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vantage to themselves, for they could only come near the Greeks by small detachments; while the latter, more accustomed to those waters, drove their brazen-pointed prows into the sides of the Persians, advancing and retiring with wonderful dexterity and surety of aim. Feeling the eye of their king upon them, the Persians fought with desperate bravery. The battle lasted all day; when night fell, Xerxes saw his forces scattered or destroyed, and instead of renewing the battle, resolved to seek his own safety in retreat.
56. Mardonius engaged to complete the conquest of Greece with 300,000 men. The fleet was ordered to the Hellespont, and the king with the remainder of his forces set out for home. His magazines had been exhausted, and during this forced retreat many died of hunger. Forty-five days after his departure from Attica he arrived at the Hellespont, and finding his second bridge of boats destroyed, returned to Asia by ship. He entered Sardis at the end of the year 480, humbled and depressed, only eight months from the time when he left it full of vain hopes of subduing the western world.
57. The operations of Mardonius will be more fully detailed in the History of Greece; a mere outline is here presented. Wintering in Thessaly, he sought by magnificent promises to detach the Athenians from the Greek interests. Diplomacy failing, his army was at once poured into Attica, filling Athens, whose inhabitants had taken refuge again at Salamis. He destroyed the beautiful city by fire, completing the destruction which Xerxes had begun. Then finding that the Greeks were concentrating their forces at the Isthmus, he retired into Boeotia, where, in September, 479, the great battle of Platæ'a was fought. Mardonius was slain and his forces routed with terrible carnage. The last remnant of the Persian fleet was similarly routed at Myc'ale, on the opposite side of the Ægean, and the deliverance of Europe was complete. No Persian army henceforth trod the soil of European Greece, and for twelve years no Persian sail appeared in the Ægean.
58. Having spent his own best strength and that of his empire in this disastrous war, Xerxes made no further effort for military glory, but gave himself up to luxurious indolence. The highest rewards were offered to him who could invent a new pleasure. His subjects followed the example of their king; the empire was weakened by licentiousness and distracted by violence. It was only a fitting close to such a reign, when, at the end of twenty years, Xerxes was murdered by Artaba'nus, the captain of his guard, and Aspami'tres, his chamberlain.
59. REIGN OF ARTAXERXES I. B. C. 465-425. The assassins placed upon the throne the youngest son of their victim, Artaxerxes Longimanus,
See pp. 142–144.
or the Long-Handed. The eldest son, Darius, was executed on a false charge of having murdered his father. The second, Hystas'pes, claimed the crown, but was defeated and slain in battle. The crimes of the real assassins were proved against them, and they were punished with death. Artaxerxes enjoyed an undisputed reign of forty years, during which the power of the empire declined, notwithstanding his beneficent efforts to promote the interests of his people.
60. EGYPTIAN REVOLT. In the early part of his reign Egypt revolted under I'narus, son of Psammet'ichus, who was aided by the Athenians. Achaemenes, brother of the king, was sent with
B. C. 460.
B. C. 455.
a great army to punish the rebellion; but he was defeated and slain by the hand of Inarus in the battle of Papre'mis, and a vast number of Persians perished. The remainder of the army were shut up in the White Castle at Memphis, and suffered a siege of three years. A new force, led by Megaby'zus, was more successful: Memphis was relieved, Inarus taken, and the Athenian fleet destroyed. Amyrta'us, the ally of Inarus, held out six years longer in the marshes of the Delta, until, by the intervention of Athens, peace was made. The Persians were defeated with great loss off Salamis, in Cyprus, and consented to very humiliating terms. They engaged not to visit with fleet or army the western shores of Asia Minor, but to respect the independence of the Asiatic Greeks. Even the leader of the revolt was punished only by the loss of his principality.
61. Contrary to the solemn agreement of Megabyzus, Inarus, after five years at the Persian court, was given up, with fifty Athenian companions, to the vengeance of the queen-mother, and suffered a barbarous death for having slain Achaemenes. Disgusted by this violation of his honor, Megabyzus stirred up a revolt in his province of Syria. He was the greatest general in the empire, and the success of his operations against the forces sent to subdue him, so alarmed his master that he was permitted to dictate his own terms of peace. The intercessions of his wife, Am'ytis, sister of the king, aided much in his reconciliation; but the example was ruinous to the strict organization of the provinces which Darius had introduced. The tendencies to decay now acted with greater and greater rapidity.
62. In the seventh year of Artaxerxes' reign, a new migration of Jews was led from Babylon by Ezra, a man of priestly lineage and high in favor at the Persian court. Laden with contributions from the Jews of Babylonia, he arrived in Jerusalem with great treasures for the completion of the temple, and for the reëstablishment of civil government throughout the country. He found that the people had allied themselves with the neighboring tribes by marriage, and insisted on the immediate dismissal of all heathen members from Jewish households.
63. The defeat of the Persians at Cyprus, 449 B. C., operated to a certain
degree in favor of the Jews; for all the maritime ports of the empire having been ceded, the natural fortress of Zion, commanding the roads between Egypt and the capital, became of great importance. Hitherto the Persian monarchs had forbidden Jerusalem to be fortified, but in the twentieth year of Artaxerxes' reign, Nehemi'ah, the Jewish cup-bearer of the great king, received a commission to rebuild its walls. He moved with great celerity and secrecy, for the neighboring Samaritans, Ammonites, and Arabians, no longer awed, as formerly, by a decree of the empire, violently opposed the work. Laboring by night, with tools in one hand and weapons in the other, the Jews of every rank gave themselves so zealously to the task, that in fifty-two days Jerusalem was inclosed by walls and towers strong enough to defy her foes. (Nehemiah i-v: 16.)
Meanwhile Ezra, relieved from the civil command, labored at his great work, the collection and editing of the Sacred Books. During the captivity many writings had been lost, among them the Book of Jasher, that of "The Wars of the Lord," the writings of Gad and Iddo, the prophets, and the works of Solomon on Natural History. The sacred books which remained were arranged in three great divisions: the Law, the Prophets, and the Hagiographa; the latter including Job, the Psalms, and Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Canticles, Ruth, Daniel, and the Chronicles. The Books of Malachi, Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther were afterward added, and the canon closed.
64. On the departure, of Nehemiah the old disorders returned. Ezra died; the high priest allied himself with the deadliest enemy of the Jewish faith, Tobi'ah the Ammonite, to whom he gave lodgings in the temple. The Sabbath was broken; Tyrian traders sold their merchandise in the gates of Jerusalem on the Holy Day. Nehemiah returned with the power of a satrap, and with his usual skill reformed these abuses. He expelled Manasseh, who had now become high priest, because he had married a daughter of Sanballat the Horonite. The pagan father-in-law hereupon built a rival temple on the summit of Mount Gerizim, of which Manasseh became high priest. The bitter hatred arising from this schism continued for centuries, and did not cease even with the destruction of the temple at Jerusalem, A. D. 70. "The Jews had no dealings with the Samaritans." From the time of the division there was no more intermingling of pagan elements in the religion and customs of Judæa. The Hebrews became not only the most rigidly monotheistic, but, in spite of their later wanderings, the most nearly isolated of all the nations.
65. XERXES II. Artaxerxes died B. C. 425, and was succeeded by his son, Xerxes II. After a reign of only forty-five days, the young king was assassinated by his half-brother, Sogdia'nus; and the funeral train of his father was overtaken, on its way to the royal tombs at Persepolis, by his own.
66. SOGDIANUS. B. C. 425, 424. The murderer enjoyed the fruits of his crime but little more than half a year. Another half-brother, O'chus, revolted with the satraps of Egypt and Armenia and the general of the royal cavalry. Sogdianus was deposed and put to death.
67. DARIUS II. B. C. 424-405. Ochus, ascending the throne, took the name of Darius, to which the Greeks added the contemptuous surname No'thus. This prince spent the nineteen years of his reign under the control of his wife, Parysa'tis, who surpassed her mother, Amas'tris, in wickedness and cruelty. The empire, meanwhile, was shaken by continual revolts, and the means that were taken to quell them compromised instead of confirming the integrity of the nation. Promises were made which were never intended to be kept, for the purpose of leading on the rebellious satraps to their destruction; and the tools of these falsehoods, instead of resenting, like Megabyzus, the loss of their honor, gladly accepted the spoils of their victims. The precautions of Darius I were disregarded; civil and military powers were combined in the same person, and two or three countries were often united under the rule of one satrap. These great governments, descending often from father to son, became more like independent kingdoms than provinces of the empire.
68. The Medes, after more than a century of submission to Persian rule, attempted to free themselves, B. C. 408, but were defeated. The Egyptians, being more distant, were more successful. Always the most discontented of the Persian provinces, their opposition was even more a matter of religion than of patriotism, and was constantly fomented by the priests. Under two successive dynasties of native kings, they were now able to maintain their independence nearly sixty years. B. C. 405-346.
69. While the empire was undergoing these losses, it gained a great advantage in the recovery of the Greek cities of Asia Minor. The Athenians and Spartans had been wasting their forces against each other in the Peloponnesian war (B. C. 431–404), which, more than any regard to their engagements, had interrupted their hostile attempts against Persia. The power of Athens was now broken by disasters in Sicily; and the Lydian satrap, Tissapher'nes, seized the occasion to cultivate the alliance of Sparta, and aid the Athenian colonies, Lesbos, Chios, and Erythræ, in their intended revolt. Pharnabaʼzus, satrap of the Hellespontine provinces, pursued the same course; and through the rivalry of the two Greek states, their ancient enemy gained undisputed possession of “all Asia.”
Cyrus, the younger son of the king, becoming satrap of Phrygia, Lydia, and Cappadocia, used his wealth and power without reserve to aid the Lacedemonians and humble the Athenians. He declared to Lysan'der, the Spartan admiral, that if it were needful he would sell his very throne, or coin it into money, to meet the expenses of the war. This liberality had another cause than friendship. The Spartans were esteemed the best
soldiers in the world, and Cyrus was preparing for a bold and difficult movement in which he wanted their assistance.
70. This young prince had been "born in the purple,” while his elder brother had been born before their father's accession to the throne. With this pretext, which had availed in the case of Xerxes I, his mother, Parysatis, whose favorite he was, strove in vain to persuade Darius to name him his successor in the empire. Cyrus assumed royal state in his province; and though naturally haughty and cruel, he managed to gain the affection. of his courtiers by his amiable manners, while his more brilliant qualities commanded their admiration. Darius, alarmed by his son's unbounded ambition, recalled him to the capital, which he reached only in time to witness his father's death and his brother's accession to the throne.
71. B. C. 405–359. ARTAXERXES II was called Mnemon, for his wonderful memory. His first royal act was to cast his brother into prison, upon a report, probably too well founded, that he was plotting against the life of the king. Cyrus was condemned to die, but his mother, who had instigated the plot, plead for him with such effect, that Artaxerxes not only spared his life, but sent him back to his satrapy. If Cyrus was ambitious and rebellious before, he had now the additional motive of revenge urging him to dethrone his brother and reign in his stead. He raised an army of Greek mercenaries, for a pretended expedition against the robbers of Pisid ́ia, and set out from Sardis in the spring of 401.
B. C. 401.
Artaxerxes was informed of his movements by Tissaphernes, and was well prepared to meet him. The Greeks learned the real object of their march too late to draw back. The army passed through Phrygia and Cilicia, entered Syria by the mountain-passes near Issus, crossed the Euphrates at Thap ́sacus, and advanced to the plain of Cunax'a, about fifty-seven miles from Babylon. Here he encountered· a royal army at least four times as numerous as his own. The Greeks sustained their ancient renown by utterly routing the Asiatics who were opposed to them; but Cyrus, rashly penetrating to the Persian center, where his brother commanded in person, was stricken down by one of the royal guard. He had already wounded the king. Artaxerxes commanded his head and traitorous right hand to be cut off, and his fate ended the battle.
72. The Grecian auxiliaries who had been entrapped into the war by Cyrus now found themselves in a perilous position. Their Persian allies were scattered; they were in the heart of an unknown and hostile country, two thousand miles from home, and surrounded by the victorious army of Artaxerxes. The wily Tissaphernes, who had been rewarded with the dominions of Cyrus, detained them nearly a month by false pretenses of negotiation; and having led them as far as the head-waters of the Tigris, gained possession of all their officers, whom he caused to be put to death.