kings of Phrygia, obtained the sovereignty, shews us one of those events, which, in the earliest times, gave birth to kingly government.

The Phrygians, like all other people, were some time without any form of government. Weary of the evils to which their domestic dissensions daily exposed them, they consulted the oracle, to know what the end of them would be. The answer was, that to elect a king was the only means of putting an end to their miseries.

The Phrygians would know on whom they ought to fix their choice: The oracle ordered them to give the crown to the first person they should meet going in a car to the temple of Jupiter. Scarce had they received this answer, when they met Gordius. They proclaimed him king upon the spot . Gordius, in memory of that event, consecrated to Jupiter the car in which he was when he was raised to the throne. The knot by which the car was yoked, was so artfully made, that it was not possible to discover where it began, or where it ended. This is the knot so well known in antiquity by the name of the Gordian knot. The oracle had declared, that he who could unloose it hould have the empire of Asia m.

After Gordius, his son Midas ascended the throne, 1428 years before Christ». The history, or rather fable, related of this prince, is too well known for me to dwell upon it. It was Midas who established in Phrygia the ceremonies of public worship, which, ever after his reign, was there paid to the Divinity. He derived from Orpheus the knowledge of these religious offices". History remarks that those sentiments of religion with which he inspired his people, contributed more to strengthen his authority, than the power of his arins P.

* Justin, 1. 11. C. 7.; Arrian. de exped. Alex. I. 2. p. 86.

Arrian deceives himself in referring to Midas what has been read of Gordius. The greatest number of writers agree to acknowledge Gordius for the first king of Phrygia.

m Arrian, loco cit. p. 87,

o See the memoirs of the academy of inscriptions, t.9. p. 126. ; Eufeb. Chron. 1. 2. p. 86.

• Conon apud Phot. narrat. I. p. 424.; Justin l. 11. C.7.; Ovid. Metam. 1.11. V.93. * Conon, Juftin. loco cit.


This is all that the history of Asia can supply us with on the subject we are at present employed about. The maxims, the political and civil laws of the people of whom we are speaking, are absolutely unknown to us. We cannot even form any idea of them. Materials are entirely wanting. Yet we must except the Lydians. Herodotus acquaints us that their laws were the same with those of the Greeks 9.

But, if we were to turn our attention to the Hebrew na. tion, we should find materials in abundance to make us amends for the want of them in the other nations of Asia. From their going out of Egypt the Israelites began to form themselves into a nation, distinct by their laws, and by their customs, from all the rest of the earth; a nation which sublists at this day; and which is still governed by its own particular customs, though dispersed throughout all the countries of the universe.

The political and civil laws of the Hebrews are perfectly known to us; so well indeed, that it is not worth while to enumerate them. Besides, we ought not to make any comparison between the form of government established by Mofes, and the other species of governments, of which hiItory gives us examples

. The Hebrew people had the fin. gular advantage of having God particularly for their monarch, and for their legislator. It was from God himself that this nation had received its laws. In a word, it was the Supreme Being who condescended to prescribe the ceremonies of the worship that he would have paid him by the Ifraelites. We ought therefore to make no comparifon between the laws of this people, laws dictated by wisdom itself, and thofe that could be observed by other nations. The precepts of the decalogue alone, contain mo sublime truths, and maxims more essentially promotive of the good of mankind, than all the profane writings of antiquity could afford. The more we meditate on the laws of Moses, the more we shall perceive their wisdom, and inspiration; that infallible sign of the Divinity which fails all human works, in which, when we examine criti.

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cally, we always find great defecs : besides, the laws of Moses alone have the inestimable advantage, never to have undergone any of the revolutions common to all human laws, which have always demanded frequent amendments ; sometimes changes; sometimes additions; sometimes the retrenching of superfluities. There has been nothing changed, nothing added, nothing retrenched from the laws of Moses; a singular example, and so much the more striking, as they have preserved their purity for above 3000 years. If Moses had not been the minister of God, he could not, whatever genius we may suppose him to have had, from himfelf have drawn laws which received all their perfection the instant of their formation : laws which provided against every thing that could happen in the fucceffion of ages, leaving no neceffity for change, or even for modification. That is what no legislator has ever done, and what Moses him. self could not have done, had he writ simply as a man, and had he not been inspired by the Supreme Being

I fhall observe further, that the alliance made in the desert between God and the Israelites, may be looked upon as a model of the forms they used to observe in con. tracting these sorts of engagements.

Of all the ceremonies anciently used in folemn alliances, the effusion of blood appears to have been the most important, and the most universal. St Paul says, “ For when Mo“ ses had spoken every precept to all the people according « to the law, he took the blood of calves and of goats, with water, and scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled “ both the book and all the people, saying, This is the « blood of the testament which God hath injoined unto


Profane history affords us as plain a proof of this ancient custom, which regarded the shedding of blood, as the seal of all the covenants they contracted. Herodotus, speaking of a treaty of peace concluded between the Medes and the

+ Voy. Jaquelot. dissertation 3. sur l'existence de Dieu, chap. 4. 7. 8. 9. et traité de la verité et de l'inspiration des livres facrés, t. 1. chap. 8. { Heb. chap. 9. ver. 19. Voy. le P. Calmet, loco cit. et t. 2. p. 52. et 223.


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Lydians, by Cyaxárus and by Aliattes, observes, that with these people, besides the other ceremonies common to them and the Greeks, the contracting parties used to make incisions on the arms, and mutually to fuck the blood that ran from them.

We find, even among the favages, an example of those ancient ceremonies used in treaties of peace and alliance. The Spaniards, in 1643, made a treaty of peace with the Indians of Chili; they have preserved the memory of the forms used at the ratification : it is said, that the Indians killed many sheep, and stained in their blood a branch of the cane-tree, which the deputy of the Caciques put into the hands of the Spanish general, in token of peace and alliance

As to the manner of ratifying alliances, the custom then was to write two copies of their contracts: the one of the copies they folded up and tied, and sealed it with the feals of the contracting parties : the other was neither folded nor fealed ; it remained open, in order that recourse might be had to it on occasion. The orders that Mofes received from God with regard to the tables of the law, and the manner in which that legislator executed them, prove the custom of having two copies of the contracts they made. The tables of the law which Mofes received on Mount Sinai, was the authentic copy where God had written the conditions of the alliance which he made with his people. God ordered that these two tables should be put into the arkz. Mofes, at the same time, taking care to write a duplicate of the fame commandments, placed it at the side of the ark, that they might consult it, and easily take copies .

Such like forms must, without doubt, have been in use, with respect to particular contracts, with all the nations to whom alphabetic writing was then known. We may, by comparing the practice I have just spoke of, with those I

+ L. 2. n. 74.

voyage de Frizier, p. 73. * Exod. chap. 25. ver. 16. , Deut. chap. 31. ver. 26. 2 See the commentaries of Father Calivet, and his dissertation on the form of ancient books, VOL. II.



have mentioned in the first part of this work, as having been used originally”, perceive the difference which alphabetic writing has introduced, with respect to the measures taken for the security of acts and contracts, among civilized nations.

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of the Egyptians. IN N the first part of this work I have shewn the origin and

the constitution of government among the Egyptians; but I have entered into no particulars of the reigns and persons of the monarchs who possessed the throne in the ages we were then treating of: but it will not be fo at prefent. The reign of Sefoftris, with whom begins this second part of the history of Egypt, is too remarkable an æra not to demand a particular account of a monarch fo famous in antiquity. Of all the kings of Egypt the actions of Sefostris were the most grand and most memorableb: he equally signalized himself in peace, in war, and in arts. This prince ascended the throne 1659 years before Christc.

Sesostris was born with all the qualities which can form a great monarch. The education he received was most proper to second these happy dispositions. They say, that the King his father caused to be brought to court all the male infants born in Egypt the same day with his sond; he gave to them all, not excepting the young prince, an education perfectly equal and uniform. They were enured to labour and fatigue by all sorts of exercises; they gave them nothing to eat till they had previously made out a considerable walk foote. Such was the education of Sefoftris and all

his Book 1. chap. 1.

b Diod. l. 1. p. 62. I have followed, for the reign of Sefoftris, the chronology of P. Tourne. mine. See his dissertat. ad calcem Merochii, in fol. Paris, 1719. dissert. 5.

d Diod. l. 1. p. 62. 1 The Natches, a people of South America, have the fame custom with respect to the heir-apparent. Lettr. edif. t. 29. p. 232.

« Diodorus says, one hundred and eighty stadia ; an incredible number, to take them, as is common, twenty-four Atadia to a league, for then they must

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