[1: An ancient chronologist, quoted by Valleius Paterculus, (l. i. c. 6,) observes, that the Assyrians, the Medes, the Persians, and the Macedonians, reigned over Asia one thousand nine hundred and ninety-five years, from the accession of Ninus to the defeat of Antiochus by the Romans. As the latter of these great events happened 289 years before Christ, the former may be placed 2184 years before the same aera. The Astronomical Observations, found at Babylon, by Alexander, went fifty years higher.]


[A: The Parthians were a tribe of the Indo-Germanic branch which dwelt on the south-east of the Caspian, and belonged to the same race as the Getae, the Massagetae, and other nations, confounded by the ancients under the vague denomination of Scythians. Klaproth, Tableaux Hist. d l'Asie, p. 40. Strabo (p. 747) calls the Parthians Carduchi, i.e., the inhabitants of Curdistan. - M.]


[2: In the five hundred and thirty-eighth year of the aera of Seleucus. See Agathias, l. ii. p. 63. This great event (such is the carelessness of the Orientals) is placed by Eutychius as high as the tenth year of Commodus, and by Moses of Chorene as low as the reign of Philip. Ammianus Marcellinus has so servilely copied (xxiii. 6) his ancient materials, which are indeed very good, that he describes the family of the Arsacides as still seated on the Persian throne in the middle of the fourth century.]


[B: The Persian History, if the poetry of the Shah Nameh, the Book of Kings, may deserve that name mentions four dynasties from the earliest ages to the invasion of the Saracens. The Shah Nameh was composed with the view of perpetuating the remains of the original Persian records or traditions which had survived the Saracenic invasion. The task was undertaken by the poet Dukiki, and afterwards, under the patronage of Mahmood of Ghazni, completed by Ferdusi. The first of these dynasties is that of Kaiomors, as Sir W. Jones observes, the dark and fabulous period; the second, that of the Kaianian, the heroic and poetical, in which the earned have discovered some curious, and imagined some fanciful, analogies with the Jewish, the Greek, and the Roman accounts of the eastern world. See, on the Shah Nameh, Translation by Goerres, with Von Hammer's Review, Vienna Jahrbuch von Lit. 17, 75, 77. Malcolm's Persia, 8vo. ed. i. 503. Macan's Preface to his Critical Edition of the Shah Nameh. On the early Persian History, a very sensible abstract of various opinions in Malcolm's Hist. of Persian. - M.]


[3: The tanner's name was Babec; the soldier's, Sassan: from the former Artaxerxes obtained the surname of Babegan, from the latter all his descendants have been styled Sassanides.]


[4: D'Herbelot, Bibliotheque Orientale, Ardshir.]

[C: In the plain of Hoormuz, the son of Babek was hailed in the field with the proud title of Shahan Shah, king of kings - a name ever since assumed by the sovereigns of Persia. Malcolm, i. 71. - M.]


[5: Dion Cassius, l. lxxx. Herodian, l. vi. p. 207. Abulpharagins Dynast. p. 80.]


[D: See the Persian account of the rise of Ardeschir Babegan in Malcolm l 69. - M.]


[6: See Moses Chorenensis, l. ii. c. 65 - 71.]


[E: Silvestre de Sacy (Antiquites de la Perse) had proved the neglect of the Zoroastrian religion under the Parthian kings. - M.]


[7: Hyde and Prideaux, working up the Persian legends and their own conjectures into a very agreeable story, represent Zoroaster as a contemporary of Darius Hystaspes. But it is sufficient to observe, that the Greek writers, who lived almost in the age of Darius, agree in placing the aera of Zoroaster many hundred, or even thousand, years before their own time. The judicious criticisms of Mr. Moyle perceived, and maintained against his uncle, Dr. Prideaux, the antiquity of the Persian prophet. See his work, vol. ii.

   Note: There are three leading theories concerning the age of Zoroaster: 1. That which assigns him to an age of great and almost indefinite antiquity - it is that of Moyle, adopted by Gibbon, Volney, Recherches sur l'Histoire, ii. 2. Rhode, also, (die Heilige Sage, &c.,) in a very ingenious and ably-developed theory, throws the Bactrian prophet far back into antiquity 2. Foucher, (Mem. de l'Acad. xxvii. 253,) Tychsen, (in Com. Soc. Gott. ii. 112), Heeren, (ldeen. i. 459,) and recently Holty, identify the Gushtasp of the Persian mythological history with Cyaxares the First, the king of the Medes, and consider the religion to be Median in its origin. M. Guizot considers this opinion most probable, note in loc. 3. Hyde, Prideaux, Anquetil du Perron, Kleuker, Herder, Goerres, (Mythen-Geschichte,) Von Hammer. (Wien. Jahrbuch, vol. ix.,) Malcolm, (i. 528,) De Guigniaut, (Relig. de l'Antiq. 2d part, vol. iii.,) Klaproth, (Tableaux de l'Asie, p. 21,) make Gushtasp Darius Hystaspes, and Zoroaster his contemporary. The silence of Herodotus appears the great objection to this theory. Some writers, as M. Foucher (resting, as M. Guizot observes, on the doubtful authority of Pliny,) make more than one Zoroaster, and so attempt to reconcile the conflicting theories. - M.]


[8: That ancient idiom was called the Zend. The language of the commentary, the Pehlvi, though much more modern, has ceased many ages ago to be a living tongue. This fact alone (if it is allowed as authentic) sufficiently warrants the antiquity of those writings which M d'Anquetil has brought into Europe, and translated into French.

   Note: Zend signifies life, living. The word means, either the collection of the canonical books of the followers of Zoroaster, or the language itself in which they are written. They are the books that contain the word of life whether the language was originally called Zend, or whether it was so called from the contents of the books. Avesta means word, oracle, revelation: this term is not the title of a particular work, but of the collection of the books of Zoroaster, as the revelation of Ormuzd. This collection is sometimes called Zendavesta, sometimes briefly Zend.

   The Zend was the ancient language of Media, as is proved by its affinity with the dialects of Armenia and Georgia; it was already a dead language under the Arsacides in the country which was the scene of the events recorded in the Zendavesta. Some critics, among others Richardson and Sir W. Jones, have called in question the antiquity of these books. The former pretended that Zend had never been a written or spoken language, but had been invented in the later times by the Magi, for the purposes of their art; but Kleuker, in the dissertations which he added to those of Anquetil and the Abbe Foucher, has proved that the Zend was a living and spoken language. - G. Sir W. Jones appears to have abandoned his doubts, on discovering the affinity between the Zend and the Sanskrit. Since the time of Kleuker, this question has been investigated by many learned scholars. Sir W. Jones, Leyden, (Asiat. Research. x. 283,) and Mr. Erskine, (Bombay Trans. ii. 299,) consider it a derivative from the Sanskrit. The antiquity of the Zendavesta has likewise been asserted by Rask, the great Danish linguist, who, according to Malcolm, brought back from the East fresh transcripts and additions to those published by Anquetil. According to Rask, the Zend and Sanskrit are sister dialects; the one the parent of the Persian, the other of the Indian family of languages. - G. and M.

   But the subject is more satisfactorily illustrated in Bopp's comparative Grammar of the Sanscrit, Zend, Greek, Latin, Lithuanian, Gothic, and German languages. Berlin. 1833-5. According to Bopp, the Zend is, in some respects, of a more remarkable structure than the Sanskrit. Parts of the Zendavesta have been published in the original, by M. Bournouf, at Paris, and M. Ol. shausen, in Hamburg. - M.

   The Pehlvi was the language of the countries bordering on Assyria, and probably of Assyria itself. Pehlvi signifies valor, heroism; the Pehlvi, therefore, was the language of the ancient heroes and kings of Persia, the valiant. (Mr. Erskine prefers the derivation from Pehla, a border. - M.) It contains a number of Aramaic roots. Anquetil considered it formed from the Zend. Kleuker does not adopt this opinion. The Pehlvi, he says, is much more flowing, and less overcharged with vowels, than the Zend. The books of Zoroaster, first written in Zend, were afterwards translated into Pehlvi and Parsi. The Pehlvi had fallen into disuse under the dynasty of the Sassanides, but the learned still wrote it. The Parsi, the dialect of Pars or Farristan, was then prevailing dialect. Kleuker, Anhang zum Zend Avesta, 2, ii. part i. p. 158, part ii. 31. - G.

   Mr. Erskine (Bombay Transactions) considers the existing Zendavesta to have been compiled in the time of Ardeschir Babegan. - M.]


[9: Hyde de Religione veterum Pers. c. 21.]


[10: I have principally drawn this account from the Zendavesta of M. d'Anquetil, and the Sadder, subjoined to Dr. Hyde's treatise. It must, however, be confessed, that the studied obscurity of a prophet, the figurative style of the East, and the deceitful medium of a French or Latin version may have betrayed us into error and heresy, in this abridgment of Persian theology.

   Note: It is to be regretted that Gibbon followed the post- Mahometan Sadder of Hyde. - M.]


[F: Zeruane Akerene, so translated by Anquetil and Kleuker. There is a dissertation of Foucher on this subject, Mem. de l'Acad. des Inscr. t. xxix. According to Bohlen (das alte Indien) it is the Sanskrit Sarvan Akaranam, the Uncreated Whole; or, according to Fred. Schlegel, Sarvan Akharyam the Uncreate Indivisible. - M.]


[G: This is an error. Ahriman was not forced by his invariable nature to do evil; the Zendavesta expressly recognizes (see the Izeschne) that he was born good, that in his origin he was light; envy rendered him evil; he became jealous of the power and attributes of Ormuzd; then light was changed into darkness, and Ahriman was precipitated into the abyss. See the Abridgment of the Doctrine of the Ancient Persians, by Anquetil, c. ii Section 2. - G.]


[11: The modern Parsees (and in some degree the Sadder) exalt Ormusd into the first and omnipotent cause, whilst they degrade Ahriman into an inferior but rebellious spirit. Their desire of pleasing the Mahometans may have contributed to refine their theological systems.]


[H: According to the Zendavesta, Ahriman will not be annihilated or precipitated forever into darkness: at the resurrection of the dead he will be entirely defeated by Ormuzd, his power will be destroyed, his kingdom overthrown to its foundations, he will himself be purified in torrents of melting metal; he will change his heart and his will, become holy, heavenly establish in his dominions the law and word of Ormuzd, unite himself with him in everlasting friendship, and both will sing hymns in honor of the Great Eternal. See Anquetil's Abridgment. Kleuker, Anhang part iii. p 85, 36; and the Izeschne, one of the books of the Zendavesta. According to the Sadder Bun-Dehesch, a more modern work, Ahriman is to be annihilated: but this is contrary to the text itself of the Zendavesta, and to the idea its author gives of the kingdom of Eternity, after the twelve thousand years assigned to the contest between Good and Evil. - G.]


[12: Herodotus, l. i. c. 131. But Dr. Prideaux thinks, with reason, that the use of temples was afterwards permitted in the Magian religion.

   Note: The Pyraea, or fire temples of the Zoroastrians, (observes Kleuker, Persica, p. 16,) were only to be found in Media or Aderbidjan, provinces into which Herodotus did not penetrate. - M.]


[I: Among the Persians Mithra is not the Sun: Anquetil has contested and triumphantly refuted the opinion of those who confound them, and it is evidently contrary to the text of the Zendavesta. Mithra is the first of the genii, or jzeds, created by Ormuzd; it is he who watches over all nature. Hence arose the misapprehension of some of the Greeks, who have said that Mithra was the summus deus of the Persians: he has a thousand ears and ten thousand eyes. The Chaldeans appear to have assigned him a higher rank than the Persians. It is he who bestows upon the earth the light of the sun. The sun, named Khor, (brightness,) is thus an inferior genius, who, with many other genii, bears a part in the functions of Mithra. These assistant genii to another genius are called his kamkars; but in the Zendavesta they are never confounded. On the days sacred to a particular genius, the Persian ought to recite, not only the prayers addressed to him, but those also which are addressed to his kamkars; thus the hymn or iescht of Mithra is recited on the day of the sun, (Khor,) and vice versa. It is probably this which has sometimes caused them to be confounded; but Anquetil had himself exposed this error, which Kleuker, and all who have studied the Zendavesta, have noticed. See viii. Diss. of Anquetil. Kleuker's Anhang, part iii. p. 132. - G.

   M. Guizot is unquestionably right, according to the pure and original doctrine of the Zend. The Mithriac worship, which was so extensively propagated in the West, and in which Mithra and the sun were perpetually confounded, seems to have been formed from a fusion of Zoroastrianism and Chaldaism, or the Syrian worship of the sun. An excellent abstract of the question, with references to the works of the chief modern writers on his curious subject, De Sacy, Kleuker, Von Hammer, &c., may be found in De Guigniaut's translation of Kreuzer. Relig. d'Antiquite, notes viii. ix. to book ii. vol. i. 2d part, page 728. - M.]


[13: Hyde de Relig. Pers. c. 8. Notwithstanding all their distinctions and protestations, which seem sincere enough, their tyrants, the Mahometans, have constantly stigmatized them as idolatrous worshippers of the fire.]


[14: See the Sadder, the smallest part of which consists of moral precepts. The ceremonies enjoined are infinite and trifling. Fifteen genuflections, prayers, &c., were required whenever the devout Persian cut his nails or made water; or as often as he put on the sacred girdle Sadder, Art. 14, 50, 60.

   Note: Zoroaster exacted much less ceremonial observance, than at a later period, the priests of his doctrines. This is the progress of all religions the worship, simple in its origin, is gradually overloaded with minute superstitions. The maxim of the Zendavesta, on the relative merit of sowing the earth and of prayers, quoted below by Gibbon, proves that Zoroaster did not attach too much importance to these observances. Thus it is not from the Zendavesta that Gibbon derives the proof of his allegation, but from the Sadder, a much later work. - G]


[J: See, on Zoroaster's encouragement of agriculture, the ingenious remarks of Heeren, Ideen, vol. i. p. 449, &c., and Rhode, Heilige Sage, p. 517 - M.]


[15: Zendavesta, tom. i. p. 224, and Precis du Systeme de Zoroastre, tom. iii.]


[16: Hyde de Religione Persarum, c. 19.]


[17: Hyde de Religione Persarum, c. 28. Both Hyde and Prideaux affect to apply to the Magian the terms consecrated to the Christian hierarchy.]


[18: Ammian. Marcellin. xxiii. 6. He informs us (as far as we may credit him) of two curious particulars: 1. That the Magi derived some of their most secret doctrines from the Indian Brachmans; and 2. That they were a tribe, or family, as well as order.]


[19: The divine institution of tithes exhibits a singular instance of conformity between the law of Zoroaster and that of Moses. Those who cannot otherwise account for it, may suppose, if they please that the Magi of the latter times inserted so useful an interpolation into the writings of their prophet.]


[20: Sadder, Art. viii.]


[K: The passage quoted by Gibbon is not taken from the writings of Zoroaster, but from the Sadder, a work, as has been before said, much later than the books which form the Zendavesta. and written by a Magus for popular use; what it contains, therefore, cannot be attributed to Zoroaster. It is remarkable that Gibbon should fall into this error, for Hyde himself does not ascribe the Sadder to Zoroaster; he remarks that it is written inverse, while Zoroaster always wrote in prose. Hyde, i. p. 27. Whatever may be the case as to the latter assertion, for which there appears little foundation, it is unquestionable that the Sadder is of much later date. The Abbe Foucher does not even believe it to be an extract from the works of Zoroaster. See his Diss. before quoted. Mem. de l'Acad. des Ins. t. xxvii. - G. Perhaps it is rash to speak of any part of the Zendavesta as the writing of Zoroaster, though it may be a genuine representation of his. As to the Sadder, Hyde (in Praef.) considered it not above 200 years old. It is manifestly post-Mahometan. See Art. xxv. on fasting. - M.]


[21: Plato in Alcibiad.]


[22: Pliny (Hist. Natur. l. xxx. c. 1) observes, that magic held mankind by the triple chain of religion, of physic, and of astronomy.]


[23: Agathias, l. iv. p. 134.]


[24: Mr. Hume, in the Natural History of Religion, sagaciously remarks, that the most refined and philosophic sects are constantly the most intolerant.

   Note: Hume's comparison is rather between theism and polytheism. In India, in Greece, and in modern Europe, philosophic religion has looked down with contemptuous toleration on the superstitions of the vulgar. - M.]


[25: Cicero de Legibus, ii. 10. Xerxes, by the advice of the Magi, destroyed the temples of Greece.]


[26: Hyde de Relig. Persar. c. 23, 24. D'Herbelot, Bibliotheque Orientale, Zurdusht. Life of Zoroaster in tom. ii. of the Zendavesta.]


[27: Compare Moses of Chorene, l. ii. c. 74, with Ammian. Marcel lin. xxiii. 6. Hereafter I shall make use of these passages.]


[28: Rabbi Abraham, in the Tarikh Schickard, p. 108, 109.]


[29: Basnage, Histoire des Juifs, l. viii. c. 3. Sozomen, l. ii. c. 1 Manes, who suffered an ignominious death, may be deemed a Magian as well as a Christian heretic.]


[30: Hyde de Religione Persar. c. 21.]


[L: It is incorrect to attribute these persecutions to Artaxerxes. The Jews were held in honor by him, and their schools flourished during his reign. Compare Jost, Geschichte der Israeliter, b. xv. 5, with Basnage. Sapor was forced by the people to temporary severities; but their real persecution did not begin till the reigns of Yezdigerd and Kobad. Hist. of Jews, iii. 236. According to Sozomen , i. viii., Sapor first persecuted the Christians. Manes was put to death by Varanes the First, A. D. 277. Beausobre, Hist. de Man. i. 209. - M.]


[M: In the testament of Ardischer in Ferdusi, the poet assigns these sentiments to the dying king, as he addresses his son: Never forget that as a king, you are at once the protector of religion and of your country. Consider the altar and the throne as inseparable; they must always sustain each other. Malcolm's Persia. i. 74 - M]


[31: These colonies were extremely numerous. Seleucus Nicator founded thirty-nine cities, all named from himself, or some of his relations, (see Appian in Syriac. p. 124.) The aera of Seleucus (still in use among the eastern Christians) appears as late as the year 508, of Christ 196, on the medals of the Greek cities within the Parthian empire. See Moyle's works, vol. i. p. 273, &c., and M. Freret, Mem. de l'Academie, tom. xix.]


[32: The modern Persians distinguish that period as the dynasty of the kings of the nations. See Plin. Hist. Nat. vi. 25.]


[33: Eutychius (tom. i. p. 367, 371, 375) relates the siege of the island of Mesene in the Tigris, with some circumstances not unlike the story of Nysus and Scylla.]


[34: Agathias, ii. 64, [and iv. p. 260.] The princes of Segestan de fended their independence during many years. As romances generally transport to an ancient period the events of their own time, it is not impossible that the fabulous exploits of Rustan, Prince of Segestan, many have been grafted on this real history.]


[35: We can scarcely attribute to the Persian monarchy the sea-coast of Gedrosia or Macran, which extends along the Indian Ocean from Cape Jask (the promontory Capella) to Cape Goadel. In the time of Alexander, and probably many ages afterwards, it was thinly inhabited by a savage people of Icthyophagi, or Fishermen, who knew no arts, who acknowledged no master, and who were divided by in-hospitable deserts from the rest of the world. (See Arrian de Reb. Indicis.) In the twelfth century, the little town of Taiz (supposed by M. d'Anville to be the Teza of Ptolemy) was peopled and enriched by the resort of the Arabian merchants. (See Geographia Nubiens, p. 58, and d'Anville, Geographie Ancienne, tom. ii. p. 283.) In the last age, the whole country was divided between three princes, one Mahometan and two Idolaters, who maintained their independence against the successors of Shah Abbas. (Voyages de Tavernier, part i. l. v. p. 635.]


[36: Chardin, tom. iii c 1 2, 3.]


[37: Dion, l. xxviii. p. 1335.]


[38: For the precise situation of Babylon, Seleucia, Ctesiphon, Moiain, and Bagdad, cities often confounded with each other, see an excellent Geographical Tract of M. d'Anville, in Mem. de l'Academie, tom. xxx.]


[39: Tacit. Annal. xi. 42. Plin. Hist. Nat. vi. 26.]


[40: This may be inferred from Strabo, l. xvi. p. 743.]


[41: That most curious traveller, Bernier, who followed the camp of Aurengzebe from Delhi to Cashmir, describes with great accuracy the immense moving city. The guard of cavalry consisted of 35,000 men, that of infantry of 10,000. It was computed that the camp contained 150,000 horses, mules, and elephants; 50,000 camels, 50,000 oxen, and between 300,000 and 400,000 persons. Almost all Delhi followed the court, whose magnificence supported its industry.]


[42: Dion, l. lxxi. p. 1178. Hist. August. p. 38. Eutrop. viii. 10 Euseb. in Chronic. Quadratus (quoted in the Augustan History) attempted to vindicate the Romans by alleging that the citizens of Seleucia had first violated their faith.]


[43: Dion, l. lxxv. p. 1263. Herodian, l. iii. p. 120. Hist. August. p. 70.]


[44: The polished citizens of Antioch called those of Edessa mixed barbarians. It was, however, some praise, that of the three dialects of the Syriac, the purest and most elegant (the Aramaean) was spoken at Edessa. This remark M. Bayer (Hist. Edess. p 5) has borrowed from George of Malatia, a Syrian writer.]


[45: Dion, l. lxxv. p. 1248, 1249, 1250. M. Bayer has neglected to use this most important passage.]


[46: This kingdom, from Osrhoes, who gave a new name to the country, to the last Abgarus, had lasted 353 years. See the learned work of M. Bayer, Historia Osrhoena et Edessena.]


[47: Xenophon, in the preface to the Cyropaedia, gives a clear and magnificent idea of the extent of the empire of Cyrus. Herodotus (l. iii. c. 79, &c.) enters into a curious and particular description of the twenty great Satrapies into which the Persian empire was divided by Darius Hystaspes.]


[48: Herodian, vi. 209, 212.]


[49: There were two hundred scythed chariots at the battle of Arbela, in the host of Darius. In the vast army of Tigranes, which was vanquished by Lucullus, seventeen thousand horse only were completely armed. Antiochus brought fifty-four elephants into the field against the Romans: by his frequent wars and negotiations with the princes of India, he had once collected a hundred and fifty of those great animals; but it may be questioned whether the most powerful monarch of Hindostan evci formed a line of battle of seven hundred elephants. Instead of three or four thousand elephants, which the Great Mogul was supposed to possess, Tavernier (Voyages, part ii. l. i. p. 198) discovered, by a more accurate inquiry, that he had only five hundred for his baggage, and eighty or ninety for the service of war. The Greeks have varied with regard to the number which Porus brought into the field; but Quintus Curtius, (viii. 13,) in this instance judicious and moderate, is contented with eighty-five elephants, distinguished by their size and strength. In Siam, where these animals are the most numerous and the most esteemed, eighteen elephants are allowed as a sufficient proportion for each of the nine brigades into which a just army is divided. The whole number, of one hundred and sixty-two elephants of war, may sometimes be doubled. Hist. des Voyages, tom. ix. p. 260.

   Note: Compare Gibbon's note 10 to ch. lvii - M.]


[50: Hist. August. p. 133.

   Note: See M. Guizot's note, p. 267. According to the Persian authorities Ardeschir extended his conquests to the Euphrates. Malcolm i. 71. - M.]


[51: M. de Tillemont has already observed, that Herodian's geography is somewhat confused.]


[52: Moses of Chorene (Hist. Armen. l. ii. c. 71) illustrates this invasion of Media, by asserting that Chosroes, king of Armenia, defeated Artaxerxes, and pursued him to the confines of India. The exploits of Chosroes have been magnified; and he acted as a dependent ally to the Romans.]


[53: For the account of this war, see Herodian, l. vi. p. 209, 212. The old abbreviators and modern compilers have blindly followed the Augustan History.]


[54: Eutychius, tom. ii. p. 180, vers. Pocock. The great Chosroes Noushirwan sent the code of Artaxerxes to all his satraps, as the invariable rule of their conduct.]


[55: D'Herbelot, Bibliotheque Orientale, au mot Ardshir. We may observe, that after an ancient period of fables, and a long interval of darkness, the modern histories of Persia begin to assume an air of truth with the dynasty of Sassanides.

   Note: Compare Malcolm, i. 79. - M.]


[56: Herodian, l. vi. p. 214. Ammianus Marcellinus, l. xxiii. c. 6. Some differences may be observed between the two historians, the natural effects of the changes produced by a century and a half.]


[57: The Persians are still the most skilful horsemen, and their horses the finest in the East.]


[58: From Herodotus, Xenophon, Herodian, Ammianus, Chardin, &c., I have extracted such probable accounts of the Persian nobility, as seem either common to every age, or particular to that of the Sassanides.]


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