Front Matter
 Title Page
 The end of Cambyses
 Smerdis the magian
 The accession of Darius
 The provinces
 The reconnoitering of Greece
 The revolt of Babylon
 The invasion of Scythia
 The retreat from Scythia
 The story of Histiaeus
 The invasion of Greece and the...
 The death of Darius

Title: History of Darius the Great
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00003547/00001
 Material Information
Title: History of Darius the Great
Alternate Title: Life of Darius
Physical Description: 219 p., <1> leaf of plates : port. ; 13 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Abbott, Jacob, 1803-1879
Allman, Thomas, 1792-1870 ( Publisher )
Billing, J ( Printer )
Publisher: Thomas Allman
Place of Publication: London
Manufacturer: J. Billing
Publication Date: <1853?>
Subject: Kings and rulers -- Juvenile literature -- Iran   ( lcsh )
History -- Juvenile literature -- Iran   ( lcsh )
Publishers' catalogues -- 1853   ( rbgenr )
Biographies -- 1853   ( rbgenr )
Pictorial cloth bindings (Binding) -- 1853   ( rbbin )
Bldn -- 1853
Genre: Publishers' catalogues   ( rbgenr )
Biographies   ( rbgenr )
Pictorial cloth bindings (Binding)   ( rbbin )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: England -- London
Statement of Responsibility: by Jacob Abbott.
General Note: Publisher's catalogue follows text, also on the endpapers and flyleaves of both front and back covers.
General Note: Steel engraved frontispiece: port. of Darius.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00003547
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 002445992
oclc - 46322461
notis - AMF1235
 Related Items
Other version: Alternate version (PALMM)
PALMM Version

Table of Contents
        Advertising 1
        Advertising 2
    Front Matter
        Front Matter
        Page 1
    Title Page
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
    The end of Cambyses
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
    Smerdis the magian
        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
        Page 46
        Page 47
        Page 48
        Page 49
        Page 50
        Page 51
        Page 52
        Page 53
        Page 54
    The accession of Darius
        Page 55
        Page 56
        Page 57
        Page 58
        Page 59
        Page 60
        Page 61
        Page 62
        Page 63
        Page 64
    The provinces
        Page 65
        Page 66
        Page 67
        Page 68
        Page 69
        Page 70
        Page 71
        Page 72
        Page 73
        Page 74
        Page 75
        Page 76
        Page 77
        Page 78
        Page 79
        Page 80
        Page 81
        Page 82
    The reconnoitering of Greece
        Page 83
        Page 84
        Page 85
        Page 86
        Page 87
        Page 88
        Page 89
        Page 90
        Page 91
        Page 92
        Page 93
        Page 94
        Page 95
        Page 96
        Page 97
        Page 98
        Page 99
        Page 100
    The revolt of Babylon
        Page 101
        Page 102
        Page 103
        Page 104
        Page 105
        Page 106
        Page 107
        Page 108
        Page 109
        Page 110
        Page 111
        Page 112
        Page 113
        Page 114
        Page 115
        Page 116
        Page 117
        Page 118
        Page 119
    The invasion of Scythia
        Page 120
        Page 121
        Page 122
        Page 123
        Page 124
        Page 125
        Page 126
        Page 127
        Page 128
        Page 129
        Page 130
        Page 131
        Page 132
        Page 133
        Page 134
        Page 135
        Page 136
        Page 137
    The retreat from Scythia
        Page 138
        Page 139
        Page 140
        Page 141
        Page 142
        Page 143
        Page 144
        Page 145
        Page 146
        Page 147
        Page 148
        Page 149
        Page 150
        Page 151
        Page 152
        Page 153
        Page 154
        Page 155
    The story of Histiaeus
        Page 156
        Page 157
        Page 158
        Page 159
        Page 160
        Page 161
        Page 162
        Page 163
        Page 164
        Page 165
        Page 166
        Page 167
        Page 168
        Page 169
        Page 170
        Page 171
        Page 172
        Page 173
    The invasion of Greece and the Battle of Marathon
        Page 174
        Page 175
        Page 176
        Page 177
        Page 178
        Page 179
        Page 180
        Page 181
        Page 182
        Page 183
        Page 184
        Page 185
        Page 186
        Page 187
        Page 188
        Page 189
        Page 190
        Page 191
        Page 192
        Page 193
        Page 194
        Page 195
        Page 196
        Page 197
    The death of Darius
        Page 198
        Page 199
        Page 200
        Page 201
        Page 202
        Page 203
        Page 204
        Page 205
        Page 206
        Page 207
        Page 208
        Page 209
        Page 210
        Page 211
        Page 212
        Page 213
        Page 214
        Page 215
        Page 216
        Page 217
        Page 218
        Page 219
        Page 220
        Page 221
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ABOUT five or six hundred years before Christ,
almost the whole of the interior of Asia was
united in one vast empire- The founder of this
empire was Cyrus the Great. He was originally
a Persian ; and the whole empire is often called
the Persian monarchy, taking its name from its
founder's native land.
Cyrus was not contented with having annex-
ed to his dominion all the civilized states of
Asia. In the latter part of his life, he conceived
the idea that there might possibly be some ad-
ditional glory and power to be acquired in sub-
duing certain half-savage regions in the north,
beyond the Araxes. He accordingly raised an
army, and set off on an expedition for this pur-
pose, against a country which was governed by
a barbarian queen named Tomyris. lie met
with a variety of adventures on this expedition,
all of which are fully detailed in our history of
Cyrus. There is, however, only one occurrence


Cyrus never returned. lie was killed in battle.
It would seem that, though the import of the
dream was ultimately fulSIlled, Darius was not,
at that time, meditating any schemes of obtain-
ing possession of the throne, for he made no
attempt to interfere with the regular transmis-
sion of thi imperial power from Cyrus to Cam-
byses his son. At any rate, it was so transmit-
ted. The tidings of Cyrus's death came to the
capital, and Cambyses, his son, reigned in his
The great event of the reign of Cambyses
was a war with Eigypt, which originated in the
following very singular marinr :
It has been found, in all ages of the world,
that there is some peculiar quality of the soil
or climate, or atmosphere of 1Egypt which tends
to produce an inflammation of the eyes. 'The
inhabitants themselves have at all times been
very subject to this disease, and foreign aruies
marching into the country are always very seri-
ously affected by it. Thousands of soldiers in
such armies are sometimes disabled from this
cause, and many are made incurably blind. Now
a country which produces a disease in its worst
form and degree, .will produce also, generally,
the best physicians for that disease. At any
rate, this was supposed to be the case in ancient
times; and accordingly, when any powerful po-
tentate in those days was afflicted himself with

ophthalmia, or had such a case in his family,
Egypt was the country to send to for a phy-
Now it happened that Cyrus himself, at one
time in the course of his life, was attacked with
this disease, and he dispatched an Ambassador
to Amasis, who was then king of Egypt, asking
him to send him a physician. Amasis, who,
like all the other absolute sovereigns of those
days, regarded his subjects as slaves that were
in all respects entirely at his disposal, selected
a physician of distinction from among the at-
tendants about his court, and ordered him to
repair to Persia. The physician was extremely
reluctant to go. lie had a wife and family,
from whom he was very unwilling to be sepa-
rated ; but the orders were imperative, and he
must obey. He set out on the journey, there-
fore, but he secretly resolved to devise some
mode of revenging himself on the king for the
cruelty of sending him.
He was well received by Cyrus, and, either
by his skill as a physician, or from other causes,
he acquired great influence at the Persian court.
At last he contrived a mode of revenging him-
self on the Egyptian king for having exiled him
from his native land. The king had a daughter,
who was a ldy of great beauty. Her father
was very strongly attached to her. The phy-
sician recommended to Cyrus to send to Amasis


and demand this daughter in marriage. As,
however, Cyrus was already married, the Egyp-
tian princess would, ,if she came, be his concu-
bine rather than his wife, or, if considered a
wife, it could only be a secondary and subordi-
nate place that she could occupy. The phy-
sician knew that, under these circumstances,
the King of Egypt would be extremely unwill-
ing to send her to Cyrus, while he would yet
scarcely dare to refuse; and the hope of plung-
ing him into extreme embarrassment and dis-
tress, by means of such a demand from so pow-
erful a sovereign, was the motive which led the
physician to recommend the measure.
Cyrus was pleased with the proposal, and
sent, accordingly, to make the demand. The
king, as the physician had anticipated, could
not endure to part with his daughter in such a
way, nor did he, on the other hand, dare to in'-
cur the displeasure of so powerful a monarch by
a direct and open refusal. lie finally resolved
upon escaping from the difficulty by a stratagem.
There was a young and beautiful captive prin-
cess in his court named Nitetis. Her father,
whose name was Apries, had been formerly the
King of Egypt, hut lie had been dethroned and
killedby Amasis. Since the downfallof her family,
Nitetis had been a captive ; but, as she was very
1.eautiful and very accomplished, Amasis con-
ceived the design of semlling'her to Cyrus, under


the pretence that she was the daughter whom
Cyrus had demanded. He accordingly brought
her forth, provided her with the most costly
and splendid dresses, loaded her with presents,
ordered a large retinue to attend her and sent
her forth to Persia.
Cyrus was at first very much pleased with his
new bride. Nitetis became, in fact, his princi-
pal favorite ; though, of course, his other wife,
whose name was Cassandane, and her children,
Cambyses and Smerdis, were jealous of her, and
hated her. One day, a Persian lady was visit-
ing at the court, and as she was standing near
Cassandane, and saw her two sons, who were then
tall and handsome young men, she expressed
her admiration of them, and said to Cassandane,
"' How proud and happy you must be !" No,"
said Cassandane; on the contrary, I am very
miserable ; for, though I am the mother of these
children, the king neglects and despises me.
All his kindness is bestowed on this Egyptian
woman." Cambyses, who heard this conver-
sation, sympathized deeply with Cassandane in
ler resentment. Mother," said he, be pa-
tient, and I will avenge you. As soon as I am
king, I will go to Egypt and turn the whole
country upside down."
Jn fact, the tendency which there was in the
mind of Cambvses to look upon Egypt as the
first field of war and conquest for him, so soon


as he should succeed to the throne, was encour-
aged by the influence of his father; for Cyrus,
although he was much captivated by the charms
of the lady whom the King of Egypt had sent
him, was greatly incensed against the king for
having -practiced upon him such a deception
Besides, all the important countries in Asia
were already included within the Persian do-
minions. It was plain that if any future pro-
gress were to be made in extending the empire,
the regions of Europe and Africa must be the
theatre of it. Egypt seemed the most accessi-
ble and vulnerable point beyond the confines of
Asia; and thus, though Cyrus himself, being
advanced somewhat in years, and interested,
moreover, in other projects, was not prepared
to undertake an enterprise into Africa himself,
he was very willing that such plans should be
cherished by his son.
Cambyses was an ardent, impetuous, and self-
willed boy. The father was prudent, cautious,
wise, and often generous and forbearing. The
son grew up headstrong, impetuous, uncontrolled,
and uncontrollable, lie had the most lofty
ideas of his own greatness and power, and he
felt a supreme contempt for the rights, and in-
difference to the happiness of all the world be-
Cambyses, immediately after his father's
deati, began to make arrangements for the


Egyptian invasion. The first thing to be deter-
mined was the mode of transporting his armies
thither. Egypt is a long and narrow valley, with
the rocks and deserts of Arabia on one side, and
those of Sahara on the other. There is no con-
venient mode of access to it except by sea, and
Cambyses had no naval force sufficient for a ma-
ritime expedition.
While he was revolving the subject in his
mind, there arrived in his capital of Susa, where
he was then residing, a deserter from the army
of Amasis in Egypt. The name of this deser-
ter was Phanes. He was a Greek, having been
the commander of a body of Greek troops who
were employed by Amasis as auxiliaries in his
army. He had had a quarrel with Amasis, and
had fled to Persia, intending to join Cambyses
in the expedition which he was contemplating,
in order to revenge himself on the Egyptian
king. Phanes said, in telling his story, that he
had had a very narrow escape from Egypt; for,
as soon as Amasis had heard that he had fled,
he dispatched one of his swiftest vessels, a gal-
ley of three banks of oars, in hot pursuit of the
fugitive. The galley overtook the vessel in
which Phanes had taken passage just as it was
landing in Asia Minor. The Egyptian officers
seized it and made Phanes prisoner. They im-
mediately began to make their preparations for
the return voyage, putting Phanes, in the mean


time, under the charge of guards, who were in-
structed to keep him very safely. Phanes, how-
ever, cultivated a good understanding with his
guards, and presently invited them to drink wine
with him. In the end, he got them intoxicated,
and while they were in that state he made his
escape from them, and then, travelling with
great secrecy and caution until be was beyond
their reach, he succeeded in making his way to
Cambyses in Susa.
Phanes gave Cambyses a great deal of. infor-
mation in respect to the geography of Egypt,
the proper points of attack, the character and
resources of the king, and communicated, like-
wise, a great many other particulars which it
was very important that Cambyses should know.
lie recommended that Cambyses should pro-
ceed to Egypt by land, through Arabia; and
that, in order to secure a safe passage, he should
send first to the King of the Arabs, by a formal
embassy, asking permission to cross his territo-
ries with an army, and engaging the Arabians
to aid him, if possible, in the transit. Camby-
ses did this. The Arabs were very willing to
join in any projected hostilities against the
Egyptians ; they offered Cambyses a free pass-
age, and agreed to aid his army on their march.
To the faithful fulfilment of these stipulations
the Arab chief bound himself by a treaty, ex-
ecuted with the most solemn forms and cere-



The great difficulty to be encountered in tra.
versing the deserts which Cambyses would have
to cross on his way to Egypt was the want of
water. To provide for this necessity, the King
of the Arabs sent-a vast number of camels into
the desert, laden with great sacks or bags full
of water. These camels were sent forward just
before the army of Cambyses came on, and they
deposited their supplies along the route at the
points where they would be most needed. Hero-
dotus, the Greek traveller, who made a journey
into Egypt not a great many years after these
transactions, and who wrote subsequently a full
description of what he saw and heard there,
gives an account of another method by which
the Arab king was said to have conveyed water
into the desert, and that was by a canal or pipe,
made of the skins of oxen, which lie laid Along
the ground, from a certain river of his domini-
ons, to a distance of twelve days' journey over
the sands! This story Herodotus' says he did
not believe, though elsewhere in the course of
his history he gravely relates, as true history, a
thousand talcs infinitely more improbable than
the idea of a leather pipe or hose like this tq
serve for a conduit of water.
By some means or other, at all events, the
Arab chief provided supplies of water in the
desert for Camhyses's army, and the troops made
the passage safely. They arrived, at length, on


the frontiers of Egypt. Here they found that
Amasis, the king was dead, and. Psammenitus,
his son, had succeeded him. Psammenitus came
forward to meet the invaders. A great battle
was fought. The Egyptians were routed Psam-
menitus fled up the Nile to the city of Memphis,
taking with him such broken remnants of his
army as he could get together after the battle,
and feeling extremely incensed and exasperated
against the invader. In fact, Cambyses had now
no excuse or pretext whatever for waging such
a war against Egypt. The monarch who had
deceived his father was dead, and there had
never been any cause of complaint against his
son, or against the Egyptian people. Psamme-
nitus, therefore, regarded the invasion of Egypt
by Cambyses as a wanton and wholly unjusti-
fiable aggression and he determined, in his own
mind, that such invaders deserved no mercy, and
that he would show them none. Soon after this,
a galley on the river, belonging to Cambyses,
containing a crew of two hundred men, fell into
his hands. The E'gyptians, in their rage, tore
these Persians all to pieces. This exasperated
Cambyses in his turn. and the war went on, at-
teriltd by the most atrocious cruelties on both
In fact, Cambyses, in this Egyptian campaign,
pursued such a career of inhuman and reckless
folly, tlint people at last considered him insane.


Hle began with some small semblance of moder-
ation, but he proceeded, in the end, to the per-
petration of the most terrible excesses of vio-
lence and wrong.
As to his moderation, his treatment of Psam-
menitus personally is almost the only instance
that we can record. In the course of the war,
Psammenitus and all his family fell into Cam-
byscs's hands as captives. A few days afterward,
Cambyses conducted the unhappy king without
the gates of the city to exhibit a spectacle to
him. The spectacle was that of his beloved
daughter, clothed in the garments of a slave,
and attended by a company of other maidens,
the daughters of the nobles and other persons
of distinction belonging to his court, all going
down to the river, with heavy jugs, to draw
water. The fathers of all these hapless maidens
had been brought out with Psammenitus to wit-
ness the degradation and misery of their chil-
dren. -The maidens cried and sobbed aloud as
they went along, overwhelmed with shame and
terror. Their fathers manifested the utmost
agitation and distress. Cambyses stood smiling
by, highly enjoying the spectacle. Psammeni-
tus alooe appeared unmoved. He gazed on the
scene silent, motionless, and with a countenance
which indicated no active suffering ; he seemed
to be in a state of stupefaction and despair.
Cambyses was disappointed, and his pleasure



was marred at finding that his victim did not
feel more acutely the sting of the torment with
which he was endeavouring to goad him.
When this train had gone by, another came.
It was a company of young men, with halters
about their necks, going to execution. Cam-
byses had ordered that for every one of the crew
of his galley that the Egyptians had killed, ten
Egyptians should be executed. This propor-
tion would require two thousand victims, as
there had been two hundred in the crew. These
victims were to be selected from among the
sons of the leading families; and their parents,
after having seen their delicate and gentledaugh-
ters go to their servile toil, were now next to
behold their sons march in a long and terrible
array to execution. The son of Psammenitus
was at the head of the column. The Egyptian
parents who stood around Psammenitus wept
and lamented aloud, as one after another saw
his own child in the train. Psammenitus him-
self, however, remained as silent and motion-
less, and with a countenance as vacant as before.
Cambyses was again disappointed. The pleasure
which the exhibition afforded him was incom-
plete without visible manifestations of suffering
in the victim for whose torture it was princi-
pally designed.
After this train of captives had passed, there
came a mixed collection of wretched andl mis-


erable men, such as the siege and sacking of
a city always produces in countless numbers.
Among these was a venerable man whom Psam-
menitus recognized as one of his friends. He
had been a man of wealth and high station; he
had often been at the court of the king, and had
been entertained at his table. lie was now,
however, reduced to the last extremity of dis-
tress, and was begging of the people something
to keep him from starving. The sight of this
man in such a condition seemed to awaken the
king from his blank and death-like despair. He
called his old friend by name in a tone of aston-
ishment and pity, and burst into tears.
Canbyses, observing this, sent a messenger to
Psammenitus to inquire what it meant. He
wishes to know," said the messenger, how it
happens that you could see your own daughter
set at work as a slave, and your son led away
to execution unmoved, and yet feel so much com-
miseration for the misfortunes of a stranger."
We might suppose that, any one possessing the
ordinary susceptibilities of the human soul
would have understood without an explanation
the meaning of this, though it is not surprising
that such an heartless monster as Cambyses did
not comprehend it. Psammenitus sent hinm
word that he could not help weeping for his
friend, but that his distress and anguish on ac-
count of his children were too great for tears.


The Persians who were around Cambyses be-
gan now to feel a strong sentiment of com-
passion for the unhappy king, and to intercede
with Cambyses in his favor. They begged him,
too, to spare Psammenitus's son. It will in-
terest those of our readers who have perused
our history of Cyrus to know that Croesus, the
captive king of Lydia, whom they will recollect
to have been committed to Cambyses's charge
by his father, just before the close of his life,
when he was setting forth on his last fatal ex-
pedition, and who accompanied Cambyses on
this invasion of Egypt, was present on this oc-
casion, and was one of the most earnest inter-
ceders in Psammenitus's favor. Cambyses al-
lowed himself to be persuaded. They sent off
a messenger to order the execution of the king's
son to be stayed ; but he arrived too late. The
unhappy prince had already falen. Cambyses
was so far appeased by the influence of these
facts, that he abstained from doing Psammeni-
tus or his family any further injury.
He, however, advanced up the Nile, ravaging
and plundering the country as he went on, and
at length, in the course of his conquests, he
gained possession of the tomb in which the em-
balmed body of Amasis was deposited. lie or-
dered this body to be taken out of its sarcopha-
gus, and treated with every mark of ignominy.
His soldiers, by his orders, beat it with rods, as




if it could still feel, and goaded it, and cut it
with swords. They pulled the hair out of the
head by the roots, and loaded the lifeless form
with every conceivable mark of insult and ig-
nominy. Finally, Cambyses ordered the mu-
tilated remains that were left to be burned,
which was a procedure as abhorrent to the ideas
and feelings of the Egyptians as could possibly
be devised.
Cambyses took every opportunity to insult
the religious, or as, perhaps, we ought to call
them, the superstitious feelings of the Egyp-
tians. He broke into their temples, desecrated
their altars, and subjected every thing which
they held most sacred to insult and ignominy.
Among their objects of religious veneration was
the sacred bull called Apis. This animal was
selected from time to time, from the country at
large, by the priests, by means of certain marks
which they pretended to discover upon its body,
and which indicated a divine and sacred char-
acter. The sacred bull thus found was kept in
a magnificent temple, and attended and fed in a
most sumptuous manner. In serving him, the
attendants used vessels of gold.
Cambyses arrived at the city were Apis was
kept at a time when the priests were celebra-
ting some sacred occasion with festivities and re-
:oicings. He was himself then returning from
an unsuccessful expedition which he had made.


and, as he entered the town, stung with vexa-
tion and anger at his defeat, the gladness and
joy which the Egyptians manifested in their
ceremonies served only to irritate him, and to
make him more angrythan ever. He killed the
priests who were officiating. He then demanded
to be taken into the edifice to see the sacred
animal, and there, after insulting the feelings of
the worshippers in every possible way by ridicule
and scornful words, he stabbed the innocent bull
with his dagger. The animal died of the wound,
and the whole country was filled with horror and
indignation. The people believed that this
deed would most assuredly bring down upon the
impious perpetrator of it the judgments of
Cambyscs organized, while he was in Egypt,
several mad expeditions into the surrounding
countries. In a fit of passion, produced by an
unsatisfactory answer to an embassage, he set
off suddenly, and without any proper prepara-
tion, to march into Ethiopia. TThe provisions
of his army were exhausted before he had per-
formed a fifth part of the march. Still, in his
infatuation, he determined to go on. The sol-
diers subsisted for a time on such vegetables as
they could find by the way; when these failed,
they slaughtered and ate their beasts of burden;
and finally, in the extremity of their famine,
they began to kill and devour one another; then,


at length, Cambyses concluded to return. He
sent off, too, at one time, a large army across
the desert toward the Temple of Jupiter Am-
mon, without any' of the necessary precautions
for such a march. This army never reached
their destination, and they never returned. The
people of the Oasis said they were overtaken by
a sand storm in the desert, and were all over-
There was a certain officer in attendance on
Cambyses named Prexaspes. lie was a sort 0of
confidential friend and companion of the king;
and his son, who was a fair, and graceful, and
accomplished youth, was the king's cup-bearer,
which was an office of great consideration and
honour. One day Cambyses asked Prexaspes
what the Persians generally thought of him.
Prexaspcs replied that they thought and spoke
well of him in all respects but one. The king
wislled to know what the exception was. Prex-
aspes rejoined, that it was the general opinion
that he was too much addlictedl to wine. Cam-
byses was oi'ended at this reply; and determ-
ined to punish Prexaspes for his freedom. lHe
ordered his son, therefore, the cup-bearer, to
ta-ke his place against the wall on tle other side
of the room. Now." said he, I will put
what the Persians say to the test." As he said
this, lie took up a bow and arrow which were at
his side, and began to fit the arrow to the string.


" If," said he, 1 do not shoot him exactly
through the heart, it shall prove that the Per-
sians are right. If I do, then they are wrong,
as it will show that I do not drink so much as
to make my hand unsteady." So saying, he
drew the bow; the arrow flew through the air,
and pierced the poor boy's breast. He fell, and
"Cambyses coolly ordered the attendants to open
the body, and let Prexaspes see whether the ar-
zow had not gone through the heart.
These, and a constant succession of similar
acts of atrocious and reckless cruelty and folly,
led the world to say that Cambyses was insane.



AMONG the other acts of profligate wickedness
which have blackened indelibly and for ever
Cambyses's name, he married two of his own
sisters, and brought one of them with him to
Egypt as his wife. The natural instincts of all
men except those whose early life has been given
up to the most shameless and dissolute habits of
vice, are sufficient to preserve them from such
crimes as these. Cambyses himself felt, it
seems, some misgivings when contemplating
the first of these marriages; and he sent to a



certain council of judges, whose province it was
to interpret the laws, asking them their opinion
of the rightfulness of such a marriage. Kings
ask the opinion of their legal advisers in such
cases, not because they really wish to know
whether the act in question is right or wrong,
but because, having themselves determined upon
the performance of it, they wish their counsel-
lors to give it a sort of legal sanction, in order
to justify the deed, and diminish the popular
odium which it might otherwise incur.
The Persian judges whom Cambyses con-
sulted on this occasion understood very well
what was expected of them. After a grave
deliberation, they returned answer to the king
that, though they could find no law allowing a
man to marry his sister, they found many which
authorized a king of Persia to do whatever he
thought best. Cambyses accordingly carried
his plan into execution. lie married first, the
older sister, whose -name was Atossa. Atossa
became subsequently a personage of great his-
torical distinction. The daughter of Cyrus, the
wife of Darius, and the mother of Xerxes, she
was the link that bound together the three
most magnificent potentates of the whole East-
ern world.
Besides this sister, Cambyses had brought
his brother Smer.is with him into Egypt.
Smerdis was younger than Cambyses, but he



was superior to him in strength and personal
accomplishments. Cambyses was very jealous
of this superiority. He did not dare to leave
his brother in Persia, to manage the govern-
ment in his stead during his absence, lest he
should take advantage of the temporary power
thus committed to his hands, and usurp the
throne altogether. He decided, therefore, to
bring Smerdis with him into Egypt, and to
leave the government of the state in the hands
of a regency composed of two mayi. These magi
were public officers of distinction, but, having
no hereditary claims to the crown, Cambyses
thought there would he little danger of their
attempting to usurp it. It happened, however,
that the name of one of tlese magi was Smer-
dis. This coincidence between the magian's
name and that of the prince led, in the end,
as will presently be seen, to very important
The uneasiness and jealousy which Cambyses
felt in respect to his brother was not wholly
allayed by the arrangement wlich he thus made
for keeping him in his army, and so under his
own personal observation and command. Smer-
lis evinced, on various occasions, so much
strength and skill, that Canmbyses feared his
influence among the officers and soldiers, and
was rendered continually watchful, ,suspicious,
and afraid. A circustance at last occurred


which excited his jealousy more than ever, and
he determined to send Smerdis home again to
Persia. The circumstance was this :
After Cambyses had succeeded in obtaining
full possession of Egypt, he formed, among his
other wild and desperate schemes, the design of
invading the territories of a nation of Ethiopi-
ans who lived in the interior of Africa, around
and beyond the sources of the Nile. The Ethi-
opians were celebrated for their savage strength
and bravery. Cambyses wished to obtain in-
formation respecting them and their country
before setting out on his expedition against
them, and he determined to send spies into their
country to obtain it. But, as Ethiopia was a
territory so remote, and as its institutions and
customs, and the language, the dress, and the
manners of its inhabitants were totally different
from those of all the other nations of the earth,
and were almost wholly unknown to the Per-
sian army, it was impossible to send Persians
in disguise, with any hope that they could en-
ter and explore the country without being dis-
covered. It was very doubtful, in fact, whether,
if such spies were to be sent, they could suc-
ceed in reaching Ethiopia. at all.
Now thcre was, ,far up the Nile, near the
cataracts, at a place where the river widens and
forrrs a sort of bay, a large and fertile island
called Elephautirc, which w\as inhabited by a


half-savage tribe called the Icthyophagi. They
lived mainly by fishing on the river, and conse-
quently, they had many boats, and were accus-
tomed to make long excursions up and down
the stream. Their name was, in fact, derived
from their occupation. It was a Greek word,
and might be translated Fishermenw"*
Cambyses sent to the Icthyophagi of the
island of Elephantine, requiring them to furnish
him with a number of persons acquainted with
the route to Ethiopia and with the Ethiopian
language, that he might send them as an em-
bassy. He also provided some presents to be
sent as a token of friendship to the Ethiopian
king. The presents were however, only a pre-
text, to enable the ambassadors, who were, in
fact, spies, to go to the capital and court of the
Ethiopian monarch in safety, and bring back to
Cambyses all the information which they should
be able to obtain.
The presents consisted of such toys and orna-
ments as they thought would most please the
fancy of a savage king. There were some pur-
ple vestments of a very rich and splendid dye,
and a golden chain for the neck, golden brace-
lets for the wrists, an alabaster box of very
precious perfumes, and other similar trinkets
and toys. There was also a large vessel filled
with wine.
The Icthyophagi took these presents, and set
Literally fish-caters.


out on their expedition. After a long and toil-
some voyage and journey, they came to the
country of the Ethiopians, -and delivered their
presents together with the message which Cam-
byses had intrusted to them. The presents,
they said, had been sent by Cambyses as a
token of his desire to become the friend and
ally of the Ethiopian king.
The king instead of being deceived by this
hypocrisy, detected the imposture at once. He
knew very well, he said, what was the motive
of Cambyses in sending such an embassage to
him, and lie should advise Cambyses to be con-
tent with his own dominions, instead of plan-
ning aggressions of violence, and schxeaes and
stratagems of deceit against his neighbours, in
order to get possession of theirs. He then be-
gan to look at the presents which the ambassa-
dors had brought, which, however, he appeared
very soon to despise. The purple vest first at-
tracted his attention. He asked whether that
was the true, natural colour of the stuff, or a
false one. The messengers told him that the
linen was dyed, and began to explain the pro-
cess to him. The mind of the savage poten-
tate, however, instead of being impressed, as
the messengers supposed he would have been
through their description, with a high idea of
the excellence and superiority of Persian art,
only despised the false show of what he consi-


dered an artificial and fictitious beauty- The
beauty of Cambyses's dresses," said he, is as
deceitful, it seems, as the fair show of his pro-
fessions of friendship." As to the golden brace-
lets and necklaces, the king looked upon them
with contempt. lie thought that they were
intended for fetters and chains, and said that,
however well they might answer among the
effeminate Persians, they were wholly insuffi-
cient to confine such sinews as he had to deal
with. The wine, however, he liked. lie drank
it with great pleasure, and told the Ictlhophagi
that it was the only article among all their pre-
sents that was worth receiving.
In return for the presents which Cambyses
had sent him, the King of the Ethiopians, who
was a man of prodigious size and strength, took
down his bow and gave it to the Icthyophagi,
telling them to carry it to Carnbyses as a token
of his defiance, and to ask him to see if he could
find a man in all his army who could bend it.
Tell Cambvses," he added, that when his
soldiers are able to bend such bows as tlat, it
will be time for him to think of invading the
territories of the Ethiopians ; and tlat in the
mean time, he ought to consider himself very
fortunate that the Ethiopians were not grasping
and ambitious enough to attempt the invasion
of his."
When the Icthyophagi returned to Camnbvses


with this message, the strongest men in the
Persian camp were of course greatly interested
in examining and trying the bow. Smerdis
was the only one that could be found who was
strong enough to bend it ; and he, by the
superiority to the others which he thus evinced,
gained great renown. Camliyses was filled with
jealousy and anger. HIe determined to send
Smerdis back again to Persia. It will be bet-
ter," thought he to himself, "" to incur whatever
danger there may be of his exciting a revolt at
home, than to have him present in my court,
subjecting me to continual mortification and
chagrin by the perpetual parade of his supe-
His mind was, however, not at ease after his
brother had gone. Jealousy and suspicion
in respect to Smerdis perplexed his waking
thoughts and troubled his dreams. At length,
one night, he thought he saw Smerdis seated
on a royal throne in Persia, his form expanded
supernaturally to such a prodigious size that he
touched the heavens with his head. The next
day, Cambyses, supposing that the dream por-
tended danger that Smerdis would be one day
in possession of the throne, determined to put
a final and perpetual end to all these troubles
and fears, and he sent for an officer of his court,
Prexaspes-the same whose son he shot through
the heart with an arrow, as described in the last


chapter-and commanded him to proceed im-
mediately to Persia, and there to find Smerdis,
and kill him. The murder of Prexaspes's son,
though related in the last chapter as an illus-
tration of Cambyses's character, did not ac-
tually take place till after Prexaspes returned
from this expedition.
Prexaspes went to Persia, and executed the
orders of the kingby theassassinationof Smerdis.
There are different accounts of the mode which
he adopted for accomplishing his purpose. One
is, that he contrived some way to drown him in
the sea; another, that he poisoned him; and a
third, that he killed him in the forests, when
he was out on a hunting excursion. At all
events, the deed was done, and Prexaspes went
back to Cambyses, and reported to him that
he had nothing further to fear from his brother's
In the mean time, Cambyses went on from
bad to worse in his government, growing every
day more despotic and tyrannical, and abandon-
ing himself to tits of passion and cruelty which
became more and more excessive and insane.
At one time, on some slight provocation, he or-
dered twelve distinguished noblemen of his-
court to be buried alive. On another occasion,
Cambyses's sister and wife, %who had mourned
the death of her brother Smerdis, ventured a
reproach to Cambyses for having destroyed himn.



She was sitting at table, with some plant or
flower in her hand, which she slowly picked to
pieces, putting the fragments on the table. She
asked Cambyses whether be thought the flower
looked fairest and best in fragments, or in its
original and natural integrity. It looked
best, certainly," Cambyses said, "" when it was
whole." And yet," said she, you have be-
gun to take to pieces and destroy our family, as
I have destroyed this flower." Cambyses sprang
upon his unhappy sister, on hearing this re-
proof, with the ferocity of a tiger. He threw
her down and leaped upon her. The attend-
ants succeeded in rescuing her and bearing her
away ; but she had received a fatal injury. She
fell immediately into a premature and unnatural
sickness, and died.
These fits of sudden and terrible passion to
which Cambyses was subject, were often fol-
lowed, when they had passed by, as is usual in
such cases, with remorse and misery ;. and some-
times the officers of Camibyses, anticipating a
change in their master's feelings, did not exe-
cute his cruel orders, but concealed the object
of his blind and insensate vengeance until the
paroxysm was over. They did this once in the
case of Croesus. Crcesus, who was now a vene-
rable man, advanced in years, had been for a
long time the friend and faithful counsellor of
Cambyses's father. He had known Cambyscs



himself from his boyhood, and had been charged
by his father to watch over him and counsel
him, and aid him, on all occasions which might
require it-, with his experience and wisdom.
Cambyses, too, had been solemnly charged by
his father Cyrus, at the last interview that he
had with him before his death, to guard and
protect Croesus, as his father's ancient and
faithful friend, and to treat him, as long as he
lived, with the highest consideration and honor.
Under these circumstances, Croesus consi-
dered himself justified in remonstrating one day
with Cambyscs against his excesses and his
cruelty. le told him that he ought not to give
himself up to the control of such violent and
impetuous passions ; that, though his Persian
soldiers and subjects had borne with him thus
far, he might, by excessive oppression and
cruelty, exhaust their forbearance, and provoke
them to revolt against him, and that thus lie
might suddenly lose his power, through his in-
temperate and inconsiderate use of it. Croesus
apologized for offering these counsels, saying
that he felt bound to warn Cambyscs of Iis
danger, in obedience to the injunctions of Cy-
rus, his father.
Cambyses fell into a violent passion at hear-
ing tlese words. lie told Croesus that he was
amazed at his presumption in daring to offer
him advice, and then began to load his vene-



rable counsellor with the bitterest invectives and
reproaches. He taunted him with his own mis-
fortunes, in losing, as he had done, years before,
his own kingdom of Lydia, and then accused
him of having been the means, through his
foolish counsels, of leading his father, Cyrus,
into the worst of the difficulties which befell
him toward the close of his life. At last, be-
coming-more and more enraged by the reaction
upon himself of his own angry utterance, he
told Croesus that he had hated him for a long
time, and for a long time had wished to punish
him; and now," said he, "c you have given
me an opportunity." So saying, he seized his
bow, and began to fit an arrow to the string.
Crcwsus fled. Canmbyses ordered his attendants
to pursue him, and when they had taken him,
to kill him. The officers knew that Cambyses
would regret his rash and reckless command as
soon as his anger should have subsided, and
so, instead of slaying Croesus, they concealed
him. A few days after, when the tyrant began
to express his remorse and sorrow at having
lestroved his venerable friend in the heat of
passion, and to mourn his death, tllcy told him
that Croesus was still alive. They bad ven-
tured, they said, to save him, till they could
ascertain whether it was the king's real and de-
liberate determination that he must die. The
king was overjoyed to find Croesus still alive,



but he would not forgive those who had been
instrumental in saving him. He ordered every
one of them to be executed.
Cambyses was the more reckless and des-
perate in these tyrannical cruelties because he
believed that he possessed a sort of charmed
life. He had consulted an oracle, it seems, in
Media, in respect to his prospects of life, and
the oracle had informed him that he would die
at Ecbatanc. Now Ecbatane was one of the
three great capitals of his empire, Susa and
Babylon being the other. Ecbatane was the
most northerly of these cities, and the most
remote from danger. Babylon and Susa were
the points where the great transactions of go-
vernment chiefly centered, while Ecbatane was
more particularly the private residence of the
kings. It was their refuge in danger, their
retreat in sickness and age. In a word, Susa
was their seat of government, Babylon their
great commercial emporium, but Echatane was
their home.
And thus as the oracle, when Cambyses in-
quired in respect to the circumstances of his
death, had said that it was decreed by the fates
that he should dic at Ecbatane, it meant, as lhe
supposed, that he should die in peace, in his
bed, at the close of the usual period allotted to
the life of man. Considering this that the
fates had removed all danger of a sudden and


violent death from his path, he abandoned him-
self to his career of vice and folly, remembering
onlv the substance of the oracle, while the par-
ticular form of words in which it was expressed
passed from his mind.
At length Cambyses, after completing his
conquests in Egypt, returned to the northward,
along the shores of the Mediterranean Sea,
until he came into Syria. The province of
Galilee, so often mentioned in the sacred Scrip-
tures, was a part of Syria. In traversing
Galilee at the head of the detachment of troops
that was accompanying him, Cambyses came,
one day, to a small town, and encamped there.
The town itself was of so little importance that
Cambyses did not, at the time of his arriving
at it, even know its name. His. encampment
at the place, however, was marked by a very
memorable event, namely, he met with a herald
here, who was travelling through Syria, saying
that he had been sent from Susa to proclaim
to the people of Syria that Smerdis, the son of
Cyrus, had assumed the throne, and to enjoin
upon them all to obey no orders except such
as should come from him!
Cambyses had supposed that Smerdis was
dead. Prexaspes, when he had returned from
Susa, had reported that he had killed him. lHe
now, however, sent for Prexaspes, and demanded
of him what this proclamation could mean.


Prexaspes renewed, and insisted upon, his de-
claration that Smerdis was dead. He had de-
stroyed him with his own hands, and had seen
him buried. If the dead ean rise from the
grave," added Prexaspes, then Smerdis may,
perhaps, raise a revolt and appear against you;
but not otherwise."
Prexaspes then recommended that the king
should send and seize the herald, and inquire
particularly of him in respect to the govern-
ment in whose name he was acting. Cambyses
did so. The herald was taken and brought be-
fore the king. On being questioned whether it
was true that Smerdis had really assumed the
government and commissioned him to make
proclamation of the fact, he replied that it was
so. lie had not seen Smerdis himself, he said,
for he kept himself shut up very closely in his
palace ; but he was informed of his accession by
one of the magians whom Cambyses had left in
command. It was by him. he said, that he had
been commissioned to proclaim Smerdis as king.
Prexaspes then said that he had no doubt that
the two magians whom Cambyses had left in
charge of the government had contrived to seize
the throne. lie reminded Cambyses that the
name of one of them was Smerdis, and that
probably that was the Smerdis who was usurp-
ing th supreme command. Cambyses said that
be was convinced that this supposition was true.

His dream, in which he had seen a vision of
Smerdis, with his head reaching to the heavens,
referred, he had no doubt, to the magian Smer-
dis, and not to his brother. He began bitterly
to reproach himself for having caused his inno-
cent brother to be put to death ; but the remorse
which he thus felt for his crime, in assassinating
an imaginary rival, soon gave way to rage and
resentment against the real usurper. lle called
for his horse, and began to mount him in hot
haste, to give immediate orders, and make im-
mediate preparations for marching to Susa.
As he bounded into the saddle, with his mind
in this state of reckless desperation, the sheath,
by some accident or by some carelessness caused
by his headlong haste, fell from his sword, and
the naked point of the weapon pierced his
thigh. The attendants took him from his horse,
and conveyed him again to his tent. The wound,
on examination, proved to be a very dangerous
one, and the strong passions, the vexation, the
disappointment, the impotent rage, which were
agitating the mind of the patient, exerted an
influence extremely unfavourable to recovery.
Cambyscs, terrified at the prospect of death,
asked what was the name of the town where he
was lying. They told him it wrs Ecbatane.
HIe had never thought before of the possibi-
lity that there might be some other Ecbatane
besides lis splendid royal retreat in Media; but
D 2

now, when he learned that was the name of the
place where he was then encamped, he felt sure
that his hour was come, and he was overwhelmed
V-ith remorse and despair.
He suffered, too, inconceivable pain and an-
guish from his wound. The sword had pierced
to the bone, and the inflammation cthich had
supervened was of the worst character. After
some days, the acuteness of the agony which he
at first endured passed gradually away, though
the extent of the injury resulting from the
wound was growing every day greater and more
hopeless. The sufferer lay, pale, emaciated, and
wretched, on his couch, his mind, in every in-
terval of bodily agony, filling up the void with
the more dreadful sufferings of horror and des-
At length, on the twentieth day after his
wound had been received, he called the leading
nobles of his court and officers of his arnmy
About his bedside, and said to them that he was
about to die, and that lie was compelled, by the
calamity which had befallen him, to declare to
them what he would otherwise have continued
to keep concealed. The person who had usurp-
ed the throne under the name of Smerdis, he
now said, was not, and could not be, his brother
Smerdis, the son of Cyrus. He then proceeded
to give them an account of the manner in which
his fears in respect to his brother had been ex-



cited by his dream, and of the desperate remedy
that he had resorted to in ordering him to be
killed. He believed, he said, that the usurper
was Smerdis the magian, whom he had left as
one of the regents when he set out on his Egyp-
tian campaign. He urged them, therefore, not
to submit to his sway, but to go back to Media,
and if they could not conquer him and put him
down by open war, to destroy him by deceit and
stratagem, or in any way whatever by which the
end could be accomplished. Cambyses urged
this with so much of the spirit of hatred and
revenge beaming in his hollow and glassy eye
as to show that sickness, pain, and the approach
of death, which had made so total a change in
the wretched sufferer's outward condition, had
altered nothing within.
Very soon after making this communication
to his nobles, Cambyses expired.
It will well illustrate the estimate which those
who knew him best, formed of this great hero's
character, to state, that those who heard thin
solemn declaration did not believe one word of
it from beginning to end. They supposed that
the whole story which the dying tyrant had told
them, although he had scarcely breath enough
left to tell it, was a fabrication, dictated by his
fraternal jealousy and hate. They believed that
it was really the true Smerdis who had been
proclaimed king, and that Cambyses had in-


vented, in his dying moments, the story of his
having killed him, in order to prevent the Per-
sians from submitting peaceably to his reign.



CAMBySFs and his friends had been right in
their conjectures that it was Smerdis the magian
who had usurped the Persian throne. This
Smerdis resembled, it was said. the son of Cy-
rus in personal appearance as well as in name.
The other magian who had been associated with
him in' the regency when Cambyses set out from
Persia on his Egyptian campaign was his brother.
His name was Patizithes. When Cambyses had
been some time absent, these magians, having
in the mean time, perhaps, heard unfavour-
able accounts of his conduct and character, and
knowing the effect which such wanton tyranny
must have in alienating from him the allegiance
of his subjects, conceived the design of taking
possession of the empire in their own name.
The great distance of Cambyses and his army
from home, and his long-continued absence, fa-
voured this plan. Their own position, too, as
they-were already in possession of the capitals
and the fortresses of the country, aided them;



and then the name of Smerdis, being the same
with that of the brother of Cambyses, was a
circumstance that greatly promoted the success
of the undertaking. In addition to all these
general advantages, the cruelty of Cambyses
was the means of furnishing them with a most
opportune occasion for putting their plans into
The reader will recollect that, as was related
in the last chapter, Cambyses first sent his
brother Smerdis home, and afterwards, when
alarmed by his dream, he sent Prexaspes to
murder him. Now the return of Smerdis was
publicly and generally known, while his assas-
sination by Prexaspes was kept a profound
secret. Even the Persians connected with Cam-
byses's court in Egypt had not heard of the per-
petration of tils crime, until Canibyses confessed
it on his dying bed, and even then, as was stated
in the last chapter, they did not believe it. It
is not probable that it was known in Media and
Persia; so that," after Prexaspes accomplished
his work, and returned to Canibyses with the
report of it, it was probably generally supposed
that his brother was still alive, and was residing
somewhere in one or another of the royal
The people of Persia, therefore, were prepared
by Cambyses's own acts to believe that the
usurper Smerdis was really Cyrus's son, and,



next to Cambyses, the heir to the throne. The
army of Cambyses, too, in Egypt, believed the
same. It was natural that they should do so,
for they placed no confidence whatever in Cam-
byses's dying declarations; and since intelli-
gence, which seemed to be official, came from
Susa declaring that Smerdis was still alive, and
that he had actually taken possession of the
throne, there was no apparent reason for doubt-
ing the fact. Besides, Prexaspes, as soon as
Cambyses was dead, considered it safer for him
to deny than to confess having murdered the
prince. lie therefore declared that Cambyses's
story was false, and that he had no doubt that
Smerdis, the monarch in whose name the gov-
ernment was administered at Susa, was the son
of Cyrus, the true and rightful heir to the
throne. Thus all parties throughout the em-
pire acquiesced peaceably in what they supposed
to be the legitimate succession.
In the mean time, the usurper had placed
himself in an exceedingly dizzy and precarious
situation, and one which it would require a great
deal of address and skilful management to
sustain. The plan arranged between himself
and his brother for a division of the advantages
which they llad securred by their joint and com-
mon cunning was, that Smerdis was to enjoy
the ease and pleasure, andl Patizithes the sub-
stantial power of the royalty which they had so



stealthily seized. This was the safest plan.
Smerdis, by-living secluded, and devoting him-
self to retired and private pleasures, was the
more likely to escape public observation; while
Patizithes, acting as his prime minister of state,
could attend councils, issue orders, review troops,
dispatch embassies, and perform all the other
outward functions of supreme command, with
safety as well as pleasure. Patizithes seems to
have been, in fact, the soul of the whole plan.
lie was ambitious and aspiring in character, and
if he could only himself enjoy the actual exer-
cise of royal power, he was willing that his
brother should enjoy the honour of possessing
it. Patizithes, therefore, governed the realm,
acting, however, in all that he did, in Smerdis's
Smerdis, on his part, was content to take
possession of the palaces, the parks, and the
gardens of Media and Persia, and to live in them
in retired and quiet luxury and splendour. He
appeared seldom in public, and then only under
such circumstances as should not expose him
to any close observation (n the part of the spec-
tators. His figure, air, and manner, and the
general cast of his countenance, were very much
like those of the prince whom he was attempt-
ing to personate. There was one mark, how-
ever, by which he thought that there was dan-
ger that he might be betrayed, and that was,



his cars had been cut off. This had been done
many years before, by command of Cyrus, oh
account of some offence of which he had been
guilty. The marks of the mutilation could, in-
deed, on public occasions, be concealed by the
turban or helmet, or other head-dress which he
wore ; but in private there was great danger
either that the loss of the cars, or the studied
effort to conceal it, should be observed. Smerdis
\as, therefore, very careful to avoid being seen
in private, by keeping himself closely secluded.
lie shut himself up in the apartments of his
palace at Susa, within t'le citadel, and never
invited the Persian nobles to visit him there.
Among the other means of luxury and plea-
sure which Smerdis found in the royal palaces,
and which lie appropriated to his own enjoy-
ment, were Cambyses's wives. In those times,
Oriental princes and potentates-as is. in fact,
the case at the present day, in many Oriental
countries-possessed a great number of wives,
who were bound to them by different sorts of
matrimonial ties, moie or less permanent, and
bringing them into relations more or less inti-
mate with their husband and sovereign. These
wives were in many respects in the condition
of slaves : in one particular they were especially
so, namely, that on the death of a sovereign
they descended, like any other property, to the
heir, who added as many of them as he pleased



to his own seraglio. Until this was done, the
unfortunate women were shut up in close se-
clusion on the death of their lord, like mourn-
ers who retire from the world when suffering
any great and severe bereavement.
The wives of Cambyses were appropriated by
Smerdis to himself on his taking possession of
the throne and hearing of Cambyses's death.
Among them was Atossa, who has already been
mentioned as the daughter of Cyrus, and, of
course, the sister of Cambyses as well as his
wife. In order to prevent these court ladies
from being the means, in any way, of discover-
ing the imposture which he was practising, the
magian continued to keep them all closely shut
up in their several separate apartments, only
allowing a favoured few to visit him, one by
one, in turn, while he prevented their having
any communication with one another.
The name of one of these ladies was Phac-
dyma. She was the daughter of a Persian noble
of the highest rank and influence, named Ota-
nes. Otanes, as well as some other nobles of
the court, had observed and reflected upon the
extraordinary circumstances connected with the
accession of Smerdis to the throne, and the sin-
gular mode of life that he led, in secluding him-
self in a manner so extraordinary for a Persian
monarch, from all intercourse with his nobles
and his people. The suspicions of Otanes and



his associates were excited, but no one dared to
communicate his thoughts to the others. At
length, however, Otanes, who was a man of
great energy as well as sagacity and discretion,
resolved that he would take some measures to
ascertain the truth.
He first sent a messenger to Phaclyma, his
daughter, asking of her whether it was really
Smerdis, the son of Cyrus, who received her
when she went to visit the king. Phadyma,
in return, sent her father word that she did not
know, for she had never seen Smerdis, the son
of Cyrus, before the death of Cambyses. She
therefore could not say, of her own personal
knowledge, whether the king was the genuine
Smerdis or not. Otanes then sent to Phaedyma
a second time requesting her to ask the queen
Atossa. Atossa was the sister of Smerdis tlhe
prince, and had known him from his childhood.
Phaedyma sent back word to her father tlat
she could not speak to Atossa, for she was kept
closely shut up in her own apartments, without
the opportunity to communicate with any one.
Otanes then sent a third time to his daughter,
telling her that there was one remaining mode
by v which she might ascertain the truth, and
that was, the next time that she visited the
king, to feel for his ears when he was asleep.
If it was Smerdis the mragian, she would find
that he had none. IIe urged his daughter to


do this by saying that, if the pretended king
was really-an impostor, the imposture ought to
be made known, and that she, being of noble
birth, ought to have the courage and energy to
assist in discovering it. To this Phaedyma re-
plied that she would do as her father desired,
though she knew that she hazarded her life in
the attempt. If he has no cars," said she,
" and if I awaken him in attempting to feel for
them, he will kill me ; I am sure that he will
kill me on the spot."
The next time that it came to Ph:edyma's
turn to visit the king, she did as her father had
requested. She passed her hand very cautiously
beneath the king's turban, and found that his
ears had been cut off close to his head. Early
in the morning she communicated the know-
ledge of the fact to her father.
Otanes immediately made the case known
to two of his friends, Persian nobles, who had,
with him, suspected the imposture, and ihad
consulted together before in respect to the means
of detecting it. The question was, what was
now to be done? After some deliberation, it was
agreedd that each of them should communicate
the discovery which they had made to one other
person, such as each should select from among
the circle of his friends as the one on whose re-
solution, prudence, and fidelity lie could most
implicitly rely. This was done, and the number


admitted to the secret was thus increased to
six. At this juncture it happened that Darius,
the son of Hystaspes, the young man who has
already been. mentioned as the subject of Cy-
rus's dream, came to Susa. Darius was a man
of great prominence and popularity. His father,
HIystaspes, was at, that time the governor of the
province of Persia, and Darius had been re-
siding with him in that country. As soon as
the six conspirators heard of his arrival, they
admitted him to their councils, and thus their
number was increased to seven.
They immediately began to hold secret con-
sultations for the purpose of determining how
it was best to proceed, first binding themselves
by the most solemn oaths never to betray one
another, however their undertaking might end,.
Darius told them that he had himself discovered
the imposture and usurpation of Smerdis, and
that he had come front Persia for the purpose
of slaying him ; and that now, since it appeared
that the secret was known to so many, he was
of opinion tlat they ought to act at once with
the utmost decision. lie thought there would
be great danger in delay.
Otancs, on the other hand, thought that they
were not yet ready for action. They must first
increase their numbers. Seven persons were
too few to attempt to revolutionize an empire.
He commended the courage and resolution



which Darius displayed, but he thought that a
more cautious and deliberate policy would be
far more likely to conduct them to a safe result.
Darius replied that the course which Otanes
recommended would certainly ruin them. If
we make many other persons acquainted with
our plans," said he, there will be some, not-
withstanding all our precautions, who will be-
tray us, for the sake of the immense rewards
which they well know they would receive in
that case from the king. No," he added, "C we
must act ourselves, and alone. WVe must do
nothing to excite suspicion, but must go at once
into the palace, penetrate boldly into Smerdis's
presence, and slay him before he has time to
suspect our designs."
But we can not get into his presence," re-
plied Otanes. There arc guards stationed at
every gate and door, who will not allow us to
pass. If we attempt to kill them, a tumult
will be immediately raised, and the alarm given,
and all our designs will thus be baffled."
There will be -little difficulty about the
guards," said Darius. "They know us all, and,
from deference to our rank and station, they
will let us pass without suspicion, especially if
we act boldly and promptly, and do not give
them time to stop and consider what to do.
Besides, I can say that I have just arrived from
Persia with important dispatches for the king,



and that I must be admitted immediately into
his presence. If a falsehood must be told, so
let it be. The urgency of the crisis demands
and sanctions it.
The other conspirators had remained silent
during this discussion between Darius and Ota-
nes ; but now a third, whose name was Gobryas,
expressed his opinion in favour of the course
which Darius recommended. iHe was aware,
he said, that, in attempting to force their way
into the king's presence and kill him by a sud-
den assault, they exposed themselves to the
most imminent danger; but it was better for
them to die in the manly attempt to bring back
the imperial power again into Persian hands,
where it properly belonged, than to acquiesce
any further in its-eontinuance in the possession
of the ignoble Median priests who had so treach-
erously usurped it.
To this counsel they all finally agreed, and
began to make arrangements for carrying their
desperate enterprise into execution.
In the mean time, very extraordinary events
were transpiring in another part of the city.
The two magi, Smerdis the king and Patizithes
his brother, had some cause, it seems, to fear
thait the nobles about the court, and the officers
of the Persian army, were not without suspicions
that the reigning monarch was not the real son
of Cyrus, Rumours that Smerdis had been



killed by Prexaspes, at the command of Cam-
byses, were in circulation. These rumours were
contradicted, it is true, in private, by Prexaspes,
whenever he was forced to speak of the subject;
but he generally avoided it ; and he spoke,
when he spoke at all, in that timid and unde-
cided tone which men usually assume when they
are persisting in a lie. In the mean time, the
gloomy recollections of his past life, the me-
mory of his murdered son, remorse for his own
crime in the assassination of Smerdis, and
anxiety on account of the extremely dangerous
position in which he had placed himself by his
false denial of it, all conspired to harass his
mind with perpetual restlessness and misery,
and to make life a burden.
In order to do something to quiet the suspi-
cious which the magni feared were prevailing,
they did not know how extensively, they con-
ceived the plan of inducing Prexaspes to declare
in a more public and formal manner what he
had be&n asserting timilly in private, namely,
that Smerdis had not been killed. They ac-
cordingly convened an assembly of the people
in a court-yard of the palace, or perhaps took ad-
vantage of some gathering casually convened,
and proposed that P'rexaspecs should address
them from a neighboring tower. Prexaspea
was a man of high rank and great influence.
and the .magi thought that his public espoius;l



of their cause, and his open and decided con-
tradiction of the rumour that he had killed
Cambyses's brother, would fully convince the
Persians that it was really the rightful monarch
that had taken possession of the throne.
But the strength even of a strong man, when
he has a lie to carry, soon becomes very small-
That of Prexaspes was already almost exhaust-
ed and gone. He had been wavering and hesi-
tating before, and this proposal, that he should
commit himself so formally and solemnly, and
in so public a manner, to statements wholly
and absolutely untrue, brought him to a stand.
lie decided, desperately, in his own mind, that
he would go on in his course of falsehood, re-
morse, and wretchedness no longer. He, how-
ever, pretended to accede to the propositions of
the magi. He ascended the tower, and began
to address the people. Instead, however, of de-
nying that he had murdered Smerdis, he fully
confessed to the astonished audience that he
had really committed that crime; he openly de-
nounced the reigning Smerdis as an impnostor,
and called upon all who heard him to rise at
once, destroy the treacherous usurper, and vin-
dicate the rights of the true Persian line. As
he went on, with vehement voice and gestures,
in this speech, the utterance of which he knew
sealed his own destruction, he became more and
more excited and reckless. IHe denounced his


hearers in the severest language if they failed
to obey his injunctions, and imprecated upon
them, in that event, all the curses of Heaven.
The people listened to this strange and sudden
phrensy of eloquence in utter amazement, mo-
tionless and silent ; and before they or the offi-
cers of the king's household who were present
had time even to consider what to do, Prexas-
pes, coming abruptly to the conclusion of his
harangue, threw himself headlong from the pa-
rapet of the tower, and came down among them,
lifeless and mangled, on the pavement below.
Of course, all was now tumult and commo-
tion in the court-yard, and it happened to be
just at this juncture that the seven conspirators
came from the place of their consultation to the
palace, with a view of executing their plans.
They were soon informed of what had taken
place. Otanes was now again disposed to post-
pone their attempt upon the life of the king.
The event which had occurred changed, he said,
the aspect of the subject, and they must wait
until the tumult and excitement should have
somewhat subsided. But Darius was more eager
than ever in favour of instantaneous action. lIe
said( that there was not a moment to be lost ; for
the magi, so soon as they should be informed of
the declarations and of the death of Prexaspes,
would be alarmed, and would take at once the



most effectual precautions to guard against any
sudden assault or surprise.
These arguments, at the very time in which
Darius was offering them.with so much vehe-
mence and earnestness, were strengthened by a
very singular sort of confirmation; for while the
conspirators stood undetermined, they saw a
flock of birds moving across the sky, whicb, on
their more attentively regarding them, proved to
be seven hawks pursuing two vultures. This
they regarded an omen, intended to signify to
them, by a divine intimation; that they ought to
proceed. They hesitated, therefore, no longer.
They went together to the outer gates of the
palace. The action of the guards who were sta-
tioned there was just what Darius had predicted
that it would be. Awed by the imposing spec-
tacle of the approach of seven nobles of the
highest distinction, who were advancing, too,
with an earnest and confident air, as if expect-
ing no obstacle to their admission, they gave
way at once, and allowed them to enter. The
conspirators went on until they came tp the
inner apartments, where they found eunuchs
in attendance at the doors. The eunuchs re-
sisted, and demanded angrily why the guards
had let the strangers in. Kill them," said
the conspirators, and immediately began to cut
them down. The magi were within, already in
consternation at the disclosures of Prexaspes,


of which they had just been informed. They
heard the tumult and the outcries of the eu-
nuchs at the doors, and seized their arms, the
one a bow and the other a spear. The conspir-
ators rushed in. The bow was useless in the
close combat which ensued, and the magian who
had taken it turned and fled. The other de-
fended himself with his spear for a moment, and
wounded severely two of his assailants. The
wounded conspirators fell. Three others of the
number continued the unequal combhat with the
armed magian, while Darius and Gobryas rushed
in pursuit of the other.
The flying magian ran from one apartment
to another until he reached a dark room, into
which the blind instinct of fear prompted him
to rush, in the vain hope of concealment. Go-
brvas was foremost; he seized the wretched fu-
gitive by the waist, and struggled to hold him,
while the magian struggled to get free. Go-
brvas called upon Darius, who was close behind
him, to strike. Darius, brandishing his sword,
looked earnestly into the obscure retreat, that
he might see where to strike.
Strike !" exclaimed Gobryas. "Why do
you not strike ?"
"' I can not see," said Darius, and I am
afraid of wounding you."
No matter," said Gobryas, struggling des-
perately all the time with his frantic victim.
" Strike quick, if you kill us both."


Darius struck. Gobryas loosened his hold,
and the magian fell upon the floor, and there,
stabbed again through the heart by Darius's
sword, almost immediately ceased to breathe.
They dragged the body to the light, and cut
off the head. They did the same with the other
magian, whom they found that their confeder-
ates had killed when they returned to the apart-
ments where they had left them contending.
The whole body of the conspirators then, except
the two were wounded, exulting in their success,
and wild with the excitement which such deeds
always awaken, went forth into the streets of
the city, bearing the heads upon pikes as the
trophies of their victory. They summoned the
Persian soldiers to arms, and announced every
where that they had ascertained that the king
was a priest and an impostor, and not their le-
gitimate sovereign, and that they had conse-
quently killed him. They called upon the
people to kill the magians wherever they could
find them, as if the whole class were implicated
in the guilt of the usurping brothers.
The populace in all countries are easily ex-
cited by such denunciation and appeals as these.
The Persians armed themselves, and ran to and
fro every where in pursuit of the unhappy ma-
gians, and before night vast numbers of them
*were slain.






FoR several days after the assassination of the
magi the city was filled with excitement, tu-
mults, and confusion. There was no heir, of
the family of Cyrus, entitled to succeed to the
vacant throne, for neither Cambyses, nor
Smerdis his brother, had left any sons. There
was, indeed, a daughter of Smerdis, named
Parmys, and there were also still living two
daughters of Cyrus. One was Atossa, whom
we have already mentioned as having been mar-
ried to Cambyses, her brother, and as having
been afterward taken by Smerdis the magian as
one of his wives; These princesses, though of
royal lineage, seem neither of them to have
been disposed to assert any claims to the throne
at such a crisis. The mass of the community
were stupefied with astonishment at the sudden
revolution which had occurred. No movement
was made toward determining the succession.
For five days nothing was done.
During this period, all the subordinate fune-
tions of government in the provinces, cities,
and towns, and among the various garrisons antd
encampments of 'the army, went on, of course,
as usual, but the general administration of the
government had no head. The seven con-

federates had been regarded, for the time being,
as a sort of provisional government, the army
and the country in general, so far as appears,
looking to them for the means of extrication
from the political difficulties in which this
sudden revolution had involved them, and sub-
mitting, in the mean time, to their direction
und control. Such a state of things, it was
obvious, could not long last ; and after live
days, when the commotion had somewhat sub-
sided, they began to consider it necessary to
make some arrangements of a more permanent
-character, the power to make such arrange-
ments as they thought best resting with them
alone. They accordingly met for consultation.
Herodotus the historian,* on whose narrative
.of these events we have mainly to rely for all
the information respecting them which is now
to be attained, gives a very minute and dramatic
account of the deliberations of the conspirators
on this occasion. The account is, in fact, too
dramatic to be probably true.
Otanes, in this discussion, was in favour of
establishing a republic. He did not think it
safe or wise to intrust the supreme power again
to any single individual. It was proved, he

An account of IHerodotus, and of the circum-
cumstances under which he wrote his history, will
be found in the first chapter of our history of Cyrus
-the Great.


said, by universal experience, that when any
one person was raised to such an elevation above
his fellow-men, he became suspicious, jealous,
insolent, and cruel. Hie lost all regard for the
welfare and happiness of others, and became
supremely devoted to the preservation of his
own greatness and power by any means, how-
ever tyrannical, and to the accomplishment of
the purposes of his own despotic will. The
best and most valuable citizens were as likely
to become the victims of his oppression as the
worst. In fact, tyrants generally chose their
favourites, he said, from among the most aban-
doned men and women in their realms, such
characters being the readiest instruments of
their guilty pleasures and their crimes. Otanes
referred very particularly to the case of Cam-
byses as an example of the extreme lengths to
which the despotic insolence and cruelty of a
tyrant could go. He reminded his colleagues
of the sufferings and terrors which they had
endured while under his sway, and urged them
very strongly not to expose themselves to such
terrible evils and dangers again. He proposed,
therefore, that they should establish a republic,
under which the officers of government should
be elected, and questions of public policy be
determined, in assemblies of the people.
The name of the second speaker in this cele-
brated consultation was Megabyzus. He op-



posed the plan of Otanes. He concurred fully,
le said, in all that Otanes had advanced in re-
spect to the evils of a monarchy, and to the
oppression and tyranny to which a people were
exposed whose liberties and lives were subject
to the despotic control of a single human will.
But, in order to avoid one extreme, it was not
necessary to run into the evils of the other.
The disadvantages and dangers of popular con-
troul in the management of the affairs of state
were scarcely less than those of a despotism.
Popular assemblies were always, he said, tur-
bulent, passionate, capricious. Their decisions
were controlled by artful and designing dema-
gogues. It was not possible that masses of the
common people could have either the -sagacity
to form' wise counsels, or the energy and stead-
iness to execute them. There could be no de-
liberation, no calmness, no secrecy in their con-
sultations. A populace was always governed
by excitements, which spread among them by
a common sympathy ; and they would give way
impetuously to the most senseless impulses, as
they were urged by their fear, their resentment,
their exultation, their hate, or by any other
passing emotion of the hour.
Megabyzus therefore disapproved of both a
monarchy and a republic. Hle recommended
an oligarchy. We are now," said lie, "al-
ready seven. Let us select from the leading



nobles in the court and officers of the army a
small number of men, eminent for talents and
virtue, and thus form a select and cotnpetent
body of men, which shall be the depository of
the supreme power. Such a plan avoids the
evils and inconveniences of both the other sys-
tems. There can be no tyranny or oppression
under such a system; for, if any one of so large
a number should be inclined to abuse his power,
he will be restrained by the rest. On the other
hand, the number will not be so large as to
preclude prudence and deliberation in counsel,
and the highest efficiency and energy in carry-
ing counsels into effect."
When Megabyzus had completed his speech,
Darius expressed his opinion. He said that the
arguments of those who had already spoken ap-
peared plausible, but that the speakers had not
dealt quite fairly by the different systems whose
merits they had discussed, since they had com-
pared a good administration of one form of go-
vernment with a bad administration of another.
Every thing human was, he admitted, subject
to imperfection and liable to abuse ; but on the
supposition that each of the three forms which
had been proposed were equally well adminis-
tered, the advantage, he thought, would lie
strongly on the side of monarchy. Control ex-
ercised by a single mind and will was far more
concentrated and efficient than that proceeding


from any conceivable combination. The form-
ing of plans could be, in that case, more secret
and wary, and the execution of them more im-
mediate and prompt. Where power was lodged
in many hands, all energetic exercise of it was
paralyzed by the dissensions, the animosities,
and the contending struggles of envious and
jealous rivals. These struggles, in-fact, usually
resulted in the predominance of some one, more
energetic or more successful than the rest, the
aristocracy or the democracy running thus, of
its own accord, to a despotism in the end, show-
ing that there were natural causes always tend-
ing to the subjection of nations of men to the
control of one single will.
Besides all this, Darius added, in conclusion,
that the Persians had always been accustomed
to a monarchy, and it would be a very danger-
ous experiment to attempt to introduce a new
system, which would require so entire a change
in all the habits and usages of the people.
Thus the consultation went on. At the end
of it, it appeared that four out of the seven
agreed with Darius in preferring a monarchy.
This was a majority, and thus the question
seemed to be settled. Otanes said that he
would make no opposition to any measures
which they might adopt to carry their decision
into effect, but that he would not himself be
subject to the monarchy which they might es-


tablish. "' I. do not wish," he added, either
to govern others or to have others govern me.
You may establish a kingdom, therefore, if you
choose, and designate the monarch in any mode
that you see fit to adopt, but he must not con-
sider me as one of his subjects. I myself, and
all my family and dependents, must be wholly
free from his controll"
This was a very unreasonable proposition.
unless, indeed, Otanes was willing to withdraw
altogether from the community to which he
thus refused to be subject; for, by residing
within it, he necessarily enjoyed its protection,
and ought, therefore, to bear his portion of' its
burdens, and to be amenable to its laws. Not-
withstanding this, however, the conspirators
acceded to the proposal, and Otanes withdrew.
The remaining six of the confederates then
proceeded with their arrangements for the es-
tablishment of a monarchy. They first agreed
that one of their own number should be the
king, and that on whomsoever the choice should
fall, the other five, while they submitted to his
dominion, should always enjoy peculiar privi-
leges and honors at his court. They were at
all tiules to have free access to the palaces and
to the presence of the king, and it was from
among their daughters alone that the king was
to choose his wxves- These and some other
similar points having been arranged, the man-



ner of deciding which of the six should be the
king remained to be determined. The plan
which they adopted, and the circumstances con-
nected with the execution of it, constitute, cer-
tainly, one of the most extraordinary of all the
strange transactions recorded in ancient times.
It is gravely related by IHerodotus as sober
They agreed, then, that on the following
morning they should all meet on horseback at
a place agreed upon beyond the walls of the
city, and that the one whose horse should neigh
first should he the king! The time when this
ridiculous ceremony was to be performed was
As soon as this arrangement was made the
parties separated, and each went to his own
home. Darius called his groom, whose name
was CEbases, and ordered him to have his horse
ready at sunrise on the next morning, explain-
ing to him, at the same time, the plan which
had been formed for electing the king. If
that is the mode which is to be adopted," said
(Ebases, you need have no concern, for I can
arrange it very easily so as to have the lot fall
upon you." Darius expressed a strong desire
to have this accomplished, if it were possible,
and (Ebases went away.
The method which (Ebases adopted was to
lead Darius's horse out to the ground tlat even-



ing, in company with another, the favourite com-
panion, it seems, of the animal. Now the at-
tachment of the horse to his companion is very
strong, and his recollection of localities very
vivid, and (Ebases expected that when the horse
should approach the ground on the following
morning, he would be reminded of the company
which he enjoyed there the night before, and
neigh. The result was as he anticipated. As
the horsemen rode up to the appointed place,
the horse of Darius neighed the first, and Da-
rius was unanimously acknowledged king.
The account is seriously recorded by Hlerodo-
tus as sober history, and the story has been re-
lated ggain and again, from that day to this, by
every successive generation of historians, with-
out any particular question of its truth.
In deciding which of their number should be
king, they thought nothing of the interests of
the vast realms, and of the countless millions
of people whose government was to he provided
for. The question, as they considered it, was
doubtless merely which of them should have
possession of the royal palaces, and be the ccn-
tre and the object of royal pomp and parade in
the festivities and celebrations of the capital.
And in the mode of decision which they adopt -
ed, it may be that some degree of superstitions
feeling mingled. The notions and the voices o(
animals were considered, in those days, as su-


pernatural omens, indicating the will of heaven.
These conspirators may have expected, accord-
ingly, in the neighing of the horse, a sort of di-
vine intimation in respect to the disposition of
the crown. This idea is confirmed by the state-
ment which the account of this transaction con-
tains, that immediately after the neighing of
Darius's horse, it thundered, although there
were no clouds in the sky from which the thun-
der could be supposed naturally to come.. The
conspirators, at all events, considered it solemnly
decided that Darius was to bc king. They all
dismounted from their horses and knelt around
him, in acknowledgment of their allegiance and
It seems that Darius, after he became estab-
lished on his throne, considered the contrivance
by which, through the assistance of his groom,
he had obtained the prize, not as an act of fraud
which it was incumbent on him to conceal, but
as one of brilliant sagacity which he was to avow
and glory in. lie caused a magnificent eques-
trian statue to be sculptured, representing him-
self mounted on his neighing horse. This sta-
tue he set up in a public place with this inscrip-
tion :




SEVERAL. of the events and incidents which oc-
curred immediately after the accession of Darius
to the throne, illustrate in a striking manner
the degree in which the princes and potentates
of ancient days were governed by caprice and
passionate impulse even in their public acts.
One of the most remarkable of these was the
case of Intaphernes.
Intaphernes was one of the seven conspira-
tors who combined to depose the magian and
place Darius on the throne. By the agreement
which they made with each other before it was
decided which should be the king, each of them
was to have free access to the king's presence
at all times. One evening, soon after Darius
became established on his throne, Intaphernes
went to the palace, and was proceeding to enter
the apartment of the king without ceremony,
when he was stopped by two officers, who told
him that the king had retired. Intaphernes
was incensed at the officers' insolence, as be
called it. He drew his sword, and cut off their
noses and their ears. Then be took the bridle
off from his horse at the palace gate, and tied


the officers together ; and then, leaving them
in this helpless and miserable condition, he
went away.
The officers immediately repaired to the king,
and presented themselves to him, a frightful
spectacle, wounded and bleeding, and complain-
ing bitterly of Intaphernes as the author of the
injuries which they had received. The king was
at first alarmed for his own safety. lie feared
that the conspirators had all combined together
to rebel against his authority, and that this dar-
ing insult offered to his personal attendants, in
his very palace, was the first outbreak of it.
He accordingly sent for the conspirators, one by
one, to ask of them whether they approved of
what Intaphernes had done. They promptly
disavowed all connection with Intaphernes in
the act, and all approval of it, and declared
their determination to adhere to the decision
tlat they had made, by which Darius had been
placed on the throne.
Darius then, after taking proper precautions
to guard against any possible attempts at resist-
nzele, sent soldiers to seize Intaphernes, and
also his son, and all of his family, relatives, and
friends who were capable of bearing arms; for
he suspected that Intaphernes had meditated a
rebellion, and he thought that, if so, these men
would most probably be his accomplices. The
prisoners were brought before him. There was,


indeed, no proof that they were engaged in any
plan of rebellion, nor even that any plan of re-
bellion whatever had been formed ; but this cir-
cumstance afforded them no protection. The
liberties and the lives of all subjects were at the
supreme and absolute disposal of these ancient
kings. Darius thought it possible that the
prisoners had entertained, or might entertain,
some treasonable designs, and he conceived that
he should, accordingly, feel safer if they were
removed out of the way. He decreed, therefore,
that they must all die.
While the preparations were making for the
execution, the wife of Intaphernes came con-
tinually to the palace of Darius, begging for an
audience, that she might intercede for the lives
of her friends. Darius was informed of this,
and at last, pretending to be moved with com-
passion for her distress, he sent her word that
he would pardon one of the criminals for her
sake, and that she might decide which one it
should be.. His real motive in making this pro-
posal seems to have been to enjoy the perplex-
ity and anguish which the heart of a woman
must suffer in being compelled thus to decide,
in a question of life and death, between a hus-
band and son.
The wife of Intaphernes did not decide in
favour of either of these. She gave the prefer-
ence, on the other hand, to a brother. Darius
F 2



was very much surprised at this result, and sent
a messenger to her to inquire how it happened
that she could pass over and abandon to their
fate her husband and her son, in order to save
the life of her brother, who was certainly to be
presumed less near and dear to her. To which
she gave this extraordinary reply, that the loss
of her husband and her son might perhaps be
repaired, since it was not impossible that she
might be married again, and that she might have
another son; but that, inasmuch as both her
father and mother were dead, she could never
have another brother. The death of her pre-
sent brother would, therefore, be an irreparable
The king was so much pleased with the nov-
elty and unexpectedness of this turn of thought,
that he gave her the life of her son in addition
to that of her brother. All the rest of the family
circle of relatives and friends, together with
Intaphernes himself, he ordered to be slain.
Darius had occasion to be so much displeased,
too, shortly after his accession to the throne,
with the governor of one of his provinces, that
he was induced to order him to be put to death.
The circumstances connected with this govern-
or's crime, and the manner of his execution,
illustrate very forcibly the kind of government
which was administered by these military des-
pots in ancient times. It must be premised


that great empires, like that over which Darius
had been called to rule, were generally divided
into provinces. There were governors stationed
over these provinces, whose main duty it was to
collect and remit to the king the tribute which
the province was required to furnish him. These
governors were, of course, also to suppress any
domestic outbreak of violence, and to repel any
foreign invasion which might occur. A suffici-
ent military force was placed at their disposal
to enable them to fulfil these functions. They
paid these troops, of course, from sums which
they collected in their provinces under the same
system by which they collected the tribute.
This made them, in a great measure, independ-
ent of the king in the maintenance of their
armies. They thus intrenched themselves in
their various capitals at the head of these troops,
and reigned over their respective dominions
almost as if they were kings themselves. They
had, in fact, very little connection with the su-
preme monarch, except to send him the annual
tribute which they had collected from their peo-
ple, and to furnish, also, their quota of troops
in case of a national war. In the time of our
Saviour, Pilate was such a governor, intrusted
by the Romans with the charge of Judea, anti
Matthew was one of the tax gatherers employed
to collect the tribute.
Oretes was the name of one of these govern-

ors in the time of Darius. Hle had been placed
by Cyrus, some years before, in charge of one
of the provinces into which the kingdom of
Lydia had been divided. The seat of govern-
ment was Sardis. He was a capricious and cruel
tyrant, as in fact, almost all such governors
were. We will relate an account of one of the
deeds which he performed some time before
Darius ascended the throne, and which suffi-
ciently illustrates his character.
He was one day sitting at the gates of his
palace in Sardis, in conversation with the gover-
nor of a neighboring territory who had come
to visit him. The name of this guest was Mit-
robates. As the two friends were boasting to
one another, as such warriors are accustomed
to do, of the deeds of valour and prowess which
they had respectively performed, Mitrobates
said that Oretes could not make any great pre-
tensions to enterprise and bravery so long as
he allowed the Greek island of.Samos, which
was situated at a short distance from the Lydian
coast, to reniain independent, when it would
be so easy to annex it to the Persian empire.
"" You are afraid of Polycrates, I suppose," said
he. Polycrates was the king of Samos.
Oretes was stung by this taunt, but, instead
of revenging himself on Mitrobates, the author
of it, he resolved on destroying Polycrates,
though he had no reason other than this for any
feeling of enmity toward Lhim,

Polycrates, although the seat of his dominion
was a small island in the AEgean Sea, was a
very wealthy, and powerful, and prosperous
prince. All his plans and enterprises had been
remarkably successful. He had built and equip-
ped a powerful fleet, and had conquered many
islands in the neighbourhood of his own. He
was projecting still wider schemes of conquest,
and hoped, in fact, to make himself the master
of all the seas.
A very curious incident is related of Poly-
crates, which illustrates very strikingly the child-
ish superstition which governed the minds of
men in those ancient days. It seems that in
the midst of his prosperity, his friend and ally,
the King of Egypt-for these events, though
narrated here, occurred before the invasion of
Egypt by C(ambyses-sent to him a letter, of
which the following is the purport.

Amasis, king of Egypt, to P'olycrates.
It always gives me great satisfaction and
pleasure to hear of the prosperity of a friend
and ally, unless it is too absolutely continuous
and uninterrupted. Something like an alterna-
tion of good and ill fortune is best for man; I
have never known an instance of a very long-
continued course of unmingled and uninter-
rupted success that did not end, at last, in
overwhelming and terrible calamity. I am -


anxious, therefore, for you, and my anxiety will
greatly increase if this extraordinary and un-
broken prosperity should continue much longer.
I counsel you, therefore, to break the current
yourself, if fortune will not break it. Bring
upon yourself some calamity, or loss, or suffer-
ing, as a means of averting the heavier evils
which will otherwise inevitably befal you. It
is a general and substantial welfare only that
can be permanent and final."

Polycrates seemed to think there was good
sense in this suggestion. He began to look
around him to see in what way he could bring
upon himself some moderate calamity or loss,
and at length decided on the destruction of a
very valuable signet ring which he kept among
his treasures. The ring was made with very
costly jewels set in gold, and was much cele-
brated both for its exquisite workmanship and
also for its intrinsic value. The loss of this
ring would be, he thought, a sufficient calamity
to break the evil charm of an excessive and
unvaried current of good fortune. Polycrates,
therefore, ordered one of the largest vessels in
his navy, a fifty-oared galley, to be equipped
and manned, and, embarking in it with a large
company of attendants, be put to sea. When
lie was at some distance from the island, he
took the ring, and in the presence of all his at-


tendants, he threw it forth into the water,
and saw it sink, to rise, as he supposed, no
But Fortune, it seems, was not to be thus
outgeneraled. A few days after Polycrates had
returned, a certain fisherman on the coasts took,
in his nets, a fish of very extraordinary size and
beauty ; so extraordinary, in fact, that he felt
it incumbent on him to make a present of it to
the king. The servants of Polycrates, on open-
ing the fish for the purpose of preparing it for
the table, to their great astonishment and gra-
tification, found the ring within. The king was
overjoyed at thus recovering his lost treasure;
he had, in fact, repented of his rashness in
throwing it away, and had been bitterly lament-
ing its loss. His satisfaction and pleasure were,
therefore, very great in regaining it; and he
immediately sent to Amasis an account of the
whole transaction, expecting that Amasis would
share in his joy.
Ampsis, however, sent back word to him in
reply, that he considered the return of the ring
in that almost miraculous manner as an ex-
tremely unfavourable omen. I fear," said he,
'" that it is decreed by the Fates that you must
be overwhelmed, at last, by some dreadful cala-
mity, and that no measures of precaution which
you can adopt will avail to avert it. It seems
to me, too," he added, that it is incumbent

on me to withdraw from all alliance and con-
nexion with you, lest I should also, at last, be
involved in your destined destruction."
Whether this extraordinary story was true,
or whether it was all fabricated, after the fall
of Polycrates, as a dramatic embellishment of
his history, we cannot now know. The result,
however, corresponded with these predictions of
Amasis, if they were really made ; for it was
soon after these events that the conversation
took place at Sardis between Oretes and Mitro-
bates, at the gates of the palace, which led
Oretes to determine on effecting Polycrates's
In executing the plans which he thus formed,
Oretes had not the courage and energy neces-
sary for an open attack on Polycrates, and he
consequently resolved on attempting to accom-
plish his end by treachery and stratagem.
The plan which he devised was this : Hle sent
a messenger to Polycrates with a letter of the
following purport ;

Oretes, governor of Sardis, to Polycrates of
I am aware, sire, of the plans which you
have long been entertaining for extending your
power among the islands and over the waters
of the Mediterranean, until you shall have ac-
quired the supreme and absolute dominion oe


the seas. I should like to join you in this en-
terprise. You have ships and men, and I have
money. Let us enter into an alliance with
each other. I have accumulated in my trea-
suries a large supply of gold and silver, which I
will furnish for the expenses of the undertak-
ing. If you have any doubt of my sincerity in
making these offers, and of my ability to fulfil
them, send some messenger in whom you have
confidence, and I will lay the evidence before

Polycrates was much pleased at the prospect
of a large accession to his funds, and he sent
the messenger, as Oretes had proposed. Oretes
prepared to receive him by filling a large num-
ber of boxes nearly full with heavy stones, and
then placing a shallow layer of gold or silver
coin on the top. These boxes were then suit-
ably covered and secured, with the fastenings
usually adopted in those days, and placed away
in the royal treasuries. When the messenger
arrived, the boxes were brought out and open-
ed, and were seen by the messenger to be full,
as he supposed, of gold and silver treasure.
The messenger went back to Polycrates, and
reported that all which Oretes had said was
true ; and Polycrates then determined to go to
the main land himself to pay Oretes a visit, that
they might mature together their plans for the



intended campaigns. He ordered a fifty-oared
galley to be prepared to convey him.
His daughter felt a presentiment, it seems,
that some calamity was impending. She earn-
estly entreated her father not to go. She had
had a dream, she said, about him, which had
frightened her excessively, and which she was
convinced portended some terrible danger. Poly-
crates paid no attention to his daughter's warn-
ings. She urged them more and more earn-
estly, until, at last she made her father angry,
and then she desisted. Polycrates then em-
barked on board his splendid galley, and sailed
away. As soon as he landed in the dominions
of Oretes, the monster seized him and put him
to death, and then ordered his body to be nailed
to a cross, for exhibition to all the passers by,
as a public spectacle. The train of attendants
and servants that accompanied Polycrates on
this expedition were all made slaves, except a
few persons of distinction, who were sent home
in a shameful and disgraceful manner. Among
the attendants who were detained in captivity
by Oretes was a celebrated family physician,
named Democedes, whose remarkable and ro-
mantic adventures will be the subject of the
next chapter.
Oretes committed several other murders and
assassinations in this treacherous manner, with-
out any just ground for provocation. In these




deeds of violence and cruelty, he seems to have
acted purely under the influence of that wanton
and capricious malignity which the possession
of absolute and irresponsible power so often
engenders in the minds of bad men. It is
doubtful, however, whether these cruelties and
crimes would have particularly attracted the
attention of Darius, so long as he was not him-
self directly affected by them. The central
government, in these ancient empires, generally
interested itself very little in the contentions
and quarrels of the governors of the provinces,
provided that the tribute was efficiently col-
lected and regularly paid.
A case, however, soon occurred, in Oretes's
treacherous and bloody career, which arrested
the attention of Darius and aroused his ire.
Darius had sent a messenger to Oretes, with
certain orders, which, it seems, Oretes did not
like to obey. After delivering his dispatches,
the bearer set out on his return, and was never
afterward heard of. Darius ascertained, to his
own satisfaction at least, that Oretes had caused
his messenger to be waylaid and killed, and
that the bodies both of horse and rider had been
buried, secretly, in the solitudes of the moun-
tains, in order to conceal the evidences of the
Darius determined on punishing this crime.
Some consideration was, however, required, in


order to determine in what way his object could
best be effected. The province of Oretes was
at a great distance from Susa, and Oretes was
strongly established there, at the head of a great
force. His guards were bound, it is true, to
obey the orders of Darius, but it was question-
able whether they would do so. To raise an
army and march against the rebellious gover-
nor would be an expensive and hazardous under-
taking, and perhaps, too it would prove that
such a measure was not necessary. All things
considered, Darius determined to try the expe-
riment of acting, by his own direct orders, upon
the troops and guards in Oretes's capital, with
the intention of resorting subsequently to an
armed force of his own, if that should be at last
lie accordingly called together a number of
his officers and nobles, selecting those on whose
resolution and fidelity he could most confidently
rely, and made the following address to them :
I have an enterprise which I wish to com-
mit to the charge of some one of your number
who is willing to undertake it, which requires
no military force, and no violent measures of
any kind, but only wisdom, sagacity, and cour-
age. I wish to have Oretes, the governor of
Sardis, brought to me dead or alive. He has
perpetrated innumerable crimes, and now in
addition to Iall his other deeds of treacherous



violence, he has had the intolerable insolence to
put to death one of my messengers. Which of
you will volunteer to bring him,' dead or alive
to me ?"
This proposal awakened a great enthusiasm
among the nobles to whom it was addressed.
Nearly thirty of them volunteered their services
to execute the order. Darius concluded to de-
cide between these competitors by lot. The
lot fell upon a certain man named Bagamus, and
he immediately began to form his plans and
make his arrangements for the expedition.
Hie caused a number of different orders to be
prepared, beginning with directions of little mo-
ment, and proceeding to commands of more and
more weighty importance, all addressed to the
officers of Oretes's army and to his guards.
These orders were all drawn up in writing with
great formality, and were signed by the name
of Darius, and sealed with his seal; they, more-
over, named Bagaeus as the officer selected by
the king to superintend the execution of them.
Provided with these documents, Bagaeus pro-
ceeded to Sardis, and presented himself at the
court of Oretes. IHe presented his own personal
credentials, and with them some of his most
insignificant orders. Neither Oretes -nor his
guards felt any disposition to disobey them.
Bagaeus, being thus received and recognized as
the envoy of the king, continued to present new



decrees and edicts, from time to time, as occa-
sions occurred in which he thought the guards
would be ready to obey them, until he found the
habit, on their part, of looking to him as the
representative of the supreme power sufficiently
established; for their disposition to obey him
was not merely tested, it was strengthened by
every new act of obedience. When he found,
at length, that his hold upon the guards was
sufficiently strong, he produced his two final
decrees, one ordering the guards to depose
Oretes from his power, and the other to behead
him. Both the commands were obeyed.
The events and incidents which have been
described in this chapter were of no great im-
portance in themselves, but they illustrate, more
forcibly than any general description would do,
the nature and the operation of the government
exercised by Darius throughout the vast empire
over which he found himself presiding.
Such personal and individual contests and
transactions were not all that occupied his at-
tention. He devoted a great deal of thought
and of time to the work of arranging, in a dis-
tinct and systematic manner, the division of his
dominions into provinces, and to regulating pre-
cisely the amount of tribute to be required of
each, and the modes of collecting it. He di-
vided his empire into twenty great districts, each
of which was governed by a ruler called a satrap.



He fixed the amount of tribute which each of
these districts was to pay, making it greater
or less as the soil and the productions of the
country varied in fertility and abundance, In
some cases this tribute was to be paid in gold,
in others in silver, and in others in peculiar com-
modities, natural to the country of w which they
were required. For example, one satrapy, which
comprised a country famous for its horses, was
obliged to furnish one white horse for every day
in the year. This made three hundred and
sixty annually, that being the number of days
in the Persian year. Such a supply, furnished
yearly, enabled the king soon to have a very large
troop of white horses; and as the horses were
beautifully caparisoned, and the riders magnifi-
cently armed, the body of cavalry thus formed
was one of the most splendid in the world.
The satrapies were numbered from the west
toward the cast. The western portion of Asia
Minor constituted the first, and the East Indian
nations the twelfth and the last. The East In-
dians had to pay their tribute in ingots of gold.
Their country produced gold.
As it is now for ever too late to separate the
facts from the fiction of ancient history, and de-
termine what is to be rejected as false and what
received as true, our only resource is to tell the
whole story just as it comes down to us, leaving
it to each reader to decide for himself what he



will believe. In this view of the subject, we
will conclude this chapter by relating the man-
ner in which it was said in ancient times that
these Indian nations obtained their gold.
The gold country was situated in remote and
dreary deserts, inhabited only by wild beasts and
vermin, among which last there was, it seems, a
species of ants, which were of enormous size,
and wonderful fierceness and voracity, and which
could run faster than the fleetest horse or camel.
These ants, in making their excavations, would
bring up from beneath the surface of the ground
all the particles of gold which came in their way,
and throw them out around their hills. The
Indians then would penetrate into these deserts,
mounted on the fleetest camels that they could
procure, and leading other camels, not so fleet,
by their sides. They were provided, also, with
bags for containing the golden sands. When
they arrived at the ant hills, they would dis-
mount, and, gathering up the gold which the
ants had discarded, would fill their bags with
the utmost possible dispatch, and then mount
their camels and ride away. The ants, in the
mean time, would take the alarm, and begin to
assemble to attack them ; but as their instinct
prompted them to wait until considerable num-
bers were collected before they commenced their
attack, the Indians had time to fill their bags and
begin their flight before their enemies were



ready. Then commenced the chase, the camels
running at their full speed, and the swarms of
ants following, and gradually drawing nearer
and nearer. At length, when nearly overtaken,
the Indians would abandon the camels that they
were leading, and fly on, more swiftly, upon
those which they rode. While the ants were busy
in devouring the victims thus given up to them,
the authors of all the mischief would make good
their escape, and thus carry off their gold to a
place of safety. These famous ants were bigger
than foxes !



THE great event in the history of Darius-the
one, in fact, on account of which it was, mainly,
that his name and his career have been so widely
celebrated among mankind, was an attempt
which he made, on a very magnificent scale, for
the invasion and conquest of Greece. Before
commencing active operations in this grand un-
dertaking, he sent a reconnoitering party to
examine and explore the ground. This recon-
noitering party met with a variety of extraordi-
nary adventures in the course of its progress,
and the history of it will accordingly form the
subject of this chapter.
G 2



The guide to this celebrated reconnoitering
party was a certain Greek physician named
Democedes. Though Democedes was called a
Greek, he was, really, an Italian by birth. His
native town was Crotona, which may be found
exactly at the ball of the foot on the map of
Italy. It was by a very singular series of ad-
ventures that he passed from this remote village
in the west, over thousands of miles by land and
sea, to Susa, Darius's capital. lie began by
running away from his father while he was still
a boy. He said that he was driven to this step
by the intolerable strictness an'd cruelty of his
father's government.
Democedes was ingenious and cunning, and
fond of roving adventure. In running away
from home, he embarked on board a ship, and
went to sea. After meeting with various ad-
ventures, he established himself in the island of
Egina, in the jEgean Sea, where he began to
practice as a physician, though he had had no
regular education in that art. In his practice
be evinced so much medical skill, or, at least,
exercised so much adroitness in leading people
to believe that he possessed it, as to give him
very soon a wide and exalted reputation. The
people of Egina appointed him their physician,
and assigned him a large salary for his services
in attending upon the sick throughout the
island. This was the usual practice in those



days. A town, or an island, or any circum-
scribed district of country, would appoint a
physician as a public officer, who was to devote
his attention, at a fixed annual salary, to any
cases of sickness which might arise in the com-
munity, wherever his services were needed, pre-
cisely as physicians serve in hospitals and public
institutions in modern times.
Democedes remained at XEgina two years,
during which time his celebrity increased and
extended more and more, until, at length, he
received an appointment from the city of Athens,
with the offer of a greatly increased salary. lie
accepted the appointment, and remained in
Athens one year, when he received still more
advantageous offers from Polycrates, the king
of Samos, whose history was given so fully in
the last chapter.
Democedes remained for some time in the
court of Polycrates, where he was raised to the
highest distinction, and loaded with many ho-
nours. lie was a member of the household of
the king, enjoyed his confidence in a high de-
gree, and attended him, personally, on all his
expeditions. At last, when Polycrates went to
Sardis, as is related in the last chapter, to re-
ceive the treasures of Oretes, and concert with
him the plans for their proposed campaigns,
Democedes accompanied him as usual; and
when Polycrates was slain, and his attendants


and followers were made captives by Oretes, the
unfortunate physician was among the number.
By this reverse, he found that he had suddenly
fallen from affluence, ease, and honor, to the
condition of a neglected and wretched captive
in the hanls of a malignant and merciless ty-
Democedes pined in this confinement for a
long time; when, at length, Oretes himself was
killed by the order of Darius, it might have
been expected that the hour -of his deliverance
had arrived. But it was not so; his condition
was, in fact, made worse, and not better by it ;
for Bagaeus, the commissioner of Darius, instead
of inquiring into the circumstances relating to
the various members of Oretes's family, and
redressing the wrongs which any of them might
be suffering, simply seized the whole company
and brought them all to Darius in Susa, as
trophies of his triumph, and tokens of the faith-
fulness and efficiency with which he had exe-
cuted the work that Darius had committed to
his charge. Thus Democedes was borne away,
in hopeless bondage, thousands of miles farther
from his native land than before, and with very
little prospect of being ever able to return.
HIe arrived at Susa, destitute, squalid, and
miserable. His language was foreign, his rank
and his professional skill unknown, and all the
marks which might indicate the refinement and



delicacy of the modes of life to which he had
been accustomed where wholly disguised by his
present destitution and wretchedness. He was
sent with the other captives to the prisons,
where he was secured, like them, with fetters
and chains, and was soon almost entirely for-
He might have taken some measures for
making his character, and his past celebrity
and fame as a physician known; but he did not
dare to do this, for fear that Darius might learn
to value his medical skill, and so detain him as
a slave for the sake of his services. He thought
that the chance was greater that some turn of
fortune, or some accidental change in the ar-
rangements of government might take place, by
Which he might be set at liberty, as an insig-
nificant and worthless captive, whom there was
no particular motive for detaining, that if he
were transferred to the king's household as a
slave, and his value as an artisan-for medical
practice was, in those days, simply an art-were
once known. HIe made no effort, therefore, to
bring his true character to light, but pined
silently in his dungeon, in rags and wretched-
ness, and in a mental despondency which was
gradually sinking into despair.
About this time, it happened that Darius was
one day riding furiously in a chase, and coming
upon some sudden danger, he attempted to leap



from his horse. He fell and sprained his ancle.
He was taken up by the attendants, and carried
home. His physicians were immediately called
to attend to the case. They were Egyptians.
Egypt was, in fact, considered the great seat
and centre of learning and of the arts in those
days, and no royal household was complete
without Egyptian physicians.
The learning and skill, however, of the Egyp-
tians in Darius's court were entirely baffled by
the sprain. They thought that the joint was
dislocated, and they turned and twisted the foot
with so much violence, in their attempts to re-
store the bones to their proper position, as great-
ly to increase the pain and the inflammation.
Darius spent a week in extreme and excruci-
ating suffering. He could not sleep clay nor
night, but tossed in continual restlessness and
anguish on his couch, made constantly worse
instead of better by every effort of his physi-
cians to relieve him.
At length somebody informed him that there
was a Greek physician among the captives that
came from Sardis, and recommended that Da-
rius should send for him. The king, in his im-
patience and pain, was ready for any experi-
inent which promised the least hope of relief,
and he ordered that Democedes should be im-
mediately summoned. The officers accordingly
Y-ent to the prison and brought out the- astou-


ished captive, without any notice or prepara-
tion, and conducted him, just as he was, rag-
ged and wretched, and shackled with iron fet-
ters upon his feet, into the presence of the king.
The fetters which such captives wore were in-
tended to allow them to walk, slowly and with
difficulty, while they impeded the movements
of the feet so as effectually to prevent any long
or rapid flight, or any escape at all from free
Democedes, when questioned by Darius, de-
nied at first that he possessed any medical
knowledge or skill. Darius was, however, not
deceived by these protestations. It was very
customary, in those days of royal tyranny, for
those who possessed any thing valuable to con-
ceal the possession of it : concealment was often
their only protection. Darius, who was well
aware of this tendency, did not believe the as-
surances of Democedes, and in the irritation
and impatience caused by his pain, he ordered
the captive to be taken out and put to the tor-
ture, in order to make him confess that he was
really a physician.
)Democedes yielded without waiting to be act-
ually put to the test. He acknowledged at once,
for fear of the torture, that he had had some
experience it ,medical practice, and the sprained
ancle was immediately committed to his charge.
On examining the case, he thought that the


harsh and violent operations which the Egyp-
tian physicians had attempted were not re-
quired. He treated the inflamed and swollen
joint in the gentlest manner. He made foment-
ing and emollient applications, which soothed
the pain, subdued the inflammation, and allay-
ed the restlessness and the fever. The royal
sufferer became quiet and calm, and in a short
time fell asleep.
In a word, the king rapidly recovered; and
overwhelmed with gratitude toward the bene-
factor whose skill had saved him from such suf-
fering, he ordered that, in place of his single
pair of iron fetters, he should have two pairs of
fetters of gold !
It might at first be imagined that such a
strange token of regard as this could be inten-
ded only as a jest and an insult; but there is
no doubt that Darius meant it seriously as a
compliment and an honor. He supposed that
Democedes, of course, considered his condition
of captivity as a fixed and permanent ope; and
that his fetters were not, in themselves, an in-
justice or disgrace, but the necessary and un-
avoidable concomitant of his lot, so that the
sending of golden fetters to a slave was very
naturally, in his view, like presenting a golden
crutch to a cripple. Democedes received the
equivocal donation with great'good nature. He
even ventured upon a joke on the subject to the



convalescent king. It seems, sire," said he,
" that in return for my saving your limb and
your life, you double my servitude. You have
given me two chains instead of one."
The king, who was now in a much better
mood to be pleased than when, writhing in an-
guish, he had ordered Democedes to be put to
the torture, laughed at this reply, and released
the captive from the bonds entirely. He or-
dered him to be conducted by the attendants to
the apartments of the palace, where the wives
of Darius and the other ladies of the court re-
sided, that they might see him and express their
gratitude, This is the physician," said the
eunuchs, who introduced him, that cured the
king." The ladies welcomed him with the ut-
most cordiality, and loaded him with presents
of gold and silver as he passed through their
apartments. The king made arrangements,
too, immediately, for providing him with a mag-
nificent house in Susa, and established him
there in great luxury and splendour, with costly
furniture and many attendants, and all other
marks of distinction and honour. In a word,
Deiocedes found himself, by means of another
unexpected change of fortune, suddenly elevated
to a height as lofty as his misery and degrada-
tion had been low. He was, however, a captive
The queen Atossa, the daughter of Cyrus,



who has already been mentioned as the wife of
Cambyses and of Smerdis the magian, was one
of the wives of Darius. Her sister Antystone
was another. A third was Phaedvma, the
daughter of Otanes, the lady who had been so
instrumental, in connection with Atossa, in the
discovery of the magian imposture. It hap-
pened that, some time after the curing of Da-
rius's sprain, Atossa herself was sick. Her
malady was of such a nature, that for some
time she kept it concealed, from a feeling of
delicacy.* At length, terrified by the danger
which threatened her, she sent for Democedes,
and made her case known to him. He said
that he could cure her, but she must first pro-
mise to grant him, if he did so, a certain favor
which he should ask. She must promise be-
forehand to grant it, whatever it might be. It
was nothing,-he said, that should in any way
compromise her honor.
Atossa agreed to these conditions, and Demo-
cedes undertook her case. Her malady was
soon cured ; and when she asked him what was
the favour which he wished to demand, he re-
Persuade Darius to form a plan for the in-
vasion of Greece, and to send me, with -a small
It was a tumor of the breast, which became,
at length, an open ulcer, and began to spread and
enlarge in a very formidable manner.



company of attendants, to explore the country,
and obtain for him all the necessary preliminary
information. In this way I shall see my native
land once more."
Atossa was faithful to her promise. She
availed herself of the first favourable opportunity,
when it became her turn to visit the king, to
direct his mind, by a dexterous conversation, to-
ward the subject of the enlargement of his em-
pire. HIe had vast forces and resources, she
said, at his command, and might easily enter
upon a career of conquest which would attract
the admiration of the world. Darius replied
that he had been entertaining some views of
that nature. IIe had thought, he said, of at-
tacking the Scythians: these Scythians were
a group of semi-savage nations on the north of
his dominions. Atossa represented to him that
subduing the 'Scythians would be too easy a
conquest, and that it would be a far nobler en-
terprise, and more worthy of his talents and
his vast resources, to undertake an expedition
into Europe, and attempt the conquest of
Greece. You have all the means at your com-
mand essential for the success of sucl an un-
dertaking, and you have in your court a man
who can give you, or can obtain for you, all the
necessary information in respect to the country,
to enable you to form the plan of your cam-



The ambition of Darius was fired by these
suggestions. Ile began immediately to form
projects and schemes. In a day or two h'e or-
ganized a small party of Persian officers of dis-
tinction, in whom he had great confidence, to
go on an exploring tour into Greece. They
were provided with a suitable company of at-
ten dants, and with every thing necessary for
their journey, and Democedes was directed to
prepare to go with them as their guide. They
were to travel simply as a party of Persian no-
blemen, on an excursion of curiosity and plea-
sure, concealing their true design ; and as Demo-
cedes their guide, though born in Italy, was
in all important points a Greek, and was well
acquainted with the countries through which
they were to pass, they supposed that they could
travel every where without suspicion. Darius
charged the Persians to keep a diligent watch
over Democedes, and not to allow him, on any
account, to leave them, but to bring him back
to Susa safely with them on their return.
As for Democedes, he had no intention what-
ever of returning to Persia, though he kept his
designs of making his escape entirely concealed-
Darius, with seeming generosity, said to him,
while he was making his preparations, "I re-
commend to you to take with you all your pri-
vate wealth and treasures, to distribute, for
presents, among your friends in Greece and



Italy. I will bestow more upon you here on
your return." Democedes regarded this coun-
sel with great suspicion. He imagined that
the king, in giving him this permission, wished
to ascertain, by observing whether he would
really take with him all his possessions, the ex-
istence of any secret determination in his mind
not to come back to Susa. If this were Da-
rius's plan, it was defeated by the sagacious
vigilance and cunning of the physician. He
told the king, in reply, that he preferred to leave
his effects in Persia, that they might be ready
for his use on his return. The king then or-
dered a variety of costly articles to be provided
and given to Dcmocedes, to be taken with him
and presented to his friends in Greece and Italy.
They consisted of vessels of gold and silver,
pieces of Persian armour of beautiful workman-
ship, and articles of dress, expensive and splen-
did. These were all carefully packed, and the
various other necessary preparations were made
for the long journey.
At length the expedition set out. They
travelled by land westward, across the conti-
nent, till they reached the eastern shores of the
Mediterranean Sea. The port at which they
arrived was Sidon, the city so often mentioned
in the Scriptures as a great pagan emporium
of commerce. The city of Sidon was in the
height of its glory at this time, being one of the



most important ports of the Mediterranean for
all the western part of Asia. Caravans of tra-
vellers came to it by land, bringing on the backs
of camels the productions of Arabia, Persia, and
-all the East; and fleets of ships by sea, loaded
with the corn, and wine, and oil of the Western
At Sidon the land journey of the expedition
was pnded. Here' they bought two large and
splendid ships, galleys of three banks of oars,
to convey them to Greece. These galleys were
for their own personal accommodation. There
was a third vessel, called a transport, for the
conveyance of their baggage, which consisted
mainly of the packages of rich and costly pre-
sents which Darius had prepared. Some of these
presents were for the friends of Democedes, as
lias been already explained, and others had been
provided as gifts and offerings from the king
himself to such distinguished personages as the
travellers might visit on their route. When
the vessels were ready, and the costly cargo was
on board, the company of travellers embarked,
and the little fleet put to sea.
The Grecian territories are endlessly divided
and indented by the seas, whose irregular and
winding shores form promontories, peninsulas,
and islands without number, which are accessi-
ble in every part by water. The Persian ex-
plorers cruised about among these coasts under



Democedes's guidance, examining every thing,
and noting carefully all the information which
they could obtain, either by personal observa-
tion or by inquiring of others, which might be
of service to Darius in his intended invasion.
Democedes allowed them to take their own
time, directing their course, however, steadily,
though slowly, toward his own native town of
Crotona. The expedition landed in various
places, and were every where well received.
It was not for the interest of Democedes that
they should yet be intercepted. In fact, the
name and power of Darius were very much
feared, or, at least, very highly respected in all
the Grecian territory, and the people were little
inclined to molest a peaceful party of Persians
travelling like ordinary tourists, and under the
guidance, too, of a distinguished countryman of
their own, whose name was, in some degree, a
guarantee for the honesty and innocence of their
intentions. At length, however, after spending
some time in the Grecian seas, the little squad-
ron moved still farther west, toward the coast
of Italy, and arrived finally at Tarentum. Ta-
rentum was the great port on the Grecian side
of Italy. It was at the head of the spacious
bay which sets up between the heel and the
:all of the foot of the boot-shaped peninsula.
Zrotona, Democedes's native town, to which
ic was now desirous to return, was southwest


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