Imatges de pÓgina


TAHMURASH, surnamed Diubend, i. e. the humbler of the devil, fupposed by fome to be the son, by others the grandson of Hushang, and, by a third party, his cousin, fucceeded that famous monarch, and governed with great reputation ; for, finding that the wars of his predecessor had introduced both poverty and confusion in his dominions, he, to remedy the first, remitted all taxes for three years; and, to reduce things into order, made new laws, and took care, that the magistrates should every-where put them in execuţion. He is the first Persian prince recorded to have had a vizier or prime minister; it is very poflible, that the disorder in which he found the affairs of his empire, engaged him to make ufe of such an officer. This king fortified the frontiers of Persia, to prevent sudden invasions; and fhewed fo happy a mixture of wisdom and valour in his disposition, that several of the neighbouring nations, struck with the felicity of his subjects, voluntarily submitted themselves to him, and acknowleged him for their sovereign. At last, after a glorious reign of thirty years, a pestilence, which raged throughout his dominions, and destroyed, with equal rapidity, both man and beaft, cut the thread of his life at Balch, to the great grief of his subjects P.

P MIRKHOND. hift. fect. 4. D'HERBELOT, tit. TAHMURASE.,

ing again : beware therefore “. The passions of men may, 6 of fudden judgments

, and of by lang acquaintance, he ** penitence coming too late. thoroughly known; but the

** Ministers are as the hands passions of women are infcru; i or instruments of kings ; men

“ table: therefore they ought to “ look not for an account of


be severed from men, let the “ their actions from themselves, mutability of their tempers “ but from their masters ; a king “ should infect others. Their " therefore should look well to natures, humours, and con: * his minifters; for it is as vain “ ftitution, require restraint : " to throw the weight of crimes“ large and coarse stones are

upon them, when the people " employed in ordinary buildrise in rebellion, as it would " ings ; marble and alabaker in « be for a murderer. to tell the palaces ; but diamonds 'we

judge, that it was not he, but “ lock up in cabinets, ;. and as

his sword, that killed his." things are rare, or common, " neighbour. Bad princes have

of small value, or of great “ fometimes had good ministers, "price, we set them to thew, or “ but good princes never have “ Thut them up close (4)," “ bad ones long. (4) Humaioun Nameb. ap. Beauchampos eff'ays; feq. 3.


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GJEMSHID, or Giamschid, or : rather Gjem Schid, his Gjemname being Gjem, to which Schid, as a furname, was added, shid. because of his wonderful beauty, Schid, in the Persic language, signifying the sun ; his eyes having fuch a lustre, that none could look him steadily in the face; tho' some authors are of opinion, that he received this addition to his name, not from the beauty of his person, but from the glory which refulted from his actions. It is not very certain whether this prince was the fon of his predecessor, his nephew, or his grandson ; but all agree, that he was of the family of Kejomaras, and had a just right to the throne. The reputation of his ancestors inspired him with a laudable ambition of equalling at least, if not excelling them. With this view, he encouraged all learned and wise men to come to his court, where he highly preferred them: anongst the rest were two persons of singular abilities, on whom he chiefly relied ; the one a Jew, says our author Mirchond, whose name was Fael Ifuf Rabban, and the other a Greek, called Fithagores, i. e. Pythagoras : but this must be a mistake ; for though we have no certainty. as to the chronology of these times, yet it is easy to discern, from the circumstances of things, that Gjemschid flourished at a considerable distance from Pythagoras. But such errors as these are not infrequent in oriental writers, through their want of understanding thoroughly the history of Greece; of which, however, they have most of them a general idea. By the advice, in all probability, of these

wise counsellors, Gjemschid divided his subjects into three E classes ; the first consisting of soldiers; the second of huf

bandmen; and the third of artizans 4. In his time, music Vocal and instrumental, and astronomy, were first introduced into Perfia. He was also the first who built granaries in Perfia, into which he caused every year a certain quantity of corn to be carried, that, in case of any deficiency in their harvests, famine might not be felt. In his time likewise wine came to be esteemed, or rather brought into general use, throughout his territories, from the following accident: A woman, who was much in Gjemschids good graces, was amicted with an inveterate head-ach, which all the physicians in the court of Gjemschid were not able to alleviate or remove: this woman went into the place where the king's wine was kept, and drank of it very freely; and, finding that it, in fome measure, relieved her, the returned thither again, after resting herself for some hours, and drank yet a greater quantity, which completed her cure: this she told to the king; and, it being divulged through the court, every body be9 MIRKHOND, hift. fect. 5,


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gan to regard wine as an universal medicine, capable of removing the most stubborn difeafes. Among the most illuftrious events of this great monarch's reign, we may justly place the rectification of the calendar, which he undertook and perfected, instituting two years, a civil or ordinary year, and an ecclefiaftic year, in which there was, in the space of one hundred and thirty years, a month intercalated He likewise instituted the Nauruz, i. e. the solemn obfervation of the new year ; concerning which we are told that it had its rise thus : King Gjemschid, going in progress through his provinces, arrived in Aderbayagjan ; and, thewing himself on a royal throne to his people, the sun fhone with such luftre on his crown, adorned with precious stones and feathers, that the people shouted aloud, and said, This is Nauruz, i. e. the new day; whence the king took the opportunity of instituting a festival, wherein, besides the presents made to the prince, it was usual for him to receive and grant the petitions of all forts of people, to release prisoners, and to do all other acts of clemency and benevolence which could be expected from him. As to the particular ceremonies attending this festival, the reader may probably be pleased to know, that it lasted six days. On the first of these the king gratified his people, or, if the phrase may be allowed, his com

The second day he paid the same regard to the learned men attending his court. On the third, his priests and privy counsellors presented their petitions. On the fourth, he heard the suits of his nobility and kindred. On the fifth, those of his children. The fixth belonged to himself. In the evening of the fifth day, a young man, handsome in his person, was picked out, and appointed to wait at the king's door all night. At day-break he entered the chamber without ceremony, upon which the king, with an air of familiarity, asked him whence he came, whither he went, what his purpose, and his name, wherefore he came, and what he carried : to which the youth answered, I am Al Mansur, i. e. Auguft; my name is Al-Mobarek, i. e. the Blessed; I came hither from God, bearing the new year. Then he fat down, and immediately entered the nobility, bearing each a silver vessel, in which were wheat, barley, peas, vetches, pulfe, a fugarcane, and two pieces of gold fresh from the mint. Out of this bafon first the wafir or vizier, then the treafurer, afterwards the nobility, according to their rank, each offered his filver veffel to the king. At the conclusion of the ceremony, a very great loaf, made of several kinds of corn, was brought in, and placed before the king, who, after eating some of it


- Hype rel. vet. Perfar. c. 14.


himself, intreated such as were present, to eat the reft, in these words, This is a new day of a new month, the beginning of a new year : it is fit, therefore, that we renew our ties to each other. Then rising up, in his royal robes, he solemnly blessed his nobility, beftowing on them rich gifts : The evening of this day the Perfians called Phriftaph, on which they did every thing that might testify joy, and strong hopes of seeing a pleasant year

. A great part of his reign Gjemschid remained in Sigjiftan, thinking it the properest province of his empire for his court, till affairs in the eait were thoroughly settled": then he changed it for the Proper Perfia, where he erected the noble city of Eftechar, which most take to be the Persepolis of the Greeks, though fome believe it the city of Schiras. If what the antient Perfian writers deliver of the extent of this city of Eftechar be true; viz. that it contained a square of twentyfour leagues ; then it is poffible, that both opinions may be true : but if we measure the probability of this account by the other things related of this prince; such as, *that he made the tour of the whole earth, was skilled in the occult Tciences, and pofseffed a magic cup of incomparable virtues; we may safely restrain the bounds of this city: and though we allow it to have

very great, especially for those times, yet we may conceive it not to have taken up more than a third part of the space they have affigned it. It is universally allowed, that Ġjemschid gave himself up intirely to the study of the arts of reigning; and some say, that he was much helped in his politi

contemplations by considering the transactions among the bees; and that he drew many customs from the hive into the court of Persiä. Among other inventions, the fignet-ring is ascribed to him, and that mode which still prevails throughout the east, of preferring the left hand to the right, as the more honourable: he likewise directed, that the different degrees of people should be distinguishable, from their garb: in a word, he made it the whole business of his life to render his kingdom fourishing, and his people happy; in which he succeeded to his utmost with. But this great felicity proved the source of the deepest misfortunes ; for, having reigned long and gloriously, he unaccountably took it into his head, that he was immortal ; fent pictures of himfelf throughout his empire, and ordered them to be worshiped with divine honours. This madness foon loft him the hearts of the people ; so that the province of Sigjifan, by the persuafion of a certain great captain, who was related to the king, and whose name was Abad, took arms; and, when they had formed themselves into a regular army, marched, under the command of Zoâk ör Dahảc, towards Schiras,

+ CASUINI, ap. Hyde, p. 237. Vol. V.





where Gjemschid met him with a powerful army,which he had raised. The engagement was fierce and bloody; but, in the end, Gjemschid was defeated, and taken prisoner : upon which the tyrant ordered him to be immediately fawn asunder; which was performed in Zoak's fight. This is the account given by Mirchond, and the best Arabian histories : others say, that he escaped from the battle, and wandered through his dominions. He left behind him a son, whose name was Phridun or Aphridun, of three years old, whom his mother Phramak found means to conceal from his enemies, and to breed up privately, till providence enabled him to ascend the throne of Persia u.

Denoc, Dahac, Zahak, Zoak : some authors affirm, that the name of this prince is only an alteration of a nickname bestowed on him by the Persians; viz. Deh-ak, signifying, that he had ten ill qualities, which made him hateful and abominable; and that his real name was Piuras (D). As this monarch gained the crown by his sword, so he governed fiercely, and with little regard to his subjects. He was,

however, a person of great genius, and deeply skilled in the occult sciences : in one word, he is represented to us as a completely wicked man; one whose abilities answered the evil intentions of his soul, and whose person struck beholders with horror; for he had a meagre pallid visage, eyes wild and sparkling, an air fierce and haughty; at the same time that his body was deformed, and his whole appearance terrible. The natural fourness of his temper was irritated by a sharp and incurable disease, consisting in two painful ulcers, one on each shoulder, the anguish of which resembled the pain following the bite of a serpent; whence the story inserted in a famous oriental romance, that the devil, having for many years obeyed him, demanded,

u D'Herbelot. tit, Gjemschid.

(D) It is very uncertain of tioned, because they are glawhat family this prince was ; ringly falfe ; the one fupposes some report that he was lineally" but two generations between descended from Siamek, the son him and Adam, the other, that of Kejomaras; others, that he he was descended from Ham, the was an Arabian, the son of Ulu- son of Noah, and is to be looked an,

descended in a direct line on as the Nimrod of the Scrip. from Ahad, the chief of the Ad- tures. It is very likely, that all ites. The truth seems to be, these stories were invented to dis. that he was an Arab by the fa- grace a prince whose cruelty renther's side, but descended of the dered him odious, or that they house of Kejomaras by the mo- happened through some mistakes ther. There is indeed another in reading or transcribing the fabulous genealogy or two, works of antient poets. which scarçe deserve to be mon--


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