Further, they do not use wine, but drink water, have no figs to eat, or anything else that is good. Now if you conquer them, of what will you deprive them, since they have nothing? But if on the other hand you are conquered, then look how many good things you will lose; for once they have tasted of our blessings they will cling so tightly to them that nothing will pry them away.
For myself, then, I thank the gods that they do not put it in the heads of the Persians to march against the Lydians.” Sandanis spoke thus but he did not persuade Croesus. Indeed, before they conquered the Lydians, the Persians had no luxury and no comforts.
Now the Cappadocians are called by the Greeks Syrians, and these Syrians before the Persian rule were subjects of the Medes, and, at this time, of Cyrus.
For the boundary of the Median and Lydian empires was the river Halys, which flows from the Armenian mountains first through Cilicia and afterwards between the Matieni on the right and the Phrygians on the other hand; then, passing these and still flowing north, it separates the Cappadocian Syrians on the right from the Paphlagonians on the left.
Thus the Halys river cuts off nearly the whole of the lower part of Asia from the Cyprian to the Euxine sea. Here is the narrowest neck of all this land; the length of the journey across for a man traveling unencumbered is five days. [Note]
The reasons for Croesus' expedition against Cappadocia were these: he desired to gain territory in addition to his own, and (these were the chief causes) he trusted the oracle and wished to avenge Astyages on Cyrus; for Cyrus, son of Cambyses, had conquered Astyages and held him in subjection.
Now Astyages, son of Cyaxares and the king of Media, was Croesus' brother-in-law: and this is how he came to be so.
A tribe of wandering Scythians separated itself from the rest, and escaped into Median territory. This was then ruled by Cyaxares, son of Phraortes, son of Deioces. Cyaxares at first treated the Scythians kindly, as suppliants for his mercy; and, as he had a high regard for them, he entrusted boys to their tutelage to be taught their language and the skill of archery.
As time went on, it happened that the Scythians, who were accustomed to go hunting and always to bring something back, once had taken nothing, and when they returned empty-handed, Cyaxares treated them very roughly and contemptuously (being, as appears from this, prone to anger).
The Scythians, feeling themselves wronged by the treatment they had from Cyaxares, planned to take one of the boys who were their pupils and cut him in pieces; then, dressing the flesh as they were accustomed to dress the animals which they killed, to bring and give it to Cyaxares as if it were the spoils of the hunt; and after that, to make their way with all speed to Alyattes son of Sadyattes at Sardis. All this they did.
Cyaxares and the guests who ate with him dined on the boy's flesh, and the Scythians, having done as they planned, fled to Alyattes for protection.
After this, since Alyattes would not give up the Scythians to Cyaxares at his demand, there was war between the Lydians and the Medes for five years; each won many victories over the other, and once they fought a battle by night.