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without change of course, to the north.
The scouts of the Scythians found the Persian host advanced
three days' march from the Ister, and immediately took the lead of
them at the distance of a day's march, encamping from time to time,
and destroying all that grow on the ground. The Persians no sooner
caught sight of the Scythian horse than they pursued upon their track,
while the enemy retired before them. The pursuit of the Persians was
directed towards the single division of the Scythian army, and thus
their line of march was eastward toward the Tanais. The Scyths crossed
the river and the Persians after them, still in pursuit. in this way
they passed through the country of the Sauromatae, and entered that of
the Budini.
As long as the march of the Persian army lay through the countries
of the Scythians and Sauromatae, there was nothing which they could
damage, the land being waste and barren; but on entering the
territories of the Budini, they came upon the wooden fortress above
mentioned, which was deserted by its inhabitants and left quite
empty of everything. This place they burnt to the ground; and having
so done, again pressed forward on the track of the retreating
Scythians, till, having passed through the entire country of the
Budini, they reached the desert, which has no inhabitants, and extends
a distance of seven days' journey above the Budinian territory. Beyond
this desert dwell the Thyssagetae, out of whose land four great
streams flow. These rivers all traverse the country of the
Maeotians, and fall into the Palus Maeotis. Their names are the Lycus,
the Oarus, the Tanais, and the Syrgis.
When Darius reached the desert, he paused from his pursuit, and
halted his army upon the Oarus. Here he built eight large forts, at an
equal distance from one another, sixty furlongs apart or
thereabouts, the ruins of which were still remaining in my day. During
the time that he was so occupied, the Scythians whom he had been
following made a circuit by the higher regions, and re-entered
Scythia. On their complete disappearance, Darius, seeing nothing
more of them, left his forts half finished, and returned towards the
west. He imagined that the Scythians whom he had seen were the
entire nation, and that they had fled in that direction.
He now quickened his march, and entering Scythia, fell in with the
two combined divisions of the Scythian army, and instantly gave them
chase. They kept to their plan of retreating before him at the
distance of a day's march; and, he still following them hotly, they
led him, as had been previously settled, into the territories of the
nations that had refused to become their allies, and first of all into
the country of the Melanchaeni. Great disturbance was caused among
this people by the invasion of the Scyths first, and then of the
Persians. So, having harassed them after this sort, the Scythians
led the way into the land of the Androphagi, with the same result as
before; and thence passed onwards into Neuris, where their coming
likewise spread dismay among the inhabitants. Still retreating they
approached the Agathyrsi; but this people, which had witnessed the
flight and terror of their neighbours, did not wait for the Scyths
to invade them, but sent a herald to forbid them to cross their
borders, and to forewarn them, that, if they made the attempt, it
would be resisted by force of arms. The Agathyrsi then proceeded to
the frontier, to defend their country against the invaders. As for the
other nations, the Melanchaeni, the Androphagi, and the Neuri, instead
of defending themselves, when the Scyths and Persians overran their
lands, they forgot their threats and fled away in confusion to the
deserts lying towards the north. The Scythians, when the Agathyrsi
forbade them to enter their country, refrained; and led the Persians
back from the Neurian district into their own land.
This had gone on so long, and seemed so interminable, that
Darius at last sent a horseman to Idanthyrsus, the Scythian king, with
the following message:- "Thou strange man, why dost thou keep on
flying before me, when there are two things thou mightest do so

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