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when their affairs shall come to be intermeddled with the business of Judah.
In Athens, the two last years of Ariphron's twen. ty, the seven and twenty of Thespeius, the twen. ty of Agamnestor, and the three first of Æschy. lus's three and twenty, made even with the two and fifty of Uzziah ; as likewise did in Alba the last seven of Sylvius Aventinus's seven and thirty, together with the three and twenty of Sylvius Procas, and the first two and twenty of Sylvius Amulius. In Media, Arbaces began his new kingdom in the first of Uzziah, wherein, after eight and twenty years, his son Sosarmus succeeded him, and reigned thirty years. Of this Arbaces, and the division of the Assyrian empire between him and others, when they had oppressed Sardanapalus, I hold it convenient to use more particular discourse, that we may not wander in too great uncertainty in the story of the Assyrian kings, who have already found the way into Palæstina, and are not likely to forget it.
Sect. IV. Of the Assyrian king's descending from Pul; and whether Pul and Belosus were one person, or heads of sundry families that reigned apart in Nineveh and Babylon.
By that which hath formerly been shewed of Sardanapalus's death, it is apparent that the chief therein was Arbaces the Median; to whom the rest of the confederates did not only submit themselves in that war, but were contented afterwards to be judged by him, receiving by his authority sentence of death, or pardon of their forfeited lives. The first example of this his power, was shewn upon Belosus the Babylonian, by whose especial advice and help Arbaces himself was become so great. Yet was not this power of Arbaces exercised in so tyrannical a manner as might give offence in that great alteration of things, either to the princes that had assisted him, or to the generality of the people. For in the condemnation of Belosus, he used the counsel of his other captains, and then pardoned him of his own grace ; allowing him to hold, not only the city and province of Babylon, but also those treasures, for embezzling whereof his life had been endangered.
In like manner, he gave rewards to the rest of his partakers, and made them rulers of provinces; retaining, (as it appears,) only the sovereignty to himself, which to use immoderately he did naturally abhor. He is said, indeed, to have excited the Medes against Sardanapalus, by propounding unto them hope of transferring the empire to their nation. And to make good this his promise, he destroyed the city of Nineveh ; permitting the citizens nevertheless to take and carry away every one his own goods. The other nations that joined with him, as the Persians and Bactrians, he drew to his side, by the allurement of liberty; which he himself so greatly loved, that by slackening too much the reins of his own sovereignty, he did more harm to the general estate of Media, than the pleasure of the freedom which it enjoyed could recompense. For both the territory of that country was pared narrower by Salmanassar, (or perhaps by some of his progenitors,) whom we find, in the scriptures, to have held some towns of the Medes; and the civil administration was so disorderly, that the people themselves were glad to see that reformation, which Deioces, the fifth of Arbaces's line, did make in that government, by reducing them into stricter terms of obedience.
How the force of the Assyrians grew to be such as might, in fourscore years, if not sooner, both extend itself unto the conquest of Israel, and tear away some part of Media, is a question hardly to be answered; not only in regard of the destruction of Nineveh, and subversion of the Assyrian kingdom, whereof the Medes, under Arbaces, had the honour,
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who may seem at that time to have kept the Assy- · rians under their subjection, when the rest of the provinces were set at liberty,—but, in consideration of the kings themselves, who reigning afterwards in Babylon and Nineveh, are confounded by some, and distinguished by others; whereby their history is made uncertain. · I will first therefore deliver the opinion generally received, and the grounds whereupon it stands; then, producing the objections made against it, I will compare together the determination of that worthy man Joseph Scaliger, with those learned that subscribe thereunto, and the judgment of others that were more ancient writers, or have followed the ancients in this doubtful case. Neither shall it be needful to set down apart the several authorities and arguments of sundry men, adding somewhat of weight or of clearness one to another : it will be enough to relate the whole substance of each dis. course; which I will do as briefly as I can, and without fear to be taxed of partiality, as being no more addicted to the one opinion than to the other, by any fancy of mine own, but merely led by those reasons, which, upon examination of each part, seemed to me most forcible, though to others they may perhaps appear weak.
That which, until of late, hath passed as current, is this : That Belosus was the same king, who first, of the Assyrians, entered Palæstina with an army ; being called Pul or Phul, in the scriptures, and by Annius's authors, with such as follow them, Phul Belochus. Of this man it is said, that he was a skil. ful astrologer, subtle and ambitious; that he got Babylon by composition made with Arbaces; and that, not therewith content, he got into his hand part of Assyria ; finally, that he reigned eight and forty years, and then dying, left the kingdom to Teglat Phalassar his son, in whose posterity it continued some few descents, till the house of Merodach pre
vailed. The truth of this, if Annius's Metasthenes were sufficient proof, could not be gainsaid ; for that author, such as he is, is peremptory herein. But howsoever Annius's authors deserve to be suspected, it stands with no reason, that we should conclude all to be false which they affirm. They who maintain this tradition, justify it by divers good allegations, as a matter confirmed by circumstances found in all authors, and repugnant unto no history at all. For it is manifest by the relation of Diodorus, (which is, indeed, the foundation whereupon all have built,) that Arbaces and Belosus were partners in the action against Sardanapalus; and that the Bactrians, who joined with them, were thought well rewarded with liberty, as likewise other captains were with governments; but that any third person was so eminent, as to have Assyria itself, the chief country of the empire, bestowed upon him, is a thing whereof not the least appearance is found in any history. And certainly it stood with little reason, that the Assyrians should be committed unto a peculiar king at such time as it was not thought meet to trust them in their own walls and houses. Rather it is apparent, that the destruction of Nineveh by Arbaces, and the transplantation of the citizens, was held a needful policy, because thereby the people of that nation might be kept down from aspiring to recover the sovereignty, which else they would have thought to belong, as of right, unto the seat of the empire. .
Úpon such considerations did the Romans, in ages long after following, destroy Carthage, and dissolve the corporation, or body politic, of the citizens of Capua; because those two towns were capable of the empire; a matter esteemed over-dangerous even to Rome itself', that was mistress of them both. This being so, how can it be thought, that the As.. syrians in three or four years had erected their king
1 Toll. contra Rullum, Or. 2
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dom anew, under one Pul? or what must this Pul have been, (of whose deserving, or intermeddling, or indeed of whose very name, we find no mention in the war against Sardanapalus,) to whom the principal part of the empire fell, either by general consent in division of the provinces, or by his own power and purchase very soon after ? Surely he was none other than Belosus, whose near neighbourhood gave him opportunity, (as he was wise enough to play his own game,) both to get Assyria to himself, and to impeach any other man that should have attempted to seize upon it. The province of Babylon, which Belosus held, being, as Herodotus reports, in riches and power, as good as the third part of the Persian empire, was able to furnish him with all that was requisite for such a business; if that were not enough, he had gotten into his own hands all the gold and silver that had been in the palace of Nineveh. And questionless to restore such a city as Nineveh, was an enterprize fit for none to take in hand, except he had such means as Belosus had; which Pul, if he were not Belosus, is likely to have wanted.
Besides all this, had Pul been a distinct person from Belosus, and lord of Assyria, which lay beyond the countries of Babylon and Mesopotamia, it would not have been an easy matter for him, to pass quite through another man's kingdom with an army, seeking booty afar off in Israel; the only action by which the name of Pul is known. But if we grant, that he, whom the scriptures call Pul, or Phul, was the same whom profane writers have called Belosus, Belesis, and Belestis, in like manner as Josephus 3 acknowledgeth, that he, whom the scriptures called never otherwise than Darius the Mede, was the son of Astyages, and called of the Greeks by another name, (that is, Cyaxares,) then is this scruple utterly removed. For Babylon and Mesopotamia did border upon Syria and Palæstina; so that Belosus, having set
2 Herod. l. iv. 3 Joseph. Ant. l. z. cap. 12.