HE ASSISTANCE which Cyrus had rendered to the Lacedaemonians in the Peloponnesian war led to a remarkable episode in Grecian history. This was the celebrated expedition of Cyrus against his brother Artaxerxes, in which the superiority of Grecian to Asiatic soldiers was so strikingly shown.
The death of Darius Nothus, king of Persia, took place B.C. 404, shortly before the battle of AEgospotami. Cyrus, who was present at his father's death, was charged by Tissaphernes with plotting against his elder brother Artaxerxes, who succeeded to the throne. The accusation was believed by Artaxerxes, who seized his brother, and would have put him to death, but for the intercession of their mother, Parysatis, who persuaded him not only to spare Cyrus but to confirm him in his former government. Cyrus returned to Sardis burning with revenge, and fully resolved to make an effort to dethrone his brother.
From his intercourse with the Greeks Cyrus had become aware of their superiority to the Asiatics, and of their usefulness in such an enterprise as he now contemplated. The peace which followed the capture of Athens seemed favourable to his projects. Many Greeks, bred up in the practice of war during the long struggle between that city and Sparta, were now deprived of their employment, whilst many more had been driven into exile by the establishment of the Spartan oligarchies in the various conquered cities. Under the pretence of a private war with the satrap, Tissaphernes, Cyrus enlisted large numbers of them in his service. The Greek in whom he placed most confidence was Clearchus, a Lacedaemonian, and formerly harmost of Byzantium [the city where Constantinople was later built, opening the Byzantine period of Greek history], who had been condemned to death by the Spartan authorities for disobedience to their orders.