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sion. According to their manner of relating this fact, Artabazanes was absent when the king died; and Xerxes immediately assumed all the marks, and exercised all the functions of the sovereignty. But, upon his brother's returning home, he quitted the diadem and the tiara, which he wore in such a manner as only suited the king, went out to meet him, and showed him all imaginable respect. They agreed to make their uncle Artabanes the arbitrator of their difference, and without any farther appeal, to acquiesce in his decision. All the while this dispute lasted, the two brothers showed one another every demonstration of a truly fraternal friendship, by keeping up a continual intercourse of presents and entertainments, from whence their mutual esteem and confidence for each other banished all their fears and suspicions on both sides, and introduced an unconstrained cheerfulness and a perfect security. This is a spectacle, says Justin, highly worthy of our admiration; to see, while most brothers are at deadly variance with one another about a small patrimony, with what moderation and temper both waited for a decision, which was to dispose of the greatest empire then in the universe. When Artabanes gave judgment in favour of Xerxes, Artabazanes the same instant prostrated himself before him, acknowledging him for his master, and placed him upon the throne with his own hand; by which proceeding he showed a greatness of soul truly royal, and infinitely superior to all human dignities. This ready acquiescence in a sentence so contrary to his interests, was not the effect of an artful policy, that knows how to dissemble upon occasion, and to derive. honour to itself from what it could not prevent. No; it proceeded from a real respect for the laws, a sincere affection for his brother, and an indifference for that which so warmly inflames the ambition of mankind, and so frequently arms the nearest relations against each other. For his part, during his whole life, he continued firmly attached to the interests of Xerxes, and prosecuted them with so much ardour and zeal, that he lost his life in his service at the battle of Salamis.
At whatever time this dispute is to be dated, it is evident Darius could not execute the double expedition he was meditating against Egypt and Greece; and that he was prevented by death from pursuing that project.* He had reigned thirty-six years. The epitapht of this prince, which contains a boast, that he could drink much without disordering his reason, proves that the Persians actually thought that circumstance added to their glory. We shall see in the sequel, that Cyrus the younger ascribes this quality to himself, as a perfection that rendered bim more worthy of the throne than his elder brother. Who at the present day would think of annexing this merit to the qualifications of an excellent prince?
Darius had many excellent qualities, but they were attended with great fail. ings, and the kingdom felt the effects both of the one and the other. For such is the condition of princes, they never act nor live for themselves alone. Whatever they are, either as to good or evil, they are for their people ; and the interests of the one and the other, are inseparable. Darius had a great fund of gentleness, equity, clemency, and kindness for his people ; he loved justice and respected the laws; he esteemed merit, and was careful to reward it: he was not jealous of his rank or authority, so as to exact a forced homage, or to render himself inaccessible; and notwithstanding his own great experience and abilities in public affairs, he would hearken to the advice of others, and reap the benefit of their counsels. It is of him the holy Scripture speaks, where it says, that he did nothing without consulting the wise men of his court.g. He was not afraid of exposing his person in battle, and was always cool even in the heat of action : he said of himself, tnat the most imminent and pressing danger served only to increase his courage and his prudence:l in a word, there have been few princes more expert than he in the art of governing, or more ex. perienced in the business of war. Nor was the glory of being a conqueror, if
* Herod. l. vi. c. 4. Η 'Ηδυνάμην καί οίνον πίνειν πολύν, και τέτον φέρειν καλώς.-Athen. 1. 1. p. 434.
Ita nati est s, ut bona malaque vestra ad remp. pertineant.-Tacit. 1. iv. c. 8. Esth. i. 13.
U Plut. in Apoph. p. 172
that may be called a glory, wanting to his character. For be not only restored and entirely confirmed the empire of Cyrus, which had been very much shaken by the ill conduct of Cambyses and the Magian impostor; but be likewise added many great and rich provinces to it, and particulary India, Thrace, Macedonia and the isles contiguous to the coasts of lonia.
But sometimes these good qualities of his gave way to failings of a quite opposite nature. Do we see any thing like Darius's usual gentleness and good nature in his treatment of that unfortunate father, who desired the favour cf him to leave him one of his three sons at home, while the other two followed the king in his expedition ? Was there ever an occasion wherein he had more need of counsel, than when he formed the design of making war vpon the Scythians ? And could any one give more prudent advice than his brother gave him on that occassion ? But he would not follow it. Does there appear ir that whole expedition any mark of wisdom or prudence ? What do we see in all that affair, but a prince intoxicated with his greatness, who fancies there is nothing in the world that can resist him; and whose weak ambition to signa. lize himself by an extraordinary conquest, has stifled all the good sense, judg. ment and even military knowledge, he possessed before?
What constitutes the solid glory of Darius's reign is his being chosen by God himself, as Cyrus had been before, to be the instrument of his mercies towards his people, the declared protector of the Israelites, and the restorer of the temple at Jerusalem. The reader may see this part of bis history in the book of Ezra, and in the writings of the prophets Haggai and Zechariah
THE HISTORY OF XERXES CONNECTED WITH
THAT OF THE GREEKS. Tae reign of Xerxes lasted but twelve years, but abounds with great events.
SECTION 1.--XERXES REDUCES EGYPT, &c. &c. XERXES having ascended the throne, employed the first year of his reign in carrying on the preparations begun by his father, for the reduction of Egypt. He also confirmed to the Jews at Jerusalem all the privileges granted them by his father, and particularly that which assigned then the tribute of Sainaria, for supplying them with victims for the temple of God.*
In the second year of his reign he marched against the Egyptians, and having reduced and subdued these rebels, he made the yoke of their subjection more heavy ; then giving the government of that province to his brother Achæmenes, he returned about the latter end of the year to Susa.t
Herodotus, the famous historian, was born this same year at Halicarnassus in Caria. For he was fifty-three years old, when the Peloponnesian war began. I Xerxes, elated
with his success against the Egyptians, determined to make war against the Grecians. He did not intend, he said, any longer to buy the figs of Attica, which were very excellent, because he would eat no more of them till he was master of the country.ll But before he engaged in an enterprise of that importance, he thought proper to assemble his council, and take the advice of all the greatest and most illustrious persons of his court. He laid before them the design he had of making war against Greece, and acquainted them with his motives; which were, the desire of imitating the example of his predecessors, who had all of them distinguished their names and reigns by noble enterprises; the obligation he was under to revenge the insolence of the Athenians, who had presumed to fall upon Sardis, and reduce it to ashes; the necessity he was under to avenge the disgrace his country had received at the batile of Marathon: and the prospect of the great advantages that might be reaped from this war, which would be attended with the conquest of Europe, the richest and most fertile country in the universe. He added farther, that this war had been resolved on by his father Darius, and he meant only to follow and execute his intentions; he concluded with promising ample rewards to those who should distinguish themselves by their valour in the expedition.
* A. M. 3519. Ant. J. C. 495. Her. I. vii. c. 5 Joseph. Antiq. I. xi. c. 5. | A. M. 3520. An... C. 434. Her. l. vii. c."
Aul. Gel. l. xv. c. 23 Her. I. vii. c. 8–18.
l Plut. in Apoph. p 173
Mardonius, the same person that had been so unsuccessful in Darius's reign, grown neither wiser nor less ambitious by his ill success, and being anxious for the command of the army, was the first who gave his opinion. He began by extolling Xerxes above all the kings that had gone before or should succeed him. He endeavoured to show the indispensable necessity of avenging the dishonour done to the Persian name; he disparaged the Grecians, and represented thein as a cowardly,timorous people, without courage, without forces, or experience in war. For a proof of what he said, he mentioned his own conquest in Macedonia, which he exaggerated in a very vaiņ and ostentatious manner, as is that people had submitted to him without any resistance. He presumed even to alfirm, that not any of the Grecian nations would venture to come out against Xerxes, who would march with all the forces of Asia; and if they had the temerity to present themselves before bim, they would learn to their cost, that the Persians were the bravest and most warlike nation in the world.
The rest of the council, perceiving that this Nattering discourse extremely pleased the king, were afraid to contradict it, and all kept silence. This was almost an unavoidable consequence of Xerxes's manner of proceeding. A wise prince, when he proposes an affair in council, and really desires that every one should speak his true sentiments, is extremely careful to conceal his own opinion, that he may put no constraint upon that of others, but leave them entirely at liberty. Xerxes, on the contrary, had openly discovered his own inclination, or rather resolution to undertake the war. When a prince acts in this manner, he will always find artful flatterers, who, being eager to insinuate themselves and to please, and ever ready to comply with his passions, will not fail to second his opinion with specious and plausible reasons, while those that might be capable of giving good counsels are restrained by fear; there being very few courtiers who love their prince well enough, and have sufficient courage, to venture to displease him, by disputing what they know to be his taste or opinion.
The excessive praises given by Mardonius to Xerxes, which is the usual language of flatterers, ought to have rendered him suspected by the king, and made him apprehend, that under an appearance of zeal for his glory, that nobleman endeavoured to cloak his own ambition, and the violent desire he had to command the army. But these grateful and flattering words, which glide like a serpent under flowers, are so far from displeasing princes, that they captivate and charm them. They do not consider, that men flatter and praise them, because they believe them weak and yain enough to suffer themselves to be deceived by commendations that bear no proportion to their merits and actions.
This behaviour of the king made the whole counsel mute. In this general silence, Artabanes, the king's uncle, a prince venerable for his age and prudence, made the following speech, “Permit me, great prince,” said he, addressing, himself to Xerxes, “ to deliver my sentiments to you on this occasion, with a liberty suitable to my age and to your interest. When Darius, your father and my brother, first thought of making war against the Scythians, I used all my endeavours to divert him from it. I need not tell you what that enterprise cost, or what was the success of it. The people you are going to attack are infinitely more formidable than the Scythians. The Grecians are esteemed the very best troops in the world, either by land or sea. If the Athenians alone could defeat the numeious army commanded by Datis and Artaphernes, what ought we to expect from all the states of Greece united together ! You design to pass from Asia into Europe, by laying a bridge over the sea. What will become of us, if the Athenians, proving victorious, sbould advance to the bridge with their feet and break it down ? I still tremble when I consider, thai in the Scythian expedition, the life of the king your father, and the safety of all his army, were reduced to depend upon the fidelity of a single man; and that, if Hystiæus the Milesian had, in compliance with the strong entreaties made to him, consented to break down the bridge, which had been laid over the Danube, the Persian empire had been entirely ruined. Do not expose yourself, sir, to the like danger, especially since you are not obliged to do so. Take time at least to reflect upon it. When we have maturely deliberated upon an affair, whatever happens to be the success of it, we have nothing to impute to ourselves. Precipitation, besides its being imprudent, is almost always unfortunate, and attended with fatal consequences. Above all, do not suffer yourself, great prince, to be dazzled with the vain splendour of imaginary glory, or with the pompous appearance of your troops. The bighest and most lofty trees have the most reason to dread the thunder. As God alone is truly great, he is an enemy to pride, and takes pleasure in humbling every thing that exalteth itself; and very often the most numerous arinies fly before a handful of men, because he inspires these with courage, and scatters terror among the others."*
Artabanes, after having spoken thus to the king, turned himself towards Mardonius, and reproached him with his want of sincerity or judgment, in giving the king an idea of the Grecians so directly contrary to truth; and showed how extremely he was to blame for desiring rashly to engage the nation in a war, which nothing but his own views of interest and ambition could tempt him to advise. “If
a war be resolved upon," added be,“ let the king, whose life is dear to us all, remain in Persia : and do you, since you so ardently desire it, march at the head of the most numerous army that can be assembled. In the mean time, let your children and mine be given up as a pledge, to answer for the success of the war. If the issue of it be favourable, I consent that mine be put to death :t but if it prove otherwise, as I well foresee it will, then I desire that your children, and you yourself on your return, may be treated in such a manner as you deserve, for the rash counsel you have given your master.'
Xerxes, who was not accustomed to have his sentiments contradicted in this manner,
“Thank the gods,” said he to Artabanes,“ that you are my father's brother; were it not for that, you should this moment suffer the just reward of your audacious behaviour. But I will punish you for it in another manner, by leaving you here among the women, whom you too much resemble in your cowardice and fear, while I march at the head of my troops, where my duty and glory call me.”.
Artabanes had expressed his sentiments in very respectful and inoffensive terms: Xerxes nevertheless was extremely offended. It is the misfortune of princes, spoiled by flattery, to look upon every thing as dry and austere, tha is sincere and ingenuous, and to regard all counsel, delivered with a generous and disinterested freedom, as a seditious presumption. They do not consider, that even a good man never dares to tell them all he thinks, or discover the whole truth, especially in things that may be disagreeable to them; and that what they most stand in need of, is a sincere and faithful friend, that will conceal nothing from them. A prince ought to think himself very happy, if in his whole reign he finds but one man, born with that degree of generosity, who
fell into a rage:
* Φιλει ο Θεός τα υπερέχοντα πάντα κολάειν-έ γάρ έα φρονίειν άλλον μέγα ο Θεός ή έωυτόν.
†. Why should the children be punished for their fathers' faults ? Ita formatis principum auribus, uti aspera quæ utilia, nec quicquam nisi jucundum et lætum accipiant Tacit. Hist. 1. iii. c. 56
certainly ought to be considered as the most valuable treasure of the state : as he is, if the expression may be allowed, both the most necessary, and at the same time the most rare instrument of governinent.*
Xerxes himself acknowledged this upon the occasion we are speaking of. When the first emotions of his anger were over, and he had time to reflect on his pillow upon the different counsels that were given him, he confessed he had been to blame in giving his uncle such harsh language, and was not ashamed to confess his fault the next day in open council, ingenuously owning, that the heat of his youth, and his want of experience, had made him negligent in paying the regard due to a prince so worthy of respect as Artabanes, both for his age and his wisdom: and declaring, at the same time, that he was inclined to his opinion, notwithstanding a dream he had in the night, wherein a vision had appeared to him, and warmly exhorted him to undertake that war. All the lords that composed the council were delighted to hear the king speak in this manner : and to testify their joy, they sell prostrate before him, striving who should most extol the glory of such a proceeding; nor could their praises on such an occasion be at all suspected." For it is not difficult to discern, whether the praises given to princes proceed from the heart, and are founded upon truth, or whether they drop from the lips only, as an effect of mere flattery and deceit.t That sincere and humble declaration made by the king, far from appearing as a weakness in him, was looked upon by them as the effort of a great soul, which rises above its faults, in bravely confessing tlie.n, by way of reparation and atonement. They admired the nobleness of this procedure the more, as they knew that princes educated like Xerxes, in a vain haughtiness and false glory, are never disposed to own themselves in the wrong, and generally make use of their authority to justify, with pride and obstinacy whatever faults they have committed through ignorance or imprudence. We may venture, I think, to say, that it is more glorious to rise in this manner, man it would be never to have fallen. Certainly there is nothing greater, and at the same time more rare and uncommon, than to see a mighty and powerful prince, and that in the time of his greatest prosperity, acknowledge his faults, when he happens to commit any, without seeking pretexts or excuses to cover them; pay homage to truth, even when it is against him, and condemns him ; and leave other princes, who have a false delicacy concerning their grandeur the shame of always abounding with errors and defects, and of never owning that they have any.
The night following, the same phantom, if we may believe Herodotus, appeared again to the king, and repeated the same solicitations with new menaces and threatenings. Xerxes communicated what passed to his uncle, and in order to find out whether this vision was divine or not, entreated him earnestly to put on the royal robes, to ascend the throne, and afterwards to take his place in his bed for the night. ' Artabanes hereupon discoursed very sensibly and rationally with the king upon the vanity of dreams; and then coming to what personally regarded him ; "I look upon it,” said he, “, almost equally commendable, to think well of une's self, or to hearken with docility to the good counsels of others. You have both these qualities, great prince; and if you followed the natural bent of your own temper, it would lead you entirely to sentiments of wisdom and moderation. You never take any violent measures or resolutions, but when the arts of evil counsellors draw you into them, or the poison of fattery misleads you; in the same manner as the ocean, which of itself is calm and serene, nor ever disturbed bui by the extraneous impulse of other bodies. What afflicted ine in the answer you made me the other day, when I delivered my sentiments freely in council, was not the personal affront to me,
* Nullam majus boni imperii instrumentum quam bonus amicus. Tacit. Hist. I. v. c. 7. † Nec occultum est quando ex veritate, quando adumbrata lætitia, facta imperatorum celebrantur.| This thought is in Hesiod, Opera et Dics, V. 293. Cic. pro Cluent. n. 84. et Tit. Liv. I. xxii, n. 19. Sæpe ego audivi, militcs, eum primum esse virum, qui ipse consulat quid in sit; secundum eum, qui beke moneoti obediat: qui nec ipse consulere, nec alteri parere sciat, cum extremi ingenii esso, Vol. II.
Tacit. Annal. ). iv. c. 31.