The Library of History

Page 68

Page 68 length. The King hereupon conceiving that the Oracle was accomplish'd, in that the River was an apparent Enemy to the City, utterly despair'd, and therefore that he might not fall into the Hands of his Enemies, he caus'd a huge Pile of Wood to be made in his Palace Court, and heapt together upon it all his Gold, Silver, and Royal Apparel, and enclosing his Eunuchs and Concubines in an Apartment within the Pile, caus'd it to be set on Fire, and burnt himself and them together, which when the Revolters came to understand, they enter'd through the Breach of the Walls, and took the City; and cloath'd Arbaces with a Royal Robe, and committed to him the sole Authority, proclaiming him King. When he had rewarded his Followers, every one according to their demerit, and appointed Governors over the several Provinces, Belesis the Babylonian, who had foretold his advancement to the Throne, put him in mind of his Services, and demanded the Government of Babylon, which he had before promis'd him. He told him likewise of a Vow that he himself had made to Belus, in the heat of the War, that when Sardanapalus was conquer'd, and the Palace consum'd, he would carry the Ashes to Babylon, and there raise a Mount near to his Temple, which should be an eternal Monument to all that sail'd through Euphrates, in memory of him that overturn'd the Assyrian Empire. But that which in truth induc'd him to make this Request was, that he had been inform'd of the Gold and Silver by an Eunuch (that was a Deserter) whom he had hid and conceal'd: Arbaces therefore being ignorant of the Contrivance (because all the rest beside this Eunuch, were consum'd with the King) granted to him liberty both to carry away the Ashes, and likewise the absolute Government of Babylon without paying any Tribute. Whereupon Belesis forthwith prepar'd Shipping, and together with the Ashes carry'd away most of the Gold and Silver to Babylon. But when the King came plainly to understand the Cheat, he committed the Examination and Decision of this Theft to the other Captains who were his Assistants in the deposing of Sardanapalus. Belesis upon his Trial confess'd the Fact, and thereupon they condemn'd him to lose his Head. But the King being a Man of a noble and generous Spirit, and willing to adorn the beginning of his Reign with the Marks of his Grace and Mercy, not only pardon'd him, but freely gave him all the Gold and Silver which had been carry'd away; neither did he deprive him of the Government of Babylon, which at the first he conferr'd upon him, saying, That his former good Services did overballance the Injuries afterwards. This gracious Disposition of the King being nois'd abroad, he thereby not only gain'd the Hearts of his People, but was highly honour'd, and his Name famous among all the Provinces, and all judg'd him worthy of the Kingdom, who was so compassionate and gracious to Offenders.

The like Clemency he shew'd to the Inhabitants of Nineve; for though he disspers'd them into several Country Villages, yet he restor'd to every one of them their Estates, but raz'd the City to the ground.

The rest of the Silver and Gold that could be found in the Pile (of which there were many Talents) he convey'd to Ecbatana the Seat Royal of Media.

And thus was the Assyrian Empire overturn'd by the Medes after it had continu'd Thirty Generations; from Ninus above Fourteen Hundred Years.