Xenophon, Cyropaedia (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Xen. Cyr.].
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2.1.8“Yes,” said Cyaxares, “that will be necessary.”

“In that case, then, the victory will be with the side that has the greater numbers; for the few would be wounded and killed off by the many sooner than the many by the few.”

“If that is so, Cyrus, then what better plan could any one think of than to send to Persia to inform them that if anything happens to the Medes, the danger will extend to the Persians, and at the same time to ask for a larger army?”

“Why,” said Cyrus, “let me assure you that even though all the Persians were to come, we should not surpass the enemy in point of numbers.”

2.1.9“What better plan do you see than this?”

“If I were you,” said Cyrus, “I should as quickly [Note] as possible have armour made for all the Persians who are coming here just like that of the so-called peers who are coming from our country—that is, a corselet to wear about the breast, a small shield upon the left arm, and a scimitar or sabre in the right hand. And if you provide these weapons, you will make it the safest procedure for us to fight at close quarters with the enemy, while for the enemy flight will prove preferable to standing their ground. And it is for us,” he continued, “to range ourselves against those who hold their ground, while those of them who run away we propose to leave to you and the cavalry, that they may have no chance to stand their ground or to turn back.”

2.1.10Thus Cyrus spoke. And to Cyaxares it seemed that he spoke to the point; and he no longer talked of sending for reinforcements, but he set about procuring the arms as suggested. And they were almost ready when the Persian peers came with the army from Persia.

2.1.11Thereupon Cyrus is said to have called the [Note] peers together and said: “My friends: When I saw you thus equipped and ready in heart to grapple with the enemy in a hand-to-hand encounter, and when I observed that those Persians who follow you are so armed as to do their fighting standing as far off as possible, I was afraid lest, few in number and unaccompanied by others to support you, you might fall in with a large division of the enemy and come to some harm. Now then,” said he, “you have brought with you men blameless in bodily strength; and they are to have arms like ours; but to steel their hearts is our task; for it is not the whole duty of an officer to show himself valiant, but he must also take care that his men be as valiant as possible.”

2.1.12Thus he spoke. And they were all delighted, for they thought they were going into battle with more to support them. And one of them also spoke as follows: 2.1.13“Now,” he began, “it will perhaps sound strange if I advise Cyrus to say something on our behalf, when those who are to fight along with us receive their arms. But I venture the suggestion, for I know that when men have most power to do both good and ill, then their words also are the most likely to sink deep into the hearts of the hearers. And if such persons give presents, even though the gifts be of less worth than those given by equals, still the recipients value them more highly. And now,” said he, “our Persian comrades will be more highly pleased to be exhorted by Cyrus than by us; and when they have taken their place among the peers they will feel that they hold this honour with more security because conferred by their prince and their general than if the same honour were bestowed by us. However, our co-operation must not be wanting, but in every way and by all means we must steel the hearts of our men. For the braver these men are, the more to our advantage it will be.”

2.1.14Accordingly, Cyrus had the arms brought in and arranged to view, and calling all the Persian soldiers together he spoke as follows: 2.1.15“Fellow-citizens [Note] of Persia, you were born and bred upon the same soil as we; the bodies you have are no whit inferior to ours, and it is not likely that you have hearts in the least less brave than our own. In spite of this, in our own country you did not enjoy equal privileges with us, but because you were obliged to earn your own livelihood. Now, however, with the help of the gods, I shall see to it that you are provided with the necessaries of life; and you are permitted, if you wish, to receive arms like ours, to face the same danger as we, and, if any fair success crowns our enterprise, to be counted worthy of an equal share with us.

2.1.16“Now, up to this time you have been bowmen and lancers, and so have we; and if you were not quite our equals in the use of these arms, there is nothing surprising about that; for you had not the leisure to practise with them that we had. But with this equipment we shall have no advantage over you. In any case, every man will have a corselet fitted to his breast, upon his left arm a shield, such as we have all been accustomed to carry, and in his right hand a sabre or scimitar with which, you see, we must strike those opposed to us at such close range that we need not fear to miss our aim when we strike. 2.1.17In this armour, then, how could any one of us have the advantage over another except in courage? And this it is proper for you to cherish in your hearts no less than we. For why is it more proper for us than for you to desire victory, which gains and keeps safe all things beautiful and all things good? And what reason is there that we, any more than you, should desire that superiority in arms which gives to the victors all the belongings of the vanquished?



Xenophon, Cyropaedia (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Xen. Cyr.].
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