Chapter 2: The death of Cyrus the Younger (2)
Clearchus looked at the much thicker phalanx in the enemy’s centre and saw that the enemy’s left wing was longer than his own. Although he had been fully supportive of Cyrus the Younger from the beginning, it doesn’t mean that he would obey his orders. So he bluntly refused: “Your Highness, I think we should first defeat the enemy’s left-wing and then hit the enemy’s centre; this would be much safer.”
“I know Artaxerxes, understand the Persian army and also understand your Greek phalanx as well! Believe me, my friend, your army will easily defeat the army of Artaxerxes! Although he has more troops, it’s useless. We will still defeat Artaxerxes!” Cyrus the Younger persuaded him.
Clearchus stubbornly shook his head: “Your Highness! I apologise, but I will not expose the phalanx flank to the enemy troops!”
Cyrus the Younger frowned and stared at Clearchus, but there was no time for him to organise his words to persuade the other party. As for ordering them by force, the other party is a mercenary and not his men.
“Alright, just do what you have said!” Cyrus the Younger turned his horse head. Then abruptly pulled the reins and returned.
. . . . . . . . . . . . .
When the two armies were about 500 meters apart, the Greek soldiers began to sing the song of Ares, the God of war and marched forward.
The two armies were only less than 200 metres apart once they finished their song.
“Ares!!!” The soldiers shouted in unison, then they started to jog, then ran faster and faster… “boom! Boom! Boom!…” as tens of thousands of Greek hoplites1 converged, their footsteps were like thunder gathering energy to break the dark night with lightning!
Besides the few chariots that rushed straight through the Greek army, accompanied by screams, broken limbs and finally disappearing into silence. The Persians on the opposite side forgot to shoot their arrows and raise their shields as they were completely frightened by the overwhelming sea of steel as the Greek army approached.
When the two armies were more than a dozen meters apart, the Persians collapsed as they turned around and fled.
The Greeks did not expect that victory would come so quickly. So with their abundant energy, the Greeks pursued their enemies more vigorously.
At first, the captains like Hielos kept reminding their teammates: “Stay in formation, don’t run too fast! Stay in formation…”
But the team still got completely dispersed, and all Greeks pursued in excitement.
. . . . . . . . . . . . .
Cyrus the Younger, who is currently in the centre, didn’t expect the victory of the right-wing to come so fast, and for a moment, he was somewhat stunned.
“Cyrus the Great, Long live!!!” The attendants had begun to wave their spears and shouted victory.
“Your Highness, are we going to follow suit?” Artapatus asked him.
He shook his head and looked straight ahead to his left.
He knows very well that only by killing that man can he attain the supreme crown.
“Messenger! Let the left-wing that Ariaeus leads to stop and prepare for defence!” Cyrus the Younger immediately issued an order. He knew very well that his strongest force was the Greek mercenaries; now that the Greeks had defeated the enemy’s left-wing, he did not have to rush to let his left-wing, which was obviously smaller than the enemy’s, clash with the enemy’s right-wing. In case of a quick defeat, the battle would be troublesome. Thus it would be better to wait as long as possible for the return of the Greek mercenaries who had pursued the defeated army, and victory would be in his hands.
But while he patiently waited for the enemy to come, the other side’s centre stopped moving.
Soon, his expression changed as the enemy’s centre began to split into two, with the left part changing direction towards the left.
“Not good! They want to attack the Greeks!!” Artapatus shouted.
The scattered Greek hoplites that were pursuing the defeated army would likely fall into chaos if they were attacked from the rear by the enemy, causing the situation to reverse.
“Artaxerxes, how dare you change formation on the battlefield. Did you really think that because I have fewer cavalry, I won’t dare take the initiative to attack?!” Cyrus the Younger sneered and quickly decided. He raised his spear and pointed forward: “Command the right-wing to speed up! Cavalries, follow me!”
“Your Highness, please put on your helmet!” The attendant hastily handed over his helmet. Afterwards, Cyrus the Younger rushed out, with the attendants on his left and right rushed to catch up and protect him.
More than 800 cavalries formed a wedge-shaped formation and sped straight towards the Persian king’s central troops.
. . . . . . . . . . . . .
Artagases, the commander of the Persian king’s central troops, did not expect that Cyrus the Younger dared to attack at this time and hurriedly deployed their cavalry to intercept. However, at this moment, their army is currently changing positions, so the vast revolving infantry formation blocked the cavalry’s way forward, and squeezing out thousands of cavalry from the gap in the formation wouldn’t be easy. Together with the galloping cavalry, Cyrus the Younger has already reached the Persians.
At the burst of neighing horses, the hastily patched cavalry defence of the Persian army got instantly torn apart.
Then, like a sharp knife, the cavalry of Cyrus the Younger plunged into the Persian king’s central troops that were turning around.
Cyrus the Younger was brave and fierce; he used to hunt black bears by himself. Birds of a feather flock together as his cavalry and followers are also warriors. When facing the back of their enemies, they didn’t even waste their spears*. Instead, they use their horse’s high-speed charge to break into the enemy formation and crush the enemy. (Because there were no stirrups at that time, and when the moving cavalry stabbed the enemy, they had to let go immediately, or the reactive force would push them off),
Affected by the defeat of the left-wing, the Persian infantry who took the lead began to flee, and the cavalry of Cyrus the Younger took advantage of the situation to hunt them down. Suddenly, Cyrus the Younger caught sight of the Persian king’s chariot in the dust. Because of the initial collapse of the main force on the left side of Persia’s central troops, it formed a big gap that caused the Persian king, who was in the rear, to be naturally exposed.
“Left!!” Cyrus the Younger was so excited that he swung his spear to bypass Persia’s central troops that had come to rescue and obliquely pierced towards the Persian king’s rear troops. Afterwards, dozens of cavalry followed.
“Come quickly! Protect the King!!” The Persian king’s imperial guard general, Artagases, shouted while he took the lead on guarding against the nearby enemy cavalry and intercepting them.
Faced with a swarm of enemies, Cyrus the Younger had no fear; he pulled out his Greek sword and clamped on the horse’s belly with both legs. When he saw the right moment, the spear on his right hand deflected the spear that Artagases fiercely stabbed. He then extended the sword on his left hand, and without any effort, he easily cut off Artagases’ neck with the Greek sword and the help of the horse’s forward momentum…..
Cyrus the Younger killed several people with his superb skill and riding skills. Soon, his cavalry caught up and blocked the other enemy horses for him. Between him and Artaxerxes, the Persian king, only the royal guards remained around the chariot. He could even clearly see his brother’s frightened face.
Thinking of his imprisonment and thinking of him occupying the throne that should be his (It’s just Cyrus the Younger’s imagination, the old Persian King didn’t even think about passing the throne to him), rage burned in his chest: “Artaxerxes!” He roared and threw out the spear in his hand; with the sound of exclamation, the spear flew through the gap between the royal guards and hit the Persian king in the chest.
The Persian king screamed and fell from his chariot.
Suddenly, chaos befell once they saw the Persian king fall. Cyrus the Younger finally vented his anger, and he wildly laughed, as if the Persian crown had arrived, but he did not hear the cavalry behind him that was urgently shouting: “Your Highness, look out! LOOK OUT!!…”
The laughter came to an abrupt end. A javelin flew out of the chaotic crowd and hit him in the eye.
Without uttering a word, Cyrus the Younger quickly fell off his horse…
↑Hoplite were citizen-soldiers of Ancient Greek city-states who were primarily armed with spears and shields.