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Melpomene   


it rains in that part of Libya) do any harm when they soak the ground.
The returns of the harvest come up to the measure which prevails in
Babylonia. The soil is likewise good in the country of the
Euesperites; for there the land brings forth in the best years a
hundred-fold. But the Cinyps region yields three hundred-fold.
The country of the Cyrenaeans, which is the highest tract within
the part of Libya inhabited by the wandering tribes, has three seasons
that deserve remark. First the crops along the sea-coast begin to
ripen, and are ready for the harvest and the vintage; after they
have been gathered in, the crops of the middle tract above the coast
region (the hill-country, as they call it) need harvesting; while
about the time when this middle crop is housed, the fruits ripen and
are fit for cutting in the highest tract of all. So that the produce
of the first tract has been all eaten and drunk by the time that the
last harvest comes in. And the harvest-time of the Cyrenaeans
continues thus for eight full months. So much concerning these
matters.
When the Persians sent from Egypt by Aryandes to help Pheretima
reached Barca, they laid siege to the town, calling on those within to
give up the men who had been guilty of the murder of Arcesilaus. The
townspeople, however, as they had one and all taken part in the
deed, refused to entertain the proposition. So the Persians
beleaguered Barca for nine months, in the course of which they dug
several mines from their own lines to the walls, and likewise made a
number of vigorous assaults. But their mines were discovered by a
man who was a worker in brass, who went with a brazen shield all round
the fortress, and laid it on the ground inside the city. In other
Places the shield, when he laid it down, was quite dumb; but where the
ground was undermined, there the brass of the shield rang. Here,
therefore, the Barcaeans countermined, and slew the Persian diggers.
Such was the way in which the mines were discovered; as for the
assaults, the Barcaeans beat them back.
When much time had been consumed, and great numbers had fallen
on both sides, nor had the Persians lost fewer than their adversaries,
Amasis, the leader of the land-army, perceiving that, although the
Barcaeans would never be conquered by force, they might be overcome by
fraud, contrived as follows One night he dug a wide trench, and laid
light planks of wood across the opening, after which he brought
mould and placed it upon the planks, taking care to make the place
level with the surrounding ground. At dawn of day he summoned the
Barcaeans to a parley: and they gladly hearkening, the terms were at
length agreed upon. Oaths were interchanged upon the ground over the
hidden trench, and the agreement ran thus- "So long as the ground
beneath our feet stands firm, the oath shall abide unchanged; the
people of Barca agree to pay a fair sum to the king, and the
Persians promise to cause no further trouble to the people of
Barca." After the oath, the Barcaeans, relying upon its terms, threw
open all their gates, went out themselves beyond the walls, and
allowed as many of the enemy as chose to enter. Then the Persians
broke down their secret bridge, and rushed at speed into the town-
their reason for breaking the bridge being that so they might
observe what they had sworn; for they had promised the Barcaeans
that the oath should continue "so long as the ground whereon they
stood was firm." When, therefore, the bridge was once broken down, the
oath ceased to hold.
Such of the Barcaeans as were most guilty the Persians gave up
to Pheretima, who nailed them to crosses all round the walls of the
city. She also cut off the breasts of their wives, and fastened them
likewise about the walls. The remainder of the people she gave as
booty to the Persians, except only the Battiadae and those who had
taken no part in the murder, to whom she handed over the possession of
the town.
The Persians now set out on their return home, carrying with
them the rest of the Barcaeans, whom they had made their slaves. On

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