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in those parts of the world such, at that time, as would have invited any prince, (and did perhaps invite Merodach, who fulfilled God's pleasure, upon respect borne to his own ends,) desirous of enlarging his empire, to make attempt upon Judah. For the kingdom of Egypt, which was become the pillar whereon the state of Judah leaned, about these times was miserably distracted with civil dissention, and, after two years, ill amended by a division of the government between twelve princes. After some good agreement between these, eleven of them fell out with the twelfth of their colleagues, and were all finally subdued by him, who made himself absolute king of all. This interregnum, or mere anarchy, that was in Egypt, with the division of the kingdom following it, is placed by Diodorus, who omitteth Sethon, between the reigns of Sabacus, and Psammeticus; but Herodotus doth set the aristocracy, or twelve governors, immediately before Psammeticus, who was one of them, and after Sethon.
The occasion of this dissention seems to have been the uncertainty of title to that kingdom, (for that the crown of Egypt passed by succession of blood, I have often shewed,) which ended for a while by the partition of all among twelve, though things were not settled until one had obtained the sovereignty.
These twelve rulers governed fifteen years, in good seeming agreement, which, to preserve, they made strait covenants and alliances one with another, being jealous of their estate, because an oracle had foretold, that one of them should depose all the rest, noting him by this token, that he should make a drink-offering, in Vulcan's temple, out of a copper goblet. Whilst this unity lasted, they joined together in raising a monument of their dominion, which was a labyrinth, built near unto the lake Moeris; a work so admirable, that, (as Herodotus, who beheld it, affirms,) no words could give it commendation answerable to the stateliness of the work itself. I will not here set down that imperfect description which Herodotus makes of it, but think enough to say, that he prefers it far before the pyramids, one of which, (as he saith,) excelled the temple of Diana at Ephesus, or any of the fairest works in Greece. Diodorus reports this labyrinth to have been the work of Maurus, or Menides, a king which lived five generations before Proteus, that is, before the war of Troy; and from this labyrinth, saith he, Uicdalus took the pattern of that which he made for Minos in Crete. Who this Marus or Menides was, I cannot tell. Reineccius takes him to have been Annemenes, who reigned immediately before Thuoris. But this agrees not with Diodorus; for Daedalus and Minos were both dead long before Annemenes was king. Belike Reineccius, desiring to accommodate the fabulous relations of Manethon, Chaeremon, and others, that are found in Josephus, touching Amenophis and his children', to the story of Amasis, and Actisanes the Ethiopian, mentioned by Diodorus, held it consequent, after he had conjectured Manethen's Amenophis to be Diodorus's Amasis, that Sethon should be Actisanes, and that Annemenes should be Marus. If in this case 1 might intrude a conjecture,—the times which we now handle are those about which Reineccius had erred in making search; Amasis was Amysis; Actisanes was Sabacus; and Maurus was one of those twelve princes, to whom Herodotus gives the honour of building this famous labyrinth. For Actisanes the Ethiopian deposed Amasis, Sabacus the Ethiopian deposed Any sis 5 Actisanes governed well, and was mild in punishing offenders; so likewise was Sabacus; Marus the next king after Actisanes, built this labyrinth; and the next, (saving Sethon, whom Diodorus omits, as having not heard of him,) that ruled after Sabacus, performed the same work, according to
Herodotus, 'who was more likely to hear the truth, as living near to the age wherein it was performed. The variety of names, and difference of times, wherein Diodorus believed the priest, might be a part of the Egyptian vanity, which was familiar with them, in multiplying their kings, and boasting of their antiquities. Here I might add, that the twelve great halls, parlours, and other great circumstances remembred by Herodotus, in speaking of this building, do help to prove, that it was the work of these twelve princes. But I hasten to their end. , ' At a solemn feast in Vulcan's temple, when they were to make their drink-offerings, the priest, forgeting himself, brought forth no more than eleven cups, Hereupon Psammeticus, who standing last had not a eup, took oft' his brazen helmet, and therewith supplied the want. This caused all the rest to remember the oracle, and to suspect him as a traitor; yet, when they found that it was not done by him upon set purpose, or ill intent, they forbare to kill him; but, being jealous of their estate, they banished him into the marsh countries by the sea-side. This oracle, and the event, is held by Diodorus as a fable, which I believe to have been no other; in the rest Herodotus and Diodorus agree, saying, that Psammeticus hired soldiers out of Cana and Ionia, by whose aid he vanquished his companions, and made himself sole king.
The years of his reign, according to Herodotus, were fifty-four; according to Eusebius forty-four: Mercator, to reconcile these two, gives forty-four years to his single reign, and ten to his ruling jointly with the princes before spoken of. Indeed, he that was admitted, being a man grown, (for he cannot in reason be supposed to have been then a young fellow,) into the number of the twelve governors, must be thought to have lived unto extreme old age, if he ruled partly with others, partly alone, threescore and nine years. I therefore yield rather to Eusebius, but will not adventure to cut five years from the aristocracy; though peradventure Psammeticus was not at first one of the twelve, but succeeded, (either by election, or as next of blood,) into the place of some prince that died, and was ten years companion in that government.
Another scruple there is, though not great, which troubles this reckoning. The years of these Egyptians, as we find them set down, are more by one than serve to fill up the time between the fifth of Rehoboam, and the fourth of Jehoiakim. This may not be. Wherefore, either we must abate one year from Sethon's reign, that was of uncertain length, or else, (which I had rather do,—because Functius may have followed better authority than I know, or than himself allegeth, in giving to Sethon a time so nearly agreeing with the truth,) we must confound the last year of one reign with the first of another. Such a supposition were not insolent. For no man can suppose, that all the kings, or any great part of them, which are set down in chronological tables, reigned precisely so many years as are ascribed unto them, without any fractions; it is enough to think, that the surplusage of one man's time supplied the defect of another's. Wherefore 1 confound the last year of those fifteen, wherein the twelve princes ruled, with the first of Psammeticus; who surely did not fall out with his companions, fight with thein, and make himself lord alone, all in one day.
Concerning this king, it is recorded, that he was the first in Egypt who entertained any strait amity with the Greeks; that he retained in pay his mercenaries of Caria, Ionia, and Arabia, to whom he • gave large rewards and possessions; and that he greatly offended his Egyptian soldiers, by bestowing them in the left wing of his army, whilst his mercenaries held the right wing, (which was the more honourable place,) in an expedition that he made into Syria. Upon this disgrace, it is said, that his soldiers,
to the number of two hundred thousand, forsook their natural country of Egypt, and went into Ethiopia, to dwell there; neither could they be revoked by kind messages, nor by the king himself, who overtook them on the way; but when he told them of their country, their wives and children, they answered, that their weapons should get them a country, and that nature had enabled them to get other wives and children.
It is also reported of him, that he caused two infants to be brought up in such sort as they might not hear any word spoken ; by which means he hoped to find out what nation or language was most ancient; forasmuch as it seemed likely that nature would teach the children to speak that language which men spoke at the first. The issue hereof was, that the children cried, Beccus, Beccus! which word being found to signify bread in the Phrygian tongue, served greatly to magnify the Phrygian antiquity. Goropius Becanus makes no small matter of this for the honour of his Low Dutch; in which the word, becker signifies, (as baker in English,) a maker of bread. He. that will turn over any part of Goropius's works, may find enough of this kind to persuade a willing man, that Adam and all the patriarchs used none other tongue than the Low Dutch before the confusion of languages at Babel; the name itself of Babel being also Dutch, and given by occasion of this confusion; for that there they began to babble and talk one knew not what.
But I will not insist upon all that is written of Psammeticus. The most regardable of his acts was the siege of Azotus, in Palaastina, about which he spent nine and twenty years. Never have'we heard, (saith Herodotus,) that any city endured so long a siege as this ; yet Psammeticus carried it at the last. This town of Azotus4 had been won by Tartau, a captain of Sennacherib, and was now, as it seemeth,
l Isa. xx, 1.