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phrates, and her fortification of Babylon against the Medes, who had gotten many towns from the Assyrians, and amongst them Nineveh. Wherefore it were not unreasonable to think that such a woman, seeing how the empire went to decay through her brother's misgovernment, used practices to get the rule into her own hands, and afterwards, as a mother, to leave it unto her ungracious son. Other time than this, wherein Nitocris could have reigned, we do not find; but we find in Berosus, (as Josephus hath cited him,) that Niglisar, who got the kingdom from Evilmerodach, was his sister's husband, which argues this to have been the same woman. As for Labassardach the son of Niglisar, if at the end of nine months reign he were for his lewd conditions slain by the nobility, as the same Berosus reporteth, it seems that God prepared here by the way for Nebuchadnezzar's restitution, (whose term of punishment was then expired.) by raising such troubles as should make him the more desired, both of the princes and the people. I will not here use many words to confute that which Berosus hath further set down of Evilmerodach, telling us that he was slain by his sister's husband: for the plain words of scripture naming the year wherein he gave liberty to Jechonia, do plainly testify that he outlived the three or four and fortieth year of his father's reign, which was the last of bis life.
This may suffice to shew, that they who are said to have succeeded Evilmerodach in the kingdom might indeed have so done, though not when he held it in his own right. Of Balthasar, who was his son and heir, we find that he had such conditions as God permitteth to be in a king for the ruin of the people. He was from his young years of a mischievous nature, having in his father's time slain a noble young man that should have married his sister, only for spite and envy to see him kill two wild beasts in hunting, at which himself having thrown his javelin had missed them. Another great lord he had gelded, because a gentlewoman, commending his beauty, said it were a happy woman that should be his wife. Such barbarous villainies caused many
which had loved his father (as a good and gracious, though unfortunate prince) to revolt from him unto the enemy as soon as he was king. Neither do I find that he performed any thing worthy of record, but as a coward and a fool he lost all, sitting still, and not once daring to give battle to them that daily took somewhat from him; yet carelessly feasting when danger had hemmed him in on every side, and when death arrested him by the hands of those whom he had wronged in his father's life. So the end of him was base and miserable; for he died as a fool taken in unexcusable security, yet had not that happiness (such as it is) of a death free from apprehension of fear, but was terrified with a dreadful vision, which had shewed his ruin not many hours before, even whilst he was drinking in that wine which the swords of his insulting enemies drew out of him together with his latest blood. It is therefore in this place enough to say of him, that after a dishonourable reign of seventeen years, he perished like a beast, and was slain as he deserved. The rest that concerneth him in question of his time hath been spoken heretofore; in matter of his affairs, shall be handled among the acts of Cyrus, to whose story that of Balthasar is but an appendix.
SECT. I. That the Medes were chief actors in the subversion of the Baby
lonian empire. THE line of Belochus being now extinguished in Balthasar, the empire of Babylon and of Assyria was joined first to that of Media, which then was governed by Cyaxares, or Darius Medus, after whom Cyrus became lord and monarch both of Assyria and of Media itself.
Of the race of Phul Belochus there were ten kings besides himself, and of Arbaces as many are found by Metasthenes. These two provincial governors, having cut down the last branch of Ninus in Sardanapalus, divided between them the eastern empire. Cyaxares, (whom the scriptures call Darius Medus,) the last of the race of Arbaces, dying about two years after that the line of Belochus was ended in Balthasar, the dominions, as well of the conqueror as of the conquered, fell to a third family, namely, to Cyrus of the house of Achemenes, the princes of which blood reigning in Persia had formerly been dependants on the Medes, and were of as little power at home as of fame abroad in the world.
Of the family of Achemenes, and line of the Persian kings, we shall hereafter find occasion in due place to intreat.
The nation of the Medes descended from Madai the third son of Japhet; that they had kings soon after the flood, Lactantius and Diodorus have found record; for Lactantius remembereth an ancient king of the Medes called Hydaspes, and Diodore speaketh of Pharnus with his seven sons, slain by the Assyrian in the beginning of their empire.
But of these who succeeded Arbaces the first, that freed his nation from the Assyrians. I take the list and number from Eusebius, adding Darius Medus; of whom I have spoken in their proper places heretofore; and they are these: Arbaces
who reigned 28 years.
38 Darius Medus And though the Greeks ascribe the conquest of Babylon to Cyrus alone, yet the scriptures teach us that Darius was not only king of Media, and had the Persians his followers, but that the army victorious over Balthasar was his; as the Assyrian and Babylonian empire also was during his own life. For we find in Daniel that Darius of the Medes took the kingdom, being threescore and two years old: and fur:
ther, what officers it pleased him to set over the kingdom. And so was it prophesied by Isaiah long before : 8 Behold, I will stir up the Medes against them, &c. And by Jeremy, h The Lord hath raised up the spirit of the king of the Medes : for his purpose is against Babel, to destroy it. And in the eight and twentieth verse, Prepare against her the nations with the king of the Medes, the dukes thereof, the princes thereof, and all the land of his dominion. These scriptures Julius Africanus doth well open, who taking authority from Diodore, Castor, Thallus, and others, delivereth that Babylon was taken before Cyrus began to reign, which also agreeth with Strabo, where he saith, That as the Medes were subjugated by the Persians, so before that, both the Babylonians and Assyrians were mastered by the Medes. And therefore the reports of Justin and Herodotus are not to be received, who attribute the taking of Babylon to Cyrus alone.
SECT. II. By what means the empire was translated from the Medes to the
Persians. HOW the kingdom of the Medes fell into the hands of Cyrus, it is a doubt not sufficiently cleared by historians; but rather their different relations of his beginnings have bred the former opinion of those who give the conquest of Babel to the Persian only. For some there are who deny that Astyages had any other successor than Cyrus his grandchild by Mandane. Whereas Ctesias on the contrary side affirmeth, that Cyrus was no way descended from Astyages, (whom he calleth Astygas, or Apama,) but only that having vanquished him in battle, and confined him to Bactria, he married his daughter Amytis. But I find the relations of Ctesias often cited and seldom followed, and himself sometimes very justly reproved of wilful untruth.
Viginier, a diligent and learned historian of this age, produceth many probable reasons that Astyages had no such son as Cyaxares, or Darius Medus; and to confirm his opinion the more, he citeth Diodore, Justin, Strabo, Plato, Aristotle, Isocrates; and before them Castor, Thallus, and Phlegon, who do not find any such successor. Neither do Tatianus, Theophilus Antiochenus, Julius Africanus, Clemens Alexandrinus, Justin Martyr, Lactantius, Eusebius, St. Jerome, or St. Augustine, make report out of any faithful author by them read, that hath given other son or successor to Astyages than Cyrus.
& Isai. xiii. 17.
b Jer li. 11, 28.
i Lib. 16.
Yet seeing that this manner of argument, ab authoritate negative, doth never enforce consent, we may be the bolder (all this great list of noble writers by him alleged notwithstanding) to affirm, that either Astyages himself must have been Darius of the Medes, which cannot agree with his place in the course of time; or else to give him some other successor, according to Josephus and k Xenophon, the same whom Daniel calleth Darius. For it is manifest, and without dispute, that the king of the Medes commanded in chief, and was absolute lord of that conquest, Cyrus during his life being no other than the lieutenant of his army, and subject to his authority; the strength of both nations, to wit, the Medes and Persians, with other the vassals of Darius, being joined together to compound it.
But it is very certain that the honour of that great victory over Babylon was wholly given to Cyrus, who was the instrument preordained and forenamed by God himself, not only for this action, but for the delivery of bis church; a greater work in the eyes of God, than the subversion of any state or monarchy, how powerful soever.
And it may well be thought, that the soldiers employed in that service did rather ascribe the glory to him that was the best man of war, than to the Median, who was greatest in riches and power. All which also falling upon Cyrus by succession, and continuing in his posterity, did much augment the fame of his virtue, which among profane historians overgrew altogether the honour due to Cyaxares, both because he was old, and did nothing in person, as also because
k Zon. 1. 1. C. 19. Jos. Ant. 1. 10. C. 13. Xen. I. 8. Pæd.