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.

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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.

The Histories by Herodotus – Book I, “Clio” VI – Harpagus Convinces Cyrus to Take Over Media [123-130]

The Histories by Herodotus – Book I, “Clio”

VI – Harpagus Convinces Cyrus to Take Over Media [123-130]

  • When Cyrus had grown up, Harpagus, looking for revenge, visited him to ask for help. He convinced Median nobles that Astyages was cruel and needed to go. But the road to Persia was guided. He put a letter a dead hare to send to Cyrus and the carrier told him to open it.
  • Cyrus opened it and read: “I’ll be you’d like revenge on Astyages. He wanted to kill you but I made sure you lived. You must’ve heard what he did to my son in return. You should come and take over. Nobody would fight back because they all hate Astyages. They might even fight for you.
  • Cyrus thought about how to get Persia to revolt from Astyages. He wrote his thoughts out and called an assembly of Persians. He read his notes – Astyages was to be his general. “Let’s get him here.” He convinced the Persians to revolt.
  • He brought men with reaping hooks to clear out a field then put flocks of sheep, goats and oxen of his father’s brought out loads of wine to entertain the army. He asked them what they liked best: clearing fields, butchering animals or partying? Partying obviously. He said – Follow me and your slave days are over. The Medes are what’s stopping us. Let’s revolt from Astyages.
  • Astyages got wind of this and summoned him. Cyrus sent back a message – “I’ll be in your presence sooner than he’d like.” Astyages mobilized and appointed Harpagus as general. When the armies met, very few Medes fought. Most joined the Persians or ran away.
  • Astyages heard that and threatened Cyrus – “You’ll never win,” and allowed him to escape, but killed the interpreters. He armed all the people left in the city and led them into battle, got defeated and fell into the enemy’s hands.
  • Harpagus saw him as a prisoner and chided him. “What about that dinner? Now that you’re a slave and no longer a king?” Astyages asked, “Why are you claiming Cyrus’s win as your own?” Harpagus, “I got him to revolt against you and I get a ton of the credit.” Astyages, “Why would he get you to do his dirty work? Why would the Medes revolt? Only a Mede should be king of the Medes.”
  • Astyages was king for 35 years. The Medes ran their area for 128 years – except during the period of Scythian rule. The Persians took over. Cyrus kept Astyages around for the rest of his life.

The Histories by Herodotus – Book I, “Clio” V – Astyages & Cyrus [107-122]

This is what happens when you eat moldy cheese before bed.

The Histories by Herodotus – Book I, “Clio”

V – Astyages & Cyrus [107-122]

A – Astyages has a Dream [107-113]

  • Astyages was next on the throne. He had a dream about his daughter, Mandané, where a flood of water flowed from her that drowned the capital and all of Asia. This scared him so much that he wouldn’t allow her to marry any Mede but to a Persian.
  • The Persian, Cambyses took Astyages’s daughter, Mandané, back to Persia. Astyages feared that their child, Cyrus, would take over Asia. He sent Harpagus to take the kid and kill him.
  • Harpagus went to Mandané and told what her father wanted. He couldn’t kill the child. The kid was his relative and the only heir to Media. But he had to produce a dead baby as evidence.
  • He took the baby and gave it to a shepherd, Mitradates, to look after.
  • Mitridates’s wife had just had a stillborn child and gave it to Harpagus to pass off as a dead Cyrus, while the cowherd’s family kept Cyrus.

B – Cyrus is Found [114-122]

  • When Cyrus was 10 years old, it was found out who he was. He was playing near a cow pasture with other kids and he was “appointed” king by the others. One kid, a nobleman’s son, refused to do as he was “ordered” and Cyrus had the other kids whip him. The boy ran off to his father to tell on Cyrus (wasn’t his name then). The father told the actual king, Astyages.
  • Astyages wanted to do something and called the herder and Cyrus to the palace. Astyages questioned him about his behavior. Cyrus explained the game.
  • Astyages grew suspicious about the boy, seeing something of himself in him, and he was the right age of the child he “had destroyed”. He spoke with the cowherd alone and he told him the whole, real story.
  • Astyages was angry with Harpagus, asking him how he “killed” the child. Harpagus said he couldn’t kill a baby and gave it to the cowherd to deal with. “My eunuchs told me they saw it done and that’s what happened.”
  • Astyages repeated what the cowherd had told him and that he believed the boy was Cyrus, his grandson. He wanted the boy to go to his birth parents and have a banquet prepared.
  • Harpagus thought his disobedience turned to fine in the end and that the banquet was to be held in his honor. He went home and ordered his son to go run an errand for the king. Astyages had the boy killed, cut up into pieces and cooked for the banquet. The other guests ate normal food but Harpagus was fed his son unknowingly. The king asked him if he enjoyed his meal. “Yes”, he replied. A basket was brought out with the boy’s hands and feet. He didn’t scream or flinch. He just took the bones back home to bury.
  • He sent for the Magi who interpreted the dream about Cyrus and asked for more advice. They said he must become king if he hadn’t been killed. He told him of the story of Cyrus playing king and the Magi said that counted and it was all over. “He’s foreign & Persian. As long as you or a Mede are on the throne, it’ll be fine. The dream means nothing else.”
  • Cyrus’s father, Cambyses met him happily, thinking he’d been killed. Cyrus knew nothing about the story but had been sure he was a cowherd’s son in Media. On the way to Persia, his escort told him the truth that his adoptive mother was named “Cyno”, meaning “Bitch.”

The Histories by Herodotus – Book I, “Clio” IV – Media Starts [95-106]

Engrave that shit in stone!

The Histories by Herodotus – Book I, “Clio”

IV – Media Starts [95-106]

A – Beginnings of Persia were in the Medes [95-102]

  • On to Cyrus and the Persians… the Assyrians were in Upper Asia for 520 years, when Medes revolted and got their freedom.
  • They had democracies for a short while but turned to kings. A Mede, Deioces, tried to build power, centralize authority and maintain law and order. His fellow villagers liked his style and put him in charge of local justice.
  • He saw more and more complaints and was tired of hearing about it and stopped listening. Lawlessness broke out again. Deioces said we need a king to bring order back.
  • Deioces was at the top of the list. They built him a palace and gave him a guard. He wanted a capital, Agbatana, with city walls, a treasury and a bit of flair.
  • The people lived outside the palace but no one had direct access to the king, only messengers. No one was allowed to see him. He became paranoid of jealous old friends who didn’t think he was so high and mighty.
  • He only “heard” cases written down and he sent out his judgment back by a messenger. He had spies who reported all evil deeds in the land and he’d have the perpetrators punished.
  • He brought Medes into a nation from a few tribes.
  • Deioces ruled 35 years and his son, Phraortes, took over and wanted to expand by attacking Persia and brought them into the fold. He attacked Assyria but died in the attack. He ruled the Medes for 22 years.

B – Scythians, the Plan-Foilers [103-106]

  • His son, Cyaxeres took over and was even more warlike than Dad was. He formalized the military. He fought against the Lydians. He marched on Nineveh to avenge his father’s death. He laid siege to the city but a band of Scythians attacked him.
  • The Scythians wandered into the place while invading Media. The Medes couldn’t handle them and the Scythians ruled Asia for a time.
  • The Scythians planned to go Egypt for some fun and adventure. They met the king of Palestine, who gave them money under the understanding that they wouldn’t go any further. On the way back up north, they pillaged parts of Syria, especially Venus’s temple in Ascalon. Venus gave them a disease to affect future generations.
  • The Scythians were in Asia for 28 years. They demanded tribute and taxes at their own whim and generally angered their subjects. Cyaxeres invited the leaders to a banquet, got them drunk and murdered them. The Medes were back and took Nineveh back. Cyaxeres ruled for 40 years including the Scythian interlude.