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On the morrow Cyrus took with him Tigranes,1 the best of the Median horsemen, and as many of his own friends as he thought proper, and rode around to inspect the country with a view to finding a place in which to build a fort. And when he had come to a certain eminence he asked Tigranes which were the mountains from which the Chaldaeans were accustomed to descend to make forays into the country. And Tigranes pointed them out. And again he asked: “And are these mountains now unoccupied?”

“No, by Zeus,” said he; “but they always have scouts up there who signal to the rest whatever they see.”

“Then,” said he, “what do they do, when they receive the signals?”

“They run out to the heights to help,” said he, “each as best he can.” [2]

Such was the account to which Cyrus listened; and as he looked he observed that a large portion of the Armenians' country was deserted and uncultivated as a result of the war. And then they went back to camp and after they had dined they went to rest. [3]

On the following day Tigranes presented himself with his baggage all ready for the start; and under his command were assembled about four thousand horsemen and about ten thousand bowmen and as many peltasts besides.

While they had been coming together, Cyrus had been sacrificing; and when his sacrifice gave favourable omens, he called a meeting of the officers of the Persians and of the Medes; [4] and when they were come together, he spoke as follows:

“My friends, these mountains which we see belong to Chaldaea; but if we should seize them and have a fort of our own built upon the summit, both parties—the Armenians, I mean, and the Chaldaeans—would have to behave with discretion toward us. Now, the sacrifices give us favourable omens; but, for the execution of our plan, nothing would be so strong an ally to human zeal as dispatch. For if we get up there before the enemy have time to come together, we may gain possession of the heights altogether without a battle, or we may at least find enemies few in number and without strength. [5]

“Of the tasks before us, therefore, none is2 easier or less fraught with danger,” said he, “than now bravely to endure the strain of haste. Therefore, to arms! And....

“You, Medes, march on our left; and you, Armenians, half keep to our right and half lead on in front; while you, cavalrymen, shall follow behind, to encourage and push us on upward; and if any one is inclined to show weakness, do not allow it.” [6]

With this command Cyrus brought his companies to ploy into column and took his place at their head. And when the Chaldaeans realized that the movement was directed toward the heights, they immediately gave the signal to their people, called to one another to assemble, and began to come together.

And Cyrus gave command: “Fellow-Persians, they are signalling us to hasten; for if we get up there first, the enemy's efforts will be of no avail.” [7]

Now the Chaldaeans carried each a wicker shield and two spears, and they were said to be the most warlike of the peoples in that region. They also serve for hire when any one wants them, for they are fond of war and poor of purse; for their country is mountainous and only a small part of it is productive. [8]

But when Cyrus and his men were getting3 nearer to the heights, Tigranes, who was marching with Cyrus, said: “Do you know, Cyrus, that we ourselves shall have to do the fighting, and in a very few moments? For the Armenians, I am sure, will never sustain the enemy's attack.”

Cyrus answered that he knew that and gave the command to the Persians to make ready, as it would be necessary in a moment to give chase, as soon as the Armenians by pretending flight should decoy the enemy into close quarters. [9]

So the Armenians led on. And when they came near, the Chaldaeans already there raised the battle cry, according to their custom, and charged upon them. And the Armenians, according to their custom, failed to sustain the charge. [10] But when the Chaldaeans in pursuit saw before them the swordsmen rushing up against them, some came near and were cut down at once, others fled, and some others of their number were taken prisoners; and soon the heights were taken. And when Cyrus and his men were in possession of the heights, they looked down on the dwellings of the Chaldaeans and saw the people fleeing from their homes near by. [11]

Then when the soldiers were all together, Cyrus bade his men take luncheon; and when they had lunched and he had discovered that the place where the scouts had their posts of observation was strong and well supplied with water, he at once proceeded to build a fort there. He also bade Tigranes send for his father and bid him come with all the carpenters and masons that he had. So a messenger was off to bring the Armenian king, but Cyrus proceeded to build the wall with the men he had at hand. [12]

At this juncture they brought to Cyrus the4 prisoners in chains and also some that had been wounded. And when he saw them he at once ordered that the fetters be taken off, and he sent for surgeons and bade them attend to the wounded men. And then he told the Chaldaeans that he had come with no wish to destroy them and with no desire to make war, but because he wished to make peace between the Armenians and the Chaldaeans.

“Now I know that before the heights were taken you had no wish at all for peace, for everything of yours was secure, while you carried off and plundered the property of the Armenians; but now see in what a predicament you are! [13]

Now I am going to let you who have been captured go home and consult with the rest of the Chaldaeans whether you wish to have war with us or to be our friends. And if you choose war, do not come this way again without weapons, if you are wise; but if you decide that you desire peace, come without arms. I shall see to it that you have no cause to complain, if you become our friends.” [14]

And when the Chaldaeans heard this, they commended Cyrus highly, shook hands with him heartily, and departed for home.

Now, when the king of Armenia received Cyrus's summons and heard of his plans, he came to Cyrus as quickly as he could with the carpenters and all that he thought was necessary. [15] And when he saw Cyrus, he said: “How little of5 the future, Cyrus, we mortals can foresee, and yet how much we try to accomplish. Why, just now, when I was striving to secure liberty, I became more a slave than ever before; and when we were taken prisoners, we then thought our destruction certain, but we now find that we are saved as never before. For those who never ceased to do us no end of injury I now behold in just the condition that I desired. [16] And believe me, Cyrus,” said he, “when I say that to have driven the Chaldaeans from these heights I would have given many times as much money as you now have from me; and the benefit that you promised to do us, when you received the money, you have already conferred so fully that we obviously now owe you a new debt of gratitude besides; and we on our part, if we have not lost all self-respect, should be ashamed if we did not repay it to you.' [17]

Thus the Armenian king spoke.

Now the Chaldaeans had come back with the request that Cyrus should make peace with them. And Cyrus asked them: “Is this the reason that you, Chaldaeans, now desire peace, because you think, that since we are in possession of these heights, you could live in greater security if we had peace than if we were at war?”

The Chaldaeans assented. [18]

“And what,” said he, “if still other blessings should accrue to you as a result of the proposed peace?”

“We should be still more pleased,” they answered.

“Well,” said he, “do you think that you are now poor for any other reason than because you have so little fertile land?”

In this also they agreed with him.

“Well then,” said Cyrus, “would you avail yourselves of the permission to till as much Armenian land as you wish on condition that you paid in full just as much rental as other tenants in Armenia do?”

“Yes,” said the Chaldaeans, “if we could be sure of not being molested.” [19]

“Tell me, King of Armenia,” said he, “would you be willing that that land of yours which now lies uncultivated should be cultivated, if those who cultivate it would pay you the usual rental?”

The Armenian answered that he would give a great deal to have it so; for in this way his revenues would be greatly increased. [20]

“And tell me, Chaldaeans,” said he, “seeing that you have fine mountains, would you be willing to let the Armenians pasture their herds there, if the herdsmen would pay you what is fair?”

The Chaldaeans said they would; for they would get large profits by it, without any labour on their own part.

“And you, King of Armenia,” said he, “would you be willing to rent their pasture lands, if by letting the Chaldaeans have a little profit you were to get much greater profit for yourself?”

“Why, of course,” said he, “if I thought I could pasture my cattle there in security.”

“Well then,” said he, “could you pasture them there in security, if the heights were in the possession of your friends?”

“Yes,” said the Armenian. [21]

“But, by Zeus,” said the Chaldaeans, “we could not even work our own farms in security, to say nothing of theirs, if they were to have possession of the heights.”

“But,” said Cyrus, “suppose on the other hand that the heights were in the possession of your friends?”

“In that case,” they answered, “we should be all right.”

“But, by Zeus,” said the Armenian, “we, on our part, should not be all right, if they are again to get possession of the heights, especially now that they have been fortified.” [22]

“This then,” said Cyrus, “is what I shall6 do: I shall not give possession of the heights to either of you, but we shall keep a garrison there ourselves; and if either of you does wrong, we shall side with the injured party.” [23]

And when they heard this proposal, both sides gave it their approval and said that only in this way could the peace be effective; and upon these conditions they interchanged assurances of friendship, and agreed that each party should be independent of the other, that there should be the right of intermarriage and of mutual tillage and pasturage in each other's territory, and that there should be a defensive alliance, in case any one should injure either party. [24]

Such, then, was the agreement entered into at that time; and to this day the covenants which were then made between the Chaldaeans and the king of Armenia still continue in force. And when the treaty was made, they both together began with enthusiasm at once to build the fort for their common protection, and then together they stocked it with provisions. [25]

When evening was drawing on, he entertained both sides, now made friends, as his guests at dinner. And while the party was in progress, one of the7 Chaldaeans said that to all the rest of them this state of affairs was desirable; but there were some of the Chaldaeans, so they said, who lived by plundering and would not know how to farm and could not, for they were used to making their living by the business of war; for they were always making raids or serving as mercenaries; they were often in the service of the Indian king (and he paid well, they said, for he was a very wealthy man) and often in the service of Astyages. [26]

“Then why do they not enter my service now?” asked Cyrus; “I will pay as much as any one ever did.”

They assented and said that the volunteers would be many. [27]

These terms were thus agreed upon; and8 when Cyrus heard that the Chaldaeans made frequent trips to the Indian king, remembering that representatives from him had once come to Media to investigate conditions there and had then visited the enemy to inquire into theirs also, he wished to have him learn what he had done. [28] Accordingly, he began to speak as follows:

“King of Armenia,” said he, “and you Chaldaeans, tell me—if I should now send one of my men to the Indian king, would you send along some of yours to conduct him on the way and to co-operate with him in getting what I want from the king of India? Now I should like to have more money, in order to be in a position both to pay generous wages when I ought, and to honour with rewards those of my fellow-soldiers who deserve it; and the reason why I wish to have a generous a supply of money as possible is that I expect to need it, and I shall be glad to spare yours; for I now count you among my friends; but from the Indian king I should be glad to accept a contribution, if he would offer it. [29]

“Now, when the messenger, to whom I am asking you to furnish guides and co-workers, arrives there, he will speak on this wise: ‘King of India, Cyrus has sent me to you; he says that he needs more funds, for he is expecting another army from his home in Persia’—and that is true,” said he, “for I am expecting one—‘if, therefore, you will send him as much as you conveniently can, he says that if God will give him good success, he will try to make you think that you were well advised in doing him this favour.' [30]

This my envoy will say; do you now, in your turn, give your representatives such instructions as you think expedient for you. And if we get anything thing from him, we shall have more abundant funds to use; and if we do not, we shall know that we owe him no thanks, but may, as far as he is concerned, settle everything with a view to our own interests.” [31]

Thus Cyrus spoke; and he believed that those of the Armenians and Chaldaeans who were to go would say such things of him as he desired all men to say and to hear of him. And then, when it was time, the banquet came to an end, and they went to rest.

1 Preparations for the conquest of Chaldaea

2 He hurls his army into the Chaldaean mountains

3 The battle

4 He releases the prisoners

5 The Armenian king expresses his gratification

6 Cyrus guarantees peace between them

7 Chaldaean mercenaries

8 Cyrus proposes an embassy to India

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  • Cross-references to this page (2):
    • William Watson Goodwin, Syntax of the Moods and Tenses of the Greek Verb, Chapter IV
    • Smith's Bio, Tigra'nes
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