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Once when Cyrus was holding a general review1 and parade of all his men under arms, a messenger came from Cyaxares saying that an embassy had arrived from India. “He therefore bids you come as soon as possible. Moreover,” said the messenger, “I am bringing you a very beautiful robe from Cyaxares; for he expressed the wish that you appear as brilliant and splendid as possible when you come, for the Indians will see how you approach him.” [2]

And when Cyrus heard this, he gave orders to the captain who was stationed first to take his stand at the head of the line, bringing up his company in single file and keeping himself to the right; he told him to transmit the same order to the second captain and to pass it on through all the lines. And they obeyed at once and passed the order on, and they all executed it promptly, and in a little while they were three hundred abreast on the front line, for that was the number of the captains, and a hundred men deep. [3]

And when they had got into their places, he ordered them to follow as he himself should lead. And at once he led them off at a double quick step. But when he became aware that the street leading to the king's headquarters was too narrow to admit all his men with such a front, he ordered the first regiment in their present order to follow him, the second to fall in behind the first, and so on through them all, while he himself led on without stopping to rest, and the other regiments followed, each the one before it. [4]

And he sent also two adjutants to the entrance of the street, to tell what was to be done, if any one did not understand. And when they arrived at Cyaxares's doors, he ordered the first captain to draw up his company twelve deep, while the sergeants were to take their places on the front line about the king's headquarters. He bade him transmit the same orders to the second captain, and so on to all the rest; [5] and they proceeded to do so, while he presented2 himself before Cyaxares in his Persian dress, which was not at all showy. When Cyaxares saw him, he was pleased at his promptness but displeased with the plainness of his dress and said: “How is this, Cyrus? What do you mean by appearing thus before the Indians? Now I wished you to appear with as much magnificence as possible, for it would have been a mark of respect to me to have my sister's son appear in all possible grandeur.” [6]

“Should I be showing you more respect, Cyaxares,” Cyrus made reply to this, “if I arrayed myself in purple and adorned myself with bracelets and put on a necklace and at my leisure obeyed your orders, than I have in obeying you with such dispatch and accompanied by so large and so efficient an army? And I have come myself adorned with sweat and marks of haste to honour you and I present the others likewise obedient to you.”

Thus Cyrus spoke, and Cyaxares recognizing that he was right summoned the Indians. [7] And when3 the Indians came in they said that the king of India had sent them with orders to ask on what ground the Medes and the Assyrians had declared war. “And he has ordered us,” they said, “when we have heard your statement, to go also to the Assyrian and ask him the same question; and finally, he bade us say to both of you that the king of India declared that when he was weighed the merits of the case, he will side with the party wronged.” [8]

“Well, then,” Cyaxares made reply to this, “let me tell you that we are not guilty of doing any wrong to the Assyrian; but go now, if you wish, and ask him what he has to say.”

Cyrus, who was present, asked Cyaxares, “May I also tell them what I think?” And Cyaxares bade him say on.

“Well then,” said he, “if Cyaxares has no objection, tell the king of India that we propose, in case the Assyrian says he has been wronged by us, to choose the king of India himself to be our arbitrator.”

Upon hearing this, they went away. [9] And when they had gone out, Cyrus addressed Cyaxares as follows:

“Cyaxares, I came from home without very much4 money of my own, and of what I had I have very little left. I have spent it,” he said, “upon my soldiers. Now you wonder, perhaps, how I have spent it upon them, when you are maintaining them; but I want you to know that it has gone for nothing else than rewards and entertainments, whenever I am pleased with any of my soldiers. [10] For,” said he, “in the case of all those whom one wishes to make efficient coadjutors in any enterprise of any sort whatsoever, it seems to me pleasanter to draw them on by kind words and kind services rather than by compulsion and force; but in the case of those whom one wishes to make enthusiastic followers in his plans of war, one must by all means try to capture them with kind words and kind offices. For those men who are to be trusty comrades, who will not envy their commander in his successes nor betray him in his adversity, must be his friends and not his enemies. [11] Accordingly, as I recognize this in advance, I think I need more money. However, it seems to me unreasonable for every one to be looking to you, who, I observe, are put to great expense; but I think that you and I should together lay plans that funds may never fail you. For if you have plenty, I am sure it would be possible for me to draw money whenever I needed it, especially if I should take it to spend for something that would be more to your advantage also. [12]

“Now I remember hearing you say one day5 recently that the Armenian king despises you now, because he has heard that the enemy are coming against you, and that therefore he is neither sending troops nor paying the tribute which is due.”

“Yes, Cyrus,” he answered; “that is just what he is doing; and so, for my part, I am in doubt whether it is better to proceed against him and try to enforce allegiance or to let him alone for the present, for fear we bring him also upon us as an enemy, in addition to the others.” [13]

“But his residences,” asked Cyrus, “are they all in fortified places or are perhaps some of them in places easy of approach?”

“His residences,” answered Cyaxares, “are in places not very well fortified; I did not fail to attend to that. However, there are mountains where he could take refuge and for a time be safe from falling into our hands himself, and where he could insure the safety of whatever he could have carried up there secretly, unless some one should occupy the approaches and hold him in siege, as my father did.” [14]

“Well,” Cyrus then made answer, “if you would give me as many horsemen as you think reasonable and send me there, I think that with the help of the gods I could make him send the troops and pay the tribute to you. And besides, I hope that he will be made a better friend to us than he now is.” [15]

“I also have hopes,” Cyaxares replied, “that they would come to you sooner than to me; for I understand that some of his sons were among your companions in the chase; and so, perhaps, they would join you again. And if they should fall into your hands, everything would be accomplished as we wish.”

“Well then,” said Cyrus, “do you think it good policy to have this plan of ours kept a secret?”

“Yes, indeed,” said Cyaxares; “for then some of them would be more likely to fall into our hands, and besides, if one were to attack them, they would be taken unprepared.” [16]

“Listen then,” said Cyrus, “and see if you6 think there is anything in what I say. Now I have often hunted with all my forces near the boundary between your country and the Armenians, and have even gone there with some horsemen from among my companions here.”

“And so,” said Cyaxares, “if you were to do the same again, you would excite no suspicion; but if they should notice that your force was much larger than that with which you used to hunt, this would at once look suspicious.” [17]

“But,” said Cyrus, “it is possible to devise a pretext that will be credited both here and also there, if some one bring them word that I wish to institute a great hunt; and horsemen I should ask of you openly.”

“A very clever scheme!” said Cyaxares; “and I shall refuse to give you more than a reasonable number, on the ground that I wish to visit the outposts on the Assyrian border. And that will be no lie, for in reality,” said he, “I do wish to go there and to make them as strong as possible. And when you have gone ahead with the forces you have and have already been hunting for two days, I will send you a sufficient number of the cavalry and infantry that are mustered with me, and you may take them and make an inroad at once. And I myself, with the rest of my forces, will try to be not far away from you, to make my appearance upon the scene, should occasion require it.” [18]

Thereupon Cyaxares at once proceeded to get his cavalry and infantry together for visiting the outposts, and to send out wagon-loads of provisions on the road to the outposts. But Cyrus proceeded to offer sacrifice in behalf of his expedition, and at the same time he sent to Cyaxares and asked for some of his younger horsemen. But, although very many wished to go along, Cyaxares would not give him many.

Now after Cyaxares with his forces of cavalry and infantry had already started off on the road to the outposts, Cyrus's sacrifice turned out favourable for proceeding against the Armenian. Accordingly, he led his men out equipped as if for hunting. [19]

And as he proceeded on his way, in the very first field a hare started up. And an eagle flying up from the east7 caught sight of the hare as it ran and swooping down struck it, seized it, and carried it up, then bore it away to a hill not far off and disposed of his prey at his pleasure. Then Cyrus, observing the omen, was delighted and did homage to Sovereign Zeus and said to those who were by: “Our hunt, comrades, please God, will be successful.” [20]

When they arrived at the frontier, he at once8 proceeded to hunt, as he used to do; and the most of his men, on foot and on horseback, were marching in a straight line before him, in order to start up the game as they approached. But the best of his foot and horse stood at intervals and lay in wait for what was started up, and pursued it in relays. And they took many boars, deer, antelope, and wild asses; for many wild asses breed in those regions even unto this day. [21]

And when he stopped hunting, he marched up to the Armenian border and dined; and on the following day, he went up to the mountains toward which he was aiming and hunted again. And when again he stopped, he sat down to dinner; but when he saw the army from Cyaxares approaching, he sent to them secretly and bade them take their dinner at a distance of about two parasangs, for he foresaw that this also would contribute to the secrecy of his design; but he ordered their commander to come to him when they had finished their dinner. Then, after dinner, he called together his captains; and when they had come he addressed them as follows: [22]

“My friends, the Armenian king formerly was9 both an ally and a dependent of Cyaxares; but now since he has seen the enemy coming upon us, he is insolent and neither sends us his complement of soldiers nor pays his tribute. Now, therefore, he is the game we have come to catch, if we can. And here is the plan that I think we should pursue: do you, Chrysantas, when you10 have had as much rest as you reasonably need, take half of the Persians who are with us, and following the mountain road take possession of the heights to which they say he flees for refuge when anything alarms him. I will furnish you with guides. [23]

Now they say that these mountains are thickly wooded, and so I have hopes of your not being seen. Nevertheless, suppose you send ahead of your army some active men, in the guise of brigands both as to numbers and accountrements; these, if they met any Armenians, would capture them and so prevent their spreading any reports; or, if they failed to capture them, they would frighten them away and so prevent their seeing the whole of your army, and would thus cause them to take precautions as against only a band of thieves. [24] Do you, then,” said he, “do this; but I, at break of day, with half the infantry and all the cavalry, will proceed through the plain straight toward the capital. And if he resists, we shall have to fight, of course; and if he abandons the field, of course we shall have to chase him; but if he flees to the mountain, then it is your business not to let any one of those who come your way escape. [25]

And bear in mind that, just as in hunting, we shall be the ones beating out the game, you the man in charge of the nets. Remember this, then, that the runs must be blocked before the game starts; and those at the entrance to those runs must keep out of sight, if they are not to turn the animals aside as they come on. [26] However,” he added, “do not in this case do as you sometimes do, Chrysantas, in your fondness for hunting: you often keep yourself busy all night without sleeping; but now you should let your men rest long enough, so that they may be able to resist drowsiness. [27]

“Again, do not, because you personally are accustomed to wander up and down the mountains without following human guides but running after the game wherever it leads you—do not now go into such dangerous and difficult places, but order your guides to lead you by the easiest road, unless it is much too long; for the easiest road is the shortest for an army. [28]

And do not lead your men at a run because you are used to running up mountains, but lead with moderate haste, that your army may be able to follow you easily. [29] And it is a good thing for some of the strongest and most zealous to fall back sometimes and encourage the rest; and when the column has passed by them, it is an incentive to all to hasten when these are seen running past them as they walk.” [30]

On hearing this, Chrysantas was elated with his commission from Cyrus; he took his guides and went away, and after giving what orders he thought necessary to those who were to go with him he went to rest. And when they had slept as long as he thought reasonable, he started for the mountains. [31]

And when it was day, Cyrus sent forward a11 messenger to the Armenian with instructions to speak to him as follows: “‘King of Armenia, Cyrus bids you take steps as quickly as possible to deliver to him the tribute and the troops.’ And if he asks where I am, tell the truth and say that I am at the frontier. And if he asks whether I also am coming in person, tell the truth in that case also and say that you do not know. But if he inquires how many men we are, bid him send some one along with you and find out.” [32]

With such instructions he sent the messenger off, for he thought that this was a more friendly course than to march upon him without notice. And he himself set out with his army in the formation which he thought best adapted both for covering distance and for fighting if necessary. He ordered his soldiers to molest no one, and, if any one met any Armenians, to bid them have no fear but to say that if any one of them wished to sell food or drink, he should feel free to bring it wherever they were and open a market.

1 An embassy from India

2 Cyrus presents himself and his army

3 The audience

4 Cyrus calls upon Cyaxares for funds

5 The Armenian defection

6 Cyrus's scheme to entrap the Armenian

7 αἴσιος means, strictly speaking, “auspicious,” “bringing (good) omens;” and good omens came from the east, the home of light.

8 The hunt on the Armenian frontier

9 Cyrus lays his real design before his captains

10 His instructions to Chrysantas

11 Cyrus's ultimatum

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