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At this juncture, representatives from the1 Indian king arrived with money; they announced also that the Indian king sent him the following message: “I am glad, Cyrus, that you let me know what you needed. I desire to be your friend, and I am sending you the money, and if you need more, send for it. Moreover, my representatives have been instructed to do whatever you ask.” [2]

“Well then,” said Cyrus, when he heard this, “I ask some of you to remain where you have been assigned quarters and keep guard of this money and live as best pleases you, while three of you will please go to the enemy on pretence of having been sent by the king of India to make an alliance between them and him; and when you have learned how things stand there, what they are doing and proposing to do, bring word of it as soon as possible to me and to your king. And if you perform this service acceptably, I shall be even more grateful to you for that than I am for your bringing the money with which you have come. And this is service which you are eminently fitted to perform; for spies disguised as slaves can give information of nothing more in their reports than what every one knows; whereas men in your capacity often discover even what is being planned.” [3]

The Indians were naturally pleased to hear this, and when they had been entertained by Cyrus, they made ready and set out on the following day with the solemn promise that when they had learned as much as they could they would return from the enemy's side with all possible dispatch. [4]

The rest of his preparations for war Cyrus now2 continued on a magnificent scale, for he was planning no mean enterprise; and he provided not only for that which his allies had agreed upon but he also inspired his friends to rivalry among themselves, in order that each complement might strive to show its men the best armed soldiers, the most skilled horsemen, the best marksmen with spear or bow, and the most industrious workers. [5] And, as a means of accomplishing this, he took them out to hunt and rewarded those who were in each particular most efficient. Furthermore, those officers who, he saw, were eager to have their own soldiers most efficient he spurred on with praise and with whatever favours he could bestow. [6] And then, too, whenever he performed a sacrifice or celebrated a festival, he instituted in connection with it contests in all those events in which people train as a discipline for war, and to the victors he offered splendid prizes; and the whole camp was in the best of spirits. [7]

Cyrus now had almost everything ready that he wished to have for his expedition except the engines of war. For the ranks of his Persian horse were now filled up to the number of ten thousand, the scythe-bearing chariots that he himself had had constructed had now reached the full number of one hundred, and those which Abradatas of Susa had undertaken to secure like those of Cyrus had also reached the full number of one hundred more. [8]

And Cyrus had persuaded Cyaxares to transform the Median chariots also from the Trojan and Libyan type to this same style, and these amounted to another full hundred. For the camel corps, bowmen were detailed, two upon each camel. Thus the rank and file of the army generally cherished the feeling that the victory was already perfectly assured and that the enemy's side was as nothing. [9]

While they were in this state of mind, the3 Indians that Cyrus had sent as spies to the enemy's camp returned with the report that Croesus had been chosen field-marshal and commander-in-chief of all the enemy's hosts, that all the allied kings had decided to join him with their entire forces, to contribute vast sums of money, and to expend them in hiring what soldiers they could and in giving presents to those whom they were under obligations to reward. [10] They reported also that many Thracian swordsmen had already been hired and that Egyptians were under sail to join them, and they gave the number as one hundred and twenty thousand men armed with shields that came to their feet, with huge spears, such as they carry even to this day, and with sabres. Besides these, there was also the Cyprian army. The Cilicians were all present already, they said, as were also the contingents from both Phrygias, Lycaonia, Paphlagonia, Cappadocia, Arabia, and Phoenicia; the Assyrians were there under the king of Babylon; the Ionians also and the Aeolians and almost all the Greek colonists in Asia had been compelled to join Croesus, and Croesus had even sent to Lacedaemon to negotiate an alliance. [11] This army, they said, was being mustered at the River Pactolus, but it was their intention to advance to Thymbrara, where even to-day is the rendezvous of the king's barbarians from the interior. And a general call had been issued to bring provisions to market there.

The prisoners also told practically the same story as the Indian spies; for this was another thing that Cyrus always looked out for—that prisoners should be taken, from whom he was likely to gain some intelligence. And he used also to send out spies disguised as slaves to pretend that they were deserters from him. [12]

When Cyrus's army heard this report, they4 were disturbed, as was natural; they went about more subdued than had been their wont, they gathered in groups, and every corner was full of people discussing the situation and asking one another's opinion. [13]

When Cyrus perceived that a panic was spreading through his army, he called together the officers of the different divisions and all others whose despondency he thought might cause injury and whose enthusiasm would be a help. And he sent word to his aides-de-camp that if any one else of the armed soldiers wished to attend the meeting and listen to the speeches, they should not hinder him. And when they had come together, he addressed them as follows: [14]

“Friends and allies, I have called you5 together because I observed that when this news came from the enemy, some of you looked as if you were frightened. Now it seems strange to me that any of you should really be afraid because the enemy are mustering; but when you see that we are mustered in much larger numbers than we had when we defeated them and that we are now, thank heaven, much better equipped than we were then—it is strange that when you see this you are not filled with courage! [15]

“What in the name of heaven, pray, would you who are now afraid have done, if the situation were reversed and some one told you that these forces that we have now were coming against us? And what, if you heard, in the first place, that those who had defeated us before were coming again, their hearts full of the victory they then gained; and, in the second place, that those who before made short work of the skirmishing lines of bowmen and spearmen were now coming and others like them many times their number; [16] and, in the third place, that, equipped in the same armour in which they were armed when their infantry defeated our infantry, they have cavalry now coming to meet our cavalry; that they have rejected the bow and the javelin, and that each man has adopted one heavy lance and is resolved to ride up and fight hand to hand? [17] And again, what would you have done, if you heard that chariots are coming which are not, as before, to stand still facing back as if for flight, but that the horses harnessed to the chariots are covered with mail, while the drivers stand in wooden towers and the parts of their body not defended by the towers are completely panoplied in breast-plates and helmets; and that scythes of steel have been fitted to the axles, and that it is the intention to drive these also into the ranks of the enemy? [18] Or again, if you heard that they6 have camels on which they will ride up to us, and a hundred horses could not endure the sight of any one of them? And again, that they are coming with towers, from which they will protect their comrades and by throwing missiles hinder us from fighting in a fair field? [19] If any one reported to you that this was the condition of things among the enemy, what would you, who are now so frightened, have done, seeing that you were terrified when the report came that Croesus had been elected commander-in-chief of the enemy—Croesus, who was a worse coward than the Syrians; for the Syrians fled because they were defeated in the battle, whereas Croesus, instead of standing by his allies, beat a hasty retreat when he saw that they were defeated? [20] And finally, you see, the report is brought that the enemy do not feel that they are strong enough to fight us by themselves, but are hiring others in the hope that these will fight for them more valiantly than they can for themselves. However, if there are any to whom the situation over there—such as it is—seems formidable, while our own condition seems contemptible, I say, men, that we ought to send them over to the enemy, for they would be much more useful to us over there than in our ranks.” [21]

When Cyrus had finished his speech, Chrysantas,7 the Persian, arose and spoke as follows: “Do not wonder, Cyrus, that some looked disconsolate when they heard the report; for it was not from fear that they felt this, but from vexation—just as, if it should be announced, when people are ready and waiting to sit down to luncheon, that there is some work that they must do before they may eat, not one, I venture to say, would be pleased to hear it. So we also, thinking we were just on the point of getting rich, all put on a disconsolate look when we heard that there was some work left over which we must do; and it was not because we were frightened, but because we wished that this, too, were already accomplished. [22]

“But our disappointment is past, seeing that we are to contend not for Syria only, where there is an abundance of grain and flocks and date-palms, but for Lydia as well; for in that land there is an abundance of wine and figs and olive oil, and its shores are washed by the sea; and over its waters more good things are brought than any one has ever seen—when we think of that,” said he, “we are no longer vexed, but our courage rises to the highest point, with desire to come all the more quickly into the enjoyment of these good things in Lydia also.”

Thus he spoke; and the allies were all pleased with his speech and applauded. [23]

“And indeed, my friends,” said Cyrus, “I propose8 that we move against them as soon as possible, in the first place that we may reach the place where their supplies are being collected, before they do, if we can; and in the second place, because the faster we march the less perfected we shall find their arrangements and the greater we shall find their deficiencies. [24] This, then, is my proposal; but if any one thinks that any other course would be safer or easier for us, let him inform us.”

Many supported him, saying that it was expedient to proceed as soon as possible against the enemy, and no one opposed his plan; so Cyrus began to speak as follows: [25]

“Friends and allies, our souls and bodies and the arms that we shall have to use have, with God's help, long since been made ready. And now for the march we must get together for ourselves and for the animals that we use provisions for not less than twenty days; for in reckoning it up, I find that there will be more than fifteen days' journey in which we shall find no provisions at all; for everything there has been made away with: the enemy took all that they could, and we have taken the rest. [26] Accordingly, we must put up and carry with us food enough; for without this we should be unable either to fight or to live. As for wine, each one ought to take along only enough to last till we accustom ourselves to drinking water; for the9 greater part of the march will be through a country where there is no wine, and for that all the wine we can carry will not suffice, even if we take along a very great quantity. [27] That we may not, therefore, fall a prey to sickness when we suddenly find ourselves deprived of wine, we must take this course: let us now begin at once to drink water at our meals, for by so doing we shall not greatly change our manner of living. [28] For whoever eats barley bread always eats meal that has been kneaded up with water, and whoever eats wheaten bread eats of a loaf that was mixed with water; and everything boiled is prepared with water in very liberal quantities. So, if after the meal we drink some wine, our soul will lack nothing and find refreshment. [29] But later on we must also gradually diminish the amount taken after dinner, until unconsciously we have become teetotalers. For gradual transition helps any nature to bear changes. Why, God teaches us that, by leading us gradually from winter to endure the burning heat of summer, and from the heat of summer to the rigours of winter; and we should imitate Him and reach the end we would attain by accustoming ourselves beforehand. [30]

“For your heavy blankets you may substitute10 an equal weight of provisions; for excess of provisions will not be useless. And do not be afraid that you will not sleep soundly for want of your blankets; if you do not, I will take the blame. However, if any one has a generous supply of clothing with him, that will be of good service to him whether he be well or ill. [31]

“For meats, we must pack up and take along only such as are sharp, pungent, salty; for these not only stimulate the appetite but also afford the most lasting nourishment. And when we come out into a country that has not been plundered, where we are at once likely to find grain again, we must then have hand-mills ready made with which to prepare food, for these are the lightest of the implements used in making bread. [32]

“Again, we must take with us the things that11 sick people need; for the weight they add is very small and, if we have a case of sickness, they will be very necessary.

“We must also have plenty of straps; for nearly12 everything that men and horses have is fastened on with straps, and when these wear out or break, everything must come to a standstill, unless one has some extra ones.

“And it will be a good thing for the man who has13 been taught how to smooth down a spear-shaft not to forget a rasp; and it will be well to bring along a file too; [33] for he that whets his spear whets his courage, in a way, at the same time; for a man must be overcome with shame to be whetting his spear and yet feel himself a coward.

“We must also have a good supply of lumber for14 the chariots and the wagons, for from constant use many parts necessarily become defective. We must have also the most indispensable tools for all these purposes; [34] for we shall not find mechanics everywhere, and almost any one can make what will serve for a day. Besides these, we must have a shovel and mattock for every wagon, and for each pack-animal an axe and a sickle; for these are useful to each one individually and often serviceable for the common good as well. [35]

“As to what is needed for the commissariat,15 you officers of the armed soldiers must make inquiry of the men under you, for we must not overlook anything of this sort that any one may need; for it is we that shall feel the want of it, if it is lacking. In reference to what I order for the pack-animals, you officers of the baggage-train must inquire into the matter, and if any man is not properly provided, require him to procure what is lacking. [36]

“You superintendents of the engineering corps16 have here from me a list of the spearmen, the archers, and the slingers, whose names have been stricken from the roster. You must require those of them who were spearmen to carry on the march a woodcutter's axe, those who were bowmen a mattock, and those who were slingers a shovel. With these tools they are to march in squads ahead of the wagons, so that, in case there is any need of road-building, you may get to work without delay, and so that, if I require their services, I may know where to find them when the time comes. [37]

“And finally I shall take along those of an age17 for military service who are smiths and carpenters and cobblers, in order that, if anything is wanted in the army in the line of their trades also, we may not suffer for lack of it. And they shall be relieved of assignments to duty under arms, but they shall occupy the position assigned to them and there ply their trades for pay at the order of whoever wishes their services. [38]

“And any merchant who wishes to accompany18 us, seeking a market for his wares, may do so; but if he is caught trying to sell anything within the number of days for which the troops are ordered to furnish their own provisions, he shall have all his goods confiscated. But when those days are past, he may sell as he pleases. And the man who seems to offer the largest stock of goods shall receive rewards and preferment both from the allies and from myself. [39] And if any merchant thinks he needs more money for the purchase of supplies, let him bring me vouchers for his respectability and identity, and sureties as a pledge that he is really going with the army, and he shall receive a certain amount from the fund we have.

“These are the directions I have to give in advance. If any one thinks of anything else that we need, let him inform me of it. [40]

“Now do you go and make ready, and I will sacrifice for a blessing upon our start; and when the omens from the gods are favourable, we shall give the signal, and all must come equipped with what has been prescribed and join their own commanders at the place appointed. [41] And all of you officers, when you have made ready each his own division, come to me that you may acquaint yourselves with your several positions.”

1 Envoys from India are sent as spies

2 Further preparations for the conflict

3 The report of the Indian spies

4 General alarm at the report

5 Cyrus calms their fears

6 and fills them with new enthusiasm

7 Chrysantas explains away the apparent fear

8 Cyrus proposes an immediate advance

9 The wine habit to be broken off gradually

10 General directions for equipment

11 Equipment for—(1) hospital,

12 (2) packs,

13 (3) arms,

14 (4) vehicles,

15 (5) commissary,

16 (6) engineers

17 Special arrangements for artisans

18 and merchants

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    • Harper's, Palton
    • A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), LIMA
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