Primary Sources: Herodotus, CLIO part 19
Cyrus embarked on a campaign of retrenchment, and next thing you knew, the Persian Empire stretched all across the Middle East and that brings us back around to Croesus foolishly picking a fight. Herodotus has a bunch of Persian Facts he wants to unload real quick before we move on. Check this out.
PERSIAN FACT! They don’t maintain temples to the gods or even altars!
PERSIAN FACT! This is because they think the gods couldn’t care less about the doings of mortals!
PERSIAN FACT! Nevertheless Herodotus maintains they worship the same gods as the Greeks, specifically Zeus and Aphrodite.
PERSIAN FACT! When a Persian wants to sacrifice to Zeus (because you got to sacrifice to Zeus even if you don’t keep any temples) he takes an animal out to a desolate place, cuts it up, and then watches a Magus sing.
PERSIAN FACT! Then he picks up the remains of the animal that he just sacrificed and does whatever he wants with them!
PERSIAN FACT! They celebrate birthdays!
PERSIAN FACT! They eat dessert in the middle of the meal instead of at the end!
PERSIAN FACT! They think it’s rude to vomit or urinate in public! (I’m amazed Herodotus thinks this is worthy of mention.)
PERSIAN FACT! When they have a bad problem to solve, they get drunk and figure it out!
PERSIAN FACT! Then after they sober up they reconsider their answer!
PERSIAN FACT! They measure the worth of an ethnicity by how close to Persia that ethnicity’s homeland is!
PERSIAN FACT! They didn’t used to use young boys for sex, but then they learned from the Greeks and now they can’t get enough!
PERSIAN FACT! If you thought they were atypically egalitarian with regards to women, you thought wrong! Persian women have to put with the same bull hockey as women everywhere!
PERSIAN FACT! Fathers don’t interact with their sons until adulthood, so that if the boy dies young the father won’t feel bad! (Herodotus thinks this custom is very smart.)
PERSIAN FACT! Herodotus also commends their version of the death penalty, which is, they keep a running tally of how much you contribute to society versus what horrible crimes or atrocities you’ve committed, and if the latter ever outweighs the former, boom, firing squad!
PERSIAN FACT! The Persian legal code is harsh! Talking about illegal things is illegal! Lying is illegal! Debt is illegal! Leprosy is illegal!
PERSIAN FACT! Herodotus is pretty sure that all Persian names begin and end with the same letter, S!
PERSIAN FACT! A Persian funeral isn’t over until a dog has nibbled at the body and then the body has been covered in hot wax!
Okay. Herodotus is done with Persian Facts for right now. If he thinks of any more, he’ll let us know.
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