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to his person. To pretend to do this by authority and compulsion, is the sure way of suppressing all knowledge and industry, and of driving away the liberal arts and sciences, which must be free and unconfined, like the genius from whence they spring. For one man of genius that will be kept in a country by force, thousands will be driven away, who would probably have chosen to reside in it, if they could enjoy their liberty, and meet with kind treatment.
When Darius had formed his design of sending into Greece, he acquainted Democedes with it, laid open his views to him, and told him the occasion he had for his service in conducting the Persian noblemen thither, particularly to the maratime towns, in order to observe their situation and strength; at the same time earnestly desiring him, that, when that was done, he would return back with them to Persia. The king permitted him to carry all his moveables with him, and give them, if he pleased, to his father and brothers, promising at his return to give him as many of greater value; and signified to him further, that he would order the galley, in which he was to sail, to be laden with very rich presents, for him to bestow as he thought fit on the rest of his family. The king's intention appeared by his manner of speaking to be undisguised and without artifice: but Democedes was afraid it might be a snare laid for him, to discover whether he intended to return to Persia, or not; and therefore, to remove all suspicion, he left his own goods behind him at Susa, and only took with him the presents designed for his family.
The first place they landed at was Sidon in Phoenicia, where they equipped two large vessels for themselves, and put all they had brought along with them on board a transport. After having passed through and carefully examined the chief cities of Greece, they went to Tarentum in Italy. Here the Persian noblemen were taken up as spies; and Democedes, taking advantage of this arrest, made his escape from them and fled to Crotona. When the Persian lords had recovered their liberty they pursued him thither; but could not prevail upon the Crotonians to deliver up their fellow-citizen. The city moreover seized the loaded vessel; and the Persians, having lost their guide, laid aside the thoughts of going through the other parts of Greece, and set out for their own country. Democedes let them know, at their departure, that he was going to marry the daughter of Milo, a famous wrestler of Crotona, whose name was very well known to the king, and of whom we shall have occasion to speak hereafter. This voyage of the Persian noblemen into Greece was attended with no immediate consequence; because on their return home they found the king engaged in other affairs.
"In the third year of this king's reign (which was but the second, according to the Jewish computation), the Samaritans gave the Jews new troubles. In the preceding reigns, they had procured an order to prohibit the Jews from proceeding any farther in building of the temple of Jerusalem. But, upon the earnest exhortation of the prophets, and the express order of God, the Israelites had lately resumed the work, which had been interrupted for several years, and carried it on with great vigour. The Samaritans had recourse to their ancient practices to prevent them. To this end they applied to Thatanai, whom Darius had made governor of the provinces of Syria and Palestine. They complained to him of the audacious proceeding of the Jews, who, of their own authority, and in defiance of the prohibitions to the contrary, presumed to rebuild their temple, which must necessarily be prejudicial to the king's interests. Upon this representation of theirs. the governor thought fit to go himself to Jerusalem. And being a person of great equity and moderation, when he had inspected the work, he did not think proper to proceed violently, and to put a stop to it without any further deliberation; but inquired of the Jewish elders, what license they had for entering upon a work of that nature. The Jews hereupon producing the edict of Cyrus, he would not of himself ordain any thing in contradiction to it, but sent an account of the matter to the king, and desired to know his pleasure. He gave the king a true representation of the matter, acquainting him with the edict of Cyrus, which the Jews alleged in their justification, and desired him to order the registers to be consulted, to know whether Cyrus had really published such an edict in their favour, and to send him instructions how he was to act in the affair. Darius having commanded the registers to be examined, the edict was found at Ecbatana in Media, the place where Cyrus was at the time of its being granted. Now Darius having a great respect for the memory of that prince, confirmed his edict, and caused another to be drawn up, wherein the former was referred to and ratified. This motive of regard to the memory of Cyrus, had there been nothing else to influ-* ence the king, would be very laudable; but the Scripture informs us, that it was God himself who influenced the mind and heart of the king, and inspired him with a favourable disposition to the Jews. The truth of this appears pretty plain from the edict itself. In the first place, it ordains, that all the victims, oblations, and other expenses of the temple, be abundantly furnished by the Jews, as the priests should require: in the second place, it enjoins the priests of Jerusa
- Fzr. e. v.
6 Ibid. c. vi.
lem, when they offered their sacrifices to the God of heaven, to pray for the preservation of the life of the king, and the princes his children: and lastly, it goes so far, as to denounce imprecations against all princes and people that should hinder the carrying on of the building of the temple, or that should attempt to destroy it; by all which Darius evidently acknowledges, that the God of Israel is able to overturn the kingdoms of the world, and to dethrone the most mighty and powerful princes.
By virtue of this edict, the Jews were not only authorized to proceed in the building of their temple, but all the expenses thereof were also to be furnished to them out of the taxes and imposts of the province. What must have become of the Jews, when the crimes of disobedience and rebellion were laid to their charge, if at such a juncture their superiors had only hearkened to their enemies, and not given them leave to justify themselves!
The same prince, some time after, gave a still more signal proof of his love for justice, and of his abhorrence of informers, a detestable race of men, that are, by their very nature and condition, enemies to all merit and all virtue. It is pretty obvious, that I mean the famous edict published by this prince against Haman, in favour of the Jews, at the request of Esther, whom the king had taken to his bed in the room of Vasthi, one of his wives. According to Archbishop Usher, this Vasthi is the same person as is called by profane writers Atossa; and the Ahasuerus of the Holy Scriptures the same as Darius; but, according to others, it is Artaxerxes. The fact is well known, being related in the sacred history: I have given however a brief account of it in this volume.
Such actions of justice do great honour to a prince's memory; as do also those of gratitude, of which Darius on a certain occasion gave a very laudable instance. ther to Polycrates, tyrant of Samos, had once made Darius a Syloson, broa present of a suit of clothes of a curious red colour, which extremely pleased Darius's fancy, and would never suffer him to make any return for it. Darius at that time was but a private gentleman, an officer in the guards of Cambyses, whom he accompanied to Memphis in his Egyptian expedition. When Darius was on the throne of Persia, Syloson went to Susa, presented himself at the gate of his palace, and caused himself to be announced as a Grecian to whom his majesty was under some obligation. Darius, surprised at such a message, and curious to know the truth of it, ordered him to be brought in. When he saw him, he remembered him, and acknowledged him to have been his benefactor; and was so far from being ashamed of an adventure, which might a Herod. l. ji. c. 139, 149.
seem not to be much for his honour, that he ingenuously applauded the gentleman's generosity, which proceeded from no other motive than that of doing a pleasure to a person from whom he could have no other expectations; and then proposed to make him a considerable present of gold and silver. But money was not the thing Syloson desired: the love of his country was his predominant passion. The favour he required of the king, was, that he would settle him at Samos, without shedding the blood of the citizens, by driving out the person that had usurped the government since the death of bis brother. Darius consented and committed the conduct of the expedition to Otanes, one of the principal lords of his court, who undertook it with joy, and performed it with suc
SECT. II.-Revolt and Reduction of Babylon.
a In the beginning of the fifth year of Darius, Babylon revolted, and could not be reduced till after a 20 months' siege. This city, formerly mistress of the east, grew impatient of the Persian yoke, especially after the removing of the imperial seat to Susa, which very much diminished Babylon' wealth and grandeur. The Babylonians taking advantage of the revolution that happened in Persia, first on the death of Cambyses, and afterwards on the massacre of the Magians, made secretly for four years together all kinds of preparations for war. When they thought the city sufficiently stored with provisions for many years, they set up the standard of rebelTion; which obliged Darius to besiege them with all his forces. Now God continued to accomplish those terrible threatenings he had denounced against Babylon: That he would not. only humble and bring down that proud and impious city, but depopulate and lay it waste with fire and blood, utterly exterminate it, and reduce it to an eternal solitude. In order to fulfil these predictions, God permitted the Babylonians to rebel against Darius, and by that means to draw upon them selves the whole force of the Persian empire: and they themselves were the first to put these prophecies in execution, by destroying a great number of their own people as will be seen presently. It is probable, that the Jews, of whom a considerable number remained at Babylon, went out of the city, before the siege was formed, as the prophets Isaiah and Jeremiah had exhorted them long before, and Zechariah very lately, in the following terms: "Thou Sion, that dwellest with the daughter of Babylon, flee from the country and save thyself."
A. M. 3488. Ant. J. C. 516. Herod. 1. iii. e. 150-160.
The Babylonians, to make their provisions last the longer, and to ennable them to hold out with the greater vigour, took the most desperate and barbarous resolution that ever was heard of; which was, to detroy all such of their own people as were unserviceable on this occasion. For this purpose they assembled together all their wives and children, and strangled them. Only every man was allowed to keep his best beloved wife, and one servant-maid to do the business of the family.
After this cruel execution, the unhappy remainder of the inhabitants, thinking themselves out of all danger, both on account of their fortifications, which they looked upon as impregnable, and the vast quantity of provisions they had laid up, began to insult the besiegers from the tops of their walls, and to provoke them with opprobrious language. The Persians, for the space of 18 months, did all that force or stratagem were capable of to make themselves masters of the city; nor did they forget to make use of the same means as had so happily succeeded with Cyrus some years before; I mean that of turning the course of the river. But all their efforts were fruitless; and Darius began almost to despair of taking the place, when a stratagem, till then unheard-of, opened the gates of the city to him. He was strangely surprised one morning to see Zopyrus, one of the chief noblemen of his court, and son of Megabyses, who was one of the seven lords that made the association against the Magians; to see him, I say, appear before him all over blood, with his nose and ears cut off, and his whole body disfigured with wounds. Starting up from his throne, he cried out, Who is it, Zopyrus, that has dared to treat you thus? You yourself, O king, replied Zopyrus. The desire I had of rendering you service has put me into this condition. As I was fully persuaded, that you never would have consented to this method, I took counsel alone of the zeal which I have for your service. He then opened to him his design of going over to the enemy; and they settled every thing together that was proper to be done. The king could not see him set out upon this extraordinary project without the utmost affliction and concern. Zopyrus approached the walls of the city; and having told them who he was, was soon admitted. They then carried him before the governor, to whom he laid open his misfortune, and the cruel treatment he had met with from Darius, for having dissuaded him from continuing any longer before a city which it was impossible for him to take. He offered the Babylonians his service, which could not fail of being highly useful to them, since he was acquainted with all the designs of the Persians, and since the desire of revenge would inspire him with fresh courage and