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penalties of the conquered for not having been able
42 Ibid., VII. 59 et seq. One is reminded of a line in Ferdousi, in
mon tributes and services. “I have heard,” says Socrates, in one of Plato's dialogues, “a trustworthy man, one who had been an ambassador to Persia, say, that he had travelled for nearly a whole day over a vast and fertile country which the inhabitants call the Queen's Girdle; that there is another called her Weil; and that there are many more
fair and fruitful provinces whose rev-
which the poet speaks of
Champion's translation, p. 209.
tribute of the provinces were the life-blood of the empire. Darius Hystaspis was called the Trader King,” as if in ridicule of the taxes he laid, the labors he required, or the government he organized. But the policy of the Persian institutions was not the work of Darius alone; he may have carried it out, but it had been begun before him, when the first arrow was shot from the mountains or the first host descended into the plains. Yet the system he pursued, however begun, would have been more tolerable, had not each of its burdens and vexations been magnified by the governments dependent upon the central one in Persia. Every province had its governor or satrap; and every satrap governed his province for himself as well as for his king. Thus doubly severe, the rule of Persia was as fatal to itself as to the vanquished. It was impossible that contributions of enormous amount should be secured without much difficulty and violence; it was just as impossible that even violence should overcome the difficulty, unless the satrap at a distance from the court was abundantly able to use swiftness and severity in his government. To him the civil and the military authority of one, or sometimes of more than one, province was exclusively committed; and the people were ruled as if they had been a potter's vessel, to be emptied and crushed and repaired at the satrap's will. Their debasement reacted in two ways upon the empire. It weakened their attachment and their submission, on one side; and on the other, so swelled the power and the spirit of their governors, that the king would fear the satrap as a servant over whom he had no possible control. In a review of the liberty consistent with the Persian institutions, it can only be said that the despotism of the satraps was far worse than the despotism of the kings. And as the strength of the monarchy began to decline, it was observable that the change came over its better features in consequence of the very conquests which had once appeared to constitute its majesty and its dominion." It need not be said that we have already proceeded farther than the time of Darius Hystaspis without mentioning the names succeeding his amongst the Persian kings, those of the Xerxeses, the Artaxerxeses, and the Dariuses of later years, which have no associations with freedom, - none, at least, in their own empire." But we must return to the reign of Darius, in order to learn something of the Persian religion, and of the reforms which are believed” to have been introduced at that period. The history of Zoroaster is not merely the history of the reformer. It shows forth, more openly than any other man's now can, at once the spirit which was not of impracticable development under the Persian despot44 None after Darius, says Plato, ron and Kleuker, — the one the was truly great, except in name: French, the other the German, transoë8sis mo Héyasyéyovev d\móðs mov lator of the Zend-Avesta. A note to ism, and the exercise to which the powers of the higher classes, at least, were entitled and attuned. We are not sure when he lived; but we know how he lived, and what he left behind him when he died. He was a Mede of distinguished, it appears even of royal birth, who labored throughout Bactria and Media, as well as Persia, to accomplish a reformation in the religion and the government of his country. The reign of Darius was sufficient to call forth the reformation of Zoroaster; and the king and the reformer may be placed together in our sketch of Persian liberty. Zoroaster had no power to create a national faith, but simply to reform that which was already implanted in the minds of his countrymen. One of the ancient kings, named Djemsheed, the same whose sword was related to have turned up the first furrows in the Persian soil, had long before introduced the worship of Ormuzd, as the god of Good, with whom an evil deity, called Ahriman, was associated, as an antagonist rather than a partner, in the government of the universe. Both these were subject to the superior Being" by whom they were both created; but the Persians, though gathering on mountain-tops to worship “the whole circle of the heavens,” were inclined to turn from the abstraction of the Divinity, as it seemed to them, to the creatures, invisible or visible, whom it was easier to adore." The purity of their faith, compared with that of other nations, was altogether remarkable; * and had it been more perseveringly observed, there would have been no need of any reformation. But under the mysterious thraldom of the Magi, and through the enlarged intercourse of the conquering Persians with other nations, the simple doctrines of the primitive faith were so far abandoned, that any one of more ardent feeling would naturally be inspired to seek their restoration. Zoroaster came neither to charm the ear nor to pale the cheek of his fellow-mortals with new traditions from the skies into which he had learned to gaze. He would renew the worship of Ormuzd as the source of light, and strengthen the abhorrence of Ahriman as the source of darkness. In describing their strife in heaven, he would revive the distrust the believer had almost ceased to feel towards the unbeliever; so that the faithful might be more closely united in their deeds and prayers.” He was no wiser, therefore, as a reformer, than suited the character and the circum
43 Herod., III. 89. Kámkos. The seq. He was the first of the Persian taxation he established is described monarchs to coin money. Herod., by the same old historian, III. 90 et IV. 166.
ye āváuart. Laws, Lib. III. Chap. VIII. of Gibbon's Decline and 45 According to Anquetil du Per- Fall contains the various authorities. * Aristot., Metaphys., XIV. 4; a of materials, but in utter looseness citation made by Creuzer. Cf. Diog. of method, about the third century Laert., Proem., 8. of our era.
Diogenes Laertius is the unknown 47 Töv kök\ov mávra roo otpavoč. author of a biographical history of Herod., I. 131. The sun, the moon, philosophy, written from abundance etc., were next in order of adoration. 48 “The Persians,” says Payne Knight, “were the primitists or puritans of heathenism.” Inq. into the Symb. of Anc. Mythol., Sect. 92, in Class. Museum, Vol. XXIV.
stances of his countrymen.
They were mingling too
“It is a remarkable circumstance, of which we are informed by the most unsuspicious testimony, that by far the purest religion known among
heathen nations remained in those