Post haec Gordien urbem petit quae posita est inter Phrygiam maiorem et minorem ; 4 cuius urbis potiundae non tam propter praedam cupido eum cepit, sed quod audierat in ea urbe in templo Iouis iugum Gordii positum, cuius nexum si quis soluisset, eum tota Asia regnaturum antiqua oracula cecinisse. 5 Huius rei causa et origo illa fuit. Gordius cum in his regionibus bubus conductis araret, aues eum omnis generis circumuolare coeperunt. 6 Profectus ad consulendos augures uicinae urbis obuiam in porta habuit uirginem eximias pulchritudinis, percontatusque eam quem potissimum augurem consuleret ; 7 illa audita causa consulendi, gnara artis ex disciplina parentum, regnum ei portendi respondit polliceturque se et matrimonii et spei sociam. 8 Tam pulchra condicio prima regni felicitas uidebatur. 9 Post nuptias inter Phrygas orta seditio est. 10 Consulentibus de fine discordiarum oracula responderunt regem discordiis opus esse. 11 Iterato quaerentibus de persona regis, iubentur eum regem obseruare, quem reuersi primum in templum Iouis euntem plaustro repperissent. 12 Obuius illis Gordius fuit, statimque eum regem consalutant. 13 Ille plaustrum quo uehenti regnum delatum fuerat, in templo Iouis positum maiestati regiae consecrauit. 14 Post hunc filius Mida regnauit, qui ab Orpheo sacrorum sollemnibus initiatus Phrygiam religionibus inpleuit, quibus tutior omni uita quam armis fuit. 15 Igitur Alexander capta urbe cum in templum Iouis uenisset, iugum plaustri requisiuit, 16 quo exhibito, cum capita loramentorum intra nodos abscondita reperire non posset, uiolentius oraculo usus gladio loramenta caedit atque ita resolutis nexibus latentia in nodis capita inuenit.
He soon after marched to a city called Gordium, which is situated between the Greater and Lesser Phrygia, and which he earnestly desired to take, not so much for the sake of plunder, as because he had heard that in that city, in the temple of Jupiter, was deposited the yoke of Gordius’s car; the knot of which, if anyone should loose, the oracles of old had predicted that he should rule all Asia. The cause and origin of the matter was as follows. When Gordius was ploughing in these parts, with oxen that he had hired,16 birds of every kind began to fly about him. Going to consult the augurs of the next town on the occurrence, he met at the gate a virgin of remarkable beauty, and asked her “which of the augurs he had best consult.” When she, having heard his reason for consulting them, and knowing something of the art from the instruction of her parents, replied, that “a kingdom was portended to him,” and offered to become his wife and the sharer of his expectations. So fair a match seemed the chief felicity of a throne. After his marriage a civil war arose among the Phrygians; and when they consulted the oracles how their discord might be terminated, the oracles replied that “a king was required to settle their disputes.” Inquiring a second time as to the person of the king, they were directed to regard him as their king whom they should first observe, on their return, going to the temple of Jupiter on a car. The person who presented himself to them was Gordius, and they at once saluted him king. He dedicated the car, in which he was riding when the throne was offered him, “to kingly majesty,” and it was placed in the temple of Jupiter. After him reigned his son Midas, who, having been instructed by Orpheus in sacred rites, filled all Phrygia with ceremonies of religion, by which he was better protected, during his whole life, than by arms. Alexander, having taken the city, and gone to the temple of Jupiter, requested to see the yoke of Gordius’s car, and, when it was shown him, not being able to find the ends of the cords, which were hidden within the knots, he put a forced interpretation on the oracle, and cut the cords with his sword; and thus, when the involutions were opened out, discovered the ends concealed in them.