Home > Uncategorized > Xenophon: Guile without guilt. Peace and joy reigned everywhere.

Xenophon: Guile without guilt. Peace and joy reigned everywhere.


Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

Greek and Roman writers on war and peace

Xenophon: Selections on war and peace


From Cyropaedia
Translated by Walter Miller

“Well, Cyrus, I used to think that you surpassed all other men in that you were the greatest general; and now, I swear by the gods, you seem actually to excel even more in kindness than in generalship.”

“Aye, by God,” answered Cyrus; “and what is more, I assure you that I take much more pleasure in showing forth my deeds of kindness than ever I did in my deeds of generalship.”

“How so?” asked Gobryas.

“Because,” said he, “in the one field, one must necessarily do harm to men; in the other, only good.”


At day-break he took his stand with his army between the two and summoned the leaders of the two factions. And when they saw one another they were indignant, for they both thought they had been duped. Adusius, however, addressed them as follows:

“Gentlemen, I gave you my oath that I would without treachery enter your walls for the advantage of those who admitted me. If, therefore, I destroy either party of you, I think that I have come in to the injury of the Carians; whereas, if I can secure peace for you and security for all to till the fields, I think I am here for your advantage. Now, therefore, from this day you must live together like friends, till your lands without fear of one another, and intermarry your children one party with the other; and if any one in defiance of these regulations attempts to make trouble, Cyrus, and we with him, will be that man’s enemies.”

After that, the gates of the city were opened, the streets filled up with people passing to and fro, and the farms with labourers; they celebrated their festivals together, and peace and joy reigned everywhere.


“Next to the gods, however, show respect also to all the race of men as they continue in perpetual succession; for the gods, do not hide you away in darkness, but your works must ever live on in the sight of all men; and if they are pure and untainted with unrighteousness, they will make your power manifest among all mankind. But if you conceive any unrighteous schemes against each other, you will forfeit in the eyes of all men your right to be trusted. For no one would be able any longer to trust you – not even if he very much desired to do so – if he saw either of you wronging that one who has the first claim to the other’s love.”

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