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That part of Dr Gillies's introductory chapters which relates to Alexander himself, is rather awkwardly interrupted with a defcription of the countries under his dominion, and long aigreffions upon their previous hiftory. This is a fruitful and almoft boundlefs field. Dark as the earlier ages of Alia appear, there are not wanting fcattered notices and remnants of tradition, enough to establish a few truths, and to fweep away a pile of errors. They bear, however, in ftrictness, but a small relation to the main narrative: yet we have ever regarded as pedantry, the cold criticism which would bind an historian to the mere letter of his undertaking, and condemn the delightful episodes of Gibbon, as idle and irrelevant. In that writer, it is impoffible to admire fufficiently either the prodigality with which he pours out his ftores of knowledge, or the facility with which he preferves their difpofition and arrangement. It is impoffible to compliment Dr Gillies with equal praife in either of thefe refpects; but we can fay, that we have read these preliminary chapters with pleasure, and that he appears to have collected, though we fufpect by no means exhaufted, the materials which are to be found in various branches of ancient and modern literature. It would have been well, perhaps, if he had dwelt more, and with clearer method, upon the civil condition of these countries, at the time of Alexander's conquefts, and lefs upon ancient and uncertain events.
The history of Affyria occupies a confiderable portion both of the fecond and third chapters; and with respect to this obfcure and contefted fubject, Dr Gillies conceives that he has difcovered a fatisfactory explication. Such of our readers as have attempted to pierce the darkness of antiquity, are well aware that the received accounts of that country, including the exploits of those eminent perfonages Ninus and Semiramis, reft principally upon the authority of Diodorus, who has exprefsly borrowed them from Ctefias, a writer notorious for want of veracity; and that the great extent affigned by them to the Affyrian empire, in times of high antiquity, is apparently irreconcileable with the account given in fcripture of the progrefs of the Aflyrian arms in the eighth century before the Chriftian era; till which time, the cities of Mefopotamia, in the very vicinity of Nineveh, feem to have been governed by fmall independent fovereigns. Dr Gillies, to reconcile all difficulties, fuppofes two cities to have exifted of that name; one at Moful upon the Tigris, the commonly fuppofed fite of Nineveh; the other at 400 miles diftance, in the Baylonian plain; and in this latter, he places the feat of the empire of Ninus, and of the great works which are afcribed to his name. So far, however, as we have attended to the point, there feems only one reafon which countenances the fuppofition of this dou
ble Nineveh, and that reafon is not diftinctly stated by Dr Gillies. It is, that Diodorus, differing herein we believe from every other writer, places the city built by Ninus, upon the Euphrates, instead of the Tigris. If this can be got over, there appears to us no great weight in Dr Gillies's arguments. There is no doubt that Nineveh was a great and populous city, long before thofe conquefts of the Affyrian kings, which eftablished the first great monarchy in the eaft. It appears to have been properly what Mr Bryant calls it, a walled province,' comprising a circumference of fifty-one miles, within which were large paftures, and probably land in tillage. And this policy, we may remark, of walling in fo great an extent, does not fuggeft to us the peaceful capital of a mighty empire. To the eaft, indeed, the Affyrians are faid by Herodotus to have poffeffed dominion for feveral centuries, and especially over Media. The authority of that hiftorian is defervedly great, and the fact, perhaps, contains no improbability. At the fame time, the account given by Herodotus of the election of Dejoces, first king of the Medes, after their revolt from the Affyrians, feems rather applicable to a people living in a rude and almoft patriarchal state of fociety, than to one who had lately fhaken off the yoke of a powerful nation; an enterprize which could hardly have been carried on, without fome degree of confederacy and military government. It may be added, that the oriental hiftories of Perfia, which, though not of much antiquity, acquire fome credit by their great refemblance to what we read in Herodotus, appear to be filent with refpect to the occupation of Media by the Allyrians. We suspect, however, that many of our readers may find themfelves exceedingly indifferent about this profound queftion; and as they may be anxious to become better acquainted with Dr Gillies, we fhall prefent them with the following extract, taken with no particular preference from the fecond fection of his introduction.
The fame rank which Bactra held in Ariaria, Peffinus appears to have early acquired in Leffer Afia. Pefinus flood in the fineft plain of Phrygia, which was anciently the most important, as well as largeft province in that peninfula. It was washed by the river Sangarius, and in the near vicinity of the caftle and palace of Gordium, revered for its myfterious knot involving the fate of Afia, and which had remained for upwards of a thousand years united, when it was finally cut by the fword of Alexander. Peffinus was thus fituate in a district of high celebrity, and on the great caravan road which we formerly traced through the smooth and central divifion of the Afiatic peninfula. This road, in approaching the fea-coaft, fplit into three branches, leading into Myfia, Lydia, and Caria: fmall but important provinces, which fhone in arts and induftry many ages before their winding fhores were occupied by Grecian colonies. From Lydia, then called Moonia, Pelops carried into Greece his golden treasures, the fource of power to his family in
the peninfula, to which he communicated the name of Peloponnefus. To the Lydians and Carians, many inventions are afcribed, bespeaking much ingenuity and early civilization. The coaft of Myfia was embraced by the venerable kingdom of Priam, the Hellefpontian Phrygia; and the more inland Phrygians, who were faid to have colonized that maritime district, pretended, on grounds, fome of them folid, and others extremely frivolous, to vie in antiquity with the Egyptians themselves. The three nations of Phrygians, Lydians, and Carians, were intimately connected with each other by the community of religious rites, as well as by the ties of blood and language. They accordingly exhibited a itriking uniformity in manners and purfuits, which, to a reader converfant with Roman history, may be defcribed most briefly, by obferv. ing, that the principal features of their character are faithfully delineated in the effeminacy, ingenuity, and pompous vanity of the Tufcans, a kindred people, and their reputed descendants.
Thefe industrious and polished, but unwarlike inhabitants on the coaft of the Ægean, were connected by many links with Upper Afia, but particularly by Peffinus, the ancient capital of the Phrygian kings, and at the fame time the firft and principal fanctuary, in those parts, of the mother of the gods, thence called the Peffinuntian Goddess, and more frequently the Idean Mother, Cybele, Berecynthia, Dindymené, names all of them derived from her long-eftablished worship on neighbouring mountains. The feftivals of Cybele are selected, in poetical defeription, as among the moft fhowy and magnificent in paganism; and both the commerce and the fuperftition of Peffinus continued to flourish in vigour even down to the reign of Auguftus. But in his age the minifters of the divinity, though they ftill continued magiftrates of the city, had exceedingly declined in opulence and power; and, inftead of being independent fovereigns with confiderable revenues, might be deferibed in modern language, in a work lefs grave than history, as a fort of prince bishops, vaffals and mere creatures of Rome. To the weft of Peffinus, the city Morena in Myfia, and, to the eaft of it, Morimena, Zela, and Comana, in the great central province of Cappadocia, exhibited inftitutions exactly fimilar to each other, and all nearly refembling thofe of the Phrygian capital. In the Auguftan age, all thofe cities ftill continued to be governed by facerdotal families, to which they had been fubject from immemorial antiquity: they all flood on the great caravan road through Leffer Afia; and in all of them the terms markedby festivals and proceffions, were alfo diftinguifhed by great fairs, not only frequented by neighbouring nations, but alfo numerously attended by traders from Upper Afia, and even by diftant Nomades. Conformably with these circumitances in their favour, the routes of commerce traced a clear and distinct line of civilization and wealth, thus vifibly contrated with the rudenefs and poverty of many remote parts of the peninfula; with the favageness of the Ifaurians and Pifidians; with the halt-barbarous Bitnynians and Paphlagonians; in a word, with all those divifions of the country which lay beyond the genial influence of com.
merce introduced and upheld by fuperftition, and fuperftition enriched, embellished, and confirmed by the traffic, which it protected and extended.' p. 86.
The struggle for power among the generals of Alexander, which lasted from his death to the battle of Ipsus, 22 years afterwards, occupies the seven next chapters. During this period, events crowd upon the mind in the most rapid succession; interesting alike from the talents of the ambitious chiefs concerned in them, and from the novel combinations of political affairs. which were perpetually taking place. The cruel Perdiccas, the selfish Ptolemy, the brave and generous Eumenes, the rapacious and unprincipled Antigonus, pass in review like phantoms over the stage; and, in the conflict of their energetic ambition, we scarcely heed the sceptre of Alexander sliding from the feeble hands of his son and brother, and the sanguinary extinction of his family. The confederacy of four princes against the overgrown power of Antigonus, produced a more permanent settlement of the empire; and whatever may have been the case among the petty republics of Greece, this seems to have been the first instance of a coalition to restore the balance of power by distant and powerful sovereigns. The scheme of confederacy was planned with peculiar secrecy, and conducted with steadiness. Syria and the Lesser Asia at that time were governed by Antigonus; and his son Demetrius occupied most of the cities of Greece. The four confederates hung upon the frontiers of his monarchy. Elated with prosperity, the wily old man was for once taken by surprise. Lysimachus from Thrace, with the Macedonian auxiliaries of Cassander, burst into Phrygia; while Seleucus hastened to join him from beyond the Euphrates; and Ptolemy, though with more cautious marches, advanced from Egypt into Palestine. By the united armies of the two former, he was defeated and slain at Ipsus. in Phrygia; and from the par-tition of his dominions were formed four kingdoms, which shortly were reduced to the three celebrated ones of Macedon, Syria, and Egypt. We give Dr Gillies credit, upon examination, for. sufficient fidelity to the materials from whence he has extracted his narrative; a notice which may seem the more necessary, as, in his translation of Aristotle's Ethics and Politics, he had indulged a most reprehensible license of loose paraphrase, or rather of interpolation.
Coincident with these events in point of time, though bearing no manner of relation to them, are the wars of Agathocles, tyrant of Syracuse, with the Carthaginians in Sicily: a country which, though at that time in its decline, possesses so many claims to our curiosity, that it might have been worth. while for Dr Gillies to have collected more of the scattered m‹
terials which remain, with respect to the splendour of its better days. From Sicily he speedily returns to Asia, and brings before our eyes the partial dismemberment of the great empire of Seleucus, by the rise of independent sovereignties in Bactria, Parthia, and Asia Minor; the desolating irruption of the Gauls into the fairest provinces of Greece and Asia, and the security, renown, and lettered opulence of Egypt under the reign of Ptolemy Philadelphus. But we enter our protest against the concluding chapter of the first volume, in which the author descants upon the early history of Rome; a subject, especially in his matter-of-fact mode of treating it, too trite to justify so superfluous an episode. As we come lower down in the history, Rome begins more to appear upon the stage; and the greater part of the second volume is employed upon transactions, which are familiar to those conversant in the history of that republic. It is painful to follow the uninterrupted successes of unjust aggression; and these are not the times, in which the history of the steps by which the world was formerly absorbed into one empire, can be read either with less interest or greater satisfaction than heretofore. In some instances, traces of resemblance between ancient and modern times, force themselves upon our attention. Who, indeed, that remembers the proclamations and conduct of the French in Italy about the year 1797, but must be struck with the resemblance they bear to the declarations of the liberty of Greece issued by Flamininus after the battle of Cynocephale. The same insincere professions of regard to their national freedom, were met with the same exultation at their release from a former yoke, and the same enthusiastic confidence in the delusive image of permanent independence. The parallel may seem more perfect, if we add to it their speedy spoliation by the hands of their generous benefactors of those works of art, which were not only the public pride, but, in many of the smaller cities, the chief means of enriching the community.
A more pleasing scene is displayed in the rise of the Achæan league, the second, but very inferior spring, of republican freedom in Greece. It was most wisely planned for a country much decayed in power, and unable to assume that haughty tone of independence, which Pericles or Agesilaus would rather have perished than have relaxed. It was the humbler object of Aratus to render the kings of Macedon allies and protectors, though not masters of Greece; and, by deferring much to their influence, to preserve what was most essential, the free regulation of their internal concerns, and a security from foreign garrisons in their cities. This object would have been more completely attained, if the other cities of Greece had been less jealous of the league: