(page 1) - BOOK IV - Melpomene

The History of Herodotus
By Herodotus
Translated into English
by G. C. Macaulay
This text is from an edition published in 1890 by MacMillan and Co.,
London and New York.







BOOK IV. The Fourth Book Of The Histories, Called Melpomene


Paragraph 1 1. After Babylon had been taken, the march of Dareios himself 1 against the Scythians took place: for now that Asia was flourishing in respect of population, and large sums were being gathered in as revenue, Dareios formed the desire to take vengeance upon the Scythians, because they had first invaded the Median land and had overcome in fight those who opposed them; and thus they had been the beginners of wrong. The Scythians in truth, as I have before said, 2 had ruled over Upper Asia 3 for eight-and-twenty years; for they had invaded Asia in their pursuit of the Kimmerians, and they had deposed 4 the Medes from their rule, who had rule over Asia before the Scythians came. Now when the Scythians had been absent from their own land for eight-and-twenty years, as they were returning to it after that interval of time, they were met by a contest 5 not less severe than that which they had had with the Medes, since they found an army of no mean size opposing them. For the wives of the Scythians, because their husbands were absent from them for a long time, had associated with the slaves.

Paragraph 2 2. Now the Scythians put out the eyes of all their slaves because of the milk which they drink; and they do as follows:—they take blow-pipes of bone just like flutes, and these they insert into the vagina of the mare and blow with their mouths, and others milk while they blow: and they say that they do this because the veins of the mare are thus filled, being blown out, and so the udder is let down. When they had drawn the milk they pour it into wooden vessels hollowed out, and they set the blind slaves in order about 6 the vessels and agitate the milk. Then that which comes to the top they skim off, considering it the more valuable part, whereas they esteem that which settles down to be less good than the other. For this reason 7 the Scythians put out the eyes of all whom they catch; for they are not tillers of the soil but nomads.



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