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their abandonment. Iron is abundant in many places, especially in Hyrcania, but it is not much worked. Chardin represents it as not worth above sixpence a hundred weight, and he says, that it is so full of sulphur, that if filings of it be cast into the fire, they make a report like powder. Too fierce a fire will also destroy the substance altogether. Copper has been discovered in Azerbigan, and other places; but, like the iron, it is of little use unless it is mingled with copper from the mines of other countries, as Sweden and Japan. Rock salt is very abundant in Persia, and large tracts of the plain are covered with salt incrustations. In some places it is said to be as firm and hard as fire stone, and to be used as such in Carmania Deserta, in the erection of houses. In Hyrcania, and Mazanderan, naphtha of two kinds is met with, black and white. The richest mine in Persia, however, is the torquoise. There are also two kinds of this precious stone; one in Khorassan, the other between Hyrcania and Parthia in Mount Phirous, which mountain derived its name from an ancient king of Persia. Other mines of this precious stone have, at a later date, been discovered, but they are by no means so valuable, the stone being less beautiful in colour, and waning by degrees, till at length it is colourless. Marble, free stone, and state are found in great quantities about Hamadan. This marble is of four colours, white, or statuary, black, red and black, and white and black. The best is discovered about Taurus. This is almost as transparent as crystal ; its colour is white, mingled with a pale green, but it is so soft that some have doubted whether it is a å stone. In the neighbourhood of Hamadan, azure is found, but it is not equal to that of Tartary, and therefore it is not held in repute.
Such was and is Persia. Anciently it possessed the blessings of this life in rich abundance, and even now its inhabitants can rejoice in the gifts of nature. But Persia has ever lacked the richest blessing that can be bestowed on a country, that of the Christian religion. For many an age they were led astray by the Magian faith, and now they bend under the yoke of the arch impostor Mohammed. But
"The groans of nature in this nether world,
"The dwellers in the vales and on the rocks
Shout to each other, and the mountain tops
TOPOGRAPHICAL HISTORY OF PERSIA.
In the various provinces of the vast empire of Persia, there were a great number of important cities and towns; but concerning many of them, no detailed information has been handed down to us by ancient writers. All, therefore, that can be done in these pages, is to notice those of which any account, and any remains, have survived the wreck of ages, and which were of the greatest note. Among these stands pre-eminently forward, the city of
which stood within the province of Persia.
The city of Persepolis is mentioned by Greek writers, after the era of Alexander, as the capital of Persia. however, does not occur in the writings of Herodotus, Ctesias, Xenophon, or Nehemiah, who were well acquainted with the other principal cities of the Persian empire, and who make frequent mention of Susa, Babylon, and Ecbatana. But this may be accounted for by the fact, that Persepolis never appears to have been a place of residence for the Persian kings, though it was regarded as the capital of their empire in the remotest ages.
There has been much dispute respecting the Persian name of Persepolis. According to oriental historians, it was Istakher, or Estekhar; and many modern authors suppose that Persepolis and Pasagardæ, the common burial-places of the kings of Persia, are only different names for the same place, and that the latter word is the Greek translation of the former. Their views do not seem to be correct: there are strong reasons, indeed, for believing that they are different places.
The city of Persepolis was situated in an extensive plain, near the union of the Araxes (Bendemir) and Cyrus (Kur.)
In the time of Alexander, there was at Persepolis a magnificent palace, full of immense treasures, which had been accumulating from the time of Cyrus. Little is known of its history. When Alexander, however, subverted the Persian empire, Persepolis fell a prey to the maddened rage of the conqueror. Instigated by a courtezan, he issued from a banquet, and accompanied by a band of other bacchanals, as cruel and as mad as himself, with flaming torches in their hands, like so many furies, they fired the palace of the Persian monarch, after which his army plundered and devasted the city.
But it was not Alexander alone that reduced Persepolis to its present mournful state. It existed, but not in its pristine glory, in the days of Ammianus Marcellinus; and in the Greek chronicle of Tabri, who flourished in the ninth century, it is said, that Pars, or Persia, composed a number of districts, each governed by a petty king, one of whom ruled in Istakher. The chronicle further states, that Artaxerxes Babegan commenced his ambitious career by putting to death the king of Istakher, after which he rendered himself master not only of Pars, but of Kirman, and finally became ruler of all Iran, or Persia, by the defeat and death of Adavan. The same authority states, that Shapoor 11., having recovered Nisibin, in Diyarbekr, he sent 12,000 families from Istakher to reinhabit the deserted city. About A. D. 639, the Arabs made an unsuccessful attempt on Istakher, and two years after the decisive battle of Nehavend was fought, the result of which was, the future capture of Persepolis, or Istakher. This battle, also, decided the fate of Persia, and the religion of Zoroaster. The blaze of the eternal fire was extinguished by the superior radiance of the crescent; and the sceptre of empire, wielded by the successors of Artaxerxes for more than four centuries, dropped from the hands of the unfortunate Yasdijerd, while the sun of the house of Sassan went down to rise no
Persepolis underwent another vicissitude in 644, when the Arabs, under the command of Abu Musa al Ashari, defeated Shahreg, who lost his life and the city of Istakher, which paid a contribution of 200,000 silver dirhems to obtain a respite. In 648, the inhabitants of Istakher revolted, and slew the Arabian governor, in consequence of which the khalif Othman sent Abdaliah Emb Amer with troops from Basrah to Istakher, where they encountered the Persians, commanded by Mahek, son of Shahreg, who had been slain oy Abu Musa al Ashari" from the dawn of day till the time of the meridian prayer.” Mahek fled, and the city of Isakher
6 How many
was taken by storm; after which the city declined daily, so that in 950, it was not above a mile in length, and was finally destroyed in 982 by the Dilemite prince Samsa'm Ad'doulah. It exists only, says Hamdallah Cazvini, who wrote in ‘1339, under the reduced form of a village.
It has been well said, in deprecation of the destruction of cities, which history lauds as the work of heroes, monuments of literature and science, of taste and genius, of utility, splendour, and elegance, have been destroyed by the ruthless hands of sanguinary heroes, who have left nothing but ruins as the monuments of their prowess.” The ruins of Persepolis respond to these sentiments, while at the same time, in the ear of reason, they discourse of the mutability of all things below the skies.
The ruins of Persepolis, which are usually called by the inhabitants, “ Tchil-Minar," (the forty pillars, and sometimes “ Hesa Suture," (the thousand columns,) are very grand.
The piles of fallen Persepolis
springs the grass.
Those who have visited the ruins of Persepolis concur in one unanimous verdict, that the city represented by them, must have been the most magnificent ever seen on earth; and that the Persian empire, in all its glory, could not boast of any thing more grand, nor have left to wondering posterity any thing more astonishing, than these venerable ruins. The present inhabitants of the vale of Merdasht, the plain of Persepolis, ignorant of the glories of cheir ancestors, deem them the work of demons, or of the Præadamite sultans, now immured in the rocky caverns of the mighty Caucasus,