[In the preceding portion of the narrative a detailed account is given of all that the Hellenes did, and how they fared on the march up with Cyrus; and also of all that befell them on their march subsequently, until they reached the seaboard of the Euxine Sea, or Pontus, and the Hellenic city of Trapezus, where they duly offered the sacrifice for safe deliverance which they had vowed to offer as soon as they set foot on a friendly soil.]
After this they met and took counsel concerning the remainder of the march. The first speaker was Antileon of Thurii. He rose and said: “For my part, sirs, I am weary by this time of getting kit together and packing up for a start, of walking and running and carrying heavy arms, and of tramping along in line, or mounting guard, and doing battle. The sole desire I now have is to cease from all these pains, and for the future, since here we have the sea before us, to sail on and on, ‘stretched out in sleep,’ like Odysseus, and so to find myself in Hellas.” When they heard these remarks, the soldiers showed their approval with loud cries of “well said,” and then another spoke to the same effect, and then another, and indeed all present. Then Cheirisophus got up and said: “I have a friend, sirs, who, as good hap will have it, is now high admiral, Anaxibius. If you like to send me to him, I think I can safely promise to return with some men-of-war and other vessels which will carry us. All you have to do, if you are really minded to go home by sea, is to wait here till I come. I will be back ere long.” The soldiers were delighted at these words, and voted that Cheirisophus should set sail on his mission without delay.
After him, Xenophon got up, and spoke as follows: “Cheirisophus, it is agreed, sets out in search of vessels, and we are going to await him. Let me tell you what, in my opinion, it is reasonable to do while we are waiting. First of all, we must provide ourselves with necessaries from hostile territory, for there is not a sufficient market, nor, if there were, have we, with a few solitary exceptions, the means of purchase. Now, the district is hostile, so that if you set off in search of provisions without care and precaution, the chances are that many of us will be lost. To meet this risk, I propose that we should organise foraging parties to capture provisions, and, for the rest, not roam about the country at random. The organisation of the matter should be left to us.” (The resolution was passed.) “Please listen to another proposal;” he continued: “Some of you, no doubt, will be going out to pillage. It will be best, I think, that whoever does so should in each case before starting inform us of his intent, and in what direction he means to go, so that we may know the exact number of those who are out and of those who stop behind. Thus we shall be able to help in preparing and starting the expedition where necessary; and in case of aid or reinforcements being called for, we shall know in what direction to proceed; or, again, if the attempt is to be undertaken by raw or less expert hands, we may throw in the weight of our experience and advice by endeavouring to discover the strength of those whom they design to attack.” This proposal was also carried. “Here is another point,” he continued, “to which I would draw your attention. Our enemies will not lack leisure to make raids upon us: nor is it unnatural, that they should lay plots for us; for we have appropriated what is theirs; they are seated over us ever on the watch. I propose then that we should have regular outposts round the camp. If we take it in succession to do picket and outlook duty, the enemy will be less able to harry us. And here is another point for your observation; supposing we knew for certain that Cheirisophus must return with a sufficient number of vessels, there would be no need of the remark, but as that is still problematical, I propose that we should try to get together vessels on the spot also. If he comes and finds us already provided for here, we shall have more ships than we need, that is all; while, if he fails to bring them, we shall have the local supply to fall back upon. I see ships sailing past perpetually, so we have only to ask the loan of some war-ships from the men of Trapezus, and we can bring them into port, and safeguard them with their rudders unshipped, until we have enough to carry us. By this course I think we shall not fail of finding the means of transport requisite.” That resolution was also passed. He proceeded: “Consider whether you think it equitable to support by means of a general fund the ships’ companies which we so impress, while they wait here for our benefit, and to agree upon a fare, on the principle of repaying kindnesses in kind.” That too was passed. “Well then,” said he, “in case, after all, our endeavours should not be crowned with success, and we find that we have not vessels enough, I propose that we should enjoin on the cities along the seaboard the duty of constructing and putting in order the roads, which we hear are impassable. They will be only too glad to obey, no doubt, out of mere terror and their desire to be rid of us.”
This last proposal was met by loud cries and protestations against the idea of going by land at all. So, perceiving their infatuation, he did not put the question to the vote, but eventually persuaded the cities voluntarily to construct roads by the suggestion, “If you get your roads in good order, we shall all the sooner be gone.” They further got a fifty-oared galley from the Trapezuntines, and gave the command of it to Dexippus, a Laconian, one of the perioeci87. This man altogether neglected to collect vessels on the offing, but slunk off himself, and vanished, ship and all, out of Pontus. Later on, however, he paid the penalty of his misdeeds. He became involved in some meddling and making in Thrace at the court of Seuthes, and was put to death by the Laconian Nicander. They also got a thirty-oared galley, the command of which was entrusted to Polycrates, an Athenian, and that officer brought into harbour to the camp all the vessels he could lay his hands on. If these were laden, they took out the freights and appointed guards to keep an eye on their preservation, whilst they used the ships themselves for transport service on the coast. While matters stood at this point, the Hellenes used to make forays with varying success; sometimes they captured prey and sometimes they failed. On one occasion Cleanetus led his own and another company against a strong position, and was killed himself, with many others of his party.
87 A native of the country parts of Laconia.
The time came when it was no longer possible to capture provisions, going and returning to the camp in one day. In consequence of this, Xenophon took some guides from the Trapezuntines and led half the army out against the Drilae, leaving the other half to guard the camp. That was necessary, since the Colchians, who had been ousted from their houses, were assembled thickly, and sat eyeing them from the heights above; on the other hand the Trapezuntines, being friendly to the native inhabitants, were not for leading the Hellenes to places where it was easy to capture provisions. But against the Drilae, from whom they personally suffered, they would lead them with enthusiasm, up into mountainous and scarcely accessible fortresses, and against the most warlike people of any in the Pontus.
But when the Hellenes had reached the uplands, the Drilae set fire to all their fastnesses which they thought could be taken easily, and beat a retreat; and except here and there a stray pig or bullock or other animal which had escaped the fire there was nothing to capture; but there was one fastness which served as their metropolis: into this the different streams of people collected; round it ran a tremendously deep ravine, and the approaches to the place were difficult. So the light infantry ran forward five or six furlongs in advance of the heavy infantry, and crossed the ravine; and seeing quantities of sheep and other things, proceeded to attack the place. Close at their heels followed a number of those who had set out on the foray armed with spears, so that the storming party across the ravine amounted to more than two thousand. But, finding that they could not take the place by a coup-demain, as there was a trench running round it, mounded up some breadth, with a stockade on the top of the earthwork and a close-packed row of wooden bastions, they made an attempt to run back, but the enemy fell upon them from the rear. To get away by a sudden rush was out of the question, since the descent from the fortress into the ravine only admitted of moving in single file. Under the circumstances they sent to Xenophon, who was in command of the heavy infantry. The messenger came and delivered his message: “There is a fastness choke full of all sorts of stores, but we cannot take it, it is too strong; nor can we easily get away; the enemy rush out and deliver battle, and the return is difficult.”
On hearing this, Xenophon pushed forward his heavy infantry to the edge of the ravine, and there ordered them to take up a position, while he himself with the officers crossed over to determine whether it were better to withdraw the party already across, or to bring over the heavy infantry also, on the supposition that the fortress might be taken. In favour of the latter opinion it was agreed that the retreat must cost many lives, and the officers were further disposed to think, they could take the place. Xenophon consented, relying on the victims, for the seers had announced, that there would be a battle, but that the result of the expedition would be good. So he sent the officers to bring the heavy troops across, while he himself remained, having drawn off all the light infantry and forbidden all sharp-shooting at long range. As soon as the heavy infantry had arrived, he ordered each captain to form his company, in whatever way he hoped to make it most effective in the coming struggle. Side by side together they stood, these captains, not for the first time today competitors for the award of manly virtue. While they were thus employed, he — the general — was engaged in passing down his order along the ranks of the light infantry and archers respectively to march with the javelin on its thong and the arrow to the string, ready at the word “shoot” to discharge their missiles, while the light troops were to have their wallets well stocked with slingstones; lastly, he despatched his adjutants to see to the proper carrying out of these orders.
And now the preparations were complete: the officers and lieutenants and all others claiming to be peers of these, were drawn up in their several places. With a glance each was able to command the rest in the crescent-like disposition which the ground invited. Presently the notes of the battle hymn arose, the clarion spoke, and with a thrilling cry in honour of the warrior-god, commenced a rush of the heavy infantry at full speed under cover of a storm of missiles, lances, arrows, bullets, but most of all stones hurled from the hand with ceaseless pelt, while there were some who brought firebrands to bear. Overwhelmed by this crowd of missiles, the enemy left their stockades and their bastion towers, which gave Agasias the Stymphalian and Philoxenus of Pellene a chance not to be missed; laying aside their heavy arms, up they went in bare tunics only, and one hauled another up, and meantime another had mounted, and the place was taken, as they thought. Then the peltasts and light troops rushed in and began snatching what each man could. Xenophon the while, posted at the gates, kept back as many of the hoplites as he could, for there were other enemies now visible on certain strong citadel heights; and after a lapse of no long time a shout arose within, and the men came running back, some still clutching what they had seized; and presently here and there a wounded man; and mighty was the jostling about the portals. To the questions which were put to them the outpouring fugitives repeated the same story: there was a citadel within and enemies in crowds were making savage sallies and beating the fellows inside.
At that Xenophon ordered Tolmides the herald to proclaim: “Enter all who are minded to capture aught.” In poured the surging multitude, and the counter-current of persons elbowing their passage in prevailed over the stream of those who issued forth, until they beat back and cooped up the enemy within the citadel again. So outside the citadel everything was sacked and pillaged by the Hellenes, and the heavy infantry took up their position, some about the stockades, others along the road leading up to the citadel. Xenophon and the officers meantime considered the possibility of taking the citadel, for if so, their safety was assured; but if otherwise, it would be very difficult to get away. As the result of their deliberations they agreed that the place was impregnable. Then they began making preparations for the retreat. Each set of men proceeded to pull down the palisading which faced themselves; further, they sent away all who were useless or who had enough to do to carry their burdens, with the mass of the heavy infantry accompanying them; the officers in each case leaving behind men whom they could severally depend on.
But as soon as they began to retreat, out rushed upon them from within a host of fellows, armed with wicker shields and lances, greaves and Paphlagonian helmets. Others might be seen scaling the houses on this side and that of the road leading into the citadel. Even pursuit in the direction of the citadel was dangerous, since the enemy kept hurling down on them great beams from above, so that to stop and to make off were alike dangerous, and night approaching was full of terrors. But in the midst of their fighting and their despair some god gave them a means of safety. All of a sudden, by whatsoever hand ignited, a flame shot up; it came from a house on the right hand, and as this gradually fell in, the people from the other houses on the right took to their heels and fled.
Xenophon, laying this lesson of fortune to heart, gave orders to set fire to the left-hand houses also, which being of wood burned quickly, with the result that the occupants of these also took to flight. The men immediately at their front were the sole annoyance now, and these were safe to fall upon them as they made their exit and in their descent. Here then the word was passed for all who were out of range to bring up logs of wood and pile them between themselves and the enemy, and when there was enough of these they set them on fire; they also fired the houses along the trench-work itself, so as to occupy the attention of the enemy. Thus they got off, though with difficulty, and escaped from the place by putting a fire between them and the enemy; and the whole city was burnt down, houses, turrets, stockading, and everything belonging to it except the citadel.
Next day the Hellenes were bent on getting back with the provisions; but as they dreaded the descent to Trapezus, which was precipitous and narrow, they laid a false ambuscade, and a Mysian, called after the name of his nation (Mysus)88, took ten of the Cretans and halted in some thick brushy ground, where he made a feint of endeavouring to escape the notice of the enemy. The glint of their light shields, which were of brass, now and again gleamed through the brushwood. The enemy, seeing it all through the thicket, were confirmed in their fears of an ambuscade. But the army meanwhile was quietly making its descent; and when it appeared that they had crept down far enough, the signal was given to the Mysian to flee as fast as he could, and he, springing up, fled with his men. The rest of the party, that is the Cretans, saying, “We are caught if we race,” left the road and plunged into a wood, and tumbling and rolling down the gullies were saved. The Mysian, fleeing along the road, kept crying for assistance, which they sent him, and picked him up wounded. The party of rescue now beat a retreat themselves with their face to the foe, exposed to a shower of missiles, to which some of the Cretan bowmen responded with their arrows. In this way they all reached the camp in safety.
88 Lit. “Musos (Mysus), a Mysian by birth, and Musos (Mysus) by name.”
Now when Cheirisophus did not arrive, and the supply of ships was insufficient, and to get provisions longer was impossible, they resolved to depart. On board the vessels they embarked the sick, and those above forty years of age, with the boys and women, and all the baggage which the solders were not absolutely forced to take for their own use. The two eldest generals, Philesius and Sophaenetus, were put in charge, and so the party embarked, while the rest resumed their march, for the road was now completely constructed. Continuing their march that day and the next, on the third they reached Cerasus, a Hellenic city on the sea, and a colony of Sinope, in the country of the Colchians. Here they halted ten days, and there was a review and numbering of the troops under arms, when there were found to be eight thousand six hundred men. So many had escaped; the rest had perished at the hands of the enemy, or by reason of the snow, or else disease.
At this time and place they divided the money accruing from the captives sold, and a tithe selected for Apollo and Artemis of the Ephesians was divided between the generals, each of whom took a portion to guard for the gods, Neon the Asinaean89 taking on behalf of Cheirisophus.
Out of the portion which fell to Xenophon he caused a dedicatory offering to Apollo to be made and dedicated among the treasures of the Athenians at Delphi90. It was inscribed with his own name and that of Proxenus, his friend, who was killed with Clearchus. The gift for Artemis of the Ephesians was, in the first instance, left behind by him in Asia at the time when he left that part of the world himself with Agesilaus on the march into Boeotia91. He left it behind in charge of Megabyzus, the sacristan of the goddess, thinking that the voyage on which he was starting was fraught with danger. In the event of his coming out of it alive, he charged Megabyzus to restore to him the deposit; but should any evil happen to him, then he was to cause to be made and to dedicate on his behalf to Artemis, whatsoever thing he thought would be pleasing to the goddess.
In the days of his banishment, when Xenophon was now established by the Lacedaemonians as a colonist in Scillus92, a place which lies on the main road to Olympia, Megabyzus arrived on his way to Olympia as a spectator to attend the games, and restored to him the deposit. Xenophon took the money and bought for the goddess a plot of ground at a point indicated to him by the oracle. The plot, it so happened, had its own Selinus river flowing through it, just as at Ephesus the river Selinus flows past the temple of Artemis, and in both streams fish and mussels are to be found. On the estate at Scillus there is hunting and shooting of all the beasts of the chase that are.
Here with the sacred money he built an altar and a temple, and ever after, year by year, tithed the fruits of the land in their season and did sacrifice to the goddess, while all the citizens and neighbours, men and women, shared in the festival. The goddess herself provided for the banqueters meat and loaves and wine and sweetmeats, with portions of the victims sacrificed from the sacred pasture, as also of those which were slain in the chase; for Xenophon’s own lads, with the lads of the other citizens, always made a hunting excursion against the festival day, in which any grown men who liked might join. The game was captured partly from the sacred district itself, partly from Pholoe93, pigs and gazelles and stags. The place lies on the direct road from Lacedaemon to Olympia, about twenty furlongs from the temple of Zeus in Olympia, and within the sacred enclosure there is meadow-land and wood-covered hills, suited to the breeding of pigs and goats and cattle and horses, so that even the sumpter animals of the pilgrims passing to the feast fare sumptuously. The shrine is girdled by a grove of cultivated trees, yielding dessert fruits in their season. The temple itself is a facsimile on a small scale of the great temple at Ephesus, and the image of the goddess is like the golden statue at Ephesus, save only that it is made, not of gold, but of cypress wood. Beside the temple stands a column bearing this inscription:—
THE PLACE IS SACRED TO ARTEMIS. HE WHO HOLDS IT AND ENJOYS THE FRUITS OF IT IS BOUND TO SACRIFICE YEARLY A TITHE OF THE PRODUCE. AND FROM THE RESIDUE THEREOF TO KEEP IN REPAIR THE SHRINE. IF ANY MAN FAIL IN AUGHT OF THIS THE GODDESS HERSELF WILL LOOK TO IT THAT THE MATTER SHALL NOT SLEEP.
89 I.e. of Asine, perhaps the place named in Thuc. iv. 13, 54; vi. situated on the western side of the Messenian bay. Strabo, however, speaks of another Asine near Gytheum, but possibly means Las. See Arnold’s note to Thuc. iv. 13, and Smith’s “Dict. Geog. (s.v.)”
90 Cf. Herod. i. 14; Strabo. ix. 420 for such private treasuries at Delphi.
91 I.e. in the year B.C. 394. The circumstances under which Agesilaus was recalled from Asia, with the details of his march and the battle of Coronea, are described by Xenophon in the fourth book of the “Hellenica.”
92 Scillus, a town of Triphylia, a district of Elis. In B.C. 572 the Eleians had razed Pisa and Scillus to the ground. But between B.C. 392 and 387 the Lacedaemonians, having previously (B.C. 400, “Hell.” III. ii. 30) compelled the Eleians to renounce their supremacy over their dependent cities, colonised Scillus and eventually gave it to Xenophon, then an exile from Athens. Xenophon resided here from fifteen to twenty years, but was, it is said, expelled from it by the Eleians soon after the battle of Leuctra, in B.C. 371. —“Dict. Geog. (s.v.)” The site of the place, and of Xenophon’s temple, is supposed to be in the neighbourhood of the modern village of Chrestena, or possibly nearer Mazi. To reach Olympia, about 2 1/2 miles distant, one must cross the Alpheus.
93 Pholoe. This mountain (north of the Alpheus) is an offshoot of Erymanthus, crossing the Pisatis from east to west, and separating the waters of the Peneus and the Ladon from those of the Alpheus —“Dict. Geog.” (Elis).
From Cerasus they continued the march, the same portion of the troops being conveyed by sea as before, and the rest marching by land. When they had reached the frontiers of the Mossynoecians94 they sent to him Timesitheus the Trapezuntine, who was the proxenos95 of the Mossynoecians, to inquire whether they were to pass through their territory as friends or foes. They, trusting in their strongholds, replied that they would not give them passage. It was then that Timesitheus informed them that the Mossynoecians on the farther side of the country were hostile to these members of the tribe; and it was resolved to invite the former to make an alliance, if they wished it. So Timesitheus was sent, and came back with their chiefs. On their arrival there was a conference of the Mossynoecian chiefs and the generals of the Hellenes, and Xenophon made a speech which Timesitheus interpreted. He said: “Men of the Mossynoecians, our desire is to reach Hellas in safety; and since we have no vessels we must needs go by foot, but these people who, as we hear, are your enemies, prevent us. Will you take us for your allies? Now is your chance to exact vengeance for any wrong, which they at any time may have put upon you, and for the future they will be your subjects; but if you send us about our business, consider and ask yourselves from what quarter will you ever again obtain so strong a force to help you?” To this the chief of the Mossynoecians made answer:— that the proposal was in accordance with their wishes and they welcomed the alliance. “Good,” said Xenophon, “but to what use do you propose to put us, if we become your allies? And what will you in turn be able to do to assist our passage?” They replied: “We can make an incursion into this country hostile to yourselves and us, from the opposite side, and also send you ships and men to this place, who will aid you in fighting and conduct you on the road.”
On this understanding, they exchanged pledges and were gone. The next day they returned, bringing three hundred canoes, each hollowed out of a single trunk. There were three men in each, two of whom disembarked and fell into rank, whilst the third remained. Then the one set took the boats and sailed back again, whilst the other two-thirds who remained marshalled themselves in the following way. They stood in rows of about a hundred each, like the rows of dancers in a chorus, standing vis-a-vis to one another, and all bearing wicker shields, made of white oxhide, shaggy, and shaped like an ivy leaf; in the right hand they brandished a javelin about six cubits long, with a lance in front, and rounded like a ball at the butt end of the shaft.
Their bodies were clad in short frocks, scarcely reaching to the knees and in texture closely resembling that of a linen bedclothes’ bag; on their heads they wore leathern helmets just like the Paphlagonian helmet, with a tuft of hair in the middle, as like a tiara in shape as possible. They carried moreover iron battle-axes. Then one of them gave, as it were, the key-note and started, while the rest, taking up the strain and the step, followed singing and marking time. Passing through the various corps and heavy armed battalions of the Hellenes, they marched straight against the enemy, to what appeared the most assailable of his fortresses. It was situated in front of the city, or mother city, as it is called, which latter contains the high citadel of the Mossynoecians. This citadel was the real bone of contention, the occupants at any time being acknowledged as the masters of all the other Mossynoecians. The present holders (so it was explained) had no right to its possession; for the sake of self-aggrandisement they had seized what was really common property.
Some of the Hellenes followed the attacking party, not under the orders of the generals, but for the sake of plunder. As they advanced, the enemy for a while kept quiet; but as they got near the place, they made a sortie and routed them, killing several of the barbarians as well as some of the Hellenes who had gone up with them; and so pursued them until they saw the Hellenes advancing to the rescue. Then they turned round and made off, first cutting off the heads of the dead men and flaunting them in the face of the Hellenes and of their own private foes, dancing the while and singing in a measured strain. But the Hellenes were much vexed to think that their foes had only been rendered bolder, while the Hellenes who had formed part of the expedition had turned tail and fled, in spite of their numbers; a thing which had not happened previously during the whole expedition. So Xenophon called a meeting of the Hellenes and spoke as follows: “Soldiers, do not in any wise be cast down by what has happened, be sure that good no less than evil will be the result; for to begin with, you now know certainly that those who are going to guide us are in very deed hostile to those with whom necessity drives us to quarrel; and, in the next place, some of our own body, these Hellenes who have made so light of orderly array and conjoint action with ourselves, as though they must needs achieve in the company of barbarians all they could with ourselves, have paid the penalty and been taught a lesson, so that another time they will be less prone to leave our ranks. But you must be prepared to show these friendly barbarians that you are of a better sort, and prove to the enemy that battle with the undisciplined is one thing, but with men like yourselves another.”
Accordingly they halted, as they were, that day. Next day they sacrificed and finding the victims favourable, they breakfasted, formed the companies into columns, and with their barbarians arranged in similar order on their left, began their march. Between the companies were the archers only slightly retired behind the front of the heavy infantry, on account of the enemy’s active light troops, who ran down and kept up volleys of stones. These were held in check by the archers and peltasts; and steadily step by step the mass marched on, first to the position from which the barbarians and those with them had been driven two days back, and where the enemy were now drawn up to meet them. Thus it came to pass that the barbarians first grappled with the peltasts and maintained the battle until the heavy infantry were close, when they turned and fled. The peltasts followed without delay, and pursued them right up to their city, while the heavy troops in unbroken order followed. As soon as they were up at the houses of the capital, there and then the enemy, collecting all together in one strong body, fought valiantly, and hurled their javelins, or else clenched their long stout spears, almost too heavy for a man to wield, and did their best to ward off the attack at close quarters.
But when the Hellenes, instead of giving way, kept massing together more thickly, the barbarians fled from this place also, and in a body deserted the fortress. Their king, who sat in his wooden tower or mossyn, built on the citadel (there he sits and there they maintain him, all at the common cost, and guard him narrowly), refused to come forth, as did also those in the fortress first taken, and so were burnt to a cinder where they were, their mossyns, themselves, and all. The Hellenes, pillaging and ransacking these places, discovered in the different houses treasures and magazines of loaves, pile upon pile, “the ancestral stores,” as the Mossynoecians told them; but the new corn was laid up apart with the straw-stalk and ear together, and this was for the most part spelt. Slices of dolphin were another discovery, in narrow-necked jars, all properly salted and pickled; and there was blubber of dolphin in vessels, which the Mossynoecians used precisely as the Hellenes use oil. Then there were large stores of nuts on the upper floor, the broad kind without a division96. This was also a chief article of food with them — boiled nuts and baked loaves. Wine was also discovered. This, from its rough, dry quality, tasted sharp when drunk pure, but mixed with water was sweet and fragrant.
The Hellenes breakfasted and then started forward on their march, having first delivered the stronghold to their allies among the Mossynoecians. As for the other strongholds belonging to tribes allied with their foes, which they passed en route, the most accessible were either deserted by their inhabitants or gave in their adhesion voluntarily. The following description will apply to the majority of them: the cities were on an average ten miles apart, some more, some less; but so elevated is the country and intersected by such deep clefts that if they chose to shout across to one another, their cries would be heard from one city to another. When, in the course of their march, they came upon a friendly population, these would entertain them with exhibitions of fatted children belonging to the wealthy classes, fed up on boiled chestnuts until they were as white as white can be, of skin plump and delicate, and very nearly as broad as they were long, with their backs variegated and their breasts tattooed with patterns of all sorts of flowers. They sought after the women in the Hellenic army, and would fain have laid with them openly in broad daylight, for that was their custom. The whole community, male and female alike, were fair-complexioned and white-skinned.
It was agreed that this was the most barbaric and outlandish people that they had passed through on the whole expedition, and the furthest removed from the Hellenic customs, doing in a crowd precisely what other people would prefer to do in solitude, and when alone behaving exactly as others would behave in company, talking to themselves and laughing at their own expense, standing still and then again capering about, wherever they might chance to be, without rhyme or reason, as if their sole business were to show off to the rest of the world.
Through this country, friendly or hostile as the chance might be, the Hellenes marched, eight stages in all, and reached the Chalybes. These were a people few in number, and subject to the Mossynoecians. Their livelihood was for the most part derived from mining and forging iron.
Thence they came to the Tibarenians. The country of the Tibarenians was far more level, and their fortresses lay on the seaboard and were less strong, whether by art or nature. The generals wanted to attack these places, so that the army might get some pickings, and they would not accept the gifts of hospitality which came in from the Tibarenians, but bidding them wait till they had taken counsel, they proceeded to offer sacrifice. After several abortive attempts, the seers at last pronounced an opinion that the gods in no wise countenanced war. Then they accepted the gifts of hospitality, and marching through what was now recognised as a friendly country, in two days reached Cotyora, a Hellenic city, and a colony of Sinope, albeit situated in the territory of the Tibarenians97.
Here they halted forty-five days, during which they first of all sacrificed to the gods, and instituted processions, each set of the Hellenes according to their several tribes, with gymnastic contests. Provisions they got in meanwhile, partly from Paphlagonia, partly from the estates of the Cotyorites, for the latter would neither provide them a market nor receive their sick within their walls.
Meanwhile ambassadors arrived from Sinope, full of fears, not only for the Cotyorites and their city, which belonged to Sinope, and brought in tribute, but also for the territory which, as they had heard, was being pillaged. Accordingly they came to the camp and made a speech. Hecatonymus, who was reported to be a clever orator, acted as their spokesman: “Soldiers,” he said, “the city of the Sinopeans has sent us to offer you, as Hellenes, our compliments and congratulations on your victories over the barbarians; and next, to express our joyful satisfaction that you have surmounted all those terrible sufferings of which we have heard, and have reached this place in safety. As Hellenes we claim to receive at your hands, as fellow-Hellenes, kindness and not harm. We have certainly not ourselves set you an example heretofore of evil treatment. Now the Cotyorites are our colonists. It was we who gave them this country to dwell in, having taken it from the barbarians; for which reason also they, with the men of Cerasus and Trapezus, pay us an appointed tribute. So that, whatever mischief you inflict on the men of Cotyora, the city of Sinope takes as personal to herself. At the present time we hear that you have made forcible entry into their city, some of you, and are quartered in the houses, besides taking forcibly from the Cotyorite estates whatever you need, by hook and by crook. Now against these things we enter protest. If you mean to go on so doing, you will drive us to make friends with Corylas and the Paphlagonians, or any one else we can find.”
To meet these charges Xenophon, on behalf of the soldiers, rose and said: “As to ourselves, men of Sinope, having got so far, we are well content to have saved our bodies and our arms. Indeed it was impossible at one and the same moment to keep our enemies at bay and to despoil them of their goods and chattels. And now, since we have reached Hellenic cities, how has it fared with us? At Trapezus they gave us a market, and we paid for our provisions at a fair market price. In return for the honour they did us, and the gifts of hospitality they gave the army, we requited them with honour. Where the barbarian was friendly to them, we stayed our hands from injury; or under their escort, we did damage to their enemies to the utmost of our power. Ask them, what sort of people they found us. They are here, some of them, to answer for themselves. Their fellow-citizens and the state of Trapezus, for friendship’s sake, have sent them with us to act as our guides.
“But wherever we come, be it foreign or Hellenic soil, and find no market for provisions, we are wont to help ourselves, not out of insolence but from necessity. There have been tribes like the Carduchians, the Taochians, the Chaldaeans, which, albeit they were not subject to the great king, yet were no less formidable than independent. These we had to bring over by our arms. The necessity of getting provisions forced us; since they refused to offer us a market. Whereas some other folk, like the Macrones, in spite of their being barbarians, we regarded as our friends, simply because they did provide us with the best market in their power, and we took no single thing of theirs by force. But, to come to these Cotyorites, whom you claim to be your people, if we have taken aught from them, they have themselves to blame, for they did not deal with us as friends, but shut their gates in our faces. They would neither welcome us within nor furnish us with a market without. The only justification they alleged was that your governor98 had authorised this conduct.
“As to your assertion,” he continued, turning to Hecatonymus, “that we have got in by force and have taken up quarters, this is what we did. We requested them to receive our sick and wounded under cover; and when they refused to open their gates, we walked in where the place itself invited us. All the violence we have committed amounts to this, that our sick folk are quartered under cover, paying for their expenses, and we keep a sentry at the gates, so that our sick and wounded may not lie at the mercy of your governor, but we may have it in our power to remove them whenever we like. The rest of us, you observe, are camping under the canopy of heaven, in regular rank and file, and we are ready to requite kindness with kindness, but to repel evil vigorously. And as for your threat,” he said, once again turning to the spokesman, “that you will, if it suits you, make alliance with Corylas and the Paphlagonians to attack us, for our part, we have no objection to fighting both sets of you, if so be we must; we have already fought others many times more numerous than you. Besides, ‘if it suits us,’ as you put it, to make the Paphlagonian our friend (report says that he has a hankering after your city and some other places on the seaboard), we can enhance the value of our friendship by helping to win for him what he covets.”
Thereupon the ambassadors showed very plainly their annoyance with Hecatonymus, on account of the style of his remarks, and one of them stept forward to explain that their intention in coming was not at all to raise a war, but on the contrary to demonstrate their friendliness. “And if you come to Sinope itself,” the speaker continued, “we will welcome you there with gifts of hospitality. Meanwhile we will enjoin upon the citizens of this place to give you what they can; for we can see that every word of what you say is true.” Thereupon the Cotyorites sent gifts of hospitality, and the generals of the Hellenes entertained the ambassadors of the Sinopeans. Many and friendly were the topics of conversation; freely flowed the talk on things in general; and, in particular, both parties were able to make inquiries and satisfy their curiosity concerning the remaining portion of the march.
97 The MSS. here read, “Up to this point the expedition was conducted on land, and the distance traversed on foot from the battle-field near Babylon down to Cotyora amounted to one hundred and twenty-two stages — that is to say, six hundred and twenty parasangs, or eighteen thousand stades, or if measured in time, an eight months’ march.” The words are probably the note of some editor or commentator, though it is quite likely that the author himself may have gone through such calculations and even have inserted them as a note to his text.
98 Lit. “harmost”. The term, denoting properly a governor of the islands and foreign cities sent out by the Lacedaemonians during their supremacy, came, it would seem, to be adopted by other Greek communities under somewhat similar circumstances. Cotyora receives a harmost from her mother-city, Sinope. For the Greek colonies here mentioned, see Kiepert’s “Man. Anct. Geog.” (Engl. tr., Mr. G. A. Macmillan), p. 63.
Such was the conclusion of that day. On the following day the generals summoned an assembly of the soldiers, when it was resolved to invite the men of Sinope, and to take advice with them touching the remainder of the journey. In the event of their having to continue it on foot, the Sinopeans through their acquaintance with Paphlagonia would be useful to them; while, if they had to go by sea, the services of the same people would be at a premium; for who but they could furnish ships sufficient for the army? Accordingly, they summoned their ambassadors, and took counsel with them, begging them, on the strength of the sacred ties which bind Hellenes to Hellenes, to inaugurate the good reception they had spoken of, by present kindliness and their best advice.
Hecatonymus rose and wished at once to offer an apology with regard to what he had said about the possibility of making friends with the Paphlagonians. “The words were not intended,” he said, “to convey a threat, as though they were minded to go to war with the Hellenes, but as meaning rather: albeit we have it in our power to be friendly with the barbarians, we will choose the Hellenes.” Then, being urged to aid them by some advice, with a pious ejaculation, he commenced: “If I bestow upon you the best counsel I am able, God grant that blessings in abundance may descend on me; but if the contrary, may evil betide me! ‘Sacred counsel99,’ as the saying goes — well, sirs, if ever the saying held, it should hold I think today; when, if I be proved to have given you good counsel, I shall not lack panegyrists, or if evil, your imprecations will be many-tongued.
“As to trouble, I am quite aware, we shall have much more trouble if you are conveyed by sea, for we must provide the vessels; whereas, if you go by land, all the fighting will evolve on you. Still, let come what may, it behoves me to state my views. I have an intimate acquaintance with the country of the Paphlagonians and their power. The country possesses the two features of hill and vale, that is to say, the fairest plains and the highest mountains. To begin with the mountains, I know the exact point at which you must make your entry. It is precisely where the horns of a mountain tower over both sides of the road. Let the merest handful of men occupy these and they can hold the pass with ease; for when that is done not all the enemies in the world could effect a passage. I could point out the whole with my finger, if you like to send any one with me to the scene.
“So much for the mountain barrier. But the next thing I know is that there are plains and a cavalry which the barbarians themselves hold to be superior to the entire cavalry of the great king. Why, only the other day these people refused to present themselves to the summons of the king; their chief is too proud for that.
“But now, supposing you were able to seize the mountain barrier, by stealth, or expedition, before the enemy could stop you; supposing further, you were able to win an engagement in the plain against not only their cavalry but their more than one hundred and twenty thousand infantry — you will only find yourself face to face with rivers, a series of them. First the Thermodon, three hundred feet broad, which I take it will be difficult to pass, especially with a host of foes in front and another following behind. Next comes the Iris river, three hundred feet broad; and thirdly, the Halys, at least two furlongs broad, which you could not possibly cross without vessels, and who is going to supply you with vessels? In the same way too the Parthenius is impassable, which you will reach if you cross the Halys. For my part, then, I consider the land-journey, I will not say difficult, but absolutely impossible for you. Whereas if you go by sea, you can coast along from here to Sinope, and from Sinope to Heraclea. From Heraclea onwards there is no difficulty, whether by land or by sea; for there are plenty of vessels at Heraclea.”
After he had finished his remarks, some of his hearers thought they detected a certain bias in them. He would not have spoken so, but for his friendship with Corylas, whose official representative he was. Others guessed he had an itching palm, and that he was hoping to receive a present for his “sacred advice.” Others again suspected that his object was to prevent their going by foot and doing some mischief to the country of the Sinopeans. However that might be, the Hellenes voted in favour of continuing the journey by sea. After this Xenophon said: “Sinopeans, the army has chosen that method of procedure which you advise, and thus the matter stands. If there are sure to be vessels enough to make it impossible for a single man to be left behind, go by sea we will; but if part of us are to be left while part go by sea, we will not set foot on board the vessels. One fact we plainly recognise, strength is everything to us. So long as we have the mastery, we shall be able to protect ourselves and get provisions; but if we are once caught at the mercy of our foes, it is plain, we shall be reduced to slavery.” On hearing this the ambassadors bade them send an embassy, which they did, to wit, Callimachus the Arcadian, and Ariston the Athenian, and Samolas the Achaean.
So these set off, but meanwhile a thought shaped itself in the mind of Xenophon, as there before his eyes lay that vast army of Hellene hoplites, and that other array of peltasts, archers, and slingers, with cavalry to boot, and all in a state of thorough efficiency from long practice, hardened veterans, and all collected in Pontus, where to raise so large a force would cost a mint of money. Then the idea dawned upon him: how noble an opportunity to acquire new territory and power for Hellas, by the founding of a colony — a city of no mean size, moreover, said he to himself, as he reckoned up their own numbers — and besides themselves a population planted on the shores of Pontus. Thereupon he summoned Silanus the Ambraciot, the soothsayer of Cyrus above mentioned, and before breathing a syllable to any of the soldiers, he consulted the victims by sacrifice.
But Silanus, in apprehension lest these ideas might embody themselves, and the army be permanently halted at some point or other, set a tale going among the men, to the effect that Xenophon was minded to detain the army and found a city in order to win himself a name and acquire power, Silanus himself being minded to reach Hellas with all possible speed, for the simple reason that he had still got the three thousand darics presented to him by Cyrus on the occasion of the sacrifice when he hit the truth so happily about the ten days. Silanus’s story was variously received, some few of the soldiers thinking it would be an excellent thing to stay in that country; but the majority were strongly averse. The next incident was that Timasion the Dardanian, with Thorax the Boeotian, addressed themselves to some Heracleot and Sinopean traders who had come to Cotyora, and told them that if they did not find means to furnish the army with pay sufficient to keep them in provisions on the homeward voyage, all that great force would most likely settle down permanently in Pontus. “Xenophon has a pet idea,” they continued, “which he urges upon us. We are to wait until the ships come, and then we are suddenly to turn round to the army and say: ‘Soldiers, we now see the straits we are in, unable to keep ourselves in provisions on the return voyage, or to make our friends at home a little present at the end of our journey. But if you like to select some place on the inhabited seaboard of the Black Sea which may take your fancy and there put in, this is open to you to do. Those who like to go home, go; those who care to stay here, stay. You have got vessels now, so that you can make a sudden pounce upon any point you choose.’”
The merchants went off with this tale and reported it to every city they came to in turn, nor did they go alone, but Timasion the Dardanian sent a fellow-citizen of his own, Eurymachus, with the Boeotian Thorax, to repeat the same story. So when it reached the ears of the men of Sinope and the Heracleots, they sent to Timasion and pressed him to accept of a gratuity, in return for which he was to arrange for the departure of the troops. Timasion was only too glad to hear this, and he took the opportunity when the soldiers were convened in meeting to make the following remarks: “Soldiers,” he said, “do not set your thoughts on staying here; let Hellas, and Hellas only, be the object of your affection, for I am told that certain persons have been sacrificing on this very question, without saying a word to you. Now I can promise you, if you once leave these waters, to furnish you with regular monthly pay, dating from the first of the month, at the rate of one cyzicene100 a head per month. I will bring you to the Troad, from which part I am an exile, and my own state is at your service. They will receive me with open arms. I will be your guide personally, and I will take you to places where you will get plenty of money. I know every corner of the Aeolid, and Phrygia, and the Troad, and indeed the whole satrapy of Pharnabazus, partly because it is my birthplace, partly from campaigns in that region with Clearchus and Dercylidas101.”
No sooner had he ceased than up got Thorax the Boeotian. This was a man who had a standing battle with Xenophon about the generalship of the army. What he said was that, if they once got fairly out of the Euxine, there was the Chersonese, a beautiful and prosperous country, where they could settle or not, as they chose. Those who liked could stay; and those who liked could return to their homes; how ridiculous then, when there was so much territory in Hellas and to spare, to be poking about102 in the land of the barbarian. “But until you find yourselves there,” he added, “I, no less than Timasion, can guarantee you regular pay.” This he said, knowing what promises had been made Timasion by the men of Heraclea and Sinope to induce them to set sail.
Meanwhile Xenophon held his peace. Then up got Philesius and Lycon, two Achaeans: “It was monstrous,” they said, “that Xenophon should be privately persuading people to stop there, and consulting the victims for that end, without letting the army into the secret, or breathing a syllable in public about the matter.” When it came to this, Xenophon was forced to get up, and speak as follows: “Sirs, you are well aware that my habit is to sacrifice at all times; whether in your own behalf or my own, I strive in every thought, word, and deed to be directed as is best for yourselves and for me. And in the present instance my sole object was to learn whether it were better even so much as to broach the subject, and so take action, or to have absolutely nothing to do with the project. Now Silanus the soothsayer assured me by his answer of what was the main point: ‘the victims were favourable.’ No doubt Silanus knew that I was not unversed myself in his lore, as I have so often assisted at the sacrifice; but he added that there were symptoms in the victims of some guile or conspiracy against me. That was a happy discovery on his part, seeing that he was himself conspiring at the moment to traduce me before you; since it was he who set the tale going that I had actually made up my mind to carry out these projects without procuring your consent. Now, for my part, if I saw that you were in any difficulties, I should set myself to discover how you might capture a city, on the understanding of course that all who wished might sail away at once, leaving those who did not wish, to follow at a later date, with something perhaps in their pockets to benefit their friends at home. Now, however, as I see that the men of Heraclea and Sinope are to send you ships to assist you to sail away, and more than one person guarantees to give you regular monthly pay, it is, I admit, a rare chance to be safely piloted to the haven of our hopes, and at the same time to receive pay for our preservation. For myself I have done with that dream, and to those, who came to me to urge these projects, my advice is to have done with them. In fact, this is my view. As long as you stay together united as today, you will command respect and procure provisions; for might certainly exercises a right over what belongs to the weaker. But once broken up, with your force split into bits, you will neither be able to get subsistence, nor indeed will you get off without paying dearly for it. In fact, my resolution coincides precisely with yours. It is that we should set off for Hellas, and if any one stops behind, or is caught deserting before the whole army is in safety, let him be judged as an evil-doer. Pray let all who are in favour of this proposition hold up their hands.”
They all held them up; only Silanus began shouting and vainly striving to maintain the right of departure for all who liked to depart. But the soldiers would not suffer him, threatening him that if he were himself caught attempting to run away they would inflict the aforesaid penalty. After this, when the Heracleots learned that the departure by sea was resolved upon, and that the measure itself emanated from Xenophon, they sent the vessels indeed; but as to the money which they had promised to Timasion and Thorax as pay for the soldiers, they were not as good as their word, in fact they cheated them both. Thus the two who had guaranteed regular monthly pay were utterly confounded, and stood in terror of the soldiers. What they did then, was to take to them the other generals to whom they had communicated their former transactions (that is to say, all except Neon the Asniaean, who, as lieutenant-general, was acting for Cheirisophus during his continued absence). This done they came in a body to Xenophon and said that their views were changed. As they had now got the ships, they thought it best to sail to the Phasis, and seize the territory of the Phasians (whose present king was a descendant of Aeetes103). Xenophon’s reply was curt:— Not one syllable would he have to say himself to the army in this matter, “But,” he added, “if you like, you can summon an assembly and have your say.” Thereupon Timasion the Dardanian set forth as his opinion:— It were best to hold no parliament at present, but first to go and conciliate, each of them, his own officers. Thus they went away and proceeded to execute their plans.
99 Cf. Plato, “Theages,” 122.
100 A cyzicene stater = twenty-eight silver drachmae of Attic money B.C. 335, in the time of Demosthenes; but, like the daric, this gold coin would fluctuate in value relatively to silver. It contained more grains of gold than the daric.
101 Of Dercylidas we hear more in the “Hellenica.” In B.C. 411 he was harmost at Abydos; in B.C. 399 he superseded Thimbron in Asia Minor; and was himself superseded by Agesilaus in B.C. 396.
102 The word masteuein occurs above, and again below, and in other writings of our author. It is probably Ionic or old Attic, and occurs in poetry.
103 Aeetes is the patronym of the kings of Colchis from mythical times onwards; e.g. Medea was the daughter of Aeetes.
Presently the soldiers came to learn what was in course of agitation, and Neon gave out that Xenophon had persuaded the other generals to adopt his views, and had a plan to cheat the soldiers and take them back to the Phasis. The soldiers were highly indignant; meetings were held; little groups gathered ominously; and there seemed an alarming probability that they would repeat the violence with which they had lately treated the heralds of the Colchians and the clerks of the market; when all who did not save themselves by jumping into the sea were stoned to death. So Xenophon, seeing what a storm was brewing, resolved to anticipate matters so far as to summon a meeting of the men without delay, and thus prevent their collecting of their own accord, and he ordered the herald to announce an assembly. The voice of the herald was no sooner heard than they rushed with great readiness to the place of meeting. Then Xenophon, without accusing the generals of having come to him, made the following speech: “I hear that a charge is brought against me. It is I apparently who am going to cheat you and carry you off to Phasis. I beg you by all that is holy to listen to me; and if there be found any guilt in me, let me not leave this place till I have paid the penalty of my misdoing; but if my accusers are found guilty, treat them as they deserve. I presume, sirs, you know where the sun rises and where he sets, and that he who would go to Hellas must needs journey towards the sunset; whereas he who seeks the land of the barbarian must contrariwise fix his face towards the dawn. Now is that a point in which a man might hope to cheat you? Could any one make you believe that the sun rises here and sets there, or that he sets here and rises there? And doubtless you know this too, that it is Boreas, the north wind, who bears the mariner out of Pontus towards Hellas, and the south wind inwards towards the Phasis, whence the saying —
“‘When the North wind doth blow
Home to Hellas we will go104.’
“He would be a clever fellow who could befool you into embarking with a south wind blowing. That sounds all very well, you think, only I may get you on board during a calm. Granted, but I shall be on board my one ship, and you on board another hundred at least, and how am I to constrain you to voyage with me against your will, or by what cajolery shall I carry you off? But I will imagine you so far befooled and bewitched by me, that I have got you to the Phasis; we proceed to disembark on dry land. At last it will come out, that wherever you are, you are not in Hellas, and the inventor of the trick will be one sole man, and you who have been caught by it will number something like ten thousand with swords in your hands. I do not know how a man could better ensure his own punishment than by embarking on such a policy with regards to himself and you.
“Nay, these tales are the invention of silly fellows who are jealous of the honour you bestow on me. A most uncalled-for jealousy! Do I hinder any of them from speaking any word of import in his power? of striking a blow in your behalf and his own, if that is his choice? or, finally, of keeping his eyes and ears open to secure your safety? What is it? In your choice of leaders do I stand in the way of any one, is that it? Let him step forward, I yield him place; he shall be your general; only he must prove that he has your good at heart.
“For myself, I have done; but for yourselves, if any of you conceive either that he himself could be the victim of a fraud, or that he could victimise any one else in such a thing as this, let him open his lips and explain to us how. Take your time, but when you have sifted the matter to your hearts’ content, do not go away without suffering me to tell you of something which I see looming. If it should burst upon us and prove in fact anything like what it gives signs of being now, it is time for us to take counsel for ourselves and see that we do not prove ourselves to be the worst and basest of men in the sight of gods and men, be they friends or be they foes.” The words moved the curiosity of the soldiers. They marvelled what this matter might be, and bade him explain. Thereupon he began again: “You will not have forgotten certain places in the hills — barbaric fastnesses, but friendly to the Cerasuntines — from which people used to come down and sell us large cattle and other things which they possessed, and if I mistake not, some of you went to the nearest of these places and made purchases in the market and came back again. Clearetus the captain learnt of this place, that it was but a little one and unguarded. Why should it be guarded since it was friendly? so the folk thought. Thus he stole upon it in the dead of night, and meant to sack it without saying a word to any of us. His design was, if he took the place, not to return again to the army, but to mount a vessel which, with his messmates on board her, was sailing past at the time, and stowing away what he had seized, to set sail and begone beyond the Euxine. All this had been agreed upon and arranged with his comrades on board the vessel, as I now discover. Accordingly, he summoned to his side all whom he could persuade, and set off at their head against the little place. But dawn overtook him on his march. The men collected out of their strongholds, and whether from a distance or close quarters, made such a fight that they killed Clearetus and a good many of the rest, and only a few of them got safe back to Cerasus.
“These things took place on the day on which we started to come hither on foot; while some of those who were to go by sea were still at Cerasus, not having as yet weighed anchor. After this, according to what the Cerasuntines state, there arrived three inhabitants of the place which had been attacked; three elderly men, seeking an interview with our public assembly. Not finding us, they addressed themselves to the men of Cerasus, and told them, they were astonished that we should have thought it right to attack them; however, when, as the Cerasuntines assert, they had assured them that the occurrence was not authorised by public consent, they were pleased, and proposed to sail here, not only to state to us what had occurred, but to offer that those who were interested should take up and bury the bodies of the slain.
“But among the Hellenes still at Cerasus were some of those who had escaped. They found out in which direction the barbarians were minded to go, and not only had the face themselves to pelt them with stones, but vociferously encouraged their neighbours to do the same. The three men — ambassadors, mark you — were slain, stoned to death. After this occurrence, the men of Cerasus came to us and reported the affair, and we generals, on being informed, were annoyed at what had taken place, and took counsel with the Cerasuntines how the dead bodies of the Hellenes might be buried. While seated in conclave outside the camp, we suddenly were aware of a great hubbub. We heard cries: ‘Cut them down!’ ‘Shoot them!’ ‘Stone them!’ and presently we caught sight of a mass of people racing towards us with stones in their hands, and others picking them up. The Cerasuntines, naturally enough, considering the incident they had lately witnessed, retired in terror to their vessels, and, upon my word, some of us did not feel too comfortable. All I could do was to go to them and inquire what it all meant. Some of them had not the slightest notion, although they had stones in their hands, but chancing on some one who was better informed, I was told by him that ‘the clerks of the market were treating the army most scandalously.’ Just then some one got sight of the market clerk, Zelarchus, making his way off towards the sea, and lifted up his voice aloud, and the rest responding to the cry as if a wild boar or a stag had been started, they rushed upon him.
“The Cerasuntines, seeing a rush in their direction, thought that, without a doubt, it was directed against themselves, and fled with all speed and threw themselves into the sea, in which proceeding they were imitated by some few of our own men, and all who did not know how to swim were drowned. But now, what do you think of their case, these men of Cerasus? They had done no wrong. They were simply afraid that some madness had seized us, like that to which dogs are liable.
“I say then, if proceedings like this are to be the order of the day, you had better consider what the ultimate condition of the army is like to be. As a body you will not have it in your power to undertake war against whom you like, or to conclude peace. But in private any one who chooses will conduct the army on any quest which takes his fancy. And when ambassadors come to you to demand peace, or whatever it may be, officious people will put them to death and prevent your hearing the proposals which brought them to you. The next step will be that those whom you as a body may choose as generals will be of no account; but any one who likes to elect himself general, and will adopt the formula ‘Shoot him! shoot him!’ will be competent to cut down whomsoever he pleases untried, be it general or private soldier, if only he have sufficient followers, as was the case just now. But just consider what these self-appointed generals have achieved for you. Zelarchus, the clerk of the market, may possibly have done you a wrong; if so, he has sailed off and is gone without paying you any penalty; or he may be guiltless, in which case we have driven him from the army in terror of perishing unjustly without a trial. While those who stoned the ambassadors have contrived so cleverly that we alone of all Hellenes cannot approach Cerasus safely without a strong force, and the corpses which the very men who slew them themselves invited us to bury, we cannot now pick up with safety even under a flag of truce. Who indeed would care to carry a flag of truce, or go as a herald with the blood of heralds upon his hands? All we could do was to implore the Cerasuntines to bury them.
“If then you approve of such doings, have a resolution passed to that effect, so that, with a prospect of like occurrences in the future, a man may privately set up a guard and do his best to fix his tent where he can find a strong position with a commanding site. If, however, these seem to you to be the deeds rather of wild beasts than of human beings, bethink you of some means by which to stay them; or else, in heaven’s name, how shall we do sacrifice to the gods gladly, with impious deeds to answer for? or how shall we, who lay the knife to each other’s throats, give battle to our enemies? What friendly city will receive us when they see rampant lawlessness in our midst? Who will have the courage to afford us a market, when we prove our worthlessness in these weightiest concerns? and what becomes of the praise we expect to win from the mouths of men? who will vouchsafe it to us, if this is our behaviour? Should we not ourselves bestow the worst of names on the perpetrators of like deeds?”
After this they rose, and, as one man, proposed that the ringleaders in these matters should be punished; and that for the future, to set an example of lawlessness should be forbidden. Every such ringleader was to be prosecuted on the capital charge; the generals were to bring all offenders to the bar of justice; prosecutions for all other misdemeanours committed since the death of Cyrus were to be instituted; and they ended by constituting the officers into a board of dicasts105; and upon the strong representation of Xenophon, with the concurrence of the soothsayers, it was resolved to purify the army, and this purification was made.
It was further resolved that the generals themselves should undergo a judicial examination in reference to their conduct in past time. In course of investigation, Philesius and Xanthicles respectively were condemned to pay a sum of twenty minae, to meet a deficiency to that amount incurred during the guardianship of the cargoes of the merchantmen. Sophaenetus was fined ten minae for inadequate performance of his duty as one of the chief officers selected. Against Xenophon a charge was brought by certain people, who asserted that they had been beaten by him, and framed the indictment as one of personal outrage with violence106. Xenophon got up and demanded that the first speaker should state “where and when it was he had received these blows.” The other, so challenged, answered, “When we were perishing of cold and there was a great depth of snow.” Xenophon said: “Upon my word, with weather such as you describe, when our provisions had run out, when the wine could not even be smelt, when numbers were dropping down dead beat, so acute was the suffering, with the enemy close on our heels; certainly, if at such a season as that I was guilty of outrage, I plead guilty to being a more outrageous brute than the ass, which is too wanton, they say, to feel fatigue. Still, I wish you would tell us,” said he, “what led to my striking you. Did I ask you for something and, on your refusing it to me, did I proceed to beat you? Was it a debt, for which I demanded payment? or a quarrel about some boy or other? Was I the worse for liquor, and behaving like a drunkard?” When the man met each of these questions with a negative, he questioned him further: “Are you a heavy infantry soldier?” “No,” said he. “A peltast, then?” “No, nor yet a peltast”; but he had been ordered by his messmates to drive a mule, although he was a free man. Then at last he recognised him, and inquired: “Are you the fellow who carried home the sick man?” “Yes, I am,” said he, “thanks to your driving; and you made havoc of my messmates’ kit.” “Havoc!” said Xenophon: “Nay, I distributed it; some to one man, some to another to carry, and bade them bring the things safely to me; and when I got them back I delivered them all safely to you, and you, on your side, had rendered an account to me of the man. Let me tell you,” he continued, turning to the court, “what the circumstances were; it is worth hearing:—
“A man was left behind from inability to proceed farther; I recognised the poor fellow sufficiently to see that he was one of ours, and I forced you, sir, to carry him to save his life. For if I am not much mistaken, the enemy were close at our heels?” The fellow assented to this. “Well then,” said Xenophon, “after I had sent you forward, I overtook you again, as I came up with the rearguard; you were digging a trench with intent to bury the man; I pulled up and said something in commendation; as we stood by the poor fellow twitched his leg, and the bystanders all cried out, ‘Why, the man’s alive!’ Your remark was: ‘Alive or not as he likes, I am not going to carry him’ Then I struck you. Yes! you are right, for it looked very much as if you knew him to be alive.” “Well,” said he, “was he any the less dead when I reported him to you?” “Nay,” retorted Xenophon, “by the same token we shall all one day be dead, but that is no reason why meantime we should all be buried alive?” Then there was a general shout: “If Xenophon had given the fellow a few more blows, it might have been better.” The others were now called upon to state the grounds on which they had been beaten in each case; but when they refused to get up, he proceeded to state them himself.
“I confess, sirs, to having struck certain men for failure in discipline. These were men who were quite content to owe their safety to us. Whilst the rest of the world marched on in rank and did whatever fighting had to be done, they preferred to leave the ranks, and rush forward to loot and enrich themselves at our expense. Now, if this conduct were to be the rule, general ruin would be the result. I do not deny that I have given blows to this man or the other who played the poltroon and refused to get up, helplessly abandoning himself to the enemy; and so I forced them to march on. For once in the severe wintry weather I myself happened to sit down for a long time, whilst waiting for a party who were getting their kit together, and I discovered how difficult it was to get up again and stretch one’s legs. After this personal experience, whenever I saw any one else seated in slack and lazy mood, I tried to spur him on. The mere movement and effort to play the man caused warmth and moisture, whereas it was plain that sitting down and keeping quiet helped the blood to freeze and the toes to mortify, calamities which really befell several of the men, as you yourselves are aware.
“I can imagine a third case, that of some straggler stopping behind, merely to rest for rest’s sake, and hindering you in front and us behind alike from pressing on the march. If he got a blow with the fist from me it saved him a thrust with the lance from the enemy. In fact, the opportunity they enjoy today of taking vengeance on me for any treatment which I put upon them wrongfully, is derived from their salvation then; whereas, if they had fallen into the enemy’s hands, let them ask themselves for what outrage, however great, they could expect to get satisfaction now. My defence,” he continued, “is simple: if I chastised any one for his own good, I claim to suffer the same penalties as parents pay their children or masters their boys. Does not the surgeon also cauterise and cut us for our good? But if you really believe that these acts are the outcome of wanton insolence, I beg you to observe that although today, thank God! I am heartier than formerly, I wear a bolder front now than then, and I drink more wine, yet I never strike a soul; no, for I see that you have reached smooth water. When storm arises, and a great sea strikes the vessel amidships, a mere shake of the head will make the look-out man furious with the crew in the forecastle, or the helmsman with the men in the stern sheets, for at such a crisis even a slight slip may ruin everything. But I appeal to your own verdict, already recorded, in proof that I was justified in striking these men. You stood by, sirs, with swords, not voting tablets, in your hands, and it was in your power to aid the fellows if you liked; but, to speak the honest truth, you neither aided them nor did you join me in striking the disorderly. In other words, you enabled any evilly-disposed person among them to give rein to his wantonness by your passivity. For if you will be at pains to investigate, you will find that those who were then most cowardly are the ringleaders today in brutality and outrage.
“There is Boiscus the boxer, a Thessalian, what a battle he fought then to escape carrying his shield! so tired was he, and today I am told he has stripped several citizens of Cotyora of the clothes on their backs. If then you are wise, you will treat this personage in a way the contrary to that in which men treat dogs. A savage dog is tied up on the day and loosed at night, but if you are wise you will tie this fellow up at night and only let him loose in the day.
“But really,” he added, “it does surprise me with what keenness you remember and recount the times when I incurred the hatred of some one; but some other occasions when I eased the burden of winter and storm for any of you, or beat off an enemy, or helped to minister to you in sickness and want, not a soul of you remembers these. Or when for any noble deed done by any of you I praised the doer, and according to my ability did honour to this brave man or that; these things have slipped from your memories, and are clean forgotten. Yet it were surely more noble, just, and holy, sweeter and kindlier to treasure the memory of good rather than of evil.”
He ended, and then one after another of the assembly got up and began recalling incidents of the kind suggested, and things ended not so unpleasantly after all.
106 See the “Dict. of Antiq.” 622 a. HYBREOS GRAPHE. In the case of common assaults as opposed to indecent assault, the prosecution seems to have been allowable only when the object of a wanton attack was a free person. Cf. Arist. “Rhet.” ii. 24.
Last updated Sunday, March 27, 2016 at 12:02