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monument of this reign, of a single block of granite (seo Fig. 168). It measures about twenty-five feet high by fifteen wide, and is mounted on a
base which raises it fifteen feet
(37) PSAMMENITUS succeeded his father Amasis on the Herodotus, throne, and in the difficult lib. iii. 10. task of defending Egypt against Cambyses. He encamped with his Egyptian army and Greek mercenaries at the Pelusiac mouth of the river, to await the approach of the Persians, who, having made their way through Arabia, halted in the neighbourhood in preparation of battle. While the two armies were in sight of one another the Greeks learned, as they expected, that the deserter Phanes Fig. 168. was at the head of a body of the Persians; so they led forth his sons before the camp, and had the cruelty to put them to death in the sight of their father; and mixing their blood with wine and water, the whole of the Greek mercenaries drank of it. On this the two armies joined in battle; and though many at various times have been fought under the walls of Pelusium, between the Egyptians and their invaders, none was ever so important as this. After a long and hard-fought day the Egyptians were driven from the field, and they fled in disorder towards Memphis. A large number of each army were slain, and their bodies were piled up in two heaps; and when Herodotus afterwards visited the spot, the people pointed out to him the difference between the strong skulls of the Egyptians and those of the Persians, which were weaker because their heads had always been covered with thickly folded turbans.
(38) After this victory Cambyses marched towards Memphis, as being the strongest city in Egypt, and the one whose surrender would be followed by the rest of the kingdom. He sent forward a messenger up the river by a vessel of Mitylene to invite the Egyptians to open their
gates; but, in violation both of the laws of humanity and of the custom of war, they put the Persian messenger to death and sunk the ship, with its crew of two hundred men. Cambyses therefore brought up his army and laid siege to Memphis in due form. The city did not long hold out, though garrisoned by the whole force that Psammenitus could command after his overthrow at Pelusium, and he surrendered to Cambyses within six months of his coming to the throne. On the tenth day after the lib. iii. 14. citadel was taken, Cambyses made the conquered king, with his nobles, sit in mock state at the city gate, while his daughter and the maidens of the chief Egyptian families were forced to carry pitchers for water in the dress of slaves; and his son, and two thousand other young men of the same age, were led forth to be put to death, as the Persian_judges had ordered that ten Egyptians should die for every Persian that had been drowned in the ship of Mitylene. The unhappy Psammenitus bore these misfortunes in silent grief; but, on seeing an old man, who had been his friend, asking alms of the soldiers like a common beggar, he burst into tears. He had commanded his feelings at the death of his son, at his daughter's and his own disgrace, but at the unlooked-for grief of his friend in poverty he gave way to weeping. On the fall of the capital the conqueror met with no further resistance. The upper class, when defeated, received no support from the mass of the people; a nation is seldom strong when divided into two castes.
(39) At Memphis Cambyses received messengers from the neighbouring Libyans, from Barca, and from Cyrene, who brought gifts and promised submission without resistance. The offerings of the Libyans were graciously received, but the five hundred pounds of silver brought by the Cyrenæans were ordered to be given to the soldiers as unworthy of the king's acceptance. Cambyses then went to Sais, and took possession of the palace of Amasis. There he ordered the late king's embalmed body to be brought out of the tomb and flogged and insulted; and finding that the mummy was too strong to be easily broken, he had it burnt, as much in contempt of the opinions of the fire-worshipping Persians, as of the conquered Egyptians. Psammenitus himself was not long allowed to live. Had he submitted quietly to his altered lot, it is
possible that Cambyses, according to the Persian custom, might have made him melek or satrap of the country which had so lately been his kingdom; but Psammenitus was found planning resistance to the conqueror, and was therefore put to death.
(40) The prophet Ezekiel wrote in the reign of Hophra; Ezekiel but a few words afterwards added to his book describe this conquest of Egypt by Cambyses, 13-19. and his then sending messengers up the Nile to invite the Ethiopians to submission. "The day is near," said the prophet, "the day of the Lord is near, a cloudy day, when the sword shall come upon Egypt and great pain upon Ethiopia. The Ethiopians and Libyans and Troglodyte, and all the Arabs, and the people of the land that is in league with them, shall fall by the sword. From Magdolus to Syene shall they fall by the sword, saith the Lord God. . . . . I will destroy their idols and make the images to cease in Memphis; and there shall be no more a prince in the land of Egypt. . . . I will make Upper Egypt desolate, and will set fire in Tanis, and execute judgment in Thebes. I will pour my fury upon Sais, the strength of Egypt, and will cut off the multitude of Memphis. Sais shall have great pain, and Thebes shall be cut asunder, and Memphis shall have distress daily. The men of Aven and of Bubastis shall fall by the sword, and their women shall go into captivity. At Daphne shall the day be darkened, when I shall there break the sceptres of Egypt; and the pomp of her strength shall cease.' It was at Daphnæ, or Tahpenes, on the Pelusiac branch of the Nile that the battle was fought which put an end to the Egyptian monarchy, and made Egypt a province of Persia.
(41) Thus ended the second great period of Egyptian history, during which the kingdom had mostly been governed by kings of Lower Egypt. Under these monarchs the trade and wealth of the country had very much increased by an increase of its shipping and by the employment of numerous Phenician mariners in coasting voyages, which the religion and habits of the Egyptians alike forbade them to undertake. Their wars had been chiefly carried on in the endeavour to uphold the Hebrew nation as a barrier against the encroachments of the Assyrians, or rather in the struggle for which of
those two great rival empires should hold Palestine as a province. The more neighbouring Assyrians wished to govern the Jews by means of a satrap, while the more distant Egyptians only aimed at protecting the kings of Samaria and Judæa as dependent allies. The formation of the Egyptian armies was very much changed from those which of old issued out of Thebes. The chief strength no longer lay in the landholders; the Greek mercenaries were found more obedient to discipline and more brave in battle. The employment of mercenaries made the king better able to carry on his foreign wars; but, while it made him stronger abroad, it made him weaker at home; it sowed the seeds of jealousy between the king and his subjects, and at last, as we have seen, helped to overthrow the monarchy. Often must the Egyptian statesman have wished that his countrymen were less wealthy or more brave, when he found that the gold with which he tried to guard the frontier was rather a booty that quickened the Persian attack, and a cause of luxury that weakened his own defence.
(42) There are but few Egyptian laws with which we are acquainted; and we have no knowledge of when these were enacted, or when they went out of use, or which were always in force. Those which related to crimes against persons were for the most part founded on the simple rule of revenge, an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth; an unhappy rule, by which the magistrate makes an apology for the guilty act that he wishes to check, and almost encourages it by imitating; amendment of the criminal was no part of its aim. These, like the common law of all countries, took their rise Diod. Sic. before the memory of man. When, however, from lib. i. 94. time to time, on the increase of knowledge and
Lib. i. 75.
humanity, a new law was made to soften the severity of the old custom, the king was the lawmaker, and he received honour accordingly from a grateful nation. The king, however, was not the judge to administer the laws; but the highest judicial body was a court of thirty judges, who sat together to hear causes, and who were chosen, ten from Thebes, ten from Memphis, and ten from Heliopolis. For matters of less weight, each nome or district was governed by its own nomarch; but, as there was no wealthy and powerful aristocracy, either priestly or
Lib. i. 73.
Diod. Sic. lib. i. 77.
Lib. i. 78.
military, as there had formerly been in Upper Egypt, the king's will was nearly absolute. Death was the punishment for perjury, for murder, and for witnessing a murder without endeavouring to save the sufferer; but a woman with child was not to be put to death before she had given it birth. If a child killed his parent, he was cruelly tortured and then burnt alive; while the punishment of a parent for killing his child was only imprisonment for three days with the dead body. Killing a slave was also punished with death; for a man had more power over his children than over his slaves; the slaves had their rights secured to them by law, and thus were of very little worth in money. The informer who failed in making good his charge received himself the punishment which he was planning for his victim. The soldiers, who were a privileged body, were punished very slightly for deserting their post; they suffered some disgrace which they might if they pleased wipe off, and they easily regained their former rank. Forgers of deeds and of seals, and makers of false weights and measures, were punished with the loss of both hands. Those who betrayed a secret to the enemy were to lose the tongue. In all cases the punishment fell on the guilty limb. No debt could be recovered at law without a written acknowledgment, if the person from whom it was claimed denied it on oath; and to limit the accumulation of interest, by which the poor so unwisely put themselves in bondage to the rich, the debt was in all cases limited to double the sum originally lent, which limit has since been adopted in the bond debts of Europe. No debtor could be thrown into prison, his goods only could be seized; and the Egyptian lawyers laughed at the blunder of the Greek law which held every workman's tools sacred from seizure, but allowed the man himself to be imprisoned. All these laws are such as we should expect to find accompanied with a good deal of political liberty; and we may remark Lib. i. 77. the same of the law that every man was required under pain of death to give an account to the magistrate of how he earned his livelihood: for tyrants fetter the actions of their subjects only to add to their own power; it is the free people that take care that no man shall be a trouble to his neighbours.
Lib. i. 79.