Cyropaedia, by Xenophon


[C.1] So they prayed to the gods and went to their place, and the squires brought food and drink to Cyrus and his staff as they stood round the sacrifice. And he took his breakfast where he stood, after making the due offering, sharing what he had with all who needed it, and he poured out the libation and prayed, and then drank, and his men with him.

Then he supplicated Zeus, the god of his fathers, to be his leader and helper in the fight, and so he mounted his horse and bade those about him follow. [2] All his squires were equipped as he was, with scarlet tunics, breastplates of bronze, and brazen helmets plumed with white, short swords, and a lance of cornel-wood apiece. Their horses had frontlets, chest-plates, and armour for their shoulders, all of bronze, and the shoulder-pieces served as leg-guards for the riders. In one thing only the arms of Cyrus differed from the rest: theirs was covered with a golden varnish and his flashed like a mirror. [3] As he sat on his steed, gazing into the distance, where he meant to go, a peal of thunder rang out on the right, and he cried, “We will follow thee, O Zeus most high!”

So he set forth with Chrysantas on his right at the head of cavalry and Arsamas on his left with infantry. [4] And the word went down the lines, “Eyes on the standard and steady marching.”

The standard was a golden eagle, with outspread wings, borne aloft on a long spear-shaft, and to this day such is the standard of the Persian king.

Before they came in full sight of the Assyrians Cyrus halted the army thrice. [5] And when they had gone about two miles or more, they began to see the enemy advancing. As soon as both armies were in full view of each other, and the Assyrians could see how much they outflanked the Persians on either side, Croesus halted, in order to prepare an encircling movement, and pushed out a column on the right wing and the left, so that the Persian forces might be attacked on every side at once.

[6] Cyrus saw it, but gave no sign of stopping; he led straight on as before. Meanwhile he noticed that the turning-point where the Assyrians had pushed out on either flank was an immense distance from their centre, and he said to Chrysantas:

“Do you see where they have fixed their angle?” “Yes, I do,” answered Chrysantas, “and I am surprised at it: it seems to me they are drawing their wings too far away from their centre.” “Just so,” said Cyrus, “and from ours too.” [7] “Why are they doing that?” asked the other. “Clearly,” said Cyrus, “they are afraid we shall attack, if their wings are in touch with us while their centre is still some way off.” “But,” went on Chrysantas, “how can they support each other at such a distance?” “Doubtless,” said Cyrus, “as soon as their wings are opposite our flanks, they will wheel round, and then advance at once on every side and so set us fighting everywhere at once.” [8] “Well,” said Chrysantas, “do you think the movement wise?” “Yes,” said Cyrus, “it is good enough in view of what they can see, but, in view of what they cannot, it is worse for them than if they had advanced in a single column. Do you,” he said, turning to Arsamas, “advance with your infantry, slowly, taking your pace from me, and do you, Chrysantas, march beside him with your cavalry, step for step. I will make for their angle myself, where I propose to join battle, first riding round the army to see how things are with all our men. [9] When I reach the point, and we are on the verge of action, I will raise the paean and then you must quicken your pace. You will know when we have closed with the enemy, the din will be loud enough. At the same moment Abradatas will dash out upon them: such will be his orders; your duty is to follow, keeping as close to the chariots as possible. Thus we shall fall on the enemy at the height of his confusion. And, God helping me, I shall be with you also, cutting my way through the rout by the quickest road I can.

[10] So he spoke, and sent the watchword down the lines, “Zeus our saviour, and Zeus our leader,” and went forward. As he passed between the chariots and the cuirassiers, he would say to some, “My men, the look on your faces rejoices my heart,” and to others, “You understand, gentlemen, that this battle is not for the victory of a day, but for all that we have won ere now, and for all our happiness to come.” [11] And to others, “My friends, we can never reproach the gods again: today they have put all blessings in our hands. [12] Let us show ourselves good men and true.” Or else, “Gentlemen, can we invite each other to a more glorious feast than this? This day all gallant hearts are bidden; this day they may feast their friends.” [13] Or again, “You know, I think, the prizes in this game: the victors pursue and smite and slay, and win wealth and fame and freedom and empire: the cowards lose them all. He who loves his own soul let him fight beside me: for I will have no disgrace.” [14] But if he met soldiers who had fought for him before, he only said, “To you, gentlemen, what need I say? You know the brave man’s part in battle, and the craven’s.” [15] And when he came to Abradatas, he halted, and Abradatas gave the reins to his charioteer and came up to him, and others gathered round from the infantry and the chariots, and Cyrus said:

“God has rewarded you, Abradatas, according to your prayer, you and yours. You hold the first rank among our friends. And you will not forget, when the moment for action comes, that those who watch you will be Persians, and those who follow you, and they will not let you bear the brunt alone.”

[16] And Abradatas answered:

“Even so, Cyrus; and with us here, methinks, all looks well enough: but the state of our flanks troubles me: the enemy’s wings are strong and stretch far: he has chariots there, and every kind of arm as well, while we have nothing else with which to oppose him. So that for myself,” said he, “if I had not won by lot the post I hold, I should feel ashamed to be here in the safest place of all.”

[17] “Nay,” answered Cyrus, “if it is well with you, have no concern for the rest. God willing, I mean to relieve our flanks. But you yourself, I conjure you, do not attack until you see the rout of those detachments that you fear.”

So much of boasting did Cyrus allow himself on the eve of action, though he was the last man to boast at other times.

“When you see them routed,” he said, “you may take it that I am there, and then make your rush, for that is the moment when you will find the enemy weakest and your own men strongest. [18] And while there is time, Abradatas, be sure to drive along your front and prepare your men for the charge, kindle their courage by your looks, lift up their hearts by your hopes. Breathe a spirit of emulation into them, to make them prove themselves the flower of the chariot-force. Be assured if things go well with us all men will say nothing is so profitable as valour.”

[19] Accordingly Abradatas mounted his chariot and drove along the lines to do as Cyrus bade.

Meanwhile Cyrus went on to the left where Hystaspas was posted with half the Persian cavalry, and he called to him and said:

“Hystaspas, here is work to test your pace! If we are quick enough in cutting off their heads, none of us will be slaughtered first.”

[20] And Hystaspas answered with a laugh:

“Leave it to us! We’ll see to the men opposite. But set some one to deal with the fellows on our flank: it would be a pity for them to be idle.”

And Cyrus answered, “I am going to them myself. But remember, Hystaspas, to which ever of us God grants the victory, so long as a single foeman is on the field, attack we must, again and again, until the last has yielded.”

[21] With that he passed on, and as he came to the flank he went up to the officer in command of the chariots and said to him:

“Good, I intend to support you myself. And when you hear me fall on the wing, at that instant do your best to charge straight through your opponents; you will be far safer once outside their ranks than if you are caught half-way.”

[22] Then he went on to the rear and the carriages, where the two detachments were stationed, a thousand horse and a thousand foot, and told Artagersas and Pharnouchus, their leaders, to keep the men where they were.

“But when,” he added, “you see me close with the enemy on our right, then set upon those in front of you: take them in flank, where they are weakest, while you advance in line, at your full strength. Their lines, as you see, are closed by cavalry; hurl your camels at these, and you may be sure, even before the fighting begins, they will cut a comic figure.”

[23] Thus, with all his dispositions made, Cyrus rode round the head of his right. By this time Croesus, believing that the centre, where he himself was marching, must be nearer the enemy than the distant wings, had the signal raised for them to stop their advance, halt, and wheel round where they were. When they were in position opposite the Persian force, he signalled for them to charge, and thus three columns came at once against Cyrus, one facing his front and one on either flank. [24] A tremor ran through the whole army; it was completely enclosed, like a little brick laid within a large, with the forces of the enemy all round it, on every side except the rear, cavalry and heavy infantry, targeteers, archers, and chariots. [25] None the less, the instant Cyrus gave the word they swung round to confront the foe. There was deep silence through the ranks as they realised what they had to face, and then Cyrus, when the moment came, began the battle-hymn and it thundered through the host. [26] And as it died away the war-cry rang out unto the God of Battles, and Cyrus swooped forward at the head of his cavalry, straight for the enemy’s flank, and closed with them then and there, while the infantry behind him followed, swift and steady, wave on wave, sweeping out on either side, far out-flanking their opponents, for they attacked in line and the foe were in column, to the great gain of Cyrus. A short struggle, and the ranks broke and fled before him headlong. [27] Artagersas, seeing that Cyrus had got to work, made his own charge on the left, hurling his camels forward as Cyrus had advised. Even at a distance the horses could not face the camels: they seemed to go mad with fear, and galloped off in terror, rearing and falling foul of one another: such is the strange effect of camels upon horses. [28] So that Artagersas, his own troops well in hand, had easy work with the enemy’s bewildered masses. At the same moment the war-chariots dashed in, right and left, so that many, flying from the chariots, were cut down by the troopers, and many, flying from these, were caught by the chariots. [29] And now Abradatas could wait no longer. “Follow me, my friends,” he shouted, and drove straight at the enemy, lashing his good steeds forward till their flanks were bloody with the goad, the other charioteers racing hard behind him. The enemy’s chariots fled before them instantly, some not even waiting to take up their fighting-men. [30] But Abradatas drove on through them, straight into the main body of the Egyptians, his rush shared by his comrades on either hand. And then, what has often been shown elsewhere was shown here, namely, that of all strong formations the strongest is a band of friends. His brothers-inarms and his mess-mates charged with him, but the others, when they saw that the solid ranks of the Egyptians stood firm, swung round and pursued the flying chariots. [31] Meanwhile Abradatas and his companions could make no further way: there was not a gap through the Egyptian lines on either hand, and they could but charge the single soldiers where they stood, overthrow them by the sheer weight of horse and car, and crush them and their arms beneath the hoofs and wheels. And where the scythes caught them, men and weapons were cut to shreds. [32] In the midst of indescribable confusion, the chariots rocking among the weltering mounds, Abradatas was thrown out and some of his comrades with him. There they stood, and fought like men, and there they were cut down and died. The Persians, pouring in after them, dealt slaughter and destruction where Abradatas and his men had charged and shaken the ranks, but elsewhere the Egyptians, who were still unscathed, and they were many, moved steadily on to meet them.

[33] There followed a desperate struggle with lance and spear and sword, and still the Egyptians had the advantage, because of their numbers and their weapons. Their spears were immensely stout and long, such as they carry to this day, and the huge shield not only gave more protection than corslet and buckler, but aided the thrust of the fighter, slung as it was from the shoulder.

[34] Shield locked into shield, they thrust their way forward; and the Persians could not drive them back, with their light bucklers borne on the forearm only. Step by step they gave ground, dealing blow for blow, till they came under cover of their own artillery. Then at last a second shower of blows fell on the Egyptians, while the reserves would allow no flight of the archers or the javelin-men: at the sword’s point they made them do their duty. [35] Thick was the slaughter, and loud the din of clashing weapons and whirring darts, and shouting warriors, cheering each other and calling on the gods.

[36] At this moment Cyrus appeared, cutting his way through his own opponents. To see the Persians thrust from their position was misery to him, but he knew he could check the enemy’s advance most quickly by galloping round to their rear, and thither he dashed, bidding his troops follow, and there they fell upon them and smote them as they were gazing ahead, and there they mowed them down.

[37] The Egyptians, seeing what had happened, cried out that the enemy had taken them in the rear, and wheeled round under a storm of blows. At this the confusion reached its height, cavalry and infantry struggling all together. An Egyptian fell under Cyrus’ horse, and as the hoofs struck him he stabbed the creature in the belly. The charger reared at the blow and Cyrus was thrown. [38] Then was seen what it is for a leader to be loved by his men. With a terrible cry the men dashed forward, conquering thrust with thrust and blow with blow. One of his squires leapt down and set Cyrus on his own charger. [39] And as Cyrus sprang on the horse he saw the Egyptians worsted everywhere. For by now Hystaspas was on the ground with his cavalry, and Chrysantas also. Still Cyrus would not allow them to charge the Egyptian phalanx: the archers and javelin-men were to play on them from outside. Then he made his way along the lines to the artillery, and there he mounted one of the towers to take a survey of the field, and see if any of the foe still held their ground and kept up the fight. [40] But he saw the plain one chaos of flying horses and men and chariots, pursuers and pursued, conquerors and conquered, and nowhere any who still stood firm, save only the Egyptians. These, in sore straits as they were, formed themselves into a circle behind a ring of steel, and sat down under cover of their enormous shields. They no longer attempted to act, but they suffered, and suffered heavily. [41] Cyrus, in admiration and pity, unwilling that men so brave should be done to death, drew off his soldiers who were fighting round them, and would not let another man lift sword.

Then he sent them a herald asking if they wished to be cut to pieces for the sake of those who had betrayed them, or save their lives and keep their reputation for gallantry? And they answered, “Is it possible that we can be saved and yet keep our reputation untarnished?” [42] And Cyrus said, “Surely yes, for we ourselves have seen that you alone have held your ground and been ready to fight.” “But even so,” said the Egyptians, “how can we act in honour if we save ourselves?”

“By betraying none of those at whose side you fought,” answered Cyrus: “only surrender your arms to us, and become our friends, the friends of men who chose to save you when they might have destroyed you.” [43] “And if we become your friends,” said they, “how will you treat us?” “As you treat us,” answered he, “and the treatment shall be good.”

“And what will that good treatment be?” they asked once more. “This,” said Cyrus: “better pay than you have had, so long as the war lasts, and when peace comes, if you choose to stay with me, lands and cities and women and servants.” [44] Then they asked him if he would excuse them from one duty, service against Croesus. Croesus, they said, was the only leader who knew them; for the rest, they were content to agree. And so they came to terms, and took and gave pledges of good faith. [45] Thus it came about that their descendants are to this day faithful subjects of the king, and Cyrus gave them cities, some in the interior, which are still called the cities of the Egyptians, beside Larissa and Kyllene and Kyme on the coast, still held by their descendants.

When this matter was arranged darkness had already fallen, and Cyrus drew off his army and encamped at Thymbrara.

[46] In this engagement the Egyptians alone among the enemy won themselves renown, and of the troops under Cyrus the Persian cavalry was held to have done the best, so much so that to this day they are still armed in the manner that Cyrus devised. [47] High praise also was given to the scythe-bearing chariots, and this engine of war is still employed by the reigning king. [48] As for the camels, all they did was to scare the horses; their riders could take no part in the slaughter, and were never touched themselves by the enemy’s cavalry. For not a horse would come near the camels. [49] It was a useful arm, certainly, but no gallant gentleman would dream of breeding camels for his own use or learning to fight on camel-back. And so they returned to their old position among the baggage-train.

[C.2] Then Cyrus and his men took their evening meal and posted their pickets and went to rest. But Croesus and his army fled in haste to Sardis, and the other tribes hurried away homewards under cover of night as fast and as far as they could. [2] When day broke Cyrus marched straight for Sardis, and when he came before the citadel he set up his engines as though for the assault and got out his ladders. But the following night he sent a scaling party of Persians and Chaldaeans to climb the fortifications at the steepest point. The guide was a Persian who had served as a slave to one of the garrison in the citadel, and who knew a way down to the river by which one could get up. [4] As soon as it became clear that the heights had been taken, all the Lydians without exception fled from the walls and hid wherever they could. At daybreak Cyrus entered the city and gave orders that not a man was to leave the ranks. [5] Croesus, who had shut himself up inside his palace, cried out on Cyrus, and Cyrus left a guard round the building while he himself went to inspect the captured citadel. Here he found the Persians keeping guard in perfect order, but the Chaldaean quarters were deserted, for the men had rushed down to pillage the town. Immediately he summoned their officers, and bade them leave his army at once. [6] “I could never endure,” he said, “to have undisciplined fellows seizing the best of everything. You know well enough,” he added, “all that was in store for you. I meant to make all who served with me the envy of their fellows; but now,” he said, “you cannot be surprised if you encounter some one stronger than yourselves on your way home.”

[7] Fear fell on the Chaldaeans at this, and they intreated him to lay aside his anger and vowed they would give back all the booty they had taken. He answered that he had no need of it himself. “But if,” he added, “you wish to appease me, you will hand it over to those who stayed and guarded the citadel. For if my soldiers see that discipline means reward, all will be well with us.”

[8] So the Chaldaeans did as he bade them, and the faithful and obedient received all manner of good things.

Then Cyrus made his troops encamp in the most convenient quarter of the town, and told them to stay at their posts and take their breakfast there. [9] That done, he gave orders that Croesus should be brought to him, and when he came into his presence, Croesus cried:

“Hail, Cyrus, my lord and master! Fate has given you that title from now henceforward, and thus must I salute you.”

[20] “All hail to you likewise,” answered Cyrus: “we are both of us men. And tell me now,” he continued, “would you be more willing to advise me as a friend?” “I should be more than glad,” said Croesus, “to do you any good. It would mean good for myself, I know.” [11] “Listen, then,” answered Cyrus: “I see that my soldiers have endured much toil and encountered many dangers, and now they are persuaded that they have taken the wealthiest city in all Asia, after Babylon. I would not have them cheated of their recompense, seeing that if they win nothing by their labour, I know not how I can keep them obedient to me for long. Yet I am unwilling to give them this city over to plunder. I believe it would be utterly destroyed, and moreover I know full well that in plunder the worst villains win the most.”

[12] To this Croesus answered, “Suffer me then to tell what Lydians I please that I have won your promise that the city shall not be sacked, nor their women and children made away with. [13] I promise you in return that my men will bring you willingly everything that is costly and beautiful in Sardis. If I can announce such terms, I am certain there is not one treasure belonging to man or woman that will not be yours tomorrow. Further, on this day year, the city will overflow once more with wealth and beauty. But if you sack it, you will destroy the crafts in its ruin, and they, we know, are the well-spring of all loveliness. [14] Howbeit, you need not decide at once, wait and see what is brought to you. Send first,” he added, “to my own treasuries, and let your guards take some of my own men with them.”

To all this Cyrus consented, and then he said:

[15] “And now, O Croesus, tell me one thing more. How did matters go between you and the oracle at Delphi? It is said that you did much reverence to Apollo and obeyed him in all things.”

[16] “I could wish it had been so,” said Croesus, “but, truth to say, from the beginning I have acted in all things against him.” “How can that be?” said Cyrus. “Explain it to me: for your words seem strange indeed.” [17] “Because,” he answered, “in the first place, instead of asking the god for all I wanted I must needs put him to the test, to see if he could speak the truth. This,” he added, “no man of honour could endure, let be the godhead. Those who are doubted cannot love their doubters. [18] And yet he stood the test; for though the things I did were strange, and I was many leagues from Delphi, he knew them all. And so I resolved to consult him about my children. [19] At first he would not so much as answer me, but I sent him many an offering, some of gold and some of silver, and I propitiated him, as I deemed, by countless sacrifices, and at last he answered me when I asked him what I must do that sons might be born to me. He said they should be born. [20] And so they were; in that he uttered no lie, but they brought me no joy. One of them was dumb his whole life long, and the noblest perished in the flower of his youth. And I, crushed by these sorrows, sent again to the god and asked him how I could live in happiness for the rest of my days, and he answered:

“‘Know thyself, O Croesus, and happiness shall be thine.’

“And when I heard the oracle, I was comforted. [21] I said to myself, the god has laid the lightest of tasks upon me, and promised me happiness in return. Some of his neighbours a man may know and others not: but every one can know himself. [22] So I thought, and in truth so long as I was at peace I had no fault to find with my lot after my son’s death; but when the Assyrian persuaded me to march against you I encountered every danger. Yet I was saved, I came to no harm. Once again, therefore, I have no charge to bring against the god: when I knew myself incapable of warring against you, he came to my help and saved mine and me. [23] But afterwards, intoxicated by my wealth, cajoled by those who begged me to be their leader, tempted by the gifts they showered on me, flattered by all who said that if I would but lead them they would obey me to a man, and that I would be the greatest ruler in all the world, and that all their kings had met together and chosen me for their champion in the war, I undertook the generalship as though I were born to be the monarch of the world, for I did not know myself. [24] I thought myself able to fight against you, you who are sprung from the seed of the gods, born of a royal line, trained in valour and virtue from your youth, while I— I believe that the first of my ancestors to reign won his freedom and his crown on the self-same day. For this dull ignorance of mine I see I am justly punished. [25] But now at last, O Cyrus,” he cried, “now I know myself. And tell me, do you think the god will still speak truth? Do you think that, knowing myself, I can be happy now? I ask you, because you of all men have it in your power to answer best. Happiness is yours to give.”

[26] Cyrus answered, “Give me time to deliberate, Croesus. I bear in mind your former happiness and I pity you. I give you back at once your wife and your daughters (for they tell me you have daughters), and your friends and your attendants; they are yours once more. And yours it is to sit at your own table as you used to live. But battles and wars I must put out of your power.”

[27] “Now by the gods above us,” cried Croesus, “you need take no further thought about your answer: if you will do for me what you say, I shall live the life that all men called the happiest of lives, and I knew that they were right.” [28] “And who,” said Cyrus, “who was it that lived that life of happiness?” “My own wife,” said Croesus; “she shared all my good things with me, my luxuries, my softest joys; but in the cares on which those joys were based, in war and battle and strife, she had no part or lot. Methinks, you will provide for me as I provided for her whom I loved beyond all others in the world, and I must needs send to Apollo again, and send thank-offerings.”

[29] And as Cyrus listened he marvelled at the man’s contentedness of soul, and for the future wherever he went he took Croesus with him, either because he thought he might be useful or perhaps because he felt it was safer so.

[C.3] So for that night they rested. But the next day Cyrus called his friends and generals together and told some to make an inventory of their treasures and others to receive all the wealth that Croesus brought in. First they were to set aside for the gods all that the Persian priests thought fit, and then store the rest in coffers, weight them, and pack them on waggons, distributing the waggons by lot to take with them on the march, so that they could receive their proper share at any convenient time. [2] So they set about the work.

Then Cyrus called some of his squires and said:

“Tell me, have any of you seen Abradatas? I wonder that he who used to come to me so often is nowhere to be found.”

[3] Then one of the squires made answer, “My lord, he is dead: he fell in the battle, charging straight into the Egyptian ranks: the rest, all but his own companions, swerved before their close array. [4] And now,” he added, “we hear that his wife has found his body and laid it in her own car, and has brought it here to the banks of the Pactolus. [5] Her chamberlains and her attendants are digging a grave for the dead man upon a hill, and she, they say, has put her fairest raiment on him and her jewels, and she is seated on the ground with his head upon her knees.”

[6] Then Cyrus smote his hand upon his thigh and leapt up and sprang to horse, galloping to the place of sorrow, with a thousand troopers at his back. [7] He bade Gadatas and Gobryas take what jewels they could find to honour the dear friend and brave warrior who had fallen, and follow with all speed: and he bade the keepers of the herds, the cattle, and the horses drive up their flocks wherever they heard he was, that he might sacrifice on the grave.

[8] But when he saw Pantheia seated on the ground and the dead man lying there, the tears ran down his cheeks and he cried:

“O noble and loyal spirit, have you gone from us?”

Then he took the dead man by the hand, but the hand came away with his own: it had been hacked by an Egyptian blade. [9] And when he saw that, his sorrow grew, and Pantheia sobbed aloud and took the hand from Cyrus and kissed it and laid it in its place, as best she could, and said:

[10] “It is all like that, Cyrus. But why should you see it?” And presently she said, “All this, I know, he suffered for my sake, and for yours too, Cyrus, perhaps as much. I was a fool: I urged him so to bear himself as became a faithful friend of yours, and he, I know, he never thought once of his own safety, but only of what he might do to show his gratitude. Now he has fallen, without a stain upon his valour: and I, who urged him, I live on to sit beside his grave.”

[11] And Cyrus wept silently for a while, and then he said:

“Lady, his end was the noblest and the fairest that could be: he died in the hour of victory. Take these gifts that I have brought and adorn him.”

For now Gobryas and Gadatas appeared with store of jewels and rich apparel. “He shall not lack for honour,” Cyrus said; “many hands will raise his monument: it shall be a royal one; and we will offer such sacrifice as befits a hero. [12] And you, lady,” he added, “you shall not be left desolate. I reverence your chastity and your nobleness, and I will give you a guardian to lead you withersoever you choose, if you will but tell me to whom you wish to go.”

[13] And Pantheia answered:

“Be at rest, Cyrus, I will not hide from you to whom I long to go.”

[14] Therewith Cyrus took his leave of her and went, pitying from his heart the woman who had lost so brave a husband, and the dead man in his grave, taken from so sweet a wife, never to see her more. Then Pantheia bade her chamberlains stand aside “until,” she said, “I have wept over him as I would.” But she made her nurse stay with her and she said:

“Nurse, when I am dead, cover us with the same cloak.” And the nurse entreated and besought her, but she could not move her, and when she saw that she did but vex her mistress, she sat down and wept in silence. Then Pantheia took the scimitar, that had been ready for her so long, and drew it across her throat, and dropped her head upon her husband’s breast and died. And the nurse cried bitterly, but she covered the two with one cloak as her mistress had bidden her.

[15] And when Cyrus heard what Pantheia had done he rushed out in horror to see if he could save her. And when the three chamberlains saw what had happened they drew their own scimitars and killed themselves, there where she had bidden them stand. [16, 17] And when Cyrus came to that place of sorrow, he looked with wonder and reverence on the woman, and wept for her and went his way and saw that all due honour was paid to those who lay there dead, and a mighty sepulchre was raised above them, mightier, men say, than had been seen in all the world before.

[C.4] After this the Carians, who were always at war and strife with one another, because their dwellings were fortified, sent to Cyrus and asked for aid. Cyrus himself was unwilling to leave Sardis, where he was having engines of artillery made and battering-rams to overthrow the walls of those who would not listen to him. But he sent Adousius, a Persian, in his place, a man of sound judgment and a stout soldier and withal a person of winning presence. He gave him an army; and the Cilicians and Cypriotes were very ready to serve under him. [2] That was why Cyrus never sent a Persian satrap to govern either Cilicia or Cyprus; he was always satisfied with the native kings; only he exacted tribute and levied troops whenever he needed them.

[3] So Adousius took his army and marched into Caria, where he was met by the men of both parties, ready to receive him inside their walls to the detriment of their opponents. Adousius treated each in exactly the same way, he told whichever side was pleading that he thought their case was just, but it was essential that the others should not realise he was their friend, “for thus, you perceive, I will take them unprepared whenever I attack.”

He insisted they should give him pledges of good faith, and the Carians had to swear they would receive him without fraud or guile within their walls and for the welfare of Cyrus and the Persians; and on his side he was willing to swear that he would enter without fraud or guile himself and for the welfare of those who received him. [4] Having imposed these terms on either party without the knowledge of the other, he fixed on the same night with both, entered the walls, and had the strongholds of both parties in his hands. At break of day he took his place in the midst with his army, and sent for the leading men on either side. Thus confronted with each other they were more than a little vexed, and both imagined they had been cheated. [5] However, Adousius began:

“Gentlemen, I took an oath to you that I would enter your walls without fraud or guile and for the welfare of those who received me. Now if I am forced to destroy either of you, I am persuaded I shall have entered to the detriment of the Carians. But if I give you peace, so that you can till your lands in safety, I imagine I shall have come for your welfare. Therefore from this day forwards you must meet on friendly terms, cultivate your fields without fear, give your children to each other, and if any one offends against these laws, Cyrus and ourselves will be his enemies.”

[6] At that the city gates were flung wide open, the roads were filled with folk hurrying to one another, the fields were thronged with labourers. They held high festival together, and the land was full of peace and joyfulness.

[7] Meanwhile messengers came from Cyrus inquiring whether there was need for more troops or siege-engines, but Adousius answered, on the contrary his present force was at Cyrus’ service to employ elsewhere if he wished, and so drew off his army, only leaving a garrison in the citadels. Thereupon the Carians implored him to remain, and when he would not, they sent to Cyrus begging him to make Adousius their satrap.

[8] Meanwhile Cyrus had sent Hystaspas with an army into Phrygia on the Hellespont, and when Adousius came back he bade him follow, for the Phrygians would be more willing to obey Hystaspas if they heard that another army was advancing.

[9] Now the Hellenes on the seaboard offered many gifts and bargained not to receive the Asiatics within their walls, but only to pay tribute and serve wherever Cyrus commanded. [10] But the king of Phrygia made preparations to hold his fortresses and not yield, and sent out orders to that effect. However, when his lieutenants deserted him and he found himself all alone, he had to put himself in the hands of Hystaspas, and leave his fate to the judgment of Cyrus. Then Hystaspas stationed strong Persian garrisons in all the citadels, and departed, taking with him not only his own troops but many mounted men and targeteers from Phrygia. [11] And Cyrus sent word to Adousius to join Hystaspas, put himself at the head of those who had submitted and allow them to retain their arms, while those who showed a disposition to resist were to be deprived of their horses and their weapons and made to follow the army as slingers.

[12] While his lieutenants were thus employed, Cyrus set out from Sardis, leaving a large force of infantry to garrison the place, and taking Croesus with him, and a long train of waggons laden with riches of every kind. Croesus presented an accurate inventory of everything in each waggon, and said, as he delivered the scrolls:

“With these in your possession, Cyrus, you can tell whether your officers are handing over their freights in full or not.”

[13] And Cyrus answered:

“It was kindly done, Croesus, on your part, to take thought for this: but I have arranged that the freights should be in charge of those who are entitled to them, so that if the men steal, they steal their own property.”

With these words he handed the documents to his friends and officers to serve as checks on their own stewards.

[14] Cyrus also took Lydians in his train; allowing some to carry arms, those, namely, who were at pains to keep their weapons in good order, and their horses and chariots, and who did their best to please him, but if they gave themselves ungracious airs, he took away their horses and bestowed them on the Persians who had served him from the beginning of the campaign, burnt their weapons, and forced them to follow the army as slingers. [15] Indeed, as a rule, he compelled all the subject population who had been disarmed to practise the use of the sling: it was, he considered, a weapon for slaves. No doubt there are occasions when a body of slingers, working with other detachments, can do excellent service, but, taken alone, not all the slingers in the world could face a mere handful armed with steel.

[16] Cyrus was marching to Babylon, but on his way he subdued the Phrygians of Greater Phrygia and the Cappadocians, and reduced the Arabians to subjection. These successes enabled him to increase his Persian cavalry till it was not far short of forty thousand men, and he had still horses left over to distribute among his allies at large.

At length he came before Babylon with an immense body of cavalry, archers, and javelin-men, beside slingers innumerable.

[C.5] When Cyrus reached the city he surrounded it entirely with his forces, and then rode round the walls himself, attended by his friends and the leading officers of the allies. [2] Having surveyed the fortifications, he prepared to lead off his troops, and at that moment a deserter came to inform him that the Assyrians intended to attack as soon as he began to withdraw, for they had inspected his forces from the walls and considered them very weak. This was not surprising, for the circuit of the city was so enormous that it was impossible to surround it without seriously thinning the lines. [3] When Cyrus heard of their intention, he took up his post in the centre of his troops with his own staff round him and sent orders to the infantry for the wings to double back on either side, marching past the stationary centre of the line, until they met in the rear exactly opposite himself. [4] Thus the men in front were immediately encouraged by the doubling of their depth, and those who retired were equally cheered, for they saw that the others would encounter the enemy first. The two wings being united, the power of the whole force was strengthened, those behind being protected by those in front and those in front supported by those behind. [5] When the phalanx was thus folded back on itself, both the front and the rear ranks were formed of picked men, a disposition that seemed calculated to encourage valour and check flight. On the flanks, the cavalry and the light infantry were drawn nearer and nearer to the commander as the line contracted. [6] When the whole phalanx was in close order, they fell back from the walls, slowly, facing the foe, until they were out of range; then they turned, marched a few paces, and then wheeled round again to the left, and halted, facing the walls, but the further they got the less often they paused, until, feeling themselves secure, they quickened their pace and went off in an uninterrupted march until they reached their quarters.

[7] When they were encamped, Cyrus called a council of his officers and said, “My friends and allies, we have surveyed the city on every side, and for my part I fail to see any possibility of taking by assault walls so lofty and so strong: on the other hand, the greater the population the more quickly must they yield to hunger, unless they come out to fight. If none of you have any other scheme to suggest, I propose that we reduce them by blockade.”

[8] Then Chrysantas spoke:

“Does not the river flow through the middle of the city, and it is not at least a quarter of a mile in width?”

“To be sure it is,” answered Gobryas, “and so deep that the water would cover two men, one standing on the other’s shoulders; in fact the city is even better protected by its river than by its walls.”

[9] At which Cyrus said, “Well, Chrysantas, we must forego what is beyond our power: but let us measure off at once the work for each of us, set to, and dig a trench as wide and as deep as we can, that we may need as few guards as possible.”

[10] Thereupon Cyrus took his measurements all round the city, and, leaving a space on either bank of the river large enough for a lofty tower, he had a gigantic trench dug from end to end of the wall, his men heaping up the earth on their own side. [11] Then he set to work to build his towers by the river. The foundations were of palm-trees, a hundred feet long and more — the palm-tree grows to a greater height than that, and under pressure it will curve upwards like the spine of an ass beneath a load. [12] He laid these foundations in order to give the impression that he meant to besiege the town, and was taking precautions so that the river, even if it found its way into his trench, should not carry off his towers. Then he had other towers built along the mound, so as to have as many guard-posts as possible. [13] Thus his army was employed, but the men within the walls laughed at his preparations, knowing they had supplies to last them more than twenty years. When Cyrus heard that, he divided his army into twelve, each division to keep guard for one month in the year. [14] At this the Babylonians laughed louder still, greatly pleased at the idea of being guarded by Phrygians and Lydians and Arabians and Cappadocians, all of whom, they thought, would be more friendly to themselves than to the Persians.

[15] However by this time the trenches were dug. And Cyrus heard that it was a time of high festival in Babylon when the citizens drink and make merry the whole night long. As soon as the darkness fell, he set his men to work. [16] The mouths of the trenches were opened, and during the night the water poured in, so that the river-bed formed a highway into the heart of the town.

[17] When the great stream had taken to its new channel, Cyrus ordered his Persian officers to bring up their thousands, horse and foot alike, each detachment drawn up two deep, the allies to follow in their old order. [18] They lined up immediately, and Cyrus made his own bodyguard descend into the dry channel first, to see if the bottom was firm enough for marching. [19] When they said it was, he called a council of all his generals and spoke as follows:

[20] “My friends, the river has stepped aside for us; he offers us a passage by his own high-road into Babylon. We must take heart and enter fearlessly, remembering that those against whom we are to march this night are the very men we have conquered before, and that too when they had their allies to help them, when they were awake, alert, and sober, armed to the teeth, and in their battle order. [21] To-night we go against them when some are asleep and some are drunk, and all are unprepared: and when they learn that we are within the walls, sheer astonishment will make them still more helpless than before. [22] If any of you are troubled by the thought of volleys from the roofs when the army enters the city, I bid you lay these fears aside: if our enemies do climb their roofs we have a god to help us, the god of Fire. Their porches are easily set aflame, for the doors are made of palm-wood and varnished with bitumen, the very food of fire. [23] And we shall come with the pine-torch to kindle it, and with pitch and tow to feed it. They will be forced to flee from their homes or be burnt to death. [24] Come, take your swords in your hand: God helping me, I will lead you on. Do you,” he said, turning to Gadatas and Gobryas, “show us the streets, you know them; and once we are inside, lead us straight to the palace.”

[25] “So we will,” said Gobryas and his men, “and it would not surprise us to find the palace-gates unbarred, for this night the whole city is given over to revelry. Still, we are sure to find a guard, for one is always stationed there.”

“Then,” said Cyrus, “there is no time for lingering; we must be off at once and take them unprepared.”

[26] Thereupon they entered: and of those they met some were struck down and slain, and others fled into their houses, and some raised the hue and cry, but Gobryas and his friends covered the cry with their shouts, as though they were revellers themselves. And thus, making their way by the quickest route, they soon found themselves before the king’s palace. [27] Here the detachment under Gobryas and Gadatas found the gates closed, but the men appointed to attack the guards rushed on them as they lay drinking round a blazing fire, and closed with them then and there. [28] As the din grew louder and louder, those within became aware of the tumult, till, the king bidding them see what it meant, some of them opened the gates and ran out. [29] Gadatas and his men, seeing the gates swing wide, darted in, hard on the heels of the others who fled back again, and they chased them at the sword’s point into the presence of the king.

[30] They found him on his feet, with his drawn scimitar in his hand. By sheer weight of numbers they overwhelmed him: and not one of his retinue escaped, they were all cut down, some flying, others snatching up anything to serve as a shield and defending themselves as best they could. [31] Cyrus sent squadrons of cavalry down the different roads with orders to kill all they found in the street, while those who knew Assyrian were to warn the inhabitants to stay indoors under pain of death. [32] While they carried out these orders, Gobryas and Gadatas returned, and first they gave thanks to the gods and did obeisance because they had been suffered to take vengeance on their unrighteous king, and then they fell to kissing the hands and feet of Cyrus, shedding tears of joy and gratitude. [33] And when it was day and those who held the heights knew that the city was taken and the king slain, they were persuaded to surrender the citadel themselves. [34] Cyrus took it over forthwith, and sent in a commandant and a garrison, while he delivered the bodies of the fallen to their kinsfolk for burial, and bade his heralds make proclamation that all the citizens must deliver up their arms: wherever weapons were discovered in any house all the inmates would be put to death. So the arms were surrendered, and Cyrus had them placed in the citadel for use in case of need. [35] When all was done he summoned the Persian priests and told them the city was the captive of his spear and bade them set aside the first-fruits of the booty as an offering to the gods and mark out land for sacred demesnes. Then he distributed the houses and the public buildings to those whom he counted his partners in the exploit; and the distribution was on the principle accepted, the best prizes to the bravest men: and if any thought they had not received their deserts they were invited to come and tell him. [36] At the same time he issued a proclamation to the Babylonians, bidding them till the soil and pay the dues and render willing service to those under whose rule they were placed. As for his partners the Persians, and such of his allies as elected to remain with him, he gave them to understand they were to treat as subjects the captives they received.

[37] After this Cyrus felt that the time was come to assume the style and manner that became a king: and he wished this to be done with the goodwill and concurrence of his friends and in such a way that, without seeming ungracious, he might appear but seldom in public and always with a certain majesty. Therefore he devised the following scheme. At break of day he took his station at some convenient place, and received all who desired speech with him, and then dismissed them. [38] The people, when they heard that he gave audience, thronged to him in multitudes, and in the struggle to gain access there was much jostling and scheming and no little fighting. [39] His attendants did their best to divide the suitors, and introduce them in some order, and whenever any of his personal friends appeared, thrusting their way through the crowd, Cyrus would stretch out his hand and draw them to his side and say, “Wait, my friends, until we have finished with this crowd, and then we can talk at our ease.” So his friends would wait, but the multitude would pour on, growing greater and greater, until the evening would fall before there had been a moment’s leisure for his friends. [40] All that Cyrus could do then was to say, “Perhaps, gentlemen, it is a little late this evening and time that we broke up. Be sure to come early tomorrow. I am very anxious myself to speak with you.” With that his friends were only too glad to be dismissed, and made off without more ado. They had done penance enough, fasting and waiting and standing all day long. [41] So they would get to rest at last, but the next morning Cyrus was at the same spot and a much greater concourse of suitors round him than before, already assembled long before his friends arrived. Accordingly Cyrus had a cordon of Persian lancers stationed round him, and gave out that no one except his personal friends and the generals were to be allowed access, and as soon as they were admitted he said:

[42] “My friends, we cannot exclaim against the gods as though they had failed to fulfil our prayers. They have granted all we asked. But if success means that a man must forfeit his own leisure and the good company of all his friends, why, to that kind of happiness I would rather bid farewell. [43] Yesterday,” he added, “I make no doubt you observed yourselves that from early dawn till late evening I never ceased listening to petitioners, and today you see this crowd before us, larger still than yesterday’s, ready with business for me. [44] If this must be submitted to, I calculate that what you will get of me and I of you will be little enough, and what I shall get of myself will simply be nothing at all. Further,” he added, “I foresee another absurd consequence. [45] I, personally, have a feeling towards you which I need not state, but, of that audience yonder, scarcely one of them do I know at all, and yet they are all prepared to thrust themselves in front of you, transact their business, and get what they want out of me before any of you have a chance. I should have thought it more suitable myself that men of that class, if they wanted anything from me, should pay some court to you, my friends, in the hopes of an introduction. [46] Perhaps you will ask why I did not so arrange matters from the first, instead of always appearing in public. Because in war it is the first business of a commander not to be behindhand in knowing what ought to be done and seeing that it is done, and the general who is seldom seen is apt to let things slip. [47] But today, when war with its insatiable demands is over, I feel as if I had some claim myself to rest and refreshment. I am in some perplexity, however, as to how I can arrange matters so that all goes well, not only with you and me, but also with those whom we are bound to care for. Therefore I seek your advice and counsel, and I would be glad to learn from any of you the happiest solution.”

[48] Cyrus paused, and up rose Artabazus the Mede, who had claimed to be his kinsman, and said:

“You did well, Cyrus, to open this matter. Years ago, when you were still a boy, from the very first I longed to be your friend, but I saw you did not need me, and so I shrank from approaching you. [49] Then came a lucky moment when you did have need of me to be your good messenger among the Medes with the order from Cyaxares, and I said to myself that if I did the work well, if I really helped you, I might become your comrade and have the right to talk with you as often as I wished. [50] Well, the work was done, and done so as to win your praise. After that the Hyrcanians joined us, the first friends we made, when we were hungry and thirsty for allies, and we loved them so much we almost carried them about with us in our arms wherever we went. Then the enemy’s camp was taken, and I scarcely think you had the leisure to trouble your head with me — oh, I quite forgave you. [51] The next thing was that Gobryas became your friend, and I had to take my leave, and after him Gadatas, and by that time it was a real task to get hold of you. Then came the alliances with the Sakians, and the Cadousians, and no doubt you had to pay them court; if they danced attendance on you, you must dance attendance on them. [52] So that there I was, back again at my starting-point, and yet all the while, as I saw you busy with horses and chariots and artillery, I consoled myself by thinking, ‘when he is done with this he will have a little leisure for me.’ And then came the terrible news that the whole world was gathering in arms against us; I could not deny that these were important matters, but still I felt certain, if all went well, a time would come at last when you need not grudge me your company, and we should be together to my heart’s content, you and I. [53] Now, the day has come; we have conquered in the great battle; we have taken Sardis and Babylon; the world is at our feet, and yesterday, by Mithras! unless I had used my fists a hundred times, I swear I could never have got near you at all. Well, you grasped my hand and gave me greeting, and bade me wait beside you, and there I waited, the cynosure of every eye, the envy of every man, standing there all day long, without a scrap to eat or a drop to drink. [54] So now, if any way can be found by which we who have served you longest can get the most of you, well and good: but, if not, pray send me as your messenger once more, and this time I will tell them they can all leave you, except those who were your friends of old.”

[55] This appeal set them all laughing, Cyrus with the rest. Then Chrysantas the Persian stood up and spoke as follows:

“Formerly, Cyrus, it was natural and right that you should appear in public, for the reasons you have given us yourself, and also because we were not the folk you had to pay your court to. We did not need inviting: we were with you for our own sakes. It was necessary to win over the masses by every means, if they were to share our toils and our dangers willingly. [56] But now you have won them, and not them alone; you have it in your power to gain others, and the moment has come when you ought to have a house to yourself. What would your empire profit you if you alone were left without hearth or home? Man has nothing more sacred than his home, nothing sweeter, nothing more truly his. And do you not think,” he added, “that we ourselves would be ashamed if we saw you bearing the hardships of the camp while we sat at home by our own firesides? Should we not feel we had done you wrong, and taken advantage of you?”

[57] When Chrysantas had spoken thus, many others followed him, and all to the same effect. And so it came about that Cyrus entered the palace, and those in charge brought the treasures from Sardis thither, and handed them over. And Cyrus when he entered sacrificed to Hestia, the goddess of the Hearth, and to Zeus the Lord, and to any other gods named by the Persian priests.

[58] This done, he set himself to regulate the matters that remained. Thinking over his position, and the attempt he was making to govern an enormous multitude, preparing at the same time to take up his abode in the greatest of all famous cities, but yet a city that was as hostile to him as a city could be, pondering all this, he concluded that he could not dispense with a bodyguard for himself. [59] He knew well enough that a man can most easily be assassinated at his meals, or in his bath, or in bed, or when he is asleep, and he asked himself who were most to be trusted of those he had about him. A man, he believed, can never be loyal or trustworthy who is likely to love another more than the one who requires his guardianship. [60] He knew that men with children, or wives, or favourites in whom they delight, must needs love them most: while eunuchs, who are deprived of all such dear ones, would surely make most account of him who could enrich them, or help them if they were injured, or crown them with honour. And in the conferring of such benefits he was disposed to think he could outbid the world. [61] Moreover the eunuch, being degraded in the eyes of other men, is driven to seek the assistance of some lord and master. Without some such protection there is not a man in the world who would not think he had the right to over-reach a eunuch: while there was every reason to suppose that the eunuch would be the most faithful of all servants. [62] As for the customary notion that the eunuch must be weak and cowardly, Cyrus was not disposed to accept it. He studied the indications to be observed in animals: a vicious horse, if gelded, will cease to bite and be restive, but he will charge as gallantly as ever; a bull that has been cut will become less fierce and less intractable, but he will not lose his strength, he will be as good as ever for work; castration may cure a dog of deserting his master, but it will not ruin him as a watch-dog or spoil him for the chase. [63] So, too, with men; when cut off from this passion, they become gentler, no doubt, but not less quick to obey, not less daring as horsemen, not less skilful with the javelin, not less eager for honour. [64] In war and in the chase they show plainly enough that the fire of ambition is still burning in their hearts. And they have stood the last test of loyalty in the downfall of their masters. No men have shown more faithfulness than eunuchs when ruin has fallen on their lords. [65] In bodily strength, perhaps, the eunuchs seem to be lacking, but steel is a great leveller, and makes the weak man equal to the strong in war. Holding this in mind, Cyrus resolved that his personal attendants, from his doorkeepers onwards, should be eunuchs one and all.

[66] This guard, however, he felt was hardly sufficient against the multitude of enemies, and he asked himself whom he could choose among the rest. [67] He remembered how his Persians led the sorriest of lives at home owing to their poverty, working long and hard on the niggard soil, and he felt sure they were the men who would most value the life at his court. [68] Accordingly he selected ten thousand lancers from among them, to keep guard round the palace, night and day, whenever he was at home, and to march beside him whenever he went abroad. [69] Moreover, he felt that Babylon must always have an adequate garrison, whether he was in the country or not, and therefore he stationed a considerable body of troops in the city; and he bade the Babylonians provide their pay, his object being to make the citizens helpless, and therefore humble and submissive. [70] This royal guard that he established there, and the city guard for Babylon, survive to this day unaltered.

Lastly, as he pondered how the whole empire was to be kept together, and possibly another added to it, he felt convinced that his mercenaries did not make up for the smallness of their numbers by their superiority to the subject peoples. Therefore he must keep together those brave warriors, to whom with heaven’s help the victory was due, and he must take all care that they did not lose their valour, hardihood, and skill. [71] To avoid the appearance of dictating to them and to bring it about that they should see for themselves it was best to stay with him and remember their valour and their training, he called a council of the Peers and of the leading men who seemed to him most worthy of sharing their dangers and their rewards. [72] And when they were met he began:

“Gentlemen, my friends and allies, we owe the utmost thanks to the gods because they have given us what we believed that we deserved. We are masters today of a great country and a good; and those who till it will support us; we have houses of our own, and all the furniture that is in them is ours. [73] For you need not think that what you hold belongs to others. It is an eternal law the wide world over, that when a city is taken in war, the citizens, their persons, and all their property fall into the hands of the conquerors. It is not by injustice, therefore, that you hold what you have taken, rather it is through your own human kindness that the citizens are allowed to keep whatever they do retain.

[74] “Yet I foresee that if we betake ourselves to the life of indolence and luxury, the life of the degenerate who think that labour is the worst of evils and freedom from toil the height of happiness, the day will come, and speedily, when we shall be unworthy of ourselves, and with the loss of honour will come the loss of wealth. [75] Once to have been valiant is not enough; no man can keep his valour unless he watch over it to the end. As the arts decay through neglect, as the body, once healthy and alert, will grow weak through sloth and indolence, even so the powers of the spirit, temperance, self-control, and courage, if we grow slack in training, fall back once more to rottenness and death. [76] We must watch ourselves; we must not surrender to the sweetness of the day. It is a great work, methinks, to found an empire, but a far greater to keep it safe. To seize it may be the fruit of daring and daring only, but to hold it is impossible without self-restraint and self-command and endless care. [77] We must not forget this; we must train ourselves in virtue from now henceforward with even greater diligence than before we won this glory, remembering that the more a man possesses, the more there are to envy him, to plot against him, and be his enemies, above all when the wealth he wins and the services he receives are yielded by reluctant hands. But the gods, we need not doubt, will be upon our side; we have not triumphed through injustice; we were not the aggressors, it was we who were attacked and we avenged ourselves. [78] The gods are with us, I say; but next to that supreme support there is a defence we must provide out of our own powers alone; and that is the righteous claim to rule our subjects because we are better men than they. Needs must that we share with our slaves in heat and cold and food and drink and toil and slumber, and we must strive to prove our superiority even in such things as these, and first in these. [79] But in the science of war and the art of it we can admit no share; those whom we mean to make our labourers and our tributaries can have no part in that; we will set ourselves to defraud them there; we know that such exercises are the very tools of freedom and happiness, given by the gods to mortal men. We have taken their arms away from our slaves, and we must never lay our own aside, knowing well that the nearer the sword-hilt the closer the heart’s desire. So. Does any man ask himself what profit he has gained from the fulfilment of his dreams, if he must still endure, still undergo hunger and thirst and toil and trouble and care? Let him learn the lesson that a man’s enjoyment of all good things is in exact proportion to the pains he has undergone to gain them. Toil is the seasoning of delight; without desire and longing, no dish, however costly, could be sweet. [81] Yes, if some spirit were to set before us what men desire most, and we were left to add for ourselves that final touch of sweetness, I say that we could only gain above the poorest of the poor in so far as we could bring hunger for the most delicious foods, and thirst for the richest wines, and weariness to make us woo the deepest slumber. [82] Therefore, we must strain every nerve to win and to keep manhood and nobleness; so that we may gain that satisfaction which is the sweetest and the best, and be saved from the bitterest of sorrows; since to fail of good altogether is not so hard as to lose the good that has once been ours. [83] And let us ask ourselves what excuse we could offer for being unworthy of our past. Shall we say it is because we have won an empire? Surely it is hardly fitting that the ruler should be baser than the ruled. Or is it that we seem to be happier today than heretofore? Is cowardice, then, an adjunct of happiness? Or is it simply because we have slaves and must punish them if they do wrong? But by what right can a man, who is bad himself, punish others for badness or stupidity? [84] Remember, too, that we have arranged for the maintenance of a whole multitude, to guard our persons and our houses, and it would be shameful for us to depend for safety on the weapons of others and refuse to carry weapons for ourselves. Surely we ought to know that there can be no defence so strong as a man’s own gallantry. Courage should be our companion all our days. For if virtue leave us, nothing else whatever can go well with us. [85] What, then, would I have you do? How are we to remember our valour and train our skill? Gentlemen, I have nothing novel to suggest; at home in Persia the Peers spend their days at the public buildings and here we should do the same. Here we are the men of rank and honour, as we are there, and we should hold to the same customs. You must keep your eyes on me and watch whether I am diligent in my duty, and I shall give heed to you, and honour him who trains himself in what is beautiful and brave. [86] And here too let us educate our sons, if sons are born to us. We cannot but become better ourselves if we strive to set the best example we can to our children, and our children could hardly grow up to be unworthy, even if they wished, when they see nothing base before them, and hear nothing shameful, but live in the practice of all that is beautiful and good.”


C1. Notice the epic tone now adopted, or rather swum into, or rather which floats the writer up of its own motion.

C1.2 ff. On the whole this description of the battle is, for Xenophon, obscure.

C1.5-6. Xenophon, Artist. This military criticism and technical discussion juxtaposed to the epic prelude and the epic sequel is a clever device enough. We are pleased.

C1.8-9. Final injunctions somewhat obscure, I think.

C1.24 ff. The epic and Homeric vein.

C1.33. The Egyptians have the advantage. This is noticeable in reference to Cyrus’ criticisms of their arms before battle. That is not a slip, but a dramatic touch on the part of the author, I think. And Cyrus is speaking of cavalry there, and anticipates the result.

C1.34 fin. A singular feature this in ancient battles. Is it simply and solely Oriental, or general, and Hellenic also? Has it any analogue nowadays anywhere? Probably with Egyptian troops in the Soudan it has (hgd. 1884).

C2.6-7. The archic man through an act of bad discipline makes good discipline more acceptable.

C2.13. The civilised method of dealing with a conquered city. Instead of pillage and rapine, an indemnity, which will bring in to the conquerors wealth, and yet not destroy the arts of the population, which are the fountain-heads of beauty. || Modern. So the archic man asserts his superiority once more.

C2.24. Is this also Xenophon’s view? If so, it throws light on his theory of rank and caste.

C3.2. Curious Cyrus should be so little suspicious of Abradatas’ death, is it not? Because the victory was not bloodless. Notice, too, how little is said of the bloodshed; that is Hellenic as well as Xenophontine, I fancy.

C3.7. Something epic in all this. Cf. Archilles sacrificing at the tomb of Patroklos.

C3.8 ff. The pathos of the situation and the Eironeia at its maximum. “Euripidean” touches throughout.

C3.16. [This is bracketed in most editions, no doubt rightly, as an interpolation. It was not translated in Mr. Dakyns’ manuscript, but his marginal note is characteristic, and evidently he would have translated the section in a footnote. It may be rendered thus: “It is said that a monument was raised above the eunuchs and is in existence to this day. On the upper slab the names of the husband and the wife are written in Syrian letters, and below are three other slabs, inscribed ‘To the chamberlains.’"]

C3.16. Interesting, especially if of later insertion, and perhaps given the historical basis of the story in some monument on the Pactolus, known to Xenophon. I wish a new Schliemann would find it. hgd.

C4. Semi-historical? The version is to be found, I think, in C4.2, which is the pièce justicative. The episode itself is full of humour, as good as a play: Xenophon has seen these duplicities often. Brer Fox outwitted by Brer Rabbit.

C4.4. Can these rival fastnesses of the Carians be identified? All this country is well known to Xenophon (vide Hellenica, III. c. 4, etc.).

C4.6. Beautiful renewal of the peaceful arts, festivals, and merry-makings after the internecine party strife.

C4.9. This again is a district Xenophon is well acquainted with. Has he one eye on the old insurrection against Persia, tempore Histiaeus, and another on the new arrangements, tempore Antalcidas?

C4.12-13. Croesus and his bills of lading. Some humour. It also brings out the archic man in opposition to the shop-keeper man of the mere business type. But still the bills of lading are needed. Croesus only doesn’t “twig” the right persons to check. It’s the opposition between Despot and true Ruler.

C5.9. Cyrus has an idea, the nature of which we shall discover later.

C5.15. Belshazzar’s feast, vide Daniel, cf. Hdt. Why plural, “the trenches”? Is Xenophon obscure? His obscurity is mostly this: he expects his reader intelligently to follow him.

C5.32. Jars somewhat on our feelings, perhaps, in its thirst for revenge: but cf. the feeling against the assassins of Lord Frederick Cavendish and Mr. Burke. [Written at the time of the Phoenix Park murders.]

C5.37. Is a turning-point in the rise of the archic man (and yet hardly yet, but at C5.58 we shall come to bodyguards and eunuchs). At this highest pinnacle of {arkhe} Cyrus desires to furnish himself as befits a king. It is an historical difficulty which Xenophon has to get over or round, or is Xenophon himself in the same condemnation, so to speak? Does he also desire his archic man to be got up in a manner befitting royalty at a certain date? Consider.

C5.42-47. These sections pose the difficulty well, and it is a difficulty, and no mistake.

C5.42 ff. Xenophon-Hellenic theory of life. The leisure to invite one’s own soul and see one’s friends which is needed to make life worth living, versus negotia, negotia, negotia. How far are we to be consciously self-regarding? Cyrus versus Buddha. The Hellenic hero is not equal to absolute non-self-regarding devotion to mere work. The Buddha might be.

C5.48. Perhaps nothing is cleverer in the neat and skilful mosaic work of this composition than the fitting-in here of Artabazus’ personal view with the — at last necessary — impersonal or public theory of leadership. It is pretty also that Artabazus should at length get his reward, and humorous that he doesn’t, after all, get it in the old form.

C5.49 ff. He keenly remembers each tantalizing moment of approach and separation. A splendid speech of the humorous type. Xenophon himself must be credited with so much fun, and real fun it is.

C5.56 ff. Curious on this page (a) Xenophon’s domestic hearth theory without which {arkhe} is a tinkling cymbal and empire no burthen to be borne. His feeling for the sweetness of home || modern. In this the secret of his happiness, || hgd. (b) His justification or raison d’être explanation of the eunuch system. Why doesn’t he point out its hollowness also? Not from any lack of sympathy with this barren mankind. Cf. Gadatas. I think this all logically follows if the {arkhon} is to rule political enemies as well as friends: to do so {epistamenos} [“asian expert”] some strange devices must be resorted to — what think you, Dakyns?

C5.58. The need of a bodyguard. The dragon-fly must wing his flight in armour cased: that is the law of his development. So Cyrus must be in the end an ideal “tyrannus,” the one spoken of by Simonides the poet to Hiero [vide the dialogue Hiero, and the notes thereto in Mr. Dakyns’ translation, Vol. III.].

C5.64. The faithfulness of the eunuch has its parallel in that of the old negro slave.

C5.67. These are the sort of fellows Xenophon would have chosen himself, I take it. Again the historical basis has to be taken account of. Xenophon has to explain to himself the existence of their body and how the archic man came to invent it. Throughout we must compare the Hiero for Xenophon’s own political theory apart from his romantic and philosophical interest in Cyrus.

C5.69. Not a pleasant picture of subject and ruling race. Cf. the Austrians in Italy.

C5.73. The Hellenic || the modern theory, but more rudely expressed. The conquerors right to the land he has taken, and what Cyrus proceeds to say is quite up to the modern mark.

C5.74. Of course this is precisely what the Persians as they degenerated did come to, nor did the good example of the archic man nor his precepts nor his institutions save them.

C5.77-79. “Military” theory of virtue: almost barbaric (ex mea sententia hgd.). But Xenophon is not absolutely = Cyrus.

C5.80 ff. This is the Socratico-Xenophontine hedonism-and-stoicism combined.

C5.82 ff. A noble sermon on the need of straining every nerve to virtuous training. Splendidly rhetorical and forceful.

C5.84. Cyrus (i.e. Xenophon) is aware of the crisis he and his are going through. If externalism has to be adopted to hedge royalty, still a further inner change is demanded: there must be a corresponding spiritual growth.

C5.86. One of the noblest sayings in all Xenophon. The one somehow which touches me most. The best way to improve ourselves is to see that we set our boys the best examples.

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