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Melpomene   


they act as follows: they make a booth by fixing in the ground three
sticks inclined towards one another, and stretching around them
woollen felts, which they arrange so as to fit as close as possible:
inside the booth a dish is placed upon the ground, into which they put
a number of red-hot stones, and then add some hemp-seed.
Hemp grows in Scythia: it is very like flax; only that it is a
much coarser and taller plant: some grows wild about the country, some
is produced by cultivation: the Thracians make garments of it which
closely resemble linen; so much so, indeed, that if a person has never
seen hemp he is sure to think they are linen, and if he has, unless he
is very experienced in such matters, he will not know of which
material they are.
The Scythians, as I said, take some of this hemp-seed, and,
creeping under the felt coverings, throw it upon the red-hot stones;
immediately it smokes, and gives out such a vapour as no Grecian
vapour-bath can exceed; the Scyths, delighted, shout for joy, and this
vapour serves them instead of a water-bath; for they never by any
chance wash their bodies with water. Their women make a mixture of
cypress, cedar, and frankincense wood, which they pound into a paste
upon a rough piece of stone, adding a little water to it. With this
substance, which is of a thick consistency, they plaster their faces
all over, and indeed their whole bodies. A sweet odour is thereby
imparted to them, and when they take off the plaster on the day
following, their skin is clean and glossy.
The Scythians have an extreme hatred of all foreign customs,
particularly of those in use among the Greeks, as the instances of
Anacharsis, and, more lately, of Scylas, have fully shown. The former,
after he had travelled over a great portion of the world, and
displayed wherever he went many proofs of wisdom, as he sailed through
the Hellespont on his return to Scythia touched at Cyzicus. There he
found the inhabitants celebrating with much pomp and magnificence a
festival to the Mother of the Gods, and was himself induced to make
a vow to the goddess, whereby he engaged, if he got back safe and
sound to his home, that he would give her a festival and a
night-procession in all respects like those which he had seen in
Cyzicus. When, therefore, he arrived in Scythia, he betook himself
to the district called the Woodland, which lies opposite the course of
Achilles, and is covered with trees of all manner of different
kinds, and there went through all the sacred rites with the tabour
in his hand, and the images tied to him. While thus employed, he was
noticed by one of the Scythians, who went and told king Saulius what
he had seen. Then king Saulius came in person, and when he perceived
what Anacharsis was about, he shot at him with an arrow and killed
him. To this day, if you ask the Scyths about Anacharsis, they pretend
ignorance of him, because of his Grecian travels and adoption of the
customs of foreigners. I learnt, however, from Timnes, the steward
of Ariapithes, that Anacharsis was paternal uncle to the Scythian king
Idanthyrsus, being the son of Gnurus, who was the son of Lycus and the
grandson of Spargapithes. If Anacharsis were really of this house,
it must have been by his own brother that he was slain, for
Idanthyrsus was a son of the Saulius who put Anacharsis to death.
I have heard, however, another tale, very different from this,
which is told by the Peloponnesians: they say, that Anacharsis was
sent by the king of the Scyths to make acquaintance with Greece-
that he went, and on his return home reported that the Greeks were all
occupied in the pursuit of every kind of knowledge, except the
Lacedaemonians; who, however, alone knew how to converse sensibly. A
silly tale this, which the Greeks have invented for their amusement!
There is no doubt that Anacharsis suffered death in the mode already
related, on account of his attachment to foreign customs, and the
intercourse which he held with the Greeks.
Scylas, likewise, the son of Ariapithes, many years later, met
with almost the very same fate. Ariapithes, the Scythian king, had
several sons, among them this Scylas, who was the child, not of a

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