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• He tells us, as Justin does after him, that Astyages, king of the Medes, being warned by a frightful dream, that the son, who was to be born of his daughter, would dethrone him, did therefore marry his daughter Mandana to a Persian of obscure birth and fortune, whose name was Cambyses: this daughter being delivered of a son, the king commanded Harpagus, one of his principal officers, to destroy the infant. He, instead of killing the child, put it into the hands of one of the king's shepherds, and ordered him to leave it exposed in a forest. But the child being miraculously preserved, and secretly brought up by the shepherd's wife, was afterwards known to be the same by his grandfather, who contented himself with banishing him to the most remote parts of Persia, and vented all his wrath upon the unfortunate Harpagus, whom he invited to a feast, and caused him to feed on the flesh of his own son. Several years after, young Cyrus, being informed by Harpagus who he was, and being encouraged by his counsels and remonstrances, raised an army in Persia, marched against Astyages, came to a battle, and defeated him, and so transferred the empire from the Medes to the Persians.
The same Herodotus makes Cyrus die in a manner little becoming so great a conqueror. This prince, according to him, carried his arms against the Scythians; and, after having attacked them in the first battle, pretended to fly, leaving a great quantity of wine and provisions behind him in the field. The Scythians did not fail to seize the booty. When they had drunk largely and were asleep, Cyrus returned upon them, and obtained an easy victory, taking a vast number of prisoners, amongst whom was the son of the queen, named Tomyris, who commanded the army. This young captive prince, whom Cyrus refused to restore to his mother, being recovered from his drunken fit, and not able to endure to see himself a prisoner, killed himself with his own hand. His mother Tomyris, animated with a desire of revenge, gave the Persians a second battle, and feigning a flight, as they had done before, by that means drew them into an ambush, and killed above 200,000 of their men, together with their king Cyrus. Then ordering Cyrus's head to be cut off, she flung it into a vessel full of blood, insulting him at the same time with these opprobrious words, "Now 'glut thyself with blood, in which thou hast always delight"ed, and of which thy thirst has always been insatiable." The account given by Herodotus of Cyrus's infancy and
a Herod. l. i. c 107-130. Justin. 1. i. c. 4, 6.
b Herod. l. i. c. 205-214. Justin. L i. c. 8. e Satia te, inquit, sanguine, Just. 1. i. c. 8.
quem sitisti, cujusque insatiabilis semper fuisti.
first adventures, has much more the air of a romance than of an history. And as to the manner of his death, what probability is there, that a prince so experienced in war, and no less renowned for his prudence than for his bravery, should so easily fall into an ambuscade laid by a woman for him? What the same historian relates concerning his impetuosity and passion, and his childish revenge upon the river, in which one of his sacred horses was drowned, and which he immediately caused to be cut by his army into 360 channels, is directly repugnant to the idea we have of Cyrus, whose distinguishing characteristic was mildness and moderation. Besides, is it at all probable, that Cyrus, who was marching to the conquest of Babylon, should so idly waste his time when so precious to him, should spend the ardour of his troops in such an unprofitable piece of work, and miss the opportunity of surprising the Babylonians, by amusing himself with a ridiculous war with a river, instead of carrying it against his enemies ?
But, what decides this point unanswerably in favour of Xenophon, is the conformity we find between his narrative and the Holy Scripture; where we see, that instead of Cyrus's having raised the Persian empire upon the ruins of that of the Medes, as Herodotus relates, those two nations attacked Babylon together, and united their forces, to reduce the formidable power of the Babylonian monarchy.
From whence then could so great a difference, as there is between these two historians, proceed? Herodotus himself explains it to us. In the very place where he gives the account of Cyrus's birth, and in that where he speaks of his death, he acquaints us, that even at that time those two great events were related different ways. Herodotus followed that which pleased him best, for it appears that he was fond of extraordinary and wonderful things, and was very credulous. Xenophon was of a graver disposition, and of less credulity; and in the very beginning of his history, acquaints us, that he had taken great care and pains to inform himself of Cyrus's birth, education, and character.
THE HISTORY OF CAMBYSES.
S soon as Cambyses was seated on the throned, he resolv
which, according to Herodotus, he pretended to have received from Amasis: of this I have already given an account". But it is more probable that Amasis, who had submitted to Cyrus, and become tributary to him, might draw this war upon himself, by refusing, after Cyrus's death, to pay the same homage and tribute to his successor, and by attempting to shake off his yoke.
Cambyses, in order to carry on the war with success, made vast preparations both by sea and land. The Cypriots and Phoenicians furnished him with ships. As for his land army, he added to his own troops a great number of Grecians, Ionians, and Æolians, which made up the principal part of his forces. But none was of greater service to him in this war than Phanes of Halicarnassus, who being the commander of some auxiliary Greeks, in the service of Amasis, and being some way or other dissatisfied with that prince, came over to Cambyses, and gave him such intelligence concerning the nature of the country, the strength of the enemy, and the state of his affairs, as very much facilitated the success of his expedition. It was particularly by his advice, that he contracted with an Arabian king, whose territories lay between the confines of Palestine and Egypt, to furnish his army with water during their march through the desert, that lay between those two countries; which agreement that prince fulfilled, by sending the water on the backs of camels, without which Cambyses could never have marched his army that way.
Having made all these preparations, he invaded Egypt in the fourth year of his reign. When he was arrived upon the frontiers, he was informed that Amasis was just dead, and that Psammenitus, his son, who succeeded him, was busy in gathering all his forces together, to hinder him from penetrating into his kingdom. Before Cambyses could open a passage into the country, it was necessary he should render himself master of Pelusium, which was the key of Egypt on the side he invaded it. Now Pelusium was so strong a place, that in all likelihood it must have stopped him a great while. But, according to Polyenus, to facilitate this enterprise, Cambyses invented the following stratagem. Being informed that the whole garrison consisted of Egyptians, he placed in the front of his army a great number of cats, dogs, sheep, and other animals, which were looked upon as sacred by that nation; and then attacked the city by storm. The soldiers of the garrison, not daring either to fling a dart, or shoot an arrow that way, for fear of hitting some of those
a Vol. i. in the History of the Egyptians. c Herod, l. iii. ç. 10.
b Herod. c. 4-9.
d Polyen 1. vii.
animals, Cambyses became master of the place without opposition.
When Cambyses had got possession of the city, Psamme nitus advanced with a great army, to stop his progress; and a fierce battle ensued between them. But before they engaged, the Greeks who were in Psammenitus's army, in order to be revenged of Phanes for his revolt, took his children, which he had been obliged to leave in Egypt when he fled, cut their throats between the two camps, in presence of the two armies, and drank their blood. This outrageous cruelty did not procure them the victory. The Persians, enraged at so horrid a spectacle, fell upon them with great fury, quickly routed and overthrew the whole Egyptian army, of which the greatest part were killed upon the spot. Those that could save themselves escaped to Memphis.
¿On occasion of this battle Herodotus takes notice of an extraordinary circumstance, of which he himself was a witness. The bones of the Persians and Egyptians were still in the place where the battle was fought, but separated from one another. The skulls of the Egyptians were so hard, that a violent stroke of a stone would hardly break them; and those of the Persians so soft, that you might break them, or pierce them through, with the greatest ease imaginable. The reason of this difference was, that the former, from their infancy, were accustomed to have their heads shaved, and go uncovered, whereas the latter had their heads always covered with their tiaras, which is one of their principal orna
Cambyses having pursued the run-aways to Memphis, sent an herald into the city, in a vessel of Mitylene, by the river Nile, on which Memphis stood, to summon the inhabitants to surrender. But the people, transported with rage, fell upon the herald, and tore him to pieces, and all that were with him. Cambyses, having soon after taken the place, fully revenged the indignity, causing ten times as many Egyptians, of the prime nobility, as there had been persons massacred in the vessel, to be publicly executed. Among these was the eldest son of Psammenitus. As for the king himself, Cambyses was inclined to treat him kindly. He not only spared his life, but appointed him an honourable maintenance. But the Egyptian monarch, little affected with this kind usage, did what he could to raise new troubles and commotions, in order to recover his kingdom; as a punishment for which, he was made to drink bull's blood, and died immediately. His reign lasted but six months; after which all Egypt submitted to the conqueror. On the news
Herod. l. iii. c. 1.
b Ibid. 12.
Thid c. 13
of this success, the Lybians, the Cyrenians, and the Barceans, all sent ambassadors with presents to Cambyses, to make him their submissions.
• From Memphis he went to the city of Sais, which was the burying-place of the kings of Egypt. As soon as he entered the palace, he caused the body of Amasis to be taken out of its tomb; and, after having exposed it to a thousand indignities in his own presence, he ordered it to be cast into the fire, and to be burnt; which was a thing equally contrary to the customs of the Persians and Egyptians. The rage which this prince testified against the dead body of Amasis, shows to what a degree he hated his person. Whatever was the cause of that aversion, it seems to have been one of the chief motives that Cambyses had of carrying his arms into Egypt.
The next year, which was the sixth of his reign, he resolved to make war in three different countries; against the Carthaginians, the Ammonians, and the Ethiopians. The first of these projects he was obliged to lay aside, because the Phoenicians, without whose assistance he could not carry on that war, refused to succour him against the Carthaginians, who were descended from them, Carthage being originally a Tyrian colony.
But being determined to invade the other two nations, he sent ambassadors into Ethiopia, who under that character were to act as spies for him, to learn the state and strength of the country, and give him intelligence of both. They carried presents along with them, such as the Persians were used to make, as purple, golden bracelets, compound perfumes, and wine. These presents, amongst which there was nothing useful, or serviceable to life, except the wine, were despised by the Ethiopians; neither did they make much more account of his ambassadors, whom they took for what they really were, spies and enemies in disguise. However, the king of Ethiopia was willing, after his way, to make a present to the king of Persia; and taking a bow in his hands, which a Persian was so far from being able to draw, that he could scarce lift it, he bent it in presence of the ambassadors, and told them: "This is the present and ** the counsel the king of Ethiopia gives the king of Persia. “When the Persians shall be able to use a bow of this big❝ness and strength, with as much ease as I have now bent "it, then let them come to attack the Ethiopians, and bring more troops with them than Cambyses is master of. In "the meantime, let them thank the gods for not having put
e Ibid, c. 20-24,
a Herod. 1. iii. c. 16, b Ibid. l. iii. c. 17, 19. VOL. II.