Cilicia in Xenophon’s Cyropaedia

Translated by Walter Miller


List Excerpts


List of mentions of Cilicia

1.1.4 The territories ruled by Cyrus the Great.
1.5.2–3 Cilicia, along with other Assyrian vassals and allies, is called to war against the Medes and Persians.
2.1.4–5 The Carians, Cilicians and Paphlagonians did not join the Assyrian king’s campaign against the Medes and Persians.
6.2.9–10 The Cilicians joined the army of Croesus, King of Lydia.
7.4.1–2 Cyrus the Great leaves the government of Cilicia and Cyprus in the hands of the local rulers.
8.6.8 Cyrus the Great leaves the government of Cilicia, Cyprus and Paphlagonia in the hands of the local rulers.


Excerpts from Xenophon’s Cyropaedia

1.1.4: …so very different was he (Cyrus the Great) from all other kings, both those who have inherited their thrones from their fathers and those who have gained their crowns by their own efforts; the Scythian king, for instance, would never be able to extend his rule over any other nation besides his own, although the Scythians are very numerous, but he would be well content if he could maintain himself in power over his own people; so the Thracian king with his Thracians, the Illyrian with his Illyrians, and so also all other nations, we are told. Those in Europe, at any rate, are said to be free and independent of one another even to this day. But Cyrus, finding the nations in Asia also independent in exactly the same way, started out with a little band of Persians and became the leader of the Medes by their full consent and of the Hyrcanians by theirs; he then conquered Syria, Assyria, Arabia, Cappadocia, both Phrygias, Lydia, Caria, Phoenicia, and Babylonia; he ruled also over Bactria, India, and Cilicia; and he was likewise king of the Sacians, Paphlagonians, Magadidae, and very many other nations, of which one could not even tell the names; he brought under his sway the Asiatic Greeks also; and, descending to the sea, he added both Cyprus and Egypt to his empire.

1.5.2–3: At that time the king of Assyria had subjugated all Syria, a very large nation, and had made the king of Arabia his vassal; he already had Hyrcania under his dominion and was closely besetting Bactria. So he thought that if he should break the power of the Medes, he should easily obtain dominion over all the nations round about; for he considered the Medes the strongest of the neighbouring tribes. Accordingly, he sent around to all those under his sway and to Croesus, the king of Lydia, to the king of Cappadocia; to both Phrygias, to Paphlagonia, India, Caria, and Cilicia; and to a certain extent also he misrepresented the Medes and Persians, for he said that they were great, powerful nations, that they had intermarried with each other, and were united in common interests, and that unless some one attacked them first and broke their power, they would be likely to make war upon each one of the nations singly and subjugate them. Some, then, entered into an alliance with him because they actually believed what he said; others, because they were bribed with gifts and money, for he had great wealth.

2.1.4–5: “Listen then,” said Cyaxares1. “Croesus, the king of Lydia, is said to be coming at the head of 10,000 horsemen and more than 40,000 peltasts and bowmen. And they say that Artacamas, the king of Greater Phrygia, is coming at the head of 8000 horse and not fewer than 40,000 lancers and peltasts; and Aribaeus, the king of Cappadocia, has 6000 horse and not fewer than 30,000 bowmen and peltasts; while the Arabian, Aragdus, has about 10,000 horsemen, about 100 chariots of war, and a great host of slingers. As for the Greeks who dwell in Asia, however, no definite information is as yet received whether they are in the coalition or not. But the contingent from Phrygia on the Hellespont, under Gabaedus, has arrived at Caÿstru-Pedium, it is said, to the number of 6000 horse and 10,000 peltasts.The Carians, however, and Cilicians and Paphlagonians, they say, have not joined the expedition, although they have been invited to do so. But the Assyrians, both those from Babylon and those from the rest of Assyria, will bring, I think, not fewer than 20,000 horse and not fewer, I am sure, than 200 war-chariots, and a vast number of infantry, I suppose; at any rate, they used to have as many as that whenever they invaded our country.”

6.2.9–10: While they were in this state of mind, the Indians that Cyrus (Cyrus the Great) had sent as spies to the enemy’s camp returned with the report that Croesus2 had been chosen field-marshal and commander-in-chief of all the enemy’s hosts, that all the allied kings had decided to join him with their entire forces, to contribute vast sums of money, and to expend them in hiring what soldiers they could and in giving presents to those whom they were under obligations to reward. They reported also that many Thracian swordsmen had already been hired and that Egyptians were under sail to join them, and they gave the number as one hundred and twenty thousand men armed with shields that came to their feet, with huge spears, such as they carry even to this day, and with sabres. Besides these, there was also the Cyprian army. The Cilicians were all present already, they said, as were also the contingents from both Phrygias, Lycaonia, Paphlagonia, Cappadocia, Arabia, and Phoenicia; the Assyrians were there under the king of Babylon; the Ionians also and the Aeolians and almost all the Greek colonists in Asia had been compelled to join Croesus, and Croesus had even sent to Lacedaemon to negotiate an alliance.

7.4.1–2: Then the Carians fell into strife and civil war with one another; they were intrenched in strongholds, and both sides called upon Cyrus (Cyrus the Great) for assistance. So while Cyrus himself stayed in Sardis to make siege-engines and battering rams to demolish the walls of such as should refuse to submit, he entrusted an army to Adusius, a Persian who was not lacking in judgment generally and not unskilled in war, and who was besides a very courteous gentleman, and sent him into Caria; and the Cilicians and Cyprians also joined most heartily in this expedition. Because of their enthusiastic allegiance he never sent a Persian satrap to govern either the Cilicians or the Cyprians, but was always satisfied with their native princes. Tribute, however, he did receive from them, and whenever he needed forces he made a requisition upon them for troops.

8.6.8: He (Cyrus the Great) sent out no Persians as satraps over Cilicia or Cyprus or Paphlagonia, because these he thought joined his expedition against Babylon voluntarily; he did, however, require even these nations to pay tribute.


1 Cyaxares II, King of Media.

2 King of Lydia.


9 July 2023