Chapter 4

(1) Once when Cyrus was making a muster and review of all his troops in arms, a messenger came from Cyaxares and said that an embassy had arrived from India. “He orders you to come as quickly as possible. I am bringing you also this most beautiful robe from Cyaxares,” said the messenger, “for he wishes that you come as brilliantly and splendidly as possible, since the Indians will see how you approach them.”

(2) On hearing this, Cyrus told the captain who was deployed in the first position to take his stand facing forward at the head of his company in single file and to keep himself on the right; and he ordered the second captain to give this same command, and he ordered them to pass it along like this among all troops. Obeying, they quickly relayed the command, and quickly executed what was commanded. In a short time they were three hundred across in the front (for this is how many captains there were) and one hundred in depth. (3) When they stood in position, he ordered that they follow in whatever way he himself might lead, and he straightaway led at a brisk run. When he perceived that the street leading to the palace was too narrow for all to go through on a broad front, he ordered the first thousand to continue in its place, the second to follow after this one, behind it, and similarly for all. He himself led on without stopping, and the other groups of one thousand followed, each behind the one before. (4) He also sent two aides to the mouth of the street, in order that if anyone not know what must be done, they could indicate this to them.33 When they arrived at Cyaxares’ doors, he commanded his first captain to arrange his company to a depth of twelve, and to have the leaders of these squads of twelve stand facing front around the palace, and he ordered the second [captain] to command the same things, and similarly for all.34

(5) They then were doing these things, while Cyrus went in to Cyaxares in his Persian robe, which was in no way ostentatious.35 Upon seeing him, Cyaxares was pleased at his promptness, but annoyed at the commonness of his robe, and he said, “Why this, Cyrus? What are you doing in appearing like this before the Indians? I wished that you appear as brilliant as possible, for it would have been an adornment to me as well that you appear as magnificent as possible, since you are the son of my sister.”

(6) And to this Cyrus said, “Which would adorn you more, Cyaxares, if I heeded you by strolling in at my leisure, after dressing in purple garments, selecting bracelets, and putting a necklace around my neck; or now when, because I honor you, I have heeded you so promptly with a power of such size and quality, and with myself adorned with sweat and zeal, and showing that the others are similarly obedient to you?” So this is what Cyrus said, and Cyaxares, believing that what he said was correct, called in the Indians.

(7) The Indians came in and said that their king had sent them and had commanded them to inquire into the source of the war between Medes and the Assyrian [king].36 “After we hear you, he ordered us to go in turn to the Assyrian and ask him the same things. Finally, he ordered us to say to you both that the king of the Indians says that he, after examining justice,37 will side with the one who has been unjustly treated.”

(8) To this Cyaxares said, “Then hear from me that we are not at all unjust to the Assyrian. Now go to him, if you must, and ask what he says.”

Cyrus, being present, asked Cyaxares, “May I also state my judgment?” Cyaxares bade him do so. “Then report back to the king of the Indians, unless Cyaxares decides otherwise, that if the Assyrian says he suffers some injustice at our hands, then we say we choose the Indian king himself as judge.” After hearing this, they departed.

(9) After the Indians went out, Cyrus began a discussion like this: “Cyaxares, I came from home without much money of my own at all, and of what there was, I have very little left. I have used it up for the soldiers. And perhaps you wonder about how I have done so, since you are maintaining them. Be assured that I do nothing else, when I admire one of the soldiers, than honor and gratify [him], (10) for it seems to me that regarding all those whom one wishes to make into good co-workers, in any sort of matter whatsoever, it is more pleasant to incite them by speaking well and doing well than by causing them pain and compelling them. Regarding those whom one wishes to make into eager co-workers in the works of war, they especially, it seems to me, must be hunted with both good words and good deeds, for they must be friends, not enemies, who are going to be allies not given to excuses, nor inclined to envy when things go well for the ruler, nor to betrayal when they go badly. (11) Realizing in advance that this is the case, I think I need money. Now it seems to me to be strange to look to you for everything, when I perceive you spending a great deal. I think you and I in common should examine how to keep your money from running out on you, for if you should have an abundance, I know that it would be [possible] for me to take from it whenever I might be in need, especially if what I should take, when spent, would make things better also for you. (12) I remember having heard you say once recently that the Armenian has contempt for you now that he hears that the enemy is coming against us, and he neither sends his army nor pays the tribute he owes.”

“Yes, he is doing this, Cyrus,” he said. “I am consequently at a loss as to whether it is better for me to mount a campaign and try to impose necessity upon him, or to let him be for the present, lest we add him too to our other enemies.”

(13) And Cyrus asked further, “Are his residences in strong places or perhaps even in easily accessible ones?”

And Cyaxares said, “His residences are not in very strong places. I was not neglecting this point. However, there are mountains where he would be able to go away on the instant, and at least he himself would be protected against falling into our hands, as would as many of his things as he could have secretly conveyed there, unless one should sit down and besiege him, as my father once did.”

(14) After this Cyrus said the following: “But if you are willing to send me, assigning to me what seems a measured number of cavalry troops, I think that, with the gods’ [help], I could make him both send the army and pay you the tribute. Moreover, I expect that he will also become more a friend to us than he now is.”

(15) And Cyaxares said, “I also expect that they would come to you more than to me, for I hear that some of their children used to go hunting with you, so perhaps they would come to you again. With them in our hands we could do everything as we wish.”

“Does it not seem advantageous to you,” said Cyrus, “that we plan about this in secret?”

“Yes,” said Cyaxares, “for in this way one or another of them might even fall into our hands, and if one should attack them, they would be caught unprepared.”

(16) “Then listen,” said Cyrus, “[and decide] if I seem to you to say anything [worthwhile]. I have often taken all the Persians with me to go hunting around the borders of your land and that of the Armenians, and I have also previously taken along some knights from among my companions here.”

“Then you would not be suspected if you did the same things again,” said Cyaxares. “Yet if your power should appear much greater than that with which you were accustomed to hunt, this would then be suspected at once.”

(17) “But it is possible, even in this case” said Cyrus, “to prepare a pretext that would not be distrusted, if someone should report it, namely, that I wish to make a great hunt, and I would ask you out in the open for cavalry troops.”

“Beautiful!” said Cyaxares. “And I will not be willing to give you more than some moderate number, on the grounds that I wish to go to the guard posts facing Assyria, for I really do wish to go and fit them out as securely as possible. When you have gone ahead with the power that you have and have hunted for two days, I would send to you sufficient cavalry and infantry of those gathered around me. Taking these, you would advance right away, and I would myself try with the rest of my power to be not far from you, so that I could show myself if ever it should be opportune.”

(18) So Cyaxares right away gathered knights and infantry for the guard posts, and he sent wagons of provisions in advance on the road to the guard posts. Cyrus offered sacrifices for the march, and at the same time he sent to Cyaxares and asked for the younger cavalry. Yet he did not send him many, even though very many wished to go. After Cyaxares with his infantry and cavalry power had already gone on in advance on the road to the guard posts, Cyrus’ sacrifices for going against the Armenian were favorable. And thus he went out, prepared, of course, as if for a hunt.

(19) Right away in the first field as he was going along, a hare sprang up. An eagle of favorable omen was flying above, and seeing the hare in its flight, bore down upon it, struck it, seized it, and went off. Having taken it to a hill not far off, it treated its prey as it wanted. Cyrus was pleased on seeing the sign and bowed down to Zeus the king, and he said to those present: (20) “It will be a noble hunt, men” he said, “if the god is willing.” When he came to the border, he proceeded right away to hunt just as he was accustomed to do. The multitude of the infantry and cavalry went forward for him in a line, in order to rouse the animals as they came upon them. The best infantry and knights dispersed, lay in wait for the roused game, and pursued them. And they took many boars, deer, antelope, and wild asses, for there are many asses in these places even now. (21) When Cyrus ceased hunting, he approached the borders of Armenia and had dinner. On the next day he hunted again, going over toward the mountains that he was aiming at. When he ceased again, he had dinner. When he perceived the army from Cyaxares approaching, he sent in secret to them and told them to stay back about two parasangs and have their dinner, foreseeing that this would contribute toward their avoiding notice.38 He told their ruler to come to him after they had dinner. He called the captains after dinner. When they were present, he spoke as follows: (22) “Men, friends, previously the Armenian was both ally and subject of Cyaxares. But now that he perceives our enemies approaching, he shows contempt and neither sends his army to us nor pays the tribute. Now, then, it is to hunt him, if we are able, that we have come. It seems [best] to do the following: Chrysantas, when you have rested a measured amount, take half of the Persians who are with us, go along the mountain road, and seize the mountains in which he is said to take refuge whenever he is at all afraid. I shall give you guides. (23) Now these mountains are said to be thickly wooded, so there is hope you will not be seen. Nevertheless, in front of your army send light-armed men who are likened in number and attire to bands of robbers. If they should happen upon any of the Armenians, they would silence the reports of the ones they capture; and as for the ones they are not able to capture, they would stop them from seeing your whole army by scaring them away, and this will lead them to make their plans as against a band of thieves. (24) So you do this, and I with half of the infantry and all of the knights will at daybreak go straight across the plain against the king’s palaces. If he resists, it is clear that it will be necessary to fight. If instead he retreats across the plain, it is clear that it will be necessary to give chase. If he takes flight into the mountains, it will then be your task not to allow any of those who come to you to escape. (25) Believe that, just as in hunting, we will be the ones who seek from behind, and you the ones at the nets. Remember, then, that the paths must be secured before the game is roused. And those stationed at the mouths [of the paths] must not be noticed, if the game approaching is not to turn away. (26) Do not do as you sometimes do, Chrysantas, on account of your love of hunting, for you are often busy the whole night without sleep. But you now must allow the men to rest a measured amount so that they might be capable of fighting sleep. (27) Nor do this: Because you [usually] do not have human beings as guides, you wander up and down the mountains, and run wherever the animals lead you. And do not now go along the paths that are hard to walk, but order your guides to lead along the easiest road, unless it is much longer, for the easiest is quickest for an army. (28) And do not, because you are accustomed to run up and down mountains, lead at a run. Lead with measured haste, so that your army will be capable of following you. (29) It is good also that some of the most capable and eager troops sometimes stay back and offer encouragement. After the column goes by, it incites everyone to hurry when [these troops] are seen running past those who are walking.”

(30) Chrysantas listened to this and exulted in the charge Cyrus gave him. Taking his guides, he went away and gave the necessary orders to those who were going to go along with him, and he rested. When they had been in bed what seemed a measured amount, he went toward the mountains. (31) But Cyrus, when day broke, sent ahead a messenger to the Armenian, and told him to tell him the following: “Armenian, Cyrus orders you to act in such a way that he may go away as soon as possible with the tribute and the army.” “If he asks where I am, say the truth, that I am at the border. If he asks whether I am coming myself, say the truth in this case as well, that you do not know. If he inquires how many we are, bid him to send someone along and learn.” (32) After so directing the messenger, he sent him off, believing that it was more friendly to go on like this than to say nothing in advance. After he himself formed up his troops in the way best both for completing the march and, if need be, for fighting, he advanced. He told his troops to be unjust to no one, and if anyone should chance upon an Armenian, to bid him be cheerful and say that whoever wanted to open a market might do so, wherever they might be, whether he wished to sell food or drink.

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