After the burial the Scythians cleanse themselves as follows: they anoint and wash their heads and, for their bodies, set up three poles leaning together to a point and cover these over with wool mats; then, in the space so enclosed to the best of their ability, they make a pit in the center beneath the poles and the mats and throw red-hot stones into it.
They have hemp growing in their country, very like flax, except that the hemp is much thicker and taller. This grows both of itself and also by their cultivation, and the Thracians even make garments of it which are very like linen; no one, unless he were an expert in hemp, could determine whether they were hempen or linen; whoever has never seen hemp before will think the garment linen.
The Scythians then take the seed of this hemp and, crawling in under the mats, throw it on the red-hot stones, where it smoulders and sends forth such fumes that no Greek vapor-bath could surpass it.
The Scythians howl in their joy at the vapor-bath. This serves them instead of bathing, for they never wash their bodies with water.
But their women pound cypress and cedar and frankincense wood on a rough stone, adding water also, and with the thick stuff thus pounded they anoint their bodies and faces, as a result of which not only does a fragrant scent come from them, but when on the second day they take off the ointment, their skin becomes clear and shining.
But as regards foreign customs, the Scythians (like others) very much shun practising those of any other country, and particularly of Hellas, as was proved in the case of Anacharsis and also of Scyles.
For when Anacharsis was coming back to the Scythian country after having seen much of the world in his travels and given many examples of his wisdom, he sailed through the Hellespont and put in at Cyzicus;
where, finding the Cyzicenes celebrating the feast of the Mother of the Gods with great ceremony, he vowed to this same Mother that if he returned to his own country safe and sound he would sacrifice to her as he saw the Cyzicenes doing, and establish a nightly rite of worship.
So when he came to Scythia, he hid himself in the country called Woodland (which is beside the Race of Achilles, and is all overgrown with every kind of timber); hidden there, Anacharsis celebrated the goddess' ritual with exactness, carrying a small drum and hanging images about himself.
Then some Scythian saw him doing this and told the king, Saulius; who, coming to the place himself and seeing Anacharsis performing these rites, shot an arrow at him and killed him. And now the Scythians, if they are asked about Anacharsis, say they have no knowledge of him; this is because he left his country for Hellas and followed the customs of strangers.
But according to what I heard from Tymnes, the deputy for Ariapithes, Anacharsis was an uncle of Idanthyrsus king of Scythia, and he was the son of Gnurus, son of Lycus, son of Spargapithes. Now if Anacharsis was truly of this family, then let him know he was slain by his own brother; for Idanthyrsus was the son of Saulius, and it was Saulius who killed Anacharsis.
It is true that I have heard another story told by the Peloponnesians; namely, that Anacharsis had been sent by the king of Scythia and had been a student of the ways of Hellas, and after his return told the king who sent him that all Greeks were keen for every kind of learning, except the Lacedaemonians; but that these were the only Greeks who spoke and listened with discretion.
But this is a tale pointlessly invented by the Greeks themselves; and be this as it may, the man was put to death as I have said.