When we look at the East again in 600 B.C. after two centuries of war and tumultuous movements we perceive that almost all its lands have found fresh masters. The political changes are tremendous. Cataclysm has followed hard on cataclysm. The Phrygian dynasty has gone down in massacre and rapine, and from another seat of power its former client rules Asia Minor in its stead. The strongholds of the lesser Semitic peoples have almost all succumbed, and Syria is a well-picked bone snatched by one foreign dog from another. The Assyrian colossus which bestrid the west Asiatic world has failed and collapsed, and the Medes and the Chaldaeans--these two clouds no bigger than a man's hand which had lain on Assyria's horizon--fill her seat and her room. As we look back on it now, the political revolution is complete; but had we lived in the year 600 at Asshur or Damascus or Tyre or Tarsus, it might have impressed us less. A new master in the East did not and does not always mean either a new earth or a new heaven. Let us see to how much the change really amounted. The Assyrian Empire was no more. This is a momentous fact, not to be esteemed lightly. The final catastrophe has happened only six years before our date; but the power of Assyria had been going downhill for nearly half a century, and it is clear, from the freedom with which other powers were able to move about the area of her empire some time before the end, that the East had been free of her interference for years. Indeed, so near and vital a centre of Assyrian nationality as Calah, the old capital of the Middle Empire, had been taken and sacked, ere he who was to be the last "Great King" of the northern Semites ascended his throne.
SECTION 1. THE NEW ASSYRIAN KINGDOM For the last hundred and fifty years Assyrian history--a record of black oppression abroad and blacker intrigue at home--has recalled the rapid gathering and slower passing away of some great storm. A lull marks the first half of the ninth century. Then almost without warning the full fury of the cloud bursts and rages for nearly a hundred years. Then the gloom brightens till all is over. The dynasty of Ashurnatsirpal and Shalmaneser II slowly declined to its inevitable end. The capital itself rose in revolt in the year 747, and having done with the lawful heirs, chose a successful soldier, who may have been, for aught we know, of royal blood, but certainly was not in the direct line. Tiglath Pileser--for he took a name from earlier monarchs, possibly in vindication of legitimacy--saw (or some wise counsellor told him) that the militant empire which he had usurped must rely no longer on annual levies of peasants from the Assyrian villages, which were fast becoming exhausted; nor could it continue to live on uncertain blackmail collected at uncertain intervals now beyond Euphrates, now in Armenia, now again from eastern and southern neighbours. Such Bedawi ideas and methods were outworn. The new Great King tried new methods to express new ideas. A soldier by profession, indebted to the sword for his throne, he would have a standing and paid force always at his hand, not one which had to be called from the plough spring by spring. The lands, which used to render blackmail to forces sent expressly all the way from the Tigris, must henceforward be incorporated in the territorial empire and pay their contributions to resident governors and garrisons. Moreover, why should these same lands not bear a part for the empire in both defence and attack by supplying levies of their own to the imperial armies? Finally the capital, Calah, with its traditions of the dead dynasty, the old regime and the recent rebellion, must be replaced by a new capital, even as once on a time Asshur, with its Babylonian and priestly spirit, had been replaced. Accordingly sites, a little higher up the Tigris and more centrally situated in relation to both the homeland and the main roads from west and east, must be promoted to be capitals. But in the event it was not till after the reign of Sargon closed that Nineveh was made the definitive seat of the last Assyrian kings. Organized and strengthened during Tiglath Pileser's reign of eighteen years, this new imperial machine, with its standing professional army, its myriad levies drawn from all fighting races within its territory, its large and secure revenues and its bureaucracy keeping the provinces in constant relation to the centre, became the most tremendous power of offence which the world had seen. So soon as Assyria was made conscious of her new vigour by the ease with which the Urartu raiders, who had long been encroaching on Mesopotamia, and even on Syria, were driven back across the Nairi lands and penned into their central fastnesses of Van; by the ease, too, with which Babylonia was humbled and occupied again, and the Phoenician ports and the city of Damascus, impregnable theretofore, were taken and held to tribute--she began to dream of world empire, the first society in history to conceive this unattainable ideal. Certain influences and events, however, would defer awhile any attempt to realize the dream. Changes of dynasty took place, thanks partly to reactionary forces at home and more to the praetorian basis on which the kingdom now reposed, and only one of his house succeeded Tiglath Pileser. But the set-back was of brief duration. In the year 722 another victorious general thrust himself on to the throne and, under the famous name of Sargon, set forth to extend the bounds of the empire towards Media on the east, and over Cilicia into Tabal on the west, until he came into collision with King Mita of the Mushki and held him to tribute.
SECTION 2. THE EMPIRE OF SARGON Though at least one large province had still to be added to the Assyrian Empire, Sargon's reign may be considered the period of its greatest strength. He handed on to Sennacherib no conquests which could not have been made good, and the widest extent of territory which the central power was adequate to hold. We may pause, then, just before Sargon's death in 705, to see what the area of that territory actually was. Its boundaries cannot be stated, of course, with any approach to the precision of a modern political geographer. Occupied territories faded imperceptibly into spheres of influence and these again into lands habitually, or even only occasionally, raided. In some quarters, especially from north-east round to north-west, our present understanding of the terms of ancient geography, used by Semitic scribes, is very imperfect, and, when an Assyrian king has told us carefully what lands, towns, mountains and rivers his army visited, it does not follow that we can identify them with any exactness. Nor should the royal records be taken quite at their face value. Some discount has to be allowed (but how much it is next to impossible to say) on reports, which often ascribe all the actions of a campaign not shared in by the King in person (as in certain instances can be proved) to his sole prowess, and grandiloquently enumerate twoscore princedoms and kingdoms which were traversed and subdued in the course of one summer campaign in very difficult country. The illusion of immense achievement, which it was intended thus to create, has often imposed itself on modern critics, and Tiglath Pileser and Sargon are credited with having marched to the neighbourhood of the Caspian, conquering or holding to ransom great provinces, when their forces were probably doing no more than climbing from valley to valley about the headwaters of the Tigris affluents, and raiding chiefs of no greater territorial affluence than the Kurdish beys of Hakkiari. East of Assyria proper, the territorial empire of Sargon does not seem to have extended quite up to the Zagros watershed; but his sphere of influence included not only the heads of the Zab valleys, but also a region on the other side of the mountains, reaching as far as Hamadan and south-west Azerbaijan, although certainly not the eastern or northern districts of the latter province, or Kaswan, or any part of the Caspian littoral. On the north, the frontier of Assyrian territorial empire could be passed in a very few days' march from Nineveh. The shores of neither the Urmia nor the Van Lake were ever regularly occupied by Assyria, and, though Sargon certainly brought into his sphere of influence the kingdom of Urartu, which surrounded the latter lake and controlled the tribes as far as the western shore of the former, it is not proved that his armies ever went round the east and north of the Urmia Lake, and it is fairly clear that they left the northwestern region of mountains between Bitlis and the middle Euphrates to its own tribesmen. Westwards and southwards, however, Sargon's arm swept a wider circuit. He held as his own all Mesopotamia up to Diarbekr, and beyond Syria not only eastern and central Cilicia, but also some districts north of Taurus, namely, the low plain of Milid or Malatia, and the southern part of Tabal; but probably his hand reached no farther over the plateau than to a line prolonged from the head of the Tokhma Su to the neighbourhood of Tyana, and returning thence to the Cilician Gates. Beyond that line began a sphere of influence which we cannot hope to define, but may guess to have extended over Cappadocia, Lycaonia and the southern part of Phrygia. Southward, all Syria was Sargon's, most of it by direct occupation, and the rest in virtue of acknowledged overlordship and payment of tribute. Even the seven princes of Cyprus made such submission. One or two strong Syrian towns, Tyre and Jerusalem, for example, withheld payment if no Assyrian army was at hand; but their show of independence was maintained only on sufferance. The Philistine cities, after Sargon's victory over their forces and Egyptian allies at Raphia, in 720, no longer defended their walls, and the Great King's sphere of influence stretched eastward right across the Hamad and southward over north Arabia. Finally, Babylonia was all his own even to the Persian Gulf, the rich merchants supporting him firmly in the interests of their caravan trade, however the priests and the peasantry might murmur. But Elam, whose king and people had carried serious trouble into Assyria itself early in the reign, is hardly to be reckoned to Sargon even as a sphere of influence. The marshes of its south-west, the tropical plains of the centre and the mountains on the east, made it a difficult land for the northern Semites to conquer and hold. Sargon had been wise enough to let it be. Neither so prudent nor so fortunate would be his son and successors.
SECTION 3. THE CONQUEST OF EGYPT Such was the empire inherited by Sargon's son, Sennacherib. Not content, he would go farther afield to make a conquest which has never remained long in the hands of an Asiatic power. It was not only lust of loot, however, which now urged Assyria towards Egypt. The Great Kings had long found their influence counteracted in southern Syria by that of the Pharaohs. Princes of both Hebrew states, of the Phoenician and the Philistine cities and even of Damascus, had all relied at one time or another on Egypt, and behind their combinations for defence and their individual revolts Assyria had felt the power on the Nile. The latter generally did no more in the event to save its friends than it had done for Israel when Shalmaneser IV beleaguered, and Sargon took and garrisoned, Samaria; but even ignorant hopes and empty promises of help cause constant unrest. Therefore Sennacherib, after drastic chastisement of the southern states in 701 (both Tyre and Jerusalem, however, kept him outside their walls), and a long tussle with Chaldaean Babylon, was impelled to set out in the last year, or last but one, of his reign for Egypt. In southern Palestine he was as successful as before, but, thereafter, some signal disaster befell him. Probably an epidemic pestilence overtook his army when not far across the frontier, and he returned to Assyria only to be murdered. He bequeathed the venture to the son who, after defeating his parricide brothers, secured his throne and reigned eleven years under a name which it has been agreed to write Esarhaddon. So soon as movements in Urartu and south-western Asia Minor had been suppressed, and, more important, Babylon, which his father had dishonoured, was appeased, Esarhaddon took up the incomplete conquest. Egypt, then in the hands of an alien dynasty from the Upper Nile and divided against itself, gave him little trouble at first. In his second expedition (670) he reached Memphis itself, carried it by assault, and drove the Cushite Tirhakah past Thebes to the Cataracts. The Assyrian proclaimed Egypt his territory and spread the net of Ninevite bureaucracy over it as far south as the Thebaid; but neither he nor his successors cared to assume the style and titles of the Pharaohs, as Persians and Greeks, wiser in their generations, would do later on. Presently trouble at home, excited by a son rebelling after the immemorial practice of the east, recalled Esarhaddon to Assyria; Tirhakah moved up again from the south; the Great King returned to meet him and died on the march. [Plate 4: ASSYRIAN EMPIRE AT ITS GREATEST EXTENT. EARLY YEARS OF ASHURBANIPAL] But Memphis was reoccupied by Esarhaddon's successor, and since the latter took and ruined Thebes also, and, after Tirhakah's death, drove the Cushites right out of Egypt, the doubtful credit of spreading the territorial empire of Assyria to the widest limits it ever reached falls to Ashurbanipal. Even Tyre succumbed at last, and he stretched his sphere of influence over Asia Minor to Lydia. First of Assyrian kings he could claim Elam with its capital Susa as his own (after 647), and in the east he professed overlordship over all Media. Mesopotamian arts and letters now reached the highest point at which they had stood since Hammurabi's days, and the fame of the wealth and luxury of "Sardanapal" went out even into the Greek lands. About 660 B.C. Assyria seemed in a fair way to be mistress of the desirable earth.
SECTION 4. DECLINE AND FALL OF ASSYRIA Strong as it seemed in the 7th century, the Assyrian Empire was, however, rotten at the core. In ridding itself of some weaknesses it had created others. The later Great Kings of Nineveh, raised to power and maintained by the spears of paid praetorians, found less support even than the old dynasty of Calah had found, in popular religious sentiment, which (as usual in the East) was the ultimate basis of Assyrian nationality; nor, under the circumstances, could they derive much strength from tribal feeling, which sometimes survives the religious basis. Throughout the history of the New Kingdom we can detect the influence of a strong opposition centred at Asshur. There the last monarch of the Middle Kingdom had fixed his dwelling under the wing of the priests; there the new dynasty had dethroned him as the consummation of an anti-sacerdotal rising of nobles and of peasant soldiery. Sargon seems to have owed his elevation two generations later to revenge taken for this victory by the city folk; but Sargon's son, Sennacherib, in his turn, found priestly domination intolerable, and, in an effort to crush it for ever, wrecked Babylon and terrorized the central home of Semitic cult, the great sacerdotal establishment of Bel-Marduk. After his father's murder, Esarhaddon veered back to the priests, and did so much to court religious support, that the military party incited Ashurbanipal to rebellion and compelled his father to associate the son in the royal power before leaving Assyria for the last time to die (or be killed) on the way to Egypt. Thus the whole record of dynastic succession in the New Kingdom has been typically Oriental, anticipating, at every change of monarch, the history of Islamic Empires. There is no trace of unanimous national sentiment for the Great King. One occupant of the throne after another gains power by grace of a party and holds it by mercenary swords. Another imperial weakness was even more fatal. So far as can be learned from Assyria's own records and those of others, she lived on her territorial empire without recognizing the least obligation to render anything to her provinces for what they gave--not even to render what Rome gave at her worst, namely, peace. She regarded them as existing simply to endow her with money and men. When she desired to garrison or to reduce to impotence any conquered district, the population of some other conquered district would be deported thither, while the new subjects took the vacant place. What happened when Sargon captured Samaria happened often elsewhere (Ashurbanipal, for example, made Thebes and Elam exchange inhabitants), for this was the only method of assimilating alien populations ever conceived by Assyria. When she attempted to use natives to govern natives the result was such disaster as followed Ashurbanipal's appointment of Psammetichus, son of Necho, to govern Memphis and the Western Delta. Rotten within, hated and coveted by vigorous and warlike races on the east, the north and the south, Assyria was moving steadily towards her catastrophe amid all the glory of "Sardanapal." The pace quickened when he was gone. A danger, which had lain long below the eastern horizon, was now come up into the Assyrian field of vision. Since Sargon's triumphant raids, the Great King's writ had run gradually less and less far into Media; and by his retaliatory invasions of Elam, which Sennacherib had provoked, Ashurbanipal not only exhausted his military resources, but weakened a power which had served to check more dangerous foes. We have seen that the "Mede" was probably a blend of Scythian and Iranian, the latter element supplying the ruling and priestly classes. The Scythian element, it seems, had been receiving considerable reinforcement. Some obscure cause, disturbing the northern steppes, forced its warlike shepherds to move southward in the mass. A large body, under the name Gimirrai or Cimmerians, descended on Asia Minor in the seventh century and swept it to the western edge of the plateau and beyond; others pressed into central and eastern Armenia, and, by weakening the Vannic king, enabled Ashurbanipal to announce the humiliation of Urartu; others again ranged behind Zagros and began to break through to the Assyrian valleys. Even while Ashurbanipal was still on the throne some of these last had ventured very far into his realm; for in the year of his death a band of Scythians appeared in Syria and raided southwards even to the frontier of Egypt. It was this raid which virtually ended the Assyrian control of Syria and enabled Josiah of Jerusalem and others to reassert independence. The death of Ashurbanipal coincided also with the end of direct Assyrian rule over Babylon. After the death of a rebellious brother and viceroy in 648, the Great King himself assumed the Babylonian crown and ruled the sacred city under a Babylonian name. But there had long been Chaldaean principalities in existence, very imperfectly incorporated in the Assyrian Empire, and these, inspiring revolts from time to time, had already succeeded in placing more than one dynast on the throne of Babylon. As soon as "Sardanapal" was no more and the Scythians began to overrun Assyria, one of these principalities (it is not known which) came to the front and secured the southern crown for its prince Nabu-aplu-utsur, or, as the Greeks wrote the name, Nabopolassar. This Chaldaean hastened to strengthen himself by marrying his son, Nebuchadnezzar, to a Median princess, and threw off the last pretence of submission to Assyrian suzerainty. He had made himself master of southern Mesopotamia and the Euphrates Valley trade-route by the year 609. At the opening of the last decade of the century, therefore, we have this state of things. Scythians and Medes are holding most of eastern and central Assyria; Chaldaeans hold south Mesopotamia; while Syria, isolated from the old centre of empire, is anyone's to take and keep. A claimant appears immediately in the person of the Egyptian Necho, sprung from the loins of that Psammetichus who had won the Nile country back from Assyria. Pharaoh entered Syria probably in 609, broke easily through the barrier which Josiah of Jerusalem, greatly daring in this day of Assyrian weakness, threw across his path at Megiddo, went on to the north and proceeded to deal as he willed with the west of the Assyrian empire for four or five years. The destiny of Nineveh was all but fulfilled. With almost everything lost outside her walls, she held out against the Scythian assaults till 606, and then fell to the Mede Uvakhshatra, known to the Greeks as Kyaxares. The fallen capital of West Asia was devastated by the conquerors to such effect that it never recovered, and its life passed away for ever across the Tigris, to the site on which Mosul stands at the present day.
SECTION 5. THE BABYLONIANS AND THE MEDES Six years later,--in 600 B.C.--this was the position of that part of the East which had been the Assyrian Empire. Nebuchadnezzar, the Chaldaean king of Babylon, who had succeeded his father about 605, held the greater share of it to obedience and tribute, but not, apparently, by means of any such centralized bureaucratic organization as the Assyrians had established. Just before his father's death he had beaten the Egyptians in a pitched battle under the walls of Carchemish, and subsequently had pursued them south through Syria, and perhaps across the frontier, before being recalled to take up his succession. He had now, therefore, no rival or active competitor in Syria, and this part of the lost empire of Assyria seems to have enjoyed a rare interval of peace under native client princes who ruled more or less on Assyrian lines. The only fenced places which made any show of defiance were Tyre and Jerusalem, which both relied on Egypt. The first would outlast an intermittent siege of thirteen years; but the other, with far less resources, was soon to pay full price for having leaned too long on the "staff of a broken reed." About the east and north a different story would certainly have to be told, if we could tell it in full. But though Greek traditions come to our aid, they have much less to say about these remote regions than the inscribed annals of that empire, which had just come to its end, have had hitherto: and unfortunately the Median inheritors of Assyria have left no epigraphic records of their own--at least none have been found. If, as seems probable, the main element of Kyaxares' war strength was Scythian, we can hardly expect to find records either of his conquest or the subsequent career of the Medes, even though Ecbatana should be laid bare below the site of modern Hamadan; for the predatory Scyth, like the mediaeval Mongol, halted too short a time to desire to carve stones, and probably lacked skill to inscribe them. To complete our discomfiture, the only other possible source of light, the Babylonian annals, sheds none henceforward on the north country and very little on any country. Nebuchadnezzar--so far as his records have been found and read--did not adopt the Assyrian custom of enumerating first and foremost his expeditions and his battles; and were it not for the Hebrew Scriptures, we should hardly know that his armies ever left Babylonia, the rebuilding and redecoration of whose cities and shrines appear to have constituted his chief concern. True, that in such silence about warlike operations, he follows the precedent of previous Babylonian kings; but probably that precedent arose from the fact that for a long time past Babylon had been more or less continuously a client state. We must, therefore, proceed by inference. There are two or three recorded events earlier and later than our date, which are of service. First, we learn from Babylonian annals that Kyaxares, besides overrunning all Assyria and the northern part of Babylonia after the fall of Nineveh, took and pillaged Harran and its temple in north-west Mesopotamia. Now, from other records of Nabonidus, fourth in succession to Nebuchadnezzar, we shall learn further that this temple did not come into Babylonian hands till the middle of the following century. The reasonable inference is that it had remained since 606 B.C. in the power of the Medes, and that northern Mesopotamia, as well as Assyria, formed part of a loose-knit Median "Empire" for a full half century before 552 B.C. Secondly, Herodotus bears witness to a certain event which occurred about the year 585, in a region near enough to his own country for the fact to be sufficiently well known to him. He states that, after an expedition into Cappadocia and a war with Lydia, the Medes obtained, under a treaty with the latter which the king of Babylon and the prince of Cilicia promoted, the Halys river as a "scientific frontier" on the north-west. This statement leaves us in no doubt that previously the power of Ecbatana had been spread through Armenia into the old Hatti country of Cappadocia, as well as over all the north of Mesopotamia, in the widest sense of this vague term. Something more, perhaps, may be inferred legitimately from this same passage of Herodotus. The mediation of the two kings, so unexpectedly coupled, must surely mean that each stood to one of the two belligerents as friend and ally. If so (since a Babylonian king can hardly have held such a relation to distant Lydia, while the other prince might well have been its friend), Cilicia was probably outside the Median "sphere of influence," while Babylon fell within it; and Nebuchadnezzar--for he it must have been, when the date is considered, though Herodotus calls him by a name, Labynetus, otherwise unknown--was not a wholly independent ruler, though ruler doubtless of the first and greatest of the client states of Media. Perhaps that is why he has told us so little of expeditions and battles, and confined his records so narrowly to domestic events. If his armies marched only to do the bidding of an alien kinsman-in-law, he can have felt but a tepid pride in their achievements. In 600 B.C., then, we must picture a Median "Empire," probably of the raiding type, centred in the west of modern Persia and stretching westward over all Armenia (where the Vannic kingdom had ceased to be), and southward to an ill-defined point in Mesopotamia. Beyond this point south and west extended a Median sphere of influence which included Babylonia and all that obeyed Nebuchadnezzar even to the border of Elam on the one hand and the border of Egypt on the other. Since the heart of this "Empire" lay in the north, its main activities took place there too, and probably the discretion of the Babylonian king was seldom interfered with by his Median suzerain. In expanding their power westward to Asia Minor, the Medes followed routes north of Taurus, not the old Assyrian war-road through Cilicia. Of so much we can be fairly sure. Much else that we are told of Media by Herodotus--his marvellous account of Ecbatana and scarcely less wonderful account of the reigning house--must be passed by till some confirmation of it comes to light; and that, perhaps, will never be.
SECTION 6. ASIA MINOR A good part of the East, however, remains which owed allegiance neither to Media nor to Babylon. It is, indeed, a considerably larger area than was independent of the Farther East at the date of our last survey. Asia Minor was in all likelihood independent from end to end, from the Aegean to the Euphrates--for in 600 B.C. Kyaxares had probably not yet come through Urartu--and from the Black Sea to the Gulf of Issus. About much of this area we have far more trustworthy information now than when we looked at it last, because it had happened to fall under the eyes of the Greeks of the western coastal cities, and to form relations with them of trade and war. But about the residue, which lay too far eastward to concern the Greeks much, we have less information than we had in 800 B.C., owing to the failure of the Assyrian imperial annals. The dominant fact in Asia Minor in 600 B.C. is the existence of a new imperial power, that of Lydia. Domiciled in the central west of the peninsula, its writ ran eastwards over the plateau about as far as the former limits of the Phrygian power, on whose ruins it had arisen. As has been stated already, there is reason to believe that its "sphere of influence," at any rate, included Cilicia, and the battle to be fought on the Halys, fifteen years after our present survey, will argue that some control of Cappadocia also had been attempted. Before we speak of the Lydian kingdom, however, and of its rise to its present position, it will be best to dispose of that outlying state on the southeast, probably an ally or even client of Lydia, which, we are told, was at this time one of the "four powers of Asia." These powers included Babylon also, and accordingly, if our surmise that the Mede was then the overlord of Nebuchadnezzar be correct, this statement of Eusebius, for what it is worth, does not imply that Cilicia had attained an imperial position. Doubtless of the four "powers," she ranked lowest.
SECTION 7. CILICIA It will be remembered how much attention a great raiding Emperor of the Middle Assyrian period, Shalmaneser II, had devoted to this little country. The conquering kings of later dynasties had devoted hardly less. From Sargon to Ashurbanipal they or their armies had been there often, and their governors continuously. Sennacherib is said to have rebuilt Tarsus "in the likeness of Babylon," and Ashurbanipal, who had to concern himself with the affairs of Asia Minor more than any of his predecessors, was so intimately connected with Tarsus that a popular tradition of later days placed there the scene of his death and the erection of his great tomb. And, in fact, he may have died there for all that we know to the contrary; for no Assyrian record tells us that he did not. Unlike the rest of Asia Minor, Cilicia was saved by the Assyrians from the ravages of the Cimmerians. Their leader, Dugdamme, whom the Greeks called Lygdamis, is said to have met his death on the frontier hills of Taurus, which, no doubt, he failed to pass. Thus, when Ashurbanipal's death and the shrinking of Ninevite power permitted distant vassals to resume independence, the unimpaired wealth of Cilicia soon gained for her considerable importance. The kings of Tarsus now extended their power into adjoining lands, such as Kue on the east and Tabal on the north, and probably over even the holding of the Kummukh; for Herodotus, writing a century and a half after our date, makes the Euphrates a boundary of Cilicia. He evidently understood that the northernmost part of Syria, called by later geographers (but never by him) Commagene, was then and had long been Cilician territory. His geographical ideas, in fact, went back to the greater Cilicia of pre-Persian time, which had been one of the "four great powers of Asia." The most interesting feature of Cilician history, as it is revealed very rarely and very dimly in the annals of the New Assyrian Kingdom, consists in its relation to the earliest eastward venturing of the Greeks. The first Assyrian king with whom these western men seem to have collided was Sargon, who late in the eighth century, finding their ships in what he considered his own waters, i.e. on the coasts of Cyprus and Cilicia, boasts that he "caught them like fish." Since this action of his, he adds, "gave rest to Kue and Tyre," we may reasonably infer that the "Ionian pirates" did not then appear on the shores of Phoenicia and Cilicia for the first time; but, on the contrary, that they were already a notorious danger in the easternmost Levant. In the year 720 we find a nameless Greek of Cyprus (or Ionia) actually ruling Ashdod. Sargon's successor, Sennacherib, had serious trouble with the Ionians only a few years later, as has been learned from the comparison of a royal record of his, only recently recovered and read, with some statements made probably in the first place by the Babylonian historian, Berossus, but preserved to us in a chronicle of much later date, not hitherto much heeded. Piecing these scraps of information together, the Assyrian scholar, King, has inferred that, in the important campaign which a revolt of Tarsus, aided by the peoples of the Taurus on the west and north, compelled the generals of Sennacherib to wage in Cilicia in the year 698, Ionians took a prominent part by land, and probably also by sea. Sennacherib is said (by a late Greek historian) to have erected an "Athenian" temple in Tarsus after the victory, which was hardly won; and if this means, as it may well do, an "Ionic" temple, it states a by no means incredible fact, seeing that there had been much local contact between the Cilicians and the men of the west. Striking similarities of form and artistic execution between the early glyptic and toreutic work of Ionia and Cilicia respectively have been mentioned in the last chapter; and it need only be added here, in conclusion, that if Cilicia had relations with Ionia as early as the opening of the seventh century--relations sufficient to lead to alliance in war and to modification of native arts--it is natural enough that she should be found allied a few years later with Lydia rather than with Media.
SECTION 8. PHRYGIA When we last surveyed Asia Minor as a whole it was in large part under the dominance of a central power in Phrygia. This power is now no more, and its place has been taken by another, which rests on a point nearer to the western coast. It is worth notice, in passing, how Anatolian dominion has moved stage by stage from east to west--from the Halys basin in northern Cappadocia, where its holders had been, broadly speaking, in the same cultural group as the Mesopotamian East, to the middle basin of the Sangarius, where western influences greatly modified the native culture (if we may judge by remains of art and script). Now at last it has come to the Hermus valley, up which blows the breath of the Aegean Sea. Whatever the East might recover in the future, the Anatolian peninsula was leaning more and more on the West, and the dominion of it was coming to depend on contact with the vital influence of Hellenism, rather than on connection with the heart of west Asia. A king Mita of the Mushki first appears in the annals of the New Assyrian Kingdom as opposing Sargon, when the latter, early in his reign, tried to push his sphere of influence, if not his territorial empire, beyond the Taurus to include the principalities of Kue and Tabal; and the same Mita appears to have been allied with Carchemish in the revolt which ended with its siege and final capture in 717 B.C. As has been said in the last chapter, it is usual to identify this king with one of those "Phrygians" known to the Greeks as Midas--preferably with the son of the first Gordius, whose wealth and power have been immortalized in mythology. If this identification is correct, we have to picture Phrygia at the close of the eighth century as dominating almost all Asia Minor, whether by direct or by indirect rule; as prepared to measure her forces (though without ultimate success) against the strongest power in Asia; and as claiming interests even outside the peninsula. Pisiris, king of Carchemish, appealed to Mita as his ally, either because the Mushki of Asia Minor sat in the seat of his own forbears, the Hatti of Cappadocia, or because he was himself of Mushki kin. There can be no doubt that the king thus invoked was king of Cappadocia. Whether he was king also of Phrygia, i.e. really the same as Midas son of Gordius, is, as has been said already, less certain. Mita's relations with Kue, Tabal and Carchemish do not, in themselves, argue that his seat of power was anywhere else than in the east of Asia Minor, where Moschi did actually survive till much later times: but, on the other hand, the occurrence of inscriptions in the distinctive script of Phrygia at Eyuk, east of the Halys, and at Tyana, south-east of the central Anatolian desert, argue that at some time the filaments of Phrygian power did stretch into Cappadocia and towards the land of the later Moschi. It must also be admitted that the splendour of the surviving rock monuments near the Phrygian capital is consistent with its having been the centre of a very considerable empire, and hardly consistent with its having been anything less. The greatest of these, the tomb of a king Midas (son not of Gordius but of Atys), has for fašade a cliff about a hundred feet high, cut back to a smooth face on which an elaborate geometric pattern has been left in relief. At the foot is a false door, while above the immense stone curtain the rock has been carved into a triangular pediment worthy of a Greek temple and engraved with a long inscription in a variety of the earliest Greek alphabet. There are many other rock-tombs of smaller size but similar plan and decoration in the district round the central site, and others which show reliefs of human figures and of lions, the latter of immense proportions on two famous fašades. When these were carved, the Assyrian art of the New Kingdom was evidently known in Phrygia (probably in the early seventh century), and it is difficult to believe that those who made such great things under Assyrian influence can have passed wholly unmentioned by contemporary Assyrian records. Therefore, after all, we shall, perhaps, have to admit that they were those same Mushki who followed leaders of the name Mita to do battle with the Great Kings of Nineveh from Sargon to Ashurbanipal. There is no doubt how the Phrygian kingdom came by its end. Assyrian records attest that the Gimirrai or Cimmerians, an Indo-European Scythian folk, which has left its name to Crim Tartary, and the present Crimea, swept southward and westward about the middle of the seventh century, and Greek records tell how they took and sacked the capital of Phrygia and put to death or forced to suicide the last King Midas.
SECTION 9. LYDIA It must have been in the hour of that disaster, or but little before, that a Mermnad prince of Sardes, called Guggu by Assyrians and Gyges by Greeks, threw off any allegiance he may have owed to Phrygia and began to exalt his house and land of Lydia. He was the founder of a new dynasty, having been by origin, apparently, a noble of the court who came to be elevated to the throne by events differently related but involving in all the accounts some intrigue with his predecessor's queen. One historian, who says that he prevailed by the aid of Carians, probably states a fact; for it was this same Gyges who a few years later seems to have introduced Carian mercenaries to the notice of Psammetichus of Egypt. Having met and repulsed the Cimmerian horde without the aid of Ashurbanipal of Assyria, to whom he had applied in vain, Gyges allied himself with the Egyptian rebel who had just founded the Saite dynasty, and proceeded to enlarge his boundaries by attacking the prosperous Greeks on his western hand. But he was successful only against Colophon and Magnesia on the Maeander, inland places, and failed before Smyrna and Miletus, which could be provisioned by their fleets and probably had at their call a larger proportion of those warlike "Ionian pirates" who had long been harrying the Levant. In the course of a long reign, which Herodotus (an inexact chronologist) puts at thirty-eight years, Gyges had time to establish his power and to secure for his Lydians the control of the overland trade; and though a fresh Cimmerian horde, driven on, says Herodotus, by Scythians (perhaps these were not unconnected with the Medes then moving westward, as we know), came down from the north, defeated and killed him, sacked the unfortified part of his capital and swept on to plunder what it could of the land as far as the sea without pausing to take fenced places, his son Ardys, who had held out in the citadel of Sardes, and made his submission to Ashurbanipal, was soon able to resume the offensive against the Greeks. After an Assyrian attack on the Cimmerian flank or rear had brought about the death of the chief barbarian leader in the Cilician hills, and the dispersal of the storm, the Lydian marched down the Maeander again. He captured Priene, but like his predecessor and his successor, he failed to snatch the most coveted prize of the Greek coast, the wealthy city Miletus at the Maeander mouth. Up to the date of our present survey, however, and for half a century yet to come, these conquests of the Lydian kings in Ionia and Caria amounted to little more than forays for plunder and the levy of blackmail, like the earlier Mesopotamian razzias. They might result in the taking and sacking of a town here and there, but not in the holding of it. The Carian Greek Herodotus, born not much more than a century later, tells us expressly that up to the time of Croesus, that is, to his own father's time, all the Greeks kept their freedom: and even if he means by this statement, as possibly he does, that previously no Greeks had been subjected to regular slavery, it still supports our point: for, if we may judge by Assyrian practice, the enslaving of vanquished peoples began only when their land was incorporated in a territorial empire. We hear nothing of Lydian governors in the Greek coastal cities and find no trace of a "Lydian period" in the strata of such Ionian and Carian sites as have been excavated. So it would appear that the Lydians and the Greeks lived up to and after 600 B.C. in unquiet contact, each people holding its own on the whole and learning about the other in the only international school known to primitive men, the school of war. Herodotus represents that the Greek cities of Asia, according to the popular belief of his time, were deeply indebted to Lydia for their civilization. The larger part of this debt (if real) was incurred probably after 600 B.C.; but some constituent items of the account must have been of older date--the coining of money, for example. There is, however, much to be set on the other side of the ledger, more than Herodotus knew, and more than we can yet estimate. Too few monuments of the arts of the earlier Lydians and too few objects of their daily use have been found in their ill-explored land for us to say whether they owed most to the West or to the East. From the American excavation of Sardes, however, we have already learned for certain that their script was of a Western type, nearer akin to the Ionian than even the Phrygian was; and since their language contained a great number of Indo-European words, the Lydians should not, on the whole, be reckoned an Eastern people. Though the names given by Herodotus to their earliest kings are Mesopotamian and may be reminiscent of some political connection with the Far East at a remote epoch--perhaps that of the foreign relations of Ur, which seem to have extended to Cappadocia--all the later royal and other Lydian names recorded are distinctly Anatolian. At any rate all connection with Mesopotamia must have long been forgotten before Ashurbanipal's scribes could mention the prayer of "Guggu King of Luddi" as coming from a people and a land of which their master and his forbears had not so much as heard. As the excavation of Sardes and of other sites in Lydia proceeds, we shall perhaps find that the higher civilization of the country was a comparatively late growth, dating mainly from the rise of the Mermnads, and that its products will show an influence of the Hellenic cities which began not much earlier than 600 B.C., and was most potent in the century succeeding that date. We know nothing of the extent of Lydian power towards the east, unless the suggestions already based on the passage of Herodotus concerning the meeting of Alyattes of Lydia with Kyaxares the Mede on the Halys, some years later than the date of our present survey, are well founded. If they are, then Lydia's sphere of influence may be assumed to have included Cilicia on the south-east, and its interests must have been involved in Cappadocia on the north-east. It is not unlikely that the Mermnad dynasty inherited most of what the Phrygian kings had held before the Cimmerian attack; and perhaps it was due to an oppressive Lydian occupation of the plateau as far east as the Halys and the foot of Anti-Taurus, that the Mushki came to be represented in later times only by Moschi in western Armenia, and the men of Tabal by the equally remote and insignificant Tibareni.
SECTION 10. THE GREEK CITIES Of the Greek cities on the Anatolian coast something has been said already. The great period of the elder ones as free and independent communities falls between the opening of the eighth century and the close of the sixth. Thus they were in their full bloom about the year 600. By the foundation of secondary colonies (Miletus alone is said to have founded sixty!) and the establishment of trading posts, they had pushed Hellenic culture eastwards round the shores of the peninsula, to Pontus on the north and to Cilicia on the south. In the eyes of Herodotus this was the happy age when "all Hellenes were free" as compared with his own experience of Persian overlordship. Miletus, he tells us, was then the greatest of the cities, mistress of the sea; and certainly some of the most famous among her citizens, Anaximander, Anaximenes, Hecataeus and Thales, belong approximately to this epoch, as do equally famous names from other Asiatic Greek communities, such as Alcaeus and Sappho of Lesbos, Mimnermus of Smyrna or Colophon, Anacreon of Teos, and many more. The fact is significant, because studies and literary activities like theirs could hardly have been pursued except in highly civilized, free and leisured societies where life and wealth were secure. If, however, the brilliant culture of the Asiatic Greeks about the opening of the sixth century admits no shadow of doubt, singularly few material things, which their arts produced, have been recovered for us to see to-day. Miletus has been excavated by Germans to a very considerable extent, without yielding anything really worthy of its great period, or, indeed, much that can be referred to that period at all, except sherds of a fine painted ware. It looks as if the city at the mouth of the greatest and largest valley, which penetrates Asia Minor from the west coast, was too important in subsequent ages and suffered chastisements too drastic and reconstructions too thorough for remains of its earlier greatness to survive except in holes and corners. Ephesus has given us more archaic treasures, from the deposits bedded down under the later reconstructions of its great shrine of Artemis; but here again the site of the city itself, though long explored by Austrians, has not added to the store. The ruins of the great Roman buildings which overlie its earlier strata have proved, perhaps, too serious an impediment to the excavators and too seductive a prize. Branchidae, with its temple of Apollo and Sacred Way, has preserved for us a little archaic statuary, as have also Samos and Chios. We have archaic gold work and painted vases from Rhodes, painted sarcophagi from Clazomenae, and painted pottery made there and at other places in Asia Minor, although found mostly abroad. But all this amounts to a very poor representation of the Asiatic Greek civilization of 600 B.C. Fortunately the soil still holds far more than has been got out of it. With those two exceptions, Miletus and Ephesus, the sites of the elder Hellenic cities on or near the Anatolian coast still await excavators who will go to the bottom of all things and dig systematically over a large area; while some sites await any excavation whatsoever, except such as is practised by plundering peasants. In their free youth the Asiatic Greeks carried into fullest practice the Hellenic conception of the city-state, self-governing, self-contained, exclusive. Their several societies had in consequence the intensely vivid and interested communal existence which develops civilization as a hot-house develops plants; but they were not democratic, and they had little sense of nationality--defects for which they were to pay dearly in the near future. In spite of their associations for the celebration of common festivals, such as the League of the twelve Ionian cities, and that of the Dorian Hexapolis in the south-west, which led to discussion of common political interests, a separatist instinct, reinforced by the strong geographical boundaries which divided most of the civic territories, continually reasserted itself. The same instinct was ruling the history of European Greece as well. But while the disaster, which in the end it would entail, was long avoided there through the insular situation of the main Greek area as a whole and the absence of any strong alien power on its continental frontier, disaster impended over Asiatic Greece from the moment that an imperial state should become domiciled on the western fringe of the inland plateau. Such a state had now appeared and established itself; and if the Greeks of Asia had had eyes to read, the writing was on their walls in 600 B.C. Meanwhile Asiatic traders thronged into eastern Hellas, and the Hellenes and their influence penetrated far up into Asia. The hands which carved some of the ivories found in the earliest Artemisium at Ephesus worked on artistic traditions derived ultimately from the Tigris. So, too, worked the smiths who made the Rhodian jewellery, and so, the artists who painted the Milesian ware and the Clazomenae sarcophagi. On the other side of the ledger (though three parts of its page is still hidden from us) we must put to Greek credit the script of Lydia, the rock pediments of Phrygia, and the forms and decorative schemes of many vessels and small articles in clay and bronze found in the Gordian tumuli and at other points on the western plateau from Mysia to Pamphylia. The men of "Javan," who had held the Syrian sea for a century past, were known to Ezekiel as great workers in metal; and in Cyprus they had long met and mingled their culture with that of men from the East. It was implied in the opening of this chapter that in 600 B.C. social changes in the East would be found disproportionate to political changes; and on the whole they seem so to have been. The Assyrian Empire was too lately fallen for any great modification of life to have taken place in its area, and, in fact, the larger part of that area was being administered still by a Chaldaean monarchy on the established lines of Semitic imperialism. Whether the centre of such a government lay at Nineveh or at Babylon can have affected the subject populations very little. No new religious force had come into the ancient East, unless the Mede is to be reckoned one in virtue of his Zoroastrianism. Probably he did not affect religion much in his early phase of raiding and conquest. The great experience, which was to convert the Jews from insignificant and barbarous highlanders into a cultured, commercial and cosmopolitan people of tremendous possibilities had indeed begun, but only for a part of the race, and so far without obvious result. The first incursion of Iranians in force, and that slow soakage of Indo-European tribes from Russia, which was to develop the Armenian people of history, are the most momentous signs of coming change to be noted between 800 and 600 B.C. with one exception, the full import of which will be plain at our next survey. This was the eastward movement of the Greeks.