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Title: The History of Antiquity
       Vol. VI. (vol. VI. of VI.)

Author: Max Duncker

Translator: Evelyn Abbott

Release Date: December 13, 2011 [EBook #38297]

Language: English

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After the fall of Nineveh, Media, Babylonia, and Lydia had continued to exist side by side in peace and friendship. The successful rebellion of Cyrus altered at one blow the state of Asia. He had not been contented with winning independence for the Persians; he had subjected Media to his power. In the place of a friendly and allied house, the kings of Lydia and Babylonia saw Astyages deprived of his throne, and Media in the hands of a bold and ambitious warrior. Nebuchadnezzar of Babylonia would hardly have allowed the sovereignty of the table-land of Iran to pass out of the power of a near kinsman into that of Cyrus without offering some resistance; but he was no longer alive to prevent or revenge the overthrow of his brother-in-law. His son Evil-merodach had also come by his death before Astyages succumbed to the arms of Cyrus, and after a short reign Neriglissar left the kingdom to a boy (III. 392). On the other hand, the Lydian empire was in its fullest vigour. We are acquainted with the successes which fell to the lot of Alyattes after his alliance with Media; we saw with what rapidity [Pg 4]his son Crœsus brought to a happy conclusion the long struggle against the Greek cities of the coast. His kingdom now embraced the whole of Asia Minor, as far as the Halys; the Lycians alone remained independent in their small mountain canton. Loved and honoured by his people, as Herodotus indicates, Crœsus saw his complete and compact empire in the greatest prosperity; his treasury was full to overflowing; his metropolis was the richest city in Asia after Babylon. The Lydian infantry were excellent and trustworthy; the cavalry were dreaded; in past days they had measured themselves with success against the Medes.[1] Thus in the third or fourth year of his reign, in the pride of his position, surrounded by inexhaustible treasures and the most splendid magnificence, on his lofty citadel at Sardis, Crœsus could declare himself, against the opinion of the Athenian Solon, the man most favoured by fortune (III. 458). Two years afterwards Astyages, whose wife Aryanis was Crœsus' sister, was overthrown. Crœsus had reason enough to take the field for his brother-in-law, and anticipate the danger which might arise for Lydia out of this change in the East. He might hope that his example would set the Babylonians in motion against the usurper of the Median throne, and cause the Medes themselves to revolt against their new master. But he appears to have been afraid of embarking in an uncertain and dangerous war at a great distance from his own borders. It was not clear that victory at the first onset would imply lasting success, and Lydia had no attack to fear so long as Cyrus was occupied in establishing his new dominion in Media, and engaged in conflicts in the East and North. In Sardis it might[Pg 5] be assumed that the usurper would find great difficulties in his way. Herodotus represents Sandanis, a distinguished Lydian, as asking Crœsus whether he would take the field against men who clad themselves in leather, and did not eat what they liked, but what they had, and lived in a rugged country—who drank water and not wine, and had not even figs or any other thing that was pleasant? What could the king, if victorious, take from them, when they had nothing? On the other hand, if conquered, he had much to lose, and if the Persians once tasted any of the good things of Lydia, they would never be driven out of the land again.[2] Crœsus hesitated. It was of the greatest importance for Cyrus that Lydia and Babylonia should not interfere in favour of Astyages and the Medes, that they remained inactive during the revolution, and allowed him to establish his dominion in Media without disturbance, to direct his aim unimpeded against the neighbours of Media, and to subjugate without opposition the Parthians, Hyrcanians, and Cadusians.

The manner in which war eventually broke out between Lydia and Persia, the course of the war, and the fortune which overtook Crœsus, are narrated by Herodotus in the following manner: "Solon had scarcely left Crœsus (III. 454, note 3) when the latter saw in a dream the vision which portended the fate of his son. He had two sons: one was deaf and dumb, but the other, Attys, was greatly distinguished above all his companions. The dream told him that he would lose this son by an iron spear-head. In alarm Crœsus found a wife for his son, would not allow him to go out with the army as before, and removed into[Pg 6] the armoury all the armour which was in the chambers, that nothing might fall upon him. At the time when Crœsus was occupied with the marriage of Attys, a Phrygian came to Sardis, Adrastus by name, the son of Gordius, the grandson of Midas, who had unintentionally killed his brother, and had been banished by his father, and Crœsus received him. At the same time a great boar appeared on the Mysian Olympus, which ravaged the lands of the Mysians, and as they could not master it, they sent messengers to Crœsus praying him to allow Attys and some chosen youths to come with dogs to set them free from the monster. Crœsus would not let his son go, for he had just been married. But the son complained to his father: Previously he had won great glory in war, and in the chase, now he was kept back from both; how would men look upon him in the market-place?—in what light would he appear to the citizens and his young wife? Crœsus told him the dream, but Attys replied that the boar had no hands, and no iron point: Crœsus therefore allowed him to go, and bade Adrastus accompany his son and watch over him. Adrastus promised to bring back his son uninjured, so far as lay in his power, in return for the kindness which Crœsus had shown him. The boar was surrounded on Olympus, and javelins thrown at it from every side; the spear of Adrastus missed the boar and hit Attys. Thus was the dream of Crœsus fulfilled. Adrastus went with the corpse to Crœsus, and besought him to slay him as a sacrifice to the dead. But Crœsus replied that Adrastus had made recompense enough in condemning himself to death. He had his son buried with proper honours; but Adrastus slew himself on the grave."[Pg 7]

"Two years were spent by Crœsus in mourning for his son. Then the destruction of the empire of Astyages by Cyrus, and the growing power of the Persians, put an end to the mourning, and caused him to consider whether he could check the rise of the Persians before they became great. With this thought in his mind, he determined to test the oracles, both those of the Greeks and that in Libya, and ascertain whether they could tell the truth; to the oracle which he found truthful, he would propose the question, whether he should undertake a campaign against the Persians. So he sent to the oracles of the Greeks, to Miletus, Delphi, Abae, and Trophonius, to the sanctuary of Amphiaraus at Thebes, and to Dodona, to the temple of Ammon in Libya, bidding his messengers inquire on the hundredth day after their departure from Sardis, what Crœsus, the son of Alyattes, the king of Lydia, was doing on that day. The answers were to be written down, and brought back to him. What the other oracles said no one has narrated, but when the Lydians came into the temple at Delphi and propounded their question, the priestess answered: 'I know the number of the sand, and the measure of the sea; I understand the dumb, and hear him who speaks not. The scent of the hard-shelled tortoise comes into my nostrils which is being cooked in brass with lamb's flesh; brass is below, and brass is above.' The Lydians wrote this down, and returned to Sardis; and when the other messengers came back, Crœsus opened their letters. He paid no attention to the rest, but when he came to the answer from Delphi he recognised the power of the god, and saw that the Delphic oracle alone had been aware of what he was doing. For on the day appointed he had cooked the flesh of a tortoise and[Pg 8] lamb in a brazen vessel, covered with a brazen lid, thinking that it would be impossible to discover or invent such a thing. What answer was brought back from Amphiaraus I cannot say, for it is nowhere recorded, but Crœsus is said to have considered this oracle as truthful. Then Crœsus won the favour of the god of Delphi by great sacrifices. He offered 3000 victims of every kind, and erected a great pile of wood on which he burned couches covered with gold and silver, golden goblets, purple robes and garments, in the hope that he would thereby gain the favour of the god yet more, and bade the Lydians sacrifice to their deity whatever each possessed. And as the sacrifice left behind an enormous mass of molten gold, Crœsus caused bricks to be made, six palms in length, three in breadth, and one in depth; in all there were 117 bricks. Of these, four were of the purest gold, each two and a half talents in weight; and the rest of white gold (i. e. of mingled gold and silver), each two talents in weight. In addition, there was a golden lion which weighed ten talents. When these were finished, Crœsus sent them to Delphi, and added two very large mixing-bowls, one of gold, weighing eight talents and a half and twelve minæ, and one of silver, the work of Theodorus of Samos, as the Delphians say, and I believe it, for it is the work of no ordinary artificer; four silver jars, and two vessels for holy water, one of gold and the other of silver, circular casts of silver, a golden statue of a woman, three cubits high, and the necklace and girdles of his queen. All these things he sent to Delphi, and to Amphiaraus a golden shield and a spear, of which both the stem and the point were of gold."

"Crœsus bade the envoys who carried these gifts[Pg 9] ask the oracles, whether he should march against the Persians, or collect allies. The answer of both oracles was to the same effect: they told him, that if he went against Cyrus he would destroy a great empire, and at the same time advised him to find out who were the most powerful among the Greeks, and take them as allies. Crœsus was greatly delighted when he received this answer; in the certainty that he would overthrow the empire of Cyrus, he sent again to Delphi and presented each Delphian with two staters. The Delphians in return bestowed on the Lydians for all future time the right to consult the priestess first, the best seats, freedom from contributions, and the citizenship of Delphi to any Lydian who should wish to become a Delphian. Crœsus inquired of the oracle for the third time: whether his reign would be of long continuance, and the priestess replied: 'When a mule becomes king of the Medes, then, O soft-footed Lydian, fly from the pebbly Hermus; stay not, and take no shame to be a coward.' Then Crœsus was yet more delighted, for he thought that a mule would never rule over the Medes instead of a man, and therefore neither he nor his descendants would lose their power. Then he inquired who were the most mighty among the Hellenes, and when he found that the greatest part of the Peloponnesus was subject to the Lacedæmonians, he sent messengers with presents to Sparta to conclude an alliance. The Lacedæmonians were filled with joy; they knew the oracle which had been given to Crœsus, and made him a friend and ally, as they had previously received many kindnesses at his hands."

"Crœsus now marched to Cappadocia in the hope of crushing Cyrus and the Persians; he also intended to add Cappadocia to his kingdom, but above[Pg 10] all he wished to take vengeance on Cyrus, who had defeated his brother-in-law Astyages, and had got him in his power. When he came to the Halys, which was the boundary between the Lydian and the Persian kingdoms, he crossed the river by the bridges, and came into the part of Cappadocia, which is called Pteria (this region, the strongest in the whole country, lies towards Sinope and the Pontus Euxinus). There he pitched his camp, desolated the land, took the city of the Pterians, and enslaved the inhabitants, conquered the neighbouring cities, and drove out the Syrians, who had done him no harm whatever. But Cyrus collected his army, adding to it all the nations in his march, and took up a position against Crœsus. Previous to setting out, he had sent heralds to the Ionians, and requested them to revolt from Crœsus. To this request the Ionians did not listen. Then Cyrus encamped opposite Crœsus, and the two armies tried their strength in the land of Pteria. A fierce battle was fought; many fell on both sides; neither was victorious, and when night came they desisted from the battle. Crœsus found that his force was not strong enough; his army was inferior in numbers to that of the enemy, and when Cyrus did not venture to attack him on the next day, he returned to Sardis. His object was to summon the Egyptians, for he had made a treaty with Amasis the king of Egypt before entering into terms with the Lacedæmonians, to send to the Babylonians—for with them also and their king Labynetus he had made an alliance—and to call on the Lacedæmonians to join him at a fixed time. After uniting these, and collecting all his forces, he intended, as soon as the winter was over, to march out against the Persians. So when he arrived at Sardis he sent heralds[Pg 11] to his allies, bidding them assemble in the fifth month at Sardis, and dismissed all the mercenaries in the army which had fought against Cyrus. He did not expect that Cyrus, who had contended in the battle without success, would march against Sardis. When Crœsus retired immediately after the battle in Pteria, and it was discovered that the Lydian forces were to be disbanded, Cyrus saw that it would be much to his advantage to march upon Sardis with all speed, before the Lydian army could be collected a second time. He was so rapid in his movements, that he announced his own arrival to Crœsus."

"Though in great difficulties, inasmuch as things had turned out contrary to his expectations, Crœsus led out the Lydians to battle. And at that time there was no braver and more warlike nation in Asia. They fought on horseback, armed with long lances, and were excellent riders. The armies met in the large open plain before Sardis. The cavalry of Crœsus caused alarm to Cyrus, and on the advice of Harpagus the Mede, he collected all the camels which carried the food and baggage of the army, took off their burdens, and had them mounted by armed men. These he placed before the army, then followed the infantry, and after them the Persian horse. He bade them not to slay Crœsus, even though he should seek to defend himself when taken captive. When the battle broke out, the Lydian horses were alarmed at the sight and smell of the camels, and turned, and so the hopes of Crœsus were destroyed. Yet the Lydians did not lose their courage; they sprang from their horses and met the Persians on foot. At length, when many had fallen on both sides, the Lydians fled; they were driven into the walls, and besieged by the Persians. Crœsus thought that the siege would[Pg 12] occupy a long time, and sent fresh messengers to his confederates, and also to the Lacedæmonians, bidding them come as soon as possible. When they arrived at Sparta three hundred Spartans had been slain by the Argives, yet they determined to send assistance; their men were armed and ready to sail, when there came a second message that Sardis was captured, and Crœsus a prisoner."

"Sardis had been invested fourteen days when Cyrus announced to his army that the man who first climbed the walls should receive presents. Attempts were made, but as they failed, they were given up. Nevertheless Hyroeades, a Mardian, determined to climb the citadel at a place where no watch had been set. It was never supposed possible that the city could be taken on this side, for the mountain fell precipitously down towards Mt. Tmolus, and storming was impossible. On the previous day Hyroeades had seen a Lydian, whose helmet had fallen down, descend after it, and then climb back with it. He also ascended, others followed, and when sufficient Persians were on the top, Sardis was taken and the whole city plundered. After the citadel had been captured a Persian rushed at Crœsus, whom he did not know, to cut him down. When the dumb son of Crœsus saw this, through fear and horror he broke out into speech, and cried out: 'Man, do not slay Crœsus.' And ever after he was able to speak."

"The Persians led Crœsus to Cyrus, who caused a great pyre to be built, and Crœsus to be led to it in chains with twice seven Lydian boys; whether it was that he intended to offer the firstlings of the victory to some god, and discharge a vow, or whether he knew that Crœsus was eminent for piety, and wished to see if a god would protect him from being[Pg 13] burnt alive. When Crœsus was on the pyre, the words of Solon came into his mind, in his distress, that no one among living men was to be accounted happy. When this occurred to him, he sighed deeply after a long silence, and called out thrice, Solon! On hearing this Cyrus commanded the interpreters to ask Crœsus whom he was calling upon. At first he was silent; on being pressed, he said: 'On him, whose words I count it above great treasures that all rulers should hear.' As what he said was unintelligible, the question was put to him again, and when they insisted on hearing the whole, he told them, while the pyre was being kindled at the outer edge, what Solon the Athenian had said to him. When Cyrus heard this from the interpreters he reflected that he, a man, was condemning to the flames a man of no less power than himself; in fear of vengeance, and considering that there was nothing certain among men, he changed his mind, and gave orders to quench the fire, and bring down Crœsus and those with him. When all attempted in vain to quench the flames, Crœsus, according to the Lydian account, called on Apollo, entreating him to aid him now if he had ever offered pleasant gifts, and save him in his extremity. When Crœsus was praying in tears to the god, the sky, which had been clear and still, was suddenly covered with clouds; a storm burst upon them, and the fire was quenched by torrents of rain. And Cyrus then saw that Crœsus was a man beloved by the gods, and asked him why he had marched against his land, and made him his enemy instead of his friend? Crœsus replied, that he had been induced to do this by his own bad fortune and the good fortune of Cyrus. The god of the Hellenes had urged him to take the field against Cyrus. Then Cyrus caused the fetters[Pg 14] to be struck off him, and placed him near himself. When Crœsus saw the Persians plundering the city, he inquired of Cyrus: 'What is all this multitude doing with so much eagerness?' Cyrus answered: 'They are plundering your city and treasures.' He replied: 'They are mine no longer; it is your property which they are plundering and sacking. The Persians, courageous by nature, are poor; if you allow them to plunder and carry off much booty, it may be that the man who gains the most will rebel against you. If it pleases you, do as I advise. Place your body-guard at the gates, and bid them take from the plunderers what they are carrying out, and tell them that a tenth must be offered to Zeus. You will escape their ill-will, and they will gladly obey you.' This advice pleased Cyrus. He followed it, and promised Crœsus to grant him a favour in return."

"The favour which Crœsus asked was this: Cyrus must allow him to send the fetters, which he wore, to the Delphic god, and ask whether it was his manner to deceive those who showed him kindness. Cyrus granted the prayer with a smile, and promised that he would not refuse a further request. So Lydians went with the fetters to Delphi, and asked the god whether he was not ashamed to have urged Crœsus to make war upon Cyrus, who had taken much spoil from him; and at the same time they showed the fetters. The priestess answered, as it is recorded, that even a god could not escape his destiny; Crœsus was paying the penalty for his fifth ancestor, who had seized a throne which did not belong to him. The god had endeavoured to bring it to pass that the punishment should not fall on Crœsus but on his children, but he had only been able to defer the capture of Sardis for three years; let Crœsus know that he had been[Pg 15] taken captive three years later than was ordained. Moreover, the god had sent him help when on the pyre. It was announced that he would destroy a great empire if he went against Cyrus, but what empire was not said. Nor had Crœsus understood the response about the mule. Cyrus was the mule, the son of a Persian father and Median mother, a subject and his mistress. When Crœsus heard this, he saw that he and not the god was in fault."

Only a meagre excerpt remains of the account given by Ctesias of the conflict of Cyrus and Crœsus. The king of the Sacæ, Amorges, marched with Cyrus against Crœsus and Sardis. When the Lydians were shut up in the city, Crœsus, deceived by the portents of the gods, gave his son as a hostage to Cyrus, and when he subsequently sought to deceive him in the negotiations, Cyrus caused the son to be slain before the father's eyes. The mother, when she saw the execution of her son, threw herself down from the turrets of the walls. Then Cyrus, on the advice of Oebares, caused wooden figures of Persians to be placed on long poles and laid against the turrets, that the Lydians might be filled with terror at the sight of them. In this way the citadel, and the city itself, was taken. Crœsus fled for refuge into the temple of Apollo, where Cyrus caused him to be placed in chains, but though seals were set on them, and Oebares was commissioned to keep watch, the fetters were three times removed from Crœsus in a miraculous manner. Then those who had been put in chains with him were beheaded, as though they had conspired to liberate their king, and Cyrus brought Crœsus into the palace and caused yet heavier chains to be put upon him; but the fetters again fell to the ground, this time amid thunder and lightning. At[Pg 16] length Cyrus liberated Crœsus, showed him great kindness, and presented him with the large city of Barene, near Ecbatana, which had been garrisoned by 5000 cavalry and 10,000 infantry.[3]

Polyaenus relates that Crœsus, after his defeat in Cappadocia by Cyrus, withdrew his troops in the night by a pass. This pass he then filled with a quantity of timber, to which he set fire in order to check the pursuit of the Persians. When the armies met a second time for battle, Cyrus rendered the numerous cavalry of the Lydians, in which they trusted, useless by placing camels opposite them. Thus they were at once put to flight, and trod down the infantry, so that Cyrus was again victorious. At Sardis Crœsus once more tried the fortune of battle. As his Greek allies delayed their coming, he provided the strongest and tallest Lydians with Greek armour. The sight of the strange arms checked the Persians. They were terrified by the sound of the spears striking against the brazen shields, and the glitter of the shields caused their horses to take fright and turn. They retired, and Cyrus concluded a treaty for three days with Crœsus, in which he was to withdraw his forces from Sardis. But as soon as it was night he turned his army again upon Sardis, and attacked the city unexpectedly. The ascent of the walls by scaling ladders was successful, yet Crœsus maintained the citadel and defended it bravely in the deceptive hope that his allies would arrive. Then Cyrus caused the relatives of those who were with Crœsus in the citadel to be seized and bound, and brought before the walls; and he announced to their kinsmen on the towers that if the citadel were given up the captives would be set at[Pg 17] liberty, if not they would all be hanged. This induced the Lydians in the citadel to open the gates. But in another passage Polyaenus repeats the version of Ctesias about the capture of the city. Cyrus caused figures in Persian clothing, and wearing beards, with quivers on their shoulders and bows in their hands, to be placed on tall poles of equal length, and in the night these were laid against the walls of the citadel so that the figures rose above the wall. At break of day Cyrus attacked the part of the city underneath the citadel. The attacks were beaten off, but on turning round some Lydians saw the figures above the citadel, and thinking that it had been stormed by the Persians, they fled, and Cyrus took Sardis by storm.[4]

In Xenophon the Persians and Medes are contending against Babylonia. On the representation of the king of Babylon that those two nations would subjugate all the world, unless measures were taken to prevent them, Crœsus marches out to aid the king,[5] with an army of 40,000 horse, and about 150,000 light-armed infantry and bowmen. But the united army of the Lydians and Babylonians, though it reached nearly 60,000 cavalry and more than 200,000 infantry,[6] was defeated. Cyrus turned his steps towards Lydia, and Crœsus collected a new army on the Pactolus of Lydians, Phrygians, Paphlagonians, and Lycaonians, who were joined by the Cilicians and Cappadocians. The Egyptians and Cyprians came on board ship; envoys went to Lacedæmon to ask for troops. With this army Crœsus marched to meet Cyrus at Thymbrara. Here the battle took place. Cyrus had placed two archers on each of the camels;[Pg 18] these were ranged opposite the enemy's cavalry, and even from a distance the Lydian horses sought to avoid the camels; some turn round, others rear, and press upon each other. So the Persians succeeded in overthrowing the disorganised cavalry. But the battle had to be fought out with the javelin, lance, and sword; the Persians were not victorious without great bloodshed. Crœsus flies to Sardis, the Lydians alone remain faithful, the rest of his army disperses. Cyrus pursues him on the next morning, and at once invests Sardis. In the very night after the camp was pitched before Sardis, Chaldæans (i. e. Gordyæans, Carduchians)[7], and Persians climb the fortifications where they seem to be steepest. They were led by a Persian, who having formerly been the slave of one on the watch in the citadel, knew the place where the rocks could be climbed from the river. The Lydians abandoned the walls, as soon as they saw the citadel taken. Crœsus shut himself up in his palace, and asked for quarter. Cyrus had him brought into his presence, and said that it was not his intention to abandon to his soldiers the richest city in Asia after Babylon, but they must have some reward for their efforts and dangers which they had undergone. Crœsus replied that the sack of the city would destroy the sources of wealth, the woven stuffs and industry of the place; if it were spared the Lydians would gladly bring the best of what they had, and in a year's time the city would once more be in great prosperity. Then Cyrus asked Crœsus how it came to pass that he who was such a zealous servant of Apollo, and did everything by his direction, had fallen into calamity. Crœsus replied that he had brought upon him the aversion of the god by putting it to the test whether his an[Pg 19]nouncements were true. He believed indeed that he had appeased his wrath by rich presents of gold and silver, and when he lost his youthful son he had further asked how he could most happily pass the rest of his life, and the god had answered, "By knowing thyself, thou wilt live happily." He had regarded this condition of happiness as a very easy one; a man might have some difficulty in learning to know others, but himself he could know quite easily. "But I did not know myself," Crœsus continues in Xenophon, "when I fancied that I was equal to you in war; you are descended from the gods, from a series of kings, and from your youth have been exercised in brave deeds. My ancestor was a slave who became king. Now I know myself." Cyrus allowed him to retain his wife and daughters, gave him servants and entertainment, and took him with him wherever he went, either because he held the advice of Crœsus to be useful, or because this seemed to him the safest thing to do.[8]

Only fragments have come down to us of Diodorus' narrative of the fall of Crœsus; in some respects these agree with the account of Herodotus; more frequently they differ from it. He may have borrowed from Ephorus.[9] Diodorus began with the death of Attys by the javelin of the Phrygian Adrastus. Crœsus at first threatens to have Adrastus burnt alive, but forgives his offence when he offers his own life for it. But he voluntarily slays himself at the tomb of Attys. Diodorus then gives an account of the oracles—the first, which Crœsus received at Delphi before the war on behalf of his dumb son,—Crœsus was[Pg 20] foolish in wishing to hear the much-desired voice of his child; he would speak in a day of disaster—the second, about the consequences of crossing the Halys; the third, about the mule. Crœsus sent Eurybatus of Ephesus with gold, apparently to Delphi, but in reality to the Peloponnesus, in order to receive as many Hellenes as possible into his pay; but Eurybatus passed over to Cyrus, and revealed everything to him. This act of treachery was held in such detestation by the Greeks, that to his day a villain was called Eurybatus. When Cyrus had reached the passes of Cappadocia with his united forces he sent heralds to Crœsus, to discover his forces, and to tell him that Cyrus would pardon his former offences and nominate him satrap of Lydia, if he would appear at his gates and there proclaim himself a servant like the rest. Crœsus replied that Cyrus and the Persians would sooner endure to be his slaves, as in former times they had been the servants of the Medes; as regarded himself, he had never obeyed the order of another person. When Crœsus had been taken captive, and the flames of the pyre quenched, Diodorus represents Crœsus putting to Cyrus the question which we find in Herodotus (p. 14), about the sacking of the city; Cyrus puts an end to the plundering, and orders the possessions of the inhabitants to be brought into the palace. We are further told, that as the rain had suddenly come down and quenched the flames, Cyrus regarded Crœsus as a pious man. Moreover, he kept Solon's saying in mind; he held Crœsus in honour, and made him his adviser, regarding one who had associated with so many wise men as being himself prudent and able.[10][Pg 21]

Justin's excerpt from Pompeius Trogus gives a brief account of the fall of the Lydian kingdom. When Cyrus had reduced the greater part of the nations which had previously been subject to the Medes, Crœsus, the king of Lydia, whose power and wealth were then very great, came to the help of the Babylonians. He was conquered and retired into his kingdom. When Cyrus had settled his quarrel with Babylon, he engaged in war with Lydia. He easily put to flight the Lydian army, already dispirited by the previous defeat. Crœsus himself was captured. "But the less the danger of the war, the milder was the use made of the victory. To Crœsus was given his life, portions of his property, and the city of Barka, where he lived a life, which, if not that of a king, approached nearly to royal magnificence."[11]

The end only of the account of Nicolaus of Damascus, containing the story of the intended burning of Crœsus, has come down to us. Cyrus, we are told, had great sympathy with the misfortune of Crœsus, but the Persians insisted that he should be burnt as an enemy. A great pyre was erected at the foot of a hill. Cyrus marched out with all his army; a great multitude of natives and foreigners gathered together. When Crœsus and fourteen Lydians were brought out in chains, all the Lydians broke out into sighs and lamentations, and beat their heads, so that the weeping and wailing of men and women was greater now than it had been at the capture of the city. This showed what affection Crœsus inspired among his subjects. "They tore their garments, and thousands of women ran weeping forward. Crœsus[Pg 22] advanced without tears, and with a firm countenance, and when he reached Cyrus he asked with a loud voice that his son might be brought to him. This was done. The son embraced his father, and said with tears: 'Woe is me, my father. Of what avail was your piety; when will the gods help us? Have they granted me speech only to bewail our misfortunes?' Turning to the Persians he said: 'Burn me also; I am no less your enemy than my father.' But Crœsus checked him with these words: 'I alone determined on the war, and no one else of the Lydians; therefore I alone must pay the penalty.' When numerous servants of the Lydian women had brought rich garments and ornaments of every kind to be burned with him, Crœsus kissed his son and the Lydians who were standing by, and ascended the pyre; but the son raised his hands to heaven and cried aloud: 'King Apollo, and all ye gods to whom my father has done honour, come now to our help, that the piety of mankind may not be destroyed with Crœsus.' His friends could hardly restrain him from casting himself on the pyre. But on a sudden Herophile, the sibyl of Ephesus, appeared, and descended from the height, and cried: 'Ye fools, what injustice is this? Supreme Zeus, and Phœbus, and glorious Amphiaraus will not permit it. Obey the truthful sayings of my words, that the god may not visit your frenzy with grievous destruction.' Cyrus caused the oracle to be interpreted to the Persians that they might desist from their purpose, but they set the pile on fire with torches on every side. Then Crœsus called thrice on the name of Solon, and Cyrus wept, that he should be compelled by the Persians to do an unrighteous act, and burn a king who was no less in honour than himself. When the Persians looked on[Pg 23] Cyrus and saw his distress, they changed their minds, and the king bade those who were near him put out the fire. But the pile was on fire and no one could quench it. Then Crœsus called on Apollo for help, because his enemies wished to save him and could not. From the morning the day had been cloudy, but without rain, but when Crœsus had prayed, dark clouds rolled up from every side, lightning and thunder followed fast, and the rain poured down in such streams that not only was the pyre quenched but men could hardly withstand the storm. A purple canopy was quickly spread over Crœsus, but the Persians, terrified at the storm, the darkness, and the panic which had come upon the horses owing to the tempest, were seized with fear of the gods. They thought of the saying of the sibyl and the commands of Zoroaster, cast themselves on the earth, and cried for pardon. From this date the rule of Zoroaster, which had existed among the Persians for a long time, not to burn their dead nor pollute fire in any way, was strictly observed. Cyrus led Crœsus into the palace, treated him as a friend, seeing that he was a pious man, and bade him ask without hesitation for any favour that he chose. Crœsus asked that he might send his fetters to Delphi and ask the god, why he had deceived him by his responses and driven him into war, when he had sent him such trophies; the messengers were also to ask whether the gods of the Greeks paid no heed to the gifts which they received. Cyrus granted this request with a smile and said that he would not refuse Crœsus even a greater favour; he made him his friend, and when he left Sardis, restored his wives and children, and took him as a companion. Some say that he would have made him viceroy of Sardis, if[Pg 24] he had not been afraid that this would induce the Lydians to revolt."[12]

We have already noticed how deep was the impression made on the Greeks by the greatness and splendour of the Lydian kingdom. Lydia was the power of the East with which they first came into immediate contact, the first Oriental court which they had before their eyes. A king of Lydia had subjugated the great cities of the coast; his wide dominion, power, and wisdom were the admiration of the Greeks; his glory and treasures excited their astonishment; he had shown himself kindly and gracious towards them, and sent the richest gifts to their gods—and this king it was who fell by a sudden overthrow from his splendid position. He succumbed to a foreign and distant nation, whose name up to that time was hardly known to Greece, and his fall brought with it distress and mischief for the Greeks of the west coast of Asia Minor. This sudden fall of Crœsus was a striking event, and most disastrous for the Greeks, the more striking owing to the unexpected and rapid nature of the change. How could so brave, wise, and religious a ruler fall from the summit of fortune into the deepest distress, and come by a mischance which brought disaster not only on himself and his kingdom, but also on the Greek cities? How could this be the result of an undertaking begun on the authority of the god of Delphi? These questions forced themselves on the Greeks of Anatolia, and beyond the sea, and their legends were at pains to solve the problem. In the mind of Herodotus the solution was the punishment which sooner or later overtakes every unrighteous act. Gyges, the ancestor of Crœsus, had robbed the ancient royal family of the[Pg 25] Lydians, the race of Sandon, of their throne. It was the vengeance for this crime which overtook Crœsus. It was a widely-spread and favourite story among the Greeks, how Solon of Athens, unmoved by the successes, the prosperity, and splendour of Crœsus, had warned him in his proud citadel at Sardis of the mutability of human things, and preferred to his brilliant position as a sovereign the modest lot of a life well spent in the performance of duty. We have observed (III. 458) that this narrative is not without some basis of fact. Could there be a more impressive illustration of the saying of Solon than the fate which had overtaken Crœsus? The tradition of the Greeks, especially of the Delphian priesthood, was aware of several oracular responses which had been given to Crœsus. Herodotus' point of view led him to believe that no one, though warned by portents, dreams, and oracles, could escape the doom which hung over him. In this fact lay the justification of the Delphian oracle in regard to the prophecies given to Crœsus. It had announced what was correct, but owing to the blindness sent upon him by fate, Crœsus had not been able to understand its meaning.

Guided by these views, Herodotus represents misfortune as coming on Crœsus in one blow upon another immediately after he had displayed the splendour of his empire to Solon, and in foolish vainglory had declared himself to be the most fortunate of men. That Crœsus had two sons, one a youth of promise, the other dumb, and that he lost the former in the bloom of his youth, are facts mentioned by Xenophon as well as Herodotus.[13] A dream indicates to Crœsus the death which is destined for his noble son; and the means which he adopts to avert the death[Pg 26] serve to bring it about. Adrastus, who first slays his own brother, then the son of Crœsus, and at length slays himself on the young man's grave, is called a scion of the old Phrygian royal family of Midas and Gordius; hence there is a close connection between the fall of the Phrygian and Lydian houses. The Greeks worshipped Nemesis Adrastea, i. e. the doom which none can escape, on the Granicus, and on a mountain near Cyzicus.[14] In the tradition of the Lydians, Attys was their first king, whom Herodotus calls the son of the god Manes; according to the legend of the Phrygians and Lydians, he had been slain by a boar.[15] As we saw, the Phrygians mourned each year for the death of Attys, who had been carried off in the bloom of youth (I. 532). When death had overtaken this son, Crœsus sent to Delphi to ascertain whether his remaining son should ever receive the gift of speech; and the answer was returned that he would speak on a day of great misfortune. Thus the prescience of the Delphic priestess is brought forward in the most emphatic manner.

The overthrow of Astyages caused Crœsus to examine a whole series of oracles that he might ascertain whether they knew what was hidden from men, before he inquired whether he should march against Cyrus. Before this examination, Crœsus had sought and received many prophecies at Delphi, and now he tests not this oracle only, but many others. The mixture of belief and scepticism which would give rise to such an examination is not in itself incredible, but the manner in which the test is carried out in the narrative of Herodotus, or rather of the Delphian priesthood, is wholly beyond belief. The[Pg 27] frivolous question—what was the king of the Lydians doing on a certain day—the drift of which was so obvious, would certainly be left unanswered by any oracle of repute which was believed to receive revelations from the gods. If we consider the nature of the Delphic prophecy, which claimed rather to announce the responses of Apollo than to bring to light the past or the future; the religious solemnity of the ceremonies, which they who would consult the oracle had to perform; the small number of the days on which the priestess spoke, we may be quite sure that the priests would have rejected the question. Herodotus cannot give the answers of the other oracles—not even the answer of Amphiaraus (which is also mentioned in the account of Nicolaus), and yet this oracle must have stood the test no less than Delphi, for Crœsus sent presents to it, and laid before it his second question. To Apollo of Miletus, whose answer to the first question Herodotus does not know, and of whom the second question is not asked, Crœsus dedicates exactly the same gifts as those sent to Apollo of Delphi after he had stood the test. Hence it is quite clear that the supposed examination of the oracles is merely a story invented by the Greeks to glorify the Delphic shrine. Crœsus fell, in spite of the splendid presents he had made to the Delphic god, on whose advice he had acted; in order to maintain the divine wisdom of the oracle against this charge, it must be proved to have knowledge of the most secret things. And it is true that Crœsus had put the oracle to the test, though in another manner, by following up the answer to his question whether he should go against the Persians, with a second question—whether his empire would continue. The story how splendidly Delphi had[Pg 28] stood the test then received an apparently certain foundation in the hexameters about the lamb's flesh and tortoise, which was subsequently manufactured in Delphi in the name of the priestess.

The narrative of the campaign in Herodotus is obviously intended to put Crœsus in the wrong, and burden him with guilt of his own in addition to the offence of his ancestor. Sandanis warns him in vain (p. 5). Cyrus has done nothing to injure Crœsus, and therefore Crœsus is the aggressor. He crosses the Halys, invades the territory of Cyrus, in order to conquer Cappadocia and avenge Astyages on Cyrus; he causes the land of the Cappadocians to be desolated; and Herodotus lays stress on the fact that this nation was quite innocent. Guilt is followed by incapacity, after the indecisive battle. Crœsus disbands his army for the singular reason that it "was inferior in numbers to that of Cyrus." He is then surprised in Sardis; the citadel is naturally ascended in the very place where in old days king Meles omitted to carry the lion which was to make the walls of Sardis impregnable, because he thought it unnecessary, the place being inaccessible. (I. 561). Crœsus is saved from instant death, because the deaf and dumb son receives his speech on a day of misfortune, as Delphi had announced. The son can not only speak, but knows how to address his father by name. The favour of the gods, who turn again to Crœsus when he has expiated the guilt of Gyges and himself by his overthrow, is shown in this miracle, and more plainly still on the funeral pyre. The wisdom of the Greeks, and of Solon, is set in the clearest light, when Crœsus in his deepest distress, on the brink of a terrible death, remembers the warning once given him by Solon. If such a recollection forms[Pg 29] the most brilliant evidence of the insight of the Greeks, it might also give the motive for the rescue of Crœsus.

The occurrences on and at the pyre partake so strongly of the miraculous that Herodotus himself is puzzled. What reason could Cyrus, whose gentleness Herodotus himself extols, have for condemning Crœsus to a death by fire, and with him fourteen Lydian youths? Herodotus knows that fire is a god in the eyes of the Persians, and that corpses could not be burnt.[16] He says: "Cyrus either wished to offer first-fruits to some god, or to fulfil a vow, or to ascertain whether Apollo would assist the pious Crœsus." When narrating the astonishing incidents which took place on the pyre, he drops the positive tone, and continues the story with "the Lydians say." The pyre is already kindled when the question is asked by the interpreters, What is the meaning of the cry "Solon"? Crœsus is at first obstinately silent, then answers obscurely; and only after long pressure tells of his meeting with Solon, which could not be done very briefly if it was to be made intelligible to Cyrus, and the narrative had to be translated by the interpreters, as Herodotus himself relates. Then Cyrus is seized with remorse for the execution he has commanded, and the attempt is made to quench the pyre. Impossible as all this is, Crœsus at the last moment confesses that Solon is right, and Solon's deep insight moves the heart of the great sovereign of the Persians, and rescues the once prosperous but now fallen king.

In his minute account of the cremation, which, in his rhetorical manner, he connects with the recovery of speech by the deaf and dumb son, Nicolaus of[Pg 30] Damascus felt difficulties like those in Herodotus. The law bidding the Persians not to pollute fire, nor to "burn the dead," is well known to him. He removes the contradiction by representing the cremation as taking place against the will of Cyrus, and remarks that after this incident the regulation was more strictly observed. In his story also the change is made by the mention of Solon's name. When Cyrus had ascertained what Solon had said to Crœsus, he began to weep, and saw that he had done wrong, and the pain of their king touches the heart of the Persians. This movement is assisted in Nicolaus by the sibyl of Ephesus; in which no doubt he follows the legend of Ephesus; Crœsus had made large presents to the temple of Artemis in that city (III. 451).

In Herodotus, as in Diodorus and Nicolaus, it is the rain, by which the pyre is quenched, which causes Cyrus to continue his gentle treatment of Crœsus. Moreover, the excellent advice, which Crœsus with immediate prudence gives, for putting an end to the plunder of Sardis, and other matters in Herodotus, in Diodorus, and Xenophon, co-operate in influencing Cyrus to hold such a wise man in respect. Xenophon knows, or at any rate says, nothing of the burning of Crœsus. Ctesias knows nothing of it: in his account miracles of another kind are vouchsafed to the imprisoned Crœsus by Apollo in his temple; the triple loosing of the bonds, and their final removal with thunder and lightning, determine Cyrus to set him at liberty and make provision for him.

Lastly, it was incumbent on Herodotus and the Greek narratives to justify the Delphian oracle with regard to the responses given to Crœsus. In Herodotus and Nicolaus this justification is introduced and pointed by the sending of the fetters, which Crœsus[Pg 31] had worn, as the first-fruits of the promised victory to Delphi, and the question whether it was the manner of the Greek gods to deceive those who had done them kindness. Following, no doubt, the legend of the Delphic priesthood, Herodotus then gives the defence of the priestess, that Crœsus had not rightly understood the oracles,—though as we shall see, he had understood them correctly enough. The priestess further tells Crœsus, that he was destined to pay the penalty for the offence, which his ancestor Gyges had committed against Candaules, though the Delphic oracle had sanctioned this crime and carried it out. Then destiny has to bear the blame. No man can escape his doom; the god of Delphi had deferred the fall of Crœsus for three years, and saved him from the flames of the funeral pyre. The god of Delphi had thus announced the truth (to prove this Cyrus is made the son of a Median mother), and had shown his gratitude for the gifts of Crœsus by delaying his overthrow, and rescuing him from the flames, as Crœsus must himself confess. Xenophon dwells yet more on the justification. Crœsus had placed himself in the wrong with the god, by putting it to the test whether he could tell the truth; then he hopes that he has appeased him by rich presents, but he misunderstands the further response of the god, "that he will be happy when he knows himself," for in descent, bravery, and generalship he holds himself the equal of Cyrus. In Herodotus and Nicolaus the gift of speech to the deaf and dumb son, the quenching of the pyre,—in Herodotus also the delay of destiny, and in Ctesias, the miraculous loosing of the fetters,—are proofs that the dedicatory gifts of Crœsus and his piety had not been in vain. They could not avert his doom, but they had alleviated it; the[Pg 32] god of the Greeks, whom he serves, has at the last saved him from the most cruel fate, and brought it about that Crœsus ends his days, if not as a ruler, yet in peace and dignity.

In spite of all the national and individual points of view which mark Herodotus' account of the fall of Crœsus, and the legends which he has woven into it, and used for his own purposes—the fanciful colours which stamp it as fabulous—it nevertheless contains a nucleus of historical truth, and we can give it a place before the rest as a narrative of facts. We have seen above how suddenly the successful rebellion of Cyrus put an end to the close relations between Babylonia, Lydia, and Media; how Lydia was touched by this change, how clearly the intervention of Lydia was needed, and what reasons could induce Crœsus to defer it. Crœsus was obviously brought to abandon his delay by the successes which Cyrus achieved in establishing his dominion over the Medes, and extending it to North and South, but above all by his conquests in the West and the advance of the Persian border to the Halys. Herodotus' account shows us very clearly that Cappadocia had become subject to Cyrus. When, on a previous occasion, the Medes reached the Halys, Alyattes, the father of Crœsus, had taken up arms; was he to fall short of this example, in the presence of a power which had grown up more rapidly and threatened greater danger than the Medes? As Herodotus told us, it was his intention to attack Cyrus before he became too powerful. We may conclude with certainty from what Herodotus relates, that Crœsus did not hide from himself the importance and difficulty of the undertaking. Above all he sought to win the favour of Sandon the national deity (I. 564). The Lydians[Pg 33] offered large burnt-sacrifices to this deity, their sun-god; on a huge pyre they burnt numerous victims, gold and silver vessels, and costly robes in his honour. Herodotus tells us that Crœsus bade the Lydians sacrifice from their own stores on that occasion; hence the great sacrifice, the gold of which Crœsus dedicated to the god of Miletus and Delphi, was a national offering, which Crœsus presented to Sandon. We have already shown that the Greeks recognised in the sun-god of the Lydians their own Apollo and Hercules, while the Lydians found their solar deity in the Apollo of the Greeks. When Gyges undertook to overthrow the old royal family which claimed to spring from this sun-god, and could not succeed in his attempt, an answer was sought from the sun-god of Delphi. The god of the Greeks then dethroned the descendants of the Lydian deity. In the year 556 B.C.[17] Crœsus had already sent to Delphi, and given dedicatory offerings to the god of Delphi and to the Ismenian Apollo at Thebes; and at the present time, when he had resolved to enter on a severe struggle for his throne and kingdom, he called to mind the god, to whose oracle his house owed its position; he would now receive by his favour both kingdom and crown. So Apollo of Miletus and Delphi received silver and gold which had been consecrated by the fire. The bricks into which it was formed were intended to bear the lion which was also fashioned out of the same gold—the symbol of the burning sun, the image of the Lydian god. The four golden bricks formed the uppermost steps. The total amount of the gold dedicated at Delphi and Miletus reached 270 talents. For the presents at Miletus Crœsus used the property of Sadyattes, which he had confiscated at the beginning of his[Pg 34] reign, dedicated, and applied as an offering.[18] When Crœsus sent the gifts to Delphi, he inquired of the oracle, as Gyges had previously done. At this time—about 140 years before Crœsus—the question had been who was to ascend the throne of Lydia; now the question was, whether the descendant of Gyges would maintain it in the conflict against Persia. The answer of the priestess, which Aristotle and Diodorus have preserved in metre,[19]—"That Crœsus by crossing the Halys would destroy a great kingdom"—is genuine, and was certainly given in the meaning that Crœsus should undertake the war and would destroy the kingdom of his opponent. The object of Crœsus in asking the question was to know whether he would be fortunate in his attack on Persia. If it was the object of the priesthood to give a dubious answer to this question, they could not possibly have answered the further question—whether he should take allies to help him,—with the command that he must take the "most powerful of the Hellenes." At that time the Spartans were beyond all question the most powerful of the Hellenes. How could the priests of Delphi, who owing to the close connection in which they stood to Sparta were well aware that the oracle would be a law to that state, send the Spartans to defeat and destruction, if they foresaw such a thing?[20] That at Delphi, owing to the impression made on the Greeks by the power, greatness, and splendour of the Lydian empire, the remote and unknown Persians were underrated is quite probable, and indeed sufficiently proved by the subsequent embassy of the Spartans to Cyrus. The first response[Pg 35] did not entirely remove the doubts of Crœsus, so he asked a second time—"whether his dominion would continue long," and this question received a thoroughly satisfactory answer, i. e. an answer which, in the obscure form purposely adopted by oracles, deferred the defeat of the Lydians to distant times, and impossible conditions.

Crœsus had not waited for the oracle to provide himself with sufficient support in his undertaking. Yet it suited him to enter into negotiations with the Spartans, who after a series of successful contests against the Pisatae, Argos, and some cantons of Arcadia, had obtained the foremost place in the Peloponnesus. At an earlier time Crœsus had sent the Spartans a considerable present for the erection of a statue of Apollo, and their grateful feeling towards him would certainly be strengthened by the authority of the Delphian oracle, whose response was known to the Spartans, as Herodotus expressly states (p. 9). Even in Xenophon's account they declared themselves ready to send auxiliary troops to Sardis.[21] Crœsus did not stop here: he sent Eurybatus to obtain yet more troops in Hellas. Herodotus told us that Crœsus was in league with Egypt and Babylonia against Persia before he made the treaty with Sparta. Amasis, king of Egypt, had determined to support Crœsus, perhaps in return for the service which Gyges had once rendered to Psammetichus, when he sent soldiers to aid him against his fellow-princes, the vassals of Assyria (III. 301). The attitude of Babylonia must be decisive. If Lydia and Babylonia, who were both equally threatened by the new power, united in a firm military alliance, they might hope to contend successfully with the prince of the[Pg 36] Persians. At Babylon, after the accession of Nabonetus in the year 555 B.C., the royal power was again in strong hands. According to Herodotus, there was a league between Crœsus and Nabonetus against Persia. Xenophon represents Crœsus as coming to the aid of the king of Babylon. Justin states that Cyrus was at war with Babylon when Crœsus attacked him; Cyrus drove him back, came to terms with Babylonia, and carried the war to Lydia. From all this we may assume that Lydia and Babylonia were united, and that they undertook the war against Persia in common.

Crœsus then might consider that careful preparations had been made for his enterprise, when in the year 549 B.C., and as we may pre-suppose with certainty, in the spring of the year, he took the field.[22] He crossed the Halys, and directed his course[Pg 37] to the commanding plateau of Pteria, which Herodotus rightly regards as the strongest position in those regions. He took Pteria, and the neighbouring[Pg 38] cities, and laid waste the land, with the view no doubt of making it impossible for the Persian army to support itself. There he remained, either because he shrank from going further, and seeking a decisive conflict at a distance from his own borders, or because he expected a diversion on the part of the Babylonians.

The attack of Crœsus was unexpected by Cyrus. He was also engaged with another enemy. These conclusions we may draw from the fact that it was autumn according to Herodotus before the armies stood opposite each other. Herodotus further remarks that Babylon, the Bactrians, and the Sacæ caused Cyrus to return out of Asia Minor.[23] By lingering in Cappadocia Crœsus had given Cyrus time to collect his army and add to it the troops of the countries through which he passed on his march to the West. With his usual circumspection he sought to avail himself of the weak points in his enemy. He sent ambassadors to the Greek cities subject to Crœsus, on the West coast, to urge them to revolt that he might raise up enemies in the rear of the Lydians. Crœsus awaited the attack of the Persians in the neighbourhood of the conquered Pteria. Herodotus tells that the contest was severe. In spite of the considerable superiority of numbers on the Persian side, the Lydians did not give way. The battle was not decided, when night came on. In truth the victory was with the Lydians, whose bravery made such an impression on Cyrus that he would not renew the battle. But the timidity of Crœsus put in his hands all the advantages of a victory. After the bloody day it seemed better to Crœsus, as is the case with men of weaker mould, not to risk everything, but to put off the final decision; he thought it safer[Pg 39] to retire, in order to strengthen his army and so fight with equal numbers. Under the supposition that Cyrus would not venture to advance "as the winter was at the gate," he retired to Lydia. He intended to use the winter for collecting the forces of his confederates at Sardis. He requested Nabonetus of Babylon, the Lacedæmonians and the Pharaoh, to embark their forces on the Syrian coast, the Laconian Gulf, and at the mouths of the Nile, in time for them to reach Sardis in the fifth month, i. e. in the early spring. To the want of resolution which had suggested the thought of retreat, Crœsus, when returning, added another great act of folly. He disbanded "the mercenaries" of his army (Alyattes had made use of hired soldiers), bidding them come again to Sardis in the spring, and returned home with the Lydians alone. Such a series of blunders could not go unpunished in the presence of a general like Cyrus. In no case could he remain in the devastated country of the Cappadocians. He must go either forwards or backwards. To choose the latter was voluntarily to abandon the advantages which the retreat of Crœsus offered. Yet he did not content himself with slowly following the unexpected retreat of the Lydians. He appears to have been informed of the plans of Crœsus by Eurybatus of Ephesus, whose treason is not only mentioned by Diodorus after Ephorus, but alluded to by Plato, Demosthenes, and Aeschines.[24] By a rapid march upon the enemy's metropolis Cyrus intended to cripple the Lydian forces, hit Crœsus in the very centre of his power, and bring the war to an end at a blow. He came so quickly, that, as Herodotus says, he announced his own arrival. The sudden appear[Pg 40]ance of the Persian army in the neighbourhood of Sardis completely startled and terrified Crœsus. He retired in order to be able to place in the field a number of warriors equal to the army of Cyrus, and now he was compelled to shut himself up in the walls of Sardis or fight with far smaller numbers than took the field at Pteria. He chose the latter, and awaited the attack on the plain of the Hermus, which was large enough to provide a field for his excellent cavalry.

Though he had a great advantage in his forces, and in the consciousness of his superiority to his enemy, Cyrus omitted no means for securing the victory. He had experienced at Pteria the attack of the Lydian horse, their superiority to his own cavalry, in spite of the practice in riding which the Persians underwent from their youth up, and the excellence of the Median horse. To render useless the attack of these horsemen, Cyrus caused the camels which carried the baggage and supplies of his army to be mounted, and placed them in the first line. This arrangement is mentioned not only by Herodotus but also by Xenophon. No doubt the Lydian horse would be frightened by the noise and unwonted aspect of these animals. Though robbed of their best arm and mode of fighting, the Lydians nevertheless resolved to dismount and carry on the battle on foot. They pressed courageously on the Persians, and could only be driven into the gates of Sardis after a bloody battle. Crœsus was now limited to the walls of his city, and compelled to defend them. He hoped to be able to hold the city till his confederates should come, to whom on the approach of Cyrus he had sent with appeals for immediate assistance. But on the fourteenth day after the investment of the city, as Herodotus main[Pg 41]tains, Cyrus brought matters to a decision. Then the Mardian climbed the steep rock on the Pactolus, on which the citadel lay, at a place where no guard was set, the citadel and city were taken, and Crœsus became a prisoner. A picture at Pompeii exhibits Cyrus before his tent, and Harpagus beside him, at the moment when Crœsus is brought forward.

Herodotus' narrative of the ascent of the citadel of Sardis is confirmed by a precisely analogous incident which took place more than three centuries later. Antiochus III. had besieged his brother-in-law Achæus for more than a year in Sardis, and in vain. All hope of taking the city except by starvation was given up, when Lagoras, a Cretan, observed that the walls must be left without a guard where the citadel and the city met. At this point the walls rose on steep rocks above a cleft into which the besieged threw from the towers their dead along with the carcasses of beasts of burden and horses. As the birds of prey when they had eaten the corpses settled on the walls, Lagoras concluded that no guards were stationed there. By night he examined whether it was quite impossible to climb up and plant scaling-ladders there. When he discovered a ravine by which this seemed practicable, he acquainted the king. The necessary preparations were made; in the night, towards morning, when the moon had set, Lagoras with sixteen companions climbed up the rocks; 2000 men were ready to support him. The spur on which the wall lay was so steep that even when the morning broke a jutting piece of rock prevented the garrison from seeing what was going on, and when Antiochus led his army against the Persian gate the garrison went to meet them. Meanwhile the assailants by means of two ladders scaled the walls close against the citadel and opened the nearest[Pg 42] door; the confusion which ensued put the city in the hands of Antiochus after a short struggle. Yet Achæus maintained the citadel; by a secret steep and dangerous path in the rear he was able to keep up a communication with Ptolemy Philopator of Egypt, and finally he attempted to escape by this means, but he was betrayed and fell into the hands of Antiochus (213 B.C.).[25]

Crœsus determined not to survive the great overthrow and sudden disaster which he had brought upon Lydia by his campaign. The Lydians had become the slaves of the Persians, but it might be possible to appease the wrath of Sandon, from whom all this misfortune must have come; it might be that the god would again show favour to his people, turn aside their misfortune and slavery, and raise up the kingdom from the depths. In vain had Crœsus attempted by lavish presents to win the favour of Sandon-Apollo; there still remained the last great sacrifice. So he resolved to offer himself as a peace-offering for his land and people. In this way he might succeed in laying the foundation of the future liberation and rise of Lydia, in conquering by his death his successful opponent. The sacrifice of the heir to the throne and of the king himself in his purple to avert the anger of the sun-god was not unknown in Semitic rites. Zimri of Israel had burnt himself with his citadel in Tirzah; Ahaz of Judah, when defeated by the Damascenes, had sacrificed his son as a burnt-offering; Manasses of Judah "caused his son to pass through the fire in the valley of Ben Hinnom" (III. 43, 209); the last king of Asshur had burnt himself with his palace in the year 607 B.C.; Hamilcar, the son of Hanno, threw himself into the flames of the sacrificial fire in order to turn the battle of Himera. Cyrus had no reason for pre[Pg 43]venting the death of his opponent, if he chose to die. Though he was offering himself as a sacrifice to his gods, these gods were false in the eyes of the Persians—they were evil spirits or demons. The Persian king could quite understand the resolution of Crœsus not to outlive the fall of a prosperous and mighty kingdom, and to escape a long imprisonment, and would probably look on it as worthy of a brave man. Still less could he object to the wish of a king to die in his royal robes. That the cremation was a sacrifice and not an execution is further proved by the circumstance that Crœsus is accompanied by twice seven youths. It could never have entered the mind of Cyrus to seize and execute fourteen youths, but they might be quite ready to sacrifice themselves with their king. The seventh planet belonged to Adar-Sandon, i. e. to the angry sun-god, and Crœsus had sat on the throne fourteen years. The gifts also which the Lydian women bring or send to the pyre (costly robes and ornaments of every kind, as was customary in the great sacrifices of Sandon), are a distinct proof of a peace-offering. In the picture at Pompeii Crœsus has laurel branches round his head, and a wand of laurel in his right hand, and this marks him out, though in the Greek manner, as dedicated to Sandon; a vase in the Louvre presents him seated on the pyre, in a royal robe, with a crown of laurel on his head. In his left hand he holds a sceptre, with the right he is pouring libations from a goblet, while a servant is sprinkling with water the already burning pyre.[26] But the sun-god would not accept the royal sacrifice and peace-offering. It was no favourable sign that the weather was gloomy (χειμών) on that day, as Nicolaus, who here, no doubt, follows Xanthus the[Pg 44] Lydian, tells us, though no rain had fallen. The pyre was kindled; Crœsus prayed that Sandon would graciously accept the offering—the invocation of the god by Crœsus with tears Herodotus gives on the authority of the Lydians[27]—but the prayer is not heard; a storm of rain descends, and the pyre is quenched. This was an unmistakable sign, the clearly-pronounced decision of the god, that he did not and would not accept the sacrifice. Crœsus must abandon his purpose.[28]

At no time can Cyrus have had the intention of doing any further injury to the captive king of the Lvdians. Herodotus told us that before the battle at Sardis he bade his soldiers spare Crœsus. And he would be the more inclined to show favour and grace to a man whose death heaven had openly prevented. As Ctesias told us (p. 16), he allotted to Crœsus the city of Barene, near Ecbatana, as a residence or means of support. Ptolemy mentions the city of Uarna in the neighbourhood of Ragha, and the Avesta speaks of Varena in the same region.[29] After that day Crœsus submitted to his fate; we find him at the court of Cyrus as well as at that of Cambyses in an honourable[Pg 45] position; both Cyrus and his successor at times apply to him for advice.

The convulsion which Cyrus had caused in the Median empire might have ended with placing the Persians at the summit instead of the Medes, and establishing the power of Cyrus within the old borders of the Median kingdom. Had Lydia and Babylonia resolved to recognise this change; had they reasons for the assumption that Cyrus would not go beyond these limits, the old relation of the three powers might have been renewed, though it would not have been confirmed by the bonds of alliance. But Lydia no less than Babylonia believed that they were threatened by the advance of Cyrus. At the time when Crœsus attacked him, Cyrus certainly did not intend to proceed to the West beyond the borders of Cappadocia. This is proved by the fact that he kept within the Halys after the conquest of that country. He must establish his power in the East before he could extend his views to the distant West and Asia Minor. It was Babylon which at that time was threatened, if not actually attacked, by Cyrus. The advance of the Persians to the West, which Crœsus intended to prevent by his attack, was really caused by it. He brought on the storm which he sought to allay before it burst upon him. By attempting to check the advance of Cyrus in the midst of Asia he invited him to Sardis. The dominion of the Mermnadæ was at an end; Crœsus had lost it 140 years after his ancestor Gyges had won it. It is seldom that a sovereign is hurled so suddenly as Crœsus from the summit of power and prosperity; that the splendour of a high and glorious position stands in such close and striking proximity to the deepest humiliation. There is hardly any instance[Pg 46] of a warlike and brave nation passing so suddenly and utterly into obscurity as the Lydians; and never has so ancient, so flourishing, and powerful a kingdom, while yet in the period of its growth, been so swiftly overthrown, never to rise again.


[1] Herod. 1, 74, 79, 155; Xenoph. "Cyri inst." 7, 2, 11.

[2] Herod. 1, 71; and equally from the Persian point of view, Xenophon, "Cyri inst." 6, 2, 22.

[3] Ctes. "Pers." 4; Fragm. 31, ed. Müller.

[4] Polyaen. "Strateg." 7, 6, 3, 19; 7, 8, [Woelfflin].

[5] "Cyri inst." 1, 5, 3.

[6] "Cyri inst." 2, 1, 5, 6.

[7] Xenoph. "Anab." 5, 5, 17. Vol. I. 257.

[8] "Cyri inst." 2, 1, 5; 6, 2, 8, 9; 7, 2, 15 ff.

[9] I draw this conclusion from the story of Eurybatus, which was told by Ephorus; Fragm. 100, ed. Müller.

[10] Excerpt. Vatic, p. 26; "De virtute et vitiis," p. 553. [=9, 31 ff.]

[11] Justin, 1, 7. Lucian ("Contemplat." 9) represents Cyrus as conquering Babylonia and then marching against Lydia.

[12] [Nic. Damasc. Frag. 68, ed. Müller.]

[13] "Cyri inst." 7, 2, 20.

[14] Strabo, p. 575, 587.

[15] Pausan. 7, 17, 9. 10.

[16] Herod. 1, 131; 3, 16.

[17] Marmor Parnium, ep. 41.

[18] Boeckh, "Staatshaushaltung" 1. 10, 11; H. Stein on Herod. 1, 50.

[19] Aristot. "Rhetor." 3, 5; Diod. Exc. Vatic. p. 25, 26[=9, 31].

[20] Herod. 1, 69.

[21] "Cyri inst." 6, 2, 10, 11.

[22] The Parian marble mentions a mission of Crœsus to Delphi in the year 556. The date of the year for the capture of Sardis is destroyed, and cannot be even approximately restored, as the nearest dates are either mutilated or destroyed. The dates in Eusebius are derived from Apollodorus, who in turn draws from Eratosthenes. Eusebius puts the testing of the oracles in Olymp. 57,3 = 550 B.C., the march of Cyrus against Crœsus in Ol. 57,4 = 549 B.C., the capture of Crœsus in Ol. 58,3 = 546 B.C. Jerome represents Crœsus as beginning the war in Ol. 57,3 = 550 B.C. and puts his capture in Ol. 58,1 = 548 B.C. According to the statement of Syncellus (1,455, ed. Bonn.), Crœsus was defeated in the 14th year of Cyrus, which would give 547 B.C., if with Eusebius, who allows Cyrus to reign 31 years, we put his accession in 560 B.C. (V. p. 381 n.). The interval of three years which Eusebius (549-546) and two years which Jerome (550-548) places between the beginning of the war and the capture of Crœsus, appears to be due to the three years for which, according to Herodotus, Apollo delayed the overthrow of Crœsus; the presents came to Delphi three years before the fall (Herod. 1, 91). According to Herodotus the campaign occupies only one summer and autumn. The temple of Delphi was burned down in 548 B.C. (Ol. 58,1; Pausan. 10, 5, 13), and as Herodotus represents the temple as intact at the time when Crœsus sent to Delphi after his fall, this must have taken place before 548 B.C., and therefore Crœsus must have been conquered by Cyrus in 549 B.C. If the justification of the oracle in Herodotus is merely an invention of the priests, yet in things so well known the existing circumstances could not be left out of sight. It is certain that if the presents of Crœsus had been injured by the burning of the temple before his fall, this evil omen would not have been left out of sight by the legend, or by Herodotus, who himself saw and mentions the lion of Crœsus at Delphi which had been injured by the fire (1, 50). I have therefore no scruple in putting the fall of the Lydian kingdom in the year 549 B.C. Though the reign given by Herodotus for Crœsus, fourteen years and fourteen days, may have arisen out of the fourteen Lydian boys who wished to be sacrificed with their king (p. 12), yet Eusebius, Jerome, and Syncellus put the reign of Crœsus at 15 years. It may therefore be regarded as an established fact that his reign ended in the fifteenth year. According to Herodotus (1, 64, 65), it might seem as though he were of opinion that Crœsus sought allies in Hellas at the time when Pisistratus was tyrant for the third time over Athens. But this would be an error due to Herodotus' habit of anticipation. We can only be concerned with the second tyranny of Pisistratus, which belongs to the years 550 and 549 B.C. Against the argument here used—that the priests could not leave out of sight the actual circumstances in things so widely known, even in their inventions, Büdinger objects: "The chronological relations in Lydian-Persian history were neither various nor generally known, when Herodotus visited Delphi." The objection would be pertinent if the legend of the priests had only been manufactured during Herodotus' stay at Delphi, and for his use. This is not tenable. The fall of Crœsus was an event which deeply moved the Hellenic world, and created the most lively astonishment; the responses of Delphi had allured him to war; the oracle must at once justify itself if it were not to lose considerably in its authority. The justification must, therefore, have been invented at once; in the cities of Anatolia it would be best known at that time how and when the Mede came into the land with the fall of Crœsus (πηλίκος ἦσθ’ ὅθ’ ὁ Μῆδος ἀφίκετο; Xenophanes in Athenaeus, p. 54), and it was also known everywhere how long before the great presents of Crœsus had come to Miletus and Delphi. This must be noticed by the Delphian priests. But, as I have expressly said, I have not laid any great stress on this fact, but on the burning of the temple in 548 B.C., for that is the only certain point which can be gained. It does not seem possible to me to make Xenophon's account of the Lydian and Babylonian wars of Cyrus in the Cyropaedia a reason for placing the overthrow of Crœsus in 541 B.C. and putting back the beginning of the third tyranny of Pisistratus to that date in order to suit this account. There are also reasons of fact against such a date, which are given elsewhere.

[23] Herod. 1, 153.

[24] Plat. "Protagoras," p. 327. Demosth. "De Corona," 24; Aesch. "in Ctesiph." 137, and the Scholia.

[25] Polyb. 7, 15; 8, 22.

[26] Raoul Rochette, "Mémoires de l'institut," 17, 2, p. 278 ff.

[27] Herod. 1, 87.

[28] Büdinger objects to this view that the Lydian tradition, which would be favourable to Crœsus, could not possibly convert the merit of such a sacrifice into an execution. Whether the tradition of the Lydians was favourable or not to Crœsus is not handed down; that the Greeks were favourable to him we know for certain. It is the tradition of the Greek cities—favourable to Crœsus and unfavourable to Cyrus—which we have in the account of Herodotus. The rescue of Crœsus and the wisdom of Solon were the points of view given in the Greek tradition and guiding it. If Nicolaus of Damascus has used Xanthus, and his account rests on a combination of the Greek and Lydian tradition—it is precisely in his account that the sacrifice, and the prevention of it by rain, comes out more clearly than in Herodotus.

[29] Steph. Byzant. Βαρήνη. The Barce of Justin (1, 7) must be the same city. [Barene in Jeep's ed.] Ptolem. 6, 2, 8; "Vend." 1, 68.



[Pg 47]



However unexpected the attack of the Lydians had been by the ruler of the Medes and Persians, however inconvenient the war with them, he had brought it to a rapid and prosperous decision. Though he had entertained no thought of conquests in the distant West before Crœsus took up arms against him, he resolved to maintain the advantage which the war had brought him to such a surprising extent. Great as was the distance between Sardis and Pasargadae, Lydia was to be embodied in his empire, and the Ægean was to form its western boundary. His army took up winter quarters in Lydia; from Sardis he arranged in person the new government of the land, and the fate of the nations which had been subject to the Lydians. We do not know whether the Phrygians, Bithynians, and Paphlagonians submitted to the change of dominion without resistance. Æschylus represents Cyrus as subjugating Phrygia. According to Xenophon, Phrygia was reduced by Cyrus as he returned from Sardis; the Paphlagonians submitted voluntarily, like the Cilicians; this was the reason why no satraps were sent there, yet the fortresses were occupied with Persian garrisons, and the Paphlagonians and Cilicians had to pay tribute and perform service in war.[30] Cilicia had[Pg 48] not been subject to the Lydians; ever since the irruption of the Scyths had broken the cohesion of the Assyrian power, her princes were independent, though they had paid tribute to Assurbanipal (III. 166, 178), They bore the standing title of Syennesis. More than sixty years previously Nabopolassar of Babylon and Syennesis of Cilicia had brought about peace and alliance between Cyaxares of Media and Alyattes of Lydia (V. 295). That Cilicia now voluntarily submitted to Cyrus, if it had not done so previously, can be concluded with certainty from the fact that we subsequently find kings named Syennesis at the head of Cilicia, who are bound to pay tribute to the Persian empire and render service in war.[31]

Cyrus met more vigorous resistance in the west of Asia Minor. The Lycians, who maintained their independence against the Lydians in their mountains to the south, were not inclined to submit to the Persians, nor were their neighbours in the south-west, the Carians. The cities of the Greeks, who possessed the entire western coast, hesitated which course to take. After their ancestors had set foot on this coast, 400 years previously, they had succeeded in maintaining their ground for a century and a half against the rising power of the Lydians under the Mermnads; indeed it was during this period that they had extended their trade and colonisation, and risen to be a second naval power beside the Phenicians,—the centre of a commerce, which on the one hand included the Black Sea and the Maeotis, and on the other almost all the Mediterranean—which included in its empire Cyprus and Sicily and Corsica, Egypt and[Pg 49] the mouths of the Po and Rhone, and even extended to the banks of the Bætis. Along with the trade and wealth of these cities, poetry had burst into a new bloom, plastic art and architecture were eagerly cultivated, the foundations were laid for Greek science, natural history, geography, history, and philosophy. Life was pleasant and luxurious; no doubt the morals of the Lydians had found their way into the cities, but the old vigour still remained in the inhabitants by sea and land. At last they had succumbed to Crœsus, not because they did not know how to fight, but because they had not followed the advice of Thales of Miletus, who urged them to carry on the war in common, and place at their head a council with dictatorial powers (III. 450). But the supremacy of Crœsus, to which they did not submit for much more than a decade, had not been of an oppressive character. It had left the cities unchanged in their internal trade, and in fact had increased rather than destroyed it. Crœsus had contented himself with yearly tributes from the cities, and we have seen to what a large extent Greek art and manners found protection, favour, and advancement at the court of Crœsus. Now these cities suddenly found themselves in the presence of a power of which they had hardly heard the name, and which had prostrated with a mighty blow the kingdom of Crœsus. As they were not pledged to provide soldiers for the king of the Lydians, they had looked on in irresolute neutrality during the war. And they had paid no heed to the request of Cyrus that they would join his side. Previously it might have been to their interest to weaken the power of Lydia, in order to regain their full independence, but when Cyrus marched upon Sardis it became much more[Pg 50] imperative to prevent a stronger power from taking the place of the Lydians. A diversion on the part of the Greek cities when Cyrus was besieging Sardis, would have delayed the fate of the city, and might have rendered possible the arrival of the allies. But they had done nothing, and now found themselves alone in the presence of the conqueror. Their danger prompted them to offer submission to the king of the Persians on the same terms as those on which they had served Crœsus. Cyrus rejected the offer which the ambassadors of the Ionian and Aeolian cities brought to Sardis. Mere recognition of his supremacy and payment of tribute he did not consider sufficient to secure the obedience of cities so remote, and he was strong enough to insist on a more dependent relation without great efforts. But ever cautious and provident, he took means to separate the cities. To Miletus, the strongest, he offered a continuance of the relations in which she had stood to Lydia. When Miletus, "from fear," as Herodotus remarks, accepted these conditions, Cyrus had already won the victory. The cities were divided, robbed of their strongest power and natural head.

Conscious that their submission on the conditions proposed had been refused, the cities of the Ionian tribe took counsel at their old common place of sacrifice on the shore of the sea, opposite Samos, under Mount Mycale. Miletus, it is true, was absent; but among the Ionians there was far too much pride, far too great a sense of freedom, to offer unconditional submission to Cyrus. The defection of Miletus seemed to be compensated when ambassadors of the cities of the Aeolian tribe appeared on the same day as the Ionians, which had never occurred before, and declared their common resolution[Pg 51] "to follow the Ionians wherever they led."[32] It was resolved to fortify the cities, to make a resistance to the Persians, and for this object to call as quickly as possible on the mother country for help. A common embassy of the Ionian and Aeolian cities went to Sparta, in order to ask aid of the Dorians there, the leading state in the peninsula. But in vain did Pythermus of Phocaea, the mouthpiece of the embassy, put on his purple robe in order to manifest the importance and wealth of the cities, when the ephors introduced the legation before the common assembly. Though the Spartans at that time were at the height of their power, and had promised help to Crœsus, though the ships had been equipped and the contingent was ready to embark when the news came of the capture of Sardis, Sparta now refused to send aid, regardless of the fate of her countrymen. She merely resolved to despatch ambassadors to Cyrus with the request that he would leave the Greek cities in peace. A ship of fifty oars carried the embassy to Asia, with the real object, as Herodotus supposes, of ascertaining the position of affairs in Ionia and with Cyrus. It landed at Phocaea. Lacrines, the spokesman of the ambassadors, found Cyrus in Sardis, and there warned him in Sparta's name, "to do no harm to any Hellenic city, for Sparta would not allow such conduct to go unpunished." Without the support of an army this warning was an empty and foolish threat, which Cyrus treated as it deserved.[33]

There must have been some urgent necessity which summoned Cyrus to the East before he subjected the Lydians, Carians, and Greeks of the coast. Herodotus tells us that he intended to conquer Babylon, the [Pg 52]Bactrian nation, the Sacæ and Egyptians. In the early spring he set out with the bulk of his army to Ecbatana.[34] Crœsus was in his train. He had given the government of Lydia to Tabalus, a Persian, but the management of the revenues to Pactyas, a Lydian.[35] He may have thought that Lydia was more peaceable than it really was, or more reconciled to its fate by his gentle treatment of Crœsus, and the nomination of a Lydian as manager of the taxes. The dominion of the Persians had come upon the Lydians suddenly; they refused to recognise the superior power of their rulers, and could not finally accept the rapid change which had so suddenly overthrown their ancient kingdom and their fame in arms. So far from being subdued, they hardly considered themselves seriously beaten. The rapid and decisive action, in which they had been defeated, might appear to them rather a fortunate surprise, than a victory won by the Persians. It was Pactyas, whom Cyrus had made manager of the revenues, who raised the standard of revolt. He collected the Lydians, and induced the inhabitants of the coast, i. e. the cities of the Greeks, to join him. Tabalus could not resist in the open field the sudden outburst of rebellion. When Pactyas marched against Sardis, he was compelled to shut himself up in the citadel, and was there besieged. While yet on his march Cyrus received the news of the revolt. Yet his presence in upper Asia was so necessary that he did not return in person; he sent Mazares, a Mede, with a part of the army, to bring the Lydians once more to obedience. The rebellion appears to have been[Pg 53] undertaken in haste without sufficient preparations, and Pactyas was not the man to lead it with energy. He did not venture to await the arrival of Mazares; the citadel of Sardis was delivered; Tabalus was free; the rebellion was crushed; Pactyas fled to the Greeks on the coast, to Cyme, the leading city of the Aeolians. When Mazares demanded that he should be given up, the oracle of Apollo at Miletus twice ordered the Cymæans, in answer to their repeated inquiry, to surrender him. The priests of that temple, the Branchidæ, well knew that the arrangement which their city had made with Cyrus, pledged her to carry out the wishes of the Persians. The Cymæans did not obey even the second response, but first took Pactyas in safety to Mytilene in Lesbos, and when they found that the Mytileneans were ready to give him up, they took him to Chios. But the Chians, though, like the Lesbians, they had nothing to fear from the Persians in their island, nevertheless surrendered him.[36]

The hopes which the Greek cities might have built upon the rebellion of the Lydians were quickly broken. The mother country had refused any help. Sparta would not come to their assistance, and Athens, torn as she was by internal dissensions, could not. No one in the cantons of the Greek peninsula roused themselves to give aid to an important section of the Greek nation, to the colonies which had outstripped the mother country in their development, or strove to save the most vigorous centres of Greek nationality from subjection to a foreign people, which had come out of the remote part of Asia. If the voice[Pg 54] of a common blood and the sense of nationality failed to warn the Greeks beyond the sea against giving over to strangers for plunder such rich and flourishing cities, was there no one in Hellas who foresaw that if the establishment of the Persian dominion on the coasts of Asia Minor were not prevented, and the cities of the coast with their navy were allowed to fall into the hands of the Persians, Greece itself would not be safe from their attack, and they would be able to visit the coasts of Hellas in Greek ships? Yet even without assistance the power of the Hellenic cities would have sufficed for a considerable resistance to the Persians—for the position of affairs in Asia did not allow Cyrus to bring any great force against these distant coasts—if they had been able to understand and take to heart the lessons of their own past. If they had neglected to unite their forces against the Lydians, such union was now doubly necessary. They had learned from experience the evil of delay, and the danger was now greater than ever. The Greek cities were in uncontested possession of the sea,[37] and thus in a position to give help in common to any city which the Persians might attack. An organisation which permitted the whole force of the city to be used for the benefit of each one, would have given a prospect of successful resistance. But no step whatever was taken in this direction. Each city turned its attention to strengthening its own walls, and awaiting the attack of the Persians.

After the subjugation of the Lydians, Mazares, as Herodotus tells us, turned his arms against "those who had besieged Tabalus along with Pactyas." He invested Priene, took the city, and reduced the inhabitants to slavery; then the plain of the Maeander[Pg 55] was laid waste, the city of Magnesia taken, and its inhabitants enslaved. After the capture of Magnesia Mazares fell sick and died. Cyrus sent Harpagus the Mede as his successor. He marched northwards from the valley of the Maeander; in the first instance against Phocaea, which appeared to have taken the leading part in resistance, or at any rate had done most to gain the help of Sparta; after Miletus it was the most powerful city of the Ionians. The trade in the Adriatic and the Tyrrhene sea, on the coasts of Gallia and Iberia, was in the hands of the Phocaeans. A strong and magnificent wall, well built of large stones, surrounded the city, the circuit of which, as Herodotus says, reached "not a few stadia." Harpagus invested Phocaea, and threw up works round the walls; he then sent intelligence to the Phocaeans that he should be content if they would pull down but one tower, and solemnly give up to him the possession of one dwelling. The Phocaeans must have thought that they could no longer hold the city or repulse an attack. According to Herodotus, they answered the offer of Harpagus with a request that he would allow them a day for consideration, and for that day would lead his army from the wall. Harpagus replied that he knew very well what their intentions were, but he would give them time for consideration. When Harpagus led his forces from the wall, the Phocaeans drew their ships to the sea, put upon them their wives and children, and everything that they could carry away, even the images of the gods and the votive offerings, and then embarked and sailed to Chios. It was their intention to purchase from the Chians the Oenussæ, islands lying off Chios, and to settle there. But the Chians refused to sell them, fearing that their trade would go there.[Pg 56] Then the Phocaeans turned their course back to Phocaea; Harpagus had taken possession of the empty city and left a garrison in it. This the Phocaeans cut down; then they sunk a large mass of iron in the sea, with an oath that they would not return again to the city till the iron should float, and shaped their course to the distant Western sea, for the island of Cyrnus (Corsica), where twenty years previously they had founded the colony of Alalia. Harpagus is said to have burnt Phocaea, thus punishing the houses and temples for the attack on the garrison.[38] After the capture of this city, he besieged Teos, and gained possession of the walls by means of the works which he threw up. The Teians then went on board their ships, one and all, sailed to the north, and settled on the coast of Thrace opposite Thasos, where they founded Abdera.[39] "So all the Ionians," says Herodotus, "with the exception of the Milesians, who had come to terms with Cyrus, fought against Harpagus, and showed themselves brave warriors, each for his own city; but Harpagus took them one after the other by investing them and throwing up works against the walls. Thus conquered they remained in their cities, with the exception of those exiles, and did what they were bid." After the subjugation of the Ionians, Harpagus turned to the North, reduced the cities of the Aeolians, and bade their military forces join his army.

The line of conquest had now reached the Dorian cities of the coast, the Carians and Lycians. The Dorians and Carians made but little resistance.[40] The[Pg 57] Greeks of Asia had not only been abandoned by their kinsmen beyond the sea, but also by their gods, or at any rate by their oracles. As Apollo of Miletus had bidden the Cymaeans to give up Pactyas, so Apollo of Delphi bade the Cnidians to desist from making their city impregnable. Cnidus lay on the western edge of a long and narrow promontory. The inhabitants had begun to cut a channel through the land with a view of securing themselves against the attack of the Persians. But though a large number of hands were engaged, the work did not make progress in the hard rock; and as many of the workmen were injured the city sent to Delphi to inquire the cause of their misfortunes. The priestess answered, according to the Cnidian account: "Ye must not fortify the Isthmus, nor cut through it; Zeus would have made it an island if he had wished."[41] The Cnidians desisted, and surrendered without a struggle to Harpagus on his approach. Among the Carians, the Pedasians alone, who had fortified Mount Lida, made a vigorous resistance; it cost Harpagus much trouble to take this fortification. The Lycians, who had never been subject to the kings of the Lydians, marched out against Harpagus. In the open field they fought bravely, though few against many. When conquered and driven into their city Xanthus (Arna, I. 577), they brought their wives and children, their servants, and their goods into the citadel and set them on fire; then they bound themselves by an oath, fell upon the Persian army, and maintained the conflict to the last man. Then the remaining towns of the Lycians, being robbed of their best defenders, submitted. The Caunians alone, as Herodotus tells us, followed almost exactly the example of the city of[Pg 58] Xanthus.[42] Even the sea put no limit to the supremacy of the Persians. The Greeks of the islands of Chios and Lesbos voluntarily submitted to them, though, as Herodotus assures us, "they had nothing to fear," "for the Persians were not mariners, and the Phenicians were not their subjects at that time."[43] The two islands would not give up all hope of the possession of the districts on the coasts opposite.

About three years after Cyrus had left Sardis in the spring of the year 548 B.C. his power in Lydia was not only firmly founded, but the whole western coast, with all its harbours and landing-places, together with two considerable islands, was subject to him. As Aeschylus tells us, he had reduced Ionia by force. The East had again overpowered the colonists of the West on its western edge. Asia Minor, beyond the Halys, was subjugated to Cyrus in even greater extent than to Crœsus; in fact it was wholly in his power.[44] He placed two viceroys over it. One, the viceroy of Phrygia, was to govern the north-eastern; the other, the viceroy of[Pg 59] Lydia, was to govern the south-western half of this wide region. The first took up his position at Dascyleum, not far from the shore of the Propontis; the other in the citadel at Sardis.[45] Among the cities of the Greeks, Priene and Magnesia on the Maeander had been destroyed, and their inhabitants enslaved; Phocaea had been burned. The rest had not been injured by Harpagus after their capture; he had not placed any Persian governors over them, nor introduced garrisons. It was not intended in any way to destroy their nationality or their religious worship. Their social life, their forms of government, their autonomy remained; even the common sacrifices and assemblies of the Ionian cities at Mycale were permitted to continue. They had only to recognise the supreme authority of the king of the Persians and his viceroys, to pay yearly tribute to the king, the amount of which each city fixed for itself, and furnish a contingent to the army when called upon by the viceroy to do so. When the Ionians again met at the common place of sacrifice for the first time after their subjugation, Bias of Priene, who had escaped the destruction of his country, proposed that all the Ionian cities should follow the example of the Phocaeans and Teians; that there should be a general emigration to Sardinia, in order that all might obtain a new country there. They were then to form one great community; one city was to be founded by all in common. Had this proposal been carried out, the achievements of Cyrus would have exercised a far deeper influence over the distant West, than the mere settlement of the Phocaeans in Alalia, who moreover were not able to maintain themselves[Pg 60] in their new settlement. The centre of Hellenic colonisation would have been transplanted from East to West, and the fate of Italy would have been changed; the Greeks would have retired before the supremacy of the East in order to establish a strong insular power among the weak communities of the West. But the Ionians could not rise to the height of such a revolution. Among the Greeks, the attachment to their ancient soil, their homes and temples, was peculiarly strong. If men could and would forget independence, the supremacy of the Persians did not seem very oppressive. It limited the trade of the Greeks as little as it repressed their social life; on the contrary, it rather advanced commerce, which now received the protection of the Persian king throughout the whole of his wide dominions. The ruin of Phocaea also aided the trade of Miletus which had suffered neither war nor siege.

Yet the cities of the Greeks were essentially weakened by the war and their subjugation. In Phocaea, it is true, a community again grew up. Half of the emigrants, in spite of their solemn vow, were seized with a longing for their ancient home; they returned to their desolated city. But for fifty years after this time the new Phocaea would or could furnish no more than three ships of war. In Priene also and Teos sufficient inhabitants gradually assembled to establish small communities.[46] Other circumstances weighed more heavily even than their natural losses. Cyrus knew well that it would not be easy to retain in secure obedience cities so distant in situation, so important in population and military resources. At such a distance isolated garrisons would have been[Pg 61] exposed to great danger; yet without them the cities would have closed their gates to the Persians at any moment, manned their walls, and entered into combinations beyond the sea. Every rebellion of this kind made new sieges necessary, and these were the more difficult as Persia had no fleet, and could only use the ships of the Greeks. Situated at the extreme edge of the kingdom, and supported by the opposite shore of the Ægean, each of the larger cities could offer a long resistance. With the unerring political insight which distinguished him, Cyrus saw that he must gain adherents within the cities, and have on his side influential interests of sufficient weight to keep the cities in obedience. Yet he did not aim at supporting one or other of the parties who contended in the Greek cities for the leadership of the community; on the other hand, his favour and that of his viceroys was given to this or that party-leader. His allegiance was to be secured and certain advantages were held out in prospect to the city when led by him. Cyrus intended to govern the cities of the Greeks by Greeks, who were not to be his officers, but to rule the cities as their lords and princes for their own advantage and profit. By their position, which they owed to the favour of Persia, and could only maintain with the help of Persia against their fellow-citizens, by the interested desire to retain this power in their families and bequeath it to their children, by the concentration of the princely authority, as opposed to the republican institutions and republican spirit of their cities—which authority rested on the Persian court, and was closely connected with it—these rulers in union with the viceroys and their troops must be in a position to secure the subjection of the cities. Thus it came to pass that not in Cyme only, the most[Pg 62] important city of the Aeolians, but in almost all the towns of the Greeks, men were raised to power by the favour and support of the Persian satraps, who managed the public affairs, and in the place of autonomous communities came despotisms and principalities, in reality if not in name. How correct Cyrus was is proved by the result.[47] He was able to secure the obedience of the Lydians also. He caused the land to be stripped of its arms, even to the extent of taking away the cavalry horses,[48] and so abandoned all thought of forcing the Lydians to serve in his army. The disuse of arms and the lapse of time did their work, aided as they were by a vigorous trade, which in Lydia was due not only to the natural wealth and the gold of the soil, but to a long-established and skilful industry. In these pursuits and a luxurious life the Lydians forgot their old days and ancient deeds. Persia had never again to contend with a rebellion of the Lydians.

The tradition of the Greeks has not omitted to illustrate the important events of the extension and establishment of the Persian dominion in Asia Minor by a series of pointed anecdotes and stories. Among these is the reply which Cyrus is said to have given to the Greek cities, when they offered their submission after the fall of Sardis (p. 50). At that time Cyrus, as Herodotus tells us, narrated the following story with reference to their refusal of his first request:—A flute-player once played to some fishes in the sea in order to entice them out. As they did not come, he took them out with a net, and when they leapt about, he said, Cease dancing now; ye did not dance out of the water when I played. Diodorus puts the trans[Pg 63]action later, and with him it is not Cyrus, but Harpagus, who, as we saw, received the command against the cities after Mazares, who told the following apologue to the ambassadors:—He had once asked a maid of her father in marriage, but the father betrothed her to a man of greater importance. When he afterwards found out that the man whom he had despised as a son-in-law was in favour with the king he brought him his daughter, and Harpagus took her not for his wife, but for his concubine. By this Harpagus meant that as the Greeks had not become friends of the Persians when Cyrus wished it, they could not any longer be allies but only servants.[49] When Lacrines brought to Cyrus from the Spartans the command that he must not attack any Greek city, Herodotus represents Cyrus as answering, in the pride of his absolute power, that he had never been afraid of men who met in the market-places and deceived each other by speeches and promises. If he remained in health, they would not have to lament over the sorrows of the Ionians, but over their own.[50] Here also Diodorus gives another version:—To the command of the Spartans that he must not attack the Hellenes in Asia who were their kinsmen, Cyrus answered, that he would acquaint himself with the bravery of the Spartans when he sent one of his servants to subjugate Hellas.[51]

The account which Herodotus gives of the negotiations of Harpagus with the Phocaeans is not historical. If the resistance of the Phocaeans was so difficult to overcome that Harpagus descended to the concession that only one tower need be pulled down and a single habitation given up to him, the[Pg 64] Phocaeans had no reason to abandon their city. But if they were in such a condition that they must abandon the defence, the lapse of one day would certainly not suffice for them to get the ships in order, and put on board the whole population with their goods, the images of their gods, and the votive offerings. Still more inconceivable would be the folly of Harpagus in drawing off his army from the city and thus allowing the Phocaeans to destroy his siege works, so that he had to begin them all anew.

The striking change which took place in the Lydian character after the suppression of the rebellion under Pactyas, the contrast between the horse-breeding Lydians of the Homeric poems, between the mounted squadrons which once pressed so heavily on the Greek cities, reduced Asia Minor, and offered such a brave resistance to the Medes and Persians, and the peace-loving, effeminate, submissive Lydians of the fifth century B.C., was explained by the Greek tradition after its own manner. When in his return from Sardis to Ecbatana, Cyrus received the intelligence of the rebellion of the Lydians, he confided to Crœsus, as Herodotus tells us, that it seemed to him the best plan to make all the Lydians slaves. "I have dealt with them," so Herodotus represents Cyrus as saying, "as one who spares the children when he has slain the father. I have captured you who have been more to them than a father, and left them their city, and now I wonder that they rebel." Crœsus replied: "What you say is just, but let your anger pass by; do not destroy an ancient and guiltless city. What took place before was my doing, and the guilt lies on my shoulders; what has happened now is due to Pactyas to whom you yourself entrusted Sardis. Punish him, but spare the Lydians. Forbid them to carry[Pg 65] weapons for the future, order them to wear coats under their mantles, shoes with high heels, and to train their boys in playing and singing and in trade. You will soon make them women instead of men, and they will never revolt or be a source of alarm." Crœsus gave this advice with the double object of turning aside the vengeance of Cyrus from the Lydians—for even such a life was better than slavery—and of preserving the Lydians for the future from bringing about their own destruction by new rebellions. Cyrus followed the advice of Crœsus. This story is repeated by Polyaenus. When the Lydians had revolted, Cyrus bade Mazares take away their weapons and horses, and allow them no longer any practice in throwing the spear and riding; on the contrary, he was to compel them to wear women's clothes, to weave, and play the lute. In this way the Lydians became the most unwarlike people, though previously they had been the most warlike.[52] The new dress which Cyrus, on the advice of Crœsus, commanded the Lydians to wear, was the hereditary dress of the Lydians (who are called soft-footed in the response of the Delphic priestess (p. 9), because they wore shoes), and practice in playing and singing were old customs of the Lydians which previously had done no harm to their martial valour. The narrative is invented, though not by Herodotus, to glorify the wisdom of Crœsus and give a reason for the clemency which Cyrus showed after the rebellion—and at the same time to explain the contrast between the Lydians of antiquity and their descendants.


[30] Aesch. "Pers." 770; Xenoph. "Cyri inst." 7, 4, 2; 8, 6, 8.

[31] Herodotus, 9, 107, remarks that Xerxes gave the satrapy of Cilicia to Xenagoras of Halicarnassus; yet even after this date we find a Syennesis at the head of that country, which in the list of Herodotus formed the fourth satrapy.

[32] Herod. 1, 141, 142, 151, 169.

[33] Herod. 1, 152; Diod. Exc. Vatic. p. 27 = 9, 36, 1.

[34] Herod. 1, 153. In 1, 157, on the other hand, we find "to the Persians;" cf. 1, 177.

[35] H. Stein on Herod. 1, 153.

[36] Herod. 1, 161. What is brought forward in the treatise "on the unfairness of Herodotus" from Charon of Lampsacus against the historian's statement about the surrender of Pactyas is limited to the naked fact that he came from Chios into the power of Cyrus.

[37] Thucyd. 1, 12, 14.

[38] Herod. 1, 164, 165; Plutarch, "Aristid." c. 25; Pausan. 7, 5, 4.

[39] A party of the emigrant Teians is said to have founded Phanagoria; Scymn. Ch. 886; "Corp. inscrip. Graec." 2, 98.

[40] Herod. 1, 174.

[41] Herod. loc. cit.

[42] The subsequent inhabitants of Xanthus are explained by Herodotus to be foreigners, except eighty families, who were absent at the time. He also mentions Caunians about the year 500 B.C. The name of the city occurs at a later date. On the continuance of the league of the Lycians, vol. I. p. 575.

[43] Herod. 1, 143, 160.

[44] The year 548 B.C. no doubt passed before the revolt of Pactyas. The Greek cities had time to build or strengthen their walls before they were attacked. Phocaea entered into negotiations for this object with the prince of Tartessus after the fall of Crœsus (Herod. 1, 163), and the great wall of the city was finished, with the assistance of money furnished by him owing to the approach of the Medes, when Harpagus attacked it. This attack cannot therefore have taken place before 547 B.C. The sieges of the Ionian and Aeolian cities occupied at least a year; the campaign against the Dorian cities, the Carians and Lycians, must therefore have taken place in 546 B.C., if not a year later. Hieronymus puts the battle of Harpagus against Ionia in Olymp. 58, 3 = 546 B.C.

[45] Oroetes resided at Sardis in the reign of Cambyses and Mithrobates at Dascyleum; Herod. 3, 120.

[46] Herod. 1, 168; Miletus and Samos contended in 440 B.C. for the possession of Priene.

[47] Herod. 5, 37, 38; Heracl. Pont. fragm. 11, 5, ed. Müller.

[48] Justin. 1, 7.

[49] Excerpt. Vatic. p. 27 = 9, 35, 1.

[50] Herod. 1, 153.

[51] Diod. Excerpt. Vatic. p. 27 = 9, 36, 1.

[52] Herod. 1, 155, 156; Polyaen. "Strateg." 7, 6, 4.



[Pg 66]



When the kingdom of the Lydians had succumbed to the arms of Cyrus, Babylonia alone was left of the three states which had joined in the overthrow of Assyria. It was a region of very considerable extent, reaching from the Tigris to the coasts of Syria, and from the foot of the Armenian and Cilician mountains to the deserts of Arabia; the population was united, and a strong centre was not wanting. As we saw, Nebuchadnezzar had not only greatly increased the agriculture and trade of his kingdom, but had also erected the strongest barriers for the protection of his native land and the metropolis. In this he had only the Median power in view, but owing to the victory of Cyrus over Astyages a stronger power had taken the place of Media, and neither his wisdom nor his energy had descended to his successors. After a reign of two years his son Evilmerodach fell by the hand of his own brother-in-law, Neriglissar, who sat but four years on the throne which he had thus acquired. The boy whom Neriglissar left behind was murdered by the conspirators who in the year 555 B.C. elevated Nabonetus to the throne. Of this king we only know that he did not belong to the race of Nabopolassar. Neriglissar had continued the fortifi[Pg 67]cation of the metropolis, and Nabonetus completed the walls which were intended to enclose the two parts of the city of Babylon on the east and west of the Euphrates towards the river. He continued the buildings of Nebuchadnezzar at the temples at Ur (Mugheir), and restored the ancient temple of Bilit (Mylitta) at that place. His inscriptions entreat the god Sin that his works may continue as the heavens, and commend his first-born son Belshazzar (Bil-sarussur) to the favour of the moon-god. To the city of Tyre he gave a new king, Hiram of the race of Ethbaal, in the year 551 B.C.[53]

We cannot ascertain what position Nabonetus took up towards the growing power of Cyrus. According to the statement of Trogus Pompeius, Babylon was at war with Cyrus, when Crœsus went to her aid. Cyrus repelled this attack, came to terms with Babylonia, and carried on war against Asia Minor. Xenophon represents Crœsus as beginning the war against Cyrus at the request of the king of Babylon (p. 17). Herodotus, as has been mentioned above, repeatedly assures us that Crœsus was in league with the king of Babylon, whom he calls Labynetus (p. 20). As we saw, Cyrus left Sardis and Asia Minor in the spring of 548 B.C., before the nations of the western coast, the Carians and Lycians, had been subjugated; and Herodotus remarks that he intended to march against[Pg 68] Babylon. For Babylonia there could certainly be no more favourable moment for carrying on the war with the Persians than the time at which Cyrus lay opposite the army of Crœsus at Pteria in Cappadocia, before he advanced upon Sardis. A march of the Babylonian army up the river Euphrates would have cut off the communications of the Persian army with their own home, and compelled Cyrus to abandon the Lydians and to turn upon Babylon. We do not know whether Nabonetus looked idly on at the fall of Crœsus in spite of the league, or whether a second Persian army compelled him to leave events to take their course in Asia Minor, or whether Cyrus, on his return to Ecbatana, after the overthrow of Crœsus, as Herodotus tells us, marched against Nabonetus. All that we know from Herodotus is that Harpagus subdued lower Asia, i. e. Asia Minor, and Cyrus himself upper Asia, passing from one nation to another without any exception.

"The greater part of their achievements," Herodotus continues, "I will omit; I will only narrate that feat which cost the most trouble and is the most worthy of notice. When Cyrus had reduced the whole of the continent he attacked the Assyrians. Now Assyria had many other large cities, but the most famous and strongest of them was Babylon, where their kings dwelt after the destruction of Nineveh. Labynetus was ruler of the Assyrians, and against him Cyrus marched." According to this more exact statement, Cyrus did not march against Babylon directly after the Lydian war, but only "when the whole of upper Asia had been reduced to subjection." That Elam and the land between the lower Tigris and the mountains of Persia was subject to Cyrus before he attacked Babylonia, follows from the statements of[Pg 69] a prophet of the Jews.[54] Berosus says quite distinctly: "When Cyrus had subjugated the whole of Asia, he set out with a great power from Persia against Babylon in the seventeenth year of the reign of Nabonetus."[55] We can establish the correctness of this date from other sources, and prove that the war between Babylon and Persia, which Herodotus sets himself to describe in the words quoted, took place ten years after the Lydian war. Yet it remains doubtful whether Babylonia and Persia had already met in arms, before, during, or immediately after the Lydian war. So much only is certain, that if a collision of this kind had previously taken place, it was indecisive. Nor can we make it clear what motives caused Nabonetus to allow Cyrus to attack Babylonia at a time most convenient to himself; whether this attitude was due to the experience of previous failures, or to a feeling of confidence that the natural and artificial barriers of the Babylonian land offered a better prospect of success under any circumstances, than an attack on Persia.

We have already seen how faithfully the Jews, whom Nebuchadnezzar had transported to Mesopotamia and Babylonia in the year 597 B.C., and again in 586 B.C. when he conquered and destroyed Jerusalem, clung to their God and their religion (III. 395). They cherished the firm hope that the judgment which had fallen on Judah and Jerusalem would come to an end, and Jehovah's anger would turn, when the purification was completed; that the kingdom of David would be restored, and Babylon punished for all that it had done to Jerusalem. Since the times of Hosea and Isaiah, the prophets of the Israelites had always pointed beyond the[Pg 70] punishments which Jehovah would send upon the sins of his people to their restoration in a happy future. Thus in the first year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, Jeremiah had announced that Jehovah would allow the King of Babel to come upon Judah and Jerusalem, but that the servitude of Judah would only continue for a definite period—for seventy years (III. 326); and Ezekiel had definitely and solemnly announced the restoration of the national sanctuary to his people in Mesopotamia (III. 395). Zealously devoted to the worship of the God whose strong hand alone could break their yoke asunder and lead back their weak numbers to their home, the exiles impatiently awaited the fall of Babylon. It was their firm hope that as Assyria had fallen, which had annihilated Israel and brought the severest blows upon Judah, so would the line of destruction reach Babylon also, and vengeance would not be delayed. "By the waters of Babylon we sat down and wept when we remembered thee, O Zion. We hung up our harps on the willows that are in the land; our conquerors asked us for a melody, and those that troubled us for songs of joy. How can we sing Jehovah's song in a strange land? O daughter of Babylon, thou that makest desolate, blessings be upon him who taketh thy children and throweth them against the rocks."[56] "Why go I sorrowing under the oppression of the enemy? It was not by their sword that they took the land, nor did their arms win the victory, but thou, O Jehovah, wert gracious to them. All this came upon us, and yet we were not faithless, our steps strayed not from thy path. Tears are my food day and night, while they say to me, Where is thy God? I thought how I went with the multitude into the house of God[Pg 71] with songs and thanksgiving. Thou art my King, Jehovah (III. 396); send help to Jacob; with thy name we shall tread down our enemies. I put not my trust in my bow, but thou givest us victory over the oppressor. Send thy light and thy truth, that they may bring me to thy holy hill, to the God of my joy, that I may praise thee on the lute. Why sleepest thou, O Lord? Awake. Cast us not away for ever. Our soul is bowed down to the dust, our body pressed to the ground. Save us for thy mercy's sake. I will yet praise him, who is my Saviour and my God."[57]

Even in the last years of Nebuchadnezzar, as they looked on the mighty works with which the destroyer of Jerusalem surrounded his city, the hopes of the Jews rose. From these enormous structures they might conclude how insecure Babylon felt herself against the Medes. Immediately after the death of the great and dreaded prince the Jews began to dream of an attack of the Medes on Babylonia. "Israel was a stray sheep," such are the words of a prophet of this period, "which was in terror of lions. The king of Assyria ate it, and Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, gnawed the bones." "But the God of Israel says, 'I will have vengeance on the king of Babel, as I had vengeance on the king of Assyria, and I will lead Israel back, that he may pasture on Carmel and Bashan, and satisfy himself on Mount Ephraim and Gilead.'"[58] "Bel shall be put to shame, and I will take out of his mouth that which he has swallowed, and Merodach shall be overthrown, their images and idols."[59] "Thou who dwellest on the great waters, thine end is approaching. Though Babylon exalted herself to heaven, and made the[Pg 72] height of her fortification so that no one could pass over, the broad walls shall be cast down and the high gates shall be consumed with fire."[60] "Set up a standard against the walls of Babylon, summon against her the kingdoms of Ararat, Minni (Armenia), and Ashenas; arm against her all the governors of the kings of the Medes, and all the lands of their dominion. Summon against her all who draw the bow; stand round Babylon, ye archers, and spare not the arrows."[61] Similar views gave rise to another prophecy which deduces the imminent fall of Babylon from her pride. "Babylon said in her heart, I will climb up to heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God, and dwell on the hill of assembly in the uttermost north. I will climb to the heights of the clouds, and make myself equal to the Highest. But against them Jehovah arouses the Medes, who regard not silver and have no pleasure in gold.[62] Call aloud to them, wave the hand, that they may enter into the gates of the tyrants. Their bows will destroy her young men, and she laments not for her children. And thus Babylon, the delight of the kingdoms, shall be as Sodom and Gomorrah. It shall be no more inhabited for ever; the Arab shall not pitch his tent there, nor the shepherd feed his flock. Beasts of the field shall dwell there; owls shall inhabit the houses, ostriches shall make their home there, and the satyrs shall dance. Jackals shall howl in her palaces, and foxes in her pleasure-houses. I will make Babylon a dwelling for the hedge-hog, saith Jehovah, and I will sweep it with the besom of destruction. The time is at hand, it will come quickly. Thy glory is gone down into hell, and the noise of thy harps.[Pg 73] Thy bed is with the worm, and thy covering is corruption. How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou beaten to the ground that didst lay low the nations!"[63]

The eager and impatient expectation of the Jews could not but perceive the change which had been made in the relation of the states of Asia by the victory of Cyrus over Astyages and the Medes three years after the death of Nebuchadnezzar. When Cyrus afterwards subjugated the nations to the east and west of Media, and the mighty kingdom of Lydia was shattered by him, so that the fame of his victories filled the East—when it might be expected that his arms would turn against Babylon, the Jews considered their rescue certain. With redoubled zeal they called down the punishment of Jehovah on Babylon, and delighted themselves in advance with the coming vengeance. Cyrus was the instrument which Jehovah had chosen to punish Babylon. As the old prophets had seen in the kings of Assyria, and Jeremiah in Nebuchadnezzar, the servants of Jehovah, who were to carry out his will on the nations, and hold the judgment day of the Lord, so did the Jews now see in Cyrus a man called to a similar mission, their saviour and liberator; he seemed to them the anointed of Jehovah. If the absence of images in the rites of the Persians, the worship of Auramazda, the creator of heaven and earth, were nearer the religion of the Jews than the sacrifices which the Babylonians offered before the images of Bel and Bilit-Istar, Adar, Samas and Sin, Merodach and Nebo, and the worship which they devoted to the ruling powers of the stars, they did not overlook the gulf which divided them; but[Pg 74] they were convinced that Jehovah chose Cyrus as the rod of his anger, and the goad of his wrath, to punish the pride and wickedness of Babylon. In this spirit we find a prophet saying, with a definite reference to the announcements of Jeremiah: "Who called him from the East, whom victory meets at every step? Who gives him the nations and subjugates kings to him, and makes their swords as dust, and their bows as chaff? He pursues them and follows safely in the path which his feet have never trodden. I, Jehovah, aroused him from the North (midnight), and he came from the rising sun, who calls upon my name. He passes over the mighty ones as over clay, as a potter breaks a vessel. I summoned him for salvation, and his ways will I make smooth; he shall build my city and release my captives, without ransom and without price. I will speak to Koresh (Cyrus), my shepherd; all my business he shall perform, so that he will say of Jerusalem, It shall be built, and of the temple, It shall be established. And I will speak to Koresh, mine anointed, whom I hold by his right hand to throw down the nations before him, and strip the loins of the kings, and open the gates and doors: I called thee, though thou knewest me not;[64] I will go before thee and make plain the ramparts; I will break in pieces the brazen gates, and the cross bars will I loosen" (the gates of Babylon were of brass);[65] "I will say to the deep, Dry up, and thy streams I will cause to be parched. Hear this, O wanton one, O daughter of the Chaldæans, thou that didst lay thy yoke heavily on my people, on the aged one, saying, I will be a lady for ever; but suddenly on one day[Pg 75] thou shalt be childless and widowed. Keep to thy incantations, to the multitude of the charms wherewith thou hast comforted thyself from thy youth up. May the quarters of the sky arise and help thee, which look to the stars, which on the new moons announce what will come upon thee. Bel boweth down, Nebo falleth. No more shalt thou be called mistress of the kingdoms, daughter of the Chaldæans. I will place thee on the earth without a throne, I will plant thee in the dust, and make thee crawl in the darkness, O virgin, daughter of Babylon. Take the mill and grind meal, remove thy veil, lift up thy garment, lay bare the thigh, and pass through the rivers; no more shalt thou be called delicate and tender[66]. Zion said, Jehovah has left me, and my Lord has forgotten me. Can a woman forget her sucking child, and have no pity on the fruit of her womb? Yet though she may forget, yet will not I, Jehovah, forget thee. I have graven thee upon my hands, and thy walls were ever before my eyes[67]. Loose the fetters from thy neck, O captive daughter of Zion. Shake off the dust, Jerusalem; rise up, thou that hast drunk the cup of wrath from the hand of Jehovah[68]. Behold, I take from thy hand the cup of my wrath, that thou mayest drink it no more. I put it into the hand of those who have prepared sorrow for thee. Break forth into singing, ye ruins of Jerusalem; cry aloud, O heaven; rejoice, O earth, for Jehovah has mercy on his people[69]. He called the eagle from the east" (the eagle was the standard of the Achæmenids), "the man of his counsel from the distant land. Jehovah spake and called him; he leads him forth, and he shall accomplish it; he brings to pass the[Pg 76] will of Jehovah on Babylon, and his might on the Chaldæans."[70]

Herodotus describes the approach of Cyrus and his war against Babylon in the following manner: "When on his march against Babylon he came to the Gyndes (now the Diala), which falls into the Tigris, and crossed it, one of the sacred white horses was carried away by the stream. Cyrus was angry, and threatened that he would make the river so insignificant that a woman should cross it without wetting her knee. With this view he drew 180 lines on each side of the river, and bade his army dig a channel on every line; and as a great multitude was employed, the work was finished, but it occupied the whole summer, so that Cyrus did not lead his army against Babylon till the second spring. The Babylonians marched out of the city and awaited his attack. When Cyrus came up the Babylonians joined battle; they were defeated, and driven into the walls. They had known for a long time that Cyrus would not remain at rest, for they had seen how he had reduced all nations alike, and therefore they had collected provisions for many years in the city. The siege, therefore, caused them no alarm; but Cyrus was in difficulties, for time passed away, and he made no advance. Afterwards he did as follows, whether it was that some one suggested the plan to him, or whether he discovered it for himself. He placed part of his army where the river flows into the city, and part where it flows out, and bade them enter the city by the river as soon as it could be forded. After he had given them orders, he went with the bulk of his army to the basin, which the queen of the Babylonians had caused to be excavated,[Pg 77] and did what she had done with the basin and the river. By leading the river through the opening into this basin, which was a marsh, he made the old bed so that it could be forded. When this had been done, and the water of the river had fallen to such an extent that it reached the middle of a man's thigh, the Persians who had been placed near the city forced their way into Babylon along the bed of the river. Had the Babylonians previously known or suspected what Cyrus intended, the Persians would not have passed unnoticed into the walls; had they closed the gates leading from the city to the river, and mounted the walls which line the banks, they would have caught the Persians in a trap as it were, and they would have perished miserably. But the Persians came quite unexpectedly. The outer parts of the city had been already taken while those in the centre, who, as the Babylonians say, knew nothing of the matter, owing to the extent of the city, were dancing and making merry—for it so happened that a festival was being celebrated—until they at length discovered their misfortune."

Xenophon relates that the inhabitants of Babylon laughed at the siege, because the strong and lofty walls could not be taken by storm, and the siege would not hurt them, for they had provisions for more than twenty years. Cyrus also soon convinced himself that the city could not be taken by the means which he was employing, and resolved to draw off the Euphrates, which traverses the city in a stream two stadia (1200 feet) in breadth, and twice the height of a man in depth. For this object he threw a rampart round the whole city, with a very broad and deep trench before it on the side towards the city. This great work was apportioned to the different[Pg 78] parts of the army, and the time occupied in it was calculated at a year. Where the trenches approached the river the earth was not excavated, so that the water would not flow into the trenches. When Cyrus perceived that the Babylonians celebrated a festival at a fixed time, at which they feasted for the whole night, he caused the earth which separated the river from the trenches above the city to be cut through by a multitude of men as soon as it was dark; the water at once ran into the trenches, and the river sank so low that it could be forded. The river now opened a way into the city, and Cyrus bade his troops enter by its bed. They would find the inhabitants drunk and asleep, without any organization for resistance, and when they found the enemy in the city they would lose all their courage. If the Babylonians, nevertheless, attempted to hurl down missiles from the roofs, the houses could be burned, and they would take fire readily, as the doors were of palm-wood covered with bitumen. A separate troop of the Persian army, which Gobryas led, had orders to make their way to the palace of the king as quickly as possible. The Persians entered, and cut down the inhabitants whom they found; others saved themselves by flight. The watch of the palace were drinking by a bright fire before the gates, which were closed. They were surprised and cut down. When the noise of the fight was heard inside the palace, the king sent to inquire what was the meaning of the tumult. But as soon as the gate was opened the Persians forced their way into the palace; the king and those around him drew their swords, but succumbed to numbers, and were killed. Meanwhile Cyrus had despatched his cavalry along the streets, sending with them men skilled in the Syrian lan[Pg 79]guage, who proclaimed that every one who remained in his house would be uninjured; all who showed themselves in the streets would be put to death. Thus the city quickly passed into the hands of the Persians. The gates of the citadel were opened the next morning, when the dawn of light showed them the Persians in possession of the city.[71]

Polyaenus gives two versions of the taking of Babylon. The Babylonians laughed at the siege, as they had provisions for many years. But Cyrus drew off the Euphrates, which flows through the middle of the city, and turned it into a neighbouring swamp. As the Babylonians were thus cut off from drinking-water, they soon opened their gates to Cyrus. The second version is different. When, in order to take Babylon, Cyrus had made a trench to receive the water of the Euphrates, which flows through the city, he led away the army from the walls. The Babylonians believed that Cyrus had abandoned the siege, and they became negligent in keeping watch on the walls. But after drawing off the water, Cyrus led the Persians through the old bed, and unexpectedly made himself master of the city.

Besides these accounts of the Greeks, proclamations of the Hebrews, which are joined on to the prophecies of Isaiah and Jeremiah, give indications on the fall of Babel. "Behold, saith Jehovah, I will dry up their sea and parch their fountains. When they are heated I will prepare a drink for them, and intoxicate them, so that they make merry, that they may sleep an everlasting sleep, and awake no more. And behold! there came mounted men. The night of my pleasure was turned to horror. The watchman wakes, the table is prepared, there is eating and[Pg 80] drinking. Rise up, ye princes, anoint the shield. Their dwellings are set on fire, the bars are broken. One runs to meet another, and messenger to meet messenger, bringing news to the king of Babylon that his city is captured on every side; the channels are taken, the lakes they have burned with fire. Babylon is fallen, is fallen, and all her idols are trampled underfoot. The whole earth rests, and is at peace, the lands break forth into joy. The cypresses are glad over thee, the cedars of Lebanon; now that thou art fallen, no one will come to cut us down."[72] The kings of Babylon, like those of Asshur, used the cedars of Lebanon for their palaces; Nebuchadnezzar himself tells us that he caused cedars to be felled in Lebanon for his palace (III. 386). A later book of the Hebrews, the Book of Daniel, which was written in the first century B.C., under Antiochus Epiphanes (176-164 B.C.), about the year 167 B.C., represents Babylon as taken by the Persians during the night of a festival, but Darius, not Cyrus, is the Persian king. Belshazzar, the son of Nebuchadnezzar, is king of Babylon. He gives a great banquet to his thousand mighty men, and, heated by wine, causes the gold and silver vessels to be brought which Nebuchadnezzar had carried away from the temple at Jerusalem; and his mighty men, their wives and concubines, drink out of them, and sing songs of praise to their gods of gold and silver, brass, iron, stone, and wood. Then suddenly a hand writes letters on the wall of the palace. The king changes colour; the wise men of Babylon, the Chaldæans, the magicians, and prophets were brought, but they cannot read the writing. Then Daniel was summoned, one of the Jews whom Nebuchadnezzar brought from Babylon,[Pg 81] who had already interpreted dreams for Nebuchadnezzar which the wise men of Babylon could not expound, and had remained true to the religion of Jehovah under all temptations. He read the words, which were Hebrew,—Mene, Tekel, Peres,—and explained them: Thy kingdom is "numbered"; thou hast been "weighed" in the balance and found wanting, because thy heart is not humbled, and thou honourest not the God in whose hand is thy breath and all thy fortunes; thy kingdom has been "divided" among the Medes and Persians. Then the king commanded to put the purple robe on Daniel, and the golden chain upon his neck, and proclaim him third in the kingdom. "But in that night was Belshazzar the king of the Chaldæans slain, and Darius the Mede received the kingdom."[73]

Only a short excerpt has come down to us of the account which Berosus gave of the capture of Babylon. "Cyrus set out from Persia with a strong force against Babylon. When Nabonetus heard of his approach, he went to meet him with his army, and they joined battle. He was defeated, and fled with a few companions into the city of the Borsippeans, where he was besieged. Cyrus took Babylon, and as he had found the city difficult to reduce, and stubborn, he gave orders to throw down the walls outside the city, and then set out against Borsippa in order to get Nabonetus into his power, by bringing the siege to an end. But Nabonetus did not wait for the city to be taken by storm; he surrendered. Cyrus treated him with kindness, and sent him from Babylon to Carmania, which he appointed to be his dwelling-place. There Nabonetus lived for the remainder of his life, and there he died." According to Eusebius,[Pg 82] Cyrus gave the vice-royalty of Carmania to Nabonetus, and Darius took it away again.[74]

After all that has been observed above, the attack of Cyrus could not be unexpected by Nabonetus, and we also see from Herodotus that it had been long foreseen, and provisions for many years had been collected in Babylon—according to Xenophon there was sufficient for twenty years. We find, moreover, that the fortifications of the city had been completed; the great extent which Nebuchadnezzar had allowed for the wall of the city must have enclosed a wide breadth of country, or at any rate pastures large enough to maintain numerous herds of cattle. And Nebuchadnezzar had not merely made the metropolis the fortress and strong camp of the kingdom, which could both receive and protect the military forces, he had covered the northern edge of the Babylonian land by a fortification of a hundred feet in height and twenty in thickness, which extended from the Euphrates to the Tigris. Behind this wall were the four great canals which connected the Euphrates and Tigris; and, protected by the great wall, there lay on the Euphrates at Sepharvaim, the reservoirs by which the level of the Euphrates could be raised or lowered, and the canals fed—the basin of which Nebuchadnezzar had availed himself in building his bridge over the Euphrates,—works which Herodotus, we do not know on what authority, but very erroneously ascribes to Nitocris, a queen of Babylon. By this wall, and the canals, which it would be necessary to dam up, any attack on the heart of Babylonia from the direction of Mesopotamia would be rendered almost impossible. The Tigris after leaving the mountains of Armenia, above the ruins of Nineveh,[Pg 83] is not difficult to cross in the summer, yet an attack from this side would encounter almost insuperable difficulties, and even if they were overcome the attacking army would be involved in a labyrinth of canals, in which the cavalry of the Persians could be of little use. Hence Babylonia could only be reached by crossing the Tigris and Euphrates below that fortification and the canals,—a difficult task. If Cyrus attempted to cross both rivers above this point, and then march down the western shore till he was below the "Median wall," he would sacrifice altogether his communication with Persia, he would have to march southwards through the Syrian desert, and then force the passage of the Euphrates, in the neighbourhood of the metropolis, i. e. in the face of the enemy's power, while he at the same time would find himself in the midst of an extensive system of canals, and of the swamps which lie along the Euphrates between Babylon and the sea (I. 300, III. 359).

Under these circumstances Cyrus could only cross the Tigris from the east, and attempt an attack below the wall which united the two rivers. This was the line which, in fact, he followed. Berosus told us that Cyrus "marched from Persia against Nabonetus," and Herodotus exhibits him as occupied for a whole summer on the Diala. His occupation there, as Herodotus describes it, is very unintelligible; the Diala was punished by being divided into 360 canals, and so made fordable. That Cyrus should punish a river is both unlikely in itself and opposed to the religious conceptions of Iran, which as we know required the greatest respect to be paid to rivers; more improbable still and indeed impossible is it in the midst of the war against Babylon. If we do not assume that the source from which Herodotus drew has wrongly[Pg 84] brought a great work of irrigation which Cyrus undertook for the land of the Diala at some other time into connection with this war against Babylon, it must be the passage of the Tigris which is in question. What we know of the military achievements of Cyrus does not allow us to suppose that when once in the field he would give his opponents the respite of a whole summer. If we could assume that the army of Nabonetus had contested the crossing with Cyrus at this point, above the mouth of the Diala, where at a later time the Babylonians attempted to check Darius—and that they had ships of war in the Tigris then, as at the time of Darius—we might then suppose that Cyrus reached the Tigris above the mouth of the Diala, and not being able to force the crossing, attempted to carry off the water of the river into the Diala, above and behind his camp, and at length succeeded in his attempt. Even then the number of the canals is very remarkable. But whether the supposition is right or wrong, in any case we may assume on the basis of the narrative of Herodotus that Cyrus began the war against Babylon in the spring of the year 539 B.C., that he crossed the Tigris in the neighbourhood of the Diala, and that the only result of his first campaign was to effect the passage of the Tigris and retain command of the river. From this point, in the next spring, he led his army, as Herodotus states, in a diagonal across Babylonia towards the city. Nabonetus lost the battle, which, as Herodotus says, was fought in the neighbourhood of Babylon. Of Nabonetus and his fate the historian says not a word; we have therefore no reason to doubt the statement of Berosus, that Nabonetus did not again return to Babylon, but took refuge in Borsippa with a few companions, and was there be[Pg 85]sieged. It was obviously of great advantage to Cyrus to prevent the Babylonians from entering into their city, to drive away the army or part of it from the city in order to diminish the number of those who could defend the walls. He might accomplish this object by strengthening his right wing and advancing with it. If Nabonetus and a part of the fugitives were thus cut off from Babylon, he could only retire southwards beyond the Euphrates into the city nearest Babylon, i. e. into Borsippa, to seek protection at the great temple of Nebo (I. 291), the god whose name he bore.[75] The command in Babylon then devolved on his eldest son Bil-sar-ussur (p. 67). It follows from the narrative of Berosus that Cyrus quickly followed up the defeated army of the Babylonians, that a part of the Persians, treading on the heels of the fugitives, crossed the Euphrates below the city, to invest Borsippa and the metropolis on the western side. Berosus has told us that Cyrus marched against Babylon with a great force. His army must indeed have been strong enough to enclose the second circuit of the city, 35 or 40 miles (III. 372), to meet the attack of the whole force of the besieged on both sides of the river, and blockade Borsippa.

But the inhabitants "ridiculed the siege," and Cyrus could make no progress—such is the account in Herodotus and Xenophon. Owing to the amount of provisions at the command of the city, an investment could not promise any result, and there was little prospect of storming the city. The broad and deep trenches in front of the walls made it impossible to undermine them; even if these could be filled up under the missiles of the enemy in a few places[Pg 86] for the battering-rams to be brought forward, the strength of the walls was so great that they could not be broken. Still less possible was it to mount them. They were so high that the arrows of the besiegers could not reach them with force, and even if the attack was carried successfully over the trenches, no towers or ladders would be at once strong and high enough to bring the storming party to the turrets. According to Herodotus, a long time had elapsed before Cyrus formed his plan. He bethought himself of the basin which Nebuchadnezzar had excavated at Sepharvaim, for the regulation of the inundations of the Euphrates, for feeding and damming up the canals; this work constructed for the benefit and protection of the land he used for the destruction of the capital. The Euphrates was to be led off into this basin till its bed could be forded at Babylon. Then the storming of the city was to be attempted from the river, the walls on the banks being less high and strong. For this object it was necessary to obtain possession of the fortress of Sepharvaim, which guarded the sluices of the basin, to deepen or enlarge the basin itself, so that for a certain period it could receive the whole mass of water; it was also requisite that the canal which led into it should be widened and deepened; and lastly the course of the river beneath the basin, or rather beneath the great canals which led into the Tigris, must be barred by a dam, if the Euphrates was to flow into it. The army of Cyrus must have been so strong, that after leaving behind a sufficient number of men on both sides of the Euphrates to continue the blockade of the city and of Borsippa, it could detach an adequate force of troops and workmen to Sepharvaim. Before these works could be begun,[Pg 87] the inundation which in June and July the Euphrates pours over the plain of Babylon must have been over; and before the return of the inundation in the autumn, which would imperil the whole undertaking, Sepharvaim must be captured, the Euphrates drawn off, and Babylon conquered. When Sepharvaim was in the hand of Cyrus, the stream, which had previously been dammed up with the exception of a small passage, must have been rapidly closed, that the Babylonians might not have their suspicions roused by the fall of the water, and guard the walls on the river with redoubled vigilance. The time was short. Pliny has preserved for us the statement that the large city of Agranis, which lay on the Euphrates, where the canal Nahr Malka (III. 359) flowed out of the river, was destroyed by the Persians; the walls of the city of Sepharvaim which had been rendered famous by the wisdom of the Chaldæans (Sippara, I. 245), were also destroyed by the Persians, and Gobares (Gobryas), as some say, had drawn off the Euphrates.[76] To Gobryas Xenophon also allots an important share in the capture of Babylon (p. 78). Even without these statements of Pliny, which support the account of Herodotus, and inform us of the battles which the Persians had to fight on the Euphrates above Babylon in order to establish themselves at the entrance of the Nahr Malka, and get the mouth of the basin into their power—even without the hints of the prophets of the Hebrews about the "drying up of the springs," and "parching of the channels," and the remark of Polyaenus about the drawing off of the Euphrates at a marsh (the basin of Sepharvaim was, when not filled, a marsh), we must reject Xenophon's account of the drawing off of the[Pg 88] Euphrates. Conceding the extent of the walls of Babylon, even if limited to one bank of the river, the work could not have been done in a year; and every day the execution of the work under the eyes of the besieged would have made its object more plain.

The plan of Cyrus succeeded. The removal of Agranis and Sepharvaim made the execution possible; the number of hands at his disposal caused all the works to be carried out at the right time, i. e. before the inundation of the autumn. The storming of the city could be attempted by the river-bed both above and below the city.[77] That it took place and was accomplished on the night of a festival, is stated in the narratives of Herodotus and Xenophon, and indicated by the Hebrew prophet in the words "the night of my pleasure was turned to horror," and other phrases (p. 80); and the book of Daniel makes the same assertion. Aristotle is of opinion that even three days after, a third part of the population did not know that the city had been taken.[78] Xenophon represents the division of Gobryas as the first to reach the palace; the king falls when defending himself against their attack. By the palace is here meant one of the two royal citadels, either the older on the western bank, or the more recent on the eastern bank of the Euphrates, the palace of Nabopolassar and Nebuchadnezzar (III. 375), and the king whom he represents as slain there, must have been Bil-sar[Pg 89]ussur, the son and heir of Nabonetus. As we have observed, the book of Daniel calls the king who lost his throne and life on the night of the festival, Belshazzar. In addition to him, Nabonetus had a second son, named Nebuchadnezzar (see below, chap, xiv.). Besides the palace of the king, Xenophon speaks of citadels of Babylon which surrendered to the conqueror on the following morning.

After the capture of the metropolis, which was followed by the surrender of Borsippa, and the capture of Nabonetus (538 B.C.), Cyrus, so far as we can tell, showed clemency both towards the king, whom he caused to be taken to Carmania, and to the city of Babylon. The kings of Asshur treated besieged princes and conquered cities in a manner very different from that in which Cyrus treated Astyages, Crœsus and Sardis, Nabonetus and Babylon. Babylonia was not oppressed; the city was not destroyed. Cyrus stepped into the place of the native king. The Babylonian tablets after the capture of the city and the fall of the kingdom, date from the years of the reign of Cyrus over Babylonia, the years "of Kurus, king of Babylon, king of the lands."[79] The city of Babylon retained her temples and palaces and her mighty walls. Herodotus tells us expressly that Cyrus did no injury to the walls or the gates of Babylon,[80] and twenty years afterwards we find the city in possession of her impregnable works. Xenophon remarks that Cyrus placed troops in the citadels, set captains over them, left behind a sufficient garrison in the city and charged the inhabitants with the maintenance of it; the arrangements then made for keeping guard were in existence still.[81] If,[Pg 90] therefore, the excerpt of Josephus from Berosus tells us that Cyrus destroyed the walls "outside the city," this can only refer to the great wall which Nebuchadnezzar had built from the Euphrates to the Tigris above Sepharvaim, as a protection against an attack from the north. It would have been a heavy task to level with the ground this fortification throughout its entire length of from 60 to 75 miles, the Persians therefore contented themselves with making large breaches in it. The wall was in this condition when Xenophon came with the ten thousand to Babylon.[82]

The fall of the metropolis had decided the fortune of the Babylonian kingdom, and the provinces. The most important of these was Syria, with the great trading places of the Phenicians on the Mediterranean; we remember how many and what severe struggles the subjection of Syria had cost Nebuchadnezzar. At the present moment the approach of the Persians was enough to cause Syria to recognise the supremacy of Cyrus almost without a blow. Herodotus tells us that the Phenicians voluntarily submitted to the Persians; Xenophon mentions that Cyrus had subjugated the Phenicians; Polybius observes that Gaza alone among all the cities of Syria offered resistance; the rest, terrified at the approach of the Persians and the greatness of their power, had surrendered themselves and their lands to them. With the capture of Gaza Cyrus stood on the borders of Egypt. As we have seen, Nebuchadnezzar allowed the states and cities of Syria to retain their native princes, so long as these preserved their fidelity to him; even over the Phenician cities he and his successors placed men of their own royal or priestly families to be at once judges or princes of the cities[Pg 91] and viceroys of Babylon. That Tyre surrendered without a struggle, as Herodotus and Polybius tell us of Syria, that Cyrus, like Nebuchadnezzar before him, left the princes who submitted in command, follows from the fact that Hiram, whom Nabonetus had made king of Tyre, continued to reign over the city under Cyrus.[83] If Cyrus felt himself compelled to establish princes in the Greek cities of the coast for the first time, who owed their position to him, and could not maintain it without his aid, the cities of Phœnicia had long been accustomed to receive these princes from distant sovereigns. Cyrus and his successors confined themselves in their choice to the old royal families of the Phenician cities; at any rate we find, even under the Achæmenids, men with the hereditary names at the head of Tyre and Sidon. Yet the relations of the Phenician cities did not remain without change. Cyrus, as it seems, availed himself of the old rivalry between Tyre and Sidon to win a further support for his power. Ever since the foundation of Gades, and the times of the first Hiram of Tyre, the contemporary of Solomon, Sidon had been gradually forced by Tyre into the second place; under the Persian kingdom Sidon again appears as the first[Pg 92] city of Phœnicia, and her kings have the precedence of those of Tyre and the other cities.[84] To the population on the whole the change to the Persian dominion would be regarded with indifference if not with pleasure; a connection with the Persian empire opened a far more extensive market for trade, and secured and protected intercourse over a far greater extent of country than the kingdom of Nebuchadnezzar.

The ancient kingdom of Babylon, in which the civilisation of the Semitic stock had taken root some fifteen centuries previously, and had attained to such peculiar development, which had struggled so long and stubbornly against the younger kingdom of Assyria, and when it finally succumbed, had been raised to yet greater power than it had ever attained to in old times, under the brilliant reigns of Nabopolassar and Nebuchadnezzar—which had united the branches of the Semitic stem from the Tigris to the Mediterranean, from the foot of the Armenian mountains to the deserts of Arabia—had succumbed to the attack of Cyrus after a brief existence, sixty-nine years after the fall of Nineveh. The predominance exercised for so many centuries by Semitic culture and Semitic arms through the old Babylonian, the Assyrian, and the second Babylonian kingdom, passed to a tribe of different character, language, and culture—to the Arians of Iran.

It was this violent change, which brought to a Semitic tribe liberation for its fellow Semites. The hopes of the Jews were at last fulfilled. The fall of Babylon had avenged the fall of Jerusalem, and the[Pg 93] subjugation of Syria to the armies of Babylon opened the way for their return. Cyrus did not belie the confidence which the Jews had so eagerly offered him; without hesitation he gave the exiles permission to return and erect again their shrine at Jerusalem. The return of the captives and the foundation of a new state of the Jews was very much to his interest; it might contribute to support his empire in Syria. He did not merely count on the gratitude of the returning exiles, but as any revival of the Babylonian kingdom, or rebellion of the Syrians against the Persian empire, imperilled the existence of this community, which had not only to be established anew, but would never be very strong, it must necessarily oppose any such attempts. Forty-nine years—seven Sabbatical years, instead of the ten announced by Jeremiah—had passed since the destruction of Jerusalem, and more than sixty since Jeremiah had first announced the seventy years of servitude to Babylon. Cyrus commissioned Zerubbabel, the son of Salathiel, a grandson of Jechoniah, the king who had been carried away captive, and therefore a scion of the ancient royal race, and a descendant of David, to be the leader of the returning exiles, to establish them in their abode, and be the head of the community;[85] he bade his treasurer Mithridates give out to him the sacred vessels, which Nebuchadnezzar had carried away as trophies to Babylon, and placed in the temple of Bel; there are said to have been more than 5000 utensils of gold and silver, baskets, goblets, cups, knives, etc. But all the Jews in Babylon did not avail themselves of the permission. Like the Israelites deported by Sargon into Media and Assyria some 180 years previously, many of the Jews brought to Mesopotamia[Pg 94] and Babylonia at the time of Jechoniah and Zedekiah, had found there a new home, which they preferred to the land of their fathers. But the priests (to the number of more than 3000[86]), many of the families of the heads of the tribes, all who cared for the sanctuary and the old country, all in whom Jehovah "awoke the spirit," as the Book of Ezra says, began the march over the Euphrates. With Zerubbabel was Joshua, the high priest, the most distinguished among all the Jews, a grandson of the high priest Zeraiah, whom Nebuchadnezzar had executed after the capture of Jerusalem. The importance of the priests had increased in the captivity; they had become the natural heads and judges of the Jews, and the people following the guidance of the prophets, had learned to regard Jehovah as their peculiar lord and king. It was a considerable multitude which left the land "beyond the stream," the waters of Babylon, to sit once more under the fig-tree in their ancient home, and build up the city of David and the temple of Jehovah from their ruins; 42,360 freemen, with 7337 Hebrew men-servants and maid-servants; their goods were carried by 435 camels, 736 horses, 250 mules, and 6720 asses (537 B.C.)[87] The exodus of the Jews from Babylon is accompanied by a prophet with cries of joy, and announcements filled with the wildest hopes. Was not the fall of Babylon and the return home a sure pledge that the anger of Jehovah was appeased? Must not the dawn of that brilliant time be come, which the prophets had always pointed out behind the execution of the punishment? Could not the most joyful expectation prevail that Jehovah's grace would[Pg 95] be greater henceforth than his anger in the past? Thus, in the spirit, the prophet saw all the scattered members of the people of Israel, who since the time of Tiglath-Pilesar II. had been carried away, or fled for refuge, return from the distant lands, from Egypt and the isles; Jerusalem has put on a new splendour which far exceeds that of old days; and therefore he gives expression to the confident expectation that the people of Jehovah will be the first nation of the earth, and the resurgent Zion will be the centre and the protector of all nations. "Go forth from Babylon," he cries; "fly from the land of the Chaldæans! Proclaim it with shouts of joy, tell it to the end of the earth and say: 'Jehovah hath redeemed his servant Jacob.'"[88] "How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth glad tidings, that publisheth peace, that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth.[89] Up, up, go forth, touch no unclean person; go forth from among them. Cleanse yourselves, ye that bear Jehovah's vessels.[90] Ye shall go forth in joy and be led in peace; the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees shall clap their hands.[91] Jehovah goes before you, and the God of Israel brings up the rear. Was it not Jehovah who made the depths of the sea to be your pathway, so that His redeemed passed through? In the desert through which they passed they thirsted not; He clave the rock and the waters flowed.[92] So shall the ransomed of Jehovah return, and come with singing to Zion, and everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; sorrow and sighing shall flee away.[93] O, poor ones, surrounded with misery and comfortless; for a[Pg 96] little time Jehovah left thee, but He takes thee up again with greater love, and I will have mercy on thee for ever, saith Jehovah. As I swore that the waters of Noah should not come again upon the earth, so do I swear to be angry with thee no more. The mountains may melt and tremble, but my mercy will leave thee no more. Jehovah calls thee as an outcast sorrowful woman, and thy God speaks to thee as to a bride who has been put away;[94] thy ruins, and deserts, and wasted land, which was destroyed from generation to generation—thy people build up the ruins, and renew the ancient cities.[95] Behold, I will make thy desert like Eden, and thy wilderness like the garden of the Lord; I will lay thy stones with bright lead, and thy foundations with sapphires, and make thy towers of rubies and thy gates of carbuncles.[96] Joy and delight is in them, thanksgiving and the sound of strings. The wealth of the sea shall come to thee, and the treasures of the nations shall be thine;[97] like a stream will I bring salvation upon Israel, and the treasures of the nations like an overflowing river.[98] Thy sons hasten onward; those that laid thee waste go forth from thee.[99] Lift up thine eyes and see; thy sons come from far, and I will gather them to those that are gathered together. The islands and the ships of Tarshish wait to bring thy children from afar, their gold and their silver with them.[100] The land will be too narrow for the inhabitants; widen the place for thy tent, let the carpets of thy habitation be spread—delay not. Draw out the rope; to the right and to the left must thou be widened.[101] I will set up my banner for the nations, that they bring thy sons in[Pg 97] their arm, and thy daughters shall be carried on the shoulders. Kings shall be thy guardians, and queens thy nursing-mothers; I will bow them to the earth before thee, and they shall lick the dust of thy feet, and thou shalt know that I am Jehovah, and they who wait patiently for me shall not be put to shame."[102]

Such expectations and hopes were far from being realised. The Edomites had, in the mean-time, extended their borders, and obtained possession of the South of Judah, but the land immediately round Jerusalem was free and no doubt almost depopulated. As the returning exiles contented themselves with the settlement at Jerusalem, the towns to the North, Anathoth, Gebah, Michmash, Kirjath-Jearim, and some others—only Bethlehem is mentioned to the South,[103] they found nothing to impede them. Their first care was the restoration of the worship, according to the law and custom of their fathers, for which object an altar of burnt-offerings was erected on the site of the temple, in order to offer the appointed sacrifice at morning and evening. The priests, minstrels, and Levites were separated according to their families, and those who could not prove their priestly descent were rejected for the sacred service;[104] the attempt was then made to arrange the rest of the exiles according to their families, in order to decide their claims and rights to certain possessions and lands. Then voluntary gifts were collected from all for the rebuilding of the temple; contributions even came in from those who had remained in Babylonia, so that 70,000 pieces of gold and 5000 minæ of silver are said to have been amassed. Tyrian masons were hired, and agreements[Pg 98] made with Tyrian carpenters, to fell cedars in Lebanon, and bring them to Joppa, for which Cyrus had given his permission. The foundation of the temple was laid in the second year of the return (536 B.C.). The priests appeared in their robes with trumpets, and the Levites with cymbals, to praise Jehovah; "that He might be gracious, and His mercy be upon Israel for ever." Those of the priests and elders who had seen the old temple are said to have wept aloud; "but many raised their voices in joy so that the echo was heard far off."[105] We have evidence of the grateful and elevated tone which filled the exiles in those days, in songs, where we read: "They pressed upon me in my youth, but they overpowered me not. The ploughers ploughed upon my back and made long furrows. Jehovah is just; he broke the bonds of the wicked. Praised be Jehovah, who did not give us over as prey to their teeth; our soul escaped like a bird from the snare of the fowler. When Jehovah turned again the captivity of Zion, our way was filled with joy; and they said among the nations: Jehovah hath done great things for them! Jehovah hath chosen Zion, and taken it to be His abode and resting-place for ever and ever. There He will clothe His priests with salvation, and exalt the power of David, and clothe his enemies with shame."[106]

The fortunate beginning of the restoration of the city and temple soon met with difficulties. The people of Samaria, who were a mixture of the remnant of the Israelites and the strangers whom Sargon had brought there after the capture of Samaria (III. 86), and Esarhaddon at a later date (III. 154), came to meet the exiles in a friendly spirit, and offered them assistance, from which we must conclude that in spite of the[Pg 99] foreign admixture the Israelitish blood and the worship of Jehovah were preponderant in Samaria. The new temple would thus have been the common sanctuary of the united people of Israel. But the "sons of captivity" were too proud of the sorrows which they had undergone, and the fidelity which they had preserved to Jehovah, and their pure descent, to accept this offer. Hence the old quarrel between Israel and Judah broke out anew, and the exiles soon felt the result. After their repulse the Samaritans set themselves to hinder the building by force; "they terrified the exiles that they built no more, and hired counsellors to make the attempt vain during the whole of the remainder of the reign of Cyrus."[107] The reasons which these counsellors brought forward before Cyrus against the continuation of the buildings at Jerusalem, would be the same which were afterwards brought before Artaxerxes Longimanus; namely, that when Jerusalem and its walls were finished the city would become rebellious and disobedient, as it was previously under the kings of Babylon.


[53] The reigns of Nebuchadnezzar, Evilmerodach, Neriglissar, and the accession of Nabonetus in 555 B.C., are now fixed not only by the canon of Ptolemy but also by the Babylonian tablets, which give forty-three years for Nebuchadnezzar (604-561), two years for Evilmerodach (561-559), four years for Neriglissar (559-555), seventeen years for Nabonetus, (555-538); "Transactions Bibl. Society," 6, p. 47-53. Oppert (l. c. p. 262) also mentions a tablet of Labasi-marduk (Labasoarchad), who sat on the throne for nine months. Boscawen reads Lakhabasi-Kudur, l. c. p. 78. On the elevation of Hiram in Tyre, vol. III. 394.

[54] Ps. and Isa. xxi. 2.

[55] Fragm. 14, ed. Müller.

[56] Ps. cxxxvii.

[57] Ps. liii., liv.

[58] Jer. 1. 17-19.

[59] Jer. 1. 2; li. 44.

[60] Jer. li. 13, 53, 58.

[61] Jer. 1. 14, 29; li. 27.

[62] V. 314 n.

[63] Deut. Isa. xiii. 17-22; xiv. 4, 11-14. [Cf. Cheyne, "Isaiah," Vol. II., Essay xi.]

[64] Deut. Isa. xli. 2, 3; xli. 25; xliv. 28. Kohut, "Antiparsismus in Deut. Yesaias, Z. D. M. G." 1876, 3, 711 ff.

[65] Deut. Isa. xlv. 1, 2, 3. Vol. III. 369.

[66] Deut. Isa. xlvii. 1-13.

[67] Deut. Isa. xlix. 14-16.

[68] Deut. Isa. li. 17. Vol. III. 326.

[69] Deut. Isa. xlix. 13.

[70] Deut. Isa. xlvi. 11; xlviii. 14, 15.

[71] Xenoph. "Cyri inst." 7, 5.

[72] Jer. li. 31, 32, 39; Deut. Isa. xiv. 7-9; xxi. 4-9.

[73] Dan. v. 1-31.

[74] Beros. fragm. 14; Euseb. "Chron." 1. 42, ed. Schöne.

[75] On the site of Borsippa, Vol. I. 291, and on Nebuchadnezzar's buildings at the temple of Nebo, at Borsippa, III. 385.

[76] Pliny, "H. N." 6, 30.

[77] Sir Henry Rawlinson spoke in the Asiatic Society on Nov. 17, 1879, of a Babylonian cylinder brought home by Rassam, which, though broken, is said to give an account in thirty-seven legible lines of the capture of Babylon by Cyrus, and to contain a genealogical tree of Cyrus. As yet I have not been able to learn anything further. [Cf. Cheyne, "Isaiah," Vol. II., Essay xi.]

[78] "Pol." 3, 1, 12.

[79] Oppert et Ménant, "Docum. Juridiq." p. 266.

[80] Herod. 3, 159.

[81] "Cyri inst." 7, 5, 34, 69, 70.

[82] Xenoph. "Anab." 2, 4. Vol. III. 366.

[83] Xenoph. "Cyri inst." 1, 1, 4; 7, 4, 1. On Hiram, above, p. 67; Joseph. "c. Apion," 1, 21; Polybius, 16, 40. The statement of Polybius might be referred to the campaign of Cambyses against Egypt, if the supremacy of Cyrus in Syria were not proved by other evidence, as Ezra iii. 7, and the return of the Jews. Herodotus also would not have omitted the siege of Gaza in his detailed description of the march of Cambyses against Egypt, if it had not taken place until then. The general expression in Herodotus (3, 34) cannot outweigh all these proofs; it only says with the exaggerated tone of flattery that Cambyses first placed a fleet on the sea, and claims the subjugation of Cyprus for him. As a fact Cyrus left the islands of Anatolia, except Chios and Lesbos, which voluntarily submitted, uninjured, and did not call on them for a fleet, for which there were many good reasons from the point of view of a Persian king.

[84] Herod. 3, 19; 5, 104, 110; 7, 96, 98, 128; Xenoph. "Ages." 2, 30; Diod. 16, 41. The rebellion of Sidon in 351 B.C. again reversed the relations.

[85] 1 Chron. iii. 17-19.

[86] Ezra ii. 36-39.

[87] Ezra ch. ii. As Babylon was conquered in the summer of 538, the first year of Cyrus in Babylon reaches to the summer of 537; Ezra i. 1, 3; Beros. fragm. 15, ed. Müller.

[88] Deut. Isa. xlviii. 20.

[89] Deut. Isa. lii. 7.

[90] Deut. Isa. lii. 11.

[91] Deut. Isa. lv. 12.

[92] Deut. Isa. xlviii. 21.

[93] Deut. Isa. li. 11.

[94] Deut. Isa. liv. 6-10.

[95] Deut. Isa. xlix. 19; lviii. 12.

[96] Deut. Isa. liv. 11.

[97] Deut. Isa. lx. 5.

[98] Deut. Isa. lxvi. 12.

[99] Deut. Isa. xlix. 17.

[100] Deut. Isa. lx. 4-9.

[101] Deut. Isa. liv. 2.

[102] Deut. Isa. xlix. 22, 23.

[103] Ewald, "Volk. Israel." 3, 91.

[104] Ezra ii. 59-63.

[105] Ezra iii. 8-13.

[106] Ps. cxxix.-cxxxii.

[107] Ezra iv. 1-5, 24. It is obvious that verse 24 must follow on verse 5 in chap. iv. The verses 6-23 treat of things which happened under Xerxes and Artaxerxes, and they have got into the wrong place.



[Pg 100]



We were able to prove that Cyrus, soon after his victory over Astyages and the Medes, reduced the Parthians and Hyrcanians beneath his dominion, that the Caducians, the Armenians, and the Cappadocians were his subjects before the Lydian war, that his empire at this period extended to the Halys. How far he had already advanced towards the Bactrians and Sacae must remain uncertain, owing to the contradiction which exists on this point between the summary narrative of Herodotus and the excerpt from Ctesias. Afterwards the Lydian war and its sequel made Cyrus master of the whole of Asia Minor. Between the Lydian and Babylonian wars Herodotus represents him as conquering the whole of upper Asia, one nation after the other, and Berosus as conquering the whole of Asia. When our knowledge is so scanty, it is impossible to fix the campaigns of Cyrus in the East and the West with greater exactness, or even to ascertain clearly what successes he achieved in these regions before and after the Babylonian war. We merely perceive that Elam was subject to Cyrus before the attack on Babylon (p. 83), and if a habitation could be allotted to[Pg 101] Nabonetus in Carmania, that country must have been subject before the war which destroyed the Babylonian kingdom; we may also conclude with great probability that Cyrus would not have marched against Babylon before he felt himself secure in the East. Hence we may assume that Iran was subject before the Babylonian war, and the campaigns which resulted in the conquest of the Gandarians and their northern neighbours, the Sogdiani and Chorasmians, must be ascribed to the period after this war. Whether the nations in the north of Armenia, on the isthmus between the Black and the Caspian Sea, the Saspeires and Alarodians in the East, and the Colchians and Phasians in the valley of the Phasis, were reduced by Cyrus or his immediate successors remains doubtful. In the East he had conquered the Drangians, Areians, Arachoti, Gedrosians, and Gandarians, to the south of the Cabul on the Indus,[108] and imposed tribute on the Açvakas to the north of the Cabul.[109] In the land of the Arachoti he destroyed, as we are told, the city of Capisa; Darius mentions a city, Kapisakani in Arachosia, and Capisa is also mentioned elsewhere in later writers.[110] Nearchus tells us that Cyrus undertook a campaign against the land of the Indians; on the march thither he lost the greater part of his army in Gedrosia, owing to the desert and the difficulties of the way; according to the account of the natives Cyrus and seven men alone remained out of the whole army.[111] In his account of Alexander of Macedon, Diodorus remarks that after he had encamped at Drangiana (V. 7), he came to the Ariaspi, who were neighbours to the Gedrosians. These Ariaspi (whose abodes we[Pg 102] have already discovered in the neighbourhood of the Etymandros) were called "Benefactors" for the following reason. On one of his campaigns, Cyrus was in the desert, and reduced to extreme distress for want of necessaries; famine compelled his men to eat each other; till the Ariaspians brought up 30,000 waggons, filled with provisions. Thus rescued, Cyrus allowed them immunity from contributions, honoured them with other presents, and gave them the name of "Benefactors."[112] Strabo also tells us that the Ariaspians received this name from Cyrus, and so does Arrian, though he gives a different and less appropriate reason for it, saying that they had assisted Cyrus in his campaign against the Scyths.[113] Curtius tells us, as a reason for the name, that the Ariaspi had aided the army of Cyrus when suffering from want of provisions and the cold, with supplies and shelter.[114] Herodotus observes that those who had done a service to the king were called "Orosangians." In Old Bactrian, Huvarezyanha means the doer of a kind action. Other instances are not wanting to prove that the Persian kings followed the example of Cyrus in conferring this title as a distinction.

We may regard it as certain that Cyrus had gone beyond Gedrosia and reduced the Gandarians and the Açvakas to the north of the Cabul; that he afterwards advanced to the Indus, and his army was brought into great distress in the deserts of Gedrosia, as was afterwards the case with Alexander's army on his return from the Indus. The Ariaspians, from the position of their country, could only be in a position to bring aid if Cyrus were returning from the Indus, or if the distress was so great on the outward march[Pg 103] that he felt himself compelled to return when in Gedrosia. Megasthenes distinctly states that Cyrus did not cross the Indus or set foot in India.[115] In the north-east he had reduced the Margiani and Bactrians to lasting obedience. As he had gained a good frontier in the east on the Indus, he set himself to obtain a similar frontier in the north-east. The northern neighbours of the Hyrcanians, Parthians and Margiani, the Sacae and the Chorasmians on the lower Oxus, were subject to him. With the conquest of the Sogdiani on the western slope of the Belurdagh Cyrus touched the course of the Jaxartes. There, on a stream running into that river, he built six citadels and a large fortress to secure the border against the nomads of the steppes beyond. These, like the fortress in the land of the Cadusians (V. 388), bore the name of Cyrus. The Greeks call the north-eastern Cyrus, Cyreshata, i. e. the farthest Cyrus (V. 22).

From the mountains of his native land Cyrus had subjugated in thirty years three great kingdoms—Media, Lydia, and Babylonia; he had conquered Asia from the shore of the Ægean Sea to the Indus, and from the brook of Egypt to the shores of the Black and Caspian Seas and the banks of the Jaxartes. None of the conquerors before him—no Pharaoh of Egypt—none of the ancient kings of Elam or Babylon, or of the restless sovereigns of Assyria, nor even the Mede Cyaxares—had achieved results which could be distantly compared with the successes of Cyrus. And he had done more than merely subdue this region; he had understood how to maintain his conquests; he was not compelled like the rulers of Assyria to begin each year a new struggle against his defeated opponents;[Pg 104] in his unbounded empire he knew how to institute arrangements which ensured an existence of two whole centuries. Hence it would be of great service to know more precisely what his regulations were for the management of his empire. But we are almost entirely without information about them. We can only attempt to draw conclusions from certain hints supplied by tradition as to the form which Cyrus gave to his dominions. We have already remarked that the Greeks ascribed to Cyrus the foundation of excellent institutions, and placed him by the side of Lycurgus; they maintained that at the time of Cyrus the Persians were in a condition midway between slavery and freedom. Arrian observes that the Persians, with whom Cyrus deprived the Medes of the empire and subjugated the remaining nations of Asia partly by arms and partly by voluntary submission, were poor and the inhabitants of a rugged country, and obeyed regulations which made their training like that of the Spartans.[116] We can plainly see that the kingdom rested on the power and devotion of the Persians; they were the ruling tribe beside the sovereign, and in addition to the proud consciousness that they were the lords of the empire Cyrus allowed them to enjoy the fruits and advantages of dominion. The Persians were free from contributions and taxes for the empire, they had only to render military service. Xenophon tells us that in the time of Cyrus the owners of land furnished excellent horsemen, who took the field; the rest served for pay. The garrisons in the fortresses were composed of Persians who were handsomely treated.[117] The Greeks have already told us that Cyrus permitted the Persians to express [Pg 105]their opinions freely and openly, and paid honour to those who gave good counsel, and if they assert that no one rewarded services more liberally (V. 390), these rewards would mainly fall into the hands of the Persians. From the Persians were first and chiefly elected the captains of the armies, the commanders of the contingents which the subject nations had to furnish, and the viceroys who governed the conquered provinces. Yet nearer to the king stood the six princes of the Persian tribes (the prince of the Pasargadae was the king), the descendants of those who in union with Achaemenes had once governed the Persian nation. Like the king himself they wore the upright tiara; from their families the king had to choose his legitimate wife, while his daughters were married to the sons of the tribal princes.[118] The wife of Cyrus was the daughter of the tribal prince Pharnaspes. The chiefs of the Persians were the nearest to the throne; they entered into the king's presence unannounced, and no doubt formed with the king the chief council of the kingdom. Besides this chief council there was a supreme court of seven judges. These, as Herodotus tells us, were chosen men, who had to pronounce sentence for the Persians, and explain the customs of the fathers; and "everything was brought before them." They held their office for life, unless convicted of injustice.[119] We also find that the son succeeded the father. But even these judges were subject to the supervision and authority of the king, and if it was proved that any of them had received bribes he inflicted the severest penalties.[120]

"At the time of the Medes," Herodotus tells us,[Pg 106] "the nations ruled over each other; the Medes ruled over all, and directly over those nearest to them; these again over their neighbours, who in their turn ruled over those who lay on their borders. In the same way the Persians estimate the value of nations. They consider themselves by far the best of all nations; next in order come those who live nearest to them, and those who are most remote are held in least estimation."[121] If Herodotus has here correctly represented the self-consciousness of the Persians his statement also obviously implies the pride of race, the community of language and religion, which united the Persians with the kindred nations of the Iranian table-land, and most closely with the Medes, and the nations of Western Iran. This feeling presented itself to Cyrus as a valuable political consideration, and he felt himself called upon to win for his kingdom the Medes as the nation nearest akin to the Persians and more numerous. With this view he spared and respected Astyages, took his daughter into his house, and made her his wife, and even in the first decade of his reign had no hesitation in appointing Medes as generals and viceroys; the custom of his successors, to reside for some time in Ecbatana, in order by this means to attach the Medes to the kingdom, must, no doubt, go back to Cyrus.

But even towards the conquered nations of alien race, language, and religion Cyrus conducted himself in a manner very different from the manner of the kings of Asshur before him. Their kings were not executed, their cities were not burnt, and their religion and worship were left uninjured. On the other hand Cyrus did not content himself with the homage of the conquered princes, nor did he, like the [Pg 107]Assyrians, allow men of the same nation to take their place. Execution, cruel treatment, imprisonment of the conquered prince, alone or with his family, could only embitter the conquered nation against the conqueror. The continuance of the conquered prince in power only supplied them with the impulse and means to recover their former independence, and princes chosen in their place from the midst of the subjects would soon follow the lead of the national tendencies, and their own ambition. Astyages, Crœsus, and Nabonetus received residences and possessions in distant regions, which allowed them to live in dignity and opulence; and where the throne remained in the families of the native rulers in districts of moderate extent which had submitted voluntarily, as in Cilicia and the cities of the Phenicians, this was not done without certain limitations and safe regulations. Cyrus set viceroys over the parts of his empire, who were supplied with troops in moderate numbers. The chief cities, such as Sardis and Babylon, like the border fortresses, were secured by garrisons of Persian troops. Cyrus did not impose heavy burdens on the conquered nations; he left it to themselves to fix the amount of the yearly contributions which they should pay into his treasury, though it is true that the amount of the favour they had to expect from the king depended on the tribute. The viceroys were subordinate to the king, but with this restriction they exercised supreme authority in the regions over which they presided. Their main duty was to preserve the province in obedience and peace. Whether the command that they were to look after the development of agriculture, and the growth of the population, is traceable to Cyrus (V. 206), we cannot decide, but we see clearly[Pg 108] that the various communities and regions managed their own affairs independently, and governed themselves. The local political institutions were not attacked and removed any more than the religious. It was of no importance whether the local organisation was dynastic or republican, though in more important communities such as the Greek cities—the Anatolian, and the Phenician cities on the Syrian coast, Cyrus gave the preference to the dynastic form, inasmuch as the dynasties there were compelled to seek from the king the support necessary for maintaining their power. If princes of the old royal families were set up over the cities of the Phenicians, the rise of party leaders to a princely position was favoured among the Greeks. The local interests of one town were also advanced against those of another, e. g. the interests of Sidon against those of Tyre, and the interests of Miletus against the other cities. The persons thus favoured were by this means closely connected with the kingdom; in the event of a change of dominion they had to fear the loss of the privileges which they had attained. Moreover Cyrus had at hand rewards and distinctions of merit, not for the Persians only, but also for his subjects in other nations. Xenophon lays stress on the liberality of Cyrus towards those who had done him good service as the chief means by which he established and strengthened his empire, and if he tells us that the kings of Persia had continued what Cyrus had begun, we may certainly assume that the magnificent list of distinctions and honours, which we find in use at a later time in the Persian empire, goes back to Cyrus. The merits which whole regions and tribes had done to the king were also rewarded. We have already seen that the title "Benefactors," with which[Pg 109] largesses in land were joined,[122] was given not only to distinguished men but also to tribes. "What conqueror except Cyrus," asks Xenophon, "has been called Father by his subjects, a name which is obviously given not to the plunderer but to the Benefactor?" By gentleness and liberality he induced men to prefer him to son, or brother, or father. As he cared for his subjects and treated them as a father, so did they honour him as a father. In this way he was able to reign alone, and rule according to his own will his kingdom which was the greatest and most splendid of all.[123]

Though this description of Xenophon is idealised, though even the more sober statements of the Greeks, the words of Plato already quoted, the statements of Herodotus, that the Persians held no one to be the equal of Cyrus, that they called him father because he had ruled them with a father's gentleness and had provided them with all good things,[124] and the opinion of Aeschylus who speaks of Cyrus as a wise and right-minded man, primarily represent the grateful memory which the Persians cherished of the founder of their kingdom, Cyrus is undoubtedly the least bloody among the conquerors and founders of empires known to the history of the East. His object was not to terrify the conquered nations and hold them in check by arms, but to reconcile them to the new government. In Babylon he simply took the place of the native king; like him, he took measures for the maintenance of the great temples of the land; on a brick found at Senkereh we read: "Kuras, maintainer of Bit-Saggatu" (i. e. of the great temple of Merodach at Babylon) "and Bit-Zida" (the temple of Nebo at Borsippa), "son of[Pg 110] Kambuziya, I, the king."[126] Hence he not only left his subjects their religion and rites, but was careful of them. In the same way their administration of justice remained undisturbed, and so far as possible he allowed them to rule themselves. He did not attempt to exhaust their means; on the contrary, agriculture and trade were favoured, and wherever a rebellion was attempted and suppressed, the supression was not followed by any sanguinary punishment. In spite of our defective information we may still recognise some trace of his keen and unerring political insight. The manner in which he organised his empire deserves the higher praise because it is the product of his own mind, and not a copy of any pattern. The grounds for the clemency and moderation by which he was guided, we must seek not only in the religious views of Iran, but to a still greater degree in his character and his political conceptions. That along with the effort to satisfy the Persians and win the hearts of his subjects,—with the clever opposition of interests, and most lavish application of rewards and distinctions,—Cyrus did not neglect real support and means of power, is proved by the care which Xenophon represents him as bestowing on the army, the fortification of Pasargadae, the garrisons in the chief cities of the subject lands, the fortresses on the borders of the kingdom. The commanders in all these places, no less than the "chiliarchs" of the garrisons, were nominated directly by Cyrus, the lists of the garrisons were brought before the king. The arrangement of the Persian army in divisions of ten battalions of a thousand men each, which were again broken up into ten companies, with seven corporals each, is attributed by Xenophon[Pg 111] to Cyrus. He put an end to all skirmishing with horsemen cavalry, by clothing cavalry and horses in mail, and supplying each soldier with a javelin only, so that they fought man against man; the infantry he armed with the wicker, leather-covered shield, battle-axe, and knife, also with a view to close fighting.[127] To meet the costs of government and the army, Cyrus collected a large treasure, which he deposited in his palace at Pasargadae. Pliny has preserved the statement that the conquest of Asia yielded to Cyrus 24,000 pounds of gold besides that which had been manufactured, and the golden vessels, and 500,000 talents of silver.[128] Though this statement may be exaggerated, the gold accumulated by Alyattes and Crœsus at Sardis, the treasures of the royal palaces at Ecbatana and Babylon, all of which fell into the hands of Cyrus, were not inconsiderable. In both these latter places the booty of Assyria was collected, and in Babylon the booty of Syria and the tribute of the Phenicians. In any case the treasure which Cyrus deposited at Pasargadae provided abundant means for a long time to satisfy the most extravagant needs of the empire, the court, and the army, and to recompense every deed of merit with gold. The treasures which Alexander, after a long period of decline in Persia, found at Susa, Persepolis, Ecbatana, and Pasargadae, are estimated by the Greeks at 180,000 talents, i. e. at more than £40,000,000, and beside this there were the gold and silver ornaments of the citadel (V. 309), and a large amount of manufactured gold and silver. What Alexander left of the latter in Susa alone afterwards provided Antigonus with 15,000 talents.[129][Pg 112]

"Concerning the death of Cyrus," so Herodotus tells us, "there are many narratives, but the most probable in my mind is the following: When he had reduced the Babylonians, he wished to conquer the Massagetæ also. There were many things which impelled him to this: in the first place his birth, by which he considered himself more than human. Then the success which had attended him in all his wars; for whatever the nation against which he directed his army it was unable to withstand him. The Massagetæ were said to be a great and brave nation; some call them Scythians. They dwell beyond the Araxes (Jaxartes: Herodotus confuses this river with the Aras), towards the morning and sunrise. The Caspian Sea is a sea by itself, fifteen days' journey in length and eight in breadth; on the west side of the sea is the Caucasus, but towards the east it is bounded by a plain of unlimited extent. A considerable part of this plain was occupied by the Massagetæ. They wear a dress like that of the Scythians, and resemble them in their mode of life; they fight on horse and on foot, use the bow and the lance, and also carry battle-axes. The points of their lances and arrows and their axes are made of copper, as also are the corslets of the horses. But for their girdles, for the adornment of the head and shoulders, as well as for the bits, cheek-pieces, and curbs of their horses, they use gold. Silver and iron they do not possess, these metals are not found in the country, but gold and copper in abundance. Each man marries one wife, but they have their wives in common, and when any one desires to lie with a woman he hangs his quiver on her waggon, and no attack is made upon him. Those who reach a great age are put to death by their relations, who assemble for that purpose, cooked along with sheep's flesh, and[Pg 113] eaten; this they consider the most fortunate lot. Those who die of sickness are not eaten but buried, and they look on it as a misfortune not to be killed. They do not cultivate the soil, but live on their herds and on fish, which the Araxes supplies in large quantities, and drink milk. Of the gods they worship the sun only, and to him they sacrifice horses, because they think that the swiftest animal should be offered to the swiftest deity. At that time a woman, Tomyris by name, was queen of the Massagetæ, her husband being dead. Cyrus sent to her under pretext of an offer of marriage; he wished to make her his wife. But Tomyris perceived that it was not her, but the kingdom of the Massagetæ, that he wanted, and refused the offer. As cunning was of no avail, Cyrus marched openly against the Massagetæ, threw a bridge of boats over the Araxes in order to carry his army across, and caused towers to be built on the merchant-men which were to form a bridge over the river. While he was occupied with this, Tomyris sent him a herald, saying: 'O, king of the Persians, desist from the undertaking which thou hast begun, for thou knowest not whether thou wilt bring it to a good end. Desist, and rule over what is thine, leaving us to govern what is ours. But thou wilt take no heed of these exhortations, but rather do anything than remain at rest. If thou eagerly desirest to make trial of the Massagetæ, desist from making this bridge over the river; enter upon our land; we will retire three days' march from the river; or if thou wouldst rather have us in thy land, do thou the same.' When Cyrus heard this he collected the chiefs of the Persians in order to consult with them what he should do. Their advice was all to one purport; he was to allow Tomyris and her army to come into his land. But[Pg 114] Crœsus, the Lydian, who was present, dissented from this advice. 'If we allow the enemy to come into the land,' he said to Cyrus, there will be danger: 'Shouldst thou be defeated, the whole empire will be ruined. The victorious Massagetæ will never retire, but invade thy lands, and shouldst thou be victorious, thou wilt not reap such results as if thou wert to defeat the Massagetæ beyond the river, for then thou couldst advance into the dominion of Tomyris. Besides, it is shameful and disgraceful that the son of Cambyses should retire before a woman. For this reason it seems to me right to cross the river and advance as far as they retire, and there attempt to gain the victory over them. As I am told, the Massagetæ are not acquainted with the luxuries of the Persians; they have no experience of enjoyment. We must prepare a meal for them in our camp, slaying and dressing sheep, and placing at hand goblets of unmixed wine, and various kinds of food; then leave behind the weakest part of the army and retire to the river. If I am not deceived, they will seize upon the provisions when they see them, and we shall be in a position to do great things.' Cyrus decided in favour of the advice of Crœsus, and caused a message to be sent to Tomyris that she should retire; he would advance beyond the river. She retired as she promised. But Cyrus gave his son Cambyses, who would be king after him, to Crœsus, and exhorted him to honour the Lydian king, and treat him kindly if the expedition across the river should turn out badly. Then he sent the two to Persia, and crossed the river with his army. And in the first night which he spent in the land of the Massagetæ he saw in a dream the eldest son of Hystaspes, with wings on his shoulders, one of which overshadowed Asia and the other Europe. The eldest[Pg 115] son of Hystaspes was Darius, at that time a youth of about 20 years, who had been left behind in Persia, because he was not old enough to accompany the army. Cyrus summoned Hystaspes, took him aside, and said to him in private: 'Hystaspes, thy son is conceiving evil plots against me and my kingdom. The gods watch over me, and show me the danger which is threatening. Return at once to Persia, and act in such a way that if I succeed in this enterprise and return home, thou mayest bring thy son before me for examination.' Hystaspes answered: 'If the dream shows thee that my son is conceiving a revolt against thee, I will give him over to thee to deal with as thou wilt.' Then Hystaspes went over the Araxes on his way back to Persia, to keep his son under guard for Cyrus. But when he had gone a day's march from the river, Cyrus did as Crœsus had advised; he left the useless men in the camp, and marched with the able-bodied back to the river. A third part of the army of the Massagetæ came to the camp, slew those that were left behind, in spite of their resistance, and as they found the meal prepared, and had conquered the enemy, they feasted, and then fell asleep, gorged with food and wine. When the Persians came up they slew many of them, and took even more prisoners, among them Spargapises, the son of Tomyris, the leader of the Massagetæ. When the queen discovered what had befallen the army and her son, she sent a herald to Cyrus, who said: 'O Cyrus, insatiate of blood, exalt not thyself because that by the fruit of the vine, filled with which ye rage and utter evil words—that by such poison thou hast treacherously got possession of my son, and not by bravery in the battle. Now take my advice, for I counsel thee well. Give me my son back again, and[Pg 116] depart out of this land, without punishment for bringing shame on the third part of the army of the Massagetæ. If thou dost not do this, I swear by the sun, the lord of the Massagetæ, that I will satisfy thee with blood, insatiate as thou art.' To this message Cyrus paid no heed. When he had recovered from the effects of the wine, Spargapises discovered into what a calamity he had fallen. He requested Cyrus that he should be freed from his chains. As soon as this was done, and his hands were free, he killed himself. As Cyrus did not obey her, Tomyris collected her whole force, and joined battle with him. I learn that this battle was the most severe ever fought among the barbarians, and it was fought as follows. In the first place, so we are told, they hurled missiles from a distance, and when the missiles were exhausted they fell upon each other, and fought with lances and swords. They maintained the battle a long time, for neither side would fly; but at last the Massagetæ got the upper hand. The greater part of the Persian army perished and Cyrus himself fell, after a reign of 29 years. Tomyris searched for the corpse of Cyrus among the dead, and when she had found it, she plunged the head in a bottle filled with human blood, and said in insult to the dead: 'Though I live and have conquered thee in the battle, thou hast nevertheless made me unhappy, for thou hast taken away my son by treachery. Yet, as I threatened, I will satisfy thee with blood.'"

In a similar way, though not without variations, Diodorus and Trogus narrate the death of Cyrus. The account of Diodorus marks even more strongly the shameful death of the king. He tells us that, after the overthrow of the Babylonians, Cyrus desired to subdue the whole earth. He had reduced the greatest nations[Pg 117] and mightiest nations, he was of opinion that no ruler or nation could withstand his power. Like many of those who exercise irresponsible power, Cyrus did not know how to bear prosperity as a man should. He led a strong army to Scythia; but the queen of the Scythians took him prisoner and crucified him. In the excerpt from Pompeius Trogus we are told that when Cyrus had reduced Asia and brought the East into his power, he marched upon the Scythians. But Tomyris, their queen, was not terrified by the approach of the Persians. She might have defended the passage of the Jaxartes against them, but she considered that flight would be more difficult for the enemy if they had the river behind them. So Cyrus crossed the Jaxartes, and pitched his camp when he had advanced some distance into the country of the enemy. On the next day he abandoned it as if in terror and retired, leaving in it a sufficiency of wine and everything that is required for a banquet. The queen, on hearing this, sent her young son to pursue the enemy with a third part of her army. When he reached the camp, the youth, who had no experience of war, gave up all thought of the enemy, and allowed his people to become intoxicated with the wine, to which they were not accustomed. Cyrus returned in the night, and all the Scythians including the queen's son were cut down. In spite of the loss of such an army, and the still greater loss of her only son, Tomyris thought only of revenge, and plotted how she could destroy the victors by treachery. When she was no longer in a condition to give battle she enticed Cyrus by retiring into a pass, after she had placed an ambush in the mountains. So she succeeded in defeating the whole Persian army, 200,000 men, with the king. Not even a messenger[Pg 118] escaped to tell of the disaster. She caused the head to be cut off the body of Cyrus, and placed in a bottle filled with human blood, calling out: "Satiate thyself with the blood for which thou didst thirst with an insatiable desire."[130] In regard to this story, which no doubt is to be ascribed to Deinon, Arrian remarks quite briefly: "Whether the defeat of the Persians in Scythia was brought about by the difficulty of the land, or some mistake of Cyrus, or whether the Scythians were better soldiers than the Persians of that date, I cannot determine."[131] Polyaenus must have had stories of a similar kind before him; but in his account the stratagem which Cyrus uses against Tomyris is used by the queen against Cyrus, and this is the reason given for the defeat of the Persian army and the death of the king. When Cyrus approached, Tomyris retreated with her army in pretended flight. The Persians pursued; in the camp of the queen they found a great store of wine, provisions, and cattle, on which they feasted and drank the whole night through as though they had already won the battle. Then, when they could scarcely move, Tomyris attacked them and cut them all down together with Cyrus himself.[132]

The narrative of Herodotus involves glaring contradictions. In opposition to the cunning, ambition, and bloodthirstiness of Cyrus, it presents to us as a model of honour, love of peace, moderation and self-restraint, the queen of a nation of cannibals, who gives Cyrus the wisest lessons before exacting punishment for his insatiable ambition. She perceives the treachery of his intended wooing. When he comes openly with[Pg 119] force, she urges him to be content with what he possesses, makes the battle easier for him by allowing him to cross the river without opposition, and then gives him the choice of a field of battle. When Cyrus has made a treacherous use of her honourable and open offers she taunts him with the evil results of the use of wine on the Persians and again offers peace on the most favourable conditions; if Cyrus surrenders her son and retires from her country she will allow the destruction of her army to go unpunished. This moderation remains without any effect; Cyrus goes blindly to his destruction. But the queen of the barbarians has no enjoyment of this success; her sorrow for the loss of her son, who puts an end to his own life in noble shame that he has brought his army to destruction, and become a captive by excess in wine, is greater than her joy at the victory. Hardly less strange is the conduct of Cyrus. The general who has conquered Media, Lydia, and Babylonia, and the nations of Asia, is uncertain how to carry on the campaign against the Massagetæ; he takes counsel with the prince, whom in spite of the bravery of his people he has defeated most rapidly and decisively: he allows this prince to tell him that the son of Cambyses ought not to give way to a woman, and follows his advice against the unanimous opinion of the Persians. At the same time he has evil intimations about the issue of the decision; and sends the heir to the throne back to Persia. He boasts that the gods have announced to him all the misfortunes which threatened him, whereas it is the elevation of Darius which was shown to him in the dream, a danger which did not even remotely threaten him, and not the destruction which was to overtake him in two days.[Pg 120]

It need not be proved that this narrative has come from a poetical source. The prominent traits, the long speeches and counter-speeches, the lament of the mother, the bottle of blood, point beyond all mistake to poetry. It is clear that Persian poems would not ascribe to the great founder of their empire, whom they honoured as a father, the part which Herodotus represents him as taking against the queen of a barbarous nation; least of all would they charge Cyrus with an insatiable thirst for blood, and bring him on that account to a shameful end. But the Medes, as they had matched the poems of the Persians on the birth, youth, and rise of Cyrus with other songs about his origin, his fortune, and the fall of Astyages composed from their own point of view, might very well describe after their own manner the death of the king. They could not reverse their own subjugation, but they could have the satisfaction of reprobating the ambition and bloodthirstiness of their conqueror, who called out the Median army for ceaseless service; they could bring the conqueror of Asia to a miserable end, and represent the subduer of the noblest men as finding his master in a woman. And if it was the advice of a conquered and captive king which led Cyrus to destruction,—the trait suits the context and presents an instance of poetical justice. The dream of Cyrus obviously belongs to another context; it is merely inserted here in order to show how Cambyses and Hystaspes escaped the great defeat in the land of the Massagetæ. At a later time the Medes felt heavily enough the power of Darius. The Median poems on the rebellion of Cyrus contained a certain element of fact in the desertion of Harpagus, and the same may have been the case in their poems about Tomyris. Ctesias told us above that Cyrus conquered and took [Pg 121]prisoner the king of the Sacae, but was afterwards severely defeated by his wife Sparethra, in which defeat many captives were taken, and among them the most distinguished Medes. Strabo also tells us of a battle which Cyrus lost against the Sacae. Forced to retire, he had abandoned his camp and all that was in it, and when the Sacae were enjoying the booty he fell upon them and cut them down. These events may underlie the story of Tomyris.

From the various narratives, which, as Herodotus informs us, were current about the rise and death of Cyrus, the historian chose that account of both which seemed to him the "most probable," i. e. that which coincided with his own views, and thus appeared to him most credible. It is the firm conviction of Herodotus, the thought which lies at the base of his great history, that every unjust deed, every act of violence, is followed by punishment. Cyrus had considered himself to be more than a man; he had placed no limit, no end to his conquests. Hence retribution overtook him in his conflict with a woman. The description of the barbarous custom of the Massagetæ was obviously wanting in the authority which Herodotus followed about the death of Cyrus; it comes from another source. In this way, though unobserved by Herodotus, a glaring contradiction has crept into his narrative. If we may draw a conclusion from the name Spargapises, i. e. youthful form, the enemies in the poetry which he used were of Arian stock.[133]

According to the account of Ctesias Cyrus fell in war against the Derbiccians. These were said by some to dwell in the neighbourhood of the Margiani;[Pg 122] by others they were placed on both sides of the mouth of the Oxus; but as Ctesias mentions the Indians as their allies and represents the Sacae as dwelling at no great distance, we must look for them on the middle course of the Oxus in the neighbourhood of Bactria. According to Strabo's description, the Derbiccians worshipped the earth, to which they sacrificed male creatures, just as they ate none but male animals. The smallest offence was punished with death. The men who had exceeded their seventieth year were slain and eaten by their nearest relatives. The women who came to old age were also killed but not eaten. Curtius states that a part of their warriors were armed with poles hardened in the fire.[134] "Amoraeus," so we are told in the excerpt preserved from Ctesias' "Persian History," "was king of the Derbiccians; against him Cyrus marched, and the Indians aided the Derbiccians in the battle. The elephants which the Derbiccians received from the Indians were placed in the ambush. They caused the Persian cavalry to retreat. Cyrus fell from his horse, and as he lay on the ground an Indian hit him with his javelin under the hip in the thigh. He was lifted up and carried into the Persian camp. In this battle many of the Persians fell, and also many of the Derbiccians—10,000 on either side. Hearing this, Amorges the king of the Sacae came to the help of Cyrus with 20,000 men. When the battle was renewed, the Persians and Sacae fought bravely and conquered. Amoraeus fell and with him his two sons; 30,000 Derbiccians and 9000 Persians were left in the field, and the land of the Derbiccians submitted to Cyrus. But he felt his end approaching. He[Pg 123] named his eldest son Cambyses as his successor; and the younger Tanyoxarkes he made lord of the Bactrians, the Chorasmians, Parthians, and Carmanians, with an arrangement that their lands should pay no tribute. To the two sons of Spitamas, Spitaces and Megabernes (V. 383), he gave the satrapies of the Derbiccians and Hyrcanians (Barcanians), and bade them obey their mother (Amytis) in all things. They were also to give their hands to each other and to Amorges in pledge that they would treat him and each other as friends; on him who persisted in kindness to his brother Cyrus invoked blessings, and curses on him who should be the first to begin a quarrel. Thus saying, he died on the third day after his wound."[135]

This narrative also goes back to a poetical source, though it is not directly borrowed any more than the narrative of Herodotus. Meagre as the excerpt is, there can be no doubt about the poetical origin of it. This is proved by the compression of the events into a few days; the rapid and ready assistance given by the king of the Sacae, whom Cyrus had once captured in battle and then made his friend; the gratitude which he reaped for this deed in his last days; the heavy penalty laid upon the Derbiccians for the wound of Cyrus; the fall of their king and his two sons and the submission of the country; the death of Cyrus after great danger in the moment of victory; the appointment of a successor; the recommendation of Amorges; the exhortations to union given by Cyrus when dying to his sons; his blessing on the son who remembered them, and his curse on him who neglected them. Here also, as in the different accounts of Herodotus and Ctesias in the elevation of Cyrus, we[Pg 124] find points of agreement in the two versions. Whether the names Tomyris and Amoraeus can be connected we need not inquire. Each story contains the space of three days, the appointment of a successor, the exhortations and the recommendation of a third person—Crœsus in the one, Amorges in the other. As in the story of Ctesias—Nicolaus about the rise of Cyrus, Oebares takes the place of Harpagus in Herodotus, so here the Sacian Amorges takes the place of the Lydian Crœsus; though Crœsus, it is true, gives only ruinous advice, and Amorges renders active and valuable help. As the Persian tradition is preserved in the story of Ctesias about the rise of Cyrus, though the Medes had their discrepant version, so in the story of the fall, as given by this historian, we have no doubt the Persian account. The region which is allotted to the second son, the emphasis laid on the harmony of the sons, the death of Cyrus in victory, no less than the tone which pervades the whole narrative, prove the Persian origin of the story. The aged prince is wounded at the head of his people in a battle on horseback; but his friends avenge him; he dies, as he had lived, in victory and success, surrounded by his sons and stepsons. This glorification of his death was matched by the Medes in the poems from which the narrative of Herodotus has arisen.

Xenophon represents Cyrus as dying at an advanced age in peace, when he has reached Persia for the seventh time after winning the empire. In the palace he had a dream which announced his approaching end. He caused his sons to be brought to him, who had accompanied him to Persia, his friends, and the captains of the Persians. His power, so he told them, had not decayed with age; he had striven for nothing and attempted nothing that he had not obtained,[Pg 125] and what he had once obtained he had never lost. Though everything had succeeded according to his wishes, he had never allowed himself to indulge in proud thoughts and excessive rejoicing, for he had ever been attended by the apprehension that evil would come upon him in the future. "Do you now, Cambyses," he continued, "receive the throne, which the gods and I, so far as lies in me, give to you; to you, Tanaoxares, I give the satrapy over the Medes, the Armenians, and the Cadusians. I give you this because I deem it right to leave to the elder the larger dominion and the name of king, but to you a less burdensome fortune." Then he urged both to remain in the closest friendship, for they had been nourished by one mother, and had grown up in one house; neither of them could find a stronger support than his brother. He made them swear by the gods of their fathers that they would hold each other in honour; they could not prove their love for him more truly in any other way. Finally, he reminded them that by showing kindness to friends they would be able to punish their enemies, gave his hand to all, veiled his face and died.[136]

According to the account of the companions of Alexander of Macedon, the corpse of Cyrus rested in the abode of his ancestors, at his metropolis, Pasargadae, in the precincts of the "old citadel." Concerning his tomb we have only the account of Aristobulus, who saw it when Alexander reached Pasargadae, and on the return from India received a commission to restore the sepulchres which had been plundered in the mean time. This account is preserved in two excerpts; the shorter one is given by Strabo, the more circumstantial by Arrian. In[Pg 126] the latter we are told: "At Pasargadae in the royal garden (Paradeisus) was the tomb of Cyrus. Round the tomb a grove of trees had been planted of various kinds; the soil was permeated by streams and overgrown with thick grass. The tomb itself was built of square stones in a rectangular form; the upper part was a covered chamber." From Strabo we learn that "the tomb is a tower of no great size, which is massive in the lower part, but in the upper story is a room." "The door which leads into it," Arrian continues, "is so narrow, that a moderately stout man could scarcely enter. In the chamber was a couch with feet of beaten gold, with purple coverlet over which lay carpets of Babylonian pattern. There was also a robe (kandys) and under-garments of Babylonian manufacture, and Median trowsers, garments coloured blue and purple, some of one colour, some of the other, chains, swords, and necklaces of gold and precious stones, and a table (Strabo adds goblets). On the middle of the couch was the coffin with the corpse of Cyrus, covered with a lid. The inscription on the grave, in the Persian language and Persian letters, says: 'O men, I am Cyrus the son of Cambyses, who founded the empire of the Persians and governed Asia; do not grudge me this monument.' Within the outer wall of the sepulchre near the steps which lead to the chamber was a small dwelling for the Magians, who have watched the tomb since the time of Cyrus, the office descending from father to son. Each day they receive a sheep and a fixed amount of corn and wheat, and each month a horse to sacrifice to Cyrus." The corpse itself is said to have been completely preserved after two centuries. Onesicritus tells us that the tower of the sepulchre had ten stories; the inscription was in Persian and[Pg 127] Greek written in Persian letters, and said: "Here lie I, Cyrus, king of kings."[137]

Near the modern city of Murghab, on a plain covered with the ruins of walls, not far from a square tower and a platform, built of square blocks of marble to a height of nearly forty feet, on a substructure of seven flats (the sacred number which we meet everywhere) arranged in terraces, rises a plain oblong building constructed of huge stones of the most beautiful white marble, which are closely fitted together, and covered with a flat gable roof; it forms a chamber in which the entrance is through a door four feet in height. The excellent and beautiful proportions, the quiet simple forms of the building, give an impression of solemnity, and appear to mark a consecrated place. Close to this building, and again in a terrace, we find bases, shafts, and pillars, which must have belonged to a large structure, perhaps to a portico, which was in some connection with the stages of the terrace. Three door-posts bear, in three different languages, the inscription: "I, Cyrus, the king, the Achæmenid." Hence there can be no doubt that these remains belong to a structure erected by Cyrus. Before the posts are twelve bases, and before these a pillar of marble fifteen feet in height, formed from a single stone. On this is cut in relief a slim form in profile. It has four wings springing from the shoulders, is clothed in a closely-fitting garment falling to the ancles; on the right side which is visible, and on the lower hem, the garment is furnished with fringes. The form of the uncovered lower[Pg 128] arm seems to indicate a commanding attitude. The head is covered with a striped, closely-fitting cap, which reaches down to the neck. Out of the crown of it rise two horns, which extend on either side and bear a tall ornament of peculiarly-formed leaves and feathers. The face is surrounded by a full but short beard, the nose is somewhat rounded at the tip, the line of the profile is straight and well-formed, the expression mild and serene. Over the head, as on the posts, we find written in cuneiform letters: "Adam Kurus Khsayathiya Hakhamanisiya" i. e. "I, Cyrus, the king, Achæmenid."[138] This is, it would seem, a picture of the famous king.

So far as we can tell Cyrus was long in coming to his prime, and did not attain to his full powers till he had reached the years of manhood. Sprung from the royal house of the Persians, grandson of Achæmenes, he grew up at Pasargadae, and rendered service as a vassal to his sovereign. While performing courtly and martial duties at Ecbatana, the extinction of the male line of the house of Deioces, and the rival claims which the death of Astyages would call forth, opened to him the prospect of obtaining independence for himself and the Persians. When once more among his own people, the suspicion of Astyages forces arms into the hands of himself and[Pg 129] his father. Astyages penetrates into the mountains of Persia, and Cambyses is slain; only after severe struggles are the Medes beaten back. Cyrus avails himself of his success in order to carry war into Media. About eighty years after Achæmenes had joined Phraortes Cyrus marches victoriously into Ecbatana. He at once aims at a higher object. The dominion of the Medes must pass over to the Persians. Babylon and Lydia give him time to subjugate the Parthians and Hyrcanians, to make war on the Sacae and Bactrians, to reduce the Cadusians, Armenians, and Cappadocians. When yet unprepared or engaged in other conflicts, he is attacked by Crœsus. A brilliant campaign carries him far beyond the defensive; he overthrows the Lydian empire and advances to the shore of the Ægean. While his generals complete the reduction of Asia Minor he turns again to the East; once more Babylon gives him time to establish and extend his empire in the table-land of Iran. Secure on the East and West he proceeds to the decisive struggle with Babylon. In the first campaign he crosses the Tigris and secures the passage; in the second he defeats Nabonetus, captures Sepharvaim, storms Babylon, obtains possession of Borsippa, subjugates Syria, and the Phenician cities. After the annihilation of the Babylonian kingdom, Cyrus extends the borders of his empire still further to the East. The nations on the right bank of the Indus, the Chorasmians and the Sogdiani, are reduced, and the Jaxartes becomes the limit of the kingdom. Thus by unwearied energy, restless effort, and tough endurance, Cyrus achieved a career which has no equal; from being chief of the Persian tribes he became sovereign of Asia. As Xenophon says, his kingdom extended from regions which are rendered uninhabit[Pg 130]able by heat, to others which are uninhabitable by reason of the cold. This aim Cyrus had pursued with great determination; he had not been guilty of any wild outbursts. A general, rapid in decision and tenacious in purpose, he had understood how to meet failure and make himself master of the most difficult undertakings. Other military princes of the East have achieved greater conquests in a shorter space of time than Cyrus, but none understood how to preserve the empire he had won, and make it permanent, as Cyrus did. He possessed not only the keen eye of the general, but an unerring political insight, and an unusual power of penetrating into the interests, the motives, the manners and actions of the communities and nations which victory placed in his power. Among the rulers of the East no one is like him, and one alone approaches him, the second successor on the throne which he founded.


[108] Behist. 1, 6.

[109] Arrian. "Ind." 1, 1.

[110] Plin. "H. N." 6, 25; Ptolem. 6, 18.

[111] Script. Alex. Magni; fragm. 23, ed. Müller.

[112] Diod. 17, 81.

[113] Strabo, p. 724; Arrian, "Anab." 3, 27, 4; 4, 4, 6.

[114] Curtius, 7, 3, 1.

[115] In Strabo, p. 686.

[116] Arrian, "Anab." 4, 5.

[117] Xenoph. "Cyri inst." 6, 6, 9; 8, 8, 20.

[118] E. g. Ctes. "Pers." 43.

[119] Herod. 3, 31; Xenoph. "Anab." 1, 6, 4; Esther i. 14.

[120] Herod. 5, 25; 7, 194.

[121] Herod. 1, 134.

[122] Herod. 3, 154; 8, 85.

[123] "Cyri inst." 8, 8, 1; 8, 2, 7.

[124] Herod. 3, 75, 86, 160.

[125] "Persae," 768-770.

[126] "Transact. Bibl. Arch." 2, 148.

[127] "Cyri inst." 8, 6, 9; 8, 8, 22, 23.

[128] Plin. "H. N." 33, 15.

[129] Arrian, "Anab." 3, 16; Curtius, 5, 2, 11; 6, 9, 6, 10; Diod. 17, 66, 71; Strabo, p. 731.

[130] Diod. "Exc. vat." p. 33, 2, 44; Justin, 1, 8; 2, 3; 37, 3.

[131] Arrian, "Anab." 5, 4. A similar story is in Frontin. "Strateg." 2, 5, 5.

[132] Polyaen. "Strateg." 8, 28.

[133] Çparheghapaeça, from çpareg, to shoot, spring, and paeça, piça, shape: Müllenhoff, "Monatsberichte Berl. Akad." 1866, s. 567.

[134] Strabo, p. 514, 520; Plin. "H. N." 6, 16; Ptolem. 4, 20; Curtius, 3, 2; Diod. 2, 2; Steph. Byz. Δερβίκκαι.

[135] Ctes. "Pers." 6-9.

[136] "Cyri inst." 8, 7.

[137] Ctes. "Pers." 7; Arrian, "Anab." 6, 28; Strabo, p. 730; Plin. "H. N." 6, 29; Plut. "Alex." 69. Curtius (10, 1) asserts after Cleitarchus, that when Alexander visited the tomb of Cyrus on his return from India, he only found the shield of Cyrus, then rotten, two Scythian bows, and a sword in the sepulchre.

[138] In the wings, the clothing, and the peculiar head-dress this portrait (Tenier, "Descript." pl. 84) differs essentially from the representation of Darius and his successors at Persepolis and Naksh-i-Rustem. It is not Cyrus but his Fravashi which is here represented. The building at Murghab is somewhat like the description of the tomb of Cyrus given in the text, but the site will not allow us to regard it as the tomb at Pasargadae. It must be a building which one of his successors has dedicated to the memory of the great king. The profile in the relief confirms to some degree Plutarch's statement that Cyrus had an aquiline nose, and the Persians therefore considered beaked noses the most becoming: "Praec. ger. reip." c. 30. The nose of Darius, as we see it in the monuments, appears straighter and longer.



[Pg 131]



After the death of the great king who had founded the Persian empire, Cambyses (Kambujiya), the elder of the two sons whom Cassandane had borne to Cyrus, ascended the throne of the new kingdom in the year 529 B.C. A few years before his death Cyrus had entrusted him with the vice-royalty of Babylonia.[139] Herodotus tells us that "Cambyses again reduced the[Pg 132] nations which Cyrus had subjugated, and then marched against Egypt." Egypt was the oldest of the great powers of the ancient East, and, after the fall of Media, Lydia, and Babylonia, it still remained independent beside the kingdom which had risen up so rapidly and brilliantly out of their ruins. A hundred and fifty years previously Egypt had succumbed to the arms of the Assyrians; how could an ambitious ruler of Persia imagine that it could now resist the incomparably greater forces which were at his command?

We know how Psammetichus and his descendants had restored Egypt to her ancient position, the place which they had assigned to the Greeks and Greek civilisation in their state, a place which had not been altered by Amasis, though brought to the throne by a revolution which had removed the house of Psammetichus (570 B.C.). The attempt of Necho to renew the achievements of the Tuthmosis, Amenophis, and Ramses in Syria and on the Euphrates was wrecked by the sudden rise of the Babylonian kingdom under Nebuchadnezzar, and Hophra had in vain attempted to prevent the fall of Jerusalem and the advance of Babylon to the borders of Egypt. The growth of the Persian power threatened to give Egypt a far more dangerous neighbour than she had had in Babylonia. Amasis did not underrate the crisis. Herodotus told us above that he had combined with Lydia against Cyrus, that Crœsus had called upon the Egyptian auxiliaries for the second campaign, and finally for the rescue of Sardis. The rapid progress of the war and the fall of Sardis defeated the aims of Amasis. Then, as we saw, a decade elapsed before Cyrus directed his arms against Babylonia. That Amasis made every attempt to support Nabonetus against[Pg 133] the Persians is not told us by tradition, unless indeed we accept as tradition Xenophon's statement, who represents the Lydians and Egyptians as fighting against the Persians with the Babylonians (p. 17). The fall of Babylon was followed directly by the subjugation of Syria, the conquest of Gaza (p. 90), and the advance of the Persian border to the desert. Amasis does not appear to have been wholly inactive in the face of the approaching danger. Herodotus tells us that he took the island of Cyprus and made it tributary, and Diodorus narrates that he subjugated the cities in Cyprus, and adorned many of the temples there with splendid offerings.[140] We may assume that the enterprise of Amasis against Cyprus was intended to provide a counterpoise to the incorporation of Syria in the Persian empire. It may have appeared more desirable to the princes of the Cyprian cities to be vassals of the remote and less powerful Egypt than of the rising and powerful kingdom of Persia. In any case, when he had set foot in Cyprus, Amasis prevented that rich island, with its numerous cities, from falling into the power of the Persians; the ships of the Cyprian cities could assist him in keeping off the fleet of the Phenicians from their coasts, should the Persian monarch call out that fleet against Egypt. That this was the object of the occupation of Cyprus by Amasis is confirmed by the fact that some years after the fall of Babylon he entered into communication with the island of Samos. While Chios and Lesbos, as has been observed, submitted to the Persians without compulsion, Samos had remained independent. Polycrates, the son of Aeaces, who had made himself master of the island in the year 536 B.C., built a splendid fleet of eighty heavy and a hundred light[Pg 134] ships, with which he could maintain his independence against the Persians. The fleet of Polycrates could hold the fleet of the Ionians in check if it were called upon by the Persians, just as the Cyprians could restrain the Phenicians. Amasis entered into close and friendly relations with the prince of Samos, who on his part must have gladly accepted the support of Egypt against the Persians. Besides the possession of Cyprus and this union with Samos, Egypt's power of resistance rested essentially on the difficulty of crossing the desert which separates Egypt from Syria with a large army, on the considerable numbers of the warrior caste, in spite of the emigration under Psammetichus, and the fidelity and bravery of the Ionian and Carian mercenaries, to whom Amasis had entrusted his personal protection. The danger of an attack from Persia seemed to have passed over when, after the subjugation of Syria, Cyrus turned towards the distant East, the Indus and Jaxartes; and Amasis may have been careful not to irritate his powerful neighbour. The skill of the physicians of Egypt was in great repute. When Cyrus asked Amasis for the best oculist, the Pharaoh, according to the Persian story, may have acceded to his wish.[141] The death of Cyrus would then bring still greater prospects of power to Amasis, until at last the decisive moment came thirteen years after the fall of Babylon.

"Cambyses," so Herodotus tells us, "sent to Egypt and asked the daughter of Amasis in marriage. Both hating and dreading the power of the Persians, Amasis was uncertain whether to send or refuse her, for he well knew that Cambyses did not intend to take her as his legitimate wife, but as a concubine. So he devised the following plan:—Nitetis, the daughter[Pg 135] of the preceding king Hophra was the only member of her family remaining. She was tall and beautiful, and Amasis adorned her with garments and gold and sent her as his own daughter to Persia. But some time after, when Cambyses was embracing Nitetis and calling her by the name of her father, she said: 'O king, thou art deceived by Amasis, who has sent me to thee thus adorned as his daughter, whereas in truth I am the daughter of Hophra, whom, though his lord, Amasis slew together with the Egyptians.' This speech put Cambyses into a violent rage, and for this reason he marched against Egypt. This is the account which the Persians give; but the Egyptians claim Cambyses as their own, maintaining that he was the son of this daughter of Hophra. It was not Cambyses, but Cyrus, who desired the daughter of Hophra. But in this they are wrong. The law of the Persians is not unknown to them (for the Egyptians know the laws of the Persians better than any one else), that the son of the concubine is not made king if there are sons of the queen, and that Cambyses was the son of Cassandane, the daughter of Pharnaspes, and not of the Egyptian woman. They invert the transaction because they wish to give themselves out as allied to the house of Amasis. Among the auxiliary troops of Amasis there was a man of Halicarnassus, Phanes by name, of good understanding and mighty in war. Injured by Amasis in some way, he fled by ship out of Egypt, in order to join Cambyses. As he was a man of importance among the auxiliary troops, and most accurately acquainted with Egypt, Amasis was anxious to take him, and sent his most trusty eunuch after him in a trireme. The eunuch caught him up in Lycia, but he did not bring him back to[Pg 136] Egypt. Phanes outwitted him, by making his guards intoxicated, and so escaped to Persia. When he came to Cambyses, who, though intending to invade Egypt, was uncertain how to pass through the waterless region, Phanes told him all the affairs of Amasis, and how the march was to be arranged. He advised him to send to the king of the Arabians, and ask him to give him a safe passage. The approach to Egypt is open on this side only. From Phœnicia to the borders of the city of Gaza,[142] which, as it seems to me, is not much smaller than Sardis, the land belongs to the Syrians, who are called Palaestinians (Pelishtim), but from this city to Jenysus the harbours of the sea are subject to the Arabians; from Jenysus to the Serbonian Lake they again belong to the Syrians, and at the Serbonian Lake Egypt begins. The strip between the city of Jenysus and the Serbonian Lake, a journey of three days, is wholly without water. Instructed by the Halicarnassian, Cambyses sent messengers to the Arabian, and received permission for the passage, and when the Arabian had given the envoy of Cambyses a solemn promise with invocation of Urotal and Alilat, and smearing of seven stones with blood (I. 308), he caused bags of camel-skins to be filled with water, loaded all his camels with them, and after marching into the waterless district he there awaited the army of Cambyses. But Psammenitus, the son of Amasis, encamped on the Pelusiac mouth of the Nile. For when Cambyses marched with all over whom he ruled, even with those of the Hellenes who were in his power,[143] against Egypt, he found that Amasis[Pg 137] was no longer alive; he had died after a reign of 44 years, without meeting with any great disaster in that time. When the Persians had marched through the waterless region and had pitched their camp opposite the Egyptians for battle, the auxiliaries of the Egyptians, Hellenes and Carians, who were enraged against Phanes because he had brought a foreign army against Egypt, did as follows:—The children of Phanes had remained in Egypt. They brought them into the camp, and then led them between the two camps before the eyes of their father, and slew them one after the other over a vessel. When they were all dead they poured water and wine into the vessel; all the mercenaries drank of the blood and then went to battle. The struggle was severe; when a great number had fallen on both sides the Egyptians were put to flight. And here I observed a very strange phenomenon, my attention being called to it by the natives. The bones of those who fell in the battle were gathered up separately; the Persians are on one side and on the other the Egyptians, and the sculls of the Persians are so thin, that even if a pebble is thrown upon them they break, while those of the Egyptians are so hard that they can hardly be broken with a stone. The Egyptians fled without any order. To those who were shut up in Memphis Cambyses sent a Persian herald in a trireme, to summon them to surrender. But when the Egyptians saw the ship come into Memphis they hastened down from the citadel, destroyed the ship, tore the men in pieces, and carried them to the citadel. Then the Egyptians were besieged and finally surrendered."

"On the tenth day after Cambyses had taken the citadel of Memphis he desired to make trial of[Pg 138] Psammenitus, whom he had taken prisoner with the other Egyptians in the city, and who had reigned but six months. He therefore did as follows: He sent his daughter in the dress of a slave with a pitcher, and along with her the daughters of the leading Egyptians, similarly attired, to fetch water. When they passed before their fathers with lamentations and sighs, these also cried and sighed at the sight of their daughters' shame, but when Psammenitus saw what was done he fixed his eyes on the earth. When the maidens had passed with the water, Cambyses caused the son of Psammenitus to be led past with two thousand Egyptians of the same age, with ropes round their necks and in their mouths. They were to be the expiation of the Mytileneans, who were slain on the ship in Memphis; the royal judges of the Persians (p. 105) had decided that for every dead man ten of the leading Egyptians must die. Psammenitus saw the train, and knew that his son was being led out to death, and the Egyptians who sat round him wailed and lamented, but he did as he had done at the sight of his daughter. When they also had passed, it happened that an old man, who had been a guest at the table of the king, but had now lost everything and was as poor as a beggar, and asked alms of the soldiers, passed by Psammenitus and the Egyptians in the suburbs. When Psammenitus saw this he lamented aloud, beat his head, and called on his friend by name. The guards who stood by announced what he had done on each occasion. Cambyses was astonished, and asked Psammenitus, by a messenger, why he had neither lamented nor sighed at the sight of his daughter in her shame, and his son when led out to execution, but had paid this tribute of respect to a beggar with whom Cambyses had discovered he[Pg 139] was in no way connected. Psammenitus answered, 'O son of Cyrus, my own misfortune was too great for tears, but the sorrows of my friend called for lamentation, since on the threshold of old age he had fallen from great possessions to the condition of a beggar.' When this was told to Cambyses it seemed to him well said; but as the Egyptians tell the story, Crœsus wept (he had followed Cambyses to Egypt), and the Persians who were present wept, and Cambyses was touched with some degree of compassion. He at once gave orders not to execute the son of Psammenitus, and to fetch Psammenitus from the suburb into his presence. The messengers found the son no longer alive, but they brought Psammenitus himself to Cambyses, who did him no further injury. Had Psammenitus known how to remain quiet, he would certainly have received the government of Egypt; for the Persians are wont to honour the sons of kings, and even though the fathers have revolted, they give the dominion to the son. But when Psammenitus dealt treacherously he received his reward. He was detected in exciting the Egyptians to revolt. When Cambyses discovered this, he compelled him to drink bulls' blood, and he died on the spot. Such was his end."

"But Cambyses came from Memphis to Sais, and when he entered the palace of Amasis, he gave orders to take his body out of the grave; when this was done he caused the corpse to be scourged, the hair to be torn out; he stabbed it and treated it with every kind of indignity. When those who were executing his commands grew weary, for the body being embalmed resisted their blows, and did not come to pieces, he ordered it to be burned. This was a sacrilegious command. The Persians regard fire as a[Pg 140] deity, and the burning of the dead is not according to the laws either of the Persians or the Egyptians. The Persians do not consider it right to offer a corpse to a god; the Egyptians regard fire as a living all-consuming animal, and as it is by no means lawful to give up corpses to animals, they embalm them that they may not be consumed by worms. Hence Cambyses had commanded what was not allowed by the law of either nation. But the Egyptians say that it was not Amasis who endured this contumely, but another Egyptian of the same age, whom the Persians outraged under the impression that they were outraging Amasis. Amasis had been informed by an oracle what would happen to him after death; to escape his fate he had buried a man, who died at the time, in the tomb which he had made for himself at the temple of Neith at Sais, near the door, and had commanded his son to bury him in the innermost grave-chamber. In my opinion these arrangements of Amasis about his burial were not carried out, they were mere inventions of the Egyptians."

Ctesias' narrative is as follows: Cambyses fulfilled the last commands of his father that his younger brother Tanyoxarkes should be made lord of the Bactrians, Chorasmians, Parthians, and Carmanians, and in every other respect, and sent his corpse to Persia for burial. Having ascertained that the Egyptian women were more desirable than others, he asked Amasis for one of his daughters, and Amasis sent Nitetis the daughter of Hophra. Cambyses took great delight in her, and loved her much, and when he had learned all her story he acceded to her request that he would avenge the murder of her father. When he had armed against Egypt and Amyrtaeus, the Egyptian king, the eunuch Combaphes, who had[Pg 141] great influence with Amyrtaeus, betrayed the passes into Egypt, and all the affairs of the country, in order that he might be viceroy of it. Then Cambyses set out on his march; in the battle 50,000 Egyptians and 20,000 Persians were slain,[144] Amyrtaeus was taken alive, and all Egypt was subjugated. Cambyses did no further harm to Amyrtaeus beyond sending him with 6000 Egyptians of his own choice to Susa; but Combaphes became governor of Egypt as Cambyses had promised first by Izabates, his most trusted eunuch and the cousin of Combaphes, and then by his own mouth.[145]

Herodotus' account is once more dominated by the desire to give prominence to the vengeance for the crime which Amasis committed in betraying Hophra his master and thrusting from the throne the legitimate ruler of Egypt (III. 407). Amasis was spared, but the punishment fell upon the son, who thus suffered for his father's sins. The sources open to Herodotus were the narratives of the Persians, of the Egyptians, and of his own people. The Greeks of Asia Minor had taken part in the campaign of Cambyses against Egypt; Greek mercenaries assisted in the defence; and as we have seen, Greeks were settled in Egypt in considerable numbers. Herodotus himself rejects the story that Cambyses was the son of the daughter of Hophra, as the Egyptians maintained by way of consolation; as well as another story that Cambyses had invaded Egypt in order to avenge the preference which Cyrus showed to the daughter of Hophra over his mother Cassandane. On the other hand, he adopts, though with hesitation, the story of the Persians that Cambyses sought a wife from Amasis, because it agrees with his own idea that ruin was[Pg 142] brought upon Amasis by his own treachery and the daughter of the Pharaoh whom he had deposed. Deinon in his Persian History and Lyceas of Naucratis retained both these stories together in the form that Amasis sent Nitetis to Cyrus, and that she was the mother of Cambyses who invaded Egypt to avenge Hophra. The solicitation of Cambyses, and the deception of Amasis, in Herodotus, and in a still more pointed form in Ctesias, the source of which, Herodotus tells us, was the narrative of the Persians, has obviously arisen out of Persian poems about Cambyses, which required some poetical motive for the campaign against Egypt; we saw that the modern version of the poems concerning Cyrus represented the campaign against Tomyris as due to a similar motive. Hophra died in the year 570; when Cambyses ascended the throne, his youngest daughter must have been more than forty years of age. There was no need of any motive of this kind to excite Cambyses against Egypt, as has been shown above; after the fall of Lydia and Babylonia, Egypt was the natural aim for the Persian weapons.

Cambyses did not begin the war against Egypt immediately after his accession. Though Ctesias tells us that he first placed his brother over the Bactrians, Chorasmians, Parthians, and Carmanians, Cyrus, when he entrusted the kingdom of Babylonia to Cambyses, may have given the viceroyalty over the regions of the East to his younger son. We may confidently believe Herodotus that the death of Cyrus gave the subject nations the hope of again throwing off the yoke. After overcoming these rebellions (p. 131), in the fifth year of his reign, Cambyses marched against Egypt. Amasis, as we have observed, had made himself master of the island[Pg 143] of Cyprus, and had entered into communication with Polycrates the prince of Samos, in order to cover an attack on Egypt by sea, and provide, in case of necessity, a counterpoise to the naval power of the Greek cities on the coast, and that of the Phenicians. Cyrus had allowed his empire to be bounded by the sea, though he did not refuse the voluntary submission of Chios and Lesbos. Cambyses went further. He wished to procure a fleet for his kingdom; Persia was to rule by sea as well as land. This, it is true, could only be done by forcing arms into the hands of subject tribes and cities, and that on an element on which the Persians could not pursue them. It was a bold conception, and in forming it Cambyses must have felt quite secure of the obedience of the Greek and Phenician cities, and of the allegiance of the old princely houses who ruled in the latter no less than of the new ones who ruled in the former. For the first time the command went forth to the harbour cities of the Syrian and Anatolian coasts, that they were to arm their ships for the king. The fleet was to support the attack of the land army, and then, passing up the Nile, facilitate the movements of the army in Egypt. The ships of the Greeks were to unite with those of the Phenicians in the harbour of Acco to the south of Carmel.[146] This resolution of Cambyses and the assembling of so magnificent a fleet on the coast of Phœnicia at once bore fruit. The princes of the Cyprian cities abandoned Egypt, recognised the supremacy of Persia, and at once prepared their ships for a voyage against Egypt. In return for this sudden and voluntary submission they were allowed to remain at the head of the cities; they[Pg 144] were only to pay tribute and furnish contingents in war.[147] On Polycrates of Samos also the naval armament of Cambyses made a most lively impression. When in possession of a strong fleet Cambyses could use it against Samos. Was Polycrates to fight for Egypt whose naval power could not defend him against this fleet, or was he to remain neutral? Polycrates held the latter course to be the worst; neutrality during the war of Cyrus and Crœsus had cost the Greek cities dear enough. He determined to change his front. When the Ionian cities launched their ships, and the vessels of Chios and Lesbos steered towards the Syrian coast, he also offered to place ships at the disposal of the Persian king for use in Egypt. Cambyses accepted the submission of Polycrates, and he sent forty well-manned ships of war.[148]

Thus Cambyses had already deprived the Pharaoh of two important points of support before he had begun the war. Whether Amasis was alive at the defection of the princes of Cyprus, and of Polycrates, is doubtful. It is possible that his death, which elevated to the throne of Egypt his son Psammenitus (Psamtek III.), an untried prince in the place of a proved and experienced leader such as Amasis, was another weight in the scale on the side of defection. There was still another difficulty to remove. The Syrian coast formed a strong wall of protection for Egypt. If the fleet followed the army along the[Pg 145] coast it found none but difficult landing-places; at present there are none in that region for the heavier ships of our days. In any case, in a numerous army such as Cambyses no doubt led, care would have to be taken for the horses and camels. It is not true that Cambyses requested a free passage from the king of the Arabians; the men in question were the chiefs of the Arabs in the peninsula of Sinai, the Midianites and Amalekites; and it was the supply of water for the army which these tribes undertook. After completing his preparations Cambyses set out early in the year 525 B.C., in order to march through the desert before the beginning of the hottest weather, and arrive in Egypt sufficiently early before the inundation.[149]

As the desertion of Eurybatus aided Cyrus in the Lydian war (p. 20), so was Cambyses assisted in his preparations for the campaign against Egypt according to the narrative of Herodotus by the advice of Phanes, and according to Ctesias by the advice of Combaphes. We may here give unhesitating confidence to the definite assertion of Herodotus as it concerns his own countryman of Halicarnassus. The departure of Phanes for Egypt must have taken place in the autumn of the year 526 B.C., for it is Amasis who sends his trusted eunuch after him as far as Lycia. For the name of Psammenitus the fragment of Ctesias gives the incorrect name of Amyrtaeus (if this name of the later opponent of Persia on the Nile is not due to the excerpt), it substitutes Combaphes for Phanes, i. e. to all appearances the eunuch who pursues Phanes for Phanes himself. We do not find[Pg 146] elsewhere the slightest trace that Combaphes received the vice-royalty of Egypt; on the contrary, the statements of the fragments about the cousinship of the chief eunuch of Pharaoh and the chief eunuch of Cambyses, and the repeated promise of the vice-royalty which is made to Combaphes, point to Persian poems, which had to clothe incidents of this nature in a poetical garb; we have already frequently met with the analogous promises of Arbaces to Belesys, and of Cyrus to the interpreters of dreams at Babylon.

With regard to the course of the war we can only establish the fact, that Psammenitus collected all his forces, i. e. the warrior caste, and his Ionian and Carian troops, which were apparently strengthened by Libyan tribes, and Greeks from Cyrene, and awaited the attack of the Persians at the point where at the present day the caravan road from Gaza reaches Egypt, near Pelusium, the old border fortress, surrounded by the sand of the desert and wide expanses of mud. In regard to this battle we only learn from Ctesias that 50,000 Egyptians and 20,000 Persians fell; whether it be that these numbers are taken from the Persian poems, or whether they belong to the official Persian account. A part of the Egyptian army retired to Pelusium; with another band of fugitives Psammenitus reached Memphis. When the Persians had besieged and captured Pelusium, which made a bold resistance, Egypt lay open to them. Cambyses shaped his course to Memphis. There in past days the empire of the Pharaohs had arisen; there stood the temple of Ptah, the most sacred shrine of the land, which Menes himself was said to have founded, which all his successors, including Amasis, had enlarged and adorned. Memphis closed the approach to the upper river valley, which was barred to the[Pg 147] Persians so long as the city held out. Hence it appears to have been the determination of Psammenitus to give up the delta to the Persians, to defend Memphis, and shut himself up in its walls. The city is said to have been twenty miles in circuit (I. 85); it lay on the western bank of the Nile, and Cambyses had the difficult task of crossing the river before he could invest the city. But now it was seen how great was the support afforded by the fleet. The Egyptian ships must have been forced to retire; the union of the Persian army with the fleet was accomplished; one of these ships appeared before the walls of Memphis sooner than the army. According to the account of Herodotus it would seem that it was not the city but only the citadel of Memphis, "the white tower" on the southern dam, which defended itself. If this was the case Cambyses had no doubt to thank the fleet for it. Elsewhere the city must have been defended on the side towards the Nile by the river-dams merely, which the garrison despaired of holding against the attack of numerous ships of war. Thus invested and attacked the citadel must at length have opened the gates; and with the citadel Psammenitus fell into the hands of the Persians.[150] After the fall of Memphis Cambyses does not seem to have found resistance anywhere. It is nevertheless possible that Sais, the residence of Psammetichus and his descendants, as well as of Amasis and Psammenitus, the burial-place of the princes and of Amasis, attempted a defence. In any case the conquest of Sais completed the subjugation of the Egyptian land. An[Pg 148] inscription of the Egyptians says: "When the great prince, the lord of the world, Kambathet, marched against Egypt, all nations of the earth were with him. He became lord of the whole land and settled there."[151] In a war of a few months Cambyses had overthrown a kingdom which reckoned by millenniums, and had been the wonder of the world.

What Herodotus tells us of the fate of Psammenitus and the death of his son reminds us in a striking manner of the legend of the Greeks about the distress and the rescue of Crœsus, who also reappears in this narrative. In both Herodotus becomes uncertain towards the end, and changes from direct to indirect narration, from assertion to supposition. When Cyrus commanded Crœsus to be burned, he intended, according to Herodotus, to prove whether a god would come to his aid; Cambyses intends to put the endurance of Psammenitus to the test. Two trials are made with this object; and a third trial also takes place; and if Crœsus calls on Solon three times on the pyre, Psammenitus remains dumb "with horror," as Aristotle says, at the sight of his daughter at her slavish task, and of his son when led out to execution; it is only at the sight of his friend who has become a beggar that he breaks forth into lamentation. Like Cyrus at Sardis, Cambyses at Memphis inquires into the reason of such conduct. But if Cyrus weeps at the pyre, and desires to save Crœsus, who is finally rescued by a god, so in this place, all the Persians who are present weep, and Crœsus weeps, and Cambyses himself is touched by compassion; he wishes to save the son of Psammenitus; and though[Pg 149] he cannot do this he releases the father out of captivity and receives him at his court. There is a difference in the stories in the fact that though Cambyses is putting Psammenitus to the test, the son is actually executed, and that the compassion of Cambyses is not aroused by the danger impending over the Egyptian king, but by his conduct. As in the story of Crœsus and Cyrus, so in this, we have obviously a legend of the Greeks—the Greeks in Egypt. The first story has arisen out of the intention of Crœsus not to survive the fall of his kingdom, to offer himself as a sacrifice to the angry god of the Lydians; and the second has no other foundation than the punishment exacted by Cambyses in accordance with the sentence of the seven judges (p. 105), for the murder of his herald who had demanded the surrender of Memphis, and for the massacre of the crew of the ship in which the herald had gone to the city. If the seven judges demand ten Egyptians for every man slain, this sentence, though it fell on the most distinguished families of Egypt, would seem mild enough according to the scale of oriental punishments; as 2000 men were brought out for execution, the ship must have had the usual crew of a Greek trireme. Whether the son of Psammenitus was really put to death for the herald, we must leave to the legend; Ctesias tells us only of the deportation of Psammenitus and 6000 Egyptians to Susa.

Cambyses resolved to treat Psammenitus and Egypt in precisely the same way as Cyrus had treated Crœsus and Lydia, Nabonetus and Babylon. It is not said that any harm was done to the city of Memphis, and Herodotus tells us himself that if Psammenitus had known how to keep quiet, Cambyses would have entrusted him with the governorship[Pg 150] of Egypt. Yet the degradation of his daughter and the execution of his son were a strange initiation of such treatment.[152] Still more incredible is the ill-treatment and burning of the corpse of Amasis, for which Cambyses had not the slightest reason, especially as Herodotus states that Cambyses sent Ladice, the widow of Amasis, unharmed back to her own city of Cyrene.[153] The story belongs to the context of the narrative according to which Cambyses sues for the daughter of Amasis, and is deceived by him with the daughter of Hophra, whose desire for vengeance on Amasis he satisfies. As Amasis is no longer alive, vengeance comes upon his son and grandson, and even on his own body. For this reason Herodotus has adopted this story, for he lays great stress on the fact that no misfortune befell Amasis in his life, though he rejects the Egyptian version that Amasis had taken the precaution to substitute the corpse of another person of the same age for his own. If Sais resisted and was taken by storm, the temple of Neith might certainly be injured, the royal sepulchres violated, and the mummies taken from them, without any blame attaching to Cambyses, though on a similar occasion at Memphis he is charged by Herodotus with opening the tombs and disturbing the rest of the dead.[154] The Egyptian inscription informs us that the conduct of Cambyses at Sais and in the temple of Neith, in the portico of which Amasis had built his sepulchre, was widely different from that described by the legend. He removed his soldiers from the temple, purified it, and both here and in other places he showed his regard for the worship of the Egyptians as Cyrus[Pg 151] had shown it for the worship of the Babylonians and the Hebrews. From the account of Herodotus, no less than from the later circumstances of Egypt, it is clear that no alteration was made in the government, law, and administration of justice, except that a Persian satrap was placed at the head of the country and Persian garrisons were sent to the citadels of the most important places. Even the Egyptian warrior caste remained unchanged and undiminished; it merely passed from the service of the Pharaohs into that of the Achæmenids; and after repeated rebellions numbered more than 400,000 men in the middle of the fifth century B.C.


[139] The Babylonian tablets give dates from the first to the ninth year inclusive of "Kuras, king of Babylon," which entirely agree with the dates of the canon of Ptolemy, i. e. with the capture of Babylon by Cyrus 538 B.C., and the death of Cyrus in 529 B.C. On another tablet, No. 877, Br. Mus., we find the "year eleven of Cambyses king of Babylon" (E. Schrader, "Z. Aegypt. Sprach." 1878, s. 40 ff.). It is a fact established by the canon of Ptolemy as well as by Herodotus that Cambyses did not sit on the throne for eight whole years. Tablet 906 explains this eleventh year; it runs as follows: "Babylon month Kislev, day 25, year 1 of Cambyses king of Babylon, at that time Cyrus king of the lands." Hence in Babylon dates were sometimes fixed by the years of Cyrus king of Babylon, and sometimes by the years of the viceroy. If the "year eleven" of Cambyses in Babylon was the year of Cambyses' death, Cyrus must have handed over the government of Babylonia to him in the year 532 B.C., i. e. three years before his own death. This view, which has been developed by E. Schrader, I feel able to adopt against the opinion of T. G. Pinches, who wrongly assumes an abdication of Cyrus. That years were not dated from Cambyses after his death is proved by seventeen other tablets, which do not go beyond the eighth year of his reign, and two others of the 20 Elul and 1 Tisri from the first year of Barziya, i. e. of the Pseudo-Smerdis.

[140] Herod. 2, 182; Diod. 1, 68.

[141] Herod. 3, 1.

[142] Herodotus writes Kadytis after the Egyptian name Kazatu. Vol. I. 132.

[143] Herod. 2, 1; 3, 44.

[144] Bekker reads 7000.

[145] Ctesias, "Pers." 9; Athenaeus, p. 560.

[146] Strabo, p. 758.

[147] In Herod. (3, 19) the voluntary submission of the Cyprians stands in direct connection with their participation in the campaign against Egypt; hence it cannot be placed earlier. If Xenophon ("Inst. Cyri," 1, 1) represents the Cyprians as already subjugated by Cyrus, he maintains the same of Egypt also. On the other hand, the statement of Xenophon that the Cyprians retained their native kings owing to their voluntary submission is amply confirmed by later events ("Inst. 2 Cyri." 7, 4, 2; 8, 6, 8).

[148] Herod. 3, 44.

[149] According to Lepsius, Amasis died in January 525, and hence Memphis fell in July of this year: "Monatsberichte Berl. Akademie," 1854. The Psammenitus of Herodotus is called Psammecherites in Manetho; and Psamtik on the monuments. Rosell. "Monum. storici." 2, 153; 4, 105.

[150] Diod. "Exc. de virtute," p. 557; Polyaen. "Strateg." 7, 9. In regard to the campaign we may compare the march of Pharnabazus and Iphicrates against Nectanebos in the year 374 B.C., in Diod. 15, 41-43. Aristot. "Rhet." 2, 8, 12.

[151] Herod. 2, 181. De Rougé, "Revue Archeol," 8, 3; Brugsch, "Hist. of Egypt," 2, 294.

[152] Aristot. "Rhet." 2, 8, 12.

[153] Herod. 2, 181.

[154] Herod. 3, 37.



[Pg 152]



More than two centuries before Cambyses set foot upon its soil, Egypt had experienced the rule of the stranger. The reign of the Ethiopic monarchs of Napata over Egypt (730-672 B.C.) was followed by the more severe dominion of the Assyrians. But Psammetichus had been able to restore the kingdom, and the sovereignty of his house; the reign of Amasis had called into existence a beautiful after-bloom of Egyptian art, had given a lively impulse to trade, and increased the welfare of the land. Now the day of Pelusium and the fall of Memphis had decided the fate of Egypt irrevocably and for all time. The kingdom had been founded from Memphis three thousand years previously, and at Memphis it was now overthrown. Egypt, in spite of repeated and stubborn attempts, was never able to recover from the dominion of the Persians, and even the fall of the Persian empire did not permit the rise of the Egypt of the Egyptians.

The speedy and great success which Cambyses achieved had effects beyond the borders of Egypt. Herodotus narrates that the Libyans in their anxiety about the fortune of Egypt submitted to Cambyses without a battle, promised to pay tribute, and sent presents. The Cyrenaeans also and Barcaeans from[Pg 153] similar apprehensions had done the same. The presents of the Libyans were graciously accepted by Cambyses, but the 500 minae which the Cyrenaeans sent, he threw with his own hand among the people because "it was too little."[155] Diodorus explains the anxiety of the Libyans and Cyrenaeans, "after Cambyses had become lord of the whole of Egypt" and the voluntary submission which was the consequence of it, by the fact that the Libyans and Cyrenaeans had fought against Cambyses with the Egyptians. We know from other sources that the princes of Cyrene were in close and friendly connection with Amasis.[156] The subjugation of the Libyans cannot have extended farther than to the tribes adjacent to the Delta, and reaching towards the west perhaps as far as Cyrene. At that time Archelaus III. was the king of Cyrene. More than a century before, Greeks from the island of Thera had founded the city on the well-watered and grassy slopes which run from the table-land of Barca to the sea. Ever since that time the family of Battus and Archelaus had reigned over this settlement, which, owing to its favoured position and lively trade, rose quickly to power and wealth. The attack which Pharaoh-Hophra made upon it in the year 571 B.C. had been successfully repulsed by the Cyrenaeans (III. 405). Subsequently, about the year 545 B.C., Battus III. had been compelled to submit to a constitutional form of government which restricted the monarchy to a hereditary presidentship. Discontented with this position, Archelaus III. attempted to recover the old powers. The attempt failed, Archelaus fled, and found shelter with Polycrates, the tyrant of Samos. When he had collected there an army of adventurers he returned at their head, subverted the constitution,[Pg 154] and set on foot a cruel persecution against all who had adhered to it. He may have felt the ground insecure under his feet in the city; the fall of Egypt deprived him of the support which he had had in that country, and if he had really sent a contingent to aid Psammenitus he had to fear the vengeance of Cambyses. These were reasons enough for seeking the protection of the Persian king. He recognised the sovereignty of Cambyses, and sent that sum of money as the first proof of his submission.

"Cambyses now proposed to himself a threefold expedition," so Herodotus relates; "one against the Carthaginians, a second against the Ammonians, and a third against the long-lived Ethiopians, who inhabit Libya on the southern sea. It seemed best to send the fleet against the Carthaginians, and a part of the land army against the Ammonians, but to the Ethiopians envoys were first sent. When he had given this command he ordered fish-eaters to be brought from Elephantine (the island on the Nile on the border of Egypt) who were acquainted with the language of the Ethiopians. While these were being brought he ordered the fleet to set out against Carthage. But the Phenicians refused; they were bound by great oaths, and they would be guilty of a crime if they went against their own children. As the Phenicians refused, the rest (i. e. the Greeks) were not strong enough, and so the Carthaginians escaped slavery under the Persians. For Cambyses could not do violence to the Phenicians, because they had voluntarily submitted to the Persians (p. 90), and the whole naval power rested on the Phenicians. When the fish-eaters had come, they were told what they had to say to the Ethiopians, and received the presents which they had to take—a purple robe, a golden[Pg 155] necklace and bracelets, a box of alabaster filled with ointment, and a jar of palm-wine. The Ethiopians to whom they were sent were said to be the tallest and most beautiful of men, and as they live under laws which are different from those of other men, they were said to regard the man who is the tallest and strongest among them as the most worthy of the throne."

"When the fish-eaters reached the Ethiopians and gave over their presents to the king, they said: 'Cambyses, the king of the Persians, wishes to be your friend and sends you as presents these things in which he takes most delight himself.' The Ethiopians answered: 'The Persian king has not sent you with these presents because he wishes to be my friend, and ye are not speaking the truth. You have been sent to spy out my kingdom, and he is not a righteous man. If he were righteous he would not have desired another land than his own, nor would he have reduced men to slavery from whom he had suffered no wrong. Give him this bow (the bows of the Ethiopians were of palm-wood and more than four cubits in length),[157] and say to the king of the Persians, that when his people can string a bow of that size he may march against the long-lived Ethiopians with an overwhelming army; till then, he may thank the gods that it has not occurred to the sons of the Ethiopians to conquer another land in addition to their own.' Then he gave them the bow, and he took the purple robe, and asked what it was and how it was made. And when the fish-eaters gave him a true account of the purple and the dyeing, he said that the men were deceivers and their garments deceptive. When he saw the necklace and bracelets, the king laughed,[Pg 156] for he imagined that they were fetters; their fetters, he said, were stronger. Then he inquired about the ointment, and when the preparation and use of this were explained, he said the same as about the robes. The wine he drank and it pleased him greatly, and he asked what the king of Persia ate, and what was the greatest age to which the Persians lived. They replied that he ate bread, and explained the nature of wheat; they also put the greatest age to which the Persians lived at eighty years. The king replied that he did not wonder that their years were few, inasmuch as they ate dirt, and they would not live so long as they did, if the drink did not strengthen them—in that matter the Persians had the advantage. Of the Ethiopians most lived to 120 years, and some even longer; their food was cooked flesh, and their drink milk. When the envoys returned and Cambyses received their account, he fell into a passion, and marched against the Ethiopians without taking measures for the supply of provisions or considering that he was about to march to the end of the world, but like one distraught and out of his mind, he set forth on his expedition as soon as he heard the account of the fish-eaters. No Persian was able to draw the bow of the Ethiopians; Smerdis alone, the brother of Cambyses, was able to draw it two finger-breadths.[158] Cambyses bade the Greeks who were with him (i. e. the crews of the Greek ships) to remain in Egypt; but the whole of the rest of the army he took with him. When he came to Thebes, he sent 50,000 men away with orders to enslave the Ammonians and burn the oracle of Zeus; with the rest he marched against the Ethiopians. But before the army had traversed a fifth part of the way all their provisions were con[Pg 157]sumed, and not long after even the beasts of burden were eaten. If Cambyses when he saw this had given up his intention, and led the army back, he would have shown himself a wise man after his first mistake, but he went recklessly onward. So long as the soldiers found anything growing on the ground, they ate herbs and grass; but when they came to the sand, some of them did a horrid deed; they drew lots for the tenth man and ate him. When Cambyses heard of this, he was distressed that the soldiers should eat each other, abandoned the war against the Ethiopians, marched back, and reached Thebes after losing many men. This was the end of the expedition against the Ethiopians. But with regard to those who were sent against the Ammonians it is only known that they reached the city of Oasis where the Samians dwell, seven days' march distant from Thebes through the desert; in the Greek language this place is called the island of the blessed. To this place the army came; but beyond this no man knows anything except what the Ammonians say. They relate that when they marched from the oasis through the sand and were about midway between the oasis and the Ammonians, and were eating breakfast, a great wind from the south blew up a mass of sand and overwhelmed them, and in this way they perished." Diodorus represents Cambyses as making the attempt to subjugate the Ethiopians with a great host, in which he lost the whole of his army and was in the greatest danger.[159]

If the legend of the Greeks of the fortunes of Psammenitus after his defeat exhibits analogous traits to the legend, also Greek, of the fate of Crœsus after his capture, the account given by Herodotus[Pg 158] of the march of Cambyses against the long-lived Ethiopians reminds us of his account of the march of Cyrus against the Massagetæ. In both cases the aim is directed against unknown foreign nations, against whom there is no reason to make war; in both cases good sense, moderation, wisdom, and love of peace are found in the chief of the barbarians; in both envoys are sent under false pretences; in both the conversation on either side is accurately known. In the first case it is a foolish resolution which brings ruin; in the second it is the vexation of Cambyses at the answer of the Ethiopians, and the inability to draw the bow, which causes him to lead his army without any hesitation into destruction. Along with other indications, the test of the bow here, like the bottle in the other legend, points to a poetical source.

We have seen that the ancient Pharaohs, the Sesurtesen and Amenemha, Tuthmosis and Amenophis, and after them Sethos and Ramses II., had extended the dominion of Egypt up the Nile to Semne and Cumne, and subsequently to Mount Barkal. The Egyptian language, worship, and art spread in this direction, and with the decline of the Egyptian power after the time of the Ramessids (from the year 1100 B.C.), an independent state grew up, the metropolis of which was Napata, near the modern Meravi, on Mount Barkal. The princes of this state in their turn, from king Pianchi onwards, had forced their way down the Nile.[160] Sabakon, Sebichos, and Tirhaka had governed Napata and Egypt. After Sabakon had come into conflict with the Assyrians at Raphia in Syria (720 B.C.), and Tirhaka at Altaku (701 B.C.), Tirhaka succumbed[Pg 159] in the year 672 B.C. to the arms of Esarhaddon. Repeated attempts of Tirhaka and his son Urdamane upon Egypt were wrecked; Esarhaddon calls himself king of Miluhhi and Cush. Assurbanipal boasts that he pursued Urdamane as far as the land of Cush. But the kingdom of Napata, which the inscriptions of Sargon, Sennacherib, Esarhaddon and Assurbanipal call Miluhhi (Meroe[161])—in the inscriptions on Mount Barkal we find the names Meru and Merua—continued to exist, and maintained itself against the restoration of Egyptian power under Psammetichus and his successors. We cannot doubt that Cambyses wished to penetrate up the Nile at least as far as the army of the Assyrians, that he felt it necessary to secure his dominion in Egypt against attacks from Napata, and to extend his dominion as far up the Nile as the army of the old Pharaohs had reached. That the prince, who, as we saw, made the most careful preparations for the campaign against Egypt, should have thrown himself foolishly and recklessly into this undertaking, as Herodotus represents, is incredible, and the statement must be attributed to special tendencies in the sources used by the historian. So far as Meroe, Herodotus tells us from information collected at Elephantine on the southern border of Egypt, the way lay up and on the Nile. First there were four days' journey from Elephantine (against the stream), then forty days' march along the river, since the rocks made navigation impossible, and then after twelve days' voyage the great city of Meroe was reached, the[Pg 160] metropolis of the rest of the Ethiopians. The distance to the place where the Egyptians lived who had emigrated under Psammetichus (III. 307) was not less than the distance from Elephantine to Meroe, and it was a long journey for them to the long-lived Ethiopians. The total of 56 days' journey from the way from Elephantine to Meroe upon or along the Nile points to a place much higher up the river than Napata. The new Meroe is meant, which the princes of Napata, receding before the Persians, had founded before the time of Herodotus.[162] Herodotus' statements that the Ethiopians worshipped Zeus and Dionysus alone among the gods, and worshipped them very zealously, that there was an oracle of Zeus in their country, and that it was only by its command that they went to war, are completely established by the monuments of Napata. They show that the worship of Ammon, the god of Thebes and upper Egypt, and that of Osiris whom the Greeks, as we know, compared with their Dionysus, were zealously prosecuted. From inscriptions and intelligence of other kinds we have also ample information of the influence of the priests, and the importance of the oracle in the kingdom of Napata. The fame of the priesthood at Napata may be the basis of the "pious Ethiopians" of Homer; the same piety, though further removed,[Pg 161] is shown in Herodotus' narrative of the long-lived Ethiopians.

When Cambyses, so Strabo tells us, had made himself master of Egypt, he advanced to Meroe (Napata), and it is said that he gave the name to the city in honour of his wife, or his sister, as others say, who was buried there. Diodorus indeed tells us that Cambyses founded the famous city of Meroe, and gave it the name of Meroe after his mother.[163] Josephus also observes that Cambyses changed the name of the royal city of the Ethiopians and called it Meroe.[164] However unfounded may be the assertion that the name of Meroe proceeded from Cambyses—for we find it used two centuries previously by the Assyrians—it is quite clear from these statements that Cambyses did advance as far as the old metropolis of the Ethiopians and brought it into his power; that he conquered and maintained the kingdom of Napata. Indeed Herodotus tells us elsewhere himself that he advanced far beyond Napata to the south. "In his campaign against the long-lived Ethiopians," we are told in this passage, "Cambyses subjugated the Ethiopians who dwell around the sacred Nysa, and hold festivals in honour of Dionysus." The position of the mythical Nysa, we cannot, it is true, define more precisely than that a Homeric hymn puts it above the fountains of the Nile,[165] and Herodotus himself places it above Egypt in Ethiopia;[166] but inasmuch as these Ethiopians of Nysa wore leopard and lion skins, according to Herodotus, and were armed with clubs; as their arrow-heads were made of sharp stones, and their lances of the horns of antelopes; as they painted themselves half red and half white in battle;[167] as they[Pg 162] had to pay to the Persians every third year two hundred logs of ebony, twenty large tusks of elephants, five boys, and two chœnixes of unrefined gold,[168] Cambyses must have penetrated into the land of the negroes, the zone of ebony and the elephant. On the middle course of the Nile in Nubia, and above Napata, there were tribes akin to the Egyptians; the land of the negroes began about the union of the White and Blue Nile. The monuments of Egypt comprise both populations under the name Cush, the name of the land of the south, and they exhibit these southern nations as partly red and partly black. The Greeks call the red and black inhabitants of the land of the south, Ethiopians. According to the statements of Artemidorus of Ephesus and of Agatharchides, which have been preserved by Strabo and Diodorus, the land of the elephant-hunters and ostrich-eaters, who fought with the Ethiopians, men armed with the horns of the antelope, began south of the confluence of the Atbara and Bahr-el-Azrek or Blue River, and the Nile.[169] At the present time the region of the ebony-woods and elephants begins in the marsh at the foot of the Abyssinian Alps; elephants are not found elsewhere except in some more northern regions on the Red Sea; and that the Ethiopians did not acquire the elephants' tusks in the way of trade is proved by the small amount of gold which they had to pay as tribute. As we find in the reliefs of Persepolis and Naksh-i-Rustem, among the nations of the Persian kingdom, certain figures which are marked out as negroes by their short, curly hair, their snub nose, their bare breast and the animal's skin on the shoulders; as the Ethiopians of Nysa and their neighbours served, according to Herodotus, in the[Pg 163] army of Xerxes, and paid the tribute mentioned, as Herodotus expressly tells us, even in his day, the march of Cambyses must have penetrated beyond the mouth of the Atbara, and Napata must have been permanently maintained, otherwise such distant tribes would not have furnished contingents in war fifty years later, and their tribute would have come to an end long before Herodotus.

Hence Cambyses did not, as the account of Herodotus represents, return to Egypt from the upper Nile without success. On the contrary, he penetrated much further than the Assyrians, and his campaign had more lasting results than the conquests of Tuthmosis III. and Ramses II. on the upper Nile. The account given by Herodotus of the distress into which the army fell, the statement that the soldiers ate each other (which is also told of the expedition of Cyrus to the Indus), and that the retreat to Egypt was thus brought about, is hardly compatible with such results and so firmly-established a supremacy. Yet we may suppose that Cambyses wished to penetrate even further than the junction of the White and Blue Nile, and there fell into difficulties. But it is probable that quite another incident lies at the base of the legend of the distress of Cambyses "in the sand." At Premnis on the Nile, Pliny mentions "the market of Cambyses;" in Ptolemy the same place is called "the Magazine of Cambyses." Strabo, when narrating the campaign which Petronius took in the year 24 B.C. against Napata, tells us, that after Petronius had taken Pselchis (140 miles above Elephantine) he came to Premnis (150 miles further up the Nile, below Abu Simbel and the falls of Wadi Halfa), "after he had marched through the sand-heaps in which the army of Cambyses was buried by a[Pg 164] sudden wind." Thus, five hundred years after the campaign of Cambyses, the tradition was in existence, that his army had been buried there. Hence when Napata had been conquered, and the negro stems subjugated, when Mount Barkal and the falls of Wadi Halfa were already behind the army on the return journey, it was overtaken by a sand-storm in the neighbourhood of Egypt, and a part of the army, though not the whole, was buried.[170]

Herodotus told us above that Cambyses in his march against the Ethiopians sent a section of his army against the Ammonians, to reduce them to slavery, and burn the oracle of Ammon there. Diodorus repeats the statement of Herodotus almost in the same words. Justin observes, that Cambyses had sent an army for the conquest of the famous temple of Ammon, but it was overwhelmed by a storm and masses of sand. Herodotus' narrative of this campaign cannot have arisen from the source from which he took the striking traits of his account of the march against the long-lived Ethiopians. Had this treated of the march against the Ammonians it would have given some account of the issue of it; but Herodotus expressly tells us that only the Ammonians could give an account of this. His authority therefore was a Greek-Egyptian tradition. The Ammonians inhabited the oasis of Sivah, which lies in the desert to the west of Egypt: the worship of Ammon was carried there by Egyptian settlers and Egyptian influence.[171] We cannot doubt that Cambyses, after Cyrene and the tribes of the Libyans between Egypt and Cyrene had submitted, sent a part of his army to obtain possession of this oasis. The oasis of Ammon was well adapted to keep the[Pg 165] Libyans of the coast as well as the Cyrenaeans in subjection; and was at the same time an important station for trade, and a desirable point of support for further undertakings in the West. The command to enslave the inhabitants of the oasis and burn the temple, is part of the conception which represents Cambyses as setting out against the Ethiopians in a moment of reckless passion. According to Herodotus, the expedition to Sivah came in seven days after leaving Thebes to "the Island of the Blest," i. e. to the oasis El Charigeh, which as a fact is seven good days' march from Thebes in the desert.[172] From this point the army had to proceed about 500 miles; at present the caravans go northward from El Charigeh, then to the west from the oasis of Kasr, to Sivah. What happened to the army on one of these routes, no one, Herodotus says, can tell; the Ammonians declared that it was buried half way between El Charigeh and Sivah.

It would be rash to connect the heaps of bones which a traveller in our times saw in the neighbourhood of the oasis of Kasr with the destruction of the army of Cambyses,[173] and it is surprising that the Persians took the longer route from Thebes, when the shorter route which led from Memphis to Sivah was already frequented. Alexander of Macedon, in order to reach the Ammonians, marched from the Mareotic Lake along the coast westward to Paraetonium, then he turned directly to the south, and in eight marches reached the oasis. A modern traveller reached it in fifteen days from Fayum, in 1809, and the troops of Mahomet Ali who subjugated[Pg 166] Sivah in 1820 to Egypt (2000 men and 500 camels with water) reached it in fourteen days. Most remarkable of all is the fact, that both campaigns of Cambyses were overtaken by the same disaster. The direction taken by each does not allow us to connect the two; the route to Sivah could not be past Pselchis and Premnis. Yet neither one nor the other disaster is in itself incredible, though 50,000 men cannot have perished. Some 70 years ago a caravan of about 2000 souls was buried in a sand-storm on the road from Darfur to Egypt.[174] But even if the division which was despatched against the oasis of Ammon succumbed to the storms of the desert, Cambyses maintained the oasis El Charigeh, which Herodotus calls the city Oasis and the Island of the Blessed. The magnificent remains of a temple which Darius the son of Hystaspes caused to be erected there to the god of the oasis, the ram-headed Ammon, prove that the oasis was conquered and held by Cambyses.[175]

Like the undertaking against the Ammonians, the intention of Cambyses to send the fleet against Carthage was evidence of his plan of extending his power to the west, and achieving in Africa what his father had done in Asia. Herodotus gives the account of the order commanding the fleet to sail, of the refusal of the Phenicians, and the abandonment of the project by Cambyses, according to the tradition of the Greeks, who together with the Phenicians made up the fleet of Cambyses and the Greeks in Egypt. There is no reason to doubt the statement. By the submission of the Cyrenaeans and Barcaeans Cambyses became the neighbour of Carthage, which[Pg 167] had lately united the Phenician colonies of West Africa under her leadership and was eager to oppose the advance of the Greeks in the west of the Mediterranean, the settlement of their colonies to the west of the great Syrtis, and their progress in Sardinia, Corsica, and Sicily. If the attempt to advance to the desert to the west of El Charigeh were already wrecked, if Cambyses had already returned from Napata when he commanded the fleet to sail against Carthage, new successes covered that disaster as well as the calamity of Premnis, and the gain of Carthage was of more importance than that of the oasis of Sivah. The old Phenicians of the East, in union with the navy of the Anatolian cities, was to conquer the new Phœnicia of the West. The Greeks no doubt were ready, but the Phenicians refused. By injuring their colonies in the West they would have rendered the greatest service to the rival naval power and trade of the Greeks; in Anatolia and on the coasts of Sicily they would probably have given a fatal blow to their own power by sea. Whether Cambyses saw this connection of affairs, and felt that the subjection of Carthage would liberate the independent Greeks from a dangerous neighbour, and the dependent Greeks from a rival in trade, or whether he simply gave way to the refusal of the Phenicians, we cannot decide: we only know that "as the fleet of the Phenicians refused,"—and it formed the preponderating part of the naval force,—it was impossible to compel it to go.


[155] Herod. 3, 13.

[156] Diod. "Exc. de legat." p. 619 = 10, 14.

[157] Herod. 7, 69. Cf. Strabo, p. 802.

[158] Herod. 3, 30.

[159] Herod. 3, 17-26; Diod. 3, 1.

[160] Vol. III. 63 ff. 159.

[161] The name Miluhhi is nevertheless used so often in the inscription of the kings, and in such close connection with Egypt, that the kingdom of Napata may merely be meant. Assurbanipal tells us that his brother seduced into rebellion "the princes of Miluhhi whom he subjugated." Vol. III. 170.

[162] Herod. 2, 29; Strabo, p. 786. Herodotus' statements, like those of the later authorities from Eratosthenes to Strabo and Pliny, have the second, more southern, Meroe in view, the ruins of which were found at Begerauieh, above the mouth of the Atbara, some 150 miles as the crow flies to the south of Napata. They describe this Meroe as situated on an island, because the Atbara was regarded as an arm of the Nile. The ruins at Begerauieh are less important and artistic than those of Napata, the hieroglyphics are of another kind. As the Persians maintained their hold on Napata, a new metropolis of the Ethiopian kingdom obviously grew up at this place after the times of Cambyses and Darius, which adopted the name and civilization of the old.

[163] Strabo, p. 790; Diod. 1, 33.

[164] "Antiq." 2, 10.

[165] "Hymn." 26, 9.

[166] "Hymn." 2, 146.

[167] "Hymn." 7, 69.

[168] "Hymn." 3, 97.

[169] Diod. 3, 26, 33; Strabo, p. 772.

[170] Plin. "H. N." 6, 35; Strabo, p. 822.

[171] Herod. 2, 42.

[172] Parthey, "Die Oase des Jupiter Ammon, Abh. Berl. Akad." 1862, s. 159 ff.

[173] Belzoni, "Narrative," p. 398.

[174] Ritter, "Erdkunde," 2, 1, 397.

[175] Lepsius, "Trinuthis, Z. Aegypt. Sprache," 1874, s. 76 ff.



[Pg 168]



"When Cambyses returned from Thebes to Memphis," so Herodotus narrates, "Apis appeared to the Egyptians. They put on their best clothes, and made holiday. Cambyses seeing this, formed the opinion that they held the festival because misfortune had happened to him. He summoned the governors of Memphis, and when they came into his presence asked them why the Egyptians had done nothing of this kind when he had been in Memphis before, but only now that he had lost the greater part of his army. They replied that their god had appeared to them, who for a long time had been wont to appear, and when he appeared all the Egyptians were delighted. When Cambyses heard this he said that they lied, and punished them with death. He then sent for the priests, and when they said the same, he said that he would soon ascertain whether a tame deity had appeared to the Egyptians, and commanded them to bring out Apis. Apis was brought out, and Cambyses mad as he was drew his sword. He meant to stab Apis in the belly, but he hit the thigh and said with a laugh to the priests: 'Wretches, are these creatures gods, which have flesh and blood, and feel iron? Such a god is worthy of the Egyptians. But[Pg 169] you shall not mock me for nothing,' He gave command to scourge the priests and slay every Egyptian who was found making holiday. In this way the festival came to an end; the priests were punished, the Apis died in the temple of the wound in his thigh, and the priests buried him secretly unknown to Cambyses.[176] But the king remained in Memphis and raged against the Egyptians, the allies, and the Persians. He caused the old sepulchres to be opened and looked at the corpses; he went into the temple of Hephaestus (Ptah, I. 43), and desecrated the image of the god in various ways. He also entered the temple of the Cabiri (belonging to the Phenicians at Memphis, III. 310), which none but the priests may enter, and outraged the images and burned them."[177] Diodorus observes that Cambyses, as was said, took away the Golden Zone in the Ramesseum, which measured 365 cubits, one for each day in the year, and was a cubit thick.[178] Justin tells us quite generally that Cambyses, enraged at the superstition of the Egyptians, gave orders for the destruction of the temples of Apis and the other gods.[179]

In the narrative of Herodotus the best reason given for the wounding of Apis is the vexation of the king at the failure of his campaigns against the Ethiopians and Ammonians, and the refusal of the Phenicians; and the belief that the festival of Apis was merely an excuse for making merry over the blows which had fallen upon him. If Cambyses tells the priests, who exhibit Apis to him as a god who has recently appeared to them, that "they lied," it was very difficult for a worshipper of Auramazda to believe that a young bull was a god, and the highest god, and[Pg 170] the "lie" with which Cambyses charges them, seems to be an accurate trait corresponding to the conceptions of the Avesta about the "lying gods," and to the Zoroastrian respect for the truth. There could hardly be a more strongly-marked contrast than between the worship of Auramazda, the creator of heaven and earth, and surrounded by the light spirits of the sky, in which no images were allowed, and the rites of the Egyptians, their worship of numerous images of the most extraordinary form in splendid temples, their adoration of the sacred animals, in which these deities appeared, and were thought to be present,—between their anxious care for the preservation of the corpse, and the eagerness of the Iranians to remove the impure remains of man. Cambyses might in all honesty believe that he was in contact with a stupid worship of idols, a senseless adoration of calves, crocodiles, and serpents, and a nation of "liars."

But if he held such opinions, he did not act on them. If he had outraged the worship of Egypt in the manner represented by the legends of the Egyptians in Herodotus and Justin, the country could hardly have remained at rest after his death, when almost all the other lands rebelled against the Persians. Egyptian inscriptions prove that under Cambyses there was no sort of religious persecution, but quite the reverse. In the tombs of the Apis, on the plateau of Memphis, on the vestibule of the new gallery which Psammetichus had caused to be hollowed out for them, when the old gallery of Ramses II. was filled, we see on a pillar Cambyses adoring the Apis. The inscription tells us: "In the year four, in the month Epiphi, in the reign of Cambyses (Kambathet), the immortal, the god was brought here for the burial which the king ordained for him. A[Pg 171] second Apis, the successor of that which was buried, was born, as the inscription of the Apis tombs tells us, on the 28th Tybi, in the fifth year of the reign of Cambyses.[180] Inscriptions found on the statue of an Egyptian, Uzahorsun (at present in the Vatican), tell us that he had been a magistrate under Amasis and Psammenitus (Psamtik III.), and afterwards under Cambyses and Darius. 'When the great prince, the lord of the world, Kambathet,'[181] so we are told in these, 'marched against Egypt, all the nations of the earth were with him.' He became lord of the whole land, and settled therein. He was the great lord of Egypt, the great prince of the whole world, the king of upper and lower Egypt, Ra-mesut (i. e. Ra born again[182]). And his holiness conferred on me the dignity of a counsellor and overseer of the royal gates, and commanded that I should ever be where he was. I brought a complaint before his holiness touching the people who were in the temple of Neith, that they might be driven out, that the temple might be purified and clean as before. His holiness commanded the temple to be purified, and the sacred gifts to be brought as before to Neith, the great mother of the great gods who dwell in Sais. And his holiness commanded to celebrate all the great and little festivals, as had been done before. This his holiness did because he had commanded me to announce to him the greatness of Sais, which is the city of all the gods, who are there enthroned on their seats for ever. When the king[Pg 172] of upper and lower Egypt came to Sais, he entered himself into the temple of Neith. He visited the sacred place of her holiness the goddess, as every king had done. His holiness did this on the information which he had received of the greatness of her holiness, who is the mother of the sun himself. His holiness performed all the rites in the temple of Neith. He offered a libation of the lord of Eternity (Osiris) in the inner chamber of the temple of Neith, as all kings had done before him. On the command of his holiness, the worship of Neith, the great mother of the gods, was re-established in all its completeness for ever. I have provided the sacred worship of Neith, the lady of Sais, with all good things, as a good servant does for his master. I have re-established the priests in their office, and on the command of the king have given them rich possessions to be their own for ever. I have erected a good sepulchre for him who was without a coffin. I was a good citizen of my city. I have caused its children to live. I have set up all their houses; I have shown them every kindness as a father for his son. I have rescued their population, when disaster fell upon their canton, at a time when there was great calamity in all the land. Never did such calamity fall upon their land before."[183]

This inscription, like those on the Apis tombs, proves that Cambyses in Egypt, like his father in Babylon, wished to take the place of the old princes of the land, and did take it; and that he bore the titles of the ancient Pharaohs, and that a regal-name Ra-mesut was added to his name, as was the custom[Pg 173] with his predecessors. He undertook the protection of the ancient gods of the land; he allowed Egyptians, servants of the old king's, to come into his immediate service; he listened to their advice; heard their complaints about the outrages done to the temple, which could hardly have been avoided in the occupation (p. 147), and removed the cause; restored the priests to the enjoyment of their incomes; showed respect to their religion, and allowed it to continue without restriction. However great we suppose the care to be which the Egyptian inscriptions take to say no evil of the Persian king, whatever weight we ascribe to the fact that after the Persians had once become their masters, the priests followed the traditional custom in denoting the kings of the Persians by the titles of their Pharaohs; whatever importance we allow to the fact that the priests were closely interested in representing religious affairs as unaltered even after the change in the rulers, and however much we deduct from their formal style on the score of these considerations—it still remains an established fact, from these inscriptions, that Cambyses did not oppress the Egyptians or their religion. The purification of one of the largest and most sacred temples in Egypt, the restoration of the priesthood and the worship at the temple, could not have been ascribed to Cambyses if the opposite was known to be the case. On the other hand, the narrative of Uzahorsun presents us with the natural course of affairs. If he speaks of a great calamity such as had never before fallen on the district of Sais and the whole land, this refers to the conquest of Egypt by the Persians, since he claims the merit of having rescued the population at Sais in this calamity. We saw above, from the narrative of Herodotus, that Cambyses went to Sais,[Pg 174] after the capture of Memphis. The inscriptions show that the priests had been driven from the temple of Neith, that the soldiers were quartered in it, that sacrifice and worship came to an end. But it also teaches us that Cambyses removed these evils. Whether he felt himself called upon to offer gifts in the temple of Neith and pour libations, or whether the priests when restored to possession of the temple property did this on his behalf, is indifferent; the inscription and Herodotus tell us that he entered the temple in person. Of the two Apis-bulls which the inscriptions mention as belonging to the reign of Cambyses, the first, which was buried in Epiphi of the fourth year of Cambyses, may have been that which the king is said to have wounded after his return from Napata. But Herodotus observes that the priests buried this Apis "secretly." This is contradicted by the sepulchral pillar, inasmuch as Cambyses causes a place to be prepared for the burial of this Apis, and we have a picture of Cambyses in adoration before this Apis. The hypothesis, which we might frame, that the priests have given themselves the satisfaction of representing Cambyses as entreating the pardon of the god whom he had slain in a holy place, little visited by the Persians, would be very artificial and insufficient to account for this glaring contradiction.

Hence we have to correct in some very essential points the Greek-Egyptian tradition of Cambyses. Though the Egyptians might attempt, as we saw, to change Cambyses into the grandson of their own Pharaoh Hophra, the people could hardly fail to attribute evil deeds and crimes to the man who had deprived their land of its independence, who had caused them painfully to feel the loss of their pride, the antiquity and the monuments of their history, their[Pg 175] wisdom and art, a loss which they felt deeply as their repeated and stubborn rebellions show. But Herodotus would be the more ready to give credence to the narrative of the Egyptians of the wounding of Apis, because it explained the miserable death of Cambyses as the just punishment for this crime. Besides there were narratives of the Persians, which tended to impress on Cambyses the traits which he bears in Herodotus.

"Smerdis, the brother of Cambyses," so Herodotus further narrates, "was with him in Egypt. Cambyses sent him back out of jealousy, because he was able to draw the bow of the Ethiopians further than all the rest of the Persians. When Smerdis had returned to Persia, Cambyses saw in a dream a messenger from Persia, who told him, that his brother sat up on the throne and that his head touched heaven. He was afraid that his brother would slay him and take possession of the kingdom; hence he sent Prexaspes the Persian in whom he had most confidence to Persia to put him to death. Prexaspes went to Susa, and slew Smerdis as some say, while hunting with him, but according to others, by taking him out on the Red Sea (the Persian Gulf) and throwing him into the water. This was the first evil deed which Cambyses committed immediately after his crime against Apis. The second he committed against his own sister, by the same father and mother (i. e. against the youngest of the three daughters whom Cassandane bore to Cyrus; her name has not come down to us with certainty). He was seized with a passion for one of his sisters, and desired to have her to wife; but as he saw that this was unusual, for up to this time the Persians had not taken sisters to wife, he asked the royal[Pg 176] judges (p. 105) whether there was any law which stood in the way of his wish to marry his sister. The judges made a reply which was both just and safe; they could find no law which bade the brother marry the sister, but they had found a law which allowed the king of the Persians to do as he pleased. Then Cambyses married the sister whom he loved, and after this a second younger sister. The latter followed him to Egypt. Here she witnessed, together with Cambyses, a young lion fighting against a young dog, and when the dog was being beaten, its brother broke its chain and came to its aid, and the two together got the better of the lion. Cambyses was delighted at the sight, but his sister wept. When Cambyses perceived this he asked the cause of her tears; she replied that she wept because she thought of Smerdis when she saw the brother running to help the brother, and knew that no one would come to help him (Cambyses). For this speech, the Greeks say, Cambyses put his sister to death. The Egyptian account is that at table she took a lettuce, stripped off the leaves and asked Cambyses whether it looked better when bare or when full of leaves, and when he replied that it looked better when full of leaves, she retorted: 'And yet you have made it bare by desolating the house of Cyrus.' In a rage Cambyses gave her a kick, and as she was pregnant, she miscarried and died. Such was the fury of Cambyses against his own family, and he was guilty of similar acts against the Persians. He asked those Persians who sat with him and Crœsus what sort of a man he appeared to be in comparison with his father. They replied that he was greater than his father; for he possessed all that Cyrus had possessed, and Egypt and the sea in addition. This answer did not please Crœsus, who[Pg 177] said: 'O son of Cyrus, to me thou seemest not to be equal to thy father, for thou hast not a son to leave behind thee such as he left in thee'; and when he heard this Cambyses was pleased and praised the answer of Crœsus. He is said once to have asked Prexaspes whom he most honoured, and who carried in messages to him—his son was cup-bearer to Cambyses, an office of no slight honour—What do the Persians think and say of me? Prexaspes replied: 'O Sire, in all other things they praise thee greatly, but they say thou art too much given to wine.' Cambyses answered in displeasure: 'So the Persians now say that owing to wine I am mad and not in my right mind; their previous answer was untrue.' He remembered that they had called him greater than Cyrus, and said to Prexaspes: 'See now for yourself whether the Persians speak the truth, or whether they tell foolish tales. There is your son in the portico; if I hit him in the heart it is clear that the Persians are wrong in what they say. But if I miss they are right and I am not in my senses.' The king drew the bow, hit the youth, ordered the body to be opened and the wound to be examined. When it was found that the arrow was in the heart he laughed, and in great delight said to the father: 'Now I have proved to you, Prexaspes, that I am not mad, but that the Persians are out of their senses. Tell me now, did you ever see such an archer?' As Prexaspes saw that he was not in his right mind, and was afraid for himself, he replied: 'I believe that God himself could not shoot so well.' On another occasion he caused twelve of the leading Persians for some trifling cause to be buried alive, head downwards. Then Crœsus felt it right to warn him with words such as these: 'O king, do not yield in[Pg 178] everything to youth and anger; restrain and bridle thyself. It is good to look beforehand, and prudence is wise. Thou slayest men of thy own nation without good reason and killest youths. If thou persistest in this, beware lest the Persians fall from thee. Thy father Cyrus charged and bade me many times to warn thee and counsel thee for good.' Cambyses answered: 'Dost thou venture to advise me, who hast governed thine own land so well, and advised my father to cross the Araxes against the Massagetæ, when they were willing to come over the river? A bad ruler of your country, you have brought yourself to destruction, and Cyrus also who followed your advice: you shall not escape me; I have long been seeking for an excuse to take you.' He seized his bow in order to shoot him, but Crœsus escaped and ran out. As he could not shoot him, he ordered his servants to seize him and put him to death. The servants, who knew his manner, hid Crœsus; if Cambyses changed his mood and asked for Crœsus they intended to bring him and receive presents, but if not, they would put him to death. Not long after Cambyses asked for Crœsus, and the servants said that he was alive. Then Cambyses said he was glad that Crœsus was alive; but those who had preserved him should not escape, but die; and this sentence he executed."

"While Cambyses was passing his time in Egypt two brothers rose up against him, two Magians, one of whom Cambyses had left behind as the overseer of his house. This man, whose name was Patizeithes, rebelled when he found that the death of Smerdis was concealed, that few Persians knew of it, and the majority believed him to be alive. Building on this, he intended to make himself master of the throne.[Pg 179] He had a brother who was very like Smerdis and had also the same name. When he had persuaded this brother to take his advice in everything, he put him on the throne, and sent heralds in every direction, even to Egypt, to announce to the army that henceforth they should obey Smerdis the son of Cyrus, and not Cambyses. The envoy to Egypt found Cambyses and the army at Ecbatana in Syria; he came forward and proclaimed his message. When Cambyses heard this, he thought that what was said was true, that Prexaspes had betrayed him, and when sent to kill Smerdis had not done so. He said to Prexaspes: 'Is this the way you have carried out my commands?' But Prexaspes answered: 'Sire, it is not true that thy brother has rebelled against thee, and no war will ever proceed from him. I myself, after executing your commands, buried him with my own hands. If the dead can rise then expect that Astyages the Mede will rise again; but if things continue as they have hitherto been, no evil will happen to you from Smerdis. I think that we should send for the herald and find out from him by whose order he announces to us that we are to obey Smerdis.' This advice pleased Cambyses. The herald was fetched, and Prexaspes asked him: 'You say that you come as a messenger from Smerdis, the son of Cyrus. If you tell us the truth, whether you saw Smerdis when he gave these orders, or whether you received them from one of his servants, you shall go away uninjured from this place.' The man replied: 'Since Cambyses left for Egypt I have not seen Smerdis; the Magian whom Cambyses left as overseer of his house gave me these commands; he said that Smerdis the son of Cyrus bade me make this proclamation to you.' Then Cambyses said: 'Prexaspes, you like a brave man[Pg 180] have done what I commanded, and avoided all blame; but who of the Persians is it that has taken the name of Smerdis and revolted against me.' Prexaspes replied: 'O king, I believe that I understand what has happened; the rebels are the Magians, Patizeithes, the overseer of the palace, and his brother Smerdis.' Then Cambyses was struck with the truth of the speech, and the fulfilment of the dream, and when he found that he had killed his brother for no result, he wept and bewailed his misfortune, and determined to lead his army with all haste against Susa and the Magians. But as he was mounting his horse, the button fell from the end of the sheath of his sword, and the naked point entered his thigh in the same place in which he had once stabbed Apis. As he believed that the wound was mortal, he asked for the name of the city. He was told that it was Ecbatana. It had been previously announced to him at Buto that he would die at Ecbatana; and he believed that he would end his days as an old man at Ecbatana in Media. But when he heard the name he was brought to his senses by the terror of the calamity which threatened him from the Magians, and by the wound, and said, with clear understanding of the oracle, that it was fated for the son of Cyrus to die there. After some twenty days he caused the most distinguished of the Persians who were with him to be summoned, and said: 'Persians, I am brought to such a state that I must reveal to you what I have most carefully concealed. When I was in Egypt I saw in my sleep a dream,—would that I had never seen it. It seemed to me that a messenger came from home, who announced that my brother sat on the royal throne and touched heaven with his head. Then I was afraid that my brother was taking the throne from me, and[Pg 181] I acted more rashly than wisely,—it is not permitted to human nature to avoid the coming future. I sent, fool that I was, Prexaspes to Susa to slay Smerdis. After the crime, I felt myself secure; I never believed that another would rise up against me after the death of Smerdis. Wholly in error concerning that which was to come, I have murdered my brother without sufficient cause, and am nevertheless deprived of the sovereignty. It was the rebellion of the Magian Smerdis which the demon revealed to me in a dream. This deed I have done: be ye assured that Smerdis, the son of Cyrus, is no longer alive. The Magian whom I left behind as overseer of the palace and his brother Smerdis have obtained possession of the throne. He who before all others would have averted this disgrace from me, is no more; he has met his death by wicked murder at the hands of his nearest relation. As he is no more, and I am dying, Persians, I must tell you what to do after my death. And so I charge you, calling on the royal gods, all of you, but chiefly the Achæmenids, who are here present, not to allow the dominion to pass over to the Medes. If they obtain it by craft, take it from them by craft; if they maintain it by force, take it away by yet stronger force. If ye do this, the earth will bring forth fruit for you, and your wives will bear children, and your flocks will increase, and ye will be free men for all time. But if ye do not acquire the sovereignty again or attempt to recover it, I pray the gods that the opposite may happen to you all, and that every Persian may come to such an end as mine.' When Cambyses had thus spoken he lamented all the deeds that he had done, and the Persians rent their garments and lamented and cried aloud. When the bone had gangrened and the thigh became inflamed,[Pg 182] Cambyses, the son of Cyrus died, after he had sat on the throne for seven years and four months, without leaving behind him son or daughter."

If in the narrative given by Herodotus of the fate of Psammenitus and the campaign of Cambyses against the Ethiopians we perceived Egyptian and Greek traditions, and along with them a poetical source, so in this account of the crimes of Cambyses and his death we have obviously Greek-Egyptian legends and echoes of Iranian poetry existing side by side. To the first we may trace the wounding of Apis, as already observed, and then the explanation of a custom which is hinted at in the Avesta, the marriage with a sister, by the decision of the judges and the example of Cambyses, the oracle of Buto, and its explanation by the Syrian Ecbatana, the reason for the wound in the thigh of Cambyses (the similar wound inflicted on Apis), and, as we shall see, the warning of Crœsus. The legends did not trouble themselves with the contradiction that, though they represent Cambyses as outraging Osiris-Apis, and Ptah, they allow him to ask advice from Egyptian gods—a proceeding which is not made more credible by the fact that Stephanus of Byzantium identifies the Syrian Ecbatana with Bataneia, and observes that the city of Hamath (Amatha) was also called Akmatha, though the invention of the oracle is thus made more intelligible.[184] Like his countrymen before him, Herodotus must have been struck by the contrast between the long reign, the achievements and successes of Cyrus, and the short reign and disastrous end of his son. The Egyptian-Greek tradition explained it by the wickedness of Cambyses, and this wickedness is[Pg 183] the result of his attack on Apis; the frenzy of Cambyses begins immediately after this with the murder of his brother. In Herodotus the frenzy begins even earlier; the supposed maltreatment of the corpse of Amasis must belong to the period immediately after the victory over the Egyptians, i. e. to the period before the march to the South, and consequently Herodotus represents Cambyses as out of his mind when entering on this campaign, and continuing in his frenzy till he is compelled to return. The reason which he gives for this madness is that Cambyses, though Herodotus represents him in another story as full of ambitious plans from his youth, was afflicted from his birth, as it was said, with a severe disease, which some call "the sacred sickness," and that in great sickness of the body it was not strange that the mind also should be affected.[185] By the sacred sickness the Greeks meant epilepsy, or spasmodic attacks in general, which were ascribed to the anger of the gods. With complete consistency Herodotus represents the madness as going on, till Cambyses is seized with anxiety concerning the rebellion of the Magian, and finds himself wounded in the thigh. With this observation he introduces the public confession and remorse—the last words of Cambyses. Other Greeks explain the crimes of Cambyses in a more natural manner. Diodorus is of opinion that he was naturally furious and changeful in his moods; the greatness of the kingdom made him yet wilder and more proud of spirit, and after the capture of Pelusium and Memphis he could not bear his prosperity as a man should.[186] The "Laws" (of Plato) lay the blame on the education of Cambyses. In the field from his youth, surrounded by war and danger, Cyrus left the education of his[Pg 184] sons to the royal women, and overlooked the fact that his children were not brought up and educated in the customary Persian manner. The women and eunuchs brought them up as if they needed no control, and, while yet mere children, were prosperous and perfect men. No one was allowed to contradict them; all must praise what they said or did; thus they grew up luxurious and uncontrolled; their spirits were over-full of ambition. When after such adulation and uncontrolled freedom they grew up and received the kingdom, one slew the other, enraged at his equal position, and then, maddened by drink and debauchery, lost the dominion owing to the Medes and the so-called eunuch, who despised the foolishness of Cambyses.[187]

It is more difficult to trace the tendencies of the poetical source which has become united with the legends in the narrative of Herodotus than to separate the legends themselves, and fix the motives which have determined the conception and judgment of the Greeks about Cambyses. From what other source could the vision of Cambyses, the shot into the heart of the cup-bearer, have come, or the conversations of Cambyses with Prexaspes, or the final words of Cambyses? If these traits are only before us as fragments at third or fourth hand, their connection with the narrative of the campaign against the long-lived Ethiopians is undeniable (the bow of the Ethiopians is the point of connection). And if we call to mind that in his last exhortations to his two sons, Cyrus calls down blessings on the son who remains well disposed to his brother, and imprecates curses on the son who is the first to do evil (p. 123), the structure of the poem becomes clear. It founds the[Pg 185] misfortune of Cambyses on his disobedience to his father's command, and exhibits the penalty of disobedience and crime committed against a brother. Smerdis is able to draw the bow of the Ethiopian further than Cambyses and all the other Persians. This excites envy and jealousy in his brother, who sends Smerdis back to Persia. Then in a dream he sees him on the throne, and his head reaches to heaven. He sends Prexaspes to Persia, who slays the son of Cyrus in the chase and buries him with his own hand. The instrument of the murder is quickly overtaken by punishment. Had Cambyses slain Prexaspes himself intentionally or in anger, it would be conceivable; but the murder of his son is unintelligible. Only poetical justice could execute vengeance for the fact that Prexaspes had laid his hand on the son of Cyrus, by representing Cambyses as slaying with his own hand, without any personal reason whatever, the son of the man who by his own command had slain his brother, and who is best acquainted with this secret crime, the revelation of which would rouse the hearts of all the Persians against the king. As the poem goes on, it has in store even heavier penalties for the man who has slain the son of Cyrus. But it is not merely the murder of the young Prexaspes which belongs to a poetical source. The same authority represents Cambyses as becoming more and more deeply involved in guilt and crime against his house. When looking on at the two dogs which together got the better of the lion, his sister reminds him of the death of his brother. In his rage he ill-treats her and so destroys his long-cherished hope of posterity. The house of Cyrus is desolate. He has mistrusted his brother without reason—the man whom he has trusted and[Pg 186] made the governor of his palace rebels against him; he places his brother on the throne as the younger son of Cyrus, and causes him to be proclaimed as king. In despair at such calamities, at the ruin of the kingdom of which he is the guilty cause, Cambyses ends his days. He pays the penalty of his heavy guilt by confessing and lamenting his offence before the assembly of the chief Persians. The curse of Cyrus is fulfilled. If Herodotus gives the account of the death of Cambyses after the Greek-Egyptian legend, he is obviously following Iranian poetry in the accompanying circumstances and in the speech of the dying Cambyses. We have Iranian conceptions in the answer of Prexaspes: "If the dead can rise, your brother will return"; in the saying of Cambyses to the Persians: "If ye strive earnestly to win back the dominion, the earth will bring forth fruit, and your wives will bear children, and your flocks will increase." Conceptions and ideas of this kind, expressed almost in the same words, have met us frequently in the Avesta. The close of the speech of Cambyses removes the guilt and points to the future, for he charges the Persians, and above all the Achæmenids, to risk everything that the dominion may not again pass to the Medes. If the Persians fight bravely with all the means at their disposal for the dominion, all will go well with them, if not Cambyses prays the gods that the reverse may happen to them; may every Persian die like himself by a most miserable death, i. e. by suicide, which the doctrines of Zarathrustra from their whole tenor must have most severely condemned.

No doubt the Persian epos had to explain the contrast in which the reign of Cambyses stood to that of Cyrus; no doubt it was a fact that the race of[Pg 187] Cyrus came to an end in the male line owing to his guilt. It was due to him that his reign was followed by that of an usurper; that rebellion broke out in all quarters, the kingdom became completely disintegrated, and the establishment of Cyrus seemed ruined. The songs of the Persians gave a reason for the sudden change in the manner indicated, by the murder of the brother and its results. But they would not have charged Cambyses with madness or with any other offences than this combination required. They would not have forgotten his services to Persia; the establishment of the Persian power in the Mediterranean, the victory over Egypt, over the Ethiopians of Napata, and the negroes. It was not these poems which branded his campaign to the south as a mad undertaking, and represented it as a failure; they could not have opposed Crœsus as a wise adviser to Cambyses, or allowed Cambyses to speak of the miserable end of Cyrus in the land of the Massagetae. If these elements in the narratives of Herodotus have not come down from Greek-Egyptian tradition, if the warning of Crœsus, in the form in which we have it, was not attached by him to his account of the death of Cambyses, we should have to assume that in this case also the Persian poems came to Herodotus in their Median counterparts—a hypothesis which is excluded by the distinctly ante-Median and Persian traits in the dying speech of Cambyses.

Let us see whether information from other sources puts us in a position to establish the actual connection of affairs free from the admixture of Greek-Egyptian tradition and Persian poetry. Ctesias treated the reign of Cambyses in detail in the twelfth book of his Persian History. Of this only a meagre[Pg 188] excerpt has come down to us, according to which the narrative began with the statement that Cambyses, in accordance with the last commands of his father, handed over Chorasmia, Bactria, Parthia, and Carmania to his brother Tanyoxarkes, as Ctesias calls him. Then follows the conquest of Egypt, as given above; and after this we are told: "There was a Magian of the name of Sphendadates who had committed some fault and been scourged by Tanyoxarkes. The Magian went to Cambyses to calumniate his brother, saying that his mind was set on evil. As a proof of defection he alleged that Tanyoxarkes would not come if he were sent for. Cambyses bade his brother come, but he refused, being occupied with other business. Then the Magian became more persistent in his calumnies. Amytis, who saw what was the Magian's object, warned her son Cambyses not to trust him. Cambyses pretended not to trust him, but in reality reposed entire confidence in him. When Cambyses bade his brother come for the third time, he obeyed. Cambyses embraced him, but was none the less determined to put him out of the way; but he was anxious to carry out his design unknown to his mother. The deed was accomplished. The Magian advises the king as follows: He was very like Tanyoxarkes, the king might give orders that his head should be cut off as having accused his brother falsely; he would then secretly slay Tanyoxarkes, and clothe him (the Magian) in his robes, so that he might be taken for him. This was done. Tanyoxarkes died by drinking bull's blood, and the Magian was clothed in his garments and called Tanyoxarkes. This was for a long time concealed from all except Artasyras the Hyrcanian and the eunuchs Bagapates and Izabates, who were most intimate with[Pg 189] Cambyses; to them alone had Cambyses ventured to mention the matter. He caused the eunuchs of Tanyoxarkes and Labyzus, the chief of them, to be summoned, showed them the Magian thus attired, and said: Do you believe that this is Tanyoxarkes? Labyzus was astonished and said: What other man are we to think that he is? so greatly did the Magian deceive men by his likeness to Tanyoxarkes. The Magian was now sent to Bactria, and there conducted himself in all respects as Tanyoxarkes. When five years had gone by Amytis learnt what had been done from the eunuch Tibetheus, whom the Magian had caused to be beaten. She asked Cambyses to give up Sphendadates, but he refused. Then she pronounced her curse, took poison, and died. When Cambyses sacrificed, the blood of the sacrificial animals did not flow. He became dejected, and when Roxane bore him a boy without a head, he was even more out of heart, and the Magians interpreted the signs to mean that he could leave no successor. His mother appeared to him in a dream and threatened him for the murder, and this made him more dejected than ever. When he came to Babylon, by way of pastime he chipped a piece of wood with a sword, and so hit the muscle of his thigh, and died on the eleventh day after, when he had reigned eighteen years. Before his death Artasyras and Bagapates had resolved that the Magian should reign; and he reigned after the death of Cambyses."

The length of the reign of Cambyses is incorrect, as indeed almost all the numbers in Ctesias are wrong. It is also a mistake that in his account Cambyses and his brother are the sons of Cyrus and Amytis the daughter of Astyages. As we have said, they[Pg 190] were the sons of Cyrus and Cassandane, who died before Cyrus (V. 384). The object of Ctesias was to prove the statements of Herodotus incorrect by opposing them with others. The elevation of Amytis to be the mother of the brothers, and the part which the account of Ctesias ascribes to this supposed mother, shows that Ctesias has here followed a Median version, in which the daughter of Astyages became, not the mother of Cyrus, it is true, but the mother of his successor, the ruler of Persia and Media,—the same version which, as we have already seen, assigns to Amytis the greatest influence on Cyrus, and in the present instance on his son Cambyses. Without doubt this version is derived from a poetical source; that is proved by a number of traits: the calumniation of the brother, the double introduction of the scourging, the three-fold summoning before the king, the conversation of Cambyses with the eunuch, the three-fold increase of the distress of Cambyses, the suicide and curse of Amytis, the signs at sacrifice and the abortion, the appearance of the dead, which fills up the measure and drives Cambyses to death. As in the previous case, in this form of the poems, it was the Median queen who punished Oebares, who incited Cyrus to revolt, for this act and for the death of her father, so here she visits the ruler of the Persians and Medes for his crime. Against this view of the account of Ctesias it may be urged that the Medes would take the side of the Magian more vigorously than that of Amytis, for the Magian was apparently a Mede. Herodotus, at any rate, once represents Gobryas as calling him a Mede.[188] Cambyses, it is true, does not call him so, but in his last speech merely urges the Persians[Pg 191] not to let the empire revert to the Medes, which means no more than that the empire is not to go back to the Medes on the extinction of the house of Cyrus, when his kingdom is being broken up. We shall see that the usurper was not a Mede, and is only called a Mede by Herodotus because he wrongly thought that all the Magians were exclusively Medes (V. 194). But as the story of Ctesias obviously goes back to a poetical source, we are not carried any further by it in establishing the actual facts of the case.

A third story of the death of Cambyses, that of Trogus, is also retained in an excerpt only. It is apparently taken from the Persian history of Deinon. "Cambyses added Egypt to the kingdom of his father. Enraged at the superstition of the Egyptians, he commanded the temples of Apis and the other gods to be destroyed. He also sent an army to conquer the far-famed temple of Ammon, but it was overwhelmed by storms of sand. Then in a dream he saw his brother as the future king. Terrified by this vision, he did not hesitate to add the murder of a brother to the burning of temples. For this horrible service he sent Cometes, a Magian, one of his trusted servants. Meantime, his sword coming accidentally out of the sheath, he wounded himself deeply in the thigh, and died, as a penalty either for the murder of his brother which he had commanded, or for the burning of the temples. When the Magian heard this he hastened to commit the crime before the news of the death of the king was spread abroad; and when he had killed Smerdis, to whom the throne belonged, he brought in his brother Oropastes. This brother was very like Smerdis in form and feature; and as no one suspected the deception, Oropastes became king[Pg 192] instead of Smerdis. The matter was the more secret because among the Persians the king lives in retirement by reason of his majesty."[189]

Darius, in his inscriptions on Mount Behistun, has left us the authentic though very compressed history of Cambyses. "Kambujiya, the son of Kurus," he tells us, "was of our race, was previously king here. This Kambujiya had a brother, Bardiya by name, of the same father and mother as Kambujiya. Kambujiya slew this Bardiya. When Kambujiya had slain Bardiya the people did not know that Bardiya was dead. Then Kambujiya marched against Egypt. When Kambujiya marched against Egypt the people became rebellious, and the lie spread both in Persia and in Media and in the other provinces. There was a man, a Magian, Gaumata by name; he rose up from Pisiyauvada, from mount Arakadris, which is there. It was in the month Viyakhna, on the fourteenth day, that he rose up. He lied to the people; I am Bardiya, the son of Kurus, the brother of Kambujiya. Then the whole kingdom rebelled against Kambujiya; it went over to the other, both Persia and Media and the rest of the provinces. He took them for his own; he was king; he seized the empire. In the month Garmapada, on the ninth day, it was that he seized the dominion. Then Kambujiya died, for he took his own life."[190]

Hence we may establish the true course of events in something like the following form. Cyrus made a certain division of the kingdom; under the sovereignty of the elder son he assigned to the younger Chorasmia, Bactria, Parthia, and Carmania, and thus[Pg 193] sowed the germ of contention between the brothers. The younger was called Bardiya. This name sounded to the Greek as Berdis, and then it passed into Smerdis, as Bagabukhsa becomes Megabyzus.[191] If Xenophon calls Smerdis Tanaoxares, and Ctesias Tanyoxarkes, this can only be an epithet which the Persians gave to Smerdis. The old Bactrian thanvarakhshathra would mean king of the bow. The Persians might give this name to Smerdis, as their poems celebrate him as the best drawer of the bow; it was this superiority of Smerdis which, according to the poems of the Persians, aroused the jealousy of Cambyses. The tradition of Iran can tell of the three best shots that were ever made:[192]—the best was made by Arshana, the son of Kava Kavata (V. 37, 253); and king Bahram Gor slays his beloved because she does not sufficiently admire his skill with the bow.

Bardiya did not accompany his brother to Egypt; so that he could not have been sent back from thence. On the contrary, Cambyses had conceived a suspicion of him even before the campaign to Egypt; he was afraid that his brother in Bactria would make use of the distance at which he would be to seize the throne in secret, and the more extensive the conquests which Cambyses intended to make in Africa the more dangerous would the possibility appear to him. He caused him to be put to death before he set out to Egypt. His death remained a secret. By whom and how Bardiya was killed, and how the secret was kept, whether by an arrangement such as that described by[Pg 194] Ctesias or by some other means, we cannot decide. The kingdom, the Persians, and the princes of the Persians did not know but that Bardiya was alive. But the Magian Gaumata is aware of the fact. Of the writers of the West, Trogus Pompeius alone gives the true name of the usurper in the Grecised form of Cometes. As the name is correct in Trogus, the name of the brother of Cometes, whom he calls Oropastes, may also be correct. But the narrative in the excerpt in Trogus must be so far altered in accordance with the version of Herodotus that Cambyses left Oropastes behind as overseer of the palaces, and that he placed his brother Gaumata on the throne. In Ctesias the man who suggests the murder becomes himself the false Bardiya and the future king. The inscription of Darius speaks only "of the Magian Gaumata," of "his leading adherents." The rebellion of Gaumata was not delayed till the death of Cambyses, as Ctesias supposed. It occurred, as the inscription shows, while he was still on the Nile. During the absence of Cambyses the lie spread in Persia, Media, and the rest of the provinces. The inscription mentions the day on which Gaumata rebelled, and the place where it happened: at Pisiyauvada in mount Arakadris this false Bardiya arose. As the position of this place and mountain is not defined, as is elsewhere the case in the inscription of Darius, by the addition of the name of the country, we may assume that it was in Persia that the false Bardiya, as his interests and the position of affairs required, came forward, and that he first called on the Persians to acknowledge him as king and lord of the realm, as indeed he must have done if he desired success. The inscription does not tell us that Gaumata was a Mede, or that the Medes first recognized him as their king;[Pg 195] it merely says: on the fourteenth of the month Viyakhna (i. e. in the spring of the year 522 B.C.) the whole kingdom rose in rebellion against Cambyses, both Persia and Media and the rest of the provinces. We shall see below that even after the fall of Gaumata it was not Media which gave the sign for rebellion against his murderers, but that that country followed the example of the Elamites and Babylonians, and was led by Uvakhshathra, a man of the race of Cyaxares. First Persia, then Media, then the rest of the lands recognized the false Bardiya as their king; "he took from Cambyses Persia, Media, and the rest of the provinces," says the inscription. Then in the month of Garmapada (i. e. in July or August) the false Bardiya was crowned at Pasargadae (V. 358). That Gaumata was recognized as king in Babylonia is not only proved by the assertion of Darius, but also by two Babylonian tablets, which are dated from the 20th Elul and 1st Tisri "in the first year of king Barziya."[193] On the news of the rebellion Cambyses[Pg 196] makes Aryandes satrap of Egypt,[194] and sets out against the usurper. On this march, at Ecbatana in Syria, according to Herodotus, i. e. at Batanea or Hamath, or at Babylon, as Ctesias asserts, or on the return to Damascus, according to Josephus,[195] he died.

However dark may be the shadows which fall on the figure of Cambyses, it has received blacker traits than truth can confirm in the legends of Greece and Egypt, and, to some extent, in the poems of Media and Persia. We have mentioned the story which ascribes to him ambitious plans in his boyish years; in the estimate which the Persians form of him according to their poems it is only his love of wine which is reprobated. More important is the judgment which the Persians really passed on Cambyses; Herodotus tells us they called Cyrus the father, but Cambyses, because he was severe and ambitious, they called the master.[196] From this sentence—from despotic severity and violence, whatever may have been the degree in which they were present—it is a long way to the picture of the frantic tyrant which Herodotus has sketched on the basis of these legends and poems. What we know by credible tradition of the crimes of Cambyses, apart from his act against his brother, and the supposed outburst of rage against his sister, is limited to the penalty which he imposed upon Memphis for the murder of the herald and[Pg 197] the crew, and the punishment of Sisamnes, one of the seven judges who was found guilty of bribery and unjust judgment. He had him executed, the corpse was flayed, and the judge's seat covered with the skin, on which the son, who was named his successor, was to give judgment.[197] The punishment of Memphis cannot be called cruel in the spirit of these times; and the punishment of the unjust judge is in the manner of an oriental prince who loves justice. The reign of Cambyses was undoubtedly marked by the effort to continue the acts of his father, and in this effort he shows both vigour and resolution. The idea of creating a fleet for the Persian empire was bold and happy, and bore fruits in the submission of Cyprus and Samos without a blow. The preparations for the campaign against Egypt were made with great prudence, and proved adequate and effectual. But even before he set out for Egypt he had cast the lot which decided his life. How far the conduct of his brother, which is suggested in the version of Ctesias, excused the suspicion of Cambyses, we cannot decide. He did not venture to leave the kingdom so long as his brother ruled over the eastern half of it; he feared his rebellion during his absence, and removed him out of the way. The painful secrecy of the deed shows that Cambyses was tormented with remorse and shame for this crime. At the gates of Egypt he conquered in a mighty battle. He used the victory to storm the strong border fortresses of Egypt, and then at once turned against Memphis, the most important city and fortress of the enemy. The treatment of the captive Psammenitus repeats the mild manner of Cyrus towards conquered princes; we have seen above what clemency[Pg 198] Cambyses showed after the conquest was completed towards the Egyptians and their temples. In possession of Egypt, he intended to achieve in Africa what his father had done in Asia; far to the south and west the country was to be subject to the Persians. The campaign against Napata led to the conquest of that kingdom. By maintaining this conquest, the supremacy of Persia over Egypt was rendered secure from attacks on that side, and the negro tribes to the south of Napata were kept in obedience, though previously they had been visited by the Pharaohs only in flying incursions. It was at Napata that, according to the tradition preserved by Diodorus, Strabo, and Josephus, Cambyses lost his sister, and with her the hope of an heir, by his own brutal violence, as the songs represent, when his sister reminded him of the death of his brother. But Strabo and Diodorus observe, as has been shown above, that he named the city after his sister "to honour her." No doubt the disquiet of his conscience increased the longer he remained without children. What was to become of the kingdom after his death? The brother, whom he had killed, had only left a daughter.[198] Burdened with new anxiety, if not with new guilt, he turned back from Napata. The disaster, which befell the army at Premnis, and the failure of the expedition against the oasis of Sivah, though it did not involve the loss of 50,000 men, might seem to him proofs that he had brought upon himself the anger of Auramazda and Mithra. Then the Phenicians refused to march against the Carthaginians, and he was unable to compel them. The absence of any heir, the misfortunes which had fallen upon him, increased his inward torments. He became[Pg 199] more distrustful, passionate, and savage. He may have sought forgetfulness in wine, but the remedy only increased his violence. He shrank from seeing again his home and the desolate house of Cyrus, and remained inactive and irresolute for a year and a half in Egypt; in spite of the danger which attached to the absence of the ruler of so vast a kingdom.

In Persia and the provinces nothing was known of the death of Bardiya. The neglect of the kingdom, the absence of the king for three years, inspire Gaumata with the courage to make use of his opportunity, and turn the secrecy of the crime against Cambyses. The Persians declare for the brother who is among them, as against the distant king who seemed to have forgotten Persia in Egypt; even the satraps of the other countries soon decide in favour of Bardiya, as for years they had seen nothing of Cambyses. In three months after his appearance Gaumata was formally crowned. The account of the rebellion startled Cambyses from his stupor in Egypt; he placed a satrap over the conquests he had made and hastened to Syria, where he learnt the full amount of the usurper's success. With anger he sees the crown of Cyrus on the head of a miserable pretender. If he is effectually to contend against the opponent who has risen to such power, he must acknowledge himself before the Persians and the kingdom as the murderer of his brother, and even if he makes this shameful confession, will the Persians believe and follow him? Will they not think that he announces the murder in order to thrust his brother from the throne? In despair he perceives that he has destroyed the house of Cyrus, and ruined the work of his father, the fruit of thirty years of effort and struggle. He[Pg 200] sees no means of preventing the course of affairs, the ruin of the kingdom of which he is the cause. He acknowledges before the princes of the Persians what he has done, commands them to make good the damage which he has caused, and seals his declaration by taking his own life. Such was the tragical end of the son of the great Cyrus.


[176] Herod. 3, 27-30.

[177] Herod. 3, 37.

[178] Vol. I. 175. Diod. 1, 49.

[179] Justin. 1, 8.

[180] The reading "year 4" in the first is confirmed by "year 5" in the second inscription. Lepsius ("Monatsberichte Berl. Akad." 1854, s. 224, 495) has examined the difficulties which arise regarding the time of Cambyses' campaign against Egypt, from the contradiction between these dates and the statements of the Greeks.

[181] The inscriptions also give the name Cambyses in the form Kambuza.

[182] Lepsius, "Z. Aegypt. Spr." 1874, s. 76.

[183] De Rougé, "Revue Archéol." 8, 37 ff.; Brugsch, "Hist. d'Egypt," p. 267, 269. In the "History of Egypt," Brugsch reads Uzahorenpiris for Uzahorsun.

[184] Stephen. Byz. Ἀγβάτανα Βάτανα Ἄμαθα. Cf. V. 307, and von Gutschmid, "N. Beitrage," s. 96.

[185] Herod. 3, 3, 33.

[186] "Excerpt. de virt." p. 557 = 10, 13.

[187] Plato, "Legg." p. 691, 694, 695.

[188] Herod. 3, 73.

[189] Justin. 1, 9.

[190] So Oppert according to the Persian inscription in "Journal Asiatique," 4, 17, 385, 386; and according to the second series, "Records of the Past," 7, 90.

[191] Barziya in the Babylonian text. Smerdis, the favourite of Polycrates (Anacreon, fragm. 4, ed. Bergk), was no doubt named after the brother of Cambyses.

[192] Sachau, "Albiruni," p. 205; Nöldeke, "Tabari," s. 91, 271.

[193] Elul and Tisri fall in September and October. The last year of Cambyses is 522 B.C. According to Herodotus, Cambyses reigned seven years and five months, and the Magian more than seven months; the two make up eight years. The number of the Persian days of the month are repeated in the Babylonian version of the Behistun inscription. Hence the Persians adopted the year of the Assyrians and Babylonians as well as their cuneiform writing, but they had independent names for the months. Unfortunately the names of the months in the Babylonian text are more frequently destroyed than not, so that we can only be certain in giving Kislev (November-December) as corresponding to the Athriadiya of the Persians, Tebet (December-January) to Anamaka, Iyar (May-June) to Taigarshis. Oppert maintains that we can also identify the Babylonian Adar or Veadar (Febr.-March) with the Viyakhna of the Persians; but the text is uncertain in this passage. Finally, we may with tolerable certainty regard Garmapada (i. e. the path of heat) as corresponding to July and August, to the Tammuz or Ab of the Babylonians. If Viyakhna is really Adar, the proclamation of the Magian took place in March, 522 B.C., and his coronation in Garmapada (July and August). This according to Darius was followed by the death of Cambyses. The two tablets quoted date from September and October in the first year of Barziya. According to Herodotus, the Magian reigned more than seven months after the death of Cambyses, i. e. down to the spring of 521 B.C. According to the inscription of Behistun, Darius slew him on the tenth of Bagayadis (i. e. sacrifice to the gods), which would thus be parallel to the Nisan of the Babylonians, i. e. to our April.

[194] Herod. 4, 166.

[195] "Antiqu." 11, 2.

[196] Herod. 3, 89.

[197] Herod. 5, 25.

[198] Herod. 3, 88; 7, 78.



[Pg 201]



"The Persians, when they heard the words of Cambyses," so Herodotus continues his narrative, "did not believe that the Magians had possessed themselves of the throne; on the contrary, they thought that Cambyses had said what he had said of the death of Smerdis in order to deceive them, that the whole of Persia might rise against Smerdis. They believed that Smerdis the son of Cyrus was on the throne; for even Prexaspes solemnly denied that he had slain Smerdis; after the death of Cambyses it was dangerous for him to allow that he had put to death the son of Cyrus with his own hand. The Magian who had taken the name of Cambyses reigned in security and showed great mildness to all his subjects. Immediately after he had got possession of the throne, he proclaimed freedom from military service and tribute for three years to all the nations over whom he reigned. But in the eighth month of his reign it was discovered who he was. Otanes, the son of Pharnaspes, was one of the first of the Persians in descent and wealth. He first conceived a suspicion of the Magian because he never went out of the citadel, nor allowed any of the leading Persians to[Pg 202] approach him. Phaedyme, the daughter of Otanes, had been the wife of Cambyses, and with the rest of the wives she had passed over to the Magian. Otanes caused the question to be put to his daughter, whether the man with whom she lay was Smerdis the son of Cyrus, or another. She replied that she had never seen Smerdis, and could not tell who he was. Then Otanes sent a second time: 'If you do not know Smerdis, ask Atossa, with whom you and she lie, for she will know her own brother.' The daughter answered: 'I cannot speak with Atossa, or see any other of the women, for since this man, whoever he is, came to the throne, he has kept us all apart, and sent one in one direction, and another in another.' When Otanes heard this, the matter became yet clearer. He sent a third message to his daughter, saying: 'My daughter, you are come of a noble race and must accept the risk which your father lays upon you. If this man is not Smerdis the son of Cyrus, but the person whom I suspect that he is, he must not go unpunished for associating with you, and exercising dominion over the Persians. Do as follows: When you perceive that he is asleep, feel for his ears. If he has ears, be sure that he is the son of Cyrus, but if he has none he is Smerdis the Magian.' Phaedyme sent an answer to her father, saying that she would run the greatest risk in doing as he bade, for if the man had no ears, and she was found feeling for them, he would put her out of the way; however, she would do it. And when it came to her turn to go to the Magian, she did all that her father had bidden her; she lay with him, and when he was asleep she felt for his ears, and easily discovered that he had none. When Cyrus was king he had for some grave reason cut off this man's ears. When[Pg 203] it was day she sent her father word how the matter stood."

"Otanes related all the circumstances to Aspathines and Gobryas, who were the first among the Persians and most worthy of confidence, and as they had also had their suspicions that the case was so, they listened to the proposals of Otanes. The three were of opinion that each should join with him the Persians whom he counted most worthy of confidence. Otanes brought Intaphernes; Gobryas, Megabyzus; and Aspathines, Hydarnes. To these six at Susa, Darius the son of Hystaspes came from Persia, for Hystaspes was satrap of Persia, and when he came, the six resolved to make him their associate. They met, pledged mutual fidelity, and took counsel. And when it came to Darius' turn to give his opinion, he said: 'I believed that I alone knew that the Magian was king, and that Smerdis the son of Cyrus was dead, and for that reason I came with haste to put the Magian to death. But as I feel that you also know this and not I only, we must at once proceed to action without delay; for that will be dangerous.' Then Otanes spoke: 'O son of Hystaspes, thou art the son of a brave father, and thou showest thy courage not less than he. But do not so hasten the matter without consideration; begin it with prudence. We must be more numerous, and then make our attempt.' Darius replied: 'Ye men that are present, if ye enter on the matter as Otanes wishes, ye will come to a shameful end. Some one who seeks his own advantage will betray the matter to the Magian. Ye ought to have taken the matter on yourselves and so accomplished it. But as ye have resolved to take in more confederates, and have confided the matter to me, it must be done to-day. If this day passes by, I tell you that I will[Pg 204] allow no informer to be before me; I will myself betray you to the Magian.' When Otanes saw Darius so eager, he said: 'As you compel us to hasten the matter and allow no delay, tell us how shall we enter the palace and overcome them? You know yourself—if you have not seen, you have heard—that guards are set; how shall we pass by them?' 'Many things,' Darius said, 'may be proved by deeds and not by words; other things may be done in word but no brilliant deed corresponds to them. You know that it is not difficult to pass through the guards that are set. No one will prevent men of our rank; one will give way from respect, another from fear. Then I have an excellent excuse for passing through, if I say that I have just come from Persia and have to give a message from my father to the king. If an untruth must be told, let it be told. If a man seeks for no advantage to himself by his untruth, he who tells the truth may be a liar, and he who lies may be a truthful man. If any of the door-keepers allow us to pass willingly by, this will be in the future an advantage for him, but any one who opposes us will show at once that he is our enemy; we will then force our way and begin the work.' Then Gobryas said: 'We can never with greater honour win back the empire, or, if we fail, find a more honourable death. Are not we Persians ruled by a Mede, a Magian, a fellow without ears? Those of you who were with Cambyses when sick remember what he imprecated on the Persians if they did not seek to regain the dominion. At that time we did not believe him, we thought that he spoke to deceive us. Now I give my vote to you, Darius, and go straight from this consultation to the Magian.' So Gobryas spake and all agreed with him.[Pg 205]

"While they were thus deliberating, the following incident happened. After solemn deliberation it seemed advisable to the Magians to make Prexaspes their friend; he had been cruelly treated by Cambyses, he alone knew of the death of Smerdis, and was of great influence among the Persians. For this reason they sent for him, and sought by pledges and oaths to bind him not to reveal to any one the deception he had practised on the Persians, and they promised him everything in their power. When Prexaspes agreed to do as they wished, they further proposed that he should summon the Persians under the walls of the citadel; mount a tower and tell them that they were governed by Smerdis and by no other. This request the Magians made because the Persians had great confidence in Prexaspes, and he had repeatedly told them that Smerdis was alive and his death a fiction. When Prexaspes declared his readiness they summoned the Persians to the tower and bade him speak. But he, purposely forgetting what they had requested, began to speak of the race of Cyrus, and when he came to Cyrus himself he enumerated the blessings which he had provided for the Persians, and going yet further he revealed the truth, declaring that he had concealed it before because it was dangerous for him to say what had been done, but now the necessity was laid upon him to reveal it. And now he said, that, compelled by Cambyses, he had slain Smerdis, and that Magians were on the throne. When he had imprecated a bitter curse upon the Persians if they did not win back the kingdom, and take vengeance on the Magians, he threw himself head foremost down from the tower. All his life he had been an honourable man, and such he died.

"When they had resolved to attack the Magians[Pg 206] without delay, the seven Persians invoked the gods, and set forth on the way, without knowing what had happened to Prexaspes. When they had proceeded half the distance, they heard of it. They slipped aside to consider the matter. And Otanes with some others were of opinion that they must wait, for all would be in confusion, but Darius and the rest declared that without hesitation they must carry out what they had resolved upon. While they were thus at variance, seven pairs of hawks appeared, which pursued and tore to pieces two pairs of vultures. When the seven saw this they all took the view of Darius, and encouraged by the birds, went to the palace. When they reached the gates it happened as Darius expected. The guards respectfully allowed the first men among the Persians to pass through, as though they were led by some divine guide; no one suspected them, and no one asked any questions. But when they came to the portico, they came upon the eunuchs who carried messages in to the king. These asked what they wanted, threatened the guards for allowing them to pass, and detained them. The conspirators encouraged each other, drew their swords, struck down those who sought to detain them, and burst at a run into the hall. The two Magians were there at the time, consulting about the affair of Prexaspes. When they heard the noise and the cry of the eunuchs, they sprang up to see what was the matter, then hastened back and made ready for defence. One seized a bow, the other a spear. The first could not use the bow, for the conspirators were close upon him, but the other wounded Aspathines in the thigh and hit Intaphernes in the eye. The Magian with the bow retired into a dark chamber off the hall, and wished to close the door, but Darius and Gobryas hastened after[Pg 207] him; Gobryas seized and held him, and when Darius hesitated to strike lest in the darkness he should hit Gobryas, Gobryas cried out: 'Strike even though you pierce us both.' Darius did so and smote the Magian only. When both were slain, their heads were cut off; the two conspirators who were wounded remained to guard the citadel; the other five rushed out, called the Persians together, and showed them the heads. When the Persians heard of the deception of the Magians, and what had happened, they thought it right to do the same; they drew their swords, and slew every Magian whom they could find, and had they not been prevented by the approach of night, not a Magian would have been left."

The account given by Trogus of the overthrow of the Medes, so far as it has been preserved to us, differs only in unimportant points from the narrative of Herodotus. In order to gain the favour of the people, the Magians remitted the tribute and military service for three years. This first excited suspicion in the mind of Otanes, a Persian of great position and discernment. He commanded his daughter, who was among the royal concubines,—they were secluded from each other,—to feel the ears of the king when asleep, for Cambyses (in Herodotus it is Cyrus) had cut off both the ears of the Magian. "Informed by his daughter that the king had no ears, he announced this to the princes of the Persians, urged them to put the false king to death, and bound them by an oath. Seven persons shared in the conspiracy; and to prevent any change of opinion in time, or any disclosure, they at once put their swords under their garments and went to the palace. They cut down all who came in their way, and so reached the Magians, who were not wanting in skill to defend themselves; with[Pg 208] drawn weapons they slew two of the conspirators (in Herodotus these are only wounded), but they were overpowered by numbers. Gobryas seized one of them, and when his companions hesitated to strike lest they should pierce him along with the Magian, for the affair took place in a dark room, he called out to them to strike even through his own body. But by good fortune he was uninjured and the Magian was slain."

In the narrative of Ctesias, as we have seen, there is but one Magian, Sphendadates, whom Cambyses himself had placed on the throne of Bactria in the place of his murdered brother (Tanyoxarkes), and had commanded him to play his part. Astasyras, Bagapates, and Izabates are aware of the secret. After Cambyses, Sphendadates becomes king, whom Astasyras and Bagapates had determined to assist to the throne even before the death of Cambyses. "When the Magian was reigning under the name of Tanyoxarkes, Izabates came out of Persia, where he had brought the body of Cambyses, revealed all to the army, and insulted the Magians. Then he fled to the sanctuary, where he was seized and his head cut off. Then seven distinguished Persians met, and after pledging their faith mutually, they joined with themselves Artasyras and then Bagapates who had the keys of the royal citadel. And when the seven were admitted by Bagapates to the citadel, they found the Magian with a concubine from Babylon. When he saw them, he sprang up, and as he had no weapons—for Bagapates had secretly removed them all—he broke up a golden chair, and fought with the foot of this till he was cut down by the seven. He had reigned seven months."[199][Pg 209]

Herodotus' narrative of the death of the Magians again points to a poetical source. In the speech of the dying Cambyses, in the curse which he imprecates if the kingdom is not maintained and recovered, and the indication that it must be done by force and treachery, this source introduces the new series of events in an attractive and exciting manner. But the concealment of the truth, the secret murder of his brother, have evil consequences which extend beyond the life of Cambyses. The Persians did not believe him; they thought that when dying he wished to make them the enemies of his brother. It required the penetration of Otanes, the courage and devotion of his daughter, to bring the truth to light. At first Otanes prudently admits two men only into the secret; each of the three then discloses it to a trusty friend, and when Darius comes from Persia to Susa all are agreed to make him a confederate. His high mission has already been indicated in the poem by the dream of Cyrus wherein he saw the son of Hystaspes with wings on his shoulders, one of which overshadowed Asia, the other Europe. Darius urged the confederates to immediate action. The faint justification of the deception which we find in Herodotus shows that in this matter an attempt was made in the poetical source to keep in harmony with the Iranian view of the absolute necessity of telling the truth. The decisive moment approaches nearer and with greater force to the Magians. They have won the throne by treachery, they maintain it by cunning, inasmuch as they demand neither tribute nor soldiers from the subject countries; but at length they suffer for their treachery. They attempt to gain Prexaspes; he is to declare publicly that the Magian is the son of Cyrus. Prexaspes proceeds apparently to do this,[Pg 210] but he is resolved to use the freedom of speech which the Magians allow him for their ruin. He reveals the truth before all the people, and throws himself down from the tower. The punishment which the poem has already inflicted on Prexaspes for the murder of Bardiya in the death of his own son (p. 185) is not sufficient. Like the king at whose command he sinned, Prexaspes ends his days by suicide. It is only by this complete revelation of the truth, this voluntary death, and tragic end, that he makes complete atonement for laying his hand on the son of Cyrus. Thus the figure of Prexaspes belongs to the series of faithful Persians, who, like Oebares, knew how to serve not the king only but the prosperity of Persia with complete devotion. While this took place before the citadel, and the Magians in terror deliberated what they should do, now that the proceeding which was to establish their dominion had dashed them to the ground, the conspirators were already on the way. Once more the prudent Otanes hesitates; and once more Darius urges haste. But the princes of the Persians must perform the act alone; they cannot wait for the effect of the revelation of Prexaspes on the people. The gods themselves give them a sign; the seven hawks tear to pieces the two vultures. The poem closes with the death-struggle of the Magians, the readiness of Gobryas to allow himself to be slain with the Magian, i. e. the false king, and the happy restoration of the dominion of the Achæmenids.

The objections which can be made against this poetical account of the matter are obvious. The disbelief of the Persians in the admissions of Cambyses is hardly credible. If they had doubted at the first, they could doubt no longer when the king had sealed[Pg 211] his accusation by his despair and death. When Otanes imparts his discovery to Gobryas and Aspathines, they say that "they had already suspected it;" Darius then comes, and when he has been unanimously received into the conspiracy he says: "that he had hitherto believed that he alone knew the secret, and had hastened from Persia in order to slay the Magian." The poem has no doubt inserted this scepticism of the Persians to explain why they did not rise against the usurper immediately after the death of Cambyses. The discovery by the absence of the ears must also belong to the poem; it is a tale of the harem, in the manner of the poetry of the East. The deed of Prexaspes, whose place is taken by Izabates in Ctesias, is quite incredible and impossible in the context of Herodotus. The Magians had no reason whatever to urge Prexaspes to a public explanation; no one among the people had any suspicion; seven men only are acquainted with the truth, and the Magians have no intimation of their knowledge. If Susa was the scene of the deed, the Magians acted still more perversely, and Prexaspes sacrificed himself at any rate without the hope of any immediate effect. The Susians had not the least interest in the legitimacy or illegitimacy of the king. If the Achæmenids were no longer their masters, so much the better, inasmuch as they now enjoyed that mild dominion, which Herodotus himself ascribes to the Magians. In the narrative of the conspiracy two factors are obviously combined. Otanes is the originator, Darius joins the band later, but has already resolved to slay the Magi. Supported by Gobryas he urges immediate action, and indeed forces the conspirators to act by the threat that, if there is any delay, he will himself reveal the conspiracy, while Otanes, both in the deliberation,[Pg 212] and on the way to the palace, is in favour of delay. It was obviously the effect of the poem to bring plainly into light the merit which, on the one hand, Otanes and the five conspirators, and on the other Darius, had earned in the great achievement of the overthrow of the Magi, and to apportion a part of it to each section. The eminent position which the poem allots Otanes is explained by the advantages and privileges which the house of Otanes enjoyed in Persia above the other tribal princes, and which were attributed to the part which he took in the removal of the dominion of the Magi.[200] According to Herodotus Otanes was the son of Pharnaspes, and his sister Cassandane was the wife of Cyrus, the mother of Cambyses and Smerdis. He was thus the uncle of the king and of Smerdis; and he was also the father-in-law of the king, for his daughter Phaedyme was among the wives of Cambyses. This is the account of Herodotus. But we have convincing evidence that Otanes was not the son of Pharnaspes. As the father-in-law of Cambyses he was sufficiently near the throne to take a leading part in the action. Hystaspes, the father of Darius, had already been sent back by Cyrus from his camp on the Jaxartes (p. 115), according to Herodotus, in order to keep watch over his son Darius. In Herodotus Hystaspes is now overseer of Persia, and his son comes to Susa, to slay the Magians with his own hand. In another passage Herodotus himself relates that Darius was sprung from the family of the Achæmenids; Hystaspes was the son of Arsames, who was the son of Ariaramnes, the brother of Cambyses I. the father of Cyrus.[201]

It is a fact that Darius was sprung from the[Pg 213] younger line of the house of Achæmenes. The elder son of Teispes, the son of Achæmenes, was Cambyses I., and the younger son was Ariaramnes. His son was Arsames, who was the father of Hystaspes, the cousin of Cambyses.[202] When the older line became extinct in Cambyses, the younger should have ascended the throne in the person of their head Hystaspes, but the Magians usurped it. What could be more natural than that Hystaspes and Darius should take the lead in overthrowing the usurper, and winning back the crown which had been taken from them. As the future head of the tribe of the Pasargadae, the future heir to the throne takes the lead, and we may find in his six associates the remaining six tribes of the Persians. We know that they had the privilege of marriage with the house of Achæmenes, and of free entry to the king; the tribal princes also wore the upright kidaris, like the king (V. 328). Hence Darius could say in Herodotus: "Who will refuse entrance to us, the chiefs of the Persians?[203]" And any one who should do so "would at once show himself to be their enemy;" hence, as Herodotus relates, the seven, by divine guidance, arrived at the palace.

Thus far does tradition carry us; but the inscriptions of Darius enable us to go a good step farther. "The dominion, which Gaumata the Magian took from Cambyses, belonged of old to our family," so king Darius tells us. "My father was Vistaçpa, the father of Vistaçpa was Arsama, the father of Arsama was Ariyaramna, the father of Ariyaramna was Chaispis, and the father of Chaispis was Hakhamanis. This Gaumata lied. He said: I am Bardiya, the son of Kurus; I am king. There was no one, either Mede or Persian, or of our family, who had taken the[Pg 214] dominion from Gaumata the Magian.[204] The people feared him; he put to death many people who had known Bardiya, to prevent its being known that he was not Bardiya the son of Kurus. No one made any attempt against Gaumata the Magian, till I came. Then I called Auramazda to my aid; and Auramazda assisted me. There is a citadel, Çikathauvatis by name, in the land of Niçaya in Media; there with men devoted to me I slew Gaumata the Magian and his chief adherents. This was in the month Bagayadis, on the tenth day. I slew him, and took from him the dominion. By the grace of Auramazda I became king. Auramazda transferred the kingdom to me; I restored the dominion which was taken from our tribe. The places of worship (the houses of the gods in the Babylonian version) which Gaumata the Magian destroyed, these I preserved for the people. I gave back to the families what Gaumata had taken from them. What had been carried away I placed where it had been before. By the grace of Auramazda I did this. I laboured till I placed this race of ours again in its position. As it was before, as though Gaumata the Magian had not robbed our family, so I arranged it again.[205] These are the men who were present at the time when I slew Gaumata the Magian, who called himself Bardiya; these men helped me at that time as my adherents: Vindafrana (Intaphernes in Herodotus), the son of Vayaçpara, a Persian; Utana (Otanes), the son of Thukhra, a Persian; Gaubaruva (Gobryas), the son of Marduniya (Mardonius), a Persian; Vidarna (Hydarnes), the son of[Pg 215] Bagabigna, a Persian; Bagabukhsa (Megabyzus), the son of Daduhya, a Persian; Ardumanis, the son of Vahuka (Ochus), a Persian."[206]

As has been shown, Gaumata had seized the dominion on Persian ground. He had first shown himself to the Persians as their master: "He caused Persia to revolt," is the recapitulation in the inscription of Behistun. The statement of Herodotus that he remitted for a certain period the tribute, which the provinces had to furnish yearly in the form of presents, and announced that for some years to come they need not expect anything from distant wars, cannot be called in question. He had every reason to make his rule acceptable, and the treasures of Cyrus at Pasargadae were no doubt still large enough to enable him to dispense with the tribute for some years.[207] The inscription of Darius and the tablets at Babylon (p. 195), establish the fact that not the satraps only, whom Cyrus and Cambyses had set up, and the population of the subject lands, but even the army of Cambyses which had gone with him to Egypt and returned after his death, recognized the Magian as king. As Herodotus says, Gaumata succeeded so that all nations wished his reign back when he had fallen, except the Persians. Most remarkable is the passage in the inscription of Darius according to which Gaumata had destroyed the places of worship or the houses of the gods. How could a man, who claimed to be the son of Cyrus, begin by attacking the existing mode of worship, which Cyrus had practised and protected, without annihilating[Pg 216] himself? Or was it the Magian tendency in him, which sought to bring the stricter forms observed by the priests into universal observance, and establish uniformity of worship? Or does Darius merely mean that Gaumata had allowed the temples of the subject nations to fall into ruin (Cyrus and Darius took them under their care). This is probably the meaning of the obscure passage in the Persian text; the Babylonian version shows that temples of the gods are spoken of, and these the Persians and Medes did not possess.

The murder of Smerdis cannot have remained an entire secret. The murderer or murderers knew it, and the relatives, the members of the house of Achæmenes, the servants and women, cannot have been deceived by the resemblance for any length of time. The narrative of Darius tells us plainly, "that Gaumata put to death many men in order that it might not be known that he was not the son of Cyrus." There is no doubt that Cambyses, when dying, acknowledged his deed, but only to the Achæmenids and the six tribal princes. Darius was with Cambyses in Egypt. From Herodotus we learn that he secretly sent messages to the satraps at the time of the rule of the Magians[208]. Hence he knew of the fact, and, as was fitting, he urged the overthrow of the Magian before all others. Why the younger line of the royal house and the tribal princes of the Persians did not come forward immediately after the death of Cambyses—why they did not call on the Persians to rise against the Magians—on these matters we can only make conjectures, which however are of a suggestive kind. One obvious reason was that the declaration that the throne had been usurped, and the rising of the Persians which would have followed such[Pg 217] a declaration, would have thrown the kingdom into the most violent convulsions. This would have given the subject nations the choice of taking up arms for their favourite, the usurper, or for their own independence; it would have given them the right, and the Medes above all, of throwing off the existing rule. Could they venture to renew the dangerous war, which Cyrus had waged against the Medes, which had been so long undecided, and had brought the Persians into the greatest distress, in which they had conquered only after the most severe efforts? Who would guarantee a happy issue to the new conflict? And if the Medes were really conquered for the second time, would not the conflict with them be the signal for the other nations to revolt on their part also? In this way the kingdom of Cyrus would be completely disorganized. Thus Hystaspes and Darius and the princes of the Persians hesitated; and contented themselves with coming to a secret understanding with the satraps. So long as the royal house and the six princes remained silent, the pretended son of Cyrus was compelled to spare the Achæmenids and the tribal princes in order to play his own part, but their silence on the other hand declared the Magian to be the legitimate ruler, and the longer that they were silent the more securely did they establish his throne. This position of affairs was the more difficult for the Achæmenids, because Gaumata, as we are told in the inscription, removed his residence from Persia to Media. He was aware no doubt that his deception could not be long maintained against the Persians and the satraps. In Media, therefore, he was more secure than in Persia, for in Media the Magians formed a numerous and exclusive order. If the Persians rose against him[Pg 218] his best support against them was the Medes; if the deception had to be dropped, the rising of the Persians would pass into a war between the Persians and Medes.

From the important position which the authority of Herodotus assigns to Otanes, and the peculiar honours subsequently paid to him and his family, we may perhaps assume that it was he more than any other, who, with the fixed resolution not to endure the dominion of Gaumata, pointed out at the same time the unavoidable consequences of an armed rising of Persia. Instead of shattering the central power with their own hands, he must have advised his confederates to get it into their own power, and with this object in view he proposed the removal of the Magian, the surprise, and assassination in the citadel. There would be time for an open conflict if the assassination failed. Darius, who was then about thirty-five,[209] was younger and more hasty; he may have insisted on a sudden decision and have been more inclined to use open violence. Finally, the princes of the Persians united with Darius in the attempt to assassinate the king. It is obvious that the consultations and deliberations which led to this resolution took place among few, and in the greatest secrecy. It was necessary to avoid observation and suspicion; they must not go in a company. The son of Hystaspes might take a message from his father to the king, and the chiefs of the Persian tribes might accompany him. They were the chosen councillors of the king, and had the right of free entry to him. Ought they to despair of this because they had not been summoned to the council? If they had had confederates in the palace of Gaumata, as Ctesias[Pg 219] suggests, it would have been the most foolish rashness to go to Media in such small numbers. That Darius accomplished the deed with six associates only, as he himself tells us, proves that they could reckon on obtaining an entrance for these seven only, and that the king dared not refuse it to them. His false assertion that he was an Achæmenid, and the king of the Persians, must have been his ruin; it compelled him to admit the seven; at any rate the guards of the palace had no orders to the contrary. The upright tiara, which the Persian kings, the descendants of Achæmenes, and the princes of the remaining six tribes wore, and which Plutarch suggests was the mark of recognition among the conspirators (Polyaenus states this for a fact[210]), pointed out Darius and his associates to the body-guard as having the right of free entrance. It was not, as the Greeks thought, a mark of distinction given to the six after the deed, but, as we have seen, a distinction which they possessed, along with others, from the time of Achæmenes, and the arrangement of the Persian constitution. The six princes of the Persians, and at their head the eldest son of the lawful successor to the throne, Hystaspes the prince of the seventh tribe, or Pasargadae, were resolved to attack the pretended king in his palace in Media, and risk their lives to maintain the throne in the hands of the Persians. We must look for the citadel of Çikathauvatis in Niçaya between Kermanshah and Elvend, at the southern foot of the mountain overlooking the pastures of the Nisæan horses. If the attempt failed Darius and his companions could hardly escape. But the father of Darius and two younger brothers (Artabanus and Artaphernes) were alive and in safety. They[Pg 220] could avenge the fall of the conspirators, and by taking up the struggle openly, attempt to succeed where craft had failed. In the struggle, as in the previous consultation, the source from which Herodotus has drawn represents Gobryas as the leading person next to Darius. He is the first whom Otanes admits to the secret; he always votes with Darius for immediate action; he seizes one of the two Magians—obviously the king himself—whom Darius then slays. Gobryas was the chief of the Pateischoreans, who dwelt next to the Pasargadae on Lake Bakhtegan, and the father-in-law of Darius, to whom his daughter had already borne three sons.[211]

The bold resolution to attack the usurper in the midst of Media and cut him down with his adherents in his palace succeeded. If Herodotus tells us that when the princes after the assassination called the Persians together, and showed them the heads of the Magians, the Persians also drew their swords and slew all the Magians who came in their way, the truth is that the only Persians before the citadel of Çikathauvatis in the Median district of Nisaea would be the servants of the Persians who accompanied them there. The question was not the slaughter of the Magi; such a massacre would have been the most foolish thing that could have been done. The Persians who attended the princes had no other duty than to enable their masters to escape from the citadel in case of failure, and in case of success to prevent the servants of Gaumata, who may very likely have been for the most part Magians, from dispersing, and to cut them down, to avail themselves of the overthrow of the guard in order to disarm them. The supposed slaughter of the Magians has arisen from the festival,[Pg 221] by which the Persians celebrated the day of the assassination of the Magian, the tenth of Bagayadis.[212]

Five days after the death of the Magian the seven took counsel together, as Herodotus relates, on the state of affairs. Otanes was of opinion that the government should be handed over to the whole body of the Persians, that it was not well that one should rule over them. Megabyzus represented oligarchy; the best men should form the best resolutions. Darius spoke in favour of monarchy. In an oligarchy enmities arise, and out of enmities rebellions and struggles, which lead to monarchy. In democracy baseness forces its way in, and the base gather together till a man arises who can reduce them to order; he is then admired by the people and raised to be their ruler. A man had given freedom to the Persians, and it was not well to set aside the laws of the fathers. Then Otanes said: "Fellow-conspirators, it is obvious that one of us will be king, as we are leaving the choice to the Persians either by lot or in some other manner. But I do not seek the throne with you: I wish neither to be a ruler, nor to be ruled over. I leave the dominion to you on the condition that neither I nor my descendants shall be subjects to you." The six agreed, and Otanes remained apart; to this day his family is the only free family in Persia, and is governed only so much as it pleases, provided that it does not transgress the laws of the[Pg 222] Persians. The others resolved, that if the monarchy came to one of them, Otanes and his descendants should each year receive a Median robe and the gifts of highest honour usual among the Persians, because he had been the first to entertain the idea and had called them together. For the whole seven they resolved that each should have the right of entering the palace without announcement, whenever he would, and the king should not be allowed to take a wife from any but the families of the conspirators. The throne was to go to the man whose horse, when in the suburbs of the city, should be the first to neigh at the rising of the sun. In the night Oebares, the groom of Darius, led his horse along the road, on which the six would ride in the morning, to a mare which he had previously caused to be brought there. When the princes rode out next morning, as had been agreed upon, the horse of Darius neighed at the place where the mare had been brought to him in the night, and at the same moment there was thunder and lightning in a clear sky. Then the five sprang from their horses and did homage to Darius. And when Darius was established on his throne, he set up a picture in relief on stone representing a man with a horse, and underneath it he engraved the words: "Darius, the son of Hystaspes, by the help of his horse and his groom Oebares, came to be king over the Persians."[213]

In Pompeius Trogus we are told: "The conspirators were so equal in valour and noble birth, that it was difficult for the people to elect one of them to be king. But the conspirators themselves devised an expedient which left the decision to religion and good luck. They resolved to ride early in the morning to a particular place before the citadel; and he whose[Pg 223] horse was the first to neigh at the rising of the sun, was to be king. For the Persians regarded the sun as the only deity, and horses as sacred to him. Among the conspirators was Darius the son of Hystaspes." After narrating the trick of the groom in the same manner as Herodotus, our excerpt continues: "The moderation of the others was so great that when they had received the sign from the gods (Justin speaks only of the neighing, not of the thunder and lightning), they at once sprang from their horses and greeted Darius as king. The whole people followed the decision of the princes and made him their king. By such a trivial circumstance did the monarchy of the Persians, which was won by the valour of the seven noblest men, come into the hands of one person. It is extraordinary that those who risked their lives to wrest the throne from the Magians, should have resigned it with such readiness, though it is true that in addition to the nobility of form, and the valour, which made Darius worthy of the throne, he was also related by blood to the ancient kings."[214] The excerpt from the account of Ctesias tells us: "Sphendadates (p. 208 ff.) had reigned seven months (i. e. after the death of Cambyses). Of the seven Darius became king because his horse first neighed at the rising of the sun, which was the sign agreed upon among them; but it was induced to neigh by a certain trick and stratagem. Since then the Persians celebrate the slaughter of the Magians on the day on which Sphendadates the Magian was slain."[215]

An election to the throne was not a matter of necessity after the fall of the Magian. The older line of the royal house, the descendants of the elder son of Teispes, had become extinct with Smerdis and[Pg 224] Cambyses; the younger line had the right to ascend the throne. The head of this line was Hystaspes. We not only learn from Herodotus, that he was still alive, the inscription of Behistun mentions his achievements after his son ascended the throne. The father gave place to the son, just as the father of Cyrus had given place to his son in the rise of the Persians against Astyages. Hystaspes abandoned the throne in favour of his eldest son. This renunciation, in case of success, must have taken place before Darius set out to Media, when the son went with the princes of the Persians to succeed in the work of liberation or to perish. These princes were in a position to salute Darius as king immediately after the fall of the Magian. A sign from the gods could only be required to show that the son would be accepted in the place of the father. It was more important to prove to the Medians, the inhabitants of Nisaea, that the new ruler who took the place of the murdered prince had done so with the will of the gods, that Darius had seized the crown with the will of Auramazda and Mithra. We know the sacred horses and chariot which the Persians kept for the god of the sun and of light. The lucky neighing with which the horse on which the new king was mounted greeted the rising of the sun on the seventh day after the death of the Magian, put it beyond doubt that the act was just, that the new ruler of Persia was under the protection of the far-seeing Mithra, the god of truth, the destroyer of lies. The narrative of the trick of Oebares is no doubt a Greek invention. In the mind of the Persians it would have deprived the divine signal of any importance. In the narrative of Herodotus it is quite superfluous, for not only does the horse neigh but thunder and lightning occur in a clear sky. The[Pg 225] name of the groom, Oebares, does not improve the story or make it more credible; it is merely a repetition of the name of that most faithful and energetic counsellor and helper of Cyrus, who first, himself a fortunate omen, meets him in the foreign country, and carries horsedung towards him, and afterwards assists him to victory and the throne (V. 346). As regards the equestrian picture, which, according to Herodotus, Darius set up in honour of his horse and his groom, Darius had certainly no interest in announcing to the kingdom that he had won the throne by deception. No doubt Darius left splendid monuments behind him. He may also have caused the divine consecration and confirmation of his kingdom to be engraved upon a rock, but the inscription to the picture certainly did not mention the deception, or the inventor of it and his service.

Herodotus represents the conspirators as consulting about the best form of government on the sixth day after the assassination, no doubt because the opinion existed among the Greeks, that the Persians had a custom by which anarchy was allowed to prevail for five days after the death of the king, not as a sign of mourning, but in order to learn by experience what an evil anarchy was.[216] The best form of government might be discussed in Hellas, but it could not be discussed in Persia, and least of all in the citadel of Çikathauvatis. Herodotus himself observes, that these speeches were incredible to some of the Greeks, but that nevertheless they were made;[217] he even recurs to the subject, supporting the story on the fact that Mardonius, the son of Gobryas, had removed the tyrants from the cities of the Ionians and set up[Pg 226] democracies there. Herodotus exaggerates what was done in the year 493 B.C. in order to support his story of this discussion; if Mardonius established democracies, Otanes may have represented this form of constitution in the council of the seven. At that time tyrannies were not preserved in the Greek cities to the extent that the princes of Miletus, Histiaeus and Aristagoras, raised the sign of rebellion for the Ionians on purely personal grounds. Hence after the rebellion had been crushed, tyrannies were not fully restored in these cities. But the tyrants who remained faithful to Persia, like Aeaces of Lesbos, and Strattis of Chios, were replaced on their thrones. Strattis was ruler of Lesbos in the time of Xerxes. Even after Mardonius had visited the coast of Anatolia, Hippoclus and Aeantides ruled over Lampsacus; the Pisistratidæ in Sigeum; Demaratus obtained Teuthrania, Halisarna, and Pergamum; Gongylus, Gambrion, Myrina, and Gryneum; Theomestor in the reign of Xerxes was tyrant of Samos; in Herodotus' own city the descendants of Lygdamis retained the throne. To renew the tyrannies in their old extent, when they were intended to keep in subjection Greek maritime cities of considerable power without Persian garrisons was not necessary after these cities had been so greatly weakened by the suppression of the rebellion.[218]

The legend of the discussion of the seven as to the best form of constitution has grown up out of the privileges of the six tribal princes, who as a fact formed an aristocratic element in the Persian constitution (V. 329), and out of the peculiar immunities enjoyed by the house of Otanes; the Greeks traced both one and the other back to the assassination of[Pg 227] the Magians. From the immunities, and supposed self-government of this house, the Greeks concluded that Otanes must at that time have pronounced for the freedom and self-government of the Persians, and Herodotus represents him as consistently democratic, and taking no part in the election to the throne. In the discussion the defence of monarchy was naturally assigned to the future occupant of the throne.


[199] Ctes. "Pers." 13. The names of the Seven in Ctesias have been discussed already, Vol. V. 329 n.

[200] Herod. 3, 83, 84, and below, p. 221, 222.

[201] Herod. 4, 83; 5, 25, 30.

[202] Vol. V. 326 n.

[203] Herod. 3, 72, 77.

[204] Spiegel, "Keilinschriften," s. 7, "to say;" so Oppert ("Peuple des Mèdes," p. 110) after the Turanian version; on the other hand Mordtmann in "Z. D. M. G." 16, 37 gives, "to undertake."

[205] Spiegel, "Keilinschriften," s. 81 ff.; Oppert, loc. cit. p. 121.

[206] Herodotus gives Aspathines or Aspathenes; the inscription on the tomb of Darius mentions Açpachana as holding an honourable office near the person of the king.

[207] Herod. 3, 67.

[208] Herod. 3, 139, 126, 127.

[209] See below, p. 229.

[210] Plutarch, "Praec. gerend. reip." c. 27; Polyaen. "Strateg." 7, 12.

[211] Herod. 7, 2; Behist. 4, 84; 5, 7, 9. N. R. c.

[212] G. Rawlinson's view, which he gives in an excursus to his Herodotus (2, 548 ff.)—that the Magian was not a Mede, I accept, as I have observed, p. 191. Darius says in the inscription of Behistun that neither a Persian nor a "Mede" had risen against Gaumata, and moreover, that he had recovered the dominion which had been taken "from his tribe" and "race." But in no case was it a question of a religious conflict, but rather to avoid a new struggle between Media and Persia. On the passage 3, 14 in the inscription all that need be said has been given already (p. 216).

[213] Herod. 3, 80-88.

[214] Justin. 1, 10.

[215] Ctes. "Pers." 14.

[216] Sext. Empir. "Adv. Rhet." 33 in Stein, Herod. 3, 80.

[217] Herod. 6, 43.

[218] The evidence in support of this will be found in the Greek History.



[Pg 228]



One of the boldest deeds known to history had been accomplished, one of the most marvellous complications had been severed by a remarkable venture. At a distance from their home and people, six Persians, led by a prince of the royal house, had attacked and cut down the pretended son of Cyrus, in his fortified citadel, when surrounded by his adherents, after he had reigned for more than ten months (Spring 521 B.C.[219]). An Achæmenid again sat on the throne of Cyrus. Whether the removal of the usurper and the sudden proclamation of Darius on the soil of Media had really prevented the ruin of the kingdom, as it was intended to do, and whether it would produce the results which the Achæmenids and the princes of the Persians expected from it, was a question, which, in spite of the success, still remained to be settled. It was true that the resumption of the struggle with the Medes for the sovereignty was for the moment avoided, but that the accession of Darius brought the whole kingdom into obedience to his power had still to be shown. Undeniable facts prove that even in the last years of Cambyses the bonds of obedience were relaxed.[Pg 229] The satraps of the provinces had been able to rule over their provinces independently. This had been rapidly followed by two violent changes in the succession, which seemed to promise success to further usurpation. The various nations were quite satisfied with the rule of Gaumata. Their favourite chief had been slain; they were now called upon to obey his assassin, whose reign betokened the return of the severer rule. Neither in Media nor in Babylon did men forget the state of affairs before Cyrus; scarcely eighteen years had elapsed since Babylon had been taken by Cyrus. The nations of the kingdom were in agitation.[220]

Elated by the success of his venture, in the full vigour of his life,—according to Herodotus Darius had scarcely reached the thirtieth year, and according to Ctesias the thirty-sixth year of his age,[221]—the new ruler seemed equal even to the heaviest tasks. The boldness of his resolution, the daring nature of the advice which he had given, were favourable indications that he possessed the power to keep the kingdom of Cyrus together. While he could not but direct his gaze in the most eager expectation to the nations of the empire, he found in his immediate proximity, among the associates in the deed of Çikathauvatis, an independent and rebellious spirit. A remarkable indication proved that the princes of the Persian[Pg 230] tribes, to whose devotion he owed the throne, who had risked as much as himself, were for that very reason inclined to regard themselves as more on an equality with the new king, and to pay less respect to his authority. Soon after the assassination of the Magian, Intaphernes, one of the six Persian princes, who had lost an eye in the conflict with the Magians, came one day into the palace to speak with the king. But the doorkeepers and servants would not admit him because the king was with one of his wives. Intaphernes thought that this statement was false, and that the new king intended to refuse to the Persian princes the ancient right of free entry; he drew his sword, cut off the ears and noses of each of the two servants, strung them on the reins of his bridle and hung them round their necks. In this act of violence Darius could only see extreme contempt for the royal dignity, and the most severe outrage of it in the persons of his servants; he was convinced that it was the announcement of a rebellion. He did not venture to step in and punish at once; he could hardly assume that Intaphernes would have done such an action without an understanding with the other chieftains; they had intended, no doubt, to humble the king, and now that they had helped him to the throne, they wished to take up a different position towards the ruler whom they had raised from that which they had occupied towards Cyrus and Cambyses. It was not till Darius had questioned each of the princes separately, and ascertained that Intaphernes had acted independently, that he caused him to be thrown into prison with his sons and all his family. He desired, no doubt, on this first opportunity to show the chiefs of the Persians their master, and his intention was naturally carried out with oriental[Pg 231] cruelty. Regardless of the services of Intaphernes and the wound which he had received, he was to be executed and all the males of his house with him; the entire stock of this princely family was to be annihilated. The entreaties of the wife of Intaphernes only prevailed so far as to save from death her brother and her eldest son, so that the race could at least be kept in existence.[222]

Still more dangerous, though at a greater distance, appeared to be the attitude of a satrap who ruled over wide regions. Oroetes had been made satrap of Lydia and Ionia by Cyrus. In the last year of Cambyses he had enticed Polycrates of Samos to Magnesia into his power, and had caused him to be executed there, in order to bring about the subjugation of Samos. When called upon by Darius to declare against Gaumata he had paid no heed to the command, but had availed himself of the confusion to assassinate Mitrobates the satrap of Phrygia, who resided at Dascyleum, and possess himself of that satrapy. He now ruled from Sardis to the Halys. After the accession of Darius, so far from obeying his commands to appear at the court, he cut down the messenger who brought them. It was obviously his intention to establish an independent kingdom in Asia Minor. It did not appear possible to crush him without an open struggle, and the beginning of this would be a signal of revolt for many others. Darius summoned the chief of the Persians, and asked if any one could remove Oroetes out of the way. In the narrative of Herodotus not one only but thirty offered themselves for the venture. They cast lots, and the lot fell on Bagaeus the son of Artontes. Provided with the necessary letters from [Pg 232] the king, he went as an extraordinary commissioner to Sardis. The garrison of the citadel at Sardis in which Oroetes resided consisted of a thousand Persian lance-bearers. Bagaeus caused a communication from Darius to be read to these troops in the presence of Oroetes. They showed respect for the letter and the royal seal, and expressed a willingness to obey the king's commands. As soon as Bagaeus had convinced himself of their feeling, he read an order from Darius in which the lance-bearers were forbidden to obey Oroetes any longer. They at once placed their lances on the ground. Encouraged by this, Bagaeus immediately read the last order, in which Darius bade the Persians at Sardis to put Oroetes to death. This command also was executed on the spot. It was a rapid success, and an extremely fortunate event for Darius. Asia Minor from the Halys to the Aegean was brought under his authority at a single blow.

Herodotus only remarks in passing, that the Medes revolted from Darius, but were conquered in the battle and reduced again to submission.[223] He relates the rebellion of the Babylonians at greater length. Since the accession of the Magian the Babylonians had secretly prepared to throw off the yoke of Persia. They put to death all the women in the city who were not mothers, leaving only a childless wife and another woman in each household, that their provisions might not fail, and when Darius brought up his forces, and invested Babylon, they made merry over the siege and danced behind their towers. A whole year and seven months passed away, and Darius tried every art and invention in vain, including the means by which Cyrus had taken the city and many others, but the Babylonians[Pg 233] were strongly on their guard, and it was impossible to take the city. In the twentieth month, Zopyrus the son of Megabyzus, one of the men who had taken part in the assassination of the Magian, appeared before the throne of Darius with his nose and ears cut off, his hair shaved, and his body covered with blows from a whip. Distressed to see one of the most distinguished men in such a condition, the king sprang up and asked who had done him such an irreparable injury. It was intolerable, Zopyrus answered, that the Assyrians should mock the Persians any longer; he had not acquainted the king with his design that he might not prevent him from carrying it out. It was his intention in this plight to seek admittance into the city and to tell the Babylonians that the king of the Persians had treated him thus. He thought that they would believe him, and entrust him with the command over a division. On the tenth day after his reception into the city, Darius was to place a thousand men of the troops which he valued least against the gate of Semiramis; on the seventeenth two thousand against the gate of Ninus; on the thirty-seventh four thousand against the gate of the Chaldæans. If he achieved great successes against these troops the Babylonians would no doubt entrust everything to him, even the keys of their gates. Then Darius was to attack the city on all sides, and place the Persians against the gates of Belus and the gate of the Cissians. "Zopyrus set forth, gave his name at the gate, pretended to be a deserter, and demanded entrance. The guards led him before the council of the city. He lamented the treatment which he had received from Darius because he had advised him to lead away his army, inasmuch as there was no way of taking the city. He could do them the greatest[Pg 234] services, and Darius and the Persians the greatest harm, for he knew their plans in every direction. The Babylonians seeing the most distinguished Persian without nose or ears, covered with stripes and blood, listened to his words, and believed that he had come to aid them; and they were ready at his request to allow him the command of a division." At the head of his Babylonian soldiers Zopyrus cut down the three troops on the days agreed upon. "Then Zopyrus was all in all to the Babylonians; they elected him general and keeper of the walls of the city, and when Darius, as had been agreed upon, stormed the city on every side, and the besieged repulsed their opponents in every direction, Zopyrus opened the Cissian gate and the gate of Belus to the Persians and brought them into the city. The Babylonians who saw this fled into the shrine of Belus, but the others fought on in their ranks till they perceived that they had been betrayed. Thus Babylon was recovered, and Darius now did what Cyrus had neglected to do at the time of his conquest; he destroyed the walls, tore down the gates, impaled nearly three thousand of the leading men, and gave the city to the remainder for a habitation. In order that they might have wives and posterity, Darius commanded each of the neighbouring nations to send a number of women to Babylon; in all there were 50,000, and from these the present inhabitants of the city are descended. In the judgment of Darius no one had ever done greater service to the Persians than Zopyrus, with the exception of Cyrus, with whom no Persian could be compared. It is also asserted that Darius was wont to say that he would willingly lose twenty Babylons, if Zopyrus might be restored from his mutilated condition. He held him in great honour, gave him each year the[Pg 235] presents which are most honourable among the Persians, conferred on him for his life the government of Babylon free of all tribute to the king, and a great deal besides."[224]

Megabyzus, the son of Daduhya, who aided Darius in putting the Magian to death, and his descendants, were only too well known to the Greeks, and more especially to the Athenians. Megabyzus conquered Perinthus, and reduced Thracia and Macedonia beneath the Persian rule. The son of this Megabyzus was Zopyrus, to whom Darius, according to the narrative of Herodotus, owed the capture of Babylon; the son of Zopyrus was Megabyzus the younger, who in the year 455 B.C. inflicted on the Athenians in Egypt one of the heaviest defeats which they ever experienced; they lost more than 200 triremes, and nearly the whole of the crews, for those who escaped to Cyrene were few in number.[225] From the marriage of this Megabyzus with the daughter of Xerxes and Amestris, the granddaughter of Otanes, sprang the younger Zopyrus, who broke with Artaxerxes I. after the death of his parents, retired to Athens after 440 B.C., and afterwards, when attacking the city of Caunus in Caria with Attic troops—the city belonged[Pg 236] to the Attic league but had withdrawn from it, and it was necessary to reduce it—was killed by a stone thrown from the walls.[226] Hence the achievements of the princely family, who were the forefathers of the deserter—of his father Megabyzus, his grandfather, the elder Zopyrus, and his great-grandfather—were peculiarly interesting to the Greeks. The minute account which Herodotus gives of the greatest act of the older Zopyrus must be derived from information which he obtained in Athens either from the younger Zopyrus or from his retinue, and these would relate what the minstrels of the Persians had sung of the sacrifice made by the elder Zopyrus for the great king and the kingdom. We can trace a poetical source in the mocking of the besiegers, and the saying connected with it. A Babylonian cries to the Persians, "Why do you sit there? Why do you not retire? Ye will take the city when mules bring forth." A mule belonging to Zopyrus does bring forth; this sign, showing that Babylon can be taken, determines Zopyrus to mutilate himself, when he had previously ascertained from Darius that the king attached the greatest importance to the capture of the city. The massacre of the women of the Babylonians must also be poetical. Herodotus himself tells us that the Babylonians had prepared their rebellion for a long time, ever since the Magian had ascended the throne. Thus they had at least a year before the investment of the city in which to furnish it with provisions, and the adjacent country was most fruitful; moreover, the walls of Babylon enclosed a very large extent of arable and pasture land (III. 382). We may conceive of such wholesale massacre as an[Pg 237] act of desperation in consequence of a long siege; but in the account of Herodotus it took place before the city was invested, and is one of the preparations of the Babylonians. It is not until he has heard of the massacre of the women that Darius sets out against Babylon. Not less remarkable are the definite numbers of the troops, which Zopyrus with the Babylonians cuts down on the appointed days. The names of the five gates mentioned in the narrative seem to show exact local knowledge. But though a gate in Babylon might be named after Belus, and another "the gate of Elam" (the Cissians); no gate in that city could have been named after the Chaldæans, or Ninus, or Semiramis. So far as the inscriptions of Babylon have been deciphered, the names of the gates were different.[227] As the forms of Ninus and Semiramis and their history do not belong even in the remotest degree to Babylonia and her history, but are rather shown to be inventions of the Medo-Persian Epos, these two gates which are named after them point to the Persian source from which the narrative of Herodotus was derived. More incredible even than the massacre of the women at the beginning of the rebellion is their replacement after the capture by the 50,000 women whom Darius causes the neighbouring nations to send to Babylon. Darius had no reasons for assisting a city which had maintained itself against him for more than twenty months, the walls and gates of which he had broken, and at the same time, as Herodotus himself tells us, had executed the leading men, 3000 in number, by a cruel death. His interests lay in precisely the opposite direction.

Darius himself informs us about the rising of the Babylonians and their subjugation. "When I had[Pg 238] slain Gaumata, there was a man Atrina, by name, the son of Upadarma, who rebelled in Susiana. He said to the people: 'I am king in Susiana.' Then the inhabitants in Susiana became rebellious; they went over to Atrina; he was king in Susiana. Moreover there was a man of Babylon, Naditabira by name (Nidintabel in the Babylonian text), the son of Aniri; he rebelled in Babylon. He deceived the people thus: 'I am Nabukadrachara (Nabukudurussur), the son of Nabunita.' Then the people of Babylon went over entirely to Naditabira; he seized the throne in Babylon. After this I sent (an army?) to Susiana; Atrina was brought in fetters before me; I slew him. Then I marched to Babylonia against Naditabira, who called himself Nabukadrachara. The army of Naditabira maintained the Tigris, and occupied the river with ships; his whole power protected the Tigris.[228] Auramazda came to my aid; by the grace of Auramazda I crossed the Tigris, and severely defeated the army of Naditabira. On the 26th of the month of Athriyadiya (on the 26th of the month Kislev), then it was, that we gave battle. After this I marched against Babylon. When I went against Babylon, there is a city, by name Zazana on the Euphrates, there this Naditabira, who called himself Nabukadrachara, had come with an army to give me battle. Then we joined battle. Auramazda came to my aid; by the grace of Auramazda I severely defeated the army of Naditabira. The enemy was driven into the water; the water carried him away;[229] on the second day of the month of Anamaka, then[Pg 239] we joined battle. Then Naditabira went with a few horse to Babylon, and I went to Babylon. By the grace of Auramazda I took Babylon and captured Naditabira. Then I slew Naditabira at Babylon. While I was in Babylonia these provinces revolted: Persia, Susiana, Media, Assyria, Parthia, Margiana, the Sattagydæ, the Sacæ."[230]

The inscription shows that the inhabitants of Elam gave the signal for revolt, that their leader Atrina attempted to raise once more that ancient kingdom 125 years after its fall. Nabonetus (Nabunahed, Nabunita), the last king of Babylon, had been sent by Cyrus to Carmania and had died there (p. 89). A man, who gave himself out to be his younger son, took the lead of the Babylonians, and once more called into existence the revered name of Nebuchadnezzar. He had time to collect an army, and considered himself strong enough to meet the Persians in the open field. On the eastern border of the ancient kingdom, on the Tigris, he awaited the attack of the Persians; he brings armed ships to the place, that they may facilitate his defence of the right bank, and make it difficult for the enemy to cross the river. The Elamites were overpowered, their leader captured and slain. The heavier task of reducing Babylon was undertaken by Darius himself. The army which he led was obviously the same as that which conquered Susiana; it consisted of Persians and Medes, as is shown by the sequel of the inscription. Darius had to open the campaign against the new Nebuchadnezzar in the same manner in which Cyrus nineteen years previously had begun his war against Nabonetus.[Pg 240] He had first to cross the Tigris. This was done, and Nebuchadnezzar retired in a slanting direction across Babylonia to the Euphrates, closely pursued by Darius. On the Euphrates he was again defeated, and his people were driven in part into the river, but he was not cut off from the city as Nabonetus had been by Cyrus; he was able to reach the protection of the walls of Babylon. We know their powers of resistance. The Persians had crossed the Tigris at a place where it is not more than 100 miles distant from the Euphrates, i. e. not far below the Median walls; for the battle on the Tigris was fought on the 26th (or 27th) of Athriadiya, and six days after, on the 2nd of Anamaka, the Babylonian army suffered its second defeat on the bank of the Euphrates at Zazana. As Athriadiya coincides with the Kislev (November-December) and Anamaka with the Tebet (December-January) of the Babylonians (p. 195), the rebellion of Babylonia must have taken place in the summer and the investment of the city in the last weeks of the year 521 B.C. The inscriptions tell us nothing of the length of the siege. On the other hand we have five tablets from the reign of the rebel, Nebuchadnezzar III., all dated from Babylon, and bearing the name of the same witness. They date, in the time of this king, from Kislev 20, to the next Tisri and Marchesvan, i. e. from November-December of the year of the battles down to October-November of the next year.[231] The inscription of Behistun allows that all the central lands of the kingdom, not excepting Persia, rebelled against Darius during the siege. It follows therefore that success at Babylon was long[Pg 241] enough delayed to awake the hope that Darius would be checked before Babylonia, and defeated there. The twenty months of Herodotus would carry us from the end of the year 521 B.C. to the autumn of the year 519 B.C.

The rebellion made head everywhere. In spite of the day of Çikathauvatis, the kingdom was going to ruin. The position of Darius was desperate. The longer the siege, the more fixed the belief that he could not succeed, the greater was the progress of the revolt. If he raised the siege to turn against the rebels, that was a proof that he could not conquer Babylon; the confidence of the rebels in their fortunes would be increased, and the army discouraged with which he had conquered on the Tigris and the Euphrates, with which he stood in personal relations, and which he had drawn into close connection with himself. On this army the kingdom rested; it remained yet loyal in the camp at Babylon. The deed in Nisaea had been best confirmed by the fact that Media recognized Darius as king, that he had been able to summon the Median contingent to the field, and by his successes to connect the Median army with himself. "The Persian and Median army which was with me remained faithful; the Median nations which remained at home, revolted"—so we learn from the inscription.[232] Darius perceived that he must not weaken the only support which he had in this difficult crisis, or remove it by his own act. He judged the situation correctly, and remained before Babylon in spite of bad news which was brought to him from all sides. But the resistance was not less stubborn than the attack. It seemed as though the new reign of Darius must come to an end before Babylon. Could it continue beside the[Pg 242] defection of the Medes, Parthians, Hyrcanians, Margiani, Sagartians and Sattagydæ, the Armenians, Assyrians, and Susiani, the rebellion of the Persians themselves? Was it possible to check the outbreak of the storm of ruin in the face of the indomitable resistance of Babylon? Only in the distant east and west were there glimpses of light. The satraps of Arachosia and Bactria, Vivana and Dadarshis, remained loyal to Darius and kept their lands in obedience. Asia Minor was quiet; if Darius had not succeeded in removing Oroetes at the right moment, these regions also would have taken up arms against Darius either under him or under some native ruler.

The account of Darius allows us to see that the recently-subdued Susiani were the first to rebel when Darius was delayed at Babylon. After them the Medes rebelled, in order to renew the struggle for the sovereignty between Persia and Media; this was followed in the east by the rebellion of the Sattagydæ, the Parthians, the Hyrcanians, the Margiani, the Sacæ; in the west the Armenians and Syrians took up arms. Finally, even the Persians held out a hand to the subject nations for the overthrow of the kingdom and their own dominion. Vahyazdata, a Persian of the tribe of the Utians (V. 323), declared himself to be the legitimate ruler; the brother of Cambyses was alive; he was no other than Bardiya, the son of Cyrus. The Persians believe him; this second pretender finds many adherents.

The inscription is as follows: "There was a man, by name Martiya; he dwelt in the city of Kuganaka in Persia; he revolted in Susiana; and said to the people: 'I am Ymani, king in Susiana.' There was a man, Fravartis (Phraortes) by name, a Mede. He revolted in Media, and said: 'I am Khsathrita of the[Pg 243] family of Uvakhshathra' (Cyaxares). The Median nation then became rebellious towards me; they went over to Fravartis; and he was king in Media. Thereupon I sent an army. I made Vidarna, a Persian, my servant, the general, and said to them: 'Go down and smite the Median army which does not call itself mine.' Then Vidarna marched out. When he came to Media, he fought a battle with the Medes at Marus, a city in Media. By the grace of Auramazda the army of Vidarna conquered that rebellious army on the (twenty-seventh) day of the month Anamaka (of the month Tebet).[233] There was a district Campada (Cambadene) in Media; there my army awaited me. The Parthians and Hyrcanians became rebellious to me, and joined Fravartis. Vistaçpa, my father, was in Parthia; the people left him and revolted. Then Vistaçpa took those who adhered to him and marched against the rebels. On the 22nd day of the month Viyakhna Vistaçpa, by the grace of Auramazda, defeated the rebels near the city of Viçpauvatis in Parthia. I sent my servant, Dadarshis by name, an Armenian, to Armenia. When he came to Armenia, the rebels gathered together and marched against Dadarshis to give battle. By the grace of Auramazda my army defeated the revolted army near Zuza in Armenia, on the 6th day of the month of Thuravahara. The rebels marched against Dadarshis a second time. Near the fortress of Tigra in Armenia on the 18th of Thuravahara my army defeated the rebellious army; they slew 526 of them, and took 520 prisoners.[234] A third time the rebels marched against Dadarshis. Near the fortress of Uhyama in[Pg 244] Armenia my army defeated the rebellious army on the 9th day of the month Thaigarshis. There Dadarshis waited till I came to Media. A man, by name Chitratakhma, revolted from me. 'I am king of Sagartia,' he said to the people, 'of the race of Uvakhshathra' (Cyaxares). There is a province Margiana (Margu) by name which revolted from me. They made a man of Margiana, Frada by name, their leader. Against him I sent Dadarshis (Dadarsu) a Persian, my servant, the satrap of Bactria. There was a man, Vahyazdata by name, in the city of Tarava, in the district of Yutiya in Persia; he said to the people: 'I am Bardiya, the son of Kurus.' The Persian nation revolted from me. He was king in Persia. This Vahyazdata, who called himself Bardiya, sent an army to Arachosia against the Persian Vivana, my servant, the satrap of Arachosia."

The rebellion of Phraortes (which took place in the summer of 520 B.C.) was the more dangerous because it was undertaken with the obvious intention of restoring the independence of Media under a scion of the old native royal house, and the name of Cyaxares could not but excite and give new life to national memories among the Medes. Whatever troops Darius could spare, and for this purpose he could only use Persians, he sent under the command of the tribal prince Hydarnes, his associate in the assassination of the Magi, against the Medes, at the same time despatching Dadarshis an Armenian to Armenia, to check the advance of the rebellion there, and mainly, no doubt, to prevent the alliance of the Armenians and the Medes. A whole year after Darius had begun the investment of Babylon, on the 27th day of Anamaka (December-January, 520 B.C.), Hydarnes encountered Phraortes at Marus. He did not obtain any great success. He had[Pg 245] to content himself with maintaining against Phraortes the district of Cambadene in the south of Media. In the west of Media, Dadarshis had no better success against his Armenian compatriots. When he had fought two battles, of no great importance, if we are to judge from the losses of the rebels in one, in one month (on the eight and eighteenth), and a third in May (Thaigarshis) of the year 519 B.C., he was compelled to retire to a fortress named Uhyama. In Parthia, to the east of Media, Hystaspes the father of Darius, who was expected to keep these regions of the kingdom in obedience, was not in a position, with the forces at his disposal, to prevent the defection of the Parthians, Hyrcanians, Margiani, and Sacæ. He contented himself with the attempt to prevent the combination of the Parthians and Hyrcanians with Phraortes, and to limit as far as possible the spread of the rebellion. He only succeeded in retaining a part of the Parthians in obedience. The battle at Viçpauvatis (in Viyakhna, i. e. in March, 519), made it possible for him to maintain himself in Parthia, but was far from giving him the control of the land. The troops and generals sent by Darius were not able to prevail against the rebels; in Media and Armenia they were reduced to the defensive, and the same was the case with Hystaspes the father of Darius in Bactria. This collapse of the kingdom and general rebellion was used by a Persian of the tribe of the Utians (Yutiya[235]) in order to win over the Persians once more with the name of Bardiya, and to wrest them from the rule of Darius. Vahyazdata must have found a considerable following in Persia, and his successes must have been important, since he could attempt to extend his[Pg 246] dominion to the east over Carmania and Arachosia, and to send an army to Arachosia in order to win this province also from Darius.

The position of Darius before Babylon was hopeless. The danger increased every day, and there was still no prospect of winning the city. We may certainly believe the narrative of Herodotus that Darius left no means untried to reduce it, that he repeated the device of drawing off the water of the Euphrates into the basin of Sepharvaim, by which Cyrus had attained his object twenty years previously; the Babylonians had been taught by that siege to be on their guard in this direction. The account of Darius does not tell us how the city was finally taken; he does not mention the name of Zopyrus. The pressure of the surrounding dangers was so great, the hope of taking the city by force so small, that the son of a tribal king might feel himself called upon to sacrifice himself for the king and the kingdom, to adopt desperate measures. That Zopyrus did take a prominent part in the capture of Babylon is clear from the fact, which we do not learn from Herodotus only, that the satrapy of Babylon was given to him, and remained in his hands during the whole reign of Darius and afterwards. He is said to have lost his life in a rebellion of the Babylonians in the reign of Xerxes.[236] We cannot[Pg 247] doubt that after the capture Darius proceeded with greater severity against Babylon than Cyrus had done, that the gates were broken and large spaces of the walls thrown down (p. 234). The inscription of Behistun merely mentions the execution of the third Nebuchadnezzar.

After a siege of twenty months Babylon fell in the autumn of the year 519 B.C. Darius tells us further: "Thereupon I went up from Babylon, and marched to Media. The Susiani were overcome with fear, they seized upon Martiya (p. 242), who was their general, and put him to death. When I had reached Media, there is a city, Kudurus (Kunduru) by name, in Media, to which Fravartis marched against me with an army. Then they gave me battle. Auramazda came to my aid. By the grace of Auramazda I severely defeated the army of Fravartis on the 26th day of the month of Adukanis. Then Fravartis with a few horsemen withdrew to the district of Raga in Media. Then I sent an army against them; Fravartis was captured and brought to me. I cut off his nose, ears, and tongue. He was kept in chains at my gate; all the people saw him. Then I crucified him at Hangmatana (Ecbatana), and the men who were his principal adherents I imprisoned in the citadel of Hangmatana. Then I sent a Persian army from Raga to Vistaçpa, and when it had reached him, he marched out with it. There is a city Patigrabana[237] in Parthia, there Vistaçpa severely defeated that rebellious army on the 1st day of the month of Garmapada; he slew 6560 of them, and took 4182 captives. Then the land of Parthia was mine. I sent Vaumiça a Persian, my servant, to Armenia; when he came there the rebels[Pg 248] collected to give battle to Vaumiça. At Achitu in Assyria my army defeated the rebels on the 15th day of Anamaka, and slew 2024 of them. A second time they gathered together and marched against Vaumiça. There is a district Antiyara (Otiara) by name, in Armenia; there they fought on the last day of the month of Thuravahara (Yiyar 30). By the grace of Auramazda my army defeated the rebels severely; they slew 2045 and took 1559 prisoners. Against Chitratakhma (the leader of the rising of the Sagartians), I sent a part of the Persian and Median army.[238] I made Takhmaçpada, a Mede, the general. Takhmaçpada fought with Chitratakhma and my army defeated the rebellious army, seized Chitratakhma, and brought him to me. I cut off his nose and ears, he lay in chains at my gate; all the people saw him. Then I crucified him at Arbira (Arbela in Assyria). Dadarshis, a Persian, my servant, the satrap of Bactria, fought a battle with the Margiani (Frada was the leader of the rising here) on the 23rd day of the month of Atriyadiya. By the grace of Auramazda my army defeated the hostile army very severely. Dadarshis slew 4203 of them, and took 6562 prisoners.[239] Then the land was mine. Vahyazdata, who called himself Bardiya, sent an army to Arachosia against the Persian Vivana, my servant, the satrap of Arachosia. 'Go up,' he said to them; 'defeat Vivana and the army, which calls itself the army of king Darius.' There is a fortress, Kapisakani by name; there they fought the battle. By the grace of Auramazda my army defeated the rebellious army on the 13th of Anamaka. For a second time the[Pg 249] rebels marched against Vivana. In the district of Gandutava (Ganduvada) on the 7th of the month Viyakhna, my army defeated the rebellious army. Then the general of Vahyazdata withdrew with his faithful warriors to a fortress, Arsada by name, in Arachosia. Vivana followed him with an army. Then he seized him and slew him and the captains who were with him. I sent out a part of the Persian and Median army which was with me; I made Artavardiya, a Persian, my servant, the general of it; Artavardiya marched to Persia; the rest of the army went with me to Media. When Artavardiya was in Persia, there is a city Rakha (Racha); to this Vahyazdata who called himself Bardiya marched to fight against Artavardiya. Auramazda came to my aid; on the 12th of Thuravahara my army defeated the army of Vahyazdata very severely. Then Vahyazdata went to Pisicauvada. From thence he marched against Artavardiya and gave him battle. There is a mountain Paraga (Parga) by name; there they fought on the 6th day of Garmapada. By the grace of Auramazda my army defeated that of Vahyazdata; and they seized Vahyazdata and also his chief adherents. Uvadaidaya is a city in Persia; there I crucified Vahyazdata and the captains who were with him."

The connection between these various battles is no doubt as follows. When Babylon had fallen in the autumn of the year 519 B.C. and the new Nebuchadnezzar had been executed, Darius set out in the spring of the year 518 B.C. Hydarnes maintained himself against Phraortes on the western border of Media, Dadarshis against the rebels in Armenia, and Hystaspes in Parthia. The new pretender to the name of Smerdis ruled in Persia, and his attempt to gain possession[Pg 250] of the lands farther to the east and of Arachosia was first checked by the defeat which he suffered from the satrap of Arachosia in a battle fought in December of the year 519 B.C. In all these directions, in Armenia and Parthia, help was needed, and the decision lay in Persia and Media. Darius did not direct his march against Persia, but against Media. There, as he acutely saw, lay the main strength of the rebellion. His approach terrified the Susiani; they slay their chief, their king Martiya, and submit. Arrived at the border of Media and Persia, Darius divides his army. To make use of the mutual jealousy of the Persians and Medes, and to prevent any contact of his Median troops with their rebellious kinsmen, he sends the Persian Artavardiya with the Median troops to Persia against Vahyazdata, and with the Persians he marches against Phraortes to Media. Hydarnes waited for him at Campada; the first object was to unite the troops. The road from Susiana to Ecbatana ran through the district of Cambadene. When united with Hydarnes Darius overcomes Phraortes in the month of Adukanis (perhaps in June) of the year 518 at Kudurus, pursues him to Ragha, and takes him prisoner. Before he executed him in front of the citadel of Deioces, Phraortes, and Cyaxares, he had cut off his nose, ears, and tongue, and in this condition he had publicly exhibited him in chains, in order to convince the Medes that they had nothing to hope from the supposed scion of Cyaxares. The rebellion of the Medes is at an end. Darius can divide his forces. From Ragha he sends aid to his father Hystaspes in Parthia, and with this additional aid Hystaspes is able to defeat the rebellion of the Parthians in Garmapada, i. e. in the summer of 518 B.C. At the same time Dadarshis had received[Pg 251] the support in Armenia for which he was waiting, under the protection of the fortress of Uhyama. The Persian Vaumiça, who brought up the reinforcements for Darius, defeats the Armenian rebels in Anamaka, i. e. in December of the year 518 B.C.; a second victory of Vaumiça, in Yiyar (May) of the following year (517 B.C.), puts an end to the rebellion in Armenia. A third army was sent by Darius after the fall of Phraortes against the Sagartians; which overpowered them and took their chief Chitratakhma prisoner. Meanwhile Artavardiya, whom Darius had sent from Susiana, when on his march against Phraortes, to check the rebellion in the native land, had fought with success against Vahyazdata. The latter had weakened his forces by sending a detachment to Arachosia. Vivana, the satrap of Arachosia, had repulsed their attack in December 519 at Kapisakani, and in March (Viyakhna) of the year 518 B.C. he had entirely destroyed them. This failure in the east was followed in the same spring by the attack of Artavardiya from the west. First defeated in Thuravahara (April) at Racha, Vahyazdata succumbed in the summer (in Garmapada) at Mount Paraga, five days after Hystaspes had again become master of the Parthians in the north-east of Iran. The forces of the satrap of Bactria, the second Dadarshis, had sufficed to put an end to the rebellion of the Margians.

That which the deed of Çikathauvatis, the assassination of Gaumata in the spring of the year 521 B.C., was intended to prevent, had nevertheless happened. The whole kingdom was disorganised. In ceaseless conflicts, which extended over four years, from the autumn of 521 B.C. to the spring of 517 B.C., Darius had reconquered it, step by step. He had been compelled to reduce by force of arms even the very[Pg 252] foundation of it, the native land of Persia, and to carry on once more the conflict between Persia and Media. It had been necessary to repeat the achievements of Cyrus, if not to their full extent yet in part under far more difficult conditions. The new king had passed with success through the severest crisis, and had reorganised the kingdom. This was the result of his indomitable persistence before Babylon. By this means he had retained the Medes and Persians of his army in their fidelity, and by the final success had filled them with self-confidence. The fear which afterwards preceded his arms, certainly rendered more easy the decisive victory of Kudurus and at Mount Paraga.

Darius had not yet reached the goal; the kingdom was not entirely pacified. The reduction of Babylon and the execution of Nebuchadnezzar III. had not eradicated the strong impulse which the Babylonians felt to regain their independence. They were once more carried away by the charm which the name of Nebuchadnezzar exercised upon them: "When I was in Persia and Media," so Darius relates at the close of the third column of the great inscription of Behistun, "the Babylonians became rebellious for the second time. A man of the name of Arakha, an Armenian, rose up in the city of Dubana (Dubala, Dibleh?) in Babylonia. 'I am Nebuchadnezzar, the son of Nabonetus,' such was his falsehood: he made himself master of the city of Babylon and was king. I sent Intaphernes, my servant, a Mede, with an army against Babylon. Intaphernes took Babylon, and slew much people. On the 22nd of the month Markazana, Arakha with his chief adherents was captured;[240] then I ordered them to be crucified in[Pg 253] Babylon." No doubt Darius had left sufficient garrisons in the two royal citadels of the city which he had conquered with so much trouble, and, therefore, it is the more remarkable that Arakha, who did not rebel in Babylon itself, was able to make himself master of the city. We may assume that Darius did not give the Babylonians time to fill up the breaches which he had made in the walls of Babylon; this time the Median Intaphernes must have found the task lighter. The second rising of the Babylonians seems to have seduced the Susiani, and to have caused a third rebellion of this land. In a fifth column, subsequently added to the inscription of Behistun, we have information about this rebellion of the Susiani and the reduction of the Sacæ. But this part of the inscription is so greatly injured that only a few words can be read with certainty. All that is clear is that Gaubaruva (Gobryas), the father-in-law of Darius and one of the Seven, was sent against the Susiani and conquered them, that Darius himself marched against the Sacæ, that he fought against the Çaka tigrakhauda, i. e. against the Sacæ with pointed caps, and conquered them on the sea (i. e. on the Caspian), that he captured and slew their chief Çakunka. Polyaenus has preserved a few details of the war against the Sacæ, though they rest on little authority; they prove that it was carried on in the neighbourhood of Bactria, and was a serious[Pg 254] struggle.[241] Darius recapitulates the narrative of the achievements of the first years of his reign thus: "This is what I accomplished, what I accomplished always with the grace of Auramazda; I have fought nineteen battles, and taken captive nine kings."[242]

In remembrance of these deeds and achievements, Darius erected a magnificent memorial in that flourishing district of Media which the Medes called Bagistana, i. e. land of the gods. The Choaspes (Kerkha) rises on the southern slope of the Elvend, on the northern slope of which lay Ecbatana. Breaking through the mountain rim of Iran, it flows down a long and narrow valley towards the south into the Lower Tigris. In its upper course the Choaspes traverses an elevated depression, which is now thickly strewn with villages, the chosen summer abode of the shepherd tribes. To the north this depression is bounded by a steep mountain-chain, twenty miles in length, which ends towards the east in a precipitous wall of rock more than 1500 feet high. On this wall, which looks towards the rising sun, over a clear fountain which springs at the foot of the rock, Darius caused a part of the stone 300 feet above the plain to be made smooth with the chisel, polished and cut in relief; the relief is explained by two inscriptions, a shorter one above and a longer one[Pg 255] below, in cuneiform letters. At the foot of the rock there was a park (paradisus) twelve stades in the circuit.[243] Being placed in Media, this monument was no doubt intended to remind the Medes that any rebellion against the power of the Persians even under the most favourable circumstances would fail. The rock-picture represents Darius, who in size towers over the other figures. He wears a robe which in front falls down over the knee, and behind to the middle of the calf, a crown, a simple fillet with spikes on his head; rings are on his arms, the hair is long, the beard curled. Behind him stand a bow-bearer and a lance-bearer, both with long robes and beards. The king places his right foot on a man lying on the ground. Below this we can read: "This Gaumata, the Magian, lied: he said, 'I am Bardiya, the son of Kurus; I am king.'" Opposite to Darius, bound to each other by a rope round their necks, and their hands tied behind them, stand nine kings with their heads uncovered (the last only has a very tall pointed cap, which marks him as the king of the Çaka tigrakhauda), clothed in various garments. Over the first form, which is clad in a long beautiful robe reaching to the ancles, we read: "This Atrina lied; he said: 'I am king in Susiana'"; and over the second, in a short robe: "This Naditabira lied; he said thus: 'I am Nabukadrachara, the son of Nabunita, I am king of Babylon.'" Near the third figure, also in a short garment, is written: "This Fravartis lied; he said: 'I am Khsathrita, of the race of Uvakhshathra, I am king in Media.'" The fourth wears Persian clothing: "This Martiya lied; he said; 'I am Ymani, king in Susiana.'" Over the fifth form we find: "This Chitratakhma lied;[Pg 256] he said: 'I am king in Sagartia, of the race of Uvakshathra.'" Over the sixth, who is clothed as a Persian: "This Vahyazdata lied; he said: 'I am Bardiya, the son of Kurus; I am king.'" Over the seventh prisoner, who is clothed like the second, we read: "This Arakha lied; he said thus: 'I am Nabukadrachara, the son of Nabunita; I am king in Babylon.'" Over the eighth, who wears Persian garments: "This Frada lied; he said thus: 'I am king in Margiana.'" The ninth stands a little further back; the inscription tells us: "This is Çakunka, the Sacian." The picture does not mention the conquest of the Parthians, Hyrcanians, Assyrians, Armenians, and Sattagydae. In the midst, above the whole description, hovers Auramazda, a solemn, aged countenance, with long hair and beard, visible only to the knees, in a winged circle.

Under this picture, at the close of the fourth column, before the account of the new rebellion of the Susiani and the subjugation of the Sacæ, the inscription tells us: "What I have done, I have done by the grace of Auramazda. Auramazda came to my aid, and the other gods, who did so because I was not hostile; because I was not a liar or violent. Thou, who readest these inscriptions, may they tell thee what I have done. Regard them not as lies. These lands which became rebellious to me, the lie made them rebellious. Thou who wilt be king hereafter, guard against the lie. Punish severely the man who is a liar; if thou keepest this mind, my land will be powerful. Thou who seest this tablet hereafter, destroy it not. If thou preservest it as long as thou canst, Auramazda will be favourable to thee; thou wilt have descendants, and live long, and may Auramazda cause that to succeed which thou dost undertake. If[Pg 257] thou destroyest this tablet, may Auramazda smite thee, may he give thee no posterity, and what thou doest may he render vain.[244]"


[219] Above, p. 195, n.

[220] Herod. 3, 67, 126, 150.

[221] He was, according to Herodotus, twenty years old at the death of Cyrus. Herod. 1, 209; 3, 139. Ctesias ("Pers." 19) gives Darius a reign of thirty-one years and a life of seventy-two. That the reign of Darius lasted thirty-six years is fixed both by the astronomical canon and Egyptian inscriptions, which mention the thirty-sixth year of Darius; and lastly by the Egibi-tablets of Babylon, which give dates out of thirty-five years (with the single exception of the seventh year). "Transact. Bibl. Arch." 6, 69 ff. According to Ctesias, Darius would be thirty-six years old in the year 521 B.C.

[222] Herod. (3, 118, 119) puts this event; αὐτίκα μετὰ τὴν ἐπανάστασιν.

[223] Herod. 1, 130.

[224] Justin repeats the narrative of Herodotus in a rhetorical form; he incorrectly regards Zopyrus as one of the seven. Diodorus attempts to unite the statements of Herodotus and Ctesias, by maintaining that Zopyrus was also called Megabyzus; the "twenty Babylons" are reduced to ten. (Exc. Vat. p. 34, 35 = 10, 19.) In Herod. (4, 143) Darius wishes when he opens the finest pomegranate that he had as many Megabyzuses (the father of Zopyrus is meant) as the fruit had seeds. Plutarch transfers this to Zopyrus, and represents Darius as saying that he would rather have Zopyrus uninjured than 100 Babylons; "Reg. Apophthegm." 3. In Polyaenus (7, 12), Zopyrus imitates the device which Sirakes, a Sacian, had previously employed against Darius, and opens the gates of Babylon to the Persians by night.

[225] Thucyd. 1, 104, 109, 110; Diod. 11, 71, 74, 75, 77; 12, 3; Isocr. "De Pace," 82.

[226] Ctes. "Pers." 44. The paidagogos of Alcibiades was no doubt named after this Zopyrus. Plutarch, "Lycurg." c. 16; Alcib. c. 1; Kirchhoff, "Enstehungszeit," s. 15.

[227] E. g. Ménant, "Babylon," p. 204; Oppert. "Expéd." 1, 187, 223.

[228] So according to the Babylonian text in Schrader, "Keilinschriften," s. 345.

[229] Oppert after the Turanian text: "I slew much people from the army of Nidintabel, and drove others to the river; they were drowned in the river."

[230] The Turanian version mentions Egypt after Assyria. In the inscription nothing is said of this country; no Egyptians are found in the rows of the conquered rebels.

[231] The two Egibi-tablets quoted by Boscawen in "Trans. Bibl. Arch." 6, 68, on Nebuchadnezzar III. have been rightly ascribed by Oppert, relying on the names of the witnesses, to the later rebellion of Arakha.

[232] Cf. Schrader, "Keilinschriften," s. 346.

[233] Schrader, loc. cit. s. 346. The day of the month belongs to the corresponding Babylonian month Tebet.

[234] Mordtmann, loc. cit. s. 75; Schrader, loc. cit. s. 347.

[235] Above, Vol. V. 323. The district of Otene belongs no doubt to Armenia. Steph. Byz. sub voce.

[236] What Herodotus relates of Zopyras, Ctesias relates of his son Megabyzus II. in regard to this new rising, of which we have no more accurate knowledge in any other source, but which must not be called in question. Herodotus himself indicates a rebellion under Xerxes, in which the golden image of Belus was taken away from the lower chamber in the great temple (1, 183), and we have Strabo's statement of the destruction of Belus by Xerxes, p. 738. If Darius, as Herodotus tells us, 3, 159, "destroyed the gates of Babylon," it does not follow that he opened the supposed tomb of Nitocris over the main gateway, because it made it impassable, as Herodotus thinks (1, 187).

[237] Vol. V. p. 10, n.

[238] Oppert, "Peuple des Mèdes," p. 133.

[239] Mordtmann, loc. cit. s. 76, 77; Spiegel, "Altpers. Keilinschriften," Bag. 3, 3; Schrader, loc. cit. s. 351.

[240] Oppert, "Records of the Past," 7, 104. The date of this rebellion cannot be accurately fixed. The passage in the inscription of Behistun which bears upon it stands at the close of the connected narrative; we should therefore have to assume that it took place in the year 517 B.C., for this passage begins with the words, "When I was in Persia and Media," which in the connection can only have the meaning: When I was occupied with the overthrow of Phraortes and Vahyazdata. On the other hand the Egibi-tablets are wanting for the seventh year of Darius only, so that according to this the year 515 B.C. would be the year of the rebellion of Arakha. Above, p. 240, n.

[241] Polyaen. 7, 27.

[242] Oppert, "Peuple des Mèdes," p. 158, inserts at the beginning of this fifth column of the inscription of Behistun before thardam: duvadaçamam, so that we get the meaning; "This is what I have done up to the twelfth year." The eleventh year of Darius ends in spring 510. But chronological dates are not to be obtained by merely emending the text. According to the context and the first line of Col. v. Darius said in reference to the four preceding columns: "This I have done up to this or that year." Then follows the narrative of the new rebellion of the Babylonians and the subjugation of the Sacæ. If the rebellion of Arakha took place in the seventh year of Darius, as Oppert himself assumes, we should rather insert astemam before thardam.

[243] Diodor. 2, 13; 17, 110. Suidas Βαγίστανον ὄρος. Ritter, "Erdkunde," 9, 350.

[244] Spiegel, "Keilinschriften," s. 31 ff. Oppert in the "Journal Asiatique," S. 4, VOL XVII., 322 ff., and "Peuple des Mèdes," p. 151 ff., Col. iv. 19. Oppert after a Turanian version above the picture here translates as follows: "Et Darius le roi dit: par la grâce d'Ormuzd j'ai fait une collection de textes ailleurs en langue arienne, qui autrefois n'existait pas. Et j'ai fait un texte de la loi et un commentaire de la loi et la bénédiction et les traductions. Et ce fut écrit et je le promulgai en entier, puis je rétablis l'ancien livre dans tous les pays et les peuples le reconnurent."



[Pg 258]



Aeschylus represents the Persians as saying, "A great, prosperous, victorious life was granted to us by destiny, when King Darius, the lord of the bow, Susa's beloved captain, governed the land, without fault or failure, like a god. The Persians called him their divine counsellor: he was filled with a godlike wisdom, and wisely did he, the Susa-born god of Persia, lead our army. We were seen in splendid array; there was ready for him the unwearying might of armed men, and troops mingled from all nations, and the return from the wars was glorious. According to his will, he ruled the wealthy populous cities of the Greeks in the land of Ionia, and the wave-beaten islands of the seas, adjacent to that land, Chios, Lesbos and Samos rich in olives, and Lemnos between both shores, and the cities of Cyprus, Paphos, Soli, and Salamis. Many cities he took adjacent to the Thracian borders on the Strymonian Sea: even the walled cities, far from the shore, obeyed him, and the famous cities on the strait of Helle, on the bay of the Propontis, and the mouth of the Pontus. Beloved hero, thy like lies not in the land of Persia."[245][Pg 259]

The rebellions were crushed, the kingdom of Cyrus was once more established. Darius took precautions to prevent the recurrence of such serious dangers, and to bring the nations into a lasting state of dependence. He created fixed districts for government, strengthened the action of the central power, secured the necessary means for this, and sought to arrange the taxes and tributes of the provinces and settle them at fixed contributions. Along with this improvement in the organization of the kingdom he kept in sight the extension of it; he did not wish to be left behind Cyrus and Cambyses in this respect. We cannot decide whether the northern boundary of the kingdom reached the Caucasus in the time of Cyrus; it is certain that under Darius the nations between the Black and the Caspian Sea, the Colchians, the Tibarenes, Chalybes, Moschians, and Saspeires, were subject to the Persians. Herodotus observes that the Colchians and their neighbours paid the tribute which they had imposed upon themselves—which implies that these nations submitted voluntarily. "The empire of the Persians," Herodotus tells us, "extends to the Caucasus; the territory to the north pays no heed to them."[246] It was a considerable gain when the kingdom extended as far as the Caucasus, or included the whole range; for by this means it acquired a strong natural border, and at the same time controlled the trading road which ran from the east and the Caspian Sea through the valleys of the Cyrus (Kur) and the Phasis to the Black Sea.

In the East Cyrus, as we saw, had already advanced as far as the Indus; he had conquered the Açvakas on[Pg 260] the north of the Cabul, and the Gandaras to the south of that river. Of their neighbours, Bactria and Arachosia had remained true during the great rebellion, though the Sattagydæ (the Gedrosians) had revolted. Darius had himself marched against the Sacæ, and reduced them again to subjection. Herodotus tells us, that he sent out a party to explore the Indus; in which was Scylax, an inhabitant of Caryanda in Caria. They set out from the land of the Pactyes (i. e. from Arachosia), and from the city of Caspatyrus (Cabul) they followed the course of the Indus to the sea. Then they sailed to the west, and in the thirtieth month they arrived at the point from which the Phenicians started, who sailed round Africa at the command of Necho (III. 313), i. e. they did not return to the Persian Gulf but sailed round Arabia, and landed in the north-west corner of the Arabian Gulf at Heroonpolis. After their return Darius made use of this sea, and subjugated the Indians.[247] The extension of the Persian kingdom in the land of the Indus, by Darius, is beyond a doubt. In the inscription which he caused to be engraved on Mount Behistun after the suppression of the rebellions, he enumerates the nations which obey him. We can find but one name of an Indian nation to the right of the Indus—the Gandaras. The inscription of the palace of Persepolis, which Darius built a few years later, mentions the Idhus, i. e. the Indians, besides the Gandarians. Herodotus further informs us that it was the Northern Indians whom Darius had subjugated. They formed the twentieth satrapy of his kingdom, while the Gandarians were united with the Arachoti in the seventh satrapy. The twentieth satrapy of Northern Indians comprised the lands to[Pg 261] the north of Cabul, on the right bank of the stream, from the land of the Açvakas as far as the summits of the Himalayas. It paid 360 talents of gold, the highest tax among all the satrapies of the kingdom.[248]

In the west Darius pursued even more extensive plans. If Cambyses had trodden the soil of Africa, his armies were to cross the western sea, and carry the empire of Persia into Europe—a point which none of the great warrior princes of the east had as yet reached. Diodorus tells us, that Darius, filled with eager desire to extend his dominion, master of almost all Asia, and trusting to the magnitude of the Persian power, desired to conquer Europe as his ancestors had defeated the mightiest nations with less forces.[249] The first achievement of Darius in this direction was the conquest of Samos, the most powerful and prosperous of the islands on the coast of Asia Minor. Oroetes had already prepared the way for this by inviting Polycrates to Magnesia and there putting him to an ignominious death, for when Polycrates was master of Samos and at the head of the splendid naval power which he had created he could contest with Persia the possession of the Ægean (p. 143, 231). Polycrates had left the most trusted of his dependents, Maeandrius, as regent during his absence. On the news of the death of Polycrates, he declared his willingness to lay down his power. But when the nobles of Samos demanded an account of the treasures of Polycrates which were in the hands of Maeandrius, he treacherously seized those who made the demand, threw them into prison, and maintained himself as tyrant. At an earlier time, Polycrates, in close union with his two brothers, Pantagnotus and Syloson, had made himself master of Samos: he then removed the former[Pg 262] out of his path, and sent the second into banishment. Syloson went to Egypt to amuse himself with the sights of the country. There, according to Herodotus, he was one day seen by Darius, who was then in Egypt with Cambyses, in the market-place of Memphis, clad in a red cloak. The cloak pleased Darius and he wished to purchase it, but Syloson hastened to offer it as a present to the Persian prince. When Darius became king, Syloson went to Susa, as Herodotus relates, placed himself at the gate of the palace, and told the door-keeper that he had done a service to the king. Darius in astonishment at such an assertion from a Greek, caused Syloson to be brought, remembered the cloak, and was prepared to reward the gift by a liberal present of gold and silver. But Syloson urged the king to restore him to the throne of Polycrates, which was now in the hands of a man who had been a slave in his family; the island was to be spared.[250]

Whether this narrative has any real foundation or not (in any case Susa must be struck out) Darius found it advantageous to get Samos into his power; and, as we have seen, it was a maxim from the time of Cyrus to set up princes in the maritime cities and the islands, who owed their power to the Persians, and who could only maintain it with their help. He commanded Otanes, whose service in the assassination of the Magi we know, to cross over into Samos. The Samians had no inclination to fight in the cause of Maeandrius, nor did they venture to resist the Persians. When Otanes landed with the Persian troops, Maeandrius with his dependants retired into the citadel, and sent a message to Otanes that he was prepared to quit the island. When this had been agreed upon, the captains of the Persians waited without suspicion[Pg 263] before the citadel for the departure of Maeandrius and his associates, and for the opening of the gates. Then the half-witted brother of Maeandrius, Charilaus, who had been confined in prison in the citadel, burst forth from the open gates with the old mercenaries of Polycrates and fell upon the nearest Persians, who in reliance on the treaty were unprepared for an enemy, and cut the captains down, while Maeandrius passed by a subterranean passage to the sea, and embarked on board ship. The mass of the Persians hastened to the rescue; the mercenaries were driven back into the citadel. Enraged at the treachery, Otanes gave the command to cut down all the Samians who fell into the hands of the Persians both within and without the walls. The city was set on fire, and the flames injured the temple of Hera, which was the largest building in Greece after the temple of Artemis at Ephesus. When the citadel had fallen, Syloson received from the Persians (516 B.C.) the ruined city and the desolate island. He enjoyed the throne but a short time, which he had purchased by the ruin of the flourishing country, and vassalage to the great king.[251] The island recovered from the blow which it received from the Persians. Twenty years after the subjugation it could once more equip and man 60 triremes.

The possession of Samos completed the dominion of Darius over the coasts of Anatolia. It was of greater importance to get into his power the two straits which separate Europe from Asia—the Hellespont and the Bosphorus. If the Greek cities on the Asiatic side were subject, the cities and lands beyond were still to be conquered, and with the conquest of these the Persian empire would set foot in Europe. Perinthus,[Pg 264] a colony of the recently-conquered Samos, Selymbria on the northern shore of the Propontis, and Byzantium on the Bosphorus, both colonies of Megara, recognised the dominion of Darius; in Byzantium, the most important of these cities, a tyrant, Ariston by name, soon took the lead.[252] The European shore of the Hellespont, the Thracian Chersonesus, had been for more than forty years under the rule of a princely family, which sprang from Attica. One of the oldest noble families in Attica, which had retired from the country before the usurpation of Pisistratus in 560 B.C.—the Philaidae, had established a principality there, by protecting and securing the Doloncian Thracians in the peninsula against their fellow-countrymen the Apsinthians, who dwelt at the mouth of the Hebrus. The position which the first of these princes, Miltiades II., thus obtained in the Hellespont, filled the city of Lampsacus, which lay opposite, on the Asiatic shore, with jealousy and anxiety for her trade; the question in dispute was the control of the busy strait. Lampsacus waged long and vigorous war against Miltiades and his nephew and successor Stesagoras. The latter was followed by his younger brother, Miltiades III. (about 518 B.C.), who had taken the reins of government tightly in hand. The forces of the little principality did not suffice to offer resistance to the Persians; and the walls of Sestos and Cardia were insufficient. We hear of no resistance, and Miltiades passed into the series of Persian vassal princes. In this way he was secured against Lampsacus and Sigeum also, where Pisistratus, in league with Polycrates of Samos, had placed his younger son Hegesistratus as prince about the year 533 B.C., who became a vassal of Persia when Cambyses demanded[Pg 265] ships from the Greek cities, or after the fall of Polycrates, or certainly when Darius extended his sovereignty over Samos.

By the subjugation of Byzantium and the Thracian Chersonesus, Darius was not merely master of the whole of the important trade of the Greek cities of Asia Minor, and the cantons of Hellas, with the north shore of the Black Sea, but the path into Europe was in his hand. According to Ctesias, he bade Ariamnes, his satrap in Cappadocia, sail to Scythia and there make prisoners. Ariamnes carried out the command with thirty penteconters, and brought back captives.[253] If the statement is correct, it must refer to an investigation of the north coast of the Black Sea, similar to that made by Darius of the east on the Indus (p. 260), and at a later time of the coasts of Hellas and Magna Graecia.[254] Darius contemplated a great expedition; he wished to cross the straits with a large force, but not to pass to the west against Macedonia and the cantons of the Greeks, but to the north beyond the Danube. It must have seemed more important to him to secure himself in the north first; the conquest of the west he regarded as less urgent, and also as a less important undertaking. Herodotus tells us that Darius' object was to avenge the incursion which the Scythians made, at the time of Cyaxares, into Media.[255] It is his manner to connect events by a nexus of guilt and punishment; Darius cared very little for the disaster which had fallen on Media. We shall be more correct in ascribing to him the intention of getting the whole shore of the Black Sea into his power, in order[Pg 266] that he might reduce the western and northern coasts, when, the south-west, as far as the Caucasus, being already subjugated, the whole sea would be a Persian lake. On the northern edge lay a district fertile in corn, and flourishing colonies of the Greeks. With this territory and these cities the Persian kingdom would have gained the mouth of the rivers of the north, and the outlet of the trading roads to the nations of the north, as it had already got command of the trading roads which met from the east and west in Colchis. But what really happened to the north of the Danube, so far as we can fix the incidents, does not agree with this plan. The object of the enterprise, unless we assume that Darius only wished to carry his arms to the most remote nations, cannot be made clear, nor can we follow with certainty all the phases in it.

If Cambyses had supported his expedition against Egypt by the navy of the Phenician cities and the Greek cities of Anatolia, Darius had still more urgent need of their sailors to convey him to Europe, across the Danube. To the mariners of the Anatolian coasts and the islands lying off them, the waters of the Black Sea and the mouths of the Danube and Borysthenes were hardly less familiar than the shores of the Ægean. This co-operation was therefore the most essential. Darius called out the navy of the Greek cities of his kingdom, and that navy only; employment was found for the Phenician fleet was another direction. The Greeks had to furnish no less than 600 triremes, i. e. a fleet of which the crews reached the total of 120,000 men. That fleet was intended to convey the land army, the levy of the entire kingdom, across the straits, and it must assemble before the army arrived. The task before it was the transport of 700,000 men,[Pg 267] for that, according to Herodotus, was the strength of the army of Darius, with numerous horses, and the enormous train of servants, porters, and beasts of burden to Europe. This involved the embarkation and debarkation of the animals,—a long and difficult operation; it was desirable to lose as little time as possible, and more desirable still to keep and maintain a safe connection with Asia in the rear of the army. Hence Darius considered whether it were possible to bridge over one of the straits. He found a Greek who undertook to carry out this idea, and had no scruples in building a bridge to connect the mighty Persian empire with Europe, and facilitate the subjugation of his own countrymen in their native land. In the island of Samos, so recently conquered by Darius, were the best engineers in Greece. After the construction of the great temple of Hera had been begun, the Samians had found various opportunities of exercising their skill. A long and difficult acqueduct, and breakwaters for the protection of the harbour, had been partly begun and partly carried out before the reign of Polycrates; the building of the palace, the strong fortifications, and, above all, the great docks and harbour-works, which Polycrates set on foot, had given yet further practice to the Samians. From this school came Mandrocles, who undertook the construction of the bridge.

Darius commanded Mandrocles to build a bridge over the Bosphorus, which lay in the direction of his march. This strait was narrower than the Hellespont, but the current which sets through it from north to south was much stronger. Mandrocles began the structure with the crews and materials of the fleet which had been ordered to assemble.[256] Several hun[Pg 268]dreds of ships, fastened together, were placed in the strait,[257] and carefully anchored against the north wind and the current. On the coast of Asia, the bridge lay to the north of the city of Chalcedon and in its territory; Herodotus supposes that the European end touched the shore between Byzantium and the temple, which, situated to the north of Byzantium at the mouth of the Pontus, served as a signal to the ships entering the Bosphorus.[258] Polybius remarks that the bridge "was said" to end at the Hermaeum, which lay on the promontory of the European shore.[259] Strabo places this temple ten stadia to the south of the northern entrance of the Bosphorus.[260] Hence we may assume that Mandrocles constructed his bridge across the narrowest part of the strait, about 1000 paces in breadth,[261] and that it lay at the place where the castles of Anadoli Hissari and Rumili Hissari now stand opposite each other.

The army was collected, the bridge was ready, when Darius came to Chalcedon. He inspected the bridge, and was greatly pleased with the construction; he[Pg 269] embarked on board ship and proceeded for some distance into the Pontus, then he returned to the temple of Zeus Urius on the shore of Asia, at the mouth of the Bosphorus, and looked out into the sea. Before his wishes and his power, and the skill of his Greek engineer, the impossible had become possible; the Bosphorus was compelled to submit to a bridge. Mandrocles received the most valuable presents. The fleet of the Ionians lay on the Black Sea, when the army, which was the greatest that a Persian sovereign had ever brought together, commenced the passage. The train was interminable which filed before the king over the sea; the rock on which Darius sat was pointed out for a long time afterwards. Even "shepherd Sacæ, of the race of the Scythians, the children of a nomad race," passed over the bridge;[262] the nomads of the steppes of the Oxus were led by Darius against the nomads of the steppes to the north of the Pontus. In remembrance of this passage Darius caused two columns of white stone to be erected on the European shore, which recorded the names of all the nations included in the army; the inscription on one side was in the Persian cuneiform (in Assyrian letters, as Herodotus says), and on the other in the Hellenic language and letters. Mandrocles also was proud of his work, and dedicated a picture which represented the bridge, the army crossing it, and Darius sitting on his throne, in the great sanctuary of his city, the temple of Hera at Samos, with the following inscription: "When Mandrocles bridged the fish-teeming Bosphorus, he dedicated this picture to Hera in remembrance of the floating bridge. He obtained the crown, the glory of the Samians, in that he completed the work to the satisfaction of King Darius."[263][Pg 270]

It was in the year 513 B.C. that the armies of Asia trod the soil of Europe.[264] The fleet was ordered to sail along the Thracian coast in the Pontus, then to enter the mouth of the Danube, and there prepare[Pg 271] means for the army to cross the river, by procuring supplies, and constructing a bridge, no easy task considering the breadth and rapidity of the stream. The sovereigns of the Greek cities, who owed their elevation[Pg 272] to the Persian king, commanded their ships in person, as Darius had taken the field in person, or entrusted them to their sons. Thus Histiaeus the son of Lysagoras, the sovereign of Miletus, which was the most powerful of the Greek cities of the coast, commanded his own ships, Laodamas the ships of Phocaea, Aeaces the son of Syloson the ships of Samos, Strattis the ships of Chios, Aristagoras the ships of Cyzicus, Metrodorus those of Proconnesus in the Propontis, Daphnis the ships of Abydus. The ships of Lampsacus were in the charge of Hippoclus, those of Parium in the charge of Herophantus; and lastly, the sovereigns of the recently-conquered districts, Ariston and Miltiades, commanded the ships of Byzantium, of Sestos, and Cardia. While the fleet sailed to the Danube, the[Pg 273] land army marched for two days from the coast, to the north, in the direction of the Balkan. At the sources of the Tearus, which no doubt are those of the Simir dere, which near Bunar Hissar send up warm and cold springs—thirty-eight in number according to Herodotus—the army rested three days; Darius caused a monument to be erected with an inscription, which Herodotus gives thus: "The springs of the Tearus supply the best and purest water of all rivers, and to these on his march against the Scyths came the bravest and most handsome of men, Darius the son of Hystaspes, the king of the Persians and of all the mainland."[265]

The tribes of the Thracians, through whose districts the expedition marched, submitted without opposition. These were the inhabitants of the region of Salmydessus; the Odrysae in the valley of the Artiscus (i. e. the Teke deresi or Nessowa), the Skyrmiads and Nipsaeans, who dwelt near Apollonia, the Greek city on this coast (a colony of Miletus, now Sizepoli), and Mesembria, now Misivri (a colony of the Greeks, planted soon after the other).[266] It was not till the Persians had passed the heights of the Balkan that they found resistance. Between this range and the Danube were the Getae, called by Herodotus the most brave and just of all the Thracians. They offered an obstinate resistance, but were nevertheless at once crushed by overpowering numbers.[267] Meanwhile the fleet had advanced two days' voyage up the river from the mouth, and placed the bridge there, i. e. at the[Pg 274] place where the river becomes one stream. By this bridge the Greek army, to use the expression of Herodotus, passed "over the greatest river which we know." Strabo says that the bridge was placed over the lower part of the southern, and largest, of the mouths of the Danube; which was called the sacred mouth. On the further shore began the land of the Scoloti. When the army had crossed the Danube, Darius, as Herodotus relates, wished to destroy the bridge and employ the crews in his army. But on the advice of Coes of Lesbos, who pointed out that he must leave the way open for his return, Darius abandoned his purpose; he then summoned the princes of Ionia, and gave them a thong with 60 knots, bidding them untie a knot each day. If the army did not return to the bridge in these 60 days they were to go home.[268]

The three kings of the Scoloti (III. 236) Idanthyrsus, who inherited the largest dominion, Scopasis and Taxakis—so Herodotus relates—as soon as they received news of the approach of Darius, sent messengers to their neighbours to ask for assistance. The kings of the Agathyrsi (the western neighbours of the Scoloti), the Neuri, the Cannibals and Melanchlæni (who lay to the north), and the kings of the Sarmatians, Geloni, and Budini, who dwelt in the east beyond the Don, assembled for consultation. The kings of the Sarmatians, Geloni, and Budini agreed to send help to the Scoloti, but the rest refused. As the Agathyrsi, Neuri, Cannibals, and Melanchlæni would not help them in the contest, the Scoloti determined to decline battle with the Persians and retire. Their wives and children they placed on chariots together with the rest of their goods, took their slaves and herds and marched to a secure[Pg 275] position in the north; only so much cattle was left with the army as was necessary for its support. Then the army was divided into two parts. One under the command of Scopasis was to unite with the Sarmatians and retire straight towards the Don, if the Persians took that direction; it was to keep one or two marches ahead of the Persians, to stop up the springs and fountains, and destroy the pastures; but if Darius turned, it was at once to pursue the Persians. The other part of the army, under Idanthyrsus and Taxakis, was to unite with the Budini and Geloni, and to march in a similar manner to the north as far as the land of the Neuri, the Cannibals, and Melanchlæni, in order to involve them in the war. The army of Scopasis found the Persians already three days' march on their side of the Danube. It retired, and the Persians pursued as far as the Don. When the Scoloti and Sarmatians crossed the river, the Persians crossed it also; in pursuit of the Scythians they marched through the land of the Sarmatians, reached that of the Budini, where they burned the great wooden city of the Geloni, which they found entirely deserted, and at length came to the desert which extended for seven days' journey to the north of the land of the Budini. When Darius reached the desert he abandoned the further pursuit, and encamped his army on the bank of the Oarus (i. e. the Volga). At the same time he built eight great fortresses, at equal distances, each about sixty stades from the other, the remains of which, Herodotus remarks, existed in his day. While Darius was thus occupied, the army of Scopasis in the north marched back into their own land and united with the army of Idanthyrsus. When the Scythians were no more to be seen, Darius left the fortresses unfinished, turned to the west,[Pg 276] under the impression that the Scythians would retire in that direction, hastened in rapid marches to the land of the Scoloti, and there found the united army of the Scythians. Again the Scoloti retired, and as Darius did not cease to press them, they passed, as they had resolved, over the northern boundary of their land, into the land of the Melanchlæni, who dwelt beyond the Scoloti, between the Don and the Gerrhus, a tributary of the Dnieper. From the land of the Melanchlæni they proceeded yet further to the west, through the land of the Cannibals into that of the Neuri, who lay above the lake out of which the Dniester flows (III. 231). All these tribes fled before the approach of the Scoloti and the Persians to the north; but when the Scoloti wished to cross the borders of the Agathyrsi, they prepared to defend them, and compelled the Scoloti to return from the land of the Neuri to the south into their own land.

When this went on, and there was no end, Darius sent a horseman to Idanthyrsus with the request that he would either stand and fight, if he had the forces to do so, or send earth and water to him as his master. Idanthyrsus answered that the Scoloti had neither cities nor lands which made it necessary to fight with the Persians in order to defend them; but if Darius was eager for a battle, there were the tombs of their fathers; let him discover these and attack them, he would then see whether the Scoloti dare fight or not. On this the Scoloti sent the part of the army which Scopasis commanded, with the Sarmatians, to the Danube, in order to negotiate with the Ionians at the bridge, but the army of Idanthyrsus was not to retire any longer, but to attack the Persians as soon as they began to prepare the meal after the day's march. This was done, and each time[Pg 277] the Persian cavalry were put to flight by the Scoloti; but as soon as the foot soldiers came to the rescue of the cavalry, the Scoloti retired. In this way the Scoloti attacked the Persians by night also. And their kings (Idanthyrsus and Taxakis) sent to Darius a bird, a mouse, a frog, and five arrows. Gobryas, the father-in-law of Darius, interpreted these gifts to mean, that the Scythian message was: Unless you become birds and fly into heaven, or mice and creep into the earth, or frogs and leap into the marshes, you will succumb to our arrows. The Scoloti also, who were now armed for battle, drew out with horse and foot; and when they were in line, a hare ran past and the Scoloti chased it, one after the other, as they happened to catch sight of it. Then Darius said, These men hold us in great contempt; Gobryas has correctly interpreted the meaning of the gifts; we must carefully consider how we are to secure our return. Gobryas advised that they should light the camp fires as usual when night came on; that they should leave behind the sick and weak, who could not bear burdens, in the camp, and with the rest set out at once for the Danube before the Scythians reached the river and broke down the bridge, or the Ionians came to some resolution ruinous to the Persians. This advice Darius followed. The sick and exhausted, and all whose loss would be of little importance, were commanded to defend the camp, as the king with the rest of the army wished to make an attack on the Scythians, and as soon as the fires had been lighted Darius began his march to the Danube. On the following morning those who had been left behind perceived that they had been betrayed by Darius, and prayed for quarter to the Scythians. The whole army of the Scythians with[Pg 278] the Budini, the Geloni, and Sarmatians, went straight to the Danube, for Scopasis with his division had already retired from the river, after telling the Ionians that they must not allow the bridge to stand after the sixtieth day, and the Ionians had given a promise to that effect. As all the Scythians were mounted they marched far more rapidly than the Persians and could soon have caught up Darius, had not the Persians in ignorance taken a longer route, so that Idanthyrsus with the whole army of the Scythians reached the Danube before Darius arrived. The Scythians now called upon the leaders of the Greeks to break down the bridge, for the appointed time had passed; by that means they would get rid of their master, and might thank the gods and the Scythians for their liberation. As the sixty days during which the fleet was to remain in the Danube, by the command of Darius, were really past, Miltiades of the Chersonnesus urged the captains of the Greek ships to listen to the request of the Scythians, and set the Ionians at liberty. But Histiaeus, the tyrant of Miletus, said that each of them held his power in his city by Darius only; if the king's power were overthrown, he would not be a tyrant in Miletus, nor would any other tyrant keep his throne; every city would prefer democracy to tyranny. When all, with the exception of Miltiades, had agreed to this resolution, they determined to remain, but to prevent the bridge from being used by the Scythians they destroyed it for the length of a bowshot from the northern bank. Thinking that the Greeks were removing the whole bridge, the Scythians returned, to seek out Darius and destroy him. But they missed the Persians yet a second time. They thought that the Persians would seek out the places where the wells had not[Pg 279] been stopped up, and the pastures had not been destroyed; but they returned by the way that they came, and their enemies with great difficulty reached the crossing of the Danube. It was night, the bridge could not be found, and the Persians were in great alarm that the Ionians had abandoned them. Then Darius commanded an Egyptian, who had a very loud voice, to come forward to the bank and call for Histiaeus of Miletus. The cry was heard; Histiaeus at once sent all the ships to transfer the troops, and restored the bridge.

Clear and definite as the incidents are which lead Darius to the Danube, the river is no sooner crossed than everything passes into northern mists, into the marvellous and the incredible. Let us first consider the conduct of the Scoloti. The kings of the barbarous north, though far distant from each other—Herodotus gives the land of the Scoloti a length and breath of 500 miles—meet in a great congress. Where the congress was held we are not told. The kings of the Agathyrsi, Neuri, Melanchlæni, and Cannibals find that the matter does not concern them, for they had not invaded Media. But the distant tribes to the east beyond the Don, the Sarmatians, Budini, and Geloni, come a distance of hundreds of miles to assist their neighbours; they carry their public spirit so far as to sacrifice their own lands, regardless of which the Budini and Geloni march with Idanthyrsus first to the north and then to the west; the Sarmatians follow Scopasis far to the north-east. Why the Scythians divided their army in the first instance, why they did not unite to meet Darius, we cannot ascertain. We are not told what Idanthyrsus is doing while Scopasis retires to the Volga; we only know that the two armies again unite, while Darius is[Pg 280] building the castles on the Volga. When united the Scythians retire to the west as far as the borders of the Agathyrsi, i. e. to Transylvania, the most foolish thing for their own interests which they could have done, for by this means they brought Darius back into the neighbourhood of the Danube. On the borders of the Agathyrsi Darius summons them to battle. The princes answer that they will fight if he attacks the tombs of their fathers. These tombs we have found in the neighbourhood of the Gerrhus; they are the numerous Kurgans below the rapids of the Dnieper,[269] a region which Darius must have traversed on his way north-eastwards to the Volga. Darius does not accede to the request of the Scythians. Nevertheless they determined to attack the Persians, and yet contradict the object of this attack by sending Scopasis with his army and the Sarmatians to the Danube, thus weakening the army. When Scopasis and the Sarmatians are gone, Idanthyrsus offers the battle hitherto so carefully avoided, with cavalry and infantry, though Herodotus remarks that the Scythians have no infantry. Meanwhile Scopasis comes with his army to the Danube, not to fight with the Greeks but to treat with them. What reasons had the Scythians not to treat the Greeks as enemies? If they wished to cut off the return of Darius, they must attack the bridge and destroy it. If they thought that they could not do this, or did not wish to do it, but to treat, they need not have sent half the army with the Sarmatians, but only a few horsemen. The Greeks were able to protect the bridge with a fort, upon which the Scythian cavalry could hardly have made any effectual impression, or if they neglected to[Pg 281] do that, they could at any moment, if watchful, bring the bridge to their own side of the river, and then secure it with all their ships till Darius should appear on the farther shore. But the Scythians send Scopasis with his army. He tells the Ionians that he knew that Darius had ordered them to wait sixty days; they were to wait till the time had passed and then sail away. When the Greeks had undertaken to do this Scopasis marches with his army to the north. He joins Idanthyrsus again when Darius has begun his retreat. The united army reaches the bridge long before Darius. A second time we have negotiations with the Ionians. The sixty days are past, and the Scythians entreat the Ionians to sail away now, at any rate. They are satisfied when the Greeks remove a part of the bridge, saying that they have begun to break it up and will now sail home. They do not wait till they see all the ships sailing down the stream. They have cut off Darius; he cannot escape them and reach the Danube. But they turn back into the steppe, and miss him again.

Still more unintelligible and extraordinary is the conduct of Darius. When the Danube has been crossed he commands the Greeks to break down the bridge; the crews are to join the army on land. It would follow from this that Darius thought the bridge no longer necessary. It was not his intention therefore to return to the Danube, but to march round the Black Sea, and over the Caucasus, if indeed he did not mean to skirt the northern shore of the Caspian and return home over the Oxus. If this was his object why did he not avail himself of the important assistance which the fleet could afford him, and command it to accompany the march of the army[Pg 282] along the northern shore of the Black Sea? It would then have brought provisions to the army, or to the mouths of the rivers, and supported any attacks on the Greek cities of these coasts; on Tyras at the mouth of the Dniester, on Ordessus on the Teligul, on Olbia at the mouth of the Bug, and Panticapaeum on the Cimmerian Bosphorus. To leave the attack on the Greek cities to the Greek ships only would be dangerous, but there was no danger in giving them a share in it if the main point was to strengthen the army on land. But Darius wished neither to use the fleet, nor to allow the bridge to stand, which is the more remarkable as the bridges on the Bosphorus were not removed but allowed to remain, obviously under the protection of Greek men-of-war. At the Danube Darius has to be informed for the first time by a Greek that a way must be left open for his return. Nevertheless he does not order the Greeks to keep the bridge till further notice, or till his return. For sixty days only after his departure does he leave the means for his return open; so long the bridge is to remain; when that time has expired, the fleet is to sail away. What interest had Darius in allowing the Greeks to depart home as quickly as possible? In order to fix this period of time, he gives the leader of the Greeks a thong with sixty knots. The calendars of the Persians and Greeks were different; there were variations in the calendars of the Aeolians, Ionians, and Dorians; but sixty days could have been fixed without a strap and knots. Beyond the Danube Darius blindly follows the division of Scopasis, wherever it leads him away to the east and north as far as the Volga. On what did the army of Darius subsist—and it numbered 700,000 men, or if we include the train, it reached a total of about a million—for more[Pg 283] than two months in a country in which, according to Herodotus' own statement, there was no tilled land except at the mouths of the Bug and Dnieper, and in which the advancing Scythians had destroyed the wells and pastures, as Herodotus asserts? How did the Persians cross the Tyras (Dniester), Hypanis (Bug), Borysthenes (Dnieper), and the Tanais (Don)? From whence did they procure the wood for the bridges or rafts for crossing them, in the steppe which Herodotus rightly describes as entirely without wood down to the forests on the southern edge? Whence came the water for man and beast in the waterless desert? When Darius had crossed the Don Herodotus represents him as building eight large fortresses beyond the river on the bank of the Volga, the object of which it is impossible to discover; and in a space of a little more than two months he represents the Persian army as not only building these forts but marching round the whole territory of Scythia, which in his description extends for 500 miles from the mouth of the Danube to the mouth of the Don, and an equal distance northwards into the land, and even far beyond it. Darius marches as far as the Volga on the east, and northwards to the desert which lies beyond the Sarmatians (whose territory extends for fifteen days' journey up the Don),[270] and also beyond the Budini, "a great and numerous people," and the Geloni (p. 275). From this point he returns, according to Herodotus, through the territory of the northern neighbours of the Scythians to the west, as far as the lake out of which the Tyras (Dniester) rises, till the Scythians, who are a day's march in advance of the Persians, reach the land of the Agathyrsi. According to Herodotus' reckoning of[Pg 284] the distances, Darius traversed a journey of about a hundred days' marches of twenty-five miles each, in less than fifty days. If Herodotus allows the region of the Scoloti to extend too far to the north, if on the Dnieper it reached only to the rapids of the stream, where the tombs of the Scythian kings lay, the distance, on the other hand, from the mouth of the Danube to the Don, on which the Scoloti and the Sarmatians bordered, and which Darius is said to have crossed, was far greater than Herodotus assumes; it is at least 750 miles, and from the mouth of the Danube to the Volga at least 900 miles, which on the route taken by Darius could not possibly have been traversed both ways in eighty or ninety days. Herodotus does not allow Darius even this space of time. According to his account, the march of Darius to the desert, which separates the land of the Budini and Geloni on the north from the Thyssagetae, to the bank of the Volga, the building of the castles, the return from this point to the borders of the Agathyrsi and the lake from which the Dnieper springs, did not occupy sixty days. It is in this region that the Scythians resolve to retire no farther, but to attack the Persians daily, when they begin to cook their food in a land barren of wood, and they send Scopasis from this point to the Danube. Scopasis reaches the river before the expiration of the sixty days for which Darius has bidden the Ionians wait; indeed, the Scythians of Idanthyrsus occasionally surrender flocks to the army of Darius, in order that the Persians may not think of retiring, i. e. in order to keep them in Scythia till the sixty days are at an end. Impossible as all these marches are, especially in the short space which Herodotus allots to them, the conduct of Darius is more impossible[Pg 285] still. He advances beyond the Don as far as the Volga, in order to build fortresses which he does not complete; from this point he marches back again after the Scythians as far as the sources of the Dniester in order to bring on a conflict. At last they draw out for battle; Darius has attained the object he so greatly desired. Then follows the hunting of the hare by the Scythians, and Darius determines to march away rapidly in the same night to the Danube; "because the Scythians held them in contempt." He fortunately reached the bridge by taking the road on which he had come, but the Scythians assume that as the wells had been stopped up and the pastures destroyed, he could not come by that route. But how could the Persians, who when advancing had marched to the north-east to the Don, strike out the same path on their return, upon which they started on the borders of Transylvania, and the sources of the Tyras (Dniester)?

The course of affairs must have been widely different. As Darius allowed the bridge over the Bosphorus to remain, and left the fleet on the Danube, it cannot have been his fixed purpose to coast round the Black Sea. But in any case he must preserve his communications with Asia and Persia and support his army. All the sick, or wounded, or unserviceable men in the army, and all the messengers could only be sent back over the bridge on the Danube. The crews of the fleet were the rear-guard of the army, maintaining and defending its communications. It had also to provide for its own maintenance, i. e. for the needs of more than 100,000 men, and no doubt it likewise collected the provisions for the army by land. However great the stores which the army brought with it, they would soon be consumed in the steppe, unless[Pg 286] supplemented. Wherever Darius marched, he could not venture, with the enormous mass of men and animals in his army, to go more than a few days' march at the most from the river-courses. The idea of retiring before the enemy naturally occurred to a people who were without a settled habitation, who wandered in hordes through fixed districts of pasture, living on the backs of their horses, and carrying their women and children with them in waggons drawn by oxen (III. 234). What had they to lose, and what could they fear from the Persians, if the unarmed, the women, children, servants, and herds, had already been sent at the right time under safe convoys far into the interior towards the neighbouring nations?—if all the men—and the Scoloti were not a numerous nation[271]—collected together, and accustomed as they were to abstinence, and living in continual movement, advancing far more lightly and rapidly on their steppe-horses than their encumbered opponents, hovered round their enemy, stopped up wells and destroyed pastures, without ever engaging in battle? If the Scythians were wise, they would not retire to the east, where Darius could approach the coast, and bring up his fleet with auxiliaries, but away from the sea, i. e. to the north. If the Scythians were not terrified by the enormous power of Darius, and knew how to avoid battles, the army of Darius would soon be ruined by its own numbers in the desert.

As a fact this is the way in which the war beyond the Danube seems to have been carried on. Herodotus tells us that Darius came upon the Scythians three marches beyond the Danube. If he found their forces united, he must have hoped to engage them in[Pg 287] a battle which would have decided the campaign at one stroke in his favour. But these mounted opponents could not be captured, Darius sinks deeper and deeper into the desert, till he is compelled by distress to return, and his retreat was made an occasion of heavy losses by the light-armed Scythians.

In the excerpt from the narrative of Trogus preserved by Justin, which may have been derived from Deinon's "Persian History," we are told: "The Scythians drove back Darius the king of the Persians in shameful flight. When Iancyrus (i. e. Idanthyrsus), the king of the Scythians, had refused to give his daughter in marriage to Darius, Darius made war upon him, and invaded Scythia with 700,000 soldiers. As the Scythians gave him no opportunity of battle, he retreated in great anxiety lest the bridge over the Danube should be broken in his rear, after losing 80,000 men. Owing to the abundance of men this loss was not considered a disaster."[272] In Ctesias the king of the Scythians is called Scytharbes. "Darius collected an army of 800,000 men, bridged the Bosphorus and the Danube, marched into Scythia, and penetrated for a distance of fifteen days. Scytharbes and Darius sent each other the gift of a bow. As the bow of the Scythian was the stronger, Darius retired over the bridge and broke it up, before the whole army had passed over. Those who were left behind, 80,000 men in number, were cut down by Scytharbes. Darius crossed the bridge over the Bosphorus, and burnt the houses and the temples of Chalcedon, because the Chalcedonians had attempted to destroy the bridge, and had thrown down the altar which Darius had set up at the crossing."[273] Strabo remarks: "At the mouths of the Danube there is a large island, Peuce.[Pg 288] The mouths are seven in number, and the largest is called the sacred mouth; the distance to Peuce by this is 120 stadia; above the lower part of this mouth Darius built the bridge; it might have been bridged on the upper part also. It is the first if you take the left hand when sailing into Pontus; the rest follow in the voyage to Tyras. On the Pontic Sea, from the Danube to the Tyras (Dniester) is the desert of the Getae, a vast waterless plain. When Darius, the son of Hystaspes, crossed the Ister, to march against the Scythians, he was in danger of perishing by thirst with his whole army through being cut off in this desert; but he discovered his danger just in time, and returned.[274] For the support of the camel which had best sustained with him the weariness of the journey through the desert of Scythia, and had carried the baggage with the provisions of the king, he apportioned the hamlet of Gaugamela in Assyria," i. e. its income and tribute, or natural products.[275] The level desert of Strabo, between the Danube and the Dniester, includes Moldavia as far as the eastern slopes of the mountains of Transylvania, Bessarabia, and Podolia. Herodotus also represents the decisive charge in the campaign as taking place in the neighbourhood of the Agathyrsi, i. e. the inhabitants of Transylvania. Ctesias tells us that Darius had marched fifteen days beyond the Danube. Reckoning a day's march at 25 miles, as Herodotus does, Darius would thus have advanced 75 miles to the north of the Danube, with which the assertion of Herodotus agrees, that the Scoloti retired before Darius to the border of the land of the Agathyrsi, and the lake out of which the Tyras rises, but no further. By the lake out of which the Tyras rises we can hardly understand the[Pg 289] lakes at Lemberg, for Darius could scarcely have come so far to the west. The marshes at the source of the Bug are probably meant, which as the crow flies are 325 miles from Reni, on the Danube. If the Scoloti ventured to retire but a little way from the river courses, the Persians retired still less. Hence the retreat of the Scythians and the advance of Darius must have proceeded up the Pruth, through Bessarabia to Podolia as far as the marshes on the upper Dniester in which the Bug rises, where Herodotus represents the two armies as encamping opposite each other, or as far as the marshes of the Prypet. The answer which Herodotus puts in the mouth of Idanthyrsus—that Darius should attack the tombs of the kings (on the rapids of the Dniester) and then the Scythians would fight, has a meaning, if Darius was far from the centre of Scythia, and the message was sent to him when in the neighbourhood of the source of the Bug or the Prypet; it was without meaning if he had already traversed the whole land of Scythia as far as the Don and the Volga. Want of provisions for man and beast far more than the want of water would have compelled him to return. Had the Scythians previously surrounded the army of Darius on all sides, they would have thrown themselves with impunity in full force on his rear when retreating. If everything left behind through weariness and sickness had fallen into their hands, they would now not merely hinder the retreat but greatly endanger it. As soon as the communications with the Danube were completely closed (Strabo tells us that Darius was cut off in the desert of the Getae), Darius must have been in alarm whether the fidelity of the tyrants or their desire to maintain their position in their own cities was strong enough to keep them at the bridge, and if[Pg 290] this were the case whether they could induce their crews to remain.

Such in its essential outlines must have been the course of the campaign of Darius beyond the Danube. What Herodotus tells us are legends of the Scythians, which he had heard with some additions from his fellow-countrymen, in Ordessus and Olbia. It was the greatest glory of the Scythians not to have succumbed to this attack; no doubt they placed in the most brilliant light the cunning and endurance of their fathers, which brought about this result. We must remove from the series of events the meeting of the barbarians, the assistance of the Geloni, Budini, and Sarmatians, the entire eastern part of the story, no less than the march through the whole of Scythia. That story has no doubt arisen from the supposed object of it—the assumed eight fortresses of Darius on the Volga, the remains of which were in existence in Herodotus' time. These unfinished citadels were either fortifications of some tribe or another, long since abandoned, or ancient tumuli, such as are still frequently found in the steppes above the Black Sea. Some were said to be trenches of the Cimmerians and others trenches of Darius. It was these which gave the direction to the march of Darius. Besides tradition from Greece and Scythia we have isolated traces of Iranian poetry in the accounts of Herodotus, Justin, and Ctesias. To these belong the suit of Darius for the daughter of the king of the Scythians and his refusal, the sending of the bow, and the enigmatical gifts of the Scythians, of which Gobryas could interpret the meaning. Other Greeks could mention the names of different persons who had guessed this riddle.[276]

A peculiar concatenation of circumstances had[Pg 291] placed in the hands of the princes of the Greeks of Anatolia the fortune of the Persian army, and with it the fortune of the Persian monarchy and the entire Persian empire. If they left Darius to his fate, removed the bridge, and sailed home with their ships, it would be almost impossible for the Persian king and army to cross the Danube, and the Greek cities would have been free from any foreign dominion. As soon as Darius was at a distance from the bridge, the Scythians must have called upon the Greeks to depart, and they must have repeated their request more urgently when they had cut off Darius's connection with the bridge and intercepted his retreat; they would represent his position to be as desperate as possible. Without doubt Histiaeus of Miletus was commander of the fleet. Not once only, as Herodotus represents, but every day Histiaeus, on whom the greatest responsibility rested, must have discussed with his associates the question of remaining or departing, when it was clear that Darius was in danger, and there could not be a doubt that the Scythians were pressing hard upon him, and perhaps cutting off his return.[277] But there was only one among the tyrants of the Greeks who firmly represented the view that they ought to abandon the king. This was Miltiades of Chersonesus, one of the newest vassals of Persia, who had not been raised to the throne by Darius, but only confirmed in his hereditary principality. The opposite view, according to Herodotus, was heard from the mouth of Histiaeus. It showed how correct was the calculation of Cyrus, when, in order to secure the obedience of the Greek states, he had made the[Pg 292] elevation of princes in them one of his principles. There is no doubt that the princes could now have put an end to the dominion of the Persians, but at the same time they would have put an end to their own power; they would have annihilated themselves with the king of the Persians. The large majority of the tyrants, so we are told in Nepos, joined in the opinion of Histiaeus. We can with certainty assume that those of the tyrants who subsequently received peculiar marks of distinction from Darius; Histiaeus of Miletus, Hippoclus of Lampsacus, Coes, the leader of the ships of Lesbos, contributed in some essential manner to the retention of the fleet; that it was chiefly they who kept back the others, and above all the crews. But even those tyrants who maintained most strongly that the post entrusted to them should be kept, could not prevent the possibility that the Persians might be detained in the desert; that Darius might not return. In this uncertain and wavering position (Darius remained longer than was expected and thus many people thought him lost), the last decision would be deferred for a certain time, and the crews would be calmed by a promise not to wait for Darius beyond a certain period. The same reply might be made to the demands of the Scythians in order not to ruin their cause with them should they really destroy the army of the Persians. In the other event Darius might be told that the period was merely fixed in order to keep the Scythians away from the bridge. From such a period, which the princes fixed for themselves and their crews, may have arisen the legend of the command of Darius, that they were to wait for sixty days—a story which was afterwards quoted by the Greeks against the tyrants to the effect that they not[Pg 293] only faithfully carried out the commands of Darius, but had gone beyond them to rescue him. As a fact Darius must have spent far more than sixty days beyond the Danube if he advanced fifteen full days' marches, according to the reckoning of Herodotus, and penetrated to the sources of the Dniester, the Bug, or the Prypet. For an army like that of Darius could not march more than ten miles a day, and thus the 750 miles of advance and retreat, which in the latter part would have been traversed amid continual encounters, required at least eighty or ninety days. The Ionians had remained, though they had not kept all the contingents with them. The ships of Antandros and Lamponium, and no doubt those of other cities also, had sailed away of their own accord.[278]

How great soever the losses may have been which the army of Darius suffered in Scythia—the number, 80,000, which Ctesias represents as perishing by the premature destruction of the bridge, and which Justin represents as the entire sum of the losses of the army, appears to have been the official amount of the loss among the Persians—when the Danube was crossed, they found security and provisions, rest and refreshment. The Scythians could not force a passage against the ships of war, which controlled the stream, and the land army of the Persians. Undisturbed by them, Darius could now have made better arrangements for continuing the war beyond the Danube, and preparing for the conduct of it, if unexpected events had not compelled him to complete his retreat in haste. Ctesias told us above that the Chalcedonians, on whose territory lay the Asiatic end of the[Pg 294] bridge, had attempted to break it down. Strabo relates that Darius burned the cities round the Propontis and Abydus because he was afraid that they might supply the Scythians with transports to Asia.[279] Herodotus tells us, that Darius, on his return from the Danube, marched through Thrace into the land of the Hellespontians; thence he crossed on the ships to Asia, and then repaired himself to Sardis,[280] leaving behind Megabyzus as general in the land of the Hellespontians, who reduced by force of arms those who did not "medize."[281] With the Persians who remained in Europe he first attacked the Perinthians "who would not submit to Darius;" the Perinthians fought bravely for their freedom, but the numbers of the Persians were overpowering.[282] But Otanes, the son of Sisamnes, to whom Darius entrusted the command by sea, took Byzantium, Chalcedon, Antandros, and Lamponium. The reason for enslaving and subjugating these cities, was that he charged some of them with abandoning the army on the march against the Scythians, and others with injuring the army on its return. The latter charge would apply chiefly to Byzantium and Chalcedon.[283] It follows further from the narrative of Herodotus, that Darius awaited the result of the action of Megabyzus and Otanes at Sardis, and did not return to Persia till Megabyzus had penetrated to the west into Thracia, and he had established his brother Artaphernes as satrap at Sardis.[284] Of the Scythians Herodotus tells us that they pur[Pg 295]sued Darius with their united forces as far as the Thracian Chersonese; Miltiades did not venture to await their arrival there but fled, till the Scythians had retired and the Doloncians had brought him back. Next, in order to punish Darius for his invasion of their land, the Scythians sent an embassy to Sparta, in order to call upon the Spartans to cross over to Ephesus, while they attacked Media from the Phasis.[285]

From this we conclude that a serious rebellion of the Greek cities on both shores of the straits and the Propontis broke out in the rear of Darius; that the cities thought Darius lost, or intended to prevent his return. Byzantium rebelled, though the tyrant Ariston was at the river with the fleet of the city; so also Abydus, whose tyrant Daphnis was likewise there with his fleet. Besides these cities, Perinthus, Chalcedon, Antandrus, and Lamponium, on the Ionian coast, are expressly mentioned as rebels. Strabo speaks generally of the cities round the Propontis in this sense. Herodotus tells us that Chalcedon was taken, and Ctesias that it was burnt. According to the latter the Chalcedonians were eager to destroy the bridge; but Darius was nevertheless able to pass it. Herodotus asserts that Darius passed on the ships from Sestus into Asia, and that the Scythians pursued him as far as the Thracian Chersonesus. This definite and double statement on the direction of the return march, and the passage of Darius into Asia, must be maintained against the inexact excerpt from Ctesias. If the bridge lay over the Bosphorus, Darius certainly did not march to the Hellespont.

The course of events was this. When he arrived on the northern side of the Danube Darius perceived[Pg 296] that a part of the Greek ships had sailed homeward, that the communications with Asia were interrupted, that the bridge had been broken, that the cities on both shores of the straits were in rebellion. He was compelled to send the fleet at once to the straits in order to reopen communications. As Byzantium and Chalcedon could throw great difficulties in the way of any communication or passage over the Bosphorus, the fleet was bidden to open the Hellespont and keep it open. When the fleet was dismissed it was no longer possible to keep the army on the Danube; and besides it was imperative to bring the rebellious cities to obedience at once, a duty which could not be left merely to their fellow-countrymen who had remained faithful in the fleet. So Darius must have led the army to the Hellespont as soon as he had allowed time for rest on the Danube. The Scythians no doubt crossed the river when they saw the army of Darius leave the bank, and well-mounted hordes followed the retreating army on the south of the Danube in order to make booty, to carry off the baggage, and cut down the stragglers. But there was no serious pursuit. The Scythians could not have undertaken this against the Persians; and if they had undertaken it and threatened danger, Darius would not have sent a part of the army to Asia. He must then have turned his whole force upon the Scythians. Miltiades certainly did not retire before the Scythians but before the Persians. Even if he had gone no farther than expressing his wish, and had not left the Danube with his ships,[286]—though he had not found means for embarrassing the retreat of the Persians over the Hellespont, yet in the eyes of the Persians he was the author of the revolt, his vote in[Pg 297] the council of war at the Danube was obviously treacherous, and the beginning which gave impulse to the mischief. Miltiades then retired to the Thracians. He had married the daughter of Olorus, a Thracian prince. Twelve years later the general revolt of the Greek states gave him the means of returning to his principality. The embassy of the Scythians to Sparta seems no more than a fable of the Spartans, which belongs to the obscure side of the history of Cleomenes.

Arrived at the Hellespont, Darius allowed a part of the army under Megabyzus to remain on the European shore for the purpose of besieging Perinthus and the other cities on that coast, with the rest he passed on the raft to the Asiatic side: the conduct of sieges was no task for a king. But he wished to remain at Sardis in the neighbourhood till the rebels were punished, the passage secured, and till the auxiliaries for the army of Megabyzus and their communications were settled. Otanes, the son of Sisamnes, received the command on the Asiatic shore; he besieged and destroyed Abydus, reduced the cities on the Trojan coast, on the southern shore of the Propontis, and then turned against Chalcedon and Byzantium, while in the mean time Megabyzus had besieged and taken Perinthus and the cities on the northern coast of the Propontis. The campaign against the Scythians was not to remain without results; Darius could not allow himself to set foot in Europe for nothing. When only Chalcedon and Byzantium remained unconquered, Otanes received the command over the troops on both shores, and Megabyzus was commanded to make the tribes of the Thracians on the west as far as the Strymon subjects of the Persian king. Chalcedon was the first to fall after[Pg 298] a protracted siege. The exiles from Chalcedon and Byzantium founded Mesembria.[287]


[245] "Pers." 555, 644, 654, 852 ff. 900.

[246] Herod. 3, 92-94, 97; 7, 78, 79. Xenoph. "Anab." 5, 4; 7, 8. Arrian ("Anab." 3, 11) mentions Albanians in the army of the last Darius.

[247] Herod. 4, 44.

[248] Vol. IV. 384.

[249] Exc. Vatic. p. 35 = 10, 19, 5.

[250] Herod. 3, 139, 140.

[251] Herod. 3, 141-149. Paus. 7, 5, 4, ff. Heracl. Pont. Fragm. 10, ed. Müller.

[252] Herod. 4, 138.

[253] Ctes. "Pers." 16.

[254] At a later time Xerxes caused Sataspes to sail round Africa.

[255] Herod. 4, 1.

[256] Herod. 4, 85, 87.

[257] 360 triremes and penteconters were used for the bridge of Xerxes. Herod. 7, 36.

[258] Herod. 4, 87.

[259] Polyb. 4, 39.

[260] Strabo, p. 319, 320. Opposite the temple of the Chalcedonians on the mouth of the Pontus, which was sacred to Zeus Urias (now Anadoli Kavak), there lay on the European shore also on the mouth of the Pontus a temple of the Byzantines which later authors call the Serapeum (now Rumili Kavak). Scyl. "Peripl." 67.

[261] Herodotus allows the Bosphorus a breadth of four stades; Strabo in one passage mentions four, in another five; p. 125, 319. Modern authors do not agree in their measurements (Grote, "Hist. of Greece," 5, 26), but give about 1¼ mile, i. e. above 5000 feet for the narrowest part, and five miles for the widest. For the narrowest place most authorities allow about 3900 feet, i. e. 6½ stades; cp. Kruse, on Herodotus' measurement of the Pontus, s, 41. On the other hand, Moltke ("Briefe," s. 82) gives the following: At the northern mouth between the light-houses, 4166 paces; at Tell Tabia, 1497 paces; between the castles, 958 paces.

[262] "Anapl. P. E." frag. 35. Choerilus, in Strabo, p. 303.

[263] Herod. 4, 88.

[264] The chronology of the conquests of Darius is not easy to fix. In Herodotus the campaign against Samos is contemporaneous with the rebellion of the Babylonians (3, 150). If Darius had had armies at his disposal from Samos there, he would not have needed to send Bagaeus. The expedition to Samos must be placed after the end of the rebellion, i. e. at the earliest in the year 517, and it cannot be put later than a year at the least before the Scythian expedition, since the ships of Samos, led by Syloson's son, take part in that expedition, and in addition to Samos the cities of the Bosphorus are in the hands of the Persians before that event. The expedition to investigate the shores of Greece, in which Democedes took part, is placed by Herodotus before the attack upon Scythia. This is improbable, because the experience which Darius gained in the Scythian expedition, and which made it seem desirable to put the command in Persian hands, preceded this expedition. There is nothing to point to it before the expedition; it first becomes intelligible when Darius had resolved to change his plan of conquests in the north for conquests in the west, and had given Megabyzus orders to subjugate the coasts of Thracia on the Ægean,—when Megabyzus had advanced to the Strymon and Macedonia had recognised the sovereignty of Persia. On the other hand, the investigation of the Greek coasts cannot be put much later than 512, since Milo of Crotona, who is still of great influence in that region, as Herodotus himself remarks (3, 137), betroths his daughter to Democedes. This influence Milo retained only as far as the year 510 or 509; for soon after the victory over Sybaris and the destruction of the city, which took place 511 or 510 B.C., the rising against Pythagoras and the aristocracy took place; they were overthrown and expelled. In Herodotus the Scythian expedition comes after the capture of Babylon (4, 1). We have seen from the inscriptions (p. 254), that there were two rebellions of Babylon, and that they cannot have come to an end before the close of the year 517. Now Samos was subjugated before this Scythian expedition; moreover Byzantium and the Chersonese must have been in the hands of the Persians; at least a year must have been occupied with the preparations required to bring 700,000 men to the Bosphorus, and with the preparations for building the bridge (Herod. 3, 83). Hence the campaign cannot have commenced before the year 515 B.C. and it cannot be put later than 510 B.C. Miltiades is already master of the Chersonese when Darius crosses the Danube; according to Herodotus it is the Pisistratids (not Hippias) who sent him there. Hence Miltiades was master of the Chersonese before 514 B.C., the year in which Hipparchus was murdered. Again, when Miltiades has to retire from the Chersonese before the return of Darius, he does not go to Athens, from which it follows that Hippias was still tyrant in Athens. Thucydides tells us that when Hippias, after the murder of Hipparchus, was looking about for alliances he married his daughter to Aeantides, the son of Hippoclus, tyrant of Lampsacus, because he saw that Hippoclus was in great repute with Darius. This influence Hippoclus must have gained in the Scythian expedition; he led the ships of his city to the Danube and voted for remaining there. Hence this expedition must be put some time before 510 B.C. If we allow two years for the battles of Megabyzus in Thrace, and the march of Bubares to Macedonia after the Scythian war, and place, as is natural, the expedition to the coasts of Hellas, which falls in the year 512 B.C., after these acquisitions, we might keep to the year 515 for the Scythian expeditions. But as the Indian conquests precede the Scythian war, the year 513 B.C. seems still better. The expedition to Barca is, in Herodotus, contemporaneous with the conflicts of Megabyzus against those "who were not of Median opinions" (4, 145). This contemporaneous date is supported by the fact that Greek ships only, and not Phenician, are ordered to the Danube, and to support the communications of Megabyzus with Asia,—a circumstance which is best explained by the absence of the Phenicians in the African expedition. Moreover, Justin (19, 1) speaks of an embassy of Darius to Carthage at the time when this city was engaged in a conflict with Doreus of Sicily (Herod. 5, 45-48; 7, 165; Diod. 4, 23). Such an embassy, which could only be sent to demand a recognition of supremacy or union in war against the Greeks, was first suggested when the Persians reached as far as the Euhesperides and Persia became a neighbour of Carthage, i. e. after the expedition to Barca. The colony of Dorieus on the Eryx was planted between 510 and 508; he had previously taken part in the battle on the Traeis in 311 or 510 B.C. The embassy of Darius to Carthage would therefore be subsequent to the campaign to Barca and the expedition of Democedes, and the years 513 and 512 seem most suitable for the first. From the inscriptions of Darius it is clear that the inscription of Persepolis, when compared with the inscription of Behistun, enumerates more subject lands. The former speaks of the Ionians of the continent and the Ionians of the sea (daraya), while the inscription of Behistun merely mentions the Ionians. By the Ionians of the sea we are to understand the newly-subjugated Greeks of Samos, the Greek cities on the Bosphorus and Propontis. Moreover, the inscription of Persepolis, as already mentioned, speaks of Idhus (p. 260), while the inscription of Behistun speaks of Gandaras only. It follows from this that the first undertakings of Darius after crushing the rebellion were the wars in the east, the conquests of Samos and the Greek cities on the straits. This is established by the statement of Herodotus that the Indians were included in the first division into satrapies—which he places soon after the accession of Darius—but the islands and the Thracians were added later on. The palace at Persepolis must therefore have been built about the year 515 B.C. after the war upon the Indians and the expedition to Samos, after the subjugation of the strait, but before the campaigns against Scythia and Barca. The Scythian campaign falls in the year 513, the conquests of Megabyzus and Otanes in 512, the campaign against Barca in 513 and 512, the expedition for the investigation of the Greek coasts in 512 or 511. The inscription on the tomb of Darius does not mention Ionians of the continent and Ionians of the sea, but Ionians merely in one case, and then Yauna takabara, i. e. Ionians who wore locks, by whom may be meant the Greeks of Lemnos and Imbros, the Greek cities of the Thracian coast, and the Macedonians, i. e. the regions which were first subjugated after the Scythian campaign. It will be made clear below that the last names in the inscription on the tomb are to be explained of African tribes, i. e. of the result of the expedition against Barca. By the Çkudra, mentioned on the inscription, we may understand the Thracians; in the place of the Çaka who are mentioned without any addition at Behistun and Persepolis, the sepulchral inscription has three kinds of Çaka:—Çaka humavarka, who must be interpreted to mean the Amyrgian Sacae of Herodotus; Çaka tigrakhauda, i. e. Sacae with pointed caps; and finally Çaka taradaraya, i. e. Sacae beyond the sea, who must be the Scoloti.

[265] Herod. 4, 89-91.

[266] Herod. 4, 90-92. "Geographical Journal," vol. 24, p. 44 ff, where is also to be found the report of General Jochmus on the supposed inscription in cuneiform letters and on the stone-heaps, which, according to Herodotus, the soldiers of Darius piled up at Artiscus.

[267] Herod. 4, 93, 94; Strabo, p. 305; Thuc. 2, 96.

[268] Herod. 4, 97, 98.

[269] Vol. III. 235. Neumann, "Hellenen in Skythenlande," s. 200, 211, 215.

[270] Vol. III. 229.

[271] Neumann, loc. cit. s. 223 ff.

[272] Justin, 2, 3, 5.

[273] Ctes. "Pers." 16.

[274] Strabo, p. 305.

[275] Strabo, p. 737.

[276] Pherecyd. fragm. 113, ed. Müller.

[277] Hic quum crebri afferrent nuntii male rem gerere Darium premique ab Scythis, Miltiades hortatus est, etc. Nepos, "Miltiades," 4, in any case following Ephorus.

[278] Herod. 5, 27. It is clear that the Antandrians and Lamponians were accused only of abandoning the campaign, not of imperilling the retreat.

[279] Strabo, p. 591.

[280] Herod. 5, 11.

[281] Herod. 4, 143, 144.

[282] Herod. 5, 12.

[283] Herod. 5, 26, 27.

[284] Herod. 5, 12, 23, 25. The chronology which Herodotus thus gives to the campaign of Otanes, representing it as subsequent to that of Megabyzus, is impossible. He himself represents Otanes as nominated general of the forces on sea, and only subsequently as a successor of Megabyzus. The subjugation of the cities belongs to his first command.

[285] Herod. 6, 40, 84.

[286] It is self-evident that Miltiades did not wait for the arrival of Darius on the Danube.

[287] According to Polyaenus, Chalcedon was taken by a mine, which was carried from a hill 15 stades from the city under the market-place. "Strateg." 7, 2, 5. It is obvious that we must read Καλχηδών here, and not Καρχηδών. The altar of Zeus Diabaterius which, according to Ctesias, Darius erects, and the Chalcedonians subsequently pull down, is certainly identical with the two monuments which, according to Herodotus, Darius set up at Byzantium (above, p. 269). Herodotus also speaks of the destruction of the monuments, but ascribes it to the Byzantines. This was done obviously in the time after the battle of Mycale; if previously destroyed they would have been restored by Megabyzus and Otanes when they subjugated the Hellespont. Of the later destruction Herodotus relates that the Byzantines conveyed the stones into the city, and used them in building the altar of Artemis Orthosia; one stone only, covered with Assyrian letters, was left at the temple of Dionysus: Herod. 4, 87.



[Pg 299]



Like Bactria and Arachosia, Asia Minor and Egypt had remained loyal, when the natives in the centre of the kingdom, the Semites and Arians, and even the Persians, had revolted against Darius. In Egypt Aryandes, who had been appointed satrap by Cambyses, still held his office. Uzahorsun, the Egyptian whom Cambyses had placed in his retinue and taken into his service (p. 171), tells us, "that his holiness, the king of upper and lower Egypt, Darius (Ntariush), the ever-living, had commanded him to go to Egypt, when his holiness was in Elam, when he became lord of the whole world, the great king of Egypt." According to the commands of his holiness he (Uzahorsun) had restored order in Egypt and had received contributions from all. No one had spoken evil of him, for he had given to every one what was justly his; he had restored all men to their rights, and had placed them in the boundaries of their property as it had been marked out; the worship of the gods and their habitations had been restored according to the will of his holiness; the offerings had been brought, the festivals had been celebrated.[288] In[Pg 300] addition to the toleration which the Achæmenids always extended to the religion of the nations subject to them, though it was not their own religion, and the care which they took of their places of worship, Darius seems to have been at especial pains to win the affections of the Egyptians. His intention was, no doubt, to make Egypt the starting-point for further enterprise in Africa, and the support of the conquests which he had in contemplation. Herodotus tells us that when Darius determined to erect his statue before the temple of Ptah at Memphis, he gave way before the opposition of the priest of the temple. Diodorus tells us that the Egyptians consider Darius as their sixth law-giver, after Menes, Sasychis, Sesosis, Bocchoris, and Amasis. Darius had mixed with the Egyptian priests, and had thus become acquainted with their theology, and the magnanimity and devotion of their ancient kings. He set them before him as a pattern, and for this reason he was so highly honoured among the Egyptians that even in his life-time he was considered a god, and after his death he received the honours which in ancient days had been given to the kings of Egypt, whose reigns had been most in accordance with law. The name of Darius meets us frequently on the buildings of Egypt. A long inscription in the stone quarries at Hamamat informs us that an Egyptian architect, Chnum-ab-rha,[Pg 301] who had already been in the service of Amasis, was in the service of Darius from the 26th to the 30th year of his reign, and carried out his various buildings.[289] The Apis which had appeared in the fifth year of Cambyses (p. 171), died in the fourth year of Darius (518 B.C.), and was buried in the necropolis of Memphis, in the sanctuary of Osiris-Apis, in the front space of the gallery of the tombs of Apis, which Psammetichus had added to the gallery of Ramses II.[290] Another great work which Darius undertook in connection with the monuments of the ancient Pharaohs, besides the advantages which it conferred on the trade of the whole kingdom and the intercourse between the parts of it, must have been of the very greatest value to Egypt.[291]

From the valley of the Nile, to which Darius devoted such attention, in the autumn of the same year in which he marched to the Danube, a second[Pg 302] Persian expedition set forth, comprising both an army and a fleet—a great armament, as Herodotus says, which was intended to establish and extend the dominion of the Persian kingdom on the north coast of Africa.[292] The Libyan tribes which inhabited these deserts on the borders of Egypt, like the great cities Cyrene and Barca, had paid homage to Cambyses, had sent presents, and agreed to pay tribute.[293] Barca had been founded by Cyrene about 30 years before the conquest of Egypt by Cambyses, and was governed by a branch of the Battiadae, the royal house of Cyrene. The daughter of the prince of Barca, whom Herodotus, following no doubt the Libyan name for the royal title, calls Alazeir, was the wife of Archelaus III. of Cyrene, who for reasons known to us had submitted to Cambyses. More than ten years afterwards, Archelaus repaired to his father-in-law at Barca; during his absence his mother Pheretima was to govern Cyrene. While at Barca, he was murdered together with his father-in-law Alazeir by certain Cyrenaeans who had fled to that city to escape the cruelty with which he had re-established his sway in Cyrene (p. 153), and by the people of Barca.[294] His mother, who was no longer in any position to maintain her power in Cyrene, fled to Egypt and besought assistance from Aryandes; "in return for her fidelity to Persia, her son had been slain." Aryandes sympathised with her distress, so Herodotus tells us, and put at her disposal the whole force in Egypt, both the army and the fleet; sympathy with Pheretima was the reason of the campaign of the[Pg 303] Persians against Barca. He adds that in his own opinion this was merely a pretext; the real object was the subjugation of the Libyans, of whom a few only were the subjects of Darius.[295]

By the assassination of the two princes who had submitted to Persia the word for revolt was given, and the more plainly because the Barcæans, according to Herodotus, refused to give up the murderers. The land round Cyrene was extraordinarily fertile, and the district of Barca reached on the west to the great Syrtis. The army which set out to reduce a city, 600 miles distant from Memphis, was led by a Persian, Amasis of the tribe of the Maraphians. (V. 323). This march along the north coast through regions partly desert and partly inhabited by nomads, was to be supported by a fleet formed no doubt of Phenician and Egyptian ships, under the command of Badres of the tribe of the Pasargadae. The Persians reached the extensive and well-watered mountain plain which formed the territory of Barca. The city was invested, but the Barcæans made a vigorous resistance. Furious attacks of the Persians were repulsed, and even their attempt to carry mines under the city miscarried. A smith in Barca, according to Herodotus, discovered the direction of the mines by placing a brazen shield upon the ground, inside the wall, and striking it,—the soil being hollow, wherever the shield resounded. Then the Barcæans dug shafts and killed the workmen of the enemy in their passages. After nine months of fruitless efforts Amasis was convinced that he could not take the place by storm. He offered to abandon the siege if the Barcæans would pay a suitable tribute to the king; so long as they fulfilled this condition the[Pg 304] Persians would not take up arms against them. The conditions were sworn to on both sides, as Herodotus tells us, in the form that they "should be kept so long as the earth remained." But on the previous night Amasis had excavated the place on which the oath was sworn, had covered the excavation with wood, and placed earth upon the wood. When the Barcaeans, in reliance on the truce, opened the gates, came out of their city and permitted the Persians to enter it, Amasis caused the earth to fall in by removing the wood-work, in order to make the treaty invalid. Being masters of the city the Persians gave up to Pheretima those who were chiefly implicated in the murder of Archelaus. She caused them to be crucified round the walls of Barca, and at the same time cut off the breasts of their wives and affixed them to the walls. The Persians also carried away a large number of prisoners, in order to weaken the city, and so to retain it in subjection with less effort. Only the Battiadæ and a remnant of the population were left. After thus reducing the city, the Persians marched through the fruitful plain, which stretches to the west of Barca between the table-land and the sea, towards the west. At Euhesperides on the great Syrtis they reached the extreme point in the west of Africa to which the Persians ever penetrated.[296]

"When the army reached Cyrene on its return," so Herodotus tells us, "the Cyrenaeans in obedience to an oracle allowed it to pass through the city. While passing through, Badres, the commander of the fleet, bade them take the city, but Amasis prevented this, saying that he was sent out against Barca, and no other city. When they had marched through, and the army was encamped on the hill of Zeus Lycaeus,[Pg 305] they repented that they had not seized Carthage, and attempted to enter the city a second time. But this the Cyrenaeans would not allow. Then the Persians, though no one was fighting against them, were seized with a panic; they ran away about sixty stades and there encamped till a messenger of Aryandes called them back. At their request they received provisions for the journey from the Cyrenaeans and returned to Egypt. But those who remained behind and delayed their march were cut down by the Libyans for the sake of their clothes and armour, till they reached Egypt. The captive Barcæans were sent to the king, and Darius gave them a village in Bactria for a habitation to which they gave the name Barca. This village was inhabited in Bactria down to my time."[297]

According to this narrative the expedition to Barca, which set out in the autumn of 513 B.C. and returned home at the earliest towards the end of 512 B.C. (the siege of Barca occupied nine months), did not turn out prosperously for the Persians. The contrary was the case. Herodotus repeats a legend of the Cyrenaeans, which was intended to put their courage in a clear light, and according to which an entrance into the city when demanded for the third time was refused to the Persian army which had marched through Cyrene on its advance and return. Further, an attempted attack of the Persians failed though there was no resistance, and Cyrene magnanimously furnished the Persians with provisions for their journey. The army and fleet of the Persians, when quartered in the fertile district of Cyrene, were in a position to supply themselves abundantly at the cost of the city. Moreover, we subsequently find a fourth Battus at the head of Cyrene and Barca, and after him a fourth[Pg 306] Arcesilaus.[298] After the murder of Arcesilaus III. a Battiad would have been the less likely to ascend the throne of Cyrene without the aid of the Persians, owing to the cruel punishment which Pheretima had inflicted on her opponents. Moreover, Herodotus tells us himself that Darius included the Libyans adjacent to Egypt as well as Cyrene and Barca in the sixth satrapy, i. e. the satrapy of Egypt, and imposed upon the two a yearly tribute of 700 talents.[299] From other accounts it is clear that the Libyans of this district, and with them the inhabitants of the oasis of Ammon, had to contribute salt to the Persians, and Herodotus tells us that these Libyans of the north coast, clad in the skins of animals and armed with poles hardened in the fire, served in the army of the Persian kings along with the curly-haired negroes living beyond Egypt.[300] Monuments and inscriptions also prove that not Cyrene and Barca only, but even the Libyan tribes of the north coast as far as the great Syrtis, i. e. the Adyrmachidae, Giligammae, and Asbystae were subdued at that time, and that the dominion of Darius extended as far as the oases on the northern edge of the desert. Herodotus has already told us of the oasis Polis, which was situated seven days' journey from Thebes in the sand (p. 165),—the modern Oasis el Charigeh. The inscriptions of the great temple, the walls of which still exist at this place in tolerable preservation, tell us that Darius "S-tut-Ra,"[301] i. e. rival of the sun, dedicated this temple to Ammon Ra of Thebes, the lord of Hib (which is the name of this oasis among the Egyptians). In the colossal[Pg 307] picture on the exterior wall at the back, Darius offers sacrifice to this god and the goddess Mut, who stands behind him; behind the king we also see the goddess Hathor.[302] At a later time Darius Ochus added to this temple. The inscription of Naksh-i-Rustem, which distinguishes the tomb of Darius, quotes among the nations who were his subjects the Putiya, Machiya, and Kushiya. By the Putiya (Puta in the Babylonian translation of the inscription) we must understand beyond doubt the Put of the Hebrews, i. e. the Libyans; the Machiya may be the Maxyes of Herodotus, to the west of Cyrene, the Mashawasha of the Egyptians; the Kushiya are the Cushites of the Egyptians, Hebrews, and Assyrians, the Ethiopians of the Greeks, i. e. the Nubians and negroes beyond Egypt.[303]

Justin's excerpt from Pompeius Trogus tells us that Darius sent an embassy to Carthage with the command that the Carthaginians must abstain from human sacrifices and the use of dogs' flesh, burn their corpses instead of burying them; and at the same time he bade them furnish auxiliary troops against the Greeks, whom he intended to attack. The Carthaginians refused the auxiliary troops because they were frequently at war with their neighbours; to the rest of his commands they readily submitted that they might not seem to be obstinate.[304] Both the objects mentioned for the embassy are fictions, though they show an acquaintance with the Arian religion and the views of Darius, but there is no reason to doubt that Darius entered into negotiations with[Pg 308] Carthage. Cambyses had already fixed his eye on Carthage, and Darius by the expedition to Barca and Euhesperides, had become the neighbour of the city, the territory of which reached as far to the east as the Great Syrtis. In common opposition to the Greeks the interests of Carthage and Darius were united, for the Greek navy was the rival of the Phenicians and Carthaginians, and the Carthaginians were in conflict with the Greek cities in Sicily. In Justin's account the embassy of Darius came to Carthage at the time when the Carthaginians in Sicily were in conflict with Dorieus. Their struggle to prevent the settlement on Eryx fell between the years 510 and 508 B.C. The expedition against Barca came to an end as we saw in the year 512 B.C. Hence the negotiations between Persia and Carthage must have followed upon this expedition.[305]

While the Persians in the south of the Mediterranean were advancing to the west along the coast of Africa, the army of Megabyzus moved along the north in the same direction (512 B.C.). Perinthus and the cities on the northern shore of the Propontis were reduced and punished, and then Darius gave orders, according to Herodotus, for the reduction of Thrace. "And Megabyzus marched through Thrace, and reduced every nation and every city into submission to the king. The nation of the Thracians is the greatest after the Indians, and if it were united or governed by one man, it would be invincible, and in my opinion the strongest of all nations. But as this[Pg 309] is impossible, and can never be brought about, they are weak. They buy their wives at a high price from their parents and sell the children into foreign countries. They regard it as the greatest degradation to till the field, as most honourable to do nothing, as most noble to live by war and plunder. It is a mark of birth to be tatooed, and of low origin to have no print upon the skin. The rich lay out their dead for three days; first they mourn for them, then they slay victims of every kind and make a feast, burn the corpse or bury it, heap up a mound, and celebrate games of all kinds, in which, as is right, the greatest prizes are put up for the victors. They worship only Ares, Dionysus, and Artemis; but their kings also specially worship Hermes from whom they claim to be descended. Of this territory Megabyzus subjugated the whole strip, which lay on the sea, to Darius." The Paeonians, who were settled on the Strymon and round Lake Prasias, assembled on their coast to await the attack. But Megabyzus turned into the inland region to the north of Mount Pangaeum, and from that direction fell unexpectedly upon the cities of the Paeonians, which were undefended. Then each of the Paeonians hastened back to his family and they submitted to the Persians, and Megabyzus caused the Paeonians on the Siris, and the Paeoplians, who were situated to the north of Pangaeum, on the Strymon, to be carried captive to Sardis to the king. "But the Paeonians who dwelt on Mount Pangaeum, and on piles in Lake Prasias, were not at first subjugated by Megabyzus, though he made the attempt."[306]

Together with the tribes of the Thracians, the numerous cities of the Greeks on this coast became[Pg 310] subjects of Darius.[307] Doriscus on the mouth of the Hebrus received a Persian garrison.[308] In vain the inhabitants of Teos, more than thirty years previously, had emigrated before the siege of Harpagus, and founded Abdera on this coast—they now became subjects of the Persians. In return for the great service which he had rendered at the bridge on the Danube, Histiaeus the prince of Miletus received permission to found a colony on the Strymon, where it leaves Lake Prasias, in the land of the Edonians, near Myrcinus, on the north-west spur of Pangaeum, which is here clothed with magnificent forests, and possessed fruitful veins of silver.[309] Histiaeus began at once to build the walls which were to protect the new settlement.

With the subjugation of the Paeonians and the crossing of the Strymon, Megabyzus reached the border of an empire, the Macedonian kingdom, the central district of which lay between the Axius and the Haliaemon. Amyntas, the son of Alcetas,[310] the king of Macedonia, was requested by Megabyzus through an embassy of seven Persians to send earth and water as tokens of submission to Darius. Amyntas was in great terror of the Persians, as Herodotus tells us;[311] he did not refuse the request, and thus acknowledged the sovereignty of the Persians. In order to do honour to his envoys, they were hospitably entertained. But when in their intoxication they laid hands on the women of the royal house, Alexander the young son of Amyntas caused them to be cut down with their train. As they did not return, Megabyzus sent his son Bubares, the brother of the Zopyrus who had done good service before Babylon,[Pg 311] and was now viceroy there, with an armed force.[312] Amyntas was prepared to pay a large sum as a fine, and to receive the son of Megabyzus at his royal house; he gave his own daughter Gygaea, the sister of Alexander, in marriage to Bubares.[313]

While Megabyzus subjugated the Thracian coast with its harbours and trading-places to the west as far as the Strymon, Otanes had completed the reduction of the rebellious Greek towns to the south of the straits, on the shores of Asia Minor. Not only Lamponium and Antandrus, opposite Lesbos, but also Abydus, Chalcedon, and Byzantium were punished. Coes, who had led the ships from Lesbos to the Danube, had been rewarded for his services to Darius by the government of the island. He was not required to furnish ships to Otanes for the conquest of Lemnos and Imbros. The Lemnians resisted bravely. When they had been conquered, Otanes made Lycaretus, a brother of Maeandrius of Samos (p. 261), tyrant of the island, and he governed it till his death (towards 500 B.C.[314]). With the conquest of Lemnos and Imbros, two large and important islands in the Ægean Sea, in addition to Samos, Chios and Lesbos were gained for the Persian kingdom.

After the expedition across the Danube, Darius intended to carry his conquests to the west of Europe,[Pg 312] not to the north. The cantons of Hellas were the aim towards the attainment of which Megabyzus and Otanes prepared the way. The co-operation of the marine appeared indispensable for further enterprises in this direction. The events at the bridge over the Danube had shown Darius that it was extremely rash to leave in the hands of the tyrants of the Greeks the command of the fleet formed out of the vessels from their cities. The Phenicians he could certainly trust, if he led them against the Greeks, but the navigation of the Greeks had long ago driven the trade of the Phenicians from the Greek coasts. In any case it was advisable that a number of leading Persians should be acquainted with the Greek waters, that they might be entrusted with the command of squadrons. That Persians were equal to such an office had been shown in Africa. Darius commanded fifteen Persians selected by himself to go on board Phenician ships in order to visit and investigate the coasts of Hellas and Sicily. The expedition embarked on two Sidonian ships of the line, which were accompanied by a transport vessel, and set sail from Sidon. On board was a Greek physician as interpreter and guide—Democedes of Croton, who had previously been physician to Polycrates of Samos. He had accompanied his master on his unfortunate voyage to Magnesia (p. 261). After the execution of Polycrates, Oroetes had released the Samians in his company, and retained the rest as slaves in his house. When Bagaeus had caused Oroetes to be slain he sent his property and slaves to the court of the king, where Democedes was kept in rags and chains along with his companions in misfortune. It happened that Darius, in leaping from his horse when hunting, dislocated his ancle. The Egyptian physicians, who were in the greatest repute in[Pg 313] the east, and had already been retained since the time of Cyrus at the Persian court (p. 134), could not cure the mischief. At last some one remembered to have heard of the fame of Democedes among the Greeks. Darius caused him to be summoned, and was healed by him. Soon after Democedes cured Atossa, the daughter of Cyrus, the first wife of Darius, of a dangerous tumour in the breast. In return for his successful treatment Darius presented him with two pairs of golden chains; and when receiving them Democedes, according to the Greeks, inquired: Whether the king desired to double his misery in return for the cure? From that time he was in high favour with the king, and was appointed a companion of his table, one of the greatest and rarest distinctions in Persia; it was said to be his intercession which rescued the Egyptian physicians who were about to be crucified because they were unable to heal Darius. He now accompanied the expedition, as a man acquainted with the localities, to Hellas and Sicily, in the year 512 B.C. The king bade the Persians keep watch upon Democedes, and not suffer him to escape to the Hellenes. The expedition sailed round Hellas; it kept close to the shore, and sketched the coast; as Herodotus remarks, these were the first Persians who had come to Greece. From Hellas they directed their course to lower Italy. When the Persians were at Tarentum Democedes succeeded in escaping. When it was discovered that he had gone to Crotona, his native city, the Persians sailed thither and requested the inhabitants to give him up, but in vain. Then they experienced a further disaster; they were driven to Iapygia; the crew were captured and enslaved; only after some time had passed were the Persians ransomed by Gillus, a Tarentine exile, and carried back[Pg 314] to Persia.[315] However vexatious the loss of his physician might be to Darius, this expedition enabled him to prepare for the enterprise in the Greek waters which he had in view. The main object was attained; a number of Persians had been made acquainted with the sea and the coasts.


[288] De Rougé, "Revue Archéolog." 8, 51, 52. De Rougé has Aram, Brugsch now reads Elam ("Hist. of Egypt," 2, 297), and translates: "For he also was the great lord of all lands and a great king of Egypt,—in order that I might reinstate the number of the sacred scribes of the temples, and revive whatever had fallen into ruin. The foreigners escorted me from land to land, and brought me safe to Egypt, according to the command of the lord of the land. I did according to what he had commanded. I chose them from all their (?) of the sons of the inhabitants—to the great sorrow of those who were childless—and I placed them under expert masters, the skilful in all kinds of learning, that they might perform all their works. The king did all this—in order to uphold the name of all the gods, their temples, their revenues, and the ordinances of their feasts for ever."

[289] Herod. 2, 110; Diod. 1, 50, 95. For Rach-num-hat which he read previously Brugsch now reads Chnum-ab-rha. "Hist. of Egypt," 2, 299.

[290] Mariette, "Athen. Franç." 1855; Mai, p. 48.

[291] The remark in Polyaenus; Darius marching through Arabia against the Egyptians who rebelled against the tyranny of Aryandes, had again gained their affection by offering a prize of 100 talents of gold to the discoverer of a new Apis in the place of that which had just died, cannot be referred to the Apis which died in the year 518 B.C. In that year Darius was fighting in Media against Phraortes, Aryandes was satrap in the year 512 B.C. and long after. Hence it must refer to the second Apis, which appeared in 491 B.C., the thirty-first year of Darius, for which Darius caused a sepulchre to be built. That the first rebellion of the Egyptians against Darius took place about this time follows from a chapter in Aristotle's "Rhetoric," 2, 20, where we are told that Darius did not cross over to Hellas before he had reduced Egypt; and in like manner Xerxes reduced Egypt before crossing over to Hellas. The "crossing over" can only refer to the campaign of Datis and Artaphernes; the first rebellion of Egypt against Darius therefore took place just when the rebellion of the Ionians had been crushed, i. e. 492, 491 B.C.; the second occurred in 486 B.C.

[292] Herod. 4, 145 says, "at the same time when Megabyzus subjugated the inhabitants of the Hellespont." This subjugation would begin in the autumn and pass over into the next spring.

[293] Herod. 4, 167. Above, p. 152.

[294] Herod. 4, 164, 200.

[295] Herod. 4, 165, 167, 197.

[296] Herod. 4, 200-204; Heracl. Pont. fragm. 4, ed. Müller.

[297] Herod. 4, 203, 204.

[298] Herod. 4, 163; Heracl. Pont. Fragm. 8, ed. Müller; Pindar, "Pyth." 4, 5 and the Scholia.

[299] Herod. 3, 91.

[300] Herod. 7, 71.

[301] In Brugsch, "Hist. of Egypt," 2, 297, Settu-Ra.

[302] Lepsius, "Inschriften von Charigeh und Dachileh, Z. f. Aeg. Spr." 1874, s. 75, 78.

[303] It seems to me rash to find Carthage in Karka (so also in the Babylonian version) with Oppert ("Journal Asiatique," 1872, p. 163 ff.), and Mordtmann ("Z. D. M. G." 16, 110).

[304] Justin, 19, 1.

[305] Though I admit that negotiations may have taken place between Darius and the Carthaginians, I do not at the same time allow the accuracy of the statement in Diodorus about the league of Xerxes and the Carthaginians against the Greeks: a Sicilian may be suspected of ascribing to his countrymen as large a share as possible in the glory of the Persian war.

[306] Herod. 5, 16.

[307] Herod. 5, 26.

[308] Herod. 7, 59.

[309] Herod. 5, 11, 23.

[310] Herod. 8, 139; Thuc. 2, 99, 200.

[311] Herod. 5, 19.

[312] Herod. 5, 21; 7, 21; Justin, 7, 3, 4.

[313] Herod. 5, 18, 21; Justin, 7, 3, 4. In the year 512 B.C., in which this incident falls, Alexander must have been very young; Herodotus speaks of him as young and inexperienced. In Justin we are told in reference to the length of his life: "Senex decessit." On the reigns of Amyntas and Alexander Philhellen, I shall treat in my Greek History. For the present I refer to Droysen, "Hellenismus," 12, 75, and Von Gutschmid, "Ueber die makedonische Anagraphe, Symbol. Philolog." Bonn.

[314] The Ionian revolt liberated Lemnos from the dominion of the Persians; when Miltiades during the revolt subjugated Lemnos and Imbros to Athens, Hermon was at the head of Lemnos.

[315] Herod. 3, 129-138. Athenaeus, p. 522. On the date of the expedition above, p. 270, n. That this whole expedition owed its origin to an intrigue of Democedes, is merely a part of Herodotus' love of anecdote. But it is not incredible that Democedes joined it in the hope of returning to Greece.



[Pg 315]



The perseverance and vigour of Darius had succeeded in re-establishing and extending the kingdom of Cyrus. In the west he had reached Mount Olympus and the great Syrtis, in the east the course of the Indus, high up among the Himalayas; in the north the boundaries were the Caucasus and the Jaxartes, in the south the tribes of Arabia and the negroes above Nubia. He set himself to give a regulated administration to this empire, which had been acquired by such vast conquests, and which in its wide extent threw the empire of the Assyrians completely into the shade. He made the first attempt known to history to organize his conquests and govern them on a fixed plan. Thus he became the real founder of the Persian empire. He succeeded so far that an empire, the like of which had not been seen upon earth, which enumerated the most various nations among its subjects, was really governed, and the foundations which he laid were so firm that in spite of many serious rebellions, the empire never fell from internal disorganization.

The chief support of the kingdom lay in the proud feeling of the Persians that they were the ruling nation of Asia, and governed the nations through[Pg 316] their king and with their king. They saw with satisfaction how the tribute, the contributions, the prisoners of the subject nations came from the furthest distance to their mountains, how the palaces of their king rose in ever-increasing splendour on their native soil, what brilliance and magnificence surrounded their ruler, the king of kings. From the Persians were chosen the magistrates who governed the provinces, and the generals who commanded their contingents; Persians surrounded the king and were his counsellors and judges. The court, the administration, and the army opened the most brilliant prospect to every Persian who was in a position to distinguish himself in the eyes of the king; and service in war offered acceptable pay to the man of the people. Persian troops, excellently appointed, protected the person of the king; they formed the garrisons of the fortresses, they were the nucleus of the army, and marched before the rest of the troops. In solemn processions and parades, the Persians were always on the right of the king.[316] They were not only free from tax and tribute of every kind, but largesses of money were made whenever the king entered Pasargadae (V. 357). Plato's Laws maintain that Darius established as law the allotments which Cyrus promised the Persians; in this way he had shown his inclination to the Persians and had established a common feeling between the ruler and the nation.[317] However this may be, every one, even the meanest Persian, felt that he had a share in the government of Asia.

It was a principle of the king of Persia from the time of Cyrus to grant to the leading families of the Persians and the Persian nobility a rich share in the[Pg 317] fruits and advantages of the empire, but at the same time to accustom them to dependence and subjection, and to train up in them a vigorous class of magistrates and officers. If the wealthy families of Persia remained in their old mode of life in the country, with their flocks, such a position might keep up a feeling of independence and freedom which was hardly compatible with the unlimited power of the king and the interests of the empire. It was desirable to bring them to the court, and keep them under supervision, to make them dependent on the favour of the king, and habituate them to constant service. The Median court had been numerous; the Persian court was even more extensive, not merely for the sake of magnificence, or to display the splendour and greatness of the ruler, and so impose upon the Persians and the subject nations, but also with a view of educating the nobility in court life. No one could count on advancement who did not show himself at the gate of the king; indeed it was difficult for any one whom the king did not see to obtain a hearing from him. Those whose duty it was to appear at court were urged not to fail in their appearance.[318] In this way they learnt not merely behaviour and conduct, modesty and self-control,[319] but were accustomed to live in the shadow of the throne, and to seek the sun of royal favour. In the immediate neighbourhood of the king men could look up with obedience and respect to the greatness of the ruler. If in this way the nobility were linked round the court, and instructed to strive for the favour of the king as the highest honour, if the strict ceremonial of the court reduced them to constant obedience, the[Pg 318] king on the other hand had opportunity to select, from personal knowledge and confidence, the magistrates to whom important posts might be entrusted.[320]

The officers round the person of the king, and employed in the service of the state and court, were numerous. Next to the throne came the six tribal princes, who wore the upright kidaris, the sign of royalty, and to them, as we often find, the most difficult duties in war, and the most important expeditions and provinces were entrusted. Next to the tribal princes were the seven supreme judges of the kingdom, who watched over the hereditary customs, and the controller of the empire, "the king's eye." Less influential, but nevertheless important owing to their personal relation to the king, were the "quiver-bearer" and the "lance-bearer"; we find the persons who filled these offices at the time depicted on the relief at Behistun beside the king. The office of "bearer of the king's footstool" is also mentioned. The great court-offices, of the "chief staff-bearer," "messenger," "announcer," "chief butler," "master of the horse," and "master of the chase," together with various other honourable offices, and many subordinate places, gave an opportunity of uniting a large number of Persians closely with the court life, and employing as viceroys and generals those whom the king had found to be excellent servants.[321] But Medes were employed in the service of the kingdom as well as Persians. If Media was treated in other respects like the rest of the provinces (it had to pay yearly 450 talents of tax, and furnish 100,000 sheep for the court), the system of Cyrus, who by entrusting important commissions to eminent Medes, had attempted to reconcile Media to the new[Pg 319] position of affairs, was followed by Darius in spite of the rebellion. From other nations only those who had been specially tested were in rare cases entrusted with high offices.

Cyrus had introduced the custom of rewarding loyalty and devotion to the king and service to the kingdom by distinctions, marks of honour, and gifts conferred in the most marked and distinctive manner,—of exciting ambition and emulation by favour and liberality. Who makes such presents, said Xenophon, as the king of the Persians?—armlets, chains, and horses with golden bridles; no one could possess such things unless they were presented to him by the king.[322] Who could compare with the decorated friends of the king of Persia?—he alone appeared in more splendid array. The sending of a portion from the royal table was no slight honour.[323] The present of the kaftan (kandys) was a common distinction; more important were the golden armlets, the golden chain, the golden crown, the golden wreath, the golden sabre, the horse with golden harness. Other presents were also made, as plane-trees and vines of gold, golden millstones more than 300 pounds in weight.[324] There were also gifts of property, and allocations of the produce of certain cities and districts. Pre-eminent services were rewarded by the title "Benefactor"; we remember that the Avesta requires the good thought, the good word, and the good act. Besides these distinctions, advancement to the upper classes of the kingdom counted as the highest honour. The "table companions" of the king, and above them "the kinsmen" of the king had the first portion in the kingdom[Pg 320] after the tribal princes and the great officers. The bestowal of the rank of the table companion conferred the right to eat at or near the table of the king, and occasionally to make merry with him. The elevation to be a "kinsman of the king" conferred the rank of an Achæmenid, a prince of the house. Like the king, the kinsmen wore a pale blue band round the tiara, and had the right to kiss the king, a custom which was usual in Persia among persons of equal rank.[325]

According to the statements of Herodotus, the boys of the Persians were instructed from their fifth to their twentieth year (Xenophon and Strabo assert till their twenty-fourth or twenty-fifth year) in riding, shooting with the bow, and speaking the truth.[326] In the Laws we are told that the boys of the Medes were entrusted to the women, and those of the Persians to free men. According to the assertion of Nicolaus of Damascus, Cyrus was already instructed in the philosophy of the Magians, in justice and truthfulness, as the hereditary laws prescribed for the leading Persians.[327] Plato tells us that the sons of the kings of the Persians were attended by eunuchs till their seventh year; from that time till the fourteenth year they learned to ride, shoot, and hunt. Then they received distinguished teachers, of whom the first instructed them in the wisdom of Zoroaster, and the business of the crown, the second in the duty of truthfulness, the third in temperance, the fourth in courage and bravery.[328] Plutarch observes that a[Pg 321] Magian presided over the education of the princes and instructed them even in magic.[329] Xenophon narrates that the princes and the children of the leading Persians were brought up "at the gate" of the king, where they learned temperance and prudence and saw nothing unbecoming. They observed what men were honoured by the king and whom he punished, and thus learned even in their boyhood to command and obey. Modesty and obedience were counted as a distinction among these boys. In this way they learned to be excellent riders, to throw the javelin, and use the bow. At a later time they became so skilful in hunting that they ventured to encounter a bear.[330] Even now, he says in another passage, it is the custom to educate children at the court, but the exercise in riding has fallen into disuse, because they no longer go where they could gain reputation by skill in the art; and if in former days they seemed to learn justice when they listened to just sentences, they now see that he obtains justice who gives most. And if they formerly learned the nature of all plants in order to avoid what was noxious, they now seem to have acquired this knowledge in order to do as much mischief as possible.[331] In Strabo's account the education seems arranged even more systematically. He tells us that the Persian boys were brought up, fifty together, with one of the sons of the king, or with the sons of the satraps. Intelligent men were appointed to teach them, who instructed them in the legends of the gods, sometimes with and sometimes without song, and also recounted to them the noblest deeds of men, besides those of gods.[332] At the same time the boys and young men[Pg 322] were rendered hardy. They were aroused early in the morning by the sound of a gong, and for food commonly received barley or wheaten bread, and water to drink; when hunting or keeping the flocks, they were compelled to live on wild fruits, acorns, and forest berries, and to pass the night in the open air. They had also to learn to distinguish wholesome and noxious herbs, to plant trees, and prepare hunting nets.[333]

Putting this evidence together, and remembering that even in the fourth century the kings and their retinue undertook long hunting expeditions on horseback, without permitting themselves to be checked by weariness, heat or cold, hunger or thirst,[334] there seems to be no doubt that the Persian kings introduced a system of education for the officers on the basis of the old mode of life and the customs of the nation, and in this system their own sons, so far as seemed good, had a part. Riding and shooting were national exercises among the Persians; hunting was necessary for the protection of the flocks, and was therefore carried on as a religious duty no less than as a pleasure; from all antiquity the keeping of flocks and the protection of them against beasts of prey was assigned to the youth. If these exercises were systematized, and regard was paid to the prospect of military service in some official capacity, if the young men were also accustomed to unhesitating obedience, such a school might be expected to supply capable and active officers and good generals. A hardy and vigorous life was the more necessary for the sons of the[Pg 323] Persians as luxury began to spread among the higher classes after the successes of Cyrus. We may believe the accounts of the Greeks that instruction in religion formed a part of the system; the Avesta requires such instruction, and it is usual among the Parsees at the present day (V. 196, 202). But the Greeks are wrong in supposing that these cadet schools were the general mode of education among the Persians, and maintaining that the Persian boys received a training like those of the Spartans. It was only for political reasons that a number of young men from the eminent families were educated to be generals and viceroys. Xenophon has perceived that the education was limited to the higher classes, and states this distinctly in the "Anabasis." This education went on partly under the eyes of the king at court, partly at the courts of the satraps, which were arranged on the pattern of the royal household.[335] Even under the Sassanids the sons of the nobles were educated at court; we have special mention of the teachers of the horsemen.[336]

It was not the intention of Cyrus or Darius to interfere with the life and habits of the subject nations more than was necessary in order to maintain their supremacy and to secure obedience. The ancient dynasties in Babylon and Egypt were removed; Cyrus, Cambyses, Darius, and Xerxes are called kings of Babylon in numerous inscriptions;[337] in Egypt, as the native inscriptions have shown us, they received the style and title of the Pharaohs. In both countries they take the place of the native monarchs, and not in name only, for at the same time they[Pg 324] undertake the protection of the national religion and law. The peculiar ordinances and the law, the political and administrative arrangements of the subject lands, are said to have continued under the Persian empire to the widest possible extent. In some cases, indeed, old native families remained at the head of affairs, as in Cilicia, the Phenician and Cyprian cities; in Bactria native princes governed the districts (V. 236); in the cities of the Greeks and the subjugated islands of the Ægean Sea, the Persian kings had set up princes from the native population. The nomad tribes of the empire could only be ruled by keeping up relations with their chiefs. But in whatever way the various parts of the subject territory were arranged, whether there were princes or a more popular administration, their communities, their lands and cities, were left to govern themselves in their hereditary manner, according to their own customs, laws, and rules, provided that they paid tribute and furnished a contingent in war. Darius appears even to have taken upon himself the development of the national law; we have seen that the Egyptians called him their sixth law-giver (p. 300).

The gods, the modes of religion and worship, were interfered with even less than the custom and law of the subject nations, notwithstanding that Cyrus and Darius with the Persians and Arians of Iran may have been convinced that there could be none but lying gods and false worship beside Auramazda and Mithra, and the gods of the Arians. The kings of the Persians were not even content with this liberal tolerance which forms the chief glory of their rule; they promoted the worship of the subject nations. The inscription on the brick at Senkereh,[338] mentions[Pg 325] Cyrus as the restorer of the great temple of Merodach at Babylon (the tower of Belus), and of the temple of Nebo at Borsippa (Bit-Zida); we found Cambyses with the Egyptian title of the new sun-god, and celebrated as the restorer of the worship of Neith at Sais; he is also represented in adoration before the Apis which died in his reign. And in this matter Darius did not remain behind his predecessors. We have already heard from the Egyptian Uzahorsun that he was sent to Egypt soon after the accession of Darius, in order to take care of the habitations of the gods and their festivals, i. e. to support and maintain the religious worship. In his temple at the Oasis of El Charigeh, Darius, adorned with the title "rival of the sun," offers prayer to Ammon with the ram's head. Darius caused the Apis which died in the fourth year of his reign to be buried (p. 301), and in spite of a recent rebellion, a sepulchre was built, "to endure for ever," for the Apis which appeared in the thirty-first year of his reign, i. e. in 491 B.C.; to make room for this the gallery of Psammetichus was extended. Darius, it is said, proposed a prize of 100 talents of gold for the discovery of this new Apis.[339]

Nor was it Egypt only which experienced the care of Darius for the national worship of the subject nations. The Samaritans had hindered the restoration of the temple and walls of Jerusalem, which the exiles from Babylonia had taken in hand, by threats and by warnings to the court of Cyrus (p. 99). When Darius ascended the throne, the prophets Haggai and Zechariah called upon their countrymen to finish the restoration of the temple. Haggai reproved the indifference to solemn duties and the selfishness[Pg 326] which allowed panelled houses to rise for men, while the house of God was desolate: "therefore the heavens restrained their dew, and the earth her increase." He reminded them of the punishments which had come upon their fathers for neglecting the will of Jehovah: he demanded vigorous action from Zerubbabel and the high priest Joshua; he pronounced the blessing of Jehovah, if the temple were finished and proclaimed to Zerubbabel the son of Salathiel, to whom, eighteen years before (p. 93), Cyrus had entrusted the leadership of the "sons of captivity," that Jehovah would keep him as his seal-ring if the work were finished. To Joshua Zechariah promises royal splendour and long posterity in return for the building of the temple.[340] When the temple is restored, the scattered remnants of Israel would return, and if the walls of Jerusalem were not restored, Jehovah would be a wall of fire to his city. "Many people and mighty nations will come to seek Jehovah at Jerusalem, and make supplication in the presence of the Lord."[341] The exhortations of the prophets had such effect that the building of the temple and the city-walls was taken up again in the second year of Darius (520 B.C.). When the satrap of Syria, who is called Thathnai in the book of Ezra, and his subordinates raised the question—who had given permission for the building—the Jews fell back on the written permission of Cyrus. The satrap referred the matter to the king. According to the narrative of the Jews Darius caused a search to be made for this document in Babylon and Ecbatana, and when it was found in the archives at Ecbatana, he sanctioned the building by a new royal rescript. The work was carried on under repeated exhortations[Pg 327] of the two prophets, and after four years and five months it was completed. In the sixth year of Darius (516 B.C.), seventy years after Nebuchadnezzar had pulled it down, the temple was rebuilt. The dedication was made by a sin-offering of twelve goats from the twelve tribes of Israel, and a thank-offering of 100 bulls, 200 rams, and 400 lambs.[342] The walls of the city and the ancient citadel of David by degrees rose once more.[343]

In the place of the governorships which Cyrus and Cambyses had established as the need arose, Darius introduced fixed departments. About the year 515 B.C. the kingdom was divided into twenty satrapies. Asia Minor was broken up into four satrapies. The first included the west coast of Asia Minor; it was the narrow strip of coast in which lay the Greek cities from the Sigean promontory as far as Caria; the territory of the Carians also, and that of the Lycians, the Solymi, and Pamphylians, under the Taurus on the south coast, were attached to this satrapy. The second satrapy, of which the metropolis was Sardis, comprised Mysia and Lydia, together with the southern strip of Phrygia. To the third satrapy, the satraps of which resided at Dascyleum on the Hellespont, the Greek cities on the Hellespont, the Propontis, and the Bosphorus were allotted; the Thracians in Asia, i. e. the Bithynians, the Paphlagonians, the Phrygians as far as the Halys, and the Cappadocians beyond the Halys as far as the border of Armenia. Cilicia with its metropolis of Tarsus was the fourth satrapy. Between Asia Minor and the highlands of Iran there were six satrapies. The Tibarenes, Mosynoeci, Macrones, and Moschians on the Pontus, formed the first (the eighteenth in Herodotus'[Pg 328] reckoning); the nations who dwelt to the east of them in the valley of the Araxes, the Saspeires and Alarodians, along with the western part of Armenia, formed the second (the eleventh); the rest of Armenia the third (the thirteenth); Syria and Phoenicia and the island of Cyprus the fourth (the fifth);[344] Assyria and Babylonia, with the metropolis, Babylon, the fifth (the ninth); the land of the Cissians (Susiana) on the left bank of the Tigris the sixth (the eighth). Egypt with Cyrene and Barca, the subject tribes in Ethiopia and Libya, formed a separate satrapy (the sixth); the satrap resided at Memphis. The table-land of Iran was broken up into nine satrapies. These were the satrapy of Media (the tenth); the satrapy of the Caspians, which comprised the lands to the north of the Medes on the Caspian Sea, the valley of the Cyrus, and the lands of the Cardusians, the Mardians, the Tapurians and Hyrcanians (the nineteenth); the satrapy of the Parthians, Arians, Chorasmians, and Sogdians (the sixteenth); the satrapy of the Sacae (the fifteenth); the satrapy of the Bactrians, to which the Margians also seem to have belonged (the twelfth);[345] the satrapy of the Sattagydæ (Thataghus) and the Gandarians, i. e. of the Gedrosians, the Arachoti, and the Gandharas, on the south bank of the Cabul (the seventh);[346] the satrapy of the Sagartians and Sarangians, which extended in the east of Persia as far to the south as the Persian Gulf, and included the islands belonging to it (the fourteenth); the satrapy of the[Pg 329] Paricanians and Ethiopians in Asia; i. e. the inhabitants of the southern edge of the table-land on the east, including the black tribes in the delta of the Indus (the seventeenth); and finally the satrapy of the Indians, which included all the tribes on the right bank of the Indus, from the summits of the Himalayas to the junction of the Cabul and the Indus (the twentieth).[347]

The viceroys whom Darius placed over these districts had to keep the aggregate of the various political bodies, of which the satrapies consisted, in obedience to the empire and in peace towards each other; to collect the taxes and tribute, to summon and organize the military levies. The satrap was the highest authority in his province—the supreme appeal in law, administration, and military affairs. The king alone was superior. He was the judge before whom could be laid appeals from the judgment of the princes and local boards, if the claimant had not preferred to go to him in the first instance; he was the only judge between the princes, the districts, the tribes[Pg 330] and cities of his province. His arrangements must be obeyed. He was to take measures for the advancement of cultivation and the increase of the population in his province, both as fullfilling the rules of the Avesta, and in the interest of the kingdom. He kept watch over trade and currency, over the military roads, the stations, the harbours, the canals and dams; he had the right to strike silver coins for his province. He had charge of the military affairs of the province; and was responsible for the weapons and ships when required for the levy. The apportionment of the taxes and tributes to the districts and communities of the province, the collection of these, and the despatch of the proper revenues to the king were among his duties. He had royal scribes to assist him in these matters, who read to him the commands of the king and drew up his reports to the king. It was not likely to escape Darius that the great powers in the hands of the satrap would lead him to use his delegated power independently and even against his chief. The attempt of Oroetes to found an independent monarchy in Asia Minor, had caused him great anxiety in a time of difficulty. He could not always expect that such tendencies in distant provinces could be known in time, or that rebellions on the part of satraps could be prevented. The king withdrew from them the nomination of the commanders of the castles, which controlled the main roads of the provinces, the more important fortresses and citadels of the provinces, e. g. the citadels at Ecbatana, Babylon, and Memphis, that, as Xenophon says, "a satrap who trusting to his power and the number of his subjects should refuse obedience, might find opponents in his province"; and he even nominated the commanders of the[Pg 331] Persian battalions, which formed the garrisons of the fortresses,[348] but limitations of this kind were insufficient against the power which their office gave to the satrap, if the royal power was unable to make itself felt with force and rapidity. The central power must be in vigorous operation against the satraps, if the feeling of dependence and responsibility were to be kept alive among them. Appeals from the jurisdiction of the satraps to the king were possible for the adjacent provinces and did occur, but for the inhabitants of more distant provinces they were extremely difficult; yet these were the provinces chiefly in point. If months elapsed before an order of the kings reached Memphis or Sardis, the Indus or the Caucasus, or the satraps of these provinces received an answer to their questions, the necessary result would be that these men would regard themselves as independent, withdrawn from all authority and obedience. And the distant provinces, no less than the satraps, had to be kept in order. If reinforcements were to be sent to them the march must not be too long; if the borders were to be defended at the right time, the advance of the army from the inner provinces must not occupy too much time. The larger the empire the more urgently were rapid communications required to give reality to the operation of the central force and secure the kingdom within and without. The distance from the Strymon to the Indus was enormous; from Ephesus to the Hindu[Pg 332] Kush was 3000 miles, and from Memphis to Sogdiana 2500 miles.

Darius perceived that the kingdom could not be governed or maintained without good communications. When the western border of the empire touched the Hellespont, the palaces in Persia were too far to the east; and the difficulty was increased when Africa, as far as the greater Syrtis, and the Thracian coast and Macedonia in Europe had been conquered. Reasons of this kind must have induced Darius to place the centre of administration as nearly as possible in the centre of the kingdom; yet he dared not venture to move too far from Persia. He did not hesitate to move his residence further to the west out of the native territory into Susiana, a region occupied by subjects of alien race and language, and make Susa the centre and metropolis of the kingdom. Strabo tells us that Cyrus and the Persians saw that, after the subjugation of the Medes, their land lay at the remote edge, while Susiana was more in the centre, and nearer the Babylonians and the other nations. For this reason they transferred the seat of the monarchy there, availing themselves of the proximity of the land and the fame of the city. The change was the more desirable because Susiana had never pursued an ambitious course of policy, but had always been part of a larger state, except perhaps in the times of the heroes.[349] It is a mistake in Strabo, which however Herodotus and Aeschylus had already made, to say that Cyrus transferred the residence from Persia to Susa. Aeschylus speaks of Darius as the Susa-born god of Persia; and Herodotus places the palace and government of the Pseudo-Smerdis at Susa; it is from the tower of the walls[Pg 333] of the citadel of Susa that Prexaspes throws himself; there the Magian is assassinated, Darius is raised to the throne, and resides from the very beginning of his reign. But this is an anticipation of the residence which was erected here by Darius with the intention that it should be the fixed abode of himself and his successors, the centre of the kingdom and the government. Pliny and Aelian tell us definitely that Darius built Susa the royal citadel of the Persians, and the inscriptions confirm this statement.[350] Not less incorrect is the remark of Strabo, that Susiana had always formed part of a larger kingdom, and had never pursued an ambitious policy. On the contrary we saw how Elam, after an independence of 1500 years, became subject first to Assyria for a few decades, and then to Media and Persia. And the Elamites had so little forgotten their ancient days that they rose three times against Darius.[351]

The intention to keep the Semitic lands in check, to be nearer Babylon, without giving up the communication with the native land, must have contributed to the resolution of Darius to transfer the residence to Susa. If Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon had carried a road from his metropolis in a slanting direction through the desert to Syria (III. 365), works of this kind were far more urgently needed for the immensely greater extent of the Persian empire. Great roads must be made from Susa in all directions to the borders of the empire, and maintained. Though Cyrus and Cambyses may have made some steps in this direction, it was Darius who carried out the plan and founded the great system of roads which traversed[Pg 334] Persia in all directions, and were now carried from Susa. "Who," asks Xenophon, "could so quickly strike down opponents, separated from him by a road of many months, as the king of the Persians?"[352] At the close of his "Persian History" Ctesias gave a sketch of the Persian roads, which led from Ephesus to Bactria and India, with an account of the stations, days'-journey, and parasangs. This is lost. We know but one member of the system, the road which led from Susa, past Sardis, to Ephesus. Of this road, which interested the Greeks most, Herodotus gives the following account: "From the Greek sea to Susa is a distance of 14,040 stades (1755 miles). From Ephesus to Sardis is a distance of 540 stades (67½ miles), which can be traversed in three days. From this point there are royal stations and the most excellent inns: the whole road passes through inhabited lands and is secure. First, it passes through the region of the Lydians, who inhabit a fruitful land and are rich in silver; then through the region of the Phrygians, who are rich in cattle and fruits of the field; these make up 20 stations, 94½ parasangs. Then the Halys has to be crossed; there are gates here through which you must pass in order to go over the river, and a strong guard-house. Beyond the river you are in Cappadocia, and to the borders of Cilicia is a distance of 28 stations and 104 parasangs. On the borders of Cappadocia and Cilicia are two gates and two guard-houses: passing through Cilicia in three stations, a distance of 15 parasangs, you reach the border of Armenia which is formed by the Euphrates. The Euphrates is crossed by a ferry. In Armenia, which possesses much cattle, there are 15 stations provided with guard-houses, and 56½ parasangs. Then follows the[Pg 335] Tigris, and two other rivers bearing the same name (the Greater and the Lesser Zab); and finally the Gyndes, which Cyrus diverted from its channel: these have to be crossed in boats. From Armenia you pass to the Matieni, the neighbours of the Armenians; here there are 34 stations and 137 parasangs to be traversed; from the borders of the Matieni and the Cissians (i. e. the Susiani) to the Choaspes, where Susa is built upon it (this river has also to be crossed by a ferry), are 11 stations and 42½ parasangs, making a total of 111 stations and 450 parasangs, or 13,500 stades (1687½ miles). Hence if the royal road has been rightly measured, and a traveller makes 150 stades (five parasangs, 19 miles) a day, he goes from Sardis to Susa in 90 days, and to Ephesus (if we add in the distance from Ephesus to Sardis) in 93 days."

From this description we see that the road has been accurately measured, well-kept, guarded, and provided with stations about every 15 miles, in which the travellers could find shelter. As Herodotus calls these inns very beautiful, we must assume that after the Persian fashion they were provided with plantations, and this is confirmed by other evidence. We are told that a station on the royal road in Cadusia, in a wholly bare and treeless region, was surrounded by a park of high pines and cypresses. The Indians also were accustomed to plant their roads and provide them with shady resting-places. The road from Sardis to Susa did not take the shortest route; the object was to escape the Syrian and Phrygian desert, and carry the road through regions which could support the army on the march. Hence it ran from Susa in the valley of the Tigris on the left bank of the river through Susiana and the native land of the Assyrians, for 600 miles in a north-westerly direction, to the[Pg 336] mountains of Armenia. The region between the Tigris and the Zagrus to the north of the satrapy of Cissia (Susiana) is called by Herodotus the land of the Matieni, and he extends this name, which is elsewhere used only for the tribes dwelling round the Lake of Urumiah, to the Tigris. Armenia proper was then crossed by the road in a straight line from east to west, from the upper Tigris to the upper Euphrates. Of Cilicia it touched merely the north-east corner, and then cut through Cappadocia in a north-westerly direction to the Halys. It crossed the river in the neighbourhood of Pteria, passed in a south-westerly direction through Phrygia, leaving the desert to the south, and Lydia to Sardis.[353] From this great road to the west then branched off between the Gyndes (Diala) and the Physcus (Adhem) the road to Babylon, and at Physcus the road to Ecbatana.

The royal roads through the kingdom secured before all things the rapid operation of the central power and the king on the representatives of his power in the provinces. The stations were used for a postal[Pg 337] arrangement, the duty of which it was to carry the commands of the king and the reports and questions of the satraps. Thanks to this post the king was in the possession of a means of communication far superior to that within the reach of any of his subjects. At the stations on all the roads of the kingdom, at intervals of 15 miles or a little more, horses and riders (Astandae, Angari) were placed, whose sole business it was to carry the royal messages and errands. One of these postmen must always be in attendance, in order to carry a letter as soon as it arrived, at the full speed of his horse, by day or by night, in heat or in snow, to the next station. Among the Greeks it was said that the Persian couriers travelled swifter than cranes; Herodotus also assures us that nothing in the world was more rapid than these horsemen.[354] Thus the king's commands travelled on well-built and carefully-guarded roads by this post in the shortest space of time to the most remote provinces. They were brought from Susa to Sardis in five or six days and nights. The commands of the king to the satraps were always given in writing, and accredited by the impression of the king's seal.[355] This seal presents to us king Darius with the covered tiara on his head standing on the chariot behind the charioteer; a lion, struck by his arrow, lies beneath the hoofs of the horses which are leaping forward. The king is about to shoot a third arrow at a second huge lion, which has reared himself up in self-defence, and has already received two arrows from the king. At the side a date palm[Pg 338] is visible; over the king hovers Auramazda. The inscription, which is in three languages, says: "I am Darius, the great king."[356] The rapidity with which the king's commands reached even the satraps of the most distant lands, kept the authority of the king before them. The fortresses and guard-posts on the roads not only served to maintain security on and near them, and to make commerce safe; they were also used to control trade, and travelling, and any correspondence among the subjects. The fortresses were placed at points which could not be avoided, in narrow passes, or on the bridges of great rivers. Those in command dared not allow any one to pass who did not establish his right, as above suspicion. The scribes assigned to the commanders looked over all the letters, which were carried through by messengers.[357] As the fortresses in which these guard-posts lay were placed in the most important divisions of the country, the roads could be closed by the posts. If a rebellion arose in this or that quarter, the effect on the neighbouring province was checked by closing the roads by means of the forts, or the road was defended from post to post. And if an enemy invaded from outside he found in them points of resistance, and the Persians points of support.

The guidance and control of the viceroys was not confined to the rapid and lively communications between them and the king. The Greeks tell us that the king travelled every year to this or that province in order to review the troops, and examine the cultivation of the soil. Where the king did not make a visitation in person, he did so by confidential ministers. We are further informed that these visitations[Pg 339] were entrusted to the princes of the royal house.[358] Where the king found that the land was populous and well cultivated, the forests in good order, and the fields full of the fruits which the land produced, he distinguished the governor by gifts and honours. But where he found the land thinly populated and badly cultivated, whether it was owing to the severity, the neglect, or the extortion of the satrap, the satrap was punished and removed from his place.[359] The charge of the whole country lay on the chief overseer, the high official who bore the title of the "king's eye." In the Persians of Aeschylus, the chorus inquire of Xerxes, "Where his faithful eye has remained?" Herodotus notices as an arrangement of the Median kingdom, that the king named a man especially devoted to him, his "Eye." We see that unexpected inspections were made by the "Eye" of the Persian king, and that his subordinates, who were not known to be such, carried on a minute superintendence over the conduct of the satraps, the other officers, and the subject people.[360] Still more mysterious was the work of the officers who were known as the king's "Ears." They cannot have been far removed from spies. We saw to what an extent the princes of India carried on the system of secret espionage. Herodotus told us in regard to Deioces that his spies and informers were in every land, and a Persian proverb said, "The king has many eyes and ears." The Greeks declare that the Persian spies did not always content themselves with relating what they had heard, but told much besides in order to show their zeal. Accusation was[Pg 340] received with favour by the king and rewarded by distinctions and presents.[361] We saw what control was exercised on the great roads, the arteries of communication. Owing to the number of guard-houses in each road, which repeated the inquiries of the first, any one at the court was in a position to compare the accounts of the commanders, and to control them. No one passed even the borders of Babylonia without proving who he was, and of what city, and why he was travelling.[362] In this way every suspicious circumstance was brought to light, and it was certain that no conspiracy or rebellion could be contrived without some indications being received at the court of the king.

What could not be prevented by the control of the higher and lower officers, and the police supervision of the subjects, was suppressed by the severe exercise of punishment, which was intended to strike fear into magistrate and subject alike by the force of terrible examples. The terrorist use of punishment which the Brahmans on the Ganges knew how to prove to be a divine right, and a duty of the royal office, was in Persia regarded as an indispensable means for supporting the state. And as a fact obedience to the absolute ruler rested, in the magistrates and the ruling tribe, more decidedly on the apprehension of punishment than on any personal interest or common share in the maintenance of the kingdom; and in the subject nations it rested on the fear of the ruler and the interests which the Persian kings gained in those districts. Those entrusted with the power of office must also be the most obedient and submiss. Above all, the feeling must be kept alive in the satraps of the provinces that the enormous powers[Pg 341] delegated to them were given on the condition of absolute obedience. The severe penalties which overtook any resistance, or the careless execution of a royal command, were only the reverse of the favours which fell to their lot in other circumstances. However earnestly the religion of Zarathrustra preached the regard for life, the rules of religion were compelled, even in Persia, to give way to reasons of state. We find Darius no less than Cambyses inflicting severe penalties for trifling offences. If the satraps gave any grounds for suspicion, they were either secretly or openly removed out of the way.[363] But even in the judges and on those who were not officers every transgression and act of disobedience to the wish of the king was cruelly punished. Darius, who was not considered a harsh ruler, did not content himself with the execution of Intaphernes; he caused nearly all the males of the house to be put to death, though Intaphernes had taken such a prominent part in the assassination of the Magian. The leaders of the rebellions in the provinces were punished by crucifixion or hanging. Khsathrita, who caused the Medes to revolt, and Chitratakhma, the leader of the Sagartians, had their noses and ears cut off before execution, and in this state were exposed to public view.[364] When Darius marched against the Scythians, Oeobazus, a distinguished Persian, entreated that one of his three sons might remain behind. The king considered that this wish was not in harmony with the devotion which every Persian owed to the kingdom; he replied that all his sons should remain, and at once ordered them to be executed. Sandoces, one of the royal judges, had been bribed to give a false judgment; Darius caused him to be crucified; he was already[Pg 342] placed on the cross when the king remembered that he had done more good than evil to the royal house, and ordered him to be taken down again. He lived, and remained in the service, but not in the highest court of the kingdom.[365] One of the mildest forms of punishment was banishment to the islands of the Persian Gulf. Common punishments were the loss of eyes, nose, ears, tongue; the cutting off of hands, arms, and feet; scourgings were frequent, and they were inflicted even by the satraps.[366] The king pronounced the sentence of death by touching the girdle of the accused, or occasionally allowed it to be pronounced in his presence by the seven judges. The sentence was then carried out by crucifixion or decapitation.[367] In later times we hear of grinding between stones, incisions in the body while alive, and painful imprisonment in troughs; Xenophon indeed tells us that one of those who took part in the rebellion of the younger Cyrus was tortured for a whole year.[368]

If we compare the practice of the princes of Persia with the conduct of the Assyrian kings, and the later rulers of the East, we cannot fail to recognize that the officers under the Achaemenids were in a better position and more richly paid, but also better controlled and kept in greater dependence than was the case afterwards. The subjects, in spite of acts of cruel caprice which affected certain persons, were incomparably better off than those of the Assyrians, or of the dynasties which afterwards ruled the East. They were governed with more intelligence and clemency than the subjects of the Porte, or the[Pg 343] Khedive, or the Shah of Persia, or the Emirs of Cabul and Herat. It was no small thing that the Persian kings established peace in all Asia from the shores of the Hellespont to the Belurdagh, and maintained order and security from the Nile to the Himalayas. Moreover, the religion and worship of the subject nations, of whatever kind they might be, were not injured, but rather protected and held in honour. Law, justice, and manners remained the same, and the subjects preserved their local self-government. Agriculture in the provinces received attention, trade and commerce went on along the roads and rivers of the vast empire, and was not only unmolested but protected.


[316] Herod. 7, 55; 8, 113; 9, 31. Xenoph. "Cyri Instit." 8, 3, 10, 25.

[317] "Laws," p. 695. Vol. V. 390 n. 2.

[318] Xenoph. "Cyri Instit." 8, 1, 5, 6, 17-20.

[319] Xenoph. "Cyri Instit." 8, 1, 33.

[320] Xenoph. "Cyri Instit." 8, 1, 11.

[321] Xenoph. "Cyri Instit." 8, 1, 9.

[322] Xenoph. "Cyri Instit." 8, 1, 40; 8, 2, 7-9.

[323] Xenoph. "Anab." 1, 9, 25; "Cyri Instit." 8, 2, 3.

[324] Herod. 3, 130. 8, 118; Ctes. "Pers." 22; Xenoph. "Cyri Instit." 8, 3, 3, 4; "Anab." 1, 2; Plut. "Artaxerxes," c. 10-14.

[325] Herod. 1,134; Xenoph. "Anab." 1, 9, 31; "Cyri Instit." 8, 3, 13; Arrian, "Anab." 7, 11; Curtius, 3, 3, 19.

[326] Herod. 1, 136; Xenoph. "Cyri Instit." 1, 2, 13; 8, 8, 7; Strabo, p. 733.

[327] Nicol. Damasc. fragm. 67, ed. Müller; "Laws," p. 695.

[328] "Alcib. I." p. 121, 122.

[329] Plut. "Artax." c. 3.

[330] Xenoph. "Anab." 1, 9.

[331] Xenoph. "Cyri Instit." 8, 8, 13.

[332] Themistocles also was instructed in the doctrine of the Magians, when he was trained for a place at the Persian court; Plut. "Themist." c. 29.

[333] Strabo, p. 733, 734.

[334] Xenoph. "Cyri Instit." 8, 1, 33; 8, 6, 10, 13, 14. Plut. "Artax." c. 5, 24.

[335] Xenoph. "Anab." 1, 9, 3.

[336] Nöldeke, "Tabari," s. 389, 443.

[337] G. Smith, "Discoveries," p. 387, 388; Boscawen, "Transactions Bibl. Arch." 6, 61 ff.

[338] Above, p. 109.

[339] Mariette, "Athen. Franç,." May, 1855, p. 48; Brugsch, "Hist. of Egypt," 2, 291. Above, p. 301, n. 3.

[340] Haggai i. 4, 10; ii. 16-20; Zechariah vi. 11-13.

[341] Zechariah ii. 4, 5; viii. 23.

[342] Ezra c. vi.; Psalm lxvi. appears to refer to this.

[343] Nehemiah i. 3.

[344] In the three lists of nations in the inscriptions of Darius, Syria and Phenicia are not specially mentioned; they must be included in the names Babylonia and Arabia; in the same way Lydians, Phrygians, Carians, and Mysians are included in the name Çparda, i. e. Sardis.

[345] Behistun, 3, 11 ff.

[346] The inscription of Behistun specially designates Arachosia and Bactria as satrapies, 3, 13, 14, 54, 55.

[347] Herodotus (3, 89) places this arrangement into satrapies immediately after the accession. This is impossible, owing to the rebellions, which continued down to the year 517 B.C. But from the fact that Herodotus includes the Indians in this arrangement, and represents the Thracians and the islands as added subsequently (3, 94, 96), we may conclude that it was made after the Indian conquests and before the successes of Megabyzus and Otanes, i. e. about 515 B.C. The arrangement of Darius was not retained without changes. Babylonia and Assyria were afterwards separated; Babylonia formed one satrapy, Syria and Assyria a second, Phoenicia and Arabia a third. The satrapy of the Ionians revolted after the battle of Mycale; in the Peloponnesian war, we find, as in the time of Cyrus, two satrapies in hither Asia, Sardis and Dascyleum. Xenophon ("Anab." in fine) enumerates six satrapies in Asia Minor: Lydia, Phrygia, Bithynia, Paphlagonia, Cappadocia and Lycaonia, Cilicia. Arrian, ("Anab." 1, 12) enumerates five: Phrygia on the Pontus, Greater Phrygia, Lydia, Cappadocia, Cilicia; and, finally, in these later periods several satrapies were united in one hand.

[348] Above, p. 110. Xenoph. "Cyri Instit." 8, 6, 1, 9, 10; Curtius, 5, 1, 20. There is no doubt that the satraps commanded the troops of their districts; at a later time they even carried on independent wars. That the garrisons of the fortresses were bound to obedience follows from Herod. 3, 128. The limitations, which Xenophon ascribes to Cyrus, must belong to Darius; "Cyri Instit." 7, 5, 34, 69, 70; "Oecon." 4, 6.

[349] Strabo, p. 727.

[350] Plin. "H. N." 6, 27; Ael. "Hist. Anim." 1, 59. Ardeshir also found Fars too distant; he made Shahabad near Susa the second city of the kingdom.

[351] Vol. I. 252. Vol. III. 175. Above, p. 253.

[352] "Cyri Instit." 8, 2, 9.

[353] Kiepert has convincingly shown how the lacuna in Herodotus (5, 52) is to be filled up ("Monatsberichte der Berliner Akademie," 1857, s. 123). Xenophon gives twelve short marches and about ten parasangs from the foot of the Carduchian mountains to the Greater Zab—i. e. about 60 parasangs; from the Zab to the Physcus is 50 parasangs; from the Physcus to the bridge of the Tigris at Sittace is 20 parasangs. The territory which he traversed in this region he considers to be part of Media ("Anabasis," 2, 4 ff.). Hence there can be no doubt that the length of the royal road from the point where it crossed the Tigris to the borders of Susiana was 137 parasangs. If Xenophon passed beyond the point at which the royal road crosses the Tigris, to the north, this is amply compensated by the greater distance from the bridge at Sittace to the Gyndes and the borders of Susiana. At Opis the column of the Greeks came upon the Persians who were marching from Ecbatana to Babylon. So the road from Ecbatana must have joined the great royal road at Physcus, and then it ran past Sittace to Babylon. Alexander also, in order to come from Babylon to Susa, first marched north-east to Sittace, and after crossing the Tigris proceeded south-east to Susa: Diod. 17, 65, 66.

[354] Herod. 5, 14; 8, 98; Xenoph. "Cyri Instit." 8, 6, 17. Suidas and Hesychius Ἀστάνδης, Ἄγγαρος. Plut. "Artax." 25; "Alex." 18. Xenophon ascribes even this arrangement to Cyrus, but it could only be made effectual by a network of first-rate roads.

[355] Herod. 3, 128; Ezra i. 23; vi. 2; Esther iii. 9, 12-15; Arrian, "Anab." 3, 11.

[356] In Layard; cf. Brandis, "Münzwesen in Vorderasien," s. 231.

[357] Herod. 5, 35, 49-52. 7, 239.

[358] Xenoph. "Cyri Instit." 8, 6, 16.

[359] Xenoph. "Oecon." 4, 8-12.

[360] Herod. 1, 114; Aesch. "Pers." 980; Plut. "Artax." 12. Suidas and Hesych. ὀφθαλμός; Xenoph. "Cyri Instit." 8, 6, 16; 8, 2, 11.

[361] Xenoph. "Cyri Instit." 8, 2, 10; Brisson, "De Reg. Pers." 1, 190.

[362] Herod. 5, 35, 49-52; 7, 239; Brisson, loc. cit. 1, 180.

[363] Herod. 3, 129; 4, 166; Plut. "Artax." 23.

[364] Above, p. 247, 248.

[365] Herod. 4, 84; 7, 194.

[366] Xenoph. "Anab." 1, 9; Brisson, "de Reg. Pers." 2, 227 ff.

[367] Xenoph. "Anab." 1, 6; Plut. "Artax." 29; Curtius, 3, 2, 16-19; Diod. 17, 30.

[368] Plut. "Artax." 14, 16, 17, 19; Xenoph. "Anab." 2, 6.



[Pg 344]



The empire of Darius rested on the fact that the Persians regarded themselves as the governing nation in Asia, and on their desire and determination to maintain this position, with the advantages which it brought to them; on the devotion and fidelity with which the Persian tribal princes and nobles stood by the king; on their habits of obedience and subjection; on the ambition of officers and governors, which was excited by obvious distinctions; on the education of a considerable portion of the Persian youth specially for service in the army and the state. Darius was at pains to add to these foundations substantial means for maintaining the empire in the greatest profusion. When he abandoned the system of Cyrus and Cambyses, who had allowed the provinces to fix the amount of their yearly tribute themselves, and set himself to secure a fixed income for the state, it was previously necessary to fix the standard according to which the tribute, which would now be paid as taxes, should be assessed; to arrange the value at which the royal chest would accept the various standards current in the subject nations.

With this object he created a currency. He founded his standard on the forms which the Babylonian system had developed in the course of time. The[Pg 345] new gold currency was struck on the standard of the Babylonian gold talent, i. e. on a normal weight of 50½ pounds. Three thousand coins were struck out of this total. The gold in this new currency was purer than that used by Crœsus, or in the older coins in the Ionic cities of Asia Minor; the coins which have come down to us show but little alloy of silver. The gold piece weighed 8.40 grammes; and had in our coinage a value of about 21 shillings; hence the gold talent of Darius was worth 3000 guineas. These new pieces were called by the Hebrews Darkon and Darkemon, among the Greeks Darics. It was of the first importance to bring the gold of the coinage into a simple and easily convertible ratio with silver. In order to do this the silver coins were struck from a larger weight than the gold. Here also Darius used a Babylonian talent;—the silver talent of 67½ pounds, for the normal weight. From this 3000 staters were struck of a weight of 11.14 grammes; or 6000 drachmas of a weight of 5.57 grammes. The silver staters of Darius (silver darics) were called by the Greeks Median sigli (shekels). As gold was valued at 13⅓ times the value of silver, the silver stater, which was one-fourth heavier than the gold coin, was equal to a tenth part of its value, and the drachma to a twentieth. Hence the gold daric was changed for ten silver staters or twenty silver drachmas. The silver talent of Darius was worth more than £300 of our money, the silver stater was worth about two shillings. The silver talent of Darius (which the Greeks call the Babylonian talent) stood to the Euboean talent of the Greeks, who had used the light Babylonian talent as a standard, in a ratio of 3 to 4.[369][Pg 346]

The new darics were marked with the figure of the king. Three hundred have been lately found in the bed of the canal which the son of Darius caused to be cut through the promontory of Athos; and they exhibit Darius running or kneeling, in a long cloak, with the kaftan over it, the royal tiara on the head, with thick hair and beard; in the right hand, which is depressed, we find a lance; sometimes a sword; and in the left, which is outstretched, the bow. The silver coins of the king also carried his image; in these he sometimes holds an arrow instead of a bow in his left hand. For the Syrian districts Darius had a special large silver coin of about 28 grammes struck, in addition to the royal currency. These present the king with his right hand elevated and his left depressed, on his chariot, which is drawn by four or six horses, which spring over a dead lion. On the reverse is the picture of a city with towers. On other coins of the same kind, the reverse of which presents a galley with rowers, the king is also on his chariot, the horses are moving slowly, and the royal staff-bearer follows the chariot.

The new coinage was not entirely to expel or replace the standards current in the provinces. The coining of gold was indeed reserved for the crown, but the old silver coins of the provinces were not only[Pg 347] allowed to be current, they might even be increased, for the right to coin silver was left to the districts, cities, and dynasties. They were allowed to use their own standards, and mark their coins in whatever way they pleased. Communities could put the arms of the city, the dynasts their own portraits, on the coins. The satraps also had the right to coin silver coins, and mark them with special emblems, their names or portraits (among the emblems we find two men before a fire-altar, the form of Auramazda, etc.). The silver money which the satraps struck had no legal privileges over the common coins of the provinces. In the first instance they were coined in exceptional cases when there was a deficiency of the currency, or money was needed for important military undertakings. The satraps, like the countries, the cities, and dynasts, rarely coined after the royal standard; they generally followed the standards common in their provinces in order to meet the local needs.[370] In the fourth century B.C. they began to coin more frequently. At the chest of the king only the royal currency was accepted; all other coins were received as bullion, weighed by the royal standard, and then melted down in order to be struck in the royal currency and issued when required.[371]

It was the opinion of Darius that the crown ought to possess the means for the largest outlay that could be demanded. The treasury of Cyrus was not perhaps exhausted, but no doubt it was seriously diminished by the campaigns of Cambyses, the Magian, the rising of Vahyazdata, and the suppression of the rebellions. The object to be attained was that the yearly income should considerably surpass the yearly expenditure;[Pg 348] the excess could then be collected in the treasury, which would thus be in a position to pay and support for years the largest armies that could be required. The care which Darius bestowed on the currency and taxation astonished the Persians, who no doubt remembered the magnanimous conduct of Cyrus, to whom such things were of little moment; as Herodotus tells us, they called him the "retail-dealer" in contrast to Cyrus.[372] The measure, by which Darius imposed on all his lands the taxes which they had to pay year by year, was the produce of their soil. If the tax which was thus laid on the soil of the provinces on a fixed ratio was not excessive, they were nevertheless subject to services, and the crown could with certainty reckon on the payment of the contributions. The whole amount of arable land in the provinces was measured by parasangs (each of 30 stades); and according to the extent, when thus ascertained, and the quality of the soil, as Herodotus states, the taxes of the provinces were fixed in the royal currency. Within each province the various countries and cantons, which formed a political unit, whether under dynasts or chieftains, or some other form of constitution, were burdened with a fixed share of the contribution of the whole—as we may see from the statement that the overseers of the cantons and countries were responsible for the payment of the taxes. After exhausting wars, new measurements were made with a view to further valuations.[373] The lowest contribution of land-tax was made by the satrapy of the Arachoti (the Pactyans of Herodotus), and the Gedrosians (the Sattagydae of Herodotus), to which belonged also the Gandarians to the south of Cabul; it amounted to 170 talents of silver (about[Pg 349] £50,000); the next lowest amount was 200 talents, (about £57,000), which was paid by two satrapies, the Saspeires and Alarodians in the valley of the Araxes, and the Caspians, i. e. the Cadusians, the Mardians, the Tapurians, and Hyrcanians. The satrapy of the Sacians paid 250 talents (£70,000). Four satrapies paid 300 talents (£85,000), the satrapy of the Parthians, Areians, Chorasmians and Sogdiani, of the Moschians and Tibarenes, of the Ionians and of the Susiani. The satrapy of Syria with Phœnicia and Cyprus paid 350 talents (£100,000); the satrapies of Bactria and Phrygia with Cappadocia paid 360 talents each (£103,000); Armenia, and the satrapy of the Paricanians and Ethiopians in Asia, paid 400 talents each (£115,000); Media had to pay 450 talents (£130,000); the satrapies of Lydia and Cilicia 500 each (£145,000); Drangiana (the Sarangians and Sagartians) paid 600 talents (£170,000); Egypt with Cyrene, Barca, and the tribes of the Libyans, 700 talents (£200,000); the satrapy of Babylon, i. e. the region to the south of the Armenian mountains between the Euphrates and the Tigris as far as the mouth of the rivers, paid 1000 talents (i. e. £290,000). This was the highest tax imposed on any satrapy; from this assessment, as well as from other evidence, we may conclude that Babylonia was the best cultivated and most fruitful province in the whole kingdom. The entire income from this satrapy is put by Herodotus at an artabè of silver daily, and the Persian artabè was larger by three choenixes than the Attic medimnus. The artabè, therefore, was about equal to a Prussian bushel, i. e. to a measure of 2770 cubic inches.[374]

Darius thus received every year from the land-tax[Pg 350] of the provinces, 7600 talents of silver in the royal standard, i. e. in round figures £2,500,000. To this has to be added the large amount of gold-dust, which the twentieth, or Indian satrapy, paid yearly to the king. This amount, 360 talents according to Herodotus, was not the land-tax of the province; it was obtained from the gold-sands of the Himalayas. This raised the net income of the treasury to a total of about £3,000,000, and to this again have to be added the taxes imposed on Lemnos and Imbros, on the Thracians and the Greek towns on the Thracian coast, with the Macedonians, after the campaign to the Danube, and the tribute in kind paid by the subject tribes among the Arabians (1000 talents of frankincense every year), and the negroes (ivory and ebony), and the tribute in slaves paid by the Colchians (100 boys and 100 virgins every fifth year).

More important than these contributions of the Arabians, negroes, and Colchians, was the income in money which the crown derived from local sources, within the empire, and the proceeds of royal privileges—more important still the produce in kind which the provinces had to pay every year in addition to the land-tax. In the satrapy of the Parthians and Areians a large sum was paid every year for the opening of the sluices of the Ares (no doubt an affluent of the Margus, V. 9), without which the fields were in that district dried up in the summer. In Egypt the fishery on the canal, which connected the lake of Amenemhat with the Nile, brought the king every year 240 talents.[375] In what way the contributions in kind were divided and imposed upon the provinces, it is not easy to see. Herodotus only tells us that the whole kingdom was divided into[Pg 351] cantons for the support of the king and army; a full third of this burden fell upon the satrapy of Babylon.[376] We know that Cappadocia, i. e. Phrygia and Cappadocia, the third satrapy of Herodotus, provided each year, in addition to the land-tax of £103,000, 1500 horses, 2000 mules, and 50,000 sheep; Media in addition to her land-tax provided double this amount of animals.[377] Armenia provided 10,000 foals each year in addition to the tax of £115,000.[378] Cilicia furnished 360 grey horses each year. Besides these contributions in animals, there were payments in corn for the garrisons in the provinces. The Persians who formed the garrison of the White Fortress in Memphis received yearly from Egypt 120,000 bushels of wheat, an amount which would abundantly supply the wants of 8000 men. As wheat was cheap in Egypt this contribution would represent a value of about £8500.[379] Each province sent its best products to the court; and nothing but the best was brought to court or received there; there all that was splendid in the empire was to be collected.[380] Babylon sent every year 500 eunuch-boys for service at the court, and Colchis sent male and female slaves of Caucasian race. Chalybon (Helbon) in Syria furnished wine for the court; wheat came from the cities of the Aeolians and the Anatolian coast, salt from the Libyans and the oasis of Siwah.[381]

"From ancient times," Theopompus of Chios informs us, "the taxes and the entertainment of the king were imposed on the cities according to their size."[382] Ctesias and Deinon maintain that the table[Pg 352] of the king of Persia, i. e. the entertainment of the entire court, cost 400 talents daily. This is grossly exaggerated. From Herodotus we see that the support of Xerxes and his train, the officers, and all the necessary accompaniments, the tents and plate, and moreover the feeding of the entire army for one day cost the city of Abdera 300 talents, and the island of Thasos 400 talents (£85,000). Theopompus also tells us that when the king visited a city it cost them 20, and sometimes 30, talents to entertain him, and others spent even larger sums.[383] These expenses were increased by the fact that the servants took away with them the plate used at table.[384] The support of the king, and apparently of the satraps, officers, and generals when travelling, the maintenance of troops on the march, were extraordinary burdens, but the contributions for the table of the king were ordinary and regular. The daily maintenance of the court was expensive, because it included the support of a body-guard. "Every day," Heraclides of Cyme relates, "a thousand animals were slaughtered; among them horses, camels, oxen, asses, and deer, but chiefly sheep. Many birds were eaten, and Arabian ostriches among them. The greater part of this and of the other food was brought to court for the body-guard, and the overseers gave out meat and bread in equal portions; for as the mercenaries in Hellas receive money, so do these soldiers receive their maintenance from the king."[385] Fifteen thousand men are said to have been fed at the court every day; and as the body-guard may be put at 10,000 men, this statement does not seem exaggerated.

Beside the contributions in kind for the equipment[Pg 353] of the army, the support of garrisons and the court, there were burdens of another kind. The kings of Persia kept great studs for the court and army. We have already mentioned the stud in Nisaea in Media; 150,000 or 160,000 horses are said to have pastured there. The royal studs in Babylonia contained in breeding horses, 800 horses and 16,000 mares—"besides the horses for war," as Herodotus expressly adds. The Indian dogs which were kept by Darius or his successors were so numerous, that four great villages in Babylonia had to contribute exclusively to their maintenance.[386] As Herodotus observes that these villages were free from other burdens, we may assume that all the places, on which contributions in kind were imposed for special objects, were exempted from the large contributions for the court and army in horses, beasts of burden, cattle for slaughter, corn, etc. Elsewhere we find places burdened with special services to members of the royal house, or favourites. Certain districts and cities had to pay for the girdle of the queen, others for her veil; one place paid for the head-band, another for the necklace, a third for the hair ornaments of the queen.[387] Xenophon tells us that the favourites of the king of Persia received horses and servants in the various provinces, and transmitted them to their descendants.[388] When Demaratus, king of Sparta, after losing his throne, sought protection with Darius in Persia, the city of Halisarna and the district of Teuthrania were allotted to him. Gongylus of Eretria received from Darius Gambrium, Myrina, and Gryneum. At a later time[Pg 354] Magnesia on the Maeander was assigned to Themistocles—a city, which, recovering from the destruction by Mazares (p. 54), paid, according to Thucydides, a yearly contribution of 50 talents (more than £10,000) for bread, Lampsacus, which was famous for its cultivation of the vine, for wine, and Myus for relishes. In this way, in accordance with the system of Cyrus and Darius, Demaratus was made prince of Halisarna, Gongylus became prince of Gambrium, Themistocles prince of Magnesia; the latter also received contributions in produce from other cities. Demaratus and Gongylus left their thrones to their descendants.[389] As the places which had to provide contributions in kind for special purposes or individuals were freed from the contributions of the provinces to the army and court—the land-tax of the places presented to favoured persons were no doubt taken out of the land-tax of the province.

We are not in a position to fix even approximately the amount of the net income of the treasury of Darius which came in every year over and above the land-tax of the provinces and the tolls. Nor can we say how high the yearly contributions in kind paid by the provinces for the court and army ran. If we set aside the extraordinary burdens of supporting the king on a journey, or a satrap, or officer, and the maintenance of troops on a march, and follow Theopompus in assuming that the average daily expense of the whole court amounted to 30 Babylonian talents,[Pg 355] a total of 11,000 talents of the royal standard, i. e. more than £3,000,000, would be required for this purpose, a sum in excess of the land-tax of the provinces. If we further assume that the maintenance of the army imposed on the provinces a burden equal to the maintenance of the court, the provinces would have to pay for the state, in ordinary burdens, without regard to their own requirements, three times the amount of the land-tax. Egypt, which, with Cyrene and Barca, had to pay 700 talents in tax, would thus pay 2100 talents of royal money every year, i. e. more than £600,000. At a later time we find that Ptolemy II. received each year from Egypt 14,800 Attic talents, i. e. about £3,000,000, and 1,500,000 artabès of corn, and Ptolemy Auletes received 6000, and, according to Cicero's statement, 12,500 Attic talents.[390] The income of the empire of the Sassanids under Chosru Parviz is put at nearly £14,000,000.[391]

Thus the burdens which the subject lands had to pay to the king do not seem extraordinarily heavy, and, on the other hand, the rule of the Persians certainly tended to promote their welfare. We have observed that the satraps were commanded to take care for the agriculture and the forests of their provinces, and that special attention was paid to this in the visitation of the provinces. In his palaces and wherever he went the king caused the most beautiful gardens to be made and planted with excellent trees,[392] and the satraps did the same at their residences. The parks at the residence of the satrap of Phrygia-Cappadocia, near Dascyleum, were of great extent, consisting in part of an enclosure for game, in part of open[Pg 356] hunting-ground. When Agesilaus of Sparta had laid them waste, the satrap Pharnabazus said to him: "All that my father left to me, beautiful buildings, gardens full of trees and game, which were the delight of my heart, I now see cut down and burnt."[393] At Sardis the satraps of Lydia-Mysia had made several parks of this kind; the most beautiful was adorned with water and meadows, with places for recreation and shade, in a most extraordinary and royal manner.[394] The younger Cyrus enlarged this by a new park. When he showed it to Lysander, the Greek marvelled at the beauty of the trees, the evenness of their growth, the straight rows and well-chosen angles in which they stood and cut each other, the various and delightful odours which met those who walked in it, and declared that he admired yet more the man who had measured out and arranged the whole. The prince replied that he had measured it out and arranged it himself, and had even planted some with his own hands. And when Lysander, looking at the splendid clothes of the prince, his chains and amulets and ornaments and perfumes, seemed to doubt this, Cyrus replied: "I swear by Mithra, that I never take food till I have heated myself into a sweat by martial exercises or garden work."[395]

The trade of the empire must have been very greatly promoted by the roads which Darius made through it in every direction. Merchandise passed from one end of the empire to another on paved roads, which were provided with excellent inns and secured by numerous guard-posts. Moreover, by his royal currency, Darius had created money which passed from the Hellespont and the Nile to the Indus, and[Pg 357] thus the merchants had everywhere at hand a fixed measure of value. The raw products which were required by the manufacturing lands, could be bartered in safety, on the upper Nile, in Libya and Arabia, and on the Indus; the wide market which the extent of the Persian kingdom opened to the harbour cities of Asia Minor and Syria, to the industry of the Lydians and Phenicians, the Egyptians and Babylonians, could be used in the readiest and most profitable manner. Ramses II. of Egypt had conceived the idea of a direct communication by water between the Nile and the Red Sea in order to facilitate the trade with South Arabia. For this object he had caused a canal to be taken from the Nile at Bubastis, but he had only carried it as far as the Lake of Crocodiles. Pharaoh Necho more than 700 years later had again taken up the work and carried the canal as far as the Bitter Lakes. From this point the canal was to abandon the direction towards the east and turn almost at a right angle to the south and the Red Sea. Necho failed to effect the communication between the Bitter Lakes and the Red Sea; and the canal remained unfinished. Herodotus, who knew nothing of the attempt of Ramses II., says: "Darius carried a canal from the Nile to the Arabian Gulf."[396] "Necho was the first to attempt a canal leading into the Red Sea, and Darius accomplished what he began. The length of the voyage is four days, and the canal is broad enough to allow two triremes when rowing to pass one another (i. e. more than 100 feet). The water of the Nile flows into it a little above Bubastis, and empties into the Red Sea. For the first part it is excavated in the plain of Egypt, which lies towards Arabia, under the[Pg 358] mountains opposite Memphis, in which are the stone quarries. At the foot of the mountain the canal runs away to the east, and then through a cleft in the range to the south, and southward, into the Arabian Gulf. The distance from the northern sea—the Mediterranean—to the Red Sea by the shortest route from Pelusium[397] is 1000 stades (105 miles); but the canal is much longer, owing to bends in it."[398] In the bed of this canal, the direction of which can still be traced in part, three stones were discovered at Saluf El Terraba, on the Crocodile Lake, not far from the southern ridge of the Bitter Lakes. They have recently been much injured by the workmen at the Suez canal. On the front is seen the form of Darius with the tall tiara on his head (the upper part of one of the monuments is preserved); and beside the figure of the king we find the name and title in hieroglyphics. Beneath are the titles and inscriptions in Persian, Turanian, and Babylonian; on the back is an inscription in hieroglyphics which has been destroyed with the exception of a word; but of the Persian and Turanian version we can still read a part: "Darius, the great king, the king of kings, the king of the lands, the king of this wide earth, the son of Hystaspes, the Achæmenid. Darius the king says: 'I, the Persian, have governed Egypt; I have caused a canal to be dug from the river which flows in Egypt to the sea which reaches to Persia.'" Darius did not, like Ramses and Necho, think only of a direct communication by water with South Arabia, but rather of a communication with Persia, and not only with the coasts of Persia but even with the mouths of the Indus. His expedition to explore the Indus did not sail back to the Persian Gulf, but[Pg 359] coasted Arabia and returned to the Red Sea; and Herodotus tells us that Darius, after that expedition, made use of the southern sea.[399] After opening a road by water into the Red Sea, Darius could, if he thought fit, order the ships of the Ionians and Phenicians to the coast of Arabia, the Persian Gulf, or the Indus, and send the ships of Babylon to the Mediterranean. Traders made a constant use of the canal; the ships of Sidon and Tyre could sail from the Nile to the shores of Arabia Felix, a voyage which the Phenicians at the time of Solomon, and Uzziah of Judah, attempted to make from Elath with the permission and assistance of those princes. From Arabia they could visit the mouth of the Indus, as their ships had done nearly 500 years before at the time of Solomon.

However active the wearer of the crown and his immediate supporters might be in the government of the kingdom, however speedily their commands were made known in the provinces—in spite of the severity with which the satraps were watched and[Pg 360] controlled, and the impulse given to their ambition and emulation,—in spite of the excellent management of the state income and the abundance of the means at disposal, and the sums of gold and silver, the gold and silver ornaments, the splendid furniture in the royal citadels, which were in existence for nearly 200 years after this time, attest the success of Darius—the kingdom rested in the last resort on the fidelity and bravery of the army. In his body-guards and in the garrisons of the fortresses and guard-posts scattered up and down the whole kingdom, Darius had a considerable standing army formed of Persians.[400] In case of war this standing army was strengthened by the levy of the larger landed proprietors in Persia, who had to furnish cavalry, and the subject lands.[401] Though the fortified places were numerous, the amount of troops in the various forts was not necessarily great, and the complement of a Persian battalion, 1000 men, seems rarely to have been exceeded. The garrison of the oldest city in the empire, the White Fortress at Memphis, was much stronger, and so, no doubt, were the garrisons of the two citadels of Babylon and of Ecbatana. In the west Dascyleum on the Propontis, and Sardis, the citadel of which was held by 1000 men, were the extreme points; in the interior there were so many garrisons at Celaenae, on the bridge over the Halys, and at other places west of the Halys, that a considerable army could be formed for service in the field.[402] East of the Halys, in Cilicia, there was the garrison of the two forts on the borders of Cilicia and Cappadocia, and in addition a body of cavalry which it cost 140 talents (£40,000)[Pg 361] a year to support. The citadels and fortresses which the inscriptions of Darius mention in Armenia, Media, Persia, and Arachosia, show that there was a certain number of fortified places in those regions. In Armenia Tigra and Uhyama are mentioned; in Media Ecbatana and Çikathauvatis; in Arachosia Kapisakanis (Kapisa) and Arsada. The chief points in the royal road from Susa to Sardis at the most important divisions in the country were closed by fortresses, and the same was the case on the other military roads; we cannot therefore doubt that the military arrangements in the eastern provinces were the same as in the west, though the Greeks can only tell us of the west. Lastly, there was a number of fortresses at the extreme borders of the kingdom. In Egypt, in addition to Memphis, Daphne and Elephantine were fortified;[403] in the country of the Cadusians Cyrus had already founded the city on the Jaxartes known as Ultima Cyrus, and in the neighbourhood were several citadels to protect the borders (p. 103). Besides the garrisons, the amount of troops was fixed which the satraps had to keep under arms, to support their authority, to carry out executions, and to secure the provinces.[404] Like the garrisons, the troops of the satraps, in case of necessity, could fall back on the assistance of the reserve corps of larger districts, such as the Cilician cavalry. The troops stationed in the provinces were reviewed yearly, as Xenophon tells us. For this object they were gathered together at a fixed place in the provinces, with the exception of the garrisons of the fortresses. For the more western districts the place of assembly was Thymbrara on the Pactolus,[405] where also, in time of war, the levy[Pg 362] of the province was assembled. The troops which were nearer the residence of the king, were, according to Xenophon, inspected by the king in person; those at a greater distance by men in his confidence. The satraps, chiliarchs, and commandants, who brought up the prescribed number of troops provided with excellent weapons and horses, were rewarded by presents and marks of distinction; those who neglected their troops or made money out of them were severely punished and removed from their office.[406]

From Herodotus we learn that the guard of the king consisted of 2000 selected Persian horsemen and 2000 lance-bearers on foot, whose lances were adorned at the lower end with apples of gold and silver, and also of a division of 10,000 infantry, whom the Persians call the immortals, because their number is always the same. But the name of the corps may be formed from the Amesha Çpenta Ameretat (V. 156, 164). Xenophon ascribes this institution to Cyrus.[407] Nine thousand of them had silver pomegranates on their lances, but a thousand who were selected from the whole corps to form the first battalion had their pomegranates of gold. On the monuments they carry lances taller than the height of a man, and oval shields of half a man's height. This troop was distinguished as the body-guard of the king by golden necklaces and other ornaments; it was better furnished than other troops with beasts of burden and camels to carry the baggage and the provisions. Later writers speak only of these 10,000 infantry as forming the guard. They inform us that the corps was always about the king, keeping watch in the palace day[Pg 363] and night, where they had a court to themselves; they accompanied the king on his journeys, when they camped in a circle round the king's tent.[408] The amount of the whole army cannot even be approximately fixed. Darius led the levy of the empire over the Bosphorus to the amount of 700,000 men; from the subject lands so many soldiers would be required as would be necessary.[409] It was more difficult to organize this vast mass. The strength of the army, like that of the kingdom, rested on the military skill and superiority of the Persians. With the Persians, as with the Indians, the chief weapon was the bow, and the Persian arrows like the Indian were of reed. Aeschylus praises "the mighty with the bow, the strength of the Persian land," and Atossa, the queen of Darius, is represented as asking whether "the bow-driven arrow adorns the hand" of the Hellenes.[410] The Persians preferred to fight on horseback. The rider placed a coat of mail over the short shirt, and beside the bow and a short javelin carried a crooked and not very long sabre on the right hip;[411] the head was protected by the tiara. But there were also large divisions of heavy armed cavalry among the troops of the Persians in which the men wore brass or iron helmets and strong harness, while their[Pg 364] horses were armed with frontlets and breast-pieces.[412] The infantry carried long rectangular shields of wicker-work, under which hung the quiver with the javelin and sabre, but as a rule they were without coats of mail.[413] The leading men and officers were adorned in battle with their best purple robes, neck-chains, and armlets; over the coat of mail they threw the glittering kandys; on the hip hung a sabre with a golden handle and a golden sheath. Thus they mounted their war-horses, Nisaean greys, with golden trappings, the wildness of which sometimes caused the death of the rider. Aeschylus speaks of them as "horsemen mighty with the bow, dreadful to behold, and terrible in the venturous courage of their hearts."[414] In military skill the Persians regarded the Medes as next to themselves; then followed the Sacae, the Bactrians, the Indians, and the other Arian tribes. Next to the Medes the Sacae were the most trustworthy troops.[415] The contingents of the provinces were governed by Persian generals, who were mainly taken from the members of the royal family, the "kinsmen" of the king, and the tribal princes.[416] Like the Persian troops, these contingents were arranged in divisions of 10,000 men. Each division was subdivided into ten battalions of 1000 men, and the battalions into ten companies of 100 men; the[Pg 365] company was made up of groups, which, according to Xenophon, consisted of seven men among the Persians, and according to Herodotus of ten in the contingents.[417] The commander of the entire contingent of a province had the nomination of the officers of divisions and the leaders of battalions; the officers of divisions, as Herodotus says, nominated the captains of companies, and the leaders of the groups.[418] The native dynasts as a rule marched out with their troops and ships, but they were subject to the commanders of the contingents.[419]

The king reviewed the army from his war-chariot, surrounded by scribes, who wrote down everything worthy of notice. When parading before the king, the horsemen dismounted, stood by their horses, and concealed their hands in the sleeves of their kandys. The camp was always pitched in a particular order; the tent of the king was on the eastern side, for the abode of the gods was in the east. The large and splendid tent of the king was surrounded by the tents of the guard; the cavalry, the infantry, and the baggage had special places assigned to them.[420] They understood how to fortify the camp;[421] an open camp was always at a certain distance, about seven miles, from the enemy in order to avoid surprises as far as possible. The Persian cavalry required a considerable time, especially at night, for preparation. Their spirited horses had not only to be tethered, but even tied by the feet to prevent their running away. The unfettering, saddling and bridling of the horses, and putting on the harness, took up much time, and could not be done at night without disorder and confusion.[422] When[Pg 366] there was danger of a surprise the troops had to remain at night under arms. The signal for marching was given from the royal tent with the trumpet, but never before daybreak,[423] "before the glittering Mithra mounted, and in golden shape seized the beautiful summits," the army of the Persians was not to move. In the same way the march ended at the latest at sunset.[424] In battle the king occupied the centre of the position, surrounded by the Achæmenids, the "kinsmen" and "companions," several hundred in number,[425] and the body-guard, the cavalry of which usually stood in the first ranks before the king; next to them in the centre came the best troops in the army.[426] According to ancient custom the king generally fought from a chariot drawn by Nisaean horses,[427] with his bow in his hand, in which manner, at an earlier period, the princes of the Indians had fought, and the kings of the east, the Pharaohs, the rulers of Assyria, and the princes of the Syrians. The king also, when in battle, wore all his royal ornaments, the purple kaftan over his armour, and the royal tiara. Near him was the ensign of the empire, the golden eagle on a tall pole.[428] The mass of the cavalry was generally placed on the wings; between these and the centre were the contingents of the subject nations, each according to its divisions, which were drawn up separately in solid squares.[429] The battle was begun by the cavalry and infantry with a thick shower of arrows. With this an attempt was made to ward off the attacks of the[Pg 367] enemy, and it was kept up till the enemy seemed to be thrown into confusion. Then the troops were brought closer; javelins were hurled and sabres drawn.[430] The Persian and Sacian cavalry was most dreaded; as it consisted to a great extent of archers it was difficult to approach it. If the cavalry marched to the attack with arms in rest, the onset was made first with separate squadrons, and then in entire masses.[431] The Medes and Persians had learned the art of siege from the Assyrians. The cities were enclosed by ramparts, and on these works were carried forward, under the protection of which battering-rams were brought to bear against the trenches and walls. The Persians were also well acquainted with mining. Passages were carried under-ground, both to make breaches in the walls by excavations, and to provide a way into the city. In order to recapture Chalcedon, which had rebelled against Darius when he crossed the Danube against the Scythians, together with the cities of the Propontis and Hellespont, an under-ground passage of more than 15 stades in length was carried, after the king's return, under the walls of the city to the market-place, and the Chalcedonians had no suspicion of its existence, till the Persians appeared in the city.[432]


[369] In his "Metrological Studies" Böckh fixed the ratio of the Euboean to the Babylonian talent as 5:6. Since that time the discovery of numerous gold and silver Persian coins and of weights at Babylon and Nineveh, and the lion of Abydus with its Aramaean stamp, have provided the means for fixing the gold talent of Darius at 25,245 kilogrammes, and his silver talent (the Babylonian talent) at 33,660 kilogrammes; Brandis, "Münzwesen," s. 54, 63, 64, 69. Hence Brandis takes Mommsen's view, that in Herod. 3, 89, 95, we must read 78 instead of 70 Euboean talents; the Euboean talent in Attica was a little heavier than the light Babylonian talent (the gold talent of Darius), and in the calculation 7600 Babylonian talents must be made equal to 9880 Euboean talents, which enables us to preserve the total sum given by Herodotus—14,560 talents.

[370] Brandis, "Münzwesen," s. 225, 231, 239, 241.

[371] Herod. 3, 96; Strabo, p. 735.

[372] Herod. 3, 89; Xenoph. "Hellen." 3, 4, 25.

[373] Herod. 6, 42.

[374] Herod. 1, 192; Böckh, "Staatshaush." 12, 130.

[375] Herod. 3, 117; 2, 149.

[376] Herod. 1, 192.

[377] Strabo, p. 525.

[378] Xenoph. "Anab." 4, 5, 34 ff.

[379] Herod. 3, 91; Böckh, "Staatshaush." 12, 135.

[380] Xenoph. "Cyri Inst." 8, 6, 23; Athenaeus, p. 145, 146.

[381] Strabo, p. 735.

[382] In Athenaeus, p. 145.

[383] Loc. cit. in Athenaeus.

[384] Herod. 7, 118; Plut. "Artax." c. 4, 5.

[385] In Athenaeus, p. 146.

[386] Herod. 1, 192.

[387] Herod. 9, 109; Xenoph. "Anab." 1, 4, 9; 2, 4, 27; Plato, "Alcib. I." p. 123; Cic. "In Verrem," 3, 33.

[388] Xenoph. "Cyri Inst." 8, 6, 5.

[389] Xenoph. "Hellen." 3, 1, 6; "Anab." 2, 1, 3; 7, 8, 8; Thucyd. 1, 138; Plutarch, "Themist." 29 ff. That Themistocles was prince of Magnesia is the less doubtful because a silver stater of this city, 8,56 grammes in weight, with the square, and the name of Themistocles, is in existence: Mommsen. "Rom. Münzwesen," s. 65; Brandis, "Münzwesen in Vorderasien," s. 459, proves a second coin of Themistocles, 5.85 grammes in weight.

[390] Droysen, "Hellenismus," 2, 44; Diod. 17, 52; Strabo, p. 798.

[391] Nöldeke, "Tabari," s. 364 ff.

[392] "Oecon." 4, 11, ff.

[393] Xenoph. "Hellen." 4, 1, 33.

[394] Plut. "Alcib." 24.

[395] "Oecon." 4, 20-24; Aelian, "Hist. Anim." 1, 59.

[396] Herod. 4, 39.

[397] Herod. 4, 41.

[398] Herod. 2, 158.

[399] Herod. 4, 44. On the monuments of Darius, see Lepsius, "Chronol." s. 354, and "Monatsberichte B. A." 1866, s. 288; Oppert, "Mémoires prs. à l'Acad. des Inscrip." 1, 8 (1869), p. 646 ff. In opposition to the definite and detailed assertion of Herodotus, given in the text, the assertion in Strabo (p. 804) and Diodorus (1, 33) that Darius nearly finished the canal but did not quite finish it, cannot be accepted. Herodotus was in Egypt not much more than 30 years after the death of Darius (about 450 B.C.). Diodorus and Strabo accept the tradition of the times of the Ptolemies, which sought to claim for them the glory of completing the work, though they did no more than reopen the canal which had become silted up. To support this tradition Oppert has supplemented the decisive word of which no more than the syllable ta remains, according to his transcription, in such a way that the meaning extracted is that Darius filled up his own canal. I do not see why this ta should not be a part of uçtaka, i. e. to excavate, as well as of vikata, i. e. to make level. We cannot assume without further evidence that Darius set up a monument over the failure of his undertaking or its destruction. The Turanian version, which Oppert has since published ("Peuple des Mèdes," p. 214) does not help us to a decision, for it is only preserved as far as the place in question.

[400] Xenoph. "Cyri Inst." 7, 5, 66.

[401] Xenoph. "Cyri Inst." 8, 8, 20-22.

[402] Herod. 3, 127; 5, 102; Xenoph. "Anab." 1, 2; Diod. 11, 34; Arrian, "Anab." 1, 29.

[403] Herod. 2, 30.

[404] Xenoph. "Oecon." 4, 5.

[405] Xenoph. "Cyri Inst." 6, 2, 11.

[406] "Oecon." 4, 5.

[407] Herod. 7, 40, 41, 83; 8, 113; Heraclid. Cuman. fragm. 1, ed. Müller; Xenoph. "Cyri Inst." 7, 5, 68.

[408] Curtius, 3, 3, 13; Xenoph. loc. cit.

[409] It is true that the population between the Euphrates and the Indus is now rated at 18,000,000 only. Kenneir, "Geograph. Memoir of Persia," p. 44-47. But the numbers of the prisoners and the slain in the inscriptions of Behistun allow us to conclude that the population of Iran was far greater. Under the Ptolemies Egypt, consisting of about 30,000 communities, counted 7,000,000 inhabitants; Diod. 1, 31. That Asia Minor was not less populous is proved, for certain districts, by the statements of Xenophon; the budget of Darius, the numbers of his army, and more especially of the army of Xerxes, the mass of troops which the younger Cyrus collects in Asia Minor and Artaxerxes in the Eastern provinces, are evidence of a tolerably dense population.

[410] "Pers.," 239, 926.

[411] Herod. 7, 61.

[412] Herod. 7, 85; 8, 113; Xenoph. "Anab." 1, 8, 7; "Cyri Inst." 8, 8, 22; Arrian, "Anab." 3, 13.

[413] Herod. 5, 49; 9, 62; Strabo, p. 734.

[414] Herod. 9, 20, 22, 63, 80; Plut. "Artax." 9; Aeschyl. "Pers." 26-28.

[415] Herod. 1, 134; Polyaen. "Strat." 7, 11. According to Herodotus the Sacae were in the centre at Marathon. Mardonius retains them in Thessaly with the Bactrians and Indians: Herod. 8, 113; 9, 31. In the battle at Arbela they were among the bravest: Arrian, "Anab." 3, 13.

[416] Herod. 7, 64 ff.

[417] Herod. 7, 82, 83; Xenoph. "Cyri Inst." 8, 1, 14.

[418] Herod. 7, 81.

[419] Herod. 7, 96.

[420] Herod. 7, 100; Xenoph. "Cyri Inst." 8, 5, 1-16.

[421] Herod. 9, 15.

[422] Xenoph. "Anab." 3, 4, 35.

[423] Curtius, 3, 3, 8.

[424] Brisson, loc. cit. 3, c. 89.

[425] Curtius, 3, 3, 14, 15; Xenoph. "Anab." 1, 9, 31.

[426] Xenoph. "Anab." 1, 8; Arrian, "Anab." 3, 11.

[427] Artaxerxes is on horseback in the battle of Cunaxa; Plutarch, "Artax." 10, 11, but the general custom is given in c. 6.

[428] Xenoph. "Anab." 1, 10, 12. Vol. V. 172.

[429] Xenoph. "Anab." 1, 8.

[430] Herod. 7, 218, 226; Xenoph. "Cyri Inst." 8, 8, 22, 23.

[431] Herod. 9, 20, 23, 49.

[432] Above, p. 303. Herod. 1, 162, 168; 4, 200; 5, 115; Polyaen. "Strateg." 7, 2, 5.



[Pg 368]



Along with the new arrangement of the administration of the empire Darius had transferred the centre of it into a province, which had thrice rebelled against him, to Susa,[433] the ancient metropolis of Elam, which Assurbanipal had conquered, plundered, and destroyed 130 years previously. Since that time the city had risen from its ruins. We have seen what motives determined Darius to take this step. The position of the city, which was not far removed from his native territory, and at the same time brought the stubborn resistance of the Babylonians under the close pressure of the royal residence, offered the requisite security. Out of Media, from the southern foot of the Mount Elvend (Orontes), the Kerkha, or Choaspes, flows down the heights which bound Iran on the west, towards the south-west; and then breaks through them in order to fall into the Tigris. Further to the east is the Dizful. Rising more to the south than the Kerkha it reaches the plains of Elam in a course parallel to that stream and then falls also into the Tigris. Between these two rivers there rises in the mountain edge the Shapur, a river of a short and narrow course, but with a deep channel. For[Pg 369] a time it flows in the same direction with the others, then it turns to the east, and falls into the Dizful, or rather into the Karun, as the Dizful is now called in its lower course, after the affluent which falls into it from the east. At the point where the Kerkha and Dizful approach within two or three leagues of each other,—though lower down they separate more and more widely,—about half a league from the east bank of the Kerkha, and on the eastern side of the Shapur, is the city of Susa. The approach from the west was barred by the Kerkha, and from the east by the Dizful and its affluents. If an enemy came from the west or the east, he had to cross considerable rivers. The great road which ran from the west from Sardis to Susa, came to an end opposite Susa on the west bank of the Kerkha. According to Herodotus the city could only be reached by a ferry across the river. This was no doubt an arrangement for security. An approaching enemy was not to find bridges either on the Kerkha or the Dizful.[434] Thus irrigated by three[Pg 370] rivers, the land round the city was extraordinarily fruitful and blooming.

The Greeks were right in calling Susa "the ancient great city." Though it was not, as they imagined, at one time the abode of Memnon, the son of the morning, who had come to the help of the Trojans, we have made acquaintance with the ancient kingdom of Elam, the beginnings of which we had to place about the year 2500 B.C. We saw that the princes of this kingdom could make war upon Babylonia, and reduce it to dependence in the last centuries of the third millennium B.C., and that its armies must have reached Syria. Then Elam had withstood the Assyrians for a long time with very great stubbornness, until at length after brave struggles it succumbed to the arms of Assurbanipal. A relief in the palace of Assurbanipal exhibited Susa before its capture, in the year 645 B.C., stretching along between two rivers (the Shapur and the Dizful), and surrounded by high walls and numerous towers. The new Susa also, the Susa of Darius and his successors, extended, according to the evidence of Strabo, between the two rivers; according to his statement the city had a circuit of 120 stades, and according to Diodorus of 200 stades, i. e. of 15 or 20 miles—an extent which does not leave it far behind the fallen cities of the Assyrians, and Babylon.[435] But Susa, which in spite of its numerous population was inhabited only to a small extent by Persians, required to be fortified even less than Ecbatana. The royal citadel must keep the city in check, and afford the most complete security[Pg 371] to the palace. We are expressly told that this citadel was protected by strong works, which would indeed be necessary for the position of affairs and the object of Darius.[436] According to the statement of Pliny, the citadel was surrounded by the Eulaeus, the name which he gives to the Choaspes; the Book of Daniel also represents the Ulai as flowing round the castle of Susa.[437] The ruins prove that the palace lay on the Shapur. Within the protecting walls of the fortress was the "golden dwelling," "the gold-adorned chambers of Darius" as Aeschylus calls them,[438] the "far-famed palace" in the language of Diodorus. According to Aelian Darius took a pride in the buildings which he had erected at Susa; it was he who had erected the famous works there.[439]

The ruins of Susa are now surrounded by a wilderness, inhabited only by lions and hyænas. The soil is still productive of grass, and the remains of numerous canals attest the ancient cultivation. Steep mounds of débris and heaps of ruins rise thickly on the left bank of the Shapur, in appearance closely resembling the remains of Babylon and Nineveh. The highest mound is nearest the river; it rises 120 feet above the level of the water, is 3000 feet in circumference, and appears to have supported a part of the citadel; the mound abutting on the north only rises 80 or 90 feet, and forms a square, the sides of which measure 1000 or 1200 feet. On this the remains of a large building have been discovered. Further to the east is an extensive platform, the circumference of which far surpasses that of the two first put together; the height on the south side reaches 70 feet and on the east and north about 50[Pg 372] feet. On the east of these three heaps are mounds of a smaller size. These may be remains of the city, while the others represent the citadel. The entire circuit of the ruins is about 7½ miles. They confirm the statement of Strabo that Susa was built of brick, inasmuch as they present masses of bricks, partly burnt, partly dried in the sun. But even the palaces in the citadels were built of bricks in the outer walls only; they did not contain those narrow long porticoes, which formed the royal palaces of Nineveh, but were rather large square halls, resting on huge terraces. The bases and remains of the northern hill allow us to trace three magnificent porticoes. The interior of the building was formed by a large hall with pillars, the roof of which was supported by 36 pillars ranged in six rows; the pillars were of stone, slight and tall, the capitals were formed by the fore-quarters of kneeling horses. Round three sides of this hall, the north, east, and west, were placed porticoes, 50 feet in breadth, the roofs of which were supported by 12 pillars in two rows. Four pillars of the chief hall bear the same inscription in cuneiform letters, and, as always, in the Persian, Babylonian, and Turanian languages. In this Artaxerxes Mnemon (405-359 B.C.) relates that his great-great-grandfather (apanyaka) Darius had erected this building and that he had restored it. He entreats Auramazda, Anahita, and Mithra, to protect him and his work. On some pillars we find the inscription: "I, Artaxerxes, the great king, the king of kings, son of the king Darius" (i. e. Darius Ochus).[440]

Though Darius elevated Susa to be his chief residence, the native land of the empire, and the nucleus[Pg 373] of it, his own home, was to receive a proper share of the splendour and glory of the court. After the conquests on the Indus Darius built a new residence in the land of the Persians, to the north-west of Pasargadae, which Cyrus had made a fortified city, and where he had erected his palace and deposited the spoil of his previous victories. At the confluence of the Pulwar and the Kum-i-Firuz the mountains retire on either side, and leave a space for the most delightful plain in Persia, which is still covered with villages,—the plain of Merdasht. Four thousand feet above the sea, surrounded on every side by lofty mountains, which on the west are covered with snow, the climate is mild and salubrious. Curtius considers it the most healthy district in Asia.[441] From the mountain-range on the west, a block of mountains now called Kuh Istachr advances into the plain, and gradually falls away to the Pulwar; opposite to this, the eastern range also advances with a mighty summit, called Rachmed, a spur of which, at no great height, forms a broad terrace commanding the plain. On both sides the heights extend a little further to the river, so that the terrace forms the retiring level of a natural semicircle. This terrace was chosen by Darius for the site of his new palace, by the walls of which a city was to rise. The Greeks call this city of Darius, Persepolis; i. e. city of the Persians. Diodorus tells us: "The citadel of Persepolis was surrounded by three walls, of which the first was 16 cubits in height and surrounded by turrets, adorned with costly ornamentation. The second wall had similar ornaments, but was twice as high. The third wall formed a square, and was 60 cubits in height; it consisted of hard stones, well fitted[Pg 374] together, so as to last for ever. On each side was a gate of brass, and near it poles of brass, 20 cubits in height; the first for security, the second to strike terror. In the citadel were several richly-adorned buildings for the reception of the king and the generals, and treasuries built for the reception of revenues. To the east of the citadel, at a distance of four plethra, lies a mountain, called the "royal mountain," in which are the tombs of the kings. The rock was excavated, and had several chambers in the middle, which served to receive the corpses. But they were without any means of access; the corpses were raised by machines and lowered into the tombs.[442]"

The remains of Persepolis show that the terrace was surrounded on the west, north, and south by a wall; and that by removing the earth or filling it in it was changed into a surface measuring about 1800 feet in length from north to south, and about 500 feet in breadth from west to east, towards the heights of Rachmed. On the edge of the terrace rose a wall, the third wall of Diodorus, which surrounded it on the north, west, and south. According to the description of Diodorus, the eastern side, towards Rachmed, was also surrounded by this wall. At the present day we only find remains of the three sides mentioned, consisting of blocks of marble from four to six feet in thickness, which in some places rise to a height of 40 feet above the level of the terrace. If we reckon in the height of the terrace, those walls had certainly the elevation of 60 cubits which Diodorus gives them. The two other walls were on the plain, and barred the approach to the palace; of these there are no remains. Within the third wall, on the terrace, rise the buildings of the palace. An inscription on[Pg 375] the wall of the terrace in the Turanian language tells us: "Darius the king says: On this place a fortress is founded; previously there was no fortress. By the grace of Auramazda I have founded this fortress, strong, beautiful, and complete. May Auramazda and all the gods protect me and this fortress and all that is in it."[443] On the western side of the terrace towards the northern edge, two flights of steps, receding into the terrace, and joining at the top, lead up to the surface and the gate of the palace. They consist of 200 broad steps of large blocks of marble, ten or fifteen steps being sometimes formed out of one block. Ten horsemen could easily ride up together on each side. On the top of the terrace behind the landing of the steps, there was a gate in the wall, the place of which can be found by a break in the ruins; through this was the entrance into the citadel.

Not far from the western edge of the terrace, about equally removed from the northern and southern walls, on an elevated platform, rose a structure, 170 feet in length, and 90 feet in breadth; only a few fragments of the walls, door-posts, and window-cases remain, with the bases of the pillars in the hall (24 in number) which formed the centre of the building. On the window-ledges of the building is an inscription in three languages, in which we read: "Darius (Darayavus), the great king, the king of kings, the king of the lands, the son of Hystaspes, an Achæmenid, has erected this house."[444] On a pilaster in the south-west corner we find an inscription of Xerxes which tells us: "Under the protection of Auramazda, Darius, my father, erected this house."[Pg 376] The relief of one of the two posts of the door, which forms the entrance to the central hall on the north, exhibits Darius himself. The figure is 7½ feet high. The king is dressed in a garment which falls down to the ancles; the sleeves are very wide; he has high shoes, and wears the tiara; in his left hand he holds a long sceptre, and in the right a cup-shaped vessel. The beard is long, the hair comes out in strong locks under the tiara; the face is so injured that little more can be recognized beyond the long profile, the straight outline of the nose, and the quiet dignity of expression. Both the lines of the face and the expression correspond to the head of the king preserved on the memorial stone of the canal (p. 358). Over the king in a winged circle hovers Auramazda, whose figure from the knees upward projects from the circle beneath which the long robe of the god runs out in feathers. He wears a tiara like the king and in the left hand bears a ring. The countenance is aged and solemn; the hair and beard are like those of the king. The figure of the deity is obviously copied from the Asshur which hovers over the kings of Assyria. Behind the king, in similar clothing, but with much smaller and lower tiaras on the head, are the bearer of the royal parasol, which he holds over the head of the king, and the bearer of the fan.

The largest structure lies to the east, near the height of Rachmed. It forms a regular square of more than 200 (227) feet on each side, on which, on the north side, abutted a portico formed of two rows of pillars. The outer walls of the square consist of blocks of marble neatly fitted together, and more than ten feet in thickness. Eight gates, two towards each quarter, on the posts of which stand two lance-bearers face to face, led into a large hall the roof of which[Pg 377] was supported by 100 pillars, ten in ten rows.[445] At the north entrance to the portico, in the two western doors of the hall, the king is represented in conflict with monsters. In these reliefs he is shown with only a narrow band round the brow, or he wears a low cap; his robe is short, his arms are bare. He raises a lion with his right hand and presses the throat, while in his left he holds a dagger; he seizes a winged one-horned monster with the jaws of a wolf and the legs of a bird by the horn, and rips up the belly;[446] the third monster has the head and the claws of an eagle; the fourth is a four-footed animal standing up, with a horn in the forehead, which the king seizes, while with his left hand he has already thrust the sword into the body. These pictures are, no doubt, like the human-headed bulls which Xerxes subsequently set up at Persepolis, imitations of Semitic symbols. The overpowering or slaughter of the lion was, among the Assyrians, Cilicians, and Lydians, an ancient mode of representing the greatest achievement of Melkart-Sandon—the conquest of the fierce heat. This victory over evil was easily and naturally transferred to the office of the ruler, and could be accepted, even among the Iranians, as the religion of the Avesta rests in its principles on the resistance to the evil spirits of Angromainyu and the contest with his savage and harmful creatures, and requires this contest. The great hall of 100 pillars was, as the sculptures of the walls and posts show, the royal hall of audience. The throne was between the two central rows of pillars, opposite the two[Pg 378] doors of the north, on the southern wall of the hall. Here, on days of reception and festivity, the whole splendour of the Persian empire was displayed. Then, as the book of Esther says; "golden and silver cushions were laid on the floor of marble and alabaster, of pearls and tortoise-shell"; and "between the pillars hung white and purple curtains, on rings of silver, and linen and purple strings," and "wine was poured in abundance from golden vessels."[447] The walls of this room, and the beams of the roof, would not be without that ornamentation of gold and silver plates, which covered the walls, pillars, and beams of the chambers of the palace of Ecbatana (V. 309). The metal bolts which are found here and there on the inner side of the walls, can hardly have had any other purpose than to support plates of this kind. In both the northern gates two reliefs exhibit Darius sitting on the throne, on a lofty chair with a still higher back. The feet of the king rest on a stool; he wears the tiara, and has the sceptre in his right hand, a goblet in his left. Behind him is the bearer of the fan with a covered mouth, that his impure breath might not touch the king, then the bow-bearer without the Paitidana (V. 190), and at a greater distance one of the body-guard. A foreign emissary approaches the throne, clad in a tight coat with sleeves, and trousers joined to it, with a rounded cap. He holds his hand before his mouth while speaking to the king; behind him stands another figure with veiled mouth. This group of figures rests on a pediment which is formed by four rows of ten guards placed one over the other. These are armed partly with bows and lances, and partly with shields and lances. Their clothing exhibits two types; which often recur on the monu[Pg 379]ments of Persepolis. In the three lower rows one half of the men have wide coats reaching down to the ancles, with large sleeves, and high angular tiaras; the other half have coats with tight sleeves, reaching to the knee only, trowsers joined to them, and a low round covering for the head. This appears to be the Persian dress, the other is the dress of the Medes. Over the throne of the king a canopy with hanging fringes encloses the whole picture; except that in the middle, two winged circles are seen; beside the lower rows of figures on each side are four dogs (the animals of Auramazda); and beside the upper four bulls may be seen on each side. This picture of the enthroned king is repeated on the pilasters of the two southern gates; but on the third relief we find only Darius on the throne, with the fan-bearer behind; and the throne is not supported by the rows of guards, but on fourteen figures of another shape which are arranged in three rows; in the highest row are four figures, in the two lower five; in the last figure on the lowest row towards the west, there is an unmistakable negro. They bear the throne of the king with raised arms; above the two winged rings is the picture of Auramazda. On the fourth relief is some dignitary of the empire, or a prince of the house, behind the throne of the king, which is here supported in the same way by twenty-nine figures arranged in three rows. Here also Auramazda hovers over the two winged circles.

These figures are intended to present a picture of the government of Darius as resting in the one case on the fidelity and bravery of the army, and in the other, on the obedience of the subject nations. The supporting figures of the southern doors are all clothed differently, in the various dresses of the empire.[Pg 380] Between these doors we find the following inscription: "The great Auramazda, who is the greatest of gods, has made Darius king. He has given him the kingdom; by the grace of Auramazda Darius is king. Darius the king speaks: 'This land of Persia, which Auramazda has given to me, which is beautiful, rich in horses and men, fears no enemy by the protection of Auramazda, and of me, King Darius. May Auramazda stand beside me with the gods of the land, and protect this region against war, blight, and the lie. May no enemy come to this region, no army, no blight, no lie. For this favour I entreat Auramazda, and all the gods. May Auramazda grant me this with all the gods.'" On the same wall we are told: "I am Darius, the great king, the king of kings, the king of these numerous lands, the son of Hystaspes, an Achæmenid. Darius the king says: 'By the grace of Auramazda these are the lands which I rule over with this Persian army, which are in fear of me, and bring me tribute: the Susians, the Medes, the Babylonians, the Arabs, the Assyrians, the Egyptians, the Armenians, the Cappadocians, the inhabitants of Sardis, the Ionians of the mainland, and those of the sea. And in the east the Sagartians, the Parthians, the Sarangians, the Areians, the Bactrians, the Sogdiani, the Chorasmians, the Gedrosians, the Arachoti, the Indians, the Gandarians, the Sacae, the Macians. If thou thinkest: May I tremble before no enemy, then protect this Persian army; if the Persian army is protected, prosperity will remain unbroken to the most distant days.'"[448]

The successors of Darius extended the palace of[Pg 381] Persepolis. Directly behind the gate to which the great staircase on the terrace leads, King Xerxes, the son and successor of Darius, erected a portico. From the two front pilasters which form the entrance to this court from the west, two horses are hewn out in high relief; their heads and fore-feet project in front, their bodies and hinder quarters stand out from the pilasters in the entrance. These horses are 18 feet in length. From the four pillars which support the roof of the portico behind this entrance, two are still standing, 24 feet in height. Corresponding to the two guards of the front entrances, we find at the exit of the hall towards the interior of the citadel, i. e. towards the east, two winged bulls with human heads, projecting from the pilasters. About 20 feet in length, these bulls are precisely similar to the human-headed bulls of Nineveh, but the wings of the bulls are not thrown back so far, and the solemn bearded head is not surmounted here by a round cap, but by the Persian tiara; these tiaras, like the caps at Nineveh, are surrounded by four united horns. The horse, the animal of Mithra, which occurs repeatedly on the ruins of Persepolis, was no doubt the peculiar symbol of the Persians; the human-headed winged bulls belong, as has been observed, to Babylon and Assyria. Between this portico and the smaller building of his father, on the western edge of the terrace, Xerxes constructed a magnificent building. Three porticoes, of twelve pillars each, surrounded on the north, west, and south, a hall, formed of 36 pillars of black marble, 67 feet in height, and placed closely to each other in six rows; 14 are still standing. The building rose upon a walled platform, paved with blocks of marble. This appears to have been a kind of vestibule in which[Pg 382] the court, the foreign ambassadors, the emissaries of the provinces, who brought tribute, assembled. The inscription calls it a reception-house,[449] and the reliefs with which the front wall of the platform, ten feet in height, is ornamented, indicate that it was a vestibule. Two flights of steps lead up to this platform, and in the middle they form a projecting landing, on the front of which, on either side of an inscription, stand the seven guardians of the kingdom, three on one side and four on the other, in Median garments, with an upright spear in the hand. On the external walls of the steps we see a lion on either side, which attacks a horned horse from behind; the horse turns to defend itself. On the wall of the platform reliefs on either side of the steps exhibit three rows of figures one above the other. On the west side are the nations bringing tribute, on the eastern, which is more honourable, the body-guard and the court of the king. In each row here 22 soldiers of the body-guard advance to the steps; then the people of the court follow, partly in Median and partly in Persian dress; most of them have a dagger at the side; some are in conversation and take each other by the hand; others have suspended the bow in a belt over the shoulder; others carry cups, others staves which end in an apple in their hands. On the west side of the steps the figures are arranged in 20 sections, each containing six men (with one exception, which contains eight). The first figure always carries a staff, which marks him out as introducing strangers. The staff-bearer holds the nearest man by the hand; this second figure and the four which follow are differently clad in each section; the[Pg 383] last four carry various objects, garments, jars containing different articles, etc., or lead camels, horses, humped oxen, cattle, rams, mules, and other animals. These are the 20 satrapies of the kingdom who are brought before the king by the officers, and present their tribute. A second building, which Xerxes erected to the south-west of the smaller structure of Darius, consists of a portico of 12 pillars, and a hall of 36 pillars, on which abut four chambers on the east and west. This seems to have been his dwelling-house at Persepolis; at any rate we see in the sculptures of the hall six servants, who are carrying dishes with food, and a wine-skin. In addition to these, in four other places on the terrace, there are remains of less extensive buildings, one of which, lying in the south-west angle, was built by Artaxerxes III. Numerous ruins before the royal citadel, reaching from the foot of the terrace to the Pulwar, and the ruins of a wall, which ran along the river, confirm the statements of the Greeks, that a city of considerable size lay adjacent to the palace, just as the remains of canals and aqueducts show that the valley in front of the citadel was carefully cultivated.

Near the new citadel and city, which Darius added to his home a few years later, he caused the place to be marked out in which his corpse should rest or be exposed. Two leagues to the north-west from the ruins of the citadel of Persepolis, on the further shore of the Pulwar, lies a steep wall of white marble, now called Naksh-i-Rustem, i. e. pictures of Rustem. At an elevation of 60 or 70 feet above the ground this wall is hewn and wrought. The lowest part of this work is a plain surface, which forms the basis for a façade of four pillars, which are cut out of the rock. The capitals, like those in the palaces of[Pg 384] Persepolis, are formed of the fore-quarters of two kneeling horses united at the middle. Between the two central pillars is the case of a door. The heavy moulding which these pillars support passes into a toothed plinth, on which rises a sort of catafalque, where are two rows of men, each containing fourteen, in different dresses (among them are three negroes), who support a beam with upraised arms, on which a few steps lead up to a platform. On this stands Darius before an altar, the fire on which is flaming. The left hand rests on the bow which is planted on the platform, the right is raised in prayer. In the centre above the king hovers Auramazda in a winged circle; to the right the sun's disc is visible. The door of the façade does not seem to have been an entrance; but now the lower part of it is opened, and leads behind the façade into a long chamber, and three smaller ones, which are cut out of the mountain. Any one who wishes to have a near view of the façade must be drawn up, as Ctesias says that the parents of Darius were; the corpses also must have been drawn up, as we are told by Diodorus. On the façade under the form of the king we find the following inscription: "I, Darius, the great king, the king of kings, the king of the lands of all tongues, the king of the great and wide earth, the son of Hystaspes, the Achæmenid, the Persian, the son of a Persian, Ariya, scion of Ariya (in the Babylonia text we have only, a Persian, son of a Persian). Darius the king says: 'By the grace of Auramazda these are the lands which I governed beyond Persia; I ruled over them: they brought me tribute, they did what I commanded them: they obeyed my law: the Medes, Susians, Parthians, Areans, Bactrians, Sogdians, Chorasmians, Sarangians, Arachoti, Gedrosians, Gandarians,[Pg 385] Indians, Amyrgian-Sacæ, Sacæ with pointed caps, Babylonia, Assyria, Arabia, Egypt, Armenia, Cappadocia, the inhabitants of Sardis, the Ionians, the Sacæ beyond the sea, the Çkudra (the Thracians?) the Ionians who wear knots,[450] the Putiya, the Kushiya, the Machiya, the Karka (p. 307). Auramazda gave me these lands when he saw them in rebellion, and granted to me the rule over them; by the grace of Auramazda I have again reduced them to order; what I told them, that was done, because it was my will. If thou thinkest: How many were the lands which Darius ruled? look on the picture of those who bear my throne, in order to know them. Then wilt thou know that the lance of the Persian penetrated far, that the Persian fought battles far from Persia. What I have done, I have accomplished by the grace of Auramazda: Auramazda came to my help, till I accomplished it; may Auramazda protect me, my house and my land. May Auramazda grant me that for which I pray. O man, resist not the command of Auramazda; leave not the right path; sin not.'"[451] The mention of the "Knot-bearing" Ionians, and the Putiya (i. e. the Libyans), and the Sacæ beyond the sea on this inscription shows that it was engraved after the campaigns to the Danube and Barca, the subjection of Lemnos and Miletus, and the Greek cities on the coast of Thracia, i. e. after the year 512 B.C.; it was after this year that Darius caused his tomb to be constructed.[452] On the frame of the façade, over the pillared portal, we find on each side three figures in long robes placed over each other. These are the six princes of the Persian[Pg 386] tribes, the six chiefs of the empire after the king. Above the highest figure on the left of the king we read: "Gaubaruva (Gobryas) the Pateischorean, the lance-bearer of King Darius;"[453] over the second "Açpachana (Aspathines), the bow-bearer of King Darius."[454]

The ruins of Susa and Persepolis, the only remains of ancient west Iranian architecture which have come down to us, show that it was indeed founded upon Babylonian and Assyrian patterns, but that it was by no means mere imitation. Neither in Ecbatana nor in Persepolis was the use of brick necessary; stone was at hand; and even in Susa, at a distance of 50 miles from the mountains, stone was used. The ruins give evidence of a skill in smoothing and fitting the stones, which can only have been attained by long practice. If the platform, on which the buildings rest, belongs to the Babylonian and Assyrian style, the ruins of Persepolis and Susa nevertheless exhibit a perfectly independent style, which seems to have arisen out of an earlier practice of building in wood, and a peculiar manner of treating the ornamentation. We have seen that the plan of the palace at Ecbatana presupposed the use of wood, that the pillars there were wooden posts covered with precious metals. In Persepolis stone took the place of wood. The outer walls of the building are strong, the blocks and mouldings over the windows and doors are high and massive, but along with this massiveness, strength, and permanence, the buildings show a tendency to run into great height. The pillars are slender, reminding us of tent-posts; though of more than 60[Pg 387] feet in height they have a diameter of only four feet, and the inter-columniations are often more than 30 feet. The socles and capitals (which are either the fore-quarters of horses or bulls or inverted cups) are high and delicate. The socles do not project far, the capitals are slender; the buildings, which were covered by roofs of beams, overlaid no doubt with plates of gold and silver, thus acquired, along with their solidity, the impression of imposing elevation and delicate lightness. The sculptures also are distinguished from those of Babylon and Assyria, not merely by the fact that they are carried out in harder material, but they have also greater repose in the expression, the figures are less compressed, the muscles less prominent, the development of the forms more noble and free, the fall of the folds simple and natural. Animals are represented with extraordinary vigour and life. The execution in detail is careful, but flatter and duller than at Nineveh. The expression of the heads does not possess the energy and life which the sculptures of Assyria present; even in the most excited action it is ceremonious. It is solemn, massive, earnest, dignified, and restrained, but wanting in character. Beside the sculptures which symbolically represent the dignity, business, or deeds of the officers of the empire, the remaining reliefs of Persepolis give no chronicle of the reign of Darius and Xerxes; we find neither battles nor sieges; they merely glorify the splendour and greatness of the monarchy; they exhibit the throne of the king which the subject nations carry, surrounded by the princes of the kingdom, and protected by the body-guard. We see the subject nations bringing tribute, and thus we have a picture of established power, and secure majesty, but not of the individual acts and victories[Pg 388] of the king. The only historical sculpture which is at present known, is the inscription of Darius at Behistun. The style is simple and severe, the treatment far less minute than on the reliefs of Persepolis and Naksh-i-Rustem, but naïve and vigorous.

Susa, so Strabo tells us, was adorned more than other cities by the kings of the Persians; each built a separate dwelling there as a memorial of his reign; after Susa they honoured the palaces of Persepolis and Pasargadae; at Gabae also in upper Persia and at Taoke on the coast they had castles.[455] From Xenophon we learn that "the kings of Persia, it is said, pass the spring and the summer in Susa and Ecbatana."[456] We may conclude from these statements, and from the fact that the Achæmenids not only preserved but multiplied the gold and silver ornaments of the citadel of Ecbatana, as well as the buildings of the palace (V. 315), that Susa remained the ordinary residence even under the successors of Darius, but that in the height of summer—in order to avoid the heat of the plains of Elam—the court sought the cooler air of the ancient residence of Phraortes and Cyaxares—a change advisable on political grounds also. Even a short residence in Ecbatana showed that Media did not occupy the last place in the kingdom. The Persian kings also resided at times in Babylon. The Sassanids pursued the same course. Ardeshir built Shahabad in Elam, his successors resided in Madain, but during the summer in Hamadan.[457] The palaces[Pg 389] in the mother country were visited by Darius and his successors from time to time, who like himself caused their sepulchres to be cut either in the rocks of Naksh-i-Rustem, or on Mount Rachmed, immediately to the east of the citadel. There are three sepulchres by the side of that of Darius, and three on Mount Rachmed.

The size and splendour of the palaces at Susa, Ecbatana, Persepolis, and Pasargadae were matched by the numbers and brilliance of the court. The ceremonies and the arrangement of the service were taken from the pattern of the Median court, but not without considerable variations, and the Medes, in turn, had imitated the style of the Assyrian and Babylonian court. The prominent position of the six tribal princes, the supreme judges, the "kinsmen and table companions of the king," were without a parallel among the Medes; it was they who immediately surrounded the king next to the occupants of the great offices of state or honour. It was the opinion of Cyrus, Xenophon tells us, that the ruler should not only be superior to his subjects in valour, but he must exert a charm over them also. Thus he accustomed both himself and his officers to give commands with dignity, and for himself and for them he adopted the Median dress, as being more imposing and majestic. On solemn occasions the king appeared in a long purple robe, bordered with white—such as no one but himself might wear,[458] a Kaftan (Kandys) of brilliant purple was thrown over it.[459] The embroidery exhibited[Pg 390] falcons and hawks, the birds of the good god, which dwell in the pure air nearest to heaven. This garment was held together by a golden girdle, in which was a sabre adorned with precious stones. The trowsers were of purple; the shoes of the colour of saffron.[460] The head was covered by the upright tiara or kidaris,[461] of a white and blue colour, or by a band of the same colours, and also by a crown, as we see from the picture of Darius on a seal at Behistun.[462] Plutarch tells us that the king's attire was valued at 12,000 talents (nearly £3,000,000); his ornaments and attire on solemn occasions are no doubt meant.[463] If the royal court of the Sassanids was arranged after that of the Achæmenids, the attire of the king was even more extravagant. As the Greeks inform us, the king of the Persians was a sight seldom seen by the Persians.[464] Only the six tribal princes could enter without being announced. The attempt in any other person would be punished with death, unless the king forgave the offence.[465] It required time and trouble, and even special favour, to make way through the troops of body-guards, servants, eunuchs, under-officers, and court nobles; and when this was done it was necessary to be announced by the officers who introduced strangers, or by the chief door-keeper. The king sat on a golden throne when he gave audience. Over this was stretched a baldachino of vari-coloured purple, supported by four golden pillars adorned with[Pg 391] precious stones.[466] It was the custom among the Persians for the lower to bow to the earth before the more honourable,[467] no one approached the king without falling in the dust before him.[468] Any one who spoke to the king was compelled to keep his hands hidden in the long sleeves of his upper garment, in order to show that he neither could nor would use them.[469]

According to Xenophon the king of the Persians at day-break praised the powers of heaven, sacrificed daily to the gods, whom the Magians indicated. Plutarch tells us that he was awaked daily by a chamberlain with the words: "Arise, O king, and think of the things which Auramazda has given thee to think of."[470] At table the queen-mother and the queen sat beside him. The first sat above him, the second below, the king was in the middle of the table.[471] Like all the Persians, he ate but one meal a day, but this lasted a long time. The princes, the "kinsmen" and "table companions" of the king, as a rule, ate in an ante-chamber, but at banquets they were in the same hall with him, in their proper order, the king on a rich divan with a golden frame, the companions on pillows or carpets on the floor,[472] so arranged that those whom the king trusted most were on his left, the others on his right; "because the king," as Xenophon says, "could in case of need defend himself better with his right hand."[473] Before it was brought to the king the food[Pg 392] was tested by tasters; and before handing the goblet to the king, the butler drank a few drops out of it with a spoon, to prove that it was not poisoned.[474] Many kinds of food were set on the table, but only a moderate portion of each was placed before every person. Xenophon praises the abstinence of the well-bred Persians at table; they regarded it as low and brutish to show desire for food or drink.[475] Plutarch says: "Not only the friends, and commanders, and body-guard of the king had portions from his table, but also what the slaves and dogs ate was put upon the board, so that the kings of the Persians made all who were in their service the companions of their table and their hearth."[476] What was left from the table of the king was carried into the courts and distributed in equal portions among the body-guard and the servants.[477] If the meal was followed by any drinking, the queen-mother and the queen retired, before the concubines entered to play and sing.[478] The table-companions might not look at the concubines, and the eunuchs, who brought the women into the hall, took care that they should not. Even at night, when the king retired to rest, the concubines played and sang by the light of burning lamps.[479] On the festival of Mithra, the king was allowed to dance in Persian fashion, and to be intoxicated;[480] on his birthday he gave a great banquet, which, as Herodotus tells us, was called among the Persians the perfect banquet. On this day the king gave presents to the Persians (i. e. they received a[Pg 393] largess of money), and at the banquet, in which the women took part, he could not refuse any petition.[481] In accordance with the doctrine of the Avesta the king celebrated the day which had called him into life, and, as Plato tells us, all Asia celebrated with sacrifices and feasts the day which had given them their ruler.[482]

No one ever saw the king on foot; if he passed through the courts of the palace carpets of Sardis were spread before him, on which no other foot might step.[483] Outside the palace the king was sometimes seen on horseback, but more frequently in his chariot. It was a much-envied distinction among the princes of Persia to be allowed to assist the king to his horse.[484] If he descended from his chariot, no one might reach out his hand to support him; it was the duty of the bearer of the royal stool to place a golden stool for him to descend. At solemn processions, the roads on which the royal train passed were cleansed, as in India, strewn with myrtle and made odorous with frankincense; a string of guards and whip-bearers were placed along the way to prevent any one from coming forward to the chariot of the king.[485] The body-guard in their golden ornaments with crowned tiaras led the way and brought up the rear. The chariot of Mithra, yoked with eight Nisaean greys, went before the king; the sacred fire was carried before him by the Magians; and beside the chariot of the king, which was drawn by six or four Nisaean horses, marched staff-bearers. The chiefs of the tribes, the Achæmenids, the great officers of the court, the "kinsmen and table companions" of the king followed. In the train in the[Pg 394] rear no doubt the royal horses, two or four hundred in number, were, no doubt, led in splendid trappings.[486]

Darius was married before he ascended the throne of the Magian. His wife was the daughter of Gobryas, the chief of the Pateischoreans. She had borne him three sons before he came to the throne: Artabazanes, Arsamenes, and Ariabignes.[487] When he had acquired the throne, he made Atossa, the daughter of Cyrus, his queen, i. e. his legitimate wife; the younger line of Achæmenes was thus yet more closely united with the elder. The daughter of Gobryas fell into the rank of the second wives; Atossa took the place which Cassandane had held beside Cyrus, and which she herself had previously occupied with Cambyses. The second daughter of Cyrus, Artystone, and Parmys the only daughter whom Smerdis had left, passed into the harem of Darius. Atossa bore him four sons: Xerxes, Hystaspes, Masistes, and Achæmenes; Artystone bore Arsames and Gobryas, and Parmys Ariomardus. Darius had also sons by other women, as Phratagune, the daughter of his brother, Artanes; "he had many sons," is the remark of Justin.[488] The secondary wives of the king ranked above the concubines. The number of the latter was, at any rate under the successors of Darius, very considerable; it is given at 300, 350, and 360. After the battle of Issus, 329 concubines of the last Darius were discovered among the captives.[489] These women, as Diodorus informs us, were sought out from the most[Pg 395] beautiful maidens in Asia; for the new-comers, according to the book of Esther, a year's preparation was necessary. This went on in a special department of the seraglio, and consisted in the use of ointments, spices, and perfumes.[490] They were so far beneath the queen, that they were compelled to prostrate themselves before her when she looked at them;[491] at no time, except at the table of the king, could they be seen by men. If they accompanied the king on the chase or on journeys, and, as became usual at a later time, to the field, they were always in closed conveyances. Any one who touched one of the concubines was put to death, and even any one who approached their waggons, or passed through the train.[492] The queen enjoyed greater liberty. We are told of Stateira, the consort of Artaxerxes II., that she always travelled with her hangings drawn back, and allowed the women of the people to come up to her car and greet her.[493]

We have mentioned already how numerous were the persons about the court. The Greeks call attention to the splendid attire of the servants, and remark that the preparation of the king's table and the waiting gave them a great deal of trouble: in fact half the day was taken up with this. Each of the great court officers had a large number of subordinates. The chief door-keeper had at his disposal a number of eunuchs, who watched over the inner courts of the palace and the harem, waited on the women and carried messages. The degrading use of castration was unknown to the nations of the Arians, and contrary to their religion, which put so[Pg 396] high a value on life, and the preservation of the germs of life. It was from the princes of the Semites, the Assyrian and Babylonian court, that the use of eunuchs for guarding the harem, for waiting on the king and his women, and service in the inner chambers, was borrowed by the Median kings. In addition to other burdens, Babylonia supplied each year 500 mutilated boys to Darius. Eunuchs were never employed in the Persian army for commanders, or for officers of state, as was the case in Assyria and Babylonia; but personal attendance on the king, which even in the time of Cyrus devolved on eunuchs, brought some of them into favour and influence under him, and subsequently under Cambyses.[494] Beside the chief door-keeper and his eunuchs, was the chief staff-bearer with his subordinates. It was his duty to introduce strangers and those who came to ask for assistance; the envoys from countries and cities; to preserve order in the palaces, to superintend and punish the servants. The chief butler was at the head of a large number of butlers and waiters. The chamberlains, the valets of the king with their subordinates, the spreaders of pillows and carpets, the carvers and table-dressers, the cooks and bakers, the preparers of ointment, the weavers of crowns, the lamp-lighters and palace-sweepers formed a considerable body. In addition there was the chief groom with his subordinates, the master of the hunt, the hunters and dog-keepers. Physicians also were at hand, chiefly from Egypt, who had the greatest reputation in the east; then came the Greeks.[495]

Long caravans, surrounded by the body-guard, con[Pg 397]ducted the court, when a change of residence was made, from Susa to the palaces of Persia or Ecbatana. A large amount of splendid furniture, cattle for slaughter, food and drink of special quality, were taken with them. Herodotus tells us that the king of Persia drank only the water of the Choaspes, i. e. the Kerkha, which was boiled and carried in silver vessels on four-wheeled cars both into the field, and on journeys.[496] Beside numerous waggons the conveyance of the court required 1200 camels.[497] Along with the military equipage of the last Darius 277 cooks, 29 pastry-cooks, 13 preparers of milk diet, 17 preparers of liquors, 70 cellarmen, 40 preparers of ointment, and 41 chaplet-makers were captured.[498]


[433] The name in Hebrew is Shushan, among the Assyrians, Shusan, hodie, Shush.

[434] Loftus, "Travels in Susiana," p. 425 ff. Nöldeke ("Göttingen G. G." 1874, s. 173 ff.) has treated exhaustively of the various names of ancient Elam, as Susiana is invariably called among the Assyrians, Babylonians, and Hebrews. He proves that the name Κισσίη which is in use among the older Greeks, Aeschylus, Hecataeus, and Herodotus, must be derived from the Kossaeans, a tribe who inhabited the northern and higher part of Susiana, and the mountainous edge towards Iran. Of later writers Polybius only uses the name Cissians, who also uses the name Matieni in the sense of Herodotus. Uwaya, the name common among the Persians for Susiana, is taken from the Uxians, who were the eastern neighbours of Persia, i. e. the tribe in Susiana which dwelt nearest to Persia; it is retained in the new Persian Chuz and Chusistan. Among the Greeks the name Elymaeans is first used by the companions of Alexander as the name for a tribe, and then in the second century B.C. as the name of a new kingdom which restored the ancient Elam. Yet to this tribe which inhabited the plain and the hills of Susa and Shuster was due the foundation and government of the kingdom which once ruled in the valley of the Euphrates, which so long resisted the Assyrians, but was entirely unknown to the Greeks. The rivers of Susiana are difficult to fix, as both Persian and native names are indifferently used. The name Choaspes, which contains açpa, is plainly Persian; it is no doubt the Kerkha. On the Eulaeus, Koprates, and Pasitigris, see Droysen, "Hellenismus," 12, 266 n.

[435] Aesch. "Pers." 16, 120; Athen. p. 513; Strabo, p. 728, 731, 739; Diod. 17, 65.

[436] Polyb. 5, 48.

[437] Plin. "Hist. Nat." 6, 31; Daniel viii. 2, 16.

[438] "Pers." 3, 4, 159, 160.

[439] Ael. "Hist. An." 1, 59.

[440] Ménant, "Achaemenides," p. 140, 141; Oppert, "Peuple des Mèdes," p. 229.

[441] Curtius, 5, 4.

[442] Diod. 17, 71.

[443] Oppert, "Peuple des Mèdes," 196.

[444] Oppert, loc. cit. 19, 148; Spiegel, "Keilinschriften," s. 49; Schrader, "Assyr. Babyl. Keilinschriften," s. 363.

[445] Texier, "Description," pl. 100.

[446] Impressions of seals which have been discovered in the palace of Sennacherib at Kuyundshik, represent the king of Assyria in precisely the same position.—Layard, "Nineveh and Babylon," p. 154, 161.

[447] Esther i. 6, 7.

[448] Inscriptions H. and J. Oppert, "Journal Asiatique," 19, 141; Spiegel, "Keilinschriften," s. 49. Oppert now translates aniya not by "enemy" but literally by "the other;" by which Angromainyu would be meant: "Peuple des Mèdes," p. 199.

[449] Viçadahyaus; Spiegel, loc. cit. s. 57; Benfey, "Keilinschriften," s. 63-65; Schrader, loc. cit. s. 364.

[450] Above, p. 272 n.

[451] Oppert. "Z. D. M. G." 11, 133 ff.; Mordtmann, loc. cit. 16, 109 ff.; Spiegel, "Keilinschriften," s. 52; Schrader, loc. cit. s. 361.

[452] Above, p. 272 n., 307.

[453] So the Babylonian text.

[454] It is merely a guess that saraçtibara means bow-bearer; Spiegel, "Keilinschriften," s. 106. Oppert translates: bearer of the commands of the king; "Peuple des Mèdes," p. 213.

[455] Strabo, p. 728, 735.

[456] "Anab." 3, 5, 15.

[457] Nöldeke, "Tabari," s. 353. Xenophon's statements about the residences in the "Anabasis" (loc. cit.) cannot be outweighed by the systematized arrangement in the "Cyropaedia" that Cyrus spent three months at Susa, two at Ecbatana, and seven months at Babylon, which Plutarch ("De Exilio," c. 12) repeats in the form, that the Persian kings passed the spring at Susa, the summer in Media, and the winter in Babylon. With Aeschylus and Herodotus Susa is a fixed residence, and so also in the treatise "De Mundo," p. 398, and the Hebrews, e. g. Nehemiah i. 1. Joseph. "Antiq." 10, 11, 7. Athenaeus, p. 513, thinks that Persepolis was the residence for the autumn. In the winter of the year 396-395 Conon finds Artaxerxes II. at Babylon; the same king says in Plutarch ("Artax." c. 19) to Parysatis, that he will never see Babylon as long as she lives.

[458] Plut. "Artax." c. 5.

[459] Diod. 17, 77.

[460] Aeschyl. "Pers." 660.

[461] Plut. "Artax." c. 26.

[462] Diod. 17, 77; Xenoph. "Cyri Inst." 8, 3, 13.

[463] Plutarch ("Artax." c. 24) maintains, it is true, that this is the value of the garments which the king habitually wore. Arrian treats of this subject, "Anab." 4, 7, and Curtius, 3, 3, 17-19; 6, 6, 4. With respect to the royal colours, cf. Esther i. 6.

[464] Phan. Eres. Fragm. 9, ed. Müller; Plut. "Artax." c. 20, 23; Strabo, p. 525.

[465] Esther iv. 11. Cf. Herod. 3, 118, 119.

[466] Heracl. Cum. fragm. 1, ed. Müller; Esther v. 4.

[467] Herod. 1, 134; Strabo, p. 734.

[468] Arrian, "Anab." 4, 11.

[469] Xenoph. "Hellen." 2, 1; 8.

[470] Herod. 7, 54; Xenoph. "Cyri Inst." 8, 1, 23, 24, with the addition that this was the custom in his day. Plut. "Ad princ. ineruditum," 3.

[471] Plutarch, "Artax." c. 5; "Conjug. praecepta," c. 16; "Quaest. Conviv." 1, 3, 1.

[472] Heracl. Cum. fragm. 2; Xenoph. "Hellen." 4, 1, 30.

[473] "Cyri Inst." 8, 4, 2, 3.

[474] Suidas, Ἐδέατρος.

[475] "Cyri Inst." 5, 2, 17.

[476] Plut. "Quaest. Conviv." 7, 4, 5.

[477] Athenaeus, p. 145. Above, p. 352.

[478] Plut. "Quaest. Conviv." 1, 1, 1; "Conjug. praecepta," 16.

[479] Heracl. Cum. fragm. 2; Diod. 17, 77.

[480] Ctesias and Darius, in Athenaeus, p. 434.

[481] Herod. 9, 110, 111; Esther ii. 18.

[482] "Alcib. I." p. 121.

[483] Heracl. Cum. fragm. 1, ed. Müller.

[484] Xenoph. "Anab." 4, 4, 4.

[485] Herod. 7, 54; Curtius, 5, 1, 20.

[486] Herod. 7, 40, 41; 54, 55; Xenoph. "Cyri Inst." 8, 3, 5-10; Curtius, 3, 3, 21.

[487] Herod. 7, 2, 97; 8, 89. Herodotus (7, 68) calls Arsamenes the son of Darius, and (7, 69) Arsames the son of Darius and Artystone. Artabazanes is called by Justin (2, 10) Artamenes.

[488] Herod. 7, 224; Justin, 2, 10.

[489] Diod. 17, 77; Athenaeus, p. 557.

[490] Esther ii. 7-17; v. 2; viii. 4.

[491] Deinon in Athenaeus, p. 557.

[492] Heracl. Cum. fragm. 1, ed. Müller; Plut. "Artax." c. 27.

[493] Plut. "Artax." 5.

[494] Xenoph. "Cyri Inst." 7, 5, 58.

[495] Xenoph. "Cyri Inst." 8, 1, 9; 8, 8, 20; Plut. "Artax." c. 19; Nicol. Damasc. fragm. 66, ed. Müller. On the physicians, above, p. 134, 313.

[496] Herod. (1, 188) ascribes this custom to Cyrus, though the reference to Susa which he adds shows that it can only have come into existence after Susa became a residence.

[497] Demosth. "Symmor." p. 185.

[498] Athenaeus, p. 608.



[Pg 398]



The arrangement which Darius had given to his vast empire allowed the character, laws, manners, and religion of the subject nations to remain as far as possible unchanged, and only interfered, exceptionally, in the hereditary local customs of the provinces. Adequate provision for the maintenance of the central government, the establishment of rapid combinations, care for the training of the generals and officers, ample and obvious rewards for service, a system of taxation far removed from extortion, regulations for the advancement of agriculture, development of the trade on the southern sea, or by land, since the caravans could pass unharmed and even protected from Miletus to Susa, from Cyrene to the Indus, seemed to give a solid foundation, an adequate support, and abiding power to the empire of Cyrus and Darius. Yet for the security and continuance of it, it was of the first importance, whether the national feeling of the subject peoples, in spite of or owing to the tolerance of the empire, was still sufficiently vigorous and strong to create in them the desire to rise from the subjection in which they were, to win back their independence, and develop their national existence; whether the controlling power of the[Pg 399] ruling people was sufficient to maintain itself for a length of time over such wide regions; whether, in fine, the ruling house would preserve, amid the splendour of its new palaces, and the brilliance of extraordinary success, the vigour and force required to sustain the heavy task of administering the empire in the manner of Darius.

Under his sceptre the national civilizations of Asia which had hitherto been separated were united into a great whole. Beside the ancient civilization of Babylon stood the yet more ancient civilization of Egypt; beside the Lydians and Syrians, and the Hellenes of the Anatolian coast, stood the forms of life existing on the Indus, all united in equal rights; above these, and yet owing to the formation of this empire, side by side with them, was the characteristic civilization of the Bactrians, Medes, and Persians. The ancient communities of Egypt, Babylonia, and Phoenicia were able, it is true, to make attempts, and even stubborn attempts, at resistance, but they did not succeed in effecting a new departure. On the contrary, the various forms of civilization united together began by degrees to exercise a mutual influence, and each wore down the other. Only the religious feeling of that Syrian tribe, whose states had been crushed beneath the armies of the kings of Asshur and Babylon, remained free from this assimilation, and self-secluded; in the native soil, which Cyrus had once more allowed the exiles to occupy, they struck new and deeper roots, which promised the noblest fruits from the old sturdy stock.

The Persians, and especially the upper orders, could not remain uninfluenced by the privileged position of the ruling people and reigning class in such a wide empire, and by the pattern of the court. The[Pg 400] fruits of dominion flowed in upon them; their lives were opulent and full of enjoyment. The Greeks can tell us a great deal of the splendour and luxury of the Persians, which were introduced in the time of Darius and subsequently. They inform us that the Persians adopted a richer style of dress. Like the Indians, the Medes and the Persians after them delighted to adorn themselves; but according to the Greeks the Persians were even more anxious to give themselves a dignified and imposing appearance. They wore the loose dress of the Medes, in blue and red purple; they also followed the Medes in wearing chains, and armlets, and earrings of gold.[499] The hair and beard received careful attention. In summer the parasol-bearers were always at hand, in winter gloves were worn.[500] The houses were adorned with costly carpets; the Persians lay on beds with golden feet, and soft cushions; and on the tables of the higher classes glittered goblets, bowls, and pitchers of gold and silver. The servants were numerous, trained butlers, bakers, and cooks were kept.[501] The table of the Persians, as the Greeks tell us, presented but few kinds of farinaceous food, but whole animals were served up, and the dessert was plentiful and in various courses.[502] The hereditary moderation in wine was not observed. Herodotus tells us that: "The Persians readily accept foreign customs. They wear the Median dress because they consider it more beautiful, and in war they use Egyptian coats of mail. They adopt any customs which please[Pg 401] them, and in addition to a large number of wives, they have many concubines."[503] About the year 500 B.C. the Persians were so accustomed to convenience in their domestic economy, that they took even into the field of battle their servants together with their cooks and maid-servants, their entire harem with costly furniture, partly in closed waggons and partly on camels; even the men of the guard were followed by their women and furniture. The nobles encamped under tents splendidly wrought with gold and silver.[504] But in spite of this luxury, self-control and military vigour were never eradicated in the Persians. They were always seen in a becoming attitude. They were never observed to eat or drink greedily; they never laughed loud, or quarrelled, or gave way to passion.[505] The education which the sons of the nobles received under the eye of the king and the satraps, and the rich rewards in store for eminent valour, kept up a manly spirit. We have more than one instance of acts of rare devotion to the king and the empire. The remembrance of the conflicts of Cyrus, of the wars which Darius carried on, the consciousness of great successes, the proud feeling that they governed the nations of Asia, formed strong counterpoises to the advance of effeminacy. Even those who lived most delicately at home eagerly joined in the chase, in the prescribed extirpation of the animals of Angromainyu, and the princes did not disdain to do garden-work with their own hands day by day. At that time, as Xenophon observes, the old Persian sobriety and force existed beside the Median dress and luxury, and Heracleides of Pontus tells us that the Persians[Pg 402] and Medes, who loved luxury and excess above others, were also the bravest and most magnanimous of the barbarians.[506] Artaxerxes Mnemon, in spite of his golden ornaments and purple kaftan, dismounted from his horse, and marched on foot, shield on arm and quiver on shoulder, day by day at the head of his soldiers, through the roughest and steepest mountain paths, though the day's march reached 25 miles or more. In spite of armlets and purple hose the leading Persians long after the time of Darius leapt from their horses into the mud, in order to extricate a baggage-cart, which prevented the march of the army; and the common soldier, even when frozen with cold, hesitated to lay the axe to beautiful trees which would be consumed merely to warm him by his watch-fire. The prescripts of religion were not without effect. The kings kept their word when given; every Persian regarded it as shameful to break the pledge of plighted hands, to refuse reverence to his parents—his mother especially—to speak falsely, and to seek for gains by trade. Thucydides says of them that they liked better to give than to receive.[507] The pride of the Persians preferred to serve the king with arms and receive favour and presents from him, than to carry on any kind of trade. A great number of the Persians were constantly under arms in the standing army; the rest tended their flocks and cultivated their fields in the hereditary way. They kept to the old Persian dress, the close and short garment of leather; their coats reached only half way down the thigh, and instead of the tiara they wore a low band round the head. Along with their dress and[Pg 403] mode of life, they kept true to the manners and moderation of their forefathers, and practised the old arts of riding and archery.

More serious for the future of the kingdom than any splendour or magnificence on the part of eminent Persians, was the influence, which in the composition of the court was unavoidable, of his personal servants on the king and on his resolutions—and the danger that court intrigues might override the interest of the empire; above all, the still more unavoidable influence of the harem. If the position of the queen-mother, who, in accordance with the doctrines of Zarathrustra, enjoyed a position of great respect at court, and her relations to the queen or first wife gave occasion for jealous rivalry, each secondary wife had still stronger motives to seek or maintain influence with the king, to disparage the queen and the other wives before him, and make provision for her sons if she could not aspire to gain the succession to the throne. Thus a door was opened to ambition and intrigue, and the eunuchs of the wives found in this occupation only too good an opportunity for gaining importance and weight. If such evils were a little matter under a ruler of the determination and wisdom of Darius, it was impossible to count on the fact that he would be followed by a series of kings like himself, and equally great. But if the court outgrew the state, and the fortunes of the empire were decided in the seraglio, the empire itself might be thrown into danger with a change in the succession. The education given to the princes, and especially to the heir to the throne, has been mentioned already, as well as their instruction in the wisdom of the Magi. The crown descended to the eldest son of the legitimate wife or queen. Whenever[Pg 404] the king took the field, in order to prevent contention he nominated his successor. Even about the successor of Darius a difficulty might arise. His first wife, the daughter of Gobryas, had borne him three sons before he came to the throne; when king, he had made Atossa his queen, and had four sons by her (p. 394). Which was the legitimate heir, the eldest of the first family, or of the second?—Artabazanes or Xerxes?

At the death of the king, as Diodorus tells us, the sacred fire in the royal palace, and in all the houses of the Persians, was put out.[508] We remember the prescript of the Avesta that the fire of the hearth must be removed from the house of the dead, together with all the sacred vessels, the pestle, the cup, the bundle of rods and the Haoma, and that the fire could not be kindled again till the ninth or thirtieth day after the death (V. 215). The heir to the throne repaired to Pasargadae, to receive consecration from the Magi there. "In that city," says Plutarch, "there is the shrine of a warlike goddess who may, perhaps, be compared with Athene; to this the prince who is to be consecrated goes, and there lays his robe aside, in order to put on the garment which Cyrus wore before he became king: then he eats a cake of dried figs, bites a terebinth, and drinks a cup of sour milk (no doubt in remembrance of the old life of the Persians). Whether he has anything to do beyond this is unknown."[509] We are told elsewhere that the new king put the royal kidaris on his head; and no doubt the act would be accompanied with invocations by the Magi. The shrine of the goddess mentioned by Plutarch must have been a place of sacrifice to Anahita; the heroes and kings of the Avesta sacrifice[Pg 405] to this goddess in order to attain the splendour of majesty, the supreme dominion.[510]

The Arian tribes of the table-land of Iran have preserved the original character of their family more truly than their kinsmen who settled on the Indus and the Ganges, and filled the Deccan with their civilization. Placed in a less tempestuous region, in a land where there were sharp contrasts of climate, of hill and plain, of fertility and desolation, of snow and sand storms, the life of the Arians in Iran was more vigorous and manly than life in India. The tribes in the north-east attained to civic life and intellectual progress before the tribes of west Iran. The contrast in which the former stood to the hordes of the neighbouring steppes, and the repulsion of their attacks, led the Bactrians to a larger state, and the formation of a military monarchy, which arose from the midst of an armed nobility, while the weight of the ancient and powerful states of the Semites in the valley of the Euphrates and the Tigris, repressed the independent development of the tribes of western Iran. The foundations of the religious views of the Arians were the same to the east and west of the Indus. With the Arians of the Panjab, the Arians of Iran shared the belief in the power of the spirits of light which gave life and blessing, in the destructive power of the black spirits, and the struggle of the spirits of light against the spirits of darkness. The peculiar intensity of the contrasts in nature and in the conditions of life in the north-east, gave an impulse to the development of religious views there, which led to the systematic opposition of the hosts of heaven and of hell, and the union of these groups under two supreme spirits, and to deeper ideas of[Pg 406] their nature. It was a transformation of the old conceptions which at the same time carried with it a change and increase in the ethical demands made upon men. While the development of conceptions beyond the Indus tended to set man free from all sensuality, and sought to bring him back to his divine origin, by crushing the body and quenching the individuality, the doctrine of Zarathrustra excludes only the harmful side of nature, and demands the increase of the useful side; it pledges every man to take a part in the conflict of the good spirits against the evil, demands that by his work, his activity, and the purity of his soul, he enlarge the kingdom of the good and light spirits to the best of his ability, and thus forms sound and practical aims for the conduct of men. When this doctrine had penetrated to the nations of west Iran, and struck deep roots among them, the Medes succeeded in combining their tribes, and repelling the supremacy of the Assyrians. In no long time the borders of their dominion extended, in the west to the Halys, and in the east over the whole table-land of Iran; in union with Babylon they overthrew the remnant of Assyria, and shared with that city the empire over Hither Asia. What the Medes had begun, the Persians finished, when they had taken the place of the Medes. One after another the ancient kingdoms of Hither Asia fell before them—the Lydian empire, which had finally united under its sway the tribes and cities of the western half of Asia Minor, ancient Babylon, which had once more united the valley of the two streams, the states of Syria, and the cities of the Phenicians, and at length even primeval Egypt.

Arian life and Arian culture were now dominant through the whole breadth of Asia, from the pearl-[Pg 407]banks and coral-reefs of the Indian Ocean to the Hellespont. At the time when the first Arian settlers were landing far in the east on Tamraparni (Ceylon) the cities of the Hellenes on the western coast of Anatolia and the strand of the Aegean were compelled to bow before the arms of Cyrus. The world had never seen before such an empire as that of Darius, the borders of which reached from the Libyans, the plateau of Barca, the Nubians and negroes beyond Egypt, the tribes of the Arabian desert to the summits of the Caucasus, the remote city of Cyrus on the Jaxartes, and the gold-land of the Daradas in the lofty Himalayas. And not contented with this range Darius aspired to extend yet further the limits of his empire.

Beyond the Aegean Sea a branch of the Arian stock had developed an independent civilization and civic life in small mountain cantons surrounded by the sea. The eye of the potentate of Asia looked no doubt with contempt on these unimportant communities, whose colonies in Asia and Africa had long been subject to him; on states of which each could put in the field no more than a few thousand warriors. The sea, which separated the Persian kingdom from the cantons of the Greeks, had already been crossed; the Persians had seen the mouths of the Danube; the straits of the Bosphorus and the Hellespont were in the power of Darius, the coasts of Thrace and the Greek states were subject to him; he had already planted a firm foot at the mouths of the Hebrus and the Strymon, and the prince of Macedonia paid him tribute. At his command Phenicians and Persians had investigated the coasts of the Aegean Sea, and of Hellas.

Was it possible that these small cantons, without[Pg 408] political union or common interests, living in perpetual strife and feud, excited and torn by internal party contests in which there were almost as many views as men, whose exiles made their way to the lofty gates of the Persian monarch, whose princes were at pains to secure their dominions by vassalage to the great king, and join in leagues with him against their countrymen—was it possible that these cantons, in this position, would maintain their independence against Persia, and resist the attack of this universal empire,—the onset of Asia? Would the Greeks be bold enough to venture on such a hopeless struggle, to oppose the Persians, whose name was a terror to all their neighbours, and even to the Hellenes? Few, Herodotus tells us, could even bear the sight of the Persian cavalry, and Plato remarks that the minds of the Greeks were already enslaved to the Persians.

It was a question of decisive importance for the civilization and development of humanity; whether the new principle of communal government, which had been carried out in the Hellenic cantons, should be maintained, or pass into the vast limits of the Persian empire, and succumb to the authority of the king: state power and civic life, absolute authority and the will of the majority, abject obedience and conscious self-control, the masses and the individual—these were ranged opposite each other, and the balance was already turning in favour of overwhelming material force.


[499] Plut. "Artax." c. 13; Xenoph. "Cyri Inst." 8, 1, 40; "Anab." 1, 5, 8; Strabo, p. 734.

[500] Xenoph. "Cyri Inst." 8, 8, 17.

[501] Aeschyl. "Pers." 543; Xenophon, "Cyri Inst." 8, 8, 16.

[502] Herod. 1, 133; Heracleides of Cyme (Fragm. 2, ed. Müller) contests the excess of the king at table as well as of the officers and generals. Cf. Xenoph. "Cyri Inst." 5, 2, 17; 8, 8, 10; Strabo, p. 733, 734.

[503] Herod. 1, 135.

[504] Herod. 7, 83, 187; 9, 76, 80, 81, 82; Xenoph. "Anab." 4, 4.

[505] Xenoph. "Cyri Inst." 8, 8, 8 ff.

[506] Xenoph. "Cyri Inst." 8, 8, 15; Heracl. Pont. ap. Athenaeum, p. 512.

[507] Plut. "Artax." 24, 25; Xenoph. "Anab." 1, 5; "Cyri Inst." 8, 8, 2; Thuc. 2, 17.

[508] Diod. 17, 114. Cf. Curtius, 3, 3, 9.

[509] Plut. "Artax." 3.

[510] Vol. V. 32, 37. "Aban Yasht," 22, 25, 46, 50.



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