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  • Print publication year: 2009
  • Online publication date: January 2010

4 - Declamation 3 [XIV]:

from II - CHORICIUS, DECLAMATIONS

Summary

[THEME]

The Persian king Cyrus made a prisoner of the Lydian ruler Croesus. When he discovered that the Lydians were plotting to regain their kingdom, he ordered them to be stripped of their weapons, to put on women's clothing, and to sing and play music and teach such things to their children. He devised this as a means of curbing their pride. Later, when his expedition against the Massagetae was under way, he summoned the Lydians and offered them their former equipment; they opposed the offer. Let us take the part of the Lydians.

EXPLANATORY COMMENT

[1] At first sight it may be thought strange for the Lydians to object in favor of a form of dress which demeans their reputation and shames their masculinity. They should be absolutely delighted about Cyrus' order to take off those disgraceful clothes and take up their familiar armor. [2] This is actually what the Lydians want; but they want to appear otherwise. For if they were enticed by Cyrus' change of heart into letting their faces show their delight and ran to their weapons clapping their hands, they would startle him into suspecting a fresh uprising. [3] They anticipate such a reaction, and to suit their purpose they figure their speech as a rejection of Cyrus, pretending that their experiences have deprived them of their virility and considering his intention, in case he is simply devising a way of testing them.

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