Cyrus the Younger

Cyrus the Younger, d. 401 B.C., Persian prince, younger son of Darius II and Parysatis. He was his mother's favorite, and she managed to get several satrapies in Asia Minor for him when he was very young. His friendship toward Lysander helped Sparta achieve victory in the Peloponnesian War. Cyrus was at court when Darius died (404 B.C.) and was accused (probably justly) by Tissaphernes of a plot to murder his elder brother and the legitimate heir, Artaxerxes II. Cyrus was saved only by the pleas of his mother and was restored to his satrapies. He began careful plans for a rebellion. He collected an army and through Clearchus hired a large troop of Greek mercenaries (the Ten Thousand) for the campaign. On the pretext of setting out to put down brigands in Pisidia, the army was marched E from Sardis to Tarsus and then into Syria. Tissaphernes rushed to court with the news, and Artaxerxes set out to meet the rebels. Many of Cyrus' men threatened mutiny when they learned of his true intent, but they were won over by his charm and bravery and proceeded to fight. Cyrus was killed in the battle of Cunaxa. The loss was followed by the heroic retreat of the Ten Thousand. The revolt of Cyrus and the battle of Cunaxa were the basis for Xenophon's celebrated prose history, Anabasis.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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