When they were gone, Cyrus said: “Medes1
and Armenians, it is now high time for us all to go to dinner; and everything necessary has been prepared for you to the best of our ability. Go, then, and send to us half of the bread that has been baked—enough has been made for all; but do not send us any meat nor anything to drink; for enough has been provided for us at our own quarters.
“And you, Hyrcanians,” he said to these, “lead them to their several tents—the officers to the largest (you know which they are), and the rest as you think best. And you yourselves also may dine where it best pleases you. For your own tents also are safe and sound, and there also the same provision has been made as for these.
“And all of you may be assured of this, that we shall keep the night-watches for you outside the camp, but do you look out for what may happen in the tents and have your arms stacked conveniently; for the men in the tents are not yet our friends.”
Then the Medes and Tigranes and his men bathed, changed their clothes (for they were provided with a change), and went to dinner. Their horses also were provided for.
Of the bread, half was sent to the Persians; but neither meat for relish nor wine was sent, for they thought that Cyrus and his men had those articles left in abundance. But what Cyrus meant was that hunger was their relish and that they could drink from the river that flowed by.
Accordingly, when Cyrus had seen that the2
Persians had their dinner, he sent many of them out, when it was dark, in squads of five and ten, with orders to lie in hiding round about the camp; for he thought that they would serve as sentinels, in case any one should come to attack from the outside, and at the same time that they would catch any one who tried to run away with his possessions. And it turned out so; for many did try to run away, and many were caught.
And Cyrus permitted those who effected the capture to keep the spoil, but the men he bade them slay; and so after that you could not easily have found, had you tried, any one attempting to get away by night.
Thus, then, the Persians employed their time;3
but the Medes drank and revelled and listened to the music of the flute and indulged themselves to the full with all sorts of merry-making. For many things that contribute to pleasure had been captured, so that those who stayed awake were at no loss for something to do.
Now the night in which Cyrus had marched out,4
Cyaxares, the king of the Medes, and his messmates got drunk in celebration of their success; and he supposed that the rest of the Medes were all in camp except a few, for he heard a great racket. For inasmuch as their masters had gone off, the servants of the Medes were drinking and carousing without restraint, especially as they had taken from the Assyrian army wine and many other supplies.
But when it was day and no one came to his headquarters except those who had been dining with him, and when he heard that the camp was forsaken by the Medes and the cavalry, and when he discovered on going out that such was really the case, then he fumed and raged against both Cyrus and the Medes because they had gone off and left him deserted. And straightway, in keeping with his reputation for being violent and unreasonable, he ordered one of those present to take his own cavalry corps and proceed at topmost speed to Cyrus's army and deliver the following message:
“I should think that even you, Cyrus,5
would not have shown such want of consideration toward me; and if Cyrus were so minded, I should think that at least you Medes would not have consented to leave me thus deserted. And now, if Cyrus will, let him come with you; if not, do you at least return to me as speedily as possible.”
Such was his message. But he to whom he gave the marching order said: “And how shall I find them, your majesty?”
“How,” he answered, “did Cyrus and those with him find those against whom they went?”
“Why,” said the man, “by Zeus, I am told that some Hyrcanians who had deserted from the enemy came hither and went away as his guides.”
Upon hearing this, Cyaxares was much more angry than ever with Cyrus for not even having told him that, and he sent off in greater haste to recall the Medes, for he hoped to strip him of his forces; and with even more violent threats than before, he ordered the Medes to return. And he threatened the messenger also if he did not deliver his message in all its emphasis.
Accordingly, the officer assigned to this duty set out with his cavalry, about a hundred in number, vexed with himself for not having gone along with Cyrus when he went. And as they proceeded on their journey, they were misled by a certain by-path and so lost their way and did not reach the army of their friends, until they fell in with some deserters from the Assyrians and compelled them to act as their guides. And so they came in sight of the camp-fires sometime about midnight.
And when they came up to the camp, the sentinels, following the instructions of Cyrus, refused to admit them before daylight.
Now at peep of day the first thing that Cyrus did was to call the magi and bid them select the gifts ordained for the gods in acknowledgment of such success;
and they proceeded to attend to this, while he called the peers together and said: “Friends, God holds out before us many blessings. But we Persians are, under the present circumstances, too few to avail ourselves of them. For if we fail to guard what we win, it will again become the property of others; and if we leave some of our own men to guard what falls into our possession, it will very soon be found out that we have no strength.
Accordingly, I have decided that one of you should6
go with all speed to Persia
, present my message and ask them to send reinforcements with the utmost dispatch, if the Persians desire to have control of Asia
and the revenues accruing therefrom.
Do you, therefore, go, for you are the senior officer, and when you arrive tell them this; and say also that for whatever soldiers they send I will provide maintenance after they come. Conceal from them nothing in regard to what we have, and you see for yourself what there is. And what portion of these spoils honour and the law require that I should send to Persia—in regard to what is due the gods, ask my father; in regard to what is due to the State, ask the authorities. And let them send men also to observe what we do and to answer our questions. And you,” said he, “make ready and take your own platoon to escort you.”
After this he called in the Medes also and7
at the same moment the messenger from Cyaxares presented himself and in the presence of all reported his king's anger against Cyrus and his threats against the Medes; and at the last he said that Cyaxares ordered the Medes to return, even if Cyrus wished to stay.
On hearing the messenger, therefore, the Medes were silent, for they were at a loss how they could disobey him when he summoned them, and they asked themselves in fear how they could obey him when he threatened so, especially as they had had experience of his fury.
But Cyrus said: “Well, Sir Messenger and you Medes, inasmuch as Cyaxares saw in our first encounter that the enemy were numerous and as he does not know how we have been faring, I am not at all surprised that he is concerned for us and for himself. But when he discovers that many of the enemy have been slain and all have been routed, in the first place he will banish his fears and in the second place he will realize that he is not deserted now, when his friends are annihilating his enemies.
“But further, how do we deserve any blame, since we have been doing him good service and have not been doing even that on our own motion? But I, for my part, first got his consent to march out and take you with me; while you did not ask whether you might join the expedition and you are not here now because you desired to make such an expedition, but because you were ordered by him to make it—whoever of you was not averse to it. This wrath, therefore, I am quite sure, will be assuaged by our successes and will be gone with the passing of his fear.
“Now, therefore, Sir Messenger,” said he,8
“take some rest, for you must be fatigued, and since we are expecting the enemy to come either to surrender, or possibly to fight, let us, fellow-Persians, get into line in as good order as possible; for if we present such as appearance, it is likely that we shall better promote the accomplishment of what we desire. And you, king of Hyrcania, be pleased to order the commanders of your forces to get them under arms, and then attend me here.”
And when the Hyrcanian had done so and returned, Cyrus said: “I am delighted, king of Hyrcania, to see that you not only show me your friendship by your presence, but also that you evidently possess good judgment. And now it is evident that our interests are identical. For the Assyrians are enemies to me, and now they are still more hostile to you than to me.
Under these circumstances, we must both take counsel that none of the allies now present shall desert us, and also that, if we can, we may secure other allies besides. Now you heard the Mede
recalling the cavalry; and if they go away, we only, the infantry, shall be left.
Accordingly, it is necessary for you and for me to do all we can to make this man also who is recalling them desire to remain with us himself. Do you, therefore, find and assign to him a tent where he will have the best kind of a time, with everything he wants; while I, for my part, will try to assign him some post that he himself would rather fill than go away. And do you have a talk with him and tell him what wealth we have hopes that all our friends will obtain, if we are successful in this; and when you have done this, come back again to me.”
Accordingly, the Hyrcanian took the Mede
and went away to a tent. And then the officer who was going to leave for Persia
presented himself ready to start. And Cyrus commissioned him to tell the Persians what has been set forth in the foregoing narrative and also to deliver a letter to Cyaxares. “Now,” said he, “I wish to read my message to you also, that you may understand its contents and confirm the facts, if he asks you anything in reference to them.”
Now the contents of the letter ran as follows:
“My Dear Cyaxares:
We have not left you deserted; for no one9
is deserted by his friends at a time when he is conquering his enemies. We do not even think that we have brought you into any danger through our departure; but we maintain that the farther away we are, the greater the security we provide for you.
For it is not those who sit down nearest to their friends that provide them with the greatest security; but it is those who drive the enemy farthest away that help their friends most effectually out of danger.
“And consider how I have acted toward you and how you have acted toward me, and yet in spite of all, you are finding fault with me. At all events, I brought you allies—not merely as many as you persuaded to come, but as many as ever I had it in my power to bring; whereas you gave to me, when I was on friendly soil, as many as I could persuade to join me, and now when I am in the enemy's territory you are recalling not merely those who may be willing to leave me, but all my men.
Indeed, I thought at that time that I was under obligation both to you and to your men; but now you are acting so as to force me to leave you out of consideration and to try to devote all my gratitude to those who have followed me.
“However, I cannot on my part treat you in the same spirit as you treat me, but at this very moment I am sending to Persia
for reinforcements, with directions that as many as shall come to join me shall be at your service, if you need them for anything before we return, not as they may be pleased to serve, but as you may wish to employ them.
“Furthermore, although I am a younger man than you, let me advise you not to take back what you have once given, lest ill-will be your due instead of gratitude, nor to summon with threats those whom you would have come to you quickly; and again let me advise you not to employ threats against large numbers, while at the same time you assert that you are deserted, for fear you teach them to pay no attention to you.
“We shall try, however, to come to you just as soon as we have accomplished what we think it would be a common benefit to you and to us to have done.
“Deliver this to him and whatever he asks10
you in regard to these matters, answer him in keeping with what is written. And you can do this with perfect truth, for my instructions to you in regard to the Persians correspond exactly with what is written in my letter.”
Thus he spoke to him and giving him the letter sent him away, adding the injunction that he should make haste as one who knows that it is important to be back again promptly.
At this moment he observed that all—both the Medes and the Hyrcanians and Tigranes's men—were already under arms, and the Persians also stood under arms. And some of the natives from near by were already delivering up horses and arms.
And the javelins he commanded them to throw down in the same place as in the former instance,11
and they whose task this was burned all that they did not themselves need. But as for the horses, he commanded those who brought them to keep them and wait until he sent them word. Then he called in the officers of the cavalry and of the Hyrcanians and spoke as follows:
“Friends and allies, do not wonder that I call you together so often. For our present situation is novel, and many things about it are in an unorganized condition; and whatever lacks organization must necessarily always cause us trouble until it is reduced to order.
“We now have much spoil that we have taken,12
and men besides. But, as we do not know how much of it belongs to each one of us, and as the captives do not know who are their several masters, it is consequently impossible to see very many of them attending to their duty, for almost all are in doubt as to what they are expected to do.
In order, therefore, that this may not go on so, divide the spoil; and whoever has been assigned a tent with plenty of food and drink and people to serve him, and bedding and clothing and other things with which a soldier's tent should be furnished so as to be comfortable—in such a case nothing more need be added, except that he who has received it should be given to understand that he must take care of it as his own. But if any one has got into quarters that lack something, do you make a note of it and supply the want.
And I am sure that what is left over will be considerable, for the enemy had more of everything than is required by our numbers. Furthermore, the treasurers, both of the Assyrian king and of the other monarchs, have come to me to report that they have gold coin in their possession, by which they referred to certain payments of tribute.
Notify them, therefore, to deliver all this also to you, wherever you have your headquarters. And give that man reason to fear who shall not do as you command. And do you take the money and pay it out to the cavalry and infantry in the proportion of two to one, in order that you may all have the wherewithal to buy whatever you still may need.
“Further,” he added, “let the herald proclaim that no one shall interfere with the market in the camp, but that the hucksters may sell what each of them has for sale and, when they have disposed of that, get in a new stock, that our camp may be supplied.”
And they proceeded at once to issue the proclamation. But the Medes and Hyrcanians asked: “How could we divide this spoil without help from you and your men?”
And Cyrus in turn answered their question as follows: “Why, my good men, do you really suppose that we must all be present to oversee everything that has to be done, and that I shall not be competent in case of need to do anything on your behalf, nor you again on ours? How else could we make more trouble and accomplish less than in this way?
No,” said he; “you must look to it, for we have kept it for you and you must have confidence in us that we have kept it well; now for your part, do you divide it, and we shall have the same confidence in your dividing it fairly.
And there is something more that we, on our part, shall try to gain for the common advantage. For here,13
you observe, first of all, how many horses we have right now, and more are being brought in. If we leave them without riders, they will be of no use to us but will only give us the trouble of looking after them; but if we put riders upon them, we shall at the same time be rid of the trouble and add strength to ourselves.
If, therefore, you have others to whom you would rather give them and with whom you would rather go into danger, if need should be, than with us, offer them the horses. If, however, you should wish to have us as your comrades in preference to others, give them to us.
And I have good reasons for asking; for just now when you rode on into danger without us, you filled us with apprehension lest something should happen to you and made us very much ashamed because we were not at your side. But if we get the horses, we shall follow you next time.
And if it seems that we are of more use to you by fighting with you on horseback, in that case we shall not fail for want of courage. But if it seems that by turning footmen again we could assist to better advantage, it will be open to us to dismount and at once stand by you as foot soldiers; and as for the horses, we shall manage to find some one to whom we may entrust them.”
Thus he spoke, and they made answer: “Well, Cyrus, we have no men whom we could mount upon these horses; and if we had, we should not choose to make any other disposition of them, since this is what you desire. So now,” they added, “take them and do as you think best.”
“Well,” said he, “I accept them; may good14
fortune attend our turning into horsemen and your dividing the common spoils. In the first place, set apart for the gods whatever the magi direct, as they interpret the will of the gods. Next select for Cyaxares also whatever you think would be most acceptable to him.”
They laughed and said that they would have to choose women for him.
“Choose women then,” said he, “and whatever else you please. And when you have made your choice for him, then do you Hyrcanians do all you can to see that all those who volunteered to follow me have no cause to complain.
“And do you Medes, in your turn, show honour to those who first became our allies, that they may think that they have been well advised in becoming our friends. And allot his proper share of everything to the envoy who came from Cyaxares and to those who attended him; and invite him also to stay on with us (and give him to understand that this is my pleasure also), so that he may know better the true state of things and report the facts to Cyaxares concerning each particular.
As for the Persians with15
me,” he said, “what is left after you are amply provided for will suffice for us; for we have not been reared in any sort of luxury, but altogether in rustic fashion, so that you would perhaps laugh at us, if anything gorgeous were to be put upon us, even as we shall, I know, furnish you no little cause for laughter when we are seated upon our horses, and, I presume,” he added, “when we fall off upon the ground.”
Hereupon they proceeded to the division of16
the spoil, laughing heartily at his joke about the Persian horsemanship, while he called his captains and ordered them to take the horses and the grooms and the trappings of the horses, and to count them off and divide them by lot so that they should each have an equal share for each company.
And again Cyrus ordered proclamation to be17
made that if there were any one from Media or Persia
or anywhere else forced into service as a slave in the army of the Assyrians or Syrians or Arabians, he should show himself.
And when they heard the herald's proclamation, many came forward gladly. And he selected the finest looking of them and told them that they should be made free, but that they would have to act as carriers of any arms given them to carry; and for their sustenance he himself, he said, would make provision.
And so he led them at once to his captains and presented them, bidding his men give them their shields and swords without belts, that they might carry them and follow after the horses. Furthermore, he bade his captains draw rations for them just as for the Persians under him. The Persians, moreover, he bade always ride on horseback with their corselets and lances, and he himself set the example of doing so. He also instructed each one of the newly-mounted officers to appoint some other peer to take his place of command over the infantry of the peers.