The Library of History

Page 76

Page 76 Their Judges are very diligent in deciding Suits brought before them; and severely punish Offenders. But this short account shall suffice concerning India and its Antiquities. And now we shall say something particularly of the Scythians, which border upon the other.

The Scythians anciently injoy'd but a small Tract of Ground, but (through their, Valour) growing stronger by degrees, they inlarg'd their Dominion far and near, and attain'd at last to a vast and glorious Empire.

At the First a very few of them, and those very desplcable for their mean original, seated themselves near to the River Araxes. Afterwards one of their ancient Kings, who was a warlike Prince, and skilful in Arms, gain'd to their Country, all the Mountainous Parts as far as to Mount Caucasus, and all the Champain Country, to the Ocean, and the Lake Maeotis, and all the rest of the Plain to the River Tanais. Then they tell a Story, That a Virgin was born among them of the Earth, of the shape of a Woman from the middle upwards, and of a Viper downwards: And that Jupiter begot of her a Son call'd Scythes; they say, that from this Prince (being more eminent than any of his Ancestors) the People were call'd Scythians: There were Two Brothers that descended from this King, that were remarkable for Valour, the one call'd Palus, and the other Napas. These Two Brothers, after many glorious Actions done by them, divided the Country between them, and from their own Names call'd one part of the Inhabitants Palians, and the other Napians.

Some time afterwards their Posterity becoming famous and eminent for Valour and martial affairs, subu'd many Territories beyond Tanais.

Then turning their Arms the other way they led their Forces as far as to the River Nile in Egypt, and having subdu'd many Nations lying between, they inlarg'd the Empire of the Scythians as far as to the Eastern Ocean one way, and to the Caspian Sea and the Lake of Maeotis another.

This Nation prosper'd still more and more, and had Kings that were very famous; from whom the Sacans, the Massageties, and the Arimaspanis, and many others call'd by other Names derive their original. Amongst others, there were two remarkable Colonies that were drawn out of the conquer'd Nations by those Kings; the one they brought out of Assyria, and settl'd in the Country lying between Paphlagonia and Pontus; the other out of Media, which they plac'd near the River Tanais, which People are call'd Sauromatians, who many Years after increasing in number and power, wasting the greatest part of Scythia, and rooting out all that they conquer'd, totally ruinated the whole Nation. Afterwards the Royal Line failing, they say, Women remarkable for Courage and Strength of Body reign'd instead of Kings. For in these Nations, Women like Men, are train'd up for the Wars, being nothing inferior to Men for Courage.

Henceforward many and great things were done by famous Women, not only in Scythia, but in the neighbouring Nations. For when Cyrus King of Persia the most powerful Prince in his Age, led a mighty Army into Scythia, the Queen of Scythia routed the Persian Army, and taking Cyrus himself in the Battel Prisoner, afterwards Crucify'd him. And such was the Valour of the Amazons, after they had thus strengthened themselves, that they not only overran their Neighbours, but conquer'd a great part both of Europe and Asia. But since now we have begun to speak of the Amazons, we conceive it not impertinent if we here relate cursorily those things concerning them which for the strangeness of the matter may seem to resemble Romantick Fables.

There was heretofore a Potent Nation seated upon the River Thermodon, govern'd always by Women, as their Queens; in which the Women, like Men, manag'd all their Martial Affairs. Amongst these Female Princes (they say) there was one that excell'd all the rest for strength and valour, who got together an Army of Women, and having train'd them up in Martial Discipline, first subdu'd some of her Neighbouring Nations; afterwards by her Valour growing more fam'd and renown'd, she led her Army against the rest, and Fortune favouring her Arms, she was so puft up, that she call'd her self The Danghter of Mars, and ordered the Men to spin Wool, and do the Womens Work within Doors.

Bibliotheca Historica

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