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hands of Semiramis his confort. From Ninias, son and fuc-, cessor of Semiramis, to Sardanapalus, we find an astonishing, vacuity in the history of Assyria and Babylon. There is nothing to be depended on in a series of kings who had pofsessed the throne for above 800 years. They have indeed preserved the names of the greatest part of those monarchs" ; but that list has appeared suspicious to some critics. They pretend to have discovered in it many marks of forgery b. However that may be, as there remain no monuments of those princesc, that discusion is of very little consequence,
The obscurity of their reigns is commonly attributed to the effeminacy and indolence which those ancient monarchis are said to have lived in; but perhaps that obfcurity ought to be attributed, less to the supineness of those princes, than to the tranquillity they took care their people should enjoy, The virtues of a quiet and peaceable life are not so ftri. king as the fame of military talents., History takes very little notice of any thing but conquests and important revolutions, especially when historians speak of countries they are not interested in. We know nothing of the history of those an. cient people but from the Greek writers. The Greeks, a restless, unsettled people, esteemed nations only as they were warlike. They have not condescended to write the peace, able reigns of the kings of Nineveh :: lovers of the mar
a Euseb. Chron. 1. 2.; Syncell. p. 103. 108.-123.-147.-151.-154. 155.-159.1:05.
b It has been pretended, that in the lift given by Ctesias, there are a number of names which may very well have been borrowed from the Greek and Perfian, to form so long a catalogue. Sphaerus, Lamprides, Laofthenes, Dercylus, are Greek names; Amyntas is the name of the kings of Macedonia ; Arius is a name of the Spartan kings; Xerxes, Armamitres, Mithraeus, are Persian names; Sofarmus is the name of a king of the Medes, according to Ctefias himlelf. See Montfaucon, hist. de Judith. p. 127. Yet one may excuse Ctes fias for giving Greek and Persian names to many of the Assyrian kings, by faying, he liad used those names as he found thein in the archives of Persia, translated from the Assyrian into Persian. One might likewise fay, that probably be translated them into Greek himself, and explained them by other names which to him may have appeared equivalent. How many authors have taken the fame. liberty? Without speaking of the Greeks and Latins, the history written by M. de Thou will alone furnish us with many examples of names fo disguised that they can scarce be known. • See our difertation on the antiquities of the Babylonians and Affyrians, ac Diod, 1. 2. p. 136.
vellous, they did not find in the history of the Affyrian monarchs those shining events, which fix the attention of the readers, and strike the writer's imagination. Extremely prejudiced in favour of the Egyptians, we may say, they would only know that people in all antiquity.
Yet we ought to think, that the successors of Ninias were not absolutely such as they are represented. All the historians of antiquity acknowledge, that they knew of no monarchy that had subsisted so long as that of the Assyrians e. Herodotus, who, of all the writers, allows the shortest duration to this empire, yet agrees, that the Assyrians had been masters of Asia for 520 years'. There is no mention made of any revolution during the course of so many ages.. Could this empire have maintained itself for so long a space of time without troubles and without revolutions, if the kings who governed it had been entirely abandoned to debauchery, and funk in effeminacy? Indeed, it seems probable, they only endeavoured to govern their people in peace; and, for that reason, the Greek historians thought them un. worthy of notice, they found nothing remarkable to relates. But should we therefore despise these princes? Do the war. like inclinations of a monarch always make his people happy? Besides, if it were so, we should necessarily lose fighe of the Babylonians and Assyrians, during all that space of time which we shall run over in this second part of our work.
Of the people of Palestine, and of Asia Minor. WE are better acquainted with the events which hap
pened in the same ages, in that part of Asia which is washed by the Mediterranean. We have seen in the preceding volume, that a short time after the deluge, Palestine, and the borders of the Jordan, were inhabited by civilized nations; which, notwithstanding, except the Sidonians, have made no great figure in history: most of these people were destroyed by Joshua when he conquered Palestine. Those to whom the Greeks gave the name of Phoenicians, were the only people who maintained themselves. We will make them more particularly known, when we speak of the ftate of commerce and navigation in the ages which em. ploy us at present.
e Diod. I. 2. p. 137.; Dionyf. Halicarn. 1. 1. p. 2. i Ll. n.95.
& Diod. 1. 2. p. 136.
The history of Asia Minor, which till this time affords ng materials for our work, presents us now with objects most worthy our attention. Many states, which are often mentioned in ancient history, sprung up in that part of the world. The Lydians, the Trojans, the Phrygians, are well-known nations. It is true, that, the Trojans excepted, these monarchies, in the times we speak of, were not very confiderable; therefore we shall not dwell long upon them.
With respect to the Trojans, their empire was of pretty large extent. Many provinces were dependent on it. The whole maritime coast of the Hellespont was subject to them 1. All the writers of antiquity agree in giving a great idea of the grandeur of Priami, Troy, the capital of his dominions, was a considerable city; his kingdom moreover appears to have been very flourishing ; but we know nothing in particular of its form of government ; we are ignorant of their laws. What one may say with the greatest certainty is, that the crown was hereditaryk.
The throne was also hereditary in the other kingdoms of Asia Minor. The way they relate how Gordius, whom we ought to look upon as the origin of the race of the
h Achilles, in the Iliad, says, that, by sea, he had taken twelve cities from the Trojans, and eleven by land. 1. 9. v. 328.
i The description which Achilles made to Priam himself of the extent of the Trojan empire, gives us a great idea of it. Iliad. I. 24. V. 544. &c.
The epithet that Virgil gives Priam, is likewise a sign that they looked on that prince as the most powerful monarch that then reigned in Afia Minor.
Tot quondam populis terrisque superlum,