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bel, considering that Arbaces did not seek to molest him, but rather permitted (as being an overgreat favourer of liberty) even the Medes, that were under his own government, to do what they listed.
But it is now fit that we peruse the catalogue of these kings ; not passing through tiiem all, (for some will require a large discourse in their own times,) but speaking of their order and time in general. If it be so unlawful to think, that some of Annius's tales, (let them all be counted his tales, which are not found in other authors as well as in his,) may be true, especially such as contradict no acknowledged truth, or apparent likelihod, why then is it said, that Phul did reign in Assyria eight and forty years? For this hath no other ground than Annius. It is true, that painful and judicious writers have found this number of years, to agree fitly with the course of things in history; yet all of them took it from Annius. Let it therefore be the punishment of Annius's forgery, (as questionless he is often guilty of this crime,) that when he tells truth or probability, he be not believed for his own sake; though for our own sakes we make use of his boldness, taking his words for good, whereas (nothing else being offered) we are unwilling ourselves to be authors of new, though not improbable conjectures. Herein we shall have this commodity, that we may without blushing alter a little, to help our own opinions, and lay the blame upon Annius, against whom we shall be sure to find friends that will take our part.
The reigns of Tiglath-Pileser and Salmanassar did reach, by Annius's measure, to the length of rive and twenty years the one, and seventeen the other: Torniellus hath cut off two from the former, and seven from the latter of them, to fit (as I think) his own computation ; using the liberty whereof I spake last; for that any author, save our good Metasthenes, or those that borrowed of him, hath gone about to tell how long each of these did reign, it is more
Vol. III. x
than I have yet found. To Sennacherib and Ezarhaddon, Torniellus gives the same length of reign which is found in Metasthenes. I think there are not many, that will arrogate so much unto themselves as may very well be allowed unto a man so judicious as is Torniellus; and yet could I wish, that he had forborne to condemn the followers of Annius, in this business, wherein he himself hath chosen, in part, rather to become one of them, than to say, as else he must have done, almost nothing.
The like liberty we find that he hath used in measuring the reigns of the Chaldaeans; filling up all the space between the end of Sardanapalus, and the beginning of Nabonassar, with the threescore and eight years of Belosus. In this respect it was, perhaps, that he thought Belosus might have begun his reign somewhat later than Phul; for sixty-eight years would seem a long time for him to hold a kingdom, that was no young man when he took possession of it. But how is any whit of his age abated by shortening his reign, seeing his life reacheth to the end of such a time, as were alone, without adding the time wherein he was a private man, enough for a long liver. Indeed forty-eight years had been somewhat of the most, considering that he seems by the story to have been little less, at such time as he joined Arbaces; and therefore the addition of twenty years did well deserve that note, (which Torniellus advisedly gives,) that if his reign extended not so far, then the reign of such as came after him occupied the middle time unto Nabonassar.
I neither do reprehend the boldness of Torniellus, in conjecturing, nor the modesty of Scaliger and Sethus Calvisius, in forbearing, to set down as warrantable such things as depend only upon likelihood. For things, whereof the perfect knowledge is taken away from us by antiquity, must be described in history, as geographers in their maps describe those countries whereof, as yet, there is made no true diacovery ; that is, either by leaving some part blank, or by inserting the land of pigmies, rocks of loadstone, with head-lands, bays, great rivers, and other particularities, agreeable to common report, though many times controlled by following experience, and found contrary to truth. Yet indeed the ignorance growing from distance, of place, allows not such liberty to a describer, as that which ariseth from the remediless oblivion of consuming time: For it is true that the poet saith:
* Neque fervidis
'Pars inclusa ctloribus
'Mundi, nec boreac finitimnm latus,
* Durataeque sole nires,
'Mercatorem abigunt; horrida callidi
4 Vincutit aequora navita.'.'
4 Nor southern heat, nor northern snow
Therefore the fictions, (or let them be called conjectures,) painted in maps, do serve only to mislead such discoverers as rashly believe them, drawing upon the publishers either some angry curses, or well deserved scorn; but to keep their own credit, they cannot serve always. To which purpose, 1 remember a pretty jest of Don Pedro de Sarmiento, a worthy Spanish gentleman, who had been employed by his king in planting a colony upon the streights of Magellan; for when I asked him, being then my prisoner, some question about an island in those streights, which methought might have done either benefit or displeasure to his enterprise, he told me merrily, that it was to be called the Painter's Wife's Island ; saying, that whilst the fellow drew that map, his wife sitting by, desired him to put in one country for her, that she, in imagination, might have an island of her own. But, in filling up the blanks of old histories, we need not be so scrupulous; for it is not to be feared that time should run backward, and, by restoring the things themselves to knowledge, make our conjectures appear ridiculous. What if some good copy of an ancient author could be found, shewing, (if we have it not already,) the perfect truth of these uncertainties? Would it be more shame to have believed, in the meanwhile, Annius or Torniellus, than to have believed nothing? Here I will not say, that the credit which we give to Annius, may chance otherwhiles to be given to one of those authors whose names he pretendeth. Let it suffice, that in regard of authority, I had rather trust Scaliger or Torniellus, than Annius; yet him than them, if his assertion be more probable, and more agreeable to approved histories, than their[conjecture, as in this point it seems to me; it having, moreover, gotten some credit by the approbation of many, and those not meanly learned.
To end this tedious disputation, I hold it a sure course, in examination of such opinions as have once, gotten the credit of being general, so to deal &s Pacuvius in Capua did with the multitude, find=* ing them desirous to put all the senators of the city to death. He locked the senators up within the state-house, and offered their lives lo the people's mercy; obtaining thus much, that none of them should perish, until the commonalty had both pronounced him worthy of death, and elected a better in nis place. The condemnation was hasty, for as fast as every name was read, all the town cried, let him die ; but the execution required more leisure; for in substituting another, some notorious vice of the person, or baseness of his condition, or insufficiency of his quality, made each new one that was offered to be rejected; so that finding the worse and less choice, the further and the more that they sought, it was finally agreed, that the old should be kept fof lack of better. >
Of the Olympiads, and the time lehen they began.
After this division of the Assyrian empire, foi» lows the instauration of the Olympian games, by Iphitus, in the reign of the same king Uzziah, and in his fifty-first year. It is, I know, the general opinion, that these games were established by Iphitus, in the first of Jotham; yet is not that opinion so general, but that authors, weighty enough, have given to them a more early beginning. The truth is, that in fitting those things unto the sacred history, which are found in profane authors, we should not be too careful of drawing the Hebrews to those works of time which had no reference to their affairs; it is enough, that, setting in due order these beginnings of accounts, we join them to matters of Israel and Judah, where occasion requires.
These Olympian games, and exercises of activity, were first instituted by Hercules, who measured the length of the race by his own foot, by which Pythagoras found out the stature and likely strength of Hercules's body. They took name, not from the mountain Olympus, but from the city Olympia, otherwise Pisa, near unto Elis, where also Jupiter's temple in Elis, famous among the Grecians, and reputed among the wonders of the world, Was known by trie name of the temple of Jupiter Olympius. These games were exercised from every fourth year complete, in the plains of Elis, a city of Peloponnesus, near the river Alpheus.
After the death of Hercules, these meetings were discontinued for many years', till Iphitus, by advice from the oracle of Apollo, re-established ther%
1 AuL Oell. L i. c i. ex Plut Plut. out of Hermippu*.