1902 Encyclopedia > Cyrus the Younger

Cyrus the Younger
Persian prince
(d. 401 BC)




CYRUS THE YOUNGER was the son of Darius Nothus, and of Parysatis, and the brother of Artaxerxes Mnemon. 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.







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