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285 BABYLONIA.-CIVIL AND MILITARY ANNALS.

to which were annexed Susiana on the east, and the valley of the Euphrates and the whole

of Syria on the west. To these subject countries the transfer of masters was no great

hardship, nor were the usurpations of Nabopolassar in any quarter seriously resented. Such

were the circumstances of the founding of what may be properly called the Empire of the

Babylonians.

The great revolution occurred in the year 625 B. C. NABOPOLASSAR entered upon a peaceful

reign of twenty-one years. His government was not seriously disturbed by revolts or by

foreign invasion. He seems to have had that wisdom of peace which permits the fruits of

revolution to ripen into institutions.

The foreign relations of Babylonia were peculiarly auspicious. Assyria on the north was

disrupted. Media on the east was bound by a marriage tie and a treaty of amity. Persia had

not yet become formidable and Lydia was far away. Egypt, now under the rule of Pharaoh

Psametik, had assumed a conservative policy quite necessary to her own salvation. So

Babylon, basking in the sunshine of good fortune, began to wax great and to exhibit that

splendor of proportions and adornment for which she was soon to become famous throughout

the world.

A single circumstance contributed to maintain the military ardor of the Babylo nians. By

the terms of the alliance between Cyaxares and Nabopolassar, the latter "was to assist the

former in the prosecution of his wars. From this clause in the agreement it frequently

happened that the Babylonian king had to lead an army into the field to aid in the

campaigns of his ally. In those wars in which the Medes were obliged to engage after the

capture of Nineveh, in order to maintain and establish by force what had been won by

battle, contingents of Babylonian troops were always auxiliary, and not infrequently

Nabopolassar himself and, after him, his successors were present in person in the field.

It will be remembered that when the armies of Cyaxares and Alyattes were contending In the

great Battle of the Eclipse, it was Nabopolassar who acted

on the part of the Medes in settling the conditions of peace. It is easy to conceive that

the Babylonian was more zealous in his efforts for reconciliation than if he himself had

been one of the principals in the contest. Albeit, he may have known better than the other

kings on that memorable field that an eclipse is simply a natural occurrence in no wise

indicative of the wrath of the celestials.

After the peace thus established between the Medes and the Lydians, Nabopolassar returned

to his own capital. He was no longer either young or warlike. It was the fate of his old

age, and of the close of his reign, to be clouded with disaster A cloud arose out of Egypt

which cast a shadow over him and his empire. The Pharaoh Psametik was now dead, and his

successor, Necho, was a ruler less politic and more ambitious. He regarded the Babylonian

dominion in Syria as a usurpation, which he determined t<) resent and punish. Accordingly

he raised an army and began an invasion, with a view to reestablish Egyptian supremacy in

that country. He proceeded through the plain of Esdraelon, as far as the city of MEGIDDO,

where he met Josiah, king of Judah, with an army drawn up to oppose his progress. Josiah

was at this time tributary to Nabopolassar, and from some cause had come to prefer a

Babylonian to an Egyptian master. He therefore stood loyally in the way of Necho, who

first tried strategy and then force to remove the obstacle. The battle went against the

Jewish king, who was driven, mortally wounded, into Jerusalem, where he died. Necho then

proceeded with the invasion of Syria, and carried his triumphant arms to the banks of the

Euphrates.

The authority of Egypt was thus restored over the whole western portion of the dominions

which, out of the spoils of Assyria, had fallen to Nabopolassar. On his return from this

successful campaign, Necho interfered in the civil war which was going on between the two

sons of Josiah, both of whom claimed the crown of Judah. The Egyptian decided in favor of

Jehoiakim; Jehoahaz, the younger broth-