The Massagetae disclosed their valor in their war with Cyrus, to which many writers refer again and again; and it is from these that we must get our information. Statements to the following effect are made concerning the Massagetae: that some of them inhabit mountains, some plains, others marshes which are formed by the rivers, and others the islands in the marshes. But the country is inundated most of all, they say, by the Araxes River, which splits into numerous branches and empties by its other mouths into the other sea1
on the north, though by one single mouth it reaches the Hyrcanian Gulf. They regard Helius2
alone as god, and to him they sacrifice horses. Each man marries only one wife, but they use also the wives of others; not in secret, however, for the man who is to have intercourse with the wife of another hangs up his quiver on the wagon and has intercourse with her openly. And they consider it the best kind of death when they are old to be chopped up with the flesh of cattle and eaten mixed up with that flesh. But those who die of disease are cast out as impious and worthy only to be eaten by wild beasts. They are good horsemen and foot-soldiers; they use bows, short swords, breastplates, and sagares3
made of brass; and in their battles they wear headbands and belts made of gold. And their horses have bits and girths made of gold. Silver is not found in their country, and only a little iron, but brass and gold in abundance.