Page images
PDF
EPUB

monians were victorious. From this time and incident, the Argives, who formerly suffered their hair to grow to its full length, cut it short, binding themselves by a solemn imprecation, that till Thyrea should be recovered, no man should permit his hair to increase, nor Argive woman adorn herself with gold. The Lacedæmonians, on the contrary, issued an edict, that as they formerly wore their hair short"), it should henceforth be

• permitted

· 519 Formerly wore their hair short.)-All the Greeks formerly wore their hair very long, which is evident from the epithet so repeatedly given them by Homer, of long-haired. Xenophon, in contradiction to the passage before us, remarks, that the Lacedæmonian custom of suffering the hair to grow, was amongst the institutions of Lycurgus. Plutarch: also denies the fact here introduced.-Larcher.

Among the sacred deposits of the Acanthians at Delphi, one has this inscription_“ BRASIDAS AND THE ACANTHII TOOK THIS FROM THE ATHENIANS.” Hence many are of opinion that the marble statue which stands in the chapel of that nation, just by the door, is the statue of Brasidas. But in fact it is Lysandei's, whom it perfectly represents, with his hair at full growth, and a length of beard, both after the ancient fashion. It is not true indeed (as some would have it) that while the Argives cut their hair in sorrow for the loss of a great battle, the Lacedæmonians began to let their's grow in the joy of success. Nor did they first give into this custom, when the Bacchiadæ fled from Corinth to Lacedæmon, and made a disagreeable appearance with their shorn locks. But it is derived from the institution of Lycurgus, who is reported to have said, that—" long hair makes the handsome more beautiful, and the ugly more terrible.Plutarch's Life of Lysander, by Dr. Langhorne.

This

K

2

permitted to grow. It is reported of Othryades, the survivor of his three hundred countrymen, that ashamed to return to Sparta, when all his comrades had so honourably died, he put himself to death at Thyrea.

LXXXIII. Whilst the Spartans were in this situation, the Sardian messenger arrived, relating the extreme danger of Creesus, and •requesting their immediate assistance. This they without hesitation resolved to give. Whilst they were making for this purpose, preparations of men and ships, a second messenger brought intelligence, that Sardis was taken, and Crøesus in captivity. Strongly impressed by this wonderful calamity, the Lacedæmonians made no farther efforts.

LXXXIV. Sardis was thus taken :--On the fourteenth day of the siege, Cyrus sent some horsemen round his camp, promising a reward to him who should first scale the wall. The attempt was made, but without success. After which a certain Mardian, whose name was Hyræades 120,

made

This battle necessarily brings to mind the contest of the Horatii and Curiatii, which decided the empire of Rome. The account which Suidas gives of Othryades, differs essentially. Othryades, says he, was wounded, and concealed himself amongst the bodies of the slain; and when Alcenor and Chromius, the Argives who survived, were departed, he himself stripping the bodies of the enemy, erected thus a trophy, as it were, of human blood, and immediately died.-T.

120 For this referenee, see following page.

made a daring effort on a part of the citadel where no sentinel was stationed; it being so strong and so difficult of approach, as seemingly to defy all attack. Around this place alone, Meles had neglected to carry his son Leon, whom he had by a concubine, the Telmessian priests having declared that Sardis should never be taken, if Leon were carried round the walls. Leon, it seems, was carried by his father round every part of the citadel which was exposed to attack. He omitted taking him round that, which is opposite to mount Tmolus, from the persuasion that its natural strength rendered all modes of defence unnecessary. Here, however, the Mardian had the preceding day observed a Lydian descend to

recover

129 Hyræades. ]–Of this personi, Xenophon does not give the name. According to bim, a Persian who had been the slave of a man on military duty in the citadel, served as guide to the troops of Cyrus. In other respects, his account of the capture of Sardis differs but little from that of our Historian.-Larcher.

By means of this very rock, and by a similar stratagem, Sardis was a long time afterwards taken, under the conduct of Antiochus. The circumstances are described at length by Polybius. An officer had observed, that vultures and birds of prey gathered there about the offals and dead bodies thrown into the hollow by the besieged; and inferred that the wall standing on the edge of the precipice was neglected, as secure from attack. He scaled it with a resolute party, while Antiochus called off the attention both of his own army and of the enemy, by a feint, marching as if he intended to attack the Persian gate. Two thousand soldiers rushed in at the gate opened for them, and took their post at the theatre, when the town was plundered and burned. T.

recover his helmet, which had fallen down the precipice. He revolved the incident in his mind. He attempted to scale it; he was seconded by other Persians, and their example followed by greater numbers. In this manner was Sardis stormed ">, and afterwards given up to plunder.

was

LXXXV. We have now to speak of the fate of Cresus. He had a son, as I have before related, who, though accomplished in other respects, was unfortunately dumb. Cresus in his former days of good fortune, had made every attempt to - obtain a cure for this infirmity. Amongst other things, he sent to enquire of the Delphic oracle. The Pythian returned this answer :Wide ruling Lydian, in thy wishes wild, Ask not to hear the accents of thy child ; Tar better were his silence for thy peace, And sad will be the day when that shall cease.

During

12! In this manner was Sardis stormed.]-Polyænus relates the matter differently. According to him, Cyrus availed hinself of a truce which he had concluded with Cræsus, to advance his forces, and making his approach by night, took the city by surprize. Cræsus still remaining in possession of the citadel, expected the arrival of his Grecian succours : but Cyrus putting in irons the relations and friends of those who defended the citadel, shewed them in that state to the besieged; at the same time he informed them by a herald, that if they would give up the place, he would set their friends at liberty; but that if they persevered in their defence, he would put them to death. 'l he besieged chose rather to surrender, than cause their relations to perish.—7,

During the storm of the city, a Persian meeting Croesus, was, through ignorance of his person, about to kill him. The king, overwhelmed by his calamity, took no care to avoid the blow or escape death ; but his dumb son, when he saw the violent designs of the Persian, overcome with astonishment and terror, exclaimed aloud, “ Oh, man, do not kill Crcesus 122 !” This was the first time he had ever articulated, but he retained the faculty of speech from this event, as long as he lived.

.

LXXXVI. The Persians thus obtained possession of Sardis, and made Croesus captive, when · he had reigned fourteen years, and after a siege of fourteen days; a mighty empire, agreeably to the prediction which had deluded him, being then destroyed. The Persians brought him to the presence of Cyrus, who ordered him to be placed in chains upon the summit of an huge wooden

pile,
122 “ Do not kill Cræsus !”]—Mr. Hayley, in his Essay on
History, reprobating the irreligious spirit of Mr. Gibbon,
happily introduces this incident.
My verse, says the Poet,

--Breathes an honest sigh of deep concern,
And pities genius, when his wild career
Gives faith a wound, and innocence a fear.
Humility herself, divinely mild,
Sublime Religion's meek and modest child,
Like the dumb son of Cræsus, in the strife
- Where force assail'd his father's sacred life,
Breaks silence, and with filial duty warm,
Bids thee revere her parent's hallowed form.

« PreviousContinue »