« AnteriorContinuar »
DIOXIPPUS the Athenian *, in high favour with Alexander the Great, for his strength and dexterity at all the Athletick exercises, was challenged by Horratas, a Macedonian, to single combat. He accepted the challenge with sufficient contempt ; and to shew it, appeared at the place appointed, naked, anointed, and crowned as a conqueror in the Olympick games, with only a small purple mantle wrapped round his left hand, and a knotty club in his right. Horratas came to the field of battle in complete armour, with a shield and sword, a lancet in his righthand, and a spear in his left, and began the fight by darting his lance at his adversary; which he, by a little bent of his body, easily declined ; and before Horratas could shift his spear into his right-hand, broke it to pieces by a blow of his club. Horratas then attempted to draw his sword; but before that could be effected, Dioxippus, with a joint-effort of his head and foot, at once knock'd up his heels, and beat him to the earth ; then catching up his sword, and putting his foot upon his neck, stood over him with his up-lifted club, ready with one blow to beat out his brains, until Alexander interposed to save his life.
* This was he on whom Diogenes ( as Ælian tells us, 1. 12. C. 58.) passed that remarkable sarcasm : As he entered into Athens in the triumphal manner of the Olympick conquerors, and was gazed upon by the people in great crouds, he happened to cast his eyes upon a young lady of distinguished beauty, and falling suddenly and violently in love, fixed them upon her 'till he passed by, and then turning back his head, kept them still fixed upon her : which Diogenes observing, cried out to the Athenians ; See here your great champion! See how a young girl bath twisted his neck !
This is a strong instance of the triumph of skill and activity over the completest armature ; and I hope the fingularity of the adventure will, with the curious reader, compensate for the length of the digression. I now resume the thread of my History.
The unscriptural reader may possibly have fome curiosity to know how David disposed of Goliah's spoils ; at least, may not take it amiss to be informed, that his armour was first deposited in David's tent; that is, either the tent belonging to his brethren, or some other now erected for his use; poffibly, that of Goliah, taken in spoiling the Philistine camp. His sword was hung up, as a trophy of thanksgiving to God, in the tabernacle * ;
* Possibly, from hence came that custom among the ancient Greeks and Romans, of depoliting their aims in their temples.
and his head conveyed to Jerusalem, then in the possession of the Israelites; tho’ the strong fort of Sion still held out for the yebuftes.
AND, possibly, one end of carrying it thither might be, to strike a terror into that garison ; tho’it was, more probably, deposited there, in a prophetick foresight of that city's becoming one day the capital of David. And if I may be indulged a conjecture, I own, to me it seems not impossible, that all the histories we have of heads found in the foundations of cities, which afterwards became great and eminent, such as those of Rome and Carthage, might be derived from some imperfect or designedly obscured tradition of the history of this head.
Nor will the reader, perhaps, think this a very strained conjecture, who considers the great and allowed uncertainties in the accounts of the Roman originals, that when the best Roman historians wrote *, there were
* Their first historian, Quintus Fabius Piktor, was 360 years later than this period; he flourished about twenty or thirty years after the translation of the Septuagint, and took most of his accounts from Diocles Peparethicus, a Greek. Whether the history of the capitol be fo old, I cannot say, but it is evidently later than the vertion of the LXX.
no records, of almost the first four hundred years of their city, extant; being all consumed (if they had any) in the burning of the city by the Gauls, A. U. C. 363. and therefore their study was, to make its origine as strange and stupendous as they could devise it ; and, in order to do so, they crouded into that, the most extraordinary accounts of other countries *.
Ở H A P. VI. The Rise and Effeets of Saul's Enmity
te David. Merab promised to Da
vid, and given to another. N AVID now continuing at court, was
employed by Saul on various occasions : and as he still acquitted himself wisely, Saul, in some time, set him over his men of war ;
* This might be illustrated by many examples : I th ill instance only in one. Whoever compares the acco int of the Roman beginning, consisting only of men, and the rape of the Sabines, contrived for their increase, with the history of the Benjamites in the three last chapters of the book of Judges, will, I believe, be quickly of my opinion.
that is, as it is commonly understood, made him captain of his guards. But this degree of favour lasted not long ; for now Saul's envy and malignity returned strong upon him, with his evit fpirit. The occasion was thus :
As Saul returned in triumph from the Philistine war, the women from alf the cities of Israel came to meet him, to congratulate his conquests, with songs, and various instruments of musick; and as they sang together, they blended the praises of Saul and David in their chorus : but with this distinction ; Saul bath sain his thousands, and David bis ten thousands.
The haughty heart of Saul could ill digest this preference; his resentment brought back all his black passions into his breast, and refitted him for the possession of the evil spirit : And Saul was wroth, (says the text) and the saying displeased him ; and he said, They have ascribed unto David ten thouSands, and to me they have ascribed but thousands ; and what can be have more but the kingdom ? --- And it came to pass on the morrow, that the evil spirit from God came upon Saul, and be prophesied in the