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They had still a fourth method of attacking places, which was that of sapping and undermining; and this was done two different ways; that is, either by carrying on a subterranean path quite under the walls, into the heart of the city, and so opening themselves a passage into it; or else, after they had sapped the foundation of the wall, and put supporters under it, by filling the space with all sorts of combustible matter, and then setting that matter on fire, in order to burn down the supporters, calcine the materials of the wall, and throw down part of it.
2. THEIR MANNER OF DEFENDING PLACES.
With respect to the fortifying and defending of towns, the ancients made use of all the fundamental principles, and essential rules now practised in the art of fortification. They had the method of overflowing the country round about, to hinder the enemy's approaching the town; they made deep and sloping ditches, and fenced them round with palisadoes, to make the enemy's ascent or descent the more difficult; they made their ramparts very thick, and fenced them with stone, or brick-work, that the battering-ram should not be able to demolish them; and very high, that the scaling of them should be equally impracticable; they had their projecting towers, from whence our modern bastions derived their origin, for the flanking of the curtains; they invented with much ingenuity different machines for the shooting of arrows, throwing of darts and lances, and hurling of great stones with vast force and violence; they had their parapets and battlements in the walls for the soldiers security, and their covered galleries, which went quite round the walls, and served as casemates; their intrenchments behind the breaches, and necks of the towers; they made their sallies too, in order to destroy the works of the besiegers, and to set their engines on fire; as also their countermines to defeat the mines of the enemy; and, lastly, they built citadels, as places of retreat in case of extremity, to serve as the last resource to a garrison upon the point of being forced, and to make the taking of the town of no effect, or at least to obtain a more advantageous capitulation. All these methods of defending places against those who besieged them, were known in the art of fortification as it was practised among the ancients; and they are the very same as are now in use among the moderns, allowing for such alteration as the difference of arms has occasioned.
I thought it necessary to enter into this detail, in order to give the reader an idea of the ancient manner of defending fortified towns; as also to remove a prejudice which prevails
among many of the moderns, who imagine, that, because new names are now given to the same things, the things themselves are therefore different in nature and principle. Since the invention of gunpowder, cannon indeed have been substituted in the place of the battering-ram, and musketshot in the room of balista, catapulta, scorpions, javelins, slings, and arrows. But does it therefore follow, that any of the fundamental rules of fortification are changed? By no means. The ancients made as much of the solidity of bodies, and the mechanic powers of motion, as art and ingenuity would admit.
7. THE CONDITION OF THE PERSIAN FORGES AFTER
I have already observed, more than once, that we must not judge of the merit and courage of the Persian troops at all times, by what we see of them in Cyrus's reign. I shall conclude this article of war with a judicious reflection made by Monsieur Bossuet, bishop of Meaux, on that subject. He observes, that, after the death of that prince, the Persians, generally speaking, were ignorant of the great advantages that result from severity, order, or discipline; from the drawing up of an army; their order of marching and encamping; and that happiness of conduct which moves those great bodies without disorder or confusion. Full of a vain ostentation of their power and greatness, and relying more upon strength than prudence, upon the number rather than the choice of their troops, they thought they had done all that was necessary, when they had drawn together immense numbers of people, who fought indeed with resolution enough, but without order, and who found themselves incumbered with the vast multitudes of useless persons, who formed the retinue of the king and his chief officers. For to such an height was their luxury grown, that they would needs have the same magnificence, and enjoy the same pleasures and delights in the army, as in the king's court; so that in their wars the kings marched accompanied with their wives, their concubines, and all their eunuchs. Their silver and gold plate, and all their rich furniture, were carried after them in prodigious quantities; and, in short, all the equipage and utensils so voluptuous a life requires. An army composed in this manner, and already clogged with the excessive number of troops, was overburdened with the additional load of vast multitudes of such as did not fight. In this confusion the troops could not act in concert: their orders never reached them in time: and in action every thing went on at random, as it were, without the possibility
of any commander's being able to remedy this disorder. Add to this, the necessity they were under of finishing an expedition quickly, and of passing into an enemy's country with great rapidity; because such a vast body of people, greedy not only of the necessaries of life, but of such things also as were requisite for luxury and pleasure, consumed every thing that could be met with in a very short time; nor indeed is it easy to comprehend from whence they could procure subsistence.
But with all this vast train, the Persians astonished those nations that were as inexpert in military affairs as themselves; and many of those that were better versed therein, were yet overcome by them, being either weakened or distressed by their own dissensions, or overpowered by their enemy's numbers. And by this means Egypt, proud as she was of her antiquity, her wise institutions, and the conquests of her Sesostris, became subject to the Persians. Nor was it difficult for them to conquer the Lesser Asia, and even such Greek colonies as the luxury of Asia had corrupted. But when they came to engage with Greece itself, they found what they had never met with before, regular and well disciplined troops, skilful and experienced commanders, soldiers accustomed to temperance, whose bodies were inured to toil and labour, and rendered both robust and active, by wrestling and other exercises practised in that country. The Grecian armies indeed were but small; but they were like strong, vigorous bodies, that seem to be all nerves and sinews, and full of spirits in every part: at the same time they were so well commanded, and so prompt in obeying the orders of their generals, that one would have thought all the soldiers had been actuated by one soul; so perfect an harmony was there in all their motions.
ARTS AND SCIENCES.
I do not pretend to give an account of the eastern poetry, of which we know little more than what we find in the bocks of the Old Testament. Those precious fragments are sufficient to let us know the origin of poesy; its true design; the use that was made of it by those inspired writers, namely, to celebrate the perfections, and sing the wonderful works of God; as also the dignity and sublimity of style which ought to accompany it, adapted to the majesty of the subjects on which it treats. The discourses of Job's friends, who lived in the east, as he himself did, and whe
were distinguished among the Gentiles, as much by their learning as their birth, may likewise give us some notion of the eastern eloquence in those early ages.
What the Egyptian priests said of the Greeks in general, and of the Athenians in particular, according to a Plato, that they were but children in antiquity, is very true with respect to arts and sciences, of which they have falsely ascribed the invention to chimerical persons, much posterior to the deluge. The Holy Scripture informs us, that, before that epocha, God had discovered to mankind the art of tilling and cultivating the ground; of feeding their flocks and cattle, when their habitation was in tents; of spinning wool and flax, and weaving it into stuffs and linen; of forging and polishing iron and brass, and rendering them subservient to numberless uses that are necessary and convenient for life and-society.
We learn from the same Scriptures, that, very soon after the deluge, human industry had made several discoveries, very worthy of admiration: as, 1. The art of spinning gold thread, and of interweaving it with stuffs. 2. That of beating gold, and with light thin leaves of it gilding wood and other materials. 3. The secret of casting metals; as brass, silver, or gold; and of making all sorts of figures with them in imitation of nature; of representing any kind of different objects; and of making an infinite variety of vessels of those metals for use and ornament. 4. The art of painting, or carving upon wood, stone, or marble: and 5. to name no more, that of dying their silks and stuffs, and giving them the most exquisite and beautiful colours.
As it was in Asia that men first settled after the deluge, it is easy to conceive that Asia must have been the cradle, as it were, of arts and sciences, of which the remembrance had been preserved by tradition, and which were afterwards revived again, and restored by means of men's wants and necessities, which put them upon all the methods of industry and application.
The building of the tower of Babel, and, shortly after, of those famous cities, Babylon and Nineveh, which have been looked upon as prodigies; the grandeur and magnificence of royal and other palaces, divided into sundry halls and apartments, and adorned with every thing that either decency or conveniency could require; the regularity and symmetry of the pillars and vaulted roofs, raised and multiplied one upon another; the noble gates of their cities; the breadth and thickness of their ramparts; the height and strength
a In Timæo, p. 22.
b Gen. c. iv.
of their towers; the convenience of their quays on the banks of great rivers; and the boldness of the bridges thrown over them: all these things, I say, with many other works of the like nature, show to what a pitch of perfection architecture was carried in those ancient times.
Yet I cannot say, whether in those ages this art rose to that degree of perfection which it afterwards attained in Greece and Italy; or whether those vast structures in Asia and Egypt, so much boasted of by the ancients, were as remarkable for their beauty and regularity, as they were for their magnitude and spaciousness. We hear of five orders in architecture, the Tuscan, Doric, Ionic, Corinthian, and Composite: but we never hear of an Asiatic or Egyptian order, which gives us reason to doubt whether the symmetry, measures, and proportions of pillars, pilasters, and other ornaments in architecture, were exactly observed in those ancient structures.
It is no wonder, if, in a country like Asia, addicted to pleasure, to luxury, and to voluptuousness, music, which is in a manner the soul of such enjoyments, was in high esteem, and cultivated with great application. The very names of the principal styles of ancient music, which the modern has still preserved, namely, the Doric, Phrygian, Lydian, Ionian, and Æolian, sufficiently indicate the place were it had its origin; or at least, were it was improved and brought to perfection. a We learn from Holy Scripture,
that in Laban's time instrumental music was much in use in the country where he dwelt, that is, in Mesopotamia; since, among the other reproaches he makes to his son-in-law Jacob, he complains, that, by his precipitate flight, he had put it out of his power to conduct him and his family "with
mirth and with songs, with tabret and with harp.” Amongst the booty that Cyrus ordered to be set apart for his uncle Cyaxares, mention is made of two famous female musicians, very skilful in their profession, who accompanied a lady of Susa, and were taken prisoners with her.
To determine what degree of perfection music was carried to by the ancients, is a question which very much puzzles the learned. It is the harder to be decided, because, to determine justly upon it, it seems necessary we should have several pieces of music composed by the ancients, with their notes, that we might examine it both with our eyes and our ears. But, unhappily, it is not with music in this respect as with ancient sculpture and poetry, of which we have so maa Gen. xxxi. 27. b Cyrop liv p. 113. - Μεσεργές δύο τας κράτισας.