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Title: The Ancient History of the Egyptians, Carthaginians, Assyrians, - Babylonians, Medes and Persians, Macedonians and Grecians - (Vol. 1 of 6)
Author: Rollin, Charles, 1661-1741
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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             BABYLONIANS, MEDES AND PERSIANS, MACEDONIANS AND GRECIANS (VOL. 1 OF
             6)***



                                   The

                             Ancient History

                                  Of The

                        Egyptians, Carthaginians,

                         Assyrians, Babylonians,

                           Medes and Persians,

                         Macedonians and Grecians

                                    By

                              Charles Rollin

                Late Principal of the University of Paris

               Professor of Eloquence in The Royal College

                     And Member of the Royal Academy

                    Of Inscriptions and Belles Letters

                        Translated From The French

                              In Six Volumes

                                 Vol. I.

                               New Edition

                Illustrated With Maps and Other Engravings

                                  London

              Printed for Longman And Co., J. M. Richardson,

           Hamilton And Co., Hatchard And Son, Simpkin And Co.,

              Rivingtons, Whittaker And Co., Allen And Co.,

          Nisbet And Co., J. Bain, T. And W. Boone, E. Hodgson,

          T. Bumpus, Smith, Elder, And Co., J. Capes, L. Booth,

              Bigg And Son, Houlston And Co., H. Washbourne,

               Bickets And Bush, Waller And Son, Cambridge,

          Wilson And Sons, York, G. And J. Robinson, Liverpool,

                      And A. And C. Black, Edinburgh

                                   1850



CONTENTS


Preface.
Book The First. The Ancient History Of The Egyptians.
   Part The First. Description of Egypt.
      Chapter I. Thebais.
      Chapter II. Middle Egypt, or Heptanomis.
      Chapter III. Lower Egypt.
   Part The Second. Of the Manners and Customs of the Egyptians.
      Chapter I. Concerning The Kings And Government.
      Chapter II. Concerning the Priests And Religion Of The Egyptians.
      Chapter III. Of The Egyptian Soldiers And War.
      Chapter IV. Of Their Arts And Sciences.
      Chapter V. Of Their Husbandmen, Shepherds, and Artificers.
      Chapter VI. Of The Fertility Of Egypt.
   Part The Third. The History of the Kings of Egypt.
Book The Second. The History Of The Carthaginians.
   Part The First. Character, Manners, Religion, Government.
   Part The Second. The History of the Carthaginians.
      Chapter I. The Foundation of Carthage.
      Chapter II. The History of Carthage.
Book the Third. The History of the Assyrians.
   Chapter I. The First Empire of the Assyrians.
   Chapter II. The Second Assyrian Empire, both of Nineveh and Babylon.
   Chapter III. The History of the Kingdom of the Medes.
   Chapter IV. The History of the Lydians.
Maps.
Footnotes



               [Illustration: Portrait of Charles Rollin.]

                  Charles Rollin. Born 1661. Died 1741.


[Transcriber’s Note: The French original of this work was published
1730-38. The translation was done by Robert Lynam.]



A Letter written by the Right Reverend Dr. FRANCIS ATTERBURY, late Lord
Bishop of Rochester, to M. ROLLIN, in commendation of this Work.

Reverende atque Eruditissime Vir,

Cum, monente amico quodam, qui juxta ædes tuas habitat, scirem te Parisios
revertisse; statui salutatum te ire, ut primùm per valetudinem liceret. Id
officii, ex pedum infirmitate aliquandiu dilatum, cùm tandem me impleturum
sperarem, frustrà fui; domi non eras. Restat, ut quod coràm exequi non
potui, scriptis saltem literis præstem; tibique ob ea omnia, quibus à te
auctus sum, beneficia, grates agam, quas habeo certè, et semper habiturus
sum, maximas.

Reverà munera ilia librorum nuperis à te annis editorum egregia ac
perhonorifica mihi visa sunt. Multi enim facio, et te, vir præstantissime,
et tua omnia quæcunque in isto literarum genere perpolita sunt; in quo
quidem Te cæteris omnibus ejusmodi scriptoribus facilè antecellere, atque
esse eundem et dicendi et sentiendi magistrum optimum, prorsùs existimo;
cùmque in excolendis his studiis aliquantulum ipse et operæ et temporis
posuerim, liberè tamen profiteor me, tua cum legam ac relegam, ea edoctum
esse à te, non solùm quæ nesciebam prorsus, sed etiam quæ anteà didicisse
mihi visus sum. Modestè itaque nimiùm de opere tuo sentis, cùm juventuti
tantùm instituendæ elaboratum id esse contendis. Ea certè scribis, quæ à
viris istiusmodi rerum haud imperitis, cum voluptate et fructu legi
possunt. Vetera quidem et satis cognita revocas in memoriam; sed ita
revocas, ut illustres, ut ornes; ut aliquid vetustis adjicias quod novum
sit, alienis quod omnino tuum: bonasque picturas bonâ in luce collocando
efficis, ut etiam iis, à quibus sæpissimè conspectæ sunt, elegantiores
tamen solito appareant, et placeant magis.

Certè, dum Xenophontem sæpiùs versas, ab illo et ea quæ à te plurimis in
locis narrantur, et ipsum ubique narrandi modum videris traxisse, stylique
Xenophontei nitorem ac venustam simplicitatem non imitari tantùm, sed
planè assequi: ita ut si Gallicè scisset Xenophon, non aliis ilium, in eo
argumento quod tractas, verbis usurum, non alio prorsùs more scripturum
judicem.

Hæc ego, haud assentandi causâ, (quod vitium procul à me abest,) sed verè
ex animi sententiâ dico. Cùm enim pulchris à te donis ditatus sim, quibus
in eodem, aut in alio quopiam doctrinæ genere referendis imparem me
sentio, volui tamen propensi erga te animi gratique testimonium proferre,
et te aliquo saltem munusculo, etsi perquam dissimili, remunerari.

Perge, vir docte admodùm et venerande, de bonis literis, quæ nunc neglectæ
passim et spretæ jacent, benè mereri: perge juventatem Gallicam (quando
illi solummodò te utilem esse vis) optimis et præceptis et exemplis
informare.

Quod ut facias, annis ætatis tuæ elapsis multos adjiciat Deus! iisque
decurrentibus sanum te præstet atque incolumem. Hoc ex animo optat ac
vovet

Tui observantissimus
FRANCISCUS ROFFENSIS.

Pransurum te mecum post festa dixit mihi amicus ille noster qui tibi
vicinus est. Cùm statueris tecum quo die adfuturus es, id illi
significabis. Me certè annis malisque debilitatum, quandocunque veneris,
domi invenies.

_6° Kal. Jan. 1731._



A Letter written by the Right Reverend Dr. FRANCIS ATTERBURY, late Lord
Bishop of Rochester, to M. ROLLIN, in commendation of this Work.

Reverend and most Learned Sir,

When I was informed by a friend who lives near you, that you were returned
to Paris, I resolved to wait on you, as soon as my health would admit.
After having been prevented by the gout for some time, I was in hopes at
length of paying my respects to you at your house, and went thither, but
found you not at home. It is incumbent on me therefore to do that in
writing, which I could not in person, and to return you my acknowledgments
for all the favours you have been pleased to confer upon me, of which I
beg you will be assured, that I shall always retain the most grateful
sense.

And indeed I esteem the books you have lately published, as presents of
exceeding value, and such as do me very great honour. For I have the
highest regard, most excellent Sir, both for you, and for every thing that
comes from so masterly a hand as yours, in the kind of learning you treat;
in which I must believe that you not only excel all other writers, but are
at the same time the best master of speaking and thinking well; and I
freely confess that, though I had applied some time and pains in
cultivating these studies, when I read your volumes over and over again, I
was instructed in things by you, of which I was not only entirely
ignorant, but seemed to myself to have learnt before. You have therefore
too modest an opinion of your work, when you declare it composed solely
for the instruction of youth. What you write may undoubtedly be read with
pleasure and improvement by persons not unacquainted with learning of the
same kind. For whilst you call to mind ancient facts and things
sufficiently known, you do it in such a manner, that you illustrate, you
embellish them; still adding something new to the old, something entirely
your own to the labours of others: by placing good pictures in a good
light, you make them appear with unusual elegance and more exalted
beauties, even to those who have seen and studied them most.

In your frequent correspondence with Xenophon, you have certainly
extracted from him, both what you relate in many places, and every where
his very manner of relating; you seem not only to have imitated, but
attained the shining elegance and beautiful simplicity of that author’s
style: so that had Xenophon excelled in the French language, in my
judgment he would have used no other words, nor written in any other
method, upon the subject you treat, than you have done.

I do not say this out of flattery, (which is far from being my vice,) but
from my real sentiments and opinion. As you have enriched me with your
fine presents, which I know how incapable I am of repaying either in the
same or in any other kind of learning, I was willing to testify my
gratitude and affection for you, and at least to make you some small,
though exceedingly unequal, return.

Go on, most learned and venerable Sir, to deserve well of sound
literature, which now lies universally neglected and despised. Go on, in
forming the youth of France (since you will have their utility to be your
sole view) upon the best precepts and examples.

Which that you may effect, may it please God to add many years to your
life, and during the course of them to preserve you in health and safety.
This is the earnest wish and prayer of

Your most obedient Servant,
FRANCIS ROFFEN.

P.S.—Our friend, your neighbour, tells me you intend to dine with me after
the holidays. When you have fixed upon the day, be pleased to let him know
it. Whenever you come, you will be sure to find one so weak with age and
ills as I am, at home.

_December 26, 1731._



PREFACE.



The Usefulness of Profane History, especially with regard to Religion.


The study of profane history would little deserve to have a serious
attention, and a considerable length of time bestowed upon it, if it were
confined to the bare knowledge of ancient transactions, and an
uninteresting inquiry into the æras when each of them happened. It little
concerns us to know, that there were once such men as Alexander, Cæsar,
Aristides, or Cato, and that they lived in this or that period; that the
empire of the Assyrians made way for that of the Babylonians, and the
latter for the empire of the Medes and Persians, who were themselves
subjected by the Macedonians, as these were afterwards by the Romans.

But it highly concerns us to know, by what methods those empires were
founded; by what steps they rose to that exalted pitch of grandeur which
we so much admire; what it was that constituted their true glory and
felicity; and what were the causes of their declension and fall.

It is of no less importance to study attentively the manners of different
nations; their genius, laws, and customs; and especially to acquaint
ourselves with the character and disposition, the talents, virtues, and
even vices of those by whom they were governed; and whose good or bad
qualities contributed to the grandeur or decay of the states over which
they presided.

Such are the great objects which ancient history presents; causing to
pass, as it were, in review before us, all the kingdoms and empires of the
world; and at the same time, all the great men who were any ways
conspicuous; thereby instructing us, by example rather than precept, in
the arts of empire and war, the principles of government, the rules of
policy, the maxims of civil society, and the conduct of life that suits
all ages and conditions.

We acquire, at the same time, another knowledge, which cannot but excite
the attention of all persons who have a taste and inclination for polite
learning; I mean the manner in which arts and sciences were invented,
cultivated, and improved. We there discover, and trace as it were with the
eye, their origin and progress; and perceive, with admiration, that the
nearer we approach those countries which were once inhabited by the sons
of Noah, in the greater perfection we find the arts and sciences; whereas
they seem to be either neglected or forgotten, in proportion to the
remoteness of nations from them; so that, when men attempted to revive
those arts and sciences, they were obliged to go back to the source from
whence they originally flowed.

I give only a transient view of these objects, though so very important,
in this place, because I have already treated them at some length
elsewhere.(1)

But another object of infinitely greater importance, claims our attention.
For although profane history treats only of nations who had imbibed all
the absurdities of a superstitious worship; and abandoned themselves to
all the irregularities of which human nature, after the fall of the first
man, became capable; it nevertheless proclaims universally the greatness
of the Almighty, his power, his justice, and above all, the admirable
wisdom with which his providence governs the universe.

If the inherent conviction of this last truth raised, according to
Cicero’s observation,(2) the Romans above all other nations; we may, in
like manner, affirm, that nothing gives history a greater superiority to
many other branches of literature, than to see in a manner imprinted, in
almost every page of it, the precious footsteps and shining proofs of this
great truth, _viz._ that God disposes all events as supreme Lord and
Sovereign; that he alone determines the fate of kings and the duration of
empires; and that he transfers the government of kingdoms from one nation
to another, because of the unrighteous dealing and wickedness committed
therein.(3)

We discover this important truth in going back to the most remote
antiquity, and the origin of profane history; I mean, to the dispersion of
the posterity of Noah into the several countries of the earth where they
settled. Liberty, chance, views of interest, a love for certain countries,
and similar motives, were, in outward appearance, the only causes of the
different choice which men made in these various migrations. But the
Scriptures inform us, that amidst the trouble and confusion that followed
the sudden change in the language of Noah’s descendants, God presided
invisibly over all their counsels and deliberations; that nothing was
transacted but by the Almighty’s appointment; and that he alone guided(4)
and settled all mankind, agreeably to the dictates of his mercy and
justice: “The Lord scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of the
earth.”(5)

It is true indeed that God, even in those early ages, had a peculiar
regard for that people, whom he was one day to consider as his own. He
pointed out the country which he designed for them; he caused it to be
possessed by another laborious nation, who applied themselves to cultivate
and adorn it; and to improve the future inheritance of the Israelites. He
then fixed, in that country, the like number of families, as were to be
settled in it, when the sons of Israel should, at the appointed time, take
possession of it; and did not suffer any of the nations, which were not
subject to the curse pronounced by Noah against Canaan, to enter upon an
inheritance that was to be given up entirely to the Israelites. _Quando
dividebat Altissimus gentes, quando separabat filios Adam, constituit
terminos populorum juxta numerum filiorum Israel._(6) But this peculiar
regard of God to his future people, does not interfere with that which he
had for the rest of the nations of the earth, as is evident from the many
passages of Scripture, which teach us, that the entire succession of ages
is present to him; that nothing is transacted in the whole universe, but
by his appointment; and that he directs the several events of it from age
to age. _Tu es Deus conspector seculorum. A seculo usque in seculum
respicis._(7)

We must therefore consider, as an indisputable principle, and as the basis
and foundation of the study of profane history, that the providence of the
Almighty has, from all eternity, appointed the establishment, duration,
and destruction of kingdoms and empires, as well in regard to the general
plan of the whole universe, known only to God, who constitutes the order
and wonderful harmony of its several parts; as particularly with respect
to the people of Israel, and still more with regard to the Messiah, and
the establishment of the church, which is his great work, the end and
design of all his other works, and ever present to his sight; _Notum à
seculo est Domino opus suum._(8)

God has vouchsafed to discover to us, in holy Scripture, a part of the
relation of the several nations of the earth to his own people; and the
little so discovered, diffuses great light over the history of those
nations, of whom we shall have but a very imperfect idea, unless we have
recourse to the inspired writers. They alone display, and bring to light,
the secret thoughts of princes, their incoherent projects, their foolish
pride, their impious and cruel ambition: they reveal the true causes and
hidden springs of victories and overthrows; of the grandeur and declension
of nations; the rise and ruin of states; and teach us, what indeed is the
principal benefit to be derived from history, the judgment which the
Almighty forms both of princes and empires, and consequently, what idea we
ourselves ought to entertain of them.

Not to mention Egypt, that served at first as the cradle (if I may be
allowed the expression) of the holy nation; and which afterwards was a
severe prison, and a fiery furnace to it(9); and, at last, the scene of
the most astonishing miracles that God ever wrought in favour of Israel:
not to mention, I say, Egypt, the mighty empires of Nineveh and Babylon
furnish a thousand proofs of the truth here advanced.

Their most powerful monarchs, Tiglath-Pileser, Shalmanezer, Sennacherib,
Nebuchadnezzar, and many more, were, in God’s hand, as so many
instruments, which he employed to punish the transgressions of his people.
“He lifted up an ensign to the nations from far, and hissed unto them from
the end of the earth, to come and receive his orders.”(10) He himself put
the sword into their hands, and appointed their marches daily. He breathed
courage and ardour into their soldiers; made their armies indefatigable in
labour, and invincible in battle; and spread terror and consternation
wherever they directed their steps.

The rapidity of their conquests ought to have enabled them to discern the
invisible hand which conducted them. But, says one of these kings(11) in
the name of the rest, “By the strength of my hand I have done it, and by
my wisdom; for I am prudent: And I have removed the bounds of the people
and have robbed their treasures, and I have put down the inhabitants like
a valiant man. And my hand hath found as a nest the riches of the people:
and as one gathereth eggs that are left, have I gathered all the earth,
and there was none that moved the wing, or opened the mouth, or
peeped.”(12)

But this monarch, so august and wise in his own eye, how did he appear in
that of the Almighty? Only as a subaltern agent, a servant sent by his
master: “The rod of his anger, and the staff in his hand.”(13) God’s
design was to chastise, not to extirpate his children. But Sennacherib
“had it in his heart to destroy and cut off all nations.”(14) What then
will be the issue of this kind of contest between the designs of God, and
those of this prince?(15) At the time that he fancied himself already
possessed of Jerusalem, the Lord, with a single blast, disperses all his
proud hopes; destroys, in one night, an hundred four score and five
thousand of his forces; and putting “a hook in his nose, and a bridle in
his lips”,(16) (as though he had been a wild beast,) he leads him back to
his own dominions, covered with infamy, through the midst of those
nations, who, but a little before, had beheld him in all his pride and
haughtiness.

Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, appears still more visibly governed by a
Providence, to which he himself is an entire stranger, but which presides
over all his deliberations, and determines all his actions.

Being come at the head of his army to two highways, the one of which led
to Jerusalem, and the other to Rabbah, the chief city of the Ammonites,
this king, not knowing which of them it would be best for him to strike
into, debates for some time with himself, and at last casts lots. God
makes the lot fall on Jerusalem, to fulfil the menaces he had pronounced
against that city, _viz._ to destroy it, to burn the temple, and lead its
inhabitants into captivity.(17)

One would imagine, at first sight, that this king had been prompted to
besiege Tyre, merely from a political view, _viz._ that he might not leave
behind him so powerful and well-fortified a city; nevertheless, a superior
will had decreed the siege of Tyre.(18) God designed, on one side, to
humble the pride of Ithobal its king, who fancying himself wiser than
Daniel, whose fame was spread over the whole East; and ascribing entirely
to his rare and uncommon prudence the extent of his dominions, and the
greatness of his riches, persuaded himself that he was “a god, and sat in
the seat of God.”(19) On the other side, he also designed to chastise the
luxury, the voluptuousness, and the pride of those haughty merchants, who
thought themselves kings of the sea, and sovereigns over crowned heads;
and especially, that inhuman joy of the Tyrians, who looked upon the fall
of Jerusalem (the rival of Tyre) as their own aggrandizement. These were
the motives which prompted God himself to lead Nebuchadnezzar to Tyre; and
to make him execute, though unknowingly, his commands. _Idcirco ecce ego
adducam ad Tyrum Nabuchodonosor._

To recompense this monarch, whose army the Almighty had caused “to serve a
great service against Tyre”(20) (these are God’s own words;) and to
compensate the Babylonish troops, for the grievous toils they had
sustained during a thirteen years’ siege; “I will give,”(21) saith the
Lord God, “the land of Egypt unto Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon; and he
shall take her multitude, and take her spoil, and take her prey, and it
shall be the wages for his army.”(22)

The same Nebuchadnezzar, eager to immortalize his name by the grandeur of
his exploits, was determined to heighten the glory of his conquests by his
splendour and magnificence, in embellishing the capital of his empire with
pompous edifices, and the most sumptuous ornaments. But whilst a set of
adulating courtiers, on whom he lavished the highest honours and immense
riches, make all places resound with his name, an august senate of
watchful spirits is formed, who weigh, in the balance of truth, the
actions of kings, and pronounce upon them a sentence from which there lies
no appeal. The king of Babylon is cited before this tribunal, in which
there presides the Supreme Judge, who, to a vigilance which nothing can
elude, adds a holiness that will not allow of the least irregularity.
_Vigil et sanctus._ In this tribunal all Nebuchadnezzar’s actions, which
were the admiration and wonder of the public, are examined with rigour;
and a search is made into the inward recesses of his heart, to discover
his most hidden thoughts. How will this formidable inquiry end? At the
instant that Nebuchadnezzar, walking in his palace, and revolving, with a
secret complacency, his exploits, his grandeur and magnificence, is saying
to himself, “Is not this great Babylon that I built for the house of the
kingdom, by the might of my power, and for the honour of my majesty?”(23)
in this very instant, when, by vainly flattering himself that he held his
power and kingdom from himself alone, he usurped the seat of the Almighty:
a voice from heaven pronounces his sentence, and declares to him, that
“his kingdom was departed from him, that he should be driven from men, and
his dwelling be with the beasts of the field, until he knew that the Most
High ruled in the kingdoms of men, and gave them to whomsoever he
would.”(24)

This tribunal, which is for ever assembled, though invisible to mortal
eyes, pronounced the like sentence on those famous conquerors, on those
heroes of the pagan world, who, like Nebuchadnezzar, considered themselves
as the sole authors of their exalted fortune; as independent on authority
of every kind, and as not holding of a superior power.

As God appointed some princes to be the instruments of his vengeance, he
made others the dispensers of his goodness. He ordained Cyrus to be the
deliverer of his people; and, to enable him to support with dignity so
glorious a function, he endued him with all the qualities which constitute
the greatest captains and princes: and caused that excellent education to
be given him, which the heathens so much admired, though they neither knew
the author nor true cause of it.

We see in profane history the extent and swiftness of his conquests, the
intrepidity of his courage, the wisdom of his views and designs; his
greatness of soul, his noble generosity; his truly paternal affection for
his subjects; and, on their part, the grateful returns of love and
tenderness, which made them consider him rather as their protector and
father, than as their lord and sovereign. We find, I say, all these
particulars in profane history; but we do not perceive the secret
principle of so many exalted qualities, nor the hidden spring which set
them in motion.

But Isaiah discloses them, and delivers himself in words suitable to the
greatness and majesty of the God who inspired him, He represents this
all-powerful God of armies as leading Cyrus by the hand, marching before
him, conducting him from city to city, and from province to province;
“subduing nations before him, loosening the loins of kings, breaking in
pieces gates of brass, cutting in sunder the bars of iron,” throwing down
the walls and bulwarks of cities, and putting him in possession “of the
treasures of darkness, and the hidden riches of secret places.”(25)

The prophet also tells us the cause and motive of all these wonderful
events.(26) It was in order to punish Babylon, and to deliver Judah, that
the Almighty conducts Cyrus, step by step, and gives success to all his
enterprises. “I have raised him up in righteousness, and I will direct all
his ways.—For Jacob my servant’s sake, and Israel mine elect.”(27) But
this prince is so blind and ungrateful, that he does not know his master,
nor remember his benefactor. “I have surnamed thee, though thou hast not
known me.—I girded thee, though thou hast not known me.”(28)

Men seldom form to themselves a right judgment of true glory, and the
duties essential to regal power. The Scripture alone gives us a just idea
of them, and this it does in a wonderful manner, under the image of a very
large and strong tree, whose top reaches to heaven, and whose branches
extend to the extremities of the earth.(29) As its foliage is very
abundant, and it is bowed down with fruit, it constitutes the ornament and
felicity of the plains around it. It supplies a grateful shade, and a
secure retreat to beasts of every kind: animals, both wild and tame, are
safely lodged beneath it, the birds of heaven dwell in its branches, and
it supplies food to all living creatures.

Can there be a more just or more instructive idea of the kingly office,
whose true grandeur and solid glory does not consist in that splendour,
pomp, and magnificence which surround it; nor in that reverence and
exterior homage which are paid to it by subjects, and which are justly due
to it; but in the real services and solid advantages it procures to
nations, whose support, defence, security, and asylum it forms, (both from
its nature and institution,) at the same time that it is the fruitful
source of blessings of every kind; especially with regard to the poor and
weak, who ought to find beneath the shade and protection of royalty, a
sweet peace and tranquillity, not to be interrupted or disturbed; whilst
the monarch himself sacrifices his ease, and experiences alone those
storms and tempests from which he shelters all others?

I think that I observe this noble image, and the execution of this great
plan (religion only excepted) realized in the government of Cyrus, of
which Xenophon has given us a picture, in his beautiful preface to the
history of that prince. He has there specified a great number of nations,
which, though separated from each other by vast tracts of country, and
still more widely by the diversity of their manners, customs, and
language, were however all united, by the same sentiments of esteem,
reverence, and love for a prince, whose government they wished, if
possible, to have continued for ever, so much happiness and tranquillity
did they enjoy under it.(30)

To this amiable and salutary government, let us oppose the idea which the
sacred writings give us of those monarchs and conquerors so much boasted
by antiquity, who, instead of making the happiness of mankind the sole
object of their care, were prompted by no other motives than those of
interest and ambition. The Holy Spirit represents them under the symbols
of monsters generated from the agitation of the sea, from the tumult,
confusion, and dashing of the waves one against the other; and under the
image of cruel wild beasts, which spread terror and desolation
universally, and are for ever gorging themselves with blood and slaughter;
bears, lions, tigers, and leopards.(31) How strong and expressive is this
colouring!

Nevertheless, it is often from such destructive models, that the rules and
maxims of the education generally bestowed on the children of the great
are borrowed; and it is these ravagers of nations, these scourges of
mankind, they propose to make them resemble. By inspiring them with the
sentiments of a boundless ambition, and the love of false glory, they
become (to borrow an expression from Scripture) “young lions; they learn
to catch the prey, and devour men—to lay waste cities, to turn lands and
their fatness into desolation by the noise of their roaring.”(32) And when
this young lion is grown up, God tells us, that the noise of his exploits,
and the renown of his victories, are nothing but a frightful roaring,
which fills all places with terror and desolation.

The examples I have hitherto mentioned, extracted from the history of the
Egyptians, Assyrians, Babylonians, and Persians, prove sufficiently the
supreme power exercised by God over all empires; and the relation he has
thought fit to establish between the rest of the nations of the earth and
his own peculiar people. The same truth appears as conspicuously under the
kings of Syria and Egypt, successors of Alexander the Great: between whose
history, and that of the Jews under the Maccabees, every body knows the
close connection.

To these incidents I cannot forbear adding another, which though
universally known, is not therefore the less remarkable; I mean the taking
of Jerusalem by Titus. When he had entered that city, and viewed all the
fortifications of it, this prince, though a heathen, owned the
all-powerful arm of the God of Israel; and, in a rapture of admiration,
cried out, “It is manifest that the Almighty has fought for us, and has
driven the Jews from those towers; since neither the utmost human force,
nor that of all the engines in the world, could have effected it.”(33)

Besides the visible and sensible connection of sacred and profane history,
there is another more secret and more distinct relation with respect to
the Messiah, for whose coming the Almighty, whose work was ever present to
his sight, prepared mankind from far, even by the state of ignorance and
dissoluteness in which he suffered them to be immersed during four
thousand years. It was to make mankind sensible of the necessity of our
having a Mediator, that God permitted the nations to walk after their own
ways; while neither the light of reason, nor the dictates of philosophy,
could dispel the clouds of error, or reform their depraved inclinations.

When we take a view of the grandeur of empires, the majesty of princes,
the glorious actions of great men, the order of civil societies, and the
harmony of the different members of which they are composed, the wisdom of
legislators, and the learning of philosophers, the earth seems to exhibit
nothing to the eye of man but what is great and resplendent; nevertheless,
in the eye of God it was equally barren and uncultivated, as at the first
instant of the creation. “The earth was WITHOUT FORM AND VOID.”(34) This
is saying but little: it was wholly polluted and impure, (the reader will
observe that I speak here of the heathens), and appeared to God only as
the haunt and retreat of ungrateful and perfidious men, as it did at the
time of the flood. “The earth was corrupt before God, and was filled with
iniquity.”(35)

Nevertheless the Sovereign Arbiter of the universe, who, pursuant to the
dictates of his wisdom, dispenses both light and darkness, and knows how
to check the impetuous torrent of human passions, would not permit
mankind, though abandoned to the utmost corruptions, to degenerate into
absolute barbarity, and brutalize themselves, in a manner, by the
extinction of the first principles of the law of nature, as is seen in
several savage nations. Such an obstacle would have too much retarded the
rapid progress, promised by him to the first preachers of the doctrine of
his Son.

He darted from far, into the minds of men, the rays of several great
truths, to dispose them for the reception of others more important. He
prepared them for the instructions of the Gospel, by those of
philosophers; and it was with this view that God permitted the heathen
professors to examine, in their schools, several questions, and establish
several principles, which are nearly allied to religion; and to engage the
attention of mankind, by the brilliancy of their disputations. It is well
known, that the philosophers inculcate, in every part of their writings,
the existence of a God, the necessity of a Providence that presides over
the government of the world, the immortality of the soul, the ultimate end
of man, the reward of the good and punishment of the wicked, the nature of
those duties which constitute the band of society, the character of the
virtues that are the basis of morality, as prudence, justice, fortitude,
temperance, and other similar truths, which, though incapable of guiding
men to righteousness, were yet of use to scatter certain clouds, and to
dispel certain obscurities.

It is by an effect of the same providence, which prepared, from far, the
ways of the gospel, that, when the Messiah revealed himself in the flesh,
God had united together almost all nations, by the Greek and Latin
tongues; and had subjected to one monarch, from the ocean to the
Euphrates, all the people not united by language, in order to give a more
free course to the preaching of the apostles. The study of profane
history, when entered upon with judgment and maturity, must lead us to
these reflections, and point out to us the manner in which the Almighty
makes the empires of the earth subservient to the establishment of the
kingdom of his Son.

It ought likewise to teach us how to appreciate all that glitters most in
the eye of the world, and is most capable of dazzling it. Valour,
fortitude, skill in government, profound policy, merit in magistracy,
capacity for the most abstruse sciences, beauty of genius, delicacy of
taste, and perfection in all arts: These are the objects which profane
history exhibits to us, which excite our admiration, and often our envy.
But at the same time this very history ought to remind us, that the
Almighty, ever since the creation, has indulged to his enemies all those
shining qualities which the world esteems, and on which it frequently
bestows the highest eulogiums; while, on the contrary, he often refuses
them to his most faithful servants, whom he endues with talents of an
infinitely superior nature, though men neither know their value, nor are
desirous of them. “Happy is that people that is in such a case: Yea, happy
is that people, whose God is the Lord.”(36)

I shall conclude this first part of my preface with a reflection which
results naturally from what has been said. Since it is certain, that all
these great men, who are so much boasted of in profane history, were so
unhappy as not to know the true God, and to displease him; we should
therefore be cautious and circumspect in the praises which we bestow upon
them. St. Austin, in his _Retractions_, repents his having lavished so
many encomiums on Plato, and the followers of his philosophy; “because
these,” says he, “were impious men, whose doctrine, in many points, was
contrary to that of Jesus Christ.”(37)

However, we are not to imagine, that St. Austin supposes it to be unlawful
for us to admire and praise whatever is either beautiful in the actions,
or true in the maxims, of the heathens. He only advises us to correct
whatever is erroneous, and to approve whatever is conformable to rectitude
and justice in them.(38) He applauds the Romans on many occasions, and
particularly in his books _De Civitate Dei_,(39) which is one of the last
and finest of his works. He there shows, that the Almighty raised them to
be victorious over nations, and sovereigns of a great part of the earth,
because of the gentleness and equity of their government (alluding to the
happy ages of the Republic); thus bestowing on virtues, that were merely
human, rewards of the same kind, with which that people, blind on this
subject, though so enlightened on others, were so unhappy as to content
themselves. St. Austin, therefore, does not condemn the encomiums which
are bestowed on the heathens, but only the excess of them.

Students ought to take care, and especially we, who by the duties of our
profession are obliged to be perpetually conversant with heathen authors,
not to enter too far into the spirit of them; not to imbibe, unperceived,
their sentiments, by lavishing too great applauses on their heroes; nor to
give into excesses which the heathens indeed did not consider as such,
because they were not acquainted with virtues of a purer kind. Some
persons, whose friendship I esteem as I ought, and for whose learning and
judgment I have the highest regard, have found this defect in some parts
of my work, on the _Method of Teaching and Studying the Belles Lettres_,
&c.; and are of opinion, that I have gone too great lengths in the
encomiums which I bestow on the illustrious men of paganism. I indeed own,
that the expressions on those occasions are sometimes too strong and too
unguarded: however, I imagined that I had supplied a proper corrective to
this, by the hints which I have interspersed in those four volumes; and,
therefore, that it would be only losing time to repeat them; not to
mention my having laid down, in different places, the principles which the
Fathers of the Church establish on this head, declaring, with St. Austin,
that without true piety, that is, without a sincere worship of the true
God, there can be no true virtue; and that no virtue can be such, whose
object is worldly glory; a truth, says this Father, acknowledged
universally by those who are inspired with real and solid piety. _Illud
constat inter omnes veraciter pios, neminem sine verâ pietate, id est,
veri Dei vero cultu, veram posse habere virtutem; nec eam veram esse,
quando gloriæ servit humanæ_.(40)

When I observed that Perseus had not resolution enough to kill
himself,(41) I do not thereby pretend to justify the practice of the
heathens, who looked upon suicide as lawful; but simply to relate an
incident, and the judgment which Paulus Æmilius passed on it. Had I barely
hinted a word or two against that custom, it would have obviated all
mistake, and left no room for censure.

The ostracism, employed in Athens against persons of the greatest merit;
theft connived at, as it appears, by Lycurgus in Sparta; an equality of
goods established in the same city, by the authority of the state, and
things of a like nature, may admit of some difficulty. However, I shall
pay a more immediate attention to these particulars,(42) when the course
of the history brings me to them; and shall avail myself with pleasure of
such lights as the learned and unprejudiced may favour me by
communicating.

In a work like that I now offer the public, intended more immediately for
the instruction of youth, it were heartily to be wished, that not one
single thought or expression might occur that could contribute to
inculcate false or dangerous principles. When I first set about writing
the present history, I proposed this for my maxim, the importance of which
I perfectly conceive, but am far from imagining that I have always
observed it, though it was my intention to do so; and therefore on this,
as on many other occasions, I shall stand in need of the reader’s
indulgence.

As I write principally for young persons, and for those who do not intend
to make very deep researches into ancient history, I shall not burthen
this Work with a sort of erudition, that might have been naturally
introduced into it, but does not suit my purpose. My design is, in giving
a continued series of ancient history, to extract from the Greek and Latin
authors all that I shall judge most useful and entertaining with respect
to the transactions, and most instructive with regard to the reflections.

I should wish to be able to avoid, at the same time, the dry sterility of
epitomes, which convey no distinct idea to the mind; and the tedious
accuracy of long histories, which tire the reader’s patience. I am
sensible that it is difficult to steer exactly between the two extremes;
and although, in the two parts of history of which this first volume
consists, I have retrenched a great part of what we meet with in ancient
authors, they may still be thought too long: but I was afraid of spoiling
the incidents, by being too studious of brevity. However, the taste of the
public shall be my guide, to which I shall endeavour to conform hereafter.

I was so happy as not to displease the public in my first attempt.(43) I
wish the present Work may be equally successful, but dare not raise my
hopes so high. The subjects I there treated, _viz._ polite literature,
poetry, eloquence, and curious and detached pieces of history, gave me an
opportunity of introducing into it from ancient and modern authors,
whatever is most beautiful, affecting, delicate, and just, with regard
both to thought and expression. The beauty and justness of the things
themselves which I offered the reader, made him more indulgent to the
manner in which they were presented to him; and besides, the variety of
the subjects supplied the want of those graces which might have been
expected from the style and composition.

But I have not the same advantage in the present work, the choice of the
subjects not being entirely at my discretion. In a connected history, an
author is often obliged to relate a great many things that are not always
very interesting, especially with regard to the origin and rise of
empires; and these parts are generally overrun with thorns, and offer very
few flowers. However, the sequel will furnish matter of a more pleasing
nature, and events that engage more strongly the reader’s attention; and I
shall take care to make use of the valuable materials which the best
authors will supply. In the mean time, I must entreat the reader to
remember that in a wide-extended and beautiful region, the eye does not
everywhere meet with golden harvests, smiling meads, and fruitful
orchards; but sees, at different intervals, wild and less cultivated
tracts of land. And, to use another comparison, furnished by Pliny,(44)
some trees in the spring emulously shoot forth a numberless multitude of
blossoms, which by this rich dress (the splendour and vivacity of whose
colours charm the eye) proclaim a happy abundance in a more advanced
season: while other trees,(45) of a less gay appearance, though they bear
good fruits, have not however the fragrance and beauty of blossoms, nor
seem to share in the joy of reviving nature. The reader will easily apply
this image to the composition of history.

To adorn and enrich my own, I will be so ingenuous as to confess, that I
do not scruple, nor am ashamed, to rifle from all quarters, and that I
often do not cite the authors from whom I transcribe, because of the
liberty I occasionally take to make some slight alterations. I have made
the best use in my power of the solid reflections that occur in the second
and third parts of the bishop of Meaux’s(46) _Universal History_, which is
one of the most beautiful and most useful books in our language. I have
also received great assistance from the learned Dean Prideaux’s
_Connection of the Old and New Testament_, in which he has traced and
cleared up, in an admirable manner, the particulars relating to ancient
history. I shall take the same liberty with whatever comes in my way, that
may suit my design, and contribute to the perfection of my Work.

I am very sensible, that it is not so much for a person’s reputation, thus
to make use of other men’s labours, and that it is in a manner renouncing
the name and quality of author. But I am not over fond of that title; and
shall be extremely well pleased, and think myself very happy, if I can but
deserve the name of a good compiler, and supply my readers with a
tolerable history; who will not be over solicitous to inquire whether it
be an original composition of my own, or not, provided they are but
pleased with it.

I cannot determine the exact number of volumes which this Work will make;
but am persuaded there will be no less than ten or twelve.(47) Students,
with a very moderate application, may easily go through this course of
history in a year, without interrupting their other studies. According to
my plan, my Work should be given to the highest form but one. Youths in
this class are capable of pleasure and improvement from this history; and
I would not have them enter upon that of the Romans till they study
rhetoric.

It would have been useful, and even necessary, to have given some idea of
the ancient authors from whence I have extracted the facts which I here
relate. But the course itself of the history will naturally give me an
opportunity of mentioning them.

In the mean time, it may not be improper to take notice of the
superstitious credulity with which most of these authors are reproached,
on the subject of auguries, auspices, prodigies, dreams, and oracles. And
indeed, we are shocked to see writers, so judicious in all other respects,
lay it down as a kind of law, to relate these particulars with a
scrupulous accuracy; and to dwell gravely on a tedious detail of trifling
and ridiculous ceremonies, such as the flight of birds to the right or
left hand, signs discovered in the smoking entrails of beasts, the greater
or less greediness of chickens in pecking corn, and a thousand similar
absurdities.

It must be confessed, that a sensible reader cannot, without astonishment,
see persons among the ancients in the highest repute for wisdom and
knowledge; generals who were the least liable to be influenced by popular
opinions, and most sensible how necessary it is to take advantage of
auspicious moments; the wisest councils of princes perfectly well skilled
in the arts of government; the most august assemblies of grave senators;
in a word, the most powerful and most learned nations in all ages; to see,
I say, all these so unaccountably weak, as to make to depend on these
trifling practices and absurd observances, the decision of the greatest
affairs, such as the declaring of war, the giving battle, or pursuing a
victory, deliberations that were of the utmost importance, and on which
the fate and welfare of kingdoms frequently depended.

But, at the same time, we must be so just as to own, that their manners,
customs, and laws, would not permit men, in these ages, to dispense with
the observation of these practices: that education, hereditary tradition
transmitted from immemorial time, the universal belief and consent of
different nations, the precepts, and even examples of philosophers; that
all these, I say, made the practices in question appear venerable in their
eyes: and that these ceremonies, how absurd soever they may appear to us,
and are really so in themselves, constituted part of the religion and
public worship of the ancients.

This religion was false, and this worship mistaken; yet the principle of
it was laudable, and founded in nature; the stream was corrupted, but the
fountain was pure. Man, assisted only by his own light, sees nothing
beyond the present moment. Futurity is to him an abyss invisible to the
most keen, the most piercing sagacity, and exhibits nothing on which he
may with certainty fix his views, or form his resolutions. He is equally
feeble and impotent with regard to the execution of his designs. He is
sensible, that he is dependent entirely on a Supreme Power, that disposes
all events with absolute authority, and which, in spite of his utmost
efforts, and of the wisdom of the best concerted schemes, by raising only
the smallest obstacles and slightest disappointments, renders it
impossible for him to execute his measures.

This obscurity and weakness oblige him to have recourse to a superior
knowledge and power: he is forced, both by his immediate wants, and the
strong desire he has to succeed in all his undertakings, to address that
Being who he is sensible has reserved to himself alone the knowledge of
futurity, and the power of disposing it as he sees fitting. He accordingly
directs prayers, makes vows, and offers sacrifices, to prevail, if
possible, with the Deity, to reveal himself, either in dreams, in oracles,
or other signs which may manifest his will; fully convinced that nothing
can happen but by the divine appointment; and that it is a man’s greatest
interest to know this supreme will, in order to conform his actions to it.

This religious principle of dependence on, and veneration of, the Supreme
Being, is natural to man: it is imprinted deep in his heart; he is
reminded of it, by the inward sense of his extreme indigence, and by all
the objects which surround him; and it may be affirmed, that this
perpetual recourse to the Deity, is one of the principal foundations of
religion and the strongest band by which man is united to his Creator.

Those who were so happy as to know the true God, and were chosen to be his
peculiar people, never failed to address him in all their wants and
doubts, in order to obtain his succour, and to know his will. He
accordingly vouchsafed to reveal himself to them; to conduct them by
apparitions, dreams, oracles, and prophecies; and to protect them by
miracles of the most astonishing kind.

But those who were so blind as to substitute falsehood in the place of
truth, directed themselves, for the like aid, to fictitious and deceitful
deities, who were not able to answer their expectations, nor recompense
the homage that mortals paid them, any otherwise than by error and
illusion, and a fraudulent imitation of the conduct of the true God.

Hence arose the vain observation of dreams, which, from a superstitious
credulity, they mistook for salutary warnings from Heaven; those obscure
and equivocal answers of oracles, beneath whose veil the spirits of
darkness concealed their ignorance; and, by a studied ambiguity, reserved
to themselves an evasion or subterfuge, whatever might be the event. To
this are owing the prognostics with regard to futurity, which men fancied
they should find in the entrails of beasts, in the flight and singing of
birds, in the aspect of the planets, in fortuitous accidents, and in the
caprice of chance; those dreadful prodigies that filled a whole nation
with terror, and which, it was believed, nothing could expiate but
mournful ceremonies, and even sometimes the effusion of human blood: in
fine, those black inventions of magic, those delusions, enchantments,
sorceries, invocations of ghosts, and many other kinds of divination.

All I have here related was a received usage, observed by the heathen
nations in general; and this usage was founded on the principles of that
religion of which I have given a short account. We have a signal proof of
this in that passage of the Cyropædia,(48) where Cambyses, the father of
Cyrus, gives that young prince such noble instructions; instructions
admirably well adapted to form the great captain, and great king. He
exhorts him, above all things, to pay the highest reverence to the gods;
and not to undertake any enterprise, whether important or inconsiderable,
without first calling upon and consulting them; he enjoins him to honour
the priests and augurs, as being their ministers and the interpreters of
their will, but yet not to trust or abandon himself so implicitly and
blindly to them, as not, by his own application, to learn every thing
relating to the science of divination, of auguries and auspices. The
reason which he gives for the subordination and dependence in which kings
ought to live with regard to the gods, and the benefit derived from
consulting them in all things, is this: How clear-sighted soever mankind
may be in the ordinary course of affairs, their views are always very
narrow and bounded with regard to futurity; whereas the Deity, at a single
glance, takes in all ages and events. “As the gods,” says Cambyses to his
son, “are eternal, they know equally all things, past, present, and to
come. With regard to the mortals who address them, they give salutary
counsels to those whom they are pleased to favour, that they may not be
ignorant of what things they ought, or ought not, to undertake. If it is
observed, that the deities do not give the like counsels to all men; we
are not to wonder at it, since no necessity obliges them to attend to the
welfare of those persons on whom they do not vouchsafe to confer their
favour.”

Such was the doctrine of the most learned and most enlightened nations,
with respect to the different kinds of divination; and it is no wonder
that the authors who wrote the history of those nations, thought it
incumbent on them to give an exact detail of such particulars as
constituted part of their religion and worship, and was frequently in a
manner the soul of their deliberations, and the standard of their conduct.
I therefore was of opinion, for the same reason, that it would not be
proper for me to omit entirely, in the ensuing history, what relates to
this subject, though I have however retrenched a great part of it.

Archbishop Usher is my usual guide in chronology. In the history of the
Carthaginians I commonly set down four æras: The year from the creation of
the world, which, for brevity’s sake, I mark thus, A.M.; those of the
foundation of Carthage and Rome; and lastly, the year before the birth of
our Saviour, which I suppose to be the 4004th year of the world; wherein I
follow Usher and others, though they suppose it to be four years earlier.

We shall now proceed to give the reader the proper preliminary information
concerning this Work, according to the order in which it is executed.

To know in what manner the states and kingdoms were founded, that have
divided the universe; the steps whereby they rose to that pitch of
grandeur related in history; by what ties families and cities were united,
in order to constitute one body or society, and to live together under the
same laws and a common authority; it will be necessary to trace things
back, in a manner, to the infancy of the world, and to those ages in which
mankind, being dispersed into different regions, (after the confusion of
tongues,) began to people the earth.

In these early ages every father was the supreme head of his family; the
arbiter and judge of whatever contests and divisions might arise within
it; the natural legislator over his little society; the defender and
protector of those, who, by their birth, education, and weakness, were
under his protection and safeguard, and whose interests paternal
tenderness rendered equally dear to him as his own.

But although these masters enjoyed an independent authority, they made a
mild and paternal use of it. So far from being jealous of their power,
they neither governed with haughtiness, nor decided with tyranny. As they
were obliged by necessity to associate their family in their domestic
labours, they also summoned them together, and asked their opinion in
matters of importance. In this manner all affairs were transacted in
concert, and for the common good.

The laws which paternal vigilance established in this little domestic
senate, being dictated with no other view than to promote the general
welfare; concerted with such children as were come to years of maturity,
and accepted by the inferiors with a full and free consent; were
religiously kept and preserved in families as an hereditary polity, to
which they owed their peace and security.

But different motives gave rise to different laws. One man, overjoyed at
the birth of a first-born son, resolved to distinguish him from his future
children, by bestowing on him a more considerable share of his
possessions, and giving him a greater authority in his family. Another,
more attentive to the interest of a beloved wife, or darling daughter whom
he wanted to settle in the world, thought it incumbent on him to secure
their rights and increase their advantages. The solitary and cheerless
state to which a wife would be reduced in case she should become a widow,
affected more intimately another man, and made him provide beforehand, for
the subsistence and comfort of a woman who formed his felicity. From these
different views, and others of the like nature, arose the different
customs of nations, as well as their rights, which are infinitely various.

In proportion as every family increased, by the birth of children, and
their marrying into other families, they extended their little domain, and
formed, by insensible degrees, towns and cities.

These societies growing, in process of time, very numerous; and the
families being divided into various branches, each of which had its head,
whose different interests and characters might interrupt the general
tranquillity; it was necessary to intrust one person with the government
of the whole, in order to unite all these chiefs or heads under a single
authority, and to maintain the public peace by an uniform administration.
The idea which men still retained of the paternal government, and the
happy effects they had experienced from it, prompted them to choose from
among their wisest and most virtuous men, him in whom they had observed
the tenderest and most fatherly disposition. Neither ambition nor cabal
had the least share in this choice; probity alone, and the reputation of
virtue and equity, decided on these occasions, and gave the preference to
the most worthy.(49)

To heighten the lustre of their newly-acquired dignity, and enable them
the better to put the laws in execution, as well as to devote themselves
entirely to the public good; to defend the state against the invasions of
their neighbours, and the factions of discontented citizens; the title of
king was bestowed upon them, a throne was erected, and a sceptre put into
their hands; homage was paid them, officers were assigned, and guards
appointed for the security of their persons; tributes were granted; they
were invested with full powers to administer justice, and for this purpose
were armed with a sword, in order to restrain injustice, and punish
crimes.

At first, every city had its particular king, who being more solicitous to
preserve his dominion than to enlarge it, confined his ambition within the
limits of his native country.(50) But the almost unavoidable feuds which
break out between neighbours; jealousy against a more powerful king; a
turbulent and restless spirit; a martial disposition, or thirst of
aggrandizement; or the display of abilities; gave rise to wars, which
frequently ended in the entire subjection of the vanquished, whose cities
were possessed by the victor, and increased insensibly his dominions.
Thus, a first victory paving the way to a second, and making a prince more
powerful and enterprising, several cities and provinces were united under
one monarch, and formed kingdoms of a greater or less extent, according to
the degree of ardour with which the victor had pushed his conquests.(51)

But among these princes were found some, whose ambition being too vast to
confine itself within a single kingdom, broke over all bounds, and spread
universally like a torrent, or the ocean; swallowed up kingdoms and
nations; and fancied that glory consisted in depriving princes of their
dominions, who had not done them the least injury; in carrying fire and
sword into the most remote countries, and in leaving every where bloody
traces of their progress! Such was the origin of those famous empires
which included a great part of the world.

Princes made a various use of victory, according to the diversity of their
dispositions or interests. Some, considering themselves as absolute
masters of the conquered, and imagining they were sufficiently indulged in
sparing their lives, bereaved them, as well as their children, of their
possessions, their country, and their liberty; subjected them to a most
severe captivity; employed them in those arts which are necessary for the
support of life, in the lowest and most servile offices of the house, in
the painful toils of the field; and frequently forced them, by the most
inhuman treatment, to dig in mines, and ransack the bowels of the earth,
merely to satiate their avarice; and hence mankind were divided into
freemen and slaves, masters and bondmen.

Others introduced the custom of transporting whole nations into new
countries, where they settled them, and gave them lands to cultivate.

Other princes again, of more gentle dispositions, contented themselves
with only obliging the vanquished nations to purchase their liberties, and
the enjoyment of their laws and privileges by annual tributes laid on them
for that purpose; and sometimes they would suffer kings to sit peaceably
on their thrones, upon condition of their paying them some kind of homage.

But such of these monarchs as were the wisest and ablest politicians,
thought it glorious to establish a kind of equality betwixt the nations
newly conquered and their other subjects; granting the former almost all
the rights and privileges which the others enjoyed: and by this means a
great number of nations, that were spread over different and far distant
countries, constituted, in some measure, but one city, at least but one
people.

Thus I have given a general and concise idea of mankind, from the earliest
monuments which history has preserved on this subject; the particulars
whereof I shall endeavour to relate, in treating of each empire and
nation. I shall not touch upon the history of the Jews, nor that of the
Romans.

The history of the Carthaginians, that of the Assyrians, and the Lydians,
which occurs in the second volume, is supported by the best authorities;
but it is highly necessary to review the geography, the manners, and
customs of the different nations here treated of; and first with regard to
the religion, manners, and institutions of the Persians and Grecians;
because these show their genius and character, which we may call, in some
measure, the soul of history. For to take notice only of facts and dates,
and confine our curiosity and researches to them, would be imitating the
imprudence of a traveller, who, in visiting many countries, should content
himself with knowing their exact distance from each other, and consider
only the situation of the several places, their buildings, and the dresses
of the people; without giving himself the least trouble to converse with
the inhabitants, in order to inform himself of their genius, manners,
disposition, laws, and government. Homer, whose design was to give, in the
person of Ulysses, a model of a wise and intelligent traveller, tells us,
at the very opening of his _Odyssey_, that his hero informed himself very
exactly of the manners and customs of the several people whose cities he
visited; in which he ought to be imitated by every person who applies
himself to the study of history.

As Asia will hereafter be the principal scene of the history we are now
entering upon, it may not be improper to give the reader such a general
idea of it, as may at least make him acquainted with its most considerable
provinces and cities.

The northern and eastern parts of Asia are less known in ancient history.

To the north are ASIATIC SARMATIA and ASIATIC SCYTHIA, which answer to
Tartary.

Sarmatia is situated between the river _Tanais_, which separates Europe
and Asia, and the river _Rha_, or _Volga_. Scythia is divided into two
parts; the one on this, the other on the other side of mount _Imaus_. The
nations of Scythia best known to us are the _Sacæ_ and the _Massagetæ_.

The most eastern parts are, SERICA, Cathay; SINARUM REGIO, China; and
INDIA. This last country was better known anciently than the two former.
It was divided into two parts; the one on this side the _Ganges_, included
between that river and the _Indus_, which now composes the dominions of
the Great Mogul; the other part was that on the other side of the Ganges.

The remaining part of Asia, of which much greater mention is made in
history, may be divided into five or six parts, taking it from east to
west.

I. UPPER ASIA, which begins at the river Indus. The chief provinces are
GEDROSIA, CARMANIA, ARACHOSIA, DRANGIANA, BACTRIANA, the capital of which
was _Bactra_; SOGDIANA, MARGIANA, HYRCANIA, near the Caspian sea; PARTHIA,
MEDIA, its chief city _Ecbatana_; PERSIA, the cities of _Persepolis_ and
_Elymais_; SUSIANA, the city of _Susa_; ASSYRIA, the city of _Nineveh_,
situated on the river _Tigris_; MESOPOTAMIA, between the _Euphrates_ and
_Tigris_; BABYLONIA, the city of _Babylon_ on the river Euphrates.

II. ASIA BETWEEN THE PONTUS EUXINUS AND THE CASPIAN SEA. Therein we may
distinguish four provinces. 1. COLCHIS, the river _Phasis_, and mount
_Caucasus_. 2. IBERIA. 3. ALBANIA; which two last-mentioned provinces now
form part of Georgia. 4. The greater ARMENIA. This is separated from the
lesser by the Euphrates; from Mesopotamia by mount _Taurus_; and from
Assyria by mount _Niphates_. Its cities are _Artaxata_ and _Tigranocerta_,
and the river _Araxes_ runs through it.

III. ASIA MINOR. This may be divided into four or five parts, according to
the different situation of its provinces.

1. _Northward_, on the shore of the Pontus Euxinus; PONTUS, under three
different names. Its cities are, _Trapezus_, not far from which are the
people called _Chalybes_ or _Chaldæi_; _Themiscyra_, a city on the river
_Thermodon_, and famous for having been the abode of the Amazons.
PAPHLAGONIA, BITHYNIA; the cities of which are, _Nicæa_, _Prusa_,
_Nicomedia_, _Chalcedon_ opposite to Constantinople, and _Heraclea_.

2. _Westward_, going down by the shores of the Ægean sea; MYSIA, of which
there are two. The LESSER, in which stood _Cyzicus_, _Lampsacus_,
_Parium_, _Abydos_ opposite to Sestos, from which it is separated only by
the Dardanelles; _Dardanum_, _Sigæum_, _Ilion_, or _Troy_; and almost on
the opposite side, the little island of _Tenedos_. The rivers are, the
_Æsepus_, the _Granicus_, and the _Simois_. Mount _Ida_. This region is
sometimes called Phrygia Minor, of which _Troas_ is part.

The GREATER MYSIA. _Antandros_, _Trajanopolis_, _Adramyttium_, _Pergamus_.
Opposite to this Mysia is the island of LESBOS; the cities of which are,
_Methymna_, where the celebrated _Arion_ was born; and _Mitylene_, which
has given to the whole island its modern name Metelin.

ÆOLIA. _Elea_, _Cumæ_, _Phocæa_.

IONIA. _Smyrna_, _Clazomenæ_, _Teos_, _Lebedus_, _Colophon_, _Ephesus_,
_Priene_, _Miletus_.

CARIA. _Laodicea_, _Antiochia_, _Magnesia_, _Alabanda_. The river
_Mæander_.

DORIS. _Halicarnassus_, _Cnidos_.

Opposite to these four last countries, are the islands CHIOS, SAMOS,
PATHMOS, COS; and lower, towards the south, RHODES.

3. _Southward_, along the Mediterranean;

LYCIA, the cities of which are, _Telmessus_, _Patara_. The river
_Xanthus_. Here begins mount _Taurus_, which runs the whole length of
Asia, and assumes different names, according to the several countries
through which it passes.

PAMPHYLIA. _Perga_, _Aspendus_, _Sida_.

CILICIA. _Seleucia_, _Corycium_, _Tarsus_, on the river _Cydnus_. Opposite
to Cilicia is the island of _Cyprus_. The cities are, _Salamis_,
_Amathus_, and _Paphos_.

4. _Along the banks of the Euphrates_, going up northward;

The LESSER ARMENIA. _Comana_, _Arabyza_, _Melitene_, _Satala_. The river
_Melas_, which empties itself into the Euphrates.

5. _Inland_:

CAPPADOCIA; the cities whereof are, _Neocæsarea_, _Comana Pontica_,
_Sebastia_, _Sebastopolis_, _Diocæsarea_, _Cæsarea_, otherwise called
_Mazaca_, and _Tyana_.

LYCAONIA and ISAURIA. _Iconium_, _Isauria_.

PISIDIA. _Seleucia_ and _Antiochia_ of _Pisidia_.

LYDIA. Its cities are, _Thyatira_, _Sardis_, _Philadelphia_. The rivers
are, _Caystrus_ and _Hermus_, into which the _Pactolus_ empties itself.
Mount _Sipylus_ and _Tmolus_.

PHRYGIA MAJOR. _Synnada_, _Apamia_.

IV. SYRIA, now named _Suria_, called under the Roman emperors the _East_,
the chief provinces of which are,

1. PALESTINE, by which name is sometimes understood all Judea. Its cities
are, _Jerusalem_, _Samaria_, and _Cæsarea Palestina_. The river _Jordan_
waters it. The name of Palestine is also given to the land of Canaan,
which extended along the Mediterranean; the chief cities of which were,
_Gaza_, _Ascalon_, _Azotus_, _Accaron_, and _Gath_.

2. PHŒNICIA, whose cities are, _Ptolemais_, _Tyre_, _Sidon_, and
_Berytus_. Its mountains, _Libanus_ and _Antilibanus_.

3. SYRIA, properly so called, or ANTIOCHENA; the cities whereof are,
_Antiochia_, _Apamia_, _Laodicea_, and _Seleucia_.

4. COMAGENA. The city of _Samosata_.

5. CŒLESYRIA. The cities are, _Zeugma_, _Thapsacus_, _Palmyra_, and
_Damascus_.

V. ARABIA PETRÆA. Its cities are, _Petra_, and _Bostra_. Mount _Casius_.
DESERTA. FELIX.



Of Religion.


It is observable, that in all ages and in every country, the several
nations of the world, however various and opposite in their characters,
inclinations and manners, have always united in one essential point; the
inherent opinion of an adoration due to a Supreme Being, and of external
forms calculated to evince such a belief. Into whatever country we cast
our eyes, we find priests, altars, sacrifices, festivals, religious
ceremonies, temples, or places consecrated to religious worship. Among
every people we discover a reverence and awe of the Divinity; an homage
and honour paid to him; and an open profession of an entire dependence
upon him in all their undertakings, in all their necessities, in all their
adversities and dangers. Incapable of themselves to penetrate into
futurity and to ensure success, we find them careful to consult the
Divinity by oracles, and by other methods of a like nature; and to merit
his protection by prayers, vows, and offerings. It is by the same supreme
authority they believe the most solemn treaties are rendered inviolable.
It is that which gives sanction to their oaths; and to it by imprecations
is referred the punishment of such crimes and enormities as escape the
knowledge and power of men. On all their private concerns, voyages,
journeys, marriages, diseases, the Divinity is still invoked. With him
their every repast begins and ends. No war is declared, no battle fought,
no enterprise formed, without his aid being first implored; to which the
glory of the success is constantly ascribed by public acts of
thanksgiving, and by the oblation of the most precious of the spoils,
which they never fail to set apart as appertaining by right to the
Divinity.

No variety of opinion is discernible in regard to the foundation of this
belief. If some few persons, depraved by false philosophy, presume from
time to time to rise up against this doctrine, they are immediately
disclaimed by the public voice. They continue singular and alone, without
making parties, or forming sects: the whole weight of the public authority
falls upon them; a price is set upon their heads; whilst they are
universally regarded as execrable persons, the bane of civil society, with
whom it is criminal to have any kind of commerce.

So general, so uniform, so perpetual a consent of all the nations of the
universe, which neither the prejudice of the passions, the false reasoning
of some philosophers, nor the authority and example of certain princes,
have ever been able to weaken or vary, can proceed only from a first
principle, which forms a part of the nature of man; from an inward
sentiment implanted in his heart by the Author of his being; and from an
original tradition as ancient as the world itself.

Such were the source and origin of the religion of the ancients; truly
worthy of man, had he been capable of persisting in the purity and
simplicity of these first principles: but the errors of the mind, and the
vices of the heart, those sad effects of the corruption of human nature,
have strangely disfigured their original beauty. There are still some
faint rays, some brilliant sparks of light, which a general depravity has
not been able to extinguish utterly; but they are incapable of dispelling
the profound darkness of the gloom which prevails almost universally, and
presents nothing to view but absurdities, follies, extravagancies,
licentiousness, and disorder; in a word, a hideous chaos of frantic
excesses and enormous vices.

Can any thing be more admirable than these principles laid down by
Cicero?(52) That we ought above all things to be convinced that there is a
Supreme Being, who presides over all the events of the world, and disposes
every thing as sovereign lord and arbiter: that it is to him mankind are
indebted for all the good they enjoy: that he penetrates into, and is
conscious of, whatever passes in the most secret recesses of our hearts:
that he treats the just and the impious according to their respective
merits: that the true means of acquiring his favour, and of being pleasing
in his sight, is not by employing of riches and magnificence in the
worship that is paid to him, but by presenting him with a heart pure and
blameless, and by adoring him with an unfeigned and profound veneration.

Sentiments so sublime and religious were the result of the reflections of
some few who employed themselves in the study of the heart of man, and had
recourse to the first principles of his institution, of which they still
retained some valuable relics. But the whole system of their religion, the
tendency of their public feasts and ceremonies, the essence of the Pagan
theology, of which the poets were the only teachers and professors, the
very example of the gods, whose violent passions, scandalous adventures,
and abominable crimes, were celebrated in their hymns or odes, and
proposed in some measure to the imitation, as well as adoration, of the
people; these were certainly very unfit means to enlighten the minds of
men, and to form them to virtue and morality.

It is remarkable, that in the greatest solemnities of the Pagan religion,
and in their most sacred and venerable mysteries, far from perceiving any
thing which can recommend virtue, piety, or the practice of the most
essential duties of ordinary life, we find the authority of laws, the
imperious power of custom, the presence of magistrates, the assembly of
all orders of the state, the example of fathers and mothers, all conspire
to train up a whole nation from their infancy in an impure and
sacrilegious worship, under the name, and in a manner under the sanction,
of religion itself; as we shall soon see in the sequel.

After these general reflections upon Paganism, it is time to proceed to a
particular account of the religion of the Greeks. I shall reduce this
subject, though infinite in itself, to four articles, which are, 1. The
feasts. 2. The oracles, auguries, and divinations. 3. The games and
combats. 4. The public shows and representations of the theatre. In each
of these articles, I shall treat only of what appears most worthy of the
reader’s curiosity, and has most relation to this history. I omit saying
any thing of sacrifices, having given a sufficient idea of them
elsewhere.(53)



Of the Feasts.


An infinite number of feasts were celebrated in the several cities of
Greece, and especially at Athens, of which I shall describe only three of
the most famous, the Panathenea, the feasts of Bacchus, and those of
Eleusis.


The Panathenea.


This feast was celebrated at Athens in honour of Minerva, the tutelary
goddess of that city, to which she gave her name,(54) as well as to the
feast of which we are speaking. Its institution was ancient, and it was
called at first the Athenea; but after Theseus had united the several
towns of Attica into one city, it took the name of Panathenea. These
feasts were of two kinds, the great and the less, which were solemnized
with almost the same ceremonies; the less annually, and the great upon the
expiration of every fourth year.

In these feasts were exhibited racing, the gymnastic combats, and the
contentions for the prizes of music and poetry. Ten commissaries, elected
from the ten tribes, presided on this occasion, to regulate the forms, and
distribute the rewards to the victors. This festival continued several
days.

In the morning of the first day a race was run on foot, in which each of
the runners carried a lighted torch in his hand, which they exchanged
continually with each other without interrupting their race. They started
from the Ceramicus, one of the suburbs of Athens, and crossed the whole
city. The first that came to the goal, without having put out his torch,
carried the prize. In the afternoon they ran the same course on horseback.

The gymnastic or athletic combats followed the races. The place for that
exercise was upon the banks of the Ilissus, a small river, which runs
through Athens, and empties itself into the sea at the Piræus.

Pericles first instituted the prize of music. In this dispute were sung
the praises of Harmodius and Aristogiton who, at the expense of their
lives, delivered Athens from the tyranny of the Pisistratidæ; to which was
afterwards added the eulogium of Thrasybulus, who expelled the thirty
tyrants. The prize was warmly disputed, not only amongst the musicians,
but still more so amongst the poets; and it was highly glorious to be
declared victor in this contest. Æschylus is reported to have died with
grief upon seeing the prize adjudged to Sophocles, who was much younger
than himself.

These exercises were followed by a general procession, wherein was
carried, with great pomp and ceremony, a sail, embroidered with gold, on
which were curiously delineated the warlike actions of Pallas against the
Titans and Giants. This sail was affixed to a vessel which bore the name
of the goddess. The vessel, equipped with sails, and with a thousand oars,
was conducted from the Ceramicus to the temple of Eleusis, not by horses
or beasts of draught, but by machines concealed in the bottom of it, which
put the oars in motion, and made the vessel glide along.

The march was solemn and majestic. At the head of it were old men, who
carried olive-branches in their hands, θαλλοφόροι, and these were chosen
for the symmetry of their shape, and the vigour of their complexion.
Athenian matrons, of great age, also accompanied them in the same
equipage.

The grown and robust men formed the second class. They were armed at all
points, and had bucklers and lances. After them came the strangers that
inhabited Athens, carrying mattocks, instruments proper for tillage. Next
followed the Athenian women of the same age, attended by the foreigners of
their own sex, carrying vessels in their hands for the drawing of water.

The third class was composed of the young persons of both sexes, selected
from the best families in the city. The young men wore vests, with crowns
upon their heads, and sang a peculiar hymn in honour of the goddess. The
maids carried baskets, κανηφόροι, in which were placed the sacred utensils
proper to the ceremony, covered with veils to keep them from the sight of
the spectators. The person, to whose care those sacred things were
intrusted, was bound to observe a strict continence for several days
before he touched them, or distributed them to the Athenian virgins;(55)
or rather, as Demosthenes says, his whole life and conduct ought to have
been a perfect model of virtue and purity. It was a high honour for a
young woman to be chosen for so noble and august an office, and an
insupportable affront to be deemed unworthy of it. We shall see that
Hipparchus offered this indignity to the sister of Harmodius, which
extremely incensed the conspirators against the Pisistratidæ. These
Athenian virgins were followed by the foreign young women, who carried
umbrellas and seats for them.

The children of both sexes closed the pomp of the procession.

In this august ceremony, the ῥαψωδοι were appointed to sing certain verses
of Homer; a manifest proof of the estimation in which the works of that
poet were held, even with regard to religion. Hipparchus, son of
Pisistratus, first introduced that custom.

I have observed elsewhere,(56) that in the gymnastic games of this feast a
herald proclaimed, that the people of Athens had conferred a crown of gold
upon the celebrated physician Hippocrates, in gratitude for the signal
services which he had rendered the state during the pestilence.

In this festival the people of Athens put themselves, and the whole
republic, under the protection of Minerva, the tutelary goddess of their
city, and implored of her all kind of prosperity. From the time of the
battle of Marathon, in these public acts of worship, express mention was
made of the Platæans, and they were joined in all things with the people
of Athens.


Feasts of Bacchus.


The worship of Bacchus had been brought out of Egypt to Athens, where
several feasts had been established in honour of that god; two
particularly more remarkable than all the rest, called the great and the
less feasts of Bacchus. The latter were a kind of preparation for the
former, and were celebrated in the open field about autumn. They were
named Lenea, from a Greek word(57) that signifies a wine-press. The great
feasts were commonly called Dionysia, from one of the names of that
god,(58) and were solemnized in the spring within the city.

In each of these feasts the public were entertained with games, shows, and
dramatic representations, which were attended with a vast concourse of
people, and exceeding magnificence, as will be seen hereafter: at the same
time the poets disputed the prize of poetry, submitting to the judgment of
arbitrators, expressly chosen for that purpose, their pieces, whether
tragic or comic, which were then represented before the people.

These feasts continued many days. Those who were initiated, mimicked
whatever the poets had thought fit to feign of the god Bacchus. They
covered themselves with the skins of wild beasts, carried a thyrsus in
their hands, a kind of pike with ivy-leaves twisted round it; had drums,
horns, pipes, and other instruments calculated to make a great noise; and
wore upon their heads wreaths of ivy and vine-branches, and of other trees
sacred to Bacchus. Some represented Silenus, some Pan, others the Satyrs,
all drest in suitable masquerade. Many of them were mounted on asses;
others dragged goats(59) along for sacrifices. Men and women, ridiculously
dressed in this manner, appeared night and day in public; and imitating
drunkenness, and dancing with the most indecent gestures, ran in throngs
about the mountains and forests, screaming and howling furiously; the
women especially seemed more outrageous than the men; and, quite out of
their senses, in their furious(60) transports invoked the god, whose feast
they celebrated, with loud cries; εὐοῖ Βάκχε, or ὦ Ἴακχε, or Ἰόβακχε, or
Ἰὼ Βάκχε.

This troop of Bacchanalians was followed by the virgins of the noblest
families in the city, who were called κανηφόροι, from carrying baskets on
their heads, covered with vine leaves and ivy.

To these ceremonies others were added, obscene to the last excess, and
worthy of the god who chose to be honoured in such a manner. The
spectators gave into the prevailing humour, and were seized with the same
frantic spirit. Nothing was seen but dancing, drunkenness, debauchery, and
all that the most abandoned licentiousness can conceive of gross and
abominable. And this an entire people, reputed the wisest of all Greece,
not only suffered, but admired and practised. I say an entire people; for
Plato, speaking of the Bacchanalia, says in direct terms, that he had seen
the whole city of Athens drunk at once.(61)

Livy informs us,(62) that this licentiousness of the Bacchanalia having
secretly crept into Rome, the most horrid disorders were committed there
under cover of the night, and the inviolable secresy which all persons,
who were initiated into these impure and abominable mysteries, were
obliged, under the most horrid imprecations, to observe. The senate, being
apprized of the affair, put a stop to those sacrilegious feasts by the
most severe penalties; and first banished the practisers of them from
Rome, and afterwards from Italy. These examples inform us, how far a
mistaken sense of religion, that covers the greatest crimes with the
sacred name of the Divinity, is capable of misleading the mind of man.(63)


The Feast of Eleusis.


There is nothing in all Pagan antiquity more celebrated than the feast of
Ceres Eleusina. The ceremonies of this festival were called, by way of
eminence, “the mysteries,” from being, according to Pausanias, as much
above all others, as the gods are above men. Their origin and institution
are attributed to Ceres herself, who, in the reign of Erechtheus, coming
to Eleusis, a small town of Attica, in search of her daughter Proserpine,
whom Pluto had carried away, and finding the country afflicted with a
famine, invented corn as a remedy for that evil, with which she rewarded
the inhabitants. She not only taught them the use of corn, but instructed
them in the principles of probity, charity, civility, and humanity;(64)
from whence her mysteries were called Θεσμοφόρια, and _Initia_. To these
first happy lessons fabulous antiquity ascribed the courtesy, politeness,
and urbanity, so remarkable amongst the Athenians.

These mysteries were divided into the less and the greater; of which the
former served as a preparation for the latter. The less were solemnized in
the month Anthesterion, which answers to our November; the great in the
month Boëdromion, which corresponds to August. Only Athenians were
admitted to these mysteries; but of them, each sex, age, and condition,
had a right to be received. All strangers were absolutely excluded, so
that Hercules, Castor, and Pollux, were obliged to be adopted as Athenians
in order to their admission; which, however, extended only to the lesser
mysteries. I shall consider principally the great, which were celebrated
at Eleusis.

Those who demanded to be initiated into them, were obliged, before their
reception, to purify themselves in the lesser mysteries, by bathing in the
river Ilissus, by saying certain prayers, offering sacrifices, and, above
all, by living in strict continence during a certain interval of time
prescribed them. That time was employed in instructing them in the
principles and elements of the sacred doctrine of the great mysteries.

When the time for their initiation arrived, they were brought into the
temple; and to inspire the greater reverence and terror, the ceremony was
performed in the night. Wonderful things took place upon this occasion.
Visions were seen, and voices heard of an extraordinary kind. A sudden
splendour dispelled the darkness of the place, and, disappearing
immediately, added new horrors to the gloom. Apparitions, claps of
thunder, earthquakes, heightened the terror and amazement; whilst the
person to be admitted, overwhelmed with dread, and sweating through fear,
heard, trembling, the mysterious volumes read to him, if in such a
condition he was capable of hearing at all. These nocturnal rites gave
birth to many disorders, which the severe law of silence, imposed on the
persons initiated, prevented from coming to light, as St. Gregory
Nazianzen observes.(65) What cannot superstition effect upon the mind of
man, when once his imagination is heated? The president in this ceremony
was called Hierophantes. He wore a peculiar habit, and was not permitted
to marry. The first who served in this function, and whom Ceres herself
instructed, was Eumolpus; from whom his successors were called Eumolpidæ.
He had three colleagues; one who carried a torch;(66) another a
herald,(67) whose office was to pronounce certain mysterious words; and a
third to attend at the altar.

Besides these officers, one of the principal magistrates of the city was
appointed to take care that all the ceremonies of this feast were exactly
observed. He was called the king,(68) and was one of the nine Archons. His
business was to offer prayers and sacrifices. The people gave him four
assistants,(69) one chosen from the family of the Eumolpidæ, a second from
that of the Ceryces, and the two last from two other families. He had
besides ten other ministers to assist him in the discharge of his duty,
and particularly in offering sacrifices, from whence they derived their
name.(70)

The Athenians initiated their children of both sexes very early into these
mysteries, and would have thought it criminal to have let them die without
such an advantage. It was their general opinion, that this ceremony was an
engagement to lead a more virtuous and regular life; that it recommended
them to the peculiar protection of the goddesses (Ceres and Proserpine,)
to whose service they devoted themselves; and procured to them a more
perfect and certain happiness in the other world: whilst, on the contrary,
such as had not been initiated, besides the evils they had to apprehend in
this life, were doomed, after their descent to the shades below, to wallow
eternally in dirt, filth, and excrement. Diogenes the Cynic believed
nothing of the matter,(71) and when his friends endeavoured to persuade
him to avoid such a misfortune, by being initiated before his
death—“What,” said he, “shall Agesilaus and Epaminondas lie amongst mud
and dung, whilst the vilest Athenians, because they have been initiated,
possess the most distinguished places in the regions of the blessed?”
Socrates was not more credulous; he would not be initiated into these
mysteries, which was perhaps one reason that rendered his religion
suspected.

Without this qualification none were admitted to enter the temple of
Ceres;(72) and Livy informs us of two Acarnanians, who, having followed
the crowd into it upon one of the feast-days, although out of mistake and
with no ill design, were both put to death without mercy. It was also a
capital crime to divulge the secrets and mysteries of this feast. Upon
this account Diagoras the Melian was proscribed, and had a reward set upon
his head. It very nearly cost the poet Æschylus his life, for speaking too
freely of it in some of his tragedies. The disgrace of Alcibiades
proceeded from the same cause. Whoever had violated this secresy, was
avoided as a wretch accursed and excommunicated.(73) Pausanias, in several
passages, wherein he mentions the temple of Eleusis, and the ceremonies
practised there, stops short, and declares he cannot proceed, because he
had been forbidden by a dream or vision.(74)

This feast, the most celebrated of profane antiquity, was of nine days’
continuance. It began the fifteenth of the month Boëdromion. After some
previous ceremonies and sacrifices on the first three days, upon the
fourth in the evening began the procession of “the Basket;” which was laid
upon an open chariot slowly drawn by oxen,(75) and followed by a long
train of the Athenian women. They all carried mysterious baskets in their
hands, filled with several things, which they took great care to conceal,
and covered with a veil of purple. This ceremony represented the basket
into which Proserpine put the flowers she was gathering when Pluto seized
and carried her off.

The fifth day was called the day of “the Torches:” because at night the
men and women ran about with them in imitation of Ceres, who having
lighted a torch at the fire at mount Ætna, wandered about from place to
place in search of her daughter.

The sixth was the most famous day of all. It was called Iacchus, which is
the same as Bacchus, the son of Jupiter and Ceres, whose statue was then
brought out with great ceremony, crowned with myrtle, and holding a torch
in its hand. The procession began at the Ceramicus, and passing through
the principal places of the city, continued to Eleusis. The way leading to
it was called “the sacred way,” and lay across a bridge over the river
Cephisus. This procession was very numerous, and generally consisted of
thirty thousand persons.(76) The temple of Eleusis, where it ended, was
large enough to contain the whole of this multitude; and Strabo says, its
extent was equal to that of the theatres, which every body knows were
capable of holding a much greater number of people.(77) The whole way
reechoed with the sound of trumpets, clarions, and other musical
instruments. Hymns were sung in honour of the goddesses, accompanied with
dancing, and other extraordinary marks of rejoicing. The route before
mentioned, through the sacred way, and over the Cephisus, was the usual
one: but after the Lacedæmonians, in the Peloponnesian war, had fortified
Decelia, the Athenians were obliged to make their procession by sea, till
Alcibiades reestablished the ancient custom.

The seventh day was solemnized by games, and the gymnastic combats, in
which the victor was rewarded with a measure of barley; without doubt
because it was at Eleusis the goddess first taught the method of raising
that grain, and the use of it. The two following days were employed in
some particular ceremonies, neither important nor remarkable.

During this festival it was prohibited, under very great penalties, to
arrest any person whatsoever, in order to their being imprisoned, or to
present any bill of complaint to the judges. It was regularly celebrated
every fifth year, that is, after a revolution of four years: and history
does not mention that it was ever interrupted, except upon the taking of
Thebes by Alexander the Great.(78) The Athenians, who were then upon the
point of celebrating the great mysteries, were so much affected with the
ruin of that city, that they could not resolve, in so general an
affliction, to solemnize a festival which breathed nothing but merriment
and rejoicing. It was continued down to the time of the Christian
emperors.(79) Valentinian would have abolished it, if Prætextatus, the
proconsul of Greece, had not represented, in the most lively and affecting
terms, the universal sorrow which the abrogation of that feast would
occasion among the people; upon which it was suffered to subsist. It is
supposed to have been finally suppressed by Theodosius the Great; as were
all the rest of the Pagan solemnities.



Of Auguries, Oracles, &c.


Nothing is more frequently mentioned in ancient history, than oracles,
auguries, and divinations. No war was made, or colony settled; nothing of
consequence was undertaken, either public or private, without having first
consulted the gods. This was a custom universally established amongst the
Egyptian, Assyrian, Grecian, and Roman nations; which is no doubt a proof,
as has been already observed, that it was derived from ancient tradition,
and that it had its origin in the religion and worship of the true God. It
is not indeed to be questioned, but that God, before the deluge, did
manifest his will to mankind in different methods, as he has since done to
his people, sometimes in his own person and _vivá voce_, sometimes by the
ministry of angels or of prophets inspired by himself, and at other times
by apparitions or in dreams. When the descendants of Noah dispersed
themselves into different regions, they carried this tradition along with
them, which was every where retained, though altered and corrupted by the
darkness and ignorance of idolatry. None of the ancients have insisted
more upon the necessity of consulting the gods on all occasions by
auguries and oracles than Xenophon; and he founds that necessity, as I
have more than once observed elsewhere, upon a principle deduced from the
most refined reason and discernment. He represents, in several places,
that man of himself is very frequently ignorant of what is advantageous or
pernicious to him; that, far from being capable of penetrating the future,
the present itself escapes him; so narrow and short-sighted is he in all
his views, that the slightest obstacles can frustrate his greatest
designs; that the Divinity alone, to whom all ages are present, can impart
a certain knowledge of the future to him: that no other being has power to
facilitate the success of his enterprises; and that it is reasonable to
believe he will enlighten and protect those, who adore him with the purest
affection, who invoke him at all times with greatest constancy and
fidelity, and consult him with most sincerity and integrity.


Of Auguries.


What a reproach is it to human reason, that so luminous a principle should
have given birth to the absurd reasonings, and wretched notions, in favour
of the science of augurs and soothsayers, and been the occasion of
espousing, with blind devotion, the most ridiculous puerilities: should
have made the most important affairs of state depend upon a bird’s
happening to sing upon the right or left hand; upon the greediness of
chickens in pecking their grain; the inspection of the entrails of beasts;
the liver’s being entire and in good condition, which, according to them,
did sometimes entirely disappear, without leaving any trace or mark of its
having ever subsisted! To these superstitious observances may be added,
accidental rencounters, words spoken by chance, and afterwards turned into
good or bad presages; forebodings, prodigies, monsters, eclipses, comets;
every extraordinary phenomenon, every unforeseen accident, with an
infinity of chimeras of the like nature.

Whence could it happen, that so many great men, illustrious generals, able
politicians, and even learned philosophers, have actually given into such
absurd imaginations? Plutarch, in particular, so estimable in other
respects, is to be pitied for his servile observance of the senseless
customs of the Pagan idolatry, and his ridiculous credulity in dreams,
signs, and prodigies. He tells us in his works, that he abstained a great
while from eating eggs, upon account of a dream, with which he has not
thought fit to make us further acquainted.(80)

The wisest of the Pagans knew well how to appreciate the art of
divination, and often spoke of it to each other, and even in public, with
the utmost contempt, and in a manner best adapted to expose its absurdity.
The grave censor Cato was of opinion, that one soothsayer could not look
at another without laughing. Hannibal was amazed at the simplicity of
Prusias, whom he had advised to give battle, upon his being diverted from
it by the inspection of the entrails of a victim. “What,” said he, “have
you more confidence in the liver of a beast, than in so old and
experienced a captain as I am?” Marcellus, who had been five times consul,
and was augur, said, that he had discovered a method of not being put to a
stand by the sinister flight of birds, which was, to keep himself close
shut up in his litter.

Cicero explains himself upon the subject of auguries without ambiguity or
reserve. Nobody was more capable of speaking pertinently upon it than
himself, (as M. Morin observes in his dissertation upon the same subject.)
As he was adopted into the college of augurs, he had made himself
acquainted with their most abstruse secrets, and had all possible
opportunity of informing himself fully in their science. That he did so,
sufficiently appears from the two books he has left us upon divination, in
which, it may be said, he has exhausted the subject. In the second,
wherein he refutes his brother Quintus, who had espoused the cause of the
augurs, he combats and defeats his false reasonings with a force, and at
the same time with so refined and delicate a raillery, as leaves us
nothing to wish; and he demonstrates by proofs, each more convincing than
the other, the falsity, contrariety, and impossibility of that art. But
what is very surprising, in the midst of all his arguments, he takes
occasion to blame the generals and magistrates, who on important
conjunctures had contemned the prognostics; and maintains, that the use of
them, as great an abuse as it was in his own opinion, ought nevertheless
to be respected, out of regard to religion, and the prejudices of the
people.(81)

All that I have hitherto said tends to prove, that Paganism was divided
into two sects, almost equally enemies of religion; the one by their
superstitious and blind regard for auguries, the other by their
irreligious contempt and derision of them.

The principle of the first, founded on one side upon the ignorance and
weakness of man in the affairs of life, and on the other upon the
prescience of the Divinity and his almighty providence, was true; but the
consequence deduced from it in favour of auguries, false and absurd. They
ought to have proved that it was certain, that the Divinity himself had
established these external signs to denote his intentions, and that he had
obliged himself to a punctual conformity to them upon all occasions: but
they had nothing of this in their system. These auguries and divinations
therefore were the effect and invention of the ignorance, rashness,
curiosity, and blind passions of man, who presumed to interrogate God, and
to oblige him to give answers upon every idle imagination and unjust
enterprise.

The others, who gave no real credit to any thing enjoined by the science
of augury, did not fail, however, to observe its trivial ceremonies
through policy, in order the better to subject the minds of the people to
themselves, and to reconcile them to their own purposes, by the assistance
of superstition: but by their contempt for auguries, and their inward
conviction of their falsity, they were led into a disbelief of the Divine
Providence, and to despise religion itself; conceiving it inseparable from
the numerous absurdities of this kind, which rendered it ridiculous, and
consequently unworthy a man of sense.

Both the one and the other behaved in this manner, because, having
mistaken the Creator, and abused the light of nature, which might have
taught them to know and to adore him, they were deservedly abandoned to
their own darkness, and to a reprobate mind; and, if we had not been
enlightened by the true religion, we, even at this day, should give
ourselves up to the same superstitions.


Of Oracles


No country was ever richer in, or more productive of oracles, than Greece.
I shall confine myself to those which were the most noted.

The oracle of Dodona, a city of the Molossians, in Epirus, was much
celebrated; where Jupiter gave answers either by vocal oaks,(82) or doves,
which had also their language, or by resounding basins of brass, or by the
mouths of priests and priestesses.

The oracle of Trophonius in Bœotia, though he was nothing more than a
hero, was in great reputation.(83) After many preliminary ceremonies, as
washing in the river, offering sacrifices, drinking a water called Lethe,
from its quality of making people forget every thing, the votaries went
down into his cave, by small ladders, through a very narrow passage. At
the bottom was another little cavern, the entrance of which was also
exceeding small. There they lay down upon the ground, with a certain
composition of honey in each hand, which they were indispensably obliged
to carry with them. Their feet were placed within the opening of the
little cave; which was no sooner done, than they perceived themselves
borne into it with great force and velocity. Futurity was there revealed
to them; but not to all in the same manner. Some saw, others heard,
wonders. From thence they returned quite stupified, and out of their
senses, and were placed in the chair of Mnemosyne, the goddess of memory;
not without great need of her assistance to recover their remembrance,
after their great fatigue, of what they had seen and heard; admitting they
had seen or heard any thing at all. Pausanias, who had consulted that
oracle himself, and gone through all these ceremonies, has left a most
ample description of it; to which Plutarch adds some particular
circumstances,(84) which I omit, to avoid a tedious prolixity.

The temple and oracle of the Branchidæ, in the neighbourhood of Miletus,
so called from Branchus, the son of Apollo, was very ancient, and in great
esteem with all the Ionians and Dorians of Asia.(85) Xerxes, in his return
from Greece, burnt this temple, after the priests had delivered its
treasures to him. That prince, in return, granted them an establishment in
the remotest parts of Asia, to secure them against the vengeance of the
Greeks. After the war was over, the Milesians reestablished that temple
with a magnificence which, according to Strabo, surpassed that of all the
other temples of Greece. When Alexander the Great had overthrown Darius,
he utterly destroyed the city where the priests Branchidæ had settled, of
which their descendants were at that time in actual possession, punishing
in the children the sacrilegious perfidy of their fathers.

Tacitus relates something very singular, though not very probable, of the
oracle of Claros, a town of Ionia, in Asia Minor, near Colophon.(86)
“Germanicus,” says he, “went to consult Apollo at Claros. It is not a
woman that gives the answers there, as at Delphi, but a man, chosen out of
certain families, and almost always of Miletus. It is sufficient to let
him know the number and names of those who come to consult him. After
which he retires into a cave, and having drunk of the waters of a spring
within it, he delivers answers in verse upon what the persons have in
their thoughts, though he is often ignorant, and knows nothing of
composing in measure. It is said, that he foretold to Germanicus his
sudden death, but in dark and ambiguous terms, according to the custom of
oracles.”

I omit a great number of other oracles, to proceed to the most famous of
them all. It is very obvious that I mean the oracle of Apollo at Delphi.
He was worshipped there under the name of the Pythian, a title derived
from the serpent Python, which he had killed, or from a Greek word, that
signifies to inquire, πυθέσθαι, because people came thither to consult
him. From thence the Delphic priestess was called Pythia, and the games
there celebrated, the Pythian games.

Delphi was an ancient city of Phocis in Achaia. It stood upon the
declivity, and about the middle, of the mountain Parnassus, built upon a
small extent of even ground, and surrounded with precipices, that
fortified it without the help of art.

Diodorus says,(87) that there was a cavity upon Parnassus, from whence an
exhalation rose, which made the goats dance and skip about, and
intoxicated the brain. A shepherd having approached it, out of a desire to
know the causes of so extraordinary an effect, was immediately seized with
violent agitations of body, and pronounced words, which, without doubt, he
did not understand himself; but which, however, foretold futurity. Others
made the same experiment, and it was soon rumoured throughout the
neighbouring countries. The cavity was no longer approached without
reverence. The exhalation was concluded to have something divine in it. A
priestess was appointed for the reception of its effects, and a tripod
placed upon the vent, called by the Latins Cortina, perhaps from the
skin(88) that covered it. From thence she gave her oracles. The city of
Delphi rose insensibly round about this cave; and a temple was erected,
which, at length, became very magnificent. The reputation of this oracle
almost effaced, or at least very much exceeded, that of all others.

At first a single Pythia sufficed to answer those who came to consult the
oracle, as they did not yet amount to any great number: but in process of
time, when it grew into universal repute, a second was appointed to mount
the tripod alternately with the first, and a third chosen to succeed in
case of death, or disease. There were other assistants besides these to
attend the Pythia in the sanctuary, of whom the most considerable were
called prophets;(89) it was their business to take care of the sacrifices,
and to inspect them. To these the demands of the inquirers were delivered
by word of mouth, or in writing; and they returned the answers, as we
shall see in the sequel.

We must not confound the Pythia with the Sibyl of Delphi. The ancients
represent the latter as a woman that roved from country to country,
venting her predictions. She was at the same time the Sibyl of Delphi,
Erythræ, Babylon, Cumæ, and many other places, from her having resided in
them all.

The Pythia could not prophesy till she was intoxicated by the exhalation
from the sanctuary of Apollo. This miraculous vapour had not that effect
at all times and upon all occasions. The god was not always in the
inspiring humour. At first he imparted himself only once a year, but at
length he was prevailed upon to visit the Pythia every month. All days
were not proper, and upon some it was not permitted to consult the oracle.
These unfortunate days occasioned an oracle’s being given to Alexander the
Great worthy of remark. He went to Delphi to consult the god, at a time
when the priestess pretended it was forbidden to ask him any questions,
and would not enter the temple. Alexander, who was always warm and
tenacious, took hold of her by the arm to force her into it, when she
cried out, “Ah, my son, you are not to be resisted!” or, “My son, you are
invincible!”(90) Upon which words he declared he would have no other
oracle, and was contented with that he had received.

The Pythia, before she ascended the tripod, was a long time preparing for
it by sacrifices, purifications, a fast of three days, and many other
ceremonies. The god denoted his approach by the moving of a laurel, that
stood before the gate of the temple, which shook also to its very
foundations.

As soon as the divine vapour,(91) like a penetrating fire, had diffused
itself through the entrails of the priestess, her hair stood upright upon
her head, her looks grew wild, she foamed at the mouth, a sudden and
violent trembling seized her whole body, with all the symptoms of
distraction and frenzy.(92) She uttered, at intervals, some words almost
inarticulate, which the prophets carefully collected, and arranged with a
certain degree of order and connection. After she had been a certain time
upon the tripod, she was reconducted to her cell, where she generally
continued many days to recover from her fatigue; and, as Lucan says,(93) a
sudden death was often either the reward or punishment of her enthusiasm:


    Numinis aut pœna est mors immatura recepti,
    Aut pretium.


The prophets had poets under them, who made the oracles into verses, which
were often bad enough, and gave occasion to remark that, it was very
surprising that Apollo, who presided over the choir of the muses, should
inspire his priestess no better. But Plutarch informs us, that it was not
the god who composed the verses of the oracle. He inflamed the Pythia’s
imagination, and kindled in her soul that living light, which unveiled all
futurity to her. The words she uttered in the heat of her enthusiasm,
having neither method nor connection, and coming only by starts, if that
expression may be used, from the bottom of her stomach, or rather(94) from
her belly, were collected with care by the prophets, who gave them
afterwards to the poets to be turned into verse. These Apollo left to
their own genius and natural talents; as we may suppose he did the Pythia
when she herself composed verses, which, though not often, happened
sometimes. The substance of the oracle was inspired by Apollo, the manner
of expressing it was the priestess’s own: the oracles were however often
given in prose.

The general characteristics of oracles were ambiguity,(95) obscurity, and
convertibility, (if I may use that expression,) so that one answer would
agree with several various, and sometimes directly opposite, events. By
the help of this artifice, the dæmons, who of themselves are not capable
of knowing futurity, concealed their ignorance, and amused the credulity
of the Pagan world. When Crœsus was upon the point of invading the Medes,
he consulted the oracle of Delphi upon the success of that war, and was
answered, that by passing the river Halys, he would ruin a great empire.
What empire, his own, or that of his enemies? He was to guess that; but
whatever the event might be, the oracle could not fail of being in the
right. As much may be said upon the same god’s answer to Pyrrhus:


    Aio te, Æacida, Romanos vincere posse.


I repeat it in Latin, because the equivocality, which equally implies,
that Pyrrhus could conquer the Romans, and the Romans Pyrrhus, will not
subsist in a translation. Under the cover of such ambiguities, the god
eluded all difficulties, and was never in the wrong.

It must, however, be confessed, that sometimes the answer of the oracle
was clear and circumstantial. I have related, in the history of Crœsus,
the stratagem he made use of to assure himself of the veracity of the
oracle, which was, to demand of it, by his ambassador, what he was doing
at a certain time prefixed. The oracle of Delphi replied, in verse, that
he was causing a tortoise and a lamb to be drest in a vessel of brass,
which was really the case. The emperor Trajan made a similar trial of the
god at Heliopolis, by sending him a letter sealed up,(96) to which he
demanded an answer.(97) The oracle made no other return, than to command a
blank paper, well folded and sealed, to be delivered to him. Trajan, upon
the receipt of it, was struck with amazement to see an answer so
correspondent with his own letter, in which he knew he had written
nothing. The wonderful facility with which dæmons can transfer themselves
almost in an instant from place to place, made it not impossible for them
to give the two answers, which I have last mentioned, and to foretell in
one country, what they had seen in another; this is Tertullian’s
opinion.(98)

Admitting it to be true, that some oracles have been followed precisely by
the events foretold, we may believe that God, to punish the blind and
sacrilegious credulity of the Pagans, has sometimes permitted the dæmons
to have a knowledge of things to come, and to foretell them distinctly
enough. Which conduct of God, though very much above human comprehension,
is frequently attested in the Holy Scriptures.

It has been questioned, whether the oracles, mentioned in profane history,
should be ascribed to the operations of dæmons, or only to the wickedness
and imposture of men. Van dale, a Dutch physician, has maintained the
latter opinion, and Monsieur Fontenelle, when a young man, adopted it, in
the persuasion (to use his own words) that it was indifferent, as to the
truth of Christianity, whether the oracles were the effect of the agency
of spirits, or a series of impostures. Father Baltus, the Jesuit,
professor of the Holy Scriptures in the university of Strasburgh, has
refuted them both in a very solid treatise, wherein he demonstrates,
invincibly, from the unanimous authority of the Fathers, that dæmons were
the real agents in the oracles. He attacks, with equal force and success,
the rashness and presumption of the Anabaptist physician; who, calling in
question the capacity and discernment of those holy doctors, secretly
endeavoured to efface the high idea all true believers should entertain of
those great leaders of the Church, and to depreciate their venerable
authority, which is so great a difficulty to all who deviate from the
principles of ancient tradition. Now, if that was ever certain and uniform
in any thing, it is so in this point; for all the Fathers of the Church,
and ecclesiastical writers of all ages, maintain, and attest, that the
devil was the author of idolatry in general, and of oracles in particular.

This opinion does not hinder our believing that the priests and
priestesses were frequently guilty of fraud and imposture in the answers
of the oracles. For is not the devil the father and prince of lies? In the
Grecian history, we have seen more than once the Delphic priestess suffer
herself to be corrupted by presents. It was from that motive, she
persuaded the Lacedæmonians to assist the people of Athens in the
expulsion of the thirty tyrants; that she caused Demaratus to be divested
of the royal dignity, to make way for Cleomenes; and drest up an oracle to
support the imposture of Lysander, when he endeavoured to change the
succession to the throne of Sparta. And I am apt to believe that
Themistocles, who well knew the importance of acting against the Persians
by sea, inspired the god with the answer he gave, “to defend themselves
with wooden walls.” Demosthenes, convinced that the oracles were
frequently suggested by passion or interest, and suspecting, with reason,
that Philip had instructed them to speak in his favour, boldly
declared,(99) that the Pythia “philippized;” and bade the Athenians and
Thebans remember that Pericles and Epaminondas, instead of listening to,
and amusing themselves with, the frivolous answers of the oracle, those
idle bugbears of the base and cowardly, consulted only reason in the
choice and execution of their measures.

The same father Baltus examines, with equal success, a second point in
dispute, namely, the cessation of oracles. Mr. Vandale, to oppose with
some advantage a truth so glorious to Jesus Christ, the subverter of
idolatry, had falsified the sense of the Fathers, by making them say,
“that oracles ceased precisely at the moment of Christ’s birth.” The
learned apologist for the Fathers shows, that they all allege that oracles
ceased after our Saviour’s birth, and the preaching of his Gospel; not on
a sudden, but in proportion as his salutary doctrines became known to
mankind, and gained ground in the world. This unanimous opinion of the
Fathers is confirmed by the unexceptionable evidence of great numbers of
the Pagans, who agree with them as to the time when the oracles ceased.

What an honour to the Christian religion was this silence imposed upon the
oracles by the victory of Jesus Christ! Every Christian had this power.
Tertullian, in one of his _Apologies_,(100) challenges the Pagans to make
the experiment, and consents that a Christian should be put to death, if
he did not oblige these givers of oracles to confess themselves devils.
Lactantius informs us, that every Christian could silence them by only the
sign of the cross.(101) And all the world knows, that when Julian the
Apostate was at Daphne, a suburb of Antioch, to consult Apollo, the god,
notwithstanding all the sacrifices offered to him, continued mute, and
only recovered his speech to answer those who inquired the cause of his
silence, that they must ascribe it to the interment of certain bodies in
the neighbourhood. Those were the bodies of Christian martyrs, amongst
which was that of St. Babylas.

This triumph of the Christian religion ought to give us a due sense of our
obligations to Jesus Christ, and, at the same time, of the darkness to
which all mankind were abandoned before his coming. We have seen amongst
the Carthaginians, fathers and mothers, more cruel than wild beasts,
inhumanly giving up their children, and annually depopulating their
cities, by destroying the most vigorous of their youth, in obedience to
the bloody dictates of their oracles and false gods.(102) The victims were
chosen without any regard to rank, sex, age, or condition. Such bloody
executions were honoured with the name of sacrifices, and designed to make
the gods propitious. “What greater evil,” cries Lactantius, “could they
inflict in their most violent displeasure, than thus to deprive their
adorers of all sense of humanity, to make them cut the throats of their
own children, and pollute their sacrilegious hands with such execrable
parricides?”

A thousand frauds and impostures, openly detected at Delphi, and every
where else, had not opened men’s eyes, nor in the least diminished the
credit of the oracles; which subsisted upwards of two thousand years, and
was carried to an inconceivable height, even in the minds of the greatest
men, the most profound philosophers, the most powerful princes, and
generally among the most civilized nations, and such as valued themselves
most upon their wisdom and policy. The estimation they were in, may be
judged from the magnificence of the temple of Delphi, and the immense
riches amassed in it through the superstitious credulity of nations and
monarchs.

The temple of Delphi having been burnt about the fifty-eighth Olympiad,
the Amphictyons, those celebrated judges of Greece, took upon themselves
the care of rebuilding it.(103) They agreed with an architect for three
hundred talents, which amounts to nine hundred thousand livres.(104) The
cities of Greece were to furnish that sum. The inhabitants of Delphi were
taxed a fourth part of it, and collected contributions in all parts, even
in foreign nations, for that service. Amasis, at that time king of Egypt,
and the Grecian inhabitants of his country, contributed considerable sums
towards it. The Alcmæonidæ, a potent family of Athens, took upon
themselves the conduct of the building, and made it more magnificent, by
considerable additions of their own, than had been proposed in the model.

Gyges, king of Lydia, and Crœsus, one of his successors, enriched the
temple of Delphi with an incredible number of presents. Many other
princes, cities, and private persons, by their example, in a kind of
emulation of each other, had heaped up in it tripods, vases, tables,
shields, crowns, chariots, and statues of gold and silver of all sizes,
equally infinite in number and value. The presents of gold which Crœsus
alone made to this temple, amounted, according to Herodotus,(105) to
upwards of 254 talents; that is, about 762,000 French livres;(106) and
perhaps those of silver to as much. Most of these presents were in being
in the time of Herodotus. Diodorus Siculus,(107) adding those of other
princes to them, makes their amount ten thousand talents, or thirty
millions of livres.(108)

Amongst the statues of gold, consecrated by Crœsus in the temple of
Delphi, was placed that of his female baker, the occasion of which was
this:(109) Alyattes, Crœsus’s father, having married a second wife, by
whom he had children, she laid a plan to get rid of her son-in-law, that
the crown might descend to her own issue. For this purpose she engaged the
female baker to put poison into a loaf, that was to be served at the young
prince’s table. The woman, who was struck with horror at the crime, (in
which she ought to have had no part at all,) gave Crœsus notice of it. The
poisoned loaf was served to the queen’s own children, and their death
secured the crown to the lawful successor. When he ascended the throne, in
gratitude to his benefactress, he erected a statue to her in the temple of
Delphi. But, it may be said, could a person of so mean a condition deserve
so great an honour? Plutarch answers in the affirmative; and with a much
better title, he says, than many of the so-much-vaunted conquerors and
heroes, who have acquired their fame only by murder and devastation.

It is not to be wondered at, that such immense riches should have tempted
the avarice of mankind, and exposed Delphi to being frequently pillaged.
Without mentioning more ancient times, Xerxes, who invaded Greece with a
million of men, endeavoured to seize upon the spoils of this temple. Above
an hundred years after, the Phoceans, near neighbours of Delphi, plundered
it at several times. The same rich booty was the sole motive of the
irruption of the Gauls into Greece under Brennus. The guardian god of
Delphi, if we may believe historians, sometimes defended this temple by
surprising prodigies; and at others, either from impotence or want of
presence of mind, suffered himself to be plundered. When Nero made this
temple, so famous throughout the universe, a visit, and found in it five
hundred fine brass statues of illustrious men and gods to his liking,
which had been consecrated to Apollo, (those of gold and silver having
undoubtedly disappeared upon his approach,) he ordered them to be taken
down, and shipping them on board his vessels, carried them with him to
Rome.

Those who are desirous of more particular information concerning the
oracles and riches of the temple of Delphi, may consult some dissertations
upon this subject, printed in the _Memoirs of the Academy of Belles
Lettres_,(110) of which I have made good use, according to my custom.



Of the Games and Combats.


Games and combats made a part of the religion, and had a share in almost
all the festivals of the ancients; and for that reason it is proper that
they should find a place in this Work. Whether we consider their origin,
or the design of their institution, we shall not be surprised at their
being so prevalent in the best governed states.

Hercules, Theseus, Castor and Pollux, and the greatest heroes of
antiquity, were not only the institutors or restorers of them, but thought
it glorious to share in the exercise of them, and meritorious to succeed
therein. These subduers of monsters, and of the common enemies of mankind,
thought it no disgrace to them, to aspire to the victories in these
combats; nor that the new wreaths with which their brows were encircled in
the solemnization of these games, detracted from the lustre of those they
had before acquired. Hence the most famous poets made these combats the
subject of their verses; the beauty of whose poetry, whilst it
immortalized themselves, seemed to promise an eternity of fame to those
whose victories it celebrated. Hence arose that uncommon ardour which
animated all Greece, to tread in the steps of those ancient heroes, and
like them, to signalize themselves in the public combats.

A reason more solid, and originating in the very nature of these combats,
and of the people who used them, may be given for their prevalence. The
Greeks, by nature warlike, and equally intent upon forming the bodies and
minds of their youth, introduced these exercises, and annexed honours to
them, in order to prepare the younger sort for the profession of arms, to
confirm their health, to render them stronger and more robust, to inure
them to fatigues, and to make them intrepid in close fight, in which, the
use of fire-arms being then unknown, strength of body generally decided
the victory. These athletic exercises supplied the place of those in use
amongst our nobility, as dancing, fencing, riding the great horse, &c.;
but they did not confine themselves to a graceful mien, nor to the
beauties of a shape and face; they were for joining strength to the charms
of person.

It is true, these exercises, so illustrious by their founders, and so
useful in the ends at first proposed from them, introduced public masters,
who taught them to young persons, and from practising them with success,
made public show and ostentation of their skill. This sort of men applied
themselves solely to the practice of this art, and carrying it to an
excess, they formed it into a kind of science, by the addition of rules
and refinements; often challenging each other out of a vain emulation,
till at length they degenerated into a profession of people, who, without
any other employment or merit, exhibited themselves as a sight for the
diversion of the public. Our dancing-masters are not unlike them in this
respect, whose natural and original designation was to teach youth a
graceful manner of walking, and a good address; but now we see them mount
the stage, and perform ballets in the garb of comedians, capering,
jumping, skipping, and making variety of strange unnatural motions. We
shall see in the sequel, what opinion the wiser among the ancients had of
their professed combatants and wrestling-masters.

There were four games solemnized in Greece. The _Olympic_, so called from
Olympia, otherwise Pisa, a town of Elis in Peloponnesus, near which they
were celebrated, after the expiration of every four years, in honour of
Jupiter Olympicus. The _Pythian_, sacred to Apollo Pythius,(111) so called
from the serpent Python, killed by him; they were celebrated at Delphi
every four years. The _Nemæan_, which took their name from Nemæa, a city
and forest of Peloponnesus, and were either instituted or restored by
Hercules, after he had slain the lion of the Nemæan forest. They were
solemnized every two years. And lastly, the _Isthmian_, celebrated upon
the isthmus of Corinth, every four years, in honour of Neptune.
Theseus(112) was the restorer of them, and they continued even after the
ruin of Corinth. That persons might be present at these public sports with
greater quiet and security, there was a general suspension of arms, and
cessation of hostilities throughout all Greece, during the time of their
celebration.

In these games, which were solemnized with incredible magnificence, and
drew together a prodigious concourse of spectators and combatants from all
parts, a simple wreath was all the reward of the victors. In the Olympic
games, it was composed of wild olive. In the Pythian, of laurel. In the
Nemæan, of green parsley;(113) and in the Isthmian, of the same herb
dried. The institutors of these games wished that it should be implied
from hence, that honour alone, and not mean and sordid interest, ought to
be the motive of great actions. Of what were men not capable, accustomed
to act solely from so glorious a principle! We have seen in the Persian
war,(114) that Tigranes, one of the most considerable captains in the army
of Xerxes, having heard the prizes in the Grecian games described, cried
out with astonishment, addressing himself to Mardonius, who commanded in
chief, “Heavens! against what men are you leading us? Insensible to
interest, they combat only for glory!”(115) Which exclamation, though
looked upon by Xerxes as an effect of abject fear, abounds with sense and
judgment.

It was from the same principle that the Romans, whilst they bestowed upon
other occasions crowns of gold of great value, persisted always in giving
only a wreath of oaken leaves to him who had saved the life of a
citizen.(116) “O manners, worthy of eternal remembrance!” cried Pliny, in
relating this laudable custom, “O grandeur, truly Roman, that would assign
no other reward but honour, for the preservation of a citizen! a service,
indeed, above all reward; thereby sufficiently evincing their opinion,
that it was criminal to save a man’s life from the motive of lucre and
interest!” _O mores æternos, qui tanta opera honore solo donaverint; et
cùm reliquas coronas auro commendarent, salutem civis in pretio esse
noluerint, clarâ professione servari quidem hominem nefus esse lucri
causâ!_

Amongst all the Grecian games, the Olympic held undeniably the first rank,
and that for three reasons. They were sacred to Jupiter, the greatest of
the gods; instituted by Hercules, the first of the heroes; and celebrated
with more pomp and magnificence, amidst a greater concourse of spectators
attracted from all parts, than any of the rest.

If Pausanias may be believed,(117) women were prohibited to be present at
them upon pain of death; and during their continuance, it was ordained,
that no woman should approach the place where the games were celebrated,
or pass on that side of the river Alpheus. One only was so bold as to
violate this law, and slipt in disguise amongst those who were training
the wrestlers. She was tried for the offence, and would have suffered the
penalty enacted by the law, if the judges, in regard to her father, her
brother, and her son, who had all been victors in the Olympic games, had
not pardoned her offence, and saved her life.

This law was very conformable with the manners of the Greeks, amongst whom
the ladies were very reserved, seldom appeared in public, had separate
apartments, called _Gynæcea_, and never ate at table with the men when
strangers were present. It was certainly inconsistent with decency to
admit them at some of the games, as those of wrestling and the Pancratium,
in which the combatants fought naked.

The same Pausanias tells us in another place,(118) that the priestess of
Ceres had an honourable seat in these games, and that virgins were not
denied the liberty of being present at them. For my part, I cannot
conceive the reason of such inconsistency, which indeed seems incredible.

The Greeks thought nothing comparable to the victory in these games. They
looked upon it as the perfection of glory, and did not believe it
permitted to mortals to desire any thing beyond it. Cicero assures
us,(119) that with them it was no less honourable than the consular
dignity in its original splendour with the ancient Romans. And in another
place he says,(120) that to conquer at Olympia, was almost, in the
estimation of the Grecians, more great and glorious, than to receive the
honour of a triumph at Rome. Horace speaks in still stronger terms of this
kind of victory. He is not afraid to say,(121) that “it exalts the victor
above human nature; they were no longer men but gods.”

We shall see hereafter what extraordinary honours were paid the victor, of
which one of the most affecting was, to date the year with his name.
Nothing could more effectually stimulate their endeavours, and make them
regardless of expenses, than the assurance of immortalizing their names,
which, through all future ages would be enrolled in their annals, and
stand in the front of all laws made in the same year with the victory. To
this motive may be added the joy of knowing, that their praises would be
celebrated by the most famous poets, and form the subject of conversation
in the most illustrious assemblies; for these odes were sung in every
house, and formed a part in every entertainment. What could be a more
powerful incentive to a people, who had no other object and aim than that
of human glory?

I shall confine myself upon this head to the Olympic games, which
continued five days; and shall describe, in as brief a manner as possible,
the several kinds of combats of which they were composed. M. Burette has
treated this subject in several dissertations, printed in the _Memoirs of
the Academy of Belles Lettres_; wherein purity, perspicuity, and elegance
of style are united with profound erudition. I make no scruple in
appropriating to my use the riches of my brethren; and, in what I have
already said upon the Olympic games, have made very free with the late
Abbé Massieu’s remarks upon the _Odes_ of Pindar.

The combats which had the greatest share in the solemnity of the public
games, were boxing, wrestling, the pancratium, the discus or quoit, and
racing. To these may be added the exercises of leaping, throwing the dart,
and that of the trochus or wheel; but as these were neither important nor
of any great reputation, I shall content myself with having only mentioned
them in this place. For the better methodizing the particulars of these
games and exercises, it will be necessary to begin with an account of the
Athletæ, or combatants.


Of the Athletæ, or Combatants.


The term Athletæ is derived from the Greek word ἆθλος, which signifies
labour, combat. This name was given to those who exercised themselves with
an intention to dispute the prizes in the public games. The art by which
they formed themselves for these encounters, was called Gymnastic, from
the Athletæ’s practising naked.

Those who were designed for this profession frequented, from their most
tender age, the Gymnasia or Palæstræ, which were a kind of academies
maintained for that purpose at the public expense. In these places, such
young people were under the direction of different masters, who employed
the most effectual methods to inure their bodies for the fatigues of the
public games, and to train them for the combats. The regimen they were
under was very hard and severe. At first they had no other nourishment
than dried figs, nuts, soft cheese, and a coarse heavy sort of bread,
called μάζα. They were absolutely forbidden the use of wine, and enjoined
continence; which Horace expresses thus:(122)


    Qui studet optatam cursu contingere metam
    Multa tulit fecitque puer, sudavit et alsit,
    Abstinuit venere et vino.

    Who in th’ Olympic race the prize would gain,
    Has borne from early youth fatigue and pain,
    Excess of heat and cold has often try’d,
    Love’s softness banish’d, and the glass deny’d.


St. Paul, by a comparison drawn from the Athletæ, exhorts the Corinthians,
near whose city the Isthmian games were celebrated, to a sober and
penitent life. “Those who strive,” says he, “for the mastery, are
temperate in all things: Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown, but
we an incorruptible.” Tertullian uses the same thought to encourage the
martyrs.(123) He makes a comparison from what the hopes of victory made
the Athletæ endure. He repeats the severe and painful exercises they were
obliged to undergo; the continual denial and constraint, in which they
passed the best years of their lives; and the voluntary privation which
they imposed upon themselves, of all that was most pleasing and grateful
to their passions. It is true, the Athletæ did not always observe so
severe a regimen, but at length substituted in its stead a voracity and
indolence extremely remote from it.

The Athletæ, before their exercises,(124) were rubbed with oils and
ointments to make their bodies more supple and vigorous. At first they
made use of a belt, with an apron or scarf fastened to it, for their more
decent appearance in the combats; but one of the combatants happening to
lose the victory by this covering’s falling off, that accident was the
occasion of sacrificing modesty to convenience, and retrenching the apron
for the future. The Athletæ were naked only in some exercises, as
wrestling, boxing, the pancratium, and the foot-race. They practised a
kind of novitiate in the Gymnasia for ten months, to accomplish themselves
in the several exercises by assiduous application; and this they did in
the presence of such, as curiosity or idleness conducted to look on. But
when the celebration of the Olympic games drew nigh, the Athletæ who were
to appear in them were kept to double exercise.

Before they were admitted to combat, other proofs were required; as to
birth, none but Greeks were to be received. It was also necessary, that
their manners should be unexceptionable, and their condition free. No
foreigner was admitted to combat in the Olympic games; and when Alexander,
the son of Amyntas, king of Macedon, presented himself to dispute the
prize, his competitors, without any regard to the royal dignity, opposed
his reception as a Macedonian, and consequently a barbarian and a
stranger; nor could the judges be prevailed upon to admit him, till he had
proved in due form his family originally descended from the Argives.

The persons who presided in the games were called _Agonothetæ_,
_Athlothetæ_, and _Hellanodicæ_: they registered the name and country of
each champion; and upon the opening of the games a herald proclaimed the
names of the combatants. They were then made to take an oath, that they
would religiously observe the several laws prescribed in each kind of
combat, and do nothing contrary to the established orders and regulations
of the games. Fraud, artifice, and excessive violence, were absolutely
prohibited; and the maxim so generally received elsewhere,(125) that it is
indifferent whether an enemy is conquered by deceit or valour, was
banished from these combats. The address of a combatant, expert in all the
niceties of his art, who knows how to shift and ward dexterously, to put
the change upon his adversary with art and subtlety, and to improve the
least advantages, must not be confounded here with the cowardly and
knavish cunning of one who, without regard to the laws prescribed, employs
the most unfair means to vanquish his competitor. Those who disputed the
prize in the several kinds of combats, drew lots for their precedency in
them.

It is time to bring our champions to blows, and to run over the different
kinds of combats, in which they exercised themselves.


Of Wrestling.


Wrestling is one of the most ancient exercises of which we have any
knowledge, having been practised in the time of the patriarchs, as the
wrestling of the angel with Jacob proves.(126) Jacob supported the angel’s
attack so vigorously, that the latter, perceiving he could not throw so
rough a wrestler, was reduced to make him lame by touching the sinew of
his thigh, which immediately shrunk up.

Wrestling, among the Greeks, as well as other nations, was practised at
first with simplicity, little art, and in a natural manner; the weight of
the body, and the strength of the muscles, having more share in it than
address and skill. Theseus was the first that reduced it to method, and
refined it by the rules of art. He was also the first who established the
public schools, called _Palæstræ_, where the young people had masters to
instruct them in it.

The wrestlers, before they began the combat, were rubbed all over in a
rough manner, and afterwards anointed with oils, which added to the
strength and flexibility of their limbs. But as this unction, by making
the skin too slippery, rendered it difficult for them to take good hold of
each other, they remedied that inconvenience, sometimes by rolling
themselves in the dust of the Palæstra, sometimes by throwing a fine sand
upon each other, kept for that purpose in the Xystæ, or porticoes of the
Gymnasia.

Thus prepared, the wrestlers began their combat. They were matched two
against two, and sometimes several couples contended at the same time. In
this combat, the whole aim and design of the wrestlers was to throw their
adversary upon the ground. Both strength and art were employed for this
purpose: they seized each other by the arms, drew forwards, pushed
backwards, used many distortions and twistings of the body; locking their
limbs into each other’s, seizing by the neck, throttling, pressing in
their arms, struggling, plying on all sides, lifting from the ground,
dashing their heads together like rams, and twisting one another’s necks.
The most considerable advantage in the wrestler’s art, was to make himself
master of his adversary’s legs, of which a fall was the immediate
consequence. From whence Plautus says in his _Pseudolus_, speaking of
wine, “He is a dangerous wrestler, he presently trips up the heels.”(127)
The Greek terms υποσκελίζειν and πτερνίζειν, and the Latin word
_supplantare_, seem to imply, that one of these arts consisted in stooping
down to seize the antagonist under the soles of his feet, and in raising
them up to give him a fall.

In this manner the Athletæ wrestled standing, the combat ending with the
fall of one of the competitors. But when it happened that the wrestler who
was down, drew his adversary along with him, either by art or accident,
the combat continued upon the sand, the antagonists tumbling and twining
with each other in a thousand different ways, till one of them got
uppermost, and compelled the other to ask quarter, and confess himself
vanquished. There was a third sort of wrestling, called Ἀκροχειρισμὸς,
from the Athletæ’s using only their hands in it, without taking hold of
the body, as in the other kinds; and this exercise served as a prelude to
the greater combat. It consisted in intermingling their fingers, and in
squeezing them with all their force; in pushing one another, by joining
the palms of their hands together; in twisting their fingers, wrists, and
other joints of the arm, without the assistance of any other member; and
the victory was his, who obliged his opponent to ask quarter.

The combatants were to fight three times successively, and to throw their
antagonists at least twice, before the prize could be adjudged to them.

Homer describes the wrestling of Ajax and Ulysses; Ovid, that of Hercules
and Achelous; Lucan, of Hercules and Antæus; and Statius, in his
_Thebaid_, that of Tydeus and Agylleus.(128)

The wrestlers of greatest reputation amongst the Greeks, were Milo of
Crotona, whose history I have related elsewhere at large, and Polydamas.
The latter, alone and without arms, killed a furious lion upon mount
Olympus, in imitation of Hercules, whom he proposed to himself as a model
in this action. Another time having seized a bull by one of his hinder
legs, the beast could not get loose without leaving his hoof in his hands.
He could hold a chariot behind, while the coachman whipt his horses in
vain to make them go forward. Darius Nothus, king of Persia, hearing of
his prodigious strength, was desirous of seeing him, and invited him to
Susa. Three soldiers of that Prince’s guard, and of that band which the
Persians called “immortal,” esteemed the most warlike of their troops,
were ordered to fall upon him. Our champion fought and killed them all
three.


Of Boxing, or the Cestus.


Boxing is a combat at blows with the fist, from whence it derives its
name. The combatants covered their fists with a kind of offensive arms,
called _Cestus_, and their heads with a sort of leather cap, to defend
their temples and ears, which were most exposed to blows, and to deaden
their violence. The Cestus was a kind of gauntlet, or glove, made of
straps of leather, and plated with brass, lead or iron. Their use was to
strengthen the hands of the combatants, and to add violence to their
blows.

Sometimes the Athletæ came immediately to the most violent blows, and
began their onset in the most furious manner. Sometimes whole hours passed
in harassing and fatiguing each other, by a continual extension of their
arms, rendering each other’s blows ineffectual, and endeavouring by that
sparring to keep off their adversary. But when they fought with the utmost
fury, they aimed chiefly at the head and face, which parts they were most
careful to defend, by either avoiding or parrying the blows made at them.
When a combatant came on to throw himself with all his force and vigour
upon another, they had a surprising address in avoiding the attack, by a
nimble turn of the body, which threw the imprudent adversary down, and
deprived him of the victory.

However fierce the combatants were against each other, their being
exhausted by the length of the combat, would frequently reduce them to the
necessity of making a truce; upon which the battle was suspended by mutual
consent for some minutes, that were employed in recovering their fatigue,
and rubbing off the sweat in which they were bathed: after which they
renewed the fight, till one of them, by letting fall his arms through
weakness and faintness, explained that he could no longer support the pain
or fatigue, and desired quarter; which was confessing himself vanquished.

Boxing was one of the roughest and most dangerous of the gymnastic
combats; because, besides the danger of being crippled, the combatants ran
the hazard of their lives. They sometimes fell down dead, or dying upon
the sand; though that seldom happened, except the vanquished person
persisted too long in not acknowledging his defeat: yet it was common for
them to quit the fight with a countenance so disfigured, that it was not
easy to know them afterwards; carrying away with them the sad marks of
their vigorous resistance, such as bruises and contusions in the face, the
loss of an eye, their teeth knocked out, their jaws broken, or some more
considerable fracture.

We find in the poets, both Latin and Greek, several descriptions of this
kind of combat. In Homer, that of Epeus and Euryalus; in Theocritus, of
Pollux and Amycus; in Apollonius Rhodius, the same battle of Pollux and
Amycus; in Virgil, that of Dares and Entellus; and in Statius, and
Valerius Flaccus, of several other combatants.(129)


Of the Pancratium.


The Pancratium was so called from two Greek words,(130) which signify that
the whole force of the body was necessary for succeeding in it. It united
boxing and wrestling in the same fight, borrowing from one its manner of
struggling and flinging, and from the other, the art of dealing blows and
of avoiding them with success. In wrestling it was not permitted to strike
with the hand, nor in boxing to seize each other in the manner of the
wrestlers; but in the Pancratium, it was not only allowed to make use of
all the gripes and artifices of wrestling, but the hands and feet, and
even the teeth and nails, might be employed to conquer an antagonist.

This combat was the most rough and dangerous. A Pancratiast in the Olympic
games (called Arrichion, or Arrachion,) perceiving himself almost
suffocated by his adversary, who had got fast hold of him by the throat,
at the same time that he held him by the foot, broke one of his enemy’s
toes, the extreme anguish of which obliged him to ask quarter at the very
instant that Arrichion himself expired. The Agonothetæ crowned Arrichion,
though dead, and proclaimed him victor. Philostratus has left us a very
lively description of a painting, which represented this combat.


Of the Discus, or Quoit.


The Discus was a kind of quoit of a round form, made sometimes of wood,
but more frequently of stone, lead, or other metal; as iron or brass.
Those who used this exercise were called Discoboli, that is, flingers of
the Discus. The epithet κατωμάδιος, which signifies “borne upon the
shoulders,” given to this instrument by Homer, sufficiently shows, that it
was of too great a weight to be carried from place to place in the hands
only, and that the shoulders were necessary for the support of such a
burden for any length of time.

The intent of this exercise, as of almost all the others, was to
invigorate the body, and to make men more capable of supporting the weight
and use of arms. In war they were often obliged to carry such loads, as
appear excessive in these days, either of provisions, fascines, palisades;
or in scaling of walls, when, to equal the height of them, several of the
besiegers mounted upon the shoulders of each other.

The Athletæ, in hurling the Discus, put themselves into the posture best
adapted to add force to their cast; that is, they advanced one foot, upon
which they leaned the whole weight of their bodies. They then poised the
Discus in their hands, and whirling it round several times almost
horizontally, to add force to its motion, they threw it off with the joint
strength of hands, arms, and body, which had all a share in the vigour of
the discharge. He that flung the Discus farthest was the victor.

The most famous painters and sculptors of antiquity, in their endeavours
to represent naturally the attitudes of the Discoboli, have left to
posterity many masterpieces in their several arts. Quintilian exceedingly
extols a statue of that kind, which had been finished with infinite care
and application by the celebrated Myron: “What can be more finished,” says
he, “or express more happily the muscular distortions of the body in the
exercise of the Discus, than the Discobolus of Myron?”(131)


Of the Pentathlum.


The Greeks gave this name to an exercise composed of five others. It is
the common opinion, that those five exercises were wrestling, running,
leaping, throwing the dart, and the Discus. It is believed that this sort
of combat was decided in one day, and sometimes the same morning: and that
to obtain the prize, which was single, it was required that a combatant
should be the victor in all those exercises.

The exercise of leaping, and throwing the javelin, of which the first
consisted in leaping a certain length, and the other in hitting a mark
with a javelin at a certain distance, contributed to the forming of a
soldier, by making him nimble and active in battle, and expert in flinging
the spear and dart.


Of Races.


Of all the exercises which the Athletæ cultivated with so much pains and
industry to enable them to appear in the public games, running held the
foremost rank. The Olympic games generally opened with races, and were
solemnized at first with no other exercise.

The place where the Athletæ exercised themselves in running was generally
called the _Stadium_ by the Greeks; as was that wherein they disputed in
earnest for the prize. As the lists or course for these games was at first
but one Stadium(132) in length, it took its name from its measure, and was
called the Stadium, whether precisely of that extent, or of a much
greater. Under that denomination was included not only the space in which
the Athletæ ran, but also that which contained the spectators of the
gymnastic games. The place where the Athletæ contended was called Scamma,
from its lying lower than the rest of the Stadium, on each side of which,
and at the extremity ran an ascent or kind of terrace, covered with seats
and benches, upon which the spectators were seated. The most remarkable
parts of the Stadium were its entrance, middle, and extremity.

The entrance of the course, from whence the competitors started, was
marked at first only by a line drawn on the sand from side to side of the
Stadium. To that at length was substituted a kind of barrier, which was
only a cord strained tight in the front of the horses or men that were to
run. It was sometimes a rail of wood. The opening of this barrier was the
signal for the racers to start.

The middle of the Stadium was remarkable only by the circumstance of
having the prizes allotted to the victors set up there. St.
Chrysostom(133) draws a fine comparison from this custom. “As the judges,”
says he, “in the races and other games, expose in the midst of the
Stadium, to the view of the champions, the crowns which they are to
receive; in like manner the Lord, by the mouth of his prophets, has placed
in the midst of the course, the prizes which he designs for those who have
the courage to contend for them.”

At the extremity of the Stadium was a goal, where the footraces ended, but
in those of chariots and horses they were to run several times round it
without stopping, and afterwards conclude the race by regaining the other
extremity of the lists, from whence they started.

There were three kinds of races, the chariot, the horse, and the footrace.
I shall begin with the last, as the most simple, natural, and ancient.


1. Of the Foot-race.


The runners, of whatever number they were, ranged themselves in a line,
after having drawn lots for their places. Whilst they waited the signal to
start, they practised, by way of prelude, various motions to awaken their
activity, and to keep their limbs pliable and in a right temper.(134) They
kept themselves in wind by small leaps, and making little excursions, that
were a kind of trial of their speed and agility. Upon the signal being
given they flew towards the goal, with a rapidity scarce to be followed by
the eye, which was solely to decide the victory. For the Agonistic laws
prohibited, under the penalty of infamy, the attaining it by any foul
method.

In the simple race the extent of the Stadium was run but once, at the end
of which the prize attended the victor, that is, he who came in first. In
the race called Δίαυλος, the competitors ran twice that length; that is,
after having arrived at the goal, they returned to the barrier. To these
may be added a third sort, called Δολιχὸς, which was the longest of all,
as its name implies, and was composed of several Diauli. Sometimes it
consisted of twenty-four Stadia backwards and forwards, turning twelve
times round the goal.

There were some runners in ancient times, as well among the Greeks as
Romans, who have been much celebrated for their swiftness. Pliny tells
us,(135) that it was thought prodigious in Phidippides to run eleven
hundred and forty Stadia(136) between Athens and Lacedæmon in the space of
two days, till Anystis of the latter place, and Philonides, the runner of
Alexander the Great, went twelve hundred Stadia(137) in one day, from
Sicyon to Elis. These runners were denominated ἡμεροδρόμους as we find in
that passage of Herodotus, which mentions Phidippides.(138) In the
consulate of Fonteius and Vipsanus, in the reign of Nero, a boy of nine
years old ran seventy-five thousand paces(139) between noon and night.
Pliny adds, that in his time there were runners, who ran one hundred and
sixty thousand paces(140) in the circus. Our wonder at such a prodigious
speed will increase, (continues he,)(141) if we reflect, that when
Tiberius went to Germany to his brother Drusius, then at the point of
death, he could not arrive there in less than four-and-twenty hours,
though the distance was but two hundred thousand paces,(142) and he
changed his carriage three times,(143) and went with the utmost diligence.


2. Of the Horse-races.


The race of a single horse with a rider was less celebrated among the
ancients, yet it had its favourers amongst the most considerable persons,
and even kings themselves, and was attended with uncommon glory to the
victor. Pindar, in his first ode, celebrates a victory of this kind,
obtained by Hiero, king of Syracuse, to whom he gives the title of Κέλης,
that is, “Victor in the horse-race;” which name was given to the horses
carrying only a single rider, Κέλητες. Sometimes the rider led another
horse by the bridle, and then the horses were called _Desultorii_, and
their riders _Desultores_; because, after a number of turns in the
Stadium, they changed horses, by dexterously vaulting from one to the
other. A surprising address was necessary upon this occasion, especially
in an age unacquainted with the use of stirrups, and when the horses had
no saddles, which made the leap still more difficult. Among the African
troops there were also cavalry,(144) called _Desultores_, who vaulted from
one horse to another, as occasion required; and these were generally
Numidians.


3. Of the Chariot-races.


This kind of race was the most renowned of all the exercises used in the
games of the ancients, and that from whence most honour redounded to the
victors; which is not to be wondered at, if we consider whence it arose.
It is plain that it was derived from the constant custom of princes,
heroes, and great men, of fighting in battle upon chariots. Homer has an
infinity of examples of this kind. This custom being admitted, it is
natural to suppose it very agreeable to these heroes, to have their
charioteers as expert as possible in driving, as their success depended,
in a very great measure, upon the address of their drivers. It was
anciently, therefore, only to persons of the first consideration that this
office was confided. Hence arose a laudable emulation to excel others in
the art of guiding a chariot, and a kind of necessity to practise it very
much, in order to succeed. The high rank of the persons who made use of
chariots ennobled, as it always happens, an exercise peculiar to them. The
other exercises were adapted to private soldiers and horsemen, as
wrestling, running, and the single horse-race; but the use of chariots in
the field was always reserved to princes, and generals of armies.

Hence it was, that all those who presented themselves in the Olympic games
to dispute the prize in the chariot-races, were persons considerable
either for their riches, their birth, their employments, or great actions.
Kings themselves eagerly aspired to this glory, from the belief that the
title of victor in these games was scarce inferior to that of conqueror,
and that the Olympic palm added new dignity to the splendours of a throne.
Pindar’s odes inform us, that Gelon and Hiero, kings of Syracuse, were of
that opinion. Dionysius, who reigned there long after them, carried the
same ambition much higher. Philip of Macedon had these victories stampt
upon his coins, and seemed as much gratified with them as with those
obtained against the enemies of his state. All the world knows the answer
of Alexander the Great on this subject.(145) When his friends asked him
whether he would not dispute the prize of the races in these games? “Yes,”
said he, “if kings were to be my antagonists.” Which shows, that he would
not have disdained these contests, if there had been competitors in them
worthy of him.

The chariots were generally drawn by two or four horses, ranged abreast;
_bigæ_, _quadrigæ_. Sometimes mules supplied the place of horses, and then
the chariot was called ἀπήνη. Pindar, in the fifth ode of his first book,
celebrates one Psaumis, who had obtained a triple victory; one by a
chariot drawn by four horses, τεθρίππῳ; another by one drawn by mules,
ἀπήνη; and the third by a single horse, κέλητι, which the title of the ode
expresses.

These chariots, upon a signal given, started together from a place called
_Carceres_. Their places were regulated by lot, which was not an
indifferent circumstance as to the victory; for as they were to turn round
a boundary, the chariot on the left was nearer than those on the right,
which consequently had a greater compass to take. It appears from several
passages in Pindar, and especially from one in Sophocles, which I shall
cite very soon, that they ran twelve times round the Stadium. He that came
in first the twelfth round was victor. The chief art consisted in taking
the best ground at the turning of the boundary: for if the charioteer
drove too near it, he was in danger of dashing the chariot to pieces; and
if he kept too wide of it, his nearest antagonist might cut between him,
and get foremost.

It is obvious that these chariot-races could not be run without some
danger; for as the motion(146) of the wheels was very rapid, and it was
requisite to graze against the boundary in turning, the least error in
driving would have broken the chariot in pieces, and might have
dangerously wounded the charioteer. An example of which we find in the
_Electra_ of Sophocles, who gives an admirable description of a
chariot-race run by ten competitors. The pretended Orestes, at the twelfth
and last round, which was to decide the victory, having only one
antagonist, the rest having been thrown out, was so unfortunate as to
break one of his wheels against the boundary, and falling out of his seat
entangled in the reins, the horses dragged him violently forwards along
with them, and tore him to pieces. But this very seldom happened. To avoid
such danger, Nestor gave the following directions to his son Antilochus,
who was going to dispute the prize in the chariot-race.(147) “My son,”
says he, “drive your horses as near as possible to the boundary; for which
reason, always inclining your body over your chariot, get the left of your
competitors, and encouraging the horse on the right, give him the rein,
whilst the near horse, hard held, turns the boundary so close that the
nave of the wheel seems to graze upon it; but have a care of running
against the stone, lest you wound your horses, and dash the chariot in
pieces.”

Father Montfaucon mentions a difficulty, in his opinion of much
consequence, in regard to the places of those who contended for the prize
in the chariot-race. They all started indeed from the same line, and at
the same time, and so far had no advantage of each other; but he, whose
lot gave him the first place, being nearest the boundary at the end of the
career, and having but a small compass to describe in turning about it,
had less way to make than the second, third, fourth, &c. especially when
the chariots were drawn by four horses, which took up a greater space
between the first and the others, and obliged them to make a larger circle
in coming round. This advantage twelve times together, as must happen,
admitting the Stadium was to be run round twelve times, gave such a
superiority to the first, as seemed to assure him infallibly of the
victory against all his competitors. To me it seems, that the fleetness of
the horses, joined with the address of the driver, might countervail this
odds; either by getting before the first, or by taking his place; if not
in the first, at least in some of the subsequent rounds; for it is not to
be supposed, that in the progress of the race the antagonists always
continued in the same order in which they started. They often changed
places in a short interval of time, and in that variety and vicissitude
consisted all the diversion of the spectators.

It was not required, that those who aspired to the victory should enter
the lists, and drive their chariots in person. Their being spectators of
the games, or even sending their horses thither, was sufficient; but in
either case, it was previously necessary to register the names of the
persons for whom the horses were to run, either in the chariot or single
horse-races.

At the time that the city of Potidæa surrendered to Philip, three couriers
brought him advices; the first, that the Illyrians had been defeated in a
great battle by his general Parmenio; the second, that he had carried the
prize of the horse-race in the Olympic games; and the third, that the
queen was delivered of a son. Plutarch seems to insinuate, that Philip was
equally delighted with each of these circumstances.(148)

Hiero sent horses to Olympia, to run for the prize, and caused a
magnificent pavilion to be erected for them.(149) Upon this occasion
Themistocles harangued the Greeks, to persuade them to pull down the
tyrant’s pavilion, who had refused his aid against the common enemy, and
to hinder his horses from running with the rest. It does not appear that
any regard was had to this remonstrance; for we find, by one of Pindar’s
odes, composed in honour of Hiero, that he won the prize in the equestrian
races.

No one ever carried the ambition of making a great figure in the public
games of Greece so far as Alcibiades,(150) in which he distinguished
himself in the most splendid manner, by the great number of horses and
chariots which he kept only for the races. There never was either private
person or king that sent, as he did, seven chariots at once to the Olympic
games, wherein he carried the first, second, and third prizes; an honour
no one ever had before him. The famous poet Euripides celebrated these
victories in an ode, of which Plutarch has preserved a fragment. The
victor, after having made a sumptuous sacrifice to Jupiter, gave a
magnificent feast to the innumerable multitude of spectators at the games.
It is not easy to comprehend, how the wealth of a private person should
suffice for so enormous an expense: but Antisthenes, the scholar of
Socrates, who relates what he saw, informs us, that many cities of the
allies, in emulation of each other, supplied Alcibiades with all things
necessary for the support of such incredible magnificence; equipages,
horses, tents, sacrifices, the most exquisite provisions, the most
delicate wines; in a word, all that was necessary to the support of his
table or train. The passage is remarkable; for the same author assures us,
that this was not only done when Alcibiades went to the Olympic games, but
in all his military expeditions and journeys by land or sea. “Wherever,”
says he, “Alcibiades travelled, he made use of four of the allied cities
as his servants. Ephesus furnished him with tents, as magnificent as those
of the Persians; Chios took care to provide for his horses; Cyzicum
supplied him with sacrifices, and provisions for his table; and Lesbos
gave him wine, with whatever else was requisite for his house.”

I must not omit, in speaking of the Olympic games, that the ladies were
admitted to dispute the prize in them as well as the men; and that many of
them obtained it. Cynisca, sister of Agesilaus, king of Sparta, first
opened this new path of glory to her sex, and was proclaimed conqueror in
the race of chariots with four horses.(151) This victory, of which till
then there had been no example, did not fail of being celebrated with all
possible splendour.(152) A magnificent monument was erected at Sparta in
honour of Cynisca;(153) and the Lacedæmonians, though otherwise very
little sensible to the charms of poetry, appointed a poet to transmit this
new triumph to posterity, and to immortalize its memory by an inscription
in verse. She herself dedicated a chariot of brass, drawn by four horses,
in the temple of Delphi;(154) in which the charioteer was also
represented; a certain proof that she did not drive it herself. In process
of time, the picture of Cynisca, drawn by the famous Apelles, was annexed
to it, and the whole adorned with many inscriptions in honour of that
Spartan heroine.(155)


Of the honours and rewards granted to the victors.


These honours and rewards were of several kinds. The acclamations of the
spectators in honour of the victors were only a prelude to the prizes
designed them. These prizes were different wreaths of wild olive, pine,
parsley, or laurel, according to the different places where the games were
celebrated. Those crowns were always attended with branches of palm, that
the victors carried in their right hands; which custom, according to
Plutarch,(156) arose (perhaps) from a property of the palm-tree, which
displays new vigour the more endeavours are used to crush or bend it, and
is a symbol of the courage and resistance of the champion who had obtained
the prize. As he might be victor more than once in the same games, and
sometimes on the same day, he might also receive several crowns and palms.

When the victor had received the crown and palm, a herald, preceded by a
trumpet, conducted him through the Stadium, and proclaimed aloud the name
and country of the successful champion, who passed in that kind of review
before the people, whilst they redoubled their acclamations and applauses
at the sight of him.

When he returned to his own country, the people came out in a body to meet
him, and conducted him into the city, adorned with all the marks of his
victory, and riding upon a chariot drawn by four horses. He made his entry
not through the gates, but through a breach purposely made in the walls.
Lighted torches were carried before him, and a numerous train followed to
do honour to the procession.

The athletic triumph almost always concluded with feasts made for the
victors, their relations, and friends, either at the expense of the
public, or by private individuals, who regaled not only their families and
friends, but often a great part of the spectators. Alcibiades,(157) after
having sacrificed to the Olympian Jupiter, which was always the first care
of the victor, treated the whole assembly. Leophron did the same, as
Athenæus reports;(158) who adds, that Empedocles of Agrigentum, having
conquered in the same games, and not having it in his power, being a
Pythagorean, to regale the people with flesh or fish, caused an ox to be
made of a paste, composed of myrrh, incense, and all sorts of spices, of
which pieces were given to all who were present.

One of the most honourable privileges granted to the Athletic victors, was
the right of precedency at the public games. At Sparta it was a custom for
the king to take them with him in military expeditions, to fight near his
person, and to be his guard; which, with reason, was judged very
honourable. Another privilege, in which advantage was united with honour,
was that of being maintained for the rest of their lives at the expense of
their country. That this expense might not become too chargeable to the
state, Solon(159) reduced the pension of a victor in the Olympic games to
five hundred drachmas;(160) in the Isthmian to a hundred;(161) and in the
rest in proportion. The victor and his country considered this pension,
less as a relief of the champion’s indigence, than as a mark of honour and
distinction. They were also exempted from all civil offices and
employments.

The celebration of the games being over, one of the first cares of the
magistrates, who presided in them, was to inscribe, in the public
register, the name and country of the Athletæ who had carried the prizes,
and to annex the species of combat in which they had been victorious. The
chariot-race had the preference to all other games. Hence the historians,
who date occurrences by the Olympiads, as Thucydides, Dionysius of
Halicarnassus, Diodorus Siculus, and Pausanias, almost always express the
Olympiad by the name and country of the victors in that race.

The praises of the victorious Athletæ were amongst the Greeks one of the
principal subjects of their lyric poetry. We find, that all the odes of
the four books of Pindar turn upon it, each of which takes its title from
the games in which the combatants signalized themselves, whose victories
those poems celebrate. The poet, indeed, frequently enriches his matter,
by calling in to the champion’s assistance, incapable alone of inspiring
all the enthusiasm necessary, the aid of the gods, heroes, and princes,
who have any relation to his subject; and to support the flights of
imagination, to which he abandons himself. Before Pindar, the poet
Simonides practised the same manner of writing, intermingling the praises
of the gods and heroes with those of the champions, whose victories he
sang. It is related upon this head,(162) that one of the victors in
boxing, called Scopas, having agreed with Simonides for a poem upon his
victory, the poet, according to custom, after having given the highest
praises to the champion, expatiated in a long digression to the honour of
Castor and Pollux. Scopas, satisfied in appearance with the performance of
Simonides, paid him however only the third part of the sum agreed on,
referring him for the remainder to the Tyndaridæ, whom he had celebrated
so well. And in fact he was well paid by them, if we may believe the
sequel; for, at the feast given by the champion, whilst the guests were at
table, a servant came to Simonides, and told him, that two men, covered
with dust and sweat, were at the door, and desired to speak with him in
all haste. He had scarce set his foot out of the chamber, in order to go
to them, when the roof fell in, and crushed the champion, with all his
guests, to death.

Sculpture united with poetry to perpetuate the fame of the champions.
Statues were erected to the victors, especially in the Olympic games, in
the very place where they had been crowned, and sometimes in that of their
birth also; which was commonly done at the expense of their country.
Amongst the statues which adorned Olympia, were those of several children
of ten or twelve years old, who had obtained the prize at that age in the
Olympic games. They did not only raise such monuments to the champions,
but to the very horses, to whose swiftness they were indebted for the
Agonistic crown: and Pausanias(163) mentions one, which was erected in
honour of a mare, called Aura, whose history is worth repeating. Phidolas
her rider, having fallen off in the beginning of the race, the mare
continued to run in the same manner as if he had been upon her back. She
outstripped all the rest; and upon the sound of the trumpets, which was
usual toward the end of the race to animate the competitors, she redoubled
her vigour and courage, turned round the goal; and, as if she had been
sensible that she had gained the victory, presented herself before the
judges of the games. The Eleans declared Phidolas victor, with permission
to erect a monument to himself and the mare, that had served him so well.



The different Taste of the Greeks and Romans, in regard to Public Shows.


Before I make an end of these remarks upon the combats and games so much
in estimation amongst the Greeks, I beg the reader’s permission to make a
reflection, that may serve to explain the difference of character between
the Greeks and Romans, with regard to this subject.

The most common entertainment of the latter, at which the fair sex, by
nature tender and compassionate, were present in throngs, was the combat
of the gladiators, and of men with bears and lions; in which the cries of
the wounded and dying, and the abundant effusion of human blood, supplied
a grateful spectacle for a whole people, who feasted their cruel eyes with
the savage pleasure of seeing men murder one another in cool blood; and in
the times of the persecutions, with the tearing in pieces of old men and
infants, of women and tender virgins, whose age and weakness are apt to
excite compassion in the hardest hearts.

In Greece these combats were absolutely unknown, and were only introduced
into some cities, after their subjection to the Roman people. The
Athenians, however, whose distinguishing characteristics were benevolence
and humanity, never admitted them into their city;(164) and when it was
proposed to introduce the combats of the gladiators, that they might not
be outdone by the Corinthians in that point, “First throw down,” cried out
an Athenian(165) from the midst of the assembly, “throw down the altar,
erected above a thousand years ago by our ancestors to Mercy.”

It must be allowed that in this respect the conduct and wisdom of the
Greeks were infinitely superior to that of the Romans. I speak of the
wisdom of Pagans. Convinced that the multitude, too much governed by the
objects of sense to be sufficiently amused and entertained with the
pleasures of the understanding, could be delighted only with sensible
objects, both nations were studious to divert them with games and shows,
and such external contrivances, as were proper to affect the senses; in
the institution of which, each evinced and followed its peculiar
inclination and disposition.

The Romans, educated in war, and accustomed to battles, always retained,
notwithstanding the politeness upon which they piqued themselves,
something of their ancient ferocity; and hence it was, that the effusion
of blood, and the murders exhibited in their public shows, far from
inspiring them with horror, formed a grateful entertainment to them.

The insolent pomp of triumphs flowed from the same source, and argued no
less inhumanity. To obtain this honour, it was necessary to prove, that
eight or ten thousand men had been killed in battle. The spoils, which
were carried with so much ostentation, proclaimed, that an infinity of
worthy families had been reduced to the utmost misery. The innumerable
troop of captives had been free persons a few days before, and were often
distinguishable for honour, merit, and virtue. The representation of the
towns that had been taken in the war, explained that they had sacked,
plundered, and burnt the most opulent cities; and had either destroyed or
enslaved their inhabitants. In short, nothing was more inhuman, than to
drag kings and princes in chains before the chariot of a Roman citizen,
and to insult their misfortunes and humiliation in that public manner.

The triumphal arches, erected under the emperors, where the enemies
appeared with chains upon their hands and legs, could proceed only from a
haughty fierceness of disposition, and an inhuman pride, that took delight
in immortalizing the shame and sorrow of subjected nations.

The joy of the Greeks after a victory was far more modest.(166) They
erected trophies indeed, but of wood, a substance of no long duration,
which time would soon consume; and these it was prohibited to renew.
Plutarch’s reason for this is admirable.(167) After time had destroyed and
obliterated the marks of dissension and enmity that had divided nations,
it would have been the excess of odious and barbarous animosity, to have
thought of reestablishing them, to perpetuate the remembrance of ancient
quarrels, which could not be buried too soon in silence and oblivion. He
adds, that the trophies of stone and brass, since substituted to those of
wood, reflect no honour upon those who introduced the custom.

I am pleased with the grief depicted on Agesilaus’s countenance,(168)
after a considerable victory, wherein a great number of his enemies, that
is to say, of Greeks, were left upon the field, and to hear him utter with
sighs and groans, these words, so full of moderation and humanity: “Oh
unhappy Greece, to deprive thyself of so many brave citizens, and to
destroy those who had been sufficient to have conquered all the
Barbarians!”

The same spirit of moderation and humanity prevailed in the public shows
of the Greeks. Their festivals had nothing mournful or afflictive in them.
Every thing in those feasts tended to delight, friendship, and harmony:
and in that consisted one of the greatest advantages which resulted to
Greece, from the solemnization of these games. The republics, separated by
distance of country, and diversity of interests, having the opportunity of
meeting from time to time, in the same place, and in the midst of
rejoicing and festivity, allied themselves more strictly with one another,
stimulated each other against the Barbarians and the common enemies of
their liberty, and made up their differences by the mediation of some
neutral state in alliance with them. The same language, manners,
sacrifices, exercises, and worship, all conspired to unite the several
little states of Greece into one great and formidable nation; and to
preserve amongst them the same disposition, the same principles, the same
zeal for their liberty, and the same fondness for the arts and sciences.


Of the Prizes of Wit, and the Shows and Representations of the Theatre.


I have reserved for the conclusion of this head another kind of
competition, which does not at all depend upon the strength, activity, and
address of the body, and may be called with reason the combat of the mind;
wherein the orators, historians, and poets, made trial of their
capacities, and submitted their productions to the censure and judgment of
the public. The emulation in this sort of dispute was so much the more
lively and ardent, as the victory in question might justly be deemed to be
infinitely superior to all others, because it affects the man more nearly,
is founded on his personal and internal qualities, and decides upon the
merit of his intellectual capacity; which are advantages we are apt to
aspire after with the utmost vivacity and passion, and of which we are
least of all inclined to renounce the glory to others.

It was a great honour, and at the same time a most sensible pleasure, for
writers, who are generally fond of fame and applause, to have known how to
unite in their favour the suffrages of so numerous and select an assembly
as that of the Olympic games; in which were present all the finest
geniuses of Greece, and all who were most capable of judging of the
excellency of a work. This theatre was equally open to history, eloquence,
and poetry.

Herodotus read his history(169) at the Olympic games to all Greece,
assembled at them, and was heard with such applause, that the names of the
nine Muses were given to the nine books which compose his work, and the
people cried out wherever he passed, “That is he, who has written our
history, and celebrated our glorious successes against the Barbarians so
excellently.”

All who had been present at the games, caused afterwards every part of
Greece to resound with the name and glory of this illustrious historian.

Lucian, who writes the fact which I have related, adds, that after the
example of Herodotus, many of the sophists and rhetoricians went to
Olympia, to read the harangues of their composing; finding that the
shortest and most certain method of acquiring a great reputation in a
little time.

Plutarch observes,(170) that Lysias, the famous Athenian orator,
contemporary with Herodotus, pronounced a speech in the Olympic games,
wherein he congratulated the Greeks upon their reconciliation with each
other, and their having united to reduce the power of Dionysius the
Tyrant, as upon the greatest action they had ever done.

We may judge of the eagerness of the poets to signalize themselves in
these solemn games, from that of Dionysius himself.(171) That prince, who
had the foolish vanity to believe himself the most excellent poet of his
time, appointed readers, called in Greek, ῥαψωδοὶ (_Rhapsodists_,) to read
several pieces of his composing at Olympia. When they began to pronounce
the verses of the royal poet, the strong and harmonious voices of the
readers occasioned a profound silence, and they were heard at first with
the greatest attention, which continually decreased as they went on, and
turned at last into downright horse-laughs and hooting; so miserable did
the verses appear. He comforted himself for this disgrace by a victory he
gained some time after in the feast of Bacchus at Athens, in which he
caused a tragedy of his composition to be represented.(172)

The disputes of the poets in the Olympic games were nothing, in comparison
with the ardour and emulation that prevailed at Athens; which is what
remains to be said upon this subject, and therefore I shall conclude with
it: taking occasion to give my readers, at the same time, a short view of
the shows and representations of the theatre of the ancients.

Those who would be more fully informed on this subject, will find it
treated at large in a work lately made public by the reverend father
Brumoi the Jesuit; a work which abounds with profound knowledge and
erudition, and with reflections entirely new, deduced from the nature of
the poems of which it treats. I shall make considerable use of that piece,
and often without citing it; which is not uncommon with me.


Extraordinary Fondness of the Athenians for the Entertainments of the
Stage. Emulation of the Poets in disputing the Prizes in those
Representations. A short Idea of Dramatic Poetry.


No people ever expressed so much ardour and eagerness for the
entertainments of the theatre as the Greeks, and especially the Athenians.
The reason is obvious: as no people ever demonstrated such extent of
genius, nor carried so far the love of eloquence and poesy, taste for the
sciences, justness of sentiments, elegance of ear, and delicacy in all the
refinements of language. A poor woman, who sold herbs at Athens,
discovered Theophrastus to be a stranger, by a single word which he
affectedly made use of in expressing himself.(173) The common people got
the tragedies of Euripides by heart. The genius of every nation expresses
itself in the people’s manner of passing their time, and in their
pleasures. The great employment and delight of the Athenians were to amuse
themselves with works of wit, and to judge of the dramatic pieces, that
were acted by public authority several times a year, especially at the
feasts of Bacchus, when the tragic and comic poets disputed for the prize.
The former used to present four of their pieces at a time; except
Sophocles, who did not think fit to continue so laborious an exercise, and
confined himself to one performance, when he disputed the prize.

The state appointed judges, to determine upon the merit of the tragic or
comic pieces, before they were represented in the festivals. They were
acted before them in the presence of the people; but undoubtedly with no
great preparation. The judges gave their suffrages, and that performance,
which had the most voices, was declared victorious, received the crown as
such, and was represented with all possible pomp at the expense of the
republic. This did not, however, exclude such pieces, as were only in the
second or third class. The best had not always the preference; for what
times have been exempt from party, caprice, ignorance, and prejudice?
Ælian(174) is very angry with the judges, who, in one of these disputes,
gave only the second place to Euripides. He accuses them of judging either
without capacity, or of suffering themselves to be bribed. It is easy to
conceive the warmth and emulation, which these disputes and public rewards
excited amongst the poets, and how much they contributed to the
perfection, to which Greece carried dramatic performances.

The dramatic poem introduces the persons themselves, speaking and acting
upon the stage: in the epic, on the contrary, the poet only relates the
different adventures of his characters. It is natural to be delighted with
fine descriptions of events, in which illustrious persons and whole
nations are interested; and hence the epic poem had its origin. But we are
quite differently affected with hearing those persons themselves, with
being the confidents of their most secret sentiments, and auditors and
spectators of their resolutions, enterprises, and the happy or unhappy
events attending them. To read and see an action, are quite different
things; we are infinitely more moved with what is acted, than with what we
merely read. Our eyes as well as our minds are addressed at the same time.
The spectator, agreeably deceived by an imitation so nearly approaching
life, mistakes the picture for the original, and thinks the object real.
This gave birth to dramatic poetry, which includes tragedy and comedy.

To these may be added the satiric poem, which derives its name from the
satyrs, rural gods, who were always the chief characters in it; and not
from the “satire,” a kind of abusive poetry, which has no resemblance to
this, and is of a much later date. The satiric poem was neither tragedy
nor comedy, but something between both, participating of the character of
each. The poets, who disputed the prize, generally added one of these
pieces to their tragedies, to allay the gravity and solemnity of the one,
with the mirth and pleasantry of the other. There is but one example of
this ancient poem come down to us, which is the _Cyclops_ of Euripides.

I shall confine myself upon this head to tragedy and comedy; both which
had their origin amongst the Greeks, who looked upon them as fruits of
their own growth, of which they could never have enough. Athens was
remarkable for an extraordinary appetite of this kind. These two poems,
which were for a long time comprised under the general name of tragedy,
received there by degrees such improvements, as at length raised them to
their highest perfection.


The Origin and Progress of Tragedy. Poets who excelled in it at Athens;
Æschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides.


There had been many tragic and comic poets before Thespis; but as they had
made no alterations in the original rude form of this poem, and as Thespis
was the first that made any improvement in it, he was generally esteemed
its inventor. Before him, tragedy was no more than a jumble of buffoon
tales in the comic style, intermixed with the singing of a chorus in
praise of Bacchus; for it is to the feasts of that god, celebrated at the
time of the vintage, that tragedy owes its birth.


    La tragédie, informe et grossière en na’ssant,
    N’étoit qu’un simple chœur, où chacun en dansant,
    Et du dieu des raisins entonnant les louanges,
    S’éfforçoit d’attirer de fertiles vendanges.
    Là, le vin et la joie éveillant les esprits,
    Du plus habile chantre un bouc étoit le prix.

    Formless and gross did tragedy arise,
    A simple chorus, rather mad than wise;
    For fruitful vintages the dancing throng
    Roar’d to the god of grapes a drunken song:
    Wild mirth and wine sustain’d the frantic note,
    And the best singer had the prize, a goat.(175)


Thespis made several alterations in it, which Horace describes after
Aristotle, in his _Art of Poetry_. The first(176) was to carry his actors
about in a cart, whereas before they used to sing in the streets, wherever
chance led them. Another was to have their faces smeared over with
wine-lees, instead of acting without disguise, as at first. He also
introduced a character among the chorus, who, to give the actors time to
rest themselves and to take breath, repeated the adventures of some
illustrious person; which recital, at length, gave place to the subjects
of tragedy.


    Thespis fut le premier, qui barbouillé de lie,
    Promena par les bourgs cette heureuse folie,
    Et d’acteurs mal oinés chargeant un tombereau,
    Amusa les passans d’un spectacle nouveau.(177)

    First Thespis, smear’d with lees, and void of art,
    The grateful folly vented from a cart;
    And as his tawdry actors drove about,
    The sight was new, and charm’d the gaping rout.


(M1) Thespis lived in the time of Solon.(178) That wise legislator, upon
seeing his pieces performed, expressed his dislike, by striking his staff
against the ground; apprehending that these poetical fictions and idle
stories, from mere theatrical representations, would soon become matters
of importance, and have too great a share in all public and private
affairs.

(M2) It is not so easy to invent, as to improve the inventions of others.
The alterations Thespis made in tragedy, gave room for Æschylus to make
new and more considerable of his own. He was born at Athens, in the first
year of the sixtieth Olympiad. He took upon him the profession of arms, at
a time when the Athenians reckoned almost as many heroes as citizens. He
was at the battles of Marathon, Salamis, and Platæa, where he did his
duty. (M3) But his disposition called him elsewhere, and put him upon
entering into another course, where no less glory was to be acquired; and
where he was soon without any competitors. As a superior genius, he took
upon him to reform, or rather to create tragedy anew; of which he has, in
consequence, been always acknowledged the inventor and father. Father
Brumoi, in a dissertation which abounds with wit and good sense, explains
the manner in which Æschylus conceived the true idea of tragedy from
Homer’s epic poems. The poet himself used to say, that his works were the
remnants of the feasts given by Homer in the _Iliad_ and _Odyssey_.

Tragedy therefore took a new form under him. He gave masks(179) to his
actors, adorned them with robes and trains, and made them wear buskins.
Instead of a cart, he erected a theatre of a moderate elevation, and
entirely changed their style; which from being merry and burlesque, as at
first, became majestic and serious.


    Eschyle dans le chœur jetta les personages:
    D’un masque plus honnête habilla les visages:
    Sur les ais d’un théâtre en public exhaussé
    Fit paroître l’acteur d’un brodequin chaussé.(180)

    From Æschylus the chorus learnt new grace:
    He veil’d with decent masks the actor’s face,
    Taught him in buskins first to tread the stage,
    And rais’d a theatre to please the age.


But that was only the external part or body of tragedy. Its soul, which
was the most important and essential addition of Æschylus, consisted in
the vivacity and spirit of the action, sustained by the dialogue of the
persons of the drama introduced by him; in the artful working up of the
stronger passions, especially of terror and pity, which, by alternately
afflicting and agitating the soul with mournful or terrible objects,
produce a grateful pleasure and delight from that very trouble and
emotion; in the choice of a subject, great, noble, interesting, and
contained within due bounds by the unity of time, place, and action: in
short, it is the conduct and disposition of the whole piece, which, by the
order and harmony of its parts, and the happy connection of its incidents
and intrigues, holds the mind of the spectator in suspense till the
catastrophe, and then restores him his tranquillity, and dismisses him
with satisfaction.

The chorus had been established before Æschylus, as it composed alone, or
next to alone, what was then called tragedy. He did not therefore exclude
it, but, on the contrary, thought fit to incorporate it, to sing as chorus
between the acts. Thus it supplied the interval of resting, and was a kind
of person of the drama, employed either(181) in giving useful advice and
salutary instructions, in espousing the party of innocence and virtue, in
being the depository of secrets, and the avenger of violated religion, or
in sustaining all those characters at the same time according to Horace.
The coryphæus, or principal person of the chorus, spoke for the rest.

In one of Æschylus’s pieces, called the _Eumenides_, the poet represents
Orestes at the bottom of the stage, surrounded by the Furies, laid asleep
by Apollo. Their figure must have been extremely horrible, as it is
related, that upon their waking and appearing tumultuously on the theatre,
where they were to act as a chorus, some women miscarried with the
surprise, and several children died of the fright. The chorus at that time
consisted of fifty actors. After this accident, it was reduced to fifteen
by an express law, and at length to twelve.

I have observed, that one of the alterations made by Æschylus in tragedy,
was the mask worn by his actors. These dramatic masks had no resemblance
to ours, which only cover the face, but were a kind of case for the whole
head, and which, besides the features, represented the beard, the hair,
the ears, and even the ornaments used by women in their head-dresses.
These masks varied according to the different pieces that were acted. The
subject is treated at large in a dissertation of M. Boindin’s, inserted in
the _Memoirs of the Academy of Belles Lettres_.(182)

I could never comprehend, as I have observed elsewhere,(183) in speaking
of pronunciation, how masks came to continue so long upon the stage of the
ancients; for certainly they could not be used, without considerably
deadening the spirit of the action, which is principally expressed in the
countenance, the seat and mirror of what passes in the soul. Does it not
often happen, that the blood, according as it is put in motion by
different passions, sometimes covers the face with a sudden and modest
blush, sometimes enflames it with the heat of rage and fury, sometimes
retires, leaving it pale with fear, and at others diffuses a calm and
amiable serenity over it? All these affections are strongly imaged and
distinguished in the lineaments of the face. The mask deprives the
features of this energetic language, and of that life and soul, by which
it is the faithful interpreter of all the sentiments of the heart. I do
not wonder, therefore, at Cicero’s remark upon the action of Roscius.(184)
“Our ancestors,”’ says he, “were better judges than we are. They could not
wholly approve even Roscius himself, whilst he performed in a mask.”

(M4) Æschylus was in the sole possession of the glory of the stage, with
almost every voice in his favour, when a young rival made his appearance
to dispute the palm with him. This was Sophocles. He was born at Colonos,
a town in Attica, in the second year of the seventy-first Olympiad. His
father was a blacksmith, or one who kept people of that trade to work for
him. His first essay was a masterpiece. (M5) When, upon the occasion of
Cimon’s having found the bones of Theseus, and their being brought to
Athens, a dispute between the tragic poets was appointed, Sophocles
entered the lists with Æschylus, and carried the prize against him. The
ancient victor, laden till then with the wreaths he had acquired, believed
them all lost by failing of the last, and withdrew in disgust into Sicily
to king Hiero, the protector and patron of all the learned in disgrace at
Athens. He died there soon after in a very singular manner, if we may
believe Suidas. As he lay asleep in the fields, with his head bare, an
eagle, taking his bald crown for a stone, let a tortoise fall upon it,
which killed him. Of ninety, or at least seventy, tragedies, composed by
him, only seven are now extant.

Nor have those of Sophocles escaped the injury of time better, though one
hundred and seventeen in number, and according to some one hundred and
thirty. He retained to extreme old age all the force and vigour of his
genius, as appears from a circumstance in his history. His children,
unworthy of so great a father, upon pretence that he had lost his senses,
summoned him before the judges, in order to obtain a decree, that his
estate might be taken from him, and put into their hands. He made no other
defence, than to read a tragedy he was at that time composing, called
_Œdipus at Colonos_, with which the judges were so charmed, that he
carried his cause unanimously; and his children, detested by the whole
assembly, got nothing by their suit, but the shame and infamy due to so
flagrant ingratitude. He was twenty times crowned victor. Some say he
expired in repeating his _Antigone_, for want of power to recover his
breath, after a violent endeavour to pronounce a long period to the end;
others, that he died of joy upon his being declared victor, contrary to
his expectation. The figure of a hive was placed upon his tomb, to
perpetuate the name of Bee, which had been given him, from the sweetness
of his verses: whence, it is probable, the notion was derived, of the bees
having settled upon his lips when in his cradle. (M6) He died in his
ninetieth year, the fourth of the ninety-third Olympiad, after having
survived Euripides six years, who was not so old as himself.

(M7) The latter was born in the first year of the seventy-fifth Olympiad,
at Salamis, whither his father Mnesarchus and mother Clito had retired
when Xerxes was preparing for his great expedition against Greece. He
applied himself at first to philosophy, and, amongst others, had the
celebrated Anaxagoras for his master. But the danger incurred by that
great man, who was very near being made the victim of his philosophical
tenets, inclined him to the study of poetry. He discovered in himself a
genius for the drama, unknown to him at first; and employed it with such
success, that he entered the lists with the great masters of whom we have
been speaking. His works(185) sufficiently denote his profound application
to philosophy. They abound with excellent maxims of morality; and it is in
that view that Socrates in his time, and Cicero long after him,(186) set
so high a value upon Euripides.

One cannot sufficiently admire the extreme delicacy expressed by the
Athenian audience on certain occasions, and their solicitude to preserve
the reverence due to morality, virtue, decency, and justice. It is
surprising to observe the warmth with which they unanimously reproved
whatever seemed inconsistent with them, and called the poet to an account
for it, notwithstanding his having a well-founded excuse, as he had given
such sentiments only to persons notoriously vicious, and actuated by the
most unjust passions.

Euripides had put into the mouth of Bellerophon a pompous panegyric upon
riches, which concluded with this thought: “Riches are the supreme good of
the human race, and with reason excite the admiration of the gods and
men.” The whole theatre cried out against these expressions; and he would
have been banished directly, if he had not desired the sentence to be
respited till the conclusion of the piece, in which the advocate for
riches perished miserably.

He was in danger of incurring serious inconveniences from an answer he
puts into the mouth of Hippolytus. Phædra’s nurse represented to him, that
he had engaged himself under an inviolable oath to keep her secret. “My
tongue, it is true, pronounced that oath,” replied he, “but my heart gave
no consent to it.” This frivolous distinction appeared to the whole
people, as an express contempt of the religion and sanctity of an oath,
that tended to banish all sincerity and good faith from society and the
intercourse of life.

Another maxim(187) advanced by Eteocles in the tragedy called the
_Phœnicians_, and which Cæsar had always in his mouth, is no less
pernicious: “If justice may be violated at all, it is when a throne is in
question; in other respects, let it be duly revered.” It is highly
criminal in Eteocles, or rather in Euripides, says Cicero, to make an
exception in that very point, wherein such violation is the highest crime
that can be committed. Eteocles is a tyrant, and speaks like a tyrant, who
vindicates his unjust conduct by a false maxim; and it is not strange that
Cæsar, who was a tyrant by nature, and equally unjust, should lay great
stress upon the sentiments of a prince whom he so much resembled. But what
is remarkable in Cicero, is his falling upon the poet himself, and
imputing to him as a crime the having advanced so pernicious a principle
upon the stage.

Lycurgus, the orator,(188) who lived in the time of Philip and Alexander
the Great, to reanimate the spirit of the tragic poets, caused three
statues of brass to be erected, in the name of the people, to Æschylus,
Sophocles, and Euripides; and having ordered their works to be
transcribed, he appointed them to be carefully preserved amongst the
public archives, from whence they were taken from time to time to be read;
the players not being permitted to represent them on the stage.

The reader expects, no doubt, after what has been said relating to the
three poets, who invented, improved, and carried tragedy to its
perfection, that I should point out the peculiar excellencies of their
style and character. For that I must refer to father Brumoi, who will do
it much better than it is in my power. After having laid down, as an
undoubted principle, that the epic poem, that is to say Homer, pointed out
the way for the tragic poets; and having demonstrated, by reflections
drawn from human nature, upon what principles and by what degrees this
happy imitation was conducted to its end, he goes on to describe the three
poets above mentioned, in the most lively and brilliant colours.

Tragedy took at first from Æschylus its inventor, a much more lofty style
than the _Iliad_; that is, the _magnum loqui_ mentioned by Horace. Perhaps
Æschylus, who had a full conception of the grandeur of the language of
tragedy, carried it too high. It is not Homer’s trumpet, but something
more. His pompous, swelling, gigantic diction, resembles rather the
beating of drums and the shouts of battle, than the noble harmony of the
trumpets. The elevation and grandeur of his genius would not permit him to
speak the language of other men, so that his Muse seemed rather to walk in
stilts, than in the buskins of his own invention.

Sophocles understood much better the true excellence of the dramatic
style: he therefore copies Homer more closely, and blends in his diction
that honeyed sweetness, from whence he was denominated “the Bee,” with a
gravity that gives his tragedy the modest air of a matron, compelled to
appear in public with dignity, as Horace expresses it.

The style of Euripides, though noble, is less removed from the familiar;
and he seems to have affected rather the pathetic and the elegant, than
the nervous and the lofty.

As Corneille, says father Brumoi in another place, after having opened to
himself a path entirely new and unknown to the ancients, seems like an
eagle towering in the clouds, from the sublimity, force, unbroken
progress, and rapidity of his flight; and, as Racine, in copying the
ancients in a manner entirely his own, imitates the swan, that sometimes
floats upon the air, sometimes rises, then falls again with an elegance of
motion, and a grace peculiar to herself; so Æschylus, Sophocles, and
Euripides, have each of them a particular characteristic and method. The
first, as the inventor and father of tragedy, is like a torrent rolling
impetuously over rocks, forests, and precipices; the second resembles a
canal,(189) which flows gently through delicious gardens; and the third a
river, that does not follow its course in a continued line, but loves to
turn and wind his silver wave through flowery meads and rural scenes.

This is the character which father Brumoi gives of the three poets, to
whom the Athenian stage was indebted for its perfection in tragedy.
Æschylus(190) drew it out of its original chaos and confusion, and made it
appear in some degree of lustre; but it still retained the rude unfinished
air of things in their beginning, which are generally defective in point
of art and method. Sophocles and Euripides added infinitely to the dignity
of tragedy. The style of the first, as has been observed, is more noble
and majestic; of the latter, more tender and pathetic; each perfect in
their way. In this diversity of character, it is difficult to decide which
is most excellent. The learned have always been divided upon this head; as
we are at this day, with respect to the two poets of our own nation,(191)
whose tragedies have made our stage illustrious, and not inferior to that
of Athens.

I have observed, that the tender and pathetic distinguishes the
compositions of Euripides, of which Alexander of Pheræ, the most cruel of
tyrants, was a proof. That barbarous man, upon seeing the _Troades_ of
Euripides acted, found himself so moved with it, that he quitted the
theatre before the conclusion of the play, professing that he was ashamed
to be seen in tears for the distress of Hecuba and Andromache, who had
never shown the least compassion for his own citizens, of whom he had
butchered such numbers.

When I speak of the tender and pathetic, I would not be understood to mean
a passion that softens the heart into effeminacy, and which, to our
reproach, is almost alone, or at least more than any other passion
received upon our stage, though rejected by the ancients, and condemned by
the nations around us of greatest reputation for their genius, and taste
for the sciences and polite learning. The two great principles for moving
the passions amongst the ancients, were terror and pity.(192) And, indeed,
as we naturally refer every thing to ourselves, or our own particular
interest, when we see persons of exalted rank or virtue sinking under
great evils, the fear of the like misfortunes, with which we know that
human life is on all sides invested, seizes upon us, and from a secret
impulse of self-love we find ourselves sensibly affected with the
distresses of others: besides which, the sharing a common nature(193) with
the rest of our species, makes us sensible to whatever befalls them. Upon
a close and attentive inquiry into those two passions, they will be found
the most deeply inherent, active, extensive, and general affections of the
soul; including all orders of men, great and small, rich and poor, of
whatever age or condition. Hence the ancients, accustomed to consult
nature, and to take her for their guide in all things, with reason
conceived terror and compassion to be the soul of tragedy; and that those
affections ought to prevail in it. The passion of love was in no
estimation amongst them, and had seldom any share in their dramatic
pieces; though with us it is a received opinion, that they cannot be
supported without it.

It is worth our trouble to examine briefly in what manner this passion,
which has always been deemed a weakness and a blemish in the greatest
characters, got such footing upon our stage. Corneille, who was the first
who brought the French tragedy to any perfection, and whom all the rest
have followed, found the whole nation enamoured with the perusal of
romances, and little disposed to admire any thing not resembling them.
From the desire of pleasing his audience, who were at the same time his
judges, he endeavoured to move them in the manner they had been accustomed
to be affected; and, by introducing love in his scenes, to bring them the
nearer to the predominant taste of the age for romance. From the same
source arose that multiplicity of incidents, episodes, and adventures,
with which our tragic pieces are crowded and obscured; so contrary to
probability, which will not admit such a number of extraordinary and
surprising events in the short space of four-and-twenty hours; so contrary
to the simplicity of ancient tragedy; and so adapted to conceal, by the
assemblage of so many different objects, the sterility of the genius of a
poet, more intent upon the marvellous, than upon the probable and natural.

Both the Greeks and Romans have preferred the iambic to the heroic verse
in their tragedies; not only because the first has a kind of dignity
better adapted to the stage, but, whilst it approaches nearer to prose,
retains sufficiently the air of poetry to please the ear; and yet has too
little of it to put the audience in mind of the poet, who ought not to
appear at all in representations, where other persons are supposed to
speak and act. Monsieur Dacier makes a very just reflection on this
subject. He says, that it is the misfortune of our tragedy to have almost
no other verse than what it has in common with epic poetry, elegy,
pastoral, satire, and comedy; whereas the learned languages have a great
variety of versification.

This inconvenience is highly obvious in our tragedy; which consequently is
obliged to lose sight of nature and probability, as it obliges heroes,
princes, kings, and queens, to express themselves in a pompous strain in
their familiar conversation, which it would be ridiculous to attempt in
real life. The giving utterance to the most impetuous passions in an
uniform cadence, and by hemistichs and rhymes, would undoubtedly be
tedious and offensive to the ear, if the charms of poetry, the elegance of
expression, and the spirit of the sentiments, and perhaps, more than all
of them, the resistless force of custom, had not in a manner subjected our
reason, and spread a veil before our judgment.

It was not chance, therefore, which suggested to the Greeks the use of
iambics in their tragedy. Nature itself seems to have dictated that kind
of verse to them. Instructed by the same unerring guide, they made choice
of a different versification for the chorus, better adapted to the motions
of the dance, and the variations of the song; because it was necessary for
poetry here to shine out in all its lustre, whilst the mere conversation
between the real actors was suspended. The chorus was an embellishment of
the representation, and a relaxation to the audience, and therefore
required more exalted poetry and numbers to support it, when united with
music and dancing.


Of the Old, Middle, and New Comedy.


Whilst tragedy was thus rising to perfection at Athens, comedy, the second
species of dramatic poetry, and which, till then, had been much neglected,
began to be cultivated with more attention. Nature was the common parent
of both. We are sensibly affected with the dangers, distresses,
misfortunes, and, in a word, with whatever relates to the lives and
conduct of illustrious persons; and this gave birth to tragedy. And we are
as curious to know the adventures, conduct, and defects of our equals;
which supply us with occasions of laughing, and being merry at the expense
of others. Hence comedy derives itself; which is properly an image of
private life. Its design is to expose defects and vices upon the stage,
and, by affixing ridicule to them, to make them contemptible; and,
consequently, to instruct by diverting. Ridicule, therefore, (or, to
express the same word by another, pleasantry,) ought to prevail in comedy.

This species of entertainment took at different times three different
forms at Athens, as well from the genius of the poets, as from the
influence of the government, which occasioned various alterations in it.

The old comedy, so called by Horace,(194) and which he dates after the
time of Æschylus, retained something of its original rudeness, and the
liberty it had been used to take of throwing out coarse jests and reviling
the spectators from the cart of Thespis. Though it was become regular in
its plan, and worthy of a great theatre, it had not learnt to be more
reserved. It represented real transactions, with the names, dress,
gestures, and likeness, in masks, of whomsoever it thought fit to
sacrifice to the public derision. In a state where it was held good policy
to unmask whatever carried the air of ambition, singularity, or knavery,
comedy assumed the privilege to harangue, reform, and advise the people
upon their most important interests. No one was spared in a city of so
much liberty, or rather licentiousness, as Athens was at that time.
Generals, magistrates, government, the very gods were abandoned to the
poet’s satirical vein; and all was well received, provided the comedy was
diverting, and the Attic salt not wanting.

In one of these comedies,(195) not only the priest of Jupiter determines
to quit his service, because no more sacrifices are offered to the god;
but Mercury himself comes, in a starving condition, to seek his fortune
amongst mankind, and offers to serve as a porter, sutler, bailiff, guide,
door-keeper; in short, in any capacity, rather than return to heaven. In
another,(196) the same gods, reduced to the extremity of famine, from the
birds having built a city in the air, whereby their provisions are cut
off, and the smoke of incense and sacrifices prevented from ascending to
heaven, depute three ambassadors in the name of Jupiter to conclude a
treaty of accommodation with the birds, upon such conditions as they shall
approve. The chamber of audience, where the three famished gods are
received, is a kitchen well stored with excellent game of all sorts. Here
Hercules, deeply smitten with the smell of roast meat, which he apprehends
to be more exquisite and nutritious than that of incense, begs leave to
make his abode, and to turn the spit, and assist the cook upon occasion.
The other pieces of Aristophanes abound with strokes still more satirical
and severe upon the principal divinities.

I am not much surprised at the poet’s insulting the gods, and treating
them with the utmost contempt, as from them he had nothing fear; but I
cannot help wondering at his having brought the most illustrious and
powerful persons of Athens upon the stage, and presuming to attack the
government itself, without any manner of respect or reserve.

Cleon having returned triumphant, contrary to the general expectation,
from the expedition against Sphacteria, was looked upon by the people as
the greatest captain of that age. Aristophanes, to set that bad man in a
true light, who was the son of a tanner, and a tanner himself, and whose
rise was owing solely to his temerity and impudence, was so bold as to
make him the subject of a comedy,(197) without being awed by his power and
influence: but he was obliged to play the part of Cleon himself, and
appeared for the first time upon the stage in that character; not one of
the comedians daring to represent it, nor to expose himself to the
resentment of so formidable an enemy. His face was smeared over with
wine-lees; because no workman could be found, that would venture to make a
mask resembling Cleon, as was usual when persons were brought upon the
stage. In this piece he reproaches him with embezzling the public
treasures, with a violent passion for bribes and presents, with craft in
seducing the people, and denies him the glory of the action at Sphacteria,
which he attributes chiefly to the share his colleague had in it.

In the _Acharnians_, he accuses Lamachus of having been made general,
rather by bribery than merit. He imputes to him his youth, inexperience,
and idleness; at the same time that he, and many others, whom he covertly
designates, convert to their own use the rewards due only to valour and
real services. He reproaches the republic with their preference of the
younger citizens to the elder, in the government of the state, and the
command of their armies. He tells them plainly, that when peace shall be
concluded, neither Cleonymus, Hyperbolus, nor many other such knaves, all
mentioned by name, shall have any share in the public affairs; they being
always ready to accuse their fellow-citizens of crimes, and to enrich
themselves by such informations.

In his comedy called the _Wasps_, imitated by Racine in his _Plaideurs_,
he exposes the mad passion of the people for prosecutions and trials at
law, and the enormous injustice frequently committed in passing sentence
and giving judgment.

The poet,(198) concerned to see the republic obstinately bent upon the
unhappy expedition to Sicily, endeavours to excite in the people a
thorough disgust for so ruinous a war, and to inspire them with the desire
of a peace, as much the interest of the victors as the vanquished, after a
war of several years’ duration, equally pernicious to each party, and
capable of involving all Greece in ruin.

None of Aristophanes’s pieces explains better his boldness, in speaking
upon the most delicate affairs of the state in the crowded theatre, than
his comedy called _Lysistrata_. One of the principal magistrates of Athens
had a wife of that name, who is supposed to have taken it into her head to
compel Greece to conclude a peace. She relates, how, during the war, the
women inquiring of their husbands the result of their counsels, and
whether they had not resolved to make peace with Sparta, received no
answers but imperious looks, and orders to mind their own business: that,
however, they perceived plainly to what a low condition the government was
declined: that they took the liberty to remonstrate mildly to their
husbands upon the sad consequences of their rash determinations, but that
their humble representations had no other effect than to offend and enrage
them: that, at length, being confirmed by the general opinion of all
Attica, that there were no longer any men in the state, nor heads for the
administration of affairs, their patience being quite exhausted, the women
had thought it proper and advisable to take the government upon
themselves, and preserve Greece, whether it would or no, from the folly
and madness of its resolves. “For her part, she declares, that she has
taken possession of the city and treasury, in order,” says she, “to
prevent Pisander and his confederates, the four hundred administrators,
from exciting troubles, according to their custom, and from robbing the
public as usual.” (Was ever any thing so bold?) She goes on to prove, that
the women only are capable of retrieving affairs by this burlesque
argument; that admitting things to be in such a state of perplexity and
confusion, the sex, accustomed to untangling their threads, were the only
persons to set them right again, as being best qualified with the
necessary address, patience, and moderation. The Athenian politics are
thus made inferior to those of the women, who are only represented in a
ridiculous light, to turn the derision upon their husbands, who were
engaged in the administration of the government.

These extracts from Aristophanes, taken almost word for word from father
Brumoi, seemed to me very proper to give an insight into that poet’s
character, and the genius of the ancient comedy, which was, as we see, a
satire of the most poignant and severe kind, that had assumed to itself an
independency from respect to persons, and to which nothing was sacred. It
is no wonder that Cicero condemns so licentious and uncurbed a liberty. It
might, he says,(199) have been tolerable, had it attacked only bad
citizens, and seditious orators, who endeavoured to raise commotions in
the state, such as Cleon, Cleophon, and Hyperbolus; but when a Pericles,
who for many years had governed the commonwealth both in war and peace
with equal wisdom and authority (he might have added, and a Socrates,
declared by Apollo the wisest of mankind) is brought upon the stage to be
laughed at by the public, it is as if our Plautus or Nævius had attacked
the Scipios, or Cæcilius had dared to revile Marcus Cato in his plays.

That liberty is still more offensive to us, who are born, and live under a
monarchical government, which is far from being favourable to
licentiousness. But without intending to justify the conduct of
Aristophanes, which is certainly inexcusable, I think, to judge properly
of it, it would be necessary to lay aside the prejudices of birth,
nations, and times, and to imagine we live in those remote ages in a state
purely democratical. We must not fancy Aristophanes to have been a person
of little consequence in his republic, as the comic writers generally are
in our days. The king of Persia had a very different idea of him.(200) It
is a known story, that in an audience of the Greek ambassadors, his first
inquiry was after a certain comic poet (meaning Aristophanes) that put all
Greece in motion, and gave such effectual counsels against him.
Aristophanes did that upon the stage, which Demosthenes did afterwards in
the public assemblies. The poet’s reproaches were no less animated than
the orator’s. In his comedies he uttered the same sentiments as he had a
right to deliver from the public rostrum. They were addressed to the same
people, upon the same occasions of the state, the same means of success,
and the same obstacles to their measures. In Athens the whole people were
the sovereign, and each of them had an equal share in the supreme
authority. Upon this they were continually intent, were fond of
discoursing upon it themselves, and of hearing the sentiments of others.
The public affairs were the business of every individual, on which they
were desirous of being fully informed, that they might know how to conduct
themselves on every occasion of war or peace, which frequently offered,
and to decide upon their own, as well as upon the destiny of their allies
or enemies. Hence rose the liberty taken by the comic poets, of discussing
affairs of the state in their performances. The people were so far from
being offended at it, or at the manner in which those writers treated the
principal persons of the state, that they conceived their liberty in some
measure to consist in it.

Three poets(201) particularly excelled in the old comedy; Eupolis,
Cratinus, and Aristophanes. The last is the only one of them, whose pieces
have come down to us entire; and, out of the great number which he
composed, eleven are all that remain. He flourished in an age when Greece
abounded with great men, and was contemporary with Socrates and Euripides,
whom he survived. During the Peloponnesian war, he made his greatest
figure; less as a writer to amuse the people with his comedies, than as a
censor of the government, retained to reform the state, and to be almost
the arbiter of his country.

He is admired for an elegance, poignancy, and happiness of expression, or,
in a word, that Attic salt and spirit, to which the Roman language could
never attain, and for which Aristophanes(202) is more remarkable than any
other of the Greek authors. His particular excellence was raillery. None
ever touched what was ridiculous in the characters whom he wished to
expose with such success, or knew better how to convey it in all its full
force to others. But it would be necessary to have lived in his times, to
be qualified to judge of this. The subtle salt and spirit of the ancient
raillery, according to father Brumoi, is evaporated through length of
time, and what remains of it is become flat and insipid to us; though the
sharpest part will retain its vigour throughout all ages.

Two considerable defects are justly imputed to this poet, which very much
obscure, if not entirely efface, his glory. These are, low buffoonery, and
gross obscenity; and it has in vain been attempted to offer, in excuse for
the first of these faults, the character of his audience; the bulk of
which generally consisted of the poor, the ignorant, and dregs of the
people, whom, however, it was as necessary to please, as the learned and
the rich. The depraved taste of the lower order of people, which once
banished Cratinus and his company, because his scenes were not grossly
comic enough for them, is no excuse for Aristophanes, as Menander could
find out the art of changing that grovelling taste, by introducing a
species of comedy, not altogether so modest as Plutarch seems to
insinuate, yet much less licentious than any before his time.

The gross obscenities, with which all Aristophanes’s comedies abound, have
no excuse; they only denote to what a pitch the libertinism of the
spectators, and the depravity of the poet, had proceeded. Had he even
impregnated them with the utmost wit, which however is not the case, the
privilege of laughing himself, or of making others laugh, would have been
too dearly purchased at the expense of decency and good manners.(203) And
in this case it may well be said, that it were better to have no wit at
all, than to make so ill a use of it.(204) F. Brumoi is very much to be
commended for having taken care, in giving a general idea of
Aristophanes’s writings, to throw a veil over those parts of them that
might have given offence to modesty. Though such behaviour be the
indispensable rule of religion, it is not always observed by those who
pique themselves most on their erudition, and sometimes prefer the title
of scholar to that of Christian.

The old comedy subsisted till Lysander’s time; who, upon having made
himself master of Athens, changed the form or the government, and put it
into the hands of thirty of the principal citizens. The satirical liberty
of the theatre was offensive to them, and therefore they thought fit to
put a stop to it. The reason of this alteration is evident, and confirms
the reflection made before upon the privilege which the poets possessed of
criticizing with impunity the persons at the head of the state. The whole
authority of Athens was then invested in tyrants. The democracy was
abolished. The people had no longer any share in the government. They were
no more the prince; their sovereignty had expired. The right of giving
their opinions and suffrages upon affairs of state was at an end; nor
dared they, either in their own persons or by the poets, presume to
censure the sentiments and conduct of their masters. The calling persons
by their names upon the stage was prohibited: but poetical ill-nature soon
found the secret of eluding the intention of the law, and of making itself
amends for the restraint which was imposed upon it by the necessity of
using feigned names. It then applied itself to discover what was
ridiculous in known characters, which it copied to the life, and from
thence acquired the double advantage of gratifying the vanity of the
poets, and the malice of the audience, in a more refined manner: the one
had the delicate pleasure of putting the spectators upon guessing their
meaning, and the other of not being mistaken in their suppositions, and of
affixing the right name to the characters represented. Such was the
comedy, since called the _Middle Comedy_, of which there are some
instances in Aristophanes.

It continued till the time of Alexander the Great, who, having entirely
assured himself of the empire of Greece by the defeat of the Thebans,
caused a check to be put upon the licentiousness of the poets, which
increased daily. From thence the _New Comedy_ took its birth, which was
only an imitation of private life, and brought nothing upon the stage but
feigned names, and fictitious adventures.


    Chacun peint avec art dans ce nouveau miroir,
    S’y vit avec plaisir, ou crut ne s’y pas voir.
    L’avare des premiers rit du tableau fidèle
    D’un avare souvent tracé sur son modèle;
    Et mille fois un fat, finement exprimé,
    Méconnut le portrait sur lui-mème formé.

    In this new glass, whilst each himself survey’d,
    He sat with pleasure, though himself was play’d:
    The miser grinn’d whilst avarice was drawn,
    Nor thought the faithful likeness was his own;
    His own dear self no imag’d fool could find,
    But saw a thousand other fops design’d.(205)


This may properly be called fine comedy, and is that of Menander. Of one
hundred and eighty, or rather eighty plays, according to Suidas, composed
by him, all of which Terence is said to have translated, there remain only
a few fragments. We may form a judgment of the merit of the originals from
the excellence of the copy. Quintilian, in speaking of Menander, is not
afraid to say,(206) that with the beauty of his works, and the height of
his reputation, he obscured, or rather obliterated, the fame of all other
writers in the same way. He observes in another passage,(207) that his own
times were not so just to his merit as they ought to have been, which has
been the fate of many others; but that he was sufficiently made amends by
the favourable opinion of posterity. And indeed Philemon, a comic poet,
who flourished about the same period, though older than Menander, was
preferred before him.


The Theatre of the Ancients described.


I have already observed, that Æschylus was the first founder of a fixed
and durable theatre adorned with suitable decorations. It was at first, as
well as the amphitheatres, composed of wooden planks, the seats in which
rose one above another; but those having one day broke down, by having too
great a weight upon them, the Athenians, excessively enamoured of dramatic
representations, were induced by that accident to erect those superb
structures, which were imitated afterwards with so much splendour by the
Roman magnificence. What I shall say of them, has almost as much relation
to the Roman as the Athenian theatres; and is extracted entirely from M.
Boindin’s learned dissertation upon the theatre of the ancients,(208) who
has treated the subject in its fullest extent.

The theatre of the ancients was divided into three principal parts; each
of which had its peculiar appellation. The division for the actors was
called in general the scene, or stage; that for the spectators was
particularly termed the theatre, which must have been of vast extent,(209)
as at Athens it was capable of containing above thirty thousand persons;
and the orchestra, which amongst the Greeks was the place assigned for the
pantomimes and dancers, though at Rome it was appropriated to the senators
and vestal virgins.

The theatre was of a semicircular form on one side, and square on the
other. The space contained within the semicircle was allotted to the
spectators, and had seats placed one above another to the top of the
building. The square part in the front of it was appropriated to the
actors; and in the interval, between both, was the orchestra.

The great theatres had three rows of porticoes, raised one upon another,
which formed the body of the edifice, and at the same time three different
stories for the seats. From the highest of those porticoes the women saw
the representation, sheltered from the weather. The rest of the theatre
was uncovered, and all the business of the stage was performed in the open
air.

Each of these stories consisted of nine rows of seats, including the
landing-place, which divided them from each other, and served as a passage
from side to side. But as this landing-place and passage took up the space
of two benches, there were only seven to sit upon, and consequently in
each story there were seven rows of seats. They were from fifteen to
eighteen inches in height, and twice as much in breadth; so that the
spectators had room to sit at their ease, and without being incommoded by
the legs of the people above them, no foot-boards being provided for them.

Each of these stories of benches were divided in two different manners; in
their height by the landing-places, called by the Romans _Præcinctiones_,
and in their circumferences by several staircases, peculiar to each story,
which intersecting them in right lines, tending towards the centre of the
theatre, gave the form of wedges to the quantity of seats between them,
from whence they were called _Cunei_.

Behind these stories of seats were covered galleries, through which the
people thronged into the theatre by great square openings, contrived for
that purpose in the walls next the seats. Those openings were called
_Vomitoria_, from the multitude of people crowding through them into their
places.

As the actors could not be heard to the extremity of the theatre, the
Greeks contrived a means to supply that defect, and to augment the force
of the voice, and make it more distinct and articulate. For that purpose
they invented a kind of large vessels of copper, which were disposed under
the seats of the theatre, in such a manner, as made all sounds strike upon
the ear with more force and distinctness.

The orchestra being situated, as I have observed, between the two other
parts of the theatre, of which one was circular, and the other square, it
participated of the form of each, and occupied the space between both. It
was divided into three parts.

The first and most considerable was more particularly called the
orchestra, from a Greek word(210) that signifies to dance. It was
appropriated to the pantomimes and dancers, and to all such subaltern
actors as played between the acts, and at the end of the representations.

The second was named θυλέλη, from its being square, in the form of an
altar. Here the chorus was generally placed.

And in the third the Greeks disposed their band of music. They called it
ὑποσκήνιον, from its being situate at the bottom of the principal part of
the theatre, to which they gave the general name of the scene.

I shall describe here this third part of the theatre, called the scene;
which was also subdivided into three different parts.

The first and most considerable was properly called the scene, and gave
its name to this whole division. It occupied the whole front of the
building from side to side, and was the place allotted for the
decorations. This front had two small wings at its extremity, from which
hung a large curtain, that was let down to open the scene, and drawn up
between the acts, when any thing in the representation made it necessary.

The second, called by the Greeks indifferently προσκήνιον, and λοτεῖον and
by the Romans _proscenium_, and _pulpitum_, was a large open space in
front of the scene, in which the actors performed their parts, and which,
by the help of the decorations, represented either a public square or
forum, a common street, or the country; but the place so represented was
always in the open air.

The third division was a part reserved behind the scenes, and called by
the Greeks παρασκήνιον. Here the actors dressed themselves, and the
decorations were locked up. In the same place were also kept the machines,
of which the ancients had abundance in their theatres.

As only the porticoes and the building of the scene were roofed, it was
necessary to draw sails, fastened with cords to masts, over the rest of
the theatre, to screen the audience from the heat of the sun. But as this
contrivance did not prevent the heat, occasioned by the perspiration and
breath of so numerous an assembly, the ancients took care to allay it by a
kind of rain; conveying the water for that use above the porticoes, which
falling again in form of dew through an infinity of small pores concealed
in the statues, with which the theatre abounded, did not only diffuse a
grateful coolness all around, but the most fragrant exhalations along with
it; for this dew was always perfumed. Whenever the representations were
interrupted by storms, the spectators retired into the porticoes behind
the seats of the theatre.

The fondness of the Athenians for representations of this kind cannot be
expressed. Their eyes, their ears, their imagination, their understanding,
all shared in the satisfaction. Nothing gave them so sensible a pleasure
in dramatic performances, either tragic or comic, as the strokes which
were aimed at the affairs of the public; whether pure chance occasioned
the application, or the address of the poets, who knew how to reconcile
the most remote subjects with the transactions of the republic. They
entered by that means into the interests of the people, took occasion to
soothe their passions, authorize their pretensions, justify, and sometimes
condemn, their conduct, entertain them with agreeable hopes, instruct them
in their duty in certain nice conjunctures; in consequence of which they
often not only acquired the applauses of the spectators, but credit and
influence in the public affairs and counsels: hence the theatre became so
grateful and so interesting to the people. It was in this manner,
according to some authors, that Euripides artfully adapted his tragedy of
_Palamedes_(211) to the sentence passed against Socrates; and pointed out,
by an illustrious example of antiquity, the innocence of a philosopher,
oppressed by malignity supported by power and faction.

Accident was often the occasion of sudden and unforeseen applications,
which from their appositeness were very agreeable to the people. Upon this
verse of Æschylus, in praise of Amphiaraus,


            —— ’Tis his desire
    Not to appear, but be the great and good,


the whole audience rose up, and unanimously applied it to Aristides.(212)
The same thing happened to Philopœmen at the Nemæan games. At the instant
he entered the theatre, these verses were singing upon the stage:


            —— He comes, to whom we owe
    Our liberty, the noblest good below.


All the Greeks cast their eyes upon Philopœmen,(213) and with clapping of
hands and acclamations of joy expressed their veneration for the hero.

In the same manner at Rome, during the banishment of Cicero,(214) when
some verses of Accius,(215) which reproached the Greeks with their
ingratitude in suffering the banishment of Telamon, were repeated by Æsop,
the best actor of his time, they drew tears from the eyes of the whole
assembly.

Upon another, though very different, occasion, the Roman people applied to
Pompey the Great some verses to this effect:


    ’Tis our unhappiness has made thee great;(216)


and then addressing the people;


    The time shall come when you shall late deplore
    So great a power confided to such hands;


the spectators obliged the actor to repeat these verses several times.


Fondness for Theatrical Representations one of the principal Causes of the
Decline, Degeneracy, and Corruption of the Athenian State.


When we compare the happy times of Greece, in which Europe and Asia
resounded with nothing but the fame of the Athenian victories, with the
later ages, when the power of Philip and Alexander the Great had in a
manner reduced it to slavery, we shall be surprised at the strange
alteration in that republic. But what is most material, is the
investigation of the causes and progress of this declension; and these M.
de Tourreil has discussed in an admirable manner in the elegant preface to
his translation of Demosthenes’s orations.

There were no longer, he observes, at Athens any traces of that manly and
vigorous policy, equally capable of planning good and retrieving bad
success. Instead of that, there remained only an inconsistent loftiness,
apt to evaporate in pompous decrees. They were no more those Athenians,
who, when menaced by a deluge of barbarians, demolished their houses to
build ships with the timber, and whose women stoned the abject wretch to
death that proposed to appease the great king by tribute or homage. The
love of ease and pleasure had almost entirely extinguished that of glory,
liberty, and independence.

Pericles, that great man, so absolute, that those who envied him treated
him as a second Pisistratus, was the first author of this degeneracy and
corruption. With the design of conciliating the favour of the people, he
ordained that upon such days as games or sacrifices were celebrated, a
certain number of oboli should be distributed amongst them; and that in
the assemblies in which affairs of state were to be discussed, every
individual should receive a certain pecuniary gratification in right of
being present. Thus the members of the republic were seen for the first
time to sell their care in the administration of the government, and to
rank amongst servile employments the most noble functions of the sovereign
power.

It was not difficult to foresee where so excessive an abuse would end: and
to remedy it, it was proposed to establish a fund for the support of the
war, and to make it a capital crime to advise, upon any account
whatsoever, the application of it to other uses: but, notwithstanding, the
abuse always subsisted. At first it seemed tolerable, whilst the citizen,
who was supported at the public expense, endeavoured to deserve it by
doing his duty in the field for nine months together. Every one was to
serve in his turn, and whoever failed was treated as a deserter without
distinction: but at length the number of the transgressors carried it
against the law; and impunity, as it commonly happens, multiplied their
number. People accustomed to the delightful abode of a city, where feasts
and games were perpetually taking place, conceived an invincible
repugnance for labour and fatigue, which they looked upon as unworthy of
free-born men.

It was therefore necessary to find amusement for this indolent people, to
fill up the great void of an unactive, useless life. Hence arose
principally their fondness, or rather frenzy, for public shows. The death
of Epaminondas, which seemed to promise them the greatest advantage, gave
the final stroke to their ruin and destruction. “Their courage,” says
Justin,(217) “did not survive that illustrious Theban. Freed from a rival,
who kept their emulation alive, they sunk into a lethargic sloth and
effeminacy. The funds for armaments by land and sea were soon lavished
upon games and feasts. The seaman’s and soldier’s pay was distributed to
the idle citizen. An indolent and luxurious mode of life enervated every
breast. The representations of the theatre were preferred to the exercises
of the camp. Valour and military knowledge were entirely disregarded.
Great captains were in no estimation; whilst good poets and excellent
comedians engrossed the universal applause.”

Extravagance of this kind makes it easy to comprehend in what multitudes
the people thronged to the dramatic performances. As no expense was spared
in embellishing them, exorbitant sums were sunk in the service of the
theatre. “If,” says Plutarch,(218) “an accurate calculation were to be
made what each representation of the dramatic pieces cost the Athenians,
it would appear, that their expenses in playing the _Bacchanalians_, the
_Phœnicians_, _Œdipus_, _Antigone_, _Medea_, and _Electra_, (tragedies
written either by Sophocles or Euripides,) were greater than those which
had been employed against the Barbarians, in defence of the liberty and
for the preservation of Greece.” This gave a Spartan just reason to
exclaim, on seeing an estimate of the enormous sums laid out in these
contests of the tragic poets, and the extraordinary pains taken by the
magistrates who presided in them,(219) “that a people must be void of
sense to apply themselves in so warm and serious a manner to things so
frivolous. For,” added he, “games should be only games; and nothing is
more unreasonable than to purchase a short and trivial amusement at so
great a price. Pleasures of this kind agree only with public rejoicings
and seasons of festivity, and were designed to divert people at their
leisure hours; but should by no means interfere with the affairs of the
public, nor the necessary expenses of the government.”

After all, says Plutarch, in the passage which I have already cited, of
what utility have these tragedies been to Athens, though so much boasted
by the people, and admired by the rest of the world? I find that the
prudence of Themistocles enclosed the city with strong walls; that the
fine taste and magnificence of Pericles improved and adorned it; that the
noble fortitude of Miltiades preserved its liberty; and that the moderate
conduct of Cimon acquired it the empire and government of all Greece. If
the wise and learned poetry of Euripides, the sublime diction of
Sophocles, the lofty buskin of Æschylus, have obtained equal advantages
for the city of Athens, by delivering it from impending calamities, or by
adding to its glory, I am willing (he goes on) that dramatic pieces should
be placed in competition with trophies of victory, the poetic theatre with
the field of battle, and the compositions of the poets with the great
exploits of the generals. But what a comparison would this be? On the one
side would be seen a few writers, crowned with wreaths of ivy, and
dragging a goat or an ox after them, the rewards and victims assigned them
for excelling in tragic poetry: on the other, a train of illustrious
captains, surrounded by the colonies which they founded, the cities which
they captured, and the nations which they subjected. It is not to
perpetuate the victories of Æschylus and Sophocles, but in remembrance of
the glorious battles of Marathon, Salamis, Eurymedon, and many others,
that so many feasts are celebrated every month with such pomp by the
Grecians.

The inference which Plutarch draws from hence, in which we ought to agree
with him, is,(220) that it was the highest imprudence in the Athenians
thus to prefer pleasure to duty, fondness for the theatre to the love of
their country, trivial shows to application to public business, and to
consume, in useless expenses and dramatic entertainments, the funds
intended for the support of fleets and armies. Macedon, till then obscure
and inconsiderable, well knew how to take advantage of the Athenian
indolence and effeminacy;(221) and Philip, instructed by the Greeks
themselves, amongst whom he had for several years applied himself
successfully to the art of war, was not long before he gave Greece a
master, and subjected it to the yoke, as we shall see in the sequel.

I am now to open an entirely new scene to the reader’s view, not unworthy
his curiosity and attention. We have seen two states of no great
consideration, Media and Persia, extend themselves far and wide, under the
conduct of Cyrus, like a torrent or a conflagration; and, with amazing
rapidity, conquer and subdue many provinces and kingdoms. We shall see now
that vast empire setting the nations under its dominion in motion, the
Persians, Medes, Phœnicians, Egyptians, Babylonians, Indians, and many
others; and falling, with all the forces of Asia and the East upon a
little country, of very small extent, and destitute of all foreign
assistance; I mean Greece. When, on the one hand, we behold so many
nations united together, such preparations of war made for several years
with so much diligence; innumerable armies by sea and land, and such
fleets as the sea could hardly contain; and, on the other hand, two weak
cities, Athens and Lacedæmon, abandoned by all their allies, and left
almost entirely to themselves; have we not reason to believe, that these
two little cities are going to be utterly destroyed and swallowed up by so
formidable an enemy; and that no footsteps of them will be left remaining?
And yet we shall find that they will prove victorious; and by their
invincible courage, and the several battles they gain, both by sea and
land, will make the Persian empire lay aside all thoughts of ever again
turning their arms against Greece.

The history of the war between the Persians and the Greeks will illustrate
the truth of this maxim, that it is not the number, but the valour of the
troops, and the conduct of the generals, on which depends the success of
military expeditions. The reader will admire the surprising courage and
intrepidity of the great men at the head of the Grecian affairs, whom
neither all the world in motion against them could deject, nor the
greatest misfortunes disconcert; who undertook, with an handful of men, to
make head against innumerable armies; who, notwithstanding such a
prodigious inequality of forces, dared to hope for success; who even
compelled victory to declare on the side of merit and virtue; and taught
all succeeding generations what infinite resources are to be found in
prudence, valour, and experience; in a zeal for liberty and our country;
in the love of our duty; and in all the sentiments of noble and generous
souls.

This war of the Persians against the Grecians will be followed by another
amongst the Greeks themselves, but of a very different kind from the
former. In the latter, there will scarce be any actions, but what in
appearance are of little consequence, and seemingly unworthy of a reader’s
curiosity who is fond of great events; in this he will meet with little
besides private quarrels between certain cities, or some small
commonwealths; some inconsiderable sieges, (excepting that of Syracuse,
one of the most important related in ancient history,) though several of
these sieges were of no short duration; some battles between armies, where
the numbers were small, and but little blood shed. What is it, then, that
has rendered these wars so famous in history? Sallust informs us in these
words: “The actions of the Athenians doubtless were great; and yet I
believe they were somewhat less than fame will have us conceive of them.
But because Athens abounded in noble writers, the acts of that republic
are celebrated throughout the whole world as most glorious; and the
gallantry of those heroes who performed them, has had the good fortune to
be thought as transcendent as the eloquence of those who have described
them.”(222)

Sallust, though jealous enough of the glory the Romans had acquired by a
series of distinguished actions, with which their history abounds, yet
does justice in this passage to the Grecians, by acknowledging, that their
exploits were truly great and illustrious, though somewhat inferior, in
his opinion, to their fame. What is then this foreign and borrowed lustre,
which the Athenian actions have derived from the eloquence of their
historians? It is, that the whole universe agrees in looking upon them as
the greatest and most glorious that ever were performed: _Per terrarum
orbem Atheniensium facta_ PRO MAXIMIS CELEBRANTUR. All nations, seduced
and enchanted as it were with the beauties of the Greek authors, think
that people’s exploits superior to any thing that was ever done by any
other nation. This, according to Sallust, is the service which the Greek
authors have done the Athenians, by their excellent manner of describing
their actions; and very unhappy it is for us, that our history, for want
of similar assistance, has left a thousand brilliant actions and fine
sayings unrecorded, which would have been put in the strongest light by
the writers of antiquity, and have done great honour to our country.

But, be this as it may, it must be confessed, that we are not always to
judge of the value of an action, or the merit of the persons who shared in
it, by the importance of the event. It is rather in such sieges and
engagements as we find recorded in the history of the Peloponnesian war,
that the conduct and abilities of a general are truly conspicuous.
Accordingly, it is observed, that it was chiefly at the head of small
armies, and in countries of no great extent, that our best generals of the
last age displayed their great capacity, and showed themselves not
inferior to the most celebrated captains of antiquity. In actions of this
sort chance has no share, and does not cover any oversights that are
committed. Every thing is conducted and carried on by the prudence of the
general. He is truly the soul of the forces, which neither act nor move
but by his direction. He sees every thing, and is present every where.
Nothing escapes his vigilance and attention. Orders are seasonably given,
and seasonably executed. Contrivances, stratagems, false marches, real or
feigned attacks, encampments, decampments; in a word, every thing depends
upon him alone.

On this account, the reading of the Greek historians, such as Thucydides,
Xenophon, and Polybius, is of infinite service to young officers; because
those historians, who were also excellent commanders, enter into all the
particulars of the events which they relate, and lead the readers, as it
were by the hand, through all the sieges and battles they describe;
showing them, by the example of the greatest generals of antiquity, and by
a kind of anticipated experience, in what manner war is to be carried on.

Nor is it only with regard to military exploits, that the Grecian history
affords us such excellent models. We shall there find celebrated
legislators, able politicians, magistrates born for government, men that
have excelled in all arts and sciences, philosophers that carried their
inquiries as far as was possible in those early ages, and who have left us
such maxims of morality, as might put many Christians to the blush.

If the virtues of those who are celebrated in history may serve us for
models in the conduct of our lives; their vices and failings, on the other
hand, are no less proper to caution and instruct us; and the strict regard
which an historian is obliged to pay to truth will not allow him to
dissemble the latter, through fear of eclipsing the lustre of the former.
Nor does what I here advance contradict the rule laid down by Plutarch, on
the same subject, in his preface to the life of _Cimon_.(223) He requires,
that the illustrious actions of great men be represented in their full
light; but as to the faults, which may sometimes escape them through
passion or surprise, or into which they may be drawn by the necessity of
affairs, considering them rather as a certain degree of perfection wanting
to their virtue,(224) than as vices or crimes that proceed from any
corruption of the heart; such imperfections as these, he would have the
historian, out of compassion to the weakness of human nature, which
produces nothing entirely perfect, content himself with touching very
lightly; in the same manner as an able painter, when he has a fine face to
draw, in which he finds some little blemish or defect, does neither
entirely suppress it, nor think himself obliged to represent it with a
strict exactness, because the one would spoil the beauty of the picture,
and the other would destroy the likeness. The very comparison Plutarch
uses, shows, that he speaks only of slight and excusable faults. But as to
actions of injustice, violence, and brutality, they ought not to be
concealed or disguised on any pretence; nor can we suppose, that the same
privilege should be allowed in history as is in painting, which invented
the profile, to represent the side-face of a prince who had lost an eye,
and by that means ingeniously concealed so disagreeable a deformity.(225)
History, the most essential rule of which is sincerity, will by no means
admit of such indulgences, as indeed would deprive it of its greatest
advantage.

Shame, reproach, infamy, hatred, and the execrations of the public, which
are the inseparable attendants on criminal and brutal actions, are no less
proper to excite a horror for vice, than the glory, which perpetually
attends good actions, is to inspire us with the love of virtue. And these,
according to Tacitus, are the two ends which every historian ought to
propose to himself, by making a judicious choice of what is most
extraordinary both in good and evil, in order to occasion that public
homage to be paid to virtue, which is justly due to it, and to create the
greater abhorrence for vice, on account of that eternal infamy that
attends it.(226)

The history which I am writing furnishes but too many examples of the
latter sort. With respect to the Persians, it will appear, by what is said
of their kings, that those princes, whose power has no other bounds than
those of their will, often abandon themselves to all their passions; that
nothing is more difficult than to resist the illusions of a man’s own
greatness, and the flatteries of those that surround him; that the liberty
of gratifying all one’s desires, and of doing evil with impunity, is a
dangerous situation; that the best dispositions can hardly withstand such
a temptation; that even after having begun their career favourably, they
are insensibly corrupted by softness and effeminacy, by pride, and their
aversion to sincere counsels; and that it rarely happens they are wise
enough to consider, that, when they find themselves exalted above all laws
and restraints, they stand then most in need of moderation and wisdom,
both in regard to themselves and others; and that in such a situation they
ought to be doubly wise, and doubly strong, in order to set bounds within,
by their reason, to a power that has none without.

With respect to the Grecians, the Peloponnesian war will show the
miserable effects of their intestine divisions, and the fatal excesses
into which they were led by their thirst of dominion: scenes of injustice,
ingratitude, and perfidy, together with the open violation of treaties, or
mean artifices and unworthy tricks to elude their execution. It will show,
how scandalously the Lacedæmonians and Athenians debased themselves to the
barbarians, in order to beg aids of money from them: how shamefully the
great deliverers of Greece renounced the glory of all their past labours
and exploits, by stooping and making their court to haughty and insolent
satrapæ, and by going successively, with a kind of emulation, to implore
the protection of the common enemy, whom they had so often conquered; and
in what manner they employed the succours they obtained from them, in
oppressing their ancient allies, and extending their own territories by
unjust and violent methods.

On both sides, and sometimes in the same person, we shall find a
surprising mixture of good and bad, of virtues and vices, of glorious
actions and mean sentiments; and sometimes, perhaps, we shall be ready to
ask ourselves, whether these can be the same persons and the same people,
of whom such different things are related: and whether it be possible,
that such a bright and shining light, and such thick clouds of smoke and
darkness, can proceed from the same source?

The Persian history includes the space of one hundred and seventeen years,
during the reigns of six kings of Persia: Darius, the first of the name,
the son of Hystaspes; Xerxes the first; Artaxerxes, surnamed Longimanus;
Xerxes the second; Sogdianus (these two last reigned but a very little
time); and Darius the second, commonly called Darius Nothus. This history
begins at the year of the world 3483, and extends to the year 3600. As
this whole period naturally divides itself into two parts, I shall also
divide it into two distinct books.

The first part, which consists of ninety years, extends from the beginning
of the reign of Darius the first, to the forty-second year of Artaxerxes,
the same year in which the Peloponnesian war began; that is, from the year
of the world 3483, to the year 3573. This part chiefly contains the
different enterprises and expeditions of the Persians against Greece,
which never produced more great men and great events, nor ever displayed
more conspicuous or more solid virtues. Here will be seen the famous
battles of Marathon, Thermopylæ, Artemisium, Salamis, Platææ, Mycale,
Eurymedon, &c. Here the most eminent commanders of Greece signalized their
courage; Miltiades, Leonidas, Themistocles, Aristides, Cimon, Pausanias,
Pericles, Thucydides, &c.

To enable the reader the more easily to recollect what passed within this
space of time among the Jews, and also among the Romans, the history of
both which nations is entirely foreign to that of the Persians and Greeks,
I shall here set down in few words the principal epochas relating to them.



Epochas of the Jewish History.


The people of God were at this time returned from their Babylonish
captivity to Jerusalem, under the conduct of Zorobabel. Usher is of
opinion, that the history of Esther ought to be placed in the reign of
Darius. The Israelites, under the shadow of this prince’s protection, and
animated by the earnest exhortations of the prophets Haggai and Zechariah,
did at last finish the building of the temple, which had been interrupted
for many years by the cabals of their enemies. Artaxerxes was no less
favourable to the Jews than Darius: he first of all sent Ezra to
Jerusalem, who restored the public worship, and the observation of the
law; then Nehemiah, who caused walls to be built round the city, and
fortified it against the attacks of their neighbours, who were jealous of
its reviving greatness. It is thought that Malachi, the last of the
prophets, was contemporary with Nehemiah, or that he prophesied not long
after him.

This interval of the sacred history extends from the reign of Darius I. to
the beginning of the reign of Darius Nothus; that is to say, from the year
of the world 3485, to the year 3581. After which the Scripture is entirely
silent, till the time of the Maccabees.



Epochas of the Roman History.


The first year of Darius I. was the 233d of the building of Rome. Tarquin
the Proud was then on the throne, and about ten years afterwards was
expelled, when the consular government was substituted to that of the
kings. In the succeeding part of this period happened the war against
Porsenna; the creation of the tribunes of the people; Coriolanus’s retreat
among the Volsci, and the war that ensued thereupon; the wars of the
Romans against the Latins, the Veientes, the Volsci, and other
neighbouring nations; the death of Virginia under the Decemvirate; the
disputes between the people and senate about marriages and the consulship,
which occasioned the creating of military tribunes instead of consuls.
This period of time terminates in the 323d year from the foundation of
Rome.

The second part, which consists of twenty-seven years, extends from the
43d year of Artaxerxes Longimanus, to the death of Darius Nothus; that is,
from the year of the world 3573, to the year 3600. It contains the first
nineteen years of the Peloponnesian war, which continued twenty-seven, of
which Greece and Sicily were the seat, and wherein the Greeks, who had
before triumphed over the barbarians, turned their arms against each
other. Among the Athenians, Pericles, Nicias, and Alcibiades; among the
Lacedæmonians, Brasidas, Gylippus, and Lysander, distinguished themselves
in the most extraordinary manner.

Rome continues to be agitated by different disputes between the senate and
the people. Towards the end of this period, and about the 350th year of
Rome, the Romans formed the siege of Veji, which lasted ten years.

(M8) I have already observed, that eighty years after the taking of Troy,
the Heraclidæ, that is, the descendants of Hercules, returned into the
Peloponnesus, and made themselves masters of Lacedæmon, where two
brothers, Eurysthenes and Procles, sons of Aristodemus, reigned jointly
together.

Herodotus observes,(227) that these two brothers were, during their whole
lives, at variance; and that almost all their descendants inherited the
like disposition of mutual hatred and antipathy; so true it is, that the
sovereign power will admit of no partnership, and that two kings will
always be too many for one kingdom! However, after the death of these two,
the descendants of both still continued to sway the sceptre jointly: and,
what is very remarkable, these two branches subsisted for near nine
hundred years, from the return of the Heraclidæ into the Peloponnesus, to
the death of Cleomenes, and supplied Sparta with kings without
interruption, and that generally in a regular succession from father to
son, especially in the elder branch of the family.



The Origin and Condition of the Elotæ, or Helots.


When the Lacedæmonians first began to settle in Peloponnesus, they met
with great opposition from the inhabitants of the country, whom they were
obliged to subdue one after another by force of arms, or receive into
their alliance on easy and equitable terms, with the imposition of a small
tribute. Strabo(228) speaks of a city, called Elos, not far from Sparta,
which, after having submitted to the yoke, as others had done, revolted
openly, and refused to pay the tribute. Agis, the son of Eurysthenes,
newly settled in the throne, was sensible of the dangerous tendency of
this first revolt, and therefore immediately marched with an army against
them, together with Soüs, his colleague. They laid siege to the city,
which, after a pretty long resistance, was forced to surrender at
discretion. This prince thought it proper to make such an example of them
as should intimidate all their neighbours, and deter them from the like
attempts, and yet not alienate their minds by too cruel a treatment; for
which reason he put none to death. He spared the lives of all the
inhabitants, but at the same time deprived them of their liberty, and
reduced them all to a state of slavery. From thenceforward they were
employed in all mean and servile offices, and treated with extreme rigour.
These were the people who were called Elotæ, or Helots. The number of them
exceedingly increased in process of time, the Lacedæmonians giving
undoubtedly the same name to all the people whom they reduced to the same
condition of servitude. As they themselves were averse to labour, and
entirely addicted to war, they left the cultivation of their lands to
these slaves, assigning every one of them a certain portion of ground, the
produce of which they were obliged to carry every year to their respective
masters, who endeavoured, by all sorts of ill usage, to make their yoke
more grievous and insupportable. This was certainly very bad policy, and
could only tend to breed a vast number of dangerous enemies in the very
heart of the state, who were always ready to take arms and revolt on every
occasion. The Romans acted more prudently; for they incorporated the
conquered nations into their state, by associating them into the freedom
of their city, and thereby converted them from enemies, into brethren and
fellow-citizens.



Lycurgus, the Lacedæmonian Lawgiver


Eurytion, or Eurypon, as he is named by others, succeeded Soüs.(229) In
order to gain the affection of his people, and render his government
agreeable, he thought fit to recede in some points from the absolute power
exercised by the kings his predecessors: this rendered his name so dear to
his subjects, that all his descendants were, from him, called Eurytionidæ.
But this relaxation gave birth to horrible confusion, and an unbounded
licentiousness in Sparta; and for a long time occasioned infinite
mischiefs. The people became so insolent, that nothing could restrain
them. If Eurytion’s successors attempted to recover their authority by
force, they became odious; and if, through complaisance or weakness, they
chose to dissemble, their mildness served only to render them
contemptible; so that order in a manner was abolished, and the laws no
longer regarded. These confusions hastened the death of Lycurgus’s father,
whose name was Eunomus, and who was killed in an insurrection. Polydectes,
his eldest son and successor, dying soon after without children, every
body expected Lycurgus would have been king. And indeed he was so in
effect, as long as the pregnancy of his brother’s wife was uncertain; but
as soon as that was manifest, he declared, that the kingdom belonged to
her child, in case it proved a son: and from that moment he took upon
himself the administration of the government, as guardian to his unborn
nephew, under the title of Prodicos, which was the name given by the
Lacedæmonians to the guardians of their kings. When the child was born,
Lycurgus took him in his arms, and cried out to the company that was
present, _Behold, my lords of Sparta, your new-born king!_ and, at the
same time, he put the infant into the king’s seat, and named him
Charilaus, because of the joy the people expressed upon occasion of his
birth. The reader will find, in the second volume of this history, all
that relates to the history of Lycurgus, the reformation he made, and the
excellent laws he established in Sparta. Agesilaus was at this time king
in the elder branch of the family.



War between the Argives and the Lacedæmonians.


Some time after this, in the reign of Theopompus, a war broke out between
the Argives and Lacedæmonians, on account of a little country, called
Thyrea, that lay upon the confines of the two states, and to which each of
them pretended a right.(230) When the two armies were ready to engage, it
was agreed on both sides, in order to spare the effusion of blood, that
the quarrel should be decided by three hundred of the bravest men chosen
from their respective armies; and that the land in question should become
the property of the victorious party. To leave the combatants more room to
engage, the two armies retired to some distance. Those generous champions
then, who had all the courage of two mighty armies, boldly advanced
towards each other, and fought with so much resolution and fury, that the
whole number, except three men, two on the side of the Argives, and one on
that of the Lacedæmonians, lay dead upon the spot; and only the night
parted them. The two Argives, looking upon themselves as the conquerors,
made what haste they could to Argos to carry the news; the single
Lacedæmonian, Othryades by name, instead of retiring, stripped the dead
bodies of the Argives, and carrying their arms into the Lacedæmonian camp,
continued in his post. The next day the two armies returned to the field
of battle. Both sides laid equal claim to the victory: the Argives,
because they had more of their champions left alive than the enemy had;
the Lacedæmonians, because the two Argives that remained alive had fled;
whereas their single soldier had remained master of the field of battle,
and had carried off the spoils of the enemy: in short, they could not
determine the dispute without coming to another engagement. Here fortune
declared in favour of the Lacedæmonians, and the little territory of
Thyrea was the prize of their victory. But Othryades, not able to bear the
thoughts of surviving his brave companions, or of enduring the sight of
Sparta after their death, killed himself on the same field of battle where
they had fought, resolving to have one fate and tomb with them.



Wars between the Messenians and Lacedæmonians.


There were no less than three several wars between the Messenians and the
Lacedæmonians, all of them very fierce and bloody. Messenia was a country
in Peloponnesus, towards the west, and not far from Sparta: it was of
considerable strength, and was governed by its own kings.



The First Messenian War.


(M9) The first Messenian war lasted twenty years, and broke out the second
year of the ninth Olympiad.(231) The Lacedæmonians pretended to have
received several considerable injuries from the Messenians, and among
others, that of having had their daughters ravished by the inhabitants of
Messenia, when they went, according to custom, to a temple, that stood on
the borders of the two nations; as also that of the murder of Telecles,
their king, which was a consequence of the former outrage. Probably a
desire of extending their dominion, and of seizing a territory which lay
so convenient for them, might be the true cause of the war. But be that as
it may, the war broke out in the reign of Polydorus and Theopompus, kings
of Sparta, at the time when the office of archon at Athens was still
decennial.

Euphaes, the thirteenth descendant from Hercules, was then king of
Messenia.(232) He gave the command of his army to Cleonnis. The
Lacedæmonians opened the campaign with the siege of Amphea, a small,
inconsiderable city, which, however, they thought would suit them very
well as a place for military stores. The town was taken by storm, and all
the inhabitants put to the sword. This first blow served only to animate
the Messenians, by showing them what they were to expect from the enemy,
if they did not defend themselves with vigour. The Lacedæmonians, on their
part, bound themselves by an oath not to lay down their arms, nor to
return to Sparta, till they had made themselves masters of all the cities
and lands belonging to the Messenians: so much did they rely upon their
strength and valour.

Two battles were fought, wherein the loss was nearly equal on both
sides.(233) But after the second, the Messenians suffered extremely
through the want of provisions, which occasioned a great desertion in
their troops, and at last brought a pestilence among them.

Hereupon they consulted the oracle of Delphi, which directed them, in
order to appease the wrath of the gods, to offer up a virgin of the royal
blood in sacrifice. Aristomenes, who was of the race of the Epytides,
offered his own daughter. The Messenians then considering, that if they
left garrisons in all their towns they should extremely weaken their army,
resolved to abandon them all, except Ithome, a little place seated on the
top of a hill of the same name, about which they encamped and fortified
themselves. In this situation were seven years spent, during which nothing
passed but slight skirmishes on both sides; the Lacedæmonians not daring
in all that time to force the enemy to a battle.

Indeed, they almost despaired of being able to reduce them: nor was there
any thing but the obligation of the oath, by which they had bound
themselves, that made them continue so burthensome a war. What gave them
the greatest uneasiness was, their apprehension, lest their absence from
their wives for so many years, an absence which might still continue many
more, should destroy their families at home, and leave Sparta destitute of
citizens.(234) To prevent this misfortune, they sent home such of their
soldiers as were come to the army since the forementioned oath had been
taken, and made no scruple of prostituting their wives to their embraces.
The children that sprung from this unlawful intercourse were called
Partheniæ, a name given them to denote the infamy of their birth. As soon
as they were grown up, not being able to endure such an opprobrious
distinction, they banished themselves from Sparta with one consent, and,
under the conduct of Phalantus, went and settled at Tarentum in Italy,
after driving out the ancient inhabitants.(235)

At last, in the eighth year of the war, which was the thirteenth of
Euphaes’s reign, a fierce and bloody battle was fought near Ithome.(236)
Euphaes pierced through the battalions of Theopompus with too much heat
and precipitation for a king. He there received a multitude of wounds,
several of which were mortal. He fell, and seemed to give up the ghost.
Whereupon, wonderful efforts of courage were exerted on both sides; by the
one, to carry off the king; by the other, to save him. Cleonnis killed
eight Spartans, who were dragging him along, and spoiled them of their
arms, which he committed to the custody of some of his soldiers. He
himself received several wounds, all in the fore part of his body, which
was a certain proof that he had never turned his back upon his enemies.
Aristomenes, fighting on the same occasion, and for the same end, killed
five Lacedæmonians, whose spoils he likewise carried off, without
receiving any wound. In short, the king was saved and carried off by the
Messenians; and, all mangled and bloody as he was, he expressed great joy
that he had not been worsted. Aristomenes, after the battle was over, met
Cleonnis, who, by reason of his wounds, could neither walk by himself, nor
with the assistance of those that lent him their hands. He therefore took
him upon his shoulders, without quitting his arms, and carried him to the
camp.

As soon as they had applied the first dressing to the wounds of the king
of Messenia and of his officers, there arose a new contention among the
Messenians, that was pursued with as much warmth as the former, but was of
a very different kind, and yet the consequence of the other. The affair in
question was the adjudging the prize of glory to him that had signalized
his valour most in the late engagement. It was a custom among them, which
had long been established, publicly to proclaim, after a battle, the name
of the man that had showed the greatest courage. Nothing could be more
proper to animate the officers and soldiers, to inspire them with
resolution and intrepidity, and to stifle the natural apprehension of
death and danger. Two illustrious champions entered the lists on this
occasion, namely, Cleonnis and Aristomenes.

The king, notwithstanding his weak condition, attended by the principal
officers of his army, presided in the council, where this important
dispute was to be decided. Each competitor pleaded his own cause. Cleonnis
founded his pretensions upon the great number of the enemies he had slain,
and upon the multitude of wounds he had received in the action, which were
so many undoubted testimonies of the courage with which he had faced both
death and danger; whereas, the condition in which Aristomenes came out of
the engagement, without hurt and without wound, seemed to show, that he
had been very careful of his own person, or, at most, could only prove
that he had been more fortunate, but not more brave or courageous, than
himself. And as to his having carried him on his shoulders into the camp,
that action indeed might serve to prove the strength of his body, but
nothing farther; and the thing in dispute at this time, says he, is not
strength, but valour.

The only thing Aristomenes was reproached for, was his not being wounded;
therefore he confined himself to that point: “I am,” says he, “called
fortunate because I have escaped from the battle without wounds. If that
were owing to my cowardice, I should deserve another epithet than that of
fortunate; and, instead of being admitted to dispute the prize, ought to
undergo the rigour of the laws that punish cowards. But what is objected
to me as a crime, is in truth my greatest glory. For, if my enemies,
astonished at my valour, durst not venture to attack or oppose me, it is
no small degree of merit that I made them fear me; or, if whilst they
engaged me, I had at the same time strength to cut them in pieces, and
skill to guard against their attacks, I must then have been at once both
valiant and prudent. For whoever, in the midst of an engagement, can
expose himself to dangers with caution and security, shows that he excels
at the same time both in the virtues of the mind and the body. As for
courage, no man living can reproach Cleonnis with any want of it; but, for
his honour’s sake, I am sorry that he should appear to want gratitude.”

After the conclusion of these harangues, the question was put to the vote.
The whole army is in suspense, and impatiently waits for the decision. No
dispute could be so warm and interesting as this. It is not a competition
for gold or silver, but solely for honour. The proper reward of virtue is
pure disinterested glory. Here the judges are unsuspected. The actions of
the competitors still speak for them. It is the king himself, surrounded
with his officers, who presides and adjudges. A whole army are the
witnesses. The field of battle is a tribunal without partiality and cabal.
In short, all the votes concurred in favour of Aristomenes, and adjudged
him the prize.

Euphaes died not many days after the decision of this affair.(237) He had
reigned thirteen years, and during all that time had been engaged in war
with the Lacedæmonians. As he died without children, he left the
Messenians at liberty to choose his successor. Cleonnis and Damis were
candidates in opposition to Aristomenes; but he was elected king in
preference to them. When he was on the throne, he did not scruple to
confer on his two rivals the principal offices of the state; all strongly
attached to the public good, even more than to their own glory;
competitors, but not enemies, these great men were actuated by a zeal for
their country, and were neither friends nor adversaries to one another,
but for its preservation.

In this relation, I have followed the opinion of the late Monsieur Boivin,
the elder,(238) and have made use of his learned dissertation upon a
fragment of Diodorus Siculus, which the world was little acquainted with.
He supposes, and proves in it, that the king, spoken of in that fragment,
is Euphaes; and that Aristomenes is the same that Pausanias calls
Aristodemus, according to the custom of the ancients, who were often
called by two different names.

Aristomenes, otherwise called Aristodemus, reigned near seven years, and
was equally esteemed and beloved by his subjects. The war still continued
all this time.(239) Towards the end of his reign he beat the
Lacedæmonians, took their king Theopompus, and, in honour of Jupiter of
Ithome, sacrificed three hundred of them, among whom their king was the
principal victim. Shortly after, Aristodemus sacrificed himself upon the
tomb of his daughter, in conformity to the answer of an oracle. Damis was
his successor, but without taking upon him the title of king.

After his death, the Messenians never had any success in their affairs,
but found themselves in a very wretched and hopeless condition.(240) Being
reduced to the last extremity, and utterly destitute of provisions, they
abandoned Ithome, and fled to such of their allies as were nearest to
them. The city was immediately razed, and the other part of the country
submitted. They were made to engage by oath never to forsake the party of
the Lacedæmonians, and never to revolt from them: a very useless
precaution, only proper to make them add the guilt of perjury to their
rebellion. Their new masters imposed no tribute upon them; but contented
themselves with obliging them to bring to the Spartan market one half of
the corn they should reap every harvest. It was likewise stipulated, that
the Messenians, both men and women, should attend, in mourning, the
funerals of the kings and chief citizens of Sparta; which the
Lacedæmonians probably looked upon as a mark of dependence, and as a kind
of homage paid to their nation. (M10) Thus ended the first Messenian war,
after having lasted twenty years.



The Second Messenian War.


The lenity with which the Lacedæmonians treated the Messenians at first,
was of no long duration.(241) When once they found the whole country had
submitted, and thought the people incapable of giving them any further
trouble, they returned to their natural character of insolence and
haughtiness, that often degenerated into cruelty, and sometimes even into
ferocity. Instead of treating the vanquished with kindness, as friends and
allies, and endeavouring by gentle methods to win those whom they had
subdued by force, they seemed intent upon nothing but aggravating their
yoke, and making them feel the whole weight of subjection. They laid heavy
taxes upon them, delivered them up to the avarice of the collectors of
those taxes, gave no ear to their complaints, rendered them no justice,
treated them with contempt like vile slaves, and committed the most
heinous outrages against them.

Man, who is born for liberty, can never reconcile himself to servitude:
the most gentle slavery exasperates, and provokes him to rebel. What could
be expected then from so cruel a one, as that under which the Messenians
groaned? After having endured it with great uneasiness(242) near forty
years, they resolved to throw off the yoke, and to recover their ancient
liberty. (M11) This was in the fourth year of the twenty-third Olympiad:
the office of archon at Athens was then made annual; and Anaxander and
Anaxidamus reigned at Sparta.

The Messenians’ first care was to strengthen themselves by the alliance of
the neighbouring nations. These they found well inclined to enter into
their views, as very agreeable to their own interests. For it was not
without jealousy and apprehensions, that they saw so powerful a city
rising up in the midst of them, which manifestly seemed to aim at
extending her dominion over all the rest. The people therefore of Elis,
the Argives and Sicyonians, declared for the Messenians. But before their
forces were joined, a battle was fought between the Lacedæmonians and
Messenians. Aristomenes, the second of that name,(243) was at the head of
the latter. He was a commander of intrepid courage, and of great abilities
in war. The Lacedæmonians were beaten in this engagement. Aristomenes, to
give the enemy at first an advantageous opinion of his bravery, knowing
what influence it has on the success of future enterprises, boldly
ventured to enter into Sparta by night, and upon the gate of the temple of
Minerva, surnamed Chalcioecos, to hang up a shield, on which was an
inscription, signifying, that it was a present offered by Aristomenes to
the goddess, out of the spoils of the Lacedæmonians.

This bravado did in reality astonish the Lacedæmonians. But they were
still more alarmed at the formidable league that was formed against them.
The Delphic oracle, which they consulted, in order to know by what means
they should be successful in this war, directed them to send to Athens for
a commander, and to submit to his counsel and conduct. This was a very
mortifying step to so haughty a city as Sparta. But the fear of incurring
the god’s displeasure by a direct disobedience prevailed over all other
considerations. They sent an embassy therefore to the Athenians. The
people of Athens were somewhat perplexed at the request. On the one hand,
they were not sorry to see the Lacedæmonians at war with their neighbours,
and were far from desiring to furnish them with a good general: on the
other, they were afraid also of disobeying the god. To extricate
themselves out of this difficulty, they offered the Lacedæmonians Tyrtæus.
He was a poet by profession, and had something original in the turn of his
mind, and disagreeable in his person; for he was lame. Notwithstanding
these defects, the Lacedæmonians received him as a general, sent them by
Heaven itself. Their success did not at first answer their expectation,
for they lost three battles successively.

The kings of Sparta, discouraged by so many disappointments, and out of
all hopes of better success for the future, were absolutely bent upon
returning to Sparta, and marching home again with their forces. Tyrtæus
opposed this design very warmly, and at length brought them over to his
opinion. He addressed the troops, and repeated to them some verses he had
made with that intention, and on which he had bestowed great pains and
application. He first endeavoured to comfort them for their past losses,
which he imputed to no fault of theirs, but only to ill fortune, or to
fate, which no human wisdom can surmount. He then represented to them, how
shameful it would be for Spartans to fly from an enemy; and how glorious
it would be for them rather to perish sword in hand, if it was so decreed
by fate, in fighting for their country. Then, as if all danger was
vanished, and the gods, fully satisfied and appeased with their late
calamities, were entirely turned to their side, he set victory before
their eyes as present and certain, and as if she herself were inviting
them to battle. All the ancient authors,(244) who have made any mention of
the style and character of Tyrtæus’s poetry, observe, that it was full of
a certain fire, ardour, and enthusiasm, that inflamed the minds of men,
that exalted them above themselves, that inspired them with something
generous and martial, that extinguished all fear and apprehension of
danger or death, and made them wholly intent upon the preservation of
their country and their own glory.(245) Tyrtæus’s verses had really this
effect on the soldiers upon this occasion. They all desired, with one
voice, to march against the enemy. Being become indifferent as to their
lives, they had no thoughts but to secure themselves the honour of a
burial. To this end they all tied strings round their right arms, on which
were inscribed their own and their fathers’ names, that, if they chanced
to be killed in the battle, and to have their faces so altered through
time, or accidents, as not to be distinguishable, it might certainly be
known who each of them was by these marks. Soldiers determined to die are
very valiant. This appeared in the battle that ensued. It was very bloody,
the victory being a long time disputed on both sides; but at last the
Messenians gave way. When Tyrtæus went afterwards to Sparta, he was
received with the greatest marks of distinction, and incorporated into the
body of citizens.

The gaining of this battle did not put an end to the war, which had
already lasted three years. Aristomenes, having assembled the remains of
his army, retired to the top of a mountain, of difficult access, which was
called Ira. The conquerors attempted to carry the place by assault, but
that brave prince defended himself there for the space of eleven years,
and performed the most extraordinary actions of valour. He was at last
obliged to quit it, only by surprise and treachery, after having defended
it like a lion. Such of the Messenians as fell into the hands of the
Lacedæmonians on this occasion were reduced to the condition of the
Helots. The rest, seeing their country ruined, went and settled at Zancle,
a city in Sicily, which afterwards took its name from this people, and was
called Messana; the same place as is called at this day Messina.
Aristomenes, after having conducted one of his daughters to Rhodes, whom
he had given in marriage to the tyrant of that place, thought of passing
on to Sardis, to remain with Ardys, king of the Lydians, or to Ecbatana,
with Phraortes, king of the Medes; but death prevented the execution of
all his designs.

(M12) The second Messenian war was of fourteen years’ duration, and ended
the first year of the twenty-seventh Olympiad.

There was a third war between these people and the Lacedæmonians, which
began both at the time and on the occasion of a great earthquake that
happened at Sparta. We shall speak of this war in its place.

The history, of which it remains for me to treat in this work, is that of
the successors of Alexander, and comprehends the space of two hundred and
ninety-three years; from the death of that monarch, and the commencement
of the reign of Ptolemy, the son of Lagus, in Egypt, to the death of
Cleopatra, when that kingdom became a Roman province, under the emperor
Augustus.

The history will present to our view a series of all the crimes which
usually arise from inordinate ambition; scenes of jealousy and perfidy,
treason, ingratitude, and flagrant abuses of sovereign power; cruelty,
impiety, an utter oblivion of the natural sentiments of probity and
honour, with the violation of all laws human and divine, will rise before
us. We shall behold nothing but fatal dissensions, destructive wars, and
dreadful revolutions. Men, originally friends, brought up together, and
natives of the same country, companions in the same dangers, and
instruments in the accomplishment of the same exploits and victories, will
conspire to tear in pieces the empire they had all concurred to form at
the expense of their blood. We shall see the captains of Alexander
sacrifice the mother, the wives, the brother, the sisters, of that prince,
to their own ambition; without sparing even those to whom they themselves
either owed or gave life. We shall no longer behold those glorious times
of Greece, that were once so productive of great men and great examples;
or, if we should happen to discover some traces and remains of them, they
will only resemble the gleams of lightning that shoot along in a rapid
track, and attract attention only in consequence of the profound darkness
that precedes and follows them.

I acknowledge myself to be sufficiently sensible how much a writer is to
be pitied, for being obliged to represent human nature in such colours and
lineaments as dishonour her, and which cannot fail of inspiring disgust
and a secret affliction in the minds of those who are made spectators of
such a picture. History loses whatever is most interesting and most
capable of conveying pleasure and instruction, when she can only produce
those effects, by inspiring the mind with horror for criminal actions, and
by a representation of the calamities which usually succeed them, and are
to be considered as their just punishment. It is difficult to engage the
attention of a reader, for any considerable time, on objects which only
raise his indignation, and it would be affronting him, to seem desirous of
dissuading him from the excess of inordinate passions, of which he
conceives himself incapable.

How is it possible to diffuse any interest through a narration, which has
nothing to offer but an uniform series of vices and great crimes; and
which makes it necessary to enter into a particular detail of the actions
and characters of men born for the calamity of the human race, and whose
very name should not be transmitted to posterity? It may even be thought
dangerous, to familiarize the minds of the generality of mankind to
uninterrupted scenes of too successful iniquity and to be particular in
describing the unjust success which waited on those illustrious criminals,
the long duration of whose prosperity being frequently attended with the
privileges and rewards of virtue, may be thought an imputation on
Providence by persons of weak understandings.

This history, which seems likely to prove very disagreeable, from the
reasons I have just mentioned, will become more so from the obscurity and
confusion in which the several transactions will be involved, and which it
will be difficult, if not impossible, to remedy. Ten or twelve of
Alexander’s captains were engaged in a course of hostilities against each
other, for the partition of his empire after his death; and to secure to
themselves some portion, greater or less, of that vast body. Sometimes
feigned friends, sometimes declared enemies, they are continually forming
different parties and leagues, which are to subsist no longer than is
consistent with the interest of each individual. Macedonia changed its
master five or six times in a very short space; by what means then can
order and perspicuity be preserved, in so prodigious a variety of events
that are perpetually crossing and breaking in upon each other?

Besides which, I am no longer supported by any ancient authors capable of
conducting me through this darkness and confusion. Diodorus will entirely
abandon me, after having been my guide for some time; and no other
historian will appear to take his place. No proper series of affairs will
remain; the several events are not to be disposed into any regular
connection with each other; nor will it be possible to point out, either
the motives to the resolutions formed, or the proper character of the
principal actors in this scene of obscurity. I think myself happy when
Polybius, or Plutarch, lend me their assistance. In my account of
Alexander’s successors, whose transactions are, perhaps, the most
complicated and perplexed part of ancient history, Usher, Prideaux, and
Vaillant, will be my usual guides; and, on many occasions, I shall only
transcribe from Prideaux; but, with all these aids, I shall not promise to
throw so much light upon this history as I could desire.

After a war of more than twenty years, the number of the principal
competitors was reduced to four; Ptolemy, Cassander, Seleucus, and
Lysimachus; the empire of Alexander was divided into four fixed kingdoms,
agreeably to the prediction of Daniel, by a solemn treaty concluded
between the parties. Three of these kingdoms, Egypt, Macedonia, Syria, or
Asia, will have a regular succession of monarchs, sufficiently clear and
distinct; but the fourth, which comprehended Thrace, with part of the
Lesser Asia, and some neighbouring provinces, will suffer a number of
variations.

As the kingdom of Egypt was that which was subject to the fewest changes,
because Ptolemy, who was established there as governor, at the death of
Alexander, retained the possession of it ever after, and left it to his
posterity: we shall, therefore, consider this prince as the basis of our
chronology, and our several epochas shall be fixed from him.

The fourth volume contains the events for the space of one hundred and
twenty years, under the first four kings of Egypt, _viz._ Ptolemy, the son
of Lagus, who reigned thirty-eight years; Ptolemy Philadelphus, who
reigned forty; Ptolemy Euergetes, who reigned twenty-five; and Ptolemy
Philopator, whose reign continued seventeen.

In order to throw some light upon the history contained therein, I shall,
in the first place, give the principal events of it, in a chronological
abridgement.

Introductory to which, I must desire the reader to accompany me in some
reflections, which have not escaped Monsieur Bossuet, with relation to
Alexander. This prince, who was the most renowned and illustrious
conqueror in all history, was the last monarch of his race. Macedonia, his
ancient kingdom, which his ancestors had governed for so many ages, was
invaded from all quarters, as a vacant succession; and after it had long
been a prey to the strongest, it was at last transferred to another
family. If Alexander had continued peaceably in Macedonia, the grandeur of
his empire would not have excited the ambition of his captains; and he
might have transmitted the sceptre of his progenitors to his own
descendants; but, as he had not prescribed any bounds to his power, he was
instrumental in the destruction of his house, and we shall behold the
extermination of his family, without the least remaining traces of them in
history. His conquests occasioned a vast effusion of blood, and furnished
his captains with a pretext for murdering one another. These were the
effects that flowed from the boasted bravery of Alexander, or rather from
that brutality, which, under the specious names of ambition and glory,
spread desolation, and carried fire and sword through whole provinces,
without the least provocation, and shed the blood of multitudes who had
never injured him.

We are not to imagine, however, that Providence abandoned these events to
chance; but, as it was then preparing all things for the approaching
appearance of the Messiah, it was vigilant to unite all the nations that
were to be first enlightened with the Gospel, by the use of one and the
same language, which was that of Greece: and the same Providence made it
necessary for them to learn this foreign tongue, by subjecting them to
such masters as spoke no other. The Deity, therefore, by the agency of
this language, which became more common and universal than any other,
facilitated the preaching of the apostles, and rendered it more uniform.

The partition of the empire of Alexander the Great, among the generals of
that prince, immediately after his death, did not subsist for any length
of time, and hardly took place, if we except Egypt, where Ptolemy had
first established himself, and on the throne of which he always maintained
himself without acknowledging any superior.

(M13) It was not till after the battle of Ipsus in Phrygia, wherein
Antigonus, and his son Demetrius, surnamed Poliorcetes, were defeated, and
the former lost his life, that this partition was fully regulated and
fixed. The empire of Alexander was then divided into four kingdoms, by a
solemn treaty, as had been foretold by Daniel. Ptolemy had Egypt, Libya,
Arabia, Cœlesyria, and Palestine. Cassander, the son of Antipater,
obtained Macedonia and Greece. Lysimachus acquired Thrace, Bithynia, and
some other provinces on the other side of the Hellespont and the
Bosphorus. And Seleucus had Syria, and all that part of the greater Asia
which extended to the other side of the Euphrates, and as far as the river
Indus.

Of these four kingdoms, those of Egypt and Syria subsisted, almost without
any interruption, in the same families, through a long succession of
princes. The kingdom of Macedonia had several masters of different
families successively. That of Thrace was at last divided into several
branches, and no longer constituted one entire body, by which means all
traces of regular succession ceased to subsist.



I. The Kingdom of Egypt.


The kingdom of Egypt had fourteen monarchs, including Cleopatra, after
whose death, those dominions became a province of the Roman empire. All
these princes had the common name of Ptolemy, but each of them was
likewise distinguished by a peculiar surname. They had also the
appellation of Lagides, from Lagus the father of that Ptolemy who reigned
the first in Egypt. The fourth and fifth volumes contain the histories of
six of these kings, and I shall give their names a place here, with the
duration of their reigns, the first of which commenced immediately upon
the death of Alexander the Great.

(M14) Ptolemy Soter. He reigned thirty-eight years and some months.

(M15) Ptolemy Philadelphus. He reigned forty years including the two years
of his reign in the lifetime of his father.

(M16) Ptolemy Euergetes, twenty-five years.

(M17) Ptolemy Philopator, seventeen.

(M18) Ptolemy Epiphanes, twenty-four.

(M19) Ptolemy Philometor, thirty-four.



II. The Kingdom of Syria.


The kingdom of Syria had twenty-seven kings; which makes it evident, that
their reigns were often very short: and indeed several of these princes
waded to the throne through the blood of their predecessors.

They are usually called the Seleucidæ, from Seleucus, who reigned the
first in Syria. History reckons up six kings of this name, and thirteen
who are called by that of Antiochus; but they are all distinguished by
different surnames. Others of them assumed different names, and the last,
Antiochus XIII., was surnamed Epiphanes, Asiaticus, and Commagenus. In his
reign Pompey reduced Syria into a Roman province, after it had been
governed by kings for the space of two hundred and fifty years, according
to Eusebius.

The kings of Syria, the transactions of whose reigns are contained in the
fourth and fifth volumes, are eight in number.

(M20) Seleucus Nicator. He reigned twenty years.

(M21) Antiochus Soter, nineteen.

(M22) Antiochus Theos, fifteen.

(M23) Seleucus Callinicus, twenty.

(M24) Seleucus Ceraunus, three.

(M25) Antiochus the Great, thirty-six.

(M26) Seleucus Philopator, twelve.

(M27) Antiochus Epiphanes, brother of Seleucus Philopator, eleven.



III. The Kingdom of Macedonia.


(M28) Macedonia frequently changed its masters, after the solemn partition
had been made between the four princes. Cassander died three or four years
after that partition, and left three sons. Philip, the eldest, died
shortly after his father. The other two contended for the crown without
enjoying it, both dying soon after without issue.

(M29) Demetrius Poliorcetes, Pyrrhus, and Lysimachus, made themselves
masters of all, or the greatest part of Macedonia; sometimes in
conjunction, and at other times separately.

(M30) After the death of Lysimachus, Seleucus possessed himself of
Macedonia, but did not long enjoy it.

(M31) Ptolemy Ceraunus having slain the preceding prince, seized the
kingdom, and possessed it but a very short time, having lost his life in a
battle with the Gauls, who had made an irruption into that country.

(M32) Sosthenes, who defeated the Gauls, reigned but a short time in
Macedonia.

(M33) Antigonus Gonatas, the son of Demetrius Poliorcetes, at length
obtained the peaceable possession of the kingdom of Macedonia, and
transmitted it to his descendants, after he had reigned thirty-four years.

(M34) He was succeeded by his son Demetrius, who reigned ten years, and
then died, leaving a son named Philip, who was but two years old.

(M35) Antigonus Doson reigned twelve years in the quality of guardian to
the young prince.

(M36) Philip, after the death of Antigonus, ascended the throne at the age
of fourteen years, and reigned something more than forty.

(M37) His son Perseus succeeded him, and reigned about eleven years. He
was defeated and taken prisoner by Paulus Emilius; and Macedonia, in
consequence of that victory, was added to the provinces of the Roman
empire.



IV. The Kingdom of Thrace, and Bithynia, &c.


This fourth kingdom, composed of several separate provinces very remote
from one another, had not any succession of princes, and did not long
subsist in its first condition; Lysimachus, who first obtained it, having
been killed in a battle after a reign of twenty years, and all his family
being exterminated by assassinations, his dominions were dismembered, and
no longer constituted one kingdom.

Beside the provinces which were divided among the captains of Alexander,
there were others which had been either formed before, or were then
erected into different states, independent of the Greeks, whose power
greatly increased in process of time.



Kings of Bithynia


(M38) Whilst Alexander was extending his conquests in the east, Zypethes
had laid the foundations of the kingdom of Bithynia. It is not certain who
this Zypethes was, unless that Pausanias,(246) from his name, conjectures
that he was a Thracian. His successors, however, are better known.

(M39) Nicomedes I. This prince invited the Gauls to assist him against his
brother, with whom he was engaged in a war.

Prusias I.

(M40) Prusias II., surnamed the Hunter, in whose court Hannibal took
refuge, and assisted him with his counsels, in his war against Eumenes II.
king of Pergamus.

Nicomedes II. was killed by his son Socrates.

Nicomedes III. was assisted by the Romans in his wars with Mithridates,
and bequeathed to them at his death the kingdom of Bithynia, as a
testimonial of his gratitude to them; by which means these territories
became a Roman province.



Kings of Pergamus


This kingdom at first comprehended only one of the smallest provinces of
Mysia, on the coast of the Ægean sea, over-against the island of Lesbos.

(M41) It was founded by Philetærus, an eunuch, who had served under
Docimus, a commander of the troops of Antigonus. Lysimachus confided to
him the treasures he had deposited in the castle of the city of Pergamus,
and he became master both of these and the city after the death of that
prince. He governed this little sovereignty for the space of twenty years,
and then left it to Eumenes his nephew.

(M42) Eumenes I. enlarged his principality, by the addition of several
cities, which he took from the kings of Syria, having defeated Antiochus,
the son of Seleucus, in a battle. He reigned twenty-two years.

(M43) He was succeeded by Attalus I., his cousin-german, who assumed the
title of king, after he had conquered the Galatians; and transmitted it to
his posterity, who enjoyed it to the third generation. He assisted the
Romans in their war with Philip, and died after a reign of forty-three
years. He left four sons.

(M44) His successor was Eumenes II., his eldest son, who founded the
famous library of Pergamus. He reigned thirty-nine years, and left the
crown to his brother Attalus, in the quality of guardian to one of his
sons, whom he had by Stratonice, the sister of Ariarathes, king of
Cappadocia. The Romans enlarged his dominions considerably, after the
victory they obtained over Antiochus the Great.

(M45) Attalus II. espoused Stratonice his brother’s widow, and took
extraordinary care of his nephew, to whom he left the crown, after he had
worn it twenty-one years.

(M46) Attalus III., surnamed Philometor, distinguished himself by his
barbarous and extravagant conduct. He died after he had reigned five
years, and bequeathed his riches and dominions to the Romans.

(M47) Aristonicus, who claimed the succession, endeavoured to defend his
pretensions against the Romans; but the kingdom of Pergamus was reduced
after a war of four years, into a Roman province.



Kings of Pontus.


(M48) The kingdom of Pontus in Asia Minor was anciently dismembered from
the monarchy of Persia, by Darius the son of Hystaspes, in favour of
Artabazus, who is said, by some historians, to have been the son of one of
those Persian lords who conspired against the Magi.

Pontus is a region of Asia Minor, situated partly along the coast of the
Euxine sea (_Pontus Euxinus_), from which it derives its name. It extends
from the river Halys, as far as Colchis. Several princes reigned in that
country since Artabazus.

(M49) The sixth monarch was Mithridates I., who is properly considered as
the founder of the kingdom of Pontus, and his name was assumed by the
generality of his successors.

(M50) He was succeeded by his son Ariobarzanes, who had governed Phrygia
under Artaxerxes Mnemon: he reigned twenty-six years.

(M51) His successor was Mithridates II. Antigonus suspecting, in
consequence of a dream, that he favoured Cassander, had determined to
destroy him, but he eluded the danger by flight. This prince was called
Κτισὴς, or _the Founder_, and reigned thirty-five years.

(M52) Mithridates III., who succeeded him, added Cappadocia and
Paphlagonia to his dominions, and reigned thirty-six years.

After the reigns of two other kings, Mithridates IV., the great
grandfather of Mithridates the Great, ascended the throne, and espoused a
daughter of Seleucus Callinicus, king of Syria, by whom he had Laodice,
who was married to Antiochus the Great.

(M53) He was succeeded by his son Pharnaces, who had some disagreement
with the kings of Pergamus. He made himself master of Sinope, which
afterwards became the capital of the kingdom of Pontus.

After him reigned Mithridates V., surnamed Euergetes, the first who was
called the friend of the Romans, because he had assisted them against the
Carthaginians in the third Punic war.

(M54) He was succeeded by his son Mithridates VI., surnamed Eupator. This
is the great Mithridates who sustained so long a war with the Romans: he
reigned sixty-six years.



Kings of Cappadocia.


Strabo informs us,(247) that Cappadocia was divided into two satrapies, or
governments, under the Persians, as it also was under the Macedonians. The
maritime part of Cappadocia formed the kingdom of Pontus: the other tracts
constituted Cappadocia properly so called, or Cappadocia Major, which
extended along mount Taurus, and to a great distance beyond it.

(M55) When Alexander’s captains divided the provinces of his empire among
themselves, Cappadocia was governed by a prince named Ariarathes.
Perdiccas attacked and defeated him, after which he caused him to be
slain.

His son Ariarathes re-entered the kingdom of his father some time after
this event, and established himself so effectually, that he left it to his
posterity.

The generality of his successors assumed the same name, and will have
their place in the series of the history.

Cappadocia, after the death of Archelaus, the last of its kings, became a
province of the Roman empire, as the rest of Asia also did much about the
same time.



Kings of Armenia.


Armenia, a vast country of Asia, extending on each side of the Euphrates,
was conquered by the Persians; after which it was transferred, with the
rest of the empire, to the Macedonians, and at last fell to the share of
the Romans. It was governed for a great length of time by its own kings,
the most considerable of whom was Tigranes, who espoused the daughter of
the great Mithridates king of Pontus, and was also engaged in a long war
with the Romans. This kingdom supported itself many years, between the
Roman and Parthian empires, sometimes depending on the one, and sometimes
on the other, till at last the Romans became its masters.



Kings of Epirus.


Epirus is a province of Greece, separated from Thessaly and Macedonia by
mount Pindus. The most powerful people of this country were the
Molossians.

The kings of Epirus pretended to derive their descent from Pyrrhus the son
of Achilles, who established himself in that country, and called
themselves Æacides, from Æacus the grandfather of Achilles.

The genealogy of the latter kings, who were the only sovereigns of this
country of whom any accounts remain, is variously related by authors, and
consequently must be doubtful and obscure.(248)

Arymbas ascended the throne, after a long succession of kings; and as he
was then very young, the states of Epirus, who were sensible that the
welfare of the people depends on the proper education of their princes,
sent him to Athens, which was the residence and centre of all the arts and
sciences, in order to cultivate, in that excellent school, such knowledge
as was necessary to form the mind of a king. He there learned the art of
reigning, and as he surpassed all his ancestors in ability and knowledge,
he was in consequence infinitely more esteemed and beloved by his people
than they had been.(249) When he returned from Athens, he made laws,
established a senate and magistracy, and regulated the form of the
government.

Neoptolemus, whose daughter Olympias had espoused Philip king of Macedon,
attained an equal share in the regal government with Arymbas his elder
brother, by the influence of his son-in-law. After the death of Arymbas,
Æacides his son ought to have been his successor; but Philip had still
sufficient influence to procure his expulsion from the kingdom by the
Molossians, who established Alexander the son of Neoptolemus sole monarch
of Epirus.

Alexander espoused Cleopatra the daughter of Philip, and marched with an
army into Italy, where he lost his life in the country of the Brutians.

Æacides then ascended the throne, and reigned without any associate in
Epirus. He espoused Phthia, the daughter of Menon the Thessalian, by whom
he had two daughters, Deidamia and Troias, and one son, the celebrated
Pyrrhus.

As he was marching to the assistance of Olympias, his troops mutinied
against him, condemned him to exile, and slaughtered most of his friends.
Pyrrhus, who was then an infant, happily escaped this massacre.

Neoptolemus, a prince of the blood, but whose particular extraction is
little known, was placed on the throne by the people of Epirus.

Pyrrhus, being recalled by his subjects at the age of twelve years, first
shared the sovereignty with Neoptolemus; but having afterwards divested
him of his dignity, he reigned alone.

(M56) This history will treat of the various adventures of this prince. He
died in the city of Argos, in an attack to make himself master of it.

Helenus his son reigned after him for some time in Epirus, which was
afterwards united to the Roman empire.



Tyrants of Heraclea.


Heraclea is a city of Pontus, anciently founded by the Bœotians, who sent
a colony into that country by the order of an oracle.

When the Athenians, having conquered the Persians, had imposed a tribute
on the cities of Greece and Asia Minor, for the fitting out and support of
a fleet intended for the defence of the common liberty, the inhabitants of
Heraclea, in consequence of their attachment to the Persians, were the
only people who refused to acquiesce in so just a contribution.(250)
Lamachus was therefore sent against them, and he ravaged their
territories; but a violent tempest having destroyed his whole fleet, he
beheld himself abandoned to the mercy of that people, whose innate
ferocity might naturally have been increased by the severe treatment they
had lately received. But they had recourse to no other vengeance than
kindness;(251) they furnished him with provisions and troops for his
return, and were willing to consider the depredations which had been
committed in their country as advantageous to them, if at that price they
could convert the enmity of the Athenians into friendship.

(M57) Some time after this event, the populace of Heraclea excited a
violent commotion against the rich citizens and senators, who having
implored assistance to no effect, first from Timotheus the Athenian, and
afterwards from Epaminondas the Theban, were necessitated to recall
Clearchus, a senator, to their defence, whom themselves had banished; but
his exile had neither improved his morals nor rendered him a better
citizen than he was before. He therefore made the troubles, in which he
found the city involved, subservient to his design of subjecting it to his
own power. With this view he openly declared for the people, caused
himself to be invested with the highest office in the magistracy, and
assumed a sovereign authority in a short time. Being thus become a
professed tyrant, there were no kinds of violence to which he had not
recourse against the rich, and the senators, to satiate his avarice and
cruelty. He proposed for his model Dionysius the Tyrant, who had
established his power over the Syracusans at the same time.

After a hard and inhuman servitude of twelve years, two young citizens,
who were Plato’s disciples, and had been instructed in his maxims, formed
a conspiracy against Clearchus, and slew him; but, though they delivered
their country from the tyrant, the tyranny still subsisted.

(M58) Timotheus, the son of Clearchus, assumed his place, and pursued his
conduct for the space of fifteen years.(252)

(M59) He was succeeded by his brother Dionysius, who was in danger of
being dispossessed of his authority by Perdiccas; but as this last was
soon destroyed, Dionysius contracted a friendship with Antigonus, whom he
assisted against Ptolemy in the Cyprian war.(253)

He espoused Amastris, the widow of Craterus, and daughter of Oxiathres,
the brother of Darius. This alliance inspired him with so much courage,
that he assumed the title of king, and enlarged his dominions by the
addition of several places, which he seized, on the confines of Heraclea.

(M60) He died two or three years before the battle of Ipsus, after a reign
of thirty-three years, leaving two sons and a daughter under the tutelage
and regency of Amastris.

This princess was rendered happy in her administration, by the affection
Antigonus entertained for her. She founded a city, and called it by her
own name; into which she transplanted the inhabitants of three other
cities, and espoused Lysimachus, after the death of Antigonus.(254)



Kings of Syracuse.


(M61) Hiero, and his son Hieronymus, reigned at Syracuse; the first
fifty-four years, the second but one year.

(M62) Syracuse recovered its liberty by the death of the last, but
continued in the interest of the Carthaginians, which Hieronymus had
caused it to espouse. (M63) His conduct obliged Marcellus to form the
siege of that city, which he took the following year. I shall enlarge upon
the history of these two kings in another place.



Other Kings.


Several kings likewise reigned in the Cimmerian Bosphorus, as also in
Thrace, Cyrene in Africa, Paphlagonia, Colchis, Iberia, Albania, and a
variety of other places; but their history is very uncertain, and their
successions have but little regularity.

These circumstances are very different with respect to the kingdom of the
Parthians, who formed themselves, as we shall see in the sequel, into such
a powerful monarchy, as became formidable even to the Roman empire. That
of the Bactrians received its original about the same period: I shall
treat of each in their proper places.



Catalogue of the Editions of the principal Greek Authors cited in this
Work.


HERODOTUS. Francof. An. 1608.

THUCYDIDES. Apud Henricum Stephanum, An. 1588.

XENOPHON. Lutetiæ Parisiorum, apud Societatem Græcarum Editionum, An.
1625.

POLYBIUS. Parisiis, An. 1609.

DIODORUS SICULUS. Hanoviæ, Typis Wechelianis, An 1604.

PLUTARCHUS. Lutetiæ Parisiorum, apud Societatem Græcanum Editionum, An.
1624.

STRABO. Lutetiæ Parisiorum, Typis regiis, An. 1620.

ATHENÆUS. Lugdani, An. 1612.

PAUSANIAS. Hanoviæ, Typis Wechelianis, An. 1613.

APPIANUS ALEXANDER. Apud Henric. Stephan. An. 1592.

PLATO. Ex novâ Joannis Serrani interpretatione. Apud Henricum Stephanum,
An. 1578.

ARISTOTELES. Lutetiæ Parisiorum, apud Societatem Græcarum Editionum, An.
1619.

ISOCRATES. Apud Paulum Stephanum, An. 1604.

DIOGENES LAERTIUS. Apud Henricum Stepnanum, An. 1594.

DEMOSTHENES. Francof. An. 1604.

ARRIANUS. Lugd. Batav. An. 1704.



BOOK THE FIRST. THE ANCIENT HISTORY OF THE EGYPTIANS.



Part The First. Description of Egypt: with an Account of whatever is most
curious and remarkable in that Country.


Egypt comprehended anciently, within limits of no very great extent, a
prodigious number of cities,(255) and an incredible multitude of
inhabitants.

It is bounded on the east by the Red-Sea and the Isthmus of Suez; on the
south by Ethiopia, on the west by Libya, and on the north by the
Mediterranean. The Nile runs from south to north, through the whole
country, about two hundred leagues in length. This country is enclosed on
each side with a ridge of mountains, which very often leave, between the
foot of the hills and the river Nile, a tract of ground, of not above half
a day’s journey in length,(256) and sometimes less.

On the west side, the plain grows wider in some places, and extends to
twenty-five or thirty leagues. The greatest breadth of Egypt is from
Alexandria to Damietta, being about fifty leagues.

Ancient Egypt may be divided into three principal parts: Upper Egypt,
otherwise called Thebais, which was the most southern part; Middle Egypt,
or Heptanomis, so called from the seven Nomi or districts it contained;
Lower Egypt, which included what the Greeks call Delta, and all the
country as far as the Red-Sea, and along the Mediterranean to Rhinocolura,
or Mount Casius. Under Sesostris, all Egypt became one kingdom, and was
divided into thirty-six governments, or Nomi; ten in Thebais, ten in
Delta, and sixteen in the country between both.(257)

The cities of Syene and Elephantina divided Egypt from Ethiopia; and in
the days of Augustus were the boundaries of the Roman empire: _Claustra
olim Romani Imperii_, Tacit. _Annal._ Lib. ii. cap. 61.



Chapter I. Thebais.


Thebes, from whence Thebais had its name, might vie with the noblest
cities in the universe. Its hundred gates, celebrated by Homer,(258) are
universally known; and acquired it the surname of Hecatompylos, to
distinguish it from the other Thebes in Bœotia. Its population was
proportionate to its extent; and, according to History, it could send out
at once two hundred chariots, and ten thousand fighting men at each of its
gates.(259) The Greeks and Romans have celebrated its magnificence and
grandeur, though they saw it only in its ruins; so august were the remains
of this city.(260)

In the Thebaid, now called Said, have been discovered temples and palaces
which are still almost entire, adorned with innumerable columns and
statues.(261) One palace especially is admired, the remains whereof seem
to have existed purely to eclipse the glory of the most pompous edifices.
Four walks extending farther than the eye can see, and bounded on each
side with sphinxes, composed of materials as rare and extraordinary as
their size is remarkable, serve as avenues to four porticos, whose height
is amazing to behold. And even they who have given us the description of
this wonderful edifice, had not time to go round it; and are not sure that
they saw above half: however, what they had a sight of was astonishing. A
hall, which, in all appearance, stood in the middle of this stately
palace, was supported by a hundred-and-twenty pillars, six fathoms round,
of a proportionable height, and intermixed with obelisks, which so many
ages have not been able to demolish. Painting had displayed all her art
and magnificence in this edifice. The colours themselves, which soonest
feel the injury of time, still remain amidst the ruins of this wonderful
structure, and preserve their beauty and lustre; so happily could the
Egyptians imprint a character of immortality on all their works. Strabo,
who was on the spot, describes a temple he saw in Egypt, very much
resembling that of which I have been speaking.(262)

The same author, describing the curiosities of Thebais,(263) speaks of a
very famous statue of Memnon, the remains whereof he had seen. It is said
that this statue, when the beams of the rising sun first shone upon it in
the morning, uttered an articulate sound.(264) And, indeed, Strabo himself
was an ear-witness of this; but then he doubts whether the sound came from
the statue.



Chapter II. Middle Egypt, or Heptanomis.


Memphis was the capital of this part of Egypt. In this city were to be
seen many stately temples, among them that of the god Apis, who was
honoured here after a peculiar manner. I shall speak of it hereafter, as
well as of the pyramids which stood in the neighbourhood of this place,
and rendered it so famous. Memphis was situated on the west side of the
Nile.

Grand Cairo, which seems to have succeeded Memphis, is built on the other
side of that river.(265) The castle of Cairo is one of the greatest
curiosities in Egypt. It stands on a hill without the city, has a rock for
its foundation, and is surrounded with walls of a vast height and
solidity. You go up to the castle by a way hewn out of the rock, and which
is so easy of ascent, that loaded horses and camels get up without
difficulty. The greatest rarity in this castle is Joseph’s well, so
called, either because the Egyptians are pleased with ascribing what is
most remarkable among them to that great man, or because such a tradition
has been preserved in the country. This is a proof, at least, that the
work in question is very ancient; and it is certainly worthy the
magnificence of the most powerful kings of Egypt. This well has, as it
were, two stories, cut out of the solid rock to a prodigious depth. The
descent to the reservoir of water, between the two wells, is by a
staircase seven or eight feet broad, consisting of two hundred and twenty
steps, and so contrived, that the oxen employed to throw up the water, go
down with all imaginable ease, the descent being scarcely perceptible. The
well is supplied from a spring, which is almost the only one in the whole
country. The oxen are continually turning a wheel with a rope, to which a
number of buckets are fastened. The water thus drawn from the first and
lower-most well, is conveyed by a little canal into a reservoir, which
forms the second well; from whence it is drawn to the top in the same
manner, and then conveyed by pipes to all parts of the castle. As this
well is supposed by the inhabitants of the country to be of great
antiquity, and has, indeed, much of the antique manner of the Egyptians, I
thought it might deserve a place among the curiosities of ancient Egypt.

Strabo speaks of a similar engine, which, by wheels and pulleys, threw up
the water of the Nile to the top of a very high hill; with this
difference, that, instead of oxen, a hundred and fifty slaves were
employed to turn these wheels.(266)

The part of Egypt of which we now speak, is famous for several rarities,
each of which deserves a particular examination. I shall mention only the
principal, such as the obelisks, the pyramids, the labyrinth, the lake of
Mœris, and the Nile.

SECT. I. THE OBELISKS.—Egypt seemed to place its chief glory in raising
monuments for posterity. Its obelisks form at this day, on account of
their beauty as well as height, the principal ornament of Rome; and the
Roman power, despairing to equal the Egyptians, thought it honour enough
to borrow the monuments of their kings.

An obelisk is a quadrangular, taper, high spire or pyramid, raised
perpendicularly, and terminating in a point, to serve as an ornament to
some open square; and is very often covered with inscriptions or
hieroglyphics, that is, with mystical characters or symbols used by the
Egyptians to conceal and disguise their sacred things, and the mysteries
of their theology.

Sesostris erected in the city of Heliopolis two obelisks of extreme hard
stone, brought from the quarries of Syene, at the extremity of Egypt.(267)
They were each one hundred-and-twenty cubits high, that is, thirty
fathoms, or one hundred and eighty feet.(268) The emperor Augustus, having
made Egypt a province of the empire, caused these two obelisks to be
transported to Rome, one whereof was afterwards broken to pieces. He dared
not venture to make the same attempt upon a third, which was of a
monstrous size.(269) It was made in the reign of Rameses: it is said that
twenty thousand men were employed in the cutting of it. Constantius, more
daring than Augustus, caused it to be removed to Rome. Two of these
obelisks are still to be seen there, as well as another a hundred cubits,
or twenty-five fathoms high, and eight cubits, or two fathoms, in
diameter. Caius Cæsar had it brought from Egypt in a ship of so odd a
form, that, according to Pliny, the like had never been seen.(270)

Every part of Egypt abounded with this kind of obelisks; they were for the
most part cut in the quarries of Upper Egypt, where some are now to be
seen half finished. But the most wonderful circumstance is, that the
ancient Egyptians should have had the art and contrivance to dig even in
the very quarry a canal, through which the water of the Nile ran in the
time of its inundation; from whence they afterwards raised up the columns,
obelisks, and statues on rafts,(271) proportioned to their weight, in
order to convey them into Lower Egypt. And as the country was intersected
every where with canals, there were few places to which those huge bodies
might not be carried with ease; although their weight would have broken
every other kind of engine.

SECT. II. THE PYRAMIDS.—A PYRAMID is a solid or hollow body, having a
large, and generally a square base, and terminating in a point.(272)

There were three pyramids in Egypt more famous than the rest, one whereof
was justly ranked among the seven wonders of the world; they stood not
very far from the city of Memphis. I shall take notice here only of the
largest of the three. This pyramid, like the rest, was built on a rock,
having a square base, cut on the outside as so many steps, and decreasing
gradually quite to the summit. It was built with stones of a prodigious
size, the least of which were thirty feet, wrought with wonderful art, and
covered with hieroglyphics. According to several ancient authors, each
side was eight hundred feet broad, and as many high. The summit of the
pyramid, which to those who viewed it from below seemed a point, was a
fine platform, composed of ten or twelve massy stones, and each side of
that platform sixteen or eighteen feet long.

M. de Chazelles, of the Academy of Sciences, who went purposely to the
spot in 1693, gives us the following dimensions:

The side of the square base 110 fathoms; the fronts are equilateral
triangles, and therefore the superficies of the base is 12100 square
fathoms; the perpendicular height, 77-3/4 fathoms; the solid contents,
313590 cubical fathoms. A hundred thousand men were constantly employed
about this work, and were relieved every three months by the same number.
Ten complete years were spent in hewing out the stones, either in Arabia
or Ethiopia, and in conveying them to Egypt; and twenty years more in
building this immense edifice, the inside of which contained numberless
rooms and apartments. There were expressed on the pyramid, in Egyptian
characters, the sums it cost only for garlic, leeks, onions, and other
vegetables of this description, for the workmen; and the whole amounted to
sixteen hundred talents of silver,(273) that is, four millions five
hundred thousand French livres; from whence it was easy to conjecture what
a vast sum the whole expense must have amounted to.

Such were the famous Egyptian pyramids, which by their figure, as well as
size, have triumphed over the injuries of time and the Barbarians. But
what efforts soever men may make, their nothingness will always appear.
These pyramids were tombs; and there is still to be seen, in the middle of
the largest, an empty sepulchre, cut out of one entire stone, about three
feet deep and broad, and a little above six feet long.(274) Thus all this
bustle, all this expense, and all the labours of so many thousand men for
so many years, ended in procuring for a prince, in this vast and almost
boundless pile of building, a little vault six feet in length. Besides,
the kings who built these pyramids, had it not in their power to be buried
in them; and so did not enjoy the sepulchre they had built. The public
hatred which they incurred, by reason of their unheard-of cruelties to
their subjects, in laying such heavy tasks upon them, occasioned their
being interred in some obscure place, to prevent their bodies from being
exposed to the fury and vengeance of the populace.

This last circumstance, which historians have taken particular notice of,
teaches us what judgment we ought to pass on these edifices, so much
boasted of by the ancients.(275) It is but just to remark and esteem the
noble genius which the Egyptians had for architecture; a genius that
prompted them from the earliest times, and before they could have any
models to imitate, to aim in all things at the grand and magnificent; and
to be intent on real beauties, without deviating in the least from a noble
simplicity, in which the highest perfection of the art consists. But what
idea ought we to form of those princes, who considered as something grand,
the raising by a multitude of hands, and by the help of money, immense
structures, with the sole view of rendering their names immortal; and who
did not scruple to destroy thousands of their subjects to satisfy their
vain glory! They differed very much from the Romans, who sought to
immortalize themselves by works of a magnificent kind, but, at the same
time, of public utility.

Pliny gives us, in few words,(276) a just idea of these pyramids, when he
calls them a foolish and useless ostentation of the wealth of the Egyptian
kings; _Regum pecuniæ otiosa ac stulta ostentatio._ And adds, that by a
just punishment their memory is buried in oblivion; the historians not
agreeing among themselves about the names of those who first raised those
vain monuments: _Inter eos non constat à quibus factæ sint, justissimo
casu obliteratis tantæ vanitatis auctoribus._ In a word, according to the
judicious remark of Diodorus, the industry of the architects of those
pyramids is no less valuable and praiseworthy, than the design of the
Egyptian kings is contemptible and ridiculous.

But what we should most admire in these ancient monuments, is, the true
and standing evidence they give of the skill of the Egyptians in
astronomy; that is, in a science which seems incapable of being brought to
perfection, but by a long series of years, and a great number of
observations. M. de Chazelles, when he measured the great pyramid in
question, found that the four sides of it were turned exactly to the four
quarters of the world; and, consequently, showed the true meridian of that
place. Now, as so exact a situation was, in all probability, purposely
pitched upon by those who piled up this huge mass of stones, above three
thousand years ago, it follows, that during so long a space of time, there
has been no alteration in the heavens in that respect, or (which amounts
to the same thing) in the poles of the earth or the meridians. This is M.
de Fontenelle’s remark in his eulogium of M. de Chazelles.

SECT. III. THE LABYRINTH.—What has been said concerning the judgment we
ought to form of the pyramids, may also be applied to the labyrinth, which
Herodotus, who saw it, assures us, was still more surprising than the
pyramids.(277) It was built at the southern extremity of the lake of
Mœris, whereof mention will be made presently, near the town of
Crocodiles, the same with Arsinoë. It was not so much one single palace,
as a magnificent pile composed of twelve palaces, regularly disposed,
which had a communication with each other. Fifteen hundred rooms,
interspersed with terraces, were ranged round twelve halls, and discovered
no outlet to such as went to see them. There was the like number of
buildings under ground. These subterraneous structures were designed for
the burying-place of the kings, and also (who can speak this without
confusion, and without deploring the blindness of man!) for keeping the
sacred crocodiles, which a nation, so wise in other respects, worshipped
as gods.

In order to visit the rooms and halls of the labyrinth, it was necessary,
as the reader will naturally suppose, for people to take the same
precaution as Ariadne made Theseus use, when he was obliged to go and
fight the Minotaur in the labyrinth of Crete. Virgil describes it in this
manner:—


    Ut quondam Cretâ fertur labyrinthus in altâ
    Parietibus textum cæcis iter ancipitémque
    Mille viis habuisse dolum, quà signa sequendi
    Falleret indeprensus et irremeabilis error.(278)
    Híc labor ille domûs, et inextricabilis error.
    Dædalus, ipse dolos tecti ambagésque resolvit,
    Cæca regens filo vestigia.(279)

    And as the Cretan labyrinth of old,
    With wand’ring ways, and many a winding fold,
    Involv’d the weary feet without redress,
    In a round error, which deny’d recess:
    Not far from thence he grav’d the wond’rous maze;
    A thousand doors, a thousand winding ways


SECT. IV. THE LAKE OF MŒRIS.—The noblest and most wonderful of all the
structures or works of the kings of Egypt, was the lake of Mœris:
accordingly, Herodotus considers it as vastly superior to the pyramids and
labyrinth.(280) As Egypt was more or less fruitful in proportion to the
inundations of the Nile; and as in these floods, the too great or too
little rise of the waters was equally fatal to the lands, king Mœris, to
prevent these two inconveniences, and to correct, as far as lay in his
power, the irregularities of the Nile, thought proper to call art to the
assistance of nature; and so caused the lake to be dug, which afterwards
went by his name. This lake was in circumference about three thousand six
hundred stadia, that is, about one hundred and eighty French leagues, and
three hundred feet deep.(281) Two pyramids, on each of which was placed a
colossal statue, seated on a throne, raised their heads to the height of
three hundred feet, in the midst of the lake, whilst their foundations
took up the same space under the water; a proof that they were erected
before the cavity was filled, and a demonstration that a lake of such vast
extent was the work of man’s hands, in one prince’s reign. This is what
several historians have related concerning the lake Mœris, on the
testimony of the inhabitants of the country. And M. Bossuet, the bishop of
Meaux, in his discourse on universal history, relates the whole as fact.
For my part, I will confess that I do not see the least probability in it.
Is it possible to conceive, that a lake of a hundred and eighty leagues in
circumference, could have been dug in the reign of one prince? In what
manner, and where, could the earth taken from it be conveyed? What should
prompt the Egyptians to lose the surface of so much land? By what arts
could they fill this vast tract with the superfluous waters of the Nile?
Many other objections might be made. In my opinion, therefore, we ought to
follow Pomponius Mela, an ancient geographer; especially as his account is
confirmed by several modern travellers. According to that author, this
lake is but twenty thousand paces; that is, seven or eight French leagues
in circumference. _Mœris, aliquando campus, nunc lacus, viginti millia
passuum in circuitu patens._(282)

This lake had a communication with the Nile, by a great canal, more than
four leagues long,(283) and fifty feet broad. Great sluices either opened
or shut the canal and lake, as there was occasion.

The charge of opening or shutting them amounted to fifty talents, that is,
fifty thousand French crowns.(284) The fishing of this lake brought the
monarch immense sums; but its chief utility related to the overflowing of
the Nile. When it rose too high, and was like to be attended with fatal
consequences, the sluices were opened; and the waters, having a free
passage into the lake, covered the lands no longer than was necessary to
enrich them. On the contrary, when the inundation was too low, and
threatened a famine, a sufficient quantity of water, by the help of
drains, was let out of the lake, to water the lands. In this manner the
irregularities of the Nile were corrected; and Strabo remarks, that, in
his time, under Petronius, a governor of Egypt, when the inundation of the
Nile was twelve cubits, a very great plenty ensued; and even when it rose
but to eight cubits, the dearth was scarce felt in the country; doubtless
because the waters of the lake made up for those of the inundation, by the
help of canals and drains.

SECT. V. THE INUNDATIONS OF THE NILE.—The Nile is the greatest wonder of
Egypt. As it seldom rains there, this river, which waters the whole
country by its regular inundations, supplies that defect, by bringing, as
a yearly tribute, the rains of other countries; which made a poet say
ingeniously, “the Egyptian pastures, how great soever the drought may be,
never implore Jupiter for rain:”


    Te propter nullos tellus tua postulat imbres,
      Arida nec pluvio supplicat herba Jovi.(285)


To multiply so beneficent a river, Egypt was cut into numberless canals,
of a length and breadth proportioned to the different situations and wants
of the lands. The Nile brought fertility every where with its salutary
streams; united cities one with another, and the Mediterranean with the
Red-Sea; maintained trade at home and abroad, and fortified the kingdom
against the enemy; so that it was at once the nourisher and protector of
Egypt.

The fields were delivered up to it; but the cities that were raised with
immense labour, and stood like islands in the midst of the waters, looked
down with joy on the plains which were overflowed, and at the same time
enriched, by the Nile.

This is a general idea of the nature and effects of this river, so famous
among the ancients. But a wonder so astonishing in itself, and which has
been the object of the curiosity and admiration of the learned in all
ages, seems to require a more particular description, in which I shall be
as concise as possible.

1. _The Sources of the Nile._—The ancients placed the sources of the Nile
in the mountains of the moon (as they are commonly called), in the 10th
degree of south latitude. But our modern travellers have discovered that
they lie in the 12th degree of north latitude; and by that means they cut
off about four or five hundred leagues of the course which the ancients
gave that river. It rises at the foot of a great mountain in the kingdom
of Gojam in Abyssinia, from two springs, or eyes, to speak in the language
of the country, the same word in Arabic signifying eye and fountain. These
springs are thirty paces from one another, each as large as one of our
wells or a coach-wheel. The Nile is increased with many rivulets which run
into it; and after passing through Ethiopia in a very winding course,
flows at last into Egypt.

2. _The Cataracts of the Nile._—This name is given to some parts of the
Nile, where the water falls down from the steep rocks.(286) This river,
which at first glided smoothly along the vast deserts of Ethiopia, before
it enters Egypt, passes by the cataracts. Then growing on a sudden,
contrary to its nature, raging and violent in those places where it is
pent up and restrained; after having, at last, broken through all
obstacles in its way, it precipitates itself from the top of some rocks to
the bottom, with so loud a noise, that it is heard three leagues off.

The inhabitants of the country, accustomed by long practice to this sport,
exhibit here a spectacle to travellers that is more terrifying than
diverting. Two of them go into a little boat; the one to guide it, the
other to throw out the water. After having long sustained the violence of
the raging waves, by managing their little boat very dexterously, they
suffer themselves to be carried away with the impetuous torrent as swift
as an arrow. The affrighted spectator imagines they are going to be
swallowed up in the precipice down which they fall; when the Nile,
restored to its natural course, discovers them again, at a considerable
distance, on its smooth and calm waters. This is Seneca’s account, which
is confirmed by our modern travellers.

3. _Causes of the Inundations of the Nile._—The ancients have invented
many subtle reasons for the Nile’s great increase, as may be seen in
Herodotus, Diodorus Siculus, and Seneca.(287) But it is now no longer a
matter of dispute, it being almost universally allowed, that the
inundations of the Nile are owing to the great rains which fall in
Ethiopia, from whence this river flows. These rains swell it to such a
degree, that Ethiopia first, and then Egypt, are overflowed; and that
which at first was but a large river, rises like a sea, and overspreads
the whole country.

Strabo observes,(288) that the ancients only guessed that the inundations
of the Nile were owing to the rains which fall in great abundance in
Ethiopia; but adds, that several travellers have since been eye-witnesses
of it; Ptolemy Philadelphus, who was very curious in all things relating
to arts and sciences, having sent thither able persons, purposely to
examine this matter, and to ascertain the cause of so uncommon and
remarkable an effect.

4. _The Time and Continuance of the Inundations._—Herodotus, and after him
Diodorus Siculus, and several other authors, declare, that the Nile begins
to swell in Egypt at the summer solstice, that is, about the end of June,
and continues to rise till the end of September; and then decreases
gradually during the months of October and November; after which it
returns to its channel, and resumes its wonted course.(289) This account
agrees very nearly with the relations of all the moderns, and is founded
in reality on the natural cause of the inundation, _viz._ the rains which
fall in Ethiopia. Now, according to the constant testimony of those who
have been on the spot, these rains begin to fall in the month of April,
and continue, during five months, till the end of August and beginning of
September. The Nile’s increase in Egypt must, consequently, begin three
weeks or a month after the rains have begun to fall in Abyssinia; and
accordingly travellers observe, that the Nile begins to rise in the month
of May, but so slowly at the first, that it probably does not yet overflow
its banks. The inundation happens not till about the end of June, and
lasts the three following months, according to Herodotus.

I must point out to such as consult the originals, a contradiction in this
place between Herodotus and Diodorus on one side; and between Strabo,
Pliny, and Solinus, on the other. These last shorten very much the
continuance of the inundation; and suppose the Nile to draw off from the
lands in three months or a hundred days. And what adds to the difficulty,
is, that Pliny seems to ground his opinion on the testimony of Herodotus:
_In totum autem revocatur Nilus intra ripas in Librá, ut tradit Herodotus,
centesimo die._ I leave to the learned the reconciling of this
contradiction.

5. _The Height of the Inundations._—The just height of the inundation,
according to Pliny, is sixteen cubits.(290) When it rises but to twelve or
thirteen, a famine is threatened; and when it exceeds sixteen, there is
danger. It must be remembered, that a cubit is a foot and a half. The
emperor Julian takes notice, in a letter to Ecdicius, prefect of
Egypt,(291) that the height of the Nile’s overflowing was fifteen cubits,
the 20th of September, in 362. The ancients do not agree entirely with one
another, nor with the moderns, with regard to the height of the
inundation; but the difference is not very considerable, and may proceed,
1. from the disparity between the ancient and modern measures, which it is
hard to estimate on a fixed and certain foot; 2. from the carelessness of
the observers and historians; 3. from the real difference of the Nile’s
increase, which was not so great the nearer it approached the sea.

As the riches of Egypt depended on the inundation of the Nile, all the
circumstances and different degrees of its increase had been carefully
considered; and by a long series of regular observations, made during many
years, the inundation itself discovered what kind of harvest the ensuing
year was likely to produce.(292) The kings had placed at Memphis a measure
on which these different increases were marked; and from thence notice was
given to all the rest of Egypt, the inhabitants of which knew, by that
means, beforehand, what they might fear or promise themselves from the
harvest. Strabo speaks of a well on the banks of the Nile near the town of
Syene, made for that purpose.(293)

The same custom is observed to this day at Grand Cairo. In the court of a
mosque there stands a pillar, on which are marked the degrees of the
Nile’s increase; and common criers every day proclaim, in all parts of the
city, how high it is risen. The tribute paid to the Grand Signior for the
lands, is regulated by the inundation. The day on which it rises to a
certain height, is kept as a grand festival, and solemnized with
fire-works, feastings, and all the demonstrations of public rejoicing; and
in the remotest ages, the overflowing of the Nile was always attended with
an universal joy throughout all Egypt, that being the fountain of its
happiness.

The heathens ascribed the inundation of the Nile to their god Serapis; and
the pillar on which was marked the increase, was preserved religiously in
the temple of that idol.(294) The emperor Constantine having ordered it to
be removed into the church of Alexandria, the Egyptians spread a report,
that the Nile would rise no more by reason of the wrath of Serapis; but
the river overflowed and increased as usual the following years. Julian
the apostate, a zealous protector of idolatry, caused this pillar to be
replaced in the same temple, out of which it was again removed by the
command of Theodosius.

6. _The Canals of the Nile and Spiral Pumps._—Divine Providence, in giving
so beneficent a river to Egypt, did not thereby intend that the
inhabitants of it should be idle, and enjoy so great a blessing without
taking any pains. One may naturally suppose, that as the Nile could not of
itself cover the whole country, great labour was to be used to facilitate
the overflowing of the lands; and numberless canals cut, in order to
convey the waters to all parts. The villages, which stand very thick on
the banks of the Nile on eminences, have each their canals, which are
opened at proper times, to let the water into the country. The more
distant villages have theirs also, even to the extremities of the kingdom.
Thus the waters are successively conveyed to the most remote places.
Persons are not permitted to cut the trenches to receive the waters, till
the river is at a certain height; nor to open them all at once; because
otherwise some lands would be too much overflowed, and others not covered
enough. They begin with opening them in Upper, and afterwards in Lower
Egypt, according to the rules prescribed in a roll or book, in which all
the measures are exactly set down. By this means the water is husbanded
with such care, that it spreads itself over all the lands. The countries
overflowed by the Nile are so extensive, and lie so low, and the number of
canals so great, that of all the waters which flow into Egypt during the
months of June, July, and August, it is believed that not a tenth part of
them reaches the sea.

But as, notwithstanding all these canals, there are still abundance of
high lands which cannot receive the benefit of the Nile’s overflowing;
this want is supplied by spiral pumps, which are turned by oxen, in order
to bring the water into pipes, which convey it to these lands. Diodorus
speaks of a similar engine invented by Archimedes in his travels into
Egypt, which is called _Cochlea Ægyptia_.(295)

7. _The Fertility caused by the Nile._—There is no country in the world
where the soil is more fruitful than in Egypt; which is owing entirely to
the Nile. For whereas other rivers, when they overflow lands, wash away
and exhaust their vivific moisture; the Nile, on the contrary, by the
excellent slime it brings along with it, fattens and enriches them in such
a manner, as sufficiently compensates for what the foregoing harvest had
impaired.(296) The husbandman, in this country, never tires himself with
holding the plough, or breaking the clods of earth. As soon as the Nile
retires, he has nothing to do but to turn up the earth, and temper it with
a little sand, in order to lessen its rankness; after which he sows it
with great ease, and with little or no expense. Two months after, it is
covered with all sorts of corn and pulse. The Egyptians generally sow in
October and November, according as the waters draw off; and their harvest
is in March and April.

The same land bears, in one year, three or four different kinds of crops.
Lettuces and cucumbers are sown first; then corn; and, after harvest,
several sorts of pulse which are peculiar to Egypt. As the sun is
extremely hot in this country, and rains fall very seldom in it, it is
natural to suppose that the earth would soon be parched, and the corn and
pulse burnt up by so scorching a heat, were it not for the canals and
reservoirs with which Egypt abounds; and which, by the drains from thence,
amply supply wherewith to water and refresh the fields and gardens.

The Nile contributes no less to the nourishment of cattle, which is
another source of wealth to Egypt. The Egyptians begin to turn them out to
grass in November, and they graze till the end of March. Words could never
express how rich their pastures are; and how fat the flocks and herds
(which, by reason of the mildness of the air, are out night and day) grow
in a very little time. During the inundation of the Nile, they are fed
with hay and cut straw, barley and beans, which are their common food.

A man cannot, says Corneille de Bruyn in his Travels,(297) help observing
the admirable providence of God towards this country, who sends at a fixed
season such great quantities of rain in Ethiopia, in order to water Egypt,
where a shower of rain scarce ever falls; and who, by that means, causes
the driest and most sandy soil to become the richest and most fruitful
country in the universe.

Another thing to be observed here is, that (as the inhabitants say) in the
beginning of June, and the four following months, the north-east winds
blow constantly, in order to keep back the waters, which otherwise would
draw off too fast; and to hinder them from discharging themselves into the
sea, the entrance to which these winds bar up, as it were, from them. The
ancients have not omitted this circumstance.

The same Providence, whose ways are wonderful and infinitely various,
displayed itself after a quite different manner in Palestine, in rendering
it exceeding fruitful;(298) not by rains, which fall during the course of
the year, as is usual in other places; nor by a peculiar inundation like
that of the Nile in Egypt; but by sending fixed rains at two seasons, when
his people were obedient to him, to make them more sensible of their
continual dependence upon him. God himself commands them, by his servant
Moses, to make this reflection: “The land whither thou goest in to possess
it, is not as the land of Egypt, from whence ye came out, where thou
sowedst thy seed, and wateredst it with thy foot, as a garden of herbs:
but the land whither ye go to possess it, is a land of hills and valleys,
and drinketh water of the rain of heaven.”(299) After this, God promises
to give his people, so long as they shall continue obedient to him, “the
former” and “the latter rain:” the first in autumn, to bring up the corn;
and the second in the spring and summer, to make it grow and ripen.

8. _The different Prospects exhibited by the Nile._—There cannot be a
finer sight than Egypt at two seasons of the year. For if a man ascends
some mountain, or one of the largest pyramids of Grand Cairo, in the
months of July and August, he beholds a vast sea, in which numberless
towns and villages appear, with several causeys leading from place to
place; the whole interspersed with groves and fruit trees, whose tops only
are visible; all which forms a delightful prospect.(300) This view is
bounded by mountains and woods, which terminate, at the utmost distance
the eye can discover, the most beautiful horizon that can be imagined. On
the contrary, in winter, that is to say, in the months of January and
February, the whole country is like one continued scene of beautiful
meadows, whose verdure, enamelled with flowers, charms the eye. The
spectator beholds, on every side, flocks and herds dispersed over all the
plains, with infinite numbers of husbandmen and gardeners. The air is then
perfumed by the great quantity of blossoms on the orange, lemon, and other
trees; and is so pure, that a wholesomer or more agreeable is not found in
the world; so that nature, being then dead, as it were, in all other
climates, seems to be alive only for so delightful an abode.

9. _The Canal formed by the Nile, by which a communication in made between
the two Seas._—The canal, by which a communication was made between the
Red-Sea and the Mediterranean, ought to have a place here, as it was not
one of the least advantages which the Nile procured to Egypt.(301)
Sesostris, or, according to others, Psammetichus, first projected the
design, and began this work. Necho, successor to the last prince, laid out
immense sums upon it, and employed a prodigious number of men. It is said,
that above six score thousand Egyptians perished in the undertaking. He
gave it over, terrified by an oracle, which told him that he would thereby
open a door for Barbarians (for by this name they called all foreigners)
to enter Egypt. The work was continued by Darius, the first of that name;
but he also desisted from it, upon his being told, that as the Red-Sea lay
higher than Egypt, it would drown the whole country. But it was at last
finished under the Ptolemies, who, by the help of sluices, opened or shut
the canal as there was occasion. It began not far from the Delta, near the
town of Bubastus. It was a hundred cubits, that is, twenty-five fathoms
broad, so that two vessels might pass with ease; it had depth enough to
carry the largest ships; and was about a thousand stadia, that is, above
fifty leagues long. This canal was of great service to the trade of Egypt.
But it is now almost filled up, and there are scarce any remains of it to
be seen.



Chapter III. Lower Egypt.


I am now to speak of Lower Egypt. Its shape, which resembles a triangle,
or Delta, Δ, gave occasion to its bearing the latter name, which is that
of one of the Greek letters. Lower Egypt forms a kind of island; it begins
at a place where the Nile is divided into two large canals, through which
it empties itself into the Mediterranean: the mouth on the right hand is
called the Pelusian, and the other the Canopic, from two cities in their
neighbourhood, Pelusium and Canopus, now called Damietta and Rosetta.
Between these two large branches, there are five others of less note. This
island is the best cultivated, the most fruitful, and the richest part of
Egypt. Its chief cities (very anciently) were Heliopolis, Heracleopolis,
Naucratis, Sais, Tanis, Canopus, Pelusium; and, in latter times,
Alexandria, Nicopolis, &c. It was in the country of Tanis that the
Israelites dwelt.

There was at Sais,(302) a temple dedicated to Minerva, who is supposed to
be the same as Isis, with the following inscription: “I am whatever hath
been, and is, and shall be; and no mortal hath yet pierced through the
veil that shrouds me.”

Heliopolis, that is, the city of the sun, was so called from a magnificent
temple there dedicated to that planet.(303) Herodotus, and other authors
after him, relate some particulars concerning the Phœnix and this temple,
which, if true, would indeed be very wonderful. Of this kind of birds, if
we may believe the ancients, there is never but one at a time in the
world. He is brought forth in Arabia, lives five or six hundred years, and
is of the size of an eagle. His head is adorned with a shining and most
beautiful crest; the feathers of his neck are of a gold colour, and the
rest of a purple; his tail is white, intermixed with red, and his eyes
sparkling like stars. When he is old, and finds his end approaching, he
builds a nest with wood and aromatic spices, and then dies. Of his bones
and marrow, a worm is produced, out of which another Phœnix is formed. His
first care is to solemnize his parent’s obsequies, for which purpose he
makes up a ball in the shape of an egg, with abundance of perfumes of
myrrh, as heavy as he can carry, which he often essays beforehand; then he
makes a hole in it, where he deposits his parent’s body, and closes it
carefully with myrrh and other perfumes. After this he takes up the
precious load on his shoulders, and flying to the altar of the sun, in the
city of Heliopolis, he there burns it.

Herodotus and Tacitus dispute the truth of some of the circumstances of
this account, but seem to suppose it true in general. Pliny, on the
contrary, in the very beginning of his account of it, insinuates plainly
enough, that he looks upon the whole as fabulous; and this is the opinion
of all modern authors.

This ancient tradition, though grounded on an evident falsehood, hath yet
introduced into almost all languages, the custom of giving the name of
phœnix to whatever is singular and uncommon in its kind: _Rara avis in
terris_, says Juvenal,(304) speaking of the difficulty of finding an
accomplished woman in all respects. And Seneca observes the same of a good
man.(305)

What is reported of swans, _viz._ that they never sing but in their
expiring moments, and that then they warble very melodiously, is likewise
grounded merely on a vulgar error; and yet it is used, not only by the
poets, but also by the orators, and even the philosophers. _O mutis quoque
piscibus donatura cycni, si libeat, sonum_,(306) says Horace to Melpomene.
Cicero compares the excellent discourse which Crassus made in the Senate,
a few days before his death, to the melodious singing of a dying swan:
_Illa tanquam cycnea fuit divini hominis vox et oratio._ _De Orat._ l.
iii. n. 6. And Socrates used to say, that good men ought to imitate swans,
who, perceiving by a secret instinct, and a sort of divination, what
advantage there is in death, die singing and with joy: _Providentes quid
in morte boni sit, cum cantu et voluptate moriuntur._ _Tusc. Qu._ l. i. n.
73. I thought this short digression might be of service to youth; and
return now to my subject.

It was in Heliopolis, that an ox, under the name of Mnevis, was worshipped
as a god.(307) Cambyses, king of Persia, exercised his sacrilegious rage
on this city; burning the temples, demolishing the palaces, and destroying
the most precious monuments of antiquity in it. There are still to be seen
some obelisks which escaped his fury; and others were brought from thence
to Rome, to which city they are an ornament even at this day.

Alexandria, built by Alexander the Great, from whom it had its name, vied
almost in magnificence with the ancient cities in Egypt. It stands four
days’ journey from Cairo, and was formerly the chief mart of all the trade
of the East. The merchandises were unloaded at Portus Murius,(308) a town
on the western coast of the Red-Sea;(309) from whence they were brought
upon camels to a town of Thebais, called Copht, and afterwards conveyed
down the Nile to Alexandria, whither merchants resorted from all parts.

It is well known that the trade of the East hath, at all times, enriched
those who carried it on. This was the chief source of the vast treasures
that Solomon amassed, and which enabled him to build the magnificent
temple of Jerusalem. David, by conquering Idumæa, became master of Elath
and Esiongeber, two towns situated on the eastern shore of the
Red-Sea.(310) From these two ports,(311) Solomon sent fleets to Ophir and
Tarshish, which always brought back immense riches.(312) This traffic,
after having been enjoyed some time by the Syrians, who regained Idumæa,
passed from them into the hands of the Tyrians. These got all their
merchandise conveyed, by the way of Rhinocolura (a sea-port town lying
between the confines of Egypt and Palestine) to Tyre, from whence they
distributed them all over the western world.(313) Hereby the Tyrians
enriched themselves exceedingly, under the Persian empire, by the favour
and protection of whose monarchs they had the full possession of this
trade. But when the Ptolemies had made themselves masters of Egypt, they
soon drew all this trade into their kingdom, by building Berenice and
other ports on the western side of the Red-Sea, belonging to Egypt; and
fixed their chief mart at Alexandria, which thereby rose to be the city of
the greatest trade in the world. There it continued for a great many
centuries after; and all the traffic which the western parts of the world
from that time had with Persia, India, Arabia, and the eastern coasts of
Africa, was wholly carried on through the Red-Sea and the mouth of the
Nile, till a way was discovered, a little above two hundred years since,
of sailing to those parts by the Cape of Good Hope. After this, the
Portuguese for some time were masters of this trade; but now it is in a
manner engrossed wholly by the English and Dutch. This short account of
the East-India trade, from Solomon’s time, to the present age, is
extracted from Dr. Prideaux.(314)

For the convenience of trade, there was built near Alexandria, in an
island called Pharos, a tower which bore the same name.(315) At the top of
this tower was kept a fire, to light such ships as sailed by night near
those dangerous coasts, which were full of sands and shelves, from whence
all other towers, designed for the same use, have derived their name, as,
Pharo di Messina, &c. The famous architect Sostratus built it by order of
Ptolemy Philadelphus, who expended eight hundred talents upon it.(316) It
was reckoned one of the seven wonders of the world. Some, through a
mistake, have commended that prince, for permitting the architect to put
his name in the inscription, which was fixed on the tower, instead of his
own.(317) It was very short and plain, according to the manner of the
ancients. _Sostratus Cnidius Dexiphanis F. Diis Servatoribus pro
navigantibus_: _i.e._ Sostratus the Cnidian, son of Dexiphanes, to the
protecting deities, for the use of sea-faring people. But certainly
Ptolemy must have very much undervalued that kind of immortality which
princes are generally so fond of, to suffer, that his name should not be
so much as mentioned in the inscription of an edifice so capable of
immortalizing him. What we read in Lucian concerning this matter, deprives
Ptolemy of a modesty, which indeed would be very ill placed here.(318)
This author informs us that Sostratus, to engross in after-times the whole
glory of that noble structure to himself, caused the inscription with his
own name to be carved in the marble, which he afterwards covered with
lime, and thereon put the king’s name. The lime soon mouldered away; and
by that means, instead of procuring the architect the honour with which he
had flattered himself, served only to discover to future ages his mean
fraud and ridiculous vanity.

Riches failed not to bring into this city, as they usually do in all
places, luxury and licentiousness; so that the Alexandrian voluptuousness
became a proverb.(319) In this city arts and sciences were also
industriously cultivated, witness that stately edifice, surnamed the
Museum, where the literati used to meet, and were maintained at the public
expense; and the famous library, which was augmented considerably by
Ptolemy Philadelphus; and which, by the magnificence of the kings his
successors, at last contained seven hundred thousand volumes. In Cæsar’s
wars with the Alexandrians, part of this library, (situate in the
Bruchion,(320)) which consisted of four hundred thousand volumes, was
unhappily consumed by fire.(321)



Part The Second. Of the Manners and Customs of the Egyptians.


Egypt was ever considered, by all the ancients, as the most renowned
school for wisdom and politics, and the source from whence most arts and
sciences were derived. This kingdom bestowed its noblest labours and
finest arts on the improvement of mankind; and Greece was so sensible of
this, that its most illustrious men, as Homer, Pythagoras, Plato; even its
great legislators, Lycurgus and Solon, with many more whom it is needless
to mention, travelled into Egypt, to complete their studies, and draw from
that fountain whatever was most rare and valuable in every kind of
learning. God himself has given this kingdom a glorious testimony, when
praising Moses, he says of him, that “He was learned in all the wisdom of
the Egyptians.”(322)

To give some idea of the manners and customs of Egypt, I shall confine
myself principally to these particulars: its kings and government; priests
and religion; soldiers and war; sciences, arts, and trades.

The reader must not be surprised if he sometimes finds, in the customs I
take notice of, a kind of contradiction. This circumstance is owing either
to the difference of countries and nations, which did not always follow
the same usages; or to the different way of thinking of the historians
whom I copy.



Chapter I. Concerning The Kings And Government.


The Egyptians were the first people who rightly understood the rules of
government. A nation so grave and serious immediately perceived, that the
true end of politics is, to make life easy, and a people happy.

The kingdom was hereditary; but, according to Diodorus,(323) the Egyptian
princes conducted themselves in a different manner from what is usually
seen in other monarchies, where the prince acknowledges no other rule of
his actions than his own arbitrary will and pleasure. But here, kings were
under greater restraint from the laws than their subjects. They had some
particular ones digested by a former monarch, that composed part of what
the Egyptians called the sacred books. Thus every thing being settled by
ancient custom, they never sought to live in a different way from their
ancestors.

No slave nor foreigner was admitted into the immediate service of the
prince; such a post was too important to be intrusted to any persons,
except those who were the most distinguished by their birth, and had
received the most excellent education; to the end that, as they had the
liberty of approaching the king’s person day and night, he might, from men
so qualified, hear nothing which was unbecoming the royal majesty; nor
have any sentiments instilled into him but such as were of a noble and
generous kind. For, adds Diodorus, it is very rarely seen that kings fly
out into any vicious excess, unless those who approach them approve their
irregularities, or serve as instruments to their passions.

The kings of Egypt freely permitted, not only the quality and proportion
of what they ate and drank to be prescribed them, (a thing customary in
Egypt, whose inhabitants were all sober, and whose air inspired
frugality,) but even that all their hours, and almost every action, should
be under the regulation of the laws.

In the morning at day break, when the head is clearest, and the thoughts
most unperplexed, they read the several letters they received; to form a
more just and distinct idea of the affairs which were to come under their
consideration that day.

As soon as they were dressed, they went to the daily sacrifice performed
in the temple; where, surrounded with their whole court, and the victims
placed before the altar, they assisted at the prayer pronounced aloud by
the high priest, in which he asked of the gods, health and all other
blessings for the king, because he governed his people with clemency and
justice, and made the laws of his kingdom the rule and standard of his
actions. The high priest entered into a long detail of his royal virtues;
observing, that he was religious to the gods, affable to men, moderate,
just, magnanimous, sincere; an enemy to falsehood; liberal; master of his
passions; punishing crimes with the utmost lenity, but boundless in
rewarding merit. He next spoke of the faults which kings might be guilty
of; but supposed at the same time that they never committed any, except by
surprise or ignorance; and loaded with imprecations such of their
ministers as gave them ill council, and suppressed or disguised the truth.
Such were the methods of conveying instruction to their kings. It was
thought that reproaches would only sour their tempers; and that the most
effectual method to inspire them with virtue, would be to point out to
them their duty in praises conformable to the sense of the laws, and
pronounced in a solemn manner before the gods. After the prayers and
sacrifices were ended, the councils and actions of great men were read to
the king out of the sacred books, in order that he might govern his
dominions according to their maxims, and maintain the laws which had made
his predecessors and their subjects so happy.

I have already observed, that the quantity as well as quality of what he
ate or drank were prescribed, by the laws, to the king: his table was
covered with nothing but the most common food; because eating in Egypt was
designed, not to tickle the palate, but to satisfy the cravings of nature.
One would have concluded, (observes the historian,) that these rules had
been laid down by some able physician, who was attentive only to the
health of the prince, rather than by a legislator. The same simplicity was
seen in all other things; and we read in Plutarch of a temple in Thebes,
which had one of its pillars inscribed with imprecations against that king
who first introduced profusion and luxury into Egypt.(324)

The principal duty of kings, and their most essential function, is the
administering justice to their subjects. Accordingly the kings of Egypt
cultivated more immediately this duty; convinced that on this depended not
only the ease and comfort of individuals, but the happiness of the state;
which would be a herd of robbers rather than a kingdom, should the weak be
unprotected, and the powerful enabled by their riches and influence to
commit crimes with impunity.

Thirty judges were selected out of the principal cities, to form a body
for dispensing justice through the whole kingdom. The prince, in filling
these vacancies, chose such as were most renowned for their honesty; and
put at their head, him who was most distinguished for his knowledge and
love of the laws, and was had in the most universal esteem. They had
revenues assigned them, to the end that, being freed from domestic cares,
they might devote their whole time to the execution of the laws. Thus
honourably maintained by the generosity of the prince, they administered
gratuitously to the people, that justice to which they have a natural
right, and which ought to be equally open to all; and, in some sense, to
the poor more than the rich, because the latter find a support within
themselves; whereas the very condition of the former exposes them more to
injuries, and therefore calls louder for the protection of the laws. To
guard against surprise, affairs were transacted by writing in the
assemblies of these judges. That false eloquence was dreaded, which
dazzles the mind, and moves the passions. Truth could not be expressed
with too much plainness, as it alone was to have the sway in judgments;
because in that alone the rich and poor, the powerful and weak, the
learned and the ignorant, were to find relief and security. The president
of this senate wore a collar of gold set with precious stones, at which
hung a figure represented blind, this being called the emblem of truth.
When the president put this collar on, it was understood as a signal to
enter upon business. He touched the party with it who was to gain his
cause, and this was the form of passing sentence.

The most excellent circumstance in the laws of the Egyptians, was, that
every individual, from his infancy, was nurtured in the strictest
observance of them. A new custom in Egypt was a kind of miracle.(325) All
things there ran in the old channel; and the exactness with which little
matters were adhered to, preserved those of more importance; and
consequently no nation ever retained their laws and customs longer than
the Egyptians.

Wilful murder was punished with death,(326) whatever might be the
condition of the murdered person, whether he was free-born or otherwise.
In this the humanity and equity of the Egyptians were superior to that of
the Romans, who gave the master an absolute power of life and death over
his slave. The emperor Adrian, indeed, abolished this law; from an
opinion, that an abuse of this nature ought to be reformed, let its
antiquity or authority be ever so great.

Perjury was also punished with death,(327) because that crime attacks both
the gods, whose majesty is trampled upon by invoking their name to a false
oath, and men, by breaking the strongest tie of human society, _viz._
sincerity and veracity.

The false accuser was condemned to undergo the punishment which the person
accused was to have suffered, had the accusation been proved.(328)

He who had neglected or refused to save a man’s life when attacked, if it
was in his power to assist him, was punished as rigorously as the
assassin:(329) but if the unfortunate person could not be succoured, the
offender was at least to be impeached; and penalties were decreed for any
neglect of this kind. Thus the subjects were a guard and protection to one
another; and the whole body of the community united against the designs of
the bad.

No man was allowed to be useless to the state;(330) but every one was
obliged to enter his name and place of abode in a public register, that
remained in the hands of the magistrate, and to describe his profession,
and his means of support. If he gave a false account of himself, he was
immediately put to death.

To prevent borrowing of money, the parent of sloth, frauds, and chicane,
king Asychis made a very judicious law.(331) The wisest and best regulated
states, as Athens and Rome, ever found insuperable difficulties, in
contriving a just medium, to restrain, on one hand, the cruelty of the
creditor in the exaction of his loan; and on the other, the knavery of the
debtor, who refused or neglected to pay his debts. Now Egypt took a wise
course on this occasion; and, without doing any injury to the personal
liberty of its inhabitants, or ruining their families, pursued the debtor
with incessant fears of infamy in case he were dishonest. No man was
permitted to borrow money without pawning to the creditor the body of his
father, which every Egyptian embalmed with great care; and kept
reverentially in his house, (as will be observed in the sequel,) and
therefore might be easily moved from one place to another. But it was
equally impious and infamous not to redeem soon so precious a pledge; and
he who died without having discharged this duty, was deprived of the
customary honours paid to the dead.(332)

Diodorus remarks an error committed by some of the Grecian
legislators.(333) They forbid, for instance, the taking away (to satisfy
debts) the horses, ploughs, and other implements of husbandry employed by
peasants; judging it inhuman to reduce, by this security, these poor men
to an impossibility of discharging their debts, and getting their bread:
but, at the same time, they permitted the creditor to imprison the
peasants themselves, who alone were capable of using these implements,
which exposed them to the same inconveniences, and at the same time
deprived the government of persons who belong, and are necessary, to it;
who labour for the public emolument, and over whose person no private man
has any right.

Polygamy was allowed in Egypt, except to the priests, who could marry but
one woman.(334) Whatever was the condition of the woman, whether she was
free or a slave, her children were deemed free and legitimate.

One custom that was practised in Egypt, shows the profound darkness into
which such nations as were most celebrated for their wisdom have been
plunged; and this is the marriage of brothers with their sisters, which
was not only authorized by the laws, but even, in some measure, originated
from their religion, from the example and practice of such of their gods
as had been the most anciently and universally adored in Egypt, that is,
Osiris and Isis.(335)

A very great respect was there paid to old age.(336) The young were
obliged to rise up for the old; and on every occasion, to resign to them
the most honourable seat. The Spartans borrowed this law from the
Egyptians.

The virtue in the highest esteem among the Egyptians, was gratitude. The
glory which has been given them of being the most grateful of all men,
shows that they were the best formed of any nation for social life.
Benefits are the band of concord, both public and private. He who
acknowledges favours, loves to confer them; and in banishing ingratitude,
the pleasure of doing good remains so pure and engaging, that it is
impossible for a man to be insensible of it. But it was particularly
towards their kings that the Egyptians prided themselves on evincing their
gratitude. They honoured them whilst living, as so many visible
representations of the Deity; and after their death lamented for them as
the fathers of their country. These sentiments of respect and tenderness
proceeded from a strong persuasion, that the Divinity himself had placed
them upon the throne, as he distinguished them so greatly from all other
mortals; and that kings bore the most noble characteristics of the Supreme
Being, as the power and will of doing good to others were united in their
persons.



Chapter II. Concerning the Priests And Religion Of The Egyptians.


Priests, in Egypt, held the second rank to kings. They had great
privileges and revenues; their lands were exempted from all imposts; of
which some traces are seen in Genesis, where it is said, “Joseph made it a
law over the land of Egypt, that Pharaoh should have the fifth part,
except the land of the priests only, which became not Pharaoh’s.”(337)

The prince usually honoured them with a large share in his confidence and
government, because they, of all his subjects, had received the best
education, had acquired the greatest knowledge, and were most strongly
attached to the king’s person and the good of the public. They were at one
and the same time the depositaries of religion and of the sciences; and to
this circumstance was owing the great respect which was paid them by the
natives as well as foreigners, by whom they were alike consulted upon the
most sacred things relating to the mysteries of religion, and the most
profound subjects in the several sciences.

The Egyptians pretend to be the first institutors of festivals and
processions in honour of the gods.(338) One festival was celebrated in the
city of Bubastus, whither persons resorted from all parts of Egypt, and
upwards of seventy thousand, besides children, were seen at it. Another,
surnamed the feast of the lights, was solemnized at Sais. All persons,
throughout Egypt, who did not go to Sais, were obliged to illuminate their
windows.

Different animals were sacrificed in different countries, but one common
and general ceremony was observed in all sacrifices, _viz._ the laying of
hands upon the head of the victim, loading it at the same time with
imprecations; and praying the gods to divert upon that victim all the
calamities which might threaten Egypt.(339)

It is to Egypt that Pythagoras owed his favourite doctrine of the
Metempsychosis or transmigration of souls.(340) The Egyptians believed,
that at the death of men their souls transmigrated into other human
bodies; and that, if they had been vicious, they were imprisoned in the
bodies of unclean or ill-conditioned beasts, to expiate in them their past
transgressions; and that after a revolution of some centuries they again
animated other human bodies.

The priests had the possession of the sacred books, which contained, at
large, the principles of government, as well as the mysteries of divine
worship. Both were uncommonly involved in symbols and enigmas, which,
under these veils, made truth more venerable, and excited more strongly
the curiosity of men.(341) The figure of Harpocrates, in the Egyptian
sanctuaries, with his finger upon his mouth, seemed to intimate, that
mysteries were there enclosed, the knowledge of which was revealed to very
few. The sphinxes, placed at the entrance of all temples, implied the
same. It is very well known that pyramids, obelisks, pillars, statues, in
a word, all public monuments, were usually adorned with hieroglyphics;
that is, with symbolical writings; whether these were characters unknown
to the vulgar, or figures of animals, under which was couched a hidden and
parabolical meaning. Thus, by a hare, was signified a lively and piercing
attention, because this creature has a very delicate sense of
hearing.(342) The statue of a judge without hands, and with eyes fixed
upon the ground, symbolized the duties of those who were to exercise the
judiciary functions.(343)

It would require a volume to treat fully of the religion of the Egyptians.
But I shall confine myself to two articles, which form the principal part
of it; and these are the worship of the different deities, and the
ceremonies relating to funerals.

SECT. I. THE WORSHIP OF THE VARIOUS DEITIES.—Never were any people more
superstitious than the Egyptians; they had a great number of gods, of
different orders and degrees, which I shall omit, because they belong more
to fable than to history. Among the rest, two were universally adored in
that country, and these were Osiris and Isis, which are thought to be the
sun and moon; and, indeed, the worship of those planets gave rise to
idolatry.

Besides these gods, the Egyptians worshipped a great number of beasts; as
the ox, the dog, the wolf, the hawk, the crocodile, the ibis,(344) the
cat, &c. Many of these beasts were the objects of the superstition only of
some particular cities; and whilst one people worshipped one species of
animals as gods, their neighbours held the same animals in abomination.
This was the source of the continual wars which were carried on between
one city and another; and this was owing to the false policy of one of
their kings, who, to deprive them of the opportunity and means of
conspiring against the state, endeavoured to draw off their attention, by
engaging them in religious contests. I call this a false and mistaken
policy; because it directly thwarts the true spirit of government, the aim
of which is, to unite all its members in the strictest ties, and to make
all its strength consist in the perfect harmony of its several parts.

Every nation had a great zeal for their gods. “Among us,” says
Cicero,(345) “it is very common to see temples robbed, and statues carried
off, but it was never known that any person in Egypt ever abused a
crocodile, an ibis, a cat; for its inhabitants would have suffered the
most, extreme torments, rather than be guilty of such sacrilege.” It was
death for any person to kill one of these animals voluntarily; and even a
punishment was decreed against him who should have killed an ibis, or cat,
with or without design.(346) Diodorus relates an incident,(347) to which
he himself was an eye-witness during his stay in Egypt. A Roman having
inadvertently, and without design, killed a cat, the exasperated populace
ran to his house; and neither the authority of the king, who immediately
detached a body of his guards, nor the terror of the Roman name, could
rescue the unfortunate criminal. And such was the reverence which the
Egyptians had for these animals, that in an extreme famine they chose to
eat one another, rather than feed upon their imagined deities.

Of all these animals, the bull Apis, called Epaphus by the Greeks, was the
most famous.(348) Magnificent temples were erected to him; extraordinary
honours were paid him while he lived, and still greater after his death.
Egypt went then into a general mourning. His obsequies were solemnized
with such a pomp as is hardly credible. In the reign of Ptolemy Lagus, the
bull Apis dying of old age,(349) the funeral pomp, besides the ordinary
expenses, amounted to upwards of fifty thousand French crowns.(350) After
the last honours had been paid to the deceased god, the next care was to
provide him a successor; and all Egypt was sought through for that
purpose. He was known by certain signs, which distinguished him from all
other animals of that species; upon his forehead was to be a white spot,
in form of a crescent; on his back, the figure of an eagle; upon his
tongue, that of a beetle. As soon as he was found, mourning gave place to
joy; and nothing was heard, in all parts of Egypt, but festivals and
rejoicings. The new god was brought to Memphis, to take possession of his
dignity, and there installed with a great number of ceremonies. The reader
will find hereafter, that Cambyses, at his return from his unfortunate
expedition against Ethiopia, finding all the Egyptians in transports of
joy for the discovery of their new god Apis, and imagining that this was
intended as an insult upon his misfortunes, killed, in the first impulse
of his fury, the young bull, who, by that means, had but a short enjoyment
of his divinity.

It is plain, that the golden calf set up near mount Sinai by the
Israelites, was owing to their abode in Egypt, and an imitation of the god
Apis; as well as those which were afterwards set up by Jeroboam (who had
resided a considerable time in Egypt) in the two extremities of the
kingdom of Israel.

The Egyptians, not contented with offering incense to animals, carried
their folly to such an excess, as to ascribe a divinity to the pulse and
roots of their gardens. For this they are ingeniously reproached by the
satirist:


    Who has not heard where Egypt’s realms are nam’d,
    What monster-gods her frantic sons have fram’d?
    Here Ibis gorg’d with well-grown serpents, there
    The Crocodile commands religious fear:
    Where Memnon’s statue magic strings inspire
    With vocal sounds, that emulate the lyre;
    And Thebes, such, Fate, are thy disastrous turns!
    Now prostrate o’er her pompous ruins mourns;
    A monkey-god, prodigious to be told!
    Strikes the beholder’s eye with burnish’d gold:
    To godship here blue Triton’s scaly herd,
    The river-progeny is there preferr’d:
    Through towns Diana’s power neglected lies,
    Where to her dogs aspiring temples rise:
    And should you leeks or onions eat, no time
    Would expiate the sacrilegious crime
    Religious nations sure, and blest abodes,
    Where ev’ry orchard is o’errun with gods.(351)


It is astonishing to see a nation, which boasted its superiority above all
others with regard to wisdom and learning, thus blindly abandon itself to
the most gross and ridiculous superstitions. Indeed, to read of animals
and vile insects, honoured with religious worship, placed in temples, and
maintained with great care, and at an extravagant expense;(352) to read,
that those who murdered them were punished with death; and that these
animals were embalmed, and solemnly deposited in tombs assigned them by
the public; to hear that this extravagance was carried to such lengths, as
that leeks and onions were acknowledged as deities; were invoked in
necessity, and depended upon for succour and protection; are absurdities
which we, at this distance of time, can scarce believe; and yet they have
the evidence of all antiquity. “You enter,” says Lucian,(353) “into a
magnificent temple, every part of which glitters with gold and silver. You
there look attentively for a god, and are cheated with a stork, an ape, or
a cat;” “a just emblem,” adds that author, “of too many palaces, the
masters of which are far from being the brightest ornaments of them.”

Several reasons are assigned for the worship paid to animals by the
Egyptians.(354)

The first is drawn from fabulous history. It is pretended that the gods,
in a rebellion made against them by men, fled into Egypt, and there
concealed themselves under the form of different animals; and that this
gave birth to the worship which was afterwards paid to those animals.

The second is taken from the benefit which these several animals procure
to mankind:(355) oxen by their labour; sheep by their wool and milk; dogs
by their service in hunting, and guarding houses, whence the god Anubis
was represented with a dog’s head: the ibis, a bird very much resembling a
stork, was worshipped, because he put to flight the winged serpents, with
which Egypt would otherwise have been grievously infested; the crocodile,
an amphibious creature, that is, living alike upon land and water, of a
surprising strength and size,(356) was worshipped, because he defended
Egypt from the incursions of the wild Arabs; the ichneumon was adored,
because he prevented the too great increase of crocodiles, which might
have proved destructive to Egypt. Now the little animal in question does
this service to the country two ways. First, it watches the time when the
crocodile is absent, and breaks his eggs, but does not eat them. Secondly,
when the crocodile is asleep upon the banks of the Nile, (and he always
sleeps with his mouth open,) the ichneumon, which lies concealed in the
mud, leaps at once into his mouth; gets down to his entrails, which he
gnaws; then piercing his belly, the skin of which is very tender, he
escapes with safety; and thus, by his address and subtilty, returns
victorious over so terrible an animal.

Philosophers, not satisfied with reasons which were too trifling to
account for such strange absurdities as dishonoured the heathen system,
and at which themselves secretly blushed, have, since the establishment of
Christianity, supposed a third reason for the worship which the Egyptians
paid to animals, and declared, that it was not offered to the animals
themselves, but to the gods, of whom they are symbols. Plutarch, in his
treatise where he examines professedly the pretensions of Isis and Osiris,
the two most famous deities of the Egyptians, says as follows:(357)
“Philosophers honour the image of God wherever they find it, even in
inanimate beings, and consequently more in those which have life. We are
therefore to approve, not the worshippers of these animals, but those who,
by their means, ascend to the Deity; they are to be considered as so many
mirrors, which nature holds forth, and in which the Supreme Being displays
himself in a wonderful manner; or, as so many instruments, which he makes
use of to manifest outwardly his incomprehensible wisdom. Should men
therefore, for the embellishing of statues, amass together all the gold
and precious stones in the world; the worship must not be referred to the
statues, for the Deity does not exist in colours artfully disposed, nor in
frail matter destitute of sense and motion.” Plutarch says in the same
treatise,(358) “that as the sun and moon, heaven, earth, and the sea, are
common to all men, but have different names, according to the difference
of nations and languages; in like manner, though there is but one Deity,
and one providence which governs the universe, and which has several
subaltern ministers under it; men give to the Deity, which is the same,
different names, and pay it different honours, according to the laws and
customs of every country.”

But were these reflections, which offer the most rational vindication that
can be suggested of idolatrous worship, sufficient to cover the absurdity
of it; could it be called a raising of the divine attributes in a suitable
manner, to direct the worshipper to admire and seek for the image of them
in beasts of the most vile and contemptible kinds, as crocodiles,
serpents, and cats? Was not this rather degrading and debasing the Deity,
of whom even the most stupid usually entertain a much greater and more
august idea?

And even these philosophers were not always so just, as to ascend from
sensible beings to their invisible Author. The Scriptures tell us, that
these pretended sages deserved, on account of their pride and ingratitude,
to be “given over to a reprobate mind; and whilst they professed
themselves wise, to become fools, for having changed the glory of the
incorruptible God, into an image made like to corruptible man, and to
birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things.”(359) To show what man
is when left to himself, God permitted that very nation, which had carried
human wisdom to its greatest height, to be the theatre in which the most
ridiculous and absurd idolatry was acted. And, on the other side, to
display the almighty power of his grace, he converted the frightful
deserts of Egypt into a terrestrial paradise; by peopling them, in the
time appointed by his providence, with numberless multitudes of
illustrious hermits, whose fervent piety and rigorous penance have done so
much honour to the Christian religion. I cannot not forbear giving here a
famous instance of it; and I hope the reader will excuse this kind of
digression.

“The great wonder of Lower Egypt,” says Abbé Fleury, in his Ecclesiastical
History,(360) “was the city of Oxyrinchus, peopled with monks, both within
and without, so that they were more numerous than its other inhabitants.
The public edifices and idol temples had been converted into monasteries,
and these likewise were more in number than the private houses. The monks
lodged even over the gates and in the towers. The people had twelve
churches to assemble in, exclusive of the oratories belonging to the
monasteries. There were twenty thousand virgins and ten thousand monks in
this city, every part of which echoed night and day with the praises of
God. By order of the magistrates, sentinels were posted at the gates, to
take notice of all strangers and poor who came into the city; and the
inhabitants vied with each other who should first receive them, in order
to have an opportunity of exercising their hospitality towards them.”

SECT. II. THE CEREMONIES OF THE EGYPTIAN FUNERALS.—I shall now give a
concise account of the funeral ceremonies of the Egyptians.

The honours which have been paid in all ages and nations to the bodies of
the dead, and the religious care which has always been taken of
sepulchres, seem to insinuate an universal persuasion, that bodies were
lodged in sepulchres merely as a deposit or trust.

We have already observed, in our mention of the pyramids, with what
magnificence sepulchres were built in Egypt for, besides that they were
erected as so many sacred monuments, destined to transmit to future times
the memory of great princes; they were likewise considered as the mansions
where the body was to remain during a long succession of ages: whereas
common houses were called inns, in which men were to abide only as
travellers, and that during the course of a life which was too short to
engage their affections.

When any person in a family died, all the kindred and friends quitted
their usual habits, and put on mourning, and abstained from baths, wine,
and dainties of every kind. This mourning continued forty or seventy days,
probably according to the quality of the person.

Bodies were embalmed three different ways.(361) The most magnificent was
bestowed on persons of distinguished rank, and the expense amounted to a
talent of silver, or three thousand French livres.(362)

Many hands were employed in this ceremony.(363) Some drew the brain
through the nostrils, by an instrument made for that purpose. Others
emptied the bowels and intestines, by cutting a hole in the side, with an
Ethiopian stone that was as sharp as a razor; after which the cavities
were filled with perfumes and various odoriferous drugs. As this
evacuation (which was necessarily attended with some dissections) seemed
in some measure cruel and inhuman, the persons employed fled as soon as
the operation was over, and were pursued with stones by the standers-by.
But those who embalmed the body were honourably treated. They filled it
with myrrh, cinnamon, and all sorts of spices. After a certain time, the
body was swathed in lawn fillets, which were glued together with a kind of
very thin gum, and then crusted over with the most exquisite perfumes. By
this means, it is said, that the entire figure of the body, the very
lineaments of the face, and even the hairs on the lids and eye-brows were
preserved in their natural perfection. The body, thus embalmed, was
delivered to the relations, who shut it up in a kind of open chest, fitted
exactly to the size of the corpse; then they placed it upright against the
wall, either in their sepulchres (if they had any) or in their houses.
These embalmed bodies are what we now call Mummies, which are still
brought from Egypt, and are found in the cabinets of the curious. This
shows the care which the Egyptians took of their dead. Their gratitude to
their deceased relations was immortal. Children, by seeing the bodies of
their ancestors thus preserved, recalled to mind those virtues for which
the public had honoured them; and were excited to a love of those laws
which such excellent persons had left for their security. We find that
part of these ceremonies were performed in the funeral honours paid to
Joseph in Egypt.

I have said that the public recognised the virtues of deceased persons,
because that, before they could be admitted into the sacred asylum of the
tomb, they underwent a solemn trial. And this circumstance in the Egyptian
funerals, is one of the most remarkable to be found in ancient history.

It was a consolation among the heathens, to a dying man, to leave a good
name behind him; and they imagined that this is the only human blessing of
which death cannot deprive us. But the Egyptians would not suffer praises
to be bestowed indiscriminately on all deceased persons. This honour was
to be obtained only from the public voice. The assembly of the judges met
on the other side of a lake, which they crossed in a boat. He who sat at
the helm was called Charon, in the Egyptian language; and this first gave
the hint to Orpheus, who had been in Egypt, and after him, to the other
Greeks, to invent the fiction of Charon’s boat. As soon as a man was dead,
he was brought to his trial. The public accuser was heard. If he proved
that the deceased had led a bad life, his memory was condemned, and he was
deprived of burial. The people admired the power of the laws, which
extended even beyond the grave; and every one, struck with the disgrace
inflicted on the dead person, was afraid to reflect dishonour on his own
memory, and his family. But if the deceased person was not convicted of
any crime, he was interred in an honourable manner.

A still more astonishing circumstance, in this public inquest upon the
dead, was, that the throne itself was no protection from it. Kings were
spared during their lives, because the public peace was concerned in this
forbearance; but their quality did not exempt them from the judgment
passed upon the dead, and even some of them were deprived of sepulture.
This custom was imitated by the Israelites. We see, in Scripture, that bad
kings were not interred in the monuments of their ancestors. This practice
suggested to princes, that if their majesty placed them out of the reach
of men’s judgment while they were alive, they would at last be liable to
it when death should reduce them to a level with their subjects.

When therefore a favourable judgment was pronounced on a deceased person,
the next thing was to proceed to the ceremonies of interment. In his
panegyric, no mention was made of his birth, because every Egyptian was
deemed noble. No praises were considered as just or true, but such as
related to the personal merit of the deceased. He was applauded for having
received an excellent education in his younger years; and in his more
advanced age, for having cultivated piety towards the gods, justice
towards men, gentleness, modesty, moderation, and all other virtues which
constitute the good man. Then all the people besought the gods to receive
the deceased into the assembly of the just, and to admit him as a partaker
with them of their everlasting felicity.

To conclude this article of the ceremonies of funerals, it may not be
amiss to observe to young pupils the different manners in which the bodies
of the dead were treated by the ancients. Some, as we observed of the
Egyptians, exposed them to view after they had been embalmed, and thus
preserved them to after-ages. Others, as the Romans, burnt them on a
funeral pile; and others again, laid them in the earth.

The care to preserve bodies without lodging them in tombs, appears
injurious to human nature in general, and to those persons in particular
to whom respect is designed to be shown by this custom; because it exposes
too visibly their wretched state and deformity; since, whatever care may
be taken, spectators see nothing but the melancholy and frightful remains
of what they once were. The custom of burning dead bodies has something in
it cruel and barbarous, in destroying so hastily the remains of persons
once dear to us. That of interment is certainly the most ancient and
religious. It restores to the earth what had been taken from it; and
prepares our belief of a second restitution of our bodies, from that dust
of which they were at first formed.



Chapter III. Of The Egyptian Soldiers And War.


The profession of arms was in great repute among the Egyptians. After the
sacerdotal families, the most illustrious, as with us, were those devoted
to a military life. They were not only distinguished by honours, but by
ample liberalities. Every soldier was allowed twelve Arouræ, that is, a
piece of arable land very near answering to half a French acre,(364)
exempt from all tax or tribute. Besides this privilege, each soldier
received a daily allowance of five pounds of bread, two of flesh, and a
quart of wine.(365) This allowance was sufficient to support part of their
family. Such an indulgence made them more affectionate to the person of
their prince, and the interests of their country, and more resolute in
their defence of both; and as Diodorus observes,(366) it was thought
inconsistent with good policy, and even common sense, to commit the
defence of a country to men who had no interest in its preservation.

Four hundred thousand soldiers were kept in continual pay;(367) all
natives of Egypt, and trained up in the exactest discipline. They were
inured to the fatigues of war, by a severe and rigorous education. There
is an art of forming the body as well as the mind. This art, lost by our
sloth, was well known to the ancients, and especially to the Egyptians.
Foot, horse, and chariot races, were performed in Egypt with wonderful
agility, and the world could not show better horsemen than the Egyptians.
The Scripture in several places speaks advantageously of their
cavalry.(368)

Military laws were easily preserved in Egypt, because sons received them
from their fathers; the profession of war, as all others, being
transmitted from father to son. Those who fled in battle, or discovered
any signs of cowardice, were only distinguished by some particular mark of
ignominy; it being thought more advisable to restrain them by motives of
honour, than by the terrors of punishment.(369)

But notwithstanding this, I will not pretend to say, that the Egyptians
were a warlike people. It is of little advantage to have regular and
well-paid troops; to have armies exercised in peace, and employed only in
mock fights; it is war alone, and real combats, which form the soldier.
Egypt loved peace, because it loved justice, and maintained soldiers only
for its security. Its inhabitants, content with a country which abounded
in all things, had no ambitious dreams of conquest. The Egyptians extended
their reputation in a very different manner, by sending colonies into all
parts of the world, and with them laws and politeness. They triumphed by
the wisdom of their counsels, and the superiority of their knowledge; and
this empire of the mind appeared more noble and glorious to them, than
that which is achieved by arms and conquest. But, nevertheless, Egypt has
given birth to illustrious conquerors, as will be observed hereafter, when
we come to treat of its kings.



Chapter IV. Of Their Arts And Sciences.


The Egyptians had an inventive genius, but directed it only to useful
projects. Their Mercuries filled Egypt with wonderful inventions, and left
it scarcely ignorant of any thing which could contribute to accomplish the
mind, or procure ease and happiness. The discoverers of any useful
invention received, both living and dead, rewards worthy of their
profitable labours. It is this which consecrated the books of their two
Mercuries, and stamped them with a divine authority. The first libraries
were in Egypt; and the titles they bore inspired an eager desire to enter
them, and dive into the secrets they contained. They were called the
_remedy for the diseases of the soul_,(370) and that very justly, because
the soul was there cured of ignorance, the most dangerous, and the parent
of all other maladies.

As their country was level, and the sky always serene and unclouded, the
Egyptians were among the first who observed the courses of the planets.
These observations led them to regulate the year(371) from the course of
the sun; for as Diodorus observes, their year, from the most remote
antiquity, was composed of three hundred sixty-five days and six hours. To
adjust the property of their lands, which were every year covered by the
overflowing of the Nile, they were obliged to have recourse to surveys;
and this first taught them geometry. They were great observers of nature,
which, in a climate so serene, and under so intense a sun, was vigorous
and fruitful.

By this study and application they invented or improved the science of
physic. The sick were not abandoned to the arbitrary will and caprice of
the physician. He was obliged to follow fixed rules, which were the
observations of old and experienced practitioners, and written in the
sacred books. While these rules were observed, the physician was not
answerable for the success; otherwise, a miscarriage cost him his life.
This law checked, indeed, the temerity of empirics; but then it might
prevent new discoveries, and keep the art from attaining to its just
perfection. Every physician, if Herodotus may be credited,(372) confined
his practice to the cure of one disease only; one was for the eyes,
another for the teeth, and so on.

What we have said of the pyramids, the labyrinth, and that infinite number
of obelisks, temples, and palaces, whose precious remains still strike the
beholder with admiration, and in which the magnificence of the princes who
raised them, the skill of the workmen, the riches of the ornaments
diffused over every part of them, and the just proportion and beautiful
symmetry of the parts, in which their greatest beauty consisted, seemed to
vie with each other; works, in many of which the liveliness of the colours
remains to this day, in spite of the rude hand of time, which commonly
deadens or destroys them: all this, I say, shows the perfection to which
architecture, painting, sculpture, and all other arts, had arrived in
Egypt.

The Egyptians entertained but a mean opinion of those gymnastic exercises,
which did not contribute to invigorate the body, or improve health;(373)
as well as of music, which they considered as a diversion not only useless
but dangerous, and only fit to enervate the mind.(374)



Chapter V. Of Their Husbandmen, Shepherds, and Artificers.


Husbandmen, shepherds, and artificers, formed the three classes of lower
life in Egypt, but were nevertheless had in very great esteem,
particularly husbandmen and shepherds.(375) The body politic requires a
superiority and subordination of its several members; for as in the
natural body, the eye may be said to hold the first rank, yet its lustre
does not dart contempt upon the feet, the hands, or even on those parts
which are less honourable. In like manner, among the Egyptians, the
priests, soldiers, and scholars were distinguished by particular honours;
but all professions, to the meanest, had their share in the public esteem,
because the despising any man, whose labours, however mean, were useful to
the state, was thought a crime.

A better reason than the foregoing might have inspired them at the first
with these sentiments of equity and moderation, which they so long
preserved. As they all descended from Cham,(376) their common father, the
memory of their still recent origin occurring to the minds of all in those
first ages, established among them a kind of equality, and stamped, in
their opinion, a nobility on every person derived from the common stock.
Indeed the difference of conditions, and the contempt with which persons
of the lowest rank are treated, are owing merely to the distance from the
common root; which makes us forget that the meanest plebeian, when his
descent is traced back to the source, is equally noble with those of the
most elevated rank and titles.

Be that as it will, no profession in Egypt was considered as grovelling or
sordid. By this means arts were raised to their highest perfection. The
honour which cherished them mixed with every thought and care for their
improvement. Every man had his way of life assigned him by the laws, and
it was perpetuated from father to son. Two professions at one time, or a
change of that which a man was born to, were never allowed. By this means,
men became more able and expert in employments which they had always
exercised from their infancy; and every man, adding his own experience to
that of his ancestors, was more capable of attaining perfection in his
particular art. Besides, this wholesome institution, which had been
established anciently throughout Egypt, extinguished all irregular
ambition, and taught every man to sit down contented with his condition,
without aspiring to one more elevated, from interest, vain-glory, or
levity.

From this source flowed numberless inventions for the improvement of all
the arts, and for rendering life more commodious, and trade more easy. I
once could not believe that Diodorus was in earnest, in what he relates
concerning the Egyptian industry,(377) _viz._ that this people had found
out a way, by an artificial fecundity, to hatch eggs without the sitting
of the hen; but all modern travellers declare it to be a fact, which
certainly is worthy our investigation, and is said to be practised also in
Europe. Their relations inform us, that the Egyptians stow eggs in ovens,
which are heated to such a temperament, and with such just proportion to
the natural warmth of the hen, that the chickens produced by these means
are as strong as those which are hatched the natural way. The season of
the year proper for this operation is, from the end of December to the end
of April; the heat in Egypt being too violent in the other months. During
these four months, upwards of three hundred thousand eggs are laid in
these ovens, which, though they are not all successful, nevertheless
produce vast numbers of fowls at an easy rate. The art lies in giving the
ovens a due degree of heat, which must not exceed a fixed proportion.
About ten days are bestowed in heating these ovens, and very near as much
time in hatching the eggs. It is very entertaining, say these travellers,
to observe the hatching of these chickens, some of which show at first
nothing but their heads, others but half their bodies, and others again
come quite out of the egg: these last, the moment they are hatched, make
their way over the unhatched eggs, and form a diverting spectacle.
Corneille le Bruyn, in his Travels,(378) has collected the observations of
other travellers on this subject. Pliny likewise mentions it;(379) but it
appears from him, that the Egyptians, anciently, employed warm dung, not
ovens, to hatch eggs.

I have said, that husbandmen particularly, and those who took care of
flocks, were in great esteem in Egypt, some parts of it excepted, where
the latter were not suffered.(380) It was, indeed, to these two
professions that Egypt owed its riches and plenty. It is astonishing to
reflect what advantages the Egyptians, by their art and labour, drew from
a country of no great extent, but whose soil was made wonderfully fruitful
by the inundations of the Nile, and the laborious industry of the
inhabitants.

It will be always so with every kingdom whose governors direct all their
actions to the public welfare. The culture of lands, and the breeding of
cattle, will be an inexhaustible fund of wealth in all countries, where,
as in Egypt, these profitable callings are supported and encouraged by
maxims of state and policy: and we may consider it as a misfortune, that
they are at present fallen into so general a disesteem; though it is from
them that the most elevated ranks (as we esteem them) are furnished, not
only with the necessaries, but even the luxuries of life. “For,” says Abbé
Fleury, in his admirable work, _Of the manners of the Israelites_, where
the subject I am upon is thoroughly examined, “it is the peasant who feeds
the citizen, the magistrate, the gentleman, the ecclesiastic: and whatever
artifice and craft may be used to convert money into commodities, and
these back again into money; yet all must ultimately be owned to be
received from the products of the earth, and the animals which it sustains
and nourishes. Nevertheless, when we compare men’s different stations of
life together, we give the lowest place to the husbandman: and with many
people a wealthy citizen, enervated with sloth, useless to the public, and
void of all merit, has the preference, merely because he has more money,
and lives a more easy and delightful life.

“But let us imagine to ourselves a country where so great a difference is
not made between the several conditions; where the life of a nobleman is
not made to consist in idleness and doing nothing, but in a careful
preservation of his liberty; that is, in a due subjection to the laws and
the constitution; by a man’s subsisting upon his estate without a
dependence on any one, and being contented to enjoy a little with liberty,
rather than a great deal at the price of mean and base compliances: a
country, where sloth, effeminacy, and the ignorance of things necessary
for life, are held in just contempt; and where pleasure is less valued
than health and bodily strength: in such a country, it will be much more
for a man’s reputation to plough, and keep flocks, than to waste all his
hours in sauntering from place to place, in gaming and expensive
diversions.”

But we need not have recourse to Plato’s commonwealth, for instances of
men who have led these useful lives. It was thus that the greatest part of
mankind lived during near four thousand years; and that not only the
Israelites, but the Egyptians, the Greeks, and the Romans, that is to say,
nations the most civilized, and most renowned for arms and wisdom. They
all inculcate the regard which ought to be paid to agriculture, and the
breeding of cattle: one of which (without saying any thing of hemp and
flax so necessary for our clothing) supplies us by corn, fruits, and
pulse, with not only a plentiful but delicious nourishment; and the other,
besides its supply of exquisite meats to cover our tables, almost alone
gives life to manufactures and trade, by the skins and stuffs it
furnishes.

Princes are commonly desirous, and their interest certainly requires it,
that the peasant who, in a literal sense, sustains the heat and burden of
the day, and pays so great a proportion of the national taxes, should meet
with favour and encouragement. But the kind and good intentions of princes
are too often defeated by the insatiable and merciless avarice of those
who are appointed to collect their revenues. History has transmitted to us
a fine saying of Tiberius on this head. A prefect of Egypt having
augmented the annual tribute of the province, and, doubtless, with the
view of making his court to the emperor, remitted to him a much larger sum
than was customary; that prince, who, in the beginning of his reign,
thought, or at least spoke justly, answered, “that it was his design not
to flay, but to shear his sheep.”(381)



Chapter VI. Of The Fertility Of Egypt.


Under this head, I shall treat only of some plants peculiar to Egypt, and
of the abundance of corn which it produced.

Papyrus. This is a plant, from the root of which shoot out a great many
triangular stalks, to the height of six or seven cubits. The ancients writ
at first upon palm leaves;(382) next, on the inside of the bark of trees,
from whence the word _liber_, or book, is derived; after that, upon tables
covered over with wax, on which the characters were impressed with an
instrument called Stylus, sharp-pointed at one end to write with, and flat
at the other, to efface what had been written; which gave occasion to the
following expression of Horace:


    Sæpe stylum vertas, iterum quæ digna legi sint
    Scripturus:

    _Sat._ lib. i. x. ver. 72.

    Oft turn your style, if you desire to write
    Things that will bear a second reading——


The meaning of which is, that a good performance is not to be expected
without many erasures and corrections. At last the use of paper(383) was
introduced, and this was made of the bark of Papyrus, divided into thin
flakes or leaves, which were very proper for writing; and this Papyrus was
likewise called Byblus.


    Nondum flumineas Memphis contexere byblos
    Noverat.

    Lucan.

    Memphis as yet knew not to form in leaves
    The wat’ry Byblos.


Pliny calls it a wonderful invention,(384) so useful to life, that it
preserves the memory of great actions, and immortalizes those who achieved
them. Varro ascribes this invention to Alexander the Great, when he built
Alexandria; but he had only the merit of making paper more common, for the
invention was of much greater antiquity. The same Pliny adds, that
Eumenes, king of Pergamus, substituted parchment instead of paper, in
emulation of Ptolemy, king of Egypt, whose library he was ambitious to
excel by this invention, which had the advantage over paper. Parchment is
the skin of a sheep dressed and made fit to write upon. It was called
Pergamenum from Pergamus, whose kings had the honour of the invention. All
the ancient manuscripts are either upon parchment, or vellum, which is
calf-skin, and a great deal finer than the common parchment. It is very
curious to see white fine paper wrought out of filthy rags picked up in
the streets. The plant Papyrus was useful likewise for sails, tackling,
clothes, coverlets, &c.(385)

Linum. Flax is a plant whose bark, full of fibres or strings, is useful in
making fine linen. The method of making this linen in Egypt was wonderful,
and carried to such perfection, that the threads which were drawn out of
them, were almost too small for the observation of the sharpest eye.
Priests were always habited in linen, and never in woollen; and all
persons of distinction generally wore linen clothes. This flax formed a
considerable branch of the Egyptian trade, and great quantities of it were
exported into foreign countries. The manufacture of flax employed a great
number of hands in Egypt, especially of the women, as appears from that
passage of Isaiah, in which the prophet menaces Egypt with a drought of so
terrible a nature, that it should interrupt every kind of labour.
“Moreover, they that work in fine flax, and they that weave network, shall
be confounded.”(386) We likewise find in Scripture, that one effect of the
plague of hail, called down by Moses upon Egypt, was the destruction of
all the flax which was then bolled.(387) This storm was in March.

Byssus. This was another kind of flax extremely fine and delicate, which
often received a purple dye.(388) It was very dear; and none but rich and
wealthy persons could afford to wear it. Pliny, who gives the first place
to the Asbeston or Asbestinum, (_i.e._ the incombustible flax,) places the
Byssus in the next rank; and says, “that the dress and ornaments of the
ladies were made of it.”(389) It appears from the Holy Scriptures, that it
was chiefly from Egypt that cloth made of this fine flax was brought:
“fine linen with broidered work from Egypt.”(390)

I take no notice of the Lotus, a very common plant, and in great request
among the Egyptians, of whose berries, in former times, they made bread.
There was another Lotus in Africa, which gave its name to the Lotophagi or
Lotus-eaters; because they lived upon the fruit of this tree, which had so
delicious a taste, if Homer may be credited, that it made those who ate it
forget all the sweets of their native country,(391) as Ulysses found to
his cost in his return from Troy.

In general, it may be said, that the Egyptian pulse and fruits were
excellent; and might, as Pliny observes,(392) have sufficed singly for the
nourishment of the inhabitants, such was their excellent quality, and so
great their plenty. And, indeed, working men lived then almost upon
nothing else, as appears from those who were employed in building the
pyramids.

Besides these rural riches, the Nile, from its fish, and the fatness it
gave to the soil for the feeding of cattle, furnished the tables of the
Egyptians with the most exquisite fish of every kind, and the most
succulent flesh. This it was which made the Israelites so deeply regret
the loss of Egypt, when they found themselves in the wilderness: “Who,”
say they, in a plaintive, and at the same time, seditious tone, “shall
give us flesh to eat? We remember the flesh which we did eat in Egypt
freely; the cucumbers and melons, and the leeks, and the onions, and the
garlick.(393) We sat by the flesh-pots, and we did eat bread to the
full.”(394)

But the great and matchless wealth of Egypt arose from its corn, which,
even in an almost universal famine, enabled it to support all the
neighbouring nations, as it particularly did under Joseph’s
administration. In later ages, it was the resource and most certain
granary of Rome and Constantinople. It is a well-known story, how a
calumny raised against St. Athanasius, _viz._ of his having threatened to
prevent in future the importation of corn into Constantinople from
Alexandria, incensed the emperor Constantine against that holy bishop,
because he knew that his capital city could not subsist without the corn
which was brought to it from Egypt. The same reason induced all the
emperors of Rome to take so great a care of Egypt, which they considered
as the nursing mother of the world’s metropolis.

Nevertheless, the same river which enabled this province to subsist the
two most populous cities in the world, sometimes reduced even Egypt itself
to the most terrible famine: and it is astonishing that Joseph’s wise
foresight, which in fruitful years had made provision for seasons of
sterility, should not have taught these so much boasted politicians, to
adopt similar precautions against the changes and inconstancy of the Nile.
Pliny, in his panegyric upon Trajan, paints with wonderful strength the
extremity to which that country was reduced by a famine under that
prince’s reign, and his generous relief of it. The reader will not be
displeased to read here an extract of it, in which a greater regard will
be had to Pliny’s thoughts, than to his expressions.

“The Egyptians,” says Pliny, “who gloried that they needed neither rain
nor sun to produce their corn, and who believed they might confidently
contest the prize of plenty with the most fruitful countries of the world,
were condemned to an unexpected drought, and a fatal sterility; from the
greatest part of their territories being deserted and left unwatered by
the Nile, whose inundation is the source and sure standard of their
abundance. ‘They then implored that assistance from their prince which
they had been accustomed to expect only from their river.’(395) The delay
of their relief was no longer than that which employed a courier to bring
the melancholy news to Rome; and one would have imagined, that this
misfortune had befallen them only to display with greater lustre the
generosity and goodness of Cæsar. It was an ancient and general opinion,
that our city could not subsist without provisions drawn from Egypt.(396)
This vain and proud nation boasted, that though conquered, they
nevertheless fed their conquerors; that, by means of their river, either
abundance or scarcity were entirely in their own disposal. But we now have
returned the Nile his own harvests, and given him back the provisions he
sent us. Let the Egyptians be then convinced, by their own experience,
that they are not necessary to us, and are only our vassals. Let them know
that their ships do not so much bring us the provision we stand in need
of, as the tribute which they owe us. And let them never forget that we
can do without them, but that they can never do without us. This most
fruitful province had been ruined, had it not worn the Roman chains. The
Egyptians, in their sovereign, found a deliverer, and a father. Astonished
at the sight of their granaries, filled without any labour of their own,
they were at a loss to know to whom they owed this foreign and gratuitous
plenty. The famine of a people, though at such a distance from us, yet so
speedily stopped, served only to let them feel the advantage of living
under our empire. The Nile may, in other times, have diffused more plenty
on Egypt, but never more glory upon us.(397) May Heaven, content with this
proof of the people’s patience, and the prince’s generosity, restore for
ever back to Egypt its ancient fertility!”

Pliny’s reproach to the Egyptians, for their vain and foolish pride with
regard to the inundations of the Nile, points out one of their most
peculiar characteristics, and recalls to my mind a fine passage of
Ezekiel, where God thus speaks to Pharaoh, one of their kings, “Behold I
am against thee, Pharaoh, king of Egypt, the great Dragon that lieth in
the midst of his rivers, which hath said, My river is my own, and I have
made it for myself.”(398) God perceived an insupportable pride in the
heart of this prince: a sense of security and confidence in the
inundations of the Nile, independent entirely on the influences of heaven;
as though the happy effects of this inundation had been owing to nothing
but his own care and labour, or those of his predecessors: “the river is
mine, and I have made it.”

Before I conclude this second part, which treats of the manners of the
Egyptians, I think it incumbent on me to bespeak the attention of my
readers to different passages scattered in the history of Abraham, Jacob,
Joseph, and Moses, which confirm and illustrate part of what we meet with
in profane authors upon this subject. They will there observe the perfect
polity which reigned in Egypt, both in the court and the rest of the
kingdom; the vigilance of the prince, who was informed of all
transactions, had a regular council, a chosen number of ministers, armies
ever well maintained and disciplined, both of horse, foot, and armed
chariots; intendants in all the provinces; overseers or guardians of the
public granaries; wise and exact dispensers of the corn lodged in them; a
court composed of great officers of the crown, a captain of his guards, a
chief cup-bearer, a master of his pantry; in a word, all things that
compose a prince’s household, and constitute a magnificent court. But
above all these, the readers will admire the fear in which the
threatenings of God were held, the inspector of all actions, and the judge
of kings themselves; and the horror the Egyptians had for adultery, which
was acknowledged to be a crime of so heinous a nature, that it alone was
capable of bringing destruction on a nation.(399)



Part The Third. The History of the Kings of Egypt.


No part of ancient history is more obscure or uncertain, than that of the
first kings of Egypt. This proud nation, fondly conceited of its antiquity
and nobility, thought it glorious to lose itself in an abyss of infinite
ages, which seemed to carry its pretensions backward to eternity.
According to its own historians,(400) first, gods, and afterwards demigods
or heroes, governed it successively, through a series of more than twenty
thousand years. But the absurdity of this vain and fabulous claim is
easily discovered.

To gods and demigods, men succeeded as rulers or kings in Egypt, of whom
Manetho has left us thirty dynasties or principalities. This Manetho was
an Egyptian high priest, and keeper of the sacred archives of Egypt, and
had been instructed in the Grecian learning: he wrote a history of Egypt,
which he pretended to have extracted from the writings of Mercurius, and
other ancient memoirs, preserved in the archives of the Egyptian temples.
He drew up this history under the reign, and at the command of Ptolemy
Philadelphus. If his thirty dynasties are allowed to be successive, they
make up a series of time, of more than five thousand three hundred years,
to the reign of Alexander the Great; but this is a manifest forgery.
Besides, we find in Eratosthenes,(401) who was invited to Alexandria by
Ptolemy Euergetes, a catalogue of thirty-eight kings of Thebes, all
different from those of Manetho. The clearing up of these difficulties has
put the learned to a great deal of trouble and labour. The most effectual
way to reconcile such contradictions, is to suppose, with almost all the
modern writers upon this subject, that the kings of these different
dynasties did not reign successively after one another, but many of them
at the same time, and in different countries of Egypt. There were in Egypt
four principal dynasties, that of Thebes, of Thin, of Memphis, and of
Tanis. I shall not here give my readers a list of the kings who have
reigned in Egypt, of most of whom we have only the names transmitted to
us. I shall only take notice of what seems to me most proper, to give
youth the necessary light into this part of history, for whose sake
principally I engaged in this undertaking; and I shall confine myself
chiefly to the memoirs left us by Herodotus and Diodorus Siculus,
concerning the Egyptian kings, without even scrupulously preserving the
exactness of succession, at least in the early part of the monarchy, which
is very obscure; and without pretending to reconcile these two historians.
Their design, especially that of Herodotus, was not to lay before us an
exact series of the kings of Egypt, but only to point out those princes
whose history appeared to them most important and instructive. I shall
follow the same plan, and hope to be forgiven, for not having involved
either myself or my readers in a labyrinth of almost inextricable
difficulties, from which the most able can scarce disengage themselves,
when they pretend to follow the series of history, and reduce it to fixed
and certain dates. The curious may consult the learned pieces,(402) in
which this subject is treated in all its extent.

I am to premise, that Herodotus, upon the credit of the Egyptian priests,
whom he had consulted, gives us a great number of oracles and singular
incidents, all which, though he relates them as so many facts, the
judicious reader will easily discover to be what they really are—I mean,
fictions.

The ancient history of Egypt comprehends 2158 years, and is naturally
divided into three periods.

The first begins with the establishment of the Egyptian monarchy, by Menes
or Misraim, the son of Cham,(403) in the year of the world 1816; and ends
with the destruction of that monarchy by Cambyses, king of Persia, in the
year of the world 3479. This first period contains 1663 years.

The second period is intermixed with the Persian and Grecian history, and
extends to the death of Alexander the Great, which happened in the year
3681, and consequently includes 202 years.

The third period is that in which a new monarchy was formed in Egypt by
the Lagidæ, or Ptolemies, descendants from Lagus, to the death of
Cleopatra, the last queen of Egypt, in 3974; and this last comprehends 293
years.

I shall now treat only of the first period, reserving the two others for
the Æras to which they belong.

(M64) THE KINGS OF EGYPT.—MENES. Historians are unanimously agreed, that
Menes was the first king of Egypt. It is pretended, and not without
foundation, that he is the same with Misraïm, the son of Cham.

Cham was the second son of Noah. When the family of the latter, after the
extravagant attempt of building the tower of Babel, dispersed themselves
into different countries, Cham retired to Africa; and it doubtless was he
who afterwards was worshipped as a god, under the name of Jupiter Ammon.
He had four children, Chus,(404) Misraïm, Phut, and Canaan. Chus settled
in Ethiopia, Misraïm in Egypt, which generally is called in Scripture
after his name, and by that of Cham,(405) his father; Phut took possession
of that part of Africa which lies westward of Egypt; and Canaan, of the
country which afterwards bore his name. The Canaanites are certainly the
same people who are called almost always Phœnicians by the Greeks, of
which foreign name no reason can be given, any more than of the oblivion
of the true one.

I return to Misraïm.(406) He is allowed to be the same with Menes, whom
all historians declare to be the first king of Egypt, the institutor of
the worship of the gods, and of the ceremonies of the sacrifices.

BUSIRIS, some ages after him, built the famous city of Thebes, and made it
the seat of his empire. We have elsewhere taken notice of the wealth and
magnificence of this city. This prince is not to be confounded with
Busiris, so infamous for his cruelties.

OSYMANDYAS. Diodorus gives a very particular description of many
magnificent edifices raised by this king;(407) one of which was adorned
with sculptures and paintings of exquisite beauty, representing his
expedition against the Bactrians, a people of Asia, whom he had invaded
with four hundred thousand foot and twenty thousand horse. In another part
of the edifice was exhibited an assembly of the judges, whose president
wore, on his breast, a picture of Truth, with her eyes shut, and himself
was surrounded with books—an emphatic emblem, denoting that judges ought
to be perfectly versed in the laws, and impartial in the administration of
them.

The king likewise was painted here, offering to the gods gold and silver,
which he drew every year from the mines of Egypt, amounting to the sum of
sixteen millions.(408)

Not far from hence was seen a magnificent library, the oldest mentioned in
history. Its title or inscription on the front was, _The office, or
treasury, of remedies for the diseases of the soul_. Near it were placed
statues, representing all the Egyptian gods, to each of whom the king made
suitable offerings; by which he seemed to be desirous of informing
posterity that his life and reign had been crowned with piety to the gods,
and justice to men.

His mausoleum displayed uncommon magnificence; it was encompassed with a
circle of gold, a cubit in breadth, and 365 cubits in circumference; each
of which showed the rising and setting of the sun, moon, and the rest of
the planets. For so early as this king’s reign, the Egyptians divided the
year into twelve months, each consisting of thirty days; to which they
added every year five days and six hours.(409) The spectator did not know
which to admire most in this stately monument, whether the richness of its
materials, or the genius and industry of the artists.

UCHOREUS, one of the successors of Osymandyas, built the city of
Memphis.(410) This city was 150 furlongs, or more than seven leagues in
circumference, and stood at the point of the Delta, in that part where the
Nile divides itself into several branches or streams. Southward from the
city, he raised a lofty mole. On the right and left he dug very deep moats
to receive the river. These were faced with stone, and raised, near the
city, by strong causeys; the whole designed to secure the city from the
inundations of the Nile, and the incursions of the enemy. A city so
advantageously situated, and so strongly fortified, that it was almost the
key of the Nile, and by this means commanded the whole country, became
soon the usual residence of the Egyptian kings. It kept possession of this
honour till Alexandria was built by Alexander the Great.

MŒRIS. This king made the famous lake, which went by his name, and whereof
mention has been already made,

(M65) Egypt had long been governed by its native princes, when strangers,
called Shepherd-kings, (Hycsos in the Egyptian language,) from Arabia or
Phœnicia, invaded and seized a great part of Lower Egypt, and Memphis
itself; but Upper Egypt remained unconquered, and the kingdom of Thebes
existed till the reign of Sesostris. These foreign princes governed about
260 years.

(M66) Under one of these princes, called Pharaoh in Scripture,(411) (a
name common to all the kings of Egypt,) Abraham arrived there with his
wife Sarah, who was exposed to great hazard, on account of her exquisite
beauty, which reaching the prince’s ear, she was by him taken from
Abraham, upon the supposition that she was not his wife, but only his
sister.

(M67) THETHMOSIS, or Amosis, having expelled the Shepherd-kings, reigned
in Lower Egypt.

(M68) Long after his reign, Joseph was brought a slave into Egypt, by some
Ishmaelitish merchants; sold to Potiphar; and, by a series of wonderful
events, enjoyed the supreme authority, by his being raised to the chief
employment of the kingdom. I shall pass over his history, as it is so
universally known. But I must take notice of a remark of Justin, (the
epitomizer of Trogus Pompeius,(412) an excellent historian of the Augustan
age,) _viz._ that Joseph, the youngest of Jacob’s children, whom his
brethren, through envy, had sold to foreign merchants, being endowed from
heaven(413) with the interpretation of dreams, and a knowledge of
futurity, preserved, by his uncommon prudence, Egypt from the famine with
which it was menaced, and was extremely caressed by the king.

(M69) Jacob also went into Egypt with his whole family, which met with the
kindest treatment from the Egyptians, whilst Joseph’s important services
were fresh in their memories. But after his death, say the
Scriptures,(414) “there arose up a new king, which knew not Joseph.”

(M70) RAMESES-MIAMUN, according to archbishop Usher, was the name of this
king, who is called Pharaoh in Scripture. He reigned sixty-six years, and
oppressed the Israelites in a most grievous manner. “He set over them
task-masters, to afflict them with their burdens, and they built for
Pharaoh treasure-cities,(415) Pithom and Raamses—and the Egyptians made
the children of Israel to serve with rigour, and they made their lives
bitter with hard bondage, in mortar and in brick, and in all manner of
service in the field; all their service wherein they made them serve, was
with rigour.”(416) This king had two sons, Amenophis and Busiris.

(M71) AMENOPHIS, the eldest, succeeded him. He was the Pharaoh, under
whose reign the Israelites departed out of Egypt, and was drowned in
passing the Red-Sea.

(M72) Father Tournemine makes Sesostris, of whom we shall speak
immediately, the Pharaoh who raised the persecution against the
Israelites, and oppressed them with the most painful toils. This is
exactly agreeable to the account given by Diodorus of this prince, who
employed in his Egyptian works only foreigners; so that we may place the
memorable event of the passage of the Red-Sea, under his son Pheron;(417)
and the characteristic of impiety ascribed to him by Herodotus, greatly
strengthens the probability of this conjecture. The plan I have proposed
to follow in this history, excuses me from entering into chronological
discussions.

Diodorus, speaking of the Red-Sea,(418) has made one remark very worthy
our observation; a tradition (says that historian) has been transmitted
through the whole nation, from father to son, for many ages, that once an
extraordinary ebb dried up the sea, so that its bottom was seen; and that
a violent flow immediately after brought back the waters to their former
channel. It is evident, that the miraculous passage of Moses over the
Red-Sea is here hinted at; and I make this remark, purposely to admonish
young students, not to slip over, in their perusal of authors, these
precious remains of antiquity; especially when they bear, like this
passage, any relation to religion.

Archbishop Usher says, that Amenophis left two sons, one called Sesothis
or Sesostris, and the other Armais. The Greeks call him Belus, and his two
sons Egyptus and Danaus.

SESOSTRIS(419) was not only one of the most powerful kings of Egypt, but
one of the greatest conquerors that antiquity boasts of. His father,
whether by inspiration, caprice, or, as the Egyptians say, by the
authority of an oracle, formed a design of making his son a conqueror.
This he set about after the Egyptian manner, that is, in a great and noble
way. All the male children, born the same day with Sesostris, were, by the
king’s order, brought to court. Here they were educated as if they had
been his own children, with the same care bestowed on Sesostris, with whom
they were brought up. He could not possibly have given him more faithful
ministers, nor officers who more zealously desired the success of his
arms. The chief part of their education was, the enuring them, from their
infancy, to a hard and laborious life, in order that they might one day be
capable of sustaining with ease the toils of war. They were never suffered
to eat, till they had run, on foot or horseback, a considerable race.
Hunting was their most common exercise.

Ælian remarks(420) that Sesostris was taught by Mercury, who instructed
him in politics, and the art of government. This Mercury is he whom the
Greeks called Trismegistus, _i.e._ thrice great. Egypt, his native
country, owes to him the invention of almost every art. The two books,
which go under his name, bear such evident characters of novelty, that the
forgery is no longer doubted. There was another Mercury who also was very
famous amongst the Egyptians for his rare knowledge; and of much greater
antiquity than he of whom we have been speaking. Jamblicus, a priest of
Egypt, affirms, that it was customary with the Egyptians, to affix the
name of Hermes or Mercury to all the new books or inventions that were
offered to the public.

When Sesostris was more advanced in years, his father sent him against the
Arabians, in order to acquire military knowledge. Here the young prince
learned to bear hunger and thirst; and subdued a nation which till then
had never been conquered. The youths educated with him attended him in all
his campaigns.

Accustomed by this conquest to martial toils, he was next sent by his
father to try his fortune westward. He invaded Libya, and subdued the
greatest part of that vast country.

(M73) SESOSTRIS. During this expedition his father died, and left him
capable of attempting the greatest enterprises. He formed no less a design
than that of the conquest of the world. But before he left his kingdom, he
provided for his domestic security, in winning the hearts of his subjects
by his generosity, justice, and a popular and obliging behaviour. He was
no less studious to gain the affection of his officers and soldiers, whom
he wished to be ever ready to shed the last drop of their blood in his
service; persuaded that his enterprises would all be unsuccessful, unless
his army should be attached to his person, by all the ties of esteem,
affection, and interest. He divided the country into thirty-six
governments (called Nomi,) and bestowed them on persons of merit, and the
most approved fidelity.

In the mean time he made the requisite preparations, levied forces, and
headed them with officers of the greatest bravery and reputation, and
these were taken chiefly from among the youths who had been educated with
him. He had seventeen hundred of these officers, who were all capable of
inspiring his troops with resolution, a love of discipline, and a zeal for
the service of their prince. His army consisted of six hundred thousand
foot, and twenty-four thousand horse, besides twenty-seven thousand armed
chariots.

He began his expedition by invading Æthiopia, situated to the south of
Egypt. He made it tributary, and obliged the nations of it to furnish him
annually with a certain quantity of ebony, ivory, and gold.

He had fitted out a fleet of four hundred sail, and ordering it to advance
to the Red-Sea, made himself master of the isles and cities lying on the
coasts of that sea. He himself heading his land army, overran and subdued
Asia with amazing rapidity, and advanced farther into India than Hercules,
Bacchus, and in after-times Alexander himself, had ever done; for he
subdued the countries beyond the Ganges, and advanced as far as the Ocean.
One may judge from hence how unable the more neighbouring countries were
to resist him. The Scythians, as far as the river Tanais, as well as
Armenia, and Cappadocia, were conquered. He left a colony in the ancient
kingdom of Colchos, situated to the east of the Black Sea, where the
Egyptian customs and manners have been ever since retained. Herodotus saw
in Asia Minor, from one sea to the other, monuments of his victories. In
several countries was read the following inscription engraven on pillars:
“Sesostris, king of kings, and lord of lords, subdued this country by the
power of his arms.” Such pillars were found even in Thrace, and his empire
extended from the Ganges to the Danube. In his expeditions, some nations
bravely defended their liberties, and others yielded them up without
making the least resistance. This disparity was denoted by him in
hieroglyphical figures, on the monuments erected to perpetuate the
remembrance of his victories, agreeably to the Egyptian practice.

The scarcity of provisions in Thrace stopped the progress of his
conquests, and prevented his advancing farther in Europe. One remarkable
circumstance is observed in this conqueror, who never once thought, as
others had done, of preserving his acquisitions; but contenting himself
with the glory of having subdued and despoiled so many nations; after
having made wild havoc up and down the world for nine years, he confined
himself almost within the ancient limits of Egypt, a few neighbouring
provinces excepted; for we do not find any traces or footsteps of this new
empire, either under himself or his successors.

He returned therefore laden with the spoils of the vanquished nations,
dragging after him a numberless multitude of captives, and covered with
greater glory than any of his predecessors; that glory, I mean, which
employs so many tongues and pens in its praise; which consists in invading
a great number of provinces in a hostile way, and is often productive of
numberless calamities. He rewarded his officers and soldiers with a truly
royal magnificence, in proportion to their rank and merit. He made it both
his pleasure and duty, to put the companions of his victory in such a
condition as might enable them to enjoy, during the remainder of their
days, a calm and easy repose, the just reward of their past toils.

With regard to himself, for ever careful of his own reputation, and still
more of making his power advantageous to his subjects, he employed the
repose which peace allowed him, in raising works that might contribute
more to the enriching of Egypt, than the immortalizing his name; works, in
which the art and industry of the workman were more admired, than the
immense sums which had been expended on them.

A hundred famous temples, raised as so many monuments of gratitude to the
tutelar gods of all the cities, were the first, as well as the most
illustrious, testimonies of his victories; and he took care to publish in
the inscriptions on them, that these mighty works had been completed
without burdening any of his subjects. He made it his glory to be tender
of them, and to employ only captives in these monuments of his conquests.
The Scriptures take notice of something like this, where they speak of the
buildings of Solomon.(421) But he prided himself particularly in adorning
and enriching the temple of Vulcan at Pelusium, in acknowledgment of the
protection which he fancied that god had bestowed on him, when, on his
return from his expeditions, his brother had a design of destroying him in
that city, with his wife and children, by setting fire to the apartment
where he then lay.

His great work was, the raising, in every part of Egypt, a considerable
number of high banks or moles, on which new cities were built, in order
that these might be a security for men and beasts during the inundations
of the Nile.

From Memphis, as far as the sea, he cut, on both sides of the river, a
great number of canals, for the conveniency of trade, and the conveying of
provisions, and for the settling an easy correspondence between such
cities as were most distant from one another. Besides the advantages of
traffic, Egypt was, by these canals, made inaccessible to the cavalry of
its enemies, which before had so often harassed it by repeated incursions.

He did still more. To secure Egypt from the inroads of its nearer
neighbours, the Syrians and Arabians, he fortified all the eastern coast
from Pelusium to Heliopolis, that is, for upwards of seven leagues.(422)

Sesostris might have been considered as one of the most illustrious and
most boasted heroes of antiquity, had not the lustre of his warlike
actions, as well as his pacific virtues, been tarnished by a thirst of
glory, and a blind fondness for his own grandeur, which made him forget
that he was a man. The kings and chiefs of the conquered nations came, at
stated times, to do homage to their victor, and pay him the appointed
tribute. On every other occasion, he treated them with sufficient humanity
and generosity. But when he went to the temple, or entered his capital, he
caused these princes to be harnessed to his car, four abreast, instead of
horses; and valued himself upon his being thus drawn by the lords and
sovereigns of other nations. What I am most surprised at, is, that
Diodorus should rank this foolish and inhuman vanity among the most
shining actions of this prince.

Being grown blind in his old age, he died by his own hands, after having
reigned thirty-three years, and left his kingdom infinitely rich. His
empire, nevertheless, did not reach beyond the fourth generation. But
there still remained, so low as the reign of Tiberius, magnificent
monuments, which showed the extent of Egypt under Sesostris,(423) and the
immense tributes which were paid to it.(424)

I now go back to some facts which took place in this period, but which
were omitted, in order that I might not break the thread of the history,
and now I shall but barely mention them.

(M74) About the æra in question, the Egyptians settled themselves in
divers parts of the earth. The colony, which Cecrops led out of Egypt,
built twelve cities, or rather as many towns, of which he composed the
kingdom of Athens.

(M75) We observed, that the brother of Sesostris, called by the Greeks
Danaus, had formed a design to murder him, on his return to Egypt, after
his conquest. But being defeated in his horrid project, he was obliged to
fly. He thereupon retired to Peloponnesus, where he seized upon the
kingdom of Argos, which had been founded about four hundred years before,
by Inachus.

(M76) BUSIRIS, brother of Amenophis, so infamous among the ancients for
his cruelties, exercised his tyranny at that time on the banks of the
Nile; and barbarously murdered all foreigners who landed in his country:
this was probably during the absence of Sesostris.

(M77) About the same time, Cadmus brought from Syria into Greece the
invention of letters. Some pretend, that these characters or letters were
Egyptian, and that Cadmus himself was a native of Egypt, and not of
Phœnicia; and the Egyptians, who ascribe to themselves the invention of
every art, and boast a greater antiquity than any other nation, give to
their Mercury the honour of inventing letters. Most of the learned
agree,(425) that Cadmus carried the Phœnician or Syrian letters into
Greece, and that those letters were the same as the Hebraic; the Hebrews,
who formed but a small nation, being comprehended under the general name
of Syrians. Joseph Scaliger, in his notes on the _Chronicon_ of Eusebius,
proves, that the Greek letters, and those of the Latin alphabet formed
from them, derive their original from the ancient Phœnician letters, which
are the same with the Samaritan, and were used by the Jews before the
Babylonish captivity. Cadmus carried only sixteen letters(426) into
Greece, eight others being added afterwards.

I return to the history of the Egyptian kings, whom I shall hereafter rank
in the same order as Herodotus has assigned to them.

(M78) PHERON succeeded Sesostris in his kingdom, but not in his glory.
Herodotus(427) relates but one action of his, which shows how greatly he
had degenerated from the religious sentiments of his father. In an
extraordinary inundation of the Nile, which exceeded eighteen cubits, this
prince, enraged at the wild havoc which was made by it, threw a javelin at
the river, as if he intended thereby to chastise its insolence; but was
himself immediately punished for his impiety, if the historian may be
credited, with the loss of sight.

(M79) PROTEUS.(428) He was of Memphis, where, in Herodotus’s time,(429)
his temple was still standing, in which was a chapel dedicated to Venus
the Stranger. It is conjectured that this Venus was Helen. For, in the
reign of this monarch, Paris the Trojan, returning home with Helen whom he
had stolen, was driven by a storm into one of the mouths of the Nile,
called Canopic; and from thence was conducted to Proteus at Memphis, who
reproached him in the strongest terms for his base perfidy and guilt, in
stealing the wife of his host, and with her all the effects in his house.
He added, that the only reason why he did not punish him with death (as
his crime deserved) was, because the Egyptians were careful not to imbrue
their hands in the blood of strangers: that he would keep Helen, with all
the riches that were brought with her, in order to restore them to their
lawful owner: that as for himself, (Paris,) he must either quit his
dominions in three days, or expect to be treated as an enemy. The king’s
order was obeyed. Paris continued his voyage, and arrived at Troy, whither
he was closely pursued by the Grecian army. The Greeks summoned the
Trojans to surrender Helen, and with her all the treasures of which her
husband had been plundered. The Trojans answered, that neither Helen, nor
her treasures, were in their city. And, indeed, was it at all likely, says
Herodotus, that Priam, who was so wise an old prince, should choose to see
his children and country destroyed before his eyes, rather than give the
Greeks the just and reasonable satisfaction they desired? But it was to no
purpose for them to affirm with an oath, that Helen was not in their city;
the Greeks, being firmly persuaded that they were trifled with, persisted
obstinately in their unbelief: the deity, continues the same historian,
being resolved that the Trojans, by the total destruction of their city
and empire, should teach the affrighted world this lesson:(430)—THAT GREAT
CRIMES ARE ATTENDED WITH AS GREAT AND SIGNAL PUNISHMENTS FROM THE OFFENDED
GODS. Menelaus, on his return from Troy, called at the court of king
Proteus, who restored him Helen, with all her treasure. Herodotus proves,
from some passages in Homer, that the voyage of Paris to Egypt was not
unknown to this poet.

RHAMPSINITUS. What is related by Herodotus(431) concerning the treasury
built by this king, who was the richest of all his predecessors, and his
descent into hell, has so much the air of romance and fiction, as to
deserve no mention here.

Till the reign of this king, there had been some shadow, at least, of
justice and moderation in Egypt; but in the two following reigns, violence
and cruelty usurped their place.

CHEOPS and CEPHREN.(432) These two princes, who were truly brothers by the
similitude of their manners, seem to have vied with each other which of
them should distinguish himself most, by a barefaced impiety towards the
gods, and a barbarous inhumanity to men. Cheops reigned fifty years, and
his brother Cephren fifty-six years after him. They kept the temples shut
during the whole time of their long reigns; and forbid the offering of
sacrifices under the severest penalties. On the other hand, they oppressed
their subjects by employing them in the most grievous and useless works;
and sacrificed the lives of numberless multitudes of men, merely to
gratify a senseless ambition of immortalizing their names by edifices of
an enormous magnitude, and a boundless expense. It is remarkable, that
those stately pyramids, which have so long been the admiration of the
whole world, were the effect of the irreligion and merciless cruelty of
those princes.

MYCERINUS.(433) He was the son of Cheops, but of a character opposite to
that of his father. So far from walking in his steps, he detested his
conduct, and pursued quite different measures. He again opened the temples
of the gods, restored the sacrifices, did all that lay in his power to
comfort his subjects, and make them forget their past miseries; and
believed himself set over them for no other purpose but to exercise
justice, and to make them taste all the blessings of an equitable and
peaceful administration. He heard their complaints, dried their tears,
alleviated their misery, and thought himself not so much the master as the
father of his people. This procured him the love of them all. Egypt
resounded with his praises, and his name commanded veneration in all
places.

One would naturally conclude, that so prudent and humane a conduct must
have drawn down on Mycerinus the protection of the gods. But it happened
far otherwise. His misfortunes began from the death of a darling and only
daughter, in whom his whole felicity consisted. He ordered extraordinary
honours to be paid to her memory, which were still continued in
Herodotus’s time. This historian informs us, that in the city of Saïs,
exquisite odours were burnt, in the day-time, at the tomb of this
princess; and that during the night, a lamp was kept constantly burning.

He was told by an oracle, that his reign would continue but seven years.
And as he complained of this to the gods, and inquired the reason why so
long and prosperous a reign had been granted to his father and uncle, who
were equally cruel and impious, whilst his own, which he had endeavoured
so carefully to render as equitable and mild as it was possible for him to
do, should be so short and unhappy; he was answered, that these were the
very causes of it, it being the will of the gods, to oppress and afflict
Egypt during the space of one hundred and fifty years, as a punishment for
its crimes; and that his reign, which was to have been like those of the
preceding monarchs, of fifty years’ continuance, was shortened on account
of his too great lenity. Mycerinus likewise built a pyramid, but much
inferior in dimensions to that of his father.

ASYCHIS.(434) He enacted the law relating to loans, which forbade a son to
borrow money, without giving the dead body of his father by way of
security for it. The law added, that in case the son took no care to
redeem his father’s body by restoring the loan, both himself and his
children should be deprived for ever of the rights of sepulture.

He valued himself for having surpassed all his predecessors, by the
building a pyramid of brick, more magnificent, if this king was to be
credited, than any hitherto seen. The following inscription, by its
founder’s order, was engraved upon it. COMPARE ME NOT WITH PYRAMIDS BUILT
OF STONE; WHICH I AS MUCH EXCEL AS JUPITER DOES ALL THE OTHER GODS.(435)

If we suppose the six preceding reigns (the exact duration of some of
which is not fixed by Herodotus) to comprise one hundred and seventy
years, there will remain an interval of near three hundred years, to the
reign of Sabachus the Ethiopian. In this interval, I place a few
circumstances related in Holy Scripture.

(M80) PHARAOH, king of Egypt, gave his daughter in marriage to Solomon
king of Israel; who received her in that part of Jerusalem called the city
of David, till he had built her a palace.(436)

SESACH or Shishak, otherwise called Sesonchis. (M81) It was to him that
Jeroboam fled, to avoid the wrath of Solomon, who intended to kill
him.(437) He abode in Egypt till Solomon’s death, and then returned to
Jerusalem, when, putting himself at the head of the rebels, he won from
Rehoboam, the son of Solomon, ten tribes, over whom he declared himself
king.

(M82) This Sesach, in the fifth year of the reign of Rehoboam, marched
against Jerusalem, because the Jews had transgressed against the Lord. He
came with twelve hundred chariots of war, and sixty thousand horse.(438)
He had brought numberless multitudes of people, who were all Libyans,(439)
Troglodytes, and Ethiopians. He made himself master of all the strongest
cities of Judah, and advanced as far as Jerusalem. Then the king, and the
princes of Israel, having humbled themselves, and implored the protection
of the God of Israel; God told them, by his prophet Shemaiah, that,
because they humbled themselves, he would not utterly destroy them as they
had deserved; but that they should be the servants of Sesach: in order
“that they might know the difference of his service, and the service of
the kingdoms of the country.”(440) Sesach retired from Jerusalem, after
having plundered the treasures of the house of the Lord, and of the king’s
house; he carried off every thing with him, “and even also the three
hundred shields of gold which Solomon had made.”

(M83) ZERAH, king of Ethiopia, and doubtless of Egypt at the same time,
made war upon Asa king of Judah.(441) His army consisted of a million of
men, and three hundred chariots of war. Asa marched against him, and
drawing up his army in order of battle, in full reliance on the God whom
he served: “Lord,” says he, “it is nothing for thee to help whether with
many, or with them that have no power. Help us, O Lord our God, for we
rest on thee, and in thy name we go against this multitude; O Lord, thou
art our God, let not man prevail against thee.” A prayer offered up with
such strong faith was heard. God struck the Ethiopians with terror; they
fled, and all were irrevocably defeated, being “destroyed before the Lord,
and before his host.”

ANYSIS.(442) He was blind, and under his reign SABACHUS, king of Ethiopia,
being encouraged by an oracle, entered Egypt with a numerous army, and
possessed himself of it. He reigned with great clemency and justice.
Instead of putting to death such criminals as had been sentenced to die by
the judges, he made them repair the causeys, on which the respective
cities to which they belonged were situated. He built several magnificent
temples, and among the rest, one in the city of Bubastus, of which
Herodotus gives a long and elegant description. After a reign of fifty
years, which was the time appointed by the oracle, he retired voluntarily
to his old kingdom of Ethiopia, and left the throne of Egypt to Anysis,
who, during this time, had concealed himself in the fens.

(M84) It is believed that this Sabachus was the same with So, whose aid
was implored by Hoshea, king of Israel, against Shalmanezer, king of
Assyria.(443)

SETHON. He reigned fourteen years.

(M85) He is the same with Sevechus, the son of Sabacon, or So, the
Ethiopian, who reigned so long over Egypt. This prince, so far from
discharging the functions of a king, was ambitious of those of a priest;
causing himself to be consecrated high-priest of Vulcan. Abandoning
himself entirely to superstition, he neglected to defend his kingdom by
force of arms; paying no regard to military men, from a firm persuasion
that he should never have occasion for their assistance; he, therefore,
was so far from endeavouring to gain their affections, that he deprived
them of their privileges, and even dispossessed them of their revenues of
such lands as his predecessors had given them.

He was soon made sensible of their resentment in a war that broke out
suddenly, and from which he delivered himself solely by a miraculous
protection, if Herodotus may be credited, who intermixes his account of
this war with a great many fabulous particulars. Sanacharib (so Herodotus
calls this prince) king of the Arabians and Assyrians, having entered
Egypt with a numerous army, the Egyptian officers and soldiers refused to
march against him. The high priest of Vulcan, being thus reduced to the
greatest extremity, had recourse to his god, who bid him not despond, but
march courageously against the enemy with the few soldiers he could raise.
Sethon obeyed. A small number of merchants, artificers, and others who
were the dregs of the populace, joined him; and with this handful of men,
he marched to Pelusium, where Sanacharib had pitched his camp. The night
following, a prodigious multitude of rats entered the camp of the
Assyrians, and gnawing to pieces all their bowstrings, and the thongs of
their shields, rendered them incapable of making the least defence. Being
disarmed in this manner, they were obliged to fly; and they retreated with
the loss of a great part of their forces. Sethon, when he returned home,
ordered a statue of himself to be set up in the temple of Vulcan, holding
in his right hand a rat, and these words to be inscribed thereon:—LET THE
MAN WHO BEHOLDS ME LEARN TO REVERENCE THE GODS.(444)

It is very obvious that this story, as related here from Herodotus, is an
alteration of that which is told in the second book of Kings. We there
see,(445) that Sennacherib, king of the Assyrians, having subdued all the
neighbouring nations, and made himself master of all the other cities of
Judah, resolved to besiege Hezekiah in Jerusalem, his capital city. The
ministers of this holy king, in spite of his opposition, and the
remonstrances of the prophet Isaiah, who promised them, in God’s name, a
sure and certain protection, provided they would trust in him only, sent
secretly to the Egyptians and Ethiopians for succour. Their armies, being
united, marched to the relief of Jerusalem at the time appointed, and were
met and vanquished by the Assyrian in a pitched battle. He pursued them
into Egypt and entirely laid waste the country. At his return from thence,
the very night before he was to have given a general assault to Jerusalem,
which then seemed lost to all hopes, the destroying angel made dreadful
havoc in the camp of the Assyrians; destroyed a hundred fourscore and five
thousand men by fire and sword; and proved evidently, that they had great
reason to rely, as Hezekiah had done, on the promise of the God of Israel.

This is the real fact. But as it was no ways honourable to the Egyptians,
they endeavoured to turn it to their own advantage, by disguising and
corrupting the circumstances of it. Nevertheless, the footsteps of this
history, though so much defaced, ought yet to be highly valued, as coming
from an historian of so great antiquity and authority as Herodotus.

The prophet Isaiah had foretold, at several times, that this expedition of
the Egyptians, which had been concerted, seemingly, with such prudence,
conducted with the greatest skill, and in which the forces of two powerful
empires were united, in order to relieve the Jews, would not only be of no
service to Jerusalem, but even destructive to Egypt itself, whose
strongest cities would be taken, its territories plundered, and its
inhabitants of all ages and sexes led into captivity. See the 18th, 19th,
20th, 30th, 31st, &c. chapters of his prophecy.

Archbishop Usher and Dean Prideaux suppose that it was at this period that
the ruin of the famous city No-Amon,(446) spoken of by the prophet Nahum,
happened. That prophet says,(447) that “she was carried away—that her
young children were dashed in pieces at the top of all the streets—that
the enemy cast lots for her honourable men, and that all her great men
were bound in chains.” He observes, that all these misfortunes befell that
city, when Egypt and Ethiopia were her strength; which seems to refer
clearly enough to the time of which we are here speaking, when Tharaca and
Sethon had united their forces. However, this opinion is not without some
difficulties, and is contradicted by some learned men. It is sufficient
for me to have hinted it to the reader.

Till the reign of Sethon, the Egyptian priests computed three hundred and
forty-one generations of men;(448) which make eleven thousand three
hundred and forty years; allowing three generations to a hundred years.
They counted the like number of priests and kings. The latter, whether
gods or men, had succeeded one another without interruption, under the
name of Piromis, an Egyptian word signifying good and virtuous. The
Egyptian priests showed Herodotus three hundred and forty-one wooden
colossal statues of these Piromis, all ranged in order in a great hall.
Such was the folly of the Egyptians, to lose themselves as it were in a
remote antiquity, to which no other people could dare to pretend.

(M86) THARACA. He it was who joined Sethon, with an Ethiopian army, to
relieve Jerusalem.(449) After the death of Sethon, who had sitten fourteen
years on the throne, Tharaca ascended it, and reigned eighteen years. He
was the last Ethiopian king who reigned in Egypt.

After his death, the Egyptians, not being able to agree about the
succession, were two years in a state of anarchy, during which there were
great disorders and confusions among them.

(M87) At last,(450) twelve of the principal noblemen, conspiring together,
seized upon the kingdom, and divided it amongst themselves into as many
parts. It was agreed by them, that each should govern his own district
with equal power and authority, and that no one should attempt to invade
or seize the dominions of another. They thought it necessary to make this
agreement, and to bind it with the most dreadful oaths, to elude the
prediction of an oracle, which had foretold, that he among them who should
offer his libation to Vulcan out of a brazen bowl, should gain the
sovereignty of Egypt. They reigned together fifteen years in the utmost
harmony: and to leave a famous monument of their concord to posterity,
they jointly, and at a common expense, built the famous labyrinth, which
was a pile of building consisting of twelve large palaces, with as many
edifices underground as appeared above it. I have spoken elsewhere of this
labyrinth.

One day, as the twelve kings were assisting at a solemn and periodical
sacrifice offered in the temple of Vulcan, the priests, having presented
each of them a golden bowl for the libation, one was wanting; when
Psammetichus,(451) without any design, supplied the want of this bowl with
his brazen helmet, (for each wore one,) and with it performed the ceremony
of the libation. This accident struck the rest of the kings, and recalled
to their memory the prediction of the oracle above mentioned. They thought
it therefore necessary to secure themselves from his attempts, and
therefore, with one consent, banished him into the fenny parts of Egypt.

After Psammetichus had passed some years there, waiting a favourable
opportunity to revenge himself for the affront which had been put upon
him, a courier brought him advice, that brazen men were landed in Egypt.
These were Grecian soldiers, Carians and Ionians, who had been cast upon
the coasts of Egypt by a storm, and were completely covered with helmets,
cuirasses, and other arms of brass. Psammetichus immediately called to
mind the oracle, which had answered him, that he should be succoured by
brazen men from the sea-coast. He did not doubt but the prediction was now
fulfilled. He therefore made a league with these strangers; engaged them
with great promises to stay with him; privately levied other forces; and
put these Greeks at their head; when giving battle to the eleven kings, he
defeated them, and remained sole possessor of Egypt.

(M88) PSAMMETICHUS. As this prince owed his preservation to the Ionians
and Carians, he settled them in Egypt, (from which all foreigners hitherto
had been excluded;) and, by assigning them sufficient lands and fixed
revenues, he made them forget their native country.(452) By his order,
Egyptian children were put under their care to learn the Greek tongue; and
on this occasion, and by this means, the Egyptians began to have a
correspondence with the Greeks; and from that æra, the Egyptian history,
which, till then, had been intermixed with pompous fables, by the artifice
of the priests, begins, according to Herodotus, to speak with greater
truth and certainty.

As soon as Psammetichus was settled on the throne, he engaged in war
against the king of Assyria, on the subject of the boundaries of the two
empires. This war was of long continuance. Ever since Syria had been
conquered by the Assyrians, Palestine, being the only country that
separated the two kingdoms, was the subject of continual discord; as
afterwards it was between the Ptolemies and the Seleucidæ. They were
eternally contending for it, and it was alternately won by the stronger.
Psammetichus, seeing himself the peaceable possessor of all Egypt, and
having restored the ancient form of government,(453) thought it high time
for him to look to his frontiers, and to secure them against the Assyrian,
his neighbour, whose power increased daily. For this purpose, he entered
Palestine at the head of an army.

Perhaps we are to refer to the beginning of this war, an incident related
by Diodorus;(454) that the Egyptians, provoked to see the Greeks posted on
the right wing by the king himself, in preference to them, quitted the
service, to the number of upwards of two hundred thousand men, and retired
into Ethiopia, where they met with an advantageous settlement.

Be this as it will, Psammetichus entered Palestine,(455) where his career
was stopped by Azotus, one of the principal cities of the country, which
gave him so much trouble, that he was forced to besiege it twenty-nine
years before he could take it. This is the longest siege mentioned in
ancient history.

This was anciently one of the five capital cities of the Philistines. The
Egyptians, having seized it some time before, had fortified it with such
care, that it was their strongest bulwark on that side. Nor could
Sennacherib enter Egypt, till he had first made himself master of this
city,(456) which was taken by Tartan, one of his generals. The Assyrians
had possessed it hitherto; and it was not till after the long siege just
now mentioned, that the Egyptians recovered it.

In this period,(457) the Scythians, leaving the banks of the Palus Mæotis,
made an inroad into Media, defeated Cyaxares, the king of that country,
and deprived him of all Upper Asia, of which they kept possession during
twenty-eight years. They pushed their conquests in Syria as far as to the
frontiers of Egypt. But Psammetichus marching out to meet them, prevailed
so far, by his presents and entreaties, that they advanced no farther, and
by that means delivered his kingdom from these dangerous enemies.

Till his reign,(458) the Egyptians had imagined themselves to be the most
ancient nation upon earth. Psammetichus was desirous to prove this
himself, and he employed a very extraordinary experiment for this purpose.
He commanded (if we may credit the relation) two children, newly born of
poor parents, to be brought up (in the country) in a hovel, that was to be
kept continually shut. They were committed to the care of a shepherd,
(others say, of nurses, whose tongues were cut out,) who was to feed them
with the milk of goats; and was commanded not to suffer any person to
enter into this hut, nor himself to speak even a single word in the
hearing of these children. At the expiration of two years, as the shepherd
was one day coming into the hut to feed these children, they both cried
out, with hands extended towards their foster-father, _beccos, beccos_.
The shepherd, surprised to hear a language that was quite new to him, but
which they repeated frequently afterwards, sent advice of this to the
king, who ordered the children to be brought before him, in order that he
himself might be a witness to the truth of what was told him; and
accordingly both of them began, in his presence, to stammer out the sounds
above mentioned. Nothing now was wanting but to ascertain what nation it
was that used this word; and it was found that the Phrygians called bread
by this name. From this time they were allowed the honour of antiquity, or
rather of priority, which the Egyptians themselves, notwithstanding their
jealousy of it, and the many ages they had possessed this glory, were
obliged to resign to them. As goats were brought to these children, in
order that they might feed upon their milk, and historians do not say that
they were deaf, some are of opinion that they might have learnt the word
_bec_, or _beccos_, by mimicking the cry of those creatures.

Psammetichus died in the 24th year of Josias, king of Judah, and was
succeeded by his son Nechao.

(M89) NECHAO.(459) This prince is often mentioned in Scripture under the
name of Pharaoh-Necho.(460)

He attempted to join the Nile to the Red-Sea, by cutting a canal from one
to the other. The distance which separates them is at least a thousand
stadia.(461) After a hundred and twenty thousand workmen had lost their
lives in this attempt, Nechao was obliged to desist; the oracle which had
been consulted by him, having answered, that this new canal would open a
passage to the Barbarians (for so the Egyptians called all other nations)
to invade Egypt.

Nechao was more successful in another enterprise.(462) Skilful Phœnician
mariners, whom he had taken into his service, having sailed from the
Red-Sea in order to discover the coasts of Africa, went successfully round
it; and the third year after their setting out, returned to Egypt through
the Straits of Gibraltar. This was a very extraordinary voyage, in an age
when the compass was not known. It was made twenty-one centuries before
Vasco de Gama, a Portuguese, (by discovering the Cape of Good Hope, in the
year 1497,) found out the very same way to sail to the Indies, by which
these Phœnicians had come from thence into the Mediterranean.

The Babylonians and Medes, having destroyed Nineveh, and with it the
empire of the Assyrians, were thereby become so formidable, that they drew
upon themselves the jealousy of all their neighbours.(463) Nechao, alarmed
at the danger, advanced to the Euphrates, at the head of a powerful army,
in order to check their progress. Josiah, king of Judah, so famous for his
uncommon piety, observing that he took his route through Judea, resolved
to oppose his passage. With this view, he raised all the forces of his
kingdom, and posted himself in the valley of Megiddo, (a city on this side
Jordan, belonging to the tribe of Manasseh, and called Magdolus by
Herodotus.) Nechao informed him, by a herald, that his enterprise was not
designed against him; that he had other enemies in view, and that he had
undertaken this war in the name of God, who was with him; that for this
reason he advised Josiah not to concern himself with this war, for fear
lest it otherwise should turn to his disadvantage. However, Josiah was not
moved by these reasons: he was sensible that the bare march of so powerful
an army through Judea, would entirely ruin it. And besides, he feared that
the victor, after the defeat of the Babylonians, would fall upon him, and
dispossess him of part of his dominions. He therefore marched to engage
Nechao; and was not only overthrown by him, but unfortunately received a
wound, of which he died at Jerusalem, whither he had ordered himself to be
carried.

Nechao, animated by this victory, continued his march, and advanced
towards the Euphrates. He defeated the Babylonians; took Carchemish, a
large city in that country; and securing to himself the possession of it
by a strong garrison, returned to his own kingdom, after having been
absent from it three months.

Being informed in his march homeward, that Jehoahaz had caused himself to
be proclaimed king at Jerusalem, without first asking his consent, he
commanded him to meet him at Riblah in Syria.(464) The unhappy prince was
no sooner arrived there, than he was put in chains by Nechao’s order, and
sent prisoner to Egypt, where he died. From thence, pursuing his march, he
came to Jerusalem, where he placed Eliakim, (called by him Jehoiakim,)
another of Josiah’s sons, upon the throne, in the room of his brother: and
imposed an annual tribute on the land, of a hundred talents of silver, and
one talent of gold.(465) This being done, he returned in triumph to Egypt.

Herodotus, mentioning this king’s expedition,(466) and the victory gained
by him at Magdolus,(467) (as he calls it,) says, that he afterwards took
the city Cadytis, which he represents as situated in the mountains of
Palestine, and equal in extent to Sardis, the capital at that time not
only of Lydia, but of all Asia Minor: this description can suit only
Jerusalem, which was situated in the manner above described, and was then
the only city in those parts that could be compared to Sardis. It appears
besides from Scripture, that Nechao, after his victory, made himself
master of this capital of Judea; for he was there in person, when he gave
the crown to Jehoiakim. The very name Cadytis, which in Hebrew signifies
the Holy, clearly denotes the city of Jerusalem, as is proved by the
learned Dean Prideaux.(468)

(M90) Nabopolassar, king of Babylon, observing that, since the taking of
Carchemish by Nechao, all Syria and Palestine had shaken off their
allegiance to him, and that his years and infirmities would not permit him
to march against the rebels in person, he therefore associated his son
Nabuchodonosor, or Nebuchadnezzar, with him in the empire, and sent him at
the head of an army into those countries. This young prince vanquished the
army of Nechao near the river Euphrates, recovered Carchemish, and reduced
the revolted provinces to their allegiance, as Jeremiah had foretold.(469)
Thus he dispossessed the Egyptians of all that belonged to them,(470) from
the little river(471)(472) of Egypt to the Euphrates, which comprehended
all Syria and Palestine.

Nechao dying after he had reigned sixteen years, left the kingdom to his
son.

(M91) PSAMMIS. His reign was but of six years’ duration; and history has
left us nothing memorable concerning him, except that he made an
expedition into Ethiopia.(473)

It was to this prince that the Eleans sent a splendid embassy, after
having instituted the Olympic games. They had established all the
regulations, and arranged every circumstance relating to them, with such
care, that, in their opinion, nothing seemed wanting to their perfection,
and envy itself could not find any fault with them. However, they did not
desire so much to have the opinion, as to gain the approbation of the
Egyptians, who were looked upon as the wisest and most judicious people in
the world.(474) Accordingly, the king assembled the sages of his nation.
After every thing had been heard which could be said in favour of this
institution, the Eleans were asked, whether citizens and foreigners were
admitted indifferently to these games; to which answer was made, that they
were open to every one. To this the Egyptians replied, that the rules of
justice would have been more strictly observed, had foreigners only been
admitted to these combats; because it was very difficult for the judges,
in their award of the victory and the prize, not to be prejudiced in
favour of their fellow citizens.

(M92) APRIES. In Scripture he is called Pharaoh-Hophra. He succeeded his
father Psammis, and reigned twenty-five years.(475)

During the first years of his reign, he was as fortunate as any of his
predecessors. He turned his arms against the island of Cyprus; besieged
the city of Sidon by sea and land; took it, and made himself master of all
Phœnicia and Palestine.(476)

So rapid a success elated his heart to a prodigious degree, and, as
Herodotus informs us, swelled him with so much pride and infatuation, that
he boasted, it was not in the power of the gods themselves to dethrone
him; so great was the idea he had formed to himself of the firm
establishment of his own power. It was with a view to these arrogant
notions, that Ezekiel put the vain and impious words following into his
mouth: “My river is mine own, and I have made it for myself.”(477) But the
true God proved to him afterwards that he had a master, and that he was a
mere man; and he had threatened him long before, by his prophets, with all
the calamities he was resolved to bring upon him, in order to punish him
for his pride.

Shortly after Hophra had ascended the throne, Zedekiah, king of Judah,
sent an embassy, and concluded an alliance with him; and the year
following, breaking the oath of fidelity which he had taken to the king of
Babylon, he rebelled openly against him.(478)

Notwithstanding God had so often forbidden his people to have recourse to
the Egyptians, or to put any confidence in that people; notwithstanding
the repeated calamities which had ensued upon the various attempts which
they had made to procure assistance from them; they still thought this
nation their most sure refuge in danger, and accordingly could not forbear
applying to it. This they had already done in the reign of the holy king
Hezekiah; which gave occasion to God’s message to his people, by the mouth
of his prophet Isaiah: “Wo to them that go down to Egypt for help, and
stay on horses and trust in chariots, because they are many; but they look
not unto the holy One of Israel, neither seek the Lord. The Egyptians are
men, and not God; and their horses flesh, not spirit: when the Lord shall
stretch out his hand, both he that helpeth shall fall, and he that is
holpen shall fall down, and they shall fail together.”(479) But neither
the prophet nor the king were heard; and nothing but the most fatal
experience could open their eyes, and make them see evidently the truth of
God’s threatenings.

The Jews behaved in the very same manner on this occasion. Zedekiah,
notwithstanding all the remonstrances of Jeremiah to the contrary,
resolved to conclude an alliance with the Egyptian monarch; who, puffed up
with the success of his arms, and confident that nothing could resist his
power, declared himself the protector of Israel, and promised to deliver
it from the tyranny of Nabuchodonosor. But God, offended that a mortal had
dared to intrude himself into his place, thus declared himself to another
prophet: “Son of man, set thy face against Pharaoh king of Egypt, and
prophesy against him, and against all Egypt. Speak and say, Thus saith the
Lord God, Behold, I am against thee, Pharaoh, king of Egypt, the great
dragon that lieth in the midst of his rivers, which hath said, My river is
my own, and I have made it for myself. But I will put hooks in thy
jaws,”(480) &c. God, after comparing him to a reed, which breaks under the
man who leans upon it, and wounds his hand, adds, “Behold, I will bring a
sword upon thee, and cut off man and beast out of thee; the land of Egypt
shall be desolate, and they shall know that I am the Lord, because he hath
said, The river is mine, and I have made it.”(481) The same prophet, in
several succeeding chapters, continues to foretell the calamities with
which Egypt was going to be overwhelmed.(482)

Zedekiah was far from giving credit to these predictions. When he heard of
the approach of the Egyptian army, and saw Nabuchodonosor raise the siege
of Jerusalem, he fancied that his deliverance was completed, and
anticipated a triumph. His joy, however, was but of short duration; for
the Egyptians seeing the Chaldeans advancing, did not dare to encounter so
numerous and well-disciplined an army. (M93) They therefore marched back
into their own country, and left the unfortunate Zedekiah exposed to all
the dangers of a war in which they themselves had involved him.(483)
Nabuchodonosor again sat down before Jerusalem, took and burnt it, as
Jeremiah had prophesied.

(M94) Many years after, the chastisements with which God had threatened
Apries (Pharaoh-Hophra) began to fall upon him.(484) For the Cyrenians, a
Greek colony, which had settled in Africa, between Libya and Egypt, having
seized upon, and divided among themselves, a great part of the country
belonging to the Libyans, forced these nations, who were thus dispossessed
by violence, to throw themselves into the arms of this prince, and implore
his protection. Immediately Apries sent a mighty army into Libya to oppose
the Cyrenians; but this army being defeated and almost cut to pieces, the
Egyptians imagined that Apries had sent it into Libya, only to get it
destroyed; and by that means to attain the power of governing his subjects
without check or control. This reflection prompted the Egyptians to shake
off the yoke of a prince, whom they now considered as their enemy. But
Apries, hearing of the rebellion, despatched Amasis, one of his officers,
to suppress it, and force the rebels to return to their allegiance. But
the moment Amasis began to address them, they placed a helmet upon his
head, in token of the exalted dignity to which they intended to raise him,
and proclaimed him king. Amasis having accepted the crown, staid with the
mutineers, and confirmed them in their rebellion.

Apries, more exasperated than ever at this news, sent Patarbemis, another
of his great officers, and one of the principal lords of his court, to put
Amasis under an arrest, and bring him before him; but Patarbemis not being
able to carry off Amasis from the midst of the rebel army, by which he was
surrounded, was treated by Apries, at his return, in the most ignominious
and inhuman manner; for his nose and ears were cut off by the command of
that prince, who never considered, that only his want of power had
prevented his executing his commission. So barbarous an outrage, committed
upon a person of such high distinction, exasperated the Egyptians so much,
that the greatest part of them joined the rebels, and the insurrection
became general. Apries was now forced to retire into Upper Egypt, where he
supported himself some years, during which Amasis made himself master of
the rest of his dominions.

The troubles which thus distracted Egypt, afforded Nabuchodonosor a
favourable opportunity to invade that kingdom; and it was God himself who
inspired him with the resolution. This prince, who was the instrument of
God’s wrath (though he did not know himself to be so) against a people
whom he was resolved to chastise, had just before taken Tyre, where
himself and his army had laboured under incredible difficulties. To
recompense their toils, God abandoned Egypt to their arms. It is wonderful
to hear the Creator himself revealing his designs on this subject. There
are few passages in Scripture more remarkable than this, or which give a
clearer idea of the supreme authority which God exercises over all the
princes and kingdoms of the earth: “Son of man, (says the Almighty to his
prophet Ezekiel,) Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, caused his army to
serve a great service against Tyrus: every head was made bald, and every
shoulder was peeled:(485) yet had he no wages, nor his army,(486) for the
service he had served against it. Therefore, thus saith the Lord God:
Behold, I will give the land of Egypt unto Nebuchadnezzar, king of
Babylon, and he shall take her multitude, and take her spoil, and take her
prey, and it shall be the wages for his army. I have given him the land of
Egypt for his labour, wherewith he served against it, because they wrought
for me, saith the Lord God.”(487) Says another prophet: “He shall array
himself with the land of Egypt, as a shepherd putteth on his garment, and
he shall go forth from thence in peace.”(488) Thus shall he load himself
with booty, and thus cover his own shoulders, and those of his fold, with
all the spoils of Egypt. Noble expressions! which show the ease with which
all the power and riches of a kingdom are carried away, when God appoints
the revolution; and shift, like a garment, to a new owner, who has no more
to do but to take it, and clothe himself with it.

The king of Babylon, taking advantage, therefore, of the intestine
divisions which the rebellion of Amasis had occasioned in that kingdom,
marched thither at the head of his army. He subdued Egypt from Migdol or
Magdol, a town on the frontiers of the kingdom, as far as Syene, in the
opposite extremity where it borders on Ethiopia. He made a horrible
devastation wherever he came; killed a great number of the inhabitants,
and made such dreadful havoc in the country, that the damage could not be
repaired in forty years. Nabuchodonosor, having loaded his army with
spoils, and conquered the whole kingdom, came to an accommodation with
Amasis; and leaving him as his viceroy there, returned to Babylon.

APRIES (Pharaoh-Hophra) now leaving the place where he had concealed
himself, advanced towards the sea-coast, (probably on the side of Libya;)
and hiring an army of Carians, Ionians, and other foreigners, he marched
against Amasis, to whom he gave battle near Memphis; but being overcome,
Apries was taken prisoner, carried to the city of Sais, and there
strangled in his own palace.(489)

The Almighty had given, by the mouth of his prophets, an astonishing
relation of the several circumstances of this mighty event. It was He who
had broken the power of Apries, which was once so formidable; and put the
sword into the hand of Nabuchodonosor, in order that he might chastise and
humble that haughty prince. “I am,” said he, “against Pharaoh king of
Egypt, and will break his arms, which were strong, but now are broken; and
I will cause the sword to fall out of his hand.”(490)—“But I will
strengthen the arms of the king of Babylon, and put my sword into his
hand.”(491)—“And they shall know that I am the Lord.”(492)

He enumerates the towns which were to fall a prey to the victors; Pathros,
Zoan, No, (called in the Vulgate Alexandria,) Sin, Aven, Phibeseth,
&c.(493)(494)

He takes notice particularly of the unhappy end of the king, who was to be
delivered up to his enemies. Thus saith the Lord; “Behold, I will give
Pharaoh-Hophra, the king of Egypt, into the hand of his enemies, and into
the hand of them that seek his life.”(495)

Lastly, he declares, that during forty years the Egyptians shall be
oppressed with every species of calamity, and be reduced to so deplorable
a state, “That there shall be no more a prince of the land of Egypt.”(496)
The event verified this prophecy, which was gradually accomplished. Soon
after the expiration of these forty years, Egypt was made a province of
the Persian empire, to which its kings, though natives of the country,
were tributary, and thus the accomplishment of the prediction began. It
was completely fulfilled on the death of Nectanebus, the last king of
Egyptian extraction, A.M. 3654.

Since that time, Egypt has constantly been governed by foreigners. For
since the ruin of the Persian monarchy, it has been subject, successively,
to the Macedonians, the Romans, the Saracens, the Mamalukes, and lastly,
to the Turks, who possess it to this day.

God was not less punctual in the accomplishment of his prophecies, with
regard to such of his own people as had retired, contrary to his
prohibition, into Egypt, after the taking of Jerusalem; and had forced
Jeremiah along with them.(497) The instant they had reached Egypt, and
were arrived at Tahpanhes, (or Tanis,) the prophet, after having hid in
their presence (by God’s command) stones in a grotto, which was near the
king’s palace, declared to them, that Nabuchodonosor should soon arrive in
Egypt, and that God would establish his throne in that very place; that
this prince would lay waste the whole kingdom, and carry fire and sword
into all places; that themselves should fall into the hand of these cruel
enemies, when one part of them would be massacred, and the rest led
captive to Babylon; that only a very small number should escape the common
desolation, and be at last restored to their country. All these prophecies
had their accomplishment in the appointed time.

(M95) AMASIS. After the death of Apries, Amasis became peaceable possessor
of Egypt, and reigned over it forty years. He was, according to Plato, a
native of the city of Sais.(498)

As he was but of mean extraction, he met with no respect in the beginning
of his reign, but was only contemned by his subjects:(499) he was not
insensible of this; but, nevertheless, thought it his interest to subdue
their tempers by management and address, and win their affections by
gentleness and reason. He had a golden cistern, in which himself and those
persons who were admitted to his table, used to wash their feet: he melted
it down, and had it cast into a statue, and then exposed the new god to
public worship. The people hasted in crowds to pay their adoration to the
statue. The king having assembled the people, informed them of the vile
uses to which this statue had once been put, which, nevertheless, was now
the object of their religious prostrations: the application was easy, and
had the desired success; the people thenceforward paid the king all the
respect that is due to majesty.

He always used to devote the whole morning to public business, to receive
petitions, give audience, pronounce sentence, and hold his councils: the
rest of the day was given to pleasure: and as Amasis, in hours of
diversion, was extremely gay, and seemed to carry his mirth beyond due
bounds, his courtiers took the liberty to represent to him the
unsuitableness of such a behaviour; when he answered, that it was as
impossible for the mind to be always serious and intent upon business, as
for a bow to continue always bent.(500)

It was this king who obliged the inhabitants of every town to enter their
names in a book, kept by the magistrate for that purpose, with their
profession, and manner of living. Solon inserted this custom among his
laws.

He built many magnificent temples, especially at Sais, the place of his
birth. Herodotus admired especially a chapel there formed of one single
stone, which was twenty-one cubits(501) in front, fourteen in depth, and
eight in height; its dimensions within were not quite so large; it had
been brought from Elephantina, and two thousand men had employed three
years in conveying it along the Nile.

Amasis had a great esteem for the Greeks. He granted them large
privileges; and permitted such of them as were desirous of settling in
Egypt, to live in the city of Naucratis, so famous for its harbour. When
the rebuilding of the temple of Delphi, which had been burnt, was debated
on, and the expense was computed at three hundred talents,(502) Amasis
furnished the Delphians with a very considerable sum towards discharging
their quota, which was the fourth part of the whole charge.

He made an alliance with the Cyrenians, and married a wife from among
them.

He is the only king of Egypt who conquered the island of Cyprus, and made
it tributary.

Under his reign Pythagoras came into Egypt, being recommended to that
monarch by the famous Polycrates, tyrant of Samos, who had contracted a
friendship with Amasis, and will be mentioned hereafter. Pythagoras,
during his stay in Egypt, was initiated in all the mysteries of the
country; and instructed by the priests in whatever was most abstruse and
important in their religion. It was here he imbibed his doctrine of the
Metempsychosis, or transmigration of souls.

In the expedition in which Cyrus conquered so great a part of the world,
Egypt doubtless was subdued, like the rest of the provinces; and Xenophon
positively declares this in the beginning of his _Cyropædia_, or
institution of that prince.(503) Probably, after that the forty years of
desolation, which had been foretold by the prophet, were expired, Egypt
beginning gradually to regain strength, Amasis shook off the yoke, and
recovered his liberty.

Accordingly, we find, that one of the first cares of Cambyses, the son of
Cyrus, after he had ascended the throne, was to carry his arms into Egypt.
On his arrival there, Amasis was just dead, and succeeded by his son
Psammenitus.

(M96) PSAMMENITUS. Cambyses, after having gained a battle, pursued the
enemy to Memphis; besieged the city, and soon took it: however, he treated
the king with clemency, granted him his life, and assigned him an
honourable pension; but being informed that he was secretly concerting
measures to reascend his throne, he put him to death. Psammenitus reigned
but six months: all Egypt submitted immediately to the victor. The
particulars of this history will be related more at large, when I come to
that of Cambyses.

Here ends the succession of the Egyptian kings. From this æra the history
of this nation, as was before observed, will be blended with that of the
Persians and Greeks, till the death of Alexander. At that period, a new
monarchy will arise in Egypt, founded by Ptolemy the son of Lagus, which
will continue to Cleopatra, that is, for about three hundred years. I
shall treat each of these subjects, in the several periods to which they
belong.



BOOK THE SECOND. THE HISTORY OF THE CARTHAGINIANS.



Part The First. Character, Manners, Religion, And Government Of The
Carthaginians.


SECT. I. CARTHAGE FORMED AFTER THE MODEL OF TYRE, OF WHICH THAT CITY WAS A
COLONY. The Carthaginians were indebted to the Tyrians, not only for their
origin, but for their manners, language, customs, laws, religion, and
their great application to commerce, as will appear from every part of the
sequel. They spoke the same language with the Tyrians, and these the same
with the Canaanites and Israelites, that is, the Hebrew tongue, or at
least a language which was entirely derived from it. Their names had
commonly some particular meaning:(504) thus _Hanno_ signified _gracious_,
_bountiful_; Dido, _amiable_, or _well-beloved_; Sophonisba, _one who
keeps faithfully her husband’s secrets_. From a spirit of religion, they
likewise joined the name of God to their own, conformably to the genius of
the Hebrews. Hannibal, which answers to Hananias, signifies _Baal_, [or
_the Lord_] _has been gracious to me_. Asdrubal, answering to Azarias,
implies, _the Lord will be our succour_. It is the same with other names,
Adherbal, Maharbal, Mastanabal, &c. The word Pœni, from which Punic is
derived, is the same with Phœni, or Phœnicians, because they came
originally from Phœnicia. In the _Pœnulus_ of Plautus, is a scene written
in the Punic tongue, which has very much exercised the learned.(505)

But the strict union which always subsisted between the Phœnicians and
Carthaginians, is still more remarkable. When Cambyses had resolved to
make war upon the latter, the Phœnicians, who formed the chief strength of
his fleet, told him plainly that they could not serve him against their
countrymen; and this declaration obliged that prince to lay aside his
design.(506) The Carthaginians, on their side, were never forgetful of the
country from whence they came, and to which they owed their origin. They
sent regularly every year to Tyre a ship freighted with presents, as a
quit-rent, or acknowledgment paid to their ancient country; and an annual
sacrifice was offered to the tutelar gods of Tyre, by the Carthaginians,
who considered them as their protectors likewise.(507) They never failed
to send thither the first fruits of their revenues, nor the tithe of the
spoils taken from their enemies, as offerings to Hercules, one of the
principal gods of Tyre and Carthage. The Tyrians, to secure from Alexander
(who was then besieging their city) what they valued above all things, I
mean their wives and children, sent them to Carthage, where, though at a
time when the inhabitants of the latter were involved in a furious war,
they were received and entertained with such a kindness and generosity as
might be expected from the most tender and opulent parents. Such
uninterrupted testimonies of a warm and sincere gratitude, do a nation
more honour, than the greatest conquests and the most glorious victories.

SECT. II. THE RELIGION OF THE CARTHAGINIANS.—It appears from several
passages of the history of Carthage, that its generals looked upon it as
an indispensable duty, to begin and end all their enterprises with the
worship of the gods. Hamilcar, father of the great Hannibal, before he
entered Spain in a hostile manner, offered up a sacrifice to the gods; and
his son, treading in his steps, before he left Spain, and marched against
Rome, went as far as Cadiz, in order to pay the vows which he had made to
Hercules, and to offer up new ones, in case that god should be propitious
to him.(508) After the battle of Cannæ, when he acquainted the
Carthaginians with the joyful news, he recommended to them, above all
things, the offering up a solemn thanksgiving to the immortal gods, for
the several victories he had obtained.(509) _Pro his tantis totque
victoriis verum esse grates diis immortalibus agi haberique._

Neither did individuals alone pride themselves upon displaying, on every
occasion, this religious care to honour the deity; but it evidently was
the genius and disposition of the whole nation.

Polybius has transmitted to us a treaty of peace concluded between Philip,
son of Demetrius, king of Macedon, and the Carthaginians, in which the
great respect and veneration of the latter for the deity, and their
inherent persuasion that the gods engage in, and preside over, human
affairs, and particularly over the solemn treaties made in their name and
presence, are strongly displayed.(510) Mention is therein made of five or
six different orders of deities; and this enumeration appears very
extraordinary in a public instrument, such as a treaty of peace concluded
between two nations. I will here present my reader with the very words of
the historian, as it will give some idea of the Carthaginian theology.
“This treaty was concluded in the presence of Jupiter, Juno, and Apollo;
in the presence of the dæmon or genius (δαίμονος) of the Carthaginians, of
Hercules and Iolaus; in the presence of Mars, Triton, and Neptune; in the
presence of all the confederate gods of the Carthaginians; and of the sun,
the moon, and the earth; in the presence of the rivers, meads, and waters;
in the presence of all those gods who possess Carthage:” what should we
now say to an instrument of this kind, in which the tutelar angels and
saints of a kingdom should be introduced?

The Carthaginians had two deities to whom they paid a more particular
worship, and who deserve to have some mention made of them in this place.

The first was the goddess Cœlestis, called likewise Urania, the same with
the moon, who was invoked in great calamities, and particularly in
droughts, in order to obtain rain: that very virgin Cœlestis, says
Tertullian,(511) the promiser of rain, _Ista ipsa Virgo Cœlestis pluviarum
pollicitatrix_. Tertullian, speaking of this goddess and of Æsculapius,
makes the heathens of that age a challenge, which is bold indeed, but at
the same time very glorious to the cause of Christianity; declaring, that
any Christian who may first come, shall oblige these false gods to confess
publicly, that they are but devils; and consenting that this Christian
shall be immediately killed, if he does not extort such a confession from
the mouth of these gods. _Nisi se dæmones confessi fuerint Christiano
mentiri non audentes, ibidem illius Christiani procacissimi sanguinem
fundite._ St. Austin likewise makes frequent mention of this deity. “What
is now,” says he,(512) “become of Cœlestis, whose empire was once so great
in Carthage?” This was doubtless the same deity whom Jeremiah calls the
queen of heaven;(513) and who was held in so much reverence by the Jewish
women, that they addressed their vows, burnt incense, poured out
drink-offerings, and made cakes for her with their own hands, _ut faciant
placentas reginæ cœli_; and from whom they boasted their having received
all manner of blessings, whilst they regularly paid her this worship;
whereas, since they had failed in it, they had been oppressed with
misfortunes of every kind.

The second deity particularly adored by the Carthaginians, and in whose
honour human sacrifices were offered, was Saturn, known in Scripture by
the name of Moloch; and this worship had passed from Tyre to Carthage.
Philo quotes a passage from Sanchoniathon, which shows that the kings of
Tyre, in great dangers, used to sacrifice their sons to appease the anger
of the gods; and that one of them, by this action, procured himself divine
honours, and was worshipped as a god, under the name of the planet Saturn;
to this doubtless was owing the fable of Saturn’s devouring his own
children. Private persons, when they were desirous of averting any great
calamity, took the same method; and, in imitation of their princes, were
so very superstitious, that such as had no children, purchased those of
the poor, in order that they might not be deprived of the merit of such a
sacrifice. This custom prevailed long among the Phœnicians and Canaanites,
from whom the Israelites borrowed it, though forbidden expressly by
heaven. At first, these children were inhumanly burnt, either in a fiery
furnace, like those in the valley of Hinnon, so often mentioned in
Scripture, or enclosed in a flaming statue of Saturn. The cries of these
unhappy victims were drowned by the uninterrupted noise of drums and
trumpets.(514) Mothers(515) made it a merit, and a part of their religion,
to view this barbarous spectacle with dry eyes, and without so much as a
groan; and, if a tear or a sigh stole from them, the sacrifice was less
acceptable to the deity, and all the effects of it were entirely lost.
This strength of mind, or rather savage barbarity, was carried to such
excess, that even mothers would endeavour, with embraces and kisses, to
hush the cries of their children;(516) lest, had the victim been offered
with an unbecoming grace, and in the midst of tears, it should be
displeasing to the god: _Blanditiis et osculis comprimebant vagitum, ne
flebilis hostia immolaretur._(517) They afterwards contented themselves
with making their children pass through the fire; as appears from several
passages of Scripture, in which they frequently perished.

The Carthaginians retained the barbarous custom of offering human
sacrifices to their gods,(518) till the ruin of their city:(519) an action
which ought to have been called a sacrilege rather than a sacrifice.
_Sacrilegium veriùs quàm sacrum._ It was suspended only for some years,
from the fear they were under of drawing upon themselves the indignation
and arms of Darius I. king of Persia, who forbade them the offering up of
human sacrifices, and the eating the flesh of dogs: but they soon resumed
this horrid practice, since, in the reign of Xerxes, the successor to
Darius, Gelon the tyrant of Syracuse, having gained a considerable victory
over the Carthaginians in Sicily, among other conditions of peace which he
enjoined them, inserted this article:(520) _viz._ “That no more human
sacrifices should be offered to Saturn.” And, doubtless, the practice of
the Carthaginians, on this very occasion, made Gelon use this precaution.
For during the whole engagement, which lasted from morning till night,
Hamilcar, the son of Hanno their general, was perpetually offering up to
the gods sacrifices of living men, who were thrown in great numbers on a
flaming pile; and seeing his troops routed and put to flight, he himself
rushed into it, in order that he might not survive his own disgrace, and
to extinguish, says St. Ambrose speaking of this action, with his own
blood this sacrilegious fire, when he found that it had not proved of
service to him.(521)(522)

In times of pestilence(523) they used to sacrifice a great number of
children to their gods, unmoved with pity for a tender age, which excites
compassion in the most cruel enemies; thus seeking a remedy for their
evils in guilt itself; and endeavouring to appease the gods by the most
shocking barbarity.

Diodorus relates(524) an instance of this cruelty which strikes the reader
with horror. At the time that Agathocles was just going to besiege
Carthage, its inhabitants, seeing the extremity to which they were
reduced, imputed all their misfortunes to the just anger of Saturn,
because that, instead of offering up children nobly born, who were usually
sacrificed to him, there had been fraudulently substituted in their stead
the children of slaves and foreigners. To atone for this crime, two
hundred children of the best families in Carthage were sacrificed to
Saturn; besides which, upwards of three hundred citizens, from a sense of
their guilt of this pretended crime, voluntarily sacrificed themselves.
Diodorus adds, that there was a brazen statue of Saturn, the hands of
which were turned downward; so that when a child was laid on them, it
dropped immediately into a hollow, where was a fiery furnace.

Can this, says Plutarch,(525) be called worshipping the gods? Can we be
said to entertain an honourable idea of them, if we suppose that they are
pleased with slaughter, thirsty of human blood, and capable of requiring
or accepting such offerings? Religion, says this judicious author,(526) is
placed between two rocks, that are equally dangerous to man, and injurious
to the deity, I mean impiety and superstition. The one, from an
affectation of free-thinking, believes nothing; and the other, from a
blind weakness, believes all things. Impiety, to rid itself of a terror
which galls it, denies the very existence of the gods: whilst
superstition, to calm its fears, capriciously forges gods, which it makes
not only the friends, but protectors and models, of crimes. Had it not
been better, says he further,(527) for the Carthaginians to have had
originally a Critias, or a Diagoras, who were open and undisguised
atheists, for their lawgivers, than to have established so frantic and
wicked a religion? Could the Typhons and the giants, (the avowed enemies
of the gods,) had they gained a victory over them, have established more
abominable sacrifices?

Such were the sentiments which a heathen entertained of this part of the
Carthaginian worship. One would indeed scarce believe that mankind were
capable of such madness and frenzy. Men do not generally of themselves
entertain ideas so destructive of all that nature considers as most
sacred, as to sacrifice, to murder, their children with their own hands,
and to throw them in cool blood into fiery furnaces! Sentiments so
unnatural and barbarous, and yet adopted by whole nations, and even by the
most civilized, by the Phœnicians, Carthaginians, Gauls, Scythians, and
even the Greeks and Romans, and consecrated by custom during a long series
of ages, can have been inspired by him only who was a murderer from the
beginning; and who delights in nothing but the humiliation, misery, and
perdition of man.

SECT. III. FORM OF THE GOVERNMENT OF CARTHAGE.—The government of Carthage
was founded upon principles of the most consummate wisdom; and it is with
reason that Aristotle(528) ranks this republic in the number of those that
were had in the greatest esteem by the ancients, and which were fit to
serve as a model for others. He grounds his opinion on a reflection, which
does great honour to Carthage, by remarking, that, from its foundation to
his time, (that is, upwards of five hundred years,) no considerable
sedition had disturbed the peace, nor any tyrant oppressed the liberty of
that state. Indeed, mixed governments, such as that of Carthage, where the
power was divided betwixt the nobles and the people, are subject to two
inconveniences; either of degenerating into an abuse of liberty by the
seditions of the populace, as frequently happened in Athens, and in all
the Grecian republics; or into the oppression of the public liberty by the
tyranny of the nobles, as in Athens, Syracuse, Corinth, Thebes, and Rome
itself under Sylla and Cæsar. It is, therefore, giving Carthage the
highest praise, to observe, that it had found out the art, by the wisdom
of its laws, and the harmony of the different parts of its government, to
shun, during so long a series of years, two rocks that are so dangerous,
and on which others so often split.

It were to be wished, that some ancient author had left us an accurate and
regular description of the customs and laws of this famous republic. For
want of such assistance, we can only give our readers a confused and
imperfect idea of them, by collecting the several passages which lie
scattered up and down in authors. Christopher Hendrich has obliged the
learned world in this particular, and his work(529) has been of great
service to me.

The government of Carthage,(530) like that of Sparta and Rome, united
three different authorities, which counterpoised and gave mutual
assistance to one another. These authorities were, that of the two supreme
magistrates, called Suffetes;(531) that of the Senate; and that of the
people. There afterwards was added the tribunal of One Hundred, which had
great credit and influence in the republic.

_The Suffetes._—The power of the Suffetes was only annual, and their
authority in Carthage answered to that of the consuls at Rome.(532) In
authors they are frequently called kings, dictators, consuls, because they
exercised the functions of all three. History does not inform us of the
manner of their election. They were empowered to assemble the senate;(533)
in which they presided, proposed subjects for deliberation, and collected
the votes;(534) and they likewise presided in all debates on matters of
importance. Their authority was not limited to the city, nor confined to
civil affairs: they sometimes had the command of the armies. We find, that
when their employment of Suffetes expired, they were made prætors, which
was a considerable office, since, besides conferring upon them the
privilege of presiding in some causes, it also empowered them to propose
and enact new laws, and call to account the receivers of the public
revenues, as appears from what Livy relates(535) concerning Hannibal on
this head, and which I shall take notice of in the sequel.

_The Senate._—The Senate, composed of persons who were venerable on
account of their age, their experience, their birth, their riches, and
especially their merit, formed the council of state; and were, if I may
use that expression, the soul of the public deliberations. Their number is
not exactly known: it must, however, have been very great, since a hundred
were selected from it to form a separate assembly, of which I shall
immediately have occasion to speak. In the senate, all affairs of
consequence were debated, the letters from generals read, the complaints
of provinces heard, ambassadors admitted to audience, and peace or war
determined, as is seen on many occasions.

When the sentiments and votes were unanimous, the senate decided
supremely, and there lay no appeal from it.(536) When there was a
division, and the senate could not be brought to an agreement, the affair
was then laid before the people, on whom the power of deciding thereby
devolved. The reader will easily perceive the great wisdom of this
regulation: and how happily it was adapted to crush factions, to produce
harmony, and to enforce and corroborate good counsels; such an assembly
being extremely jealous of its authority, and not easily prevailed upon to
let it pass into other hands. Of this we have a memorable instance in
Polybius.(537) When after the loss of the battle fought in Africa, at the
end of the second Punic war, the conditions of peace offered by the victor
were read in the senate; Hannibal, observing that one of the senators
opposed them, represented in the strongest terms, that as the safety of
the republic lay at stake, it was of the utmost importance for the
senators to be unanimous in their resolutions, to prevent such a debate
from coming before the people; and he carried his point. This, doubtless,
laid the foundation, in the infancy of the republic, of the senate’s
power, and raised its authority to so great a height. And the same author
observes, in another place,(538) that whilst the senate had the
administration of affairs, the state was governed with great wisdom, and
was successful in all its enterprises.

_The People._—It appears from every thing related hitherto, that even so
low as Aristotle’s time, who gives so beautiful a picture, and bestows so
noble an eulogium on the government of Carthage, the people spontaneously
left the care of public affairs, and the chief administration of them, to
the senate: and this it was which made the republic so powerful. But
things changed afterwards. For the people, grown insolent by their wealth
and conquests, and forgetting that they owed these blessings to the
prudent conduct of the senate, were desirous of having a share in the
government, and arrogated to themselves almost the whole power. From that
period, the public affairs were transacted wholly by cabals and factions:
and this Polybius assigns as one of the chief causes of the ruin of
Carthage.

_The Tribunal of the Hundred._—This was a body composed of a hundred and
four persons; though often, for brevity’s sake, they are called only, the
Hundred. These, according to Aristotle, were the same in Carthage, as the
Ephori in Sparta; whence it appears, that they were instituted to balance
the power of the nobles and senate: but with this difference, that the
Ephori were but five in number, and continued in office but a year;
whereas these were perpetual, and were upwards of a hundred. (M97) It is
believed, that these Centumviri are the same with the hundred judges
mentioned by Justin,(539) who were taken out of the senate, and appointed
to inquire into the conduct of their generals. The exorbitant power of
Mago’s family, which, by its engrossing the chief employments both of the
state and the army, had thereby the sole direction and management of all
affairs, gave occasion to this establishment. It was intended as a curb to
the authority of their generals, which, whilst the armies were in the
field, was almost boundless and absolute; but, by this institution, it
became subject to the laws, by the obligation their generals were under,
of giving an account of their actions before these judges on their return
from the campaign: _Ut hoc metu ita in bello imperia cogitarent, ut domi
judicia legesque respicerent._(540) Of these hundred and four judges, five
had a particular jurisdiction superior to that of the rest; but it is not
known how long their authority lasted. This council of five was like the
council of ten in the Venetian senate. A vacancy in their number could be
filled by none but themselves. They also had the power of choosing those
who composed the council of the hundred. Their authority was very great,
and for that reason none were elected into this office but persons of
uncommon merit; and it was not judged proper to annex any salary or reward
to it; the single motive of the public good, being thought a tie
sufficient to engage honest men to a conscientious and faithful discharge
of their duty. Polybius, in his account of the taking of New Carthage by
Scipio,(541) distinguishes clearly two orders of magistrates established
in Old Carthage; for he says, that among the prisoners taken at New
Carthage, were two magistrates belonging to the body or assembly of old
men, ἐκ τῆς Γερουσίας: so he calls the council of the hundred; and fifteen
of the senate, ἐκ τῆς Συγκλήτου. Livy mentions(542) only the fifteen of
the senators; but, in another place, he names the old men; and tells us,
that they formed the most venerable council of the government, and had
great authority in the senate. _Carthaginenses—Oratores ad pacem petendam
mittunt triginta seniorum principes. Id erat sanctius apud illos
concilium, maximaque ad ipsum senatum regendum vis._(543)

Establishments, though constituted with the greatest wisdom and the
justest harmony of parts, degenerate, however insensibly, into disorder
and the most destructive licentiousness. These judges, who by the lawful
execution of their power were a terror to transgressors, and the great
pillars of justice, abusing their almost unlimited authority, became so
many petty tyrants. (M98) We shall see this verified in the history of the
great Hannibal, who during his prætorship, after his return to Africa,
employed all his influence to reform so horrid an abuse; and made the
authority of these judges, which before was perpetual, only annual, about
two hundred years from the first founding the tribunal of the One Hundred.

_Defects in the Government of Carthage._—Aristotle, among other
reflections made by him on the government of Carthage, remarks two great
defects in it, both which, in his opinion, are repugnant to the views of a
wise lawgiver and the maxims of sound policy.

The first of these defects was, the investing the same person with
different employments, which was considered at Carthage as a proof of
uncommon merit. But Aristotle thinks this practice highly prejudicial to
the public welfare. For, says this author, a man possessed but of one
employment, is much more capable of acquitting himself well in the
execution of it; because affairs are then examined with greater care, and
sooner despatched. We never see, continues our author, either by sea or
land, the same officer commanding two different bodies, or the same pilot
steering two ships. Besides, the welfare of the state requires that places
and preferments should be divided, in order to excite an emulation among
men of merit: whereas the bestowing of them on one man, too often dazzles
him by so distinguishing a preference, and always fills others with
jealousy, discontent, and murmurs.

The second defect taken notice of by Aristotle in the government of
Carthage, was, that in order for a man to attain the first posts, a
certain income was required (besides merit and noble birth.) By which
means, poverty might exclude persons of the most exalted merit, which he
considers as a great evil in a government. For then, says he, as virtue is
wholly disregarded, and money is all-powerful, because all things are
attained by it, the admiration and desire of riches seize and corrupt the
whole community. Add to this, that when magistrates and judges are obliged
to pay large sums for their employments, they seem to have a right to
reimburse themselves.’

There is not, I believe, one instance in all antiquity, to show that
employments, either in the state or the courts of justice, were sold. The
expense, therefore, which Aristotle talks of here to raise men to
preferments in Carthage, must doubtless be understood of the presents that
were given in order to procure the votes of the electors: a practice, as
Polybius observes, very common at Carthage, where no kind of gain was
judged a disgrace.(544) It is, therefore, no wonder, that Aristotle should
condemn a practice whose consequences, it is very plain, may prove fatal
to a government.

But in case he pretended that the chief employments of a state ought to be
equally accessible to the rich and the poor, as he seems to insinuate, his
opinion is refuted by the general practice of the wisest republics; for
these, without any way demeaning or aspersing poverty, have thought that,
on this occasion, the preference ought to be given to riches; because it
is to be presumed that the wealthy have received a better education, have
nobler sentiments, are more out of the reach of corruption, and less
liable to commit base actions; and that even the state of their affairs
makes them more affectionate to the government, more disposed to maintain
peace and order in it, and more interested in suppressing whatever may
tend to sedition and rebellion.

Aristotle, in concluding his reflections on the republic of Carthage, is
much pleased with a custom that prevailed there: _viz._ of sending from
time to time colonies into different countries; and in this manner
procuring its citizens commodious settlements. This provided for the
necessities of the poor, who, equally with the rich, are members of the
state: and it disburdened Carthage of multitudes of lazy, indolent people,
who were its disgrace, and often proved dangerous to it: it prevented
commotions and insurrections, by thus removing such persons as commonly
occasion them; and who being ever discontented under their present
circumstances, are always ready for innovations and tumults.

SECT. IV. TRADE OF CARTHAGE, THE FIRST SOURCE OF ITS WEALTH AND
POWER.—Commerce, strictly speaking, was the occupation of Carthage, the
particular object of its industry, and its peculiar and predominant
characteristic. It formed the greatest strength and the chief support of
that commonwealth. In a word, we may affirm that the power, the conquests,
the credit, and glory of the Carthaginians, all flowed from their
commerce. Situated in the centre of the Mediterranean, and stretching out
their arms eastward and westward, the extent of their commerce took in all
the known world, and wafted it to the coast of Spain, of Mauritania, of
Gaul, and beyond the straits and pillars of Hercules. They sailed to all
countries, in order to buy at a cheap rate the superfluities of every
nation; which, by the wants of others, became necessaries; and these they
sold to them at the dearest rates. From Egypt the Carthaginians fetched
fine flax, paper, corn, sails and cables for ships; from the coast of the
Red-Sea, spices, frankincense, perfumes, gold, pearls, and precious
stones; from Tyre and Phoenicia, purple and scarlet, rich stuffs,
tapestry, costly furniture, and divers curious and exquisite works of art:
in a word, they fetched, from various countries, all things that can
supply the necessities, or are capable of contributing to the convenience,
the luxury, and the delights of life. They brought back from the western
parts of the world, in return for the articles carried thither, iron, tin,
lead, and copper: by the sale of these various commodities, they enriched
themselves at the expense of all nations; and put them under a kind of
contribution, which was so much the surer as it was spontaneous.

In thus becoming the factors and agents of all nations, they had made
themselves lords of the sea; the band which held the east, the west, and
south together; and the necessary channel of their communication: so that
Carthage rose to be the common city, and the centre of the trade, of all
those nations which the sea separated from one another.

The most considerable personages of the city were not ashamed of engaging
in trade. They applied themselves to it as industriously as the meanest
citizens; and their great wealth did not make them less in love with the
diligence, patience, and labour, which are necessary to augment it. To
this they owed their empire of the sea, the splendour of their republic;
their being able to dispute for the superiority with Rome itself; and
their exalted pitch of power, which forced the Romans to carry on a bloody
and doubtful war, for upwards of forty years, in order to humble and
subdue this haughty rival. In short, Rome, even when triumphant, thought
Carthage was not to be entirely reduced any other way, than by depriving
that city of the resources which it might still derive from its commerce,
by which it had so long been enabled to resist the whole strength of that
mighty republic.

However, it is no wonder that, as Carthage came in a manner out of the
greatest school of traffic in the world, I mean Tyre, she should have been
crowned with such rapid and uninterrupted success. The very vessels on
which its founders had been conveyed into Africa, were afterwards employed
by them in their trade. They began to make settlements upon the coasts of
Spain, in those ports where they unloaded their goods. The ease with which
they had founded these settlements, and the conveniences they met with,
inspired them with the design of conquering those vast regions; and some
time after, _Nova Carthago_, or New Carthage, gave the Carthaginians an
empire in that country, almost equal to that which they enjoyed in Africa.

SECT. V. THE MINES OF SPAIN, THE SECOND SOURCE OF THE RICHES AND POWER OF
CARTHAGE.—Diodorus justly remarks,(545) that the gold and silver mines
found by the Carthaginians in Spain, were an inexhaustible fund of wealth,
that enabled them to sustain such long wars against the Romans. The
natives had long been ignorant of these treasures that lay concealed in
the bowels of the earth, at least of their use and value. The Phœnicians
took advantage of this ignorance; and, by bartering some wares of little
value for this precious metal, they amassed infinite wealth. When the
Carthaginians had made themselves masters of the country, they dug much
deeper into the earth than the old inhabitants of Spain had done, who
probably were content with what they could collect on the surface; and the
Romans, when they had dispossessed the Carthaginians of Spain, profited by
their example, and drew an immense revenue from these mines of gold and
silver.

The labour employed to come at these mines, and to dig the gold and silver
out of them, was incredible.(546) For the veins of these metals rarely
appeared on the surface; they were to be sought for and traced through
frightful depths, where very often floods of water stopped the miners, and
seemed to defeat all future pursuits. But avarice is no less patient in
undergoing fatigues, than ingenious in finding expedients. By pumps, which
Archimedes had invented when in Egypt, the Romans afterwards threw up the
water out of these pits, and quite drained them. Numberless multitudes of
slaves perished in these mines, which were dug to enrich their masters;
who treated them with the utmost barbarity, forced them by heavy stripes
to labour, and gave them no respite either day or night.

Polybius, as quoted by Strabo,(547) says, that, in his time, upwards of
forty thousand men were employed in the mines near _Nova Carthago_; and
furnished the Romans every day with twenty-five thousand drachmas, or
eight hundred fifty-nine pounds seven shillings and sixpence.(548)

We must not be surprised to see the Carthaginians, soon after the greatest
defeats, sending fresh and numerous armies again into the field; fitting
out mighty fleets, and supporting, at a great expense, for many years,
wars carried on by them in far-distant countries. But it must appear
surprising to us that the Romans should be capable of doing the same; they
whose revenues were very inconsiderable before those great conquests which
subjected to them the most powerful nations; and who had no resources,
either from trade, to which they were absolute strangers, or from gold or
silver mines, which were very rarely found in Italy, in case there were
any; and the expenses of which must, for that very reason, have swallowed
up all the profit. The Romans, in the frugal and simple life they led, in
their zeal for the public welfare, and their love for their country,
possessed funds which were not less ready or secure than those of
Carthage, but at the same time were far more honourable to their nation.

SECT. VI. WAR.—Carthage must be considered as a trading, and, at the same
time, a warlike republic. Its genius and the nature of its government led
it to traffic; and it became warlike, first, from the necessity the
Carthaginians were under of defending themselves against the neighbouring
nations, and afterwards from a desire of extending their commerce and
empire. This double idea gives us, in my opinion, the true plan and
character of the Carthaginian republic. We have already spoken of its
commerce.

The military power of the Carthaginians consisted in their alliances with
kings; in tributary nations, from which they drew both men and money; in
some troops raised from among their own citizens; and in mercenary
soldiers purchased of neighbouring states, without being themselves
obliged to levy or exercise them, because they were already well
disciplined and inured to the fatigues of war; they making choice, in
every country, of such troops as had the greatest merit and reputation.
They drew from Numidia a light, bold, impetuous, and indefatigable
cavalry, which formed the principal strength of their armies; from the
Balearic isles, the most expert slingers in the world; from Spain, a
steady and invincible infantry; from the coasts of Genoa and Gaul, troops
of acknowledged valour; and from Greece itself, soldiers fit for all the
various operations of war, for the field or the garrisons, for besieging
or defending cities.

In this manner the Carthaginians sent out at once powerful armies,
composed of soldiers which were the flower of all the armies in the
universe, without depopulating either their fields or cities by new
levies; without suspending their manufactures, or disturbing the peaceful
artificer; without interrupting their commerce, or weakening their navy.
By venal blood they possessed themselves of provinces and kingdoms; and
made other nations the instruments of their grandeur and glory, with no
other expense of their own than their money; and even this furnished from
the traffic they carried on with foreign nations.

If the Carthaginians, in the course of a war, sustained some losses, these
were but as so many foreign accidents, which only grazed, as it were, over
the body of the state, but did not make a deep wound in the bowels or
heart of the republic. These losses were speedily repaired, by sums
arising out of a flourishing commerce, as from a perpetual sinew of war,
by which the government was continually reinforced with new supplies for
the purchase of mercenary forces, who were ready at the first summons. And
from the vast extent of the coasts which the Carthaginians possessed, it
was easy for them to levy, in a very little time, a sufficient number of
sailors and rowers for the working of their fleets, and to procure able
pilots and experienced captains to conduct them.

But as these parts were fortuitously brought together, they did not adhere
by any natural, intimate, or necessary tie. No common and reciprocal
interest united them in such a manner, as to form a solid and unalterable
body. Not one individual in these mercenary armies, was sincerely
interested in the success of measures, or in the prosperity of the state.
They did not act with the same zeal, nor expose themselves to dangers with
equal resolution, for a republic which they considered as foreign, and
which consequently was indifferent to them, as they would have done for
their native country, whose happiness constitutes that of the several
members who compose it.

In great reverses of fortune, the kings in alliance with the
Carthaginians(549) might easily be detached from their interest, either by
that jealousy which the grandeur of a more powerful neighbour naturally
excites; or by the hopes of reaping greater advantages from a new friend;
or by the fear of being involved in the misfortunes of an old ally.

The tributary nations, impatient under the weight and disgrace of a yoke
which had been forced upon their necks, generally flattered themselves
with the hopes of finding one less galling in changing their masters; or,
in case servitude was unavoidable, the choice was indifferent to them, as
will appear from many instances in the course of this history.

The mercenary forces, accustomed to measure their fidelity by the
largeness or continuance of their pay, were ever ready, on the least
discontent, or the slightest expectation of a more considerable stipend,
to desert to the enemy with whom they had just before fought, and to turn
their arms against those who had invited them to their assistance.

Thus the grandeur of the Carthaginians being sustained only by these
foreign supports, was shaken to the very foundation when they were once
taken away. And if to this there happened to be added an interruption of
their commerce, (which was their sole resource,) arising from the loss of
a naval engagement, they imagined themselves to be on the brink of ruin,
and abandoned themselves to despondency and despair, as was evidently seen
at the end of the first Punic war.

Aristotle, in the treatise where he shows the advantages and defects of
the government of Carthage, finds no fault with its keeping up none but
foreign forces; it is therefore probable, that the Carthaginians did not
fall into this practice till a long time after. But the rebellions which
harassed Carthage in its later years, out to have taught its citizens,
that no miseries are comparable to those of a government which is
supported only by foreigners; since neither zeal, security, nor obedience,
can be expected from them.

But this was not the case with the republic of Rome. As the Romans had
neither trade nor money, they were not able to hire forces to push on
their conquests with the same rapidity as the Carthaginians: but then, as
they procured every thing from within themselves; and as all the parts of
the state were intimately united; they had surer resources in great
misfortunes than the Carthaginians. And for this reason they never once
thought of suing for peace after the battle of Cannæ, as the Carthaginians
had done in a less imminent danger.

The Carthaginians had, besides, a body of troops (which was not very
numerous) levied from among their own citizens; and this was a kind of
school, in which the flower of their nobility, and those whose talents and
ambition prompted them to aspire to the first dignities, learned the
rudiments of the art of war. From among these were selected all the
general officers, who were put at the head of the different bodies of
their forces, and had the chief command in the armies. This nation was too
jealous and suspicious to employ foreign generals. But they were not so
distrustful of their own citizens as Rome and Athens; for the
Carthaginians, at the same time that they invested them with great power,
did not guard against the abuse they might make of it in order to oppress
their country. The command of armies was neither annual, nor limited to
any time, as in the two republics above-mentioned. Many generals held
their commissions for a great number of years, either till the war or
their lives ended; though they were still accountable to the commonwealth
for their conduct; and liable to be recalled, whenever a real fault, a
misfortune, or the superior interest of a cabal, furnished an opportunity
for it.

SECT. VII. ARTS AND SCIENCES.—It cannot be said that the Carthaginians
renounced entirely the glory which results from study and knowledge. The
sending of Masinissa, son of a powerful king,(550) thither for education,
gives us room to believe that Carthage was provided with an excellent
school. The great Hannibal,(551) who in all respects was an ornament to
that city, was not unacquainted with polite literature, as will be seen
hereafter. Mago,(552) another very celebrated general, did as much honour
to Carthage by his pen as by his victories. He wrote twenty-eight volumes
upon husbandry, which the Roman senate had in such esteem, that after the
taking of Carthage, when they presented the African princes with the
libraries found there, (another proof that learning was not entirely
banished from Carthage,) they gave orders to have these books translated
into Latin,(553) though Cato had before written his books on that subject.
There is still extant a Greek version of a treatise drawn up by Hanno in
the Punic tongue,(554) relating to a voyage he made (by order of the
senate) with a considerable fleet round Africa, for the settling of
different colonies in that part of the world. This Hanno is believed to be
more ancient than that person of the same name who lived in the time of
Agathocles.

Clitomachus, called in the Punic language Asdrubal, was a great
philosopher.(555) He succeeded the famous Carneades, whose disciple he had
been; and maintained in Athens the honour of the Academic sect. Cicero
says,(556) that he was a more sensible man, and fonder of study, than the
Carthaginians generally are. He wrote several books;(557) in one of which
he composed a piece to console the unhappy citizens of Carthage, who, by
the ruin of their city, were reduced to slavery.

I might rank among, or rather place at the head of, the writers who have
adorned Africa, the celebrated Terence; himself singly being capable of
reflecting infinite honour on his country by the fame of his productions,
if, on this account, Carthage, the place of his birth, ought not to be
less considered as his country than Rome, where he was educated, and
acquired that purity of style, that delicacy and elegance, which have
gained him the admiration of all succeeding ages. It is supposed,(558)
that he was carried off when an infant, or at least very young, by the
Numidians in their incursions into the Carthaginian territories, during
the war carried on between these two nations, from the conclusion of the
second, to the beginning of the third Punic war. He was sold for a slave
to Terentius Lucanus, a Roman senator; who, after giving him an excellent
education, gave him his liberty, and called him by his own name, as was
then the custom. He was united in a very strict friendship with the second
Scipio Africanus, and Lælius; and it was a common report at Rome, that he
had the assistance of these two great men in composing his pieces. The
poet, so far from endeavouring to stifle a report so advantageous to him,
made a merit of it. Only six of his comedies are extant. Some authors, on
the authority of Suetonius, (the writer of his life,) say, that in his
return from Greece, whither he had made a voyage, he lost a hundred and
eight comedies, which he had translated from Menander, and could not
survive an accident which must naturally afflict him in a sensible manner;
but this incident is not very well founded. Be this as it may, he died in
the year of Rome 594, under the consulship of Cneius Cornelius Dolabella,
and M. Fulvius, at the age of thirty-five years, and consequently he was
born anno 560.

It must yet be confessed, notwithstanding all we have said, that there
ever was a great scarcity of learned men in Carthage, since it hardly
furnished three or four writers of reputation in upwards of seven hundred
years. Although the Carthaginians held a correspondence with Greece and
the most civilized nations, yet this did not excite them to borrow their
learning, as being foreign to their views of trade and commerce.
Eloquence, poetry, history, seem to have been little known among them. A
Carthaginian philosopher was considered as a sort of prodigy by the
learned. What then would an astronomer or a geometrician have been
thought? I know not in what esteem physic, which is so highly useful to
life, was held at Carthage; or jurisprudence, so necessary to society.

As works of wit were generally had in so much disregard, the education of
youth must necessarily have been very imperfect and unpolished. In
Carthage, the study and knowledge of youth were for the most part confined
to writing, arithmetic, book-keeping, and the buying and selling goods; in
a word, to whatever related to traffic. But polite learning, history, and
philosophy, were in little repute among them. These were, in later years,
even prohibited by the laws, which expressly forbade any Carthaginian to
learn the Greek tongue, lest it might qualify them for carrying on a
dangerous correspondence with the enemy, either by letter or word of
mouth.(559)

Now what could be expected from such a cast of mind? Accordingly there was
never seen among them that elegance of behaviour, that ease and
complacency of manners, and those sentiments of virtue, which are
generally the fruits of a liberal education in all civilized nations. The
small number of great men which this nation has produced, must therefore
have owed their merit to the felicity of their genius, to the singularity
of their talents, and a long experience, without any great assistance from
cultivation and instruction. Hence it was, that the merit of the greatest
men of Carthage was sullied by great failings, low vices, and cruel
passions; and it is rare to meet with any conspicuous virtue among them
without some blemish; with any virtue of a noble, generous, and amiable
kind, and supported by enlightened and steady principles, such as is every
where found among the Greeks and Romans. The reader will perceive that I
here speak only of the heathen virtues, and agreeably to the idea which
the Pagans entertained of them.

I meet with as few monuments of their skill in arts of a less noble and
necessary kind, as painting and sculpture. I find, indeed, that they had
plundered the conquered nations of a great many works in both these kinds;
but it does not appear that they themselves had produced many.

From what has been said, one cannot help concluding, that traffic was the
predominant inclination, and the peculiar characteristic of the
Carthaginians; that it formed, in a manner, the basis of the state, the
soul of the commonwealth, and the grand spring which gave motion to all
their enterprises. The Carthaginians, in general, were skilful merchants;
employed wholly in traffic; excited strongly by the desire of gain, and
esteeming nothing but riches; directing all their talents, and placing
their chief glory, in amassing them; though at the same time they scarce
knew the purpose for which they were designed, or how to use them in a
noble or worthy manner.

SECT. VIII. THE CHARACTER, MANNERS, AND QUALITIES OF THE CARTHAGINIANS.—In
the enumeration of the various qualities which Cicero(560) assigns to
different nations, as their distinguishing characteristics, he declares
that of the Carthaginians to be craft, skill, address, industry, cunning,
_calliditas_; which doubtless appeared in war, but was still more
conspicuous in the rest of their conduct; and this was joined to another
quality that bears a very near relation to it, and is still less
reputable. Craft and cunning lead naturally to lying, duplicity, and
breach of faith; and these, by accustoming the mind insensibly to be less
scrupulous with regard to the choice of the means for compassing its
designs, prepare it for the basest frauds and the most perfidious actions.
This was also one of the characteristics of the Carthaginians;(561) and it
was so notorious, that to signify any remarkable dishonesty, it was usual
to call it _Punic faith, fides Punica_; and to denote a knavish, deceitful
disposition, no expression was thought more proper and emphatical than
this, a Carthaginian disposition, _Punicum ingenium_.

An excessive thirst for amassing wealth, and an inordinate love of gain,
generally gave occasion in Carthage to the committing base and unjust
actions. One single example will prove this. During a truce, granted by
Scipio to the earnest entreaties of the Carthaginians, some Roman vessels,
being driven by a storm on the coasts of Carthage, were seized by order of
the senate and people,(562) who could not suffer so tempting a prey to
escape them. They were resolved to get money, though the manner of
acquiring it were ever so scandalous.(563) The inhabitants of Carthage,
even in St. Austin’s time, (as that Father informs us,) showed on a
particular occasion, that they still retained part of this characteristic.

But these were not the only blemishes and faults of the
Carthaginians.(564) They had something austere and savage in their
disposition and genius, a haughty and imperious air, a sort of ferocity,
which, in the first transports of passion, was deaf to both reason and
remonstrances, and plunged brutally into the utmost excesses of violence.
The people, cowardly and grovelling under apprehensions, were proud and
cruel in their transports; at the same time that they trembled under their
magistrates, they were dreaded in their turn by their miserable vassals.
In this we see the difference which education makes between one nation and
another. The Athenians, whose city was always considered as the centre of
learning, were naturally jealous of their authority, and difficult to
govern; but still, a fund of good nature and humanity made them
compassionate the misfortunes of others, and be indulgent to the errors of
their leaders. Cleon one day desired the assembly, in which he presided,
to break up, because, as he told them, he had a sacrifice to offer, and
friends to entertain. The people only laughed at the request, and
immediately separated. Such a liberty, says Plutarch, at Carthage, would
have cost a man his life.

Livy makes a like reflection with regard to Terentius Varro.(565) That
general on his return to Rome after the battle of Cannæ, which had been
lost by his ill conduct, was met by persons of all orders of the state, at
some distance from Rome; and thanked by them, for his not having despaired
of the commonwealth; who, says the historian, had he been a general of the
Carthaginians, must have expected the most severe punishment: _Cui, si
Carthaginensium ductor fuisset, nihil recusandum supplicii foret._ Indeed,
a court was established at Carthage, where the generals were obliged to
give an account of their conduct; and they all were made responsible for
the events of the war. Ill success was punished there as a crime against
the state; and whenever a general lost a battle, he was almost sure, at
his return, of ending his life upon a gibbet. Such was the furious, cruel,
and barbarous disposition of the Carthaginians, who were always ready to
shed the blood of their citizens as well as of foreigners. The unheard-of
tortures which they made Regulus suffer, are a manifest proof of this
assertion; and their history will furnish us with such instances of it, as
are not to be read without horror.



Part The Second. The History of the Carthaginians.


The interval of time between the foundation of Carthage and its ruin,
included seven hundred years, and may be divided into two parts. The
first, which is much the longest and the least known, (as is ordinary with
the beginnings of all states,) extends to the first Punic war, and takes
up five hundred and eighty-two years. The second, which ends at the
destruction of Carthage, contains but a hundred and eighteen years.



Chapter I. The Foundation of Carthage and its Aggrandizement till the Time
of the first Punic War.


Carthage in Africa was a colony from Tyre, the most renowned city at that
time for commerce in the world. Tyre had long before transplanted into
that country another colony, which built Utica,(566) made famous by the
death of the second Cato, who, for this reason, is generally called Cato
Uticensis.

Authors disagree very much with regard to the æra of the foundation of
Carthage.(567) It is a difficult matter, and not very material, to
reconcile them; at least, agreeably to the plan laid down by me, it is
sufficient to know, within a few years, the time in which that city was
built.

Carthage existed a little above seven hundred years.(568) It was destroyed
under the consulate of Cn. Lentulus, and L. Mummius, the 603d year of
Rome, 3859th of the world, and 145 before Christ. The foundation of it may
therefore be fixed in the year of the world 3158, when Joash was king of
Judah, 98 years before the building of Rome, and 846 before our Saviour.

The foundation of Carthage is ascribed to Elisa, a Tyrian princess, better
known by the name of Dido.(569) Ithobal, king of Tyre, and father of the
famous Jezebel, called in Scripture Ethbaal, was her great-grandfather.
She married her near relation Acerbas, called otherwise Sicharbas and
Sichæus, an extremely rich prince, and Pygmalion, king of Tyre, was her
brother. This prince having put Sichæus to death, in order that he might
have an opportunity of seizing his immense wealth, Dido eluded the cruel
avarice of her brother, by withdrawing secretly with all her dead
husband’s treasures. After having long wandered, she at last landed on the
coast of the Mediterranean, in the gulf where Utica stood, and in the
country of Africa, properly so called, distant almost fifteen(570) miles
from Tunis, so famous at this time for its corsairs; and there settled
with her few followers, after having purchased some lands from the
inhabitants of the country.(571)

Many of the neighbouring people, invited by the prospect of lucre,
repaired thither to sell these new comers the necessaries of life; and
shortly after incorporated themselves with them. These inhabitants, who
had been thus gathered from different places, soon grew very numerous. The
citizens of Utica, considering them as their countrymen, and as descended
from the same common stock, deputed envoys with very considerable
presents, and exhorted them to build a city in the place where they had
first settled. The natives of the country, from the esteem and respect
frequently shown to strangers, did as much on their part. Thus all things
conspiring with Dido’s views, she built her city, which was charged with
the payment of an annual tribute to the Africans for the ground it stood
upon; and called Carthada,(572) or Carthage, a name that, in the
Phoenician and Hebrew tongues, (which have a great affinity,) signifies
the New City. It is said, that when the foundations were dug, a horse’s
head was found, which was thought a good omen, and a presage of the future
warlike genius of that people.(573)

This princess was afterwards courted by Iarbas king of Getulia, and
threatened with a war in case of refusal. Dido, who had bound herself by
an oath not to consent to a second marriage, being incapable of violating
the faith she had sworn to Sichæus, desired time for deliberation, and for
appeasing the manes of her first husband by sacrifice. Having therefore
ordered a pile to be raised, she ascended it; and drawing out a dagger
which she had concealed under her robe, stabbed herself with it.(574)

Virgil has made a great alteration in this history, by supposing that
Æneas, his hero, was contemporary with Dido, though there was an interval
of near three centuries between the one and the other; Carthage being
built three hundred years after the destruction of Troy. This liberty is
very excusable in a poet, who is not tied to the scrupulous accuracy of an
historian; and we admire, with great reason, the judgment which he has
shown in his plan, when, to interest the Romans (for whom he wrote) in his
subject, he has the art of introducing into it the implacable hatred which
subsisted between Carthage and Rome, and ingeniously deduces the original
of it from the very remote foundation of those two rival cities.

Carthage, whose beginnings, as we have observed, were very weak at first,
grew larger by insensible degrees, in the country where it was founded.
But its dominion was not long confined to Africa. This ambitious city
extended her conquests into Europe, invaded Sardinia, made herself
mistress of a great part of Sicily, and reduced to her subjection almost
the whole of Spain; and having sent out powerful colonies into all
quarters, enjoyed the empire of the seas for more than six hundred years;
and formed a state which was able to dispute preeminence with the greatest
empires of the world, by her wealth, her commerce, her numerous armies,
her formidable fleets, and, above all, by the courage and ability of her
captains. The dates and circumstances of many of these conquests are
little known. I shall take but a transient notice of them, in order to
enable my readers to form some idea of the countries, which will be often
mentioned in the course of this history.

_Conquests of the Carthaginians in Africa._—The first wars made by the
Carthaginians were to free themselves from the annual tribute which they
had engaged to pay the Africans, for the territory which had been ceded to
them.(575) This conduct does them no honour, as the settlement was granted
them upon condition of their paying a tribute. One would be apt to
imagine, that they were desirous of covering the obscurity of their
original, by abolishing this proof of it. But they were not successful on
this occasion. The Africans had justice on their side, and they prospered
accordingly; the war being terminated by the payment of the tribute.

The Carthaginians afterwards carried their arms against the Moors and
Numidians, and gained many conquests over both.(576) Being now emboldened
by these happy successes, they shook off entirely the tribute which gave
them so much uneasiness,(577) and possessed themselves of a great part of
Africa.

About this time there arose a great dispute between Carthage and Cyrene,
on the subject of their respective limits. Cyrene was a very powerful
city, situated on the Mediterranean, towards the greater Syrtis, and had
been built by Battus the Lacedæmonian.(578)

It was agreed on each side, that two young men should set out at the same
time, from either city; and that the place of their meeting should be the
common boundary of both states. The Carthaginians (these were two brothers
named Philæni) made the most haste; and their antagonists pretending that
foul play had been used, and that the two brothers had set out before the
time appointed, refused to stand to the agreement unless the two brothers
(to remove all suspicion of unfair dealing) would consent to be buried
alive in the place where they had met. They acquiesced with the proposal;
and the Carthaginians erected, on that spot, two altars to their memories,
and paid them divine honours in their city; and from that time the place
was called the altars of the Philæni, Aræ Philænorum,(579) and served as
the boundary of the Carthaginian empire, which extended from thence to the
pillars of Hercules.

_Conquests of the Carthaginians in Sardinia, &c._—History does not inform
us exactly, either of the time when the Carthaginians entered Sardinia, or
of the manner in which they got possession of it. This island was of great
use to them; and during all their wars supplied them abundantly with
provisions.(580) It is separated from Corsica only by a strait of about
three leagues in breadth. The metropolis of the southern and most fertile
part of it, was Caralis or Calaris, now called Cagliari. On the arrival of
the Carthaginians, the natives withdrew to the mountains in the northern
parts of the island, which are almost inaccessible, and whence the enemy
could not dislodge them.

The Carthaginians seized likewise on the Balearic isles, now called
Majorca and Minorca. Port Mahon, (_Portus Magonis_,) in the latter island,
was so called from Mago, a Carthaginian general, who first made use of,
and fortified it. It is not known who this Mago was; but it is very
probable that he was Hannibal’s brother.(581) This harbour is, at this
day, one of the most considerable in the Mediterranean.

These isles furnished the Carthaginians with the most expert slingers in
the world, who did them great service in battles and sieges.(582) They
slang large stones of above a pound weight; and sometimes threw leaden
bullets,(583) with so much violence, that they would pierce even the
strongest helmets, shields, and cuirasses; and were so dexterous in their
aim, that they scarce ever missed the mark. The inhabitants of these
islands were accustomed, from their infancy, to handle the sling; for
which purpose their mothers placed on the bough of a high tree, the piece
of bread designed for their children’s breakfast, who were not allowed a
morsel till they had brought it down with their slings. From this
practice, these islands were called Baleares and Gymnasiæ, by the
Greeks,(584) because the inhabitants used to exercise themselves so early
in slinging of stones.(585)

_Conquests of the Carthaginians in Spain._—Before I enter on the relation
of these conquests, I think it proper to give my readers some idea of
Spain.

Spain is divided into three parts, Bœtica, Lusitania, Tarraconensis.(586)

Bœtica, so called from the river Bœtis,(587) was the southern division of
it, and comprehended the present kingdom of Granada, Andalusia, part of
New Castile, and Estremadura. Cadiz, called by the ancients Gades and
Gadira, is a town situated in a small island of the same name, on the
western coast of Andalusia, about nine leagues from Gibraltar. It is well
known that Hercules, having extended his conquests to this place, halted,
from the supposition that he was come to the extremity of the world.(588)
He here erected two pillars, as monuments of his victories, pursuant to
the custom of that age. The place has always retained the name, though
time has quite destroyed these pillars. Authors are divided in opinion,
with regard to the place where these pillars were erected. Bœtica was the
most fruitful, the wealthiest, and most populous part of Spain.(589) It
contained two hundred cities, and was inhabited by the Turdetani, or
Turduli. On the banks of the Bœtis stood three large cities, Castulo
towards the source, Corduba lower down, the native place of Lucan and the
two Senecas, lastly, Hispalis.(590)

Lusitania is bounded on the west by the Ocean, on the north by the river
Durius,(591) and on the south by the river Anas.(592) Between these two
rivers is the Tagus. Lusitania was what is now called Portugal, with part
of Old and New Castile.

Tarraconensis comprehended the rest of Spain, that is, the kingdoms of
Murcia and Valentia, Catalonia, Arragon, Navarre, Biscay, the Asturias,
Gallicia, the kingdom of Leon, and the greatest part of the two Castiles.
Tarraco,(593) a very considerable city, gave its name to this part of
Spain. Pretty near it lay Barcino.(594) Its name gives rise to the
conjecture, that it was built by Hamilcar, surnamed Barca, father of the
great Hannibal. The most renowned nations of Tarraconensis were the
Celtiberi, beyond the river Iberus;(595) the Cantabri, where Biscay now
lies; the Carpetani, whose capital was Toledo; the Oretani, &c.

Spain, abounding with mines of gold and silver, and peopled with a martial
race of men, had sufficient to excite both the avarice and ambition of the
Carthaginians, who were more of a mercantile than of a warlike
disposition, from the very genius and constitution of their republic. They
doubtless knew that their Phœnician ancestors, (as Diodorus relates,)(596)
taking advantage of the happy ignorance of the Spaniards, with regard to
the immense riches which were hid in the bowels of their lands, first took
from them these precious treasures, in exchange for commodities of little
value. They likewise foresaw, that if they could once subdue this country,
it would furnish them abundantly with well-disciplined troops for the
conquest of other nations, as actually happened.

The occasion of the Carthaginians first landing in Spain, was to assist
the inhabitants of Cadiz, who were invaded by the Spaniards.(597) That
city was a colony from Tyre, as well as Utica and Carthage, and even more
ancient than either of them. The Tyrians having built it, established
there the worship of Hercules, and erected, in his honour, a magnificent
temple, which became famous in after ages. The success of this first
expedition of the Carthaginians made them desirous of carrying their arms
into Spain.

It is not exactly known in what period they entered Spain, nor how far
they extended their first conquests. It is probable that these were slow
in the beginning, as the Carthaginians had to do with very warlike
nations, who defended themselves with great resolution and courage. Nor
could they ever have accomplished their design, as Strabo observes,(598)
had the Spaniards (united in a body) formed but one state, and mutually
assisted one another. But as every district, every people, were entirely
detached from their neighbours, and had not the least correspondence nor
connection with them, the Carthaginians were forced to subdue them one
after another. This circumstance occasioned, on one hand, the loss of
Spain; but on the other, protracted the war, and made the conquest of the
country much more difficult.(599) Accordingly it has been observed, that
though Spain was the first province which the Romans invaded on the
continent, it was the last they subdued;(600) and was not entirely
subjected to their power, till after having made a vigorous opposition for
upwards of 200 years.

It appears from the accounts given by Polybius and Livy, of the wars of
Hamilcar, Asdrubal, and Hannibal in Spain, which will soon be mentioned,
that the arms of the Carthaginians had not made any considerable progress
in that country before that period, and that the greatest part of Spain
was then unconquered. But in twenty years’ time they completed the
conquest of almost the whole country.

At the time that Hannibal set out for Italy, all the coast of Africa, from
the Philænorum Aræ, by the great Syrtis, to the pillars of Hercules, was
subject to the Carthaginians.(601) Passing through the straits, they had
conquered all the western coast of Spain, along the ocean, as far as the
Pyrenean hills. The coast, which lies on the Mediterranean, had been
almost wholly subdued by them; and it was there they had built Carthagena;
and they were masters of all the country, as far as the river Iberus,
which bounded their dominions. Such was, at that time, the extent of their
empire. In the centre of the country, some nations had indeed held out
against all their efforts, and could not be subdued by them.

_Conquests of the Carthaginians in Sicily._—The wars which the
Carthaginians carried on in Sicily are more known. I shall here relate
those which were waged from the reign of Xerxes, who first prompted the
Carthaginians to carry their arms into Sicily, till the first Punic war.
This period includes near two hundred and twenty years; _viz._ from the
year of the world 3520 to 3738. At the breaking out of these wars,
Syracuse, the most considerable as well as most powerful city of Sicily,
had invested Gelon, Hiero, and Thrasybulus, (three brothers who succeeded
one another,) with the sovereign power. After their deaths, a democracy or
popular government was established in that city, and subsisted above sixty
years. From this time, the two Dionysius’s, Timoleon, and Agathocles, bore
the sway in Syracuse. Pyrrhus was afterwards invited into Sicily, but he
kept possession of it only a few years. Such was the government of Sicily
during the wars of which I am going to treat. They will give us great
light with regard to the power of the Carthaginians, at the time that they
began to be engaged in war with the Romans.

Sicily is the largest and most considerable island in the Mediterranean.
It is of a triangular form, and for that reason was called Trinacria and
Triquetra. The eastern side, which faces the Ionian or Grecian sea,
extends from Cape Pachynum(602) to Pelorum.(603) The most celebrated
cities on this coast are Syracuse, Tauromenium, and Messana. The northern
coast, which looks towards Italy, reaches from Cape Pelorum to Cape
Lilybæum.(604) The most noted cities on this coast are Mylæ, Hymera,
Panormus, Eryx, Motya, Lilybæum. The southern coast, which lies opposite
to Africa, extends from Cape Lilybæum to Pachynum. The most remarkable
cities on this coast are Selinus, Agrigentum, Gela, and Camarina. This
island is separated from Italy by a strait, which is not more than a mile
and a half over, and called the Faro or strait of Messina, from its
contiguity to that city. The passage from Lilybæum to Africa is but 1500
furlongs,(605) that is, about seventy-five leagues.(606)

(M99) The period in which the Carthaginians first carried their arms into
Sicily is not exactly known.(607) All we are certain of is, that they were
already possessed of some part of it, at the time that they entered into a
treaty with the Romans; the same year that the kings were expelled, and
consuls appointed in their room, _viz._ twenty-eight years before Xerxes
invaded Greece. This treaty, which is the first we find mentioned to have
been made between these two nations, speaks of Africa and Sardinia as
possessed by the Carthaginians; whereas the conventions with regard to
Sicily, relate only to those parts of the island which were subject to
them. By this treaty it is expressly stipulated, that neither the Romans
nor their allies shall sail beyond the Fair Promontory,(608) which was
very near Carthage; and that such merchants, as shall resort to this city
for traffic, shall pay only certain duties which are settled in it.(609)

It appears by the same treaty, that the Carthaginians were particularly
careful to exclude the Romans from all the countries subject to them; as
well as from the knowledge of what was transacting in them; as though the
Carthaginians, even at that time, had taken umbrage at the rising power of
the Romans; and already harboured in their breasts the secret seeds of
that jealousy and distrust, that were one day to burst out in long and
cruel wars, and a mutual hatred and animosity, which nothing could
extinguish but the ruin of one of the contending powers.

(M100) Some years after the conclusion of this first treaty, the
Carthaginians made an alliance with Xerxes king of Persia.(610) This
prince, who aimed at nothing less than the total extirpation of the
Greeks, whom he considered as his irreconcilable enemies, thought it would
be impossible for him to succeed in his enterprise without the assistance
of Carthage, whose power was formidable even at that time. The
Carthaginians, who always kept in view the design they entertained of
seizing upon the remainder of Sicily, greedily snatched the favourable
opportunity which now presented itself for their completing the reduction
of it. A treaty was therefore concluded; wherein it was agreed that the
Carthaginians were to invade, with all their forces, those Greeks who were
settled in Sicily and Italy, while Xerxes should march in person against
Greece itself.

The preparations for this war lasted three years. The land army amounted
to no less than three hundred thousand men. The fleet consisted of two
thousand ships of war, and upwards of three thousand small vessels of
burden. Hamilcar, the most experienced captain of his age, sailed from
Carthage with this formidable army. He landed at Palermo;(611) and, after
refreshing his troops, he marched against Hymera, a city not far distant
from Palermo, and laid siege to it. Theron, who commanded in it, seeing
himself very much straitened, sent to Gelon, who had possessed himself of
Syracuse. He flew immediately to his relief, with fifty thousand foot, and
five thousand horse. His arrival infused new courage into the besieged,
who, from that time, made a very vigorous defence.

Gelon was an able warrior, and excelled in stratagems. A courier was
brought to him, who had been despatched from Selinus, a city of Sicily,
with a letter for Hamilcar, to inform him of the day when he might expect
the cavalry which he had demanded of them. Gelon drew out an equal number
of his own troops, and sent them from his camp about the time agreed on.
These being admitted into the enemy’s camp, as coming from Selinus, rushed
upon Hamilcar, killed him, and set fire to his ships. In this critical
conjuncture, Gelon attacked, with all his forces, the Carthaginians, who
at first made a gallant resistance. But when the news of their general’s
death was brought them, and they saw their fleet in a blaze, their courage
failed them, and they fled. And now a dreadful slaughter ensued; upwards
of a hundred and fifty thousand being slain. The rest of the army, having
retired to a place where they were in want of every thing, could not make
a long defence, and were forced to surrender at discretion. This battle
was fought the very day of the famous action of Thermopylæ, in which three
hundred Spartans,(612) with the sacrifice of their lives, disputed
Xerxes’s entrance into Greece.

When the sad news was brought to Carthage of the entire defeat of the
army, consternation, grief, and despair, threw the whole city into such a
confusion and alarm as are not to be expressed. It was imagined that the
enemy was already at the gates. The Carthaginians, in great reverses of
fortune, always lost their courage, and sunk into the opposite extreme.
Immediately they sent a deputation to Gelon, by which they desired peace
upon any terms. He heard their envoys with great humanity. The complete
victory he had gained, so far from making him haughty and untractable, had
only increased his modesty and clemency even towards the enemy. He
therefore granted them a peace, without any other condition, than their
paying two thousand(613) talents towards the expense of the war. He
likewise required them to build two temples, where the treaty of this
peace should be deposited, and exposed at all times to public view. The
Carthaginians did not think this a dear purchase of a peace, that was so
absolutely necessary to their affairs, and which they hardly durst hope
for. Gisgo, the son of Hamilcar, pursuant to the unjust custom of the
Carthaginians, of ascribing to the general the ill success of a war, and
making him bear the blame of it, was punished for his father’s misfortune,
and sent into banishment. He passed the remainder of his days at Selinus,
a city of Sicily.

Gelon, on his return to Syracuse, convened the people, and invited all the
citizens to appear under arms. He himself entered the assembly, unarmed
and without his guards, and there gave an account of the whole conduct of
his life. His speech met with no other interruption, than the public
testimonies which were given him of gratitude and admiration. So far from
being treated as a tyrant, and the oppressor of his country’s liberty, he
was considered as its benefactor and deliverer; all, with an unanimous
voice, proclaimed him king; and the crown was bestowed, after his death,
on his two brothers.

(M101) After the memorable defeat of the Athenians before Syracuse, where
Nicias perished with his whole fleet;(614) the Segestans, who had declared
in favour of the Athenians against the Syracusans, fearing the resentment
of their enemies, and being attacked by the inhabitants of Selinus,
implored the aid of the Carthaginians, and put themselves and city under
their protection. At Carthage the people debated some time, what course it
would be proper for them to take, the affair meeting with great
difficulties. On one hand, the Carthaginians were very desirous to possess
themselves of a city which lay so convenient for them; on the other, they
dreaded the power and forces of Syracuse, which had so lately cut to
pieces a numerous army of the Athenians; and become, by so shining a
victory, more formidable than ever. At last, the lust of empire prevailed,
and the Segestans were promised succours.

The conduct of this war was committed to Hannibal, who at that time was
invested with the highest dignity of the state, being one of the Suffetes.
He was grandson to Hamilcar, who had been defeated by Gelon, and killed
before Himera; and son to Gisgo, who had been condemned to exile. He left
Carthage, animated with an ardent desire of revenging his family and
country, and of wiping away the disgrace of the last defeat. He had a very
great army as well as fleet under his command. He landed at a place called
the _Well of Lilybæum_, which gave its name to a city afterwards built on
the same spot. His first enterprise was the siege of Selinus. The attack
and defence were equally vigorous, the very women showing a resolution and
bravery above their sex. The city, after making a long resistance, was
taken by storm, and the plunder of it abandoned to the soldiers. The
victor exercised the most horrid cruelties, without showing the least
regard to either age or sex. He permitted such inhabitants as had fled, to
continue in the city after it had been dismantled; and to till the lands,
on condition of their paying a tribute to the Carthaginians. This city had
been built two hundred and forty-two years.

Himera, which he next besieged and took likewise by storm, after being
more cruelly treated than Selinus, was entirely razed, two hundred and
forty years after its foundation. He forced three thousand prisoners to
undergo every kind of ignominious punishments; and at last murdered them
all on the very spot where his grandfather had been killed by Gelon’s
cavalry, to appease and satisfy his manes by the blood of these unhappy
victims.

These expeditions being ended, Hannibal returned to Carthage, on which
occasion the whole city came out to meet him, and received him amidst the
most joyful acclamations.

These successes reinflamed the desire, and revived the design, which the
Carthaginians had ever entertained, of making themselves masters of the
whole of Sicily.(615) Three years after, they appointed Hannibal their
general a second time; and on his pleading his great age, and refusing the
command of this war, they gave him for lieutenant, Imilcon, son of Hanno,
of the same family. The preparations for this war were proportioned to the
great design which the Carthaginians had formed. The fleet and army were
soon ready, and set out for Sicily. The number of their forces, according
to Timæus, amounted to above six-score thousand; and, according to
Ephorus, to three hundred thousand men. The enemy, on their side, were
prepared to give the Carthaginians a warm reception. The Syracusans had
sent to all their allies, in order to levy forces among them; and to all
the cities of Sicily, to exhort them to exert themselves vigorously in
defence of their liberties.

Agrigentum expected to feel the first fury of the enemy. This city was
prodigiously rich,(616) and strongly fortified. It was situated, as was
also Selinus, on that coast of Sicily which faces Africa. Accordingly,
Hannibal opened the campaign with the siege of this city. Imagining that
it was impregnable except on one side, he directed his whole force to that
quarter. He threw up banks and terraces as high as the walls: and made
use, on this occasion, of the rubbish and fragments of the tombs standing
round the city, which he had demolished for that purpose. Soon after, the
plague infected the army, and swept away a great number of the soldiers,
and the general himself. The Carthaginians interpreted this disaster as a
punishment inflicted by the gods, who revenged in this manner the injuries
done to the dead, whose ghosts many fancied they had seen stalking before
them in the night. No more tombs were therefore demolished, prayers were
ordered to be made according to the practice of Carthage; a child was
sacrificed to Saturn, in compliance with a most inhuman superstitious
custom; and many victims were thrown into the sea in honour of Neptune.

The besieged, who at first had gained several advantages, were at last so
pressed by famine, that all hopes of relief seeming desperate, they
resolved to abandon the city. The following night was fixed on for this
purpose. The reader will naturally image to himself the grief with which
these miserable people must be seized, on their being forced to leave
their houses, their rich possessions, and their country; but life was
still dearer to them than all these. Never was a more melancholy spectacle
seen. To omit the rest, a crowd of women, bathed in tears, were seen
dragging after them their helpless infants, in order to secure them from
the brutal fury of the victor. But the most grievous circumstance was, the
necessity they were under of leaving behind them the aged and sick, who
were unable either to fly or to make the least resistance. The unhappy
exiles arrived at Gela, which was the nearest city, and there received all
the comforts they could expect in the deplorable condition to which they
were reduced.

In the mean time, Imilcon entered the city, and murdered all who were
found in it. The plunder was immensely rich, and such as might be expected
from one of the most opulent cities of Sicily, which contained two hundred
thousand inhabitants, and had never been besieged, nor consequently
plundered, before. A numberless multitude of pictures, vases, and statues
of all kinds, were found here; the citizens having an exquisite taste for
the polite arts. Among other curiosities was the famous bull(617) of
Phalaris, which was sent to Carthage.

The siege of Agrigentum had lasted eight months. Imilcon made his forces
take up their winter-quarters in it, to give them the necessary
refreshment; and left this city (after laying it entirely in ruins) in the
beginning of the spring. He afterwards besieged Gela, and took it,
notwithstanding the succours which were brought by Dionysius the Tyrant,
who had seized upon the government of Syracuse. Imilcon ended the war by a
treaty with Dionysius. The conditions of it were, that the Carthaginians,
besides their ancient acquisitions in Sicily, should still possess the
country of the Sicanians,(618) Selinus, Agrigentum, and Himera; as
likewise that of Gela and Camarina, with leave for the inhabitants to
reside in their respective dismantled cities, on condition of their paying
a tribute to Carthage; that the Leontines, the Messenians, and all the
Sicilians, should retain their own laws, and preserve their liberty and
independence: lastly, that the Syracusans should still continue subject to
Dionysius. After this treaty was concluded, Imilcon returned to Carthage,
where the plague still made dreadful havoc.

(M102) Dionysius had concluded the late peace with the Carthaginians with
no other view than to get time to establish his new authority, and make
the necessary preparations for the war which he meditated against
them.(619) As he was very sensible how formidable the power of this state
was, he used his utmost endeavours to enable himself to invade them with
success; and his design was wonderfully well seconded by the zeal of his
subjects. The fame of this prince, the strong desire he had to distinguish
himself, the charms of gain, and the prospect of the rewards which he
promised those who should show the greatest industry; invited, from all
quarters, into Sicily, the most able artists and workmen at that time in
the world. All Syracuse now became in a manner an immense workshop, in
every part of which men were seen making swords, helmets, shields, and
military engines; and preparing all things necessary for building ships
and fitting out fleets. The invention of vessels with five benches of oars
(or _Quinqueremes_) was at that time very recent; for, till then, those
with three alone(620) had been used. Dionysius animated the workmen by his
presence, and by the applauses he gave, and the bounty which he bestowed
seasonably; but chiefly by his popular and engaging behaviour, which
excited, more strongly than any other conduct, the industry and ardour of
the workmen;(621) and he frequently allowed those of them who most
excelled in their respective arts the honour to dine with him.

When all things were ready, and a great number of forces had been levied
in different countries, he called the Syracusans together, laid his design
before them, and represented to them that the Carthaginians were the
professed enemies to the Greeks; that they had no less in view than the
invasion of all Sicily; the subjecting all the Grecian cities; and that,
in case their progress was not checked, the Syracusans themselves would
soon be attacked: that the reason why the Carthaginians did not attempt
any enterprise, and continued unactive, was owing entirely to the dreadful
havoc made by the plague among them; which (he observed) was a favourable
opportunity, of which the Syracusans ought to take advantage. Though the
tyranny and the tyrant were equally odious to Syracuse, yet the hatred the
people bore to the Carthaginians prevailed over all other considerations;
and every one, guided more by the views of an interested policy than by
the dictates of justice, received the speech with applause. Upon this,
without the least complaint made, or any declaration of war, Dionysius
gave up to the fury of the populace the persons and possessions of the
Carthaginians. Great numbers of them resided at that time in Syracuse, and
traded there on the faith of treaties. The common people ran to their
houses, plundered their effects, and pretended they were sufficiently
authorized to exercise every ignominy, and inflict every kind of
punishment on them, for the cruelties they had exercised against the
natives of the country. And this horrid example of perfidy and inhumanity
was followed throughout the whole island of Sicily. This was the bloody
signal of the war which was declared against them. Dionysius having thus
begun to do himself justice, (in his way,) sent deputies to Carthage, to
require them to restore all the Sicilian cities to their liberties; and
that otherwise, all the Carthaginians found in them should be treated as
enemies. This news spread a general alarm in Carthage, especially when
they reflected on the sad condition to which they were reduced.

Dionysius opened the campaign with the siege of Motya, which was the
magazine of the Carthaginians in Sicily; and he pushed on the siege with
so much vigour, that it was impossible for Imilcon, the Carthaginian
admiral, to relieve it. He brought forward his engines, battered the place
with his battering-rams, advanced to the wall towers, six stories high
(rolled upon wheels,) and of an equal height with their houses; and from
these he greatly annoyed the besieged, with his Catapultæ, an engine(622)
then recently invented, which hurled, with great violence, numerous
volleys of arrows and stones against the enemy. At last, the city, after a
long and vigorous defence, was taken by storm, and all the inhabitants of
it put to the sword, those excepted who took sanctuary in the temples. The
plunder of it was abandoned to the soldiers, and Dionysius, leaving a
strong garrison and a trusty governor in it, returned to Syracuse.

The following year Imilcon being appointed one of the Suffetes, returned
to Sicily with a far greater army than before.(623) He landed at
Palermo,(624) recovered Motya by force, and took several other cities.
Animated by these successes, he advanced towards Syracuse, with design to
besiege it; marching his infantry by land, whilst his fleet, under the
command of Mago, sailed along the coast.

The arrival of Imilcon threw the Syracusans into great consternation.
Above two hundred ships laden with the spoils of the enemy, and advancing
in good order, entered in a kind of triumph the great harbour, being
followed by five hundred barks. At the same time, the land army,
consisting, according to some authors, of three hundred thousand
foot,(625) and three thousand horse, was seen marching forward on the
other side of the city. Imilcon pitched his tent in the very temple of
Jupiter; and the rest of the army encamped at twelve furlongs, or about a
mile and a half from the city. Marching up to it, Imilcon offered battle
to the inhabitants, who did not care to accept the challenge. Imilcon,
satisfied at his having extorted from the Syracusans this confession of
their own weakness and his superiority, returned to his camp; not doubting
but he should soon be master of the city, considering it already as a
certain prey which could not possibly escape him. For thirty days
together, he laid waste the neighbourhood about Syracuse, and ruined the
whole country. He possessed himself of the suburb of Acradina, and
plundered the temples of Ceres and Proserpine. To fortify his camp, he
beat down the tombs which stood round the city; and, among others, that of
Gelon and his wife Demarata, which was prodigiously magnificent.

But these successes were not lasting. All the splendour of this
anticipated triumph vanished in a moment, and taught mankind, says the
historian,(626) that the proudest mortal, blasted sooner or later by a
superior power, shall be forced to confess his own weakness. Whilst
Imilcon, now master of almost all the cities of Sicily, expected to crown
his conquests by the reduction of Syracuse, a contagious distemper seized
his army, and made dreadful havoc in it. It was now the midst of summer,
and the heat that year was excessive. The infection began among the
Africans, multitudes of whom died, without any possibility of their being
relieved. At first, care was taken to inter the dead; but the number
increasing daily, and the infection spreading very fast, the dead lay
unburied, and the sick could have no assistance. This plague was attended
with very uncommon symptoms, such as violent dysenteries, raging fevers,
burning entrails, acute pains in every part of the body. The infected were
even seized with madness and fury, so that they would fall upon any
persons that came in their way, and tear them to pieces.

Dionysius did not suffer to escape so favourable an opportunity for
attacking the enemy. Being more than half conquered by the plague, they
made but a feeble resistance. The Carthaginian ships were almost all
either taken or burnt. The inhabitants in general of Syracuse, old men,
women, and children, came pouring out of the city to behold an event which
to them appeared miraculous. With hands lifted up to heaven, they thanked
the tutelar gods of their city, for having avenged the sanctity of the
temples and tombs, which had been so brutally violated by these
barbarians. Night coming on, both parties retired; when Imilcon, taking
the opportunity of this short suspension of hostilities, sent to
Dionysius, requesting leave to carry back with him the small remains of
his shattered army, with an offer of three hundred talents,(627) which was
all the specie he had then left. But this permission could only be
obtained for the Carthaginians, with whom Imilcon stole away in the night,
and left the rest to the mercy of the conqueror.

Such was the condition in which this Carthaginian general, who a few days
before had been so proud and haughty, retired from Syracuse. Bitterly
bewailing his own fate, and still more that of his country, he, with the
most insolent fury, accused the gods as the sole authors of his
misfortunes. “The enemy,” continued he, “may indeed rejoice at our misery,
but have no reason to glory in it. We return victorious over the
Syracusans, and are defeated by the plague alone.” His greatest subject of
grief, and that which most keenly distressed him, was his having survived
so many gallant soldiers, who had died in arms. “But,” added he, “the
sequel shall make it appear, whether it is through fear of death, or from
the desire of leading back to their native country the miserable remains
of my fellow-citizens, that I have survived the loss of so many brave
comrades.” And in fact, on his arrival at Carthage, which he found
overwhelmed with grief and despair, he entered his house, shut his doors
against the citizens, and even his own children; and then gave himself the
fatal stroke, in compliance with a practice to which the heathens falsely
gave the name of courage, though it was, in reality, no other than a
cowardly despair.

But the calamities of this unhappy city did not stop here; for the
Africans, who had ever borne an implacable hatred to the Carthaginians,
but were now exasperated to fury, because their countrymen had been left
behind, and exposed to the murdering sword of the Syracusans, assemble in
the most frantic manner, sound the alarm, take up arms, and, after seizing
upon Tunis, march directly to Carthage, to the number of more than two
hundred thousand men. The citizens now gave themselves up for lost. This
new incident was considered by them as the sad effect of the wrath of the
gods, which pursued the guilty wretches even to Carthage. As its
inhabitants, especially in all public calamities, carried their
superstition to the greatest excess, their first care was to appease the
offended gods. Ceres and Proserpine were deities who, till that time, had
never been heard of in Africa. But now, to atone for the outrage which had
been done them in the plundering of their temples, magnificent statues
were erected to their honour; priests were selected from among the most
distinguished families of the city; sacrifices and victims, according to
the Greek ritual, (if I may use that expression,) were offered up to them;
in a word, nothing was omitted which could be thought conducive in any
manner to appease and propitiate the angry goddesses. After this, the
defence of the city was the next object of their care. Happily for the
Carthaginians, this numerous army had no leader, but was like a body
uninformed with a soul; no provisions nor military engines; no discipline
nor subordination, was seen among them: every man setting himself up for a
general, or claiming an independence on the rest. Divisions therefore
arising in this rabble of an army, and the famine increasing daily, the
individuals of it withdrew to their respective homes, and delivered
Carthage from a dreadful alarm.

The Carthaginians were not discouraged by their late disaster, but
continued their enterprises on Sicily. Mago, their general, and one of the
Suffetes, lost a great battle, in which he was slain. The Carthaginian
chiefs demanded a peace, which was granted, on condition of their
evacuating all Sicily, and defraying the expenses of the war. They
pretended to accept the terms; but representing that it was not in their
power to deliver up the cities, without first obtaining an order from
their republic, they obtained so long a truce, as gave them time
sufficient for sending to Carthage. They took advantage of this interval,
to raise and discipline new troops, over which Mago, son of him who had
been lately killed, was appointed general. He was very young, but of great
abilities and reputation. As soon as he arrived in Sicily, at the
expiration of the truce, he gave Dionysius battle; in which Leptines,(628)
one of the generals of the latter, was killed, and upwards of fourteen
thousand Syracusans left dead in the field. By this victory the
Carthaginians obtained an honourable peace, which left them in the
possession of all they had in Sicily, with even the addition of some
strong-holds; besides a thousand talents,(629) which were paid to them
towards defraying the expenses of the war.

About this time a law was enacted at Carthage, by which its inhabitants
were forbid to learn to write or speak the Greek language;(630) in order
to deprive them of the means of corresponding with the enemy, either by
word of mouth, or in writing. This was occasioned by the treachery of a
Carthaginian, who had written in Greek to Dionysius, to give him advice of
the departure of the army from Carthage.

Carthage had, soon after, another calamity to struggle with.(631) The
plague spread in the city, and made terrible havoc. Panic terrors, and
violent fits of frenzy, seized on a sudden the unhappy sufferers; who
sallying, sword in hand, out of their houses, as if the enemy had taken
the city, killed or wounded all who came in their way. The Africans and
Sardinians would very willingly have taken this opportunity to shake off a
yoke which was so hateful to them; but both were subjected, and reduced to
their allegiance. Dionysius formed at this time an enterprise, in Sicily,
with the same views, which was equally unsuccessful. He died(632) some
time after, and was succeeded by his son of the same name.

We have already taken notice of the first treaty which the Carthaginians
concluded with the Romans. There was another, which, according to Orosius,
was concluded in the 402d year of the foundation of Rome, and consequently
about the time we are now speaking of. This second treaty was very near
the same with the first, except that the inhabitants of Tyre and Utica
were expressly comprehended in it, and joined with the Carthaginians.

(M103) After the death of the elder Dionysius, Syracuse was involved in
great troubles.(633) Dionysius the younger, who had been expelled,
restored himself by force of arms, and exercised great cruelties there.
One part of the citizens implored the aid of Icetes, tyrant of the
Leontines, and by descent a Syracusan. This seemed a very favourable
opportunity for the Carthaginians to seize upon all Sicily, and
accordingly they sent a mighty fleet thither. In this extremity, such of
the Syracusans as loved their country best, had recourse to the
Corinthians, who had often assisted them in their dangers; and were,
besides, of all the Grecian nations, the most professed enemies of
tyranny, and the most avowed and most generous assertors of liberty.
Accordingly, the Corinthians sent over Timoleon, a man of great merit, who
had signalized his zeal for the public welfare, by freeing his country
from tyranny, at the expense of his own family. He set sail with only ten
ships, and arriving at Rhegium, he eluded, by a happy stratagem, the
vigilance of the Carthaginians; who having been informed, by Icetes, of
his voyage and design, wanted to intercept him in his passage to Sicily.

Timoleon had scarce above a thousand soldiers under his command; and yet,
with this handful of men, he marched boldly to the relief of Syracuse. His
small army increased in proportion as he advanced. The Syracusans were now
in a desperate condition, and quite hopeless. They saw the Carthaginians
masters of the port; Icetes of the city; and Dionysius of the citadel.
Happily, on Timoleon’s arrival, Dionysius having no refuge left, put the
citadel into his hands, with all the forces, arms, and ammunition in it,
and escaped, by his assistance, to Corinth.(634) Timoleon had, by his
emissaries, artfully represented to the foreign soldiers, who (by that
error in the constitution of Carthage, which we have before taken notice
of) formed the principal strength of Mago’s army, and the greatest part of
whom were Greeks; that it was astonishing to see Greeks using their
endeavours to make barbarians masters of Sicily, from whence they, in a
very little time, would pass over into Greece. For could they imagine,
that the Carthaginians were come so far, with no other view than to
establish Icetes tyrant of Syracuse? Such discourses being spread among
Mago’s soldiers, gave this general very great uneasiness; and, as he
wanted only a pretence to retire, he was glad to have it believed, that
his forces were going to betray and desert him; and upon this, he sailed
with his fleet out of the harbour, and steered for Carthage. Icetes, after
his departure, could not hold out long against the Corinthians; so that
they now got entire possession of the whole city.

Mago, on his arrival at Carthage, was impeached, but he prevented the
execution of the sentence passed upon him, by a voluntary death. His body
was hung upon a gallows, and exposed as a public spectacle to the people.
New forces were levied at Carthage, and a greater and more powerful fleet
than the former was sent to Sicily.(635) It consisted of two hundred ships
of war, besides a thousand transports; and the army amounted to upwards of
seventy thousand men. They landed at Lilybæum, under the command of
Hamilcar and Hannibal, and resolved to attack the Corinthians first.
Timoleon did not wait for, but marched out to meet them. But such was the
consternation of Syracuse, that, of all the forces which were in that
city, only three thousand Syracusans and four thousand mercenaries
followed him; and even of these latter a thousand deserted upon the march,
through fear of the danger they were going to encounter. Timoleon,
however, was not discouraged; but exhorting the remainder of his forces to
exert themselves courageously for the safety and liberties of their
allies, he led them against the enemy, whose rendezvous he had been
informed was on the banks of the little river Crimisus. It appeared, at
the first reflection, madness to attack an army so numerous as that of the
enemy, with only four or five thousand foot, and a thousand horse; but
Timoleon, who knew that bravery, conducted by prudence, is superior to
number, relied on the courage of his soldiers, who seemed resolved to die
rather than yield, and with ardour demanded to be led against the enemy.
The event justified his views and hopes. A battle was fought; the
Carthaginians were routed, and upwards of ten thousand of them slain, full
three thousand of whom were Carthaginian citizens, which filled their city
with mourning and the greatest consternation. Their camp was taken, and
with it immense riches, and a great number of prisoners.

Timoleon, at the same time that he despatched the news of this victory to
Corinth, sent thither the finest arms found among the plunder.(636) For he
was desirous of having his city applauded and admired by all men, when
they should see that Corinth alone, among all the Grecian cities, adorned
its finest temples, not with the spoils of Greece, and offerings dyed in
the blood of its citizens, the sight of which could tend only to preserve
the sad remembrance of their losses, but with those of barbarians, which,
by fine inscriptions, displayed at once the courage and religious
gratitude of those who had won them. For these inscriptions imported,
“That the Corinthians, and Timoleon their general, after having freed the
Greeks, settled in Sicily, from the Carthaginian yoke, had hung up these
arms in their temples, as an eternal acknowledgment of the favour and
goodness of the gods.”

After this, Timoleon, leaving the mercenary troops in the Carthaginian
territories to waste and destroy them, returned to Syracuse. On his
arrival there, he banished the thousand soldiers who had deserted him; and
took no other revenge than the commanding them to leave Syracuse before
sun-set.

This victory gained by the Corinthians was followed by the capture of a
great many cities, which obliged the Carthaginians to sue for peace.

In proportion as the appearance of success made the Carthaginians
vigorously exert themselves to raise powerful armies both by land and sea,
and prosperity led them to make an insolent and cruel use of victory; so
their courage would sink in unforeseen adversities, their hopes of new
resources vanish, and their grovelling souls condescend to ask quarter of
the most inconsiderable enemy, and without sense of shame accept the
hardest and most mortifying conditions. Those now imposed were, that they
should possess only the lands lying beyond the river Halycus;(637) that
they should give all the natives free liberty to retire to Syracuse with
their families and effects; and that they should neither continue in the
alliance, nor hold any correspondence with the tyrants of that city.

About this time, in all probability, there happened at Carthage a
memorable incident, related by Justin.(638) Hanno, one of its most
powerful citizens, formed a design of seizing upon the republic, by
destroying the whole senate. He chose, for the execution of this bloody
plan, the day on which his daughter was to be married, on which occasion
he designed to invite the senators to an entertainment, and there poison
them all. The conspiracy was discovered; but Hanno had such influence,
that the government did not dare to punish so execrable a crime; the
magistrates contented themselves with only preventing it, by an order
which forbade, in general, too great a magnificence at weddings, and
limited the expense on those occasions. Hanno, seeing his stratagem
defeated, resolved to employ open force, and for that purpose armed all
the slaves. However, he was again discovered; and, to escape punishment,
retired, with twenty thousand armed slaves, to a castle that was very
strongly fortified, and there endeavoured, but without success, to engage
in his rebellion the Africans and the king of Mauritania. He afterwards
was taken prisoner, and carried to Carthage; where, after being whipped,
his eyes were put out, his arms and thighs broken; he was put to death in
presence of the people, and his body, all torn with stripes, was hung on a
gibbet. His children and all his relations, though they had not joined in
his guilt, shared in his punishment. They were all sentenced to die, in
order that not a single person of his family might be left, either to
imitate his crime, or revenge his death. Such was the temper of the
Carthaginians; ever severe and violent in their punishments, they carried
them to the extremes of rigour, and made them extend even to the innocent,
without showing the least regard to equity, moderation, or gratitude.

I come now to the wars sustained by the Carthaginians, in Africa itself as
well as in Sicily, against Agathocles, which exercised their arms during
several years.(639)

(M104) This Agathocles was a Sicilian, of obscure birth and low
fortune.(640) Supported at first by the forces of the Carthaginians, he
had invaded the sovereignty of Syracuse, and made himself tyrant over it.
In the infancy of his power, the Carthaginians kept him within bounds; and
Hamilcar, their chief, forced him to agree to a treaty, which restored
tranquillity to Sicily. But he soon infringed the articles of it, and
declared war against the Carthaginians themselves; who, under the conduct
of Hamilcar, obtained a signal victory over him,(641) and forced him to
shut himself up in Syracuse. The Carthaginians pursued him thither, and
laid siege to that important city, the capture of which would have given
them possession of all Sicily.

Agathocles, whose forces were greatly inferior to theirs, and who moreover
saw himself deserted by all his allies, from their detestation of his
horrid cruelties, meditated a design of so daring, and, to all appearance,
so impracticable a nature, that, even after being happily carried into
execution, it yet appears almost incredible. This design was no less than
to make Africa the seat of war, and to besiege Carthage, at a time when he
could neither defend himself in Sicily, nor sustain the siege of Syracuse.
His profound secresy in the execution is as astonishing as the design
itself. He communicated his thoughts on this affair to no person
whatsoever, but contented himself with declaring, that he had found out an
infallible way to free the Syracusans from the danger that surrounded
them; that they had only to endure with patience, for a short time, the
inconveniences of a siege; but that those who could not bring themselves
to this resolution, might freely depart the city. Only sixteen hundred
persons quitted it. He left his brother Antander there, with forces and
provisions sufficient for him to make a stout defence. He set at liberty
all slaves who were of age to bear arms, and, after obliging them to take
an oath, joined them to his forces. He carried with him only fifty
talents,(642) to supply his present wants, well assured that he should
find in the enemy’s country whatever was necessary to his subsistence. He
therefore set sail with two of his sons, Archagathus and Heraclides,
without letting any one person know whither he intended to direct his
course. All who were on board his fleet believed that they were to be
conducted either to Italy or Sardinia, in order to plunder those
countries, or to lay waste those coasts of Sicily which belonged to the
enemy. The Carthaginians, surprised at so unexpected a departure,
endeavoured to prevent it; but Agathocles eluded their pursuit, and made
for the main ocean.

He did not discover his design till he had landed in Africa. There,
assembling his troops, he told them, in few words, the motives which had
prompted him to this expedition. He represented, that the only way to free
their country, was to carry the war into the territories of their enemies:
that he led them who were enured to war, and of intrepid dispositions,
against a parcel of enemies who were softened and enervated by ease and
luxury: that the natives of the country, oppressed with the yoke of a
servitude equally cruel and ignominious, would run in crowds to join them
on the first news of their arrival: that the boldness of their attempt
would alone disconcert the Carthaginians, who had no expectation of seeing
an enemy at their gates: in short, that no enterprise could possibly be
more advantageous or honourable than this; since the whole wealth of
Carthage would become the prey of the victors, whose courage would be
praised and admired by latest posterity. The soldiers fancied themselves
already masters of Carthage, and received his speech with applauses and
acclamations. One circumstance alone gave them uneasiness, and that was an
eclipse of the sun, which happened just as they were setting sail. In
these ages, even the most civilized nations understood very little the
reason of these extraordinary phenomena of nature; and used to draw from
them (by their soothsayers) superstitious and arbitrary conjectures, which
frequently would either suspend or hasten the more important enterprises.
However, Agathocles revived the drooping courage of his soldiers, by
assuring them that these eclipses always foretold some instant change:
that, therefore, good fortune was taking its leave of Carthage, and coming
over to them.

Finding his soldiers in the good disposition he wished them, he executed,
almost at the same time, a second enterprise, which was even more daring
and hazardous than his first, of carrying them over into Africa; and this
was the burning every ship in his fleet. Many reasons determined him to so
desperate an action. He had not one good harbour in Africa where his ships
could lie in safety. As the Carthaginians were masters of the sea, they
would not have failed to possess themselves immediately of his fleet,
which was incapable of making the least resistance. In case he had left as
many hands as were necessary to defend it, he would have weakened his
army, (which was inconsiderable at the best,) and put it out of his power
to gain any advantage from this unexpected diversion, the success of which
depended entirely on the swiftness and vigour of the execution. Lastly, he
was desirous of putting his soldiers under a necessity of conquering, by
leaving them no other refuge than victory. Much courage was necessary to
adopt such a resolution. He had already prepared all his officers, who
were entirely devoted to his service, and received every impression he
gave them. He then came suddenly into the assembly with a crown upon his
head, dressed in a magnificent habit, and with the air and behaviour of a
man who was going to perform some religious ceremony, and addressing
himself to the assembly: “When we,” says he, “left Syracuse, and were
warmly pursued by the enemy; in this fatal necessity I addressed myself to
Ceres and Proserpine, the tutelar divinities of Sicily; and promised, that
if they would free us from this imminent danger, I would burn all our
ships in their honour, at our first landing here. Aid me therefore, O
soldiers, to discharge my vow; for the goddesses can easily make us amends
for this sacrifice.” At the same time, taking a flambeau in his hand, he
hastily led the way on board his own ship, and set it on fire. All the
officers did the like, and were cheerfully followed by the soldiers. The
trumpets sounded from every quarter, and the whole army echoed with joyful
shouts and acclamations. The fleet was soon consumed. The soldiers had not
been allowed time to reflect on the proposal made to them. They all had
been hurried on by a blind and impetuous ardour; but when they had a
little recovered their reason, and, surveying in their minds the vast
extent of ocean which separated them from their own country, saw
themselves in that of the enemy without the least resource, or any means
of escaping out of it; a sad and melancholy silence succeeded the
transport of joy and acclamations, which, but a moment before, had been so
general in the army.

Here again Agathocles left no time for reflection. He marched his army
towards a place called the Great City, which was part of the domain of
Carthage. The country through which they marched to this place, afforded
the most delicious and agreeable prospect in the world. On either side
were seen large meads, watered by beautiful streams, and covered with
innumerable flocks of all kinds of cattle; country seats built with
extraordinary magnificence; delightful avenues planted with olive and all
sorts of fruit trees; gardens of a prodigious extent, and kept with a care
and elegance which delighted the eye. This prospect reanimated the
soldiers. They marched full of courage to the Great City, which they took
sword in hand, and enriched themselves with the plunder of it, which was
entirely abandoned to them. Tunis made as little resistance; and this
place was not far distant from Carthage.

The Carthaginians were in prodigious alarm when it was known that the
enemy was in the country, advancing by hasty marches. This arrival of
Agathocles made the Carthaginians conclude, that their army before
Syracuse had been defeated, and their fleet lost. The people ran in
disorder to the great square of the city, whilst the senate assembled in
haste and in a tumultuous manner. Immediately they deliberated on the
means for preserving the city. They had no army in readiness to oppose the
enemy; and their imminent danger did not permit them to wait the arrival
of those forces which might be raised in the country and among the allies.
It was therefore resolved, after several different opinions had been
heard, to arm the citizens. The number of the forces thus levied, amounted
to forty thousand foot, a thousand horse, and two thousand armed chariots.
Hanno and Bomilcar, though divided betwixt themselves by some family
quarrels, were however joined in the command of these troops. They marched
immediately to meet the enemy; and, on sight of them, drew up their forces
in order of battle. Agathocles(643) had, at most, but thirteen or fourteen
thousand men. The signal was given, and an obstinate fight ensued. Hanno,
with his sacred cohort, (the flower of the Carthaginian forces,) long
sustained the fury of the Greeks, and sometimes even broke their ranks;
but at last, overwhelmed with a shower of stones, and covered with wounds,
he fell dead on the field. Bomilcar might have changed the face of things;
but he had private and personal reasons not to obtain a victory for his
country. He therefore thought proper to retire with the forces under his
command, and was followed by the whole army, which, by that means, was
forced to leave the field to Agathocles. After pursuing the enemy some
time, he returned, and plundered the Carthaginian camp. Twenty thousand
pair of manacles were found in it, with which the Carthaginians had
furnished themselves, in the firm persuasion of their taking many
prisoners. The result of this victory was the capture of a great number of
strong-holds, and the defection of many of the natives of the country, who
joined the victor.

This descent of Agathocles into Africa, doubtless gave birth to Scipio’s
design of making a like attempt upon the same republic, and from the same
place.(644) Wherefore, in his answer to Fabius, who ascribed to temerity
his design of making Africa the seat of the war, he forgot not to mention
the example of Agathocles, as an instance in favour of his enterprise; and
to show, that frequently there is no other way to get rid of an enemy who
presses too closely upon us, than by carrying the war into his own
country; and that men are much more courageous when they act upon the
offensive, than when they stand only upon the defensive.

While the Carthaginians were thus warmly attacked by their enemies,
ambassadors arrived to them from Tyre.(645) They came to implore their
succour against Alexander the Great, who was upon the point of taking
their city, which he had long besieged. The extremity to which their
countrymen (for so they called them) were reduced, touched the
Carthaginians as sensibly as their own danger. Though they were unable to
relieve, they at least thought it their duty to comfort them; and deputed
thirty of their principal citizens to express their grief that they could
not spare them any troops, because of the present melancholy situation of
their own affairs. The Tyrians, though disappointed of the only hope they
had left, did not however despond; they committed their wives,
children,(646) and old men, to the care of these deputies; and thus, being
delivered from all inquietude, with regard to persons who were dearer to
them than any thing in the world, they thought alone of making a resolute
defence, prepared for the worst that might happen. Carthage received this
afflicted company with all possible marks of amity, and paid to guests who
were so dear and worthy of compassion, all the services which they could
have expected from the most affectionate and tender parents.

Quintus Curtius places this embassy from Tyre to the Carthaginians at the
same time that the Syracusans were ravaging Africa, and had advanced to
the very gates of Carthage. But the expedition of Agathocles against
Africa cannot agree in time with the siege of Tyre, which was more than
twenty years before it.

At the same time, Carthage was solicitous how to extricate itself from the
difficulties with which it was surrounded. The present unhappy state of
the republic was considered as the effect of the wrath of the gods: and it
was acknowledged to be justly deserved, particularly with regard to two
deities, towards whom the Carthaginians had been remiss in the discharge
of certain duties prescribed by their religion, and which had once been
observed with great exactness. It was a custom (coeval with the city
itself) at Carthage, to send annually to Tyre (the mother city) the tenth
of all the revenues of the republic, as an offering to Hercules, the
patron and protector of both cities. The domain, and consequently the
revenues of Carthage, having increased considerably, the portion, on the
contrary, of the god, had been lessened; and they were far from remitting
the whole tenth to him. They were seized with a scruple on this point:
they made an open and public confession of their insincerity and
sacrilegious avarice; and, to expiate their guilt, they sent to Tyre a
great number of presents, and small shrines of their deities all of gold,
which amounted to a prodigious value.

Another violation of religion, which to their inhuman superstition seemed
as flagrant as the former, gave them no less uneasiness. Anciently,
children of the best families in Carthage used to be sacrificed to Saturn.
They now reproached themselves with having failed to pay to the god the
honours which they thought were due to him; and with having used fraud and
dishonest dealing towards him, by having substituted, in their sacrifices,
children of slaves or beggars, bought for that purpose, in the room of
those nobly born. To expiate the guilt of so horrid an impiety, a
sacrifice was made to this blood-thirsty god, of two hundred children of
the first rank; and upwards of three hundred persons, through a sense of
this terrible neglect, offered themselves voluntarily as victims, to
pacify, by the effusion of their blood, the wrath of the gods.

After these expiations, expresses were despatched to Hamilcar in Sicily,
with the news of what had happened in Africa, and, at the same time, to
request immediate succours. He commanded the deputies to observe the
strictest silence on the subject of the victory of Agathocles; and spread
a contrary report, that he had been entirely defeated, his forces all cut
off, and his whole fleet taken by the Carthaginians; and, in confirmation
of this report, he showed the irons of the vessels pretended to be taken,
which had been carefully sent to him. The truth of this report was not at
all doubted in Syracuse; the majority were for capitulating;(647) when a
galley of thirty oars, built in haste by Agathocles, arrived in the port;
and through great difficulties and dangers forced its way to the besieged.
The news of Agathocles’s victory immediately flew through the city, and
restored alacrity and resolution to the inhabitants. Hamilcar made a last
effort to storm the city, but was beaten off with loss. He then raised the
siege, and sent five thousand men to the relief of his distressed country.
Some time after,(648) having resumed the siege, and hoping to surprise the
Syracusans by attacking them in the night, his design was discovered; and
falling alive into the enemy’s hands, he was put to death with the most
exquisite tortures.(649) Hamilcar’s head was sent immediately to
Agathocles, who, advancing to the enemy’s camp, threw it into a general
consternation, by displaying to them the head of this general, which
manifested the melancholy situation of their affairs in Sicily.

To these foreign enemies was joined a domestic one, which was more to be
feared, as being more dangerous than the others;(650) this was Bomilcar
their general, who was then in possession of the first post in Carthage.
He had long meditated the establishment of himself as tyrant at Carthage,
and attaining the sovereign authority there; and imagined that the present
troubles offered him the wished-for opportunity. He therefore entered the
city, and being seconded by a small number of citizens, who were the
accomplices of his rebellion, and a body of foreign soldiers, he
proclaimed himself tyrant; and showed himself literally such, by cutting
the throats of all the citizens whom he met with in the streets. A tumult
arising immediately in the city, it was at first thought that the enemy
had taken it by some treachery; but when it was known that Bomilcar caused
all this disturbance, the young men took up arms to repel the tyrant, and
from the tops of the houses discharged whole volleys of darts and stones
upon the heads of his soldiers. When he saw an army marching in order
against him, he retired with his troops to an eminence, with design to
make a vigorous defence, and to sell his life as dear as possible. To
spare the blood of the citizens, a general pardon was proclaimed for all
without exception who would lay down their arms. They surrendered upon
this proclamation, and all enjoyed the benefit of it, Bomilcar their chief
excepted: for the Carthaginians, without regarding their oath, condemned
him to death, and fastened him to a cross, where he suffered the most
exquisite torments. From the cross, as from a rostrum, he harangued the
people; and thought himself justly entitled to reproach them for their
injustice, their ingratitude, and perfidy, which he did by enumerating
many illustrious generals, whose services they had rewarded with an
ignominious death. He expired on the cross whilst uttering these
reproaches.(651)

Agathocles had won over to his interest a powerful king of Cyrene,(652)
named Ophellas, whose ambition he had flattered with the most splendid
hopes, by leading him to understand, that, contenting himself with Sicily,
he would leave to Ophellas the empire of Africa. But, as Agathocles did
not scruple to commit the most horrid crimes when he thought them
conducive to his interest, the credulous prince had no sooner put himself
and his army in his power, than, by the blackest perfidy, he caused him to
be murdered, in order that Ophellas’s army might be entirely at his
devotion. Many nations were now joined in alliance with Agathocles, and
several strongholds were garrisoned by his forces. As he now saw the
affairs of Africa in a flourishing condition, he thought it proper to look
after those of Sicily; accordingly he sailed back thither, having left the
command of the army to his son Archagathus. His renown, and the report of
his victories, flew before him. On the news of his arrival in Sicily many
towns revolted to him; but bad news soon recalled him to Africa. His
absence had quite changed the face of things; and all his endeavours were
incapable of restoring them to their former condition. All his
strong-holds had surrendered to the enemy; the Africans had deserted him;
some of his troops were lost, and the remainder were unable to make head
against the Carthaginians; he had no way to transport them into Sicily, as
he was destitute of ships, and the enemy were masters at sea: he could not
hope for either peace or treaty with the barbarians, since he had insulted
them in so outrageous a manner, by his being the first who had dared to
make a descent in their country. In this extremity, he thought only of
providing for his own safety. After many adventures, this base deserter of
his army, and perfidious betrayer of his own children, who were left by
him to the wild fury of his disappointed soldiers, stole away from the
dangers which threatened him, and arrived at Syracuse with very few
followers. His soldiers, seeing themselves thus betrayed, murdered his
sons, and surrendered to the enemy. Himself died miserably soon after, and
ended, by a cruel death,(653) a life that had been polluted with the
blackest crimes.

In this period may be placed another incident related by Justin.(654) The
fame of Alexander’s conquests made the Carthaginians fear, that he might
think of turning his arms towards Africa. The disastrous fate of Tyre,
whence they drew their origin, and which he had so lately destroyed; the
building of Alexandria upon the confines of Africa and Egypt, as if he
intended it as a rival city to Carthage; the uninterrupted successes of
that prince, whose ambition and good fortune were boundless; all this
justly alarmed the Carthaginians. To sound his inclinations, Hamilcar,
surnamed Rhodanus, pretending to have been driven from his country by the
cabals of his enemies, went over to the camp of Alexander, to whom he was
introduced by Parmenio, and offered him his services. The king received
him graciously, and had several conferences with him. Hamilcar did not
fail to transmit to his country whatever discoveries he made from time to
time of Alexander’s designs. Nevertheless, on his return to Carthage,
after Alexander’s death, he was considered as a betrayer of his country to
that prince; and accordingly was put to death, by a sentence which
displayed equally the ingratitude and cruelty of his countrymen.

(M105) I am now to speak of the wars of the Carthaginians in Sicily, in
the time of Pyrrhus, king of Epirus.(655) The Romans, to whom the designs
of that ambitious prince were not unknown, in order to strengthen
themselves against any attempts he might make upon Italy, had renewed
their treaties with the Carthaginians, who, on their side, were no less
afraid of his crossing into Sicily. To the articles of the preceding
treaties, there was added an engagement of mutual assistance, in case
either of the contracting powers should be attacked by Pyrrhus.

The foresight of the Romans was well founded: Pyrrhus turned his arms
against Italy, and gained many victories.(656) The Carthaginians, in
consequence of the last treaty, thought themselves obliged to assist the
Romans; and accordingly sent them a fleet of six-score sail, under the
command of Mago. This general, in an audience before the senate, signified
to them the interest which his superiors took in the war which they heard
was carrying on against the Romans, and offered them their assistance. The
senate returned thanks for the obliging offer of the Carthaginians, but at
present thought fit to decline it.

Mago,(657) some days after, repaired to Pyrrhus, upon pretence of offering
the mediation of Carthage for terminating his quarrel with the Romans; but
in reality to sound him, and discover, if possible, his designs with
regard to Sicily, which common fame reported he was going to invade. The
Carthaginians were afraid that either Pyrrhus or the Romans would
interfere in the affairs of that island, and transport forces thither for
the conquest of it. And, indeed, the Syracusans, who had been besieged for
some time by the Carthaginians, had sent pressingly for succour to
Pyrrhus. This prince had a particular reason to espouse their interests,
having married Lanassa, daughter of Agathocles, by whom he had a son named
Alexander. He at last sailed from Tarentum, passed the Strait, and arrived
in Sicily. His conquests at first were so rapid, that he left the
Carthaginians, in the whole island, only the single town of Lilybæum. He
laid siege to it, but meeting with a vigorous resistance, was obliged to
raise the siege; not to mention that the urgent necessity of his affairs
called him back to Italy, where his presence was absolutely necessary. Nor
was it less so in Sicily, which, on his departure, returned to the
obedience of its former masters. Thus he lost this island with the same
rapidity that he had won it. As he was embarking, he turned his eyes back
to Sicily, and exclaimed to those about him,(658) “What a fine field of
battle(659) do we leave the Carthaginians and Romans!” His prediction was
soon verified.

After his departure, the chief magistracy of Syracuse was conferred on
Hiero, who afterwards obtained the name and dignity of king, by the united
suffrages of the citizens; so greatly had his government pleased. He was
appointed to carry on the war against the Carthaginians, and obtained
several advantages over them. But now a common interest reunited them
against a new enemy, who began to appear in Sicily, and justly alarmed
both: these were the Romans, who, having crushed all the enemies which had
hitherto exercised their arms in Italy itself, were now powerful enough to
carry them out of it; and to lay the foundation of that vast power there
to which they afterwards attained, and of which it was probable they had
even then formed the design. Sicily lay too commodious for them, not to
form a resolution of establishing themselves in it. They therefore eagerly
snatched this opportunity for crossing into it, which caused the rupture
between them and the Carthaginians, and gave rise to the first Punic war.
This I shall treat of more at large, by relating the causes of that war.



Chapter II. The History of Carthage from the first Punic War to its
destruction.


The plan which I have laid down does not allow me to enter into an exact
detail of the wars between Rome and Carthage; since that pertains rather
to the Roman history, which I do not intend to touch upon, except
transiently and occasionally. I shall therefore relate such facts only as
may give the reader a just idea of the republic whose history lies before
me; by confining myself to those particulars which relate chiefly to the
Carthaginians, and to their most important transactions in Sicily, Spain,
and Africa: a subject in itself sufficiently extensive.

I have already observed, that from the first Punic war to the ruin of
Carthage, a hundred and eighteen years elapsed. This whole time may be
divided into five parts or intervals.

I. The first Punic war lasted twenty-four years.

II. The interval betwixt the first and second Punic war is also
twenty-four years.

III. The second Punic war took up seventeen years.

IV. The interval between the second and third is forty-nine years.

V. The third Punic war, terminated by the destruction of Carthage,
continued but four years and some months.

Total: 118 years.

(M106) ARTICLE I. THE FIRST PUNIC WAR.—The first Punic war arose from the
following cause. Some Campanian soldiers, in the service of Agathocles,
the Sicilian tyrant, having entered as friends into Messina, soon after
murdered part of the townsmen, drove out the rest, married their wives,
seized their effects, and remained sole masters of that important
city.(660) They then assumed the name of Mamertines. In imitation of them,
and by their assistance, a Roman legion treated in the same cruel manner
the city of Rhegium, lying directly opposite to Messina, on the other side
of the strait. These two perfidious cities, supporting one another,
rendered themselves at length formidable to their neighbours; and
especially Messina, which became very powerful, and gave great umbrage and
uneasiness both to the Syracusans and Carthaginians, who possessed one
part of Sicily. As soon as the Romans had got rid of the enemies they had
so long contended with, and particularly of Pyrrhus, they began to think
of punishing the crime of their citizens, who had settled themselves at
Rhegium, in so cruel and treacherous a manner, nearly ten years before.
Accordingly, they took the city, and killed, in the attack, the greatest
part of the inhabitants, who, instigated by despair, had fought to the
last gasp: three hundred only were left, who were carried to Rome,
whipped, and then publicly beheaded in the forum. The view which the
Romans had in making this bloody execution, was, to prove to their allies
their own sincerity and innocence. Rhegium was immediately restored to its
lawful possessors. The Mamertines, who were considerably weakened, as well
by the ruin of their confederate city, as by the losses which they had
sustained from the Syracusans, who had lately placed Hiero at their head,
thought it time to provide for their own safety. But divisions arising
among them, one part surrendered the citadel to the Carthaginians, whilst
the other called in the Romans to their assistance, and resolved to put
them in possession of their city.

The affair was debated in the Roman senate, where, being considered in all
its lights, it appeared to have some difficulties.(661) On one hand, it
was thought base, and altogether unworthy of the Roman virtue, for them to
undertake openly the defence of traitors, whose perfidy was exactly the
same with that of the Rhegians, whom the Romans had recently punished with
so exemplary a severity. On the other hand, it was of the utmost
consequence to stop the progress of the Carthaginians, who, not satisfied
with their conquests in Africa and Spain, had also made themselves masters
of almost all the islands of the Sardinian and Hetrurian seas; and would
certainly get all Sicily into their hands, if they should be suffered to
possess themselves of Messina. From thence into Italy, the passage was
very short; and it was in some manner to invite an enemy to come over, to
leave the entrance open. These reasons, though so strong, could not
prevail with the senate to declare in favour of the Mamertines; and
accordingly, motives of honour and justice prevailed in this instance over
those of interest and policy. (M107) But the people were not so
scrupulous; for, in an assembly held on this subject, it was resolved that
the Mamertines should be assisted.(662) The consul Appius Claudius
immediately set forward with his army, and boldly crossed the strait,
after he had, by an ingenious stratagem, eluded the vigilance of the
Carthaginian general. The Carthaginians, partly by art and partly by
force, were driven out of the citadel; and the city was surrendered
immediately to the consul. The Carthaginians hanged their general, for
having given up the citadel in so cowardly a manner, and prepared to
besiege the town with all their forces. Hiero joined them with his own.
But the consul, having defeated them separately, raised the siege, and
laid waste at pleasure the neighbouring country, the enemy not daring to
face him. This was the first expedition which the Romans made out of
Italy.

It is doubted(663) whether the motives which prompted the Romans to
undertake this expedition, were very upright, and exactly conformable to
the rules of strict justice. Be this as it may, their passage into Sicily,
and the succour they gave to the inhabitants of Messina, may be said to
have been the first step by which they ascended to that height of glory
and grandeur which they afterwards attained.

(M108) Hiero, having reconciled himself to the Romans, and entered into an
alliance with them, the Carthaginians bent all their thoughts on Sicily,
and sent numerous armies thither.(664) Agrigentum was their place of arms;
which, being attacked by the Romans, was won by them, after they had
besieged it seven months, and gained one battle.

Notwithstanding the advantage of this victory, and the conquest of so
important a city, the Romans were sensible, that whilst the Carthaginians
should continue masters at sea, the maritime places in the island would
always side with them, and put it out of their power ever to drive them
out of Sicily.(665) Besides, they saw with reluctance Africa enjoy a
profound tranquillity, at a time that Italy was infested by the frequent
incursions of its enemies. They now first formed the design of having a
fleet, and of disputing the empire of the sea with the Carthaginians. The
undertaking was bold, and in outward appearance rash; but it evinces the
courage and magnanimity of the Romans. They were not at that time
possessed of a single vessel which they could call their own; and the
ships which had transported their forces into Sicily had been borrowed of
their neighbours. They were unexperienced in sea affairs, had no
carpenters acquainted with the building of ships, and did not know even
the shape of the Quinqueremes, or galleys with five benches of oars, in
which the chief strength of fleets at that time consisted. But happily,
the year before, one had been taken upon the coasts of Italy, which served
them as a model. They therefore applied themselves with incredible
industry and ardour to the building of ships in the same form; and in the
mean time they got together a set of rowers, who were taught an exercise
and discipline utterly unknown to them before, in the following manner.
Benches were made, on the shore, in the same order and fashion with those
of galleys. The rowers were seated on these benches, and taught, as if
they had been furnished with oars, to throw themselves backwards with
their arms drawn to their breasts; and then to throw their bodies and arms
forward in one regular motion, the instant their commanding officer gave
the signal. In two months, one hundred galleys of five benches of oars,
and twenty of three benches, were built; and after some time had been
spent in exercising the rowers on shipboard, the fleet put to sea, and
went in quest of the enemy. The consul Duillius had the command of it.

(M109) The Romans coming up with the Carthaginians near the coast of Myle,
they prepared for an engagement.(666) As the Roman galleys, by their being
clumsily and hastily built, were neither very nimble nor easy to work;
this inconvenience was supplied by a machine invented for this occasion,
and afterwards known by the name of the Corvus,(667) (_Crow_, or _Crane_,)
by the help of which they grappled the enemy’s ships, boarded them, and
immediately came to close engagement. The signal for fighting was given.
The Carthaginian fleet consisted of a hundred and thirty sail, under the
command of Hannibal.(668) He himself was on board a galley of seven
benches of oars, which had once belonged to Pyrrhus. The Carthaginians,
thoroughly despising enemies who were utterly unacquainted with sea
affairs, imagined that their very appearance would put them to flight, and
therefore came forward boldly, with little expectation of fighting; but
firmly imagining they should reap the spoils, which they had already
devoured with their eyes. They were nevertheless a little surprised at the
sight of the above-mentioned engines, raised on the prow of every one of
the enemy’s ships, and which were entirely new to them. But their
astonishment increased, when they saw these engines drop down at once; and
being thrown forcibly into their vessels, grapple them in spite of all
resistance. This changed the form of the engagement, and obliged the
Carthaginians to come to close engagement with their enemies, as though
they had fought them on land. They were unable to sustain the attack of
the Romans: a horrible slaughter ensued, and the Carthaginians lost
fourscore vessels, among which was the admiral’s galley, he himself
escaping with difficulty in a small boat.

So considerable and unexpected a victory raised the courage of the Romans,
and seemed to redouble their vigour for the continuance of the war.
Extraordinary honours were bestowed on the consul Duillius, who was the
first Roman that had a naval triumph decreed him. A rostral pillar was
erected in his honour, with a noble inscription; which pillar is yet
standing in Rome.(669)

During the two following years, the Romans grew still stronger at sea, by
their success in several engagements.(670) But these were considered by
them only as essays preparatory to the great design they meditated of
carrying the war into Africa, and of combating the Carthaginians in their
own country. There was nothing the latter dreaded more; and to divert so
dangerous a blow, they resolved to fight the enemy, whatever might be the
consequence.

(M110) The Romans had elected M. Atilius Regulus, and L. Manlius, consuls
for this year.(671) Their fleet consisted of three hundred and thirty
vessels, on board of which were one hundred and forty thousand men, each
vessel having three hundred rowers, and a hundred and twenty soldiers.
That of the Carthaginians, commanded by Hanno and Hamilcar, had twenty
vessels more than the Romans, and a greater number of men in proportion.
The two fleets came in sight of each other near Ecnomus in Sicily. No man
could behold two such formidable navies, or be a spectator of the
extraordinary preparations they made for fighting, without being under
some concern, on seeing the danger which menaced two of the most powerful
states in the world. As the courage on both sides was equal, and no great
disparity in the forces, the fight was obstinate, and the victory long
doubtful; but at last the Carthaginians were overcome. More than sixty of
their ships were taken by the enemy, and thirty sunk. The Romans lost
twenty-four, not one of which fell into the enemy’s hands.

The fruit of this victory, as the Romans had designed it, was their
sailing to Africa, after having refitted their ships, and provided them
with all necessaries for carrying on a long war in a foreign country.(672)
They landed happily in Africa, and began the war by taking a town called
Clypea, which had a commodious haven. From thence, after having sent an
express to Rome, to give advice of their landing, and to receive orders
from the senate, they overran the open country, in which they made
terrible havoc; bringing away whole flocks of cattle, and twenty thousand
prisoners.

(M111) The express returned in the mean time with the orders of the
senate, who decreed, that Regulus should continue to command the armies in
Africa, with the title of Proconsul; and that his colleague should return
with a great part of the fleet and the forces; leaving Regulus only forty
vessels, fifteen thousand foot, and five hundred horse. Their leaving the
latter with so few ships and troops, was a visible renunciation of the
advantages which might have been expected from this descent upon Africa.

The people at Rome depended greatly on the courage and abilities of
Regulus; and the joy was universal, when it was known that he was
continued in the command in Africa; he alone was afflicted on that
account.(673) When news was brought him of it, he wrote to Rome, and
desired, in the strongest terms, that he might be appointed a successor.
His chief reason was, that the death of the farmer who rented his grounds,
having given one of his hirelings an opportunity of carrying off all the
implements of tillage, his presence was necessary for taking care of his
little spot of ground, (but seven acres,) which was all his family
subsisted upon. But the senate undertook to have his lands cultivated at
the public expense; to maintain his wife and children; and to indemnify
him for the loss he had sustained by the robbery of his hireling. Thrice
happy age! in which poverty was thus had in honour, and was united with
the most rare and uncommon merit, and the highest employments of the
state! Regulus thus freed from his domestic cares, bent his whole thoughts
on discharging the duty of a general.

After taking several castles, he laid siege to Adis one of the strongest
fortresses of the country.(674) The Carthaginians, exasperated at seeing
their enemies thus laying waste their lands at pleasure, at last took the
field, and marched against them, to force them to raise the siege. With
this view, they posted themselves on a hill, which overlooked the Roman
camp, and was convenient for annoying the enemy; but, at the same time, by
its situation, rendered one part of their army useless. For the strength
of the Carthaginians lay chiefly in their horses and elephants, which are
of no service but in plains. Regulus did not give them an opportunity of
descending from the hill; but, in order to take advantage of this
essential mistake of the Carthaginian generals, fell upon them in this
post; and after meeting with a feeble resistance, put the enemy to flight,
plundered their camp, and laid waste the adjacent country. Then, having
taken Tunis,(675) an important city, and which brought him near Carthage,
he made his army encamp there.

The enemy were in the utmost alarm. All things had succeeded ill with
them, their forces had been defeated by sea and land, and upwards of two
hundred towns had surrendered to the conqueror. Besides, the Numidians
made greater havoc in their territories than even the Romans. They
expected every moment to see their capital besieged. And their affliction
was increased by the concourse of peasants with their wives and children,
who flocked from all parts to Carthage for safety: which gave them
melancholy apprehensions of a famine in case of a siege. Regulus, afraid
of having the glory of his victories torn from him by a successor, made
some proposal of an accommodation to the vanquished enemy; but the
conditions appeared so hard, that they could not listen to them. As he did
not doubt his being soon master of Carthage, he would not abate any thing
in his demands; but, by an infatuation which is almost inseparable from
great and unexpected success, he treated them with haughtiness; and
pretended, that every thing he suffered them to possess, ought to be
esteemed a favour; adding this farther insult, “That they ought either to
overcome like brave men, or learn to submit to the victor.”(676) So harsh
and disdainful a treatment only fired their resentment; and they resolved
rather to die sword in hand, than to do any thing which might derogate
from the dignity of Carthage.

Reduced to this fatal extremity, they received, in the happiest juncture,
a reinforcement of auxiliary troops out of Greece, with Xanthippus the
Lacedæmonian at their head, who had been educated in the discipline of
Sparta, and learnt the art of war in that renowned and excellent school.
When he had heard the circumstances of the last battle, which were told
him at his request; had clearly discerned the occasion of its being lost;
and perfectly informed himself in what the strength of Carthage consisted;
he declared publicly, and repeated it often, in the hearing of the rest of
the officers, that the misfortunes of the Carthaginians were owing
entirely to the incapacity of their generals. These discourses came at
last to the ear of the public council; the members of it were struck with
them, and they requested him to attend them. He enforced his opinion with
such strong and convincing reasons, that the oversights committed by the
generals were visible to every one; and he proved as clearly, that, by a
conduct opposite to the former, they would not only secure their
dominions, but drive the enemy out of them. This speech revived the
courage and hopes of the Carthaginians; and Xanthippus was entreated, and,
in some measure, forced, to accept the command of the army. When the
Carthaginians saw, in his exercising of their forces near the city, the
manner in which he drew them up in order of battle, made them advance or
retreat on the first signal, file off with order and expedition; in a
word, perform all the evolutions and movements of the military art; they
were struck with astonishment, and owned, that the ablest generals which
Carthage had hitherto produced, knew nothing in comparison of Xanthippus.

The officers, soldiers, and every one, were lost in admiration; and, what
is very uncommon, jealousy gave no alloy to it; the fear of the present
danger, and the love of their country, stifling, without doubt, all other
sentiments. The gloomy consternation, which had before seized the whole
army, was succeeded by joy and alacrity. The soldiers were urgent to be
led against the enemy, in the firm assurance (as they said) of being
victorious under their new leader, and of obliterating the disgrace of
former defeats. Xanthippus did not suffer their ardour to cool; and the
sight of the enemy only inflamed it. When he had approached within little
more than twelve hundred paces of them, he thought proper to call a
council of war, in order to show respect to the Carthaginian generals, by
consulting them. All unanimously deferred to his opinion; upon which it
was resolved to give the enemy battle the following day.

The Carthaginian army was composed of twelve thousand foot, four thousand
horse, and about a hundred elephants. That of the Romans, as near as may
be guessed from what goes before, (for Polybius does not mention their
numbers here,) consisted of fifteen thousand foot and three hundred horse.

It must be a noble sight to see two armies like these before us, not
overcharged with numbers, but composed of brave soldiers, and commanded by
very able generals, engaged in battle. In those tumultuous fights, where
two or three hundred thousand are engaged on both sides, confusion is
inevitable; and it is difficult, amidst a thousand events, where chance
generally seems to have a greater share than counsel, to discover the true
merit of commanders, and the real causes of victory. But in such
engagements as this before us, nothing escapes the curiosity of the
reader; for he clearly sees the disposition of the two armies; imagines he
almost hears the orders given out by the generals; follows all the
movements of the army; can point out the faults committed on both sides;
and is thereby qualified to determine, with certainty, the causes to which
the victory or defeat is owing. The success of this battle, however
inconsiderable it may appear from the small number of the combatants, was
nevertheless to decide the fate of Carthage.

The disposition of both armies was as follows. Xanthippus drew up all his
elephants in front. Behind these, at some distance, he placed the
Carthaginian infantry in one body or phalanx. The foreign troops in the
Carthaginian service were posted, one part of them on the right, between
the phalanx and the horse; and the other, composed of light-armed
soldiers, in platoons, at the head of the two wings of the cavalry.

On the side of the Romans, as they apprehended the elephants most,
Regulus, to provide against them, posted his light-armed soldiers, on a
line, in the front of the legions. In the rear of these, he placed the
cohorts one behind another, and the horse on the wings. In thus
straitening the front of his main battle, to give it more depth, he indeed
took a just precaution, says Polybius, against the elephants; but he did
not provide for the inequality of his cavalry, which was much inferior in
numbers to that of the enemy.

The two armies being thus drawn up, waited only for the signal. Xanthippus
orders the elephants to advance, to break the ranks of the enemy; and
commands the two wings of the cavalry to charge the Romans in flank. At
the same time, the latter, clashing their arms, and shouting after the
manner of their country, advance against the enemy. Their cavalry did not
stand the onset long, being so much inferior to that of the Carthaginians.
The infantry in the left wing, to avoid the attack of the elephants, and
show how little they feared the mercenaries who formed the enemies’ right
wing, attacks it, puts it to flight, and pursues it to the camp. Those in
the first ranks, who were opposed to the elephants, were broken and
trodden under foot, after fighting valiantly; and the rest of the main
body stood firm for some time, by reason of its great depth. But when the
rear, being attacked by the enemy’s cavalry, was obliged to face about and
receive it; and those who had broken through the elephants, met the
phalanx of the Carthaginians, which had not yet engaged, and which
received them in good order, the Romans were routed on all sides, and
entirely defeated. The greatest part of them were crushed to death by the
enormous weight of the elephants: and the remainder, standing in the
ranks, were shot through and through with arrows from the enemy’s horse.
Only a small number fled; and as they were in an open country, the horse
and elephants killed a great part of them. Five hundred, or thereabouts,
who went off with Regulus, were taken prisoners with him. The
Carthaginians lost in this battle eight hundred mercenaries, who were
opposed to the left wing of the Romans; and of the latter only two
thousand escaped, who, by their pursuing the enemy’s right wing, had drawn
themselves out of the engagement. All the rest, Regulus and those taken
with him excepted, were left dead in the field. The two thousand, who had
escaped the slaughter, retired to Clypea, and were saved in an almost
miraculous manner.

The Carthaginians, after having stripped the dead, entered Carthage in
triumph, dragging after them the unfortunate Regulus, and five hundred
prisoners. Their joy was so much the greater, as, but a very few days
before, they had seen themselves upon the brink of ruin. The men and
women, old and young people, crowded the temples, to return thanks to the
immortal gods; and several days were devoted wholly to festivities and
rejoicings.

Xanthippus, who had contributed so much to this happy change, had the
wisdom to withdraw shortly after, from the apprehension lest his glory,
which had hitherto been unsullied, might, after this first blaze,
insensibly fade away, and leave him exposed to the darts of envy and
calumny, which are always dangerous, but most in a foreign country, when a
man stands alone, unsustained by friends and relations, and destitute of
all support.

Polybius tells us, that Xanthippus’s departure was related in a different
manner, and promises to take notice of it in another place: but that part
of his history has not come down to us. We read in Appian,(677) that the
Carthaginians, excited by a mean and detestable jealousy of Xanthippus’s
glory, and unable to bear the thoughts that they should stand indebted to
Sparta for their safety; upon pretence of conducting him and his
attendants back with honour to his own country, with a numerous convoy of
ships, gave private orders to have them all put to death in their passage;
as if with him they could have buried in the waves for ever the memory of
his services, and their horrid ingratitude to him.(678)

“This battle,” says Polybius,(679) “though not so considerable as many
others, may yet furnish very salutary instructions; which,” adds that
author, “is the greatest benefit that can be reaped from the study of
history.”

First, ought any man to put a great confidence in his good fortune, after
he has considered the fate of Regulus? That general, insolent with
victory, inexorable to the conquered, scarcely deigning to listen to them,
saw himself a few days after vanquished by them, and made their prisoner.
Hannibal suggested the same reflection to Scipio, when he exhorted him not
to be dazzled with the success of his arms. Regulus, said he, would have
been recorded as one of the most uncommon instances of valour and
felicity, had he, after the victory obtained in this very country, granted
our fathers the peace which they sued for. But putting no bounds to his
ambition and the insolence of success, the greater his prosperity, the
more ignominious was his fall.(680)

In the second place, the truth of the saying of Euripides is here seen in
its full extent, “That one wise head is worth a great many hands.”(681) A
single man here changes the whole face of affairs. On one hand, he defeats
troops which were thought invincible; on the other, he revives the courage
of a city and an army, whom he had found in consternation and despair.

Such, as Polybius observes, is the use which ought to be made of the study
of history. For there being two ways of acquiring improvement and
instruction, first by one’s own experience, and secondly by that of other
men; it is much more wise and useful to improve by other men’s
miscarriages than by our own.

I return to Regulus, that I may here finish what relates to him; Polybius,
to our great disappointment, taking no further notice of that
general.(682)

(M112) After being kept some years in prison, he was sent to Rome to
propose an exchange of prisoners.(683) He had been obliged to take an
oath, that he would return in case he proved unsuccessful. He then
acquainted the senate with the subject of his voyage; and being invited by
them to give his opinion freely, he answered, that he could no longer do
it as a senator, having lost both this quality, and that of a Roman
citizen, from the time that he had fallen into the hands of his enemies;
but he did not refuse to offer his thoughts as a private person. This was
a very delicate affair. Every one was touched with the misfortunes of so
great a man. “He needed only,” says Cicero, “to have spoken one word, and
it would have restored him to his liberty, his estate, his dignity, his
wife, his children, and his country;” but that word appeared to him
contrary to the honour and welfare of the state. He therefore plainly
declared, that an exchange of prisoners ought not to be so much as thought
of: that such an example would be of fatal consequence to the republic:
that citizens who had so basely surrendered their arms to the enemy, were
unworthy of the least compassion, and incapable of serving their country;
that with regard to himself, as he was so far advanced in years, his death
ought to be considered as nothing; whereas they had in their hands several
Carthaginian generals, in the flower of their age, and capable of doing
their country great services for many years. It was with difficulty that
the senate complied with so generous and unexampled a counsel. The
illustrious exile therefore left Rome, in order to return to Carthage,
unmoved either with the deep affliction of his friends, or the tears of
his wife and children, although he knew but too well the grievous torments
which were prepared for him.(684) And indeed, the moment his enemies saw
him returned without having obtained the exchange of prisoners, they put
him to every kind of torture their barbarous cruelty could invent. They
imprisoned him for a long time in a dismal dungeon, whence (after cutting
off his eye-lids) they drew him at once into the sun, when its beams
darted the strongest heat. They next put him into a kind of chest stuck
full of nails, whose points wounding him did not allow him a moment’s ease
either day or night. Lastly, after having been long tormented by being
kept for ever awake in this dreadful torture, his merciless enemies nailed
him to a cross, their usual punishment, and left him to expire on it. Such
was the end of this great man. His enemies, by depriving him of some days,
perhaps years, of life, brought eternal infamy on themselves.

The blow which the Romans had received in Africa did not discourage
them.(685) They made greater preparations than before, to retrieve their
loss; and put to sea, the following campaign, three hundred and sixty
vessels. The Carthaginians sailed out to meet them with two hundred; but
were beaten in an engagement fought on the coasts of Sicily, and a hundred
and fourteen of their ships were taken by the Romans. The latter sailed
into Africa to take in the few soldiers who had escaped the pursuit of the
enemy, after the defeat of Regulus; and had defended themselves vigorously
in Clupea,(686) where they had been unsuccessfully besieged.

Here again we are astonished that the Romans, after so considerable a
victory, and with so large a fleet, should sail into Africa, only to bring
from thence a small garrison; whereas they might have attempted the
conquest of it, since Regulus, with much fewer forces, had almost
completed it.

The Romans, on their return, were overtaken by a storm, which almost
destroyed their whole fleet.(687) The like misfortune befell them also the
following year.(688) However, they consoled themselves for this double
loss, by a victory which they gained over Asdrubal, from whom they took
near a hundred and forty elephants. This news being brought to Rome,
filled the whole city with joy; not only because the strength of the
enemy’s army was considerably diminished by the loss of their elephants,
but chiefly because this victory had inspired the land forces with fresh
courage; who, since the defeat of Regulus, had not dared to venture upon
an engagement; so great was the terror with which those formidable animals
had filled the minds of all the soldiers. It was therefore judged proper
to make a greater effort than ever, in order to finish, if possible, a war
which had continued fourteen years. The two consuls set sail with a fleet
of two hundred ships, and arriving in Sicily, formed the bold design of
besieging Lilybæum. This was the strongest town which the Carthaginians
possessed, and the loss of it would be attended with that of every part of
the island and open to the Romans a free passage into Africa.

The reader will suppose, that the utmost ardour was shown, both in the
assault and defence of the place.(689) Imilcon was governor there, with
ten thousand regular forces, exclusive of the inhabitants; and Hannibal,
the son of Hamilcar, soon brought him as many more from Carthage; he
having, with the most intrepid courage, forced his way through the enemy’s
fleet, and arrived happily in the port.

The Romans had not lost any time. Having brought forward their engines,
they beat down several towers with their battering rams; and gaining
ground daily, they made such progress, as gave the besieged, who now were
closely pressed, some fears. The governor saw plainly that there was no
other way left to save the city, but by firing the engines of the
besiegers. Having therefore prepared his forces for this enterprise, he
sent them out at daybreak with torches in their hands, tow, and all kind
of combustible matters; and at the same time attacked all the engines. The
Romans exerted their utmost efforts to repel them, and the engagement was
very bloody. Every man, assailant as well as defendant, stood to his post,
and chose to die rather than quit it. At last, after a long resistance and
dreadful slaughter, the besieged sounded a retreat, and left the Romans in
possession of their works. This conflict being over, Hannibal embarked in
the night, and concealing his departure from the enemy, sailed for
Drepanum, where Adherbal commanded for the Carthaginians. Drepanum was
advantageously situated; having a commodious port, and lying about a
hundred and twenty furlongs from Lilybæum; and the Carthaginians had been
always very desirous of preserving it.

The Romans, animated by their late success, renewed the attack with
greater vigour than ever; the besieged not daring to make a second attempt
to burn their machines, so much were they disheartened by the ill success
of the former. But a furious wind rising suddenly, some mercenary soldiers
represented to the governor, that now was the favourable opportunity for
them to fire the engines of the besiegers, especially as the wind blew
full against them; and they offered themselves for the enterprise. The
offer was accepted, and accordingly they were furnished with every thing
necessary. In a moment the fire caught all the engines; and the Romans
could not possibly extinguish it, because the flames being spread
instantly every where, the wind carried the sparks and smoke full in their
eyes, so that they could not see where to apply relief; whereas their
enemies saw clearly where to aim their strokes, and throw their fire. This
accident made the Romans lose all hopes of being ever able to carry the
place by force. They therefore turned the siege into a blockade; raised a
strong line of contravallation round the town; and, dispersing their army
in every part of the neighbourhood, resolved to effect by time, what they
found themselves absolutely unable to perform any other way.

When the transactions of the siege of Lilybæum, and the loss of part of
the forces, were known at Rome, the citizens, so far from desponding at
this ill news, seemed to be fired with new vigour.(690) Every man strove
to be foremost in the muster roll; so that, in a very little time, an army
of ten thousand men was raised, who, crossing the strait, marched by land
to join the besiegers.

(M113) At the same time, P. Claudius Pulcher, the consul, formed a design
of attacking Adherbal in Drepanum.(691) He thought himself sure of
surprising him, because, after the loss lately sustained by the Romans at
Lilybæum, the enemy could not imagine that they would venture out again at
sea. Flushed with these hopes, he sailed out with his fleet in the night,
the better to conceal his design. But he had to do with an active general,
whose vigilance he could not elude, and who did not even give him time to
draw up his ships in line of battle, but fell vigorously upon him whilst
his fleet was in disorder and confusion. The Carthaginians gained a
complete victory. Of the Roman fleet, only thirty vessels got off, which
being in company with the consul, fled with him, and got away in the best
manner they could along the coast. All the rest, amounting to fourscore
and thirteen, with the men on board them, were taken by the Carthaginians;
a few soldiers excepted, who had escaped from the wreck of their vessels.
This victory displayed as much the prudence and valour of Adherbal, as it
reflected shame and ignominy on the Roman consul.

Junius, his colleague, was neither more prudent nor more fortunate than
himself, but lost his whole fleet by his ill conduct.(692) Endeavouring to
atone for his misfortune by some considerable action, he held a secret
correspondence with the inhabitants of Eryx,(693) and by that means got
the city surrendered to him. On the summit of the mountain stood the
temple of Venus Erycina, which was certainly the most beautiful as well as
the richest of all the Sicilian temples. The city stood a little below the
summit of this mountain, and the only access to it was by a road very long
and very rugged. Junius posted one part of his troops upon the top, and
the remainder at the foot of the mountain, imagining that he now had
nothing to fear; but Hamilcar, surnamed Barca, father of the famous
Hannibal, found means to get into the city, which lay between the two
camps of the enemy, and there fortified himself. From this advantageous
post he harassed the Romans incessantly for two years. One can scarce
conceive how it was possible for the Carthaginians to defend themselves,
when thus attacked from both the summit and foot of the mountain; and
unable to get provisions, but from a little port, which was the only one
open to them. By such enterprises as these, the abilities and prudent
courage of a general, are as well, or perhaps better discovered, than by
the winning of a battle.

For five years, nothing memorable was performed on either side.(694) The
Romans had imagined that their land forces would alone be capable of
finishing the siege of Lilybæum: but as they saw it protracted beyond
their expectation, they returned to their first plan, and made
extraordinary efforts to fit out a new fleet. The public treasury was at a
low ebb; but this want was supplied by the zeal of individuals; so ardent
was the love which the Romans bore their country. Every man, according to
his circumstances, contributed to the common expense; and, upon public
security, advanced money, without the least scruple, for an expedition on
which the glory and safety of Rome depended. One man fitted out a ship at
his own charge; another was equipped by the contributions of two or three;
so that, in a very little time, two hundred were ready for sailing. (M114)
The command was given to Lutatius the consul, who immediately put to sea.
The enemy’s fleet had retired into Africa: the consul therefore easily
seized upon all the advantageous posts in the neighbourhood of Lilybæum;
and foreseeing that he should soon be forced to fight, he omitted no
precautions to ensure success; and employed the interval in exercising his
soldiers and seamen at sea.

He was soon informed that the Carthaginian fleet drew near, under the
command of Hanno, who landed in a small island called Hiera, opposite to
Drepanum. His design was to reach Eryx undiscovered by the Romans, in
order to supply the army there; to reinforce his troops, and take Barca on
board to assist him in the expected engagement. But the consul, suspecting
his intention, was beforehand with him; and having assembled all his best
forces, sailed for the small island Ægusa,(695) which lay near the other.
He acquainted his officers with the design he had of attacking the enemy
on the morrow. Accordingly, at daybreak, he prepared to engage:
unfortunately the wind was favourable for the enemy, which made him
hesitate whether he should give him battle. But considering that the
Carthaginian fleet, when unloaded of its provisions, would become lighter
and more fit for action; and, besides, would be considerably strengthened
by the forces and presence of Barca he came to a resolution at once; and,
notwithstanding the foul weather, made directly to the enemy. The consul
had choice forces, able seamen, and excellent ships, built after the model
of a galley that had been lately taken from the enemy; and which was the
completest in its kind that had ever been seen. The Carthaginians, on the
other hand, were destitute of all these advantages. As they had been the
entire masters at sea for some years, and the Romans did not once dare to
face them, they held them in the highest contempt, and looked upon
themselves as invincible. On the first report of the enemy being in
motion, the Carthaginians had put to sea a fleet fitted out in haste, as
appeared from every circumstance of it: the soldiers and seamen being all
mercenaries, newly levied, without the least experience, resolution, or
zeal, since it was not for their own country they were going to fight.
This soon appeared in the engagement. They could not sustain the first
attack. Fifty of their vessels were sunk, and seventy taken, with their
whole crews. The rest, favoured by a wind which rose very seasonably for
them, made the best of their way to the little island from whence they had
sailed. There were upwards of ten thousand taken prisoners. The consul
sailed immediately for Lilybæum, and joined his forces to those of the
besiegers.

When the news of this defeat arrived at Carthage, it occasioned so much
the greater surprise and terror, as it was less expected. The senate,
however, did not lose their courage, though they saw themselves quite
unable to continue the war. As the Romans were now masters of the sea, it
was not possible for the Carthaginians to send either provisions, or
reinforcements, to the armies in Sicily. An express was therefore
immediately despatched to Barca, the general there, empowering him to act
as he should think proper. Barca, so long as he had room to entertain the
least hopes, had done every thing that could be expected from the most
intrepid courage and the most consummate wisdom. But having now no
resource left, he sent a deputation to the consul, in order to treat about
a peace. “Prudence,” says Polybius, “consists in knowing how to resist and
yield at a seasonable juncture.” Lutatius was not insensible how tired the
Romans were grown of a war, which had exhausted them both of men and
money; and the dreadful consequences which had attended on Regulus’s
inexorable and imprudent obstinacy, were fresh in his memory. He therefore
complied without difficulty, and dictated the following treaty.

THERE SHALL BE PEACE BETWEEN ROME AND CARTHAGE (IN CASE THE ROMAN PEOPLE
APPROVE OF IT) ON THE FOLLOWING CONDITIONS: THE CARTHAGINIANS SHALL
EVACUATE ALL SICILY; SHALL NO LONGER MAKE WAR UPON HIERO, THE SYRACUSANS,
OR THEIR ALLIES: THEY SHALL RESTORE TO THE ROMANS, WITHOUT RANSOM, ALL THE
PRISONERS WHICH THEY HAVE TAKEN FROM THEM; AND PAY THEM, WITHIN TWENTY
YEARS, TWO THOUSAND TWO HUNDRED EUBOIC TALENTS OF SILVER.(696) It is worth
the reader’s remarking, by the way, the simple, exact, and clear terms in
which this treaty is expressed; that, in so short a compass, adjusts the
interests of two powerful republics and their allies, both by sea and
land.

When these conditions were brought to Rome, the people, not approving of
them, sent ten commissioners to Sicily, to terminate the affair. These
made no alteration as to the substance of the treaty;(697) only shortening
the time appointed for the payment, reducing it to ten years: a thousand
talents were added to the sum that had been stipulated, which were to be
paid immediately; and the Carthaginians were required to depart out of all
the islands situated between Italy and Sicily. Sardinia was not
comprehended in this treaty; but they gave it up by another treaty which
was made some years afterwards.

(M115) Such was the conclusion of a war, one of the longest mentioned in
history, since it continued twenty-four years without intermission. The
obstinacy, in disputing for empire, was equal on either side: the same
resolution, the same greatness of soul, in forming as well as in executing
of projects, being conspicuous on both sides. The Carthaginians had the
superiority in their acquaintance with naval affairs; in their skill in
the construction of their vessels; the working of them; the experience and
capacity of their pilots; the knowledge of coasts, shallows, roads, and
winds; and in the inexhaustible fund of wealth, which furnished all the
expenses of so long and obstinate a war. The Romans had none of these
advantages; but their courage, zeal for the public good, love of their
country, and a noble emulation of glory, supplied all other deficiencies.
We are astonished to see a nation, so raw and inexperienced in naval
affairs, not only making head against a people who were better skilled in
them, and more powerful than any that had ever been before; but even
gaining several victories over them at sea. No difficulties or calamities
could discourage them. They certainly would not have thought of peace, in
the circumstances under which the Carthaginians demanded it. One
unfortunate campaign dispirits the latter; whereas the Romans are not
shaken by a succession of them.

As to soldiers, there was no comparison between those of Rome and
Carthage, the former being infinitely superior in point of courage. Among
the generals who commanded in this war, Hamilcar, surnamed Barca, was,
doubtless, the most conspicuous for his bravery and prudence.

_The Libyan War; or against the Mercenaries._(698)—The war which the
Carthaginians waged against the Romans, was succeeded immediately by
another,(699) which, though of much shorter continuance, was infinitely
more dangerous; as it was carried on in the very heart of the republic,
and attended with such cruelty and barbarity, as is scarce to be
paralleled in history; I mean the war which the Carthaginians were obliged
to sustain against their mercenary troops, who had served under them in
Sicily, and which is commonly called the African or Libyan war.(700) It
continued only three years and a half, but was a very bloody one. The
occasion of it was this:

As soon as the treaty was concluded with the Romans,(701) Hamilcar, having
carried to Lilybæum the forces which were in Eryx, resigned his
commission; and left to Gisgo, governor of the place, the care of
transporting these forces into Africa. Gisgo, as though he had foreseen
what would happen, did not ship them all off at once, but in small and
separate parties, in order that those who came first might be paid off,
and sent home, before the arrival of the rest. This conduct evinced great
forecast and wisdom, but was not seconded equally at Carthage. As the
republic had been exhausted by the expense of a long war, and the payment
of near one hundred and thirty thousand pounds to the Romans on signing
the peace, the forces were not paid off in proportion as they arrived; but
it was thought proper to wait for the rest, in the hopes of obtaining from
them (when they should be all together) a remission of some part of their
arrears. This was the first oversight.

Here we discover the genius of a state composed of merchants, who know the
full value of money, but are little acquainted with that of the services
of soldiers; who bargain for blood, as though it were an article of trade,
and always go to the cheapest market. In such a republic, when an exigency
is once answered, the merit of services is no longer remembered.

These soldiers, most of whom came to Carthage, having been long accustomed
to a licentious life, caused great disturbances in the city; to remedy
which, it was proposed to their officers, to march them all to a little
neighbouring town called Sicca, and there supply them with whatever was
necessary for their subsistence, till the arrival of the rest of their
companions; and that then they should all be paid off, and sent home. This
was a second oversight.

A third was, the refusing to let them leave their baggage, their wives,
and children in Carthage, as they desired; and the forcing them to remove
these to Sicca; whereas, had they staid in Carthage, they would have been
in a manner so many hostages.

Being all met together at Sicca, they began (having little else to do) to
compute the arrears of their pay, which they made amount to much more than
was really due to them. To this computation, they added the mighty
promises which had been made them, at different times, as an encouragement
for them to do their duty; and pretended that these likewise ought to be
brought into the account. Hanno, who was then governor of Africa, and had
been sent to them from the magistrates of Carthage, proposed to them to
consent to some abatement of their arrears; and to content themselves with
receiving a part, in consideration of the great distress to which the
commonwealth was reduced, and its present unhappy circumstances. The
reader will easily guess how such a proposal was received. Complaints,
murmurs, seditious and insolent clamours, were every where heard. These
troops being composed of different nations, who were strangers to one
another’s language, were incapable of hearing reason when they once
mutinied. Spaniards, Gauls, Ligurians; inhabitants of the Balearic isles;
Greeks, the greatest part of them slaves or deserters, and a very great
number of Africans, composed these mercenary forces. Transported with
rage, they immediately break up, march towards Carthage, (being upwards of
twenty thousand,) and encamp at Tunis, not far from that metropolis.

The Carthaginians discovered too late their error. There was no
compliance, how grovelling soever, to which they did not stoop, to soothe
these exasperated soldiers: who, on their side, practised every knavish
art which could be thought of, in order to extort money from them. When
one point was gained, they immediately had recourse to a new artifice, on
which to ground some new demand. Was their pay settled beyond the
agreement made with them, they still would be reimbursed for the losses
which they pretended to have sustained, either by the death of their
horses, by the excessive price which, at certain times, they had paid for
bread-corn; and still insisted on the recompense which had been promised
them. As nothing could be fixed, the Carthaginians, with great difficulty,
prevailed on them to refer themselves to the opinion of some general who
had commanded in Sicily. Accordingly they pitched upon Gisgo, who had
always been very acceptable to them. This general harangued them in a mild
and insinuating manner; recalled to their memories the long time they had
been in the Carthaginian service; the considerable sums they had received
from the republic; and granted almost all their demands.

The treaty was upon the point of being concluded, when two mutineers
occasioned a tumult in every part of the camp. One of those was Spendius a
Capuan, who had been a slave at Rome, and had fled to the Carthaginians.
He was tall and bold. The fear he was under, of falling into the hands of
his former master, by whom he was sure to be hanged, (as was the custom,)
prompted him to break off the agreement. He was seconded by one
Matho,(702) who had been very active in forming the conspiracy. These two
represented to the Africans, that the instant after their companions
should be discharged and sent home, they, being thus left alone in their
own country, would fall a sacrifice to the rage of the Carthaginians, who
would take vengeance upon them for the common rebellion. This was
sufficient to raise them to fury. They immediately made choice of Spendius
and Matho for their chiefs. No remonstrances were heard; and whoever
offered to make any, was immediately put to death. They ran to Gisgo’s
tent, plundered it of the money designed for the payment of the forces:
dragged that general himself to prison, with all his attendants; after
having treated them with the utmost indignities. All the cities of Africa,
to whom they had sent deputies to exhort them to recover their liberty,
came over to them, Utica and Hippacra excepted, which they therefore
immediately besieged.

Carthage had never been before exposed to such imminent danger. The
citizens individually drew each his subsistence from the rents or revenues
of their lands, and the public expenses from the tribute paid by Africa.
But all this was stopped at once; and (a much worse circumstance) was
turned against them. They found themselves destitute of arms and forces,
either for sea or land; of all necessary preparations either for the
sustaining of a siege, or the equipping of a fleet; and, to complete their
misfortunes, without any hopes of foreign assistance, either from their
friends or allies.

They might, in some sense, impute to themselves the distress to which they
were reduced. During the last war, they had treated the African nations
with the utmost rigour, by imposing excessive tributes on them, in the
exaction of which no allowance was made for poverty and extreme misery;
and governors, such as Hanno, were treated with the greater respect, the
more severe they had been in levying those tributes. So that no great
efforts were necessary to prevail upon the Africans to engage in this
rebellion. At the very first signal that was made, it broke out, and in a
moment became general. The women, who had often, with the deepest
affliction, seen their husbands and fathers dragged to prison for
non-payment, were more exasperated than the men; and with pleasure gave up
all their ornaments towards the expenses of the war; so that the chiefs of
the rebels, after paying all they had promised the soldiers, found
themselves still in the midst of plenty: an instructive lesson, says
Polybius, to ministers, how a people should be treated; as it teaches them
to look, not only to the present occasion, but to extend their views to
futurity.

The Carthaginians, notwithstanding their present distress, did not
despond, but made the most extraordinary efforts. The command of the army
was given to Hanno. Troops were levied by land and sea; horse as well as
foot. All citizens, capable of bearing arms, were mustered; mercenaries
were invited from all parts; and all the ships which the republic had left
were refitted.

The rebels discovered no less ardour. We related before, that they had
formed the siege of the two only cities which refused to join them. Their
army was now increased to seventy thousand men. After detachments had been
drawn from it to carry on those sieges, they pitched their camp at Tunis;
and thereby held Carthage in a kind of blockade, filling it with perpetual
alarms, and frequently advancing up to its very walls by day as well as by
night.

Hanno had marched to the relief of Utica, and gained a considerable
advantage, which, had he made a proper use of it, might have proved
decisive: but entering the city, and only diverting himself there, the
mercenaries, who had retreated to a neighbouring hill covered with trees,
hearing how careless the enemy were, poured down upon them; found the
soldiers straggling in all parts; took and plundered the camp, and seized
upon all the supplies that had been brought from Carthage for the relief
of the besieged. Nor was this the only error committed by Hanno; and
errors, in such critical junctures, are much the most fatal. Hamilcar,
surnamed Barca, was therefore appointed to succeed him. This general
answered the idea which had been entertained of him; and his first success
was the obliging the rebels to raise the siege of Utica. He then marched
against their army which was encamped near Carthage; defeated part of it,
and seized almost all their advantageous posts. These successes revived
the courage of the Carthaginians.

The arrival of a young Numidian nobleman, Naravasus by name, who, out of
esteem for the person and merit of Barca, joined him with two thousand
Numidians, was of great service to that general. Animated by this
reinforcement, he fell upon the rebels, who had cooped him up in a valley;
killed ten thousand of them, and took four thousand prisoners. The young
Numidian distinguished himself greatly in this battle. Barca took into his
troops as many of the prisoners as were desirous of being enlisted, and
gave the rest free liberty to go wherever they pleased, on condition that
they should never take up arms any more against the Carthaginians;
otherwise, that every man of them, if taken, should be put to death. This
conduct proves the wisdom of that general. He thought this a better
expedient than extreme severity. And indeed where a multitude of mutineers
are concerned, the greatest part of whom have been drawn in by the
persuasions of the most hotheaded, or through fear of the most furious,
clemency seldom fails of being successful.

Spendius, the chief of the rebels, fearing that this affected lenity of
Barca might occasion a defection among his troops, thought the only
expedient left him to prevent it, would be, to strike some signal blow,
which would deprive them of all hopes of being ever reconciled to the
enemy. With this view, after having read to them some fictitious letters,
by which advice was given him, of a secret design concerted betwixt some
of their comrades and Gisgo for rescuing him out of prison, where he had
been so long detained; he brought them to the barbarous resolution of
murdering him and all the rest of the prisoners; and any man, who durst
offer any milder counsel, was immediately sacrificed to their fury.
Accordingly, this unfortunate general, and seven hundred prisoners who
were confined with him, were brought out to the front of the camp, where
Gisgo fell the first sacrifice, and afterwards all the rest. Their hands
were cut off, their thighs broken, and their bodies, still breathing, were
thrown into a hole. The Carthaginians sent a herald to demand their
remains, in order to pay them the last sad office, but were refused; and
the herald was further told, that whoever presumed to come upon the like
errand, should meet with Gisgo’s fate. And, indeed, the rebels immediately
came to the unanimous resolution, of treating all such Carthaginians as
should fall into their hands in the same barbarous manner; and decreed
farther, that if any of their allies were taken, they should, after their
hands were cut off, be sent back to Carthage. This bloody resolution was
but too punctually executed.

The Carthaginians were now just beginning to breathe, as it were, and
recover their spirits, when a number of unlucky accidents plunged them
again into fresh dangers. A division arose among their generals; and the
provisions, of which they were in extreme necessity, coming to them by
sea, were all cast away in a storm. But the misfortune which they most
keenly felt, was, the sudden defection of the two only cities which till
then had preserved their allegiance, and in all times adhered inviolably
to the commonwealth. These were Utica and Hippacra. These cities, without
the least reason, or even so much as a pretence, went over at once to the
rebels; and, transported with the like rage and fury, murdered the
governor, with the garrison sent to their relief; and carried their
inhumanity so far, as to refuse their dead bodies to the Carthaginians,
who demanded them back in order for burial.

The rebels, animated by so much success, laid siege to Carthage, but were
obliged immediately to raise it. They nevertheless continued the war.
Having drawn together, into one body, all their own troops and those of
the allies, (making upwards of fifty thousand men in all,) they watched
the motions of Hamilcar’s army, but carefully kept their own on the hills;
and avoided coming down into the plains, because the enemy would there
have had too great an advantage over them, on account of their elephants
and cavalry. Hamilcar, more skilful in the art of war than they, never
exposed himself to any of their attacks; but taking advantage of their
oversights, often dispossessed them of their posts, if their soldiers
straggled but ever so little; and harassed them a thousand ways. Such of
them as fell into his hands, were thrown to wild beasts. At last, he
surprised them at a time when they least expected it, and shut them up in
a post which was so situated, that it was impossible for them to get out
of it. Not daring to venture a battle, and being unable to get off, they
began to fortify their camp, and surrounded it with ditches and
intrenchments. But an enemy among themselves, and which was much more
formidable, had reduced them to the greatest extremity: this was hunger,
which was so raging, that they at last ate one another; Divine Providence,
says Polybius, thus revenging upon themselves the barbarous cruelty they
had exercised on others. They now had no resource left; and knew but too
well the punishments which would be inflicted on them, in case they should
fall alive into the hands of the enemy. After such bloody scenes as had
been acted by them, they did not so much as think of peace, or of coming
to an accommodation. They had sent to their forces encamped at Tunis for
assistance, but with no success. In the mean time the famine increased
daily. They had first eaten their prisoners, then their slaves; and now
their fellow-citizens only were left. Their chiefs, now no longer able to
resist the complaints and cries of the multitude, who threatened to
massacre them if they did not surrender, went themselves to Hamilcar,
after having obtained a safe conduct from him. The conditions of the
treaty were, that the Carthaginians should select any ten of the rebels,
to treat them as they should think fit, and that the rest should be
dismissed with only one suit of clothes for each. When the treaty was
signed, the chiefs themselves were arrested and detained by the
Carthaginians, who plainly showed, on this occasion, that they did not
pride themselves upon their good faith and sincerity. The rebels, hearing
that their chiefs were seized, and knowing nothing of the convention,
suspected that they were betrayed, and thereupon immediately took up arms.
But Hamilcar, having surrounded them, brought forward his elephants; and
either trod them all under foot, or cut them to pieces, they being upwards
of forty thousand.

The consequence of this victory was, the reduction of almost all the
cities of Africa, which immediately returned to their allegiance.
Hamilcar, without loss of time, marched against Tunis, which, ever since
the beginning of the war, had been the asylum of the rebels, and their
place of arms. He invested it on one side, whilst Hannibal, who was joined
in the command with him, besieged it on the other. Then advancing near the
walls, and ordering crosses to be set up, he hung Spendius on one of them,
and his companions who had been seized with him on the rest, where they
all expired. Matho, the other chief, who commanded in the city, saw
plainly by this what he himself might expect; and for that reason was much
more attentive to his own defence. Perceiving that Hannibal, as being
confident of success, was very negligent in all his motions, he made a
sally, attacked his quarters, killed many of his men, took several
prisoners, among whom was Hannibal himself, and plundered his camp. Then
taking Spendius from the cross, he put Hannibal in his place, after having
made him suffer inexpressible torments; and sacrificed round the body of
Spendius thirty citizens of the first quality in Carthage, as so many
victims of his vengeance. One would conclude, that there had been a mutual
emulation betwixt the contending parties, which of them should outdo the
other in acts of the most barbarous cruelty.

Barca being at that time at a distance, it was long before the news of his
colleague’s misfortune reached him; and besides, the road lying betwixt
the two camps being impassable, it was impossible for him to advance
hastily to his assistance. This disastrous accident caused a great
consternation in Carthage. The reader may have observed, in the course of
this war, a continual vicissitude of prosperity and adversity, of security
and fear, of joy and grief; so various and inconstant were the events on
either side.

In Carthage it was thought advisable to make one bold effort. Accordingly,
all the youth capable of bearing arms were pressed into the service. Hanno
was sent to join Hamilcar; and thirty senators were deputed to conjure
those generals, in the name of the republic, to forget past quarrels, and
sacrifice their resentments to their country’s welfare. This was
immediately complied with; they mutually embraced, and were reconciled
sincerely to one another.

From this time, the Carthaginians were successful in all things; and
Matho, who in every attempt after this came off with disadvantage, at last
thought himself obliged to hazard a battle; and this was just what the
Carthaginians wanted. The leaders on both sides animated their troops, as
going to fight a battle which would for ever decide their fate. An
engagement ensued. Victory was not long in suspense; for the rebels every
where giving ground, the Africans were almost all slain, and the rest
surrendered. Matho was taken alive and carried to Carthage. All Africa
returned immediately to its allegiance, except the two perfidious cities
which had lately revolted; however, they were soon forced to surrender at
discretion.

And now the victorious army returned to Carthage, and was there received
with shouts of joy, and the congratulations of the whole city. Matho and
his soldiers, after having adorned the public triumph, were led to
execution; and finished, by a painful and ignominious death, a life that
had been polluted with the blackest treasons and unparalleled barbarities.
Such was the conclusion of the war against the mercenaries, after having
lasted three years and four months. It furnished, says Polybius, an
ever-memorable lesson to all nations, not to employ in their armies a
greater number of mercenaries than citizens; nor to rely, for the defence
of their state, on a body of men who are not attached to it either by
interest or affection.

I have hitherto purposely deferred taking notice of such transactions in
Sardinia, as passed at the time I have been speaking of, and which were,
in some measure, dependent on, and resulting from, the war waged in Africa
against the mercenaries. They exhibit the same violent methods to promote
rebellion; the same excesses of cruelty; as if the wind had carried the
same spirit of discord and fury from Africa into Sardinia.

When the news was brought there of what Spendius and Matho were doing in
Africa, the mercenaries in that island also shook off the yoke, in
imitation of these incendiaries. They began by the murder of Bostar their
general, and of all the Carthaginians under him. A successor was sent; but
all the forces which he carried with him went over to the rebels; hung the
general on a cross; and, throughout the whole island, put all the
Carthaginians to the sword, after having made them suffer inexpressible
torments. They then besieged all the cities one after another, and soon
got possession of the whole country. But feuds arising between them and
the natives, the mercenaries were driven entirely out of the island, and
took refuge in Italy. Thus the Carthaginians lost Sardinia, an island of
great importance to them, on account of its extent, its fertility, and the
great number of its inhabitants.

The Romans, ever since their treaty with the Carthaginians, had behaved
towards them with great justice and moderation. A slight quarrel, on
account of some Roman merchants who were seized at Carthage for having
supplied the enemy with provisions, had embroiled them a little. But these
merchants being restored on the first complaint made to the senate of
Carthage; the Romans, who prided themselves upon their justice and
generosity on all occasions, made the Carthaginians a return of their
former friendship; served them to the utmost of their power; forbade their
merchants to furnish any other nation with provisions; and even refused to
listen to the proposals made by the Sardinian rebels, when invited by them
to take possession of the island.

But these scruples and delicacy wore off by degrees; and Cæsar’s
advantageous testimony (in Sallust) of their honesty and plain-dealing,
could not with any propriety be applied here:(703) “Although,” says he,
“in all the Punic wars, the Carthaginians, both in peace and during
truces, had committed a number of detestable actions, the Romans could
never (how inviting soever the opportunity might be) be prevailed upon to
retaliate such usage; being more attentive to their own glory, than to the
revenge they might have justly taken on such perfidious enemies.”

(M116) The mercenaries, who, as was observed, had retired into Italy,
brought the Romans at last to the resolution of sailing over into
Sardinia, to render themselves masters of it. The Carthaginians were
deeply afflicted at the news, upon pretence that they had a more just
title to Sardinia than the Romans; they therefore put themselves in a
posture to take a speedy and just revenge on those who had excited the
people of that island to take up arms against them. But the Romans,
pretending that these preparations were made not against Sardinia but
their state, declared war against the Carthaginians. The latter, quite
exhausted in every respect, and scarce beginning to breathe, were in no
condition to sustain a war. The necessity of the times was therefore to be
complied with, and they were forced to yield to a more powerful rival. A
fresh treaty was thereupon made, by which they gave up Sardinia to the
Romans; and obliged themselves to a new payment of twelve hundred talents,
to keep off the war with which they were menaced. This injustice of the
Romans was the true cause of the second Punic war, as will appear in the
sequel.

_The second Punic War._(704)—The second Punic war, which I am now going to
relate, is one of the most memorable recorded in history, and most worthy
the attention of an inquisitive reader; whether we consider the boldness
of the enterprises; the wisdom employed in the execution; the obstinate
efforts of two rival nations, and the ready resources they found in their
lowest ebb of fortune; the variety of uncommon events, and the uncertain
issue of so long and bloody a war; or lastly, the assemblage of the most
perfect models in every kind of merit; and the most instructive lessons
that occur in history, either with regard to war, policy, or government.
Never did two more powerful, or at least more warlike, states or nations
make war against each other; and never had these in question seen
themselves raised to a more exalted pitch of power and glory. Rome and
Carthage were, doubtless, at that time, the two first states of the world.
Having already tried their strength in the first Punic war, and thereby
made an essay of each other’s power, they knew perfectly well what either
could do. In this second war, the fate of arms was so equally balanced,
and the success so intermixed with vicissitudes and varieties, that that
party triumphed which had been most in danger of being ruined. Great as
the forces of these two nations were, it may almost be said, that their
mutual hatred was still greater. The Romans, on one side, could not
without indignation see the vanquished presuming to attack them; and the
Carthaginians, on the other, were exasperated at the equally rapacious and
harsh treatment which they pretended to have received from the victor.

The plan which I have laid down does not permit me to enter into an exact
detail of this war, whereof Italy, Sicily, Spain, and Africa, were the
several seats; and which has a still closer connection with the Roman
history than with that I am now writing. I shall confine myself therefore,
principally, to such transactions as relate to the Carthaginians: and
endeavour, as far as I am able, to give my reader an idea of the genius
and character of Hannibal, who perhaps was the greatest warrior that
antiquity has to boast of.

_The remote and more immediate Causes of the second Punic War._—Before I
come to speak of the declaration of war betwixt the Romans and
Carthaginians, I think it necessary to explain the true causes of it; and
to point out by what steps this rupture, betwixt these two nations, was so
long preparing, before it openly broke out.

That man would be grossly mistaken, says Polybius,(705) who should look
upon the taking of Saguntum by Hannibal as the true cause of the second
Punic war. The regret of the Carthaginians for having so tamely given up
Sicily, by the treaty which terminated the first Punic war; the injustice
and violence of the Romans, who took advantage of the troubles excited in
Africa, to dispossess the Carthaginians of Sardinia, and to impose a new
tribute on them; and the success and conquests of the latter in Spain;
these were the true causes of the violation of the treaty, as Livy(706)
(agreeing here with Polybius) insinuates in few words, in the beginning of
his history of the second Punic war.

And indeed Hamilcar, surnamed Barca, was highly exasperated on account of
the last treaty, which the necessity of the times had compelled the
Carthaginians to submit to; and he therefore meditated the design of
taking just, though distant measures, for breaking it on the first
favourable opportunity that should offer.

When the troubles of Africa were appeased, he was sent upon an expedition
against the Numidians;(707) in which, giving fresh proofs of his courage
and abilities, his merit raised him to the command of the army which was
to act in Spain. Hannibal, his son, at that time but nine years of age,
begged with the utmost importunity to attend him on this occasion;(708)
and for that purpose employed all the soothing arts so common to children
of his age, and which have so much power over a tender father. Hamilcar
could not refuse him; and after having made him swear upon the altars,
that he would declare himself an enemy to the Romans as soon as age would
allow him to do it, he took his son with him.

Hamilcar possessed all the qualities which constitute the great general.
To an invincible courage, and the most consummate prudence, he added a
most engaging and insinuating behaviour. He subdued, in a very short time,
the greatest part of the nations of Spain, either by the terror of his
arms or his engaging conduct; and after enjoying the command there nine
years, came to an end worthy his exalted character, dying gloriously in
arms for the cause of his country.

(M117) The Carthaginians appointed Asdrubal, his son-in-law, to succeed
him.(709) This general, to strengthen his footing in the country, built a
city, which, by the advantage of its situation, the commodiousness of its
harbour, its fortifications, and opulence occasioned by its great
commerce, became one of the most considerable cities in the world. It was
called New Carthage, and is at this day known by the name of Carthagena.

From the several steps of these two great generals, it was easy to
perceive that they were meditating some mighty design which they had
always in view, and laid their schemes at a great distance for the putting
it in execution. The Romans were sensible of this, and reproached
themselves for their indolence and torpor, which had thrown them into a
kind of lethargy; at a time that the enemy were rapidly pursuing their
victories in Spain, which might one day be turned against them. They would
have been very well pleased to attack them by open force, and to wrest
their conquests out of their hands; but the fear of another (not less
formidable) enemy, the Gauls, whom they expected shortly to see at their
very gates, kept them from showing their resentment. They therefore had
recourse to negotiations; and concluded a treaty with Asdrubal, in which,
without taking any notice of the rest of Spain, they contented themselves
with introducing an article, by which the Carthaginians were not allowed
to make any conquests beyond the Iberus.

Asdrubal, in the mean time, still pushed on his conquests;(710) still,
however, taking care not to pass beyond the limits stipulated by the
treaty; but by sparing no endeavours to win the chiefs of the several
nations by a courteous and engaging behaviour, he furthered the interests
of Carthage still more by persuasive methods than force of arms. But
unhappily, after having governed Spain eight years, he was treacherously
murdered by a Gaul, who took so barbarous a revenge for a private grudge
he bore him.(711)

(M118) Three years before his death, he had written to Carthage, to desire
that Hannibal, then twenty-two years of age, might be sent to him.(712)
The proposal met with some difficulty, as the senate was divided betwixt
two powerful factions, which, from Hamilcar’s time, had began to follow
opposite views in the administration and affairs of the state. One faction
was headed by Hanno, whose birth, merit, and zeal for the public welfare,
gave him great influence in the public deliberations. This faction
proposed, on every occasion, the concluding of a safe peace, and the
preserving the conquests in Spain, as being preferable to the uncertain
events of an expensive war, which they foresaw would one day occasion the
ruin of Carthage. The other, called the Barcinian faction, because it
supported the interests of Barca and his family, had, to the credit and
influence which it had long enjoyed in the city, added the reputation
which the signal exploits of Hamilcar and Asdrubal had given it; and
declared openly for war. When therefore Asdrubal’s demand came to be
debated in the senate, Hanno represented the danger of sending so early
into the field a young man, who already possessed all the haughtiness and
imperious temper of his father; and who ought, therefore, rather to be
kept a long time, and very carefully, under the eye of the magistrates and
the power of the laws, that he might learn obedience, and a modesty which
should teach him not to think himself superior to all other men. He
concluded with saying, that he feared this spark, which was then kindling,
would one day rise to a conflagration. His remonstrances were not heard,
so that the Barcinian faction had the superiority, and Hannibal set out
for Spain.

The moment of his arrival there, he drew upon himself the eyes of the
whole army, who fancied they saw Hamilcar his father revive in him. He
seemed to dart the same fire from his eyes; the same martial vigour
displayed itself in the air of his countenance, with the same features and
engaging carriage. But his personal qualities endeared him still more. He
possessed almost every talent that constitutes the great man. His patience
in labour was invincible, his temperance was surprising, his courage in
the greatest dangers intrepid, and his presence of mind in the heat of
battle admirable; and, a still more wonderful circumstance, his
disposition and cast of mind were so flexible, that nature had formed him
equally for commanding or obeying; so that it was doubtful whether he was
dearer to the soldiers or the generals. He served three campaigns under
Asdrubal.

(M119) Upon the death of that general, the suffrages of both the army and
people concurred in raising Hannibal to the supreme command.(713) I know
not whether it was not even then, or about that time, that the republic,
to heighten his influence and authority, appointed him one of its
Suffetes, the first dignity of the state, which was sometimes conferred
upon generals. It is from Cornelius Nepos(714) that we have borrowed this
circumstance of his life, who, speaking of the prætorship bestowed on
Hannibal, upon his return to Carthage, and the conclusion of the peace,
says, that this was twenty-two years after he had been nominated
king.(715)

The moment he was created general, Hannibal, as if Italy had been allotted
to him, and he had even then been appointed to make war upon the Romans,
turned secretly his whole views on that side; and lost no time, for fear
of being prevented by death, as his father and brother-in-law had been. In
Spain he took several strong towns, and conquered many nations: and
although the Spaniards greatly exceeded him in the number of forces,
(their army amounting to upwards of a hundred thousand men,) yet he chose
his time and posts so judiciously, that he entirely defeated them. After
this victory, every thing submitted to his arms. But he still forbore
laying siege to Saguntum,(716) carefully avoiding every occasion of a
rupture with the Romans, till he should have taken every step which he
judged necessary for so important an enterprise, pursuant to the advice
given him by his father. He applied himself particularly to engage the
affections of the citizens and allies, and to gain their confidence, by
generously allotting them a large share of the plunder taken from the
enemy, and by scrupulously paying them all their arrears:(717) a wise
step, which never fails of producing its advantage at a proper season.

The Saguntines, on their side, sensible of the danger with which they were
threatened, informed the Romans of the progress of Hannibal’s
conquests.(718) Upon this, deputies were nominated by the latter, and
ordered to go and acquaint themselves with the state of affairs upon the
spot; they commanded them also to lay their complaints before Hannibal, if
it should be thought proper; and in case he should refuse to do justice,
that then they should go directly to Carthage, and make the same
complaints.

In the mean time Hannibal laid siege to Saguntum, foreseeing that great
advantages would accrue from the taking of this city. He was persuaded,
that this would deprive the Romans of all hopes of carrying on the war in
Spain; that this new conquest would secure those he had already made; that
as no enemy would be left behind him, his march would be more secure and
unmolested; that he should find money enough in it for the execution of
his designs; that the plunder of the city would inspire his soldiers with
greater ardour, and make them follow him with greater cheerfulness; that,
lastly, the spoils which he should send to Carthage, would gain him the
favour of the citizens. Animated by these motives, he carried on the siege
with the utmost vigour. He himself set an example to his troops, was
present at all the works, and exposed himself to the greatest dangers.

News was soon carried to Rome that Saguntum was besieged. But the Romans,
instead of flying to its relief, lost their time in fruitless debates, and
in deputations equally fruitless. Hannibal sent word to the Roman
deputies, that he was not at leisure to hear them; they therefore repaired
to Carthage, but met with no better reception, the Barcinian faction
having prevailed over the complaints of the Romans, and all the
remonstrances of Hanno.

During all these voyages and negotiations, the siege was carried on with
great vigour. The Saguntines were now reduced to the last extremity, and
in want of all things. An accommodation was thereupon proposed; but the
conditions on which it was offered appeared so harsh, that the Saguntines
could not prevail upon themselves to accept them. Before they gave their
final answer, the principal senators, bringing their gold and silver, and
that of the public treasury, into the market-place, threw both into a fire
lighted for that purpose, and afterwards rushed headlong into it
themselves. At the same time, a tower, which had been long assaulted by
the battering rams, falling with a dreadful noise, the Carthaginians
entered the city by the breach, soon made themselves masters of it, and
cut to pieces all the inhabitants who were of age to bear arms. But
notwithstanding the fire, the Carthaginians got a very great booty.
Hannibal did not reserve to himself any part of the spoils gained by his
victories, but applied them solely to the carrying on his enterprises.
Accordingly, Polybius remarks, that the taking of Saguntum was of service
to him, as it awakened the ardour of his soldiers, by the sight of the
rich booty which they had just obtained, and by the hopes of more; and it
reconciled all the principal persons of Carthage to Hannibal, by the large
presents he made to them out of the spoils.

Words could never express the grief and consternation with which the
melancholy news of the capture and cruel fate of Saguntum was received at
Rome.(719) Compassion for this unfortunate city, shame for having failed
to succour such faithful allies, a just indignation against the
Carthaginians, the authors of all these calamities; a strong alarm raised
by the successes of Hannibal, whom the Romans fancied they saw already at
their gates; all these sentiments caused so violent an emotion, that
during the first moments of their agitation, the Romans were unable to
come to any resolution, or do any thing but give way to the torrent of
their passion, and sacrifice floods of tears to the memory of a city which
fell the victim of its inviolable fidelity(720) to the Romans, and had
been betrayed by their unaccountable indolence and imprudent delays. When
they were a little recovered, an assembly of the people was called, and
war was decreed unanimously against the Carthaginians.

_War proclaimed._—That no ceremony might be wanting, deputies were sent to
Carthage, to inquire whether Saguntum had been besieged by order of the
republic, and if so, to declare war; or, in case this siege had been
undertaken solely by the authority of Hannibal, to require that he should
be delivered up to the Romans.(721) The deputies perceiving that the
senate gave no direct answer to their demands, one of them taking up the
folded lappet of his robe, “I bring here,” says he, in a haughty tone,
“either peace or war; the choice is left to yourselves.” The senate
answering, that they left the choice to him: “I give you war then,” says
he, unfolding his robe. “And we,” replied the Carthaginians, with the same
haughtiness, “as heartily accept it, and are resolved to prosecute it with
the same cheerfulness.” Such was the beginning of the second Punic war.

If the cause of this war should be ascribed to the taking of Saguntum, the
whole blame, says Polybius,(722) lies upon the Carthaginians, who could
not, with any colourable pretence, besiege a city that was in alliance
with Rome, and, as such, comprehended in the treaty, which forbade either
party to make war upon the allies of the other. But, should the origin of
this war be traced higher, and carried back to the time when the
Carthaginians were dispossessed of Sardinia by the Romans, and a new
tribute was so unreasonably imposed on them; it must be confessed,
continues Polybius, that the conduct of the Romans is entirely
unjustifiable on these two points, as being founded merely on violence and
injustice; and that, had the Carthaginians, without having recourse to
ambiguous and frivolous pretences, plainly demanded satisfaction upon
these two grievances, and, upon their being refused it, had declared war
against Rome, in that case, reason and justice had been entirely on their
side.

The interval between the conclusion of the first, and the beginning of the
second Punic war, was twenty-four years.

(M120) _The Beginning of the Second Punic War._—When war was resolved
upon, and proclaimed on both sides, Hannibal, who then was twenty-six or
twenty-seven years of age, before he discovered his grand design, thought
it incumbent on him to provide for the security of Spain and Africa.(723)
With this view, he marched the forces out of the one into the other, so
that the Africans served in Spain and the Spaniards in Africa. He was
prompted to this from a persuasion, that these soldiers, being thus at a
distance from their respective countries, would be fitter for service; and
more firmly attached to him, as they would be a kind of hostages for each
other’s fidelity. The forces which he left in Africa amounted to about
forty thousand men, twelve hundred whereof were cavalry. Those of Spain
were something above fifteen thousand, of which two thousand five hundred
and fifty were horse. He left the command of the Spanish forces to his
brother Asdrubal, with a fleet of about sixty ships to guard the coasts;
and, at the same time, gave him the wisest directions for his conduct,
whether with regard to the Spaniards or the Romans, in case they should
attack him.

Livy observes, that Hannibal, before he set forward on this expedition,
went to Cadiz to discharge some vows which he had made to Hercules; and
that he engaged himself by new ones, in order to obtain success in the war
he was entering upon. Polybius gives us,(724) in few words, a very clear
idea of the distance of the several places through which Hannibal was to
march in his way to Italy. From New Carthage, whence he set out to the
Iberus, were computed two thousand two hundred furlongs.(725)(726) From
the Iberus to Emporium, a small maritime town, which separates Spain from
the Gauls, according to Strabo,(727) were sixteen hundred furlongs.(728)
From Emporium to the pass of the Rhone, the like space of sixteen hundred
furlongs.(729) From the pass of the Rhone to the Alps, fourteen hundred
furlongs.(730) From the Alps to the plains of Italy, twelve hundred
furlongs.(731) Thus from New Carthage to the plains of Italy, were eight
thousand furlongs.(732)

Hannibal had long before taken the prudent precaution of acquainting
himself with the nature and situation of the places through which he was
to pass;(733) of sounding how the Gauls stood affected to the Romans; of
winning over their chiefs, whom he knew to be very greedy of gold, by his
bounty to them;(734) and of securing to himself the affection and fidelity
of one part of the nations through whose country his march lay. He was not
ignorant that the passage of the Alps would be attended with great
difficulties; but he knew they were not unsurmountable, and that was
enough for his purpose.

Hannibal began his march early in the spring, from New Carthage, where he
had wintered.(735) His army then consisted of above a hundred thousand
men, of which twelve thousand were cavalry, and he had near forty
elephants. Having crossed the Iberus, he soon subdued the several nations
which opposed him in his march; and lost a considerable part of his army
in this expedition. He left Hanno to command all the country lying between
the Iberus and the Pyrenean hills, with eleven thousand men, who were
appointed to guard the baggage of those that were to follow him. He
dismissed the like number, sending them back to their respective
countries; thus securing to himself their affection when he should want
recruits, and affording to the rest a sure hope that they should be
allowed to return whenever they should desire it. He passed the Pyrenean
hills, and advanced as far as the banks of the Rhone, at the head of fifty
thousand foot, and nine thousand horse; a formidable army, but less so
from the number than from the valour of the troops that composed it;
troops who had served several years in Spain, and learned the art of war,
under the ablest captains that Carthage could ever boast.

_Passage of the Rhone._—Hannibal, being arrived within about four days’
march from the mouth of the Rhone,(736) attempted to cross it, because the
river in this place took up only the breadth of its channel.(737) He
bought up all the ship-boats and little vessels he could meet with, of
which the inhabitants had a great number, because of their commerce. He
likewise built, with great diligence, a prodigious number of boats, little
vessels, and rafts. On his arrival, he found the Gauls encamped on the
opposite bank, and prepared to dispute the passage. There was no
possibility of his attacking them in front. He therefore ordered a
considerable detachment of his forces, under the command of Hanno, the son
of Bomilcar, to pass the river higher up; and in order to conceal his
march, and the design he had in view, from the enemy, he obliged them to
set out in the night. All things succeeded as he had planned; and they
passed the river(738) the next day without the least opposition.

They passed the rest of the day in refreshing themselves, and in the night
they advanced silently towards the enemy. In the morning, when the signals
agreed upon had been given, Hannibal prepared to attempt the passage. Part
of his horses, completely harnessed, were put into boats, that their
riders might, on landing, immediately charge the enemy. The rest of the
horses swam over on both sides of the boats, from which one single man
held the bridles of three or four. The infantry crossed the river, either
on rafts, or in small boats, and in a kind of gondolas, which were only
the trunks of trees, which they themselves had made hollow. The great
boats were drawn up in a line at the top of the channel, in order to break
the force of the waves, and facilitate the passage to the rest of the
small fleet. When the Gauls saw it advancing on the river, they, according
to their custom, uttered dreadful cries and howlings; and clashing their
bucklers over their heads, one against the other, let fly a shower of
darts. But they were prodigiously astonished, when they heard a great
noise behind them, perceived their tents on fire, and saw themselves
attacked both in front and rear. They now had no way left to save
themselves but by flight, and accordingly retreated to their respective
villages. After this, the rest of the troops crossed the river quietly,
and without any opposition.

The elephants alone occasioned a great deal of trouble. They were wafted
over the next day in the following manner. From the bank of the river was
thrown a raft, two hundred feet in length, and fifty in breadth; this was
fixed strongly to the banks by large ropes, and quite covered over with
earth; so that the elephants, deceived by its appearance, thought
themselves upon firm ground. From this first raft they proceeded to a
second, which was built in the same form, but only a hundred feet long,
and fastened to the former by chains that were easily loosened. The female
elephants were put upon the first raft, and the males followed after; and
when they were got upon the second raft, it was loosened from the first,
and, by the help of small boats, towed to the opposite shore. After this,
it was sent back to fetch those which were behind. Some fell into the
water, but they at last got safe to shore, and not a single elephant was
drowned.

_The March after the Battle of the Rhone._—The two Roman consuls had, in
the beginning of the spring, set out for their respective provinces;(739)
P. Scipio for Spain with sixty ships, two Roman legions, fourteen thousand
foot, and twelve hundred horse of the allies; Tiberius Sempronius for
Sicily, with a hundred and sixty ships, two legions, sixteen thousand
foot, and eighteen hundred horse of the allies. The Roman legion
consisted, at that time, of four thousand foot and three hundred horse.
Sempronius had made extraordinary preparations at Lilybæum, a seaport town
in Sicily, with the design of crossing over directly into Africa. Scipio
was equally confident that he should find Hannibal still in Spain, and
make that country the seat of war. But he was greatly astonished, when, on
his arrival at Marseilles, advice was brought him, that Hannibal was upon
the banks of the Rhone, and preparing to cross it. He then detached three
hundred horse, to view the posture of the enemy; and Hannibal detached
five hundred Numidian horse for the same purpose; during which, some of
his soldiers were employed in wafting over the elephants.

At the same time he gave audience, in the presence of his whole army, to
one of the princes of that part of Gaul which is situated near the Po, who
assured him, by an interpreter, in the name of his subjects, that his
arrival was impatiently expected; that the Gauls were ready to join him,
and march against the Romans, and he himself offered to conduct his army
through places where they should meet with a plentiful supply of
provisions. When the prince was withdrawn, Hannibal, in a speech to his
troops, magnified extremely this deputation from the Gauls; extolled, with
just praises, the bravery which his forces had shown hitherto; and
exhorted them to sustain, to the last, their reputation and glory. The
soldiers inspired with fresh ardour and courage, all at once raised their
hands, and declared their readiness to follow whithersoever he should lead
the way. Accordingly, he appointed the next day for his march; and, after
offering up vows, and making supplications to the gods for the safety of
his troops, he dismissed them; desiring, at the same time, that they would
take the necessary refreshments.

Whilst this was doing, the Numidians returned. They had met with, and
charged, the Roman detachment: the conflict was very obstinate, and the
slaughter great, considering the small number of the combatants. A hundred
and sixty of the Romans were left dead upon the spot, and more than two
hundred of their enemies. But the honour of this skirmish fell to the
Romans; the Numidians having retired and left them the field of battle.
This first action was interpreted as an omen(740) of the fate of the whole
war, and seemed to promise success to the Romans, but which, at the same
time, would be dearly bought, and strongly contested. On both sides, those
who had survived this engagement, and who had been engaged in
reconnoitring, returned to inform their respective generals of what they
had discovered.

Hannibal, as he had declared, decamped the next day, and crossed through
the midst of Gaul, advancing northward; not that this was the shortest way
to the Alps, but only, as by leading him from the sea, it prevented his
meeting Scipio; and, by that means, favoured the design he had, of
marching all his forces into Italy, without having weakened them by a
battle.

Though Scipio marched with the utmost expedition, he did not reach the
place where Hannibal had passed the Rhone, till three days after he had
set out from it. Despairing therefore to overtake him, he returned to his
fleet, and reimbarked, fully resolved to wait for Hannibal at the foot of
the Alps. But, in order that he might not leave Spain defenceless, he sent
his brother Cneius thither, with the greatest part of his army, to make
head against Asdrubal; and himself set forward immediately for Genoa, with
intention to oppose the army which was in Gaul, near the Po, to that of
Hannibal.

The latter, after four days’ march, arrived at a kind of island, formed by
the conflux(741) of two rivers, which unite their streams in this place.
Here he was chosen umpire between two brothers, who disputed their right
to the kingdom. He to whom Hannibal decreed it, furnished his whole army
with provisions, clothes, and arms. This was the country of the
Allobroges, by which name the people were called, who now inhabit the
district of Geneva,(742) Vienne, and Grenoble. His march was not much
interrupted till he arrived at the Durance, and from thence he reached the
foot of the Alps without any opposition.

_The Passage of the Alps._—The sight of these mountains, whose tops seemed
to touch the skies, and were covered with snow, and where nothing appeared
to the eye but a few pitiful cottages, scattered here and there, on the
sharp tops of inaccessible rocks; nothing but meagre flocks, almost
perished with cold, and hairy men of a savage and fierce aspect; this
spectacle, I say, renewed the terror which the distant prospect had
raised, and chilled with fear the hearts of the soldiers.(743) When they
began to climb up, they perceived the mountaineers, who had seized upon
the highest cliffs, and were prepared to oppose their passage. They
therefore were forced to halt. Had the mountaineers, says Polybius, only
lain in ambuscade, and after having suffered Hannibal’s troops to entangle
themselves in some difficult passage, had then charged them on a sudden,
the Carthaginian army would have been irrecoverably lost. Hannibal, being
informed that they kept those posts only in the daytime, and quitted them
in the evening, possessed himself of them by night. The Gauls returning
early in the morning, were very much surprised to find their posts in the
enemy’s hand: but still they were not disheartened. Being used to climb up
those rocks, they attacked the Carthaginians who were upon their march,
and harassed them on all sides. The latter were obliged, at one and the
same time, to engage with the enemy, and struggle with the ruggedness of
the paths of the mountains, where they could hardly stand. But the
greatest disorder was caused by the horses and beasts of burden laden with
the baggage; who being frighted by the cries and howling of the Gauls,
which echoed dreadfully among the mountains, and being sometimes wounded
by the mountaineers, came tumbling on the soldiers, and dragged them
headlong with them down the precipices which skirted the road. Hannibal,
being sensible that the loss of his baggage alone was enough to destroy
his army, ran to the assistance of his troops, who were thus embarrassed;
and having put the enemy to flight, continued his march without
molestation or danger, and came to a castle, which was the most important
fortress in the whole country. He possessed himself of it, and of all the
neighbouring villages, in which he found a large quantity of corn, and
cattle sufficient to subsist his army three days.

After a pretty quiet march, the Carthaginians were to encounter a new
danger. The Gauls, feigning to take advantage of the misfortunes of their
neighbours, who had suffered for opposing the passage of Hannibal’s
troops, came to pay their respects to that general, brought him
provisions, offered to be his guides; and left him hostages, as pledges of
their fidelity. However, Hannibal placed no great confidence in them. The
elephants and horses marched in the front, whilst himself followed with
the main body of his foot, keeping a vigilant eye over all. They came at
length to a very narrow and rugged pass, which was commanded by an
eminence where the Gauls had placed an ambuscade. These rushing out on a
sudden, assailed the Carthaginians on every side, rolling down stones upon
them of a prodigious size. The army would have been entirely routed, had
not Hannibal exerted himself in an extraordinary manner to extricate them
out of this difficulty.

At last, on the ninth day, they reached the summit of the Alps. Here the
army halted two days, to rest and refresh themselves after their fatigue,
after which they continued their march. As it was now autumn, a great
quantity of snow had lately fallen, and covered all the roads, which
caused a consternation among the troops, and disheartened them very much.
Hannibal perceived it, and halting on a hill from whence there was a
prospect of all Italy, he showed them the fruitful plains(744) watered by
the river Po, to which they were almost come; adding, that they had but
one effort more to make, before they arrived at them. He represented to
them, that a battle or two would put a glorious period to their toils, and
enrich them for ever, by giving them possession of the capital of the
Roman empire. This speech, filled with such pleasing hopes, and enforced
by the sight of Italy, inspired the dejected soldiers with fresh vigour
and alacrity. They therefore pursued their march. But still the road was
more craggy and troublesome than ever; and as they were now on a descent,
the difficulty and danger increased. For the ways were narrow, steep, and
slippery, in most places; so that the soldiers could neither keep upon
their feet as they marched, nor recover themselves when they made a false
step, but stumbled, and beat down one another.

They were now come to a worse place than any they had yet met with. This
was a path naturally very rugged and craggy, which having been made more
so by the late falling in of the earth, terminated in a frightful
precipice above a thousand feet deep. Here the cavalry stopped short.
Hannibal, wondering at this sudden halt, ran to the place, and saw that it
really would be impossible for the troops to advance. He therefore was for
making a circuitous route, but this also was found impracticable. As, upon
the old snow, which was grown hard by lying, there was some newly fallen
that was of no great depth, the feet, at first, by their sinking into it,
found a firm support; but this snow being soon dissolved, by the treading
of the foremost troops and beasts of burden, the soldiers marched on
nothing but ice, which was so slippery, that they had no firm footing; and
where, if they made the least false step, or endeavoured to save
themselves with their hands or knees, there were no boughs or roots to
catch hold of. Besides this difficulty, the horses, striking their feet
forcibly into the ice to keep themselves from falling, could not draw them
out again, but were caught as in a gin. They therefore were forced to seek
some other expedient.

Hannibal resolved to pitch his camp, and to give his troops some days’
rest on the summit of this hill, which was of a considerable extent; after
they should have cleared the ground, and removed all the old as well as
the new fallen snow, which was a work of immense labour. He afterwards
ordered a path to be cut into the rock itself, and this was carried on
with amazing patience and ardour. To open and enlarge this path, all the
trees thereabouts were cut down, and piled round the rock; after which
fire was set to them. The wind, by good fortune, blowing hard, a fierce
flame soon broke out, so that the rock glowed like the very coals with
which it was surrounded. Then Hannibal, if Livy may be credited, (for
Polybius says nothing of this matter,) caused a great quantity of vinegar
to be poured on the rock,(745) which piercing into the veins of it, that
were now cracked by the intense heat of the fire, calcined and softened
it. In this manner, taking a large compass about, in order that the
descent might be easier, they cut away along the rock, which opened a free
passage to the forces, the baggage, and even to the elephants. Four days
were employed in this work, during which the beasts of burden were dying
with hunger; there being no food for them on these mountains buried under
eternal snows. At last they came into cultivated and fruitful spots, which
yielded plenty of forage for the horses, and all kinds of food for the
soldiers.

_Hannibal enters Italy._—When Hannibal entered into Italy, his army was
not near so numerous as when he left Spain, where we have seen it amounted
to near sixty thousand men.(746) It had sustained great losses during the
march, either in the battles it was forced to fight, or in the passage of
rivers. At his departure from the Rhone, it still consisted of
thirty-eight thousand foot, and above eight thousand horse. The march over
the Alps destroyed near half this number; so that Hannibal had now
remaining only twelve thousand Africans, eight thousand Spanish foot, and
six thousand horse. This account he himself caused to be engraved on a
pillar near the promontory called Lacinium. It was five months and a half
since his first setting out from New Carthage, including the fortnight he
employed in marching over the Alps, when he set up his standards in the
plains of the Po, at the entrance of Piedmont. It might then be September.

His first care was to give his troops some rest, which they very much
wanted. When he perceived that they were fit for action, the inhabitants
of the territories of Turin(747) refusing to conclude an alliance with
him, he marched and encamped before their chief city; carried it in three
days, and put all who had opposed him to the sword. This expedition struck
the barbarians with so much dread, that they all came voluntarily, and
surrendered at discretion. The rest of the Gauls would have done the same,
had they not been awed by the terror of the Roman arms, which were now
approaching. Hannibal thought therefore that he had no time to lose; that
it was his interest to march up into the country, and attempt some great
exploit; such as might inspire those who should have an inclination to
join him with confidence.

The rapid progress which Hannibal had made, greatly alarmed Rome, and
caused the utmost consternation throughout the city. Sempronius was
ordered to leave Sicily, and hasten to the relief of his country; and P.
Scipio, the other consul, advanced by forced marches towards the enemy,
crossed the Po, and pitched his camp near the Ticinus.(748)

_Battle of the Cavalry near the Ticinus._—The armies being now in sight,
the generals on each side made a speech to their soldiers before they
engaged.(749) Scipio, after having represented to his forces the glory of
their country, the achievements of their ancestors, observed to them, that
victory was in their hands, since they were to combat only with
Carthaginians, a people who had been so often defeated by them, as well as
forced to be their tributaries for twenty years, and long accustomed to be
almost their slaves: that the advantage they had gained over the flower of
the Carthaginian horse, was a sure omen of their success during the rest
of the war: that Hannibal, in his march over the Alps, had just before
lost the best part of his army; and that those who survived were exhausted
by hunger, cold, and fatigue: that the bare sight of the Romans was
sufficient to put to flight a parcel of soldiers, who had the aspects of
ghosts rather than of men: in a word, that victory was become necessary,
not only to secure Italy, but to save Rome itself, whose fate the present
battle would decide, as that city had no other army wherewith to oppose
the enemy.

Hannibal, that his words might make the stronger impression on the rude
minds of his soldiers, speaks to their eyes, before he addresses their
ears; and does not attempt to persuade them by arguments, till he has
first moved them by the following spectacle. He arms some of the prisoners
whom he had taken in the mountains, and obliges them to fight, two and
two, in sight of his army; promising to reward the conquerors with their
liberty and rich presents. The alacrity wherewith these barbarians engaged
upon these motives, gives Hannibal an occasion of exhibiting to his
soldiers a lively image of their present condition; which, by depriving
them of all means of returning back, puts them under an absolute necessity
either of conquering or dying, in order to avoid the endless evils
prepared for those that should be so base and cowardly as to submit to the
Romans. He displays to them the greatness of their reward, _viz._ the
conquest of all Italy; the plunder of the rich and wealthy city of Rome;
an illustrious victory, and immortal glory. He speaks contemptibly of the
Roman power, the false lustre of which (he observed) ought not to dazzle
such warriors as themselves, who had marched from the pillars of Hercules,
through the fiercest nations, into the very centre of Italy. As for his
own part, he scorns to compare himself with Scipio, a general of but six
months’ standing: himself, who was almost born, at least brought up, in
the tent of Hamilcar his father; the conqueror of Spain, of Gaul, of the
inhabitants of the Alps, and what is still more, conqueror of the Alps
themselves. He rouses their indignation against the insolence of the
Romans, who had dared to demand that himself, and the rest who had taken
Saguntum, should be delivered up to them; and excites their jealousy
against the intolerable pride of those imperious masters, who imagined
that all things ought to obey them, and that they had a right to give laws
to the whole world.

After these speeches, both sides prepare for battle. Scipio, having thrown
a bridge across the Ticinus, marched his troops over it. Two ill
omens(750) had filled his army with consternation and dread. As for the
Carthaginians, they were inspired with the boldest courage. Hannibal
animates them with fresh promises; and cleaving with a stone the skull of
the lamb he was sacrificing, he prays Jupiter to dash to pieces his head
in like manner, in case he did not give his soldiers the rewards he had
promised them.

Scipio posts, in the first line, the troops armed with missive weapons,
and the Gaulish horse; and forming his second line of the flower of the
confederate cavalry, he advances slowly. Hannibal advanced with his whole
cavalry, in the centre of which he had posted the troopers who rid with
bridles, and the Numidian horsemen on(751) the wings, in order to surround
the enemy. The officers and cavalry being eager to engage, a charge
ensues. At the first onset, Scipio’s light-armed soldiers had scarcely
discharged their darts, when, frighted at the Carthaginian cavalry, which
came pouring upon them, and fearing lest they should be trampled under the
horses’ feet, they gave way, and retired through the intervals of the
squadrons. The fight continued a long time with equal success. Many
troopers on both sides dismounted, so that the battle was carried on
between infantry as well as cavalry. In the mean time, the Numidians
surround the enemy, and charge the rear of the light-armed troops, who at
first had escaped the attack of the cavalry, and tread them under their
horses’ feet. The centre of the Roman forces had hitherto fought with
great bravery. Many were killed on both sides, and even more on that of
the Carthaginians. But the Roman troops were put into disorder by the
Numidians, who attacked them in the rear; and especially by a wound the
consul received, which disabled him from continuing the combat. However,
this general was rescued out of the enemy’s hands by the bravery of his
son, then but seventeen years old; and who afterwards was honoured with
the surname of Africanus, for having put a glorious period to this war.

The consul, though dangerously wounded, retreated in good order, and was
conveyed to his camp by a body of horse, who covered him with their arms
and bodies: the rest of the army followed him thither. He hastened to the
Po, which he crossed with his army, and then broke down the bridge,
whereby he prevented Hannibal from overtaking him.

It is agreed, that Hannibal owed this first victory to his cavalry; and it
was judged from thenceforth that the main strength of his army consisted
in his horse; and therefore, that it would be proper for the Romans to
avoid large open plains, such as are those between the Po and the Alps.

Immediately after the battle of the Ticinus, all the neighbouring Gauls
seemed to contend who should submit themselves first to Hannibal, furnish
him with ammunition, and enlist in his army. And this, as Polybius has
observed, was what chiefly induced that wise and skilful general,
notwithstanding the small number and weakness of his troops, to hazard a
battle; which he indeed was now obliged to venture, from the impossibility
of marching back whenever he should desire to do it; because nothing but a
battle would oblige the Gauls to declare for him, whose assistance was the
only refuge he then had left.

_Battle of the Trebia._—Sempronius the consul, upon the orders he had
received from the senate, was returned from Sicily to Ariminum.(752) From
thence he marched towards the Trebia, a small river of Lombardy, which
falls into the Po a little above Placentia, where he joined his forces to
those of Scipio. Hannibal advanced towards the camp of the Romans, from
which he was separated only by that small river. The armies lying so near
one another, gave occasion to frequent skirmishes, in one of which
Sempronius, at the head of a body of horse, gained some advantage over a
party of Carthaginians, very trifling indeed, but which nevertheless very
much increased the good opinion this general naturally entertained of his
own merit.

This inconsiderable success seemed to him a complete victory. He boasted
his having vanquished the enemy in the same kind of fight in which his
colleague had been defeated, and that he thereby had revived the courage
of the dejected Romans. Being now resolutely bent to come, as soon as
possible, to a decisive battle, he thought it proper, for decency’s sake,
to consult Scipio, whom he found of a quite different opinion from
himself. Scipio represented, that in case time should be allowed for
disciplining the new levies during the winter, they would be much fitter
for service in the ensuing campaign; that the Gauls, who were naturally
fickle and inconstant, would disengage themselves insensibly from
Hannibal; that as soon as his wounds should be healed, his presence might
be of some use in an affair of such general concern: in a word, he
besought him earnestly not to proceed any further.

These reasons, though so just, made no impression upon Sempronius. He saw
himself at the head of sixteen thousand Romans, and twenty thousand
allies, exclusive of cavalry, (a number which, in those ages, formed a
complete army,) when both consuls joined their forces. The troops of the
enemy amounted to near the same number. He thought the juncture extremely
favourable for him. He declared publicly, that all the officers and
soldiers were desirous of a battle, except his colleague, whose mind (he
observed) being more affected by his wound than his body, could not, for
that reason, bear to hear of an engagement. But still, continued
Sempronius, is it just to let the whole army droop and languish with him?
What could Scipio expect more? Did he flatter himself with the hopes that
a third consul, and a new army, would come to his assistance? Such were
the expressions he employed both among the soldiers, and even about
Scipio’s tent. The time for the election of new generals drawing near,
Sempronius was afraid a successor would be sent before he had put an end
to the war; and therefore it was his opinion, that he ought to take
advantage of his colleague’s illness, to secure the whole honour of the
victory to himself. As he had no regard, says Polybius, to the time proper
for action, and only to that which he thought suited his own interest, he
could not fail of taking wrong measures. He therefore ordered his army to
prepare for battle.

This was the very thing Hannibal desired; as he held it for a maxim, that
a general who has entered a foreign country, or one possessed by the
enemy, and has formed some great design, has no other refuge left, than
continually to raise the expectations of his allies by some fresh
exploits. Besides, knowing that he should have to deal only with
new-levied and unexperienced troops, he was desirous of taking advantage
of the ardour of the Gauls, who were extremely desirous of fighting; and
of Scipio’s absence, who, by reason of his wound, could not be present in
the battle. Mago was therefore ordered to lie in ambush with two thousand
men, consisting of horse and foot, on the steep banks of a small rivulet
which ran between the two camps, and to conceal himself among the bushes
that were very thick there. An ambuscade is often safer in a smooth open
country, but full of thickets, as this was, than in woods, because such a
spot is less apt to be suspected. He afterwards caused a detachment of
Numidian cavalry to cross the Trebia with orders to advance at break of
day as far as the very barriers of the enemy’s camp, in order to provoke
them to fight; and then to retreat and repass the river, in order to draw
the Romans after them. What he had foreseen, came directly to pass. The
fiery Sempronius immediately detached his whole cavalry against the
Numidians, and then six thousand light-armed troops, who were soon
followed by all the rest of the army. The Numidians fled designedly; upon
which the Romans pursued them with great eagerness, and crossed the Trebia
without resistance, but not without great difficulty, being forced to wade
up to their very arm-pits through the rivulet, which was swoln with the
torrents that had fallen in the night from the neighbouring mountains. It
was then about the winter-solstice, that is, in December. It happened to
snow that day, and the cold was excessively piercing. The Romans had left
their camp fasting, and without having taken the least precaution; whereas
the Carthaginians had, by Hannibal’s order, eaten and drunk plentifully in
their tents; had got their horses in readiness, rubbed themselves with
oil, and put on their armour by the fire-side.

They were thus prepared when the fight began. The Romans defended
themselves valiantly for a considerable time, though they were half spent
with hunger, fatigue, and cold; but their cavalry was at last broken and
put to flight by that of the Carthaginians, which much exceeded theirs in
numbers and strength. The infantry also were soon in great disorder. The
soldiers in ambuscade sallying out at a proper time, rushed on a sudden
upon their rear, and completed the overthrow. A body of above ten thousand
men resolutely fought their way through the Gauls and Africans, of whom
they made a dreadful slaughter; but as they could neither assist their
friends, nor return to the camp, the way to it being cut off by the
Numidian horse, the river, and the rain, they retreated in good order to
Placentia. Most of the rest lost their lives on the banks of the river,
being trampled to pieces by the elephants and horses. Those who escaped,
went and joined the body above mentioned. The next night Scipio retired
also to Placentia. The Carthaginians gained a complete victory, and their
loss was inconsiderable, except that a great number of their horses were
destroyed by the cold, the rain, and the snow; and that, of all their
elephants, they saved but one only.

In Spain, the Romans had better success in this and the following
campaign;(753) for Cn. Scipio extended his conquests as far as the river
Iberus,(754) defeated Hanno, and took him prisoner.

Hannibal took the opportunity, whilst he was in winter quarters, to
refresh his troops, and gain the affection of the natives.(755) For this
purpose, after having declared to the prisoners whom he had taken from the
allies of the Romans, that he was not come with the view of making war
upon them, but of restoring the Italians to their liberty, and protecting
them against the Romans, he sent them all home to their own countries,
without requiring the least ransom.

The winter was no sooner over, than he set out towards Tuscany,(756)
whither he hastened his march for two important reasons: first, to avoid
the ill effects which would arise from the ill will of the Gauls, who were
tired with the long stay of the Carthaginian army in their territories;
and were impatient of bearing the whole burden of a war, in which they had
engaged with no other view than to carry it into the country of their
common enemy: secondly, that he might increase, by some bold exploit, the
reputation of his arms in the minds of all the inhabitants of Italy, by
carrying the war to the very gates of Rome; and at the same time reanimate
his troops, and the Gauls his allies, by the plunder of the enemy’s lands.
But in his march over the Apennines, he was overtaken by a dreadful storm,
which destroyed great numbers of his men. The cold, the rain, the wind and
hail, seemed to conspire his ruin; so that the fatigues which the
Carthaginians had undergone in crossing the Alps, seemed less dreadful
than those they now suffered. He therefore marched back to Placentia,
where he again fought Sempronius, who was returned from Rome. The loss on
both sides was very nearly equal.

Whilst Hannibal was in these winter quarters, he hit upon a true
Carthaginian stratagem.(757) He was surrounded with fickle and inconstant
nations: the friendship he had contracted with them was but of recent
date. He had reason to apprehend a change in their disposition, and,
consequently, that attempts would be made upon his life. To secure
himself, therefore, he got perukes made, and clothes suited to every age.
Of these he sometimes wore one, sometimes another; and disguised himself
so often, that not merely such as saw him only transiently, but even his
intimate acquaintance, could scarce know him.

(M121) At Rome, Cn. Servilius and C. Flaminius had been appointed
consuls.(758) Hannibal having advice that the latter was advanced already
as far as Arretium, a town of Tuscany, resolved to go and engage him as
soon as possible. Two ways being shown him, he chose the shortest, though
the most troublesome, nay, almost impassable, by reason of a fen which he
was forced to go through. Here the army suffered incredible hardships.
During four days and three nights they marched halfway up the leg in
water, and, consequently, could not get a moment’s sleep. Hannibal
himself, who rode upon the only elephant he had left, could hardly get
through. His long want of sleep, and the thick vapours which exhaled from
that marshy place, together with the unhealthiness of the season, cost him
one of his eyes.

_Battle of Thrasymenus._(_759_)—Hannibal being thus got, almost
unexpectedly, out of this dangerous situation, and having refreshed his
troops, marched and pitched his camp between Arretium and Fesulæ, in the
richest and most fruitful part of Tuscany. His first endeavours were, to
discover the disposition of Flaminius, in order that he might take
advantage of his weak side, which, according to Polybius, ought to be the
chief study of a general. He was told, that Flaminius was greatly
conceited of his own merit, bold, enterprising, rash, and fond of glory.
To plunge him the deeper into these excesses, to which he was naturally
prone,(760) he inflamed his impetuous spirit, by laying waste and burning
the whole country in his sight.

Flaminius was not of a temper to continue inactive in his camp, even if
Hannibal had lain still. But when he saw the territories of his allies
laid waste before his eyes, he thought it would reflect dishonour upon
him, should he suffer Hannibal to ransack Italy without control, and even
advance to the very walls of Rome without meeting any resistance. He
rejected with scorn the prudent counsels of those who advised him to wait
the arrival of his colleague, and to be satisfied, for the present, with
putting a stop to the devastation of the enemy.

In the mean time, Hannibal was still advancing towards Rome, having
Cortona on the left hand, and the lake Thrasymenus on his right. When he
saw that the consul followed close after him, with design to give him
battle, in order to stop him in his march; having observed that the ground
was convenient for an engagement, he thought only of making preparations
for it. The lake Thrasymenus and the mountains of Cortona form a very
narrow defile, which leads into a large valley, lined on both sides with
hills of a considerable height, and closed, at the outlet, by a steep hill
of difficult access. On this hill, Hannibal, after having crossed the
valley, came and encamped with the main body of his army; posting his
light-armed infantry in ambuscade upon the hills on the right, and part of
his cavalry behind those on the left, as far almost as the entrance of the
defile, through which Flaminius was obliged to pass. Accordingly, this
general, who followed him very eagerly with the resolution to fight him,
being come to the defile near the lake, was forced to halt, because night
was coming on; but he entered it the next morning at daybreak.

Hannibal having permitted him to advance, with all his forces, above half
way through the valley, and seeing the Roman van-guard pretty near him,
gave the signal for the battle, and commanded his troops to come out of
their ambuscade, in order that he might attack the enemy at the same time
from all quarters. The reader may guess at the consternation with which
the Romans were seized.

They were not yet drawn up in order of battle, neither had they got their
arms in readiness, when they found themselves attacked in front, in rear,
and in flank. In a moment, all the ranks were put into disorder.
Flaminius, alone undaunted in so universal a consternation, animates his
soldiers both with his hand and voice, and exhorts them to cut themselves
a passage with their swords through the midst of the enemy. But the tumult
which reigned every where, the dreadful shouts of the enemy, and a fog
that was risen, prevented his being seen or heard. However, when the
Romans saw themselves surrounded on all sides, either by the enemy or the
lake, the impossibility of saving their lives by flight roused their
courage, and both parties began the fight with astonishing animosity.
Their fury was so great, that not a soldier in either army perceived an
earthquake which happened in that country, and buried whole cities in
ruins. In this confusion, Flaminius being slain by one of the Insubrian
Gauls, the Romans began to give ground, and at last fairly fled. Great
numbers, endeavouring to save themselves, leaped into the lake; whilst
others, directing their course towards the mountains, fell into the
enemy’s hands whom they strove to avoid. Six thousand only cut their way
through the conquerors, and retreated to a place of safety; but the next
day they were taken prisoners. In this battle fifteen thousand Romans were
killed, and about ten thousand escaped to Rome by different roads.
Hannibal sent back the Latins, who were allies of the Romans, into their
own country, without demanding the least ransom. He commanded search to be
made for the body of Flaminius, in order to give it burial; but it could
not be found. He afterwards put his troops into quarters of refreshment,
and solemnized the funerals of thirty of his chief officers who were
killed in the battle. He lost in all but fifteen hundred men, most of whom
were Gauls.

Immediately after, Hannibal despatched a courier to Carthage, with the
news of his good success hitherto in Italy. This caused the greatest joy
for the present, gave birth to the most promising hopes with regard to the
future, and revived the courage of all the citizens. They now prepared,
with incredible ardour, to send into Italy and Spain all necessary
succours.

Rome, on the contrary, was filled with universal grief and alarm, as soon
as the prætor had pronounced from the rostra the following words, “We have
lost a great battle.” The senate, studious of nothing but the public
welfare, thought that in so great a calamity and so imminent a danger,
recourse must be had to extraordinary remedies. They therefore appointed
Quintus Fabius dictator, a person as conspicuous for his wisdom as his
birth. It was the custom at Rome, that the moment a dictator was
nominated, all authority ceased, that of the tribunes of the people
excepted. M. Minucius was appointed his general of horse. We are now in
the second year of the war.

_Hannibal’s Conduct with respect to Fabius._(_761_)—Hannibal, after the
battle of Thrasymenus, not thinking it yet proper to march directly to
Rome, contented himself, in the mean time, with laying waste the country.
He crossed Umbria and Picenum; and after ten days’ march, arrived in the
territory of Adria.(762) He got a very considerable booty in this march.
Out of his implacable enmity to the Romans, he commanded, that all who
were able to bear arms, should be put to the sword; and meeting no
obstacle any where, he advanced as far as Apulia; plundering the countries
which lay in his way, and carrying desolation wherever he came, in order
to compel the nations to disengage themselves from their alliance with the
Romans; and to show all Italy, that Rome itself, now quite dispirited,
yielded him the victory.

Fabius, followed by Minucius and four legions, had marched from Rome in
quest of the enemy, but with a firm resolution not to let him take the
least advantage, nor to advance one step till he had first reconnoitred
every place; nor hazard a battle till he should be sure of success.

As soon as both armies were in sight, Hannibal, to terrify the Roman
forces, offered them battle, by advancing almost to the very entrenchments
of their camp. But finding every thing quiet there, he retired; blaming,
in appearance, the cowardice of the enemy, whom he upbraided with having
at last lost that valour so natural to their ancestors; but fretted
inwardly, to find he had to do with a general of so different a
disposition from Sempronius and Flaminius; and that the Romans, instructed
by their defeat, had at last made choice of a commander capable of
opposing Hannibal.

From this moment he perceived that the dictator would not be formidable to
him by the boldness of his attacks, but by the prudence and regularity of
his conduct, which might perplex and embarrass him very much. The only
circumstance he now wanted to know, was, whether the new general had
firmness enough to pursue steadily the plan he seemed to have laid down.
He endeavoured, therefore, to shake his resolution by the different
movements which he made, by laying waste the lands, plundering the cities,
and burning the villages and towns. He, at one time, would raise his camp
with the utmost precipitation; and, at another, stop short in some valley
out of the common route, to try whether he could not surprise him in the
plain. However, Fabius still kept his troops on the hills, but without
losing sight of Hannibal; never approaching near enough to come to an
engagement; nor yet keeping at such a distance, as might give him an
opportunity of escaping him. He never suffered his soldiers to stir out of
the camp, except to forage, nor ever on those occasions without a numerous
convoy. If ever he engaged, it was only in slight skirmishes, and so very
cautiously, that his troops had always the advantage. By this conduct he
revived, by insensible degrees, the courage of the soldiers, which the
loss of three battles had entirely damped; and enabled them to rely, as
they had formerly done, on their valour and good fortune.

Hannibal, having got an immense booty in Campania, where he had resided a
considerable time, left that country, in order that he might not consume
the provisions he had laid up, and which he reserved for the winter
season. Besides, he could no longer continue in a country of gardens and
vineyards, which were more agreeable to the eye than useful for the
subsistence of an army; a country where he would have been forced to take
up his winter quarters among marshes, rocks, and sands; while the Romans
would have drawn plentiful supplies from Capua, and the richest parts of
Italy. He therefore resolved to settle elsewhere.

Fabius naturally supposed, that Hannibal would be obliged to return the
same way he came, and that he might easily annoy him during his march. He
began by throwing a considerable body of troops into Casilinum, and
thereby securing that small town, situated on the Vulturnus, which
separated the territories of Falernum from those of Capua: he afterwards
detached four thousand men, to seize the only pass through which Hannibal
could come out; and then, according to his usual custom, posted himself
with the remainder of the army on the hills adjoining to the road.

The Carthaginians arrive, and encamp in the plain at the foot of the
mountains. And now the crafty Carthaginian falls into the same snare he
had laid for Flaminius at the defile of Thrasymenus; and it seemed
impossible for him ever to extricate himself out of this difficulty, there
being but one outlet, of which the Romans were possessed. Fabius, fancying
himself sure of his prey, was only contriving how to seize it. He
flattered himself, and not without the appearance of probability, with the
hopes of putting an end to the war by this single battle. Nevertheless, he
thought fit to defer the attack till the next day.

Hannibal perceived, that his own artifices were now employed against
him.(763) It is in such junctures as these, that a general has need of
unusual presence of mind and fortitude, to view danger in its utmost
extent, without being dismayed; and to find out sure and instant
expedients without deliberating. Immediately, the Carthaginian general
caused two thousand oxen to be got together, and ordered small bundles of
vine-branches to be tied to their horns. Towards the dead of night, having
commanded the branches to be set on fire, he caused the oxen to be driven
with violence to the top of the hills where the Romans were encamped. As
soon as these creatures felt the flame, the pain rendering them furious,
they flew up and down on all sides, and set fire to the shrubs and bushes
they met in their way. This squadron, of a new kind, was sustained by a
good number of light-armed soldiers, who had orders to seize upon the
summit of the mountain, and to charge the enemy, in case they should meet
them. All things happened as Hannibal had foreseen. The Romans who guarded
the defile, seeing the fires spread over the hills which were above them,
and imagining that it was Hannibal making his escape by torch-light, quit
their post, and run up to the mountains to oppose his passage. The main
body of the army not knowing what to think of all this tumult, and Fabius
himself not daring to stir, while it was dark, for fear of a surprise,
wait for the return of the day. Hannibal seizes this opportunity, marches
his troops and the spoils through the defile, which was now unguarded, and
rescues his army out of a snare in which, had Fabius been but a little
more vigorous, it would either have been destroyed, or at least very much
weakened. It is glorious for a man to turn his very errors to his
advantage, and make them subservient to his reputation.

The Carthaginian army returned to Apulia, still pursued and harassed by
the Romans. The dictator, being obliged to take a journey to Rome on
account of some religious ceremonies, earnestly entreated his general of
horse, before his departure, not to fight during his absence. However,
Minucius did not regard either his advice or his entreaties; but the very
first opportunity he had, whilst part of Hannibal’s troops were foraging,
he charged the rest, and gained some advantage. He immediately sent advice
of this to Rome, as if he had obtained a considerable victory. The news of
this, with what had just before happened at the passage of the defile,
raised complaints and murmurs against the slow and timorous circumspection
of Fabius. In a word, matters were carried so far, that the Roman people
gave his general of horse an equal authority with him; a thing unheard-of
before. The dictator was upon the road when he received advice of this:
for he had left Rome, in order that he might not be an eye-witness of what
was contriving against him. His constancy, however, was not shaken. He was
very sensible, that though his authority in the command was divided, yet
his skill in the art of war was not so.(764) This soon became manifest.

Minucius, grown arrogant at the advantage he had gained over his
colleague, proposed that each should command a day alternately, or even a
longer time. But Fabius rejected this proposal, as it would have exposed
the whole army to danger whilst under the command of Minucius. He
therefore chose to divide the troops, in order that it might be in his
power to preserve, at least, that part which should fall to his share.

Hannibal, fully informed of all that passed in the Roman camp, was
overjoyed to hear of this dissension between the two commanders. He
therefore laid a snare for the rash Minucius, who accordingly plunged
headlong into it; and engaged the enemy on an eminence, in which an
ambuscade was concealed. But his troops being soon put into disorder, were
just upon the point of being cut to pieces, when Fabius, alarmed by the
sudden outcries of the wounded, called aloud to his soldiers: “Let us
hasten to the assistance of Minucius: let us fly and snatch the victory
from the enemy, and extort from our fellow-citizens a confession of their
fault.” This succour was very seasonable, and compelled Hannibal to sound
a retreat. The latter, as he was retiring, said, “That the cloud which had
been long hovering on the summit of the mountain, had at last burst with a
loud crack, and caused a mighty storm.” So important and seasonable a
service done by the dictator, opened the eyes of Minucius. He accordingly
acknowledged his error, returned immediately to his duty and obedience,
and showed, that it is sometimes more glorious to know how to atone for a
fault, than not to have committed it.

_The state of Affairs in Spain._(_765_)—In the beginning of this campaign,
Cn. Scipio, having suddenly attacked the Carthaginian fleet, commanded by
Hamilcar, defeated it, and took twenty-five ships, with a great quantity
of rich spoils. This victory made the Romans sensible, that they ought to
be particularly attentive to the affairs of Spain, because Hannibal could
draw considerable supplies both of men and money from that country.
Accordingly, they sent a fleet thither, the command whereof was given to
P. Scipio, who, after his arrival in Spain, having joined his brother, did
the commonwealth very great service. Till that time the Romans had never
ventured beyond the Ebro. They had been satisfied with having gained the
friendship of the nations situated between that river and Italy, and
confirming it by alliances: but under Publius, they crossed the Ebro, and
carried their arms much further up into the country.

The circumstance which contributed most to promote their affairs, was, the
treachery of a Spaniard in Saguntum. Hannibal had left there the children
of the most distinguished families in Spain, whom he had taken as
hostages. Abelox, for so this Spaniard was called, persuaded Bostar, the
governor of the city, to send back these young men into their country, in
order, by that means, to attach the inhabitants more firmly to the
Carthaginian interest. He himself was charged with this commission. But he
carried them to the Romans, who afterwards delivered them to their
relations, and, by so acceptable a present, acquired their amity.

(M122) _The Battle of Cannæ._(_766_)—The next spring, C. Terentius Varro
and L. Æmilius Paulus were chosen consuls at Rome. In this campaign, which
was the third of the second Punic war, the Romans did what had never been
practised before, that is, they composed the army of eight legions, each
consisting of five thousand men, exclusive of the allies. For, as we have
already observed, the Romans never raised but four legions, each of which
consisted of about four thousand foot, and three hundred horse.(767) They
never, except on the most important occasions, made them consist of five
thousand of the one, and four hundred of the other. As for the troops of
the allies, their infantry was equal to that of the legions, but they had
three times as many horse. Each of the consuls had commonly half the
troops of the allies, with two legions, in order for them to act
separately; and it was very seldom that all these forces were used at the
same time, and in the same expedition. Here the Romans had not only four,
but eight legions, so important did the affair appear to them. The senate
even thought fit, that the two consuls of the foregoing year, Servilius
and Attilius, should serve in the army as proconsuls; but the latter could
not go into the field, by reason of his great age.

Varro, at his setting out from Rome, had declared openly, that he would
fall upon the enemy the very first opportunity, and put an end to the war;
adding, that it would never be terminated, so long as men such as Fabius
should be at the head of the Roman armies. An advantage which he gained
over the Carthaginians, of whom near seventeen hundred were killed,
greatly increased his boldness and arrogance. As for Hannibal, he
considered this loss as a real advantage; being persuaded that it would
serve as a bait to the consul’s rashness, and prompt him on to a battles
which he wanted extremely. It was afterwards known, that Hannibal was
reduced to such a scarcity of provisions, that he could not possibly have
subsisted ten days longer. The Spaniards were already meditating to leave
him. So that there would have been an end of Hannibal and his army, if his
good fortune had not thrown a Varro in in his way.

Both armies, having often removed from place to place, came in sight of
each other near Cannæ, a little town in Apulia, situated on the river
Aufidus. As Hannibal was encamped in a level open country, and his cavalry
much superior to that of the Romans, Æmilius did not think proper to
engage in such a place. He wished to draw the enemy into a spot, where the
infantry might have the greatest share in the action. But his colleague,
who was unexperienced, was of a contrary opinion. Such is the
inconveniency of a divided command; jealousy, a disparity of tempers, or a
diversity of views, seldom failing to create a dissension between the two
generals.

The troops on each side were, for some time, contented with slight
skirmishes. But, at last, one day, when Varro had the command, (for the
two consuls took it by turns,) preparations were made on both sides for
battle. Æmilius had not been consulted; yet, though he extremely
disapproved the conduct of his colleague, as it was not in his power to
prevent it, he seconded him to the utmost.

Hannibal, after having made his soldiers observe, that, being superior in
cavalry, they could not possibly have pitched upon a better spot for
fighting, had it been left to their choice: “Return, then,” says he,
“thanks to the gods for having brought the enemy hither, that you may
triumph over them; and thank me also, for having reduced the Romans to a
necessity of coming to an engagement. After three great successive
victories, is not the remembrance of your own actions sufficient to
inspire you with courage? By the former battles, you are become masters of
the open country; but this will put you in possession of all the cities,
and, I presume to say it, of all the riches and power of the Romans. It is
not words that we want, but action. I trust in the gods, that you shall
soon see my promises verified.”

The two armies were very unequal in number. That of the Romans, including
the allies, amounted to fourscore thousand foot, and a little above six
thousand horse; and that of the Carthaginians consisted but of forty
thousand foot, all well disciplined, and of ten thousand horse. Æmilius
commanded the right wing of the Romans, Varro the left, and Servilius, one
of the consuls of the last year, was posted in the centre. Hannibal, who
had the art of turning every incident to advantage, had posted himself, so
as that the wind Vulturnus,(768) which rises at certain stated times,
should blow directly in the faces of the Romans during the fight, and
cover them with dust; then keeping the river Aufidus on his left, and
posting his cavalry in the wings, he formed his main body of the Spanish
and Gaulish infantry, which he posted in the centre, with half the African
heavy-armed foot on their right, and half on their left, on the same line
with the cavalry. His army being thus drawn up, he put himself at the head
of the Spanish and Gaulish infantry; and having drawn them out of the
line, advanced to give battle, rounding his front as he drew nearer the
enemy; and extending his flanks in the shape of a half moon, in order that
he might leave no interval between his main body and the rest of the line,
which consisted of the heavy-armed infantry, who had not moved from their
posts.

The fight soon began, and the Roman legions that were in the wings, seeing
their centre warmly attacked, advanced to charge the enemy in flank.
Hannibal’s main body, after a brave resistance, finding themselves
furiously attacked on all sides, gave way, being overpowered by numbers;
and retired through the interval they had left in the centre of the line.
The Romans having pursued them thither with eager confusion, the two wings
of the African infantry, which were fresh, well armed, and in good order,
wheeled about on a sudden towards that void space in which the Romans, who
were already fatigued, had thrown themselves in disorder; and attacked
them vigorously on both sides, without allowing them time to recover
themselves, or leaving them ground to draw up. In the mean time, the two
wings of the cavalry, having defeated those of the Romans, which were much
inferior to them, and having left in the pursuit of the broken and
scattered squadrons, only as many forces as were necessary to keep them
from rallying, advanced and charged the rear of the Roman infantry, which
being surrounded at once on every side by the enemy’s horse and foot was
all cut to pieces, after having fought with unparalleled bravery. Æmilius
being covered with the wounds he had received in the fight, was afterwards
killed by a body of the enemy to whom he was not known; and with him two
quæstors; one and twenty military tribunes; many who had been either
consuls or prætors; Servilius, one of the last year’s consuls; Minucius,
the late general of horse to Fabius; and fourscore senators. Above seventy
thousand men fell in this battle;(769) and the Carthaginians, so great was
their fury,(770) did not give over the slaughter, till Hannibal, in the
very heat of it, called out to them several times; “Stop, soldiers, spare
the vanquished.” Ten thousand men, who had been left to guard the camp,
surrendered themselves prisoners of war after the battle. Varro the consul
retired to Venusia, with only seventy horse; and about four thousand men
escaped into the neighbouring cities. Thus Hannibal remained master of the
field, he being chiefly indebted for this, as well as for his former
victories, to the superiority of his cavalry over that of the Romans. He
lost four thousand Gauls, fifteen hundred Spaniards and Africans, and two
hundred horse.

Maharbal, one of the Carthaginian generals, advised Hannibal to march
without loss of time directly to Rome, promising him, that within five
days they should sup in the Capitol. Hannibal answering, that it was an
affair which required mature deliberation; “I see,” replies Maharbal,
“that the gods have not endowed the same man with all talents. You,
Hannibal, know how to conquer, but not to make the best use of a
victory.”(771)

It is pretended that this delay saved Rome and the empire. Many authors,
and among the rest Livy, charge Hannibal, on this occasion, as being
guilty of a capital error. But others, more reserved, are not for
condemning, without evident proofs, so renowned a general, who in the rest
of his conduct was never wanting, either in prudence to make choice of the
best expedients, or in readiness to put his designs in execution. They,
besides, are inclined to judge favourably of him, from the authority, or
at least the silence, of Polybius, who, speaking of the memorable
consequences of this celebrated battle, says, that the Carthaginians were
firmly persuaded, that they should possess themselves of Rome at the first
assault; but then he does not mention how this could possibly have been
effected, as that city was very populous, warlike, strongly fortified, and
defended with a garrison of two legions; nor does he any where give the
least hint that such a project was feasible, or that Hannibal did wrong in
not attempting to put it in execution.

And indeed, if we examine matters more narrowly, we shall find, that
according to the common maxims of war it could not be undertaken. It is
certain, that Hannibal’s whole infantry, before the battle, amounted but
to forty thousand men; and, as six thousand of these had been slain in the
action, and doubtless, many more wounded and disabled, there could remain
but six or seven and twenty thousand foot fit for service; now this number
was not sufficient to invest so large a city as Rome, which had a river
running through it; nor to attack it in form, because they had neither
engines, ammunition, nor any other things necessary for carrying on a
siege. For want of these, Hannibal, even after his victory at Thrasymenus,
miscarried in his attempt upon Spoletum;(772) and soon after the battle of
Cannæ, was forced to raise the siege of a little city,(773) of no note,
and of no great strength. It cannot be denied, but that had he miscarried
on the present occasion, nothing less could have been expected but that he
must have been irrecoverably lost. However, to form a just judgment of
this matter, a man ought to be a soldier, and a soldier, perhaps, of those
times. This is an old dispute, on which none but those who are perfectly
well skilled in the art of war should pretend to give their opinion.

Soon after the battle of Cannæ, Hannibal had despatched his brother Mago
to Carthage, with the news of his victory, and at the same time to demand
succours, in order that he might be enabled to put an end to the war.(774)
Mago, on his arrival, made, in full senate, a lofty speech, in which he
extolled his brother’s exploits, and displayed the great advantages he had
gained over the Romans. And, to give a more lively idea of the greatness
of the victory, by speaking in some measure to the eye, he poured out, in
the middle of the senate, a bushel(775) of gold rings, which had been
taken from the fingers of such of the Roman nobility as had fallen in the
battle of Cannæ. He concluded with demanding money, provisions, and fresh
troops. All the spectators were struck with an extraordinary joy; upon
which Imilcon, a great stickler for Hannibal, fancying he had now a fair
opportunity to insult Hanno, the chief of the contrary faction, asked him,
whether he was still dissatisfied with the war they were carrying on
against the Romans, and was for having Hannibal delivered up to them?
Hanno, without discovering the least emotion, replied, that he was still
of the same mind; and that the victories of which they so much boasted
(supposing them real) could not give him joy, but only in proportion as
they should be made subservient to an advantageous peace: he then
undertook to prove, that the mighty exploits, on which they insisted so
much, were wholly chimerical and imaginary. “I have cut to pieces,” says
he (continuing Mago’s speech,) “the Roman armies: send me some
troops.—What more could you ask had you been conquered? I have twice
seized upon the enemy’s camp, full (no doubt) of provisions of every
kind.—Send me provisions and money.—Could you have talked otherwise had
you lost your camp?” He then asked Mago, whether any of the Latin nations
had come over to Hannibal, and whether the Romans had made him any
proposals of peace? To this Mago answering in the negative: “I then
perceive,” replied Hanno, “that we are no farther advanced, than when
Hannibal first landed in Italy.” The inference he drew from hence was,
that neither men nor money ought to be sent. But Hannibal’s faction
prevailing at that time, no regard was paid to Hanno’s remonstrances,
which were considered merely as the effect of prejudice and jealousy; and,
accordingly, orders were given for levying, without delay, the supplies of
men and money which Hannibal required. Mago set out immediately for Spain,
to raise twenty-four thousand foot, and four thousand horse in that
country; but these levies were afterwards stopped, and sent to another
quarter; so eager was the contrary faction to oppose the designs of a
general whom they utterly abhorred. While in Rome, a consul,(776) who had
fled, was thanked because he had not despaired of the commonwealth; at
Carthage, people were almost angry with Hannibal, for being victorious.
But Hanno could never forgive him the advantages he had gained in this
war, because he had undertaken it in opposition to his counsel. Thus being
more jealous for the honour of his own opinions than for the good of his
country, and a greater enemy to the Carthaginian general than to the
Romans, he did all that lay in his power to prevent future success, and to
render of no avail that which had been already gained.

_Hannibal takes up his Winter Quarters in Capua._(_777_)—The battle of
Cannæ subjected the most powerful nations of Italy to Hannibal, drew over
to his interest Græcia Magna,(778) with the city of Tarentum; and thus
wrested from the Romans their most ancient allies, among whom the Capuans
held the first rank. This city, by the fertility of its soil, its
advantageous situation, and the blessings of a long peace, had risen to
great wealth and power. Luxury, and a fondness for pleasure, (the usual
attendants on wealth,) had corrupted the minds of all its citizens, who,
from their natural inclination, were but too much inclined to
voluptuousness and excess.

Hannibal(779) made choice of this city for his winter quarters. Here it
was that those soldiers, who had sustained the most grievous toils, and
braved the most formidable dangers, were overthrown by abundance and a
profusion of luxuries, into which they plunged with the greater eagerness,
as they, till then, had been strangers to them. Their courage was so
greatly enervated in this bewitching retirement, that all their after
efforts were owing rather to the fame and splendour of their former
victories than to their present strength. When Hannibal marched his forces
out of the city, one would have taken them for other men, and the reverse
of those who had so lately marched into it. Accustomed, during the winter
season, to commodious lodgings, to ease and plenty, they were no longer
able to bear hunger, thirst, long marches, watchings, and the other toils
of war; not to mention that all obedience, all discipline, were entirely
laid aside.

I only transcribe on this occasion from Livy. If we are to adopt his
opinion on this subject, Hannibal’s stay at Capua was a capital blemish in
his conduct; and he pretends, that this general was guilty of an
infinitely greater error, than when he neglected to march directly to Rome
after the battle of Cannæ. For this delay,(780) says Livy, might seem only
to have retarded his victory; whereas this last misconduct rendered him
absolutely incapable of ever defeating the enemy. In a word, as Marcellus
observed judiciously afterwards, Capua was to the Carthaginians and their
general, what Cannæ(781) had been to the Romans. There their martial
genius, their love of discipline, were lost: there their former fame, and
their almost certain hopes of future glory, vanished at once. And, indeed,
from thenceforth the affairs of Hannibal advanced to their decline by
swift steps; fortune declared in favour of prudence, and victory seemed
now reconciled to the Romans.

I know not whether Livy has just ground to impute all these fatal
consequences to the delicious abode of Capua. If we examine carefully all
the circumstances of this history, we shall scarce be able to persuade
ourselves, that the little progress which was afterwards made by the arms
of Hannibal, ought to be ascribed to his wintering at Capua. It might,
indeed, have been one cause, but a very inconsiderable one: and the
bravery with which the forces of Hannibal afterwards defeated the armies
of consuls and prætors; the towns they took even in sight of the Romans;
their maintaining their conquests so vigorously, and staying fourteen
years after this in Italy, in spite of the Romans: all these circumstances
may induce us to believe, that Livy lays too great a stress on the
delights of Capua.

The real cause of the decline of Hannibal’s affairs, was owing to his want
of necessary recruits and succours from Carthage. After Mago’s speech, the
Carthaginian senate had judged it necessary,(782) in order for the
carrying on the conquests in Italy, to send thither a considerable
reinforcement of Numidian horse, forty elephants, and a thousand talents;
and to hire, in Spain, twenty thousand foot, and four thousand horse, to
reinforce their armies in Spain and Italy. Nevertheless, Mago could obtain
an order but for twelve thousand foot, and two thousand five hundred
horse:(783) and even when he was just going to march to Italy with this
reinforcement, so much inferior to that which had been promised him, he
was countermanded and sent to Spain. So that Hannibal, after these mighty
promises, had neither infantry, cavalry, elephants, nor money sent him;
but was left to depend upon his own personal resources. His army was now
reduced to twenty-six thousand foot, and nine thousand horse. How could it
be possible for him, with so inconsiderable an army, to seize, in an
enemy’s country, on all the advantageous posts; to awe his new allies; to
preserve his old conquests and form new ones; and to keep the field, with
advantage, against two armies of the Romans which were recruited every
year? This was the true cause of the declension of Hannibal’s affairs, and
of the ruin of those of Carthage. Was the part where Polybius treated this
subject extant, we doubtless should find, that he lays a greater stress on
this cause, than on the luxurious delights of Capua.

(M123) _Transactions relating to Spain and Sardinia._(_784_)—The two
Scipios still continued in the command of Spain, and their arms were
making a considerable progress there, when Asdrubal, who alone seemed able
to cope with them, received orders from Carthage to march into Italy to
the relief of his brother. Before he left Spain, he writ to the senate, to
convince them of the absolute necessity of their sending a general in his
stead, who was capable of making head against the Romans. Imilcon was
therefore sent thither with an army; and Asdrubal set out upon his march
with his, in order to go and join his brother. The news of his departure
was no sooner known, than the greatest part of Spain was subjected by the
Scipios. These two generals, animated by such signal success, resolved to
prevent him, if possible, from leaving Spain. They considered the danger
to which the Romans would be exposed, if, being scarce able to resist
Hannibal alone, they should be attacked by the two brothers, at the head
of two powerful armies. They therefore pursued Asdrubal, and, coming up
with that general, forced him to fight against his inclination. Asdrubal
was overcome; and, so far from being able to continue his march for Italy,
he found that it would be impossible for him to continue with any safety
in Spain.

The Carthaginians had no better success in Sardinia. Designing to take
advantage of some rebellions which they had fomented in that country, they
lost twelve thousand men in a battle fought against the Romans, who took a
still greater number of prisoners, among whom were Asdrubal, surnamed
Calvus, Hanno, and Mago,(785) who were distinguished by their birth as
well as military exploits.

(M124) _The ill Success of Hannibal. The Sieges of Capua and
Rome._(_786_)—From the time of Hannibal’s abode in Capua, the Carthaginian
affairs in Italy no longer supported their former reputation. M.
Marcellus, first as prætor, and afterwards as consul, had contributed very
much to this revolution. He harassed Hannibal’s army on every occasion,
seized upon his quarters, forced him to raise sieges, and even defeated
him in several engagements; so that he was called the Sword of Rome, as
Fabius had before been named its Buckler.

(M125) But what most affected the Carthaginian general, was, to see Capua
besieged by the Romans. In order, therefore, to preserve his reputation
among his allies, by a vigorous support of those who held the chief rank
as such, he flew to the relief of that city, brought forward his forces,
attacked the Romans, and fought several battles to oblige them to raise
the siege. (M126) At last, seeing all his measures defeated, he marched
hastily towards Rome, in order to make a powerful diversion. He was not
without hope of being able, in case he could have an opportunity, in the
first consternation, to storm some part of the city, of drawing the Roman
generals with all their forces from the siege of Capua, to the relief of
their capital; at least he flattered himself, that if, for the sake of
continuing the siege, they should divide their forces, their weakness
might then offer an occasion, either to the Capuans or himself, of
engaging and defeating them. Rome was surprised, but not confounded. A
proposal being made by one of the senators, to recall all the armies to
succour Rome; Fabius(787) declared, that it would be shameful in them to
be terrified, and forced to change their measures upon every motion of
Hannibal. They therefore contented themselves with only recalling part of
the army, and one of the generals, Q. Fulvius the proconsul, from the
siege. Hannibal, after making some devastations, drew up his army in order
of battle before the city, and the consul did the same. Both sides were
preparing to signalize themselves in a battle, of which Rome was to be the
recompense, when a violent storm obliged them to separate. They were no
sooner returned to their respective camps, than the face of the heavens
grew calm and serene. The same incident happened frequently afterwards;
insomuch that Hannibal, believing that there was something supernatural in
the event, said, according to Livy, that sometimes(788) his own will, and
sometimes fortune, would not suffer him to take Rome.

But the circumstance which most surprised and intimidated him, was the
news, that, whilst he lay encamped at one of the gates of Rome, the Romans
had sent out recruits for the army in Spain at another gate; and that the
ground, whereon his camp was pitched, had been sold, notwithstanding that
circumstance, for its full value. So barefaced a contempt stung Hannibal
to the quick; he, therefore, on the other side, put up to auction the
shops of the goldsmiths round the Forum. After this bravado he retired,
and, in his march, plundered the rich temple of the goddess Feronia.(789)

Capua, thus left to itself, held out but very little longer. After that
such of its senators as had the chief hand in the revolt, and consequently
could not expect any quarter from the Romans, had put themselves to a
truly tragical death,(790) the city surrendered at discretion. The success
of this siege, which, by the happy consequences wherewith it was attended,
proved decisive, and fully restored to the Romans their superiority over
the Carthaginians; displayed, at the same time, how formidable the power
of the Romans was,(791) when they undertook to punish their perfidious
allies; and the feeble protection which Hannibal could afford his friends
at a time when they most wanted it.

(M127) _The Defeat and Death of the two Scipios in Spain._(_792_)—The face
of affairs was very much changed in Spain. The Carthaginians had three
armies in that country; one commanded by Asdrubal, the son of Gisgo; the
second by Asdrubal, son of Hamilcar; and a third under Mago, who had
joined the first Asdrubal. The two Scipios, Cneus and Publius, were for
dividing their forces, and attacking the enemy separately, which was the
cause of their ruin. They agreed that Cneus, with a small number of
Romans, and thirty thousand Celtiberians, should march against Asdrubal,
the son of Hamilcar; whilst Publius, with the remainder of the forces,
composed of Romans and the Italian allies, should advance against the
other two generals.

Publius was vanquished first. To the two leaders whom he had to oppose,
Masinissa, elate with the victories he had lately gained over Syphax,
joined himself; and was to be soon followed by Indibilis, a powerful
Spanish prince. The armies came to an engagement. The Romans, being thus
attacked on all sides at once, made a brave resistance as long as they had
their general at their head; but the moment he fell, the few troops which
had escaped the slaughter, secured themselves by flight.

The three victorious armies marched immediately in quest of Cneus, in
order to put an end to the war by his defeat. He was already more than
half vanquished by the desertion of his allies, who all forsook him; and
left to the Roman generals this important instruction;(793) _viz._ never
to let their own forces be exceeded in number by those of foreigners. He
guessed that his brother was slain, and his army defeated, upon seeing
such great bodies of the enemy arrive. He survived him but a short time,
being killed in the engagement. These two great men were equally lamented
by their citizens and allies; and Spain deeply felt their loss, because of
the justice and moderation of their conduct.

These extensive countries seemed now inevitably lost; but the valour of L.
Marcius,(794) a private officer of the equestrian order, preserved them to
the Romans. Shortly after this, the younger Scipio was sent thither, who
severely revenged the death of his father and uncle, and restored the
affairs of the Romans in Spain to their former flourishing condition.

(M128) _The Defeat and Death of Asdrubal._(_795_)—One unforeseen defeat
ruined all the measures, and blasted all the hopes of Hannibal with regard
to Italy. The consuls of this year, which was the eleventh of the second
Punic war, (for I pass over several events for brevity’s sake,) were C.
Claudius Nero, and M. Livius. The latter had, for his province, the
Cisalpine Gaul, where he was to oppose Asdrubal, who, it was reported, was
preparing to pass the Alps. The former commanded in the country of the
Brutians, and in Lucania, that is, in the opposite extremity of Italy, and
was there making head against Hannibal.

The passage of the Alps gave Asdrubal very little trouble, because his
brother had cleared the way for him, and all the nations were disposed to
receive him. Some time after this, he despatched couriers to Hannibal, but
they were intercepted. Nero found by their letters, that Asdrubal was
hastening to join his brother in Umbria. In a conjuncture of so important
a nature as this, when the safety of Rome lay at stake, he thought himself
at liberty to dispense with the established rules(796) of his duty, for
the welfare of his country. In consequence of this, it was his opinion,
that such a bold and unexpected blow ought to be struck, as might be
capable of striking terror into the enemy; by marching to join his
colleague, in order that they might charge Asdrubal unexpectedly with
their united forces. This design, if the several circumstances of it are
thoroughly examined, should not be hastily charged with imprudence. To
prevent the two brothers from joining their armies, was to save the state.
Very little would be hazarded, even though Hannibal should be informed of
the absence of the consul. From his army, which consisted of forty-two
thousand men, he drew out but seven thousand for his own detachment, which
indeed were the flower of his troops, but, at the same time, a very
inconsiderable part of them. The rest remained in the camp, which was
advantageously situated, and strongly fortified. Now could it be supposed
that Hannibal would attack, and force a strong camp defended by
thirty-five thousand men?

Nero set out without giving his soldiers the least notice of his design.
When he had advanced so far, as that it might be communicated without any
danger, he told them, that he was leading them to certain victory: that,
in war, all things depended upon reputation; that the bare rumour of their
arrival would disconcert all the measures of the Carthaginians; and that
the whole honour of this battle would fall to them.

They marched with extraordinary diligence, and joined the other consul in
the night, but did not pitch separate camps, the better to impose upon the
enemy. The troops which were newly arrived joined those of Livius. The
army of Porcius the prætor was encamped near that of the consul, and in
the morning a council of war was held. Livius was of opinion, that it
would be better to allow the troops some days to refresh themselves; but
Nero besought him not to ruin, by delay, an enterprise to which despatch
only could give success; and to take advantage of the error of the enemy,
as well absent as present. This advice was complied with, and accordingly
the signal for battle was given. Asdrubal, advancing to his foremost
ranks, discovered, by several circumstances, that fresh troops were
arrived; and he did not doubt but that they belonged to the other consul.
This made him conjecture, that his brother had sustained a considerable
loss, and, at the same time, fear, that he was come too late to his
assistance.

After making these reflections, he caused a retreat to be sounded, and his
army began to march in great disorder. Night overtaking him, and his
guides deserting, he was uncertain what way to go. He marched at random,
along the banks of the river Metaurus,(797) and was preparing to cross it,
when the three armies of the enemy came up with him. In this extremity, he
saw it would be impossible for him to avoid coming to an engagement; and
therefore did every thing which could be expected from the presence of
mind and valour of a great captain. He seized an advantageous post, and
drew up his forces on a narrow spot, which gave him an opportunity of
posting his left wing (the weakest part of his army) in such a manner,
that it could neither be attacked in front, nor charged in flank; and of
giving to his main battle and right wing a greater depth than front. After
this hasty disposition of his forces, he posted himself in the centre, and
was the first to march to attack the enemy’s left wing; well knowing that
all was at stake, and that he must either conquer or die. The battle
lasted a long time, and was obstinately disputed by both parties.
Asdrubal, especially, signalized himself in this engagement, and added new
glory to that he had already acquired by a series of shining actions. He
led on his soldiers, trembling and quite dispirited, against an enemy
superior to them both in numbers and resolution. He animated them by his
words, supported them by his example, and, with entreaties and menaces,
endeavoured to bring back those who fled; till, at last, seeing that
victory declared for the Romans, and being unable to survive the loss of
so many thousand men, who had quitted their country to follow his fortune,
he rushed at once into the midst of a Roman cohort, and there died in a
manner worthy the son of Hamilcar, and the brother of Hannibal.

This was the most bloody battle the Carthaginians had fought during this
war: and, whether we consider the death of the general, or the slaughter
made of the Carthaginian forces, it may be looked upon as a reprisal for
the battle of Cannæ. The Carthaginians lost fifty-five thousand men,(798)
and six thousand were taken prisoners. The Romans lost eight thousand.
These were so weary of killing, that some person telling Livius, that he
might very easily cut to pieces a body of the enemy who were flying: “It
is fit,” says he, “that some should survive, in order that they may carry
the news of this defeat to the Carthaginians.”

Nero set out upon his march, on the very night which followed the
engagement. Through every place where he passed, in his return, shouts of
joy and loud acclamations welcomed him, instead of those fears and
uneasiness which his coming had occasioned. He arrived in his camp the
sixth day. Asdrubal’s head being thrown into the camp of the
Carthaginians, informed Hannibal of his brother’s unhappy fate. Hannibal
perceived, by this cruel stroke, the fortune of Carthage: “All is over,”
says he,(799) “I shall no longer send triumphant messages to Carthage. In
losing Asdrubal, I have lost at once all my hope, all my good fortune.” He
afterwards retired to the extremities of the country of the Brutians,
where he assembled all his forces, who found it a very difficult matter to
subsist there, as no provisions were sent them from Carthage.

(M129) _Scipio conquers all Spain. Is appointed Consul, and sails into
Africa. Hannibal is recalled._(_800_)—The fate of arms was not more
propitious to the Carthaginians in Spain. The prudent vivacity of young
Scipio had restored the Roman affairs in that country to their former
flourishing state, as the courageous slowness of Fabius had before done in
Italy. The three Carthaginian generals in Spain, Asdrubal son of Gisco,
Hanno, and Mago, having been defeated with their numerous armies by the
Romans in several engagements, Scipio at last possessed himself of Spain,
and subjected it entirely to the Roman power. It was at this time that
Masinissa, a very powerful African prince, went over to the Romans, and
Syphax, on the contrary, to the Carthaginians.

(M130) Scipio, at his return to Rome, was declared consul, being then
thirty years of age. He had P. Licinius Crassus for his colleague. Sicily
was allotted to Scipio, with permission for him to cross into Africa, if
he found it convenient. He set out with all imaginable expedition for his
province; whilst his colleague was to command in the country whither
Hannibal was retired.

The taking of New Carthage, where Scipio had displayed all the prudence,
the courage, and capacity which could have been expected from the greatest
generals, and the conquest of all Spain, were more than sufficient to
immortalize his name: but he had considered these only as so many steps by
which he was to climb to a nobler enterprise: this was the conquest of
Africa. Accordingly, he crossed over thither, and made it the seat of the
war.

The devastation of the country, the siege of Utica, one of the strongest
cities of Africa; the entire defeat of the two armies under Syphax and
Asdrubal, whose camp was burnt by Scipio; and afterwards the taking Syphax
himself prisoner, who was the most powerful resource the Carthaginians had
left; all these things forced them at last to turn their thoughts to
peace. For this purpose they deputed thirty of their principal senators,
who were selected from that powerful body at Carthage, called the _council
of the hundred_. Being introduced into the Roman general’s tent, they all
threw themselves prostrate on the earth, (such was the custom of their
country,) spoke to him in terms of great submission, accusing Hannibal as
the author of all their calamities, and promising, in the name of the
senate, an implicit obedience to whatever the Romans should please to
ordain. Scipio answered, that though he was come into Africa not for
peace, but conquest, he would however grant them a peace, upon condition
that they should deliver up all the prisoners and deserters to the Romans;
that they should recall their armies out of Italy and Gaul; should never
set foot again in Spain; should retire out of all the islands between
Italy and Africa; should deliver up all their ships, twenty excepted, to
the victor; should give to the Romans five hundred thousand bushels of
wheat, three hundred thousand of barley, and pay fifteen thousand talents:
that in case they were pleased with these conditions, they then, he said,
might send ambassadors to the senate. The Carthaginians feigned a
compliance, but this was only to gain time, till Hannibal should be
returned. A truce was then granted to the Carthaginians, who immediately
sent deputies to Rome, and at the same time an express to Hannibal, to
order his return into Africa.

(M131) He was then, as was observed before, in the extremity of Italy.
Here he received the orders from Carthage, which he could not listen to
without groans, and almost shedding tears; and was exasperated almost to
madness, to see himself thus forced to quit his prey. Never banished
man(801) showed so much regret at leaving his native country, as Hannibal
did in going out of that of an enemy. He often turned his eyes wishfully
to Italy, accusing gods and men of his misfortunes, and calling down a
thousand curses, says(802) Livy, upon himself, for not having marched his
soldiers directly to Rome, after the battle of Cannæ, whilst they were
still reeking with the blood of its citizens.

At Rome, the senate, greatly dissatisfied with the excuses made by the
Carthaginian deputies, in justification of their republic, and the
ridiculous offer which they made, in its name, of adhering to the treaty
of Lutatius; thought proper to refer the decision of the whole to Scipio,
who, being on the spot, could best judge what conditions the welfare of
the state required.

About the same time, Octavius the prætor sailing from Sicily into Africa
with two hundred vessels of burden, was attacked near Carthage by a
furious storm, which dispersed all his fleet. The citizens, not bearing to
see so rich a prey escape them, demanded importunately that the
Carthaginian fleet might sail out and seize it. The senate, after a faint
resistance, complied. Asdrubal, sailing out of the harbour, seized the
greatest part of the Roman ships, and brought them to Carthage, although
the truce was still subsisting.

Scipio sent deputies to the Carthaginian senate, to complain of this, but
they were little regarded. Hannibal’s approach had revived their courage,
and filled them with great hopes. The deputies were even in great danger
of being ill treated by the populace. They therefore demanded a convoy,
which was granted, and accordingly two ships of the republic attended
them. But the magistrates, who were absolutely against peace, and
determined to renew the war, gave private orders to Asdrubal, (who was
with the fleet near Utica,) to attack the Roman galley when it should
arrive in the river Bagrada near the Roman camp, where the convoy was
ordered to leave them. He obeyed the order, and sent out two galleys
against the ambassadors, who nevertheless made their escape, but with
difficulty and danger.

This was a fresh subject for a war between the two nations, who now were
more animated, or rather more exasperated, one against the other, than
ever: the Romans, from a desire of taking vengeance for so black a
perfidy; and the Carthaginians, from a persuasion that they were not now
to expect a peace.

At the same time, Lælius and Fulvius, who carried the full powers with
which the senate and people of Rome had invested Scipio, arrived in the
camp, accompanied by the deputies of Carthage. As the Carthaginians had
not only infringed the truce, but violated the law of nations, in the
person of the Roman ambassadors, it might naturally be expected that they
should order the Carthaginian deputies to be seized by way of reprisal.
However, Scipio,(803) more attentive to what was required by the Roman
generosity, than by the perfidy of the Carthaginians, in order not to
deviate from the principles and maxims of his own countrymen, nor his own
character, dismissed the deputies, without offering them the least injury.
So astonishing an instance of moderation, and at such a juncture,
terrified the Carthaginians, and even put them to the blush; and made
Hannibal himself entertain a still higher idea of a general, who, to the
dishonourable practices of his enemies, opposed only a rectitude and
greatness of soul, that was still more worthy of admiration than all his
military virtues.

In the mean time, Hannibal, being strongly importuned by his
fellow-citizens, advanced forward into the country; and arriving at Zama,
which is five days’ march from Carthage, he there pitched his camp. He
thence sent out spies to observe the position of the Romans. Scipio having
seized these, so far from punishing them, only commanded them to be led
about the Roman camp, in order that they might take an exact survey of it,
and then sent them back to Hannibal. The latter knew very well whence so
noble an assurance flowed. After the strange reverses he had met with, he
no longer expected that fortune would again be propitious. Whilst every
one was exciting him to give battle, himself only meditated a peace. He
flattered himself that the conditions of it would be more honourable, as
he was at the head of an army, and as the fate of arms might still appear
uncertain. He, therefore, sent to desire an interview with Scipio, which
accordingly was agreed to, and the time and place fixed.

(M132) _The Interview between Hannibal and Scipio in Africa, followed by a
Battle._(_804_)—These two generals, who were not only the most illustrious
of their own age, but worthy of being ranked with the most renowned
princes and warriors that had ever lived, having met at the place
appointed, continued for some time in a deep silence, as though they were
astonished, and struck with a mutual admiration at the sight of each
other. At last Hannibal spoke, and after having praised Scipio in the most
artful and delicate manner, he gave a very lively description of the
ravages of the war, and the calamities in which it had involved both the
victors and the vanquished. He conjured him not to suffer himself to be
dazzled by the splendour of his victories. He represented to him, that how
successful soever he might have hitherto been, he ought, however, to be
aware of the inconstancy of fortune: that without going far back for
examples, he himself, who was then speaking to him, was a glaring proof of
this: that Scipio was at that time what Hannibal had been at Thrasymenus
and Cannæ: that he ought to make a better use of opportunity than himself
had done, by consenting to a peace, now it was in his power to propose the
conditions of it. He concluded with declaring, that the Carthaginians
would willingly resign Sicily, Sardinia, Spain, and all the islands
between Africa and Italy, to the Romans: that they must be forced, since
such was the will of the gods, to confine themselves to Africa; whilst
they should see the Romans extending their conquests to the most remote
regions, and obliging all nations to pay obedience to their laws.

Scipio answered in few words, but not with less dignity. He reproached the
Carthaginians for their perfidy, in plundering the Roman galleys before
the truce was expired. He imputed to them alone, and to their injustice,
all the calamities with which the two wars had been attended. After
thanking Hannibal for the admonition he had given him, with regard to the
uncertainty of human events, he concluded with desiring him to prepare for
battle, unless he chose rather to accept of the conditions that had been
already proposed; to which (he observed) some others would be added, in
order to punish the Carthaginians for their having violated the truce.

Hannibal could not prevail with himself to accept these conditions, and
the generals left one another, with the resolution to decide the fate of
Carthage by a general battle. Each commander exhorted his troops to fight
valiantly. Hannibal enumerated the victories he had gained over the
Romans, the generals he had slain, the armies he had cut to pieces. Scipio
represented to his soldiers, the conquest of both the Spains, his
successes in Africa, and the confession the enemies themselves made of
their weakness, by thus coming to sue for peace. All this he spoke(805)
with the tone and air of a conqueror. Never were motives more powerful to
prompt troops to behave gallantly. This day was to complete the glory of
the one or the other of the generals; and to decide whether Rome or
Carthage was to prescribe laws to all other nations.

I shall not undertake to describe the order of the battle, nor the valour
of the forces on both sides. The reader will naturally suppose, that two
such experienced generals did not forget any circumstance which could
contribute to the victory. The Carthaginians, after a very obstinate
fight, were obliged to fly, leaving twenty thousand men on the field of
battle, and the like number of prisoners were taken by the Romans.
Hannibal escaped in the tumult, and entering Carthage, owned that he was
irrecoverably overthrown, and that the citizens had no other choice left
than to accept of peace on any conditions. Scipio bestowed great eulogiums
on Hannibal, chiefly with regard to his ability in taking advantages, his
manner of drawing up his army, and giving out his orders in the
engagement; and he affirmed, that Hannibal had this day surpassed himself,
although the success had not answered his valour and conduct.

With regard to himself, he well knew how to make a proper advantage of the
victory, and the consternation with which he had filled the enemy. He
commanded one of his lieutenants to march his land army to Carthage,
whilst himself prepared to conduct the fleet thither.

He was not far from the city, when he met a vessel covered with streamers
and olive-branches, bringing ten of the most considerable persons of the
state, as ambassadors to implore his clemency. However, he dismissed them
without making any answer, and bade them come to him at Tunis, where he
should halt. The deputies of Carthage, thirty in number, came to him at
the place appointed, and sued for peace in the most submissive terms. He
then called a council there, the majority of which were for rasing
Carthage, and treating the inhabitants with the utmost severity. But the
consideration of the time which must necessarily be employed before so
strongly fortified a city could be taken; and Scipio’s fear lest a
successor might be appointed him whilst he should be employed in the
siege, made him incline to clemency.

_A Peace concluded between the Carthaginians and the __ Romans. The End of
the Second Punic War._(_806_)—The conditions of the peace dictated by
Scipio to the Carthaginians were, “That the Carthaginians should continue
free, and preserve their laws, their territories, and the cities they
possessed in Africa before the war—That they should deliver up to the
Romans all deserters, slaves, and prisoners belonging to them; all their
ships, except ten triremes; all the elephants which they then had, and
that they should not train up any more for war—That they should not make
war out of Africa, nor even in that country, without first obtaining leave
for that purpose from the Roman people—Should restore to Masinissa every
thing of which they had dispossessed either him or his ancestors—Should
furnish money and corn to the Roman auxiliaries, till their ambassadors
should be returned from Rome—Should pay to the Romans ten thousand Euboic
talents(807) of silver in fifty annual payments; and give a hundred
hostages, who should be nominated by Scipio. And in order that they might
have time to send to Rome, he agreed to grant them a truce, upon condition
that they should restore the ships taken during the former, without which
they were not to expect either a truce or peace.”

When the deputies were returned to Carthage, they laid before the senate
the conditions dictated by Scipio. But they appeared so intolerable to
Gisgo, that rising up, he made a speech, in order to dissuade his citizens
from accepting a peace on such shameful terms. Hannibal, provoked at the
calmness with which such an orator was heard, took Gisgo by the arm, and
dragged him from his seat. A behaviour so outrageous, and so remote from
the manners of a free city like Carthage, raised an universal murmur.
Hannibal himself was vexed when he reflected on what he had done, and
immediately made an apology for it. “As I left,” says he, “your city at
nine years of age, and did not return to it till after thirty-six years’
absence, I had full leisure to learn the arts of war, and flatter myself
that I have made some improvement in them. As for your laws and customs,
it is no wonder I am ignorant of them, and I therefore desire you to
instruct me in them.” He then expatiated on the indispensable necessity
they were under of concluding a peace. He added, that they ought to thank
the gods for having prompted the Romans to grant them a peace even on
these conditions. He pointed out to them the great importance of their
uniting in opinion; and of not giving an opportunity, by their divisions,
for the people to take an affair of this nature under their cognizance.
The whole city came over to his opinion; and accordingly the peace was
accepted. The senate made Scipio satisfaction with regard to the ships
reclaimed by him; and, after obtaining a truce for three months, they sent
ambassadors to Rome.

These Carthaginians, who were all venerable for their years and dignity,
were admitted immediately to an audience. Asdrubal, surnamed Hœdus, who
was still an irreconcileable enemy to Hannibal and his faction, spoke
first; and after having excused, to the best of his power, the people of
Carthage, by imputing the rupture to the ambition of some particular
persons, he added, that had the Carthaginians listened to his counsels and
those of Hanno, they would have been able to grant the Romans the peace
for which they now were obliged to sue. “But,”(808) continued he, “wisdom
and prosperity are very rarely found together. The Romans are invincible,
because they never suffer themselves to be blinded by good fortune. And it
would be surprising should they act otherwise. Success dazzles those only
to whom it is new and unusual; whereas the Romans are so much accustomed
to conquer, that they are almost insensible to the charms of victory; and
it may be said to their glory, that they have extended their empire, in
some measure, more by the humanity they have shown to the conquered, than
by the conquest itself.” The other ambassadors spoke with a more plaintive
tone of voice, and represented the calamitous state to which Carthage was
going to be reduced, and the grandeur and power from which it was fallen.

The senate and people being equally inclined to peace, sent full power to
Scipio to conclude it; left the conditions to that general, and permitted
him to march back his army, after the treaty should be concluded.

The ambassadors desired leave to enter the city, to redeem some of their
prisoners, and they found about two hundred whom they desired to ransom.
But the senate sent them to Scipio, with orders that they should be
restored without any pecuniary consideration, in case a peace should be
concluded.

The Carthaginians, on the return of their ambassadors, concluded a peace
with Scipio, on the terms he himself had prescribed. They then delivered
up to him more than five hundred ships, all which he burnt in sight of
Carthage; a lamentable spectacle to the inhabitants of that ill-fated
city! He struck off the heads of the allies of the Latin name, and hanged
all the Roman citizens who were surrendered up to him, as deserters.

When the time for the payment of the first tribute imposed by the treaty
was expired, as the funds of the government were exhausted by this long
and expensive war; the difficulty of levying so great a sum, threw the
senate into deep affliction, and many could not refrain even from tears.
Hannibal on this occasion is said to have laughed; and when he was
reproached by Asdrubal Hœdus, for thus insulting his country in the
affliction which he had brought upon it, “Were it possible,” says
Hannibal, “for my heart to be seen, and that as clearly as my countenance;
you would then find that this laughter which offends so much, flows not
from an intemperate joy, but from a mind almost distracted with the public
calamities. But is this laughter more unseasonable than your unbecoming
tears? Then, then, ought you to have wept, when your arms were
ingloriously taken from you, your ships burnt, and you were forbidden to
engage in any foreign wars. This was the mortal blow which laid us
prostrate.—We are sensible of the public calamity, so far only as we have
a personal concern in it; and the loss of our money gives us the most
pungent sorrow. Hence it was, that when our city was made the spoil of the
victor; when it was left disarmed and defenceless amidst so many powerful
nations of Africa, who had at that time taken the field, not a groan, not
a sigh was heard. But now, when you are called on to contribute
individually to the tax imposed upon the state, you bewail and lament as
if all were lost. Alas! I only wish that the subject of this day’s grief
does not soon appear to you the least of your misfortunes.”

Scipio, after all things were concluded, embarked, in order to return to
Italy. He arrived at Rome, through crowds of people, whom curiosity had
drawn together to behold his march. The most magnificent triumph that Rome
had ever seen was decreed him, and the surname of Africanus was bestowed
upon this great man; an honour till then unknown, no person before him
having assumed the name of a vanquished nation. Such was the conclusion of
the second Punic war, after having lasted seventeen years.

(M133) _A short Reflection on the Government of Carthage in the time of
the Second Punic War._—I shall conclude the particulars which relate to
the second Punic war, with a reflection of Polybius,(809) which will show
the difference between the two commonwealths of Rome and Carthage. It may
be affirmed, in some measure, that at the beginning of the second Punic
war, and in Hannibal’s time, Carthage was in its decline. The flower of
its youth, and its sprightly vigour were already diminished. It had begun
to fall from its exalted pitch of power, and was inclining towards its
ruin; whereas Rome was then, as it were, in its bloom and prime of life,
and swiftly advancing to the conquest of the universe. The reason of the
declension of the one, and the rise of the other, is deduced, by Polybius,
from the different form of government established in these commonwealths,
at the time we are now speaking of. At Carthage, the common people had
seized upon the sovereign authority with regard to public affairs, and the
advice of their ancient men or magistrates was no longer listened to; all
affairs were transacted by intrigue and cabal. To take no notice of the
artifices which the faction adverse to Hannibal employed, during the whole
time of his command, to perplex him; the single instance of burning the
Roman vessels during a truce, a perfidious action to which the common
people compelled the senate to lend their name and assistance, is a proof
of Polybius’s assertion. On the contrary, at this very time, the Romans
paid the highest regard to their senate, that is, to a body composed of
the greatest sages; and their old men were listened to and revered as
oracles. It is well known that the Roman people were exceedingly jealous
of their authority, and especially in whatever related to the election of
magistrates. A century of young men, who by lot were to give the first
vote, which generally directed all the rest, had nominated two
consuls.(810) On the bare remonstrance of Fabius,(811) who represented to
the people, that in a tempest, like that with which Rome was then
struggling, the ablest pilots ought to be chosen to steer the vessel of
the state, the century returned to their suffrages, and nominated other
consuls. Polybius infers, that a people, thus guided by the prudence of
old men, could not fail of prevailing over a state which was governed
wholly by the giddy multitude. And indeed, the Romans, under the guidance
of the wise counsels of their senate, gained at last the superiority with
regard to the war considered in general, though they were defeated in
several particular engagements; and established their power and grandeur
on the ruin of their rivals.

_The interval between the Second and Third Punic War._—This interval,
though considerable enough with regard to its duration, since it took up
above fifty years, is very little remarkable as to the events which relate
to Carthage. They may be reduced to two heads; of which the one relates to
the person of Hannibal, and the other to some particular differences
between the Carthaginians and Masinissa king of the Numidians. We shall
treat both separately, but at no great length.

SECT. I. CONTINUATION OF THE HISTORY OF HANNIBAL.—When the second Punic
war was ended, by the treaty of peace concluded with Scipio, Hannibal, as
he himself observed in the Carthaginian senate, was forty-five years of
age. What we have farther to say of this great man, includes the space of
twenty-five years.

_Hannibal undertakes and completes the Reformation of the Courts of
Justice, and the Treasury of Carthage._—After the conclusion of the peace,
Hannibal, at least at first, was greatly respected at Carthage, where he
filled the first employments of the state with honour and applause. He
headed the Carthaginian forces in some wars against the Africans:(812) but
the Romans, to whom the very name of Hannibal gave uneasiness, not being
able to see him in arms without displeasure, made complaints on that
account, and accordingly he was recalled to Carthage.

On his return he was appointed prætor, which seems to have been a very
considerable employment, and to have conferred great authority. Carthage
is therefore going to be, with regard to him, a new theatre, as it were,
on which he will display virtues and qualities of a quite different nature
from those we have hitherto admired in him, and which will finish the
picture of this illustrious man.

Eagerly desirous of restoring the affairs of his afflicted country to
their former happy condition, he was persuaded, that the two most powerful
methods to make a state flourish, were, an exact and equal distribution of
justice to all its subjects in general, and a scrupulous fidelity in the
management of the public finances. The former, by preserving an equality
among the citizens, and making them enjoy such a delightful, undisturbed
liberty under the protection of the laws, as fully secures their honour,
their lives, and properties; unites the individuals of the commonwealth
more closely together, and attaches them more firmly to the state, to
which they owe the preservation of all that is most dear and valuable to
them. The latter, by a faithful administration of the public revenues,
supplies punctually the several wants and necessities of the state; keeps
in reserve a never failing resource for sudden emergencies, and prevents
the people from being burthened with new taxes, which are rendered
necessary by extravagant profusion, and which chiefly contribute to make
men harbour an aversion for the government.

Hannibal saw, with great concern, the irregularities which had crept
equally into the administration of justice, and the management of the
finances. Upon his being nominated prætor, as his love for regularity and
order made him uneasy at every deviation from it, and prompted him to use
his utmost endeavours to restore it; he had the courage to attempt the
reformation of this double abuse, which drew after it a numberless
multitude of others, without dreading, either the animosity of the old
faction that opposed him, or the new enmity which his zeal for the
republic must necessarily draw upon him.

The judges exercised the most flagrant extortion with impunity.(813) They
were so many petty tyrants, who disposed, in an arbitrary manner, of the
lives and fortunes of the citizens; without there being the least
possibility of putting a stop to their injustice, because they held their
commissions for life, and mutually supported one another. Hannibal, as
prætor, summoned before his tribunal an officer belonging to the bench of
judges, who openly abused his power. Livy tells us that he was a questor.
This officer, who was of the opposite faction to Hannibal, and had already
assumed all the pride and haughtiness of the judges, among whom he was to
be admitted at the expiration of his present office, insolently refused to
obey the summons. Hannibal was not of a disposition to suffer an affront
of this nature tamely. Accordingly, he caused him to be seized by a
lictor, and brought him before an assembly of the people. There, not
satisfied with directing his resentment against this single officer, he
impeached the whole bench of judges; whose insupportable and tyrannical
pride was not restrained, either by the fear of the laws, or a reverence
for the magistrates. And, as Hannibal perceived that he was heard with
pleasure, and that the lowest and most inconsiderable of the people
discovered, on this occasion, that they were no longer able to bear the
insolent pride of these judges, who seemed to have a design upon their
liberties; he proposed a law, (which accordingly passed,) by which it was
enacted, that new judges should be chosen annually; with a clause, that
none should continue in office beyond that term. This law, at the same
time that it acquired him the friendship and esteem of the people, drew
upon him, proportionably, the hatred of the greatest part of the grandees
and nobility.

He attempted another reformation, which created him new enemies, but
gained him great honour.(814) The public revenues were either squandered
away by the negligence of those who had the management of them, or were
plundered by the chief men of the city and the magistrates; so that, money
being wanting to pay the annual tribute due to the Romans, the
Carthaginians were going to levy it upon the people in general. Hannibal,
entering into a large detail of the public revenues, ordered an exact
estimate of them to be laid before him; inquired in what manner they had
been applied; the employments and ordinary expenses of the state; and
having discovered, by this inquiry, that the public funds had been in a
great measure embezzled by the fraud of the officers who had the
management of them, he declared and promised, in a full assembly of the
people, that, without laying any new taxes upon private men, the republic
should hereafter be enabled to pay the tribute to the Romans; and he was
as good as his word. The farmers of the revenues, whose plunder and rapine
he had publicly detected, having accustomed themselves hitherto to fatten
upon the spoils of their country, exclaimed(815) vehemently against these
regulations, as if their own property had been forced out of their hands,
and not the sums they had plundered from the public.

_The Retreat and Death of Hannibal._(_816_)—This double reformation of
abuses raised great clamours against Hannibal. His enemies were writing
incessantly to the chief men, or their friends, at Rome, to inform them,
that he was carrying on a secret intelligence with Antiochus king of
Syria; that he frequently received couriers from him; and that this prince
had privately despatched agents to Hannibal, to concert with him the
measures for carrying on the war he was meditating: that as some animals
are so extremely fierce, that it is impossible ever to tame them; in like
manner this man was of so turbulent and implacable a spirit, that he could
not brook ease, and therefore would, sooner or later, break out again.
These informations were listened to at Rome; and as the transactions of
the preceding war had been begun and carried on almost solely by Hannibal,
they appeared more probable. However, Scipio strongly opposed the violent
measures which the senate were going to take on their receiving this
intelligence, by representing it as derogatory to the dignity of the Roman
people, to countenance the hatred and accusations of Hannibal’s enemies;
to support, with their authority, their unjust passions; and obstinately
to persecute him even in the very heart of his country; as though the
Romans had not humbled him sufficiently, in driving him out of the field,
and forcing him to lay down his arms.

But notwithstanding these prudent remonstrances, the senate appointed
three commissioners to go and make their complaints to Carthage, and to
demand that Hannibal should be delivered up to them. On their arrival in
that city, though other motives were speciously pretended, yet Hannibal
was perfectly sensible that himself only was aimed at. The evening being
come, he conveyed himself on board a ship, which he had secretly provided
for that purpose; on which occasion he bewailed his country’s fate more
than his own. _Sæpiùs patriæ quàm suorum_(_817_)_ eventus miseratus._ This
was the eighth year after the conclusion of the peace. The first place he
landed at was Tyre, where he was received as in his second country, and
had all the honours paid him which were due to his exalted merit. (M134)
After staying some days here, he set out for Antioch, which the king had
lately left, and from thence waited upon him at Ephesus. The arrival of so
renowned a general gave great pleasure to the king; and did not a little
contribute to determine him to engage in war against Rome; for hitherto he
had appeared wavering and uncertain on that head. In this city, a
philosopher, who was looked upon as the greatest orator of Asia, had the
imprudence to make a long harangue before Hannibal, on the duties of a
general, and the rules of the art-military.(818) The speech charmed the
whole audience. But Hannibal being asked his opinion of it, “I have seen,”
says he, “many old dotards in my life, but this exceeds them all.”(819)

The Carthaginians, justly fearing that Hannibal’s escape would certainly
draw upon them the arms of the Romans, sent them advice that Hannibal was
withdrawn to Antiochus.(820) The Romans were very much disturbed at this
news; and the king might have turned it extremely to his advantage, had he
known how to make a proper use of it.

The first advice that Hannibal gave him at this time, and which he
frequently repeated afterwards, was, to make Italy the seat of the
war.(821) He required an hundred ships, eleven or twelve thousand land
forces, and offered to take upon himself the command of the fleet; to
cross into Africa, in order to engage the Carthaginians in the war; and
afterwards to make a descent upon Italy, during which the king himself
should remain in Greece with his army, holding himself constantly in
readiness to cross over into Italy, whenever it should be thought
convenient. This was the only thing proper to be done, and the king very
much approved the proposal at first.

Hannibal thought it would be expedient to prepare his friends at Carthage,
in order to engage them the more strongly in his views.(822) The
transmitting of information by letters, is not only unsafe, but they can
give only an imperfect idea of things, and are never sufficiently
particular. He therefore despatched a trusty person with ample
instructions to Carthage. This man was scarce arrived in the city, but his
business was suspected. Accordingly, he was watched and followed: and, at
last, orders were issued for his being seized. However, he prevented the
vigilance of his enemies, and escaped in the night; after having fixed, in
several public places, papers, which fully declared the occasion of his
journey. The senate immediately sent advice of this to the Romans.

(M135) Villius, one of the deputies who had been sent into Asia, to
inquire into the state of affairs there, and, if possible, to discover the
real designs of Antiochus, found Hannibal in Ephesus.(823) He had many
conferences with him, paid him several visits, and speciously affected to
show a particular esteem for him on all occasions. But his chief aim, by
all this designing behaviour, was to make him be suspected, and to lessen
his credit with the king, in which he succeeded but too well.(824)

Some authors affirm, that Scipio was joined in this embassy;(825) and they
even relate the conversation which that general had with Hannibal. They
tell us, that the Roman having asked him, who, in his opinion, was the
greatest captain that had ever lived; he answered, Alexander the Great,
because, with a handful of Macedonians, he had defeated numberless armies,
and carried his conquests into countries so very remote, that it seemed
scarce possible for any man only to travel so far. Being afterwards asked,
to whom he gave the second rank; he answered, to Pyrrhus: Because this
king was the first who understood the art of pitching a camp to advantage;
no commander ever made a more judicious choice of his posts, was better
skilled in drawing up his forces, or was more dexterous in winning the
affection of foreign soldiers; insomuch that even the people of Italy were
more desirous to have him for their governor, though a foreigner, than the
Romans themselves, who had so long been settled in their country. Scipio
proceeding, asked him next, whom he looked upon as the third: on which
Hannibal made no scruple to assign that rank to himself. Here Scipio could
not forbear laughing: “But what would you have said,” continued Scipio,
“had you conquered me?” “I would,” replied Hannibal, “have ranked myself
above Alexander, Pyrrhus, and all the generals the world ever produced.”
Scipio was not insensible of so refined and delicate a flattery, which he
no ways expected; and which, by giving him no rival, seemed to insinuate,
that no captain was worthy of being put in comparison with him.

The answer, as told by Plutarch,(826) is less witty, and not so probable.
In this author, Hannibal gives Pyrrhus the first place, Scipio the second,
and himself the third.

Hannibal, sensible of the coldness with which Antiochus received him, ever
since his conferences with Villius or Scipio, took no notice of it for
some time, and seemed insensible of it.(827) But at last he thought it
advisable to come to an explanation with the king, and to open his mind
freely to him. “The hatred (says he) which I bear to the Romans, is known
to the whole world. I bound myself to it by an oath, from my most tender
infancy. It is this hatred that made me draw the sword against Rome during
thirty-six years. It is that, which, even in times of peace, has caused me
to be driven from my native country, and forced me to seek an asylum in
your dominions. For ever guided and fired by the same passion, should my
hopes be frustrated here, I will fly to every part of the globe, and rouse
up all nations against the Romans. I hate them, and will hate them
eternally; and know that they bear me no less animosity. So long as you
shall continue in the resolution to take up arms against them, you may
rank Hannibal in the number of your best friends. But if other counsels
incline you to peace, I declare to you, once for all, address yourself to
others for advice, and not to me.” Such a speech, which came from his
heart, and expressed the greatest sincerity, struck the king, and seemed
to remove all his suspicions; so that he now resolved to give Hannibal the
command of part of his fleet.

But what havoc is not flattery capable of making in courts and in the
minds of princes!(828) Antiochus was told, “that it was imprudent in him
to put so much confidence in Hannibal, an exile, a Carthaginian, whose
fortune or genius might suggest to him, in one day, a thousand different
projects: that besides, this very fame which Hannibal had acquired in war,
and which he considered as his peculiar inheritance, was too great for a
man who fought only under the ensigns of another: that none but the king
ought to be the general and conductor of the war, and that it was
incumbent on him to draw upon himself alone the eyes and attention of all
men; whereas, should Hannibal be employed, he (a foreigner) would have the
glory of all the successes ascribed to him.” “No minds,”(829) says Livy,
on this occasion, “are more susceptible of envy, than those whose merit is
below their birth and dignity; such persons always abhorring virtue and
worth in others, for this reason alone, because they are strange and
foreign to themselves.” This observation was fully verified on this
occasion. Antiochus had been taken on his weak side; a low and sordid
jealousy, which is the defect and characteristic of little minds,
extinguished every generous sentiment in that monarch. Hannibal was now
slighted and laid aside: however, he was greatly revenged on Antiochus, by
the ill success this prince met with; and showed how unfortunate that king
is whose soul is accessible to envy, and his ears open to the poisonous
insinuation of flatterers.

In a council held some time after, to which Hannibal, for form sake, was
admitted, he, when it came to his turn to speak, endeavoured chiefly to
prove, that Philip of Macedon ought, on any terms, to be engaged to form
an alliance with Antiochus, which was not so difficult as might be
imagined.(830) “With regard,” says Hannibal, “to the operations of the
war, I adhere immovably to my first opinion; and had my counsels been
listened to before, Tuscany and Liguria would now be all in a flame: and
Hannibal (a name that strikes terror into the Romans) in Italy. Though I
should not be very well skilled as to other matters, yet the good and ill
success I have met with must necessarily have taught me sufficiently how
to carry on a war against the Romans. I have nothing now in my power, but
to give you my counsel, and offer you my service. May the gods give
success to all your undertakings!” Hannibal’s speech was received with
applause, but not one of his counsels was put in execution.

Antiochus, imposed upon and lulled asleep by his flatterers, remained
quiet at Ephesus, after the Romans had driven him out of Greece;(831) not
once imagining that they would ever invade his dominions. Hannibal, who
was now restored to favour, was for ever assuring him, that the war would
soon be removed into Asia, and that he would soon see the enemy at his
gates: that he must resolve, either to abdicate his throne, or oppose
vigorously a people who grasped at the empire of the world. This discourse
awakened, in some little measure, the king out of his lethargy, and
prompted him to make some weak efforts. But, as his conduct was unsteady,
after sustaining a great many considerable losses, he was forced to
terminate the war by an ignominious peace; one of the articles of which
was, that he should deliver up Hannibal to the Romans. However, the latter
did not give him opportunity to put it in execution, but retired to the
island of Crete, to consider there what course it would be best for him to
take.

The riches he had brought along with him, of which the people of the
island got some notice, had like to have proved his ruin.(832) Hannibal
was never wanting in stratagems, and he had occasion to employ them now,
to save both himself and his treasure. He filled several vessels with
molten lead, the tops of which he just covered over with gold and silver.
These he deposited in the temple of Diana, in presence of several Cretans,
to whose honesty, he said, he confided all his treasure. A strong guard
was then posted round the temple, and Hannibal left at full liberty, from
a supposition that his riches were secured. (M136) But he had concealed
them in hollow statues of brass,(833) which he always carried along with
him. And then, embracing a favourable opportunity to make his escape, he
fled to the court of Prusias, king of Bithynia.(834)

It appears from history, that he made some stay in the court of this
prince, who soon engaged in war with Eumenes, king of Pergamus, a
professed friend to the Romans. By means of Hannibal, the troops of
Prusias gained several victories both by land and sea.

He employed a stratagem of an extraordinary kind, in a sea-fight.(835) As
the enemy’s fleet consisted of more ships than his, he had recourse to
artifice. He put into earthen vessels all kinds of serpents, and ordered
these vessels to be thrown into the enemy’s ships. His chief aim was to
destroy Eumenes; and for that purpose it was necessary for him to find out
which ship he was on board of. This Hannibal discovered by sending out a
boat, upon pretence of conveying a letter to him. Having gained his point
thus far, he ordered the commanders of the respective vessels to direct
their attack principally against Eumenes’s ship. They obeyed, and would
have taken it, had he not outsailed his pursuers. The rest of the ships of
Pergamus sustained the fight with great vigour, till the earthen vessels
had been thrown into them. At first they only laughed at this, and were
very much surprised to find such weapons employed against them. But when
they saw themselves surrounded with the serpents, which darted out of
these vessels when they flew to pieces, they were seized with dread,
retired in disorder, and yielded the victory to the enemy.

(M137) Services of so important a nature seemed to secure for ever to
Hannibal an undisturbed asylum at that prince’s court.(836) However, the
Romans would not suffer him to be easy there, but deputed Q. Flamininus to
Prusias, to complain of the protection he gave Hannibal. The latter easily
guessed the motive of this embassy, and therefore did not wait till his
enemies had an opportunity of delivering him up. At first he attempted to
secure himself by flight; but perceiving that the seven secret outlets,
which he had contrived in his palace, were all seized by the soldiers of
Prusias, who, by perfidiously betraying his guest, was desirous of making
his court to the Romans; he ordered the poison, which he had long kept for
this melancholy occasion, to be brought him; and taking it in his hand,
“Let us,” said he, “free the Romans from the disquiet with which they have
so long been tortured, since they have not patience to wait for an old
man’s death. The victory which Flamininus gains over a man disarmed and
betrayed will not do him much honour. This single day will be a lasting
testimony of the great degeneracy of the Romans. Their fathers sent notice
to Pyrrhus, to desire he would beware of a traitor who intended to poison
him, and that at a time when this prince was at war with them in the very
centre of Italy; but their sons have deputed a person of consular dignity
to spirit up Prusias, impiously to murder one who is not only his friend,
but his guest.” After calling down curses upon Prusias, and having invoked
the gods, the protectors and avengers of the sacred rights of hospitality,
he swallowed the poison,(837) and died at seventy years of age.

This year was remarkable for the death of three great men, Hannibal,
Philopœmen, and Scipio, who had this in common, that they all died out of
their native countries, by a death little correspondent to the glory of
their actions. The two first died by poison: Hannibal being betrayed by
his host; and Philopœmen being taken prisoner in a battle against the
Messenians, and thrown into a dungeon, was forced to swallow poison. As to
Scipio, he banished himself, to avoid an unjust prosecution which was
carrying on against him at Rome, and ended his days in a kind of
obscurity.

_The Character and Eulogium of Hannibal._—This would be the proper place
for representing the excellent qualities of Hannibal, who reflected so
much glory on Carthage. But as I have attempted to draw his character
elsewhere,(838) and to give a just idea of him, by making a comparison
between him and Scipio, I think myself dispensed from giving his eulogium
at large in this place.

Persons who devote themselves to the profession of arms, cannot spend too
much time in the study of this great man, who is looked upon, by the best
judges, as the most complete general, in almost every respect, that ever
the world produced.

During the whole seventeen years that the war lasted, two errors only are
objected to him: first, his not marching, immediately after the battle of
Cannæ, his victorious army to Rome, in order to besiege that city:
secondly, his suffering their courage to be softened and enervated during
their winter-quarters in Capua: errors, which only show that great men are
not so in all things;(839) _summi enim sunt, homine tamen_; and which,
perhaps, may be partly excused.

But then, for these two errors, what a multitude of shining qualities
appear in Hannibal! How extensive were his views and designs, even in his
most tender years! What greatness of soul! What intrepidity! What presence
of mind must he have possessed, to be able, even in the fire and heat of
action, to turn every thing to advantage! With what surprising address
must he have managed the minds of men, that, amidst so great a variety of
nations which composed his army, who often were in want both of money and
provisions, his camp was not once disturbed with any insurrection, either
against himself or any of his generals! With what equity, what moderation
must he have behaved towards his new allies, to have prevailed so far as
to attach them inviolably to his service, though he was reduced to the
necessity of making them sustain almost the whole burthen of the war, by
quartering his army upon them, and levying contributions in their several
countries! In short, how fruitful must he have been in expedients, to be
able to carry on, for so many years, a war in a remote country, in spite
of the violent opposition made by a powerful faction at home, which
refused him supplies of every kind, and thwarted him on all occasions; it
may be affirmed, that Hannibal, during the whole series of this war,
seemed the only prop of the state, and the soul of every part of the
empire of the Carthaginians, who could never believe themselves conquered,
till Hannibal confessed that he himself was so.

But our acquaintance with Hannibal will be very imperfect, if we consider
him only at the head of armies. The particulars we learn from history,
concerning the secret intelligence he held with Philip of Macedon; the
wise counsels he gave to Antiochus, king of Syria; the double reformation
he introduced in Carthage, with regard to the management of the public
revenues and the administration of justice, prove, that he was a great
statesman in every respect. So superior and universal was his genius, that
it took in all parts of government; and so great were his natural
abilities, that he was capable of acquitting himself in all the various
functions of it with glory. Hannibal shone as conspicuously in the cabinet
as in the field; equally able to fill the civil as the military
employments. In a word, he united in his own person the different talents
and merits of all professions, the sword, the gown, and the finances.

He had some learning, and though he was so much employed in military
labours, and engaged in so many wars, he, however, found some leisure to
devote to literature.(840) Several smart repartees of Hannibal, which have
been transmitted to us, show that he had a great fund of natural wit; and
this he improved by the most polite education that could be bestowed at
that time, and in such a republic as Carthage. He spoke Greek tolerably
well, and even wrote some books in that language. His preceptor was a
Lacedæmonian, named Sosilus, who, with Philenius, another Lacedæmonian,
accompanied him in all his expeditions. Both these undertook to write the
history of this renowned warrior.

With regard to his religion and moral conduct, he was not altogether so
profligate and wicked as he is represented by Livy:(841) “cruel even to
inhumanity, more perfidious than a Carthaginian; regardless of truth, of
probity, of the sacred ties of oaths; fearless of the gods, and utterly
void of religion.” _Inhumana crudelitas, perfida plusquam Punica; nihil
veri, nihil sancti, nullus deúm metus, nullum jusjurandum, nulla __
religio._ According to Polybius,(842) he rejected a barbarous proposal
that was made him before he entered Italy, which was, to eat human flesh,
at a time when his army was in absolute want of provisions. Some years
after, so far from treating with barbarity, as he was advised to do, the
dead body of Sempronius Gracchus, which Mago had sent him, he caused his
funeral obsequies to be solemnized in presence of the whole army.(843) We
have seen him, on many occasions, evince the highest reverence for the
gods; and Justin,(844) who copied Trogus Pompeius, an author worthy of
credit, observes, that he always showed uncommon moderation and
continence, with regard to the great number of women taken by him during
the course of so long a war; insomuch that no one would have imagined he
had been born in Africa, where incontinence is the predominant vice of the
country. _Pudicitiamque eum tantam inter tot captivas habuisse, ut in
Africa natum quivis negaret._

His disregard of wealth, at a time when he had so many opportunities to
enrich himself by the plunder of the cities he stormed, and the nations he
subdued, shows that he knew the true and genuine use which a general ought
to make of riches, _viz._ to gain the affection of his soldiers, and to
attach his allies to his interest, by diffusing his beneficence on proper
occasions, and not being sparing in his rewards: a quality very essential,
and at the same time as uncommon, in a commander. The only use Hannibal
made of money was to purchase success; firmly persuaded, that a man who is
at the head of affairs is sufficiently recompensed by the glory derived
from victory.

He always led a very regular, austere life;(845) and even in times of
peace, and in the midst of Carthage, when he was invested with the first
dignity of the city, we are told that he never used to recline himself on
a bed at meals, as was the custom in those ages, and that he drank but
very little wine. So regular and uniform a life may serve as an
illustrious example to our commanders, who often include, among the
privileges of war and the duty of officers, the keeping of splendid
tables, and living luxuriously.

I do not, however, pretend altogether to exculpate Hannibal from all the
errors with which he is charged. Though he possessed an assemblage of the
most exalted qualities, it cannot be denied but that he had some little
tincture of the vices of his country; and that it would be difficult to
excuse some actions and circumstances of his life. Polybius observes,(846)
that Hannibal was accused of avarice in Carthage, and of cruelty in Rome.
He adds, on the same occasion, that people were very much divided in
opinion concerning him; and it would be no wonder, as he had made himself
so many enemies in both cities, that they should have drawn him in
disadvantageous colours. But Polybius is of opinion, that though it should
be taken for granted, that all the defects with which he is charged are
true; yet that they were not so much owing to his nature and disposition,
as to the difficulties with which he was surrounded, in the course of so
long and laborious a war; and to the complacency he was obliged to show to
the general officers, whose assistance he absolutely wanted, for the
execution of his various enterprises; and whom he was not always able to
restrain, any more than he could the soldiers who fought under them.

SECT. II. DISSENSIONS BETWEEN THE CARTHAGINIANS AND MASINISSA, KING OF
NUMIDIA.—Among the conditions of the peace granted to the Carthaginians,
there was one which enacted, that they should restore to Masinissa all the
territories and cities he possessed before the war; and further, Scipio,
to reward the zeal and fidelity which that monarch had shown towards the
Romans, had added to his dominions those of Syphax. This present
afterwards gave rise to disputes and quarrels between the Carthaginians
and Numidians.

These two princes, Syphax and Masinissa, were both kings in Numidia, but
reigned over different nations. The subjects of Syphax were called
Masæsuli, and their capital was Cirtha. Those of Masinissa were the
Massyli: but they are better known by the name of Numidians, which was
common to them both. Their principal strength consisted in their cavalry.
They always rode without saddles, and some even without bridles, whence
Virgil(847) calls them _Numidæ infræni_.

In the beginning of the second Punic war,(848) Syphax siding with the
Romans, Gala, the father of Masinissa, to check the career of so powerful
a neighbour, thought it his interest to join the Carthaginians, and
accordingly sent out against Syphax a powerful army under the conduct of
his son, at that time but seventeen years of age. Syphax, being overcome
in a battle, in which it is said he lost thirty thousand men, escaped into
Mauritania. However, the face of things was afterwards greatly changed.

Masinissa, after his father’s death, was often reduced to the brink of
ruin;(849) being driven from his kingdom by an usurper; pursued warmly by
Syphax; in danger every instant of falling into the hands of his enemies;
destitute of forces, money, and of every resource. He was at that time in
alliance with the Romans, and the friend of Scipio, with whom he had had
an interview in Spain. His misfortunes would not permit him to bring great
succours to that general. When Lælius arrived in Africa, Masinissa joined
him with a few horse, and from that time continued inviolably attached to
the Roman interest. Syphax, on the contrary, having married the famous
Sophonisba, daughter of Asdrubal, went over to the Carthaginians.(850)

The fate of these two princes again changed, but the change was now
final.(851) Syphax lost a great battle, and was taken alive by the enemy.
Masinissa, the victor, besieged Cirtha, his capital, and took it. But he
met with a greater danger in that city than he had faced in the field, and
this was Sophonisba, whose charms and endearments he was unable to resist.
To secure this princess to himself, he married her, but a few days after,
he was obliged to send her a dose of poison, as her nuptial present; this
being the only way that he could devise to keep his promise with his
queen, and preserve her from the power of the Romans.

This was a considerable error in itself, and one that could not fail to
disoblige a nation that was so jealous of its authority: but this young
prince gloriously made amends for his fault, by the signal services he
afterwards rendered to Scipio. We observed, that after the defeat and
capture of Syphax, the dominions of this prince were bestowed upon
him;(852) and that the Carthaginians were forced to restore all he
possessed before. This gave rise to the divisions which we are now going
to relate.

A territory situated towards the sea-side, near the lesser Syrtis, was the
subject of the dispute.(853) The country was very rich, and the soil
extremely fruitful; a proof of which is, that the city of Leptis alone,
which belonged to that territory, paid daily a talent to the
Carthaginians, by way of tribute. Masinissa had seized part of this
territory. Each side despatched deputies to Rome, to plead the cause of
their respective superiors before the senate. This assembly thought proper
to send Scipio Africanus, with two other commissioners, to examine the
controversy upon the spot. However, they returned without coming to any
decision, and left the business in the same uncertain state in which they
had found it. Possibly they acted in this manner by order of the senate,
and had received private instructions to favour Masinissa, who was then
possessed of the district in question.

(M138) Ten years after, new commissioners having been appointed to examine
the same affair, they acted as the former had done, and left the whole
undetermined.(854)

(M139) After the like distance of time, the Carthaginians again brought
their complaint before the senate, but with greater importunity than
before.(855) They represented, that besides the lands at first contested,
Masinissa had, during the two preceding years, dispossessed them of
upwards of seventy towns and castles: their hands were bound up by that
article of the last treaty, which forbade their making war upon any of the
allies of the Romans: that they could no longer bear the insolence, the
avarice, and cruelty of that prince: that they were deputed to Rome with
three requests, (one of which they desired might be immediately complied
with,) _viz._ either that the affair might be examined and decided by the
senate; or, secondly, that they might be permitted to repel force by
force, and defend themselves by arms; or, lastly, that, if favour was to
prevail over justice, they then entreated the Romans to specify once for
all, which of the Carthaginian lands they were desirous should be given up
to Masinissa, that they, by this means, might hereafter know what they had
to depend on, and that the Roman people would show some moderation in
their behalf, at a time that this prince set no other bounds to his
pretensions, than his insatiable avarice. The deputies concluded with
beseeching the Romans, that if they had any cause of complaint against the
Carthaginians since the conclusion of the last peace, that they themselves
would punish them; and not to give them up to the wild caprice of a
prince, by whom their liberties were made precarious, and their lives
insupportable. After ending their speech, being pierced with grief,
shedding floods of tears, they fell prostrate upon the earth; a spectacle
that moved all who were present to compassion, and raised a violent hatred
against Masinissa. Gulussa, his son, who was then present, being asked
what he had to reply, he answered, that his father had not given him any
instructions, not knowing that any thing would be laid to his charge. He
only desired the senate to reflect, that the circumstance which drew all
this hatred upon him from the Carthaginians, was, the inviolable fidelity
with which he had always been attached to the side of the Romans. The
senate, after hearing both sides, answered, that they were inclined to do
justice to either party to whom it might be due: that Gulussa should set
out immediately with their orders to his father, who was thereby commanded
to send immediately deputies with those of Carthage; that they would do
all that lay in their power to serve him, but not to the prejudice of the
Carthaginians: that it was but just the ancient limits should be
preserved; and that it was far from being the intention of the Romans, to
have the Carthaginians dispossessed, during the peace, of those
territories and cities which had been left them by the treaty. The
deputies of both powers were then dismissed with the usual presents.

But all these assurances were but mere words.(856) It is plain that the
Romans did not once endeavour to satisfy the Carthaginians, or do them the
least justice; and that they protracted the business, on purpose to give
Masinissa time to establish himself in his usurpation, and weaken his
enemies.

(M140) A new deputation was sent to examine the affair upon the spot, and
Cato was one of the commissioners.(857) On their arrival, they asked the
parties if they were willing to abide by their determination. Masinissa
readily complied. The Carthaginians answered, that they had fixed a rule
to which they adhered, and that this was the treaty which had been
concluded by Scipio, and desired that their cause might be examined with
all possible rigour. They therefore could not come to any decision. The
deputies visited all the country, and found it in a very good condition,
especially the city of Carthage: and they were surprised to see it, after
having been involved in such a calamity, so soon again raised to so
exalted a pitch of power and grandeur. The deputies, on their return, did
not fail to acquaint the senate with this circumstance; and declared, Rome
could never be in safety, so long as Carthage should subsist. From this
time, whatever affair was debated in the senate, Cato always added the
following words to his opinion, “and I conclude that Carthage ought to be
destroyed.” This grave senator did not give himself the trouble to prove,
that bare jealousy of the growing power of a neighbouring state, is a
warrant sufficient for destroying a city, contrary to the faith of
treaties. Scipio Nasica on the other hand, was of opinion, that the ruin
of this city would draw after it that of their commonwealth; because that
the Romans, having then no rival to fear, would quit the ancient severity
of their manners, and abandon themselves to luxury and pleasures, the
never-failing subverters of the most flourishing empires.

In the mean time, divisions broke out in Carthage.(858) The popular
faction, being now become superior to that of the grandees and senators,
sent forty citizens into banishment; and bound the people by an oath,
never to suffer the least mention to be made of recalling those exiles.
They withdrew to the court of Masinissa, who despatched Gulussa and
Micipsa, his two sons, to Carthage, to solicit their recall. However, the
gates of the city were shut against them, and one of them was closely
pursued by Hamilcar, one of the generals of the republic. This gave
occasion to a new war, and accordingly armies were levied on both sides. A
battle was fought; and the younger Scipio, who afterwards ruined Carthage,
was spectator of it. He had been sent from Lucullus, who was then carrying
on war in Spain, and under whom Scipio then served, to Masinissa, to
desire some elephants from that monarch. During the whole engagement, he
stood upon a neighbouring hill; and was surprised to see Masinissa, then
upwards of eighty years of age, mounted (agreeably to the custom of his
country) on a horse without a saddle; flying from rank to rank like a
young officer, and sustaining the most arduous toils. The fight was very
obstinate, and continued from morning till night, but at last the
Carthaginians gave way. Scipio used to say afterwards, that he had been
present at many battles, but at none with so much pleasure as at this;
having never before beheld so formidable an army engage, without any
danger or trouble to himself. And being very conversant in the writings of
Homer, he added, that till his time, there were but two more who had had
the pleasure of being spectators of such an action, _viz._ Jupiter from
mount Ida, and Neptune from Samothrace, when the Greeks and Trojans fought
before Troy. I know not whether the sight of a hundred thousand men (for
so many there were) butchering one another, can administer a real
pleasure; or whether such a pleasure is consistent with the sentiments of
humanity, so natural to mankind.

The Carthaginians, after the battle was over, entreated Scipio to
terminate their contests with Masinissa.(859) Accordingly, he heard both
parties, and the Carthaginians consented to yield up the territory of
Emporium,(860) which had been the first cause of the dispute, to pay
Masinissa two hundred talents of silver down, and eight hundred more, at
such times as should be agreed. But Masinissa insisting on the return of
the exiles, and the Carthaginians being unwilling to agree to this
proposition, they did not come to any decision. Scipio, after having paid
his compliments, and returned thanks to Masinissa, set out with the
elephants for which he had been sent.

The king, immediately after the battle was over, had blocked up the
enemy’s camp, which was pitched upon a hill, whither neither troops nor
provisions could come to them.(861) During this interval, there arrived
deputies from Rome, with orders from the senate to decide the quarrel, in
case the king should be defeated; otherwise, to leave it undetermined, and
to give the king the strongest assurances of the continuation of their
friendship; and they complied with the latter injunction. In the mean
time, the famine daily increased in the enemy’s camp; and to add to their
calamity, it was followed by a plague, which made dreadful havoc. Being
now reduced to the last extremity, they surrendered to Masinissa,
promising to deliver up the deserters, to pay him five thousand talents of
silver in fifty years, and restore the exiles, notwithstanding their oaths
to the contrary. They all submitted to the ignominious ceremony of passing
under the yoke,(862) and were dismissed, with only one suit of clothes for
each. Gulussa, to satiate his vengeance for the ill treatment which, as we
before observed, he had met with, sent out against them a body of cavalry,
whom, from their great weakness, they could neither escape nor resist. So
that of fifty-eight thousand men, very few returned to Carthage.

(M141) _The Third Punic War._—The third Punic war, which was less
considerable than either of the two former, with regard to the number and
greatness of the battles, and its continuance, which was only four years,
was still more remarkable with respect to the success and event of it, as
it ended in the total ruin and destruction of Carthage.

The inhabitants of this city, from their last defeat, knew what they had
to fear from the Romans, who had uniformly displayed great ill-will
towards them, as often as they had addressed them upon their disputes with
Masinissa.(863) To prevent the consequences of it, the Carthaginians, by a
decree of the senate, impeached Asdrubal, general of the army, and
Carthalo, commander of the auxiliary(864) forces, as guilty of high
treason, for being the authors of the war against the king of Numidia.
They then sent a deputation to Rome, to inquire what opinion that republic
entertained of their late proceedings, and what was desired of them. The
deputies were coldly answered, that it was the business of the senate and
people of Carthage to know what satisfaction was due to the Romans. A
second deputation bringing them no clearer answer, they fell into the
greatest dejection; and being seized with the strongest terrors, from the
recollection of their past sufferings, they fancied the enemy was already
at their gates, and imagined to themselves all the dismal consequences of
a long siege, and of a city taken sword in hand.

In the mean time, the senate debated at Rome on the measures it would be
proper for them to take; and the disputes between Cato the elder and
Scipio Nasica, who entertained totally different opinions on this subject,
were renewed.(865) The former, on his return from Africa, had declared, in
the strongest terms, that he had found Carthage, not as the Romans
supposed it to be, exhausted of men or money, or in a weak and humble
state; but, on the contrary, that it was crowded with vigorous young men,
abounded with immense quantities of gold and silver, and prodigious
magazines of arms and all warlike stores; and was so haughty and confident
on account of this force, that their hopes and ambition had no bounds. It
is farther said, that after he had ended his speech, he threw, out of the
lappet of his robe, in the midst of the senate, some African figs; and, as
the senators admired their beauty and size, “Know,” says he, “that it is
but three days since these figs were gathered. Such is the distance
between the enemy and us.”(866)

Cato and Nasica had each of them their reasons for voting as they
did.(867) Nasica, observing that the people had risen to such a height of
insolence, as led them into excesses of every kind; that their prosperity
had swelled them with a pride which the senate itself was not able to
check; and that their power was become so enormous, that they were able to
draw the city, by force, into every mad design they might undertake;
Nasica, I say, observing this, was desirous that they should continue in
fear of Carthage, in order that this might serve as a curb to restrain and
check their audacious conduct. For it was his opinion, that the
Carthaginians were too weak to subdue the Romans; and at the same time too
strong to be considered by them in a contemptible light. With regard to
Cato, he thought that as his countrymen were become haughty and insolent
by success, and plunged headlong into profligacy of every kind; nothing
could be more dangerous, than for them to have for a rival and an enemy, a
city that till now had been powerful, but was become, even by its
misfortunes, more wise and provident than ever; and not to remove the
fears of the inhabitants entirely with regard to a foreign power; since
they had, within their own walls, all the opportunities of indulging
themselves in excesses of every kind.

To lay aside, for one instant, the laws of equity, I leave the reader to
determine which of these two great men reasoned most justly, according to
the maxims of sound policy, and the true interest of a state. One
undoubted circumstance is, that all historians have observed that there
was a sensible change in the conduct and government of the Romans,
immediately after the ruin of Carthage:(868) that vice no longer made its
way into Rome with a timorous pace, and as it were by stealth, but
appeared barefaced, and seized, with astonishing rapidity, upon all orders
of the republic: that the senators, plebeians, in a word, all conditions,
abandoned themselves to luxury and voluptuousness, without moderation or
sense of decency, which occasioned, as it must necessarily, the ruin of
the state. “The first Scipio,”(869) says Paterculus, speaking of the
Romans, “had laid the foundations of their future grandeur; and the last,
by his conquests, opened a door to all manner of luxury and dissoluteness.
For, after Carthage, which obliged Rome to stand for ever on its guard, by
disputing empire with that city, had been totally destroyed, the depravity
of manners was no longer slow in its progress, but swelled at once into
the utmost excess of corruption.”

Be this as it may, the senate resolved to declare war against the
Carthaginians; and the reasons or pretences urged for it were, their
having maintained ships contrary to the tenour of the treaty; their having
sent an army out of their territories, against a prince who was in
alliance with Rome, and whose son they had treated ill, at the time that
he was accompanied by a Roman ambassador.(870)

(M142) An event, that chance occasioned to happen very fortunately, at the
time that the senate of Rome was debating on the affair of Carthage,
doubtless contributed very much to make them take that resolution.(871)
This was the arrival of deputies from Utica, who came to surrender up
themselves, their effects, their lands, and their city, into the hands of
the Romans. Nothing could have happened more seasonably. Utica was the
second city of Africa, vastly rich, and had a port equally spacious and
commodious; it stood within sixty furlongs of Carthage, so that it might
serve as a place of arms in the attack of that city. The Romans now
hesitated no longer, but formally proclaimed war. M. Manilius, and L.
Marcius Censorinus, the two consuls, were desired to set out as soon as
possible. They had secret orders from the senate, not to end the war but
by the destruction of Carthage. The consuls immediately left Rome, and
stopped at Lilybæum in Sicily. They had a considerable fleet, on board of
which were fourscore thousand foot, and about four thousand horse.

The Carthaginians were not yet acquainted with the resolutions which had
been taken at Rome.(872) The answer brought back by their deputies, had
only increased their fears, _viz._ “It was the business of the
Carthaginians to consider what satisfaction was due to them.”(873) This
made them not know what course to take. At last they sent new deputies,
whom they invested with full powers to act as they should see fitting; and
even (what the former wars could never make them stoop to) to declare,
that the Carthaginians gave up themselves, and all they possessed, to the
will and pleasure of the Romans. This, according to the import of the
clause, _se suaque eorum arbitrio permittere_, was submitting themselves,
without reserve, to the power of the Romans, and acknowledging themselves
their vassals. Nevertheless, they did not expect any great success from
this condescension, though so very mortifying; because, as the Uticans had
been beforehand with them on that occasion, this circumstance had deprived
them of the merit of a ready and voluntary submission.

The deputies, on their arrival at Rome, were informed that war had been
proclaimed, and that the army was set out. The Romans had despatched a
courier to Carthage, with the decree of the senate; and to inform that
city, that the Roman fleet had sailed. The deputies had therefore no time
for deliberation, but delivered up themselves, and all they possessed, to
the Romans. In consequence of this behaviour, they were answered, that
since they had at last taken a right step, the senate granted them their
liberty, the enjoyment of their laws, and all their territories and other
possessions, whether public or private, provided that, within the space of
thirty days, they should send, as hostages, to Lilybæum, three hundred
young Carthaginians of the first distinction, and comply with the orders
of the consuls. This last condition filled them with inexpressible
anxiety: but the concern they were under would not allow them to make the
least reply, or to demand an explanation; nor, indeed, would it have been
to any purpose. They therefore set out for Carthage, and there gave an
account of their embassy.

All the articles of the treaty were extremely severe with regard to the
Carthaginians; but the silence of the Romans, with respect to the cities
of which no notice was taken in the concessions which that people was
willing to make, perplexed them exceedingly.(874) But all they had to do
was to obey. After the many former and recent losses which the
Carthaginians had sustained, they were by no means in a condition to
resist such an enemy, since they had not been able to oppose Masinissa.
Troops, provisions, ships, allies, in a word, every thing was wanting, and
hope and vigour more than all the rest.

They did not think it proper to wait till the thirty days, which had been
allowed them, were expired, but immediately sent their hostages, in hopes
of softening the enemy by the readiness of their obedience, though they
dared not flatter themselves with the expectation of meeting with favour
on this occasion. These hostages were the flower, and the only hopes, of
the noblest families of Carthage. Never was any spectacle more moving;
nothing was now heard but cries, nothing seen but tears, and all places
echoed with groans and lamentations. But above all, the disconsolate
mothers, bathed in tears, tore their dishevelled hair, beat their breasts,
and, as if grief and despair had distracted them, they yelled in such a
manner as might have moved the most savage breasts to compassion. But the
scene was much more mournful, when the fatal moment of their separation
was come; when, after having accompanied their dear children to the ship,
they bid them a long last farewell, persuaded that they should never see
them more; bathed them with their tears; embraced them with the utmost
fondness; clasped them eagerly in their arms; could not be prevailed upon
to part with them, till they were forced away, which was more grievous and
afflicting than if their hearts had been torn out of their breasts. The
hostages being arrived in Sicily, were carried from thence to Rome; and
the consuls told the deputies, that when they should arrive at Utica, they
would acquaint them with the orders of the republic.

In such a situation of affairs, nothing can be more grievous than a state
of uncertainty, which, without descending to particulars, gives occasion
to the mind to image to itself every misery.(875) As soon as it was known
that the fleet was arrived at Utica, the deputies repaired to the Roman
camp; signifying, that they were come in the name of their republic, in
order to receive their commands, which they were ready to obey. The
consul, after praising their good disposition and compliance, commanded
them to deliver up to him, without fraud or delay, all their arms. This
they consented to, but besought him to reflect on the sad condition to
which he was reducing them, at a time when Asdrubal, whose quarrel against
them was owing to no other cause than their perfect submission to the
orders of the Romans, was advanced almost to their gates, with an army of
twenty thousand men. The answer returned them was, that the Romans would
set that matter right.

This order was immediately put in execution.(876) There arrived in the
camp a long train of waggons, loaded with all the preparations of war,
taken out of Carthage: two hundred thousand complete sets of armour, a
numberless multitude of darts and javelins, with two thousand engines for
shooting darts and stones.(877) Then followed the deputies of Carthage,
accompanied by the most venerable senators and priests, who came purposely
to try to move the Romans to compassion in this critical moment, when
their sentence was going to be pronounced, and their fate would be
irreversible. Censorinus, the consul, for it was he who had all along
spoken, rose up for a moment at their coming, and expressed some kindness
and affection for them; but suddenly assuming a grave and severe
countenance: “I cannot,” says he, “but commend the readiness with which
you execute the orders of the senate. They have commanded me to tell you,
that it is their absolute will and pleasure that you depart out of
Carthage, which they have resolved to destroy; and that you remove into
any other part of your dominions which you shall think proper, provided it
be at the distance of eighty stadia(878) from the sea.”

The instant the consul had pronounced this fulminating decree, nothing was
heard among the Carthaginians but lamentable shrieks and howlings.(879)
Being now in a manner thunderstruck, they neither knew where they were,
nor what they did; but rolled themselves in the dust, tearing their
clothes, and unable to vent their grief any otherwise, than by broken
sighs and deep groans. Being afterwards a little recovered, they lifted up
their hands with the air of suppliants one moment towards the gods, and
the next towards the Romans, imploring their mercy and justice towards a
people, who would soon be reduced to the extremes of despair. But as both
the gods and men were deaf to their fervent prayers, they soon changed
them into reproaches and imprecations; bidding the Romans call to mind,
that there were such beings as avenging deities, whose severe eyes were
for ever open on guilt and treachery. The Romans themselves could not
refrain from tears at so moving a spectacle, but their resolution was
fixed. The deputies could not even prevail so far, as to get the execution
of this order suspended, till they should have an opportunity of
presenting themselves again before the senate, to attempt, if possible, to
get it revoked. They were forced to set out immediately, and carry the
answer to Carthage.

The people waited for their return with such an impatience and terror, as
words could never express.(880) It was scarce possible for them to break
through the crowd that flocked round them, to hear the answer, which was
but too strongly painted in their faces. When they were come into the
senate, and had declared the barbarous orders of the Romans, a general
shriek informed the people of their fate; and from that instant, nothing
was seen and heard in every part of the city, but howling and despair,
madness and fury.

The reader will here give me leave to interrupt the course of the history
for a moment, to reflect on the conduct of the Romans. It is great pity
that the fragment of Polybius, where an account is given of this
deputation, should end exactly in the most interesting part of this
narrative. I should set a much higher value on one short reflection of so
judicious an author, than on the long harangues which Appian ascribes to
the deputies and the consul. I can never believe, that so rational,
judicious, and just a man as Polybius, could have approved the proceedings
of the Romans on the present occasion. We do not here discover, in my
opinion, any of the characteristics which distinguished them anciently;
that greatness of soul, that rectitude, that utter abhorrence of all mean
artifices, frauds, and impostures, which, as is somewhere said, formed no
part of the Roman disposition; _Minimè Romanis artibus_. Why did not the
Romans attack the Carthaginians by open force? Why should they declare
expressly in a treaty (a most solemn and sacred thing) that they allowed
them the full enjoyment of their liberties and laws; and understand, at
the same time, certain private conditions, which proved the entire ruin of
both? Why should they conceal, under the scandalous omission of the word
_city_ in this treaty, the perfidious design of destroying Carthage? as
if, beneath the cover of such an equivocation, they might destroy it with
justice. In short, why did the Romans not make their last declaration,
till after they had extorted from the Carthaginians, at different times,
their hostages and arms, that is, till they had absolutely rendered them
incapable of disobeying their most arbitrary commands? Is it not manifest,
that Carthage, notwithstanding all its defeats and losses, though it was
weakened and almost exhausted, was still a terror to the Romans, and that
they were persuaded they were not able to conquer it by force of arms? It
is very dangerous to be possessed of so much power, as to be able to
commit injustice with impunity, and with a prospect of being a gainer by
it. The experience of all ages shows, that states seldom scruple to commit
injustice, when they think it will conduce to their advantage.

The noble character which Polybius gives of the Achæans, differs widely
from what was practised here.(881) That people, says he, far from using
artifice and deceit towards their allies, in order to enlarge their power,
did not think themselves allowed to employ them even against their
enemies, considering only those victories as solid and glorious, which
were obtained sword in hand, by dint of courage and bravery. He owns, in
the same place, that there then remained among the Romans but very faint
traces of the ancient generosity of their ancestors; and he thinks it
incumbent on him (as he declares) to make this remark, in opposition to a
maxim which was grown very common in his time among persons in the
administration of the government, who imagined, that sincerity is
inconsistent with good policy; and that it is impossible to succeed in the
administration of state affairs, either in war or peace, without using
fraud and deceit on some occasions.

I now return to my subject.(882) The consuls made no great haste to march
against Carthage, not suspecting they had any thing to fear from that
city, as it was now disarmed. The inhabitants took the opportunity of this
delay to put themselves in a posture of defence, being all unanimously
resolved not to quit the city. They appointed as general, without the
walls, Asdrubal, who was at the head of twenty thousand men; and to whom
deputies were sent accordingly, to entreat him to forget, for his
country’s sake, the injustice which had been done him, from the dread they
were under of the Romans. The command of the troops, within the walls, was
given to another Asdrubal, grandson of Masinissa. They then applied
themselves to the making arms with incredible expedition. The temples, the
palaces, the open markets and squares, were all changed into so many
arsenals, where men and women worked day and night. Every day were made a
hundred and and forty shields, three hundred swords, five hundred pikes or
javelins, a thousand arrows, and a great number of engines to discharge
them; and because they wanted materials to make ropes, the women cut off
their hair, and abundantly supplied their wants on this occasion.

Masinissa was very much disgusted at the Romans, because, after he had
extremely weakened the Carthaginians, they came and reaped the fruits of
his victory, without acquainting him in any manner with their design,
which circumstance caused some coldness between them.(883)

During this interval, the consuls were advancing towards the city, in
order to besiege it.(884) As they expected nothing less than a vigorous
resistance, the incredible resolution and courage of the besieged filled
them with the utmost astonishment.

The Carthaginians were for ever making the boldest sallies, in order to
repulse the besiegers, to burn their engines, and harass their foragers.
Censorinus attacked the city on one side, and Manilius on the other.
Scipio, afterwards surnamed Africanus, served then as tribune in the army;
and distinguished himself above the rest of the officers, no less by his
prudence than by his bravery. The consul, under whom he fought, committed
many oversights, by having refused to follow his advice. This young
officer extricated the troops from several dangers, into which the
imprudence of their leaders had plunged them. A renowned officer, Phamæas
by name, who was general of the enemy’s cavalry, and continually harassed
the foragers, did not dare ever to keep the field, when it was Scipio’s
turn to support them; so capable was he of keeping his troops in good
order, and posting himself to advantage. So great and universal a
reputation excited some envy against him at first; but as he behaved, in
all respects, with the utmost modesty and reserve, that envy was soon
changed into admiration; so that when the senate sent deputies to the
camp, to inquire into the state of the siege, the whole army gave him
unanimously the highest commendations; the soldiers, as well as officers,
nay, the very generals, with one voice extolled the merit of young Scipio:
so necessary is it for a man to deaden, if I may be allowed the
expression, the splendour of his rising glory, by a sweet and modest
carriage; and not to excite jealousy, by haughty and self-sufficient
behaviour, as this naturally awakens pride in others, and makes even
virtue itself odious!

(M143) About the same time, Masinissa, finding his end approach, sent to
desire a visit from Scipio, in order that he might invest him with full
powers to dispose, as he should see proper, of his kingdom and property,
in behalf of his children.(885) But, on Scipio’s arrival, he found that
monarch dead. Masinissa had commanded them, with his dying breath, to
follow implicitly the directions of Scipio, whom he appointed to be a kind
of father and guardian to them. I shall give no farther account here of
the family and posterity of Masinissa, because that would interrupt too
much the history of Carthage.

The high esteem which Phamæas had entertained for Scipio induced him to
forsake the Carthaginians, and go over to the Romans.(886) Accordingly, he
joined them with above two thousand horse, and was afterwards of great
service at the siege.

Calpurnius Piso, the consul, and L. Mancinus, his lieutenant, arrived in
Africa in the beginning of the spring.(887) Nothing remarkable was
transacted during this campaign. The Romans were even defeated on several
occasions, and carried on the siege of Carthage but slowly. The besieged,
on the contrary, had recovered their spirits. Their troops were
considerably increased; they daily got new allies; and even sent an
express as far as Macedonia, to the counterfeit Philip,(888) who pretended
to be the son of Perseus, and was then engaged in a war with the Romans;
to exhort him to carry it on with vigour, and promising to furnish him
with money and ships.

This news occasioned some uneasiness at Rome.(889) The people began to
doubt the success of a war, which grew daily more uncertain, and was more
important, than had at first been imagined. As much as they were
dissatisfied with the dilatoriness of the generals, and exclaimed against
their conduct, so much did they unanimously agree in applauding young
Scipio, and extolling his rare and uncommon virtues. He was come to Rome,
in order to stand candidate for the edileship. The instant he appeared in
the assembly, his name, his countenance, his reputation, a general
persuasion that he was designed by the gods to end the third Punic war, as
the first Scipio, his grandfather by adoption, had terminated the second;
these several circumstances made a very strong impression on the people,
and though it was contrary to law, and therefore opposed by the ancient
men, instead of the edileship which(M144) he sued for, the people,
disregarding for once the laws, conferred the consulship upon him, and
assigned him Africa for his province, without casting lots for the
provinces, as usual, and as Drusus his colleague demanded.

As soon as Scipio had completed his recruits, he set out for Sicily, and
arrived soon after in Utica.(890) He came very seasonably for Mancinus,
Piso’s lieutenant, who had rashly fixed himself in a post where he was
surrounded by the enemy; and would have been cut to pieces that very
morning, had not the new consul, who, on his arrival, heard of the danger
he was in, reembarked his troops in the night, and sailed with the utmost
speed to his assistance.

Scipio’s first care, after his arrival, was to revive discipline among the
troops, which he found had been entirely neglected.(891) There was not the
least regularity, subordination, or obedience. Nothing was attended to but
rapine, feasting, and diversions. He drove from the camp all useless
persons, settled the quality of the provisions he would have brought in by
the sutlers, and allowed of none but what were plain and fit for soldiers,
studiously banishing all dainties and luxuries.

After he had made these regulations, which cost him but little time and
pains, because he himself first set the example, he was persuaded that
those under him were soldiers, and thereupon he prepared to carry on the
siege with vigour. Having ordered his troops to provide themselves with
axes, levers, and scaling-ladders, he led them in the dead of the night,
and without the least noise, to a district of the city, called Megara;
when ordering them to give a sudden and general shout, he attacked it with
great vigour. The enemy, who did not expect to be attacked in the night,
were at first in the utmost terror; however, they defended themselves so
courageously, that Scipio could not scale the walls. But perceiving a
tower that was forsaken, and which stood without the city, very near the
walls, he detached thither a party of intrepid and resolute soldiers, who,
by the help of pontons,(892) got from the tower on the walls, and from
thence into Megara, the gates of which they broke down. Scipio entered it
immediately after, and drove the enemies out of that post; who, terrified
at this unexpected assault, and imagining that the whole city was taken,
fled into the citadel, whither they were followed even by those forces
that were encamped without the city, who abandoned their camp to the
Romans, and thought it necessary for them to fly to a place of security.

Before I proceed further, it will be proper to give some account of the
situation and dimensions of Carthage, which, in the beginning of the war
against the Romans, contained seven hundred thousand inhabitants.(893) It
stood at the bottom of a gulf, surrounded by the sea, and in the form of a
peninsula, whose neck, that is, the isthmus which joined it to the
continent, was twenty-five stadia, or a league and a quarter in breadth.
The peninsula was three hundred and sixty stadia, or eighteen leagues
round. On the west side there projected from it a long neck of land, half
a stadium, or twelve fathoms broad; which, advancing into the sea, divided
it from a morass, and was fenced on all sides with rocks and a single
wall. On the south side, towards the continent, where stood the citadel
called Byrsa, the city was surrounded with a triple wall, thirty cubits
high, exclusive of the parapets and towers, with which it was flanked all
round at equal distances, each interval being fourscore fathoms. Every
tower was four stories high, and the stalls but two; they were arched, and
in the lower part were walls to hold three hundred elephants with their
fodder, and over these were stables for four thousand horses, and lofts
for their food. There likewise was room enough to lodge twenty thousand
foot, and four thousand horse. All these were contained within the walls
alone. In one place only the walls were weak and low; and that was a
neglected angle, which began at the neck of land above-mentioned, and
extended as far as the harbours, which were on the west side. Of these
there were two, which communicated with each other, but had only one
entrance, seventy feet broad, shut up with chains. The first was
appropriated for the merchants, and had several distinct habitations for
the seamen. The second, or inner harbour, was for the ships of war, in the
midst of which stood an island called Cothon, lined, as the harbour was,
with large quays, in which were distinct receptacles(894) for sheltering
from the weather two hundred and twenty ships; over these were magazines
or storehouses, wherein was lodged whatever is necessary for arming and
equipping fleets. The entrance into each of these receptacles was adorned
with two marble pillars of the Ionic order. So that both the harbour and
the island represented on each side two magnificent galleries. In this
island was the admiral’s palace; and, as it stood opposite to the mouth of
the harbour, he could from thence discover whatever was doing at sea,
though no one, from thence, could see what was transacting in the inward
part of the harbour. The merchants, in like manner, had no prospect of the
men of war; the two ports being separated by a double wall, each having
its particular gate, that led to the city, without passing through the
other harbour. So that Carthage may be divided into three parts:(895) the
harbour, which was double, and called sometimes Cothon, from the little
island of that name: the citadel, named Byrsa: the city properly so
called, where the inhabitants dwelt, which lay round the citadel, and was
called Megara.

At daybreak,(896) Asdrubal(897) perceiving the ignominious defeat of his
troops, in order that he might be revenged on the Romans, and, at the same
time, deprive the inhabitants of all hopes of accommodation and pardon,
brought all the Roman prisoners he had taken, upon the walls, in sight of
the whole army. There he put them to the most exquisite torture; putting
out their eyes, cutting off their noses, ears, and fingers; tearing their
skin from their body with iron rakes or harrows, and then threw them
headlong from the top of the battlements. So inhuman a treatment filled
the Carthaginians with horror: however, he did not spare even them; but
murdered many senators who had ventured to oppose his tyranny.

Scipio,(898) finding himself absolute master of the isthmus, burnt the
camp, which the enemy had deserted, and built a new one for his troops. It
was of a square form, surrounded with large and deep intrenchments, and
fenced with strong palisades. On the side which faced the Carthaginians,
he built a wall twelve feet high, flanked at proper distances with towers
and redoubts; and on the middle tower, he erected a very high wooden fort,
from whence could be seen whatever was doing in the city. This wall was
equal to the whole breadth of the isthmus, that is, twenty-five
stadia.(899) The enemy, who were within bow-shot of it, employed their
utmost efforts to put a stop to this work; but, as the whole army were
employed upon it day and night, without intermission, it was finished in
twenty-four days. Scipio reaped a double advantage from this work: first,
his forces were lodged more safely and commodiously than before: secondly,
he cut off all provisions from the besieged, to whom none could now be
brought but by sea; which was attended with many difficulties, both
because the sea is frequently very tempestuous in that place, and because
the Roman fleet kept a strict guard. This proved one of the chief causes
of the famine which raged soon after in the city. Besides, Asdrubal
distributed the corn that was brought, only among the thirty thousand men
who served under him, caring very little what became of the rest of the
inhabitants.

To distress them still more by the want of provisions, Scipio attempted to
stop up the mouth of the haven by a mole, beginning at the above-mentioned
neck of land, which was near the harbour.(900) The besieged, at first,
looked upon this attempt as ridiculous, and accordingly they insulted the
workmen: but, at last, seeing them make an astonishing progress every day,
they began to be afraid; and to take such measures as might, if possible,
render the attempt unsuccessful. Every one, to the women and children,
fell to work, but so privately, that all that Scipio could learn from the
prisoners, was, that they had heard a great noise in the harbour, but did
not know the occasion of it. At last, all things being ready, the
Carthaginians opened, on a sudden, a new outlet on the other side of the
haven; and appeared at sea with a numerous fleet, which they had just then
built with the old materials found in their magazines. It is generally
allowed, that had they attacked the Roman fleet directly, they must
infallibly have taken it; because, as no such attempt was expected, and
every man was elsewhere employed, the Carthaginians would have found it
without rowers, soldiers, or officers. But the ruin of Carthage, says the
historian, was decreed. Having therefore only offered a kind of insult or
bravado to the Romans, they returned into the harbour.

Two days after, they brought forward their ships, with a resolution to
fight in good earnest, and found the enemy ready for them.(901) This
battle was to determine the fate of both parties. The conflict was long
and obstinate, each exerting themselves to the utmost; the one to save
their country, now reduced to the last extremity, and the other to
complete their victory. During the fight, the Carthaginian brigantines
running along under the large Roman ships, broke to pieces sometimes their
sterns, and at other times their rudders and oars; and, when briskly
attacked, retreated with surprising swiftness, and returned immediately to
the charge. At last, after the two armies had fought with equal success
till sunset, the Carthaginians thought proper to retire; not that they
believed themselves overcome, but in order to begin the fight again on the
morrow. Part of their ships, not being able to run swiftly enough into the
harbour, because the mouth of it was too narrow, took shelter under a very
spacious terrace, which had been thrown up against the walls to unload
goods, on the side of which a small rampart had been raised during this
war, to prevent the enemy from possessing themselves of it. Here the fight
was again renewed with more vigour than ever, and lasted till late at
night. The Carthaginians suffered very much, and the few ships which got
off, sailed for refuge to the city. Morning being come, Scipio attacked
the terrace, and carried it, though with great difficulty; after which he
made a lodgement there, and fortified himself on it, and built a
brick-wall close to those of the city, and of the same height. When it was
finished, he commanded four thousand men to get on the top of it, and to
discharge from it a perpetual shower of darts and arrows upon the enemy,
which did great execution; because, as the two walls were of equal height,
almost every dart took effect. Thus ended this campaign.

During the winter quarters, Scipio endeavoured to overpower the enemy’s
troops without the city,(902) who very much harassed the convoys that
brought his provisions, and protected such as were sent to the besieged.
For this purpose he attacked a neighbouring fort, called Nepheris, where
they used to shelter themselves. In the last action, above seventy
thousand of the enemy, as well soldiers as peasants, who had been
enlisted, were cut to pieces; and the fort was carried with great
difficulty, after sustaining a siege of two and twenty days. The seizure
of this fort was followed by the surrender of almost all the strong-holds
in Africa; and contributed very much to the taking of Carthage itself,
into which, from that time, it was almost impossible to bring any
provisions.

(M145) Early in the spring, Scipio attacked, at one and the same time, the
harbour called Cothon, and the citadel.(903) Having possessed himself of
the wall which surrounded this port, he threw himself into the great
square of the city that was near it, from whence was an ascent to the
citadel, up three streets, on each side of which were houses, from the
tops whereof a shower of darts was discharged upon the Romans, who were
obliged, before they could advance farther, to force the houses they came
first to, and post themselves in them, in order to dislodge from thence
the enemy who fought from the neighbouring houses. The combat, which was
carried on from the tops, and in every part of the houses, continued six
days, during which a dreadful slaughter was made. To clear the streets,
and make way for the troops, the Romans dragged aside, with hooks, the
bodies of such of the inhabitants as had been slain, or precipitated
headlong from the houses, and threw them into pits, the greatest part of
them being still alive and panting. In this toil, which lasted six days
and as many nights, the soldiers were relieved from time to time by fresh
ones, without which they would have been quite spent. Scipio was the only
person who did not take a wink of sleep all this time; giving orders in
all places, and scarce allowing himself leisure to take the least
refreshment.

There was every reason to believe, that the siege would last much longer,
and occasion a great effusion of blood.(904) But on the seventh day, there
appeared a company of men in the posture and habit of suppliants, who
desired no other conditions, than that the Romans would please to spare
the lives of all those who should be willing to leave the citadel: which
request was granted them, only the deserters were excepted. Accordingly,
there came out fifty thousand men and women, who were sent into the fields
under a strong guard. The deserters, who were about nine hundred, finding
they would not be allowed quarter, fortified themselves in the temple of
Æsculapius, with Asdrubal, his wife, and two children; where, though their
number was but small, they might have held out a long time, because the
temple stood on a very high hill, upon rocks, the ascent to which was by
sixty steps. But at last, exhausted by hunger and watching, oppressed with
fear, and seeing their destruction at hand, they lost all patience; and
abandoning the lower part of the temple, they retired to the uppermost
story, resolved not to quit it but with their lives.

In the mean time, Asdrubal, being desirous of saving his own life, came
down privately to Scipio, carrying an olive branch in his hand, and threw
himself at his feet. Scipio showed him immediately to the deserters, who,
transported with rage and fury at the sight, vented millions of
imprecations against him, and set fire to the temple. Whilst it was
kindling, we are told, that Asdrubal’s wife, dressing herself as
splendidly as possible, and placing herself with her two children in sight
of Scipio, addressed him with a loud voice: “I call not down,” says she,
“curses upon thy head, O Roman; for thou only takest the privilege allowed
by the laws of war: but may the gods of Carthage, and thou in concert with
them, punish, according to his deserts, the false wretch, who has betrayed
his country, his gods, his wife, his children!” Then directing herself to
Asdrubal, “Perfidious wretch,” says she, “thou basest of men! this fire
will presently consume both me and my children; but as to thee, unworthy
general of Carthage, go—adorn the gay triumph of thy conqueror—suffer, in
the sight of all Rome, the tortures thou so justly deservest!” She had no
sooner pronounced these words, than, seizing her children, she cut their
throats, threw them into the flames, and afterwards rushed into them
herself; in which she was imitated by all the deserters.

With regard to Scipio,(905) when he saw this famous city, which had been
so flourishing for seven hundred years, and might have been compared to
the greatest empires, on account of the extent of its dominions both by
sea and land; its mighty armies; its fleets, elephants, and riches; while
the Carthaginians were even superior to other nations, by their courage
and greatness of soul; as, notwithstanding their being deprived of arms
and ships, they had sustained, for three whole years, all the hardships
and calamities of a long siege; seeing, I say, this city entirely ruined,
historians relate, that he could not refuse his tears to the unhappy fate
of Carthage. He reflected, that cities, nations, and empires, are liable
to revolutions no less than private men; that the like sad fate had
befallen Troy anciently so powerful; and, in later times, the Assyrians,
Medes, and Persians, whose dominions were once of so great an extent; and
very recently, the Macedonians, whose empire had been so glorious
throughout the world. Full of these mournful ideas, he repeated the
following verses of Homer:


    Ἔσσεται ἦμαρ, ὄταν ποτ᾽ ὀλώλη Ἴλιος ἱρὴ,
    Καὶ Πρίαμος, καὶ λαὸς εὐμμελίω Πριάμοιο.

    _Il._ δ. 164, 165.

    The day shall come, that great avenging day.
    Which Troy’s proud glories in the dust shall lay,
    When Priam’s pow’rs and Priam’s self shall fall,
    And one prodigious ruin swallow all.

    POPE.


thereby denouncing the future destiny of Rome, as he himself confessed to
Polybius, who desired Scipio to explain himself on that occasion.

Had the truth enlightened his soul, he would have discovered what we are
taught in the Scriptures, that “because of unrighteous dealings, injuries,
and riches got by deceit, a kingdom is translated from one people to
another.”(906) Carthage is destroyed, because its avarice, perfidiousness,
and cruelty, have attained their utmost height. The like fate will attend
Rome, when its luxury, ambition, pride, and unjust usurpations, concealed
beneath a specious and delusive show of justice and virtue, shall have
compelled the sovereign Lord, the disposer of empires, to give the
universe an important lesson in its fall.

(M146) Carthage being taken in this manner, Scipio gave the plunder of it
(the gold, silver, statues, and other offerings which should be found in
the temples, excepted) to his soldiers for some days.(907) He afterwards
bestowed several military rewards on them, as well as on the officers, two
of whom had particularly distinguished themselves, _viz._ Tib. Gracchus,
and Caius Fannius, who first scaled the walls. After this, adorning a
small ship (an excellent sailer) with the enemy’s spoils, he sent it to
Rome with the news of the victory.

At the same time he invited the inhabitants of Sicily to come and take
possession of the pictures and statues which the Carthaginians had
plundered them of in the former wars.(908) When he restored to the
citizens of Agrigentum, Phalaris’s famous bull,(909) he told them that
this bull, which was, at one and the same time, a monument of the cruelty
of their ancient kings, and of the lenity of their present sovereigns,
ought to make them sensible which would be most advantageous for them, to
live under the yoke of Sicilians, or the government of the Romans.

Having exposed to sale part of the spoils of Carthage, he commanded, on
the most severe penalties, his family not to take or even buy any of them;
so careful was he to remove from himself, and all belonging to him, the
least suspicion of avarice.

When the news of the taking of Carthage was brought to Rome, the people
abandoned themselves to the most immoderate transports of joy, as if the
public tranquillity had not been secured till that instant.(910) They
revolved in their minds, all the calamities which the Carthaginians had
brought upon them, in Sicily, in Spain, and even in Italy, for sixteen
years together; during which, Hannibal had plundered four hundred towns,
destroyed, in different engagements, three hundred thousand men, and
reduced Rome itself to the utmost extremity. Amidst the remembrance of
these past evils, the people in Rome would ask one another, whether it
were really true that Carthage was in ashes. All ranks and degrees of men
emulously strove who should show the greatest gratitude towards the gods;
and the citizens were, for many days, employed wholly in solemn
sacrifices, in public prayers, games, and spectacles.

After these religious duties were ended, the senate sent ten commissioners
into Africa, to regulate, in conjunction with Scipio, the fate and
condition of that country for the time to come.(911) Their first care was,
to demolish whatever was still remaining of Carthage.(912) Rome,(913)
though mistress of almost the whole world, could not believe herself safe
as long as even the name of Carthage was in being. So true it is, that an
inveterate hatred, fomented by long and bloody wars, lasts even beyond the
time when all cause of fear is removed; and does not cease, till the
object that occasions it is no more. Orders were given, in the name of the
Romans, that it should never be inhabited again; and dreadful imprecations
were denounced against those, who, contrary to this prohibition, should
attempt to rebuild any parts of it, especially those called Byrsa and
Megara. In the mean time, every one who desired it, was admitted to see
Carthage: Scipio being well pleased, to have people view the sad ruins of
a city which had dared to contend with Rome for empire.(914) The
commissioners decreed farther, that those cities which, during this war,
had joined with the enemy, should all be rased, and their territories be
given to the Roman allies; they particularly made a grant to the citizens
of Utica, of the whole country lying between Carthage and Hippo. All the
rest they made tributary, and reduced it into a Roman province, whither a
prætor was sent annually.

All matters being thus settled, Scipio returned to Rome, where he made his
entry in triumph.(915) So magnificent a one had never been seen before;
the whole exhibiting nothing but statues, rare, invaluable pictures, and
other curiosities, which the Carthaginians had, for many years, been
collecting in other countries; not to mention the money carried into the
public treasury, which amounted to immense sums.

Notwithstanding the great precautions which were taken to hinder Carthage
from being ever rebuilt, in less than thirty years after, and even in
Scipio’s lifetime, one of the Gracchi, to ingratiate himself with the
people, undertook to found it anew, and conducted thither a colony
consisting of six thousand citizens for that purpose.(916) The senate,
hearing that the workmen had been terrified by many unlucky omens, at the
time they were tracing the limits, and laying the foundations of the new
city, would have suspended the attempt; but the tribune, not being over
scrupulous in religious matters, carried on the work, notwithstanding all
these bad presages, and finished it in a few days. This was the first
Roman colony that was ever sent out of Italy.

It is probable, that only a kind of huts were built there, since we are
told,(917) that when Marius retired hither, in his flight to Africa, he
lived in a mean and poor condition amid the ruins of Carthage, consoling
himself by the sight of so astonishing a spectacle; himself serving, in
some measure, as a consolation to that ill-fated city.

Appian relates,(918) that Julius Cæsar, after the death of Pompey, having
crossed into Africa, saw, in a dream, an army composed of a prodigious
number of soldiers, who, with tears in their eyes, called him; and that,
struck with the vision, he writ down in his pocket-book the design which
he formed on this occasion, of rebuilding Carthage and Corinth: but that
having been murdered soon after by the conspirators, Augustus Cæsar, his
adopted son, who found this memorandum among his papers, rebuilt Carthage
near the spot where it stood formerly, in order that the imprecations
which had been vented, at the time of its destruction, against those who
should presume to rebuild it, might not fall upon him.

I know not what foundation Appian has for this story; but we read in
Strabo,(919) that Carthage and Corinth were rebuilt at the same time by
Cæsar, to whom he gives the name of god, by which title, a little before,
he had plainly intended Julius Cæsar;(920) and Plutarch,(921) in the life
of that emperor, ascribes expressly to him the establishment of these two
colonies; and observes, that one remarkable circumstance in these two
cities is, that as both had been taken and destroyed at the same time,
they likewise were at the same time rebuilt and repeopled. However this
be, Strabo affirms, that in his time Carthage was as populous as any city
in Africa; and it rose to be the capital of Africa, under the succeeding
emperors. It existed for about seven hundred years after, in splendour,
but at last was so completely destroyed by the Saracens, in the beginning
of the seventh century, that neither its name, nor the least footsteps of
it, are known at this time in the country.

_A Digression on the Manners and Character of the second Scipio
Africanus._—Scipio, the destroyer of Carthage, was son to the famous
Paulus Æmilius, who conquered Perseus, the last king of Macedon; and
consequently grandson to that Paulus Æmilius who lost his life in the
battle of Cannæ. He was adopted by the son of the great Scipio Africanus,
and called Scipio Æmilianus; the names of the two families being so
united, pursuant to the law of adoptions. He supported, with equal lustre,
the dignity of both houses, by all the qualities that can confer honour on
the sword and gown.(922) The whole tenour of his life, says an historian,
whether with regard to his actions, his thoughts, or words, was deserving
of the highest praise. He distinguished himself particularly (an eulogium
that, at present, can seldom be applied to persons of the military
profession) by his exquisite taste for polite literature, and all the
sciences, as well as by the uncommon regard he showed to learned men. It
is universally known, that he was reported to be the author of Terence’s
comedies, the most polite and elegant writings which the Romans could
boast. We are told of Scipio,(923) that no man could blend more happily
repose and action, nor employ his leisure hours with greater delicacy and
taste: thus was he divided between arms and books, between the military
labours of the camp, and the peaceful employment of the cabinet; in which
he either exercised his body in toils of war, or his mind in the study of
the sciences. By this he showed, that nothing does greater honour to a
person of distinction, of what quality or profession soever he be, than
the adorning his mind with knowledge. Cicero, speaking of Scipio,
says,(924) that he always had Xenophon’s works in his hands, which are so
famous for the solid and excellent instructions they contain, both in
regard to war and policy.

He owed this exquisite taste for polite learning and the sciences, to the
excellent education which Paulus Æmilius bestowed on his children.(925) He
had put them under the ablest masters in every art; and did not spare any
expense on that occasion, though his circumstances were very narrow: P.
Æmilius himself was present at all their lessons, as often as the affairs
of the state would permit; becoming, by this means, their chief preceptor.

The intimate union between Polybius and Scipio put the finishing stroke to
the exalted qualities which, by the superiority of his genius and
disposition, and the excellency of his education, were already the subject
of admiration.(926) Polybius, with a great number of Achæans, whose
fidelity the Romans suspected during the war with Perseus, was detained in
Rome, where his merit soon caused his company to be coveted by all persons
of the highest quality in that city. Scipio, when scarce eighteen, devoted
himself entirely to Polybius: and considered as the greatest felicity of
his life, the opportunity he had of being instructed by so great a master,
whose society he preferred to all the vain and idle amusements which are
generally so alluring to young persons.

Polybius’s first care was to inspire Scipio with an aversion for those
equally dangerous and ignominious pleasures, to which the Roman youth were
so strongly addicted; the greatest part of them being already depraved and
corrupted by the luxury and licentiousness which riches and new conquests
had introduced in Rome. Scipio, during the first five years that he
continued in so excellent a school, made the greatest improvement in it;
and, despising the ridicule, as well as the pernicious examples, of
persons of the same age with himself, he was looked upon, even at that
time, as a model of discretion and wisdom.

From hence, the transition was easy and natural to generosity, to a noble
disregard of riches, and to a laudable use of them; all virtues so
requisite in persons of illustrious birth, and which Scipio carried to the
most exalted pitch, as appears from some instances of this kind related by
Polybius, which are highly worthy our admiration.

Æmilia,(927) wife of the first Scipio Africanus, and mother of him who had
adopted the Scipio mentioned here by Polybius, had bequeathed, at her
death, a great estate to the latter. This lady, besides the diamonds and
jewels which are worn by women of her high rank, possessed a great number
of gold and silver vessels used in sacrifices, together with several
splendid equipages, and a considerable number of slaves of both sexes; the
whole suited to the opulence of the august house into which she had
married. At her death, Scipio made over all those rich possessions to
Papiria his mother, who, having been divorced a considerable time before
by Paulus Æmilius, and not being in circumstances to support the dignity
of her birth, lived in great obscurity, and never appeared in the
assemblies or public ceremonies. But when she again frequented them with a
magnificent train, this noble generosity of Scipio did him great honour,
especially in the minds of the ladies, who expatiated on it in all their
conversations, and in a city whose inhabitants, says Polybius, were not
easily prevailed upon to part with their money.

Scipio was no less admired on another occasion. He was bound, in
consequence of the estate that had fallen to him by the death of his
grandmother, to pay, at three different times, to the two daughters of
Scipio, his grandfather by adoption, half their portions, which amounted
to 50,000 French crowns.(928) The time for the payment of the first sum
being expired, Scipio put the whole money into the hands of a banker.
Tiberius Gracchus, and Scipio Nasica, who had married the two sisters,
imagining that Scipio had made a mistake, went to him, and observed, that
the laws allowed him three years to pay this sum in, and at three
different times. Young Scipio answered, that he knew very well what the
laws directed on this occasion; that they might indeed be executed in
their greatest rigour towards strangers, but that friends and relations
ought to treat one another with a more generous simplicity; and therefore
desired them to receive the whole sum. They were struck with such
admiration at the generosity of their kinsman, that in their return home,
they reproached(929) themselves for their narrow way of thinking, at a
time when they made the greatest figure, and had the highest regard paid
to them, of any family in Rome. This generous action, says Polybius, was
the more admired, because no person in Rome, so far from consenting to pay
50,000 crowns before they were due, would pay even a thousand before the
time for payment was elapsed.

It was from the same noble spirit that, two years after, Paulus Æmilius
his father being dead, he made over to his brother Fabius, who was not so
wealthy as himself, the part of their father’s estate, which was his
(Scipio’s) due, (amounting to above threescore thousand crowns,(930)) in
order that there might not be so great a disparity between his fortune and
that of his brother.

This Fabius being desirous to exhibit a show of gladiators after his
father’s decease, in honour of his memory, (as was the custom in that
age,) and not being able to defray the expenses on this occasion, which
amounted to a very heavy sum, Scipio made him a present of fifteen
thousand(931) crowns, in order to defray at least half the charges of it.

The splendid presents which Scipio had made his mother Papiria, reverted
to him, by law as well as equity, after her demise; and his sisters,
according to the custom of those times had not the least claim to them.
Nevertheless, Scipio thought it would have been dishonourable in him, had
he taken them back again. He therefore made over to his sisters whatever
he had presented to their mother, which amounted to a very considerable
sum; and by this fresh proof of his glorious disregard of wealth, and the
tender friendship he had for his family, acquired the applause of the
whole city.

These different benefactions, which amounted all together to a prodigious
sum, seem to have received a brighter lustre from the age in which he
bestowed them, he being still very young; and yet more from the
circumstances of the time when they were presented, as well as the kind
and obliging carriage he assumed on those occasions.

The incidents I have here related are so repugnant to the maxims of this
age, that there might be reason to fear the reader would consider them
merely as the rhetorical flourishes of an historian who was prejudiced in
favour of his hero; if it was not well known, that the predominant
characteristic of Polybius, by whom they are related, is a sincere love
for truth, and an utter aversion to adulation of every kind. In the very
passage whence this relation is extracted, he has thought it necessary for
him to be a little guarded, where he expatiates on the virtuous actions
and rare qualities of Scipio; and he observes, that as his writings were
to be perused by the Romans, who were perfectly well acquainted with all
the particulars of this great man’s life, he could not fail of being
convicted by them, should he venture to advance any falsehood; an affront,
to which it is not probable that an author, who has ever so little regard
for his reputation, would expose himself, especially if no advantage was
to accrue to him from it.

We have already observed, that Scipio had never given into the fashionable
debaucheries and excesses to which the young people at Rome so generally
abandoned themselves. But he was sufficiently compensated for this
self-denial of all destructive pleasures, by the vigorous health he
enjoyed all the rest of his life, which enabled him to taste pleasure of a
much purer and more exalted kind, and to perform the great actions that
reflected so much glory upon him.

Hunting, which was his darling exercise, contributed also very much to
invigorate his constitution, and enabled him also to endure the hardest
toils. Macedonia, whither he followed his father, gave him an opportunity
of indulging to the utmost of his desire his passion in this respect; for
the chase, which was the usual diversion of the Macedonian monarchs,
having been laid aside for some years on account of the wars, Scipio found
there an incredible quantity of game of every kind. Paulus Æmilius,
studious of procuring his son virtuous pleasures of every kind, in order
to divert his mind from those which reason prohibits, gave him full
liberty to indulge himself in his favourite sport, during all the time
that the Roman forces continued in that country, after the victory he had
gained over Perseus. The illustrious youth employed his leisure hours in
an exercise which suited so well his age and inclination; and was as
successful in this innocent war against the beasts of Macedonia, as his
father had been in that which he had carried on against the inhabitants of
the country.

It was at Scipio’s return from Macedon, that he met with Polybius in Rome;
and contracted the strict friendship with him, which was afterwards so
beneficial to our young Roman, and did him almost as much honour in
after-ages as all his conquests. We find, from history, that Polybius
lived with the two brothers. One day, when himself and Scipio were alone,
the latter unbosomed himself freely to him, and complained, but in the
mildest and most gentle terms, that he, in their conversations at table,
always directed himself to his brother Fabius, and never to him. “I am
sensible,” says he, “that this indifference arises from your supposing,
with all our citizens, that I am a heedless young man, and wholly averse
to the taste which now prevails in Rome, because I do not devote myself to
the studies of the bar, nor cultivate the graces of elocution. But how
should I do this? I am told perpetually, that the Romans expect a general,
and not an orator, from the house of the Scipios. I will confess to you,
(pardon the sincerity with which I reveal my thoughts,) that your coldness
and indifference grieve me exceedingly.” Polybius, surprised at this
unexpected address, made Scipio the kindest answer; and assured the
illustrious youth, that though he generally directed himself to his
brother, yet this was not out of disrespect to him, but only because
Fabius was the elder; not to mention (continued Polybius) that, knowing
you possessed but one soul, I conceived that I addressed both when I spoke
to either of you. He then assured Scipio, that he was entirely at his
command: that with regard to the sciences, for which he discovered the
happiest genius, he would have opportunities sufficient to improve himself
in them, from the great number of learned Grecians who resorted daily to
Rome; but that, as to the art of war, which was properly his profession,
and his favourite study, he (Polybius) might be of some little service to
him. He had no sooner spoke these words, than Scipio, grasping his hand in
a kind of rapture: “Oh! when,” says he, “shall I see the happy day, when,
disengaged from all other avocations, and living with me, you will be so
much my friend, as to direct your endeavours to improve my understanding
and regulate my affections? It is then I shall think myself worthy of my
illustrious ancestors.” From that time Polybius, overjoyed to see so young
a man breathe such noble sentiments, devoted himself particularly to our
Scipio, who ever after paid him as much reverence as if he had been his
father.

However, Scipio did not esteem Polybius only as an excellent historian,
but valued him much more, and reaped much greater advantages from him, as
an able warrior and a profound politician. Accordingly, he consulted him
on every occasion, and always took his advice even when he was at the head
of his army; concerting in private with Polybius all the operations of the
campaign, all the movements of the forces, all enterprises against the
enemy, and the several measures proper for rendering them successful.

In a word, it was the common report,(932) that our illustrious Roman did
not perform any great or good action without being under some obligation
to Polybius; nor even commit an error, except when he acted without
consulting him.

I request the reader to excuse this long digression, which may be thought
foreign to my subject, as I am not writing the Roman history. However, it
appeared to me so well adapted to the general design I propose to myself,
in this work, _viz._ the cultivating and improving the minds of youth,
that I could not forbear introducing it here, though I was sensible this
is not directly its proper place. And indeed, these examples show, how
important it is that young people should receive a liberal and virtuous
education; and the great benefit they reap, by frequenting and
corresponding early with persons of merit; for these were the foundations
whereon were built the fame and glory which have rendered Scipio immortal.
But above all, how noble a model for our age (in which the most
inconsiderable and even trifling concerns often create feuds and
animosities between brothers and sisters, and disturb the peace of
families,) is the generous disinterestedness of Scipio; who, whenever he
had an opportunity of serving his relations, thought lightly of bestowing
the largest sums upon them! This excellent passage of Polybius had escaped
me, by its not being inserted in the folio edition of his works. It
belongs indeed naturally to that book, where, treating of the taste for
solid glory, I mentioned the contempt in which the ancients held riches,
and the excellent use they made of them. I therefore thought myself
indispensably obliged to restore, on this occasion, to young students,
what I could not but blame myself for omitting elsewhere.

_The History of the Family and Posterity of Masinissa._—I promised, after
finishing what related to the republic of Carthage, to return to the
family and posterity of Masinissa. This piece of history forms a
considerable part of that of Africa, and therefore is not quite foreign to
my subject.

(M147) From the time that Masinissa had declared for the Romans under the
first Scipio, he had always adhered to that honourable alliance, with an
almost unparalleled zeal and fidelity.(933) Finding his end approaching,
he wrote to the proconsul of Africa, under whose standards the younger
Scipio then fought, to desire that Roman might be sent to him; adding,
that he should die with satisfaction, if he could but expire in his arms,
after having made him executor to his will. But believing that he should
be dead, before it could be possible for him to receive this consolation,
he sent for his wife and children, and spoke to them as follows: “I know
no other nation but the Romans, and, among this nation, no other family
but that of the Scipios. I now, in my expiring moments, empower Scipio
Æmilianus to dispose, in an absolute manner, of all my possessions, and to
divide my kingdom among my children. I require, that whatever Scipio may
decree, shall be executed as punctually as if I myself had appointed it by
my will.” After saying these words, he breathed his last, being upwards of
ninety years of age.

This prince, during his youth, had met with strange reverses of fortune,
having been dispossessed of his kingdom, obliged to fly from province to
province, and a thousand times in danger of his life.(934) Being
supported, says the historian, by the divine protection, he was afterwards
favoured, till his death, with a perpetual series of prosperity, unruffled
by any sinister accident: for he not only recovered his own kingdom, but
added to it that of Syphax his enemy; and extending his dominions from
Mauritania, as far as Cyrene, he became the most powerful prince of all
Africa. He was blessed, till he left the world, with the greatest health
and vigour, which doubtless was owing to his extreme temperance, and the
care he had taken to inure himself to fatigue. Though ninety years of age,
he performed all the exercises used by young men,(935) and always rode
without a saddle; and Polybius observes, (a circumstance preserved by
Plutarch,(936)) that the day after a great victory over the Carthaginians,
Masinissa was seen, sitting at the door of his tent, eating a piece of
brown bread.

He left fifty-four sons, of whom three only were legitimate, _viz._
Micipsa, Gulussa, and Mastanabal.(937) Scipio divided the kingdom between
these three, and gave considerable possessions to the rest: but the two
last dying soon after, Micipsa became sole possessor of these extensive
dominions. He had two sons, Adherbal and Hiempsal, and with them he
educated in his palace Jugurtha his nephew, Mastanabal’s son, and took as
much care of him as he did of his own children.(938) This last-mentioned
prince possessed several eminent qualities, which gained him universal
esteem. Jugurtha, who was finely shaped, and very handsome, of the most
delicate wit, and the most solid judgment, did not devote himself, as
young men commonly do, to a life of luxury and pleasure. He used to
exercise himself with persons of his own age, in running, riding, and
throwing the javelin; and though he surpassed all his companions, there
was not one of them but loved him. The chase was his only delight; but it
was that of lions and other savage beasts. To finish his character, he
excelled in all things, and spoke very little of himself: _Plurimum
facere, et mininum ipse de se loqui_.

Merit so conspicuous, and so generally acknowledged, began to excite some
anxiety in Micipsa. He saw himself in the decline of life, and his
children very young. He knew the prodigious lengths which ambition is
capable of going, when a crown is in view: and that a man, with talents
much inferior to those of Jugurtha, might be dazzled by so glittering a
temptation, especially when united with such favourable
circumstances.(939) In order therefore to remove a competitor so dangerous
with regard to his children, he gave Jugurtha the command of the forces
which he sent to the assistance of the Romans, who, at that time, were
besieging Numantia, under the conduct of Scipio. Knowing Jugurtha was
actuated by the most heroic bravery, he flattered himself, that he
probably would rush upon danger, and lose his life. However, he was
mistaken. This young prince joined to an undaunted courage, the utmost
presence of mind; and, a circumstance very rarely found in persons of his
age, he preserved a just medium between a timorous foresight and an
impetuous rashness.(940) In this campaign, he won the esteem and
friendship of the whole army. Scipio sent him back to his uncle with
letters of recommendation, and the most advantageous testimonials of his
conduct, after having given him very prudent advice with regard to the
course which he ought to pursue; for knowing mankind so well, he, in all
probability, had discovered certain sparks of ambition in that prince,
which he feared would one day break out into a flame.

Micipsa, pleased with the high character that was sent him of his nephew,
changed his behaviour towards him, and resolved, if possible, to win his
affection by kindness. Accordingly he adopted him; and by his will, made
him joint-heir with his two sons. When he found his end approaching, he
sent for all three, and bid them draw near his bed, where, in presence of
the whole court he put Jugurtha in mind of all his kindness to him;
conjuring him, in the name of the gods, to defend and protect, on all
occasions, his children; who, being before related to him by the ties of
blood, were now become his brethren, by his (Micipsa’s) bounty. He told
him,(941) that neither arms nor treasure constitute the strength of a
kingdom, but friends, who are not won by arms nor gold, but by real
services and inviolable fidelity. Now where (says he) can we find better
friends than our brothers? And how can that man, who becomes an enemy to
his relations, repose any confidence in, or depend on, strangers? He
exhorted his sons to pay the highest reverence to Jugurtha; and to dispute
no otherwise with him, than by their endeavour to equal, and, if possible,
to surpass his exalted merit. He concluded with entreating them to observe
for ever an inviolable attachment towards the Romans; and to consider them
as their benefactor, their patron, and master. A few days after this,
Micipsa expired.

(M148) Jugurtha soon threw off the mask, and began by ridding himself of
Hiempsal, who had expressed himself to him with great freedom, and
therefore he caused him to be murdered. This bloody action proved but too
evidently to Adherbal what he himself might naturally fear.(M149) Numidia
is now divided, and sides severally with the two brothers. Mighty armies
are raised by each party. Adherbal, after losing the greatest part of his
fortresses, is vanquished in battle, and forced to make Rome his asylum.
However, this gave Jugurtha no very great uneasiness, as he knew that
money was all-powerful in that city. He therefore sent deputies thither,
with orders for them to bribe the chief senators. In the first audience to
which they were introduced, Adherbal represented the unhappy condition to
which he was reduced, the injustice and barbarity of Jugurtha, the murder
of his brother, the loss of almost all his fortresses; but the
circumstance on which he laid the greatest stress was, the commands of his
dying father, _viz._ to put his whole confidence in the Romans; declaring,
that the friendship of this people would be a stronger support both to
himself and his kingdom, than all the troops and treasures in the
universe. His speech was of a great length, and extremely pathetic.
Jugurtha’s deputies made only the following answer: that Hiempsal had been
killed by the Numidians, because of his great cruelty; that Adherbal was
the aggressor, and yet, after having been vanquished, was come to make
complaints, because he had not committed all the excesses he desired; that
their sovereign entreated the senate to form a judgment of his behaviour
and conduct in Africa, from that he had shown at Numantia; and to lay a
greater stress on his actions, than on the accusations of his enemies. But
these ambassadors had secretly employed an eloquence much more prevalent
than that of words, which had not proved ineffectual. The whole assembly
was for Jugurtha, a few senators excepted, who were not so void of honour
as to be corrupted by money. The senate came to this resolution, that
commissioners should be sent from Rome, to divide the provinces equally
upon the spot between the two brothers. The reader will naturally suppose,
that Jugurtha was not sparing of his treasure on this occasion; the
division was made to his advantage; and yet a specious appearance of
equity was preserved.

This first success of Jugurtha augmented his courage, and increased his
boldness. Accordingly, he attacked his brother by open force; and whilst
the latter loses his time in sending deputations to the Romans, he storms
several fortresses, carries on his conquests; and, after defeating
Adherbal, besieges him in Cirtha, the capital of his kingdom. During this
interval ambassadors arrived from Rome, with orders, in the name of the
senate and people, to the two kings, to lay down their arms, and cease all
hostilities. Jugurtha, after protesting that he would obey, with the most
profound reverence and submission, the commands of the Roman people,
added, that he did not believe it was their intention to hinder him from
defending his own life against the treacherous snares which his brother
had laid for it. He concluded with saying, that he would send ambassadors
forthwith to Rome, to inform the senate of his conduct. By this vague
answer he eluded their orders, and would not even permit the deputies to
wait upon Adherbal.

Though the latter was so closely blocked up in his capital, he yet(942)
found means to send to Rome, to implore the assistance of the Romans
against his brother, who had besieged him five months, and intended to
take away his life. Some senators were of opinion, that war ought to be
proclaimed immediately against Jugurtha; but still his influence
prevailed, and the Romans only ordered an embassy to be sent, composed of
senators of the highest distinction, among whom was Æmilius Scaurus, a
factious man, who had a great ascendant over the nobility, and concealed
the blackest vices under the specious appearance of virtue. Jugurtha was
terrified at first; but he again found an opportunity to elude their
demands, and accordingly sent them back without coming to any conclusion.
Upon this, Adherbal, who had lost all hopes, surrendered upon condition of
having his life spared; nevertheless, he was immediately murdered with a
great number of Numidians.

But though the greatest part of the people at Rome were struck with horror
at this news, Jugurtha’s money again obtained him defenders in the senate.
However, C. Memmius, the tribune of the people, an active man, and one who
hated the nobility, prevailed with the people not to suffer so horrid
(M150) a crime to go unpunished; and, accordingly, war being proclaimed
against Jugurtha, Calpurnius Bestia, the consul, was appointed to carry it
on.(943) He was endued with excellent qualities, but they were all
depraved and rendered useless by his avarice. Scaurus set out with him.
They at first took several towns; but Jugurtha’s bribes checked the
progress of these conquests; and Scaurus(944) himself, who till now had
expressed the strongest animosity against this prince, could not resist so
powerful an attack. A treaty was therefore concluded; Jugurtha feigned to
submit to the Romans, and thirty elephants, some horses, with a very
inconsiderable sum of money, were delivered to the quæstor.

But now the indignation of the people in general at Rome displayed itself
in the strongest manner. Memmius the tribune inflamed them by his
speeches. He caused Cassius, who was prætor, to be appointed to attend
Jugurtha; and to engage him to come to Rome, under the guarantee of the
Romans, in order that an inquiry might be made in his presence, who those
persons were that had taken bribes. Accordingly, Jugurtha was forced to
come to Rome. The sight of him raised the anger of the people still
higher; but a tribune having been bribed, he prolonged the session, and at
last dissolved it. A Numidian prince, grandson of Masinissa, called
Massiva, being at that time in the city, was advised to solicit for
Jugurtha’s kingdom; which coming to the ears of the latter, he caused him
to be assassinated in the midst of Rome. The murderer was seized, and
delivered up to the civil magistrate, and Jugurtha was commanded to depart
Italy. Upon leaving the city, he cast back his eyes several times towards
it, and said, “Rome would sell itself could it meet with a purchaser; and
were one to be found, it were inevitably ruined.”(945)

And now the war broke out anew. At first the indolence, or perhaps
connivance, of Albinus the consul, made it go on very slowly; but
afterwards, when he returned to Rome to hold the public assemblies,(946)
the Roman army, by the unskilfulness of his brother Aulus, having marched
into a defile from whence there was no getting out, surrendered
ignominiously to the enemy, who forced the Romans to submit to the
ceremony of passing under the yoke, and made them engage to leave Numidia
in ten days.

The reader will naturally imagine in what light so shameful a peace,
concluded without the authority of the people, was considered at Rome.
They could not flatter themselves with the hope of being successful in
this war, till the conduct of it was given to L. Metellus the consul.(947)
To all the rest of the virtues which constitute the great captain, he
added a perfect disregard of wealth; a quality most essentially requisite
against such an enemy as Jugurtha, who hitherto had always been
victorious, rather by money than his sword. But the African monarch found
Metellus as invincible in this, as in all other respects. He therefore was
forced to venture his life, and exert his utmost bravery, through the
defect of an expedient which now began to fail him. Accordingly, he
signalized himself in a surprising manner; and showed in this campaign,
all that could be expected from the courage, abilities, and attention of
an illustrious general, to whom despair adds new vigour, and suggests new
lights: he was, however, unsuccessful, because opposed by a consul, who
did not suffer the most inconsiderable error to escape him, nor ever let
slip an opportunity of taking advantage of the enemy.

Jugurtha’s greatest concern was, how to secure himself from traitors. From
the time he had been told that Bomilcar, in whom he reposed the utmost
confidence, had a design upon his life, he enjoyed no peace. He did not
believe himself safe any where; but all things, by day as well as by
night, the citizen as well as the foreigner, were suspected by him; and
the blackest terrors sat for ever brooding over his mind. He never got a
wink of sleep, except by stealth; and often changed his bed in a manner
unbecoming his rank. Starting sometimes from his slumbers, he would snatch
his sword, and utter loud cries; so strongly was he haunted by fear, which
almost drove him to frenzy.

Marius was Metellus’s lieutenant. His boundless ambition induced him to
endeavour to lessen his general’s character secretly in the minds of his
soldiers; and becoming soon his professed enemy and slanderer, he at last,
by the most grovelling and perfidious arts, prevailed so far as to
supplant Metellus, and get himself nominated in his room, to carry on the
war against Jugurtha.(948) With what strength of mind soever Metellus
might be endued on other occasions, he was totally dejected by this
unforeseen blow, which even forced tears from his eyes, and compelled him
to utter such expressions as were altogether unworthy so great a man.
There was something very dark and vile in Marius’s conduct, that displays
ambition in its native and genuine colours, and shows that it
extinguishes, in those who abandon themselves to it, all sense of honour
and integrity.(M151) Metellus, having anxiously endeavoured to avoid a man
whose sight he could not bear, arrived in Rome, and was received there
with universal acclamations. A triumph was decreed him, and the surname of
Numidicus conferred upon him.

I thought it would be proper to reserve for the Roman history, a
particular account of the events that happened in Africa, under Metellus
and Marius, all which are very circumstantially described by Sallust, in
his admirable history of Jugurtha. I therefore hasten to the conclusion of
this war.

Jugurtha being greatly distressed in his affairs, had recourse to Bocchus
king of Mauritania, whose daughter he had married. This country extends
from Numidia, as far as beyond the shores of the Mediterranean opposite to
Spain.(949) The Roman name was scarce known in it, and the people were
absolutely unknown to the Romans. Jugurtha insinuated to his
father-in-law, that should he suffer Numidia to be conquered, his kingdom
would doubtless be involved in its ruin; especially as the Romans, who
were sworn enemies to monarchy, seemed to have vowed the destruction of
all the thrones in the universe. He, therefore, prevailed with Bocchus to
enter into a league with him; and accordingly received, on different
occasions, very considerable succours from that king.

This confederacy, which was cemented on either side by no other tie than
that of interest, had never been strong; and a last defeat which Jugurtha
met with, broke at once all the bands of it. Bocchus now meditated the
dark design of delivering up his son-in-law to the Romans. For this
purpose he had desired Marius to send him a trusty person. Sylla, who was
an officer of uncommon merit, and served under him as quæstor, was thought
every way qualified for this negotiation. He was not afraid to put himself
into the hands of the barbarian king; and accordingly set out for his
court. Being arrived, Bocchus, who, like the rest of his countrymen, did
not pride himself on sincerity, and was for ever projecting new designs,
debated within himself, whether it would not be his interest to deliver up
Sylla to Jugurtha. He was a long time fluctuating in this uncertainty, and
conflicting with a contrariety of sentiments: and the sudden changes which
displayed themselves in his countenance, in his air, and in his whole
person, showed evidently how strongly his mind was affected. At length,
returning to his first design, he made his terms with Sylla, and delivered
up Jugurtha into his hands, who was sent immediately to Marius.

Sylla, says Plutarch,(950)(951) acted, on this occasion, like a young man
fired with a strong thirst of glory, the sweets of which he had just begun
to taste. Instead of ascribing to the general under whom he fought all the
honour of this event, as his duty required, and which ought to be an
inviolable maxim, he reserved the greatest part of it to himself, and had
a ring made, which he always wore, wherein he was represented receiving
Jugurtha from the hands of Bocchus; and this ring he used ever after as
his signet. But Marius was so highly exasperated at this kind of insult,
that he could never forgive him; and this circumstance gave rise to the
implacable hatred between these two Romans, which afterwards broke out
with so much fury, and cost the republic so much blood.

(M152) Marius entered Rome in triumph,(952) exhibiting such a spectacle to
the Romans, as they could scarce believe they saw, when it passed before
their eyes; I mean, Jugurtha in chains; that so formidable an enemy,
during whose life they had not dared to flatter themselves with the hopes
of being able to put an end to this war; so well was his courage sustained
by stratagem and artifice, and his genius so fruitful in finding new
expedients, even when his affairs were most desperate. We are told, that
Jugurtha ran distracted, as he was walking in the triumph; that after the
ceremony was ended, he was thrown into prison; and that the lictors were
so eager to seize his robe, that they rent it in several pieces, and tore
away the tips of his ears, to get the rich jewels with which they were
adorned. In this condition he was cast, quite naked, and in the utmost
terrors, into a deep dungeon, where he spent six days in struggling with
hunger and the fear of death, retaining a strong desire of life to his
last gasp; an end, continues Plutarch, worthy of his wicked deeds,
Jugurtha having been always of opinion, that the greatest crimes might be
committed to satiate his ambition; ingratitude, perfidy, black treachery,
and inhuman barbarity.

Juba, king of Mauritania, reflected so much honour on polite literature
and the sciences, that I could not, without impropriety, omit him in the
history of the family of Masinissa, to whom his father, who also was named
Juba, was great grandson, and grandson of Gulussa. The elder Juba
signalized himself in the war between Cæsar and Pompey, by his inviolable
attachment to the party of the latter.(M153) He slew himself after the
battle of Thapsus, in which his forces and those of Scipio were entirely
defeated. Juba, his son, then a child, was delivered up to the conqueror,
and was one of the most conspicuous ornaments of his triumph. It appears
from history, that a noble education was bestowed upon Juba in Rome, where
he imbibed such a variety of knowledge, as afterwards equalled him to the
most learned among(M154) the Grecians. He did not leave that city till he
went to take possession of his father’s dominions. Augustus restored them
to him, when, by the death of Mark Antony, the provinces of the empire
were absolutely at his disposal. Juba, by the lenity of his government,
gained the hearts of all his subjects; who, out of a grateful sense of the
felicity they had enjoyed during his reign, ranked him in the number of
their gods. Pausanias speaks of a statue which the Athenians erected in
his honour. It was, indeed just, that a city, which had been consecrated
in all ages to the Muses, should give public testimonies of its esteem for
a king who made so bright a figure among the learned. Suidas ascribes(953)
several works to this prince, of which only the fragments are now extant.
He had written the history of Arabia; the antiquities of Assyria, and
those of the Romans; the history of theatres, of painting and painters; of
the nature and properties of different animals, of grammar, and similar
subjects; a catalogue of all which is given in Abbé Sevin’s short
dissertation on the life and works of the younger Juba,(954) whence I have
extracted these few particulars.



BOOK THE THIRD. THE HISTORY OF THE ASSYRIANS.



Chapter I. The First Empire of the Assyrians.


SECT. I. DURATION OF THAT EMPIRE.—The Assyrian empire was undoubtedly one
of the most powerful in the world. With respect to its duration, two
opinions have chiefly prevailed. Some authors, as Ctesias, whose opinion
is followed by Justin, give it a duration of thirteen hundred years:
others reduce it to five hundred and twenty, of which number is Herodotus.
The diminution, or probably the interruption of power, which happened in
this vast empire, might possibly give occasion to this difference of
opinions, and may perhaps serve in some measure to reconcile them.

The history of those early times is so obscure, the monuments which convey
it down to us so contrary to each other, and the systems of the
moderns(955) upon that matter so different, that it is difficult to lay
down any opinion about it, as certain and incontestable. But where
certainty is not to be had, I suppose a reasonable person will be
satisfied with probability; and, in my opinion, a man can hardly be
deceived, if he makes the Assyrian empire equal in antiquity with the city
of Babylon, its capital. Now we learn from the holy Scripture, that this
was built by Nimrod, who certainly was a great conqueror, and in all
probability the first and most ancient of all those who have ever aspired
after that denomination.

The Babylonians, as Callisthenes, a philosopher in Alexander’s retinue,
wrote to Aristotle,(956) reckoned themselves to be at least of 1903 years’
standing, when that prince entered triumphant into Babylon; which makes
their origin reach back to the year of the world 1771, that is to say, 115
years after the deluge. This computation comes within a few years of the
time in which we suppose Nimrod to have founded that city. Indeed, this
testimony of Callisthenes, as it does not agree with any other accounts of
that empire, is not esteemed authentic by the learned; but the conformity
we find between it and the holy Scriptures should make us regard it.

Upon these grounds, I think we may allow Nimrod to have been the founder
of the first Assyrian empire, which subsisted with more or less extent and
glory upwards of 1450 years,(957) from the time of Nimrod to that of
Sardanapalus, the last king, that is to say, from the year of the world
1800 to the year 3257.

(M155) NIMROD. He is the same with Belus,(958) who was afterwards
worshipped as a god under that appellation.

He was the son of Chus, grandson of Ham, and great grandson of Noah. He
was, says the Scripture, “a mighty hunter before the Lord.”(959) In
applying himself to this laborious and dangerous exercise, he had two
things in view; the first was, to gain the people’s affection by
delivering them from the fury and dread of wild beasts; the next was, to
train up numbers of young people by this exercise of hunting to endure
labour and hardship, to form them to the use of arms, to inure them to a
kind of discipline and obedience, that at a proper time, after they had
been accustomed to his orders and seasoned in arms, he might make use of
them for other purposes more serious than hunting.

In ancient history we find some footsteps remaining of this artifice of
Nimrod, whom the writers have confounded with Ninus, his son: for Diodorus
has these words:(960) “Ninus, the most ancient of the Assyrian kings
mentioned in history, performed great actions. Being naturally of a
warlike disposition, and ambitious of the glory that results from valour,
he armed a considerable number of young men, that were brave and vigorous
like himself; trained them up a long time in laborious exercises and
hardships, and by that means accustomed them to bear the fatigues of war
patiently, and to face dangers with courage and intrepidity.”

What the same author adds,(961) that Ninus entered into an alliance with
the king of the Arabs, and joined forces with him, is a piece of ancient
tradition, which informs us, that the sons of Chus, and by consequence,
the brothers of Nimrod, all settled themselves in Arabia, along the
Persian gulf, from Havilah to the Ocean; and lived near enough to their
brother to lend him succours, or to receive them from him. And what the
same historian further says of Ninus, that he was the first king of the
Assyrians, agrees exactly with what the Scripture says of Nimrod, “that he
began to be mighty upon the earth;” that is, he procured himself
settlements, built cities, subdued his neighbours, united different people
under one and the same authority, by the band of the same polity and the
same laws, and formed them into one state; which, for those early times,
was of a considerable extent, though bounded by the rivers Euphrates and
Tigris; and which, in succeeding ages, made new acquisitions by degrees,
and at length extended its conquests very far.

“The capital city of his kingdom,” says the Scripture,(962) “was Babylon.”
Most of the profane historians ascribe the founding of Babylon to
Semiramis,(963) others to Belus. It is evident, that both the one and the
other are mistaken, if they speak of the first founder of that city; for
it owes its beginning neither to Semiramis nor to Nimrod, but to the
foolish vanity of those persons mentioned in Scripture,(964) who desired
to build a tower and a city, that should render their memory immortal.

Josephus relates,(965) upon the testimony of a Sibyl, (who must have been
very ancient, and whose fictions cannot be imputed to the indiscreet zeal
of any Christians,) that the gods threw down the tower by an impetuous
wind, or a violent hurricane. Had this been the case, Nimrod’s temerity
must have been still greater, to rebuild a city and a tower which God
himself had overthrown with such marks of his displeasure. But the
Scripture says no such thing; and it is very probable, the building
remained in the condition it was, when God put an end to the work by the
confusion of languages; and that the tower consecrated to Belus, which is
described by Herodotus,(966) was this very tower, which the sons of men
pretended to raise to the clouds.

It is further probable, that this ridiculous design having been defeated
by such an astonishing prodigy, as none could be the author of but God
himself, every body abandoned the place, which had given Him offence; and
that Nimrod was the first who encompassed it afterwards with walls,
settled therein his friends and confederates, and subdued those that lived
round about it, beginning his empire in that place, but not confining it
to so narrow a compass: _Fuit principium regni ejus Babylon_. The other
cities, which the Scripture speaks of in the same place, were in the land
of Shinar, which was certainly the province of which Babylon became the
metropolis.

From this country he went into that which has the name of Assyria, and
there built Nineveh: _De terrâ illâ egressus est Assur, et ædificavit
Nineven_.(967) This is the sense in which many learned men understand the
word Assur, looking upon it as the name of a province, and not of the
first man who possessed it, as if it were, _egressus est in Assur, in
Assyriam_. And this seems to be the most natural construction, for many
reasons not necessary to be recited in this place. The country of Assyria
is described, in one of the prophets,(968) by the particular character of
being the land of Nimrod: _Et pascent terram Assur in gladio, et terram,
Nimrod in lanceis ejus; et liberabit ab Assur, cùm venerit in terram
nostram_. It derived its name from Assur the son of Shem, who, without
doubt, had settled himself and family there, and was probably driven out,
or brought under subjection, by the usurper Nimrod.

This conqueror having possessed himself of the provinces of Assur,(969)
did not ravage them like a tyrant, but filled them with cities, and made
himself as much beloved by his new subjects as he was by his old ones; so
that the historians,(970) who have not examined into the bottom of this
affair, have thought that he made use of the Assyrians to conquer the
Babylonians. Among other cities, he built one more large and magnificent
than the rest, which he called Nineveh, from the name of his son Ninus, in
order to immortalize his memory. The son, in his turn, out of veneration
for his father, was willing that they who had served him as their king
should adore him as their god, and induce other nations to render him the
same worship. For it appears evident, that Nimrod is the famous Belus of
the Babylonians, the first king whom the people deified for his great
actions, and who showed others the way to that sort of immortality which
human acquirements are supposed capable of bestowing.

I intend to speak of the mighty strength and greatness of the cities of
Babylon and Nineveh, under the kings to whom their building is ascribed by
profane authors, because the Scripture says little or nothing on that
subject. This silence of Scripture, so little satisfactory to our
curiosity, may become an instructive lesson to our piety. The holy penman
has placed Nimrod and Abraham, as it were, in one view before us; and
seems to have put them so near together on purpose, that we should see an
example in the former of what is admired and coveted by men, and in the
latter of what is acceptable and well-pleasing to God. These two
persons,(971) so unlike one another, are the first two and chief citizens
of two different cities, built on different motives, and with different
principles; the one, self-love, and a desire of temporal advantages,
carried even to the contemning of the Deity; the other, the love of God,
even to the contemning of one’s self.

(M156) NINUS. I have already observed, that most of the profane authors
look upon him as the first founder of the Assyrian empire, and for that
reason ascribe to him a great part of his father Nimrod’s or Belus’s
actions.

Having a design to enlarge his conquests, the first thing he did was to
prepare troops and officers capable of promoting his designs.(972) And
having received powerful succours from the Arabians his neighbours, he
took the field, and in the space of seventeen years conquered a vast
extent of country, from Egypt as far as India and Bactriana, which he did
not then venture to attack.

At his return, before he entered upon any new conquests, he conceived the
design of immortalizing his name by the building of a city answerable to
the greatness of his power; he called it Nineveh, and built it on the
eastern banks of the Tigris.(973) Possibly he did no more than finish the
work his father had begun. His design, says Diodorus, was to make Nineveh
the largest and noblest city in the world, and to put it out of the power
of those that came after him ever to build or hope to build such another.
Nor was he deceived in his view; for never did any city come up to the
greatness and magnificence of this: it was one hundred and fifty stadia
(or eighteen miles three quarters) in length, and ninety stadia (or eleven
miles and one quarter) in breadth; and consequently was an oblong square.
Its circumference was four hundred and eighty stadia, or sixty miles. For
this reason we find it said in the prophet Jonah, “That Nineveh was an
exceeding great city, of three days’ journey;”(974) which is to be
understood of the whole circuit, or compass of the city.(975) The walls of
it were a hundred feet high, and of so considerable a thickness, that
three chariots might go abreast upon them with ease. They were fortified,
and adorned with fifteen hundred towers two hundred feet high.

After he had finished this prodigious work, he resumed his expedition
against the Bactrians. His army, according to the relation of Ctesias,
consisted of seventeen hundred thousand foot, two hundred thousand horse,
and about sixteen thousand chariots armed with scythes. Diodorus adds,
that this ought not to appear incredible, since, not to mention the
innumerable armies of Darius and Xerxes, the city of Syracuse alone, in
the time of Dionysius the Tyrant, furnished one hundred and twenty
thousand foot and twelve thousand horse, besides four hundred vessels well
equipped and provided. And a little before Hannibal’s time, Italy,
including the citizens and allies, was able to send into the field near a
million of men. Ninus made himself master of a great number of cities, and
at last laid siege to Bactria, the capital of the country. Here he would
probably have seen all his attempts miscarry, had it not been for the
diligence and assistance of Semiramis, wife to one of his chief officers,
a woman of an uncommon courage, and peculiarly exempt from the weakness of
her sex. She was born at Ascalon, a city of Syria. I think it needless to
recite the account Diodorus gives of her birth, and of the miraculous
manner of her being nursed and brought up by pigeons, since that historian
himself looks upon it only as a fabulous story. It was Semiramis that
directed Ninus how to attack the citadel, and by her means he took it, and
thus became master of the city, in which he found an immense treasure. The
husband of Semiramis having killed himself, to prevent the effects of the
king’s threats and indignation, who had conceived a violent passion for
his wife, Ninus married her.

After his return to Nineveh, he had a son by her, whom he called Ninyas.
Not long after this he died, and left the queen the government of the
kingdom. She, in honour of his memory, erected a magnificent monument,
which remained a long time after the ruin of Nineveh.

I find no appearance of truth in what some authors relate concerning the
manner of Semiramis’s coming to the throne.(976) According to them, having
secured the chief men of the state, and attached them to her interest by
her benefactions and promises, she solicited the king with great
importunity to put the sovereign power into her hands for the space of
five days. He yielded to her entreaties, and all the provinces of the
empire were commanded to obey Semiramis. These orders were executed but
too exactly for the unfortunate Ninus, who was put to death, either
immediately or after some years’ imprisonment.

(M157) SEMIRAMIS. This princess applied all her thoughts to immortalize
her name, and to cover the meanness of her extraction by the greatness of
her enterprises.(977) She proposed to herself to surpass all her
predecessors in magnificence, and to that end she undertook the building
of the mighty Babylon,(978) in which work she employed two millions of
men, which were collected out of all the provinces of her vast empire.
Some of her successors endeavoured to adorn that city with new works and
embellishments. I shall here speak of them all together, in order to give
the reader a more clear and distinct idea of that stupendous city.

The principal works which rendered Babylon so famous, are the walls of the
city; the quays and the bridge; the lake, banks, and canals, made for the
draining of the river; the palaces, hanging gardens, and the temple of
Belus; works of such a surprising magnificence, as is scarce to be
comprehended. Dr. Prideaux having treated this subject with great extent
and learning, I have only to copy, or rather abridge him.

I. _The Walls._—Babylon stood on a large plain, in a very fat and rich
soil.(979) The Avails were every way prodigious. They were in thickness
eighty-seven feet, in height three hundred and fifty, and in compass four
hundred and eighty furlongs, which make sixty of our miles. These walls
were drawn round the city in the form of an exact square, each side of
which was one hundred and twenty furlongs,(980) or fifteen miles, in
length, and all built of large bricks cemented together with bitumen, a
glutinous slime arising out of the earth in that country, which binds much
stronger and firmer than mortar, and soon grows much harder than the
bricks or stones themselves which it cements together.

These walls were surrounded on the outside with a vast ditch, full of
water, and lined with bricks on both sides. The earth that was dug out of
it made the bricks wherewith the walls were built; and therefore, from the
vast height and breadth of the walls may be inferred the greatness of the
ditch.

In every side of this great square were twenty-five gates, that is, a
hundred in all, which were all made of solid brass; and hence it is, that
when God promises to Cyrus the conquest of Babylon, he tells him,(981)
that he would break in pieces before him the gates of brass. Between every
two of these gates were three towers, and four more at the four corners of
this great square, and three between each of these corners and the next
gate on either side; every one of these towers was ten feet higher than
the walls. But this is to be understood only of those parts of the wall
where there was need of towers.

From the twenty-five gates in each side of this great square went
twenty-five streets, in straight lines to the gates, which were directly
over-against them, in the opposite side; so that the whole number of the
streets was fifty, each fifteen miles long, whereof twenty-five went one
way, and twenty-five the other, directly crossing each other at right
angles. And besides these, there were also four half streets, which had
houses only on one side, and the wall on the other; these went round the
four sides of the city next the walls, and were each of them two hundred
feet broad; the rest were about a hundred and fifty. By these streets thus
crossing each other, the whole city was cut out into six hundred and
seventy-six squares, each of which was four furlongs and a half on every
side, that is, two miles and a quarter in circumference. Round these
squares, on every side towards the street, stood the houses (which were
not contiguous, but had void spaces between them,) all built three or four
stories high, and beautified with all manner of ornaments towards the
streets.(982) The space within in the middle of each square, was likewise
all void ground, employed for yards, gardens, and other such uses; so that
Babylon was greater in appearance than reality, near one half of the city
being taken up in gardens and other cultivated lands, as we are told by Q.
Curtius.

II. _The Quays and Bridge._—A branch of the river Euphrates ran quite
cross the city, from the north to the south side;(983) on each side of the
river was a quay, and a high wall built of brick and bitumen, of the same
thickness as the walls that went round the city. In these walls,
over-against every street that led to the river, were gates of brass, and
from them descents by steps to the river, for the conveniency of the
inhabitants, who used to pass over from one side to the other in boats,
having no other way of crossing the river before the building of the
bridge. The brazen gates were always open in the daytime, and shut in the
night.

The bridge was not inferior to any of the other buildings, either in
beauty or magnificence; it was a furlong in length,(984) and thirty feet
in breadth, built with wonderful art, to supply the defect of a foundation
in the bottom of the river, which was all sandy. The arches were made of
huge stones, fastened together with chains of iron and melted lead. Before
they began to build the bridge, they turned the course of the river, and
laid its channel dry, having another view in so doing, besides that of
laying the foundations more commodiously, as I shall explain hereafter.
And as every thing was prepared beforehand, both the bridge and the quays,
which I have already described, were built in that interval.

III. _The Lake, Ditches, and Canals, made for the draining __ of the
River._—These works, objects of admiration for the skilful in all ages,
were still more useful than magnificent.(985) In the beginning of the
summer, on the sun’s melting the snow on the mountains of Armenia, there
arises a vast increase of waters, which, running into the Euphrates in the
months of June, July, and August, makes it overflow its banks, and
occasion such another inundation as the Nile does in Egypt. To prevent the
damage which both the city and country received from these inundations, at
a very considerable distance above the town two artificial canals were
cut, which turned the course of these waters into the Tigris, before they
reached Babylon.(986) And to secure the country yet more from the danger
of inundations, and to keep the river within its channel, they raised
prodigious banks on both sides the river, built with brick cemented with
bitumen, which began at the head of the artificial canals, and extended
below the city.(987)

To facilitate the making of these works, it was necessary to turn the
course of the river, for which purpose, to the west of Babylon, was dug a
prodigious artificial lake, forty miles square,(988) one hundred and sixty
in compass, and thirty-five feet deep, according to Herodotus, and
seventy-five, according to Megasthenes. Into this lake was the whole river
turned, by an artificial canal cut from the west side of it, till the
whole work was finished, when it was made to flow in its former channel.
But that the Euphrates, in the time of its increase, might not overflow
the city, through the gates on its sides, this lake, with the canal from
the river, was still preserved. The water received into the lake at the
time of these overflowings was kept there all the year, as in a common
reservoir, for the benefit of the country, to be let out by sluices, at
convenient times for the watering of the lands below it. The lake,
therefore, was equally useful in defending the country from inundations,
and making it fertile. I relate the wonders of Babylon as they are
delivered down to us by the ancients; but there are some of them which are
scarce to be comprehended or believed, of which number is the vast extent
of the lake which I have just described.

Berosus, Megasthenes, and Abydenus, quoted by Josephus and Eusebius, make
Nebuchadnezzar the author of most of these works; but Herodotus ascribes
the bridge, the two quays of the river, and the lake, to Nitocris, the
daughter-in-law of that monarch. Perhaps Nitocris might finish what her
father left imperfect at his death, on which account that historian might
give her the honour of the whole undertaking.

IV. _The Palaces, and Hanging Gardens._(_989_)—At the two ends of the
bridge were two palaces, which had a communication with each other by a
vault, built under the channel of the river, at the time of its being dry.
The old palace, which stood on the east side of the river, was thirty
furlongs (or three miles and three quarters) in compass; near which stood
the temple of Belus, of which we shall soon speak. The new palace, which
stood on the west side of the river, opposite to the other, was sixty
furlongs (or seven miles and a half) in compass. It was surrounded with
three walls, one within another, with considerable spaces between them.
These walls, as also those of the other palace, were embellished with an
infinite variety of sculptures, representing all kinds of animals, to the
life. Amongst the rest was a curious hunting-piece, in which Semiramis on
horseback was throwing her javelin at a leopard, and her husband Ninus
piercing a lion.

In this last palace, were the hanging gardens, so celebrated among the
Greeks.(990) They contained a square of four hundred feet on every side,
and were carried up in the manner of several large terraces, one above
another, till the height equalled that of the walls of the city. The
ascent was from terrace to terrace, by stairs ten feet wide. The whole
pile was sustained by vast arches, raised upon other arches, one above
another, and strengthened by a wall, surrounding it on every side, of
twenty-two feet in thickness. On the top of the arches were first laid
large flat stones, sixteen feet long, and four broad; over these was a
layer of reeds, mixed with a great quantity of bitumen, upon which were
two rows of bricks, closely cemented together with plaster. The whole was
covered with thick sheets of lead, upon which lay the mould of the garden.
And all this floorage was contrived to keep the moisture of the mould from
running away through the arches. The earth laid hereon was so deep, that
the greatest trees might take root in it; and with such the terraces were
covered, as well as with all other plants and flowers, that were proper to
adorn a pleasure-garden. In the upper terrace there was an engine, or kind
of pump, by which water was drawn up out of the river, and from thence the
whole garden was watered. In the spaces between the several arches, upon
which this whole structure rested, were large and magnificent apartments,
that were very light, and had the advantage of a beautiful prospect.

Amytis, the wife of Nebuchadnezzar, having been bred in Media, (for she
was the daughter of Astyages, the king of that country,) had been much
delighted with the mountains and woody parts of that country.(991) And as
she desired to have something like it in Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar, to
gratify her, caused this prodigious edifice to be erected: Diodoras gives
much the same account of the matter, but without naming the persons.

V. _The Temple of Belus._(_992_)—Another of the great works at Babylon was
the temple of Belus, which stood, as I have mentioned already, near the
old palace. It was most remarkable for a prodigious tower, that stood in
the middle of it. At the foundation, according to Herodotus, it was a
square of a furlong on each side, that is, half a mile in the whole
compass, and (according to Strabo) it was also a furlong in height. It
consisted of eight towers, built one above the other, decreasing regularly
to the top, for which reason Strabo calls the whole a pyramid. It is not
only asserted, but proved, that this tower much exceeded the greatest of
the pyramids of Egypt in height. Therefore we have good reason to believe,
as Bochart asserts,(993) that this is the very same tower which was built
there at the confusion of languages; and the rather, because it is
attested by several profane authors, that this tower was all built of
bricks and bitumen, as the Scriptures tell us the tower of Babel was. The
ascent to the top was by stairs on the outside round it; that is, perhaps,
there was an easy sloping ascent in the side of the outer wall, which,
turning by very slow degrees in a spiral line eight times round the tower
from the bottom to the top, had the same appearance as if there had been
eight towers placed upon one another. In these different stories were many
large rooms, with arched roofs supported by pillars. Over the whole, on
the top of the tower, was an observatory, by the benefit of which the
Babylonians became more expert in astronomy than all other nations, and
made, in a short time, the great progress in it ascribed to them in
history.

But the chief use to which this tower was designed, was the worship of the
god Belus or Baal, as also that of several other deities; for which reason
there was a multitude of chapels in different parts of the tower. The
riches of this temple in statues, tables, censers, cups, and other sacred
vessels, all of massy gold, were immense. Among other images, there was
one forty feet high, which weighed a thousand Babylonish talents. The
Babylonish talent, according to Pollux in his _Onomasticon_, contained
seven thousand Attic drachmas, and consequently was a sixth part more than
the Attic talent, which contains but six thousand drachmas.

According to the calculation which Diodorus makes of the riches contained
in this temple, the sum total amounts to six thousand three hundred
Babylonish talents of gold.

The sixth part of six thousand three hundred is one thousand and fifty;
consequently six thousand three hundred Babylonish talents of gold are
equivalent to seven thousand three hundred and fifty Attic talents of
gold.

Now seven thousand three hundred and fifty Attic talents of silver are
worth upwards of two millions and one hundred thousand pounds sterling.
The proportion between gold and silver among the ancients we reckon as ten
to one; therefore seven thousand three hundred and fifty Attic talents of
gold amount to above one and twenty millions sterling.

This temple stood till the time of Xerxes;(994) but he, on his return from
his Grecian expedition, demolished it entirely, after having first
plundered it of all its immense riches. Alexander, on his return to
Babylon from his Indian expedition, purposed to have rebuilt it; and in
order thereto, set ten thousand men to work, to rid the place of its
rubbish; but, after they had laboured herein two months, Alexander died,
and that put an end to the undertaking.

Such were the chief works which rendered Babylon so famous; the greater
part of them are ascribed by profane authors to Semiramis, to whose
history it is now time to return.

When she had finished all these great undertakings, she thought fit to
make a progress through the several parts of her empire;(995) and,
wherever she came, left monuments of her magnificence by many noble
structures which she erected, either for the conveniency or ornament of
her cities; she was particularly careful to have water brought by
aqueducts to such places as wanted it, and to make the highways easy, by
cutting through mountains, and filling up valleys. In the time of
Diodorus, there were still monuments to be seen in many places, with her
name inscribed upon them.

The authority this queen had over her people seems very extraordinary,
since we find her presence alone capable of appeasing a sedition.(996) One
day, as she was dressing herself, word was brought her of a tumult in the
city. Whereupon she went out immediately, with her head half dressed, and
did not return till the disturbance was entirely appeased. A statue was
erected in remembrance of this action, representing her in that very
attitude and undress, which had not hindered her from flying to her duty.

Not satisfied with the vast extent of dominions left her by her husband,
she enlarged them by the conquest of a great part of Æthiopia. Whilst she
was in that country, she had the curiosity to visit the temple of Jupiter
Ammon, to inquire of the oracle how long she had to live. According to
Diodorus, the answer she received was, that she should not die till her
son Ninyas conspired against her, and that after her death one part of
Asia would pay her divine honours.

Her greatest and last expedition was against India; on this occasion she
raised an innumerable army out of all the provinces of her empire, and
appointed Bactra for the rendezvous. As the strength of the Indians
consisted chiefly in their great number of elephants, she caused a
multitude of camels to be accoutred in the form of elephants, in hopes of
deceiving the enemy. It is said that Perseus long after used the same
stratagem against the Romans; but neither of them succeeded in this
artifice. The Indian king having notice of her approach, sent ambassadors
to ask her who she was, and with what right, having never received any
injury from him, she came out of wantonness to attack his dominions;
adding, that her boldness should soon meet with the punishment it
deserved. Tell your master (replied the queen) that in a little time I
myself will let him know who I am. She advanced immediately towards the
river(997) from which the country takes its name; and having prepared a
sufficient number of boats, she attempted to pass it with her army. Their
passage was a long time disputed, but after a bloody battle she put her
enemies to flight. Above a thousand of their boats were sunk, and above a
hundred thousand of their men taken prisoners. Encouraged by this success,
she advanced directly into the country, leaving sixty thousand men behind
to guard the bridge of boats, which she had built over the river. This was
just what the king desired, who fled on purpose to bring her to an
engagement in the heart of his country. As soon as he thought her far
enough advanced, he faced about, and a second engagement ensued, more
bloody than the first. The counterfeit elephants could not long sustain
the shock of the real ones: these routed her army, crushing whatever came
in their way. Semiramis did all that lay in her power to rally and
encourage her troops, but in vain. The king, perceiving her engaged in the
fight, advanced towards her, and wounded her in two places, but not
mortally. The swiftness of her horse soon carried her beyond the reach of
her enemies. As her men crowded to the bridge, to repass the river, great
numbers of them perished, through the disorder and confusion unavoidable
on such occasions. When those that could save themselves were safely over,
she destroyed the bridge, and by that means stopt the enemy; and the king
likewise, in obedience to an oracle, had given orders to his troops not to
pass the river, nor pursue Semiramis any farther. The queen, having made
an exchange of prisoners at Bactra, returned to her own dominions with
scarce one-third of her army, which (according to Ctesias) consisted of
three million foot, and five hundred thousand horse, besides the camels
and chariots armed for war, of which she had a very considerable number. I
have no doubt that this account is highly exaggerated, or that there is
some mistake in the numeral characters. She, and Alexander after her, were
the only persons that ever ventured to carry the war beyond the river
Indus.

I must own, I am somewhat puzzled with a difficulty which may be raised
against the extraordinary things related of Ninus and Semiramis, as they
do not seem to agree with the times so near the deluge: I mean, such vast
armies, such a numerous cavalry, so many chariots armed with scythes, and
such immense treasures of gold and silver; all which seem to be of a later
date. The same thing may likewise be said of the magnificence of the
buildings, ascribed to them. It is probable, the Greek historians, who
came so many ages afterwards, deceived by the similarity of names, by
their ignorance in chronology, and the resemblance of one event with
another, may have ascribed such things to more ancient princes, as
belonged to those of a later date; or may have attributed a number of
exploits and enterprises to one, which ought to be divided amongst a
series of them, succeeding one another.

Semiramis, some time after her return, discovered that her son was
plotting against her, and one of her principal officers had offered him
his assistance. She then called to mind the oracle of Jupiter Ammon; and
believing that her end approached, without inflicting any punishment on
the officer, who was taken into custody, she voluntarily abdicated the
throne, put the government into the hands of her son, and withdrew from
the sight of men, hoping speedily to have divine honours paid to her
according to the promise of the oracle. And indeed we are told, she was
worshipped by the Assyrians, under the form of a dove. She lived sixty-two
years, of which she reigned forty-two.

There are in the _Memoirs of the Academy of Belles Lettres_(998) two
learned dissertations upon the Assyrian empire, and particularly on the
reign and actions of Semiramis.

What Justin(999) says of Semiramis, namely, that after her husband’s
decease, not daring either to commit the government to her son, who was
then too young, or openly to take it upon herself, she governed under the
name and habit of Ninyas, and that, after having reigned in that manner
above forty years, falling passionately in love with her own son, she
endeavoured to induce him to comply with her criminal desires, and was
slain by him: all this, I say, is so void of all appearance of truth, that
to go about to confute it would be but losing time. It must however be
owned, that almost all the authors who have spoken of Semiramis, give us
but a disadvantageous idea of her chastity.

I do not know but that the glorious reign of this queen might partly
induce Plato to maintain, in his Commonwealth,(1000) that women as well as
men ought to be admitted into the management of public affairs, the
conducting of armies, and the government of states; and, by necessary
consequence, ought to be trained up in the same exercises as men, as well
for the forming of the body as the mind. Nor does he so much as except
those exercises, wherein it was customary to fight stark naked,
alleging(1001) that the virtue of the sex would be a sufficient covering
for them.

It is just matter of surprise to find a philosopher so judicious in other
respects, openly combating the most common and most natural maxims of
modesty and decency, virtues which are the principal ornament of the
female sex, and insisting so strongly upon a principle, sufficiently
confuted by the constant practice of all ages, and of almost all nations
in the world.

Aristotle, wiser in this than his master Plato, without doing the least
injustice to the real merit and essential qualities of the sex, has with
great judgment marked(1002) out the different ends to which man and woman
are ordained, from the different qualities of body and mind, wherewith
they are endowed by the Author of nature, who has given the one strength
of body and intrepidity of mind to enable him to undergo the greatest
hardships, and face the most imminent dangers; whilst the other, on the
contrary, is of a weak and delicate constitution, accompanied with a
natural softness and modest timidity, which render her more fit for a
sedentary life, and dispose her to keep within the precincts of the house,
and to employ herself in the concerns of prudent and industrious economy.

Xenophon is of the same opinion with Aristotle;(1003) and in order to set
off the occupation of the wife, who confines herself within her house,
agreeably compares her to the mother-bee, commonly called the queen-bee,
who alone governs and has the superintendence of the whole hive, who
distributes all their employments, encourages their industry, presides
over the building of their little cells, takes care of the nourishment and
subsistence of her numerous family; regulates the quantity of honey
appointed for that purpose, and at fixed and proper seasons sends abroad
the new swarms in colonies, to ease and disburthen the hive of its
superfluous inhabitants. He remarks, with Aristotle, the difference of
constitution and inclinations, designedly made by the Author of nature
between man and woman, to point out to each of them their proper and
peculiar offices and functions.

This allotment, far from degrading or lessening the woman, is really for
her advantage and honour, in confiding to her a kind of domestic empire
and government, administered only by gentleness, reason, equity, and good
nature; and in giving her frequent occasions of concealing the most
valuable and excellent qualities under the inestimable veil of modesty and
submission. For it must ingenuously be owned, that at all times, and in
all conditions, there have been women, who by a real and solid merit have
distinguished themselves above their sex; as there have been innumerable
instances of men, who by their defects have dishonoured theirs. But these
are only particular cases, which form no rule, and which ought not to
prevail against an establishment founded in nature, and prescribed by the
Creator himself.

(M158) NINYAS.(1004) This prince was in no respect like those from whom he
received his birth, and to whose throne he succeeded. Wholly intent upon
his pleasures, he kept himself shut up in his palace, and seldom showed
himself to his people. To keep them in their duty, he had always at
Nineveh a certain number of regular troops, furnished every year from the
several provinces of his empire, at the expiration of which term they were
succeeded by the like number of other troops on the same conditions; the
king putting a commander at the head of them, on whose fidelity he could
depend. He made use of this method, that the officers might not have time
to gain the affections of the soldiers, and so form any conspiracies
against him.

His successors for thirty generations followed his example and even
surpassed him in indolence. Their history is absolutely unknown, there
remaining no footsteps of it.

(M159) In Abraham’s time the Scripture speaks of Amraphael, king of
Shinar, the country where Babylon was situated, who with two other princes
followed Chedorlaomer, king of the Elamites, whose tributary he probably
was, in the war carried on by the latter against five kings of the land of
Canaan.

(M160) It was under the government of these inactive princes, that
Sesostris, king of Egypt, extended his conquests so far in the East. But
as his power was of a short duration, and not supported by his successors,
the Assyrian empire soon returned to its former state.

(M161) Plato, a curious observer of antiquities, makes the kingdom of
Troy, in the time of Priam, dependent on the Assyrian empire.(1005) And
Ctesias says, that Teutamus, the twentieth king after Ninyas, sent a
considerable body of troops to the assistance of the Trojans, under the
conduct of Memnon, the son of Tithonus, at a time when the Assyrian empire
had subsisted above a thousand years; which agrees exactly with the time,
wherein I have placed the foundation of that empire. But the silence of
Homer concerning so mighty a people, and one which must needs have been
well known, renders this fact exceeding doubtful. And it must be owned,
that whatever relates to the times of the ancient history of the
Assyrians, is attended with great difficulties, into which my plan does
not permit me to enter.

(M162) PUL. The Scripture informs us, that Pul, king of Assyria, being
come into the land of Israel, had a thousand talents of silver given him
by Menahem, king of the ten tribes, to engage him to lend him assistance,
and secure him on his throne.(1006)

This Pul is supposed to be the king of Nineveh, who repented, with all his
people, at the preaching of Jonah.

He is also thought to be the father of Sardanapalus, the last king of the
Assyrians, called, according to the custom of the eastern nations,
Sardanpul, that is to say, Sardan, the son of Pul.

(M163) SARDANAPALUS. This prince surpassed all his predecessors in
effeminacy, luxury, and cowardice.(1007) He never went out of his palace,
but spent all his time amongst a company of women, dressed and painted
like them, and employed like them at the distaff. He placed all his
happiness and glory in the possession of immense treasures, in feasting
and rioting, and indulging himself in all the most infamous and criminal
pleasures. He ordered two verses to be put upon his tomb, which imported,
that he carried away with him all that he had eaten, and all the pleasures
he had enjoyed, but left all the rest behind him.


    Hæc habeo quæ edi, quæque exaturata libido
    Hausit: at illa jacent multa et præclara relicta.(1008)


An epitaph, says Aristotle, fit for a hog.

Arbaces, governor of Media, having found means to get into the palace, and
having with his own eyes seen Sardanapalus in the midst of his infamous
seraglio; enraged at such a spectacle, and not able to endure that so many
brave men should be subject to a prince more soft and e