« PreviousContinue »
lisks, with which it was adorned. All the other Egyptian labours, must, however, yield the palm of wonder to the pyramids. The whole area of the first pyramid covers a space
of more than eleven acres. The north side measures 693 feet: the perpendicular height is 493 feet; the real ascent is equal to the latitude of the base, or 693 feet. It is said that 360,000 men were employed in this work, which they scarcely completed in 20 years.
The Phenicians were the most celebrated, next to the Egyptians. They were the most expert in maritime affairs. Their chief city was Tyre, at that time the emporium of the world. The most noted of their kings was Pygmalion, whose sister Dito built Carthage.
The kingdom of the Lydians flourished chiefly in the time of Croesus, whose dominion extended over the greater part of Asia. He was esteemed the richest king of his timé.
Nineveh, the metropolis of Assyria, is said to have been built by Assur, or Ninus, on the banks of the Tigris. The height of its walls was 100 feet, the breadtb suiticient for three chariots to pass at the same time. It was 480 furlongs in compass, and was destroyed under Sardanapalus, by Arbacesor Arbactus.
Babylon was built by Belus, or Semiramis, but so much improved by Nabuchodonosor, as to become one of the seven wonders of the world. It was built on both sides of the Euphrates, surrounded by a wall, on which were many towers, so extensive, that six chariots might pass abreast;
the height was 350 feet. There were 100 gates, all of : brass, with doors and hinges, in the circuit. The city was filled with houses of three and four stories. Near the citadel were the horti pensiles, or hanging gardens: vaulted arches were raised from the ground, one above another, increasing in grandeur as in height, and thus supporting the vast weight of the whole garden.
Select Book on Assyrian History.
SECT. III.-- PERSIAN EMPIRE.
This monarchy continued for more thun 200 years, from Cyrus, whose reign began A. M. 3468, to Darius Codomannus ; who being conquered by Alexander, the empire was transferred to the Greeks, A. M. 3674.
1. Cyrus, founder of the empire, was a prince who merited the highest applause. He procured the return of the Jews into their own country. Having made war with the Massagetæ, a people of Scythia, he was defeated and slain. Others report, that he died happily, and was buried with magnificence at Babylon.
2. Combyses, the son of Cyrus, subdued Egypt. He Bucceeded to his father's kingdom, but not to his virtues ; for be filled every place with blood and slaugbter. He, at length received, accidentally, a murtal wound front his own sword, which bappened to be without the scabbard.
3. Smerdis.-Cambyses had a brother of this bame, whom he killed a little before his own death. One of the magi pretended to be this person, and ruled in his name as successor to Cambyses; the fraud, however, being detected, seven of the Persian-nobles entered into a confederacy, and slew him.
4. Darius Hystuspes. The magus being slain, Darius, the son of Hysiaspes, and one of the seven conspirators, obtaited the kinycioni, by artifice. He destroyed the fa mous city of Babylon, and not long after, undertook anexpedition into Scythia, in which he was unsuccessful. In. the battle of Marathon, his whole army was cut off by the Athenians, under the command of Miltiades.
5. Xerxes, a son of Darius by Atossa, daughter of Cy." rus, sticceeded his father. To avevge thre slaughter made by the Athenians, le marched into Greece with a prodigious army, consisting of 1,700,000 foot, and 80,000 korse; but, being vanquished by Themistocles, the Athenian geueral, at the battle of Salamis, be was terrified, and escaped in a small fishing boat, leaving 300,000 soldiers, under the command of Mardonius, tn subdue Greece. This army was entirely destroyed by the Spartan general Pausanias, at the battle of Platæa, Xerxes returning from this uvhappy expedition, was despised by his own people, and at last slain by Artabanus, one of his own guards.
6. Artaxerxes Longimanus, who made war against the Egyptians, at that time in a state of rebellion : supported by the Athenian powers, he subjected them to his sway, in consequence of which, the Grecian cities that were in lesser Asia, obtained their freedom.
of his memory
7. Xerxes the second, who was killed by his brother Qehus.
8. Ochus, or Darius, called Nothus, whose illegitiinacy, and the murder of his brother, are the most remarkable circumstances recorded of him. 9. Artaxerxes Mnemon, so named from the excellence
He was a king who studied peace, and endeavoured to weaken the powers of Greece, by sowing among them the seeds of dissension.
10. Artaxerxés Ochus, the son of Mnemon; he was a cruel tyrant, and beheaded in one day the eighty surviving brothers. He surpassed all the Persian kings in cruelty, but at last, perished by the contrivance of Baguas the eunuch. 11. Araes, killed by the artifices of Bagoas.
12. Danius Codomannus; who, being defeated by Alexander the Great in three battles, was deprived both of his kingdom and his life. He was the last of the kings of Persia, the dominion of which after his death, was irausferred to the Greeks. The kingdom of Parthia, which was founded by Arsaces, about 300 years before Christ, and which, after the death of Alexander, had extended itself over Persia, was-subdued by 'Trajan; and afterwards relinquished by Adrian, who, in the beginning of the second century, made the Euphrates, the eastern boundary of the empire. The revolt of the Parthians to their do minion by Artaxares or Artaxerxes, formed the second Persian empire, which continued from the year of Christ 226, to the year 652, when the whole country was overrun by the Arabs. During this period there were twenty-eight kings, none of whoń are particularly celebrated'in history.
SECT. IV. GRECIAN EMPIRE.
The antient inhabitants of Greece were extremely barbarous. They are said to have been cannibals, and ignorant of the use of fire. The first dawn of civilizatiou arose under the Titans, a Phenician or Egyptian colony, who settled in the country about the time of Moses. These people gave the Greeks the first ideas of religion, and introduced the worship of their own gods, Saturn, Jupiter, Ceres, and a host of others. When the Greeks received
this new system of theology, they entertained very confused ideas of it, and naturally blended its doctrines and worship with their own religious notions. Hence arises that partial coincidence between the Grecian and Egypt tian mythologies. Succeeding ages confounded the Titans themselves with the gods, whence may be traced the origin of all those countless fictions, which have at once em bellished apd obscured the history of Greece. Supersti s tion was a predominant characteristic of the Greeks, in the early periods. To this cause may be attribufed the origin of the Oracles, and the institution of the public games in honour of the gods. The principal oracles were those of Delphi and Dodona. The resort of strangers to these places, on particular occasions, led to the celebration of their public Games. Of these, the four termed sacred, were the Olympic, the Pythian, the Nemean, and the Isthmiun. They cousisted chiefly in contests of skill in all the athletic exercises, and the prizes were almost entirely hoy norary. The effect of these games was, to promote national union, diffuse a love of glory, and train the youth to martial exercises.
The history of the Grecian empire admits of the following divisions. 1. Early period of the Grecian history. II. Establishment of the Greek colonies. III. The republic of Sparta. IV. The republic of Athens. V. The war between Greece and Persia. VI. The age of Pericles. VII. The republic of Thebes. VIII. Philip of Macedon. IX. Alexander the Greal. X. Successors of Alexander,-fall and conquest of Greece.
1. Early period of the Grecian history. :The earliest annals of Greece, which can at all be depended on, commence with Inachus, the last of the Titans,
1. Inachus, who founded the kingdom of Argos, and one of his sons, Egialtes, that of Sicyon, A. C. 1856. In the following century happened the deluge of Ogyges, A. C. 1796, after wbich, followed a period of barbarism for more than 200 years.
2. Cecrops, the leader of another colony from Egypt, landed in Attica, in 1582 A. C. and connecting hiniself with the last king, succeeded on his death to the sovereign
ty. He built twelve cities, and was eminent as a lawgiver and politician.
3. Cranaus succeeded Cecrops, in whose time happened two remarkable events, the judgment of the Areopagus between Mars and Neptune, two princes of Thessaly ; and the deluge of Deucalion, which was probably a partial inundation, magnified and disguised by the poets. The Areopagus, or court of justice at Athens was instituted by Cecrops.
4. Amphictyon, the colemporary of Cranaus, instituted the Amphictyonic council. This was one general senate, whose decrees all were obliged to observe and execute. From a league of twelve cities, this council became a representative assembly of the states of Greece, and had the most admirable political effects in uniting the nation, and giving it a common interest.
5. Cadmus, about 1519, A. C. introduced alpbabetic writing into Greece, from Phenicia. The alphabet had then only sixteen letters, and the mode of writing was the very reverse of that now in use, namely, from left to right, and from right to left, alternately. From this period may be dated the rapid advances towards civilization niade by the Greeks.
6. Erectheus, or Erecthonius, probably the leader of a new Egyptian colony, cultivated the plains of Eleusis, and instituted the Eleusivian mysteries, in imitation of the Egyptian games of Isis. These mysteries were of a moral and religious nature, but the ceremonies connected with them, were childish and ridiculous.
7. Theseus, laid the foundation of the grandeur of Attica, by uniting its twelve cities, and giving them a common constitution, A. C. 1257.
8. The Argonautic expedition was the first great military enterprise of the Greeks, A. C. 1263. It was both military and mercantile. Its object was, to open the commerce of the Euxine sea, and to secure some establishments on its coasts.
9. Sieges of Thebes and Troy. A dispute between two brothers, Eteocles and Polyoices, gave rise to the war, which was terminated by the deaths of both in single combat. Troy was taken after a blockade of ten years, either by storm or surprise, 1184 A. C. and being set on fire in