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Melpomene   


as one dead. He meanwhile abode in his secret chamber three full
years, after which he came forth from his concealment, and showed
himself once more to his countrymen, who were thus brought to
believe in the truth of what he had taught them. Such is the account
of the Greeks.
I for my part neither put entire faith in this story of Zalmoxis
and his underground chamber, nor do I altogether discredit it: but I
believe Zalmoxis to have lived long before the time of Pythagoras.
Whether there was ever really a man of the name, or whether Zalmoxis
is nothing but a native god of the Getae, I now bid him farewell. As
for the Getae themselves, the people who observe the practices
described above, they were now reduced by the Persians, and
accompanied the army of Darius.
When Darius, with his land forces, reached the Ister, he made
his troops cross the stream, and after all were gone over gave
orders to the Ionians to break the bridge, and follow him with the
whole naval force in his land march. They were about to obey his
command, when the general of the Mytilenaeans, Coes son of Erxander,
having first asked whether it was agreeable to the king to listen to
one who wished to speak his mind, addressed him in the words
following:- "Thou art about, Sire, to attack a country no part of
which is cultivated, and wherein there is not a single inhabited city.
Keep this bridge, then, as it is, and leave those who built it to
watch over it. So if we come up with the Scythians and succeed against
them as we could wish, we may return by this route; or if we fail of
finding them, our retreat will still be secure. For I have no fear
lest the Scythians defeat us in battle, but my dread is lest we be
unable to discover them, and suffer loss while we wander about their
territory. And now, mayhap, it will be said, I advise thee thus in the
hope of being myself allowed to remain behind; but in truth I have
no other design than to recommend the course which seems to me the
best; nor will I consent to be among those left behind, but my resolve
is, in any case, to follow thee." The advice of Coes pleased Darius
highly, who thus replied to him:- "Dear Lesbian, when I am safe home
again in my palace, be sure thou come to me, and with good deeds
will I recompense thy good words of to-day."
Having so said, the king took a leathern thong, and tying sixty
knots in it, called together the Ionian tyrants, and spoke thus to
them:- "Men of Ionia, my former commands to you concerning the
bridge are now withdrawn. See, here is a thong: take it, and observe
my bidding with respect to it. From the time that I leave you to march
forward into Scythia, untie every day one of the knots. If I do not
return before the last day to which the knots will hold out, then
leave your station, and sail to your several homes. Meanwhile,
understand that my resolve is changed, and that you are to guard the
bridge with all care, and watch over its safety and preservation. By
so doing ye will oblige me greatly." When Darius had thus spoken, he
set out on his march with all speed.
Before you come to Scythia, on the sea coast, lies Thrace. The
land here makes a sweep, and then Scythia begins, the Ister falling
into the sea at this point with its mouth facing the east. Starting
from the Ister I shall now describe the measurements of the seashore
of Scythia. Immediately that the Ister is crossed, Old Scythia begins,
and continues as far as the city called Carcinitis, fronting towards
the south wind and the mid-day. Here upon the same sea, there lies a
mountainous tract projecting into the Pontus, which is inhabited by
the Tauri, as far as what is called the Rugged Chersonese, which
runs out into the sea upon the east. For the boundaries of Scythia
extend on two sides to two different seas, one upon the south, and the
other towards the east, as is also the case with Attica. And the Tauri
occupy a position in Scythia like that which a people would hold in
Attica, who, being foreigners and not Athenians, should inhabit the
high land of Sunium, from Thoricus to the township of Anaphlystus,
if this tract projected into the sea somewhat further than it does.

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