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Early Indo-European Texts

Classical Greek

Winfred P. Lehmann and Jonathan Slocum

This page contains a text in Classical Greek with a modern English translation. This particular text and its translation are extracted from a lesson in the Early Indo-European Online series, where one may find detailed information about this text (see the Table of Contents page for Classical Greek Online in EIEOL), and general information about the Classical Greek language and its speakers' culture.

from Herodotus' History, Book 4

Esti de sphi kannabis phuomenê en tê chôrê plên pachutêtos kai megatheos tô linô empherestatê. tautê de pollô huperpherei hê kannabis hautê kai automatê kai speiromenê phuetai, kai ex autês Thrêikes men kai heimata poieuntai toisi lineoisi homoiotata; oud' an hostis mê karta tribôn eiê autês, diagnoiê linou ê kannabios esti; hos de mê eide kô tên kannabida, lineon dokêsei einai to heima. Tautês ôn hoi Skuthai tês kannabios to sperma epean labôsi, hupodunousi hupo tous pilous, kai epeita epiballousi to sperma epi tous diaphaneas lithous tô puri; to de thumiatai epiballomenon kai atmida parechetai tosautên hôste Hellênikê oudemia an min puriê apokratêseie. hoi de Skuthai agamenoi tê puriê ôruontai. touto sphi anti loutrou esti. ou gar dê louontai hudati to parapan to sôma. hai de gunaikes autôn hudôr paracheousai katasôchousi peri lithon trêchun tês kuparissou kai kedrou kai libanou xulou, kai epeita to katasôchomenon touto pachu eon kataplassontai pan to sôma kai to prosôpon; kai hama men euôdiê spheas apo toutou ischei, hama de apaireousai tê deuterê hêmerê tên kataplastun ginontai katharai kai lamprai.


They have hemp growing in their country, very much like flax except for thickness and height. In this respect the hemp surpasses flax by far. This grows by itself and sown, and out of it the Thracians even make clothing very much like linen. And unless anyone were very experienced in it, he would not discern whether it is linen or hemp. But he who has not yet seen hemp clothing will think the clothing is linen.
Now the Scythians take the seed of the hemp and they go under their mats and then they throw the seed on the red-hot stones in the fire. So thrown it smoulders, and it produces such vapor that no Greek vapor bath might exceed it. And delighted by the vapor bath, the Scythians howl. This is done by them instead of bathing. But their women pound around a rough stone cypress and cedar and frankincense wood, pouring in water, and then they plaster this thick rubbed matter over their entire body and face. A fragrant scent remains on them from this, and at the same time when they remove the ointment on the second day they become clean and shining in appearance.