The Library of History

Page 63

Page 63 laid by the Heels for their Carelesness upon the Guard (through Fear of further Punishment) made their Escape and fled to the Enemy, and undeceiv'd them as to the Elephants; upon which the Indian King was mightily encourag'd, and caus'd Notice of the Delusion to be spread through the whole Army, and then forthwith march'd with all his Force against the Assyrians, Semiramis on the other hand doing the like. When they approach'd near one to another, Stabrobates the Indian King plac'd his Horse and Chariots in the Van-guard at a good distance before the main Body of his Army. The Queen having plac'd her Mock-Elephants at the like distance from her main Body, valiantly receiv'd her Enemies Charge; but the Indian Horse were most strangely terrify'd; for in Regard the Phantasms at a distance seem'd to be real Elephants, the Horses of the Indians (being inur'd to those Creatures) prest boldly and undauntedly forward; but when they came near and saw another sort of Beast than usual, and the smell and every thing else almost being strange and new to them, they broke in with great Terror and Confusion, one upon another, so that they cast some of their Riders headlong to the Ground, and ran away with others (as the Lot happen'd) into the midst of their Enemies: Whereupon Semiramis readily making use of her Advantage, with a Body of choice Men fell in upon them, and routed them, forcing them back to their main Body: And though Stabrobates was something astonish'd at this unexpected Defeat, yet he brought up his Foot against the Enemy with his Elephants in the Front: He himself was in the right Wing, mounted upon a stately Elephant, and made a fierce Charge upon the Queen her self, who happen'd then to be opposite to him in the left. And tho' the Mock-Elephants in Semiramis's Army did the like, yet they stood the violent shock of the other but a little while, for the Indian Beasts being both exceeding strong and stout, easily bore down and destroy'd all that oppos'd them, so that there was a great Slaughter; for some they trampl'd under foot, others they rent in pieces with their Teeth, and toss'd up others with their Trunks into the Air. The Ground therefore being cover'd with Heaps of dead Carcases and nothing but Death and Destruction to be seen on every hand, so that all were full of Horror and Amazement, none durst keep their Order or Ranks any longer. Upon which the whole Assyrian Army fled outright, and the Indian King encountred with Semiramis, and first wounded her with an Arrow in the Arm, and afterwards with a Dart (in wheeling about) in the Shoulder, whereupon the Queen (her Wounds not being mortal) fled, and by the Swiftness of her Horse (which far exceeded the other that pursu'd her) she got off. But all making one way to the Bridge of Boats, and such a vast Multitude of Men thronging together in one strait and narrow Passage, the Queen's Souldiers miserably perish'd by treading down one another under foot, and (which was strange and unusual) Horse and Foot lay tumbling promiscuously one over another. When they came at length to the Bridge, and the Indians at their Heels, the Consternation was so great that many on both sides the Bridge were tumbled over into the River. But when the greatest part of those that remain'd had got over; Semiramis caus'd the Cords and Tenons of the Bridge to be cut, which done, the Boats (which were before joyn'd together, and upon which was a great Number of Indians not in the Pursuit) being now divided into many Parts, and carry'd here and there by the force of the Current, Multitudes of the Indians were drown'd, and Semiramis was now safe and secure, having such a Barrier as the River betwixt her and her enemies. Whereupon the Indian King being forewarn'd by Prodigies from Heaven and the Opinions of the Soothsayers, forbore all further Pursuit. And Semiramis making Exchange of Prisoners in Bactra return'd with scarce a third part of her Army.

A little time after Semiramis being assaulted by an Eunuch through the treacherous Contrivance of her Son, remembred the former Answer given her by the Oracle at the Temple of Hammon, and therefore pass'd the Business over without punishing of him who was chiefly concern'd in the Plot: But surrendring the Crown to him, commanded all to obey him as their lawful King, and forthwith disappear'd as if she had been translated to the Gods, according to the Words of the Oracle. There are some which fabulously say she was metamorphos'd into a Pigeon; and that she flew away with a Flock of those Birds that lighted upon her Palace: And hence it is that the Assyrians adore a Dove, believing that Semiramis was enthron'd amongst the Gods. And this was the * End of Semiramis Queen

Bibliotheca Historica

The first five books