229 MEDIA,-CIVIL AND MILITARY ANNALS.
powers, instead of broils and war, continued to cultivate the friendliest relations.
Cyaxares had conquered Nineveh, but had not conquered a peace. The elements of hostility were active in his dominions. The Scythians who had been thrown off from his own kingdom of Media were aggregated in bands in various parts, and were led to depredations by chiefs of greater or less ability and ambition. Besides, the northern provinces of Assyria, long time restless under the oppressions of the Ninevite kings, sought eagerly in the downfall of Saracus an occasion and opportunity of revolt. Doubtless Cyaxares himself had grown warlike, and was not displeased at the hostile turbulence which promised further gratification to his ambition. He accordingly entered upon a career of conquest which extended, through many vicissitudes of victory and defeat, over a period of more than ten years.
The general excuse for the wars which followed was that common foe of the times-the Scyths. To pursue these barbarians into what territories soever they might have invaded- was claimed as a just measure of revenge on the part of Cyaxares. Albeit, in many instances the Median king was hailed, even at the head of a consuming army, as a deliverer from the scourge of Asia. But in those provinces and countries in which the inhabitants were of Turanian origin, and therefore of nomadic habits, the people frequently made common cause with the Scyths in the attempt to beat back the more civilized advance of Cyaxares and the Medes.
The two countries against which the arms of the Median king were first directed were Armenia and Cappadocia. These vast districts, half-organized out of barbarism, were still inhabited by native tribes, together with large numbers of invaders precipitated from various regions. Some of these belonged to the Turanian race; others were Aryans; many were Scyths-a wavering mass of savages.
The first of these two countries had been a nominal dependency of Assyria. The Armenians had borne the yoke and waited their opportunity. The high mountains
and impenetrable fastnesses of the region gave a natural barrier to invasion, but the will of Cyaxares surmounted the ramparts of nature and the Armenians were subdued in a vigorous campaign. Cappadocia lay still more remote, but the Mede paused not until not only this country but also the far-off tribes of Colchians, Iberians, and Moschi were brought into subjection. By these conquests the borders of the Median Empire were extended on the north to the Caucasus, and on the west to the river Halys. It does not appear that the campaigns were bitterly waged or long continued. The races with whom Cyaxares contended were accustomed to mastery by military power, and that of the king of the Medes was not more odious than had been the domination of the Assyrians.
More important by far was the next campaign of Cyaxares, directed against the kingdom of Lydia. To enter this country he must cross the Halys-the Rubicon of Asia Minor. The pretext for doing so was the pursuit of the Scythians; but the-Lydians readily divined the real motive and made preparations for resistance. A league was formed among the princes of Asia Minor to oppose the further progress of the Medes to the west.
These formidable preparations rather incited than cooled the purpose of Cyaxares. He summoned the Babylonians to his aid, and gathered from various provinces contingents of troops and provisions. With a great army he marched westward, and began the invasion of Lydia. He found in Alyattes, king of that country, a foeman worthy of his steel. It was no longer a campaign against semi-savages, but a regular military combat between opposing armies. Success varied from side to side. Several hard battles were fought, and in more than half of the conflicts the Lydians were victorious. In one instance a general and hotly contested engagement took place in the night. For six years the war continued, until at last superstition ended what the lust of conquest had begun. In the midst of a hard fought battle, while the heated combatants were absorbed in the work of death, a mysterious shadow