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before the judgment of an Oracle, whenever there was one
in their place; and many times he was convicted by the
Oracles and many times he was absolved: and then when
finally he became king he did as follows : as many of the
gods as had absolved him and pronounced him not to be
a thief, to their temples he paid no regard, nor gave any-
thing for the further adornment of them, nor even visited
them to offer sacrifice, considering them to be worth nothing
and to possess lying Oracles; but as many as had convicted
him of being a thief, to these he paid very great regard,
considering them to be truly gods, and to present Oracles
which did not lie. First in Sals he built and completed for
Athene a temple-gateway which is a great marvel, and he
far surpassed herein all who had done the like before, both
in regard to height and greatness, so large are the stones and
of such quality. Then secondly he dedicated great colossal
statues and man-headed sphinxes very large, and for restora-
tion he brought other stones of monstrous size. Some of
these he caused to be brought from the stone-quarries which
are opposite Memphis, others of very great size from the
city of Elephantine, distant a voyage of not less than twenty
days from Sals: and of them all I marvel most at this,
namely a monolith chamber which he brought from the city
of Elephantine; and they were three years engaged in bring-


ing this, and two thousand men were appointed to convey it,
who all were of the class of boatmen. Of this house the
length outside is one-and-twenty cubits, the breadth is four-
teen cubits, and the height eight. These are the measures
of the monolith house outside; but the length inside is
eighteen cubits and five-sixths of a cubit, the breadth twelve
cubits, and the height five cubits. This lies by the side of
the entrance to the temple ; for within the temple they did not
draw it, because, as it is said, while the house was being
drawn along, the chief artificer of it groaned aloud, seeing
that much time had been spent and he was wearied by the
work; and Amasis took it to heart as a warning and did
not allow them to draw it further onwards. Some say on
the other hand that a man was killed by it, of those who
were heaving it with levers, and that it was not drawn in
for that reason. Amasis also dedicated in all the other tem-
ples which were of repute, works which are worth seeing
for their size, and among them also at Memphis the colossal
statue which lies on its back in front of the temple of
Hephaistos, whose length is five-and-seventy feet; and on
the same base made of the same stone are set two colossal
statues, each of twenty feet in length, one on this side and
the other on that side of the large statue. There is also
another of stone of the same size in Sais, lying in the same
manner as that at Memphis. Moreover Amasis was he who
built and finished for Isis her temple at Memphis, which is
of great size and very worthy to be seen.

In the reign of Amasis it is said that Egypt became more
prosperous than at any other time before, both in regard to
that which comes to the land from the river and in regard
to that which comes from the land to its inhabitants, and
that at this time the inhabited towns in it numbered in all
twenty thousand. It was Amasis too who established the law
that every year each one of the Egyptians should declare to the
ruler of his district, from what source he got his livelihood,
and if any man did not do this or did not make declaration
of an honest way of living, he should be punished with death.
Now Solon the Athenian received from Egypt this law and
had it enacted for the Athenians, and they have continued to
observe it, since it is a law with which none can find fault.


Moreover Amasis became a lover of the Hellenes; and
besides other proofs of friendship which he gave to several
among them, he also granted the city of Naucratis for those
of them who came to Egypt to dwell in ; and to those who
did not desire to stay, but who made voyages thither, he
granted portions of land to set up altars and make sacred
enclosures for their gods. Their greatest enclosure and
that one which has most name and is most frequented is
called the Hellenion, and this was established by the follow-
ing cities in common : of the Ionians Chios, Teos, Phocaia,
Clazomenai, of the Dorians Rhodes, Cnidos, Halicarnassos,
Phaselis, and of the Aiolians Mytilene alone. To these be-
longs this enclosure and these are the cities which appoint
superintendents of the port; and all other cities which claim
a share in it, are making a claim without any right. Besides
this the Eginetans established on their own account a sacred
enclosure dedicated to Zeus, the Samians one to Hera, and
the Milesians one to Apollo. Now in old times Naucratis
alone was an open trading-place, and no other place in
Egypt: and if any one came to any other of the Nile mouths,
he was compelled to swear that he came not thither of his
own will, and when he had thus sworn his innocence he had
to sail with his ship to the Canobic mouth, or if it were not
possible to sail by reason of contrary winds, then he had to
carry his cargo round the head of the Delta in boats to
Naucratis : thus highly was Naucratis privileged. Moreover
when the Amphictyons had let out the contract for building
the temple which now exists at Delphi, agreeing to pay a sum
of three hundred talents (for the temple which formerly stood
there had been burnt down of itself), it fell to the share of
the people of Delphi to provide the fourth part of the pay-
ment; and accordingly the Delphians went about to various
, cities and collected contributions. And when they did this they
got from Egypt as much as from any place, for Amasis gave
them a thousand talents' weight of alum, while the Hellenes
who dwelt in Egypt gave them twenty pounds of silver.

Also with the people of Kyrene Amasis made an agree-
ment for friendship and alliance ; and he resolved too to
marry a wife from thence, whether because he desired to
have a wife of Hellenic race, or, apart from that, on ac-


count of friendship for the people of Kyrene: however that
may be, he married, some say the daughter of Battos, others
of Arkesilaos, and others of Critobulos, a man of repute
among the citizens; and her name was Ladike. Now
whenever Amasis lay with her he found himself unable to have
intercourse, but with his other wives he associated as he was
wont; and as this happened repeatedly, Amasis said to
his wife, whose name was Ladike: " Woman, thou hast given
me drugs, and thou shalt surely perish more miserably than
any other." Then Ladike, when by her denials Amasis was
not at all appeased in his anger against her, made a vow in
her soul to Aphrodite, that if Amasis on that night had
intercourse with her (seeing that this was the remedy for
her danger), she would send an image to be dedicated to
her at Kyrene; and after the vow immediately Amasis had
intercourse, and from thenceforth whenever Amasis came
in to her he had intercourse with her; and after this he
became very greatly attached to her. And Ladike paid the
vow that she had made to the goddess ; for she had an image
made and sent it to Kyrene, and it was still preserved even
to my own time, standing with its face turned away from the
city of the Kyrenians. This Ladike Cambyses, having con-
quered Egypt and heard from her who she was, sent back
unharmed to Kyrene.

Amasis also dedicated offerings in Hellas, first at Kyrene
an image of Athene covered over with gold and a figure
of himself made like by painting; then in the temple of
Athene at Lindos two images of stone and a corslet of linen
worthy to be seen ; and also at Samos two wooden figures of
himself dedicated to Hera, which were standing even to my
own time in the great temple, behind the doors. Now at
Samos he dedicated offerings because of the guest-friend-
ship between himself and Polycrates the son of Aiakes; at
Lindos for no guest-friendship but because the temple of
Athene at Lindos is said to have been founded by the
daughters of Danaos, who had touched land there at the
time when they were fleeing from the sons of Aigyptos.
These offerings were dedicated by Amasis ; and he was the
first of men who conquered Cyprus and subdued it so that
it paid him tribute.




The dates of the birth and death of Tacitus are uncertain, but
it is probable that he was born about 54 A. D. and died after 117.
He was a contemporary and friend of the younger Pliny, who
addressed to him some of his most famous epistles, to be found
in another volume of the Harvard Classics. Tacitus was appar-
ently of the equestrian class, was an advocate by training, and
had a reputation as an orator, though none of his speeches has
survived. He held a number of important public offices, and
married the daughter of Agricola, the conqueror of Britain, whose
life he wrote.

The two chief works of Tacitus, the "Annals" and the "His-
tories," covered the history of Rome from the death of Augustus
to A. D. 96; but the greater part of the "Histories" is lost, and
the fragment that remains deals only with the year 69 and part
of 70. In the "Annals" there are several gaps, but what survives
describes a large part of the reigns of Tiberius, Claudius, and
Nero. His minor works, besides the life of Agricola, already
mentioned, are a "Dialogue on Orators" and the account of Ger-
many, its situation, its inhabitants, their character and customs,
which is here printed.

Tacitus stands in the front rank of the historians of antiquity
for the accuracy of his learning, the fairness of his judgments,
the richness, concentration, and precision of his style. His great
successor, Gibbon, called him a "philosophical historian, whose
writings will instruct the last generations of mankind" ; and Mon*
taigne knew no author "who, in a work of history, has taken so
broad a view of human events or given a more just analysis of
particular characters."

The "Germany" is a document of the greatest interest and im-
portance, since it gives us by far the most detailed account of
the state of culture among the tribes that are the ancestors of the
modern Teutonic nations, at the time when they first came into
contact with the civilization of the Mediterranean.



THE whole of Germany is thus bounded; separated
from Gaul, from Rhoetia and Pannonia, by the
rivers Rhine and Danube ; from Sarmatia and Dacia
by mutual fear, or by high mountains: the rest is encom-
passed by the ocean, which forms huge bays, and com-
prehends a tract of islands immense in extent : for we have
lately known certain nations and kingdoms there, such as
the war discovered. The Rhine rising in the Rhcetian Alps
from a summit altogether rocky and perpendicular, after
a small winding towards the west, is lost in the Northern
Ocean. The Danube issues out of the mountain Abnoba,
one very high but very easy of ascent, and traversing
several nations, falls by six streams into the Euxine Sea;
for its seventh channel is absorbed in the Fenns.

The Germans, I am apt to believe, derive their original
from no other people; and are nowise mixed with different
nations arriving amongst them: since anciently those who
went in search of new dwellings, travelled not by land, but
were carried in fleets ; and into that mighty ocean so bound-
less, and, as I may call it, so repugnant and forbidding, ships
from our world rarely enter. Moreover, besides the dangers
from a sea tempestuous, horrid and unknown, who would
relinquish Asia, or Africa, or Italy, to repair to Germany,
a region hideous and rude, under a rigorous climate, dis-
mal to behold or to manure 1 unless the same were his native
country? In their old ballads (which amongst them are the
only sort of registers and history) they celebrate Tuisto,
a God sprung from the earth, and Mannus his son, as the
fathers and founders of the nation. To Mannus they assign
three sons, after whose names so many people are called;
the Ingasvones, dwelling next the ocean; the Herminones,

'To cultivate.



in the middle country; and all the rest, Instsevones. Some,
borrowing a warrant from the darkness of antiquity, main-
tain that the God had more sons, that thence came more
denominations of people, the Marsians, Gambrians,
Suevians, and Vandalians, and that these are the names
truly genuine and original. For the rest, they affirm Ger-
many to be a recent word, lately bestowed: for that those
who first passed the Rhine and expulsed the Gauls, and are
now named Tungrians, were then called Germans: and
thus by degrees the name of a tribe prevailed, not that of
the nation; so that by an appellation at first occasioned by
terror and conquest, they afterwards chose to be dis-
tinguished, and assuming a name lately invented were
universally called Germans.

They have a tradition that Hercules also had been in
their country, and him above all other heroes they extol
in their songs when they advance to battle. Amongst them
too are found that kind of verses by the recital of which
(by them called Barding) they inspire bravery; nay, by
such chanting itself they divine the success of the approach-
ing fight. For, according to the different din of the battle,
they urge furiously, or shrink timorously. Nor does what
they utter, so much seem to be singing as the voice and
exertion of valour. They chiefly study a tone fierce and
harsh, with a broken and unequal murmur, and therefore
apply their shields to their mouths, whence the voice may
by rebounding swell with greater fulness and force. Be-
sides there are some of opinion, that Ulysses, whilst he
wandered about in his long and fabulous voyages, was
carried into this ocean and entered Germany, and that by
him Asciburgium was founded and named, a city at this
day standing and inhabited upon the bank of the Rhine :
nay, that in the same place was formerly found an altar
dedicated to Ulysses, with the name of his father Laertes
added to his own, and that upon the confines of Germany
and Rhoetia are still extant certain monuments and tombs
inscribed with Greek characters. Traditions these which
I mean not either to confirm with arguments of my own
or to refute. Let every one believe or deny the same ac-
cording to his own bent.


For myself, I concur in opinion with such as suppose the
people of Germany never to have mingled by inter-mar-
riages with other nations, but to have remained a people
pure, and independent, and resembling none but themselves.
Hence amongst such a mighty multitude of men, the same
make and form is found in all, eyes stern and blue, yellow
hair, huge bodies, but vigorous only in the first onset. Of
pains and labour they are not equally patient, nor can
they at all endure thrift and heat. To bear hunger and
cold they are hardened by their climate and soil.

Their lands, however somewhat different in aspect, yet
taken all together consist of gloomy forests or nasty
marshes; lower and moister towards the confines of Gaul,
more mountainous and windy towards Noricum and Pan-
nonia ; very apt to bear grain, but altogether unkindly to
fruit trees; abounding in flocks and herds, but generally
small of growth. Nor even in their oxen is found the
usual stateliness, no more than the natural ornaments and
grandeur of head. In the number of their herds they re-
joice; and these are their only, these their most desirable
riches. Silver and gold the Gods have denied them,
whether in mercy or in wrath, I am unable to determine.
Yet I would not venture to aver that in Germany no vein
of gold or silver is produced; for who has ever searched?
For the use and possession, it is certain they care not.
Amongst them indeed are to be seen vessels of silver, such
as have been presented to their Princes and Ambassadors,
but holden in no other esteem than vessels made of earth.
The Germans however adjoining to our frontiers value
gold and silver for the purposes of commerce, and are wont
to distinguish and prefer certain of our coins. They who
live more remote are more primitive and simple in their
dealings, and exchange one commodity for another. The
money which they like is the old and long known, that
indented, 8 or that impressed with a chariot and two horses.
Silver too is what they seek more than gold, from no fond-
ness or preference, but because small pieces are more ready
in purchasing things cheap and common.

Neither in truth do they abound in iron, as from the

2 With milled edges.


fashion of their weapons may be gathered. Swords they
rarely use, or the larger spear. They carry javelins or,
in their own language, framms, pointed with a piece of
iron short and narrow, but so sharp and manageable, that
with the same weapon they can fight at a distance or hand
to hand, just as need requires. Nay, the horsemen also are
content with a shield and a javelin, The foot throw like-
wise weapons missive, each particular is armed with many,
and hurls them a mighty space, all naked or only wearing
a light cassock. In their equipment they show no ostenta-
tion ; only that their shields are diversified and adorned with
curious colours. With coats of mail very few are fur-
nished, and hardly upon any is seen a headpiece or helmet.
Their horses are nowise signal either in fashion or in fleet-
ness; nor taught to wheel and bound, according to the prac-
tice of the Romans : they only move them forward in a line,
or turn them right about, with such compactness and equality
that no one is ever behind the rest. To one who considers
the whole it is manifest, that in their foot their principal
strength lies, and therefore they fight intermixed with the
horse : for such is their swiftness as to match and suit with
the motions and engagements of the cavalry. So that the
infantry are elected from amongst the most robust of their
youth, and placed in front of the army. The number to
be sent is also ascertained, out of every village an hundred,
and by this very name they continue to be called at home,
those of the hundred band: thus what was at first no more
than a number, becomes thenceforth a title and distinction
of honour. In arraying their army, they divide the whole
into distinct battalions formed sharp in front. To recoil in
battle, provided you return again to the attack, passes with
them rather for policy than fear. Even when the combat
is no more than doubtful, they bear away the bodies of their
slain. The most glaring disgrace that can befall them,
is to have quitted their shield ; nor to one branded with such
ignominy is it lawful to join in their sacrifices, or to enter
into their assemblies ; and many who had escaped in the
day of battle, have hanged themselves to put an end to
this their infamy.

In the choice of kings they are determined by the splen-


dour of their race, in that of generals by their bravery.
Neither is the power of their kings unbounded or arbitrary:
and their generals procure obedience not so much by the
force of their authority as by that of their example, when
they appear enterprising and brave, when they signalise
themselves by courage and prowess ; and if they surpass
all in admiration and pre-eminence, if they surpass all at
the head of an army. But to none else but the Priests
is it allowed to exercise correction, or to inflict bonds or
stripes. Nor when the Priests do this, is the same con-
sidered as a punishment, or arising from the orders of
the general, but from the immediate command of the Deity,
Him whom they believe to accompany them in war. They
therefore carry with them when going to fight, certain
images and figures taken out of their holy groves. What
proves the principal incentive to their valour is, that it is
not at random nor by the fortuitous conflux of men that
their troops and pointed battalions are formed, but by the
conjunction of whole families, and tribes of relations.
Moreover, close to the field of battle are lodged all the
nearest and most interesting pledges of nature. Hence
they hear the doleful howlings of their wives, hence the
cries of their tender infants. These are to each particular
the witnesses whom he most reverences and dreads ; these
yield him the praise which affect him most. Their wounds
and maims they carry to their mothers, or to their wives,
neither are their mothers or wives shocked in telling, or
in sucking their bleeding sores.* Nay, to their husbands
and sons whilst engaged in battle, they administer meat and

In history we find, that some armies already yielding and
ready to fly, have been by the women restored, through
their inflexible importunity and entreaties, presenting their
breasts, and showing their impending captivity; an evil
to the Germans then by far most dreadful when it befalls
their women. So that the spirit of such cities as amongst
their hostages are enjoined to send their damsels of quality,
is always engaged more effectually than that of others.
They even believe them endowed with something celestial

Nee ilia? numerare aut exigere plagas pavent.


and the spirit of prophecy. Neither do they disdain to
consult them, nor neglect the responses which they return.
In the reign of the deified Vespasian, we have seen Veleda
for a long time, and by many nations, esteemed and adored
as a divinity. In times past they likewise worshipped
Aurinia and several more, from no complaisance or effort
of flattery, nor as Deities of their own creating.

Of all the Gods, Mercury is he whom they worship most.
To him on certain stated days it is lawful to offer even
human victims. Hercules and Mars they appease with
beasts usually allowed for sacrifice. Some of the Suevians
make likewise immolations to Isis. Concerning the cause
and original of this foreign sacrifice I have found small
light; unless the figure of her image formed like a galley,
show that such devotion arrived from abroad. For the
rest, from the grandeur and majesty of beings celestial,
they judge it altogether unsuitable to hold the Gods en-
closed within walls, or to represent them under any human
likeness. They consecrate whole woods and groves, and
by the names of the Gods they call these recesses ; divinities
these, which only in contemplation and mental reverence
they behold.

To the use of lots and auguries, they are addicted beyond
all other nations. Their method of divining by lots is ex-
ceeding simple. From a tree which bears fruit they cut a
twig, and divide it into two small pieces. These they dis-
tinguish by so many several marks, and throw them at ran-
dom and without order upon a white garment. Then the
Priest of the community, if for the public the lots are con-
sulted, or the father of a family if about a private concern,
after he has solemnly invoked the Gods, with eyes lifted
up to heaven, takes up every piece thrice, and having done
thus forms a judgment according to the marks before made.
If the chances have proved forbidding, they are no more
consulted upon the same affair during the same day : even
when they are inviting, yet, for confirmation, the faith of
auguries too is tried. Yea, here also is the known practice
of divining events from the voices and flight of birds.
Rut to this nation it is peculiar, to learn presages and
admonitions divine from horses also. These are nourished


by the State in the same sacred woods and groves, all milk-
white and employed in no earthly labour. These yoked in
the holy chariot, are accompanied by the Priest and the
King, or the Chief of the community, who both carefully
observed his actions and neighing. Nor in any sort of
augury is more faith and assurance reposed, not by the
populace only, but even by the nobles, even by the Priests.
These account themselves the ministers of the Gods, and
the horses privy to his will. They have likewise another
method of divination, whence to learn the issue of great
and mighty wars. From the nation with whom they are at
war they contrive, it avails not how, to gain a captive: him
they engage in combat with one selected from amongst
themselves, each armed after the manner of his country,
and according as the victory falls to this or to the other,
gather a presage of the whole.

Affairs of smaller moment the chiefs determine : about
matters of higher consequence the whole nation deliberates ;
yet in such sort, that whatever depends upon the pleasure

Online LibraryHerodotusVoyages and travels; ancient and modern → online text (page 9 of 35)