The empire of Cyrus passed to his son Cambyses, who was represented by later historians as having been as generous. The father had conquered Asia, the son undertook the conquest of Africa. Having skillfully and successfully led his army across the deserts which separate the two contients, Cambyses met and defeated the Egyptians in front of their city of Pelusium, the great border fortress which they had built as a defense against the Asiatics. Some of the fleeing Egyptians shut themselves in Pelusium and endeavored to defend the city.

Cambyses captured it by a clever stratagem. The Egyptians regarded certain animals, especially cats, as being sacred, and would not injure them on any account. Cambyses had his men carry the sacred animals in front of them to the attack. The Egyptians dared not shoot their arrows for fear of wounding the poor beasts, and so Pelusium was stormed successfully. Legend adds that on this, as on many subsequent occasions, Cambyses seized the opportunity to express his contempt and hatred of the Egyptian religion. He himself carried a cage of cats in front of him upon his horse, and hurled the unhappy pussies, with insulting taunts and laughter, in to the faces of his foes. If he did, let us hope he got well scratched.

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Read about Cambyses in the The Story of the Greatest Nations and the Worlds Famous Events Vol 1

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