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This became a new source of anxiety and trouble, and care is taken to remove out of the young prince's way every thing made of iron, as partizans, lances, javelins, &c. No mention is made of armies, wars, or sieges, before him. But one day there was to be an extraordinary hunting-match, for the killing of a wild boar, which had committed great ravage in the neighbourhood. All the young lords of the court were to be at this hunting. Atys very earnestly importuned his father that he would give him leave to be present, at least as a spectator. The king could not refuse him that request, but entrusted him to the care of a discreet young prince, who had taken refuge in his court, and was named Adrastus. And this very Adrastus, as he was aiming to fling his javelin at the boar, unfortunately killed Atys. It is impossible to express either the affliction of the father, when he heard of this fatal accident, or of the unhappy prince, the innocent author of the murder, who expiated his fault with his blood, stabbing himself in the breast with his own sword, upon the funeral pile of the unfortunate Atys.
Two years were spent on this occasion in deep mourning, the afflicted father's thoughts being wholly taken up with the loss he had sustained. But the growing reputation, and great qualities of Cyrus, who began to make himself known, roused him out of his lethargy. He thought it behoved him to put a stop to the power of the Persians, which was enlarging itself every day. As he was very religious in his way, he would never enter upon any enterprise, without consulting the gods. But, that he might not act blindly, and to be able to form a certain judgment on the answers he should receive, he was willing to assure himself beforehand of the truth of the oracles. For which purpose, he sent messengers to all the most celebrated oracles both of Greece and Africa, with orders to inquire, every one at his respective oracle, what Crœsus was doing on such a day, and such an hour, before agreed on. His orders were punctually observed; and of all the oracles none gave a true answer but that of Delphos. The answer was given in Greek hexameter verses, and was in substance as follows: "I know the num"ber of the grains of sand on the sea shore, and the measure
of the ocean's vast extent. I can hear the dumb, and him "that has not yet learnt to speak. A strong smell of a tor"toise boiled in brass, together with sheep's flesh, has "reached my nostrils, brass beneath, brass above." And indeed the king, thinking to invent something that could not possibly be guessed at, had employed himself on the day and hour set down, in boiling a tortoise and a lamb in a brass
a Herod. I. i. c. 46-56.
pot, which had a brass cover. St. Austin observes in seve ral places, that God, to punish the blindness of the Pagans, sometimes permitted the devils to give answers conformable to the truth.
Croesus, thus assured of the veracity of the god whom he designed to consult, offered 3,000 victims to his honour, and ordered an infinite number of vessels, tripods, and golden tables to be melted down, and converted into ingots of gold, to the number of an hundred and seventeen, to augment the treasures of the Delphic temple. Each of these ingots weighed at least two talents; besides which, he made several other presents: amongst others Herodotus mentions a golden lion, weighing ten talents, and two vessels of an extraordinary bigness, one of gold, which weighed eight talents and an half, and twelve mine; the other of silver, which contained six hundred of the measures called amphora. All these presents, and many more, which for brevity's sake I omit, were to be seen in the time of Herodotus.
The messengers were ordered to consult the god upon two points: first, whether Croesus should undertake a war against the Persians; secondly, if he did, whether he should require the succour of any auxiliary troops. The oracle answered upon the first article, that if he carried his arms against the Persians, he would subvert a great empire; upon the second, that he would do well to make alliances with the most powerful states of Greece. He consulted the oracle again, to know how long the duration of his empire would be. The answer was: that it should subsist till a mule came to possess the throne of Media; which he construed to signify the perpetual duration of his kingdom.
Pursuant to the direction of the oracle, Croesus entered into alliance with the Athenians, who at that time had Pisistratus at their head, and with the Lacedæmonians, whó were indisputably the two most powerful states of Greece.
• A certain Lydian, much esteemed for his prudence, gave Croesus, on this occasion, very judicious advice. "O prince, (says he to him) why do you think of turning your arms against such a people as the Persians, who, being born "in a wild, rugged country, are inured from their infancy "to every kind of hardship and fatigue, who, being coarsely "clad, and coarsely fed, can content themselves with bread "and water; who are absolute strangers to all the delica"cies and conveniencies of life; who, in a word, have no"thing to lose, if you conquer them, and every thing to gain, "if they conquer you; and whom it would be very difficult to drive out of our country, if they should once come to
a Herod. 1. i. c. 71.
"taste the sweets and advantages of it? So far therefore "from thinking of beginning a war against them, it is my opinion we ought to thank the gods that they have never put it into the heads of the Persians to come and attack "the Lydians." But Croesus had taken his resolution, and would not be diverted from it.
What remains of the history of Croesus will be found in that of Cyrus, which I am now going to begin.
FOUNDATION OF THE EMPIRE
PERSIANS AND MEDES,
CONTAINING THE REIGNS OF
CYRUS, OF CAMBYSES, AND SMERDIS THE MAGIAN,
These three reigns will be the subject-matter of the fourth book. But as the two latter are very short, and contain few important facts, this book, properly speaking, may be called the history of Cyrus.
THE HISTORY OF CYRUS.
THE history of this prince is differently related by Herodotus and Xenophon. I follow the latter, as judging him infinitely more worthy of credit in this respect than the former. As to those facts wherein they differ, I shall briefly relate what Herodotus says of them. It is well known, that Xenophon served a long time under Cyrus the younger, who had in his troops a great number of Persian noblemen, with whom undoubtedly this writer, considering how curious he was, did often converse, that he might acquaint himself by that means with the manners and customs of the Persians, with their conquests in general, but more particularly with those of the prince, who had founded their monarchy, and whose history he proposed to write. This he tells us himself, in the beginning of his Cyropædia: "Having always "looked upon this great man as worthy of admiration, I "took a pleasure in informing myself of his birth, his natu"ral disposition, and the mode of his education, that I might "know by what means he became so great a prince; and ✩ herein l advance nothing but what has been told me."
As to what Cicero says, in his first letter to his brother Quintus, "that a Xenophon's design, in writing the history a Cyrus ille a Xenophonte, non ad historia fidem scriptus, sed ad effigiem justi imperii.
" of Cyrus, was not so much to follow truth, as to give a "model of a just government;" this ought not to lessen the authority of that judicious historian, or make us give the less credit to what he relates. All that can be inferred from thence is, that the design of Xenophon, who was a great philosopher, as well as a great captain, was not merely to write Cyrus's history, but to represent him as a model and example to princes, for their instruction in the arts of reigning and of gaining the love of their subjects, notwithstanding the pomp and elevation of their stations. With this view he may possibly have lent his hero some thoughts, some sentiments, or discourses of his own. But the substance of the facts and events he relates are to be deemed true; and of this their conformity with the holy Scripture is of itself a sufficient proof. The reader may see the dissertation of the Abbé Banier upon this subject in the Memoirs of the Aca demy of Belles Lettres.
For the greater perspicuity, I divide the history of Cyrus into three parts. The first will reach from his birth to the siege of Babylon: the second will comprehend the descrip tion of the siege and the taking of that city, with every thing else that relates to that great event: the third will contain that prince's history, from the taking of Babylon to his death.
THE HISTORY OF CYRUS FROM HIS INFANCY TO THE
SIEGE OF BABYLON.
HIS interval, besides his education, and the journey hę the first campaigns of Cyrus, and the important expeditions subsequent to them.
SECT. I-Cyrus's Education,
Cyrus was the son of Cambyses, king of Persia, and of Mandana, daughter to Astyages, king of the Medes. He was born one year after his uncle Cyaxares, the brother of Mandana.
The Persians were at this time divided into twelve tribes, and inhabited only one province of that vast country, which has since borne the name of Persia, and were not in all above 120,000 men. But this people having afterwards, through the wisdom and valour of Cyrus, acquired the empire of the
a Vol. VI. p. 400,
6 A. M. 3405. Ant. J. C. 599. Xen, Cyrop. 1. i. p/3.