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treated him with great respect; indeed' he excited the admiration of all who were present. After an interval of silent meditation, Creesus observed the Persians engaged in the plunder of the city. “Does it become me, Cyrus,” said he, “ to continue silent on this occasion, or to speak the sentiments of my heart?” Cyrus entreated him to speak without apprehension or reserve..“ About what,” he returned, “is that multitude so eagerly employed?” “ They are plundering your city,” replied Cyrus, “and possessing themselves of your wealth.” “No,” answered Cresus, “ they do not plunder my city, nor possess themselves of my wealth, I have no concern with either; it is your property which they are thus destroying.”
· LXXXIX. These words disturbed Cyrus; desiring therefore those who were present to withdraw, he asked Creesus what measures he would recommend in the present emergence. « The gods,” answered Croesus, “ have made me your captive, and you are therefore justly entitled to the benefit of my reflections. Nature has made the Persians haughty, but poor. If you permit them to indulge without restraint this spirit of devastation, by which they may become rich, it is probable that your acquiescence may thus foster a spirit of rebellion against yourself. I would recommend the following mode to be adopted, if agreeable to your wisdom: station some of your guards at each of the gates, let it be their busi
ness to stop the plunderers with their booty, and bid them assign, as a reason, that one tenth part must be consecrated to Jupiter. Thus you will not incur their enmity by any seeming violence of conduct; they will even accede without reluctance to your views, under the impression of your being actuated by pious motives.
XC. Cyrus was delighted with the advice, and immediately adopted it; he stationed guards in the manner recommended by Croesus, whom he afterwards thus addressed: “ Cresus, your conduct and your words mark a *princely character, I desire you, therefore, to request of me whatever you please, and your wish shall be instantly gratified. “Sir," replied Croesus, “ you will materially oblige me, by permitting me to send these fetters to the god of Greece 126, whom, above all other gods, I have most honoured; and to enquire of him, whether it be his custom to delude those who have claims upon his kindness.” When
* Princely character-ardpos Bacideos. · Bacineus Amp, does not mean a king, but was a common expression among the Greeks to denote a person of distinction. Similar to this was Rex in Latin, which also meant a nobleman. Thus in Horace:
Reges dicuntur multis urgere culullis
A. P. 434. 120 The ancients firmly believed in local gods; thus the god of Greece was very different from the god of Cræsus, or the god of Cyrus.
Cyrus expressed a wish to know the occasion of this reproach, Cræsus ingenuously explained each particular of his conduct, the oracles he had received, and the gifts he had presented; declaring, that these inspired communications had alone induced him to make war upon the Persians. He finished his narrative with again soliciting permission to send and reproach the divinity which had deceived him. Cyrus smiled: “ I will not only grant this,” said he,“ but whatever else you shall require.” Cræsus accordingly dispatched some Lydians to Delphi, who were commissioned to place his fetters on the threshold of the temple, and to ask if the deity were not ashamed at hav. ing, by his oracles, induced Croesus to make war on Persia, with the expectation of overturning the empire of Cyrus, of which war these chains were the first fruits : and they were farther to enquire, if the gods of Greece were usually ungrateful.
XCI, The Lydians proceeded on their journey, and executed their commission; they are said to have received the following reply from the Pythian priestess : “ That to avoid the determination of destiny 27 was impossible even for a
127 Determination of destiny.]-There were two fates, the greater and the less: the determinations of the first were immutable; those of the latter might be set aside. The ex
divinity: that Croesus, in his person, expiated the crimes of his ancestor, in the fifth descent "28 ; who being a guardsman of the Heraclidæ, was seduced by the artifice of a woman to assassinate his master, and without the remotest pretensions succeeded to his dignities: that Apollo was desirous to have this destruction of Sardis fall on
pression in Virgil, of “ Si qua fata aspera rumpas,” is certainly equivocal, and must be understood as applying to the lesser fates. This subject is fully discussed by Bentley, in his notes to Horace, Epist. book 2, who, for “ ingentia facta," proposes to read“ ingentia fata."-T.
To avoid the determination of destiny.]-See Spenser, book. iv. canto ii. stanz. 51.
For what the fates do once decree,
Several writers suppose, that Herodotus in these words has declared his own sentiments, and quote them as a saying of the Historian. See Jortin's Remarks on Spenser.
It was a common notion among the Heathens. See Æsch. Prometh. 516. Ovid, Met. ix. 429.
128 In the fifth descent.]—“Such, you say, is the power of the gods, that if death shall deliver an individual from the punishment due to his crimes, vengeance shall still be satisfied on his children, bis grandchildren, or some of his posterity. Wonderful as may be the equity of Providence, will any city suffer a law to be introduced, which shall punish a son or a grandson for the crimes of his father or his grandfather?" Cicerolde Naturâ Deorum.-Upon the above Larcher remarks, that Cicero speaks like a wise, Herodotus like a superstitions man. It is true that it is the Divinity who speaks; but it is the Historian who makes him, and who approves of what he says.
Creesus was the fifth descendant of Gyges. The genealogy was this: Gyges, Ardys, Sadyattes, Alyattes, Cresus.-T.
the descendants of Croesus, but was unable to counteract the decrees of fate; that he had really obviated them as far as was possible; and, to shew his partiality to Cræsus 129, had caused the ruin of Sardis to be. deferred for the space of three years: that of this, Croesus might be as- ' sured, that if the will of the fates had been punctually fulfilled, he would have been three years sooner a captive: neither ought he to forget, that when in danger of being consumed by fire, Apollo had afforded him his succour: that with respect to the declaration of the oracle, Crosus was not justified in his complaints; for Apollo had declared, that if he made war against the Persians, a mighty empire would be overthrown; the real purport of which communication, if he had been anxious to understand, it became him to have en
129 Partiality to Cræsus. ]—In the remoter ages of ignorance and superstition, the divinities, or their symbols, did not always experience from their worshippers the same uniform veneration. When things succeeded contrary to their wishes or their prayers, they sometimes chained their gods, sometimes beat them, and often reproached them. So that it seems difficult to account for those qualities of the human mind, which, acknowledging the inclination to hear petitions, with the power to grant them, at one time expressed themselves in the most abject and unmanly superstition, at another indulged resentments equally preposterous and unnatural. To a mind but the least enlightened, the very circumstance of a deity's apologizing to a fallen mortal for his predictions and their effects, seems to have but little tendency to excite in future an awe of his power, a reverence for his wisdom, or a confidence in his justice.--T. Vol. I.