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360 UNIVERSAL HISTORY-THE ANCIENT WORLD.

the provinces. He was called the "King's Eye" and the "King's Ear," and it was not the

smallest part of his work to see and hear the first indications of disloyalty on the part

of his fellow-officials, the governor and the commandant. It will readily be seen that

officers thus checked and watched at every turn would have but a small margin of

opportunity for plotting against the state.

Besides this counterpoise and purposely- contrived jealousy of the provincial officers,

the king sent annually into each satrapy a trusted legate of his own, armed with power and

accompanied by a sufficient number of troops to revolutionize the local government should

he detect therein anything inimical to the king's majesty. In addition even to this

safeguard, and as if to make assurance doubly sure, the satrapial officers, that is, the

three principals in the government, were appointed, as far as practicable, from the king's

own kinsmen, and were generally intermarried with the daughters of the princely houses of

the Empire.

Another measure instituted by Darius, having direct reference to his scheme of government,

was the establishment of post- houses and post-roads between the different parts of the

Empire and the capital. The stations were founded at a distance from each other equal to

the space which a horse was estimated to be able to travel at full gallop without

breaking. At each post was placed a relay of couriers and swift steeds, by which a message

could be transmitted, even from remote provinces, almost on the wings of the wind.

Mention should also be made of the system of coinage instituted by the Great King. His

name of Darius has furnished to the vocabulary of the world the term Daric, given to the

coins of the Empire. The gold daric weighed one hundred and twenty-four grains Troy, and

the silver, two hundred and thirty grains. The value of the first, therefore, was a little

over five dollars, and of the second about sixty cents. Thus was the second period in the

reign of Darius devoted to the promotion of peace and stable government, as the first had

been to the suppression of rebellion. After nine years devoted thus to affairs

of state, the king again, in B. C. 507, took up arms, this time for the enlargement of his

territories. It will be remembered that Cyrus had extended by conquest the eastern borders

of the Empire to the valley of the Indus. The ambition of Darius now contemplated the

addition of both the Punjab and Sinde to his dominions. He accordingly undertook in person

the reduction of the gorgeous East. The expedition was entirely successful, and a vast

region, rivaling the valley of the Nile in fertility and the Sacramento in auriferous

deposits, was added to the kingdoms won by his great predecessor. Having thus reached a

natural barrier on the east, the frozen regions on the north, the sea on the south, there

remained for the arms of Persia no other passage to fame than the gateway of the West.

There lay the Hellespont, across which the shores of Europe were easily discerned with the

naked eye. All Asia Minor was now an integral part of the Empire. The Persian banner was

thus advanced to the coast line of the Aegean. Now came, too, the episode of Democedes,

the Greek physician, who, taken prisoner at Sardis, had been sent as a slave to Susa.

There he attracted the attention of Darius, whose crippled foot he healed. Afterwards he

cured the queen, Atossa, and by her intercession was permitted under a Persian escort to

depart to his own country. Thus was brought back to Darius full accounts of the countries

as far west as Italy. The king's mind was inflamed with the prospect, and he would have

immediately set out for a European invasion but for the presence in the far North-west of

that ancient scourge, the Scythians. He felt it necessary, or at any rate desirable, to

overawe this savage race before undertaking a work so vast as that which he contemplated

in the West. Accordingly he organized an expedition against the Scyths.

He crossed the Euxine; penetrated Thrace; passed the Danube; traversed a vast area of

country; struck terror into the barbarians rather by numbers and display than by battle,

and returned in safety to his capital. In returning, however, he