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brought in. When he saw him, he remembered him, and acknow ledged him to have been bis benefactor: and was so far from being ashamed of an adventure which might seem not to be much for 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 his 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 Otanes, one of the principal lords of his court, who undertook it with joy, and per formed it with success.
In the beginning of the fifth year of Darius, Babylon Ant. J. C. 516. revolted, and could not be reduced till after a twenty months' siege.* This city, formerly mistress of the East, grew impatient of the Persian yoke, especially after the removing 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 preparations for war. When they thought the city sufficiently stored with provisions for inany 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 against 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 permitted the Babylonians to rebel against Darius, and by that means to draw upon themselves the whole force of the Persian empire: and they themselves were the Srst to put these prophecies in execution, by destroying a great nuinber 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 Isaiaht and Jeremiah had exhorted them long before, and Zechariah very lately, 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
A. M. 3488.
† Isa. xlviii: 20. Jer. I. 8. li. 6. 9. 45. Zech. ii. 6–9.
* Herod. I. iii c 150-160.
enable them to hold out with the greater vigour, took the most desperate and barbarous resolution that ever was beard 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 tops of their walls, and to provoke them with opprobrious language. The Persians, for the space of eighteen months, did all that force or stratagem was capable of, to make themselves masters of the city; nor did they forget to make use of the same means as had so happily succeeded 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 made the association against the Magians; to see him, I say, appear before him all over blood, with his nose and ears cut off, and his whole body disfigured with wounds. Starting up from his throne, he cried out, Who is it, Zopyrus, that has dared to treat you thus ?— You yourself, Oking, replied Zopyrus. The desire I had of rendering you service has put me into this condition. As I was fully persuaded that you never would have consented to this method, I took counsel alone of the zeal which I have for your service. He then opened to him his design of going over to the enemy; and they settled every thing together 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 his 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 conditton 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 placed implicit confidence in whatsoever 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 1000 of the besiegers: a few days after he killed double the number; and on the third time, 4000 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 him most, and they had nut words sufficient to express their high value for him, and how happy they esteemed themselves in having gained so great a man, He was now declared generalissimo of their forces, and intrusted 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 made him by that means master of a city, which he never could have been able to take either by force or famine.
As 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 100 Babylonians, 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 the 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 100 gates to be pulled down, and all the walls of that proud city to be entirely demolished, that she might never be in a condition to rebel more 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 3000 of those who were principally concerned in the revolt to be impaled, and granted a pardon to all the rest. And, in order to hinder the depopulation of the city, he caused 50,000 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 falling 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; where they imposed a most griev ous yoke of servitude upon them, and made use of all their power to crush and afflict an unhappy nation, favoured however by God, and having the honour to be styled his peculiar people.
Darius prepares for an expedition against the Scythians. A digression upon the manners
and customs of that nation.
A. M. 3490.
After the reduction of Babylon,* Darius made great Ant. J. C. 514. preparations for 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 :t
very frivolous and sorry pretext; and a very ridiculous ground for reviving an old quarrel, which had ceased 120 years before.
Whilst the Scythians were employed in that irruption, which lasted eight-and-twenty years, the Scythians' wives married their slaves. When the husbands were on their return home, these slayes went out to meet them with a numerous army, and disputed their entrance into their 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 upon the foot 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 imitate 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 this 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 now chiefly to treat of the first, namely, of the European Scythians.
Historians, in the accounts they have left us of the manners and character of the Scythians, relate things of them that are entirely opposite and contradictory to one another. One while they represent them as the justest and most moderate people in the world: another while they describe them as a fierce and barbarous nation, which carried its cruelty to such excesses, as are shocking to human nature. This contrariety is a manifest proof, that those different characters are to be applied to different nations 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.
Strabof has quoted authors, who mention some Scythians dwelling upon the coast of the Euxine sea, that cut the throats of all
* Herod. l. iv. c. 1. Justin. I. i. c. 5.
Strabo, 1. vii. p 298. * Herod. l. iv. c. 62.
strangers who came amongst 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 victims. 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,f 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, uttering the heaviest 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 chamberlain, his master of horse, his chancellor, his secretary of state, who were all put to death for that purpose. To these they added several horses, a great number of drinking vessels, and a certain part of all the furniture belonging to their deceased monarch: after which they filled up the grave, and covered it with earth. This was not all. When the anniversary of his interment came, they cut the throats of fifty more of the dead king's officers, and of the same number of horses, and, having first prepared their bodies for the purpose, by embowelling them and stuffing them with straw, they placed the officers on horseback round the king's tomb, probably to serve him as guards. These ceremonies in all appearance took their rise from a notion they might have of their king's being still alive; and
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 sought after, I will not determine.
It is now time to pass to the consideration of their manners and customs, milder and more humane; 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.l. According to this author, the Scythians lived in great innocence and simplicity. They were ignorant indeed of all arts and sciences, but then they
† This custom was still practised by the Iberians, who were originally Scythians, in the time of Tacitus, who makes mention of it. Ann. I. xii. c. 47. * Herod. l. iv. c. 70.
Ibid. c. 71, 72 Il Lib. ii c 2