This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
 From the age of five to twenty-four years they are taught to use the bow, to throw the javelin, to ride, and to speak the truth. They have the most virtuous preceptors, who interweave useful fables in their discourses, and rehearse, sometimes with sometimes without, music, the actions of the gods and of illustrious men. The youths are called to rise before day-break, at the sound of brazen instruments, and assemble in one spot, as if for arming themselves or for the chase. They are arranged in companies of fifty, to each of which one of the king's or a satrap's son is appointed as leader, who runs, followed at command by the others, an appointed distance of thirty or forty stadia. They require them to give an account of each lesson, when they practise loud speaking, and exercise the breath and lungs. They are taught to endure heat, cold, and rains; to cross torrents, and keep their armour and clothes dry; to pasture animals, to watch all night in the open air, and to eat wild fruits, as the terminthus,1 acorns, and wild pears. [These persons are called Cardaces, who live upon plunder, for ‘carda’ means a manly and warlike spirit.]2 The daily food after the exercise of the gymnasium is bread, a cake, cardamum,3 a piece of salt, and dressed meat either roasted or boiled, and their drink is water. Their mode of hunting is by throwing spears from horseback, or with the bow or the sling. In the evening they are employed in planting trees, cutting roots, fabricating armour, and making lines and nets. The youth do not eat the game, but carry it home. The king gives rewards for running, and to the victors in the other contests of the pentathla (or five games). The youths are adorned with gold, esteeming it for its fiery appearance. They do not ornament the dead with gold, nor apply fire to them, on account of its being an object of veneration.
1 Not the same plant as mentioned above, c. i. § 10, but the pistacia terebinthus.
2 An interpolation. The Cardaces were not Persians, but foreign soldiers. ‘Barbari milites quos Persæ Cardacas appellant,’ (Cornel. Nepos,) without doubt were Assyrian and Armenian Carduci. See b. xvi. c. i. § 24, and Xenoph. Anab. iv. 3. Later Gordyæi or Gordyeni, now the Kurds. Groskurd.
3 Cardamum is probably the ‘lepidum perfoliatum’ of Linnæus, or the ‘nasturtium orientale’ of Tournefort. Xenophon also, Expedit. Cyr. iii. 5 and vii. 8, speaks of the great use made of this plant by the Persians.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.
An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.