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be was immediately appointed to command the expedition; Nicias, who was before elected, resigning voluntarily that honour to him, either through weakness, for he was naturally timid, or out of a political view, in order that the ill success which it was generally believed Cleon would meet with ir this enterprise, might lose him the favour of the people. But now Cleon was greatly surprised as well as embarrassed ; for he did not expect that the Athenians would take him at his word, he being a better talker than soldier, and much more able with his tongue than his sword. However, he desired leave to wave the honour they offered him, for which he alleged several excuses : but finding that the more he declined the command, the more they pressed him to accept it, he changed his note ; and supplying his want of courage with rhodomontade, he declared before the whole assembly, with a firm and resolute air, that he would bring, in twenty days, those of the island prisoners, or lose his life. The whole assembly, on hearing these words, set up a laugh, for they knew
Cleon, however, contrary to the expectation of every body, made good his words. He and Demosthenes (the other chief) landed in the island, attacked the enemy with great vigour, drove them from post to post, and gaining ground perpetually, at last forced them to the extremity of the island. The Lacedæmonians had stormed a fort that was thought inaccessible. There they drew up in order of battle, faced about to that side only where they could be attacked, and defended themselves like so many lions. As the engagement had lasted the greatest part of the day, and the soldiers were oppressed with heat and weariness, and parched with thirst, the general of the Messenians, addressing himself to Cleon and Demosthenes, said, that all their efforts would be to no purpose, unless they charged their enemy's rear; and, promised, if they would give him but some troops armed with missive weapons, that he would endeavour to find a passage. Accordingly, he and his followers climbed up certain steep and craggy places which were not guarded, when coming down unperceived into the fort, he appeared on a sudden at the rear of the Lacedæmonians, which entirely damped their courage, and afterwards completed their overthrow. They now made but a very feeble resistance ; and being oppressed with numbers, attacked on all sides, and dejected through fatigue and despair, they began to give way: but the Athenians seized on all the passes to cut off their retreat. Cleon and Demosthenes, finding, that should the battle continue, not a man of them would escape, and being desirous of carrying them alive to Athens, commanded their soldiers to desist; and caused proclamation to be made by a herald, for them to lay down their arms, and surrender at discretion. At these words, the greatest part lowered their shields, and clapped their hands in token of approbation. A kind of suspension of arms was agreed upon; and their commander desired leave might be granted him to despatch a messenger to the camp, to know the resolution of the generals. This was not allowed, but they called heralds from the coast ; and after several messages, a Lacedæmonian came forward, and cried aloud, that they were permitted to treat with the enemy, provided they did not submit to dishonourable terms. Upon this they held a conference; after which they surrendered at discretion, and were kept till the next day. The Athenians then raising a trophy, and restoring the Lacedæmonians their dead, embarked for their own couniry, after distributing the prisoners among the several ships, and committing the guard of them to the captain of the galleys.
In this battle a hundred and twenty-eight Lacedæmonians fell, out of four hundred and twenty, their number at first; so that there survived not quite three hundred, one hundred and twenty of whom were Spartans, that is, inbabitants of the city of Sparta. The siege of the island, to compute froin the beginning of it, including the time employed in the truce, had lasted seventy two days. They all now left Pylus ; and Cleon's promise, though so vain and rash, was found literally true. But the most surprising circumstance was, the capitulation that had been made; for it was believed that the Lacedæmonians, so far from surrendering their arms, would die sword in hand.
PERSIANS AND GRECIANS,
CONTINUED DURING THE REIGNS OF
XERXES II, OF SOGDIANUS, AND OF DARIUS NOTHUS.
CHAPTER I. This chapter contains the history of thirteen years of the Peloponnesian war, to the nineteenth inclusively. SECTION 1.—THE VERY SHORT REIGNS OF XERXES II. AND SOGDIANUS, &c.
ARTAXERXES died about the beginning of the forty-ninth year of his reign.* Xerxes, who succeeded him, was the only son which the queen his wife had brought him; but he had seventeen others by his concubines, among whom were Sogdianus (who is called Secondianus by Ctesias,) Ochus, and Arsites. Sogdianus, in concert with Pharnacias, one of Xerxes's eunuchs, came insidiously one festival day to the new king, who, after drinking too immoderately, had retired to his chamber, in order to give the fumes of the wine he had drank time to evaporate, where he killed him without any difficulty, after he had reigned but forty-five days, and was declared king in his stead.f
He was scarcely on the throne, when he put to death Bagorazus, the most faithful of his father's eunuchs. It was he who had been appointed to superintend the interment of Artaxerxes, and the queen, Xerxes's mother, who died the same day with her royal consort. After having deposited the two bodies in the mausoleum, where the kings of Persia were interred, he found, at his return, Sogdianus on the throne, who did no: receive him favourably, upon account of some difference with him in the lifetime of his father. But the new king did not stop here : not long after he took an opportunity to quarrel with him, on some trifling circumstance relating to the obsequies of his father, and caused him to be stoned.
By these two murders, that of his brother Xerxes and of Bagorazus, he became the horror of the army and nobility, so that he did not think himself safe on a throne, to which he had forced his way by such horrid murders. He suspected that his brothers harboured the like design : and Ochus, to whom his father had left the government of Hyrcania, was the chief object of his suspicion. Accordingly he sent for him, with the intention of getting him murdered as soon as he arrived. Ochus however, who saw through his design, delayed coming upon various pretences; which he continued till he advanced at the head of a strong army, which he openly declared he would employ to revenge the death of his
brother Xerxes. This declaration brought over to him a great number of the nobility, and several governors of the provinces, they being justly dissatisfied at the cruelty and ill conduct of Sogdianus. They put the
IA M. 3579. Ant. J. C. 425. Ctes. c. xlviili.
Diod. l. xii.
14. M. 3580. Ant. J C. 424
tiara on Ochus's head and proclaimed him king. Sogdianus, seeing himself abandoned in this manner, was as mean and cowardly in the slight defence he made to maintain bis crown, as he bad been before unjust and barbarous in usurping it. Contrary to the advice of his best friends, and the wisest persons who still adhered to him, he concluded a treaty with his brother, who, getting him into his hands, caused bim to be thrown into ashes, where he died a cruel death. This was a kind of punishment peculiar to the Persians, and exercised only on great criminals. One of the largest towers was filled to a certain beight with ashes. The criminal was then thrown headlong from the top of the tower into them; after which, the ashes were by a wheel turned perpetually round bim till he was suffocated. Thus this wicked prince lost his life and empire, which he enjoyed six months and fifteen days.*
Ochus, by the death of Sogdianus, now found himself possessed of the empire. As soon as he was well settled in it, he changed his name from Ochus to that of Darius. To distinguish him, historians add the epithet Nioos, signifying bastard. He reigned nineteen years.t.
Arsites, seeing in what manner Sogdianus had supplanted Xerxes, and had himself been dethroned by Ochus, meditated to serve the latter in the same manner. Though he was his brother by the father's as well as the mother's side, he openly revolted against him, and was assisted in it by Artyphius, son of Megabyzus. Ochus, whom hereafter we shall always call Darius, sent Artasyras one of his generals, against Artyphius ; and himself, at the head of another army, marched against Arsites. Artypbius, with the Grecian troops in his pay, twice defeated the general sent against him. But, engaging a third time, the Greeks were corrupted, and he himself was beat, and forced to surrender, upon his being flattered with hopes that a pardon would be granted bim. The king would have had him put to death, but was diverted from that resolution by queen Parysatis, Darius's sister and queen. She also was the daughter of Artaxerxes, but not by the same mother as Darius. She was an intriguing, artful woman, and the king her husband was governed by her on most occasions. The counsel she now gave was perfidious to the last degree. She advised him to exercise bis clemency towards Artyphius, and show him kind usage, in order that his brother might hope, when he heard of his treating a rebellious servant with so much generosity, that he himself should meet at least with as mild treatment, and therefore be prompted to lay down bis arms. She added, that when once he should have seized that prince, he might dispose of him and Artyphius as he pleased. Darius followed her counsel, which proved successful. Arsites being informed of the gentle usage which Artyphius met with, concluded, that as he was the king's brother, he should consequently meet with still more indulgent treatment; and with this hope he concluded a treaty, and surrendered himself. Darius was very much inclined to save his life, but Parysatis, by representing to him, that he ought to punish this rebel to secure himself, at last prevailed with him to put his
brother to death ; and accordingly he was suffocated in ashes with Ariyphius. Darius, however, had a violent struggle with himself before he could give orders for this sacrifice, having a very tender affection for bis brother. He afterwards put some other persons to death, which executions did not procure him the tranquillity he had expected from them; for his reign was afterwards disturbed with such violent commotions, that he enjoyed but little repose.
One of the most dangerous commotions was occasioned by the rebellion of Pisuthnes, who, being governor of Lydia, wanted to throw off his allegiance to the Persian empire,
and make himself king in his province. What flattered him with the hopes of succeeding in this attempt, was his having raised a considerable body of Grecian troops, under the command of Lycon the Athenian. Darius sent Tissaphernes against this rebel, and gave him, with a considerable army, the commission of governor of Lydia, of which he was to dispossess
• Val. Max. l. iz. c. ü. 2. Maccab. c. xii.
† A. M. 3581. Ant. J. C. 423.
Pisuthnes. Tissaphernes, who was an artful man, and capable of acting in all characters, found means of tampering with the Greeks under Pisuthnes ; and by dint of presents and promises brought over the troops with their general to his party. Pisuthnes, who by this desertion was unable to carry on his designs surrendered, upon being Hattered with the hopes of obtaining his pardon ; but the instant he appeared before the king, he was sentenced to be suffocated in ashes, and accordingly met with the same fate as the rest of the rebels* But his death did not put an end to all troubles; for Amorges his son, with the remaiwer of his army still opposed Tissaphernes; and for two years laid waste the maritime provinces of Asia Minor, till he at last was taken by the Greeks of Peloponnesus, in lasus, a city of lonia, and delivered up by the inhabitants to Tissaphernes, who put him to death.t
Darius was involved in fresh troubles by one of his eunuchs. This kind of officers had for many years, engrossed all power in the court of Persia ; and we shall find by the sequel of this bistory, that they always governed absolutely in it. We may know their character, and the danger to which they expose princes, by the picture which Diocletian, after he had resigned the empire and reduced himself to a private station of life, drew of freemen, who had gained a like ascendant over the Roman emperors. “Four or five persons," says he, who are closely united, and resolutely determined to impose on a prince, may do it very easily. They never show things to him but in such a light as they are sure will please. They conceal whatever would contribute to enlighten hin: and as they alone beset him continually, he cannot be informed of any thing but through their channel, and does nothing but what they think fit to suggest to him. Hence it is, that he bestows employments on those he ought to exclude from them; and, on the other side, removes from offices such persons as are most worthy of filling them. In a word, the best prince is often sold by, these men, though he be ever so vigilant, and even suspicious of them."
Quid multa? Ut Diocletianus ipse dicebat, bonus, cautus, optimus venditur imperator."
In this manner was Darius's court governed. Three eunuchs had usurped all power in it; an infallible mark that a government is bad, and the prince of little merit.ll But one of those three eunuchs, whose name was Artoxares, presided over and governed the rest. He had found Darius's weak side, by which he insinuated himself into his confidence. He had studied all his passions, to know how to indulge them, and govern his prince by their means. he plunged him continually in pleasures and amusements, to engross his whole authority to himself. In fine, under the name and protection of queen Parysatis, to whose will and pleasure he was the most devoted of slaves, he managed all the affairs of the empire, and nothing was transacted but by his orders. Intoxin cated by the supreme authority which the favour of his sovereign gave him, he resolved to make himself king, instead of being prime minister; and accordingly formed a design to get Darius out of the way, and afterwards ascend the throne. However, his plot being discovered, he was seized and delivered up to Parysatis. who put him to a most ignominious and cruel death.
But the greatest mistortune which happened in the reign of Darius, was the revolt of the Egyptians. This took place the same year which Pisuthnes rebelled. I But Darius could not reduce Egypt as he had done that rebel. The Egyptians, weary of the Persian government, flocked from all parts to Amyr. teus of Sais, who at last was come out of the fens where he had defended him self since the suppression of the revolt of Inarus. The Persians were driven out, and Amyrteus proclaimed king of Egypt, where he reigned six years.
After having established himself securely on the throne, and entirely expelled the Persians out of Egypt, he prepared to pursue them as far as Phase
* A. M. 3590. Ant J. C. 414. Ctes. c. li. + Thucyd. I. viii. p. 554-567. 568.
Vopis. in Vit. Aurclian. Imper.
** Thucyd. 1. i. p. 72, 736