The Ancient Library

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the accounts of the modern Persian writers it is impossible to separate the truth from the false­hood.

The account of Herodotus is as follows: In the year b. c. 594, Astyages succeeded his father, Cjraxares, as king of Media. He had a daughter whom he named Mandane. In consequence of a dream, which seemed to portend that her offspring should be master of Asia, he married her to a Persian named Cambyses, of a good house, but of a quiet temper. A second dream led him to send for his daughter, when she was pregnant; and upon her giving birth to a son, Astyages committed it to Harpagus, his most confidential attendant, with orders to kill it. Harpagus, moved with pity, and fearing the revenge of Mandane, instead of killing the child himself, gave it to a herdsman of Astyages named Mitradates, who was to expose it, and to satisfy Harpagus of its death. But while the herdsman was in attendance on Astyages, his wife had brought forth a still-born child, which they substituted for the child of Mandane, who was reared as the son of the herdsman, but was not yet called Cyrus. The name he bore seems from a passage of Strabo (xv. p. 729) to have been Agradates, 'A/ypaSar^s. When he was ten years old, his true parentage Avas discovered by the fol­lowing incident. In the sports of his village, the .boys chose him for their king, and he ordered them all exactly as was done by the Median king. One of the boys, the son of a noble Median named Artembares, disobeyed his commands, and Cyrus caused him to be severely scourged. Artembares complained to Astyages, who sent for Cyrus, in Avhose person and courage he discovered his daughter's son. The herdsman and Harpagus, being summoned before the king, told him the truth. Astyages forgave the herdsman, but re­venged himself on Harpagus by serving up to him at a banquet the flesh of his own son, with other circumstances of the most refined cruelty. As to Ids grandson, by the advice of the Magians, who assured him that his dreams were fulfilled by the boy's having been a king in sport, and that he had nothing more to fear from him, he sent him back to his parents in Persia.

When Cyrus grew up towards manhood, and shewed himself the most courageous and amiable of his fellows, Harpagus, who had concealed a truly oriental desire of revenge under the mask of most profound submission to his master's will, sent presents to Cyrus, and ingratiated himself with him. Among the Medians it was easy for Har-pjigus to form a party in favour of Cyrus, for the tyranny of Astyages had made him odious. Hav­ing organized his conspiracy, Harpagus sent a letter secretly to Cyrus, inciting him to take re­venge upon Astyages, and promising that the Medes should desert to him. Cyrus called to­gether the Persians, and having, by an ingenious practical lesson, excited them to revolt from the Median supremacy, he was chosen, as their leader. Upon hearing of this, Astyages summoned Cyrus, who replied that he would come to him sooner than Astyages himself would wish. Astyages armed the Medes, but was so infatuated (3-eogAa-€r}s ect;') as to give the command to Harpagus, " forgetting," says Herodotus, " how he had treat­ed him." In the battle which ensued, some of the Medes deserted to Cyrus, and the main body of the army lied of their own accord. Astyages, having



impaled the Magians who had deceived him, armed the youths and old men who were left in the city, led them out to fight the Persians, and was defeated and taken prisoner, after a reign of 35 years, in b. c. 559. The Medes accepted Cyrus for their king, and thus the supremacy which they had held passed to the Persians. Cyrus treated Astyages well, and kept him with him till his death. The date of the accession of Cyrus is fixed by the unanimous consent of the ancient chrono-logers. (African, ap. Euseb. Praep. Evan. x. 10; Clinton, Fast. Hell. ii. s. a. 559.) It was proba­bly at this time that Cyrus received that name, which is a Persian word (Kohr), signifying the Sun.

In the interval during which we hear nothing certain of Cyrus, he was doubtless employed in consolidating his newly-acquired empire. Indeed there are some notices (though not in Herodotus) from which we may infer that a few of the cities of Media refused to submit to him, and that he only reduced them to obedience after a long and obstinate resistance-. (Xen. Anab. iii. 4. § 7.)

The gradual consolidation and extension of the Persian empire during this period is also stated incidentally by Herodotus in introducing his ac­count of the conquest of L}rdia, which is the next event recorded in the life of Cyrus. It took place in 546 b. c. [croesus.]

The Ionian and Aeolian colonies of Asia Minor now sent ambassadors to Cyrus, offering to submit to him on the same terms as they had obtained from Croesus. But Cyrus, who had in vain in-

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vited the lonians to revolt from Croesus at the beginning of the war, gave them to understand, by a significant fable, that they must prepare for the worst. With the Milesians alone he made an alliance on the terms they offered. The other Ionian states fortified their cities, assembled at the Panionium, and, with the Aeolians, sent to Sparta for assistance. The Lacedaemonians re­fused to assist them, but sent Cyrus a message threatening him with their displeasure if he should meddle with the Greek cities. Having sent back a contemptuous answer to this message, Cyrus re­turned to the Median capital, Ecbatana, taking Croesus with him, and committing the government of Sardis to a Persian, named Tabalus. He him­self was eager to attempt the conquest of Babylon, the Bactrian nation, the Sacae, and the Egyptians. He had no sooner left Asia Minor than a revolt of the states which had lately formed the Lydian empire was raised by Pactyes, a Persian ; but, after a long and obstinate resistance, the whole of Asia Minor was reduced by Harpagus. [harpa­gus ; pactyes.] In the mean time, Cyrus was engaged in subduing the nations of Upper Asia, and particularly Assyria, which since the destruc­tion of Ninus had Babylon for its capital. Its king was Labynetus, the Belshazzur of Daniel. [labynetus.] Cyrus marched against Baby­lon at the head of a large army, and in great state. He carried with him a most abundant supply of provisions for his table ; and for his drink the water of tli3 Choaspes, which flows by Susa, was carried in silver vessels. He passed the river Gyndes, a tributary of the Tigris, by diverting its water into a great number of rills, and arrived before Babylon in the second spring from the commencement of his expedition. Hav­ing defeated in battle the whole forces of the

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