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then died; but in this period is to be included the time in which the Scythians possessed the empire.
CVII. His son Astyages succeeded to the throne: he had a daughter whom he called Mandane; she, in a dream, appeared to make so great a quantity of water's, that not only his principal city, but all Asia, was overflowed. The purport of this vision, when explained in each particular by the magi, the usual interpreters, terrified him exceedingly. Under this impression, he refused to marry his daughter, when she arrived at a suitable age, to any Mede whose rank justified pretensions to her. He chose rather to give her to Cambyses, a Persian, of a respectable family, but of a pacific disposition, though inferior in his estimation to the lowest of the Medes.
CVIII. The first year after the marriage of his daughter, Astyages saw another vision. A vine
have taken any notice of its ruins; the former especially, who notes the remains of two cities' (Larissa and Mespyla) in his way towards the site of Nineveh, from the Zabates.
According to Tacitus, there was a city named Nineveh, in this quarter, perhaps on the same site, in the reign of the Emperor Claudius.
152 Quantity of, &c.]—Voltaire has started some objections to this passage of Herodotus; to which my answer may be seen in the Supplement to the Philosophy of History, page 79, &c. of the first edition; page 104, &c. of the second.-Larcher,
appeared to spring from the womb of Mandane, which overspread all Asia. Upon this occasion also he consulted his interpreters: the result was, that he sent for his daughter from Persia, when the time of her delivery approached. On her arrival, he kept a strict watch over her, intending to destroy her child. The magi had declared the vision to intimate, that the child of his daughter should supplant him on his throne. Astyages, to guard against this, as soon as Cyrus was born, sent. for Harpagus, a person whose intimacy he used, apon whose confidence he depended, and who indeed had the management of all his affairs. He addressed him as follows: “ Harpagus, I am about to use. you in a business, in which if you either abuse my confidence, or employ others to do what I am anxious you should do yourself, you will infallibly lament the consequence. You must take the boy of whom Mandane has been delivered, remove him to your own house, and put him to death : you will afterwards bury him as you shall think proper.” “Sir," he replied, " you have hitherto never had occasion to censure my conduct; neither shall my future behaviour give you cause of offence: if the accomplishment of this matter be essential to your peace, it becomes me to be faithful and obedient.”
CIX. On this reply of Harpagus, the infant was delivered to his arms in rich apparel, and con
signed to destruction. Returning home, he sought with tears the presence of his wife, to whom he related his conference with Astyages. When she enquired what it was his intention to do; “ By no means," he answered, “ the deed which Astyages enjoins. If he become still more infatuated, more mad than he at present appears, I will not comply with his desires, nor be accessary to this murder. The child is my relation; Astyages is old, and has no male offspring: if, at his decease, the sovereign authority shall descend to this daughter, whose child he orders me to destroy, what extreme danger shall I not incur? It is expedient nevertheless, for my security, that the child should die, not however by the hands of any of my family, but by some other of his servants.”
CX. He instantly sent for a herdsman belonging to Astyages, who, as he knew, pursued his occupation in a place adapted to the purpose, amongst mountains frequented by savage beasts. His 'name was Mitridates; his wife and fellowservant was, in the Greek tongue, called Cyno, by the Medes Spaco's); and Spaca is the name
153 Spaco.] It is not certain whether the dialect of the Medes and Persians was the same. In such remains as we have of the Persian language, Burton and Reland have not been able to discover any term like this. Nevertheless Lefevre assures us, that the Hyrcanians, a people in subjection to the Persians, call, even at the present time, a dog by the word Spac.-Larcher.
by which the Medes called a bitch. The place which he frequented with his herds, was the foot of those mountains which lie to the north of Ecbatane, near the Euxine. This part of Media, towards the Saspires, is high and mountainous, and abounding with forests; the rest of the country is a spacious plain. As soon as he arrived in his presence, Harpagus thus addressed him : “ Astyages commands you to take this infant'54, and expose him * in the most unfrequented part of the mountains, that his death may be speedy and unavoidable. I am further ordered to assure you, that if you evade this injunction, and are by any means accessary to his preservation, you must expect torture and death. I am myself commanded to see the child exposed.”
154 Take this infant, 8c.]—Various passages in this part of our work will necessarily bring to the mind of our reader the Winter's Tale of Shakespeare. The speech of the king to Antigonus minutely resembles this:
Take it up straight,
And by good testimony, or I'll seize thy life, &c.-T. * And expose him.]—Virgil has placed in the infernal regions, the souls of infants weeping and wailing.
Continuo auditæ voces, vagitus et ingens,
Abstulit atra dies, et funere mersit acerbo. It is an ingenious conjecture, proposed in the Divine Legation, that the poet might design to discountenance the cursed practice of exposing and murdering infants. See Jortin's 6th Dissertation. Consult also the Letter on the Delicacy of Friendship, republished in the Tracts, by a Warburtoniad, page 227.
CXI. When the herdsman had received his orders, he took the child, and returned to his cottage. His wife, who had been in labour all the preceding part of the day, was providentially delivered in his absence. Both had been in a state of solicitude: the situation of his wife gave alarm to the husband; and the woman, on her part, feared for him, from the unusual circumstance of his being sent for to Harpagus. His return was sudden and unexpected, and his wife discovered much anxiety to know why Harpagus had sent for him in such haste. “ As soon,” says he, “ as I got into the city, I both saw and heard what I could wish had never befallen the families of our masters: I found the house of Harpagus in extreme affliction; entering which with the greatest terror, I saw an infant panting and screaming on the ground, dressed in rich and splendid clothing. Harpagus, the moment he saw me, commanded me to take the child, and, without any hesitation, expose it on such part of our mountains as is most frequented by wild beasts; telling me, moreover, that Astyages himself had assigned this office to me, and threatening the severest punishment in case of disobedience. I took the child, conceiving it to belong to one of the domestics, never supposing who it really was. The richness, however, of its dress excited my astonishment, which was increased by the sorrow that prevailed in the family of Harpagus. But,