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444 UNIVERSIAL HISTORY----THE ANCIENT WORLD

aggravated the existing condition; when have the two mothers of the sons of a common

father forborne to quarrel and hate and murder in the supposed interest of their own

offspring?

Doubtless, moreover, there was, to a certain extent, a dynastic decay in the, Arsacid

family; but this was little noticeable in the general condition at the beginning of the

third century. Artabanus fought valiantly, and was victorious over the Romans. Even after

him Prince Artavasdes, who sought to shore up the falling monarchy, struggled hard to

sustain the fortunes of his House. But the effort was in vain, and the Empire went down

headlong to ruin, under the impact of the Persian Rebellion.

In the course of the present Book the reader's attention has been carried forward from the

time of the destruction of the

Persian Empire by Alexander the Great to the overthrow of the last of the Arsacid kings,

and the revival of the Persian Power under Artaxerxes Ardishir, founder of the Sasianian

dynasty. He is now asked to retrace his course to the point of view which he occupied at

the beginning; to stand again on the field of Arbela; to note from that point of

observation the conquerors rather than the conquered; to cast his eye to the far West in

the direction from which those conquerors came-to Macedonia, to the Aegean archipelago, to

the main-land of ancient Hellas-and to take up, as his next great lesson in the progress

of human history, the story of those Hellenic peoples, to whom, without reserve, the

heroic praise maybe accorded the most intellectual, the most witty, the most fascinating,

the most artistic, and the most poetic race of men.