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Croesus was a Lydian by birth, son of Alyattes, and sovereign of all the nations west of the river Halys, which flows from the south between Syria and Paphlagonia and empties into the sea called Euxine. This Croesus was the first foreigner whom we know who subjugated some Greeks and took tribute from them, and won the friendship of others: the former being the Ionians, the Aeolians, and the Dorians of Asia, and the latter the Lacedaemonians. Before the reign of Croesus, all Greeks were free: fows from the south between Syria and Paphlagonia and empties into the sea called Euxine. This Croesus was the first foreigner whom we know who subjugated some Greeks and took tribute from them, and won the friendship of others: the former being the Ionians, the Aeolians, and the Dorians of Asia, and the latter the Lacedaemonians. Before the reign of Croesus, all Greeks were free: for the Cimmerian host which invaded Ionia before his time did not subjugate the cities, but raided and robbed them.
Passing over with his army, Croesus then came to the part of Cappadocia called Pteria (it is the strongest part of this country and lies on the line of the city of Sinope on the Euxine sea), where he encamped and devastated the farms of the Syrians; and he took and enslaved the city of the Pterians, and took all the places around it also, and drove the Syrians from their homes, though they had done him no harm. Cyrus, mustering his army, advanced to oppose Croesus, gathering to him all those who lived along the way. But before beginning his march, he sent heralds to the Ionians to try to draw them away from Croesus. The Ionians would not be prevailed on; but when Cyrus arrived and encamped face to face with Croesus, there in the Pterian country the armies had a trial of strength. The fighting was fierce, many on both sides fell, and at nightfall they disengaged with neither side victorious. The two sides contended thus.
So saying, he sent a messenger at once to one of Astyages' cowherds, who he knew pastured his herds in the likeliest spots and where the mountains were most infested with wild beasts. The man's name was Mitradates, and his wife was a slave like him; her name was in the Greek language Cyno, in the Median Spako: for “spax” is the Median word for dog. The foothills of the mountains where this cowherd pastured his cattle are north of Ecbatana, towards the Euxine sea; for the rest of Media is everywhere a level plain, but here, on the side of the Saspires,In the north-western part of Media: modern Azerbaijan. the land is very high and mountainous and covered with woods. So when the cowherd came in haste at the summons, Harpagus said: “Astyages wants you to take this child and leave it in the most desolate part of the mountains so that it will perish as quickly as possible. And he wants me to tell you that if you do not kill it, but preserve it somehow, you will undergo the most harrowing d<
The Ister, since it flows through inhabited country, is known from many reports; but no one can speak of the source of the Nile; for Libya, though which it runs, is uninhabited and desert. Regarding its course, I have related everything that I could learn by inquiry; and it issues into Egypt. Now Egypt lies about opposite to the mountainous part of Cilicia; from there, it is a straight five days' journey for an unencumbered man to Sinope on the Euxine; and Sinope lies opposite the place where the Ister falls into the sea. Thus I suppose the course of the Nile in its passage through Libya to be like the course of the Ister.
The twelfth, the Bactrians as far as the land of the Aegli; these paid three hundred and sixty. The thirteenth, the Pactyic country and Armenia and the lands adjoining as far as the Euxine sea; these paid four hundred. The fourteenth province was made up of the Sagartii, Sarangeis, Thamanaei, Utii, Myci, and the inhabitants of those islands of the southern sea on which the king settles the so-called displaced people;The regular term for the peoples of individuals who were transplanted from the western into the eastern parts of the Persian empire; the a)na‐ implying removal from the sea to the highlands. these together paid a tribute of six hundred talents. The Sacae and Caspii were the fifteenth, paying two hundred and fifty. The Parthians, Chorasmians, Sogdi, and Arii were the sixteenth, paying three hundred.
This is what the Scythians say about themselves and the country north of them. But the story told by the Greeks who live in Pontus is as follows. Heracles, driving the cattle of Geryones, came to this land, which was then desolate, but is now inhabited by the Scythians. Geryones lived west of the Pontus,Very far west, Gadira being identified with Cadiz. settled in the island called by the Greeks Erythea, on the shore of Ocean near Gadira, outside the pillars of Heracles. As for Ocean, the GreePontus,Very far west, Gadira being identified with Cadiz. settled in the island called by the Greeks Erythea, on the shore of Ocean near Gadira, outside the pillars of Heracles. As for Ocean, the Greeks say that it flows around the whole world from where the sun rises, but they cannot prove that this is so. Heracles came from there to the country now called Scythia, where, encountering wintry and frosty weather, he drew his lion's skin over him and fell asleep, and while he slept his mares, which were grazing yoked to the chariot, were spirited away by divine fortune.
So he drew one of his bows (for until then Heracles always carried two), and showed her the belt, and gave her the bow and the belt, that had a golden vessel on the end of its clasp; and, having given them, he departed. But when the sons born to her were grown men, she gave them names, calling one of them Agathyrsus and the next Gelonus and the youngest Scythes; furthermore, remembering the instructions, she did as she was told. Two of her sons, Agathyrsus and Gelonus, were cast out by their mother and left the country, unable to fulfill the requirements set; but Scythes, the youngest, fulfilled them and so stayed in the land. From Scythes son of Heracles comes the whole line of the kings of Scythia; and it is because of the vessel that the Scythians carry vessels on their belts to this day. This alone his mother did for Scythes. This is what the Greek dwellers in Pontus say.
North of the port of the Borysthenites,Another Milesian colony, called by Greeks generally Olbia (the Fortunate) or Miletopolis; it was the most important Greek center north of the Euxine. which lies midway along the coast of Scythia, the first inhabitants are the Callippidae, who are Scythian Greeks; and beyond them another tribe called Alazones; these and the Callippidae, though in other ways they live like the Scythians, plant and eat grain, onions, garlic, lentils, and millet. Above the Alazones live Scythian farmers, who plant grain not to eat but to sell; north of these, the Neuri; north of the Neuri, the land is uninhabited so far as we know.