Page 0377

377 BOOK SEVENTH

PARTHIA.

CHAPTER XXXIII-THE COUNTRY.

BY the events recorded in the preceding Book the reader has been made fully aware, not

only of the existence, but of the prowess and enterprise of the Hellenic race out of the

West. The conflict which he has been considering, terminating in disaster to the Persian

Empire at Arbela, was a crisis in the affairs of two great peoples having the same ethnic

derivation. The Macedonians were one of the European developments of that same family

whose fecundity on the plateau of Iran gave us the Persians. Having seen the result of the

struggle between the two races we might here at once transfer our station to the West, to

follow the evolution of the Hellenic tribes into nationality, from nationality to

conquest, and from conquest to decadence.

Thus far we have pursued this suggestive method, tracing the course of one people until

its conflict with another people has led us naturally to consider the history of the

latter. Thus the conquest of Egypt by the Persians carried the reader's attention, first

of all, from the valley of the Nile to the valley of the

Euphrates. The conquest of ancient Chaldaea by the Assyrians next drew his interest from

the south to the north, from Babylon to Nineveh. Then came the conquest of Assyria by the

Medes, which carried the inquirer beyond the Zagros, and made him acquainted, for the

first time, with the warlike representatives of the Aryan race. His attention was next

recalled by the revival of the Babylonian Power until what time Persia forced her way

across Mesopotamia, and subdued the larger part of Western Asia. The history of this

Persian Empire we have just considered, and the suggestion of its close would carry us

naturally in the wake of the conquerors to Macedonia and the Grecian Islands. This

direction we shall indeed presently follow; but before the final transfer of our

historical position from Asia to Europe- before descending from this Iranian plateau to

view the astonishing development of the ancient Hellenic tribes in their archipelago and

on the main-land of Greece- it remains to consider the peculiar history of an Empire which

sprang up, and at length occupied the place of Persia on the highlands of Western Asia.

This Empire is PARTHIA. Its consideration in this connection is difficult. The