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Actisanes the Ethiopian, mentioned by Diodore ; held it consequent, after he had conjectured Manethon's Amenophis to be Diodorus's Amasis, that Sethon should be Actisanes, and that Annemenes should be Marus. If in this case I might intrude a conjecture, the times which we now handle are those about which Reineccius hath erred in making search ; Amasis was Anysis, Actisanes was Sabacus, and Marus was one of those twelve princes to whom Herodotus gives the honour of building this famous labyrinth. For Actisanes the Ethiopian deposed Amasis, Sabacus the Ethiopian deposed Anysis ; Actisanes governed well, and was mild in punishing offenders ; so likewise was Sabacus: Marus, the next king after Actisanes, built this labyrinth ; and the next (saving Sethon, whom Diodore omits, as having not heard of him) that ruled after Sabacus, performed the same work, according to Herodotus, who was more likely to hear the truth, as living nearer to the age
wherein it was performed. The variety of names, and difference of times wherein Diodore believed the priest, might be a part of the Egyptian vanity, which was familiar with them, in multiplying their kings and boasting of their antiquities. Here I might add, that the twelve great halls, parlours, and other circumstances remembered by Herodotus, in speaking of this building, do help to prove, that it was the work of these twelve princes. But I hasten to their end.
At a solemn feast in Vulcan's temple, when they were to make their drink-offerings, the priest forgetting himself, brought forth no more than eleven cups. Hereupon Psammiticus, who standing last had not a cup, took off his brasen helmet, and therewith supplied the want. This caused all the rest to remember the oracle, and to suspect him as a traitor; yet, when they found that it was not done by him upon set purpose or ill intent, they forbare to kill him; but, being jealous of their estate, they banished him into the marish countries by the sea-side. This oracle, and the event, is held by Diodore as a fable, which I believe to have been none other: in the rest Herodotus and Diodore
agree, saying, that Psammiticus hired soldiers out of Caria and
Ionia, by whose aid he vanquished his companions, and made himself sole king.
The years of his reign, according to Herodotus, were fifty-four; according to Eusebius forty-four; Mercator, to reconcile these two, gives forty-four years to his single reign, and ten to his ruling jointly with the princes before spoken of. Indeed, he that was admitted, being a man grown, (for he cannot in reason be supposed to have been then a young fellow,) into the number of the twelve governors, must be thought to have lived unto extreme old age, if he ruled partly with others, partly alone, threescore and nine years. I therefore yield rather to Eusebius, but will not adventure to cut five years from the aristocraty; though peradventure Psammiticus was not at first one of the twelve, but succeeded (either by election, or as next of blood) into the place of some prince that died, and was ten years companion in that government.
Another scruple there is, though not great, which troubles this reckoning. The years of these Egyptians, as we find them set down, are more by one than serve to fill up
the time between the fifth of Rehoboam and the fourth of Jehoiakim. This may not be. Wherefore either we must abate one year from Sethon's reign, that was of uncertain length; or else (which I had rather do, because Functius may have followed better authority than I know, or than himself allegeth, in giving to Sethon a time so nearly agreeing with the truth) we must confound the last year of one reign with the first of another. Such a supposition were not insolent. For no man can suppose, that all the kings, or any great part of them, which are set down in chronological tables, reigned precisely so many years as are ascribed unto them, without any fractions: it is enough to think, that the surplusage of one man's time supplied the defect of another's. Wherefore I confound the last year of those fifteen, wherein the twelve princes ruled, with the first of Psammiticus, who surely did not fall out with his companions, fight with them, and make himself lord alone, all in one day.
Concerning this king, it is recorded that he was the first in Egypt who entertained any strait amity with the Greeks; that he retained in pay his mercenaries of Caria, Ionia, and Arabia, to whom he gave large rewards and possessions ; and that he greatly offended his Egyptian soldiers, by bestowing them in the left wing of his army, whilst his mercenaries held the right wing (which was the more honourable place) in an expedition that he made into Syria. Upon this disgrace, it is said that his soldiers, to the number of two hundred thousand, forsook their natural country of Egypt, and went into Ethiopia, to dwell there; neither could they be revoked by kind messages, nor by the king himself, who overtook them on the way; but when he told them of their country, their wives, and children, they answered, that their weapons should get them a country, and that nature had enabled them to get other wives and children.
It is also reported of him, that he caused two infants to be brought up in such sort as they might not hear any word spoken; by which means he hoped to find out what nation or language was most ancient, forasmuch as it seemed likely that nature would teach the children to speak that language which men spake at the first. The issue hereof was, that the children cried beccus, beccus, which word being found to signify bread in the Phrygian tongue, served greatly to magnify the Phrygian antiquity. Goropius Becanus makes no small matter of this, for the honour of his Low Dutch, in which the word becker signifies (as baker in English) a maker of bread. He that will turn over any part of Goropius's works may find enough of this kind to persuade a willing man, that Adam and all the patriarchs used none other tongue than the Low Dutch, before the confusion of languages at Babel; the name itself of Babel being also' Dutch, and given by occasion of this confusion, for that there they began to babble and talk one knew not what.
But I will not insist upon all that is written of Psammiticus. The most regardable of his acts was the siege of Azotus in Palæstina, about which he spent nine and twenty years. Never have we heard (saith Herodotus) that any city endured so long a siege as this, yet Psammiticus carried it at the last. This town of "Azotus had been won by Tartan, a captain of Sennacherib, and was now, as it seemeth, relieved, but in vain, by the Babylonian, which made it hold out so well.
SECT. III. What reference these Egyptian matters might have to the imprison
ment and enlargement of Manasses. In what part of his reign Manasses was taken prisoner.
WERE it certainly known in what year of his reign Manasses was taken prisoner, and how long it was before he obtained liberty, I think we should find these Egyptian troubles to have been no small occasion both of his captivity and enlargement; God so disposing of human actions, that even they, who intended only their own business, fulfilled only his high pleasure. For either the civil wars in Egypt that followed upon the death of Sethon, or the renting of the kingdom as it were into twelve pieces, or the war between Psammiticus and his colleagues, or the expedition of Psammiticus unto Syria, and the siege of Azotus, might minister unto the Babylonian, either such cause of hope to enlarge his dominion in the south parts, or such necessity of sending an army into those parts to defend his own, as would greatly tempt him to make sure work with the king of Juda. The same occasions sufficed also to procure the delivery of Manasses, after he was taken. For he was taken (as P Josephus hath it) by subtilty, not by open force, neither did they that apprehended him win his country, but only waste it. So that the Jews, having learned wit by the ill success of their folly, in redeeming Amaziah, were like to be more circumspect in making their bargain upon such another accident; and the Babylonian (to whom the Egyptian matters presented more weighty arguments of hope and fear than the little kingdom of Juda could afford) had no reason to spend his forces in pursuing a small con
P Joseph. Ant. 1. 10. C. 4.
• Isai. xx. I.
quest, but as full of difficulty as a greater, whereby he should compel his mightiest enemies to come to some good agreement, when by quitting his present advantage over the Jews, he might make his way the fairer into Egypt.
Now concerning the year of Manasses's reign, wherein he was taken prisoner, or concerning his captivity itself, how long it lasted, the scriptures are silent, and Josephus gives no information. Yet I find cited by Torniellus three opinions, the one of Bellarmine, who thinks that Manasses was taken in the fifteenth year of his reign; the other of the author of the greater Hebrew chronology, who affirms, that it was in his twenty-seventh year; the third of Rabbi Kimhi upon Ezekiel, who saith, that he was forty years an idolater, and lived fifteen years after his repentance. The first of these conjectures is upheld by Torniellus, who rejects the second, as more unprobable, and condemns the third as most false. Yet the reasons alleged by Torniellus in defence of the first, and refutation of the last opinion, are such as may rather prove him to favour the cardinal, as far as he may, (for where need requires, he doth freely dissent from him,) than to have used his accustomed diligence in examining the matter before he gave his judgment. Two arguments he brings to maintain the opinion of Bellarmine; the one, that Ammon the son of Manasses is said by Josephus to have followed the works of his father's youth; the other, that had Manasses grown old in his sins, it is not like that he should have continued as he did, in his amendment unto the end of his life. Touching the former of these arguments, I see no reason why the sins of Manasses might not be distinguished from his repentance in his old age, by calling them works of his youth, which appeared when he was twelve years old; though it were granted that he continued in them (according to that of Rabbi Kimhi) until he was but fifteen years from death. Touching the second, howsoever it be a fearful thing to cast off unto the last those good motions unto repentance, which we know not whether ever God will offer unto us again ; yet were it a terrible