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native Scyth, but of a woman of Istria. Bred up by her, Scylas
gained an acquaintance with the Greek language and letters. Some
time afterwards, Ariapithes was treacherously slain by Spargapithes,
king of the Agathyrsi; whereupon Scylas succeeded to the throne, and
married one of his father's wives, a woman named Opoea. This Opoea was
a Scythian by birth, and had brought Ariapithes a son called Oricus.
Now when Scylas found himself king of Scythia, as he disliked the
Scythic mode of life, and was attached, by his bringing up, to the
manners of the Greeks, he made it his usual practice, whenever he came
with his army to the town of the Borysthenites, who, according to
their own account, are colonists of the Milesians- he made it his
practice, I say, to leave the army before the city, and, having
entered within the walls by himself, and carefully closed the gates,
to exchange his Scythian dress for Grecian garments, and in this
attire to walk about the forum, without guards or retinue. The
Borysthenites kept watch at the gates, that no Scythian might see
the king thus apparelled. Scylas, meanwhile, lived exactly as the
Greeks, and even offered sacrifices to the gods according to the
Grecian rites. In this way he would pass a month, or more, with the
Borysthenites, after which he would clothe himself again in his
Scythian dress, and so take his departure. This he did repeatedly, and
even built himself a house in Borysthenes, and married a wife there
who was a native of the place.
But when the time came that was ordained to bring him woe, the
occasion of his ruin was the following. He wanted to be initiated in
the Bacchic mysteries, and was on the point of obtaining admission
to the rites, when a most strange prodigy occurred to him. The house
which he possessed, as I mentioned a short time back, in the city of
the Borysthenites, a building of great extent and erected at a vast
cost, round which there stood a number of sphinxes and griffins carved
in white marble, was struck by lightning from on high, and burnt to
the ground. Scylas, nevertheless, went on and received the initiation.
Now the Scythians are wont to reproach the Greeks with their Bacchanal
rage, and to say that it is not reasonable to imagine there is a god
who impels men to madness. No sooner, therefore, was Scylas
initiated in the Bacchic mysteries than one of the Borysthenites
went and carried the news to the Scythians "You Scyths laugh at us" he
said, "because we rave when the god seizes us. But now our god has
seized upon your king, who raves like us, and is maddened by the
influence. If you think I do not tell you true, come with me, and I
will show him to you." The chiefs of the Scythians went with the man
accordingly, and the Borysthenite, conducting them into the city,
placed them secretly on one of the towers. Presently Scylas passed
by with the band of revellers, raving like the rest, and was seen by
the watchers. Regarding the matter as a very great misfortune they
instantly departed, and came and told the army what they had
When, therefore, Scylas, after leaving Borysthenes, was about
returning home, the Scythians broke out into revolt. They put at their
head Octamasadas, grandson (on the mother's side) of Teres. Then
Scylas, when he learned the danger with which he was threatened, and
the reason of the disturbance, made his escape to Thrace. Octamasadas,
discovering whither he had fled, marched after him, and had reached
the Ister, when he was met by the forces of the Thracians. The two
armies were about to engage, but before they joined battle, Sitalces
sent a message to Octamasadas to this effect- "Why should there be
trial of arms betwixt thee and me? Thou art my own sister's son, and
thou hast in thy keeping my brother. Surrender him into my hands,
and I will give thy Scylas back to thee. So neither thou nor I will
risk our armies." Sitalces sent this message to Octamasadas, by a
herald, and Octamasadas, with whom a brother of Sitalces had
formerly taken refuge, accepted the terms. He surrendered his own
uncle to Sitalces, and obtained in exchange his brother Scylas.
Sitalces took his brother with him and withdrew; but Octamasadas

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