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with other countries was accomplished. The sounds of strife come indistinct through the obscurity in which the race was plunged; yet the history of heroes and princes who went forth and who returned to conquer is not altogether fabulous." The god Mithra, armed with a club, “intelligent, golden, sensitive, abundantly assisting and victoriously striking,” was wont, according to the Persian mythology, to traverse earth and sea and sky; and his is the image of any of the early heroes. A caste of warlike families" ruled the whole race, though there was a king of their own blood at the head of their government as well as their conquests. The character of the higher Persians was greatly affected by the Medes, whose civilization was much the most ancient, and whose power at one time prevailed over the people of Iran. But Media was in the keeping of a priesthood; while Persia continued to be governed by its warriors, the chief of whom was the prince or the hero. The poem of Ferdousi, the Schah Nameh, or the Book of Kings, is filled with sketches of kingly valor, which appear to have been composed after the legends most accredited in tradition or early song.” The same higher class, with their sovereign, continued far above the main body of the people at the time of the Persian empire. But the powers of the king had then increased so greatly, that he stood almost alone, as upon an eminence in sight of his subjects on the plain. We have no clear account of the change from the heroic to the historical times; but the manner in which the monarchy came to be the very prominent object of the Persian institutions may be illustrated by the story of Dejoces the Mede.” He was a Mede; but the connection between the Medes and the Persians entitles us to consider him exactly as if he had been a Persian of the early period. His equity and sagacity so distinguished him, that he was selected, first by his neighbours and then by all his countrymen, to judge the disputes and the crimes which happened amongst them. He had no idea, however, of contributing his time or his knowledge to the good of his more barbarous contemporaries, without obtaining something more than their respect in return. So he retired from their sight, declaring he had affairs of his own which must not be neglected; but when the Medes proposed to make him king, he offered no resistance to the change which would make him less a private man than he was before. Herein, however, Dejoces was only setting an example which has never been lost in ancient or in modern times. The people would have a single ruler, because his wisdom, venerated and undisturbed, could best devise the means and secure the end of order and control;" but the ruler himself would regard his power, rather than his wisdom, as the benefit his subjects most desired. Dejoces forthwith issued his orders that a palace should be built for him, and that his person should be protected by chosen guards. His zeal for his own greatness carried him so far, that he forbade the people to have access to him at all; as if they who had been his equals should have no opportunity for envying his magnificence, while they who were his inferiors would have no occasion for presenting their claims upon his care. Yet, as the historian says, “all other things were ordered well”;" and the Medes obeyed him because they knew not how to govern themselves. o It was in some such way that the early Persian monarchy may have been established, when the existence of the people was supposed to depend upon the justice or the prowess of their sovereign. The nation, swarming with warriors, or, at all events, with hardy herdsmen, submitted to the Medes; but their own chieftain was given them in time. Cyrus, born of royal parentage, six centuries before our era," was brought into the world to satisfy the independence and the ambition of his race, whom he led, not only against the Medes, but against the greater part of the nations on his side the AEgean Sea. The Persians, “terrible as an army with banners,” spread over the earth as its later conquerors; and on their supremacy, after as well as before victory, their king relied as the bulwark of his own dominion. Old empires sank, as if built of sand, before the blast which blew tempestuously from the mountain land; and though some fragments of their ancient institutions remained to prove that these had once existed, the monarchy of Iran, thus rising and enlarging in the midst of storms, was at once the single institution of Persia and of the various people reduced to bear the Persian name. The Medes were alone united on more equal terms with their former tributaries; their religion, known by the name of its priests, the Magi, was established amongst the Persians, on whom it had anciently been forced at the time of their subjection; and the warlike discipline which the vigor of Cyrus imparted to the Persians was introduced, in part, at least, amongst the Medes. On the other victims of his conquests Cyrus laid the burden of a more crushing dominion than upon the Medes; and he was meditating plans of universal empire,” when he died among barbarians whom he marched afar to vanquish.” The condition in which the great conqueror left his countrymen and the strangers whom the loyalty as well as the combativeness of the Persians enabled him to subdue, will be better described after we have taken some account of the despotism which Cyrus transmitted to his successors on the throne. It was the chief fruit of his conquests.” His own name of Cyrus was borrowed from the sun his people worshipped," and to which they would have compared his glory as he traversed the earth in victory. There are testimonies stronger than any names to the absolute authority of the Persian sovereigns. The royal judges, more peculiarly styled the interpreters of the law, informed Cambyses, the son of Cyrus, that the king could do whatever he pleased;" as if the principle of their interpretations lay in submission to his will. Xerxes, whose very name is a sound of pride, bade his nobles, “the princes of Asia,” remember, when he called them to council, that they came, not to advise, but to obey him.” The mother of Artaxerxes, persuading her son to a deed which he had the grace to deny himself, urged him
4 Many of the details in the account which Herodotus gives of the Persian character will be found, I think, to refer to these earlier periods of Persian history.
5 Anquetil's Zend-Avesta, II.222.
6 The Pasargadae, noblest, as Herodotus (I. 125) says, among those “on whom the other Persians
depend.” There were two other “noble '' tribes.
7 Ferdousi was a poet of the eleventh century, and his poem was composed at the command of his Mohammedan kings. The lines which follow are from Champion's translation, Vol. I. First, the king was
“The soldier's glory and the warrior's friend.”
“The hero now inspects his blest domains,
Where villages deserted mouldering lay,
8 Herod., I. 96 – 101. Some allowance, however, must be made, in reading it, for the Greek notions of the Greek historian.
9 See the harangue of the Persian chieftain to his peers, in the appendix to Vol. I. of Malcolm's History of Persia, p. 513. 10 Herod., I. 100.
11 A. C. 594. His reign began the account of them and their counA. C. 559 and lasted till 530. try which Herodotus attributes to 12 Solomon's Song, WI. 4. See Cyrus, IX, 122.
13 As Diodorus remarks: Tass A- which country he was employed as tion tràorav tepueMápSave row olkov- royal physician about A. C. 400. Hévny. Reliq., X. 12, ed. Müller. 15 “Le despotisme fut le fruit de 14 Herod., I. 127, 130, 190 et la conquête.” Condorcet, Prog. de seq., 214. Ctesias, Fragm. de Reb. l'Esp. Hum., p. 55. Persic., 6. 16 Plut., Artax., 1. Ctesias, a native of Caria, wrote 17 Herod., III. 31. a history of Persia, at the court of 18 Valer. Maximus, IX.5. § 2 Ext.