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lo them out of the taxes and imposts of the province. What must have become of the Jews, when the crimes of disobedience and rebellion were laid to their charge, if at such a juncture their superiors had only bearkened to their enemies, and not given them leave to justify themselves !
The same prince, some time after, gave a still more signal proof of his love for justice, and of his abhorrence for accusers and informers, a detestable race of men, who are, by their very nature and condition, enemies to all merit and all virtue. It is pretty obvious that I mean the famous edict published by this prince against Haman, in favour of the Jews, at the request of Esther, whom the king had taken to his bed in the room of Vashti, one of his wives. According to Archbishop Usher, this Vashti is the same person as is called by profane writers Atossa; and the Ahasuerus of the holy Scriptures the same as Darius ; but according to others it is Artaxerxes. The fact is well known, being related in the sacred history : I have given, however, a brief account of it in this work.
Such actions of justice do great honour to a prince's memory; as do also those of gratitude, of which Darius on a certain occasion gave a very laudable instance. Syloson, brother to Polycrates, tyrant of Samos, had once made Darius a present of a suit of clothes, of a curious red colour which extremely pleased Darius's fancy, and would never suffer him to make any return for it. Darius at that time was but a private gentleman, an officer in the guards of Cambyses, whom he accompanied to Memphis in his Egyptian expedition. When Darius was on the throne of Persia, Syloson went to Susa, presented himself at the gate of his palace, and sent up word to the king, that there was a Grecian below, to whom his majesty was under some obligation. Darius, surprised at such a message, and curious to know the truth of it, ordered him to be brought in. When he saw him, he remembered him, and acknowledged him to have been his benefactor; and was so far from being ashamed of an adventure which might seem derogatory to his honour, that he ingenuously applauded the gentleman's generosity, which proceeded from no other motive than that of doing a pleasure to a person from whom he could have no expectations ; and then proposed to make him a considerable present of gold and silver. But money was not the thing Syloson desired: the love of his country was his predominant passion. The favour he required of the king was, that he would settle him at Samos, without shedding the blood of the citizens, by driving out the person that had usurped the government since the death of his brother. Darius consented, and committed the conduct of the expedition to Otanęs, one of the principal lords of his court, who undertook it with joy, and performed it with success.*
SECTION II.-REVOLT AND REDUCTION OF BABYLON.
In the beginning of the fifth year of Darius, Babylon revolted, and could not be reduced till after a siege of twenty months. This city, formerly mistress of the East, grew impatient of the Persian yoke, especially after the removal of the imperial seat to Susa, which very much diminished Babylon's wealth and grandeur. The Babylonians taking advantage of the revolution that happened in Persia, first on the death of Cambyses, and afterwards on the massacre of the Magians, made secretly, for four years together, all kinds of preparation for war. When they thought the city sufficiently stored with provisions, for many years, they set up the standard of rebellion, which obliged Darius to besiege them with all his forces. Now, God continued to accomplish those terrible threatenings he had denounced aga nst Babylon, that he would not only humble and bring down that proud and impious city, but depopulate and lay it waste with fire and blood, utterly exterminate it, and reduce it to an eternal solitude. In order to fulfil these predictions, God prirmitted the Babylonians to rebel against Darius, and by that means to draw
Herod. l. iii. c. 139–149.
1 A. M, 3-188. Ant. J. C. 516. Herod. I. iii, c. 150, 100
upon themselves the whole force of the Persian empire ; and they themselves were the first in putting these prophecies in execution, by destroying a great number of their own people, as will be seen presently. It is probable that the Jews, of whom a considerable number remained at Babylon, went out of the city before the siege was formed, as the prophets Isaiah and Jeremiah had exhorted them long before, and afterwards Zechariah, in the following terms : “ Thou, Zion, that dwellest with the daughter of Babylon, flee from the country, and save thyself.'
The Babylonians, to make their provisions last the longer, and to enable them to hold out with the greater vigour, took the most desperate and barbarous resolution that ever was heard of, which was, to destroy all such of their own people as were unserviceable on this occasion. For this purpose they assembled together all their wives and children, and strangled them. Only every man was allowed to keep his best beloved wife, and one servant-maid to do the business of the family.
After this cruel execution, the unhappy remainder of the inhabitants, thinking themselves out of all danger, both on account of their fortifications, which they looked upon as impregnable, and the vast quantity of provisions they had laid up, began to insult the besiegers from the top of their walls, and to provoke them with opprobrious language. The Persians, for the space of eighteen months, did all that force or stratagem were capable of, to make themselves masters of the city: nor did they forget to make use of the same means as had succeeded so happily with Cyrus some years before; I mean that of turning the course of the river. But all their efforts were fruitless; and Darius began almost to despair of taking the place, when a stratagem, till then unheard of, opened the gates of the city to him. He was strangely surprised one morning to see Zopyrus, one of the chief noblemen of his court, and son of Megabyzus, who was one of the seven lords that formed the conspiracy against the Magians, appear before him all over blood, with his nose and ears cut off, and his whole body covered with wounds. Starting up from his throne, he cried out, Who is it, Zopyrus, that has dared to treat you thus ? You, yourself, o king! replied Zopyrus. The desire I had of rendering you service has put me in this condition. As I was fully persuaded that you never would have consented to this method, I have consulted none but the zeal I have for your service. He then opened to him his design of going over to the enemy; and they settled every thing that was proper to be done. The king could not see him set out upon this extraordinary project without the utmost affliction and concern. Zopyrus approached the walls of the city, and having told them who he was, was soon admitted. They then carried him before the governor, to whom he laid open his misfortune, and the cruel treatment he had met with from Darius, for having dissuaded him from continuing any longer before a city which it was impossible for him to take. He offered the Babylonians bis service which could not fail of being highly useful to them, since he was acquainted with all the designs of the Persians, and since the desire of revenge would inspire him with fresh courage and 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 entirely believed 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 a thousand of the besiegers ; a few days after he killed double the number; and on the third time, four thousand 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 bim most, and they had not words sufficient to express their high value for him, and how bappy they esteemed themselves in having gained so great a man.
* Isa. xlviii, 20. Jer. I. & li. 6, 9, 45. Zech. ii. 6, 7.
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 by that means made him master of the city, which he could never have taken either by_force or stratagem.
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. Megabyzus, 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 grandson.
No sooner was Darius in possession of Babylon, than he ordered the gates to be pulled down, and all the walls of that proud city to be entirely demolished, that she might never more be in a condition to rebel 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 three thousand of those who were principally concerned in the revolt to be impaled, and granted a pardon to all the rest. And in order to prevent the depopulation of the city, he caused fifty thousand 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 fall. ing 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, imposing upon them a most grievous yoke of servitude, and making use of all its power to crush and afflict an unhappy na. tion, favoured however, by God, and having the honour of being styled his peculiar people.
SECTION III. -DARIUS PREPARES FOR AN EXPEDITION AGAINST THE SCYTHI
ANS. A DIGRESSION UPON THE MANNERS AND CUSTOMS OF THAT NATION.
AFTER the reduction of Babylon, Darius made great preparations for the 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 a hundred and twenty years before. While the Scythians were employed in that irruption, which lasted twenty-eight years, their 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 the 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 on the footing 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 follow 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 the 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 at present to treat chiefly of the first, nameiy, of the European Scythians.
The historians, in the accounts they have left us of the manners and characters of the Scythians, relate things of them that are entirely opposite and contradictory to one another. At one time they represent them as the most just and moderate people in the world : at another, they describe them as a fierce and barbarous nation, which carried its cruelty 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 of Scythians, all comprised 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.
Strabo has quoted authors, who mention Scythians dwelling upon the coast of the Euxine sea, that cut the throats of all strangers who came among them, fed upon their flesh, and made pots and drinking-vessels of their skulls, when they had dried them.* Herodotus, in describing the sacrifices which the Scythians offered to the god Mars, says they used to offer human sacrifices. 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 arms 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 cup-bearer, his great cham-' berlain, his master of horse, his chancellor, his secretary of state, all of whom were put to death for that purpose. To these they added several horses, a great number of drinking vessels, and a certain part of every kind of bouseholdgoods, and furniture belonging to their deceased monarch: after which they
the grave, and covered it with earth. This was not all: when the anniversary of his interment came, they cut the throats of Sfty more of the dead king's officers, and of the same number of horses, and placed the officers on horseback round the king's tomb, having first prepared and embalmed their bodies for the purpose ; this they did probably to serve him as guards. These ceremonies possibly took their rise from a notion they might have of their king 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 coveted, I will not determine.ll
It is now time to pass to the consideration of such of their manners and customs, as had more of humanity in thein ; 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
* Strabo, I. vii. p. 298.
† Herod. I. iv. c. 62. This custom was still practised by the Iberians, who were originally Scythians, in the time of Tacitusa who makes mention of it.-Ann. d. xii. c. 47. Herod. l. iv. c. 70. || Herod. de iv. c. 71, 72
I Lib. ij. c. 2.
sciences, but then they were equally unacquainted with vice. They did not make any division of their lands among themselves, says Justin: it would have been in vain for them to do 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, tell us, that some of them did cultivate a certain portion of land all tted 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 wagons, covered with the skins of beasts, which were the only houses they had to dwell in. Justice was observed and maintained among them, through the natural temper and disposition of the people, without any compulsion of laws, with which they were wholly unacquainted.* No crime was. more severely punished among them than theft and robbery; and that with good reason. For their herds and their 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 weather 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, what can be said for a nation that has lands, and yet does not cultivate them; that has herds of cattle, whose milk alone satisfies them, while they 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 demonstration of their ignorance and savageness, according to the genera) 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. This contempt of 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 richos 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 was 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 that fall by the irreversible decree and law of nature.t
Justin finishes his character of the Scythians with a very judicious reflection. It is a surprising thing, says he, that a happy natural disposition, without the assistance of education, should carry the Scythians to such a degree of wisdom and moderation, as the Grecians could not attain, either 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. I
The Scythian fathers thought, with good reason, that they left their cnildren a valuable inheritance, when they left them in peace and union with one
* Justitia gentis ingeniis culta, non legibus. † 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 abutinentia alieni foret! profecto non tantum bellorum per omnia secula terris omnibus continuareter: neque plus hominum ferrum et arma, quam naturalis fatorum conditio raperet.
* Prorsus ut admirabile videatur, hoc illis naturam dare, quod Græci longa sapientium doctrina præcep. tisque philosophorum consequi nequeunt, cultosque mores incultæ barlariæ collatione superari. Tanto plus in illis proficit vitiorum igagratio, quam in his cognitio virtutis !