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were the reigning all-powerful favourites; nor is it anv wonder. It was very natural for the prince, after having confided his person to their care, and experienced their zeal, fidelity, and merit, to intrust them also with the management of some public business, and by degrees to give himself up to them. These expert courtiers knew how to improve those favourable moments, when sovereigns, delivered from the weight of their dignity, which is a burden to them, become men, and familiarize themselves with their officers. And by this policy having got possession of their masters minds and confidence, they came to be in great credit at court, to have the administration of public affairs, and the disposal of employments and honours, and to arrive themselves at the highest offices and dignities in the state.
But the good emperors, such as Alexander Severus, held the eunuchs in abhorrence, looking upon them as creatures sold and attached only to their fortune, and enemies by principle to the public good; persons whose whole view was to get possession of the prince's mind, to keep all persons of merit from him, to conceal the knowledge of public business as much as possible from him, and to keep him shut up and imprisoned in a manner, within the narrow circle of three or four officers, who had an entire ascendant and dominion over him: Claudentes principem suum, et agentes ante omnia ne quid sciat.
When Cyrus had given orders about every thing relating to the government, he resolved to show himself publicly to his own people, and to his newly conquered subjects, in a solemn august ceremony of religion, by marching in a pompous cavalcade to the places consecrated to the gods, in order to offer sacrifices to them. In this procession Cyrus thought fit to display all possible splendour and magnificence, to catch and dazzle the eyes of the people. This was the first time that prince ever aimed at procuring respect towards himself, not only by the attractions of virtue, says the historian, but by such an external pomp, as was calculated to attract the multitude, and worked like a charm or enchantment upon their imaginations. He ordered the superior officers of the Persians and allies to attend him, and gave each of them a suit of clothes after the Median fashion, that is to say, long garments, which hung down to the feet. These clothes were of various colours, all of the finest and brightest dye, and richly embroidered with gold and siver. Besides those that were for themselves, he gave them others, very splendid also, but less costly, to present to the subaltern officers. It was on this occasion the Persians first dressed themselves b Cyrop. 1. viii. p. 213, 220. € ̓Αλλὰ καὶ καταγοητεύειν ᾤετο χρῆναι αὐτός.
a Lamprid. in vita Alex. Sever.
after the manner of the Medes, " and began to imitate them in colouring their eyes, to make them appear more lively, and in painting their faces in order to beautify their complexions.
When the day appointed for the ceremony was come, the whole company assembled at the king's palace by break of day. Four thousand of the guards, drawn up four deep, placed themselves in front of the palace, and 2000 on the two sides of it ranged in the same order. The whole cavalry were also drawn out, the Persians on the right, and that of the allies on the left. The chariots of war were ranged half on one side, and half on the other. As soon as the palace gates were opened, a great number of bulls of exquisite beauty were led out by four and four: these were to be sacrificed to Jupiter and other gods, according to the ceremonies prescribed by the Magi. Next followed the horses, that were to be sacrificed to the sun. Immediately after them a white chariot, crowned with flowers, the pole of which was gilt this was to be offered to Jupiter. Then came a second chariot of the same colour, and adorned in the same manner, to be offered to the sun. After these followed a third the horses of which were caparisoned with scarlet housings. Behind came the men who carried the sacred fire on a large hearth. When all these were on their march, Cyrus himself began to appear upon his car, with his upright tiara upon his head, encircled with the royal diadem. His under tuniç was of purple mixed with white, which was a colour peculiar to kings. Over his other garments he wore a large purple cloak. His hands were uncovered. A little below him sat his master of the horse, who was of a comely stature, but not so tall as Cyrus, for which reason the stature of the latter appeared still more advantageously. As soon as the people perceived the prince, they all fell prostrate before him, and worshipped him; whether it was, that certain persons appointed on purpose, and placed at proper distances, led others on by their example, or that the people were moved to do it of their own accord, being struck with the appearance of so much pomp and magnificence, and with so many. awful circumstances of majesty and splendour. The Persians had never prostrated themselves in this manner before Cyrus till on this occasion.
When Cyrus's chariot was come out of the palace, the 4000 guards began to march; the other 2000 moved at the same time, and placed themselves on each side of the chariot. The eunuchs, or great officers of the king's household, to the number of 300, richly clad, with javelins in their hands, and
a Cyrop. 1. viii. P. 206.
mounted upon stately horses, marched immediately after the chariot. After them followed 200 led horses of the king's stable, each of them having embroidered furniture, and bits of gold. Next came the Persian cavalry, divided into four bodies, each consisting of 10,000 men; then the Median horse, and after those the cavalry of the allies. The chariots of war, four abreast, marched in the rear, and closed the procession.
When they came to the fields consecrated to the gods, they offered their sacrifices, first to Jupiter, and then to the sun. To the honour of the first were burnt bulls, and to the honour of the second horses. They likewise sacrificed some victims to the earth, according to the appointment of the Magi; then to the demi-gods, the patrons and protectors of " Syria.
In order to recreate the people after this grave and solemn ceremony, Cyrus thought fit that it should conclude with games, and horse and chariot-races. The place where they were was large and spacious. He ordered a certain portion of it to be marked out, about the quantity of five stadia, and proposed prizes for the victors of each nation, which were to encounter separately, and among themselves. He himself won the prize in the Persian horse-races, for nobody was so complete an horseman as he. The chariots ran but two at a tinie, one against another.
This kind of racing continued a long time afterwards amongst the Persians, except only that it was not always attended with sacrifices. All the ceremonies being ended, they returned to the city in the same order.
Some days after, Cyrus, to celebrate the victory he had obtained in the horse-races, gave a great entertainment to all his chief officers, as well foreigners as Medes and Persians. They had never yet seen any thing of the kind so sumptuous and magnificent. At the conclusions of the feast he made every one a noble present; so that they all went home with hearts overflowing with joy, admiration, and gratitude: and all-powerful as he was, master of all the East, and so many kingdoms, he did not think it derogatory to his majesty to conduct the whole company to the door of his apartment. Such were the manners and behaviour of those ancient times, when men understood how to unite great simplicity with the highest degree of human grandeur.
a Among the ancients, Syria is often put for Assyria. b A little above halt a mile.
e Cyrop. l. viii. p. 220-224.
THE HISTORY OF CYRUS, FROM THE TAKING OF BABYLON TO THE TIME OF HIS DEATH.
Cyrus finding himself master of all the East, by the taking of Babylon, did not imitate the example of most other conquerors, who sully the glory of their victories by a voluptuous and effeminate life; to which they fancy they may justly abandon themselves after their past toils, and the long course of hardships they have gone through. He thought it incumbent upon him to maintain his reputation by the same methods he had acquired it, that is, by a prudent conduct, by a laborious and active life, and a constant application to the du ties of his high station.
Cyrus takes a Journey into Persia. At his return_from thence to Babylon he forms a Plan of Government for the whole Empire. Daniel's Credit and Power.
a When Cyrus judged he had sufficiently regulated his affairs at Babylon, he thought proper to take a journey into Persia. In his way thither, he went through Media, to visit his uncle Cyaxares, to whom he carried very magnificent presents, telling him at the same time that he would find a a noble palace at Babylon, all ready prepared for him, whenever he would please to go thither; and that he was to look upon that city as his own. Indeed Cyrus, as long as his uncle lived, held the empire only in co-partnership with him, though he had entirely conquered and acquired it by his own valour. Nay, so far did he carry his complaisance, that he let his uncle enjoy the first rank. This is the Cyaxares who is called in Scripture Darius the Mede; and we shall find, that under his reign, which lasted but two years, Daniel had several revelations. It appears that Cyrus, when he returned from Persia, carried Cyaxares with him to Babylon.
When they were arrived there, they concerted together a scheme of government for the whole empire. They divided it into 120 provinces. d And that the prince's orders might be conveyed with the greater expedition, Cyrus caused post-houses to be erected at proper distances, where the couriers, that travelled day and night, found horses always ready, and by that means performed their journeys with in
a Cyrop. l. viii. p. 227. Dan, vi. 1.
b A. M. 3466. Ant. J. C. 538,
credible dispatch. The government of these provinces was given to those persons that had assisted Cyrus most, and rendered him the greatest sercice in the war. Over these governors were appointed three superintendants, who were always to reside at court, and to whom the governors were to give an account from time to time of every thing that passed in their respective provinces, and from whom they were to receive the prince's orders and instructions; so that these three principal ministers had the superintendency over, and the chief administration of, the great affairs of the whole empire. Of these three, Daniel was made the chief. He highly deserved such a preference, not only on account of his great wisdom, which was celebrated throughout all the East, and had appeared in a distinguished manner at Belshazzar's feast, but likewise on account of his great age, and consum mate experience. For at that time it was full 67 years, from the fourth of Nabuchodonosor, that he had been employed as prime minister of the kings of Babylon.
As this distinction made him the second person in the empire, and placed him immediately under the king, the other courtiers conceived so great a jealousy of him, that they conspired to destroy him. As there was no hold to be taken of of him, unless it were on account of the law of his God, to which they knew him inviolably attached, they obtained an edict from Darius, whereby all persons were forbidden to ask any thing whatsoever, for the space of thirty days, either of any god, or any man, save of the king; and that upon pain of being cast into the den of lions. Now, as Daniel was saying his usual prayers, with his face turned towards Jerusalem, he was surprised, accused, and cast into the den of lions. But being miraculously preserved, and coming out safe and unhurt, his accusers were thrown in, and immediately devoured by those animals. This event still augmented Daniel's credit and reputation.
d Towards the end of the same year, which was reckoned the first of Darius the Mede, Daniel, knowing by the computation he made, that the 70 years of Judah's captivity, determined by the prophet Jeremiah, were drawing towards an end, prayed earnestly to God, that he would vouchsafe to remember his people, rebuild Jerusalem, and look with an eye of mercy upon his holy city, and the sanctuary he had placed therein. Upon which the angel Gabriel assured him in a vision, not only of the deliverance of the Jews from their temporal captivity, but likewise of another deliverance much more considerable, namely, a deliverance from the bondage of sin and Satan, which God would procure to his
a Cyrop. 1. viii. p. 230.
c Id. vi. 4-27.
b Dan. vi. 2, 3.
Dan. ix 1-27.