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up in his palace and seldom showed himself to his people. To keep them in their duty, he had always at Nineveh a certain number of regular troops, furnished every year from the several provinces of his empire, at the expiration of which term they were succeeded by the like number of other troops on the same conditions; the king putting a commander at the head of them, on whose fidelity he could depend. He made use of this method, that the officers might not have time to gain the affections of the soldiers, and so form any conspiracies against him.
His successors for thirty generations followed his example, and even outdid him in indolence. Their history is absolutely unknown, there remaining no footsteps of it.
a In Abraham's time the Scripture speaks of Amraphael, king of Sennaar, the country where Babylon was situated, who with two other princes followed Chedorlaomer, king of the Elamites, whose tributary he probably was, in the war carried on by the latter against five kings of the land of Canaan. It was under the government of these inactive princes, that Sesostris, king of Egypt, extended his conquests so far in the East. But as his power was of a short duration, and not supported by his successors, the Assyrian empire soon returned to its former state.
Plato, a curious observer of antiquities, makes the king.. dom of Troy, in the time of Priam, dependent on the Assyrian empire. And Ctesias says, that Teutamus, the twentieth king after Ninyas, sent a considerable body of troops to the assistance of the Trojans, under the conduct of Memnon, the son of Tithonus, at a time when the Assyrian empire had subsisted above 1,000 years; which agrees exactly with the time, wherein I have placed the foundation of that empire. But the silence of Homer concerning so mighty a people, and one which must needs have been well known, renders this fact exceeding doubtful. And it must be owned, that whatever relates to the times of the ancient history of the Assyrians, is attended with great difficulties, into which my plan does not permit me to enter.
4 PUL. The Scripture informs us, that Pul, king of Assyria, being come into the land of Israel, had 1,000 talents of silver given him by Menahem, king of the 10 tribes, to engage him to lend him assistance, and secure him on his throne.
This Pul is supposed to be the king of Nineveh, who repented with all his people, at the preaching of Jonah.
He is also thought to be the father of Sardanapalus, the last king of the Assyrians, called, according to the custom of
a A. M. 2092. Ant. J. C. 1912.
t A. M. 2820. Ant. J. C. 1184 De Leg. 1. iii. p. 685. d A. M. 3233. Ant. J. C. 771. 2 Kings xv. 19.
b A. M 2513. Ant. J. C. 1491.
the castern nations, Sardan-pul, that is to say, Sardan the son of Pul.
a SARDANAPALUS. This prince surpassed all his predecessors in effeminacy, luxury, and cowardice. He never went out of his palace, but spent all his time amongst a company of women, dressed and painted like them, and employed like them at the distaff. He placed all his happiness and glory in the possession of immense treasures, in feasting and rioting, and indulging himself in all the most infamous and criminal pleasures. He ordered two verses to be put upon his tomb, when he died, which imported, that he carried away with him all that he had eaten, and all the pleasures he had enjoyed, but left all the rest behind him.
Hæc habeo quæ edi, quæque exaturata lib.do
An epitaph, says Aristotle, fit for a hog.
Arbaces, governor of Media, having found means to get into the palace, and with his own eyes seen Sardanapalus in the midst of his infamous seraglio; enraged at such a spectacle, and not able to endure that so many brave men should be subject to a prince more soft and effeminate than the women themselves, immediately formed a conspiracy against him. Belesis, governor of Babylon, and several others, entered into it. On the first rumour of this revolt, the king hid himself in the inmost part of his palace. Being obliged afterwards to take the field with some forces which he had assembled, he was overcome, and pursued to the gates of Nineveh; wherein he shut himself, in hopes the rebels would never be able to take a city so well fortified, and stored with provisions for a considerable time: the siege proved indeed of very great length. It had been declared by an ancient oracle, that Nineveh could never be taken, unless the river became an enemy to the city. These words buoyed up Sardanapalus, because he looked upon the thing as impossible. But when he saw, that the Tigris, by a violent inundation, had thrown down 20 stadia of the city wall, and by that means opened a passage to the enemy, he understood the meaning of the oracle, and thought himself lost. He resolved, however, to die in such a manner, as, according to his opinion, should cover the infamy of his scandalous and effeminate life. He ordered a pile of wood to be made in his
a Diod. l. ii. p. 109-115. Athen. l. xii. p. 529, 530. Just. l. i. c. 3.
ὁ Κεῖν ἔχω ὅσσ ̓ ἔφαγον, καὶ ἐφυβρισα καὶ μετ' ἔρωθος
Τέρπν ἔπαθον ̇ τὰ δὲ πολλὰ καὶ ἔλβια πάντα λέλειπται.
Quid aliud, inquit Aristoteles. in bovis, non in regis sepulchro, inseriberes Hæc habere se mortuum dicit, quæ ne vivus quidem diutius habebat, quam truebatur. Cie. Tusc. Quæst. lib. v. n. 101.
c Two miles and a half.
d A. M. 3257. Ant. J' C. 747.
palace, and setting fire to it, burnt himself, his eunuchs, his women, and his treasures. Athenæus makes these treasures amount to a 1,000 myriads of talents of gold, and ten times as many talents of silver, which, without reckoning any thing else, is a sum that exceeds all credibility. A myriad contains 10,000; and one single myriad of talents of silver is worth 30,000,000 of French money, or about £.1,400,000 sterling. A man is lost, if he attempts to sum up the whole value; which induces me to believe, that Athenæus must have very much exaggerated in his computation; however, we may be assured from his account, that the trea sures were immensely great.
Plutarch, in his second treatise, dedicated to the praise of Alexander the Great, wherein he examines, in what the true greatness of princes consists, after having shown that it can arise from nothing but their own personal merit, confirms it by two very different examples, taken from the history of the Assyrians, in which we are now engaged. Semiramis and Sardanapalus (says he) both governed the same kingdom; both had the same people, the same extent of country, the same revenues, the same forces, and number of troops; but they had not the same dispositions, nor the same views. Semiramis, raising herself above her sex, built magnificent cities, equipped fleets, armed legions, subdued neighbouring nations, penetrated into Arabia and Ethiopia, and carried her victorious arms to the extremities of Asia, spreading consternation and terror every where. Whereas Sardanapalus, as if he had entirely renounced his sex, spent all his time in the heart of his palace, perpetually surrounded with a company of women, whose habit and even manners he had adopted, applying himself with them to the spindle and the distaff, neither understanding nor doing any other thing than spinning, eating and drinking, and wallowing in all manner of infamous pleasure. Accordingly, a statue was erected to him after his death, which represented him in the posture of a dancer, with an inscription upon it, in which he addressed bimself to the spectator in these words. e Eat, drink, and be merry; every thing else is nothing. An inscription very suitable to the epitaph he himself had ordered to be put upon his monument.
Plutarch in this place judges of Semiramis, as almost all the profane historians do of the glory of conquerors. But, if we would make a true judgment of things, was the unbounded ambition of that queen much less blameable, than the dissolute effeminacy of Sardanapalus? Which of the two vices did most mischief to mankind?
6 Pag. 335 and 336.
a About L. 14,00,000,000 sterling.
*Εσθιε, πῖγέ, ἀφροδισίαζέ τ' ἄλλα δὲ ἐδέν.
We are not to wonder that the Assyrian empire should fall under such a prince; but undoubtedly it was not till after having passed through various augmentations, diminutions, and revolutions, common to all states, even to the greatest, during the course of several ages. This empire had subsisted above 1450 years.
Of the ruins of this vast empire were formed three considerable kingdoms; that of the Medes, which Arbaces, the principal head of the conspiracy, restored to its liberty; that of the Assyrians of Babylon, which was given to Belesis, governor of that city; and that of the Assyrians of Nineveh, the first king whereof took the name of Ninus the younger.
In order to understand the history of the second Assyrian empire, which is very obscure, and of which little is said by historians, it is proper, and even absolutely necessary, to compare what is said of it by profane authors with what we are informed concerning it by Holy Scripture; that by the help of that double light we may have the clearer idea of the two empires of Nineveh and Babylon, which for some time were separate and distinct, and afterwards united and confounded together. I shall first treat of this second Assyrian empire, and then return to the kingdom of the Medest
THE SECOND ASSYRIAN EMPIRE, BOTH OF NINEVEH AND BABYLON.
HIS second Assyrian empire continued two hundred and
was become absolute master of the East by the death of his father Cambyses, and his father-in-law Cyaxares, published the famous edict, whereby the Jews were permitted to return into their own country, after a seventy years' captivity at Babylon.
KINGS OF BABYLON.
4 BELESIS. He is the same as Nabonassar, from whose reign began the famous astronomical epocha at Babylon, called from his name the Era of Nabonassar. In the Holy Scriptures he is called Baladan. He reigned but twelve years, and was succeeded by his son,
MERODACH-BALADAN. This is the prince who sent ambassadors to king Hezekiah, to congratulate him on the
a A. M. 3257. Ant. J. C. 747. 2 Kings xx. 12.
62 Kings xx. 12.
recovery of his health, of which we shall speak hereafter. After him there reigned several other kings of Babylon, a with whose story we are entirely unacquainted. I shaff therefore proceed to the kings of Nineveh.
THE KINGS OF NINEVEH.
TIGLATH-PILESER. This is the name given by the Holy Scripture to the king who is supposed to be the first that reigned at Nineveh, after the destruction of the ancient Assyrian empire. He is called Thilgamus by Ælian. He is said to have taken the name of Ninus the younger, in order to honour and distinguish his reign by the name of so ancient and illustrious a prince.
Ahaz, king of Judah, whose incorrigible impiety could not be reclaimed, either by the divine favours or chastisements, finding himself attacked at the same time by the kings of Syria and Israel, robbed the temple of part of its gold and silver, and sent it to Tiglath-Pileser, to purchase his friendship and assistance; promising him besides to become his vassal, and to pay him tribute. The king of Assyria finding so favourable an opportunity of adding Syria and Palestine to his empire, readily accepted the proposal. Advancing that way with a numerous army, he beat Rezin, took Damascus, and put an end to the kingdom erected there by the Syrians, as God had foretold by his prophets Isaiah and Amos. From thence he marched against Pekah, and took all that belonged to the kingdom of Israel beyond Jordan, as well as all Galilee. But he made Ahaz pay very dear for his protection, still exacting of him such exorbitant sums of money, that for the payment of them he was obliged not only to exhaust his own treasures, but to take all the gold and silver of the temple. Thus this alliance served only to drain the kingdom of Judah, and to bring into its neighbourhood the powerful king of Nineveh; who afterwards became so many instruments in the hand of God for the chastisement of his people.
e SALMANASER. Sabacus, the Ethiopian, whom the Scripture calls So, having made himself master of Egypt, Hoshea, king of Samaria, entered into an alliance with him, hoping by that means to shake off the Assyrian yoke. To this end he withdrew from his dependence upon Salmanaser, refusing to pay him any further tribute, or make him the usual presents. Salmanaser, to punish him for his presumption, marched against him with a powerful army; and after having sub
a Can. Ptol.
b A M. 3257. Ant J C. 747.
eLib. xii. bist anim. c. 21. Castor apud Euseb. Chron. p. 49. 2 Kings xvi. 2, &c. d Is. viti, 4. Am. i, 5, e A. M. 3276, Ant. J. C, 728, 2 Kings XVIES VOL. II.