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There is a plain in Asia shut in on all sides by mountains through which there are five passes.All this description appears to be purely imaginative. But “the idea of the chapter” (say How and Wells) “is quite correct; the control of irrigation is in the East one of the prerogatives of government, and great sums are charged for the use of water.” This plain was once the Chorasmians', being at the boundaries of the Chorasmians, the Hyrcanians, Parthians, Sarangians, and Thamanaei, but since the Persians have held power it has been the king's. Now from the encircling mountains flows a great river whose name is the Aces. Its stream divides into five channels and formerly watered the lands of the above-mentioned peoples, going to each through a different pass, but since the beginning of the Persian rule the king has blocked the mountain passes, and closed each passage with a gate; with the water barred from outlet, the plain within the mountains becomes a lake, seeing that the river pou
The Persians then put out from Croton; but their ships were wrecked on the coast of Iapygia, and they were made slaves in the country until Gillus, an exile from Tarentum, released and restored them to Darius, who was ready to give him whatever he wanted in return. Gillus chose to be restored to Tarentum and told the story of his misfortune; but, so as not to be the occasion of agitating Greece, if on his account a great expedition sailed against Italy, he said that it was enough that the Cnidians alone be his escort; for he supposed that the Tarentines would be the readier to receive him back as the Cnidians were their friends. Darius kept his word, and sent a messenger to the men of Cnidos, telling them to take Gillus back to Tarentum. They obeyed Darius; but they could not persuade the Tarentines, and were not able to apply force. This is what happened, and these Persians were the first who came from Asia into Hellas, and they came to view the country for this reason.
After taking Babylon, Darius himself marched against the Scythians. For since Asia was bursting with men and vast revenues were coming in, Darius desired to punish the Scythians for the wrong they had begun when they invaded Media first and defeated those who opposed them in battle. For the Scythians, as I have said before, ruled upper AsiaThat is, the eastern highlands of the Persian empire. for twenty-eight years; they invaded Asia in their pursuit of the Cimmerians, and ended the power of thAsia in their pursuit of the Cimmerians, and ended the power of the Medes, who were the rulers of Asia before the Scythians came. But when the Scythians had been away from their homes for twenty-eight years and returned to their country after so long an absence, as much trouble as their Median war awaited them. TheAsia before the Scythians came. But when the Scythians had been away from their homes for twenty-eight years and returned to their country after so long an absence, as much trouble as their Median war awaited them. They found themselves opposed by a great force; for the Scythian women, when their husbands were away for so long, turned to their slaves.
The Scythians heard this and acted on it; and their enemies, stunned by what they saw, did not think of fighting, but fled. Thus, the Scythians ruled Asia and were driven out again by the Medes, and returned to their own country in such a way. Desiring to punish them for what they had done, Darius assembled an army against them.
There is yet another story, to which account I myself especially incline. It is to this effect. The nomadic Scythians inhabiting Asia, when hard pressed in war by the Massagetae, fled across the AraxesHerodotus' idea of the course of this river is uncertain; cp. Hdt. 1.202. He appears to extend the Araxes, which flowed from the west into the Caspian, into regions east of that sea. river to the Cimmerian country (for the country which the Scythians now inhabit is said to have belonged to the Cimmerians before), and the Cimmerians, at the advance of the Scythians, deliberated as men threatened by a great force should. Opinions were divided; both were strongly held, but that of the princes was the more honorable; for the people believed that their part was to withdraw and that there was no need to risk their lives for the dust of the earth; but the princes were for fighting to defend their country against the attackers. Neither side could persuade the other, neither the people the princ
And to this day there are Cimmerian walls in Scythia, and a Cimmerian ferry, and there is a country CimmeriaThe name survives in “Crimea.” The “Cimmerian ferry” is probably the narrow entrance of the Sea of Azov. and a strait named Cimmerian. Furthermore, it is evident that the Cimmerians in their flight from the Scythians into Asia also made a colony on the peninsula where the Greek city of Sinope has since been founded; and it is clear that the Scythians pursued them and invaded Media, missing their way; for the Cimmerians always fled along the coast, and the Scythians pursued with the Caucasus on their right until they came into the Median land, turning inland on their way. That is the other story current among Greeks and foreigners
I have said this much of the Hyperboreans, and let it suffice; for I do not tell the story of that Abaris, alleged to be a Hyperborean, who carried the arrow over the whole world, fasting all the while. But if there are men beyond the north wind, then there are others beyond the south. And I laugh to see how many have before now drawn maps of the world, not one of them reasonably; for they draw the world as round as if fashioned by compasses, encircled by the Ocean river, and Asia and Europe of a like extent. For myself, I will in a few words indicate the extent of the two, and how each should be drawn.
So much for the parts of Asia west of the Persians. But what is beyond the Persians, and Medes, and Saspires, and Colchians, east and toward the rising sun, this is bounded on the one hand by the Red Sea, and to the north by the Caspian Sea and the Araxes river, which flows toward the sun's rising. As far as India, Asia is an inhabited land; but thereafter, all to the east is desolation, nor can anyone say what kind of land is there. So much for the parts of Asia west of the Persians. But what is beyond the Persians, and Medes, and Saspires, and Colchians, east and toward the rising sun, this is bounded on the one hand by the Red Sea, and to the north by the Caspian Sea and the Araxes river, which flows toward the sun's rising. As far as India, Asia is an inhabited land; but thereafter, all to the east is desolation, nor can anyone say what kind of land is there.
Such is Asia, and such its extent. But Libya is on this second peninsula; for Libya comes next after Egypt. The Egyptian part of this peninsula is narrow; for from our sea to the Red Sea it is a distance of a hundred and twenty-five miles; that is, a thousand stades; but after this narrow part, the peninsula which is called Libya is very broad.