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have never noticed, but which has not escaped my observation. Their
names, which are expressive of some bodily or mental excellence, all
end with the same letter- the letter which is called San by the
Dorians, and Sigma by the Ionians. Any one who examines will find
that the Persian names, one and all without exception, end with this
Thus much I can declare of the Persians with entire certainty,
from my own actual knowledge. There is another custom which is
spoken of with reserve, and not openly, concerning their dead. It is
said that the body of a male Persian is never buried, until it has
been torn either by a dog or a bird of prey. That the Magi have this
custom is beyond a doubt, for they practise it without any
concealment. The dead bodies are covered with wax, and then buried
in the ground.
The Magi are a very peculiar race, different entirely from the
Egyptian priests, and indeed from all other men whatsoever. The
Egyptian priests make it a point of religion not to kill any live
animals except those which they offer in sacrifice. The Magi, on the
contrary, kill animals of all kinds with their own hands, excepting
dogs and men. They even seem to take a delight in the employment,
and kill, as readily as they do other animals, ants and snakes, and
such like flying or creeping things. However, since this has always
been their custom, let them keep to it. I return to my former
Immediately after the conquest of Lydia by the Persians, the
Ionian and Aeolian Greeks sent ambassadors to Cyrus at Sardis, and
prayed to become his lieges on the footing which they had occupied
under Croesus. Cyrus listened attentively to their proposals, and
answered them by a fable. "There was a certain piper," he said, "who
was walking one day by the seaside, when he espied some fish; so he
began to pipe to them, imagining they would come out to him upon the
land. But as he found at last that his hope was vain, he took a net,
and enclosing a great draught of fishes, drew them ashore. The fish
then began to leap and dance; but the piper said, 'Cease your
dancing now, as you did not choose to come and dance when I piped to
you.'" Cyrus gave this answer to the Ionians and Aeolians, because,
when he urged them by his messengers to revolt from Croesus, they
refused; but now, when his work was done, they came to offer their
allegiance. It was in anger, therefore, that he made them this
reply. The Ionians, on hearing it, set to work to fortify their towns,
and held meetings at the Panionium, which were attended by all
excepting the Milesians, with whom Cyrus had concluded a separate
treaty, by which he allowed them the terms they had formerly
obtained from Croesus. The other Ionians resolved, with one accord, to
send ambassadors to Sparta to implore assistance.
Now the Ionians of Asia, who meet at the Panionium, have built
their cities in a region where the air and climate are the most
beautiful in the whole world: for no other region is equally blessed
with Ionia, neither above it nor below it, nor east nor west of it.
For in other countries either the climate is over cold and damp, or
else the heat and drought are sorely oppressive. The Ionians do not
all speak the same language, but use in different places four
different dialects. Towards the south their first city is Miletus,
next to which lie Myus and Priene; all these three are in Caria and
have the same dialect. Their cities in Lydia are the following:
Ephesus, Colophon, Lebedus, Teos, Clazomenae, and Phocaea. The
inhabitants of these towns have none of the peculiarities of speech
which belong to the three first-named cities, but use a dialect of
their own. There remain three other Ionian towns, two situate in
isles, namely, Samos and Chios; and one upon the mainland, which is
Erythrae. Of these Chios and Erythrae have the same dialect, while
Samos possesses a language peculiar to itself. Such are the four
varieties of which I spoke.
Of the Ionians at this period, one people, the Milesians, were

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