« AnteriorContinuar »
1 lated of him, which speak a great and disinterested soul.
a His daughter being asked of him in marriage, he preferred an honest poor man to a rich one of an indifferent character; and gave for his reason, “ That in the choice of a son-in
law, he would much rather have merit without riches, “ than riches without merit.”
Sect. IV. The Revolt of the Egyptians against Persia, supported by
the Athenians. | About this time the Egyptians, to free themselves from a foreign yoke which was insupportable to them, revolted from Artaxerxes, and made Inarus, prince of the Lybians, their king. They called in to their assistance the Athenians, who having at that time a fleet of 200 ships at the island of Cyprus, accepted the invitation with pleasure, and imme
diately set sail for Egypt ; judging this a very favourable i opportunity to weaken the power of the Persians, by driving
them out of so great a kingdom.
© Advice being brought Artaxerxes of this revolt, he raised an army of 300,000 men, and resolved to march in person against the rebels. But his friends advising him not to venture himself in that expedition, he gave the command of it to Achæmenes, one of his brothers. The latter being arrived in Egypt; encamped his great army on the banks of the Nile. During this interval, the Athenians having defeated the Persian fleet, and either destroyed or taken 50 of their ships, went up that river, landed their forces under the command of Charitimus their general ; and having joined Inarus and his Egyptians, they charged Achæmenes, and defeated him in a great battle, in which that Persian general and an 100,000 of his soldiers were slain. Those who escaped fed to Memphis, whither the conquerors pursued them, and immediately made themselves masters of two quarters of the city : but the Persians having fortified themselves in the third, called the white wall, which was the largest and strongest of the three, they were besieged in it near three years, during which they made a most vigorous defence, till they were at last delivered by the forces sent to their aid.
" Artaxerxes hearing of the acteat of his army, and how much the Athenians had contributed to it; in order to make a diversion of their forces, and hinder them from acting against him, he sent ambassadors to the Lacedæmonians, with a large sum of money, to engage them to proclaim war against the Athenians. But the Lacedæmonians having rejected the offer, their refusal did not abate his ardour, and accordingly he gave Megabysus and Artabazus the command of the forces designed against Egypt. a These generals immediately raised an army of 300,000
a Themistocles, cum consuleretur utrum bona viro pauperi, an minus probato diviti filiam collocaret: Ego vero, inqu:t, malo vii un, qui pecunia egeat, guam prouniam quæ viro
Ant. J. C. 166. Thucyd. 1. j. p. 68, & 71, 72. Ctes, c. 32-35. Djod. l. xi. p. 54-59
A. M. 3546. Ant. J. C. 458.
Cic. dt Offic. 1. ii. c. 71.
6A M. 3538
CA. M. 3545. Ant. J. C. 459.
men in Cilicia and Phænicia. They were obliged to wait till the fleet was equipped, which was not till the next year. Artabazus then took upon him the command of it, and sailed towards the Nile, whilst Megabysus, at the head of the land-army, marched towards Memphis. He raised the siege of that city, and afterwards fought Inarus. All the forces on both sides engaged in this battle, in which Inarus was entirely defeated; but the Egyptians, who had rebelled, suffered most in this slaughter.
After this defeat, Inarus, though wounded by Megabysus, retreated with the Athenians, and such Egyptians as were willing to follow him; and reached Byblos, a city in the island of Prosopitis, which is surrounded by two arms of thc Nile, both of which are navigable. The Athenians ran their fleet into one of these arms, where it was secured from the attacks of the enemy, and held out a siege of a year and a half in this island.
After the battle, all the rest of Egypt submitted to the conqueror, and was reunited to the empire of Artaxerxes, except Amyrteus, who had still a small party in the fens, where he long supported himself, through the difficulty the Persians found in penetrating far enough to reduce him.
c The siege of Prosopitis was still carrying on. The Persians finding that they made no progress by the usual methods of attack, because of the stratagems and intrepidity of the besieged, they therefore had recourse to an extraordinary expedient, which soon produced what force had not been able to effect. They turned the course, by different canals, of that arm of the Nile in which the Athenians lay, and by that means opened themselves a passage for their whole army to enter the island. Inarus seeing that all was lost, capitulated with Megabysus for himself, for all his Egyptians, and about 50 Athenians, and surrendered upon condition that their lives should be spared. The remainder of the auxiliary forces, which formed a body of 6,000 men, resolved to hold out longer; and for this purpose they set fire to their ships, and drawing up in order of battle, resolved to die sword' in hand, and sell their lives as dear as they could, in imitation of the Lacedæmonians, who refused to yield, and were all out to pieces at Thermopylæ. The Persians hearing they
a A. M. 3547. Ant. J. C. 457.
A. M, 3550, Ant. J. C, 454.
O A. M, 3548. Ant J. C. 456,
had taken so desperate a resolution, did not think it advisable to attack them. A peace was therefore offered them, with a promise that they should all be permitted to leave Egypt, and have free passage to their native country either by sea or land. They accepted these conditions, put the conquerors in possession of Byblos and of the whole island, and went by land to Cyrene, where they embarked for Greece: but most of the soldiers who had served in this expedition perished in it.
But this was not the only loss the Athenians sustained ok this occasion. Another fleet of 50 ships, which they sent to the aid of their besieged countrymen, sailed up one of the arms of the Nile, (just after the Athenians had surrendered) to disengage them, not knowing what had happened. But the instant they entered, the Persian fleet, which kept out at. sea, followed them and attacked their rear, whilst the army discharged showers of darts, upon them from the banks of the river ; only a few ships escaped, which opened themselves a way through the enemy's fleet, and all the rest were lost. a Thus ended the fatal war carried on by the Athenians for six years in Egypt, which kingdom was now united again to the Persian empire, and continued so during the rest of the reign of Artaxerxes, of which this is the twentieth year. But the prisoners who were taken in this war met with a most unhappy fate.
Sect. V. Inarus is delivered up to the King's Mother, contrary to the
Articles of the Treaty. The Affliction of Megabysus, who revolts.
Artaxerxes, after having for five years refused to gratify the request of his mother, who daily importuned him to put Inarus and the Athenians who had been taken with him, inte her hands, in order that she might sacrifice them to the manes of Achæmenes her son, at last yielded to her solicitations. But how blind, how barbarously weak must this king have been, to break through the most solemn engagements merely through complaisance; who (deaf to remorse) violated the law of nations, solely to avoid offending a most unjust mother. This inhuman princess, without regard to the faith of the treaty, ca: sed Inarus to be crucified, and beheaded all the rest. Megabysus was in the deepest affliction on that account ; for as he had promised that no injury should be done them, the dishonour reflected principally on @ A. M 3550. Ant J. C. 454. • A. M 3556 Ant. J. C. 148. Ctes. c. XXXV-xl. c Thucyd, l. i. p. 72.
him. He therefore left the court, and withdrew to Syria, of which he was governor; and his discontent was so great, that he raised an army and revolted openly,
a The king sent Osiris, who was one of the greatest lords of the court, against him with an army of 200,000 men. Megabysus engaged Osiris, wounded him, took him prisoner, and put his army to flight. Artaxerxes sending to demand Osiris, Megabysus generously dismissed him, as soon as his wounds were cured.
6 The next year Artaxerxes sent another army against him, the command of which he gave to Menostanes, son to Artarius the king's brother, and governor of Babylon. This general was not inore fortunate than the former. He also was defeated and put to flight, and Megabysus gained as signal a victory as the former.
Artaxerxes finding he could not reduce him by force of arms, sent his brother Artarius and Amytis his sister, who was the wife of Megabysus, with several other persons of the first quality, to persuade him to return to his allegiance.
They succeeded in their negotiation; the king pardoned him, and he returned to court.
One day as they were hunting, a lion raising himself on his hinder feet, was going to rush upon the king, when Megabysus seeing the danger he was in, and fired with zeal and affection for his sovereign, hurled a dart at the lion, which killed him. But Artaxerxes, upon pretence that he had affronted him, in darting at the lion first, commanded Megabysus's head to be struck off; Amytis the king's sister, and Amestris his mother, with the greatest difficulty prevailed upon the king to change this sentence into perpetual banishment. Megabysus was therefore sent to Cyrta, a city on the Red Sea,
and condemned to end his days there: however, five years after, disguising himself like a leper, he made his
escape and returned to Susa, where, by the assistance of his wife and mother-in-law, he was restored to favour, and continued so till his death, which happened some years after, in the seventy-sixth year of his age. Megabysus was extremely regretted by the king and the whole court. He was a man of the greatest abilities in the kingdom, and at the same time the best general. Artaxerxes owed both his crown and life to him: c but it is of dangerous consequence for a subject, when his sovereign is under too many obligations to him. This was the cause of all the misfortunes of Megabysus.
It is surprising that so judicious a prince as Artaxerxes
QAM 3557. Ant. J. C. 447.
WA M, 3558. Ant. J. C. 446, c Beneficia eo usque læta sunt, dum videntur esolvi posse; ubi maltum an revertere, pro gratia odium redditur. Tacit. Annal. 1. iv, 18.
should have been so imprudent, as to be fired with jealousy against a nobleman of his court, merely because, in a party of hunting, he had wounded the beast they were pursuing before him. Can any thing be so weak? and is this placing the point of honour in a manner worthy a king? nevertheless, history furnishes us with many instances of this kind. I am apt to believe, from some expressions of a Plutarch, that Artaxerxes was ashamed of the wild fury to which this false delicacy had raised him, and that he made some kind of public atonement for it: for according to this author, he pubFished a decree, importing, that any man who was hunting with the king, should be allowed to throw his javelin first at the beast, if opportunity should offer; and he, according to Plutarch, was the first Persian monarch who granted such a permission,
Jerusalem. Before I proceed in the history of the Persians and Greeks, I shall relate, in few words, the several things which happened to the people of God, during the first 20 years of Artaxerxes, which is an essential part of the history of that prince.
6 In the seventh year of the reign of Artaxerxes, Ezra obtained of the king and his seven counsellors an ample commission, empowering him to return to Jerusalem with all such Jews as would follow him thither, in order to settle the Jewish government and religion agreeably to their own Jaws. Ezra was descended from Saraia, who was highpriest of Jerusalem, when destroyed by Nabuchodonosor, and was put to death by his command. Ezra was a very learned and pious man, and was chiefly distinguished from the rest of the Jews, by his great knowledge in the Scriptures; it being said of him, “ That he was very ready in " the law of Moses that was given by the God of Israel." He set out from Babylon with the gifts and offerings which the king, his courtiers, and such Israelites as had staid in Babylon, had put into his hands for the service of the temple, and which he gave to the priests upon his arrival in Jerusalem. It appears by the commission which Artaxerxes gave him, that this prince had a high veneration for the God of Israel, as in commanding his officers
to furnish the Jews with all things necessary for their worship, he adds, & "Let all a Plut. in Apophthegm. p. 173. A. M. 3537. 'Ant. J. Ci 467Ezra vii. &c.
C1 Esdras viii. 3. di Esdras vijj. 21,