The Two Great Retreats of History By George Grote SKETCH OF CYRUS THE YOUNGER. (Introductory to the Retreat of the Ten Thousand Greeks.) In the year 423 B.C. Darius Nothus ascended the throne of Persia. That country was then the greatest empire in the world, and had an area nearly equal to that of the United States. The capital of this seemingly powerful realm was the ancient city of Babylon on the lower Euphrates. Here the Great King, as he was styled, had his principal palace, from which he issued orders to his twenty or ...
The Two Great Retreats of History By George Grote SKETCH OF CYRUS THE YOUNGER. (Introductory to the Retreat of the Ten Thousand Greeks.) In the year 423 B.C. Darius Nothus ascended the throne of Persia. That country was then the greatest empire in the world, and had an area nearly equal to that of the United States. The capital of this seemingly powerful realm was the ancient city of Babylon on the lower Euphrates. Here the Great King, as he was styled, had his principal palace, from which he issued orders to his twenty or more satraps or governors whose provinces extended in name at least from the shores of the Mediterranean to the banks of the Indus, and from the Persian Gulf to the Black Sea. Darius had married his half-sister Parysatis, a high-spirited but unscrupulous woman, by whom he had two sons, destined to be known in history. The eldest was Artaxerx???s, a youth of but little character; and the second, Cyrus, who inherited the decided qualities of his mother. In order to distinguish him from Cyrus the Great, the founder of the Persian Empire, who died more than a hundred years earlier, he is commonly called Cyrus the Younger. He was his mother's favorite, and as he was born after Darius assumed the crown, while Artaxerx???s was born before that date, Parysatis seems to have encouraged Cyrus to consider himself the true heir to the throne, since he was in fact the king's eldest son. Through her influence he was appointed satrap of Lydia and the adjacent provinces of western Asia Minor when he was but sixteen. This position, since it made him the military ruler of that populous and wealthy section of country, was one of great importance, and doubtless had no small influence in shaping the young man's future career. In 404 Cyrus was summoned from Sardis, the capital of Lydia, to Babylon, and shortly after, his father died, leaving his crown to Artaxerx???s, who, from his remarkable memory which appears to have been his chief characteristic, got the title of Artaxerx???s Mnemon. But Cyrus certainly was not deficient in this mental quality, for he seems to have remembered his mother's suggestions about his being the rightful heir to the throne so well, that at the coronation of Artaxerx???s he plotted his assassination; or at least, Tissaphern???s, a neighboring satrap, accused him of it. Cyrus, who appears to have had no adequate defence to make, was forthwith arrested and would probably have been summarily put to death-for in Persia the law's delays were unknown-had not Parysatis interfered. Realizing her son's imminent peril, she rushed forward and, clasping him in her arms, wound her long flowing hair about him, and pressed his neck to hers in such a way that the executioner must have beheaded her with the same stroke with which he decapitated Cyrus. We are delighted to publish this classic book as part of our extensive Classic Library collection. Many of the books in our collection have been out of print for decades, and therefore have not been accessible to the general public. The aim of our publishing program is to facilitate rapid access to this vast reservoir of literature, and our view is that this is a significant literary work, which deserves to be brought back into print after many decades. The contents of the vast majority of titles in the Classic Library have been scanned from the original works. To ensure a high quality product, each title has been meticulously hand curated by our staff. Our philosophy has been guided by a desire to provide the reader with a book that is as close as possible to ownership of the original work. We hope that you will enjoy this wonderful classic work, and that for you it becomes an enriching experience.
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