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Clio   


Lydia, unlike most other countries, scarcely offers any wonders
for the historian to describe, except the gold-dust which is washed
down from the range of Tmolus. It has, however, one structure of
enormous size, only inferior to the monuments of Egypt and Babylon.
This is the tomb of Alyattes, the father of Croesus, the base of which
is formed of immense blocks of stone, the rest being a vast mound of
earth. It was raised by the joint labour of the tradesmen,
handicraftsmen, and courtesans of Sardis, and had at the top five
stone pillars, which remained to my day, with inscriptions cut on
them, showing how much of the work was done by each class of
workpeople. It appeared on measurement that the portion of the
courtesans was the largest. The daughters of the common people in
Lydia, one and all, pursue this traffic, wishing to collect money
for their portions. They continue the practice till they marry; and
are wont to contract themselves in marriage. The tomb is six stades
and two plethra in circumference; its breadth is thirteen plethra.
Close to the tomb is a large lake, which the Lydians say is never dry.
They call it the Lake Gygaea.
The Lydians have very nearly the same customs as the Greeks,
with the exception that these last do not bring up their girls in
the same way. So far as we have any knowledge, they were the first
nation to introduce the use of gold and silver coin, and the first who
sold goods by retail. They claim also the invention of all the games
which are common to them with the Greeks. These they declare that they
invented about the time when they colonised Tyrrhenia, an event of
which they give the following account. In the days of Atys, the son of
Manes, there was great scarcity through the whole land of Lydia. For
some time the Lydians bore the affliction patiently, but finding
that it did not pass away, they set to work to devise remedies for the
evil. Various expedients were discovered by various persons; dice, and
huckle-bones, and ball, and all such games were invented, except
tables, the invention of which they do not claim as theirs. The plan
adopted against the famine was to engage in games one day so
entirely as not to feel any craving for food, and the next day to
eat and abstain from games. In this way they passed eighteen years.
Still the affliction continued and even became more grievous. So the
king determined to divide the nation in half, and to make the two
portions draw lots, the one to stay, the other to leave the land. He
would continue to reign over those whose lot it should be to remain
behind; the emigrants should have his son Tyrrhenus for their
leader. The lot was cast, and they who had to emigrate went down to
Smyrna, and built themselves ships, in which, after they had put on
board all needful stores, they sailed away in search of new homes
and better sustenance. After sailing past many countries they came
to Umbria, where they built cities for themselves, and fixed their
residence. Their former name of Lydians they laid aside, and called
themselves after the name of the king's son, who led the colony,
Tyrrhenians.
Thus far I have been engaged in showing how the Lydians were
brought under the Persian yoke. The course of my history now compels
me to inquire who this Cyrus was by whom the Lydian empire was
destroyed, and by what means the Persians had become the lords
paramount of Asia. And herein I shall follow those Persian authorities
whose object it appears to be not to magnify the exploits of Cyrus,
but to relate the simple truth. I know besides three ways in which the
story of Cyrus is told, all differing from my own narrative.
The Assyrians had held the Empire of Upper Asia for the space of
five hundred and twenty years, when the Medes set the example of
revolt from their authority. They took arms for the recovery of
their freedom, and fought a battle with the Assyrians, in which they
behaved with such gallantry as to shake off the yoke of servitude, and
to become a free people. Upon their success the other nations also
revolted and regained their independence.
Thus the nations over that whole extent of country obtained the

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