Home >> Encyclopedia Americana, Volume 8 >> Curzon to Danbury >> Cyrus the Younger

Cyrus the Younger

artaxerxes and death

CYRUS THE YOUNGER, King of Per sia: b. about 424 a.c.; d. 401 B.C. He was the second son of Darius Nothus, or Ochus, and at 15 obtained the supreme power over all the provinces of Asia Minor. His ambition early displayed itself ; and when, after his father's death (404 a.c), his elder brother, Artaxerxes Mnemon, ascended the throne, Cyrus formed a conspiracy against him, which was, however, discovered. Cyrus was arrested by his brother and condemned to death, but at the intercession of his mother Parysatis, was released and made governor of Asia Minor. Here Cyrus assem bled a numerous army to make war upon Arta xerxes and dethrone him. Being informed of his brother's design, Artaxerxes marched against him with a much larger army. In the plains of Cunaxa, in the province of Babylon, the two armies encountered each other (401 a.c). In the battle that ensued the troops of Cyrus were at first victorious, but the fruits of the victory were lost through the death of Cyrus himself in the battle. An account of the life of Cyrus

is contained in the opening book of Xenophon's 'Anabasis,' which gives a detailed account of the retreat of the Greek auxiliaries of Cyrus from the interior of Persia to the coast of the Black Sea. Another account by Ephorus is preserved in Diodorus. Excerpts from Ctesias by Photius also throw light on the career of Cyrus, as also the life of Artaxerxes by Plu tarch. The character of Cyrus is highly praised by the ancients and it appears that he was certainly his brother's superior in energy and as a statesman and general. The fate of the empire would probably have been very dif ferent had he ascended the throne. See PERSIA.