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Early on the following day Cyrus was sacrificing,1 and the rest of the army, after breakfasting and pouring libations, proceeded to array themselves with many fine tunics and corselets and helms. And they armed their horses also with frontlets and breastplates; the saddle-horses also they armed with thigh-pieces and the chariot teams with side-armour. And so the whole army flashed with bronze and was resplendent in purple. [2]

And Abradatas's chariot with its four poles and2 eight horses was adorned most handsomely; and when he came to put on his linen corselet, such as they used in his country, Panthea brought him one of gold, also a helmet, arm-pieces, broad bracelets for his wrists—all of gold—and a purple tunic that hung down in folds to his feet, and a helmet-plume of hyacinth dye. All these she had had made without her husband's knowledge, taking the measure for them from his armour. [3] And when he saw them he was astonished and turning to Panthea, he asked: “Tell me, wife, you did not break your own jewels to pieces, did you, to have this armour made for me?”

“No, by Zeus,” answered Panthea, “at any rate, not my most precious jewel; for you, if you appear to others as you seem to me, shall be my noblest jewel.”

With these words, she began to put the armour on him, and though she tried to conceal them, the tears stole down her cheeks. [4]

And when Abradatas was armed in his panoply he looked most handsome and noble, for he had been favoured by nature and, even unadorned, was well worth looking at; and taking the reins from his groom he was now making ready to mount his chariot. [5] But at this moment Panthea bade all who stood near to retire and then she said: “Abradatas, if ever any3 woman loved her husband more than her own life, I think you know that I, too, am such a one. Why, then, should I tell of these things one by one? For I think that my conduct has given you better proof of it than any words I now might say. [6] Still, with the affection that you know I have for you, I swear to you by my love for you and yours for me that, of a truth, I would far rather go down into the earth with you, if you approve yourself a gallant soldier, than live disgraced with one disgraced: so worthy of the noblest lot have I deemed both you and myself. [7] And to Cyrus I think we owe a very large debt of gratitude, because, when I was his prisoner and allotted to him, he did not choose to keep me either as his slave or as a freewoman under a dishonourable name, but took me and kept me for you as one would a brother's wife. [8] And then, too, when Araspas, who had been charged with my keeping, deserted him, I promised him that if he would let me send to you, a far better and truer friend than Araspas would come to him, in you.” [9]

Thus she spoke; and Abradatas, touched by4 her words, laid his hand upon her head and lifting up his eyes toward heaven prayed, saying: “Grant me, I pray, almighty Zeus, that I may show myself a husband worthy of Panthea and a friend worthy of Cyrus, who has shown us honour.”

As he said this, he mounted his car by the doors in the chariot-box. [10] And when he had entered and the groom closed the box, Panthea, not knowing how else she could now kiss him good-bye, touched her lips to the chariot-box. And then at once his chariot rolled away, but she followed after, unknown to him, until Abradatas turned round and saw her and said: “Have a brave heart, Panthea, and farewell! And now go back.” [11]

Then the eunuchs and maid-servants took her and conducted her to her carriage, where they bade her recline, and hid her completely from view with the hood of the carriage. And the people, beautiful as was the sight of Abradatas and his chariat, had no eyes for him, until Panthea was gone. [12]

Now when Cyrus found the omens from his sacrifice favourable, and when his army was arranged as he had instructed, he had posts of observation occupied, one in advance of another, and then called his generals together and addressed them as follows: [13] “Friends and allies, the gods have sent us omens5 from the sacrifice just like those we had when they gave the former victory into our hands. So I wish to remind you of some things which, if you will remember them, I think will make you go into battle with much stouter hearts. [14] On the one hand, you have received much better training in the arts of war than the enemy, you have lived together and drilled together in the same place for a much longer time now than they, and together you have won a victory; most of the enemy, on the other hand, have together suffered defeat. Some on both sides, however, were not in the battle; among these our enemies know that they have traitors by their sides, while you who are with us know that you are doing battle in company with those who are glad to stand by their comrades. [15] And it is a matter of course that those who trust one another will stand their ground and fight with one heart and mind, and that those who distrust each other will necessarily be scheming, each how he may get out of the way as quickly as possible. [16]

“Therefore, my men, let us go against the enemy, to fight in a hand-to-hand encounter, with our chariots armed, against theirs unarmed; and our horses and riders in like manner armed, against theirs unarmed. [17] The infantry that you will fight against, you have fought before—all but the Egyptians; and they are armed and drawn up alike badly; for with those big shields which they have they cannot do anything or see anything; and drawn up a hundred deep, it is clear that they will hinder one another from fighting—all except a few. [18] But if they believe that by rushing they will rush us off the field, they will first have to sustain the charge of horses and of steel driven upon them by the force of horses; and if any of them should hold his ground, how will he be able to fight at the same time against cavalry and phalanxes and towers? And that he will have to do, for those upon our towers will come to our aid and raining their missiles upon the enemy will drive them to distraction rather than to fighting. [19]

“Still, if you think we need anything more, tell me; for with the help of the gods, we shall lack for nothing. So, if any one wishes to make any remarks, let him speak. If not, do you go to the place of sacrifice and pray to the gods to whom we have sacrificed and then go back to your posts. [20] And each one of you remind his own men of what I have called to your attention, and let each man prove to those whom he commands that he is himself worthy of command, by showing himself fearless in his bearing, in his countenance, and in his words.”

1 They prepare for battle

2 Panthea arrays Abradatas for the battle

3 She exhorts him to bravery

4 The parting

5 Cyrus analyses the situation

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  • Cross-references to this page (5):
    • Harper's, Bracchiālé
    • A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), HARMAMAXA
    • A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), JUSJURANDUM
    • A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), LORI´CA
    • A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), PHA´LERAE
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