Persian customs according to Herodotus 454BC

Book 9

“”This Artayctes who had suffered death by crucification had an ancestor named Artembares;and he it was who made an offer to Persians which they readily accepted and passed on to Cyrus that”Since God has given the empire to Persians & among individuals to you Cyrus by your conquest , let us leave this small barren land of Persis and take possesion of a better,plenty to choose from ,some far and some near ,we shall be admired more and it,s the natural thing to do now that we are the masters of all Asia minor.Cyrus replied that they might act upon it if they pleased, that if they did they must prepare themselves to rule no longer, but to be ruled by others “soft countries” he said “breed soft men, it is not the property of any one soil to produce fine fruites & good soldiers too” .The Persians had to admit to Cyrus wisdom so they left him and choose rather to live in a rugged land and rule an empire than to cultivate rich plains and be subject to others””

Book 1

“”No race is so ready to adopt foreighn ways as the Persians;for instance, they wear the median customs because they think it,s handsomer than their own, and their soldiers wear the Egyptian corselet,They indulge in pederasty which they learned from Greeks, they prefer their wines to come from Cimmeria,Their women Persians and their concubines scythians .Every man has a number of wives, and a much greater number of concubines in order to have a large family & more children to defend their land….As a Greek I must say that Persian women are superior to ionians in beauty so much so that at the time of Darius he forbade the persian women to be partnered with any of subjugated races of empire except Medians””


Book 1

“”After Lydian king Croesus of Asia minor wanted to pre emtively invade Cyrus Army in Media thinking he was planning to dethrone him with an army from Persia and was susiquently defeated representives from ionia and aeolians went to Cyrus at Sardis to try to obtain from him the same terms they got from their last master Croesus.Cyrus replied to the with an story of a fluteplayer who saw some fish in the sea and played his flute to them in the hope that they come ashore.when they refused to do so, he took a net, netted a large catch, and hauled them in,.seing fish jumping about, he said to them:”It is too late to dance now, you might have danced to my music-but would not” the point of the story was that when Cyrus asked Ionians to revolt against Croesus they refused and Cyrus replied to their representative miletoos of halicarnus that “You Greeks from all the races are closest to us Persians in looks and beatiful women but there is something that make us superior to you and that is when we make deals and tell the truth”.Cyrus continued to say that “All you Greeks do is take your bath in the morning and go to the City market place and lie to each other to sell your old bread and old fish to your countrymen and at night you retreat to your temples and women to lie to your Gods “”

“”the errection of religious status,Gold temples, and altars is not an accepted practice among them, and any one who does that is considered a fool.Zeus in their religions is the whole circle of heavens and they sacrifice to him from atop mountains.They also worship the sun,moon,earth,fire,water and winds which is their only original dieties””

“”No name in the whole of empire is held more prescious by Persians than the name of Cyrus.In the eyes of Persians no one person or king can be compared to him thats why that they flock to his tomb in Persis with their children and wives to celebrate and eat nuts on the occasion of their new year””


“”Of all days in the year a persian most distiguishes his birthday, and celebrate it with a dinner of special magnificence.A rich Persian on his birthday will have an Ox or a horse or a camel baked whole in the oven and served up at the table but the poor serve smaller beasts.They have very few main dishes but unlike Greeks they have many sorts of deserts.They always ridicule the Greeks that Greeks leave the tables hungry.They are very fond of their wine, and no one is allowed to relieve himself in the presence of another person””

“”If an important decision is to be made , they discuss the question when they are drunk, and in presence of the master of ceremony the next day and while sober if they approve it , it is adopted””

“”When Persians meet each other on the street and do not speak but kiss , it means that they are of the same rank””

“”After their own nation they hold the nearest nations close to them as dear and the nearest after that and so on””

“boys education is between the ages of 5 and 20, and they are taught three things only to ride, to use the bow and to always speak the truth””

“”I admire their custome which forbids even the the King to put a man to death for a single offence””

“”They consider telling lies the most disgracefull than anything else, and next to that is owing money””

“”They have a profound reverence for rivers; they will never pollute,,urine ,spittle or even wash their hands in one””

“”Although they themselves are not aware of it;all their names, which express magnificence or physical qualtities ends with the letter “S”””

“”Persians consider themselves to be the superior race among all nations.The exception in their eyes are the Medians whom worship the same dietie.This as a Greek I don,t believe since I know of Spartans who can be of equal galantry to Persians””



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