« AnteriorContinuar »
Verily, man is to his Lord ungrateful;
And he is himself a witness thereof;
And, verily, he is keen in the love of (this world's) good.
Ah! wotteth he not, when that which is in the graves shall be
scattered abroad, And that which is in (men's) hearts shall be brought forth; Verily, their Lord shall in that day be informed as to them.
When the earth shall tremble with her quaking;
Nor was he wanting in prayer for guidance, to the great Being who, he felt, alone could give it. The following petitions, though probably adapted subsequently for public worship, contain perhaps the germ of his daily prayer at this early period.
Praise be to God, the Lord of Creation;
The path of those upon whom thou hast been gracious,
Not of those that are the objects of wrath, or that are in error.f
How such aspirations developed themselves into the belief that the subject of them was inspired from heaven, is a dark and painful theme, to which in some future paper we may possibly recur.
* Of the four Saras above quoted, which we believe to be the earliest extant composition of Mahomet, the ciii and c, are generally placed by the Mahometan traditionists early, i.e., about the 10th or 12th in order. But the xcix is reckoned about 90th, and is generally represented as a Sura revealed at Medina, though some are critical enough to dispute this. The reader will hence perceive how entirely dependent we are on internal evidence as fixing the chronological order of the Coran.
The 1st Sura is said to have been more than once revealed, which, if it has any definite meaning, may signify, that although one of the earliest pieces, it was afterwards recast to suit the requirements of public worship.
Art. IV.—1. The Fifteen Decisive Battles of the World. By Professor Creasy, 2 vols.
2. Remarks on the Native Troops of the Indian Army. By Major John Jacob, U. B.
We live in an age of re-action. Young Lords, who not long ago, put forth such lines as,
"Let laws and learning, wealth and commerce die,
Are now lecturing at Mechanics' Institutes, and playing Cricket with the pupils of Ragged Schools.
In Church matters we know, many of us too painfully, how a slothful carelessness as to outward forms and ceremonies has brought us to a perfect foppery of crosses, candlesticks, paint
tempest is also raging, and our libraries are inundated with Manuals, duly bound in red, on almost every technical subject connected with the profession of arms. As was to be expected, many of these hot-pressed publications are likely to be as temporary in consideration as the feeling which has given rise to them. Many of them are simply childish; merely technical Manuals, to be learnt by heart as a cram; utterly unsuggestive, and carrying the art of war no farther than the drill-ground.
Here, in accordance with the wise law of the mutual balance of opposite forces, while we have Members of Parliament enunciating Peace-Congress absurdities, we have a grave Professor in a Classical University, taking for his thesis, "The Fifteen Battles of the World." The subject is a grand one; it would have been too much, perhaps, to expect that the treatment of it should be equally grand.
It is a good book, though we do not think the Professor has made the most of his subject. Without wishing for the lengthened and inflated, though often beautiful, imagery of Alison, we should have liked a greater warmth in description, and a greater depth of inference and reflection after each battle described ; both as a battle, and as an event in the history of the world. But we do not purpose entering into a criticism on mere language and style. As regards the selection of the battles to be pronounced the decisive ones of the world, we think, if we must start by limiting the number to fifteen, the Professor has selected the fifteen: the arbitrariness of the number he adverts to very sensibly in his Preface. It is hardly
same ultimately-purifying tenable, perhaps, but not worth arguing about. We confess, however, while agreeing in the selection, we think the battles are not all selected quite consistently, with the Professor's own principle of choosing for his list, that battle which commenced to turn the tide of affairs at the time, or we should have Vimiera instead of Waterloo, which would be manifestly absurd. But let us come to the battles.
1. First on the list comes Marathon, 490 B. C. The Greeks, 11,000 strong, under Miltiades, Callimachus, Aristides, and Themistocles, completely beat the infinitely superior invading force of the Persians, under Dates and Artaphernes ; killing 6,400 of them, with a loss to themselves of only 192. The great disproportion in loss may be partly accounted for by the superior armour, bothoffensive and defensive, of theGreeks. Itseems thattheGreek soldiers were in such good wind and training, that they were able to advance to the attack at a run, and so quick, that they broke into the Persian line before the Cavalry could get at them. There was no Greek Cavalry in the field. After the battle, Miltiades proved himself a true and able General, by at once marching back to cover Athens, which he succeeded in doing by a forced night-march; completely baffling the Persians, who had sailed round on the chance of the Greek army going to sleep after its victory, and leaving Athens unguarded at their mercy. An interesting historical incident of this battle, is the voluntary march, and turn-out to aid the Athenians, of the whole armed muster of the Platseans, only 1,000 strong, in gratitude for help given them formerly in a quarrel with the Thebans. Perhaps, about the only instance of real national gratitude on record!
2. Next comes the siege of Syracuse, 413 B. C. The Athenians, first under Nicias, and afterwards under Demosthenes (not of course the Orator) were completely beaten off by the Syracusans, aided by the Spartans, under the direction of the traitor Alcibiades. There was a good deal of fighting by sea as well as on land. The high ground of Epipolse, which commanded Syracuse, was the key stone of the business, and this Nicias had quite overlooked. Demosthenes turned his attention to this point at once, but it was too late then, and there was nothing left but to retreat.
3. The battle of Arbela, 331 B. C. Alexander the Great, at the head of 40,000 men, of whom about 5,000 men were Cavalry, attacked Darius not far from the ancient Nineveh, and totally defeated him, though nearly three times his superior in numbers. Alexander seems to have first recoanoitred closely and well: (would that Lord Gough had done
so at Chillianwallah, or General Whish at the first siege of Mooltan :) and decided, most properly, against a night attack. He advanced his columns obliquely, not perpendicular, to the enemy's line. The battle was decided chiefly by the Cavalry under Aretes, Ariston, and Menidas. Alexander himself, seizing the opportunity of a gap in the enemy's line, dashed at it with the Cavalry near him, and had all the Persian's flank at his mercy. This is what that veteran and thorough-bred Light-Cavalry-man De Brack calls the a-propoa. This is the grand secret of wielding Cavalry. No wild useless galloping about, but a quiet and far-seeing sharp look-out for the proper opportunity, and then—and not till then—spurs home, and no stopping. The Macedonian Infantry, the famous Phalanx, was found sixteen deep, with two feet between each rank; their spear was twenty-four feet long. A most cumbersome formation and equipment, one would think, but gallant things were done with it. The Cavalry were armed with lance and sword.
4. Battle of Metaurus, 207 B. C. The two Roman armies under Claudius Nero and Marcus Livius, defeated the Carthaginians under Hasdrubal. Nero was opposed to and watching the division of the Carthaginian army under Hannibal, but having seized some important despatches from his camp, he, Nero, determined to make a junction if possible with Marcus Livius, and overwhelm Hasdrubal first. He made forced marches, letting his men rest by turns, without halting, in waggons that the country people gave him as he went along; and having arranged with Livius, reached his camp at dark, and the additional force was quietly admitted without any more tents being pitched, or sign made. The battle was fought next day, and completely succeeded. Hasdrubal was himself killed in the action, and Nero, on regaining his old post before Hannibal, flung the brother's head into Hannibal's camp, the first tidings he received of the blow inflicted on the Carthaginian arms. The battle was a hardfought one, but chiefly decided by Nero, who having been unable to make much way against the enemy, posted on some high ground in front of his right, coolly counter-marched the whole of the right wing which he commanded, round by the rear of the centre and left, and then bringing up his left shoulders, on the extreme left of the line, felJ on the enemy's flank, and overturned him from right to left. The whole business was a fine piece of strategy on the part of the Roman General, and well deserved the success it gained.
6. The famous battle between Arminius the German, and the Roman General and Governor Varus, A. D. 9. Arminius, one of those men raised up for their country at a crisis, got the whole country round the head-quarters of Varus, in Westphalia, to rise in arms, and managed to get Varus to put himself at the head of the Roman army of occupation, to quell the insurrection, which was represented as trifling, but requiring a demonstration of force against it. The German set the country people to bully the Romans well on the march, and kept his army close pressing on, but without risking an engagement, until he had got them into a difficult and dangerous bit of country for an army to pass. Here the road was broken up, and well barricaded in front, and now Arminius, exactly timing his attack, dashed in upon the Roman legions, and almost annihilated them. An interesting episode in the history of this German hero; he was opposed to his brother Flavius, who served with the Roman army; the two brothers had a long conversation with each other from opposite banks of the river Weser, and it ended in a mutually earnest and fruitless effort to win the other over to his own side. It was somewhat a novel lesson to the Roman arms this, and a very severe one, and caused great indignation when reported at Rome. It was a shadow cast before of coming events.
6. A long interval now, and a sad one for Rome, the Mistress of the World, brings us under Mr. Creasy's guidance to the battle of Chalons, A. D. 451. Attila, at the head of his Huns, beaten by the allied forces of the Visigoths and Romans, under iEtius and Theodoric. The Cavalry did the business principally, but Attila saved himself by a steady, wellordered retreat on his camp, which he had roughly fortified, and he was not molested next day. This victory saved Rome for a while.
7. A. D. 732, just a hundred years after the death of the summer of their power—the Arabs under Abdurahman, having over-run Spain, crossed the Pyrenees and commenced to ravage the south of France; they were met and completely defeated by the French under Charles Martel, after a long and fierce fight. The Arab force was principally Cavalry, but very badly disciplined, and not being able to be kept together, particularly from plundering in the town of Tours, they got most thoroughly thrashed, and their course further northward was stopped.
8. On English ground at last. The battle of Hastings, J 066 A. D. The Normans chiefly indebted to their capital Cavalry for the victory. The Saxons had nothing to be
Mahomed, brings us to the battle