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ambassadors, and threatened to make war upon them; and unmindful of his duties towards the latter, he ruled them with a rod of iron, treating them with great rigour.

It was not long before Chosroes carried his army into the Roman empire. In A. D. 602, the emperor Maurice was murdered by Phocas, and Chosroes, under pretext of avenging his murder, and punishing the assassin, marched a powerful army into the Roman frontiers in his sixteenth year, A. D. 603. In vain did the assassin, by his ambassador, endeavour to appease him with large presents and larger promises; he regarded neither, and marched forward. In the first year of the war, he succeeded in laying the country under contribution. In the next, he reduced several fortresses, and recovered others that he had given to the emperor Maurice in gratitude for his aid. In the eighteenth year of his reign, he plundered all Mesopotamia and Syria, and carried off immense riches. In the succeeding year, he ravaged Palestine and Phenicia with fire and sword. And in his twentieth year, his generals wasted Armenia, Cappadocia, Galatia, Paphlagonia, as far as Chalcedon, burning cities, and destroying the inhabitants without respect to age

or sex.

In A. D. 609, Chosroes took Apamea and Edessa, and blocked up Antioch. This induced the Romans to hazard a battle, but they were utterly defeated, so that scarcely a man was left to mourn the death of his companions. The death of Phocas, and the accession of Heraclius, did not put a stop to his career. The year following, he took Cesarea, and carried away many thousands of people into captivity. He conquered Judea also, took Jerusalem, which he plundered, carried away the pretended cross on which the superstitious fondly believed that the Redeemer suffered, and sold 90,000 Christians for slaves to the Jews in his dominions, who put them all to death, thereby displaying their ancient enmity to the cause of the gospel. They still despised their Messiah, as "the man of Galilee," whence they persecuted his followers, though brethren according to the flesh. Thus Jews and pagans combined to root out true religion from the earth; but the more they raged, the more it grew and prospered, watered with the dew of God's blessing.

These conquests inflamed the ambition of Chosroes. In his twenty-seventh year, A. D. 614, he invaded Egypt, took Alexandria, reduced both the Lower and Upper Egypt, to the frontiers of Lydia and Abyssinia, and added this kingdom to his dominions; a conquest which none of his predecessors had been able to effect. The year following, he once more turned his forces against the Constantinopolitan empire, and he reduced the city of Chalcedon, to which he had long laid siege.

Alarmed at his progress, the emperor Heraclius sent to implore peace upon any conditions. But Chosroes, elated with his success, and meditating nothing less than the destruction of the Roman name, arrogantly replied, that he would never grant him or his subjects peace, till they abjured their crucified God, and embraced the Persian religion.

He never prospered more. The proud boaster

was doomed to be confounded by the power he despised. Roused from his lethargy by this in sulting and impious reply, Heraclius concluded a peace with the other barbarians on their own terms, resolved to make a last and desperate effort, and to put all to the hazard of a battle. He was successful. He out-generalled the Persians, and defeated their army with great slaughter. The conqueror made fresh overtures for peace; but they were rejected. Again and again, enabled by the plunder of the Christian churches, Chosroes raised fresh armies to oppose Heraclius; but he, preserving the strictest discipline, defeated them as soon as they appeared in the field, and he proceeded so rapidly in his conquests, that the haughty tyrant was forced to flee from city to city with his wives and concubines, in order to escape death. The Romans marched in one direction as far as the Caspian; in another to Ispahan, destroying in their progress all his splendid palaces, plundering his hoarded treasures,* and dispersing the slaves of his pleasure. Yet even in the wretched state to which his fortune and character had reduced him, he rejected an offer of peace made by the humanity of his conqueror. But his career was soon at an end. The subjects of Chosroes had lost all regard for a monarch whom they deemed the sole cause of the desolation of his country, and they formed a conspiracy against him. That his cup of misery might be full, he was seized by his eldest son Siroes, whom he wished to have excluded from the throne. This unnatural prince treated him with the greatest severity. He first cast him into a dungeon, and soon afterwards put him to death; justifying the parricide by the assertion that he was compelled to the deed by the clamours and importunities of the nobles and people.

The fall of Chosroes affords a memorable instance of the instability of human greatness. At the time he sent the impious answer to the demands of Heraclius for peace, he was living in splendour and luxury, such as Persian monarchs never exceeded. The vast territories his armies had subdued were exhausted, that his palaces and the gorgeous state of his court might exceed all that history ever recorded of kingly grandeur. He had a palace for every season; he had invaluable thrones, particularly that called Takh-dis, formed to represent the twelve signs of the zodiac and the hours of the day; 12,000 ladies, who, in the hyperbolic language of the east, were equal to the moon in beauty, attended his court; and mirth and music were heard throughout his halls. But, like Belshazzar, he lifted up his heart and defied the Almighty, and sentence against him that moment went forth. The foes whom he had long despised, and long trampled upon, driven to despair by his oppressive violence, flew to arms, and went on in their conquests, till almost the whole of his empire was beneath their feet, and he himself laid in the dust. The haughty spoiler of the world fell as an oak cut down in its glory.

• One of these treasures was called Badawerd, or, "The gift of the winds," because it had been cast upon his territory, when on its way to the Roman emperor, his benefactor.

"The forked weapon of the skies can send

Illumination into deep, dark holds,
Which the mild sunbeam hath not power to pierce.
Ye thrones that have defied remorse, and cast
Pity away, soon shall ye shake with fear."


Chosroes was succeeded in his kingdom, A.d. 627, by that son who was the instrument of his death,


The first act of Siroes was, to conclude a perpetual peace with Heraclius, and to set at liberty all the Roman captives, and among the rest, Zacharias, patriarch of Jerusalem. He also, it is said, sent back the wood which the superstitious supposed to have formed part of the cross on which the Saviour was crucified, and which had been carried by Chosroes in triumph from Jerusalem into Persia.

Siroes did not long survive the parricide of which he had been guilty, He died after he had reigned seven months, according to the oriental, or a little more than a year, according to the Roman historians. Rozut-ul-Suffa states that his life was terminated by melancholy arising from his crime; but Roman historians say that he was murdered by one of his generals. He was succeeded by his son

Constantinople, and Chosru Parviz in Persia, announced himself as a prophet. For some time, he was unheeded, except by a few intimate friends. At length, however, the impostor began to preach publicly in Mecca, and daily added to the number of his disciples. The Koreish soon took the alarm, and Mohammed with his friends were obliged to take refuge in flight. He retired to Tayef, apparently yielding to the storm, but waiting in reality for an opportuuity of exerting himself with advantage. The time he chose was the sacred month, in which the caravans of pilgrims came to Mecca, and which was, like the period called "the truce of God" in the middle ages, a season of universal peace. Mohammed returned to Mecca at this season, and announced his mission to the strangers, who came thither on pilgrimage. Among these strangers were pilgrim Jews from Yatreb, or Medina, who longed for the coming of the Messiah, and a tribe of idolatrous Arabs from the same city, who held these Jews in subjection. When the Medinese Arab pilgrims heard the account of the new prophet at Mecca, they asked, "Can this be the Messiah of whom the Jews are constantly speaking? Let us find him out, and gain him over to our interests." Mohammed saw the advantage he should gain by their alliance, and replied that he was the person whom the Jews expected, but that his mission was universal; for all who believed in God and his prophet should share its advantages. From that moment they joined his cause, and it flourished. After having given his disciples permission to stand up in their own defence, when his power was still further strengthened, he issued his command to propagate the new religion by force of arms. "When ye encounter the unbelievers," said he, "strike off their heads until ye have made a great slaughter among them; and bind them in bonds; and either give them a free dismission afterwards, or exact a ransom until the war shall have laid down its arms." This com

ARDESIR, OR ARDESCHIR BEN SCHIROUIEH, a child of seven years of age, A. D. 628. Ardesir reigned only seven months. He was deposed and murdered by the commander of the forces, Sarbarazas, or Scheheriah, who usurped the throne; which, however, he held but a few days, being slain by the adherents of the royal family. After the death of Sarbarazas, according to Persian writers, a queen of the name of Poorandokht, the daughter of Chosru Parviz, reigned one year and four months; then her cousin, Shah-mand was consonant to the feelings of his folShenendeh, who only reigned one month; then another queen of the name of Arzem-dokht, sister to the former; then Kesra, reported to have belonged to the royal family, who was quickly murdered; then Ferokhzad, the son of Chosru Parviz, whose days were terminated by poison; and finally Jezdegerd, under whose rule the Persian monarchy sunk to rise no more.

Nothing of interest is recorded during the period in which the above kings and queens reigned. Their rapid elevation and destruction denotes a state of great anarchy, and shows that the management of public affairs was at this period a subject of contest among the nobles, who veiled their ambition under the garb of loyalty and attachment to the house of Sassan.


Jezdegerd was raised to the throne of Persia, A.D. 632. He was a grandson of Chosroes by one of his sons, and, it is said, the only surviving branch of the royal family.

The reign of Jezdegerd was brief and disastrous. Mohammed, who was born at Mecca, A.D. 569, had, during the reign of Heraclius in

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lowers. They first waged war with the Meccans and the Jewish tribes near Medina. Success crowned their efforts, recruits crowded from all quarters to join his banners, and at length the armies of the Mussulmans were spread over Arabia, and were to be seen on the shores of the Red Sea, and the Persian Gulf, and even in Syria. Elated with the success of his predatory incursions, it is said that Mohammed sent a letter to Chosru Parviz, inviting him to embrace his doctrines, which was rejected with contempt.* Such was the state of Mohammedanism when its founder died, and Abu-Bekr succeeded to the khaliphate, A.D. 632, the same year that Jezdegerd ascended the throne of Persia. The khaliph not knowing how to find employment for the vast multitude of enthusiasts that arose in every part of Arabia, resolved to display the standard of the faith of Islam in the fields of Syria. He first sent detachments to the borders of Syria and Babylonia.

This letter commenced thus: "Mohammed, son of of Persia, greeting." When it had been read thus far, Abd Allah, the apostle of God, to Chosru Parviz, monarch the monarch seized it, and tore it in pieces, because Mohammed had placed his name first. When Mohammed heard of this, he exclaimed. "Thus may God tear his kingdom," an expression which after events justified as a prediction in the sight of his enthusiastic followers.

These encountered no obstacles, and returned laden with plunder, upon which the khaliph invited all the Arabs to join in the enterprise he projected, and great numbers responded to the invitation. From the cowardice and treachery of the Byzantine provincial governors, the invaders encountered no effective opposition; and in less than two years, the greater part of Syria was subdued. While the Saracens, as the Arabs were from this time generally called, were thus pursuing their career of victory, Abu-Bekr died, and was succeeded in the khaliphate by Omar, who thirsted to massacre all who would not believe in the prophet. No sooner was Omar placed at the head of affairs, than the armies of the Mohammedans seemed to have acquired tenfold vigour. The greater part of Syria and Mesopotamia had been subdued during the life of Abu-Bekr; the conquest of these countries was now completed, and armies were sent into Persia, Palestine, Phenicia, and Egypt. The Persians were so weakened by the incessant wars of Chosroes, and the subsequent civil commotions, that they could not hope to repel their powerful assailants. Hence, on their appearance, Jezdegerd sent an envoy to Saad, the leader whom Omar had appointed to the chief command of his forces in Persia; and Saad, in compliance with their request, sent a deputation to Madain, consisting of three old Arab chiefs. When these were seated in the presence of Jezdegerd, that monarch addressed himself to the principal person among them, whose name was Shaikh Maghurah, in the following words: "We have always held you in the lowest estimation. Arabs, hitherto, have been only known in Persia in two characters, as merchants and as beggars. Your food is green lizards;* your drink, salt water; your covering, garments made of coarse hair. But of late, you have come in bands to Persia; you have eaten of good food, you have drunk of sweet water, and have enjoyed the luxury of soft raiment. You have reported these enjoyments to your brethren, and they are flocking to partake of them. But, not satisfied with all the good things you have thus obtained, you desire to impose a new religion on us, who are unwilling to receive it. You appear to me like the fox in our fable, who went into a garden, where he found an abundance of grapes. The generous gardener would not disturb him. The produce of his abundant vineyard would, he thought, be little diminished by a poor hungry fox enjoying himself; but the animal, not content with his good fortune, went and informed all his tribe of the excellence of the grapes, and the good-nature of the gardener. The garden was filled with foxes; and its indulgent owner was forced to bar the gates, and kill all the intruders, to save himself from ruin. However, as I am satisfied you have been compelled to the conduct which you have pursued from absolute want, I will not only pardon you, but load your camels with wheat and dates, that, when you return to your native land, you may feast your countrymen. But, be assured, if you are insensible to my generosity, and remain in Persia, you shall not escape my just vengeance."

The Persians usually called the Arabs, by way of contempt, "naked lizard eaters."

This speech, wherein are displayed the marks of pride and weakness, was heard by the envoy unmoved, and he replied thus: "Whatever thou hast said concerning the former condition of the Arabs, is true. Their food was green lizards; they buried their infant daughters alive; nay, some of them feasted on dead carcases, and drank blood; while others slew their relations, and thought themselves great and valiant, when by such an act they became possessed of more property; they were clothed with hair garments; knew not good from evil; and made no distinction between that which is lawful and that which is unlawful. Such was our state. But God, in his mercy, has sent us, by a holy prophet, Mohammed, a sacred volume, the koran, which teaches us the true faith. By it we are commanded to war against infidels, and to exchange our poor and miserable condition for wealth and power. We now solemnly desire you to receive our religion. If you consent, not an Arab shall enter Persia without your permission; and our leaders will only demand the established taxes,* which all believers are bound to pay. If you do not accept our religion, you are required to pay the tribute+ fixed for infidels: should you reject both these propositions, you must prepare for war."

Jezdegerd was too proud to submit to such degrading conditions; and a battle ensued near the city of Cadessia, which was fought with great fury for three days, and which at length ended in the total defeat of the Persians, and the greatest part of the Persian dominions fell into the hands of the conquerors, A.D. 636.

On the loss of this great and decisive battle, Jezdegerd fled to Hulwan, with all the property he could collect. Saad, after taking possession of Madain, pursued him, and sent his nephew Hashem to attack a body of troops which had arrived from Shirwan and Aderbijan. This force took shelter in the fort of Jelwallah, where they were captured; upon which Jezdegerd left his army, and fled to Rhe. Hashem advanced to Hulwan, which he reduced; and, soon after, the city of Ahwaz shared the same fate. Saad marched from thence, by Omar's order, to Amber, and from thence to Koofah, a place which soon after acquired celebrity. From Koofah, Saad was recalled by Omar, on account of a complaint made against him by those under his rule; and Omar Yuseer was appointed his suc


Jezdegerd, encouraged by the removal of a leader he so much dreaded, assembled an army from Khorassan, Rhe, and Hamadan, and placing it under the command of Firouzin, the bravest of the Persian generals, resolved to contest once more for the empire.

As soon as Omar heard of these preparations, he ordered reinforcements to be sent to his army in Persia, from every quarter of his dominions; and committing the chief command to Noman, he directed him to exert his utmost efforts to de

* The zukat, or religious charity for the poor, was twoand-a-half per cent. upon property: the khums, or fifth, was a tax to support the family of the prophet.

The tax paid by infidels was thirty-five per cent. on property.

stroy for ever the worship of fire. The Arabian force assembled at Koofah, and thence marched to the plains of Nahaound, about forty miles to the south of Hamadan, on which the Persians had established a camp, surrounded by a deep entrenchment. During two months these great armies continued in sight of each other, and many skirmishes occurred. At the end of that time, Noman drew up his army in order of battle, and thus addressed the soldiers: "My friends, prepare yourselves to conquer, or to drink of the sweet sherbet* of martyrdom. I shall now call the Tukbeer three times: at the first, you will gird your loins; at the second, mount your steeds; and at the third, point your lances, and rush to victory or to paradise. As to me," said Noman, with a loud voice, " I shall be a martyr! When I am slain, obey the orders of Huzeefahebn-Aly-Oman."

The Tukbeer (Allah-Akbar, or, "God is great") was sounded; and when it had ceased, the Mohammedans charged with a fury that was irresistible. Noman was slain, as he predicted; but the Persians sustained a total overthrow. The empire of Persia was for ever lost; and that mighty nation fell under the dominion of the Arabian khaliphs.

Jezdegerd protracted for several years a wretched and precarious existence. He first fled to Segistan, then to Khorassan, and lastly to Merou, on the river Oxus, or Gihon. The governor of this city invited the khakan of the Tartars† to take possession of the person of the fugitive monarch. The invitation was accepted; his troops entered Merou, (the gates of which were opened to them by the treacherous governor,) and made themselves masters of it, after a brave resistance from the inhabitants. Jezdegerd escaped from the town during the contest, and reached a mill eight miles from Merou, and entreated the miller to conceal him. The man promised his protection; but, yielding to the temptation of making his fortune by the possession of the rich arms and robes of the unfortunate prince, he treacherously murdered him. The governor of Merou, and those who had aided him, in a few days began to suffer from the tyranny of the khakan, and to repent of their treachery. They encouraged the citizens to rise upon the Tartars; and they not only recovered the city, but forced the khakan to fly with great loss to


The fate of Jezdegerd was now discovered, and the rapacious and treacherous miller fell a victim to the popular rage; and the corpse of the monarch was embalmed, and sent to Istakhr, to be interred in the sepulchre of his ancestors, A.D. 652.

Jezdegerd possessed the royal title nineteen

* In warm countries, where wine is forbidden, sherbet or lemonade is the beverage in which they delight.

+ Khondimir says it was the king of the Hiatila, of "White Huns," whom he invited; but Ferdosi says it was a chief or Turan, who ruled at Samarcand.

years; ten of which he was a fugitive, reckoning from the battle of Nahaound, A.D. 642. He was the last sovereign of the house of Sassan, a family which governed Persia during 411 years; and the memory of which is still cherished by a nation whose ancient glory is associated with the names of Artaxerxes, Sapor, and Chosroes.

Thus closes the ancient history of Persia. So rapid a declension, from A.D. 614, when the Persian empire was at its height, and larger than it had been since the days of Alexander the Great, is unexampled in history. But the rod had blossomed, pride had budded, and violence had risen up into a rod of wickedness; and hence its doom went forth from Heaven, that it should be destroyed. The extraordinary Saracen* power was the instrument by which its overthrow was effected; but the seeds of destruction were found in its own bosom. That impious monarch, Chosru Parviz, by his rapacity and cruelty, alienated the affections of his generals from his family, while his rage for war had drained the country of its ablest defenders, and left it wasted and distracted; thus it became an easy prey to the needy and ferocious Saracens. They came upon the Persians as an overflowing flood, and swept their power from off the earth. Animated by an enthusiasm which made them despise the most fearful odds, as the ministers of vengeance, they sought battle as a feast, and counted danger a sport. They had ever in their mouths the magnificent orientalism, traditionally ascribed to Mohammed," In the shades of the scimitars is paradise prefigured;" and under the influence of these feelings, their power was irresistible. Such is the ever-changing nature of all mundane affairs. In this age, power and empire are in the hands of one people; in the next, a nation unheard of before comes forth, and rudely plucks it from their hands. By whose direction do these things occur?

Happy the man who sees a God employ'd
In all the good and ill that chequer life;
Resolving all events, with their effects
And manifold results, into the will
And arbitration wise of the Supreme.


Reader, let it be your prayer, that you may enjoy this happiness, that you may see the Divine hand in past, present, and coming events!

* Concerning the etymology of the word Saracen, there have been various opinions; but its true derivation is Sharkeyn, which means, in Arabic, "the eastern people." This was first corrupted into Saracenoi, by the Greek, and thence into Saraceni, by the Latin writers. The name seems to have been applied by Pliny to the Bedouin Arabs, who inhabited the countries between the

Euphrates and the Tigris, and separated the Roman possessions in Asia from the dominions of the Parthian kings. In course of time, it became the general name of all the Arab tribes who embraced the faith of Islam, and

spread their conquests widely through Asia and Africa, and part of Europe.





THE hand of the great Ruler of the universe may be as clearly traced in the modern, as in the ancient history of Persia. For more than two centuries after the Mohammedan conquest, the country was a mere province in the empire of the caliphs. With the decay, however, of the power of the caliphs, the spirit of independence revived, so that about A.D. 868, Yakub Ibu Lais threw off his allegiance to the caliph, founded the Soffarian dynasty, and fixed at Shiras the capital of a dominion including nearly all Persia.

His brother and successor, Amer, was subdued A. D. 900, by the Tartar family of the Samanides, who ruled Khorassan and Trans-Oxiana, till A. D. 999, while Western Persia again acknowledged allegiance to the caliph till A.D. 936, when the utter disruption of the Abbaside power threw it into the hands of the three sons of Bouyah, Amad-ed-doulah, Ruku-ed-doulah, and Moazz-ed-doulah, who shared the kingdom among them. These, with their successors, ruled Persia, with more or less success, till A.D. 1028, when Mahmood, who, thirty years before, had founded the dynasty of the Ghazneoides in Cabul and Khorassan, subdued their last successors in Eastern Persia.

The whole country was on the point of falling into the hands of this conqueror, when the Seljukian Turks, originally received as vassals by the Ghazneoide princes, snatched the prize from their hands. Pouring down from Central Asia, they defeated Massood, the son and successor of Mahmood, A.D. 1040, near Nishapur, and placed their own sultan, Togrul Beg, in possession of Persia, to which, A.D. 1055, he added Bagdad and Irak, with the guardianship of the caliphate, deposing the last of the house of Bouyah.

This Perso-Turkish monarchy rose to great splendour; but civil wars commencing between the sons of Malek Shah, about A.D. 1120, and continuing their devastations to the next generation, their power was gradually weakened, so that, A.D. 1194, Persia fell under the yoke of the Khorasmian sultan, Takash, who slew their last successor, Togrul II., and extended his sway

from the Caspian and the sea of Aral, to the Indus and the Persian Gulf.

This mighty power, however, soon vanished. Gengis-Khan, the redoubtable ruler of the Moguls beyond the Jaxartes, invaded Persia, A. D. 1218, with a mighty host, and chased Mohammed, the successor of Takash, from his dominions. The son of Takash struggled manfully for the kingdom; but he dying, A.D. 1230, the Khorasmian power was dissolved, and Persia laid prostrate at the feet of the Moguls.

Gengis-Khan and his successors ruled in Persia during about ninety years, when Persia became divided and distracted by numberless petty dynasties perpetually at war with each other. This was the signal for another invader.

The celebrated Tamerlane, already master of Trans-Oxiana and Tartary, invaded Khorassan, in 1381, and in twelve years subdued Persia to his sway. In a few years after his death, however, Persia relapsed into a state of division and anarchy, worse than even that which had preceded his irruption. His son, indeed, ruled over Khorassan, Trans-Oxiana, and Tartary; but his descendants were expelled by the Uzbeks, at the end of the century, while the western provinces were contested by two races of Turkomans, distinguished by their emblems of the Black and White Sheep, the latter of which finally prevailed, A.D. 1469, under their leader, Hassan the Tall, ruler of Diarbekr.

The White Sheep dynasty was of brief duration. Hassan the Tall, encountering the superior power of the Ottoman sultan, Mohammed II., sustained a signal defeat in Anatolia, 1473, which greatly weakened his power, and his relatives and descendants were finally supplanted and crushed, in 1502, by Ismael Shah, the founder of the Seft, Sooffee, or Seffavean dynasty.

This race of sovereigns, by their rule and character, imparted to the Persian monarchy a greater degree of stability, and a more settled form of government, than it had enjoyed for some centuries. They sat on the throne of Persia during two hundred and twenty years, at

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