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portions. Under the former kings, if a man wanted to pass from one
of these divisions to the other, he had to cross in a boat; which
must, it seems to me, have been very troublesome. Accordingly, while
she was digging the lake, Nitocris be. thought herself of turning it
to a use which should at once remove this inconvenience, and enable
her to leave another monument of her reign over Babylon. She gave
orders for the hewing of immense blocks of stone, and when they were
ready and the basin was excavated, she turned the entire stream of the
Euphrates into the cutting, and thus for a time, while the basin was
filling, the natural channel of the river was left dry. Forthwith
she set to work, and in the first place lined the banks of the
stream within the city with quays of burnt brick, and also bricked the
landing-places opposite the river-gates, adopting throughout the
same fashion of brickwork which had been used in the town wall;
after which, with the materials which had been prepared, she built, as
near the middle of the town as possible, a stone bridge, the blocks
whereof were bound together with iron and lead. In the daytime
square wooden platforms were laid along from pier to pier, on which
the inhabitants crossed the stream; but at night they were
withdrawn, to prevent people passing from side to side in the dark
to commit robberies. When the river had filled the cutting, and the
bridge was finished, the Euphrates was turned back again into its
ancient bed; and thus the basin, transformed suddenly into a lake, was
seen to answer the purpose for which it was made, and the inhabitants,
by help of the basin, obtained the advantage of a bridge.
It was this same princess by whom a remarkable deception was
planned. She had her tomb constructed in the upper part of one of
the principal gateways of the city, high above the heads of the
passers by, with this inscription cut upon it:- "If there be one among
my successors on the throne of Babylon who is in want of treasure, let
him open my tomb, and take as much as he chooses- not, however, unless
he be truly in want, for it will not be for his good." This tomb
continued untouched until Darius came to the kingdom. To him it seemed
a monstrous thing that he should be unable to use one of the gates
of the town, and that a sum of money should be lying idle, and
moreover inviting his grasp, and he not seize upon it. Now he could
not use the gate, because, as he drove through, the dead body would
have been over his head. Accordingly he opened the tomb; but instead
of money, found only the dead body, and a writing which said- "Hadst
thou not been insatiate of pelf, and careless how thou gottest it,
thou wouldst not have broken open the sepulchres of the dead."
The expedition of Cyrus was undertaken against the son of this
princess, who bore the same name as his father Labynetus, and was king
of the Assyrians. The Great King, when he goes to the wars, is
always supplied with provisions carefully prepared at home, and with
cattle of his own. Water too from the river Choaspes, which flows by
Susa, is taken with him for his drink, as that is the only water which
the kings of Persia taste. Wherever he travels, he is attended by a
number of four-wheeled cars drawn by mules, in which the Choaspes
water, ready boiled for use, and stored in flagons of silver, is moved
with him from place to place.
Cyrus on his way to Babylon came to the banks of the Gyndes, a
stream which, rising in the Matienian mountains, runs through the
country of the Dardanians, and empties itself into the river Tigris.
The Tigris, after receiving the Gyndes, flows on by the city of
Opis, and discharges its waters into the Erythraean sea. When Cyrus
reached this stream, which could only be passed in boats, one of the
sacred white horses accompanying his march, full of spirit and high
mettle, walked into the water, and tried to cross by himself; but
the current seized him, swept him along with it, and drowned him in
its depths. Cyrus, enraged at the insolence of the river, threatened
so to break its strength that in future even women should cross it
easily without wetting their knees. Accordingly he put off for a
time his attack on Babylon, and, dividing his army into two parts,

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