They were still warring with equal success, when it happened, at an encounter which occurred in the sixth year, that during the battle the day was suddenly turned to night. Thales of Miletus had foretold this loss of daylight to the Ionians, fixing it within the year in which the change did indeed happen. [Note]
So when the Lydians and Medes saw the day turned to night, they stopped fighting, and both were the more eager to make peace. Those who reconciled them were Syennesis the Cilician and Labynetus the Babylonian;
they brought it about that there should be a sworn agreement and a compact of marriage between them: they judged that Alyattes should give his daughter Aryenis to Astyages, son of Cyaxares; for without strong constraint agreements will not keep their force.
These nations make sworn compacts as do the Greeks; and besides, when they cut the skin of their arms, they lick each other's blood.
Cyrus had subjugated this Astyages, then, Cyrus' own mother's father, for the reason which I shall presently disclose.
Having this reason to quarrel with Cyrus, Croesus sent to ask the oracles if he should march against the Persians; and when a deceptive answer came he thought it to be favorable to him, and so led his army into the Persian territory.
When he came to the river Halys, he transported his army across it—by the bridges which were there then, as I maintain; but the general belief of the Greeks is that Thales of Miletus got the army across.
The story is that, as Croesus did not know how his army could pass the river (as the aforesaid bridges did not yet exist then), Thales, who was in the encampment, made the river, which flowed on the left of the army, also flow on the right, in the following way.
Starting from a point on the river upstream from the camp, he dug a deep semi-circular trench, so that the stream, turned from its ancient course, would flow in the trench to the rear of the camp and, passing it, would issue into its former bed, with the result that as soon as the river was thus divided into two, both channels could be forded.
Some even say that the ancient channel dried up altogether. But I do not believe this; for in that case, how did they pass the river when they were returning?
Passing over with his army, Croesus then came to the part of Cappadocia called Pteria (it is the strongest part of this country and lies on the line of the city of Sinope on the Euxine sea), where he encamped and devastated the farms of the Syrians;
and he took and enslaved the city of the Pterians, and took all the places around it also, and drove the Syrians from their homes, though they had done him no harm. Cyrus, mustering his army, advanced to oppose Croesus, gathering to him all those who lived along the way.
But before beginning his march, he sent heralds to the Ionians to try to draw them away from Croesus. The Ionians would not be prevailed on; but when Cyrus arrived and encamped face to face with Croesus, there in the Pterian country the armies had a trial of strength.
The fighting was fierce, many on both sides fell, and at nightfall they disengaged with neither side victorious. The two sides contended thus.
Croesus was not content with the size of his force, for his army that had engaged was far smaller than that of Cyrus; therefore, when on the day after the battle Cyrus did not try attacking again, he marched away to Sardis, intending to summon the Egyptians in accordance with their treaty