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resolution. His name and person were both well known at Babylon: the condition in which he appeared, his blood and his wounds testified for him; and, by proofs not to be suspected, confirmed the truth of all he advanced. They therefore placed implicit confidence in whatever he told them, and gave him moreover the command of as many troops as he desired. In the first sally he made, he cut off 1000 of the besiegers; a few days after he killed double the number; and on the third time, 4000 of their men lay dead upon the spot. All this had been before agreed upon between him and Darius. Nothing was now talked of in Babylon but Zopyrus: the whole city strove who should extol him most, and they had not words sufficient to express their high value for him, and how happy they esteemed themselves in having gained so great a man. He was now declared generalissimo of their forces, and entrusted with the care of guarding the walls of the city. Darius approaching with his army at the time agreed on between them, Zopyrus opened the gates to him, and made him by that means master of a city, which he never could have been able to take either by force or famine.
As powerful as this prince was, he found himself incapable of making a sufficient recompense for so great a service; and he used often to say, that he would with pleasure sacrifice a hundred Babylons if he had them, to restore Zopyrus to the condition he was in before he inflicted that cruel treatment upon himself. He settled upon him during life the whole revenue of this opulent city, of which he alone had procured him the possession, and heaped all the honours upon him that a king could possibly confer upon a subject. Megabyses, who commanded the Persian army in Egypt against the Athenians, was son to this Zopyrus; and that Zopyrus who went over to the Athenians as a deserter, was his grand
No sooner was Darius in possession of Babylon, than he ordered the 100 gates to be pulled down, and all the walls of that proud city to be entirely demolished, that she might never be in a condition to rebel more against him. If he had pleased to make use of all the rights of a conqueror, he might upon this occasion have exterminated all the inhabitants. But he contented himself with causing 3000 of those who were principally concerned in the revolt to be impaled, and granted a pardon to all the rest. And in order to hinder the depopulation of the city, he caused 50,000 women to be brought from the several provinces of his empire, to supply the place of those whom the inhabitants had so cruelly destroyed at the beginning of the siege. Such was the fate of Babylon; and thus did God execute his vengeance on that impious city, for the cruelty she had exercised towards the
Jews, in falling upon a free people without any reason or provocation; in destroying their government, laws, and worship; in forcing them from their country, and transporting them to a strange land; where they imposed a most griev eus yoke of servitude upon them, and made use of all their power to crush and afflict an unhappy nation, favoured however by God, and having the honour to be styled his peculiar people.
Darius prepares for an Expedition against the Scythians. A Digression upon the Manners and Customs of that. Nation.
" After the reduction of Babylon, Darius made great preparations for war against the Scythians, who inhabited that large tract of land which lies between the Danube and the Tanais. His pretence for undertaking this war was, to be revenged of that nation for the invasion of Asia by their ancestors; a very frivolous and sorry pretext; and a very ridiculous ground for reviving an old quarrel, which had ceased 120 years before. Whilst the Scythians were employed in that irruption, which lasted 28 years, the Scythians wives married their slaves. When the husbands were on their return home, these slaves went out to meet them with a numerous army, and disputed their entrance into their country. After some battles fought with nearly equal loss on both sides, the masters considering that it was doing too much honour to their slaves to put them upon the foot of soldiers, marched against them in the next encounter with whips in their hands, to make them remember their proper condition. This stratagem had the intended effect: for not being able to bear the sight of their masters thus armed, they all ran away.
I design in this place to imitate Herodotus, who, in writing of this war, takes occasion to give an ample account of all that relates to the customs and manners of the Scythians. But I shall be much more brief in my account of this matter than he is.
A DIGRESSION CONCERNING THE SCYthians.
Formerly there were Scythians both in Europe and Asia, most of them inhabiting those parts that lie towards the north: I design now chiefly to treat of the first, namely of the European Scythians.
The historians, in the accounts they have left us of the a Hergl. 1. iv. c. 1. Justin. 1. ii. c¥5. Mention is made of this before>
manners and character of the Scythians, relate things of them that are entirely opposite and contradictory to one another. One while they represent them as the justest and most moderate people in the world: another while they describe them as a fierce and barbarous nation, which carries its cruelties to such horrible excesses as are shocking to human nature. This contrariety is a manifest proof, that those different characters are to be applied to different nations in that vast and extensive tract of country; and that, though they were all comprehended under one and the same general denomination of Scythians, we ought not to confound them or their characters together.
a Strabo has quoted authors, who mention Scythians dwelling upon the coast of the Euxine sea, that cut the throats of all strangers who came amongst them, fed upon their flesh, and made pots and drinking vessels of their sculls, when they had dried them. Herodotus, in describing the sacrifices which the Scythians offered to the god Mars, says, they used to offer human victims. Their manner of making treaties, according to this author's account, was very strange and particular. They first poured wine into a large earthen vessel, and then the contracting parties, cutting their arins with a knife, let some of their blood run into the wine, and stained likewise their armour therein; after which they themselves, and all that were present, drank of that liquor, making the strongest imprecations against the person that should violate the treaty.
← But what the same historian relates, concerning the ceremonies observed at the funeral of their kings, is still more extraordinary. I shall only mention such of those ceremonies as may serve to give us an idea of the cruel barbarity of this people. When their king died, they embalmed his body, and wrapped it up in wax; this done, they put it into an open chariot, and carried it from city to city, exposing it to the view of all the people under his dominion. When this circuit was finished, they laid the body down in the place appointed for the burial of it, and there they made a large grave, in which they interred the king, and with him one of his wives, his chief cupbearer, his great chamberlain, his master of horse, his chancellor, his secretary of state, who were all put to death for that purpose. To these they added several horses, a great number of drinking vessels, and a certain part of all the furniture belonging to their deceased monarch: after which they filled up the grave, and covered
a Strabo, I. vii p. 298.
b Herod. 1. iv. c. 62.
c This custom was still practised by the Iberians, who were originally Scy thians, in the time of Tacitus, who makes mention of it. Ann. l. xii, c. 47. d Herod. I. iv. G, 79 e Herod. l. iy. 71, 72.
it with earth. This was not all. When the anniversary of his interment came, they cut the throats of 50 more of the dead king's officers, and of the same number of horses, and having first prepared and embalmed their bodies for the purpose, placed the officers on horseback round the king's tomb, probably to serve him as guards. These ceremonies in all appearance took their rise from a notion they might have of their king's being still alive: and upon this supposition they judged it necessary, that he should have his court and ordinary officers still about him. Whether employments, which terminated in this manner, were much sought after, I will not determine.
It is now time to pass to the consideration of their manners and customs, milder and more humane; though possibly, in another sense, they may appear to be equally savage. The account I am going to give of them is chiefly taken from Justin. According to this author, the Scythians lived in great innocence and simplicity. They were ignorant indeed of all arts and sciences, but then they were equally unacquainted with vice. They did not make any division of their lands amongst themselves, says Justin: it would have been in vain for them to have done it, since they did not apply themselves to cultivate them. Horace, in one of his odes, of which I shall insert a part by and by, tells us, that some of them did cultivate a certain portion of land allotted to them for one year only at the expiration of which they were relieved by others, who succeeded them on the same conditions. They had no houses nor settled habitations; but wandered continually with their cattle and their flocks from country to country. Their wives and children they carried along with them in waggons, covered with the skins of beasts, which were all the houses they had to dwell in. Justice was observed and maintained amongst them through the natural temper and disposition of the people, and not by any compulsion of laws, with which they were wholly unacquainted. No crime was more severely punished among them than theft; and that with good reason. For their herds and flocks, in which all their riches consisted, being never shut up, how could they possibly subsist, if theft had not been most rigorously punished? they coveted neither silver nor gold, like the rest of mankind: and made milk and honey their principal diet. They were strangers to the use of linen or woollen manufactures; and to defend themselves from the violent and continual cold of their climate, they made use of nothing but the skins of beasts.
I said before, that these manners of the Scythians would appear to some people very wild and savage. And indeed, b Justitia gentis ingeniis culta, non legibus.
a Lib. in c. 2.
what can be said for a nation that has lands, and yet does not cultivate them; that has herds of cattle, of which they content themselves with eating the milk, and neglect the flesh? the wool of their sheep might supply them with warm and comfortable clothes, and yet they use no other raiment than the skins of animals. But, that which is the greatest domonstration of their ignorance and savageness, according to the general opinion of mankind, is their utter neglect of gold and silver, which have always been had in such great request in all civilized nations.
But, oh! how happy was this ignorance; how vastly preferable this savage state to our pretended politeness! a This contempt of all the conveniencies of life, says Justin, was attended with such an honesty and uprightness of manners as hindered them from ever coveting their neighbour's goods. For the desire of riches can only take place where riches can be made use of. And would to God, says the same author, we could see the same moderation prevail among the rest of mankind, and the like indifference to the goods of other people! if that were the case, the world would not have seen so many wars perpetually succeeding one another in all ages, and in all countries: nor would the number of those that are cut off by the sword exceed that of those who fall by the irreversible decree and law of nature.
Justin finishes his character of the Scythians with a very judicious reflection. It is a surprising thing, says he, that an happy, natural disposition, without the assistance of education, should have inspired the Scythians with such a wisdom and moderation as the Grecians could not attain to, neither by the institutions of their legislators, nor the rules and precepts of all their philosophers; and that the manners of a barbarous nation should be preferable to those of a people so much improved and refined by the polite arts and sciences. So much more effectual and advantageous was the ignorance of vice in the one, than the knowledge of virtue in the other!
The Scythian fathers thought, with good reason, that they left their children a valuable inheritance when they left them in peace and union with one another. One of their kings, whose name was Scylurus, finding himself draw near
a Hæc continentia illis morum quoque justitiam indidit, nihil alienum concupiscentibus. Quippe ibidem divitiarum cupido est. ubi et usus. Atque utinam reliquis mortalibus similis moderatio et abstinentia alieni foret! profecto non tantum bellorum per omnia secula terris omnibus continuaretur: neque plus hominum ferrum et arma. quam naturali fatorum conditio raperet.
Prorsus ut admirabile videatur, hoc illis naturam dare, quod Græci longa sapientium doctrina præceptisque philosophorum consequi nequeunt, eultosque mores incultæ barbariæ collatione superari. Tanto plus in illis proficit vitio ram ignorato, quam in his cognitio virtutis!
Plut. de garrul. p. 511.