337 PERSIA-MANNERS AND CUSTOMS.
if such a word as education may be properly used of the training systems of antiquity-with
great care. For the first five years the child was left with the mother and her woman
attendants. From that time forth his discipline began. Before dawn he must arise and
present himself in a certain place before his master. Here the lad was exercised for a
certain number of hours in running and jumping, in shooting with the bow, in slinging
stones and hurling the javelin. After two years of this preparatory work he was promoted
to the horse. Him he must mount and ride. On his back he must go to the hills and join in
the hunt. He must jump on and off while his steed is running. He must discharge his arrows
and darts while galloping at full speed. He must heed nor heat nor cold. He must sleep
outdoors at night. He must appease the insatiable stomach of boyhood with one meal in two
days. Sometimes he must go to the woods and fill himself as best he may with acorns and
wild pears. All stimulating and luxurious food was withheld. Whatever conduced to
hardihood, to bodily vigor, to endurance, was sedulously inculcated. In the way of
ornamental branches he was taught to read. His teachers also gave him a modicum of morals;
for he must hear recited some old poems recounting the character and exploits of certain
gods and heroes, whom he must revere and imitate. Thus for fifteen years the lad was put
through the discipline appointed tO youth, and then graduated a horseman and sol- dier.
For such was the aim of life. Indeed for five years before his graduation the Persian
stripling had already been enrolled in the army and was liable to the call of the king.
The subjects of the Achaemenians seem to have looked with as much contempt on commercial
pursuits as did the feudal lords of the Middle Ages on common industry. They would none of
it. Such pursuits
tended to effeminate the mind. Artisans and traders were of no reputation. Shops and
stores were driven from the respectable parts of towns and cities. Merchants were regarded
as intriguers and liars. Manufacturers had no character. True men- valorous and daring-did
not degrade themselves by toiling at those miserable crafts by the practice of which the
servile tribes enriched themselves at the expense of their manhood. Such were the dogmas
of industrial morality.
In the later times of the Empire, luxury came in like a flood--and folly came also.
Personal vanity learned to display itself in the immemorial way. The lower eyelids must be
stained, so that the eyes should appear large and lustrous. Eunuchs must wear false beards
and mustaches, and the hair of the dead must supplement the scanty work of nature on the
vainglorious skulls of fools. It was high time for the appearance of the Macedonian
The penal code of the Persians was on a par with the statutes of many modern countries-the
dominant idea being to kill. The fangs of barbarism have their last roots in the law-books
of the world. They are the only thing never reformed except by revolution. The theory of
the barbaric age is that the cure for crime is punishment. The theory of civilization is
that penal measures are among the smallest and least salutary of all the influences to be
employed in the eradication of criminal passions and practices. In Persia the penalty of
death was recklessly inflicted. Great crimes and small misdemeanors and mere accidents of
conduct were all indiscriminately visited with the extreme penalty. To this was added
cruelty of execution. Sometimes the head of the criminal was laid on a flat stone and
crushed with another. Sometimes crucifixion was employed. Sometimes the condemned was
buried alive. The soul of the age was cruelty, and the heart of justice a stone.