WHILE B. C. 610. Zalzer, the most powerful prince of Persia, was encamped in his province of Seistán, the Drangiana of the Greeks, Afra­siab, who had subdued all Media, considered himself as Sovereign of the Empire. By this time, another son of Zav, named Cobád, began to distinguish himself in his engagements against the Turaníans, and, being assisted by Zalzer, whose son Rostam was very young at this time, he was enabled to drive the invaders from Iran, and to place himself upon the throne of his ancestors. Æschylus, who flourished but an hundred years after this event, rightly attributes the recovery of the Empire to this prince, whom he calls a Mede, in his Tragedy of the Persians: “The first Leader of the army, says he, was a Mede; the next, his son, completed (or rather promoted) this work, for wisdom guided his mind: the third was Cyrus, a for­tunate Man*.” It is evident, that these three Kings are Cai Cobád*, Cai Cäús, and Cai Cosru B. C. 610. or Khosru; whom the Greeks call Cyaxeres, Darius the Mede, and Cyrus. The first syllable of Cyaxeres is apparently the Cai of the Persians, which signifies a Great King, and was prefixed to the names of those three princes, whence the whole race were named Caianians. The Ancients tell us, that Cyaxeres slew the Scythian Chiefs at a feast, to which he had invited them; but the Easterns are silent on this head, and it seems more probable, that the Tartars were compelled by force to repass the Oxus; our authors make them retire beyond Cholcos and Iberia, confounding, as usual, the Oriental with the Northern Scythians. Cai Cobád made several wise regulations in his kingdom, and ordered the publick roads to be divided into parsangs or spaces of about four miles.

CAI CAUS* B. C. 600. is called by our writers Darius the Mede, and it may here be observed, that Dára, or the Sovereign, was rather an Epithet than a proper name of the Persian Kings; so that the Daricks, or pieces of money, which were known at Athens, might have been coined by any Per­sian Monarch, and have born that name without the least impropriety. We must also remember, that the Asiatick Princes had several different names or titles, which circumstance has been the source of great confusion in our histories of the East. The Persian writers mention nothing of the Lydian war; they only say, that Cai Caüs carried his arms into the lower Asia, and was very success­ful in his enterprise. The Turanians, led by another Afrasiab, invaded Persia a third time, and layed B. C. 600. waste the province of Media. Siavesh, son of Cai Cáüs, being unjustly accused by Sudába, his father’s concubine, of an attempt to violate her, went over to Afrasiab, who received him with open arms, and gave him his daughter in marriage. This Princess was called Firenkis by the Persians, and Mandane by the Greeks, who had a singular fondness for soft and melodious names, and neglected truth itself for a pleasing sound. A few months after her nuptials, Siavesh, who deserved a longer life, was killed by a brother of Afrasiab, and the Princess, of whom Khosru was soon after born, was obliged to fly with her infant. The young Khosru was, some years after, seen by a Persian General, who guessed by his features that he was the son of Siavesh, and, his conjecture being confirmed by the Princess his mother, he brought them both into Persia, where Cai Cáüs embraced his Grand­son with the highest joy imaginable, and, after a short interval, resigned his throne to him.

CAI KHOSRU*, B. C. 568. or CYRUS, whom the Per­sians consider almost as a Demi god, determined to avenge the death of his father, and to deliver his kingdom from the tyranny of Afrasiab. He, therefore, assembled all his forces, and gave battle to the Usurper, who, on the other side, was supported by the Kings of Khataí and India: but the valour of Cyrus, and of his General Rostam, prevailed against the united powers of so many Sovereigns, and Afrasiab lost his life in the mountains of Media. This War is celebrated in a noble Poem by the illustrious Ferdusi, who may B. C. 568. well be called the Homer of Persia. What­ever our Chronologers say, it is not easy to con­ceive, that the Jews were delivered by this Cyrus: the name Coresh, used by Isaiah, has no affinity with the Persian word Khosru, and we cannot suppose any corruption in the sacred Text; whereas all the Persian writers agree that a prince, named Coresh, who was sent by Bahaman, son of Asfendiar, to govern Babylon in the room of Baltazar, actually protected the captive Jews, and permitted them to rebuild their Temple. Our historians, perhaps, deceived by the name Cyrus, which the Greeks gave both to Khosru and to Coresh, have fixed the return of the Jews much earlier than the truth.

LOHORASP* B. C. 530. was placed on the throne before the death of Cyrus, who lived some years after his resignation. One would think at first, that he was the Cambyses of the Greeks; but nothing can be more different than the characters of Cambyses and of Lohorasp, the first being described as a cruel tyrant, the second as a virtuous and amiable Prince. He had a General named Guderz*, who, according to the Oriental writers, pushed his conquests very far into the west: this conqueror is supposed by Mirkhond and others to be Nebuchadnezzar, who, we know, invaded Syria and Judea; but he seems to have been the Prince, whom the Greeks called Xerxes, and who might, perhaps, have had the title of King after his victories; for it must be remembered that a word, which signified King, was applied by B. C. 530. the Persians to every Governor of a province, and the lofty title, King of Kings, which their monarchs afterwards assumed, was no more than Ruler of Rulers, or, Chief of several Chiefs. It is certain, that the Persians have no monarch named Xerxes, or even Shirsháh, from which the Greek name is said to be derived; and, though we can hardly suppose the word to be cor­rupted from Guderz, yet, when we reflect that the more modern Greeks have made Varanes of Beharam, we cannot wonder at the corruptions of the Ancients. Our Chronologers place the reign of Xerxes after Darius Hystaspes, and he might, perhaps, have outlived both Lohorasp and his successor.

KISHTASP*, B. C. 500. whom the Greeks call Darius, the Son of Hystaspes, transferred the seat of Empire from Balkh in Khorasan to Istakhar, for which reason he was better known to the Europeans than Lohorasp, who led a retired life in the most Eastern province of his kingdom. In his reign Zerdúsht or Zeratúsht, whom we know by the name of Zoroaster, published his moral work called Zend, or The book of Life, which was fol­lowed by his Pazend, or a further Confirmation of his Doctrine, as the* word seems to imply: both these tracts were afterwards explained in a commentary entitled Vasta or Avasta; they inculcated the doctrine of two Principles, and recommended the worship of the good principle under the allegory of Light, which they opposed to B. C. 500. the bad, whose Emblem was Darkness. The King was much inclined to this doctrine, and raised a number of* temples to the Sun, the fountain of Light; which the people, as usual, conceiving in a gross and literal sense, began to adore the Effect instead of the Cause, and the figure instead of the archetype: the priests took the hint, and the Sun or Mihra, became really to them, as our Alchymists absurdly consider it, a powerful Elixir, which transformed their base metals into gold. The Chief of Zeratúsht’s Scholars was Jamásp*, who published a strange work upon Astrology. Not many years before this singular man, Confucius, or Cumfuçu, as the Missionaries write his true name, reformed and polished the people of China; and Solon, his con­temporary, a sublime Poet, as well as a perfect Statesman, made admirable laws for the Athenians; so that this period was the age of Philosophers and Law-givers.

ARDESHIR*, B. C. 464. or BAHAMAN, surnamed Dirazdest*, or, The Long-handed, is, no doubt, the Artaxerxes of the Greeks, who called him Macrokheir, a name literally translated from the Persian, and implying only a very extensive power. We may safely place the building of the second temple under the reign of this prince; since, for the reasons before alledged, which appear very decisive, and are confirmed by the testimony of the Persian Historians, we cannot ascribe B. C. 464. the delivery of the Jews to the first Cyrus. The Easterns assure us, that Ardeshir sent a prince, named Coresh, descended from Lohorasp, to punish Baltazar, son of Bakhtnassar, who was grown very insolent in his government of Babylon; that Coresh conquered Baltazar, and was raised by the King to the supreme command of that City, where he protected and encouraged the captive Jews. The Persians could have no inducement to invent this tale, and as it was recorded in the oldest Annals of the kingdom, we cannot help giving some credit to it. They tell us also, that Bakhtnassar signified, in old Chaldean, The Servant of Nassar, an idol of the Babylonians; but it seems a better opinion, that the true word was Nebohadonassar, derived from Nebo, Hadon, and Assar, which, we know, were names of three Assyrian deities*.

HOMAI*, B. C. 440. a name which signifies The Bird of Paradise, was the daughter of Ardeshir, and sat on the throne during the infancy of her son Darab. She raised a sumptuous palace in the city of Istakhár, some pillars of which remain to this day; she built also a city called Semrem, whence the learned M. d’Herbelot supposes her to be Semiramis; but our Chronologers place the reign of that Princess three hundred years earlier.

DARAB, B. C. 424. or DARA*, whom the Greeks call The Bastard, succeeded to Homái?? Here the Persian histories begin to be full of absurd fables, for we may suppose that the Records of these times were lost or neglected during the Grecian Wars. The Eastern writers tell a story of Darab, which has quite the air of a romance; “that he was exposed by his mother, like the Hebrew Lawgiver, on a river, which by its rapid current carried him to the habitation of a dyer, who knew him to be a child of high birth by the trinkets, which adorned his cradle; that he was educated by this honest man, who sent him to the wars, where he distinguished himself in fighting against the Greeks; that, being introduced to the queen as a brave youth, she knew him by the jewels which he wore, and which his reputed father had restored to him.” So far we may indulge these writers in the liberty of embellish­ing their Chronicles with lively tales; but we cannot so easily excuse them, when they make Alexander the son of Darab, and tell us of a daughter of Philip, whom the king of Persia married, but sent back to Macedon after his nuptials, because he found her less agreeable than he supposed her to be. These are stories, which would be unworthy of The Thousand and One Days.

There B. C. 400. seems in this place to be a chasm of many years in the annals of the Persians; for they say B. C. 400. nothing of Ardeshir, son of Dara, by* Pari­zádeh, or Parysatis, whose brother Cyrus led the Greeks to Babylon in that memorable expedition, which Xenophon so elegantly relates; nor of the third Ardeshir, whom our historians call Ochus, nor of Arogus, whose true name it has not been in my power to discover. Now if we suppose, as we reasonably may, that these three Kings reigned about twenty-one years each, we shall bring the reign of Dara the Younger to the year 337 before Christ, which will agree tolerably well with the Chronologers both of Asia and Europe.

DARA B. C. 337. the Younger is better known to us, than to the natives of Persia; we may, however, be deceived in his character, for we represent him as a mild and benevolent prince, while they assert that he was severe, cruel, implacable. The Persians cannot comprehend the motives that induced Alexander to invade the dominions of Dara; and they assign a number of ridicu­lous reasons for it, which are too absurd to be related: in many points, however, they agree with our historians. The success of Alexander, and the battle of Arbel*, or Arbela, are too well known to need any farther description. Dara was assassinated about three hundred and thirty years before our Epoch, and the Monarchy of the Caianians was transferred to the Greeks. While this family were on the throne of Persia, the light of reason, and that of liberty, which B. C. 337. ever attends it, were spread over the other parts of the world. Harmodius and Aristogiton slew the Tyrant of Athens, and the Lyrick Poets vied with each other in singing their praises; while old Brutus, nearly at the same time, incited the Romans to expel their Oppressors, whose vices made the very name of King detestable; and, during the twenty-seven years of the Peloponnesian war, Athens gave birth, as Ascham was fond of observing, to more able Com­manders, Orators, Poets, Historians, and Philoso­phers, than the whole earth besides could ever pro­duce.

How long the Greeks were able to hold the Persian Empire in their own hands, or whether they ever intended to exclude the princes of Persia from all share in the government, are points not easy to be settled with any certainty; but, if we suppose that the fifteen kings of the Ashcanians, who reigned before the birth of Christ, sat on the throne twenty years each, one with another, we shall place the rise of that family three hundred years before our epoch; which calculation will not seem much amiss, if we believe, what the Persians assure us, that the successors of Alexander reserved for themselves only Irak or Parthia, and Persia properly so called, but resigned the more Eastern provinces to the princes of the royal family; while the descen­dants of Seleucus reigned in Syria. The founder of this race was* Ashac, or Arshac, whom the Greeks call Arsaces; his successors, who were styled B. C. 337. Kings of Parthia by our Historians, reigned till about two hundred years after Christ, and are famous for nothing but their Wars against the Romans, in which they were always valiant, and often successful. The last Prince of the Ashcanians, or Parthians was Ardaván*, known to us by the name of Artabanus, against whom Ardeshír revolted, and transferred the empire to the Sassanians.