Imatges de pÓgina

They will have Perses, of whom, say they, Persia borrowed its name, to be the first of this family that reigned in Persia. We are told, that Achæmenes was nursed by an eagle h : and of this fabulous eagle the no less fabulous wolf of Romulus was, perhaps, a transcript. Darius is mentioned by the scholiaft of Aristophanes i ; and supposed by some to have coined the famous darics, or ftateres darici. Cyrus had two children, Cambyses and Atoffa : Atossa married Pharnaces king of Cappadociak, and Cambyses Mandane the fo:much celebrated daughter of Afzages king of Media, by whom he had Cyrus the Great (A). But as nothing occurs worthy of notice, especially that we can depend upon, in the history of the Persian kings before Cyrus, we shall proceed, without dwelling on so dark and barren a subject, to the reign of that great and glorious prince.

The name of Cyrus is equally famous in sacred and profane Cyras. history : in the latter, his valour and conquests have rendered his memory immortal, as has, in the former, his kind treatment of the captive Hebrews, whom he restored to their antient ftate, country, and temple, having been by the divine will appointed thereunto by name', many years before he appeared in the world: an honour bestowed upon none but him, and that excellent prince Fofiah m king of Judah. Profane historians are at no small variance with each other touching the birth of this prince, his education, and accession to the crown. Herodotus and Xenophon are the only two original authors, as we may call them, whom we can quote and follow in what relates to the life and exploits of this prince ; for other writers have copied after them, some adopting the accounts of the one, and some of the other : they are both very minute in their relations, and agree in some particulars, but widely differ in others. We shall

, in the first place, hear Herodotus, the father of history, as Tully calls him ; but whether his accounts be genuine, or rather interwoven, and seasoned to the Greek talte, with several fabulous and surprising incidents, is what we shall have occasion to examine afterwards. h Ælian, de animal. l. xii. c. 21.

i Scholiaft. Ariftoph. ad ecclef. ver. 741, 742.

k Diod. Sıc. in fragm. l. xxxi. . 1 Ifa. xliv. 28. & xlv. J. 1 Kings xiii. 2.

(A) Ovid (1) mentions one Septimus a prisco numeratur ori. Orchamus king of Perfia, and makes him the seventh after Belus.

As this king is no-where to be

found but in Ovid's metamorphoRexit Achæmenias urbes pater ses, what is said of him deserves Orchamus, i que

no more credit than they do. (1) Ovid, metamorpb. I. iv,



gine Belo.


Account of ASTYAGES, the last king of the Medes, being warned by a the birth, dream, that the fon who was to be born of his daughter Maneducation, dane, should one day be lord of all Afia, resolved to marry her, &c. of Cy- not to a Mede worthy of her bed, but to a Persian; and actus, accordingly chose one Ćambyses, sprung from an antient family, cording to but of a peaceable disposition, and, as he thought, inferior in Herodo rank to a Mede, even of a middling condition. A year after

they were married, Aftyages was frightened by another dream, portending anew, according to the interpretation of the mages, the empire of Asia to his grandson (B). Hereupon Astyages fends for his daughter, then big with child ; and, upon her arrival in Media, puts her under a guard, determined to destroy the child she should be delivered of; for the mages had afsured him, that the issue of his daughter was to fill his throne. Mandane, not long after her confinement, was brought to bed of a fon, whom Altyages, mindful of the interpretation of the mages, delivered to one Harpagus, injoining him, as he tendered his own life, to take the new-born son of Mandane, to carry him to his house, and there dispatch him with his own hands, in what manner he should think beft. Harpagus promised to put the king's orders in execution; and, having received from the guards the infant, richly dressed, went home under great concern, to see himself employed in fo hateful and inhuman an office: he acquainted his wife, as foon as he came home, with what had passed between Astyages and himself ; and resolved not to execute the fentence with his own hands, but to transfer his charge to another. With this design he immediately sent for one of the king's herdsmen, who kept his cattle in pastures lying at the foot of certain mountains on the north of Ecbatan, towards the Caspian fea: the herdsman's name was Mithridates, and his wife's Spaco, in the language of the Medes, which signifies a bitch, and answers to her Greek name Cyno. Mithridates, without delay, waited upon Harpagus, who commanded him, in the king's name, to take the infant, and expose it in the most dangerous and abandoned part of the mountains, upon pain of dying in the most exquisite tortures that could be invented : he added, that the king had .charged him to see his orders put in execution. The herdsman, not daring to make any remonstrance against the king's command, returned with the child to his cottage, where he found

(B) His first dream was, that all Asia. In the other he faw his daughter Mandane had void a vine shooting from the womb ed so great a quantity of water, of his daughter, and extending as not only filled the metropolis its branches over all Afa (2). of the kingdom, but overflowed (2) Herodot, ho io 6, 107, 108,

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his wife just delivered of a son: during her husband's absence, she had been in great trouble and perplexity, on account of the meffage from Harpagus, who had never before sent for him; so that he no sooner set his foot within the door, but she asked him in great surprize, why Harpagus had sent for him in fuch haste. He told her he had been in the city, where he had heard and seen such things as grieved him beyond expression; that, when he arrived, the house of Harpagus was all in tears; and that, as he went in, he was struck with horror, at the sight of an infant, dressed in gold and the richest colours, panting and crying on the floor ; that Harpagus had commanded him to carry away this child, and expose it on the mountains to the mercy of the wild beasts, upon pain of incurring the king's displeafure, and undergoing the severest punishments that could be inflicted ; that, at first, he had supposed the unhappy infant to belong to some person of the family of Harpagus ; but that he had been afterwards informed by the servant that attended him out of the city, and delivered the babe into his hands, that it was born of Mandane the king's daughter, and was son to Cambyses of Persia ; and that Aslyages had commanded it should be put to death 1.

HAVING thus spoken, he disclosed the child to his wife ; Cyrus prewho no sooner saw it, but, being ravished with the innocent served and smiles of the infant, she embraced her husband, and with many nursed by a tears, intreated him not to execute the orders he had received. Shepherd. But he remonstrating the absolute neceflity he was under of obeying, or forfeiting his own life, since the spies of Harpagus would, without fail, keep a watchful eye over him, and see whether he performed what had been so ftrictly injoined him, the suggested to him to take their own child, that was still-born, to expose it instead of the other, and bring up the son of Mandane as their own; for, by that means, said The, we shall sufficienrly consult our own safety, without injuring others, the dead child will be honoured with a royal fepulcre, and the surviving infant be preserved from an untimely death m.

MITHRIDATES approved of this expedient, and, delivering the infant he was charged to destroy into his wife's hands, dressed the dead child in the rich apparel of the living; and carried it, in the same basket in which he had brought the other, to the most unfrequented part of the mountains. Three days after, he acquainted Harpagus, that, if he pleased, he could shew him the body of the dead infant; and he accordingly dispatched some of his friends, in whom he most conHided, to see that the sentence had been put in execution, | HEROD. L. i. $. 107, & feq. m Idem ibid.


and to inter the royal infant. Thus was Cyrus, for so was the infant afterwards called, delivered from the inares of his

grandfather, and educated by the herdsman's wife as her Gives ear- own ". ly marks of When he attained to the age of ten years, as he was one bis royal day playing in the pastures with other children of his age, he spirit.

was chosen king by his companions ; and, having, in virtue of that dignity, distinguished thein into several orders and claffes, the son of Artembares, a lord of eminent dignity among the Medes, who was one of his companions in the play, refused to obey his orders: whereupon Cyrus commanded him to be immediately seized, and whipped very severely. The boy, with many tears, complained to his father of what he had suffered from the herdsman's fon; and the father, highly refenting the affront, haftened, with his son, to the king's palace; and, shewing that prince in what a cruel and ignominious manner his child had been abused by the son of a slave, intreated him to avenge, by some very exemplary punishment, the indignity offered to him, and his whole family. Aftyages promised to give him full satisfaction; and, commanding both the herdsman and his son to be brought before him, asked Cyrus, how he, who was the fon of so mean a man, had dared to abuse the child of one of the chief lords in the kingdom. Cyrus replied, that he had done no more than he had a right to do; for, the boys of the neighbourhood having made him their king, because they thought him the most worthy of that dignity, and performed what he, in virtue of that character, had commanded them, the son of Artembares alone had flighted his orders; and, for his disobedience, had suffered the punithment he deserved. As the boy was pleading his caufe, with an eloquence far fuperior to his years and education, Affyages took particular notice of his mien and features; and, thinking that he resembled himself, began to reflect on the time that his grandson was exposed, which he found to agree with the age of the herdsman's supposed son. Being perplexed with this thought, he dismissed Artembares, assuring him, that his fon fhould have no cause to complain, and commanded his guards to conduct Cyrus into the palace. Being then in private with the herdfman, he asked whose boy Cyrus was, and from whose hands he had him. Mithridates affirmed, that he was his own

child; and that the boy's mother, who was still living, would Discover- come, if he pleased, to attest it. But Aftyages, giving no crecd to Afty

dit to what he averred, commanded his guards to seize him ;

whereupon he discovered, without reserve, the whole matter, ages.

and implored the king's mercy a.
» HEROD. 1. i. c. 114,

a "Idem ibid. c. 116.4


ASTYAGES was not so much incensed against the herdsman, as against his favourite Harpagus, whom he ordered the guards to bring, without delay, to the palace. Upon his arrival, the king, in a violent passion, asked him, in what manner he had put to death the son of his daughter Mandane. When Harpagus saw the herdsman, he thought he should but aggravate his crime, by attempting to elude the storm that threatened him by any sort of falthood, and therefore openly confeffed what he had done ; adding, that he thought he had taken the most effectual means he could to put his orders in execution ; and that he truly believed the child was dead, since the most trusty among his friends had allured him, that they had seen and interred the body P.

ASTYAGES, difíembling his resentment, acquainted Harpagus with what the herdsman had confefled; adding, that the child was ftill alive, and that he was very well pleased his orders had not been executed; for he had been under great concern ever since he issued that cruel command, and had not been able to bear the reproaches of his daughter. He then ordered Harpagus to send his son to wait on the young Cyrus, and to come himself that night to sup with him, since he intended to offer a sacrifice to the gods, in thankfgiving for the care they had taken of his grandson

HARPAGUS, overjoyed at the king's speech, returned home; and, acquainting his wife with what had pailed, immediately fent his only fon to attend Cyrus, as he had been commanded. His son, who was about thirty years old, no sooner entered the palace, but he was seized, barbarously murdered, and cut in pieces, by order of Astyages; who gave directions, that the mangled body, variously dressed and disguised, should be served up at supper. Harpagus, and the rest of the guetts, repaired Harpato the palace at the hour appointed: the others were splendidly gus's entertained ; but the table, where Harpagus fupped, was dreadful ferved only with the Aeth of his son. When he had done, the punishking asked him, whether he had been pleased with his victuals; ment, and and, Harpagus answering, that he had never taited any thing policy. more delicious, the officers, appointed for that purpose, brought in a basket, containing the head, hands, and feet of his son, desiring him to uncover the basket, and take what he liked best. He did as they desired, and beheld the remains of his only child, without betraying any fort of concern or resentment at so shocking a fight; such was the command he had of

passions. The king inquired, whether he knew with what kind of meat he had been entertained : Harpagus replied, he, knew

very well, and was always pleased with whatever his p Herod. lib. i. c. 117....

9 Idem ibid. c. 118. 3



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