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Of the barbarians the Persians were the best known to the Greeks, for none of the other barbarians who governed Asia governed Greece. The barbarians were not acquainted with the Greeks, and the Greeks were but slightly acquainted, and by distant report only, with the barbarians. As an instance, Homer was not acquainted with the empire of the Syrians nor of the Medes, for otherwise as he mentions the wealth of Egyptian Thebes and of Phœnicia, he would not have passed over in silence the wealth of Babylon, of Ninus, and of Ecbatana.

The Persians were the first people that brought Greeks under their dominion; the Lydians (before them) did the same, they were not however masters of the whole, but of a small portion only of Asia, that within the river Halys; their empire lasted for a short time, during the reigns of Crœsus and Alyattes; and they were deprived of what little glory they had acquired, when conquered by the Persians.

The Persians, (on the contrary, increased in power and,)as soon as they had destroyed the Median empire, subdued the Lydians and brought the Greeks of Asia under their dominion. At a later period they even passed over into Greece and were worsted in many great battles, but still they continued to keep possession of Asia, as far as the places on the sea-coast, until they were completely subdued by the Macedonians.

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