As they advanced from this point (opposite Charmande), they came upon 1
the hoof-prints and dung of horses at frequent intervals. It looked
like the trail of some two thousand horses. Keeping ahead of the army,
these fellows burnt up the grass and everything else that was good for
use. Now there was a Persian, named Orontas; he was closely related to
the king by birth: and in matters pertaining to war reckoned among the
best of Persian warriors. Having formerly been at war with Cyrus, and
afterwards reconciled to him, he now made a conspiracy to destroy him.
he made a proposal to Cyrus: if Cyrus would furnish him with a
thousand horsemen, he would deal with these troopers, who were burning
down everything in front of them; he would lay an ambuscade and cut
them down, or he would capture a host of them alive; in any case, he
would put a stop to their agressiveness and burnings; he would see to
it that they did not ever get a chance of setting eyes on Cyrus's army
and reporting its advent to the king. The proposal seemed plausible to
Cyrus, who accordingly authorised Orontas to take a detachment from
each of the generals, and be gone. He, thinking that he had got his
horsemen ready to his hand, wrote a letter to the king, announcing
that he would ere long join him with as many troopers as he could
bring; he bade him, at the same time, instruct the royal cavalry to
welcome him as a friend. The letter further contained certain
reminders of his former friendship and fidelity. This despatch he
delivered into the hands of one who was a trusty messenger, as he
thought; but the bearer took and gave it to Cyrus. Cyrus read it.
Orontas was arrested. Then Cyrus summoned to his tent seven of the
noblest Persians among his personal attendants, and sent orders to the
Hellenic generals to bring up a body of hoplites. These troops were to
take up a position round his tent. This the generals did; bringing up
about three thousand hoplites. Clearchus was also invited inside, to
assist at the court-martial; a compliment due to the position he held
among the other generals, in the opinion not only of Cyrus, but also
of the rest of the court. When he came out, he reported the
circumstances of the trial (as to which, indeed, there was no mystery)
to his friends. He said that Cyrus opened the inquiry with these
words: "I have invited you hither, my friends, that I may take advice
with you, and carry out whatever, in the sight of God and man, it is
right for me to do, as concerning the man before you, Orontas. The 6
prisoner was, in the first instance, given to me by my father, to be
my faithful subject. In the next place, acting, to use his own words,
under the orders of my brother, and having hold of the acropolis of
Sardis, he went to war with me. I met war with war, and forced him to
think it more prudent to desist from war with me: whereupon we shook
hands, exchanging solemn pledges. After that," and at this point Cyrus
turned to Orontas, and addressed him personally--"after that, did I do
you any wrong?" Answer, "Never." Again another question: "Then later
on, having received, as you admit, no injury from me, did you revolt
to the Mysians and injure my territory, as far as in you lay?"--"I
did," was the reply. "Then, once more having discovered the limits of
your power, did you flee to the altar of Artemis, crying out that you
repented? and did you thus work upon my feelings, that we a second
time shook hands and made interchange of solemn pledges? Are these
things so?" Orontas again assented. "Then what injury have you
received from me," Cyrus asked, "that now for the third time, you have
been detected in a treasonous plot against me?"--"I must needs do so,"
he answered. Then Cyrus put one more question: "But the day may come,
may it not, when you will once again be hostile to my brother, and a
faithful friend to myself?" The other answered: "Even if I were, you
could never be brought to believe it, Cyrus."

At this point Cyrus turned to those who were present and said: "Such
has been the conduct of the prisoner in the past: such is his language
now. I now call upon you, and you first, Clearchus, to declare your
opinion--what think you?" And Clearchus answered: "My advice to you is
to put this man out of the way as soon as may be, so that we may be
saved the necessity of watching him, and have more leisure, as far as
he is concerned, to requite the services of those whose friendship is
sincere."--"To this opinion," he told us, "the rest of the court
adhered." After that, at the bidding of Cyrus, each of those present, 10
in turn, including the kinsmen of Orontas, took him by the girdle;
which is as much as to say, "Let him die the death," and then those
appointed led him out; and they who in old days were wont to do
obeisance to him, could not refrain, even at that moment, from bowing
down before him, albeit they knew he was being led forth to death.

After they had conducted him to the tent of Artapates, the trustiest
of Cyrus's wand-bearers, none set eyes upon him ever again, alive or
dead. No one, of his own knowledge, could declare the manner of his
death; though some conjectured one thing and some another. No tomb to
mark his resting-place, either then or since, was ever seen.