Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Tomiris, Warrior Queen of the Massagetae

The Vengeance of Tomiris, by Petrus Pieters,
16th Cent.
GERMANIA: After his conquest of Assyria, c. 529 BCE the Achaemenid king Cyrus of Persia decided his next target for subjugation was the Massagetae, a warlike tribe from the southern deserts of Kharesm and Kizilhoum in the southernmost portion of the steppe region, closely akin to the Scythians in their customs and nomadic way of life. The Massagetae was led by Tomiris, who had succeeded her dead husband, the former king of the Massagetae. She was a woman famous for her wisdom, determination and will, and immediately saw Cyrus\'s initial offer of marriage for what it was - an attempt to get his hands on her lands - and flatly refused him.
Naturally, Cyrus the Great wasn\'t about to be scared off his intentions by the warnings of a woman, and invaded the Massagetae territory. Amongst the Massagetae prisoners taken was Tomiris\'s son, Spargapises. Tomiris sent to Cyrus to demand the return of her son and the Achaemenid king\'s withdrawn from her lands, swearing \"by the sun our master to give you more blood than you can drink, for all your gluttony.\"
Cyrus, of course, ignored this, and Spargapises killed himself in Persian captivity. Tomiris summoned all the forces she possessed and led them herself to engage the Persian army. Herodotus describes the battle which followed as having \"been more violent than any fought between foreign nations.\" It was to be Cyrus the Great\'s last battle - the greater part of the Persian army was destroyed where it stood, and the king himself killed.
After the battle, Tomiris ordered Cyrus\'s head to be thrust into a leather-bag or wineskin filled with human blood, declaring, \"See now - I fulfil my threat: you have your fill of blood.\"
The story in full can be found in Herodotus\'s Histories, Book One, 205-216
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холст, масло, золотая поталь, самоцветы, кристаллы сваровски, 2009, продана, контакт с автором danart06@mail.ru