Often relegated to the role of slavish cannon fodder for Sparta's spears, the Achaemenid Persian empire had a glorious heritage. Under a single king they created the greatest empire the world had ever seen.
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
December seventh, its history, one thousand nine hundred and forty one? A date which will live in infinitely. Events are born or pepper, and but dial Amanda that dude without fighting from this time play pride in the words Ish Bin Ein the Alina mister. Gorbachev live drama, her down this war
complete collapse. I welcome this kind of examination. He trust people have got to know whether or not their president should cook, but I'm not a crook. If we dig deep and artistry in our document and remember that we are not descended from fearful
it's hard core history. The dictionary defines the word laconic as a form of speech that is blunt or pay a fee. It uses an economy of words to make a point, and sometimes the point is particularly biting or on target, or maybe mysterious, and I love the word because the word refers to a way of speaking. That was popular amongst a particular group of people in ancient Greece, people known as like a demonio otherwise known as Spartans laconic speech is spartan speech. That's the way they're supposed to have talked imagine you know the love child of Clint, Eastwood and Batman
and that's the way they spoke. You know man's got to know his limitations. Man's got to know his limitations, Spartans or the kings of the one liners in ancient greek history, and they are cinematic and character. I mean there's not a movie maker out there that wouldn't want Clint Eastwood during his various movie, years playing various forms of Spartans. You know from the spaghetti western era in his 20s. He could play your average spartan warrior. Then he gets into the dirt. Hairy films in a seventy two, seventy three nineteen hundred and seventy four, and he begins to age movie plays one of those older spartan warriors, and then you get him. You know after the dirty Harry's are over He's an older man and now he's the king and he talks like
talks and all those other movies. Combined with that man- and you have you know the way the Spartans are supposed to have spoken, laconically, how cool is it to twenty five centuries? After those people were at the height of their fame and power, we still know the way they talked it's famous, as famous because people wrote about it, people whose works we still have telling you the way. A certain people spoke that long ago, describing some of the things that they said. All these sorts of little details help bring color to the story. They they help us all relate to these people a little bit more. These are human touch. Is that for shout these historical figures when you begin to get this sort of stuff the sorts of details that you were likely to hear in an oral tradition anywhere in the world before this time period, but when you begin to get these stories that have come down to us, you begin to see
truly cinematic type creations stories that you could take very little changes and updating and make movies out of them today and have them be popular and it's not just the character development either. The themes can be epic in these stories. Take, for example, the most famous story involving Sparta at all, the famous incident in four hundred and eighty BC e at the pass of Thermopylae, the so called hot gates. This may be because of the movies and because of the books that have been written forever. This may be the earliest confirmable historical event. Most Americans know about the defense of three hundred Spartans against a million or so Persians a battle that some of described over the air's for the existence of western civilization. By the way, if those are
takes. Who side are you rooting for? What was it? The indian leader, Mohandes Gandhi, supposedly said when someone asked him what he thought of western civilization? Did he say something like? I think it would be a good idea. Nonetheless, the way this store is framed from the get go is designed to have you affiliate with one side over the other. One side is like the plucky Little Republic with Luke Skywalker in STAR wars and their beleaguered, and you know they're good and they are under pressure and there trying to survive against Darth Vader and the empire that will snuff out all freedom and hope and happiness and all those kinds of things that's the way. The ancient story is him hold water called the greek and Persian wars a moment that is sometimes been portrayed in apocalyptic, like terms for what is sometimes been called the west once upon a time Christendom.
So already many in the West are going to feel like it's a sporting event and where the home team right we're all homers when it comes to the greek and persian wars unless of course, you're more like the people who were portrayed as the Persians back then remember, this is not just an ethnic thing. This is a values thing and in the narrative, sometimes called the grand narrative by some. Greece is fighting for things like liberty and freedom, Mokra C and artistic. I mean everything that the evil empire isn't evil empire will snuff it all out and make slaves of everyone who you going to side with right. The story of Thermopylae is one of those that is absolutely dramatic. Beyond anything, you get in earlier history, and it's because
a master storyteller imparting the story to you. When I started in news reporting an editor said to me, your job is to relate the facts of the story, the true information and do so in the most compelling way you can, if you imagine the battle of Thermopylae as written by say the scribes of Babylonia. It might sound like this in the 14th year, the king of lands, by the will of Marduk overcame the spartan army at a place called the hot gates too Ninety seven of the enemy were counted. The spartan king, his destiny. The Babylonians had been writing that way forever. They were great record keepers. Things were a little dry, though Now north of them were the Assyrians, a culture that existed sort alongside the Babylonians, a lot more aggressive and big on the propaganda.
Front and didn't mind showing people's nose in their defeats, and they like to me. Change how we call a muscular foreign policy there. It's on a little bit more, like Darth Vader's pr firm issuing a press release, they would have described the battle of Thermopylae. Like like a storm. I overthrew them all I slew their king, I crucified their land I devastated. Now. You may notice that there's not a lot of character development, there, and less making the king of Assyria frightfully terrifying. Is the Major after nonetheless I said in this story: Darth Vader is really the only character on the other side that gets flushed out very much. Compare sample babylonian and assyrian approaches to this story. To something like the description you get from, people like Herodotus of Halicarnassus, sometimes called the Father of histories, occasionally called
the replies. Writing is history generation. After the events at Thermopylae he talks about. You know the Spartans blocking this wrote and there's a tale that has developed over the hundreds of years afterwards of an event that people have been adding a few screen. Writing touches to since the very beginning, as the story is often told, there's a bunch of Greeks trying to block the army of the per regions from coming into southern Greece, Xerxes the crack of doom named persian king, the only truly free person in his whole society. The story would have
leave rules all of Asia, and so many other lands that he is entitled a king of kings. All his people are the equivalent of slaves who could live or die on his whim and when he orders them to fight the Spartans in this past they obey and are whipped by overseers onto the spears of the Spartans. The last stand is it's called a Thermopylae. The greatest last stand I will be in all human history was not supposed to be the kind of last and it turned out to be there with thousands of greek soldiers at Thermopylae initially, but eventually became apparent that he was going to be a death trap and so the spartan king, a guy named Leonidas, supposedly sent the other Greeks away and kept a sort of rear guard. If you want to stick with the narrative, a rear guard for greek and western freedom behind to hold off the Persians, there were other Greeks who were involved in the so called life.
Standard Thermopylae, but it's the Spartans who get the most attention about three hundred of them. And again you can understand why, as characters, they were fascinating in their own time. The Spartans are a kind of a cultural experiment, a better way to put it is when you think about all human history there's enough law of averages stuff working where you can see all kind, is a little human experiments going on in various communities in Sparta. It's, whether or not the culture cannon fuse a certain fighting quality to its human beings. If they grow up a certain way pressured by the culture in certain you know, facets that just make them more likely to be extremely nasty in combat spartan Warrior Party. It's do nothing, but fighting there is no other job for them. The entire culture seems to be designed from much of what we know now to reinforce this, including a code of laws and behavior.
Tended to make these Spartans enough alike so that laconic became a term that described you know most of them, they're, not a lot of chatty spartans in history. The culture didn't encourage that. Listen to the colour, though, that come down from this story. The great king Zurich sees with his army, reported to be a million men so large that it drinks the river's dry that it passes through comes to this road. With this past that has to be crossed in these small group of greek hoplites. Guarding, it is cheese according to Herodotus, doesn't know what to do can't quite believe. What he's seeing look at the color in the story according to Herodotus search, he sends us by to go up to the spartan lines and try to figure out. What's going.
On and not get caught? Not only does he not get caught, but according to Herodotus, he reports back to Xerxes and says that the spartan warriors couldn't have cared less, that he was there. They were fine with him looking around, they didn't care. He said they were doing exercises and combing their hair. Again, you have to imagine Eastwood, with long hair and a beard right there that be worth the price of admission right with his tall sinewy guy, not a big muscle, bound guy doing body weight exercises. You know, calisthenics push ups sit ups, gymnastics, that's how they you know, perhaps in the coming along here, was a spartan. Bing searches could not get his mind around her Otis is basically says the idea that these people, a couple hundred of them, we're going to try to
on his reportedly million man army. So he calls in an advisor that he has he's, got a spartan king with him, a guy who fell out of favor and he hooked up with the Persians thinking that, if they conquer all of Greece, it might be good for him. He's been the advisor to the great king of kings. Up till now he told the king earlier about these people, and they made fun of him so now Zurich sees called him back to report on what the spot I had said, the Spartans were doing how let added to this. This ancient screenwriter handled the story from there writing twenty five hundred years ago, quote search listened, but could not understand that the lack of the moaning ins were really preparing to kill or be killed to fight as much as was in their power seem to him to be the height of folly the action of fools. So and for Da Merito son of Estan, who was in the camp and one demerit those arrived Xerxes questioned him about everything he had been told
trying to understand the meaning behind what the lack of the morning onians we're doing to Meritus answered you heard what I said about these men before when we were setting out against the Greeks, and you made me a laughing stock When you heard my view of how these matters would turn out, but it is my greatest goal to tell the truth in your So hear me now. Once again, these men have come to fight as for control of the road, and that is really what they are preparing to do. For it is their tradition that they groom their hair whenever they are about to put their lives in danger. Now know this if you subjugate these men and those who have remained behind in Sparta. There is no other race of human beings that will be left to raise their hands against. You, for you are now packing the most noble kingdom of all the Greeks and the best of men. What to merit? Toews said IRAN, it's just writes, seemed quite incredible desert cities and he asked for a second time how they could possibly intend to fight his whole army. Since there were so few of them.
They are toast, replied sire if things do not turn out. Just as I claim they will treat me like a liar end quote: to lie to the great king of kings of the achaemenid. Persian empire was a capital crime. He was basically saying if this doesn't turn out exactly like. I told you it will. You can kill me, that's pretty darn colorful right there, but it gets even better. The great king of the Persians was supposed to have sent a mess to the spartan lines to King Leonidas and say basically join us will make you the overlords agree. She'll have more than you ever had before. A lot of nations are done that join Persian Empire was not a bad idea. Sometimes he's basically saying we can make a deal here. It'll be worth your while his father Darius was a great deal maker in the Xerxes was coming from a position of negotiation here and the Spartans basically dressed him down morally saying something to
effective. You know you have all this land already, but you need to bother us we'd rather die, for the known anything it was one of those wonderful, spartan, moralistic, put downs again spoken with this few words as possible and then famously, as recorded by Plutarch, six hundred years after the event, he sends another messenger to the spartan lines. Supposedly another message for the king of the Spartans and says all the men who can hear 'em, you can all go home. All will be forgiven just put down your arms, and then you get the wonderful phrase mole on lava translated in many different ways, but it just is good pretty much any of them come and take them lay down your arms come and take them come and get them having come. Take you can take them when we're all dead. A lot of the different ways, the difficult to translate.
Greek is used it still by the way the motto of the Greek First Army corps. It's been used for many causes all throughout history, because it's such a great, dramatic colorful in the face of death line, is that it's a Clint Eastwood line, do you feel lucky punk come and take them? How do you not stand up in the theater and cheer when that moment hits that's every writer's dream to have a scenario like that and if it can be true, how wonderful is that the greek chroniclers who wrote about this stuff did not skimp on the drama and it makes it colorful it makes. It really makes a compelling even two thousand five hundred years later, and you give you right arm to have this kind of stuff right out of the mouths of the oral historians from all these places that didn't have them and look black and white because of it
The persian story must be magical. Also, we don't have that story, and traditionally it's difficult for us to imagine that we'd like to hear, from a pro perspective the story of Darth Vader in the empire, but throughout history they weren't, always Darth Vader, and some of the greatest chroniclers of all time have gone to great lengths to show, in fact that they may have been on God's side. If you will, if that turns out to be case whose side are you rooting for then, of course, in this time period the iron age ancient world
in this area, the Mediterranean and the near east you'd have to be a heck of a lot more specific. When you start talking about deities than to just say God, the likely response during that era might have been, which God it was a wild and crazy time for religion in that part of the world, and they had a lot of different ones and they ran the gamut from things you might understand today to wild and crazy and everything between most of these religious beliefs had a pantheon of gods, a bunch of them some of them had as of a dominant leave God. But but having you know, multiple gods was normal. There were two groups of space the one known for only having one God and they were the ones that put together. With divine or without divine help. Take your pick a home. A combination of catalog of events and stories and accounts perspectives
and admonitions and hymns, and it's hard to describe exactly what the old Hebrew Bible is it's also hard to know when it was written, are the accounts from the period around time, the Persians first appeared on the scene legitimate from that period. Most biblical experts think they were written later. Nonetheless, we use Plutarch five hundred years after the fact, and so does everyone else. So when the old Hebrew Bible in multiple places talks about the Persians, we should probably at least note the attitude and the attitude that the writers whomever they may have been of those works had tored the Persians, especially early on, wasn't just positive. It was divine.
Mini mini tickle. You farson number number weight divisions, that's my favorite part of the Bible, the old Hebrew Bible, which is so full of wonderful stuff. You know the tricks on how the market totally cornered on color there's just not a ton of stuff from the parts of the world during the time period represented by the Bible, but remember there's a lot of discussion over when various pieces of the Bible were written.
Out of this good stuff might have been written in well into the pros period. So we've entered into the color era because there's so much color on the book of Daniel has this scary story. Spooky story: it's not like a horror movie, but it's a spooky movie Anne today, you'd have to have a little cgi help to make it work. But it's my favorite scene it's out of the book of Daniel and it involves a ghostly hand. Writing words on a wall. Meanie meanie tackle you farson, and you have to back up a little bit in the story to set the scene, but the king of Babylon, who the Bible calls belches are, is having a party he and his buddies and some concubines that's the way the Bible puts. It probably have to imagine some loud music. You know, there's booze I mean
drinking in a certain point. The king of Babylon launched the really nice in know, silverware brought in, and the big cups of gold and silver, the ones they took from Jerusalem when they sacked the capital of Judah, not that long ago, 'cause, that's what the Babylonians had done scattered a bunch of Jews everywhere forced a lot of the, mirror families and craftsman and artisans to deport all the way back to Babylon and destroyed Solomon's temple, when it comes to pr belches are guy in the Babylonians, are not getting a ton of it positive from the Bible. And while he's drinking out of his big looted cup hanging out with the concubines? All of us, and a ghostly hand, with a finger appears right under the lamp. And it starts writing on a wall. Meanie meanie tackle you farson and everybody freaks out
King James version of the Bible, makes it sound like he. Eventually couldn't control his bowels. He was so scared. My later more colloquial version just sticks to the knees shaking version, none the less. He couldn't figure out what it meant. So the Bible says this: babylonian leader called in all his sorcerers and necromancers and Astrolog Yrs all these people. You know the wizards that advised you know the high babylonian king and part of what makes babylonian so freaking wonderful. Is there a combination of like rational, logical, hard observation, Ull ants in mathematics and all these kinds of things with divination You have to imagine a Stephen hawking type character, but a Wigi board is an integral part of how he goes about his business. It's fascinating, but for these people. The Bible says, can explain to belches are what the writing means.
And then someone reminds him that his father use this guy. This deportee you from Judah after the battle means a destroyed Jerusalem there and he was here in Babylon and we could bring him in and see if he knows what the ghostly writing means and belches are grabbed. The guy in bra a and it was Daniel, who was indeed a deportee, and belches are gives in the same offer he gave his soothsayers. Listen. You tell me what this means, and you know gold chains and your rule, a third of the kingdom and all this kind of stuff and Daniel says in a keep your guests were given to somebody else. I'll tell you what the writing means. I have a lot of different versions of the Bible, the Torah all these things in front of me, and all the versions are good, but the king James Bible, with its in a raft of God style, sums it up perfectly He looks at the meanie meanie tackle you. Farson describes the words as meaning
number number weight divisions and then defines that as meaning this from the king. James version quote: This is the interpretation of the thing- God number thy kingdom and finished it thou art, weighed in the balances and art found wanting by kingdom, is divided and given to the Medes and the Persians end quote that pretty colorful stuff isn't it and in that version d, king of the Persians, a guy named Jerry Us Conker's, Babylon that night and kills belches are well none of that's true, but that's how the Bible story goes. None the less. It's clear from that perspective that the Persians in this story are not going to be the bad guys. They are going to be the instrument of God that rectifies things. If, God is on anyone's side in that story, he's on the side of the Medes and the Persians who the Are these needs and Persians and if there
oh good in this story during the time of the Babylonians. How do they go from that to the eve the Greek see you know, three rulers later I'll, let remember Darth Vader, wasn't always evil and in fact the guy who will kick off the versions first real appearance on the world stage, will a guy that is so beloved by at least the Hebrew God he the the only Non Jew you ever proclaim the Messiah. The person who will get this honor is known in your history books by the name of Cyrus, the second war Cyrus, the great he wanted to make it sound a little bit more like it probably sounded in Persian. You would say: cool Rosh he's, probably the greatest conqueror in world
tree up until the time of Alexander he's got some of the best historical press anybody's likely to get? Nobody has a bad word to say about the guy. Even the Greeks, like him, Xenofon will write a whole Book Essentia Lee romanticizing Cyrus is the greatest perfect world leader in, wouldn't you like to be like him and here's how you could emulate what he did and that kind of thing Cyrus becomes part of a greek motif that western tradition will continue for a long time that portrays the east as decadent and soft and corrupt but then how do you explain how some of these great empires got started? Well, the way the Greeks do it is Cyrus is fantastic and he builds this entire thing and bequeaths it to the Persians who proceed to become soft and rich and lazy and decadent and ruin what the great Cyrus gave them. So even the Greeks portray Cyrus is this great figure, and yet we know so little about the guy. If,
contrast. What we know about him and the guy who probably takes the crown from him is greatest conqueror in the world. Up to that point, Alexander, the great it's night and day Alexander the great exists in a fully colorized historical world, a post, Herodotus World, the world Alexander will bring his own publicist with him from place to place, so they can record latest deeds and sayings and doings Cyrus the great founds, the last great empire, and maybe what you could call the black and white era in the near EAST, an era where we know the majority about the people back then, because of things like monoliths and statues, and reliefs and carvings and tomb paintings and architecture and ruins.
When you do have writing you get business records and proclamations and transactions. Some of the best stuff you get from this era are the correspondence is the letters between diplomats and governors and rulers. But none of those people are doing is writing to amuse or entertain anybody. All of the writing from the black and white period of human history is colder. They all have a purpose beyond being entertaining. It might be a religious purpose of business, purpose of governmental purpose or even two important officials writing each other about in the matters of state in a few
cool things creep in that's very different than writing, something to be performed in front of a live audience for their entertainment and enjoyment. I read something historian Michael Grant had written about her Rattatas, suggesting that the reason Herodotus has the interesting structure that he does to his histories is because it was not meant to be read as much as it was meant to be performed, live, read aloud by Herodotus himself and that the digressions and the tangents in the work represent things that would have worked much better in a live situation with somebody broadcasting. If you will and oratore, as opposed to somebody writing something to be read by somebody else.
Oddly, if that's the case, then you don't really have the first written prose history with her Radha tissue of the script for her on it. This is live show if you will, which would explain a lot considering that if you want to get drama and color and stories before the period of Herodotus you're, looking at things like the illy add by homer or the epic of Gilgamesh from Mesopotamia history, both of which are believed by the way two Bin stories told for hundreds of years that we're finally compiled and written down same thing with like a beowulf in scandinavian history. Maybe Herodotus is more like the agent storytellers, then for
it meets the eye to give him some credit. Herodotus was trying to be a chronicler at the same time that he was trying to do the same thing. I was told to do in news reporting to relate the facts as best as he understood them in the most compelling way he could. So what you have here in this ancient story is not so much myth that wouldn't be fair, not just to people like Herodotus, but all of the great historians overtime have found all these records and put together. You know Jigsaw puzzle ea viewing of the past that is always being redone and improved, but wouldn't have even existed there if a ton of different pieces of the puzzle hadn't been brought together, but at the same time, while it's not myth, it's not exactly truth. Either there are, historians have spent their whole lives, trying to separate the truth from the fiction and works like Herodotus actually laughed out loud. When I read Pierre Brianz book from Cyrus to Alexander Brianna is one of the great historians of ancient persian
book is like the encyclopedia. I mean it's very detailed, very specific. It's one thousand two hundred pages. It's a it's an enormous, comprehensive book and the very first lines in it are as part of the an opening page where he quotes an artist Who says quote, and even if it is not true, you need to believe in ancient history. End quote: does anything better the dichotomy here, and how wonderful that, in the one thousand two hundred page book, that is exhaustive, I'll get out the very first line from the historian is yeah. It might not be true, but you have to believe it anyway. It's wonderful and it sums. Problem with ancient history, and that is that you have the feeling that most. What you're reading here is the truth in these events did happen, but there's a lot of fiction mixed in and it's difficult to know. What's what and it's difficult to separate one from the other also-
call to know where to begin the story. This is a classic problem. Anybody has trying to explain something right. How do you begin a story of Cyrus, the second and the Persians? When does that start? All histories connected, as we know, right It's all a bunch of tumbling, domino's and one event and Events leads up to other ones and sets it all. Where is a logical starting point, I'm terrible at this. By the way I did a whole series on the decline and fall of the Roman Republic hours and hours and hours, because I was trying to find the logical place to start a story about Cleopatra, never even got practically Cleopatra was all domino's before then IRAN, it's just star with the earliest thing he knows about, and it's a miracle he knows about it at all. He begins by two about the Assyrians he talks about having multiple versions of this story so Herodotus being Herodotus, he says I've heard a lot of different things. Here are my sources: the story begins boom and here's what he writes
quote from here. Our story demands that we inquire further about Cyrus in the Persians who was this man who destroyed the empire of creases and how did the purge? It's become the leaders of Asia. I shall right This account using as my sources certain Persians who do not intend to magnify the deeds of Cyrus, but rather to tell what really happened. I know of three other ways in which the story of Cyrus is told, end quote, and then he begins the story using a phrase that should probably be preceded by a line like once upon a time quote. The Assyrians ruled inland Asia for five hundred and twenty years, and the Me needs were the first to revolt from them. It would seem that they prove themselves truly courageous men by fighting the Assyrians for the cause of freedom, and they succeeded in casting off slavery and were liberated afterwards. The other f groups freed themselves, as the Medes had done. End quote.
Well, the Medes need a little explaining just like get the biblical. Maria Belshazzar's feast when he said that the empire is going to be divided between the Medes and the Persians. The in versions. Are a related people. The Greeks use the terms interchangeably. They were practically like brothers in the eyes of the when I was growing up. They were just starting to change from the brothers sort of interpret maybe saying maybe they were more like first cousins, some of the more recent histories I've been reading. Maybe you could say we down. Grade the relationship even a step further to something like second cousins who fought sometimes his store differ on when these related peoples arrived the area where they can now play a role in the history of this enclosed sort of geopolitical world with Egypt and Babylon in this area. In all these places, there's even a few historians who think they may have always been there. You just didn't hear about the nevertheless, the world upon which they have intruded is so old. It's
art for modern people to get our minds around, because it's hard for us to imagine something. Two thousand five hundred years ago, you know, when Thermopylae happening now. Imagine something from twenty five: under hundred years before that, and that's how old this world is. I love the way in the 1940s historian. Eighty t tried to give the reader a sense of how old this world was and how the people who lived in it knew it was old. He starts by talking about Cyrus. The second are Cyrus the great person after he takes over Babylon, trying to do describe how old the world is. The Babylon represents- and he says quote when Cyrus entered Babylon in five hundred and thirty nine BCE the world was old, more significant. The new. It's antiquity it scholars had come child. Long dynastic lists and simple addition appeared to prove kings, whose monuments were still visible, had ruled more than four millenniums, before
yet earlier were other monarchs sons of gods, and so cells. Demi Demigods who's rains covered several generations of present day short lived men. Even these were preceded. The Egyptians believed by the gods themselves. Who held sway through long eons before universal flood. The Babylonians placed ten kings, the least of whom eighteen thousand six hundred years, the greatest forty three thousand two hundred years other peoples. He writes new. This flood and told of monarchs Nana kiss I Cody, for example, who reigned in read Alluvion times, meaning of the times before the biblical flood. He continues checkered history of the Jews extended through four thousand years modest, as were their figures when compared with those of babble on or Egypt. They recorded that one pre diluvian patriarch, almost the millennium mark before his death, greek poets Chan. The legendary history, which was counted backward to the time
when the genealogies of the heroes ascended to the God each people in nation, each former city state boasted of its own creation story with its own local god. As creator end quote,. He then goes on the diagram that, in the six in seven hundred BCE. There were add few rulers in quite a few of these old countries. That became archaeological bus where they would go back and pay for the division of earlier rulers that ruled one thousand and fifteen hundred years before them and in Egypt may dressed. Similarly, that's the continuity of the egyptian fashion. Look my favorite story. That really gives you an idea of the antiquity of things and how peoples of this region, understood it new it in a way that you don't normally think about, has to do with an archaeological excavation that happened in the late eighteen,
early 1900s in modern day, IRAN in a city through much of the historical period that was called Souza Sousa, is a very old city, ancient city. It will be important in the persian period. It will be important after that period for a very long time of people called the Elamites resided in Sousa, and it was in a strata where the Elamite period was that these archaeologists began to uncover some of the greatest treasures and antiquities in near eastern history, and they didn't belong there. They found, for example, the famous steel or steely. Take your pick of Homma Robbie, something that is huge. I mean it's a giant seven foot tall or something heavy big thing, and they find it there. What's it doing there that should be in Babylon.
Now, if you think this deal of Homma Robbie is old, circa, 1700s, BCE or something like that. Archaeologist then find something. That's a good deal older than that. It's called the victory stele of Naram sin. He was an acadian king from the twenty two hundreds be, she. So by the time they were making the steel of Robbie the victory deal of Naram Sin was half a Millenia old. There were other antiquities that they found to all of them from elsewhere. They were the spoils, the loot, the stuff that the Elamites took back with them. When they sacked. Avalon and in fact you could tell because somehow all this stuff was on display and so the original inscriptions in the original language, explaining what this was
elamite inscription explaining when it was taken from the Babylonian as Luton spoils and as a piece of or a commemorating a great victory. I keep imagining a bunch of trophies in like a college or university or school troll case, you know, commemorating the victories over the air is over your school rivals, the oaken bucket the Apple cup. Steel of Hammurabi. You know that kind of thing, It wasn't just you know: cultural artifacts that were taken. The famous Elamite invasion that happened in the 1100s. They took the God of Babylon, with them they took Marduk with them. The statue that represented God- and this is one of my favorite things about ancient history- is this idea sometimes that these statues that represented the gods or somehow connected to the God him or herself,
and sometimes were I mean there were some believed that they were the gods and so you'll see, for example, the Assyrians in a lot of or stone release when they're, showing the conquest of some civilization or city they've got the God that their soldiers are carrying away along with all of the loot and it's symbolic. When you think about it, it's a sign, our God stronger than your God. After all, we've got your God and in out of these near eastern civilizations. That historians wrote that you can't re establish some of these cities and the God is returned, so in other words, when Babylon get sacked in the God is taken away, they can't do a big rebuilding until the God is brought back, we got God I mean talk rubbing your nose in a defeat there. I I was trying to think about what the equivalent would be in the modern world. Certainly if somebody took over the United States, if the Elamites had done it, they would have the statue of Lib
in their little museum there, with a little notation underneath taken from New York City after we crush the Americans. I love the either and would love to know more about them. They're one of those people that just not a lot is known. What you can say for sure is that they are the great long standing urban power now modern day, IRAN for thousands of years, the big contemporaries and the big power from that region that Rive, Babylon's in this series in the Egypt's there's you power in the north to north of this theory, but that changes it could metonymy it could be the Hittites it could be. You are too none. Nonetheless, you have a relatively table GEO. Allen's going on for a long time, even through the ups and downs and then that world begins to be consciously destroyed, and that opens up the door do an instability where
Anything can happen and shocking things did. It starts with the absolute skyrocketing by historical standards of the military Domon. What's of the Assyrians, that you may be thinking, we were just talking about the me too minute ago, and now we've shipped it over to the Assyrians, and what does one have to do with the other, but it's their paths crossing that sort of set up the stage for the period in western asian history. It will turn out to be one of a couple of David's in this story who will take down Goliath in order to under and what a big deal. That is, you need to understand. You know how big of a deal Goliath was in the story. The Assyrians are Goliath and they were transfer. And in the seven hundred BCE from one of the power, sometimes the greatest of the great powers, sometimes not into the regional superpower, and as far as these people were concerned,
the region was the entire world, and this quickly growing, absolutely devastating new empire in terms of its military. These would have been the ones fighting the Greeks and the Spartans at Thermopylae had the mean and their allies not been able to take down this Goliath, and I got news for you. I don't think The NEO assyrian armies, at their height, would have beaten Alexander, great and his macedonian, I'm not sure, but I don't think, but I think they crush the ancient Greeks of Athens and Sparta and so if the pass of Thermopylae in the Greco Persian wars really was a war for western civilization. We should be thankful that there were people like the Medes to take down the people, who I thought, would have been the odds on favorite in any Vegas betting pool
down the ancient Greeks and four hundred and eighty BCE they weren't around in four hundred and eighty BC in part because of these people, the Medes who, in the seven image when this story really heats up and get strange or a people on the periphery of the known universe at the time to the Assyrians. The Medes are sort of the east Turn edge of the known galaxy, beyond those median tribes with all their petty little kinglets are groups of half he human half monsters called woman Manda in the Annals human monda by the way an old acadian term means the horde from who knows where- and it's believed that this refers to the nomadic peoples of the step cultural forebears of the Huns and the Turks and the Mongols, and all those people, in fact
needs in the Persians were supposed to be able to speak to the woman Monda without the use of translators. How you like to be related enough to people known as the horde from who knows where to be able to understand their language without anybody helping none the less It's in this period right around seven hundred and fifty BCE. Where are you sort of an unusual happening in ancient history, where a lot seems to happen in a relatively short period of time, because in ancient history you get these long stretches where it seems like very little changes in seven.
Five b c e, with the arrival of a new syrian king, a guy named Jake, laughed pie lease or the third Assyria begins to go on this sprint. Maybe you could call it a historical sprint that will last until about six fifteen six, twelve b, c e and we'll be like. Maybe you could say the last burst of rocket fuel of that historical era of that ancient world, about to give way to the error of the Greeks and circle antiquity and all that kind of stuff and rockets to the heights, with the assyrian army, for example. In say, seven hundred BCE are the equivalent of like the roman empires armies at their height for their era. The Assyrians will systematically smash, the great powers in that area and it's difficult by the way they're powerful their sophisticated,
a lot of money. Some of these places the Assyrians often have to face. Not single, states, but coalitions of states. Big allies that Alaid simply deal with the Assyrians and they lose most of the time anyway. I'll try geek out on the army too much. But it's the gold standard for the era, Richard Gay Lincare, Karen Mets, in their book, from Sumer to Rome so to it in a nutshell, in terms of just giving you a mental picture of the cape We have an army from this era in know the so called biblical era. When I was growing up there right quote the assyrian army of the eighth century, BCE, was comprised of it e one hundred and fifty thousand to two hundred thousand men and was the just standing military force at the Middle EAST had witnessed to this time and a series combat field Army numbered approximately fifty thousand men with various it is of infantry chariots and Cavalry in modern times the size of an assyrian field army was equal to
I have modern heavy american divisions are almost eight soviet field divisions Wanna raid for battle, the army took up an area of two thousand five hundred yards across and a hundred yards deep. The assyrian army was also the first army to be entirely equipped with iron weapons. End quote: doesn't that soviet reference date me. Nonetheless, You get an idea that we're talking about armies that were exponentially larger than in the recent past. In the bronze age. You know, Naram Sin was putting like six thousand guys into the field and thinking he had a lot of men. The series to have multiple divisions of fifty thousand each they will smell the power of the mountain state of U Rar to at one point during this period. That's where modern Armenia is, they will several times have to deal with babble on another one of their great kings. Sennacherib takes care of that
And then they just have to do it again and again. Babylon is the thorn in the side perpetually of the Syria and the it's always get in trouble with the Assyrians 'cause that we support the Babylonians 'cause. After all, all of the like to see the Assyrians cut down to size. Eventually, the Assyrians will cut the elamites down to size to one of the most horrifying of all the assyrian reliefs, and you know there's a lot of them in historians, don't always know how to classify them. You can't tell if you want to say that these are real scenes that they're showing when you see these carvings, which were probably painted at one time and we're often displayed in the waiting room before you got to see the king. What looking at while you're cooling your heels waiting to see the assyrian king, the things he did to the people. Like you, who may be turned against him. Sometimes historians think that they're taking us Stick sort of cruel love in this. Sometimes it's meant to be.
Terrifying and enjoy that Saddam Hussein style, sometimes they think of it as a convention. In the same way, the Egyptians always seem to show them. You know, wearing kinds of clothing, whether or not they did anymore as artistic convention showing people get their heads, lopped off, is just you know if you go, Assyria. You expect to see these hearing things that kind of deal. That's who we are insists it's a staple. Nonetheless, one of my favorite assyrian relief shows the aftermath of the or where the Assyrians finally decided to deal with the ongoing elamite problem. It shows the assyrian king Usher a Paul reclining on one of those wonderful oriental near eastern kinds of things that they used to lay down on the couch where they would have some be feed. You grapes, something that he's sitting there drinking wine or eating food. You know
luxury, leave, relaxing sort of pace in a garden with little palm trees. If I recall it correctly and there's a woman there with him- and you get the feeling like he and that woman are together and then right over nearby up on the side Have a wall or a poster pillar is ahead, the head of the Elamite King, pickled or otherwise, and that woman, who you think maybe is ashurbanipal wife from royal concubine. Some historians think is the wife of that Elamite. Having to be there with the person who killed him and have I'm looking on you, nobody list the whole time at the Assyrians. Just had this wonderful historical reputation. For something that once again is cinematic. Now it's not color not like Herodotus, and all that we don't have it in color. But it's a really scary. Black and white horror film, if you're on the receiving end of assyrian violence, I should point out
no focusing so much on geopolitics and assyrian policy may sort of color the picture in a very negative way, because to live in in the syrian city during this time period might have been awesome. I have been the height of civilization. You know it was it. Society that was in some respects one of the most literate at all time periods it was wealthy, it was cultured, might have been great to live in the here. You didn't want to be on the wrong end of a syrian foreign policy and from about seven hundred and forty five BCE to about the early six hundred. A lot of people were and very few people came away doing very well after that. They systematically battered down the structures of this region. Now battering down the structures of the region were very important if you wanted to kind of make it a mean Volta being incorporated into a single political entity like an empire, everybody individualistic nature had to be curtailed somewhat. The problem will come. We,
the unifying force that did this disappears. Today. Idea by the way of how many peoples were talking about and there's a wonderful way to sort of counter dict. The earlier way the story was told which was focusing on people's ethnicity, a lot into say You know the Assyrians were submitted and the iranian peoples he Medes and the Persians were Indo European, that is to realize when you, deal with a place that is so filled with different groups intermarrying living together that it does take very long for peoples languages to change, which used to be the way we judged. Who was whom it also means that the job of any unifying force that one turn all these different freedom. Loving groups into a single political entity is huge historian, will Durant tries to to lay the foundation and basically, basically says know just so. You know look at how many
tools there are in this part of the world and they all interacting all the time in their intermarrying and it's an ethnic melting pot. He says quote. Would distant and yet discerning eye the near used in the days of nebuchadrezzar would have seemed like an ocean in which Swarms of human beings moved about in turmoil, forming and dissolving groups in leaving or being enslaved, eating or being eaten killing or getting killed endless Behind and around the great empires, Egypt Babylonia Assyria in Persia flowered this Headley of half, nomad, half settled tribes, canarians, Khaliq, Ians, Cappadocian, Zba, Finians, Ashki, Nians messenians me Onians Carians, like hens, PAM Flynn's ascidians, lucky nians, Philistines, Amorites, Canaanites, Edomites, Ammonites, Moabites and a hundred other people's, each of which felt itself the Center of geography and history and
marveled at the ignorant prejudice of a historian who would reduce them to a paragraph end quote now. I got a bunch of history to talk about how difficult the task is to meld all these individualistic different peoples into a single political entity, Chester STAR, writing in the middle nineteen sixties. Put it this way as he tries to sort of counter balance this ruthless image the Assyrians have with the G they are trying to do when he writes quote this ruthless spirit, perhaps proves not so much that the Assyrians were inhuman monsters, as it shows the sternness required break and harness the near E. The uh, in period was in reality, one of the greatest turning points in the civilized history of the area and in this fact must be sought the justification for booty in the tribute of empire if empire needs justification ugly such kings, Tiglath police are the third took, decisive steps to uniting the fertile crescent. The next
empire, the Persian reaped the benefit and so could afford to exercise its way in a more lenient style. End quote: this is actually key to one of the things we've been talking about. The fact that, even though the portrayed in of the Persians as sort of Darth Vader and the empire history outside the new them as a comparatively tolerant empire. Compare every lenient who were they compared to the Assyrians, but I have taken with the Assyrians did to make an Imp or that was docile enough for the Persians to treat them, though, and have it all work out. I should also point out that there are quite a few historians that would suggest
that the Assyrians have another legacy, that we should potentially credit them with a much more noble sounding one by the way, despite the horrific marketing and the frightful branding of the Assyrians, perhaps you might look at them during this time period, depending on your viewpoint, in more of a captain, America style, roll fending off the hordes of bar risen from swamping the civilized world with their you know, murder and robbery, because in the last years of the seven hundreds BCE, the woman Manda breakthrough And when they do, it will take the great military of that age. To be able to resist and go up against It is a revolutionary military challenge. The first peoples in history, probably who had to try to figure out how you defeat an army
where everyone in the army is mounted on horseback now, are modern era is so different than how the dynamics of warfare worked for most of human history, that some and sometimes have to reintroduce the more obvious things to sort of click, a light bulb on in your head to remind you, oh yeah, we're talking about something. This basic, for example- and I love these Miller very revolution periods. Can you imagine what it must have been like when the first chariots attacked the first, in a settled civilizations out there in the first time, an army that was composed entirely of people walking had to deal with something moving at the speed of a horse and by the way, the way that they usually function was that the person inside the cherry it had a very powerful, borrow and shot error.
Is it people and never really tried to you know, contact them at all until they were broken and running away, so you couldn't catch him in the move faster than you did, and a change warfare, and sometimes it's funny by the way to read some of the the the records that have been kept, that you have from some of these very early, societies, and you realize how little they know about horses, because people who knew anything about horses. Are these really high paid important individuals and they have this hidden knowledge about, and here's how you take care of the feet of a horse and here's what you do if they get blue I mean things that today brazilians of people know back then this was like privileged information. How do you care for these things right and the horse in the settled societies? The Egypt, the Babylon at first, you can see that they that they don't know how to deal with the animal mean there wonderful little figurines and what not showing in the Egyptian. Maybe it's like an egyptian scout during maybe the first two hundred years or something that the gym
to really trying to use horses any sitting way back over the tail of the horse, like he hasn't even figured out that that's not the right spot to sit in, but we take it for granted that this is an obvious thing. It might not have been But one thousand BCE Cavalry first appears, and it generally appears in in in a way that once again makes you think that these people are not very comfortable. Writing and remember. There are no saddles, there are no spurs. There are no stirrups mean a lot of knack to know: what you doing here, and remember also that riding horses can be in Jarras and fatal if you're not used to it? and none of these people are growing up doing a whole lot of horse riding and about now one hundred BCE? You can see car showing Assyrian Cavalry, which is probably, if you think about it, you know cutting it for the time period, for the settled civilizations and send the cavalry riders out in pairs
because one guy has to hold the reins for the other guys course, when the other guy decides he's going to shoot or anything in other which they don't even feel comfortable enough to shoot and ride. You know in Depere Lee. You got to have someone there to hold the horse when you do it another, where you can watch the evolution right, it's different when the armies from the Middle EAST. The ancient near EAST first run into the step troops that will make up one of the dominant import tribal areas in world history. For almost ever I mean it's only the last couple hundred years, the eurasian steppe part of which you would refer to a central Asia. Today, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, those kind of places only in the last couple one hundred years those places have not been massively relevant to you know. What's going on, I was book not that long ago, that was going into all of the things that China and Russia of the 1700s ces. Only a couple years ago, all the things that they had
do to deal with the tribes on the step and it's crazy, because you know. When you look at history, you become very accustomed to watching the so called civilized societies. Rolling over tribal peoples. In a certain point in history, once once, the momentum gets going and you have like Caesar in roman armies. Just rolling over celtic society you're already prepared to get to the where the colonial, you the engine show up on these distant shores and run into people with wooden clubs and bows and arrows. When you got guns, I mean it's a foregone conclusion right, but you look at this. And you see the one place in history where, for a number of different reasons, the odds are much more equal between settled in tribal peoples. First of all, it's likely that the odds terms of fighting power in terms of manpower was probably pretty close
Little societies had a lot more people, but a lot of them. Weren't fighters, the tribal societies usually had most of their male people as fighters and some females by the way The weapons technology was probably comparable. The bose used by the step. People are famously some of the best ever made, but there would have been other things that the settled so called settled. Societies had in their favor so probably wash their. But imagine imagine the native Americans with a rough. In fighting men and a rough charity. Weapons technology. What would the native Americans have done to the settlers? Then? Who knows? But at least it's a fair fight- add to that geographic conditions in the distance right. This is a harsh environment, the step, sometimes, if you're not adapted to it. It's a long way from point a to point b, no matter where you're going and you had a part of the world that was protected by step peoples for millennia,
were. They maintained their way of life and were shall we relevant relevant is a good non. Biased in any direction were relevant the societies and world powers around them and we've known them forever right, we've seen wave wave of these people come forward from the Magyar to the church to the Honda to the Mongols. This is the first period in recorded history. With these people break through and and someone's there to record it there's always been a historical school of thought. The chariot invasions from San Malaysia long before this period represent earlier versions of these kinds of invasions, but this is the first one recorded where you get to see, the kinds of step armies you will expect for the next two thousand years mounted on horseback with people who are you know, as we said about the Spartans, that they were sort of a laboratory experiment to see if
culture could create a super soldier. The step societies are are kind of a laboratory experiment to if you put people on horseback from the time when they were toddlers, put a bow in their hand from not much later Have them ride all the time and do everything on horseback and use those bows continually and developed. It's where they never really come into contact with people. They don't want to come in. I mean what do you end up with and the answer is you end up with a weapons Mmhm that was so effective that, even after things were developed. Modern societies were having a tough time, pardon the pun, corralling these people, up until relatively modern times. Now, when Think about how long that is, people trying to contend with the step. People
Think about how much admiration we should have with the first people who had to try with no track record or experience. The Assyrians would develop a kind of a broad policy of dealing with these tribal step, people that resembles what very sophisticated people who dealt with them for a very long time came up with the Chinese and the teens, for example, would use a mix of diplomacy, intermarriage warfare and keeping the tribe Divided and fighting amongst themselves- and you see rain, all this stuff to they. U some of these people as allies. Sometimes they have mercenaries. Who were you know, people from these tribes, the tribes like the canarians in this get the ends in the various ACOG tribes in the massive GD they have always wonderful, tribal durations and one is scarier than the next and if you're one of those settled society people by
Marian's in air quotes, always scared. You mean it was just something scary to settle people about. You know. People like the Celts, for example of this get the ins are no different. The very step peoples are no different. There hey for example, famously will drink from the skull rules of their dead enemies, make cups out of them, and if you want to see how wonderful continuity of step, culture sometimes go. They were doing this in in. Times, and they were doing this of up until relatively in a Mongol type history. The drinking cups golfing was a a perennial favorite, but that's just a cult little thing right I mean the are: are hanging enemies, heads on walls so that they can watch their wife have relations with the assyrian king who killed them. I mean everybody's got their thing right. At the same time, you these people are, are scary, they're, effective they are entirely mounted, which means they have amazing challenges to the militaries of the day. 'cause, remember you move at the speed of your slowest person. If you have
entire army mounted the entire army moves at the speed of a horse. These are huge which is in the Assyrians, manage ward off the worst of the attacks and in the sense you know you could make a case that they protected this entire area of civilization, from marauding miscarry. People who were not going to leave it intact- and you know this because there were several invasions that did break there's a horde of skits Ian's. That will rape and pillage all the way down to Egypt before the Egyptians either buy them off or militarily turn them back, and they they go bouncing around the region like a snooker ball. The fact that in one step armies, every single person was mounted was all revolutionary and huge I mean the, ease of the day if you were lucky had fifteen or twenty percent of their force mounted, sometimes quite a bit less. You still move at the speed of your slowest troops, though
If you don't, if you break the cavalry off, so you can operate independently. You'll have a nice small group of cavalry that gets overwhelmed by an entirely mounted force, so nonetheless, an army with infantry moves at the speed of infantry. These armies that the settled societies in this geopolitical realm and China are trying to deal with move at the speed of a horse strategically on the map. That's a devastating thing to try to counter The fact that the Assyrians could is a testimony to how great the greatest military the world has ever seen was and how well led. Nonetheless, you could see how big the challenge was in seven hundred and five BCE Sargon, the second arguably the greatest king of Syria ever had well, as an elderly man, leave
the syrian army in person up to modern, southeastern Turkey near the border, NEO Hittite area call to ball and probably fighting in conjunction with some of these NEO Hittite cities, eurasian, steppe troops, canarians or skip the ins and Sargon. The second will disappear. The army, the body, will never be recovered. That is a very rare event when the body is not recovered. The assumption is that nobody got out because The last thing you will do is grab the king's body and spirit it away. It's like saving the flag times ten. There will be an egyptian king to famously who was will stay on the battlefield and they they they end up. Getting it later and mummifying a body, that's been in the Middle
I did it on the battlefield for a few weeks, and you can still look at the Mummy today and see a while. They didn't get to him for a while. So I got a second and never be found I've often thought it's not a coincidence. His son's in ocarina never actually led a force in person when he was king. He left that to the generals as very important things in and about the need taken care of, as we all understand, Anyone who could do that too, in the syrian army, at the height of a serious power, is formidable indeed Now, even though SIRI could protect some of this region, they couldn't protect all of it and some of these tribes filter
down into the area where the people were ostensibly talking about. Here are the Medes, the Persians the Elamites does agarose mountains. Iran, the peoples in this region are about to go through a one, two punch that will change them forever. The second of these punches will be delivered by the Assyrians. Surprise. Surprise: there throwing punches everywhere. Why shouldn't this region get hit to the first will be delivered by these step. People, these tribes of and Zanski ins, who will at a certain point, I said, filter it. I thought that was a nice ambiguous way when really know what happened, but the traditional idea is that this Skippy Inns in the Khmer attacked and broke into an assaulted, the Medes in a giant invasion there's even a year associated with at six hundred and fifty three BCE, which, if you think about it's like fifty years after Sargon the second dies. You know up into ball right at about fifty
five sixty years since these horse people first appeared and they're still managing to totally disrupt in a areas of this geopolitical ecosystem going to use that word from now on. We all know what I mean right filled It is a good word, though, because it also allows room for theory where warfare doesn't dominate the reasoning behind. Why all sudden all these central asian tribes moved into this part of IRAN. One of the things that's really changed I first started studying the story is the concept that historians have about who these machines were, what kind of state they had. When I was growing history is all made it sound like the Medes were Babylonians and the Assyrians, by this time, a centralized state with cities and and governance and bureaucracies, and all that his story, today, and you know, I'm not one. I just read the best. They it sound much more like the current state of theories. Is that these, needs are much more tribal than we had previously assumed
and if so might not be, that much different than these Skippy and Zanka Marians coming into their area. This could be much more like a tribal relationship. What we say, the Medes and the Persians were second cousins who fought. Sometimes these step peoples are like third cousins who fight a lot remember. They could allegedly speak to each other without the use of a translator when you're that close to another people, What appears to be a conquest from outside might be much more like dynastic, marriage or someone having change, their alliance status or becoming a vassal of someone else or having to pay tribute. Herodotus might see. All of that stuff is a version of slavery when he calls it slavery. We might be picturing something else entirely. Herodotus says that the. Domination of the Medes last twenty eight years.
The interesting little in a tidbit that might confirm what he says is during that time period the Assyrians in the Babylonians took keep records and who know Ann mentioned the Medes from time to time. So calling everyone who lives in that whole region. The woman Monda. And rhesus origami, among others, suggest that this might mean that the entire area has just been sort of overwhelmed, and you can't tell one tribe from another without a scorecard. Herodotus. If you want to go with this, tells one of his really fun store. Is you know if you're like me about, how the Medes eventually threw off the the yoke that was oppressing them and he tells a story about how they invited the skit leaders to a banquet and then got
small, drunk and then when they were also inebriated, they could hardly stand. They went in and killed them all. I guess you could call that d Habitating, the enemy leadership literally or maybe the tactic drunken mass homicide. Whatever you want to call it, it seems motif another one of these recurring sorts of things you see all throughout history and the writing, and one of those one of those assets so the story that oftentimes professional historians will discount, because after all, we see this, all the time sounds just like blah blah blah and they're almost always right. Here's the weird part, though this is something, you actually see in history, confirm obli the relationship between using alcohol as some sort of a trap. To ensnare other people who then become vulnerable, mean we've seen this in recorded history, like not that long ago, native american tribes had this treatment done to them, sometimes
all times. In other words, what might look This case, like a recurring, motif, might beer occuring historical occurrence. How would you tell the difference in any case, it'll happen again in this. Sorry, which once again makes you say: okay, is this just a recurring motif, or is this a tactic that worked last time so we're trying it again, nonetheless, somehow need regain the freedom of ACT from these people, who are then thrown out leaving behind another wonderful ethnic strain of the asian bloodline that will run through IRAN over the ages and that will be added to with new blood, sometimes tragically from time to time. The guy who is supposedly the king of the Medes during this period of domination by the skit theons, is a mead name C accessories, Herodotus credit credits,
I'm with totally reorganizing the military of the Medes. He says that the accessory becomes the first asian leader too, separate an army into component parts. You know archers and spearmint and cavalry he says before that they all fought together in a chaotic mass, which is not true at all, but some historians think he's Bring some sort of a memory of this important median ruler who reorganize the military made it much more powerful and considering what he was about to do with it. There would be some historical evidence for the Medes, all of a sudden, becoming very formidable indeed right about the same time when the great traditionally great power in that region gets Mortale Woon did by Aceria, and we alluded to this earlier part of a series is laying waste to all these competitors for their superpower status right. There
anybody that even gets to put up a little resistance, the Elamite once again get on the hit list for doing the same thing. They always do Babble on revolt against the Syria Eilam helps babble on as soon as the Assyrians take care of babble on they come for the Elamites, and this happen under the last of the great assyrian rulers, Ashurbanipal Ashurbanipal who's, who's, a very long ruling guy and at the start of his reign, the empire could not be at a higher place by the of his reign. He's. Writing these. Woe is me tails. What did I do to have the gods turn against me? Everything sucks. You know I'll die soon at least kinds of writings Assyria we'll go from the height of its fortunes to nineteen forty,
Berlin fall of the third Reich devastation, never to rise again in a very short period of time, and some have Due to the part of the reason, why is because of what they did to the people around them? They destroyed the other power, who might have acted as barriers against new rising ones with the new rising ones, are skip and can Marian's from the eurasian steppe or there an obscure tribal. Well known as the means who all of a sudden are really getting powerful and well led who otherwise would have been dealing with the Elamite's. But the Elamites gets me best buy ashurbanipal in six hundred and forty six BCE and the devastation is arguably mortal. We already mentioned the scene from the aftermath of this. You final solution when Ashurbanipal is lying on his couch with that woman there, and then this
redhead, you know upon the pillar of the wall. That's in a part of the aftermath of dealing with the elamites. This way about your body, Paul leads the greatest fear Army all the way. It's a long way again to Susa, devastate Elham as his scribe, writing for himself. Recounts quote distance of one month and twenty five days March, I devastated the districts of Islam. I spread salt and thornbush there to injure the soil sons, the king's sisters of the kings, members of Eloms Royal family, young and old prefix governors knights artisans, as many as there were inhabit Male and female big and little horses mules, asses herds more numerous than a swarm of locusts. I carried them off as booty to Assyria
the dust of Susa of Modock, two of helter mash and of the other cities. I carried it off to Aceria in a month of days. I subdued Illam in its whole extent, the voice of Man, the steps of flocks and herds. The happy shouts of mirth I put in an to them in its feels, which I left for the asses, the gazelles and all manner of wild beasts to people end quote: the Assyrians were thorough they even removed the bones of the old, going back to ancient times Ilham, might rulers from their tombs and took them back to was seery with the loot. Restoring a t, Homestead says they put them in take awful spots so that they would get no rest ever again, laying in a foreign land and paying an eternal price for their
midi to Assyria. That may have happened in the deep misty errors of the past, and we said to you earlier that, if the Elamites conquered, United States. They take the statue of liberty back as a prize of war to be displayed. Will you SIRI wouldn't stop at the statue of liberty, they'd steal our constitute They take the Washington monument, they'd snuff, out the flame John Kennedy's grave and take the bones with them. The Assyrians, were so setting the bar for this region. People like the Babylonian to come afterwards will be just as brutal, like they're, trying to imitate whatever the standard of the day is, but the stand, The day is. Even today. For me, making a movie out of it. It's going to be it's going to be a cable one for sure in the story, almost at tells of the parade, is that a good word when I Asher Paul and his army arrived back home in Nineveh, display the loot and
prisoners. An meting out punishment by the way to all and sundry is frightful. First of all the head of that Elamite ruler, that will be sitting up on Usher, Ashurbanipal's wall or what have you was true ported from Susa on foot around the neck of the Elamite General. Imagine how freaky that would have been to live through. Who did the walking Shane Supposedly and in the various generals are brought out and punish and there's a psychological twist to assyrian punishment by the way that is part of kind of what the Persia will sort of do away with here's. What Atms Homestead right. So I'm going to try my best at some of the pronunciations of these Mesopotamia names. They are wonderful. He writes quote. Ashurbanipal was about to leave arbella for Nineveh, and this
severed head of the Elamite ruler, was entrusted to his general done new Nooseneck for transport The musicians led the ghastly procession into Nineveh, the terrible sight raised Hammond, Arahan and meek the ambassadors who would receive their commissions from the dead monarch, one tore his beard. The other three His girdle sword into his bosom opoly. Son of Nabu Charlemagne grandson of the famous Merodach Baladan was extradited from Alam. Mauna Kea, he done New Nabu Sholom. The gum blue chieftains had spoken blasphemy against the assyrian gods and for this crime they Their tongues pulled out by the roots and were skinned alive. Horrible scene is represented on one of the reliefs, although strangely enough, Homestead writes the names never been filled in the blanks left for the purpose. The new new was based on the rack and slaughtered like a lamb, his brother, new one apple Leah were slain and their flesh
Tributed among the surrounding lands, now Bhuna Eden, Bella, Tear son, Naboo Schumer Ish were forced to crush the bow, news of their father and they Of the edomite king found its final resting place over the gate, which led to Asher End, quote Asher, being a primary assyrian city, the forcing the suns to crush the bones of the father, is one of those really cycle Klay horror, things and you'll see this in other occasions, the babylonian king, for example, who supposedly once Jerusalem took the ruler, the king and forced him to watch the slaughtering of his two young sons in front of his eyes and then had his eyes put out so that the last thing he saw was that I mean those are the extra little cruelties that just seem well that just
calculated to subdue somebody's will to resist, but you could easily see how it might have the opposite effect. You could see how a people coming after this time might be able to make all sorts of political hay selling themselves as the alternative that this kind of cruelty- and you can also see why when Assyria Foul fell, there were not a lot of tears cried for what was gone. In fact, you know, even the biblical profits are rejoicing as I was trying to come up with some sort of analogy to try to define the stakes here with. What's about to happen, all the
could think of. In my uncreative mind was the idea of the United States over the next five or so years. Somehow you know with jaw. Dropping astonishing events fell apart or imploded. In a broke into some kind of a civil war ended up getting involved in maybe a foreign war. At the same time I mean you never know how these things are going to turn. Remember how you felt if you were old enough to remember what the nine slash eleven attacks look like on live television while you watch them. There's almost nothing positive. That comes out of something like that, but one of the few things that was, in my mind was. As you watched, it you were reminded that the most a rushing things, not only can happen, but will happen. They're like earth You know, there's going to be big when you just don't know when no there's going to be some massive
call dropping historical event in the future. You just don't know the date ahead of time like a nine hundred and eleven, but when you watch that happening that astonish me just how mankind has failed over and over and over again, as you look back on it there's about to be an astonishing moment in this story, it's not really a moment. Five to fifteen years, he just appears astonishing now, but it's akin to the United States imploding, really, I think it's more than the Soviet Union falling, but a little less than the modern United States going away. Nonetheless, if the United States did go away in the next five years, What is the international situation? Look like then me. What world instantly springs up to replace such an important cog and how does that go? This is actually the world that is going to exist as soon as this story. That must be. You know one of the great event in all human history, but No because we don't have a garage
just there to give it even with a bunch of lies and exaggerations and untruths that may have filtered in over the hundreds of years Don't have his version or anyone like him to explain it to us. We like the color I ran, it is by the way promised he was going to tell the story, in one part of his histories and then never did or didn't come down to us or something. Have a few terse babylonian sources, and that's it in fact, the stuff you thought you could count on, like does wonderful, assyrian in a pronouncements by the king of kings, I went in there the Thorn bushes. I killed everybody that ends in six hundred and thirty nine BCE ominously and mysteriously, all of a sudden what the heck's going on. I love Different ways that historians try to describe this to one historian says it was unclear what was happening. Author Mark Healy explained the importance all this period. Silence because he says quote
and it is in the silence of those years that is written. The fate of the assyrian empire end quote so the stuff is happening. We just don't know much of what it is open to interpretation is how another historian put it, but here's what basically goes on Ashurbanipal's rain at the end, you start to see thing Framing you begin to see places that were under a serious control. On the on the margins break free, historians think that it's rather telling that all of a sudden, you can have these Kathy in tribes riding roughshod now in areas with the Assyrians used to keep them out. It must mean that they can't, while one is really paying a lot of attention. The medes are beginning to fuse sort of, and it's unclear how they did this with the Elamites civilization, Could have been peaceful could have been war like could have been diplomatic marriage, but it's making both civilizations stronger and Ashurbanipal die
is, and his sons go to war with each other now this is not uncommon. In the syrian royal succession, this is coming. Particularly bad time, because all of a sudden, the Babylonians are resurgent again I've got a new dynasty, they've got that is modeled. It's it's it's a not as effective copy of the Assyrians B Series copy the babylonian civilization, not quite as well as the babylonian original and the Babylon copy. The assyrian military, though it's not quite up to the originals standards either, but when you've been fighting, one half of your army against the other, which is what the Assyrians were doing a civil war. That's why there's a ruinous? You know you have slide power starting to loom over you. And what do you do with your army? You divide it in half and fight against each other worst possible thing that could happen And then the Babylonians, starting in about six hundred and sixteen sending out an army.
Taking some of these border cities between Assyria and Babylon, and then the war heats up a little bit. Fighting back and forth in the assyrian army seems to be a shadow of its former self, but you could see how strong it still is because they holding their own against these Babylonians, pushing them back, sometimes chasing him back sometimes. But it's all they can handle, and then, in like six hundred and fifteen BCE, the Medes jump in from the east and the north, they start taking cities in the east. The next He the come forward under their King C Series, is on one of the capitals Nineveh they because none of his this massively fortified, probably the most fortified city west of China in this whole human history. Up to this point I mean just
an incredible feat, a human marvel, and it pushes these needs sideways. They just can't deal with it right now, but unfortunately, for the Syrians. If you can't go out there and defeat that may be an army, they can do whatever they want, so they go sack in nearby city. That's not as well defended. It just happens to be Asher. One of the great you know once upon a time a searing capitals, vital connected to their religion and their God and and morale and everything else. It's a big deal at the minute the Babylonians run up to be a part of it. This is a famous event: they they don't. Want to allow the needs to take this important city by themselves- be left out of the spoils, the reputation, everything but they arrived. With their army. The means already sacked the place may be: rushing the attempt so that they beat the Babylonians there
treated the way the Assyrians would have treated it an it's a horrific event. The babylonian king and the media and King pledge their friendship to each other as Osher burns in the background and the killing continues in the slaves are being dragged off and all of a sudden a week into Syria has babble on, and the Medes working together and advancing on Nineveh in six hundred and twelve Bc E. If this wasn't bad enough At the last minute, allegedly, not everybody says this, but the standard belief is at the last minute a horde of skip the ins. Rides in the wild northern horsemen and joins
the Medes and the Babylonians in this last assault upon this greatest of in west asian military fortresses and together they take it down, had to fight three battles on the plains supposedly before they, even chance to get near the walls with this last old aging damage lion of Assyria swatting them away fighting well as long as they could the babylonian king in the terse style. You know that those people wrote in describe what he did to what he calls the land of our which is their word for Assyria and by the way notice. How he's couching this in terms of liberation from the you know, assyrian Yoke, the record say, quote: I slaughtered the land of Su Barem. I turned the hostile land. He keeps in ruins,
Syrian who, since distant days, had ruled over all the peoples and with his heavy yoke, brought injury, the people of the land his feet from a card. I turned back his yokai through off end quote, and you have a basic problem when, when discussing sense of the past like this, if we're discussing something from recent history, say the end of the third Reich at the Second World WAR, all that emotion is still felt right. You get a real feel for the kind things. Historians don't want to touch once you get back a certain distance someday, though not going to look at the Nazis as the kind of evil that we do they're going to somehow say well, they were on the far end of the spectrum of what people did then, which is kind of A lot of modern ones would say about Assyria they're, not doing anything.
Anybody else isn't doing they just maybe at the far end of the spectrum of conduct, it's all kind of relative right, but you could certainly see the anger and vengeance in the people that goes beyond mere. You know the taking of loot and slay using the things that have motivated soldiers, sometimes in the heat of battle. At all times. This involved some payback. Story Mark Vandy Meru explains that you can still see that vengeance today I mean there's an eternal bit of pay back. That was done. He writes quote the conqueror set out to destroy the cities of Assyria, taking revenge for the humiliations they had suffered a serious hands on call reliefs of kings, Sennacherib and ashurbanipal in Nineveh. For example, they identified the rep Temptations of the kings, with the help of the inscriptions accompanying them
ritually destroyed them by cutting out the ears and eyes These were not random. Acts of mutilation in the detailed depiction of Bonnie Paul's defeated the Elamites. For example, only the if a soldier cutting off the head of the king of Elon was similarly destroyed, probably by the mean, who saw the elamites as their ancestors. Likewise, the record loyalty oaths the king is our had Don, had forced MIDI and guards to swear and which had been stored at Cal, who were smashed the palaces. Work down only after the lengthy task of defacing images and destroying symbols of submission to Aceria had been completed. End quote: if you go to the British Museum today and look at the assyrian reliefs you can see. You know the defacing done by some angle. The vengeful and probably rightfully so soldier as they took down to Syria piece by piece but stunningly quickly by historical standards,.
And while there may be no Herodotus to give color to this story, this is one of the most. I guess for military history fans, one of the most colorful sections of the old testament of the Bible, the d with the fall of Assyria and I'm sure, assyrian descendants and people who are big. Assyrian fans think this is very unfair sort of propaganda. Again, it's just their bad luck to get bad pr, sometimes in the Bible in the bib. Prophet Nahum was prophesizing, supposedly that you're going to get it and then one they did get it. He was sort of saying see. This is what you get now what's coming into. Think about name, unlike some of these other prophets, there's a decent chance. He was a contemporary. A lot of this stuff was put together in the hell, stick period later, you know from early stories are all kinds of things dealing with that era, but some of this was back and it's tough to know when historians argue, but it's possible that this profit
am guy was maybe even a predecessor to some of these events. So who knows you know? I won't get into something like that. I just found it interesting because when he recounts what Happ First of all, he gives you the color and tells you a little bit about the story in a in a religious sort of framework still doesn't sound like Herodotus there's a religious tone to it, but at the same time it's very colorful describes. For example, you know what the battle is like after prophesies in that you're going to get it for a long time. He says, he that shatters in pieces has come up against the guy. With the Wall Guard, the way die loans, make thy strength the utmost The shield of his heroes is read. His warriors are cladding scarlet. They prepare the chair it's today, the chair horses are eager. The chariots age in the field they run to and fro in the plaza is. Their appearance is like that of torches. They dart about like lightnings he reads out the list of his nobles in there
and if they stumble they hastened to reach the walls battering ram is made ready. End quote Ten a m describes, unleashing of the rivers. I guess the dams were broken or re route it or they re route, the course of the rivers or what have you to help undermine the walls? That's not that unusual, a tactic but with a big city like this, not a small engineering feat and the prophet name quote: the river sluices are opened the The walls are crumbling. The queen is stripped of her clothes, they are leading her away captive her hand Edens moan like doves Appan, their breasts they're beating Nineveh was a tank of water from They are now a scaping stand, Understand they cry, not one of them looks backward, and then he basically tells everybody to take back the stuff that is, Syria took from them and that their housing in this immensely wealthy city he says quote, take you
spoil of silver take either spoil of gold. There is no end to the store and abundance of all goodly objects. She is empty and void, and waste hearts melt me shake pain in all loins and pale have waxed all the faces. End quote, then he does a little Trash talk gloating is where the great lions now and all the people who took all this stuff, and then like again so many of the people during this era. This was seen to involve You know a little proof that their God was superior, or in the case of some of these people by this point in history, the only God the name says, quote
old, I am against the says, yeah away of hosts that I later I will burn with smoke. They're young the sword shall devour. I will cut off the I pray from the earth. No more be heard, die messengers, voices and he continues to rub it in basically blame this on karma. If you will whoa bloody city full. Of lies and robbery, the crack of the whip and the founder of the rumbling wheel. Prancing horse in the bounding chariot, the horsemen mounting in the flash of stored, the gleam of spear and a mass of slain a heap of corpses. There are no end to the dead bodies so many infidelities of the well favored harlot, the sisters of incantations who sold states for her wicked deeds. Clans through her incantations, be home Say if ya way of host, I am against the I will strip the of clothing and show my shame to the nation's Phil. I will
On the and disgrace the I will set yep as a warning all, to see the shelf le shall cry Desolate Nineveh. Who shall be whale. Her end quote. Well, listen. They may not have a ton of dramatic stuff from the near e during this time period. But that's awesome. I mean all history aside. That's awesome stuff, and it does give you a feel. Emotion of the time period, we may think you know that it's been drained, but that somebody who is clearly thinking that is is reaping what she sowed again. I pity the poor he read people who have to live with one horrible pr making it down through the air as the widely read book in history and near people get some negative pr in it doll the syrian king is rumored, it's a good way. To put it there's, not enough information to know on this is rumored to have as
the enemy was closing in pile all of his worldly possessions that were in his palace around him in the gold in the silver and have family members killed in Unix concubines thrown on you, the the pile stuff with him and then have it all set alight with him sitting in the middle of it. There's a scene like that in the Lord of the rings to apparently in this time period it happened a few times, probably it was a motif. They certainly referred back to for a short time and a syrian successor state. Maybe you could call it. Maybe you could call it. The last gasp of resistance tried to make a stand by six hundred and five that was destroyed to any the Assyrians will turn into a people that never disappeared, but who's is just in was so massive and so sustained and so total that they seem like they did. You will hear Assyrians trying to tell the world still today we're still here and try to fight that
idea that every last one of them was killed in the in in their version of the Holocaust. You know at the end of that era. Well, it's not true, but you could certainly say that within a very short period of time, those massive you know top of their era. Cities and fortresses were almost unrecognizable in a famous passage, the Greek Jan Rosanna Fawn with his ten thousand Greeks fleeing a persian civil war will get chase. All the way through. What's now more than a rock. He will come upon these great mastiff cities by their standards of the day, simply no rotting in the dust disease it? But the walls are so high and the workmanship you know on this cheats and everything so modern that he doesn't understand where it came from the local
don't know anything about a serious. They think the Medes built it, in other words within two hundred years, The cities are lying in ruins there, still larger than almost anything new being built at that time, and nobody even remembers that they were syrian the account by Xeno of these ghost cities. By the way, I've spoken then before it's the ultimate statue of liberty in the sand sort of historical moment, you know what I mean when I say that right, the end of the planet of the apes with Charlton Heston, believes he's been on a distant land the whole time in the very last scene, in the movie, he looks in the distance. You know with the surf crashing against it. He sees the statue of liberty, three slash four buried in the sand. If you could take an assyrian individual from three four five a hundred years before Xenofon lived and bring him
forward or her forward in the time machine so that she could hang. Out there by the ruins of Nineveh with Xenofon and what would run through her head. What would run through your head? If you could go forward in a time machine and see our ghost cities someday. And I marvel the size. I two hundred years later, Xenoph says he can't really lie. There's a lot of people who know what's in it talking about here and have seen it and could call him a liar, and he says the base of the photo asian, he's camping by his fifty feet. Broad and fifty feet high and then has a brick wall fifty feet broad and another hundred feet high on top of that and the circumference The fortifications is eighteen miles. He says there are some people sort of been a little like oh jeez and small villages and
semi nomadic groups of people camping by, but that city used to have hundreds of thousands, maybe a million people living there. That's a ghost city from a dead era, By the times and the funds there only a couple hundred years later and going to Syria falls. It's like that. Mom we spoke about earlier. What would happen if the United States disappeared in five or fifteen years? What's the world then look like without that? You know enter spoke of the wagon wheel anymore, it's hard even to think for people born in the last twenty thirty. Years may be of any other. Sort of reality. Maybe that's the case for the people who lived through it. Maybe they were blinking and just waking up. To new day. It really does have sort of an end of the Second World WAR sort of feel like everything's, been devastated in a whole bunch of people who had allied together for this common interest of taking down the assyrian empire, we're now
staring over the rubble wondering who gets what and all sudden like in nineteen, forty six in know, you're especially allies- were turning into potential adversaries very quickly. There were four, you know if we look at this as a Encapsulated little micro world here, GEO politically speaking, which is how I look at the stories. Sorry for all, you folks would like a little bit more culture or religion, none the less in this geopolitical set up. We We have four great powers. Now you go from one you hegemonic power Aceria to babble on picking up a lot of the syrian territory in this whole deal by the way, your to have the means obviously doing the same thing, moving into during the north Assyria owned. You have Egypt all is a great power if they can be, but not that long ago, you know under syrian domination, like everyone else, they start moving towards the
modern day area around Israel and in there and they are a player and finally, one slash four power called Lydia Lydia is the power. That's now in modern day, Turkey. For the most part, like everyone else, they benefited from the Assyrians, going away. They were able to move and expand into other areas. They are generally credited with the ones inventing metal money, at least in the western world- and you will begin to see at least in the long term view of things all sorts of conflicts breaking out now as all these new powers sort of vie with each other, the Egyptians in the Babylonians, for example, will go at it in several times trying to figure out, you know, is anybody going to conquer anybody? Where is the border going to be, and all that kind of stuff At a lot of the littler states, just get totally screwed in this deal, it's a little
like the cold war, were some states in the middle decide. Do I side with the Soviets or do I side with the western and then, if you screw up all kinds of bad things, can happen? That's exactly what happened to poor Judah that was sacked by the babylonian king during this era. Continually weighing sort of between the two powers that were vying for them Babylon on one side in Egypt, on the other and finally exasperating the babylonian king to the breaking point. There are Jews in Iraq today whose ancestors were a part of the Babel. In king. You know taking the out of the city of Judah that he was just destroying that's by the way, Solomon Temple was destroyed by the Babylonian again earning them back, p in one of the most portent are books of all time the meads will.
Scare, the Babylonians to the point where the Babylonians will build something called them the Madeon wall. To hopefully them down and sent. All that to about a hundred and fifty years later it was a wall that supposedly, Ran across the narrow as part of the division between the Tigris and your Freydis River, so you'd have the river on two sides and then this wall in the middle and phone says the two hundred years later, it was quote made a burnt brick lady in Bitterman, it was twenty feet thick one hundred feet high and said to be sixty miles long. It is quite close to Babylon and quote. Again, if he's lying about that, there's a lot of people who would know that he was, he have a reputation for that. That would follow him unto our own time now the me This will famously go to war with the lydians
and this is when some of Herodotus is really a- has a little bit of the horror story and Alfred Hitchcock E side to him, sometimes or maybe just the people. He talks to happen too 'cause during this, period, which are really only last like forty forty five years between the what the Syrians, in the rise of the Persians there's going to be incidents that are eerily similar, and you start to wonder whether the guy telling you about them or the people This thing in this era have a certain weakness for that sort of incident in case Herodotus, says this is how the war with the Medes and the lydians started. There were some skiff Ian's who were hunters for the Madeon king, that guy Seac accessories right. And normally they bring back food, but one time they show up. Herodotus says empty, handed in front of Ceeac Cerise
who supposedly Herodotus says. Has this awful temper freaks out and starts abusing including some physical abuse? One must imagine him kicking. Maybe these Skitty and archers now. The Indians were never known to have particularly- non excitable temperaments? Should we put That is that fair it says that you went in in their anger, killed one of the boys, probably from the royal court, that indian king had sent to learn archery from the same skip the while they're great, Choose, let's send some of the royal boys out there and they can learn how to shoot bows like an ancient eurasian, steppe archer. Play killed. One of these boys are out at says and cut him up like the game that they normally give to the midi and king showed, gave him the food watched him eat. It ha ha ha it's like putting urine in someone's beer before you give it to them. The finds out. You know After them, they run to Lydia.
And then the median king says I want those skip. The ins cut up that boy and made me eat him and her this says that the king of Lydia said now can't have 'em boom war. Now we'll run into Herodotus telling a similar story with an even greater psychological very soon after this. Nonetheless, this or with the median, the lydians are going for, like five years Herodotus says when will end with You know we have a fact here we can play with something. That's really we don't have to say he says she says this historian claims we've heard from her on. It is. There is a solar eclipse that happens, May. Twenty. Eight five, eighty five BCE time that solar eclipse happened which, by
uh Herodotus says a Greek predicted claiming it was the first time that had ever been done. I'm sure the Babylonians probably hold off a few of those correctly. Who knows modern astronomers, of course, have no problem going back and with precision calculating the date of that past astronomical event, which is why we have a rare confirmable fact. At this point in the story, but when the eclipse happened, the Medes and the lydians happen to be fighting a battle Roger as it was warming up as the battle was getting hot. There goes the sun. Now If you are an ancient person with the religious beliefs. You must imagine many of these ancient people had there are few atheists in the end world Sometimes it can be very superstitious indeed, as you might imagine now, you're involved in a battle man, killing man, you know
the sides have almost certainly had sacrifices. And the omens examined and they're. Looking at the liver and saying, is this a good day to attack and all these kinds of things and then in the middle of the battle the sun goes out. What are you going to think. As you might imagine, the He in the Lydian stop fighting in the each of the fighting. They stop fighting we're talking about 10s of thousands of people on each side, and then everybody just stops. That's the it's portrayed anyway, but think about it. This way, if in the It is really going to stop a battle it's going to and fast, because the eclipse doesn't last that long, the piece was brokered. We're told by another of the great powers Babylon. And also the Klay Qian's involved. Maybe you would call them a midsize power in that region, regional power in that part of the world and the deal sealed we are told
traditional way, although the Greeks did a little differently, we're not told how boy rulers slit their skin and suck blood from each other also gave daughters and whatnot in marriage? That's the part. I left out two of the deal when Babylonians and the Medes in a sign that agreement- probably same way a little vampiric Sucking to go along with it outside of Asher as they destroy that assyrian city, they also married off daughters, each other, and I mean it was one of these things were all of a sudden. The families are related as though that's I'm going to stop anything given the history. Nonetheless, they did. The exact same deal here got a few days. We can spread around got some blood. We can suck and and forever friends that battle as was the battle of the Haley's River or the battle of the eclipse. Sometimes now one thing that it's worth pointing out from this period,
it's going to matter in the northwest and very west parts of modern Day Turkey, Anatolia as it was called earlier, or are settlements and villages and cities of Greeks. The Cold Ionian, Greeks, but Greeks of one kind or another, being you know such a seafaring people around that region head in a colonize that whole area, a very long time ago, and they had relationships with the Greeks. You know on the mainland. Would places like Athens are. For example, you got to imagine trade routes back and forth people going back and forth. In fact, the part of the greek world that was located in modern day. Turkey, at this time, was the more sophisticated than more cultured the more learn learned the Greeks in Athens and Sparta might say the more effeminate
corrupted the more lazy to more opulent in a connected to all the eastern opulence, as they were see how that motif works. None the less those Greeks in Anatolia will become a big part of you know the problem, because they are the part that links Asia back to the greek mainland and the greek mainland has an interesting how there shall we call them cousins Second cozens, how they're doing at the time the battle of the eclipse figures, what's going on between the Lydians and the Medes, those Greeks are, for the most part subject to the lydian king. That's going to change! That's going to change for everybody. What's about to happen in this region that will affect the Greeks and everyone else is every bit as shocking and unexpected as the fall of Assyria was
and it's interesting that they will happen within a reasonably historically speaking, short period of time from each other. You have to imagine that analogy. We had in the United States disappearing in five to fifteen years what the world look like after that. Well I told you that within you know, other twenty or thirty years after that, one country that you'd, never you know some out of the way place, taken over the entire planet? That's how this in works. We start trying to realize that somehow this people call the Persians will first get their control over the Medes, that even happens, I mean recess origami. The author has a great line. He points out that you know between the all of the last great assyrian monarch and the rise of Cyrus, the great there's no mention of these persian people in any text in any politically significant way. They are. Virtual nobody's
in a generation they're running the show for everyone in this part of the world. How did that happen. Judging from the overwhelming number historians from ancient times all the way to the you know. The latest and contrary and writings, The lion's share of the answer seems to have something to do with this incredible leader Cyrus. The second also called, as we said earlier, Cyrus the great. There are lots of stories by the way, and some of them are fantastic. One of her run at best is one of the ones know he tells about the as of Cyrus, but you have to remember something this person Cyrus. The great is two persian and iranian history sort of what George Washington is to american history. What King Arthur is to british legend. I mean this is a legendary figure and Is there so little that talks about him during his right
to power historians are in a really thrust into the detective role, trying to figure out what it is is going on. I, like the way historian peer brand kind of tries to Lane what sort of assumptions you should maybe build into this and I'm not a historian, so he was writing as a historian, trying to explain to a lay person like yours. Truly, let's hope the layperson understood, but he kind of said. Listen. If something appears happened out of nowhere, but it's uh likely that it could. You should assume There was stuff bubbling up under the surface. You know a foundation taking place, but that's from our eyes through the historical veil right. So when a first grade all of a sudden takes over the median empire. It looks like a lightning bolt strikes. It's probably to assume thing. Been leading up to this somehow for a while. For a long time, one of the things historians like to suggest was percolating in a beneath the sea that you couldn't see was something like rot. I guess you could say
Moral rot. This is something that is, you know, part earlier histories and because it's impossible to quantify, I mean we can even ask these questions today. Is there any truth to the idea and we have by the way, that older generations in tougher times are tougher than we are today. If there is any truth to that, could that have been true in the How would a historian even measure that so they don't anymore putting in nineteen thirty five- and I love him, but it was written in nineteen thirty five historian will Durant tries to tie? You know the downfall of the? each to their moral degeneration and the fact that they were sort of reach. He writes quote their degeneration, was even more rapid than their rise Asti geez, who succeeded his father. She acts are proved again That monarchy is a gamble in is royal succession, great wits Madness or nearly a lied. He in her
the kingdom with equanimity and settle down to enjoy it under his eye Apple, the nation forgot, got turn morals and stoic ways well FED to suddenly to be wisely used. The upper class- it became the slaves of fashion and luxury. The men wore embroidered trousers. The women cover themselves with cosmetics and jewelry. The very this is we're often comparison in gold. These one simple and pastoral people who would been glad be carried in rude wagons, with wheels cut roughly out of the trunks of trees. Now road, inexpensive, chariots from feast to feast end quote the truth. Is that what Durant writes there in nineteen thirty five isn't a whole lot different from what the ancient Greeks saw, the ancient Greeks or saw themselves as Marlboro men compared to these people from the east that were at best, sort of metrosexuals. The Greeks like to point out the use of makeup as part of their idea that these each
winners were effeminate writing hundreds of years later, by the way, Xenofon talks about ostia is the last king of the Medes and his guyliner. I guess you would call it today. His stencil dies the rouge on his face and Xenophon the have no way of knowing says a wig of fake hair. Now here's the thing, though, in the east These kinds of things were cultural norms, it wasn't a sign of effeminacy the FE rose and the Egyptians have been using the dark Cole around the eyes forever, just a different cultural thing, but the Greeks God is just another sign of these or until effeminate opulent week, clever sneaky, you know, fill in the blank easterners. I will leave it to the credible his story. Is to decide someday whether there's any truth to this motif about the Medes sort of slouching
towards Gomorrah or what have you most of the modern stuff. I read today look at that as a as a terribly old fat in way to view the situation. But, as I said, how do you quantify something like that anyway? But if you fall That narrative, the way a guy like Herodotus is taking it or a guy, like will Durant writing in one thousand nine hundred and thirty five is taking it. There's an almost opportunity created by the decadence of the Medes and the cruelty of their ruler. Right and that can be deleted by somebody who has the opposite values from the people that are busy slouching towards Gomorrah, in other words, people that were less corrupted by luxury. Who not as decadent, who were more, shall we say possessors the old time virtues if you will- and this gets just to a secondary value that a guy like Herodotus has for us. Remember, like I said he's like the color error, the first real screenwriter, as and and and you learn two things from a guy writing the he writes in the way a lot of people after him right one you learn about these events he's trying to relate to you.
Which may or may not be true and are probably a combination of the two right we learn about. With the rise of Cyrus, at least the story that this guy heard but same time, you having like a Vulcan mind meld with a two thousand five hundred euro basically alien. Mind One way conversation with a two thousand five hundred year old guy And when you read Herodotus I this you know I I I really wish I could speak the ancient Greek and read it and understand the little nuances. So I could really hear this guy in his own words, as he meant every specific word, but you're getting. And to see you know what this guy from a complete different time period likes and dislikes his war If what do you is good and what he thinks is bad, you know
view sort of on the supernatural and the gods, his biases and his prejudices you're learning about he and his world. When read his stuff part of what you have to filter it so carefully just like all of us. His world pollutes his worldview so that you know we don't get as non biased view now as we might want, but what artist does in this story is kind of say that, because uh dodge was the way he was Cyrus arises on the scene. Modern day historians can't decide or are you over whether or not there was some war fought between the Medes and the Persians. Remember these are for the most part, semite. Tribal peoples- probably at this time they used to think they were more like dates now, no one sure, maybe a combination of some cities with some pastoral.
People that were lied to it. It's an interesting sort of hybrid and there might have been a lot of these kinds of societies around back then when they are transitioning from you know and uh Tribal world to something more along the lines of a centralized bureaucratic state when you're in sort of a tweener zone- if you will so either a war between these needs in these Persians or the tribes that they controlled or sort of like, as one historian describes it the median empire getting a change in management with. Maybe some, a nobles helping to rebel, against this osteology is person in modern historians. Have some interesting understand? common sense reasons why they might want to. Theory is that this ostia geez Guy is trying to convert the Medes into more of a typical. Centralized mesopotamian government where the king is more autocratic has a lot more authority. It sounds like maybe he has to share a lot of authority with these different tribal ruler
and, as you might imagine, it's almost like a law of nature there on Lead to like that. This may have Add some modern historians think just sort of an uprising, an internal coup. If you will and this Cyrus the sex guy might be the person who gets to lead this now. As the greatest early screenwriter IRAN, just has his own view of sort of what turns the tables on this now it's these stories that again, maybe tell us more about Herodotus, and audience he's trying to please, but he must have her this story somewhere. This is a typical tale by the way of oriental cruelty setting up something that actually seems to been in the story and trying to give you a reason why it happened. Without having any real way of knowing other than these people he's talking to. He tells one of the most horrific stories in his writings, but he tells it like Alfred Hitchcock,
or Wes Craven, or someone like that. We'll We do it earlier when we said in an earlier story. You know those, it means you know, kill the boy and served it to the media king and he didn't like that. Well in this story, it's same thing, but with an extra twist. I have several different versions of Herodotus uhm. But let me set this. What happened in the story. Is it is. This. Osteology is guide the son of sexy accessories and no, where near his father in terms of greatness and and kind of a jerk, and that's the way, he's portrayed and he has a dream and the these you. Gotta love ancient history, 'cause they're, always so wild Herodotus related by the way the dream It has something to do with his daughter, urinating over the whole world or something, as I said, gotta love. The ancient history and he asked the magi to interpret it
not very good. This daughter is going to give birth to something or she's the seed of something that's maybe going to overthrow you and so to play it safe it just says he marries are off to some Persian you, maybe a great persian guy, but this is the median empire and no son of a Persian is going to be ruling the Midian Empire, so that's been taken care of, but then about a year later Herodotus says he is another dream about his daughter who's about to give birth to her first I'll in this dream he sees. I think it's it's like lines coming out of her womb and then encompassing the whole earth or something again I came to that and the I come in and interpret that and, as you might imagine, it's not good and it scared DG who thinks that she, his daughter, is going to give birth to a person who takes his throne, so The story that you see in a tales. In other words, it's a pretty common, motif with different twists. Dogs calls in a general a guy named Harper, guess, see
just to be a historical figure and tell our biggest to get rid of the baby. Now Harper get to run it as doesn't want to get rid of the baby. Just let me stop for a second in this story. Herodotus is lovingly telling the story. He knows what the colorful pieces are. He says Harpagus it doesn't want to get rid of the baby, didn't want to kill a baby, so he gives the job do a shepherd and gives the ship? baby, it's just get rid of the baby exposed You know out into the open and let it die, and this doesn't want to get rid of the baby and it just so happens. His wife is pregnant and she gives birth adjust this time to a stillborn child, doesn't sound like a bunch of old Grimm's fairy tales at this point. So, as you might imagine, they take the stillborn child wrapped in the royal clothes, keep the I have one they were supposed to kill and give the stillborn child back to Harpagus. To give to his boss to king and say see it was done, fast forward like
thirteen years later or something like that and a boy is brought before this is. The hero to story Asti because he's been whipping boys higher on the social standing scale. Then he, after a bunch of questioning it, is determined and again this is the one Fullness of the ancient mind meld you're having with her on it, is that basically Aust how you can tell that this boy is a king, it's like dna. You can tell the difference between blue bloods and non blue bloods by the way they just handle situations and it's in bread. Besides that nasty IGS notices that kid looks like him and after all, he is his grand father. He calls in I guess he calls in the shepherd. He does a little investigation figures, the whole story out and pretends he's not mad tells Harpagus he's often felt I'm paraphrasing here from her husband It tells hard because he's often felt bad about the whole thing afterwards. So he's he's secretly relieved that the whole thing went the way it did
When you go home, tell your wife, you're going have a banquet to celebrate all this and you can come over and we and will will highlight you at I could send your son over your thirteen year old Son, so he can keep the new boy. You know my grandson company and you know we'll have a party tonight and Herodotus says that hard This goes back home and he's relieved 'cause. He knows he could have gotten in big trouble and the wife is happy and they go to this banquet, and this is where Alfred Hitchcock product of Halicarnassus takes the story over and again I keep telling myself, I don't think Herodotus is making this stuff up. Somebody told him this story. This is what somebody somewhere believed now listen to this. So you imagine a story like this from the Assyrians or the Babylonians or the ancient mesopotamians. They just didn't write this way. Herodotus Herodotus's story. Has the thirteen year old son of heart go.
The palace as requested, and then picks up the story and says this is from my de selling translation by the way quote when Harpagus his son arrived at the palace, Ostia he's had him butchered, cut up into joints and cooked posting some boiling the rest and having the whole properly prepared for the table dinner. Came in the guests assembled with among them dishes of mutton. Placed in front of osteology Drg's and everyone else except Harpagus to Harper Guess was the flesh of his son, all of it, except for the head, the hands and feet which had been put separately on a platter covered with a lid. When Harper thought he eaten as much as he wanted STI Gs. I asked him enjoyed his dinner. He. That he had enjoyed it very much indeed, whereupon those this business. It was to do so brought in the his head hands and feet in the cover dish stood by Harper, this is chair and told him to
the lid and take what he fancied Harpagus biggest, remove the cover and saw the fragments of his sons body as he kept control of himself did not lose his head at the dreadful site Osteologia. I asked him if he knew what animal it was whose flesh he just eaten. I know My lord was his reply and from art made. The kings will be done, had no other word but took up what remained of the flesh and went home intending I supposed to bury all of it together, and that was how Harper yes was punished. End quote, If that had been in the syrian record, it would have said something like his son. Divided the pieces I fed to him. I mean it would be a straightforward sort of thing you would.
If anybody is setting up the suspense of having him eat and not know what it is and then having the platter brought in having the king asked the question: do you know what you ate? Did you like it and then the platters lifted up? I mean those moments where you set up the tension in the drama. It's a movie. You could do that movie and change nothing. It's living color. What's more Herodotus is clearly setting up these moments for his audience to do the equivalent of what we would do in a movie theater when some great scene on the. It happens that we're all really glad to see a new class or something he's got these. Because when you make osteology is out to be such a jerk when he gets it's coming to him in the story: it's a crowd, pleaser and then this story. Of course he does, and while it's tempting to think that the into everything is just a great tale. Somebody's great tail, maybe not Herodotus, is initially there are definite facts mixed in
You can see her rotis trying to explain the reasons behind the fax today. Maybe a screen reader would call it dramatic license because babylonian records indicate that there was a general who corresponds to this Harpagus guy and that that general was involved in a battlefield betrayal. Maybe you could say in a key I lost ya. Geez had a large part of his army, desert him on the battlefield and go to the other side. It very well may have been this Harpagus person who led them to do that and her Auditus wants you to think. Let's see he was a jerk, and now this is what he gets and who would think that you could trust a man who son you had served to him for dinner with the in their army in the first place, but none the less the
went when Harper Guess and the Medes crossover to Cyrus side of the battlefield must have been a crowd, pleasing and satisfying moment for the audience right. The jerk got what he deserved. In the babylonian records. It's much more stark, as you might imagine, one of the texts from Babylon, as quoted by Pierre Briand, reads: ask. Trg is mobilized his army and he marched against Cyrus king of Anshan to conquer the arm. Rebelled against osteology said and he was taken prisoner. They dim over to Cyrus Cyrus March towards at the royal city, end quote by five hundred and fifty BCE or thereabouts Cyrus and the Persians we're basically in control of the old Elamite territories and now had inherited control of the median empire.
Which was already one of the great empires in this particular world stage. It's kind of pos all that the lydian king, for example, that in Three years Cyrus will be at war with does even really have a key idea. The Persians are, I'm not sure, but I mean judging sources, this is quite the turn around and, as I say, In five hundred and forty seven Cyrus and the new persian empire is adding those same people. The Medes were fighting when that eclipse, you know, caused everyone to think Maybe they shouldn't be fighting and it's a great because the guy who runs the Lydian Empire now at this time, is it increases and there's a saying about him, you may have heard rich as creases and that's the stereotype of the lydians at this time.
As I said, they're known as people who invented metal coinage, don't know if that's really true or not, but that's their reputation and it's attached to them, because they're in a thought to be extremely wealthy increases supposed to have gone to one of the famous oracles, maybe the most famous Oracle in the entire greek world, the Oracle at Delphi, which you may have been giving money to influence? It was a whole big problem during this period, where some questioned the reliability of these oracles. Can you imagine, because of them taking money to keep operating from people increases Brittany gave money to everybody's a little Donald Trump issue. Maybe you might say, and ask the Oracle. You know now what would happen if I to war, with the Persian Empire now little track here, maybe only worthwhile for the bedding people amongst you
But if you went to an advisor in LAS Vegas who gave you betting advice- and you said, will the Green Bay Packers win the super bowl the answer was, if the Green Bay Chris play in the super bowl. They will add to great legacy. Do you bet creases told by the Oracle of Delphi that have creases the Persians he will destroy a great empire. You. Take that a number of different ways couldn't you, you could say: hey the Green packers are going to win, or you could say, listen at the Dallas Cowboys beat the Green Bay Packers they added to a great championship legacy to it's. Just the Dallas Cowboys championship legacy. When creases and the Lydians fight Cyrus? Persians he loses. He destroys a great
The one that invented metal coinage, I would love to get into the end of army, that Cyrus had and what he used to accomplish this victory over the lydians. But The achaemenid military system is not well understood. Anyway, it was only in the 1980s that they started, putting together a realistic reconstructions of the army in the days that are much better known than this period. I mean during the greek and Persian wars RAP against Alexander in this period. It's all conjecture, what the heck Cyrus was using, I mean you can say: well you probably use this and it's logical to assume that. But nobody knows when you, Herodotus he's always got some little stratagem in play, key You from having to know in a the army was doing in one of these big battles against creases in the purge we're told, will take their baggage camels and take the baggage off of them and put
in front of the army so that when the lydian horses who've never seen camels ride up to the front that we scared off by the camels, I mean you know you get a victory in the battle. Just with that doesn't really help. You know much about an army that must have been really really good to do all these things, Cyrus was doing with it. He does look like a very bold commander from the sources I mean one of the things around it just talks about is should we call it a misunderstanding between creases and Cyrus after this big battle that starts off the campaign and it's bloody and inconclusive in winter is coming. Creases does with any ancient commander would have done during that period he went home, went to the capital, it's artist, this giant fortified city. Dismissed his mercenaries and let most of the army go home and told his allies. Four months show up here and we'll deal with this emerging persian threat, his allies by the way, including the great powers Babylonia. Egypt, so maybe Cyrus was starting to be seen as the D stable,
sing force in that little geopolitical ecosystem in part of the world. Nonetheless, Cyrus didn't disband the army, he didn't go home for winter. He hold, pursued the lydians right on their heels. This is bold strategy and forced another battle. We're told it was after creases. It already basically sent most of the people home the person to win that battle. Ain't got the camel battle, and then they face this monsters fortification start as the capital of Libya that could easily hold out until all those ally show up in four months. You would think we're told it holds up like fourteen days and again we have another to write a story about a a back path to E Citadelle being found by a Persian who spies one of the guards hats falling off helmets falling off in the guard, retrieving it down some in the path again.
You wouldn't know about what amazing siege engines, maybe Cyrus had because we always have some little story that accounts for how one of the great fortified he's in this part of the world gets taken in fourteen days. Nonetheless, we also get some accounts now of something we spoken about about how the Persians, maybe like Darth, Vader to the Greeks, but they have something in, and you know you don't know if you want to call this propaganda, or a sincere and clever and common sense and realistic approach to things. If you could sort of take either way, but shall we call it the tolerance bomb, we're told do Siculus especially mentions that Cyrus gave a deal to the lydians before this whole thing started. He said, listen submit to me and I'll be in charge of this whole area. It's basically same deal Xerxes offered the Spartans at Thermopylae, come on. Let's he'll down those weapons, and not only will you get to go home I'll put you in charge
all these people you'll benefit submit and profit. Maybe you can call this combination of sort of map Valley in thinking with this, Gandhi like Ethnic, that's going too far, but I love the connection. A realistic, hard, headed knife the back sort of diplomacy with tile and mercy and leniency as your weapon going in a few with leniency, and You know you would have to suggest perhaps we're two ways. This lenient idea could go either not work at all, and then you see why the assyrian to be as harsh as they were or because Assyrians were as harsh as they were in the Babylonians who followed after them, the Area was right for somebody who would off I mean if everybody was going to be under somebody's control when you want to go with the tolerant guy,
and remember, we are grading on a curve here. When we talk about tolerance, the Persians could be every bit as Roche's as any other ancient people? On occasion it just seemed like once. They took over, there were a lot fewer of those occasions. Maybe the historians are some of them that I grew up with, would say something like well. That's because the Assyrians already broke all the trouble. Some people to the yoke of empire seems a bit far fetched. Certainly you can say, though, that the whole sort of mood and attitude was altered and you don't get anymore those really intimidating reliefs, showing things like you know, hey love your enemies staring up at you or horrible violence of the flaying of live captives? And you don't get the the writings where there's a of a boasting and a propaganda value where you're saying this is what will happen to you if you rebel against us. Recess origami quotes
rasam cylinder. It's called and it's ashurbanipal, the last great king of Assyria, boasting of what he did babble on after his brother who he put on the throne of Babylon: rebelled against him in six nine BCE first he's besieged. Until they were cannibalistic and then picks up the there saying quote out of Hunger the flesh of their sons and daughters they ate after words, I ripped out the tongue of those officers whose mouth had blasphemed against Asher. My stir and then slaughtered them. Any soldiers found still alive were flogged in front of the wing get bowls built by so not to rip my grandfather, I whipped to the monster, not Caribs Tomb and then tossed their core. Bring flesh for the jackals, the birds of the fish to eat? In this way, I placated the wrath of the odds would become incensed by their ignominious deeds and then start Gami picks up the narative, saying quote:
this chrisley passage related to events that transpired in Babylon proceed A brief description of the restorative work that Ashurbanipal undertook in that city that the uh in king was unabashedly about intertwining. The account of his brutality with that of his clemency indicates that Amy Royalty did not frown upon the infliction of vicious reprisals against conquered populations. This attitude, enabled the assyrian and babylonian kings to base their power he's largely on terror during the Two centuries preceding Cyrus is rise to power. The Assyrians and Babylonians had sacked nearly every major near eastern capital and their preferred practices of population. Deportation and kidnapping sacred images, had deeply traumatized. The people of the Ancient near EAST end quote, in other words If you had ever wanted to find a winning military strategy. This might be the time where
mercy, tolerance and being the cool conquerors really worked in your favor. Cyrus is the one who initiates this idea that you're not going to impale everybody and we're not going to a them and we're not going to force them to convert to our religion. Join us pay. Your taxes, I may have some representatives in the garrison in your city, but life will be good. This persian deal was very seductive. No here's where the story begins to dove tail. With what we've already talked about earlier, the peoples that we spoke about, these Greeks who were in Anatolia, some of them spoke a language that was called ionians. Other often called I only used, There were other types of Greeks there to asiatic. Greeks is a term that sometimes used these people had been paying tribute.
Two creases in the Lydians and Cyrus, had gone to them before the war with creases in the Lydians and said: listen how about you revolt against creases and they said no and some of them for on, this is a side. So after Cyrus wins, all the people in the region are coming to him to kind of, say: hey boss. I always wanted you to win, I'm glad, I'm glad you're victorious and in the case of these Greeks, they went to him and and we have the same deal we had with the Lydians and so which gets mad at him were told. He basically says you could have had that deal. If you join me and didn't fight against me now you want a special deal over all the people in this region who didn't fight against me and got mad and those Greeks back home, had a big meeting amongst each other started, rebuilding the walls of their cities, which they had knocked down it in part of their deal with creases an and put the word out for help, and they sent word to the Spartans.
Now the Spartans had also promised help to Cresus when he was in trouble, suppose Really they were just getting in the boat's, getting ready to go help when in fourteen days the lydian capital Falls didn't give him enough time to get there now, get you know in a very short period of time a second call for help in this time. From Greeks, it's about the Persians, just that last call. These Persians must be a people, the it is a little busy when the message came, but they sent an emissary to talk to this Persian now every historian I'm reading is assuming that these Persians and these Spartans do not know each other that this maybe the first time they ever encounter one another. It seems logical, considering all the trading and what not going on. But let's understand best case scenario. It's unusual and these people don't really know each other
and a spartan diplomat shows up in front of Cyrus were told, and we have one of these wonderful periods we imagine our Clint Eastwood type, showing up in of this king on the rise again, I try to imagine an Alexander the great light. Like on. The rise must have been pretty good guy, because we're told that the persian standards of beauty were modeled on him ever afterwards. This is the way Herodotus from my Purvis. Translation describes the diplomat talking to the king of the Persians, who is just conquered Lydia, and he was just about to put the hammer down on the
reeks of Asia, Kuroda Diss quote, and when they arrived at the KIA they sent the most distinguished man with them. Name: look trainees to Sardou's to declare to Cyrus in the name of the lack of the mony ends, but he must not inflict reckless damage on any of the greek territory. Since the can the would not tolerate it remember. Liking. Ammonian is another name for Spartans. Now This people that Cyrus has never heard of is just told him not to with any of these people, he just conquered and he basically turns to the greek advice our next to him and says who are these people and how many of them are there? Herodotus is quote they say that when the Herald had delivered this message, Cyrus question Greeks, who were with him sing them. Who were these like a who would send such a command to him and how many of them were there when he heard there, Bonser run. It says he said to the art and Harold quote, I have
never yet feared any men who have a place in the center of the city set us for meeting together swearing, false send sheeting one another, if I live long enough dim onians will have troubles of their own, about which to converse, rather than those of the Ionians Herodotus then says quote: Cyrus thus insulted because of their custom of setting up a gorazd which are places in their cities for the as of buying and selling, which is unknown among the Persians who do not use markets and indeed have no such place as an Agora in any of their cities and quote It is worth a little digression for a second just from an interest standpoint, first of all, Herodotus probably known what persian cities were like he him Health was an ionian Greek or lived in an island in greek city. He would have known this and that's fascinating when you consider that you think of them
now, when you think of the bazaars in the marketplaces and all that, but the Persians had this really interesting, cultural heritage. Like thing going themselves. You know: we've talked about this human laboratory experiment a few times in this program like the Spartans, for example, the Persians had a different one going? And it's fascinating to me everything you read about them says that you know of the top three things that that society places in on one of them is the truth and if This is in our world today. We think oh yeah, sure everybody should tell the truth, but what, if you made this, the commandment that people took ultra seriously. We told you earlier that when the Spartan told jerks is about the Persians he said if I'm lying in a tree like a liar and- and I told you that that's a death LT, the Persians took lying really seriously, we're told the education of Persian. Male youth was
to learn to ride, to learn, to shoot the bow and to learn not to lie to tell the truth, isn't it fast leading to imagine a society where this was both a stay. And legal requirement, perhaps and certainly a heavily you know in Reijden incentivized cultural norm. Thou shalt not lie. It almost becomes like the. To one of those movies, you know where the main character some potion and all of a sudden, you know, is forced to tell the truth all the time. What if you had a society like that? What Cyrus is saying to the Spartans, as I can't respect any people who have these places in their cities set up where people can specifically go to lie to one another and by the way, without going too deeply into it, there's a lot of connect, To persian religious beliefs during this time period and how that plays To the question of lying, the Persians were worshippers of
who were a Mazda was a God's name and the old need used to worship a God named Mithra and there's connections between good needle that some religious experts tie to Christianity in ancient Judaism and and who the heck knows. All you know is that it's not just a cultural and legal question. It's a religious one, slash two, it's interesting to speculate, how much people steal lied in a society with that many things favoring the truth, it's interesting to think about another there, laboratory experiment, if you will the truthful society and how realistic is that? Nonetheless, we have I'll set the stage for problems between the Greeks and the Persians from this point on on a call of the clash of civilizations you who have market places in life, and we who don't it's about to happen. Okay for the Spartans they'll get to stay out of it for awhile, because Cyrus isn't done conquering yet not by a long shot, is to
and can still discuss whether or not Cyrus should be seen an intentional you know a conscious, conqueror Allah, Alexander, the great or Napoleon you know somebody who sat down so I'm going to recreate the old assyrian empire or somebody that got involved in a bunch of conflicts each for their own reason- and you know when you take over their territory and kind of tripped into empire. I mean, obviously that's a little simplistic, but I think it's indicative of how Certain really key motivational areas. This guy is a bit of a mystery. He will disappear, find the veil of our historical site. I guess you could say for several years after his taking over yeah, he will leave a general who maybe this historical Harpagus guy and an army behind in western Turkey was now modern day. Western turkey
to reduce these asiatic greek cities and he will go it's assumed to eastern part of his realm in the northern part of his realm and conquer further, and also shore up his defenses against the many powerful tribes that sort of bring his territory? Probably a combination of fight, some of them showing the flag to some of them intermarrying and making diplomatic agreements with some of them, except vassalage from others. I mean it was years of work, so this guy is doing the You know yeoman's work, the hard slogging of creating a stable state and it requires years of constant effort. He appears from the historical record while he's doing this and then in five thirty nine BCE he reappears again at the head of an army heading toward babble on now. What's iris is going to do to Babylon is probably
crowning achievement in his career, and I have to remind myself that his career is already incredible. This is a guy who five hundred and thirty nine BCE has been a king for about twenty years and in twenty years he's taking his people from a virtual, in a backwater nowheresville to a point where they've conquered half of the great name states in their little ecosystem that exist? You know after the fall of Assyria he's outside the gates of number three of four with an army. That's pretty awesome right there for a king of and Sean who will very soon be referring to himself as part of his official royal titles as the king of the universe, when you go from an on the king of the universe, that's quite a jump and he's kind of a self made conqueror I am to someone like Alexander- the great- was of course awesome but and to remind you of sort of a historical, rich. Kid who and
which is father's already thriving corporation with tons of ready cash and does great things with it. No offense to Alexander. It's awesome. But Cyrus never had any of those advantages and look where he is only twenty years into his reign. Now, let me just voice my own opinion that that what Cyrus is about to do to Babylon is strange. You can't tell with the sources what's really going on in the different histories have different, which is to it- and it's been argued about in and the views have changed and updated overtime. There's just not enough hard sources, though, anyone who really know for anyone to conclusively win. I'm certainly not going take a position on a blame going to explain sort of the weirdness of it. The first thing you have to ask is whether or not Cyrus arriving outside Babylon. When he did was a coincidence, the timing is awesome if you're hoping to take over Babylon is that just because he gets lucky.
Is that, just because the babylonian propaganda would say later, the hand of Marduk had seized him and brought him to babble on to get rid of the horrible king of Babylon and restore things just lucky. Or did Cyrus and the Persians have advanced information that things suck in Babylon Now you come now and half the population be ready to welcome you with open arms. Was that may be part of the reason he showed up when he did or as some have argued for years, could you make a case that the reason that We're so disaffected in Babylon was in part due to persian propping and that undermined it. The entire will to resist- and I have to be honest- I did not understand that part of the story, for you growing up, but something has changed in the way historians view it so now makes more sense to me when I was growing up, the attitude was in five hundred and thirty nine BC. This is when Cyrus arrived so happens in occurs in battle on Falls and Sars takes it over there you go so this.
Dear that he had this propaganda undermining Babylon made you think about when when was that going to happen, I mean it. Just everything so quickly. The modern way of viewing this amongst a lot of historians is that maybe the Persians in the Babylonians had been fighting battles for a couple of years and that, in five when Cyrus and his army show up outside of Babylon. That's like the end of the war war when the russian show up outside of Berlin you're having your last climactic battle, you know in a multi battle, long war again, the sources are just not there to confirm any of this. Okay, Gore Eckley, but it would make a heck of a lot more sense if you were saying that Cyrus in the Persians were undermining the Babylonians with propaganda, if you had years to do it right now, understanding what Cyrus might have been doing requires talking about Babylon itself, a little bit like the assyrian city of Nineveh. This is a great urban center and it's large enough and complex enough, so that you see a lot of the same sorts of dining
it's going on I'll, be it through an ancient lens that you would see in any modern, large city. Today there are fissures. There are divisions, there are tensions. There are disagreements there, there all sorts of things that if someone wanted to come in, they could widen the disagreements and it slowly but surely increase the level of and discontent, there's a number of things to be exploited. To start with, the fact that the king is unpopular, the king of Babylon. During this time period almost certainly suffers from bad bad historical publicity. His name is Naba Nidus and by the time all of this is one down Nava Nidhis is about seven thousand and seventy years old in a world where the Spain is so much shorter. How many seventy year old people are there he's like a wizard? You know to the population in terms of this. Is a guy
whose memory goes back to events. Most people can't get anywhere near memory wise. He may been the general who helped seal the deal I mean those two sides at the battle of the eclipse remember when they suck each other's blood as part of a in a sealing the deal this this this Nabonidus guy, when he was younger and more vigorous may have been one of the generals on site now he's old and it's really hard to get your mind around what this guy was really like. He sort of portrayed as a as a kind of a doting antiquarian by some historians. Some people consider him the first official archaeologist. I think it's gonna be crazy, because because there were lots of earlier kings who were into digging up you earlier versions of their civilization. But this guy is portrayed as somebody who almost prefers it to being a king he'd rather be
their Indiana jonesing, some old, babylonian stuff from the previous kings than then dealing with the day to day government. He also looks like a guy who doesn't mind getting out of Babylon. I have image for the movie of some? I want to use like the guy who played the scientist the doctor in back to the future and have him be nabonidus and just have him sort of finding the hustle bustle of Babylon too much in those young kids and their loud music and all that stuff. So he and the priesthood of Babel, on, especially the main important god of Marduk begin to have these disagreements. Now I understand some in the world before modern times there is, the only one reliable counter balance to the power of a king or emperor Pharaoh, and that's the priesthood and the religion, because the power that that they have stems from the same source right, your your king, by divine.
Right, it's a god who want you to be a king, but he was a special relationship with the gods and who helps placate the gods. Who does doesn't of the God who knows what the God really wants, while the priesthood in the religion right so the only other source legitimate power in these says, before modern times are often you know the priests in the priest and Marta Like this Nabonidus guy and part of the reason, why is he seems to be kind of well favoring another God over there's, this is I mean by it's hard to get your mind around ABBA Nitis because he may be I can Akhenaten type character. You know the egyptian Pharaoh that may have been a monotheist and may have tried to change Egypt's religion, another story right where you have the autocratic ruler, opposed by a powerful priesthood and, after all, died, things return back to normal. They kind work hard in his face off of all of the old things trying to forget. He ever lived Naba
I just may have been one of these guys to that wanted to change their religion. His mother was supposedly a priest as of a religion devoted to a God named Cinna, Moon God, and so have been itis right before this time period. Give the ultimate middle finger to the priesthood of Marduk by leaving Babylon and going to some arabian oasis no historians in modern times, have found all sorts of really good, logical, patriotic reasons why the king might do that in past times. It was much more portrayed like this. Guy is a mystic either a mystic or an old man or a combination of the two and he just wants to away from his unworthy people, and he appreciates it. Or in these arabian oasis. It's probably what modern historians think he's. Probably there doing important work for the country, but he's missing important work. At the same time the Babylonians required there came to be there once a year for a new year's festival. It was important he had to physically grass
the hand of the God in front of the population once a year to ensure success. Good things in all these kinds of deals and he stayed away for like a decade. When the babylonian records will say every year the king was not here for the ceremony or what have you and they're getting past. That he's putting more money into creating more of these. For the other religion denying some money that the people of Marduk Expecting- and you can just see it boiling over right and then the king's, not even there his son belshazzar, is ruling as a region and he's not popular either. So the king is part of it. The How long is going through tough economic times and that's putting the squeeze on people they're having problems with disease and that's causing unrest archaeologist Doctor Joe Notes describes, you know the down and dirty parts of day to day suffering and, let's remember something: Babylon's banking system and financial system was developed enough so that they had great banking houses there. That
very powerful and lived on long after this period and and the and and that's just another one of those dynamics that makes us think about modern times. These are powerful interests that have you know some authority in the state what happens when things seem to be fall art, people losing money and times are bad and, and you start getting persian propaganda about this king sounds like things are going his way, which remember during this time period might have caused a lot of people to figure. The gods are smiling on that guy. And our king is not even showing up to shake the gods hand every new years right. Here's the way doctor Joe Notes describes the situation in Babylon Considering also remember that this king looks like a guy who's, trying to change religious traditions, trying to change a bunch of other things and Doctor Oates writes quote clearly not deny is religious and administrative reforms provoked great resentment. While the wars and extensive building programs of his predecessors had proved a severe burden on the countries resources large now
economic texts- reveal severe inflation a situation now made worse by the spread of plague between five hundred and sixty BCE and five hundred and fifty b GE. Prices rose by up to fifty percent and from five hundred and sixty to four hundred and eighty five c e: the total increase amounted to some two hundred percent. End quote not just that. But again, you know take this with a grain of salt. It's argued about, but but there, are people inside Babylon who might be considered, shall we say vulnerable to propaganda that created descent. There are a lot of people in Babylon who are there because they were forcibly taken once upon a time from where they came from. And some of the propaganda afterwards, certainly the post propaganda, but maybe some of the pre propping
and panda two from Cyrus told these people that, if the Persian were to take over, they get to go home start with the deportees from Judah jewish people. Today, there are, there are still, I'm sure, still made with all the troubles Jews in that part of the world today that are descendants of people who were forcibly removed after the Babylonians sacked Jerusalem. What is Cyrus was telling those people, if I, If I get in power, you can go home and what, if he was telling all the other deportees the same thing now when historians refer to Cyrus in the Persians propaganda. The first idea comes to mind is like negative propaganda like the nazi stuff designed to lie to people and get you to believe things that aren't true, but you could make a case that that, since we know, Cyrus in the Persians will eventually actually do what they're saying here right that they will, for example, allow the Jews to go back?
Judah and reestablish their religion, and Eventually, you know pay for some of the rebuilding of the second temple. What will be the second temple with with royal funds We know that they're actually going to do that. Maybe you could say that this propaganda a lot more like dropping leaflets, enemy military lines. That say something like you know, surrender to us. We don't hurt prisoners and we'll give you a hot meal and in a few bucks in your pocket, some sick What would they have done in the old days? Maybe this is like telling the people inside babble on do not fear I may be coming, but I'm going to send you home now real experts on this, like a Briand caution us against thinking about this. The way that I just described to you that this is a conscious policy of toleration. He says the way the marketing really is is a lot more Cyrus is assyrian and babylonian predecessors were essentially promising continuity and because
continuity means allowing these people to do things, the way that they are accustomed to do it. It seems like tolerance, and he points out that it's normal for conquerors in this region, even before this time period, to come in and promised to restore everything. That's wrong. The gods are upset. I will fix that the economy is bad. I will fix that. You are kept away from your home and your god you're just you know. I will fix that. The restorer and re creator of order. So whatever you want to call this in five hundred and thirty nine, and the babylonian army meet and in a bag. Where there seems to have been a really maybe nasty massacre at the end babylonian armies defeated the rest of the troops to run back to the very formidable defenses of the city, and within two days, somehow the gates of the city are opened,
Viruses general is marching through the streets in triumph in Babylon falls, but now the night fleas and he's eventually capture supposedly treated well by Cyrus, just like all the other kings were Herodotus, of course, has to give us a stratagem story of how it happened this time. Balls in a waiting until they can get the river down that flows through the city to a certain length or to a point where the the troops can go through the MAR or what have you and capture the city? I think he's one of the ones that say that the city didn't even No, it was being captured because there was some in a rather re, going on attached to a religious cult in the city, big anyway mean modern. Excavations put the city size it over two thousand acres and the wall Circumference at about one thousand. One hundred miles, so it's possible that in one part of the city, for they were partying it up and and the Persians got in the natural do would be to throw out a story like that and blame it on typical. You know greek stereotypes and what
it should be pointed out one but oftentimes. In these ancient religions, there was an awful lot of decadent or fun or On your point of view, I guess stuff that was part of. The religious rights and you'll see this in Greece and Rome and a ton of other religions the world over, especially in the ancient period, and these people are honestly, religious, the Babylonians, especially to Holy City of Mesopotamia right. These are very religious people, so imagine people with the commitment of like eight Hello right, the seriousness with which they take this and this right militancy and all that, but you might be commanded to part the Party for God, and if you're not there, the ramifications could be huge right. I'm inclined to think that it's a greek stereotype, of course, but there's a part of me that wants to believe it's the latter now. The one thing this conquest, if that's even the right word of Babylon is known for is the fact that it's generally considered to be bloodless and forget that battle we talked
with the nasty potential massacre at the end when the city of Babylon is taken, it's taken Essentia Lee voluntarily, I mean it's like the Bab, means open up the door and Cyrus is general comes in, and seventeen or so days later, Cyrus himself comes in and we're told that the population you know gets in front of his chariot, lays down palm fronds and stuff, which some historians in the old days used to be sure was sign of how much people wanted in there more modern day. Historians point out that that's general. How you get treated when you come into a city, that's trying to show that there are no threat at all, and please don't hurt us. That's perhaps what the persian takeover of Babylon is most known for. Cyrus didn't hurt me. And, as I said earlier, not a is life is spared, which supposedly is the same fate. That's irises Meeted meted out to all the king's he's faced which, by the way, is not only unusual but
It's not even may be true, who knows they're, always little hints somewhere that maybe Cyrus killed these kings in the in the propaganda covered it up. None the less historically and traditionally he's supposed to have spared and given good lives to all these are the kings. He defeated. Asti, I'd use of the Medes creases of the Libyans. Now now been nidus of the Babel. Onions. What is the message Cyrus is trying to send here I mean that's what I find interesting. You want to know a little bit about the guy himself and maybe what he was trying to do. What's the message when he does that, because the assyrian king who lost good Babylon brags about how he tied the king of Babylon, up like a pig, laid him in the center of Nineveh. So this is not standard operating procedure. It's one of the things by the way that fascinates me about Cyrus, because the Occam's Razor approach to history, which is the right way to go. I mean what else you're going to do is to assume, most logical things right. You don't assume illogical things
Assumption always is that someone like Cyrus is playing a hardcore, cynical propaganda game and again, I'm sorry, probably is most people would be but occasionally you're going to get some different kind of human being, because we see the MEG exist. It's just a few the Occam's razor approach to try to determine you know what a Sunday was really like a thousand years from now you might be looking at. Listen, Gandhi was really. You know. This was a cool attempt to figure out a way to gain power level, and you could figure out all these real logical reasons. Why a guy might do this? Sometimes people who are doing things from mystic reasons or morality, reasons or
mystic reasons are any of these things. Sometimes those people slip through the cracks, because it's just so easy to assume they had a more real world. Terra Firma reason for doing things. Is it possible? Cyrus was kind of a humanist may be. You know this is how he's portrayed by the way by his real fans of a lot of people back in IRAN, I mean is the guy who invented human rights. Sort of at least as a in a ruler is concerned in Babylon is one of the number one piece of evidence. You know the gets trotted out in defense of this idea that this isn't just some sort of policy of tolerance for expediency sake that this is aw Cyrus really believes you can govern, and it should be pointed out that not only has Babylon kind of surrender without a fight, there's another babylonian city or to that kind of opens, forced to Cyrus and it's interesting because in those
Regis are Gami. Has an interesting take on something that the babylonian king did as part of the the the fighting with Cyrus for Babylon. Supposedly in this is a way to look hibernate is showing that maybe he was this really responsible, king after all, before Cyrus gets to babble on now I goes around all the surrounding towns and and takes their gods, takes all their little statues in the representations of their gods and takes him to Babylon, and traditionally this is considered to be an active safekeeping You know that you don't want your statue of liberty falling into the hands of the Elamites and ending up in their trophy case right. You take all these village gods back to Babylon, for safekeeping recess. Origami, though, has an interesting take on this in his book discovering Cyrus he great job, reminding us of the interesting belief systems of the people who have these gods. And then how maybe you could see what Nabonidus is doing is the equivalent of perhaps kidnapping the gods of these towns and HO
sing them hostage for good behavior right loyal to Babylon or your God, gets it in the neck. Something like that. Here's what's origami rights and this only makes sense if Naba Nitis is usually worried that some of these towns are just going to go over to Cyrus because of the propaganda or whatever he writes quote. Faced with the very real prospect that is, cities would open up their gates to the conqueror Nabonidus settled upon a drastic policy, he decided to hold hostage, the sacred idols of Babylonia outlying cities to ensure the loyalty of their inhabitants, so one soon as army resume their march in the late summer of five hundred and thirty nine Bc Ea Series, caravans, laden with divine images and other religious artifacts made its way to Babylon living we can hardly grasp the full psychological impact of Nabonidus is action. The IDA was the centerpiece of the ancient Mesopotamia cult and the most important, all of the community, the in Anna
statues were treated like royalty bathed, perfumed, groomed and even Ed lavish meals by an entourage of domestic servants, priests and personal attendants. Which in Mesopotamia in Cults, were geographically centralized and the gods power. Territorially limited why Cyrus could not receive the divine approval he desired with the gods concentrated in Babylon. He then can NEWS, but Naba Nitis was playing a dangerous game by emptying his cities of their idols proximity to the statue meant everything to the superstitious masses who believe that sacred images of their gods could perform miracles, cure illness and, most importantly, protect their settlements. City lost divine protection when their gods left end quote one of the first things that Cyrus will brag about doing when he takes over Babylon is returning all those gods to the outline communities
and those people freaking out at you know having their gods back once again. As Pierre Brionne says, Cyrus is portraying himself as the restorer of order of things, as they should be he's beginning to tie himself to the ancient assyrian tradition. Some historians suggest consciously he'll talk about repairing something in the city and coming across, some proclamation by Ashurbanipal, the assyrian King Hilti himself to Aceria Syria and Ancient Ancient, a royal tradition. We start starts calling himself king of kings and king of the universe. These are old, assyrian and even acadian terms, but if Cyrus was starting to use these ancient titles for himself, you can see
he thought he might deserve it because, eighty or ninety years after you know the ancient kingdom of Assyria fell, Cyrus had put humpty dumpty back together again with sort of a different form and different marketing and different branding, But all of a sudden, once again just as had existed during literacy, in times, one power had hegemony in that part of the world. Now. Trying to rule immensely different people, people from everything from from deeply urban environments in places like babble on too funny? cities, two tribes
existed off in the edges of the eurasian step, an incorporate all these different people into one empire. Much is made of the different strategies that the Persians you over the Assyrians. Instead of trying to shoe everybody into one cultural style everybody to your religion. Good Assyrians of these conquered people, the purge used a much lighter touch that the idea of toleration really was to allow local customs to continue. The Assyrians wouldn't have tolerated that the fact that the Persians didn't try to change all that, whether it was a question of religion or language. Anything else, in fact, when the Persian it's been running. Persians will be putting all the most important positions. But purge it will not be the language of the empire. There will always be only a tiny minority of people, actually speaking, Persian. All of the official. You know rock Asians will be multilingual lingual. So the different people can read them all
local gods are respected and supported now again, some sort of in a human aterian. Gesture on Cyrus is part, or the guy. Who is a humanitarian and thinks? Listen, I'm just telling you this is the best way to treat people, and it will work out fast enough, a guy who believes his own humanitarian beliefs and morals dovetail into good outcomes, or is it somebody who We looked at this and just says: listen, I'm just telling you! If we do it, this way will have revolt will be much better than the way the Assyrians did it. Who knows it's tempting to think of Cyrus? as brilliant and visionary, regardless of which one of those things is true, he organizes this empire, you creating things that are called, sat and Satrapi's, which are administrative units that will be built upon by his successors. And then the next major thing we hear about Cyrus. It's almost like you know when these people live that far back, you get the highlights of their lives right. Number one conquest of mid
highlight number two conquest of Lydia highlight three conquest of Babylon: highlight number four: the expedition against a queen, one of the most powerful tribal coalitions in Central Asia. Now the fact that there is a queen involved in this story should tip you off to the idea that it's going to be a good one and who wrote by the way knows this he's eager to get to this story and he's going to spend a ton of time on it. He's been setting it up he knows his audience is ready. He's got a little moral twist that may or may not have anything to do with reality, but you get a look at that two thousand five hundred year old, I think that your mind melding with one way at this point in the story, but it becomes time where Herodotus is at his least reliable. To I mean he jumps from highlight to highlight number four in Cyrus- is life in one. Second, if you look at the actual dates involved, you'll see the
There is like nine years between highlight number three and highlight number four and nine years when Cyrus is well to use his own marketing and branding king of the universe. The heck was this guy doing for nine years, while he was putting out some propaganda. We know something called the Cyrus cylinder is a famous This piece were. First Cyrus has the babylonian God saying I was with him the whole way and then you reduces himself. Is this good guy again propaganda makes it easier to rule the subject. People, if you make it feel like it, was your God that wanted me here. I came because he took my hand right so so you're legitimizing your rule in tying you into the to the age old power structure, basically saying that king you defeated was the real weirdo that the guy didn't want. I am restoring. You know the kingship to the people Marduk wants to have it. You can see that the same is true.
In a lot of the other religions that Cyrus is involved with. This is why a lot of people think his whole propaganda. Tolerance thing was much more of a political move because look at how it helps him politically, in a way that, by the way he could not have foreseen it made me This is from Pierre Briones Book from Cyrus to Alexander but it's the translation from the Bible that he uses in the same the Cyrus Cylinder says: the babylonian God Marduk took irises handing you know, swept away all the opposition. This is What the israeli God Yahweh did, according to the Bible quote,. Thus says Yahweh to his appointed to Cyrus, whom he taken by his right hand to subdue nations before him and stripped the loins of kings to force gateways before him their gates be closed. No more, I will go. Before you leveling the heights. Shatter. The bronze gateways smash the iron bars. I will give you the hit
treasures the secret hordes that you We know that I am Yahweh, end quote: once again, Cyrus has these gods on his side. Why are they on his side? Well, he's always helping, isn't he he's always doing, the priesthood of Marduk would like in general. It's interesting how Marduk follows along he likes if you treat his priests well, in the case of Yahweh well running to the Bible again and Pierre Brianda sceptical of the details but says in the bigger picture. At least it was consistent with what actually happened, the Bible say, that in the reign of a king, two kings after two official kings after Cyrus they found the actual order that would Yahweh pleased with invest shall we say in the Cyrus Conquests, according to the Bible and Pierre Brianz description of it. This is from Ezra by the way. Out of the royal archives of Ecbatana, the order said quote in the
First year of Cyrus, the king king, Cyrus, decreed Temple of God, but in Jerusalem the Temple will be rebuilt as a place which sacrifices are offered and by which offerings are brought to be burnt. Its height is to be sixty cubits, its width, sixty cubits. There are three thicknesses of stone blocks and one of wood. The expenses to be met by the as household, furthermore, more rules of gold and silver from the Temple of God, which never could Nesser took from the sanctuary in Jerusalem and brought to babble on our to be restored, so that every may be restored to the sanctuary in Jerusalem and put back in the Temple of God. End quote that dovetails nicely with story of the ghostly hand, doesn't it because what that guy belches are was
King out of that made, you know Yahweh so mad to begin with, with all these sacred vessels from the old temple in Jerusalem, Solomon's Temple now, Cyrus was decreeing that you rebuild Solomon's Temple and you pay for it out of the king's treasury bring back all these things that are still around and restock the temple with and then you send the people who have been deported here back home now. Here's the thing this reconstituted. You know area that will become a by the way, does not have its political freedom they're not going either way. They were. You know, The Babylonians and Egyptians were arguing over them, but you got to see that they're pretty darn far ahead. They went from a people that might have died out religiously. In fact, the book I had that place is Cyrus is one of the top most one hundred influential people of all
time says that that's one of the things? Maybe you credit him with the fact that if he doesn't do this, there's a chance- Judaism, doesn't continue over the long haul. In this case, he builds what's known as the second temple. Do you want to see continuity? The wall that is still one of the holiest. If not the holiest sites, I guess the Temple Mount would be holier, but but it's part of the Temple Mount it is. It is the famous in a western wall The western wall is a roman era addition to the second Temple, which Cyrus a Ridley: according to the Bible paid for an authorized, it's so interesting. Isn't it to consider? How can a in the stories of the ancient Iranians. The ancient Persians are to the ancient jewish folks, especially considering the current antagonism between them, You know, as late as the 1970s, the shah of IRAN was, was touting this ancient closeness between the peoples and their relationship, yeah.
Not for the ancient Persians and Iranians there's a chance. There wouldn't be Judaism today and depending I wanted, I doubt there's a very good chance. You wouldn't have had the religions that sprouted off that branch you would've had Christiani you probably would have had. Islam, in other words, is Cyrus. The great actually did do this and he had never lived to do it? What would the world look like today? Another thing it says in that hundred most influential. People of all time. That I thought was interesting is that many of the people that get credited as being very important and dynamic and instrumental human beings in terms of their effect on history did something that would have been done anyway. Might not have been done at that time or that way, but a lot of this stuff would have happened. Someone else would have discovered the light bulb. Probably the author thought it likely that if Cyrus the great had never lived, none of this stuff happens. He was a unique
and even the you can get your mind around the specifics of how he was a unique individual. You can sort of look at what built up even appear Brown's. Writing. You have to assume that there was a lot of foundation bubbling up under the surface for Cyrus to work with. This is still a pretty incredible human being. I think you could probably say with a decent chance of being right, that he is in the five. Thirty is b c e, the greatest GEO political figure, who's ever left, which makes the next thing I'm going to say yeah so hard to believe you know. Why should I say how about letting historian eighty ohms add in a book published in nineteen. Forty eight say it and again is there any more of a telling example that these people live at the very tail end. The black and white era of recording of St, how can this guy be as big as he is, and yet this next line be true, Homestead said quote:.
Here we must leave Cyrus. For suddenly and without warning, are in for comes to an end. End quote two hundred years after this period. We will know Alexander the greats symptoms to such a degree that doctors today try to diagnose what he may have died, and they still don't know, I'm not saying everything's perfect, but you where, when the how the wise, how can you not know how this guy dies highlight? Number four in his life as portrayed by Herodotus is wrong It is a story of how he dies, and I love the fact that Herodotus goes to you the trouble to point out that he's heard several different versions of the story, One he's going to give you is the one he thinks his most likely, and maybe it's just a coincidence that the story that Hurghada just thinks is most likely is the one. With the most exotic interesting.
Movie like elements to it, you can imagine, I can't imagine he left a better version. On the table somewhere saying no, you know. I just don't believe that, because the one he used is so awesome now. Is it believable that's the problem here. Nobody knows what's believable off the top of my and if you ask me what percentage bought into the General idea of Herodotus a story. I'd say it's like eighty percent. Most of them don't believe any of the tales, but the broad idea that in five hundred and thirty BCE Cyrus died somewhere out in this area as Herodotus said details, probably unknown about percent I'd say of the historians? Don't think he died a completely different way, something against different tribes. That Herodotus says in different area, others that he didn't die that way at all. Zenfone running a couple centuries afterwards will say, died in bed peacefully. So There are some historians you buy that too in IRAN. It's a generally. I think a higher percentage of historians think he didn't die. The way Herodotus says and in part
I understand why you'd be a little skeptical, it's just too darn interesting. The way Herodotus does it you can see. You know the admonition that I got when I was starting in journalism, the one that said you know tell what really happened in the most, interesting way possible. What happens to Admonition like that there's no way you could possibly know what really happened, but you have to tell it anyway, standards then you're pretty much left with the most interesting way. You can at that point right. Do you want the story as Herodotus tells it involves this? twist you're, going to end up, leaving his theatrical presentation with a deeper message again, the deep message may or may not be true Herodotus cows? The story now into the idea of over reach, Maybe the idea of absolute power corrupting absolutely and before we write this off as many history do right away, because it's just such an obvious moral message remember you could make that case about Hitler. You know
the absolute power turning you mad after awhile with Alexander you can make. That case I mean I guess there are historical figures where this is both a motif 'cause recurring theme, you see all the time, but it also happen to be true, maybe after year be in king of the universe, got a little full of himself. Who knows, but that's the way this is portrayed right is going to be an object lesson here and the person that is going to stick it to Cyrus and teaching. This lesson is going to be a queen, but you have to like an amazonian queen. This isn't some woman who's walking around in velvet. You know on a throne, being fan. I mean this is a person who probably wants a pawn. A time was killing men. In hand to hand combat now. Did this woman really exist? Who the heck knows? There's no historical confirmation that I've ever seen that says that they found anything proves this queen, whose name by the way I used to color to my wrist when I was growing up, but I've seen Timor
Thomas number of different pronunciations, I think Shakespeare might have used her as a character one of his plays. Nonetheless, you can say a couple of things: one. It wouldn't have been outrageous to think of her as a female warrior, because these tribes actually had them. It may have been the actual root of the idea of Amazon's in sort of a mythology, so she could have actual been a killer warrior and also the tribe he was supposed to have led was real, all too real to some people. They were called the Masakit. I'm in the message tie a dangerous, powerful, numerous tribal coalition that we don't have run. It is in his writings, yes to set it up and tell you what he knows which isn't much. He he's as I hear they're a skit, the and people which they kind of, were you have to think of
mongold type culture, but with people who were probably predominantly light skinned and ranging on the scale of looks from like a turkic kind of look all the way up to people with blonde and red hair blue green eyes, tall, there's a little viking side to them a little bit of the Viking ethos and those little sword worshipping and things like that. Supposedly once a year, these people would have a scaffold erected and they put a sword on top of the scaffold. And then they would march underneath the scaffold one out of every one hundred prisoners that they captured over the year and execute them as a sacrifice to the sky, God, the Son, God Mithra. I think it was. These are colorful scary people, Just what you want in a story like this here on it. This is already talked about their head hunting, the fact that they make drinking cups,
skulls and the really nasty warriors are the ones with the most cups he talks about their cannabis use. Again. This is the exotic barbarian you want to hear what they do. He says they found this. Route that they can burn, and then they sit around the fire burning the fruit and it gets them. Intoxicated like wine, gets Greeks, intoxicated so another little bit of that barbarian color to throw in. He also points out according to him, they're very promiscuous. You might call them free love types or swinger is. Maybe anybody can sleep with anybody else's wife? He just has to put his ball. You know along side. There tend to let him know you're interested, I guess so what we'd smoking head hunting, blood, drinking wife, sharing, Viking types. Who would not want that in a good story If you don't know anything and you just trying to make the best story, make sure you include these people, I ran it. It says that Cyrus leads an army up to this queens territory
and then basically proposes marriage to her. So it would be like a diplomatic alliance thing and Herodotus says that she sees through this ruse immediately saying that he just wants to conquer her people by marrying her. So then, when she says no, he begins to try to set up what we would call today and Amphibious River crossing. There's a big river that divides the territory is coming from from the territory of these central asian horse. Nomads up in places like you know, Khazakhstan in places like today and as Cyrus in the Persians were told her building these boats, some of which have like towers like fighting towers on them. She sends him. A message now remember: she's, going to be like the voice of avenging karma here in t king, Cyrus and lesson so voice in the words that Herodotus puts in her mouth from a screen. Writer showrunner's point of view are designed to set
idea, dot upright, you should know, but you don't. You know, you're going to get what's coming to you, here's what Herodotus says this is the de selincourt translation of Herodotus by the way quote king of the needs? I advise you to abandon this enterprise, for you cannot if, in the end it will do you any good rule your own people and try to the sight of me ruling mine, but of course you will use my advice, as the last thing you wish for is to live in peace. Listen then, if you are so bent appan trying your strength against the Maseket. I give up the laborious task, building that bridge and let my army withdraw three days March from the river and then you over yourself or, if you prefer it tired, the same distance yourselves and let us meet you on your side of the river and quote this barbarian warrior queen is basic
say into a guy whose title includes king of kings and king of the universe to come and get it or I'll come over and take it from you pretty strong female character. Isn't it, and I was thinking that it makes Herodotus at times look a little pro feminist right, like he, like he's, been looking for a good, strong female character. There's another reason, maybe that play well. Maybe some of the people in his audience are women, and it would be good to have a character that they could both two in cheer for. Finally, it might just be a dig at the manliness of the Persians right I mean here's the greatest being that Asia has ever produced and he's about to be beaten and killed by a woman. Nonetheless, in story when she says you know, do you want it over here? Do you want it over there Cyrus and his generals and what sit down have a conference about this? What do we do? Which choice? Do we take in all his advisers, say? Let her come to our side of the river one invite
are those says no not go over to her side Add advisor is our role friend the king of Lydia Croesus, instead of being killed Rhonda just has you know going in the story. Sort of his advisor to Cyrus all the way through and this is advice, is totally different. First of all, as you can. Let her come over here and give ground in front of her woman. It would look terrible so there's that other little dig he says over to her side and then he says, and how about we do a little trick and he proceeds to tell Cyrus that they should essentially do the same thing to these people, that the mean did to either these people Their cozens a generation before in a story, you may recall, get 'em. All drunk and kill him. My distilling, core translation, has creases telling Cyrus to do it. This way
quote. Here then, is my advice cross the river advanced limit of the enemy's withdrawal and then get the better of buy a piece of strategy, I have heard that these people have no experience of such luxuries as the Persians enjoy and know nothing. The pleasures of life. Let us take advantage of this fact and set out a banquet in our on the most generous scale, with a great many sheep slaughtered and dressed all sorts of other dishes. And bowls of strong wine in liberal quantities, then when banquet is all prepared. He says: let us March back to the river leaving on detachment of inferior troops behind unless I'm very much mistaken when our enemies see all those good things they will set to workup on them, and that will be our thanks to distinguish ourselves by a bold stroke. End quote again that a recurring motif or is that just a tactic that seems to work I bet who knows, but
Story we're told that the one slash three of the army shows up. Kills. The inferior troops sees. Food in the wine proceeds to get in a very full very drunk and then the Persians come in, kill a bunch of them and capture some others about a third of the army according to Herodotus included, amongst the prisoners, a general who also happens to be this barbarian queen's son. So now in this scenario, Herodotus is playing with his movies turned into a little bit of a thriller with a little chess match and all of a sudden Cyrus is side is captured. A major piece. The son of the queen, and so issues, one of these I'll. Let you go now. If you give me back my son kinds of speeches from the Purvis translation, erotica says quote: went to Myra's learned what had happened to her army and her son. She sent a herald to Cyrus with this message. Blood
Christy Cyrus do not old over what has happened here. You Persian indulge yourself with the fruit of the vine, to the point of madness, so that the descends into your body's ugly. Words oh and out of you. Bye, which means you have tricked me and you taking my son prisoner, but not by supreme. In battle. Well, then, I urge you to follow this advice. Return, my son to me, and despite the damned You have currently wreaked upon a third part of the army of the massacre tie you may leave this land unharmed. If you do not do this we're by the sun, the Lord dot of DOT the Masakit. I that I will satisfy your thirst for blood insatiable as you are, and quote so what sirens going to do with this interesting, powerful chess piece he doesn't get the chance side because we're told that as soon as the queen's son sobers up finds himself, you know hands tide or bound
he beseeches Cyrus to undo his hands somehow Cyrus is convinced and I like the way my Rollins and translation puts it them in. His hands were free. Rawlinson's Herodotus says he destroyed himself, so he committed suicide. Now, all of a sudden Cyrus just lost his peace, and this is when we're told the battle happens. This from the Decelean court station quote the queen on hearing that Cyrus ignored her terms engaged him in the field with all the forces she possessed, the battle followed. I judged have been more violent than any other font between four hundred and nations according The information that I have the engagement began with the two armies coming to a halt within range of each other and exchanging shots with bows and arrows until their aeros were used up after wish there was a long period of close fighting with spears and daggers
other side being willing to retreat. Finally, however, the master guitar got the upper hand, the greater part the persian army was destroyed where it stood. Cyrus himself was killed. He had been on the throne for twenty nine years. End quote, of course, that doesn't quite twist the knife enough and have you leaving the performance really thinking about some of the greater themes in life. So Herodotus from my Purvis translation as a coda to the story. He writes quote queen terrorist, then fill a wineskin with human blood and searched for the corpse of Cyrus amongst the persian dead We found him she thrust his head into the wineskin and as she abused the corpse she declared to it? I am alive and have conquered you in battle
But you have ruined me by taking my son through guile. Well then, just as I threatened, I will slake your thirst for blood end quote so if, as the Recurring, greek motif will later show that the Persians are surreal over researchers. I'm sure her is attitude here. Is that should have learned their lesson with Cyrus by the I'm Cyrus exits. The scene now he's built an empire that stretches from the modern day. Pakistan all the way to the Mediterranean. I've been to Turkey down by the Red Sea, to the borders of Egypt and out to the central asian step. When he's taken, you know efforts in and and spent years, organizing it and putting it in a form where it has a chance to live on after he's gone. Nonetheless, you cannot lose a person
of that magnitude. You cannot lose and Alexander, you cannot lose in the you cannot lose and have these people from such lofty heights removed from the scene without there being this huge vacuum a couple one hundred years after this time period, one of the people who will fill a vacuum play a similar role and, and maybe eclipse this person will visit his tomb Alexander, the great, along with some influential colleagues, will go to the spot in the building. That is assumed to be the tomb of Cyrus. The great that team is still standing by the way in modern day, Iraq if indeed it was the tomb, it's interesting to think about Alexander climbing up there in a fully colorized historical era. Now, by the way, bringing with him people who will write about it afterwards, we actually have through
guy the writings of someone who was with Alexander and kind of describes, what the the tune like like lot of clothing, a souvenirs of lot of things that just just sort of the guy into the afterlife sort of deal, and then then body that was preserved in in wax were told. This was kind of a persian custom to now. This might just be me, but I had this feeling that, if the queen of the massive GD or the message that I had taken his head or something that's a mutilation that they would have probably told us about its probable that the body look pretty darn good 'cause. No one talked about it. Looking any other way, we told that there was an inscription on the tomb. Now some historians think it must have been in front of the tomb 'cause it's missing, but they were a couple of different descriptions from people who supposedly saw.
Some are more flowery than others, one that I like that has a couple of different versions says quote more toll. I am Cyrus son of Cambyses he's who founded the Persian empire and was can Innovasia grudge me not, then my monument end quote, but there are other traditions also from eyewitness accounts, originally the record a very different sort of epitaph. Some of the historians, I like say it's much more additionally Ronnie into it's much more pithy right to the point. Regions when they were leading the empire could put on the air is as well as any mesopotamian dynasty ever did they could keep on all the traditional titles Queen Victoria had the empress of India. The key of this area had king of the universe, king of the four corners of the,
King of lands, the Persians could do that, but sometimes when they were just recording for eternity, which is what a tomb inscription like this is, they adopted a different style and the tomb inscription, supposedly from an eyewitness that I like the most and I like to use irises persiane greek ish form of the name Corrocher Koorosh. It says here, Kourosh king of kings, Persians grew up in the equivalent of a tough neighborhood to show, you just heard involved a lot of context, didn't it where we discussed the background where they sprung from, because
does a bunch of things one? It makes their achievements all the more astounding I mean they arose in this world with all these. Amazing competitors and managed to climb to the top of the heap anyway. It also helps us set a baseline for comparing and when we say things like the Persians are tolerant or lenient you want to immediately say compared to what the show you just heard gives us some idea what they might be compared to. Finally, it's a fantastic story. This that's, usually relegated to dead air between two other stories right somewhere between the all of the Syria, and the rise of Persia is the latter part of the six, the and the and five hundred and eighty.
Five hundred and ninety five five hundred and eighty five what's going on during that era, normally it sort of just a transition point between the two chapters in the book, whereas all by itself it's twisted and fascinating, and I love the idea of the great power like the US and the Soviet Union collapse in the rest of the world sort of looking at each other over the in a smoking ruin trying to figure out who gets what What things look like now, I love that the key to this whole story at this point is, you know, want it such a singular figure? To put this improbable? You know event together what and when that figure exits the scene. What are the odds, in two Cyrus, the great's in the same family, one right after another remind
This is the largest empire in world history. The distance from one part to another is daunting. Then you have all these different people, people that are very independence, minded and fractious and who gave the Assyrians fits all the time so many different religions, so many different, languages. How is in small one small minority of people going to rule this giant entity, especially without the specially gifted guy who built the whole thing in the next episode, will examine? How can by Sis the Son of Cyrus manage is all this and there will be coups. Will potentially be armies disappearing in sand storms. There will be are too many Greeks, probably for what the story really warrants, but you have to under. Well. We all know instinctively: there are important things going on in the east, more than the other parts of the persian empire that don't touch greek lands, the only people
thing about it in any sort of extended. Colorful way are the Greek so just like everyone else will talk about the in persian wars, will give some context of that battle of Thermopylae movie scene with the Spartans sake. Take them and then we'll deal with the guy. The next guy really in this story, whose personal talents are such that he's a game changer all by himself, the natural successor to Cyrus the great and the person who finally puts the stake in the heart of the black and white world, the Son of Philip of MAC Antonia. All that and more.
In the next episode of kings of kings, if you think the show you just heard is worth a dollar Dan and band would love to have it bucket show. It's all. We ask: go to Dan Carlin DOT com for information on how to donate, to the show you want to help the podcasts just by your Amazon, dot com products through the Amazon Search Window on Dan Carlin, dot com and Dan in band will get a percentage of what you spend. It doesn't cost you a penny more and it helps these guys out because they are nice, young fellas,
Transcript generated on 2021-12-07.