302 UNIVERSAL HISTORY-THE ANCIENT WORLD.
either side abroad space of bare ground. The Persians passed in without opposition. The
noise of the festival resounded afar. The river-gates were seized by the invaders, who now
sounded the tocsin and began the assault. It was a gigantic massacre. The drunken
Babylonians fled in all directions. The prince Belshazzar and his nobles were slain at
their banquet, and the dawn found the victorious Persian in complete possession of the
As soon as possible he dismantled the outer walls, and then proceeded against Nabonadius.
The latter was still at Borsippa, awaiting an opportunity to strike a blow at the invader.
But the invader came swiftly upon him, and the king, seeing the uselessness of a further
struggle against the inevitable, went forth and surrendered. Honorable terms were granted
by Cyrus, who treated the subject army with consideration, and bestowed on the dethroned
king the governorship of the province of Carmania.
It was the last act in the drama of the great Empire. "The kingdom was given
to the Medes and Persians." A new power had arisen, whose energies were still freshened
with the breezes of the hills and whose natural ambitions had not yet been quenched in the
cups of luxury and lust. "The beauty of the Chaldees excellency" faded like the shadow of
a pageant from the great canvas of history, and the glory of Babylon began to hide itself
under the dust and ruin of the ages.