All your life you’ve had thoughts about what oc-curs

time:2023-11-30 02:48:28 source:Forget Your Life author:world

From this place Cyrus advanced one stage--three parasangs--with the whole body of his troops, Hellenic and barbarian alike in order of battle. He expected the king to give battle the same day, for in the middle of this day's march a deep sunk trench was reached, thirty feet broad, and eighteen feet deep. The trench was carried inland through the plain, twelve parasang's distance, to the wall of Media[1]. [Here are canals, flowing from the river Tigris; they are four in number, each a hundred feet broad, and very deep, with corn ships plying upon 15 them; they empty themselves into the Euphrates, and are at intervals of one parasang apart, and are spanned by bridges.]

All your life you’ve had thoughts about what oc-curs

[1] For "the wall of Media" see Grote, "Hist. of Greece," vol. ix. p. 87 and foll. note 1 (1st ed.), and various authorities there quoted or referred to. The next passage enclosed in [] may possibly be a commentator's or editor's note, but, on the whole, I have thought it best to keep the words in the text instead of relegating them, as heretofore, to a note. Perhaps some future traveller may clear up all difficulties.

All your life you’ve had thoughts about what oc-curs

Between the Euphrates and the trench was a narrow passage, twenty feet only in breadth. The trench itself had been constructed by the great king upon hearing of Cyrus's approach, to serve as a line of defence. Through this narrow passage then Cyrus and his army passed, and found themselves safe inside the trench. So there was no battle to be fought with the king that day; only there were numerous unmistakable traces of horse and infantry in retreat. Here Cyrus summoned Silanus, his Ambraciot soothsayer, and presented him with three thousand darics; because eleven days back, when sacrificing, he had told him that the king would not fight within ten days, and Cyrus had answered: "Well, then, if he does not fight within that time, he will not fight at all; and if your prophecy comes true, I promise you ten talents." So now, that the ten days were passed, he presented him with the above sum.

All your life you’ve had thoughts about what oc-curs

But as the king had failed to hinder the passage of Cyrus's army at the trench, Cyrus himself and the rest concluded that he must have abandoned the idea of offering battle, so that next day Cyrus advanced with less than his former caution. On the third day he was conducting the march, seated in his carriage, with only a small body of troops drawn up in front of him. The mass of the army was moving on in no kind of order: the soldiers having consigned their heavy arms to be carried in the wagons or on the backs of beasts.

It was already about full market time[1] and the halting-place at 1 which the army was to take up quarters was nearly reached, when Pategyas, a Persian, a trusty member of Cyrus's personal staff, came galloping up at full speed on his horse, which was bathed in sweat, and to every one he met he shouted in Greek and Persian, as fast as he could ejaculate the words: "The king is advancing with a large army ready for battle." Then ensued a scene of wild confusion. The Hellenes and all alike were expecting to be attacked on the instant, and before they could form their lines. Cyrus sprang from his carriage and donned his corselet; then leaping on to his charger's back, with the javelins firmly clutched, he passed the order to the rest, to arm themselves and fall into their several ranks.

The orders were carried out with alacrity; the ranks shaped themselves. Clearchus held the right wing resting on the Euphrates, Proxenus was next, and after him the rest, while Menon with his troops held the Hellenic left. Of the Asiatics, a body of Paphlagonian cavalry, one thousand strong, were posted beside Clearchus on the right, and with them stood the Hellenic peltasts. On the left was Ariaeus, Cyrus's second in command, and the rest of the barbarian host. Cyrus was with his bodyguard of cavalry about six hundred strong, all armed with corselets like Cyrus, and cuirasses and helmets; but not so Cyrus: he went into battle with head unhelmeted[2]. So too all the horses with Cyrus wore forehead-pieces and breast-pieces, and the troopers carried short Hellenic swords.

[2] The MSS. add, "to expose oneself to the risks of war bareheaded is, it is said, a practice common to the Persians," which I regard as a commentator's note, if not an original marginal note of some early editor, possibly of the author himself. The "Cyropaedeia" is full of such comments, "pieces justificatives" inserted into the text.

It was now mid-day, and the enemy was not yet in sight; but with the approach of afternoon was seen dust like a white cloud, and after a considerable interval a black pall as it were spread far and high above the plain. As they came nearer, very soon was seen here and there a glint of bronze and spear-points; and the ranks could plainly be distinguished. On the left were troopers wearing white cuirasses. That is Tissaphernes in command, they said, and next to these a body of men bearing wicker-shields, and next again heavy-armed infantry, with long wooden shields reaching to the feet. These were the Egyptians, they said, and then other cavalry, other bowmen; all were in national divisions, each nation marching in densely-crowded 10 squares. And all along their front was a line of chariots at considerable intervals from one another--the famous scythe-chariots, as they were named--having their scythes fitted to the axle-trees and stretching out slantwise, while others protruded under the chariot-seats, facing the ground, so as to cut through all they encountered. The design was to let them dash full speed into the ranks of the Hellenes and cut them through.


recommended content