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they were meant to command;” they would have preserved the bodies they tenanted, as if their only immortality were that of the silent tomb, which might perhaps become the cradle of a second life, fleeting and hopeless as that from which they were set free.* The marks of the worst bondage that man can be forced to bear are almost as deplorable in Egypt as in India. Whatever intelligence the priests may have obtained was either shrouded entirely from the view of men, or, if brought to light at all, was expressed in characters which few besides the priests themselves could read. The worshipper beat his breast despairingly before the altar at which he offered sacrifice;” and in the same mournful spirit, the image of a dead man was introduced at the more joyous festival.” The higher classes struggled with their own alarms; but the lower had the terrors of the higher besides their own to bear, or rather to attempt in vain to bear. Fear, creeping from a false faith, coiled around the gifts of nature,” as well as the enjoyments of men; and a braver race than the Egyptian would have quailed before the fangs for ever threatening their destruction. As soon as the monarchy was loosened, it seemed as if classes and principles, arts and mysteries, were struck with the chill of mortality.
59. This strange adoration of animals has been variously explained. One account is founded upon its different objects in different places, – that the animals worshipped by the various native inhabitants were admitted by the stranger priests into their sanctuaries in order to make the people more willing to bear with their religion and their dominion. Heeren's Researches, etc., Egypt, Sect. III. ch. 2. Diodorus (I. 89) says the early kings introduced the worship of different animals in order
that the people, inclined to be re-
The civilization of Egypt was the transition from an earlier to a later period of human progress. Its beginning in obscurity, its procession in war and superstition and despair, its division between a monarchy, a priesthood, and a warlike caste, are the indications of a disturbed and an unsettled condition as that from which it sprang and in which it issued. But there is no despair so deep, no superstition so abject, no war so cruel, as to resist the light which shimmers along the horizon of the darkest centuries. The intellectual and the material expansion of human energies was prepared among the people by the Nile; and many of the forms they wrapped and buried, as if in faith of eternal death, have had their resurrection.
“Les liens de la société unissent un plus grand nombre d’hommes.” — TURGOT, Disc. en Sorb., II. FAR back, beyond the reach of history, but where the traditions of many people united as on common ground, there were preserved, in ancient as in modern times, the vestiges of those miraculous catastrophes by which the earth was wasted and its inhabitants were dispersed. In the midst of general sinfulness and universal terror, the cities of Babylon and Nineveh were founded, the one on the Euphrates, the other on the Tigris, by the leaders of two different races, which were presently joined together in a single empire, called the Assyrian, under Ninus and Semiramis the queen. Some years or centuries afterwards, another division occurred, transforming the single empire into the three empires of Assyria, Babylon, and Media; each of which obtained, in turn, a greater or less predominance over the rest. But of these successive conquests it is impossible to give any assured narration;' the more so, that other nations, such as the Chaldean, appear to have had their part in the invasions and revolutions of different periods. It is more important to observe, not only the rapidity with which one empire must have risen and fallen, but also the confusion and desolation that must have been of frequent recurrence in a territory of moderate extent compared with the immoderate warfare of which it was the scene. Still less is known concerning the disposition which prevailed amongst each people; nor is it to be regretted, that the king and the priest, who ruled luxuriously and oppressively, are alike forgotten except in names. But whether the great empires of Western Asia be distinguished by their governments, their habits, or their revolutions, they equally appear to have been the preparatives of the still greater empire to which they all submitted, as if it had been taught by them to become their conqueror. The people who dwelt amongst the valleys and along the rivers of Assyria or Babylon seemed asleep in corruption, the very prey to allure a hardier nation; while farther to the south, the mountainous land, called Iran by its inhabitants, but known to us under the name of Persia, had long been nursing its warriors among its flocks and upon its battle-fields.” It was a country suited neither to a laborious nor yet to an effeminate people. Its interrupted plains were scarcely broad enough for much cultivation; and its numerous deserts were too intrusive to leave sufficient space for the vigorous beauty which is at once the most desirable and the most irresistible charm in nature. There was no temptation to peaceful toil; neither was there any fascination to steep the senses and the souls of men in lethargy. The Persians were born to arms. Unsatisfied, at length, with the meagre productions and the narrow limits of their mountain land, they were placed exactly where they would be tempted beyond their deserts to the subjugation and the slaughter of the neighbouring races, whose independence and fortitude were sunk in indolence and almost incredible luxury. A new empire soon sprang into being, extending, in process of increase, “from India even into Ethiopia, over an hundred and seven-and-twenty provinces,” in which nearly “all the kingdoms of the earth” were soon contained.” These extraordinary conquests must be our key to the civilization and the liberty of Persia. We begin with the early Persians only that we may bear in mind the preparatory period through which they had already passed, when their union
1 See Herod., I. 95. Diod. Sic., agreeable, and sometimes beautiful, II. 21, 28. Well. Pat., I. 6. was written about A. D. 30. It
The last-mentioned authority is begins at a period antecedent to the of the historian Welleius Patercu- foundation of Rome. lus, whose Roman history, always
2 Iran “abounded in flocks.” as “the pastoral people of a savage Zend-Avesta; of which I have used country, accustomed to that severe the translation by AnquetilduPerron. breeding fitted to make them robust Tom. II. p. 300. herdsmen, sleeping in the open air,
So Plato, in his work on Laws bearing fatigues, and speeding on (Book III.), describes the Persians warlike adventures.”
WOL. I. 9
3 Ezra, I. 2. Esther, I. 1. See Xenoph., Cyrop., VIII. 6. 21, 22. The reference to Xenophon, like that to the other ancient historians in these notes, may be accompanied by the mention of his life and works. He was an Athenian, who died at a
great age, about A. C. 360, and who has left us two histories, the Anabasis and the Hellenica, besides the treatise, Cyropaedia, here cited, and various other works, biographical, statistical, and philosophical.