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distinction. With some slight differences, similar | with reference to the queens of Persia possessing distinctions continue to prevail in the harem, or particular provinces, and the phrase of giving family of the rulers of Persia. The principal unto “ the half of the kingdom.” It may also difference is, that the king has several legal wives, suggest some idea of the cost and splendour of besides those of a secondary class, and that they the
dresses of the queens of Persia. now appear to have daily access to his presence, Concerning the king's own apparel, there are which the history of Esther shows was not the some interesting allusions made in Esther vi. case anciently. The accommodation and attend- From thence we learn that the privilege of wearance of the women varies according to their ing such a dress formed a permanent distinction rank. Sir J. Malcolm says, that “the first busi- of a very high order. It was a distinction that ness of the king of Persia in the morning, after even the great counsellor Haman aspired unto. he is risen, is to sit from one or two hours in the When the monarch interrogated him thus, “What hall of the harem, where his levees are conducted shall be done unto the man whom the king with the same ceremony as in his outer apartment. delighteth to honour ?" supposing that the honour Female officers arrange the crowd of his wives was intended for himself, the ambitious courtier and slaves with the strictest attention to the order rejoined, “ For the man whom the king delighteth of precedency. After hearing the reports of to honour, let the royal apparel be brought which those entrusted with the internal government of the king useth to wear, and the horse that the the harem, and consulting with his principal king rideth upon, and the crown royal which is wives, who are generally seated, the monarch set upon his head : and let this apparel and horse leaves the interior apartments.”
be delivered to the hand of one of the king's most According to the Greek historians, none were noble princes, that they may array the man withal admitted to the king without being called ; but whom the king delighteth to honour, and bring they do not appear to have known that queens him on horseback through the street of the city, and princesses were included in the application and proclaim before him, Thus shall it be done of this rule. From Esther iv. 11, we find that they to the man whom the king delighteth to honour,” were so; and the rule seems to have been that Esther vi. 7-9. Haman knew that it was death even when the king was in his outer apartments, for any one to wear the king's own robe, and that none might enter uncalled or unannounced; such an honour was calculated to express the and that when in his interior residence, not even most pre-eminent favour and distinction, and the queen might appear unbidden; none except render it visible to all the people, and therefore it the seven princes “who saw the king's face,” was he made the proposal. As much may be might appear before him without ceremony. said of “ the horse that the king rideth upon,” And even these were not admitted when any of and "the crown royal which is set upon his the king's wives were with him, which restriction head.” It was unlawful for any one to ride enabled the king to see them when and as little on the king's own horse, and a capital crime to as he thought proper. Herodotus relates, that wear the same turban or crown which the king one of the privileged nobles who disbelieved this wore, or even such as he wore. Arrian relates, excuse of two door-keepers for not admitting that when Alexander was sailing on the Euphrates, him into the presence of the monarch, cut off his turban fell off among some reeds. One of their ears and noses, for which act he and his the rowers jumped out, and swam to recover it : family, except his wife and eldest son, were but finding that he could not carry it back in his punished with death.
hand without wetting it, he put it upon his head, On some occasions, this law seems to have been and brought it safely to the boat. The monarch infringed. Thus Esther, urgently requested by gave him a talent of silver for his zeal, and then Mordecai, to save her nation from the destruction ordered his head to be struck off, for setting the meditated by the wicked Haman, and decreed by diadem thereon. This story emphatically illusAhasuerus when inflamed with wine, stood “in trates the foregoing observations. the inner court of the king's house." But then,
The distinctions of Persian royalty are thus though death was the law for such an offence, enumerated by Statius :the king might set this aside by holding out the
“When some youth of royal blood succeeds golden sceptre, that the offender might live.
To his paternal crown, and rules the Medes, Such favour was shown to Esther ; otherwise, His slender grasp, he fears, will ill contair. according to the law of the Medes and Persians, The weighty sceptre, and the bow sustain; her life must have been the forfeit of her
And trembling takes the courser's reins in hand, temerity.
And huge tiara, badge of high command.”—LEWIS. After having thus shown her favour, the king Concerning the sceptre, it is evident from promised Esther that whatever might be her Scripture and the writings of profane historians, request it should be granted her, even to the half that the kings of Persia used one on great of his kingdom ; a form of speech which has occasions. Xenophon makes Cyrus say among reference to the custom among the ancient kings other things to Cambyses, his son and appointed of Persia in bestowing grants and pensions to successor, “ Know Cambyses, that it is not the their favourites. These grants were not by pay- golden sceptre which can preserve your kingdom ; ment of money from the treasury, but by charges but faithful friends are a prince's truest and upon the revenues of particular provinces or securest sceptre.” In the Persepolitan sculptures, cities. Thus when Xerxes wished to make a however, the figures of the king are invariably provision for Themistocles, he gave him the city represented as bearing a long staff in his hand. of Magnesia for his bread, Myonta for his meat The crown of the kings of Persia may be illusand other victuals, and Lampsacus for his wine. trated by the description which Morier gives of This may explain the observations before made | the magnificent tiara of Futteh Ali Shah, king of
THE SEVEN STATE COUNSELLORS.
Persia. “ The king,” says he," was one blaze Babylon, with the freewill offering of the people, of jewels, which literally dazzled the sight on and of the priests, offering, willingly for the first looking at him. A lofty tiara of three house of their God which is in Jerusalem : that elevations was on his head, which shape appears thou mayest buy speedily with this money bulto have been long peculiar to the crown of the locks, rams, lambs, with their meat offerings and great king. It was entirely composed of thickly their drink offerings, and offer them upon the set diamonds, pearls, rubies, and emeralds, so altar of the house of your God which is in Jeruexquisitely disposed as to form a mixture of the salem,” etc. Ezra vii. 12—26. most beautiful colours, in the brilliant light re- These counsellors were well versed in the laws, flected from its surface. Several black feathers, ancient customs, and manners of the state. They like the heron-plume, were intermixed with the always attended the king, who never transacted splendid aigrettes of this truly imperial diadem, anything, or determined any affair of importance, whose bending points were furnished with pear- without their advice. This may be gathered from formed pearls of immense size.” The usual head- a transaction recorded in the first chapter of the dress of modern Persian monarchs is a plain book of Esther. The writer of that book, after black cap, which probably bears a similar relation having stated the refractory conduct of queen to this crown, as the plain cap on the Persepolitan Vashti, represents Ahasuerus as seeking the adsculptures bore to the ancient state crowns of vice of these seven counsellors.
Then the king their mighty predecessors.
said to the wise men, which knew the times, (for In concluding this article, it may be mentioned, so was the king's manner toward all that knew that the birthdays of the kings of Persia were law and judgment: and the next unto him was kept sacred, and celebrated with public sports, Carshena, Shethar, Admatha, Tarshish, Meres, in the utmost pomp and magnificence. Their Marsena, and Memucan, the seven princes of deaths were bewailed by the closing of the tri-Persia and Media, which saw the king's face, and bunals of justice for five days, and by extinguish- which sat the first in the kingdom ;) What shall ing the fire which was worshipped in families as we do unto the queen Vashti according to law, a household god; on which occasion alone they because she hath not performed the commandsubmitted to such a calamity. They were de- ment of the king Ahasuerus by the chamberposited in rocky vaults, as in the tombs at Naksh- | lains ? And Memucan answered before the king i. Rustam, and Naksh-i-Rejeb, a privilege, as and the princes, Vashti the queen hath not done will be seen in a future page, peculiarly their wrong to the king only, but also to all the princes, own.
and to all the people that are in all the provinces of the king Ahasuerus. For this derid of the
queen shall come abroad unto all women, so that Absolute as was the regal authority among they shall despise their husbands in their eyes, the Persians, yet it was, to a certain degree, when it shall be reported, The king Ahasuerus kept within due bounds by the establishment of commanded Vashti the queen to be brought in a council, which consisted of seven of the chief before him, but she came not. Likewise shall men of the nation, distinguished no less by their the ladies of Persia and Media say this day unto wisdom and abilities, than by their illustrious all the king's princes, which have heard of the birth. This establishment had its origin in the deed of the queen. Thus shall there arise too conspiracy of the seven Persian noblemen, who much contempt and wrath. If it please the king, entered into an association against Smerdis, the let there go a royal commandment from him, and Magian, and slew him. These noblemen stipu- let it be written among the laws of the Persians lated with Darius Hystaspes, whom they placed and the Medes, that it be not altered, That Vashti on the throne, for the most distinguished honours come no more before king Ahasuerus ; and let and extraordinary privileges.
the king give her royal estate unto another that These counsellors possessed great power. This is better than she. And when the king's decree may be seen by the letter written by Artaxerxes which he shall make shall be published
throughto Ezra, wherein he constantly associates him- out all his empire, (for it is great,) all the wives self with these seven counsellors: “ Artaxerxes, shall give to their husbands Honour, both to great king of kings, unto Ezra the priest, a scribe of and small.”. Ahasuerus was pleased with this the law of the God of heaven, perfect peace, and counsel, and adopted it. See Esther i. 9–22. at such a time. I make a decree, that all they of Among the sculptures at Naksh-i-Rustam, there the people of Israel, and of his priests and Le- is one which exhibits a king in apparent confervites, in my realm, which are minded of their ence with seven men, one queenly looking lady own freewill to go up to Jerusalem, go with thee. also being present, which aptly illustrates the Forasmuch as thou art sent of the king, and of foregoing extract. It belongs, however, to a his seven counsellors, to enquire concerning Judah later period than the era of Ahasuerus. and Jerusalem, according to the law of thy God
This council did not interfere with the king's which is in thine hand; and to carry the silver prerogative of ruling and commanding: it was and gold, which the king and his counsellors have confined entirely to that of reason, which confreely offered unto the God of Israel, whose sisted in communicating and imparting their habitation is in Jerusalem, and all the silver and knowledge and experience to the king. To them gold that thou canst find in all the province of the king transferred several weighty cases, which
otherwise might have been a burden to him, and For further remarks on the kingiy power of Persia, by them he executed whatever measures had the reader is referred to the corresponding section in the been adopted in the council. It was, in fact, by History of the Assyrians; for the Persian monarchs
means of this standing council, that the maxims were the prototypes of the Assyrian monarchs; so were
of the state were preserved, the knowledge of
the Parthians those of the Persians.
its interests perpetuated, affairs harmoniously | tered justice at stated times, in different proconducted, and innovations, errors, and over- vinces. Some of these judges attended the king sights prevented. This leads us to notice wherever he sojourned. The king often ad
vised with them; and in matters concerning THE ADMINISTRATIVE POWER.
himself, referred the whole to their judgment. The terms king and judge are synonymous. They were nominated by the king, and, as the The throne is a tribunal, and the sovereign power employment was for life, great care was taken to the highest authority for the administration of prefer only such as were famed for their integrity. justice. The duties of a king are well defined in Delinquency on the part of judges was punished the queen of Sheba's address to king Solomon. with extreme severity. Herodotus says, that “ Blessed,” said she, “ be the Lord thy God, which one of the royal judges having suffered himself delighted in thee, to set thee on the throne of to be corrupted by a bribe, was condemned by Israel : because the Lord loved Israel for ever,
Cambyses to be put to death without mercy, and therefore made he thee king, to do judgment and
to have his skin placed upon the seat of justice. justice,” i Kings X. 9. The Almighty hath He adds, what is most revolting, that the son sucmade every thing subject to princes, to put them ceeded his father in this seat. into a condition of fearing none but him. “For
According to Xenophon, the ordinary judges rulers,” saith the apostle, “are not a terror to
of Persia were taken out of the class of old men, good works, but to the evil
. Wilt thou then not into which none were admitted till the age of fifty be afraid of the power? do that which is good, years. A man, therefore, could not exercise the and thou shalt have praise of the same: for he is office of judge before that age; the Persians being the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou of opinion that a fully matured mind was redo that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth quired in an employment, which decided upon the not the sword in vain : for he is the minister of fortunes, reputations, and lives of the community. God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that
Amongst the Persians, it was not lawful either doeth evil,” Rom. xiii. 3, 4.
for a private person to put his slave to death, or What is that justice which God hath entrusted for the prince to inflict capital punishment upon to the hands of monarchs ? and wherefore hath any of his subjects for the first offence; the crime he made them his delegates? The poet says,
being considered rather the effect of human
weakness and frailty, than of a confirmed ma“Order is Heaven's first law, and this confessed, lignity of mind. They thought it reasonable to put Some are, and must be greater than the rest; the good as well as the evil into the scales of More rich, more wise."
justice; and they deemed it unjust that the good To this end kings reign, that order may be pre-actions of a man should be obliterated by a single served in a state. And this order consists in ob- crime. It was upon this principle that Darius serving a general equity, and taking care that revoked the sentence he had passed upon one brute force does not usurp the place of law: that of his judges for some prevarication in his office, the property of one man should not be exposed to at the very moment it was going to be executed ; the violence of another, that the union of society acknowledging that he had pronounced it with be not broken, that artifice and fraud do not pre- more precipitation than wisdom. vail over innocence and simplicity, that society One essential rule which the Persians observed should rest in peace under the protection of the in their judgments, was, in the first place, never laws, and that the weakest and poorest should to condemn any person without confronting him find a sanctuary in the public authority.
with bis accuser, and without giving him time Josephus says that the kings of Persia used to and the means necessary for his defence; and, in administer justice in their own persons. For this the second place, if the person accused was found reason, they never ascended the throne till they innocent, to inflict the same punishment upon had been instructed by the magi, in the princi- the accuser, as the accused would have suffered, ples of justice and equity. These are the great had he been found guilty. Diodorus relates an and essential duties of the regal dignity, and incident that will illustrate this. One of the fathough the kings of Persia were transcendently vourites of Artaxerxes, ambitious of possessing a vicious in other respects, yet were they very place possessed by a superior officer, endeavoured scrupulous, and very tender in the discharge of to make the king suspect the fidelity of that offithese duties. After hearing the merits of the To this end, he sent informations to court cause, they took several days to consider and ad-full of calumnies against him, persuading himself vise with the magi, before they gave sentence. that the king would believe and act upon the reWhen they sat on life and death, they not only port without examination of the matter. The considered the crime of which the delinquent was officer was imprisoned, but he desired of the impeached, but all the actions, whether good or king before he was condemned, that his cause bad, of his whole life ; and they condemned or might be heard, and his accusers ordered to proacquitted him, according as his crimes or deserts duce their evidence against him. The king comprevailed.
plied with the request, and as there was no eviThough the kings of Persia may in many in-dence but the letters which his enemy had writstances have administered justice in their own ten against him, he was acquitted. The king's persons, it cannot be supposed that in so mighty indignation then fell upon the accuser, and the an empire they could sit in judgment on every innocent thereby was shielded from the artifice case. Besides the king, there were, indeed, seve- and cruelty of calumny and violence. ral judges, all men of unblemished characters, Another memorable example of firmness and and skilful in the laws of the kingdom. These the love of justice in the monarchs of Persia, is were called “ royal judges,” and they adminis- recorded in the book of Esther. When the eyes
of Ahasuerus were opened to the dark designs of revenues proportioned to their station and high the wicked Haman, who had obtained from him employment. He did not allow them, however, an edict for the destruction of the Jews, he made to exceed the bounds of prudence and moderahaste to atone for his fault, by publishing another tion. And lest precept should be of no avail, edict, permitting the Jews to stand up in their he set them an example in this respect. He so own defence, by punishing Haman, and by a regulated his court, that the same order which public acknowledgment of his error.
reigned there might likewise proportionably be The Persians, says Herodotus, hold falsehood observed in the courts of the satraps, and in every in the greatest abhorrence: next to which they noble family in his empire. To prevent, as far as esteem it disgraceful to be in debt, as well for possible, all abuses of their extensive authority, other reasons as for the temptations to falsehood, the king reserved to himself the right of nominatwhich they think it necessarily introduces. But ing the satraps, and ordained that all governors it would not appear that the Persians were at all of places, commanders of armies, etc., should times so scrupulous about falsehood. Deceit and depend upon himself alone. From him they refalsehood are charges which to this day they do ceived their instructions, and if they abused their not deny. “ Believe me; for though I am a Per- power, from him also they received punishment. sian, I am speaking truth,” is an exclamation In order to maintain a close communication commonly used to those who doubt their veracity, with the satraps of these provinces, and to keep and there are few travellers who do not bear a strict watch over their conduct, Cyrus devised testimony to their proneness to falsehood and a plan for facilitating the intercourse between venality. Herodotus himself makes Darius utter himself and them. After having ascertained how this sentiment, “ If a falsehood must be spoken, far a good horse might go in a day, with ease let it be so ;" on which Larcher observes, “ This and expedition, he caused stables to be erected morality is not very rigid; but it ought to be at determined distances, each with a suitable remembered, that Herodotus is here speaking of establishment of horses, and men to take care of falsehood, which operates to no one's injury.” them. Postmasters were also stationed at these But when it is remembered that one of the first stages, whose duty it was to receive the packets rudiments of Persian education was to speak the as they arrived, and immediately forward them truth, this departure from it on the part of Darius with fresh horses and couriers. This custom is must appear very remarkable. His delinquency referred to, Esth. viii. 10. After having related seems to have been founded upon that principle, that Ahasuerus granted the Jews to defend themwhich even some of our gravest moralists have selves against the wicked machinations of Haman, taught, namely, that “there may be occasions in the sacred writer says, that Mordecai “sent letters which a deviation from strict truth is venial.” | by posts on horseback, and riders on mules, But this is not true. In Scripture, the liar is camels, and young dromedaries." These posts of enumerated with those whose portion is the bitter the ancient Persians travelled night and day cup of everlasting torments; and no extenuating without intermission, and so quickly did they circumstances are taken into the account. Besides, perform their journey, that it was said, proverbshould this be allowed, irreparable mischief ially, that they flew swifter than cranes. This would be inflicted on society. « A liar," says an
proverb may, however, refer more especially to old writer, “is a public nuisance: he disheartens the “swift dromedary,” or “the ship of the debelief, makes reality suspected, and one honest sert,” the camel; for it is said of the former man a stranger to the other.” To sanction this especially, that it will in one night, and through a evil, therefore, by the weight of a man's reputa- level country, traverse as much ground as any tion for gravity and wisdom, is to commit a crime ordinary horse can in ten.“ dromedary,” says of no ordinary magnitude. The psalmist well Jackson, in his work on Morocco, “has been knew the enormity of this vice: hence it was known to travel two hundred miles in less than that he exclaimed,
twenty hours." Hence we see the wisdom of “He that telleth lies shall not tarry in my sight.”.
Esther's messengers in choosing it to carry their Psa. ci. 7.
despatches to the distant provinces of the Persian
empire, for the existence of her nation was at THE GOVERNMENT OF THE PROVINCES.
stake. The provinces of Persia have been described These posting establishments of ancient Persia in a previous portion of this history. (See page may receive illustration from those of the Mougol 2.) In this section will be described the govern- empire. According to Marco Polo, there were ment of those provinces.
roads extending to every part of this empire The sacred writer in the book of Daniel says, from the capital, Cambalu, having post houses, “ It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom an with suitable furniture, at every twenty-five or hundred and twenty princes, which should be thirty miles. Altogether, there were ten thousand over the whole kingdom; and over these three of tħese stations, with two hundred thousand presidents,” Dan. vi. 1, 2. The princes here men. horses. The post ran two hundred, and sometioned were the governors of the provinces. They times two hundred and fifty miles in a day, espewere called satraps; and they were the most con- cially in cases of rebellion, or other urgent occasiderable persons in the kingdom; being second sions. There were other stations, consisting of to none but the monarch, and the three principal a few dwellings, three or four miles asunder, ocministers, who inspected their conduct, and to cupied by runners, or foot-posts, who, being whom they gave an account of the affairs of their girded, and well trained to their employment, ran respective provinces. That they might be able as fast as horses. In dark nights, these foot-posts to maintain a proper dignity, without which re- ran before the horsemen with links to light them spect languishes, Cyrus assigned to these satraps | along. Sometimes they carried letters, mandates,
and parcels to or from the khan, who thus re- caused an exact account to be given them, how ceived news in two days from places ten stages every province and district was cultivated, that distant, as from Kambalu to Shangtu.
they might know whether each country produced The fact of the ancient Persians sending letters as much fruits as it was capable of producing. by posts, it may be remarked, is one well calcu- Xenophon remarks of Cyrus the younger, that he lated to engage the attention of those who feel informed himself whether the private gardens of interested in studying the progress of society in his subjects were well kept, and yielded plenty the arts of convenience and civilization. And of fruit, and that he rewarded the superintendents who is there that does not feel an interest in these and overseers, whose provinces, or districts, were arts-arts which are so essential to the comforts the best cultivated, and punished those who sufof life, and without which a community cannot fered their grounds to lie barren. flourish?
How much the Persian princes were attached
to the arts of agriculture, may be seen from a "'Tis genial intercourse, and mutual aid,
conversation held between Lysander, the LaceCheers what were else an universal shade, Calls Nature from her ivy-mantled den,
demonian, and Cyrus the younger, as related by And softens human rockwork into men."-COW PER. Xenophon, and beautifully applied by Cicero.
Cyrus conducted his illustrious guest through his The care of the provinces of Persia was not gardens, and pointed out the various beauties left entirely to the satraps. The king himself they presented. was obliged personally, by ancient custom, to visit Lysander was charmed with the prospect, and the provinces at stated periods, being persuaded, admired the taste displayed in the arrangement as Pliny says of Trajan, that the most solid of the gardens, the height of the trees, the neatglory, and the most exquisite pleasure a prince ness of the walks, the abundance of the fruit can enjoy, is from time to time to let them see their trees, planted chequer-wise, and the innumerable common parent, to reconcile the dissensions and and diversified flowers every where exhaling animosities of rival cities, to calm commotions their odours. “Every thing,” he exclaimed, amongst his subjects, to prevent injustice and transports me in this place;
but what most inoppression in magistrates, and cancel and re- terests me is the exquisite judgment and elegant verse whatever has been decreed against law and perception of the artist who planned these garequity.
dens, and gave them the fine order, the wonderWhen the monarch of Persia was not able to ful disposition, and happiness of symmetry, which visit the provinces himself, he commissioned cannot be too much admired.” some of his nobles, men eminent for wisdom and “ Pleased with the eulogy, Cyrus replied, “ It virtue, to act as his representatives. These were was I who planned the gardens, and with my called “the eyes” and “the ears” of the prince, own hand planted many of the trees around because through them he saw and was informed you.” of every thing. These denominations, also, served “ What!” exclaimed Lysander, surveying Cyas an admonition to the king, as well as to his rus deliberately from head to foot, “is it posrepresentatives. It admonished the one that he sible that with these purple robes and splendid had his ministers as we have the organs of our vestments, these strings of jewels, and bracelets senses, not that he should be idle, but act by of gold, and those buskins so richly embroidered, their means; it admonished the others, that they —is it possible that you could play the gardener, ought not to act for themselves, but for the and employ your royal hands in planting trees ?” monarch, and for the advantage of the com- “Does that surprise you?” Cyrus rejoined ; “I munity.
swear by the god Mithras, that when my health The detail of affairs which the king or his re- admits, I never sit down to table without having presentatives entered into, when he or they made myself sweat with some fatigue or other ; visited the provinces, is worthy of admiration, either in military exercises, rural labour, or and shows that they understood wherein the other toilsome employments, to which I apply wisdom and ability of governors consist. Their with pleasure, and without sparing myself.” attention was not directed to great matters alone, Lysander pressed the hand of the prince, and as war, the revenue, justice, and commerce: but replied : “ Thou art worthy, Cyrus, of that hapto minor matters, as the security and beauty of piness thou art possessed of; because, with all thy towns; the convenient habitations of his subjects; happiness and prosperity, thou art also virtuous.” the repairs of roads, bridges, and causeways; the Mention has been made, (page 3,) of the represerving of woods and forests; and, above all, venues which the provinces of Persia produced. the improvement of agriculture. This latter In addition to the remarks there made, it may science engaged the Persian monarch’s peculiar be added, that the revenues of the Persian kings
Those satraps, whose provinces were best consisted partly in the levying of taxes imposed cultivated, enjoyed his peculiar favour. And as upon the people, and partly in their being furthere were offices erected for the regulation of the nished with the products of the earth in kind, as military department, so there were offices erected corn and other provisions, forage, horses, camels, for the regulation of rural labours and economy. or whatever rarities each particular province Both were protected, because both concurred for afforded. Strabo relates that the satrap of Arthe public good : the one for its safety, the other menia sent annually to the king 20,000 young for its sustenance. For if the earth cannot be colts ; by which a judgment may be formed of cultivated without the protection of armies, so the other levies in the several provinces. These neither can armies be fed and maintained, without tributes were only exacted from the conquered the labour of the husbandman. It was with good nations; the Persians, properly so called, were reason, therefore, that the Persian monarchs exempt from all imposts.