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in regard to the safety of his person. The most dangerous hours for princes within their palaces, and the most likely for treasonable attempts upon their lives, are those of bathing, eating, and sleeping He determined therefore to suffer nobody to be near him at those times, but such persons on whose fidelity he could absolutely rely; and on this account he thought eunuchs preferable to all others; because, as they had neither wives, children, nor families, and besides were generally despised on account of the meanness of their birth and the ignominy of their condition, they were engaged by every consideration to attach themselves solely to their masters, on whose .ife their whole fortune depended, and on whose account alone it was, that they possessed either wealth or consequence. Cyrus therefore intrusted all the offices of his household to eunuchs: and this practice, which was not unknown before his time, from thenceforth became the general custom of all the eastern countries.
It is well known, that in after times it prevailed also amongst the Roman emperors, with whom the eunuchs were the reigning,
allpowerful favourites; nor is it any wonder. It was very natural for the prince, after having confided
his person to their care, and experienced their zeal, fidelity, and merit, to intrust them also with the management of some public business, and by degrees to give himself up to them. These expert courtiers knew how to improve those favourable moments, when sovereigns, delivered from the weight of their dignity, which is a burden to them, become men, and familiarize themselves with their officers. And by this policy, having got possession of their masters' minds and confidence, they came to possess great influence at court, to have the administration of public affairs, and the disposal of employments and honours, and to arrive themselves at the highest offices and dignities of the state.
But the good emperors,* such as Alexander Severus, held the eunuchs in abhorrence, looking upon them as creatures sold and attached only to their fortune, and enemies by principle to the public good; persons, whose sole view was to get possession of the prince's mind, to conceal the knowledge of public business as much as possible from him, to preclude access to him from any person of real merit ad to keep him shut up and imprisoned, in a manner, within the narrow circles,'true or four officers, who had an entire ascendant and dominion over him: Claudentes principem suum, et agentes ante omnia ne quid sciat.
When Cyrus had established his regulations in every thing relating to the government, f he resolved to show himself publicly to his own people, and to his newly conquered subjects, in a solemn, august ceremony of religion, by marching in a pompous cavalcade to the places consecrated to the gods, in order to offer sacrifices to them. In this procession Cyrus thought fit to display all possible splendour and magnificence, to catch and dazzle the eyes of the people. This
Lamprid. In vit. Alez. Suyer.
| Cyrop. l. viii. p. 213, 220.
was the first time that prince ever aimed at procuring respect towards himseli, not only by the attractions of virtue (says the historian,) but by such an external pomp as was calculated to attract the multitude, and worked like a charm or enchantment upon their imaginations.* He ordered the superior officers of the Persians and allies to attend him and gave each of them a dress after the Median fashion; that is to say, long robes, which hung down to the feet. These were of various colours, all of the finest and brightest dye, and richly embroidered with gold and silver. Besides those that were for themselves, he gave them others, very splendid also, but less costly, to present to the subaltern officers. It was on this occasion the Persians first dressed themselves after the manner of the Medes,t and began to imitate them in colouring their eyes, to make them appear more sparkling, and in painting their faces, in order to enliven their complexions.
When the day appointed for the ceremony was come, the whole company assembled at the king's palace by break of day. Four thousand of the guards, drawn up four deep, placed themselves in front of the palace, and 2000 on the two sides of it ranged in the same order. The whole cavalry were also drawn out, the Persians on the right, and that of the allies on the left. The chariots of war were ranged half on one side, and half on the other. As soon as the palace gates were opened, a great number of bulls of exquisite beauty were led out by four and four: these were to be sacrificed to Jupiter and the other gods, according to the ceremonies prescribed by the Magi. Next followed the horses that were to be sacrificed to the Sun. Immediately after them a white chariot, crowned with flowers, the pole of which was gilt: this was to be offered to Jupiter. Then came à second chariot of the same colour, and adorned in the same manner, to be offered to the Sun. After these followed a third, the horses of which were caparisoned with scarlet housings. Behind came the men who carried the sacred fire on a large hearth. When all these were on their march, Cyrus himself began to appear upon his car, with his upright tiara upon his head, encircled with a royal diadem. His under tunic was of purple mixed with white, which was a colour peculiar to kings. Over his other garments he wore a large purple cloak. His hands were uncovered. A little below him sat his master of the horse, who was of a comely stature, but not so tall as Cyrus, for which reason the height of the latter appeared still more advantageously. As soon as the people perceived the prince, they all fell prostrate before him, and worshipped him; whether it was, that certain persons appointed on purpose, and placed at proper distances, led others on by their example, or that the people were moved to do it of their own accord, being struck with the appearance of so much pomp and magnificence, and with so many * Αλλά και καταγοητεύειν ώετο χρήγαι αυτούς. Cyrop. I. viii. p. 206
awful circumstances of majesty and splendour. The Persians had never prostrated themselves in this manner before Cyrus, till on this occasion.
When Cyrus's chariot was come out of the palace, the 4000 guards began to march; the other 2000 moved at the same time, and placed themselves on each side of the chariot. The eunuchs, or great officers of the king's household, to the number of 300, richly clad, with javelins in their hands, and mounted upon stately horses, marched immediately after the chariot. After them followed 200 led horses of the king's stable, each of them having embroidered furniture and bits of gold. Next came the Persian cavalry, divided into four bodies, each consisting of 10,000 men; then the Median horse, and after those the cavalry of the ailies. The chariots of war, four abreast, closed the procession.
When they came to the fields consecrated to the gods, they offered their sacrifices first to Jupiter, and then to the Sun. To the honcur of the first were burnt bulls, and to the honour of the second horses. They likewise sacrificed some victims to the Earth, according to the appointment of the Magi; then to the demi-gods, the patrons and protectors of Syria.* In order to afford the people some recreation after this grave
and solemn ceremony, Cyrus thought fit that it should conclude with games, and horse and chariot-races. The place where they were was large and spacious. He ordered a certain portion of it to be marked out, about five stadiant and proposed prizes for the victors of each nation, which were to encounter separately and among themselves. He himself won the prize in the Persian horse-races, for nobody was so complete a horseman as he. The chariots ran but two at a time, one against another.
This kind of procession continued a long time afterwards amongst the Persians, except only that it was not always attended with sacrifices. All the ceremonies being ended, they returned to the city in the same order.
Some days after, Cyrus, to celebrate the victory he had obtained in the horse-races, gave a great entertainment to all the chief officers, as well foreigners as Medes and Persians. They had never yet seen any thing of the kind so sumptuous and magnificent. At the conclusion of the feast he made every one a noble present; so that they all went home with hearts overflowing with joy, admiration, and gratitude: and all-powerful as he was, master of all the East, and so many kingdoms, he did not think it derogatory to his majesty to conduct the whole company to the door of his apartment. Such were the manners of those ancient times, when men understood how to unite great simplicity with the highest degree of human grandeur.
* Among the ancients, Syria is often put for Assyria.
Cyrop. I. viii. p. 220–24.
† A little abor, half a mile
The history of Cyrus, from the taking of Babylon to the time of his death. Cyrus, finding himself master of all the East by the taking of Babylon, did not imitate the example of most other conquerors, who sully the glory of their victories by a voluptuous and effeminate life; to which they fancy they may justly abandon themselves after their past toils, and the long course of hardships they have gone through. He thought it incumbent upon him to maintain his reputation by the same methods he had acquired it, that is, by a prudent conduct, by a laborious and active life, and a constant application to the duties of his high station.
A. M. 3466.
SECTION I. Cyrus takes a journey into Persia. At his return from thence to Babylon, he forms a
plan of government for the whole empire. Daniel's credit and power. When Cyrus judged he had sufficiently regulated his affairs at Babylon," he thought proper to take a journey into Persią. In his way thither he went through Media, to visit his uncle Cyaxares, to whom he carried very magnificent presents, telling him at the same time that he would find a noble palace at Babylon, all ready prepared for him, whenever he would please to go thither; and that he was to look upon that city as his own. Indeed Cyrus, as long as bis uncle lived, held the empire only in co-partnership with him, though
he had entirely conquered and acquired it by his own Ant. J. C. 538. valour. Nay, so far did he carry his complaisance, that he let his uncle enjoy the first rank. It is Cyaxares who is called in Scripture Darius the Mede; and we shall find, that under his reign, which lasted but two years, Daniel had several revelations. It appears that Cyrus, when he returned from Persia, carried Cyaxares with him to Babylon.
When they arrived there, they concerted together a scheme of government for the whole empire. They divided it into 120 provinces. And that the prince's orders might be conveyed with the greater expedition, Cyrus caused post-houses to be erected at proper distances, where the couriers, that travelled day and night, found horses always ready, and by that means performed their journeys with incredible despatch. The government of these provinces was given to those persons that had assisted Cyrus most, and ren. dered him the greatest service in the war.
Over these governors were appointed three superintendents,|| who were always to reside at court, and to whom the governors were to give an account from time to time of every thing that passed in their respective provinces,
i Dan. vi. )
Cycop. I viii. p. 232
$ Id. p. 230
Cyrop l. viii. p. 227. # Dan vi. 2, 3.
and from whom they were to receive the prince's orders and instructions; so that these three principal ministers had the superintendency over, and the chief administration of, the affairs of the whole empire. Of these three, Daniel was made the chief. He highly deserved such a preference, not only on account of his great wisdom, which was celebrated throughout all the East, and had been displayed in a distinguished manner at Belshazzar's feast, but likewise on account of his great age and consummate experience: for at that time it was full sixty-seven years, from the fourth of Nabuchodonosor, that he had been employed as prime minister of the kings of Babylon.
As this distinction made him the second person in the empire,* and placed him immediately under the king, the other courtiers conceived so great a jealousy of him, that they conspired to destroy him. As there was no hold to be taken of him, unless it were on account of the law of his God, to which they knew him inviolably attached, they obtained an edict from Darius, whereby all persons were for. bidden to ask any thing whatsoever, for the space of thirty days either of any god or any man, save of the king ; and that upon pain of being cast into the den of lions. Now, as Daniel was saying his prayers,
with his face turned towards Jerusalem, he was surprised, accused, and cast into the den of lions. But being miraculously preserved, and coming out safe and unhurt, his accusers were thrown in, and immediately devoured by those animals. This event still augmented Daniel's credit and reputation.
Towards the end of the same year, which was reckoned the first of Darius the Mede, Daniel knowing by the computation he made, that the seventy years of Judah's captivity, determined by the prophet Jeremiah, were drawing towards an end, prayed earnestly to God that he would vouchsafe to remember his people, rebuild Jerusalem, and look with an eye of mercy upon his holy city, and the sanctuary he had placed therein. Upon which the angel Gabriel assured him in a vision, not only of the deliverance of the Jews from their temporal captivity, but likewise of another deliverance, much more considerable, namely, a deliverance from the bondage of sin and Satan, which God would procure to his church, and which was to be accomplished at the end of seventy weeks, that were to elapse from the time the order should be given for the rebuilding of Jerusalem, that is, after the space of 490 years. For, taking each day for a year, according to the language used sometimes in Holy Scripture, those seventy weeks of years made up exactly 490 years.
Cyrus,& upon his return to Babylon, had given orders for all his forces to join him there. On the general review made of them, he found they consisted of 120,000 horse, of 2000 chariots armed with scythes, and 600,000 foot. When he had furnished the garrisons with so many of them as were necessary for the defence of the
* Dan. vi. 4-27
† Dan ix. 1427
Cyrop. viii. 233.