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This, too, is a Medic custom—to choose the bravest man as king; not, however, among all Medes, but only among the mountaineers. More general is the custom for the kings to have many wives; this is the custom of the mountaineers of the Medes, and all Medes, and they are not permitted to have less than five; likewise, the women are said to account it an honorable thing to have as many husbands as possible and to consider less than five a calamity.1 But though the rest of Media is extremely fertile, the northerly mountainous part has poor soil; at any rate, the people live on the fruits of trees, making cakes out of apples that are sliced and dried, and bread from roasted almonds; and they squeeze out a wine from certain roots; and they use the meat of wild animals, but do not breed tame animals. Thus much I add concerning the Medes. As for the institutions in common use throughout the whole of Media, since they prove to have been the same as those of the Persians because of the conquest of the Persians, I shall discuss them in my account of the latter.

1 So the Greek of all MSS.; But the editors since Du Theil regard the Greek text as corrupt, assuming that the women in question did not have plural husbands. Accordingly, some emend the text to make it say, "for their husbands to have as many wives as possible and consider less than five a calamity".

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