C. L. R. James and Creolization: Circles of Influence

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And when I come up with the enemy's army, then leave with me, each of you, a division of cavalry for me to use while I remain near their camp. For the man who does this is no longer a soldier but a camp-follower; and any one who will is free to treat him as a slave. For the victor has swept together all the spoil at once, the men and the women, the wealth and all the lands.

Therefore have an eye to this alone--that we may conserve our victory; for even the plunderer himself is in the enemy's power if he is conquered. And remember even in the heat of pursuit to come back to me while it is yet daylight; for after nightfall we shall not admit another man. Then the Hyrcanians led the way while he himself with his Persians occupied the centre as they marched. The cavalry he arranged, as was natural, on either flank. We may imagine that they were doing many other things also--all sorts of other things--except that no one offered to resist, but they perished without striking a blow.

And when they saw the fugitives who were overtaking them, they enquired of them what was happening, and then they also took to flight as fast as they could go. But the majority of the slain were Assyrians and Arabians. For as these were in their own country, they were very leisurely about getting away. But Cyrus ordered the horsemen who had been left with him to ride around the camp and to kill any that they saw coming out under arms; while to those who remained inside he issued a proclamation that as many of the enemy's soldiers as were cavalrymen or targeteers or bowmen should bring out their weapons tied in bundles and deliver them up, but should leave their horses at their tents.

Whoever failed to do so should soon lose his head. Now Cyrus's men stood in line around them, sabre in hand. And as he was considering how to procure the best possible supplies with the greatest possible dispatch, it occurred to him that all those who take the field must have some one to take care of the tent and to have food prepared for the soldiers when they came in.

Accordingly, he issued a proclamation for all the commissaries to come to him; but if a commissary officer should be lacking anywhere, the oldest man from that tent should come.


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And to any one who should dare to disobey he threatened direst punishment. But when they saw their masters obeying, they also obeyed at once. And when they had come, he first ordered those of them to sit down who had more than two months' supply of provisions in their tents. Hereupon nearly all sat down.

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Let me assure you, then, that it would be to your advantage to entertain those men handsomely. But I do not think that it would be of more advantage to us to eat this luncheon than it would to show ourselves thoughtful for our comrades; neither do I think that this feasting would add as much to our strength as we should gain if we could make our allies devoted to us. If, on the other hand, we take care that those who are bearing the danger and the toil shall have what they need when they come back, a banquet of this sort would, in my opinion, give us more pleasure than any immediate gratification of our appetites.

For we have enemies in camp many times our own number, and that, too, under no confinement. We not only must keep watch against them but we must keep watch over them, so that we may have people to look after our provisions.

The Cyrus Cylinder and Ancient Persia

Besides, our cavalry are gone, making us anxious to know where they are and whether they will stay with us if they do come back. But I do not think it would bring us greater gain to take it than it would to show that we mean to be fair and square, and by such dealing to secure greater affection from them than we have already. But to sacrifice this and obtain the source from which real wealth flows, that, as I see it, could put us and all of ours in possession of a perennial fountain of wealth. And I fail to see where we could give proof of our training on a more important occasion than the present.

I think, if we did so, we should be doing what does not befit us. Then Cyrus said: "Come then, since we are of one mind on this point, send each of you five of the most reliable men from his platoon.

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Let them go about and praise all those whom they see preparing provisions; and let them punish more unsparingly than if they were their masters those whom they see neglectful. Book 4, Section 3 [4. This may, perhaps, be true; but perhaps also they follow this custom for their own sensual gratification. And it did seem so; for when the horsemen brought in and showed to Cyrus what they brought, they rode away again in pursuit of the others; for, they said, they had been instructed by their officers so to do. Though Cyrus was naturally nettled at this, still he assigned a place to the spoil.

And again he called his captains together and standing where they would all be sure to hear his words of counsel, he spoke as follows: [4. But I fail to see how we are to establish a valid claim to the spoil if we cannot gain it by our own strength; and this we cannot do, unless the Persians have cavalry of their own. And what bowmen or spearmen or horsemen would be afraid to come up and inflict loss upon us, when they are perfectly sure that they are in no more danger of being harmed by us than by the trees growing yonder?

But suppose we acquired a body of cavalry not interior to theirs, is it not patent to us all that we should be able even without them to do to the enemy what we are now doing with their aid, and that we should find them then less presumptuous toward us? For whenever they chose to remain or to go away, we should care less, if we were sufficient unto ourselves without them.

Well and good. But perhaps you are wondering how this may be accomplished. Well then, supposing that we wished to organize a division of cavalry, had we not better consider our resources and our deficiencies? Yes, and more, all that a horseman must use we have--breastplates as defensive armour for the body and spears which we may use either to hurl or to thrust.

Obviously we must have men. Now these above all other things we have; for nothing is so fully ours as we ourselves are our own. No, by Zeus; and no one of these who now know how to ride did know before he learned. But, some one may say, they learned when they were boys. And which are better able with bodily strength to put into practice what they have learned, boys or men? No; nor yet again are we so situated as other men, some of whom are kept busy with their farming, some with their trades, and some with other domestic labours, while we not only have time for military operations, but they are forced upon us.

And when speed is required, is it not delightful quickly to reach a friend's side, if need be, and quickly to overtake a man or an animal, if occasion should require one to give chase? And is this not convenient, that the horse should help you to carry whatever accoutrement you must take along?

Surely, to have and to carry are not quite the same thing. But not even this is an insurmountable difficulty; for whenever we wish, we may at once fight on foot; for in learning to ride we shall not be unlearning any of our infantry tactics. But if I become a horseman I shall be able to overtake a man though he is as far off as I can see him; and I shall be able to pursue animals and overtake them and either strike them down from close at hand or spear them as if they were standing still; [and they seem so, for though both be moving rapidly, yet, if they are near to one another, they are as if standing still.

Well, all his advantages I combine in myself by becoming a horseman. Put me down, therefore," said he, "as one of those who are more than eager to become cavalrymen. And so from that time even to this day, the Persians follow that practice, and no Persian gentleman would be seen going anywhere on foot, if he could help it.

Such were their discussions on this occasion. Book 4, Section 4 [4. For they had spared the lives of all who had surrendered their arms. And when they answered this in the affirmative, he asked how they had fared. And they narrated to him what they had accomplished and proudly told how gallantly they had behaved in every particular. And they replied, first, that they had ridden a long way, and second, that all the country was inhabited and that it was full of sheep and goats, cattle and horses, grain and all sorts of produce.

For an inhabited country is a very valuable possession, but a land destitute of people becomes likewise destitute of produce.


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For this is the best way to conserve the fruits of victory. But those who surrendered you have brought as prisoners of war. Now, if we should let them go, we should, I think, do what would be in itself an advantage.

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This, then, is my proposition; but if any one else sees a better plan, let him speak. And those that bring them shall have peace, and what we promise shall be done without guile. But as many as fail to deliver up their weapons of war, against these we ourselves shall take the field immediately. Accept these assurances for yourselves, and convey them to the rest also.

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Book 4, Section 5 [4. Go, then, and send to us half of the bread that has been baked--enough has been made for all; but do not send us any meat nor anything to drink; for enough has been provided for us at our own quarters. And you yourselves also may dine where it best pleases you.

For your own tents also are safe and sound, and there also the same provision has been made as for these.

midwestdiscountprinting.com/wp-includes/zupepun/6537.php Their horses also were provided for. Of the bread, half was sent to the Persians; but neither meat for relish nor wine was sent, for they thought that Cyrus and his men had those articles left in abundance. But what Cyrus meant was that hunger was their relish and that they could drink from the river that flowed by.

And it turned out so; for many did try to run away, and many were caught. For many things that contribute to pleasure had been captured, so that those who stayed awake were at no loss for something to do. For inasmuch as their masters had gone off, the servants of the Medes were drinking and carousing without restraint, especially as they had taken from the Assyrian army wine and many other supplies.

And straightway, in keeping with his reputation for being violent and unreasonable, he ordered one of those present to take his own cavalry corps and proceed at topmost speed to Cyrus's army and deliver the following message: [4. And now, if Cyrus will, let him come with you; if not, do you at least return to me as speedily as possible. But he to whom he gave the marching order said: "And how shall I find them, your majesty? And he threatened the messenger also if he did not deliver his message in all its emphasis.

The Cyrus Cylinder from Ancient Babylon and the Beginning of the Persian Empire

And as they proceeded on their journey, they were misled by a certain by-path and so lost their way and did not reach the army of their friends, until they fell in with some deserters from the Assyrians and compelled them to act as their guides. And so they came in sight of the camp-fires sometime about midnight. Now at peep of day the first thing that Cyrus did was to call the magi and bid them select the gifts ordained for the gods in acknowledgment of such success; [4. But we Persians are, under the present circumstances, too few to avail ourselves of them. For if we fail to guard what we win, it will again become the property of others; and if we leave some of our own men to guard what falls into our possession, it will very soon be found out that we have no strength.