The Spartan emissaries invited themselves over to Cyrus’s, strolled right into his pancake breakfast.  No hesitation in getting the big man’s attention!  “Yo!” Finger snaps. “So you get that you’re not allowed to invade Greece, right?  Including those regions which in the future will be considered part of Turkey?”

Cyrus looked up from his pancakes, nonplussed. “I’m sorry, who are you?  Did you need more syrup, or…?” Cyrus didn’t know what to make of them, until an underling whispered a quick explanation in his ear.  “One city-state?  Really?”

The underling nodded.

Cyrus scoffed as he turned back tot he emissaries.  “What are you and your one city-state going to do to stop me?  What makes you think you can talk like that without having any military might to back it up?  You people are idiots!  You have — I’ve seen this.”  He leaned forward conspiratorially.  “You people have these places, ‘markets’ you call them…”

“Yeah?”

“Special lying-zones, right there, in your cities, for lying to one another at!  ‘Hello fellow Greek,’ he said in a mocking tone, “‘is this item you are selling fairly priced?’ ‘Yes it is, fellow Greek!’ ‘Ha ha, actually it is not! I am cheating you!’” He made some nasty hand gestures. “I mean, come on!  I’m supposed to respect that?”  Cyrus had a good long laugh about that, and kicked the Spartan emissaries out of Sardis.  “C’mon,” he told his army afterwards.  “We’re going to go invade Greece.  But first, let’s invade Babylon real quick!  Then, I don’t know, maybe I’ll hold a raffle and the winner gets to conquer Greece.  I don’t need to do it myself, place practically conquers itself.  Markets.”  He snorted derisively.

Unfortunately for Cyrus, as soon as he left Lydia, the Lydians revolted, led by this guy Pactyas, and he had to turn back around.  As he started his army back to Sardis, he pulled Croesus out of whatever portable hole he was kept in, for some advice.

“Should I just save time and murder every single Lydian, or are they eventually going to stop revolting?  I’ve got you, their king, as my prisoner, yet they continue to make trouble!  Have I inadvertently made a martyr of you, such that ‘for Croesus!’ is the war cry on every Lydian’s lips?”

“Okay, yeah, I can see how you’d consider slaughtering the entire population of Lydia,” admitted Croesus.  “But really it’s the fault of your viceroy, right?  The guy who couldn’t stop them from revolting?  Put someone else in charge.  The Lydians, you don’t want to execute them, you want to take away their weapons and give them musical instruments and the whole country will overnight become peace loving and docile.  They’ll quit their violence-gangs and start musical bands. That sounds plausible, right?  Yes.  It all hangs together.”

“Not a bad idea,” mused Cyrus, and long story short he had that done.


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Primary Sources: Herodotus, CLIO part 21 — No Comments

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