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No. XXXI.—FEBRUARY, 1852.
The Editor requests the particular attention of his Sub-
PUBLISHED BY J. BAPTIST, BISHOP'S COLLEGE PHESS.
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I have used many more judicious and more searching eyes than mine own: and therefore am in good hope that, though the musick I have made be but dull and flat, and even downright plainsong, even curious and criticall eares shall discover no discord in it.
It was stated in the article on Nineveh, in the last number of this Magazine, that that city was destroyed by the Medes and Babylonians B. C. 606. The alliance of these two nations lasted but a short time, and was entirely dissolved by Cyrus the Great in B. C. 559, at the Battle of Pasargadae, and a new Empire, called henceforth the Persian Empire, and comprising Media, Persia, Assyria, Babylonia, Asia Minor, Syria, Phoenicia, and Palestine, founded on the ruins. There does not seem to have been any capital city to this vast Empire: three royal residences are mentioned, Babylon, Susa, and Ecbatana, but there is no mention of Persepolis.
It is almost certain that Persepolis did not exist,—at any rate not in the magnificent form which it subsequently assumed,—in the time of Cyrus. No mention is made of such a place; Cyrus was not buried there; and there are no traces of an antiquity so remote as his time. Till of late years, the general- opinion was that Cyrus was the founder of Persepolis, but the recent researches in the cuneiform inscriptions have led M. Lassen and Major Rawlinson to conclude that the great platform on which the city was built, and the Chehel Minar (the 40 pillars), and the building on the third terrace behind the Chehel Minar were constructed by Darius, that is, about 100 years after the total destruction of Nineveh and the Assyrian Empire. The other chief builder of Persepolis was, as is proved by inscriptions on the remains, Xerxes, the son and successor of Darius.
The plan on which we propose to proceed in this article, is to give a hasty sketch from the writings of the Greek Historians, of what we already knew of Persian History before these remains were discovered, and then to give an account of some of the remains themselves, chiefly those of Persepolis, Murghab, Naksh-i-Rustam, and Behistan; from which it will be seen how much additional knowledge has been gained, on this interesting subject, from the late researches.
The commencement of the Persian Empire is to be dated from the revolt of the Persians from the Medes. The manner in which this revolt began, as related by Herodotus, though it has the appearance of being legendary, need not be entirely disbelieved. The story tells us how Cyrus gave out that he had received authority from the King of the Medes to act as general over the different tribes of the Empire. They readily acquiesced in the supposed order of their king, and Cyrus bade them attend him on an occasion which he appointed. When they came to receive his commands, he took them into a field covered with thistles, and ordered them to clear it. The task was a long and difficult one, but they nevertheless performed it. On the next day Cyrus invited them to a feast, and took care to make them as happy with mirth and good cheer as they had been miserable the day before from poor fare and hard work. When the feast was concluded and they had expressed their sense of the striking contrast between the two states of life to which Cyrus had introduced them, he is reported to have said, "Men of Persia, thus it is with you: those who are willing to obey me, a thousand good things await, bearing in their train no toil befitting slaves: those who are not willing to obey me, innumerable labours worse than those of yesterday will attend. Freedom follows where I lead, and Providence has designed me to bring these good things into your hands."
On this stirring appeal, they readily attached themselves to the fortunes of Cyrus, and aided him in throwing off the galling yoke of the Medes. After a few minor engagements, their efforts were crowned with success at the battle of Pasargadae, in B. C. 559. Cyrus, being now at the head of a new Empire, carried his arms westward, and conquered first of all the kingdom of- Lydia under Croesus. It seems strange that the Persian conquest of Asia Minor should have preceded that of the Assyrian empire, which then comprised all the countries westward of the Tigris as far as