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238 UNIVERSAL HISTORY-THE ANCIENT WORLD,

age of lasciviousness following hard after an age of austerity and the rough, but solid, virtues of war.

The vicious tendencies of the Median court were caught up and diffused by the nobles. To out drink and out carouse the king was the highest flattery which the courtier could pay to his master. And so, percolating through the higher ranks of society, the insidious streams of vice and immorality descended to the common people and poisoned the national life.

Finally, the personal character of Cyrus had much to do with the revolution which subverted Media and gave to his own country the leadership of Western Asia. Fresh from his native hills, he saw in the

count of the great king everything to be detested, nothing to be admired. There national immorality and national impiety flourished. There discipline was relaxed. There effeminacy was enthroned. There, For thirty-five years, the heroic virtues of war had given place to indolence, to indulgence, to inglorious riotings with piping eunuchs and unchaste dancing- girls. In all this there was the incentive to ambition and genius to strike a blow against one who was too great not to be envied and too mean not to be despised. The blow was struck with a manly arm, and the fabric of Median renown reared by the valor of Cyaxares passed away like a vision.

THE YOUNG CYRUS ENTERING ECBATANA