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The officers, civil and military, who stood next to the royal person, were his charioteer

and five attendants, whose respective duty it was to bear the king's bow, his quiver, his

stool, his parasol, and his fan and napkin. The charioteer wore no armor. He merely

managed the steeds. The bow- bearer stood behind the monarch, holding the bow in his left

hand, ready to be delivered to his royal master. Next to him stood the bearer of the

quiver. The stool- bearer's duty was to assist the monarch as he mounted to his seat in

the chariot or dismounted therefrom. Last in the list of attendants were the bearers of

the parasol and the fan, who were unarmed and had their stations behind their sovereign,

the one to ward off the sun's rays and the other to cool his brow with artificial breezes

or to wave away intruding flies from too great familiarity with the majesty of Persia.

Like the Babylonians and Assyrian's, the Persians delighted in ointments and perfumes.

Frankincense, myrrh, cinnamon, spikenard, cassia, and various gums were used in abundance

to regale the senses of the kings and princes. Even on the way to battle the monarch

failed not to take with him an alabaster box filled with fragrant oils and extracts. Fiery

Mars was thus made the bedfellow of Adonis.

Apart from the personal Staff of the king, the principal officers of the court were the

steward of the household, the master of the horse, the chief eunuch, the king's "eyes" and

"ears"-a kind of honorable spies, whose duty it was to find out and report to their

sovereign all matters of importance--and the royal secretaries and heralds. A retinue of

less dignity included the ushers of the palace, the tasters of the king's food (forsooth

it might be poisoned), the cupbearers, the chamberlains, and the musicians. Then came the

guards, doorkeepers, huntsmen, cooks, and common servants. Besides this extensive array of

officers and attendants there were nearly always resident at the Persian court a large

number of foreign ambassadors and visiting princes, together with the king's relatives,

favorite nobles, and captives of high rank who had been received into the friendship and


of the monarch. It is said that as many as fifteen thousand persons were sometimes

entertained at the court, and if we may credit Herodotus, the daily expense of the royal

tables was four hundred talents of silver. A thousand beasts-sheep, goats, oxen, stags,

asses, horses, and camels-were each day slaughtered to furnish forth the feast, and

besides these the feathered tribes of half the world were brought under contribution to

satisfy the appetite of the monarch and his banqueters.

As a general rule the king himself ate and drank apart from the guests of the palace. On

ordinary occasions he was served in his own chambers, but sometimes a favored few were

permitted to feast with him. At the banquet the monarch reclined on a gold-embroidered

couch, and was served with the richest food and rarest wines. The guests were generally

seated on the floor-after the manner of the times-and were served with less costly viands.

People of a lower rank were served in an adjacent chamber, between which and the king's

apartments a curtain was drawn, concealing him from view. On a few state days and great

festivals the sovereign presided publicly at the banquet of his nobles and officers, and

on these rare occasions even vulgar eyes. might catch a glimpse of the sovereign of


After the manner of the East the Achaemenian kings adopted the harem as a part of their

domestic economy. In the hardy days of Cyrus and Cambyses the institution was not so fully

developed as in later times. With the early kings a seraglio of three or four wives and a

moderate retinue of concubines was deemed sufficient. Of these wives one only held the

supreme place, and in contradistinction to the rest was called the Queen. She only was

permitted to wear the crown, and before her all the rest stood abashed or actually

prostrated themselves as to royalty. It appears that even down to the overthrow of the

Empire by the Macedonians this redeeming feature of one woman supreme over her rivals, and

perhaps so in the affections of the king, was preserved in the social system of the

Persian court-the natural