Chapter 2

(1) On the next day Cyrus took Tigranes, the best of the Median cavalry, and as many of his own friends as seemed to him to be opportune, and he rode around contemplating the country, considering where he should build a guard post. Coming to a certain high spot he asked Tigranes which were the mountains from which the Chaldaeans came down and plundered. And Tigranes showed him. He asked next, “Are these mountains now deserted?”

“No, by Zeus,” he said, “but they always have scouts there who signal to others whatever they see.”

“So what do the others do,” he said, “when they perceive the signals?”

“They give help on the heights, each as he is able,” he said.

(2) Now Cyrus listened to these things, and as he considered them, he noted that much of the Armenians’ country was deserted and idle because of the war. And then they went away to the camp, and after dinner they went to bed. (3) On the next day Tigranes himself reported, having gotten things ready, and four thousand knights were assembled with him, as were ten thousand bowmen and this many targeteers as well. Cyrus was sacrificing while they assembled. When the auspices were favorable for him, he called together the leaders of the Persians and the Medes. (4) When they were together, he spoke like this: “Men, friends, these mountains that we see belong to the Chaldaeans. If we should take them and our guard post should be on the heights, it would be necessary for both the Armenians and the Chaldaeans to be moderate toward us. Now then, the auspices are favorable for us; and to join with human zeal that this be accomplished, there could be no other ally so great as speed, for if we anticipate them and get on top before they assemble, either we would take the heights without a fight at all or we would engage enemies who were both few and weak. (5) Thus no labor is easier or more free of risk than to be steadfast in hurrying. Come then, to arms!

“You, Medes, go along on our left. You, Armenians, lead on, half on our right and half in front of us. You, cavalry troops, follow in the rear, giving encouragement and pressing us on upward, and if anyone slackens, do not allow it.” (6) After saying this and putting his platoons into columns, Cyrus led on. When the Chaldaeans perceived them rushing upward, they immediately began signaling to their own, shouting to each other, and assembling. Cyrus announced, “Persian men, they are signaling to us to hurry, for if we beat them to the top, our enemies’ actions will be powerless.”

(7) The Chaldaeans had shields and two spears. They are said to be the most warlike of those who come from around that area, and whenever anyone has need of them, they serve as mercenaries because of their being both warlike and poor. This is so because their country is mountainous, and little of it produces anything useful.

(8) When Cyrus’ group was getting quite near the heights, Tigranes said as he went along with Cyrus, “Cyrus, do you know that we will ourselves need to fight very soon? The Armenians, at least, will not stand up to the enemy.”

And saying that he knew this, Cyrus immediately announced to the Persians to get ready, for “it will soon be necessary to press onward, when the Armenians by pretended flight draw the enemy on into close range for us.” (9) So the Armenians were leading in this way. While the Armenians were approaching, those of the Chaldaeans who were present gave war cries and swiftly rushed against them, as was their custom; and the Armenians, as was their custom, did not stand up to them. (10) Yet when the pursuing Chaldaeans saw swordsmen rushing up in opposition, some were quickly killed when they got near, and others fled. Of these, some were captured, and the heigh ts were quickly taken. When Cyrus’ group held the heights, they looked down on the households of the Chaldaeans and perceived people fleeing from the ones nearby. (11) When all the soldiers were together, Cyrus announced that they should have lunch. After lunch, Cyrus learned that the place where the Chaldaean spy posts were was strong and had water, and he immediately began to fortify a guard post there. He also bade Tigranes to send to his father and bade him to report with as many carpenters and stonemasons as there were. So a messenger departed for the Armenian, while Cyrus proceeded to build fortifications with those who were already present.

(12) At this time they brought to Cyrus the captives who had been bound and some others who were wounded. When he saw them, he immediately ordered that those in bonds be released, and he called doctors and ordered them to tend the wounded. Then he said to the Chaldaeans that he came neither desiring to destroy them nor needing to make war, but wishing to make peace between the Armenians and Chaldaeans. “I know that you did not need peace before the heights were taken, for your things were safe, while those of the Armenians you drove and carried off. But look at your situation now.

(13) I am sending your captives home, and I am allowing you to deliberate along with the other Chaldaeans as to whether you wish to make war with us or be our friends. And if you choose war, you will not come here again without weapons, if you are moderate. Yet if you decide that you need peace, come without weapons. I will take care that things go well for you, if you become friends.” (14) Upon hearing this the Chaldaeans praised him greatly and offered many pledges with their right hands, and then they departed homeward.

When the Armenian heard Cyrus’ summons and what he had done, he took his carpenters and as many other things as he thought he needed, and he went to Cyrus as quickly as he was able. (15) When he saw Cyrus, he said, “Cyrus, although we are able to foresee little about the future, how many things we human beings undertake to do! For even just now while undertaking to contrive freedom, I became a slave as never before. And when we were captured and believed that we were clearly done for, we now come to light as having been saved as never before, for I now see that those who never ceased doing us many evils are now as I used to pray they would be. (16) And Cyrus, do understand that to have driven the Chaldaeans from these heights I would have paid many times the amount of money that you now have received from me. And as for the good things you promised to do us when you took this money, you have already accomplished them, so that we have come to light as owing you other favors in addition. Unless we should be evil, we would be ashamed not to pay them back to you.” So this is what the Armenian said.

(17) The Chaldaeans arrived wanting Cyrus to make peace for them. And Cyrus asked them, “Chaldaeans, do you not now desire peace because you believe that you would be able to live more safely if there is peace than by fighting, since we now hold these heights?” The Chaldaeans said so.

(18) And he said, “What if still other good things came to you through the peace?”

“We would be still more delighted,” they said.

“Well then,” he said, “do you not now believe that you are poor because you are lacking in good soil?” They said yes to this too.

“Well then,” said Cyrus, “would you wish that it were possible for you to work as much as you wanted of Armenian soil, while paying the same rent as the Armenians do?”

The Chaldaeans said they would, “if we trusted that we would not suffer injustice.”

(19) “What about you, Armenian?” he said. “Would you wish that your land that is now idle be worked, if those working it were going to pay what is customary among you?” The Armenian said that he would pay a great deal for this, for his income would be much augmented.

(20) “What about you, Chaldaeans?” he said. “Since you have mountains good for it, would you be willing to let the Armenians graze their flocks on them, if the herdsmen would pay you what is just?” The Chaldaeans said yes, and explained that they would be benefited greatly without laboring at all.

“And you, Armenian,” he said, “would you be willing to use their pastures, if in benefiting the Chaldaeans a little you would be benefited much more?”

“Very much so,” he said, “if I should think that we grazed our flocks in safety.”

“Would you not graze them in safety if you possessed the heights, to be as allies?” he said. The Armenian said they would.

(21) “But by Zeus,” said the Chaldaeans, “we could not work even our own land in safety, let alone work theirs, if they should hold the heights.”

“What if, on the other hand,” he said, “the heights were allied to you?”

“This would be fine by us,” they said.

“But by Zeus,” said the Armenian, “it would not be fine by us, if they should take the heights again, especially after they have been fortified.”

(22) And Cyrus said, “Then I shall do the following: I shall surrender the heights to neither of you, but we shall guard them. And if either of you is unjust, we shall side with those suffering injustice.”

(23) When they heard these things, both praised them and said that only in this way would the peace be secure. They also all gave and received pledges of trust on these terms, and they made accords that each be free from the other, that there be intermarriage, cross-cultivation, and cross-grazing, and that there be a defensive alliance in common if someone should be unjust to either. (24) So things were then done like this, and still even now they remain just so, the accords that then arose between the Chaldaeans and him who held Armenia. After the accords were made, both began working together eagerly on a fort, for it was to be a guard post held in common, and they brought into it what was required. (25) When evening came, Cyrus brought both to himself, already friends, as his dinner guests. While they were dining, one of the Chaldaeans said that the new arrangements were very well received by all of them, except that there were some Chaldaeans who lived by plundering and neither understood how to work nor would be capable of it, since they were accustomed to live by war, for they always used to go plundering or serve as mercenaries—often for the king of the Indians (for they said he was a very rich man), and often also for Astyages.

And Cyrus said, (26) “Why then do not they serve as mercenaries for me even now? I will give as much as any other has ever given.” They spoke in support and said that there would be many who would be willing.

(27) So these things were agreed to in this way. But when Cyrus heard that the Chaldaeans often went to the Indian [king], he remembered that [Indians] had come to Media in order to investigate their affairs and that they then departed to the enemy, in order to see also theirs, and he wished the Indian to learn what he had accomplished. (28) So he began a discussion like this: “Tell me, Armenian and you Chaldaeans, if I should now send one of my own troops to the Indian, would you send along for me some of yours who could guide him along the road and could collaborate so that we obtain what I wish from the Indian? I wish we had still more money, so that I could give wages abundantly to whomever I ought and could honor and give gifts to those on the campaign who are deserving. It is on this account that I wish to have money as abundantly as possible, believing that I need it; but it is pleasant for me to be sparing of yours, for I believe that you are already friends. I would, however, be pleased to take some from the Indian, if he would give it. (29) Now the messenger to whom I bade you to give guides and fellow workers will go there and say the following: ‘Cyrus sent me to you, Indian. He says that he needs more money, since he expects another army from his home in Persia’—for I do expect one.’If you send him as much as is convenient for you, he says that if a god gives him a good result, he will try to act in such a way that you will believe you deliberated nobly when you gratified him.’ (30) This is what the one I send will say. To those you send enjoin what seems to you to be suitable. If we get money from him, we will use it bounteously. If we get nothing, we will know that we owe him no favor, and it will be possible for us as far as he is concerned to dispose everything with a view to our own advantage.” (31) This is what Cyrus said, and he believed that the Armenians and Chaldaeans who went would say such things about him as he himself desired all human beings both to say and to hear about him. And then, when it was fine to do so, they broke up the gathering and rested.

If you find an error or have any questions, please email us at admin@erenow.org. Thank you!