« AnteriorContinuar »
monarchs of Lydia of the race of Argon, the Lydians, in consequence of a long continued famine, agreed to send out confiderable colonies in order to exonerate the country. Tyrrhenus was the chief of one of thefe. He fays they first sought settlements in feveral of the Grecian iflands, but that Tyrrhenus and his followers finally fixed in Umbria. To this tranfaction he affigns no date; but I think it very probable that at this time the fon of Alcæus, affuming the name of Hercules, firft came into Crete, and thence paffed into Greece. I have therefore affixed to it the date of his appearance in these countries, as deduced from other events in which that hero was an actor.
(aaaa) Page 91.
To corroborate the opinion of Sir Ifaac Newton, that Sefoftris is no other than the Sefac of fcripture, we will obferve that the lift of kings given by Herodotus, from Sefoftris to Sethon, in the beginning of whofe reign he fixes the flight of Sennacherib the Affyrian king, which happened anno 714, will in the courfe of nature fix the reign of Sefoftris about the time of Sefac. His fucceffion runs thus: Sefoftris was fucceeded by his fon Pheron, after whom an elected king, called by the Greeks Proteus, to whom fucceed Rhampfinitus, Cheops, Chephrenes, Mycerinus Afychis, Sabacon and Anyfis, living at the fame time, after whom Sethon was chosen king. Sefoftris reigned 46 years, after whom reign eight kings to Sethon. As Sabacon and Anyfis together reign above 50 years, and as Cheops and Cephrenes, brothers, are alfo faid to have ruled Egypt during a very long time, though the duration given to them by the Egyptians, if brothers, exceeds all poffibility, we may fafely give to these eight reigns 30 years each, which will bring the commencement of that of Sefoftris to the year before Chrift 1000, nearly the date of Sefac as deduced from holy writ. To coincide with his date of the Argonautic expedition, Sir Ifaac Newton fuppofes Danaus to have fled into Greece towards the end of that monarch's reign. But I think it full as likely that, Sefoftris being abfent in Libya at the time of the death of Amenophis, that prince might have then taken occafion to ufurp his brother's throne, and was on his return expelled from
Egypt. Accordingly, in the dynasties of Manetho, as well as in the lift of Syncellus, we find Armes or Armais, called Danaus by the Greeks, reigning before his brother Sethos Fgyptus, the fame as Sefac and Sefoftris.
(bbbb) Page 91.
This was not peculiar to Attica; a fimilar change took place in most of the ftates of Greece, in Argolis, Lacedemonia, &c. The Phoenicians and Egyptians who fettled in Greece first taught the former wild inhabitants to build houses; and thefe, fituated for fafety pretty near each other, became vil-. lages, and in time towns, each having its council and prytaneum, though confederated with a certain number of others, all acknowledging one chief or king. In all these, about the fame period, thefe feparate prytanea were united in one town, which thence became the capital and feat of government of the whole ftate. The different quarters of the metropolis, as at Sparta, generally retained the names of the fmaller tribes or towns. In Arcadia and Theffaly, as well as in fome other ftates of this country, each town and district continued independent as to internal government, and only at ftated times fent deputies to a general confederation whofe meetings were held at one of them. Lefs adapted to ambition, these states acquired lefs renown in ftory, but were longer exempt from the viciffitudes of fortune. On the death of Codrus monarchy was abolished at Athens; and about the fame time, excepting at Sparta, where the title, with very limited authority, was conferred on two families, the very name of king was condemned in all Greece. Macedonia alone retained its monarchy, which feems to have been abfolute. To it all these long flourishing, but ever jarring, republics were finally forced to fubmit. In order to undermine that empire, the policy of Rome for a time revived the fpirit of liberty; but, that effected, Greece only changed its yoke, and funk into Roman provinces. The rapacity of proconfuls ftripped it of its most precious ornaments of art, and its philofophers became the fubfervient tutors, and often flaves, of Roman citizens. Their fophiftry foon corrupted the principles and morals of antient. Rome, and an ineffectual law attempted, when too late, to banish them,
from the republic. Such will ever be the effects of that pernicious mode of reasoning into fyftematical doubt.
(cccc) Page 91.
I need not here repeat what I have already faid on the moft probable date of these two famous eras of Greece, the Argonautic expedition and the fiege of Troy, by which all the former events of that country and the correfponding ones of Egypt must be fixed. I think I have fhewn the strongest grounds for dating them as above, within a few years more or lefs.
(dddd) Page 92.
Egyptian vanity and Manetho's dynafties, were they really fucceffive, remove the building of these famous monuments to much higher antiquity, and to at least 1000 years earlier; but Herodotus fixes the foundation of the first great pyramid to nearly this date. They certainly did not exist when Homer travelled into Egypt, but might have been begun foon after.
(eeee) Page 92.
It is clear, both from the hiftorical and prophetical parts of fcripture, that Syria and Babylonia were independent of Affyria to the time of Pul. Its monarchy began with Affur the founder of Nineveh. Herodotus has pointed out the æra of its first extenfion, but it is from Pul only we can date its growth into a great and mighty empire.
(ffff) Page 93.
Sir Ifaac Newton in his chronology places Semiramis in 760, making her cotemporary with Pul. But that proud conqueror does not seem to me likely to have fhared with her his empire and his glory. She was more probably the widow of his youngest fon Nabonaffar, who fucceeded him at Babylon; and in this opinion Sir Ifaac himself feems to coincide in his hiftorical account. During the minority of her fon fhe may have affumed the reins of government; as Nitocris, a queen no lefs famous for the execu
tion of stupendous works at Babylon, afterwards did during the infancy of her fon Labynitus. Allowing 30 years for each fucceffion upwards, from the taking of Babylon, the age of Semiramis will be with probability fixed as above.
(gggg) Page 93.
Sir Ifaac Newton places this revolt in 711, to make room, I fuppofe, for a fifth king of Media before Cyrus. But Herodotus pofitively restricts its kings to four, enumerating the years of each reign, making in all 150 from hence to the clofe of the Median dominion. Sir Ifaac alfo accufes this hiftorian of inverting the order of fucceffion in Media, by making Cyaxares the father instead of the son of Aftyages, in confequence of which he adds another king Darius the Mede fon of Cyaxares. I muft own I do not fee fufficient reafon for this, but am apt to believe that Aftyages was the last king of Media (in which Herodotus is fupported by Paufanias), and that he is the fame prince called in fcripture Darius the Mede. Sir Ifaac's chief reafon for removing this prince's reign beyond thofe events which put an end to the power of Lydia and Babylon, feems to be, that he is faid to be of small abilities. But all thofe conquefts were achieved by the fuperior conduct of his Perfian general Cyrus, who foon difdained to be fecond to a weak monarch, and in two years by his overthrow transferred the empire to
(hhhh) Page 93.
The Roman hiftorians fuppofe the feven kings of Rome to have reigned 244 years; a length of time which Sir Ifaac Newton juftly thinks improbable, confidering that feveral of these princes were flain, and that the last lived many years after his expulfion. He reduces these reigns to 17 years each; which, confidering that the reigns of two are allowed to have been long, I think too little. I have therefore allowed 23 years to each reign.
(iiii) Page 93.
Sir Ifaac Newton places this invafion of the Scythians in 635, in the reign Dd
of Aftyages, whom he fuppofes the father of Cyaxares, and grandfather of Darius the Mede; but Herodotus pofitively afferts that it took place in the beginning of the reign of Cyaxares, which he allows to have been in 611. The absence of that monarch in the conqueft of Nineveh, and in fettling that new acquifition, seems to afford a probable opportunity for fuch an irruption into Media drained of troops for that expedition.