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326 UNIVERSAL HISTORY.-THE ANCIENT WORLD.

lets. Collars. were sometimes formed by twisting together several bands of the precious

metal, but the work displays not much artistic skill. The hilts of swords were made plain,

and adapted merely to service, though the shafts of spears were sometimes ornamented with

a knob representing an apple or pomegranate.

In the social and economic arts the Persians were not celebrated. In the production of

fabrics they were greatly surpassed by the Babylonians and the Phoenicians. Nor was it

necessary that the people of the original kingdom should devote themselves to those

industrial pursuits which were so assiduously followed in the subject countries of the

Empire. The leadership of Western Asia was won by the swords of the Persian kings at a

time when Babylon, Tyre, Sardis, Borsippa, Damascus, and the cities of India were already

famous for their manufacturing industries. These, becoming tributary, were glad to avert

the onsets of Persian armies by pouring their treasures into Persepolis and Ecbatana. The

soldiers of a warlike country were not very likely to emulate the skill and industry of

weavers when they could take for nothing the product of their looms and workbenches. So

the manufactures of the Persians never won distinction. Their home fabrics attained a fair

degree of excellence; but it does not appear that their goods were ever in demand in

foreign markets. The country thus remained dependent for its finer fabrics upon the

factories of Babylonia and Kashmeer and Egypt.

In scientific attainments the Persians were still less distinguished. The advance of

science in any country depends in a great measure upon the regularity of the recurrence of

the phenomena of nature. In regions where nature is capricious and variable the apparent

confusion and lawlessness of things perplex the understanding, and mythology, by ascribing

a transcendental origin to things, better satisfies the mind than natural science, which

insists on regularity. Astronomy, for instance, will never flourish in a land of hills and

forests under foggy atmosphere and a cloudy sky. In these natural conditions can be easily

discovered the reason why ancient star-lore flourished in Egypt and Chaldaea and lagged in

Media and Persia. To this must be added another cause found in a difference of race. The

Semitic and Cushite families of men were both by nature and locality contemplative in

their habits of thought. The Aryans, on the other hand, were aggressive and restless,

prone to excessive activity by day and profound sleep by night. The determination of

causes and relations- the essence of science-requires observation, reflection, experiment

- conditions foreign to the nature and environment of the Persians. They neither

patronized schools nor esteemed intellectual great- ness. While learning flourished in

many of the provinces of the Empire, while the schools of Borsippa and Miletus were hives

of mental activity, Persia proper neither founded institutions nor appreciated their

importance.