Cyropaedia, by Xenophon


[C.1] So the day ended, and they supped and went to rest. But early the next morning all the allies flocked to Cyaxares’ gates, and while Cyaxares dressed and adorned himself, hearing that a great multitude were waiting, Cyrus gave audience to the suitors his own friends had brought. First came the Cadousians, imploring him to stay, and then the Hyrcanians, and after them the Sakians, and then some one presented Gobryas, and Hystaspas brought in Gadatas the eunuch, whose entreaty was still the same. [2] At that Cyrus, who knew already that for many a day Gadatas had been half-dead with fear lest the army should be disbanded, laughed outright and said, “Ah, Gadatas, you cannot conceal it: you have been bribed by my friend Hystaspas to take this view.”

[3] But Gadatas lifted up his hands to heaven and swore most solemnly that Hystaspas had not influenced him.

“Nay,” said he, “it is because I know myself that, if you depart, I am ruined utterly. And therefore it was that I took it upon me to speak with Hystaspas myself, and ask him if he knew what was in your mind about the disbanding of the army.”

[4] And Cyrus said, “It would be unjust then, I suppose, to lay the blame on Hystaspas.” “Yes, Cyrus, most unjust,” said Hystaspas, “for I only said to Gadatas that it would be impossible for you to carry on the campaign, as your father wanted you home, and had sent for you.”

[5] “What?” cried Cyrus, “you dared to let that be known whether I wished it or not?”

“Certainly I did,” he answered, “for I can see that you are mad to be home in Persia, the cynosure of every eye, telling your father how you wrought this and accomplished that.”

“Well,” said Cyrus, “are you not longing to go home yourself?”

“No,” said the other. “I am not. Nor have I any intention of going: here I shall stay and be general-inchief until I make our friend Gadatas the lord and the Assyrian his slave.”

[6] Thus half in jest and half in earnest they played with one another, and meanwhile Cyaxares had finished adorning himself and came forth in great splendour and solemnity, and sat down on a Median throne. And when all were assembled and silence was proclaimed, Cyaxares said:

“My friends and allies, perhaps, since I am present and older than Cyrus, it is suitable that I should address you first. It appears to me that the moment has come to discuss one question before all others, the question whether we ought to go on with the campaign or disband the army. Be pleased,” he added, “to state your opinions on the matter.”

[7] Then the leader of the Hyrcanians stood up at once and said:

“Friends and allies, I hardly think that words are needed when facts themselves show us the path to take. All of us know that while we stand together we give our enemy more trouble than we get: but when we stood alone it was they who dealt with us as they liked best and we liked least.”

[8] Then the Cadousian followed.

“The less we talk,” said he, “about breaking-up and going home separately the better; separation has done us anything but good, it seems to me, even on the march. My men and I, at any rate, very soon paid the penalty for private excursions; as I dare say you have not forgotten.”

[9] Upon that Artabazus rode, the Mede who had claimed kinship with Cyrus in the old days.

“Cyaxares,” said he, “in one respect I differ from those who have spoken before me: they think we should stay here in order to go on with the campaign, but I think I am always on campaign at home. [10] I was for ever out on some expedition or other, because our people were being harried, or our fortresses threatened, and a world of trouble I had, what with fears within and fighting without, and all too at my own expense. As it is now, I occupy the enemy’s forts, my fear of them is gone, I make good cheer on their own good things, and I drink their own good wine. Since home means fighting and service here means feasting, I am not in favour myself,” said he, “of breaking up the company.”

[11] Then Gobryas spoke.

“Friends,” said he, “I have trusted Cyrus’ word and had no fault to find with him: what he promises that he performs: but if he leaves the country now, the Assyrian will be reprieved, he will never be punished for the wrongs he tried to inflict on you and did inflict on me: I shall be punished instead, because I have been your friend.”

[12] At that Cyrus rose at last and said:

“Gentlemen, I am well aware that the disbanding of our forces must mean the decrease of our power and the increase of theirs. If some of them have given up their weapons, they will soon procure others; if some have lost their horses, the loss will soon be made good; if some have fallen in battle, others, younger and stronger, will take their place. We need not be surprised if they are soon in a condition to cause us trouble again. [13] Why, then, did I ask Cyaxares to put the question to debate? Because, I answer, I am afraid of the future. I see opponents against us whom we cannot fight, if we conduct the campaign as we are doing now. [14] Winter is advancing against us, and though we may have shelter for ourselves we have nothing, heaven knows, for our horses and our servants and the great mass of our soldiery, without whom we cannot even think of a campaign. As to provisions, up to the limits of our advance and because of that advance they have been exhausted; and beyond that line, owing to the terror we inspire, the inhabitants will have stowed their supplies away in strong places where they can enjoy them and we cannot get them. [15] Where is the warrior, stout of heart and strong of will, who can wage war with cold and hunger? If our style of soldiering is to be only what it has been, I say we ought to disband at once of our own accord, and not wait to be driven from the field against our will by sheer lack of means. If we do wish to go forward, this is what we must do: we must detach from the enemy all the fortresses we can and secure all we can for our own: if this is done, the larger supply will be in the hands of those who can stow away the larger store, and the weaker will suffer siege. [16] At present we are like mariners on the ocean: they may sail on for ever, but the seas they have crossed are no more theirs than those that are still unsailed. But if we hold the fortresses, the enemy will find they are living in a hostile land, while we have halcyon weather. [17] Some of you may dread the thought of garrison duty far from home; if so, dispel your doubts. We Persians, who must, as it is, be exiles for the time, will undertake the positions that are nearest to the foe, while it will be for you to occupy the land on the marches between Assyria and yourselves and put it under tillage. [18] For, if we can hold his inner line, your peace will not be disturbed in the outlying parts: he will scarcely neglect the danger at his door to attack you out in the distance.”

[19] At this the whole assembly rose to express their eagerness and assent, and Cyaxares stood up with them. And both Gadatas and Gobryas offered to fortify a post if the allies wished, and thus provide two cities of refuge to start with.

[20] Finally Cyrus, thus assured of the general consent to his proposals, said, “If we really wish to carry out what we have set ourselves, we must prepare battering-rams and siege engines, and get together mechanics and builders for our own castles.” [21] Thereupon Cyaxares at once undertook to provide an engine at his own expense, Gadatas and Gobryas made themselves responsible for a second, Tigranes for a third, and Cyrus himself promised he would try to furnish two. [22] That done, every one set to work to find engineers and artisans and to collect material for the machines; and superintendents were appointed from those best qualified for the work.

[23] Now Cyrus was aware that all this would take some time, and therefore he encamped his troops in the healthiest spot he could find and the easiest to supply, strengthening, wherever necessary, the natural defences of the place, so that the detachment left in charge for the time should always be in complete security, even though he might be absent himself with the main body of his force. [24] Nor was this all; he questioned those who knew the country best, and, learning where he would be rewarded for his pains, he would lead his men out to forage, and thus procure as large supplies as possible, keep his soldiers in the best of health and strength, and fix their drill in their minds.

[25] So Cyrus spent his days, and meanwhile the deserters from Babylon and the prisoners who were captured all told the same story: they said that the king had gone off to Lydia, taking with him store of gold and silver, and riches and treasures of every kind. [26] The mass of the soldiers were convinced that he was storing his goods away from fear, but Cyrus knew that he must have gone to raise, if possible, an opponent who could face them, and therefore he pushed his preparations forward vigorously, feeling that another battle must be fought. He filled up the Persian cavalry to its full complement, getting the horses partly from the prisoners, partly from his own friends. There were two gifts he would never refuse, horses and good weapons. [27] He also procured chariots, taking them from the enemy or wherever he could find them. The old Trojan type of charioteering, still in use to this day among the Cyrenaeans, he abolished; before his time the Medes, the Syrians, the Arabians, and all Asiatics generally, used their chariots in the same way as the Cyrenaeans do now. [28] The fault of the system to his mind was that the very flower of the army, if the picked men were in the chariots, could only act at long range and so contribute little after all to the victory. Three hundred chariots meant twelve hundred horses and three hundred fighting-men, besides the charioteers, who would naturally be men above the common, in whom the warriors could place confidence: and that meant another three hundred debarred from injuring the enemy in any kind of way. [29] Such was the system he abolished in favour of the war-chariot proper, with strong wheels to resist the shock of collision, and long axles, on the principle that a broad base is the firmer, while the driver’s seat was changed into what might be called a turret, stoutly built of timber and reaching up to the elbow, leaving the driver room to manage the horses above the rim. The drivers themselves were all fully armed, only their eyes uncovered. [30] He had iron scythes about two feet long attached to the axles on either side, and others, under the tree, pointing to the ground, for use in a charge. Such was the type of chariot invented by Cyrus, and it is still in use today among the subjects of the Great King. Beside the chariots he had a large number of camels, collected from his friends or captured from the enemy. [31] Moreover, he decided to send a spy into Lydia to ascertain the movements of the king, and he thought that the right man for this purpose was Araspas, the officer in charge of the fair lady from Susa. Matters had gone ill with Araspas: he had fallen passionately in love with his prisoner, and been led to entreat her to be his paramour. [32] She had refused, faithful to her husband who was far away, for she loved him dearly, but she forbore to accuse Araspas to Cyrus, being unwilling to set friend at strife with friend. [33] But when at length Araspas, thinking it would help him in his desires, began to threaten her, saying that if she would not yield he would have his will of her by force, then in her dread of violence she could keep the matter hid no longer, and she sent her eunuch to Cyrus with orders to tell him everything. [34] And when Cyrus heard it he smiled over the man who had boasted that he was superior to love, and sent Artabazus back with the eunuch to tell Araspas that he must use no violence against such a woman, but if he could persuade her, he might do so. [35] But Artabazus, when he saw Araspas, rebuked him sternly, saying that the woman was a sacred trust, and his conduct disgraceful, impious, and wicked, till Araspas burst into tears of misery and shame, and was half dead at the thought of what Cyrus would do. [36] Learning this, Cyrus sent for him, saw him alone, and said to him face to face:

“Araspas, I know that you are afraid of me and in an agony of shame. Be comforted; we are told that the gods themselves are made subject to desire, and I could tell you what love has forced some men to undergo, men who seemed most lofty and most wise. Did I not pass sentence on myself, when I confessed I was too weak to consort with loveliness and remain unmoved? Indeed it is I who am most to blame in the matter, for I shut you up myself with this irresistible power.”

[37] But Araspas broke in on his words:

“Ah, Cyrus, you are ever the same, gentle and compassionate to human weaknesses. But all the rest of the world has no pity on me; they drown me in wretchedness. As soon as the tattlers got wind of my misfortune, all my enemies exulted, and my friends came to me, advising me to make away with myself for fear of you, because my iniquity was so great.”

[38] Then Cyrus said, “Now listen: this opinion about you may be the means by which you can do me a great kindness and your comrades a great service.” “Oh, that it were possible!” said Araspas, “for me ever to be of service to you!” [39] “Well,” said the other, “if you went to the enemy, feigning that you had fled from me, I think they would believe you.” “I am sure they would,” said Araspas, “I know even my own friends would think that of course I ran away.” [40] “Then you will come back to us,” Cyrus went on, “with full information about the enemy’s affairs; for, if I am right in my expectation, they will trust you and let you see all their plans, so that you need miss nothing of what we wish to know.” “I will be off this moment,” said Araspas; “it will be my best credential to have it thought I was just in time to escape punishment from you.”

[41] “Then you can really bring yourself to leave the beautiful Pantheia?”

“Yes, Cyrus,” he answered, “I can; for I see now that we have two souls. This is the lesson of philosophy that I have learnt from the wicked sophist Love. If we had but a single soul, how could she be at once evil and good? How could she be enamoured at once of nobleness and baseness, or at once desire and not desire one deed and the same? No, it is clear that we have two souls, and when the beautiful soul prevails, all fair things are wrought, and when the evil soul has the mastery, she lays her hand to shame and wickedness. But today my good soul conquers, because she has you to help her.”

[42] “Well,” said Cyrus, “if you have decided on going, it is thus you had better go. Thus you will win their confidence, and then you must tell them what we are doing, but in such a way as to hinder their own designs. It would hinder them, for example, if you said that we were preparing an attack on their territory at a point not yet decided; for this would check the concentration of their forces, each leader being most concerned for the safety of his own home. [43] Stay with them,” he added, “till the last moment possible: what they do when they are close at hand is just what is most important for us to know. Advise them how to dispose their forces in the way that really seems the best, for then, after you are gone and although it may be known that you are aware of their order, they will be forced to keep to it, they will not dare to change it, and should they do so at the last moment they will be thrown into confusion.”

[44] Thereupon Araspas took his leave, called together his trustiest attendants, said what he thought necessary for the occasion, and departed.

[45] Now Pantheia, when she heard that Araspas had fled, sent a messenger to Cyrus, saying:

“Grieve not, Cyrus, that Araspas has gone to join the foe: I will bring you a far trustier friend than he, if you will let me send for my husband, and I know he will bring with him all the power that he has. It is true that the old king was my husband’s friend, but he who reigns now tried to tear us two asunder, and my husband knows him for a tyrant and a miscreant, and would gladly be quit of him and take service with such a man as you.”

[46] When Cyrus heard that, he bade Pantheia send word to her husband, and she did so. Now when Abradatas saw the tokens from his wife, and learnt how matters stood, he was full of joy, and set out for Cyrus’ camp immediately, with a thousand horsemen in his train. And when he came to the Persian outposts he sent to Cyrus saying who he was, and Cyrus gave orders that he should be taken to Pantheia forthwith. [47] So husband and wife met again after hope had well-nigh vanished, and were in each other’s arms once more. And then Pantheia spoke of Cyrus, his nobleness, his honour, and the compassion he had shown her, and Abradatas cried:

“Tell me, tell me, how can I repay him all I owe him in your name and mine!” And she answered:

“So deal with him, my husband, as he has dealt with you.”

[48] And thus Abradatas went to Cyrus, and took him by the hand, and said:

“Cyrus, in return for the kindness you have shown us, I can say no more than this: I give myself to you, I will be your friend, your servant, and your ally: whatever you desire, I will help you to win, your fellow-worker always, so far as in me lies.”

[49] Then Cyrus answered:

“And I will take your gift: but for the moment you must leave me, and sup with your wife: another day you will let me play the host, and give you lodging with your friends and mine.”

[50] Afterwards Abradatas perceived how much Cyrus had at heart the scythe-bearing chariots and the cavalry and the war-horses with their armour, and he resolved to equip a hundred chariots for him out of his own cavalry force. [51] These he proposed to lead himself in a chariot of his own, four-poled and drawn by eight horses, all the eight protected by chest-plates of bronze. [52] So Abradatas set to work, and this four-poled chariot of his gave Cyrus the idea of making a car with eight poles, drawn by eight yoke of oxen, to carry the lowest compartment of the battering engines, which stood, with its wheels, about twenty-seven feet from the ground. [53] Cyrus felt that he had a series of such towers brought into the field at a fair pace they would be of immense service to him, and inflict as much damage on the enemy. The towers were built with galleries and parapets, and each of them could carry twenty men. [54] When the whole was put together he tested it and found that the eight yoke of oxen could draw the whole tower with the men more easily than one yoke by itself could manage the ordinary weight of baggage, which came to about five-and-twenty talents apiece, whereas the tower, build of planks about as thick as the boards for a stage, weighed less than fifteen for each yoke. [55] Thus, having satisfied himself that the attempt was perfectly possible, he arranged to take the towers into action, believing that in war selfishness meant salvation, justice, and happiness.

[C.2] About this time ambassadors came to Cyrus from India with gifts of courtesy and a message from their king, saying:

“I send you greeting, Cyrus, and I rejoice that you told me of your needs. I desire to be your friend and I offer you gifts; and if you have need of anything more, I bid you say the word, and it shall be yours. I have told my men to do whatever you command.”

[2] Then Cyrus answered:

“This, then, is my bidding: the rest of you shall stay where you have pitched your tents; you shall guard your treasures and live as you choose: but three of you shall go to the enemy and make believe that you have come to him about an alliance with your king, and thus you shall learn how matters stand, and all they say and all they do, and so bring me word again with speed. And if you serve me well in this, I shall owe you even more than I could owe you for these gifts. There are some spies who are no better than slaves, and have no skill to find out anything more than is known already, but there are men of another sort, men of your stamp, who can discover plans that are not yet disclosed.”

[3] The Indians listened gladly, and for the moment made themselves at home as the guests of Cyrus: but the next day they got ready and set off on their journey, promising to find out as much as they could of the enemy’s secrets and bring him word again with all possible speed.

[4] Meanwhile Cyrus continued his preparations for the war on a magnificent scale, like one who meant to accomplish no small achievement. Not only did he carry out all the resolutions of the allies, but he breathed a spirit of emulation into his own friends and followers, till each strove to outshine his fellows in arms and accoutrements, in horsemanship and spearmanship and archery, in endurance of toil and danger. [5] Cyrus would lead them out to the chase, and show especial honour to those who distinguished themselves in any way: he would whet the ambition of the officers by praising all who did their best to improve their men, and by gratifying them in every way he could. [6] At every sacrifice and festival he instituted games and contests in all martial exercises, and lavished prizes on the victors, till the whole army was filled with enthusiasm and confidence. [7] By this time Cyrus had almost everything in readiness for the campaign, except the battering-machines. The Persian cavalry was made up to its full number of ten thousand men, and the scythed chariots were complete, a hundred of his own, and a hundred that Abradatas of Susa had provided. [8] Beside these there were a hundred of the old Median chariots which Cyrus had persuaded Cyaxares to remodel on his own type, giving up the Trojan and Lydian style. The camels were ready also, each animal carrying a couple of mounted archers.

The bulk of the great army felt almost as though they had already conquered, and the enemy’s power was held of no account.

[9] While matters were thus, the Indians whom Cyrus had sent out returned with their report. Croesus had been chosen leader and general-inchief; a resolution had been passed, calling on all the allied kings to bring up their entire forces, raise enormous sums for the war, and spend them in hiring mercenaries where they could and making presents where they must. [10] Large numbers of Thracians, armed with the short sword, had already been enrolled, and a body of Egyptians were coming by sea, amounting — so said the Indians — to 120,000 men, armed with long shields reaching to their feet, huge spears (such as they carry to this day), and sabres. Beside these, an army was expected from Cyprus, and there were already on the spot all the Cilicians, the men of both the Phrygias, of Lycaonia, Paphlagonia, and Cappadocia, the Arabians, the Phoenicians, and all the Assyrians under the king of Babylon. Moreover, the Ionians, and Aeolians, and indeed nearly all the Hellenic colonists on the coast were compelled to follow in the train of Croesus. [11] Croesus himself had already sent to Lacedaemon to propose an alliance with the Spartans. The armament was mustering on the banks of the Pactolus, and they were to push forward presently to Thymbrara (the place which is still the mustering-ground for all the Asiatic subjects of the Great King west of Syria), and orders had been issued to open a market there. This report agreed with the accounts given by the prisoners, for Cyrus was always at pains to gave men captured from whom he could get some information, and he would also send out spies disguised as runaway slaves.

[12] Such were the tidings, and when the army heard the news there was much anxiety and concern, as one may well suppose. The men went about their work with an unusual quietness, their faces clouded over, or gathered in knots and clusters everywhere, anxiously asking each other the news and discussing the report. [13] When Cyrus saw that fear was in the camp, he called a meeting of his generals, and indeed of all whose dejection might injure the cause and whose confidence assist it. Moreover, he sent word that any of the attendants, or any of the rank and file, who wished to hear what he had to say, would be allowed to come and listen. When they met, he spoke as follows:

[14] “My friends and allies, I make no secret of the reason I have called you here. It was because I saw that some of you, when the reports of the enemy reached us, looked like men who were panic-stricken. But I must say I am astonished that any of you should feel alarm because the enemy is mustering his forces, and not be reassured by remembering that our own is far larger than it was when we conquered him before, and far better provided, under heaven, with all we need. [15] I ask you how you would have felt, you who are afraid now, if you had been told that a force exactly like our own was marching upon us, if you had heard that men who had conquered us already were coming now, carrying in their hearts the victory they had won, if you knew that those who made short work then of all our bows and javelins were advancing again, and others with them, ten thousand times as many? [16] Suppose you heard that the very men who had routed our infantry once were coming on now equipt as before, but this time on horseback, scorning arms and javelins, each man armed with one stout spear, ready to charge home? [17] Suppose you heard of chariots, made on a new pattern, not to be kept motionless, standing, as hitherto, with their backs turned to the foe as if for flight, but with the horses shielded by armour, and the drivers sheltered by wooden walls and protected by breastplates and helmets, and the axles fitted with iron scythes so that they can charge straight into the ranks of the foe? [18] And suppose you heard that they have camels to ride on, each one of which would scare a hundred horses, and that they will bring up towers from which to help their own friends, and overwhelm us with volleys of darts so that we cannot fight them on level ground? [19] If this were what you had heard of the enemy, I as you, once again, you who are now so fearful what would you have done? You who turn pale when told that Croesus has been chosen commander-inchief, Croesus who proved himself so much more cowardly than the Syrians, that when they were worsted in battle and fled, instead of helping them, his own allies, he took to his heels himself. [20] We are told, moreover, that the enemy himself does not feel equal to facing you alone, he is hiring others to fight for him better than he could for himself. I can only say, gentlemen, that if any individual considers our position as I describe it alarming or unfavourable, he had better leave us. Let him join our opponents, he will do us far more service there than here.”

[21] When Cyrus had ended, Chrysantas the Persian stood up and said:

“Cyrus, you must not wonder if the faces of some were clouded when they heard the news. The cloud was a sign of annoyance, not of fear. Just as if,” he went on, “a company were expecting breakfast immediately, and then were told there was some business that must be got through first, I do not suppose any of them would be particularly pleased. Here we were, saying to ourselves that our fortunes were made, and now we are informed there is still something to be done, and of course our countenances fell, not because we were afraid, but because we could have wished it all over and done with. [22] However, since it now appears that Syria is not to be the only prize — though there is much to be got in Syria, flocks and herds and corn and palm-trees yielding fruit — but Lydia as well, Lydia the land of wine and oil and fig-trees, Lydia, to whose shores the sea brings more good things than eyes can feast on, I say that once we realise this we can mope no longer, our spirits will rise apace, and we shall hasten to lay our hands on the Lydian wealth without delay.”

So he spoke, and the allies were well pleased at his words and gave him loud applause.

[23] “Truly, gentlemen,” said Cyrus, “as Chrysantas says, I think we ought to march without delay, if only to be beforehand with our foes, and reach their magazines before they do themselves; and besides, the quicker we are, the fewer resources we shall find with them. [24] That is how I put the matter, but if any one sees a safer or an easier way, let him instruct us.”

But many speakers followed, all urging an immediate march, without one speech in opposition, and so Cyrus took up the word again and said:

[25] “My friends and allies, God helping us, our hearts, our bodies, and our weapons have now been long prepared: all that remains is to get together what we need for ourselves and our animals on a march of at least twenty days. I reckon that the journey itself must take more than fifteen, and not a vestige of food shall we find from end to end. It has all been made away with, partly by ourselves, partly by our foes, so far as they could. [26] We must collect enough corn, without which one can neither fight nor live: and as for wine, every man must carry just so much as will accustom him to drink water: the greater part of the country will be absolutely devoid of wine, and the largest supply we could take with us would not hold out. [27] But to avoid too sudden a change and the sickness that might follow, this is what we must do. We must begin by taking water with our food: we can do this without any great change in our habits. [28] For every one who eats porridge has the oatmeal mixed with water, and every one who eats bread has the wheat soaked in water, and all boiled meat is prepared in water. We shall not miss the wine if we drink a little after the meal is done. [29] Then we must gradually lessen the amount, until we find that, without knowing it, we have become water-drinkers. Gradual change enables every creature to go through a complete conversion; and this is taught us by God, who leads us little by little out of winter until we can bear the blazing heat of summer, and out of heat back again into the depths of winter. So should we follow God, and take one step after another until we reach our goal. [30] What you might spend on heavy rugs and coverlets spend rather on food: any superfluity there will not be wasted: and you will not sleep less soundly for lack of bedclothes; if you do, I give you leave to blame me. But with clothing the case is different: a man can hardly have too much of that in sickness or in health. [31] And for seasoning you should take what is sharp and dry and salted, for such meats are more appetising and more satisfying. And since we may come into districts as yet unravaged where we may find growing corn, we ought to take handmills for grinding: these are the lightest machines for the purpose. [32] Nor must we forget to supply ourselves with medicines — they are small in bulk and, if need arises, invaluable. And we ought to have a large supply of straps — I wonder what is not fastened by a strap to man or horse? But straps wear out and get broken and then things are at a standstill unless there are spare ones to be had. [33] Some of you have learnt to shave spears, so that it would be as well not to forget a plane, and also to carry a rasp, for the man who sharpens a spearhead will sharpen his spirit too. He will feel ashamed to whet the edge and be a coward. And we must take plenty of timber for chariots and waggons; there is bound to be many a breakdown on the road. [34] Also we shall need the most necessary tools for repairs, since smiths and carpenters are not to be found at every turn, but there are few who cannot patch up a makeshift for the time. Then there should be a mattock and a shovel apiece for every waggon, and on every beast of burden a billhook and an axe, always useful to the owner and sometimes a boon to all. [35] The provisions must be seen to by the officers of the fighting-line; they must inspect the men under their command and see that nothing is omitted which any man requires; the omission would be felt by us all. Those of you who are in command of the baggage-train will inspect what I have ordered for the animals and insist upon every man being provided who is not already supplied. [36] You, gentlemen, who are in command of the road-makers, you have the lists of the soldiers I have disqualified from serving as javelin-men, bowmen, or slingers, and you will make the old javelin men march with axes for felling timber, the bowmen with mattocks, and the slingers with shovels. They will advance by squads in front of the waggons so that if there is any road-making to be done you may set to work at once, and in case of need I may know where to get the men I want. [37] I mean also to take a corps of smiths, carpenters, and cobblers, men of military age, provided with the proper tools, to supply any possible need. These men will not be in the fighting-line, but they will have a place assigned to them where they can be hired by any one who likes. [38] If any huckster wishes to follow the army with his wares, he may do so, but if caught selling anything during the fifteen days for which provisions have been ordered, he will be deprived of all his goods: after the fifteen days are done he may sell what he likes. Any merchant who offers us a well-stocked market will receive recompense and honour from the allies and myself. [39] And if any one needs an advance of money for trading, he must send me guarantors who will undertake that he will march with the army, and then he can draw on our funds. These are the general orders: and I will ask any of you who think that anything has been omitted to point it out to me. [40] You will now go back to your quarters and make your preparations, and while you do so I will offer sacrifice for our journey and when the signs are favourable we will give the signal. At that you must present yourselves, with everything I have ordered, at the appointed place, under your own officers. [41] And you, gentlemen,” said he, turning to the officers, “when your divisions are all in line, you will come to me in a body to receive your final orders.”

[C.3] With these instructions the army went to make their preparations while Cyrus offered sacrifice.

As soon as the victims were favourable, he set out with his force.

On the first day they encamped as near by as possible, so that anything left behind could easily be fetched and any omission readily supplied. [2] Cyaxares stayed in Media with a third of the Median troops in order not to leave their own country undefended. Cyrus himself pushed forward with all possible speed, keeping his cavalry in the van and constantly sending explorers and scouts ahead to some look-out. Behind the cavalry came the baggage, and on the plains he had long strings of waggons and beasts of burden, and the main army behind them, so that if any of the baggage-train fell back, the officers who caught them up would see that they did not lose their places in the march. [3] But where the road was narrower the fighting-men marched on either side with the baggage in the middle, and in case of any block it was the business of the soldiers on the spot to attend to the matter. As a rule, the different regiments would be marching alongside their own baggage, orders having been given that all members of the train should advance by regiments unless absolutely prevented. [4] To help matters the brigadier’s own body-servant led the way with an ensign known to his men, so that each regiment marched together, the men doing their best to keep up with their comrades. Thus there was no need to search for each other, everything was to hand, there was greater security, and the soldiers could get what they wanted more quickly.

[5] After some days the scouts ahead thought they could see people in the plain collecting fodder and timber, and then they made out beasts of burden, some grazing and others already laden, and as they scanned the distance they felt sure they could distinguish something that was either smoke rising or clouds of dust; and from all this they concluded that the enemy’s army was not far off. [6] Whereupon their commander despatched a messenger with the news to Cyrus, who sent back word that the scouts should stay where they were, on their look-out, and tell him if they saw anything more, while he ordered a squadron of cavalry to ride forward, and intercept, if they could, some of the men on the plain and so discover the actual state of affairs. [7] While the detachment carried out this order Cyrus halted the rest of his army to make such dispositions as he thought necessary before coming to close quarters. His first order was for the troops to take their breakfast: after breakfast they were to fall in and wait for the word of command. [8] When breakfast was over he sent for all the officers from the cavalry, the infantry, and the chariot brigade, and for the commanders of the battering engines and the baggage train, and they came to him. [9] Meanwhile the troop of horse had dashed into the plain, cut off some of the men, and now brought them in captive. The prisoners, on being questioned by Cyrus, said they belonged to the camp and had gone out to forage or cut wood and so had passed beyond their own pickets, for, owing to the size of their army, everything was scarce.

[10] “How far is your army from here?” asked Cyrus. “About seven miles,” said they. “Was there any talk about us down there?” said he. “We should think there was,” they answered; “it was all over the camp that you were coming.” “Ah,” said Cyrus, “I suppose they were glad to hear we were coming so soon?” (putting this question for his officers to hear the answer). “That they were not,” said the prisoners, “they were anything but glad; they were miserable.” [11] “And what are they doing now?” asked Cyrus. “Forming their line of battle,” answered they; “yesterday and the day before they did the same.”

“And their commander?” said Cyrus, “who is he?” “Croesus himself,” said they, “and with him a Greek, and also another man, a Mede, who is said to be a deserter from you.”

“Ah,” cried Cyrus, “is that so? Most mighty Zeus, may I deal with him as I wish!”

[12] Then he had the prisoners led away and turned to speak to his officers, but at this moment another scout appeared, saying that a large force of cavalry was in the plain. “We think,” he added, “that they are trying to get a sight of our army. For about thirty of them are riding ahead at a good round pace and they seem to be coming straight for our little company, perhaps to capture our look-out if they can, for there are only ten of us there.”

[13] At that Cyrus sent off a detachment from his own bodyguard, bidding them gallop up to the place, unseen by the enemy, and stay there motionless. “Wait,” he said, “until our own ten must leave the spot and then dash out on the thirty as they come up the hill. And to prevent any injury from the larger body, do you, Hystaspas,” said he, turning to the latter, “ride out with a thousand horse, and let them see you suddenly, face to face. But remember not to pursue them out of sight, come back as soon as you have secured our post. And if any of your opponents ride up with their right hands raised, welcome them as friends.”

[14] Accordingly Hystaspas went off and got under arms, while the bodyguard galloped to the spot. But before they reached the scouts, some one met them with his squires, the man who had been sent out as a spy, the guardian of the lady from Susa, Araspas himself. [15] When the news reached Cyrus, he sprang up from his seat, went to meet him himself, and clasped his hand, but the others, who of course knew nothing, were utterly dumbfounded, until Cyrus said:

“Gentlemen, the best of our friends has come back to us. It is high time that all men should know what he has done. It was not through any baseness, or any weakness, or any fear of me, that he left us; it was because I sent him to be my messenger, to learn the enemy’s doings and bring us word. [16] Araspas, I have not forgotten what I promised you, I will repay you, we will all repay you. For, gentlemen, it is only just that all of you should pay him honour. Good and true I call him who risked himself for our good, and took upon himself a reproach that was heavy to bear.”

[17] At that all crowded round Araspas and took him by the hand and made him welcome. Then Cyrus spoke again:

“Enough, my friends, Araspas has news for us, and it is time to hear it. Tell us your tale, Araspas, keep back nothing of the truth, and do not make out the power of the enemy less than it really is. It is far better that we should find it smaller than we looked for rather than strong beyond our expectations.” [18] “Well,” began Araspas, “in order to learn their numbers, I managed to be present at the marshalling of their troops.” “Then you can tell us,” said Cyrus, “not only their numbers but their disposition in the field.” “That I can,” answered Araspas, “and also how they propose to fight.” “Good,” said Cyrus, “but first let us hear their numbers in brief.” [19] “Well,” he answered, “they are drawn up thirty deep, infantry and cavalry alike, all except the Egyptians, and they cover about five miles; for I was at great pains,” he added, “to find out how much ground they occupied.”

[20] “And the Egyptians?” Cyrus said, “how are they drawn up? I noticed you said, ‘all except the Egyptians.’”

“The Egyptians,” he answered, “are drawn up in companies of ten thousand, under their own officers, a hundred deep, and a hundred broad: that, they insisted, was their usual formation at home. Croesus, however, was very loth to let them have their own way in this: he wished to outflank you as much as possible.” “Why?” Cyrus asked, “what was his object?” “To encircle you, I imagine, with his wings.” “He had better take care,” said Cyrus, “or his circle may find itself in the centre. [21] But now you have told us what we most needed to know, and you, gentlemen,” said he to the officers, “on leaving this meeting, you will look to your weapons and your harness. It often happens that the lack of some little thing makes man or horse or chariot useless. To-morrow morning early, while I am offering sacrifice, do you take your breakfast and give your steeds their provender, so that when the moment comes to strike you may not be found wanting. And then you, Araspas, must hold the right wing in the position it has now, and the rest of you who command a thousand men must do the same with your divisions: it is no time to be changing horses when the race is being run; and you will send word to the brigadiers and captains under you to draw up the phalanx with each company two deep.” (Now a company consisted of four-and-twenty men.)

[22] Then one of the officers, a captain of ten thousand, said:

“Do you think, Cyrus, that with so shallow a depth we can stand against their tremendous phalanx?”

“But do you suppose,” rejoined he, “that any phalanx so deep that the rear-ranks cannot close with the enemy could do much either for friend or foe? [23] I myself,” he added, “would rather this heavy infantry of theirs were drawn up, not a hundred, but ten thousand deep: we should have all the fewer to fight. Whereas with the depth that I propose, I believe we shall not waste a man: every part of our army will work with every other. [24] I will post the javelin-men behind the cuirassiers, and the archers behind them: it would be absurd to place in the van troops who admit that they are not made for hand-to-hand fighting; but with the cuirassiers thrown in front of them they will stand firm enough, and harass the enemy over the heads of our own men with their arrows and their darts. And every stroke that falls on the enemy means so much relief to our friends. [25] In the very rear of all I will post our reserve. A house is useless without a foundation as well as a roof, and our phalanx will be no use unless it has a rear-guard and a van, and both of them good. [26] You,” he added, “will draw up the ranks to suit these orders, and you who command the targeteers will follow with your companies in the same depth, and you who command the archers will follow the targeteers. [27] Gentlemen of the reserve, you will hold your men in the rear, and pass the word down to your own subordinates to watch the men in front, cheer on those who do their duty, threaten him who plays the coward, and if any man show signs of treachery, see that he dies the death. It is for those in the van to hearten those behind them by word and deed; it is for you, the reserve, to make the cowards dread you more than the foe. [28] You know your work, and you will do it. Euphratus,” he added, turning to the officer in command of the artillery, “see that the waggons with the towers keep as close to the phalanx as possible. [29] And you, Daouchus, bring up the whole of your baggage-train under cover of the towers and make your squires punish severely any man who breaks the line. [30] You, Carouchas, keep the women’s carriages close behind the baggage-train. This long line of followers should give an impression of vast numbers, allow our own men opportunity for ambuscades, and force the enemy, if he try to surround us, to widen his circuit, and the wider he makes it the weaker he will be. [31] That, then, is your business; and you, gentlemen, Artaozus and Artagersas, each of you take your thousand foot and guard the baggage. [32] And you, Pharnouchus and Asiadatas, neither of you must lead your thousand horse into the fighting-line, you must get them under arms by themselves behind the carriages: and then come to me with the other officers as fully-equipt as if you were to be the first to fight. [53] You, sir, who command the camel-corps will take up your post behind the carriages and look for further orders to Artagersas. [34] Officers of the war-chariots, you will draw lots among yourselves, and he on whom the lot falls will bring his hundred chariots in front of the fighting-line, while the other two centuries will support our flanks on the right and left.”

[35] Such were the dispositions made by Cyrus; but Abradatas, the lord of Susa, cried:

“Cyrus, let me, I pray you, volunteer for the post in front.”

[36] And Cyrus, struck with admiration for the man, took him by the hand, and turning to the Persians in command of the other centuries said:

“Perhaps, gentlemen, you will allow this?”

But they answered that it was hard to resign the post of honour, and so they all drew lots, and the lot fell on Abradatas, and his post was face to face with the Egyptians. Then the officers left the council and carried out the orders given, and took their evening meal and posted the pickets and went to rest.

[C.4] But early on the morrow Cyrus offered sacrifice, and meanwhile the rest of the army took their breakfast, and after the libation they armed themselves, a great and goodly company in bright tunics and splendid breastplates and shining helmets. All the horses had frontlets and chest-plates, the chargers had armour on their shoulders, and the chariot-horses on their flanks; so that the whole army flashed with bronze, and shone like a flower with scarlet. [2] The eight-horse chariot of Abradatas was a marvel of beauty and richness; and just as he was about to put on the linen corslet of his native land, Pantheia came, bringing him a golden breastplate and a helmet of gold, and armlets and broad bracelets for his wrists, and a full flowing purple tunic, and a hyacinth-coloured helmet-plume. All these she had made for him in secret, taking the measure of his armour without his knowledge. [3] And when he saw them, he gazed in wonder and said:

“Dear wife, and did you destroy your own jewels to make this armour for me?”

But she said, “No, my lord, at least not the richest of them all, for you shall be my loveliest jewel, when others see you as I see you now.”

As she spoke, she put the armour on him, but then, though she tried to hide it, the tears rolled down her cheeks.

[4] And truly, when Abradatas was arrayed in the new panoply, he, who had been fair enough to look upon before, was now a sight of splendour, noble and beautiful and free, as indeed his nature was. [5] He took the reins from the charioteer, and was about to set foot on the car, when Pantheia bade the bystanders withdraw, and said to him, “My own lord, little need to tell you what you know already, yet this I say, if any woman loved her husband more than her own soul, I am of her company. Why should I try to speak? Our lives say more than any words of mine. [6] And yet, feeling for you what you know, I swear to you by the love between us that I would rather go down to the grave beside you after a hero’s death than live on with you in shame. I have thought you worthy of the highest, and believed myself worthy to follow you. [7] And I bear in mind the great gratitude we owe to Cyrus, who, when I was his captive, chosen for his spoil, was too high-minded to treat me as a slave, or dishonour me as a free woman; he took me and saved me for you, as though I had been his brother’s wife. [8] And when Araspas, my warder, turned from him, I promised, if he would let me send for you, I would bring him a friend in the other’s place, far nobler and more faithful.”

[9] And as Pantheia spoke, Abradatas listened with rapture to her words, and when she ended, he laid his hand upon her head, and looking up to heaven he prayed aloud:

“O most mighty Zeus, make me worthy to be Pantheia’s husband, and the friend of Cyrus who showed us honour!”

[10] Then he opened the driver’s seat and mounted the car, and the driver shut the door, and Pantheia could not take him in her arms again, so she bent and kissed the chariot-box. Then the car rolled forward and she followed unseen till Abradatas turned and saw her and cried, “Be strong, Pantheia, be of a good heart! Farewell, and hie thee home!”

[11] Thereupon her chamberlains and her maidens took her and brought her back to her own carriage, and laid her down and drew the awning. But no man, of all who was there that day, splendid as Abradatas was in his chariot, had eyes to look on him until Pantheia had gone.

[12] Meanwhile Cyrus had found the victims favourable, and his army was already drawn up in the order he had fixed. He had scouts posted ahead, one behind the other, and then he called his officers together for his final words:

[13] “Gentlemen, my friends and allies, the sacred signs from heaven are as they were the day the gods gave us victory before, and I would call to your minds thoughts to bring you gladness and confidence for the fight. [14] You are far better trained than your enemies, you have lived together and worked together far longer than they, you have won victories together. What they have shared with one another has been defeat, and those who have not fought as yet feel they have traitors to right and left of them, while our recruits know that they enter battle in company with men who help their allies. [15] Those who trust each other will stand firm and fight without flinching, but when confidence has gone no man thinks of anything but flight. [16] Forward then, gentlemen, against the foe; drive our scythed chariots against their defenceless cars, let our armed cavalry charge their unprotected horse, and charge them home. [17] The mass of their infantry you have met before; and as for the Egyptians, they are armed in much the same way as they are marshalled; they carry shields too big to let them stir or see, they are drawn up a hundred deep, which will prevent all but the merest handful fighting. [18] If they count on forcing us back by their weigh, they must first withstand our steel and the charge of our cavalry. And if any of them do hold firm, how can they fight at once against cavalry, infantry, and turrets of artillery? For our men on the towers will be there to help us, they will smite the enemy until he flies instead of fighting. [19] If you think there is anything wanting, tell me now; God helping us, we will lack nothing. And if any man wishes to say anything, let him speak now; if not, go to the altar and there pray to the gods to whom we have sacrificed, and then fall in. [20] Let each man say to his own men what I have said to him, let him show the men he rules that he is fit to rule, let them see the fearlessness in his face, his bearing, and his words.”


C1.9. Artabazus “the kinsman” named now for the first time, why?

C1.11. Cf. Anglicè “his word”: a delicate appeal to a man of honour. It suits G.‘s character.

C1.14-15. Speech full of metaphor: winter stalking on, with hunter and frost attendant on either side; a stealthy, but august advance.

C1.16. A happy simile: vide Book of Wisdom [c. 5, 10, “And as a ship that passeth over the waves of the water,” etc.].

C1.38. How a fault may be turned to account: Hellenic stool of repentance.

C1.41. Theory of two souls, to account for the yielding to base desires. It works, but is it not the theory of a man whose will is weak, as we say, or whose sympathetic nature has been developed at the expense of his self-regulative? There is another way of putting it in Memorabilia, Bk. I. c. ii., §§ 19-28. Xenophon is not more a philosopher than a “philanthropist.” He is full of compassion for human weaknesses.

C1.44. Exit Araspas, to be baptised under this cloud of ignominy into the sunshine of recognised joyous serviceableness.

C1.45. We grow fonder than ever of Pantheia.

C1.50. Irony: the chariots that are to cost Abradatas his life hereafter. Is this tale “historic” at all? I mean, did Xenophon find or hear any such story current? What is the relation, if any, to it of Xenophon Ephesius, Antheia, and Abrocomas? [Xenophon Ephesius, a late writer of romances.] Had that writer any echo of the names in his head? What language are “Pantheia” and “Abradatas”?

C1.52. All very well, but the author hasn’t told us anything about the construction of these {mekhanai}, these battering engines, before, to prepare us for this. Is that a slip, or how explainable? I think he is betrayed into the description by reason of his interest in such strategic matters. The expression is intelligible enough to any one who knows about engines, just as we might speak of the butt or the stanchion, or whatever it be.

C2.1-3. The Medians bring back the bread that was cast upon the waters. Cyrus turns this gain to new account. He sacrifices the present natural gain, i.e. the wealth, to the harder spiritual gain, viz., their positive as opposed to their merely negative alliance. Cyrus is the archic man.

C2.4. I have a sort of idea, or feeling that here the writer takes up his pen afresh after a certain interval. C4-6 are a reduplication, not unnatural indeed, but pro tanto tautological.

C2.7. Semi-historical basis. Prototype, when Agesilaus meditated the advance on Persia, just before his recall. [See Hellenica, III. iv., Works II. p. 29.]

C2.13 foll. The archic man can by a word of his mouth still the flutter and incipient heave of terror-stricken hearts.

C2.15-18. A review of the improvements amounting to a complete revolution in arms and attack effected by Cyrus. This is imagined as an ideal accompaniment to the archic man and conqueror. Xenophon nowadays on the relative advantages of the bayonet and the sword, cavalry and infantry, etc., would have been very interesting. Cf. a writer like Forbes.

[C2.19. “Syrians.” The word is used loosely, including the Assyrians and their kindred. See below C.22. “Syria” = Assyria and the adjacent country.]

C2.21, fin. Xenophon has more than once witnessed this clouding of the brow, the scowl or sulk of the less stalwart moral-fibred men (notably in Hellenica).

C2.26 ff. How to give up wine: the art in it. Now listen, all you blue-ribbonists! Xenophon, Hygienist.

C2.37. One would like to know how the price was regulated. Does any learned German know? Note the orderliness and economy of it all. Is it, as far as the army goes, novel in any respect, do you suppose, or only idealised Hellenic? Spartan?

C3.14. A slight (intentional?) aposiopesis. Did H. have to drive back the great cavalry division of the enemy?

C3.17. How quickly the archic man passes on! Cf. J. P.

C3.19. Notice the part given to the Egyptians to play. Why? (Agesilaus died on his last campaign in Egypt.)

C3.25. Is it dramatic to make Cyrus speak in this way as if he were lecturing a class on strategics?

C3.30. The advantage even of sutlers and women. This several-times-repeated remark surprises me. But no doubt the arrangement would give the enemy pause, and waste his time in out-flanking movements: violà tout, hgd. At Cunaxa, however, the Persian did get behind the Greek camp. No prototype there, then. [Xenophon, Anabasis, Bk. I. c. 10.]

C4.2. We are more and more enamoured of Pantheia.

C4.7. As delicate as any modern in the respect for wedded womanhood.

C4.13 ff. Notice how in this stirring and inspiriting speech Cyrus by dealing with the Egyptians (the only unknown quantity) strikes a new note and sets up a new motive, as it were, preparing us for the tragic struggle which is to come, which will cost Abradatas and other good men dear, not to speak of the brave Egyptians themselves (cf. Sudanese Arabs). Also note Xenophon’s enthusiasm in reference to the new arming and the odds of encounter between cavalry and infantry (cf. Napier, Forbes, etc.).

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