348 UNIVERSAL HISTORY-THE ANCIENT WORLD,
ing to the establishment of Greek nationality; but the spirit of localism, which, in some
shape or other, was the bane of the Greeks in all their subsequent history, was too strong
to be overcome, and the suggestion of Thales was of little practical effect.
In the meantime Harpagus continued his conquests. Forming a large force of mercenaries,
composed chiefly of Ionians and Aeolians, he marched into Caria and easily overran the
country. The Greeks also of the Dorian towns on the coast gave up without a struggle and
became tributary to the Persian king. The Lycians, however, in alliance with the Caunians,
made a stubborn resistance. The story of their defense is one of tragic heroism.
Overpowered by the superior forces of Harpagus, they retreated into their two towns,
Caunus and Xanthus, and when these could be defended no longer, they applied the torch to
their own homes, burned their wives and children, and then rushing forth fell upon their
enemies and fought till the last man perished.
On reaching his own capital, after the conquest of Lydia, Cyrus immediately turned his
attention to the countries on his eastern borders. Of these the most important was
Bactria. Inhabited, like Media and Persia, by people of the Iranic race, having its own
traditions and history, famous as the home of Zoroaster, this land had an affinity in
language, customs, and population with the best parts of the Empire. During the time of
the Median ascendancy Bactria had been nominally dependent upon that power, but no actual
reduction of the people to the extent of incorporating them with the other nations
subjugated by Cyaxares had taken place. The Bactrians were brave and warlike, but less
skillful in tactics and discipline than their invaders. Cyrus, however, in his campaign
against them, found them a formidable foe; and it was his superiority in numbers and
equipment, combined with the impetus of victory which his army had now acquired, rather
than naked valor, which led to his success. The Bactrians were subdued, made their
submission, and were incorporated in the Empire.
The next campaign-following immediately after the Bactrian-was directed against the great
nation of the Sacae. These multitudinous barbarians were excellent soldiers, fighting
desperately both on foot and on horseback, wielding the bow and the battle-axe with
terrible effect, wheeling and whirling in battle like swift clouds driven by angry winds.
Men and women fought side by side in the ranks, and there was little difference in the
effectiveness of their blows or courage. They came into the field a half-million strong to
resist the coming of Cyrus. In one terrible battle they had some advantage. Their king-
Amorges-was taken by the Persians, but the queen-Sparethra-took his place at the head of
the battle, which was fought with such desperation that several Persian officers of
distinction fell into the hands of the Sacae and enabled them to get back their king by an
exchange of prisoners. Nevertheless, the prowess of the Persians proved too much for the
undisciplined rage of the barbarians, and they were overcome. Like the other tribes, they
submitted to the Persian yoke and became tributary to the conqueror.
After this success Cyrus rapidly overran the territories of nearly all those nations which
have been described in a preceding chapter as provincial dependencies of the Empire.
Hyrcania, Parthia, Chorasmia, Sogdiana, Arya, Sattagydia, and Gandaria, each in turn fell
before the resistless arms of Persia. As far north as the Jaxartes- on whose banks a town
named Cyropolis for generations bore witness to the presence of the conqueror-and as far
east as Afghanistan, and southward to Seistan, the Persian king continued his triumphant
march, repeating in each province the drama of victory. At the close of the great campaign
the whole vast region bounded on the north by the Jaxartes, on the east by the valley of
the Indus, on the south by the deserts of Khorassan, and on the west by the Caspian sea,
had been reduced to Submission and added to the Persian dominions.
According to the Greek historian, Arrian, who was Roman prefect of Cappadocia in