Cyropaedia: The Education of Cyrus
Cyropaedia: The Education of Cyrus
Cyropaedia: The Education of Cyrus
A very few words may suffice by way of introduction to this translation of the Cyropaedia.
Professor Jowett, whose Plato represents the high-water mark of classical translation, has given us the following reminders: "An English translation ought to be idiomatic and interesting, not only to the scholar, but also to the unlearned reader. It should read as an original work, and should also be the most faithful transcript which can be made of the language from which the translation is taken, consistently with the first requirement of all, that it be English. The excellence of a translation will consist, not merely in the faithful rendering of words, or in the composition of a sentence only, or yet of a single paragraph, but in the colour and style of the whole work."
These tests may be safely applied to the work of Mr. Dakyns. An accomplished Greek scholar, for many years a careful and sympathetic student of Xenophon, and possessing a rare mastery of English idiom, he was unusually well equipped for the work of a translator. And his version will, as I venture to think, be found to satisfy those requirements of an effective translation which Professor Jowett laid down. It is faithful to the tone and spirit of the original, and it has the literary quality of a good piece of original English writing. For these and other reasons it should prove attractive and interesting reading for the average Englishman.
Xenophon, it must be admitted, is not, like Plato, Thucydides, or Demosthenes, one of the greatest of Greek writers, but there are several considerations which should commend him to the general reader. He is more representative of the type of man whom the ordinary Englishman specially admires and respects, than any other of the Greek authors usually read.
An Athenian of good social position, endowed with a gift of eloquence and of literary style, a pupil of Socrates, a distinguished soldier, an historian, an essayist, a sportsman, and a lover of the country, he represents a type of country gentleman greatly honoured in English life, and this should ensure a favourable reception for one of his chief works admirably rendered into idiomatic English. And the substance of the Cyropaedia, which is in fact a political romance, describing the education of the ideal ruler, trained to rule as a benevolent despot over his admiring and willing subjects, should add a further element of enjoyment for the reader of this famous book in its English garb.
In preparing this work for the press, I came upon some notes made by Mr. Dakyns on the margin of his Xenophon. These were evidently for his own private use, and are full of scholarly colloquialisms, impromptu words humorously invented for the need of the moment, and individual turns of phrase, such as the references to himself under his initials in small letters, "hgd." Though plainly not intended for publication, the notes are so vivid and illuminating as they stand that I have shrunk from putting them into a more formal dress, believing that here, as in the best letters, the personal element is bound up with what is most fresh and living in the comment, most characteristic of the writer, and most delightful both to those who knew him and to those who will wish they had. I have, therefore, only altered a word here and there, and added a note or two of my own (always in square brackets), where it seemed necessary for the sake of clearness.
F. M. S.
(C.1) We have had occasion before now to reflect how often democracies have been overthrown by the desire for some other type of government, how often monarchies and oligarchies have been swept away by movements of the people, how often would-be despots have fallen in their turn, some at the outset by one stroke, while whose who have maintained their rule for ever so brief a season are looked upon with wonder as marvels of sagacity and success.
The same lesson, we had little doubt, was to be learnt from the family: the household might be great or small—even the master of few could hardly count on the obedience of his little flock. (2) And so, one idea leading to another, we came to shape our reflexions thus: Drovers may certainly be called the rulers of their cattle and horse-breeders the rulers of their studs—all herdsmen, in short, may reasonably be considered the governors of the animals they guard. If, then, we were to believe the evidence of our senses, was it not obvious that flocks and herds were more ready to obey their keepers than men their rulers? Watch the cattle wending their way wherever their herdsmen guide them, see them grazing in the pastures where they are sent and abstaining from forbidden grounds, the fruit of their own bodies they yield to their master to use as he thinks best; nor have we ever seen one flock among them all combining against their guardian, either to disobey him or to refuse him the absolute control of their produce. On the contrary, they are more apt to show hostility against other animals than against the owner who derives advantage from them. But with man the rule is converse; men unite against none so readily as against those whom they see attempting to rule over them. (3) As long, therefore, as we followed these reflexions, we could not but conclude that man is by nature fitted to govern all creatures, except his fellow-man. But when we came to realise the character of Cyrus the Persian, we were led to a change of mind: here is a man, we said, who won for himself obedience from thousands of his fellows, from cities and tribes innumerable: we must ask ourselves whether the government of men is after all an impossible or even a difficult task, provided one set about it in the right way. Cyrus, we know, found the readiest obedience in his subjects, though some of them dwelt at a distance which it would take days and months to traverse, and among them were men who had never set eyes on him, and for the matter of that could never hope to do so, and yet they were willing to obey him. (4) Cyrus did indeed eclipse all other monarchs, before or since, and I include not only those who have inherited their power, but those who have won empire by their own exertions. How far he surpassed them all may be felt if we remember that no Scythian, although the Scythians are reckoned by their myriads, has ever succeeded in dominating a foreign nation; indeed the Scythian would be well content could he but keep his government unbroken over his own tribe and people. The same is true of the Thracians and the Illyrians, and indeed of all other nations within our ken; in Europe, at any rate, their condition is even now one of independence, and of such separation as would seem to be permanent. Now this was the state in which Cyrus found the tribes and peoples of Asia when, at the head of a small Persian force, he started on his career. The Medes and the Hyrcanians accepted his leadership willingly, but it was through conquest that he won Syria, Assyria, Arabia, Cappadocia, the two Phrygias, Lydia, Caria, Phoenicia, and Babylonia. Then he established his rule over the Bactrians, Indians, and Cilicians, over the Sakians, Paphlagonians, and Magadidians, over a host of other tribes the very names of which defy the memory of the chronicler; and last of all he brought the Hellenes in Asia beneath his sway, and by a descent on the seaboard Cyprus and Egypt also.
(5) It is obvious that among this congeries of nations few, if any, could have spoken the same language as himself, or understood one another, but none the less Cyrus was able so to penetrate that vast extent of country by the sheer terror of his personality that the inhabitants were prostrate before him: not one of them dared lift hand against him. And yet he was able, at the same time, to inspire them all with so deep a desire to please him and win his favour that all they asked was to be guided by his judgment and his alone. Thus he knit to himself a complex of nationalities so vast that it would have taxed a man's endurance merely to traverse his empire in any one direction, east or west or south or north, from the palace which was its centre. For ourselves, considering his title to our admiration proved, we set ourselves to inquire what his parentage might have been and his natural parts, and how he was trained and brought up to attain so high a pitch of excellence in the government of men. And all we could learn from others about him or felt we might infer for ourselves we will here endeavour to set forth.
(C.2) The father of Cyrus, so runs the story, was Cambyses, a king of the Persians, and one of the Perseidae, who look to Perseus as the founder of their race. His mother, it is agreed, was Mandane, the daughter of Astyages, king of the Medes. Of Cyrus himself, even now in the songs and stories of the East the record lives that nature made him most fair to look upon, and set in his heart the threefold love of man, of knowledge, and of honour. He would endure all labours, he would undergo all dangers, for the sake of glory. (2) Blest by nature with such gifts of soul and body, his memory lives to this day in the mindful heart of ages. It is true that he was brought up according to the laws and customs of the Persians, and of these laws it must be noted that while they aim, as laws elsewhere, at the common weal, their guiding principle is far other than that which most nations follow. Most states permit their citizens to bring up their own children at their own discretion, and allow the grown men to regulate their own lives at their own will, and then they lay down certain prohibitions, for example, not to pick and steal, not to break into another man's house, not to strike a man unjustly, not to commit adultery, not to disobey the magistrate, and so forth; and on the transgressor they impose a penalty. (3) But the Persian laws try, as it were, to steal a march on time, to make their citizens from the beginning incapable of setting their hearts on any wickedness or shameful conduct whatsoever. And this is how they set about their object.
In their cities they have an open place or square dedicated to Freedom (Free Square they call it), where stand the palace and other public buildings. From this place all goods for sale are rigidly excluded, and all hawkers and hucksters with their yells and cries and vulgarities. They must go elsewhere, so that their clamour may not mingle with and mar the grace and orderliness of the educated classes. (4) This square, where the public buildings stand, is divided into four quarters which are assigned as follows: one for the boys, another for the youths, a third for the grown men, and the last for those who are past the age of military service. The law requires all the citizens to present themselves at certain times and seasons in their appointed places. The lads and the grown men must be there at daybreak; the elders may, as a rule, choose their own time, except on certain fixed days, when they too are expected to present themselves like the rest. Moreover, the young men are bound to sleep at night round the public buildings, with their arms at their side; only the married men among them are exempt, and need not be on duty at night unless notice has been given, though even in their case frequent absence is thought unseemly. (5) Over each of these divisions are placed twelve governors, twelve being the number of the Persian tribes. The governors of the boys are chosen from the elders, and those are appointed who are thought best fitted to make the best of their lads: the governors of the youths are selected from the grown men, and on the same principle; and for the grown men themselves and their own governors; the choice falls on those who will, it is hoped, make them most prompt to carry out their appointed duties, and fulfil the commands imposed by the supreme authority. Finally, the elders themselves have presidents of their own, chosen to see that they too perform their duty to the full.
(6) We will now describe the services demanded from the different classes, and thus it will appear how the Persians endeavour to improve their citizens. The boys go to school and give their time to learning justice and righteousness: they will tell you they come for that purpose, and the phrase is as natural with them as it is for us to speak of lads learning their letters. The masters spend the chief part of the day in deciding cases for their pupils: for in this boy-world, as in the grown-up world without, occasions of indictment are never far to seek. There will be charges, we know, of picking and stealing, of violence, of fraud, of calumny, and so forth. The case is heard and the offender, if shown to be guilty, is punished. (7) Nor does he escape who is found to have accused one of his fellows unfairly. And there is one charge the judges do not hesitate to deal with, a charge which is the source of much hatred among grown men, but which they seldom press in the courts, the charge of ingratitude. The culprit convicted of refusing to repay a debt of kindness when it was fully in his power meets with severe chastisement. They reason that the ungrateful man is the most likely to forget his duty to the gods, to his parents, to his fatherland, and his friends. Shamelessness, they hold, treads close on the heels of ingratitude, and thus ingratitude is the ringleader and chief instigator to every kind of baseness. (8) Further, the boys are instructed in temperance and self-restraint, and they find the utmost help towards the attainment of this virtue in the self-respecting behaviour of their elders, shown them day by day. Then they are taught to obey their rulers, and here again nothing is of greater value than the studied obedience to authority manifested by their elders everywhere. Continence in meat and drink is another branch of instruction, and they have no better aid in this than, first, the example of their elders, who never withdraw to satisfy their carnal cravings until those in authority dismiss them, and next, the rule that the boys must take their food, not with their mother but with their master, and not till the governor gives the sign. They bring from home the staple of their meal, dry bread with nasturtium for a relish, and to slake their thirst they bring a drinking-cup, to dip in the running stream. In addition, they are taught to shoot with the bow and to fling the javelin.
The lads follow their studies till the age of sixteen or seventeen, and then they take their places as young men.
(9) After that they spend their time as follows. For ten years they are bound to sleep at night round the public buildings, as we said before, and this for two reasons, to guard the community and to practise self-restraint; because that season of life, the Persians conceive, stands most in need of care. During the day they present themselves before the governors for service to the state, and, whenever necessary, they remain in a body round the public buildings. Moreover, when the king goes out to hunt, which he will do several times a month, he takes half the company with him, and each man must carry bow and arrows, a sheathed dagger, or "sagaris," slung beside the quiver, a light shield, and two javelins, one to hurl and the other to use, if need be, at close quarters. (10) The reason of this public sanction for the chase is not far to seek; the king leads just as he does in war, hunting in person at the head of the field, and making his men follow, because it is felt that the exercise itself is the best possible training for the needs of war. It accustoms a man to early rising; it hardens him to endure heat and cold; it teaches him to march and to run at the top of his speed; he must perforce learn to let fly arrow and javelin the moment the quarry is across his path; and, above all, the edge of his spirit must needs be sharpened by encountering any of the mightier beasts: he must deal his stroke when the creature closes, and stand on guard when it makes its rush: indeed, it would be hard to find a case in war that has not its parallel in the chase. (11) But to proceed: the young men set out with provisions that are ampler, naturally, than the boys' fare, but otherwise the same. During the chase itself they would not think of breaking their fast, but if a halt is called, to beat up the game, or for any hunter's reason, then they will make, as it were, a dinner of their breakfast, and, hunting again on the morrow till dinner-time, they will count the two days as one, because they have only eaten one day's food. This they do in order that, if the like necessity should arise in war, they may be found equal to it. As relish to their bread these young men have whatever they may kill in the chase, or failing that, nasturtium like the boys. And if one should ask how they can enjoy the meal with nasturtium for their only condiment and water for their only drink, let him bethink himself how sweet barley bread and wheaten can taste to the hungry man and water to the thirsty. (12) As for the young men who are left at home, they spend their time in shooting and hurling the javelin, and practising all they learnt as boys, in one long trial of skill. Beside this, public games are open to them and prizes are offered; and the tribe which can claim the greatest number of lads distinguished for skill and courage and faithfulness is given the meed of praise from all the citizens, who honour, not only their present governor, but the teacher who trained them when they were boys. Moreover, these young men are also employed by the magistrates if garrison work needs to be done or if malefactors are to be tracked or robbers run down, or indeed on any errand which calls for strength of limb and fleetness of foot. Such is the life of the youth. But when the ten years are accomplished they are classed as grown men. (13) And from this time forth for five-and-twenty years they live as follows.
First they present themselves, as in youth, before the magistrates for service to the state wherever there is need for strength and sound sense combined. If an expedition be on foot the men of this grade march out, not armed with the bow or the light shield any longer, but equipped with what are called the close-combat arms, a breastplate up to the throat, a buckler on the left arm (just as the Persian warrior appears in pictures), and for the right hand a dagger or a sword. Lastly, it is from this grade that all the magistrates are appointed except the teachers for the boys. But when the five-and-twenty years are over and the men have reached the age of fifty years or more, then they take rank as elders, and the title is deserved. (14) These elders no longer go on military service beyond the frontier; they stay at home and decide all cases, public and private both. Even capital charges are left to their decision, and it is they who choose all the magistrates. If a youth or a grown man breaks the law he is brought into court by the governors of his tribe, who act as suitors in the case, aided by any other citizen who pleases. The cause is heard before the elders and they pronounce judgment; and the man who is condemned is disenfranchised for the rest of his days.
(15) And now, to complete the picture of the whole Persian policy, I will go back a little. With the help of what has been said before, the account may now be brief; the Persians are said to number something like one hundred and twenty thousand men: and of these no one is by law debarred from honour or office. On the contrary, every Persian is entitled to send his children to the public schools of righteousness and justice. As a fact, all who can afford to bring up their children without working do send them there: those who cannot must forego the privilege. A lad who has passed through a public school has a right to go and take his place among the youths, but those who have not gone through the first course may not join them. In the same way the youths who have fulfilled the duties of their class are entitled eventually to rank with the men, and to share in office and honour: but they must first spend their full time among the youths; if not, they go no further. Finally, those who as grown men have lived without reproach may take their station at last among the elders. Thus these elders form a college, every member of which has passed through the full circle of noble learning; and this is that Persian polity and that Persian training which, in their belief, can win them the flower of excellence. (16) And even to this day signs are left bearing witness to that ancient temperance of theirs and the ancient discipline that preserved it. To this day it is still considered shameful for a Persian to spit in public, or wipe the nose, or show signs of wind, or be seen going apart for his natural needs. And they could not keep to this standard unless they were accustomed to a temperate diet, and were trained to exercise and toil, so that the humours of the body were drawn off in other ways. Hitherto we have spoken of the Persians as a whole: we will now go back to our starting-point and recount the deeds of Cyrus from his childhood.
(C.3) Until he was twelve years old or more, Cyrus was brought up in the manner we have described, and showed himself to be above all his fellows in his aptitude for learning and in the noble and manly performance of every duty. But about this time, Astyages sent for his daughter and her son, desiring greatly to see him because he had heard how noble and fair he was. So it fell out that Mandane came to Astyages, bringing her son Cyrus with her. (2) And as soon as they met, the boy, when he heard that Astyages was his mother's father, fell on his neck and kissed him without more ado, like the loving lad nature had made him, as though he had been brought up at his grandfather's side from the first and the two of them had been playmates of old. Then he looked closer and saw that the king's eyes were stencilled and his cheeks painted, and that he wore false curls after the fashion of the Medes in those days (for these adornments, and the purple robes, the tunics, the necklaces, and the bracelets, they are all Median first and last, not Persian; the Persian, as you find him at home even now-a-days, still keeps to his plainer dress and his plainer style of living.) The boy, seeing his grandfather's splendour, kept his eyes fixed on him, and cried, "Oh, mother, how beautiful my grandfather is!" Then his mother asked him which he thought the handsomer, his father or his grandfather, and he answered at once, "My father is the handsomest of all the Persians, but my grandfather much the handsomest of all the Medes I ever set eyes on, at home or abroad." (3) At that Astyages drew the child to his heart, and gave him a beautiful robe and bracelets and necklaces in sign of honour, and when he rode out, the boy must ride beside him on a horse with a golden bridle, just like King Astyages himself. And Cyrus, who had a soul as sensitive to beauty as to honour, was pleased with the splendid robe, and overjoyed at learning to ride, for a horse is a rare sight in Persia, a mountainous country, and one little suited to the breed.
(4) Now Cyrus and his mother sat at meat with the king, and Astyages, wishing the lad to enjoy the feast and not regret his home, plied him with dainties of every sort. At that, so says the story, Cyrus burst out, "Oh, grandfather, what trouble you must give yourself reaching for all these dishes and tasting all these wonderful foods!" "Ah, but," said Astyages, "is not this a far better meal than you ever had in Persia?" Thereupon, as the tale runs, Cyrus answered, "Our way, grandfather, is much shorter than yours, and much simpler. We are hungry and wish to be fed, and bread and meat brings us where we want to be at once, but you Medes, for all your haste, take so many turns and wind about so much it is a wonder if you ever find your way to the goal that we have reached long ago." (5) "Well, my lad," said his grandfather, "we are not at all averse to the length of the road: taste the dishes for yourself and see how good they are." "One thing I do see," the boy said, "and that is that you do not quite like them yourself." And when Astyages asked him how he felt so sure of that, Cyrus answered, "Because when you touch an honest bit of bread you never wipe your hands, but if you take one of these fine kickshaws you turn to your napkin at once, as if you were angry to find your fingers soiled." (6) "Well and good, my lad, well and good," said the king, "only feast away yourself and make good cheer, and we shall send you back to Persia a fine strong fellow." And with the word he had dishes of meat and game set before his grandson. The boy was taken aback by their profusion, and exclaimed, "Grandfather, do you give me all this for myself, to do what I like with it?" "Certainly I do," said the king. (7) Whereupon, without more ado, the boy Cyrus took first one dish and then another and gave them to the attendants who stood about his grandfather, and with each gift he made a little speech: "That is for you, for so kindly teaching me to ride;" "And that is for you, in return for the javelin you gave me, I have got it still;" "And this is for you, because you wait on my grandfather so prettily;" "And this for you, sir, because you honour my mother." And so on until he had got rid of all the meat he had been given. (8) "But you do not give a single piece to Sacas, my butler," quoth the grandfather, "and I honour him more than all the rest." Now this Sacas, as one may guess, was a handsome fellow, and he had the right to bring before the king all who desired audience, to keep them back if he thought the time unseasonable. But Cyrus, in answer to his grandfather's question retorted eagerly, like a lad who did not know what fear meant, "And why should you honour him so much, grandfather?" Then Astyages laughed and said, "Can you not see how prettily he mixes the cup, and with what a grace he serves the wine?" And indeed, these royal cup-bearers are neat-handed at their task, mixing the bowl with infinite elegance, and pouring the wine into the beakers without spilling a drop, and when they hand the goblet they poise it deftly between thumb and finger for the banqueter to take. (9) "Now, grandfather," said the boy, "tell Sacas to give me the bowl, and let me pour out the wine as prettily as he if I can, and win your favour." So the king bade the butler hand him the bowl, and Cyrus took it and mixed the wine just as he had seen Sacas do, and then, showing the utmost gravity and the greatest deftness and grace, he brought the goblet to his grandfather and offered it with such an air that his mother and Astyages, too, laughed outright, and then Cyrus burst out laughing also, and flung his arms round his grandfather and kissed him, crying, "Sacas, your day is done! I shall oust you from your office, you may be sure. I shall make just as pretty a cup-bearer as you—and not drink the wine myself!" For it is the fact that the king's butler when he offers the wine is bound to dip a ladle in the cup first, and pour a little in the hollow of his hand and sip it, so that if he has mixed poison in the bowl it will do him no good himself. (10) Accordingly, Astyages, to carry on the jest, asked the little lad why he had forgotten to taste the wine though he had imitated Sacas in everything else. And the boy answered, "Truly, I was afraid there might be poison in the bowl. For when you gave your birthday feast to your friends I could see quite plainly that Sacas had put in poison for you all." "And how did you discover that, my boy?" asked the king. "Because I saw how your wits reeled and how you staggered; and you all began doing what you will not let us children do—you talked at the top of your voices, and none of you understood a single word the others said, and then you began singing in a way to make us laugh, and though you would not listen to the singer you swore that it was right nobly sung, and then each of you boasted of his own strength, and yet as soon as you got up to dance, so far from keeping time to the measure, you could barely keep your legs. And you seemed quite to have forgotten, grandfather, that you were king, and your subjects that you were their sovereign. Then at last I understood that you must be celebrating that 'free speech' we hear of; at any rate, you were never silent for an instant." (11) "Well, but, boy," said Astyages, "does your father never lose his head when he drinks?" "Certainly not," said the boy. "What happens then?" asked the king. "He quenches his thirst," answered Cyrus, "and that is all. No harm follows. You see, he has no Sacas to mix his wine for him." "But, Cyrus," put in his mother, "why are you so unkind to Sacas?" "Because I do so hate him," answered the boy. "Time after time when I have wanted to go to my grandfather this old villain has stopped me. Do please, grandfather, let me manage him for three days." "And how would you set about it?" Astyages asked. "Why," said the boy, "I will plant myself in the doorway just as he does, and then when he wants to go in to breakfast I will say 'You cannot have breakfast yet: HE is busy with some people,' and when he comes for dinner I will say 'No dinner yet: HE is in his bath,' and as he grows ravenous I will say 'Wait a little: HE is with the ladies of the court,' until I have plagued and tormented him as he torments me, keeping me away from you, grandfather, when I want to come." (12) Thus the boy delighted his elders in the evening, and by day if he saw that his grandfather or his uncle wanted anything, no one could forestall him in getting it; indeed nothing seemed to give him greater pleasure than to please them.
(13) Now when Mandane began to think of going back to her husband, Astyages begged her to leave the boy behind. She answered that though she wished to please her father in everything, it would be hard to leave the boy against his will. (14) Then the old man turned to Cyrus: "My boy, if you will stay with us, Sacas shall never stop you from coming to me: you shall be free to come whenever you choose, and the oftener you come the better it will please me. You shall have horses to ride, my own and as many others as you like, and when you leave us you shall take them with you. And at dinner you shall go your own away and follow your own path to your own goal of temperance just as you think right. And I will make you a present of all the game in my parks and paradises, and collect more for you, and as soon as you have learnt to ride you shall hunt and shoot and hurl the javelin exactly like a man. And you shall have boys to play with and anything else you wish for: you have only to ask me and it shall be yours." (15) Then his mother questioned the boy and asked him whether he would rather stay with his grandfather in Media, or go back home with her: and he said at once that he would rather stay. And when she went on to ask him the reason, he answered, so the story says, "Because at home I am thought to be the best of the lads at shooting and hurling the javelin, and so I think I am: but here I know I am the worst at riding, and that you may be sure, mother, annoys me exceedingly. Now if you leave me here and I learn to ride, when I am back in Persia you shall see, I promise you, that I will outdo all our gallant fellows on foot, and when I come to Media again I will try and show my grandfather that, for all his splendid cavalry, he will not have a stouter horseman than his grandson to fight his battles for him." (16) Then said his mother, "But justice and righteousness, my son, how can you learn them here when your teachers are at home?" "Oh," said Cyrus, "I know all about them already." "How do you know that you do?" asked Mandane. "Because," answered the boy, "before I left home my master thought I had learnt enough to decide the cases, and he set me to try the suits. Yes! and I remember once, said he, "I got a whipping for misjudgment. (17) I will tell you about that case. There were two boys, a big boy and a little boy, and the big boy's coat was small and the small boy's coat was huge. So the big boy stripped the little boy and gave him his own small coat, while he put on the big one himself. Now in giving judgment I decided that it was better for both parties that each should have the coat that fitted him best. But I never got any further in my sentence, because the master thrashed me here, and said that the verdict would have been excellent if I had been appointed to say what fitted and what did not, but I had been called in to decide to whom the coat belonged, and the point to consider was, who had a right to it: Was he who took a thing by violence to keep it, or he who had had it made and bought it for his own? And the master taught me that what is lawful is just and what is in the teeth of law is based on violence, and therefore, he said, the judge must always see that his verdict tallies with the law. So you see, mother, I have the whole of justice at my fingers' ends already. And if there should be anything more I need to know, why, I have my grandfather beside me, and he will always give me lessons." (18) "But," rejoined his mother, "what everyone takes to be just and righteous at your grandfather's court is not thought to be so in Persia. For instance, your own grandfather has made himself master over all and sundry among the Medes, but with the Persians equality is held to be an essential part of justice: and first and foremost, your father himself must perform his appointed services to the state and receive his appointed dues: and the measure of these is not his own caprice but the law. Have a care then, or you may be scourged to death when you come home to Persia, if you learn in your grandfather's school to love not kingship but tyranny, and hold the tyrant's belief that he and he alone should have more than all the rest." "Ah, but, mother," said the boy, "my grandfather is better at teaching people to have less than their share, not more. Cannot you see," he cried, "how he has taught all the Medes to have less than himself? So set your mind at rest, mother, my grandfather will never make me, or any one else, an adept in the art of getting too much."
(C.4) So the boy's tongue ran on. But at last his mother went home, and Cyrus stayed behind and was brought up in Media. He soon made friends with his companions and found his way to their hearts, and soon won their parents by the charm of his address and the true affection he bore their sons, so much so that when they wanted a favour from the king they bade their children ask Cyrus to arrange the matter for them. And whatever it might be, the kindliness of the lad's heart and the eagerness of his ambition made him set the greatest store on getting it done. (2) On his side, Astyages could not bring himself to refuse his grandson's lightest wish. For once, when he was sick, nothing would induce the boy to leave his side; he could not keep back his tears, and his terror at the thought that his grandfather might die was plain for every one to see. If the old man needed anything during the night Cyrus was the first to notice it, it was he who sprang up first to wait upon him, and bring him what he thought would please him. Thus the old king's heart was his.
(3) During these early days, it must be allowed, the boy was something too much of a talker, in part, may be, because of his bringing-up. He had been trained by his master, whenever he sat in judgment, to give a reason for what he did, and to look for the like reason from others. And moreover, his curiosity and thirst for knowledge were such that he must needs inquire from every one he met the explanation of this, that, and the other; and his own wits were so lively that he was ever ready with an answer himself for any question put to him, so that talkativeness had become, as it were, his second nature. But, just as in the body when a boy is overgrown, some touch of youthfulness is sure to show itself and tell the secret of his age, so for all the lad's loquacity, the impression left on the listener was not of arrogance, but of simplicity and warm-heartedness, and one would gladly have heard his chatter to the end rather than have sat beside him and found him dumb.
(4) However, as he grew in stature and the years led him to the time when childhood passes into youth he became more chary of his words and quieter in his tone: at times, indeed, he was so shy that he would blush in the presence of his elders, and there was little sign left of the old forwardness, the impulsiveness of the puppy who will jump up on every one, master and stranger alike. Thus he grew more sedate, but his company was still most fascinating, and little wonder: for whenever it came to a trial of skill between himself and his comrades he would never challenge his mates to those feats in which he himself excelled: he would start precisely one where he felt his own inferiority, averring that he would outdo them all,—indeed, he would spring to horse in order to shoot or hurl the javelin before he had got a firm seat—and then, when he was worsted, he would be the first to laugh at his own discomfiture. (5) He had no desire to escape defeat by giving up the effort, but took glory in the resolution to do better another time, and thus he soon found himself as good a horseman as his peers, and presently, such was his ardour, he surpassed them all, and at last the thinning of the game in the king's preserves began to show what he could do. What with the chasing and the shooting and the spearing, the stock of animals ran so low that Astyages was hard put to it to collect enough for him. Then Cyrus, seeing that his grandfather for all his goodwill could never furnish him with enough, came to him one day and said, "Grandfather, why should you take so much trouble in finding game for me? If only you would let me go out to hunt with my uncle, I could fancy every beast we came across had been reared for my particular delight!" (6) But however anxious the lad might be to go out to the chase, he had somehow lost the old childish art of winning what he wanted by coaxing: and he hesitated a long time before approaching the king again. If in the old days he had quarrelled with Sacas for not letting him in, now he began to play the part of Sacas against himself, and could not summon courage to intrude until he thought the right moment had come: indeed, he implored the real Sacas to let him know when he might venture. So that the old butler's heart was won, and he, like the rest of the world, was completely in love with the young prince.
(7) At last when Astyages saw that the lad's heart was really set on hunting in the open country, he gave him leave to go out with his uncle, taking care at the same time to send an escort of mounted veterans at his heels, whose business it was to keep watch and ward over him in any dangerous place or against any savage beast. Cyrus plied his retinue with questions about the creatures they came across, which must he avoid and which might he hunt? They told him he must be on his guard against bears and wild-boars and lions and leopards: many a man had found himself at too close quarters with these dangerous creatures, and been torn to pieces: but antelopes, they said, and deer and mountain sheep and wild asses were harmless enough. And the huntsman, they added, ought to be as careful about dangerous places as about the beasts themselves: many a time horse and rider had gone headlong down a precipice to death. (8) The lad seemed to take all their lessons to heart at the time: but then he saw a stag leap up, and forgot all the wise cautions he had heard, giving chase forthwith, noticing nothing except the beast ahead of him. His horse, in its furious plunge forward, slipped, and came down on its knees, all but throwing the rider over its head. As luck would have it the boy managed to keep his seat, and the horse recovered its footing. When they reached the flat bottom, Cyrus let fly his javelin, and the stag fell dead, a beautiful big creature. The lad was still radiant with delight when up rode the guard and took him severely to task. Could he not see the danger he had run? They would certainly tell his grandfather, that they would. Cyrus, who had dismounted, stood quite still and listened ruefully, hanging his head while they rated him. But in the middle of it all he heard the view-halloo again: he sprang to his horse as though frenzied—a wild-boar was charging down on them, and he charged to meet it, and drawing his bow with the surest aim possible, struck the beast in the forehead, and laid him low. (9) But now his uncle thought it was high time to scold his nephew himself; the lad's boldness was too much. Only, the more he scolded the more Cyrus begged he would let him take back the spoil as a present for his grandfather. To which appeal, says the story, his uncle made reply: "But if your grandfather finds out that you have gone in chase yourself, he will not only scold you for going but me for letting you go." "Well, let him whip me if he likes," said the boy, "when once I have given him my beasts: and you too, uncle," he went on, "punish me however you choose, only do not refuse me this." So Cyaxares was forced to yield:—"Have it your own way then, you are little less than our king already." (10) Thus it was that Cyrus was allowed to bring his trophies home, and in due course presented them to his grandfather. "See, grandfather, here are some animals I have shot for you." But he did not show his weapons in triumph: he only laid them down with the gore still on them where he hoped his grandfather would see them. It is easy to guess the answer Astyages gave:—"I must needs accept with pleasure every gift you bring me, only I want none of them at the risk of your own life." And Cyrus said, "If you really do not want them yourself, grandfather, will you give them to me? And I will divide them among the lads." "With all my heart," said the old man, "take them, or anything else you like; bestow them where you will, and welcome." (11) So Cyrus carried off the spoil, and divided it with his comrades, saying all the while, "What foolery it was, when we used to hunt in the park! It was no better than hunting creatures tied by a string. First of all, it was such a little bit of a place, and then what scarecrows the poor beasts were, one halt, and another maimed! But those real animals on the mountains and the plains—what splendid beasts, so gigantic, so sleek and glossy! Why, the stags leapt up against the sky as though they had wings, and the wild-boars came rushing to close quarters like warriors in battle! And thanks to their breadth and bulk one could not help hitting them. Why, even as they lie dead there," cried he, "they look finer than those poor walled-up creatures when alive! But you," he added, "could not your fathers let you go out to hunt too?" "Gladly enough," answered they, "if only the king gave the order." (12) "Well," said Cyrus, "who will speak to Astyages for us?" "Why," answered they, "who so fit to persuade him as yourself?" "No, by all that's holy, not I!" cried Cyrus. "I cannot think what has come over me: I cannot speak to my grandfather any more; I cannot look him straight in the face. If this fit grows on me, I am afraid I shall become no better than an idiot. And yet, when I was a little boy, they tell me, I was sharp enough at talking." To which the other lads retorted, "Well, it is a bad business altogether: and if you cannot bestir yourself for your friends, if you can do nothing for us in our need, we must turn elsewhere." (13) When Cyrus heard that he was stung to the quick: he went away in silence and urged himself to put on a bold face, and so went in to his grandfather, not, however, without planning first how he could best bring in the matter. Accordingly he began thus: "Tell me, grandfather," said he, "if one of your slaves were to run away, and you caught him, what would you do to him?" "What else should I do," the old man answered, "but clap irons on him and set him to work in chains?" "But if he came back of his own accord, how would you treat him then?" "Why, I would give him a whipping, as a warning not to do it again, and then treat him as though nothing had happened." "It is high time then," said the boy, "that you began getting a birch ready for your grandson: for I am planning to take my comrades and run away on a hunting expedition." "Very kind of you to tell me, beforehand," said Astyages. "And now listen, I forbid you to set foot outside the palace grounds. A pretty thing," he added, "if for the sake of a day's hunting I should let my daughter's lamb get lost." (14) So Cyrus did as he was ordered and stayed at home, but he spent his days in silence and his brow was clouded. At last Astyages saw how bitterly the lad felt it, and he made up his mind to please him by leading out a hunting-party himself. He held a great muster of horse and foot, and the other lads were not forgotten: he had the beasts driven down into the flat country where the horses could be taken easily, and then the hunt began in splendid style. After the royal fashion—for he was present in person himself—he gave orders that no one was to shoot until Cyrus had hunted to his heart's content. But Cyrus would not hear of any such hindrance to the others: "Grandfather," he cried, "if you wish me to enjoy myself, let my friends hunt with me and each of us try our best." (15) Thereupon Astyages let them all go, while he stood still and watched the sight, and saw how they raced to attack the quarry and how their ambition burned within them as they followed up the chase and let fly their javelins. But above all he was overjoyed to see how his grandson could not keep silence for sheer delight, calling upon his fellows by name whenever he came up with the quarry, like a noble young hound, baying from pure excitement. It gladdened the old man's heart to hear how gleefully the boy would laugh at one of his comrades and how eagerly he would applaud another without the slightest touch of jealousy. At length it was time to turn, and home they went, laden with their mighty trophies. And ever afterwards, so well pleased was the king with the day's hunting, that whenever it was possible, out he must go with his grandson, all his train behind him, and he never failed to take the boys also, "to please Cyrus." Thus did Cyrus spend his early life, sharing in and helping towards the happiness of all, and bringing no sorrow to any man.
(16) But when he was about fifteen years of age, it chanced that the young Prince of Assyria, who was about to marry a wife, planned a hunting-party of his own, in honour of the bridal. And, having heard that on the frontiers of Assyria and Media there was much game to be got, untouched and unmolested because of the war, the prince chose these marches for his hunting-ground. But for safety sake he took with him a large escort of cavalry and targeteers, who were to drive the beasts down from their lairs into the cultivated levels below where it was easy to ride. He set out to the place where the Assyrian outposts were planted and a garrison on duty, and there he and his men prepared to take their supper, intending to begin the hunt with the morrow's dawn. (17) And as evening had fallen, it happened that the night-watch, a considerable body of horse and foot, arrived from the city to relieve the garrison on guard. Thus the prince found that he had something like a large army at his call: the two garrisons as well as the troop of horse and foot for the hunt. And then he asked himself whether it would not be the best of plans to drive off booty from the country of the Medes? In this way more lustre would be given to the chase, and there would be great store of beasts for sacrifice. With this intent he rose betimes and led his army out: the foot soldiers he massed together on the frontier, while he himself, at the head of his cavalry, rode up to the border fortresses of the Medes. Here he halted with the strongest and largest part of his company, to prevent the garrisons from sallying out, and meanwhile he sent picked men forward by detachments with orders to raid the country in every direction, waylay everything they chanced upon, and drive the spoil back to him.
(18) While this was going on news was brought to Astyages that the enemy was across the border, and he hastened to the rescue at once, himself at the head of his own body-guard, and his son with such troopers as were ready to hand, leaving word for others to follow with all despatch. But when they were in sight of the Assyrians, and saw their serried ranks, horse and foot, drawn up in order, compact and motionless, they came to a halt themselves. (19) Now Cyrus, seeing that all the rest of the world was off to the rescue, boot and saddle, must needs ride out too, and so put on his armour for the first time, and could scarcely believe it was true, he had longed so often and so ardently to wear it all. And right beautiful it was, and right well it fitted the lad, the armour that his grandsire had had made for him. So he put on the whole accoutrement, mounted his charger, and galloped to the front. And Astyages, though he wondered who had sent the boy, bade him stay beside him, now that he had come. Cyrus, as he looked at the horsemen facing them, turned to his grandfather with the question, "Can those men yonder be our enemies, grandfather, those who are standing so quietly beside their horses?" "Enemies they are too for all that," said the king. "And are those enemies too?" the boy asked, "those who are riding over there?" "Yes, to be sure." "Well, grandfather, a sorry set they look, and sorry jades they ride to ravage our lands! It would be well for some of us to charge them!" "Not yet, my boy," answered his grandfather, "look at the mass of horsemen there. If we were to charge the others now, these friends of theirs would charge us, for our full strength is not yet on the field." "Yes, but," suggested the boy, "if you stay here yourself, ready to receive our supporters, those fellows will be afraid to stir either, and the cattle-lifters will drop their booty quick enough, as soon as they find they are attacked."
(20) Astyages felt there was much in what the boy said, and thinking all the while what wonderful sense he showed and how wide-awake he was, gave orders for his son to take a squadron of horse and charge the raiders. "If the main body move to attack," he added, "I will charge myself and give them enough to do here." Accordingly Cyaxares took a detachment of horse and galloped to the field. Cyrus seeing the charge, darted forward himself, and swept to the van, leading it with Cyaxares close at his heels and the rest close behind them. As soon as the plunderers saw them, they left their booty and took to flight. (21) The troopers, with Cyrus at their head, dashed in to cut them off, and some they overtook at once and hewed down then and there; others slipped past, and then they followed in hot pursuit, and caught some of them too. And Cyrus was ever in the front, like a young hound, untrained as yet but bred from a gallant stock, charging a wild-boar recklessly; forward he swept, without eyes or thought for anything but the quarry to be captured and the blow to be struck. But when the Assyrian army saw their friends in trouble they pushed forward, rank on rank, saying to themselves the pursuit would stop when their own movement was seen. (22) But Cyrus never slackened his pace a whit: in a transport of joy he called on his uncle by name as he pressed forward, hanging hot-foot on the fugitives, while Cyaxares still clung to his heels, thinking maybe what his father Astyages would say if he hung back, and the others still followed close behind them, even the faint-hearted changed into heroes for the nonce.
Now Astyages, watching their furious onslaught, and seeing the enemy move steadily forward in close array to meet them, decided to advance without a moment's delay himself, for fear that his son and Cyrus might come to harm, crashing in disorder against the solid battalions of the foe. (23) The Assyrians saw the movement of the king and came to a halt, spears levelled and bows bent, expecting that, when their assailants came within range, they would halt likewise as they had usually done before. For hitherto, whenever the armies met, they would only charge up to a certain distance, and there take flying shots, and so keep up the skirmish until evening fell. But now the Assyrians saw their own men borne down on them in rout, with Cyrus and his comrades at their heels in full career, while Astyages and his cavalry were already within bowshot. It was more than they could face, and they turned and fled. After them swept the Medes in full pursuit, and those they caught they mowed down, horse and man, and those that fell they slew. There was no pause until they came up with the Assyrian foot. (24) Here at last they drew rein in fear of some hidden ambuscade, and Astyages led his army off. The exploit of his cavalry pleased him beyond measure, but he did not know what he could say to Cyrus. It was he to whom the engagement was due, and the victory; but the boy's daring was on the verge of madness. Even during the return home his behaviour was strange; he could not forbear riding round alone to look into the faces of the slain, and those whose duty it was could hardly drag him away to lead him to Astyages: indeed, the youth was glad enough to keep them as a screen between himself and the king, for he saw that the countenance of his grandfather grew stern at the sight of him.
(25) So matters passed in Media: and more and more the name of Cyrus was on the lip of every man, in song and story everywhere, and Astyages, who had always loved him, was astonished beyond all measure at the lad. Meanwhile his father, Cambyses, rejoiced to hear such tidings of his son; but, when he heard that he was already acting like a man of years, he thought it full time to call him home again that he might complete his training in the discipline of his fatherland. The story tells how Cyrus answered the summons, saying he would rather return home at once so that his father might not be vexed or his country blame him. And Astyages, too, thought it his plain duty to send the boy back, but he must needs give him horses to take with him, as many as he would care to choose, and other gifts beside, not only for the love he bore him but for the high hopes he had that the boy would one day prove a man of mark, a blessing to his friends, and a terror to his foes. And when the time came for Cyrus to go, the whole world poured out to speed him on his journey—little children and lads of his own age, and grown men and greybeards on their steeds, and Astyages the king. And, so says the chronicle, the eyes of none were dry when they turned home again. (26) Cyrus himself, they tell us, rode away in tears. He heaped gifts on all his comrades, sharing with them what Astyages had given to himself; and at last he took off the splendid Median cloak he wore and gave it to one of them, to tell him, plainer than words could say, how his heart clung to him above the rest. And his friends, they say, took the gifts he gave them, but they brought them all back to Astyages, who sent them to Cyrus again. But once more Cyrus sent them back to Media with this prayer to his grandfather:—"If you would have me hold my head up when I come back to you again, let my friends keep the gifts I gave them." And Astyages did as the boy asked.
(27) And here, if a tale of boyish love is not out of place, we might tell how, when Cyrus was just about to depart and the last good-byes were being said, each of his kinsmen in the Persian fashion—and to this day the custom holds in Persia—kissed him on the lips as they bade him god-speed. Now there was a certain Mede, as beautiful and brave a man as ever lived, who had been enamoured of Cyrus for many a long day, and, when he saw the kiss, he stayed behind, and after the others had withdrawn he went up to Cyrus and said, "Me, and me alone, of all your kindred, Cyrus, you refuse to recognize?" And Cyrus answered, "What, are you my kinsman too?" "Yes, assuredly," the other answered, and the lad rejoined, "Ah, then, that is why you looked at me so earnestly; and I have seen you look at me like that, I think, more than once before." "Yes," answered the Mede, "I have often longed to approach you, but as often, heaven knows, my heart failed me." "But why should that be," said Cyrus, "seeing you are my kinsman?" And with the word, he leant forward and kissed him on the lips. (28) Then the Mede, emboldened by the kiss, took heart and said, "So in Persia it is really the custom for relatives to kiss?" "Truly yes," answered Cyrus, "when we see each other after a long absence, or when we part for a journey." "Then the time has come," said the other, "to give me a second kiss, for I must leave you now." With that Cyrus kissed him again and so they parted. But the travellers were not far on their way when suddenly the Mede came galloping after them, his charger covered with foam. Cyrus caught sight of him:—"You have forgotten something? There is something else you wanted to say?" "No," said the Mede, "it is only such a long, long while since we met." "Such a little, little while you mean, my kinsman," answered Cyrus. "A little while!" repeated the other. "How can you say that? Cannot you understand that the time it takes to wink is a whole eternity if it severs me from the beauty of your face?"
Then Cyrus burst out laughing in spite of his own tears, and bade the unfortunate man take heart of grace and be gone. "I shall soon be back with you again, and then you can stare at me to your heart's content, and never wink at all."
(C.5) Thus Cyrus left his grandfather's court and came home to Persia, and there, so it is said, he spent one year more as a boy among boys. At first the lads were disposed to laugh at him, thinking he must have learnt luxurious ways in Media, but when they saw that he could take the simple Persian food as happily as themselves, and how, whenever they made good cheer at a festival, far from asking for any more himself he was ready to give his own share of the dainties away, when they saw and felt in this and in other things his inborn nobleness and superiority to themselves, then the tide turned and once more they were at his feet.
And when this part of his training was over, and the time was come for him to join the younger men, it was the same tale once more. Once more he outdid all his fellows, alike in the fulfilment of his duty, in the endurance of hardship, in the reverence he showed to age, and the obedience he paid to authority.
(2) Now in the fullness of time Astyages died in Media, and Cyaxares his son, the brother of Cyrus' mother, took the kingdom in his stead. By this time the king of Assyria had subdued all the tribes of Syria, subjugated the king of Arabia, brought the Hyrcanians under his rule, and was holding the Bactrians in siege. Therefore he came to think that, if he could but weaken the power of the Medes, it would be easy for him to extend his empire over all the nations round him, since the Medes were, without doubt, the strongest of them all. (3) Accordingly he sent his messengers to every part of his dominions: to Croesus, king of Lydia, to the king of Cappadocia, to both the Phrygias, to the Paphlagonians and the Indians, to the Carians and the Cilicians. And he bade them spread slanders abroad against the Persians and the Medes, and say moreover that these were great and mighty kingdoms which had come together and made alliance by marriage with one another, and unless a man should be beforehand with them and bring down their power it could not be but that they would fall on each of their neighbours in turn and subdue them one by one. So the nations listened to the messengers and made alliance with the king of Assyria: some were persuaded by what he said and others were won over by gifts and gold, for the riches of the Assyrian were great. (4) Now Cyaxares, the son of Astyages, was aware of these plots and preparations, and he made ready on his side, so far as in him lay, sending word to the Persian state and to Cambyses the king, who had his sister to wife. And he sent to Cyrus also, begging him to come with all speed at the head of any force that might be furnished, if so be the Council of Persia would give him men-at-arms. For by this time Cyrus had accomplished his ten years among the youths and was now enrolled with the grown men. (5) He was right willing to go, and the Council of Elders appointed him to command the force for Media. They bade him choose two hundred men among the Peers, each of them to choose four others from their fellows. Thus was formed a body of a thousand Peers: and each of the thousand had orders to raise thirty men from the commons—ten targeteers, ten slingers, and ten archers—and thus three regiments were levied, 10,000 archers, 10,000 slingers, and 10,000 targeteers, over and above the thousand Peers. The whole force was to be put under the command of Cyrus. (6) As soon as he was appointed, his first act had been to offer sacrifice, and when the omens were favourable he had chosen his two hundred Peers, and each of them had chosen their four comrades. Then he called the whole body together, and for the first time spoke to them as follows:—
(7) "My friends, I have chosen you for this work, but this is not the first time that I have formed my opinion of your worth: from my boyhood I have watched your zeal for all that our country holds to be honourable and your abhorrence for all that she counts base. And I wish to tell you plainly why I accepted this office myself and why I ask your help. (8) I have long felt sure that our forefathers were in their time as good men as we. For their lives were one long effort towards the self-same deeds of valour as are held in honour now; and still, for all their worth, I fail to see what good they gained either for the state or for themselves. (9) Yet I cannot bring myself to believe that there is a single virtue practised among mankind merely in order that the brave and good should fare no better than the base ones of the earth. Men do not forego the pleasures of the moment to say good-bye to all joy for evermore—no, this self-control is a training, so that we may reap the fruits of a larger joy in the time to come. A man will toil day and night to make himself an orator, yet oratory is not the one aim of his existence: his hope is to influence men by his eloquence and thus achieve some noble end. So too with us, and those like us, who are drilled in the arts of war: we do not give our labours in order to fight for ever, endlessly and hopelessly, we hope that we too one day, when we have proved our mettle, may win and wear for ourselves and for our city the threefold ornament of wealth, of happiness, of honour. (10) And if there should be some who have worked hard all their lives and suddenly old-age, they find, has stolen on them unawares, and taken away their powers before they have gathered in the fruit of all their toil, such men seem to me like those who desire to be thrifty husbandmen, and who sow well and plant wisely, but when the time of harvest comes let the fruit drop back ungarnered into the soil whence it sprang. Or as if an athlete should train himself and reach the heights where victory may be won and at the last forbear to enter the lists—such an one, I take it, would but meet his deserts if all men cried out upon him for a fool. (11) Let not such be our fate, my friends. Our own hearts bear us witness that we, too, from our boyhood up, have been trained in the school of beauty and nobleness and honour, and now let us go forward to meet our foes. They, I know right well, when matched with us, will prove but novices in war. He is no true warrior, though he be skilled with the javelin and the bow and ride on horseback with the best, who, when the call for endurance comes, is found to fail: toil finds him but a novice. Nor are they warriors who, when they should wake and watch, give way to slumber: sleep finds them novices. Even endurance will not avail, if a man has not learnt to deal as a man should by friends and foes: such an one is unschooled in the highest part of his calling. (12) But with you it is not so: to you the night will be as the day; toil, your school has taught you, is the guide to happiness; hunger has been your daily condiment, and water you take to quench your thirst as the lion laps the stream. And you have that within your hearts which is the rarest of all treasures and the most akin to war: of all sweet sounds the sweetest sound for you is the voice of fame. You are fair Honour's suitors, and you must needs win your title to her favour. Therefore you undergo toil and danger gladly.
(13) "Now if I said all this of you, and my heart were not in my words, I should but cheat myself. For in so far as you should fail to fulfil my hopes of you, it is on me that the shame would fall. But I have faith in you, bred of experience: I trust in your goodwill towards me, and in our enemy's lack of wit; you will not belie my hopes. Let us go forth with a light heart; we have no ill-fame to fear: none can say we covet another man's goods unlawfully. Our enemy strikes the first blow in an unrighteous cause, and our friends call us to protect them. What is more lawful than self-defence? What is nobler than to succour those we love? (14) And you have another ground of confidence—in opening this campaign I have not been forgetful of the gods: you have gone in and out with me, and you know how in all things, great and small, I strive to win their blessing. And now," he added, "what need of further words? I will leave you now to choose your own men, and when all is ready you will march into Media at their head. Meanwhile I will return to my father and start before you, so that I may learn what I can about the enemy as soon as may be, and thus make all needful preparations, so that by God's help we may win glory on the field."
(C.6) Such were his orders and they set about them at once. But Cyrus himself went home and prayed to the gods of his father's house, to Hestia and Zeus, and to all who had watched over his race. And when he had done so, he set out for the war, and his father went with him on the road. They were no sooner clear of the city, so says the story, than they met with favourable omens of thunder and lightning, and after that they went forward without further divination, for they felt that no man could mistake the signs from the Ruler of the gods. (2) And as they went on their way Cyrus' father said to him, "My son, the gods are gracious to us, and look with favour on your journey—they have shown it in the sacrifices, and by their signs from heaven. You do not need another man to tell you so, for I was careful to have you taught this art, so that you might understand the counsels of the gods yourself and have no need of an interpreter, seeing with your own eyes and hearing with your own ears and taking the heavenly meaning for yourself. Thus you need not be at the mercy of any soothsayers who might have a mind to deceive you, speaking contrary to the omens vouchsafed from heaven, nor yet, should you chance to be without a seer, drift in perplexity and know not how to profit by the heavenly signs: you yourself through your own learning can understand the warnings of the gods and follow them."
(3) "Yes, father," answered Cyrus, "so far as in me lies, I bear your words in mind, and pray to the gods continually that they may show us favour and vouchsafe to counsel us. I remember," he went on, "how once I heard you say that, as with men, so with the gods, it was but natural if the prayer of him should prevail who did not turn to flatter them only in time of need, but was mindful of them above all in the heyday of his happiness. It was thus indeed, you said, that we ought to deal with our earthly friends." (4) "True, my son," said his father, "and because of all my teaching, you can now approach the gods in prayer with a lighter heart and a more confident hope that they will grant you what you ask, because your conscience bears you witness that you have never forgotten them." "Even so," said Cyrus, "and in truth I feel towards them as though they were my friends." (5) "And do you remember," asked his father, "certain other conclusions on which we were agreed? How we felt there were certain things that the gods had permitted us to attain through learning and study and training? The accomplishment of these is the reward of effort, not of idleness; in these it is only when we have done all that it is our duty to do that we are justified in asking for blessings from the gods." (6) "I remember very well," said Cyrus, "that you used to talk to me in that way: and indeed I could not but agree with the arguments you gave. You used to say that a man had no right to pray he might win a cavalry charge if he had never learnt how to ride, or triumph over master-bowmen if he could not draw a bow, or bring a ship safe home to harbour if he did not know how to steer, or be rewarded with a plenteous harvest if he had not so much as sown grain into the ground, or come home safe from battle if he took no precautions whatsoever. All such prayers as these, you said, were contrary to the very ordinances of heaven, and those who asked for things forbidden could not be surprised if they failed to win them from the gods. Even as a petition in the face of law on earth would have no success with men."
(7) "And do you remember," said his father, "how we thought that it would be a noble work enough if a man could train himself really and truly to be beautiful and brave and earn all he needed for his household and himself? That, we said, was a work of which a man might well be proud; but if he went further still, if he had the skill and the science to be the guide and governor of other men, supplying all their wants and making them all they ought to be, that, it seemed to us, would be indeed a marvel." (8) "Yes, my father," answered Cyrus, "I remember it very well. I agreed with you that to rule well and nobly was the greatest of all works, and I am of the same mind still," he went on, "whenever I think of government in itself. But when I look on the world at large, when I see of what poor stuff those men are made who contrive to uphold their rule and what sort of antagonists we are likely to find in them, then I can only feel how disgraceful it would be to cringe before them and not to face them myself and try conclusions with them on the field. All of them, I perceive," he added, "beginning with our own friends here, hold to it that the ruler should only differ from his subjects by the splendour of his banquets, the wealth of gold in his coffers, the length and depth of his slumbers, and his freedom from trouble and pain. But my views are different: I hold that the ruler should be marked out from other men, not by taking life easily, but by his forethought and his wisdom and his eagerness for work." (9) "True, my son," the father answered, "but you know the struggle must in part be waged not against flesh and blood but against circumstances, and these may not be overcome so easily. You know, I take it, that if supplies were not forthcoming, farewell to this government of yours." "Yes," Cyrus answered, "and that is why Cyaxares is undertaking to provide for all of us who join him, whatever our numbers are." "So," said the father, "and you really mean, my son, that you are relying only on these supplies of Cyaxares for this campaign of yours?" "Yes," answered Cyrus. "And do you know what they amount to?" "No," he said, "I cannot say that I do." "And yet," his father went on, "you are prepared to rely on what you do not know? Do you forget that the needs of the morrow must be high, not to speak of the outlay for the day?" "Oh, no," said Cyrus, "I am well aware of that." "Well," said the father, "suppose the cost is more than Cyaxares can bear, or suppose he actually meant to deceive you, how would your soldiers fare?" "Ill enough, no doubt," answered he. "And now tell me, father, while we are still in friendly country, if you know of any resources that I could make my own?" (10) "You want to know where you could find resources of your own?" repeated his father. "And who is to find that out, if not he who holds the keys of power? We have given you a force of infantry that you would not exchange, I feel sure, for one that was more than twice its size; and you will have the cavalry of Media to support you, the finest in the world. I conceive there are none of the nations round about who will not be ready to serve you, whether to win your favour or because they fear disaster. These are matters you must look into carefully, in concert with Cyaxares, so that nothing should ever fail you of what you need, and, if only for habit's sake, you should devise some means for supplying your revenue. Bear this maxim in mind before all others—never put off the collecting of supplies until the day of need, make the season of your abundance provide against the time of dearth. You will gain better terms from those on whom you must depend if you are not thought to be in straits, and, what is more, you will be free from blame in the eyes of your soldiers. That in itself will make you more respected; wherever you desire to help or to hurt, your troops will follow you with greater readiness, so long as they have all they need, and your words, you may be sure, will carry the greater weight the fuller your display of power for weal or woe."
(11) "Yes, father," Cyrus said, "I feel all you say is true, and the more because as things now stand none of my soldiers will thank me for the pay that is promised them. They are well aware of the terms Cyaxares has offered for their help: but whatever they get over and above the covenanted amount they will look upon as a free gift, and for that they will, in all likelihood, feel most gratitude to the giver." "True," said the father, "and really for a man to have a force with which he could serve his friends and take vengeance on his foes, and yet neglect the supplies for it, would be as disgraceful, would it not? as for a farmer to hold lands and labourers and yet allow fields to lie barren for lack of tillage."
"No such neglect," answered the son, "shall ever be laid at my door. Through friendly lands or hostile, trust me, in this business of supplying my troops with all they need I will always play my part."
(12) "Well, my son," the father resumed, "and do you remember certain other points which we agreed must never be overlooked?" "Could I forget them?" answered Cyrus. "I remember how I came to you for money to pay the teacher who professed to have taught me generalship, and you gave it me, but you asked me many questions. 'Now, my boy,' you said, 'did this teacher you want to pay ever mention economy among the things a general ought to understand? Soldiers, no less than servants in a house, are dependent on supplies.' And I was forced to tell the truth and admit that not a syllable had been mentioned on that score. Then you asked me if anything had been taught about health and strength, since a true general is bound to think of these matters no less than of tactics and strategy. And when I was forced to say no, you asked me if he had taught me any of the arts which give the best aid in war. Once again I had to say no and then you asked whether he had ever taught me how to kindle enthusiasm in my men. For in every undertaking, you said, there was all the difference in the world between energy and lack of spirit. I shook my head and your examination went on:—Had this teacher laid no stress on the need for obedience in an army, or on the best means of securing discipline? (14) And finally, when it was plain that even this had been utterly ignored, you exclaimed, 'What in the world, then, does your professor claim to have taught you under the name of generalship?' To that I could at last give a positive answer: 'He taught me tactics.' And then you gave a little laugh and ran through your list point by point:—'And pray what will be the use of tactics to an army without supplies, without health, without discipline, without knowledge of those arts and inventions that are of use in war?' And so you made it clear to me that tactics and manoeuvres and drill were only a small part of all that is implied in generalship, and when I asked you if you could teach me the rest of it you bade me betake myself to those who stood high in repute as great generals, and talk with them and learn from their lips how each thing should be done. (15) So I consorted with all I thought to be of authority in these matters. As regards our present supplies I was persuaded that what Cyaxares intended to provide was sufficient, and, as for the health of the troops, I was aware that the cities where health was valued appointed medical officers, and the generals who cared for their soldiers took out a medical staff; and so when I found myself in this office I gave my mind to the matter at once: and I flatter myself, father," he added, "that I shall have with me an excellent staff of surgeons and physicians." (16) To which the father made reply, "Well, my son, but these excellent men are, after all, much the same as the tailors who patch torn garments. When folk are ill, your doctors can patch them up, but your own care for their health ought to go far deeper than that: your prime object should be to save your men from falling ill at all." "And pray, father," asked Cyrus, "how can I succeed in that?" "Well," answered Cambyses, "I presume if you are to stay long in one place you will do your best to discover a healthy spot for your camp, and if you give your mind to the matter you can hardly fail to find it. Men, we know, are forever discussing what places are healthy and what are not, and their own complexions and the state of their own bodies is the clearest evidence. But you will not content yourself with choosing a site, you will remember the care you take yourself for your own health." (17) "Well," said Cyrus, "my first rule is to avoid over-feeding as most oppressive to the system, and my next to work off all that enters the body: that seems the best way to keep health and gain strength." "My son," Cambyses answered, "these are the principles you must apply to others." "What!" said Cyrus; "do you think it will be possible for the soldiers to diet and train themselves?" "Not only possible," said the father, "but essential. For surely an army, if it is to fulfil its function at all, must always be engaged in hurting the foe or helping itself. A single man is hard enough to support in idleness, a household is harder still, an army hardest of all. There are more mouths to be filled, less wealth to start with, and greater waste; and therefore an army should never be unemployed." (18) "If I take your meaning," answered Cyrus, "you think an idle general as useless as an idle farmer. And here and now I answer for the working general, and promise on his behalf that with God's help he will show you that his troops have all they need and their bodies are all they ought to be. And I think," he added, "I know a way by which an officer might do much towards training his men in the various branches of war. Let him propose competitions of every kind and offer prizes; the standard of skill will rise, and he will soon have a body of troops ready to his hand for any service he requires." "Nothing could be better," answered the father. "Do this, and you may be sure you will watch your regiments at their manoeuvres with as much delight as if they were a chorus in the dance."
(19) "And then," continued Cyrus, "to rouse enthusiasm in the men, there can be nothing, I take it, like the power of kindling hope?" "True," answered his father, "but that alone would be as though a huntsman were for ever rousing his pack with the view-halloo. At first, of course, the hounds will answer eagerly enough, but after they have been cheated once or twice they will end by refusing the call even when the quarry is really in sight. And so it is with hope. Let a man rouse false expectations often enough, and in the end, even when hope is at the door, he may cry the good news in vain. Rather ought he to refrain from speaking positively himself when he cannot know precisely; his agents may step in and do it in his place; but he should reserve his own appeal for the supreme crises of supreme danger, and not dissipate his credit."