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333 PERSIA-MANNERS AND CUSTOMS.

together down to Neptune. Besides the triremes, which constituted the body of the Persian

naval armament, several other varieties of ships, designed for some special feature of the

service, were employed, but the general plan of them all was that of a galley propelled by

oars.

An important use to which the vessels of the Persians were sometimes put was that of

forming pontoons across rivers and arms of the sea. The plan of these boat-bridges was

simple. A number of galleys were arranged side by side, the heads up stream. A short space

was left between each vessel and the next. Each ship was securely anchored, and then a

transverse platform of timbers was laid from bank to bank. Thus was constructed a floating

bridge over which the heaviest armies could be transported. The prime importance of

structures of this sort will fully appear in the invasion of Greece by the Persians.

The fleet? of the Empire were furnished and manned almost exclusively by the subject

nations. Each state sent its contingent of ships. The oarsmen were a part of the

equipment. The fighting sailors who manned the decks were either Medes or Persians, but

they to whom was assigned the less glorious task of toiling at the oars were Phoenicians,

Egyptians, Cypriots, Cilicians, Pamphylians, Carians, or Greeks, according to the

nationality of the respective vessels.

Passing, then, from the military and naval life of the Persian people to their customs in

peace, let us begin with his majesty the king. The ruler of the nation was, under the

existing theory of human government, an absolute dictator. His absoluteness was not shorn.

Being the representative of Ormazd in the earth, his dignity had a celestial flavor. His

right to be king might not be questioned. To look askance at royalty was to be guilty of

both treason and impiety. The king's wrath was but a reflex of the anger of heaven and his

smile was the sunshine of the world. Everything pertaining to the person and life of the

sovereign must, therefore, be on a scale of magnificence proportionate to his exaltation.

So the king's dress was ample and gorgeous. The richest and most brilliant silk was the

material. The royal garment was a robe with ample folds and hanging sleeves. The color was

purple and the embroidery of gold. Around the waist was a girdle, and the skirts fell to

the ankles. Under this robe was a tunic, also purple in color, but striped with white; On

the monarch's feet were high, yellow shoes, buttoned at the front and tapering towards the

toe. It was the head-dress, however, which specially distinguished the king from any, even

the most exalted, of his subjects. This consisted of a tiara or miter, tall and

cylindrical, swelling at the top and ending in a circle broader than the diameter of the

cap. This was the monarch's badge by which alike by army and court and people he was

denoted and recognized. Around the king's brow and at the base of the miter was the royal

circlet, called the diadem. Besides the tiara the monarch was also distinguished

by the golden scepter and the parasol, the latter being carried either by himself or an

attendant. The scepter was a tapering rod about five feet in length and finished at the

smaller end with a bulb in the shape of an apple or pomegranate. When the king appeared in

public he bore the scepter in his right hand, perpendicularly in front of his person.

In common with other princes and noblemen the sovereign wore gold ornaments and jewels.

His earrings were bands of gold set with gems. His wrists were adorned with bracelets, and

his neck with a twisted collar. He wore a sword of the usual short pattern, not very

elaborate in workmanship, but incased in a costly sheath of jasper or lapis-lazuli.