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river Halys. This stream, which rises in the mountain country of
Armenia, runs first through Cilicia; afterwards it flows for a while
with the Matieni on the right, and the Phrygians on the left: then,
when they are passed, it proceeds with a northern course, separating
the Cappadocian Syrians from the Paphlagonians, who occupy the left
bank, thus forming the boundary of almost the whole of Lower Asia,
from the sea opposite Cyprus to the Euxine. Just there is the neck
of the peninsula, a journey of five days across for an active walker.
There were two motives which led Croesus to attack Cappadocia:
firstly, he coveted the land, which he wished to add to his own
dominions; but the chief reason was that he wanted to revenge on Cyrus
the wrongs of Astyages, and was made confident by the oracle of
being able so to do: for Astyages, son of Cyaxares and king of the
Medes, who had been dethroned by Cyrus, son of Cambyses, was
Croesus' brother by marriage. This marriage had taken place under
circumstances which I will now relate. A band of Scythian nomads,
who had left their own land on occasion of some disturbance, had taken
refuge in Media. Cyaxares, son of Phraortes, and grandson of
Deioces, was at that time king of the country. Recognising them as
suppliants, he began by treating them with kindness, and coming
presently to esteem them highly, he intrusted to their care a number
of boys, whom they were to teach their language and to instruct in the
use of the bow. Time passed, and the Scythians employed themselves,
day after day, in hunting, and always brought home some game; but at
last it chanced that one day they took nothing. On their return to
Cyaxares with empty hands, that monarch, who was hot-tempered, as he
showed upon the occasion, received them very rudely and insultingly.
In consequence of this treatment, which they did not conceive
themselves to have deserved, the Scythians determined to take one of
the boys whom they had in charge, cut him in pieces, and then dressing
the flesh as they were wont to dress that of the wild animals, serve
it up to Cyaxares as game: after which they resolved to convey
themselves with all speed to Sardis, to the court of Alyattes, the son
of Sadyattes. The plan was carried out: Cyaxares and his guests ate of
the flesh prepared by the Scythians, and they themselves, having
accomplished their purpose, fled to Alyattes in the guise of
Afterwards, on the refusal of Alyattes to give up his suppliants
when Cyaxares sent to demand them of him, war broke out between the
Lydians and the Medes, and continued for five years, with various
success. In the course of it the Medes gained many victories over
the Lydians, and the Lydians also gained many victories over the
Medes. Among their other battles there was one night engagement. As,
however, the balance had not inclined in favour of either nation,
another combat took place in the sixth year, in the course of which,
just as the battle was growing warm, day was on a sudden changed
into night. This event had been foretold by Thales, the Milesian,
who forewarned the Ionians of it, fixing for it the very year in which
it actually took place. The Medes and Lydians, when they observed
the change, ceased fighting, and were alike anxious to have terms of
peace agreed on. Syennesis of Cilicia, and Labynetus of Babylon,
were the persons who mediated between the parties, who hastened the
taking of the oaths, and brought about the exchange of espousals. It
was they who advised that Alyattes should give his daughter Aryenis in
marriage to Astyages, the son of Cyaxares, knowing, as they did,
that without some sure bond of strong necessity, there is wont to be
but little security in men's covenants. Oaths are taken by these
people in the same way as by the Greeks, except that they make a
slight flesh wound in their arms, from which each sucks a portion of
the other's blood.
Cyrus had captured this Astyages, who was his mother's father, and
kept him prisoner, for a reason which I shall bring forward in another
of my history. This capture formed the ground of quarrel between Cyrus
and Croesus, in consequence of which Croesus sent his servants to

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