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So when they all came with sickles as ordered, Cyrus commanded them to reclaim in one day a thorny tract of Persia, of two and one quarter or two and one half miles each way in extent. The Persians accomplished the task appointed; Cyrus then commanded them to wash themselves and come the next day; meanwhile, collecting his father's goats and sheep and oxen in one place, he slaughtered and prepared them as a feast for the Persian host, providing also wine and all the foods that were most suitabl
or their present pastime.
They answered that the difference was great: all yesterday they had had nothing but evil, to-day nothing but good. Then, taking up their word, Cyrus laid bare his whole purpose, and said:
“This is your situation, men of Persia: obey me and you shall have these good things and ten thousand others besides with no toil and slavery; but if you will not obey me, you will have labors unnumbered like your toil of yesterday.
Now, then, do as I tell you, and win your freedom. F
So these opinions clashed; and Cyrus set aside his former plan and chose that of Croesus; consequently, he told Tomyris to draw her army off, for he would cross (he said) and attack her; so she withdrew as she had promised before. Then he entrusted Croesus to the care of his own son Cambyses, to whom he would leave his sovereignty, telling Cambyses to honor Croesus and treat him well if the crossing of the river against the Massagetae should not go well. With these instructions, he sent the two back to Persia, and he and his army crossed the river.
After having given this answer and crossed the Araxes, Hystaspes went to Persia to watch his son for Cyrus; and Cyrus, advancing a day's journey from the Araxes, acted according to Croesus' advice. Cyrus and the sound portion of the Persian army marched back to the Araxes, leaving behind those that were useless; a third of the Massagetae forces attacked those of the army who were left behind and destroyed them despite resistance; then, when they had overcome their enemies, seeing the banquet spread they sat down and feasted, and after they had had their fill of food and wine, they fell asleep. Then the Persians attacked them, killing many and taking many more alive, among whom was the son of Tomyris the queen, Spargapises by name, the leader of the Massagetae.
Now whether this, too, the Greeks have learned from the Egyptians, I cannot confidently judge. I know that in Thrace and Scythia and Persia and Lydia and nearly all foreign countries, those who learn trades are held in less esteem than the rest of the people, and those who have least to do with artisans' work, especially men who are free to practise the art of war, are highly honored. This much is certain: that this opinion, which is held by all Greeks and particularly by the Lacedaemonians, is of foreign origin. It is in Corinth that artisans are held in least contempt.
It so happened, too, that something else occurred contributing to this campaign. There was among Amasis' mercenaries a man who was a Halicarnassian by birth, a clever man and a good soldier, whose name was Phanes. This Phanes had some grudge against Amasis, and fled from Egypt aboard ship, hoping to talk to Cambyses. Since he was a man much admired among the mercenaries and had an exact knowledge of all Egyptian matters, Amasis was anxious to catch him, and sent a trireme with his most trusted eunuch to pursue him. This eunuch caught him in Lycia but never brought him back to Egypt, for Phanes was too clever for him. He made his guards drunk and so escaped to Persia. There he found Cambyses prepared to set out against Egypt, but in doubt as to his march, how he should cross the waterless desert; so Phanes showed him what was Amasis' condition and how he should march; as to this, he advised Cambyses to send and ask the king of the Arabians for a safe passage.