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his whole nation, and particularly his sovereign, have a claim to his prayers, himself being necessarily comprehended with the rest. He proceeds to divide his victim"?2 into several minute parts, which, when boiled, he places upon the most delicate verdure he can find, giving the preference to trefoil. When things are thus prepared, one of the magi, without whose presence no sacrifice is deemed lawful, stands up and chants the primæval origin of the gods, which they suppose to have a sacred and mysterious influence. The worshipper after this takes with him, for his own use, such parts of the flesh as he thinks proper.
CXXXIII. But beyond all other days, every one pays more particular regard to that of his birth, when they indulge themselves with better fare than usual. They who are richest, prepare on this day an ox, a horse, a camel, or an ass, which are roasted whole; the poorer sort are satisfied with a lamb or a sheep: they eat but sparingly of meat, but are fond of the after dishes,
Self-love but serves the virtuous mind to wake,
Pope's Essays. 372 Divide his victim.]—The ceremony of the Persian sacrifice is related at length, but with some trifling variations, by Strabo.-T.
which are separately introduced. From hence the Persians take occasion to say, that the Grecians leave their tables unsatisfied, having nothing good to induce them to continue there-if they had, they would eat more. Of wine "73 they drink profusely: they may neither vomit nor make water before any one; which customs they still observe. They are accustomed to deliberate on matters of the highest moment when warm with wine; but whatever they in this situation may determine, is again proposed to them on the morrow, in their cooler moments, by the person in whose house they had before assembled.' If at this time also it shall meet their approbation, it is executed, otherwise it is rejected. Whatever, also, they discuss when sober, is always a second time examined after they have been drinking.
CXXXIV. If they meet at any time by accident, the rank of each party is easily discovered: if they are of equal dignity, they salute each other on the mouth; if one is an inferior, they only kiss (the cheek; if there be a great difference in situa
573 Of wine, &c.]—In every age the Persians have been addicted to intemperance; and the wines of Shiraz have trie umphed over the law of Mahomet.—Gibbon. In contradice tion to the above observation, it appears from Xenophon, that the Persians, in the early period of their history, were a temperate and sober people. But that, in the time of Herodotus, they drank profusely, is confirmed by Plato.-T.
tion, the inferior falls prostrate on the ground '74. They treat with most respect those who live nearest to them; as they become more and more remote, their esteem of each other diminishes; for those who live very distant from them, they entertain not the smallest regard : esteeming themselves the most excellent of mankind, they think that the value of others must diminish in proportion to their distance. During the empire of the Medes, there was a regular gradation of authority; the Medes governed the whole as well as their immediate neighbours, but these were superior to those contiguous to them, who again held the next nation in subjection; which example the Persians followed when their dominions became extended, and their authority increased.
CXXXV. The Persians are of all men most inclined to adopt foreign manners: thinking the dress of the Medes more becoming than their own, they wear it in preference. They use also, in their armies, the Ægyptian breast-plate : they discover
374 Falls prostrate on the ground.] –Our countryman Sandys observes, that the modern mode of salutation betwixt equals in the East, is by laying the right hand on the bosom, and gently declining the body; but when a person of great rank is saluted, they bow to the ground, and kiss the hem of his garment. Upon this subject consult also Pococke and Shaw. The Syro-Phænician woman fell at the feet of Jesus. Quintus Curtius relates of Alexander the Great, that when he returned from the conquest of Asia, he disdained the manners of his country, and suffered those who approached his person to lie prostrate on the ground before him.--T.
an ardour for all pleasures of which they have heard; a passion for boys '75 they learned from the Greeks, and each man has many wives, but many more concubines*.
175 Passion for boys. -How, says Plutarch, in his discourse on the malignity of Herodotus, could the Persians possibly have learned this vice of the Greeks? It is universally ace , knowledged that the custom of castrating young men was common amongst the Persians, long before they visited the coasts of Greece.
Mr. Harmer, in his Observations on Passages of Scripture, has been at some pains to prove, that in all probability the plain upon which the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah stood, was somewhere in the south of Persia.
That this vice was of very great antiquity in Greece, appears from a passage of Phanocles, preserved in Stobæus, wbich informs us, that the Thracian women put Orpheus to death, on account of his unnatural passion for a young man of the name of Calais.
Ille etiam Thracum populis fuit auctor, amorem
Orid Met. x. 83. But the total silence of Homer may perhaps furnish a reasonable presumption against the antiquity of this detestable vice.--T.
* As Herodotus gives no account of the Persian forms of marriage, the following extract from Arrian, which represents the marriage of Alexander and some of his generals to Persian ladies, in the Persian manner, may not be unentertaining. Alexander now turned his mind to the celebration of his own and his friends nuptials at Susa. He himself married Barsine, the eldest daughter of Darius; and in all eighty daughters of the most illustrious nobility, Persians as well as Medes, were united to as many of Alexander's friends. The nuptials were celebrated in the Persian manner. Seats were placed for those men who were about to be married, according to their rank. After a banquet the ladies were introduced, and each sate down by the side of her husband,
CXXXVI. Next to valour in the field, a man is esteemed in proportion to the number of his offspring 176; to him who has the greater number of children, the king sends presents every year; their national strength depending, as they suppose, on their numbers. From their fifth'??, to their twentieth year, they instruct their children in three things only, the art of the bow, horsemanship"75, and a strict regard to truth. Till
who each, beginning with Alexander himself, took the right hand of his bride, and kissed her. All observed this ceremony, and then each man retired with his wife.
176 Number of his offspring.)- A numerous posterity is, at the present day, the most fervent wish of the female inhabitants of Ægypt. Public respect is annexed to fruitfulness, This is even the ptayer of the poor, who earns his bread by the sweat of his brow.-Savary,
Without any exaggeration, all the women of my acquaintance have twelve or thirteen children; and the old ones boast of having had five-and-twenty or thirty a-piece, and are respected according to the number they have produced.- Letters of Lady M.W.Montague from Constantinople.
Sterility is a reproach among the Orientals, and they still retain for fecundity all the esteem of ancient times.-Volney:
The same commendation of fertility seems to be implied in Scripture, Judges, xii. 14, by the enumeration of Abdon's sons and grandsons.—T.
177 From their fifth; 8c.]—This account of Persian education differs from that given by Xenophon,
178 Horsemanship.]—This, in the time of Cyrus, did not constitute a part of Persian education. The Persians, at that period, inhabiting a country mountainous, and without pasturage, could not breed horses; but as soon as they had conquered a country suitable to this purpose, they learned the art of horsemanship; and Cyrus made it be considered