THE advent of Cyrus, commonly known as Cyrus the younger, into Asia Minor, was an event of the greatest importance, opening what may be called the last phase in the Peloponnesian war.
He was the younger of the two sons of the Persian king Darius Nothus, and was now sent down by his father as satrap of Lydia, Phrygia the greater, and Kappadokia. His command did not at this time comprise the Greek cities on the coast, which were still left to Tissaphernês and Pharnabazus. 1 But he nevertheless brought down with him a strong interest in the Grecian war, and an intense anti-Athenian feeling, with full authority from his father to carry it out into act. He came down well aware that Athens was the efficient enemy by whom the pride of the Persian kings had been humbled, the insular Greeks kept out of the sight of a Persian ship, and even the continental Greeks on the coast practically emancipated - for the last sixty years.
From the moment that Pharnabazus and the Athenian envoys met Cyrus, their farther progress towards Susa became impossible. Pharnabazus not only refused to let the Athenian envoys proceed onward, but was even obliged to obey the orders of the young prince, who insisted that they should either be surrendered to him, or at least detained for some time in the interior, in order that no information might be conveyed to Athens. The satrap resisted the first of these requisitions, having pledged his word for their safety; but he obeyed the second - detaining them in Kappadokia for no less than three years, until Athens was prostrate and on the point of surrender, after which he obtained permission from Cyrus to send them back to the sea-coast. 2
1 The Anabasis of Xenophon (i. 1, 6-8; i. 9, 7-9) is better authority, and speaks more exactly, than the Hellenica, i. 4, 3.
2 Xenoph., Hellen., i. 4, 3-8. The words here employed respecting the envoys, when returning after their three years' detention -- appear to me an inadvertence. The return of the envoys must have been in the spring of 404 B.C., at a time when Athens had no camp: the surrender of the city took place in April, 404