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B. C. 337. the motives that induced Alexander to invade

the dominions of Dara; and they afsign a number of ridiculous reasons for it, which are too absurd to be related : in many points, however, they agree with our historians. The success of Alexander, and the battle of Arbel *, or Arbela, are too well known to. need any further description.

Dara was afsaffinated about three hundred and thirty years before our epoch, and the Monarchy of the Caianians was transferred to the Greeks. While this family were on the throne of Persia, the light of reason, and that of liberty, which ever attends it, were spread over the other parts of the world. Harmodius and Ariftogiton flew the Tyrant of Athens, and the Lyrick Poets vied with each other in singing their praises ; while old Brutus, nearly at the same time, incited the Romans to expel their oppressors, whose vices made the very name of King detestable ; and, during the twentyseven years of the Peloponnesian war, Athens gave birth, as Ascham was fond of observing, to more able Commanders, Orators, Poets, Hiftorians, and Philosophers, than the whole earth befides could ever produce.

How long the Greeks were able to hold

* In Persian jl Lat. 35° Long. 77° 20'.

the Persian Empire in their own hands, or B.C. 397. whether they ever intended to exclude the princes of Persia from all share in the government, are points not easy to be settled with any certainty ; but, if we suppose that the fifteen kings of the Ashcanians, who reigned before the birth of Christ, sat on the throne twenty years each one with another, we shall place the rise of that family three hundred years before our epoch; which calculation will not feem much amiss, if we believe, what the Persians assure us, that the successors of Alexander reserved for themselves only Irak or Parthia and Persia, properly fo called, but resigned the more Eastern provinces to the princes of the royal family; while the descendants of Seleucus reigned in Syria. The founder of this race was * Ashac, or Arjac, whom the Greeks call Arfaces: his successors, who were styled Kings of Parthia by our Historians, reigned till about two hundred years after Christ

, and are famous for nothing bụt their Wars against the Romans, in which they were always valiant, and often fuccessful. The last Prince of the Ashcanians, or Parthians, was Ardavánt, known to us by the name of Artabanus, against whom Ardeshir

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B. C. 337. revolted, and transferred the empire to the

Sassanians.

CHAP. III.

The Sajanian Family.

A. D. 202. ARDESHIR BABEGAN*, whom our

writers call Artaxares, was the son of Salan,
a man originally in a low station of life, but
defcended from a son of Ardeshir the Long-
banded, who was disinherited in favour of
Homáï. He was surnamed Babegán from
Babeg, his grandfather, who was a Perhan
prince of eminent rank, and was so pleased
with the amiable qualities of Saffan, his shep-
herd, that he gave him his daughter in mar-
riage. Ardeshir. was bold and warlike, yet a
wise and learned prince, and is said to have
composed two excellent books, the first, a
Cárnámat, or a Commentary of his life and
actions; the second, a moral work, of which
Nushirván the Great, fome ages after, publish-
ed a second edition. These were employ-

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کارنامه In Persian

1 اردشیر بابثان *

'ments truly worthy of great Princes ; but the A. D. 202. Kings of Europe have not written many Cárnáma's, nor given many leföns of morality.

SHAPOR *, son of Ardeshir, whom we A. D. 242. call Sapores, built many cities in Perpa, and rebuilt that of Nishapór t, which the Macedonians had destroyed. The name of this city is compounded of Shapór added to Ni or Néi, a reed, because its ruins were overgrown with reeds, when Shapór first saw it. This Prince was very successful in his wars against the Roman Emperors : he reduced all Syria and Cilicia, and took Valerian prisoner, but was checked in his career by the more fortunate arms of Odenatus. In his reign Máni I, a Painter, having learned by the conversation of some Christians, that the Redeemer had promised to send a Comforter after him, formed the wild design of passing for the Paraclete ; and, as no opinions are so absurd, which

many will not embrace, he soon drew together a multitude of profelytes. Shapór was enraged at this imposture, and wished to punish the author of it; but Máni found means to escape, and fled into Eastern Tar

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A. D. 242. tary, as far as the borders of China, having

first told his followers, that he was going to heaven, and promised to meet them in a certain grot, at the end of the year. In his retreat he amused himself with painting a number of strange figures and views, which, at the year's end, he shewed to his disciples, as a work given to him by angels: he was a very ingenious artist, and had a lively fancy, so that his pictures, which were finely coloured, easily persuaded the credulous multitude, in the infancy of the art in Asia, that they were really divine; they were bound together, in a book called Erteng *, which is often alluded to by the Persian poets, one of whom, addressing himself to a great Painter, says, The point of thy pencil draws a line over the leaves of Erteng, that is, effaces them t. Máni, by a whimsical mixture, blended in his doctrine the Metempsychosis of Brahma and Vishnú †, and the two Principles of Zeratúsht, together with several tenets of the Alcoran, and even of the Gospel; yet this motley re

or

ارژنك or ارتن In Perfan * زنوی کل تو در خط حينه In Persian + ارژن

بشنو and برهه *

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