The Histories by Herodotus – Book II, “Euterpe”

Rather than summarizing every passage (all 182 of them!), I’ll just put a few interesting stories & facts Herodotus gives in the 2nd book of the Histories. If you want every damned detail, I suppose you can read the entire text yourself (go here!)

The Histories by Herodotus – Book II, “Euterpe”

  • Egyptian Geography
    • boundaries – Arabian hills to the east, Libyan hills to the west, the Mediterranean Sea to the north & to the south, the Nile becomes impassable due to a series of cataracts as it approaches the Ethiopian hills
    • Arabian hills had quarries which supplied most of the stone used to build the pyramids
      • Arabian gulf separates Egypt from Arabian & goes out to the Erythaean Sea – now considered the Arabian Sea & Indian Ocean
    • Nile River – overflows every year, flooding the surrounding lands as far as 2 days of travel from the banks. The Egyptians never could explain it. Greek possible explanations:
      • Winds block water from flowing to the sea & it spills over the banks
      • Nile flows from ocean to ocean & delays cause backups which spill over
      • Melting snows in Ethiopia. Herodotus doesn’t believe this because Ethiopia’s too hot
        • MODERN EXPLANATION: Actually Ethiopian rain causes an immense amount of water that flows downhill, going North & floods over the banks once the river becomes level.
    • Egyptians have no concept of European style of rain
      • The only water comes from the Nile & its tributaries
        • They don’t know how long it is.
      • It goes south, bends a couple of times & goes to up to Ethiopia
        • Not many people have made the trip
        • Details on how far or high it goes are hazy

Phoenix

 

  • Egyptian Animals
    • not very many wild animals in Egypt
      • most are domesticated, often considered sacred
    • animals have designated guardsmen whose jobs run in the family from father to son – sacred jobs
    • Killing animals for food is quite an ordeal
      • people shave their kids’ heads, weigh the hair & take the same weight in silver to buy food from fishmonger, who cuts it up in a special manner
      • If you kill an animal in anger – punishment is death
      • If you kill an animal by accident – punishment is a decent fine
        • Killing hawks or ibises either on purpose or by accident – punishment is death
    • Cats are everywhere
      • When one dies, the family who tends to it shaves each member’s eyebrows
      • They are embalmed in Bubastis
    • Dog are popular too
      • When one dies, family shaves their heads
      • Dogs are buried in their own town in a special graveyard
    • Ibises are buried in Hermopolis
    • Hawks & shrews are buried in Buto
    • Crocodiles
      • Herodotus describes a crocodile – Most Greeks probably had never seen one or heard one described before
      • They can either be seen as holy or evil
      • They were kept as pets near Lake Moeris & often wore jewelry
      • They had special crocodile graveyards
      • Eaten in Elephantine
    • Hippopotamus
      • Herodotus describes a hippopotamus – Most Greeks probably had never seen one or heard one described before
    • Phoenix
      • Sacred & very rare bird – only known of in Heliopolis
        • Once every 500 years, old one dies
        • It had red feathers w/ gold edges & was about the size of an eagle
        • Its child flies to Arabia, takes the dead parent & covers it in myrrh, flies it back to Heliopolis to the Temple of the Sun & buries it there
    • Other sacred animals: snakes w/ horns, flying snakes, eels, otters & foxgeese

 

  • Egyptian customs
    • very different to the Greeks
    • Women went to the market while the men stayed at home & loomed
      • even the weave of the looms there are backwards compared to Europe
    • Women stand to pee while the men sit
    • They eat outside & only go inside to do private things
    • Very religious people
    • In many places, not allowed to eat fish.
      • Beans often frowned upon
      • No goats b/c they are symbolized in Pan – very high god
    • Pigs are seen as dirty
      • You must clean yourself even if you’ve gone near one
    • 3 days a month, they take enemas & emetics to clean themselves out
      • they bathe four times a day
    • Will eat just about anything so long as it isn’t sacred or unclean
    • Not open to foreign customs
      • But have similar poems/songs to the Greeks
        • There may have been some transfer of these from one to another
          • Probably from Egypt to Greece & not the other way around
    • Young men must prostrate themselves to older men walking by
    • They wear a linen tunic & woolen robe over it
      • But must take off woolen robe if going into a temple, as wool is not allowed inside
    • Doctors only treat one type of disorder or one part of the body, i.e. one doctor for the eyes, one doctor for the stomach, etc.
    • When a man dies, the women of the family cover their heads w/ mud or plaster & walk around outside with their tits out, beating them in unison
      • The men have to do the same but they do so separately from the women
      • The body is taken away to be embalmed…

 

  • Egyptian Embalming – The embalmer has 3 different methods
    • Expensive way
      • Take an iron hook up through the nose & remove the brain
      • Head is rinsed out
      • Cut out abdomen & remove organs
      • Rinse out the body w/ palm wine & aromatics
      • Dump mound of salt on the body & leave for 70 days
      • Wrap up the body in bandages held together w/ glue or tar
      • Put body in a wooden box & place it in a burial chamber up right
    • Cheaper way
      • take syringes w/ cedar tree oil & inject it into the abdomen
      • cover the body w/ salt for 70 days
      • organs dry up & only the flesh remains
      • body is returned to the family for burial
    • Cheapest way
      • give the body an enema
      • cover in salt for 70 days
      • return body to family for burial
    • Rich men usually are delayed in embalming for about 4 days after death
    • If you died from a crocodile attack, only Nile priests could embalm you & bury you

 

  • Egyptian Religion
    • Claim to be the first to discover the solar calendar
      • Gave it 12 months from observations from the stars
        • 30 days x 12 months w/ 5 extra days to round the year out completely
        • 12 months represented by 12 gods, similar to the Greeks’ gods
    • Priests shave their heads to avoid lce
      • the examine flocks for signs of uncleanliness
        • if unclean, marked accordingly
          • unclean animals may not be sacrificed
        • if clean, marked accordingly
      • Sacrifices – victim is marked, led to an altar
        • wood is burned & a libation poured over it
        • a god is invoked
        • the animal is killed, decapitated, chanted upon
        • the body & meat are sold
          • if not sold, it’s thrown into the river
      • Disemboweling
        • skinned the animal
        • abdomen removed
        • legs, shoulders cut off
        • body filled with bread & honey & cooked
          • during the cooking, people beat themselves, then eat
      • Only male bovine are used in sacrifices
        • cows are too holy/sacred
          • when they die, they are thrown into the river
    • Minor differences between Greek & Egyptian Gods
      • Names
        • Ammun = Zeus
        • Isis = Bacchus
      • Heracles was 1 of the 2nd set of 12 gods
        • First set gods had 8 gods, then 2nd had 12
        • Egyptian Heracles was older than the Greek Heracles
          • Temple in Tyre is proof of that
          • Greek one is a hero, not a god
            • The Greeks said that he went down to Egypt & the locals tried to sacrifice him to Zeus but instead he killed them all
            • Herodotus doesn’t believe that story
              • Egyptians don’t even sacrifice cows, never mind people
      • Estimated 17000 years between beginning of time to Herodotus’s time (5th century BC)
    • Greeks must have learned about Pan from Egyptian
      • Pigs sacrificed for Dionysius’s festival
        • no phalluses strapped on
        • only on 18 inch figures paraded around with the cocks as big as the body
    • Most Greek gods come from Egypt
      • Except Neptune, Juno, Vesta
      • Egyptians don’t worship heroes
    • The pre-cursors to the Greeks, Pelasgi, had similar rituals for the gods as the Egyptians but w/o names
      • They called the gods “Theoi” which means disposers
      • Oracles encouraged worship of the gods
      • Only by the time of Homer & Hesiod did the Greeks have names & powers for individual gods
    • Oracles may have actually been Egyptian women kidnapped & enslaved
      • One taken to Greece in Delphi
      • One taken to Libya in Cyrene
    • Egyptians may have started congregations, processions, litanies which the Greeks learned & used
      • Bubastis, Busiris, Sais, Buto – all had different rituals
        • Bubastis – the Festival of Diana
          • women & men sailed in boats up the Nile
          • some women played castanets & some men played pipes
            • others clapped & sang
          • Once ashore, they’d abused each other, dance around, eat & drink tons of wine
            • Est’d 700000 attendees

 

Interesting Stories from Egyptian History

  • Psammetichus’s Experiment
    • King Psammetichus wanted to know who the oldest race was & came up with an experiment
    • Took 2 newborn children to a shepherd who never spoke to them & rarely had contact with them
    • Listened to what the babies said & both said “becos”, the Phrygian word for “bread”
    • This made him believe that the Phrygians were the oldest race (from South Turkey)
  • Proteus’s role in the Trojan War
    • Alexander (aka Paris) took Helen from Menelaus & tried to go back to Troy
    • A storm brought them to Egypt
    • His servants heard that if they were able to reach the Temple of Hercules, they couldn’t be returned to their owner
      • They told the Egyptians that Alexander had raped Helen & wronged Menelaus
      • The priest/warden of the Nile sent a message to Proteus, the king about the situation
    • Proteus told him to bring them to Memphis to see what the whole story was
      • Alexander tried to lie but his slaves ratted him out
    • Proteus didn’t want to execute him but didn’t want to allow him to go free
      • Decided that he’d have to let Alexander go but w/o Helen or Menelaus’s money
    • Menelaus, after Helen had been kidnapped, took his army to Troy
      • The Argives besieged the city, demanding Helen back, along Menelaus’s money & some sort of penalty
      • Trojans didn’t have her b/c she was in Egypt
      • Menelaus didn’t believe them & took the city & burned it
      • Helen wasn’t there, so Menelaus went to see Proteus after getting word Helen might be in Egypt
    • He got to Egypt, got Helen & his money back
      • Couldn’t leave b/c of bad weather
      • He took 2 local children & sacrificed them to a god for better weather
      • The locals heard about this & chased them out to sea & the last anyone ever heard of them was around Libya
  • Rhampsinitus & the Thief
    • King Rhampsinitus ordered a treasury built for all his money & jewelry
      • One worker made one stone in the room moveable so he could come & go w/o ever getting caught
    • He told his sons about his secret on his deathbed
    • They went into the treasury a few times & helped themselves
      • The king eventually caught on to this & ordered traps to be set out in the treasury
    • The 2 sons went back in to get more money when one of them was caught in a trap
      • The brother caught in the trap told the other to kill him & cut off his head so he couldn’t be ID’d
    • The king had the body displayed outside with strict orders for it not to be buried or even mourned
      • The mother didn’t like that & told her son to get the body back or she’d rat him out
    • The song took a donkey w/ a few wine skins on its back & walked by the guards near the body
      • the skins conveniently leaked & the son bemoaned the fact
      • He decided that the wine would be gone before he could do anything about it & invited the guard to help themselves to as much as they wanted.
      • When the guards passed out, he took the body on the donkey back to his mother
    • The King found out & devised another plan
    • He enlisted his daughter to work at a brothel & asked her before doing any deed to ask each man what the worst thing he’d ever done was
      • Once she heard something she would call for the guard to arrest the thief
      • The thief suspected something & tucked a dead man’s arm under his cloak
      • He told her about the treasury, killing his brother & cutting off his head, as well as getting the guards drunk to steal the body back for his mother
      • The daughter yelled for the guards & tried to grab his arm but she grabbed the dead man’s arm & he got away
    • The king was furious but also really impressed by the thief’s cunning
      • He decided to offer him immunity if he turned himself in
      • The thief did & the king offered him his daughter in marriage

Lake Moeris w/ pyramids

  • The Labyrinth at Lake Moeris
    • Near the City of Crocodile (Crocodilopolis) by Lake Moeris, a giant labyrinth was built
      • Herodotus finds it more impressive than anything he’d ever seen in Greece
    • It had 12 roofed courts facing one another
      • 6 facing north & 6 facing south – all in a line
      • There was a wall enclosing all of them
    • There were double sets of rooms, 3000 total
      • 1500 above ground & 1500 below ground
      • Herdotus was only allowed to see the ones above ground
        • the ones below had sacred burial chambers for kings & others had crocodiles in them
      • The rooms had winding passages in & out of courts, very complicated pillared corridors from room to room, room to court, etc.
      • It was roofed by stone & the walls were engraved & pillars were made of white stone
      • At the end of the labyrinth was a pyramid 240 feet tall with animal engravings
    • Lake Moeris was beside the labyrinth
      • it had a perimeter of 420 miles
      • the deepest point was 300 feet
      • it was completely man-made
      • in the middle were 2 pyramids, 150 feet above water & 150 below water
    • The lake didn’t have any natural inflowing or outflowing channels as most of the country has no water apart from the Nile
      • The channels had to be built underground via an artificial channel connecting it to the Nile
      • 6 months of the year the water flowed in
      • 6 months of the year the water flowed out
    • Herodotus saw no trace of spoil (land/soil, etc. from the hole dug in the ground
      • Locals say they just let the first flow into the Nile which carried it away
      • Herodotus heard something similar happening in Nineveh w/ the Tigris River.

 

 

How Herodotus thinks the pyramids were built. Drawing taken from: http://www.hunkler.com/pyramids/r18_259.gif

Thomas Babington Macaulay – Machiavelli

Lord Tommy Sideburns

 

Nicky, the Prince

Thomas Babington Macaulay – Machiavelli

  • Machiavelli is usually referred to as a
    • tempter
    • presenter of an evil principle
    • pushing ambition, revenge, perjury
      • Only got this reputation after The Prince
      • As if these things didn’t exist before the Prince
      • Gunpowder Plot blamed on him, as well as other plots
  • People are/were horrified by what they read by/about him
    • Scientifically writing how to back stab & overthrow nations
  • B/c he was Republican & his book scared people. he was thrown in jail
    • Maybe the book was intended to motivate de Medicis?
  • Other works quote Livy & don’t get such reactions
  • Many passages in the Prince have a more patriotic & public good tone
    • Strange mixture of cruelty, selfishness, heroism & enigma
    • This felling is only for outsiders – those who knew him weren’t shocked at all
  • Medici Pope Clement VII patronized books later condemned by the Council of Trent
    • Including the Prince
    • Condemned by English Catholics & French Protestants
  • Focus on city-states in Italy, unlike the rest of Europe
    • Cities survived by being undesirable to invaders
    • Later survived by strength but paid for by money earned in trade
    • Rest of Europe was weak
    • Church supported city-states (popes were from there)
      • Guelph & Ghibellines
  • In the rest of Europe, wealthy families stamped on the people in spite of the government
    • Either taken down by the people or dominated them
  • Lombards & Tuscans gov’ts survived by placating people of city w/ entertainment & food
    • Crusaders brought wealth back
    • Italians became merchants, manufacturers & bankers
    • Economy took, arts flourished
    • Classics returned to Italy & new works created too
    • Patrons bid for artists, writers
  • Military campaigns not feasible b/c army was mostly farmers
    • Need to stay home & farm
    • Handicapped rulers in military most of year able to fight in off-season but not in growing season
    • W/ commerce & industry growing, almost no army
  • From Ionian league era – too rich to fight
    • Hired mercenaries
    • Spartans had slaves to plant while the Spartans fought
  • Italian military was very antiquated
    • Knights were OK but the infantry was useless
    • Swiss had no problem with them
  • War needed a soldier class – standing army
    • Needed to encourage patriotism to get volunteers
    • Italian princes hired mercenaries from all over
    • No loyalty after end of contract
    • Mercenaries didn’t fight for home, only money
    • Had more in common with enemy than employer
  • Italy was vulnerable to France, Spain & Switzerland
    • These nations had valor as its highest virtue
    • Italy – peace & civility were the virtues
  • Successful rulers, Sforzas, used techniques praised by Machiavelli – underhanded
    • Francis – made himself but had no real friends – passing alliances
    • Maybe Shakespeare’s role of Iago based on him
  • Greeks & Romans differed in 2nd century BC
    • Roman conquerors – brave, resolute, faithful, religious, ignorant, arbitrary, cruel
    • Mirrored by Non-Italians in The Prince
    • Greek conquered – had art, science, literature, painting, architecture, polished manners, perceptive, tolerant, humane, sincere
  • Mirrored by Italians in the The Prince
    • Italian statesman
      • half demon (w/ ambitious goals in mind)
        • Impetuous, passionate, full of hatred, revenge
        • no outward courage, cowardly, unscrupulous, very perceptive, intelligence
        • dangerous enemy & accomplice
      • half angel (w/o goals in mind)
        • fair-minded, soft humane, graceful, sublime, patronizes freely
  • Machiavelli – far more virtuous than his intended audience
    • Other works very impressive
      • Mandragola – up there w/ Shakespeare & Molière
      • Clizia – based on a Plautus play
      • Belphegor – borrowed by Ben Jonson
  • Correspondence published in 1700s
    • Wrote that he wasn’t pleased w/ Italy’s circumstances
    • States weren’t independence
    • France, Spain interfering w/ Italy politics
  • Served as a diplomat
    • Ran into Cesare Borgia
    • Wrote about him – impressed
    • Hoped he’d lead for a return to Roman times – Patriotism
  • Proposed:
    • placate people – protection, arts, property rights
    • placate rulers – no interference w/ peasants
  • Saw Naples under foreign occupation
    • Florence extorted again & again
    • Hoped for Medici return in Florence
  • Wrote “Art of War”
    • dialogue talking about arms, military strategy, diplomacy
    • emphasizes Romans, infantry
  • “Discourses on Livy”
    • supported any form of gov’t to give Florence independence
    • Talks about this at end of Prince
  • Looked to Greeks
    • Patriotism was principle & not a passion
  • Compared to Montesquieu
    • Spirit of Laws (1748) was startling to hear a Frenchman arguing for gov’t checks
    • General think but very flowery language
    • The Prince was a specific call for help to save Italy – very honest approach
    • Based on enthusiasm, patriotism
  • At end of his life
    • Saw Medicis return but the foreign powers fought them all the way
  • Misrepresented, abused by people who sought to keep Italy down
    • Patriotism overall

David Hume – Of the Study of History

History will show that that hat was not the best idea.

David Hume – Of the Study of History

  • Hume advises women of the 1700s to study history
  • Women tended to eschew history & the like for fiction
    • Gives a copy of Plutarch’s Parallel Lives to a girl he likes
      • Tells her that it’s fiction
      • She likes it at first until she figures out that Alexander & Caesar were real people
      • Does this w/ lots of women to tease them about their aversion to history
  • Much get out of reading History
    • It’s fun
    • it improves your understanding of the world
    • it gives examples to improve your virtues & minimize your vices
  • It’s fun to go back in time & look at places that are completely foreign to us
    • look at early art & sciences
    • see how gov’ts worked & how/why they change over time
    • you see how human society & inventions perfect life
    • see how the times informed people’s vices & virtues
  • Improving our knowledge
    • Often called being erudite
      • really just knowing what happened
      • Might be a luxury to have the time to learn about the rest of the world
      • ought to know about your own country & Greece & Rome
    • history is the passing off of knowledge
      • leading to passing off of knowledge in sciences across time & across national borders
      • it is a way of living since the beginning of time
      • & learning for past experiences
  • Poets & Philosophers help improve our virtues
    • Poets by praising them
    • Philosophers by defining them & defending them
    • History shows how people have gone astray from virtue
  • Machiavelli
    • As a political man
      • Gives excuses for murder, assassination, perjury
    • As historian
      • says vice is bad & shows historical evidence on how going on the wrong path leads to bad results
    • Philosophers speak in abstract manners
    • Historians show how people & societies stray from or stick to virtues & the consequences of those actions

The Histories by Herodotus – Book I, “Clio” X – Cyrus Meets His End Against the Messagetae [201-216]

Cyrus lost his blood head.

The Histories by Herodotus – Book I, “Clio”

X – Cyrus Meets His End Against the Messagetae [201-216]

  • After conquering Babylon made for the Massagetae eastward beyond the River Araxes.
  • The Araxes is about the size of the Danube with fairly large islands. Their inhabitants mostly ate roots and tree fruit. They burnt parts of a tree and sat around the fire. They’d act drunk, sing and dance. The river was divided into channels by Cyrus, creating bogs and swamps. The people mostly ate raw fish and wore seal skins. The River ended in the Caspian Sea (Herodotus was wrong about this).
  • That’s the only connection to the Caspian Sea, which takes 15 days to row across and 8 days up and down. The Caucus Mountains are at its shore and the largest mountain range on earth (to Herodotus’s time). Many different tribes live there. They have dyes from trees, which they used to dye clothes and paint pictures on their clothes that won’t fade. Cyrus wanted the Massagetae had a queen, Tomyris, who had inherited the throne after her husband died. Cyrus sent envoys, asking for her marriage. She was hip to his plan and sent them away. He marched there with an army, built a bridge across the river and made for the city.
  • While Cyrus was preparing, Tomyris sent a messenger to him, telling him to stop fighting and be happy with peace in his own kingdom. Since she knew he wouldn’t stop, she said “Meet us at the river in 3 days. Which side of the river you’ll be on will tell us your intentions.” Cyrus wanted to cross the river.
  • Croesus didn’t like the idea. “If you think you’re immortal and a king, remember that you won’t always have good luck. If you lose, you lose everything – your throne, your kingdom, your life. If you win, you don’t win very much. You’ll have to chase them around, catch them and beat them. You shouldn’t have to bow to a woman. Just cross the river, if they choose to interpret that as aggression, so be it. But we’ll set up a Persian feast, one like they’ve never seen before. We’ll get them drunk and full and then kill them.
  • Cyrus liked the idea and told her he’d cross the river. His son, Cambyses would go back to Persia with Croesus. He was told to treat him well if things ended badly. Then he crossed the river.
  • He spent the night on the other side of the river and had a dream about Hystaspes’s son with wings, 1 over Europe and 1 over Asia. He woke up, borthered that Hystaspes’s son, Darius, was plotting against him, the founder of the Persian Empire, giving them a great life. But Hystaspes should go back to Persia and they’ll discuss it later.
  • The dream wasn’t a plot by Darius but a vision that one day Darius would be king. Hystaspes couldn’t imagine any Persian plotting against Cyrus. But if he insisted, he’ll handover Darius.
  • Cyrus set up a camp with bad soldiers and set up the feast. Tomyris’s men saw this and joined. Once a sleep, the Persians killed most of them and imprisoned the rest. When Tomyris heard the news, she sent a messenger, “You took my son, Spargapises. Bring him back to me unharmed and I’ll give you land. If you don’t, I’ll kill you.”
  • Spargapises begged for freedom and when he was freed, he killed himself.
  • Tomyris head and sent the army into battle. They were much tougher than other opponents. Archers and warriors fought and fought, and the Massagetae won. Cyrus died and most of his army did with him. Tomyris found his body and dunked his head in blood, to give him more of the taste of blood he wanted.
  • The Massagetae were like the Scythians – fought on horseback and foot, used arrows, lances and battleaxes, all of either brass or gold.
  • The wines were held in common but each man has only one wife. Old people were sacrificed and eaten. If he died of disease, nobody ate him and he’d be buried sadly because he didn’t have the honor of sacrifice. They didn’t eat grains but fish, herds and milk. They worshiped the sun and sacrificed horses to it.

Video Summary of the Text:

 

The Histories by Herodotus – Book I, “Clio” IX – Cyrus Moves on Babylon [177-200]

Babylon Sisters, shake it!

The Histories by Herodotus – Book I, “Clio”

IX – Cyrus Moves on Babylon [177-200]

A – Background on Babylon [177-187]

  • Cyrus took care of the upper regions himself. He began with the Assyrians.
  • The Assyrians had Babylon, stronger than Nineveh, which had already been taken by the Persians. Babylon was 15 miles x 15 miles, it was surrounded by a massive moat. No city in the known world was larger.
  • The soil from the moat was made into brick and formed walls. They had horse archers to hold attacks. The gates were made of bronze.
  • The Euphrates split the city in 2. The walls sloped down to the river. Houses were 3-4 stories high. The city was in a grid form, streets went straight up to the river with fences by the banks.
  • There was a 2nd inner wall, a little thinner but not much weaker than the out wall. Each sector of town had a lock one was a palace and another was a temple to Jupiter. There were towers everywhere, even with places to hang out to watch over the land. One tower had a temple, with no statues but one of a female deity.
  • They say [Herodotus didn’t believe it] that their god comes into the chamber of the temple, sleep on the couch in Jupiter’s temple. She was not to talk to anyone.
  • There was another temple nearby with a golden statue of Jupiter was 45000 pounds, an altar to sacrifice young pigs with incense burning. Persian kings raided the place for generations.
  • Babylon had a long history. 1 famous woman, Semiramis, was monarch for 5 generations. She set out to wall the embankments to control the river which overflowed often.
  • The other woman, Nitocris, conquered many cities under her rule, including Nineveh, to protect the lands of Babylon. She made the River Euphrates change course, made it deeper and wider and added a basin to make the embankments. Roads into Media were made impassable to keep out any interference.
  • Before Nitocris’s time, you had to take a boat to different parts of the city. While taking the dirt/mud/clay from the basin, bricks were made to build quays and stone bridges to make travel easier. This cut the basin into a lake.
  • Nitocris’s tomb was placed by the gateways of the city above the people’s head with an inscription, “If one of my successor has fallen on really hard times, there’s some money in my tomb. If you don’t really need it, you’ll be cursed.” It remained untouched until Darius came to town. He hated the idea of money sitting idle and opened it. He only found a skeleton with a note reading, “If you hadn’t pissed your money away, you wouldn’t have been forced to rob tombs.”

B – Cyrus Attacks Babylon [188-192]

  • Cyrus went after the city, which was ruled by Labyrnetus of the Assyrians. Everywhere he went, Cyrus brought water from the River Choaspe, which flows through Susa.
  • On his way to the River Gyndes in Dardania lands, which flowed into the Tigris, but the city of Opis and then into the Euphrates. When the tried to cross the Gyndes, a horse drowned trying to cross. Cyrus decided to irrigate off the river to make it shallower. He lost a whole summer’s worth of a campaign doing this.
  • This ruined the Gyndes as a great river. He marched toward Babylon. They fought outside the city and the Persians won. The Babylonians retreated into the city and Cyrus besieged the city for years.
  • Cyrus became frustrated with the lack of progress. A plan was formulated – part of the army was placed by the inflows and outflows of the river outside the city. Another part of the army diverted the riverbed of the Euphrates to make it shallow enough to wade through. The Babylonians had no clue what was going on and were completely surprised as they had a festival going on.
  • The Babylonians had to pay tribute to Persia and supply food to Cyrus’s army. They also supplied food to other parts of Asia.

C – Babylonian Culture [193-200]

  • Assyria gets so little rain that crops are grown by irrigation. The river doesn’t overflow like the Nile but has to be made to be spread around. The area is covered with canals connecting parts of the Tigris and Euphrates, near Nineveh. It can only do grains but can grow 200-300 times more than anywhere else. The oil they used was from sesame. Their booze and fruit comes from Palm trees.
  • The boats were circular and made of skins. The frames were made of willow from Armenia. Straw is placed in the hill and skin is wrapped around the outside. They carried wines and rowed by standing oarsmen. The boats come in different sizes. Once they reached their destination, the boat frames were broken up and the skins were folded up and sent back up to Armenia to start the process all over again.
  • Babylonians dressed in linen tunics underneath and woolen ones over top of that as a cloak. They had long hair and wore turbans and perfume. They walked around with sticks with the seal of an animal or plant on top.
  • Babylonian customs – Women were all married at one time in the year. They were gathered in a central part of town and the single men would stand around them to look at them. A herald would start the bidding on the women. The prettiest women got the highest bids and the rich men would try really hard to outbid each other for them. The poor men would only bid on uglier women. In fact, men accepted money from the pot of money from the rich girls to take the uglier or crippled girls. No man could marry off his daughter to the man of his choice or the daughter’s choice. But if the pairing was not OK with all parties involved, the money was returned. The custom eventually ended. Afterwards, the poor men would whore their daughters out.
  • They had no doctors. When someone got sick, he’d sit in the village square and passersby would tell him how they got over their sickness when they had it and survived.
  • The dead were buried in honey and had similar lamentations to the Egyptians. When they had sex, they burn incense and afterwards, they’d stare at each other until dawn, after which they bathed.
  • Every woman was required to sit in the Venus precinct and sleep with a strange once. They sat with wreaths around their head in the town square. A stranger would throw a coin in her lap and take her to the “Holy Ground”. She went with the first one to choose her and she couldn’t refuse. Pretty women had it over and done with quickly. Uglier women had to wait until someone to choose them. Some even waited 3-4 years.
  • 3 Babylonian tribes ate only fish that they caught, dried, crushed into bits and strained. They were made into cakes or bread.

The Histories by Herodotus – Book I, “Clio” VIII – Persia v. Ionians and Aeolians [141-176]

50 oars – Penteconter

The Histories by Herodotus – Book I, “Clio”

VIII – Persia v. Ionians and Aeolians [141-170]

  • After they conquered Lydia, the Persians received ambassadors from the Ionians and Aeolians asking to be lieges just as they had been with Croesus. He responded that they hadn’t submitted before the war with Lydia and were only fence-sitters who will not be protected by Persia.
  • The Ionians didn’t speak the same dialect as many other Greeks, who had distinct differences.
  • The Milesians allied with Cyrus early on and became secure. Phoenicia was still independent from Persia and, since the Persians didn’t have much of a navy, was secure as well. The Ionians were extremely weak and the only strong state at the time was Athens. They began to call their league/group to assembly and had a temple uniting them all, the Panionium, open only to Ionians
  • The Triopium temple was on a peninsula and held games. Winners weren’t ever allowed to take their prizes back home with them. When a man from Halicarnassus dared to take his back home, Halicarnassians were banned thereafter from the temple.
  • The Ionians had 12 cities in Asia to go along with their 12 on the Peloponnese. They refused to expand any further.
  • They became the Achaeans in Greece, leaving Ionians in Asia. They took over local cities and intermarried with local women who still bore them a grudge from their conquest.
  • Many Ionian groups relished the names of their ancestors as a source of purity of being Ionian stock.
  • The Panionium in Mycalé was a sacred temple to Neptune that hosted Ionian assemblies and feasts of Greek tradition
  • Loss of Smyrna – Men in Colophon were openly talking of rebellion and were exiled. The Smyrnaeans took them in. Eventually the exiles took over the place during a local Bacchanal feast, trying to make it an Ionian city. The Aeolians came over to provide order with little success. Native Smyrnaeans were dispersed throughout the various Aeolian cities.
  • The Aeolian and Ionian Islands seemed less vulnerable to attack and instability than the mainland cities. They pooled together for a common assembly for mutual benefit.
  • Deputies from the assembly met in Sparta Pythermus from Phocaea spoke for the group. They asked Sparta for help but the Spartans wouldn’t commit to allying with them against the Persians. However, the Spartans did send boats over to the eastern part of the Aegean Sea to keep an eye on Ionian in case Cyrus made any aggressive moves.
  • Cyrus was curious about what the Spartans were up to. He wanted to ruffle their feathers without having to worry about Ionian getting stronger or attracting allies. He thought that the Greek life was far too decadent to be respected.
  • When Cyrus’s army left the area of Cymé, a man named Pactyas led a revolt against the Persians. He used the money he had at his disposal from the time of Croesus to hire mercenaries and get locals to join and besiege the city.
  • Cyrus consulted with Croesus – “Your people are a real pain in the ass. They still worship you and won’t give in.” Croesus replied that Pactyas was good at appealing to the crowd. “Don’t crush the people. They’re good people but gullible. Just stop Pactyas and the situation will die down.
  • Croesus thought this was the best course and Cyrus agreed. He got a trusted Mede, Mazares, to carry out orders. Pactyas was to be brought in alive.
  • Pactyas head something was up and ran off. Cyrus’s man reestablished control and made the Lydians change their ways of living. He asked the people of Cymé to give him up. The people consulted the Oracle to tell them what to do.
  • The Oracle told the people to give him up. Some of them didn’t believe it and went to the Oracle themselves to hear what she had to say. The Oracle repeated her words and actually threatened them with charges of impiety if they didn’t do it.
  • They sent Pactyas to Mytilêné to avoid defying the king and the Oracle without actually handing him over. Mazares didn’t want this but the Cymaeans sent him on to Lesbos and then Chios but eventually he was surrendered to the Persians.
  • Mazares began a par against Pactyas’s supporters, took Priêné, sold inhabitants off as slaves, and took several nearby towns before suddenly dying of an illness.
  • Once Mazares died, Harpagus took command. Now he was in charge of dealing with the Ionians. The city walls were difficult, so he built mounds sloping from the walls so the army could walk right in to the city. Phocaea was the first city he attacked.
  • The Phocaeans were travelers and knew much about the Adriatic and Tyrrhenian Seas, as well as Spain. Instead of merchant ships, they used Penteconters (with 50 oars). They showed up to Tartessus (Southern Spain) and made nice with the king. He asked them to stick around and leave their homeland to be near him. When he heard that the Medes were growing in power, he offered to pay for a wall to be built for their city.
  • Harpagus laid siege to Phocaea and offered a peace if they made one of their houses dedicated to Cyrus. They asked for time to think it over without the siege going on. He allowed it. The Phocaean launched their penteconters, loaded with the entire contents of the city, including the people and went to Chios. Persian had possession of an empty town.
  • Once in Chios, the Phocaeans tried to buy some islands off the Chians but they wouldn’t bite. The Phocaeans moved to Corsice, following an Oracle’s direction. The navy sailed back to Phocaea and saw a Persian garrison there and took them by surprise. They fought but many Phocaeans ran off. They didn’t really want to go too far because they were homesick.
  • The rest went back to Corsica. They annoyed their neighbors to the point where the Carthaginians and Tyrrhenians sent in fleets to stop them. The Phocaean fleet was destroyed. They took their people down to Rhegium (toe of Italy).
  • The captives taken by the Carthaginians and Tyrrahenians were stoned to death. The Agyilian people asked the Oracle what they should do with the dead they found. She said to bury them according to the rites and hold funeral games. Those in Rhegium stayed and founded other cities.
  • While the Phocaeans left, the people of Teos were besieged by Harpagus as well. Those people moved up to Thrace but were run out by the Thracians.
  • Phocaea and Teos were the 2 cities that preferred to run away than to submit to Persia. The others fought well but lost and eventually submitted to Cyrus.
  • The Ionians still met at the Panionium. Bias thought they ought to strive to be the happiest of all the Greeks. In order to do this, they’d need to go to Sardinia and found a city there. Thales of Miletus recommended they establish Teos as the capital of Ionia.
  • Harpagus focused on the Carians, Caunians and Lycians. He drafted Ionians and Aeolians to fight. The Carians came from Minos’s people, Leleges. They invented helmet crests, shield handles and shield devices/add-ons. They were forced out of the island by Ionians and Dorians to the mainland. That’s what the Cretans say, anyway. The Carians says they weren’t from the islands but from the mainland, related to Mysus and Lydus.
  • The Caunians are said to be from Crete but are related to the Carians. The differences were overcome by people of all walks of life of the same age, drinking wine together. They didn’t accept any foreign gods, only their own.
  • Lycians were also from Crete. There was a dispute between Minos and Sarpedon (sons of Europé) on who would become king. Minos won and Sarpedon and co. left to Asia in Milyan land owned by Lycia. They changed name after Lycus became king. They took their mothers’ names and property and citizenship passed through the mother.
  • The Cnidians were Spartan/Lycadaemonian. While Harpagus attacked Ionian, the Cnidians wanted to make their city into islands and began to dig a canal through the isthmus. The workers were in bad shape. They asked the Oracle what to do. She said if Jove wanted them on an island, he would have put them on an island.
  • Near Halicarnassus, were the Pedasians. It was said that if something bad happened, the Minervan priestess grew a beard. This happened 3 times throughout history. They put up one hell of a fight against the Persians but were eventually broken by Harpagus.
  • Harpagus moved to the Lycians of Xanthus. He went to meet them but a battle broke out. The Xanthians ran off and the city was taken. Caunus was taken the same way.

The Histories by Herodotus – Book I, “Clio” VII – Persian Culture [131-140]

The Histories by Herodotus – Book I, “Clio”

VII – Persian Culture [131-140]

  • No images of gods, no temples, no altars, all of which seemed silly to them. They didn’t think the gods have the same traits and nature as humans. Many gods they had were given to them from Arabs and Assyrians.
  • Persian sacrifices to gods – no altars, no fires, no libations, no food. You brought the victim to a pure spot called the god’s name. You wore a turban with a myrtle wreath. You prayed not for yourself but for the welfare of Persia and the king. The victim is cut up, boiled and put on grass. The Magi chant a hymn about the gods. You must have a Magus at the sacrifice.
  • Your birthday was the biggest day of your year. You ate tons of dessert and drank a lot but you couldn’t vomit or piss in public. Most big decisions are discussed when drinking but reviewed the next day and made a clear decision.
  • If you met someone of the same rank in the street, you kissed someone on the lips. If not quite equals on the cheeks. If very unequal, the inferior would prostrate himself on the ground. They are close with neighbors and less so with those who were further away, etc. They saw themselves as superior to other nations because they are the closest to each other and most similar. Those furthest away were hardly human. The Medes were the rulers in the early days and passed on their style of rule and government.
  • Persians were quick to pick up foreign habits when they were better. Medes’ dress was Egyptian armor and Greek luxury. Men have many wives and concubines.
  • Fighting was very important to have many sons. The man with the most sons got a prize. Large numbers meant strength. Some were taught fighting between 5-20 years old. It had 3 major prizes – riding, archery and speaking the truth. Kids weren’t allowed to see their fathers before they were 5 years old, so that if they died, the father wouldn’t be too affected.
  • The death penalty was not given on first offense. You had a running tally of misdeeds and if the benefit of the convicted to society was outweighed by his crimes, he’d be punished.
  • They claimed that no one had ever killed his mother or father. It is occurred they were convinced the child would be a changeling or the product of adultery. A normal situation would never lead to murdering one’s parents.
  • It was illegal to talk of illegal things. It was also bad to tell lies, owe debts and be a leper (you were considered a sinner against the sun). White pigeons were seen as bad, as was defiling a river. Names were based on bodily or mental excellence.
  • A male Persian is never buried until eaten by a dog or bird of prey. The bodies are then covered in wax and buried. Persian Magi killed any animal for sacrifice except men and dogs. They liked to kill ants, snakes, flying or crawling animals.