Anabasis, by Xenophon

BOOK VI

I

After this, whilst waiting, they lived partly on supplies from the market, partly on the fruit of raids into Paphlagonia. The Paphlagonians, on their side, showed much skill in kidnapping stragglers, wherever they could lay hands on them, and in the night time tried to do mischief to those whose quarters were at a distance from the camp. The result was that their relations to one another were exceedingly hostile, so much so that Corylas, who was the chief of Paphlagonia at that date, sent ambassadors to the Hellenes, bearing horses and fine apparel, and charged with a proposal on the part of Corylas to make terms with the Hellenes on the principle of mutual forbearance from injuries. The generals replied that they would consult with the army about the matter. Meanwhile they gave them a hospitable reception, to which they invited certain members of the army whose claims were obvious. They sacrificed some of the captive cattle and other sacrificial beasts, and with these they furnished forth a sufficiently festal entertainment, and reclining on their truckle beds, fell to eating and drinking out of beakers made of horn which they happened to find in the country.

But as soon as the libation was ended and they had sung the hymn, up got first some Thracians, who performed a dance under arms to the sound of a pipe, leaping high into the air with much nimbleness, and brandishing their swords, till at last one man struck his fellow, and every one thought he was really wounded, so skilfully and artistically did he fall, and the Paphlagonians screamed out. Then he that gave the blow stripped the other of his arms, and marched off chanting the “Sitalcas107,” whilst others of the Thracians bore off the other, who lay as if dead, though he had not received even a scratch.

After this some Aenianians108 and Magnesians got up and fell to dancing the Carpaea, as it is called, under arms. This was the manner of the dance: one man lays aside his arms and proceeds to drive a yoke of oxen, and while he drives he sows, turning him about frequently, as though he were afraid of something; up comes a cattle-lifter, and no sooner does the ploughman catch sight of him afar, than he snatches up his arms and confronts him. They fight in front of his team, and all in rhythm to the sound of the pipe. At last the robber binds the countryman and drives off the team. Or sometimes the cattle-driver binds the robber, and then he puts him under the yoke beside the oxen, with his two hands tied behind his back, and off he drives.

After this a Mysian came in with a light shield in either hand and danced, at one time going through a pantomime, as if he were dealing with two assailants at once; at another plying his shields as if to face a single foe, and then again he would whirl about and throw somersaults, keeping the shields in his hands, so that it was a beautiful spectacle. Last of all he danced the Persian dance, clashing the shields together, crouching down on one knee and springing up again from earth; and all this he did in measured time to the sound of the flute. After him the Mantineans stepped upon the stage, and some other Arcadians also stood up; they had accoutred themselves in all their warlike finery. They marched with measured tread, pipes playing, to the tune of the ‘warrior’s march109’; the notes of the paean rose, lightly their limbs moved in dance, as in solemn procession to the holy gods. The Paphlagonians looked upon it as something truly strange that all these dances should be under arms; and the Mysians, seeing their astonishment persuaded one of the Arcadians who had got a dancing girl to let him introduce her, which he did after dressing her up magnificently and giving her a light shield. When, lithe of limb, she danced the Pyrrhic110, loud clapping followed; and the Paphlagonians asked, “If these women fought by their side in battle?” to which they answered, “To be sure, it was the women who routed the great King, and drove him out of camp.” So ended the night.

But next day the generals introduced the embassy to the army, and the soldiers passed a resolution in the sense proposed: between themselves and the Paphlagonians there was to be a mutual abstinence from injuries. After this the ambassadors went on their way, and the Hellenes, as soon as it was thought that sufficient vessels had arrived, went on board ship, and voyaged a day and a night with a fair breeze, keeping Paphlagonia on their left. And on the following day, arriving at Sinope, they came to moorings in the harbour of Harmene, near Sinope111. The Sinopeans, though inhabitants of Paphlagonia, are really colonists of the Milesians. They sent gifts of hospitality to the Hellenes, three thousand measures of barley with fifteen hundred jars of wine. At this place Cheirisophus rejoined them with a man-of-war. The soldiers certainly expected that, having come, he would have brought them something, but he brought them nothing, except complimentary phrases, on the part of Anaxibius, the high admiral, and the rest, who sent them their congratulations, coupled with a promise on the part of Anaxibius that, as soon as they were outside the Euxine, pay would be forthcoming.

At Harmene the army halted five days; and now that they seemed to be so close to Hellas, the question how they were to reach home not empty-handed presented itself more forcibly to their minds than heretofore. The conclusion they came to was to appoint a single general, since one man would be better able to handle the troops, by night or by day, than was possible while the generalship was divided. If secrecy were desirable, it would be easier to keep matters dark, or if again expedition were an object, there would be less risk of arriving a day too late, since mutual explanations would be avoided, and whatever approved itself to the single judgement would at once be carried into effect, whereas previously the generals had done everything in obedience to the opinion of the majority.

With these ideas working in their minds, they turned to Xenophon, and the officers came to him and told him that this was how the soldiers viewed matters; and each of them, displaying a warmth of kindly feeling, pressed him to accept the office. Xenophon partly would have liked to do so, in the belief that by so doing he would win to himself a higher repute in the esteem of his friends, and that his name would be reported to the city written large; and by some stroke of fortune he might even be the discoverer of some blessing to the army collectively.

These and the like considerations elated him; he had a strong desire to hold the supreme command. But then again, as he turned the matter over, the conviction deepened in his mind that the issue of the future is to every man uncertain; and hence there was the risk of perhaps losing such reputation has he had already acquired. He was in sore straights, and, not knowing how to decide, it seemed best to him to lay the matter before heaven. Accordingly, he led two victims to the altar and made sacrifice to Zeus the King, for it was he and no other who had been named by the oracle at Delphi, and his belief was that the vision which he had beheld when he first essayed to undertake the joint administration of the army was sent to him by that god. He also recalled to mind a circumstance which befell him still earlier, when setting out from Ephesus to associate himself with Cyrus112; — how an eagle screamed on his right hand from the east, and still remained perched, and the soothsayer who was escorting him said that it was a great and royal omen113; indicating glory and yet suffering; for the punier race of birds only attack the eagle when seated. “Yet,” added he, “it bodes not gain in money; for the eagle seizes his food, not when seated, but on the wing.”

Thus Xenophon sacrificed, and the god as plainly as might be gave him a sign, neither to demand the generalship, nor, if chosen, to accept the office. And that was how the matter stood when the army met, and the proposal to elect a single leader was unanimous. After this resolution was passed, they proposed Xenophon for election, and when it seemed quite evident that they would elect him, if he put the question to the vote, he got up and spoke as follows:—

“Sirs, I am but mortal, and must needs be happy to be honoured by you. I thank you, and am grateful, and my prayer is that the gods may grant me to be an instrument of blessing to you. Still, when I consider it closer, thus, in the presence of a Lacedaemonian, to be preferred by you as general, seems to me but ill conducive either to your interests or to mine, since you will the less readily obtain from them hereafter anything you may need, while for myself I look upon acceptance as even somewhat dangerous. Do I not see and know with what persistence these Lacedaemonians prosecuted the war till finally they forced our State to acknowledge the leadership of Lacedaemon? This confession once extorted from their antagonists, they ceased warring at once, and the siege of the city was at an end. If, with these facts before my eyes, I seem to be doing all I can to neutralise their high self-esteem, I cannot escape the reflection that personally I may be taught wisdom by a painful process. But with your own idea that under a single general there will be less factiousness than when there were many, be assured that in choosing some other than me you will not find me factious. I hold that whosoever sets up factious opposition to his leader factiously opposes his own safety. While if you determine to choose me, I should not be surprised were that choice to entail upon you and me the resentment of other people.”

After those remarks on Xenophon’s part, many more got up, one after another, insisting on the propriety of his undertaking the command. One of them, Agasias the Stymphalian, said: It was really ridiculous, if things had come to this pass that the Lacedeamonians are to fly into a rage because a number of friends have met together to dinner, and omitted to choose a Lacedaemonian to sit at the head of the table. “Really, if that is how matters stand,” said he, “I do not see what right we have to be officers even, we who are only Arcadians.” That sally brought down the plaudits of the assembly; and Xenophon, seeing that something more was needed, stepped forward again and spoke, “Pardon, sirs,” he said, “let me make a clean breast of it. I swear to you by all the gods and goddesses; verily and indeed, I no sooner perceived your purpose, than I consulted the victims, whether it was better for you to entrust this leadership to me, and for me to undertake it, or the reverse. And the gods vouchsafed a sign to me so plain that even a common man might understand it, and perceive that from such sovereignty I must needs hold myself aloof.”

Under these circumstances they chose Cheirisophus, who, after his election, stepped forward and said: “Nay, sirs, be well assured of this, that had you chosen some one else, I for my part should not have set up factious opposition. As to Xenophon, I believe you have done him a good turn by not appointing him; for even now Dexippus has gone some way in traducing him to Anaxibius, as far as it lay in his power to do so, and that, in spite of my attempts to silence him. What he said was that he believed Xenophon would rather share the command of Clearchus’s army with Timasion, a Dardanian, than with himself, a Laconian. But,” continued Cheirisophus, “since your choice has fallen upon me, I will make it my endeavour to do you all the good in my power; so make your preparations to weigh anchor tomorrow; wind and weather permitting, we will voyage to Heraclea; every one must endeavour, therefore, to put in at that port; and for the rest we will consult, when we are come thither.”

107 I.e. the national Thracian hymn; for Sitalcas the king, a national hero, see Thuc. ii. 29.

108 The Aenianians, an Aeolian people inhabiting the upper valley of the Sperchius (the ancient Phthia); their capital was Hypata. These men belonged to the army collected by Menon, the Thessalian. So, doubtless, did the Magnesians, another Aeolian tribe occupying the mountainous coast district on the east of Thessaly. See Kiepert’s “Man. Anct. Geog.” (Macmillan’s tr.), chap. vi.. 161, 170.

109 See Plato, “Rep.” 400 B, for this “war measure”; also Aristoph. “Clouds,” 653.

110 For this famous dance, supposed to be of Doric (Cretan or Spartan) origin, see Smith’s “Dict. of Antiquities,” “Saltatio”; also Guhl and Koner, “The Life of the Greeks and Romans,” Eng. tr.

111 Harmene, a port of Sinope, between four and five miles (fifty stades) west of that important city, itself a port town. See Smith, “Dict. Geog.,” “Sinope”; and Kiepert, op. cit. chap. iv. 60.

112 Cf. “Cyrop.” II. i. 1; an eagle appears to Cyrus on the frontiers of Persia, when about to join his uncle Cyaxares, king of Media, on his expedition against the Assyrian.

113 It is important to note that the Greek word oionos, a solitary or lone-flying bird, also means an omen. “It was a mighty bird and a mighty omen.”

II

The next day they weighed anchor and set sail from Harmene with a fair breeze, two days’ voyage along the coast. [As they coasted along they came in sight of Jason’s beach114, where, as the story says, the ship Argo came to moorings; and then the mouths of the rivers, first the Thermodon, then the Iris, then the Halys, and next to it the Parthenius.] Coasting past [the latter], they reached Heraclea115, a Hellenic city and a colony of the Megarians, situated in the territory of the Mariandynians. So they came to anchorage off the Acherusian Chersonese, where Heracles116 is said to have descended to bring up the dog Cerberus, at a point where they still show the marks of his descent, a deep cleft more than two furlongs down. Here the Heracleots sent the Hellenes, as gifts of hospitality, three thousand measures of barley and two thousand jars of wine, twenty beeves and one hundred sheep. Through the flat country here flows the Lycus river, as it is called, about two hundred feet in breadth.

The soldiers held a meeting, and took counsel about the remainder of the journey: should they make their exit from the Pontus by sea or by land? and Lycon the Achaean got up and said: “I am astonished, sirs, that the generals do not endeavour to provide us more efficiently with provisions. These gifts of hospitality will not afford three days’ victuals for the army; nor do I see from what region we are to provide ourselves as we march. My proposal, therefore, is to demand of the Heracleots at least three thousand cyzicenes.” Another speaker suggested, “not less than ten thousand. Let us at once, before we break up this meeting, send ambassadors to the city and ascertain their answer to the demand and take counsel accordingly.” Thereupon they proceeded to put up as ambassadors, first and foremost Cheirisophus, as he had been chosen general-in-chief; others also named Xenophon.

But both Cheirisophus and Xenophon stoutly declined, maintaining both alike that they could not compel a Hellenic city, actually friendly, to give anything which they did not spontaneously offer. So, since these two appeared to be backward, the soldiers sent Lycon the Achaean, Callimachus the Parrhasian, and Agasias the Stymphalian. These three went and announced the resolutions passed by the army. Lycon, it was said, even went so far as to threaten certain consequences in case they refused to comply. The Heracleots said they would deliberate; and, without more ado, they got together their goods and chattels from their farms and fields outside, and dismantled the market outside and transferred it within, after which the gates were closed, and arms appeared at the battlements of the walls.

At that check, the authors of these tumultuary measures fell to accusing the generals, as if they had marred the proceeding; and the Arcadians and Archaeans banded together, chiefly under the auspices of the two ringleaders, Callimachus the Parrhasian and Lycon the Achaean. The language they held was to this effect: It was outrageous that a single Athenian and a Lacedaemonian, who had not contributed a soldier to the expedition, should rule Peloponnesians; scandalous that they themselves should bear the toils whilst others pocketed the spoils, and that too though the preservation of the army was due to themselves; for, as every one must admit, to the Arcadians and Achaeans the credit of that achievement was due, and the rest of the army went for nothing (which was indeed so far true that the Arcadians and Achaeans did form numerically the larger half of the whole army). What then did common sense suggest? Why, that they, the Arcadians and Achaeans, should make common cause, choose generals for themselves independently, continue the march, and try somewhat to better their condition. This proposal was carried. All the Arcadians and Achaeans who chanced to be with Cheirisophus left him and Xenophon, setting up for themselves and choosing ten generals of their own. These ten, it was decreed, were to put into effect such measures as approved themselves to the majority. Thus the absolute authority vested in Cheirisophus was terminated there and then, within less than a week of his appointment.

Xenophon, however was minded to prosecute the journey in their company, thinking that this would be a safer plan than for each to start on his own account. But Neon threw in his weight in favour of separate action. “Every one for himself,” he said, for he had heard from Cheirisophus that Cleander, the Spartan governor-general at Byzantium, talked of coming to Calpe Haven with some war vessels. Neon’s advice was due to his desire to secure a passage home in these war vessels for themselves and their soldiers, without allowing any one else to share in their good-fortune. As for Cheirisophus, he was at once so out of heart at the turn things had taken, and soured with the whole army, that he left it to his subordinate, Neon, to do just what he liked. Xenophon, on his side, would still have been glad to be quit of the expedition and sail home; but on offering sacrifice to Heracles the Leader, and seeking advice, whether it were better and more desirable to continue the march in charge of the soldiers who had remained faithful, or to take his departure, the god indicated to him by the victims that he should adopt the former course.

In this way the army was now split up into three divisions117. First, the Arcadians and Achaeans, over four thousand five hundred men, all heavy infantry. Secondly, Cheirisophus and his men, viz. one thousand four hundred heavy infantry and the seven hundred peltasts, or Clearchus’s Thracians. Thirdly, Xenophon’s division of one thousand seven hundred heavy infantry, and three hundred peltasts; but then he alone had the cavalry — about forty troopers.

The Arcadians, who had bargained with the Heracleots and got some vessels from them, were the first to set sail; they hoped, by pouncing suddenly on the Bithynians, to make as large a haul as possible. With that object they disembarked at Calpe Haven118, pretty nearly at the middle point in Thrace. Cheirisophus setting off straight from Heraclea, commenced a land march through the country; but having entered into Thrace, he preferred to cling to the seaboard, health and strength failing him. Xenophon, lastly, took vessels, and disembarking on the confines of Thrace and the Heracleotid, pushed forward through the heart of the country119.

114 I have left this passage in the text, although it involves, at first sight, a topographical error on the part of whoever wrote it, and Hug and other commentators regard it as spurious. Jason’s beach (the modern Yasoun Bouroun) and the three first-named rivers lie between Cotyora and Sinope. Possibly the author, or one of his editors, somewhat loosely inserted a recapitulatory note concerning the scenery of this coasting voyage at this point. “By the way, I ought to have told you that as they coasted along,” etc.

115 One of the most powerful of commercial cities, distinguished as Pontica (whence, in the middle ages, Penteraklia), now Eregli. It was one of the older Greek settlements, and, like Kalchedon (to give that town its proper name), a Megaro–Doric colony. See Kiepert, op. cit. chap. iv. 62.

116 According to another version of the legend Heracles went down to bring up Cerberus, not here, but at Taenarum.

117 The total now amounted to 8640 and over.

118 The Haven of Calpe = Kirpe Liman or Karpe in the modern maps. The name is interesting as being also the ancient name of the rock fortress of Gibraltar.

119 Some MSS. here read, “In the prior chapter will be found a description of the manner in which the absolute command of Cheirisophus was abruptly terminated and the army of the Hellenes broken up. The sequel will show how each of these divisions fared.” The passage is probably one of those commentators’ notes, with which we are now familiar.

III

The Arcadians, disembarking under cover of night at Calpe Haven, marched against the nearest villages about thirty furlongs from the sea; and as soon as it was light, each of the ten generals led his company to attack one village, or if the village were large, a couple of companies advanced under their combined generals. They further agreed upon a certain knoll, where they were all eventually to assemble. So sudden was their attack that they seized a number of captives and enclosed a multitude of small cattle. But the Thracians who escaped began to collect again; for being light-armed troops they had slipped in large numbers through the hands of the heavy infantry; and now that they were got together they first attacked the company of the Arcadian general, Smicres, who had done his work and was retiring to the appointed meeting-place, driving along a large train of captives and cattle. For a good while the Hellenes maintained a running fight120; but at the passage of a gorge the enemy routed them, slaying Smicres himself and those with him to a man. The fate of another company under command of Hegesander, another of the ten, was nearly as bad; only eight men escaped, Hegesander being one of them. The remaining captains eventually met, some with somewhat to show for their pains, others empty-handed.

The Thracians, having achieved this success, kept up a continual shouting and clatter of conversation to one another during the night; but with day-dawn they marshalled themselves right round the knoll on which the Hellenes were encamped — both cavalry in large numbers and light-armed troops — while every minute the stream of new-comers grew greater. Then they commenced an attack on the heavy infantry in all security, for the Hellenes had not a single bowman, javelin-man, or mounted trooper amongst them; while the enemy rushed forward on foot or galloped up on horseback and let fly their javelins. It was vain to attempt to retaliate, so lightly did they spring back and escape; and ever the attack renewed itself from every point, so that on one side man after man was wounded, on the other not a soul was touched; the result being that they could not stir from their position, and the Thracians ended by cutting them off even from their water. In their despair they began to parley about a truce, and finally various concessions were made and terms agreed to between them; but the Thracians would not hear of giving hostages in answer to the demand of the Hellenes; at that point the matter rested. So fared it with the Arcadians.

As to Cheirisophus, that general prosecuted his march along the seaboard, and without check reached Calpe Haven. Xenophon advanced through the heart of the country; and his cavalry pushing on in front, came upon some old men pursuing their road somewither, who were brought to him, and in answer to his question, whether they had caught sight of another Hellenic army anywhere, told him all that had already taken place, adding that at present they were being besieged upon a knoll with all the Thracians in close circle round them. Thereupon he kept the old men under strict guard to serve as guides in case of need; next, having appointed outposts, he called a meeting of the soldiers, and addressed them: “Soldiers, some of the Arcadians are dead and the rest are being besieged upon a certain knoll. Now my own belief is, that if they are to perish, with their deaths the seal is set to our own fate: since we must reckon with an enemy at once numerous and emboldened. Clearly our best course is to hasten to their rescue, if haply we may find them still alive, and do battle by their side rather than suffer isolation, confronting danger single-handed.

“Let us then at once push forward as far as may seem opportune till supper-time, and then encamp. As long as we are marching, let Timasion, with the cavalry, gallop on in front, but without losing sight of us; and let him examine all closely in front, so that nothing may escape our observation.” (At the same time too, he sent out some nimble fellows of the light-armed troops to the flanks and to the high tops, who were to give a signal if they espied anything anywhere; ordering them to burn everything inflammable which lay in their path.) “As for ourselves,” he continued, “we need not look to find cover in any direction; for it is a long step back to Heraclea and a long leap across to Chrysopolis, and the enemy is at the door. The shortest road is to Calpe Haven, where we suppose Cheirisophus, if safe, to be; but then, when we get there, at Calpe Haven there are no vessels for us to sail away in; and if we stop here, we have not provisions for a single day. Suppose the beleaguered Arcadians left to their fate, we shall find it but a sorry alternative to run the gauntlet with Cheirisophus’s detachment alone; better to save them if we can, and with united forces work out our deliverance in common. But if so, we must set out with minds prepared, since today either a glorious death awaits us or the achievement of a deed of noblest emprise in the rescue of so many Hellene lives. Maybe it is God who leads us thus, God who chooses to humble the proud boaster, boasting as though he were exceedingly wise, but for us, the beginning of whose every act is by heaven’s grace, that same God reserves a higher grade of honour. One duty I would recall to you, to apply your minds to the execution of the orders with promptitude.”

With these words he led the way. The cavalry, scattering as far in advance as was prudent, wherever they set foot, set fire. The peltasts moving parallel on the high ground were similarly employed, burning everything combustible they could discover. While the main army, wherever they came upon anything which had accidentally escaped, completed the work, so that the whole country looked as if it were ablaze; and the army might easily pass for a larger one. When the hour had come, they turned aside to a knoll and took up quarters; and there they espied the enemy’s watch-fires. He was about forty furlongs distant. On their side also they kindled as many watch-fires as possible; but as soon as they had dined the order was passed to quench all the fires. So during the night they posted guards and slept. But at daybreak they offered prayers to the gods, and drawing up in order of battle, began marching with what speed they might. Timasion and the cavalry, who had the guides with them, and were moving on briskly in front, found themselves without knowing it at the very knoll upon which the Hellenes had been beleaguered. But no army could they discover, whether of friend or foe; only some starveling old women and men, with a few sheep and oxen which had been left behind. This news they reported to Xenophon and the main body. At first the marvel was what had happened; but ere long they found out by inquiries from the folk who had been left behind, that the Thracians had set off immediately after sundown, and were gone; the Hellenes had waited till morning before they made off, but in what direction, they could not say.

On hearing this, Xenophon’s troops first breakfasted, and then getting their kit together began their march, desiring to unite with the rest at Calpe’s Haven without loss of time. As they continued their march, they came across the track of the Arcadians and Achaeans along the road to Calpe, and both divisions arriving eventually at the same place, were overjoyed to see one another again, and they embraced each other like brothers. Then the Arcadians inquired of Xenophon’s officers — why they had quenched the watch-fires? “At first,” said they, “when we lost sight of your watch-fires, we expected you to attack the enemy in the night; and the enemy, so at least we imagined, must have been afraid of that and so set off. The time at any rate at which they set off would correspond. But when the requisite time had elapsed and you did not come, we concluded that you must have learnt what was happening to us, and in terror had made a bolt for it to the seaboard. We resolved not to be left behind by you; and that is how we also came to march hither.”

120 Lit. “marched and fought,” as did the forlorn hope under Sir C. Wilson making its way from Abu Klea to the Nile in Jan. 1885.

IV

During this day they contented themselves with bivouacking there on the beach at the harbour. The place which goes by the name of Calpe Haven is in Asiatic Thrace, the name given to a region extending from the mouth of the Euxine all the way to Heraclea, which lies on the right hand as you sail into the Euxine. It is a long day’s voyage for a war-ship, using her three banks of oars, from Byzantium to Heraclea, and between these two there is not a single Hellenic or friendly city, but only these Bithynian Thracians, who have a bad reputation for the savagery with which they treat any Hellenes cast ashore by shipwreck or otherwise thrown into their power.

Now the haven of Calpe lies exactly midway, halving the voyage between Byzantium and Heraclea. It is a long promontory running out into the sea; the seaward portion being a rocky precipice, at no point less than twenty fathoms high; but on the landward side there is a neck about four hundred feet wide; and the space inside the neck is capable of accommodating ten thousand inhabitants, and there is a haven immediately under the crag with a beach facing the west. Then there is a copious spring of fresh water flowing on the very marge of the sea commanded by the stronghold. Again, there is plenty of wood of various sorts; but most plentiful of all, fine shipbuilding timber down to the very edge of the sea. The upland stretches into the heart of the country for twenty furlongs at least. It is good loamy soil, free from stones. For a still greater distance the seaboard is thickly grown with large timber trees of every description. The surrounding country is beautiful and spacious, containing numerous well populated villages. The soil produces barley and wheat, and pulse of all sorts, millet and sesame, figs in ample supply, with numerous vines producing sweet wines, and indeed everything else except olives. Such is the character of the country.

The tents were pitched on the seaward-facing beach, the soldiers being altogether averse to camping on ground which might so easily be converted into a city. Indeed, their arrival at the place at all seemed very like the crafty design of some persons who were minded to form a city. The aversion was not unnatural, since the majority of the soldiers had not left their homes on so long a voyage from scantiness or subsistence, but attracted by the fame of Cyrus’s virtues; some of them bringing followers, while others had expended money on the expedition. And amongst them was a third set who had run away from fathers and mothers; while a different class had left children behind, hoping to return to them with money or other gains. Other people with Cyrus won great success, they were told121; why should it not be so with them? Being persons then of this description, the one longing of their hearts was to reach Hellas safely.

It was on the day after their meeting that Xenophon sacrificed as a preliminary to a military expedition; for it was needful to march out in search of provisions, besides which he designed burying the dead. As soon as the victims proved favourable they all setout, the Arcadians following with the rest. The majority of the dead, who had lain already five days, they buried just where they had fallen, in groups; to remove their bodies now would have been impossible. Some few, who lay off the roads, they got together and buried with what splendour they could, considering the means in their power. Others they could not find, and for these they erected a great cenotaph122, and covered it with wreaths. When it was all done, they returned home to camp. At that time they supped, and went to rest.

Next day there was a general meeting of the soldiers, collected chiefly by Agasias the Stymphalian, a captain, and Hieronymus, an Eleian, also a captain, and other seniors of the Arcadians; and they passed a resolution that, for the future, whoever revived the idea of breaking up the army should be punished by death. And the army, it was decided, would now resume its old position under the command of its former generals. Though Cheirisophus, indeed, had already died under medical treatment for fever123; and Neon the Asinaean had taken his place.

After these resolutions Xenophon got up and said: “Soldiers, the journey must now, I presume, be conducted on foot; indeed, this is clear, since we have no vessels; and we are driven to commence it at once, for we have no provisions if we stop. We then,” he continued, “will sacrifice, and you must prepare yourselves to fight now, if ever, for the spirit of the enemy has revived.”

Thereupon the generals sacrificed, in the presence of the Arcadian seer, Arexion; for Silanus the Ambraciot had chartered a vessel at Heraclea and made his escape ere this. Sacrificing with a view to departure, the victims proved unfavourable to them. Accordingly they waited that day. Certain people were bold enough to say that Xenophon, out of his desire to colonise the place, had persuaded the seer to say that the victims were unfavourable to departure. Consequently he proclaimed by herald next morning that any one who liked should be present at the sacrifice; or if he were a seer he was bidden to be present and help to inspect the victims. Then he sacrificed, and there were numbers present; but though the sacrifice on the question of departure was repeated as many as three times, the victims were persistently unfavourable. Thereat the soldiers were in high dudgeon, for the provisions they had brought with them had reached the lowest ebb, and there was no market to be had.

Consequently there was another meeting, and Xenophon spoke again: “Men,” said he, “the victims are, as you may see for yourselves, not yet favourable to the march; but meanwhile, I can see for myself that you are in need of provisions; accordingly we must narrow the sacrifice to the particular point.” Some one got up and said: “Naturally enough the victims are unfavourable, for, as I learnt from some one on a vessel which arrived here yesterday by accident, Cleander, the governor at Byzantium, intends coming here with ships and men-of-war.” Thereat they were all in favour of stopping; but they must needs go out for provisions, and with this object he again sacrificed three times, and the victims remained adverse. Things had now reached such a pass that the men actually came to Xenophon’s tent to proclaim that they had no provisions. His sole answer was that he would not lead them out till the victims were favourable.

So again the next day he sacrificed; and nearly the whole army, so strong was the general anxiety, flocked round the victims; and now the very victims themselves failed. So the generals, instead of leading out the army, called the men together. Xenophon, as was incumbent on him, spoke: “It is quite possible that the enemy are collected in a body, and we shall have to fight. If we were to leave our baggage in the strong place” (pointing overhead) “and sally forth prepared for battle, the victims might favour us.” But the soldiers, on hearing this proposal, cried out, “No need to take us inside that place; better sacrifice with all speed.” Now sheep there were none any longer. So they purchased oxen from under a wagon and sacrificed; and Xenophon begged Cleanor the Arcadian to superintend the sacrifice on his behalf, in case there might be some change now. But even so there was no improvement.

Now Neon was general in place of Cheirisophus, and seeing the men suffering so cruelly from want, he was willing to do them a good turn. So he got hold of some Heracleot or other who said he knew of villages close by from which they could get provisions, and proclaimed by herald: “If any one liked to come out and get provisions, be it known that he, Neon, would be their leader.” So out came the men with spears, and wine skins and sacks and other vessels — two thousand strong in all. But when they had reached the villages and began to scatter for the purpose of foraging, Pharnabazus’s cavalry were the first to fall upon them. They had come to the aid of the Bithynians, wishing, if possible, in conjunction with the latter, to hinder the Hellenes from entering Phrygia. These troopers killed no less than five hundred of the men; the rest fled for the lives up into the hill country.

News of the catastrophe was presently brought into camp by one of those who had escaped, and Xenophon, seeing that the victims had not been favourable on that day, took a wagon bullock, in the absence of other sacrificial beasts, offered it up, and started for the rescue, he and the rest under thirty years of age to the last man. Thus they picked up the remnant of Neon’s party and returned to camp. It was now about sunset; and the Hellenes in deep despondency were making their evening meal, when all of a sudden, through bush and brake, a party of Bithynians fell upon the pickets, cutting down some and chasing the rest into camp. In the midst of screams and shouts the Hellenes ran to their arms, one and all; yet to pursue or move the camp in the night seemed hardly safe, for the ground was thickly grown with bush; all they could do was to strengthen the outposts and keep watch under arms the livelong night.

121 I.e. “his society was itself a passport to good fortune.”

122 “Cenotaph”, i.e. “an empty tomb.” The word is interesting as occurring only in Xenophon, until we come to the writers of the common dialect. Compare “hyuscyamus,” hogbean, our henbane, which we also owe to Xenophon. “Oecon.” i. 13, see Sauppe, “Lexil. Xen.” s.vv.

123 This I take to be the meaning of the words, which are necessarily ambiguous, since pharmakon, “a drug,” also means “poison.” Did Cheirisophus conceivably die of fever brought on by some poisonous draught? or did he take poison whilst suffering from fever? or did he die under treatment?

V

And so they spent the night, but with day-dawn the generals led the way into the natural fastness, and the others picked up their arms and baggage and followed the lead. Before the breakfast-hour arrived, they had fenced off with a ditch the only side on which lay ingress into the place, and had palisaded off the whole, leaving only three gates. Anon a ship from Heraclea arrived bringing barleymeal, victim animals, and wine.

Xenophon was up betimes, and made the usual offering before starting on an expedition, and at the first victim the sacrifice was favourable. Just as the sacrifice ended, the seer, Arexion the Parrhasian, caught sight of an eagle, which boded well, and bade Xenophon lead on. So they crossed the trench and grounded arms. Then proclamation was made by herald for the soldiers to breakfast and start on an expedition under arms; the mob of sutlers and the captured slaves would be left in camp. Accordingly the mass of the troops set out. Neon alone remained; for it seemed best to leave that general and his men to guard the contents of the camp. But when the officers and soldiers had left them in the lurch, they were so ashamed to stop in camp while the rest marched out, that they too set out, leaving only those above five-and-forty years of age.

These then stayed, while the rest set out on the march. Before they had gone two miles, they stumbled upon dead bodies, and when they had brought up the rear of the column in a line with the first bodies to be seen, they began digging graves and burying all included in the column from end to end. After burying the first batch, they advanced, and again bringing the rear even with the first unburied bodies which appeared, they buried in the same way all which the line of troops included. Finally, reaching the road that led out of the villages where the bodies lay thick together, they collected them and laid them in a common grave.

It was now about midday, when pushing forward the troops up to the villages without entering them, they proceeded to seize provisions, laying hands on everything they could set eyes on under cover of their lines; when suddenly they caught sight of the enemy cresting certain hillocks in front of them, duly marshalled in line — a large body of cavalry and infantry. It was Spithridates and Rhathines, sent by Pharnabazus with their force at their backs. As soon as the enemy caught sight of the Hellenes, they stood still, about two miles distant. Then Arexion the seer sacrificed, and at the first essay the victims were favourable. Whereupon Xenophon addressed the other generals: “I would advise, sirs, that we should detach one or more flying columns to support our main attack, so that in case of need at any point we may have reserves in readiness to assist our main body, and the enemy, in the confusion of battle, may find himself attacking the unbroken lines of troops not hitherto engaged.” These views approved themselves to all. “Do you then,” said he, “lead on the vanguard straight at the enemy. Do not let us stand parleying here, now that we have caught sight of him and he of us. I will detach the hindmost companies in the way we have decided upon and follow you.” After that they quietly advanced, and he, withdrawing the rear-rank companies in three brigades consisting of a couple of hundred men apiece, commissioned the first on the right to follow the main body at the distance of a hundred feet. Samolas the Achaean was in command of this brigade. The duty of the second, under the command of Pyrrhias the Arcadian, was to follow in the centre. The last was posted on the left, with Phrasias, an Athenian, in command. As they advanced, the vanguard reached a large and difficult woody glen, and halted, not knowing whether the obstacle needed to be crossed or not. They passed down the word for the generals and officers to come forward to the front. Xenophon, wondering what it was that stopped the march, and presently hearing the above order passed along the ranks, rode up with all speed. As soon as they were met, Sophaenetus, as the eldest general, stated his opinion that the question, whether a gully of that kind ought to be crossed or not, was not worth discussing. Xenophon, with some ardour, retorted: “You know, sirs, I have not been in the habit hitherto of introducing you to danger which you might avoid. It is not your reputation for courage surely that is at stake, but your safe return home. But now the matter stands thus: It is impossible to retire from this point without a battle; if we do not advance against the enemy ourselves, he will follow us as soon as we have turned our backs and attack us. Consider, then; is it better to go and meet the foe with arms advanced, or with arms reversed to watch him as he assails us on our rear? You know this at any rate, that to retire before an enemy has nothing glorious about it, whereas attack engenders courage even in a coward. For my part, I would rather at any time attack with half my men than retreat with twice the number. As to these fellows, if we attack them, I am sure you do not really expect them to await us; though, if we retreat, we know for certain they will be emboldened to pursue us. Nay, if the result of crossing is to place a difficult gully behind us when we are on the point of engaging, surely that is an advantage worth seizing. At least, if it were left to me, I would choose that everything should appear smooth and passable to the enemy, which may invite retreat; but for ourselves we may bless the ground which teaches us that except in victory we have no deliverance. It astonishes me that any one should deem this particular gully a whit more terrible than any of the other barriers which we have successfully passed. How impassable was the plain, had we failed to conquer their cavalry! how insurmountable the mountains already traversed by us, with all their peltasts in hot pursuit at our heels! Nay, when we have safely reached the sea, the Pontus will present a somewhat formidable gully, when we have neither vessels to convey us away nor corn to keep us alive whilst we stop. But we shall no sooner be there than we must be off again to get provisions. Surely it is better to fight today after a good breakfast than tomorrow on an empty stomach. Sirs, the offerings are favourable to us, the omens are propitious, the victims more than promising; let us attack the enemy! Now that they have had a good look at us, these fellows must not be allowed to enjoy their dinners or choose a camp at their own sweet will.”

After that the officers bade him lead on. None gainsaid, and he led the way. His orders were to cross the gully, where each man chanced to find himself. By this method, as it seemed to him, the troops would more quickly mass themselves on the far side than was possible, if they defiled along124 the bridge which spanned the gully. But once across he passed along the line and addressed the troops: “Sirs, call to mind what by help of the gods you have already done. Bethink you of the battles you have won at close quarters with the foe; of the fate which awaits those who flee before their foes. Forget not that we stand at the very doors of Hellas. Follow in the steps of Heracles, our guide, and cheer each the other onwards by name. Sweet were it surely by some brave and noble word or deed, spoken or done this day, to leave the memory of oneself in the hearts of those one loves.”

These words were spoken as he rode past, and simultaneously he began leading on the troops in battle line; and, placing the peltasts on either flank of the main body, they moved against the enemy. Along the line the order had sped “to keep their spears at rest on the right shoulder until the bugle signal; then lower them for the charge, slow march, and even pace, no one to quicken into a run.” Lastly, the watchword was passed, “Zeus the Saviour, Heracles our Guide.” The enemy waited their approach, confident in the excellence of his position; but as they drew closer the Hellene light troops, with a loud alala! without waiting for the order, dashed against the foe. The latter, on their side, came forward eagerly to meet the charge, both the cavalry and the mass of the Bithynians; and these turned the peltasts. But when with counter-wave the phalanx of the heavy infantry rapidly advancing, faced them, and at the same time the bugle sounded, and the battle hymn rose from all lips, and after this a loud cheer rose, and at the same instant they couched their spears; — at this conjuncture the enemy no longer welcomed them, but fled. Timasion with his cavalry followed close, and, considering their scant numbers, they did great execution. It was the left wing of the enemy, in a line with which the Hellene cavalry were posted, that was so speedily scattered. But the right, which was not so hotly pursued, collected upon a knoll; and when the Hellenes saw them standing firm, it seemed the easiest and least dangerous course to go against them at once. Raising the battle hymn, they straightway fell upon them, but the others did not await their coming. Thereupon the peltasts gave chase until the right of the enemy was in its turn scattered, though with slight loss in killed; for the enemy’s cavalry was numerous and threatening.

But when the Hellenes saw the cavalry of Pharnabazus still standing in compact order, and the Bithynian horsemen massing together as if to join it, and like spectators gazing down from a knoll at the occurrences below; though weary, they determined to attack the enemy as best they could, and not suffer him to recover breath with reviving courage. So they formed in compact line and advanced. Thereupon the hostile cavalry turned and fled down the steep as swiftly as if they had been pursued by cavalry. In fact they sought the shelter of a gully, the existence of which was unknown to the Hellenes. The latter accordingly turned aside too soon and gave up the chase, for it was too late. Returning to the point where the first encounter took place they erected a trophy, and went back to the sea about sunset. It was something like seven miles to camp.

124 Lit. “had they wound off thread by thread”; the metaphor is from unwinding a ball of wool.

VI

After this the enemy confined themselves to their own concerns, and removed their households and property as far away as possible. The Hellenes, on their side, were still awaiting the arrival of Cleander with the ships of war and transports, which ought to be there soon. So each day they went out with the baggage animals and slaves and fearlessly brought in wheat and barley, wine and vegetables, millet and figs; since the district produced all good things, the olive alone excepted. When the army stayed in camp to rest, pillaging parties were allowed to go out, and those who went out appropriated the spoils; but when the whole army went out, if any one went off apart and seized anything, it was voted to be public property. Ere long there was an ample abundance of supplies of all sorts, for marketables arrived from Hellenic cities on all sides, and marts were established. Mariners coasting by, and hearing that a city was being founded and that there was a harbour, were glad to put in. Even the hostile tribes dwelling in the neighbourhood presently began to send envoys to Xenophon. It was he who was forming the place into a city, as they understood, and they would be glad to learn on what terms they might secure his friendship. He made a point of introducing these visitors to the soldiers.

Meanwhile Cleander arrived with two ships of war, but not a single transport. At the moment of his arrival, as it happened, the army had taken the field, and a separate party had gone off on a pillaging expedition into the hills and had captured a number of small cattle. In thir apprehension of being deprived of them, these same people spoke to Dexippus (this was the same man who had made off from Trapezus with the fifty-oared galley), and urged him to save their sheep for them. “Take some for yourself,” said they, “and give the rest back to us.” So, without more ado, he drove off the soldiers standing near, who kept repeating that the spoil was public property. Then off he went to Cleander. “Here is an attempt,” said he, “at robbery.” Cleander bade him to bring up the culprit to him. Dexippus seized on some one, and was for haling him to the Spartan governor. Just then Agasias came across him and rescued the man, who was a member of his company; and the rest of the soldiers present set to work to stone Dexippus, calling him “traitor.” Things looked so ill that a number of the crew of the ships of war took fright and fled to the sea, and with the rest Cleander himself. Xenophon and the other generals tried to hold the men back, assuring Cleander that the affair signified nothing at all, and that the origin of it was a decree pased by the army. That was to blame, if anything. But Cleander, goaded by Dexippus, and personally annoyed at the fright which he had experienced, threatened to sail away and publish an interdict against them, forbidding any city to receive them, as being public enemies. For at this date the Lacedaemonians held sway over the whole Hellenic world.

Thereat the affair began to wear an ugly look, and the Hellenes begged and implored Cleander to reconsider his intention. He replied that he would be as good as his word, and that nothing should stop him, unless the man who set the example of stoning, with the other who rescued the prisoner, were given up to him. Now, one of the two whose persons were thus demanded — Agasias — had been a friend to Xenophon throughout; and that was just why Dexippus was all the more anxious to accuse him. In their perplexity the generals summoned a full meeting of the soldiers, and some speakers were disposed to make very light of Cleander and set him at naught. But Xenophon took a more serious view of the matter; he rose and addressed the meeting thus: “Soldiers, I cannot say that I feel disposed to make light of this business, if Cleander be allowed to go away, as he threatens to do, in his present temper towards us. There are Hellenic cities close by; but then the Lacedaemonians are the lords of Hellas, and they can, any one of them, carry out whatever they like in the cities. If then the first thing this Lacedaemonian does is to close the gates of Byzantium, and next to pass an order to the other governors, city by city, not to receive us because we are a set of lawless ruffians disloyal to the Lacedaemonians; and if, further, this report of us should reach the ears of their admiral, Anaxibius, to stay or to sail away will alike be difficult. Remember, the Lacedaemonians at the present time are lords alike on land and on sea. For the sake then of a single man, or for two men’s sake, it is not right that the rest of us should be debarred from Hellas; but whatever they enjoin we must obey. Do not the cities which gave us birth yield them obedience also? For my own part, inasmuch as Dexippus, I believe, keeps telling Cleander that Agasias would never have done this had not I, Xenophon, bidden him, I absolve you of all complicity, and Agasias too, if Agasias himself states that I am in any way a prime mover in this matter. If I have set the fashion of stone-throwing or any other sort of violence I condemn myself — I say that I deserve the extreme penalty, and I will submit to undergo it. I further say that if any one else is accused, that man is bound to surrender himself to Cleander for judgement, for by this means you will be absolved entirely from the accusation. But as the matter now stands, it is cruel that just when we were aspiring to win praise and honour throughout Hellas, we are destined to sink below the level of the rest of the world, banned from the Hellenic cities whose common name we boast.”

After him Agasias got up, and said, “I swear to you, sirs, by the gods and goddesses, verily and indeed, neither Xenophon nor any one else among you bade me rescue the man. I saw an honest man — one of my own company — being taken up by Dexippus, the man who betrayed you, as you know full well. That I could not endure; I rescued him, I admit the fact. Do not you deliver me up. I will surrender myself, as Xenophon suggests, to Cleander to pass what verdict on me he thinks right. Do not, for the sake of such a matter, make foes of the Lacedaemonians; rather God grant that125 each of you may safely reach the goal of his desire. Only do you choose from among yourselves and send with me to Cleander those who, in case of any omission on my part, may by their words and acts supply what is lacking.” Thereupon the army granted him to choose for himself whom he would have go with him and to go; and he at once chose the generals. After this they all set off to Cleander — Agasias and the generals and the man who had been rescued by Agasias — and the generals spoke as follows: “The army has sent us to you, Cleander, and this is their bidding: ‘If you have fault to find with all, they say, you ought to pass sentence on all, and do with them what seems best; or if the charge is against one man or two, or possibly several, what they expect of these people is to surrender themselves to you for judgement.’ Accordingly, if you lay anything to the charge of us generals, here we stand at your bar. Or do you impute the fault to some one not here? tell us whom. Short of flying in the face of our authority, there is no one who will absent himself.”

At this point Agasias stepped forward and said: “It was I, Cleander, who rescued the man before you yonder from Dexippus, when the latter was carrying him off, and it was I who gave the order to strike Dexippus. My plea is that I know the prisoner to be an honest man. As to Dexippus, I know that he was chosen by the army to command a fifty-oared galley, which we had obtained by request from the men of Trapezus for the express purpose of collecting vessels to carry us safely home. But this same Dexippus betrayed his fellow-soldiers, with whom he had been delivered from so many perils, and made off into hiding like a runaway slave, whereby we have robbed the Trapezuntines of their frigate, and must needs appear as knaves in their eyes for this man’s sake. As to ourselves, as far as he could, he has ruined us; for, like the rest of us, he had heard how all but impossible it was for us to retreat by foot across the rivers and to reach Hellas in safety. That is the stamp of man whom I robbed of his prey. Now, had it been you yourself who carried him off, or one of your emissaries, or indeed any one short of a runaway from ourselves, be sure that I should have acted far otherwise. Be assured that if you put me to death at this time you are sacrificing a good, honest man for the sake of a coward and a scamp.”

When he had listened to these remarks, Cleander replied that if such had been the conduct of Dexippus, he could not congratulate him. “But still,” he added, turning to the generals, “were Dexippus ever so great a scamp he ought not to suffer violence; but in the language of your own demand he was entitled to a fair trial, and so to obtain his deserts. What I have to say at present therefore is: leave your friend here and go your way, and when I give the order be present at the trial. I have no further charge against the army or any one, since the prisoner himself admits that he rescued the man.” Then the man who had been rescued said: “In behalf of myself, Cleander, if possibly you think that I was being taken up for some misdeed, it is not so; I neither struck nor shot; I merely said, ‘The sheep are public property;’ for it was a resolution of the soldiers that whenever the army went out as a body any booty privately obtained was to be public property. That was all I said, and thereupon yonder fellow seized me and began dragging me off. He wanted to stop our mouths, so that he might have a share of the things himself, and keep the rest for these buccaneers, contrary to the ordinance.” In answer to that Cleander said: “Very well, if that is your disposition you can stay behind too, and we will take your case into consideration also.”

Thereupon Cleander and his party proceeded to breakfast; but Xenophon collected the army in assembly, and advised their sending a deputation to Cleander to intercede in behalf of the men. Accordingly it was resolved to send some generals and officers with Dracontius the Spartan, and of the rest those who seemed best fitted to go. The deputation was to request Cleander by all means to release the two men. Accordingly Xenophon came and addressed him thus: “Cleander, you have the men; the army has bowed to you and assented to do what you wished with respect to these two members of their body and themselves in general. But now they beg and pray you to give up these two men, and not to put them to death. Many a good service have these two wrought for our army in past days. Let them but obtain this from you, and in return the army promises that, if you will put yourself at their head and the gracious gods approve, they will show you how orderly they are, how apt to obey their general, and, with heaven’s help, to face their foes unflinchingly. They make this further request to you, that you will present yourself and take command of them and make trial of them. ‘Test us ourselves,’ they say, ‘and test Dexippus, what each of us is like, and afterwards assign to each his due.’” When Cleander heard these things, he answered: “Nay, by the twin gods, I will answer you quickly enough. Here I make you a present of the two men, and I will as you say present myself, and then, if the gods vouchsafe, I will put myself at your head and lead you into Hellas. Very different is your language from the tale I used to hear concerning you from certain people, that you wanted to withdraw the army from allegiance to the Lacedaemonians.”

After this the deputation thanked him and retired, taking with them the two men; then Cleander sacrificed as a preliminary to marching and consorted friendlily with Xenophon, and the two struck up an alliance. When the Spartan saw with what good discipline the men carried out their orders, he was still more anxious to become their leader. However, in spite of sacrifices repeated on three successive days, the victims steadily remained unfavourable. So he summoned the generals and said to them: “The victims smile not on me, they suffer me not to lead you home; but be not out of heart at that. To you it is given, as it would appear, to bring your men safe home. Forwards then, and for our part, whenever you come yonder, we will bestow on you as warm a welcome as we may.”

Then the soldiers resolved to make him a present of the public cattle, which he accepted, but again gave back to them. So he sailed away; but the soldiers made division of the corn which they had collected and of the other captured property, and commenced their homeward march through the territory of the Bithynians.

At first they confined themselves to the main road; but not chancing upon anything whereby they might reach a friendly territory with something in their pockets for themselves, they resolved to turn sharp round, and marched for one day and night in the opposite direction. By this proceeding they captured many slaves and much small cattle; and on the sixth day reached Chrysopolis in Chalcedonia126. Here they halted seven days while they disposed of their booty by sale.

125 Reading with the best MSS., sozoisthe. Agasias ends his sentence with a prayer. Al. sozesthe, “act so that each,” etc.

126 The name should be written “Calchedonia.” The false form drove out the more correct, probably through a mispronunciation, based on a wrong derivation, at some date long ago. The sites of Chrysopolis and Calchedon correspond respectively to the modern Scutari and Kadikoi.

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Last updated Tuesday, March 4, 2014 at 14:12