The Education of Cyrus
1. [I.2] How is the nature of law in Persia different than in most cities?
The nature of law in Persia is different than those in most cities in that they care for the
common good. Most cities allow each to educate children however they please and allow
the adults to live however they please, and then if a law is violated the person is
punished. But in Persia, they take care that the citizens will not in the first place have a
desire to break any laws or commit any injustice. The boys (up to about 16 yrs old) are
educated in justice. The youth (about 16-26) learn to hunt. The mature men (26-50) do
military service (if necessary). The elders (50+) perform various tasks (choose
magistrates, etc.). Gov’t is shepherd and is concerned with the moral education of the
2. [I.3] Cyrus recounts that his teacher beat him because he did not judge a case correctly.
What was wrong with is judgment? What did Cyrus learn from this?
Cyrus judged that it was better that both boys had a fitting tunic, even though the larger
boy technically stole the large tunic from the other child. Cyrus was beaten, though,
because it is illegal to take away by force or to posses what someone else has purchased.
The teacher says that the lawful is just, and the unlawful violent. Despite of this, feels
that justice does not depend on consent or law, rather, it is what is good for all people
3. [I.3] Cyrus’ mother noted that his father and her father rule in very different ways.
How did they differ?
In Media, Cambeses (Cyrus's grandfather) is the “master of everything.” He is basically a
tyrant. He teaches others how to be happy under the law and with having less, and is
above the law. Cyrus's father, on the other hand, is under the law, and is first to do and
accept what has been ordered by the city. For in Persia, to have what is equal is believed
to be just.
4. [I.5] In his speech to the one thousand, Cyrus motivates them, saying, I do not think
that human beings practice any virtue in order that those who become good have no more
than do the worthless.” What did he mean by this?
He means that by practicing virtue now, they are preparing to enjoy the benefits much
more in the future. For by acting virtuously, they will secure much wealth, much
happiness, and great honor for both themselves and the city. This separates the Peers
from their ancestors, who, Cyrus says, were virtuous only for the sake of being virtuous.
(Those who abstain do it not to not do it, but so they can enjoy it more in the future.)
5. [I.6] Cyrus’ father believed that “being loved by one’s subjects” is among “the most
important matters.” In his view, how does a ruler accomplish this?