The Story of Queen Tomyris


Throughout the history of the Adamic (show blood in the face) people, Yahweh decreed the woman’s “... desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee” (Gen. 3:16). However ideal this directive might be, our history has proven the ideal is not always possible! Sometimes the husband dies whereupon his widow must take over the rulership and be the breadwinner for the family, which has forever been an overwhelming physical and mental task. Yet, in other cases, it’s a matter when the man of the house neglects or refuses the obligations Yahweh expects of a husband, and the husband’s duties must be piled upon the already overburdened wife!

Our story is of such a woman who went far beyond her duty. I will quote from David Grene’s translation of The History, Herodotus, bk. 1, §§ 204-216:

204. So to the west of this sea called Caspian there is the barrier of the Caucasus, but to the east and the rising sun there succeeds a plain that stretches endlessly to the eye. A very great share of this huge plain the Massagetae have as their portion; it was against them that Cyrus was bent on making war. There were many great inducements to urge him on; first, his own birth, in respect to which he appeared to be something more than human, and, second, his good luck in his wars. For wherever Cyrus directed his attack, that people could in no way escape.

205. The king of the Massagetae was dead, and his wife had taken over the sovereignty; her name was Tomyris. To her Cyrus sent and would have wooed her – in word – to be his wife. But Tomyris, who understood that it was not herself that he was wooing but the kingship of the Massagetae, said no to his approaches. After this, Cyrus, since he had gained nothing by craft, drove as far as the Araxes and now openly made a campaign against the Massagetae, building bridges over the river for the passage of his army and building towers on the rafts that were to carry his men over.

206. As he labored over all this, Tomyris sent him a herald and said: ‘King of the Medes, cease to be so eager to do what you are doing; for you cannot know whether, when accomplished, it will stand you in good stead. Give it over and rule over your own people, and endure to look upon us governing ours. Still, you will not follow this advice of mine, but will do anything rather than remain at rest. So, if you are so mightily set upon making trial of the Massagetae, give over your work of building bridges over the river; we will retreat three days’ journey from the river, and do you cross over into our land. Or, if you would rather welcome us into yours, do you withdraw for the three days’ journey.’ When Cyrus heard this, he called a council of the chief men of the Persians and in the assembly put the proposition to them, taking advice of them as to which he should do. Their judgments were all the same, that they should admit Tomyris and her army into their own country.

207. But Croesus the Lydian was there and found fault with this judgment, and declared another that was the opposite to what was accepted. His words were these: ‘My lord, I told you long ago that, since Zeus had given me to you, whatsoever I saw that could make your house fall, I would to the extent of my power prevent it. My own sufferings have been a harsh teacher for me. If it is immortal that you think yourself, and immortal the army that you govern, there would be no ground for me to give you advice. But if you know that you too are a man and that even such are those you rule, learn this first of all: that all human matters are a wheel, and, as it turns, it never suffers the same men to be happy forever. So it is that I now have a different judgment about the matter in hand than these others. If we shall admit the enemy onto our land, there is a danger in that, and it is this: if you are worsted, you will lose your whole empire along with the battle. For it is clear that if the Massagetae conquer they will never flee back but will drive through into all your realms. But if you win, you will not win as much as if you had crossed into the enemy’s country and, conquering the Massagetae, were hot on the heels of a flying enemy. For I will balance the two positions equally; I will assume that, having conquered those who confront you here, you will drive into the heart of Queen Tomyris’ empire. Apart from all that I have said so far, it is a shame, and not to be borne, that Cyrus, son of Cambyses, should yield and give ground to a woman. So in my opinion we ought to cross over and advance as far as the enemy will let us, and from then on take the following measures to get the better of them. As I understand it, the Massagetae are inexperienced in the good things of Persia and have never tasted of what is great and glorious. For these men, therefore, I would have you unsparingly slaughter many from your flocks and herds, and dress the meat and set it out in our camp for a banquet, and unsparingly set on bowls of wine unmixed with water and all sorts of viands. Having done so, I would leave behind the meanest part of our army and march away with the rest as far as the river. If I do not err in my judgment, the enemy, when they see these many good things, will fall to, to possess them; and, from then on, what is left to you is the display of valiant deeds.’

208. These, then, were the opposing judgments. And Cyrus let go his former choice and took the opinion of Croesus. He bade Tomyris retreat, for he himself would cross over into her country. So she withdrew, as she had promised at the first. Cyrus put Croesus into the hands of his son, Cambyses, to whom he was giving the kingdom, and he charged the boy to honor him and treat him well, if his own crossing against the Massagetae should go ill with him. So then he gave these orders to his son and sent him and Croesus away to the land of Persia, and he himself and his army crossed the river.

209. When he had crossed the Araxes, the night came on him and, as he slept in the land of the Massagetae, he saw a vision and it was this: it seemed to him in his dream that he saw the eldest of the sons of Hystaspes with wings on his shoulders, and with one of these wings he overshadowed Asia and, with the other, Europe. Now Hystaspes was the son of Arsames, an Achaemenid, and his eldest son, Darius, was a boy of about twenty who had been left behind in Persia; for he was not yet of age to serve in the army. When Cyrus waked up, he reflected within himself about the dream; and inasmuch as he thought it a great one, he summoned Hystaspes and, taking him aside, said to him, ‘Hystaspes, your son has been caught plotting against me and my empire. I will signify to you how I know this so exactly: the gods have care for me and show me in advance all that is coming upon me. So now in this past night, as I slept, I saw the eldest of your sons with wings on his shoulders, and with the one he overshadowed Asia and, with the other, Europe. So by this dream it cannot but be that he is plotting against me. Go back now, you, quickly to Persia, and take measures that when I come thither again, after conquering these people here, you may put your son before me to examine him.’ [Before Cyrus, Medes dominated Persians, now it was the opposite. (ed. William Finck.)]

210. That is what Cyrus said, because he thought that Darius was plotting against him. But to him the god was giving signs that he himself should die, right there where he was, and that his kingship should pass to Darius. Hystaspes answered: ‘My lord, let never [a] Persian be born that shall plot against you, and, if he exist, let him die right quickly. You have made the Persians from being slaves into free men and, instead of being ruled, to be the rulers of all others. If this dream tells you that my son is plotting against you, I will turn him over to you to do whatsoever you will with him.’

211. So Hystaspes answered him and then crossed the Araxes and betook himself to Persia, there to guard his son against the coming of Cyrus. Cyrus advanced one day’s journey from the Araxes and accomplished what Croesus had advised. After that, Cyrus and the sound part of his army marched back to the Araxes, leaving the useless part behind. Then one third of the army of the Massagetae made an onslaught on them and butchered those of Cyrus’ army that had been left behind, despite their resistance. The Massagetae saw the feasts set out before them, once they had conquered their enemy, and, having filled themselves with food and wine, they lay down to sleep. But the Persians stole on them and killed many and took prisoner even more, and among these was the son of Tomyris, who was general of the army of the Massagetae; his name was Spargapises.

212. When his mother heard what had happened to her son and her army, she sent a herald to Cyrus with this message: ‘Cyrus, insatiate of blood, be not uplifted by this thing that has happened – that with this fruit of the vine, whereof you Persians fill yourselves even to madness, so that, as the wine descends into your body, ill words rise up in you to the top – be not uplifted, I say, because with such a powerful drug you have overmastered my son by trickery and not by strength and fighting. Now, therefore, take this proposal from me, for I advise you well. Give back my son to me now and get out of our country, paying no penalty, although you have done violence and insolence to onethird of the army of the Massagetae. If you do not so, I swear by the sun, the lord of the Massagetae, that, for all your insatiability of blood, I will give you your fill of it.’

213. But Cyrus paid no heed to these words, which were reported to him. The son of Queen Tomyris, Spargapises, when the wine had died in him and he knew in what calamity he was, asked Cyrus to be relieved of his chains, and he gained his request; but as soon as he was freed and was master of his hands, he made away with himself.

214. That was the end of him. Tomyris, since Cyrus would not listen to her, gathered all her host together and fought him. Of all the battles that were fought among the barbarians, I judge this to have been the severest, and indeed my information is that this is so. First, they say, the two sides remained at a distance from one another and shot arrows, and afterwards, when all their missiles were spent, they fought hand to hand with spears and daggers. Long they remained fighting in close combat, and neither side would flee. But finally the Massagetae got the upper hand. The most of the Persian army died on the spot and, among them, Cyrus himself, having ruled, in all, twenty-nine years. Tomyris sought out his corpse among the Persian dead, and, when she found it, she filled a skin with human blood and fixed his head in the skin, and, insulting over the dead, she said: ‘I am alive and conqueror, but you have destroyed me, all the same, by robbing me of my son by trickery. Now it is you and I; and I will give you your fill of blood, even as I threatened.’ There are many stories of the death of Cyrus, but this that I have told seems to me the most convincing. [Footnote: Cyrus died in 529 B.C.]

215. The Massagetae wear the same kind of clothes as the Scythians and live much the same. They are both cavalry and infantry – for they have some of both – and archers and spearmen; and they are used to carrying battle-axes as well. They use gold and bronze for everything. For their spearpoints and arrowheads and battle-axes are all made of bronze, but on their headgear, belts, and girdles they use adornments of gold. In the same way, the breastplates of their horses are bronze, but the reins, bits, and cheekplates are of gold. Iron and silver they do not use at all, for indeed there is none in their country, but there is a great plenty of gold and bronze.

216. These are their customs: each of them marries a wife, but the wives they have in common. The Greeks say that it is the Scythians that do this, but it is not the Scythians that do so but the Massagetae. When a man of the Massagetae desires a woman, he hangs his quiver on the front of her wagon and lies with her, fearlessly. There is no definite limit to life other than this: when a man grows very old, all his relatives come together and kill him, and sheep and goats along with him, and stew all the meat together and have a banquet of it. That is regarded as the happiest lot; any man who dies of disease they do not eat but bury him in the ground, lamenting that he did not come to being eaten. They do not sow land at all but live off cattle and also fish, which they have in abundance from the river Araxes. They are drinkers of milk. Of the gods, they worship the sun only, to whom they sacrifice horses, and their argument for the sacrifice is this: to the swiftest of all gods they assign the swiftest of all mortal things.”

William Finck, in his Classical Records of the Origins of the Scythians, Parthians & Related Tribes stated: “Elsewhere Strabo tells us that the Däae, along with the Massagetae and Sacae, are Scythians (11.8.2). So we see that the Parthians of the Parthian empire were Scythians, and Josephus surely indicates to us that they were Israelites.”

Ibid: “In his Library of History at 2.43.1-5, Diodorus Siculus says of the Scythians: ‘But now, in turn, we shall discuss the Scythians who inhabit the country bordering upon India. This people originally possessed little territory, but later, as they gradually increased in power, they seized much territory by reason of their deeds of might and their bravery and advanced their nation to great leadership and renown. At first, then, they dwelt on the Araxes River, altogether few in number and despised because of their lack of renown; but since one of their early kings was warlike and of unusual skill as a general they acquired territory, in the mountains as far as the Caucasus, and in the steppes along the ocean and Lake Maeotis (the sea of Azov today) and the rest of that country as far as the Tanaïs River ... But some time later the descendants of these kings ... subdued much of the territory beyond the Tanaïs River as far as Thrace ... for this people increased to great strength and had notable kings; one whom gave his name to the Sacae, another to the Massagetae, another to the Arimaspi, and several other tribes received their names in like manner ....’ (Loeb Library edition).

So while Diodorus described the naming of the various related Scythian tribes fancifully, he surely is accurate in the description of the origins and growth of these people, and corroborates Herodotus concerning their relationship and locations. The Araxes river was the ancient boundary between Media and Armenia. Herodotus, describing the Persian King Cyrus’ expedition against the Massagetae, describes the Caspian Sea, the Araxes river which empties into it from the west, and the Caucasus Mountains which bind the Caspian there, and places Cyrus’ expedition in this very place. Herodotus describes the Massagetae: ‘In their dress and mode of living [they] resemble the Scythians’, and, as he says later that the Scythians carry, ‘their favorite weapon is the battle-axe’ (Histories 1.201, 215). Later, Herodotus describes the Persian King Darius’ expedition against the Scythians, where to get there Darius crossed the Bosphoros, and then going through Thrace crossed the Danube to attack them (4.97). He also described how these Scythians had migrated into Europe from Asia (4.11, 48), as Diodorus tells us, and he says that the Scythians of the east who were once subject to the Persians, the Scythians of the Caucasus mountains, and the Scythians of Europe were all related (7.64).”

In all of these quoted passages, we have encountered the term “battle-axe(s)” three times. This is significant as Jer. 51:19-23 states this fact concerning Yahweh’s Cinderella bride, the twelve tribes of Israel:

19 The portion of Jacob is not like them; for he is the former of all things: and Israel is the rod of his inheritance: Yahweh of hosts is his name. 20 Thou [Israel] art my battle axe and weapons of war: for with thee will I break in pieces the nations, and with thee will I destroy kingdoms; 21 And with thee will I break in pieces the horse and his rider; and with thee will I break in pieces the chariot and his rider; 22 With thee also will I break in pieces man and woman; and with thee will I break in pieces old and young; and with thee will I break in pieces the young man and the maid; 23 I will also break in pieces with thee the shepherd and his flock; and with thee will I break in pieces the husbandman and his yoke of oxen; and with thee will I break in pieces captains and rulers ....” [underlining mine]

It should be pointed out with emphasis that Queen Tomyris was one of Yahweh’s battle-axe women, and she out maneuvered Cyrus and brought about his death. This Cyrus II is the same Cyrus as mentioned at Isaiah 45:1-3:

1 Thus saith the Yahweh to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him; and I will loose the loins of kings, to open before him the two leaved gates; and the gates shall not be shut; 2 I will go before thee, and make the crooked places straight: I will break in pieces the gates of brass, and cut in sunder the bars of iron: 3 And I will give thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that thou mayest know that I, Yahweh, which call thee by thy name, am the Elohim of Israel.”

As long as Cyrus didn’t direct his warfare against Yahweh’s divorced and cast away Israelites, Yahweh would allow Cyrus to win his wars. However, in the case of Queen Tomyris and her Massagetae tribesmen, Cyrus was attempting to conquer a portion of Yahweh’s chosen people, and Yahweh drew a line in the sand, for Cyrus had gone far beyond his Yahweh-given anointing. How many times down through history that Yahweh has drawn a line in the sand for Israel, nationally and personally among Israel families, would be hard to fathom, for we just don’t know. But it must number in multiple-thousands of cases. Be that as it may, nationally and personally Israel brings the curse of Yahweh down upon themselves through practicing the doctrines of “Jezebel” and “Balaam” (2 Pet. 2:15; Jude 11 & Rev. 2:20), both of which are “fornication” (i.e., race-mixing)!

2 Pet. 2:15: “Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness ...”

Jude 11: “Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core.” [See also Rev. 2:14]

Rev. 2:20: “Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols.”

We should, therefore, take notice of the god that Queen Tomyris and her Massagetae tribesmen worshipped in part #216: “Of the gods, they worship the sun only, to whom they sacrifice horses, and their argument for the sacrifice is this: to the swiftest of all gods they assign the swiftest of all mortal things.”

There are many Baal gods; too many to mention here. Hence, I will cite Webster’s Unified Encyclopedia and Dictionary for a general concise definition, vol. 2, no pagination:

Baal ... n. ... 1 The Phoenician sun god; one of numerous local deities of the ancient Semite peoples, gods of fertility. 2 A false god. -ish adj. Idolatrous. -ism n. Idolatry. -ist n., adj. – -ite n. Baal, a Canaanite deity, adopted by the Israelites; known among the Babylonians as Bel.”

Knowing this, we should not be surprised that Queen Tomyris and her Massagetae tribesmen worshipped the sun-god Baal. Not only did Queen Tomyris and her Massagetae tribesmen worship the sun-god Baal but all the twelve tribes of Israel did likewise and Yahweh divorced all of them, and cast them away for a seven times punishment period of 2,520 years, and all twelve are still worshipping the sun-god Baal, Protestants and Catholics alike (halloween, and all the other sun-god Baal days)! While Queen Tomyris did quite well in routing Cyrus, her mode of worship was flawed!