225 MEDIA.-CIVIL AND MILITARY ANNALS.
the part of the Medes- as would be expected from a great or vigorous nation. The war, on the contrary, seems to have been such as a powerful monarch would wage with scattered and badly organized tribes.
After the death of Shalmaneser and the accession of his son, Shamas-Vul, a second Assyrian invasion of Media occurred. The offense of the Medes seems to have been merely the manifestation of a belligerent spirit. For this potentiality of war their country was again ravaged until Shamas-Vul and his army were satisfied, and returned through the mountain passes to Nineveh. It was in this hard school of destructive incursions that the Medes were taught their first lessons in resistance and revenge.
Assyria was now in the heyday of her power. To save themselves and their country from further depredation the Medes adopted the expedient of tribute. As the price of peace they agreed to pay an annual stipend. This policy was adopted in the reign of Vul-Lush III, about the close of the ninth century B. C. During the following one hundred years the Medes became more compact and populous. They lay like a cloud along the eastern horizon of Assyria. Doubtless the tribute had been paid only by those western tribes who had felt more than once the vengeance of the Ninevite kings. The tribes to the east had remained comparatively free from foreign domination.
In the meantime a growth of nationality had fired the spirit of the Medes and the presence of that spirit gave the Assyrians warning that actual subjugation was necessary to the maintenance of their authority beyond the mountains. So Sargon the Great, in the year B. C. 710, determined to subdue the country and annex it to his dominions. Armies were marched through the mountain passes. Military posts were established and filled with soldiers. Whole colonies of Medes were deported into Assyria, and their places were supplied either with Assyrians or with captive bands of Samaritans, whom the monarch had recently brought home from his Western campaigns. Media was reorganized as a province of the Empire, and the tribute was systematically enforced, a part of the annual tax being a levy of horses for the stables of the king and for the captains of his armies.
The date of this subjugation of Media by Sargon corresponds almost exactly with the reign of the half-fabulous king DEIOCES, who, according to Herodotus, became monarch of the Medes in B. C. 708. The account long received as true from the old Greek historian is now known to have no foundation in fact. On the contrary, at the very time assigned by Herodotus for the successful revolt of Media, under the leadership of Deioces, Sargon's armies were wasting the country and destroying its independence; and for sixty years after this event no serious insurrection occurred on the part of the subject people.
During this period the domination of Assyria was extended eastward to the Elburz and to the north-west into Azerbijan. Wanton expeditions were made through the country both by Sennacherib and his son, Esar-Haddon, and towns and cities on the remotest confines of Media were either destroyed or made tributary. Occasionally some nomadic chief, hovering with his lawless bands on the outskirts of the Empire, was seized and taken as a curious spectacle for the gaze of the Ninevites. Such examples acted in terrorem, and the peace of the borders ceased to be disturbed.
About the middle of the seventh century B. C., we reach the solid ground in Median history. From the year 875 to 660 B. C, is the epoch of myth and fable. Soon after the latter date the great CYAXARES appeared on the scene, and his coming heralded a complete change in the condition of the countries beyond the Zagros. The beginning of this change was precipitated by the incursion of new Aryan tribes from the direction of Bactria. The incursionists were welcomed by their kinsmen, the Medes, who at heart detested the Assyrian power, and were but too glad to find in an augmented and fresh population both the occasion and the material of revolt.
Cyaxares placed himself, as by natural selection, at the head of this malcontent