« AnteriorContinuar »
others, but placed among his later achievements, whose opinion for this difference of time is founded upon two reasons; namely, that of the Median there is no mention in that last war against Cræsus; and that the obtaining of Sardis is referred to the fifty. eighth Olympiad, and the glorious victory which Cyrus had over Babylon to the fifty-fifth Olympiad. The former of which might have been used, (and was by the Greeks,) to exclude the Medes from the honour of having won Babylon itself, which in due place I have answered. The latter seems to have reference to the second war which Cyrus made upon Lydia, when it rebelled ; at which time he so established his former conquest, as after that time these nations never offered to revolt. Wherefore I like better in this particular to believe with Herodotus, whom the most of chronologers follow, and find the enterprise of Sardis to precede that of Babylon..
SECT. II. Of Cræsus the king of Lydia, who made war upon Cy
rus. I HAVE in the last book spoken somewhat of Creesus, of his race and predecessors, as also of those kings which governed Lydia in more ancient times; (of which the first, to profane authors known, was Lydus, the son of Atys; which family extinguished, the kingdom was by an oracle conferred upon Argon, descended from Hercules ;) whereof there were twenty-two generations, Candaules being the last, who, by shewing his fair wife naked to Gyges his favourite, was by the same Gyges, (thereto urged upon peril of his own life by the queen,) the next day slain. Which done, Gyges enjoyed both the queen and kingdom of Lydia, and left the same to Atys his son, who was father to Sadyattes, the father of Halyattes, (who thrust the Cimmerians out of Asia,') and Halyattes begat Cræsus': which five kings, of a third race, enjoyed that kingdom a hundred and seventy years. Halyattes the father of Cræsus was an undertaking prince; and after he had continued a war against Cyaxares the Median, a prince very powerful, and maintained it six years, a peace was concluded upon equal conditions between them.
1 Herod. l. 1. p. 3, 4, 5.
Astyages, the son of Cyaxares, and grandfather to Cyrus, thought himself greatly honoured by obtaining Aryenes, Crosus's sister, whom he married.
But Cresus so far enlarged his dominions after his father's death, as he was nothing inferior in territory to any king or monarch of that age; of which, about that time, there were four in effect of equal strength, to wit, the Median, the Babylonian, the Egyptian, and the Lydian ; only Nabuchodonosor, after he had joined Phænicia, Palæstina, and Egypt to his empire, had thenceforward no competitor during his own life. · But Cræsus, notwithstanding the men and treasure spent in the quarrel of the Babylonians, yet mastered Æolis, Doris, and lonia, provinces possessed by the Greeks in Asia the less, adjoining to Lydia; gave law to the Phrygians, Bithynians, Carians; My. sians, Paphlagonians, and other nations.' And that he also inforced the Ephesians to acknowledge him, notwithstanding they compassed their city with Diana's girdle, Herodotus witnesseth". Moreover, Athenæus out of Berosus), (which also Strabo confirmeth,) makes report of a signal victory which Creesus obtained against the Sacæans, a nation of the Scy. thians, in memory whereof the Babylonian's allies did yearly celebrate a feast, which they called Sacæa; all which he performed in fourteen years. · And being now confident in the continuance of his good fortune, and envious of Cyrus's fame, doubt. ing also that his prosperous undertakings might in
2 Herod. 1. 5.
§ Athen. 1. 14, c. 17.
the end grow perilous to himself, he consulted with the oracle of Apollo, whom he presented with mar. vellous rich gifts, what success he might hope for against Cyrus, if he undertook him ; from whom he received this riddle, Cræsus passing over the river • Halys, shall dissolve a great dominion.' For the devil, being doubtful of the success, paid him with merchandise of both sides like, and might be inverted either way, to the ruin of Persia, or of his own Lydia.
Sect. III. Cræsus's expedition against Cyrus. HEREUPON Cræsus being resolved to stop the course of Cyrus's fortunes, if he could, despised all the arguments used by Sandanes to the contrary, who desired him to forethink, that he urged a nation inhabiting a barren and mountainous region, a people not covered with the soft silk of worms, but with the hard skins of beasts, not fed with such meat as they fancied, but content with what they found; drinkers of water, not of wine; and in a word, a nation warlike, enduring, valiant, and prosperous; over whom if he became victorious, he could thereby enrich himself in nothing but fame, in which he already excelled ; and if by them beaten, and subjected, so great would his loss appear of all things which the world hath in account, as the same could neither hastily be told, nor readily conceived.
Notwithstanding this solid counsel, Cræsus, hav. ing prepared a powerful army, led the same to. wards Media, but in his passage he was arrested at Pterium, a city of great strength in Cappadocia ; which while he sought by all means to surprise or to force, Cyrus came on, and found the Lydians encamped before it. That each was inferior to other in strength or opinion, I do not find; for out of doubt, Crosus, as he excelled any prince of that age
in riches and ability, so was he not under any in territory and fame that then lived.
But as Cratippus of Mitylene answered Pompey, when he complained against the gods, because they favoured a: disturber and usurper of the common. wealth against him who fought for the Roman li. berty, That kingdoms and commonwealths had their increase and period from divine ordinance; so at this time was the winter of Cræsus's prosperity at hand, the leaves of his flourishing fortunę ready to fall, and that of Cyrus but in the flower and first spring. The God of all power, and not Admetųs's herdsman, Apollo, had given date to the one, and a beginning of glory to the other.
When these two armies were in view of each other, after the entertainment of divers skirmishes, the Per, sians and Lydians þegan to join in gross troops ; sup. plies from both kings thrust on upon the falling off and advancement of either nation; and as the Per, sians had somewhat the better of the day, so when the dark veil of night had hidden each army from the other's view, Cræsus doubting what success the rising sun would bring with it, quitted the field to Cyrus, and with all speed possible retired; and tak. ing the next way into Lydia, recovered Sardis his first city and regal seat, without any pursuit made by Cyrus to retard him, Where being arrived, and nothing suspecting Cyrus's approach, or any other war for that wịnter, he dismissed the soldiers, and sent the troops of his sundry nations to their own provinces, appointing them to reassemble at the end of five months, acquainting his commanders with his intents for the renewing of the war at the time appointed.
Sect. IV. The conquest of Lydia by Cyrus. Cyrus in the following morning finding the Lydie dians departed, put his army in order to pursue them,
strongly enhle multitude tortune of
yet not so hastily, and at their heels, as to be discovered. But having good intelligence of Cræsus's proceeding, he so measured his marches, as he presented not himself before Sardis, till such time as Croesus had disposed his army to their wintering garrisoņs; when, being altogether unlooked for, and unfeared, he surrounded Sardis with his army; wherein Cresus having no other companies than his citizens and ordinary guards, after fourteen days siege, the same was entered by assault, and all executed that resisted. Cræsus having now neither arms to fight, nor wings to fly, Sardis being on all parts strongly encompassed, thrust himself into the heap and miserable multitude of his vassals', and had undergone the common fortune of common persons vanquished, had not a son of his, who had been dumb all his life, (by extremity of passion and fear enabled,) cried out to the soldiers to spare Cræsus ;---who thereupon being taken and imprisoned, despoiled of all things but the expectation of death, he was forthwith tỉed in fetters, and set on the top of a great and high heap of wood, to be consumed to ashes there. on. To which when the fire was set and kindled, re. membering the discourse which he had had with the Athenian lawgiver, he thrice cried out on his name, Solon, Solon, Solon; and being demanded what he meant by that invocation, he first used silence, but urged again, he told them, That he had now found it true which Solon had long since told him, that many men in the race and courses of their lives might well be accounted fortunate, but no man could dis, cern himself for happy indeed till his end.
Of which answer Cyrus being speedily informed}, remembering the changes of fortune and his own mortality, he commanded his ministers of justice to withdraw the fire with all diligence to save Cræsus, and to conduct him to his presence; which done, Cy,
1 In communi calamitate suam quisque habet fortunam, Curt. 2 Memoriam metus perimit; timor vocis est incitamentum, &c. Solin c. 7. 3 Homo qui in ho. ming calamitoso misericors est meminit sui, Cass.