Cyrus: The Bravery and Praise Essay

Submitted By poopoopoopoopoo
Words: 1181
Pages: 5

Journalist Chris Hedges once said that "War is force that gives us meaning". While war is certainly "a" force for Cyrus, it is not "the" force, and we would argue that war is only a force for Cyrus inasmuch as he can use it to obtain praise. It was said that "As to his nature, even now Cyrus is still described in word and song by the barbarians as having been most beautiful in form and most benevolent in soul, most eager to learn, and most ambitious, with the result that he endured every labor and faced every risk for the sake of being praised" (Xenophon 23). While Cyrus' other virtues were plentiful, they were not the reason that he endured every labor or faced every risk. His education, morals, political relationships, and military skill were all simply tools he mastered to obtain praise on a grand scale, and he was successful enough with these tools that men still talk and sing of his love of praise.
Cyrus’ education serves as a foundation for his values of wisdom and cleverness, which ultimately give him praise. Cyrus’ impression on his community is elegantly described when young Cyrus, with “such a sharp mind . . . ask[s] many questions of whomever was around [such that] one would desire to still hear more from him.” By having a ‘sharp’ mind, Cyrus attracts those near him due to his resemblance as a warrior, whose sharp sword has become a sharp mind. Cyrus presents to his community how a strong warrior requires both physical and mental strength, introducing the notion of all-roundedness in a predominantly warrior culture, where physical strength is prized.. His introduction of such a unique combination (intelligence + strength) shows his increased respect from others and his interesting method to gain praise. Cyrus’ desire to learn also prompts Cyrus’ inquisitiveness. By asking numerous questions to adults, Cyrus achieves a feat not many of his age do. He stands out by starting and continuing conversations with strangers to make them feel intimate. Not only so, but Cyrus resorts to strangers rather than books or intimate relatives for education. By doing such a feat that many of Cyrus’ education-hungry friends probably don’t do, Cyrus uses his education certainly to gain praise. Thus, Cyrus uses his education as a method of gaining praise from his community.
Through Xenophon's illustration of Cyrus' treatment and interaction with his men, the great warrior creates an exchange system through which he attains praise.
The author describes Cyrus' "invitation" of the captains as seem[ing] to him opportune to invite, but there were times when he invited also some of the lieutenants, sergeants, or corporals. There were times when he invited even private soldiers, and times when he invited even a whole squad of five, a whole squad of ten, a whole platoon, or a whole company. He used to invite and honor any whom he saw doing the sort of thing he wished them all to do. What was set at the table was always equal between himself and those he invited to dinner" (Pg.67 Bk.II Ch.1 P.30). The word "opportune" suggests that every action Cyrus has it in response to an opportunity. He sees his soldiers as a chance to gain praise. He takes advantage of his men's eagerness to please him. Cyrus also invites "even private soldiers" to his dinners, which suggests that Cyrus is willing to find absolutely anyone who will grant him praise. It would almost seem as if Xenophon is taken aback by the fact that Cyrus would stoop to the level of attempting to gain praise from the lowest of the low. Also, the anaphora of the word "whole" indicates that he did not forget a single person in the hopes that no one would forget to turn back to him to praise. Probably in hopes that no one would forget to turn back to him to praise. In an interesting twist, the situation is almost as if Cyrus himself gives every man the "opportunity" to honor their great general. He "used to invite and honor" any of his men.