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316 UNIVERSAL HISTORY-THE ANCIENT WORLD.

moralists who gave the Persians some of their hottest work, and slew in battle their most

illustrious king.

In the plateau of Asia Minor, west of Armenia, lived the Cappadocians. They were called by

the Greek historians the "White Syrians." They were a people of the Semitic race, hardy

and vigorous, but their character was marred by the foolish superstitions to which they

abandoned themselves. They built many temples, the most famous being that of Comana,

dedicated to the goddess Ma, the Bellona of the Romans. The high-priest of the nation was

a dignitary second only in honor to the king, whom he greatly influenced in affairs of

state.

On the other side of the river. Halys dwelt the Phrygians, one of the most ancient nations

of Asia Minor. They are thought to have been of an Iranian origin, and thus to have been

allied by blood with the Medes and Persians. Their ancient king was the mythical Midas,

who turned whatever he touched into gold. In the time of the Persian Empire the Phrygians

were regarded as one of the most progressive and cultured peoples in the western dominions

of the great kings. Before this time they had been subdued by the Lydians, and when in

their turn they were overthrown by the Persians, the kingdom of Phrygia went to the new

master from beyond the Tigris.

Of the cities of the Empire many have already been described in the preceding Books. Among

those which have not yet received any extended notice, the greatest was PERSEFOUS. This

was the capital of Persia proper in the times when under the Achaemenian kings that

country held the leadership of Western Asia. The city was situated thirty-five miles north

of the modern Shiraz, in the plain of Merdasht, near the confluence of the rivers Medus

and Araxes. This spot, surrounded by lofty mountains, is one of the most beautiful

situations in the world. The plain is well- watered by the two rivers Bendamir and Pulwar,

and is fruitful to luxuriance. After the removal of the government from PASARGADJE, the

ancient capital, in the time of

Darius Hystaspis, Persepolis became the seat of the Empire until conquest and ambition

carried the great kings to Susa and Babylon.

In modern times all that remains of Persepolis is a ruin, but from it has been gathered a

fair idea of the magnificence of the ancient city. Over a considerable portion of the

plain the broken columns and crumbling architraves of the once splendid capital lie

scattered. On every hand is the evidence of the massiveness and solidity and grandeur

which characterized the buildings of the Persians. Near one of the mountain spurs,

projecting somewhat into the plain, are the ruins of the great palace of Xerxes. The

basement is still intact. This platform is one thousand five hundred feet in length and

nine hundred and thirty-six feet wide. Three of the sides are supported by walls of great

strength, and the fourth abuts against the hill. The basement is composed of three

elevations or terraces, the middle one being over forty feet in height. The details of

this great palace will be hereafter noticed in connection with the architecture of the

Persians,

In the hillside near the ruins of the city are the celebrated rock tombs of the kings. One

of them still bears the inscription of Darius Hystaspis. About two miles north of this

interesting locality are the remains of one of the fortified gates of the city, grand and

massive. In wealth and population Persepolis was, next after Susa, the greatest city of

Western Asia east of the Tigris. It was destroyed in the time of Alexander of Macedon, and

after the time of Antiochus Epiphanes is no longer mentioned among the towns of Persia.

SUSA, the capital, of Susiana, was called the "Lily."1 It was the lily of the Empire, one

of the residences of the kings, and the chief treasury of the kingdom. It was situated

between the Choaspes and the Coprates rivers in one of the most beautiful spots in the

Persian dominions. The city was walled after the manner of Babylon, and had, a

circumference of twenty miles. It was founded by Tithonus, the

I The Hebrew word shushan, from which Susa is derived, means a lily.