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eldest of the sons of Hystaspes, with wings upon his shoulders,
shadowing with the one wing Asia, and Europe with the other. Now
Hystaspes, the son of Arsames, was of the race of the Achaemenidae,
and his eldest son, Darius, was at that time scarce twenty years
old; wherefore, not being of age to go to the wars, he had remained
behind in Persia. When Cyrus woke from his sleep, and turned the
vision over in his mind, it seemed to him no light matter. He
therefore sent for Hystaspes, and taking him aside said, "Hystaspes,
thy son is discovered to be plotting against me and my crown. I will
tell thee how I know it so certainly. The gods watch over my safety,
and warn me beforehand of every danger. Now last night, as I lay in my
bed, I saw in a vision the eldest of thy sons with wings upon his
shoulders, shadowing with the one wing Asia, and Europe with the
other. From this it is certain, beyond all possible doubt, that he
is engaged in some plot against me. Return thou then at once to
Persia, and be sure, when I come back from conquering the
Massagetae, to have thy son ready to produce before me, that I may
examine him."
Thus Cyrus spoke, in the belief that he was plotted against by
Darius; but he missed the true meaning of the dream, which was sent by
God to forewarn him, that he was to die then and there, and that his
kingdom was to fall at last to Darius.
Hystaspes made answer to Cyrus in these words:- "Heaven forbid,
sire, that there should be a Persian living who would plot against
thee! If such an one there be, may a speedy death overtake him! Thou
foundest the Persians a race of slaves, thou hast made them free
men: thou foundest them subject to others, thou hast made them lords
of all. If a vision has announced that my son is practising against
thee, lo, I resign him into thy hands to deal with as thou wilt."
Hystaspes, when he had thus answered, recrossed the Araxes and
hastened back to Persia, to keep a watch on his son Darius.
Meanwhile Cyrus, having advanced a day's march from the river, did
as Croesus had advised him, and, leaving the worthless portion of
his army in the camp, drew off with his good troops towards the river.
Soon afterwards, a detachment of the Massagetae, one-third of their
entire army, led by Spargapises, son of the queen Tomyris, coming
up, fell upon the body which had been left behind by Cyrus, and on
their resistance put them to the sword. Then, seeing the banquet
prepared, they sat down and began to feast. When they had eaten and
drunk their fill, and were now sunk in sleep, the Persians under Cyrus
arrived, slaughtered a great multitude, and made even a larger
number prisoners. Among these last was Spargapises himself.
When Tomyris heard what had befallen her son and her army, she
sent a herald to Cyrus, who thus addressed the conqueror:- "Thou
bloodthirsty Cyrus, pride not thyself on this poor success: it was the
grape-juice- which, when ye drink it, makes you so mad, and as ye
swallow it down brings up to your lips such bold and wicked words-
it was this poison wherewith thou didst ensnare my child, and so
overcamest him, not in fair open fight. Now hearken what I advise, and
be sure I advise thee for thy good. Restore my son to me and get
thee from the land unharmed, triumphant over a third part of the
host of the Massagetae. Refuse, and I swear by the sun, the
sovereign lord of the Massagetae, bloodthirsty as thou art, I will
give thee thy fill of blood."
To the words of this message Cyrus paid no manner of regard. As
for Spargapises, the son of the queen, when the wine went off, 'and he
saw the extent of his calamity, he made request to Cyrus to release
him from his bonds; then, when his prayer was granted, and the fetters
were taken from his limbs, as soon as his hands were free, he
destroyed himself.
Tomyris, when she found that Cyrus paid no heed to her advice,
collected all the forces of her kingdom, and gave him battle. Of all
the combats in which the barbarians have engaged among themselves, I
reckon this to have been the fiercest. The following, as I understand,

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