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also written of him, that he so much hated Amasis the king of Egypt, who died before his arrival, that he caused his body to be drawn out of the grave, and after divers indignities used, commanded the same to be burnt, contrary to the custom both of the Egyptians and Persians. For the Egyptians used to powder their dead bodies with salt and other drugs, to the end the worms might not devour them. The y Persians durst not consume them with fire, which they esteemed as a god, and therefore feared to feed it with carrion.
The rest of Cambyses his acts. AFTER this victory obtained in Egypt, Cambyses sen an army into Cyprus, and constrained Evelthon king thereof to acknowledge him who before held that island of the Egyptians.
While Cambyses yet busied himself in Egypt, he so much detested the idolatry of that nation, as he caused the images themselves, with the temples wherein they were worshipped, to be torn down and defaced. That done, he directed a part of his army into Libya, to overturn the temple of Jupiter Ammon; but the Devil, in defence of his oratory, raised such a tempest of sand, wherewith the greatest part of that country is covered, as the Persians were therewith choked and overwhelmed.
Notwithstanding which misadventure, Herodotus and Seneca report, that disdaining to be resisted, he prepared the rest of his army, which himself meant to conduct into those parts, but that finding a beginning of those incommodities which his first-sent troop had tried, he changed his purpose. For though conquering kings have power over men, yet the elements do not obey them, according to that old English proverb; Go, saith the king; Stay, saith the tide.
After his return from the attempt of Ethiopia, he caused
Neither did the Romans ever or like for like, becanse himself had consume their dead to asbes, till the untombed the carcass of Caius Matime of Sylla dictator, who caused rius after his death. Her. 1. 3. Plin. his own to be devoured by that ele- l. 7. c. 54. Stra. and Just. l. 1. p. 87, ment, fearing the law called Talionis, 88. Her. 1. 3. Sen. 1.7.
Apis, the Egyptian bull, worshipped by that nation as God, to be slain ; a deed very commendable, had it proceeded from true zeal, and been executed as in service of Him that only is, and liveth. But soon afterwards, when in a dream it seemed unto him that Smerdis did sit in the royal throne of Persia, (which apparition was verified in Smerdis the Magus,) he gave it in charge to his favourite Praxaspes, to murder Smerdis his brother. And having married his own sisters, contrary to the Persian laws, he committed a most causeless and most detestable murder upon the one of them called Meroe, then by himself with child, because she bewailed the death of her brother Smerdis. I find it z written of this Cambyses, that because his predecessors observed religiously the ordinances of their empire, he assembled his judges, and inquired of them, whether there were any law among the Persians that did permit the brother to marry his own sister, it being his own intent so to do: the judges (who had always either laws or distinctions in store to satisfy kings and times) made answer, That there was not any thing written allowing any such conjunction, but they notwithstanding found it in their customs, that it was always
left to the will of the Persian kings to do what best pleased themselves, and so, as Nauclerus terms it, invenerunt occasionem ; that is as much to say, as the judges found a shift to please the king, and secure themselves. And yet, where it concerned not the king's private satisfaction, he caused Sisamnus, one of his judges, and perchance one of those which favoured his incestuous match, to be flayed alive for an unjust judgment given, and the same his hide to be hung up over the judgment-seat. After which, bestowing the father's office on his son, he willed him to remember that the same partiality deserved the same punishment.
Among other his cruelties, that which he exercised against the son of his beloved Praxaspes was very strange and ungrateful. For when he desired to be truly informed by him what the Persians thought of his conditions, Praxaspes an
· Her. p. 89, 90.
swered, That his virtues were followed with abundant praise from all men; only it was by many observed, that he took more than usual delight in the taste of wine. With which taxation inflamed, he used this replication: And are the Persians double-tongued, who also tell me, that I have in all things excelled my father Cyrus? Thou, Praxaspes, shalt then witness, whether in this report they have done me right; for if at the first shot I pierce thy son's heart with an arrow, then is it false that hath been spoken; but if I miss the mark, I am then pleased that the same be accounted true, and my subjects believed. This being spoken, he directed an arrow towards the innocent child, who falling dead with the stroke, Cambyses commanded his body to be opened ; and his heart being broached on the arrow, this monstrous tyrant, greatly rejoicing, shewed it to the father, with this saying instead of an epitaph : “Now, Praxaspes, thou mayest “ resolve thyself that I have not lost my wits with wine, “ but the Persians theirs, who make such report."
Many other barbarous cruelties he exercised, till at the last, according to the phrase of our law, he became felon de soy. For when he was informed that Patizithes and Smerdis the magi, (Cedrenus writeth them Sphendanes and Cimerdius,) ministers of his domestical affairs, taking advantage of the great resemblance between Smerdis the king's brother and Smerdis the magus, possessed themselves of the empire, he made all haste towards Persia ; and in mounting hastily on horseback, his sword dissheathing pierced his own thigh, wherewith deadly wounded, falling into an overlate and remediless repentance of the slaughter which he had executed upon his own brother, he soon after gave up his wicked ghost, when he had reigned eight years, accounting therein those seven months in which the magi governed while he was absent.
lo Cambyses the male line of Cyrus failed. For he had no issue either by Atossa or Meroe; yet a Zonaras out of Jerome gives him a daughter called Pantaptes, and a son called Orontes; who being drowned in the river Ophites by
* Zon. Com. 2. p. 117. RALEGH, VOL. III.
Antioch, the same was afterwards, in memory of the prince's death, called Orontes.
He built the city of Babylon in Egypt, in the place where Latopolis was formerly seated, and that of Meroe in the island of Nilus, calling it by the name of his sister Meroe.
SECT. IV. of the interregnum between Cambyses and Darius. CYRUS and his two sons being now dead, and the kingdom in the possession of one of the magi, the counterfeit of Smerdis, the princes, or satrapas, or provincial governors of the empire, (to wit, Otanes, Intaphernes, Gobrias, Megabysus, Aspathines, Hidarnes, and Darius, who were all descended from Achemenes the first Persian king,) having discovered the fraud of this imposture, joined their forces together, surprised and rooted out the conspirator with his companions and assistants. In which action (saith Justin) Intaphernes and Aspathines were slain ; but Herodotus otherwise, that they were only wounded; for he avoweth that all the seven princes were present at the election following
For the empire being now without a governor, these princes grew into consultation how the same might be ordered from thenceforth. Otanes (one of the seven) did not fancy any election of kings, but that the nobility and cities should confederate, and by just laws defend their liberty in equality, giving divers reasons for his opinion, being, as it seemed, greatly terrified by the cruelties of Cambyses; as first, that it was not safe to give all power to any one, seeing greatness itself, even in good men, doth often infect the mind with many vices, and that liberty and freedom in all things is most apt to insult, and to commit all manner of wicked outrage. Again, that tyrants do commonly use the services of wicked men, and favour them most; they usurp upon the laws of their country, take other men's wives by force, and destroy whom they please without judgment.
Megabysus was of another opinion, affirming that the tyranny of a multitude was thrice more intolerable than that of one. For the multitude do all things without judgment, run into business and affairs with precipitation, like raging and overbearing floods.
He therefore thought it safest to make election of a few, and those of the best, wisest, and most virtuous, because it is ever found that excellent counsels are ever had from excellent men.
Darius gave the third judgment, who persuaded the creation of a king, because even among few diuturnity of concord is seldom found, and in great empires it doth ever happen, that the discord of many rulers hath enforced the election of one supreme. It were therefore, saith Darius, far safer to observe the laws of our country, by which kingly government hath been ordained.
The other four princes adhered to Darius, and agreed to continue the same imperial government by God established and made prosperous. And to avoid partiality, it was accorded that the morning following these seven princes should mount on horseback, and on him the kingdom should be conferred, whose horse, after the sun rising, should first neigh or bray. b In the evening after this appointment was made, it is said that Darius consulted with the master of his horse, Ebares, who, in the suburbs of the city, when the election was resolved of, caused the same horse, whereon in the morning Darius was mounted, to cover a mare, who, as soon as he came into the same place, was the first horse that brayed. Whereupon the other six princes descended from their horses, and acknowledged Darius for their lord and king
Plato, in the third of his laws, affirmeth, that in memory of the seven princes, whereof Darius himself was one, that delivered the empire from the usurpation of the magi, he divided the whole into seyen governments ; Herodotus saith into twenty satrapies.
b Her. 1. 3. p. 100, 101.