The World's Greatest Books, Vol XI.
Edited by Arthur Mee and J.A. Hammerton

Part 1 out of 6

Produced by John Hagerson, Kevin Handy and PG Distributed Proofreaders



ARTHUR MEE Editor and Founder of the Book of Knowledge

J.A. HAMMERTON Editor of Harmsworth's Universal Encyclopaedia



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Table of Contents



Dawn of Civilization
Struggle of the Nations
Passing of the Empires


Antiquities of the Jews
Wars of the Jews

History of the Jews



Peloponnesian War


History of Greece

Troy and Its Remains


Commentaries on the Gallic War


Conspiracy of Catiline

Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire

History of Rome



The Holy Roman Empire


History of Civilization in Europe

View of the State of Europe During the Middle Ages


Egypt in the Middle Ages


Chronicles of England, Scotland and Ireland

Norman Conquest of England

History of England

A Complete Index of THE WORLD'S GREATEST BOOKS will be found at the end
of Volume XX.

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Acknowledgment and thanks for permitting the use of the
following selections--"The Dawn of Civilisation," "The
Struggle of the Nations" and "The Passing of the Empires," by
Gaston Maspero--which appear in this volume, are hereby
tendered to the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, of
London, England.

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Ancient History


The Dawn of Civilisation

Gaston Camille Charles Maspero, born on June 23, 1846, in
Paris, is one of the most renowned of European experts in
philology and Egyptology, having in great part studied his
special subjects on Oriental ground. After occupying for
several years the Chair of Egyptology in the Ecole des Hautes
Etudes at the Sorbonne in Paris, he became, in 1874, Professor
of Egyptian Philology and Archaeology at the College de
France. From 1881 to 1886 he acted in Egypt as director of the
Boulak Museum. It was under his superintendence that this
museum became enriched with its choicest antique treasures.
Dr. Maspero retired in 1886, but in 1899 again went to Egypt
as Director of Excavations. His works are of the utmost value,
his skill in marshalling facts and deducting legitimate
inferences being unrivalled. His masterpiece is an immense
work, with the general title of "History of the Ancient
Peoples of the Classic East," divided into three parts, each
complete in itself: (1) "The Dawn of Civilisation"; (2) "The
Struggle of the Nations"; (3) "The Passing of the Empires."

_I.--The Nile and Egypt_

A long, low, level shore, scarcely rising above the sea, a chain of
vaguely defined and ever-shifting lakes and marshes, then the triangular
plain beyond, whose apex is thrust thirty leagues into the land--this,
the Delta of Egypt, has gradually been acquired from the sea, and is, as
it were, the gift of the Nile. Where the Delta ends, Egypt proper
begins. It is only a strip of vegetable mould stretching north and south
between regions of drought and desolation, a prolonged oasis on the
banks of the river, made by the Nile, and sustained by the Nile. The
whole length of the land is shut in by two ranges of hills, roughly
parallel at a mean distance of about twelve miles.

During the earlier ages the river filled all this intermediate space;
and the sides of the hills, polished, worn, blackened to their very
summits, still bear unmistakable traces of its action. Wasted and
shrunken within the deeps of its own ancient bed, the stream now makes a
way through its own thick deposits of mud. The bulk of its waters keep
to the east, and constitutes the true Nile, the "Great River" of the
hieroglyphic inscriptions. At Khartoum the single channel in which the
river flowed divides, and two other streams are opened up in a southerly
direction, each of them apparently equal in volume to the main stream.

Which is the true Nile? Is it the Blue Nile, which seems to come down
from the distant mountains? Or is it the White Nile, which has traversed
the immense plains of equatorial Africa? The old Egyptians never knew.
The river kept the secret of its source from them as obstinately as it
withheld it from us until a few years ago. Vainly did their victorious
armies follow the Nile for months together, as they pursued the tribes
who dwelt upon its banks, only to find it as wide, as full, as
irresistible in its progress as ever. It was a fresh-water sea--_iauma,
ioma_ was the name by which they called it. The Egyptians, therefore,
never sought its source. It was said to be of supernatural origin, to
rise in Paradise, to traverse burning regions inaccessible to man, and
afterwards to fall into a sea whence it made its way to Egypt.

The sea mentioned in all the tales is, perhaps, a less extravagant
invention than we are at first inclined to think. A lake, nearly as
large as the Victoria Nyanza, once covered the marshy plain where the
Bahr-el-Abiad unites with the Sobat and with the Bahr-el-Ghazal.
Alluvial deposits have filled up all but its deepest depression, which
is known as Birket Nu; but in ages preceding our era it must still have
been vast enough to suggest to Egyptian soldiers and boatmen the idea of
an actual sea opening into the Indian Ocean.

Everything is dependent upon the river--the soil, the produce of the
soil, the species of animals it bears, the birds which it feeds--and
hence it was the Egyptians placed the river among their gods. They
personified it as a man with regular features, and a vigorous but portly
body, such as befits the rich of high lineage. Sometimes water springs
from his breast; sometimes he presents a frog, or libation of vases, or
bears a tray full of offerings of flowers, corn, fish, or geese. The
inscriptions call him "Hapi, father of the gods, lord of sustenance, who
maketh food to be, and covereth the two lands of Egypt with his
products; who giveth life, banisheth want, and filleth the granaries to

He is evolved into two personages, one being sometimes coloured red, the
other blue. The former, who wears a cluster of lotus-flowers on his
head, presides over Egypt of the south; the latter has a bunch of
papyrus for his headdress, and watches over the Delta. Two goddesses,
corresponding to the two Hapis--Mirit Qimait for the Upper, and
Mirit-Mihit for the Lower Egypt--personified the banks of the river.
They are represented with outstretched arms, as though begging for the
water that should make them fertile.

_II.--The Gods of Egypt_

The incredible number of religious scenes to be found represented on the
ancient monuments of Egypt is at first glance very striking. Nearly
every illustration in the works of Egyptologists shows us the figure of
some deity. One would think the country had been inhabited for the most
part by gods, with just enough men and animals to satisfy the
requirements of their worship. Each of these deities represented a
function, a moment in the life of man or of the universe. Thus, Naprit
was identified with the ripe ear of wheat; Maskhonit appeared by the
child's cradle at the very moment of its birth; and Raninit presided
over the naming and nurture of the newly born.

In penetrating this mysterious world we are confronted by an actual
jumble of gods, many being of foreign origin; and these, with the
indigenous deities, made up nations of gods. This mixed pantheon had its
grades of noble princes and kings, each of its members representing one
of the forces constituting the world. Some appeared in human form;
others as animals; others as combinations of human and animal forms.

The sky-gods, like the earth-gods, were separated into groups, the one
composed of women: Hathor of Denderah, or Nit of Sais; the other
composed of men identical with Horus, or derived from him: Anhuri-Shu of
Sebennytos and Thinis; Harmerati, or Horus, of the two eyes, at
Pharbaethos; Har-Sapedi, or Horus, of the zodiacal light, in the Wady
Tumilat; and, finally, Harhuditi at Edfu. Ra, the solar disc, was
enthroned at Heliopolis; and sun-gods were numerous among the home
deities. Horus the sun, and Ra the sun-god of Heliopolis, so permeated
each other that none could say where the one began and the other ended.

Each of the feudal gods representing the sun cherished pretensions to
universal dominion. The goddesses shared in supreme power. Isis was
entitled lady and mistress of Buto, as Hathor was at Denderah, and as
Nit was at Sais. The animal-gods shared omnipotence with those in human
form. Each of the feudal divinities appropriated two companions and
formed a trinity; or, as it is generally called, a triad. Often the
local deity was content with one wife and one son, but often he was
united to two goddesses. The system of triads enhanced, rather than
lowered, the prestige of the feudal gods. The son in a divine triad had
of himself but limited authority. When Isis and Osiris were his parents,
he was generally an infant Horus, whose mother nursed him, offering him
her breast. The gods had body and soul, like men; they had bones,
muscles, flesh and blood; they hungered and thirsted, ate and drank;
they had our passions, griefs, joys and infirmities; and they were
subject to age, decrepitude and death, though they lived very far beyond
the term of life of men.

The _sa_, a mysterious fluid, circulated through their members, and
carried with it divine vigour; and this they could impart to men, who
thus might become gods. Many of the Pharaohs became deities. The king
who wished to become impregnated with the divine _sa_ sat before the
statue of the god in order that this principle might be infused into
him. The gods were spared none of the anguish and none of the perils
which death so plentifully bestows on men. The gods died; each nome
possessed the mummy and the tomb of its dead deity. At Thinis there was
the mummy of Anhuri in its tomb, at Mendes the mummy of Osiris, at
Heliopolis that of Tumu. Usually, by dying, the god became another
deity. Ptah of Memphis became Sokaris; Uapuaitu, the jackal of Siut, was
changed into Anubis. Osiris first represented the wild and fickle Nile
of primitive times; but was soon transformed into a benefactor to
humanity, the supremely good being, Unnofriu, Onnophris. He was supposed
to assume the shapes not only of man, but of rams and bulls, or even of
water-birds, such as lapwings, herons, and cranes. His companion goddess
was Isis, the cow, or woman with cow's horns, who personified the earth,
and was mother of Horus.

There were countless gods of the people: trees, serpents and family
fetishes. Fine single sycamores, flourishing as if by miracle amid the
sand, were counted divine, and worshipped by Egyptians of all ranks, who
made them offerings of figs, grapes, cucumbers, vegetables and water.
The most famous of them all, the Sycamore of the South, used to be
regarded as the living body of Hathor on earth. Each family possessed
gods and fetishes, which had been pointed out by some fortuitous meeting
with an animal or an object; perhaps by a dream and often by sudden

_III.--Legendary History of Egypt_

The legendary history of Egypt begins with the Heliopolitan Enneads, or
traditions of the divine dynasties of Ra, Shu, Osiris, Sit and Horus.
Great space is taken up with the fabulous history of Ra, the first king
of Egypt, who allows himself to be duped and robbed by Isis, destroys
rebellious men, and ascends to heaven. He dwelt in Heliopolis, where his
court was mainly composed of gods and goddesses. In the morning he went
forth in his barque, amid the acclamations of the crowd, made his
accustomed circuit of the world, and returned to his home at the end of
twelve hours after the journey. In his old age he became the subject of
the wiles of Isis, who poisoned him, and so secured his departure from
earth. He was succeeded by Shu and Sibu, between whom the empire of the
universe was divided.

The fantastic legends concocted by the priests go on to relate how at
length Egypt was civilised by Osiris and Isis. By Osiris the people were
taught agriculture; Isis weaned them from cannibalism. Osiris was slain
by the red-haired and jealous demon, Sit-Typhon, and then Egypt was
divided between Horus and Sit as rivals; and so it consisted henceforth
of two kingdoms, of which one, that of the north, duly recognised Horus,
son of Isis, as its patron deity; the other, that of the south, placed
itself under the supreme protection of Sit-Nubiti, the god of Ombos.

Elaborate and intricate and hopelessly confused are the fables relating
to the Osirian embalmment, and to the opening of the kingdom of Osiris
to the followers of Horus. Souls did not enter it without examination
and trial, as it is the aim of the famous Book of the Dead to show.
Before gaining access to this paradise each of them had to prove that it
had during earthly life belonged to a friend or to a vassal of Osiris,
and had served Horus in his exile, and had rallied to his banner from
the very beginning of the Typhonian wars.

To Menes of Thinis tradition ascribes the honour of fusing the two
Egypts into one empire, and of inaugurating the reign of the human
dynasties. But all we know of this first of the Pharaohs, beyond his
existence, is practically nothing, and the stories related of him are
mere legends. The real history of the early centuries eludes our
researches. The history as we have it is divided into three periods: 1.
The Memphite period, which is usually called the "Ancient Empire," from
the First to the Tenth dynasty: kings of Memphite origin were rulers
over the whole of Egypt during the greater part of this epoch. 2. The
Theban period, from the Eleventh to the Twentieth dynasty. It is divided
into two parts by the invasion of the Shepherds (Sixteenth dynasty). 3.
Saite period, from the Twenty-first to the Thirtieth dynasty, divided
again into two parts by the Persian Conquest, the first Saite period,
from the Twenty-first to the Twenty-sixth dynasty; the second Saite
Period, from the Twenty-eighth to the Thirtieth dynasty.

_IV.--Political Constitution of Egypt_

Between the Fayum and the apex of the Delta, the Libyan range expands
and forms a vast and slightly undulating table-land, which runs parallel
to the Nile for nearly thirty leagues. The great Sphinx Harmakhis has
mounted guard over its northern extremity ever since the time of the
followers of Horus. In later times, a chapel of alabaster and rose
granite was erected alongside the god; temples were built here and there
in the more accessible places, and round these were grouped the tombs of
the whole country. The bodies of the common people, usually naked and
uncoffined, were thrust into the sand at a depth of barely three feet
from the surface. Those of the better class rested in mean rectangular
chambers, hastily built of yellow bricks, without ornaments or
treasures; a few vessels, however, of coarse pottery contained the
provisions left to nourish the departed during the period of his
existence. Some of the wealthy class had their tombs cut out of the
mountain-side; but the great majority preferred an isolated tomb, a
"mastaba," comprised of a chapel above ground, a shaft, and some
subterranean vaults.

During the course of centuries, the ever-increasing number of tombs
formed an almost uninterrupted chain, are rich in inscriptions, statues,
and in painted or sculptured scenes, and from the womb, as it were, of
these cemeteries, the Egypt of the Memphite dynasties gradually takes
new life and reappears in the full daylight of history. The king stands
out boldly in the foreground, and his tall figure towers over all else.
He is god to his subjects, who call him "the good-god," and "the
great-god," connecting him with Ra through the intervening kings. So the
Pharaohs are blood relations of the sun-god, the "divine double" being
infused into the royal infant at birth.

The monuments throw full light on the supernatural character of the
Pharaohs in general, but tell us little of the individual disposition of
any king in particular, or of their everyday life. The royal family was
very numerous. At least one of the many women of the harem received the
title of "great spouse," or queen. Her union with the god-king rendered
her a goddess. Children swarmed in the palace, as in the houses of
private citizens, and they were constantly jealous of each other, having
no bond of union except common hatred of the son whom the chances of
birth had destined to be their ruler.

Highly complex degrees of rank are revealed to us on the monuments of
the people who immediately surrounded the Pharaoh. His person was, as it
were, minutely subdivided into compartments, each requiring its
attendants and their appointed chiefs. His toilet alone gave employment
to a score of different trades. The guardianship of the crowns almost
approached the dignity of a priesthood, for was not the urseus, which
adorned each one, a living goddess? Troops of musicians, singers,
dancers, buffoons and dwarfs whiled away the tedious hours. Many were
the physicians, chaplains, soothsayers and magicians. But vast indeed
was the army of officials connected with the administration of public
affairs. The mainspring of all this machinery was the writer, or, as we
call him, the scribe, across whom we come in all grades of the staff.

The title of scribe was of no particular value in itself, for everyone
was a scribe who knew how to read and write, was fairly proficient in
wording the administrative formulas, and could easily apply the
elementary rules of book-keeping. "One has only to be a scribe, for the
scribe takes the lead of all," said the wise man. Sometimes, however, a
talented scribe rose to a high position, like the Amten, whose tomb was
removed to Berlin by Lepsius, and who became a favourite of the king and
was ennobled.

_V.--The Memphite Empire_

At that time "the Majesty of King Huni died, and the Majesty of King
Snofrui arose to be a sovereign benefactor over this whole earth." All
we know of him is contained in one sentence: he fought against the
nomads of Sinai, constructed fortresses to protect the eastern frontier
of the Delta, and made for himself a tomb in the form of a pyramid.
Snofrui called the pyramid "Kha," the Rising, the place where the dead
Pharaoh, identified with the sun, is raised above the world for ever. It
was built to indicate the place in which lies a prince, chief, or person
of rank in his tribe or province. The worship of Snofrui, the first
pyramid-builders, was perpetuated from century to century. His
popularity was probably great; but his fame has been eclipsed in our
eyes by that of the Pharaohs of the Memphite dynasty who immediately
followed him--Kheops, Khephren and Mykerinos.

Khufui, the Kheops of the Greeks, was probably son of Snofrui. He
reigned twenty-three years, successfully defended the valuable mines of
copper, manganese and turquoise of the Sinaitic peninsula against the
Bedouin; restored the temple of Hathor at Dendera; embellished that of
Babastis; built a sanctuary to the Isis of the Sphinx; and consecrated
there gold, silver and bronze statues of Horus and many other gods.
Other Pharaohs had done as much or more; but the Egyptians of later
dynasties measured the magnificence of Kheops by the dimensions of his
pyramid at Ghizel. The Great Pyramid was called Khuit, the "Horizon," in
which Kheops had to be swallowed up, as his father, the sun, was
engulfed every evening in the horizon of the west. Of Dadufri, his
immediate successor, we can probably say that he reigned eight years;
but Khephren, the next son who succeeded to the throne, erected temples
and a gigantic pyramid, like his father. He placed it some 394 feet to
the south-west of that of Kheops, and called it Uiru the Great. It is
much smaller than its neighbour, but at a distance the difference in
height disappears. The pyramid of Mykerinos, son and successor of
Khephren, was considerably inferior in height, but was built with
scrupulous art and refined care.

The Fifth dynasty manifested itself in every respect as the sequel and
complement of the Fourth. It reckons nine Pharaohs, who reigned for a
century and a half, and each of them built pyramids and founded cities,
and appear to have ruled gloriously. They maintained, and even
increased, the power and splendour of Egypt. But the history of the
Memphite Empire unfortunately loses itself in legend and fable, and
becomes a blank for several centuries.

_VI.--The First Theban Empire_

The principality of the Oleander--Naru--comprised the territory lying
between the Nile and the Bahr Yusuf, a district known to the Greeks as
the island of Heracleopolis. It, moreover, included the whole basin of
the Fayum, on the west of the valley. Attracted by the fertility of the
soil, the Pharaohs of the older dynasties had from time to time taken up
their residence in Heracleopolis, the capital of the district of the
Oleander, and one of them, Snofrui, had built his pyramid at Medum,
close to the frontier of the nome. In proportion as the power of the
Memphites declined, so did the princes of the Oleander grow more
vigorous and enterprising; and When the Memphite kings passed away,
these princes succeeded their former masters and eventually sat "upon
the throne of Horus."

The founder of the Ninth dynasty was perhaps Khiti I., who ruled over
all Egypt, and whose name has been found on rocks at the first cataract.
His successors seem to have reigned ingloriously for more than a
century. The history of this period seems to have been one of confused
struggle, the Pharaohs fighting constantly against their vassals, and
the nobles warring amongst themselves. During the Memphite and
Heracleopolitan dynasties Memphis, Elephantine, El-Kab and Koptos were
the principal cities of the country; and it was only towards the end of
the Eighth dynasty that Thebes began to realise its power. The revolt of
the Theban. princes put an end to the Ninth dynasty; and though
supported by the feudal powers of Central and Northern Egypt, the Tenth
dynasty did not succeed in bringing them back to their allegiance, and
after a struggle of nearly 200 years the Thebans triumphed and brought
the two divisions of Egypt under their rule.

The few glimpses to be obtained of the early history of the first Theban
dynasty give the impression of an energetic and intelligent race. The
kings of the Eleventh dynasty were careful not to wander too far from
the valley of the Nile, concentrating their efforts not on conquest of
fresh territory, but on the remedy of the evils from which the country
had suffered for hundreds of years. The final overthrow of the
Heracleopolitan dynasty, and the union of the two kingdoms under the
rule of the Theban house, are supposed to have been the work of that
Monthotpu, whose name the Egyptians of Rameside times inscribed in the
royal lists as that of the founder and most illustrious representative
of the Eleventh dynasty.

The leader of the Twelfth dynasty, Amenemhait I., was of another stamp,
showing himself to be a Pharaoh conscious of his own divinity and
determined to assert it. He inspected the whole land, restored what he
found in ruins, crushed crime, settled the bounds of towns, and
established for each its frontiers. Recognising that Thebes lay too far
south to be a suitable place of residence for the lord of all Egypt,
Amenemhait proceeded to establish himself in the heart of the country in
imitation of the glorious Pharaohs from whom he claimed descent. He took
up his abode a little to the south of Dashur, in the palace of Titoui.
Having restored peace to his country, the king in the twentieth year of
his reign, when he was growing old, raised his son Usirtasen, then very
young, to the co-regency with himself.

When, ten years later, the old king died, his son was engaged in a war
against the Libyans. He reigned alone for thirty-two years. The Twelfth
dynasty lasted 213 years; and its history can be ascertained with
greater certainty and completeness than that of any other dynasty which
ruled Egypt, although we are far from having any adequate idea of its
great achievements, for unfortunately the biographies of its eight
sovereigns and the details of their interminable wars are very
imperfectly known.

Uncertainty again shrouds the history of the country after the reign of
Sovkhoptu I. The Twentieth dynasty contained, so it is said, sixty
kings, who reigned for a period of over 453 years. The Nofirhoptus and
Sovkhoptus continued to all appearances both at home and abroad the work
so ably begun by the Amenemhaits and the Usirtasens.

During the Thirteenth dynasty art and everything else in Egypt were
fairly prosperous, but wealth exercised an injurious effect on artistic
taste. During this dynasty we hear nothing of the inhabitants of the
Sinaitic Peninsula to the east, or of the Libyans to the west; it was in
the south, in Ethiopia, that the Pharaohs expended all their superfluous
energy. The middle basin of the Nile as far as Gebel-Barkal was soon
incorporated with Egypt, and the population became quickly assimilated.
Sovkhoptu III., who erected colossal statues of himself at Tanis,
Bubastis and Thebes, was undisputed master of the whole Nile valley,
from near the spot where it receives its last tributary to where it
empties itself into the sea. The making of Egypt was finally
accomplished in his time. The Fourteenth dynasty, however, consists of a
line of seventy-five kings, whose mutilated names appear on the Turin
Papyrus. These shadowy Pharaohs followed each other in rapid sequence,
some reigning only a few months, others for certainly not more than two
and three years.

Meantime, during what appears to have been an era of rivalries between
pretenders, mutually jealous of and deposing one another, usurpers in
succession seizing the crown without strength to keep it, the feudal
lords displayed more than their old restlessness. The nomad tribes began
to show growing hostility on the frontier, and the peoples of the Tigris
and Euphrates were already pushing their vanguards into Central Syria.
While Egypt had been bringing the valley of the Nile and the eastern
corner of Africa into subjection, Chaldaea had imposed not only language
and habits, but also her laws upon the whole of that part of Eastern
Asia which separated her from Egypt. Thus the time was rapidly
approaching when these two great civilised powers of the ancient world
would meet each other face to face and come into fierce and terrible

_VII.--Ancient Chaldaea_

The Chaldaean account of Genesis is contained on fragments of tablets
discovered and deciphered in 1875 by George Smith. These tell legends of
the time when "nothing which was called heaven existed above, and when
nothing below had as yet received the name of earth. Apsu, the Ocean,
who was their first father, and Chaos-Tiamat, who gave birth to them
all, mingled their waters in one, reeds which were not united, rushes
which bore no fruit. In the time when the gods were not created, Lakhmu
and Lakhamu were the first to appear and waxed great for ages."

Then came Anu, the sunlit sky by day, the starlit firmament by night;
Inlil-Bel, the king of the earth; Ea, the sovereign of the waters and
the personification of wisdom. Each of them duplicated himself, Anu into
Anat, Bel into Belit, Ea into Damkina, and united himself to the spouse
whom he had produced from himself. Other divinities sprang from these
fruitful pairs, and, the impulse once given, the world was rapidly
peopled by their descendants. Sin, Samash and Ramman, who presided
respectively over the sun, moon and air, were all three of equal rank;
next came the lords of the planets, Ninib, Merodach, Nergal, Ishtar, the
warrior-goddess, and Nebo; then a whole army of lesser deities who
ranged themselves around Anu as around a supreme master.

Discord arose. The first great battle of the gods was between Tiamat and
Merodach. In this fearful conflict Tiamat was destroyed. Splitting her
body into halves, the conqueror hung up one on high, and this became the
heavens; the other he spread out under his feet to form the earth, and
made the universe as men have known it. Merodach regulated the movements
of the sun and divided the year into twelve months.

The heavens having been put in order, he set about peopling the earth.
Many such fables concerning the cosmogony were current among the races
of the lower Euphrates, who seem to have belonged to three different
types. The most important were the Semites, who spoke a dialect akin to
Armenian, Hebrew and Phoenician. Side by side with these the monuments
give evidence of a race of ill-defined character, whom we provisionally
call Sumerians, who came, it is said, from some northern country, and
brought with them a curious system of writing which, adopted by ten
different nations, has preserved for us all that we know in regard to
the majority of the empires which rose and fell in Western Asia before
the Persian conquest. The cities of these Semites and Sumerians were
divided into two groups, one in the south, near the sea, the other more
to the north, where the Euphrates and the Tigris are separated by a
narrow strip of land. The southern group consisted of seven, Eridu lying
nearest the coast. Uru was the most important. Lagash was to the north
of Eridu. The northern group consisted of Nipur, "the incomparable,"
Borsip, Babylon (gate of the god and residence of life, the only
metropolis of the Euphrates region of which posterity never lost
reminiscence), Kishu, Kuta, Agade, and, lastly, the two Sipparas, that
of Shamash, and that of Annuit.

The earliest Chaldaean civilisation was confined almost to the banks of
the lower Euphrates; except at the northern boundary it did not reach
the Tigris and did not cross the river. Separated from the rest of the
world, on the east by the vast marshes bordering on the river, on the
north by the Mesopotamian table-land, on the west by the Arabian desert,
it was able to develop its civilisation as Egypt had done, in an
isolated area, and to follow out its destiny in peace.

According to Ferossasi the first king was Aloros of Babylon. He was
chosen by the god Oannes, and reigned supernaturally for ten sari, or
36,000 years, each saros being 3,600 years. Nine kings follow, each in
this mythical record reigning an enormous period. Then took place the
great deluge, 691,000 years after the creation, in consequence of the
wickedness of men, who neglected the worship of the gods, and excited
their wrath. Shamashnapishtim, king at this time in Shurippak, was saved
miraculously in a great ship. Concerning him and his voyage strange
fables are recorded. After the deluge, 86 kings ruled during 34,080
years. One of these was Nimrod, the mighty hunter of the Bible, who
appears as Gilgamesh, King of Uruk, and is the hero of extraordinary

History proper begins with Sargon the Elder, king at the first in Agade,
who soon annexed Babylon, Sippara, Kishu, Uruk, Kuta and Nipur. His
brilliant career was like an anticipation of that of the still more
glorious life of Sargon of Nineveh. His son, Naramsin, succeeded him
about 3750 B.C. He conquered Elam and was a great builder. After him the
most famous king of that epoch was Gudea, of Lagash, the prince of whom
we possess the greatest number of monuments. But in these records we
have but the dust of history rather than history itself. The materials
are scanty in the extreme and the framework also is wanting.

_VIII.--The Temples and the Gods of Chaldaea_

The cities of the Euphrates attract no attention, like those of Egypt,
by the magnificence of their ruins. They are merely heaps of rubbish in
which no architectural outline can be traced--mounds of stiff greyish
clay, containing the remains of the vast structures that were built of
bricks set in mortar or bitumen. Stone was not used as in Egypt. While
the Egyptian temple was spread superficially over a large area, the
Chaldaean temple strove to attain as high an elevation as possible. These
"ziggurats" were composed of several immense cubes piled up on one
another, and diminishing in size up to the small shrine by which they
were crowned, and wherein the god himself was supposed to dwell.

The gods of the Euphrates, like those of the Nile, constituted a
countless multitude of visible and invisible beings, distributed into
tribes and empires throughout all the regions of the universe; but,
whereas in Egypt they were, on the whole, friendly to man, in Chaldaea
they for the most part pursued him with an implacable hatred, and only
seemed to exist in order to destroy him. Whether Semite or Sumerian, the
gods, like those of Egypt, were not abstract personages, but each
contained in himself one of the principal elements of which our universe
is composed--earth, air, sky, sun, moon and stars. The state religion,
which all the inhabitants of the same city were solemnly bound to
observe, included some dozen gods, but the private devotion of
individuals supplemented this cult by vast additions, each family
possessing its own household gods.

Animals never became objects of worship as in Egypt; some of them,
however, as the bull and the lion, were closely allied to the gods. If
the idea of uniting all these gods into a single supreme one ever
crossed the mind of a Chaldaean theologian, it never spread to the people
as a whole. Among all the thousands of tablets or inscribed stones on
which we find recorded prayers, we have as yet discovered no document
containing the faintest allusion to a divine unity. The temples were
miniature reproductions of the arrangements of the universe. The
"ziggurat" represented in its form the mountain of the world, and the
halls ranged at its feet resembled approximately the accessory parts of
the world; the temple of Merodach at Babylon comprised them all up to
the chambers of fate, where the sun received every morning the tablets
of destiny.

Every individual was placed, from the very moment of his birth, under
the protection of a god or goddess, of whom he was the servant, or
rather the son. These deities accompanied him by day and by night to
guard him from the evil genii ready to attack him on every side. The
Chaldaeans had not such clear ideas as to what awaited them in the other
world as the Egyptians possessed.

The Chaldaean hades is a dark country surrounded by seven high walls, and
is approached by seven gates, each guarded by a pitiless warder. Two
deities rule within it--Nergal, "the lord of the great city," and
Peltis-Allat, "the lady of the great land," whither everything which has
breathed in this world descends after death. A legend relates that Allat
reigned alone in hades and was invited by the gods to a feast which they
had prepared in heaven. Owing to her hatred of the light she refused,
sending a message by her servant, Namtar, who acquitted himself, with
such a bad grace, that Anu and Ea were incensed against his mistress,
and commissioned Nergal to chastise her. He went, and finding the gates
of hell open, dragged the queen by her hair from the throne, and was
about to decapitate her, but she mollified him by her prayers and saved
her life by becoming his wife.

The nature of Nergal fitted him well to play the part of a prince of the
departed; for he was the destroying sun of summer, and the genius of
pestilence and battle. His functions in heaven and earth took up so much
of his time that he had little leisure to visit his nether kingdom, and
he was consequently obliged to content himself with the role of
providing subjects for it by dispatching thither the thousands of
recruits which he gathered daily from the abodes of men or from the
field of battle.

_IX.--Chaldaean Civilisation_

The Chaldaean kings, unlike their contemporaries, the Pharaohs, rarely
put forward any pretension to divinity. They contented themselves with
occupying an intermediate position between their subjects and the gods.
While the ordinary priest chose for himself a single deity as master,
the priest-king exercised universal sacerdotal functions. He officiated
for Merodach here below, and the scrupulously minute devotions daily
occupied many hours. On great days of festival or sacrifice they laid
aside all insignia of royalty and were clad as ordinary priests.

Women do not seem to have been honoured in the Euphratean regions as in
Egypt, where the wives of the sovereign were invested with that
semi-sacred character that led the women to be associated with the
devotions of the man, and made them indispensable auxiliaries in all
religious ceremonies. Whereas the monuments on the banks of the Nile
reveal to us princesses sharing the throne of their husbands, whom they
embrace with a gesture of frank affection, in Chaldaea, the wives of the
prince, his mother, sisters, daughters and even his slaves, remain
absolutely invisible to posterity. The harem in which they were shut up
by force of custom rarely, if ever, opened its doors; the people seldom
caught sight of them; and we could count on our fingers the number of
these whom the inscriptions mention by name.

Life was not so pleasant in Chaldaea as in Egypt. The innumerable
promissory notes, the receipted accounts, the contracts of sale and
purchase--these cunningly drawn-up deeds which have been deciphered by
the hundred, reveal to us a people greedy of gain, exacting, litigious,
and almost exclusively absorbed in material concerns. The climate, too,
variable and oppressive in summer and winter alike, imposed on the
Chaldaean painful exactions, and obliged him to work with an energy of
which the majority of Egyptians would not have felt themselves capable.
And the plague of usury raged with equal violence in city and country.

In proportion, however, as we are able to bring this wonderful
civilisation to light we become more and more conscious that we have
indeed little or nothing in common with it. Its laws, customs, habits
and character, its methods of action and its modes of thought, are so
far apart from those of the present day that they seem to belong to a
humanity utterly different from our own. It thus happens that while we
understand to a shade the classical language of the Greeks and of the
Romans, and can read their works almost without effort, the great
primitive literatures of the world, the Egyptian and Chaldaean, have
nothing to offer us for the most part but a sequence of problems to
solve or of enigmas to unriddle with patience.

* * * * *

The Struggle of the Nations

Maspero in this work gives us the second volume of his great
historical trilogy. He shows in parallel views the part played
in the history of the ancient world by the first Chaldaean
Empire, by Syria, by the Hyksos, or shepherd kings, of Egypt,
and by the first Cossaean kings who established the greatness
of Nineveh and the Assyrian Empire. The great Theban dynasty
is then exhibited in its romantic rise under the Pharaohs.
Maspero writes not as a mere chronicler or reciter of events,
but as a philosophical historian. He makes the reader
understand how fatally the chronic militarism of these
competing empires drained each of its manhood and brought
Babylon and Assyria simultaneously into a hopeless condition
of national anaemia. Equally pathetic is the picture drawn of
the gradual but sure decay of the grand empire of the
Pharaohs. Maspero, with masterly skill, passes a processional
of these despots before our eyes.

_I.--The Chaldaean Empire and the Hyksos_

Some countries seem destined from their origin to become the
battlefields of the contending nations which environ them. Into such
regions neighbouring peoples come to settle their quarrels, and bit by
bit they appropriate it, so that at best the only course open to the
inhabitants is to join forces with one of the invaders. From remote
antiquity this was the experience of Syria, which was thus destined to
become subject to foreign rule. Chaldaea, Egypt, Assyria and Persia in
turn presided over its destinies. Semites dwelt in the south and the
centre, while colonies from beyond the Taurus occupied the north. The
influence of Egypt never penetrated beyond the provinces lying nearest
the Dead Sea. The remaining populations looked rather to Chaldaea, and
received the continuous impress of the kingdoms of the Euphrates.

The lords of Babylon had, ordinarily, a twofold function, the priest at
first taking precedence of the soldier, but gradually yielding to the
latter as the city increased in power. Each ruler was obliged to go in
state to the temple of Bel Merodach within a year of his accession,
there to do homage to the divine statue. The long lists of early kings
contain semi-legendary names, including those of mythical heroes.
Towards the end of the twenty-fifth century, however, before the
Christian era, a dynasty arose of which all the members come within the
range of history.

The first of these kings, Sumuabim, has left us some contracts bearing
the dates of one or other of the fifteen years of his reign. Of the ten
kings who followed during the period embraced between the years 2416
B.C. and 2112 B.C., the one who ruled for the longest term was the.
famous and fortunate Khammurabi (son of Sinmuballit), who was on the
throne for fifty-five years.

While thus the first Chaldean Empire was being established, Egypt,
separated from her confines only by a narrow isthmus, loomed on the
horizon, and appeared to beckon to her rival. But she had strangely
declined from her former greatness, and had been attacked and subdued by
invaders appearing like a cloud of locusts on the banks of the Nile, to
whom was applied the name Hiq Shausu, from which the Greeks derived the
term Hyksos for this people. Modern scholars have put forward many
conflicting hypotheses as to the identity of this race of conquerors.
The monuments represent them with the Mongoloid type of feature. The
problem remains unsolved, and the origin of the Hyksos is as mysterious
as ever.

About this time took place that entrance into Egypt of the Beni-Israel,
or Israelites, which has since acquired a unique position in the world's
history. A comparatively ancient tradition relates that the Hebrews
arrived in Egypt during the reign of Aphobis, a Hyksos king, doubtless
one of the Apopi. The Hyksos were ousted by a hero named Ahmosis after a
war of five years. The XVIIIth Dynasty was inaugurated by the Pharaohs,
whose policy was so aggressive that Egypt, attacked by enemies from
various quarters, and roused, as it were, to warlike frenzy, hurled her
armies across all her frontiers simultaneously, and her sudden
appearance in the heart of Syria gave a new turn to human history. The
isolation of the kingdoms of the ancient world was at an end; and the
conflict of the nations was about to begin.

_II.--Beginning of the Egyptian Conquest_

The Egyptians had no need to anticipate Chaldaean interference when,
forsaking their ancient traditions, they penetrated for the first time
into the heart of Syria. Babylonian rule ceased to exercise direct
control when the line of sovereigns who had introduced it disappeared.
When Ammisatana died, about the year 2099 B.C., the dynasty of
Khammurabi became extinct, and kings of the semi-barbarous Cossaean race
gained the throne which had been occupied since the days of Khammurabi
by Chaldaeans of the ancient stock.

The Cossaean king who seized on Babylon was named Gandish. He and his
tribe came from the mountainous regions of Zagros, on the borders of
Media. The Cossaean rule over the countries of the Euphrates was
doubtless similar in its beginnings to that which the Hyksos exercised
at first over the nomes of Egypt. The Cossaean kings did not merely bring
with them their army, but their whole nation, who spread over the whole
land. As in the case of the Hyksos, the barbarian conquerors thus became
merged in the more civilised people which they had subdued. But the
successors of Gandish were unable permanently to retain their ascendancy
over all the districts and provinces, and several of these withdrew
their allegiance. Thus in Syria the authority of Babylon was no longer
supreme when the encroachments of Egypt began, and when Thutmosis
entered the region the native levies which he encountered were by no
means formidable.

The whole country consisted of a collection of petty states, a complex
group of peoples and territories which the Egyptians themselves never
completely succeeded in disentangling. We are, however, able to
distinguish at the present time several of these groups, all belonging
to the same family, but possessing different characteristics--the
kinsfolk of the Hebrews, the children of Ishmael and Edom, the Moabites
and Ammonites, the Arameans, the Khati and the Canaanites. The
Canaanites were the most numerous, and had they been able to confederate
under a single king, it would have been impossible for the Egyptians to
have broken through the barrier thus raised between them and the rest of

_III.--The Eighteenth Theban Dynasty_

The account of the first expedition undertaken by Thutmosis I. in Asia,
a region at that time new to the Egyptians, would be interesting if we
could lay our hands on it. We know that this king succeeded in reaching
on his first campaign a limit which none of his successors was able to
surpass. The results of the campaign were of a decisive character, for
Southern Syria accepted its defeat, and Gaza was garrisoned as the
secure door of Asia for future invasions. Freed from anxiety in this
quarter, Pharaoh gave his whole time to the consolidation of his power
in Ethiopia, where rebellion had become rife. Subduing this southern
region and thus extending the supremacy of Egypt in the regions of the
upper Nile, Thutmosis was able to end his days in the enjoyment of
profound peace. Thutmosis II. did not long survive him. His chief wife,
Queen Hatshopsitu, reigned for many years with great ability while the
new Pharaoh, Thutmosis III., was still a youth.

After the death of Hatshopsitu, the young Pharaoh set out with his army.
It was at the beginning of the twenty-fourth year of his reign that he
reached Gaza. Marching forward he reached the spurs of Mount Carmel and
won a decisive victory at Megiddo over the allied Syrian princes. The
inscriptions at Karnak contain long lists of the titles of the king's
Syrian subjects. The Pharaoh had now no inclination to lay down his
arms, and we have a record of twelve military expeditions of this king.
When the Syrian conquest had been effected, Egypt gave permanency to its
results by means of a series of international decrees, which established
the constitution of her empire, and brought about her concerted action
with the Asiatic powers. She had already occupied an important position
among them when Thutmosis III. died in the fifty-fifth year of his

Of his successors the most prosperous was the renowned Amenothes III.,
who is immortalised by the wonderful monumental relics of his long and
peaceful reign. Amenothes devoted immense energy to the building of
temples, palaces and shrines, and gave very little of his time to war.

_IV.--The Last Days of the Theban Empire_

When the male line failed, there was no lack of princesses in Egypt, of
whom any one who happened to come to the throne might choose a consort
after her own heart, and thus become the founder of a new dynasty. By
such a chance alliance Harmhabi, himself a descendant of Thutmosis III.,
was raised to the kingly office as first Pharaoh of the XIXth Dynasty.
He displayed great activity both within Egypt and beyond it, conducting
mighty building enterprises and also undertaking expeditions against
recalcitrant tribes along the Upper Nile.

Rameses I., who succeeded Harmhabi, was already an old man at his
accession. He reigned only six or seven years, and associated his son,
Seti I., with himself in the government from his second year of power.
No sooner had Seti celebrated his father's obsequies than he set out for
war against Southern Syria, then in open revolt. He captured Hebron,
marched to Gaza, and then northward to Lebanon, where he received the
homage of the Phoenicians, and returned in triumph to Egypt, bringing
troops of captives.

By Seti I. were built the most wonderful of the halls at Karaak and
Luxor, which render his name for ever illustrious. He associated with
him his son, still very young, who became renowned as Ramses II., one of
the greatest warriors and builders amongst all the rulers of Egypt The
monuments and temples erected by this king also are among the wonders of
the world. He married a Hittite princess when he was more than sixty.
This alliance secured a long period of peace and prosperity. Syria once
more breathed freely, her commerce being under the combined protection
of the two Powers who shared her territory.

Ramses II. was, in his youth, the handsomest man of his time, and old
age and death did not succeed in marring his face sufficiently to
disfigure it, as may be seen in his mummy to-day. Ramses the Great, who
was thus the glory of the XIXth Dynasty, reigned sixty-eight years, and
lived to the age of 100, when he passed away peacefully at Thebes. Under
his successors, Minephtah, Seti II., Amenemis and Siphtah, the nation
became decadent, though there were transient gleams of prosperity, as
when Minephtah won a great victory over the Libyans. But after the death
of Siphtah, there were many claimants for the Crown, and anarchy
prevailed from one end of the Nile valley to the other.

_V.--The Rise of the Assyrian Empire_

Ramses III., a descendant of Ramses II., was the founder of the last
dynasty which was able to retain the supremacy of Egypt over the
Oriental world. He took for his hero Ramses the Great, and endeavoured
to rival him in everything, and for a period the imperial power revived.
In the fifth year of his reign he was able to repulse the confederated
Libyans with complete success. Victories over other enemies followed,
and also peace and prosperity.

The cessation of Egyptian authority over those countries in which it had
so long prevailed did not at once do away with the deep impression it
had made on their constitution and customs. Syria and Phoenicia had
become, as it were, covered with an African veneer, both religion and
language being affected by Egyptian influence. But the Phoenicians
became absorbed in commercial pursuits, and failed to aspire to the
inheritance which the Egyptians were letting slip. Coeval with the
decline of the power of the latter was that of the Hittites.

The Babylonian Empire likewise degenerated under the Cossaean kings, and
gave way to the ascendancy of Assyria, which came to regard Babylon with
deadly hatred. The capitals of the two countries were not more than 185
miles apart. The line of demarcation followed one of the many canals
between the Tigris and Euphrates. It then crossed the Tigris and was
formed by one of the rivers draining the Iranian table-land--the Upper
Zab, the Radanu, or the Turnat. Each of the two states strove by every
means in its power to stretch its boundary to the farthest limits, and
the narrow area was the scene of continual war.

Assyria was but a poor and insignificant country when compared with that
of her rival. She occupied, on each side of the middle course of the
Tigris, the territory lying between the 35th and 37th parallels of
latitude. This was a compact and healthy district, well watered by the
streams running from the Iranian plateau, which were regulated by a
network of canals and ditches for irrigation of the whole region. The
provinces thus supplied with water enjoyed a fertility which passed into
a proverb. Thus Assyria was favoured by nature, but she was not well
wooded. The most important of the cities were Assur, Arbeles, Kalakh and

Assur, dedicated to the deity from which it took its name, placed on the
very edge of the Mesopotamian desert, with the Tigris behind it, was,
during the struggle with the Chaldaean power, exposed to the attacks of
the Babylonian armies; while Nineveh, entrenched behind the Tigris and
the Zab, was secure from any sudden assault. Thus it became the custom
for the kings to pass at Nineveh the trying months of the year, though
Assur remained the official capital and chief sanctuary of the empire,
which began its aggrandisement under Assurballit, by his victory over
the Cossaean kings of Babylon. But the heroic age comes before us in the
career of Shalmaneser I., a powerful sovereign who in a few years
doubled the extent of his dominions. He beautified Assur, but removed
his court to Kalakh. His son, Tukulti-ninip I., made himself master of
Babylon, and was the first of his race who was able to assume the title
of King of Sumir and Akkad.

This first conquest of Chaldaea did not produce lasting results, for the
sons of the hero fought each other for the Crown, and Assyria became the
scene of civil wars. The fortunes of Babylon rose again, but the
depression of Assyria did not last long. Nineveh had become the
metropolis. Confusion was increased in the whole of this vast region of
Asia by the invasion and partial triumph of the Elamites over Babylon.
But these were driven back when Nebuchadrezzar arose in Babylon. To
Merodach he prayed, and "his prayer was heard," and he invaded Elam,
taking its king by surprise and defeating him.

Nebuchadrezzar no longer found any rival to oppose him save the king of
Assyria, whom he attacked; but now his aggression was checked, for
though his forces were successful at first, they were ultimately sent
flying across the frontiers with great loss, through the prowess of
Assurishishi, who became a mighty king in Nineveh. But his son,
Tiglath-pileser, is the first of the great warrior kings of Assyria to
stand out before us with any definite individuality. He immediately, on
his accession, began to employ in aggressive wars the well-equipped army
left by his father, and in three campaigns he regained all the
territories that Shalmaneser I. had lost, and also conquered various
regions of Asia Minor and Syria. In a rising of the Chaldaeans he met
with a severe defeat, which he did not long survive, dying about the
year 1100 B.C.

There is only one gleam in the murky night of this period. A certain
Assurirba seems to have crossed Northern Syria, and, following in the
footsteps of his great ancestor, to have penetrated as far as the
Mediterranean; on the rocks of Mount Amanus, facing the sea, he left a
triumphal inscription in which he set forth the mighty deeds he had
accomplished. His good fortune soon forsook him. The Arameans wrested
from him the fortresses of Pitru and Mutkinu, which commanded both banks
of the Euphrates near Carchemish.

What were the causes of this depression from which Babylon suffered at
almost regular intervals, as though stricken with some periodic malady?
The main reason soon becomes apparent if we consider the nature of the
country and the material conditions of its existence. Chaldaea was
neither extensive nor populous enough to afford a solid basis for the
ambition of her princes. Since nearly every man capable of bearing arms
was enrolled in the army, the Chaldaean kings had no difficulty in
raising, at a moment's notice, a force which could be employed to repel
an invasion, or to make a sudden attack on some distant territory; it
was in schemes that required prolonged and sustained effort that they
felt the drawbacks of their position. In that age of hand-to-hand
combats, the mortality in battle was very high; forced marches through
forests and across mountains entailed a heavy loss of men, and three or
four campaigns against a stubborn foe soon reduced the army to a
condition of weakness.

When Nebuchadrezzar I. made war on Assurishishi, he was still weak from
the losses he had incurred during the campaign against Elam, and could
not conduct his attack with the same vigour as had gained him victory on
the banks of the Ulai. In the first year he only secured a few
indecisive advantages; in the second he succumbed.

The same reasons which explain the decadence of Babylon show us the
causes of the periodic eclipses undergone by Assyria after each outburst
of her warlike spirit. The country was now forced to pay for the glories
of Assurishishi and of Tiglath-pileser by falling into an inglorious
state of languor and depression. And ere long newer races asserted
themselves which had gradually come to displace the nations over which
the dynasties of Thutmosis and Ramses had held sway as tributary to
them. The Hebrews on the east, and the Philistines on the southwest,
were about to undertake the conquest of Kharu, as the land which is
known to us as Canaan was styled by the Egyptians.

* * * * *

The Passing of the Empires

Maspero, in the third volume of his great archaeological
trilogy, completing his "History of the Ancient Peoples of the
Classic East," deals with the passing in succession of the
supremacies of the Babylonian, Assyrian, Chaldaean,
Medo-Persian and Iranian Empires. The period dealt with in
this graphic narrative covers fully five centuries, from 850
B.C. to 330 B.C. M. Maspero in cinematographic style passes
before us the actors in many of the most thrilling of historic
dramas. One excellent feature of his method is his balancing
of evidences. Where Xenophon and Herodotus absolutely differ
he tells what each asserts. With consummate skill also he
arranges his recital like a series of dissolving views,
showing how epochs overlap, and how as Babylon is fading
Assyria is rising, and as the latter in turn is waning Media
is looming into sight. We are, in this third instalment of
Maspero's monumental work, brought to understand how the
decline of one mighty Asiatic empire after another,
culminating in the overthrow of the Persian dominion by
Alexander, prepared at length for the entry of Western nations
on the stage, and how Europe became the heir of the culture
and civilisation of the Orient.

_I.--The Assyrian Revival_

Since the extinction of the race of Nebuchadrezzar I. Babylon had been a
prey to civil discord and foreign invasion. It was a period of calamity
and distress, during which the Arabs or the Arameans ravaged the
country, and an Elamite usurper overthrew the native dynasty and held
authority for seven years. This intruder having died about the year 1030
B.C., a Babylonian of noble extraction expelled the Elamites and
succeeded in bringing the larger part of the dominion under his rule.
Five or six of his descendants passed away and another was feebly
reigning when war broke out afresh with Assyria, and the two armies
encountered each other again on their former battlefield between the
Lower Zab and the Turnat. The Assyrians were victorious under their
king, Tukulti-ninip II., who did not live long to enjoy his triumph. His
son, Assur-nazir-pal, inherited a kingdom which embraced scarcely any of
the countries that had paid tribute to former sovereign, for most of
these had gradually regained their liberty.

Nearly the whole empire had to be re-conquered under much the same
conditions as in the first instance, but Assyria had recovered the
vitality and elasticity of its earlier days. Its army now possessed a
new element. This was the cavalry, properly so called, as an adjunct to
the chariotry. But it must be remembered that the strength and
discipline which the Assyrian troops possessed in such high degree were
common to the military forces of all the great states--Elam, Damascus,
Nairi, the Hittites and Chaldea. Thus, the armies of all these states
being, as a rule, both in strength and numbers much on a par, no single
power was able to inflict on any of the rest such a defeat as would be
its destruction. Twice at least in three centuries a king of Assyria had
entered Babylon, and twice the Babylonians had forced the intruder back.

Profiting by the past, Assur-nazir-pal resolutely avoided those
conflicts in which so many of his predecessors had wasted their lives.
He was content to devote his attention to less dangerous enemies than
the people of Babylonia. Invading Nummi, he quickly captured its chief
cities, then subdued the Kirruri, attacked the fortress of Nishtu, and
pillaged many of the cities around. Bubu, the Chief of Nishtu, was
flayed alive. After a reign of twenty-five years he died in 860 B.C.

A summary of the events in the reign of thirty-five years of his
successor, Shalmaneser III., is contained on the Black Obelisk of
Nimroud, discovered by Layard and preserved in the British Museum. He
conquered the whole country round Lake Van, ravaging the country "as a
savage bull ravages and tramples under his feet the fertile fields." An
attack on Damascus led to a terrible but indecisive battle, Benhadad,
King of Syria, proving himself fully a match for the invader. But a war
with Babylon, lasting for a period of two years, ended with victory for
Assyria, and Shalmaneser, entering the city, went direct to the temple
of E-shaggil, where he offered worship to the local gods.

Memorable events followed, first in connection with Damascus, Ahab, King
of Israel, Benhadad's ally, and other confederates, had not been
faithful to his suzerainty. Ahab had by treaty agreed to surrender the
city of Ramoth-gilead to the Syrian monarch and had not fulfilled his
pledge. He and Jehoshaphat, King of Judah, had concluded an alliance
against Benhadad, who seized the disputed fortress, and the two had
organised an expedition, which led to the death of Ahab in battle.
Israel lapsed once more into the position of a vassal to Benhadad, and
long remained in that subjection.

The last days of Shalmaneser were embittered by the revolt of his son,
Assur-dain-pal, and his death occurred in 824 B.C. The kingdom was
shaken by the struggle that ensued between his sons. Samsi-ramman IV.,
the brother of Assurdain-pal, reigned for twelve years; his son,
Ramman-nirari III., had married the Babylonian princess Sammuramat, and
so had secured peace. He was an energetic and capable ruler. To him at
length Damascus made submission and paid tribute. But Menuas, a bold and
able King of Urartu, proved himself a thorn in the side of the Assyrian
king, for he delivered from the yoke of Nineveh the tribes on the
borders of Lake Urmiah and all the adjacent regions.

Everywhere along the Lower Zab, and on the frontier as far as the
Euphrates, the Assyrian outposts were driven back by Menuas, who also
overcame the Hittites and by his campaigns formed that kingdom of Van,
or Armenia, which was quite equal in size to Assyria. He died shortly
before the death of Ramman-nirari, in 784 B.C. His son, Argistis, spent
the first few years of his reign in completing his conquests in the
country north of the Araxes. He was attacked by Shalmaneser IV., son of
Ramman-nirari, but defeated the Assyrians.

Misfortunes accumulated for the rulers and people who had exercised so
wide a sway, and the end of the Second Assyrian Empire was not far off.
Syria was lost under Assur-nirari III., who was also driven from Calah
by sedition in 746 B.C. He died some months later and the dynasty came
to an end, and in 745 a usurper, the leader of the revolt at Calah,
proclaimed himself king under the name of Tiglath-pileser III. The
Second Empire had lasted rather less than a century and a half.

_II.--To the Destruction of Babylon_

Events proved that, at this period at any rate, the decadence of Assyria
was not due to any exhaustion of the race or impoverishment of the
country, but was owing Mainly to the incapacity of its kings and the
lack of energy displayed by their generals. The Assyrian troops had lost
none of their former valour, but their leaders had shown less foresight
and skill. As soon as Tiglath-pileser assumed leadership, the armies
regained their former prestige and supremacy.

The empire still included the original patrimony of Assur and its
ancient colonies on the Upper Tigris, but the buffer provinces,
containing the tribes on the borders of Syria, Namri, Nairi, Melitene,
had thrown off the yoke, as had the Arameans, while Menuas of Armenia
and his son Argistis had by their invasions laid waste the Median
territory. Sharduris III., son of Argistis, succeeded to the throne of
Armenia about 760, and at once overran the district of Babilu, carrying
by storm three royal castles, 23 cities, and 60 villages. He also
captured the castles of the mountaineers of Melitene. Crossing Mount
Taurus about 756, he forced the Hittites to swear allegiance.

It was in the middle of this eighth century B.C., in the days of
Tiglath-pileser III. of Assyria, and Sharduris III. of Armenia, that
Israel, under Jehoash, and his son Jeroboam II.; inspired by the
exhortations of Elisha the prophet, was rehabilitated for a season,
winning victories over the Syrians and taking vengeance on Damascus, and
then attacking the Moabites. The sudden collapse of Damascus led to the
decline of Syria, but though Jeroboam II. seemed to be firmly seated as
king in Samaria, the downfall of Israel and Judah alike, as well as of
Tyre, Edom, Gaza, Moab, and Ammon, was foretold by the prophet Amos,
while from the midst of Ephraim the priest-seer, Hosea, was never weary
of reproaching the tribes with their ingratitude and of predicting their
coming desolation.

Ere long, Tiglath-pileser began his campaigns against them by attacking
the Arameans, dwelling on the banks of the Tigris. He overthrew them at
the first encounter. Nabunazir, then king in Babylon, bowed before him
and swore fidelity to him, and he visited Sippar, Nipur, Babylon,
Borsippa, Kuta, Kishu, Dilbat and Uruk, Babylonian "cities without a
peer," and offered sacrifices to all their gods--to Bel Zirbanit, Nebo,
Tashmit, and Nir-gal. This settlement took place in 745 B.C.

His next exploit was the rapid conquest of the mountainous and populous
regions on the shores of the Caspian. And now he ventured to try
conclusions with Armenia and to attack the famous kingdom of Urartu in
the difficult fastnesses round Lakes Van and Urumiah. Crossing the
Euphrates in the spring of 743 B.C., he captured Arpad, and soon
afterwards marched forth to meet the great army of Sharduris. The rout
of the latter was complete, and he fled, after losing 73,000 men. The
victor was covered with glory; yet the triumph cost him dear, for the
forces left him were not sufficient to finish the campaign, nor to
extort allegiance from the Syrian princes who had allied themselves with

After spending the winter in Nineveh, reorganising his troops, the
Assyrian inaugurated a campaign which ended in the subjugation of
Northern Syria and its incorporation in the empire. Only one difficulty
foiled Tiglath-pileser. He failed to capture the impregnable fortress of
Dhuspas, in which Sharduris had taken refuge. This capital of Urartu
held out against a long siege, and at length the Assyrian army withdrew.
Sharduris remained king as before, but he was utterly spent, and his
power had received a blow from which it never recovered. Since then,
Armenia has more than once challenged fortune, but always with the same
result; it fared no better under Tigranes in the Roman epoch than under
Sharduris in the time of the Assyrians.

As for Egypt at this period, it was ruled over by what is known as the
Bubastite dynasty, so called from the city of Bubastis, in the Delta,
where the Pharaohs of the time, Osorkon I., his son Takeloti I., and his
grandson, Osorkon II., for an interval of fifty years chiefly resided,
abstaining from politics, so that the country enjoyed an interval of
profound peace. But the old cause brought about the fall of this dynasty
also. Military feudalism again developed and Egypt split up into many
petty states. The sceptre at length passed to another dynasty, this time
of Tanite origin. Petubastis was the first of the line, but the power
was really in the hands of the priests, one of whom, Auiti, actually
declared himself king, together with Pharaoh.

Sensational events followed. The weakness of Egypt tempted an uprising
of the Ethiopians, who overran a great part of the country. And it was
at this period that Tiglath-pileser crushed the kingdom of Israel, King
Pekah being compelled to flee from Samaria into the mountains, while the
inhabitants of Naphtali and Gilead were carried into captivity.

Nabonazir, King of Babylon, who had never swerved from the fidelity he
had sworn to his mighty ally after the events of 745, died in 734 B.C.,
and was succeeded by his son Nabunadinziri, who at the end of two years
was assassinated in a popular rising, and one of his sons, Nabushumukin,
who was concerned in the rising, usurped the crown. He wore it for two
months and twelve days, and then abdicated in favour of a certain
Ukinzir, an Aramean chief.

But Tiglath-pileser gave the new dynasty no time to settle itself firmly
on the throne. The year after his return from Syria he marched against
it. After two years of fighting Ukinzir was overcome and captured.
Tiglath-pileser entered Babylon as conqueror, and caused himself to be
proclaimed King of Sumir and Akkad within its walls. Many centuries had
passed since the two empires had been united under one ruler. His
Babylonian subjects seem to have taken a liking for him; but he did not
long survive his triumph, dying after having reigned eighteen years over
Assyria, and less than two years over Babylon and Chaldaea.

The next great Assyrian name is that of Sargon II., whose origin is not
clear. And the incidents of the revolution which raised him to the
throne are also unknown. The first few years of his reign, which
commenced in 722 B.C., were harassed by revolts among many of the border
tribes, but these he resolutely faced at all points, inflicting
overwhelming defeats on the Medes and the Armenians. The Philistines
were cowed by the storming of Ashdod, and Sargon subdued Phoenicia,
carrying his arms to the sea. This great monarch, while wars raged round
him, found time for extensive works of a peaceful character, completing
the system of irrigation, and erecting buildings at Calah and Nineveh,
and raising a magnificent palace at Dur-Sharrukin.

And here he intended in peace to build a great city, but he was, in 105
B.C., assassinated by an alien soldier. Sennacherib, his son, fighting
on the frontier, was recalled and proclaimed immediately. He either
failed to inherit his father's good fortune, or lacked his ability.
Instead of conciliating the vanquished, he massacred entire tribes, and
failed to re-people these with captive exiles from other nations. So,
towards the end of his reign--which terminated in 681 B.C.--he found
himself ruling over a sparsely inhabited desert where his father had
left him flourishing and populous cities. Phoenicia and Judah formed an
alliance with each other and with Egypt. Sennacherib bestirred himself
and Tyre perished. The Assyrian invader then attacked Judah and besieged
Jerusalem, where Hezekiah was king and Isaiah was prophesying. Whatever
was the cause, half the army perished by pestilence, and Sennacherib led
back the remnants of his force to Nineveh.

The disaster was terrible, but not irreparable, for another and an equal
host could be raised. And it was needed to quell a great Babylonian
revolt led by Merodachbaladan, who had given the signal of rebellion to
the mountain tribes also. After a series of terrible conflicts, Babylon
was taken. And now Sennacherib, who had shown leniency after two
previous revolts, displayed unbounded fury in his triumph. The massacre
lasted several days, none being spared of the citizens. Piles of corpses
filled the streets. The temples and palaces were pillaged, and finally
the city was burnt.

In the midst of his costly and absorbing wars we may well wonder how
Sennacherib found time and means for building villas and temples; yet he
is, nevertheless, the Assyrian king who has left us the largest number
of monuments.

His last years were embittered by the fierce rivalry of his sons. One of
these he nominated his successor, Esarhaddon, son of a Babylonian wife.
During his absence from Nineveh, on the 20th day of Teleth, 681, his
father, Sennacherib, when praying before the image of his god, was
assassinated by two other sons, Sharezer and Adrammelech. Esarhaddon,
hearing of this tragedy, gathered an army, and in a battle defeated
Sharezer and established himself on the throne.

_III.--The Crisis of the Assyrian Power_

Esarhaddon was personally inclined for peace, for he delighted in
building; but unfortunate disturbances did not permit him to pursue his
favourite occupation without interruption, and, like his warlike
predecessors, he was constrained to pass most of his life on the
battlefield. He began his reign by quelling an insurrection of the
Cimmerians in the territories on the border of the Black Sea. Sidon
rebelled ungratefully, although his father had saved her from desolation
by Tyre. He stormed and burnt the city. The Scythian tribes came on the
field in 678 B.C., but they were diplomatically conciliated.

Now followed a memorable event. Babylon was rebuilt. Esarhaddon used all
the available captives taken in war on the foundations and the
fabrication of bricks, erected walls, rebuilt all the temples, and
lavishly devoted gold, silver, costly stones, rare woods, and plates of
enamel to decoration. The canals were made good for the gardens, and the
people, who had been scattered in various provinces, were encouraged to
return to their homes.

But fresh foreign complications arose through the support given
continually to recalcitrant states in the south of Egypt. Esarhaddon was
provoked to undertake the first actual invasion of Egypt in force by
Assyria for the purpose of subduing the country. Over a great
combination of the Egyptians and Ethiopians he won a crushing victory.
Memphis was taken and sacked. Henceforth, Esarhaddon, in his pride,
styled himself King of Egypt, and King of the Kings of Egypt, of the
Said, and of Ethiopia. But he was not very long permitted to enjoy the
glory of his triumph; a determined revolt of the conquered country
demanded a fresh campaign. He set out, but was in bad health, and, his
malady increasing, he died on the journey in the twelfth year of his

Before starting on the expedition, he had realised the impossibility of
a permanent amalgamation of Assyria and Babylon, notwithstanding his
personal affection for Babylon. Accordingly, he designated as his
successors his two sons. Assurbanipal was to be King of Assyria, and
Shamash-shumukin King of Babylon, under the suzerainty of his brother.
As soon as Esarhaddon had passed away, the separation he had planned
took place automatically, the two sons proclaiming themselves
respectively kings of Assyria and Babylon. Thus Babylon regained half
its independence. But the Assyrian Empire was now at its zenith. Egypt
was quelled by the army of Esarhaddon, and to Assurbanipal submitted in
vassalage the nations of the Mediterranean coast.

Now followed years of exhausting warfare and of victory after victory,
which fatally wasted the strength of Assyria. Never had the empire been
so respected; never had so many nations united under one sceptre. But
troubles accumulated. Mutiny in Egypt called for another expedition,
which led to the capture and sacking of Thebes. Next came a war with
Elam, ending in its subjection to Assyria, for the first time in

But with success. Assurbanipal grew arrogant in his attitude to his
brother, the King of Babylon, and a fratricidal war resulted in the
defeat and death of Shamash-shumukin and the capture of the rival
capital. But Assyria was now near one of its recurrent periods of
exhaustion, and foes were rising for a formidable attack.

_IV.--Fall of Media and Chaldaea_

At the very height of his apparent grandeur and prosperity Assurbanipal
was attacked by Phraortes, King of the Medes, who paid for his temerity
with his life, being left dead, with the greater part of his army, on
the field. But the sequel was unexpected, for Cyaxares, son of the slain
Mede, stubbornly continued the conflict, patiently reorganising his
army, until he won a great victory over the Assyrian generals, and shut
up the remnant of their forces in Nineveh.

Assurbanipal, after a reign of forty-two years, died about 625 B.C., and
was succeeded by his son, Assuretililani. Against his brother and
successor, Sinsharishkin, the standard of rebellion was raised by
Nabopolassar, the governor of Babylon, who declared himself independent,
and assumed the title of king, but his reign not long after ended with
his death, in 605 B.C. Nebuchadrezzar was proclaimed king in Babylon.

His reign was long and prosperous, and, on the whole, a peaceful one.
The most notable event in the career of Nebuchadrezzar II., was the
capture and destruction of Jerusalem, in consequence of a revolt of Tyre
and Judea. The unfortunate king, Zedekiah, saw his sons slain in his
presence, and then, his eyes having been put out, he was loaded with
chains, and sent to Babylon.

Nebuchadrezzar died in 562 B.C. after a reign of fifty-five years. His
successors were weak rulers, and their reigns were brief and inglorious.
The army was suffered to dwindle, and the dynasty founded by
Nabopolassar came to an end in 555 B.C., when Labashi-marduk, the last
of the line, after reigning only nine months, was murdered by Nabonidus,
a native Babylonian. This usurper witnessed the rapid rise of the new
Iranian power which was to destroy him and Babylon. In 553 B.C., Cyrus,
a Persian general, revolted against Astyages, defeated him, and
destroyed the Median Empire at one blow.

The only army that was a match for that of Cyrus was the Lydian host
under King Croesus. A conflict took place between the two, ending in the
defeat of the most powerful potentate of Asia Minor. But Cyrus treated
Croesus with consideration, and the Lydian king is said to have become
the friend of the mighty Persian. From that day neither Egypt nor
Chaldaea had any chance of victory on the battlefield. Nabonidus became a
mere vassal of Cyrus, and lived more or less inactively in his palace at
Tima, leaving the direction of power at Babylon in the hands of his son,

At length the Babylonians grew weary of their king. Nabonidus had never
been popular, and the discontent of the people at length called for the
intervention of the suzerain. In 538 Cyrus moved against Babylon, and
Nabonidus now retreated into the city with his troops, and prepared for
a siege. But Cyrus, taking advantage of the time of the year when the
waters were lowest, diverted the Tigris, so that his soldiers were able
to enter the city without striking a blow. Nabonidus surrendered, and
Belsharuzur was slain. With him perished the second Chaldaean Empire.

The sagacious conqueror did not pillage the city, and treated the
citizens with clemency. Cyrus associated his son Cambyses with himself,
making him King of Babylon. Nothing in Babylon was changed, and she
remained what she had been since the fall of Assyria, the real capital
of the regions between the Mediterranean and the Zapcos. The Persian
dominion extended undisputed as far as the Isthmus of Suez. Under Cyrus
took place the first return of the Jews to Jerusalem.

According to Xenophon, the great Persian, in 529 B.C., died peaceably on
his bed, surrounded by his children, and edifying them by his wisdom;
but Herodotus declares that he perished miserably in fighting with the
barbarian hosts of the Massagetae, on the steppes of Turkestan, beyond
the Arxes. He had believed that his destiny was to found an empire in
which all other ancient empires should be merged, and he all but
accomplished the stupendous task. When he passed away, Egypt alone
remained to be conquered. Cambyses succeeded, took up the enterprise
against Egypt; but after a series of successes met with reverses in
Ethiopia, which affected his mind, and he is said to have ended his own
life. Power fell into the hands of a chief of one of the seven great
clans, the famous Darius, son of Hystaspes, whose rival was
Nebuchadrezzar III., then King of Babylon.

Once more, in his reign, Babylon was besieged and fell, Nebuchadrezzar
being executed. He was an impostor who had pretended to be the son of
the great Nebuchadrezzar. And now approached the last days of the
greatness of the Eastern world, for the eve of the Macedonian conquest
of the Near East had arrived.

* * * * *


The Antiquities of the Jews

Josephus's "Antiquities of the Jews" traces the whole history
of the race down to the outbreak of the great war. He also
wrote an autobiography (see Lives and Letters) and a polemical
treatise, "Flavius Josephus against Apion." His style is so
classically elegant that critics have called him the Greek
Livy. The following summary of the "Antiquities of the Jews"
contains the substance of the really valuable sections, other
portions being little else than a paraphrase of the histories
embodied in the Old Testament.

_I.--From Alexander to Antiochus_

After Philip, King of Macedon, had been treacherously slain by
Pausanias, he was succeeded by his son Alexander, who, passing over the
Hellespont, overcame the army of Darius, King of Persia, at Granicum. So
he marched over Lydia, subdued Ionia, overran Caria and Pamphylia, and
again defeated Darius at Issus. The Persian king fled into his own land,
and his mother, wife, and children were captured. Alexander besieged and
took first Tyre, and then Gaza, and next marched towards Jerusalem.

At Sapha, in full view of the city, he was met by a procession of the
priests in fine linen, and a multitude of the citizens in white, the
high-priest, Jaddua, being at their head in his resplendent robes.
Graciously responding to the salutations of priests and people,
Alexander entered Jerusalem, worshipped and sacrificed in the Temple,
and then invited the people to ask what favours they pleased of him;
whereupon the high-priest desired that they might enjoy the laws of
their forefathers, and pay no tribute on the seventh year. All their
requests were granted, and Alexander led his army into the neighbouring

Now, when Alexander was dead and his government had been divided among
many, Ptolemy, the son of Lagus, by treachery seized Jerusalem, and took
away many captives to Egypt, and settled them there. His successor,
Ptolemy Philadelphus, restored to freedom 120,000 Jews who had been kept
in slavery at the instance of Aristeus, one of his most intimate
friends. He also dedicated many gifts to God, and showed great
friendship to the Jews in his dominions.

Other kings in Asia followed the example of Philadelphus, conferring
honours on Jews who became their auxiliaries, and making them citizens
with privileges equal to those enjoyed by the Macedonians and Greeks. In
the reign of Antiochus the Great the Jews suffered greatly while he was
at war with Ptolemy Philopater, and with his son, called Epiphanes. When
Antiochus had beaten Ptolemy, he seized on Judea, but ultimately he made
a league with Ptolemy, gave him his daughter Cleopatra to wife, and
yielded up to him Celesyria, Samaria, Judea, and Phoenicia by way of
dowry. Onias, son of Simon the Just, was then high-priest. He greatly
provoked the king by neglecting to pay his taxes, so that Ptolemy
threatened to settle his soldiers in Jerusalem to live on the citizens.

But Joseph, the nephew of Onias, by his wisdom brought all things right
again, and entered into friendship with the king, who lent him soldiers
and sent him to force the people in various cities to pay their taxes.
Many who refused were slain. Joseph not only thus gathered great wealth
for himself, but sent much to the king and to Cleopatra, and to powerful
men at the court of Egypt. He had a son named Hyrcanus, who became noted
for his ability, and crossed the Jordan with many followers; he made war
successfully on the Arabians, built a magnificent stone castle, and
ruled over all the region for seven years, even all the time that
Seleucus was king of Syria. But when Seleucus was dead, his brother
Antiochus Epiphanes took the kingdom, and Hyrcanus, seeing that
Antiochus had a great army, feared he should be taken and punished for
what he had done to the Arabians. So he took his own life, Antiochus
seizing his possessions.

_II.--To the Death of Judas_

Antiochus, despising the son of Ptolemy as being but weak, and coveting
the possession of Egypt, conducted an expedition against that country
with a great force; but was compelled to withdraw by a declaration of
the Romans. On his way back from Alexandria he took the city of
Jerusalem, entering it without fighting in the 143d year of the kingdom
of the Seleucidae. He slew many of the citizens, plundered the city of
much money, and returned to Antioch.

After two years he again came up against Jerusalem, and this time left
the Temple bare, taking away the golden altar and candlesticks, the
table of shewbread, and the altar of burnt offering, and all the secret
treasures. He slew some of the people, and carried off into captivity
about ten thousand, burnt the finest buildings, erected a citadel, and
therein placed a garrison of Macedonians. Building an idol altar in the
Temple, he offered swine on it, and he compelled many of the Jews to
raise idol altars in every town and village, and to offer swine on them
every day. But many disregarded him, and these underwent bitter
punishment. They were tortured or scourged or crucified.

Now, at this time there dwelt at Modin a priest named Mattathias, a
citizen of Jerusalem. He had five sons, one of whom, Judas, was called
Maccabaeus. Mattathias and his sons not only refused to sacrifice as
Antiochus commanded, but, with his sons, attacked and slew an apostate
Jewish worshipper and Apelles, the king's general, and a few of his
soldiers. Then the priest and his five sons overthrew the idol altar,
and fled into the desert, followed by many of their followers with their
wives and children. About a thousand of these who had hidden in caves
were overtaken and destroyed; but many who escaped joined themselves to
Mattathias, and appointed him to be the ruler, who taught them to fight,
even on the Sabbath. Gathering a great army, he overthrew the idol
altars, and slew those who broke the laws. But after ruling one year, he
fell into a distemper, and committed to his sons the conduct of affairs.
He was buried at Modin, all the people making great lamentation. His son
Judas took upon himself the administration of affairs in the 146th year,
and with the help of his brothers and others, cast their enemies out of
the country and purified the land of its pollutions. Judas celebrated in
the Temple at Jerusalem the festival of the restoration of the
sacrifices for eight days.

From that time we call the yearly celebration the Feast of Lights. Judas
also rebuilt the wall and reared towers of great height. When these
things were over he made excursions against adversaries on every side,
he and his brothers Simon and Jonathan subduing in turn Idumaea, Gilead,
Jazer, Tyre, and Ashdod. Antiochus died of a distemper which overtook
him as he was fleeing from Elymais, from which he was driven during an
attack upon its gates. Before he died he called his friends about him,
and confessed that his calamities had come upon him for the miseries he
had brought upon the Jewish nation.

Antiochus was succeeded by his son, Antiochus Eupator, a boy of tender
age, whose guardians were Philip and Lysias. He reigned but two years,
being put to death, together with Lysias, by order of the usurper
Demetrius, the son of Seleucus, who fled from Rome, and, landing in
Syria, gathered an army, and was joyfully received by the people.
Against Jerusalem, Demetrius sent an expedition commanded by his
general, Bacchides. Judas Maccabaeus, fighting with great courage, but
having with him only 800 men, fell in the battle. His brothers Simon and
Jonathan, receiving his body by treaty from the enemy, carried it to the
village of Modin, and there buried him. He left behind him a glorious
reputation, by gaining freedom for his nation and delivering them from
slavery under the Macedonians. He died after filling the office of
high-priest for three years.

_III.--To the Roman Dominion_

Jonathan and his brother Simon continued the war against Bacchides. They
were assisted by Alexander, the son of Antiochus Epiphanes, who, in the
160th year, came up into Syria against Demetrius, and defeated and slew
him in a great battle near Ptolemais. But the son of Demetrius, named
after his father, in the 165th year, after Alexander had seated himself
on the throne and had gained in marriage Cleopatra, daughter of Ptolemy
Philometor, came from Crete with a great number of mercenary soldiers.
Jonathan and Simon, brothers of Judas Maccabaeus, entering into league
with Demetrius, who offered them very great advantages, defeated at
Ashdod the army sent by Alexander under Apollonius.

A breach took place between Alexander and Ptolemy through the treachery
of Ammonius, a friend of the former, and the Egyptian king took away his
daughter Cleopatra from her husband, and immediately sent to Demetrius,
offering to make a league of mutual assistance and friendship with him,
to give him his daughter in marriage and to restore him to the
principality of his fathers. These overtures were joyfully accepted, and
Ptolemy came to Antioch and persuaded the people to receive Demetrius.
Alexander was beaten in a battle by the two allies and fled into Arabia,
where, however, his head was speedily cut off by Zabdiel, a prince of
the country, and sent to Ptolemy. But that king, through wounds caused
by falling from his horse, died a few days afterwards.

Demetrius, being secure in power, disbanded a great part of his army,
but this action greatly irritated the soldiers. Furthermore, he was
hated, as his father had been, by the people of Syria. A revolt was
raised by an Apanemian named Trypho, who overcame Demetrius in a fight,
and took from him both his elephants and the city of Antioch. Demetrius
on this defeat retired into Cilicia, and Trypho delivered the kingdom to
Antiochus, the youthful son of Alexander, who quickly sent ambassadors
to Jonathan and made him his confederate and friend, confirming him in
the high-priesthood and yielding up to him four prefectures which had
been added to Judea. Accordingly, Jonathan promptly joined him in a war
against Demetrius, who was again defeated.

Soon after Demetrius had been carried into captivity Trypho deserted
Antiochus, who had now reigned four years. He usurped power, which he
basely abused; and Antiochus Soter, brother of Demetrius, raised a force
against him and drove him away to Apamea, where he was put to death, his
term of power having lasted only three years. Antiochus Soter then
attacked Simon, who successfully resisted, established peace, and ruled
in all for eight years. His death also was the result of treachery, his
son-in-law Ptolemy playing him false. His son Hyrcanus became
high-priest, and speedily ejected the forces of Ptolemy from the land.
Subduing all factions, he ruled justly for thirty-one years, leaving
five sons.

The eldest, Aristobulus, purposed to change the government into a
kingdom, and placed a diadem on his own head; but his mother, to whom
the supremacy had been entrusted, disputed his authority. He cast her
into prison, where she was starved to death; and next he compassed the
death of his brother Antigonus, but was soon attacked by a painful
disease. He reigned only one year. His widow, Alexandra, let his
brothers out of prison and made Alexander Janneus king.

His reign was one of war and disorder. With savage cruelty he repressed
rebellion, condemning hundreds of Jews to crucifixion. While these were
yet living, their wives and children were slain before their eyes. His
life was ended by a sickness which lasted three years, and after his
death civil war broke out between his two sons, Aristobulus and
Hyrcanus, in which great barbarities were committed. The conflict was
terminated by the intervention of the Romans under Scarus. The two
brothers appealed to Pompey after he came to Damascus; but that Roman
general marched against Jerusalem and took it by force. Thus we lost our
liberty as a nation and became subject to the Romans.

_IV.--The Jews and the Romans_

Crassus next came with Roman troops into Judea and pillaged the Temple,
and then marched into Parthia, where both he and his army perished. Then
Cassius obtained Syria, and checked the Parthians. He passed on to
Judea, fell on Tarichaea, and took it, and carried away 3,000 Jewish
captives. A wealthy Idumean named Antipater, who had been a great friend
of Hyrcanus, and had helped him against Aristobulus, was a very active
and seditious man. He had married Cypros, a lady of his own Idumean
race, by whom he had four sons, Phaselus, and Herod, who afterwards
became king, and Joseph, and Pheroras; and a daughter, Salome. He
cultivated friendship with other potentates, especially with the King of
Arabia, to whom he committed the care of his children while he fought
against Aristobulus. But when Caesar had taken Rome, and after Pompey and
the senate had fled beyond the Ionian Sea, Aristobulus was set free from
the bonds in which he had been laid. Caesar resolved to send him with two
legions into Syria to set matters right; but Aristobulus had no
enjoyment of this trust, for he was poisoned by Pompey's party. But
Scipio, sent by Pompey to slay Alexander, son of Aristobulus, cut off
his head at Antioch. And Ptolemy, son of Menneus, ruler of Chalcis, took
Alexander's brethren to him, and sent his son Philippion to Askelon to
Aristobulus's wife, and desired her to send back with him her son
Antigonus and her daughters; the one of whom, Alexandra, Philippion fell
in love with, and married her; though afterwards his father Ptolemy slew
him, and married Alexandra.

Now, after Pompey was dead, and after the victory Caesar had gained over
him, Antipater, who had managed the Jewish affairs, became very useful
to Caesar when he made war against Egypt, and that by the order of
Hyrcanus. He brought over to the side of Caesar the principal men of the
Arabians, and also Jamblicus, the ruler of the Syrians, and Ptolemy, his
son, and Tholomy, the son of Sohemus, who dwelt at Mount Libanus, and
almost all the cities, and with 3,000 armed Jews he joined Mithradates
of Pergamus, who was marching with his auxiliaries to aid Caesar.
Antipater and Mithradates together won a pitched battle against the
Egyptians, and Caesar not only then commended Antipater, but used him
throughout that war in the most hazardous undertakings, and finally, at
the end of that campaign, made him procurator of Judea, at the same time
appointing Hyrcanus high-priest. Antipater, seeing that Hyrcanus was of
a slow and slothful temper, made his eldest son, Phaselus, governor of
Jerusalem; but committed Galilee to his next son, Herod, who was only
fifteen, but was a youth of great mind, and soon proved his courage, and
won the love of the Syrians by freeing their country of a nest of
robbers, and slaying the captain of these, one Hezekias.

Thus Herod became known to Sextus Caesar, a relation of the great Caesar,
who was now president of Syria. Now, the growing reputation of Antipater
and his sons excited the envy of the principal men among the Jews,
especially as they saw that Herod was violent and bold, and was capable
of acting tyrannically. So they accused him before Hyrcanus of
encroaching on the government, and of transgressing the laws by putting
men to death without their condemnation by the sanhedrin. Protecting
Herod, whom he loved as his own son, from the sanhedrin when they would
have sentenced him to death, Hyrcanus aided him to flee to Damascus,
where he took refuge with Sextus Caesar. When Herod received the kingdom,
he slew all the members of that sanhedrin excepting Sameas, whom he
respected because he persuaded the people to admit Herod into the city,
and he even slew Hyrcanus also.

Now, when Caesar was come to Rome, and was ready to sail into Africa to
fight against Scipio and Cato, Hyrcanus sent ambassadors to him,
desiring the ratification of the league of friendship between them. Not
only Caesar but the senate heaped honours on the ambassadors, and
confirmed the understanding that subsisted. But during the disorders
that arose after the death of Caesar, Cassius came into Syria and
disturbed Judea by exacting great sums of money. Antipater sought to
gather the great tax demanded from Judea, and was foully slain by a
collector named Malichus, on whom Herod quickly took vengeance for the
murder of his father. By his energy in obtaining the required tax, Herod
gained new favour with Cassius.

_V.--The Herodian Era_

In order to secure his position, Herod made an obscure priest from
Babylon, named Ananelus, high-priest in place of Hyrcanus. This offended
Alexandra, daughter of Hyrcanus and wife of Alexander, son of
Aristobulus the king. She had ten children, among whom were Mariamne,
the beautiful wife of Herod, and Aristobulus. She sent an appeal to
Cleopatra, queen of Egypt, in order by her intercession to gain from
Antony the high-priesthood for this son. At the instance of Antony,
Herod took the office from Ananelus, and gave it to Aristobulus, but
took care that the youth should soon be murdered. Then, from causeless
jealousy, he put to death his uncle Joseph and threw Mariamne into
prison. Victory in a war with Arabia enhanced his power. Cruelly slaying
Hyrcanus, he hasted away to Octavian, who had beaten Antony at Actium,
and obtained also from him, the new Caesar, Augustus, the kingdom, thus
being confirmed in his position.

Women of the palace who hated Mariamne for her beauty, her high birth,
and her pride, falsely accused her to Herod of gross unfaithfulness. He
loved her passionately, but, giving ear to these traducers, ordered her
to be tried. She was condemned to death, and showed great fortitude as
she went to the place of execution, even though her own mother,
Alexandra, in order to make herself safe from the wrath of the king,
basely, and publicly, and violently upbraided her, while the people,
pitying her, mourned at her fate. Herod was also attacked by a
tormenting distemper. He ordered the execution of Alexandra and of
several of his most intimate friends.

By his persistent introduction of foreign customs, which corrupted the
constitution of the country, Herod incurred the deep hatred of very many
eminent citizens. He erected servile trophies to Caesar, and prepared
costly games in which men were condemned to fight with wild beasts. Ten
men who conspired against him were betrayed, and were tortured horribly,
and then slain. But the people seized the spy who had informed against
them, tore him limb from limb, and flung the body in pieces to the dogs.
By constant and relentless severity Herod still strengthened his rule.

But now fearful disturbances arose in his family. His sister Salome and
his brother Pheroras displayed virulent hatred against Alexander and
Aristobulus, sons of the murdered Mariamne, and, on their part, the two
young men were incensed at the partiality shown by Herod to his eldest
son, Antipater. This prince was continually using cunning strategy
against his brethren, while feigning affection for them. He so worked on
the mind of the king by false accusations against Alexander that many of
the friends of this youth were tortured to death in the attempts made to
force disclosures from them.

A traitor named Eurycles fanned the flame by additional accusations, all
utterly groundless, so that Herod wrote letters to Rome concerning the
treacherous designs of his sons against him, and asking permission of
Caesar to bring them to trial. This was granted, and they were accused
before an assembly of judges at Berytus and condemned. By their father's
command they were starved to death. For his share in bringing about this
tragedy Antipater was hated by the people. But the secret desire of this
eldest son was to see the end of his father, whom he deeply hated,
though he now governed jointly with him and was no other than a king

Herod by this time had nine wives and many children and grandchildren.
The latter he brought up with much care. Antipater was sent on a mission
to Rome, and during his absence his plots were discovered, and on his
return, Herod, amazed at his wickedness, condemned him to death. The
king now altered his testament, dividing the territory among several of
his sons. He died on the fifth day after the execution of Antipater,
having reigned thirty-four years after procuring the death of Antigonus.
Archelaus, his son, was appointed by Caesar, in confirmation of Herod's
will, governor of one-half of the country; but accusation of enemies led
to his banishment to Vienna, in Gaul. Cyrenaicus, a Roman senator and
magistrate, was sent by Caesar to make taxation in Syria and Judea, and
Caponius was made procurator of Judea. Philip, a son of Herod, built
cities in honour of Tiberius Caesar. When Pontius Pilate became
procurator he removed the army from Cassarea to Jerusalem, abolished
Jewish laws, and in the night introduced Caesar's effigies on ensigns.

About this time Jesus, a wise man, a doer of wonderful works, drew over
to him many Jews and Gentiles. He was Christ; and when Pilate, at the
suggestion of the principal men among us, had condemned him to the
cross, those that loved him did not forsake him, for he appeared to them
again alive at the third day, as the prophets had foretold; and the
tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct at this day.
John, who was called the Baptist, was slain by Herod the tetrarch at his
castle at Machserus, by the Dead Sea. The destruction of his army by
Aretas, king of Arabia, was ascribed by the Jews to God's anger for this

Agrippa, grandson of Herod the Great, became the most famous of his
descendants. On him Claudius Caesar bestowed all the dominions of his
grandfather with the title of king. But pride overcame him. Seated on a
throne at a great festival at Caesarea, arrayed in a magnificent robe, he
was stricken by a disease, and died.

He was succeeded by his son Agrippa, during whose time Felix and Festus
were procurators in Judea, while Nero was Roman emperor. This Agrippa
finished the Temple by the work of 18,000 men. The war of the Jews and
Romans began through the oppression by Gessius Florus, who secured the
procuratorship by the friendship of his wife Cleopatra with Poppea, wife
of Nero. Florus filled Judea with intolerable cruelties, and the war
began in the second year of his rule and the twelfth of the reign of
Nero. What happened will be known by those who peruse the books I have
written about the Jewish war.

* * * * *

The Wars of the Jews

Josephus, in his "Wars of the Jews," gives the only full and
reliable account of the tragic siege and destruction of
Jerusalem by the Romans under Titus. Excepting in the opening,
he writes throughout in the third person, although he was
present in the Roman camp as a prisoner during the siege, and
before then had been, as governor of Galilee, the brave and
energetic antagonist of the Romans. Becoming the friend of
Titus, and despairing of the success of his compatriots, he
was employed in efforts to conciliate the leaders of the
rebellion during the siege, and he was for three years a
privileged captive in the camp of the besiegers. His recital
is one of the most thrilling samples of romantic realism in
the whole range of ancient literature, and its veracity and
honesty have never been impugned. In his autobiography,
Josephus tells how, after the war, he was invited by Titus to
sail with him to Rome, and how on his arrival there the
Emperor Vespasian entertained him in his own palace, bestowed
on him a pension, and conferred on him the honours of Roman
citizenship. The Emperors Titus and Domitian treated this
remarkable Jew with continued favour.

_I.--Beginning of the Great Conflict_

Whereas the war which the Jews made against the Romans hath been the
greatest of all times, while some men who were not concerned themselves
have written vain and contradictory stories by hearsay, and while those
that were there have given false accounts, I, Joseph, the son of
Matthias, by birth a Hebrew, and a priest also, and who at first fought
against the Romans myself, and was forced to be present at what was done
afterwards, am the author of this book.

Now, the affairs of the Romans were in great disorder after the death of
Nero. At the decease of Herod Agrippa, his son, who bore the same name,
was seventeen years old. He was considered too young to bear the burden
of royalty, and Judea relapsed into a Roman province. Cuspius Fadus was
sent as governor, and administered his office with firmness, but found
civil war disturbing the district beyond Jordan. He cleared the country
of the robber bands; and his successor, Tiberius Alexander, during a
brief rule, put down disturbances which broke out in Judea. The province
was at peace till he was superseded by Cumanus, during whose government
the people and the Roman soldiery began to show mutual animosity. In a
terrible riot 20,000 people perished, and Jerusalem was given up to
wailing and lamentation.

It was in Caesarea that the events took place which led to the final war.
This magnificent city was inhabited by two races--the Syrian Greeks, who
were heathens, and the Jews. The two parties violently contended for the
pre-eminence. The Jews were the more wealthy; but the Roman soldiery,
levied chiefly in Syria, took part with their countrymen. Tumults and
bloodshed disturbed the streets. At this time a procurator named Gessius
Florus was appointed, and he, by his barbarities, forced the Jews to
begin the war in the twelfth year of the reign of Nero and the
seventeenth of the reign of Agrippa.

But the occasion of the war was by no means proportioned to those heavy
calamities that it brought upon us. The fatal flame finally broke out
from the old feud at Caesarea. The decree of Nero had assigned the
magistracy of that city to the Greeks. It happened that the Jews had a
synagogue, the ground around which belonged to a Greek. For this spot
the Jews offered a much higher price than it was worth. It was refused,
and to annoy them as much as possible, the owner set up some mean
buildings and shops upon it, and so made the approach to the synagogue
as narrow and difficult as possible. The more impetuous of the Jewish
youth interrupted the workmen. Then the men of greater wealth and
influence, and among them John, a publican, collected the large sum of
eight talents, and sent it as a bribe to Florus, that he might stop the
building. He received the money, made great promises, and at once
departed for Sebaste from Caesarea. His object was to leave full scope
for the riot.

On the following day, while the Jews were crowding to the synagogue, a
citizen of Caesarea outraged them by oversetting an earthen vessel in the
way, over which he sacrificed birds, as done by the law in cleansing
lepers, and thus he implied that the Jews were a leprous people. The
more violent Jews, furious at the insult, attacked the Greeks, who were
already in arms. The Jews were worsted, took up the books of the law,


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