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Clio   


was the manner of it:- First, the two armies stood apart and shot
their arrows at each other; then, when their quivers were empty,
they closed and fought hand-to-hand with lances and daggers; and
thus they continued fighting for a length of time, neither choosing to
give ground. At length the Massagetae prevailed. The greater part of
the army of the Persians was destroyed and Cyrus himself fell, after
reigning nine and twenty years. Search was made among the slain by
order of the queen for the body of Cyrus, and when it was found she
took a skin, and, filling it full of human blood, she dipped the
head of Cyrus in the gore, saying, as she thus insulted the corse,
"I live and have conquered thee in fight, and yet by thee am I ruined,
for thou tookest my son with guile; but thus I make good my threat,
and give thee thy fill of blood." Of the many different accounts which
are given of the death of Cyrus, this which I have followed appears to
me most worthy of credit.
In their dress and mode of living the Massagetae resemble the
Scythians. They fight both on horseback and on foot, neither method is
strange to them: they use bows and lances, but their favourite
weapon is the battle-axe. Their arms are all either of gold or
brass. For their spear-points, and arrow-heads, and for their
battle-axes, they make use of brass; for head-gear, belts, and
girdles, of gold. So too with the caparison of their horses, they give
them breastplates of brass, but employ gold about the reins, the
bit, and the cheek-plates. They use neither iron nor silver, having
none in their country; but they have brass and gold in abundance.
The following are some of their customs;- Each man has but one
wife, yet all the wives are held in common; for this is a custom of
the Massagetae and not of the Scythians, as the Greeks wrongly say.
Human life does not come to its natural close with this people; but
when a man grows very old, all his kinsfolk collect together and offer
him up in sacrifice; offering at the same time some cattle also. After
the sacrifice they boil the flesh and feast on it; and those who
thus end their days are reckoned the happiest. If a man dies of
disease they do not eat him, but bury him in the ground, bewailing his
ill-fortune that he did not come to be sacrificed. They sow no
grain, but live on their herds, and on fish, of which there is great
plenty in the Araxes. Milk is what they chiefly drink. The only god
they worship is the sun, and to him they offer the horse in sacrifice;
under the notion of giving to the swiftest of the gods the swiftest of
all mortal creatures.

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