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Inscribed on the main post office in New York City there is a famous motto: “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.”1 It has become the unofficial slogan of the U.S. Post Office.2 But the Post Office did not invent this famous saying. It is from the Greek historian Herodotus.3 He was describing an elaborate system of horseback messengers created by the Persian monarchs to keep in touch with the reaches of their vast empire.4 Herodotus reports that the great Persian King Xerxes used the couriers to report back to the capital that he had lost a major battle.5

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