Cyropaedia, by Xenophon

BOOK VIII

[C.1] Such were the words of Cyrus; and Chrysantas rose up after him, saying, “Gentlemen, this is not the first time I have had occasion to observe that a good ruler differs in no respect from a good father. Even as a father takes thought that blessings may never fail his children, so Cyrus would commend to us the ways by which we can preserve our happiness. And yet, on one point, it seemed to me he had spoken less fully than he might; and I will try to explain it for the benefit of those who have not learnt it. [2] I would have you ask yourselves, was ever a hostile city captured by an undisciplined force? Did ever an undisciplined garrison save a friendly town? When discipline was gone, did ever an army conquer? Is ever disaster nearer than when each solider thinks about his private safety only? Nay, in peace as in war, can any good be gained if men will not obey their betters? What city could be at rest, lawful, and orderly? What household could be safe? What ship sail home to her haven? [3] And we, to what do we owe our triumph, if not to our obedience? We obeyed; we were ready to follow the call by night and day; we marched behind our leader, ranks that nothing could resist; we left nothing half-done of all we were told to do. If obedience is the one path to win the highest good, remember it is also the one way to preserve it. [4] Now in the old days, doubtless, many of us ruled no one else, we were simply ruled. But today you find yourselves rulers, one and all of you, some over many and some over few. And just as you would wish your subjects to obey you, so we must obey those who are set over us. Yet there should be this difference between ourselves and slaves; a slave renders unwilling service to his lord, but we, if we claim to be freemen, must do of our own free will that which we see to be the best. And you will find,” he added, “that even when no single man is ruler, that city which is most careful to obey authority is the last to bow to the will of her enemies. [5] Let us listen to the words of Cyrus. Let us gather round the public buildings and train ourselves, so that we may keep our hold on all we care for, and offer ourselves to Cyrus for his noble ends. Of one thing we may be sure: Cyrus will never put us to any service which can make for his own good and not for ours. Our needs are the same as his, and our foes the same.”

[6] When Chrysantas had said his say, many others followed to support him, Persians and allies alike, and it was agreed that the men of rank and honour should be in attendance continually at the palace gates, ready for Cyrus to employ, until he gave them their dismissal. That custom is still in force, and to this day the Asiatics under the Great King wait at the door of their rulers. [7] And the measures that Cyrus instituted to preserve his empire, as set forth in this account, are still the law of the land, maintained by all the kings who followed him. [8] Only as in other matters, so here; with a good ruler, the government is pure; with a bad one, corrupt. Thus it came about that the nobles of Cyrus and all his honourable men waited at his gates, with their weapons and their horses, according to the common consent of the gallant men who had helped to lay the empire at his feet.

[9] Then Cyrus turned to other matters, and appointed various overseers: he had receivers of revenue, controllers of finance, ministers of works, guardians of property, superintendents of the household. Moreover, he chose managers for his horses and his dogs, men who could be trusted to keep the creatures in the best condition and ready for use at any moment. [10] But when it came to those who were to be his fellow-guardians for the commonwealth, he would not leave the care and the training of these to others; he regarded that as his own personal task. He knew, if he were ever to fight a battle, he would have to choose his comrades and supporters, the men on his right hand and left, from these and these alone; it was from them he must appoint his officers for horse and foot. [11] If he had to send out a general alone it would be from them that one must be sent: he must depend on them for satraps and governors over cities and nations; he would require them for ambassadors, and an embassy was, he knew, the best means for obtaining what he wanted without war. [12] He foresaw that nothing could go well if the agents in his weightiest affairs were not what they ought to be, while, if they were, everything would prosper. This charge, therefore, he took upon his own shoulders, and he was persuaded that the training he demanded of others should also be undergone by himself. No man could rouse others to noble deeds if he fell short of what he ought to be himself. [13] The more he pondered the matter, the more he felt the need of leisure, if he were to deal worthily with the highest matters. It was, he felt, impossible to neglect the revenues, in view of the enormous funds necessary for so vast an empire, yet he foresaw that if he was always to be occupied with the multitude of his possessions he would never have time to watch over the safety of the whole. [14] As he pondered how he could compass both objects, the prosperity of the finances and the leisure he required, the old military organisation came into his mind. He remembered how the captains of ten supervised the squads of ten, and were supervised themselves by the company-captains, and they by the captains of the thousands, and these by the captains of ten thousand, and thus even with hundreds of thousands not a man was left without supervision, and when the general wished to employ his troops one order to the captains of ten thousand was enough. [15] On this principle Cyrus arranged his finances and held his departments together; in this way, by conferring with a few officers he could keep the whole system under his control, and actually have more leisure for himself than the manager of a single household or the master of a single ship. Finally, having thus ordered his own affairs, he taught those about him to adopt the same system.

[16] Accordingly, having gained the leisure he needed for himself and his friends, he could devote himself to his work of training his partners and colleagues. In the first place he dealt with those who, enabled as they were to live on the labour of others, yet failed to present themselves at the palace; he would send for them and seek them out, convinced that attendance would be wholesome for them; they would be unwilling to do anything base or evil in the presence of their king and under the eye of their noblest men; those who were absent were so through self-indulgence or wrong-doing or carelessness. [17] And I will now set forth how he brought them to attend. He would go to one of his most intimate friends and bid him lay hands on the property of the offender, asserting that it was his own. Then of course the truants would appear at once crying out that they had been robbed. [18] But somehow for many days Cyrus could never find leisure to hear their complaints, and when he did listen he took care to defer judgment for many more. [19] This was one way he had of teaching them to attend; another was to assign the lightest and most profitable tasks to those who were punctual, and a third to give nothing whatever to the offenders. [20] But the most effective of all, for those who paid no heed to gentler measures, was to deprive the truant of what he possessed and bestow it on him who would come when he was needed. By this process Cyrus gave up a useless friend and gained a serviceable one. To this day the king sends for and seeks out those who do not present themselves when they should.

[21] Such was his method with the truants; with those who came forward he felt, since he was their rightful leader, that he could best incite them to noble deeds by trying to show that he himself had all the virtues that became a man. [22] He believed that men do grow better through written laws, and he held that the good ruler is a living law with eyes that see, inasmuch as he is competent to guide and also to detect the sinner and chastise him. [23] Thus he took pains to show that he was the more assiduous in his service to the gods the higher his fortunes rose. It was at this time that the Persian priests, the Magians, were first established as an order, and always at break of day Cyrus chanted a hymn and sacrificed to such of the gods as they might name. [24] And the ordinances he established service to this day at the court of the reigning king. These were the first matters in which the Persians set themselves to copy their prince; feeling their own fortune would be the higher if they did reverence to the gods, following the man who was fortune’s favourite and their own monarch. At the same time, no doubt, they thought they would please Cyrus by this. [25] On his side Cyrus looked on the piety of his subjects as a blessing to himself, reckoning as they do who prefer to sail in the company of pious men rather than with those who are suspected of wicked deeds, and he reckoned further that if all his partners were god-fearing, they would be the less prone to crime against each other or against himself, for he knew he was the benefactor of his fellows. [26] And by showing plainly his own deep desire never to be unfair to friend or fellow-combatant or ally, but always to fix his eyes on justice and rectitude, he believed he could induce others to keep from base actions and walk in the paths of righteousness. [27] And he would bring more modesty, he hoped, into the hearts of all men if it were plain that he himself reverenced all the world and would never say a shameful word to any man or woman or do a shameful deed. [28] He looked for this because he saw that, apart from kings and governors who may be supposed to inspire fear, men will reverence the modest and not the shameless, and modesty in women will inspire modesty in the men who behold them. [29] And his people, he thought, would learn to obey if it were plain that he honoured frank and prompt obedience even above virtues that made a grander show and were harder to attain. [30] Such was his belief, and his practice went with it to the end. His own temperance and the knowledge of it made others more temperate. When they saw moderation and self-control in the man who above all others had licence to be insolent, lesser men were the more ready to abjure all insolence of their own. [31] But there was this difference, Cyrus held, between modesty and self-control: the modest man will do nothing shameful in the light of day, but the man of self-control nothing base, not even in secret. [32] Self-restrain, he believed, would best be cultivated if he made men see in himself one who could not be dragged from the pursuit of virtue by the pleasure of the moment, one who chose to toil first for the happy-hearted joys that go hand-inhand with beauty and nobleness. [33] Thus, being the man he was, he established at his gates a stately company, where the lower gave place to the higher, and they in their turn showed reverence to each other, and courtesy, and perfect harmony. Among them all there was never a cry of anger to be heard, nor a burst of insolent laughter; to look at them was to know that they lived for honour and loveliness.

[34] Such was the life at the palace-gates, and to practise his nobles in martial exercises he would lead them out to the hunt whenever he thought it well, holding the chase to be the best training for war and the surest way to excellence in horsemanship. [35] A man learns to keep his seat, no matter what the ground may be, as he follows the flying quarry, learns to hurl and strike on horseback in his eagerness to bring down the game and win applause. [36] And here, above all, was the field in which to inure his colleagues to toil and hardship and cold and heat and hunger and thirst. Thus to this day the Persian monarch and his court spend their leisure in the chase. [37] From all that has been said, it is clear Cyrus was convinced that no one has a right to rule who is not superior to his subjects, and he held that by imposing such exercises as these on those about him, he would lead them to self-control and bring to perfection the art and discipline of war. [38] Accordingly he would put himself at the head of the hunting-parties and take them out himself unless he was bound to stay at home, and, if he was, he would hunt in his parks among the wild creatures he had reared. He would never touch the evening meal himself until he had sweated for it, nor give his horses their corn until they had been exercised, and he would invite his own mace-bearers to join him in the chase. [39] Therefore he excelled in all knightly accomplishments, he and those about him, because of their constant practice. Such was the example he set before his friends. But he also kept his eye on others, and would single out those who worshipped noble deeds, and reward them with gifts, and high commands, and seats at festivals, and every kind of honour. And thus their hearts were filled with ambition, and every man longed to outdo his fellows in the eyes of Cyrus.

[40] But we seem to learn also that Cyrus thought it necessary for the ruler not only to surpass his subjects by his own native worth, but also to charm them through deception and artifice. At any rate he adopted the Median dress, and persuaded his comrades to do likewise; he thought it concealed any bodily defect, enhancing the beauty and stature of the wearer. [41] The shoe, for instance, was so devised that a sole could be added without notice, and the man would seem taller than he really was. So also Cyrus encouraged the use of ointments to make the eyes more brilliant and pigments to make the skin look fairer. [42] And he trained his courtiers never to spit or blow the nose in public or turn aside to stare at anything; they were to keep the stately air of persons whom nothing can surprise. These were all means to one end; to make it impossible for the subjects to despise their rulers.

[43] Thus he moulded the men he considered worthy of command by his own example, by the training he gave them, and by the dignity of his own leadership. But the treatment of those he prepared for slavery was widely different. Not one of them would he incite to any noble toil, he would not even let them carry arms, and he was careful that they should never lack food or drink in any manly sort. [44] When the beaters drove the wild creatures into the plain he would allow food to be brought for the servants, but not for the free men; on a march he would lead the slaves to the water-springs as he led the beasts of burden. Or when it was the hour of breakfast he would wait himself till they had taken a snatch of food and stayed their wolfish hunger; and the end of it was they called him their father even as the nobles did, because he cared for them, but the object of his care was to keep them slaves for ever.

[45] Thus he secured the safety of the Persian empire. He himself, he felt sure, ran no danger from the massages of the conquered people; he saw they had no courage, no unity, and no discipline, and, moreover, not one of them could ever come near him, day or night. [46] But there were others whom he knew to be true warriors, who carried arms, and who held by one another, commanders of horse and foot, many of them men of spirit, confident, as he could plainly see, of their own power to rule, men who were in close touch with his own guards, and many of them in constant intercourse with himself; as indeed was essential if he was to make any use of them at all. It was from them that danger was to be feared; and that in a thousand ways. [47] How was he to guard against it? He rejected the idea of disarming them; he thought this unjust, and that it would lead to the dissolution of the empire. To refuse them admission into his presence, to show them his distrust, would be, he considered, a declaration of war. [48] But there was one method, he felt, worth all the rest, an honourable method and one that would secure his safety absolutely; to win their friendship if he could, and make them more devoted to himself than to each other. I will now endeavour to set forth the methods, so far as I conceive them, by which he gained their love.

[C.2] In the first place he never lost an opportunity of showing kindliness wherever he could, convinced that just as it is not easy to love those who hate us, so it is scarcely possible to feel enmity for those who love us and wish us well. [2] So long as he had lacked the power to confer benefits by wealth, all he could do then was to show his personal care for his comrades and his soldiers, to labour in their behalf, manifest his joy in their good fortune and his sympathy in their sorrows, and try to win them in that way. But when the time came for the gifts of wealth, he realised that of all the kindnesses between man and man none come with a more natural grace than the gifts of meat and drink. [3] Accordingly he arranged that his table should be spread every day for many guests in exactly the same way as for himself; and all that was set before him, after he and his guests had dined, he would send out to his absent friends, in token of affection and remembrance. He would include those who had won his approval by their work on guard, or in attendance on himself, or in any other service, letting them see that no desire to please him could ever escape his eyes. [4] He would show the same honour to any servant he wished to praise; and he had all the food for them placed at his own board, believing this would win their fidelity, as it would a dog’s. Or, if he wished some friend of his to be courted by the people, he would single him out for such gifts; even to this day the world will pay court to those who have dishes sent them from the Great King’s table, thinking they must be in high favour at the palace and can get things done for others. But no doubt there was another reason for the pleasure in such gifts, and that was the sheer delicious taste of the royal meats. [5] Nor should that surprise us; for if we remember to what a pitch of perfection the other crafts are brought in great communities, we ought to expect the royal dishes to be wonders of finished art. In a small city the same man must make beds and chairs and ploughs and tables, and often build houses as well; and indeed he will be only too glad if he can find enough employers in all trades to keep him. Now it is impossible that a single man working at a dozen crafts can do them all well; but in the great cities, owing to the wide demand for each particular thing, a single craft will suffice for a means of livelihood, and often enough even a single department of that; there are shoe-makers who will only make sandals for men and others only for women. Or one artisan will get his living merely by stitching shoes, another by cutting them out, a third by shaping the upper leathers, and a fourth will do nothing but fit the parts together. Necessarily the man who spends all his time and trouble on the smallest task will do that task the best. [6] The arts of the household must follow the same law. If one and the same servant makes the bed, spreads the table, kneads the dough, and cooks the various dishes, the master must take things as they come, there is no help for it. But when there is work enough for one man to boil the pot, and another to roast the meat, and a third to stew the fish, and a fourth to fry it, while some one else must bake the bread, and not all of it either, for the loaves must be of different kinds, and it will be quite enough if the baker can serve up one kind to perfection — it is obvious, I think, that in this way a far higher standard of excellence will be attained in every branch of the work.

[7] Thus it is easy to see how Cyrus could outdo all competitors in the grace of hospitality, and I will now explain how he came to triumph in all other services. Far as he excelled mankind in the scale of his revenues, he excelled them even more in the grandeur of his gifts. It was Cyrus who set the fashion; and we are familiar to this day with the open-handedness of Oriental kings. [8] There is no one, indeed, in all the world whose friends are seen to be as wealthy as the friends of the Persian monarch: no one adorns his followers in such splendour of rich attire, no gifts are so well known as his, the bracelets, and the necklaces, and the chargers with the golden bridles. For in that country no one can have such treasures unless the king has given them. [9] And of whom but the Great King could it be said that through the splendour of his presents he could steal the hearts of men and turn them to himself, away from brothers, fathers, sons? Who but he could stretch out an arm and take vengeance on his enemies when yet they were months and months away? Who but Cyrus ever won an empire in war, and when he died was called father by the people he overcame? — a title that proclaims the benefactor and not the robber. [10] Indeed, we are led to think that the offices called “the king’s eyes” and “the king’s ears” came into being through this system of gifts and honours. Cyrus’ munificence toward all who told him what it was well for him to know set countless people listening with all their ears and watching with all their eyes for news that might be of service to him. [11] Thus there sprang up a host of “king’s eyes” and “king’s ears,” as they were called, known and reputed to be such. But it is a mistake to suppose that the king has one chosen “eye.” It is little that one man can see or one man hear, and to hand over the office to one single person would be to bid all others go to sleep. Moreover, his subjects would feel they must be on their guard before the man they knew was “the king’s eye.” The contrary is the case; the king will listen to any man who asserts that he has heard or seen anything that needs attention. [12] Hence the saying that the king has a thousand eyes and a thousand ears; and hence the fear of uttering anything against his interest since “he is sure to hear,” or doing anything that might injure him “since he may be there to see.” So far, therefore, from venturing to breathe a syllable against Cyrus, every man felt that he was under the eye and within the hearing of a king who was always present. For this universal feeling towards him I can give no other reason than his resolve to be a benefactor on a most mighty scale.

[13] It is not surprising, no doubt, that being the wealthiest of men, he could outdo the world in the splendour of his gifts. The remarkable thing was to find a king outstrip his courtiers in courtesy and kindness. There was nothing, so the story runs, that could ever shame him more than to be outdone in courtesy. [14] Indeed, a saying of his is handed down comparing a good king to a good shepherd — the shepherd must manage his flock by giving them all they need, and the king must satisfy the needs of his cities and his subjects if he is to manage them. We need not wonder, then, that with such opinions his ambition was to excel mankind in courtesy and care. [15] There was a noble illustration of his philosophy in the answer we are told he gave to Croesus, who had taken him to task, saying his lavish gifts would bring him to beggary, although he could lay by more treasures for himself than any man had ever had before. Cyrus, it is said, asked him in return, “How much wealth do you suppose I could have amassed already, had I collected gold, as you bid me, ever since I came into my empire?”

[16] And Croesus named an enormous sum. Then Cyrus said, “Listen, Croesus, here is my friend, Hystaspas, and you must send with him a man that you can trust.” Then, turning to Hystaspas, “Do you,” he said, “go round to my friends and tell them that I need money for a certain enterprise — and that is true, I do need it. Bid each of them write down the amount he can give me, seal the letter, and hand it to the messenger of Croesus, who will bring it here.” [17] Thereupon Cyrus wrote his wishes and put his seal on the letter, and gave it to Hystaspas to carry round, only he added a request that they should all welcome Hystaspas as a friend of his. And when the messengers came back, the officer of Croesus carrying the answers, Hystaspas cried, “Cyrus, my lord, you must know I am a rich man now! I have made my fortune, thanks to your letter! They have loaded me with gifts.” [18] And Cyrus said, “There, Croesus, that is treasure number one; and now run through the rest, and count what sums I have in hand, in case I need them.” And Croesus counted, and found, so the story tells us, that the sum was far larger than the amount he had said would have been lying in the treasury if only Cyrus had made a hoard. [19] At this discovery Cyrus said, so we are told, “You see, Croesus, I have my treasures too. Only you advise me to collect them and hide them, and be envied and hated because of them, and set mercenaries to guard them, putting my trust in hirelings. But I hold to it that if I make my friends rich they will be my treasures themselves, and far better guards too, for me and all we have, than if I set hired watchmen over my wealth. [20] And I have somewhat else to say; I tell you, Croesus, there is something the gods have implanted in our souls, and there they have made us all beggars alike, something I can never overcome. [21] I too, like all the rest, am insatiate of riches, only in one respect I fancy I am different. Most men when they have more wealth than they require bury some of it underground, and let some of it rot, and some they count and measure, and they guard it and they air it, and give themselves a world of trouble, and yet for all their wealth they cannot eat more than they have stomach for — they would burst asunder if they did — nor wear more clothes than they can carry — they would die of suffocation — and so their extra wealth means nothing but extra work. [22] For my part, I serve the gods, and I stretch out my hands for more and more; only when I have got what is beyond my own requirements I piece out the wants of my friends, and so, helping my fellows, I purchase their love and their goodwill, and out of these I garner security and renown, fruits that can never rot, rich meats that can work no mischief; for glory, the more it grows, the grander it becomes, and the fairer, and the lighter to be borne; it even gives a lighter step to those who bear it. [23] One thing more, Croesus, I would have you know; the happiest men, in my judgment, are not the holders of vast riches and the masters who have the most to guard; else the sentinels of our citadels would be the happiest of mortals, seeing they guard the whole wealth of the state. He, I hold, has won the crown of happiness who has had the skill to gain wealth by the paths of righteousness and use it for all that is honourable and fair.”

[24] That was the doctrine Cyrus preached, and all men could see that his practice matched his words.

Moreover, he observed that the majority of mankind, if they live in good health for long, will only lay by such stores and requisites as may be used by a healthy man, and hardly care at all to have appliances at hand in case of sickness. But Cyrus was at the pains to provide these; he encouraged the ablest physicians of the day by his liberal payments, and if ever they recommended an instrument or a drug or a special kind of food or drink, he never failed to procure it and have it stored in the palace.

[25] And whenever any one fell sick among those who had peculiar claims on his attentions, he would visit them and bring them all they needed, and he showed especial gratitude to the doctors if they cured their patients by the help of his own stores. [26] These measures, and others like them, he adopted to win the first place in the hearts of those whose friendship he desired. Moreover, the contests he proclaimed and the prizes he offered to awaken ambition and desire for gallant deeds all redounded to his own glory as a man who had the pursuit of nobleness at heart, while they bred strife and bitter rivalry among the champions themselves. [27] Further, he laid it down that in every matter needing arbitration, whether it were a suit-at-law or a trial of skill, the parties should concur in their choice of a judge. Each would try to secure the most powerful man he knew and the one most friendly to himself, and if he lost he envied his successful rival and hated the judge who had declared against him, while the man who won claimed to win because his case was just and felt he owed no gratitude to anybody. [28] Thus all who wished to be first in the affections of Cyrus, just as others in democratic states, were full of rancour against each other, in fact most of them would sooner have seen their rivals exterminated than join with them for any common good. Such are some of the devices by which he made the ablest of his subjects more attached to himself than to one another.

[C.3] I will now describe the first public progress that Cyrus made. For the very solemnity of the ceremony was one of the artifices by which he won reverence for his government. The day before it he summoned the officers of state, the Persians and the others, and gave them all the splendid Median dress. This was the first time the Persians wore it, and as they received the robes he said that he wished to drive in his chariot to the sacred precincts and offer sacrifice with them. [2] “You will present yourselves at my gates,” he added, “before the sun rises, attired in these robes, and you will take your places where Pheraulas the Persian bids you on my behalf. As soon as I lead the way you will follow in your appointed order. And if any of you should think of some change to heighten the beauty and stateliness of our procession, you will acquaint me with it, I pray, on our return; it is for us to see that all is done in the manner you feel to be most beautiful and best.”

[3] With that Cyrus gave the most splendid robes to his chief notables, and then he brought out others, for he had stores of Median garments, purple and scarlet and crimson and glowing red, and gave a share to each of his generals and said to them, “Adorn your friends, as I have adorned you.” [4] Then one of them asked him, “And you, O Cyrus, when will you adorn yourself?” But he answered, “Is it not adornment enough for me to have adorned you? If I can but do good to my friends, I shall look glorious enough, whatever robe I wear.”

[5] So his nobles took their leave, and sent for their friends and put the splendid raiment on them. Meanwhile Cyrus summoned Pheraulas, knowing that, while he was a man of the people, he was also quick-witted, a lover of the beautiful, prompt to understand and to obey, and one who had ever an eye to please his master. It was he who had supported Cyrus long ago when he proposed that honour should be given in proportion to desert. And now Cyrus asked him how he thought the procession might be made most beautiful in the eyes of friends and most formidable in the sight of foes. [6] So they took counsel and were of the same mind, and Cyrus bade Pheraulas see that all was done on the morrow as they had agreed.

“I have issued orders,” he added, “for all to obey you in the matter, but to make them the more willing, take these tunics yourself and give them to the captains of the guard, and these military cloaks for the cavalry officers, and these tunics for those who command the chariots.”

[7] So Pheraulas took the raiment and departed, and when the generals saw him, they met him with shouts and cries, “A monstrous fine fellow you are, Pheraulas!” said one: “you are to give us our orders, it seems!”

“Oh, yes,” said Pheraulas, “and carry your baggage too. Here I come with two cloaks as it is, one for you and another for somebody else: you must choose whichever you like the best.”

[8] At that the officer put out his hand to take the cloak; he had clean forgotten his jealousy, and fell to asking Pheraulas which he had better choose. And Pheraulas gave his advice, adding, “But if you inform against me, and let out that I gave you the choice, the next time I have to wait upon you you will find me a very different sort of serving-man.”

Thus he distributed the gifts he brought, and then he saw to the arrangements for the procession so that everything should be as far as possible.

[9] On the morrow all things were ready before day-break, ranks lining the road on either hand, as they do to this day when the king is expected to ride abroad — no one may pass within the lines unless he is a man of mark — and constables were posted with whips, to use at any sign of disturbance.

In front of the palace stood the imperial guard of lancers, four thousand strong, drawn up four deep on either side of the gates. [10] And all the cavalry were there, the men standing beside their horses, with their hands wrapped in their cloaks, as is the custom to this day for every subject when the king’s eye is on him. The Persians stood on the right, and the allies on the left, and the chariots were posted in the same way, half on one side and half on the other. [11] Presently the palace-gates were flung open, and at the head of the procession were led out the bulls for sacrifice, beautiful creatures, four and four together. They were to be offered to Zeus and to any other gods that the Persian priests might name. For the Persians think it of more importance to follow the guidance of the learned in matters pertaining to the gods than in anything else whatever.

[12] After the oxen came horses, an offering to the Sun, then a white chariot with a golden yoke, hung with garlands and dedicated to Zeus, and after that the white car of the Sun, wreathed like the one before it, and then a third chariot, the horses of which were caparisoned with scarlet trappings, and behind walked men carrying fire upon a mighty hearth. [13] And then at last Cyrus himself was seen, coming forth from the gates in his chariot, wearing his tiara on his head, and a purple tunic shot with white, such as none but the king may wear, and trews of scarlet, and a cloak of purple. Round his tiara he wore a diadem, and his kinsmen wore the same, even as the custom is to this day. [14] And the king’s hands hung free outside his cloak. Beside him stood a charioteer — he was a tall man, but he seemed to be dwarfed by Cyrus; whether it was really so, or whether there was some artifice at work, Cyrus towered above him. At the sight of the king, the whole company fell on their faces. Perhaps some had been ordered to do this and so set the fashion, or perhaps the multitude were really overcome by the splendour of the pageant and the sight of Cyrus himself, stately and tall and fair. [15] For hitherto none of the Persians had done obeisance to Cyrus.

And now, as the chariot moved onwards, the four thousand lancers went before it, two thousand on either side, and close behind came the mace-bearers, mounted on horseback, with javelins in their hands, three hundred strong. [16] Then the royal steeds were led past, with golden bridles and striped housings, two hundred and more, and then followed two thousand spearmen and after them the squadron of cavalry first formed, ten thousand men, a hundred deep and a hundred riding abreast, with Chrysantas at their head. [17] And behind them the second body of the Persian horse, ten thousand more, in the same order, under Hystaspas, and then again ten thousand under Datamas, and others behind them under Gadatas. [18] And after them the Median cavalry, and then the Armenians, the Hyrcanians, the Cadousians, and the Sakians in their order; and after the cavalry a squadron of war-chariots, drawn up four deep, with Artabatas the Persian in command.

[19] All along the route thousands of men followed, outside the barriers, with petitions to Cyrus. Accordingly he sent his mace-bearers, who rode beside him for the purpose, three on either side of his chariot, bidding them tell the crowd of suitors, if they had need of anything, to acquaint one of the cavalry officers and he would speak for them. So the petitioners withdrew, and fell to marching along the lines of the cavalry, considering whom they should address. [20] Cyrus meanwhile would send messengers to the friends he wished to be courted, saying to them, “If any man appeals to you and you think nothing of what he says, pay no heed to him, but if his request seems just, report it to me, and we will discuss it together and arrange matters for him.” [21] As a rule the officers so summoned did not loiter, but dashed up at full speed, glad to enhance the authority of Cyrus and to show their own allegiance. But there was a certain Daïpharnes, a person of somewhat boorish manners, who fancied that he would make a show of greater independence if he did not hurry himself. [22] Cyrus noted this, and quietly, before the man could reach him, sent another messenger to say he had no further need of him; and that was the last time Daïpharnes was ever summoned. [23] And when the next officer rode up, in front of Daïpharnes though sent for after him, Cyrus presented him with a horse from his train and bade one of the mace-bearers lead it wherever he wished. The people saw in this a high mark of honour; and a greater crowd than ever paid their court to the favoured man.

[24] When the procession reached the sacred precincts, sacrifice was offered to Zeus, a whole burnt-offering of bulls, and a whole burnt-offering of horses to the Sun; and then they sacrificed to the Earth, slaying the victims as the Persian priests prescribed, and then to the heroes who hold the Syrian land. [25] And when the rites were done, Cyrus, seeing that the ground was suitable for racing, marked out a goal, and a course half-a-mile in length, and bade the cavalry and the chariots match their horses against each other, tribe by tribe. He himself raced among his Persians, and won with ease, for he was far the best horseman there. The winner among the Medes was Artabazus, the horse he rode being a gift from Cyrus. The Syrian race was won by their chieftain, the Armenian by Tigranes, the Hyrcanian by the general’s son, and the Sakian by a private soldier who left all his rivals half the course behind him.

[26] Cyrus, so the story says, asked the young man if he would take a kingdom for his horse.

“No kingdom for me,” answered the soldier, “but I would take the thanks of a gallant fellow.”

[27] “Well,” said Cyrus, “I would like to show you where you could hardly fail to hit one, even if you shut your eyes.”

“Be so good as to show me now,” said the Sakian, “and I will take aim with this clod,” picking up one from the ground.

[28] Then Cyrus pointed to a group of his best friends, and the other shut his eyes and flung the clod, and it struck Pheraulas as he galloped by, bearing some message from Cyrus. But he never so much as turned, flashing past on his errand. [29] Then the Sakian opened his eyes and asked whom he had hit?

“Nobody, I assure you,” said Cyrus, “who is here.”

“And nobody who is not, of course,” said the young man.

“Oh yes, you did,” answered Cyrus, “you hit that officer over there who is riding so swiftly paste the chariot-lines.”

[30] “And how is it,” asked the other, “that he does not even turn his head?”

“Half-witted, probably,” said Cyrus.

Whereat the young man rode off to see who it was, and found Pheraulas, with his chin and beard all begrimed and bloody, gore trickling from his nostrils were the clod had struck him. [31] The Sakian cried out to know if he was hit.

“As you see,” answered Pheraulas.

“Then,” said the other, “let me give you my horse.”

“But why?” asked Pheraulas.

And so the Sakian had to tell him all about the matter, adding, “And after all, you see, I did not miss a gallant fellow.”

[32] “Ah,” said Pheraulas, “if you had been wise, you would have chosen a richer one; but I take your gift with all my thanks. And I pray the gods,” he added, “who let me be your target, to help me now and see that you may never regret your gift. For the present, mount my horse yourself and ride back; I will be with you shortly.”

So they exchanged steeds and parted.

The winner of the Cadousian race was Rathines.

[33] Then followed chariot-races, tribe by tribe as before: and to all the winners Cyrus gave goblets of price, and oxen, that they might have the wherewithal for sacrifice and feasting. He himself took an ox for his own meed, but he gave all the goblets to Pheraulas to show his approval of the arrangements for the march. [34] And the manner of that procession, then first established by Cyrus, continues to this day, the same in all things, save that the victims are absent when there is no sacrifice. And when it was over, the soldiers went back to the city, and took up their quarters for the night, some in houses and some with their regiments.

[35] Now Pheraulas had invited the Sakian who had given him the horse, and he entertained him with the best he had, and set before him a full board, and after they had dined he filled the goblets Cyrus had given him, and drank to his guest, and offered them all to him. [36] And the Sakian looked round on the rich and costly rugs, and the beautiful furniture, and the train of servants, and cried:

“Tell me, Pheraulas, do you belong to wealthy folk at home?”

[37] “Wealthy folk indeed!” cried Pheraulas, “men who live by their hands, you mean. My father, I can tell you, had work enough to rear me and get me a boy’s schooling; he had to toil hard and live sparely, and when I grew to be a lad he could not afford to keep me idle, he took me to a farm in the country and set me there to work it. [38] Then it was my turn, and I supported him while he lived, digging with my own hands and sowing the seed in a ridiculous little plot of ground, and yet it was not a bad bit of soil either, but as good and as honest earth as ever you saw: whatever seed it got from me, it paid me back again, and so prettily and carefully and duly, principal and interest both; not that the interest was very much, I won’t say it was, though once or twice, out of pure generosity, that land gave me twice was much as I put into it. That’s how I used to live at home, in the old days: today it’s different, and all that you see here I owe to Cyrus.”

[39] Then the Sakian cried:

“O lucky fellow! Lucky in everything, and most of all in coming to wealth from beggary! I know your riches must taste the sweeter, because you hungered for them first and now are full.”

[40] But Pheraulas answered:

“Do you really think, my friend, that my joy in life has grown with the growth of my wealth? Do you not know,” he went on, “that I neither eat nor drink nor sleep with any more zest than I did when I was poor? What I get by all these goods is simply this: I have more to watch over, more to distribute, and more trouble in looking after more. [41] I have a host of servants now, one set asking me for food, another for drink, another for clothing, and some must have the doctor, and then a herdsman comes, carrying the carcase of some poor sheep mangled by the wolves, or perhaps with an ox that has fallen down a precipice, or maybe he has to tell me that a murrain has broken out among my flocks. It seems to me,” Pheraulas ended, “that I suffer more today through having much than ever I did before through having nothing.”

[42] “But — Heaven help us!” cried the Sakian, “surely, when it is all safe, to see so much of your own must make you much happier than me?”

“I assure you, my friend,” said Pheraulas, “the possession of riches is nothing like so sweet as the loss of them is painful. And here is a proof for you: no rich man lies awake from pure joy at his wealth, but did you ever know a man who could close his eyes when he was losing?”

[43] “No,” said the Sakian, “nor yet one who could drop asleep when he was winning.”

[44] “True enough,” answered the other, “and if having were as sweet as getting, the rich would be a thousand times more happy than the poor. And remember, stranger,” he added, “a man who has much must spend much on the gods and his friends and his guests, and if he takes intense delight in his riches, spending will cause him intense annoyance.”

[45] “Upon my word,” said the Sakian, “for myself, I am not that sort of man at all: to have much and to spend much is just my idea of perfect happiness.”

[46] “Heavens!” cried Pheraulas, “what a chance for us both! You can win perfect happiness now, this instant, and make me happy too! Here, take all these things for your own, make what use of them you please; and as for me, you can keep me as your guest, only much more cheaply if you like: it will be quite enough for me to share whatever you have yourself.”

“You are jesting,” said the Sakian.

[47] But Pheraulas swore with all solemnity that he spoke in earnest.

“Yes, my friend,” he added, “and there are other matters that I can arrange for you with Cyrus: freedom from military service or attendance at the gates. All you will have to do will be to stay at home and grow rich: I will do the rest on your behalf and mine. And if I win any treasure through my service at court or on the field, I will bring it home to you, and you will be lord of more; only,” he added, “you must free me from the responsibility of looking after it, for if you give me leisure from these cares I believe you will be of great use to Cyrus and myself.”

[48] So the talk ended and they struck a bargain on these terms, and kept it. And the Sakian thought he had found happiness because he was the master of much wealth, and the other felt he was in bliss because he had got a steward who would leave him leisure to do what he liked best. [49] For the character of Pheraulas was amiable: he was a loving comrade, and no service seemed so sweet to him or so helpful as the service of man. Man, he believed, was the noblest of the animals and the most grateful: praise, Pheraulas saw, will reap counter-praise, kindness will stir kindness in return, and goodwill goodwill; those whom men know to love them they cannot hate, and, in a way no other animals will, they cherish their parents in life and in death and requite their care. All other creatures, in short, compared with man, are lacking in gratitude and heart.

[50] Thus Pheraulas was overjoyed to feel that he could now be quit of anxiety for his wealth, and devote himself to his friends, while the Sakian was delighted with all that he had and all that he could use. The Sakian loved Pheraulas because he was for ever adding something to the store, and Pheraulas loved the Sakian because he was willing to assume the entire burden, and however much the cares increased he never broke into the other’s leisure. Thus those two lived their lives.

[C.4] Now Cyrus offered sacrifice and held high festival for his victories, and he summoned to the feast those of his friends who bore him most affection and had shown most desire to exalt him. With them were bidden Artabazus the Mede, and Tigranes the Armenian, and the commander of the Hyrcanian cavalry, and Gobryas. [2] Gadatas was the chief of the mace-bearers, and the whole household was arranged as he advised. When there were guests at dinner, Gadatas would not sit down, but saw to everything, and when they were alone he sat at meat with Cyrus, who took delight in his company, and in return for all his services he was greatly honoured by Cyrus and that led to more honours for others. [3] As the guests entered, Gadatas would show each man to his seat, and the places were chosen with care: the friend whom Cyrus honoured most was placed on his left hand (for that was the side most open to attack), the second on his right, the third next to the left-hand guest, and the fourth next to the right, and so on, whatever the number of guests might be. [4] Cyrus thought it well it should be known how much each man was honoured, for he saw that where the world believes merit will win no crown and receive no proclamation, there the spirit of emulation dies, but if all see that the best man gains most, then the rivalry grows keen. [5] Thus it was that Cyrus marked out the men he favoured by the seat of honour and the order of precedence. Nor did he assign the honourable place to one friend for all time; he made it a law that by good deeds a man might rise into a higher seat or through sloth descend into a lower; and he would have felt ashamed if it were not known that the guest most honoured at his table received most favours at his hands. These customs that arose in the reign of Cyrus continue to our time, as we can testify.

[6] While they were at the feast that day it struck Gobryas that though there was nothing surprising in the abundance and variety at the table of one who was lord over so vast an empire, yet it was strange that Cyrus, who had done such mighty deeds, should never keep any dainty for himself, but must always be at pains to share it with the company. More than once also he saw Cyrus send off to an absent friend some dish that had chanced to please him. [7] So that by the time they had finished their meal all the viands had been given away by Cyrus, and the board was bare.

Then Gobryas said, “Truly, Cyrus, until today I used to think it was in generalship that you outshone other men the most, but, by heaven! I say now it is not in generalship at all, it is generosity.”

[8] “Maybe,” said Cyrus, “at least I take far more pride in this work than in the other.”

“How can that be?” asked Gobryas.

“Because,” said he, “the one does good to man and the other injury.”

[9] Presently as the wine went round and round, Hystaspas turned to Cyrus and said:

“Would you be angry, Cyrus, if I asked something I long to know?”

“On the contrary,” answered Cyrus, “I should be vexed if I saw you silent when you longed to ask.”

“Tell me then,” said the other, “have you ever called me and found I refused to come?”

“What a question!” said Cyrus, “of course not.”

“Well, have I ever been slow in coming?”

“No, never.”

“Or failed to do anything you ordered?”

“No,” said Cyrus, “I have no fault to find at all.”

“Whatever I had to do, I always did it eagerly and with all my heart, did I not?”

“Most assuredly,” answered Cyrus.

[10] “Then why, Cyrus, why, in heaven’s name, have you singled out Chrysantas for a more honourable seat than me?”

“Shall I really tell you?” asked Cyrus in his turn.

“By all means,” said the other.

“And you will not be annoyed if I tell you the plain truth?”

[11] “On the contrary, it will comfort me to know I have not been wronged.”

“Well, then, Chrysantas never waited to be called; he came of his own accord on our behalf, and he made it his business to do, not merely what he was ordered, but whatever he thought would help us. When something had to be said to the allies, he would not only suggest what was fitting for me to say myself, he would guess what I wanted the allies to know but could not bring myself to utter, since it was about myself, and he would say it for me as though it were his own opinion; in fact, for everything of the kind he was nothing less to me than a second and a better self. And now he is always insisting that what he has already got is quite enough for himself, and always trying to discover something more for me: he takes a greater pride and joy in all my triumphs than I do myself.”

[12] “By Hera,” said Hystaspas, “I am right glad I asked you. Only one thing puzzles me: how am I to show my joy at your success? Shall I clap my hands and laugh, or what shall I do?”

“Dance the Persian dance, of course,” said Artabazus. And all the company laughed.

[13] And as the drinking deepened Cyrus put a question to Gobryas.

“Tell me, Gobryas, would you be better pleased to give your daughter to one of our company today than the day when you met us first?”

“Well,” said Gobryas, “am I also to tell the truth?”

“Certainly,” said Cyrus, “no question looks for a lie.”

“Then,” said Gobryas, “I assure you, I would far rather give her in marriage today.”

“Can you tell us why?” said Cyrus.

“That I can,” said he.

[14] “Say on, then.”

“At that time, I saw, it is true, the gallant manner in which your men endured toil and danger, but today I see the modesty with which they bear success. And I believe, Cyrus, that the man who takes good-fortune well is further to seek than he who can endure adversity; for success engenders insolence in many hearts, while suffering teaches sobriety and fortitude.”

[15] And Cyrus said, “Hystaspas, did you hear the saying of Gobryas?”

“I did indeed,” he answered, “and if he has many more as good, he will find me a suitor for his daughter, a far more eager one than if he had shown me all his goblets.”

[16] “Well,” said Gobryas, “I have many such written down at home, and you may have them all if you take my daughter to wife. And as for goblets,” he added, “since it seems you cannot away with them, perhaps I might give them to Chrysantas to punish him for having filled your seat.”

[17] “Listen to me,” said Cyrus, “Hystaspas, and all of you. If you will but tell me, any of you, when you propose to marry, you would soon discover what a clever advocate you had in me.”

[18] But Gobryas interposed, “And if one of us wants to give his daughter in marriage, to whom should he apply?”

“To me also,” answered Cyrus; “I assure you, I am adept in the art.”

“What art is that?” Chrysantas inquired.

[19] “The art of discerning the wife to suit each man.”

“Then by all the gods,” said Chrysantas, “tell me what sort of wife would do for me?”

[20] “In the first place,” he answered, “she must be short, for you are not tall yourself, and if you married a tall maiden and wanted to give her a kiss when she stood up straight, you would have to jump to reach her like a little dog.”

“Your advice is straight enough,” said Chrysantas; “and I am but a sorry jumper at the best.”

[21] “In the next place,” Cyrus went on, “a flat nose would suit you very well.”

“A flat nose?” said the other, “why?”

“Because your own is high enough, and flatness, you may be sure, will go best with height.”

“You might as well say,” retorted Chrysantas, “that one who has dined well, like myself, is best matched with the dinnerless.”

“Quite so,” answered Cyrus, “a full stomach is high and an empty paunch is flat.”

[22] “And now,” said Chrysantas, “in heaven’s name, tell us the bride for a flat king?”

But at this Cyrus laughed outright, and all the others with him. [23] And the laughter still rang loud when Hystaspas said:

“There is one thing, Cyrus, that I envy in your royal state more than all the rest.”

“And what is that?” said Cyrus.

“That though you are flat, you can raise a laugh.”

“Ah,” said Cyrus, “what would you give to have as much said of you? To have it reported on all sides and wherever you wished to stand well that you were a man of wit?”

Thus they bantered each other and gave jest for jest.

[24] Then Cyrus brought out a woman’s attire and ornaments of price and gave them to Tigranes as a present for his wife, because she had followed her husband so manfully to the war, and he gave a golden goblet to Artabazus, and a horse to the Hyrcanian leader, and many another splendid gift among the company.

“And to you, Gobryas,” said he, “I will give a husband for your daughter.”

[25] “Let me be the gift,” said Hystaspas, “and then I shall get those writings.”

“But have you a fortune on your side,” asked Cyrus, “to match the bride’s?”

“Certainly, I have,” he answered, “I may say twenty times as great.”

“And where,” asked Cyrus, “may those treasures be?”

“At the foot of your throne,” he answered, “my gracious lord.”

“I ask no more,” said Gobryas, and held out his right hand. “Give him to me, Cyrus,” he said; “I accept him.”

[26] At that Cyrus took the right hand of Hystaspas and laid it in the hand of Gobryas, and the pledge was given and received. Then Cyrus gave beautiful gifts to Hystaspas for his bride, but he drew Chrysantas to his breast and kissed him. [27] Thereupon Artabazus cried:

“Heaven help us, Cyrus! The goblet you gave me is not of the fine gold you have given Chrysantas now!”

“Well,” said Cyrus, “you shall have the same one day.”

“When?” asked the other.

“Thirty years hence,” said Cyrus.

“I will wait,” said Artabazus: “I will not die: be ready for me.”

And then the banquet came to an end: the guests rose, and Cyrus stood up with them and conducted them to the door.

[28] But on the morrow he arranged that all the allies and all who had volunteered should be sent back to their homes, all except those who wished to take up their abode with him. To these he gave grants of land and houses, still held by their descendants, Medes for the greater part, and Hyrcanians. And to those who went home he gave many gifts and sent them away well content, both officers and men. [29] After this he distributed among his own soldiers all the wealth he had taken at Sardis, choice gifts for the captains of ten thousand and for his own staff in proportion to their deserts, and the rest in equal shares, delivering to every captain one share with orders to divide it among their subordinates as he had divided the whole among them. [30] Thereupon each officer gave to the officers directly under him, judging the worth of each, until it came to the captains of six, who considered the cases of the privates in their own squads, and gave each man what he deserved: and thus every soldier in the army received an equitable share. [31] But after the distribution of it all there were some who said:

“How rich Cyrus must be, to have given us all so much!”

“Rich?” cried others, “what do you mean? Cyrus is no money-maker: he is more glad to give than to get.”

[32] When Cyrus heard of this talk and the opinions held about him, he gathered together his friends and the chief men of the state and spoke as follows:

“Gentlemen and friends of mine, I have known men who were anxious to have it thought they possessed more than they really had, thinking this would give them an air of freedom and nobility. But in my opinion the result was the very opposite of what they wished. If it is thought that a man has great riches and does not help his friends in proportion to his wealth, he cannot but appear ignoble and niggardly. [33] There are others,” he went on, “who would have their wealth forgotten, and these I look upon as traitors to their friends: for it must often happen that a comrade is in need and yet hesitates to tell them because he does not know how much they have, and so he is kept in the dark and left to starve. [34] The straightforward course, it seems to me, is always to make no secret of our own resources, but to use them all, whatever they are, in our efforts to win the crown of honour. Accordingly I am anxious to show you all my possessions so far as they can be seen, and to give you a list of the rest.”

[35] With these words he proceeded to point out his visible treasures, and he gave an exact account of those that could not be shown. He ended by saying:

[36] “All these things, gentlemen, you must consider yours as much as mine. I have collected them, not that I might spend them on myself or waste them in my own use: I could not do that if I tried. I keep them to reward him who does a noble deed, and to help any of you who may be in want of anything, so that you may come to me and take what ou require.”

Such were the words of Cyrus.

[C.5] But now that all was well in Babylon and Cyrus felt he might leave the land, he began to prepare for a march to Persia, and sent out orders to his men. And when he had all he needed, the steeds were yoked, and he set off. [2] And here we will explain how it was that so vast a host could unpack and pack again without a break of order, and take up a position with such speed wherever it was desired. When the king is on the march his attendants, of course, are provided with tents and encamp with him, winter and summer alike. [3] From the first the Cyrus made it a custom to have his tent pitched facing east, and later on he fixed the space to be left between himself and his lancers, and then he stationed his bakers on the right and his cooks on the left, the cavalry on the right again, and the baggage-train on the left. Everything else was so arranged that each man knew his own quarters, their position and their size. [4] When the army was packing up after a halt, each man put together the baggage he used himself, and others placed it on the animals: so that at one and the same moment all his bearers came to the baggage-train and each man laid his load on his own beasts. Thus all the tents could be struck in the same time as one. [5] And it was the same when the baggage had to be unpacked. Again, in order that the necessaries should be prepared in time, each man was told beforehand what he had to do: and thus all the divisions could be provided for as speedily as one. [6] And, just as the serving-men had their appointed places, so the different regiments had their own stations, adapted to their special style of fighting, and each detachment knew their quarters and went to them without hesitation. [7] Even in a private house, orderliness, Cyrus knew, was a most excellent thing: every one, if he needed anything, would then know where to get it; but he held it still more desirable for the arrangement of an army, seeing that the moment for action passes far more quickly in war and the evil from being too late is far more grave. Therefore he gave more thought and care to order and arrangement than to anything else.

[8] His own position, to begin with, must be at the centre of the camp, as this was the safest place, and next to him must come his most faithful followers, as their habit was. Beyond these, in a ring, lay the cavalry and the charioteers. [9] For Cyrus held to it that these troops also needed a safe position: their equipment could not be kept at hand for them, and if they were to be of any use at all they needed considerable time for arming. [10] The targeteers were placed to left and right of the cavalry, and the bowmen in front and rear. [11] Finally, the heavy-armed troops and those who carried the huge shields surrounded the whole encampment like a wall; so that in case of need, if the cavalry had to mount, the steadiest troops would stand firm in front and let them arm in safety. [12] He insisted that the targeteers and archers should, like the soldiers of the line, sleep at their posts, in case of alarm at night, and be ready at any moment, while the infantry dealt with the assailant at close quarters, to hurl darts and javelins at them over the others’ heads. [13] Moreover, all the generals had standards on their tents; and just as an intelligent serving-man in a city will know most of the houses, at any rate of the most important people, so the squires of Cyrus knew the ways of the camp and the quarters of the generals and the standards of each. Thus, if Cyrus needed any one they had not to search and seek, but could run by the shortest road and summon him at once. [14] Owing to this clear arrangement, it was easy to see where good discipline was kept and where duty was neglected. With these dispositions Cyrus felt that if an attack should be made, by night or day, the enemy would find not so much a camp as an ambuscade. [15] Nor was it enough, he considered, for a real master of tactics to know how to extend his front without confusion, or deepen his ranks, or get from column into line, or wheel round quickly when the enemy appeared on the right or the left or in the rear: the true tactician must also be able to break up his troops into small bodies, whenever necessary, and place each division exactly where it would be of the greatest use; he must know how to quicken speed when it was essential to forestall the enemy; these and a hundred other operations are part of his science, and Cyrus studied them all with equal care. [16] On the march he varied the order constantly to suit the needs of the moment, but for the camp, as a rule, he adopted the plan we have described.

[17] And now when the march had brought them into Media, Cyrus turned aside to visit Cyaxares. After they had met and embraced, Cyrus began by telling Cyaxares that a palace in Babylon, and an estate, had been set aside for him so that he might have a residence of his own whenever he came there, and he offered him other gifts, most rich and beautiful. [18] And Cyaxares was glad to take them from his nephew, and then he sent for his daughter, and she came, carrying a golden crown, and bracelets, and a necklace of wrought gold, and a most beautiful Median robe, as splendid as could be. [19] The maiden placed the crown upon the head of Cyrus, and as she did so Cyaxares said:

“I will give her to you, Cyrus, my own daughter, to be your wife. Your father wedded the daughter of my father, and you are their son; and this is the little maid whom you carried in your arms when you were with us as a lad, and whenever she was asked whom she meant to marry, she would always answer ‘Cyrus.’ And for her dowry I will give her the whole of Media: since I have no lawful son.”

[20] So he spoke, and Cyrus answered:

“Cyaxares, I can but thank you myself for all you offer me, the kinship and the maiden and the gifts, but I must lay the matter before my father and my mother before I accept, and then we will thank you together.”

That was what Cyrus said, but none the less he gave the maiden the gifts he thought would please her father. And when he had done so, he marched on home to Persia.

[21] And when he reached the borders of his fatherland, he left the mass of his troops on the frontier, and went forward alone with his friends to the city, leading victims enough for all the Persians to sacrifice and hold high festival. And he brought special gifts for his father and his mother and his friends of old, and for the high officers of state, the elders, and all the Persian Peers; and he gave every Persian man and every Persian woman such bounties as the king confers today whenever he visits Persia. [22] After this Cambyses gathered together the elders of the land and the chief officers, who have authority in the highest matters, and spoke as follows:

“Men of Persia, and Cyrus, my son, both of you are dear to me and must needs be dear; I am the king of my people and the father of my son; therefore I am bound to lay before you openly all that I believe to be for the good of both. [23] In the past the nation has done great things for Cyrus by giving him an army and appointing him the leader, and Cyrus, God helping him, has made my Persians famous in all the world by his leadership, and crowned you with glory in Asia. Of those who served with him he has made the bravest wealthy for life, and given sustenance and full pay to numbers. By founding the cavalry he has won the plains for Persia. [24] If your hearts are still the same in future, all of you will bless each other: but if you, my son, would be puffed up by your present fortune and attempt to rule the Persians for your own advantage as you rule the rest of the world, or if you, my people, should envy this man’s power and try to drive him from his throne, I tell you, you will cut each other off from many precious things. [25] Therefore, that this should never be, and only good be yours, I counsel you to offer sacrifice together, and call the gods to witness and make a covenant. You, Cyrus, shall vow to resist with all your strength any man who attacks our land of Persia or tries to overthrow our laws; and you, my people, must promise that if rebels attempt to depose Cyrus or if his subjects revolt, you will render aid to him and to yourselves in whatever way he wishes. [26] Now, so long as I live, the kingdom of Persia is and continues mine, but when I die it passes to Cyrus if he is still alive, and whenever he visits Persia it should be a holy custom for him to offer sacrifice on your behalf, even as I do now; and when he is abroad, it will be well for you, I think, if the member of our family whom you count the noblest fulfils the sacred rites.”

[27] Cambyses ended, and Cyrus and the officers of Persia agreed to all he said. They made the covenant and called the gods to witness, and to this day they keep it still, the Persians and the Great King. And when it was done, Cyrus took his leave and came back to Media. [28] There, with the full consent of his father and his mother, he wedded the daughter of Cyaxares, the fame of whose beauty has lasted to this day. And after the marriage his steeds were yoked and they set out for Babylon.

[C.6] When he was in Babylon once more, he thought it would be well to appoint satraps and set them over the conquered tribes. Yet he did not wish the commandants in the citadels and the captains in charge of the garrisons throughout the country to be under any authority but his own. Herein he showed his foresight, realising that if any satrap became insolent and rebellious, relying on his own wealth and the numbers at his back, he would at once find a power to oppose him within his own district. [2] In order to carry out this plan, Cyrus resolved to summon a council of the leading men and explain the terms on which the satraps who went would go. In this way, he thought, they would not feel aggrieved, whereas, if a man found himself appointed and then learnt the restrictions for the first time, he might well take it ill, fancying it a sign of personal mistrust. [3] So it was that Cyrus called a council and spoke as follows:

“Gentlemen and friends of mine, you are aware that we have garrisons and commandants in the cities we conquered, stationed there at the time. I left them with orders simply to guard the fortifications and not meddle with anything else. Now I do not wish to remove them from their commands, for they have done their duty nobly, but I propose to send others, satraps, who will govern the inhabitants, receive the tribute, give the garrisons their pay, and discharge all necessary dues. [4] Further, I think it right that certain of you who live here and yet on whom I may lay the task of travelling to these nations and working for me among them, should possess houses there and estates, where tribute may be brought them, and where they may find a place of their own to lodge in.”

[5] With these words he assigned houses and districts to many of his friends among the lands he had subdued: and to this day their descendants possess the estates, although they reside at court themselves. [6] “Now,” he added, “we must choose for the satraps who are to go abroad persons who will not forget to send us anything of value in their districts, so that we who are at home may share in all the wealth of the world. For if any danger comes, it is we who must ward it off.”

[7] With that he ended for the time, but later on when he came to know what friends of his were ready and willing to go on the terms prescribed, he selected those he thought best qualified for the work, and sent Magabazus to Arabia, Artabatas to Cappadocia, Artacamas to Greater Phrygia, Chrysantas to Lydia and Susia, Adousius, whom the Carians had asked for themselves, to Caria, and Pharnouchus to Aeolia and Phrygia by the Hellespont.

[8] But to Cilicia, Cyprus, and Paphlagonia, Cyrus sent no satraps, because they had shown their willingness to march against Babylon; tribute, however, was imposed on them as on the others. [9] In accordance with the rules then laid down by Cyrus, the citadel garrisons and the captains-of-the-guard are to this day appointed directly by the king, and have their names on the royal list. [10] All satraps whom Cyprus sent out were ordered to do as they saw him doing: each was to raise a body of cavalry and a chariot-force from the Persians and the allies who went out with him; and all who received grants of land and official residences were to present themselves at the palace-gates, study temperance and self-control, and hold themselves in readiness for the service of their satrap. Their boys were to be educated at the gates, as with Cyrus, and the satrap was to lead his nobles out to hunt, and train himself and his followers in the art of war. [11] “Whichever of you,” Cyrus added, “can show the greatest number of chariots in proportion to his power, and the largest and finest body of cavalry, I will honour him as my best ally and most faithful fellow-guardian of the Persian empire. Let the best men always have the preference at your courts as they have at mine, give them seats of honour as I do, and let your table be spread, as mine is, not only for your own household, but for your friends also, and for the honour of him who may accomplish any noble deed. [12] You must lay out parks and breed game, and never touch food until you have toiled for it, nor give your horses fodder until they have been exercised. I am but a single man, with only human strength and human virtue, and I could not by myself preserve the good things that are yours: I must have good comrades to help me in goodness, and only thus can I be your defender; and you likewise, if you are to help me, must be good yourselves and have good men at your side. [13] Remember that I have not spoken unto you as unto slaves: what I say you ought to do I strive to do myself. And even as I bid you follow me, so I would have you teach those in authority under you to follow you.”

[14] Such were the principles then laid down by Cyrus, and to this day all the royal garrisons are appointed in the same manner, the gates of all the governors are thronged in the same way, the houses, great and small, are managed in the same fashion, everywhere the most distinguished guests are given seats of honour, every province is visited on the same system, and everywhere the threads of numberless affairs are gathered into the hands of a few superiors. [15] Having given these instructions, Cyrus assigned a body of troops to each of his satraps, and sent them out to their provinces, bidding them to be ready for a campaign in the new year and for a review of their soldiers, their weapons, their horses, and their chariots. [16] And here I may notice another custom, also instituted by Cyrus, it is said, and still in force today: every year a progress of inspection is made by an officer at the head of an army, to help any satrap who may require aid, or bring the insolent to their senses; and, if there has been negligence in the delivery of tribute, or the protection of the inhabitants, or the cultivation of the soil, or indeed any omission of duty whatsoever, the officer is there to put the matter right, or if he cannot do so himself, to report it to the king, who decides what is to be done about the offender. The announcements so often made, such as “the king’s son is coming down,” or “the king’s brother,” or “the king’s eye,” refer to these inspectors, but sometimes no one appears, for at any moment the officer may be turned back at the king’s command. [17] We hear of another arrangement, devised to meet the huge size of the empire and enable the king to learn with great celerity the state of affairs at any distance. Cyrus first ascertained how far a horse could travel in one day without being over-ridden, and then he had a series of posting-stations built, one day’s ride apart, with relays of horses, and grooms to take care of them, and a proper man in charge of each station to receive the despatches and hand them on, take over the jaded horses and men, and furnish fresh ones. [18] Sometimes, we are told, this post does not even halt at night: the night-messenger relieves the day-messenger and rides on. Some say that, when this is done, the post travels more quickly than the crane can fly, and, whether that is true or not, there is no doubt it is the quickest way in which a human being can travel on land. To learn of events so rapidly and be able to deal with them at once is of course a great advantage.

[19] After a year had passed, Cyrus collected all his troops at Babylon, amounting, it is said, to one hundred and twenty thousand horse, two thousand scythe-bearing chariots, and six hundred thousand foot. [20] Then, seeing that all was got together, he set out for that campaign of his, on which, the story says, he subdued the nations from the borders of Syria as far as the Red Sea. After that there followed, we are told, the expedition against Egypt and its conquest. [21] From that time forward his empire was bounded on the east by the Red Sea, on the north by the Euxine, on the west by Cyprus and Egypt, and towards the south by Ethiopia. Of these outlying districts, some were scarcely habitable, owing to heat or cold, drought or excessive rain. [22] But Cyrus himself always lived at the centre of his dominions, seven months in Babylon during the winter season, where the land is warm and sunny, three months at Susa in the spring, and during the height of summer in Ecbatana, so that for him it was springtime all the year. [23] Towards him the disposition of all men was such that every nation felt they had failed unless they could send Cyrus the treasures of their land, plants, or animals, or works of art. And every city felt the same, and every private person counted himself on the road to riches if he could do Cyrus some special service, for Cyrus took only such things as they had in abundance, and gave them in return what he saw they lacked.

[C.7] Thus the years passed on, and Cyrus was now in a ripe old age, and he journeyed to Persia for the seventh time in his reign. His father and mother were long since dead in the course of nature, and Cyrus offered sacrifice according to the law, and led the sacred dance of his Persians after the manner of his forefathers, and gave gifts to every man according to his wont.

[2] But one night, as he lay asleep in the royal palace, he dreamt a dream. It seemed to him that some one met him, greater than a man, and said to him, “Set your house in order, Cyrus: the time has come, and you are going to the gods.”

With that Cyrus awoke out of sleep, and he all but seemed to know that the end of his life was at hand. [3] Straightway he took victims and offered sacrifice to Zeus, the god of his fathers, and to the Sun, and all the other gods, on the high places where the Persians sacrifice, and then he made this prayer:

“Zeus, god of my fathers, and thou, O Sun, and all ye gods, accept this sacrifice, my offering for many a noble enterprise, and suffer me to thank you for the grace ye have shown me, telling me all my life, by victims and by signs from heaven, by birds and by the voices of men, what things I ought to do and what I ought to refrain from doing. Deep is my thankfulness that I was able to recognise your care, and never lifted up my heart too high even in my prosperity. I beseech you now to bless my children also, and my wife, and my friends, and my fatherland; and for myself, may my death be as my life has been.”

[4] Then Cyrus went home again and lay down on his bed, for he longed to rest. And when the hour was come, his attendants came to him and bade him take his bath. But he said he would rather rest. And others came afterwards, at the usual time, to set the meal before him; but he could not bring himself to take food: he seemed only to thirst, and drank readily. [5] It was the same the second day, and the third, and then he called his sons to his side — it chanced they had followed him to Persia — and he summoned his friends also and the chief magistrates of the land, and when they were all met, he began:

[6] “My sons, and friends of mine, the end of my life is at hand: I know it by many signs. And when I am dead, you must show by word and deed that you think of me as happy. When I was a child, I had all the joys and triumphs of a child, and I reaped the treasures of youth as I grew up, and all the glories of a man when I came to man’e estate. And as the years passed, I seemed to find my powers grow with them, so that I never felt my old age weaker than my youth, nor can I think of anything I attempted or desired wherein I failed. [7] Moreover, I have seen my friends made happy by my means, and my enemies crushed beneath my hand. This my fatherland, which was once of no account in Asia, I leave at the height of power, and of all that I won I think I have lost nothing. Throughout my whole life I have fared as I prayed to fare, and the dread that was ever with me lest in days to come I might see or hear or suffer evil, this dread would never let me think too highly of myself, or rejoice as a fool rejoices. [8] And if I die now, I leave my sons behind me, the sons the gods have given me; and I leave my fatherland in happiness, and my friends. Surely I may hope that men will count me blessed and cherish my memory. [9] And now I must leave instructions about my kingdom, that there may be no dispute among you after my death. Sons of mine, I love you both alike, but I choose the elder-born, the one whose experience of life is the greater, to be the leader in council and the guide in action. [10] Thus was I trained myself, in the fatherland that is yours and mine, to yield to my elders, my brothers or my fellow-citizens, in the street, or in the place of meeting, or in the assembly for debate. And thus have I trained both of you, to honour your elders and be honoured by those who are younger than yourselves. These are the principles that I leave with you, sanctioned by time, ingrained in our customs, embodied in our laws. [11] The sovereignty is yours, Cambyses; the gods have given it to you, and I also, as far as in me lies; and to you, Tanaoxares, I give the satrapy over the Medes and the Armenians and the Cadousians, these three; and though I leave your elder brother a larger empire and the name of king, your inheritance will bring you, I believe, more perfect happiness than his. [12] I ask myself what human joy will be lacking to you: all things which gladden the hearts of men will be yours — but the craving for what is out of reach, the load of cares, the restless passion to rival my achievements, the plots and counterplots, they will follow him who wears the crown, and they are things, be well assured, that leave little leisure for happiness. [13] And you, Cambyses, you know of yourself, without words from me, that your kingdom is not guarded by this golden sceptre, but by faithful friends; their loyalty is your true staff, a sceptre which shall not fail. But never think that loyal hearts grow up by nature as the grass grows in the field: if that were so, the same men would be loyal to all alike, even as all natural objects are the same to all mankind. No, every leader must win his own followers for himself, and the way to win them is not by violence but by loving-kindness. [14] And if you would seek for friends to stand by you and guard your throne, who so fit to be the first of them as he who is sprung from the self-same loins? Our fellow-citizens are nearer to us than foreigners, and our mess-mates dearer than strangers, and what of those who are sprung from the same seed, suckled at the same breast, reared in the same home, loved by the same parents, the same mother, the same father? [15] What the gods have given to be the seal of brotherhood do not make of none effect yourselves. But build upon it: make it the foundation for other loving deeds, and thus the love between you shall never be overcome. The man who takes thought for his brother cares for his own self. For who but a brother can win glory from a brother’s greatness? Who can be honoured as a brother can through a brother’s power? Or who so safe from injury as the brother of the great? [16] Let no one, Tanaoxares, be more eager than yourself to obey your brother and support him: to no one can his triumph or his danger come so near. Ask yourself from whom you could win a richer reward for any kindness. Who could give you stouter help in return for your own support? And where is coldness so ugly as between brothers? Or where is reverence so beautiful? And remember, Cambyses, only the brother who holds pre-eminence in a brother’s heart can be safe from the jealousy of the world. [17] I implore you both, my sons, by the gods of our fathers, hold each other in honour, if you care at all to do me pleasure: and none of you can say you know that I shall cease to be when I cease to live this life of ours. With your bodily eyes you have never seen my soul, and yet you have discerned its presence through its working. [18] And have you never marked the terrors which the spirits of those who have suffered wrong can send into the hearts of their murderers, and the avenging furies they let loose upon the wicked? Think you the honours of the dead would still abide, if the souls of the departed were altogether powerless? [19] Never yet, my sons, could I be persuaded that the soul only lives so long as she dwells within this mortal body, and falls dead so soon as she is quit of that. Nay, I see for myself that it is the soul which lends life to it, while she inhabits there. [20] I cannot believe that she must lose all sense on her separation from the senseless body, but rather that she will reach her highest wisdom when she is set free, pure and untrammelled at last. And when this body crumbles in dissolution, we see the several parts thereof return to their kindred elements, but we do not see the soul, whether she stays or whether she departs. [21] Consider,” he went on, “how these two resemble one another, Death and his twin-brother Sleep, and it is in sleep that the soul of a man shows her nature most divine, and is able to catch a glimpse of what is about to be, for it is then, perhaps, that she is nearest to her freedom. [22] Therefore, if these things are as I believe, and the spirit leaves the body behind and is set free, reverence my soul, O sons of mine, and do as I desire. And even if it be not so, if the spirit must stay with the body and perish, yet the everlasting gods abide, who behold all things, with whom is all power, who uphold the order of this universe, unmarred, unaging, unerring, unfathomable in beauty and in splendour. Fear them, my sons, and never yield to sin or wickedness, in thought or word or deed. [23] And after the gods, I would have you reverence the whole race of man, as it renews itself for ever; for the gods have not hidden you in the darkness, but your deeds will be manifest in the eyes of all mankind, and if they be righteous deeds and pure from iniquity, they will blazon forth your power: but if you meditate evil against each other, you will forfeit the confidence of every man. For no man can trust you, even though he should desire it, if he sees you wrong him whom above all you are bound to love. [24] Therefore, if my words are strong enough to teach you your duty to one another, it is well. But, if not, let history teach you, and there is no better teacher. For the most part, parents have shown kindness to their children and brothers to their brothers, but it has been otherwise with some. Look, then, and see which conduct has brought success, choose to follow that, and your choice will be wise. [25] And now maybe I have said enough of this. As for my body, when I am dead, I would not have you lay it up in gold or silver or any coffin whatsoever, but give it back to the earth with all speed. What could be more blessed than to lie in the lap of Earth, the mother of all things beautiful, the nurse of all things good? I have been a lover of men all my life, and methinks I would fain become a part of that which does good to man. [26] And now,” he added, “now it seems to me that my life begins to ebb; I feel my spirit slipping away from those parts she leaves the first. If you would take my hand once more, or look into my eyes while life is there, draw near me now; but when I have covered my face, let no man look on me again, not even you, my sons. [27] But you shall bid the Persians come, and all our allies, to my sepulchre; and you shall rejoice with me and congratulate me that I am safe at last, free from suffering or sorrow, whether I am with God or whether I have ceased to be. Give all who come the entertainment that is fitting in honour of a man whose life on earth was happy, and so send them away. [28] Remember my last saying: show kindness to your friends, and then shall you have it in your power to chastise your enemies. Good-bye, my dear sons, bid your mother good-bye for me. And all my friends, who are here or far away, good-bye.”

And with these words he gave his hand to them, and then he covered his face and died.

EPILOGUE

[C.8] Of all the powers in Asia, the kingdom of Cyrus showed itself to be the greatest and most glorious. On the east it was bounded by the Red Sea, on the north by the Euxine, on the west by Cyprus and Egypt, and on the south by Ethiopia. And yet the whole of this enormous empire was governed by the mind and will of a single man, Cyrus: his subjects he cared for and cherished as a father might care for his children, and they who came beneath his rule reverenced him like a father.

[2] But no sooner was he dead than his sons were at strife, cities and nations revolted, and all things began to decay. I can show that what I say is true, and first I will speak of their impiety. In the early days, I am aware, the king and those beneath him never failed to keep the oaths they had sworn and fulfil the promises they had given, even to the worst of criminals. [3] In fact, if such had not been their character and such their reputation, none of the Hellenic generals who marched up with the younger Cyrus could have felt the confidence they did: they would not have trusted a Persian any more than one trusts them today, now that their perfidy is known. As it was, they relied on their old reputation and put themselves in their power, and many were taken up to the king and there beheaded. And many of the Asiatics who served in the same war perished as they did, deluded by one promise or another.

[4] In other ways also the Persians have degenerated. Noble achievement in the old days was the avenue to fame: the man was honoured who risked his life for the king, or brought a city or nation beneath his sway. But now, if some Mithridates has betrayed his father Ariobarzanes, or some Reomithres has left his wife and children and the sons of his friend as hostages at the court of Egypt, and then has broken the most solemn of all pledges — it is they and their like who are loaded with the highest honours, if only they are thought to have gained some advantage for the king. [5] With such examples before them, all the Asiatics have turned to injustice and impiety. For what the leaders are, that, as a rule, will the men below them be. Thus has lawlessness increased and grown among them. [6] And injustice has grown, and thieving. Not only criminals, but men who are absolutely innocent are arrested and forced to pay fines for no reason whatsoever: to be known to have wealth is more dangerous than guilt, so that the rich do not care to have any dealings with the powerful, and dare not even risk appearing at the muster of the royal troops. [7] Therefore, when any man makes war on Persia, whoever he may be, he can roam up and down the country to his heart’s content without striking a blow, because they have forgotten the gods and are unjust to their fellow-men. In every way their hearts and minds are lower than in days gone by.

[8] Nor do they care for their bodies as they did of old. It was always their custom neither to spit nor blow the nose, only it is clear this was instituted not from concern for the humours of the body, but in order to strengthen themselves by toil and sweat. But nowadays, though this habit is still in vogue, to harden the body by exercise has quite gone out of fashion. [9] Again, from the first it was their rule only to take a single meal in the day, which left them free to give their time to business and exercise. The single meal is still the rule, but it commences at the earliest hour ever chosen for breakfast, and the eating and drinking goes on till the last moment which the latest reveller would choose for bed. [10] It was always forbidden to bring chamber-pots into the banquet-hall, but the reason lay in their belief that the right way to keep body and brain from weakness was to avoid drinking in excess. But today, though as in the old time no such vessels may be carried in, they drink so deep that they themselves are carried out, too weak to stand on their own legs. [11] It was a national custom from the first not to eat and drink on the march nor be seen satisfying the wants of nature, but nowadays, though they still abstain, they make each march so short that no man need wonder at their abstinence.

[12] In the old time they went out to hunt so often that the chase gave enough exercise and training for man and horse alike. But when the day came that Artaxerxes and all his court were the worse for wine, the old custom of the king leading the hunt in person began to pass away. And if any eager spirits hunted with their own followers it was easy to see the jealousy, and even the hatred, aroused by such superiority.

[13] It is still the habit to bring up the boys at the palace-gates, but fine horsemanship has disappeared, for there is no place where the lads can win applause by their skill. The old belief that the children of Persia would learn justice by hearing the judges decide the cases has been turned upside down: the children have only to use their eyes and they see that the verdict goes to the man with the longest purse. [14] Children in former times were taught the properties of plants in order to use the wholesome and avoid the harmful; but now they seem to learn it for the mere sake of doing harm: at any rate, there is no country where deaths from poison are so common. [15] And the Persian today is far more luxurious than he was in the time of Cyrus. Then they still clung to the Persian style of education and the Persian self-restraint, merely adopting the Median dress and a certain grace of life. But now the old Persian hardihood may perish for all they care, if only they preserve the softness of the Mede. [16] I might give instances of their luxury. They are not content with soft sheets and rugs for their beds, they must have carpets laid under the bed-posts to prevent any jarring from the floor. They have given up none of the cooked dishes invented in former days; on the contrary, they are always devising new ones, and condiments to boot: in fact, they keep men for the very purpose. [17] In the winter it is not enough to have the body covered, and the head and the feet, they must have warm sleeves as well and gloves for the hands: and in the summer they are not content with the shade from the trees or the rocks, they must have servants standing beside them with artificial screens. [18] To have an endless array of cups and goblets is their special pride: and if these are come by unjustly, and all the world knows it, why, there is nothing to blush for in that: injustice has grown too common among them, and ill-gotten gain. [19] Formerly no Persian was ever to be seen on foot, but the sole object of the custom was to make them perfect horsemen. Now they lay more rugs on their horses’ backs than on their own beds; it is not a firm seat they care for, but a soft saddle.

[20] As soldiers we may imagine how they have sunk below the ancient standard; in past times it was a national institution that the land-owner should furnish troopers from his own estate, and men were bound to go on active service, while the garrison troops in the country received regular pay; but now the Persian grandees have manufactured a new type of cavalry, who earn their pay as butlers and cooks and confectioners and cupbearers and bathmen and flunkeys to serve at table or remove the dishes, and serving-men to put their lords to bed and help them to rise, and perfumers to anoint them and rub them and make them beautiful. [21] In numbers they make a very splendid show, but they are no use for fighting; as may be seen by what actually takes place: an enemy can move about their country more freely than the inhabitants themselves. [22] It will be remembered that Cyrus put a stop to the old style of fighting at long range, and by arming men and horses with breastplates and giving each trooper a short spear he taught them to fight at close quarters. But nowadays they will fight in neither one style nor the other. [23] The infantry still carry the large shields, the battle-axes, and the swords, as if they meant to do battle as they did in Cyrus’ day. [24] But they will never close with the enemy. Nor do they use the scythe-bearing chariots as Cyrus intended. By the honours he gave he raised the dignity and improved the quality of his charioteers till he had a body of men who would charge right into the enemy’s ranks; but the generals of today, though they do not even know the charioteers by sight, flatter themselves that untrained men will serve their purpose quite as well as trained. [25] So the charioteers will dash off, but before they reach the enemy half the men have fallen from their boxes, and the others will jump out of their own accord, and the teams, left without their drivers, will do more harm to their friends than to their foes. [26] And since in their hearts the Persians of today are well aware what their fighting condition really is, they always give up the struggle, and now none of them will take the field at all without Hellenes to help them, whether they are fighting among themselves or whether Hellenes are in arms against them: even then it is a settled thing that they must have the aid of other Hellenes to face them.

[27] I venture to think I have shown the truth of the statement that I made. I asserted that the Persians of today and their allies are less religious than they were of old, less dutiful to their kindred, less just and righteous towards other men, and less valiant in war. And if any man doubts me, let him examine their actions for himself, and he will find full confirmation of all I say.

NOTES

C1. Xenophon puts into the mouth of Chrysantas his favourite theory of monarchism, the relationship strongly cemented by obedience and trust between subjects and king.

C1.4, med. On willing service. This again is one of the best utterances in all Xenophon. It has a deep spiritual import.

C1.4, fin. He is thinking of Athens, perhaps. It is a choice: obey the ruler or knock under to foreign foes.

C1.8. Surely a remark of the author. It is an old inveterate thought of his: “the Master’s eye.” I feel the old man at times.

C1.9-10. This side of the Persian state-machine strongly impressed the mind and imagination of Xenophon. Hence he works it into the treatise on economy as well as here. In fact his expansion of the Socratic reflections into the Economist has to do, I believe, with these reflections on state economy.

C1.13. Hellenic aristocratic theory of existence. Leisure for the grand duties which devolve on the lords of mankind. It doesn’t seem to strike Xenophon that this rigid system of self-absorption in the higher selfhood of the social system might be destructive of individual life. Of course he would say, “No, it enlarges the individual life.”

C1.17-20. Seems to me to show Xenophon struggling with the hard parts of the later Persian system. The theory of Persian feudalism is too high-strung for these grand satraps, rulers of provinces as big as ordinary kingdoms. It tends to snap, and from the beginning did. The archic man has no charm to compel his followers to archic virtue. It is a negative {episteme} after all. Does Xenophon realise this, or is hgd. wrong?

C1.21. Cf. headmasters with preposters in a public school, based on the same system of high aims and duties corresponding to rights.

C1.23, init. Cf. Louis Napoleon in Browning’s poem [Prince Hohensteil-Schwangau].

C1.23, med. The Magians, the Persian order of priests. Yet we have heard of them throughout.

C1.27. A very true saying and very nice the feeling it gives us towards Xenophon. We think of him with his wife and his little sons and his friends and their friends.

C1.28. How true of women!

C1.33. A reduplication of the description in Bk. I., and also a summing-up of Xenophon’s own earthly paradise — quite Tennysonian.

C1.37. An important point or principle in Xenophon’s political theory — indeed the key and tone of it: no one has a right to command except by virtue of personal superiority.

C1.40 foll. “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning!” The section, if, as I think it is, by Xenophon, throws light on the nature and composition of the book. The author isn’t so disengaged from “history” that he can set aside obviously integral parts of the Persian system traceable to Cyrus, or at any rate probably original, and their false-seeming and bamboozling mode of keeping up dignity has to be taken account of. It has its analogy in the admission of thaumaturgy on the part of religious teachers, and no doubt a good deal can be said for it. The archic man in low spirits, if he ever is so, has some need of bamboozling himself. Titles do give some moral support even nowadays to certain kinds of minds.

C1.46-48. The archic man’s dealings by those of his subjects who are apt to rule, the men of high thoughts and ambitions, with whom he must come into constant personal contact. With them the spiritual dominance alone will do. They shall be made to love him rather than themselves. (The only thing just here that jars is a sort of Machiavellian self-consciousness, resented in the archic man).

C1.46. A cumbrous disjointed sentence, but the thought of it is clear enough. Even Xenophon’s style breaks down when he tries to say in a breath more than he naturally can. Is it a sign of senility, or half-thought-out ideas, or what?

C2.2, fin. Does Xenophon feel the bathos of this, or is hdg. wrong and there is no bathos? It may be said that the sacramental and spiritual side is not in abeyance. Xenophon has to account for the “common board” and he has the Spartan Lycurgan “common board” to encourage him, so that imaginatively he provides this royal being with a sumptuous table at which thousands will share alike.

C2.3. How far was this a custom among Hellenes? It reveals a curious state of society, real or imaginary; but I suppose that at Rome in imperial days (cf. panem et circenses) the theory of meat and drink largesses being the best would hold.

C2.4, fin. The last remark is so silly (?) I am almost disposed to follow Lincke and admit interpolation. Yet on the whole I think it is the voice of the old man explaining in his Vicar-of-Wakefield style, to his admiring auditors, wife, children, and grandsons, I fancy, and slaves, the raison d’être of Persian dinner-largesse customs.

C2.6. Qy.: What was Xenophon’s manner of composing? The style here is loose, like that of a man talking. Perhaps he lectured and the amanuensis took down what he said.

C2.8. Ineptitudes. One does somewhat sniff an editor here, I think, but I am not sure. There’s a similar touch of ineptitude (senility, perhaps) in the Memorabilia, ad fin. On the other hand I can imagine Xenophon purring over this side of Orientalism quite naturally.

C2.12. This slipshod style, how accounted for? The most puzzling thing of all is the sort of mental confusion between Cyrus and the king in general.

C2.15-16. Thoroughly Xenophontine and Ruskinian and eternal.

C2.24. Here is the germ of benefit societies and clubs and insurances and hospitals. Xenophon probably learns it all from Ctesias, and others of the sort. Cyrus provides doctors and instruments and medicines and diet, in fact, all the requisites of a hospital, in his palace. Nor does he forget to be grateful to the doctors who cured the sick. [Ctesias, the Greek physician to the Persian king. See Anabasis, I. viii. Works, Vol. I. p. 108.]

C2.26 ff. Xenophon’s Machiavellianism. Does it work?

C2.17-28. It seems to me that all this is too elaborate for an interpolator: it smacks of Xenophon in his arm-chair, theorising and half-dreaming over his political philosophy.

C3.2. Prototype, a procession to Eleusis or elsewhere: the Panathenaic, possibly. Xenophon’s sumptuous taste and love of bright colours.

C3.3, fin., C3.4. What a curious prototypic sound! Truly this is the very modus of the evangelist’s type of sentence. His narrative must run in this mould.

C3.4, fin. This is the old Cyrus. It comes in touchingly here, this refrain of the old song, now an echo of the old life.

C3.14. Xenophon delights somewhat in this sort of scene. It is a turning-point, a veritable moral peripety, though the decisive step was taken long ago. What is Xenophon’s intention with regard to it? Has he any parti pris, for or against? Does he wish us to draw conclusions? Or does it correspond to a moral meeting of the waters in his own mind? Here love of Spartan simplicity, and there of splendour and regality and monarchism? He does not give a hint that the sapping of the system begins here, when the archic man ceases to depend on his own spiritual archic qualities and begins to eke out his dignity by artificial means and external shows of reverence.

C3.20. Is this worthy of the archic man? It is a method, no doubt, of {arkhe}, but has it any spiritual “last” in it? The incident of Daïpharnes somewhat diverts our attention from the justice of the system in reference to the suitors. On the whole, I think Xenophon can’t get further. He is blinded and befogged by two things: (1) his (i.e. their) aristocratism, and again (2) his satisfaction in splendour and get-up, provided it is attached to moral greatness. We are in the same maze, I fancy. Jesus was not, nor is Walt Whitman.

C3.23. Cyrus is made to behave rather like the autocratic father of a goody story-book.

C3.25. Realistic and vivid detailing: our curiosity is satisfied. “Who has won?” we ask. “Oh, so-and-so, Smith.” Well, it’s something to know that Smith has won. Xenophon, the artist, ‘cutely introduces the Sakian to us. One scene takes up another, just as in real life. Quite soon we know a great deal more about this young man, a mere Sakian private soldier, who wins the race so easily on his splendid horse. Cyrus and good fortune introduce him to the very man he is suited to: viz. Pheraulas.

C3.37. Pheraulas’ boyhood has already been sketched by himself (II. C3.7), the active sturdy little youngster, snatching at a knife, and hacking away con amore. We know him well: Xenophon’s modernism comes out in these things. Here we have the old father, a heart of oak, like the old Acharnian in Aristophanes. One of the prettiest morsels in all Xenophon. Xenophon’s own father, is he there?

C3.47. The desire for “leisure” is as strong in Xenophon as in hgd. or S. T. I., I think. [S. T. Irwin, also a master at Clifton.]

C4.1. Why is the Hyrcanian never named? Is it conceivable that Xenophon shrinks from using a proper name except when he has some feeling for the sound of the language? (Sic. Sakians, Cadousians, Indians, etc.)

C4.4 The “mark” system again which Xenophon believes in, but hgd. not. Shows how he tried to foster competitiveness. It’s after all a belief in the central sun, a species of monarch-worship, logical and consistent enough.

C4.8. Xenophon reveals himself and the Hellenic feeling with regard to war and its use. The pax Romana is anticipated in their minds.

C4.9. Hystaspas is rather like the sons of Zebedee or the elder brother of the Prodigal.

C4.12, fin. Looks rather like a Greek joke. But what is the joke?

C4.13-23. Broad type of joke, but not unhealthy or prurient. Prototype probably Agesilaus and the younger Cyrus at the supper-table, with just this touch of coarseness.

C4.32-36. This is = to the Comtist theory of the duties of capitalists, and is one of the noblest disquisitions in all Xenophon, {os g’ emoi dokei}. Cyrus’ theory is based on fraternal feeling among the elite of the world, and that is the sole difference, a large one doubtless, and measures the gap between Xenophon and A. C. and our advance in Democracy.

C5.17. How far is this historical, i.e. semi-historical? I can’t help supposing that the commoner notion of a conquest of Media by Persia was current and familiar to Xenophon apart from any other account, which for his present purpose he chose to go upon and possibly believed in.

C5.18-20. Will Cyrus take her to wife, his old playmate? All this shows once more Xenophon’s love of children.

C5.23-25. The Persian Magna Charta, parallel to that between the Spartan king and the ephorate.

C6.1-3. (a) Satraps; to be counterpoised by (b) military governors in the citadels, and (c) visitors living at court, but possessed of lands in the provinces. The object is, no doubt, to create a common interest between the nobles and the king which will keep the satrap in counterpoise.

C6.11. The Oriental feeling again.

C6.12, fin. One of the nicest (monarchical) remarks ever uttered.

C6.13. Marked Greek Testament parallel S. Joan. 13, 13. Surely the evangelist had read this at school: I mean, the Greek scribe who Hellenised the evangel.

C6.23. Free trade or favoured-nation principle and commercial treaty.

C7.10. Prototype: Socrates and his sons. Perhaps also Xenophon and his. One seems to hear his own voice addressing Gryllus.

C7.14. A very noble passage.

C7.27. That’s also nice: “Summon the Persians to rejoice with me at my joyous release;” a refined form of funeral festival —“nothing is here for tears”— nor have we, perhaps, arrived beyond it.

C7.28. His last remark is Xenophon-Hellenic, but less edifying; fortunately it is only the penultimate, for there is the final {khairete} [good-bye] and message to his wife. Why was she not present? I suppose she was at home in Babylon.

[C8. It has been doubted whether C8 is by Xenophon at all. C8.3, with its reference to the Anabasis, certainly looks as though it might have been written after his death. Some scholars have also thought the style unlike Xenophon’s, but it is clear from his marginal notes that Mr. Dakyns did not lean towards this view. To stress the degeneracy of the Persians is, no doubt, to make a curious comment on the institutions of “the born ruler,” but on the other hand the preceding chapter (C7) is full of grave warnings, and, throughout, Xenophon has been at pains to insist that everything depends on the continuous and united effort of the ruling classes towards virtue and self-control. Again, as Mr. Dakyns pointed out (in his Sketch of Xenophon’s Life, Works, Vol. I. p. cxxxvii.), the epilogue bears a marked analogy to the account of Spartan degeneracy in c. xiv. of the Laconian Polity (see Vol. II. p. 322), a chapter he took to be genuine. On the whole, therefore, we may conclude that he would have considered this epilogue to be genuine also. — F.M.S.]

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