[38]. I hold it then in every way proved that Cambyses was quite insane; or he would never have set himself to deride religion and custom. For if it were proposed to all nations to choose which seemed best of all customs, each, after examination, would place its own first; so well is each convinced that its own are by far the best.  [2] It is not therefore to be supposed that anyone, except a madman, would turn such things to ridicule. I will give this one proof among many from which it may be inferred that all men hold this belief about their customs.  [3] When Darius was king, he summoned the Greeks who were with him and asked them for what price they would eat their fathers' dead bodies. They answered that there was no price for which they would do it.  [4] Then Darius summoned those Indians who are called Callatiae, who eat their parents, and asked them (the Greeks being present and understanding through interpreters what was said) what would make them willing to burn their fathers at death. The Indians cried aloud, that he should not speak of so horrid an act. So firmly rooted are these beliefs; and it is, I think, rightly said in Pindar's poem that custom is lord of all.


[89]. Having done these things in Persia, he [[Darius]] divided his dominions into twenty provinces, which they call satrapies; and having divided his dominions and appointed governors, he instructed each people to pay him tribute, consolidating neighboring peoples and distributing outlying peoples among different provinces, passing over those adjoining.  [2] I will now show how he divided his provinces and the tributes which were paid him yearly. Those that paid in silver were required to render the weight of a Babylonian talent; those that paid in gold, of a Euboic talent; the Babylonian talent being equal to seventy-eight Euboic minae.  [3] In the reigns of Cyrus and Cambyses after him there was no fixed tribute, but payment was made in gifts. It is because of this fixing of tribute, and other similar ordinances, that the Persians called Darius the merchant, Cambyses the master, and Cyrus the father; for Darius made petty profit out of everything, Cambyses was harsh and arrogant, Cyrus was merciful and always worked for their well-being.

[90]. The Ionians, Magnesians of Asia, Aeolians, Carians, Lycians, Milyans, and Pamphylians, on whom Darius laid one joint tribute, paid a revenue of four hundred talents of silver. This was established as his first province. The Mysians, Lydians, Lasonians, Cabalians, and Hytennians paid five hundred talents; this was the second province.  [2] The third comprised the Hellespontians on the right of the entrance of the straits, the Phrygians, Thracians of Asia, Paphlagonians, Mariandynians, and Syrians; these paid three hundred and sixty talents of tribute.  [3] The fourth province was Cilicia. This rendered three hundred and sixty white horses, one for each day in the year, and five hundred talents of silver. A hundred and forty of these were expended on the horsemen who were the guard of Cilicia; the three hundred and sixty that remained were paid to Darius.

[91]. The fifth province was the country (except the part belonging to the Arabians, which paid no tribute) between Posideion, a city founded on the Cilician and Syrian border by Amphilochus son of Amphiaraus, and Egypt; this paid three hundred and fifty talents; in this province was all Phoenicia, and the part of Syria called Palestine, and Cyprus.  [2] The sixth province was Egypt and the neighboring parts of Libya, and Cyrene and Barca, all of which were included in the province of Egypt. From here came seven hundred talents, besides the income in silver from the fish of the lake Moeris;  [3] besides that silver and the assessment of grain that was given also, seven hundred talents were paid; for a hundred and twenty thousand bushels of grain were also assigned to the Persians quartered at the White Wall of Memphis and their allies.  [4] The Sattagydae, Gandarii, Dadicae, and Aparytae paid together a hundred and seventy talents; this was the seventh province; the eighth was Susa and the rest of the Cissian country, paying three hundred talents.

[92]. From Babylon and the rest of Assyria came to Darius a thousand talents of silver and five hundred castrated boys; this was the ninth province; Ecbatana and the rest of Media, with the Paricanians and Orthocorybantians, paid four hundred and fifty talents, and was the tenth province.  [2] The eleventh comprised the Caspii, Pausicae, Pantimathi, and Daritae, paying jointly two hundred;

[93]. The twelfth, the Bactrians as far as the land of the Aegli; these paid three hundred and sixty. The thirteenth, the Pactyic country and Armenia and the lands adjoining as far as the Euxine sea; these paid four hundred.  [2] The fourteenth province was made up of the Sagartii, Sarangeis, Thamanaei, Utii, Myci, and the inhabitants of those islands of the southern sea on which the king settles the so-called displaced people; these together paid a tribute of six hundred talents.  [3] The Sacae and Caspii were the fifteenth, paying two hundred and fifty. The Parthians, Chorasmians, Sogdi, and Arii were the sixteenth, paying three hundred.

[94]. The Paricanii and Ethiopians of Asia, the seventeenth, paid four hundred; the Matieni, Saspiri, and Alarodii were the eighteenth, and two hundred talents were the appointed tribute.  [2] The Moschi, Tibareni, Macrones, Mossynoeci, and Mares, the nineteenth province, were ordered to pay three hundred. The Indians made up the twentieth province. These are more in number than any nation of which we know, and they paid a greater tribute than any other province, namely three hundred and sixty talents of gold dust.

[95]. Now if these Babylonian silver talents be calculated in Euboic money, the sum is seen to be nine thousand eight hundred and eighty Euboic talents:  [2] and the gold coin being thirteen times the value of the silver, the gold-dust is found to be worth four thousand six hundred and eighty Euboic talents. Therefore it is seen by adding all together that Darius collected a yearly tribute of fourteen thousand five hundred and sixty talents; I take no account of figures less than ten.

[96]. This was Darius' revenue from Asia and a few parts of Libya. But as time went on he drew tribute also from the islands and the dwellers in Europe, as far as Thessaly.  [2] The tribute is stored by the king in this fashion: he melts it down and pours it into earthen vessels; when the vessel is full he breaks the earthenware away, and when he needs money coins as much as serves his purpose.

[97]. These were the governments and appointments of tribute. The Persian country is the only one which I have not recorded as tributary; for the Persians live free from all taxes.  [2] As for those on whom no tribute was laid, but who rendered gifts instead, they were, firstly, the Ethiopians nearest to Egypt, whom Cambyses conquered in his march towards the long-lived Ethiopians; and also those who dwell about the holy Nysa, where Dionysus is the god of their festivals. These Ethiopians and their neighbors use the same seed as the Indian Callantiae, and they live underground.  [3] These together brought every other year and still bring a gift of two choenixes of unrefined gold, two hundred blocks of ebony, five Ethiopian boys, and twenty great elephants' tusks.  [4] Gifts were also required of the Colchians and their neighbors as far as the Caucasus mountains (which is as far as the Persian rule reaches, the country north of the Caucasus paying no regard to the Persians); these were rendered every four years and are still rendered, namely, a hundred boys and as many maids.  [5] The Arabians rendered a thousand talents' weight of frankincense yearly. Such were the gifts of these peoples to the king, besides the tribute.


[98.] All this abundance of gold, from which the Indians send the aforementioned gold-dust to the king, they obtain in the following way.  [2] To the east of the Indian country is sand. Of all the people of Asia whom we know - even those about whom something is said with precision - the Indians dwell nearest to the dawn and the rising sun; for on the eastern side of India all is desolate because of the sand.  [3] There are many Indian nations, none speaking the same language; some of them are nomads, some not; some dwell in the river marshes and live on raw fish, which they catch from reed boats. Each boat is made of one joint of reed.  [4] These Indians wear clothes of bullrushes; they mow and cut these from the river, then weave them crosswise like a mat, and wear them like a breastplate.

[99]. Other Indians, to the east of these, are nomads and eat raw flesh; they are called Padaei. It is said to be their custom that when anyone of their fellows, whether man or woman, is sick, a man's closest friends kill him, saying that if wasted by disease he will be lost to them as meat; though he denies that he is sick, they will not believe him, but kill and eat him.  [2] When a woman is sick, she is put to death like the men by the women who are her close acquaintances. As for one that has come to old age, they sacrifice him and feast on his flesh; but not many reach this reckoning, for before that everyone who falls ill they kill.

[100]. There are other Indians, again, who kill no living creature, nor plant anything, nor are accustomed to have houses; they eat grass, and they have a grain growing naturally from the earth in its husk, about the size of a millet-seed, which they gather with the husk and boil and eat. When any one of them falls sick, he goes into the desert and lies there, and no one notices whether he is sick or dies.

[101]. These Indians whom I have described have intercourse openly like cattle; they are all black-skinned, like the Ethiopians.  [2] Their semen too, which they ejaculate into the women, is not white like other men's, but black like their skin, and resembles in this respect that of the Ethiopians. These Indians dwell far away from the Persians southwards, and were not subjects of King Darius.

[102]. Other Indians dwell near the town of Caspatyrus and the Pactyic country, north of the rest of India; these live like the Bactrians; they are of all Indians the most warlike, and it is they who are sent for the gold; for in these parts all is desolate because of the sand.  [2] In this sandy desert are ants, not as big as dogs but bigger than foxes; the Persian king has some of these, which have been caught there. These ants live underground, digging out the sand in the same way as the ants in Greece, to which they are very similar in shape, and the sand which they carry from the holes is full of gold.  [3] It is for this sand that the Indians set forth into the desert. They harness three camels apiece, males on either side sharing the drawing, and a female in the middle: the man himself rides on the female, that when harnessed has been taken away from as young an offspring as may be. Their camels are as swift as horses, and much better able to bear burdens besides.

[103].  I do not describe the camel's appearance to Greeks, for they know it; but I shall tell them something that they do not know concerning it: the hindlegs of the camel have four thighbones and four knee-joints; its genitals are turned towards the tail between the hindlegs.

[104]. Thus and with teams so harnessed the Indians ride after the gold, being careful to be engaged in taking it when the heat is greatest; for the ants are then out of sight underground.  [2] Now in these parts the sun is hottest in the morning, not at midday as elsewhere, but from sunrise to the hour of market-closing. Through these hours it is much hotter than in Hellas at noon, so that men are said to sprinkle themselves with water at this time.  [3] At midday the sun's heat is nearly the same in India as elsewhere. As it goes to afternoon, the sun of India has the power of the morning sun in other lands; as day declines it becomes ever cooler, until at sunset it is exceedingly cold.

[105]. So when the Indians come to the place with their sacks, they fill these with the sand and drive back as fast as possible; for the ants at once scent them out, the Persians say, and give chase. They say nothing is equal to them for speed, so that unless the Indians have a headstart while the ants were gathering, not one of them would get away.  [2] They cut loose the male trace-camels, which are slower than the females, as they begin to lag, one at a time; the mares never tire, for they remember the young that they have left. Such is the tale. Most of the gold (say the Persians) is got in this way by the Indians; they dig some from mines in their country, too, but it is less abundant.

[106]. The most outlying nations of the world have somehow drawn the finest things as their lot, exactly as Greece has drawn the possession of far the best seasons.  [2] As I have lately said, India lies at the world's most distant eastern limit; and in India all living creatures four-footed and flying are much bigger than those of other lands, except the horses, which are smaller than the Median horses called Nesaean; moreover, the gold there, whether dug from the earth or brought down by rivers or got as I have described, is very abundant.  [3] There, too, wool more beautiful and excellent than the wool of sheep grows on wild trees; these trees supply the Indians with clothing.


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