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of God, than the subversion of any state or monarchy, how powerful soever.
And it may well be thought, that the soldiers employed in that service did rather ascribe the glory to him that was the best man of war, than to the Median, who was greatest in riches and power. All which also falling upon Cyrus by succession, and continuing in his posterity, did much augment the fame of his virtue, which, among profane historians, overgrew altogether the honour due to Cyaxares, both because he was old, and did nothing in person, as also because he soon after quitted the world, and left Cyrus, who was possessed of whatsoever belonged to Darius, before the fame of any such king or conqueror was carried far off.
And for the Greek historians, they took all things from the relation of the Persians, who gave to Cy* rus all the praise of a most excellent prince, making none his equal. Only Daniel, in the first, fifth, and sixth chapters of his prophecies, makes it plain, that himself not only lived a great officer under king Darius, but that he continued in that estate to the first of Cyrus; which, being the year of Daniel's death, could not have been distinguished from the reign of Darius, if they had begun together and reigned jointly; neither can it be imagined that Darius held the kingdom by Cyrus's permission, considering that Cyrus began after him.
Xenophon's relation of the war which the Medes and Persians made with jointJorces upon the Assyrians and others.
. These testimonies of the scriptures, which need no other confirmation, are yet made more open to our understanding, by that which Xenophon hath written of these wars; the cause whereof, according to his report, was this.
When the Assyrian had enlarged his empire with victories, and was become lord of all Syria and many other countries, he began to hope, that if the Medes could be brought under his subjection, there should not then be left any nation adjoining able to make head against him; for the king of the Medes was able to bring into the held threescore thousand foot and above ten thousand horse, to which the forces of Persia being joined, made an exceeding strong army.
The Assyrian, considering the strength of such a neighbour, invited Croesus king of Lydia, a prince very mighty both in men and treasure, and with him. other lords of Asia the Less, to his assistance, alleging, that those eastern nations were very powerful, and so firmly enjoined by league and many alliances, that it would not be easy, no not possible, for any one nation to resist them. With these incitements, and strengthened with great presents, he drew to himself so many adherents, as he compounded an army of two hundred thousand foot and threescore thousand horse; of which, ten thousand horse and forty thousand foot were led by Croesus, who had great cause of enmity with the Medes, in regard of the war made by them against his father Alyattes: but this great army was, by Cyaxares king of the Medes, and by Cyrus general of the Persian forces, utterly broken; upon which defeat, the Assyrian king being also slain, so many of the Assyrians revolted, as Babylon itself could not longer be assured without the succours of mercenaries, waged with great sums of money out of Asia the Less, Egypt, and elsewhere; which new-gathered forces were also scattered by Cyrus, who, following his advantage, possessed himself of a great part of the Lesser Asia; at which time it was, as I take it, that Croesus himself was also made prisoner.
The attempt of Babylon following soon after, the army lying before it being paid by Darius, whom Xenophon calleth Cyaxares, and led by Cyrus's sister's son, prevailed against Balthasar, as in due time shall be set down. p
Those Persians which followed Cyrus, and by him levied, are numbered thirty thousand footmen, of which a thousand were armed gentlemen; the rest of the common sort were archers, or such as used the dart and the sling. So far Xenophon, Of whom in this argument, as it is true, that he described in Cyrus the pattern of a most heroical prince, with much poetical addition; so it cannot be denied, but that the bulk and gross of his narration was founded upon mere historical truth.
Neither can it indeed be affirmed of any the like writer, that in every speech and circumstance he hath precisely tied himself tp the phrase of the speaker, or nature of the occasion, but borrowed in each put of his own invention, appropriating the same to the times and persons of whom he treated. Putting therefore apart the moral and political discourse, and examining but the history of things done, it will easily appear, that Xenophon hath handled his un-. dertaken subject in such sort, that, by beautifying the face thereof, he hath not in any sort corrupted the body.
The estate of the Medes and Persians in times aforegoing this great war
For it is commonly agreed upon, that Archemenes, the son of Perseus, being governor of Persia, did associate himself with Arbaces, who commanded in Media in that rebellion against Sardanapalus, and that each of them, after the victory obtained, held for himself the dominion of those countries •which he had formerly ruled for the Assyrians; aaf also, that they conveyed over the same honour and power to their posterity, which, in Media, was not absolutely regal, but with some restraint limited, until such time" as Oeioces took upon him the full authority and majesty of a kingdom. From the death of Sardanapalus to the reign of Deioces, are usually accounted about an hundred and forty years, in the last sixty whereof there reigned in Assyria mighty princes, namely, Salmanassar and his successors, whose great achievements in Syria and elsewhere witness, that the Medes and Persians found it not for their advantage to undertake any offensive war a-> gainst those victorious kings; it being also probable that the league continued as yet between these the successors of Belochus and Arbaces, who had formerly shared the empire.
Now, from the beginning of Deioces to the first of Astyages, there passed above ninety years; in which, if Herodotus have written truly, that Phraortes conquered Persia, and how he and other the kings of Media, by many victories, greatly enlarged their dominions, and commanded many parts of Asia, it had been but an unadvised enterprise of the Assyrians and Babylonians, to have wasted themselves against the Syrians and Egyptians, leaving so able and victorious a nation on their backs. But that the Medes had done nothing upon the south parts of Persia, and that the Persians themselves were not masters of Susiana in Nabuchodonosor's time, it is manifest in Daniel, who was then governor for the Babylonians in Susa or Susan, the chief city thereof. It is true, indeed, that the Medians, either under Cyaxares or Astyages, or both, had quarrel with Halyattes, the father of Croesus, which, after some sixyears dispute, was compounded.
How the affairs of Persia stood in so many ages. I do not find any memory. It seemeth, that the roughness of the mountainous country which they then possessed, with the confederacy which they continued with the Medes, gave them more security than fame; for if their kings, being the posterity of Achaemenes, had done any memorable acts, the greatness which they afterward obtained would not have suffered any forgetfulness thereof. But as we find all Xenophon's reports, both of these wars and the state of those Countries to be very consonant and agreeable to the relation of many other good authors, so it appears that the race of Achaemenes held the principality of Persia from father to son for many descents; and therefore we may better give credit to Xenophon, who affirmeth, that Cambyses, the father of Cyrus, was king of Persia, than to those who make him a mean man, and say, that Astyages gave him his daughter Mandane in marriage, to the end that her son, (whose nativity he feared,) might be disabled from any great undertaking by his father's ignobility.
For what cause of grief could it be to Astyages, that the son of his daughter should become lord of the best part of Asia? No, it was more likely, that, upon such a prophecy, his love to his grandchild should have increased, and his care been the greater to have married her to some prince of strength and eminent virtue.
Yea, the same Herodotus, who is the first author, and, as I think, the deviser of the mischief intended against Cyrus by his grandfather, doth confess, that the line of the Achaemenidaj was so renowned, that the great king Xerxes, in the height of his prosperity, did thence derive himself, and vaunt of it; which he would never have done had they been ignoble, or had they been the vassals of any other king or monarch.
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