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298 UNIVERSAL HISTORYTHE ANCIENT WORLD.

the elements, until after seven years his reason suddenly returned, and he was allowed a

brief interval of glory and peace before his death. His reign covered a period of forty-

four years, and is by far the most illustrious in the annals of the Baby- lonian Empire.

Nebuchadnezzar was succeeded in B. C. 557 by his son, EVIL-MERODACH. He appears not to

have possessed his father's courage or abilities. He had been reared in the court rather

than in the field, and his tastes were little inclined to war and great enterprises of

state. It seems that the circumstances of his father's affliction, and the part played by

Daniel in relation thereto, had influenced his mind towards religious subjects and made a

favorable impression regarding the Hebrew captives. Under these impulses the young king

or-

dered the now aged Jehoiachin, who had been in a Babylonian prison for thirty-five years,

to be set at liberty. The Israelite was advanced to honor at the court, and is said,tohave

become one of the king's coun- cilors. Other marks of favor were shown to the Jewish

captives, whose condition from this time forth became more tolerable than that of most of

their fellow exiles. But before any important measures were undertaken in their behalf an

insurrection broke out in which, after a reign of only two years, Evil-Merodach was driven

from his throne and killed.

The leader of this revolt was Neriglis- sar, a turbulent spirit, who had married

Nebuchadnezzar's daughter. He had par- ticipated in the Western wars of that great king,

and had imbibed the military ardor of his sovereign. His character was thus more in accord

with the temper of the Babylonians than was that of Evil-Mero- dach, and the revolution

was easily accom- plished. NERIGLISSAR ascended the throne without opposition as the

fourth king in the line of Nabopolassar. His accession was all the more readily accepted

on ac- count of a claim which he advanced to be a descendant of one of the old kings of

Babylon. The principal event of his reign, which was peaceful, was the erection, across

the river from the great palace of Nebu- chadnezzar, of what is known as the Lesser

Palace. The ruins of this edifice indicate that it was a royal residence, second only in

proportions and splendor to the greater wonder on the opposite side of the Eu- phrates.

The house of Neriglissar was ornamented with the best art of the times, and but for the

superior magnificence of its rival, would have been regarded as the special glory of

Babylon. The reign of Neriglissar was brief, lasting only for a little over three years.

He was succeeded by his son LABOROSARCHOD, a mere youth, unable either in age or abilities

to bear the vast responsibilities of the Em- pire. The ambitious princes of the court,

tired of inefficiency, resolved on heroic measures. Accusations of crime were put forth

against the young king, who, incap- able of defense, was seized, dethroned, and put to

death with torture. With his over- throw the House of Nabopolagsar, which had held the

throne of Babylonia for seventy years, was extinguished, and the crown was conferred by

the conspirators upon one of their own number named NABONADIUS. He had been an important

officer in the government, but had no claim by blood relationship to royal honors. To

remedy this defect in title he immediately sought a marriage with one of the daughters of

Nebuchadnezzar, and to placate the ghost of legitimacy the widow of Neriglissar was taken

to the royal couch. After the