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- An Egyptian Princess, Volume 10. - 12/12 -


Herodotus. The following sentences occur amongst others: "Thus saith Darius the King: That which I have done, was done by the grace of Auramazda in every way. I fought nineteen battles after the rebellion of the kings. By the mercy of Auramazda I conquered them. I took nine kings captive. One was a Median, Gaumata by name. He lied and said: 'I am Bardiya (Bartja), the son of Cyrus.' He caused Persia to rebel."

Some distance lower down, he names the chiefs who helped him to dethrone the Magi, and in another place the inscription has these words: "Thus saith the King Darius: That which I have done was done in every way by the grace of Auramazda. Auramazda helped me, and such other gods as there be. Auramazda and the other gods gave me help, because I was not swift to anger, nor a liar, nor a violent ruler, neither I nor my kinsmen. I have shown favor unto him who helped my brethren, and I have punished severely him who was my enemy. Thou who shalt be king after me, be not merciful unto him who is a liar or a rebel, but punish him with a severe punishment. Thus saith Darius the King: Thou who shalt hereafter behold this tablet which I have written, or these pictures, destroy them not, but so long as thou shalt live preserve them, &c."

It now only remains to be told that Zopyrus, the son of Megabyzus, continued to the last the king's most faithful friend.

A courtier once showed the king a pomegranate, and asked him of what one gift of fortune he would like so many repetitions, as there were seeds in that fruit. Without a moment's hesitation Darius answered, "Of my Zopyrus."--[Plutarch]

The following story will prove that Zopyrus, on his part, well understood how to return his royal friend's kindness. After the death of Cambyses, Babylon revolted from the Persian empire. Darius besieged the city nine months in vain, and was about to raise the siege, when one day Zopyrus appeared before him bleeding, and deprived of his ears and nose, and explained that he had mutilated himself thus in order to cheat the Babylonians, who knew him well, as he had formerly been on intimate terms with their daughters. He said he wished to tell the haughty citizens, that Darius had thus disfigured him, and that he had come to them for help in revenging himself. He thought they would then place troops at his disposal, with which he intended to impose upon them by making a few successful sallies at first. His ultimate intention was to get possession of the keys, and open the Semiramis gate to his friends.

These words, which were spoken in a joking tone, contrasted so sadly with the mutilated features of his once handsome friend, that Darius wept, and when at last the almost impregnable fortress was really won by Zopyrus' stratagem, he exclaimed: "I would give a hundred Babylons, if my Zopyrus had not thus mutilated himself."

He then appointed his friend lord of the giant city, gave him its entire revenues, and honored him every year with the rarest presents. In later days he used to say that, with the exception of Cyrus, who had no equal, no man had ever performed so generous a deed as Zopyrus.

[Herod. III. 160. Among other presents Zopyrus received a gold hand-mill weighing six talents, the most honorable and distinguished gift a Persian monarch could bestow upon a subject. According to Ktesias, Megabaezus received this gift from Xerxes.]

Few rulers possessed so many self-sacrificing friends as Darius, because few understood so well how to be grateful.

When Syloson, the brother of the murdered Polykrates, came to Susa and reminded the king of his former services, Darius received him as a friend, placed ships and troops at his service, and helped him to recover Samos.

The Samians made a desperate resistance, and said, when at last they were obliged to yield: "Through Syloson we have much room in our land."

Rhodopis lived to hear of the murder of Hipparchus, the tyrant of Athens, by Harmodius and Aristogiton, and died at last in the arms of her best friends, Theopompus the Milesian and Kallias the Athenian, firm in her belief of the high calling of her countrymen.

All Naukratis mourned for her, and Kallias sent a messenger to Susa, to inform the king and Sappho of her death.

A few months later the satrap of Egypt received the following letter from the hand of the king:

"Inasmuch as we ourselves knew and honored Rhodopis, the Greek, who has lately died in Naukratis,--inasmuch as her granddaughter, as widow of the lawful heir to the Persian throne, enjoys to this day the rank and honors of a queen,--and lastly, inasmuch as I have lately taken the great-grandchild of the same Rhodopis, Parmys, the daughter of Bartja and Sappho, to be my third lawful wife, it seems to me just to grant royal honors to the ancestress of two queens. I therefore command thee to cause the ashes of Rhodopis, whom we have always esteemed as the greatest and rarest among women, to be buried in the greatest and rarest of all monuments, namely, in one of the Pyramids. The costly urn, which thou wilt receive herewith, is sent by Sappho to preserve the ashes of the deceased."

Given in the new imperial palace at Persepolis.

DARIUS, son of Hystaspes.

King.

ETEXT EDITOR'S BOOKMARKS:

A noble mind can never swim with the stream Age is inquisitive Apis the progeny of a virgin cow and a moonbeam Be not merciful unto him who is a liar or a rebel Canal to connect the Nile with the Red Sea I was not swift to anger, nor a liar, nor a violent ruler Introduced a regular system of taxation-Darius Numbers are the only certain things Resistance always brings out a man's best powers


An Egyptian Princess, Volume 10. - 12/12

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