Cyropaedia, by Xenophon


[C.1] Such were the deeds they did and such the words they spoke. Then Cyrus bade them set a guard over the share chosen for Cyaxares, selecting those whom he knew were most attached to their lord, “And what you have given me,” he added, “I accept with pleasure, but I hold it at the service of those among you who would enjoy it the most.”

At that one of the Medes who was passionately fond of music said, “In truth, Cyrus, yesterday evening I listened to the singing-girls who are yours today, and if you could give me one of them, I would far rather be serving on this campaign than sitting at home.”

And Cyrus said, “Most gladly I will give her; she is yours. And I believe I am more grateful to you for asking than you can be to me for giving; I am so thirsty to gratify you all.”

So this suitor carried off his prize. [2] And then Cyrus called to his side Araspas the Mede, who had been his comrade in boyhood. It was he to whom Cyrus gave the Median cloak he was wearing when he went back to Persia from his grandfather’s court. Now he summoned him, and asked him to take care of the tent and the lady from Susa. [3] She was the wife of Abradatas, a Susian, and when the Assyrian army was captured it happened that her husband was away: his master had sent him on an embassy to Bactria to conclude an alliance there, for he was the friend and host of the Bactrian king. And now Cyrus asked Araspas to guard the captive lady until her husband could take her back himself. [4] To that Araspas replied, “Have you seen the lady whom you bid me guard?”

“No, indeed,” said Cyrus, “certainly I have not.”

“But I have,” rejoined the other, “I saw here when we chose her for you. When we came into the tent, we did not make her out at first, for she was seated on the ground with all her maidens round her, and she was clad in the same attire as her slaves, but when we looked at them all to discover the mistress, we soon saw that one outshone the others, although she was veiled and kept her eyes on the ground. [5] And when we bade her rise, all her women rose with her, and then we saw that she was marked out from them all by her height, and her noble bearing, and her grace, and the beauty that shone through her mean apparel. And, under her veil, we could see the big tear-drops trickling down her garments to her feet. [6] At that sight the eldest of us said, ‘Take comfort, lady, we know that your husband was beautiful and brave, but we have chosen you a man today who is no whit inferior to him in face or form or mind or power; Cyrus, we believe, is more to be admired than any soul on earth, and you shall be his from this day forward.’ But when the lady heard that, she rent the veil that covered her head and gave a pitiful cry, while her maidens lifted up their voice and wept with their mistress. [7] And thus we could see her face, and her neck, and her arms, and I tell you, Cyrus,” he added, “I myself, and all who looked on her, felt that there never was, and never had been, in broad Asia a mortal woman half so fair as she. Nay, but you must see her for yourself.”

[8] “Say, rather, I must not,” answered Cyrus, “if she be such as you describe.”

“And why not?” asked the young man.

“Because,” said he, “if the mere report of her beauty could persuade me to go and gaze on her today, when I have not a moment to spare, I fear she would win me back again and perhaps I should neglect all I have to do, and sit and gaze at her for ever.”

[9] At that the young man laughed outright and said:

“So you think, Cyrus, that the beauty of any human creature can compel a man to do wrong against his will? Surely if that were the nature of beauty, all men would feel its force alike. [10] See how fire burns all men equally; it is the nature of it so to do; but these flowers of beauty, one man loves them, and another loves them not, nor does every man love the same. For love is voluntary, and each man loves what he chooses to love. The brother is not enamoured of his own sister, nor the father of his own daughter; some other man must be the lover. Reverence and law are strong enough to break the heart of passion. [11] But if a law were passed saying, ‘Eat not, and thou shalt not starve; Drink not, and thou shalt not thirst; Let not cold bite thee in winter nor heat inflame thee in summer,’ I say there is no law that could compel us to obey; for it is our nature to be swayed by these forces. But love is voluntary; each man loves to himself alone, and according as he chooses, just as he chooses his cloak or his sandals.”

[12] “Then,” said Cyrus, “if love be voluntary, why cannot a man cease to love when he wishes? I have seen men in love,” said he, “who have wept for very agony, who were the very slaves of those they loved, though before the fever took them they thought slavery the worst of evils. I have seen them make gifts of what they ill could spare, I have seen them praying, yes, praying, to be rid of their passion, as though it were any other malady, and yet unable to shake it off; they were bound hand and foot by a chain of something stronger than iron. There they stood at the beck and call of their idols, and that without rhyme or reason; and yet, poor slaves, they make no attempt to run away, in spite of all they suffer; on the contrary, they mount guard over their tyrants, for fear these should escape.”

[13] But the young man spoke in answer: “True,” he said, “there are such men, but they are worthless scamps, and that is why, though they are always praying to die and be put out of their misery and though ten thousand avenues lie open by which to escape from life, they never take one of them. These are the very men who are prepared to steal and purloin the goods of others, and yet you know yourself, when they do it, you are the first to say stealing is not done under compulsion, and you blame the thief and the robber; you do not pity him, you punish him. [14] In the same way, beautiful creatures do not compel others to love them or pursue them when it is wrong, but these good-for-nothing scoundrels have no self-control, and then they lay the blame on love. But the nobler type of man, the true gentleman, beautiful and brave, though he desire gold and splendid horses and lovely women, can still abstain from each and all alike, and lay no finger on them against the law of honour. [15] Take my own case,” he added, “I have seen this lady myself, and passing fair I found her, and yet here I stand before you, and am still your trooper and can still perform my duty.”

[16] “I do not deny it,” said Cyrus; “probably you came away in time. Love takes a little while to seize and carry off his victim. A man may touch fire for a moment and not be burnt; a log will not kindle all at once; and yet for all that, I am not disposed to play with fire or look on beauty. You yourself, my friend, if you will follow my advice, will not let your own eyes linger there too long; burning fuel will only burn those who touch it, but beauty can fire the beholder from afar, until he is all aflame with love.”

[17] “Oh, fear me not, Cyrus,” answered he; “if I looked till the end of time I could not be made to do what ill befits a man.”

“A fair answer,” said Cyrus. “Guard her then, as I bid you, and be careful of her. This lady may be of service to us all one day.”

[18] With these words they parted. But afterwards, after the young man saw from day to day how marvellously fair the woman was, and how noble and gracious in herself, after he took care of her, and fancied that she was not insensible to what he did, after she set herself, through her attendants, to care for his wants and see that all things were ready for him when he came in, and that he should lack for nothing if ever he were sick, after all this, love entered his heart and took possession, and it may be there was nothing surprising in his fate. So at least it was.

[19] Meanwhile Cyrus, who was anxious that the Medes and the allies should stay with him of their own free choice, called a meeting of their leading men, and when they were come together he spoke as follows:

[20] “Sons of the Medes and gentlemen all, I am well aware it was not from need of money that you went out with me, nor yet in order to serve Cyaxares; you came for my sake. You marched with me by night, you ran into danger at my side, simply to do me honour. [21] Unless I were a miscreant, I could not but be grateful for such kindness. But I must confess that at present I lack the ability to make a fit requital. This I am not ashamed to tell you, but I would feel ashamed to add, ‘If you will stay with me, I will be sure to repay you,’ for that would look as though I spoke to bribe you into remaining. Therefore I will not say that; I will say instead, ‘Even if you listen to Cyaxares and go back today, I will still act so that you shall praise me, I will not forget you in the day of my good fortune.’ [22] For myself, I will never go back; I cannot, for I must confirm my oath to the Hyrcanians and the pledge I gave them; they are my friends and I shall never be found a traitor to them. Moreover, I am bound to Gobryas, who has offered us the use of his castle, his territory, and his power; and I would not have him repent that he came to me. [23] Last of all, and more than all, when the great gods have showered such blessings on us, I fear them and I reverence them too much to turn my back on all they have given us. This, then, is what I myself must do; it is for you to decide as you think best, and you will acquaint me with your decision.”

[24] So he spoke, and the first to answer was the Mede who had claimed kinship with Cyrus in the old days.

“Listen to me,” he said, “O king! For king I take you to be by right of nature; even as the king of the hive among the bees, whom all the bees obey and take for their leader of their own free will; where he stays they stay also, not one of them departs, and where he goes, not one of them fails to follow; so deep a desire is in them to be ruled by him. [25] Even thus, I believe, do our men feel towards you. Do you remember the day you left us to go home to Persia? Was there one of us, young or old, who did not follow you until Astyages turned us back? And later, when you returned to bring us aid, did we not see for ourselves how your friends poured after you? And again, when you had set your heart on this expedition, we know that the Medes flocked to your standard with one consent. [26] To-day we have learnt to feel that even in an enemy’s country we may be of good heart if you are with us, but, without you, we should be afraid even to return to our homes. The rest may speak for themselves, and tell you how they will act, but for myself, Cyrus, and for those under me, I say we will stand by you; we shall not grow weary of gazing at you, and we will continue to endure your benefits.”

[27] Thereupon Tigranes spoke:

“Do not wonder, Cyrus, if I am silent now. The soul within me is ready, not to offer counsel, but to do your bidding.” [28] And the Hyrcanian chieftain said, “For my part, if you Medes turn back today I shall say it was the work of some evil genius, who could not brook the fulfilment of your happiness. For no human heart could think of retiring when the foe is in flight, refusing to receive his sword when he surrenders it, rejecting him when he offers himself and all that he calls his own; above all, when we have a prince of men for our leader, one who, I swear it by the holy gods, takes delight to do us service, not to enrich himself.”

[29] Thereupon the Medes cried with one consent:

“It was you, Cyrus, who led us out, and it is you who must lead us home again, when the right moment comes.”

And when Cyrus heard that, he prayed aloud:

“O most mighty Zeus, I supplicate thee, suffer me to outdo these friends of mine in courtesy and kindly dealing.”

[30] Upon that he gave his orders. The rest of the army were to place their outposts and see to their own concerns, while the Persians took the tents allotted to them, and divided them among their cavalry and infantry, to suit the needs of either arm. Then they arranged for the stewards to wait on them in future, bring them all they needed, and keep their horses groomed, so that they themselves might be free for the work of war. Thus they spent that day.

[C.2] But on the morrow they set out for their march to Gobryas. Cyrus rode on horseback at the head of his new Persian cavalry, two thousand strong, with as many more behind them, carrying their shields and swords, and the rest of the army followed in due order. The cavalry were told to make their new attendants understand that they would be punished if they were caught falling behind the rear-guard, or riding in advance of the column, or straggling on either flank. [2] Towards evening of the second day the army found themselves before the castle of Gobryas, and they saw that the place was exceedingly strong and that all preparations had been made for the stoutest possible defence. They noticed also that great herds of cattle and endless flocks of sheep and goats had been driven up under the shelter of the castle walls. [3] Then Gobryas sent word to Cyrus, bidding him ride round and see where the place was easiest of approach, and meanwhile send his trustiest Persians to enter the fortress and bring him word what they found within. [4] Cyrus, who really wished to see if the citadel admitted of attack in case Gobryas proved false, rode all round the walls, and found they were too strong at every point. Presently the messengers who had gone in brought back word that there were supplies enough to last a whole generation and still not fail the garrison. [5] While Cyrus was wondering what this could mean, Gobryas himself came out, and all his men behind him, carrying wine and corn and barley, and driving oxen and goats and swine, enough to feast the entire host. [6] And his stewards fell to distributing the stores at once, and serving up a banquet. Then Gobryas invited Cyrus to enter the castle now that all the garrison had left it, using every precaution he might think wise; and Cyrus took him at his word, and sent in scouts and a strong detachment before he entered the palace himself. Once within, he had the gates thrown open and sent for all his own friends and officers. [7] And when they joined him, Gobryas had beakers of gold brought out, and pitchers, and goblets, and costly ornaments, and golden coins without end, and all manner of beautiful things, and last of all he sent for his own daughter, tall and fair, a marvel of beauty and stateliness, still wearing mourning for her brother. And her father said to Cyrus, “All these riches I bestow on you for a gift, and I put my daughter in your hands, to deal with as you think best. We are your suppliants; I but three days gone for my son, and she this day for her brother; we beseech you to avenge him.”

[8] And Cyrus made answer:

“I gave you my promise before that if you kept faith with me I would avenge you, so far as in me lay, and today I see the debt is due, and the promise I made to you I repeat to your daughter; God helping me, I will perform it. As for these costly gifts,” he added, “I accept them, and I give them for a dowry to your daughter, and to him who may win her hand in marriage. One gift only I will take with me when I go, but that is a thing so precious that if I changed it for all the wealth of Babylon or the whole world itself I could not go on my way with half so blithe a heart.”

[9] And Gobryas wondered what this rare thing could be, half suspecting it might be his daughter. “What is it, my lord?” said he. And Cyrus answered, “I will tell you. A man may hate injustice and impiety and lies, but if no one offers him vast wealth or unbridled power or impregnable fortresses or lovely children, he dies before he can show what manner of man he is. [10] But you have placed everything in my hands today, this mighty fortress, treasures of every kind, your own power, and a daughter most worthy to be won. And thus you have shown all men that I could not sin against my friend and my host, nor act unrighteously for the sake of wealth, nor break my plighted word of my own free will. [11] This is your gift, and, so long as I am a just man and known to be such, receiving the praise of my fellow-men, I will never forget it; I will strive to repay you with every honour I can give. [12] Doubt not,” he added, “but that you will find a husband worthy of your daughter. I have many a good man and true among my friends, and one of them will win her hand; but I could not say whether he will have less wealth, or more, than what you offer me. Only of one thing you may be certain; there are those among them who will not admire you one whit the more because of the splendour of your gifts; they will only envy me and supplicate the gods that one day it will be given to them to show that they too are loyal to their friends, that they too will never yield to their foes while life is in them, unless some god strike them down; that they too would never sacrifice virtue and fair renown for all the wealth you proffer and all the treasure of Syria and Assyria to boot. Such is the nature, believe me, of some who are seated here.”

[13] And Gobryas smiled. “By heaven, I wish you would point them out to me, and I would beg you to give me one of them to be my son-inlaw.” And Cyrus said, “You will not need to learn their names from me; follow us, and you will be able to point them out yourself.”

[14] With these words he rose, clasped the hand of Gobryas, and went out, all his men behind him. And though Gobryas pressed him to stay and sup in the citadel, he would not, but took his supper in the camp and constrained Gobryas to take his meal with them. [15] And there, lying on a couch of leaves, he put this question to him, ‘Tell me, Gobryas, who has the largest store of coverlets, yourself, or each of us?” And the Assyrian answered, “You, I know, have more than I, more coverlets, more couches, and a far larger dwelling-place, for your home is earth and heaven, and every nook may be a couch, and for your coverlets you need not count the fleeces of your flocks, but the brushwood, and the herbage of hill and plain.”

[16] Nevertheless, when the meal began, it must be said that Gobryas, seeing the poverty of what was set before him, thought at first that his own men were far more open-handed than the Persians. [17] But his mood changed as he watched the grace and decorum of the company; and saw that not a single Persian who had been schooled would ever gape, or snatch at the viands, or let himself be so absorbed in eating that he could attend to nothing else; these men prided themselves on showing their good sense and their intelligence while they took their food, just as a perfect rider sits his horse with absolute composure, and can look and listen and talk to some purpose while he puts him through his paces. To be excited or flustered by meat and drink was in their eyes something altogether swinish and bestial. [18] Nor did Gobryas fail to notice that they only asked questions which were pleasant to answer, and only jested in a manner to please; all their mirth was as far from impertinence and malice as it was from vulgarity and unseemliness. [19] And what struck him most was their evident feeling that on a campaign, since the danger was the same for all, no one was entitled to a larger share than any of his comrades; on the contrary, it was thought the perfection of the feast to perfect the condition of those who were to share the fighting. [20] And thus when he rose to return home, the story runs that he said:

“I begin to understand, Cyrus, how it is that while we have more goblets and more gold, more apparel and more wealth than you, yet we ourselves are not worth as much. We are always trying to increase what we possess, but you seem to set your hearts on perfecting your own souls.”

[21] But Cyrus only answered:

“My friend, be here without fail tomorrow, and bring all your cavalry in full armour, so that we may see your power, and then lead us through your country and show us who are hostile and who are friendly.”

[22] Thus they parted for the time and each saw to his own concerns.

But when the day dawned Gobryas appeared with his cavalry and led the way. And Cyrus, as a born general would, not only supervised the march, but watched for any chance to weaken the enemy and add to his own strength. [23] With this in view, he summoned the Hyrcanian chief and Gobryas himself; for they were the two he thought most likely to give him the information that he needed.

“My friends,” said he, “I think I shall not err if I trust to your fidelity and consult you about the campaign. You, even more than I, are bound to see that the Assyrians do not overpower us. For myself, if I fail, there may well be some loophole of escape. But for you, if the king conquers, I see nothing but enmity on every side. [24] For, although he is my enemy, he bears me no malice, he only feels that it is against his interest for me to be powerful and therefore he attacks me. But you he hates with a bitter hatred, believing he is wronged by you.”

To this his companions answered that he must finish what he had to say; they were well aware of the facts, and had the deepest interest in the turn events might take.

[25] Thereupon Cyrus put his questions: “Does the king suppose that you alone are his enemies, or do you know of others who hate him too?” “Certainly we do,” replied the Hyrcanian, “the Cadousians are his bitterest foes, and they are both numerous and warlike. Then there are the Sakians, our neighbours, who have suffered severely at his hands, for he tried to subdue them as he subdued us.”

[26] “Then you think,” said Cyrus, “that they would be glad to attack him in our company?” “Much more than glad,” answered they; “if they could manage to join us.” “And what stands in their way?” asked he. “The Assyrians themselves,” said they, “the very people among whom you are marching now.” [27] At that Cyrus turned to Gobryas:

“And what of this lad who is now on the throne? Did you not charge him with unbridled insolence?”

“Even so,” replied Gobryas, “and I think he gave me cause.” “Tell me,” said Cyrus, “were you the only man he treated thus, or did others suffer too?”

[28] “Many others,” said Gobryas, “but some of them were weak, and why should I weary you with the insults they endured? I will tell you of a young man whose father was a much greater personage than I, and who was himself, like my own son, a friend and comrade of the prince. One day at a drinking-bout this monster had the youth seized and mutilated, and why? Some say simply because a paramour of his own had praised the boy’s beauty and said his bride was a woman to be envied. The king himself now asserts it was because he had tried to seduce his paramour. That young man, eunuch as he is, is now at the head of his province, for his father is dead.”

[29] “Well,” rejoined Cyrus, “I take it, you believe he would welcome us, if he thought we came to help him?” “I am more than sure of that,” said Gobryas, “but it is not so easy to set eyes on him.” “And why?” asked Cyrus. “Because if we are to join him at all, we must march right past Babylon itself.” [30] “And where is the difficulty in that?” said Cyrus. “Heaven help us!” cried Gobryas. “The city has only to open her gates, and she can send out an army ten thousand times as large as yours. That is why,” he added, “the Assyrians are less prompt than they were at bringing in their weapons and their horses, because those who have seen your army think it so very small, and their report has got about. So that in my opinion it would be better to advance with the utmost care.”

[31] Cyrus listened and replied.

“You do well, Gobryas, my friend, in urging as much care as possible. But I cannot myself see a safer route for us than the direct advance on Babylon, if Babylon is the centre of the enemy’s strength. They are numerous, you say, and if they are in good heart, we shall soon know it. [32] Now, if they cannot find us and imagine that we have disappeared from fear of them, you may take it as certain that they will be quit of the terror we have inspired. Courage will spring up in its place, and grow the greater the longer we lie hid. But if we march straight on then, we shall find them still mourning for the dead whom we have slain, still nursing the wounds we have inflicted, still trembling at the daring of our troops, still mindful of their own discomfiture and flight. [33] Gobryas,” he added, “be assured of this; men in the mass, when aflame with courage, are irresistible, and when their hearts fail them, the more numerous they are the worse the panic that seizes them. [34] It comes upon them magnified by a thousand lies, blanched by a thousand pallors, it gathers head from a thousand terror-stricken looks, until it grows so great that no orator can allay it by his words, no general arouse the old courage by a charge, or revive the old confidence by retreat; the more their leader cheers them on, the worse do the soldiers take their case to be. [35] Now by all means let us see exactly how things stand with us. If from henceforward victory must fall to those who can reckon the largest numbers, your fears for us are justified, and we are indeed in fearful danger; but if the old rule still holds, and battles are decided by the qualities of those who fight, then, I say, take heart and you will never fail. You will find far more stomach for the fight among our ranks than theirs. [36] And to hearten you the more, take note of this: our enemies are far fewer now than when we worsted them, far weaker than when they fled from us, while we are stronger because we are conquerors, and greater because fortune has been ours; yes, and actually more numerous because you and yours have joined us, for I would not have you hold your men too low, now that they are side by side with us. In the company of conquerors, Gobryas, the hearts of the followers beat high. [37] Nor should you forget,” he added, “that the enemy is well able to see us as it is, and the sight of us will certainly not be more alarming if we wait for him where we are than if we advance against him. That is my opinion, and now you must lead us straight for Babylon.”

[C.3] And so the march continued, and on the fourth day they found themselves at the limit of the territory over which Gobryas ruled. Since they were now in the enemy’s country Cyrus changed the disposition of his men, taking the infantry immediately under his own command, with sufficient cavalry to support them, and sending the rest of the mounted troops to scour the land. Their orders were to cut down every one with arms in his hands, and drive in the rest, with all the cattle they could find. The Persians were ordered to take part in this raid, and though many came home with nothing for their trouble but a toss from their horses, others brought back a goodly store of booty.

[2] When the spoil was all brought in, Cyrus summoned the officers of the Medes and the Hyrcanians, as well as his own peers, and spoke as follows:

“My friends, Gobryas has entertained us nobly; he has showered good things upon us. What say you then? After we have set aside the customary portion for the gods and a fair share for the army, shall we not give all the rest of the spoil to him? Would it not be a noble thing, a sign and symbol at the outset that we desire to outdo in well-doing those who do good to us?”

[3] At that all his hearers with one consent applauded, and a certain officer rose and said:

“By all means, Cyrus, let us do so. I myself cannot but feel that Gobryas must have thought us almost beggars because we were not laden with coins of gold and did not drink from golden goblets. But if we do this, he will understand that men may be free and liberal without the help of gold.”

[4] “Come then,” said Cyrus, “let us pay the priests our debt to heaven, select what the army requires, and then summon Gobryas and give the rest to him.”

So they took what they needed and gave all the rest to Gobryas.

[5] Forthwith Cyrus pressed on towards Babylon, his troops in battle order. But as the Assyrians did not come out to meet them, he bade Gobryas ride forward and deliver this message:

“If the king will come out to fight for his land, I, Gobryas, will fight for him, but, if he will not defend his own country, we must yield to the conquerors.”

[6] So Gobryas rode forward, just far enough to deliver the message in safety. And the king sent a messenger to answer him:

“Thy master says to thee: ‘It repents me, Gobryas, not that I slew thy son, but that I stayed my hand from slaying thee. And now if ye will do battle, come again on the thirtieth day from hence. We have no leisure now, our preparations are still on foot.’”

[7] And Gobryas made answer:

“It repents thee: may that repentance never cease! I have begun to make thee suffer, since the day repentance took hold on thee.”

[8] Then Gobryas brought back the words of the king to Cyrus, and Cyrus led his army off, and then he summoned Gobryas and said to him:

“Surely you told me that you thought the man who was made an eunuch by the king would be upon our side?”

“And I am sure he will,” answered Gobryas, “for we have spoken freely to each other many a time, he and I.” [9] “Then,” said Cyrus, “you must go to him when you think the right moment has come: and you must so act at first that only he and you may know what he intends, and when you are closeted with him, if you find he really wishes to be a friend, you must contrive that his friendship remain a secret: for in war a man can scarcely do his friends more good than by a semblance of hostility, or his enemies more harm than under the guise of friendship.” [10] “Aye,” answered Gobryas, “and I know that Gadatas would pay a great price to punish the king of Assyria. But it is for us to consider what he can best do.” [11] “Tell me now,” rejoined Cyrus, “you spoke of an outpost, built against the Hyrcanians and the Sakians, which was to protect Assyria in time of war — could the eunuch be admitted there by the commandant if he came with a force at his back?” “Certainly he could,” said Gobryas, “if he were as free from suspicion as he is today.” [12] “And free he would be,” Cyrus went on, “if I were to attack his strongholds as though in earnest, and he were to repel me in force. I might capture some of his men, and he some of my soldiers, or some messengers sent by me to those you say are the enemies of Assyria, and these prisoners would let it be known that they were on their way to fetch an army with scaling-ladders to attack this fortress, and the eunuch, hearing their story, would pretend that he came to warn the commandant in time.” [13] “Undoubtedly,” said Gobryas, “if things went thus, the commandant would admit him; he would even beg him to stay there until you withdrew.”

“And then,” Cyrus continued, “once inside the walls, he could put the place into our hands?” [14] “We may suppose so,” said Gobryas. “He would be there to settle matters within, and you would be redoubling the pressure from without.”

“Then be off at once,” said Cyrus, “and do your best to teach him his part, and when you have arranged affairs, come back to me; and as for pledges of good faith, you could offer him none better than those you received from us yourself.”

[15] Then Gobryas made haste and was gone, and the eunuch welcomed him gladly; he agreed to everything and helped to arrange all that was needed. Presently Gobryas brought back word that he thought the eunuch had everything in readiness, and so, without more ado, Cyrus made his feigned attack on the following day, and was beaten off. [16] But on the other hand there was a fortress, indicated by Gadatas himself, that Cyrus took. The messengers Cyrus had sent out, telling them exactly where to go, fell into the hands of Gadatas: some were allowed to escape — their business was to fetch the troops and carry the scaling-ladders — but the rest were narrowly examined in the presence of many witnesses, and when Gadatas heard the object of their journey he got his equipment together and set out in the night at full speed to take the news. [17] In the end he made his way into the fortress, trusted and welcomed as a deliverer, and for a time he helped the commandant to the best of his ability. But as soon as Cyrus appeared he seized the place, aided by the Persian prisoners he had taken. [18] This done, and having set things in order within the fortress, Gadatas went out to Cyrus, bowed before him according to the custom of his land, and said, “Cyrus, may joy be yours!”

[19] “Joy is mine already,” answered he, “for you, God helping you, have brought it to me. You must know,” he added, “that I set great store by this fortress, and rejoice to leave it in the hands of my allies here. And for yourself, Gadatas,” he added, “if the Assyrian has robbed you of the ability to beget children, remember he has not stolen your power to win friends; you have made us yours, I tell you, by this deed, and we will stand by as faithfully as sons and grandsons of your own.”

[20] So Cyrus spoke. And at that instant the Hyrcanian chief, who had only just learnt what had happened, came running up to him, and seizing him by the hand cried out:

“O Cyrus, you godsend to your friends! How often you make me thank the gods for bringing me to you!”

[21] “Off with you, then,” said Cyrus, “and occupy this fortress for which you bless me so. Take it and make the best use of it you can, for your own nation, and for all our allies, and above all for Gadatas, our friend, who won it and surrenders it to us.”

[22] “Then,” said the chieftain, “as soon as the Cadousians arrive and the Sakians and my countrymen, we must, must we not? call a council of them all, so that we may consult together, and see how best to turn it to account.”

[23] Cyrus thought the proposal good, and when they met together it was decided to garrison the post with a common force, chosen from all who were concerned that it should remain friendly and be an outer balwark to overawe the Assyrians. [24] This heightened the enthusiasm of them all, Cadousians, Sakians, and Hyrcanians, and their levies rose high, until the Cadousians sent in 20,000 light infantry and 4000 cavalry, and the Sakians 11,000 bowmen, 10,000 on foot and 1000 mounted, while the Hyrcanians were free to despatch all their reserves of infantry and make up their horsemen to a couple of thousand strong, whereas previously the larger portion of their cavalry had been left at home to support the Cadousians and Sakians against Assyria.

[25] And while Cyrus was kept in the fortress, organising and arranging everything, many of the Assyrians from the country round brought in their horses and handed over their arms, being by this time in great dread of their neighbours.

[26] Soon after this Gadatas came to Cyrus and told him that messengers had come to say that the king of Assyria, learning what had happened to the fortress, was beside himself with anger, and was preparing to attack his territory. “If you, Cyrus,” said he, “will let me go now, I will try to save my fortresses: the rest is of less account.” [27] Cyrus said, “If you go now, when will you reach home?” And Gadatas answered, “On the third day from this I can sup in my own house.” “Do you think,” asked Cyrus, “that you will find the Assyrian already there?” “I am sure of it,” he answered, “for he will make haste while he thinks you are still far off.” [28] “And I,” said Cyrus, “when could I be there with my army?” But to this Gadatas made answer, “The army you have now, my lord, is very large, and you could not reach my home in less than six days or seven.” “Well,” Cyrus replied, “be off yourself: make all speed, and I will follow as best I can.”

[29] So Gadatas was gone, and Cyrus called together all the officers of the allies, and a great and goodly company they seemed, noble gentlemen, beautiful and brave. And Cyrus stood up among them all and said:

[30] “My allies and my friends, Gadatas has done deeds that we all feel worthy of high reward, and that too before ever he had received any benefit from us. The Assyrians, we hear, have now invaded his territory, to take vengeance for the monstrous injury they consider he has done them, and moreover, they doubtless argue that if those who revolt to us escape scot-free, while those who stand by them are cut to pieces, ere long they will not have a single supporter on their side. [31] To-day, gentlemen, we may do a gallant deed, if we rescue Gadatas, our friend and benefactor; and truly it is only just and right thus to repay gift for gift, and boon for boon. Moreover, as it seems to me, what we accomplish will be much to our own interest. [32] If all men see that we are ready to give blow for blow and sting for sting, while we outdo our benefactors in generous deeds, it is only natural that multitudes will long to be our friends, and no man care to be our foe. [33] Whereas, if it be thought that we left Gadatas in the lurch, how in heaven’s name shall we persuade another to show us any kindness? How shall we dare to think well of ourselves again? How shall one of us look Gadatas in the face, when all of us, so many and so strong, showed ourselves less generous than he, one single man and in so sore a plight?”

[34] Thus Cyrus spoke, and all of them assented right willingly, and said it must be done.

“Come then,” concluded Cyrus, “since you are all of one mind with me, let each of us choose an escort for our waggons and beasts of burden. [35] Let us leave them behind us, and put Gobryas at their head. He is acquainted with the roads, and for the rest he is a man of skill. But we ourselves will push on with our stoutest men and our strongest horses, taking provision for three days and no more: the lighter and cheaper our gear the more gaily shall we break our fast and take our supper and sleep on the road. [36] And now,” said he, “let us arrange the order of the march. You, Chrysantas, must lead the van with your cuirassiers, since the road is broad and smooth, and you must put your brigadiers in the first line, each regiment marching in file, for if we keep close order we shall travel all the quicker and be all the safer. [37] I put the cuirassiers in the front,” he added, “because they are our heaviest troops, and if the heaviest are leading, the lighter cannot find it hard to follow: whereas where the swiftest lead and the march is at night, it is no wonder if the column fall to pieces: the vanguard is always running away. [38] And behind the cuirassiers,” he went on, “Artabazas is to follow with the Persian targeteers and the bowmen, and behind them Andamyas the Mede with the Median infantry, and then Embas and the Armenian infantry, and then Artouchas with the Hyrcanians, and then Thambradas with the Sakian foot, and finally Datamas with the Cadousians. [39] All these officers will put their brigadiers in the first line, their targeteers on the right, and their bowmen on the left of their own squares: this is the order in which they will be of most use. [40] All the baggage-bearers are to follow in the rear: and their officers must see that they get everything together before they sleep, and present themselves betimes in the morning, with all their gear, and always keep good order on the march. [41] In support of the baggage-train,” he added, “there will be, first, Madatas the Persian with the Persian cavalry, and he too must put his brigadiers in the front, each regiment following in single file, as with the infantry. [42] Behind them Rambacas the Mede and his cavalry, in the same order, and then you, Tigranes, and yours, and after you the other cavalry leaders with the men they brought. The Sakians will follow you, and last of all will come the Cadousians, who were the last to join us, and you, Alkeunas, who are to command them, for the present you will take complete control of the rear, and allow no one to fall behind your men. [43] All of you alike, officers, and all who respect yourselves, must be most careful to march in silence. At night the ears, and not the eyes, are the channels of information and the guides for action, and at night any confusion is a far more serious matter than by day, and far more difficult to put right. For this reason silence must be studied and order absolutely maintained. [44] Whenever you mean to rise before daybreak, you must make the night-watches as short and as numerous as possible, so that no one may suffer on the march because of his long vigil before it; and when the hour for the start arrives the horn must be blown. [45] Gentlemen, I expect you all to present yourselves on the road to Babylon with everything you require, and as each detachment starts, let them pass down the word for those in the rear to follow.”

[46] So the officers went to their quarters, and as they went they talked of Cyrus, and what a marvellous memory he had, always naming each officer as he assigned him his post. [47] The fact was Cyrus took special pains over this: it struck him as odd that a mere mechanic could know the names of all his tools, and a physician the names of all his instruments, but a general be such a simpleton that he could not name his own officers, the very tools he had to depend on each time he wanted to seize a point or fortify a post or infuse courage or inspire terror. Moreover it seemed to him only courteous to address a man by name when he wished to honour him. [48] And he was sure that the man who feels he is personally known to his commander is more eager to be seen performing some noble feat of arms, and more careful to refrain from all that is unseemly and base. [49] Cyrus thought it would be quite foolish for him to give his orders in the style of certain householders: “Somebody fetch the water, some one split the wood.” [50] After a command of that kind, every one looks at every one else, and no one carries it out, every one is to blame, and no one is ashamed or afraid, because there are so many beside himself. Therefore Cyrus always named the officers whenever he gave an order.

[51] That, then, was his view of the matter. The army now took supper and posted their guards and got their necessaries together and went to rest. [52] And at midnight the horn was blown. Cyrus had told Chrysantas he would wait for him at a point on the road in advance of the troops, and therefore he went on in front himself with his own staff, and waited till Chrysantas appeared shortly afterwards at the head of his cuirassiers. [53] Then Cyrus put the guides under his command, and told him to march on, but to go slowly until he received a message, for all the troops were not yet on the road. This done, Cyrus took his stand on the line of march, and as each division came up, hurried it forward to its place, sending messengers meanwhile to summon those who were still behind. [54] When all had started, he despatched gallopers to Chrysantas to tell him that the whole army was now under way, and that he might lead on as quick as he could. [55] Then he galloped to the front himself, reined up, and quietly watched the ranks defile before him. Whenever a division advanced silently and in good order, he would ride up and ask their names and pay them compliments; and if he saw any sign of confusion he would inquire the reason and restore tranquillity. [56] One point remains to add in describing his care that night; he sent forward a small but picked body of infantry, active fellows all of them, in advance of the whole army. They were to keep Chrysantas in sight, and he was not to lose sight of them; they were to use their ears and all their wits, and report at once to Chrysantas if they thought there was any need. They had an officer to direct their movements, announce anything of importance, and not trouble about trifles.

[57] Thus they pressed forward through the night, and when day broke Cyrus ordered the mass of the cavalry to the front, the Cadousians alone remaining with their own infantry, who brought up the rear, and who were as much in need as others of cavalry support. But the rest of the horsemen he sent ahead because it was ahead that the enemy lay, and in case of resistance he was anxious to oppose them in battle-order, while if they fled he wished no time to be lost in following up the pursuit. [58] It was always arranged who were to give chase and who were to stay with himself: he never allowed the whole army to be broken up. [59] Thus Cyrus conducted the advance, but it is not to be thought that he kept to one particular spot; he was always galloping backwards and forwards, first at one point and then at another, supervising everything and supplying any defect as it arose. Thus Cyrus and his men marched forward.

[C.4] Now there was a certain officer in the cavalry with Gadatas, a man of power and influence, who, when he saw that his master had revolted from Assyria, thought to himself, “If anything should happen to him, I myself could get from the king all that he possessed.”

Accordingly he sent forward a man he could trust, with instructions that, if he found the Assyrian army already in the territory of Gadatas, he was to tell the king that he could capture Gadatas and all who were with him, if he thought fit to make an ambuscade. [2] And the messenger was also to say what force Gadatas had at his command and to announce that Cyrus was not with him. Moreover, the officer stated the road by which Gadatas was coming. Finally, to win the greater confidence, he sent word to his own dependents and bade them deliver up to the king of Assyria the castle which he himself commanded in the province, with all that it contained: he would come himself, he added, if possible, after he had slain Gadatas, and, even if he failed in that, he would always stand by the king.

[3] Now the emissary rode as hard as he could and came before the king and told his errand, and, hearing it, the king at once took over the castle and formed an ambuscade, with a large body of horse and many chariots, in a dense group of villages that lay upon the road. [4] Gadatas, when he came near the spot, sent scouts ahead to explore, and the king, as soon as he sighted them, ordered two or three of his chariots and a handful of horsemen to dash away as though in flight, giving the impression that they were few in number and panic-stricken. At this the scouting party swept after them, signalling to Gadatas, who also fell into the trap and gave himself up to the chase.

The Assyrians waited till the quarry was within their grasp and then sprang out from their ambuscade. [5] The men, with Gadatas, seeing what had happened, turned back and fled, as one might expect, with the Assyrians at their heels, while the officer who had planned it all stabbed Gadatas himself. He struck him in the shoulder, but the blow was not mortal. Thereupon the traitor fled to the pursuers, and when they found out who he was he galloped on with them, his horse at full stretch, side by side with the king. [6] Naturally the men with the slower horses were overtaken by the better mounted, and the fugitives, already wearied by their long journey, were at the last extremity when suddenly they caught sight of Cyrus advancing at the head of his army, and were swept into safety, as glad and thankful, we may well believe, as shipwrecked mariners into port.

[7] The first feeling of Cyrus was sheer astonishment, but he soon saw how matters stood. The whole force of the Assyrian cavalry was rolling on him, and he met it with his own army in perfect order, till the enemy, realising what had happened, turned and fled. Then Cyrus ordered his pursuing party to charge, while he followed more slowly at the pace he thought the safest. [8] The enemy were utterly routed: many of the chariots were taken, some had lost their charioteers, others were seized in the sudden change of front, others surrounded by the Persian cavalry. Right and left the conquerors cut down their foes, and among them fell the officer who had dealt the blow at Gadatas. [9] But of the Assyrian infantry, those who were besieging the fortress of Gadatas escaped to the stronghold that had revolted from him, or managed to reach an important city belonging to the king, where he himself, his horsemen, and his chariots had taken refuge.

[10] After this exploit Cyrus went on to the territory of Gadatas, and as soon as he had given orders to those who guarded the prisoners, he went himself to visit the eunuch and see how it was with him after his wound. Gadatas came out to meet him, his wound already bandaged. And Cyrus was gladdened and said, “I came myself to see how it was with you.” [11] “And I,” said Gadatas, “heaven be my witness, I came out to see how a man would look who had a soul like yours. I cannot tell what need you had of me, or what promise you ever gave me, to make you do as you have done. I had shown you no kindness for your private self: it was because you thought I had been of some little service to your friends, that you came to help me thus, and help me you did, from death to life. Left to myself I was lost. [12] By heaven above, I swear it, Cyrus, if I had been a father as I was born to be, God knows whether I could have found in the son of my loins so true a friend as you. I know of sons — this king of ours is such an one, who has caused his own father ten thousand times more trouble than ever he causes you.”

[13] And Cyrus made answer:

“You have overlooked a much more wonderful thing, Gadatas, to turn and wonder at me.”

“Nay,” said Gadatas, “what could that be?”

“That all these Persians,” he answered, “are so zealous in your behalf, and all these Medes and Hyrcanians, and every one of our allies, Armenians, Sakians, Cadousians.”

[14] Then Gadatas prayed aloud:

“O Father Zeus, may the gods heap blessings on them also, but above all on him who has made them what they are! And now, Cyrus, that I may entertain as they deserve these men you praise, take the gifts I bring you as their host, the best I have it in my power to bring.”

And with the word he brought out stores of every kind, enough for all to over sacrifice who listed; and the whole army was entertained in a manner worthy of their feat and their success.

[15] Meanwhile the Cadousians had been always in the rear, unable to share in the pursuit, and they longed to achieve some exploit of their own. So their chieftain, with never a word to Cyrus, led them forth alone, and raided the country towards Babylon. But, as soon as they were scattered the Assyrians came out from their city of refuge in good battle-order. [16] When they saw that the Cadousians were unsupported they attacked them, killing the leader himself and numbers of his men, capturing many of their horses and retaking the spoil they were in the act of driving away. The king pursued as far as he thought safe, and then turned back, and the Cadousians at last found safety in their own camp, though even the vanguard only reached it late in the afternoon. [17] When Cyrus saw what had happened he went out to meet them, succouring every wounded man and sending him off to Gadatas at once, to have his wounds dressed, while he helped to house the others in their quarters, and saw that they had all they needed, his Peers aiding him, for at such times noble natures will give help with all their hearts. [18] Still it was plain to see that he was sorely vexed, and when the hour for dinner came, and the others went away, he was still there on the ground with the attendants and the surgeons; not a soul would he leave uncared for if anything could be done: he either saw to it himself or sent for the proper aid.

[19] So for that night they rested. But with daybreak Cyrus sent out a herald and summoned a gathering of all the officers and the whole Cadousian army, and spoke as follows:

“My friends and allies, what has happened is only natural; for it is human nature to err, and I cannot find it astonishing. Still we may gain at least one advantage from what has occurred, if we learn that we must never cut off from our main body a detachment weaker than the force of the enemy. [20] I do not say that one is never to march anywhere, if necessary, with an even smaller fraction than the Cadousians had; but, before doing so you must communicate with some one able to bring up reinforcements, and then, though you may be trapped yourself, it is at least probable that your friends behind you may foil the foilers, and divert them from your own party: there are fifty ways in which one can embarrass the enemy and save one’s friends. Thus separation need not mean isolation, and union with the main force may still be kept, whereas if you sally forth without telling your plan, you are no better off than if you were alone in the field. [21] However, God willing, we shall take our revenge for this ere long; indeed, as soon as you have breakfasted, I will lead you out to the scene of yesterday’s skirmish, and there we will bury those who fell, and show our enemies that the very field where they thought themselves victorious is held by those who are stronger than they: they shall never look again with joy upon the spot where they slew our comrades. Or else, if they refuse to come out and meet us, we will burn their villages and harry all their land, so that in lieu of rejoicing at the sight of what they did to us, they shall gnash their teeth at the spectacle of their own disasters. [22] Go now,” said he, “the rest of you, and take your breakfast forthwith, but let the Cadousians first elect a leader in accordance with their own laws, and one who will guide them well and wisely, by the grace of God, and with our human help, if they should need it. And when you have chosen your leader, and had your breakfast, send him hither to me.”

[23] So they did as Cyrus bade them, and when he led the army out, he stationed their new general close to his own person, and told him to keep his detachment there, “So that you and I,” said he, “may rekindle the courage in their souls.”

In this order they marched out, and thus they buried the Cadousian dead and ravaged the country. Which done, they went back to the province of Gadatas, laden with supplies taken from the foe.

[24] Now Cyrus felt that those who had come over to his side and who dwelt in the neighbourhood of Babylon would be sure to suffer unless he were constantly there himself, and so he bade all the prisoners he set free take a message to the king, and he himself despatched a herald to say that he would leave all the tillers of the soil unmolested and unhurt if the Assyrian would let those who had come over to him continue their work in peace. [25] “And remember,” he added, “that even if you try to hinder my friends, it is only a few whom you could stop, whereas there is a vast territory of yours that I could allow to be cultivated. As for the crops,” he added, “if we have war, it will be the conqueror, I make no doubt, who will reap them, but if we have peace, it will be you. If, however, any of my people take up arms against you, or any of yours against me, we must, of course, each of us, defend ourselves as best we can.”

[26] With this message Cyrus despatched the herald, and when the Assyrians heard it, they urged the king to accept the proposal, and so limit the war as much as possible. [27] And he, whether influenced by his own people or because he desired it himself, consented to the terms. So an agreement was drawn up, proclaiming peace to the tillers of the soil and war to all who carried arms.

[28] Thus Cyrus arranged matters for the husbandmen, and he asked his own supporters among the drovers to bring their herds, if they liked, into his dominions and leave them there, while he treated the enemy’s cattle as booty wherever he could, so that his allies found attraction in the campaign. For the risk was no greater if they took what they needed, while the knowledge that they were living at the enemy’s expense certainly seemed to lighten the labour of the war.

[29] When the time came for Cyrus to go back, and the final preparations were being made, Gadatas brought him gifts of every kind, the produce of a vast estate, and among the cattle a drove of horses, taken from cavalry of his own, whom he distrusted owing to the late conspiracy. [30] And when he brought them he said, “Cyrus, this day I give you these for your own, and I would pray you to make such use of them as you think best, but I would have you remember that all else which I call mine is yours as well. For there is no son of mine, nor can there ever be, sprung from my own loins, to whom I may leave my wealth: when I die myself, my house must perish with me, my family and my name. [31] And I must suffer this, Cyrus, I swear to you by the great gods above us, who see all things and hear all things, though never by word or deed did I commit injustice or foulness of any kind.”

But here the words died on his lips; he burst into tears over his sorrows, and could say no more. [32] Cyrus was touched with pity at his suffering and said to him:

“Let me accept the horses, for in that I can help you, if I set loyal riders on them, men of a better mind, methinks, than those who had them before, and I myself can satisfy a wish that has long been mine, to bring my Persian cavalry up to ten thousand men. But take back, I pray you, all these other riches, and guard them safely against the time when you may find me able to vie with you in gifts. If I left you now so hugely in your debt, heaven help me if I could hold up my head again for very shame.”

[33] Thereto Gadatas made answer, “In all things I trust you, and will trust you, for I see your heart. But consider whether I am competent to guard all this myself. [34] While I was at peace with the king, the inheritance I had from my father was, it may be, the fairest in all the land: it was near that mighty Babylon, and all the good things that can be gathered from a great city fell into our laps, and yet from all the trouble of it, the noise and the bustle, we could be free at once by turning our backs and coming home here. But now that we are at war, the moment you have left us we are sure to be attacked, ourselves and all our wealth, and methinks we shall have a sorry life of it, our enemies at our elbow and far stronger than ourselves. [35] I seem to hear some one say, why did you not think of this before you revolted? But I answer, Cyrus, because the soul within me was stung beyond endurance by my wrongs; I could not sit and ponder the safest course, I was always brooding over one idea, always in travail of one dream, praying for the day of vengeance on the miscreant, the enemy of God and man, whose hatred never rested, once aroused, once he suspected a man, not of doing wrong, but of being better than himself. [36] And because he is a villain, he will always find, I know, worse villains that himself to aid him, but if one day a nobler rival should appear — have no concern, Cyrus, you will never need to do battle with such an one, yonder fiend would deal with him and never cease to plot against him until he had dragged him in the dust, only because he was the better man. And to work me trouble and disaster, he and his wicked tools will, I fear me, have strength enough and to spare.”

[37] Cyrus thought there was much in what he said, and he answered forthwith:

“Tell me, Gadatas, did we not put a stout garrison in your fortress, so as to make it safe for you whenever you needed it, and are you not taking the field with us now, so that, if the gods be on our side as they are today, that scoundrel may fear you, not you him? Go now, bring with you all you have that is sweet to look on and to love, and then join our march: you shall be, I am persuaded, of the utmost service to me, and I, so far as in me lies, will give you help for help.”

[38] When Gadatas heard that, he breathed again, and he said:

“Could I really be in time to make my preparations and be back before you leave? I would fain take my mother with me on the march.”

“Assuredly,” said Cyrus, “you will be in time: for I will wait until you say that all is ready.”

[39] So it came to pass that Gadatas went his way, and with the aid of Cyrus put a strong garrison in his fortress, and got together the wealth of his broad estates. And moreover he brought with him in his own retinue servants he could trust and in whom he took delight, as well as many others in whom he put no trust at all, and these he compelled to bring their wives with them, and their sisters, that so they might be bound to his service.

[40] Thus Gadatas went with Cyrus, and Cyrus kept him ever at his side, to show him the roads and the places for water and fodder and food, and lead them where there was most abundance.

[41] At last they came in sight of Babylon once more, and it seemed to Cyrus that the road they were following led under the very walls. Therefore he summoned Gobryas and Gadatas, and asked them if there was not another way, so that he need not pass so close to the ramparts. [42] “There are many other ways, my lord,” answered Gobryas, “but I thought you would certainly want to pass as near the city as possible, and display the size and splendour of your army to the king. I knew that when your force was weaker you advanced to his walls, and let him see us, few as we were, and I am persuaded that if he has made any preparation for battle now, as he said he would, when he sees the power you have brought with you, he will think once more that he is unprepared.”

[43] But Cyrus said:

“Does it seem strange to you, Gobryas, that when I had a far smaller army I took it right up to the enemy’s walls, and today when my force is greater I will not venture there? [44] You need not think it strange: to march up is not the same as to march past. Every leader will march up with his troops disposed in the best order for battle and a wise leader will draw them off so as to secure safety rather than sped. [45] But in marching past there is no means of avoiding long straggling lines of waggons, long strings of baggage-bearers, and all these must be screened by the fighting-force so as never to leave the baggage unprotected. [46] But this must mean a thin weak order for the fighting-men, and if the enemy choose to attack at any point with their full force, they can strike with far more weight than any of the troops available to meet them at the moment. [47] Again, the length of line means a long delay in bringing up relief, whereas the enemy have only a handsbreadth to cover as they rush out from the walls or retire. [48] But now, if we leave a distance between ourselves and them as wide as our line is long, not only with they realise our numbers plainly enough, but our veil of glittering armour will make the whole multitude more formidable in their eyes. [49] And, if they do attack us anywhere, we shall be able to foresee their advance a long way off and be quite prepared to give them welcome. But it is far more likely, gentlemen,” he added, “that they will not make the attempt, with all that ground to cover from the walls, unless they imagine that their whole force is superior to the whole of ours: they know that retreat will be difficult and dangerous.”

[50] So Cyrus spoke, and his listeners felt that he was right, and Gobryas led the army by the way that he advised. And as one detachment after another passed the city, Cyrus strengthened the protection for the rear and so withdrew in safety.

[51] Marching in this order, he came back at last to his first starting-point, on the frontier between Assyria and Media. Here he dealt with three Assyrian fortresses: one, the weakest, he attacked and took by force, while the garrisons of the other two, what with the eloquence of Gadatas and the terror inspired by Cyrus, were persuaded to surrender.

[C.5] And now that his expedition was completed, Cyrus sent to Cyaxares and urged him to come to the camp in order that they might decide best how to use the forts which they had taken, and perhaps Cyaxares, after reviewing the army, would advise him what the next move ought to be, or, Cyrus added to the messenger, “if he bids me, say I will come to him and take up my encampment there.” [2] So the emissary went off with the message, and meanwhile Cyrus gave orders that the Assyrian tent chosen for Cyaxares should be furnished as splendidly as possible, and the woman brought to her apartment there, and the two singing-girls also, whom they had set aside for him.

[3] And while they were busied with these things the envoy went to Cyaxares and delivered his message, and Cyaxares listened and decided it was best for Cyrus and his men to stay on the frontier. The Persians whom Cyrus had sent for had already arrived, forty thousand bowmen and targeteers. [4] To watch these eating up the land was bad enough, and Cyaxares thought he would rather be quit of one horde before he received another. On his side the officer in command of the Persian levy, following the instructions from Cyrus, asked Cyaxares if he had any need of the men, and Cyaxares said he had not. Thereupon, and hearing that Cyrus had arrived, the Persian put himself at the head of his troops and went off at once to join him. [5] Cyaxares himself waited till the next day and then set out with the Median troopers who had stayed behind. And when Cyrus knew of his approach he took his Persian cavalry, who were now a large body of men, and all the Medes, Hyrcanians, and Armenians, and the best-mounted and best-armed among the rest, and so went out to meet Cyaxares and show the power he had won. [6] But when Cyaxares saw so large a following of gallant gentlemen with Cyrus, and with himself so small and mean a retinue, it seemed to him an insult, and mortification filled his heart. And when Cyrus sprang from his horse and came up to give him the kiss of greeting, Cyaxares, though he dismounted, turned away his head and gave him no kiss, while the tears came into his eyes. [7] Whereupon Cyrus told the others to stand aside and rest, and then he took Cyaxares by the hand and led him apart under a grove of palm-trees, and bade the attendants spread Median carpets for them, and made Cyaxares sit down, and then, seating himself beside him, he said:

[8] “Uncle of mine, tell me, in heaven’s name, I implore you, why are you angry with me? What bitter sight have you seen to make you feel such bitterness?”

And then Cyaxares answered:

“Listen, Cyrus; I have been reputed royal and of royal lineage as far back as the memory of man can go; my father was a king and a king I myself was thought to be; and now I see myself riding here, meanly and miserably attended, while you come before me in splendour and magnificence, followed by the retinue that once was mine and all your other forces. [9] That would be bitter enough, methinks, from the hand of an enemy, but — O gods above us! — how much more bitter at the hands of those from whom we least deserve it! Far rather would I be swallowed in the earth than live to be seen so low, aye, and to see my own kinsfolk turn against me and make a mock of me. And well I know,” said he, “that not only you but my own slaves are now stronger and greater than myself: they come out equipt to do me far more mischief than ever I could repay.”

[10] But here he stopped, overcome by a passion of weeping, so much so that for very pity Cyrus’ own eyes filled with tears. There was silence between them for a while, and then Cyrus said:

“Nay, Cyaxares, what you say is not true, and what you think is not right, if you imagine that because I am here, your Medes have been equipt to do you any harm. [11] I do not wonder that you are pained, and I will not ask if you have cause or not for your anger against them: you will ill brook apologies for them from me. Only it seems to me a grievous error in a ruler to quarrel with all his subjects at once. Widespread terror must needs be followed by widespread hate: anger with all creates unity among all. [12] It was for this reason, take my word for it, that I would not send them back to you without myself, fearing that your wrath might be the cause of what would injure all of us. Through my presence here and by the blessing of heaven, all is safe for you: but that you should regard yourself as wronged by me — I cannot but feel it bitter, when I am doing all in my power to help my friends, to be accused of plotting against them. [13] However,” he continued, “let us not accuse each other in this useless way; if possible, let us see exactly in what I have offended. And as between friend and friend, I will lay down the only rule that is just and fair: if I can be shown to have done you harm, I will confess I am to blame, but if it appears that I have never injured you, not even in thought, will you not acquit me of all injustice towards you?”

“Needs must I,” answered Cyaxares.

[14] “And if I can show that I have done you service, and been zealous in your cause to the utmost of my power, may I not claim, instead of rebuke, some little meed of praise?”

“That were only fair,” said Cyaxares.

[15] “Then,” said Cyrus, “let us go through all I have done, point by point, and see what is good in it and what is evil. [16] Let us begin from the time when I assumed my generalship, if that is early enough. I think I am right in saying that it was because you saw your enemies gathering together against you, and ready to sweep over your land and you, that you sent to Persia asking for help, and to me in private, praying me to come, if I could, myself, at the head of any forces they might send. Was I not obedient to your word? Did I not come myself with the best and bravest I could bring?”

[17] “You did indeed,” answered Cyaxares.

“Tell me, then, before we go further, did you see any wrong in this? Was it not rather a service and a kindly act?” “Certainly,” said Cyaxares, “so far as that went, I saw nothing but kindliness.” [18] “Well, after the enemy had come, and we had to fight the matter out, did you ever see me shrink from toil or try to escape from danger?” “That I never did,” said Cyaxares, “quite the contrary.”

[19] “And afterwards, when, through the help of heaven, victory was ours, and the enemy retreated, and I implored you to let us pursue them together, take vengeance on them together, win together the fruits of any gallant exploit we might achieve, can you accuse me then of self-seeking or self-aggrandisement?”

[20] But at that Cyaxares was silent. Then Cyrus spoke again. “If you would rather not reply to that, tell me if you thought yourself injured because, when you considered pursuit unsafe, I relieved you of the risk, and only begged you to lend me some of your cavalry? If my offence lay in asking for that, when I had already offered to work with you, side by side, you must prove it to me; and it will need some eloquence.”

[21] He paused, but Cyaxares still kept silence. “Nay,” said Cyrus, “if you will not answer that either, tell me at least if my offence lay in what followed, when you said that you did not care to stop your Medes in their merry-making and drive them out into danger, do you think it was wrong in me, without waiting to quarrel on that score, to ask you for what I knew was the lightest boon you could grant and the lightest command you could lay on your soldiers? For I only asked that he who wished it might be allowed to follow me. [22] And thus, when I had won your permission, I had won nothing, unless I could win them too. Therefore I went and tried persuasion, and some listened to me, and with these I set off on my march, holding my commission from your own self. So that, if you look on this act as blameworthy, it would seem that not even the acceptance of your own gifts can be free from blame. [23] It was thus we started, and after we had gone, was there, I ask you, a single deed of mine that was not done in the light of day? Has not the enemy’s camp been taken? Have not hundreds of your assailants fallen? And hundreds been deprived of their horses and their arms? Is not the spoiler spoiled? The cattle and the goods of those who harried your land are now in the hands of your friends, they are brought to you, or to your subjects. [24] And, above all and beyond all, you see your own country growing great and powerful and the land of your enemy brought low. Strongholds of his are in your power, and your own that were torn from you in other days by the Syrian domination are now restored to you again. I cannot say I should be glad to learn that any of these things can be bad for you, or short of good, but I am ready to listen, if so it is. [25] Speak, tell me your judgment of it all.”

Then Cyrus paused, and Cyaxares made answer:

“To call what you have done evil, Cyrus, is impossible. But your benefits are of such a kind that the more they multiply upon me, the heavier burden do they bring. [26] I would far rather,” he went on, “have made your country great by own power than see mine exalted in this way by you. These deeds of yours are a crown of glory to you; but they bring dishonour to me. [27] And for the wealth, I would rather have made largess of it to yourself than receive it at your hands in the way you give it now. Goods so gotten only leave me the poorer. And for my subjects — I think I would have suffered less if you had injured them a little than I suffer now when I see how much they owe you. [28] Perhaps,” he added, “you find it inhuman of me to feel thus, but I would ask you to forget me and imagine that you are in my place and see how it would appear to you then. Suppose a friend of yours were to take care of your dogs, dogs that you bred up to guard yourself and your house, such care that he made them fonder of him than of yourself, would you be pleased with him for his attention? [29] Or take another instance, if that one seems too slight: suppose a friend of yours were to do so much for your own followers, men you kept to guard you and to fight for you, that they would rather serve in his train than yours, would you be grateful to him for his kindness? [30] Or let me take the tenderest of human ties: suppose a friend of yours paid court to the wife of your bosom so that in the end he made her love him more than yourself, would he rejoice your heart by his courtesy? Far from it, I trow; he who did this, you would say, did you the greatest wrong in all the world. [31] And now, to come nearest to my own case, suppose some one paid such attention to your Persians that they learnt to follow him instead of you, would you reckon that man your friend? No; but a worse enemy than if he had slain a thousand. [32] Or again, say you spoke in all friendship to a friend and bade him take what he wished, and straightway he took all he could lay hands on and carried it off, and so grew rich with your wealth, and you were left in utter poverty, could you say that friend was altogether blameless? [33] And I, Cyrus, I feel that you have treated me, if not in that way, yet in a way exactly like it. What you say is true enough: I did allow you to take what you liked and go, and you took the whole of my power and went, leaving me desolate, and today you bring the spoil you have won with my forces, and lay it so grandly at my feet — magnificent! And you make my country great through the help of my own might, while I have no part or lot in the performance, but must step in at the end, like a woman, to receive your favours, while in the eyes of all men, not least my faithful subjects yonder, you are the man, and I— I am not fit to wear a crown. [34] Are these, I ask you, Cyrus, are these the deeds of a benefactor? Nay, had you been kind as you are kin, above all else you would have been careful not to rob me of my dignity and honour. What advantage is it to me for my lands to be made broad if I myself am dishonoured? When I ruled the Medes, I ruled them not because I was stronger than all of them, but because they themselves thought that our race was in all things better than theirs.”

[35] But while he was still speaking Cyrus broke in on his words, crying:

“Uncle of mine, by the heaven above us, if I have ever shown you any kindness, be kind to me now. Do not find fault with me any more, wait, and put me to the test, and learn how I feel towards you, and if you see that what I have done has really brought you good, then, when I embrace you, embrace me in return and call me your benefactor, and if not, you may blame me as you please.”

[36] “Perhaps,” answered Cyaxares, “you are right. I will do as you wish.”

“Then I may kiss you?” said Cyrus.

“Yes, if it pleases you. “And you will not turn aside as you did just now?” “No, I will not turn aside.” And he kissed him.

[37] And when the Medes saw it and the Persians and all the allies — for all were watching to see how matters would shape — joy came into their hearts and gladness lit up their faces. Then Cyrus and Cyaxares mounted their horses and rode back, and the Medes fell in behind Cyaxares, at a nod from Cyrus, and behind Cyrus the Persians, and the others behind them. [38] And when they reached the camp and brought Cyaxares to the splendid tent, those who were appointed made everything ready for him, and while he was waiting for the banquet his Medes presented themselves, some of their own accord, it is true, but most were sent by Cyrus. [39] And they brought him gifts; one came with a beautiful cup-bearer, another with an admirable cook, a third with a baker, a fourth with a musician, while others brought cups and goblets and beautiful apparel; almost every one gave something out of the spoils they had won. [40] So that the mood of Cyaxares changed, and he seemed to see that Cyrus had not stolen his subjects from him, and that they made no less account of him than they used to do.

[41] Now when the hour came for the banquet, Cyaxares sent to Cyrus and begged him to share it: it was so long, he said, since they had met. But Cyrus answered, “Bid me not to the feast, good uncle. Do you not see that all these soldiers of ours have been raised by us to the pitch of expectation? And it were ill on my part if I seemed to neglect them for the sake of my private pleasure. If soldiers feel themselves neglected even the good become faint-hearted, and the bad grow insolent. [42] With yourself it is different, you have come a long journey and you must fall to without delay, and if your subjects do you honour, welcome them and give them good cheer, that there may be confidence between you and them, but I must go and attend to the matters of which I speak. [43] Early tomorrow morning,” he added, “our chief officers will present themselves at your gate to hear from you what you think our next step ought to be. You will tell us whether we ought to pursue the campaign further or whether the time has now come to disband our army.”

[44] Thereupon Cyaxares betook himself to the banquet and Cyrus called a council of his friends, the shrewdest and the best fitted to act with him, and spoke to them as follows:

“My friends, thanks to the gods, our first prayers are granted. Wherever we set foot now we are the masters of the country: we see our enemies brought low and ourselves increasing day by day in numbers and in strength. [45] And if only our present allies would consent to stay with us a little longer, our achievements could be greater still, whether force were needed or persuasion. Now it must be your work as much as mine to make as many of them as possible willing and anxious to remain. [46] Remember that, just as the soldier who overthrows the greatest number in the day of battle is held to be the bravest, so the speaker, when the time has come for persuasion, who brings most men to his side will be thought the most eloquent, the best orator and the ablest man of action. [47] Do not, however, prepare your speeches as though we asked you to give a rhetorical display: remember that those whom you convince will show it well enough by what they do. [48] I leave you then,” he added, “to the careful study of your parts: mine is to see, so far as in me lies, that our troops are provided with all they need, before we hold the council of war.”


C.1. Cyrus’ generosity: he is not cold, not incapable of soft pleasure, but too pre-occupied with greater things. On the whole, if a hedonist, this type of man, a hedonist that = a stoic (cf. Socrates, H. Sidgwick, also J. P.).

C1.4, init. Well told: we feel the character of Araspas at once, as soon as he opens his lips.

C1.4, med. An Eastern picture. She is one of the Bible women, as Gadatas and Gobryas are brothers of Barzillai; she is sister of Ruth or Susanna or Judith or Bathsheba. Perhaps she is nobler than any of them. She is also the sister of the Greek tragedy women, Antigone, Alcestis; especially Euripidean is she: no doubt she is sister to the great women of all lands.

C1.10 ff. Xenophon, Moralist. Cf. Memorabilia for a similar philosophical difficulty about the will and knowledge. And for this raising of ethical problems in an artistic setting of narrative, cf. Lyly. I see a certain resemblance between the times and the writers’ minds. Vide J. A. Symonds on the predecessors of Shakespeare. Araspas’ point is that these scamps have only themselves to blame, being {akrateis}, and then they turn round and accuse love. (We are thrown back on the origin of {akrasia}: vide Memorabilia [e.g. I. ii. v.; IV. v.] for such answer as we can get to that question.) Whereas the {kaloi kagathoi} desire strongly but can curb their desires.

C1.13. Shows a confidence in the healthy action of the will. When Araspas himself is caught later on he develops the theory of a double self, a higher and a lower (so hgd., and so, I think, Xenophon and Socrates. Vide Memorabilia).

C1.16, fin. Cyrus || Socrates, his prototype here.

C1.18. Very natural and beautiful. Xenophon sympathetic with such a beautiful humanity. The woman’s nature brought out by these touches. Xenophon, Dramatist: the moral problem is subordinate, that is to say, is made to grow out of the dramatic action and characterisation.

C1.20. Notice the absolutely fair and warrantable diplomatic advantage given to the archic man: each step he takes opens up new avenues of progress. Herein is fulfilled “to him who hath shall be given,” but Cyrus plays his part also, he has the wisdom of serpents with the gentleness of doves.

C1.21. This is the true rhetoric, the right road to persuasiveness, to be absolutely frank.

C1.24. The desire to be ruled by the archic man, which the archomenoi — i.e. all men — feel, is thus manifest. Notice again how the Mede’s own character is maintained: he speaks as he felt then.

C2.8. The bridegroom will be found to be Hystaspas; but we have no suspicion as yet, without looking on.

C2.9. In this interview Cyrus’ character still further developed. Ex ore Cyri., Xenophon propounds his theory of the latent virtue in man, which only needs an opportunity to burst forth, but, this lacking, remains unrevealed. Now it is a great godsend to get such a chance. It is thoroughly Hellenic, or Xenophon-Socratic, this feeling, “Give me a chance to show my virtue.” (But has Cyrus a touch of superhuman conscious rectitude?)

C2.12. The same thought again: it is full of delicacy and spiritual discernment: the more one ponders it the more one feels that.

C2.12, fin. For Hellenic or Xenophontine or old-world theory of the misfortunes which befall the virtuous, vide Homer, vide Book of Job (Satan), vide Tragedians.

C2.15. Cf. the Economist for praise of rural simplicity. It is Xenophon ipsissimus.

C2.17. Whose bad manners is Xenophon thinking of? Thebans’?

C2.20, fin. A very noble sentence. The man who utters it and the people whose heart and mind it emanates from must be of a high order; and in the Memorabilia Socrates has this highest praise, that he studied to make himself and all others also as good as possible.

C2.21. Notice the practical answer of Cyrus to this panegyric (cf. J. P.).

C2.32. Prolix, Xenophontic.

C3.6 ff. Here also I feel the mind of Xenophon shimmering under various lights. The Cyropaedia is shot with Orientalism. Homeric Epicism — antique Hellenism and modern Hellenism are both there. Spartan simplicity and Eastern quaintness both say their say. In this passage the biblical element seems almost audible.

C3.7. This is in the grand style, Oriental, dilatory, ponderous, savouring of times when battles were affairs of private arrangement between monarchs and hedged about by all the punctilios of an affair of honour.

C3.12. N.B. — The archic man shows a very ready wit and inventiveness in the great art of “grab” in war, though as he said to his father he was “a late learner” in such matters. Cf. in modern times the duties of a detective or some such disagreeable office. G. O. Trevelyan as Irish secretary. Interesting for war ethics in the abstract, and for Xenophon’s view, which is probably Hellenic. Cyrus now has the opportunity of carrying out the selfish decalogue, the topsy-turvy morality set forth in I. C.6, C.26 ff.

C3.13. Cf. Old Testament for the sort of subterfuges and preparations, e.g. the Gibeonites.

C3.15. The archic man has no time. Cyrus {ou skholazei}. Cf. J. P. It comes from energy combined with high gifts of organisation, economic, architectonic.

C3.19. Nice, I think, this contrasting of spiritual and natural productiveness.

C3.32. Here is the rule of conduct clearly expressed, nor do I see how a military age could frame for itself any other. Christianity only emerged sub pace Romana, which for fraternal brotherhood was the fullness of time; and even in the commercial age the nations tumble back practically into the old system.

C3.36 ff. An army on forced march: are there any novelties here?

C3.53. These minute details probably not boring at the time, but interesting rather, perhaps useful.

C4.13. Cyrus resembles Fawcett in his unselfish self-estimate. Gadatas is like the British public, or hgd.

C4.16. Here we feel that the Assyrian is not a mere weakling: he can play his part well enough if he gets a good chance. It needs an Archic and Strategic Man to overpower him.

C4.17. ANCIENT and MODERN parallelism in treatment of wounded.

C4.24. Hellenic war ethics: non-combatant tillers of the soil to be let alone. Is this a novelty? If not, what is the prototype? Did the modern rights of non-combatants so originate?

C4.27, fin. A touch which gives the impression of real history: that is the art of it.

C4.34. Almost autobiographical: the advantage of having a country seat in the neighbourhood of a big town. Here we feel the MODERNISM of XENOPHON. The passage which Stevenson chose for the motto to his Silverado Squatters would suit Xenophon very well (Cicero, De Off. I. xx.). Xenophon || Alfred Tennyson. [Mr. Dakyns used the geometric sign || to indicate parallelism of any sort. The passage from Cicero might be translated thus: “Some have lived in the country, content with the happiness of home. These men have enjoyed all that kings could claim, needing nothing, under the dominion of no man, untrammelled and in freedom; for the free man lives as he chooses.”]

C4.36. The wicked man as conceived in Hellenico-Xenophontine fashion, charged with the spirit of meanness, envy, and hatred, which cannot brook the existence of another better than itself.

C4.38. A nice touch: we learn to know Gadatas and Xenophon also, and the Hellenic mind.

C5.10. Pathos well drawn: vide Richard II. and Bolingbroke. Euripidean quality.

C5.12. The archic man has got so far he can play the part of intercessor between Cyaxares and his Medes. The discussion involves the whole difficulty of suppression (“he must increase, but I must decrease” is one solution, not touched here).

C5.34. Perhaps this is the very point which Xenophon, Philosopher, wishes to bring out, the pseudo-archic man and the archic man contrasted, but Xenophon, lover of man and artist, draws the situation admirably and truthfully without any doctrinal purpose. It is {anthropinon} human essentially, this jealousy and humiliation of spirit.

C5.35. Cyrus’ tone of voice and manner must have some compelling charm in them: the dialectic debate is not pursued, but by a word and look the archic man wins his way.

C5.36. Oriental and antique Hellenic, also modern, formalities. I can imagine some of those crowned heads, emperors of Germany and Austria, going through similar ceremonies, walking arm-inarm, kissing on both cheeks fraternally, etc.

C5.39-40. This reveals the incorrigible weakness of Cyaxares. He can never hold his own against the archic man. As a matter of philosophic “historising,” probably Xenophon conceives the Median element as the corrupting and sapping one in the Persian empire (vide Epilogue), only he to some extent justifies and excuses Cyrus in his imitations of it. That is a difficulty.

C5.41. The archic man shows self-command again: his energy somewhat relieves ignobler actors of responsibility and so far saps their wills. His up-and-doingness a foil to their indolence.

Last updated Tuesday, March 4, 2014 at 14:12