Cyropaedia, by Xenophon


[C.1] Cyrus waited, with his troops as they were, long enough to show that he was ready to do battle again if the enemy would come out; but as they did not stir he drew the soldiers off as far as he thought well, and there encamped. He had guards posted and scouts sent forward, and then he gathered his warriors round him and spoke to them as follows:

[2] “Men of Persia, first and foremost I thank the gods of heaven with all my soul and strength; and I know you render thanks with me, for we have won salvation and victory, and it is meet and right to thank the gods for all that comes to us. But in the next place I must praise you, one and all; it is through you all that this glorious work has been accomplished, and when I have learnt what each man’s part has been from those whose place it is to tell me, I will do my best to give each man his due, in word and deed. [3] But I need none to tell me the exploits of your brigadier Chrysantas; he was next to me in the battle and I could see that he bore himself as I believe you all have done. Moreover, at the very moment when I called on him to retire, he had just raised his sword to strike an Assyrian down, but he heard my voice, and at once he dropped his hand and did my bidding. He sent the word along the lines and led his division out of range before the enemy could lay one arrow to the string or let one javelin fly. Thus he brought himself and his men safely out of action, because he had learnt to obey. [4] But some of you, I see, are wounded, and when I hear at what moment they received their wounds I will pronounce my opinion on their deserts. Chrysantas I know already to be a true soldier and a man of sense, able to command because he is able to obey, and here and now I put him at the head of a thousand troops, nor shall I forget him on the day when God may please to give me other blessings. [5] There is one reminder I would make to all. Never let slip the lesson of this day’s encounter, and judge for yourselves whether it is cowardice or courage that saves a man in war, whether the fighters or the shirkers have the better chance, and what the joy is that victory can yield. To-day of all days you can decide, for you have made the trial and the result is fresh. [6] With such thoughts as these in your hearts you will grow braver and better still. And now you may rest in the consciousness that you are dear to God and have done your duty bravely and steadily, and so take your meal and make your libations and sing the paean and be ready for the watchword.”

So saying, Cyrus mounted his horse and galloped on to Cyaxares, and the two rejoiced together as victors will. And then, after a glance at matters there and an inquiry if aught were needed, he rode back to his own detachment. Then the evening meal was taken and the watches were posted and Cyrus slept with his men.

[8] Meanwhile the Assyrians, finding that their king was among the slain and almost all his nobles with him, fell into utter despair, and many of them deserted during the night. And at this fear crept over Croesus and the allies; they saw dangers on every side, and heaviest of all was the knowledge that the leading nation, the head of the whole expedition, had received a mortal blow. Nothing remained but to abandon the encampment under cover of night. [9] Day broke, and the camp was seen to be deserted, and Cyrus, without more ado, led his Persians within the entrenchments, where they found the stores that the enemy had left: herds of sheep and goats and kine, and long rows of waggons laden with good things. Cyaxares and his Medes followed, and all arms took their breakfast in the camp. [10] But when the meal was over, Cyrus summoned his brigadiers and said to them:

“Think what blessings we are flinging away now, spurning, as it were, the very gifts of heaven! So at least it seems to me. The enemy have given us the slip, as you see with your own eyes. Is it likely that men who forsook the shelter of their own fortress will ever face us in fair field on level ground? Will those who shrink from us before they put our prowess to the test ever withstand us now when we have overthrown and shattered them? They have lost their best and bravest, and will the cowards dare to give us battle?”

[11] At that one of his officers cried, “Why not pursue at once, if such triumphs are before us?”

And Cyrus answered, “Because we have not the horses. The stoutest of our enemies, those whom we must seize or slay, are mounted on steeds that could sweep past us like the wind. God helping us, we can put them to flight, but we cannot overtake them.”

[12] “Then,” said they, “why not go and lay the matter before Cyaxares?”

And he answered, “If so, you must all go with me, that Cyaxares may see it is the wish of all.”

So they all went together and spoke as they thought best. [13] Now Cyaxares felt, no doubt, a certain jealousy that the Persians should be the first to broach the matter, but he may also have felt that it was really wiser to run no further risks for the present; he had, moreover, abandoned himself to feasting and merrymaking, and he saw that most of his Medes were in like case. Whatever the reason, this was the answer he gave:

[14] “My good nephew, I have always heard and always seen that you Persians of all men think it your duty never to be insatiate in the pursuit of any pleasure; and I myself believe that the greater the joy the more important is self-restraint. Now what greater joy could there be than the good fortune which waits on us today? [15] When fortune comes to us, if we guard her with discretion, we may live to grow old in peace, but if we are insatiate, if we use and abuse our pleasures, chasing first one and then another, we may well fear lest that fate be ours which, the proverb tells us, falls on those mariners who cannot forgo their voyages in the pursuit of wealth, and one day the deep sea swallows them. Thus has many a warrior achieved one victory only to clutch at another and lose the first. [16] If indeed, our enemies who have fled were weaker than we, it might be safe enough to pursue them. But now, bethink you, how small a portion of them we have fought and conquered; the mass have had no part in the battle, and they, if we do not force them to fight, will take themselves off through sheer cowardice and sloth. As yet they know nothing of our powers or their own, but if they learn that to fly is as dangerous as to hold their ground, we run the risk of driving them to be brave in spite of themselves. [17] You may be sure they are just as anxious to save their wives and children as you can be to capture them. Take a lesson from hunting: the wild sow when she is sighted will scamper away with her young, though she be feeding with the herd; but if you attack her little ones she will never fly, even if she is all alone; she will turn on the hunters. [18] Yesterday the enemy shut themselves up in a fort, and then handed themselves over to us to choose how many we cared to fight. But if we meet them in open country, and they learn how to divide their forces and take us in front and flank and rear, I wonder how many pairs of eyes and hands each man of us would need! Finally,” he added, “I have no great wish myself to disturb my Medes in their enjoyment, and drive them out to further dangers.”

[19] Then Cyrus took him up: “Nay, I would not have you put pressure on any man; only let those who are willing follow me, and perhaps we shall come back with something for all of you to enjoy. The mass of the enemy we should not think of pursuing; indeed, how could we overtake them? But if we cut off any stragglers, we could clap hands on them and bring them back to you. [20] Remember,” he added, “when you sent for us, we came a long way to do you service; is it not fair that you should do us a kindness in return, and let us have something to take back with us for ourselves, and not stand here agape at all your treasures?”

[21] At that Cyaxares answered, “Ah, if any will follow you of their own free will, I can but be most grateful.”

“Send some one with me then,” said Cyrus, “from these trusty men of yours, to carry your commands.”

“Take whomever you like,” he answered, “and begone.”

[22] Now, as it chanced, among the officers present was the Mede who had claimed kinship with Cyrus long ago and won a kiss thereby. Cyrus pointed to him and said, “That man will do for me.” “He shall go with you then,” Cyaxares replied. And turning to the officer, “Tell your fellows,” he said, “that he who lists may follow Cyrus.” [23] Thus Cyrus chose his man and went forth. And when they were outside he said, “To-day you can show me if you spoke truth long ago when you told me that the sight of me was your joy.”

“If you say that,” said the Mede, “I will never leave you.”

“And will you not do your best,” added Cyrus, “to bring me others too?” “By the gods in heaven,” cried the Mede, “that I will, until you say in your turn that to see me is your joy.” Thereupon, with the authority of Cyaxares to support him, the officer went to the Medes and delivered with message with all diligence, adding that he for one would never forsake Cyrus, the bravest, noblest, and best of men, and a hero whose lineage was divine.

[C.2] While Cyrus was busied with these matters, by some strange chance two ambassadors arrived from the Hyrcanians. These people are neighbours of the Assyrians, and being few in number, they were held in subjection. But they seemed then, as they seem now, to live on horseback. Hence the Assyrians used them as the Lacedaemonians employ the Skirites, for every toil and every danger, without sparing them. In fact, at that very moment they had ordered them to furnish a rear-guard of a thousand men and more, so as to bear the brunt of any rear attack. [2] The Hyrcanians, as they were to be the hindmost, had put their waggons and families in the rear, for, like most of the tribes in Asia, they take their entire households with them on the march. [3] But when they thought of the sorry treatment they got from the Assyrians and when they saw the king fallen, the army worsted and a prey to panic, the allies disheartened and ready to desert, they judged it a fine moment to revolt themselves, if only the Medes and Persians would make common cause with them. So they sent an embassy to Cyrus, for after the late battle there was no name like his. [4] They told him what good cause they had to hate the Assyrians, and how if he was willing to attack them now, they themselves would be his allies and show him the way. At the same time they gave a full account of the enemy’s doings, being eager to get Cyrus on the road. [5] “Do you think,” said Cyrus, “we should overtake the Assyrians before they reach their fortresses? We look on it as a great misfortune,” he added, “that they ever slipped through our fingers and escaped.” (This he said, wishing to give his hearers as high an opinion as possible of himself and his friends.) [6] “You should certainly catch them,” they answered, “and that tomorrow, ere the day is old, if you gird up your loins: they move heavily because of their numbers and their train of waggons, and today, since they did not sleep last night, they have only gone a little way ahead, and are now encamped for the evening.”

[7] “Can you give us any guarantee,” said Cyrus, “that what you say is true?”

“We will give you hostages,” they said; “we will ride off at once and bring them back this very night. Only do you on your side call the gods to witness and give us the pledge of your own right hand, that we may give our people the assurance we have received from you ourselves.”

[8] Thereupon Cyrus gave them his pledge that if they would make good what they promised he would treat them as his true friends and faithful followers, of no less account than the Persians and the Medes. And to this day one may see Hyrcanians treated with trust and holding office on an equal footing with Persians and Medes of high distinction.

[9] Now Cyrus and his men took their supper and then while it was still daylight he led his army out, having made the two Hyrcanians wait so that they might go with them. The Persians, of course, were with him to a man, and Tigranes was there, with his own contingent, and the Median volunteers, who had joined for various reasons. [10] Some had been friends of Cyrus in boyhood, others had hunted with him and learnt to admire his character, others were grateful, feeling he had lifted a load of fear from them, others were flushed with hope, nothing doubting that great things were reserved for the man who had proved so brave and so fortunate already. Others remembered the time when he was brought up in Media, and were glad to return the kindnesses that he had shown them; many could recall the favours the boy had won for them from his grandfather through his sheer goodness of heart; and many, now that they had seen the Hyrcanians and heard say they were leading them to untold treasures, went out from simple love of gain. [11] So they sallied forth, the entire body of the Persians and all the Medes, except those who were quartered with Cyaxares: these stayed behind, and their men with them. But all the rest went out with radiant faces and eager hearts, not following him from constraint, but offering willing service in their gratitude. [12] So, as soon as they were well afield, Cyrus went to the Medes and thanked them, praying that the gods in their mercy might guide them all, and that he himself might have power given him to reward their zeal. He ended by saying that the infantry would lead the van, while they would follow with the cavalry, and whenever the column halted on the march they were to send him gallopers to receive his orders. [13] Then he bade the Hyrcanians lead the way, but they exclaimed, “What? Are you not going to wait until we bring the hostages? Then you could begin the march with pledges from us in return for yours.”

But he answered, as the story says, “If I am not mistaken, we hold the pledges now, in our own hearts and our own right hands. We believe that if you are true to us we can do you service, and if you play us false, you will not have us at your mercy; God willing, we shall hold you at ours. Nevertheless,” he added, “since you tell us your own folk follow in the Assyrian rear, point them out to us as soon as you set eyes upon them, that we may spare their lives.”

[14] When the Hyrcanians heard this they led the way as he ordered, marvelling at his strength of soul. Their own fear of the Assyrians, the Lydians, and their allies, had altogether gone; their dread now was lest Cyrus should regard themselves as mere dust in the balance, and count it of no importance whether they stayed with him or not.

[15] As night closed in on their march, the legend runs that a strange light shone out, far off in the sky, upon Cyrus and his host, filling them with awe of the heavenly powers and courage to meet the foe. Marching as they did, their loins girt and their pace swift, they covered a long stretch of road in little time, and with the half light of the morning they were close to the Hyrcanian rear-guard. [16] As soon as the guides saw it, they told Cyrus that these were their own men: they knew this, they added, from the number of their fires, and the fact that they were in the rear. [17] Therefore Cyrus sent one of the guides to them, bidding them come out at once, if they were friendly, with their right hands raised. And he sent one of his own men also to say, “According as you make your approach, so shall we Persians comport ourselves.”

Thus one of the two messengers stayed with Cyrus while the other rode up to his fellows. [18] Cyrus halted his army to watch what the tribe would do, and Tigranes and the Median officers rode along the ranks to ask for orders. Cyrus explained that the troops nearest to them were the Hyrcanians, and that one of the ambassadors had gone, and a Persian with him, to bid them come out at once, if they were friendly, with their right hands raised. “If they do so,” he added, “you must welcome them as they come, each of you at your post, and take them by the hand and encourage them, but if they draw sword or try to escape, you must make an example of them: not a man of them must be left.”

Such were his orders. [19] However, as soon as the Hyrcanians heard the message, they were overjoyed: springing to their steeds they galloped up to Cyrus, holding out their right hands as he had bidden. Then the Medes and Persians gave them the right hand of fellowship in return, and bade them be of courage. [20] And Cyrus spoke:

“Sons of the Hyrcanians, we have shown our trust in you already, and you must trust us in return. And now tell me, how far from here do the Assyrian headquarters lie, and their main body?” “About four miles hence,” they answered.

[21] “Forward then, my men,” said Cyrus, “Persians, Medes, and Hyrcanians. I have learnt already, you see, to call you friends and comrades. All of you must remember that the moment has come when, if hand falters or heart fails, we meet with utter disaster: our enemies know why we are here. But if we summon our strength and charge home, you shall see them caught like a pack of runaway slaves, some on their knees, others in full flight, and the rest unable to do even so much for themselves. They are beaten already, and they will see their conquerors fall on them before they dream of an approach, before their ranks are formed or their preparations made, and the sight will paralyse them. [22] If we wish to sleep and eat and live in peace and happiness from this time forth, let us not give them leisure to take counsel or arrange defence, or so much as see that we are men, and not a storm of shields and battle-axes and flashing swords, sweeping on them in one rain of blows. [23] You Hyrcanians must go in front of us as a screen, that we may lie behind you as long as may be. And as soon as I close with them, you must give me, each of you, a squadron of horse, to use in case of need while I am waiting at the camp. [24] I would advise the older men among you and the officers, to ride in close order, so that your ranks should not be broken, if you come across a compact body of the foe; let the younger men give chase, and do the killing; our safest plan today is to leave as few of the enemy alive as possible. [25] And if we conquer,” he added, “we must beware of what has overset the fortune of many a conqueror ere now, I mean the lust for plunder. The man who plunders is no longer a man, he is a machine for porterage, and all who list may treat him as a slave. [26] One thing we must bear in mind: nothing can bring such gain as victory; at one clutch the victor seizes all, men and women, and wealth, and territory. Therefore make it your one object to secure the victory; if he is conquered, the greatest plunderer is caught. One more word — remember, even in the heat of pursuit to rejoin me while it is still daylight, for when darkness has fallen we will not admit a soul within the lines.”

[27] With these words he sent them off to their appointed stations, bidding them repeat his instructions on the way to their own lieutenants, who were posted in front to receive the orders, and make each of them pass down the word to his own file of ten. Thereupon the advance began, the Hyrcanians leading off, Cyrus holding the centre himself, marching with his Persians, and the cavalry in the usual way, drawn up on either flank.

[28] As the day broke the enemy saw them for the first time: some simply stared at what was happening, others began to realise the truth, calling and shouting to each other, unfastening their horses, getting their goods together, tearing what they needed off the beasts of burden, and others arming themselves, harnessing their steeds, leaping to horse, others helping the women into their carriages, or seizing their valuables, some caught in the act of burying them, others, and by far the greatest number, in sheer headlong flight. Many and divers were their shifts, as one may well conceive, save only that not one man stood at bay: they perished without a blow. [29] Now Croesus, king of Lydia, seeing that it was summer-time, had sent his women on during the night, so that they might travel more pleasantly in the cool, and he himself had followed with his cavalry to escort them. [30] The Lord of Hellespontine Phrygia, it is said, had done the same. And these two, when they heard what was happening from the fugitives who overtook them, fled for their lives with the rest. [31] But it was otherwise with the kings of Cappadocia and Arabia; they had not gone far, and they stood their ground, but they had not even time to put on their corslets, and were cut down by the Hyrcanians. Indeed, the mass of those who fell were Assyrians and Arabians, for, being in their own country, they had taken no precautions on the march. [32] The victorious Medes and the Hyrcanians had their hands full with the chase, and meanwhile Cyrus made the cavalry who were left with him ride all round the camp and cut down any man who left it with weapons in his hands. Then he sent a herald to those who remained, bidding the horsemen and targeteers and archers come out on foot, with their weapons tied in bundles, and deliver them up to him, leaving their horses in their stalls: he who disobeyed should lose his head, and a cordon of Persian troops stood round with their swords drawn. [33] At that the weapons were brought at once, and flung down, and Cyrus had the whole pile burnt.

[34] Meanwhile he did not forget that his own troops had come without food or drink, that nothing could be done without provisions, and that to obtain these in the quickest way, it was necessary on every campaign to have some one to see that quarters were prepared and supplies ready for the men on their return. [35] It occurred to him it was more than likely that such officers, of all others, would be left behind in the Assyrian camp, because they would have been delayed by the packing.

Accordingly, he sent out a proclamation that all the stewards should present themselves before him, and if there was no such officer left, the oldest man in every tent must take his place; any one failing to obey would suffer the severest penalties. The stewards, following the example of their masters, obeyed at once. And when they came before him he ordered those who had more than two months’ rations in their quarters to sit down on the ground, and then those who had provisions for one month. [36] Thereupon very few were left standing. [37] Having thus got the information he needed, he spoke to them as follows:

“Gentlemen, if any of you dislike hard blows and desire gentle treatment at our hands, make it your business to provide twice as much meat and drink in every tent as you have been wont to do, with all things that are needed for a fine repast. The victors, whoever they are, will be here anon, and will expect an overflowing board. You may rest assured it will not be against your interests to give them a welcome they can approve.”

[38] At that the stewards went off at once and set to work with all zeal to carry out their instructions. Then Cyrus summoned his own officers and said to them:

“My friends, it is clear that we have it in our power, now that our allies’ backs are turned, to help ourselves to breakfast, and take our choice of the most delicate dishes and the rarest wines. But I scarcely think this would do us so much good as to show that we study the interest of our friends: the best of cheer will not give us half the strength we could draw from the zeal of loyal allies whose gratitude we had won. [39] If we forget those who are toiling for us now, pursuing our foes, slaying them, and fighting wherever they resist, if they see that we sit down to enjoy ourselves and devour our meal before we know how it goes with them, I fear we shall cut a sorry figure in their eyes, and our strength will turn to weakness through lack of friends. The true banquet for us is to study the wants of those who have run the risk and done the work, to see that they have all they need when they come home, a banquet that will give us richer delight than any gorging of the belly. [40] And remember, that even if the thought of them were not enough to shame us from it, in no case is this a moment for gluttony and drunkenness: the thing we set our minds to do is not yet done: everything is full of danger still, and calls for carefulness. We have enemies in this camp ten times more numerous than ourselves, and they are all at large: we need both to guard against them and to guard them, so that we may have servants to furnish us with supplies. Our cavalry are not yet back, and we must ask ourselves where they are and whether they mean to stay with us when they return. [41] Therefore, gentlemen, I would say, for the present let us above all be careful to avoid the food and drink that leads to slumber and stupefaction. [42] And there is another matter: this camp contains vast treasures, and I am well aware we have it in our power to pick and choose as much as we like for ourselves out of what belongs by right to all who helped in its capture. But it does not seem to me that grasping will be so lucrative as proving ourselves just toward our allies, and so binding them closer. [43] I go further: I say that we should leave the distribution of the spoil to the Medes, the Hyrcanians, and Tigranes, and count it gain if they allot us the smaller share, for then they will be all the more willing to stay with us. [44] Selfishness now could only secure us riches for the moment, while to let these vanities go in order to obtain the very fount of wealth, that, I take it, will ensure for us and all whom we call ours a far more enduring gain. [45] Was it not,” he continued, “for this very reason that we trained ourselves at home to master the belly and its appetites, so that, if ever the need arose, we might turn our education to account? And where, I ask, shall we find a nobler opportunity than this, to show what we have learnt?”

[46] Such were his words and Hystaspas the Persian rose to support him, saying:

“Truly, Cyrus, it would be a monstrous thing if we could go fasting when we hunt, and keep from food so often and so long merely to lay some poor beast low, worth next to nothing, maybe, and yet, when a world of wealth is our quarry, let ourselves be baulked by one of those temptations which flee before the noble and rule the bad. Such conduct, methinks, would be little worthy of our race.”

[47] So Hystaspas spoke, and the rest approved him, one and all. Then Cyrus said:

“Come now, since we are all of one mind, each of you give me five of the trustiest fellows in his company, and let them go the rounds, and see how the supplies are furnished; let them praise the active servants, and where they see neglect, chastise them more severely than their own masters could.”

Thus they dealt with these matters.

[C.3] But it was not long before some of the Medes returned: one set had overtaken the waggons that had gone ahead, seized them and turned them back, and were now driving them to the camp, laden with all that an army could require, and others had captured the covered carriages in which the women rode, the wives of the Assyrian grandees or their concubines, whom they had taken with them because of their beauty. [2] Indeed, to this day the tribes of Asia never go on a campaign without their most precious property: they say they can fight better in the presence of their beloved, feeling they must defend their treasures, heart and soul. It may be so, but it may also be that the desire for pleasure is the cause.

[3] And when Cyrus saw the feats of arms that the Medes and the Hyrcanians had performed, he came near reproaching himself and those that were with him; the others, he felt, had risen with the time, had shown their strength and won their prizes, while he and his had stayed behind like sluggards. Indeed it was a sight to watch the victors riding home, driving their spoil before them, pointing it out with some display to Cyrus, and then dashing off again at once in search of more, according to the instructions they had received.

But though he ate out his heart with envy Cyrus was careful to set all their booty apart; and then he summoned his own officers again, and standing where they could all hear what he had to propose, he spoke as follows:

[4] “My friends, you would all agree, I take it, that if the spoils displayed to us now were our own to keep, wealth would be showered on every Persian in the land, and we ourselves, no doubt, through whom it was won, would receive the most. But what I do not see is how we are to get possession of such prizes unless we have cavalry of our own. [5] Consider the facts,” he continued, “we Persians have weapons with which, we hope, we can rout the enemy at close quarters: but when we do rout them, what sort of horsemen or archers or light-armed troops could ever be caught and killed, if we can only pursue them on foot? Why should they ever be afraid to dash up and harry us, when they know full well that they run no greater risk at our hands than if we were stumps in their orchards? [6] And if this be so, it is plain that the cavalry now with us consider every gain to be as much theirs as ours, and possibly even more, God wot! [7] At present things must be so: there is no help for it. But suppose we were to provide ourselves with as good a force as our friends, it must be pretty evident to all of us, I think, that we could then deal with the enemy by ourselves precisely as we do now with their help, and then perhaps we should find that they would carry their heads less high. It would be of less importance to us whether they chose to stay or go, we should be sufficient for ourselves without them. [8] So far then I expect that no one will disagree: if we could get a body of Persian cavalry it would make all the difference to us; but no doubt you feel the question is, how are we to get it? Well, let us consider first, suppose we decide to raise the force, exactly what we have to start with and what we need. [9] We certainly have hundreds of horses now captured in this camp, with their bridles and all their gear. Besides these, we have all the accoutrements for a mounted force, breast-plates to protect the trunk, and light spears to be flung or wielded at close quarters. What else do we need? It is plain we need men. [10] But that is just what we have already at our own command. For nothing is so much ours as our own selves. Only, some will say, we have not the necessary skill. No, of course not, and none of those who have it now had it either before they learnt to get it. Ah, you object, but they learnt when they were boys. [11] Maybe; but are boys more capable of learning what they are taught then grown men? Which are the better at heavy physical tasks, boys or men? [12] Besides, we, of all pupils, have advantages that neither boys nor other men possess: we have not to be taught the use of the bow as boys have, we are skilled in that already; nor yet the use of the javelin, we are versed in that; our time has not been taken up like other men’s with toiling on the land or labouring at some craft or managing household matters; we have not only had leisure for war, it has been our life. [13] Moreover, one cannot say of riding as of so many warlike exercises that it is useful but disagreeable. To ride a-horseback is surely pleasanter than to trudge a-foot? And as for speed — how pleasant to join a friend betimes whenever you wish, or come up with your quarry be it man or beast! And then, the ease and satisfaction of it! Whatever weapon the rider carries his horse must help to bear the load: ‘wear arms’ and ‘bear arms,’— they are the same thing on horseback. [14] But now, to meet the worst we can apprehend: suppose, before we are adepts, we are called upon to run some risk, and then find that we are neither infantry nor thoroughgoing cavalry? This may be a danger, but we can guard against it. We have it always in our power to turn into infantry again at a moment’s notice. I do not propose that by learning to ride we should unlearn the arts of men on foot.”

[15] Thus spoke Cyrus, and Chrysantas rose to support him, saying:

“For my part I cannot say I so much desire to be a horseman as flatter myself that once I can ride I shall be a sort of flying man. [16] At present when I race I am quiet content if, with a fair start, I can beat one of my rivals by the head, or when I sight my game I am happy if, by laying legs to the ground, I can get close enough to let fly javelin or arrow before he is clean out of range. But when once I am a horseman I shall be able to overhaul my man as far as I can see him, or come up with the beasts I chase and knock them over myself or else spear them as though they stood stock still, for when hunter and hunted are both of them racing, if they are only side by side, it is as good as though neither of them moved. [17] And the creature I have always envied,” he continued, “the centaur — if only he had the intelligence and forethought of a man, the adroit skill and the cunning hand, with the swiftness and strength of a horse, so as to overtake all that fled before him, and overthrow all that resisted — why, all these powers I shall collect and gather in my own person when once I am a rider. [18] Forethought I intend to keep with my human wits, my hands can wield my weapons, and my horse’s legs will follow up the foe, and my horse’s rush overthrow him. Only I shall not be tied and fettered to my steed, flesh of his flesh, and blood of his blood, like the old centaur. [19] And that I count a great improvement on the breed, far better than being united to the animal, body and soul. The old centaur, I imagine, must have been for ever in difficulties; as a horse, he could not use the wonderful inventions of man, and as a man, he could not enjoy the proper pleasures of a horse. [20] But I, if I learn to ride, once set me astride my horse, and I will do all that the centaur can, and yet, when I dismount, I can dress myself as a human being, and dine, and sleep in my bed, like the rest of my kind: in short, I shall be a jointed centaur that can be taken to pieces and put together again. [21] And I shall gain another point or so over the original beast: he, we know, had only two eyes to see with and two ears to hear with, but I shall watch with four eyes and with four ears I shall listen. You know, they tell us a horse can often see quicker than any man, and hear a sound before his master, and give him warning in some way. Have the goodness, therefore,” he added, “to write my name down among those who want to ride.”

[22] “And ours too,” they all cried, “ours too, in heaven’s name!”

Then Cyrus spoke: “Gentlemen, since we are all so well agreed, suppose we make it a rule that every one who receives a horse from me shall be considered to disgrace himself if he is seen trudging afoot, be his journey long or short?”

[23] Thus Cyrus put the question, and one and all assented; and hence it is that even to this day the custom is retained, and no Persian of the gentle class would willingly be seen anywhere on foot.

[C.4] In this debate their time was spent, and when it was past midday the Median cavalry and the Hyrcanians came galloping home, bringing in men and horses from the enemy, for they had spared all who surrendered their arms. [2] As they rode up the first inquiry of Cyrus was whether all of them were safe, and when they answered yes, he asked what they had achieved. And they told their exploits in detail, and how bravely they had borne themselves, magnifying it all. [3] Cyrus heard their story through with a pleasant smile, and praised them for their work. “I can see for myself,” he said, “that you have done gallant deeds. You seem to have grown taller and fairer and more terrible to look on than when we saw you last.”

[4] Then he made them tell him how far they had gone, and whether they had found the country inhabited. They said they had ridden a long way, and that the whole country was inhabited, and full of sheep and goats and cattle and horses, and rich in corn and every good thing.

[5] “Then there are two matters,” he said, “to which we must attend; first we must become masters of those who own all this, and next we must ensure that they do not run away. A well-populated country is a rich possession, but a deserted land will soon become a desert. [6] You have put the defenders to the sword, I know, and rightly — for that is the only safe road to victory; but you have brought in as prisoners those who laid down their arms. Now if we let these men go, I maintain we should do the very best thing for ourselves. [7] We gain two points; first, we need neither be on our guard against them nor mount guard over them nor find them victuals (and we do not propose to starve them, I presume), and in the next place, their release means more prisoners tomorrow. [8] For if we dominate the country all the inhabitants are ours, and if they see that these men are still alive and at large they will be more disposed to stay where they are, and prefer obedience to battle. That is my own view, but if any one sees a better course, let him point it out.”

[9] However, all his hearers approved the plan proposed. Thus it came to pass that Cyrus summoned the prisoners and said to them:

[10] “Gentlemen, you owe it to your own obedience this day that your lives are safe; and for the future if you continue in this conduct, no evil whatsoever shall befall you; true, you will not have the same ruler as before, but you will dwell in the same houses, you will cultivate the same land, you will live with your wives and govern your children as you do now. Moreover you will not have us to fight with, nor any one else. [11] On the contrary, if any wrong is done you, it is we who will fight on your behalf. And to prevent any one from ordering you to take the field, you will bring your arms to us and hand them over. Those who do this can count on peace and the faithful fulfilment of our promises; those who will not, must expect war, and that at once. [12] Further, if any man of you comes to us and shows a friendly spirit, giving us information and helping us in any way, we will treat him not as a servant, but as a friend and benefactor. This,” he added, “we wish you to understand yourselves and make known among your fellows. [13] And if it should appear that you yourselves are willing to comply but others hinder you, lead us against them, and you shall be their masters, not they yours.”

Such were his words; and they made obeisance and promised to do as he bade.

[C.5] And when they were gone, Cyrus turned to the Medes and the men of Armenia, and said, “It is high time, gentlemen, that we should dine, one and all of us; food and drink are prepared for you, the best we had skill to find. Send us, if you will, the half of the bread that has been baked; there is ample, I know, for both of us; but do not send any relish with it, nor any drink, we have quite enough at hand. [2] And do you,” he added, turning to the Hyrcanians, “conduct our friends to their quarters, the officers to the largest tents — you know where they are — and the rest where you think best. For yourselves, you may dine where you like; your quarters are intact, and you will find everything there prepared for you exactly as it is for the others. [3] All of you alike must understand that during the night we Persians will guard the camp outside, but you must keep an eye over what goes on within; and see that your arms are ready to hand; our messmates are not our friends as yet.”

[4] So the Medes and Tigranes with his men washed away the stains of battle, and put on the apparel that was laid out for them, and fell to dinner, and the horses had their provender too. They sent half the bread to the Persians but no relish with it and no wine, thinking that Cyrus and his men possessed a store, because he had said they had enough and to spare. But Cyrus meant the relish of hunger, and the draught from the running river. [5] Thus he regaled his Persians, and when the darkness fell he sent them out by fives and tens and ordered them to lie in ambush around the camp, so as to form a double guard, against attack from without, and absconders from within; any one attempting to make off with treasures would be caught in the act. And so it befell; for many tried to escape, and all of them were seized. [6] As for the treasures, Cyrus allowed the captors to keep them, but he had the absconders beheaded out of hand, so that for the future a thief by night was hardly to be found. Thus the Persians passed their time. [7] But the Medes drank and feasted and made music and took their fill of good cheer and all delights; there was plenty to serve their purpose, and work enough for those who did not sleep.

[8] Cyaxares, the king of the Medes, on the very night when Cyrus set forth, drank himself drunk in company with the officers in his own quarters to celebrate their good fortune. Hearing uproar all about him, he thought that the rest of the Medes must have stayed behind in the camp, except perhaps a few, but the fact was that their domestics, finding the masters gone, had fallen to drinking in fine style and were making a din to their hearts’ content, the more so that they had procured wine and dainties from the Assyrian camp. [9] But when it was broad day and no one knocked at the palace gate except the guests of last night’s revel, and when Cyaxares heard that the camp was deserted — the Medes gone, the cavalry gone — and when he went out and saw for himself that it was so, then he fumed with indignation against Cyrus and his own men, to think that they had gone off and left him in the lurch. It is said that without more ado, savage and mad with anger as he was, he ordered one of his staff to take his troopers and ride at once to Cyrus and his men, and there deliver this message:

[10] “I should never have dreamed that Cyrus could have acted towards me with such scant respect, or, if he could have thought of it, that the Medes could have borne to desert me in this way. And now, whether Cyrus will or no, I command the Medes to present themselves before me without delay.”

[11] Such was the message. But he who was to take it said, “And how shall I find them, my lord?”

“Why,” said Cyaxares, “as Cyrus and his men found those they went to seek.”

“I only asked,” continued the messenger, “because I was told that some Hyrcanians who had revolted from the enemy came here, and went off with him to act as guides.”

[12] When Cyaxares heard that, he was the more enraged to think that Cyrus had never told him, and the more urgent to have his Medes removed from him at once, and he summoned them home under fiercer threats than ever; threatening the officer as well if he failed to deliver the message in full force.

[13] So the emissary set off with his troopers, about one hundred strong, fervently regretting that he had not gone with Cyrus himself. On the way they took a turning which led them wrong, and they did not reach the Persians until they had chanced upon some of the Assyrians in retreat and forced them to be their guides, and so at last arrived, sighting the watch-fires about midnight. [14] But though they had got to the camp, the pickets, acting on the orders of Cyrus, would not let them in till dawn. With the first faint gleam of morning Cyrus summoned the Persian Priests, who are called Magians, and bade them choose the offerings due to the gods for the blessings they had vouchsafed. [15] And while they were about this, Cyrus called the Peers together and said to them:

“Gentlemen, God has put before us many blessings, but at present we Persians are but a scant company to keep them. If we fail to guard what we have toiled for, it will soon fall back into other hands, and if we leave some of our number to watch our gains, it will soon be seen that we have no strength in us. [16] I propose therefore that one of you should go home to Persia without loss of time, and explain what I need and bid them despatch an army forthwith, if they desire Persia to win the empire of Asia and the fruits thereof. [17] Do you,” said he, turning to one of the Peers, “do you, who are the eldest, go and repeat these words, and tell them that it shall be my care to provide for the soldiers they send me as soon as they are here. And as to what we have won — you have seen it yourself — keep nothing back, and ask my father how much I ought to send home for an offering to the gods, if I wish to act in honour and according to the law, and ask the magistrates how much is due to the commonwealth. And let them send commissioners to watch all that we do and answer all that we ask. So, sir,” he ended, “you will get your baggage together, and take your company with you as an escort. Fare you well.”

[18] With that message he turned to the Medes and at the same moment the messenger from Cyaxares presented himself, and in the midst of the whole assembly announced the anger of the king against Cyrus, and his threats against the Medes, and so bade the latter return home at once, even if Cyrus wished them to stay. [19] The Medes listened, but were silent; for they were sore bested; they could hardly disobey the summons, and yet they were afraid to go back after his threats, being all too well acquainted with the savage temper of their lord. [20] But Cyrus spoke:

“Herald,” said he, “and sons of the Medes, I am not surprised that Cyaxares, who saw the host of the enemy so lately, and knows so little of what we have done now, should tremble for us and for himself. But when he learns how many have fallen, and that all have been dispersed, his fears will vanish, and he will recognise that he is not deserted on this day of all days when his friends are destroying his foes. [21] Can we deserve blame for doing him a service? And that not even without his own consent? I am acting as I am, only after having gained his leave to take you out; it is not as though you had come to me in your own eagerness, and begged me to let you go, and so were here now; he himself ordered you out, those of you who did not find it a burthen. Therefore, I feel sure, his anger will melt in the sunshine of success, and, when his fears are gone, it will vanish too. [22] For the moment then,” he added, turning to the messenger, “you must recruit yourself; you have had a heavy task; and for ourselves,” said he, turning to the Persians, “since we are waiting for an enemy who will either offer us battle or render us submission, we must draw up in our finest style; the spectacle, perhaps, will bring us more than we could dare to hope. And do you,” he said, taking the Hyrcanian chieftain aside, “after you have told your officers to arm their men, come back and wait with me a moment.”

[23] So the Hyrcanian went and returned. Then Cyrus said to him, “Son of Hyrcania, it gives me pleasure to see that you show not only friendliness, but sagacity. It is clear that our interests are the same; the Assyrians are my foes as well as yours, only they hate you now even more bitterly than they hate me. [24] We must consult together and see that not one of our present allies turns his back on us, and we must do what we can to acquire more. You heard the Mede summon the cavalry to return, and if they go, we shall be left with nothing but infantry. [25] This is what we must do, you and I; we must make this messenger, who is sent to recall them, desirous to stay here himself. You must find him quarters where he will have a merry time and everything heart can wish, and I will offer him work which he will like far better than going back. And do you talk to him yourself, and dilate on all the wonders we expect for our friends if things go well. And when you have done this, come back again and tell me.”

[26] So the chieftain took the Mede away to his own quarters, and meanwhile the messenger from Persia presented himself equipped for the journey, and Cyrus bade him tell the Persians all that had happened, as it has been set out in this story, and then he gave him a letter to Cyaxares. “I would like to read you the very words,” he added, “so that what you say yourself may agree with it, in case you have questions asked you.”

[27] The letter ran as follows:—“Cyrus to Cyaxares, greeting. We do not admit that we have deserted you; for no one is deserted when he is being made the master of his enemies. Nor do we consider that we put you in jeopardy by our departure; on the contrary, the greater the distance between us the greater the security we claim to have won for you. [28] It is not the friend at a man’s elbow who serves him and puts him out of danger, but he who drives his enemies farthest and furthest away. [29] And I pray you to remember what I have done for you, and you for me, before you blame me. I brought you allies, not limiting myself to those you asked for, but pressing in every man that I could find; you allowed me while we were on friendly soil only to take those whom I could persuade to follow me, and now that I am in hostile territory you insist that they must all return; you do not leave it to their own choice. [30] Yesterday I felt that I owed both you and them a debt of gratitude, but today you drive me to forget your share, you make me wish to repay those, and those only, who followed me. [31] Not that I could bring myself to return you like for like; even now I am sending to Persia for more troops, and instructing all the men who come that, if you need them before we return, they must hold themselves at your service absolutely, to act not as they wish, but as you may care to use them. [32] In conclusion, I would advise you, though I am younger than yourself, not to take back with one hand what you give with the other, or else you will win hatred instead of gratitude; nor to use threats if you wish men to come to you speedily; nor to speak of being deserted when you threaten an army, unless you would teach them to despise you. [33] For ourselves, we will do our best to rejoin you as soon as we have concluded certain matters which we believe will prove a common blessing to yourself and us. Farewell.”

[34] “Deliver this,” said Cyrus, “to Cyaxares, and whatever questions he puts to you, answer in accordance with it. My injunctions to you about the Persians agree exactly with what is written here.” With that he gave him the letter and sent him off, bidding him remember that speed was of importance.

[35] Then he turned to review his troops, who were already fully armed, Medes, Hyrcanians, the men Tigranes had brought, and the whole body of the Persians. And already some of the neighbouring folk were coming up, to bring in their horses or hand over their arms. [36] The javelins were then piled in a heap as before and burnt at his command, after his troops had taken what they needed for themselves, but he bade the owners stay with their horses until they received fresh orders. This done, Cyrus called together the officers of the Hyrcanians and of the cavalry, and spoke as follows:

[37] “My friends and allies, you must not be surprised that I summon you so often. Our circumstances are so novel that much still needs adjustment, and we must expect difficulty until everything has found its place. [38] At present we have a mass of spoil, and prisoners set to guard it. But we do not ourselves know what belongs to each of us, nor could the guards say who the owners are: and thus it is impossible for them to be exact in their duties, since scarcely any of them know what these duties may be. [39] To amend this, you must divide the spoil. There will be no difficulty where a man has won a tent that is fully supplied with meat and drink, and servants to boot, bedding, apparel, and everything to make it a comfortable home; he has only to understand that this is now his private property, and he must look after it himself. But where the quarters are not furnished so well, there you must make it your business to supply what is lacking. [40] There will be more than enough for this; of that I am sure; the enemy had a stock of everything quite out of proportion to our scanty numbers. Moreover, certain treasurers have come to me, men who were in the service of the king of Assyria and other potentates, and according to what they tell me, they have a supply of gold coin, the produce of certain tributes they can name. [41] You will send out a proclamation that this deposit must be delivered up to you in your quarters; you must terrify those who fail to execute the order, and then you must distribute the money; the mounted men should have two shares apiece for the foot-soldier’s one; and you should keep the surplus, so that in case of need you may have wherewith to make your purchases. [42] With regard to the camp-market, proclamation must be made at once, forbidding any injustice; the hucksters must be allowed to sell the goods they have brought, and when these are disposed of they may bring more, so that the camp may be duly supplied.”

[43] So the proclamations were issued forthwith. But the Medes and the Hyrcanians asked Cyrus:

“How are we to distribute the spoil alone, without your men and yourself?”

[44] But Cyrus met question by question: “Do you really think, gentlemen, that we must all preside over every detail, each and all of us together? Can I never act for you, and you for me? I could scarcely conceive a surer way of creating trouble, or of reducing results. See,” said he, “I will take a case in point. [45] We Persians guarded this booty for you, and you believe that we guarded it well: now it is for you to distribute it, and we will trust you to be fair. [46] And there is another benefit that I should be glad to obtain for us all. You see what a number of horses we have got already, and more are being brought in. If they are left riderless we shall get no profit out of them; we shall only have the burden of looking after them. But if we set riders on them, we shall be quit of the trouble and add to our strength. [47] Now if you have other men in view, men whom you would choose before us to share the brunt of danger with you, by all means give these horses to them. But if you would rather have us fight at your side than any others, bestow them upon us. [48] To-day when you dashed ahead to meet danger all alone, great was our fear lest you might come to harm, and bitter our shame to think that where you were we were not. But if once we have horses, we can follow at your heels. [49] And if it is clear that we do more good so mounted, shoulder to shoulder with yourselves, we shall not fail in zeal; or if it appears better to support you on foot, why, to dismount is but the work of a moment, and you will have your infantry marching by your side at once, and we will find men to hold our horses for us.”

[50] To which they answered:

“In truth, Cyrus, we have not men for these horses ourselves, and even if we had them, we should not do anything against your wish. Take them, we beg you, and use them as you think best.”

[51] “I will,” said he, “and gladly, and may good fortune bless us all, you in your division of the spoil and us in our horsemanship. In the first place,” he added, “you will set apart for the gods whatever our priests prescribe, and after that you must select for Cyaxares what you think will please him most.”

[52] At that they laughed, and said they must choose him a bevy of fair women. “So let it be,” said Cyrus, “fair women, and anything else you please. And when you have chosen his share, the Hyrcanians must see to it that our friends among the Medes who followed us of their own free will shall have no cause to find fault with their own portion. [53] And the Medes on their side must show honour to the first allies we have won, and make them feel their decision was wise when they chose us for their friends. And be sure to give a share of everything to the messenger who came from Cyaxares and to his retinue; persuade him to stay on with us, say that I would like it, and that he could tell Cyaxares all the better how matters stood. [54] As for my Persians,” he added, “we shall be quite content with what is left over, after you are all provided for; we are not used to luxury, we were brought up in a very simple fashion, and I think you would laugh at us if you saw us tricked out in grand attire, just as I am sure you will when you see us seated on our horses, or, rather, rolling off them.”

[55] So they dispersed to make the distribution, in great mirth over the thought of the riding; and then Cyrus called his own officers and bade them take the horses and their gear, and the grooms with them, number them all, and then distribute them by lot in equal shares for each division. [56] Finally he sent out another proclamation, saying that if there was any slave among the Syrians, Assyrians, or Arabians who was a Mede, a Persian, a Bactrian, a Carian, a Cilician, or a Hellene, or a member of any other nation, and who had been forcibly enrolled, he was to come forward and declare himself. [57] And when they heard the herald, many came forward gladly, and out of their number Cyrus selected the strongest and fairest, and told them they were now free, and would be required to bear arms, with which he would furnish them, and as to necessaries, he would see himself that they were not stinted. [58] With that he brought them to the officers and had them enrolled forthwith, saying they were to be armed with shields and light swords, so as to follow the troopers, and were to receive supplies exactly as if they were his own Persians. The Persian officers themselves, wearing corslets and carrying lances, were for the future to appear on horseback, he himself setting the example, and each one was to appoint another of the Peers to lead the infantry for him.

[C.6] While they were concerned with these matters, an old Assyrian prince, Gobryas by name, presented himself before Cyrus, mounted on horseback and with a mounted retinue behind him, all of them armed as cavalry. The Persian officers who were appointed to receive the weapons bade them hand over their lances and have them burnt with the rest, but Gobryas said he wished to see Cyrus first. At that the adjutants led him in, but they made his escort stay where they were. [2] When the old man came before Cyrus, he addressed him at once, saying:

“My lord, I am an Assyrian by birth; I have a strong fortress in my territory, and I rule over a wide domain; I have cavalry at my command, two thousand three hundred of them, all of which I offered to the king of Assyria; and if ever he had a friend, that friend was I. But he has fallen at your hands, the gallant heart, and his son, who is my bitterest foe, reigns in his stead. Therefore I have come to you, a suppliant at your feet. I am ready to be your slave and your ally, and I implore you to be my avenger. You yourself will be a son to me, for I have no male children now. [3] He whom I had, my only son, he was beautiful and brave, my lord, and loved me and honoured me as a father rejoices to be loved. And this vile king — his father, my old master, had sent for my son, meaning to give him his own daughter in marriage; and I let my boy go, with high hopes and a proud heart, thinking that when I saw him again the king’s daughter would be his bride. And the prince, who is now king, invited him to the chase, and bade him do his best, for he thought himself far the finer horseman of the two. So they hunted together, side by side, as though they were friends, and suddenly a bear appeared, and the two of them gave chase, and the king’s son let fly his javelin, but alas! he missed his aim, and then my son threw — oh, that he never had! — and laid the creature low. [4] The prince was stung to the quick, though for the moment he kept his rancour hidden. But, soon after that, they roused a lion, and then he missed a second time — no unusual thing for him, I imagine — but my son’s spear went home, and he brought the beast down, and cried, ‘See, I have shot but twice, and killed each time!’ And at this the monster could not contain his jealousy; he snatched a spear from one of his followers and ran my son through the body, my only son, my darling, and took his life. [5] And I, unhappy that I am, I, who thought to welcome a bride-groom, carried home a corpse. I, who am old, buried my boy with the first down on his chin, my brave boy, my well-beloved. And his assassin acted as though it were an enemy that he had done to death. He never showed one sign of remorse, he never paid one tribute of honour to the dead, in atonement for his cruel deed. Yet his own father pitied me, and showed that he could share the burden of my grief. [6] Had he lived, my old master, I would never have come to you to do him harm; many a kindness have I received from him, and many a service have I done him. But now that his kingdom has descended to my boy’s murderer — I could never be loyal to that man, and he, I know, could never regard me as a friend. He knows too well how I feel towards him, and how, after my former splendour, I pass my days in mourning, growing old in loneliness and grief. [7] If you can receive me, if you can give me some hope of vengeance for my dear son, I think I should grow young again, I should not feel ashamed to live, and when I came to die I should not die in utter wretchedness.”

[8] So he spoke, and Cyrus answered:

“Gobryas, if your heart be set towards us as you say, I receive you as my suppliant, and I promise, God helping me, to avenge your son. But tell me,” he added, “if we do this for you, and if we suffer you to keep your stronghold, your land, your arms, and the power which you had, how will you serve us in return?”

[9] And the old man answered:

“My stronghold shall be yours, to live in as often as you come to me; the tribute which I used to pay to Assyria shall be paid to you; and whenever you march out to war, I will march at your side with the men from my own land. Moreover, I have a daughter, a well-beloved maiden, ripe for marriage; once I thought of bringing her up to be the bride of the man who is now king; but she besought me herself, with tears, not to give her to her brother’s murderer, and I have no mind to oppose her. And now I will put her in your hands, to deal with as I shall deal with you.”

[10] So it came to pass that Cyrus said, “On the faith that you have spoken truly and with true intent, I take your hand and I give you mine; let the gods be witness.”

And when this was done, Cyrus bade the old man depart in peace, without surrendering his arms, and then he asked him how far away he lived, “Since,” said he, “I am minded to visit you.” And Gobryas answered, “If you set off early tomorrow, the next day you may lodge with us.” [11] With that he took his own departure, leaving a guide for Cyrus.

Then the Medes presented themselves; they had set apart for the gods what the Persian Priests thought right, and had left it in their hands, and they had chosen for Cyrus the finest of all the tents, and a lady from Susa, of whom the story says that in all Asia there was never a woman so fair as she, and two singing-girls with her, the most skilful among the musicians. The second choice was for Cyaxares, and for themselves they had taken their fill of all they could need on the campaign, since there was abundance of everything. [12] The Hyrcanians had all they wanted too, and they made the messenger from Cyaxares share and share alike with them. The tents which were left over they delivered to Cyrus for his Persians; and the coined money they said should be divided as soon as it was all collected, and divided it was.


C1.10. Two theories of hedonism: (1) Cyaxares’ “Economise the greatest joy when you have got it,” and by contrast (2) Cyrus’ roaming from joy to joy.

C1.22. Xenophon the Artist: the “kinsman” of Cyrus again, and the light by-play to enliven the severe history. The economic organising genius of Cyrus is also brought out.

C2.25. No looting, an order of the Duke of Wellington, Napier, Wolseley.

C2.32. Cf. modern times; humane orders, but strict.

C2.34. The question of commissariat. Would a modern force storm a camp without taking rations? I dare say they would.

C2.37. Notice the tone he adopts to these slaves; no bullying, but appealing to appetite and lower motives. This is doubtless Xenophontine and Hellenic.

C2.38. Important as illustrating the stern Spartan self-denial of the man and his followers. There is a hedonistic test, but the higher hedonism prevails against the lower: ignoble and impolitic to sit here feasting while they are fighting, and we don’t even know how it fares with them, our allies. The style rises and is at times Pauline. St. Paul, of course, is moving on a higher spiritual plane, but still —

C2.45, fin. The Education of Cyrus, Cyropaedia, {Keroupaideia}; the name justified.

C2.46. Hystaspas’ simple response: important, with other passages, to show how naturally it came to them (i.e. the Hellenes and Xenophon) to give a spiritual application to their rules of bodily and mental training. These things to them are an allegory. The goal is lofty, if not so sublime as St. Paul’s or Comte’s, the Christians or Positivists (there has been an alteration for the better in the spiritual plane, and Socrates helped to bring it about, I believe), but ceteris paribus, the words of St. Paul are the words of Hystaspas and Xenophon. They for a corruptible crown, and we for an incorruptible — and one might find a still happier parable!

C2.46. Fine sentiment, this noblesse oblige (cf. the archangelic dignity in Milton, Paradise Lost, I think).

C2.47. The aristocratic theory (cf. modern English “nigger” theory, Anglo-Indian, etc.).

C3.3. Xenophon’s dramatic skill. We are made to feel the touch of something galling in the manner of these Median and Hyrcanian troopers.

C3.4. A ‘cute beginning rhetorically, because in the most graceful way possible, and without egotism versus Medes and Hyrcanians, it postulates the Persian superiority, moral, as against the accidental inferiority of the moment caused by want of cavalry and the dependence on others which that involves. I suppose it’s no reflection on Cyrus’ military acumen not to foreseen this need. It would have been premature then, now it organically grows; and there’s no great crisis to pass through.

C3.11. I should have thought this was a dangerous argument; obviously boys do learn better than men certain things.

C3.12. Short sharp snap of argumentative style.

C3.19. The antithetic balance and word-jingle, with an exquisite, puristic, precise, and delicate lisp, as of one tasting the flavour of his words throughout.

C3.23. I think one sees how Xenophon built up his ideal structure on a basis of actual living facts. The actual diverts the creator of Cyrus from the ideal at times, as here. It is a slight declension in the character of Cyrus to lay down this law, “equestrian once, equestrian always.” Xenophon has to account for the actual Persian horror of pedestrianism: Cyrus himself can dismount, and so can the Persian nobles with Cyrus the Younger, but still the rule is “never be seen walking;” and without the concluding paragraph the dramatic narrative that precedes would seem a little bit unfinished and pointless: with the explanation it floats, and we forgive “the archic man” his partiality to equestrianism, as later on we have to forgive him his Median get-up and artificiality generally, which again is contrary to the Xenophontine and the ideal Spartan spirit.

C4. Xenophon has this theory of mankind: some are fit to rule, the rest to be ruled. It is parallel to the Hellenic slavery theory. Some moderns, e.g. Carlyle (Ruskin perhaps) inherit it, and in lieu of Hellenic slavery we have a good many caste-distinction crotchets still left.

C4.13, fin. The first salaam, ominous of the advent of imperialism; the sun’s rim visible, and a ray shot up to the zenith.

C5. Here the question forces itself in the midst of all this “ironic” waiting on the part of the Persians in Spartan durance for a future apotheosis of splendour and luxuriance — what is the moral? “Hunger now and thirst, for ye shall be filled”— is that it? Well, anyhow it’s parallel to the modern popular Christianity, reward-inheaven theory, only on a less high level, but exactly the same logicality.

C5.6. A point, this reward to the catcher, and this rigid couvrefeu habit (cf. modern military law).

C5.8. A dramatic contrast, the Median Cyaxares who follows Pleasure, and the Persian Cyrus who follows Valour, vide Heracles’ choice [Memorabilia, II. i. 21]. This allegorising tendency is engrained in Xenophon: it is his view of life; one of the best things he got from Socrates, no doubt. Later (§ 12) the “ironic” suicidal self-assertion of Cyaxares is contrasted with the health-giving victorious self-repression of Cyrus.

C5.9-10. Xenophon can depict character splendidly: this is the crapulous {orge} of the somewhat “hybristic” nature, seeing how the land lies, siccis luminibus, the day after the premature revel. Theophrastus couldn’t better have depicted the irascible man. These earliest portraits of character are, according to Xenophon’s genius, all sketched in the concrete, as it were. The character is not philosophised and then illustrated by concrete instances after the manner of Theophrastus, but we see the man moving before us and are made aware of his nature at once.

C5.17. {kalos ka nomimos}, “in all honour, and according to the law,” almost a Xenophontine motto, and important in reference to the “questionable” conduct on his part in exile —“questionable” from a modern rather than an “antique” standard. [The chief reference is to Xenophon’s presence on the Spartan side at the battle of Coronea against his native city of Athens. See Sketch, Works, Vol. I. pp. cxxiii. ff.]

C5.20. The “archic man” does not recognise the littleness of soul of the inferior nature, he winks at it, and so disarms at once and triumphs over savagery, and this not through cunning and pride, but a kind of godlike imperturbable sympathy, as of a fearless man with a savage hound. Still there is a good dash of diplomacy.

C5.21, fin. Pretty sentence. Xenophon’s words: some of these are prettily-sounding words, some are rare and choice and exquisite, some are charged with feeling, you can’t touch them with your finger-tips without feeling an “affective” thrill. That is in part the goeteia, the witchery, of his style.

C5.30-31. A brilliant stroke of diplomacy worthy of the archic man. This {arkinoia} of the Hellene is the necessary sharp shrewdness of a brain, which, however “affectively” developed, is at bottom highly organised intellectually. H. S.[*] has it, all ‘cute people and nations have it, the Americans, e.g. — every proposition must, however else it presents itself, be apprehended in its logical bearings: the result may be logically damaging to the supporter of it, but does not necessarily banish an affective sympathetic attitude on the part of the common-sense antagonist, who is not bound, in other words, to be a sharp practitioner because he sees clearly. Affection is the inspirer, intellect the up-and-doing agent of the soul. The Hellenes and all ‘cute people put the agent to the fore in action, but if besides being ‘cute they are affective, the operations of the agent will be confined within prescribed limits.

[* “H. S.” = Henry Sidgwick, the philosopher, author of Methods of Ethics, etc., a life-long friend of Mr. Dakyns.]

C5.32. This is almost pummelling, but it’s fair: it’s rather, “See, I have you now in Chancery, I could pummel if I would.”

C5.37. These constant masters’ meetings!

C5.38 ff. The mind of Xenophon: guiding principles, rule of Health, rule of Forethought. Religious trust in the divine, and for things beyond man’s control; orderly masterly working out of problems within his power. Economic, diplomatic, anchinoetic, archic manhood. Moral theory, higher hedonism.

C5.45. The archic man trusts human nature: this appeal to their good faith is irresistible. The archic is also the diplomatic method.

C5.54. N.B. — Rhetorical artifice of winding-up a speech with a joke. This is the popular orator. Xenophon the prototype himself perhaps.

C6.3. Is this by chance a situation in Elizabethan or other drama? It’s tragic enough for anything.

C6.4. Admirable colloquial style: “well done, me!”

C6.6, fin. Beautifully-sounding sentence [in the Greek]. Like harp or viol with its dying mournful note.

C6.8. A new tributary for the archic man, and a foothold in the enemy’s country.

C6.9, fin. As to this daughter, vide infra. Who do you think will win her? We like her much already.

C6.11. The first flutings of this tale. The lady of Susa, quasi-historic, or wholly imaginative, or mixed?

Last updated Sunday, March 27, 2016 at 12:02