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them opportunity to return to their duty: these are quali ties rarely found in the most celebrated conquerors of antiquity, but which shone forth most conspicuously in Cyrus.
a To return to my subject. Cyrus, before he quitted the king of Armenia, was willing to do him some signal service. This king was then at war with the Chaldeans, a neighbouring, warlike people, who continually harassed his country by their inroads, and by that means hindered a great part of his lands from being cultivated. Cyrus, after having exactly informed himself of their character, strength, and the situation of their strong holds, marched against them. On the first intelligence of his approach, the Chaldeans possessed themselves of the eminences to which they were accustomed to retreat. Cyrus left them no time to assemble all their forces there, but marched to attack them directly. The Armenians, whom he had made his advanced guard, were immediately put to flight. Cyrus had expected this, and had only placed them there to bring the enemy the sooner to an engagement. And indeed, when the Chaldeans came to blows with the Persians, they were not able to stand their ground, but were entirely defeated. A great number were taken prisoners, and the rest were scattered and dispersed. Cyrus himself spoke to the prisoners, assuring them that he was not come to injure them, or ravage their country, but to grant them peace upon reasonable terms, and to set them at liberty. Deputies were immediately sent to him, and a peace was concluded. For the better security of both nations, and with their common consent, Cyrus caused a fortress to be built upon an eminence, which commanded the whole country; and left a strong garrison in it, which was to declare against either of the two nations that should violate the treaty.
Cyrus, understanding that there was a frequent intercourse and communication between the Indians and Chaldeans, desired that the latter would send persons to accompany and conduct his ambassador, whom he was preparing to send to the king of India. The purport of this embassy was, to desire some succours in money from that prince, in behalf of Cyrus, who wanted it for the levying of troops in Persia, and promised that, if the gods crowned his designs with success, that potentate should have no reason to repent of having assisted him. He was glad to find the Chaldeans ready to second his request, which they could do the more advantageously, by enlarging upon the character and exploits of Cyrus. The ambassador set out the next day, accompanied by some of the most considerable persons of
à Cyrop. 1. iii. p. 70-76.
Chaldea, who were directed by their master to act with all possible dexterity, and to do Cyrus's merit all possible justice.
The expedition against the Armenians being happily ended, Cyrus left that country to rejoin Cyaxares. 4,000 Chaldeans, the bravest of the nation, attended him; and the king of Armenia, who was now delivered from his enemies, augmented the number of troops he had promised him: so that he arrived in Media, with a great deal of money, and a much more numerous army than he had when he left it.
The Expedition of Cyaxares and Cyrus against the
a BOTH parties had been employed three years together, in forming their alliances, and making preparations for war. Cyrus, finding the troops full of ardour, and ready for action, proposed to Cyaxares to lead them against Assyria. His reasons for it were, that he thought it his duty to ease him, as soon as possible, of the care and expense of maintaining two armies; that it were better they should eat up the enemy's country, than Media; that so bold a step as that of going to meet the Assyrians, might be capable of spreading a terror in their army, and at the same time inspire their own troops with the greater confidence; that, lastly, it was a maxim with him, as it had always been with Cambyses, his father, that victory did not so much depend upon the number, as the valour of troops. Cyaxares agreed to his proposal.
As soon therefore as the customary sacrifices were offered, they began their march. Cyrus, in the name of the whole army invoked the tutelary gods of the empire; besceching them to be favourable to them in the expedition they had undertaken, to acccompany them, conduct them, fight for them, inspire them with such a measure of courage and prudence as was necessary, and in short, to bless their arms with prosperity and success. In acting thus, Cyrus put in practice that excellent advice his father had given him, of beginning and ending all his actions, and all his enterprises, with prayer: and indeed he never failed, either before or after an engagement, to acquit himself in the presence of the whole army, of this religious duty. When they were arrived on the frontiers of Assyria, it was still their first care to pay their homage to the gods of the country, and to implore their protection and succour: after
a A. M. 3448. Ant, J. C, 556. Cyrop. l. iii. p. 78-87.
which they began to make incursions into the country, carried off a great deal of spoil.
Cyrus, understanding that the enemy's army was about ten day's journey from them, prevailed upon Cyaxares to advance forwards, and march up to them. When the armies came within sight, both sides prepared for battle. The Assyrians were encamped in the open country; and, according to their custom, which the Romans imitated afterwards, had encompassed and fortified their camp with a large ditch. Cyrus on the contrary, who was glad to deprive the enemy, as much as possible, of the sight and knowledge of the smallness of his army, covered his troops with several little hills and villages. For several days nothing was done on either side, but looking at and observing one another. At length a numerous body of the Assyrians moving first out of their camp, Cyrus advanced with his troops to meet them. But before they came within reach of the enemy, he gave the word for rallying the men, which was, "Jupiter protector and conductor. He then caused the ordinary hymn to be sounded, in honour of Castor and Pollux, to which the soldiers, full of religious ardour (os), answered with a loud voice. There was nothing in Cyrus's army but cheerfulness, emulation, courage, mutual exhortations to bravery, and an universal zeal to execute whatever their leader should command. "For it is observable (says "the historian in this place), that on these occasions, those "that fear the Deity most, are the least afraid of men.' On the side of the Assyrians, the troops armed with bows, slings, and darts, made their discharges before their enemies were within reach. But the Persians, animated by the presence and example of Cyrus, came immediately to close fight with the enemy, and broke through their first battalions. The Assyrians, notwithstanding all the efforts used by Crœsus, and their own king, to encourage them, were not able to sustain so rude a shock, but immediately fled. At the same time the cavalry of the Medes advanced to attack the enemy's horse, which was likewise presently routed. The former warmly pursued them to the very camp, made a terrible slaughter, and the king of the Babylonians (Neriglissor) was killed in the action. Cyrus, not thinking himself in a condition to force their entrenchments, sounded a retreat.
The Assyrians, in the mean time, their king being killed, and the flower of their army lost, were in a dreadful consternation. • As soon as Croesus found them in so great
a I do not know whether Xenophon, in this place, does not call the Persian gods by the name of the gods of his own country.
Cyrop. lib. v. p. 87. 104.
e Ibid. 1. vi. p. 150.
a disorder, he fled, and left them to shift for themselves. The other allies, likewise, seeing their affairs in so hopeless a condition, thought of nothing but taking advantage of the night to make their escape.
Cyrus, who had foreseen this, prepared to pursue them closely. But this could not be effected without cavalry; and, as we have already observed, the Persians had none. He therefore went to Cyaxares, and acquainted him with his design. Cyaxares was extremely averse to it, and represented to him how dangerous it was to drive so powerful an enemy to extremities, whom despair would probably inspire with courage; that it was a part of wisdom to use good fortune with moderation, and not lose the fruits of victory by too much vivacity: moreover, that he was unwilling to compel the Medes, or to refuse them that repose to which their behaviour had justly entitled them. Cyrus, upon this, desired his permission only to take as many of the horse as were willing to follow him. Cyaxares readily consented to this, and thought of nothing else now but of passing his time with his officers in feasting and mirth, and enjoying the fruits of the victory he had just obtained.
Cyrus marched away in pursuit of the enemy, and was followed by the greatest part of the Median soldiers. Upon the way he met some couriers, that were coming to him from the a Hyrcanians, who served in the enemy's army, to assure him, that as soon as ever he appeared, those Hyrcanians would come over to him; which in fact they did. Cyrus made the best use of his time, and having marched all night, came up with the Assyrians. Croesus had sent away his wives in the night time for coolness (for it was the summer season), and followed them himself with a body of cavalry. When the Assyrians saw the enemy so near them, they were in the utmost confusion and dismay. Many of those that ran away, being warmly pursued, were killed; all that staid in the camp surrendered; the victory was complete, and the spoil immense. Cyrus reserved all the horses that were taken in the camp for himself, resolving now to form a body of cavalry for the Persian army, which hitherto had none. The richest and most valuable part of the booty he set apart for Cyaxares; and for the prisoners, he gave them all their liberty to go home to their own country, without imposing any other condition upon them, than that they and their countrymen should deliver up their arms, and engage no more in war; Cyrus taking it upon himself to defend them against their enemies, and to put them into a condition of cultivating their lands with entire security.
a These are not the Hyrcanians by the Caspian Sea. From observing Cyrus's encampments in Babylonia, one would be apt to conjecture, that the Hyrca. nians here meant were about four or five days' journey south of Babylon,
Whilst the Medes and the Hyrcanians were still pursuing the remainder of the enemy, Cyrus took care to have a repast, and even baths prepared for them, that at their return they might have nothing to do, but to sit down and refresh themselves. He likewise thought fit to defer the distribution of the spoil till then. It was on this occasion that this general, whose thoughts nothing escaped, exhorted his Persian soldiers to distinguish themselves by their generosity, towards their allies, from whom they had already received great services, and of whom they might expect still greater. He desired they would wait their return, both for the refreshments and the division of the spoil; and that they would show a preference of their interests and conveniencies before their own; giving them to understand, that this would be a sure means of attaching the allies to them for ever, and of securing a new harvest of victories to them over the enemy, which would procure them all the advantages they could wish, and make them an ample amends for the voluntary losses they might sustain, for the sake of winning the affection of the allies. They all came into his opinion. When the Medes and Hyrcanians were returned from pursuing the enemy, Cyrus made them sit down to the repast he had prepared for them desiring them to send nothing but bread to the Persians, who were sufficiently provided (he said) with all they wanted, either for their ragouts, or their drinking. Hunger was their only ragout, and water from the river their only drink, For that was the way of living to which they had been accustomed from their infancy.
The next morning came on the division of the spoils. Cyrus in the first place ordered the Magi to be called, and commanded them to choose out of all the booty what was most proper to be offered to the gods on such an occasion. Then he gave the Medes and Hyrcanians the honour of dividing all that remained amongst the whole army. They earnestly desired, that the Persians might preside in the distribution; but the Persians absolutely refused it; so that they were obliged to accept of the office, as Cyrus had ordered; and the distribution was made to the general satisfaction of all parties.
a The very night that Cyrus marched to pursue the enemy, Cyaxares had passed in feasting and jollity; and had made himself drunk with his principal officers. The next morning when he awaked, he was strangely surprised to find himself almost alone, and without troops. Immediately, full of resentment and rage, he dispatched an express to the army with orders to reproach Cyrus severely, and to bring
a Cyrop. l. iv. p. 104-108.