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Title: An Egyptian Princess — Volume 10
Author: Ebers, Georg
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.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "An Egyptian Princess — Volume 10" ***

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AN EGYPTIAN PRINCESS, Part 2.

By Georg Ebers

Volume 10.


CHAPTER XIII.

The waters of the Nile had begun to rise again.  Two months had passed
away since Phanes' disappearance, and much had happened.

The very day on which he left Egypt, Sappho had given birth to a girl,
and had so far regained strength since then under the care of her
grandmother, as to be able to join in an excursion up the Nile, which
Croesus had suggested should take place on the festival of the goddess
Neith.  Since the departure of Phanes, Cambyses' behavior had become so
intolerable, that Bartja, with the permission of his brother, had taken
Sappho to live in the royal palace at Memphis, in order to escape any
painful collision.  Rhodopis, at whose house Croesus and his son, Bartja,
Darius and Zopyrus were constant guests, had agreed to join the party.

On the morning of the festival-day they started in a gorgeously decorated
boat, from a point between thirty and forty miles below Memphis, favored
by a good north-wind and urged rapidly forward by a large number of
rowers.

A wooden roof or canopy, gilded and brightly painted, sheltered them from
the sun.  Croesus sat by Rhodopis, Theopompus the Milesian lay at her
feet.  Sappho was leaning against Bartja.  Syloson, the brother of
Polykrates, had made himself a comfortable resting-place next to Darius,
who was looking thought fully into the water.  Gyges and Zopyrus busied
themselves in making wreaths for the women, from the flowers handed them
by an Egyptian slave.

"It seems hardly possible," said Bartja, "that we can be rowing against
the stream.  The boat flies like a swallow."

"This fresh north-wind brings us forward," answered Theopompus.  "And
then the Egyptian boatmen understand their work splendidly."

"And row all the better just because we are sailing against the stream,"
added Croesus.  "Resistance always brings out a man's best powers."

"Yes," said Rhodopis, "sometimes we even make difficulties, if the river
of life seems too smooth."

"True," answered Darius.  "A noble mind can never swim with the stream.
In quiet inactivity all men are equal.  We must be seen fighting, to be
rightly estimated."

"Such noble-minded champions must be very cautious,  though," said
Rhodopis, "lest  they become contentious, and  quarrelsome.  Do you see
those melons lying on the black soil yonder, like golden balls?  Not one
would have come to perfection if the sower had been too lavish with his
seed.  The fruit would have been choked by too luxuriant tendrils and
leaves.  Man is born to struggle and to work, but in this, as in
everything else, he must know how to be moderate if his efforts are to
succeed.  The art of true wisdom is to keep within limits."

"Oh, if Cambyses could only hear you!"  exclaimed Croesus.  "Instead of
being contented with his immense conquests, and now thinking for the
welfare of his subjects, he has all sorts of distant plans in his head.
He wishes to conquer the entire world, and yet, since Phanes left,
scarcely a day has passed in which he has not been conquered himself by
the Div of drunkenness."

"Has his mother no influence over him?"  asked Rhodopis.  "She is a noble
woman."

"She could not even move his resolution to marry Atossa, and was forced
to be present at the marriage feast."

"Poor Atossa!" murmured Sappho.

"She does not pass a very happy life as Queen of Persia," answered
Croesus; "and her own naturally impetuous disposition makes it all the
more difficult or her to live contentedly with this husband and mother;
I am sorry to hear it said that Cambyses neglects her sadly, and treats
her like a child.  But the marriage does not seem to have astonished the
Egyptians, as brothers and sisters often marry here."

"In Persia too," said Darius, putting on an appearance of the most
perfect composure, "marriages with very near relations are thought to be
the best."

"But to return to the king," said Croesus, turning the conversation for
Darius' sake.  "I can assure you, Rhodopis, that he may really be called
a noble man.  His violent and hasty deeds are repented of almost as soon
as committed, and the resolution to be a just and merciful ruler has
never forsaken him.  At supper, for instance, lately, before his mind was
clouded by the influence of wine, he asked us what the Persians thought
of him in comparison with his father."

"And what was the answer?"  said Rhodopis.  "Intaphernes got us out of
the trap cleverly enough," answered Zopyrus, laughing.  "He exclaimed:
'We are of opinion that you deserve the preference, inasmuch as you have
not only preserved intact the inheritance bequeathed you by Cyrus, but
have extended his dominion beyond the seas by your conquest of Egypt.'
This answer did not seem to please the king, however, and poor
Intaphernes was not a little horrified to hear him strike his fist
on the table and cry, 'Flatterer, miserable flatterer!'  He then turned
to Croesus and asked his opinion.  Our wise friend answered at once:
'My  opinion  is  that  you  have not attained to the greatness of your
father; for,' added he in a pacifying tone, 'one thing is wanting to you
--a son such as Cyrus bequeathed us in yourself."

"First-rate, first-rate," cried Rhodopis clapping her hands and laughing.
"An answer that would have done honor to the ready-witted Odysseus
himself.  And how did the king take your honeyed pill?"

"He was very much pleased, thanked Croesus, and called him his friend."

"And I," said Croesus taking up the conversation, "used the favorable
opportunity to dissuade him from the campaigns he has been planning
against the long lived Ethiopians, the Ammonians and the Carthaginians.
Of the first of these three nations we know scarcely anything but through
fabulous tales; by attacking them we should lose much and gain little.
The oasis of Ammon is scarcely accessible to a large army, on account of
the desert by which it is surrounded; besides which, it seems to me
sacrilegious to make war upon a god in the hope of obtaining possession
of his treasures, whether we be his worshippers or not.  As to the
Carthaginians, facts have already justified my predictions.  Our fleet is
manned principally by Syrians and Phoenicians, and they have, as might be
expected, refused to go to war against their brethren.  Cambyses laughed
at my reasons, and ended by swearing, when he was already somewhat
intoxicated, that he could carry out difficult undertakings and subdue
powerful nations, even without the help of Bartja and Phanes."

"What could that allusion to you mean, my son?"  asked Rhodopis.

"He won the battle of Pelusiam," cried Zopyrus, before his friend could
answer.  "He and no one else!"

"Yes," added Croesus, "and you might have been more prudent, and have
remembered that it is a dangerous thing to excite the jealousy of a man
like Cambyses.  You all of you forget that his heart is sore, and that
the slightest vexation pains him.  He has lost the woman he really loved;
his dearest friend is gone; and now you want to disparage the last thing
in this world that he still cares for,--his military glory."

"Don't blame him," said Bartja, grasping the old man's hand.  "My brother
has never been unjust, and is far from envying me what I must call my
good fortune, for that my attack arrived just at the right time can
hardly be reckoned as a merit on my part.  You know he gave me this
splendid sabre, a hundred thorough-bred horses, and a golden hand-mill
as rewards of my bravery."

Croesus' words had caused Sappho a little anxiety at first; but this
vanished on hearing her husband speak so confidently, and by the time
Zopyrus had finished his wreath and placed it on Rhodopis' head, all her
fears were forgotten.

Gyges had prepared his for the young mother.  It was made of snow-white
water-lilies, and, when she placed it among her brown curls, she looked
so wonderfully lovely in the simple ornament, that Bartja could not help
kissing her on the forehead, though so many witnesses were present.  This
little episode gave a merry turn to the conversation; every one did his
best to enliven the others, refreshments of all kinds were handed round,
and even Darius lost his gravity for a time and joined in the jests that
were passing among his friends.

When the sun had set, the slaves set elegantly-carved chairs, footstools,
and little tables on the open part of the deck.  Our cheerful party now
repaired thither and beheld a sight so marvellously beautiful as to be
quite beyond their expectations.

The feast of Neith, called in Egyptian "the lampburning," was celebrated
by a universal illumination, which began at the rising of the moon.  The
shores of the Nile looked like two long lines of fire.  Every temple,
house and but was ornamented with lamps according to the means of its
possessors.  The porches of the country-houses and the little towers on
the larger buildings were all lighted up by brilliant flames, burning in
pans of pitch and sending up clouds of smoke, in which the flags and
pennons waved gently backwards and forwards.  The palm-trees and
sycamores were silvered by the moonlight and threw strange fantastic
reflections on the red waters of the Nile-red from the fiery glow of the
houses on their shores.  But strong and glowing as was the light of the
illumination, its rays had not power to reach the middle of the giant
river, where the boat was making its course, and the pleasure-party felt
as if they were sailing in dark night between two brilliant days.  Now
and then a brightly-lighted boat would come swiftly across the river and
seem, as it neared the shore, to be cutting its way through a glowing
stream of molten iron.

Lotus-blossoms, white as snow, lay on the surface of the river, rising
and falling with the waves, and looking like eyes in the water.  Not a
sound could be heard from either shore.  The echoes were carried away by
the north-wind, and the measured stroke of the oars and monotonous song
of the rowers were the only sounds that broke the stillness of this
strange night--a night robbed of its darkness.

For a long time the friends gazed without speaking at the wonderful
sight, which seemed to glide past them.  Zopyrus was the first to break
the silence by saying, as he drew a long breath: "I really envy you,
Bartja.  If things were as they should be, every one of us would have his
dearest wife at his side on such a night as this."

"And who forbade you to bring one of your wives?"  answered the happy
husband.

"The other five," said the youth with a sigh.  "If I had allowed Oroetes'
little daughter Parysatis, my youngest favorite, to come out alone with
me to-night, this wonderful sight would have been my last; tomorrow there
would have been one pair of eyes less in the world."

Bartja took Sappho's hand and held it fast, saying, "I fancy one wife
will content me as long as I live."  The young mother pressed his hand
warmly again, and said, turning to Zopyrus: "I don't quite trust you, my
friend.  It seems to me that it is not the anger of your wives you fear,
so much as the commission of an offence against the customs of your
country.  I have been told that my poor Bartja gets terribly scolded in
the women's apartments for not setting eunuchs to watch over me, and for
letting me share his pleasures."

"He does spoil you terribly," answered Zopyrus, "and our wives are
beginning to quote him as an example of kindness and indulgence, whenever
we try to hold the reins a little tight.  Indeed there will soon be a
regular women's mutiny at the king's gate, and the Achaemenidae who
escaped the swords and arrows of the Egyptians, will fall victims to
sharp tongues and floods of salt tears."

"Oh! you most impolite Persian!"  said Syloson laughing.  "We must make
you more respectful to these images of Aphrodite."

"You Greeks! that's a good idea," answered the youth.  "By Mithras, our
wives are quite as well off as yours.  It's only the Egyptian women, that
are so wonderfully free."

"Yes, you are quite right," said Rhodopis.  "The inhabitants of this
strange land have for thousands of years granted our weaker sex the same
rights, that they demand for themselves.  Indeed, in many respects, they
have given us the preference.  For instance, by the Egyptian law it is
the daughters, not the sons, who are commanded to foster and provide for
their aged parents, showing how well the fathers of this now humbled
people understood women's nature, and how rightly they acknowledged that
she far surpasses man in thoughtful solicitude and self-forgetful love.
Do not laugh at these worshippers of animals.  I confess that I cannot
understand them, but I feel true admiration for a people in the teaching
of whose priests, even Pythagoras, that great master in the art of
knowledge, assured me lies a wisdom as mighty as the Pyramids."

"And your great master was right," exclaimed Darius.  "You know that I
obtained Neithotep's freedom, and, for some weeks past, have seen him and
Onuphis very constantly, indeed they have been teaching me.  And oh, how
much I have learnt already from those two old men, of which I had no idea
before!  How much that is sad I can forget, when I am listening to them!
They are acquainted with the entire history of the heavens and the earth.
They know the name of every king, and the circumstances of every
important event that has occurred during the last four thousand years,
the courses of the stars, the works of their own artists and sayings of
their sages, during the same immense period of time.  All this knowledge
is recorded in huge books, which have been preserved in a palace at
Thebes, called the "place of healing for the soul.  Their laws are a
fountain of pure wisdom, and a comprehensive intellect has been shown in
the adaptation of all their state institutions to the needs of the
country.  I wish we could boast of the same regularity and order at home.
The idea that lies at the root of all their knowledge is the use of
numbers, the only means by which it is possible to calculate the course
of the stars, to ascertain and determine the limits of all that exists,
and, by the application of which in the shortening and lengthening of the
strings of musical instruments, tones can be regulated.

     [We agree with Iamblichus in supposing, that these Pythagorean views
     were derived from the Egyptian mysteries.]

"Numbers are the only certain things; they can neither be controlled nor
perverted.  Every nation has its own ideas of right and wrong; every law
can be rendered invalid by circumstances; but the results obtained from
numbers can never be overthrown.  Who can dispute, for instance, that
twice two make four?  Numbers determine the contents of every existing
thing; whatever is, is equal to its contents, numbers therefore are the
true being, the essence of all that is."

"In the name of Mithras, Darius, do leave off talking in that style,
unless you want to turn my brain," interrupted Zopyrus.  "Why, to hear
you, one would fancy you'd been spending your life among these old
Egyptian speculators and had never had a sword in your hand.  What on
earth have we to do with numbers?"

"More  than  you fancy," answered  Rhodopis.  "This theory of numbers
belongs to the mysteries of the Egyptian priests, and Pythagoras learnt
it from the very Onuphis who is now teaching you, Darius.  If you will
come to see me soon, I will show you how wonderfully that great Samian
brought the laws of numbers and of the harmonies into agreement.  But
look, there are the Pyramids!"

The whole party rose at these words, and stood speechless, gazing at the
grand sight which opened before them.

The Pyramids lay on the left bank of the Nile, in the silver moonshine,
massive and awful, as if bruising the earth beneath them with their
weight; the giant graves of mighty rulers.  They seemed examples of man's
creative power, and at the same time warnings of the vanity and
mutability of earthly greatness.  For where was Chufu now,--the king who
had cemented that mountain of stone with the sweat of his subjects?
Where was the long-lived Chafra who had despised the gods, and, defiant
in the consciousness of his own strength, was said to have closed the
gates of the temples in order to make himself and his name immortal by
building a tomb of superhuman dimensions?

     [Herodotus repeats, in good faith, that the builders of the great
     Pyramids were despisers of the gods.  The tombs of their faithful
     subjects at the foot of these huge structures prove, however, that
     they owe their bad repute to the hatred of the people, who could not
     forget the era of their hardest bondage, and branded the memories of
     their oppressors wherever an opportunity could be found.  We might
     use the word "tradition" instead of "the people," for this it is
     which puts the feeling and tone of mind of the multitude into the
     form of history.]

Their empty sarcophagi are perhaps tokens, that the judges of the dead
found them unworthy of rest in the grave, unworthy of the resurrection,
whereas the builder of the third and most beautiful pyramid, Menkera, who
contented himself with a smaller monument, and reopened the gates of the
temples, was allowed to rest in peace in his coffin of blue basalt.

There they lay in the quiet night, these mighty pyramids, shone on by the
bright stars, guarded by the watchman of the desert--the gigantic
sphinx,--and overlooking the barren rocks of the Libyan stony mountains.
At their feet, in beautifully-ornamented tombs, slept the mummies of
their faithful subjects, and opposite the monument of the pious Menkera
stood a temple, where prayers were said by the priests for the souls of
the many dead buried in the great Memphian city of the dead.  In the
west, where the sun went down behind the Libyan mountains, where the
fruitful land ended and the desert began--there the people of Memphis had
buried their dead; and as our gay party looked towards the west they felt
awed into a solemn silence.

But their boat sped on before the north-wind; they left the city of the
dead behind them and passed the enormous dikes built to protect the city
of Menes from the violence of the floods; the city of the Pharaohs came
in sight, dazzlingly bright with the myriads of flames which had been
kindled in honor of the goddess Neith, and when at last the gigantic
temple of Ptah appeared, the most ancient building of the most ancient
land, the spell broke, their tongues were loosed, and they burst out into
loud exclamations of delight.

It was illuminated by thousands of lamps; a hundred fires burnt on its
Pylons, its battlemented walls and roofs.  Burning torches flared between
the rows of sphinxes which connected the various gates with the main
building, and the now empty house of the god Apis was so surrounded by
colored fires that it gleamed like a white limestone rock in a tropical
sunset.  Pennons, flags and garlands waved above the brilliant picture;
music and loud songs could be heard from below.

"Glorious," cried Rhodopis in enthusiasm, "glorious!  Look how the
painted walls and columns gleam in the light, and what marvellous figures
the shadows of the obelisks and sphinxes throw on the smooth yellow
pavement!"

"And how mysterious the sacred grove looks yonder!"  added Croesus.  "I
never saw anything so wonderful before."

"I have seen something more wonderful still," said Darius.  "You will
hardly believe me when I tell you that I have witnessed a celebration of
the mysteries of Neith."

"Tell us what you saw, tell us!"  was the universal outcry.

"At first Neithotep refused me admission, but when I promised to remain
hidden, and besides, to obtain the freedom of his child, he led me up to
his observatory, from which there is a very extensive view, and told me
that I should see a representation of the fates of Osiris and his wife
Isis.

"He had scarcely left, when the sacred grove became so brightly
illuminated by colored lights that I was able to see into its innermost
depths.

"A lake, smooth as glass, lay before me, surrounded by beautiful trees
and flower-beds.  Golden boats were sailing on this lake and in them sat
lovely boys and girls dressed in snow-white garments, and singing sweet
songs as they passed over the water.  There were no rowers to direct
these boats, and yet they moved over the ripples of the lake in a
graceful order, as if guided by some magic unseen hand.  A large ship
sailed in the midst of this little fleet.  Its deck glittered with
precious stones.  It seemed to be steered by one beautiful boy only, and,
strange to say, the rudder he guided consisted of one white lotusflower,
the delicate leaves of which seemed scarcely to touch the water.  A very
lovely woman, dressed like a queen, lay on silken cushions in the middle
of the vessel; by her side sat a man of larger stature than that of
ordinary mortals.  He wore a crown of ivy on his flowing curls, a
panther-skin hung over his shoulders and he held a crooked staff in the
right hand.  In the back part of the ship was a roof made of ivy, lotus-
blossoms and roses; beneath it stood a milk-white cow with golden horns,
covered with a cloth of purple.  The man was Osiris, the woman Isis, the
boy at the helm their son Horus, and the cow was the animal sacred to the
immortal Isis.  The little boats all skimmed over the water, singing glad
songs of joy as they passed by the ship, and receiving in return showers
of flowers and fruits, thrown down upon the lovely singers by the god and
goddess within.  Suddenly I heard the roll of thunder.  It came crashing
on, louder, and louder, and in the midst of this awful sound a man in the
skin of a wild boar, with hideous features and bristling red hair, came
out of the gloomiest part of the sacred grove, plunged into the lake,
followed by seventy creatures like himself, and swam up to the ship of
Osiris.

     [We have taken our description of this spectacle entirely from the
     Osiris-myth, as we find it in Plutarch, Isis and Orisis 13-19.
     Diod. I. 22. and a thousand times repeated on the monuments.  Horus
     is called "the avenger of his father," &c.  We copy the battle with
     all its phases from an inscription at Edfu, interpreted by Naville.]

"The little boats fled with the swiftness of the wind, and the trembling
boy helmsman dropped his lotusblossom.

"The dreadful monster then rushed on Osiris, and, with the help of his
comrades, killed him, threw the body into a coffin and the coffin into
the lake, the waters of which seemed to carry it away as if by magic.
Isis meanwhile had escaped to land in one of the small boats, and was now
running hither and thither on the shores of the lake, with streaming
hair, lamenting her dead husband and followed by the virgins who had
escaped with her.  Their songs and dances, while seeking the body of
Osiris, were strangely plaintive and touching, and the girls accompanied
the dance by waving black Byssus scarfs in wonderfully graceful curves.
Neither were the youths idle; they busied themselves in making a costly
coffin for the vanished corpse of the god, accompanying their work with
dances and the sound of castanets.  When this was finished they joined
the maidens in the train of the lamenting Isis and wandered on the shore
with them, singing and searching.

"Suddenly a low song rose from some invisible lips.  It swelled louder
and louder and announced, that the body of the god had been transported
by the currents of the Mediterranean to Gebal in distant Phoenicia.  This
singing voice thrilled to my very heart; Neithotep's son, who was my
companion, called it 'the wind of rumor.'

"When Isis heard the glad news, she threw off her mourning garments and
sang a song of triumphant rejoicing, accompanied by the voices of her
beautiful followers.  Rumor had not lied; the goddess really found the
sarcophagus and the dead body of her husband on the northern shore of the
lake.

     [It is natural, that Isis should find the body of her husband in the
     north.  The connection between Phoenicia and Egypt in this myth, as
     it has been handed down to us by Plutarch, is very remarkable.  We
     consider the explanation of the close affinity between the Isis and
     Osiris and the Adonis myths to be in the fact, that Egyptians and
     Phoenicians lived together on the shores of the Delta where the
     latter had planted their colonies.  Plutarch's story of the finding
     of Osiris' dead body is very charming.  Isis and Osiris.  Ed. Parth.
     15.]

"They brought both to land with dances; Isis threw herself on the beloved
corpse, called on the name of Osiris and covered the mummy with kisses,
while the youths wove a wonderful tomb of lotus-flowers and ivy.

"When the coffin had been laid under this beautiful vault, Isis left the
sad place of mourning and went to look for her son.  She found him at the
east end of the lake, where for a long time I had seen a beautiful youth
practising arms with a number of companions.

"While she was rejoicing over her newly-found child, a fresh peal of
thunder told that Typhon had returned.  This time the monster rushed upon
the beautiful flowering grave, tore the body out of its coffin, hewed it
into fourteen pieces, and strewed them over the shores of the lake.

"When Isis came back to the grave, she found nothing but faded flowers
and an empty coffin; but at fourteen different places on the shore
fourteen beautiful colored flames were burning.  She and her virgins ran
to these flames, while Horus led the youths to battle against Typhon on
the opposite shore.

"My eyes and ears hardly sufficed for all I had to see and hear.  On the
one shore a fearful and interesting struggle, peals of thunder and the
braying of trumpets; on the other the sweet voices of the women, singing
the most captivating songs to the most enchanting dances, for Isis had
found a portion of her husband's body at every fire and was rejoicing.

"That was something for you, Zopyrus!  I know of no words to describe the
grace of those girls' movements, or how beautiful it was to see them
first mingling in intricate confusion, then suddenly standing in
faultless, unbroken lines, falling again into the same lovely tumult and
passing once more into order, and all this with the greatest swiftness.
Bright rays of light flashed from their whirling ranks all the time, for
each dancer had a mirror fastened between her shoulders, which flashed
while she was in motion, and reflected the scene when she was still.

"Just as Isis had found the last limb but one of the murdered Osiris,
loud songs of triumph and the flourish of trumpets resounded from the
opposite shore.

"Horus had conquered Typhon, and was forcing his way into the nether
regions to free his father.  The gate to this lower world opened on the
west side of the lake and was guarded by a fierce female hippopotamus.

"And now a lovely music of flutes and harps came nearer and nearer,
heavenly perfumes rose into the air, a rosy light spread over the sacred
grove, growing brighter every minute, and Osiris came up from the lower
world, led by his victorious son.  Isis hastened to embrace her risen and
delivered husband, gave the beautiful Horus his lotus-flower again
instead of the sword, and scattered fruits and flowers over the earth,
while Osiris seated himself under a canopy wreathed with ivy, and
received the homage of all the spirits of the earth and of the Amenti."

     [The lower world, in Egyptian Amenti, properly speaking, the West or
     kingdom of death, to which the soul returns at the death of the
     body, as the sun at his setting.  In a hieroglyphic inscription of
     the time of the Ptolemies the Amenti is called Hades.]

Darius was silent.  Rhodopis began:

"We thank you for your charming account; but this strange spectacle must
have a higher meaning, and we should thank you doubly if you would
explain that to us."

"Your idea is quite right," answered Darius, "but what I know I dare not
tell.  I was obliged to promise Neithotep with an oath, not to tell tales
out of school."

"Shall I tell you," asked Rhodopis, "what conclusions various hints from
Pythagoras and Onuphis have led me to draw, as to the meaning of this
drama?  Isis seems to me to represent the bountiful earth; Osiris,
humidity or the Nile, which makes the earth fruitful; Horus, the young
spring; Typhon, the scorching drought.  The bounteous earth, robbed of
her productive power, seeks this beloved husband with lamentations in the
cooler regions of the north, where the Nile discharges his waters.  At
last Horus, the young springing power of nature, is grown up and conquers
Typhon, or the scorching drought.  Osiris, as is the case with the
fruitful principle of nature, was only apparently dead, rises from the
nether regions and once more rules the blessed valley of the Nile, in
concert with his wife, the bounteous earth."

"And as the murdered god behaved properly in the lower regions," said
Zopyrus, laughing, "he is allowed, at the end of this odd story, to
receive homage from the inhabitants of Hamestegan, Duzakh and Gorothman,
or whatever they call these abodes for the Egyptian spirit-host."

"They are called Amenti," said Darius, falling into his friend's merry
mood; but you must know that the history of this divine pair represents
not only the life of nature, but also that of the human soul, which, like
the murdered Osiris, lives an eternal life, even when the body is dead."

"Thank you," said the other; "I'll try to remember that if I should
chance to die in Egypt.  But really, cost what it may, I must see this
wonderful sight soon."

"Just my own wish," said Rhodopis.  "Age is inquisitive."

"You will never be old," interrupted Darius.  "Your conversation and your
features have remained alike beautiful, and your mind is as clear and
bright as your eyes."

"Forgive me for interrupting you," said Rhodopis, as if she had not heard
his flattering words, "but the word 'eyes' reminds me of the oculist
Nebenchari, and my memory fails me so often, that I must ask you what has
become of him, before I forget.  I hear nothing now of this skilful
operator to whom the noble Kassandane owes her sight."

"He is much to be pitied," replied Darius.  "Even before we reached
Pelusium he had begun to avoid society, and scorned even to speak with
his countryman Onuphis.  His gaunt old servant was the only being allowed
to wait on or be with him.  But after the battle his whole behavior
changed.  He went to the king with a radiant countenance, and asked
permission to accompany him to Sais, and to choose two citizens of that
town to be his slaves.  Cambyses thought he could not refuse anything to
the man, who had been such a benefactor to his mother, and granted him
full power to do what he wished.  On arriving at Amasis' capital, he went
at once to the temple of Neith, caused the high-priest (who had moreover
placed himself at the head of the citizens hostile to Persia), to be
arrested, and with him a certain oculist named Petammon.  He then
informed them that, as punishment for the burning of certain papers, they
would be condemned to serve a Persian to whom he should sell them, for
the term of their natural lives, and to perform the most menial services
of slaves in a foreign country.  I was present at this scene, and I
assure you I trembled before the Egyptian as he said these words to his
enemies.  Neithotep, however, listened quietly, and when Nebenchari had
finished, answered him thus: If thou, foolish son, hast betrayed thy
country for the sake of thy burnt manuscripts, the deed has been neither
just nor wise.  I preserved thy valuable works with the greatest care,
laid them up in our temple, and sent a complete copy to the library at
Thebes.  Nothing was burnt but the letters from Amasis to thy father,
and a worthless old chest.  Psamtik and Petammon were present, and it was
then and there resolved that a new family tomb in the city of the dead
should be built for thee as a compensation for the loss of papers, which,
in order to save Egypt, we were unfortunately forced to destroy.  On its
walls thou canst behold pleasing paintings of the gods to whom thou hast
devoted thy life, the most sacred chapters from the book of the dead, and
many other beautiful pictures touching thine own life and character."

"The physician turned very pale--asked first to see his books, and then
his new and beautifully-fitted-up tomb.  He then gave his slaves their
freedom, (notwithstanding which they were still taken to Memphis as
prisoners of war), and went home, often passing his hand across his
forehead on the way, and with the uncertain step of one intoxicated.
On reaching his house he made a will, bequeathing all he possessed to the
grandson of his old servant Hib, and, alleging that he was ill, went to
bed.  The next morning he was found dead.  He had poisoned himself with
the fearful strychnos-juice."

"Miserable man" said Croesus.  "The gods had blinded him, and he reaped
despair instead of revenge, as a reward for his treachery."

"I pity him," murmured Rhodopis.  "But look, the rowers are taking in
their oars.  We are at the end of our journey; there are your litters and
carriages waiting for you.  It was a beautiful trip.  Farewell, my dear
ones; come to Naukratis soon,  I shall return at once with Theopompus and
Syloson.  Give little Parmys a thousand kisses from me, and tell Melitta
never to take her out at noon.  It is dangerous for the eyes.  Good-
night, Croesus; good-night, friends, farewell my dear son."

The Persians left the vessel with many a nod and farewell word, and
Bartja, looking round once more, missed his footing and fell on the
landing-pier.

He sprang up in a moment without Zopyrus' help, who came running back,
calling out, "Take care, Bartja!  It's unlucky to fall in stepping
ashore.  I did the very same thing, when we left the ship that time at
Naukratis."



CHAPTER XIV.

While our friends were enjoying their row on the Nile, Cambyses' envoy,
Prexaspes, had returned from a mission to the long-lived Ethiopians.  He
praised their strength and stature, described the way to their country as
almost inaccessible to a large army, and had plenty of marvellous tales
to tell.  How, for instance; they always chose the strongest and
handsomest man in their nation for their king, and obeyed him
unconditionally: how many of them reached the age of 120 years, and some
even passed it: how they ate nothing but boiled flesh, drank new milk and
washed in a spring the waters of which had the scent of violets, gave a
remarkable lustre to their skins, and were so light that wood could not
swim in them: how their captives wore golden fetters, because other
metals were rare and dear in their country; and lastly, how they covered
the bodies of the dead with plaster or stucco, over which a coating of
some glass-like material was poured, and kept the pillars thus formed one
year in their houses, during which time sacrifices were offered them, and
at the year's end they were placed in rows around the town.

The king of this strange people had accepted Cambyses' presents, saying,
in a scornful tone, that he new well his friendship was of no importance
to the Persians, and Prexaspes had only been sent to spy out the land.
If the prince of Asia were a just man, he would be contented with his own
immense empire and not try to subjugate a people who had done him no
wrong.  "Take your king this bow," he said, "and advise him not to begin
the war with us, until the Persians are able to bend such weapons as
easily as we do.  Cambyses may thank the gods, that the Ethiopians have
never taken it into their heads to conquer countries which do not belong
to them."

He then unbent his mighty bow of ebony, and gave it to Prexaspes to take
to his lord.

Cambyses laughed at the bragging African, invited his nobles to a trial
of the bow the next morning, and awarded Prexaspes for the clever way in
which he had overcome the difficulties of his journey and acquitted
himself of his mission.  He then went to rest, as usual intoxicated, and
fell into a disturbed sleep, in which he dreamed that Bartja was seated
on the throne of Persia, and that the crown of his head touched the
heavens.

This was a dream, which he could interpret without the aid of soothsayer
or Chaldean.  It roused his anger first, and then made him thoughtful.

He could not sleep, and such questions as the following came into his
mind: "Haven't you given your brother reason to feel revengeful?  Do you
think he can forget that you imprisoned and condemned him to death, when
he was innocent?  And if he should raise his hand against you, would not
all the Achaemenidae take his part?  Have I ever done, or have I any
intention of ever doing anything to win the love of these venal
courtiers?  Since Nitetis died and that strange Greek fled, has there
been a single human being, in whom I have the least confidence or on
whose affection I can rely?"

These thoughts and questionings excited him so fearfully, that he sprang
from his bed, crying: "Love and I have nothing to do with one another.
Other men maybe kind and good if they like; I must be stern, or I shall
fall into the hands of those who hate me--hate me because I have been
just, and have visited heavy sins with heavy chastisements.  They whisper
flattering words in my ear; they curse me when my back is turned.  The
gods themselves must be my enemies, or why do they rob me of everything
I love, deny me posterity and even that military glory which is my just
due?  Is Bartja so much better than I, that everything which I am forced
to give up should be his in hundred-fold measure?  Love, friendship,
fame, children, everything flows to him as the rivers to the sea, while
my heart is parched like the desert.  But I am king still.  I can show
him which is the stronger of us two, and I will, though his forehead may
touch the heavens.  In Persia there can be only one great man.  He or I,
--I or he.  In a few days I'll send him back to Asia and make him satrap
of Bactria.  There he can nurse his child and listen to his wife's songs,
while I am winning glory in Ethiopia, which it shall not be in his power
to lessen.  Ho, there, dressers!  bring my robes and a good morning-
draught of wine.  I'll show the Persians that I'm fit to be King of
Ethiopia, and can beat them all at bending a bow.  Here, give me another
cup of wine.  I'd bend that bow, if it were a young cedar and its string
a cable!"  So saying he drained an immense bowl of wine and went into the
palace-garden, conscious of his enormous strength and therefore sure of
success.

All his nobles were assembled waiting for him there, welcomed him with
loud acclamations, and fell on their faces to the ground before their
king.

Pillars, connected by scarlet cords, had been quickly set up between the
closely-cut hedges and straight avenues.  From these cords, suspended by
gold and silver rings, yellow and dark blue hangings fluttered in the
breeze.  Gilded wooden benches had been placed round in a large circle,
and nimble cup-bearers handed wine in costly vessels to the company
assembled for the shooting-match.

At a sign from the king the Achaemenidae rose from the earth.

Cambyses glanced over their ranks, and his face brightened on seeing
that Bartja was not there.  Prexaspes handed him the Ethiopian bow, and
pointed out a target at some distance.  Cambyses laughed at the large
size of the target, weighted the bow with his right hand, challenged his
subjects to try their fortune first, and handed the bow to the aged
Hystaspes, as the highest in rank among the Achaemenidae.

While Hystaspes first, and then all the heads of the six other highest
families in Persia, were using their utmost efforts to bend this monster
weapon in vain, the king emptied goblet after goblet of wine, his spirits
rising as he watched their vain endeavors to solve the Ethiopian's
problem.  At last Darius, who was famous for his skill in archery, took
the bow.  Nearly the same result.  The wood was inflexible as iron and
all his efforts only availed to move it one finger's breadth.  The king
gave him a friendly nod in reward for his success, and then, looking
round on his friends and relations in a manner that betokened the most
perfect assurance, he said: "Give me the bow now, Darius.  I will show
you, that there is only one man in Persia who deserves the name of king;
--only one who can venture to take the field against the Ethiopians;--
only one who can bend this bow."

He grasped it tightly with his left hand, taking the string, which was as
thick as a man's finger and made from the intestines of a lion, in his
right, fetched a deep breath, bent his mighty back and pulled and pulled;
collected all his strength for greater and greater efforts, strained his
sinews till they threatened to break, and the veins in his forehead were
swollen to bursting, did not even disdain to use his feet and legs, but
all in vain.  After a quarter of an hour of almost superhuman exertion,
his strength gave way, the ebony, which he had succeeded in bending even
farther than Darius, flew back and set all his further endeavors at
nought.  At last, feeling himself thoroughly exhausted, he dashed the bow
on to the ground in a passion, crying: "The Ethiopian is a liar! no
mortal man has ever bent that bow.  What is impossible for my arm is
possible for no other.  In three days we will start for Ethiopia.  I will
challenge the impostor to a single combat, and ye shall see which is the
stronger.  Take up the bow, Prexaspes, and keep it carefully.  The black
liar shall be strangled with his own bow-string.  This wood is really
harder than iron, and I confess that the man who could bend it, would
really be my master.  I should not be ashamed to call him so, for he must
be of better stuff than I."

As he finished speaking, Bartja appeared in the circle of assembled
Persians.  His glorious figure was set off to advantage by his rich
dress, his features were bright with happiness and a feeling of conscious
strength.  He passed through the ranks of the Achaemenidae with many a
friendly nod, which was warmly returned, and going straight to his
brother, kissed his robe, looked up frankly and cheerfully into his
gloomy eyes, and said: "I am a little late, and ask your forgiveness, my
lord and brother.  Or have I really come in time?  Yes, yes, I see
there's no arrow in the target yet, so I am sure you, the best archer in
the world, cannot have tried your strength yet.  But you look so
enquiringly at me.  Then I will confess that our child kept me.  The
little creature laughed to-day for the first time, and was so charming
with its mother, that I forgot how time was passing while I watched them.
You have all full leave to laugh at my folly; I really don't know how to
excuse myself.  See, the little one has pulled my star from the chain.
But I think, my brother, you will give me a new one to-day if I should
hit the bull's eye.  Shall I shoot first, or will you begin, my
Sovereign?"

"Give him the bow, Prexaspes," said Cambyses, not even deigning to look
at his brother.

Bartja took it and was proceeding to examine the wood and the string,
when Cambyses suddenly called out, with a mocking laugh: "By Mithras, I
believe you want to try your sweet looks on the bow, and win its favor in
that fashion, as you do the hearts of men.  Give it back to Prexaspes.
It's easier to play with beautiful women and laughing children, than with
a weapon like this, which mocks the strength even of real men."

Bartja blushed with anger and annoyance at this speech, which was uttered
in the bitterest tone, picked up the giant arrow that lay before him,
placed himself opposite the target, summoned all his strength, bent the
bow, by an almost superhuman effort, and sent the arrow into the very
centre of the target, where its iron point remained, while the wooden
shaft split into a hundred shivers.

     [Herodotus tells this story (III, 30.), and we are indebted to him
     also for our information of the events which follow.  The following
     inscription, said to have been placed over the grave of Darius, and
     communicated by Onesikritus, (Strabo 730.) proves that the Persians
     were very proud of being reputed good archers: "I was a friend to my
     friends, the best rider and archer, a first-rate hunter; I could do
     everything."]

Most of the Achaemenidae burst into loud shouts of delight at this
marvellous proof of strength; but Bartja's nearest friends turned pale
and were silent; they were watching the king, who literally quivered with
rage, and Bartja, who was radiant with pride and joy.

Cambyses was a fearful sight at that moment.  It seemed to him as if that
arrow, in piercing the target, had pierced his own heart, his strength,
dignity and honor.  Sparks floated before his eyes, in his ears was a
sound like the breaking of a stormy sea on the shore; his cheeks glowed
and he grasped the arm of Prexaspes who was at his side.  Prexaspes only
too well understood what that pressure meant, when given by a royal hand,
and murmured: "Poor Bartja!"

At last the king succeeded in recovering his presence of mind.  Without
saying a word, he threw a gold chain to his brother, ordered his nobles
to follow him, and left the garden, but only to wander restlessly up and
down his apartments, and try to drown his rage in wine.  Suddenly he
seemed to have formed a resolution and ordered all the courtiers, except
Prexaspes, to leave the hall.  When they were alone, he called out in a
hoarse voice and with a look that proved the extent of his intoxication:
"This life is not to be borne!  Rid me of my enemy, and I will call you
my friend and benefactor."

Prexaspes trembled, threw himself at the king's feet and raised his hands
imploringly; but Cambyses was too intoxicated, and too much blinded by
his hatred to understand the action.  He fancied the prostration was
meant as a sign of devotion to his will, signed to him to rise, and
whispered, as if afraid of hearing his own words: "Act quickly and
secretly; and, as you value your life, let no one know of the upstart's
death.  Depart, and when your work is finished, take as much as you like
out of the treasury.  But keep your wits about you.  The boy has a strong
arm and a winning tongue.  Think of your own wife and children, if he
tries to win you over with his smooth words."

As he spoke he emptied a fresh goblet of pure wine, staggered through the
door of the room, calling out as he turned his back on Prexaspes: "Woe be
to you if that upstart, that woman's hero, that fellow who has robbed me
of my honor, is left alive."

Long after he had left the hall, Prexaspes stood fixed on the spot where
he had heard these words.  The man was ambitious, but neither mean nor
bad, and he felt crushed by the awful task allotted to him.  He knew that
his refusal to execute it would bring death or disgrace on himself and on
his family; but he loved Bartja, and besides, his whole nature revolted
at the thought of becoming a common, hired murderer.  A fearful struggle
began in his mind, and raged long after he left the palace.  On the way
home he met Croesus and Darius.  He fancied they would see from his looks
that he was already on the way to a great crime, and hid himself behind
the projecting gate of a large Egyptian house.  As they passed, he heard
Croesus say: "I reproached him bitterly, little as he deserves reproach
in general, for having given such an inopportune proof of his great
strength.  We may really thank the gods, that Cambyses did not lay
violent hands on him in a fit of passion.  He has followed my advice now
and gone with his wife to Sais.  For the next few days Bartja must not
come near the king; the mere sight of him might rouse his anger again,
and a monarch can always find unprincipled servants .  .  ."

The rest of the sentence died away in the distance, but the words he had
heard were enough to make Prexaspes start, as if Croesus had accused him
of the shameful deed.  He resolved in that moment that, come what would,
his hands should not be stained with the blood of a friend.  This
resolution restored him his old erect bearing and firm gait for the time,
but when he reached the dwelling which had been assigned as his abode in
Sais his two boys ran to the door to meet him.  They had stolen away from
the play-ground of the sons of the Achaemenidae, (who, as was always the
case, had accompanied the king and the army), to see their father for a
moment.  He felt a strange tenderness, which he could not explain to
himself, on taking them in his arms, and kissed the beautiful boys once
more on their telling him that they must go back to their play-ground
again, or they should be punished.  Within, he found his favorite wife
playing with their youngest child, a sweet little girl.  Again the same
strange, inexplicable feeling of tenderness.  He overcame it this time
for fear of betraying his secret to his young wife, and retired to his
own apartment early.

Night had come on.

The sorely-tried man could not sleep; he turned restlessly from side to
side.  The fearful thought, that his refusal to do the king's will would
be the ruin of his wife and children, stood before his wakeful eyes in
the most vivid colors.  The strength to keep his good resolution forsook
him, and even Croesus' words, which, when he first heard them had given
his nobler feelings the victory, now came in as a power on the other
side.  "A monarch can always find unprincipled servants."  Yes, the words
were an affront, but at the same time a reminder, that though he might
defy the king's command a hundred others would be ready to obey it.  No
sooner had this thought become clear to him, than he started up, examined
a number of daggers which hung, carefully arranged, above his bed, and
laid the sharpest on the little table before him.

He then began to pace the room in deep thought, often going to the
opening which served as a window, to cool his burning forehead and see
if dawn were near.

When at last daylight appeared, he heard the sounding brass calling the
boys to early prayer.  That reminded him of his sons and he examined the
dagger a second time.  A troop of gaily-dressed courtiers rode by on
their way to the king.  He put the dagger in his girdle; and at last, on
hearing the merry laughter of his youngest child sound from the women's
apartments, he set the tiara hastily on his head, left the house without
taking leave of his wife, and, accompanied by a number of slaves, went
down to the Nile.  There he threw himself into a boat and ordered the
rowers to take him to Sais.

                    .........................

A few hours after the fatal shooting-match, Bartja had followed Croesus'
advice and had gone off to Sais with his young wife.  They found Rhodopis
there.  She had yielded to an irresistible impulse and, instead of
returning to Naukratis, had stopped at Sais.  Bartja's fall on stepping
ashore had disturbed her, and she had with her own eyes seen an owl fly
from the left side close by his head.  These evil omens, to a heart which
had by no means outgrown the superstitions of the age, added to a
confused succession of distressing dreams which had disturbed her
slumbers, and her usual wish to be always near Bartja and Sappho,
led her to decide quickly on waiting for her granddaughter at Sais.

Bartja and Sappho were delighted to find such a welcome guest, and
after she had dandled and played with her great grandchild, the little
Parmys, to her heart's content, they led her to the rooms which had been
prepared for her.

     [Herodotus states, that beside Atossa, &c..  Darius took a daughter
     of the deceased Bartja, named Parmys, to be his wife.  Herod. III.
     88.  She is also mentioned VII. 78.]

They were the same in which the unhappy Tachot had spent the last months
of her fading existence.  Rhodopis could not see all the little trifles
which showed, not only the age and sex of the former occupant, but her
tastes and disposition, without feeling very sad.  On the dressing-table
were a number of little ointment-boxes and small bottles for perfumes,
cosmetics, washes and oils.  Two larger boxes, one in the form of a Nile-
goose, and another on the side of which a woman playing on a lute had
been painted, had once contained the princess's costly golden ornaments,
and the metal mirror with a handle in the form of a sleeping maiden, had
once reflected her beautiful face with its pale pink flush.  Everything
in the room, from the elegant little couch resting on lions' claws, to
the delicately-carved ivory combs on the toilet-table, proved that the
outward adornments of life had possessed much charm for the former owner
of these rooms.  The golden sisirum and the delicately-wrought nabla,
the strings of which had long ago been broken, testified to her taste for
music, while the broken spindle in the corner, and some unfinished nets
of glass beads shewed that she had been fond of woman's usual work.

It was a sad pleasure to Rhodopis to examine all these things, and the
picture which she drew in her own mind of Tachot after the inspection,
differed very little from the reality.  At last interest and curiosity
led her to a large painted chest.  She lifted the light cover and found,
first, a few dried flowers; then a ball, round which some skilful hand
had wreathed roses and leaves, once fresh and bright, now, alas, long ago
dead and withered.  Beside these were a number of amulets in different
forms, one representing the goddess of truth, another containing spells
written on a strip of papyrus and concealed in a little golden case.
Then her eyes fell on some letters written in the Greek character.  She
read them by the light of the lamp.  They were from Nitetis in Persia to
her supposed sister, and were written in ignorance of the latter's
illness.  When Rhodopis laid them down her eyes were full of tears.  The
dead girl's secret lay open before her.  She knew now that Tachot had
loved Bartja, that he had given her the faded flowers, and that she had
wreathed the ball with roses because he had thrown it to her.  The
amulets must have been intended either to heal her sick heart, or to
awaken love in his.

As she was putting the letters back in their old place, she touched some
cloths which seemed put in to fill up the bottom of the chest, and felt a
hard round substance underneath.  She raised them, and discovered a bust
made of colored wax, such a wonderfully-exact portrait of Nitetis, that
an involuntary exclamation of surprise broke from her, and it was long
before she could turn her eyes away from Theodorus' marvellous work.

She went to rest and fell asleep, thinking of the sad fate of Nitetis,
the Egyptian Princess.

The next morning Rhodopis went into the garden--the same into which we
led our readers during the lifetime of Amasis-and found Bartja and Sappho
in an arbor overgrown with vines.

Sappho was seated in a light wicker-work chair.  Her child lay on her
lap, stretching out its little hands and feet, sometimes to its father,
who was kneeling on the ground before them, and then to its mother whose
laughing face was bent down over her little one.

Bartja was very happy with his child.  When the little creature buried
its tiny fingers in his curls and beard, he would draw his head back to
feel the strength of the little hand, would.  kiss its rosy feet, its
little round white shoulders and dimpled arms.  Sappho enjoyed the fun,
always trying to draw the little one's attention to its father.

Sometimes, when she stooped down to kiss the rosy baby lips, her forehead
would touch his curls and he would steal the kiss meant for the little
Parmys.

Rhodopis watched them a long time unperceived, and, with tears of joy in
her eyes, prayed the gods that they might long be as happy as they now
were.  At last she came into the arbor to wish them good-morning, and
bestowed much praise on old Melitta for appearing at the right moment,
parasol in hand, to take her charge out of the sunshine before it became
too bright and hot, and put her to sleep.

The old slave had been appointed head-nurse to the high-born child, and
acquitted herself in her new office with an amount of importance which
was very comical.  Hiding her old limbs under rich Persian robes, she
moved about exulting in the new and delightful right to command, and kept
her inferiors in perpetual motion.

Sappho followed Melitta into the palace, first whispering in her
husband's ear with her arm round his neck: "Tell my grandmother
everything and ask whether you are right."

Before he could answer, she had stopped his mouth with a kiss, and then
hurried after the old woman who was departing with dignified steps.

The prince smiled as he watched her graceful walk and beautiful figure,
and said, turning to Rhodopis: "Does not it strike you, that she has
grown taller lately."

"It seems so," answered Rhodopis.  "A woman's girlhood has its own
peculiar charm, but her true dignity comes with motherhood.  It is the
feeling of having fulfilled her destiny, which raises her head and makes
us fancy she has grown taller."

"Yes," said Bartja, "I think she is happy.  Yesterday our opinions
differed for the first time, and as she was leaving us just now, she
begged me, privately, to lay the question before you, which I am very
glad to do, for I honor your experience and wisdom just as much, as I
love her childlike inexperience."

Bartja then told the story of the unfortunate shooting-match, finishing
with these words: "Croesus blames my imprudence, but I know my brother; I
know that when he is angry he is capable of any act of violence, and it
is not impossible that at the moment when he felt himself defeated he
could have killed me; but I know too, that when his fierce passion has
cooled, he will forget my boastful deed, and only try to excel me by
others of the same kind.  A year ago he was by far the best marksman in
Persia, and would be so still, if drink and epilepsy had not undermined
his strength.  I must confess I feel as if I were becoming stronger every
day."

"Yes," interrupted Rhodopis, "pure happiness strengthens a man's arm,
just as it adds to the beauty of a woman, while intemperance and mental
distress ruin both body and mind far more surely even than old age.  My
son, beware of your brother; his strong arm has become paralyzed, and his
generosity can be forfeited too.  Trust my experience, that the man who
is the slave of one evil passion, is very seldom master of the rest;
besides which, no one feels humiliation so bitterly as he who is sinking
--who knows that his powers are forsaking him.  I say again, beware of
your brother, and trust the voice of experience more than that of your
own heart, which, because it is generous itself, believes every one else
to be so."

"I see," said Bartja, "that you will take Sappho's side.  Difficult as it
will be for her to part from you, she has still begged me to return with
her to Persia.  She thinks that Cambyses may forget his anger, when I am
out of sight.  I thought she was over-anxious, and besides, it would
disappoint me not to take part in the expedition against the Ethiopians."

"But I entreat you," interrupted Rhodopis, "to follow her advice.  The
gods only know what pain it will give me to lose you both, and yet I
repeat a thousand times: Go back to Persia, and remember that none but
fools stake life and happiness to no purpose.  As to the war with
Ethiopia, it is mere madness; instead of subduing those black inhabitants
of the south, you yourselves will be conquered by heat, thirst and all
the horrors of the desert.  In saying this I refer to the campaigns in
general; as to your own share in them, I can only say that if no fame is
to be won there, you will be putting your own life and the happiness of
your family in jeopardy literally for nothing, and that if, on the other
hand, you should distinguish yourself again, it would only be giving
fresh cause of jealousy and anger to your brother.  No, go to Persia, as
soon as you can."

Bartja was just beginning to make various objections to these arguments,
when he caught sight of Prexaspes coming up to them, looking very pale.

After the usual greeting, the envoy whispered to Bartja, that he should
like to speak with him alone.  Rhodopis left them at once, and he began,
playing with the rings on his right hand as he spoke, in a constrained,
embarrassed way.  "I come from the king.  Your display of strength
irritated him yesterday, and he does not wish to see you again for some
time.  His orders are, that you set out for Arabia to buy up all the
camels that are to be had.

     [Camels are never represented on the Egyptian monuments, whereas
     they were in great use among the Arabians and Persians, and are now
     a necessity on the Nile.  They must have existed in Egypt, however.
     Hekekyan-Bey discovered the bones of a dromedary in a deep bore.
     Representations of these creatures were probably forbid We know this
     was the case with the cock, of which bird there were large numbers
     in Egypt:  It is remarkable, that camels were not introduced into
     Barbary until after the birth of Christ.]

"As these animals can bear thirst very long, they are to be used in
conveying food and water for our army on the Ethiopian campaign.  There
must be no delay.  Take leave of your wife, and (I speak by the king's
command) be ready to start before dark.  You will be absent at least a
month.  I am to accompany you as far as Pelusium.  Kassandane wishes to
have your wife and child near her during your absence.  Send them to
Memphis as soon as possible; under the protection of the queen mother,
they will be in safety."

Prexaspes' short, constrained way of speaking did not strike Bartja.
He rejoiced at what seemed to him great moderation on the part of his
brother, and at receiving a commission which relieved him of all doubt
on the question of leaving Egypt, gave his friend, (as he supposed him
to be), his hand to kiss and an invitation to follow him into the palace.

In the cool of the evening, he took a short but very affectionate
farewell of Sappho and his child, who was asleep in Melitta's arms, told
his wife to set out as soon as possible on her journey to Kassandane,
called out jestingly to his mother-in-law, that at least this time she
had been mistaken in her judgment of a man's character, (meaning his
brother's), and sprang on to his horse.

As Prexaspes was mounting, Sappho whispered to him, "Take care of that
reckless fellow, and remind him of me and his child, when you see him
running into unnecessary danger."

"I shall have to leave him at Pelusium," answered  the envoy, busying
himself with the bridle of his horse in order to avoid meeting her eyes.

"Then may the gods take him into their keeping!"  exclaimed Sappho,
clasping her husband's hand, and bursting into tears, which she could not
keep back.  Bartja looked down and saw his usually trustful wife in
tears.  He felt sadder than he had ever felt before.  Stooping down
lovingly from his saddle, he put his strong arm round her waist, lifted
her up to him, and as she stood supporting herself on his foot in the
stirrup, pressed her to his heart, as if for a long last farewell.  He
then let her safely and gently to the ground, took his child up to him on
the saddle, kissed and fondled the little creature, and told her
laughingly to make her mother very happy while he was away, exchanged
some warm words of farewell with Rhodopis, and then, spurring his horse
till the creature reared, dashed through the gateway of the Pharaohs'
palace, with Prexaspes at his side.

When the sound of the horses' hoofs had died away in the distance, Sappho
laid her head on her grandmother's shoulder and wept uncontrollably.
Rhodopis remonstrated and blamed, but all in vain, she could not stop her
tears.



CHAPTER XV.

On the morning after the trial of the bow, Cambyses was seized by such a
violent attack of his old illness, that he was forced to keep his room
for two days and nights, ill in mind and body; at times raging like a
madman, at others weak and powerless as a little child.

On the third day he recovered consciousness and remembered the awful
charge he had laid on Prexaspes, and that it was only too possible he
might have executed it already.  At this thought he trembled, as he had
never trembled in his life before.  He sent at once for the envoy's
eldest son, who was one of the royal cup-bearers.  The boy said his
father had left Memphis, without taking leave of his family.  He then
sent for Darius, Zopyrus and Gyges, knowing how tenderly they loved
Bartja, and enquired after their friend.  On hearing from them that he
was at Sais, he sent the three youths thither at once, charging them, if
they met Prexaspes on the way, to send him back to Memphis without delay.
This haste and the king's strange behavior were quite incomprehensible to
the young Achaemenidae; nevertheless they set out on their journey with
all speed, fearing that something must be wrong.

Cambyses, meanwhile, was miserably restless, inwardly cursed his habit of
drinking and tasted no wine the whole of that clay.  Seeing his mother in
the palace-gardens, he avoided her; he durst not meet her eye.

The next eight days passed without any sign of Prexaspes' return; they
seemed to the king like a year.  A hundred times he sent for the young
cup-bearer and asked if his father had returned; a hundred times he
received the same disappointing answer.

At sunset on the thirteenth day, Kassandane sent to beg a visit from him.
The king went at once, for now he longed to look on the face of his
mother; he fancied it might give him back his lost sleep.

After he had greeted her with a tenderness so rare from him, that it
astonished her, he asked for what reason she had desired his presence.
She answered, that Bartja's wife had arrived at Memphis under singular
circumstances and had said she wished to present a gift to Cambyses.  He
gave Sappho an audience at once, and heard from her that Prexaspes had
brought her husband an order to start for Arabia, and herself a summons
to Memphis from the queen-mother.  At these words the king turned very
pale, and his features were agitated with pain as he looked at his
brother's lovely young wife.  She felt that something unusual was passing
in his mind, and such dreadful forebodings arose in her own, that she
could only offer him the gift in silence and with trembling hands.

"My husband sends you this," she said, pointing to the ingeniously-
wrought box, which contained the wax likeness of Nitetis.  Rhodopis had
advised her to take this to the king in Bartja's name, as a propitiatory
offering.

Cambyses showed no curiosity as to the contents of the box, gave it in
charge to a eunuch, said a few words which seemed meant as thanks to his
sister-in law, and left the women's apartments without even so much as
enquiring after Atossa, whose existence he seemed to have forgotten.

He had come to his mother, believing that the visit would comfort and
calm his troubled mind, but Sappho's words had destroyed his last hope,
and with that his last possibility of rest or peace.  By this time either
Prexaspes would already have committed the murder, or perhaps at that
very moment might be raising his dagger to plunge it into Bartja's heart.

How could he ever meet his mother again after Bartja's death?  how could
he answer her questions or those of that lovely Sappho, whose large,
anxious, appealing eyes had touched him so strangely?

A voice within told him, that his brother's murder would be branded as a
cowardly, unnatural, and unjust deed, and he shuddered at the thought.
It seemed fearful, unbearable, to be called an assassin.  He had already
caused the death of many a man without the least compunction, but that
had been done either in fair fight, or openly before the world.  He was
king, and what the king did was right.  Had he killed Bartja with his own
hand, his conscience would not have reproached him; but to have had him
privately put out of the way, after he had given so many proofs of
possessing first-rate manly qualities, which deserved the highest praise
--this tortured him with a feeling of rage at his own want of principle,
-a feeling of shame and remorse which he had never known before.  He
began to despise himself.  The consciousness of having acted, and wished
to act justly, forsook him, and he began to fancy, that every one who had
been executed by his orders, had been, like Bartja, an innocent victim of
his fierce anger.  These thoughts became so intolerable, that he began to
drink once more in the hope of drowning them.  But now the wine had
precisely the opposite effect, and brought such tormenting thoughts,
that, worn out as he was already by epileptic fits and his habit of
drinking, both body and mind threatened to give way to the agitation
caused by the events of the last months.  Burning and shivering by turns,
he was at last forced to lie down.  While the attendants were disrobing
him, he remembered his brother's present, had the box fetched and opened,
and then desired to be left alone.  The Egyptian paintings on the outside
of the box reminded him of Nitetis, and then he asked himself what she
would have said to his deed.  Fever had already begun, and his mind was
wandering as he took the beautiful wax bust out of the box.  He stared in
horror at the dull, immovable eyes.  The likeness was so perfect, and his
judgment so weakened by wine and fever, that he fancied himself the
victim of some spell, and yet could not turn his eyes from those dear
features.  Suddenly the eyes seemed to move.  He was seized with terror,
and, in a kind of convulsion, hurled what he thought had become a living
head against the wall.  The hollow, brittle wax broke into a thousand
fragments, and Cambyses sank back on to his bed with a groan.

From that moment the fever increased.  In his delirium the banished
Phanes appeared, singing a scornful Greek song and deriding him in such
infamous words, that his fists clenched with rage.  Then he saw his
friend and adviser, Croesus, threatening him in the very same words of
warning, which he had used when Bartja had been sentenced to death by his
command on account of Nitetis: "Beware of shedding a brother's blood; the
smoke thereof will rise to heaven and become a cloud, that must darken
the days of the murderer, and at last cast down the lightnings of heaven
upon his head."

And in his delirious fancy this figure of speech became a reality.  A
rain of blood streamed down upon him from dark clouds; his clothes and
hands were wet with the loathsome moisture.  He went down to the Nile to
cleanse himself, and suddenly saw Nitetis coming towards him.  She had
the same sweet smile with which Theodorus had modelled her.  Enchanted
with this lovely vision, he fell down before her and took her hand, but
he had scarcely touched it, when drops of blood appeared at the tips of
her delicate fingers, and she turned away from him with every sign of
horror.  He humbly implored her to forgive him and come back; she
remained inexorable.  He grew angry, and threatened her, first with his
wrath, and then with awful punishments.  At last, as she only answered
his threats by a low scornful laugh, he ventured to throw his dagger at
her.  She crumbled at once into a thousand pieces, like the wax statue.
But the derisive laughter echoed on, and became louder.  Many voices
joined in it, each trying to outbid the other.  And the voices of Bartja
and Nitetis were the loudest,--their tone the most bitter.  At last he
could bear these fearful sounds no longer and stopped his ears; this was
of no use, and he buried his head, first in the glowing desert-sand and
then in the icy cold Nile-water, until his senses forsook him.  On
awaking, the actual state of things seemed incomprehensible to him.  He
had gone to bed in the evening, and yet he now saw, by the direction of
the sun's rays which fell on his bed, that, instead of dawning as he had
expected, the day was growing dark.  There could be no mistake; he heard
the chorus of priests singing farewell to the setting Mithras.

Then he heard a number of people moving behind a curtain, which had been
hung up at the head of his bed.  He tried to turn in his bed, but could
not; he was too weak.  At last, finding it impossible to discover whether
he was in real life or still in a dream, he called for his dressers and
the courtiers, who were accustomed to be present when he rose.  They
appeared in a moment, and with them his mother, Prexaspes, a number of
the learned among the Magi, and some Egyptians who were unknown to him.
They told him, that he had been lying in a violent fever for weeks, and
had only escaped death by the special mercy of the gods, the skill of the
physicians, and the unwearied nursing of his mother.  He looked
enquiringly first at Kassandane, then at Prexaspes, lost consciousness
again, and fell into a deep sleep, from which he awoke the next morning
with renewed strength.

In four days he was strong enough to sit up and able to question
Prexaspes on the only subject, which occupied his thoughts.

In consideration of his master's weakness the envoy was beginning an
evasive reply, when a threatening movement of the king's gaunt, worn
hand, and a look which had by no means lost its old power of awing into
submission, brought him to the point at once, and in the hope of giving
the king a great pleasure and putting his mind completely at rest, he
began: "Rejoice, O King!  the youth, who dared to desire the
disparagement of thy glory, is no more.  This hand slew him and buried
his body at Baal-Zephon.  The sand of the desert and the unfruitful waves
of the Red Sea were the only witnesses of the deed; and no creature knows
thereof beside thyself, O King, thy servant Prexaspes, and the gulls and
cormorants, that hover over his grave."

The king uttered a piercing shriek of rage, was seized by a fresh
shivering-fit, and sank back once more in raving delirium.

Long weeks passed, every day of which threatened its death.  At last,
however, his strong constitution gained the day, but his mind had given
way, and remained disordered and weak up to his last hour.

When he was strong enough to leave the sick-room and to ride and shoot
once more, he abandoned himself more than ever to the pleasure of
drinking, and lost every remnant of self-control.

The delusion had fixed itself in his disordered mind, that Bartja was not
dead, but transformed into the bow of the King of Ethiopia, and that the
Feruer (soul) of his father Cyrus had commanded him to restore Bartja to
its original form, by subjugating the black nation.

This idea, which he confided to every one about him as a great secret,
pursued him day and night and gave him no rest, until he had started for
Ethiopia with an immense host.  He was forced, however, to return without
having accomplished his object, after having miserably lost the greater
part of his army by heat and the scarcity of provisions.  An historian,
who may almost be spoken of as contemporary, tells us that the wretched
soldiers, after having subsisted on herbs as long as they could, came to
deserts where there was no sign of vegetation, and in their despair
resorted to an expedient almost too fearful to describe.  Lots were drawn
by every ten men, and he on whom the lot fell was killed and eaten by the
other nine.

     [Herodotus visited Egypt some 60 years after the death of Cambyses,
     454 B.C.  He describes the Ethiopian campaign, III. 25.]

At last things went so far, that his subjects compelled this madman to
return, but only, with their slavish Asiatic feelings, to obey him all
the more blindly, when they found themselves once more in inhabited
regions.

On reaching Memphis with the wreck of his army, he found the Egyptians in
glorious apparel celebrating a festival.  They had found a new Apis and
were rejoicing over the reappearance of their god, incarnate in the
sacred bull.

As Cambyses had heard at Thebes, that the army he had sent against the
oasis of Ammon in the Libyan desert, had perished miserably in a Khamsin,
or Simoom, and that his fleet, which was to conquer Carthage, had refused
to fight with a people of their own race, he fancied that the Memphians
must be celebrating a festival of joy at the news of his misfortunes,
sent for their principal men, and after reproaching them with their
conduct, asked why they had been gloomy and morose after his victories,
but joyous at hearing of his misfortunes.  The Memphians answered by
explaining the real ground for their merry-making, and told him, that
the appearance of the sacred bull was always celebrated in Egypt with the
greatest rejoicings.  Cambyses called them liars, and, as such, sentenced
them to death.  He then sent for the priests; received, however, exactly
the same answer from them.

With the bitterest irony he asked to be allowed to make the acquaintance
of this new god, and commanded them to bring him.  The bull Apis was
brought and the king told that he was the progeny of a virgin cow and a
moonbeam, that he must be black, with a white triangular spot on the
forehead, the likeness of an eagle on his back, and on his side the
crescent moon.  There must be two kinds of hair on his tail, and on his
tongue an excrescence in the form of the sacred beetle Scarabaeus.

When Cambyses saw this deified creature he could discover nothing
remarkable in him, and was so enraged that he plunged his sword into its
side.  As the blood streamed from the wound and the animal fell, he broke
out into a piercing laugh, and cried: "Ye fools! so your gods are flesh
and blood; they can be wounded.  Such folly is worthy of you.  But ye
shall find, that it is not so easy to make a fool of me.  Ho, guards!
flog these priests soundly, and kill every one whom you find taking part
in this mad celebration."  The command was obeyed and fearfully
exasperated the Egyptians.

     [According to Herod. III. 29.  Cambyses' sword slipped and ran into
     the leg of the sacred bull.  As the king died also of a wound in the
     thigh, this just suits Herodotus, who always tries to put the
     retribution that comes after presumptuous crime in the strongest
     light; but it is very unlikely that the bull should have died of a
     mere thigh wound.]

Apis died of his wound; the Memphians buried him secretly in the vaults
belonging to the sacred bulls, near the Serapeum, and, led by Psamtik,
attempted an insurrection against the Persians.  This was very quickly
put down, however, and cost Psamtik his life,--a life the stains and
severities of which deserve to be forgiven, in consideration of his
unwearied, ceaseless efforts to deliver his people from a foreign yoke,
and his death in the cause of freedom.

Cambyses' madness had meanwhile taken fresh forms.  After the failure of
his attempt to restore Bartja, (transformed as he fancied into a bow) to
his original shape, his irritability increased so frightfully that a
single word, or even a look, was sufficient to make him furious.  Still
his true friend and counsellor, Croesus, never left him, though the king
had more than once given him over to the guards for execution.  But the
guards knew their master; they took good care not to lay hands on the old
man, and felt sure of impunity, as the king would either have forgotten
his command, or repented of it by the next day, Once, however, the
miserable whip bearers paid a fearful penalty for their lenity.
Cambyses, while rejoicing that Croesus was saved, ordered his deliverers
to be executed for disobedience without mercy.

It would be repugnant to us to repeat all the tales of barbarous
cruelties, which are told of Cambyses at this insane period of his life;
but we cannot resist mentioning a few which seem to us especially
characteristic.

While sitting at table one day, already somewhat intoxicated, he asked
Prexaspes what the Persians thought of him.  The envoy, who in hopes of
deadening his tormenting conscience by the performance of noble and
dangerous acts, let no opportunity pass of trying to exercise a good
influence over his sovereign, answered that they extolled him on every
point, but thought he was too much addicted to wine.

These words, though spoken half in jest, put the king into a violent
passion, and he almost shrieked: "So the Persians say, that the wine has
taken away my senses, do they? on the contrary, I'll show them that
they've lost their own."  And as he spoke he bent his bow, took aim for a
moment at Prexaspes' eldest son, who, as cup-bearer, was standing at the
back of the hall waiting for and watching every look of his sovereign,
and shot him in the breast.  He then gave orders that the boy's body
should be opened and examined.  The arrow had pierced the centre of his
heart.  This delighted the senseless tyrant, and he called out with a
laugh: "Now you see, Prexaspes, it's the Persians who have lost their
judgment, not I.  Could any one have hit the mark better?"

Prexaspes stood there, pale and motionless, compelled to watch the horrid
scene, like Niobe when chained to Sipylus.  His servile spirit bowed
before the ruler's power, instead of arming his right hand with the
dagger of revenge, and when the frantic king asked him the same question
a second time, he actually answered, pressing his hand on his heart: "A
god could not have hit the mark more exactly."

A few weeks after this, the king went to Sais, and there was shown the
rooms formerly occupied by his bride.  This brought back all the old
painful recollections in full force, and at the same time his clouded
memory reminded him, though without any clearness of detail, that Amasis
had deceived both Nitetis and himself.  He cursed the dead king and
furiously demanded to be taken to the temple of Neith, where his mummy
was laid.  There he tore the embalmed body out of its sarcophagus, caused
it to be scourged, to be stabbed with pins, had the hair torn off and
maltreated it in every possible way.  In conclusion, and contrary to the
ancient Persian religious law, which held the pollution of pure fire by
corpses to be a deadly sin, he caused Amasis' dead body to be burnt, and
condemned the mummy of his first wife, which lay in a sarcophagus at
Thebes, her native place, to the same fate.

On his return to Memphis, Cambyses did not shrink from personally ill-
treating his wife and sister, Atossa.

He had ordered a combat of wild beasts to take place, during which,
amongst other entertainments of the same kind, a dog was to fight with a
young lion.  The lion had conquered his antagonist, when another dog, the
brother of the conquered one, broke away from his chain, attacked the
lion, and with the help of the wounded dog, vanquished him.

This scene delighted Cambyses, but Kassandane and Atossa, who had been
forced by the king's command to be present, began to weep aloud.

The tyrant was astonished, and on asking the reason for their tears,
received as answer from the impetuous Atossa, that the brave creature who
had risked its own life to save its brother, reminded her of Bartja.  She
would not say by whom he had been murdered, but his murder had never been
avenged.

These words so roused the king's anger, and so goaded his conscience,
that in a fit of insane fury he struck the daring woman, and might
possibly have killed her, if his mother had not thrown herself into his
arms and exposed her own body to his mad blows.

Her voice and action checked his rage, for he had not lost reverence for
his mother; but her look of intense anger and contempt, which he clearly
saw and could not forget, begot a fresh delusion in his mind.  He
believed from that moment, that the eyes of women had power to poison
him; he started and hid himself behind his companions whenever he saw a
woman, and at last commanded that all the female inhabitants of the
palace at Memphis, his mother not excepted, should be sent back to
Ecbatana.  Araspes and Gyges were appointed to be their escort thither.

                    ......................

The caravan of queens and princesses had arrived at Sais; they alighted
at the royal palace.  Croesus had accompanied them thus far on their way
from Egypt.

Kassandane had altered very much during the last few years.  Grief and
suffering had worn deep lines in her once beautiful face, though they had
had no power to bow her stately figure.

Atossa, on the contrary, was more beautiful than ever, notwithstanding
all she had suffered.  The refractory and impetuous child, the daring
spirited girl, had developed into a dignified, animated and determined
woman.  The serious side of life, and three sad years passed with her
ungovernable husband and brother, had been first-rate masters in the
school of patience, but they had not been able to alienate her heart from
her first love.  Sappho's friendship had made up to her in some measure
for the loss of Darius.

The young Greek had become another creature, since the mysterious
departure of her husband.  Her rosy color and her lovely smile were both
gone.  But she was wonderfully beautiful, in spite of her paleness, her
downcast eyelashes and languid attitude.  She looked like Ariadne waiting
for Theseus.  Longing and expectation lay in every look, in the low tone
of her voice, in her measured walk.  At the sound of approaching steps,
the opening of a door or the unexpected tones of a man's voice, she would
start, get up and listen, and then sink back into the old waiting,
longing attitude, disappointed but not hopeless.  She began to dream
again, as she had been so fond of doing in her girlish days.

She was her old self only when playing with her child.  Then the color
came back to her cheeks, her eyes sparkled, she seemed once more to live
in the present, and not only in the past or future.

Her child was everything to her.  In that little one Bartja seemed to be
still alive, and she could love the child with all her heart and
strength, without taking one iota from her love to him.  With this little
creature the gods had mercifully given her an aim in life and a link with
the lower world, the really precious part of which had seemed to vanish
with her vanished husband.  Sometimes, as she looked into her baby's blue
eyes, so wonderfully like Bartja's, she thought: Why was not she born a
boy?  He would have grown more like his father from day to day, and at
last, if such a thing indeed could ever be, a second Bartja would have
stood before me.

But such thoughts generally ended soon in her pressing the little one
closer than ever to her heart, and blaming herself for ingratitude and
folly.

One day Atossa put the same idea in words, exclaiming: "If Parmys were
only a boy!  He would have grown up exactly like his father, and have
been a second Cyrus for Persia."  Sappho smiled sadly at her friend, and
covered the little one with kisses, but Kassandane said: "Be thankful to
the gods, my child, for having given you a daughter.  If Parmys were a
boy, he would be taken from you as soon as he had reached his sixth year,
to be brought up with the sons of the other Achaemenidae, but your
daughter will remain your own for many years."

Sappho trembled at the mere thought of parting from her child; she
pressed its little fair curly head close to her breast, and never found,
fault with her treasure again for being a girl.

Atossa's friendship was a great comfort to her poor wounded heart.  With
her she could speak of Bartja as much and as often as she would, and was
always certain of a kind and sympathizing listener.  Atossa had loved her
vanished brother very dearly.  And even a stranger would have enjoyed
hearing Sappho tell of her past happiness.  Her words rose into real
eloquence in speaking of those bright days; she seemed like an inspired
poetess.  Then she would take her lyre, and with her clear, sweet,
plaintive voice sing the love-songs of the elder Sappho, in which all her
own deepest feelings were so truly expressed, and fancy herself once more
with her lover sitting under the sweet-scented acanthus in the quiet
night, and forget the sad reality of her present life.  And when, with a
deep sigh, she laid aside the lyre and came back out of this dream-
kingdom, the tears were always to be seen in Kassandane's eyes, though
she did not understand the language in which Sappho had been singing,
and Atossa would bend down and kiss her forehead.

Thus three long years had passed, during which Sappho had seldom seen her
grandmother, for, as the mother of Parmys, she was by the king's command,
forbidden to leave the harem, unless permitted and accompanied either by
Kassandane or the eunuchs.

On the present occasion Croesus, who had always loved, and loved her
still, like a daughter, had sent for Rhodopis to Sais.  He, as well as
Kassandane, understood her wish to take leave of this, her dearest and
most faithful friend, before setting out for Persia; besides which
Kassandane had a great wish to see one in whose praise she had heard so
much.  When Sappho's tender and sad farewell was over therefore, Rhodopis
was summoned to the queen-mother.

A stranger, who saw these two women together, would have thought both
were queens; it was impossible to decide which of the two had most right
to the title.

Croesus, standing as he did in as close a relation to the one as to the
other, undertook the office of interpreter, and the ready intellect of
Rhodopis helped him to carry on an uninterrupted flow of conversation.

Rhodopis, by her own peculiar attractions, soon won the heart of
Kassandane, and the queen knew no better way of proving this than by
offering, in Persian fashion, to grant her some wish.

Rhodopis hesitated a moment; then raising her hands as if in prayer, she
cried: "Leave me my Sappho, the consolation and beauty of my old age."

Kassandane smiled sadly.  "It is not in my power to grant that wish," she
answered.  "The laws of Persia command, that the children of the
Achaemenidae shall be brought up at the king's gate.  I dare not allow
the little Parmys, Cyrus' only grandchild, to leave me, and, much as
Sappho loves you, you know she would not part from her child.  Indeed,
she has become so dear to me now, and to my daughter, that though I well
understand your wish to have her, I could never allow Sappho to leave
us."

Seeing that Rhodopis' eyes were filling with tears, Kassandane went on:
"There is, however, a good way out of our perplexity.  Leave Naukratis,
and come with us to Persia.  There you can spend your last years with us
and with your granddaughter, and shall be provided with a royal
maintenance."

Rhodopis shook her head, hoary but still so beautiful, and answered
in a suppressed voice: "I thank you, noble queen, for this gracious
invitation, but I feel unable to accept it.  Every fibre of my heart
is rooted in Greece, and I should be tearing my life out by leaving it
forever.  I am so accustomed to constant activity, perfect freedom, and a
stirring exchange of thought, that I should languish and die in the
confinement of a harem.  Croesus had already prepared me for the gracious
proposal you have just made, and I have had a long and difficult battle
to fight, before I could decide on resigning my dearest blessing for my
highest good.  It is not easy, but it is glorious, it is more worthy of
the Greek name--to live a good and beautiful life, than a happy one--to
follow duty rather than pleasure.  My heart will follow Sappho, but my
intellect and experience belong to the Greeks; and if you should ever
hear that the people of Hellas are ruled by themselves alone, by their
own gods, their own laws, the beautiful and the good, then you will know
that the work on which Rhodopis, in league with the noblest and best of
her countrymen, has staked her life, is accomplished.  Be not angry with
the Greek woman, who confesses that she would rather die free as a beggar
than live in bondage as a queen, though envied by the whole world."

Kassandane listened in amazement.  She only understood part of what
Rhodopis had said, but felt that she had spoken well and nobly, and at
the conclusion gave her her hand to kiss.  After a short pause,
Kassandane said: "Do what you think right, and remember, that as long as
I and my daughter live, your granddaughter will never want for true and
faithful love."

"Your noble countenance and the fame of your great virtue are warrant
enough for that."  answered Rhodopis.

"And also," added the queen, "the duty which lies upon me to make good
the wrong, that has been done your Sappho."

She sighed painfully and went on: "The little Parmys shall be carefully
educated.  She seems to have much natural talent, and can sing the songs
of her native country already after her mother.  I shall do nothing to
check her love of music, though, in Persia the religious services are the
only occasions in which that art is studied by any but the lower
classes."

At these words Rhodopis' face glowed.  "Will you permit me to speak
openly, O Queen?"  she said.  "Speak without fear," was Kassandane's
answer.  "When you sighed so painfully just now in speaking of your dear
lost son, I thought: Perhaps that brave young hero might have been still
living, if the Persians had understood better how to educate their sons.
Bartja told me in what that education consisted.  To shoot, throw the
spear, ride, hunt, speak the truth, and perhaps also to distinguish
between the healing and noxious properties of certain plants: that is
deemed a sufficient educational provision for a man's life.  The Greek
boys are just as carefully kept to the practice of exercises for
hardening and bracing the body; for these exercises are the founders and
preservers of health, the physician is only its repairer and restorer.
If, however, by constant practice a Greek youth were to attain to the
strength of a bull, the truth of the Deity, and the wisdom of the most
learned Egyptian priest, we should still look down upon him were he
wanting in two things which only early example and music, combined with
these bodily exercises, can give: grace and symmetry.  You smile because
you do not understand me, but I can prove to you that music, which, from
what Sappho tells me, is not without its moving power for your heart, is
as important an element in education as gymnastics, and, strange as it
may sound, has an equal share in effecting the perfection of both body
and mind.  The man who devotes his attention exclusively to music will,
if he be of a violent disposition, lose his savage sternness at first; he
will become gentle and pliable as metal in the fire.  But at last his
courage will disappear too; his passionate temper will have changed into
irritability, and he will be of little worth as a warrior, the calling
and character most desired in your country.  If, on the other hand, he
confines himself to gymnastics only, he will, like Cambyses, excel in
manliness and strength; but his mind--here my comparison ceases--will
remain obtuse and blind, his perceptions will be confused, He will not
listen to reason, but will endeavor to carry everything by force, and,
lacking grace and proportion, his life will probably become a succession
of rude and violent deeds.  On this account we conclude that music is
necessary not only for the mind, and gymnastics not only for the body,
but that both, working together, elevate and soften the mind and
strengthen the body--give manly grace, and graceful manliness."

     [The fundamental ideas of this speech are drawn from
     Plato's ideal "State."]

After a moment's pause Rhodopis went on: "The youth who has not received
such an education, whose roughness has never been checked even in
childhood, who has been allowed to vent his temper on every one,
receiving flattery in return and never hearing reproof; who has been
allowed to command before he has learnt to obey, and who has been brought
up in the belief that splendor, power and riches are the highest good,
can never possibly attain to the perfect manhood, which we beseech the
gods to grant our boys.  And if this unfortunate being happens to have
been born with an impetuous disposition, ungovernable and eager passions,
these will be only nourished and increased by bodily exercise
unaccompanied by the softening influence of music, so that at last a
child, who possibly came into the world with good qualities, will, merely
through the defects in his education, degenerate into a destructive
animal, a sensual self-destroyer, and a mad and furious tyrant."

Rhodopis had become animated with her subject.  She ceased, saw tears in
the eyes of the queen, and felt that she had gone too far and had wounded
a mother's heart,--a heart full of noble feeling.  She touched her robe,
kissed its border, and said softly: "Forgive me."

Kassandane looked her forgiveness, courteously saluted Rhodopis and
prepared to leave the room.  On the threshold, however, she stopped and
said: "I am not angry.  Your reproaches are just; but you too must
endeavor to forgive, for I can assure you that he who has murdered the
happiness of your child and of mine, though the most powerful, is of all
mortals the most to be pitied.  Farewell!  Should you ever stand in need
of ought, remember Cyrus' widow, and how she wished to teach you, that
the virtues the Persians desire most in their children are magnanimity
and liberality."

After saying this she left the apartment.

On the same day Rhodopis heard that Phanes was dead.  He had retired to
Crotona in the neighborhood of Pythagoras and there passed his time in
reflection, dying with the tranquillity of a philosopher.

She was deeply affected at this news and said to Croesus: "Greece has
lost one of her ablest men, but there are many, who will grow up to be
his equals.  The increasing power of Persia causes me no fear; indeed, I
believe that when the barbarous lust of conquest stretches out its hand
towards us, our many-headed Greece will rise as a giant with one head of
divine power, before which mere barbaric strength must bow as surely as
body before spirit."

Three days after this, Sappho said farewell for the last time to her
grandmother, and followed the queens to Persia.  Notwithstanding the
events which afterwards took place, she continued to believe that Bartja
would return, and full of love, fidelity and tender remembrance, devoted
herself entirely to the education of her child and the care of her aged
mother-in-law, Kassandane.

Little Parmys became very beautiful, and learnt to love the memory of her
vanished father next to the gods of her native land, for her mother's
tales had brought him as vividly before her as if he had been still alive
and present with them.

Atossa's subsequent good fortune and happiness did not cool her
friendship.  She always called Sappho her sister.  The hanging-gardens
were the latter's residence in summer, and in her conversations there
with Kassandane and Atossa one name was often mentioned--the name of her,
who had been the innocent cause of events which had decided the destinies
of great kingdoms and noble lives--the Egyptian Princess.



CHAPTER XVI.

Here we might end this tale, but that we feel bound to give our readers
some account of the last days of Cambyses.  We have already described the
ruin of his mind, but his physical end remains still to be told, and also
the subsequent fate of some of the other characters in our history.

A short time after the departure of the queens, news reached Naukratis
that Oroetes, the satrap of Lydia, had, by a stratagem, allured his old
enemy, Polykrates, to Sardis and crucified him there,  thus fulfilling
what Amasis had prophecied of the tyrant's mournful end.  This act the
satrap had committed on his own responsibility, events having taken place
in the Median kingdom which threatened the fall of the Achaemenidaean
dynasty.

The king's long absence in a foreign country had either weakened or
entirely dissipated, the fear which the mere mention of his name had
formerly inspired in those who felt inclined to rebel.  The awe that his
subjects had formerly felt for him, vanished at the tidings of his
madness, and the news that he had wantonly exposed the lives of thousands
of their countrymen to certain death in the deserts of Libya and
Ethiopia, inspired the enraged Asiatics with a hatred which, when
skilfully fed by the powerful Magi, soon roused, first the Medes and
Assyrians, and then the Persians, to defection and open insurrection.
Motives of self-interest led the ambitious high-priest, Oropastes, whom
Cambyses had appointed regent in his absence, to place himself at the
head of this movement.  He flattered the people by remitting their taxes,
by large gifts and larger promises, and finding his clemency gratefully
recognized, determined on an imposture, by which he hoped to win the
crown of Persia for his own family.

He had not forgotten the marvellous likeness between his brother Gaumata
(who had been condemned to lose his ears) and Bartja, the son of Cyrus,
and on hearing that the latter, the universal favorite, as he well knew,
of the Persian nation, had disappeared, resolved to turn this to account
by passing off his brother as the vanished prince, and setting him on the
throne in place of Cambyses.  The hatred felt throughout the entire
kingdom towards their insane king, and the love and attachment of the
nation to Bartja, made this stratagem so easy of accomplishment, that
when at last messengers from Oropastes arrived in all the provinces of
the empire declaring to the discontented citizens that, notwithstanding
the rumor they had heard, the younger son of Cyrus was still alive, had
revolted from his brother, ascended his father's throne and granted to
all his subjects freedom from tribute and from military service during a
period of three years, the new ruler was acknowledged throughout the
kingdom with rejoicings.

The pretended Bartja, who was fully aware of his brother's mental
superiority, had obeyed his directions in every particular, had taken up
his residence in the palace of Nisaea,--in the plains of Media, placed
the crown on his head, declared the royal harem his own, and had shown
himself once from a distance to the people, who were to recognize in him
the murdered Bartja.  After that time, however, for fear of being at last
unmasked, he concealed himself in his palace, giving himself up, after
the manner of Asiatic monarchs, to every kind of indulgence, while his
brother held the sceptre with a firm hand, and conferred all the
important offices of state on his friends and family.

No sooner did Oropastes feel firm ground under his feet, than he
despatched the eunuch Ixabates to Egypt, to inform the army of the change
of rulers that had taken place and persuade them to revolt in favor of
Bartja, who he knew had been idolized by the Soldiers.

The messenger had been well chosen, fulfilled his mission with much
skill, and had already won over a considerable part of the army for the
new king, when he was taken prisoner by some Syrians, who brought him to
Memphis in hopes of reward.

On arriving in the city of the Pyramids he was brought before the king,
and promised impunity on condition of revealing the entire truth.

The messenger then confirmed the rumor, which had reached Egypt, that
Bartja had ascended the throne of Cyrus and had been recognized by the
greater part of the empire.

Cambyses started with terror at these tidings, as one who saw a dead man
rise from his grave.  He was by this time fully aware that Bartja had
been murdered by Prexaspes at his own command, but in this moment he
began to suspect that the envoy had deceived him and spared his brother's
life.  The thought had no sooner entered his mind than he uttered it,
reproaching Prexaspes so bitterly with treachery, as to elicit from him a
tremendous oath, that he had murdered and buried the unfortunate Bartja
with his own hand.

Oropastes' messenger was next asked whether he had seen the new king
himself.  He answered that he had not, adding that the supposed brother
of Cambyses had only once appeared in public, and had then shown himself
to the people from a distance.  On hearing this, Prexaspes saw through
the whole web of trickery at once, reminded the king of the unhappy
misunderstandings to which the marvellous likeness between Bartja and
Gaumata had formerly given rise, and concluded by offering to stake his
own life on the correctness of his supposition.  The explanation pleased
the king, and from that moment his diseased mind was possessed by one new
idea to the exclusion of all others--the seizure and slaughter of the
Magi.

The host was ordered to prepare for marching.  Aryandes,--one of the
Achaemenidae, was appointed satrap of Egypt, and the army started
homeward without delay.  Driven by this new delusion, the king took no
rest by day or night, till at last his over-ridden and ill-used horse
fell with him, and he was severely wounded in the fall by his own dagger.

After lying insensible for some days, he opened his eyes and asked first
to see Araspes, then his mother, and lastly Atossa, although these three
had set out on their journey home months before.  From all he said it
appeared that during the last four years, from the attack of fever until
the present accident, he had been living in a kind of sleep.  He seemed
astonished and pained at hearing what had happened during these years.
But of his brother's death he was fully aware.  He knew that Prexaspes
had killed him by his--the king's--orders and had told him that Bartja
lay buried on the shores of the Red Sea.--During the night which followed
this return to his senses it became clear to himself also, that his mind
had been wandering for along time.  Towards morning he fell into a deep
sleep, and this so restored his strength, that on waking he called for
Croesus and required an exact relation of the events that had passed
during the last few years.

His old friend and adviser obeyed; he felt that Cambyses was still
entrusted to his care, and in the hope, faint as it was, of bringing him
back to the right way, he did not suppress one of the king's acts of
violence in his relation.

His joy was therefore great at perceiving, that his words made a deep
impression on the newly-awakened mind of the king.  With tears in his
eyes, and with the ashamed look of a child, he grieved over his wrong
deeds and his madness, begged Croesus to forgive him, thanked him for
having borne so long and faithfully with him, and commissioned him to ask
Kassandane and Sappho especially for forgiveness, but also, Atossa and
all whom he had unjustly offended.

The old man wept too, but his tears were tears of joy and he repeatedly
assured Cambyses that he would recover and have ample opportunity of
making amends for the past.  But to all this Cambyses shook his head
resolutely, and, pale and wan as he looked, begged Croesus to have his
couch carried on to a rising ground in the open air, and then to summon
the Achaemenidae.  When these orders, in spite of the physicians, had
been obeyed, Cambyses was raised into an upright sitting position, and
began, in a voice which could be heard at a considerable distance:

"The time to reveal my great secret has arrived, O ye Persians.  Deceived
by a vision, provoked and annoyed by my brother, I caused him to be
murdered in my wrath.  Prexaspes wrought the evil deed by my command, but
instead of bringing me the peace I yearned for, that deed has tortured me
into madness and death.  By this my confession ye will be convinced, that
my brother Bartja is really dead.  The Magi have usurped the throne of
the Achaemenidae.  Oropastes, whom I left in Persia as my vicegerent and
his brother Gaumata, who resembles Bartja so nearly that even Croesus,
Intaphernes and my uncle, the noble Hystaspes, were once deceived by the
likeness, have placed themselves at their head.  Woe is me, that I have
murdered him who, as my nearest kinsman, should have avenged on the Magi
this affront to my honor.  But I cannot recall him from the dead, and I
therefore appoint you the executors of my last will.  By the Feruer of my
dead father, and in the name of all good and pure spirits, I conjure you
not to suffer the government to fall into the hands of the unfaithful
Magi.  If they have obtained possession thereof by artifice, wrest it
from their hands in like manner; if by force, use force to win it back.
Obey this my last will, and the earth will yield you its fruits
abundantly; your wives, your flocks and herds shall be blessed and
freedom shall be your portion.  Refuse to obey it, and ye shall suffer
the corresponding evils; yea, your end, and that of every Persian shall
be even as mine."

After these words the king wept and sank back fainting, on seeing which,
the Achaemenidae rent their clothes and burst into loud lamentations.  A
few hours later Cambyses died in Croesus' arms.  Nitetis was his last
thought; he died with her name on his lips and tears of penitence in his
eyes.  When the Persians had left the unclean corpse, Croesus knelt down
beside it and cried, raising his hand to heaven: "Great Cyrus, I have
kept my oath.  I have remained this miserable man's faithful adviser
even unto his end."

The next morning the old man betook himself, accompanied by his son
Gyges, to the town of Barene, which belonged to him, and lived there many
years as a father to his subjects, revered by Darius and praised by all
his contemporaries.

                    ........................

After Cambyses' death the heads of the seven Persian tribes held a
council, and resolved, as a first measure, on obtaining certain
information as to the person of the usurper.  With this view, Otanes sent
a confidential eunuch to his daughter Phaedime, who, as they knew, had
come into the possession of the new king with the rest of Cambyses'
harem.

     [The names of the seven conspiring chiefs, given by Herodotus agree
     for the most part with those in the cuneiform inscriptions.  The
     names are: Otanes, Intaphernes, Gobryas, Megabyzus, Aspatines,
     Hydarnes and Darius Hystaspis.  In the inscription Otana:
     Vindafrand, Gaubaruva, Ardumams, Vidarna, Bagabukhsa and Darayavus.]

Before the messenger returned, the greater part of the army had
dispersed, the soldiers seizing this favorable opportunity to return to
their homes and families, after so many years of absence.  At last,
however, the long-expected messenger came back and brought for answer,
that the new king had only visited Phaedime once, but that during that
visit she had, at great personal risk, discovered that he had lost both
ears.  Without this discovery, however, she could assert positively that
though there were a thousand points of similarity between the usurper and
the murdered Bartja, the former was in reality none other than Gaumata,
the brother of Oropastes.  Her old friend Boges had resumed his office of
chief of the eunuchs, and had revealed to her the secrets of the Magi.
The high-priest had met the former keeper of the women begging in the
streets of Susa, and had restored him to his old office with the words:
"You have forfeited your life, but I want men of your stamp."  In
conclusion.  Phaedime entreated her father to use every means in his
power for the overthrow of the Magi, as they treated her with the
greatest contempt and she was the most miserable of women.

Though none of the Achaemenidae hall really for a moment believed; that
Bartja was alive and had seized on the throne, so clear an account of the
real person of the usurper was very welcome to them, and they resolved at
once to march on Nisaea with the remnant of the army and overthrow the
Magi either by craft or force.

They entered the new capital unassailed, and finding that the majority of
the people seemed content with the new government, they also pretended to
acknowledge the king as the son of Cyrus, to whom they were prepared to
do homage.  The Magi, however, were not deceived; they shut themselves up
in their palace, assembled an army in the Nisaean plain, promised the
soldiers high pay, and used every effort to strengthen the belief of the
people in Gaumata's disguise.  On this point no one could do them more
injury, or, if he chose, be more useful to them, than Prexaspes.  He was
much looked up to by the Persians, and his assurance, that he had not
murdered Bartja, would have been sufficient to tame the fast-spreading
report of the real way in which the youth had met his death.  Oropastes,
therefore, sent for Prexaspes, who, since the king's dying words, had
been avoided by all the men of his own rank and had led the life of an
outlaw, and promised him an immense sum of money, if he would ascend a
high tower and declare to the people, assembled in the court beneath,
that evil-disposed men had called him Bartja's murderer, whereas he had
seen the new king with his own eyes and had recognized in him the younger
son of his benefactor.  Prexaspes made no objection to this proposal,
took a tender leave of his family while the people were being assembled,
uttered a short prayer before the sacred fire-altar and walked proudly to
the palace.  On his way thither he met the chiefs of the seven tribes and
seeing that they avoided him, called out to them: "I am worthy of your
contempt, but I will try to deserve your forgiveness."

Seeing Darius look back, he hastened towards him, grasped his hand and
said: "I have loved you like a son; take care of my children when I am no
more, and use your pinions, winged Darius."  Then, with the same proud
demeanor he ascended the tower.

Many thousands of the citizens of Nisaea were within reach of his voice,
as he cried aloud: "Ye all know that the kings who have, up to the
present time, loaded you with honor and glory, belonged to the house of
the Achaemenidae.  Cyrus governed you like a real father, Cambyses was a
stern master, and Bartja would have guided you like a bridegroom, if I,
with this right hand which I now show you, had not slain him on the
shores of the Red Sea.  By Mithras, it was with a bleeding heart that I
committed this wicked deed, but I did it as a faithful servant in
obedience to the king's command.  Nevertheless, it has haunted me by day
and night; for four long years I have been pursued and tormented by the
spirits of darkness, who scare sleep from the murderer's couch.  I have
now resolved to end this painful, despairing existence by a worthy deed,
and though even this may procure me no mercy at the bridge of Chinvat,
in the mouths of men, at least, I shall have redeemed my honorable name
from the stain with which I defiled it.  Know then, that the man who
gives himself out for the son of Cyrus, sent me hither; he promised me
rich rewards if I would deceive you by declaring him to be Bartja, the
son of the Achaemenidae.  But I scorn his promises and swear by Mithras
and the Feruers of the kings, the most solemn oaths I am acquainted with,
that the man who is now ruling you is none other than the Magian Gaumata,
he who was deprived of his ears, the brother of the king's vicegerent and
high-priest, Oropastes, whom ye all know.  If it be your will to forget
all the glory ye owe to the Achaemenidae, if to this ingratitude ye
choose to add your own degradation, then acknowledge these creatures and
call them your kings; but if ye despise a lie and are ashamed to obey
worthless impostors, drive the Magi from the throne before Mithras has
left the heavens, and proclaim the noblest of the Achaemenidae, Darius,
the exalted son of Hystaspes, who promises to become a second Cyrus, as
your king.  And now, in order that ye may believe my words and not
suspect that Darius sent me hither to win you over to his side, I will
commit a deed, which must destroy every doubt and prove that the truth
and glory of the Achaemenidae are clearer to me, than life itself.
Blessed be ye if ye follow my counsels, but curses rest upon you, if ye
neglect to reconquer the throne from the Magi and revenge yourselves upon
them.--Behold, I die a true and honorable man!"

With these words he ascended the highest pinnacle of the tower and cast
himself down head foremost, thus expiating the one crime of his life by
an honorable death.

The dead silence with which the people in the court below had listened to
him, was now broken by shrieks of rage and cries for vengeance.  They
burst open the gates of the palace and were pressing in with cries of
"Death to the Magi," when the seven princes of the Persians appeared in
front of the raging crowd to resist their entrance.

At sight of the Achaemenidae the citizens broke into shouts of joy, and
cried more impetuously than ever, "Down with the Magi!  Victory to King
Darius!"

The son of Hystaspes was then carried by the crowd to a rising ground,
from which he told the people that the Magi had been slain by the
Achaemenidae, as liars and usurpers.  Fresh cries of joy arose in answer
to these words, and when at last the bleeding heads of Oropastes and
Gaumata were shown to the crowd, they rushed with horrid yells through
the streets of the city, murdering every Magian they could lay hold of.
The darkness of night alone was able to stop this awful massacre.

Four days later, Darius, the son of Hystaspes, was chosen as king by the
heads of the Achaemenidae, in consideration of his high birth and noble
character, and received by the Persian nation with enthusiasm.  Darius
had killed Gaumata with his own hand, and the highpriest had received his
death-thrust from the hand of Megabyzus, the father of Zopyrus.  While
Prexaspes was haranguing the people, the seven conspiring Persian
princes, Otanes, Intaphernes, Gobryas, Megabyzus, Aspatines, Hydarnes and
Darius, (as representative of his aged father Hystaspes), had entered the
palace by a carelessly-guarded gate, sought out the part of the building
occupied by the Magi, and then, assisted by their own knowledge of the
palace, and the fact that most of the guards had been sent to keep watch
over the crowd assembled to hear Prexaspes easily penetrated to the
apartments in which at that moment they were to be found.  Here they were
resisted by a few eunuchs, headed by Boges, but these were overpowered
and killed to a man.  Darius became furious on seeing Boges, and killed
him at once.  Hearing the dying cries of these eunuchs, the Magi rushed
to the spot and prepared to defend themselves.  Oropastes snatched a
lance from the fallen Boges, thrust out one of Intaphernes' eyes and
wounded Aspatines in the thigh, but was stabbed by Megabyzus.  Gaumata
fled into another apartment and tried to bar the door, but was followed
too soon by Darius and Gobryas; the latter seized, threw him, and kept
him down by the weight of his own body, crying to Darius, who was afraid
of making a false stroke in the half-light, and so wounding his companion
instead of Gaumata, "Strike boldly, even if you should stab us both."
Darius obeyed, and fortunately only hit the Magian.

Thus died Oropastes, the high-priest, and his brother Gaumata, better
known under the name of the "pseudo" or "pretended Smerdis."

A few weeks after Darius' election to the throne, which the people said
had been marvellously influenced by divine miracles and the clever
cunning of a groom, he celebrated his coronation brilliantly at
Pasargadae, and with still more splendor, his marriage with his beloved
Atossa.  The trials of her life had ripened her character, and she proved
a faithful, beloved and respected companion to her husband through the
whole of that active and glorious life, which, as Prexaspes had foretold,
made him worthy of the names by which he was afterwards known--Darius the
Great, and a second Cyrus.

     [Atossa is constantly mentioned as the favorite wife of Darius, and
     be appointed her son Xerxes to be his successor, though he had three
     elder sons by the daughter of Gobryas.  Herodotus (VII. 3.) speaks
     with emphasis of the respect and consideration in which Atossa was
     held, and Aeschylus, in his Persians, mentions her in her old age,
     as the much-revered and noble matron.]

As a general he was circumspect and brave, and at the same time
understood so thoroughly how to divide his enormous realm, and to
administer its affairs, that he must be classed with the greatest
organizers of all times and countries.  That his feeble successors were
able to keep this Asiatic Colossus of different countries together for
two hundred years after his death, was entirely owing to Darius.  He was
liberal of his own, but sparing of his subjects' treasures, and made
truly royal gifts without demanding more than was his due.  He introduced
a regular system of taxation, in place of the arbitrary exactions
practised under Cyrus and Cambyses, and never allowed himself to be led
astray in the carrying out of what seemed to him right, either by
difficulties or by the ridicule of the Achaemenidae, who nicknamed him
the "shopkeeper," on account of what seemed, to their exclusively
military tastes, his petty financial measures.  It is by no means one of
his smallest merits, that he introduced one system of coinage through his
entire empire, and consequently through half the then known world.

Darius respected the religions and customs of other nations.  When the
writing of Cyrus, of the existence of which Cambyses had known nothing,
was found in the archives of Ecbatana, he allowed the Jews to carry on
the building of their temple to Jehovah;  he also left the Ionian cities
free to govern their own communities independently.  Indeed, he would
hardly have sent his army against Greece, if the Athenians had not
insulted him.

In Egypt he had learnt much; among other things, the art of managing the
exchequer of his kingdom wisely; for this reason he held the Egyptians in
high esteem, and granted them many privileges, amongst others a canal to
connect the Nile with the Red Sea, which was greatly to the advantage of
their commerce.

     [Traces of this canal can be found as early as the days of Setos I;
     his son Rameses II. caused the works to be continued.  Under Necho
     they were recommenced, and possibly finished by Darius.  In the time
     of the Ptolemies, at all events, the canal was already completed.
     Herod. II.  158.  Diod. I. 33.  The French, in undertaking to
     reconstruct the Suez canal, have had much to encounter from the
     unfriendly commercial policy of the English and their influence over
     the internal affairs of Egypt, but the unwearied energy and great
     talent of Monsr. de Lesseps and the patriotism of the French nation
     have at last succeeded in bringing their great work to a successful
     close.  Whether it will pay is another question.  See G. Ebers, Der
     Kanal von Suez.  Nordische Revue, October 1864.  The maritime canal
     connecting the Mediterranean with the Red Sea has also been
     completed since 1869.  We were among those, who attended the
     brilliant inauguration ceremonies, and now willingly recall many of
     the doubts expressed in our work 'Durch Gosen zum Sinai'.  The
     number of ships passing through the canal is constantly increasing.]

During the whole of his reign, Darius endeavored to make amends for the
severity with which Cambyses had treated the Egyptians; even in the later
years of his life he delighted to study the treasures of their wisdom,
and no one was allowed to attack either their religion or customs, as
long as he lived.  The old high-priest Neithotep enjoyed the king's favor
to the last, and Darius often made use of his wise old master's
astrological knowledge.

The goodness and clemency of their new ruler was fully acknowledged by
the Egyptians; they called him a deity,  as they had called their own
kings, and yet, in the last years of his reign, their desire for
independence led them to forget gratitude and to try to shake off his
gentle yoke, which was only oppressive because it had originally been
forced on them.

     [The name of Darius occurs very often on the monuments as Ntariusch.
     It is most frequently found in the inscriptions on the temple in the
     Oasis el-Khargah, recently photographed by G. Rohlfs.  The Egypto-
     Persian memorial fragments, bearing inscriptions in the hieroglyphic
     and cuneiform characters are very interesting.  Darius' name in
     Egyptian was generally "Ra, the beloved of Ammon."  On a porcelain
     vessel in Florence, and in some papyri in Paris and Florence he is
     called by the divine titles of honor given to the Pharaohs.]

Their generous ruler and protector did not live to see the end of this
struggle.

     [The first rebellion in Egypt, which broke out under Aryandes, the
     satrap appointed by Cambyses, was put down by Darius in person.  He
     visited Egypt, and promised 100 talents (L22,500.) to any one who
     would find a new Apis.  Polyaen. VII. ii. 7.  No second outbreak
     took place until 486 B.C. about 4 years before the death of Darius.
     Herod. VI i. Xerxes conquered the rebels two years after his
     accession, and appointed his brother Achaemenes satrap of Egypt.]

It was reserved for Xerxes, the successor and son of Darius and Atossa,
to bring back the inhabitants of the Nile valley to a forced and
therefore insecure obedience.

Darius left a worthy monument of his greatness in the glorious palace
which he built on Mount Rachmed, the ruins of which are the wonder and
admiration of travellers to this day.  Six thousand Egyptian workmen,
who had been sent to Asia by Cambyses, took part in the work and also
assisted in building a tomb for Darius and his successors, the rocky and
almost inaccessible chambers of which have defied the ravages of time,
and are now the resort of innumerable wild pigeons.

He caused the history of his deeds to be cut, (in the cuneiform character
and in the Persian, Median and Assyrian languages), on the polished side
of the rock of Bisitun or Behistan, not far from the spot where he saved
Atossa's life.  The Persian part of this inscription can still be
deciphered  with certainty, and contains an account of the events related
in the last few chapters, very nearly agreeing with our own and that of
Herodotus.  The following sentences occur amongst others: "Thus saith
Darius the King: That which I have done, was done by the grace of
Auramazda in every way.  I fought nineteen battles after the rebellion of
the kings.  By the mercy of Auramazda I conquered them.  I took nine
kings captive.  One was a Median, Gaumata by name.  He lied and said:
'I am Bardiya (Bartja), the son of Cyrus.'  He caused Persia to rebel."

Some distance lower down, he names the chiefs who helped him to dethrone
the Magi, and in another place the inscription has these words: "Thus
saith the King Darius: That which I have done was done in every way by
the grace of Auramazda.  Auramazda helped me, and such other gods as
there be.  Auramazda and the other gods gave me help, because I was not
swift to anger, nor a liar, nor a violent ruler, neither I nor my
kinsmen.  I have shown favor unto him who helped my brethren, and I have
punished severely him who was my enemy.  Thou who shalt be king after me,
be not merciful unto him who is a liar or a rebel, but punish him with a
severe punishment.  Thus saith Darius the King: Thou who shalt hereafter
behold this tablet which I have written, or these pictures, destroy them
not, but so long as thou shalt live preserve them, &c."

It now only remains to be told that Zopyrus, the son of Megabyzus,
continued to the last the king's most faithful friend.

A courtier once showed the king a pomegranate, and asked him of what one
gift of fortune he would like so many repetitions, as there were seeds in
that fruit.  Without a moment's hesitation Darius answered, "Of my
Zopyrus."--[Plutarch]

The following story will prove that Zopyrus, on his part, well understood
how to return his royal friend's kindness.  After the death of Cambyses,
Babylon revolted from the Persian empire.  Darius besieged the city nine
months in vain, and was about to raise the siege, when one day Zopyrus
appeared before him bleeding, and deprived of his ears and nose, and
explained that he had mutilated himself thus in order to cheat the
Babylonians, who knew him well, as he had formerly been on intimate terms
with their daughters.  He said he wished to tell the haughty citizens,
that Darius had thus disfigured him, and that he had come to them for
help in revenging himself.  He thought they would then place troops at
his disposal, with which he intended to impose upon them by making a few
successful sallies at first.  His ultimate intention was to get
possession of the keys, and open the Semiramis gate to his friends.

These words, which were spoken in a joking tone, contrasted so sadly with
the mutilated features of his once handsome friend, that Darius wept, and
when at last the almost impregnable fortress was really won by Zopyrus'
stratagem, he exclaimed: "I would give a hundred Babylons, if my Zopyrus
had not thus mutilated himself."

He then appointed his friend lord of the giant city, gave him its entire
revenues, and honored him every year with the rarest presents.  In later
days he used to say that, with the exception of Cyrus, who had no equal,
no man had ever performed so generous a deed as Zopyrus.

     [Herod. III.  160.  Among other presents Zopyrus received a gold
     hand-mill weighing six talents, the most honorable and distinguished
     gift a Persian monarch could bestow upon a subject.  According to
     Ktesias, Megabaezus received this gift from Xerxes.]

Few rulers possessed so many self-sacrificing friends as Darius, because
few understood so well how to be grateful.

When Syloson, the brother of the murdered Polykrates, came to Susa and
reminded the king of his former services, Darius received him as a
friend, placed ships and troops at his service, and helped him to recover
Samos.

The Samians made a desperate resistance, and said, when at last they were
obliged to yield: "Through Syloson we have much room in our land."

Rhodopis lived to hear of the murder of Hipparchus, the tyrant of Athens,
by Harmodius and Aristogiton, and died at last in the arms of her best
friends, Theopompus the Milesian and Kallias the Athenian, firm in her
belief of the high calling of her countrymen.

All Naukratis mourned for her, and Kallias sent a messenger to Susa, to
inform the king and Sappho of her death.

A few months later the satrap of Egypt received the following letter from
the hand of the king:

     "Inasmuch as we ourselves knew and honored Rhodopis, the Greek, who
     has lately died in Naukratis,--inasmuch as her granddaughter, as
     widow of the lawful heir to the Persian throne, enjoys to this day
     the rank and honors of a queen,--and lastly, inasmuch as I have
     lately taken the great-grandchild of the same Rhodopis, Parmys, the
     daughter of Bartja and Sappho, to be my third lawful wife, it seems
     to me just to grant royal honors to the ancestress of two queens.  I
     therefore command thee to cause the ashes of Rhodopis, whom we have
     always esteemed as the greatest and rarest among women, to be buried
     in the greatest and rarest of all monuments, namely, in one of the
     Pyramids.  The costly urn, which thou wilt receive herewith, is sent
     by Sappho to preserve the ashes of the deceased."

          Given in the new imperial palace at Persepolis.

                         DARIUS, son of Hystaspes.

                                   King.



ETEXT EDITOR'S BOOKMARKS:

A noble mind can never swim with the stream
Age is inquisitive
Apis the progeny of a virgin cow and a moonbeam
Be not merciful unto him who is a liar or a rebel
Canal to connect the Nile with the Red Sea
I was not swift to anger, nor a liar, nor a violent ruler
Introduced a regular system of taxation-Darius
Numbers are the only certain things
Resistance always brings out a man's best powers





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