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Melpomene   


the scab either in man or beast. Its sources, which are eight and
thirty in number, all flowing from the same rock, are in part cold, in
part hot. They lie at an equal distance from the town of Heraeum
near Perinthus, and Apollonia on the Euxine, a two days' journey
from each. This river, the Tearus, is a tributary of the
Contadesdus, which runs into the Agrianes, and that into the Hebrus.
The Hebrus empties itself into the sea near the city of Aenus.
Here then, on the banks of the Tearus, Darius stopped and
pitched his camp. The river charmed him so, that he caused a pillar to
be erected in this place also, with an inscription to the following
effect: "The fountains of the Tearus afford the best and most
beautiful water of all rivers: they were visited, on his march into
Scythia, by the best and most beautiful of men, Darius, son of
Hystaspes, king of the Persians, and of the whole continent." Such was
the inscription which he set up at this place.
Marching thence, he came to a second river, called the Artiscus,
which flows through the country of the Odrysians. Here he fixed upon a
certain spot, where every one of his soldiers should throw a stone
as he passed by. When his orders were obeyed, Darius continued his
march, leaving behind him great hills formed of the stones cast by his
troops.
Before arriving at the Ister, the first people whom he subdued
were the Getae, who believe in their immortality. The Thracians of
Salmydessus, and those who dwelt above the cities of Apollonia and
Mesembria- the Scyrmiadae and Nipsaeans, as they are called- gave
themselves up to Darius without a struggle; but the Getae
obstinately defending themselves, were forthwith enslaved,
notwithstanding that they are the noblest as well as the most just
of all the Thracian tribes.
The belief of the Getae in respect of immortality is the
following. They think that they do not really die, but that when
they depart this life they go to Zalmoxis, who is called also
Gebeleizis by some among them. To this god every five years they
send a messenger, who is chosen by lot out of the whole nation, and
charged to bear him their several requests. Their mode of sending
him is this. A number of them stand in order, each holding in his hand
three darts; others take the man who is to be sent to Zalmoxis, and
swinging him by his hands and feet, toss him into the air so that he
falls upon the points of the weapons. If he is pierced and dies,
they think that the god is propitious to them; but if not, they lay
the fault on the messenger, who (they say) is a wicked man: and so
they choose another to send away. The messages are given while the man
is still alive. This same people, when it lightens and thunders, aim
their arrows at the sky, uttering threats against the god; and they do
not believe that there is any god but their own.
I am told by the Greeks who dwell on the shores of the
Hellespont and the Pontus, that this Zalmoxis was in reality a man,
that he lived at Samos, and while there was the slave of Pythagoras
son of Mnesarchus. After obtaining his freedom he grew rich, and
leaving Samos, returned to his own country. The Thracians at that time
lived in a wretched way, and were a poor ignorant race; Zalmoxis,
therefore, who by his commerce with the Greeks, and especially with
one who was by no means their most contemptible philosopher,
Pythagoras to wit, was acquainted with the Ionic mode of life and with
manners more refined than those current among his countrymen, had a
chamber built, in which from time to time he received and feasted
all the principal Thracians, using the occasion to teach them that
neither he, nor they, his boon companions, nor any of their
posterity would ever perish, but that they would all go to a place
where they would live for aye in the enjoyment of every conceivable
good. While he was acting in this way, and holding this kind of
discourse, he was constructing an apartment underground, into which,
when it was completed, he withdrew, vanishing suddenly from the eyes
of the Thracians, who greatly regretted his loss, and mourned over him

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