The Library of History

Page 77

Page 77 She made Laws also, whereby she injoin'd the Women to go forth to the Wars, and the Men to be as Slaves, and do all the Servile work at Home. Therefore when any Male Child was born, they broke their Thighs and Arms, to render them useless and unfit for War: And for the Females they sear'd off the right Breast, lest it should be an hinderance to them in Fight: And hence they were call'd Amazons. At length grown eminent for Policy and Skill in Military Affairs, she built a large City call'd Themiscyra, at the Mouth of the River Thermodon, and beautify'd it with a stately Palace. She was very exact in Martial Discipline, and keeping good Order: She first conquer'd all the Neighbouring Nations, as far as to the River Tanais; and having perform'd all these noble Exploits (they say) in a Battel, she afterwards fought, (having first signalized her Valour) she ended her Days like an Hero. Upon her Death her Daughter succeeded her in the Kingdom, who imitating her Mother's Valour, in some Exploits excell'd her: For she caus'd the Girls from their very Infancy to be exercis'd in Hunting, and daily train'd up in Martial Discipline. Then she instituted solemn Festivals and Sacrifices to be offer'd to Mars and Diana, call'd Tauropoli. She advanc'd her Arms beyond Tanais, and brought under all the Nations as far as to Thrace. Then returning to her own Country with a rich Booty, she erected stately Temples to those Deities before mention'd, and gain'd the Hearts of her Subjects by her easie and gentle Government. Afterwards she undertook an Expedition against them that lay on the other side of the River, and added a great part of Asia to her Dominion, and extended her Arms as far as to Syria.

After her Death, the Crown descended still to the next of Kin, and every one in their time govern'd with great Commendation, and advanc'd the Honour and Renown of the Amazons Kingdom.

Many Ages after (the Fame and Renown of the Amazons being spread Abroad all the World over) they say, that Hercules, the Son of Jupiter and Alcmena, was enjoin'd by Eurystheus to fight Hippolyta, the Amazon Queen, and to strip her of her Belt. Upon which, he made War upon the Amazons, and in a great Battel routed them, and took Hippolyta, and her Belt together, which so weaken'd them, that the Neighbouring Barbarians knowing their low Condition, despis'd them; and remembring what ruin and destruction they had formerly made amongst them, so wasted them with continual War, that not so much as the Name of Amazons is now to be found any where in the World. For a few Years after Hercules's Time, the Trojan War broke forth, at which time Penthesilia Queen of those Amazons that were left, and Daughter of Mars (having committed a cruel Murther among her own People) for the horridness of the Fact fled, and after the Death of Hector, brought aid to the Trojans; and though she bravely behav'd her self, and kill'd many of the Greeks, yet at last she was slain by Achilles, and so in Heroick Actions ended her Days. This, they say, was the last Queen of the Amazons, a brave spirited Woman, after whom the Nation (growing by degrees weaker and weaker) was at length wholly extinct: So that these later Ages look upon all those old Stories concerning the valiant Acts of the Amazons, to be but meer Fictions and Fables. Now since we have thus far spoken of the Northern Parts of Asia, it's convenient to observe something relating to the Antiquity of the Hyperborcans.

Amongst them that have written old Stories much like Fables, Hecateus and some others say, that there is an Island in the Ocean over against Gall, (as big as Sicily) under the Artick Pole, where the Hyperboreans inhabit, so call'd, because they lye beyond the Breezes of the North Wind. That the Soyl here is very rich, and very fruitful; and the Climate temperate, insomuch as there are Two Crops in the Year.

They say that Latona was born here, and therefore that they worship Apollo above all other Gods; and because they are daily saying Songs in praise of this God, and ascribing to him the highest Honours, they say that these Inhabitants demean themselves, as if they were Apollo's Priests, who has there a stately Grove, and renown'd Temple of a round Form, beautify'd with many rich Gifts. That there is a City likewise consecrated to this God, whose Citizens are most

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