Mithridates also came to a miserable end a little while after, owing to the same folly. For being invited to a banquet at which eunuchs of the king and of the queen-mother were present, he came decked out with raiment and gold which he had received from the king.
And when the company were at their cups, the chief eunuch of Parysatis said to him:
‘Mithridates, how beautiful this raiment is which the king gave thee, and how beautiful the collars and bracelets! Costly, too, is thy scimitar. Verily the king has made thee happy in the admiring eyes of all men.’ Then Mithridates, now flushed with wine, replied:
‘Sparamizes, what do these things amount to? Surely my services to the king on that day were worthy of greater and more beautiful gifts.’
Here Sparamizes smiled at him and said:
‘There's no grudging them to thee, Mithridates; but since, according to the Greek maxim, there is truth in wine, what great or brilliant exploit was it, my good fellow, to find a horse's trappings that had slipped off and bring them to the king?’ In saying this, Sparamizes was not ignorant of the truth, but he wished to unveil Mithridates to the company, and therefore slyly stirred up his vanity when wine had made him talkative and robbed him of self-control.
Accordingly, Mithridates threw away constraint and said:
‘Ye may talk as ye please about horse-trappings and such nonsense; but I declare to you explicitly that Cyrus was slain by this hand of mine; for I did not, like Artagerses, make a futile and an idle cast of spear, but I narrowly missed his eye, struck him in the temple, pierced it, and brought the man down; and it was of that wound that he died.’
The rest of the company, then, who already saw the end of Mithridates and his hapless fate, bowed their faces towards the ground; and their host said:
‘My good Mithridates, let us eat and drink now, revering the good genius of the king, and let us waive discourse that is too weighty for us.’