354 UNIVERSAL-HISTORY-THE ANCIENT WORLD.
was in the long run an impolitic as well as an un-Persian display of passion, and that the
subsequent disquietude and disloyal spirit of the Egyptians was in some degree traceable
to the severity with which their first foolish defection was visited. For a series of
years, however, all spirit of resistance disappeared, and Egypt, without complaint,
assumed a provincial position in the great Empire.
As soon as quiet was completely restored on the Nile, Cambyses, in the year B. C. 522 set
out on his return to Persia. He had proceeded as far as Syria when the most startling news
reached him from his own capital. A herald suddenly dashed into the camp and made open
proclamation that Cambyses was dethroned, and demanded submission of all loyal Persians to
Smerdis, the king, the son of Cyrus. For the moment Cambyses was utterly confounded, not
knowing whether his brother was really alive or whether another had assumed his character.
It happened, however, that Prexaspes, the Persian nobleman to whom the assassination of
Smerdis had been intrusted years before, was with the army, and by him the king was
reassured that the perfidious deed had really been accomplished. He who now imper-