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299 BABYLONIA- CIVIL AND MILITARY ANNALS.

marriage no trouble occurred relative to the right of the usurper to be king.

Babylonia was now on the eve of great events. Scarcely was Nabonadius securely seated on

the throne when an embassy came to Babylon from Sardis, the capital of Lydia. The business

was of the utmost moment. The circumstances of the overthrow of the kingdom, of the Medes

by Cyrus will be readily recalled. The ambitious young prince of Persia very little

resembled either in: character or policy the unaspiring Astyages, whom he had beaten out

of an empire. The Persian at once entered on a career of conquest. Dissatisfied with a

dominion embracing not only his paternal kingdom, but also that of Media, inclusive of all

Cyaxares had retained of the Assyrian Empire, Cyrus looked boldly to the West, and

discovered on the horizon the rich domains of Lydia. That realm discerned the approaching

danger, and doubting of its own ability to cope single-handed with so powerful an enemy at

once sought to contract alliances with the neighboring powers. To this end, in the year B.

C. 555, legates were sent to Nabonadius, who had thus to decide between the risk which he

himself might soon have to take from the overgrown ambition of Persia, and the certainty

of exciting the hostility of Cyrus by accepting the Overtures of the Lydians. The latter

alternative was chosen. The proposed alliance between Lydia and Babylonia was consummated.

The two kingdoms agreed to cooperate in the maintenance of mutual independence against

the threatened encroachments of the Persians.

Nabonadius had the wisdom to see that his course would in the near future bring on a trial

of arms between himself and Cyrus. To prepare for this emergency was, therefore, the first

and great care of the Babylonian. He accordingly began a I See Book VI., p. 344.

series of works in and about Babylon, the object of which was to secure the capital and

government against the coming storm. In the first place the Euphrates was confined within

walls, which were closed at the street crossings with ponderous gates of bronze. Thus,

though an enemy might enter by the river, he would find himself between huge battlements,

and would be no more in the city than he was outside the ramparts.

In addition to this, a great wall-described by Xenophon-a hundred feet high and twenty

feet in thickness, extending across the Mesopotamian plain from the Euphrates to the

Tigris, was interposed

RUINS OF SARDIS

against the approach of an army from that direction. The surface of the country towards

the north was likewise cut transversely with canals and sluices to impede the progress of

invasion from the side of Assyria. Ample time was given to complete these great works; for

the Persians and the Lydians were already engaged in war.

CRCESUS, king of Lydia, had acted with too great haste. Without awaiting the movements of

the Babylonians he plunged into the fight with Cyrus. The latter pressed forward into the

country of his antagonist, whom he overthrew in the battle of PTERIA, and then besieged

the capital. After an investment Sardis fell; Croesus was taken prisoner, and his kingdom,

reduced to submission, was annexed