Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

Artax. tated of attacking the Greeks. The Magnesians Longim. erected a splendid monument to the memory of that general in the publick square, and granted peculiar privileges and honours to his descendants. They. continued to enjoy them in Plutarch's time, that is, near six hundred years after, and his tomb was still standing.

y Atticus, in the beautiful dialogue of Cicero, entitled Brutus, refutes, in an agreeable and ingenious manner, the tragical end which some writers ascribe to Themistocles, as related above; pretending that the whole is a fiction, invented by rhetoricians, who, on the bare rumour that this great man had poisoned himself, had added all the other particulars to embellish the story, which otherwise would have been very dry and unaffecting. He appeals for this to Thucydides, that judicious historian, who was an Athenian, and almost contemporary with Themistocles. This author indeed owns, that a report had prevailed, that this general had poisoned himself; however, his opinion was, that he died a natural death, and that his friends conveyed his bones secretly to Athens, where, in Pausanias's time, his mausoleum was standing near the great harbour. This account seems much more probable than the other.

Themistocles was certainly one of the greatest men that Grecce ever produced. He had a great soul, and invincible courage, which danger even enflamed; was fired with an incredible thirst for glory, which sometimes his country's love would temper and allay, but which sometimes carried him too far; his presence of mind was such, that it immediately suggested whatever it was most necessary to act: In fine, he had a sagacity and penetration with regard to futurity, that revealed to him, in the

* Brut. n. 42, 43.

z Lib. i. p. 1.

De instantibus, ut ait Thucydides, verissimè judicabat, & de futuris callidissimè conjiciclat. Corn. Nep. in Themist. c. i.

[ocr errors]

clearest light, the most secret designs of his enemies; Artax. pointing out to him at a distance, the several mea-Longim. sures he should take to disconcert them, and inspired him with great, noble, bold, extensive views with regard to the honour of his country. The most essential qualities of the mind were however wanting in him, I mean sincerity, integrity, and fidelity: Nor was he altogether free from suspicions of avarice, which is a great blemish in such as are charged with publick affairs,

a Nevertheless, a noble sentiment as well as action are related of him, which speak a great and disinterested soul. * His daughter being asked of him in marriage, he preferred an honest poor man to a rich one of an indifferent character; and gave for his reason, That in the choice of a son-in-law, he would much rather have merit without riches, than riches without merit.

SECT. IV. The Egyptians rise against Persia, supported by the Athenians.

b

ABOUT this time the Egyptians, to free themselves from a foreign yoke which was insupportable to them, revolted from Artaxerxes, and made Inarus, prince of the Lybians, their king. They demanded aid of the Athenians, who having at that time a fleet of two hundred ships at the island of Cyprus, accepted the invitation with pleasure, and immediately set sail for Egypt; judging this a ve favourable opportunity to weaken the power of the Persians, by driving them out of so great a king

dom.

Advice being brought Artaxerxes of this revolt,

a Plut. in Themist. p. 121. b Thucyd. 1. i. p. 68. & 71, 72. Cres. c. 32-35. Diod. l. xi p. 54-59. .

• Themistocles, cùm consuleretur utrum bono viro pauperi, an minùs probato diciti filiam collocaret: EGO VERO, inquit, MALO VIRUM QUI PECUNIA EGEAT, QUAM PECUNIAM QUÆ VIRO. Cic. de Offic. 1. ii. c. 71.

VOL. III.

K

A. M. 3538.

Ant. J.C.

466.

A. M. 9545. Ant. J.C.

459.

Artax. he raised an army of three hundred thousand men, Longim. and resolved to march in person against the rebels. But his friends advising him not to venture himself. in that expedition, he gave the command of it to Achæmenes, one of his brothers. The latter being. arrived in Egypt, encamped his great army on the banks of the Nile. During this interval, the Athenians having defeated the Persian fleet, and either destroyed or taken fifty of their ships, they went again up that river, landed their forces under the command of Charitimi their general; and having joined Inarus and his Egyptians, they charged Achamenes, and defeated him in a great battle, in which that Persian general and an hundred thousand of his soldiers were slain. Those who escaped fled to Memphis, whither the conquerors pursued them, and immediately made themselves masters of two quarters of the city: But the Persians having fortified themselves in the third, called the white wall, which was the largest and strongest of the three, they were besieged in it near three years, during which they made a most vigorous defence, till they were at last delivered by the forces sent to their aid.

A. M.

3546. Ant. J.C. 458.

Artaxerxes hearing of the defeat of his army, and how much the Athenians had contributed to it; to make a diversion of their forces, and oblige them to turn their arms another way, he sent ambassadors to the Lacedæmonians, with a large sum of money, to engage them to proclaim war against the Athenians. But the Lacedæmonians having rejected the offer, their refusal did not abate his ardor, and accordingly A. M. he gave Megabysus and Artabazus the command of 3547. the forces designed against Egypt. These generals Ant J.C.immediately raised an army of three hundred thou557. sand men in Silicia and Phoenicia. They were obliged to wait till the fleet was equipped, which was not till the next year. Artabazus then took upon him Ant. J.C. the command of it, and sailed towards the Nile, 456. whilst Megabysus, at the head of the land army, marched towards Memphis. He raised the siege of

A. M.

3548.

that city, and afterwards fought Inarus. All the Artax. forces on both sides engaged in this battle, in which Longim. Inarus was entirely defeated; but the Egyptians, who had rebelled, suffered most in this slaughter.

After this defeat, Inarus, though wounded by Megabysus, retreated with the Athenians, and such Egyptians as were willing to follow him; and reach ed Biblos, a city in the island of Prosopitis, which is surrounded by two arms of the Nile, and both na vigable. The Athenians ran their flect into one of these arms, where it was secured from the attacks of the enemy, and held out a siege of a year and a half in this island.

After the battle, all the rest of Egypt submitted to the conqueror, and was re-united to the empire of Artaxerxes, except Amyrteus, who had still a small party in the fens, where he long supported himself, through the difficulty the Persians found in penetrating far enough to reduce him.

The siege of Prosopitis was still carrying on. The Persians finding that they made no advances in attacking it after the usual methods, because of the stratagems and intrepidity of the besieged, they therefore had recourse to an extraordinary expe dient, which soon produced what force had not been able to effect. They turned the course, by different canals, of the arm of the Nile in which the Athenians lay, and by that means opened themselves a passage for their whole army to enter the island. Inarus seeing that all was lost, compounded with Megabysus for himself, for all his Egyptians, and about fifty Athenians, and surrendered upon condition that their lives should be spared. The remainder of the auxiliary forces, which formed a body of six thousand men, resolved to hold out longer; and for this purpose they set fire to their ships, and drawing up in order of battle, resolved to die sword in hand, and sell their lives as dear as they could, in imitation of the Lacedæmonians, who refused to yield, and were all cut to pieces at Thermopyla. The Persians,

A. M.

3550. Ant. J.C. 454.

Artax. hearing they had taken so desperate a resolution, Longim. did not think it advisable to attack them. A peace was therefore offered them, with a promise that they should all be permitted to leave Egypt, and have free passage to their native country either by sea or land. They accepted the conditions, put the conquerors in possession of Biblos and of the whole island, and went by sea to Cyrene, where they embarked for Greece: But most of the soldiers who had served in this expedition perished in it.

But this was not the only loss the Athenians sustained on this occasion. Another fleet of fifty ships, which they sent to the aid of their besieged countrymen, sailed up one of the arms of the Nile, (just after the Athenians had surrendered) to disengage them, not knowing what had happened. But the instant they entered, the Persian fleet, which kept out at sea, followed them and attacked their rear, whilst the army discharged showers of darts upon them from the banks of the river; thus only a few ships escaped, which opened themselves a way through the enemy's fleet, and all the rest were lost. Here ended the fatal war carried on by the Athenians for six years in Egypt, which kingdom was now united again to the Persian empire, and continued so during the rest of the reign A. M. of Artaxerxes, of which this is the twentieth year. Ant. J. C. But the prisoners who were taken in this war met 454. with the most unhappy fate.

3550.

SECT. V. Inarus is delivered up to the king's mother, contrary to the articles of the treaty. The affliction of Megabysus, who revolts.

с

3556.

A. M. ARTAXERXES, after refusing to gratify the Ant.J.C. request of his mother, who for five years together had been daily importuning him to put Inarus and his Athenians into her hands, in order that she might sacrifice them to the manes of Achæmenes her son,

4.48.

$ Cles. c. xxxv-xl.

t

« VorigeDoorgaan »