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HISTORY OF THE PERSIANS.
THE PHYSICAL HISTORY OF PERSIA.
PERSIA, called in the Old Testament Paras, and by Arabic and Persian writers, Fars, or Farsistan, is used in two significations: first, it is applied to the country originally inhabited by the Persians; and, secondly, to the various Asiatic countries included in the Persian empire founded by Cyrus, which empire extended from the Mediterranean to the Indus, and from the Black and Caspian Seas to the Persian Gulf and the Indian Ocean.
Herodotus says, that the Persians were once called Cephenes by the Greeks, but by themselves and their neighbours Artæi, or heroes; which is a proof of that national vanity in which people of different countries are prone to indulge. The latter word, probably, contains the same root as Arii, the original name of the Medes, and Arya, by which the followers of the Brahminic religion are designated in Sanscrit. The same root occurs in Aria and Ariana, from the latter of which the modern Persian name Iran, seems to be derived.
Commentators on the Sacred Scriptures are generally agreed that Elam is the Scripture name of Persia till the days of the prophet Daniel. Modern historians also write to this effect. Ancient historiansand geographers, however, distinguish Elam or Elymais from Persia, and Media, and even Susiana; and it is difficult
to reconcile this with their opinion who hold that Elam and Persia are the same, and that wherever we meet, in Scripture, with the name Elam, it signifies Persia. Be.. sides, from Xenophon's account, before the time of Cyrus, Persia was comparatively an insignificant and thinly popu. lated region, containing only 120,000 men fit for war, which would not make the population more than half a million of persons. The Scripture account of Elam represents it as a powerful monarchy in ages before the empires of Nineveh and Babylon had begun to rise. How can these accounts be reconciled ? The invasion and conquest of Elam is noticed Jer. xxv. 25, 26; xlix. 34–39, the latter of which prophecies is
very remarkable, and reads thus:
“ The word of the Lord that came to Jeremiah the prophet against Elam in the beginning of the reign of Zedekiah king of Judah, saying, Thus saith the Lord of hosts ; “Behold, I will break the bow of Elam,
The chief of their might.
That I will bring again the captivity of Elam, saith the Lord.” "Here" says a modern writer,* “the dispersion of the Elamites is foretold, and their eventual restoration. But who are these outcasts, and when is their restoration to be dated ?" It is a question too difficult for solution, but it is certain that it does not refer to the Persians. This will be manifest upon a review of its confirmation by the prophet Ezekiel. That prophet, enumerating the various nations conquered by Nebuchadnezzar, as, the Egyptians with Pharaoh-Hophra, or Apries, Meshech, Tubal, and all her multitude, Edom with her kings and princes, the princes of the north and the Sido. nians, says of Elam: “ There is Elam, and all her multitude round about her grave, All of them slain, fallen by the sword,
* See the "CAPTIVITY OF THE Jews,” published by the Religious Tract Society
Which are gone down uncircumcised into the nether parts of the earth,
Ezek. xxxii. 24, 25.
Now, the former of these nations was conquered by the united forces of Nebuchadnezzar and Cyaxares. Elam, therefore, was either a province of the Assyrian empire, and, therefore, also became the prey of the conquerors, or it was an independent kingdom, which fell before these conquerors, and became a province of Media, in conformity with Jeremiah's prediction. But the passage in Ezekiel does not har. monize with Xenophon's account of the Persians before the days of Cyrus, nor with that of Herodotus, who represents Cambyses, the father of Cyrus, though descended from an ancient Persian family, as inferior to a Mede of the middle rank. Then again, by Daniel the prophet, Shushan the palace, and the river Ulai, are placed in the province of Elam; or in other words, in Susiana. And in the Acts of the Apostles, the Elamites are mentioned along with the Parthians, Medes, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, (chap. ii. 9,) in a sense which conveys the idea that they dwelt to the west of the Medes. It would, perhaps, be safer, therefore, to understand by Elam, not Persia, but the province of Elymais, which extended to the south and south-east of Ecbatana, as far as Susiana, or the whole mountainous region of south-western Media, of which Corbienno, or the Carbiana of Strabo, now called Khorremabad, was the capital. Strabo makes Massabatica, Gabiana, and Cyrbiana provinces of the Elymeans, and conjoins Elymais with Susiana on the north and northwest. He also says that Elymais was joined to Media, and n'as a very mountainous country, and that the Elymeans were great robbers. This description agrees with the mountaineers of the modern Looristaun, in the south of Media, and harmonizes with sacred history, which represents Chedorlaomer the Elamite, making a predatory inroad, with other rulers, as robbers, as early as the patriarchal era. According to Pliny, Elymais was inhabited by the Uxii, Mizæi, Parthusi, Mardi, Saitæ, Hyi, Cossæi, Parætaceni, and Messabatæ. The Cosszei here are represented as inhabiting part of Media, but by