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The Tyrian Trader and the Great King of Persia

Already, by 1000 B.C. -- about the time that Saul became king of the Hebrews -- the early Greeks were beginning to settle in their little cities on the shores of the AEgean Sea, and soon their ships and traders were being jealously watched by the "grave Tyrian trader," who, at sunrise, looked out from his ship,

"Among the AEgean Isles;

And saw the merry Grecian coaster come,

Freighted with amber, grapes, and Chian wine,

Green bursting figs, and tunnies steeped in brine --

And knew the intruders on his ancient home,

The young light-hearted masters of the waves --

And snatched his rudder, and shook out more sail;"

and then the Tyrian trader voyaged away through the great sea westwards perhaps to the Atlantic.

Now the city of Tyre belonged to the Phoenicians, who were a branch of the Semitic race of the Arabian Desert. On the other hand, the Greeks belonged to the Indo-European race, whose first home was in the grasslands of central Asia; and from this race are derived the peoples and languages of India, of Persia, and of Europe.

The Persians were the first Indo-European people to make themselves felt in history. They learnt civilized life, with metals and writing, from the men of Babylon and Egypt. They wrote on papyrus, for the use of clay and brick tablets was disappearing. Their king, Cyrus, and his archers conquered the wealthy King of Lydia, and from him they learned the use of coined money. At last they became rulers of the whole civilized East, from the river Indus to the AEgean Sea.

These vast lands were ruled by Darius, called the "Great King." He divided his empire into provinces, and he organized a "postal" system along his new roads. His sailors explored the rivers and coasts, and made Persia the first sea empire -- soon to clash with the freedom-loving Greeks.

The "Great King" of Persia was thus the forerunner of the Greek Alexander and of the Roman Augustus. At Persepolis, in his native Persia, his tomb may still be seen carved in the cliff.