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389 PARTHIA- PEOPLE AND ARTS.

of these respects were the Parthian monarchs less scrupulous than their contemporaneous

sovereigns in the West. The intercourse between Phraates IV and the Emperor Augustus was

conducted as between monarch and monarch of equal rank. Ambassadorial courtesies were

common, and without disparagement to the kings of the East. The usual methods of

maintaining international faith were observed. Oaths were made and pledges given after the

manner of antiquity. The giving and taking of hostages was one of the commonest means of

securing good faith and the fulfillment of agreements. It happened on several occasions

that members of the Parthian royal family were freely sent to Rome in pledge of the

fidelity of the king to his stipulations with the Western Empire.

If from the consideration of war we turn to the peaceful aspect of life and look at the

king and his court, we shall find much of interest and instruction. True, we are

constrained for the most part to consider the aspect of this royal life in the East

through a glass darkly; for its manner has been mostly narrated by the historians of

Greece and Rome and Jewry. The Parthians were not themselves a literary people, and but

few original sources of information are at our command. First of all, we may refer to the

national amusement, which was hunting. After war it would appear that the next highest

source of interest and excitement among the people, whether of noble or of common rank,

was the attack on wild beasts. We have seen this trait of character already displayed in

Assyria and Persia. Nor is it needed that we should return to antiquity to find a similar

passion in full activity. Nearly every people, indeed, on its advance from half-barbarity

to - civilization has found gratification in the pursuit and killing of wild animals. In

the first intent the wild beast takes the place of the enemy. Its blood is typical of his.

The fall of the boar under the arrow's flight or spear-thrust of the pursuer is next in

the scale of delight to the fall of the enemy in battle.

Parthia abounded m wild beasts. On the Assyrian borders the lion was found. Hyrcania was

the native lair of tigers so fierce that "Hyrcanian" became an epithet descriptive of the

most dangerous species of that animal. Leopards and bears also abounded. The Parthian

hunters followed these animals into their haunts, and exposed their lives in the contest.

In course of time, however, when the Empire was established, pleasure and excitement were

sought in a manner more artistic and less dangerous. Then were constructed the great

parks, called by the Eastern nations "Paradises," wherein animals taken from the forests

were loosed, to live and propagate their kind under the dominion of half- natural

conditions. Here the artificial hunt was made. The king and his companions traversed the

paradise, raised the wild beast from his covert, pursued and smote him after the manner of

the ancient chase in the wild and desert.

We may glance at the appearance of the king when he went forth as a hunter. On such

occasions he wore a short cloak, of which we find examples on the monuments and coins. A

helmet protected his head, and in his hand he carried the strong bow with the double

curve, the animal tendon for a thong, and the swift arrow against which nothing alive

might stand. Like his countrymen, the monarch went on horseback. His person was ornamented

in barbaric fashion with jewels and gold. His horse wore trappings of the same splendid

fashion with the king's garments, and the attendants were only less gorgeous in their

apparel, less haughty in manner, than the monarch himself.

At the Court another fashion prevailed. Here a long robe, like that of the Persian and

Median nobles, was worn by the king. The insignia of royalty were hung about his neck. A

diadem circled his forehead, and his ears supported rings and jewels. Like her consort,

the queen-in-chief, preeminent above the harem, proud in her ascendancy over hundreds of

concubines which the law granted to the sovereign, adorned herself in a manner equally

splendid. She, as well as he, received the title of Divine. She, like the king, wore a

diadem and sometimes a tiara. Not often, however, was she permitted, under the custom of

the race, to obtrude herself into public affairs. More than those of any