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[N. B.-The names printed in the above tables in Italics, are those of subordinate or contemporary
As an illustration of the grounds on which I suggest that there is no such glaring disparity in extravagance between the mythology and legends of the East and of the West, as should necessarily prescribe the condemnation and rejection of the former, I extract two passages, the one from Herodotus, and the other from Justinus. I specially select these extracts, as Mahanámo, the author of the Mahawanso may be considered in the character of "an historian," as regards his history of Ceylon, and that of "an epitomist," as regards his sketch of his buddhistical history of India; and he is thereby compared, respectively, with authors who are recognized as "the Father of History," and "the epitomist," in the literature of the west. In the former of these extracts, while the remarkable coincidence in the tenor of the fabulous histories of Cyrus and Chandragupta cannot possibly escape notice, it will surely not be denied that the extravagance, generally, of the former transcends that of the latter. And in Justinus' account of Sandracottus, if there be much of the marvellous which must (though not corroborated by eastern annals) be attributed to an eastern origin, it must at least be admitted that it falls short of the absurdity of the intervention of the embraces of Apollo, and of the impression of the' figure of the anchor on the thigh, had recourse to, by western authorities, to render Seleucus and his descendants illustrious.
LAWRENT'S TRANSLATION OF HERODOTUS: CLIO 107 to 130.
Astyages the son of Cyaxares succeeded to the empire. He had a daughter, to whom he gave the name of Mandane: Astyages fancied in his sleep that he saw her discharge such a quantity of urine, that it not only filled his own city, but also overflowed the whole of Asia. Having communicated his vision to the interpreters of dreams among the Magi, he was alarmed when he heard from them the particulars. So that afterwards, when Mandane was marriageable, he would not give her to any of the Medes worthy of his alliance, dreading the result of his vision; but united her to a Persian, whose name was Cambyses, whom he understood to be of a good family, and peaceable disposition, because he regarded him as greatly inferior to a Mede of the middle rank. In the first year after Mandane was married to Cambyses, Astyges beheld another vision; he thought he saw a vine spring from his daughter's womb, and that vine cover the whole of Asia: when he had had that vision, and communicated it to the interpreters of dreams, he sent for his daughter, who was then near her delivery, out of the Persian territory; and after her arrival, kept a strict watch over her, intending to destroy her offspring. For the explainers of dreams among the Magi had, from his vision, pointed out that the issue of his daughter would one day reign in his place. Astyages, accordingly, wishing to guard himself against such an event, called to him, as soon as Cyrus was born, Harpagus, a relation, the most faithful to him of the Medes, and his confident in all matters; to him he spoke as follows: Harpagus, I would have thee by no means neglect the business with which I now trust thee; do not deceive me, lest "attaching thyself to others, thou shouldst cause thy own fall. Take the infant which Mandane has brought forth, carry it to thy house, and there destroy it; and then bury it in such manner as thou wilt think proper." The other replied: "Sire, "hitherto thou hast never seen any thing like ingratitude in the man that now stands before thee; I shall take care for the "time to come also not to offend thee: therefore if it be thy pleasure that this should be done, as thou sayest, it behoves me, so far at least as is in my power, to execute it carefully." Harpagus having answered in these words, and the infant being delivered up to him, adorned in the dress of the dead, proceeded, weeping, towards his house; and at his arrival, related to his own wife the whole discourse, Astyages had held to him; whereupon the woman said to him. "What dost thou intend,
then, to do now ?" "Not according to the commands of Astyages," he replied; not even were he more mad and wrath "than he now is, would I at any rate obey his will, or lend myself to such a murder. I will not be his murderer for many 46 reasons; for the child is my own relation, and, moreover, Astyages is old, and without male issue; now should the empire
at his death descend to this daughter, whose infant he now wishes to destroy by my hands, what else would then remain "for me but the greatest danger? Nevertheless it is necessary, for my safety, that this infant should perish; but some one of "Astyages's people, and not mine, must be the executioner." He spoke thus, and immediately dispatched a messenger for one of Astyages's herdsmen, who, he knew, fed his flocks in pastures well adapted to his purpose, being situated in mountains much infested with wild beasts. His name was Mitradates, and he was married to a fellow-slave: the name of the woman with whom he lived was, in the Greek language, Cyno; in that of the Medes, Spaco, for the Medes call a bitch Spaco. The pastures where this herdsman kept the cattle were at the foot of a range of mountains, northward of Ecbatana, and towards
the black sea, for in that direction, in the neighbourhood of the Laspeires, the country of the Medes is very mountainous, lofty, and covered with wood, whereas the rest of the country is all level. The herdsman who was sent for having come accordingly with great diligence, Harpagus spoke to him thus: "Astyages commands thee to take this infant, and expose "him on the most desert of the mountains, so that he may quickly perish: he ordered me likewise to tell thee this, that if "thou dost not destroy it, or if in any manner thou contributest towards saving its life, thou shalt perish by the most cruel "death: I am also commanded to see myself the child exposed.”—The herdsman having received these orders, took up the infant, went back by the same way, and returned to his cottage. Now while he was gone to the city, it so happened that his own wife, who expected her delivery every day, brought forth at that time a child. They were both anxious on each other's account; the man being concerned for the delivery of his wife, and the woman being uneasy, as it was not usual for Harpagus to send for her husband: so that when he appeared before her at his return, the woman, seeing him thus unexpectedly, spoke to him the first, and asked, wherefore Harpagus had sent for him in such haste. "Wife, said he, when I "reached the city, I beheld and heard such things as I wish I had never seen and had never happened to our masters. The "whole house of Harpagus was filled with lamentation; terrified, I entered, and as soon as I went in, I beheld on the ground an infant, panting and weeping, adorned with gold, and a colored garment. When Harpagus saw me, he ordered me "instantly to take up the infant, carry him away, and expose him in that part of the mountains that is most infested with "wild beasts; saying that it was Astyagus himself who commanded me to do so, and threatening me with severe punishment "if I did not obey; I took up the child, supposing it belonged to one of the family, and carried it away; for I certainly "could never have imagined whose it was. Nevertheless I was astonished when I beheld the gold and richly ornamented "clothes; as I was likewise at the mourning that appeared in the house of Harpagus: but soon after, while on my road, I "received indeed a full account from the servant who conducted me out of the city, and placed the child in my hands; that "he is in truth the son of Astyages's daughter, Mandane, and of Cambyses son of Cyrus, and that Astyages commands that "he be put to death. So now here he is." At the same time that the herdsman spoke these words, he uncovered the infant, and showed it to his wife; she, seeing the body was stout and well shapen, burst into tears, and embracing the knees of her husband, besought him by all means not to expose the child. But he declared, that it was not possible to do otherwise; in as much as witnesses were to come from Harpagus to see that he had executed his orders; and if he did not do so, he would be most cruelly put to death. The woman, seeing she could not prevail upon him by that means, once more addressed him in the following words: "Since then, I cannot prevail upon thee not to expose the child, I beseech thee to "act in this manner, if it is indeed necessary that a child should be seen stretched out on the mountain: as I have myself been delivered, and have brought forth a still-born child, do thou carry that out and expose it, and let us bring up the son of Astyages's daughter, as if he were one of our own: and by that means neither canst thou be convicted of betraying our masters, nor shall we take bad counsel for ourselves, for the dead child will receive a royal burial, and the living one will not lose "his life.”—The herdsman, thinking that his wife spoke very much to the purpose, immediately did as she advised; the child that he had brought for the purpose of putting to death, he gave to his wife; and taking his own, which was dead, he placed it in the cradle in which he had brought the other; and covering it with all the ornaments of the other infant, he carried it to the most desert of the mountains, where he exposed it. On the third day of the infant's being exposed, the herdsman went to the city, leaving one of his hinds to watch over it; and coming to the house of Harpagus, declared that he was ready to show the dead body of the child. Harpagus, therefore, sent the most trusty of his guards, and upon their report had the herdsman's child buried. Thus one was buried; but the other, known afterwards by the name of Cyrus, the herdsman's wife took to herself, and brought up, giving him some other name than that of Cyrus. When this child was ten years of age, an event of the following nature, which happened to him, discovered who he was: he was, playing in the same village where the stalls were, amusing himself in the road with other lads of his own age; and the boys, in sport, accordingly elected to be king over them this youth, who commonly went by the name of the herdsman's son. He nominated some of them to be stewards of the buildings; others to be his guards; one of them to be the king's eye; to another he committed the office of bringing to him the petitions: thus assigning to each his proper duty. One of these lads, who was sharing in the sport, was a son of Artembares, a man of rank among the Medes; but as he would not perform what Cyrus had assigned him to do, the latter commanded the other boys to lay hold on him; and they obeying his orders, Cyrus handled him pretty sharply with a scourge. The other, as soon as he was liberated, complained highly of having suffered a treatment so unbecoming his rank; and going back to the city, complained to his father of the strokes he had received from Cyrus, not that he said, "from Cyrus" (for that was not yet the name by which he was known) but from the son of Astyages's herdsman. Artembares, inflamed with anger, instantly went into the presence of Astyages, taking his son
with him; he declared that he suffered indignant treatment; "Sir," said he, showing the boy's shoulders," it is thus we are insulted by thy slave, the son of a herdsman."
Astyages having heard and seen, and wishing to avenge the boy for Artembares's sake, sent for the herdsman and his son. When they were both before him, Astyages looked at the lad, and said to him, "what, then, being the son of such a father, "hast thou had the audacity to treat with this indignity the son of this the first nobleman in my court?" The youth replied as follows: "My lord, it was with justice that I behaved thus towards him for the boys of the village, of whom he "was one, in play, constituted me king over them; as I appeared to them the best adapted to the office. All the other "boys accordingly executed the orders I gave them; but this one refused to obey, and took no account of my commands, "wherefore he received punishment. If then I am on that account deserving of any chastisement, I am here before "thee ready to undergo it." While the boy was thus speaking Astyages recognized him; for the features of his face seemed to resemble his own, his answer was noble, and the time of the exposition of his daughter's child, appeared to agree with the boy's age: struck with these circumstances, he remained silent for some time. Having at last with some difficulty recovered himself, and wishing to dismiss Artembares, in order that taking the herdsman apart, he might examine him, he said: "Artembares, I will manage these matters so that neither thou nor thy sen shall have any cause to complain." In this manner he dismissed Artembares; and the servants, by the orders of Astyages, conducted Cyrus into the inner part of the palace. When the herdsman alone was left, Astyages asked him, whence he had received the boy, and who it was that had delivered him to him. The peasant replied, that he was his own child, and that the woman who had bore him was still living with him. Astyages told him that he had not taken good counsel, but wished to bring himself into great straits; at the same time that he pronounced those words, he beckoned to the guards to lay hold on him. The herdsman being taken to the rock, accordingly discovered the truth. Beginning then from the beginning, he disclosed all, speaking the truth; he next had recourse to supplications, and besought the king to forgive him. When the herdsman had confessed the truth, Astyages no longer regarded him as of any great consequence, but violently irritated with Harpagus, he commanded the guards to call him. When Harpagus appeared in his presence, Astyages put to him this question : "In what manner didst thou, Harpagus, destroy the infant born of my daughter, and which I delivered to thee?" Harpagus, seeing the herdsman in the apartment, did not recur to falsehood, lest he should be refuted and convicted; he answered therefore : Sire, when I had received the infant, I deliberated, considering within myself how I might act according to thy desire, and, "without subjecting myself to blame from thee, be a murderer neither with regard to thy daughter nor thyself; I consequently "acted in the following manner: I sent for this herdsman, and delivered to him the infant, telling him that it was thy orders "that it should be put to death: and so far, in saying that, I was not guilty of falsehood; for such were thy commands. I "delivered the infant then to him, enjoining him to expose it on a desert mountain, and remain by it on the watch so long as "it kept alive; threatening him most severely if he did not execute fully those orders. Afterwards, when this man had executed my commands, and the infant was dead, I sent the most faithful of my eunuchs, and having seen by them that "the child was no longer alive, I buried it. Thus, Sire, did matters happen in this business; and such was the fate of the child." Harpagus, accordingly confessed the truth. And Astyagus, concealing the anger which possessed him at what had taken place, begun by narrating again to Harpagus the whole affair, as he had himself heard it from the herdsman; and afterwards, when he had repeated the history to him, he ended by saying "that the youth was still alive, and that he was pleased with what had happened." "For," said he, (these being his own words) "I grieved much at what had been "done to the child; and I was not a little sensible to the reproaches of my daughter. Since, then, fortune has taken a "favorable turn, do thou send thy son to the young new comer, and attend me thyself at supper, for I intend to offer sacrifice "for the salvation of the boy, to those gods to whom that honor belongs."
Harpagus, when he had heard this discourse, adored the king, and, greatly pleased that his fault had been successful to him, as well as that he was invited to the feast in celebration of the fortunate event, went to his home. as he entered, he sent his only son, who was about thirteen years old, bidding him go to the palace of Astyages, and do whatsoever that prince should order. He himself being filled with joy, related to his wife what had happened. Astyages, when the lad arrived, killed him and cutting him into bits, roasted some of the flesh, and boiled the rest; and having it properly dressed, kept it in readiness. Afterwards when the hour of supper came, the other guests, as well as Harpagus approached; before the rest and Astyages himself, tables were placed, spread abundantly with mutton; but to Harpagus the flesh of his own son was served up, the whole of it, excepting the head and the extremities of the hands and feet; those parts were kept aside, covered up in a basket. When Harpagus seemed to have eaten enough of the food, Astyages asked him whether he was at all pleased with the feast; and Harpagus declaring that he was extremely pleased, those who had it in charge,
brought the head of his son, covered up, together with the hands and feet: and standing before him, bade him uncover and He was not take what he chose of them. Harpagus obeyed; and uncovering the basket, beheld the remains of his son. however, disturbed at the sight, but preserved his presence of mind. Astyages asked him, if he knew what animal he had eaten the flesh of; the other replied, he was aware of it, and that whatever a king might do, it was pleasing. After making this answer, he took up the remnants of the flesh, and went home, intending, I suppose, to bury all the parts of his son that he had collected.
Such was the revenge Astyages took on Harpagus. But deliberating concerning Cyrus, he called the same Magi who had interpreted his dream in the manner before mentioned; when they arrived, Astyages asked them in what manner they had interpreted his dream. The Magi, as before, answered, saying, it was decreed by fate the child should rule, if he survived and did not die first. The king replied to them in the following words "The child exists and survives; and having been "brought up in the country, the boys of the village constituted him their king; and he has completely done all the same as "those that are in reality sovereigns: for he had nominated guards, and ushers, and ministers, and all the other officers. Now "what does it appear to you these things portend?" The Magi answered: "Since the child survives, and has reigned "without any premeditated design, do thou thence take courage, and be of good cheer; as he will not now reign a second "time for even some of the oracles have ended in a frivolous accomplishment, and dreams also in the end have tended to "slight events." Astyages replied: "I myself also, Magi, am of the same opinion, that the child having been named king, "the dream is fulfilled, and I have now nothing to fear from him; nevertheless, weigh the matter well, and then give me such advice as may be safest for my own family as well as for yourselves." To this the Magi replied: "Sire, to us it is of great importance that thy government should be upheld; for if it devolves to this child, who is a Persian, it will then pass to another nation; and we, who are Medes, would become slaves, and be held in no account by the Persians, to whom "we should be as foreigners; but while thou, who art our country man, remainest king, we ourselves rule in part, and receive 'high honors at thy hands. So that, in every respect, it is our interest to watch for thy safety, and that of thy government, "and now, did we see any cause for fear, we would communicate it well to thee; but at present, thy dream having been fulfilled by a trifling event, we ourselves take courage, and exhort thee also to do the same; send this child away from before "thy eyes to the country of the Persians, and to his parents." When Astyages heard this, he was filled with joy; and calling Cyrus, he said to him: "My child, I had condemned thee on account of the vision of a vain dream, but by thy own "fortune, thou survivest; depart now, therefore, with my good wishes, for Persia, and I will send an escort with thee; when thou arrivest there, thou wilt find thy father and mother, who are very different from the herdsman, Mitradates. "and his wife."
Astyages having thus spoken, dismissed Cyrus, who, on his return to the residence of Cambyses, was received by his parents; and when they learnt who the stranger was, they embraced him with transport, as one indeed whom they had considered dead from the time of his birth. They then inquired in what manner his life was saved. The youth spoke to them, saying, that he did not before know, but had much mistaken; that on the road he had been informed of all that had happened to him; for he had thought he was the son of a herdsman of Astyages, till on the road from Media he had learnt the whole circumstance from his escorters. He stated that he had been brought up by the wife of the herdsman; this woman he was constantly praising, and Cyno was the whole subject of his discourse: his parents laid hold of this name, and in order that their son might appear to the Persians to have been more providentially preserved, they spread about the report, that when exposed, a biteh had suckled Cyrus. And thence it was that this opinion prevailed. Cyrus being arrived at man's estate, and become the most valiant and beloved of his equals in age, Harpagus, who much wished to be revenged of Astyages, sought, by sending him gifts, to court his assistance: for, being but a private individual, he did not discern any possibility of taking, by himself, vengeance on Astyages; but when he saw Cyrus growing up, he endeavoured to make him his associate, comparing the sufferings of that young prince to his own. But, before this, the following measures had already been taken by him as Astyages treated the Medes with asperity, he had communicated with all the chief men of the nation, and persuaded them that it was to their interest to proclaim Cyrus, and put an end to the reign of Astyages. This plot being concerted, and Harpagus ready he accordingly next wished to communicate his project to Cyrus, who was living in Persia; and as he had no other manner of so doing, since the roads were guarded, he contrived the following method. He prepared dexterously a hare, and ripping open its belly, without at all discomposing the hair, he placed in it a letter, in which he had written what he thought proper. He then sewed up the belly of the hare, and giving to the most trusty of his servants some nets, as if he had been a hunter, he sent him to the land of the Persians, commanding him by word of mouth at the same time he gave the hare to Cyrus, to direct him to paunch it with his own hands, and to let no one be present,