), a queen of the Massagetae.
According to Herodotus, when Cyrus the Great was contemplating the reduction of that nation (B. C. 529), Tomyris was a widow, and the Persian king sent an embassy to her with an offer of marriage.
This she indignantly rejected, and Cyrus then prepared to cross the river Araxes, and to invade her territory. Tomyris warned him by a herald not to be guilty of such injustice, but added that, if he were bent upon it, she would not dispute with him the passage of the river, but would either advance three days' journey into his territory, or allow him to come as far into her's, that they might decide their quarrel by a fair battle. Cyrus chose the latter alternative, and by a stratagem surprised and captured Spargapises, the son of Tomyris.
The queen demanded his restoration, with the threat that Cyrus, as he loved blood, should have plenty of it if he refused her. The Persian would not release his prisoner, who slew himself through grief, and a battle ensued, in which Cyrus was defeated and slain. Tomyris is described by Herodotus as roaming about the field after her victory in search of her enemy's body, on finding which she fastened his head in a leathern bag full of blood, in accordance with her threat. (Hdt. 1.205