Histories (Herodotus)

The Histories (Greek: Ἱστορίαι; Ancient Greek: [historíai̯]; also known as The Histories[1]) of Herodotus is considered the founding work of history in Western literature.[2] Written in 440 BC in the Ionic dialect of classical Greek, The Histories serves as a record of the ancient traditions, politics, geography, and clashes of various cultures that were known in Western Asia, Northern Africa and Greece at that time. Although not a fully impartial record, it remains one of the West's most important sources regarding these affairs. Moreover, it established the genre and study of history in the Western world (despite the existence of historical records and chronicles beforehand).

The Histories also stands as one of the first accounts of the rise of the Persian Empire, as well as the events and causes of the Greco-Persian Wars between the Achaemenid Empire and the Greek city-states in the 5th century BC. Herodotus portrays the conflict as one between the forces of slavery (the Persians) on the one hand, and freedom (the Athenians and the confederacy of Greek city-states which united against the invaders) on the other.

The Histories was at some point divided into the nine books that appear in modern editions, conventionally named after the nine Muses.

Histories
POxy v0017 n2099 a 01 hires
Fragment from Histories, Book VIII on 2nd-century Papyrus Oxyrhynchus 2099
AuthorHerodotus
CountryGreece
LanguageAncient Greek
GenreHistory
PublisherVarious
Publication date
c. 440 BC

Motivation for writing

Herodotus claims to have traveled extensively around the ancient world, conducting interviews and collecting stories for his book, almost all of which covers territories of the Persian Empire. At the beginning of The Histories, Herodotus sets out his reasons for writing it:

This is the showing-forth of the inquiry of Herodotus of Halicarnassus, so that neither what has come to be from man in time might become faded, nor that great and wondrous deeds, those shown forth by Greeks and those by barbarians, might be without their glory; and together with all this, also through what cause they warred with each other.

Storyline

Book I (Clio)

Edwin Long 001
Edwin Long's 1875 interpretation of The Babylonian Marriage Market as described by Herodotus in Book 1 of the Histories
  • Croesus's defeat by Cyrus II of Persia, and how he later became Cyrus's advisor (1.70–92)
  • The rulers of the Medes: Deioces, Phraortes, Cyaxares, Astyages, Cyrus II of Persia (1.95–144)
  • The rise of Deioces over the Medes
  • Astyages's attempt to destroy Cyrus, and Cyrus's rise to power
  • Harpagus tricked into eating his son, his revenge against Astyages by assisting Cyrus
  • The culture of the Persians
  • The history and geography of the Ionians, and the attacks on it by Harpagus
  • Pactyes' convinces the Lydians to revolt. Rebellion fails and he seeks refuge from Mazares in Cyme (Aeolis)
  • The culture of Assyria, especially the design and improvement of the city of Babylon and the ways of its people
  • Cyrus's attack on Babylon, including his revenge on the river Gyndes and his famous method for entering the city
  • Cyrus's ill-fated attack on the Massagetæ, leading to his death

Book II (Euterpe)

Book III (Thalia)

Cambyses II capturing Psamtik III
Cambyses II of Persia capturing pharaoh Psammetichus III (Persian seal, 6th century BC)
Scythian Warriors
Scythian warriors, drawn after figures on an electrum cup from the Kul'Oba kurgan burial near Kerch (Hermitage Museum, Saint Petersburg)

Book IV (Melpomene)

Darius In Parse
Relief of Darius I, Persepolis
Athena type Velletri
Statue of Athena, the patron goddess of Athens

Book V (Terpsichore)

Book VI (Erato)

Trireme
A Greek trireme
  • The order of Darius that the Greeks provide him earth and water, in which most consent, including Aegina
  • The Athenian request for assistance of Cleomenes of Sparta in dealing with the traitors
  • The history behind Sparta having two kings and their powers
  • The dethronement of Demaratus, the other king of Sparta, due to his supposed false lineage
  • The arrest of the traitors in Aegina by Cleomenes and the new king Leotychides
  • The suicide of Cleomenes in a fit of madness, possibly caused by his war with Argos, drinking unmixed wine, or his involvement in dethroning Demaratus
  • The battle between Aegina and Athens
  • The taking of Eretria by the Persians after the Eretrians sent away Athenian help
  • Pheidippides's encounter with the god Pan on a journey to Sparta to request aid
  • The assistance of the Plataeans, and the history behind their alliance with Athens
  • The Athenian win at the Battle of Marathon, led by Miltiades and other strategoi (This section starts roughly around 6.100)[7]
  • The Spartans late arrival to assist Athens
  • The history of the Alcmaeonidae and how they came about their wealth and status
  • The death of Miltiades after a failed attack on Paros and the successful taking of Lemnos
Ac.marathon
The plain of Marathon today

Book VII (Polyhymnia)

  • The amassing of an army by Darius after learning about the defeat at Marathon
  • The quarrel between which son should succeed Darius in which Xerxes I of Persia is chosen
  • The death of Darius in 486 BC
  • The defeat of the Egyptian rebels by Xerxes
  • The advice given to Xerxes on invading Greece: Mardonius for invasion, Artabanus against (9-10)
  • The dreams of Xerxes in which a phantom frightens him and Artabanus into choosing invasion
  • The preparations for war, including building the Xerxes Canal and Xerxes' Pontoon Bridges across the Hellespont
  • The offer by Pythius to give Xerxes all his money, in which Xerxes rewards him
  • The request by Pythius to allow one son to stay at home, Xerxes's anger, and the march out between the butchered halves of Pythius's son
  • The destruction and rebuilding of the bridges built by the Egyptians and Phoenicians at Abydos
  • The siding with Persia of many Greek states, including Thessaly, Thebes, Melia, and Argos
  • The refusal of aid after negotiations by Gelo of Syracuse, and the refusal from Crete
  • The destruction of 400 Persian ships due to a storm
  • The small Greek force (approx. 7,000) led by Leonidas I, sent to Thermopylae to delay the Persian army (~5,283,220 (Herodotus) )
  • The Battle of Thermopylae in which the Greeks hold the pass for 3 days
  • The secret pass divulged by Ephialtes of Trachis, which Hydarnes uses to lead forces around the mountains to encircle the Greeks
  • The retreat of all but the Spartans, Thespians, and Thebans (forced to stay by the Spartans).
  • The Greek defeat and order by Xerxes to remove Leonidas's head and attach his torso to a cross

Book VIII (Urania)

  • Greek fleet is led by Eurybiades, a Spartan commander who led the Greek fleet after the meeting at the Isthmus 481 BC,
  • The destruction by storm of two hundred ships sent to block the Greeks from escaping
  • The retreat of the Greek fleet after word of a defeat at Thermopylae
  • The supernatural rescue of Delphi from a Persian attack
  • The evacuation of Athens assisted by the fleet
  • The reinforcement of the Greek fleet at Salamis Island, bringing the total ships to 378
  • The destruction of Athens by the Persian land force after difficulties with those who remained
  • The Battle of Salamis, the Greeks have the advantage due to better organization, and fewer losses due to ability to swim
  • The description of the Angarum, the Persian riding post
  • The rise in favor of Artemisia, the Persian woman commander, and her council to Xerxes in favor of returning to Persia
Snake column Hippodrome Constantinople 2007
The Serpent Column dedicated by the victorious Greeks in Delphi, later transferred to Constantinople

Book IX (Calliope)

  • The second taking of an evacuated Athens
  • The evacuation to Thebes by Mardonius after the sending of Lacedaemonian troops
  • The slaying of Masistius, leader of the Persian cavalry, by the Athenians
  • The warning from Alexander to the Greeks of an impending attack
  • The death of Mardonius by Aeimnestus
  • The Persian retreat to Thebes where they are afterwards slaughtered (Battle of Plataea)
  • The description and dividing of the spoils
  • The speedy escape of Artabazus into Asia.
  • The Persian defeat in Ionia by the Greek fleet (Battle of Mycale), and the Ionian revolt
  • The mutilation of the wife of Masistes ordered by Amestris, wife of Xerxes
  • The death of Masistes after his intent to rebel
  • The Athenian blockade of Sestos and the capture of Artayctes

Critical editions

  • C. Hude (ed.) Herodoti Historiae. Tomvs prior: Libros I-IV continens. (Oxford 1908)
  • C. Hude (ed.) Herodoti Historiae. Tomvs alter: Libri V-IX continens. (Oxford 1908)
  • H. B. Rosén (ed.) Herodoti Historiae. Vol. I: Libros I-IV continens. (Leipzig 1987)
  • H. B. Rosén (ed.) Herodoti Historiae. Vol. II: Libros V-IX continens indicibus criticis adiectis (Stuttgart 1997)
  • N. G. Wilson (ed.) Herodoti Historiae. Tomvs prior: Libros I-IV continens. (Oxford 2015)
  • N. G. Wilson (ed.) Herodoti Historiae. Tomvs alter: Libri V-IX continens. (Oxford 2015)

Translations

Manuscripts

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Herodotus (Book II, 68) claimed that the trochilus bird visited the crocodile, which opened its mouth in what would now be called a cleaning symbiosis to eat leeches. A modern survey of the evidence finds only occasional reports of sandpipers "removing leeches from the mouth and gular scutes and snapping at insects along the reptile's body."[4]

References

  1. ^ a b Herodotus (1987). The History, translated by David Gren. University of Chicago Press. ISBN 0-226-32770-1. pp. 37-38.
  2. ^ Arnold, John H. (2000). History: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford University Press. 17. ISBN 0-19-285352-X.
  3. ^ Fehling, Detlev (1989). "Some demonstrably false source citations". Herodotus and His 'Sources' . Francis Cairns, Ltd. 50–57. ISBN 0-905205-70-7.
    Lindsay, Jack (1974). "Helen in the Fifth Century". Helen of Troy Rowman and Littlefield. 133–134. ISBN 0-87471-581-4
  4. ^ Macfarland, Craig G.; Reeder, W. G. (1974). "Cleaning symbiosis involving Galapagos tortoises and two species of Darwin's finches". Zeitschrift für Tierpsychologie. 34 (5): 464–483. doi:10.1111/j.1439-0310.1974.tb01816.x.
  5. ^ Geggel, Laura (March 19, 2019). "2,500 Years Ago, Herodotus Described a Weird Ship. Now, Archaeologists Have Found it". Live Science. Retrieved 2019-03-19.
  6. ^ Kim, Lawrence (2010). "Homer, poet and historian". Homer Between History and Fiction in Imperial Greek Literature. Cambridge University Press. 30-35 ISBN 978-0-521-19449-5.
    Allan, Williams (2008). "Introduction". Helen. Cambridge University Press. 22-24 ISBN 0-521-83690-5.
    Lindsay, Jack (1974). "Helen in the Fifth Century". Helen of Troy. Rowman and Littlefield. 135-138. ISBN 0-87471-581-4
  7. ^ "Herodotus, The Histories, Book 6, chapter 100, section 1". www.perseus.tufts.edu. Retrieved 2017-10-03.

External links

Abrocomes

Abrocomes (Greek: Ὰβροκόμης) was a son of king Darius I of Persia and his wife Phratagune, who died with his full brother Hyperanthes in the battle of Thermopylae, while fighting over the body of Leonidas.

Ancient Corinth

Corinth (; Greek: Κόρινθος Kórinthos; Doric Greek: Ϙόρινθος Kórinthos) was a city-state (polis) on the Isthmus of Corinth, the narrow stretch of land that joins the Peloponnese to the mainland of Greece, roughly halfway between Athens and Sparta. The modern city of Corinth is located approximately 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) northeast of the ancient ruins. Since 1896, systematic archaeological investigations of the Corinth Excavations by the American School of Classical Studies at Athens have revealed large parts of the ancient city, and recent excavations conducted by the Greek Ministry of Culture have brought to light important new facets of antiquity.

For Christians, Corinth is well-known from the two letters of Saint Paul in the New Testament, First and Second Corinthians. Corinth is also mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles as part of the Paul the Apostle's missionary travels. In addition, the second book of Pausanias' Description of Greece is devoted to Corinth.

Ancient Corinth was one of the largest and most important cities of Greece, with a population of 90,000 in 400 BC. The Romans demolished Corinth in 146 BC, built a new city in its place in 44 BC, and later made it the provincial capital of Greece.

Aristeas

Aristeas (Greek: Ἀριστέας) was a semi-legendary Greek poet and miracle-worker, a native of Proconnesus in Asia Minor, active ca. 7th century BC. The Suda claims that, whenever he wished, his soul could leave his body and return again. In book IV.13-16 of The Histories, Herodotus reports

The birthplace of Aristeas, the poet who sung of these things, I have already mentioned. I will now relate a tale which I heard concerning him both at Proconnesus and at Cyzicus. Aristeas, they said, who belonged to one of the noblest families in the island, had entered one day into a fuller's shop, when he suddenly dropt down dead. Hereupon the fuller shut up his shop, and went to tell Aristeas' kindred what had happened. The report of the death had just spread through the town, when a certain Cyzicenian, lately arrived from Artaca, contradicted the rumour, affirming that he had met Aristeas on his road to Cyzicus, and had spoken with him. This man, therefore, strenuously denied the rumour; the relations, however, proceeded to the fuller's shop with all things necessary for the funeral, intending to carry the body away. But on the shop being opened, no Aristeas was found, either dead or alive. Seven years afterwards he reappeared, they told me, in Proconnesus, and wrote the poem called by the Greeks The Arimaspeia, after which he disappeared a second time. This is the tale current in the two cities above-mentioned.Two hundred and forty years after his death, Aristeas appeared in Metapontum in southern Italy to command that a statue of himself be set up and a new altar dedicated to Apollo, saying that since his death he had been travelling with Apollo in the form of a sacred raven.

Demonax (lawmaker)

Demonax (Greek: Δημώναξ, Dēmōnax, gen.: Δημώνακτος) was an ancient Greek lawmaker of the style of Solon and Lycurgus, known for reforming the constitution of the Cyrenaeans.

Dionysus in comparative mythology

Dionysus, the god of wine, theatre, and ecstasy in ancient Greek religion, has been compared to many other deities, both by his classical worshippers and later scholars. These deities include figures outside of ancient Greek religion, such as Jesus, Osiris, Shiva, and Tammuz, as well as figures inside of ancient Greek religion, such as Hades.

Dzungarian Gate

The Dzungarian Gate is a geographically and historically significant mountain pass between China and Central Asia. It has been described as the "one and only gateway in the mountain-wall which stretches from Manchuria to Afghanistan, over a distance of three thousand miles." Given its association with details in a story related by Herodotus, it has been linked to the location of legendary Hyperborea.The Dzungarian Gate (Chinese: 阿拉山口; pinyin: Ālā Shānkǒu; Kazakh: Жетісу қақпасы Jetisy' qaqpasy or Жоңғар қақпасы Jon'g'ar qaqpasy) is a straight valley which penetrates the Dzungarian Alatau mountain range along the border between Kazakhstan and the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. It currently serves as a railway corridor between China and the west. Historically, it has been noted as a convenient pass suitable for riders on horseback between the western Eurasian steppe and lands further east, and for its fierce and almost constant winds.In his Histories, Herodotus relates travelers' reports of a land in the northeast where griffins guard gold and where the North Wind issues from a mountain cave. Given the parallels between Herodotus' story and modern reports, scholars such as Carl Ruck, J.D.P. Bolton and Ildikó Lehtinen have speculated on a connection between the Dzungarian Gate and the home of Boreas, the North Wind of Greek mythology. With legend describing the people who live on the other side of this home of the North Wind as a peaceful, civilized people who eat grain and live by the sea, the Hyperboreans have been identified by some as the Chinese.Its gateway status is now supplanted by the new gateway city of Khorgas.

Exhibitionism

Exhibitionism is the act of exposing in a public or semi-public context those parts of one's body that are not normally exposed – for example, the breasts, genitals or buttocks. The practice may arise from a desire or compulsion to expose themselves in such a manner to groups of friends or acquaintances, or to strangers for their amusement or sexual satisfaction or to shock the bystander. Exposing oneself only to an intimate partner is normally not regarded as exhibitionism. In law, the act of exhibitionism may be called indecent exposure, "exposing one's person", or other expressions.

Gordium

Gordium (Greek: Γόρδιον, Górdion; Turkish: Gordion or Gordiyon) was the capital city of ancient Phrygia. It was located at the site of modern Yassıhüyük, about 70–80 km southwest of Ankara (capital of Turkey), in the immediate vicinity of Polatlı district. The site was excavated by Gustav Körte and Alfred Körte in 1900 and then by the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, under the direction of Rodney S. Young, between 1950 and 1973. Excavations have continued at the site under the auspices of the University of Pennsylvania Museum with an international team.

Gordium lies where the ancient road between Lydia and Assyria/Babylonia crossed the Sangarius river.

Histories

Histories or, in Latin, Historiae may refer to:

the plural of history

Histories (Herodotus), by Herodotus

The Histories, by Timaeus

The Histories (Polybius), by Polybius

Histories by Gaius Sallustius Crispus (Sallust), of which only fragments survive

Histories (Tacitus), by Tacitus

Shakespeare's histories which define the theatrical genre History (theatrical genre)Histories may also refer to:

History of novels, an early term for the then emerging novel

"Histories" (House), 10th episode in season 1 of House TV series

Horrible Histories, a series of children's books written by Terry Deary

Historians, those who write down an historical non-fiction

Idanthyrsus

Idanthyrsus (Greek: Ιδάνθυρσος) is the name of two Scythian kings:

1.The first one led Scythians, under whom, according to Strabo, they overran Asia, and advanced as far as Egypt. This was perhaps the incursion mentioned by Herodotus, who tells us that they held Asia for 28 years, and were ultimately driven out by Cyaxares, 607 BC. According to Herodotus, however, the king, who led the expedition of which he gives an account, was Madyas; and Madyas is mentioned by Strabo (i. p. 61) as king of the Cimmerians. An incursion of the Scythians to the borders of Egypt in very early times is recorded by Justin, but in an obscure and unsatisfactory way.

2. Another king of the Scythians, probably a descendant of the above. He was a son of Saulius, the brother and slayer of Anacharsis. When Darius I of Persia invaded Scythia, about 513 BC, and the Scythians retreated before him, he sent a message to Idanthyrsus, calling upon him either to fight or submit. The Scythian king answered that, in fleeing before the Persians, he was not urged by fear, but was merely living the wandering/nomadic life to which he was accustomed, that there was no reason why he should fight the Persians, as he had neither cities for them to take nor lands.

He, however did reply, "But if all you want is to come to fight, we have the graves of our fathers. Come on, find these and try to destroy them: you shall know then whether we will fight you."

In his Histories, Herodotus writes the following about the dialogue between the Persian king and Idanthyrsus (2015 publication, Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group);

"Thou strange man, why dost thou keep on flying before me, when there are two things thou mightest do easily? If thou deemest thyself able to resist my arms, cease thy wanderings and come, let us engage in battle. Or if thou art conscious that my strength is greater than thine - even so thou shouldest cease to run away - thou hast but to bring thy lord Earth and water, and to come at once to a conference."

To which the Scythian king replied;

"This is my way, Persian. I never fear men or fly from them. I have not done so in times past, nor do I now fly from thee. There is nothing new or strange in what I do; I only follow my common mode of life in peaceful years. Now I will tell thee why I do not at once join battle with thee. We Scythians have neither towns nor cultivated lands, which might induce us, through fear of their being taken or ravaged, to be in a hurry to fight with you. If, however, you must needs to come to blows with us speedily, look, you now there are our fathers' tombs' - seek them out, and attempt to meddle with them. Till ye do this, be sure we shall not join battle, unless it pleases us. This is my answer to the challenge to fight. As for lords, I acknowledge only Jove, my ancestor, and Hestia, the Scythian queen. "Earth and water", the tribute thou askedst, I do not send, but thou shalt receive soon receive more suitable gifts. Last of all, in return for thy calling thyself my lord, I say to thee, "Go weep".

List of people mentioned in Herodotus, Book One

This article presents a list of people whom Herodotus (c.484–c.425 BC) mentioned in Book One of his major work The Histories. Herodotus presented his theme as "recording the achievements of both our own (Greek) and other peoples; and more particularly, to show how they came into conflict". Structurally, The Histories is sub-divided into nine books, each of which is sometimes named after one of the nine Muses. The work contains numerous digressions but the theme is constant. Although Herodotus' references range from the Trojan War of the 2nd millennium BC to the Peloponnesian War in his own lifetime, the essential scope of the entire work is a record of events from the reign of Cyrus the Great (c.553–c.529 BC) to the defeat of Xerxes I in 479 BC. Book One ends with the death of Cyrus.

Some of the people named by Herodotus are legendary, or at least semi-legendary. Dates and places are given where known and notes are provided to indicate the role and/or importance played by each person in The Histories. Page numbers are those in the Burn/de Sélincourt edition published by Penguin Books in 1975, based on de Sélincourt's 1954 translation.

Malakia

Malakia (μαλακία, "softness", "weakliness") is an ancient Greek word that, in relation to men, has sometimes been translated as "effeminacy".

The contrary characteristic in men was karteria (καρτερία, "patient endurance", "perseverance").

Mandrocles

Mandrocles was an ancient Greek engineer from Samos who built a pontoon bridge over the Bosporus for King Darius I to conquer Thrace. Mandrocles dedicated a painting, depicting the brigding of the straits, to goddess Hera in the Heraion of Samos, commemorating his achievement.

Medimnos

A medimnos (Greek: μέδιμνος, médimnos, plural μέδιμνοι,médimnoi) was an Ancient Greek unit of volume, which was generally used to measure dry food grain. In Attica, it was approximately equal to 51.84 litres, although this volume was frequently subject to regional variation. For example, the Spartan medimnos was approximately equal to 71.16 litres. A medimnos could be divided into several smaller units: the tritaios (one third), the hekteus (one sixth), the hemiektos (one twelfth), the choinix (one forty-eighth) and the kotyle (0.27 l.)

Mysians

Mysians (Latin: Mysi, Ancient Greek: Μυσοί) were the inhabitants of Mysia, a region in northwestern Asia Minor.

Oracle

An oracle is a person or agency considered to provide wise and insightful counsel or prophetic predictions or precognition of the future, inspired by the gods. As such it is a form of divination.

Padaei

The Padaei (Greek: Παδαῖοι) or the Padaeans are an Indian tribe described by the Greek historian Herodotus in The Histories. Herodotus describes them (III.101) as being darker than other Indians and living in a place which is very distant from Persia towards the south and east. An extract from his work (III.99) includes the following:

"Another tribe of Indians, called the Padaei, who live to the east of these marsh Indians, are nomadic and eat raw meat. They are said to have the following customs. If any of their compatriots -- a man or a woman -- is ill, his closest male friends (assuming that it is a man who is ill) kill him, on the grounds that if he wasted away in illness his flesh would become spoiled. He denies that he is ill, but they take no notice, kill him, and have a feast. Exactly the same procedure is followed by a woman's closest female friends when it is a woman who is ill. They sacrifice and eat anyone who reaches old age, but it is unusual for anyone to do so, because they kill everyone who falls ill before reaching old age."Scholars in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries suggested a number of possible identifications of the Padaei. Newbold thought that they were likely to be the Batta, a tribe of Sumatra, who he said continued to practice cannibalism. Others have recorded that the Batta of the central Sumatran highlands not only were cannibals, but they also formerly ate their elders. Wheeler cited scholars who connected the name "Padaei" variously with a town in Little Tibet (Ladakh), a river in Kutch and the Ganges. He suggested that the name might be a general name or term for the nomadic inhabitants of north-western India. William Smith, citing Mannert, suggested that they might be Tatars, and not an Indian tribe. Latham pointed to the similarity of the name "Padaei" with that of the Batta and the Veddah, and concluded that all that could be said as to the Padaei's identity was that they were a "rude tribe in contact with an Indian population." Rawlinson suggested that they may be the "Bhils, Gonds, or other aboriginal races of central India."The reliability of Herodotus' description of the Padaei's cannibalistic practices has also been questioned by other scholars. Wheeler took the view that whether they were really cannibals "may be doubted." James Rennell said that Herodotus' description of the Padaei was an "odd mixture of truth and falsehood" which was probably a result of what he considered Herodotus' "very confined knowledge of India." Murphy and Mallory suggest that Herodotus' description may result from a misinterpretation of the ritual of dismemberment known to have been practiced by Iron Age cultures who are believed to have spoken Iranian languages.

Philippe-Ernest Legrand

Philippe-Ernest Legrand (2 September 1866 – 1 July 1953) was a French Hellenist. An historian, philologist, archaeologist, epigrapher, his great work was the translation and editing of Histories (Herodotus), published in the Collection Budé, which is still a reference.

Sagaris

The sagaris is an ancient Iranian shafted weapon used by the horse-riding ancient North-Iranian Saka and Scythian peoples of the great Eurasian steppe. It was used also by Western and Central Asian peoples: the Medes, Persians, Parthians, Indo-Saka, Kushans, Mossynoeci, and others living within the milieu of Iranian peoples. According to Aristarchus of Samothrace, the legendary Amazons used the sagaris, as well. In The Histories, Herodotus attributes the sagaris to the Sacae Scythians in the army-list of Xerxes the Great.The sagaris was a kind of battle-axe, or sometimes war hammer. Examples have been collected from Eurasian steppe archeological excavations, and are depicted on the Achaemenid cylinders and ancient Greek pottery and other surviving iconographic material. It is a long-shafted weapon with a metal head, with an either sharp (axe-like) or blunt (hammer-like) edge on one side and a sharp (straight or curving) 'ice-pick'-like point on the other. It may have been the sagaris that led medieval and Renaissance authors (such as Johannes Aventinus) to attribute the invention of the battle-axe weapon to the Amazons – as some Scythian women seen hunting and along warrior riders gave legend to the Amazons selves – and to the modern association of the Amazons with the labrys.

A shorter form, as depicted in the hand of Spalirises on his coins, was labelled klevets by Russian archaeologist and ancient military historian V.P. Nikonorov.

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