While Cyrus was thus occupied, messengers1
came as if providentially from the Hyrcanians. Now the Hyrcanians are neighbours of the Assyrians; they are not a large nation; and for that reason they also were subjects of the Assyrians. Even then they had a reputation for being good horsemen, and they have that reputation still. For this reason the Assyrians used to employ them as the Spartans do the Sciritae, sparing them neither in hardships nor in dangers. And on that particular occasion they were ordered to bring up the rear (they were cavalrymen about a thousand strong), in order that, if any danger should threaten from behind, they might have to bear the brunt of it instead of the Assyrians.