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A First Year in Canterbury Settlement With Other Early Essays

Translation from an Unpublished Work of Herodotus —

Translation from an Unpublished Work of Herodotus

And the Johnians practise their tub in the following manner: They select eight of the most serviceable freshmen and put these into a boat, and to each one of them they give an oar; and having told them to look at the backs of the men before them they make them bend forward as far as they can and at the same moment, and having put the end of the oar into the water pull it back again in to them about the bottom of the ribs; and if any of them does not do this or looks about him away from the back of the man before him they curse him in the most terrible manner, but if he does what he is bidden they immediately cry out:

“Well pulled, number so-and-so.”

For they do not call them by their names but by certain numbers, each man of them having a number allotted to him in accordance with his place in the boat, and the first man they call stroke, but the last man bow; and when they have done this for about fifty miles they come home again, and the rate they page 236 travel at is about twenty-five miles an hour; and let no one think that this is too great a rate, for I could say many other wonderful things in addition concerning the rowing of the Johnians, but if a man wishes to know these things he must go and examine them himself. But when they have done they contrive some such a device as this, for they make them run many miles along the side of the river in order that they may accustom them to great fatigue, and many of them being distressed in this way fall down and die, but those who survive become very strong, and receive gifts of cups from the others; and after the revolution of a year they have great races with their boats against those of the surrounding islanders, but the Johnians, both owing to the carefulness of the training and a natural disposition for rowing, are always victorious. In this way then the Johnians, I say, practise their tub.