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Next we shall describe how Cyrus for the first1 time drove forth in state from his palace; and that is in place here, for the magnificence of his appearance in state seems to us to have been one of the arts that he devised to make his government command respect. Accordingly, before he started out, he called to him those of the Persians and of the allies who held office, and distributed Median robes among them (and this was the first time that the Persians put on the Median robe); and as he distributed them he said that he wished to proceed in state to the sanctuaries that had been selected for the gods, and to offer sacrifice there with his friends. [2] “Come, therefore, to court before sunrise, dressed in these robes,” said he, “and form in line as Pheraulas, the Persian, shall direct in my name; and when I lead the way, follow me in the order assigned to you. But if any one of you thinks that some other way would be better than that in which we shall now proceed, let him inform me as soon as we return, for everything must be arranged as you think best and most becoming.” [3]

And when he had distributed among the noblest the most beautiful garments, he brought out other Median robes, for he had had a great many made, with no stint of purple or sable or red or scarlet or crimson cloaks. He apportioned to each one of his officers his proper share of them, and he bade them adorn their friends with them, “just as I,” said he, “have been adorning you.” [4]

“And you, Cyrus,” asked one of those present, “when will you adorn yourself?”

“Why, do I not seem to you to be adorned myself when I adorn you?” he answered. “Be sure that if I can treat you, my friends, properly, I shall look well, no matter what sort of dress I happen to have on.” [5]

So they went away, sent for their friends, and adorned them with the robes.

Now Cyrus believed Pheraulas, that man of the2 common people, to be intelligent, to have an eye for beauty and order, and to be not indisposed to please him; (this was the same Pheraulas who had once supported his proposal that each man should be honoured in accordance with his merit;) so he called him in and with him planned how to arrange the procession in a manner that should prove most splendid in the eyes of his loyal friends and most intimidating to those who were disaffected. [6] And when after careful study they agreed on the arrangement, he bade Pheraulas see that the procession take place on the morrow exactly as they had decided was best. “And I have issued orders,” said he, “that everybody shall obey you in regard to the ordering of the procession; but, in order that they may the more readily follow your directions, take these tunics here and give them to the officers of the lancers, and these cavalry mantles here to the commanders of the horse; and give the officers of the chariot forces also these other tunics.”

So he took them and carried them away. [7] And when the officers one after another saw him, they would say: “You must be a great man, Pheraulas, seeing that you are to command even us what we must do.”

“No, by Zeus,” Pheraulas would answer; “not only not that, so it seems, but I am even to be one of the porters; at any rate, I am now carrying these two mantles here, the one for you, the other for some one else. You, however, shall have your choice.” [8]

With that, of course, the man who was receiving the mantle would at once forget about his jealousy and presently be asking his advice which one to choose. And he would give his advice as to which one was better and say: “If you betray that I have given you your choice, you will find me a different sort of servant the next time I come to serve.” And when Pheraulas had distributed everything as he had been instructed to do, he at once began to arrange for the procession that it might be as splendid as possible in every detail. [9]

When the next day dawned, everything was in3 order before sunrise; rows of soldiers stood on this side of the street and on that, just as even to this day the Persians stand, where the king is to pass; and within these lines no one may enter except those who hold positions of honour. And policemen with whips in their hands were stationed there, who struck any one who tried to crowd in.

First in order, in front of the gates stood about four thousand lancers, four deep, and two thousand on either side the gates. [10] And all the cavalry-men had alighted and stood there beside their horses, and they all had their hands thrust through the sleeves of their doublets,4 just as they do even to this day when the king sees them. The Persians stood on the right side of the street, the others, the allies, on the left, and the chariots were arranged in the same way, half on either side. [11]

Then, when the palace gates were thrown open, there were led out at the head of the procession four abreast some exceptionally handsome bulls for Zeus and for the other gods as the magi directed; for the Persians think that they ought much more scrupulously to be guided by those whose profession is with things divine than they are by those in other professions. [12] Next after the bulls came horses, a sacrifice for the Sun; and after them came a chariot sacred to Zeus; it was drawn by white horses and with a yoke of gold and wreathed with garlands; and next, for the Sun, a chariot drawn by white horses and wreathed with garlands like the other. After that came a third chariot with horses covered with purple trappings, and behind it followed men carrying fire on a great altar. [13]

Next after these Cyrus himself upon a chariot5 appeared in the gates wearing his tiara upright, a purple tunic shot with white (no one but the king may wear such a one), trousers of scarlet dye about his legs, and a mantle all of purple. He had also a fillet about his tiara, and his kinsmen also had the same mark of distinction, and they retain it even now. [14] His hands he kept outside his sleeves.6 With him rode a charioteer, who was tall, but neither in reality nor in appearance so tall as he; at all events, Cyrus looked much taller.

And when they saw him, they all prostrated themselves before him, either because some had been instructed to begin this act of homage, or because they were overcome by the splendour of his presence, or because Cyrus appeared so great and so goodly to look upon; at any rate, no one of the Persians had ever prostrated himself before Cyrus before. [15]

Then, when Cyrus's chariot had come forth,7 the four thousand lancers took the lead, and the two thousand fell in line on either side of his chariot; and his mace-bearers, about three hundred in number, followed next in gala attire, mounted, and equipped with their customary javelins. [16] Next-came Cyrus's private stud of horses, about two hundred in all, led along with gold-mounted bridles and covered over with embroidered housings. Behind these came two thousand spearmen, and after them the original ten thousand Persian cavalry, drawn up in a square with a hundred on each side; and Chrysantas was in command of them. [17] Behind them came ten thousand other Persian horsemen arranged in the same way with Hystaspas in command, and after them ten thousand more in the same formation with Datamas as their commander; following them, as many more with Gadatas in command. [18] And then followed in succession the cavalry of the Medes, Armenians, Hyrcanians, Cadusians, and Sacians; and behind the cavalry came the chariots ranged four abreast, and Artabatas, a Persian, had command of them. [19]

And as he proceeded, a great throng of people8 followed outside the lines with petitions to present to Cyrus, one about one matter, another about another. So he sent to them some of his mace-bearers, who followed, three on either side of his chariot, for the express purpose of carrying messages for him; and he bade them say that if any one wanted anything of him, he should make his wish known to some one of his cavalry officers and they, he said, would inform him. So the people at once fell back and made their way along the lines of cavalry, each considering what officer he should approach. [20]

From time to time Cyrus would send some one to call to him one by one those of his friends whom he wished to have most courted by the people, and would say to them: “If any one of the people following the procession tries to bring anything to your attention, if you do not think he has anything worth while to say, pay no attention to him; but if any one seems to you to ask what is fair, come and tell me, so that we may consult together and grant the petition.” [21]

And whenever he sent such summons, the9 men would ride up at full speed to answer it, thereby magnifying the majesty of Cyrus's authority and at the same time showing their eagerness to obey. There was but one exception: a certain Dai+phernes, a fellow rather boorish in his manners, though that he would show more independence if he did not obey at once. [22] Cyrus noticed this; and so, before Dai+phernes came and talked with him, he sent one of his mace-bearers privately to say that he had no more need of him; and he did not send for him again. [23] But when a man who was summoned later than Dai+phernes rode up to him sooner than he, Cyrus gave him one of the horses that were being led in the procession and gave orders to one of the macebearers to have it led away for him wherever he should direct. And to those who saw it it seemed to be a mark of great honour, and as a consequence of that event many more people paid court to that man. [24]

So, when they came to the sanctuaries, they10 performed the sacrifice to Zeus and made a holocaust of the bulls; then they gave the horses to the flames in honour of the Sun; next they did sacrifice to the Earth, as the magi directed, and lastly to the tutelary heroes of Syria. [25] And after that, as the locality seemed adapted to the purpose, he pointed out a goal about five stadia distant and commanded the riders, nation by nation, to put their horses at full speed toward it. Accordingly, he himself rode with the Persians and came in far ahead of the rest, for he had given especial attention to horsemanship. Among the Medes, Artabazus won the race, for the horse he had was a gift from Cyrus; among the Assyrians who had revolted to him, Gadatas secured the first place; among the Armenians, Tigranes; and among the Hyrcanians, the son of the master of the horse; but among the Sacians a certain private soldier with his horse actually outdistanced the rest by nearly half the course. [26] Thereupon Cyrus is said to have asked the young man if he would take a kingdom for his horse.

“No,” answered he; “I would not take a kingdom for him, but I would take the chance of laying up a store of gratitude with a brave man.” [27]

“Aye,” said Cyrus, “and I will show you11 where you could not fail to hit a brave man, even if you throw with your eyes shut.”

“All right, then,” said the Sacian; “show me; and I will throw this clod here.” And with that he picked one up. [28]

And Cyrus pointed out to him the place where most of his friends were. And the other, shutting his eyes, let fly with the clod and hit Pheraulas as he was riding by; for Pheraulas happened to be carrying some message under orders from Cyrus. But though he was hit, he did not so much as turn around but went on to attend to his commission. [29]

The Sacian opened his eyes and asked whom he had hit.

“None of those here, by Zeus,” said Cyrus.

“Well, surely it was not one of those who are not here,” said the youth.

“Yes, by Zeus,” said Cyrus, “it was; you hit that man who is riding so fast along the line of chariots yonder.”

“And why does he not even turn around?” said the youth. [30]

“Because he is crazy, I should think,” answered Cyrus.

On hearing this, the young man went to find out who it was. And he found Pheraulas with his chin covered with dirt and blood, for the blood had flowed from his nose where he had been struck; and when he came up to him he asked him if he had been hit. [31]

“As you see,” he answered.

“Well then,” said the other, “I will make you a present of this horse.”

“What for?” asked Pheraulas.

Then the Sacian related the circumstances and finally said: “And in my opinion, at least, I have not failed to hit a brave man.” [32]

“But you would give him to a richer man than I, if you were wise,” answered Pheraulas. “Still, even as it is, I will accept him. And I pray the gods, who have caused me to receive your blow, to grant me to see that you never regret your gift to me. And now,” said he, “mount my horse and ride away; I will join you presently.”

Thus they made the exchange.

Of the Cadusians, Rhathines was the winner. [33]

The chariots also he allowed to race by12 divisions; to all the winners he gave cups and cattle, so that they might sacrifice and have a banquet. He himself, then, took the ox as his prize, but his share of the cups he gave to Pheraulas because he thought that that officer, as grand marshal, had managed the procession from the palace admirably. [34]

The procession of the king, therefore, as thus instituted by Cyrus, continues even so unto this day, except that the victims are omitted when the king does not offer sacrifice.

When it was all over, they went back to the13 city to their lodgings—those to whom houses had been given, to their homes; those who had none, to their company's quarters. [35]

Pheraulas invited to his house the Sacian14 also, who had given him his horse, and entertained his new friend there and made bountiful provision for him in every way; and when they had dined, he filled up the cups that he had received from Cyrus, drank to his health, and then gave him the cups. [36]

And when the Sacian saw the many beautiful coverlets, the many beautiful pieces of furniture, and the large number of servants, he said: “Pray tell me, Pheraulas, were you a rich man at home, too?” [37]

“Rich, indeed!” answered Pheraulas; “nay rather, as everybody knows, one of those who lived by the labour of their hands. To be sure, my father, who supported us by hard labour and close economy on his own part, managed to give me the education of the boys; but when I became a young man, he could not support me in idleness, and so he took me off to the farm and put me to work. [38] And there, as long as he lived, I, in turn, supported him by digging and planting a very little plot of ground. It was really not such a very bad plot of ground, but, on the contrary, the most honest; for all the seed that15 it received it returned fairly and honestly, and yet with no very great amount of interest. And sometimes, in a fit of generosity, it would even return to me twice as much as it received. Thus, then, I used to live at home; but now everything that you see has been given to me by Cyrus.” [39]

“What a happy fellow you must be,” said the Sacian, “for every reason, but particularly because from being poor you have become rich. For you must enjoy your riches much more, I think, for the very reason that it was only after being hungry for wealth that you became rich.” [40]

“Why, do you actually suppose, my Sacian16 friend,” answered Pheraulas, “that the more I own, the more happily I live? You are not aware,” he went on, “that it gives me not one whit more pleasure to eat and drink and sleep now than it did when I was poor. My only gain from having so much is that I am obliged to take care of more, distribute more to others, and have the trouble of looking after more than I used to have. [41] For now many domestics look to me for food, many for drink, and many for clothes, while some need doctors; and one comes to me with a tale about sheep attacked by wolves, or of oxen killed by falling over a precipice, or to say that some disease has broken out among the cattle. And so it looks to me,” said Pheraulas, “as if I had more trouble now through possessing much than I used to have from possessing little.” [42]

“But still, by Zeus,” said the Sacian, “when everything is going well, you must at the sight of so many blessings be many times as happy as I.”

“The pleasure that the possession of wealth gives, my good Sacian,” said Pheraulas, “is not nearly so great as the pain that is caused by its loss. And you shall be convinced that what I say is true: for not one of those who are rich is made sleepless for joy, but of those who lose anything you will not see one who is able to sleep for grief.” [43]

“Not so, by Zeus,” said the Sacian; “but of those who get anything not one could you see who gets a wink of sleep for very joy.” [44]

“True,” said the other; “for, you see, if having were as pleasant as getting, the rich would be incomparably happier than the poor. But, you see, my good Sacian, it is also a matter of course that he who has much should also spend much both in the service of the gods and for his friends and for the strangers within his gates. Let me assure you, therefore, that any one who takes inordinate pleasure in the possession of money is also inordinately distressed at having to part with it.” [45]

“Aye, by Zeus,” answered the Sacian; “but I am not one of that sort; my idea of happiness is both to have much and also to spend much.” [46]

“In the name of the gods, then,” said17 Pheraulas, “please make yourself happy at once and make me happy, too! Take all this and own it and use it as you wish. And as for me, you need do no more than keep me as a guest—aye, even more sparingly than a guest, for I shall be content to share whatever you have.” [47]

“You are joking,” said the Sacian.

But Pheraulas assured him with an oath that he was really in earnest in what he proposed. “And I will get you other favours besides from Cyrus, my Sacian—exemption from attending at court and from serving in the field; you may just stay at home with your wealth. I will attend to those other duties for you as well as for myself; and if I secure anything more of value either through my attendance upon Cyrus or from some campaign, I will bring it to you, so that you may have still more wealth at your command. Only deliver me from this care. For if you will relieve me of its burden, I think you will do a great service also to Cyrus as well as to myself.” [48]

When they had thus talked things over together, they came to an agreement according to this last suggestion and proceeded to act upon it. And the one thought that he had been made a happy man because he had command of great riches, while the other considered himself most blessed because he was to have a steward who would give him leisure to do only whatever was pleasant to him. [49]

Now, Pheraulas was naturally a “good fellow,”18 and nothing seemed to him so pleasant or so useful as to serve other people. For he held man to be the best and most grateful of all creatures, since he saw that when people are praised by any one they are very glad to praise him in turn; and when any one does them a favour, they try to do him one in return; when they recognize that any one is kindly disposed toward them they return his good-will; and when they know that any one loves them they cannot dislike him; and he noticed especially that they strive more earnestly than any other creature to return the loving care of parents both during their parents' lifetime and after their death; whereas all other creatures, he knew, were both more thankless and more unfeeling than man. [50]

And so Pheraulas was19 greatly delighted to think that he could be rid of the care of all his worldly goods and devote himself to his friends; and the Sacian, on his part, was delighted to think that he was to have much and enjoy much. And the Sacian loved Pheraulas because he was always bringing him something more; and Pheraulas loved the Sacian because he was willing to take charge of everything; and though the Sacian had continually more in his charge, none the more did he trouble Pheraulas about it.

Thus these two continued to live.

1 Cyrus plans to appear in state

2 Pheraulas is made grand marshal II. iii. 7 ff.

3 The formation of the line of the procession

4 The Persians were obliged, in the presence of the king, to thrust their hands inside the sleeves of their doublets in token of their submission to royalty: moreover, with the hands thus withdrawn, no act of violence was possible. Cyrus, the Younger, is said to have had two of his kinsmen executed for their failure to observe this regulation. Xen. Hell. 2.1.8

5 Cyrus appears in the procession

6 The Persians were obliged, in the presence of the king, to thrust their hands inside the sleeves of their doublets in token of their submission to royalty: moreover, with the hands thus withdrawn, no act of violence was possible. Cyrus, the Younger, is said to have had two of his kinsmen executed for their failure to observe this regulation. Xen. Hell. 2.1.8

7 The procession itself

8 How Cyrus received petitions

9 Discourtesy toward the king rebuked

10 The sacrifice and the races

11 Pheraulas gets a blow and a horse

12 The chariot race

13 The procession comes to an end

14 Pheraulas entertains the Sacian

15 Cf. Vergil, Georgics i. 4 Menander, Georgos 35

16 He complains of the burden of riches

17 Pheraulas gets rid of his burden of wealth

18 He delights to serve others

19 An unusual partnership

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  • Cross-references to this page (5):
    • A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), DIADE´MA
    • A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), MA´NICA
    • A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), TIARA
    • William Watson Goodwin, Syntax of the Moods and Tenses of the Greek Verb, Chapter IV
    • Smith's Bio, Arsa'cidae
  • Cross-references in notes from this page (1):
    • Xenophon, Hellenica, 2.1.8
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