« 上一頁繼續 »
perhaps, too, the fear of being unsuccessful in a war, in which he should be opposed by excellent generals, and particularly Cimon, who hitherto had been as successful as valiant; these different reflections would not suffer him to declare against his country in an enterprise, which, whether successful or not, would reflect shame on himself.
To relieve himself at once, of all these inward struggles, he resolved to put an end to his life, as the only method for him not to be wanting in the duty he owed his country, nor to the promises he had made that prince.* He therefore prepared a solemn sacrifice, to which he invited all his friends ; when, after embracing them all, and taking a last farewell of them, he drank bull's blood, or, according to others, swallowed a dose of poison, and died in this manner at Magnesia, aged sixty-five years, the greatest part of which he had spent either in the government of the republic, or the command of the armies. When the king was told the cause and manner of his death, he esteemed and admired him still more, and continued his favour to his friends and domestics. But the unexpected death of Themistocles proved an obstacle to the design he meditated of attacking the Greeks. The Magnesians erected a splendid monument to the memory of that general in the public square, and granted peculiar privileges and honours to his descendants. They continued to enjoy them in Plutarch's time, that is nearly six hundred years after, and his tomb was still standing.
Atticus, in the beautiful dialogue of Cicero, entitled Brutus, refutes, in an agreeable and ingenious manner, the tragical end which some writers ascribe to Themistocles, as related above; pretending that the whole is a fiction, invented by rhetoricians, who, on the bare rumour that this great man had poisoned himself, bad added all the other particulars to embellish the story which otherwise would have been very dry and unaffecting. I He appeals for this to Thucydides, that judicious historian, who was an Athenian, and almost cotemporary with Themistocles. This author, indeed owns, that a report had prevailed, that this general had poisoned himself; however, his opinion was, that he died a natural death, and that his friends conveyed his bones secretly to Athens, where, in Pausanias's time, his mausoleum was standing, near the great harbour.Ş This account seems much more probable than the other.
Themistocles was certainly one of the greatest men that Greece ever produced. He had a great soul and invincible courage, which danger ever inflamed; was fired with an incredible thirst for glory, which his love of country would sometimes temper and allay, but which often carried him too far; his presence of mind was such that it immediately suggested whatever was most necessary to be done ; in fine, he had a sagacity and penetration with regard to futurity, that revealed to him, in the clearest light, the most secret designs of his enemies, pointing out to him at a distance, the several measures he should take to disconcert them, and inspiring him with great, noble, bold, extensive views, with regard to the honour of his country. The most essential qualities of the mind were, however, wanting in him ; I mean sincerity, integrity, and fidelity ; nor was he altogether free from suspicions of avarice, which is a great blemish in such as are charged with public affairs.
Nevertheless, a noble sentiment as well as action are related of him, which speak a great and disinterested soul. T His daughter being asked of him in marriage, he preferred an honest poor man to a rich one of a different character; and gave for his reason, " that in the choice of a son-in-law, he would much rather have merit without riches, than riches without merit."**
* The wisest heathens did not think that a man was allowed to lay violent hands on himself.
I Brut. R. 42, 43.
s Lib. i. p. 1. ! De instantibus, ut ait Thucydides, verissime judicabat, et de futuris callidissime conjiciebat-Coro, Nep. in Themist. c. i.
1 Plut. in Themist. P
121. ** Themistocles, cum consuleretur utrum bono viro pauperi, an minus probato diviti, filiam collocarat: Ego vero, inquit, malo virum qui pecunia egeat, quam pecuniam que viro. Cic. de Offic. I. fi. c. 71
SECTION IV. THE EGYPTIANS, SUPPORTED BY THE ATHENIANS, RISE AGAINST
PERSIA. About this time the Egyptians, to free themselves from a foreign yoke, which was insupportable to them, revolted from Artaxerxes, and made Inarus, prince of the Libyans, their king. They demanded aid of the Athenians, who having at that time a fleet of two hundred ships at the island of Cyprus, accepted the invitation with pleasure, and immediately set sail for Egypt; judging this a very favourable opportunity to weaken the power of the Per: ianz, by driving them out of so great a kingdom.*
Advice being brought to Artaxerxes of this revolt, he raised an army of phree hundred thousand men, and resolved to march in person against the rebels. But his friends advising him not to venture himself in that expedition, he gave the command of it to Achæmenes, one of his brothers. The latter on his arrival in Egypt, encamped his great army on the banks of the Nile. During this interval, the Athenians having defeated the Persian fleet, and either destroyed or taken fifty of their ships, again ascended that river, landed their forces under the command of Charitiinis their general, and having joined Inarus and his Egyptians, they charged Ache:menes, and defeated him in a great battle, in which that Persian general and a hundred thousand of his soldiers were slain. Those who escaped fled to Memphis, whither the conquerors pursued them, and immediately made themselves masters of two quarters of the city; but the Persians having fortified themselves in the third, callrd the White Wall, which was the strongest and largest of the three, were besieged in it, three years, during which they made a most vigorous defence, till they at last were delivered by the forces sent to their aid.t
Artaxerxes hearing of the defeat of his army, and how much the Athenians had contributed to it; in order to make a diversion of their forces, and oblige them to turn their arms another way, sent ambassadors to the Lacedæmonians, with a large sum of money, to engage them to declare war against the Athenians. But the Lacedæmonians having rejected the offer, their refusal did not abate his ardour; and accordingly he gave Megabyzus and Artabazus the command of the forces designed against Egypt. These generals immediately raised an army of three hundred thousand men in Cilicia and Phænicia. They were obliged to wait till the fleet was equipped, which was not till the next year. Artabazus then took upon him the command of it, and sailed to the Nile, while Megabyzus, at the head of the land-army, marched towards Memphis. He raised the siege of that city, and afterwards fought Inarus. All the forces on both sides were engaged in this battle, in which Inarus was entirely defeated; but the Egyptians, who had rebelled, suffered most in the slaughter. After this defeat, Inarus, though wounded by Megabyzus, retreated with the Athenians, and such Egyptians as were willing to follow him, and reached Biblos, a city in the island of Prosopitis, which is surrounded by two arms of the Nile, both navigable. The Athenians ran their fleet into one of these arms, where it was secured from the attacks of the enemy, and held out a siege of a year and a half in this island.||
After the battle, all the rest of Egypt submitted to the conqueror, and was re-united to the empire of Artaxerxes; but Amyrteus, who had still
a small party in the fens, long supported himself through the difficulty the Persians found in penetrating far enough to reduce him.
The siege of Prosopitis was still carried on. I The Persians finding that they made no advances in attacking it after the usual methods, because of the stratagems and intrepidity of the besieged, had recourse to an extraordinary expedient, which soon produced what force had not been able to effect. They
* A. M. 3544. Ant. J. C. 460. Thucyd. I, i. p. 68, 71, 72. Ctes. c. 32–35. Diod. I. xi. p. 54–59. A. M. 3545. Ant. J. C. 459. I A. M. 3546. Ant. J. C. 458. A. M. 3547. Ant. J. C. 45). A. M. 3548. Ant. J. C. 456.
I A. M 95.50. Ant. J. C. 454.
turned the course of the arm of the Nile within which the Athenians lay, by several canals, and by that means opened a passage for their whole army to enter the island. Inarus seeing that all was lost, capitulated with Megabyzus for himself, for all his Egyptians, and about fifty Athenians, and surrendered on condition that their lives should be spared. The remainder of the auxiliary forces, which formed a body of six thousand men, resolved to hold out longer; and for this purpose they set fire to their ships, and drawing up in order of battle, resolved to die sword in hand, and sell their lives as dear as they could, in imitation of the Lacedæmonians, who refused to yield, and were all cut to pieces at Thermopylæ. The Persians, hearing that they had taken so desperate a resolution, did not think it adviseable to attack them. A peace was therefore offered them, with a promise that they should all be permitted to leave Egypt, and have free passage to their native country either by sea or land. They accepted the conditions, put the conquerors in possession of Biblos and of the whole island, and went by sea to Cyrene, where they embarked for Greece: but most of the soldiers who had served in this expedition perished in it.
This was not the only loss the Athenians sustained on this occasion. Another fleet of fifty ships, which they sent to the aid
of their besieged countrymen, sailed up, one of the arms of the Nile, just after the Athenians had sur rendered, not knowing what had happened. The instant they entered, the Persian feet which kept out at sea, followed them, and attacked their rear, while the army discharged showers of darts upon them from the banks of the river. Thus only a few ships escaped, which opened themselves a way through the enemy's fleet, and all the rest were lost. Here ended the fatal war carried on by the Athenians for six years in Egypt, which kingdom was now again united to the Persian empire, and continued so during the rest of the reign of Artaxerxes, who had now been on the throne twenty years. But the prisoners who were taken in this war met with the most unhappy fate. SECTION V.-INARUS IS DELIVERED UP TO THE KING'S MOTHER.
TION AND REVOLT OF MEGABYZUS. ARTAXERXES, after refusing to gratify the request of his mother, who for five years together had been daily importuning him to put Inarus and his Athenians into her hands, in order that she might sacrifice them
to the manes of Achæmenes her son, at last yielded to her solicitations. But how blind, how barbarously weak, must this king have been, to break through the most solemn engagements merely through complaisance; who, deaf to remorse, violated the law of nations, solely to avoid offending a most unjust mother! This inhuman princess, without regard to the faith of the treaty, caused Inarus to be crucified, and beheaded all the rest. I Megabyzus was in the deepest affliction on that account; for as he had promised that no injury should be done them, the affront reflected principally on him. He therefore left the court and withdrew to Syria, of which he was governor; and his discontent was so great that he raised an army, and revolted openly.
The king sent Osiris, who was one of the greatest lords of the court, against bim, with an army of two hundred thousand men. Megabyzus engaged Osiris, wounded him, took him prisoner, and put his army to flight. Artaxerxes sending to demand Osiris, Megabyzus generously dismissed him, as soon as his wounds were cured.
The next year Artaxerxes sent another army against him, the command of which he gave to Menostanes, son to Artarius the king's brother, and governor of Babylon. This general was not more fortunate than the former. He also was defeated and put to flight, and Megabyzus gained as signal a victory as the former.ll
* A. M. 3550. Ant. T C. 454.
† 4. M. 9556 Thucyd. l. i. p. 72
A, M. 3557. Ant. J. C. 477.
Ant. J. C. 448. Ctes. c. 35-40,
U A. M. 3558. Aot. J. C. 446
Artaxerxes, finding he could not reduce him by force of arms, sent his brother Artarius and Amytis his sister, who was the wife of Megabyzus, with several other persons of the first quality, to persuade the latter to return to bis allegiance. They succeeded in their negotiation; the king pardoned him, and he returned to the court.
One day as they were hunting, a lion, raising himself on his hinder feet, was going to rush upon the king, when Megabyzus, seeing the danger he was in, and fired with zeal and affection for his sovereign, hurled a dart at the lion, which killed bim. But Artaxerxes, upon pretence that he had affronted him, in darting at the lion before him, commanded Megabyzus's head to be struck off. Amytis the king's sister, and Amestris his mother, with the greatest difficulty prevailed upon the king to change this sentence into perpetual banishment. "Megabyzus was therefore sent to Cyrta, a city on the Red Sea, and condemned to end his days there; however, five years after, disguising himself like a leper, he made his escape and returned to Susa, where, by the assistance of his wife and mother-in-law, he was restored to favour, and continued so till his death, which happened some years after, in the seventy-sixth year of his age. Megabyzus was extremely regretted by the king and the whole court. He was a man of the greatest abilities in the kingdom, and at the same time the best general. Artaxerxes owed both his crown and life to bim: but it is of dangerous consequence for a subject, when his sovereign is under too many obligations to him.* This was the cause of all the misfortunes of Magabyzus.
It is surprising that so judicious a prince as Artaxerxes should bave been so imprudent, as to be fired with jealousy against a nobleman of his court, merely because, in a party of hunting, he had wounded the beast they were pursuing before him. Could any thing be so weak ? Was this worthy of being considered the point of honour by a king? History, however, furnishes us with many instances of this kind. "I am inclined to believe from some expressions of Plutarch, that Artaxerxes was ashamed of the wild fury to which this false delicacy bad raised him, and that he made some public kind of atonement for it: for, according to this author, he published a decree, importing, that any man who was hunting with the king, should be allowed to throw his javelin first at the beast, if opportunity should offer; and he, according to Plutarch, was the first Persian monarch who granted such a permission.t SECTION VI.-ARTAXERXES SENDS ESDRAS, AND AFTERWARDS NEHEMIAH, TO
JERUSALEM, BEFORE I proceed in the history of the Persians and Greeks, I shall relate, in few words, what events happened among the people of God, during the first twenty years of Artaxerxes, which is an essential part of the history of that prince.
In the seventh year of the reign of Artaxerxes, Esdras obtained of the king and his seven counsellors an ample commission, empowering him to return to Jerusalem with all such Jews as would follow him thither, in order to settle the Jewish government and religion agreeably to their own laws. Esdras was descended from Saraia, who was high-priest of Jerusalem when it was destı•yed by Nebuchodonosor, and was put to death by his command. Esdras was a very learned and pious man, and was chiefly distinguished from the rest of the Jews hy his great knowledge in the Scriptures; it being said of him, " that he was very ready in the law of Moses that was given by the God of Israel.”'S Ho now set out from Babylon with the gifts and offerings which the king, his courtiers, and such Israelites as had staid in Babylon, had put into his hands for the service of the temple, and which he gave to the priests upon his arrival at Jerusalem. It appears by the commission which Artaxerxes gave him, that
* Beneficia eo usque læta sunt, dum videntur exsolvi posse : ubi multum antevertêre, pro gratia odium redditur.-Tacit. Annal. l. iv. c. 18.
Plut. in Apoph. p. 173. * A. M. 3537. Apt. J. C. 467. Esdras, vii &c. | 1 Esdras, viij. 3.
this prince had a high veneration for the God of Israel, as, in commanding his officers to furnish the Jews with all things necessary for their worship, he adds, “let all things be performed after the law of God diligently, unto the Most High God, that wrath come not upon the kingdom of the king and his son. This commission, as I observed, empowered him to settle the religion and government of the Jews pursuant to the laws of Moses; to appoint magistrates and judges to punish evil-doers, not only by imprisoning their persons, and confiscating their possessions, but also by sending them into banishment, and even sentencing them to death, according to the crimes they should commit. Such was the power with which Esdras was invested, and which he exercised faithfully during thirteen years, till Nehemiah brought a new commission from the Persian court.
Nehemiah was also a Jew of distinguished merit and piety, and one of the cupbearers to king Artaxerxes. This was a very considerable employ, ment in the Persian court, because of the privileges annexed to it, víz. of being often near the king's person, and of being allowed to speak to him in the most favourable moments. However, neither his exalted station, nor the settle, ment of his family in that land of captivity, could obliterate from his mind the country of his ancestors, nor their religion: neither his love for the one, nor his zeal for the other, were abated; and his beart was still in Zion. Some Jews who were come from Jerusalem, having informed him of the sad state of that city, that its walls lay in ruin, its gates were burnt down, and the inha. bitants thereby exposed to the insults of their enemies, and made the scorn of all their neighbours; the affliction of his brethren, and the dangers with wbich they were menaced, made such an impression on his mind, as might naturally be expected from one of his piety. One day, as he was waiting upon the king, the latter observing an unusual air of melancholy in Nehemiah's countenance, asked him the cause of it; a proof that this monarch had a tenderness of heart rarely found in kings, and which is nevertheless much more valuable than the most shining qualities. Nehemiah took this opportunity to acquaint him with the calamitous state of his country; owned that that was the subject of his grief; and humbly intreated that leave might be given him to go to Jerusalem, in order to repair the fortifications of it. The kings of Persia, his predecessors, had permitted the Jews to rebuild the temple, but not the walls of Jerusalem. But Artaxerxes immediately decreed, that the walls and gates of Jerusalem should be rebuilt; and Nehemiah, as governor of Judea, was appointed to put this decree in execution. The king, to do him
the greater honour, ordered a body of horse, commanded by a considerable officer, to escort him thither. He likewise wrote to the governors of the provinces on this side the Euphrates, to give him all the assistance possible in forwarding the work for which he was sent. This pious Jew executed every part of his commission with incredible zeal and activity.
It is from this decree, 'enacted by Artaxerxes in the twentieth year of his reign, for the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem, that we date the beginning of the seventy weeks mentioned in the famous prophecy of Daniel, after which the Messiah was to appear, and to be put to death. I shall here insert the whole prophecy, but without giving the explication of it, as it may be found in other writers, and is not a part of this history. I
“Thou art greatly beloved, therefore understand the matter, and consider the vision. Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people, and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sin, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the Most Holy. Know therefore and understand, THAT FROM THE GOING FORTH OF THE COMMANDMENT, TO RESTORE AND TO BUILD JERUSALEM, unto the Messiah the prince, shall be seven
• Esdras, viii. 3. ver. 21.
| A.M. 3550.
Ant. J. C. 454. Nehem.
i. et ii.
Dan. ix. 23-27