Thus did these two bodies of troops penetrate into the very heart of the city without opposition. According to agreement, they met together at the royal palace, surprised the guard, and slew them. The company, hearing the tumult without, opened the door. The Persian soldiers rushed in. They were met by the king with his sword in hand. He was slain, and hundreds of his drunken associates shared the same fate. Thus terminated the great banquet of Belshazzar, where the God of heaven was wickedly blasphemed; and thus terminated the Babylonian empire, after a duration of two hundred and ten years from the first of Nabonassar’s reign, who was the founder thereof.
Immediately after the taking of Babylon, Cyrus ordered a day of public thanksgiving to the gods, for their wonderful favors and their kind interposition; and then, having assembled his principal officers, he publicly applauded their courage and prudence, their zeal and attachment to his person, and distributed rewards to his whole army. He also reviewed his forces, which were in a spirited condition. He found they consisted of 120,000 horse, 2,000 chariots armed with scythes, and 600,000 foot.
When Cyrus judged he had sufficiently regulated his affairs at Babylon, he thought proper to take a journey into Persia. On his way thither he went through Media, to visit Darius, to whom he carried many presents, telling him at the same time that he would find a noble palace at Babylon ready prepared for him whenever he should please to go thither. After a brief stay in Persia, he returned to Babylon, accompanied by his uncle, where they counseled together a scheme of government for the whole empire.
The fame of Daniel, as one who had served under so many kings in Babylon, and also as one to whom the gods had imparted a miraculous degree of wisdom, was spread throughout the city and provinces of Babylon; and, since his appearance before the king as the interpreter of the mysterious handwriting on the night of the fatal banquet, his name was held in great reverence by all the dignitaries of that city.
In a magnificent apartment of the king’s palace in the conquered city of Babylon, sat together, in earnest conversation, Darius the Mede, and Cyrus the hero of Persia.
“Thou well sayest that he is neither a Mede nor a Persian,” said Cyrus, “neither is he a Chaldean. He was brought from the land of Judah, a captive, about the commencement of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign. From what I can learn of his history, he was soon placed under tutors, and outstripped all his companions and became a great favorite of the, king. He was soon elevated to posts of honor, and, with the exception of short intervals, he has been the first officer in the kingdom for more than threescore years. He receives wonderful revelations from the gods, and the fall of Babylon came to pass