Page:Encyclopædia Britannica, Ninth Edition, v. 6.djvu/789

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page needs to be proofread.

been built by the Medes after the overthrow of Nineveh, but ruined by the Persians during the Median war. Mespila had afforded refuge to a wife of the Median monarch.

The conquest of Media and the consequent establishment of the Persian empire is fixed somewhat doubtfully at 559 B.C. According to Strabo (xv. p. 729) the earlier name of Cyrus was Agradates ; if so, he must have changed it about this period, borrowing his new title perhaps from the River Cyrus, near Pasargadas. In any case the name Cyrus (Old Persian, Kurus) cannot be connected with the later Persian Khor or Khorshed, " the sun," which would be uwara in the Persian of the Achsemenian epoch (Zend, hware). The reduction of Media must have occupied a considerable time, as it was not until 546 B.C. that Cyrus found himself strong enough to face Croesus of Lydia, who had entered into alliance with Egypt and Babylonia. Without waiting for his allies, however, Croesus crossed the Halys, and a drawn battle was fought in Pteria. The Lydian king returned to Sardis and disbanded his forces, believing that Cyrus would not undertake a winter campaign. Thisi belief proved illusive ; Cyrus followed the enemy, defeated the Lydian army in spite of its bravery, besieged Sardis, and took it within fourteen days. A Greek legend accounted for the preservation of Croesus and his future position as confidential counsellor in the Persian court.

The conquest of the Greek cities of Ionia followed, and a revolt that broke out in Sardis under Pactyes during the absence of Cyrus caused the general disarmament of the Lydians and the reduction of Lycia and Caria.

Cyrus now turned his attention to the East—Parthia, Sogdiana, Arachosia, and the neighbouring countries being added to the empire. According to Ctesiaa, Bactria had submitted on the marriage of Cyrus with Amytis ; and the most formidable campaign Cyrus had to uudertake in the East was against the Sacae. According to one story, Cyrus was taken prisoner in this campaign ; according to another, Sparetha, the queen of the Sacse, gained important advan tages over the Persians. Pliny states that Kapisa (perhaps the modern Kafshan), near the Upper Indus, was destroyed by Cyrus; and Arrian s assertion that a Persian army was lost in the desert of Gedrosia is confirmed by the fact that this country formed part of the Persian empire in the reign of Darius.

In 539 B.C. Babylonia was attacked. Nabonidus, the Babylonian king, called Labynetus by Herodotus, had been preparing for the invasion for years. Cyrus carried with him the water of the Choaspes for drinking, and delayed a whole summer and autumn on his march in order to dissipate the River Gyndes, in which one of the sacred white horses had been drowned. The Jews settled in Babylonia hailed the Persians as deliverers and monotheists, and it was doubtless in return for the assistance they had afforded that Cyrus permitted them to return to their country and restore Jerusalem and the temple. Nabonidus, defeated in the field, took refuge in Borsippa, while the Persians laid siege to Babylon, where Belshazzar, the son of Nabonidus, was in command. Babylon was taken during a feast ; Nabonidus surrendered and was sent to Carmania, and the sceptre of Nebuchadnezzar passed to Persia.

Instead of reducing Phoenicia, which had resumed its freedom, Cyrus led his troops across the Araxes against the Massagetae. At first victorious, he was afterwards defeated and slain (538 B.C.) by the Massagetic queen Tomyris, the double of Sparetha, after a reign of twenty-nine years (Herod, i. 208-214). According to Ctesias, however, this campaign was against the Derbices and their Indian allies, and Cyrus died of a wound received in battle three days after gaining a complete victory over them. The conquest of Egypt was left to a successor, Cyrus having made this side of his empire secure by restoring the Jews to Palestine.

(a. h. s.)

CYRUS the Younger was the son of Darius Nothus, and of Parysatis. and the brother of Artaxerxes Miiemon. He was sent by his father at the age of sixteen to assist the Lacedaemonians against the Athenians. Artaxerxes suc ceeded to the throne on the death of Nothus ; and Cyrus, who deemed himself, as born after his father s accession to the throne, the legitimate successor, sought to dispossess him. His attempt would have been punished by his death, had not his mother Parysatis saved him by her tears and entreaties. This circumstance did not in the least check his ambition. He was appointed satrap of Lydia and of Asia Minor, where he secretly fomented rebellion, and levied troops under various pretences. At last he took the field with an army of 100,000 barbarians and 13,000 Greeks, under the command of Clearchus; and Artaxerxes met him near Cunaxa with a force said to have numbered 900,000 (401 B.C.). The battle was long and bloody, and Cyrus might perhaps have obtained the victory, had not his rashness proved his ruin. The two royal brothers met in person, and Cyrus was slain. Artaxerxes was so anxious to have it believed that his brother had fallen by his hand, though this does not seem to have been the case, that he put to death two of his subjects for boasting that they had killed Cyrus. The Greeks who were en gaged in the expedition obtained much glory in the battle, and after the death of Cyrus they remained victorious in the field without a commander. Their homeward march in face of the vastly superior numbers of the enemy is known in history as the Retreat of the Ten Thousand, and forms the subject of Xenophon s most popular work, the Anabasis.

CYZICUS, an ancient town of Mysia, in Asia Minor, on the coast of the Propontis or Sea of Marmora, occupying the narrowest part of a peninsula which was at one time an island, and was said to have been joined to the mainland by Alexander the Great by moles and bridges. During the Peloponnesian war, Cyzicus was subject to the Athenians and Lacedaemonians alternately, as the power of either state predominated ; and at the peace of Antalcidas, like the other Greek cities in Asia, it was made over to Persia. The greatness and prosperity of the town did not commence till about 74 B.C., when the Cyzicenes, under circumstances of great difficulty, repelled Mithridates from their walls, and kept the town till relieved by Lucullus. For their bravery and devotion at this time they were rewarded with peculiar honours and privileges by the Romans, and pre sented with a large tract of the rich land adjoining their city. Seriously injured by an earthquake in the reign of Antoninus Pius, Cyzicus from that period gradually declined. The ruins of Cyzicus, which once boasted a veiy large number of splendid temples and public buildings, are still to be seen among the cherry orchards and vineyards that have overgrown its site. They are known by the Turkish name of Balkiz, which is probably a corruption of IlaAcua KVIKOS. The principal buildings still clearly dis tinguishable are a Roman amphitheatre and a temple dedicated to Hadrian ; but there are also remains of the