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Rising early the next morning they started—1 Cyrus, on horseback, with those of the Persians who had been transformed into cavalrymen, to the number of about two thousand—to visit Gobryas. And those who carried the horsemen's shields and sabres followed behind them, to the same number; the rest of the army also proceeded in its proper divisions. He ordered the horsemen, each one, to inform their new squires that if any one of them should be seen behind the rear-guard or get in front of the van or be found on the flanks outside the line of march, he should be punished. [2]

Toward evening of the second day they arrived at Gobryas's castle; and they saw that the fortress was exceedingly strong and that everything was ready on the walls so that there might be most effective fighting from them. And they saw many cattle also and a great many sheep driven up under protection of the fortifications. [3]

Then Gobryas sent to Cyrus and bade him ride around and see where access was most easy and send in some of his trusted officers to examine what was inside and report back to him what they saw. [4] So Cyrus, wishing, as a matter of fact, to2 see for himself whether the fort could be stormed in case Gobryas should prove false, rode round on every side and saw that it was everywhere too strong for any one to approach. And those whom he had sent in to Gobryas brought back the report that there were provisions enough inside to last the garrison, as it seemed to them, for a whole generation. [5]

Now Cyrus was pondering what all this meant, when Gobryas himself came out bringing with him all his followers; and some of them brought out with them wine and flour and barley-meal; others brought cattle, goats, sheep, swine, and all kinds of provisions—a plenty of everything for a dinner for Cyrus's whole army. [6] And they whose business it was apportioned it and set about preparing the meal. And when all his men were outside, Gobryas bade Cyrus enter, in whatever way he thought he might enter most safely. So Cyrus sent in ahead of him some scouts and a part of his forces, and then with this precaution he went in himself. And when he had gone in, keeping the gates wide open, he called to him all his friends and the officers of the troops with him. [7] And when they were inside, Gobryas brought out golden goblets, pitchers, and vases, all sorts of ornaments, an almost countless pile of darics, and all sorts of treasure in great quantities; and finally he brought out his daughter, a marvel of beauty and stature, but in mourning for her brother who was dead;3 and he said: “These treasures, Cyrus, I present to you, and this my daughter I entrust to you to make what disposal of her you may see fit. But we make our prayer to you, I, as I have done already, that you avenge my son, and she that you be the avenger of her brother.” [8]

“Well,” said Cyrus in reply to this, “I promised4 you even then that, assuming that you did not speak me false, I should do all in my power to avenge you; and now, when I see that you are truthful, my promise is already due; and I promise her likewise that with heaven's help I will fulfil my promise to the letter.

“Now as to these treasures,” said he, “I accept them, but I give them again to your daughter here and the man who shall marry her. But one gift of yours will I take as I leave you, in place of which not even all the wealth of Babylon (and that is enormous)—no, not even all the wealth of all the world would send me away more happy than with this gift from you.” [9]

And Gobryas, wondering what he meant and suspecting that he meant his daughter, asked: “And what might that gift be, Cyrus?”

“Gobryas,” he replied, “it is this: I believe that there are many men who would not consent to be wicked or unjust or false, but they die before it is ever discovered what sort of men they are, simply because no one has ever seen fit to entrust them with great wealth or kingly power or mighty fortresses or lovely children; [10] but you have now placed in my hands your fortress and all sorts of wealth, your forces and your precious child, and have thus given me an opportunity of showing to all the world that I would not do an act of wickedness against a friend or do a wrong for the sake of gain or willingly prove false to a covenant. [11] And so long as I am an honest man and receive men's approbation as bearing this reputation, I assure you that I shall never forget this proof of your confidence but shall try to show you all fair honour in return. [12]

“And as for your daughter,” he continued,5 “do not fear that you shall fail to find a husband worthy of her; for I have many noble friends; some one of them will marry her. But whether he will have as much money as you are ready to give me or even many times as much, I could not say. Let me tell you, however, that there are some of them who do not admire you one whit the more for the money you have to offer; but with me they are vying now and praying to all the gods that it may be granted them one day to prove that they are not less faithful to their friends than I, and that so long as they live they would never yield to their enemies, unless some god should cross them. But their virtue and their good name they would not barter for all your wealth and the wealth of the Assyrians and Syrians to boot. Such men, let me tell you, are sitting here.” [13]

“By the gods, Cyrus,” said Gobryas with a laugh, “please show me where they are, that I may ask you for one of them to be my son-in-law.”

“There will be no need of your getting that information from me,” answered Cyrus; “but, if you will go with us, you will be able yourself to point each one of them out to somebody else.” [14]

When he had thus spoken, he clasped6 Gobryas's right hand in his and rose to depart, taking with him all his followers. And though Gobryas urged him to dine in the castle, he declined, but dined in camp and took Gobryas with him as his guest. [15] And as he reclined upon a mat of straw he asked this question: “Tell me, Gobryas, do you think you have more coverlets than each one of us?”

“I am perfectly sure, by Zeus,” the other answered, “that you have more coverlets and more couches,7 and that your dwelling is much larger than mine; for you take heaven and earth for your dwelling, and you have as many couches as you can find resting-places on the ground, while you regard as your proper coverlets not wool that sheep produce, but whatever the mountains and plains bring forth.” [16]

Thus, as Gobryas dined with them for the first time and saw the simplicity of the food set before them, he thought his own people more refined than they. [17] But he soon perceived the temperance of the soldiers who sat at meat with him; for no Persian of the educated class would allow it to appear that he was captivated with any kind of food or drink, either with his eyes gloating over it, or with his hands greedy to get it, or with his thoughts so engrossed by it as to fail to observe things that would attract his attention if he were not at meat; but just as good horsemen do not lose their self-command when on horseback but can ride along and at the same time see and hear and say whatever they should, so also the educated Persians think that at their meals they ought to show themselves sensible and temperate; and to become excited over food or drink seems to them altogether swinish and bestial. [18]

He noticed further about them that they8 asked one another such questions as people are more pleased to be asked than not, that they indulged in such banter as is more agreeable to hear than not; he observed how far their jests were removed from insult, how far they were from doing anything unbecoming, and how far from offending one another. [19] But what seemed to him most extraordinary of all was that when on active service they did not think they ought to be served with a larger share than any one else of those who were going into the same dangers, but that they considered it the most sumptuous feast to make those who were to be their comrades in arms as efficient as possible. [20]

When Gobryas rose to go home, he is reported to have said: “I am no longer surprised, Cyrus, that while we possess more cups and clothing and gold than you, we ourselves are worth less than you are. For our whole thought is to have as much of those things as possible, while your whole thought seems to me to be that you may be yourselves as capable as possible.” [21]

Thus he spoke; and Cyrus answered: “Please see to it, Gobryas, that you are here early in the morning with your cavalry under arms, so that we may see your forces, and then you shall lead us through your country so that we may know what we have to consider as belonging to our friends and what as belonging to our enemies.” [22]

When they had thus spoken, they went away, each to his own proper task.

When day dawned, Gobryas came with his cavalry and led the way. But Cyrus, as became a general, turned his thoughts not only upon the march, but at the same time, as he proceeded, he kept studying the situation to see whether it might be in any way possible to make the enemy weaker or his own side stronger. [23] So he called Gobryas and the9 Hyrcanian king to him, for he supposed that they must know best what he thought he needed to learn, and said: “My dear friends, I think that I should be making no mistake to consult with you in regard to this war and to rely upon your trustworthiness. For I observe that you have greater need than I to see to it that the Assyrian shall not get the upper hand of us: if I am unsuccessful in this, I shall, perhaps, find some other place of refuge; whereas in your case, I see that if he gains the upper hand, all that you have passes into other hands. [24] For, as for me, he is my enemy, not because he hates me, but because he imagines that it would be inimical to his interests for our nation to become great, and for that reason he is making war upon us; but you he actually hates, for he thinks that you have done him wrong.”

To this they both answered in the same way, that he should proceed with what he had to say, for they recognized the truth of what he had said and knew that it was a matter of vital concern to them how things turned out in the future. [25] Then he began as follows: “Tell me, then,” said he, “does the Assyrian king believe that you are the only ones who are hostile to him, or do you know of any one else who is his enemy?”

“Yes, by Zeus,” said the Hyrcanian; “the Cadusians,10 a large and powerful nation, are most bitter enemies of his; and so are our neighbours, the Sacians, for they have suffered very severely at his hands; for he attempted to subjugate them just as he did us.” [26]

“Well then,” said he, “do you think that these two nations would like to join us in an attack upon the Assyrian?”

“Yes,” they answered, “and right eagerly, if they could find a way to combine their forces with ours.”

“And what is to hinder such a union of forces?” asked Cyrus.

“The Assyrians,” they answered, “the same nation, through whose country you are now marching.” [27]

“But, Gobryas,” said Cyrus, when he heard this, “do you not accuse this young fellow who has just come to the throne of cruel insolence of character?”

“That judgment, I think,” said Gobryas,” is warranted by my experience with him.”

“Pray, are you the only man towards whom he has acted in this way,” Cyrus asked, “or are there others also?” [28]

“Aye, by Zeus,” said Gobryas; “there are11 others also. But why should I recount his acts of insolence toward the weak? For once when he and the son of a man much more powerful than I were drinking together, a young man who, like my son, was his comrade, he had him seized and castrated; and the occasion, so some people said, was simply because his concubine had praised his friend, remarking how handsome he was and felicitating the woman who should be his wife; but the king himself now maintains that it was because the man had made advances toward his concubine. And so now he is a eunuch, but he has come into the kingdom, for his father is dead.” [29]

“Well then,” said Cyrus, “do you think that he also would be glad to see us, if he thought we could help him?”

“Think!” said Gobryas, “I am sure of it. But, Cyrus, it would be difficult to see him.”

“Why?” asked Cyrus.

“Because, to effect a union of forces with him, one has to march along under the very walls of Babylon.” [30]

“Why, pray,” said the other, “is that so difficult?”

“Because, by Zeus,” said Gobryas, “I know that12 the forces that would come out of that city alone are many times as large as your own at present; and let me tell you that the Assyrians are now less inclined than heretofore to deliver up their arms and to bring in their horses to you for the very reason that to those of them who have seen your army it seemed a small one; and a rumour to this effect has now been widely spread abroad. And,” he added, “I think we should do better to proceed cautiously.” [31]

“I think you are right, Gobryas, in admonishing us to march with the utmost caution,” Cyrus made answer upon hearing this suggestion from him. “But when I think of it, I cannot conceive of any13 safer procedure for us than to march directly upon Babylon, if that is where the main body of the enemy's forces is. For they are, as you say, numerous; and if they take courage, they will also, as I say, give us cause to fear them. [32] However, if they do not see us and get the idea that we are keeping out of sight because we are afraid of them, then, let me assure you, they will recover from the fear with which we inspired them; and the longer we keep out of their sight, the greater the courage that will spring up within them in place of that fear. But if we march upon them at once, we shall find many of them still in tears over those whom we have slain, many still wearing bandages on the wounds they received from us, and all still mindful of the daring of this army of ours and of their own flight and defeat. [33] And let me assure you, Gobryas,” he continued, “that your large bodies of men, when they are inspired with confidence, display a spirit that is irresistible; but when once they are frightened, the greater their numbers are, the greater and more overpowering the panic that seizes them. [34] For it comes over them increased by the many faint-hearted words they hear and magnified by the many wretched figures and the many dejected and distorted countenances they see; and by reason of the large numbers it is not easy with a speech to quell the panic, nor by a charge against the enemy to inspire them with courage, nor by a retreat to rally their spirits; but the more you try to encourage them to bravery, in so much the greater peril do they think they are. [35]

“Again, by Zeus,” said he, “let us consider14 precisely how this matter stands: if, in future, victory on the field of battle is to rest with that side which counts the greater numbers, you have good reason to fear for us and we really are in danger. If, however, battles are still to be decided by good fighting as they have been before, it would not be at all amiss for you to be bold and confident; for, please God, you will find far more men on our side who are eager to fight, than on theirs. [36] And to give yourself still more confidence, bethink you also of this: the enemy are much fewer now than they were before we defeated them, much weaker than when they fled before us; while we are bigger now since we have conquered and stronger since you have been added to us. For you must no longer undervalue your own men, now that they are with us; for be assured, Gobryas, that when they are with the victors, even those who follow the camp go along without a fear. [37]

“And do not forget this either, that the enemy may find us even now, if they will. And, let me assure you, we could in no possible way strike more terror into them when they do see us, than by marching upon them. As this, therefore, is my conviction, lead us straight on to Babylon.”

1 The Persian army visits Gobryas

2 Gobryas shows him his resources

3 IV. vi. 2f.

4 Cyrus renews his covenant with Gobryas

5 Cyrus's pledge for the daughter of Gobryas

6 Gobryas is impressed by the simple life

7 Costly coverlets and couches were a special feature of oriental luxury.

8 Plain living and high thinking

9 Cyrus consults with Gobryas and the Hyrcanian king

10 Cyrus aims to effect a combination with other enemies of Assyria

11 The king and Gadatas

12 The Assyrians' terror of Cyrus is disappearing

13 Cyrus proposes to march straight for Babylon

14 Cyrus's grounds for confidence

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