Ancient Egypt eBook

George Rawlinson
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 341 pages of information about Ancient Egypt.

About the same time Mentor had proceeded southwards and laid siege to Bubastis.  Having invested the town, he caused intelligence to reach the besieged that Ochus had determined to spare all who should surrender their cities to him without resistance, and to treat with the utmost severity all who should fight strenuously in their defence.  By these means he introduced dissension within the walls of the towns, since the native Egyptians and their Greek allies naturally distrusted and suspected each other.  At Bubastis the Egyptians were the first to move.  The siege had only just begun when they sent an envoy to Mentor’s colleague, Bagoas, to offer to surrender the town to him.  But this proceeding did not suit the Greeks, who caught the messenger, extracted from him his message, and then attacked the Egyptian portion of the garrison and slew great numbers of them.  The Egyptians, however, though beaten, persisted, established communication with Bagoas, and fixed a day on which they would receive his forces into the town.  Mentor, who wished to secure to himself the credit of the surrender, hereupon exhorted his Greek friends to be on the watch, and, when the time came, to resist the movement.  This they did with such success that they not only frustrated the attempt, but captured Bagoas himself, who had ventured within the walls.  Bagoas had to implore the interference of his colleague on his behalf, and was obliged to promise that henceforth he would attempt nothing without Mentor’s knowledge and consent.  Mentor gained his ends, had the credit of being the person to whom the town surrendered itself, and at the same time established his ascendancy over Bagoas.  It is clear that had the Egyptians possessed an active and able commander, advantage might have been taken of the jealousies which divided the Persian generals from their Greek colleagues, to bring the expedition into difficulties.

Unfortunately, the Egyptian monarch, alike pusillanimous and incapable, was so far from making any offensive effort, that he was not prepared even to defend his capital against the invaders.  When he found that Pelusium and Bubastis had both fallen, and that the way lay open for the Persians to march upon Memphis and invest it, he left the city with all the wealth on which he could lay his hands, and fled away into Ethiopia.  Ochus did not pursue him.  He was content to have regained a valuable province, which for above fifty years had been lost to the Persian crown, without even having had to fight a single pitched battle, or to engage in one difficult siege.  According to the Greek writers, he showed his contempt of the Egyptian religion after his conquest by stabbing an Apis-Bull, and violating the sanctity of a number of the most holy shrines; but the story of the Apis-Bull is probably a fiction, and it was to obtain the plunder of the temples, not to insult the Egyptian gods, that he violated the shrines.  There is no trace of his having treated the conquered people with cruelty,

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Ancient Egypt from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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