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when he did so. These orders were accordingly executed; and Cyrus receiving the hare, ripped it up, and finding the letter which was contained in it, he took it and read. The letter said as follows: "Son of Cambyses, the gods watch over thee; for otherwise never wouldst thou have had such good fortune. Do thou now take vengeance on Astyages thy murderer ; "for, according to his intention, thou wouldst have perished, but through the gods and me thou survivest. I presume thou "hast long since learnt all, both what was done with regard to thyself and what I have suffered at the hands of Astyages, "because I did not put thee to death, but delivered thee to the herdsman. If thou choose now to listen to my counsel, thou "shalt rule over all the land that Astyages governs. Prevail on the Persians to rebel, and then march against the Medes; "and whether I myself am named by Astyages to lead the army against thee, or any other chief men among the Medes, "thou wilt be successful, for they will be the first to withdraw from him, and going to thy side, will do their endeavours to "destroy Astyages. Be certain, then, that here at least all is prepared; do as I tell thee, and do it quickly."
When Cyrus had received this intelligence, he considered which would be the most prudent manner of prevailing on the Persians to detach themselves. After some deliberation, he devised the following, as the most expedient, and acted accordingly. He wrote down on a letter what he had determined, and convened an assembly of the Persians; then opening the letter, and reading it out, he declared that Astyages appointed him commander of the Persians. "Now, therefore," continued he, “men of Persia, I propose to you to come hither, each with a bill." Such was the proposal of Cyrus. There are several tribes of the Persians, certain of which Cyrus assembled, and persuaded to separate from the Medes; they were the following, on which all the rest of the Persians depend; to wit, the Pasargadoe, the Maraphii, the Maspii: of these the Pasargadoe are the principal, of which the Acharmenidoe, from whence spring the royal family of the Persedoe, are a branch; the following likewise are others of the Persian tribes: the Panthialaei, Derusiaei, Germani, all of which are husbandmen; the rest of the tribes, namely, the Dai, Mardi, Dropici, Sagartii, are nomades. When all were come, bearing the abovementioned instrument, there being a certain portion of the Persian territory extending from about eighteen to twenty stadia, overrun with brambles, Cyrus commanded them to clear that space in a day. When the Persians had completed the imposed task, he next directed them to meet on the morrow after they had washed. Meanwhile Cyrus having collected in one place all the goats, sheep, and beasts of his father, killed them, and prepared them, intending to feast the army of the Persians withal, and with wine, and most delicate dishes of meal. On the following day, when the Persians were arrived, he desired them to stretch themselves on the green sward, and feasted them. When they afterwards arose from their repast, Cyrus asked them which was most grateful to them, whether the present fare, or that which they had the day before. The men said, that there was a great difference between the two; since, on the preceding day, they had experienced every evil, while on the present they had experienced every thing that was good. Cyrus laying hold of this answer, disclosed the whole of his project, saying. "Men of Persia! thus is it with you. if you determine to obey me, these and very many sweets more are yours, without being exposed to any slavish toil: but, on the other hand, if you determine not to obey me, toils "beyond number, and like to that of yesterday, are your share. Follow me, therefore, and be free: for, with regard to "myself, it seems as if I were by divine providence born to place those advantages within your grasp; with regard to yourselves, I hold you not inferior to the men of Media, either in war or in any other respect. Things being thus, rescue "yourself as soon as possible from the bonds of Astyages."
The Persians, therefore, who, even long since, had held it a disgrace to be kept under by the Medes, having now a leader, prepared joyfully to assert their freedom. When Astyages learnt what Cyrus was doing, he sent a messenger to summon him; but Cyrus commanded the messenger to report back in answer, that he should be with him, sooner than Astyages himself would wish. When Astyages heard this, he put all the Medes under arms; and, as if he had been reft of his senses, nominated Harpagus general over them, forgetting the injury he had done him. When the Medes, thus embodied, engaged with the Persians, some of them, all indeed to whom the project had not been communicated, fought; but of the rest, some passed over to the Persians, while the greater part acted designedly as cowards, and took to flight. The Median army being thus disgracefully routed, when Astyages was informed of it, he exclaimed, threatening "No! Cyrus shall not exult, at lexst at so cheap a rate." Having said these words, he first impaled the interpreters of dreams among the Magi, who had persuaded him to send Cyrus away: he next put under arms all the Medes that were left in the city, both young and old. these he had out, and falling in with the Persians, was defeated. Astyages himself was taken prisoner and lost all the Medes that he had led to the field Astyages being now a prisoner, Harpagus presented himself before him, exulting over and jeering the captive, he said to him many very bitter things, but in particular, with regard to the repast at which th» prince had feasted him on the flesh of his son, he asked him, "What he thought of his slavery, after having been a ka 27The captive, casting a look upon him, asked in return whether he attributed to himself the action of Cyrus Harpaga
replied, that, since it was he who had written to counsel it to Cyrus, the deed might justly be regarded as his own. Astyages then proved to him by his words, that he was the most silly and iniquitous of men: the most silly, since, at least, if the "present events had in truth been brought about by his means, he had given up to another the power which belonged to "himself of becoming a sovereign: the most iniquitous, inasmuch as, on account of that repast, he had reduced the Medes
to thraldom; for if it was indeed absolutely necessary that the supreme power should be transferred to some other person, "and he himself should not keep it, it would have been more just to have given that advantage to some one of the Medes, "rather than to any of the Persians: whereas the Medes, who were not guilty of the injury he complained of, were now "from masters made servants; while the Persians, who before were servants, were now made masters."
Thus, therefore, Astyages having reigned five and thirty years, was deprived of the sovereign power; and in consequence of his cruelty, the Medes submitted to the Persians, after ruling over that part of Asia, that is above the Halys for one hundred and twenty eight years, not including the time that the Scythians governed. It is true, that in the sequel they repented of having so acted, and revolted from Darius; but after their defection, they were once more subjugated, being defeated in a battle. The Persians, together with Cyrus, having then shaken off the yoke of the Medes under the reign of Astyages, possessed from that time the government of Asia. With respect to Astyages, Cyrus, without doing him any other harm, detained him near himself, till such time as he died. Cyrus, accordingly, having been thus born and educated, attained the throne; and as it has before been related by me, subsequently to those events, conquered Croesus, who first began injustice against him; and having subdued that prince, thus became master of the whole of Asia.
JUSTINUS L. XV. C. 4.
Previous to the actual commencement of the war between Ptolemy and his allies against Antigonus, there was added a new enemy to the latter in the person of Seleucus, who made a sudden descent from Asia proper; whose origin was as remarkable as his valour was illustrious. His mother Laodice who had been married to Antiochus, a distinguished Officer among the generals of Philip, dreamed that she had been compressed in the embraces of Apollo, that she had become pregnant, had received from the God as the price of her favors, a ring set with a gem, upon which an anchor was engraven, and that she had been ordered to bestow the gift upon the son whom she should bring forth. What rendered this dream remarkable was that on the following day, there was found on the bed a ring with the aforesaid impression, and that there was the figure of an anchor upon the thigh of Seleucus from the very birth of the infant. Wherefore when Seleucus was proceeding with Alexander the great upon the Persian expedition, Laodice, having made him acquainted with his origin, presented the ring to him.
And he, after Alexander's death, having become sovereign of the east, founded a city, and perpetuated therein the memory of his double procession,-for he not only called the city Antiochia after the name of his father Antiochus, but also dedicated to Apollo the plains which were in its vicinity.
An evidence of his extraordinary nativity remained even to posterity, his sons and grand children having the figure of an anchor upon their thighs, as a natural mark of the source from which they sprung.
After the subdivision of the Macedonian empire Seleucus engaged in many wars in the east.
He first took Babylon, and then his force being augmented by victory, he conquered the Bactriani; subsequently he passed on into India, whose inhabitants, as if the yoke of slavery had been flung from their necks upon the death of Alexander, had put to death the præfects whom he had nominated.
One Sandracottus was the author of that freedom; but as soon as he had become victorious he converted the name of liberty into slavery; for seizing the throne, he oppressed by his individual sway the nation whose freedom from external domination he had achieved. He was descended of an humble stock, but it was by the all powerful influence of the Deity he had been propelled to supremacy. For having been ordered by Alexander to be put to death for his insolence to that monarch, he sought to secure his safety by a precepitate flight. When overtaken by weariness and sleep he had lain down to repose himself, a lion of immense size came up to him as he slept, and licked away with his tongue the sweat that was dripping from him, and then fawningly left him completely awake. Being by this omen first led to entertain the hope of reigning, he drew together a band of robbers, and courted the support of the Indians to a change of dynasty.
At a later period, as he was projecting hostilities against the præfects of Alexander's, a wild elephant of prodigious bulk presented itself of its own accord before him, and with the most subdued docility received him upon its back, and he became the leader and a very distinguished combatant in the war. By such a tenure of rule it was that Sandracottus acquired India, at the time when Seleucus was laying the foundations of his future greatness; and the latter, having concluded a league with him, and settled his affairs in the east, came down and joined the war against Antigonus.
A statement of the contents of the Páli Buddhistical scriptures, entitled the PITAKATTAYA; or THREE PITAKAS; specifying also the number of the Talipot leaves on which they are inscribed.
consists of the following sections.
191 leaves of 7 and 8 lines on each side, each leaf 1 foot 10 inches long.
154 leaves of 9 and
10 lines on each side, each leaf 1 foot 9 inches long.
consists of the following sections.
72 leaves of 10 lines on each side, each leaf 2 feet 4 inches long.
28 leaves of 8 lines on each side, each leaf 2 feet 4 inches long.
consists of the following sections.
Dighanikayo- 292 leaves of 8 lines each side, each leaf 1 foot 10 inches long. Majjhimanikάyo— 432 leaves of 8 and 9 lines each side, each leaf 1 foot 11 inches long. Sanyuttakanikάyo-351 leaves of 8 and 9 lines each side, each leaf 2 feet 2 inches long. 654 leaves of 8 and 9 lines each side, each leaf 1 foot 10 inches long. is composed of 15 books; viz..
4 leaves of 8 lines each side, 2 feet 4 inches long. (Burmese character).
48 leaves of 9 lines each side, 3 feet.
31 leaves of 8 lines each side, each leaf 1 foot 9 inches long.
40 leaves of 9 lines each side, each leaf 2 feet.
158 leaves of 7 and 8 lines each side, each leaf 1 foot 9 inches long.
The commentary is intermixed with the text, and in that form it is a voluminous work of
not ascertained yet.
Patisambhidań- 220 leaves of 8 lines on each side, each leaf 1 foot 11 inches long.
NOTE. Some of the above books are not to be obtained in Kandy, and others only in an incomplete form. This statement is partly framed from the records of the Burmese fraternities in the maritime provinces.
PROFESSOR WILSON'S NOTES ON THE MUDRA RA'KSHASA.
It may not here be out of place to offer a few observations on the identification of Chandragupta and SANDROCOTTUS. It is the only point on which we can rest with any thing like confidence in the history of the Hindus, and is therefore of vital importance in all our attempts to reduce the reigns of their kings to a rational and consistent chronology. It is well worthy therefore of careful examination, and it is the more deserving of scrutiny, as it has been discredited by rather hasty verification and very erroneous details.
Sir William Jones first discovered the resemblance of the names, and concluded CHANDRAGUPTA to be one with SANDROCOTTUS. (As. Res. vol. iv. p. 11.) He was, however, imperfectly acquainted with his authorities, as he cites "a beautiful poem" by Somadeva, and a tragedy called the coronation of Chandra, for the history of this prince. By the first is no doubt intended the large collection of tales by Somabhatta, the Vrihat Katha, in which the story of NANDA'S murder occurs the second is, in all probability, the play that follows, and which begins after CHANDRAGUPTA's elevation to the throne. In the fifth volume of the Researches the subject was resumed by the late Colonel Wilford, and the story of CHANDRAGUPTA is there told at considerable length, and with some accessions which can scarcely be considered authentic. He states also that the Mudrá Rákshasa consists of two parts, of which one may be called the coronation of CHANDRAGUpta, and the second his reconciliation with RAKSHASA, the minister of his father. The latter is accurately enough described, but it may be doubted whether the former exists.
Colonel Wilford was right also in observing that the story is briefly related in the Vishnu Purána and Bhúgavat, and in the Vrihat Kathá; but when he adds, that it is told in a lexicon called the Kámandaki he has been led into error. The Kámandaki is a work on Niti, or Polity, and does not contain the story of NANDA and CHANDRAGUPTA. The author merely alludes to it in an honorific verse, which he addresses to CHANAKYA as the founder of political science, the Machiavel of India.
The birth of NANDA and of CHANDRAGUPTA, and the circumstances of NANDA's death, as given in Colonel Wilford's account, are not alluded to in the play, the Mudrá Rákshasa, from which the whole is professedly taken, but they agree generally with the Vrihat Katha and with popular versions of the story. From some of these, perhaps, the king of Vikatpalli, Chandra Dás, may have been derived, but he looks very like an amplification of Justin's account of the youthful adventures of Sandrocottus. The proceedings of CHANDRAGUFTA and CHANAKYA upon NANDA's death correspond tolerably well with what we learn from the drama, but the manner in which the catastrophe is brought about (p. 268) is strangely misrepresented. The account was no doubt compiled for the translator by his pundit, and it is therefore but indifferent authority.
It does not appear that Colonel Wilford had investigated the drama himself, even when he published his second account of the story of CHANDRAGUPTA (As. Res. vol. ix. p. 93), for he continues to quote the Mudrá Rakshasa for various matters which it does not contain. Of these, the adventures of the king of Vikatpalli, and the employment of the Greek troops, are alone of any consequence, as they would mislead us into a supposition, that a much greater resemblance exists between the Grecian and Hindu histories than is actually the case.
Discarding, therefore, these accounts, and laying aside the marvellous part of the story, I shall endeavour, from the Vishnu and Bhagavat Puránas, from a popular version of the narrative as it runs in the south of India, from the Vrihat Katha,* and from the play, to give what appear to be the genuine circumstances of CHANDRAGUPTA's elevation to the throne of Palibothra.
A race of kings denominated Saisunagas, from Sisunaga the first of the dynasty, reigned in Magadhá, or Behar: their capital was Pátaliputra, and the last of them was named NANDA or MAHAPADMA NANDA. He was the son of a woman of the Súdra caste, and was hence, agreeably to Hindu law, regarded as a Súdra himself. He was a powerful and ambitious prince, but cruel and avaricious, by which defects, as well as by his inferiority of birth, he probably provoked the animosity of the Brahmans. He had by one wife eight sons, who with their father were known as the nine NANDAS; and, according to the popular tradition, he had by a wife of low extraction, called Murá, another son named CHANDRAGUPTA.
* For the gratification of those who may wish to see the story as it occurs in these original sources, translations are subjoined; and it is rather important to add, that in no other Purána has the story been found, although most of the principal works of this class have been carefully examined. (Note by Prof. W.)
This last circumstance is not stated in the Puranas nor Vrihat Katha, and rests therefore on rather questionable authority; at the same time it is very generally asserted, and is corroborated by the name Maurya, one of CHANDRAGUPTA'S denominations, which is explained by the commentator on the Vishnu Purána to be a patronymic formative, signifying the son of Murá. It also appears from the play, that CHANDRAGUPTA was a member of the same family as NANDA, although it is not there stated that he was NANDA's son.
But whatever might have been the origin of this prince, it is very likely that he was made the instrument of the insubordination of the Brahmans, who having effected the destruction of NANDA and his sons, raised CHANDRAGUPTA, whilst yet a youth, to the throne. In this they were aided by a prince from the north of India, to whom they promised an accession of territory as the price of his alliance. The execution of the treaty was evaded, very possibly by his assassination, and to revenge his father's murder, his son led a mingled host against Magadhá, containing amongst other troops, Yavanas, whom we may be permitted to consider as Greeks. The storm was averted, however, by jealousies and quarrels amongst the confederates. The army dispersed, and MALAYAKETU, the invader, returned, baffled and humbled, to his own country. CHANDRAGUPTA reigned twenty-four years, and left the kingdom to his son. We have now to see how far the classical writers agree with these details.
The name is an obvious coincidence. Sandracottus and CHANDRAGUPTA can scarcely be considered different appellations. But the similarity is no doubt still closer. Athenæus, as first noticed by Wilford (As. Res. vol. v. 262.) and subsequently by Schlegel (Indische Bibliothek), writes the name, Sandracoptus, and its other form, although more common, is very possibly a mere error of the transcriber. As to the Andracottus of Plutarch, the difference is more apparent than real, the initial sibilant being often dropped in Greek proper names.
This name is, however, not the only coincidence in the denomination that may be traced. We find in the play that CHANDRAGUPTA is often Chandra simply, or the moon, of which Chandramas is a synonime; and accordingly we find in Diodorus Siculus, the king of the Gangarida, whose power alarms the Macedonian, is there named Xandrames. The Aggramen of Quintus Curtius is merely a blundering perversion of this appellation.
There are other names of the prince, the sense of which, though not their sound, may be discovered in classical writers. These are V'rishala, and perhaps Maurya. The first unquestionably implies a man of the fourth or servile caste; the latter is said by Wilford to be explained, in the Játi Viveka, the offspring of a barber and a Súdra woman, or of a barber and a female slave. (As. Res. vol. v. p. 285.) It is most usually stated, however, to mean the offspring of Murú, as already observed, and the word does not occur in any of the vocabularies in the sense attached to it by Col. Wilford. It is sufficient, however, to observe, that the term Vrishala, and frequent expressions in the drama, establish the inferior origin of CHANDRAGUPTA, a circumstance which is stated of the king of the Gangaride at the time of Alexander's invasion, by Diodorus Siculus, Quintus Curtius, and Plutarch.
According to the two former of these writers, Xandrames, or Chandramas, was contemporary with Alexander. They add, that he was the son of the queen by an intrigue with a barber, and that his father being raised to honour and the king's favour, compassed his benefactor's death, by which he paved the way for the sovereignty of his own son, the ruling prince. We have no indication of these events in the Hindu writers, and CHANDRAGUPTA, as has been noticed, is usually regarded as the son of NANDA, or at least a relative. It may be observed that his predecessors were Súdras, and the character given to MAHAPADMA NANDA in the Vishnu Purána, agrees well enough with the general tenor of the classical accounts, as to his being of low origin and estimation, although an active and powerful prince. If NANDA be the monarch alluded to, there has been some error in the name; but, in either case, we have a general concidence in the private history of the monarch of the Gangarida, as related by the writers of the east or west.
If the monarch of Behar at the time of Alexander's invasion was NANDA, it is then possible that CHANDRAGU PLA, whilst seeking, as the Hindus declare, the support of foreign powers to the north and north-west of India, may have visited Alexander, as asserted by Plutarch and Justin. We cannot, however, attach any credit to the marvellous part of the story
* Colonel Tod considers Maurya a probable interpolation for Mori, a branch of the Pramára tribe of Rajputs, who in the eighth century occupied Chitore. He observes also, that Chandragupta in the Puránas is made a descendant of Sehesnag of the Takshak tribe, of which last no other mention has been found, whilst instead of Sehesnag the word 19 Sisunaga; and with respect to the fact of the princes belonging to the Pramára tribe no authority is cited. Colonel Tod, like the late Col. Wilford, is sparing of those specific references, which in all debattable points are indispensable See Transactions Royal Asiatic Society, vol. i. p. 211. Also, Account of Rájasthan, p. 53