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BEFORE THE BATTLE
 IN a moment everything was in confusion. The King was said to be approaching
with a vast army, prepared for battle, and it was thought that the battle
would take place without delay. Cyrus leapt from his chariot, put on his
armour, and "mounted his horse, giving orders that all should arm themselves
in like manner, and take their appointed places.
The Hellene army under its various officers occupied the right wing; the
Barbarian army, commanded by Ariaeus, took the left; Cyrus, with his
body-guard of six hundred Persian cavalry, was in the centre. The body-guard
were armed with breast-plate and helmet, carrying in the left hand a short
Hellenic sword, and in the right hand two javelins; their horses were also
protected by light armour on the head and breast. Cyrus was armed in like
manner, but on his head he had placed, instead of a helmet, the upright
tiara, worn only by the Great King.
It was still some time however before the enemy came in sight. Not till the
afternoon was their approach announced by immense clouds of white dust, soon
displaced by a blackness that overspread the horizon. Presently, as the host
came nearer, the long,
never-  ending lines of spear-points began to flash in the sunlight, and by degrees
the different groups could be distinguished, advancing nation by nation.
In front of all came a hundred and fifty scythe-chariots. These were
two-wheeled cars with a number of sharp scythes projecting from the
axle-trees on both sides. They were drawn by a pair of swift horses, and
driven as fast as possible into the midst of the enemy's ranks, that they
might cut to pieces everything that crossed their path.
Behind the scythe-chariots came the royal troops, drawn up in the order in
which they were to fight. In the centre of the line was the Great King
surrounded by a guard of six thousand picked horsemen, and close to him
floated the standard of his forefathers, a golden eagle with outstretched
wings upon a high perch.
It was easy enough to see how infinitely greater was the army of the King
than that of his brother. Cyrus had twenty scythe-chariots, but the King had
a hundred and fifty. The army of Cyrus numbered a hundred thousand, besides
the Hellene force of thirteen thousand, but the King was said to have with
him a million two hundred thousand soldiers. This may have been an
exaggeration, but in any case the disproportion was so great that the whole
line of Cyrus, although far less deep, extended little beyond the centre of
the King's line.
As the enemy approached, Cyrus rode a little forward, and surveyed his own
troops and those of his brother. The immense host marshalled against him
caused him no alarm, for he felt sure that his Hellenes would be victorious,
and setting spurs to his horse,
he galloped down to the right wing, where they were posted, to tell them
that the sacrificing priest had just declared the omens to be favourable.
As he approached, he heard a sort of murmur passing through the ranks. He
asked what it meant, and was told that it was the war-cry being given for
the second time from mouth to mouth. Before entering into an engagement, it
was the custom for the general in command to give the war-cry, or watch-word
for the day, to the first soldier in the foremost rank, who immediately
passed it on to the man next him. It was thus passed from man to man through
all the ranks, and then, for greater safety, it was returned in like manner
from the last to the first.
"What is the watch-word?" asked Cyrus.
"Zeus the Saviour, and Victory," was the answer.
"It is a good omen," cried Cyrus; "may it be fulfilled!" And with these
words he returned to his place in the centre of the line.