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CHA P. will as the only rule of moral obligation *? The XLII. studies of Chosroes were ostentatious and superficial
but his example awakened the curiosity of an inge. nious people, and the light of science was diffused over the dominions of Persia f. At Gondi Sapor, in the neighbourhood of the royal city of Susa, an academy of Physic was founded, which insensibly became a liberal school of poetry, philosophy, and rhetoric 1. The annals of the monarchy s were composed; and while recent and authentic history might afford some useful lessons both to the prince and people, the darkness of the first ages was embellished by the giants, the dragons, and the fabu. lous heroes of Oriental romancello Every learned
* A thousand years before his birth, the judges of Persia had given a solemn opinion τω Βασιλευοντι Περσιων εξειναι ποιειν to my Bovantes (Herodot. 1. iii. c. 34. p. 210. edit. Wesseling.). Nor had this constitutional maxim been neglected as an useless and barren theory.
+On the literary state of Persia, the Greek versions, philosophers, sophists, the learning or ignorance of Chosroes, Agathias (1. ii. c. 66–71.) displays much information and strong prejudices.
| Asseman. Bibliot. Orient, tom. iv. p. Dccxlv. vi. vii.
§ The Shah Nameh, or book of Kings, is perhaps the original record of history which was translated into Greek by the interpreter Sergius (Agathias, 1. v, p. 141.), preserved after the Mahometar conquest, and versified in the year 994, by the national poet Ferdoussi. See d'Anquetil (Mem. de l'Acadamie, tom. xxxi. P 379.), and Sir William Jones (Hist. of Nadir Shah, p. 161.).
ll In the fifth century the name of Restom, or Rostam, an hero who equalled the strength of twelve elephants, was familiar to th Armenians Moses Chorenensis, Hist. Armen. 1. i. c. 7. Po 96. edit. Whiston). In the beginning of the seventh, the Persian romance of Rostam and Isfendiar was applauded at Mecca (Sales Kuran c. xxxi. p. 335. !. Yet this exposition of lucicrum novæ historiæ, is not given by Maracci (Refutat. Alceran. p. 544-548.).
or confident stranger was enriched by the bounty CHA P. and flattered by the conversation, of the monarch: XLII. he nobly rewarded a Greek physician *, by the deliverance of three thousand captives; and the sophists who contended for his favour, were exasperated by the wealth and insolence of Uranius, their more successful rival. Nushirvan believed, or at least respected, the religion of the Magi; and some traces of persecution may be discovered in his reign t. Yet he allowed himself freely to com. pare the tenets of the various sects; and the theo. logical disputes in which he frequently presided, diminished the authority of the priest, and enlightened the minds of the people. At his command, the most celebrated writers of Greece and India were translated into the Persian language; a smooth and elegant idiom, recommended by Mahomet to the use of paradise: though it is branded with the epithets of savage and unmusicak, by the ignorance and presumption of Agathias $. Yet the Greek historian might reasonably wonder, that it should be found possible to execute an entire VOL. VII.
* Procop. Goth. I. iv. c. 10. Kobad had a favourite Greek physician, Stephen of Edessa (Persic. l. i. c. 26 ) The practice was ancient; and Herodotus relates the adventures of Demecedes of Crotona (1. iii. c. 125-137.).
+ See Pagi, tom. ii. p. 626. In one of the treaties an hoñourable article was inserted for the toleration and burial of the Catholics (Menander, in Excerpt Legat. p. 142.), Nu. shiżad, a son of Nushirvan, was a Christian, a rebel, and— martyr ? (D'Herbelot, p. 681.),
I On the Persian language, and its three dialects, consult d' Anquetil (p. 339-343.) and Jones (p. 153-185.): wypade Tori grampilane vous aureotary, is the character which Agathias (1 ii. P. 06.) ascribes to an idiom renowned in the East for poetical, softness,
CHA P. version of Plato and Aristotle in a foreign dialect,
which had not been framed to express the spirit of freedom and the subtleties of philosophic disquisition. And, if the reason of the Stagyrite might be equally dark, or equally intelligible in every tongue, the dramatic art and verbal argumentation of the disciple of Socrates *, appear to be indissolubly mingled with the grace and perfection of his Attic style. In the search of universal knowledge, Nushirvan was informed, that the moral and political fables of Pilpay, an ancient Brachman, were preserved with jealous reverence, among the treasures of the kings of India. The physician Perozes was secretly dispatched to the banks of the Ganges, with instructions to procure, at any price, the communication of this valuable work. His dexterity obtained a transcript, his learned diligence accomplished the translation ; and the fa. bles of Pilpay + were read and admired in the assembly of Nushirvan and his nobles. The Indian original, and the Persian copy, have long since disappeared: but this venerable monument has been sav
Agathias specifies the Gorgias, Phædon, Parmenides, and Timæus. Renaudot (Fabricius, Bibliot. Græc. tom. xii. p. 246 -261.) does not mention this Barbaric version of Aristotle.
+ Of these fables, I have seen three copies in three different languages: 1 in Greek, translated by Simeon Seth (A. D. 1100) from the Arabic, and published by Starck at Berlin in 1697, in 12mo. 2. In Latin, a version from the Greek, Sapientia Indorum, inserted by Pere Poussin at the end of his edition of Pachymer (p. 547—620. edit. Roman). 3. In French, from the Turkish, dedicated, in 1540, to Sultan Soliman. Contes et Fables Indiennes de Bidpai et de Lokman, par M. M. Galland et Cardonne, Paris, 1778. 3 vols. in 12mo. Ms. Wharton (History of English Poetry, vol. i. p. 129-131.) takes a larger scope.
ed by the curiosity of the Arabian caliphs, revived in CHAP. the modern Persic, the Turkish, the Syriac, the Hebrew, and the Greek idioms, and transfused through successive versions into the modern languages of Europe. In their present form, the peculiar character, the manners and religion of the Hindoos, are completely obliterated ; and the in
; trinsic merit of the fables of Pilpay is far inferior to the concise elegance of Phædrus and the native graces
of La Fontaine. Fifteen moral and political sentences are illustrated in a series of apologues : but the composition is intricate, the narrative prolix, and the precept obvious and barren. Yet the Brachman may assume the merit of inventing a pleasing fiction, which adorns the nakedness of truth, and alleviates, perhaps, to a royal ear, the harshness of instruction. With a similar design to admonish kings, that they are strong only in the strength of their subjects, the same Indians invented the game of chess, which was likewise introduced into Persia under the reign of Nushirvan*.
The son of Kobad found his kingdom involved Peace and in a war with the successor of Constantine; and the the Ra anxiety of his domestic situation inclined him to grant the suspension of arms, which Justinian was 533–539 impatient to purchase. Chosroes saw the Rotñan ambassadors at his feet. He accepted eleven. thousand pounds of gold, as the price of an end. less or indefinite peace t; some mutual exchanges
• See the Historia Shabiludii of Dr. Hyde (Syntagm. Disa sertat. tom. ii. p. 61-69.).
+. The endless peace (Procopius, Persic. 1. i. c. 21.) was con cluded or ratified in the vitla year, and iiid consulship of Justi
CHA P. were regulated; the Persian assumed the guard of
the gates of Caucasus, and the demolition of Dara was suspended, on condition that it should never be made the residence of the general of the East. This interval of repose had been solicited, and was diligently improved by the ambition of the emperor: his African conquests were the first fruits of the Persian treaty; and the avarice of Chosroes was soothed by a large portion of the spoils of Carthage, which his ambassadors required in a tone of pleasantry, and under the colour of friendship *. But the trophies of Belisarius disturbed the slumbers of the great king; and he heard with astonishment, envy, and fear, that Sicily, Italy, and Rome itself, had been reduced in three rapid campaigns, to the obedience of Justinian. Unpractised in the art of violating treaties, he secretly excited his bold and subtle vassal Almondar. That prince of the Saracens who resided at Hira t, had not been included in the general peace, and still waged an obscure war against his rival Arethas, the chief of the tribe of Gassan, and confederate of the empire. The subject of their dispute was an extensive sieepwalk in the desert to the south of Palmyra. An immemorial tribute for the licence of pasture, appear
nian (A. D. 533, between January 1, and April 1. Pagi, tom. ii. p. 50.). Marcellinus, in his Chronicle, uses the style of Medes and Persians.
Procopius, Persic. I. i. c. 26. † Almondar king of Hira, was deposed by Kobad, and restored by Nushirvan. His mother, from her beauty, was surnamed Cælestial Water, an appellation which became hereditary, and was extended for a more noble cause (liberality in famine) to the Arab princes of Syria (Pocock, Specimen Histo Arab. p. 69, 70-).