Page images

extent, the Cnidians endeavoured to make a passage, whilst the forces of Harpagus were employed against Ionia. The whole of this country lying beyond the isthmus being their own, they meant thus to reduce it into the form of an island. Whilst they were engaged in this employment, the labourers were wounded in different parts of the body, and particularly in the eyes, by small pieces of fint, which seemed to fly about in so wonderful a manner as to justify their apprehensions that some supernatural power had interfered. They sent therefore to make enquiries at Delphi, what power it was, which thus opposed their efforts ? The Pythian 223, according to their own tradition, answered them thus : i

[ocr errors]

Nor build, nor dig; for wiser Heay’n
Had, were it best, an island giv’n.


223 The Pythian.]—This answer of the oracle brings to mind an historical anecdote, which may properly be introduced here :- The Dutch offered Charles the Second of Spain to make the Tagus navigable as far as Lisbon, at their own expence, provided he would suffer them to exact, for a certain number of years, a stipulated duty on merchandize which should pass that way. It was their intention to make the Mansanazer navigable from Madrid to the place where it joins the Tagus. After a sage deliberation, the council of Castile returned this remarkable answer: “ If it had pleased God to make these rivers navigable, the intervention of human industry would not have been necessary: as they


Upon this the Cnidians desisted from their purpose, and, on the approach of the enemy, surrendered themselves, without resistance, to Harpagus.


CLXXV. The inland country beyond Halicarnassus was inhabited by the Pedasians. Of them it is affirmed, that whenever they or their neighbours are menaced by any calamity, a prodigious beard grows from the chin of the priestess of Minerva 224 : this, they say, has happened three several times. They, having fortified mount Lida, were the only people of Caria who discovered any resolution in opposing Harpagus. After many exertions of bravery, they were at length subdued.


are not so already, it does not appear that Providence intended them to be so. Such an undertaking would be, seemingly, to violate the decrees of Heaven, and to attempt the amendment of these apparent imperfections visible in its works."-Clarke's Letters on the Spanish Nation.

224 The priestess of Mineroa.]-We express ourselves surprised at the blind credulity of the ancients : posterity, in its turn, will be astonished at ours, without being on this account perhaps at all more wise.—Larcher.

The liquefying of the blood of St. Januarius at Naples, which, by the majority of the people there, it would at this day be thought impiety to doubt, is recited in a very lively and entertaining manner by Dr. Moore, and is an instance of credulity no less striking than the one recorded by Herodotus of the Carian priestesses.-T.

CLXXVI. When Harpagus led his army towards Xanthus, the Lycians boldly advanced to meet him, and, though inferior in number, behaved with the greatest bravery. Being defeated, and pursued into their city, they collected their wives, children, and valuable effects, into the citadel, and there consumed the whole, in one immense fire 225. They afterwards uniting themselves under the most solemn curses, made a private sally upon the enemy, and were every man put to death. Of those who now inhabit Lycia, calling themselves Xanthians, the whole are foreigners, eighty families excepted : these survived the calamity of their country, being at that time absent on some foreign expedition. Thus Xanthus fell into the hands of Harpagus;

225 One immense fire.]-The following anecdote from Plutarch, describes a similar emotion of despair.-The Xanthians made a sally in the night, and seizing many of the enemy's, battering engines, set them on fire. Being soon perceived by the Romans, they were beaten back. A violent wind forced the flames against the battlements of the city with such violence, that the adjoining houses took fire. Brutus, on this, commanded his soldiers to assist the citizens in quenching the fire: but they were seized with so sudden a frenzy and despair, that women and children, bond and free, all ages and conditions, 'strove to repel those who came to their assistance, and, gathering whatever com- ' bustible matter they could, spread the fire over the whole city. Not only men and women, but even boys and little children, leaped into the fire; others threw themselves from the walls; others fell upon their parents swords, opening

their breasts, and desiring to be slain.-T. ... Vol. I.



as also did Caunus, whose people imitated, almost in every respect, the example of the Lycians.

CLXXVII. Whilst Harpagus was thus engaged in the conquest of the Lower Asia, Cyrus himself conducted an army against the upper regions, of every part of which he became master. The particulars of his victories I shall omit; expatiating only upon those which are most memorable in themselves, and which Cyrus found the most difficult to accomplish. When he had reduced the whole of the continent, he commenced his march against the Assyrians.

CLXXVIII. The Assyrians are masters of many capital towns; but their place of greatest strength and fame is Babylon 226, which, after the


226 Babylon.]The greatest cities of Europe give but a faint idea of that grandeur which all historians unanimously ascribe to the famous city of Babylon.-Dutens.

Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldees excellency.—Isaiah. The latest accounts of Babylon are from Ranwolf, 1574, Ray's Travels, and P. de la Valle, 1616. The latter describes what D’Anville believes to be the tower or temple of Belus, and P. St. Albert, in his. MS. account of his mission, describes immense walls said to be those of the palace. (D'Anville l’Euphrate et le Tigre,p. 110. 117.) D'Anville treats Otter as an illiterate traveller, who never thought about Babylon for want of having been told of it; yet Gibbon ranks him with Tavernier and Niebuhr, the most useful of modern travellers in these tracts. But to be thoroughly acquainted with the situation and remains


destruction of Nineveh, was the royal residence. It is situated on a large plain, and is a perfect square : each side, by every approach, is one hundred and twenty furlongs in length; the space, therefore, occupied by the whole is four hundred and eighty furlongs * So extensive is the ground which Babylon occupies; its internal beauty and magnificence exceeds whatever has come within my knowledge. It is surrounded by a trench, very wide, deep, and full of water: the wall beyond this, is two hundred royal cubits 227 high, and fifty wide: the royal exceeds the common cubit by three digits.

of this vast and interesting city, the reader will do well to peruse with serious attention the elaborate publication of Rennel, who has dedicated not less than sixty pages to this important subject. It is certainly surprising that Herodotus says nothing of its founder, but is satisfied with telling us who extended and improved it.

* The different reports of the extent of the walls of Babylon are given as follows:

By Herodotus at 120 stadia each side, or 480 in circum. ference. ;

By Pliny and Solinus at 60 Roman miles, which, at eight stadia to a mile, agrees with Herodotus.

By Strabo at 385 stadia.

By Diodorus, from Ctesias, 360, but from Clitarchus, who accompanied Alexander, 365: and, lastly, by Curtius, 368.

It appears highly probable that 360 or 365 was the true statement of the circumference.Rennel.

227 Cubits.]—It must be confessed, indeed, that in the comparison of ancient and modern measures, nothing certain has been concluded. According to vulgar compuR2


« PreviousContinue »