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each discourse, which I will do as briefly as I can, and without fear to be taxed of partiality, as being no more addicted to the one opinion than to the other, by any fancy of mine own, but merely led by those reasons which, upon examination of each part, seemed to me most forcible, though to others they may perhaps appear weak.
That which until of late hath passed as current, is this: that Belosus was the same king who first of the Assyrians entered Palæstina with an army; being called Pul, or Phul, in the scriptures, and by Annius's authors, with such as follow them, Phul Belochus. Of this man it is said that he was a skilful astrologer, subtle and ambitious; that he got Babylon by composition made with Arbaces; and that not therewith content, he got into his hand part of Assyria; finally, that he reigned eight and forty years, and then dying left the kingdom to Teglat Phalasar his son, in whose posterity it continued some few descents, till the house of Merodach prevailed. The truth of this, if Annius's Metasthenes were sufficient proof, could not be gainsaid; for that author, such as he is, is peremptory herein. But howsoever Annius's authors deserve to be suspected, it stands with no reason that we should conclude all to be false which they affirm. They who maintain this tradition justify it by divers good allegations, as a matter confirmed by circumstances found in all authors, and repugnant unto no history at all. For it is manifest by the relation of Diodorus, (which is indeed the foundation whereupon all have built, that Arbaces and Belosus were partners in the action against Sardanapalus; and that the Bactrians, who joined with them, were thought well rewarded with liberty, as likewise other captains were with governments: but that any third person was so eminent as to have Assyria itself, the chief country of the empire, bestowed upon him, it is a thing whereof not the least appearance is found in any history. And certainly it stood with little reason, that the Assyrians should be committed unto a peculiar king at such time as it was not thought meet to trust them in their own walls and houses. Rather it is apparent, that the destruction of Nineveh by Arbaces, and the transplantation of the citizens, was held a needful policy, because thereby the people of that nation might be kept down from aspiring to recover the sovereignty, which else they would have thought to belong, as of right, unto the seat of the empire.
Upon such considerations did the Romans, in ages long after following, destroy Carthage, and dissolve the corporation, or body politic, of the citizens of Capua, because those two towns were capable of the empire; a matter esteemed over-dangerous even to k Rome itself, that was mistress of them both. This being so, how can it be thought that the Assyrians in three or four years had erected their kingdom anew, under one Pul? or what must this Pul have been, (of whose deserving, or intermeddling, or indeed of whose very name we find no mention in the war against Sardanapalus,) to whom the principal part of the empire fell, either by general consent in division of the provinces, or by his own power and purchase very soon after ? Surely he was none other than Belosus; whose near neighbourhood gave him opportunity (as he was wise enough to play his own game) both to get Assyria to himself, and to impeach any other man that should have attempted to seize upon it. The province of Babylon, which Belosus held, being, as · Herodotus reports, in riches and power as good as the third part of the Persian empire, was able to furnish him with all that was requisite for such a business: if that were not enough, he had gotten into his own hands all the gold and silver that had been in the palace of Nineveh. And questionless to restore such a city as Nineveh was an enterprise fit for none to take in hand, except he had such means as Belosus had; which Pul, if he were not Belosus, is likely to have wanted.
Besides all this, had Pul been a distinct person from Belosus, and lord of Assyria, which lay beyond the countries of Babylon and Mesopotamia, it would not have been an easy. matter for him to pass quite through another man's kingdom with an army, seeking booty afar off in Israel; the only action by which the name of Phul is known. But Tull. contra "Rullum, Or, 2.
Herod. 1. 1.
if we grant that he whom the scriptures call Pul, or Phul, was the same whom profane writers have called Belosus, Beleses, and Belestis, in like manner, as m Josephus acknowledgeth, that he whom the scriptures called never otherwise than Darius the Mede was the son of Astyages, and called of the Greeks by another name, (that is, Cyaxares,) then is this scruple utterly removed. For Babylon and Mesopotamia did border upon Syria and Palæstina; so that Belosus, having settled his affairs in Assyria towards the east and north, might with good leisure encroach upon the countries that lay on the other side of his kingdom to the south and west. He that looks into all particulars, may find every one circumstance concurring to prove that Phul, who invaded Israel, was none other than Belosus. For the prince of the Arabians, who joined with Arbaces, and brought no small part of the forces wherewith Sardanapalus was overthrown, did enter into that action merely for the love of Belosus. The friendship of these Arabians was a thing of main importance to those that were to pass over Euphrates with an army into Syria. Wherefore Belosus, that held good correspondence with them, and whose most fruitful province, adjoining to their barren quarters, might yearly do them inestimable pleasures, was not only like to have quiet passage through their borders, but their utmost assistance; yea, it stands with good reason, that they who loved not Israel should, for their own behoof, have given him intelligence of the destruction and civil broils among the ten tribes; whereby, as this Phul got a thousand talents, so it seems that the Syrians and Arabians, that had felt an heavy neighbour of Jeroboam, recovered their own, setting up a new king in Damasco, and clearing the coast of Arabia (from the sea of the wilderness to Hamath) of the Hebrew garrisons. Neither was it any new acquaintance that made the nations divided by Euphrates hold together in so good terms of friendship: it was ancient consanguinity; the memory whereof was available to the Syrians in the time of David, when the Aramites beyond the river came over willingly to the succour of Hadadezer, and the Aramites about Damasco. So Belosus had good reason to look into those parts; what a king, reigning so far off as Nineveh, should have to do in Syria, if the other end of his kingdom had not reached to Euphrates, it were hard to shew.
m Joseph. Ant. 1. 10. cap. 12.
But concerning this last argument of the business, which might allure the Chaldeans into Palæstina, it may be doubted, lest it should seem to have ill coherence with that which hath been said of the long anarchy that was in the ten tribes. For if the crown of Israel were worn by no man in three and twenty years, then is it likely that Belosus was either unwilling to stir, or unable to take the advantage when it was fairest and first discovered. This might have compelled those, who alone were not strong enough, to seek after help from some prince that lay further off; and so the opinion of those that distinguish Phul from Belosus would be somewhat confirmed. On the other side, if we say that Belosus did pass the river of Euphrates as soon as he found likelihood of making a prosperous journey, then may it seem that the interregnum in Israel was not so long as we have made it ; for three and twenty years leisure would have afforded better opportunity, which ought not to have been
For answer hereunto, we are to consider what Orosius and Eusebius have written concerning the Chaldees: the one, that after the departure of Arbaces into Media, they laid hold on a part of the empire; the other, that they prevailed and grew mighty between the times of Arbaces and Deioces the Medes. Now, though it be held an error of Orosius, where he supposeth that the occupying of Babylonia by the Chaldeans was in manner of a rebellion from the Medes; yet herein he and Eusebius do concur, that the authority of Arbaces did restrain the ambition which by his absence grew bold, and by his death regardful only of itself. Now, though some have conjectured that all Assyria was given to Belosus (as an overplus, besides the province of Babylon, which was his by plain bargain made aforehand) in regard of his high deservings; yet the opinion more commonly received is, that he did only encroach upon that province by little and little whilst Arbaces lived, and afterwards dealing more openly, got it all himself. Seeing therefore that there passed but twelve years between the death of Arbaces and the beginning of Menahem's reign, manifest it is that the conquest of Assyria, and settling of that country, was work enough to hold Belosus occupied, besides the restauration of Nineveh, which alone was able to take up all the time remaining of his reign, if perhaps he lived to see it finished in his own days. So that this argument may rather serve to prove that Phul and Belosus were one person; forasmuch as the journey of Phul against Israel was not made until Belosus could find leisure; and the time of advantage which Belosus did let slip argued his business in some other quarter, namely, in that province of which Phul is called king. Briefly, it may be said, that he who conquered Assyria, and performed somewhat upon a country so far distant as Palæstina, was likely to have been at least named in some history, or if not himself, yet his country to have been spoken of for those victories: but we neither hear of Phul in any profane author, neither doth any writer, sacred or profane, once mention the victories or acts whatsoever of the Assyrians done in those times ; whereas of Belosus, and the power of the Chaldeans, we find good record.
Surely that great slaughter of so many thousand Assyrians, in the quarrel of Sardanapalus, together with other calamities of that long and unfortunate war, which overwhelmed the whole country, not ending but with the ruin and utter desolation of Nineveh, must needs have so weakened the state of Assyria, that it could not in thirty years space be able to invade Palæstina, which the ancient kings, reigning in Nineveh, had in all their greatness forborne to attempt. Yet these afflictions, disabling that country, did help to enable Berosus to subdue it; who having once extended his dominion to the borders of Medea, and being, (especially if he had compounded with the Medes,) by the interposition of that country, secure of the Scythians and
RALEGH, HIST. WORLD. VOL. II. XX