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same time that the Cimmerians invaded Lydia, a nomad race
which probably inhabited the Tauric Chersonessus Scythian in-
(Crimea), and had once before desolated Asia Mi- roads '
nor before the time of Homer. The Cimmerians may have
been urged forward into Asia Minor by an invasion of the
Scythians themselves, a nomadic people who neither planted
nor reaped, but lived on food derived from animals — proto-
types of the Huns, and also progenitors — a for- Their cbar _
midable race of barbarians, in the northern section acteristics.
of Central Asia, east of the Caspian Sea. The Cimmerians
fled before this more warlike race, abandoned their country
on the northern coast of the Euxine, and invaded Asia Minor.
They occupied Sardis, and threatened Ejmesus, and finally
were overwhelmed in the mountainous regions of Cilicia.
Some, however, effected a settlement in the territory where
the Greek city of Sinope was afterward built.

Ardys was succeeded by his son Tadyattes, who reigned
twelve years ; and his son and successor, Alyattes, expelled
the Cimmerians from Asia Minor. But the Scythi- Scythian con-
ans, who invaded Media, defeated the king, Cyax- i uests -
ares, and became masters of the country, and spread as far
as Palestine, and enjoyed their dominion twenty-eight years,
until they were finally driven away by Cyaxares. These
nomadic tribes from Tartary were the precursors of Huns,
Avars, Bulgarians, Magyars, Turks, Mongols, and Tartars,
who, at different periods, invaded the civilized portions of
Asia and Europe, and established a dominion more or less
durable.

Cyaxares, after the expulsion of the Scythians, took Nine-
veh, and reduced the Assyrian empire, while Alyattes, the
king of Lydia, after the Cimmerians were subdued, made



104 Asia Minor and Phoenicia. [Chai\ x.

war on the Creek city of Miletus, and reduced the Milesians to
great disti'ess, and also took Smyrna. He reigned fifty-seven
years with great prosperity, and transmitted his
kingdom to Croesus, his son by an Ionian wife.
His tomb was one of the architectural wonders of that day,
and only surpassed by the edifices of Egypt and Babylon.

Croesus made war on the Asiatic Greeks, and as the twelve
Ionian cities did not co-operate with any effect, they were
His prosper- subdued. He extended his conquests over Asia
ty ' Minor, until he had conquered the Phrygians,

Mysians, and other nations, and created a great empire, of
which Sardis was the capital. The treasures he amassed ex-
ceeded any thing before known to the Greeks, though inferior
to the treasures accumulated at Susa and other Persian
capitals when Alexander conquered the East.

But the Lydian monarchy under Croesus was soon absorbed
in the Persian empire, together with the cities of the Ionian
Greeks, as has been narrated.

But there was another power intimately connected with
The Phceni- the kingdom of Judea, — the Phoenician, which fur-
nished Solomon artists and timber for his famous
temple. "VVe close this chapter with a brief notice of the
greatest merchants of the ancient world, the Phoenicians.

They belonged, as well as the Assyrians, to the Semitic or
Their Semit- Syro- Arabian family, comprising, besides, the Syri-
ic origin. ans? Jews, Arabians, and in part the Abyssinians.
They were at a very early period a trading and mercantile
nation, and the variegated robes and golden ornaments
fabricated at Sidon were prized by the Homeric heroes.
They habitually traversed the JEgean Sea, and formed settle-
ments on its islands.

The Phoenician towns occupied a narrow slip of the coast
of Syria and Palestine, about one hundred and twenty miles
in length, and generally about twenty in breadth — between
Mount Libanus and the sea. Aradus was the northernmost,
and Tyre the southernmost city. Between these were
situated Sidon, Berytus, Tripolis, and Byblus. Within this



Chap. X.] Pluznician Colonies and Commerce. 105

confined territoiy was concenti-ated a greater degree of com-
mercial wealth and enterprise, also of manufacturing skill,
than could be found in the other parts of the world at the
time. Each town was an independent community, having
its own surrounding: territory, and political con- mu

_ . Tne coun-

stitution and hereditary prince. Tyre was a sort tT f-
of presiding city, having a controlling political power over
the other cities. Mount Libanus, or Lebanon, touched the
sea along the Phoenician coast, and furnished abundant sup-
plies for ship-building.

The great Phoenician deity was Melkarth, whom the
Greeks called Hercules, to whom a splendid temple was
erected at Tyre, coeval, perhaps, with the foundation of the
city two thousand three hundred years before the time of
Herodotus. In the year 700 b. c, the Phoenicians seemed to
have reached their culminating power, and they had colonies
in Africa, Sicily, Sardinia, and Spain. Carthage, Phoenician
Utica, and Gades were all flourishing cities before CIlles -
the first Olympiad. The commerce of the Phoenicians ex-
tended through the Red Sea and the coast of Arabia in
the time of Solomon. They furnished the Egyptians, Assyr-
ians, and Persians with the varied productions of other
countries at a very remote period.

The most ancient colonies were Utica and Carthage,
built in what is now called the gulf of Tunis ; and Phoenician
Cades, now Cadiz, was prosperous one thousand colomes -
years before the Christian era. The enterprising mariners of
Tyre coasted beyond the pillars of Hercules without ever
losing sight of land. The extreme productiveness of the
southern region of Spain in the precious metals tempted the
merchants to that distant country. But Carthage was by far
the most important centre for Tyrian trade, and became the
mistress of a large number of dependent cities.

When Psammetichus relaxed the jealous exclusion of
ships from the mouth of the Nile, the incitements to traffic
were greatly increased, and the Phoenicians, as well as
Ionian merchants, visited Egypt. But the Phoenicians were



106 Asia Minor and Phoenicia. [Chap, x-

jealous of rivals in profitable commerce, and concealed their
tracks, and magnified the dangers of the sea. About the
year 600 b. c, they had circumnavigated Africa, starting
from the Red Sea, and going round the Cape of Good Hope
to Gades, and from thence returning by the Nile.

It would seem that Nechos, king of Egypt, anxious to
procure a water communication between the Red Sea
and the Mediterranean, began digging a canal from one to
the other. In the prosecution of this project he dispatched
Voyn^e of Phoenicians on an experimental voyage round
dans. Libj^a, which was accomplished in three years.

The mariners landed in the autumn, and remained long
enough to plant corn and raise a crop for their supplies.
They reached Egypt through the Straits of Gibraltar, and
recounted a tale, which, says Herodotus, "others may believe
it if they choose, but I can not believe, that in sailing round
Libya, they had the sun on their right and — to the north."
In going round Africa they had no occasion to lose sight
of land, and their vessels were amply stored. The voyage,
however, was regarded as desperate and unprofitable, and
was not repeated.

Besides the trade which the Phoenicians carried on along
the coasts, they had an extensive commerce in the interior
of Asia. But we do not read of any great- characters who
arrested the attention of their own asje or succeeding agres.
Phoenician history is barren in political changes and great
historical characters, as is that of Carthage till the Roman
wars.

Between the years 700 and 530 b. c, there was a great
Deciino of decline of Phoenician power, which was succeeded
power. l by the rise of the Greek maritime cities. Nebu-
chadnezzar reduced the Phoenician cities to the same depend-
ence that the Ionian cities were reduced by Croesus and
Cyrus. The opening of the Nile to the Grecian commerce
contributed to the decline of Phoenicia, But to this country
the Greeks owed the alphabet and the first standard of
weights and measures.



Ch^p. X.] Carthage. 107

Carthage, founded 819 b. c, by Dido, had a flourishing
commerce in the sixth century before Christ, and also com-
menced, at this time, their encroachments in Sicily, which led
to wars for two hundred and fifty years with the _ •

■'.■', . Carthage.

Greek settlements. It contained, it is said, at one
time, seven hundred thousand people. But a further
notice of their great city is reserved until allusion is made
to the Punic wars which the Romans waged with this power-
ful State.



CHAPTER XL

JEWISH HISTORY FROM THE BABYLONIAN" CAPTIVITY TO TnE

BIRTH OF CHRIST. THE HIGHP RIESTS AND THE ASMONEAN

AND IDUMEAN KINGS.

We have seen how the ten tribes were carried captive to
Absorption Assyria, on the fall of Samaria, by Shalmanezer,

of the ten .... . . . ,,

tribes. b. c, 721. I* rom that time history loses sight ot

the ten tribes, as a distinct peojjle. They were probably
absorbed with the nations among whom they settled,
although imagination has loved to follow them into inac-
cessible regions where they await their final restoration.
But there are no reliable facts which justify this conclusion.
They may have been the ancestors of the Christian converts
afterward found among the Nestorians. They may have
retained in the East, to a certain extent, some of their old
institutions. But nothing is known with certainty. All is
vain conjecture respecting their ultimate fortunes.

The Jews of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin never
Thejewsat entn ' e ly departed from their ancient faith, and
Babylon. their monarchs reigned in regular succession till
the captivity of the family of David. They were not carried
to Babylon for one hundred and twenty-three years after
the dispersion of the ten tribes, b. c. 598.

During the captivity, the Jews still remained a separate
people, governed by their own law and religion. It is sup-
posed that they were rather colonists than captives, and
were allowed to dwell together in considerable bodies — that
they were not sold as slaves, and by degrees became pos-
sessed of considerable wealth. What region, from time im-
memorial, has not witnessed their thrift and their love of
money ? Well may a Jew say, as well as a Greek, " Quce



Chap. XI.] Character of Daniel. 109

regio in terris nostri non plena laboris." Taking the advice
of Jeremiah they built houses, planted gardens, and submit-
ted to their fete, even if they bewailed it " by the rivers of
Babylon," in such sad contrast to their old mountain homes.
They had the free enjoyment of their religion, and were sub-
jected to no general and grievous religious persecutions.
And some of their noble youth, like Daniel, were treated with
great distinction during the captivity. Daniel had been
transported to Babylon before Jerusalem fell, as a
hostage, among others, of the fidelity of their king.
These young men, from the highest Jewish families, were
educated in all the knowledge of the Babylonians, as Joseph
had been in Egyptian wisdom. They were the equals of the
Chaldean priests in knowledge of astronomy, divination,
and the interpretation of dreams. And though these young
hostages were maintained at the public expense, and perhaps
in the royal palaces, they remembered their distressed coun-
trymen, and lived on the simplest fare. It was as an inter-
preter of dreams that Daniel maintained his influence in the
Babylonian court. Twice was he summoned by Nebuchad-
nezzar, and once by Belshazzar to interpret the handwrit-
ing on the wall. And under the Persian monarch, when
Babylon fell, Daniel became a vizier, or satrap, with great
dignity and power.

When the seventy years' captivity, which Jeremiah had
predicted, came to an end, the empire of the Medes and Per-
sians was in the hands of Cyrus, under whose sway he
enjoyed the same favor and rank that he did under Darius,
or any of the Babylonian princes. The miraculous deliver-
ance of this great man from the lion's den, into which he had
been thrown from the intrigues of his enemies and the unal-
terable law of the Medes, resulted in a renewed exaltation.
Josephus ascribes to Daniel one of the noblest and most
interesting characters in Jewish history, a great Hisbea , ltmJ
skill in architecture, and it is to him that the splen- character.
did mausoleum at Ecbatana is attributed. But Daniel, with
all his honors, was not corrupted, and it was probably



110 From the Captivity to Christ. [Chap. XL

through his influence, as a grand vizier, that the exiled Jews
obtained from Cyrus the decree which restored them to their
beloved land.

The number of the returned Jews, under Zerubbabel, a
descendant of the kings of Judah, were forty-two

Return of ° < ' J

the Jews. thousand three hundred and sixty men — a great
and joyful caravan — but small in number compared with
the Israelites who departed from Egypt with Moses. On
their arrival in their native land, they were joined by
great numbers of the common people who had remained.
They bore with them the sacred vessels of the temple,
which Cyrus generously restored. They arrived in the
spring of the year b. c. 536, and immediately made prep-
arations for the restoration of the temple ; not under those
circumstances which enabled Solomon to concentrate the
wealth of Western Asia, but under great discouragements
and the pressure of poverty. The temple was built on the
old foundation, but was not completed till the sixth year of
Darius Hystapes, b. c. 515, and then without the ancient
splendor.

It was dedicated with great joy and magnificence, but
Dedication the sacrifice of one hundred bullocks, two hundred
pie. ^ rams, four hundred lambs, and twelve goats,

formed a sad contrast to the hecatombs which Solomon
had offered.

Nothing else of importance marked the history of the
dependent, impoverished, and humiliated Jews, who had
returned to the country of their ancestors during the reign
of Darius Hystaspes.

It was under his successor, Xerxes, he who commanded
the Hellespont to be scourged — that mad, luxurious, effem-
inated monarch, who is called in Scripture Ahasuerus, — that
Mordecai figured in the court of Persia, and Esther was
Mordecni exalted to the throne itself. It was in the seventh
rus. year of his reign that this inglorious king returned,

discomfited, from the invasion of Greece. Abandoning
himself to the pleasures of his harem, he marries the Jewess



Chap. XI.] Mordecai and Haitian. Ill

maiden, who is the instrument, under Providence, of avert-
ing the greatest calamity with which the Jews were
ever threatened. Haman, a descendant of the Amaleldtish
kings, is the favorite minister and grand vizier of the
Persian monarch. Offended with Mordecai, his rival in
imperial favor, the cousin of the queen, he intrigues for
the wholesale slaughter of the Jews wherever they were
to be found, promising the king ten thousand talents
of silver from the confiscation of Jewish property, and
which the king needed, impoverished by his unsuccessful
expedition into Greece. He thus obtains a decree from
Ahasuerus for the general massacre of the Jewish nation,
in all the provinces of the empire, of which Judea was one.
The Jews are in the utmost consternation, and look to
Mordecai. His hope is based* on Esther, the queen, who
might soften, by her fascinations, the heart of the king. She
assumes the responsibility of saving her nation at the peril
of her own life — a deed of not extraordinary self-devotion,
but requiring extraordinary tact. What anxiety must have
pressed the soul of that Jewish woman in the task she un-
dertook ! What a responsibility on her unaided shoulders ?
But she dissembles her grief, her fear, her anxiety, and
appears before the king radiant in beauty and loveliness.
The golden sceptre is extended to her by her weak The stor ,
and cruel husband, though arrayed in the pomp Esther.
and power of an Oriental monarch, before whom all bent
the knee, and to whom, even in his folly, he appears as
demigod. She does not venture to tell the king her wishes.
The stake is too great. She merely invites him to a grand
banquet, with his minister Haman. Both king and minis-
ter are ensnared by the cautious queen, and the result is the
disgrace of Haman, the elevation of Mordecai, and the
deliverance of the Jews from the fatal sentence — not a
perfect deliverance, for the decree could not be changed,
but the Jews were warned and allowed to defend them-
selves, and they slew seventy-five thousand of their enemies.
The act of vengeance was followed by the execution of



112 From, the Captivity to Christ. [Chap. XI.

the ten sons of Haman, and Mordecai became the real gov-
ernor of Persia. We see in this story the caprice which
governed the actions, in general, of Oriental kings, and
their own slavery to their favorite wives. The charms of a
woman effect, for evil or good, what conscience, and reason,
and policy, and wisdom united can not do. Esther is justly
a favorite with the Christian and Jewish world ; but Vashti,
the proud queen who, with true woman's dignity, refuses
to grace with her presence the saturnalia of an intoxicated
monarch, is also entitled to our esteem, although she paid
the penalty of disobedience ; and the foolish edict which
the king promulgated, that all women should implicitly
obey their husbands, seems to indicate that unconditional
obedience was not the custom of the Persian women.

The reign of Artaxerxes, the successor of Xerxes, was
„ . . favorable to the Jews, for Judea was a province

Return to ' 1

p.aiestineof f ^he Persian empire. In the seventh year of

Jews under r m J

Ezra. hi s reign, b. c. 458, a new migration of Jews from

Babylonia took place, headed by Ezra, a man of high rank
at the Persian court. He was empowered to make a collec-
tion among the Jews of Babylonia for the adornment of
the temple, and he came to Jerusalem laden with treas-
ures. He was, however, affected by the sight of a custom
which had grown up, of intermarriage of the Jews with
adjacent tribes. He succeeded in causing the foreign wives
to be repudiated, and the old laws to be enforced which
separated the Jews from all other nations. And it is
probably this stern law, which prevents the Jews from mar-
riage with foreigners, that has preserved their nationality,
in all their wanderings and misfortunes, more than any
other one cause.

A renewed commission granted to Nehemiah, b. c. 445,
resulted in a fresh immigration of Jews to Palestine, in
spite of all the opposition which the Samaritan and other
„ , , , nations made. ISTehemiah was cup-bearer to the

Neheminb. L

Persian king, and devoted to the Persian interests.
At that time Persia had suffered a fatal blow at the battle



Chap. XI] JVehemiah. 113

of Cindus, and among the humiliating articles of peace with
the Athenian admiral was the stipulation that the Persians
should not advance within three days' journey of the sea.
Jerusalem being at this distance, was an important post to
hold, and the Persian court saw the wisdom of intrusting
its defense to faithful allies. In spite of all obstacles, Nehe-
miah succeeded, in fifty-two days, in restoring the old walls
and fortifications ; the whole population, of every rank and
order having devoted themselves to the work. Moreover,
contributions for the temple continued to flow into the
treasury of a once opulent, but now impoverished and
decimated people. After providing for the security of
the capital and the adornment of the temple, the Rebuilding

r . it- .of Jerusa-

leaders of the nation turned their attention to lem.
the compilation of the sacred books and the restoration of
religion. Many important literary works had been lost
during their captivity, including the work of Solomon on
national history, and the ancient book of Jasher. But the
books on the law, the historical books, the prophetic writ-
ings, the Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and the Songs of
Solomon, were collected and copied. The law, revised and
corrected, was publicly read by Ezra ; the Feast of Taber-
nacles was celebrated with considerable splendor ; E ev i va i f
and a renewed covenant was made by the people ancientlaws -
to keep the law, to observe the Sabbath, to avoid idolatry,
and abstain from intermarriage with strangers. The Jewish
constitution was restored, and Nehemiah, a Persian satrap
in reality, lived in a state of considerable magnificence, en-
tertaining the chief leaders of the nation, and reforming all
disorders. Jerusalem gradually regained political import-
ance, while the country of the ten tribes, though filled with
people, continued to be the seat of idolaters.

On the death of Nehemiah, b. c. 415, the history of the Jews
becomes obscure, and we catch only scattered glimpses of the
state of the country, till the accession of Antiochus Epiph-
anes, b. c. 175, when the Syrian monarch had erected a
new kingdom on the ruins of the Persian empire. For more



114 From the Captivity to Christ. [Chap. XI.

than two centuries, when the Greeks and Romans flourished,
Jewish history is a blank, with here and there obscurity of
some scattered notices and traditions which Jose- tory S after"
phus has recorded. The Jews, living in vassalage Neuemiah *
to the successors of Alexander during this interval, had be-
come animated by a martial spirit, and the Maccabaic wars
elevated them into sufficient importance to become allies of
Home — the new conquering power, destined to subdue the
world. During this period the Jewish character assumed the
hard, stubborn, exclusive cast which it has ever since main-
tained — an intense hostility to polytheism and all Gentile
influences. The Jewish Scriptures took their present shape,
and the Apocryphal books came to light. The sects of the
Jews arose, like Pharisees and Sadducees, and religious and
political parties exhibited an unwonted fierceness and intol-
erance. While the Greeks and Romans were absorbed in
wars, the Jews perfected their peculiar economy, and grew
again into political importance. The country, by means of
irrigation and cultivation, became populous and fertile, and
poetry and the arts regained their sway. The people took
but little interest in the political convulsions of neighboring
nations, and devoted themselves quietly to the development
of their own resources. The captivity had cured them of
war, of idolatry,, and warlike expeditions.

During this two hundred years of obscurity, but real
growth, unnoticed and unknown by other nations, a new cap-
ital had arisen in Eg;vpt : Alexandria became a obscurity

„ r i , * . n mid frrowth

great mart of commerce, and the seat of revived <>f the Jews.
Grecian learning. The sway of the Ptolemaic kings, Gre-
cian in origin, was favorable to letters, and to arts. The
Jews settled in their magnificent city, translated their Scrip-
tures into Greek, and cultivated the Greek philosophy.

Meanwhile the internal government of the Jews fell into
the hands of the high priests — the Persian governors exercis-
ing only a general superintendence. At length the country,
once again favored, was subjected to the invasion of Alex-
ander. After the fall of Tyre, the conqueror advanced to



Chap. XI.] Antiochus the Great. 115

Gaza, and totally destroyed it. He then approached Jerusa-
lem, in fealty to Persia. The high priest made no resist-
ance, but went forth in his pontifical robes, followed by
the people in white garments, to meet the The ascend

1 . , ency of the

mighty warrior. Alexander, probably encouraged high priests;
by the prophesies of Daniel, as explained by the high priest,
did no harm to the city or nation, but offered gifts, and, as
tradition asserts, even worshiped the God of the Jews. On
the conquest of Persia, Judea came into the possession of
Laomedon, one of the generals of Alexander, b. c. 321. On
his defeat by Ptolemy, another general, to whom Egypt had
fallen as his share, one hundred thousand Jews were carried
captive to Alexandria, where they settled and learned the
Greek language. The country continued to be convulsed
by the wars between the generals of Alexander, and fell into
the hands, alternately, of the Syrian and Egyptian kings —
successors of the generals of the great conqueror.

On the establishment of the Syro-Greeian kingdom by
Seleucus, Antioch, the capital, became a great city, and the
rival of Alexandria. Syria, no longer a satrapy of Persia,
became a powerful monarchy, and Judea became a prey to
the armies of this ambitious State in its warfare with Egypt,



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