Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

between Persia and Greece, the Athenians were led to take part in that expedition into Asia Minor, which has been already noticed, in which Sardis was burned. Then followed the invasion of Greece by Darius, in which his army was defeated, at Marathon, by Miltiades, the Athenian general.

ROME.—According to ancient traditions, which are the only authority extant for the history of Rome, at its commencement, Rome was founded, B.C. 757. It was, for the two first centuries of its existence, a monarchy, and the chief occupation of its kings and citizens, was fighting, and gradually subduing the neighbouring states, or incorporating them into their body politic by treaties. The first king was

Romulus, the founder of the city, who reigned 30 years. Having collected a number of loose persons together, all males, he procured wives for them, by inviting the neighbouring tribe, called Sabines, to a religious festival, and there directing his men to seize upon the women. This created a war, which ended in the two nations being incorporated in one. Having subdued several of the other tribes, he was killed by his senators, B. C. 717. After an interregnum, he was succeeded by

Numa Pompilius, who was of a pacific disposition, and

gave his attention chiefly to the internal regulation of his kingdom. To him succeeded

Tullus Hostilius, B.C. 660, who reigned 32 years, while Manasseh was king of Judah. In his reign was the celebrated battle between the Horatii and the Curiatii. The Albans and the Romans were at war for superiority, when it was agreed to leave the matter to the event of a battle, to be fought between three chosen men on each side. Three brothers, on each side, were chosen, when the Roman champions proved victorious. Tullus Hostilius is said, by some to have been killed by lightning, with his whole family'; by others, he is said to have been murdered by Ancus Martius, who succeeded him.

Ancus Martius came to the throne, B.C. 633, during

the reign of Josiah in Judah. He was a warlike prince, and subdued the Latins, and several other neighbouring tribes. He died, leaving two sons, the eldest only fifteen years of age; he left them to the care of Tarquin, the son of a merchant of Corinth. Tarquin took advantage of the youth and inexperience of his pupils to obtain ne rone for himself.

Tarquin came to the throne, B. C. 609, about the time that Josiah was killed by Pharaoh Necho. His reign was occupied in repelling the invasions of the neighbouring states and subduing them. He greatly strengthened and beautified the city, and constructed those celebrated aquæducts for draining and cleansing it, that were accounted among the wonders of the world. Tarquin reigned 38 years, and was assassinated in his palace by the sons of Ancus Martius, whom he had originally deprived of the kingdom. He was succeeded by

Servius Tullius, his son-in-law, B.C. 572, during the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon. He reigned 44 years. He was a politic prince, and, with much sagacity, introduced important changes into the constitution. Till his reign all Roman citizens, rich or poor, had contributed equally to the funds of the city. Servius proposed to ease the poor, by laying the burden chiefly on the rich ; but, at the same time, to give more power to the rich. This he accomplished by a dexterous distribution of the people into classes and centuries. Servius had under his care two sons of Tarquin, the former king. One of these, Tarquin, to whom he had given his daughter in marriage, formed a conspiracy to obtain the throne, in which he was at first disappointed, but was afterwards successful. Servius was murdered, it is said, at the instigation of his own daughter.

Tarquin II. surnamed the Proud, succeeded him, B.C. 529, and reigned 25 years. He proved a most despotic and cruel tyrant. At length, in consequence of an outrage committed by him upon Lucretia, a Roman lady, he was deposed, and Rome became, from

that time, a republic, B.C. 505. This was in the reign of Darius Hystaspes.

CARTHAGE had been founded by the Phænicians, on the coast of Africa, about the time of the foundation of the city of Rome, or a little before that era. Like the people from whom they sprang, the Carthaginians were a maritime people, and early became acquainted with the gold mines in Spain, from which their city acquired great wealth. Little is known of their ancient history. It appears that they were formidable by sea in the time of Cyrus and Cambyses, kings of Persia. In the year B. C. 503, which was during the reign of Darius Hystaspes, they entered into treaty with the Romans. The treaty related chiefly to matters of navigation and commerce; but from it, we learn, that the whole island of Sardinia, and part of Sicily were then subject to Carthage, and that a spirit of jealousy had already begun to manifest itself between the two republics. Till this time, the Carthaginians had paid tribute to the original African tribes for the ground on which their city stood. They now attempted to free themselves from this tribute ; but, notwithstanding their power, they did not succeed. They were obliged to conclude a peace, one of the articles of which was, that the tribute should be continued.

EIGHTH ERA.

Ezra.

A.M. 3500.-B.C. 500.

*This era finds the whole western part of Asia, from the Indus to the shores of the Archipelago, and also Egypt, under the dominion of the kings of Persia.

Profane history has now begun to assume a precise and authentic form; and many documents are still extant, besides the sacred Scriptures, which shed a clear and steady light on the affairs of men at this era.

JUDEA was now a tributary kingdom, the history of which is involved in that of Persia, and the monarchies which succeeded the Persian. We, therefore, commence this period with

PERSIA. At the conclusion of the former era, B.C. 500, Darius Hystaspes was on the throne of Persia, and we noticed his history till his preparation for a second invasion of Greece, which, however, he did not live to accomplish. He died, leaving

Xerxes, his son, as his successor. The first care of Xerxes was to prosecute the invasion of Greece, for which preparations were made by his father. To prevent the Greeks from receiving assistance from their colonies in the west, he entered into a treaty with the Carthaginians, by which they undertook to attack the Greek settlements in Sicily. He then proceeded with his army to Greece. He took the same route which Darius had taken on his invasion of Scythia, crossing the Hellespont, as he did, by a bridge of boats into Thrace, and passing along the head of the Archipelago through the southern part of Macedonia. He then turned southward towards Attica, but was withstood at the straits of Thermopilæ, (a narrow pass in the southern part of Thessaly, between the mountains and the sea,) by Leonidas, with 300 Spartans, and as many other Greeks as made up the whole number to 4000. This little company, aided by the nature of the ground, arrested the progress of the whole Persian army for two days, till a Greek betrayed it, by leading a Persian detachment across the mountains. The Greeks seeing themselves menaced with an attack on their rear,

retired, with the exception of Leonidas, and the remains of his 300 Spartans, who kept their ground till they were overpowered and cut to pieces. The Persian army then proceeded southward to Athens. The Athenians retired to their ships, and placed their wives and children, for protection, in cities on the

opposite side of the Peloponnesus, Meanwhile the Persian and Greek fleets were assembled near to one another. The Persian occupied the Athenian port of Phalerus, and the Greek feet under the command of Themistocles, the neighbouring straits of Salamis. There the Persians determined to attack them; but the narrowness of the straits rendering it impossible for their huge armament to act in concert, the Greeks contrived to throw it into confusion, and utterly destroyed it. The shattered remains of this fleet retired to the opposite shore of Asia.

Xerxes, seeing his fleet destroyed, and fearing that the Greeks would sail for the Hellespont, and interrupt his return to Asia, fled thither; and finding his bridge of boats broken by storms, was under the necessity of crossing the strait in a small fishing boat.

While Xerxes was suffering these disasters in Greece his confederates in the west were equally unsuccessful. Hamilcar, the Carthaginian general, was surprised and slain in his camp by Gelo, the Sicilian king, and his fleet and army totally destroyed.

After the departure of Xerxes for Greece, Mardonius retired with the army to Thessaly, and then returning next year, and finding the Athenians still determined not to submit, burned whatever remained of the city, and committed all manner of excesses. But the Greeks of the Peloponnesus had collected an army, and were marching towards the Isthmus of Corinth, by which they threatened his communication with Thrace and Asia, and he retired to Baotia. There the Greek army, commanded by Pausanias, king of Lacedæmon, and Aristides, the Athenian general, followed him, and came up with him near the city of Platåa ; where the Persian army was totally rou and cut to pieces, with the exception of 40,000 men, whom Artabazus, a Persian general, foreseeing how the battle was likely to

« ZurückWeiter »