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Title: An Egyptian Princess — Volume 09
Author: Ebers, Georg
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.

*** Start of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "An Egyptian Princess — Volume 09" ***


By Georg Ebers

Volume 9.


According to the law of Egypt, Zopyrus had deserved death.

As soon as his friends heard this, they resolved to go to Sais and try to
rescue him by stratagem.  Syloson, who had friends there and could speak
the Egyptian language well, offered to help them.

Bartja and Darius disguised themselves so completely by dyeing their hair
and eyebrows and wearing broad-brimmed felt-hats,--that they could
scarcely recognize each other.  Theopompus provided them with ordinary
Greek dresses, and, an hour after Zopyrus' arrest, they met the
splendidly-got-up Syloson on the shore of the Nile, entered a boat
belonging to him and manned by his slaves, and, after a short sail,
favored by the wind, reached Sais,--which lay above the waters of the
inundation like an island,--before the burning midsummer sun had reached
its noonday height.

They disembarked at a remote part of the town and walked across the
quarter appropriated to the artisans.  The workmen were busy at their
calling, notwithstanding the intense noonday heat.  The baker's men were
at work in the open court of the bakehouse, kneading bread--the coarser
kind of dough with the feet, the finer with the hands.  Loaves of various
shapes were being drawn out of the ovens-round and oval cakes, and rolls
in the form of sheep, snails and hearts.  These were laid in baskets, and
the nimble baker's boys would put three, four, or even five such baskets
on their heads at once, and carry them off quickly and safely to the
customers living in other quarters of the city.  A butcher was
slaughtering an ox before his house, the creature's legs having been
pinioned; and his men were busy sharpening their knives to cut up a wild
goat.  Merry cobblers were calling out to the passers-by from their
stalls; carpenters, tailors, joiners and weavers--were all there, busy at
their various callings.  The wives of the work-people were going out
marketing, leading their naked children by the hand, and some soldiers
were loitering near a man who was offering beer and wine for sale.

But our friends took very little notice of what was going on in the
streets through which they passed; they followed Syloson in silence.

At the Greek guard-house he asked them to wait for him.  Syloson,
happening to know the Taxiarch who was on duty that day, went in and
asked him if he had heard anything of a man accused of murder having been
brought from Naukratis to Sais that morning.

"Of course," said the Greek.  "It's not more than half an hour since he
arrived.  As they found a purse full of money in his girdle, they think
he must be a Persian spy.  I suppose you know that Cambyses is preparing
for war with Egypt."


"No, no, it's a fact.  The prince-regent has already received
information.  A caravan of Arabian merchants arrived yesterday at
Pelusium, and brought the news."

"It will prove as false as their suspicions about this poor young Lydian.
I know him well, and am very sorry for the poor fellow.  He belongs to
one of the richest families in Sardis, and only ran away for fear of the
powerful satrap Oroetes, with whom he had had a quarrel.  I'll tell you
the particulars when you come to see me next in Naukratis.  Of course
you'll stay a few days and bring some friends.  My brother has sent me
some wine which beats everything I ever tasted.  It's perfect nectar, and
I confess I grudge offering it to any one who's not, like you, a perfect
judge in such matters."  The Taxiarch's face brightened up at these
words, and grasping Syloson's hand, he exclaimed.  "By the dog, my
friend, we shall not wait to be asked twice; we'll come soon enough and
take a good pull at your wine-skins.  How would it be if you were to ask
Archidice, the three flower-sisters, and a few flute-playing-girls to

     [Archidice--A celebrated Hetaira of Naukratis mentioned by Herod.
     II.  135.  Flute-playing girls were seldom missing at the young
     Greeks' drinking-parties]

"They shall all be there.  By the bye, that reminds me that the flower-
girls were the cause of that poor young Lydian's imprisonment.  Some
jealous idiot attacked him before their house with a number of comrades.
The hot-brained young fellow defended himself .  .  .  ."

"And knocked the other down?"

"Yes; and so that he'll never get up again."

"The boy must be a good boxer."

"He had a sword."

"So much the better for him."

"No, so much the worse; for his victim was an Egyptian."

"That's a bad job.  I fear it can only have an unfortunate end.  A
foreigner, who kills an Egyptian, is as sure of death as if he had the
rope already round his neck.  However, just now he'll get a few days'
grace; the priests are all so busy praying for the dying king that they
have no time to try criminals."

"I'd give a great deal to be able to save that poor fellow.  I know his

"Yes, and then after all he only did his duty.  A man must defend

"Do you happen to know where he is imprisoned?"

"Of course I do.  The great prison is under repair, and so he has been
put for the present in the storehouse between the principal guard-house
of the Egyptian body-guard and the sacred grove of the temple of Neith.
I have only just come home from seeing them take him there."

"He is strong and has plenty of courage; do you think he could get away,
if we helped him?"

"No, it would be quite impossible; he's in a room two stories high; the
only window looks into the sacred grove, and that, you know, is
surrounded by a ten-foot wall, and guarded like the treasury.  There are
double sentries at every gate.  There's only one place where it is left
unguarded during the inundation season, because, just here, the water
washes the walls.  These worshippers of animals are as cautious as water-

"Well, it's  a great  pity, but I suppose we must leave the poor fellow
to his fate.  Good-bye, Doemones; don't forget my invitation."

The Samian left the guard-room and went back directly to the two friends,
who were waiting impatiently for him.

They listened eagerly to his tidings, and when he had finished his
description of the prison, Darius exclaimed: "I believe a little courage
will save him.  He's as nimble as a cat, and as strong as a bear.  I have
thought of a plan."

"Let us hear it," said Syloson, "and let me give an opinion as to its

"We will buy some rope-ladders, some cord, and a good bow, put all these
into our boat, and row to the unguarded part of the temple-wall at dusk.
You must then help me to clamber over it.  I shall take the things over
with me and give the eagle's cry.  Zopyras will know at once, because,
since we were children, we have been accustomed to use it when we were
riding or hunting together.  Then I shall shoot an arrow, with the cord
fastened to it, up into his window, (I never miss), tell him to fasten a
weight to it and let it down again to me.  I shall then secure the rope-
ladder to the cord, Zopyrus will draw the whole affair up again, and hang
it on an iron nail,--which, by the bye, I must not forget to send up with
the ladder, for who knows whether he may have such a thing in his cell.
He will then come down on it, go quickly with me to the part of the wall
where you will be waiting with the boat, and where there must be another
rope-ladder, spring into the boat, and there he is-safe!"

"First-rate, first-rate!"  cried Bartja.

"But very dangerous," added Syloson.  "If we are caught in the sacred
grove, we are certain to be severely punished.  The priests hold strange
nightly festivals there, at which every one but the initiated is strictly
forbidden to appear.  I believe, however, that these take place on the
lake, and that is at some distance from Zopyrus' prison."

"So much the better," cried Darius; "but now to the main point.  We must
send at once, and ask Theopompus to hire a fast trireme for us, and have
it put in sailing order at once.  The news of Cambyses' preparations have
already reached Egypt; they take us for spies, and will be sure not to
let either Zopyrus or his deliverers escape, if they can help it.  It
would be a criminal rashness to expose ourselves uselessly to danger.
Bartja, you must take this message yourself, and must marry Sappho this
very day, for, come what may, we must leave Naukratis to-morrow.  Don't
contradict me, my friend, my brother!  You know our plan, and you must
see that as only one can act in it, your part would be that of a mere
looker-on.  As it was my own idea I am determined to carry it out myself.
We shall meet again to-morrow, for Auramazda protects the friendship of
the pure."

It was a long time before they could persuade Bartja to leave his friends
in the lurch, but their entreaties and representations at last took
effect, and he went down towards the river to take a boat for Naukratis,
Darius and Syloson going at the same time to buy the necessary implements
for their plan.

In order to reach the place where boats were to be hired, Bartja had to
pass by the temple of Neith.  This was not easy, as an immense crowd was
assembled at the entrance-gates.  He pushed his way as far as the
obelisks near the great gate of the temple with its winged sun-disc and
fluttering pennons, but there the temple-servants prevented him from
going farther; they were keeping the avenue of sphinxes clear for a
procession.  The gigantic doors of the Pylon opened, and Bartja, who, in
spite of himself, had been pushed into the front row, saw a brilliant
procession come out of the temple.  The unexpected sight of many faces he
had formerly known occupied his attention so much, that he scarcely
noticed the loss of his broad-brimmed hat, which had been knocked off in
the crowd.  From the conversation of two Ionian mercenaries behind him he
learnt that the family of Amasis had been to the temple to pray for the
dying king.

The procession was headed by richly-decorated priests, either wearing
long white robes or pantherskins.  They were followed by men holding
office at the court, and carrying golden staves, on the ends of which
peacocks' feathers and silver lotus-flowers were fastened, and these by
Pastophori, carrying on their shoulders a golden cow, the animal sacred
to Isis.  When the crowd had bowed down before this sacred symbol, the
queen appeared.  She was dressed in priestly robes and wore a costly
head-dress with the winged disc and the Uraeus.  In her left hand she
held a sacred golden sistrum,  the tones of which were to scare away
Typhon, and in her right some lotus-flowers.  The wife, daughter and
sister of the high-priest followed her, in similar but less splendid
ornaments.  Then came the heir to the throne, in rich robes of state, as
priest and prince; and behind him four young priests in white carrying
Tachot, (the daughter of Amasis and Ladice and the pretended sister of
Nitetis,) in an open litter.  The heat of the day, and the earnestness of
her prayers, had given the sick girl a slight color.  Her blue eyes,
filled with tears, were fixed on the sistrum which her weak, emaciated
hands had hardly strength to hold.

A murmur of compassion ran through the crowd; for they loved their dying
king, and manifested openly and gladly the sympathy so usually felt for
young lives from whom a brilliant future has been snatched by disease.
Such was Amasis' young, fading daughter, who was now being carried past
them, and many an eye grew dim as the beautiful invalid came in sight.
Tachot seemed to notice this, for she raised her eyes from the sistrum
and looked kindly and gratefully at the crowd.  Suddenly the color left
her face, she turned deadly pale, and the golden sistrum fell on to the
stone pavement with a clang, close to Bartja's feet.  He felt that he had
been recognized and for one moment thought of hiding himself in the
crowd; but only for one moment--his chivalrous feeling gained the day, he
darted forward, picked up the sistrum, and forgetting the danger in which
he was placing himself, held it out to the princess.

Tachot looked at him earnestly before taking the golden sistrum from his
hands, and then said, in a low voice, which only he could understand:
"Are you Bartja?  Tell me, in your mother's name--are you Bartja?"

"Yes, I am," was his answer, in a voice as low as her own, "your friend,

He could not say more, for the priests pushed him back among the crowd.
When he was in his old place, he noticed that Tachot, whose bearers had
begun to move on again, was looking round at him.  The color had come
back into her cheeks, and her bright eyes were trying to meet his.  He
did not avoid them; she threw him a lotus-bud-he stooped to pick it up,
and then broke his way through the crowd, for this hasty act had roused
their attention.

A quarter of an hour later, he was seated in the boat which was to take
him to Sappho and to his wedding.  He was quite at ease now about
Zopyrus.  In Bartja's eyes his friend was already as good as saved, and
in spite of the dangers which threatened himself, he felt strangely calm
and happy, he could hardly say why.

Meanwhile the sick princess had been carried home, had had her oppressive
ornaments taken off, and her couch carried on to one of the palace-
balconies where she liked best to pass the hot summer days, sheltered by
broad-leaved plants, and a kind of awning.

From this veranda, she could look down into the great fore-court of the
palace, which was planted with trees.  To-day it was full of priests,
courtiers, generals and governors of provinces.  Anxiety and suspense
were expressed in every face: Amasis' last hour was drawing very near.

Tachot could not be seen from below; but listening with feverish
eagerness, she could hear much that was said.  Now that they had to dread
the loss of their king, every one, even the priests, were full of his
praises.  The wisdom and circumspection of his plans and modes of
government, his unwearied industry, the moderation he had always shown,
the keenness of his wit, were, each and all, subjects of admiration.
"How Egypt has prospered under Amasis' government!" said a Nomarch.
"And what glory he gained for our arms, by the conquest of Cyprus and the
war with the Libyans!"  cried one of the generals.  "How magnificently he
embellished our temples, and what great honors he paid to the goddess of
Sais!"  exclaimed one of the singers of Neith.  "And then how gracious
and condescending he was!"  murmured a courtier.  "How cleverly he
managed to keep peace with the great powers!"  said the secretary of
state, and the treasurer, wiping away a tear, cried: "How thoroughly he
understood the management of the revenue!  Since the reign of Rameses
III. the treasury has not been so well filled as now."  "Psamtik comes
into a fine inheritance," lisped the courtier, and the soldier exclaimed,
"Yes, but it's to be feared that he'll not spend it in a glorious war;
he's too much under the influence of the priests."  "No, you are wrong
there," answered the temple-singer.  "For some time past, our lord and
master has seemed to disdain the advice of his most faithful servants."
"The successor of such a father will find it difficult to secure
universal approbation," said the Nomarch.  "It is not every one who has
the intellect, the good fortune and the wisdom of Amasis."  "The gods
know that!"  murmured the warrior with a sigh.

Tachot's tears flowed fast.  These words were a confirmation of what they
had been trying to hide from her: she was to lose her dear father soon.

After she had made this dreadful certainty clear to her own mind, and
discovered that it was in vain to beg her attendants to carry her to her
dying father, she left off listening to the courtiers below, and began
looking at the sistrum which Bartja himself had put into her hand, and
which she had brought on to the balcony with her, as if seeking comfort
there.  And she found what she sought; for it seemed to her as if the
sound of its sacred rings bore her away into a smiling, sunny landscape.

That faintness which so often comes over people in decline, had seized
her and was sweetening her last hours with pleasant dreams.

The female slaves, who stood round to fan away the flies, said afterwards
that Tachot had never looked so lovely.

She had lain about an hour in this state, when her breathing became more
difficult, a slight cough made her breast heave, and the bright red blood
trickled down from her lips on to her white robe.  She awoke, and looked
surprised and disappointed on seeing the faces round her.  The sight of
her mother, however, who came on to the veranda at that moment, brought a
smile to her face, and she said, "O mother, I have had such a beautiful

"Then our visit to the temple has done my dear child good?"  asked the
queen, trembling at the sight of the blood on the sick girl's lips.

"Oh, yes, mother, so much! for I saw him again."  Ladice's glance at the
attendants seemed to ask "Has your poor mistress lost her senses?"
Tachot understood the look and said, evidently speaking with great
difficulty: "You think I am wandering, mother.  No, indeed, I really saw
and spoke to him.  He gave me my sistrum again, and said he was my
friend, and then he took my lotus-bud and vanished.  Don't look so
distressed and surprised, mother.  What I say is really true; it is no
dream.--There, you hear, Tentrut saw him too.  He must have come to Sais
for my sake, and so the child-oracle in the temple-court did not deceive
me, after all.  And now I don't feel anything more of my illness; I
dreamt I was lying in a field of blooming poppies, as red as the blood of
the young lambs that are offered in sacrifice; Bartja was sitting by my
side, and Nitetis was kneeling close to us and playing wonderful songs on
a Nabla  made of ivory.  And there was such a lovely sound in the air
that I felt as if Horus, the beautiful god of morning, spring, and the
resurrection, was kissing me.  Yes, mother, I tell you he is coming soon,
and when I am well, then--then--ah, mother what is this?  .  .  .  I am

Ladice knelt down by her child's bed and pressed her lips in burning
kisses on the girl's eyes as they grew dim in death.

An hour later she was standing by another bedside--her dying husband's.

Severe suffering had disfigured the king's features, the cold
perspiration was standing on his forehead, and his hands grasped the
golden lions on the arms of the deep-seated invalid chair in which he was
resting, almost convulsively.

When Ladice came in he opened his eyes; they were as keen and intelligent
as if he had never lost his sight.

"Why do not you bring Tachot to me?"  he asked in a dry voice.

"She is too ill, and suffers so much, that .  .  ."

"She is dead!  Then it is well with her, for death is not punishment; it
is the end and aim of life,--the only end that we can attain without
effort, but through sufferings!--the gods alone know how great.  Osiris
has taken her to himself, for she was innocent.  And Nitetis is dead too.
Where is Nebenchari's letter?"

"Here is the place: 'She took her own life, and died calling down a heavy
curse on thee and thine.  The poor, exiled, scorned and plundered oculist
Nebenchari in Babylon sends thee this intelligence to Egypt.  It is as
true as his own hatred of thee.'  Listen to these words, Psamtik, and
remember how on his dying bed thy father told thee that, for every drachm
of pleasure purchased on earth by wrong-doing, the dying bed will be
burdened by a talent's weight of remorse.  Fearful misery is coming on
Egypt for Nitetis' sake.  Cambyses is preparing to make war on us.  He
will sweep down on Egypt like a scorching wind from the desert.  Much,
which I have staked my nightly sleep and the very marrow of my existence
to bring into existence, will be annihilated.  Still I have not lived in
vain.  For forty years I have been the careful father and benefactor of a
great nation.  Children and children's children will speak of Amasis as a
great, wise and humane king; they will read my name on the great works
which I have built in Sais and Thebes, and will praise the greatness of
my power.  Neither shall I be condemned by Osiris and the forty-two
judges of the nether world; the goddess of truth, who holds the balances,
will find that my good deeds outweigh my bad."--Here the king sighed
deeply and remained silent for some time.  Then, looking tenderly at his
wife, he said: "Ladice, thou hast been a faithful, virtuous wife to me.
For this I thank thee, and ask thy forgiveness for much.  We have often
misunderstood one another.  Indeed it was easier for me to accustom
myself to the Greek modes of thought, than for a Greek to understand our
Egyptian ideas.  Thou know'st my love of Greek art,--thou know'st how I
enjoyed the society of thy friend Pythagoras, who was thoroughly
initiated in all that we believe and know, and adopted much from us.  He
comprehended the deep wisdom which lies in the doctrines that I reverence
most, and he took care not to speak lightly of truths which our priests
are perhaps too careful to hide from the people; for though the many bow
down before that which they cannot understand, they would be raised and
upheld by those very truths, if explained to them.  To a Greek mind our
worship of animals presents the greatest difficulty, but to my own the
worship of the Creator in his creatures seems more just and more worthy
of a human being, than the worship of his likeness in stone.  The Greek
deities are moreover subject to every human infirmity; indeed I should
have made my queen very unhappy by living in the same manner as her great
god Zeus."

At these words the king smiled, and then went on: "And what has given
rise to this?  The Hellenic love of beauty in form, which, in the eye of
a Greek, is superior to every thing else.  He cannot separate the body
from the soul, because he holds it to be the most glorious of formed
things, and indeed, believes that a beautiful spirit must necessarily
inhabit a beautiful body.  Their gods, therefore, are only elevated human
beings, but we adore an unseen power working in nature and in ourselves.
The animal takes its place between ourselves and nature; its actions are
guided, not, like our own, by the letter, but by the eternal laws of
nature,  which owe their origin to the Deity, while the letter is a
device of man's own mind.  And then, too, where amongst ourselves do we
find so earnest a longing and endeavor to gain freedom, the highest good,
as among the animals?  Where such a regular and well-balanced life from
generation to generation, without instruction or precept?"

Here the king's voice failed.  He was obliged to pause for a few moments,
and then continued: "I know that my end is near; therefore enough of
these matters.  My son and successor, hear my last wishes and act upon
them; they are the result of experience.  But alas! how often have I
seen, that rules of life given by one man to another are useless.  Every
man must earn his own experience.  His own losses make him prudent, his
own learning wise.  Thou, my son, art coming to the throne at a mature
age; thou hast had time and opportunity to judge between right and wrong,
to note what is beneficial and what hurtful, to see and compare many
things.  I give thee, therefore, only a few wholesome counsels, and only
fear that though I offer them with my right hand, thou wilt accept them
with the left.

"First, however, I must say that, notwithstanding my blindness, my
indifference to what has been going on during the past months has been
only apparent.  I left you to your own devices with a good intention.
Rhodopis told me once one of her teacher AEsop's fables: 'A traveller,
meeting a man on his road, asked him how long it would be before he
reached the nearest town.'  'Go on, go on,' cried the other.  'But I want
to know first when I shall get to the town.'  'Go on, only go on,' was
the answer.  The traveller left him with angry words and abuse; but he
had not gone many steps when the man called after him: 'You will be there
in an hour.  I could not answer your question until I had seen your

"I bore this fable in my mind for my son's sake, and watched in silence
at what pace he was ruling his people.  Now I have discovered what I wish
to know, and this is my advice: Examine into everything your self.  It is
the duty of every man, but especially of a king, to acquaint himself
intimately with all that concerns the weal or woe of his people.  You, my
son, are in the habit of using the eyes and ears of other men instead of
going to the fountain-head yourself.  I am sure that your advisers, the
priests, only desire what is good; but .  .  .  Neithotep, I must beg you
to leave us alone for a few moments."

When the priest was gone the king exclaimed "They wish for what is good,
but good only for themselves.  But we are not kings of priests and
aristocrats only, we are kings of a nation!  Do not listen to the advice
of this proud caste alone, but read every petition yourself, and, by
appointing Nomarchs devoted to the king and beloved by the people, make
yourself acquainted with the needs and wishes of the Egyptian nation.  It
is not difficult to govern well, if you are aware of the state of feeling
in your land.  Choose fit men to fill the offices of state.  I have taken
care that the kingdom shall be properly divided.  The laws are good, and
have proved themselves so; hold fast by these laws, and trust no one who
sets himself above them; for law is invariably wiser than the individual
man, and its transgressor deserves his punishment.  The people understand
this well, and are ready to sacrifice themselves for us, when they see
that we are ready to give up our own will to the law.  You do not care
for the people.  I know their voice is often rude and rough, but it
utters wholesome truths, and no one needs to hear truth more than a king.
The Pharaoh who chooses priests and courtiers for his advisers, will hear
plenty of flattering words, while he who tries to fulfil the wishes of
the nation will have much to suffer from those around him; but the latter
will feel peace in his own heart, and be praised in the ages to come.  I
have often erred, yet the Egyptians will weep for me, as one who knew
their needs and considered their welfare like a father.  A king who
really knows his duties, finds it an easy and beautiful task to win the
love of the people--an unthankful one to gain the applause of the great--
almost an impossibility to content both.

"Do not forget,--I say it again,--that kings and priests exist for the
people, and not the people for their kings and priests.  Honor religion
for its own sake and as the most important means of securing the
obedience of the governed to their governors; but at the same time show
its promulgators that you look on them, not as receptacles, but as
servants, of the Deity.  Hold fast, as the law commands, by what is old;
but never shut the gates of your kingdom against what is new, if better.
Bad men break at once with the old traditions; fools only care for what
is new and fresh; the narrowminded and the selfish privileged class cling
indiscriminately to all that is old, and pronounce progress to be a sin;
but the wise endeavor to retain all that has approved itself in the past,
to remove all that has become defective, and to adopt whatever is good,
from whatever source it may have sprung.  Act thus, my son.  The priests
will try to keep you back--the Greeks to urge you forward.  Choose one
party or the other, but beware of indecision--of yielding to the one
to-day, to the other to-morrow.  Between two stools a man falls to the
ground.  Let the one party be your friends, the other your enemies; by
trying to please both, you will have both opposed to you.  Human beings
hate the man who shows kindness to their enemies.  In the last few
months, during which you have ruled independently, both parties have been
offended by your miserable indecision.  The man who runs backwards and
forwards like a child, makes no progress, and is soon weary.  I have till
now--till I felt that death was near--always encouraged the Greeks and
opposed the priests.  In the active business of life, the clever, brave
Greeks seemed to me especially serviceable; at death, I want men who can
make me out a pass into the nether regions.  The gods forgive me for not
being able to resist words that sound so like a joke, even in my last
hour!  They created me and must take me as I am.  I rubbed my hands for
joy when I became king; with thee, my son, coming to the throne is a
graver matter.--Now call Neithotep back; I have still something to say to
you both."

The king gave his hand to the high-priest as he entered, saving: "I leave
you, Neithotep, without ill-will, though my opinion that you have been a
better priest than a servant to your king, remains unaltered.  Psamtik
will probably prove a more obedient follower than I have been, but one
thing I wish to impress earnestly on you both: Do not dismiss the Greek
mercenaries until the war with the Persians is over, and has ended
we will hope--in victory for Egypt.  My former predictions are not worth
anything now; when death draws near, we get depressed, and things begin
to look a little black.  Without the auxiliary troops we shall be
hopelessly lost, but with them victory is not impossible.  Be clever;
show the Ionians that they are fighting on the Nile for the freedom of
their own country--that Cambyses, if victorious, will not be contented
with Egypt alone, while his defeat may bring freedom to their own
enslaved countrymen in Ionia.  I know you agree with me, Neithotep, for
in your heart you mean well to Egypt.--Now read me the prayers.  I feel
exhausted; my end must be very near.  If I could only forget that poor
Nitetis! had she the right to curse us?  May the judges of the dead-may
Osiris--have mercy on our souls!  Sit down by me, Ladice; lay thy hand on
my burning forehead.  And Psamtik, in presence of these witnesses, swear
to honor and respect thy step-mother, as if thou wert her own child.  My
poor wife!  Come and seek me soon before the throne of Osiris.  A widow
and childless, what hast thou to do with this world?  We brought up
Nitetis as our own daughter, and yet we are so heavily punished for her
sake.  But her curse rests on us--and only on us;--not on thee, Psamtik,
nor on thy children.  Bring my grandson.  Was that a tear?  Perhaps;
well, the little things to which one has accustomed one's self are
generally the hardest to give up."


Rhodopis entertained a fresh guest that evening; Kallias, the son of
Phoenippus, the same who first appeared in our tale as the bearer of news
from the Olympic games.

The lively, cheerful Athenian had just come back from his native country,
and, as an old and tried friend, was not only received by Rhodopis, but
made acquainted with the secret of Sappho's marriage.

Knakias, her old slave, had, it is true, taken in the flag which was the
sign of reception, two days ago; but he knew that Kallias was always
welcome to his mistress, and therefore admitted him just as readily as he
refused every one else.

The Athenian had plenty to tell, and when Rhodopis was called away on
business, he took his favorite Sappho into the garden, joking and teasing
her gaily as they looked out for her lover's coming.  But Bartja did not
come, and Sappho began to be so anxious that Kallias called old Melitta,
whose longing looks in the direction of Naukratis were, if possible, more
anxious even than those of her mistress, and told her to fetch a musical
instrument which he had brought with him.

It was a rather large lute, made of gold and ivory, and as he handed it
to Sappho, he said, with a smile: "The inventor of this glorious
instrument, the divine Anakreon, had it made expressly for me, at my own
wish.  He calls it a Barbiton, and brings wonderful tones from its
chords--tones that must echo on even into the land of shadows.  I have
told this poet, who offers his life as one great sacrifice to the Muses,
Eros and Dionysus, a great deal about you, and he made me promise to
bring you this song, which he wrote on purpose for you, as a gift from

"Now, what do you say to this song?  But by Hercules, child, how pale you
are!  Have the verses affected you so much, or are you frightened at this
likeness of your own longing heart?  Calm yourself, girl.  Who knows what
may have happened to your lover?"

"Nothing has happened,--nothing," cried a gay, manly voice, and in a few
seconds Sappho was in the arms of him she loved.

Kallias looked on quietly, smiling at the wonderful beauty of these two
young lovers.

"But now," said the prince, after Sappho had made him acquainted with
Kallias, "I must go at once to your grandmother.  We dare not wait four
days for our wedding.  It must be to-day!  There is danger in every hour
of delay.  Is Theopompus here?"

"I think he must be," said Sappho.  "I know of nothing else, that could
keep my grandmother so long in the house.  But tell me, what is this
about our marriage?  It seems to me .  .  ."

"Let us go in first, love.  I fancy a thunder-storm must be coming on.
The sky is so dark, and it's so intolerably sultry."

"As you like, only make haste, unless you mean me to die of impatience.
There is not the slightest reason to be afraid of a storm.  Since I was a
child there has not been either lightning or thunder in Egypt at this
time of year."

"Then you will see something new to-day," said Kallias, laughing; for a
large drop of rain has just fallen on my bald head, "the Nile-swallows
were flying close to the water as I came here, and you see there is a
cloud coming over the moon already.  Come in quickly, or you will get
wet.  Ho, slave, see that a black lamb is offered to the gods of the
lower world."

They found Theopompus sitting in Rhodopis' own apartment, as Sappho had
supposed.  He had finished telling her the story of Zopyrus' arrest, and
of the journey which Bartja and his friends had taken on his behalf.

Their anxiety on the matter was beginning to be so serious, that Bartja's
unexpected appearance was a great relief.  His words flew as he repeated
the events of the last few hours, and begged Theopompus to look out at
once for a ship in sailing order, to convey himself and his friends from

"That suits famously," exclaimed Kallias.  "My own trireme brought me
from Naukratis to-day; it is lying now, fully equipped for sea, in the
port, and is quite at your service.  I have only to send orders to the
steersman to keep the crew together and everything in sailing order.--You
are under no obligations to me; on the contrary it is I who have to thank
you for the honor you will confer on me.  Ho, Knakias!--tell my slave
Philomelus, he's waiting in the hall,--to take a boat to the port, and
order my steersman Nausarchus to keep the ship in readiness for starting.
Give him this seal; it empowers him to do all that is necessary."

"And my slaves?"  said Bartja.

"Knakias can tell my old steward to take them to Kallias' ship," answered

"And when they see this," said Bartja, giving the old servant his ring,
"they will obey without a question."

Knakias went away with many a deep obeisance, and the prince went on:
"Now, my mother, I have a great petition to ask of you."

"I guess what it is," said Rhodopis, with a smile.  "You wish your
marriage to be hastened, and I see that I dare not oppose your wish."

"If I'm not mistaken," said Kallias, "we have a remarkable case here.
Two people are in great peril, and find that very peril a matter of

"Perhaps you are right there," said Bartja, pressing Sappho's hand
unperceived.  And then, turning to Rhodopis again, he begged her to delay
no longer in trusting her dearest treasure to his care,--a treasure whose
worth he knew so well.

Rhodopis rose, she laid her right hand on Sappho's head and her left on
Bartja's, and said: "There is a myth which tells of a blue lake in the
land of roses; its waves are sometimes calm and gentle, but at others
they rise into a stormy flood; the taste of its waters is partly sweet as
honey, partly bitter as gall.  Ye will learn the meaning of this legend
in the marriage-land of roses.  Ye will pass calm and stormy-sweet and
bitter hours there.  So long as thou wert a child, Sappho, thy life
passed on like a cloudless spring morning, but when thou becam'st a
maiden, and hadst learnt to love, thine heart was opened to admit pain;
and during the long months of separation pain was a frequent guest there.
This guest will seek admission as long as life lasts.  Bartja, it will be
your duty to keep this intruder away from Sappho, as far as it lies in
your power.  I know the world.  I could perceive,--even before Croesus
told me of your generous nature,--that you were worthy of my Sappho.
This justified me in allowing you to eat the quince with her; this
induces me now to entrust to you, without fear, what I have always looked
upon as a sacred pledge committed to my keeping.  Look upon her too only
as a loan.  Nothing is more dangerous to love, than a comfortable
assurance of exclusive possession--I have been blamed for allowing such
an inexperienced child to go forth into your distant country, where
custom is so unfavorable to women; but I know what love is;--I know that
a girl who loves, knows no home but the heart of her husband;--the woman
whose heart has been touched by Eros no misfortune but that of separation
from him whom she has chosen.  And besides, I would ask you, Kallias and
Theopompus, is the position of your own wives so superior to that of the
Persian women?  Are not the women of Ionia and Attica forced to pass
their lives in their own apartments, thankful if they are allowed to
cross the street accompanied by suspicious and distrustful slaves?  As to
the custom which prevails in Persia of taking many wives, I have no fear
either for Bartja or Sappho.  He will be more faithful to his wife than
are many Greeks, for he will find in her what you are obliged to seek, on
the one hand in marriage, on the other in the houses of the cultivated
Hetaere:--in the former, housewives and mothers, in the latter, animated
and enlivening intellectual society.  Take her, my son.  I give her to
you as an old warrior gives his sword, his best possession, to his
stalwart son:--he gives it gladly and with confidence.  Whithersoever she
may go she will always remain a Greek, and it comforts me to think that
in her new home she will bring honor to the Greek name and friends to our
nation, Child, I thank thee for those tears.  I can command my own, but
fate has made me pay an immeasurable price for the power of doing so.
The gods have heard your oath, my noble Bartja.  Never forget it, but
take her as your own, your friend, your wife.  Take her away as soon as
your friends return; it is not the will of the gods that the Hymenaeus
should be sung at Sappho's nuptial rites."

As she said these words she laid Sappho's hand in Bartja's, embraced her
with passionate tenderness, and breathed a light kiss on the forehead of
the young Persian.  Then turning to her Greek friends, who stood by, much

"That was a quiet nuptial ceremony," she said; "no songs, no torch-light!
May their union be so much the happier.  Melitta, bring the bride's
marriage-ornaments, the bracelets and necklaces which lie in the bronze
casket on my dressing-table, that our darling may give her hand to her
lord attired as beseems a future princess."

"Yes, and do not linger on the way," cried Kallias, whose old
cheerfulness had now returned.  "Neither can we allow the niece of the
greatest of Hymen's poets to be married without the sound of song and
music.  The young husband's house is, to be sure, too far off for our
purpose, so we will suppose that the andronitis is his dwelling.

     [The Hymenaeus was the wedding-song, so called because of its
     refrain "Hymen O!  Hymenae' O!"  The god of marriage, Hymen, took
     his origin and name from the hymn, was afterwards decked out richly
     with myths, and finally, according to Catullus, received a seat on
     Mount Helikon with the Muses.]

     [A Greek bride was beautifully adorned for her marriage, and her
     bridesmaids received holiday garments.  Homer, Odyss.  VI.  27.
     Besides which, after the bath, which both bride and bridegroom were
     obliged to take, she was anointed with sweet-smelling essences.
     Thucyd. II. 15.  Xenoph.  Symp. II. 3.]

"We will conduct the maiden thither by the centre door, and there we will
enjoy a merry wedding-feast by the family hearth.  Here, slavegirls, come
and form yourselves into two choruses.  Half of your number take the part
of the youths; the other half that of the maidens, and sing us Sappho's
Hymenaeus.  I will be the torch-bearer; that dignity is mine by right.
You must know, Bartja, that my family has an hereditary right to carry
the torches at the Eleusinian mysteries and we are therefore called
Daduchi or torch-bearers.  Ho, slave!  see that the door of the
andronitis is hung with flowers, and tell your comrades to meet us with a
shower of sweetmeats as we enter.  That's right, Melitta; why, how did
you manage to get those lovely violet and myrtle marriage-crowns made so
quickly?  The rain is streaming through the opening above.  You see,
Hymen has persuaded Zeus to help him; so that not a single marriage-rite
shall be omitted.  You could not take the bath, which ancient custom
prescribes for the bride and bridegroom on the morning of their wedding-
day, so you have only to stand here a moment and take the rain of Zeus as
an equivalent for the waters of the sacred spring.  Now, girls, begin
your song.  Let the maidens bewail the rosy days of childhood, and the
youths praise the lot of those who marry young."

Five well-practised treble voices now began to sing the chorus of virgins
in a sad and plaintive tone.

Suddenly the song was hushed, for a flash of lightning had shone down
through the aperture beneath which Kallias had stationed the bride and
bridegroom, followed by a loud peal of thunder.  "See!"  cried the
Daduchus, raising his hand to heaven, "Zeus himself has taken the
nuptial-torch, and sings the Hymenaeus for his favorites."

At dawn the next morning, Sappho and Bartja left the house and went into
the garden.  After the violent storm which had raged all night, the
garden was looking as fresh and cheerful in the morning light as the
faces of the newly-married pair.

Bartja's anxiety for his friends, whom he had almost forgotten in the
excitement of his marriage, had roused them so early.

The garden had been laid out on an artificial hill, which overlooked the
inundated plain.  Blue and white lotus-blossoms floated on the smooth
surface of the water, and vast numbers of water-birds hovered along the
shores or over the flood.  Flocks of white, herons appeared on the banks,
their plumage gleaming like glaciers on distant mountain peaks; a
solitary eagle circled upward on its broad pinions through the pure
morning air, turtle-doves nestled in the tops of the palm-trees; pelicans
and ducks fluttered screaming away, whenever a gay sail appeared.  The
air had been cooled by the storm, a fresh north-wind was blowing, and,
notwithstanding the early hour, there were a number of boats sailing over
the deluged fields before the breeze.  The songs of the rowers, the
plashing strokes of their oars and the cries of the birds, all
contributed to enliven the watery landscape of the Nile valley, which,
though varied in color, was somewhat monotonous.

Bartja and Sappho stood leaning on each other by the low wall which ran
round Rhodopis' garden, exchanging tender words and watching the scene
below, till at last Bartja's quick eye caught sight of a boat making
straight for the house and coming on fast by the help of the breeze and
powerful rowers.

A few minutes later the boat put in to shore and Zopyrus with his
deliverers stood before them.

Darius's plan had succeeded perfectly, thanks to the storm, which, by its
violence and the unusual time of its appearance, had scared the
Egyptians; but still there was no time to be lost, as it might reasonably
be supposed that the men of Sais would pursue their fugitive with all the
means at their command.

Sappho, therefore, had to take a short farewell of her grandmother, all
the more tender, however, for its shortness,--and then, led by Rartja and
followed by old Melitta, who was to accompany her to Persia, she went on
board Syloson's boat.  After an hour's sail they reached a beautifully-
built and fast-sailing vessel, the Hygieia, which belonged to Kallias.

He was waiting for them on board his trireme.  The leave-taking between
himself and his young friends was especially affectionate.  Bartja hung a
heavy and costly gold chain round the neck of the old man in token of his
gratitude, while Syloson, in remembrance of the dangers they had shared
together, threw his purple cloak over Darius' shoulders.  It was a
master-specimen of Tynan dye, and had taken the latter's fancy.  Darius
accepted the gift with pleasure, and said, as he took leave: "You must
never forget that I am indebted to you, my Greek friend, and as soon as
possible give me an opportunity of doing you service in return."

"You ought to come to me first, though," exclaimed Zopyrus, embracing his
deliverer.  "I am perfectly ready to share my last gold piece with you;
or what is more, if it would do you a service, to sit a whole week in
that infernal hole from which you saved me.  Ah! they're weighing anchor.
Farewell, you brave Greek.  Remember me to the flower-sisters, especially
to the pretty, little Stephanion, and tell her her long-legged lover
won't be able to plague her again for some time to come at least.  And
then, one more thing; take this purse of gold for the wife and children
of that impertinent fellow, whom I struck too hard in the heat of the

The anchors fell rattling on to the deck, the wind filled the sails, the
Trieraules--[Flute-player to a trireme]--took his flute and set the
measure of the monotonous Keleusma or rowing-song, which echoed again
from the hold of the vessel.  The beak of the ship bearing the statue of
Hygieia, carved in wood, began to move.  Bartja and Sappho stood at the
helm and gazed towards Naukratis, until the shores of the Nile vanished
and the green waves of the Hellenic sea splashed their foam over the deck
of the trireme.


Our young bride and bridegroom had not travelled farther than Ephesus,
when the news reached them that Amasis was dead.  From Ephesus they went
to Babylon, and thence to Pasargadae, which Kassandane, Atossa and
Croesus had made their temporary residence.  Kassandane was to accompany
the army to Egypt, and wished, now that Nebenchari had restored her
sight, to see the monument which had lately been built to her great
husband's memory after Croesus' design, before leaving for so long a
journey.  She rejoiced in finding it worthy of the great Cyrus, and spent
hours every day in the beautiful gardens which had been laid out round
the mausoleum.

It consisted of a gigantic sarcophagus made of solid marble blocks, and
resting like a house on a substructure composed of six high marble steps.
The interior was fitted up like a room, and contained, beside the golden
coffin in which were preserved such few remains of Cyrus as had been
spared by the dogs, vultures, and elements, a silver bed and a table of
the same metal, on which were golden drinking-cups and numerous garments
ornamented with the rarest and most costly jewels.

The building was forty feet high.  The shady paradises--[Persian
pleasure-gardens]--and colonnades by which it was surrounded had been
planned by Croesus, and in the midst of the sacred grove was a dwelling-
house for the Magi appointed to watch over the tomb.

The palace of Cyrus could be seen in the distance--a palace in which he
had appointed that the future kings of Persia should pass at least some
months of every year.  It was a splendid building in the style of a
fortress, and so inaccessibly placed that it had been fixed on as the
royal treasure-house.

Here, in the fresh mountain air of a place dedicated to the memory of the
husband she had loved so much, Kassandane felt well and at peace; she was
glad too to see that Atossa was recovering the old cheerfulness, which
she had so sadly lost since the death of Nitetis and the departure of
Darius.  Sappho soon became the friend of her new mother and sister, and
all three felt very loath to leave the lovely Pasargadm.

Darius and Zopyrus had remained with the army which was assembling in the
plains of the Euphrates, and Bartja too had to return thither before the
march began.

Cambyses went out to meet his family on their return; he was much
impressed with Sappho's great beauty, but she confessed to her husband
that his brother only inspired her with fear.

The king had altered very much in the last few months.  His formerly pale
and almost noble features were reddened and disfigured by the quantities
of wine he was in the habit of drinking.  In his dark eyes there was the
old fire still, but dimmed and polluted.  His hair and beard, formerly so
luxuriant, and black as the raven's wing, hung down grey and disordered
over his face and chin, and the proud smile which used so to improve his
features had given way to an expression of contemptuous annoyance and
harsh severity.

Sometimes he laughed,--loudly, immoderately and coarsely; but this was
only when intoxicated, a condition which had long ceased to be unusual
with him.

He continued to retain an aversion to his wives; so much so that the
royal harem was to be left behind in Susa, though all his court took
their favorite wives and concubines with them on the campaign.  Still no
one could complain that the king was ever guilty of injustice; indeed he
insisted more eagerly now than before on the rigid execution of the law;
and wherever he detected an abuse his punishments were cruel and
inexorable.  Hearing that a judge, named Sisamnes, had been bribed to
pronounce an unjust sentence, he condemned the wretched man to be flayed,
ordered the seat of justice to be covered with his skin, appointed the
son to the father's vacant place and compelled him to occupy this fearful
seat.--[Herodot.  V.  25.]--Cambyses was untiring as commander of the
forces, and superintended the drilling of the troops assembled near
Babylon with the greatest rigor and circumspection.

The hosts were to march after the festival of the New Year, which
Cambyses celebrated this time with immense expense and profusion.  The
ceremony over, he betook himself to the army.  Bartja was there.  He came
up to his brother, beaming with joy, kissed the hem of his robe, and told
him in a tone of triumph that he hoped to become a father.  The king
trembled as he heard the words, vouchsafed his brother no answer, drank
himself into unconsciousness that evening, and the next morning called
the soothsayers, Magi and Chaldaeans together, in order to submit a
question to them.  "Shall I be committing a sin against the gods, if I
take my sister to wife and thus verify the promise of the dream, which ye
formerly interpreted to mean that Atossa should bear a future king to
this realm?"

The Magi consulted a short time together.  Then Oropastes cast himself at
the king's feet and said, "We do not believe, O King, that this marriage
would be a sin against the gods; inasmuch as, first: it is a custom among
the Persians to marry with their own kin; and secondly, though it be not
written in the law that the pure man may marry his sister, it is written
that the king may do what seemeth good in his own eyes.  That which
pleaseth thee is therefore always lawful."

Cambyses sent the Magi away with rich gifts, gave Oropastes full powers
as regent of the kingdom in his absence, and soon after told his
horrified mother that, as soon as the conquest of Egypt and the
punishment of the son of Amasis should have been achieved, he intended to
marry his sister Atossa.

At length the immense host, numbering more than 800,000 fighting men,
departed in separate divisions, and reached the Syrian desert in two
months.  Here they were met by the Arabian tribes whom Phanes had
propitiated--the Amalekites and Geshurites--bringing camels and horses
laden with water for the host.

At Accho, in the land of the Canaanites, the fleets of the Syrians,
Phoenicians and Ionians belonging to Persia, and the auxiliary ships from
Cyprus and Samos, won by the efforts of Phanes, were assembled.  The case
of the Samian fleet was a remarkable one.  Polykrates saw in Cambyses'
proposal a favorable opportunity of getting rid of all the citizens who
were discontented with his government, manned forty triremes with eight
thousand malcontent Samians, and sent them to the Persians with the
request that not one might be allowed to return home.--[Herod. III. 44.]

As soon as Phanes heard this he warned the doomed men, who at once,
instead of sailing to join the Persian forces, returned to Samos and
attempted to overthrow Polykrates.  They were defeated, however, on land,
and escaped to Sparta to ask help against the tyrant.

A full month before the time of the inundation, the Persian and Egyptian
armies were standing face to face near Pelusium on the north-east coast
of the Delta.

Phanes' arrangements had proved excellent.  The Arabian tribes had kept
faith so well that the journey through the desert, which would usually
have cost thousands of lives, had been attended with very little loss,
and the time of year had been so well chosen that the Persian troops
reached Egypt by dry roads and without inconvenience.

The king met his Greek friend with every mark of distinction, and
returned a friendly nod when Phanes said: "I hear that you have been less
cheerful than usual since the death of your beautiful bride.  A woman's
grief passes in stormy and violent complaint, but the sterner character
of a man cannot so soon be comforted.  I know what you feel, for I have
lost my dearest too.  Let us both praise the gods for granting us the
best remedy for our grief--war and revenge."  Phanes accompanied the king
to an inspection of the troops and to the evening revel.  It was
marvellous to see the influence he exercised over this fierce spirit, and
how calm--nay even cheerful--Cambyses became, when the Athenian was near.

The Egyptian army was by no means contemptible, even when compared with
the immense Persian hosts.  Its position was covered on the right by the
walls of Pelusium, a frontier fortress designed by the Egyptian kings as
a defence against incursions from the east.  The Persians were assured by
deserters that the Egyptian army numbered altogether nearly six hundred
thousand men.  Beside a great number of chariots of war, thirty thousand
Karian and Ionian mercenaries, and the corps of the Mazai, two hundred
and fifty thousand Kalasirians, one hundred and sixty thousand
Hermotybians, twenty thousand horsemen, and auxiliary troops, amounting
to more than fifty thousand, were assembled under Psamtik's banner;
amongst these last the Libyan Maschawascha were remarkable for their
military deeds, and the Ethiopians for their numerical superiority.

The infantry were divided into regiments and companies, under different
standards, and variously equipped.

     [In these and the descriptions immediately following, we have drawn
     our information, either from the drawings made from Egyptian
     monuments in Champollion, Wilkinson, Rosellini and Lepsius, or from
     the monuments themselves.  There is a dagger in the Berlin Museum,
     the blade of which is of bronze, the hilt of ivory and the sheath of
     leather.  Large swords are only to be seen in the hands of the
     foreign auxiliaries, but the native Egyptians are armed with small
     ones, like daggers.  The largest one of which we have any knowledge
     is in the possession of Herr E.  Brugsch at Cairo.  It is more than
     two feet long.]

The heavy-armed soldiers carried large shields, lances, and daggers; the
swordsmen and those who fought with battle-axes had smaller shields and
light clubs; beside these, there were slingers, but the main body of the
army was composed of archers, whose bows unbent were nearly the height of
a man.  The only clothing of the horse-soldiers was the apron, and their
weapon a light club in the form of a mace or battle-axe.  Those warriors,
on the contrary, who fought in chariots belonged to the highest rank of
the military caste, spent large sums on the decoration of their two-
wheeled chariots and the harness of their magnificent horses, and went to
battle in their most costly ornaments.  They were armed with bows and
lances, and a charioteer stood beside each, so that their undivided
attention could be bestowed upon the battle.

The Persian foot was not much more numerous than the Egyptian, but they
had six times the number of horse-soldiers.

As soon as the armies stood face to face, Cambyses caused the great
Pelusian plain to be cleared of trees and brushwood, and had the sand-
hills removed which were to be found here and there, in order to give his
cavalry and scythe-chariots a fair field of action.  Phanes' knowledge of
the country was of great use.  He had drawn up a plan of action with
great military skill, and succeeded in gaining not only Cambyses'
approval, but that of the old general Megabyzus and the best tacticians
among the Achaemenidae.  His local knowledge was especially valuable on
account of the marshes which intersected the Pelusian plain, and might,
unless carefully avoided, have proved fatal to the Persian enterprise.
At the close of the council of war Phanes begged to be heard once more:
"Now, at length," he said, "I am at liberty to satisfy your curiosity in
reference to the closed waggons full of animals, which I have had
transported hither.  They contain five thousand cats!  Yes, you may
laugh, but I tell you these creatures will be more serviceable to us than
a hundred thousand of our best soldiers.  Many of you are aware that the
Egyptians have a superstition which leads them rather to die than kill a
cat,  I, myself, nearly paid for such a murder once with my life.
Remembering this, I have been making a diligent search for cats during my
late journey; in Cyprus, where there are splendid specimens, in Samos
and in Crete.  All I could get I ordered to be caught, and now propose
that they be distributed among those troops who will be opposed to the
native Egyptian soldiers.  Every man must be told to fasten one firmly to
his shield and hold it out as he advances towards the enemy.  I will
wager that there's not one real Egyptian, who would not rather fly from
the battle-field than take aim at one of these sacred animals."

This speech was met by a loud burst of laughter; on being discussed,
however, it was approved of, and ordered to be carried out at once.  The
ingenious Greek was honored by receiving the king's hand to kiss, his
expenses were reimbursed by a magnificent present, and he was urged to
take a daughter of some noble Persian family in marriage.

     [Themistocles too, on coming to the Persian court, received a high-
     born Persian wife in marriage.  Diod. XI. 57.]

The king concluded by inviting him to supper, but this the Athenian
declined, on the plea that he must review the Ionian troops, with whom he
was as yet but little acquainted, and withdrew.

At the door of his tent he found his slaves disputing with a ragged,
dirty and unshaven old man, who insisted on speaking with their master.
Fancying he must be a beggar, Phanes threw him a piece of gold; the old
man did not even stoop to pick it up, but, holding the Athenian fast by
his cloak, cried, "I am Aristomachus the Spartan!"

Cruelly as he was altered, Phanes recognized his old friend at once,
ordered his feet to be washed and his head anointed, gave him wine and
meat to revive his strength, took his rags off and laid a new chiton over
his emaciated, but still sinewy, frame.

Aristomachus received all in silence; and when the food and wine had
given him strength to speak, began the following answer to Phanes' eager

On the murder of Phanes' son by Psamtik, he had declared his intention of
leaving Egypt and inducing the troops under his command to do the same,
unless his friend's little daughter were at once set free, and a
satisfactory explanation given for the sudden disappearance of the boy.
Psamtik promised to consider the matter.  Two days later, as Aristomachus
was going up the Nile by night to Memphis, he was seized by Egyptian
soldiers, bound and thrown into the dark hold of a boat, which, after a
voyage of many days and nights, cast anchor on a totally unknown shore.
The prisoners were taken out of their dungeon and led across a desert
under the burning sun, and past rocks of strange forms, until they
reached a range of mountains with a colony of huts at its base.  These
huts were inhabited by human beings, who, with chains on their feet, were
driven every morning into the shaft of a mine and there compelled to hew
grains of gold out of the stony rock.  Many of these miserable men had
passed forty years in this place, but most died soon, overcome by the
hard work and the fearful extremes of heat and cold to which they were
exposed on entering and leaving the mine.

     [Diodorus (III. 12.) describes the compulsory work in the gold mines
     with great minuteness.  The convicts were either prisoners taken in
     war, or people whom despotism in its blind fury found it expedient
     to put out of the way.  The mines lay in the plain of Koptos, not
     far from the Red Sea.  Traces of them have been discovered in modern
     times.  Interesting inscriptions of the time of Rameses the Great,
     (14 centuries B. C.) referring to the gold-mines, have been found,
     one at Radesich, the other at Kubnn, and have been published and
     deciphered in Europe.]

"My companions," continued Aristomachus, "were either condemned murderers
to whom mercy had been granted, or men guilty of high treason whose
tongues had been cut out, and others such as myself whom the king had
reason to fear.  Three months I worked among this set, submitting to the
strokes of the overseer, fainting under the fearful heat, and stiffening
under the cold dews of night.  I felt as if picked out for death and only
kept alive by the hope of vengeance.  It happened, however, by the mercy
of the gods, that at the feast of Pacht, our guards, as is the custom of
the Egyptians, drank so freely as to fall into a deep sleep, during which
I and a young Jew who had been deprived of his right hand for having used
false weights in trade, managed to escape unperceived; Zeus Lacedaemonius
and the great God whom this young man worshipped helped us in our need,
and, though we often heard the voices of our pursuers, they never
succeeded in capturing us.  I had taken a bow from one of our guards;
with this we obtained food, and when no game was to be found we lived on
roots, fruits and birds' eggs.  The sun and stars showed us our road.  We
knew that the gold-mines were not far from the Red Sea and lay to the
south of Memphis.  It was not long before we reached the coast; and then,
pressing onwards in a northerly direction, we fell in with some friendly
mariners, who took care of us until we were taken up by an Arabian boat.
The young Jew understood the language spoken by the crew, and in their
care we came to Eziongeber in the land of Edom.  There we heard that
Cambyses was coming with an immense army against Egypt, and travelled as
far as Harma under the protection of an Amalekite caravan bringing water
to the Persian army.  From thence I went on to Pelusium in the company of
some stragglers from the Asiatic army, who now and then allowed me a seat
on their horses, and here I heard that you had accepted a high command in
Cambyses' army.  I have kept my vow, I have been true to my nation in
Egypt; now it is your turn to help old Aristomachus in gaining the only
thing he still cares for--revenge on his persecutors."

"And that you shall have!"  cried Phanes, grasping the old man's hand.
"You shall have the command of the heavy-armed Milesian troops, and
liberty to commit what carnage you like among the ranks of our enemies.
This, however, is only paying half the debt I owe you.  Praised be the
gods, who have put it in my power to make you happy by one single
sentence.  Know then, Aristomachus, that, only a few days after your
disappearance, a ship arrived in the harbor of Naukratis from Sparta.
It was guided by your own noble son and expressly sent by the Ephori in
your honor--to bring the father of two Olympic victors back to his native

The old man's limbs trembled visibly at these words, his eyes filled with
tears and he murmured a prayer.  Then smiting his forehead, he cried in a
voice trembling with feeling: "Now it is fulfilled! now it has become a
fact!  If I doubted the words of thy priestess, O Phoebus Apollo! pardon
my sin!  What was the promise of the oracle?

     "If once the warrior hosts from the snow-topped mountains
     Come to the fields of the stream watering richly the plain,
     Then shall the lingering boat to the beckoning meadows convey thee,
     Which to the wandering foot peace and a home can afford.
     When those warriors come, from the snow-topped mountains descending,
     Then will the powerful Five grant thee what long they refused."

"The promise of the god is fulfilled.  Now I may return home, and I will;
but first I raise my hands to Dice, the unchanging goddess of justice,
and implore her not to deny me the pleasure of revenge."

"The day of vengeance will dawn to-morrow," said Phanes, joining in the
old man's prayer.  "Tomorrow I shall slaughter the victims for the dead--
for my son--and will take no rest until Cambyses has pierced the heart of
Egypt with the arrows which I have cut for him.  Come, my friend, let me
take you to the king.  One man like you can put a whole troop of
Egyptians to flight."


It was night.  The Persian soldiers, their position being unfortified,
were in order of battle, ready to meet any unexpected attack.  The foot-
soldiers stood leaning on their shields, the horsemen held their horses
saddled and bridled near the camp-fires.  Cambyses was riding through the
ranks, encouraging his troops by words and looks.  Only one part of the
army was not yet ranged in order of battle--the centre.  It was composed
of the Persian body-guard, the apple-bearers, Immortals, and the king's
own relatives, who were always led into battle by the king in person.

The Ionian Greeks too had gone to rest, at Phanes' command.  He wanted to
keep his men fresh, and allowed them to sleep in their armor, while he
kept watch.  Aristomachus was welcomed with shouts of joy by the Greeks,
and kindly by Cambyses, who assigned him, at the head of one half the
Greek troops, a place to the left of the centre attack, while Phanes,
with the other half, had his place at the right.  The king himself was to
take the lead at the head of the ten thousand Immortals, preceded by the
blue, red and  gold  imperial  banner and  the  standard  of Kawe.
Bartja was to lead the regiment of mounted guards numbering a thousand
men, and that division of the cavalry which was entirely clothed in mail.

Croesus commanded a body of troops whose duty it was to guard the camp
with its immense treasures, the wives of Cambyses' nobles, and his own
mother and sister.

At last Mithras appeared and shed his light upon the earth; the spirits
of the night retired to their dens, and the Magi stirred up the sacred
fire which had been carried before the army the whole way from Babylon,
until it became a gigantic flame.  They and the king united in feeding it
with costly perfumes, Cambyses offered the sacrifice, and, holding the
while a golden bowl high in the air, besought the gods to grant him
victory and glory.  He then gave the password, "Auramazda, the helper and
guide," and placed himself at the head of his guards, who went into the
battle with wreaths on their tiaras.  The Greeks offered their own
sacrifices, and shouted with delight on hearing that the omens were
auspicious.  Their war-cry was "Hebe."

Meanwhile the Egyptian priests had begun their day also with prayer and
sacrifice, and had then placed their army in order of battle.

Psamtik, now King of Egypt, led the centre.  He was mounted on a golden
chariot; the trappings of his horses were of gold and purple, and plumes
of ostrich feathers nodded on their proud heads.  He wore the double
crown of Upper and Lower Egypt, and the charioteer who stood at his left
hand holding the reins and whip, was descended from one of the noblest
Egyptian families.

The Hellenic and Karian mercenaries were to fight at the left of the
centre, the horse at the extreme of each wing, and the Egyptian and
Ethiopian foot were stationed, six ranks deep, on the right and left of
the armed chariots, and Greek mercenaries.

Psamtik drove through the ranks of his army, giving encouraging and
friendly words to all the men.  He drew up before the Greek division, and
addressed them thus: "Heroes of Cyprus and Libya! your deeds in arms are
well known to me, and I rejoice in the thought of sharing your glory to-
day and crowning you with fresh laurels.  Ye have no need to fear, that
in the day of victory I shall curtail your liberties.  Malicious tongues
have whispered that this is all ye have to expect from me; but I tell
you, that if we conquer, fresh favors will be shown to you and your
descendants; I shall call you the supporters of my throne.  Ye are
fighting to-day, not for me alone, but for the freedom of your own
distant homes.  It is easy to perceive that Cambyses, once lord of Egypt,
will stretch out his rapacious hand over your beautiful Hellas and its
islands.  I need only remind you, that they be between Egypt and your
Asiatic brethren who are already groaning under the Persian yoke.  Your
acclamations prove that ye agree with me already, but I must ask for a
still longer hearing.  It is my duty to tell you who has sold, not only
Egypt, but his own country to the King of Persia, in return for immense
treasures.  The man's name is Phanes!  You are angry and inclined to
doubt?  I swear to you, that this very Phanes has accepted Cambyses' gold
and promised not only to be his guide to Egypt, but to open the gates of
your own Greek cities to him.  He knows the country and the people, and
can be bribed to every perfidy.  Look at him! there he is, walking by the
side of the king.  See how he bows before him!  I thought I had heard
once, that the Greeks only prostrated themselves before their gods.  But
of course, when a man sells his country, he ceases to be its citizen.  Am
I not right?  Ye scorn to call so base a creature by the name of
countryman?  Yes?  then I will deliver the wretch's daughter into your
hands.  Do what ye will with the child of such a villain.  Crown her with
wreaths of roses, fall down before her, if it please you, but do not
forget that she belongs to a man who has disgraced the name of Hellene,
and has betrayed his countrymen and country!"

As he finished speaking the men raised a wild cry of rage and took
possession of the trembling child.  A soldier held her up, so that her
father--the troops not being more than a bow-shot apart--could see all
that happened.  At the same moment an Egyptian, who afterwards earned
celebrity through the loudness of his voice, cried: "Look here, Athenian!
see how treachery and corruption are rewarded in this country!"  A bowl
of wine stood near, provided by the king, from which the soldiers had
just been drinking themselves into intoxication.  A Karian seized it,
plunged his sword into the innocent child's breast, and let the blood
flow into the bowl; filled a goblet with the awful mixture, and drained
it, as if drinking to the health of the wretched father.  Phanes stood
watching the scene, as if struck into a statue of cold stone.  The rest
of the soldiers then fell upon the bowl like madmen, and wild beasts
could not have lapped up the foul drink with greater eagerness.--
[Herodotus tells this fearful tale (III. ii.)]

In the same moment Psamtik triumphantly shot off his first arrow into the
Persian ranks.

The mercenaries flung the child's dead body on to the ground; drunk with
her blood, they raised their battle-song, and rushed into the strife far
ahead of their Egyptian comrades.

But now the Persian ranks began to move.  Phanes, furious with pain and
rage, led on his heavy-armed troops, indignant too at the brutal
barbarity of their countrymen, and dashed into the ranks of those very
soldiers, whose love he had tried to deserve during ten years of faithful

At noon, fortune seemed to be favoring the Egyptians; but at sunset the
Persians had the advantage, and when the full-moon rose, the Egyptians
were flying wildly from the battle-field, perishing in the marshes and in
the arm of the Nile which flowed behind their position, or being cut to
pieces by the swords of their enemies.

Twenty thousand Persians and fifty thousand Egyptians lay dead on the
blood-stained sea-sand.  The wounded, drowned, and prisoners could
scarcely be numbered.

     [Herod. III. 12.  Ktesias, Persica 9.  In ancient history the loss
     of the conquered is always far greater than that of the conquerors.
     To a certain extent this holds good in the present day, but the
     proportion is decidedly not so unfavorable for the vanquished.]

Psamtik had been one of the last to fly.  He was well mounted, and, with
a few thousand faithful followers, reached the opposite bank of the Nile
and made for Memphis, the well-fortified city of the Pyramids.

Of the Greek mercenaries very few survived, so furious had been Phanes'
revenge, and so well had he been supported by his Ionians.  Ten thousand
Karians were taken captive and the murderer of his little child was
killed by Phanes' own hand.

Aristomachus too, in spite of his wooden leg, had performed miracles of
bravery; but, notwithstanding all their efforts, neither he, nor any of
his confederates in revenge, had succeeded in taking Psamtik prisoner.

When the battle was over, the Persians returned in triumph to their
tents, to be warmly welcomed by Croesus and the warriors and priests who
had remained behind, and to celebrate their victory by prayers and

The next morning Cambyses assembled his generals and rewarded them with
different tokens of distinction, such as costly robes, gold chains,
rings, swords, and stars formed of precious stones.  Gold and silver
coins were distributed among the common soldiers.

The principal attack of the Egyptians had been directed against the
centre of the Persian army, where Cambyses commanded in person; and with
such effect that the guards had already begun to give way.  At that
moment Bartja, arriving with his troop of horsemen, had put fresh courage
into the wavering, had fought like a lion himself, and by his bravery and
promptitude decided the day in favor of the Persians.

The troops were exultant in their joy: they shouted his praises, as "the
conqueror of Pelusium" and the "best of the Achaemenidae."

Their cries reached the king's ears and made him very angry.  He knew he
had been fighting at the risk of life, with real courage and the strength
of a giant, and yet the day would have been lost if this boy had not
presented him with the victory.  The brother who had embittered his days
of happy love, was now to rob him of half his military glory.  Cambyses
felt that he hated Bartja, and his fist clenched involuntarily as he saw
the young hero looking so happy in the consciousness of his own well-
earned success.

Phanes had been wounded and went to his tent; Aristomachus lay near him,

"The oracle has deceived me, after all," he murmured.  "I shall die
without seeing my country again."

"The oracle spoke the truth,"  answered Phanes.  "Were not the last words
of the Pythia?"

     'Then shall the lingering boat to the beckoning meadows convey thee,
     Which to the wandering foot peace and a home will afford?'

"Can you misunderstand their meaning?  They speak of Charon's lingering
boat, which will convey you to your last home, to the one great resting-
place for all wanderers--the kingdom of Hades."

"Yes, my friend, you are right there.  I am going to Hades."

"And the Five have granted you, before death, what they so long refused,
--the return to Lacedaemon.  You ought to be thankful to the gods for
granting you such sons and such vengeance on your enemies.  When my wound
is healed, I shall go to Greece and tell your son that his father died a
glorious death, and was carried to the grave on his shield, as beseems a

"Yes, do so, and give him my shield as a remembrance of his old father.
There is no need to exhort him to virtue."

"When Psamtik is in our power, shall I tell him what share you had in his

"No; he saw me before he took to flight, and at the unexpected vision his
bow fell from his hand.  This was taken by his friends as a signal for
flight, and they turned their horses from the battle."

"The gods ordain, that bad men shall be ruined by their own deeds.
Psamtik lost courage, for he must have believed that the very spirits of
the lower world were fighting against him."

"We mortals gave him quite enough to do.  The Persians fought well.  But
the battle would have been lost without the guards and our troops."

"Without doubt."

"I thank thee, O Zeus Lacedaemonius."

"You are praying?"

"I am praising the gods for allowing me to die at ease as to my country.
These heterogeneous masses can never be dangerous to Greece.  Ho,
physician, when am I likely to die?"

The Milesian physician, who had accompanied the Greek troops to Egypt,
pointed to the arrow-head sticking fast in his breast, and said with a
sad smile, "You have only a few hours more to live.  If I were to draw
the arrow from your wound, you would die at once."

The Spartan thanked him, said farewell to Phanes, sent a greeting to
Rhodopis, and then, before they could prevent him, drew the arrow from
his wound with an unflinching hand.  A few moments later Aristomachus was

The same day a Persian embassy set out for Memphis on board one of the
Lesbian vessels.  It was commissioned to demand from Psamtik the
surrender of his own person and of the city at discretion.  Cambyses
followed, having first sent off a division of his army under Megabyzus to
invest Sais.

At Heliopolis he was met by deputations from the Greek inhabitants of
Naukratis and the Libyans, praying for peace and his protection, and
bringing a golden wreath and other rich presents.  Cambyses received them
graciously and assured them of his friendship; but repulsed the
messengers from Cyrene and Barka indignantly, and flung, with his own
hand, their tribute of five hundred silver mince among his soldiers,
disdaining to accept so contemptible an offering.

In Heliopolis he also heard that, at the approach of his embassy, the
inhabitants of Memphis had flocked to the shore, bored a hole in the
bottom of the ship, torn his messengers in pieces without distinction,
as wild beasts would tear raw flesh, and dragged them into the fortress.
On hearing this he cried angrily: "I swear, by Mithras, that these
murdered men shall be paid for; ten lives for one."

Two days later and Cambyses with his army stood before the gates of
Memphis.  The siege was short, as the garrison was far too small for the
city, and the citizens were discouraged by the fearful defeat at

King Psamtik himself came out to Cambyses, accompanied by his principal
nobles, in rent garments, and with every token of mourning.  Cambyses
received him coldly and silently, ordering him and his followers to be
guarded and removed.  He treated Ladice, the widow of Amasis, who
appeared at the same time as her step-son, with consideration, and, at
the intercession of Phanes, to whom she had always shown favor, allowed
her to return to her native town of Cyrene under safe conduct.  She
remained there until the fall of her nephew, Arcesilaus III. and the
flight of her sister Pheretime, when she betook herself to Anthylla, the
town in Egypt which belonged to her, and where she passed a quiet,
solitary existence, dying at a great age.

Cambyses not only scorned to revenge the imposture which had been
practised on him on a woman, but, as a Persian, had far too much respect
for a mother, and especially for the mother of a king, to injure Ladice
in any way.

While he was engaged in the siege of Sais, Psamtik passed his
imprisonment in the palace of the Pharaohs, treated in every respect
as a king, but strictly guarded.

Among those members of the upper class who had incited the people to
resistance, Neithotep, the high-priest of Neith, had taken the foremost
place.  He was therefore sent to Memphis and put in close confinement,
with one hundred of his unhappy confederates.  The larger number of the
Pharaoh's court, on the other hand, did homage voluntarily to Cambyses at
Sais, entitled him Ramestu, "child of the sun," and suggested that he
should cause himself to be crowned King of Upper and Lower Egypt, with
all the necessary formalities, and admitted into the priestly caste
according to ancient custom.  By the advice of Croesus and Phanes,
Cambyses gave in to these proposals, though much against his own will:
he went so far, indeed, as to offer sacrifice in the temple of Neith,
and allowed the newly-created high-priest of the goddess to give him a
superficial insight into the nature of the mysteries.  Some of the
courtiers he retained near himself, and promoted different administrative
functionaries to high posts; the commander of Amasis' Nile fleet
succeeded so well in gaining the king's favor, as to be appointed one of
those who ate at the royal table.

     [On a statue in the Gregorian Museum in the Vatican, there is an
     inscription giving an account of Cambyses' sojourn at Sais, which
     agrees with the facts related in our text.  He was lenient to his
     conquered subjects, and, probably in order to secure his position as
     the lawful Pharaoh, yielded to the wishes of the priests, was even
     initiated into the mysteries and did much for the temple of Neith.
     His adoption of the name Ramestu is also confirmed by this statue.
     E. de Rough, Memoire sur la statuette naophore du musee Gregorian,
     au Vatican. Revue Archeol. 1851.]

On leaving Sais, Cambyses placed Megabyzus in command of the city; but
scarcely had the king quitted their walls than the smothered rage of the
people broke forth; they murdered the Persian sentinels, poisoned the
wells, and set the stables of the cavalry on fire.  Megabyzus at once
applied to the king, representing that such hostile acts, if not
repressed by fear, might soon be followed by open rebellion.  "The two
thousand noble youths from Memphis whom you have destined to death as an
indemnification for our murdered ambassadors," said he, "ought to be
executed at once; and it would do no harm if the son of Psamtik were
added to the number, as he can some day become a rallying centre for the
rebels.  I hear that the daughters of the dethroned king and of the high-
priest Neithotep have to carry water for the baths of the noble Phanes."

The Athenian answered with a smile: "Cambyses has allowed me to employ
these aristocratic female attendants, my lord, at my own request."

"But has forbidden you to touch the life of one member of the royal
house," added Cambyses.  "None but a king has the right to punish kings."

Phanes bowed.  The king turned to Megabyzus and ordered him to have the
prisoners executed the very next day, as an example.  He would decide the
fate of the young prince later; but at all events he was to be taken to
the place of execution with the rest.  "We must show them," he concluded,
"that we know how to meet all their hostile manifestations with
sufficient rigor."

Croesus ventured to plead for the innocent boy.  "Calm yourself, old
friend," said Cambyses with a smile; "the child is not dead yet, and
perhaps will be as well off with us as your own son, who fought so well
at Pelusium.  I confess I should like to know, whether Psamtik bears his
fate as calmly and bravely as you did twenty-five years ago."

"That we can easily discover, by putting him on trial," said Phanes.
"Let him be brought into the palace-court to-morrow, and let the captives
and the condemned be led past him.  Then we shall see whether he is a man
or a coward."

"Be it so," answered Cambyses.  "I will conceal myself and watch him
unobserved.  You, Phanes, will accompany me, to tell me the name and rank
of each of the captives."

The next morning Phanes accompanied the king on to a balcony which ran
round the great court of the palace--the court we have already described
as being planted with trees.  The listeners were hidden by a grove of
flowering shrubs, but they could see every movement that took place, and
hear every word that was spoken beneath them.  They saw Psamtik,
surrounded by a few of his former companions.  He was leaning against a
palm-tree, his eyes fixed gloomily on the ground, as his daughters
entered the court.  The daughter of Neithotep was with them, and some
more young girls, all dressed as slaves; they were carrying pitchers of
water.  At sight of the king, they uttered such a loud cry of anguish as
to wake him from his reverie.  He looked up, recognized the miserable
girls, and bowed his head lower than before; but only for a moment.
Drawing himself up quickly, he asked his eldest daughter for whom she was
carrying water.  On hearing that she was forced to do the work of a slave
for Phanes, he turned deadly pale, nodded his head, and cried to the
girls, "Go on."

A few minutes later the captives were led into the court, with ropes
round their necks, and bridles in their mouths.

     [This statement of Herodotus (III. 14.) is confirmed by the
     monuments, on which we often see representations of captives being
     led along with ropes round their necks.  What follows is taken
     entirely from the same passage in Herodotus.]

At the head of the train was the little prince Necho.  He stretched his
hands out to his father, begging him to punish the bad foreigners who
wanted to kill him.  At this sight the Egyptians wept in their exceeding
great misery; but Psamtik's eyes were dry.  He bowed his tearless face
nearly to the earth, and waved his child a last farewell.

After a short interval, the captives taken in Sais entered.  Among them
was Neithotep, the once powerful high-priest, clothed in rags and moving
with difficulty by the help of a staff.  At the entrance-gate he raised
his eyes and caught sight of his former pupil Darius.  Reckless of all
the spectators around him, he went straight up to the young man, poured
out the story of his need, besought his help, and ended by begging an
alms.  Darius complied at once, and by so doing, induced others of the
Achaemenidae, who were standing by, to hail the old man jokingly and
throw him little pieces of money, which he picked up laboriously and
thankfully from the ground.

At this sight Psamtik wept aloud, and smote upon his forehead, calling on
the name of his friend in a voice full of woe.

Cambyses was so astonished at this, that he came forward to the
balustrade of the veranda, and pushing the flowers aside, exclaimed:
"Explain thyself, thou strange man; the misfortunes of a beggar, not even
akin to thee, move thy compassion, but thou canst behold thy son on the
way to execution and thy daughters in hopeless misery without shedding a
tear, or uttering a lament!"

Psamtik looked up at his conqueror, and answered: "The misfortunes of my
own house, O son of Cyrus, are too great for tears; but I may be
permitted to weep over the afflictions of a friend, fallen, in his old
age, from the height of happiness and influence into the most miserable

Cambyses' face expresseed his approval, and on looking round he saw that
his was not the only eye which was filled with tears.  Croesus, Bartja,
and all the Persians-nay, even Phanes himself, who had served as
interpreter to the kings-were weeping aloud.

The proud conqueror was not displeased at these signs of sympathy, and
turning to the Athenian: "I think, my Greek friend" he said, "we may
consider our wrongs as avenged.  Rise, Psamtik, and endeavor to imitate
yonder noble old man, (pointing to Croesus) by accustoming yourself to
your fate.  Your father's fraud has been visited on you and your family.
The crown, which I have wrested from you is the crown of which Amasis
deprived my wife, my never-to-be-forgotten Nitetis.  For her sake I began
this war, and for her sake I grant you now the life of your son--she
loved him.  From this time forward you can live undisturbed at our court,
eat at our table and share the privileges of our nobles.  Gyges, fetch
the boy hither.  He shall be brought up as you were, years ago, among the
sons of the Achaemenidae."

The Lydian was hastening to execute this delightful commission, but
Phanes stopped him before he could reach the door, and placing himself
proudly between the king and the trembling, thankful Psamtik, said: "You
would be going on a useless errand, noble Lydian.  In defiance of your
command, my Sovereign, but in virtue of the full powers you once gave me,
I have ordered the grandson of Amasis to be the executioner's first
victim.  You have just heard the sound of a horn; that was the sign that
the last heir to the Egyptian throne born on the shores of the Nile has
been gathered to his fathers.  I am aware of the fate I have to expect,
Cambyses.  I will not plead for a life whose end has been attained.
Croesus, I understand your reproachful looks.  You grieve for the
murdered children.  But life is such a web of wretchedness and
disappointment, that I agree with your philosopher Solon in thinking
those fortunate to whom, as in former days to Kleobis and Biton, the gods
decree an early death.

     [Croesus, after having shown Solon his treasures, asked him whom he
     held to be the most fortunate of men, hoping to hear his own name.
     The sage first named Tellus, a famous citizen of Athens, and then
     the brothers Kleobis and Biton.  These were two handsome youths, who
     had gained the prize for wrestling, and one day, when the draught-
     animals had not returned from the field, dragged their mother
     themselves to the distant temple, in presence of the people.  The
     men of Argos praised the strength of the sons,--the women praised
     the mother who possessed these sons.  She, transported with delight
     at her sons' deed and the people's praise, went to the statue of the
     goddess and besought her to give them the best that could fall to
     the lot of men.  When her prayer was over and the sacrifice offered,
     the youths fell asleep, and never woke again.  They were dead.
     Herod. I, 31.  Cicero. Tuscul. I. 47.]

"If I have ever been dear to you, Cambyses--if my counsels have been of
any use, permit me as a last favor to say a few more words.  Psamtik
knows the causes that rendered us foes to each other.  Ye all, whose
esteem is worth so much to me, shall know them too.  This man's father
placed me in his son's stead at the head of the troops which had been
sent to Cyprus.  Where Psamtik had earned humiliation, I won success and
glory.  I also became unintentionally acquainted with a secret, which
seriously endangered his chances of obtaining the crown; and lastly, I
prevented his carrying off a virtuous maiden from the house of her
grandmother, an aged woman, beloved and respected by all the Greeks.
These are the sins which he has never been able to forgive; these are the
grounds which led him to carry on war to the death with me directly I had
quitted his father's service.  The struggle is decided now.  My innocent
children have been murdered at thy command, and I have been pursued like
a wild beast.  That has been thy revenge.  But mine!--I have deprived
thee of thy throne and reduced thy people to bondage.  Thy daughter I
have called my slave, thy son's death-warrant was pronounced by my lips,
and my eyes have seen the maiden whom thou persecutedst become the happy
wife of a brave man.  Undone, sinking ever lower and lower, thou hast
watched me rise to be the richest and most powerful of my nation.  In the
lowest depth of thine own misery--and this has been the most delicious
morsel of my vengeance--thou wast forced to see me--me, Phanes shedding
tears that could not be kept back, at the sight of thy misery.  The man,
who is allowed to draw even one breath of life, after beholding his enemy
so low, I hold to be happy as the gods themselves  I have spoken."

He ceased, and pressed his hand on his wound.  Cambyses gazed at him in
astonishment, stepped forward, and was just going to touch his girdle--
an action which would have been equivalent to the signing of a death-
warrant when his eye caught sight of the chain, which he himself had hung
round the Athenian's neck as a reward for the clever way in which he had
proved the innocence of Nitetis.

     [The same sign was used by the last Darius to denote that his able
     Greek general Memnon, who had offended him by his plainness of
     speech, was doomed to death.  As he was being led away, Memnon
     exclaimed, in allusion to Alexander, who was then fast drawing near:
     "Thy remorse will soon prove my worth; my avenger is not far off."
     Droysen, Alex. d. Grosse,  Diod. XVII. 30.  Curtius III. 2.]

The sudden recollection of the woman he loved, and of the countless
services rendered him by Phanes, calmed his wrath his hand dropped.  One
minute the severe ruler stood gazing lingeringly at his disobedient
friend; the next, moved by a sudden impulse, he raised his right hand
again, and pointed imperiously to the gate leading from the court.

Phanes bowed in silence, kissed the king's robe, and descended slowly
into the court.  Psamtik watched him, quivering with excitement, sprang
towards the veranda, but before his lips could utter the curse which his
heart had prepared, he sank powerless on to the ground.

Cambyses beckoned to his followers to make immediate preparations for a
lion-hunt in the Libyan mountains.


Between two stools a man falls to the ground
Human beings hate the man who shows kindness to their enemies
Misfortune too great for tears
Nothing is more dangerous to love, than a comfortable assurance
Ordered his feet to be washed and his head anointed
Rules of life given by one man to another are useless

*** End of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "An Egyptian Princess — Volume 09" ***

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