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Melpomene   


two- and showed her how to fasten the belt. Then he gave both bow
and belt into her hands. Now the belt had a golden goblet attached
to its clasp. So after he had given them to her, he went his way;
and the woman, when her children grew to manhood, first gave them
severally their names. One she called Agathyrsus, one Gelonus, and the
other, who was the youngest, Scythes. Then she remembered the
instructions she had received from Hercules, and, in obedience to
his orders, she put her sons to the test. Two of them, Agathyrsus
and Gelonus, proving unequal to the task enjoined, their mother sent
them out of the land; Scythes, the youngest, succeeded, and so he
was allowed to remain. From Scythes, the son of Hercules, were
descended the after kings of Scythia; and from the circumstance of the
goblet which hung from the belt, the Scythians to this day wear
goblets at their girdles. This was the only thing which the mother
of Scythes did for him. Such is the tale told by the Greeks who
dwell around the Pontus.
There is also another different story, now to be related, in which
I am more inclined to put faith than in any other. It is that the
wandering Scythians once dwelt in Asia, and there warred with the
Massagetae, but with ill success; they therefore quitted their
homes, crossed the Araxes, and entered the land of Cimmeria. For the
land which is now inhabited by the Scyths was formerly the country
of the Cimmerians. On their coming, the natives, who heard how
numerous the invading army was, held a council. At this meeting
opinion was divided, and both parties stiffly maintained their own
view; but the counsel of the Royal tribe was the braver. For the
others urged that the best thing to be done was to leave the
country, and avoid a contest with so vast a host; but the Royal
tribe advised remaining and fighting for the soil to the last. As
neither party chose to give way, the one determined to retire
without a blow and yield their lands to the invaders; but the other,
remembering the good things which they had enjoyed in their homes, and
picturing to themselves the evils which they had to expect if they
gave them up, resolved not to flee, but rather to die and at least
be buried in their fatherland. Having thus decided, they drew apart in
two bodies, the one as numerous as the other, and fought together. All
of the Royal tribe were slain, and the people buried them near the
river Tyras, where their grave is still to be seen. Then the rest of
the Cimmerians departed, and the Scythians, on their coming, took
possession of a deserted land.
Scythia still retains traces of the Cimmerians; there are
Cimmerian castles, and a Cimmerian ferry, also a tract called
Cimmeria, and a Cimmerian Bosphorus. It appears likewise that the
Cimmerians, when they fled into Asia to escape the Scyths, made a
settlement in the peninsula where the Greek city of Sinope was
afterwards built. The Scyths, it is plain, pursued them, and missing
their road, poured into Media. For the Cimmerians kept the line
which led along the sea-shore, but the Scyths in their pursuit held
the Caucasus upon their right, thus proceeding inland, and falling
upon Media. This account is one which is common both to Greeks and
barbarians.
Aristeas also, son of Caystrobius, a native of Proconnesus, says
in the course of his poem that wrapt in Bacchic fury he went as far as
the Issedones. Above them dwelt the Arimaspi, men with one eye;
still further, the gold-guarding griffins; and beyond these, the
Hyperboreans, who extended to the sea. Except the Hyperboreans, all
these nations, beginning with the Arimaspi, were continually
encroaching upon their neighbours. Hence it came to pass that the
Arimaspi drove the Issedonians from their country, while the
Issedonians dispossessed the Scyths; and the Scyths, pressing upon the
Cimmerians, who dwelt on the shores of the Southern Sea, forced them
to leave their land. Thus even Aristeas does not agree in his
account of this region with the Scythians.
The birthplace of Aristeas, the poet who sung of these things, I

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