophy; why did Jael smite off the head of Sisera, but to 
present it triumphantly to Barak ? It is at the present day 
practised in the East, many examples of which occur in 
Niebuhr's Letters. This is too well known to require fur- 
ther discussion ; but many readers may perhaps want to be 
informed, that it was also usual to cut otf the hands and the 
feet of vanquished enemies. — The hands and feet of the sons 
of Rimmon, who slew Ishbosheth, were cut off and hanged 
up over the pool of Hebron. — See also Lady Worthy Mon- 
tague, vol. ii. p. 19. 

" if a minister displeases the people, in three hours time 
he is dragged even from his master's arms: they cut otf his 
hands, head, and feet, and throw them before the palace 
gate with all the respect in the world; while the sultan, to 
whom they all profess unlimited adoration, sits trembling in 
his apartment." — T. 

K E 3 If 


the previous connection, the provocations re- 
ceived, and their subsequent victory : this they 
consider as a testimony of their valour. 

LXVI. Once a year the prince or ruler of 
every district mixes a goblet of wine, of which 
those Scythians drink 71 who have destroyed a 


It may be added, that the body of Cyrus the younger, as 
Xenophon tells us in the Anabasis, had its head and right 
hand cut off. 

7a Those Scythians drink.] — These, with many other cus- 
toms of the ancient Scythians, will necessarily bring to the 
mind of the reader various circumstances of the Gothic my- 
thology, as represented in the poems imputed to Ossian, and 
as may be seen described at length in Mallet's Introduction 
to the History of Denmark, To sit in the Hall of Odin, 
and quaff the flowing goblets of mead and ale, was an idea 
ever present to the minds of the Gothic warriors ; and the 
hope of attaining this glorious distinction, inspired a con- 
tempt cf danger, and the most daring and invincible cou- 
rage. See Gray's Descent of Odin : — 

0. Tell me what is clone below;. 

For whom yon glittering board is spread, 
Drest for whom yon golden bed. 
Pr. Mantling in the goblet see 
The pure beverage of the bee ; 
O'er it hangs the shield of gold, 
'Tis the drink of Balder bold. T. 

See also in the Edda, the Ode of king Regner Lodbrog. 

" Odin sends his goddesses to conduct me to his palace.-— 
I am going to sit in the place of honour, to drink ale with 
the gods. — The hours of my life are passed away, I die in 
rapture." Some of my readers may probably thank me for 



public enemy *. But of this, they who have not 
done such a thing are not permitted to taste ; 
these are obliged to sit apart by themselves, 
which is considered as a mark of the greatest 
ignominy 75 . They who have killed a number 


giving them a specimen of the stanzas, as preserved by Olau* 


Pugnavimus ensibus : 

Hoe ridere me facit semper, 

Quod Balderi patris scamna 

Parata scio in aula. 

Bibemus cerevisiam 

Ex concavis crateribus craniorum. 

Non gemit vir fortis contra mortem 

Magnifici in Odini domibus 

Non venis desperabundus 

Verbis ad Odini aulam. 

pert animus finire ; 
Invitant me Dysa?, 
Quas ex Odini aula 
Odinus mihi misit. 
Laetus cerevisiam cum Asis 
In summa sede bibam : 
Vitaj elapsa? sunt horae ; 
ltidens moriar. T. 

* Something of this kind was done by the Parthians, 
when the head of Crassus was brought to their king. It 
should be remembered that the Parthians were descendants 
of Scythians, and not very far removed. 

73 Greatest ignominy.'] — Ut quisque plures interemit ; ita 
apud eos habetur eximius: cseterum expertem esse caedis, 
inter opprobria vel maximum. — Pomp. Mela, 1. U. c. 1. 

E E 4 

424 MELPO M E N E. 

of enemies, are permitted on this occasion to 
drink from two cups joined together. 

LXVTI. They have amongst them a great 
number who practise the art of divination ; for 
this purpose they use a number of willow twigs 74 , 
in this manner : — They bring large bundles of 
these together, and having untied them, dispose 
them one by one on the ground, each bundle at 
a distance from the rest. This done, they pre- 

7 * Willow twigs.] — Ammianus Marcellinus, in speaking of 
the Huns, says, " Futura miro pYassagiunt modo ; nam rec- 
tiores virgas vlfnineas colligenti s, easque cum incantamentis 
quibusdain secretis praestitutb tempore discernentes, aperte 
quid portendatur norunt." — Larcher, in quoting the above 
passage, remarks, that he has seen some trafces of this super- 
stition practised in the province of Berry. There is an ani- 
mated fragment of Ennius remaining, in which he expresses 
a most cordial contempt for ail soothsayers: as it is not 
perhaps familiar to every reader, I may be excused inserting 

Non vicinos aruspices, non de cireo astrologos, 
Non IsiacOs conjectores, non interpretes somnium, 
Non enim sunt ii aut sapieritia aut arte divina, 
Sed superstitiosi vates, impudentesque harioli, 
Aut inertes, aut insani, aut quibus egestas imperat. 

A similar contempt for diviners, is expressed by Jocasta, 
in the CEdipus Tyrannus of Sophocles : 

Let not a fear perplex thee, CEdipus; 

Mortals know nothing of futurity, 

And these prophetic seers are all impostors.— -T. 

MELPO M E N E. 425 

tend to foretel the future, during which they 
take up the bundles separately, and tie them 
again together. — This mode of divination is he- 
reditary among them. The enaries, or " effe- 
minate men," affirm that the art of divination" 
was taught them by the goddess Venus. They 
take also the leaves of the lime-tree, which divid- 
ing into three parts they twine round their 
lingers ; they then unbind it, and exercise the art 
to which they pretend. 

LXVIII. Whenever the Scythian monarch 
happens to be indisposed, he sends for three of 
the most celebrated of these diviners. When 
the Scythians desire to use the most solemn kind 


7S Art of die ination.] — To enumerate the various modes 
of divination which have at different times been practised by 
the ignorant and superstitious, would be no easy task. We 
read of hydromancy, libanomancy, onyctomancy, divinations 
by earth, fire, and air: we read in Ezekiel of divination by a 
rod or wand. To some such mode of divination, in all pro- 
bability, the following passage from Hosea alludes. " My 
people ask. counsel at their stocks, and their staff declareth 
unto them." 

This passage affords an additional explanation of that 
which occurs in vol. i. Whether this phenomenon was 
more common in Scythia, after a particular event, or whe- 
ther it were a disease or languor, the subjects of it formed 
a distinct class of people, and fell into every effeminate 
excess. — For further remarks on this subject see the end of 
this volume where the reader will rind a novel explanation, 
for which I ani indebted to Mr. Blair. 

426 M E L P O M E N E. 

of oath, they swear by the king's throne 76 : these; 
diviners, therefore, make no scruple of affirming, 
that such or such individual, pointing him out 
by name, has forsworn himself by the royal 
throne. — Immediately the person thus marked 
out is seized, and informed that by their art of 
divination, which is infallible, he has been indi- 
rectly the occasion of the king's illness, by hav- 
ing violated the oath which we have mentioned. 
If the accused not only denies the charge, but 
expresses himself enraged at the imputation, the 
king convokes a double number of diviners, who, 
examining into the mode which has been pur- 
sued in criminating him, decide accordingly. If 
he be found guilty, he immediately loses his head, 
and the three diviners who were first consulted, 
share his effects. If these last diviners acquit 
the accused, others are at hand, of whom if the 
greater number absolve him, the first diviners are 
put to death. 

LXIX. The manner in which they are exe- 
cuted is this : — Some oxen are yoked to a wag- 
gon iillecl with fagots, in the midst of which, 
with their feet tied, their hands fastened behind, 


76 King's throne.]—" The Turks at this day," says Lar- 
cher, " swear by the Ottoman Porte." Reiske has the same 
remark : " Adhuc obtinet apud Turcas, per Portam Otto- 
manicum, hoc est, domicilium sui prmcipis, jurare."— T. 

M E L P O M E N E. 427 

and their mouths gassed, these diviners are 
placed ; tire is then set to the wood, and the 
oxen are terrified to make them run violently 
away. It sometimes happens that the oxen 
themselves are burned ; and often when the 
waggon is consumed, the oxen escape severely 
scorched. This is the method by which, for the 
above-mentioned or similar offences, they put to 
death those whom they call false diviners. 

LXX. Of those whom the kins condemns to 
death, he constantly destroys the male children, 
leaving the females unmolested. Whenever the 
Scythians form alliances 77 , they observe these 
ceremonies: — A large earthen vessel is tilled with 
wine ; into this is poured some of the blood of the 
contracting parties, obtained by a slight incision 
of a knife or a sword * ; in this cup they dip a 
scymetar, some arrows, a hatchet, and a spear. 
After this they pronounce some solemn prayers, 


77 Form alliances.] — See book i. c. ~i \. 

fe On this subject, Larcher relates the following anecdote 
from Daniel's History of France: 

" When Henry the Third entered Poland, to take pos- 
session of the crown, he found on his arrival thirty thousand 
cavalry ranged in order of battle. The general of these ad- 
vancing towards him, drew his sword, pierced his arm with 
it, and receiving in his hand the biood which flowed from 
the wound, drank it, saying, " Evil be to him among us who 
would not shed in your service every drop of his blood; it 
is from this principle that I count it nothing to shed my 


and the parties who form the contract, with such 
of their friends as are of superior dignity, finally 
drink the contents of the vessel. 

LXXI. The sepulchres of the kings are in 
the district of the Gerrhi. As soon as the king 
dies 78 , a large trench of a quadrangular form is 
sunk, near where the Borysthenes begins to be 
navigable. When this has been done, the body 
is inclosed in wax, after it has been thoroughly 
cleansed, and the entrails taken out ; before it is 
sown up, they fill it with anise, parsley-seed, 
bruised cypress, and various aromatics. They 
then place it on a carriage, and remove it to 
another district, where the persons who receive 
it, like the Royal Scythians, cut off a part of 
their ear*, shave their heads in a circular form, 
take a round piece of flesh from their arm, wound 
their foreheads and noses, and pierce their left 
hands with arrows. The body is again carried 
to another province of the deceased king's realms, 


7 * King dies.] — A minute and interesting description of 
the funeral ceremonies of various ancient nations may be 
found in Montfaucon, vol. v. 126, &c. — T. 

The funeral ceremonies of the Scythian kings, and the 
golden goblets buried with them under large barrows, re- 
mind us- of the tombs found in Great Tartary, ascribed to 
the descendants of Genghis Kan, in the 13th century. See 
Archaeologia, v. iii. p. 222. 

* Bayer, in his Memoriae Scythicre, makes Herodotus say- 
that the Scythians cut off a piece of the king's ear. 

M E L P O M E N E. 4%9 

the inhabitants of the former district accompa- 
nying the procession. After thus transporting 
the dead body through the different provinces 
of the kingdom, they come at last to the Gerrhi, 
who live in the remotest parts of Scythia, and 
amongst whom the sepulchres are. Here the 
corpse is placed upon a couch, round which, at 
different distances, daggers are fixed ; upon the 
whole are disposed pieces of wood, covered with 
branches of willow. In some other part of this 
trench, they bury one of the deceased's concu- 
bines, whom they previously strangle, together 
with the baker, the cook, the groom, his most 
confidential servant, his horses, the choicest of 
his effects, and, finally, some golden goblets, for 
they possess neither silver nor brass : to conclude 
all, they fill up the trench with earth, and seem 
to be emulous in their endeavours to raise as 
high a mound as possible *. 

* Modern discoveries abundantly prove the general truth 
of our author's report concerning the sepulchres of the an- 
cient Scythians; if it be allowed that a part of the tumuli, 
found in the plains towards the upper branches of the Irtish, 
Oby, &c. are of so antient a date: or, on the other hand, if 
the sepulchres in question are not so ancient, it at least 
proves that the same custom prevailed amongst their de- 
scendants. It appears, that tumuli are scattered over the 
whole tract, from the borders of the Wolga and its western 
branches, to the lake Baikal. Those amongst them, which 
have attracted the greatest notice, on the score of the gold 
and silver (but principally the former) contained in them, 



LXXII. The ceremony does not terminate 
here. — They select such of the deceased king's 
attendants, in the following year, as have been 
most about his person ; these are all native Scy- 
thians, for in Scythia there are no purchased 
slaves, the king selecting such to attend him as 
he thinks proper : fifty of these they strangle 19 , 


lie between the JVolga and the Oby : for, those which are 
farther to the east, and more particularly, at the upper part 
of the Jenisei, have the utensils contained in them, of copper. 

It has not come to our knowledge, that any of these mo- 
numents have been found in the Ukraine, where the sepul- 
chres described by Herodotus should have been; however, 
it may be conceived that it is a sufficient testimony of the 
general truth of his description, that the}' are found so far 
west as the southern parts of Russia, and on the banks of the 
Okka, Wolga, and Tanais ; since much the same sort of 
customs may have been supposed to exist amongst the Scy- 
thians and Sarmatians generally; and it is certain that the 
Sarmatians and seceding Scythians occupied the tracts just 
mentioned. — B.cnnel. 

79 They strangle.] — Voltaire supposes that they impaled 
alive the favourite officers of the khan of the Scythians, 
round the dead body; whereas Herodotus expressly say^ 
that they strangled them first. — Larcher. 

Whoever has occasion minutely to examine any of the 
more ancient authors, will frequently feel his contempt ex- 
cited, or his indignation provoked, from finding a multi- 
tude of passages ignorantly misunderstood, or wilfully per- 
verted. This remark is in a particular manner applicable to 
M. Voltaire, in whose work false and partial quotations. 
with ignorant misconceptions of the ancients, obviously 
abound. The 1 learned 1'auw cannot in this respect be in- 
tircly exculpated; and I have a passage now before me, in 


M ELPO M E N E. 4&1 

with an equal number of his best horses. They 
open and cleanse the bodies of them all, which 
having filled with straw, they sew up again : then 
upon two pieces of wood they place a third, of 
a semicircular form, with its concave side up- 
permost, a second is disposed in like manner, 
then a third, and so on, till a sufficient number 
have been erected. Upon these semicircular 
pieces of wood they place the horses, after pass- 
ing large poles through them, from the feet to 
the neck. One part of the structure, formed as 
we have described, supports the shoulders of the 
horse, the other his hinder parts, whilst the legs 
are left to project upwards. The horses are then 
bridled, and the reins fastened to the legs; upon 
each of these they afterwards place one of the 
youths who have been stranded, in the following 
manner : a pole is passed through each, quite to 


which the fault I would reprobate is eminently conspicuous. 
Speaking of the Chinese laws, he says, " they punish the 
relations of a criminal convicted of a capital offence with 
death, excepting the females, idiom they sell as stares, fol- 
lowing in this respect the maxim, of the Scythians, recorded 
by Herodotus." On the contrary, our historian says, chap. 70, 
that the females are not molested. A similar remark, as it. 
■ 'Cts M. Pauw, is somewhere made by Larcher. —T. 
\\\ the mild and polished country of China, th i rot 

Chun-Tehi having lost one of his wives, sacrificed more than 
thirty slaves upon her tomb! lie was a Tartar, that is, ,■• 
Scythian; which historical fact, observes Larcher, may sr 
to make what Herodotus relates of the ancient Scythians 
the more c.c ; ible. 


the neck, through the back, the extremity of 
which is fixed to the piece of timber with which 
the horse has been spitted ; having done this with 
each, they so leave them. 

LXXIII. The above are the ceremonies ob- 
served in the interment of their kings : as to the 
people in general, when any one dies, the neigh- 
bours place the body on a carnage, and carry it 
about to the different acquaintance of the de- 
ceased ; these prepare some entertainment for 
those who accompany the corpse, placing the same 
before the body, as before the rest. Private 
persons, after being thus carried about for the 
space of forty days, are then buried 80 . They 


*° Are then buried.] — The Scythians did not all of them 
observe the same customs with respect to their funerals : 
there were some who suspended the dead bodies from a 
tree, and in that state left them to putrefy. " Of what con- 
sequence," says Plutarch, " is it to Theodorus, whether lie 
rots in the earth or upon it?— Such with the Scythians is 
the most honourable funeral." " 

Silius Itahcus mentions also this custom: 

At tiente i n Scythica suffixa cadavera truhcis 
Lenta dies sepelit, putri liquentia tabo. 

It is not perhaps without its use to observe^ that barbarous 
nations have customs barbarous like themselves, and that 
these customs much resemble each other, in nations which 
have no communication. Captain Cook relates, that in 
Otaheite they leave dead bodies to putrefy on the surface of 
the ground, till the flesh is intirely wasted, they then bury 
the bones.— Lurcher. See Uaivksivort/i's Voyages. 


who have been engaged in the performance of 
these rites, afterwards use the following mode 
of purgation : — After thoroughly wafhing the 
head, and then drying it, they do thus with 
regard to the body ; they place in the ground 
three stakes, inclining towards each other; round 
these they bind fleeces of wool as thickly as pos- 
sible, and finally, into the space betwixt the stakes 
they throw red-hot stones. 

LXXIV. They have among them a species 
of hemp resembling flax, except that it is both 
thicker and larger ; it is indeed superior to flax, 
whether it is cultivated or grows spontaneously. 
Of this the Thracians 8l make themselves garments, 
which so nearly resemble those of flax, as to 
require a skilful eye to distinguish them: they 
who had never seen this hemp, would conclude 
these vests to be made of flax. 

LXXV. The Scythians take the seed of this 
hemp, and placing it beneath the woollen fleeces 
which we have before described, they throw it 
upon the red-hot stones, when immediately a 


81 Of this the Thracians.] — Ilesychius says that the Thracian 
women make themselves garments of hemp : consult him at 
the word KaevaC »? : — " Hemp is a plant which has some re- 
semblance to flax, and of which the Thracian women make 
themselves vests." — T. 

Vol. II. Yf 

434 M E L P O M E N E. 

perfumed vapour 81 ascends stronger than from 
any Grecian stove. This, to the Scythians, is in the 
place of a bath, and it excites from them cries of 


5* 4 perfumed vapour.] — I translate, for the benefit of the 
reader, what Palaephatus says upon the subject of Medea's 
magic powers. 

Concerning Medea, who was said by the process of boiling 
to make old men young again, the matter was this; she first 
of all discovered a flower which could make the colour of the 
iiair black or white ; such therefore as wished to have black 
hair rather than white, by her means obtained their wish. 
Having also invented baths, she nourished with warm vapours 
those who wished it, but not in public, that the professors of 
the medical art might not know her secret. The name of 
this application was >&a.^vai<;, or " the boiling." When 
therefore by these fomentations men became more active, 
and improved in health, and her apparatus, namely the 
caldron, wood, and fire, was discovered, it was supposed that 
her patients were in reality boiled. Pelias, an old and infirm 
man, using this operation, died in the process. — T. 

The reader will necessarily be impressed with the particu- 
lar resemblance to this custom, which we find at this day 
among the Finlanders. The following description is given 
by one of the latest travellers in that country : 

Almost all the forest peasants have a small house built 
on purpose for a bath ; it consists of only one small chamber, 
in the innermost part of which are placed a number of stones, 
which are heated by fire till they become red. On these 
stones thus heated, water is thrown, until the company 
within be involved in a thick cloud of vapour. In this inner- 
most part, the chamber is formed of two stones for the ac- 
commodation of a greater number of persons within that 
small compass; and it being the nature of heat and vapour 
to ascend, the second story is of course the hottest, &c. — 

M E L P O M E N E. ^b 

exultation. It is to be observed, that they never 
bathe themselves : the Scythian women bruise 
under a stone, some wood of the cypress, cedar, 
and frankincense ; upon this they pour a quantity 
of water, till it becomes of a certain consistency, 
with which they anoint the body 83 and the face ; 


ba Anoint the body.] — When we read in this place of the 
custom of anointing the body amongst- an uncivilized race, 
in a cold climate, and afterwards find that in warmer regions 
it became an indispensable article of luxury and elegance 
with the politest nations, we pause to admire the caprice and 
versatility of the human mind. The motive of the Scythians 
was at first perhaps only to obtain agility of body, without 
any views to cleanliness, or thoughts of sensuality. In hot 
climates, fragrant oils were probably first used to disperse 
those foetid smells which heat has a tendency to generate ; 
precious ointments therefore soon became essential to the 
enjoyment of life; and that they really were so, may be 
easily made appear from all the best writers of antiquity. 
See Anacreon, Ode xv. 

Ejuot jt/.E^Ei fAveoKTt 

KocT<x.rt(p£iv y.a.grtva. 

Let my hair with unguents flow, 
With rosy garlands crown my brow. 

See also Horace : 

funde capacibus 

Unguenta de conchis. 

The same fact also appears from the sacred scriptures ; see 
the threat of the prophet Micab : " Thou shalt tread the 
olive, but thou shalt not anoint thee with oil " These 

F F o instances 

436 M E L P O M E N E. 

this at the time imparts an agreeable odour, arid 
when removed on the following day, gives the 
skin a soft and beautiful appearance. 

LXXVI. The Scythians have not only a great 
abhorrence of all foreign customs, but each pro- 
vince seems unalterably tenacious of its own. 
Those of the Greeks they particularly avoid, as 
appears both from Anacharsis and Scyles. Of 
Anacharsis it is remarkable, that having personally 
visited a large part of the habitable world, and 
acquired great wisdom, he at length returned to 
Scythia. In his passage over the Hellespont, he 
touched at Cyzicus 8+ , at the time when the inha- 
bitants were celebrating a solemn and magnificent 
festival to the mother of the gods. He made a 
vow, that if he mould return safe and without 

, injury 

instances are only adduced to prove that fragrant oils were 
used in private life for the purposes of elegant luxury ; how 
they were applied in athletic exercises, and always before 
the baths, is sufficiently notorious. 

I might also with great propriety refer to the costly and 
most precious ointment which was made by Moses at the 
command of God himself, and to which David so beautifully 
alludes;— " Behold, how good and joyful a thing it is for 
brethren to dwell together in unity. It is like the precious 
ointment upon the head that ran down unto the beard, even 
unto Aaron's beard, and went down to the skirts of his 
clothing." — T. 

84 Cvzicus.] — This Cyzicus was formerly an island, but ie 
now a peninsula. It was besieged by Mithridates, and ha*; 
been described by Pococke. Here also was a temple on 
Mount Dindymene, 


Injury to his country, he would institute, in 
honour of this deity, the same rites which he had 
seen performed at Cyzicus, together with the 
solemnities observed on the eve of her festival 8j . 
Arriving therefore in Scythia, in the district of 
Ilylnsa, near the Course of Achilles, a place 
abounding with trees, he performed all the par- 
ticulars of the abovementioned ceremonies, hav- 
ing a number of small statues fastened about 
him 86 , with a cymbal in his hand. In this situa- 

* s Eve of her festival.] — These festivals probably com- 
menced early on the evening before the day appointed for 
their celebration ; and it seems probable that they passed the 
night in singing hymns in honour of the god or goddess to 
whom the feast was instituted. See the Pervigilium Veneris. 
— Larcher. 

The Pervigilia were observed principally in honour of 
Ceres and of Venus, and, as appears from Aulus Gellius, and 
other writers, were converted to the purposes of excess and 
debauchery. — T. 

56 Statues fastened about him.] — These particularities are 
jelated at length in Apollonius Rhodius, book i. 1139- — 
This circumstance of the small figures tied together, is 
totally omitted by Mr. Fawkes in his version, who satisfies 
himself by saying, 

The Phrygians still their goddess' favour win 
By the revolving wheel and timbrel's din. 

The truest idea perhaps of the rites of Cybele, may be ob« 
tained from a careful perusal of the Atys of Catullus, one of 
the most precious remains of antiquity, and perhaps the 
*mly perfect specimen of the old dithyrambic verse. — T. 


4SS M E L P O M E N E. 

tion he was observed by one of the natives, who 
gave intelligence of what he had seen to Saulius, 
the Scythian king. The king went instantly to 
the place, and seeing Anacharsis so employed, 
killed him with an arrow.— If any enquiries are 
now made concerning this Anacharsis, the Scy- 
thians disclaim all knowledge of him, merely 
because he visited Greece, and had learned some 
foreign customs : but I have been informed by 
Timnes, the tutor of Spargapithes, that Anacharsis 
was the uncle of Idanthyrsus, a Scythian king, 
and that he was the son of Gnurus, grandson of 
Lycus, and great-grandson of Spargapithes. If 
therefore this genealogy be true, it appears that 
Anacharsis was killed by his own brother ; for 
Saulius, who killed Anacharsis, was the father of 
Idanthyrsus *. 

LXXVII. It is proper to acknowledge, that, 
from the Peloponnesians I have received a very 
different account : they affirm that Anacharsis 
was sent by the Scythian monarch to Greece, for 
the express purpose of improving himself in science; 
and they add, that at his return he informed his 
employer, that all the people of Greece were oc- 
cupied in scientific pursuits, except the Lacede- 
monians; but they alone endeavoured to perfect 


* A long life of this Anacharsis may be found in Diogenes 


themselves in discreet and wise conversation. This, 
however, is a tale of Grecian invention ; I am 
convinced that Anacharsis was killed in the man- 
ner which has been described, and that he owed 
his destruction to the practice of foreign customs 
and Grecian manners. 

LXXVIII. Not many years afterwards, Scyles, 
the son of Aripithes, experienced a similar fortune. 
Aripithes, king of Scythia, amongst many other 
children, had this son Scyles by a woman of Istria, 
who taught him the language and sciences of 
Greece. It happens- { ou ScyVJhes was treason- 
ably put to death by opargapithes, king of the 
Agathyrsi. He was succeeded in his dominions 
by this Scyles, who married one of his father's 
wives, whose name was Qpsea. Opasa was a na- 
tive of Scythia, and had a son named Oricus by 
her former husband. When Scyles ascended the 
Scythian throne, he was exceedingly averse to 
the manners of his country, and very partial to 
those of Greece, to which he had been accus- 
tomed from his childhood. As often therefore as 
he conducted the Scythian forces to the city of 
the Borysthenites, who affirm that they are de- 
scended from the Milesians, he left his army 
before, the town, and entering into the place, 
secured the gates. He then threw aside his Scy- 
thian dress, and assumed the habit of Greece. 
In this, without guards or attendants, it was his 


440 M E L P O M E N E. 

custom to parade through the public square, 
having the caution to place guards at the gates, 
that no one of his countrymen might discover 
him. He not only thus shewed his partiality to 
the customs of Greece, but he also sacrificed to 
the gods in the Grecian manner. After continu- 
ing in the city for the space of a month, and 
sometimes for more, he would resume his Scythian 
dress, and depart. This he frequently repeated, 
having built a palace in this town, and married 
an inhabitant of the place. 

LXXIX. It sr<9f an( isbfi w ^ver ordained %1 that 
his end should be untoi idiiaie; which accordingly 
happened. It was his desire to be initiated into 
the mysteries of Bacchus ; and he was already 
about to take some of the. sacred utensils in his 
hands, when the following prodigy appeared to 
him. I have before mentioned the palace which 


87 It seemed however ordained.] — This idea, which occurs 
repeatedly in the more ancient writers, is most beautifully 
expressed in the Persa? of /Eschylus; which I give the reader 
in the animated version of Potter. 

For when misfortune's fraudful hand 
Prepares to pour the vengeance of the sky, 

What mortal shall her force withstand, 
What rapid speed th' impending fury fly ? 

Gentle at first, with flattering smiles, 

She spreads her soft enchanting wiles; 
So to her toils allures her destin'd prey, 

Whence man ne'er breaks unhurt away. T. 


he had in the city of the Borysthenites ; it was a 
very large and magnificent structure, and the 
front of it was decorated with sphinxes and grif- 
fins of white marble : the lightning ss of heaven 
descended upon it, and it was totally consumed. 
Scyles nevertheless persevered in what he had 
undertaken. The Scythians reproach the Greeks 
on account of their Bacchanalian festivals, and 
assert it to be contrary to reason, to suppose that 
any deity should prompt men to acts of madness. 
When the initiation of Scyles was completed, one 
of the Borysthenites discovered to the Scythians 
what he had done. — " You Scythians," says he, 
: censure us on account of our Bacchanalian 
i rites, when we yield to the impulse of the deity. 
' This same deity has taken possession of your 
' sovereign, he is now obedient in his service, 
* and under the influence of his power. If you 
' disbelieve my words, you have only to follow 
( me, and have ocular proof that what I say is 

" true." 

88 The lightning.'] — The ancients believed that lightning 
never fell but by the immediate interposition of the gods ; 
and whatever thing or place was struck by it, was ever after 
deemed sacred, and supposed to have been consecrated by 
the deity to himself. There were at Rome, as we learn from 
Cicero de Divinatione, certain books called " Libri Fulgu- 
rates," expressly treating on this subject. In Ammianus 
Marcellinus, this expression occurs; " contacta loca nee 
intueri nee calcari debere pronuntiant libri fulgurates." The 
Greeks placed an urn over the place where the lightning fell- 
the Romans had a similar observance. 


" true." The principal Scythians accordingly 
followed him, and by a secret avenue were by him 
conducted to the citadel. When they beheld Scyles 
approach with his thiasus, and in every other 
respect acting the Bacchanal, they deemed the 
matter of most calamitous importance, and re- 
turning, informed the army of all that they had 

LXXX. As soon as Scyles returned, an in- 
surrection was excited against him ; and his 
brother Octomasades, whese mother was the 
daughter of Tereus, was promoted to the throne. 
Scyles having learned the particulars and the 
motives of this revolt, fled into Thrace ; against 
which place, as soon as he was informed of this 
event, Octomasades advanced with an army. 
The Thracians met him at the Ister ; when they 
were upon the point of engaging, Sitalces sent an 
herald to Octomasades, with this message : " A 
*' contest betwixt us would be absurd, for you are 
" the son of my sister. My brother is in your 
" power ; if you will deliver him to me, I will 
" give up Scyles to you ; thus we shall mutually 
u avoid all danger." As the brother of Sitalces 
had taken refuge with Octomasades, the above 
overtures effected a peace. The Scythian king 
surrendered up his uncle, and received the person 
of his brother. Sitalces immediately withdrew 
his army, taking with him his brother : but on 
S that 


that very day Octomasades deprived Scyles of his 
head. Thus tenacious are the Scythians of their 
national customs, and such is the fdte of those 
who endeavour to introduce foreign ceremonies 

amongst them. 

LXXXI. On the -populousness of Scythia I 
am not able to speak with decision ; they have 
been represented to me by some as a numerous 
people, whilst others have informed me, that of 
real Scythians there are but few. I shall relate 
however what has fallen within my own observa- 
tion. Betwixt the Borysthenes and the ilypanis, 
there is a place called Exampasus : to this I have 
before made some allusion, when speaking of a 
fountain which it contained, whose waters were 
so exceedingly bitter, as to render the Hypanis, 
into which it flows, perfectly impalatable. In 
this place is a vessel of brass, six times larger 
than that which is to be seen in the entrance of 
Pontus, consecrated there by Pausanias 89 the 


* 3 Consecrated there by ~Pausa:;itis.~\ — Nymphis of Heraclea 
relates, in the sixteenth book of his history of his countiy, 
that Pausanias, who vanquished Marclonius at Platea, iu 
violation of the laws of Sparta, and yielding to his pride, 
consecrated, whilst he was near Byzantium, a goblet of brass 
to those gods whose statues may be seen at the mouth of the 
Euxine, which goblet may still be seen. Vanity and inso- 
lence had made him so far forget himself, that he presumed 


444 M E L P O M E N E. 

son of Cleombrotus. Eor the benefit of those 
who may not have seen it, I shall here describe 
it. This vessel which is in Scythia, is of the 
thickness of six digits, and capable ot containing 
six hundred anaphoras. The natives say that it was 
made of the points of arrows, for that Ariantas 9 °, 
one of their kings, being desirous to ascertain the 
number of the Scythians, commanded each of his 
subjects, on pain of death, to bring him the point 
of an arrow : by these means, so prodigious a 
quantity were collected, that this vessel was com- 
posed from them. It was left by the prince as a 
monument of the fact, and by him consecrated at 
Exampaeus. — This is what I have heard of the 
populousness of Scythia. 

to specify in the inscription, that it was he himself who had 
consecrated it : " Pausanias of Lacedaemon, son of Cleom- 
brotus, and of the ancient race of Hercules, general of 
Greece, has consecrated this goblet to Neptune, as a monu- 
ment of his valour." — Athenceus. 

What would have been the indignation of this or any his- 
torian of that period, if he could have foreseen the base and 
servile inscriptions dedicated in after-times, in almost all 
parts of the habitable world, to the Caesars and their vile 
descendants? Many of these have been preserved, and are 
an outrage against all decency.— T. 

80 Ariantas.] — I have now a remarkable instance before 
rne, how dangerous it is to take upon trust what many learned 
men put down upon the authority of ancient writers. Hoff- 
man, whose Lexicon is a prodigy of learning and of in- 
dustry, speaking of this Ariantas, says, " that he made each 
of his subjects bring him every year the point of an arrow." 
For the truth of this he refers the reader to Herodotus, and 
the passage before us. Herodotus says no such thing. — T» 


LXXXII. This country has nothing remark- 
able except its rivers, which are equally large and 
numerous. If besides these and its vast and ex- 
tensive plains, it possesses any thing worthy of 
admiration, it is an impression which they shew 
of the foot of Hercules 91 . This is upon a 
rock, two cubits in size, but resembling the 
footstep of a man; it is near the river Tyras. 

»' Foot of Hercules.] — The length of the foot of Hercules 
was ascertained by that of the stadium at Olympia, which 
was said to have been measured by him to the length of 6*00 
of his own feet : hence Pythagoras estimated the size of Her- 
cules by the rule of proportion ; and hence too the proverb, 
ex pede Hercirfem, a more modern substitution for the ancient 
one of E £ ovux m ' ^ eo ^ ex - — See Aul. Gell. 1. i. and Erasmus's 
Adagia, in which the proverb of ex pede Herculem has no 
place. — T. 

Similar traditions and superstitions prevail in other parts 
of the world, and even at tins clay. The following is from 
Symes's account of his embassy to Ava: 

In the course of cur walks, not the least curious object 
that presented itself was a flat stone, of a coarse grey granite, 
laid horizontally on a pedestal of masonry, six feet in length 
and three wide, protected from the weather by a wooden 
shed. This stone, like that at Ponoodang, was said to 
bear the genuine print of the toot of Gandiua, and we were 
informed that a similar impression is to be seen on a large 
rock situated between two hills, one day's journey west of 
Memboo. On the plane of the foot, upwards of one hundred 
emblematical figuers are engraven in separate compartments: 
two convoluted serpents are pressed beneath the feet, and 
five conch-shells with the involutions to the right form the 
toes': it vvas explained to me as a type of the creation, and 
was held in profound reverence. There is said to be a similar 


446 M E L P O M E N E. 

LXXXIII. I shall now return to the subject 
from which I originally digressed. — Darius, pre- 
paring to make an expedition against Scythia, 
dispatched emissaries different ways, commanding 
some of his dependents to raise a supply of in- 
fantry, others to prepare a fleet, and others to 
throw a bridge over the Thracian Bosphorus. 
Artabanus, son of Hystaspes, and brother of Da- 
rius, endeavoured to dissuade the prince from his 
purpose, urging with great wisdom the indigence 
of Scythia ; nor would he desist till he found all 
his arguments ineffectual, Darius, having com- 
pleted his preparations, advanced from Susa with 
his army. 

LX^yXIV. Upon this occasion a Persian, 
whose name was CEbazus, and who had three 
sons in the army, asked permission of the king to 
detain one of them. The king replied, as to a 
friend, that the petition was very modest, " and 
" that he would leave him all the three."' CEba- 
zus was greatly delighted, and considered his 
three sons as exempted from the service : but the 
king commanded his guards to put the three 
young men to death ; and thus were the three sons 
of CEbazus left, deprived of life. 

impression on a rock on Adam's Peak, in the island of Cey- 
lon, and it is traditionally believed both by the Birmans, the 
Siamese, and the Cingalese, that Gaudma or Boodh placed 
one foot on the Continent, and the other on the island 
Ceylon. P. 248. 


LXXX V. Darius marched from Susa to where 
the bridge * had been thrown over the Bosphorus 
at Chalcedon. Here he embarked and set sail 
for the Cyanean islands, which, if the Greeks may 
be believed, formerly floated 9i . Here, sitting in 
the temple 9J , he cast his eyes over the Euxine, 


* The bridge of Darius, which was for the purpose of 
tranfporting his army into Scythia, through Thrace by 
the right, was laid across the Bosphorus, now called the 
Canal of Constantinople. — Rennel. 

92 Formerly floated.'] —The Cyanean rocks were at so little 
distance one from the other, that, viewed remotely, they 
appeared to touch. This optic illusion probably gave place 
to the fable, and the fable gained credit from the dangers 
encountered on this sea. — Lurcher. 

See a description of these rocks, in Apollonius Rhodius ; 
I give it from the version of Fawkes. 

When hence your destin'd voyage you pursue, 
Two rocks will rise, tremendous to the view, 
Just in the entrance of the watery waste, 
Which never mortal yet in safety past. 
Not firmly fix'd, for oft, with hideous shock. 
Adverse they meet, and rock encounters rock. 
The boiling billows dash their hairy brow, 
Loud thundering round the ragged shore below. 

The circumstance of their floating is also mentioned by Vale- 
rius Flaccus; 

Errantesque per altum 
Cyaneas T. 

ts In the temple.'] — Jupiter was invoked in this temple, 
under the name of Urius, because this deity was supposed 
favourable to navigation, s ? o? signifying a favourable wind. 
And never could t be more occasion for his assistance 

than in a sea remarkably tempestuous. — Larcher. 

448 M E L P O M E N E. 

which of all seas most deserves admiration. Its 
length is eleven thousand one hundred stadia ; 
its breadth, where it is greatest, is three thou- 
sand two hundred. The breadth of the en- 
trance is four stadia ; the length of the neck, 
which is called the Bosphorus, where the bridge 
had been erected, is about one hundred and 
twenty stadia. The Bosphorus is connected with 
the Propontis 94- , which flowing into the Helles- 
pont 95 , is five hundred stadia in breadth, and 


9 * Propontis.] — Between the Bosphorus and the Hellespont, 
the shores of Europe and Asia, receding on either side, 
inclose the sea of Marmara, which was known to the ancients 
by the denomination of Propontis. The navigation from the 
issue of the Bosphorus to the entrance of Hellespont, is 
about one hundred and twenty miles. Those who steer their 
westward course through the middle of the Propontis may 
at once descry the high lands of Thrace and Bithynia, and 
never lose sight of the lofty summit of mount Olympus, 
covered with eternal snows. They leave on the left a deep 
gulf, at the bottom of which Nicomedia was seated, the 
imperial residence of Diocletian ; and they pass the small 
islands of Cyzicus and Proconnesus, before they cast anchor 
at Gallipoli, where the sea which separates Asia from Eu- 
rope is again contracted into a narrow channel. — Gibbon. 

95 Hellespont.] — The geographers, who, with the most skil- 
ful accuracy, have surveyed the form and extent of the Hel- 
lespont, assign about sixty miles for the winding course, and 
about three miles for the ordinary breadth of these celebrated 
streights. But the narrowest part of the channel is found to 
the northward of the old Turkish castles, between the cities 
of Sestos and Abydos. It was here that the adventurous 
Leander braved the passage of the flood for the possession 


M E L P O M E N E. 44fl 

four hundred in length. The Hellespont itself 
in its narrowest part, where it enters the iEeean 
sea, is forty stadia long, and seven wide. 

LXXXVI. The exact mensuration of these 
seas is thus determined; in along day 95 a ship 
will sail the space of seventy thousand orgyse> 
and sixty thousand by night. From the entrance 
of the Euxine to Phasis, which is the extreme 
length of this sea, is a voyage of nine days and 
eight nights, which is equal to eleven hundred 
and ten thousand orgyce, or eleven thousand one 
hundred stadia. The broadest part of this sea, 
which is from Sindica 97 to Themiscyra, on the 
river Thermodon, is a voyage of three days and 


of his mistress: — It was here likewise, in a place where the 
distance between the opposite banks cannot exceed five hun- 
dred paces, that Xerxes composed a stupendous bridge of 
boats for the purpose of transporting into Europe an hun- 
dred and seventy myriads of Barbarians. A sea contracted 
within such narrow limits may seem but ill to deserve the 
epithet of broad, which Homer as well as Orpheus has iie- 
quently bestowed on the Hellespont.— Gibbon. 

96 In a long day.] — That is, a ship in a long day would sail 
eighty miles by day, and seventy miles by night. See Wes • 
seling's notes on this passage. — T. 

97 Sindica.] — The river Indus was often called the Sindus. 
There were people of this name and family in Thrace. Some 
would alter it to Sindicon, but both terms are of the same 
purport. Herodotus speaks of a regio Sindica, upon the 
Pontus Euxinus, opposite to the river Thtrmodon. This 

Vol. II. G g some 

450 M E L P G M E N E. 

two nights, which is equivalent to three thou- 
sand three hundred stadia, or three hundred and 
thirty thousand orgyae. The Pontus, the Bos- 
phorus, and the Hellespont, were thus severally 
measured by me; and circumstanced as I have- 
already described. The Pains Mieotis flows into 
the Euxine, which in extent almost equals it, 
and which is justly called the mother of the 
Euxine *„ 

LXXXVII. When Darius had taken a survey 
of the Euxine, he sailed back fesaki to the bridge 
constructed by Mandrocles the Samian. He 
then examined the Bosphorus, near which 98 he 


some would alter to Sindica, but both terms are of the same 
amount. The Ind or Indus of the east is at this day called 
the Sind ; and was called so in the time of Pliny. — Bryant. 

* See what Major Rennel says on this subject, p. 53, as 
well as on the bridges constructed over the Hellespont by 
Darius and Xerxes, p. 120, & seq. 

98 Near which."] — The new castles of Europe and Asia are 
constructed on either continent upon the foundations of 
two celebrated temples of Serapis, and of Jupiter Urius. 
The old castles, a work of the Greek emperors, command 
the narrowest part of the channel, in a place where the op- 
posite banks advance within five hundred paces of each, 
other. These fortresses were restored and strengthened by 
Mahomet the Second, when he meditated the siege of Con- 
stantinople : but the Turkish conqueror was most probably 
Ignorant that near two thousand years before his reign Da- 
; rius had chosen the same situation to connect the two conti- 
nents by a bridge of boats. — Gibbon. 


ordered two columns of white marble to be 
erected ; upon one were inscribed in Assyrian, 
on the other in Greek characters, the names of 
the different nations which followed him. In 
this expedition he was accompanied by all the na- 
tions which acknowledged his authority, amount- 
ing, cavalry included, to seventy thousand men, 
independent of his fleet, which consisted of six 
hundred ships. These columns the Byzantines 
afterwards removed to their city, and placed 
before the altar of the Orthosian Diana", ex- 
cepting only one stone, which they deposited in 
their city before the temple of Bacchus, and 
which was covered with Assyrian characters. 
That part of the Bosphorus where Darius or- 
dered the bridge to be erected, is, as I conjecture, 
nearly at the point of middle distance between 
Byzantium and the temple at the entrance of the 

LXXXVIII. With this bridge Darius was so 
much delighted, that he made many valuable pre- 

99 Orthosian Dia?ia.] — We are told by Plutarch, that ia 

honour of the Orthosian Diana, the young men of Ld.ce- 
dremon permitted themselves to be flagellated at the altar 
with the extremest severity, without uttering the smallest 
complaint. — T. 

* See Rennel on this subject, as before quoted. 

G G <2 

4.52 M E L P O M E N E. 

vsents I0 ° to Mandroclcs the Samian, who con- 
structed it: with the produce of these the artist 
caused a representation to be made of the Bos- 
phorus, with the bridge thrown over it, and the 
king seated on a throne, reviewing his troops as 
they passed. This he afterwards consecrated in 
the temple of Juno, with this inscription: 

Thus was the fishy Bosphorus inclos'd, 
When Samian Mandrocles his bridge impos'd : 
Who there, obedient to Darius' will, 
Approv'd his country's fame, and private skill. 

LXXXIX. Darius, having rewarded the artist 
passed over into Europe : he had previously or- 
dered the Ionians to pass over the Euxine to the 
Ister, where having erected a bridge, they were 
to wait his arrival. To assist this expedition, 
the Ionians and JEolians, with the inhabitants of 
the Hellespont, had assembled a fleet ; accord- 
ingly, having passed the Cyanean islands, they 
jailed directly to the Ister; and arriving, after a 
passage of two days from the sea, at that part of 
the river where it begins to branch off, they con- 
structed a bridge. Darius crossed the Bos- 

100 Valuable presents.] — Gronovius retains the reading of 
■nxKTt ^, which is very absurd in itself, and ill agrees with 
the context : the true reading is £«-xa, that' is, ten of 
each article presented. — See Casaubon on Athenaeus, audi 
others.— T, 

M EL'POMENl 4^3 


phorus, and marched through Thrace , and ar- 
riving at the sources of the river Tearus, he en- 
camped for the space of three days. 

XC. The people who inhabit its banks, affirm 
the waters of the Tearus to be an excellent re- 
medy for various diseases, and particularly for 
ulcers, both in men and horses. Its sources are 
thirty-eight in number, issuing from the same 
rock, part of which are cold, and part warm ; 
they are at an equal distance from Heraeum, a 
city near Perinthus ,CI , and from Apollonia on 
the Euxine, being a two days journey from both. 
The Tearus flows into the Contadesdus, the Con- 
tadesdus into the Agrianis, the Agrianis into the 
Hebrus, the Hebrus into the sea, near the city 

XCI. Darius arriving at the Tearus, there 
fixed his camp : he was so delighted with this 
river, that he caused a column to be erected on 
the spot, with this inscription : " The sources of 
" the Tearus afford the best and clearest waters 
" in the world : — In prosecuting an expedition 
" against Scythia, Darius son of Hystaspes, the 

" best 

101 Perinthus.] — This place was anciently known by the 
different names of Mygdonia, Keraclea, and Perinthus. — It 
is now called Pera. — T. 

G G 3 


" best and most amiable of men, sovereign of 
" Persia, and of all the continent, arrived here 
" with his forces." 

XCII. Leaving this place, Darius advanced 
towards another river, called Artiscus, which 
flows through the country of the Odrysians 102 . 
On his arrival here, he fixed upon one certain 
spot, on which he commanded every one of his 
soldiers to throw a stone as he passed : this was 
accordingly done ; and Darius, having thus raised 
an immense pile of stones, proceeded on his 

XCII I. Before he arrived at the Ister, he first 
of all subdued the Getce, a people who pretend to 
immortality. The Tracians of Salmydessus, and 
they who live above Apollonia, and the city of 
Mesambria, with those who are called Cyrmi- 
anians, and Mypsasans, submitted themselves to 
Darius without resistance. The Getae obstinately 
defended themselves, but were soon reduced ; 


101 Odrysians.] — Major Rennel refers these Odrysians to 
Thrace and the quarter in the neighbourhood of Adrianople. 
Darius comes to them before he arrives among the Gets, 
who were seated to the south of the Danube. Mention is 
Ri&de of them by Claudian in his Gigantomachia: 

Primus terrificum Mavors non segnis in hostem 
Odvisios impellit equos. 

Silius Italic us also speaks of Odrisius Boreas. — T. 

M E L P O M E N E. 450 

these, of all the Thracians, are the bravest and 
the most upright. 

XCIV. They believe themselves to be im- 
mortal ,0} ; and whenever any one dies, they are 
of opinion that he is removed to the presence of 
their god Zamolxis ,04 , whom some believe to be 


103 They believe themselves to be immortal.] — A man calls 
these people Dacians. " The first exploits of Trajan," says 
Mr. Gibbon, " were against the Dacians, the most warlike 
of men, who dwelt beyond the Danube, and who, during the 
reign of Domitian, had insulted with impunity the majesty 
of Rome. To the strength and fierceness of Barbarians, 
they added a contempt for life, which was derived from a 
vain persuasion of the immortality of the soul." 

The Getae are represented by all the classic writers as the 
most daring and ferocious of mankind; in the Latin language 
particularly, every harsh term has been made to apply to 
them : Nulla Getis toto gens est truculentior orbe, says Ovid. 
Hume speaks thus of their principles of belief, with respect 
to the soul's immortality : — " The Getes, commonly called 
immortal from their steady belief of the soul's immortality, 
were genuine Theists and Unitarians. They affirmed Za- 
molxis, their deity, to be the only true God, and asserted 
the worship of all other nations to be addressed to mere fic- 
tions and chimaTas: but were their religious principles any 
more refined on account of these magnificent pretensions ?" 

It is very easy to see that both Hume and Gibbon are 
very angry with the poor Gets, for their belief in the im- 
mortality of the soul. — T. 

104 Z'amolxis.] — Larcher, in conformity to Wesseling, pre- 
fers the reading of Zalmoxis. — In the Thracian tongue, Zal- 
mos means the skin of a bear ; and Porphyry, in the life of 
Pythagoras, observes, that the name of Zalmoxis was given 
him, because as soon as he was born he was covered with the 
skin of that animal. 

G G 4 

456 M ELPO M E N E. 

the same with Gebeleizes. Once in every five 
years they choose one by lot, who is to be dis- 
patched as a messenger to Zamolxis, to make 
known to him their several wants. The ceremony 
they observe on this occasion is this : — Three 
amongst them are appointed to hold in their 
hands, three javelins, whilst others seize by the 
feet and hands the person who is appointed to 
appear before Zamolxis; they throw him up, so 
as to make him fall upon the javelins. If he dies 
in consequence, they imagine that the deity is 
propitious to them ; if not, they accuse the victim 
of being a wicked man. Having disgraced him, 
they proceed to the election of another, giving 
him, whilst yet alive, their commands. This same 
people, whenever it thunders or lightens, throw 
their weapons into the air, as if menacing their 
god ; and they seriously believe that there is no 
other deity. 

XCV. This Zamolxis, as I have been in- 
formed by those Greeks who inhabit the Helles- 
pont and the Enxine, was himself a man, and 
formerly lived at Samos, in the service of Pytha- 
goras, son of Mnesarchus ; having obtained his 
liberty, with considerable wealth, he returned to 
his country. Here he found the Thracians dis- 
tinguished equally by their profligacy and their 
ignorance; whilst he. .himself had been accus- 
tomed to the Ionian mode ,qf liie, and to man- 


ners more polished than those of Thrace ; he had 
also been connected with Pythagoras, one of the 
most celebrated philosophers of Greece. He was 
therefore induced to build a large mansion, to 
which he invited the most eminent of his fellow- 
citizens : he took the opportunity of the festive 
hour to assure them, that neither himself, his 
guests, nor any of their descendants, should ever 
die, but should be removed to a place, where 
they were to remain in the perpetual enjoyment 
of every blessing. After saying this, and con- 
ducting himself accordingly, he constructed a sub- 
terranean edifice : when it was completed, he 
withdrew himself from the sight of his country- 
men, and resided for three years beneath the 
earth. — During this period, the Thracians re- 
gretted his loss, and lamented him as dead. In 
the fourth year he again appeared among them, 
and by this artifice gave the appearance of pro- 
bability to what he had before asserted. 

XCVI. To this story of the subterraneous 
apartment, I do not give much credit, though I 
pretend not to dispute it; I am, however, very 
certain that Zamolxis must have lived many years 
before Pythagoras : whether, therefore, he was a 
man, or the deity of the Getas, enough has been 
said concerning him. These Geta?, using the 
ceremonies I have described, after submitting 


458 M E L P O M E N E. 

themselves to the Persians under Darius, fol- 
lowed his army. 

XCVII. Darius, when he arrived at the Isler, 
passed the river with his army ; he then com- 
manded the lonians to break down the bridge, 
and to follow him with all the men of their fleet. 
When they were about to comply with his orders, 
Coes, son of Erxander, and leader of the Myti- 
lenians, after requesting permission of the king to 
deliver his sentiments, addressed him as follows : 

** As you are going, Sir, to attack a country, 
" which, if report may be believed, is without 
" cities and entirely uncultivated, suffer the 
" bridge to continue as it is, under the care of 
" those who constructed it : — By means of this, 
" our return will be secured, whether we find 
" the Scythians, and succeed against them ac- 
" cording to our wishes, or whether they elude 
" our endeavours to discover them. I am not 
" at all apprehensive that the Scythians will over- 
" come us; but I think that if we do not meet 
" them, we shall suffer from our ignorance of 
'" the country. It may be said, perhaps, that I 
" speak from selfish considerations, and that I 
" am desirous of being left behind ; but my real 
u motive is a regard for your interest, whom at 
" all events I am determined to follow." 

With this counsel Darius was greatly delighted, 

and thus replied: — " My Lesbian friend, when I 

+- " shall 


" shall return safe and fortunate from this ex- 

" pedition, I beg that I may see you, and I will 

" not fail amply to reward you, for your excel- 

" lent advice." 

XCVIIL After this speech, the king took a 
cord, upon which he tied sixty knots' 05 , then 


105 Sixty knots.] — Larcher observes that this mode of nota- 
tion proves extreme stupidity on the part of the Persians.* 
It is certain, that the science of arithmetic was first brought 
to perfection in Greece, but when or where it was first intro- 
duced is entirely uncertain; I should be inclined to imagine, 
that some knowledge of numbers would be found in regions 
the most barbarous, and amongst human beings the most 
ignorant, had I not now before me an account of some Ame- 
rican nations, who have no term in their language to express 
a greater number than three, and even this they call by the 
uncouth and tedious name of patarrarorincoursac. In the 
Odyssey, when it is said that Proteus will count his herd of 
sea-calves, the expression used is wf^Traev/Iat, he icill reckon 
them by Jives, which has been remarked, as being probably a 
relick of a mode of counting practised in some remote age, 
when five was the greatest numeral. To count the fingers 
of one hand, was the first arithmetical effort: to carry on 
the account through the other hand was a refinement, and 
required attention and recollection. 

M. Goguet thinks, that in all numerical calculations peb- 
bles were first used: -^yip^u, to calculate, comes from -4")<P°s> 
a little stone, and the word calculation from calculi, pebbles. 
This is probably true; but between counting by the five 
fingers and standing in need of pebbles to continue a calcu- 

* Larcher is severe upon the Persians, who were certainly not a stupid 
people. He possibly took this method to prevent the possibility of a 


sending for the Ionian chiefs, he thus addressed 
them : — 

" Men of Ionia, I have thought proper to 
" change my original determination concerning 
" this bridge: do you take this cord, and ob- 
" serve what I require ; from the time of my 

" departure 

lation, there must have been many intervening steps of im- 
provement. A more complicated mode of counting by the 
fingers was also used by the ancients, in which they reckoned 
es far as 100 on the left hand, by different postures of the 
fingers ; the next hundred was counted on the right hand, 
and so on, according to some authors, as far as 9000. In 
allusion to this, Juvenal says of Nestor, 

Atque suos jam dextrd computat annos. 

Sat. x. 24p. 
and an old lady is mentioned by Nicarchus, an Anthologic 
poet, who made Nestor seem young, having returned to the 
left hand again: 

Antholog. 1. ii. 

This, however, must be an extravagant hyperbole, as it 
would make her above 5)000 years old, or there is some 
error in the modern accounts. — There is a tract of Bede's 
on this subject which I have not seen ; it is often cited. 
Macrobius and Pliny tell us, that the statues of Janus were 
io formed, as to ixjark the number of days in the year by the 
position of his fingers, in Numa's time 355, after Caesar's 
correction 305. — Satttr/i i. 9- and Nat. Hist, xxxiv. J. — T. 

On this subject my friend Major Rennel thus expresses 

To me it seems clear that the figures called Arabic are 
from India, through the Arabians. I regard our arithmetic 
as Indian, and the figures may be traced as clearly as the 
Roman letters from the Greek. 

M E L P O M E N E. 46 1 

* departure against Scythia, do not fail every 
" day to untie one of these knots. If they shall 
" be all loosened before you see me again, you 
are at liberty to return to your country ; but 
in the mean time it is my desire that you pre- 
serve and defend this bridge, by which means 
" you will effectually oblige me." As soon as 
Darius had spoken, he proceeded on his march. 



For the following remarks on Book i. c. 105, I am indebted to 

Mr. Blair. 

THREE things should be particularly attended to in the 
interpretation of this author's words (Book i. § 105, and 
iv. 6*7.) ; viz. 

1st. That he is naming a bodily infirmity S«*«a »2c7o? (fem. 
dis.) supposed by the Scythians to have been inflicted as a 
punishment for their sacrilege, at the ancient temple of 
Venus, in the city of Ascalon. 

2dly. That the immediate effects of this disorder were 
evident to foreigners who visited the Scythians. 

odly. That this dreadful affliction descended (or was sup- 
posed to descend) to the posterity of the delinquents, who 
were generally denominated imgus (effeminate men) by the 

Various opinions have been entertained respecting the dis- 
ease in question ; but the one which has been most plausibly 
urged, is that Herodotus here means, in decent terms, to 
point out a detestable and unnatural crime. It may be 
asked, however, why should the author employ an obscure 
periphrasis or circumlocution, to express that which in other 
parts of the first book (§6l, 135) he has depicted very in- 
telligibly ? Besides, it is not conceivable how, any people 
should adopt the notion of this abominable vice being in- 
flicted as a national punishment ; since no man can be so 



stupidly ignorant as not to know that this sinful habit of 
which we are speaking is intirely voluntary and acquired. 

With regard to the effects of this vile propensity, there 
can be no doubt that (if it were indulged inordinately) men 
would by slow degrees become inert, and wholly incapaci- 
tated for the rites of a married life : but these do not seem 
to be the effects intended by Herodotus, when he speaks of 
their manifest appearance to common observation. Tra- 
vellers in Scythia were unlikely to discover the enarees by 
any other than outward and visible symptoms of effemi- 
nacy ; so that 1 am at a loss to reconcile this circumstance 
of notoriety with the opinion of a secret practice which ge- 
nerally superinduces invisible effects. Probably too, this 
practice itself, if it really prevailed in Scythia, did not exist 
to that degree which is common in warmer countries ; for 
example, in Italy and in Greece. 

But the idea which, in my mind, is most inconsistent with 
this explanation, is that of the disease being transmitted to 
the posterity of the delinquents. Now, if the debilitating 
consequences of this supposed vice rendered the offenders 
unfit for marriage, they would, d, fortiori, be disabled from 
the power of propagating their own infirmities to posterity ! 
Who could be the descendants of the impotent em^sec, their 
crimes having been punished by an incurable imbecility ? 
May we not thus derive, from the father of history himself, 
the means of refuting this opinion, although it has been sup- 
ported by the learning of more numerous and more profound 
critics, than any other interpretation? 

Let us now see whether some light may not be thrown on 
this inquiry by Hippocrates, who was a countryman of He- 
rodotus, as well as his contemporary ; and who has expa- 
tiated pretty largely on this effeminate state of the Scythians, 
in his book Trs^t xipuv, viccrvv} tottmv. 

From Hippocrates we learn that this disease was only ex- 
perienced by the opulent Scythians; that the notion of its 
divine original was altogether chimerical and superstitious; 
that the infirmity was to be attributed to a natural cause, 
viz. to constant riding on horseback, and exposure to very 
inclement weather; that its effects were principally confined 


M E L P O M E N E. 463 

to the hips and lower parts of the body, including the geni- 
tals; and that the disorder consisted, not merely in the loss 
of virility, but in chronical rheumatic dispositions (xeo/*«Ta) ac- 
companied xcith lameness and effeminate habits. This is all I 
can collect from Hippocrates, apart from his theory. The 
learned Dr. Ilensler, indeed, supposes these Scythians had a 
discharge from the urethra, a malignant kind of gleet: but 
this does not appear either from the account of Herodotus, 
or of Hippocrates, and is therefore only a conjectural idea. 

Upon the whole, I think these two ancient authors may be 
sufficiently reconciled, and the one may be adduced in illus- 
tration of the other. Both of them speak of the symptoms 
as evident and permanent, attacking those who had formerly 
been inured to hardships, and disposing them afterwards to a 
state of indolence or effeminacy. The natural constitution 
of the Scythians, in so cold a region, would unfit them, as 
Hippc crates observes, for connubial duties ; and, if the higher 
classes were chiefly afflicted with this infirmity, it might arise 
from something peculiar in their mode of living, and so be 
imagined by the common people to have been an hereditary 
evil, the fruits of sacrilegious profanations in the temple of 


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