THE EDUCATION OF CYRUS
Henry Graham Dakyns
F. M. Stawell
[C.1] Thus Cyrus made his preparations. But the Armenian, when he heard what the messenger had to say, was terror-stricken: he knew the wrong he had done in neglecting the tribute and withholding the troops, and, above all, he was afraid it would be discovered that he was beginning to put his palace in a fit state for defence.  Therefore, with much trepidation, he began to collect his own forces, and at the same time he sent his younger son Sabaris into the hills with the women, his own wife, and the wife of his elder son and his daughters, taking the best of their ornaments and furniture with them and an escort to be their guide. Meanwhile he despatched a party to discover what Cyrus was doing, and organised all the Armenian contingents as they came in. But it was not long before other messengers arrived, saying that Cyrus himself was actually at hand.  Then his courage forsook him; he dared not come to blows and he withdrew. As soon as the recruits saw this they took to their heels, each man bent on getting his own property safely out of the way. When Cyrus saw the plains full of them, racing and riding everywhere, he sent out messengers privately to explain that he had no quarrel with any who stayed quietly in their homes, but if he caught a man in flight, he warned them he would treat him as an enemy. Thus the greater part were persuaded to remain, though there were some who retreated with the king.
 But when the escort with the women came on the Persians in the mountain, they fled with cries of terror, and many of them were taken prisoners. In the end the young prince himself was captured, and the wife of the king, and his daughters, and his daughter-in-law, and all the goods they had with them. And when the king learnt what had happened, scarcely knowing where to turn, he fled to the summit of a certain hill.  Cyrus, when he saw it, surrounded the spot with his troops and sent word to Chrysantas, bidding him leave a force to guard the mountains and come down to him. So the mass of the army was collected under Cyrus, and then he sent a herald to the king with this enquiry:
"Son of Armenia, will you wait here and fight with hunger and thirst, or will you come down into the plain and fight it out with us?" But the Armenian answered that he wished to fight with neither.  Cyrus sent again and asked, "Why do you sit there, then, and refuse to come down?" "Because I know not what to do," answered the other. "It is simple enough," said Cyrus, "come down and take your trial." "And who shall try me?" asked the king. "He," answered Cyrus, "to whom God has given the power to treat you as he lists, without a trial at all."
Thereupon the Armenian came down, yielding to necessity, and Cyrus took him and all that he had and placed him in the centre of the camp, for all his forces were now at hand.
 Meanwhile Tigranes, the elder son of the king, was on his way home from a far country. In old days he had hunted with Cyrus and been his friend, and now, when he heard what had happened, he came forward just as he was; but when he saw his father and his mother, his brother and sisters, and his own wife all held as prisoners, he could not keep back the tears.  But Cyrus gave him no sign of friendship or courtesy, and only said, "You have come in time, you may be present now to hear your father tried." With that he summoned the leaders of the Persians and the Medes, and any Armenian of rank and dignity who was there, nor would he send away the women as they sat in covered carriages, but let them listen too.  When all was ready he began: "Son of Armenia, I would counsel you, in the first place, to speak the truth, so that at least you may stand free from what deserves the utmost hate: beyond all else, be assured, manifest lying checks the sympathy of man and man. Moreover," said he, "your own sons, your daughters, and your wife are well aware of all that you have done, and so are your own Armenians who are here: if they perceive that you say what is not true, they must surely feel that out of your own lips you condemn yourself to suffer the uttermost penalty when I learn the truth." "Nay," answered the king, "ask me whatever you will, and I will answer truly, come what come may."  "Answer then," said Cyrus, "did you once make war upon Astyages, my mother's father, and his Medes?" "I did," he answered. "And were you conquered by him, and did you agree to pay tribute and furnish troops whenever he required, and promise not to fortify your dwellings?" "Even so," he said. "Why is it, then, that to-day you have neither brought the tribute nor sent the troops, and are building forts?" "I set my heart on liberty: it seemed to me so fair a thing to be free myself and to leave freedom to my sons."  "And fair and good it is," said Cyrus, "to fight for freedom and choose death rather than slavery, but if a man is worsted in war or enslaved by any other means and then attempts to rid himself of his lord, tell me yourself, would you honour such a man as upright, and a doer of noble deeds, or would you, if you got him in your power, chastise him as a malefactor?" "I would chastise him," he answered, "since you drive me to the truth."  "Then answer me now, point by point," said Cyrus. "If you have an officer and he does wrong, do you suffer him to remain in office, or do you set up another in his stead?" "I set up another." "And if he have great riches, to you leave him all his wealth, or do you make him a beggar?" "I take away from him all that he has." "And if you found him deserting to your enemies, what would you do?" "I would kill him," he said: "why should I perish with a lie on my lips rather than speak the truth and die?"
 But at this his son rent his garments and dashed the tiara from his brows, and the women lifted up their voices in wailing and tore their cheeks, as though their father was dead already, and they themselves undone. But Cyrus bade them keep silence, and spoke again. "Son of Armenia, we have heard your own judgment in this case, and now tell us, what ought we to do?" But the king sat silent and perplexed, wondering whether he should bid Cyrus put him to death, or act in the teeth of the rule he had laid down for himself.  Then his son Tigranes turned to Cyrus and said, "Tell me, Cyrus, since my father sits in doubt, may I give counsel in his place and say what I think best for you?"
Now Cyrus remembered that, in the old hunting days, he had noticed a certain man of wisdom who went about with Tigranes and was much admired by him, and he was curious to know what the youth would say. So he readily agreed and bade him speak his mind.
 "In my view, then," said Tigranes, "if you approve of all that my father has said and done, certainly you ought to do as he did, but if you think he has done wrong, then you must not copy him."
"But surely," said Cyrus, "the best way to avoid copying the wrongdoer is to practise what is right?"
"True enough," answered the prince.
"Then on your own reasoning, I am bound to punish your father, if it is right to punish wrong."
"But would you wish your vengeance to do you harm instead of good?"
"Nay," said Cyrus, "for then my vengeance would fall upon myself."
 "Even so," said Tigranes, "and you will do yourself the greatest harm if you put your own subjects to death just when they are most valuable to you."
"Can they have any value," asked Cyrus, "when they are detected doing wrong?"
"Yes," answered Tigranes, "if that is when they turn to good and learn sobriety. For it is my belief, Cyrus, that without this virtue all others are in vain. What good will you get from a strong man or a brave if he lack sobriety, be he never so good a horseman, never so rich, never so powerful in the state? But with sobriety every friend is a friend in need and every servant a blessing."
 "I take your meaning," answered Cyrus; "your father, you would have me think, has been changed in this one day from a fool into a wise and sober-minded man?"
"Exactly," said the prince.
"Then you would call sober-mindedness a condition of our nature, such as pain, not a matter of reason that can be learnt? For certainly, if he who is to be sober-minded must learn wisdom first, he could not be converted from folly in a day."
 "Nay, but, Cyrus," said the prince, "surely you yourself have known one man at least who out of sheer folly has set himself to fight a stronger man than he, and on the day of defeat his senselessness has been cured. And surely you have known a city ere now that has marshalled her battalions against a rival state, but with defeat she changes suddenly and is willing to obey and not resist?"
 "But what defeat," said Cyrus, "can you find in your father's case to make you so sure that he has come to a sober mind?"
"A defeat," answered the young man, "of which he is well aware in the secret chambers of his soul. He set his heart on liberty, and he has found himself a slave as never before: he had designs that needed stealth and speed and force, and not one of them has he been able to carry through. With you he knows that design and fulfilment went hand in hand; when you wished to outwit him, outwit him you did, as though he had been blind and deaf and dazed; when stealth was needed, your stealth was such that the fortresses he thought his own you turned into traps for him; and your speed was such that you were upon him from miles away with all your armament before he found time to muster the forces at his command."
 "So you think," said Cyrus, "that merely to learn another is stronger than himself is defeat enough to bring a man to his senses?"
"I do," answered Tigranes, "and far more truly than mere defeat in battle. For he who is conquered by force may fancy that if he trains he can renew the war, and captured cities dream that with the help of allies they will fight again one day, but if we meet with men who are better than ourselves and whom we recognise to be so, we are ready to obey them of our own free will."  "You imagine then," said Cyrus, "that the bully and the tyrant cannot recognise the man of self- restraint, nor the thief the honest man, nor the liar the truth- speaker, nor the unjust man the upright? Has not your own father lied even now and broken his word with us, although he knew that we had faithfully observed every jot and tittle of the compact Astyages made?"  "Ah, but," replied the prince, "I do not pretend that the bare knowledge alone will bring a man to his senses, it cannot cure him unless he pays the penalty as my father pays it to-day." "But," answered Cyrus, "your father has suffered nothing at all so far: although he fears, I know, that the worst suffering may be his."  "Do you suppose then," asked Tigranes, "that anything can enslave a man more utterly than fear? Do you not know that even the men who are beaten with the iron rod of war, the heaviest rod in all the world, may still be ready to fight again, while the victims of terror cannot be brought to look their conquerors in the face, even when they try to comfort them?" "Then, you maintain," said Cyrus, "that fear will subdue a man more than suffering?"  "Yes," he answered, "and you of all men know that what I say is true: you know the despondency men feel in dread of banishment, or on the eve of battle facing defeat, or sailing the sea in peril of shipwreck--they cannot touch their food or take their rest because of their alarm: while it may often be that the exiles themselves, the conquered, or the enslaved, can eat and sleep better than men who have not known adversity.  Think of those panic-stricken creatures who through fear of capture and death have died before their day, have hurled themselves from cliffs, hanged themselves, or set the knife to their throats; so cruelly can fear, the prince of horrors, bind and subjugate the souls of men. And what, think you, does my father feel at this moment? He, whose fears are not for himself alone, but for us all, for his wife, and for his children."  And Cyrus said, "To-day and at this time, it may be with him as you say: but I still think that the same man may well be insolent in good fortune and cringing in defeat: let such an one go free again, and he will return to his arrogance and trouble us once more."  "I do not deny it, Cyrus," said the prince. "Our offences are such that you may well mistrust us: but you have it in your power to set garrisons in our land and hold our strong places and take what pledges you think best. And even so," he added, "you will not find that we fret against our chains, for we shall remember we have only ourselves to blame. Whereas, if you hand over the government to some who have not offended, they may either think that you mistrust them, and thus, although you are their benefactor, you cannot be their friend, or else in your anxiety not to rouse their enmity you may leave no check on their insolence, and in the end you will need to sober them even more than us."  "Nay, but by all the gods," cried Cyrus, "little joy should I ever take in those who served me from necessity alone. Only if I recognise some touch of friendship or goodwill in the help it is their duty to render, I could find it easier to forgive them all their faults than to accept the full discharge of service paid upon compulsion by those who hate me."
Then Tigranes answered, "You speak of friendship, but can you ever find elsewhere so great a friendship as you may find with us?" "Surely I can," he answered, "and with those who have never been my enemies, if I choose to be their benefactor as you would have me yours."  "But to-day, and now, can you find another man in the world whom you could benefit as you can benefit my father? Say you let a man live who has never done you wrong, will he be grateful for the boon? Say he need not lose his children and his wife, will he love you for that more than one who knows he well deserved the loss? Say he may not sit upon the throne of Armenia, will he suffer from that as we shall suffer? And is it not clear that the one who feels the pain of forfeiture the most will be the one most grateful for the granting of the gift?  And if you have it at all at heart to leave matters settled here, think for yourself, and see where tranquillity will lie when your back is turned. Will it be with the new dynasty, or with the old familiar house? And if you want as large a force as possible at your command, where will you find a man better fitted to test the muster-roll than the general who has used it time and again? If you need money, who will provide the ways and means better than he who knows and can command all the resources of the country? I warn you as a friend," he added, "that if you throw us aside you will do yourself more harm than ever my father could have done."
 Such were the pleadings of the prince, and Cyrus, as he listened, was overjoyed, for he felt he would accomplish to the full all he had promised Cyaxares; his own words came back to him, "I hope to make the Armenian a better friend than before."
Thereupon he turned to the king and said, "Son of Armenia, if I were indeed to hearken unto you and yours in this, tell me, how large an army would you send me and how much money for the war?"
 And the king replied, "The simplest answer I can make and the most straightforward is to tell you what my power is, and then you may take the men you choose, and leave the rest to garrison the country. And so with the money: it is only fair that you should know the whole of our wealth, and with that knowledge to guide you, you will take what you like and leave what you like."  And Cyrus said, "Tell me then, and tell me true: how great is your power and your wealth?" Whereupon the Armenian replied: "Our cavalry is 8000 strong and our infantry 40,000; and our wealth," said he, "if I include the treasures which my father left, amounts in silver to more than 3000 talents."
 And Cyrus, without more ado, said at once, "Of your whole armament you shall give me half, not more, since your neighbours the Chaldaeans are at war with you: but for the tribute, instead of the fifty talents which you paid before, you shall hand over twice as much to Cyaxares because you made default; and you will lend me another hundred for myself, and I hereby promise you, if God be bountiful, I will requite you for the loan with things of higher worth, or I will pay the money back in full, if I can; and if I cannot, you may blame me for want of ability, but not for want of will."  But the Armenian cried, "By all the gods, Cyrus, speak not so, or you will put me out of heart. I beg you to look on all I have as yours, what you leave behind as well as what you take away."
"So be it then," answered Cyrus, "and to ransom your wife, how much money would you give?" "All that I have," said he. "And for your sons?" "For them too, all that I have." "Good," answered Cyrus, "but is not that already twice as much as you possess?  And you, Tigranes," said he, "at what price would you redeem your bride?" Now the youth was but newly wedded, and his wife was beyond all things dear to him. "I would give my life," said he, "to save her from slavery."  "Take her then," said Cyrus, "she is yours. For I hold that she has never yet been made a prisoner, seeing that her husband never deserted us. And you, son of Armenia," said he, turning to the king, "you shall take home your wife and children, and pay no ransom for them, so that they shall not feel they come to you from slavery. But now," he added, "you shall stay and sup with us, and afterwards you shall go wherever you wish."
And so the Armenians stayed.  But when the company broke up after the evening meal, Cyrus asked Tigranes, "Tell me, where is that friend of yours who used to hunt with us, and whom, as it seemed to me, you admired so much?" "Do you not know," he said, "that my father put him to death?" "And why?" said Cyrus, "what fault did he find in him?" "He thought he corrupted me," said the youth; "and yet, I tell you, Cyrus, he was so gentle and so brave, so beautiful in soul, that when he came to die, he called me to him and said, 'Do not be angry with your father, Tigranes, for putting me to death. What he does is not done from malice, but from ignorance; and the sins of ignorance, I hold, are unintentional.'"
 And at that Cyrus could not but say: "Poor soul! I grieve for him." But the king spoke in his own defence: "Remember this, Cyrus, that the man who finds another with his wife kills him not simply because he believes that he has turned the woman to folly, but because he has robbed him of her love. Even so I was jealous of that man who seemed to put himself between my son and me and steal away his reverence."  "May the gods be merciful to us!" said Cyrus, "you did wrong, but your fault was human. And you, Tigranes," said he, turning to the son, "you must forgive your father."
And so they talked in all friendliness and kindliness, as befitted that time of reconciliation; and then the father and son mounted their carriages, with their dear ones beside them, and drove away rejoicing.
 But when they were home again, they all spoke of Cyrus, one praising his wisdom, another his endurance, a third the gentleness of his nature, and a fourth his stature and his beauty. Then Tigranes turned to his wife and asked, "Did Cyrus seem so beautiful in your eyes?" But she answered, "Ah, my lord, he was not the man I saw." "Who was it then?" asked Tigranes. "He," she answered, "who offered his own life to free me from slavery."
And so they took their delight together, as lovers will, after all their sufferings.
 But on the morrow the king of Armenia sent gifts of hospitality to Cyrus and all his army, and bade his own contingent make ready to march on the third day, and himself brought Cyrus twice the sum which he had named. But Cyrus would take no more than he had fixed, and gave the rest back to the king, only asking whether he or his son was to lead the force. And the father answered that it should be as Cyrus chose, but the son said, "I will not leave you, Cyrus, if I must carry the baggage to follow you."  And Cyrus laughed and said, "What will you take to let us tell your wife that you have become a baggage- bearer?" "She will not need to be told," he answered, "I mean to bring her with me, and she can see for herself all that her husband does." "Then it is high time," said Cyrus, "that you got your own baggage together now." "We will come," said he, "be sure of that, in good time, with whatever baggage my father gives."
So the soldiers were the guests of Armenia for the day, and rested for that night.
[C.2] But on the day following Cyrus took Tigranes and the best of the Median cavalry, with chosen followers of his own, and scoured the whole country to decide where he should build a fort. He halted on the top of a mountain-pass and asked Tigranes where the heights lay down which the Chaldaeans swept when they came to plunder. Tigranes showed him. Then Cyrus asked him if the mountains were quite uninhabited. "No, indeed," said the prince, "there are always men on the look-out, who signal to the others if they catch sight of anything." "And what do they do," he asked, "when they see the signal?" "They rush to the rescue," he said, "as quickly as they can."  Cyrus listened and looked, and he could see that large tracts lay desolate and untilled because of the war. That day they came back to camp and took their supper and slept.  But the next morning Tigranes presented himself with all his baggage in order and ready for the march, 4000 cavalry at his back, 10,000 bowmen, and as many targeteers. While they were marching up, Cyrus offered sacrifice, and finding that the victims were favourable, he called the leaders of the Persians together and the chief captains of the Medes and spoke to them thus:
 "My friends, there lie the Chaldaean hills. If we could seize them and set a garrison to hold the pass, we should compel them both, Chaldaeans and Armenians alike, to behave themselves discreetly. The victims are favourable; and to help a man in such a work as this there is no ally half so good as speed. If we scale the heights before the enemy have time to gather, we may take the position out of hand without a blow, and at most we shall only find a handful of weak and scattered forces to oppose us.  Steady speed is all I ask for, and surely I could ask for nothing easier or less dangerous. To arms then! The Medes will march on our left, half the Armenians on our right, and the rest in the van to lead the way, the cavalry in our rear, to cheer us on and push us forward and let none of us give way."
 With that Cyrus led the advance, the army in column behind him. As soon as the Chaldaeans saw them sweeping up from the plain, they signalled to their fellows till the heights re-echoed with answering shouts, and the tribesmen gathered on every side. Then Cyrus sent word along his lines, "Soldiers of Persia, they are signalling to us to make haste. If only we reach the top before them, all they can do will be in vain."
 Now the Chaldaeans were said to be the most warlike of all the tribes in that country, and each of them was armed with a shield and a brace of javelins. They fight for pay wherever they are needed, partly because they are warriors born, but partly through poverty; for their country is mountainous, and the fertile part of it small.  As Cyrus and his force drew near the head of the pass, Tigranes, who was marching at his side, said:
"Do you know, Cyrus, that before long we shall be in the thick of the fight ourselves? Our Armenians will never stand the charge." Cyrus answered that he was well aware of that, and immediately sent word that the Persians should be ready to give chase at once, "as soon as we see the Armenians decoying the enemy by feigning flight and drawing them within our reach."
 Thus they marched up with the Armenians in the van: and the Chaldaeans who had collected waited till they were almost on them, and then charged with a tremendous shout, as their custom was, and the Armenians, as was ever theirs, turned and ran.  But in the midst of the pursuit the Chaldaeans met new opponents streaming up the pass, armed with short swords, and some of them were cut to pieces at once before they could withdraw, while others were taken prisoners and the rest fled, and in a few moments the heights were won. From the top of the pass Cyrus and his staff looked down and saw below them the Chaldaean villages with fugitives pouring from the nearest houses.  Soon the rest of the army came up, and Cyrus ordered them all to take the morning meal. When it was over, and he had ascertained that the look-out was really in a strong position, and well supplied with water, he set about fortifying a post without more ado, and he bade Tigranes send to his father and bid him come at once with all the carpenters and stonemasons he could fetch, and while a messenger went off to the king Cyrus did all he could with what he had at hand.
 Meanwhile they brought up the prisoners, all of them bound in chains and some wounded. But Cyrus when he saw their plight ordered the chains to be struck off, and sent for surgeons to dress their wounds, and then he told them that he came neither to destroy them nor to war against them, but to make peace between them and the Armenians. "I know," he said, "before your pass was taken you did not wish for peace. Your own land was in safety and you could harry the Armenians: but you can see for yourselves how things stand to-day.  Accordingly I will let you all go back to your homes in freedom, and I will allow you and your fellows to take counsel together and choose whether you will have us for your enemies or your friends. If you decide on war, you had better not come here again without your weapons, but if you choose peace, come unarmed and welcome: it shall be my care to see that all is well with you, if you are my friends."
 And when the Chaldaeans heard that, they poured out praises and thanks, and then they turned homewards and departed.
Meanwhile the king, receiving the call of Cyrus, and hearing the business that was at hand, had gathered his workmen together and took what he thought necessary and came with all speed.  And when he caught sight of Cyrus, he cried: "Ah, my lord, blind mortals that we are! How little can we see of the future, and how much we take in hand to do! I set myself to win freedom and I made myself a slave, and now, when we were captured and said to ourselves that we were utterly undone, suddenly we find a safety we never had before. Those who troubled us are taken now, even as I would have them.  Be well assured, Cyrus," he added, "that I would have paid the sum you had from me over and over again simply to dislodge the Chaldaeans from these heights. The things of worth you promised me when you took the money have been paid in full already, and we discover that we are not your creditors, but deep in your debt for many kindnesses; and we shall be ashamed not to return them, or we should be base indeed, for try as we may, we shall never be able to requite in full so great a benefactor."
 Such thanks the Armenian gave.
Then the Chaldaeans came back, begging Cyrus to make peace with them. And Cyrus asked them: "Am I right in thinking that you desire peace to-day because you believe it will be safer for you than war, now that we hold these heights?"
And the Chaldaeans said that so it was.  "Well and good," said he. "And what if other benefits were gained by peace?" "We should be all the better pleased," said they. "Is there any other reason," he asked, "for your present poverty, except your lack of fertile soil?" They said that there was none. "Well then," Cyrus went on, "would you be willing to pay the same dues as the Armenians, if you were allowed to cultivate as much of their land as you desired?" And the Chaldaeans said they would, if only they could rely on being fairly treated.  "Now," said Cyrus, turning to the Armenian king, "would you like that land of yours which is now lying idle to be tilled and made productive, supposing the workers paid you the customary dues?" "I would, indeed," said the king, "so much so that I am ready to pay a large sum for it. It would mean a great increase to my revenue."  "And you, Chaldaeans," said Cyrus, "with your splendid mountains, would you let the Armenians use them for pasture if the graziers paid you what was fair?" "Surely yes," said the Chaldaeans, "it would mean much profit and no pains."
"Son of Armenia," said Cyrus, "would you take this land for grazing, if by paying a small sum to the Chaldaeans you got a far greater return yourself?"
"Right willingly," said he, "if I thought my flocks could feed in safety."
"And would they not be safe enough," suggested Cyrus, "if this pass were held for you?" To which the king agreed.  But the Chaldaeans cried, "Heaven help us! We could not till our own fields in safety, not to speak of theirs, if the Armenians held the pass." "True," answered Cyrus, "but how would it be if the pass were held for you?" "Ah, then," said they, "all would be well enough." "Heaven help us!" cried the Armenian in his turn, "all might be well enough for them, but it would be ill for us if these neighbours of ours recovered the post, especially now that it is fortified."  Then Cyrus said, "See, then, this is what I will do: I will hand over the pass to neither of you: we Persians will guard it ourselves, and if either of you injure the other, we will step in and side with the sufferers."
 Then both parties applauded the decision, and said that only thus could they establish a lasting peace, and on these terms they exchanged pledges, and a covenant was made that both nations alike were to be free and independent, but with common rights of marriage, and tillage, and pasturage, and help in time of war if either were attacked.  Thus the matter was concluded, and to this day the treaty holds between the Chaldaeans and Armenia.
Peace was no sooner made than both parties began building what they now considered their common fortress, working side by side and bringing up all that was needed.  And when evening fell, Cyrus summoned them all as fellow-guests to his board, saying that they were friends already. At the supper as they sat together, one of the Chaldaeans said to Cyrus that the mass of his nation would feel they had received all they could desire, "But there are men among us," he added, "who live as freebooters: they do not know how to labour in the field, and they could not learn, accustomed as they are from youth up to get their livelihood either by plundering for themselves or serving as mercenaries, often under the king of India, for he is a man of much wealth, but sometimes under Astyages."  Then Cyrus said: "Why should they not take service with me? I undertake to give them at least as much as they ever got elsewhere." The Chaldaeans readily agreed with him and prophesied that he would have many volunteers.
 So this matter was settled to the mind of all. But Cyrus, on hearing that the Chaldaeans were in the habit of going to India, remembered how Indian ambassadors had come to the Medes to spy out their affairs, and how they had gone on to their enemies--doubtless to do the same there--and he felt a wish that they should hear something of what he had achieved himself.  So he said to the company: "Son of Armenia, and men of the Chaldaeans, I have something to ask you. Tell me, if I were to send ambassadors to India, would you send some of your own folk with them to show them the way, and support them in gaining for us all that I desire? I still need more money if I am to pay all the wages, as I wish, in full, and give rewards and make presents to such of my soldiers as deserve them. It is for such things I need all the money I can get, for I believe them to be essential. It would be pleasanter for me not to draw on you, because I look on you already as my friends, but I should be glad to take from the Indian as much as he will give me. My messenger--the one for whom I ask guides and coadjutors--will go to the king and say: 'Son of India, my master has sent me to you, bidding me say that he has need of more money. He is expecting another army from Persia,' and indeed I do expect one," Cyrus added. "Then my messenger will proceed, 'If you can send my master all that you have at hand he will do his best, if God grant him success, that you should feel your kindness has not been ill-advised.'  That is what my emissary will say: and you must give such instructions to yours as you think fit yourselves. If I get money from the king, I shall have abundance at my disposal: if I fail, at least we shall owe him no gratitude, and as far as he is concerned we may look to our own interests alone."
 So Cyrus spoke, convinced that the ambassadors from Armenia and Chaldaea would speak of him as he desired all men might do. And then, as the hour was come, they broke up the meeting and took their rest.
[C.3] But on the next day Cyrus despatched his messenger with the instructions, and the Armenians and Chaldaeans sent their own ambassadors, choosing the men they thought would help Cyrus most and speak of his exploits in the most fitting terms. Cyrus put a strong garrison in the fort and stored it with supplies, and left an officer in command, a Mede, whose appointment, he thought, would gratify Cyaxares, and then he turned homewards, taking with him not only the troops he had brought, but the force the Armenians had furnished, and a picked body of Chaldaeans who considered themselves stronger than all the rest together.  And as he come down from the hills into the cultivated land, not one of the Armenians, man or woman, stayed indoors: with one accord they all went out to meet him, rejoicing that peace was made, and bringing him offerings from their best, driving before them the animals they valued most. The king himself was not ill-pleased at this, for he thought that Cyrus would take delight in the honour the people showed him. Last of all came the queen herself, with her daughters and her younger son, bearing many gifts, and among them the golden treasure that Cyrus had refused before.  But when he saw it he said: "Nay, you must not make me a mercenary and a benefactor for pay; take this treasure back and hie you home, but do not give it to your lord that he may bury it again; spend it on your son, and send him forth gloriously equipped for war, and with the residue buy yourself and for your husband and your children such precious things as shall endure, and bring joy and beauty into all your days. As for burying, let us only bury our bodies on the day when each must die."
 With that he rode away, the king and all his people escorting him, like a guard of honour, calling him their saviour, their benefactor, and their hero, and heaping praises on him until he had left the land. And the king sent with him a larger army than ever he had sent before, seeing that now he had peace at home.  Thus Cyrus took his departure, having gained not only the actual money he took away with him, but a far ampler store of wealth, won by his own graciousness, on which he could draw in time of need.
For the first night he encamped on the borders of Armenia, but the next day he sent an army and the money to Cyaxares, who was close at hand, as he had promised to be, while he himself took his pleasure in hunting wherever he could find the game, in company with Tigranes and the flower of the Persian force.
 And when he came back to Media he gave gifts of money to his chief officers, sufficient for each to reward their own subordinates, for he held to it that, if every one made his own division worthy of praise, all would be well with the army as a whole. He himself secured anything that he thought of value for the campaign, and divided it among the most meritorious, convinced that every gain to the army was an adornment to himself.
 At every distribution he would take occasion to address the officers and all whom he chose to honour in some such words as these: "My friends, the god of mirth must be with us to-day: we have found a source of plenty, and we have the wherewithal to honour whom we wish and as they may deserve.  Let us call to mind, all of us, the only way in which these blessings can be won. We shall find it is by toil, and watchfulness, and speed, and the resolve never to yield to our foes. After this pattern must we prove ourselves to be men, knowing that all high delights and all great joys are only gained by obedience and hardihood, and through pains endured and dangers confronted in their proper season."
 But presently, when Cyrus saw that his men were strong enough for all the work of war, and bold enough to meet their enemies with scorn, expert and skilful in the use of the weapons each man bore, and all of them perfect in obedience and discipline, the desire grew in his heart to be up and doing and achieve something against the foe. He knew well how often a general has found delay ruin his fairest armament.  He noticed, moreover, that in the eagerness of rivalry and the strain of competition many of the soldiers grew jealous of each other; and for this, if for no other reason, he desired to lead them into the enemy's country without delay, feeling that common dangers awaken comradeship among those who are fighting in a common cause, and then all such bickerings cease, and no man is galled by the splendour of his comrade's arms, or the passion of his desire for glory: envy is swallowed up in praise, and each competitor greets his rivals with delight as fellow-workers for the common good.
 Therefore Cyrus ordered his whole force to assemble under arms, and drew them up into battle-array, using all his skill to make the display a wonder of beauty and perfection. Then he summoned his chief officers, his generals, his brigadiers, and his company-captains. These men were not bound to be always in the ranks, and some were always free to wait on the commander-in-chief or carry orders along the lines without leaving the troops unofficered: for the captains-of- twelve and the captains-of-six stepped into the gaps, and absolute order was preserved.  So Cyrus assembled his staff and led them along the lines, pointing out the merits of the combined forces and the special strength of each, and thus he kindled in their hearts the passion for achievement, and then he bade them return to their regiments and repeat the lessons he had taught them, trying to implant in their own men the same desire for action, so that one and all might sally out in the best of heart; and the next morning they were to present themselves at Cyaxares' gates.  So the officers went away and did as he commanded, and the next morning at daybreak they assembled at the trysting-place, and Cyrus met them and came before Cyaxares and said to him:
"I know well that what I am about to say must often have been in your own mind, but you have shrunk from suggesting it yourself lest it seem that you were weary of supporting us.  Therefore since you must keep silence, let me speak for both of us. We are all agreed that since our preparations are complete we should not wait until the enemy invades our territory before we give him battle, nor loiter here in a friendly land, but attack him on his own ground with what speed we may.  For while we linger here, we injure your property in spite of ourselves, but once on the enemy's soil, we can damage his, and that with the best will in the world.  As things are, you must maintain us, and the cost is great; but once launched on foreign service, we can maintain ourselves, and at our foe's expense.  Possibly, if it were more dangerous to go forward than to stay here, the more cautious might seem the wiser plan. But whether we stay or whether we go, the enemy's numbers will be the same, and so will ours, whether we receive them here or join battle with them there.  Moreover, the spirit of our soldiers will be all the higher and all the bolder if they feel that they are marching against the foe and not cowering before him; and his alarm will be all the greater when he hears that we are not crouching at home in terror but coming out to meet him as soon as we have heard of his advance, eager to close at once, not holding back until our territory suffers, but prompt to seize the moment and ravage his own land first.  Indeed," he added, "if we do no more than quicken our own courage and his fears, I would reckon it a substantial gain, and count it so much the less danger for us and so much the more for him. My father never tires of telling me what I have heard you say yourself, and what all the world admits, that battles are decided more by the character of the troops than by their bodily strength."
 He ended, and Cyaxares answered:
"Cyrus, both you and all my Persian friends may feel sure that I find it no trouble to maintain you; do not imagine such a thing; but I agree with you that the time is ripe for an advance on the enemy's land."
"Then," said Cyrus, "since we are all of one mind, let us make our final preparations, and, if heaven will, let us set forth without delay."
 So they bade the soldiers prepare for the start, and Cyrus offered sacrifices to Zeus the Lord and to the other gods in due order, and prayed, "Look on us with favour, and be gracious to us; guide our army, stand beside us in the battle, aid us in council, help us in action, be the comrades of the brave." Also he called upon the Heroes of Media, who dwell in the land and guard it.  Then, when the signs were favourable and his army was mustered on the frontier, he felt that the moment had come, and with all good omens to support him, he invaded the enemy's land. And so soon as he had crossed the border he offered libations to the Earth and victims to the gods, and sought to win the favour of the Heroes who guard Assyria. And having so done, once more he sacrificed to Zeus, the god of his fathers, and was careful to reverence every other god who came before his mind.
 But when these duties were fulfilled, there was no further pause. He pushed his infantry on at once, a short day's march, and then encamped, while the cavalry made a swift descent and captured much spoil of every kind. For the future they had only to shift their camp from time to time, and they found supplies in abundance, and could ravage the enemy's land at their ease while waiting his approach.  Presently news came of his advance: he was said to be barely ten days' off, and at that Cyrus went to Cyaxares and said: "The hour has come, and we must face the enemy. Let it not seem to friend or foe that we fear the encounter: let us show them that we enjoy the fight."
 Cyaxares agreed, and they moved forward in good order, marching each day as far as appeared desirable. They were careful to take their evening meal by daylight, and at night they lit no fires in the camp: they made them in front of it, so that in case of attack they might see their assailants, while they themselves remained unseen. And often they lit other fires in their rear as well, to deceive the enemy; so that at times the Assyrian scouts actually fell in with the advance- guard, having fancied from the distance of the fires that they were still some way from the encampment.
 Meanwhile the Assyrians and their allies, as the two armies came into touch, halted, and threw up an entrenchment, just as all barbarian leaders do to-day, whenever they encamp, finding no difficulty in the work because of the vast numbers at their command, and knowing that cavalry may easily be thrown into confusion and become unmanageable, especially if they are barbarians.  The horses must be tethered at their stalls, and in case of attack a dozen difficulties arise: the soldier must loose his steed in the dark, bridle and saddle him, put on his own armour, mount, and then gallop through the camp, and this last it is quite impossible to do. Therefore the Assyrians, like all barbarians, throw up entrenchments round their position, and the mere fact of being inside a fastness leaves them, they consider, the choice of fighting at any moment they think fit.  So the two armies drew nearer and nearer, and when they were about four miles apart, the Assyrians proceeded to encamp in the manner described: their position was completely surrounded by a trench, but also perfectly visible, while Cyrus took all the cover he could find, screening himself behind villages and hillocks, in the conviction that the more sudden the disclosure of a hostile force the greater will be the enemy's alarm.
 During the first night neither army did more than post the customary guards before they went to sleep, and on the next day the king of Assyria, and Croesus, and their officers, still kept the troops within their lines. But Cyrus and Cyaxares drew up their men, prepared to fight if the enemy advanced.
Ere long it was plain that they would not venture out that day, and Cyaxares summoned Cyrus and his staff and said:
 "I think, gentlemen, it would be well for us to march up to the breastworks in our present order, and show them that we wish to fight. If we do so," he added, "and they refuse our challenge, it will increase the confidence of our own men, and the mere sight of our boldness will add to the enemy's alarm."
 So it seemed to Cyaxares, but Cyrus protested: "In the name of heaven, Cyaxares, let us do no such thing. By such an advance we should only reveal our numbers to them: they would watch us at their ease, conscious that they are safe from any danger, and when we retire without doing them any harm they will have another look at us and despise us because of our inferiority in numbers, and to-morrow they will come out much emboldened.  At present," he added, "they know that we are here, but they have not seen us, and you may be sure they do not despise us; they are asking what all this means, and they never cease discussing the problem; of that I am convinced. They ought not to see us until they sally out, and in that moment we ought to come to grips with them, thankful to have caught them as we have so long desired."
 So Cyrus spoke, and Cyaxares and the others were convinced, and waited. In the evening they took their meal, and posted their pickets and lit watch-fires in front of their outposts, and so turned to sleep.  But early the next morning Cyrus put a garland on his head and went out to offer sacrifice, and sent word to all the Peers of Persia to join him, wearing garlands like himself. And when the rite was over, he called them together and said: "Gentlemen, the soothsayers tell us, and I agree, that the gods announce by the signs in the victims that the battle is at hand, and they assure us of victory, they promise us salvation.  I should be ashamed to admonish you at such a season, or tell you how to bear yourselves: I do not forget that we have all been brought up in the same school, you have learnt the same lessons as I, and practised them day by day, and you might well instruct others. But you may not have noticed one point, and for this I would ask a hearing.  Our new comrades, the men we desire to make our peers--it may be well to remind them of the terms on which Cyaxares has kept us and of our daily discipline, the goal for which we asked their help, and the race in which they promised to be our friendly rivals.  Remind them also that this day will test the worth of every man. With learners late in life, we cannot wonder if now and then a prompter should be needed: it is much to be thankful for if they show themselves good men and true with the help of a reminder.  Moreover, while you help them you will be putting your own powers to the test. He who can give another strength at such a crisis may well have confidence in his own, whereas one who keeps his ideal to himself and is content with that, ought to remember that he is only half a man.  There is another reason," he added, "why I do not speak to them myself, but ask you to do so. I want them to try to please you: you are nearer to them than I, each of you to the men of his own division: and be well assured that if you show yourselves stout-hearted you will be teaching them courage, and others too, by deeds as well as words."
 With that Cyrus dismissed them, and bade them break their fast and make libation, and then take their places in the ranks, still wearing their garlands on their heads. As they went away he summoned the leaders of the rearguard and gave them his instructions:
 "Men of Persia, you have been made Peers and chosen for special duties, because we think you equal to the best in other matters, and wiser than most in virtue of your age. The post that you hold is every whit as honourable as theirs who form the front: from your position in the rear you can single out the gallant fighters, and your praise will make them outdo themselves in valour, while if any man should be tempted to give way, your eyes will be upon him and you will not suffer it.  Victory will mean even more to you than to the others, because of your age and the weight of your equipment. If the men in front call on you to follow, answer readily, and let them see that you can hold your own with them, shout back to them, and bid them lead on quicker still. And now," said he, "go back and take your breakfast, and then join your ranks with the rest, wearing your garlands on your heads."
 Thus Cyrus and his men made their preparations, and meanwhile the Assyrians on their side took their breakfast, and then sallied forth boldly and drew up in gallant order. It was the king himself who marshalled them, driving past in his chariot and encouraging his troops.
 "Men of Assyria," he said, "to-day you must show your valour. To-day you fight for your lives and your land, the land where you were born and the homes where you were bred, and for your wives and your children, and all the blessings that are yours. If you win, you will possess them all in safety as before, but if you lose, you must surrender them into the hands of your enemies.  Abide, therefore, and do battle as though you were enamoured of victory. It would be folly for her lovers to turn their backs to the foe, sightless, handless, helpless, and a fool is he who flies because he longs to live, for he must know that safety comes to those who conquer, but death to those who flee; and fools are they whose hearts are set on riches, but whose spirits are ready to admit defeat. It is the victor who preserves his own possessions and wins the property of those whom he overcomes: the conquered lose themselves and all they call their own."
 Thus spoke the king of Assyria.
But meanwhile Cyaxares sent to Cyrus saying that the moment for attack had come. "Although," he added, "there are as yet but few of them outside the trenches, by the time we have advanced there will be quite enough. Let us not wait until they outnumber us, but charge at once while we are satisfied we can master them easily."
 But Cyrus answered him, "Unless those we conquer are more than half their number, they are sure to say that we attacked when they were few, because we were afraid of their full force, and in their hearts they will not feel that they are beaten; and we shall have to fight another battle, when perhaps they will make a better plan than they have made to-day, delivering themselves into our hands one by one, to fight with as we choose."
 So the messengers took back his reply, but meanwhile Chrysantas and certain other Peers came to Cyrus bringing Assyrian deserters with them, and Cyrus, as a general would, questioned the fugitives about the enemy's doings, and they told him that the Assyrians were marching out in force and that the king himself had crossed the trenches and was marshalling his troops, addressing them in stirring words, as all the listeners said.  Then Chrysantas turned to Cyrus:
"What if you also were to summon our men, while there is yet time, and inspire them with your words?"
 But Cyrus answered:
"Do not be disturbed by the thought of the Assyrian's exhortations; there are no words so fine that they can turn cowards into brave men on the day of hearing, nor make good archers out of bad, nor doughty spearmen, nor skilful riders, no, nor even teach men to use their arms and legs if they have not learnt before."
 "But," replied Chrysantas, "could you not make the brave men braver still, and the good better?"
"What!" cried Cyrus, "can one solitary speech fill the hearer's soul on the selfsame day with honour and uprightness, guard him from all that is base, spur him to undergo, as he ought, for the sake of glory every toil and every danger, implant in him the faith that it is better to die sword in hand than to escape by flight?  If such thoughts are ever to be engraved in the hearts of men and there abide, we must begin with the laws, and frame them so that the righteous can count on a life of honour and liberty, while the bad have to face humiliation, suffering, and pain, and a life that is no life at all.  And then we ought to have tutors and governors to instruct and teach and train our citizens until the belief is engendered in their souls that the righteous and the honourable are the happiest of all men born, and the bad and the infamous the most miserable. This is what our men must feel if they are to show that their schooling can triumph over their terror of the foe.  Surely, if in the moment of onset, amid the clash of arms, at a time when lessons long learnt seem suddenly wiped away, it were possible for any speaker, by stringing a few fine sentiments together, to manufacture warriors out of hand, why, it would be the easiest thing in all the world to teach men the highest virtue man can know.  For my own part," he added, "I would not trust our new comrades yonder, whom we have trained ourselves, to stand firm this day unless they saw you at their side, to be examples unto them and to remind them if they forget. As for men who are utterly undisciplined, I should be astonished if any speech, however splendid, did one whit more to encourage valour in their hearts than a song well sung could do to make a musician of a man who had no music in his soul."
 But while they were speaking, Cyaxares sent again, saying that Cyrus did ill to loiter instead of advancing against the enemy with all speed. And Cyrus sent back word there and then by the messengers:
"Tell Cyaxares once more, that even now there are not as many before us as we need. And tell him this so that all may hear. But add that, if it so please him, I will advance at once."
 So saying and with one prayer to the gods, he led his troops into battle.
Once the advance began he quickened the pace, and his men followed in perfect order, steadily, swiftly, joyously, brimful of emulation, hardened by toil, trained by their long discipline, every man in the front a leader, and all of them alert. They had laid to heart the lesson of many a day that it was always safest and easiest to meet enemies at close quarters, especially archers, javelin-men, and cavalry.  While they were still out of range, Cyrus sent the watchword along the lines, "Zeus our help and Zeus our leader." And as soon as it was returned to him, he sounded the first notes of the battle-paean, and the men took up the hymn devoutly, in one mighty chorus. For at such times those who fear the gods have less fear of their fellow-men.  And when the chant was over, the Peers of Persia went forward side by side, radiant, high-bred, disciplined, a band of gallant comrades; they looked into each other's eyes, they called each other by name, with many a cheery cry, "Forward, friends, forward, gallant gentlemen!" And the rear-ranks heard the call, and sent back a ringing cheer, bidding the van lead on. The whole army of Cyrus was brimming with courage and zeal and strength and hardihood and comradeship and self-control; more terrible, I imagine, to an opponent than aught else could be.  On the Assyrian side, those in the van who fought from the chariots, as soon as the mass of the Persian force drew near, leapt back and drove to their own main body; but the archers, javelin-men, and slingers, let fly long before they were in range.  And as the Persians steadily advanced, stepping over the spent missiles, Cyrus called to his men:
"Forward now, bravest of the brave! Show us what your pace can be!"
They caught the word and passed it on, and in their eagerness and passion for the fray some of the leaders broke into a run, and the whole phalanx followed at their heels.  Cyrus himself gave up the regular march and dashed forward at their head, shouting:
"Brave men to the front! Who follows me? Who will lay the first Assyrian low?"
At this the men behind took up the shout till it rang through the field like a battle-cry: "Who follows? Brave men to the front!"  Thus the Persians closed. But the enemy could not hold their ground; they turned and fled to their entrenchments.  The Persians swept after them, many a warrior falling as they crowded in at the gates or tumbled into the trenches. For in the rout some of the chariots were carried into the fosse, and the Persians sprang down after them and slew man and horse where they fell.  Then the Median troopers, seeing how matters stood, charged the Assyrian cavalry, who swerved and broke before them, chased and slaughtered, horse and rider, by their conquerors.  Meanwhile the Assyrians within the camp, though they stood upon the breastworks, had neither wit nor power to draw bow or fling spear against the destroyers, dazed as they were by their panic and the horror of the sight. Then came the tidings that the Persians had cut their way through to the gates, and at that they fled from the breastworks.  The women, seeing the rout in the camp, fell to wailing and lamentations, running hither and thither in utter dismay, young maidens, and mothers with children in their arms, rending their garments and tearing their cheeks and crying on all they met, "Leave us not, save us, save your children and yourselves!"  Then the princes gathered the trustiest men and stood at the gates, fighting on the breastworks themselves, and urging their troops to make a stand.  Cyrus, seeing this, and fearing that if his handful of Persians forced their way into the camp they would be overborne by numbers, gave the order to fall back out of range.  Then was shown the perfect discipline of the Peers; at once they obeyed the order and passed it on at once. And when they were all out of range they halted and reformed their ranks, better than any chorus could have done, every man of them knowing exactly where he ought to be.
C1.6. Oriental in feeling; situation well realised. Hellenic = Oriental, also in part perhaps. Also, we know the Oriental through the medium of Greek to a great extent (cf. Greek Testament, and earlier still LXX.).
C1.8, init. Cf. Joseph and his brethren for this hardening of his heart.
C1.11. Hellenic political ethics = modern in this matter, apart from modern theory of nationalism, i.e. right of nations to exist free.
C1.12. Quite after the manner of an advocate in a Greek law-court, but also Oriental (cf. David and Nathan the seer).
C1.24. Fear of exile; autobiographical touch? Is anything passing through the mind of Xenophon? I dare say there is. [Xenophon was banished from his native city of Athens because of his friendship with Sparta and with Cyrus the Younger. See Works, Vol. I. p. xcix.]
C1.33, fin. 3000 talents. Something under £750,000.
C1.35. Cyrus drives home the conscience of indebtedness /à la/ Portia v. Shylock. N.B.--Humorous also and an Oriental tinge.
C1.38. One can't help thinking of Socrates and the people of Athens here. If so, this is a quasi-apology for the Athenian /bons pères de famille/ who condemned Socrates. Beautiful story of the sophist teacher's last injunction to Tigranes.
C1.40-41. What smiles after tears! Like a sunny day succeeding clouds and blackness. A pretty story this, of the wife of Tigranes. /Xenophon's women:/ this one, Pantheia, Croesus' wife, the wife of Ischomachus (/Economist/), the daughter of Gobryas.
C2.12. Archaeologically interesting. N.B.--Humanity towards wounded, Hellenic. Xenophon's own strategy in the /Anabasis/ is probably the prototype.
C2.15. For Hellenic and Xenophontine religiousness. The incalculableness of human life: God fulfils himself in many unforeseen ways. N.B.--Irony also of the situation, since Cyrus doesn't intend the Armenian to triumph over the Chaldaean in the way he anticipates.
C2.20. Note how Socratically it is made to work itself out.
C3. Cyrus, the Archic Man, the "born ruler," is also the diplomatic man (cf., no doubt, Gladstone), a diplomacy based on organic economic sense and friendly-naturedness.
C3.10. Xenophon's theory of fraternity in action, all petty jealousies brushed aside.
[C3.11. The "captains-of-twelve" and the "captains-of-six" are the same officers as those called elsewhere "captains-of-ten" and "captains-of-five" (cf. above Bk. II. C2.21 note). The titles vary because sometimes the officers themselves are included in the squads and sometimes not.]
C3.19. Nice touch, quoting his father as an authority.
C3.40. With garlands, like the Spartans. Was it conceivably a Persian custom too?
C3.44. Assyrian's speech; not a bad one, though platitudinous. Xenophon's dramatic form is shown in the intellectual and emotional side of his characters, rather than by the diction in their mouths, is it not?
C3.51-52. Most important for Xenophon, Educationalist. Cyrus on the powerlessness of a speech to create valour in the soul of the untrained: there must be a physical, moral, and spiritual training there beforehand. The speech is in Xenophon's best earnest rhetorical style.
C3.57. The march into battle, /vide/ Milton. A beautiful bit of word- painting.
C3.58. Cf. the Prussian army singing a hymn [in 1870].
This translation is in the public domain.
Return to Primary Texts Index