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to the throne of Judah, rebelled against Babylon, and Nebuchadnezzar set out in person to punish his treachery. He besieged Jerusalem eighteen months, and captured Zedekiah, who, with true Eastern cruelty, was compelled to see his two sons murdered before his eyes were put out, and he was carried in chains to Babylon. In a later war, Nebuzar-adan, general of the armies of Nebuchadnezzar, destroyed Jerusalem, burned the temple and palaces, and carried the remnant of the people to Babylon. The strong and wealthy city of Tyre revolted, and resisted for thirteen years the power of the great king, but at length submitted, and all Phoenicia remained under the Babylonian yoke. B. C. 585.
48. The active mind of Nebuchadnezzar, absorbed in schemes of conquest, began to be visited by dreams, in one of which the series of great empires which were yet to arise in the east was distinctly foreshadowed. Of all the wise men of the court, Daniel alone was enabled to interpret the vision; and his spiritual insight, together with the singular elevation and purity of his character, gained him the affectionate confidence of the king. (Read Daniel ii.)
49. The reign of Nebuchadnezzar was illustrated by grand public works. His wife, a Median princess, sighed for her native mountains, and was disgusted with the flatness of the Babylonian plain, the greatest in the ancient world. To gratify her, the elevated-rather than "hanging" — gardens were created. Arches were raised on arches in continuous series until they overtopped the walls of Babylon, and stairways led from terrace to terrace. The whole structure of masonry was overlaid with soil sufficient to nourish the largest trees, which, by means of hydraulic engines, were supplied from the river with abundant moisture. In the midst of these groves stood the royal winter residence; for a retreat, which in other climates would be most suitable for a summer habitation, was here reserved for those cooler months in which alone man can live in the open air. This first great work of landscape gardening which history describes, comprised a charming variety of hills and forests, rivers, cascades, and fountains, and was adorned with the loveliest flowers the East could afford.
50. The same king surrounded the city with walls of burnt brick, two hundred cubits high and fifty in thickness, which, together with the gardens, were reckoned among the Seven Wonders of the World. During his reign and that of his son-in-law, Nabona'dius, the whole country was enriched by works of public utility: canals, reservoirs, and sluices were multiplied, and the shores of the Persian Gulf were improved by means of piers and embankments.
51. Owing to these encouragements, as well as to her fortunate position midway between the Indus and the Mediterranean, with the Gulf and the two great rivers for natural highways, Babylon was thronged with the merchants of all nations, and her commerce embraced the known world.
Manufactures, also, were numerous and famous. The cotton fabrics of the towns on the Tigris and Euphrates were unsurpassed for fineness of quality and brilliancy of color; and carpets, which were in great demand among the luxurious Orientals, were nowhere produced in such magnificence as in the looms of Babylon.
52. It is not strange that the pride of Nebuchadnezzar was kindled by the magnificence of his capital. As he walked upon the summit of his new palace, and looked down upon the swarming multitudes who owed their prosperity to his protection and fostering care, he said, "Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for the house of the kingdom by the might of my power, and for the honor of my majesty?" At that moment the humiliation foretold in a previous dream, interpreted by Daniel, came upon him. We can not better describe the manner of the judgment than in the king's own words (Daniel iv : 31–37):
"While the word was in the king's mouth, there fell a voice from heaven, saying, O King Nebuchadnezzar, to thee it is spoken; The kingdom is departed from thee. And they shall drive thee from men, and thy dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field: they shall make thee to eat grass as oxen, and seven times shall pass over thee, until thou know that the Most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will. The same hour was the thing fulfilled upon Nebuchadnezzar: and he was driven from men, and did eat grass as oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, till his hairs were grown like eagles' feathers, and his nails like birds' claws. And at the end of the days, I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted up mine eyes unto heaven, and mine understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the Most High, and I praised and honored him that liveth forever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation. . . . At the same time my reason returned unto me; and for the glory of my kingdom, mine honor and brightness returned unto me; and my counselors and my lords sought unto me; and I was established in my kingdom, and excellent majesty was added unto me. Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, all whose works are truth, and his ways judgment: and those that walk in pride he is able to abase."
B. C. 561-559.
53. The immediate successors of Nebuchadnezzar were not his equals in character or talent. Evil-merodach, his son, was murdered after a reign of two years by Nereglis'sar, his sister's husband. This prince was advanced in years when he ascended the throne, having been already a chief officer of the crown thirty years before at the siege of Jerusalem. He reigned but four years, and was succeeded by his son, La'borosoar'chod. The young king was murdered, after only nine months' reign, by Nabona'dius, who became the last king of Babylon. The usurper strengthened his title by marrying a
B. C. 559-555.
B. C. 555-538.
daughter of Nebuchadnezzar-probably the widow of Nereglissar-and afterward by associating their son Belshazzar with him in the government. He also sought security in foreign alliHe fortified his capital by river walls, and constructed water-works in connection with the river above the city, by which the whole plain north and west could be flooded to prevent the approach of an enemy.
54. A new power was indeed arising in the East, against which the three older but feebler monarchies, Babylonia, Lydia, and Egypt, found it necessary to combine their forces. After the conquest of Lydia, and the extension of the Persian Empire to the Ægean Sea, Nabonadius had still fifteen years for preparation. He improved the time by laying up enormous quantities of food in Babylon; and felt confident that, though the country might be overrun, the strong walls of Nebuchadnezzar would enable him cheerfully to defy his foe. On the approach of Cyrus he resolved to risk one battle; but in this he was defeated, and compelled to take refuge in Bor'sippa. His son Belshazzar, being left in Babylon, indulged in a false assurance of safety. Cyrus, by diverting the course of the Euphrates, opened a way for his army into the heart of the city, and the court was surprised in the midst of a drunken revel, unprepared for resistance. The young prince, unrecognized in the confusion, was slain at the gate of his palace. Nabonadius, broken by the loss of his capital and his son, surrendered himself a prisoner; and the dominion of the East passed to the MedoPersian race. Babylon became the second city of the empire, and the Persian court resided there the greater portion of the year.
Deioces, the first reputed king of Media, built and adorned Ecbatana. Phraortes united the Medes and Persians into one powerful kingdom. In the reign of Cyaxares, the Scythians ruled Western Asia twenty-eight years. After their expulsion, Cyaxares, in alliance with the Babylonian viceroy, overthrew the Assyrian Empire, divided its territories with his ally, and raised his own dominion to a high degree of wealth. His son Astyages reigned peacefully thirty-five years.
Babylon, under Nabonassar, became independent of Assyria, B. C. 747. Merodach-baladan, the fifth native king, was twice deposed, by Sargon and Sennacherib, and the country again remained forty-two years under Assyrian rule. It was delivered by Nabopolassar, whose still more powerful son, Nebuchadnezzar, gained great victories over the kings of Judah and Egypt, replacing the latter with viceroys of his own, and transporting the former, with the princes, nobles, and sacred treasures of Jerusalem, to Babylon. By a thirteen years' siege, Tyre was subdued and all Phoenicia conquered. From visions interpreted by Daniel, Nebuchadnezzar learned the future rise and fall of Asiatic empires. He constructed the Hanging Gardens, the walls of Babylon, and many other public works. His pride was punished by seven years' degradation. Evil-merodach was murdered by Nereglissar, who after four years bequeathed his crown to Laborosoarchod. Nabonadius obtained the throne by violence, and in concert with his son Belshazzar, tried to protect his dominions against Cyrus; but Babylon was taken and the empire overthrown, B. C. 538.
KINGDOMS OF ASIA MINOR.
55. The Anatolian peninsula, divided by its mountain chains into several sections, was occupied from very ancient times by different nations nearly equal in power. Of these, the PHRYGIANS were probably the earliest settlers, and at one time occupied the whole peninsula. Successive immigrations from the east and west pressed them inward from the coast, but they still had the advantage of a large and fertile territory. They were a brave but rather brutal race, chiefly occupied with agriculture, and especially the raising of the vine.
56. The Phrygians came from the mountains of Armenia, whence they brought a tradition of the Flood, and of the resting of the ark on Mount Ararat. They were accustomed, in primitive times, to hollow their habitations out of the rock of the Anatolian hills, and many of these rock cities may be found in all parts of Asia Minor. Before the time of Homer, however, they had well-built towns and a flourishing commerce.
57. Their religion consisted of many dark and mysterious rites, some of which were afterward copied by the Greeks. The worship of Cyb'ele, and of Sabaʼzius, god of the vine, was accompanied by the wildest music and dances. The capital of Phrygia was Gor'dium, on the Sanga'rius. The kings were alternately called Gorʼdias and Mi'das, but we have no chronological lists. Phrygia became a province of Lydia B. C. 560.
58. In later times LYDIA became the greatest kingdom in Asia Minor, both in wealth and power, absorbing in its dominion the whole peninsula, except Lycia, Cilicia, and Cappadocia. Three dynasties successively bore rule: the Atyada, before 1200 B. C.; the Heraclidæ, for the next 505 years; and the Mermnadæ, from B. C. 694 until 546, when Croesus, the last and greatest monarch, was conquered by the Persians. The name of this king has become proverbial from his enormous wealth. When associated with his father as crown prince, he was visited by Solon of Athens, who looked on all the splendor of the court with the coolness of a philosopher. Annoyed by his indifference, the prince asked Solon who, of all the men he had encountered in his travels, seemed to him the happiest. To his astonishment, the wise man named two persons in comparatively humble stations, but the one of whom was blessed with dutiful children, and the other had died a triumphant and glorious death. The vanity of Croesus could no longer abstain from a direct effort to extort a compliment. He asked if Solon did not consider him a happy man. The philosopher gravely replied that, such were the vicissitudes of life, no man, in his opinion, could safely be pronounced happy until his life was ended.
59. Croesus extended his power over not only the whole Anatolian peninsula, but the Greek islands both of the Ægean and Ionian seas. He made an alliance with Sparta, Egypt, and Babylon to resist the growing
empire of Cyrus; but his precautions were ineffectual; he was defeated and made prisoner. He is said to have been bound upon a funeral pile, or altar, near the gate of his capital, when he recalled with anguish of heart the words of the Athenian sage, and three times uttered his name, "Solon, Solon, Solon!" Cyrus, who was regarding the scene with curiosity, ordered his interpreters to inquire what god or man he had thus invoked in his distress. The captive king replied that it was the name of a man with whom he wished that every monarch might be acquainted; and described the visit and conversation of the serene philosopher who had remained undazzled by his splendor. The conqueror was inspired with a more generous emotion by the remembrance that he, too, was mortal; he caused Croesus to be released and to dwell with him as a friend.
KINGS OF LYDIA.
Of the First and Second Dynasties, the names are only partially known, and dates are wanting.
60. The small strip of land between Mount Lebanon and the sea was more important to the ancient world than its size would indicate. Here arose the first great commercial cities, and Phoenician vessels wove a web of peaceful intercourse between the nations of Asia, Africa, and Europe.
61. Sidon was probably the most ancient, and until B. C. 1050, the most flourishing, of all the Phœnician communities. About that year the Philistines of Askalon gained a victory over Sidon, and the exiled inhabitants took refuge in the rival city of Tyre. Henceforth the daughter surpassed the mother in wealth and power. When Herodotus visited Tyre, he found a temple of Hercules which claimed to be 2,300 years old. This would give Tyre an antiquity of 2,750 years B. C.
62. Other chief cities of Phoenicia were Bery'tus (Beirût), Byb'lus, Tri'polis, and Ara'dus. Each with its surrounding territory made an independent state. Occasionally in times of danger they formed themselves into a league, under the direction of the most powerful; but the