Page images

Persia, and in substituting the feet of Ali, his real or supposed ancestor, to that of Omar, the acknowledged successor of Mahomed.

Ismail had many eminent qualities, but fullied them all by his detestable cruelty. His successors, without excepting ABBAS, absurdly called the Great, were such a disgrace to human nature, that an account of their lives would be more like a description of the Tigers in some publick collection of wild beasts, than a piece of history: almost every day of their lives was distinguished by some horrid act of intemperance, lust, or murder, aggravated with some new circumstance of wickedness : their very

love was fierce and inhuman, and they burned for the slightest offences the most beautiful women of Afa, either because they declined drinking a cup of wine more than usual, or interceded for some courtier in difgrace. At length the vein of inhumanity seemed exhausted in the family, and left nothing behind it but an inconceivable stupidity.

HUSSEIN, who reigned at the opening of this century, was a weak Zealot; and, by committing the management of his kingdom to Eunuchs and pernicious Ministers, left it open to the , Savages wḥo invaded it, and assaulted him even in his Metropolis.. A bar

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

barous nation, called Afgans, or Avgans *, who inhabited the mountains between Candahar and the river Indus, rushed like a torrent into Persia, and took Ispahan after a violent siege, under the command of MAHMUD, son of MERI’EIS, who, as all Europe knows, had shaken off the Persian yoke, and governed Candahar for eight years t.

The kingdom of Persia was reduced to a deplorable state, when TAHMASP was raised to the throne, after the abdication of his father Hussein, who was soon after murdered. Mahmud, the Usurper, reigned in Ispahan, and was succeeded by his cousin Ashraf I, who added to his dominions the cities of Kom,

[blocks in formation]
[ocr errors]

+ These Afgans were, probably, the Paropamisade of the Ancients, whom Quintus Curtius describes in the seventh book of his Life of Alexander, “Ipse rex nationem

ne finitimis quidem suis satis notam, quippe nullo com. mercio colentem mutuos usûs, cum exercitu intravit. Paropamisadæ appellantur, agreste hominum genus, et « inter barbaros maximè inconditum.” Curtius is extremely confused in his Asiatick Geography; but Ptolemy rightly places this nation with India on the east, the Country of Aria or Herat on the west, part of Khorasan on the north, and Zablestán, or Moltán, on the south. The Avgans are mentioned by Ali Yezdi in his life of Tamerlane. M. de la Croix, in his maps, calls them Ouganis. I In Arabick


Yezd, and Kazvin. The inhabitants of Candahar, the ancient Paropamisus, and those of Herat or Ariana had thrown off their allegiance to the Sultan, having established separate and distinct governments : in the provinces of Ghilán, Kermán, and Pars, several pretenders arose at the head of considerable forces : the rebel Melek had made himself master of Khorasan, ordered money to be coined in his name, and wore the diadem of Persia; the Turks had subdued great part of Azarbigian or Media, and all the districts near the shore of the Caspian were in the hands of the Russians. This was not all; a number of barbarous tribes, who inhabited the forests and mountains, joined in the general commotion, and concurred to fill the whole Empire with desolation and rapine; while the new Emperor, who had scarce common sense, was driven like a fugitive from city to city, attended only by a few troops, and some Nobles as weak as himself.


[merged small][ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »