« ZurückWeiter »
and above all imploring the assistance of the gods, who alone give prudence and success.
When Cyrus was arrived in Media and with Cyaxares, the first thing he did, after the usual compliments, was to inform hin:self of the quality and number of the troops on both sides. He found, by the list that was given in, that the enemy's army amounted to sixty thousand horse, and two hundred thousand foot, and consequently that their horse were two-thirds more than those of the Medes and Persians together, and that the latter had scarce half their foot. So great an inequality threw Cyaxeres into great terror and confusion. He could not think of any other expedient than the drawing fresh troops out of Persia, and in greater number than before. But besides that this remedy would have been very slow, it seemed impracticable. Cyrus immediately proposed a surer and shorter method, and this was to change the arms of the Persians; and as most of them used only the bow and the javelin, and consequently fought only at a distance, in which way of fighting the greater number easily carried it over the smaller, he thought it advis, able to arm them in such a manner, that they might come immediately to close fight with the enemy, and thereby render the multitude of their troops unserviceable. This advice was approved and put in exe: cution immediately.
One day as Cyrus was making a review of his army, a courier came to himn from Cyaxares with advice, that einbassadors were just arrived from the king of the Indies, and therefore he desired he would come presently to him: and for this reason, says he, I have brought you a rich vestment; for the king desires you would be magnificently dressed in presence of the Indians, for the honour of the nation. Cyrus lost no time, but set forward immediately with his troops to attend upon the king,  without putting on any other habit than his own; and as Cyaxares at first valued money
(s] “Εν τη Περσική σολη έδέν το Persicâ veste indutus, ornatu alieng "zēzpomím. A beautiful expression! minimè contaminatâ.
seemed somewhat displeased at it, Should I have done you more honour, replies Cyrus, by clothing myself in purple, and putting on a load of bracelets and gold chains, if with all this I had tarried longer before I came, than I now do you by the sweat of my brows and my diligence, in letting all the world see with what readiness your orders are executed?
Cyrus's great care was to engage the affection of the troops, to gain the inclination of the officers, and acquire the love and esteem of the soldiers. To this end he treated them all with gentleness and good-nature, made himself popular and affable, invited them often to dine with him, and especially those who were distinguished amongst the troops. He only for the sake of distributing it. He gave presents liberally to every one according to his merit and condition; to one a buckler, to another a sword, or something of a like nature. He thought a general was to distinguish himself by his greatness of soul, his generosity, and inclination to do good; and not by luxury in eating, or magnificence in dress and equipage, and still less by haughtiness and pride.
Observing all his troops full of ardour and courage, he proposed to Cyaxares to lead them against the enemy. They therefore began their march, after they had offered sacrifices to the gods. When the armies were in sight of each other, they prepared for the battle. The Assyrians were encamped in the open plain; Cyrus on the other hand was covered by some villages, and small eminences. They spent some days in looking upon one another. At last the Assyrians came first out of their camp in very great numbers, and Cyrus ad. vanced with his troops. Before they came within a bow-shot, he gave the word of command, which was, Jupiter the helper and conductor. Hecaused the usual hymn to be sung in honour of Castor and Pollux, and the soldiers full of religious ardour (Scoorbis made the responses with a loud voice. [y] In the whole army of
Ο] "Ην δε μηνών το στράτευμα το πειθούς... εν τω τοιούτω γαρ δή οι Κύρω προθυμίας, φιλοτιμίας, ρώμης δεισιδαίμονες ήτίον τους ανθρώπους Φάρσες, ταρακελευσμού,ζωφροσίνες, φοβούνται,
Cyrus nothing was to be discerned but cheerfulness
, emulation, courage, mutual exhortations, prudence, and obedience, which cast a strange terror into the hearts of the enemies. For, says the historian here, it was observed that those who most feared the gods upon these occasions were the least afraid of men. The Assyrian archers, slingers, and darters of javelins, made their discharges before the enemy was within reach. But the Persians, encouraged by the presence and example of Cyrus came at once to a close engagement, and broke the first battalions. The Assyrians could not sustain so rude a shock, and took all to their heels. The Median horse moved forward at the same time to fall upon that of the enemy, who were also soon routed. They were briskly pursued as far as their camp. The slaughter was terrible
, and the Assyrian king lost his life in the field. Cyrus did not think himself in a condition to force them in their entrenchments, and sounded a retreat.
The Assyrians in the mean while, their king slain, and the bravest men in the army. lost, were in a strange consternation.
Cræsus and the other allies lost also all hope. So that they had no thoughts but of escaping by favour of the night.
Cyrus had rightly foreseen it, and prepared for a vigorous pursuit. But this was not to be done without horse, and the Persians, as we have already observed, had none. He went therefore to Cyaxares, and told him of his design. Cyaxares very much disapproved it, and represented to him the danger there
as in driving so powerful an enemy to extremes, who might perhaps be inspired with courage by being driven to despair; that it was prudent to use good fortune with moderation and not to lose the fruit of a victory by too much eagerness; that besides, he was unwilling to compel the Medes, or prevent them from taking the repose they had so justly deserved. Cyrus at last desired leave only to carry such with him, as were willing to follow him, and got the consent of Cyaxares with great difficulty, who had no thought but
of passing his time in feasting and rejoicing with his officers, for the victory he had so lately gained.
Almost all the Medes followed Cyrus, who began his march in pursuit of the enemy. He met in his way couriers from the Hyrcanians, who served in the enemy's army, to tell him, that as soon as he appeared, they were ready to submit to him, and in reality they did so. He lost no time, but marching all night came up with the Assyrians. Cræsus had sent his wives before in the cool of the evening, for it was then summer, and was following after them with some horse. The Assyrians were in the utmost consternation, when they saw the enemy at their heels. Many of them were killed in the flight; all that were left in the camp surrendered; the victory was complete, and the booty immense. Cyrus kept to himself all the horses that were found in the camp, designing from that time to form a body of Persian horse, which till then they had not. Every thing of the greatest value he set apart for Cyaxares. When the Medes and Hyrcanians were returned from pursuing the enemy, he made them partake of a repast he had prepared for them, bidding them send only some bread to the Persians, who had every thing else that was necessary for them both as to delicacy and drink. Their sauce was hunger, and their drink the water from the river. This was the manner of living, to which they had been accustomed from their infancy.
Cyaxares had passed the night, that Cyrus spent in pursuit of the enemy, in joy and feasting, and had got drunk with his principal officers. When he awaked the next morning, he was strangely surprised to see himself left almost alone. Full of rage and indignation, he immediately dispatched a messenger to the army, with orders to reproach Cyrus, and make the Medes return directly. Cyrus was under no concern at so unjust a command. He wrote back a respectful letter, but with a generous freedom, in which he justified his conduct, and reminded him of the leave he had granted to all the Medes that were willing to
follow hiin. He sent at the same time into Persia for fresh troops, designing to extend his conquests still farther.
Among the prisoners of war was a young princess of exquisite beauty, reserved for Cyrus. She was named Panthea, and was wife to Abradates king of Susiana. Upon the report of her beauty Cyrus refused to see her, apprehending, as he said, lést such an object should engage his affection too much, and divert him from the great designs he had formed. Araspes, a young Median lord, in whose custody she had been, did not suspect his own weakness so much, and affimed that a man was always master of himself. Cyrus gave him prudent advice, and put the princess again into his hands. Fear not, replies Araspes, I am secure of myself, and will lay my life on it that I do nothing contrary to my duty. However, his passion for the princess increased by little and little to such a degree, that finding her invincibly averse to his desires, he was upon the point of offering her violence. The princess made her complaints to Cyrus, who presently sent Artabazus to expostulate in his name with Araspes. This officer chid him with the utmost severity, and set his fault before him in such a light, as almost threw him into despair. Araspes, overwhelmed with grief, could not refrain from tears, and was struck dumb with shaine and terror. Soipe days after Cyrus sent for him; and he came all trembling and disordered. Cyrus took him aside, and instead of the violent reproaches he expected, spoke to him with the utmost mildness, owning that he had been to blame for imprudently shutting him up with so formidable an enemy. Such unexpected goodness gave life to the young lord. His confusion, joy, and gratitude, drew tears from his eyes in abundance. It is now, says he, that I begin to know myself, and sensibly to prove that I have two souls, one that inclines me to do well, and the other that urges me to mischief. The first is always superior, when you are hy to assist me, and are talking with me; and I yield