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Anabasis by Xenophon

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been exchanged between us, and right hands shaken, in token that we
will abstain from mutual injury; but I can see that you watch us
narrowly, as if we were foes; and we, seeing this, watch you narrowly
in return. But as I fail to discover, after investigation, that you
are endeavouring to do us a mischief--and I am quite sure that nothing
of the sort has ever entered our heads with regard to you--the best
plan seemed to me to come and talk the matter over with you, so that,
if possible, we might dispel the mutual distrust on either side. For I
have known people ere now, the victims in some cases of calumny, or
possibly of mere suspicion, who in apprehension of one another and
eager to deal the first blow, have committed irreparable wrong against
those who neither intended nor so much as harboured a thought of
mischief against them. I have come to you under a conviction that such 6
misunderstandings may best be put a stop to by personal intercourse,
and I wish to instruct you plainly that you are wrong in mistrusting
us. The first and weightiest reason is that the oaths, which we took
in the sight of heaven, are a barrier to mutual hostility. I envy not
the man whose conscience tells him that he has disregarded these! For
in a war with heaven, by what swiftness of foot can a man escape?--in
what quarter find refuge?--in what darkness slink away and be hid?--to
what strong fortress scale and be out of reach? Are not all things in
all ways subject to the gods? is not their lordship over all alike
outspread? As touching the gods, therefore, and our oaths, that is how
I view this matter. To their safe keeping we consigned the friendship
which we solemnly contracted. But turning to matters human, you I look
upon as our greatest blessing in this present time. With you every
path is plain to us, every river passable, and of provisions we shall
know no stint. But without you, all our way is through darkness; for
we known nothing concerning it, every river will be an obstacle, each
multitude a terror; but, worst terror of all, the vast wilderness, so
full of endless perplexity. Nay, if in a fit of madness we murdered
you, what then? in slaying our benefactor should we not have
challenged to enter the lists against us a more formidable antagonist
in the king himself? Let me tell you, how many high hopes I should rob
myself of, were I to take in hand to do you mischief.

[1] The Greater Zab, which flows into the Tigris near a town now
called Senn, with which most travellers identify Caenae.

"I coveted the friendship of Cyrus; I believed him to be abler than
any man of his day to benefit those whom he chose; but to-day I look
and, behold, it is you who are in his place; the power which belonged 11
to Cyrus and his territory are yours now. You have them, and your own
satrapy besides, safe and sound; while the king's power, which was a
thorn in the side of Cyrus, is your support. This being so, it would
be madness not to wish to be your friend. But I will go further and
state to you the reasons of my confidence, that you on your side will
desire our friendship. I know that the Mysians are a cause of trouble
to you, and I flatter myself that with my present force I could render
them humbly obedient to you. This applies to the Pisidians also; and I
am told there are many other such tribes besides. I think I can deal
with them all; they shall cease from being a constant distubance to
your peace and prosperity. Then there are the Egyptians[2]. I know
your anger against them to-day is very great. Nor can I see what
better force you will find to help you in chastising them than this
which marches at my back to-day. Again, if you seek the friendship of
any of your neighbours round, there shall be no friend so great as
you; if any one annoys you, with us as your faithful servitors you
shall belord it over him; and such service we will render you, not as
hirelings merely for pay's sake, but for the gratitude which we shall
rightly feel to you, to whom we owe our lives. As I dwell on these
matters, I confess, the idea of your feeling mistrust of us is so
astonishing, that I would give much to discover the name of the man,
who is so clever of speech that he can persuade you that we harbour
designs against you." Clearchus ended, and Tissaphernes responded

[2] We learn from Diodorus Siculus, xiv. 35, that the Egyptians had
revolted from the Persians towards the end of the reign of Darius.

"I am glad, Clearchus, to listen to your sensible remarks; for with
the sentiments you hold, if you were to devise any mischief against
me, it could only be out of malevolence to yourself. But if you
imagine that you, on your side, have any better reason to mistrust the
king and me, than we you, listen to me in turn, and I will undeceive
you. I ask you, does it seem to you that we lack the means, if we had
the will, to destroy you? have we not horsemen enough, or infantry, or
whatever other arm you like, whereby we may be able to injure you,
without risk of suffering in return? or, possibly, do we seem to you 17
to lack the physical surroundings suitable for attacking you? Do you
not see all these great plains, which you find it hard enough to
traverse even when they are friendly? and all yonder great mountain
chains left for you to cross, which we can at any time occupy in
advance and render impassable? and all those rivers, on whose banks we
can deal craftily by you, checking and controlling and choosing the
right number of you whom we care to fight! Nay, there are some which
you will not be able to cross at all, unless we transport you to the
other side.

"And if at all these points we were worsted, yet 'fire,' as they say,
'is stronger than the fruit of the field': we can burn it down and
call up famine in arms against you; against which you, for all your
bravery, will never be able to contend. Why then, with all these
avenues of attack, this machinery of war, open to us, not one of which
can be turned against ourselves, why should we select from among them
all that method, which alone in the sight of God is impious and of man
abominable? Surely it belongs to people altogether without resources,
who are helplessly struggling in the toils of fate, and are villains
to boot, to seek accomplishment of their desires by perjury to heaven
and faithlessness to their fellows. We are not so unreasoning,
Clearchus, nor so foolish.

"Why, when we had it in our power to destroy you, did we not proceed
to do it? Know well that the cause of this was nothing less than my
passion to prove myself faithful to the Hellenes, and that, as Cyrus
went up, relying on a foreign force attracted by payment, I in turn
might go down strong in the same through service rendered. Various
ways in which you Hellenes may be useful to me you yourself have
mentioned, but there is one still greater. It is the great king's
privilege alone to wear the tiara upright upon his head, yet in your
presence it may be given to another mortal to wear it upright, here,
upon his heart."

Throughout this speech he seemed to Clearchus to be speaking the
truth, and he rejoined: "Then are not those worthy of the worst 24
penalties who, in spite of all that exists to cement our friendship,
endeavour by slander to make us enemies?" "Even so," replied
Tissaphernes, "and if your generals and captains care to come in some
open and public way, I will name to you those who tell me that you are
plotting against me and the army under me." "Good," replied Clearchus.
"I will bring all, and I will show you, on my side, the source from
which I derive my information concerning you."

After this conversation Tissaphernes, with kindliest expression,
invited Clearchus to remain with him at the time, and entertained him
at dinner. Next day Clearchus returned to the camp, and made no secret
of his persuasion that he at any rate stood high in the affections of
Tissaphernes, and he reported what he had said, insisting that those
invited ought to go to Tissaphernes, and that any Hellene convicted of
calumnious language ought to be punished, not only as traitors
themselves, but as disaffected to their fellow-countrymen. The
slanderer and traducer was Menon; so, at any rate, he suspected,
because he knew that he had had meetings with Tissaphernes whilst he
was with Ariaeus, and was factiously opposed to himself, plotting how
to win over the whole army to him, as a means of winning the good
graces of Tissaphernes. But Clearchus wanted the entire army to give
its mind to no one else, and that refractory people should be put out
of the way. Some of the soldiers protested: the captains and generals
had better not all go; it was better not to put too much confidence in
Tissaphernes. But Clearchus insisted so strongly that finally it was
arranged for five generals to go and twenty captains. These were
accompanied by about two hundred of the other soldiers, who took the
opportunity of marketing.

On arrival at the doors of Tissaphernes's quarters the generals were
summoned inside. They were Proxenus the Boeotian, Menon the
Thessalian, Agias the Arcadian, Clearchus the Laconian, and Socrates
the Achaean; while the captains remained at the doors. Not long after
that, at one and the same signal, those within were seized and those
without cut down; after which some of the barbarian horsemen galloped
over the plain, killing every Hellene they encountered, bond or free. 32
The Hellenes, as they looked from the camp, viewed that strange
horsemanship with surprise, and could not explain to themselves what
it all meant, until Nicarchus the Arcadian came tearing along for bare
life with a wound in the belly, and clutching his protruding entrails
in his hands. He told them all that had happened. Instantly the
Hellenes ran to their arms, one and all, in utter consternation, and
fully expecting that the enemy would instantly be down upon the camp.
However, they did not all come; only Ariaeus came, and Artaozus and
Mithridates, who were Cyrus's most faithful friends; but the
interpreter of the Hellenes said he saw and recognised the brother of
Tissaphernes also with them. They had at their back other Persians
also, armed with cuirasses, as many as three hundred. As soon as they
were within a short distance, they bade any general or captain of the
Hellenes who might be there to approach and hear a message from the
king. After this, two Hellene generals went out with all precaution.
These were Cleanor the Orchomenian[3], and Sophaenetus the
Stymphalion, attended by Xenophon the Athenian, who went to learn news
of Proxenus. Cheirisophus was at the time away in a village with a
party gathering provisions. As soon as they had halted within earshot,
Ariaeus said: "Hellenes, Clearchus being shown to have committed
perjury and to have broken the truce, has suffered the penalty, and he
is dead; but Proxenus and Menon, in return for having given
information of his treachery, are in high esteem and honour. As to
yourselves, the king demands your arms. He claims them as his, since
they belonged to Cyrus, who was his slave." To this the Hellenes made
answer by the mouth of Cleanor of Orchomenus, their spokesman, who
said, addressing Ariaeus: "Thou villain, Ariaeus, and you the rest of
you, who were Cyrus's friends, have you no shame before God or man,
first to swear to us that you have the same friends and the same
enemies as we ourselves, and then to turn and betray us, making common
cause with Tissaphernes, that most impious and villainous of men? With
him you have murdered the very men to whom you gave your solemn word
and oath, and to the rest of us turned traitors; and, having so done, 39
you join hand with our enemies to come against us." Ariaeus answered:
"There is no doubt but that Clearchus has been known for some time to
harbour designs agaisnt Tissaphernes and Orontas, and all of us who
side with them." Taking up this assertion, Xenophon said: "Well, then,
granting that Clearchus broke the truce contrary to our oaths, he has
his deserts, for perjurers deserve to perish; but where are Proxenus
and Menon, our generals and your good friends and benefactors, as you
admit? Send them back to us. Surely, just because they are friends of
both parites, they will try to give us the best advice for you and for

At this, the Asiatics stood discussing with one another for a long
while, and then they went away without vouchsafing a word.


The generals who were thus seized were taken up to the king and there 1
decapitated. The first of these, Clearchus, was a thorough soldier,
and a true lover of fighting. This is the testimony of all who knew
him intimately. As long as the war between the Lacedaemonians and
Athenians lasted, he could find occupation at home; but after the
peace, he persuaded his own city that the Thracians were injuring the
Hellenes, and having secured his object, set sail, empowered by the
ephorate to make war upon the Thracians north of the Chersonese and
Perinthus. But he had no sooner fairly started than, for some reason
or other, the ephors changed their minds, and endeavoured to bring him
back again from the isthmus. Thereupon he refused further obedience,
and went off with sails set for the Hellespont. In consequence he was
condemned to death by the Spartan authorities for disobedience to
orders; and now, finding himself an exile, he came to Cyrus. Working
on the feelings of that prince, in language described elsewhere, he
received from his entertainer a present of ten thousand darics. Having
got this money, he did not sink into a life of ease and indolence, but
collected an army with it, carried on war against the Thracians, and 5
conquered them in battle, and from that date onwards harried and
plundered them with war incessantly, until Cyrus wanted his army;
whereupon he at once went off, in hopes of finding another sphere of
warfare in his company.

These, I take it, were the characteristic acts of a man whose
affections are set on warfare. When it is open to him to enjoy peace
with honour, no shame, no injury attached, still he prefers war; when
he may live at home at ease, he insists on toil, if only it may end in
fighting; when it is given to him to keep his riches without risk, he
would rather lessen his fortune by the pastime of battle. To put it
briefly, war was his mistress; just as another man will spend his
fortune on a favourite, or to gratify some pleasure, so he chose to
squander his substance on soldiering.

But if the life of a soldier was a passion with him, he was none the
less a soldier born, as herein appears; danger was a delight to him;
he courted it, attacking the enemy by night or by day; and in
difficulties he did not lose his head, as all who ever served in a
campaign with him would with one consent allow. A good solder! the
question arises, Was he equally good as a commander? It must be
admitted that, as far as was compatible with his quality of temper, he
was; none more so. Capable to a singular degree of devising how his
army was to get supplies, and of actually getting them, he was also
capable of impressing upon those about him that Clearchus must be
obeyed; and that he brought about by the very hardness of his nature.
With a scowling expression and a harshly-grating voice, he chastised
with severity, and at times with such fury, that he was sorry
afterwards himself for what he had done. Yet it was not without
purpose that he applied the whip; he had a theory that there was no
good to be got out of an unchastened army. A saying of his is recorded
to the effect that the soldier who is to mount guard and keep his
hands off his friends, and be ready to dash without a moment's
hesitation against the foe--must fear his commander more than the
enemy. Accordingly, in any strait, this was the man whom the soldiers
were eager to obey, and they would have no other in his place. The 11
cloud which lay upon his brow, at those times lit up with brightness;
his face became radiant, and the old sternness was so charged with
vigour and knitted strength to meet the foe, that it savoured of
salvation, not of cruelty. But when the pinch of danger was past, and
it was open to them to go and taste subordination under some other
officer, many forsook him. So lacking in grace of manner was he; but
was ever harsh and savage, so that the feeling of the soldiers towards
him was that of schoolboys to a master. In other words, though it was
not his good fortune ever to have followers inspired solely by
friendship or goodwill, yet those who found themselves under him,
either by State appointment or through want, or other arch necessity,
yielded him implicit obedience. From the moment that he led them to
victory, the elements which went to make his soldiers efficient were
numerous enough. There was the feeling of confidence in facing the
foe, which never left them, and there was the dread of punishment at
his hands to keep them orderly. In this way and to this extent he knew
how to rule; but to play a subordinate part himself he had no great
taste; so, at any rate, it was said. At the time of his death he must
have been about fifty years of age.

Proxenus, the Boeotian, was of a different temperament. It had been
the dream of his boyhood to become a man capable of great
achievements. In obedience to this passionate desire it was, that he
paid his fee to Gorgias of Leontini[1]. After enojoying that teacher's
society, he flattered himself that he must be at once qualified to
rule; and while he was on friendly terms with the leaders of the age,
he was not to be outdone in reciprocity of service[2]. In this mood he 17
threw himself into the projects of Cyrus, and in return expected to
derive from this essay the reward of a great name, large power, and
wide wealth. But for all that he pitched his hopes so high, it was
none the less evident that he would refuse to gain any of the ends he
set before him wrongfully. Righteously and honourably he would obtain
them, if he might, or else forego them. As a commander he had the art
of leading gentlemen, but he failed to inspire adequately either
respect for himself or fear in the soldiers under him. Indeed, he
showed a more delicate regard for his soldiers than his subordinates
for him, and he was indisputably more apprehensive of incurring their
hatred than they were of losing their fidelity. The one thing needful
to real and recognised generalship was, he thought, to praise the
virtuous and to withhold praise from the evildoer. It can be easily
understood, then, that of those who were brought in contact with him,
the good and noble indeed were his well-wishers; but he laid himself
open to the machinations of the base, who looked upon him as a person
to be dealt with as they liked. At the time of his death he was only
thirty years of age.

[1] The famous rhetorician of Leontini, 485-380 B.C. His fee was 100

[2] Proxenus, like Cyrus, is to some extent a prototype of the Cyrus
of the "Cyropaedia." In other words, the author, in delineating
the portrait of his ideal prince, drew from the recollection of
many princely qualities observed by him in the characters of many
friends. Apart from the intrinsic charm of the story, the
"Anabasis" is interesting as containing the raw material of
experience and reflection which "this young scholar or
philosopher," our friend, the author, will one day turn to
literary account.

As to Menon the Thessalian[3], the mainspring of his action was
obvious; what he sought after insatiably was wealth. Rule he sought
after only as a stepping-stone to larger spoils. Honours and high
estate he craved for simply that he might extend the area of his
gains; and if he studied to be on friendly terms with the powerful, it
was in order that he might commit wrong with impunity. The shortest
road to the achievement of his desires lay, he thought, through false
swearing, lying, and cheating; for in his vocabulary simplicity and
truth were synonyms of folly. Natural affection he clearly entertained
for nobody. If he called a man his friend it might be looked upon as 23
certain that he was bent on ensnaring him. Laughter at an enemy he
considered out of place, but his whole conversation turned upon the
ridicule of his associates. In like manner, the possessions of his
foes were secure from his designs, since it was no easy task, he
thought, to steal from people on their guard; but it was his
particular good fortune to have discovered how easy it is to rob a
friend in the midst of his security. If it were a perjured person or a
wrongdoer, he dreaded him as well armed and intrenched; but the
honourable and the truth-loving he tried to practise on, regarding
them as weaklings devoid of manhood. And as other men pride themselves
on piety and truth and righteousness, so Menon prided himself on a
capacity for fraud, on the fabrication of lies, on the mockery and
scorn of friends. The man who was not a rogue he ever looked upon as
only half educated. Did he aspire to the first place in another man's
friendship, he set about his object by slandering those who stood
nearest to him in affection. He contrived to secure the obedience of
his solders by making himself an accomplice in their misdeeds, and the
fluency with which he vaunted his own capacity and readiness for
enormous guilt was a sufficient title to be honoured and courted by
them. Or if any one stood aloof from him, he set it down as a
meritorious act of kindness on his part that during their intercourse
he had not robbed him of existence.

[3] For a less repulsive conception of Menon's character, however
unhistorical, see Plato's "Meno," and Prof. Jowlett's
Introduction, "Plato," vol. i. p. 265: "He is a Thessalian
Alcibiades, rich and luxurious--a spoilt child of fortune."

As to certain obscure charges brought against his character, these may
certainly be fabrications. I confine myself to the following facts,
which are known to all. He was in the bloom of youth when he procured
from Aristippus the command of his mercenaries; he had not yet lost
that bloom when he became exceedingly intimate with Ariaeus, a
barbarian, whose liking for fair young men was the explanation; and
before he had grown a beard himself, he had contracted a similar
relationship with a bearded favourite named Tharypas. When his
fellow-generals were put to death on the plea that they had marched
with Cyrus against the king, he alone, although he had shared their
conduct, was exempted from their fate. But after their deaths the
vengeance of the king fell upon him, and he was put to death, not like 29
Clearchus and the others by what would appear to be the speediest of
deaths--decapitation--but, as report says, he lived for a year in pain
and disgrace and died the death of a felon.

Agias the Arcadian and Socrates the Achaean were both among the
sufferers who were put to death. To the credit, be it said, of both,
no one ever derided either as cowardly in war: no one ever had a fault
to find with either on the score of friendship. They were both about
thirty-five years of age.


[In the preceding pages of the narrative will be found a full
account, not only of the doings of the Hellenes during the
advance of Cyrus till the date of the battle, but of the inci-
dents which befell them after Cyrus' death at the commencement
of the retreat, while in company with Tissaphernes during the


After the generals had been seized, and the captains and soldiers who 1
formed their escort had been killed, the Hellenes lay in deep
perplexity--a prey to painful reflections. Here were they at the
king's gates, and on every side environing them were many hostile
cities and tribes of men. Who was there now to furnish them with a
market? Separated from Hellas by more than a thousand miles, they had
not even a guide to point the way. Impassable rivers lay athwart their
homeward route, and hemmed them in. Betrayed even by the Asiatics, at
whose side they had marched with Cyrus to the attack, they were left
in isolation. Without a single mounted trooper to aid them in pursuit:
was it not perfectly plain that if they won a battle, their enemies
would escape to a man, but if they were beaten themselves, not one
soul of them would survive?

Haunted by such thoughts, and with hearts full of despair, but few of
them tasted food that evening; but few of them kindled even a fire,
and many never came into camp at all that night, but took their rest
where each chanced to be. They could not close their eyes for very
pain and yearning after their fatherlands or their parents, the wife
or child whom they never expected to look upon again. Such was the
plight in which each and all tried to seek repose.

Now there was in that host a certain man, an Athenian[1], Xenophon,
who had accompanied Cyrus, neither as a general, nor as an officer,
nor yet as a private soldier, but simply on the invitation of an old
friend, Proxenus. This old friend had sent to fetch him from home,
promising, if he would come, to introduce him to Cyrus, "whom," said
Proxenus, "I consider to be worth my fatherland and more to me."

[1] The reader should turn to Grote's comments on the first appearance
of Xenophon. He has been mentioned before, of course, more than
once before; but he now steps, as the protagonist, upon the scene,
and as Grote says: "It is in true Homeric vein, and in something
like Homeric language, that Xenophon (to whom we owe the whole
narrative of the expedition) describes his dream, or the
intervention of Oneiros, sent by Zeus, from which this renovating
impulse took its rise."

Xenophon having read the letter, consulted Socrates the Athenian,
whether he should accept or refuse the invitation. Socrates, who had a
suspicion that the State of Athens might in some way look askance at
my friendship with Cyrus, whose zealous co-operation with the
Lacedaemonians against Athens in the war was not forgotten, advised
Xenophon to go to Delphi and there to consult the god as to the
desirability of such a journey. Xenophon went and put the question to
Apollo, to which of the gods he must pray and do sacrifice, so that he
might best accomplish his intended journey and return in safety, with
good fortune. Then Apollo answered him: "To such and such gods must
thou do sacrifice," and when he had returned home he reported to
Socrates the oracle. But he, when he heard, blamed Xenophon that he
had not, in the first instance, inquired of the god, whether it were
better for him to go or to stay, but had taken on himself to settle
that point affirmatively, by inquiring straightway, how he might best 7
perform the journey. "Since, however," continued Socrates, "you did so
put the question, you should do what the god enjoined." Thus, and
without further ado, Xenophon offered sacrifice to those whom the god
had named, and set sail on his voyage. He overtook Proxenus and Cyrus
at Sardis, when they were just ready to start on the march up country,
and was at once introduced to Cyrus. Proxenus eagerly pressed him to
stop--a request which Cyrus with like ardour supported, adding that as
soon as the campaign was over he would send him home. The campaign
referred to was understood to be against the Pisidians. That is how
Xenophon came to join the expedition, deceived indeed, though not by
Proxenus, who was equally in the dark with the rest of the Hellenes,
not counting Clearchus, as to the intended attack upon the king. Then,
though the majority were in apprehension of the journey, which was not
at all to their minds, yet, for very shame of one another and Cyrus,
they continued to follow him, and with the rest went Xenophon.

And now in this season of perplexity, he too, with the rest, was in
sore distress, and could not sleep; but anon, getting a snatch of
sleep, he had a dream. It seemed to him in a vision that there was a
storm of thunder and lightning, and a bolt fell on his father's house,
and thereupon the house was all in a blaze. He sprung up in terror,
and pondering the matter, decided that in part the dream was good: in
that he had seen a great light from Zeus, whilst in the midst of toil
and danger. But partly too he feared it, for evidently it had come
from Zeus the king. And the fire kindled all around--what could that
mean but that he was hemmed in by various perplexities, and so could
not escape from the country of the king? The full meaning, however, is
to be discovered from what happened after the dream.

This is what took place. As soon as he was fully awake, the first
clear thought which came into his head was, Why am I lying here? The
night advances; with the day, it is like enough, the enemy will be
upon us. If we are to fall into the hands of the king, what is left us
but to face the most horrible of sights, and to suffer the most 13
fearful pains, and then to die, insulted, an ignominious death? To
defend ourselves--to ward off that fate--not a hand stirs: no one is
preparing, none cares; but here we lie, as though it were time to rest
and take our ease. I too! what am I waiting for? a general to
undertake the work? and from what city? am I waiting till I am older
mysef and of riper age? older I shall never be, if to-day I betray
myself to my enemies.

Thereupon he got up, and called together first Proxenus's officers;
and when they were met, he said: "Sleep, sirs, I cannot, nor can you,
I fancy, nor lie here longer, when I see in what straits we are. Our
enemy, we may be sure, did not open war upon us till he felt he had
everything amply ready; yet none of us shows a corresponding anxiety
to enter the lists of battle in the bravest style.

"And yet, if we yield ourselves and fall into the king's power, need
we ask what our fate will be? This man, who, when his own brother, the
son of the same parents, was dead, was not content with that, but
severed head and hand from the body, and nailed them to a cross. We,
then, who have not even the tie of blood in our favour, but who
marched against him, meaning to make a slave of him instead of a
king--and to slay him if we could: what is likely to be our fate at
his hands? Will he not go all lengths so that, by inflicting on us the
extreme of ignominy and torture, he may rouse in the rest of mankind a
terror of ever marching against him any more? There is no question but
that our business is to avoid by all means getting into his clutches.

"For my part, all the while the truce lasted, I never ceased pitying
ourselves and congratulating the king and those with him, as, like a
helpless spectator, I surveyed the extent and quality of their
territory, the plenteousness of their provisions, the multitude of
their dependants, their cattle, their gold, and their apparel. And
then to turn and ponder the condition of our soldiers, without part or
lot in these good things, except we bought it; few, I knew, had any
longer the wherewithal to buy, and yet our oath held us down, so that
we could not provide ourselves otherwise than by purchase. I say, as I 21
reasoned thus, there were times when I dreaded the truce more than I
now dread war.

"Now, however, that they have abruptly ended the truce, there is an
end also to their own insolence and to our suspicion. All these good
things of theirs are now set as prizes for the combatants. To
whichsoever of us shall prove the better men, will they fall as
guerdons; and the gods themselves are the judges of the strife. The
gods, who full surely will be on our side, seeing it is our enemies
who have taken their names falsely; whilst we, with much to lure us,
yet for our oath's sake, and the gods who were our witnesses, sternly
held aloof. So that, it seems to me, we have a right to enter upon
this contest with much more heart than our foes; and further, we are
possessed of bodies more capable than theirs of bearing cold and heat
and labour; souls too we have, by the help of heaven, better and
braver; nay, the men themselves are more vulnerable, more mortal, than
ourselves, if so be the gods vouchsafe to give us victory once again.

"Howbeit, for I doubt not elsewhere similar reflections are being
made, whatsoever betide, let us not, in heaven's name, wait for others
to come and challenge us to noble deeds; let us rather take the lead
in stimulating the rest to valour. Show yourselves to be the bravest
of officers, and among generals, the worthiest to command. For myself,
if you choose to start forwards on this quest, I will follow; or, if
you bid me lead you, my age shall be no excuse to stand between me and
your orders. At least I am of full age, I take it, to avert misfortune
from my own head."

Such were the speaker's words; and the officers, when they heard, all,
with one exception, called upon him to put himself at their head. This
was a certain Apollonides there present, who spoke in the Boeotian
dialect. This man's opinion was that it was mere nonsense for any one
to pretend they could obtain safety otherwise than by an appeal to the
king, if he had skill to enforce it; and at the same time he began to
dilate on the difficulties. But Xenophon cut him short. "O most
marvellous of men! though you have eyes to see, you do not perceive;
though you have ears to hear, you do not recollect. You were present 27
with the rest of us now here when, after the death of Cyrus, the king,
vaunting himself on that occurrence, sent dictatorially to bid us lay
down our arms. But when we, instead of giving up our arms, put them on
and went and pitched our camp near him, his manner changed. It is hard
to say what he did not do, he was so at his wit's end, sending us
embassies and begging for a truce, and furnishing provisions the
while, until he had got it. Or to take the contrary instance, when
just now, acting precisely on your principles, our generals and
captains went, trusting to the truce, unarmed to a conference with
them, what came of it? what is happening at this instant? Beaten,
goaded with pricks, insulted, poor souls, they cannot even die: though
death, I ween, would be very sweet. And you, who know all this, how
can you say that it is mere nonsense to talk of self-defence? how can
you bid us go again and try the arts of persuasion? In my opinion,
sirs, we ought not to admit this fellow to the same rank with
ourselves; rather ought we to deprive him of his captaincy, and load
him with packs and treat him as such. The man is a disgrace to his own
fatherland and the whole of Hellas, that, being a Hellene, he is what
he is."

Here Agasias the Stymphalian broke in, exclaiming: "Nay, this fellow
has no connection either with Boeotia or with Hellas, none whatever. I
have noted both his ears bored like a Lydian's." And so it was. Him
then they banished. But the rest visited the ranks, and wherever a
general was left, they summoned the general; where he was gone, the
lieutenant-general; and where again the captain alone was left, the
captain. As soon as they were all met, they seated themselves in front
of the place d'armes: the assembled generals and officers, numbering
about a hundred. It was nearly midnight when this took place.

Thereupon Hieronymous the Eleian, the eldest of Proxenus's captains,
commenced speaking as follows: "Generals and captains, it seemed right
to us, in view of the present crisis, ourselves to assemble and to
summon you, that we might advise upon some practicable course. Would
you, Xenophon, repeat what you said to us?"

Thereupon Xenophon spoke as follows: "We all know only too well, that 34
the king and Tissaphernes have seized as many of us as they could, and
it is clear they are plotting to destroy the rest of us if they can.
Our business is plain: it is to do all we can to avoid getting into
the power of the barbarians; rather, if we can, we will get them into
our power. Rely upon this then, all you who are here assembled, now is
your great opportunity. The soldiers outside have their eyes fixed
upon you; if they think that you are faint-hearted, they will turn
cowards; but if you show them that you are making your own
preparations to attack the enemy, and setting an example to the
rest--follow you, be assured, they will: imitate you they will. May
be, it is but right and fair that you should somewhat excel them, for
you are generals, you are commanders of brigades or regiments; and if,
while it was peace, you had the advantage in wealth and position, so
now, when it is war, you are expected to rise superior to the common
herd--to think for them, to toil for them, whenever there be need.

"At this very moment you would confer a great boon on the army, if you
made it your business to appoint generals and officers to fill the
places of those that are lost. For without leaders nothing good or
noble, to put it concisely, was ever wrought anywhere; and in military
matters this is absolutely true; for if discipline is held to be of
saving virtue, the want of it has been the ruin of many ere now. Well,
then! when you have appointed all the commanders necessary, it would
only be opportune, I take it, if you were to summon the rest of the
soldiers and speak some words of encouragement. Even now, I daresay
you noticed yourselves the crestfallen air with which they came into
camp, the despondency with which they fell to picket duty, so that,
unless there is a change for the better, I do not know for what
service they will be fit; whether by night, if need were, or even by
day. The thing is to get them to turn their thoughts to what they mean
to do, instead of to what they are likely to suffer. Do that, and
their spirits will soon revive wonderfully. You know, I need hardly
remind you, it is not numbers or strength that gives victory in war;
but, heaven helping them, to one or other of two combatants it is 42
given to dash with stouter hearts to meet the foe, and such onset, in
nine cases out of ten, those others refuse to meet. This observation,
also, I have laid to heart, that they, who in matters of war seek in
all ways to save their lives, are just they who, as a rule, die
dishonourably; whereas they who, recognising that death is the common
lot and destiny of all men, strive hard to die nobly: these more
frequently, as I observe, do after all attain to old age, or, at any
rate, while life lasts, they spend their days more happily. This
lesson let all lay to heart this day, for we are just at such a crisis
of our fate. Now is the season to be brave ourselves, and to stimulate
the rest by our example."

With these words he ceased; and after him, Cheirisophus said:
"Xenophon, hitherto I knew only so much of you as that you were, I
heard, an Athenian, but now I must commend you for your words and for
your conduct. I hope that there may be many more like you, for it
would prove a public blessing." Then turning to the officers: "And
now," said he, "let us waste no time; retire at once, I beg you, and
choose leaders where you need them. After you have made your
elections, come back to the middle of the camp, and bring the newly
appointed officers. After that, we will there summon a general meeting
of the soldiers. Let Tolmides, the herald," he added, "be in
attendance." With these words on his lips he got up, in order that
what was needful might be done at once without delay. After this the
generals were chosen. These were Timasion the Dardanian, in place of
Clearchus; Xanthicles, an Achaean, in place of Socrates; Cleanor, an
Arcadian, in place of Agias; Philesius, an Achaean, in place of Menon;
and in place of Proxenus, Xenophon the Athenian.


By the time the new generals had been chosen, the first faint glimmer 1
of dawn had hardly commenced, as they met in the centre of the camp,
and resolved to post an advance guard and to call a general meeting of
the soldiers. Now, when these had come together, Cheirisophus the
Lacedaemonian first rose and spoke as follows: "Fellow-soldiers, the
present posture of affairs is not pleasant, seeing that we are robbed
of so many generals and captains and soldiers; and more than that, our 2
former allies, Ariaeus and his men, have betrayed us; still, we must
rise above our circumstances to prove ourselves brave men, and not
give in, but try to save ourselves by glorious victory if we can; or,
if not, at least to die gloriously, and never, while we have breath in
our bodies, fall into the hands of our enemies. In which latter case,
I fear, we shall suffer things, which I pray the gods may visit rather
upon those we hate."

At this point Cleanor the Ochomenian stood up and spoke as follows:
"You see, men, the perjury and the impiety of the king. You see the
faithlessness of Tissaphernes, professing that he was next-door
neighbour to Hellas, and would give a good deal to save us, in
confirmation of which he took an oath to us himself, he gave us the
pledge of his right hand, and then, with a lie upon his lips, this
same man turned round and arrested our generals. He had no reverence
even for Zeus, the god of strangers; but, after entertaining Clearchus
at his own board as a friend, he used his hospitality to delude and
decoy his victims. And Ariaeus, whom we offered to make king, with
whom we exchanged pledges not to betray each other, even this man,
without a particle of fear of the gods, or respect for Cyrus in his
grave, though he was most honoured by Cyrus in lifetime, even he has
turned aside to the worst foes of Cyrus, and is doing his best to
injure the dead man's friends. Them may the gods requite as they
deserve! But we, with these things before our eyes, will not any more
be cheated and cajoled by them; we will make the best fight we can,
and having made it, whatever the gods think fit to send, we will

After him Xenophon arose; he was arrayed for war in his bravest
apparel[1]: "For," said he to himself, "if the gods grant victory, the
finest attire will match with victory best; or if I must needs die,
then for one who has aspired to the noblest, it is well there should
be some outward correspondence between his expectation and his end."
He began his speech as follows: "Cleanor has spoken of the perjury and 8
faithlessness of the barbarians, and you yourselves know them only too
well, I fancy. If then we are minded to enter a second time into terms
of friendship with them, with the experience of what our generals, who
in all confidence entrusted themselves to their power, have suffered,
reason would we should feel deep despondency. If, on the other hand,
we purpose to take our good swords in our hands and to inflict
punishment on them for what they have done, and from this time forward
will be on terms of downright war with them, then, God helping, we
have many a bright hope of safety." The words were scarcely spoken
when someone sneezed[2], and with one impulse the soldiers bowed in
worship; and Xenophon proceeded: "I propose, sirs, since, even as we
spoke of safety, an omen from Zeus the Saviour has appeared, we vow a
vow to sacrifice to the Saviour thank-offerings for safe deliverance,
wheresoever first we reach a friendly country; and let us couple with
that vow another of individual assent, that we will offer to the rest
of the gods 'according to our ability.' Let all those who are in
favour of this proposal hold up their hands." They all held up their
hands, and there and then they vowed a vow and chanted the battle
hymn. But as soon as these sacred matters were duly ended, he began
once more thus: "I was saying that many and bright are the hopes we
have of safety. First of all, we it is who confirm and ratify the
oaths we take by heaven, but our enemies have taken false oaths and
broken the truce, contrary to their solemn word. This being so, it is
but natural that the gods should be opposed to our enemies, but with
ourselves allied; the gods, who are able to make the great ones
quickly small, and out of sore perplexity can save the little ones
with ease, what time it pleases them. In the next place, let me recall
to your minds the dangers of our own forefathers, that you may see and 11
know that bravery is your heirloom, and that by the aid of the gods
brave men are rescued even out of the midst of sorest straits. So was
it when the Persians came, and their attendant hosts[3], with a very
great armament, to wipe out Athens from the face of the earth--the men
of Athens had the heart to withstand them and conquered them. Then
they vowed to Artemis that for every man they slew of the enemy, they
would sacrifice to the goddess goats so many; and when they could not
find sufficient for the slain, they resolved to offer yearly five
hundred; and to this day they perform that sacrifice. And at a
somewhat later date, when Xerxes assembled his countless hosts and
marched upon Hellas, then[4] too our fathers conquered the forefathers
of our foes by land and by sea.

[1] So it is said of the Russian General Skobelef, that he had a
strange custom of going into battle in his cleanest uniform,
perfurmed, and wearing a diamond-hilted sword, "in order that," as
he said, "he might die in his best attire."

[2] For this ancient omen see "Odyssey," xvii. 541: "Even as she
spake, and Telemachus sneezed loudly, and around the roof rung
wondrously. And Penelope laughed." . . . "Dost thou not mark how
my son has sneezed a blessing on all my words?"

[3] See Herod. vi. 114; the allusion is to the invasion of Greeze by
Datis and Artaphernes, and to their defeat at Marathon, B.C. 490.
"Heredotus estimates the number of those who fell on the Persian
side at 6400 men: the number of Athenian dead is accurately known,
since all were collected for the last solemn obsequies--they were
192."--Grote, "Hist. of Greece," vol. v. p. 475.

[4] Then = at Salamis, B.C. 480, and at Plataea and Mycale, B.C. 479,
on the same day.

"And proofs of these things are yet to be seen in trophies; but the
greatest witness of all is the freedom of our cities--the liberty of
that land in which you were born and bred. For you call no man master
or lord; you bow your heads to none save to the gods alone. Such were
your forefathers, and their sons are ye. Think not I am going to say
that you put to shame in any way your ancestry--far from it. Not many
days since, you too were drawn up in battle face to face with these
true descendants of their ancestors, and by the help of heaven you
conquered them, though they many times outnumbered you. At that time,
it was to win a throne for Cyrus that you showed your bravery; to-day,
when the struggle is for your own salvation, what is more natural than
that you should show yourselves braver and more zealous still. Nay, it
is very meet and right that you should be more undaunted still to-day
to face the foe. The other day, though you had not tested them, and
before your eyes lay their immeasurable host, you had the heart to go
against them with the spirit of your fathers. To-day you have made 16
trial of them, and knowing that, however many times your number, they
do not care to await your onset, what concern have you now to be
afraid of them?

"Nor let any one suppose that herein is a point of weakness, in that
Cyrus's troops, who before were drawn up by your side, have now
deserted us, for they are even worse cowards still than those we
worsted. At any rate they have deserted us, and sought refuge with
them. Leaders of the forlorn hope of flight--far better is it to have
them brigaded with the enemy than shoulder to shoulder in our ranks.
But if any of you is out of heart to think that we have no cavalry,
while the enemy have many squadrons to command, lay to heart this
doctrine, that ten thousand horse only equal ten thousand men upon
their backs, neither less nor more. Did any one ever die in battle
from the bite or kick of a horse? It is the men, the real swordsmen,
who do whatever is done in battles. In fact we, on our stout shanks,
are better mounted than those cavalry fellows; there they hang on to
their horses' necks in mortal dread, not only of us, but of falling
off; while we, well planted upon earth, can deal far heavier blows to
our assailants, and aim more steadily at who we will. There is one
point, I admit, in which their cavalry have the whip-hand of us; it is
safer for them than it is for us to run away.

"May be, however, you are in good heart about the fighting, but
annoyed to think that Tissaphernes will not guide us any more, and
that the king will not furnish us with a market any longer. Now,
consider, is it better for us to have a guide like Tissaphernes, whom
we know to be plotting against us, or to take our chance of the stray
people whom we catch and compel to guide us, who will know that any
mistake made in leading us will be a sad mistake for their own lives?
Again, is it better to be buying provisions in a market of their
providing, in scant measure and at high prices, without even the money
to pay for them any longer; or, by right of conquest, to help
ourselves, applying such measure as suits our fancy best?

"Or again, perhaps you admit tht our present position is not without
its advantages, but you feel sure that the rivers are a difficulty,
and think that you were never more taken in than when you crossed 22
them; if so, consider whether, after all, this is not perhaps the most
foolish thing which the barbarians have done. No river is impassable
throughout; whatever difficulties it may present at some distance from
its source, you need only make your way up to the springhead, and
there you may cross it without wetting more than your ankles. But,
granted that the rivers do bar our passage, and that guides are not
forthcoming, what care we? We need feel no alarm for all that. We have
heard of the Mysians, a people whom we certainly cannot admit to be
better than ourselves; and yet they inhabit numbers of large and
prosperous cities in the king's own country without asking leave. The
Pisidians are an equally good instance, or the Lycaonians. We have
seen with our own eyes how they fare: seizing fortresses down in the
plains, and reaping the fruits of these men's territory. As to us, I
go so far as to assert, we ought never to have let it be seen that we
were bent on getting home: at any rate, not so soon; we should have
begun stocking and furnishing ourselves, as if we fully meant to
settle down for life somewhere or other hereabouts. I am sure that the
king would be thrice glad to give the Mysians as many guides as they
like, or as many hostages as they care to demand, in return for a safe
conduct out of his country; he would make carriage roads for them, and
if they preferred to take their departure in coaches and four, he
would not say them nay. So too, I am sure, he would be only too glad
to accommodate us in the same way, if he saw us preparing to settle
down here. But, perhaps, it is just as well that we did not stop; for
I fear, if once we learn to live in idleness and to batten in luxury
and dalliance with these tall and handsome Median and Persian women
and maidens, we shall be like the Lotus-eaters[5], and forget the road
home altogether.

[5] See "Odyssey," ix. 94, "ever feeding on the Lotus and forgetful of

"It seems to me that it is only right, in the first instance, to make
an effort to return to Hellas and to revisit our hearths and homes, if
only to prove to other Hellenes that it is their own faults if they
are poor and needy[6], seeing it is in their power to give to those 26
now living a pauper life at home a free passage hither, and convert
them into well-to-do burghers at once. Now, sirs, is it not clear that
all these good things belong to whoever has strength to hold them?

[6] Here seems to be the germ--unless, indeed, the thought had been
conceived above--here at any rate the first conscious expression
of the colonisation scheme, of which we shall hear more below, in
reference to Cotyora; the Phasis; Calpe. It appears again fifty
years later in the author's pamphlet "On Revenues," chapters i.
and vi. For the special evils of the fourth century B.C., and the
growth of pauperism between B.C. 401 and 338, see Jebb, "Attic
Orators," vol i. p. 17.

"Let us look another matter in the face. How are we to march most
safely? or where blows are needed, how are we to fight to the best
advantage? That is the question.

"The first thing which I recommend is to burn the wagons we have got,
so that we may be free to march wherever the army needs, and not,
practically, make our baggage train our general. And, next, we should
throw our tents into the bonfire also: for these again are only a
trouble to carry, and do not contribute one grain of good either for
fighting or getting provisions. Further, let us get rid of all
superfluous baggage, save only what we require for the sake of war, or
meat and drink, so that as many of us as possible may be under arms,
and as few as possible doing porterage. I need not remind you that, in
case of defeat, the owners' goods are not their own; but if we master
our foes, we will make them our baggage bearers.

"It only rests for me to name the one thing which I look upon as the
greatest of all. You see, the enemy did not dare to bring war to bear
upon us until they had first seized our generals; they felt that
whilst our rulers were there, and we obeyed them, they were no match
for us in war; but having got hold of them, they fully expected that
the consequent confusion and anarchy would prove fatal to us. What
follows? This: Officers and leaders ought to be more vigilant ever
than their predecessors; subordinates still more orderly and obedient
to those in command now than even they were to those who are gone. And
you should pass a resolution that, in case of insubordination, any one 31
who stands by is to aid the officer in chastising the offender. So the
enemy will be mightily deceived; for on this day they will behold ten
thousand Clearchuses instead of one, who will not suffer one man to
play the coward. And now it is high time I brought my remarks to an
end, for may be the enemy will be here anon. Let those who are in
favour of these proposals confirm them with all speed, that they may
be realised in fact; or if any other course seem better, let not any
one, even though he be a private soldier, shrink from proposing it.
Our common safety is our common need."

After this Cheirisophus spoke. He said: "If there is anything else to
be done, beyond what Xenophon has mentioned, we shall be able to carry
it out presently; but with regard to what he has already proposed, it
seems to me the best course to vote upon the matters at once. Those
who are in favour of Xenophon's proposals, hold up their hands." They
all held them up. Xenophon rose again and said: "Listen, sirs, while I
tell you what I think we have need of besides. It is clear that we
must march where we can get provisions. Now, I am told there are some
splendid villages not more than two miles and a half distant. I should
not be surprised, then, if the enemy were to hang on our heels and dog
us as we retire, like cowardly curs which rush out at the passer-by
and bite him if they can, but when you turn upon them they run away.
Such will be their tactics, I take it. It may be safer, then, to march
in a hollow square, so as to place the baggage animals and our mob of
sutlers in greater security. It will save time to make the
appointments at once, and to settle who leads the square and directs
the vanguard; who will take command of the two flanks, and who of the
rearguard; so that, when the enemy appears, we shall not need to
deliberate, but can at once set in motion the machinery in existence.

"If any one has any better plan, we need not adopt mine; but if not,
suppose Cheirisophus takes the lead, as he is a Lacedaemonian, and the
two eldest generals take in charge the two wings respectively, whilst
Timasion and I, the two youngest, will for the present guard the rear. 37
For the rest, we can but make experiment of this arrangement, and
alter it with deliberation, as from time to time any improvement
suggests itself. If any one has a better plan to propose, let him do
so." . . . No dissentient voice was heard. Accordingly he said: "Those
in favour of this resolution, hold up their hands." The resolution was
carried. "And now," said he, "it would be well to separate and carry
out what we have decreed. If any of you has set his heart on seeing
his friends again, let him remember to prove himself a man; there is
no other way to achieve his heart's wish. Or is mere living an object
with any of you, strive to conquer; if to slay is the privilege of
victory, to die is the doom of the defeated. Or perhaps to gain money
and wealth is your ambition, strive again for mastery; have not
conquerors the double gain of keeping what is their own, whilst they
seize the possessions of the vanquished?"


The speaking was ended; they got up and retired; then they burnt the 1
wagons and the tents, and after sharing with one another what each
needed out of their various superfluities, they threw the remnant into
the fire. Having done that, they proceeded to make their breakfasts.
While they were breakfasting, Mithridates came with about thirty
horsemen, and summoning the generals within earshot, he thus addressed
them: "Men of Hellas, I have been faithful to Cyrus, as you know well,
and to-day I am your well-wisher; indeed, I am here spending my days
in great fear: if then I could see any salutory course in prospect, I
should be disposed to join you with all my retainers. Please inform
me, then, as to what you propose, regarding me as your friend and
well-wisher, anxious only to pursue his march in your company." The
generals held council, and resolved to give the following answer,
Cheirisophus acting as spokesman: "We have resolved to make our way
through the country, inflicting the least possible damage, provided we
are allowed a free passage homewards; but if any one tries to hinder 3
us, he will have to fight it out with us, and we shall bring all the
force in our power to bear." Thereat Mithridates set himself to prove
to them that their deliverance, except with the king's good pleasure,
was hopeless. Then the meaning of his mission was plain. He was an
agent in disguise; in fact, a relation of Tissaphernes was in
attendance to keep a check on his loyalty. After that, the generals
resolved that it would be better to proclaim open war, without truce
or herald, as long as they were in the enemy's country; for they used
to come and corrupt the soldiers, and they were even successful with
one officer--Nicarchus[1], an Arcadian, who went off in the night with
about twenty men.

[1] Can this be the same man whose escape is so graphically described

After this, they breakfasted and crossed the river Zapatas, marching
in regular order, with the beasts and mob of the army in the middle.
They had not advanced far on their route when Mithridates made his
appearance again, with about a couple of hundred horsemen at his back,
and bowmen and slingers twice as many, as nimble fellows as a man
might hope to see. He approached the Hellenes as if he were friendly;
but when they had got fairly to close quarters, all of a sudden some
of them, whether mounted or on foot, began shooting with their bows
and arrows, and another set with slings, wounding the men. The
rearguard of the Hellenes suffered for a while severely without being
able to retaliate, for the Cretans had a shorter range than the
Persians, and at the same time, being light-armed troops, they lay
cooped up within the ranks of the heavy infantry, while the javelin
men again did not shoot far enough to reach the enemy's slingers. This
being so, Xenophon thought there was nothing for it but to charge, and
charge they did; some of the heavy and light infantry, who were
guarding the rear, with him; but for all their charging they did not
catch a single man.

The dearth of cavalry told against the Hellenes; nor were their
infantry able to overhaul the enemy's infantry, with the long start
they had, and considering the shortness of the race, for it was out of
the question to pursue them far from the main body of the army. On the 10
other hand, the Asiatic cavalry, even while fleeing, poured volleys of
arrows behind their backs, and wounded the pursuers; while the
Hellenes must fall back fighting every step of the way they had
measured in the pursuit; so that by the end of that day they had not
gone much more than three miles; but in the late afternoon they
reached the villages.

Here there was a return of the old despondency. Cheirisophus and the
eldest of the generals blamed Xenophon for leaving the main body to
give chase and endangering himself thereby, while he could not damage
the enemy one whit the more. Xenophon admitted that they were right in
blaming him: no better proof of that was wanted than the result. "The
fact is," he added, "I was driven to pursue; it was too trying to look
on and see our men suffer so badly, and be unable to retaliate.
However, when we did charge, there is no denying the truth of what you
say; we were not a whit more able to injure the enemy, while we had
considerable difficulty in beating a retreat ourselves. Thank heaven
they did not come upon us in any great force, but were only a handful
of men; so that the injury they did us was not large, as it might have
been; and at least it has served to show us what we need. At present
the enemy shoot and sling beyond our range, so that our Cretan archers
are no match for them; our hand-throwers cannot reach as far; and when
we pursue, it is not possible to push the pursuit to any great
distance from the main body, and within the short distance no
foot-soldier, however fleet of foot, could overtake another
foot-soldier who has a bow-shot the start of him. If, then, we are to
exclude them from all possibility of injuring us as we march, we must
get slingers as soon as possible and cavalry. I am told there are in
the army some Rhodians, most of whom, they say, know how to sling, and
their missile will reach even twice as far as the Persian slings
(which, on account of their being loaded with stones as big as one's
fist, have a comparatively short range; but the Rhodians are skilled
in the use of leaden bullets[2]). Suppose, then, we investigate and 18
find out first of all who among them possess slings, and for these
slings offer the owner the money value; and to another, who will plait
some more, hand over the money price; and for a third, who will
volunteer to be enrolled as a slinger, invent some other sort of
privilege, I think we shall soon find people to come forward capable
of helping us. There are horses in the army I know; some few with
myself, others belonging to Clearchus's stud, and a good many others
captured from the enemy, used for carrying baggage. Let us take the
pick of these, supplying their places by ordinary baggage animals, and
equipping the horses for cavalry. I should not wonder if our troopers
gave some annoyance to these fugitives."

[2] These words sound to me like an author's note, parenthetically,
and perhaps inadvertently, inserted into the text. It is an
"aside" to the reader, which in a modern book would appear as a

These proposals were carried, and that night two hundred slingers were
enrolled, and next day as many as fifty horse and horsemen passed
muster as duly qualified; buff jackets and cuirasses were provided for
them, and a commandant of cavalry appointed to command--Lycius, the
son of Polystratus, by name, an Athenian.


That day they remained inactive, but the next they rose earlier than 1
usual, and set out betimes, for they had a ravine to cross, where they
feared the enemy might attack them in the act of crossing. When they
were across, Mithridates appeared again with one thousand horse, and
archers and slingers to the number of four thousand. This whole body
he had got by request from Tissaphernes, and in return he undertook to
deliver up the Hellenes to Tissaphernes. He had grown contemptuous
since his late attack, when, with so small a detachment, he had done,
as he thought, a good deal of mischief, without the slightest loss to

When the Hellenes were not only right across, but had got about a mile
from the ravine, Mithridates also crossed with his forces. An order
had been passed down the lines, what light infantry and what heavy
infantry were to take part in the pursuit; and the cavalry were
instructed to follow up the pursuit with confidence, as a considerable 3
support was in their rear. So, when Mithridates had come up with them,
and they were well within arrow and sling shot, the bugle sounded the
signal to the Hellenes; and immediately the detachment under orders
rushed to close quarters, and the cavalry charged. There the enemy
preferred not to wait, but fled towards the ravine. In this pursuit
the Asiatics lost several of their infantry killed, and of their
cavalry as many as eighteen were taken prisoners in the ravine. As to
those who were slain the Hellenes, acting upon impulse, mutilated
their bodies, by way of impressing their enemy with as frightful an
image as possible.

So fared the foe and so fell back; but the Hellenes, continuing their
march in safety for the rest of that day, reached the river Tigris.
Here they came upon a large deserted city, the name of which was
Larissa[1]: a place inhabited by the Medes in days of old; the breadth
of its walls was twenty-five feet, and the height of them a hundred,
and the circuit of the whole two parasangs. It was built of
clay-bricks, supported on a stone basis twenty feet high. This city
the king of the Persians[2] besieged, what time the Persians strove to
snatch their empire from the Medes, but he could in no wise take it;
then a cloud hid the face of the sun and blotted out the light
thereof, until the inhabitants were gone out of the city, and so it
was taken. By the side of this city there was a stone pyramid in
breadth a hundred feet, and in height two hundred feet; in it were
many of the barbarians who had fled for refuge from the neighbouring

[1] Larissa, on the side of the modern Nimrud (the south-west corner,
as is commonly supposed, of Nineveh). The name is said to mean
"citadel," and is given to various Greek cities (of which several
occur in Xenophon).

[2] I.e. Cyrus the Great.

From this place they marched one stage of six parasangs to a great
deserted fortress [which lay over against the city], and the name of
that city was Mespila[3]. The Medes once dwelt in it. The basement was 10
made of polished stone full of shells; fifty feet was the breadth of
it, and fifty feet the height; and on this basement was reared a wall
of brick, the breadth whereof was fifty feet and the height thereof
four hundred; and the circuit of the wall was six parasangs. Hither,
as the story goes, Medea[4], the king's wife, betook herself in flight
what time the Medes lost their empire at the hands of the Persians. To
this city also the king of the Pesians laid siege, but could not take
it either by length of days or strength of hand. But Zeus sent
amazement on the inhabitants thereof, and so it was taken.

[3] Opposite Mosul, the north-west portion of the ancient Nineveh,
about eighteen miles above Larissa. The circuit of Nineveh is said
to have been about fifty-six miles. It was overthrown by Cyrus in
B.C. 558.

[4] The wife of Astyages, the last king of Media. Some think "the wall
of Media" should be "Medea's wall," constructed in the period of
Queen Nitocris, B.C. 560.

From this place they marched one stage--four parasangs. But, while
still on this stage, Tissaphernes made his appearance. He had with him
his own cavalry and a force belonging to Orontas, who had the king's
daughter to wife; and there were, moreover, with them the Asiatics
whom Cyrus had taken with him on his march up; together with those
whom the king's brother had brought as a reinforcement to the king;
besides those whom Tissaphernes himself had received as a gift from
the king, so that the armament appeared to be very great. When they
were close, he halted some of his regiments at the rear and wheeled
others into position on either flank, but hesitated to attack, having
no mind apparently to run any risks, and contenting himself with an
order to his slingers to sling and his archers to shoot. But when the
Rhodian slingers and the bowmen[5], posted at intervals, retaliated,
and every shot told (for with the utmost pains to miss it would have
been hard to do so under the circumstanecs), then Tissaphernes with
all speed retired out of range, the other regiments following suit;
and for the rest of the day the one party advanced and the other
followed. But now the Asiatics had ceased to be dangerous with their
sharpshooting. For the Rhodians could reach further than the Persian 16
slingers, or, indeed, than most of the bowmen. The Persian bows are of
great size, so that the Cretans found the arrows which were picked up
serviceable, and persevered in using their enemies' arrows, and
practised shooting with them, letting them fly upwards to a great
height[6]. There were also plenty of bowstrings found in the
villages--and lead, which they turned to account for their slings. As
a result of this day, then, the Hellenes chancing upon some villages
had no sooner encamped than the barbarians fell back, having had
distinctly the worst of it in the skirmishing.

[5] The best MSS read {Skuthai}, Scythians; if this is correct, it is
only the technical name for "archers." Cf. Arrian, "Tact." ii. 13.
The police at Athens were technically so called, as being composed
of Scythian slaves. Cf. Aristoph. "Thesm." 1017.

[6] I.e., in practising, in order to get the maximum range they let
fly the arrows, not horizontally, but up into the air. Sir W.
Raleigh (Hist. of the World, III. x. 8) says that Xenophon
"trained his archers to short compass, who had been accustomed to
the point blank," but this is surely not Xenophon's meaning.

The next day was a day of inaction: they halted and took in supplies,
as there was much corn in the villages; but on the day following, the
march was continued through the plain (of the Tigris), and
Tissaphernes still hung on their skirts with his skirmishers. And now
it was that the Hellenes discovered the defect of marching in a square
with an enemy following. As a matter of necessity, whenever the wings
of an army so disposed draw together, either where a road narrows, or
hills close in, or a bridge has to be crossed, the heavy infantry
cannot help being squeezed out of their ranks, and march with
difficulty, partly from actual pressure, and partly from the general
confusion that ensues. Or, supposing the wings are again extended, the
troops have hardly recovered from their former distress before they
are pulled asunder, and there is a wide space between the wings, and
the men concerned lose confidence in themselves, especially with an
enemy close behind. What happened, when a bridge had to be crossed or
other passage effected, was, that each unit of the force pressed on in
anxiety to get over first, and at these moments it was easy for the
enemy to make an attack. The generals accordingly, having recognsied
the defect, set about curing it. To do so, they made six lochi, or
divisions of a hundred men apiece, each of which had its own set of
captains and under-officers in command of half and quarter companies. 21
It was the duty of these new companies, during a march, whenever the
flanks needed to close in, to fall back to the rear, so as to
disencumber the wings. This they did by wheeling clear of them. When
the sides of the oblong again extended, they filled up the
interstices, if the gap were narrow, by columns of companies, if
broader, by columns of half-companies, or, if broader still, by
columns of quarter-companies, so that the space between was always
filled up. If again it were necessary to effect a passage by bridge or
otherwise, there was no confusion, the several companies crossing in
turns; or, if the occasion arose to form in line of battle, these
companies came up to the front and fell in[7].

[7] In the passage above I have translated {lokhoi} companies, and, as
usual, {lokhagoi} captains. The half company is technically called
a pentecostys, and a quarter company an enomoty, and the officers
in charge of them respectively penteconter and enomotarch. These
would be equivalent nearly to our subalterns and sergeants, and in
the evolutions described would act as guides and markers in charge
of their sections. Grote thinks there were six companies formed on
each flank--twelve in all. See "Hist. of Greece," vol. ix. p. 123,
note (1st ed.)

In this way they advanced four stages, but ere the fifth was
completed, they came in sight of a palace of some sort, with villages
clustered round it; they could further see that the road leading to
this place pursued its course over high undulating hillocks, the spur
of the mountain range, under which lay the village. These knolls were
a welcome sight to the Hellenes, naturally enough, as the enemy were
cavalry. However, when they had issued from the plain and ascended the
first crest, and were in the act of descending it so as to mount the
next, at this juncture the barbarians came upon them. From the high
ground down the sheer steep they poured a volley of darts,
slingstones, and arrows, which they discharged "under the lash[8],"
wounding many, until they got the better of the Hellenic light troops,
and drove them for shelter behind the heavy infantry, so that this day
that arm was altogether useless, huddling in the mob of sutlers, both 26
slingers and archers alike.

[8] I.e. the Persian leaders were seen flogging their men to the
attack. Cf. Herod. vii. 22. 3.

But when the Hellenes, being so pressed, made an attempt to pursue,
they could barely scale to the summit, being heavy-armed troops, while
the enemy as lightly sprung away; and they suffered similarly in
retiring to join the rest of the army. And then, on the second hill,
the whole had to be gone through again; so that when it came to the
third hillock, they determined not to move the main body of troops
from their position until they had brought up a squadron of light
infantry from the right flank of the square to a point on the mountain
range. When this detachment were once posted above their pursuers, the
latter desisted from attacking the main body in its descent, for fear
of being cut off and finding themselves between two assailants. Thus
the rest of the day they moved on in two divisions: one set keeping to
the road by the hillocks, the other marching parallel on the higher
level along the mountains; and thus they reached the villages and
appointed eight surgeons to attend to the many wounded.

Here they halted three days for the sake of the wounded chiefly, while
a further inducement was the plentiful supply of provisions which they
found, wheat and wine, and large stores of barley laid up for horses.
These supplies had been collected by the ruling satrap of the country.
On the fourth day they began their descent into the plain; but when
Tissaphernes overtook them, necessity taught them to camp in the first
village they caught sight of, and give over the attempt of marching
and fighting simultaneously, as so many were hors de combat, being
either on the list of wounded themselves, or else engaged in carrying
the wounded, or laden with the heavy arms of those so occupied. But
when they were once encamped, and the barbarians, advancing upon the
village, made an attempt to harass them with their sharp-shooters, the
superiority of the Hellenes was pronounced. To sustain a running fight
with an enemy constantly attacking was one thing; to keep him at arm's
length from a fixed base of action another: and the difference was
much in their favour.

But when it was late afternoon, the time had come for the enemy to 34
withdraw, since the habit of the barbarian was never to encamp within
seven or eight miles of the Hellenic camp. This he did in apprehension
of a night attack, for a Persian army is good for nothing at night.
Their horses are haltered, and, as a rule, hobbled as well, to prevent
their escaping, as they might if loose; so that, if any alarm occurs,
the trooper has to saddle and bridle his horse, and then he must put
on his own cuirass, and then mount--all which performances are
difficult at night and in the midst of confusion. For this reason they
always encamped at a distance from the Hellenes.

When the Hellenes perceived that they were preparing to retire, and
that the order was being given, the herald's cry, "Pack up for
starting," might be heard before the enemy was fairly out of earshot.
For a while the Asiatics paused, as if unwilling to be gone; but as
night closed in, off they went, for it did not suit their notions of
expediency to set off on a march and arrive by night. And now, when
the Hellenes saw that they were really and clearly gone, they too
broke up their camp and pursued their march till they had traversed
seven and a half miles. Thus the distance between the two armies grew
to be so great, that the next day the enemy did not appear at all, nor
yet on the third day; but on the fourth the barbarians had pushed on
by a forced night march and occupied a commanding position on the
right, where the Hellenes had to pass. It was a narrow mountain
spur[9] overhanging the descent into the plain.

[9] Lit. "a mere nail tip."

But when Cheirisophus saw that this ridge was occupied, he summoned
Xenophon from the rear, bidding him at the same time to bring up
peltasts to the front. That Xenophon hesitated to do, for Tissaphernes
and his whole army were coming up and were well within sight.
Galloping up to the front himself, he asked: "Why do you summon me?"
The other answered him: "The reason is plain; look yonder; this crest
which overhangs our descent has been occupied. There is no passing, 39
until we have dislodged these fellows; why have you not brought up the
light infantry?" Xenophon explained: he had not thought it desirable
to leave the rear unprotected, with an enemy appearing in the field of
view. "However, it is time," he added, "to decide how we are to
dislodge these fellows from the crest." At this moment his eye fell on
the peak of the mountain, rising immediately above their army, and he
could see an approach leading from it to the crest in question where
the enemy lay. He exclaimed: "The best thing we can do, Cheirisophus,
is to make a dash at the height itself, and with what speed we may. If
we take it, the party in command of the road will never be able to
stop. If you like, stay in command of the army, and I will go; or, if
you prefer, do you go to the mountain, and I will stay here."--"I
leave it to you," Cheirisophus answered, "to choose which you like
best." Xenophon remarking, "I am the younger," elected to go; but he
stipulated for a detachment from the front to accompany him, since it
was a long way to fetch up troops from the rear. Accordingly
Cheirisophus furnished him with the light infantry from the front,
reoccupying their place by those from the centre. He also gave him, to
form part of the detachment, the three hundred of the picked corps[10]
under his own command at the head of the square.

[10] Some think that these three hundred are three of the detached
companies described above; others, that they were a picked corps
in attendance on the commander-in-chief.

They set out from the low ground with all the haste imaginable. But
the enemy in position on the crest no sooner perceived their advance
upon the summit of the pass than they themselves set off full tilt in
a rival race for the summit too. Hoarse were the shouts of the
Hellenic troops as the men cheered their companions forwards, and
hoarse the answering shouts from the troops of Tissaphernes, urging on
theirs. Xenophon, mounted on his charger, rode beside his men, and
roused their ardour the while. "Now for it, brave sirs; bethink you
that this race is for Hellas!--now or never!--to find your boys, your
wives; one small effort, and the rest of the march we shall pursue in
peace, without ever a blow to strike; now for it." But Soteridas the
Sicyonian said: "We are not on equal terms, Xenophon; you are mounted 47
on a horse; I can hardly get along with my shield to carry;" and he,
on hearing the reproach, leapt from his horse. In another instant he
had pushed Soteridas from the ranks, snatched from him his shield, and
begun marching as quickly as he might under the circumstances, having
his horseman's cuirass to carry as well, so that he was sore pressed;
but he continued to cheer on the troops: exhorting those in front to
lead on and the men toiling behind to follow up[11]. Soteridas was not
spared by the rest of the men. They gave him blows, they pelted him,
they showered him with abuse, till they compelled him to take back his
shield and march on; and the other, remounting, led them on horseback
as long as the footing held; but when the ground became too steep, he
left his horse and pressed forward on foot, and so they found
themselves on the summit before the enemy.

[11] Some MSS. "and the men behind to pass him by, as he could but ill
keep up the pace."


There and then the barbarians turned and fled as best they might, and 1
the Hellenes held the summit, while the troops with Tissaphernes and
Ariaeus turned aside and disappeared by another road. The main body
with Cheirisophus made its way down into the plain and encamped in a
village filled with good things of divers sorts. Nor did this village
stand alone; there were others not a few in this plain of the Tigris
equally overflowing with plenty. It was now afternoon; and all of a
sudden the enemy came in sight on the plain, and succeeded in cutting
down some of the Hellenes belonging to parties who were scattered over
the flat land in quest of spoil. Indeed, many herds of cattle had been
caught whilst being conveyed across to the other side of the river.
And now Tissaphernes and his troops made an attempt to burn the
villages, and some of the Hellenes were disposed to take the matter
deeply to heart, being apprehensive that they might not know where to
get provisions if the enemy burnt the villages.

Cheirisophus and his men were returning from their sally of defence
when Xenophon and his party descended, and the latter rode along the 4
ranks as the rescuing party came up, and greeted them thus: "Do you
not see, men of Hellas, they admit that the country is now ours; what
they stipulated against our doing when they made the treaty, viz. that
we were not to fire the king's country, they are now themselves
doing--setting fire to it as if it were not their own. But we will be
even with them; if they leave provisions for themselves anywhere,
there also shall they see us marching;" and, turning to Cheirisophus,
he added: "But it strikes me, we should sally forth against these
incendiaries and protect our country." Cheirisophus retorted: "That is
not quite my view; I say, let us do a little burning ourselves, and
they will cease all the quicker."

When they had got back to the villages, while the rest were busy about
provisions, the generals and officers met: and here there was deep
despondency. For on the one side were exceedingly high mountains; on
the other a river of such depth that they failed to reach the bottom
with their spears. In the midst of their perplexities, a Rhodian came
up with a proposal, as follows: "I am ready, sirs to carry you across,
four thousand heavy infantry at a time; if you will furnish me with
what I need and give me a talent into the bargain for my pains." When
asked, "What shall you need?" he replied: "Two thousand wine-skins. I
see there are plenty of sheep and goats and asses. They have only to
be flayed, and their skins inflated, and they will readily give us a
passage. I shall want also the straps which you use for the baggage
animals. With these I shall couple the skins to one another; then I
shall moor each skin by attaching stones and letting them down like
anchors into the water. Then I shall carry them across, and when I
have fastened the links at both ends, I shall place layers of wood on
them and a coating of earth on the top of that. You will see in a
minute that there's no danger of your drowning, for every skin will be
able to support a couple of men without sinking, and the wood and
earth will prevent your slipping off."

The generals thought it a pretty invention enough, but its realisation
impracticable, for on the other side were masses of cavalry posted and
ready to bar the passage; who, to begin with, would not suffer the 12
first detachment of crossers to carry out any item of the programme.

Under these circumstances, the next day they turned right about face,
and began retracing their steps in the direction of Babylon to the
unburnt villages, having previously set fire to those they left, so
that the enemy did not ride up to them, but stood and stared, all
agape to see in what direction the Hellenes would betake themselves
and what they were minded to do. Here, again, while the rest of the
soldiers were busy about provisions, the generals and officers met in
council, and after collecting the prisoners together, submitted them
to a cross-examination touching the whole country round, the names,
and so forth, of each district.

The prisoners informed them that the regions south, through which they
had come, belonged to the district towards Babylon and Media; the road
east led to Susa and Ecbatana, where the king is said to spend summer
and spring; crossing the river, the road west led to Lydia and Ionia;
and the part through the mountains facing towards the Great Bear, led,
they said, to the Carduchians[1]. They were a people, so said the
prisoners, dwelling up on the hills, addicted to war, and not subject
to the king; so much so that once, when a royal army one hundred and
twenty thousand strong had invaded them, not a man came back, owing to
the intricacies of the country. Occasionally, however, they made truce
or treaty with the satrap in the plain, and, for the nonce, there
would be intercourse: "they will come in and out amongst us," "and we
will go in and out amongst them," said the captives.

[1] See Dr. Kiepert, "Man. Anc. Geog. (Mr. G. A. Macmillan) iv. 47.
The Karduchians or Kurds belong by speech to the Iranian stock,
forming in fact their farthest outpost to the west, little given
to agriculture, but chiefly to the breeding of cattle. Their name,
pronounced Kardu by the ancient Syrians and Assyrians, Kordu by
the Armenians (plural Kordukh), first appears in its narrower
sense in western literature in the pages of the eye-witness
Xenophon as {Kardoukhoi}. Later writers knew of a small kingdom
here at the time of the Roman occupation, ruled by native princes,
who after Tigranes II (about 80 B.C.) recognised the overlordship
of the Armenian king. Later it became a province of the Sassanid
kingdom, and as such was in 297 A.D. handed over among the
regiones transtigritanae to the Roman empire, but in 364 was again
ceded to Persia.

After hearing these statements, the generals seated apart those who 17
claimed to have any special knowledge of the country in any direction;
they put them to sit apart without making it clear which particular
route they intended to take. Finally the resolution to which they came
was that they must force a passage through the hills into the
territory of the Kurds; since, according to what their informants told
them, when they had once passed these, they would find themselves in
Armenia--the rich and large territory governed by Orontas; and from
Armenia, it would be easy to proceed in any direction whatever.
Thereupon they offered sacrifice, so as to be ready to start on the
march as soon as the right moment appeared to have arrived. Their
chief fear was that the high pass over the mountains must be occupied
in advance: and a general order was issued, that after supper every
one should get his kit together for starting, and repose, in readiness
to follow as soon as the word of command was given.


[In the preceding portion of the narrative a full account is
given of the incidents of the march up to the battle, and of
the occurrences after the battle during the truce which was
established between the king and the Hellenes, who marched up
with Cyrus, and thirdly, of the fighting to which the Hellenes
were exposed, after the king and Tissaphernes had broken the
treaty, while a Persian army hung on their rear. Having
finally reached a point at which the Tigris was absolutely
impassable owing to its depth and breadth, while there was no
passage along the bank itself, and the Carduchian hills hung
sheer over the river, the generals took the resolution above
mentioned of forcing a passage through the mountains. The
information derived from the prisoners taken along the way led
them to believe that once across the Carduchian mountains they
would have the choice either of crossing the Tigris--if they
liked to do so--at its sources in Armenia, or of going round
them, if so they preferred. Report further said that the
sources of the Euphrates also were not far from those of the
Tigris, and this is actually the case. The advance into the
country of the Carduchians was conducted with a view partly to
secrecy, and partly to speed, so as to effect their entry
before the enemy could occupy the passes.]


It was now about the last watch, and enough of the night remained to 1
allow them to cross the valley under cover of darkness; when, at the
word of command, they rose and set off on their march, reaching the
mountains at daybreak. At this stage of the march Cheirisophus, at the
head of his own division, with the whole of the light troops, led the
van, while Xenophon followed behind with the heavy infantry of the
rearguard, but without any light troops, since there seemed to be no
danger of pursuit or attack from the rear, while they were making
their way up hill. Cheirisophus reached the summit without any of the 6
enemy perceiving him. Then he led on slowly, and the rest of the army
followed, wave upon wave, cresting the summit and descending into the
villages which nestled in the hollows and recesses of the hills.

Thereupon the Carduchians abandoned their dwelling places, and with
their wives and children fled to the mountains; so there was plenty of
provisions to be got for the mere trouble of taking, and the
homesteads too were well supplied with a copious store of bronze
vessels and utensils which the Hellenes kept their hands off,
abstaining at the same time from all pursuit of the folk themselves,
gently handling them, in hopes that the Carduchians might be willing
to give them friendly passage through their country, since they too
were enemies of the king: only they helped themselves to such
provisions as fell in their way, which indeed was a sheer necessity.
But the Carduchians neither gave ear, when they called to them, nor
showed any other friendly sign; and now, as the last of the Hellenes
descended into the villages from the pass, they were already in the
dark, since, owing to the narrowness of the road, the whole day had
been spent in the ascent and descent. At that instant a party of the
Carduchians, who had collected, made an attack on the hindmost men,
killing some and wounding others with stones and arrows--though it was
quite a small body who attacked. The fact was, the approach of the
Hellenic army had taken them by surprise; if, however, they had
mustered in larger force at this time, the chances are that a large
portion of the army would have been annihilated. As it was, they got
into quarters, and bivouacked in the villages that night, while the
Carduchians kept many watch-fires blazing in a circle on the
mountains, and kept each other in sight all round.

But with the dawn the generals and officers of the Hellenes met and
resolved to proceed, taking only the necessary number of stout baggage
animals, and leaving the weaklings behind. They resolved further to
let go free all the lately-captured slaves in the host; for the pace
of the march was necessarily rendered slow by the quantity of animals
and prisoners, and the number of non-combatants in attendance on these 13
was excessive, while, with such a crowd of human beings to satisfy,
twice the amount of provisions had to be procured and carried. These
resolutions passed, they caused a proclamation by herald to be made
for their enforcement.

When they had breakfasted and the march recommenced, the generals
planted themselves a little to one side in a narrow place, and when
they found any of the aforesaid slaves or other property still
retained, they confiscated them. The soldiers yielded obedience,
except where some smuggler, prompted by desire of a good-looking boy
or woman, managed to make off with his prize. During this day they
contrived to get along after a fashion, now fighting and now resting.
But on the next day they were visited by a great storm, in spite of
which they were obliged to continue the march, owing to insufficiency
of provisions. Cheirisophus was as usual leading in front, while
Xenophon headed the rearguard, when the enemy began a violent and
sustained attack. At one narrow place after another they came up quite
close, pouring in volleys of arrows and slingstones, so that the
Hellenes had no choice but to make sallies in pursuit and then again
recoil, making but very little progress. Over and over again Xenophon
would send an order to the front to slacken pace, when the enemy were
pressing their attack severely. As a rule, when the word was so passed
up, Cheirisophus slackened; but sometimes instead of slackening,
Cheirisophus quickened, sending down a counter-order to the rear to
follow on quickly. It was clear that there was something or other
happening, but there was no time to go to the front and discover the
cause of the hurry. Under the circumstances the march, at any rate in
the rear, became very like a rout, and here a brave man lost his life,
Cleonymus the Laconian, shot with an arrow in the ribs right through
shield and corselet, as also Basias, an Arcadian, shot clean through
the head.

As soon as they reached a halting-place, Xenophon, without more ado,
came up to Cheirisophus, and took him to task for not having waited,
"whereby," he said, "we were forced to fight and flee at the same 19
moment; and now it has cost us the lives of two fine fellows; they are
dead, and we were not able to pick up their bodies or bury them."
Cheirisophus answered: "Look up there," pointing as he spoke to the
mountain, "do you see how inaccessible it all is? only this one road,
which you see, going straight up, and on it all that crowd of men who
have seized and are guarding the single exit. That is why I hastened
on, and why I could not wait for you, hoping to be beforehand with
them yonder in seizing the pass: the guides we have got say there is
no other way." And Xenophon replied: "But I have got two prisoners
also; the enemy annoyed us so much that we laid an ambuscade for them,
which also gave us time to recover our breaths; we killed some of
them, and did our best to catch one or two alive--for this very
reason--that we might have guides who knew the country, to depend

The two were brought up at once and questioned separately: "Did they
know of any other road than the one visible?" The first said no; and
in spite of all sorts of terrors applied to extract a better
answer--"no," he persisted. When nothing could be got out of him, he
was killed before the eyes of his fellow. This latter then explained:
"Yonder man said, he did not know, because he has got a daughter
married to a husband in those parts. I can take you," he added, "by a
good road, practicable even for beasts." And when asked whether there
was any point on it difficult to pass, he replied that there was a col
which it would be impossible to pass unless it were occupied in

Then it was resolved to summon the officers of the light infantry and
some of those of the heavy infantry, and to acquaint them with the
state of affairs, and ask them whether any of them were minded to
distinguish themselves, and would step forward as volunteers on an
expedition. Two or three heavy infantry soldiers stepped forward at
once--two Arcadians, Aristonymus of Methydrium, and Agasias of
Stymphalus--and in emulation of these, a third, also an Arcadian,
Callimachus from Parrhasia, who said he was ready to go, and would get
volunteers from the whole army to join him. "I know," he added, "there 27
will be no lack of youngsters to follow where I lead." After that they
asked, "Were there any captains of light infantry willing to accompany
the expedition?" Aristeas, a Chian, who on several occasions proved
his usefulness to the army on such service, volunteered.


It was already late afternoon, when they ordered the storming party to 1
take a snatch of food and set off; then they bound the guide and
handed him over to them. The agreement was, that if they succeeded in
taking the summit they were to guard the position that night, and at
daybreak to give a signal by bugle. At this signal the party on the
summit were to attack the enemy in occupation of the visible pass,
while the generals with the main body would bring up their succours;
making their way up with what speed they might. With this
understanding, off they set, two thousand strong; and there was a
heavy downpour of rain, but Xenophon, with his rearguard, began
advancing to the visible pass, so that the enemy might fix his
attention on this road, and the party creeping round might, as much as
possible, elude observation. Now when the rearguard, so advancing, had
reached a ravine which they must cross in order to strike up the
steep, at that instant the barbarians began rolling down great
boulders, each a wagon load[1], some larger, some smaller; against the
rocks they crashed and splintered flying like slingstones in every
direction--so that it was absolutely out of the question even to
approach the entrance of the pass. Some of the officers finding
themselves baulked at this point, kept trying other ways, nor did they
desist till darkness set in; and then, when they thought they would
not be seen retiring, they returned to supper. Some of them who had
been on duty in the rearguard had had no breakfast (it so happened).
However, the enemy never ceased rolling down their stones all through
the night, as was easy to infer from the booming sound.

[1] I.e. several ton weight.

The party with the guide made a circuit and surprised the enemy's
guards seated round their fire, and after killing some, and driving
out the rest, took their places, thinking that they were in possession
of the height. As a matter of fact they were not, for above them lay a 6
breast-like hill[2] skirted by the narrow road on which they had found
the guards seated. Still, from the spot in question there was an
approach to the enemy, who were seated on the pass before mentioned.

[2] Or, "mamelon."

Here then they passed the night, but at the first glimpse of dawn they
marched stealthily and in battle order against the enemy. There was a
mist, so that they could get quite close without being observed. But
as soon as they caught sight of one another, the trumpet sounded, and
with a loud cheer they rushed upon the fellows, who did not wait their
coming, but left the road and made off; with the loss of only a few
lives however, so nimble were they. Cheirisophus and his men, catching
the sound of the bugle, charged up by the well-marked road, while
others of the generals pushed their way up by pathless routes, where
each division chanced to be; the men mounting as they were best able,
and hoisting one another up by means of their spears; and these were
the first to unite with the party who had already taken the position
by storm. Xenophon, with the rearguard, followed the path which the
party with the guide had taken, since it was easiest for the beasts of
burthen; one half of his men he had posted in rear of the baggage
animals; the other half he had with himself. In their course they
encountered a crest above the road, occupied by the enemy, whom they
must either dislodge or be themselves cut off from the rest of the
Hellenes. The men by themselves could have taken the same route as the
rest, but the baggage animals could not mount by any other way than

Here then, with shouts of encouragement to each other, they dashed at
the hill with their storming columns, not from all sides, but leaving
an avenue of escape for the enemy, if he chose to avail himself of it.
For a while, as the men scrambled up where each best could, the
natives kept up a fire of arrows and darts, yet did not receive them
at close quarters, but presently left the position in flight. No
sooner, however, were the Hellenes safely past this crest, than they
came in sight of another in front of them, also occupied, and deemed
it advisable to storm it also. But now it struck Xenophon that if they 13
left the ridge just taken unprotected in their rear, the enemy might
re-occupy it and attack the baggage animals as they filed past,
presenting a long extended line owing to the narrowness of the road by
which they made their way. To obviate this, he left some officers in
charge of the ridge--Cephisodorus, son of Cephisophon, an Athenian;
Amphicrates, the son of Amphidemus, an Athenian; and Archagoras, an
Argive exile--while he in person with the rest of the men attacked the
second ridge; this they took in the same fashion, only to find that
they had still a third knoll left, far the steepest of the three. This
was none other than the mamelon mentioned as above the outpost, which
had been captured over their fire by the volunteer storming party in
the night. But when the Hellenes were close, the natives, to the
astonishment of all, without a struggle deserted the knoll. It was
conjectured that they had left their position from fear of being
encircled and besieged, but the fact was that they, from their higher
ground, had been able to see what was going on in the rear, and had
all made off in this fashion to attack the rearguard.

So then Xenophon, with the youngest men, scaled up to the top, leaving
orders to the rest to march on slowly, so as to allow the hindmost
companies to unite with them; they were to advance by the road, and
when they reached the level to ground arms[3]. Meanwhile the Argive
Archagoras arrived, in full flight, with the announcement that they
had been dislodged from the first ridge, and that Cephisodorus and
Amphicrates were slain, with a number of others besides, all in fact
who had not jumped down the crags and so reached the rearguard. After
this achievement the barbarians came to a crest facing the mamelon,
and Xenophon held a colloquy with them by means of an interpreter, to
negotiate a truce, and demanded back the dead bodies. These they
agreed to restore if he would not burn their houses, and to these
terms Xenophon agreed. Meanwhile, as the rest of the army filed past,
and the colloquy was proceeding, all the people of the place had time
to gather gradually, and the enemy formed; and as soon as the Hellenes
began to descend from the mamelon to join the others where the troops
were halted, on rushed the foe, in full force, with hue and cry. They 20
reached the summit of the mamelon from which Xenophon was descending,
and began rolling down crags. One man's leg was crushed to pieces.
Xenophon was left by his shield-bearer, who carried off his shield,
but Eurylochus of Lusia[4], an Arcadian hoplite, ran up to him, and
threw his shield in front to protect both of them; so the two together
beat a retreat, and so too the rest, and joined the serried ranks of
the main body.

[3] To take up position.

[4] I.e. of Lusi (or Lusia), a town (or district) in Northern Arcadia.

After this the whole Hellenic force united, and took up their quarters
there in numerous beautiful dwellings, with an ample store of
provisions, for there was wine so plentiful that they had it in
cemented cisterns. Xenophon and Cheirisophus arranged to recover the
dead, and in return restored the guide; afterwards they did everything
for the dead, according to the means at their disposal, with the
customary honours paid to good men.

Next day they set off without a guide; and the enemy, by keeping up a
continuous battle and occupying in advance every narrow place,
obstructed passage after passage. Accordingly, whenever the van was
obstructed, Xenophon, from behind, made a dash up the hills and broke
the barricade, and freed the vanguard by endeavouring to get above the
obstructing enemy. Whenever the rear was the point attacked,
Cheirisophus, in the same way, made a detour, and by endeavouring to
mount higher than the barricaders, freed the passage for the rear
rank; and in this way, turn and turn about, they rescued each other,
and paid unflinching attention to their mutual needs. At times it
happened that, the relief party having mounted, encountered
considerable annoyance in their descent from the barbarians, who were
so agile that they allowed them to come up quite close, before they
turned back, and still escaped, partly no doubt because the only
weapons they had to carry were bows and slings.

They were, moreover, excellent archers, using bows nearly three cubits
long and arrows more than two cubits. When discharging the arrow, they
draw the string by getting a purchase with the left foot planted 28
forward on the lower end of the bow. The arrows pierced through shield
and cuirass, and the Hellenes, when they got hold of them, used them
as javelins, fitting them to their thongs. In these districts the
Cretans were highly serviceable. They were under the command of
Stratocles, a Cretan.


During this day they bivouacked in the villages which lie above the 1
plain of the river Centrites[1], which is about two hundred feet
broad. It is the frontier river between Armenia and the country of the
Carduchians. Here the Hellenes recruited themselves, and the sight of
the plain filled them with joy, for the river was but six or seven
furlongs distant from the mountains of the Carduchians. For the moment
then they bivouacked right happily; they had their provisions, they
had also many memories of the labours that were now passed; seeing
that the last seven days spent in traversing the country of the
Carduchians had been one long continuous battle, which had cost them
more suffering than the whole of their troubles at the hands of the
king and Tissaphernes put together. As though they were truly quit of
them for ever, they laid their heads to rest in sweet content.

[1] I.e. the Eastern Tigris.

But with the morrow's dawn they espied horsemen at a certain point
across the river, armed cap-a-pie, as if they meant to dispute the
passage. Infantry, too, drawn up in line upon the banks above the
cavalry, threatened to prevent them debouchng into Armenia. These
troops were Armenian and Mardian and Chaldaean mercenaries belonging
to Orontas and Artuchas. The last of the three, the Chaldaeans, were
said to be a free and brave set of people. They were armed with long
wicker shields and lances. The banks before named on which they were
drawn up were a hundred yards or more distant from the river, and the
single road which was visible was one leading upwards and looking like
a regular artificially constructed highway. At this point the Hellenes
endeavoured to cross, but on their making the attempt the water proved 6
to be more than breast-deep, and the river bed was rough with great
slippery stones, and as to holding their arms in the water, it was out
of the question--the stream swept them away--or if they tried to carry
them over the head, the body was left exposed to the arrows and other
missiles; accordingly they turned back and encamped there by the bank
of the river.

At the point where they had themselves been last night, up on the
mountains, they could see the Carduchians collected in large numbers
and under arms. A shadow of deep despair again descended on their
souls, whichever way they turned their eyes--in front lay the river so
difficult to ford; over, on the other side, a new enemy threatening to
bar the passage; on the hills behind, the Carduchians ready to fall
upon their rear should they once again attempt to cross. Thus for this
day and night they halted, sunk in perplexity. But Xenophon had a
dream. In his sleep he thought that he was bound in fetters, but
these, of their own accord, fell from off him, so that he was loosed,
and could stretch his legs as freely as he wished[2]. So at the first
glimpse of daylight he came to Cheirisophus and told him that he had
hopes that all things would go well, and related to him his dream.

[2] It is impossible to give the true sense and humour of the passage
in English, depending, as it does, on the double meaning of
{diabainein} (1) to cross (a river), (2) to stride or straddle (of
the legs). The army is unable to cross the Centrites; Xenophon
dreams that he is fettered, but the chains drop off his legs and
he is able to stride as freely as ever; next morning the two young
men come to him with the story how they have found themselves able
to walk cross the river instead of having to swim it. It is
obvious to Xenophon that the dream is sent from Heaven.

The other was well pleased, and with the first faint gleam of dawn the
generals all were present and did sacrifice; and the victims were
favourable in the first essay. Retiring from the sacrifice, the
generals and officers issued an order to the troops to take their
breakfasts; and while Xenophon was taking his, two young men came
running up to him, for every one knew that, breakfasting or supping,
he was always accessible, or that even if asleep any one was welcome
to awaken him who had anything to say bearing on the business of war. 10
What the two young men had at this time to say was that they had been
collecting brushwood for fire, and had presently espied on the
opposite side, in among some rocks which came down to the river's
brink, an old man and some women and little girls depositing, as it
would appear, bags of clothes in a cavernous rock. When they saw them,
it struck them that it was safe to cross; in any case the enemy's
cavalry could not approach at this point. So they stripped naked,
expecting to have to swim for it, and with their long knives in their
hands began crossing, but going forward crossed without being wet up
to the fork. Once across they captured the clothes, and came back

Accordingly Xenophon at once poured out a libation himself, and bade
the two young fellows fill the cup and pray to the gods, who showed to
him this vision and to them a passage, to bring all other blessings
for them to accomplishment. When he had poured out the libation, he at
once led the two young men to Cheirisophus, and they repeated to him
their story. Cheirisophus, on hearing it, offered libations also, and
when they had performed them, they sent a general order to the troops
to pack up ready for starting, while they themselves called a meeting
of the generals and took counsel how they might best effect a passage,
so as to overpower the enemy in front without suffering any loss from
the men behind. And they resolved that Cheirisophus should lead the
van and cross with half the army, the other half still remaining
behind under Xenophon, while the baggage animals and the mob of
sutlers were to cross between the two divisions.

When all was duly ordered the move began, the young men pioneering
them, and keeping the river on their left. It was about four furlongs'
march to the crossing, and as they moved along the bank, the squadrons
of cavalry kept pace with them on the opposite side.

But when they had reached a point in a line with the ford, and the
cliff-like banks of the river, they grounded arms, and first
Cheirisophus himself placed a wreath upon his brows, and throwing off 17
his cloak[3], resumed his arms, passing the order to all the rest to
do the same, and bade the captains form their companies in open order
in deep columns, some to left and some to right of himself. Meanwhile
the soothsayers were slaying a victim over the river, and the enemy
were letting fly their arrows and slingstones; but as yet they were
out of range. As soon as the victims were favourable, all the soldiers
began singing the battle hymn, and with the notes of the paean mingled
the shouting of the men accompanied by the shriller chant of the
women, for there were many women[4] in the camp.

[3] Or, "having doffed it," i.e. the wreath, an action which the
soldiers would perform symbolically, if Grote is right in his
interpretation of the passage, "Hist. of Greece," vol. ix. p. 137.

[4] Lit. "comrade-women."

So Cheirisophus with his detachment stepped in. But Xenophon, taking
the most active-bodied of the rearguard, began running back at full
speed to the passage facing the egress into the hills of Armenia,
making a feint of crossing at that point to intercept their cavalry on
the river bank. The enemy, seeing Cheirisophus's detachment easily
crossing the stream, and Xenophon's men racing back, were seized with
the fear of being intercepted, and fled at full speed in the direction
of the road which emerges from the stream. But when they were come
opposite to it they raced up hill towards their mountains. Then
Lycius, who commanded the cavalry, and Aeschines, who was in command
of the division of light infantry attached to Cheirisophus, no sooner
saw them fleeing so lustily than they were after them, and the
soldiers shouted not to fall behind[5], but to follow them right up to
the mountains. Cheirisophus, on getting across, forbore to pursue the
cavalry, but advanced by the bluffs which reached to the river to
attack the enemy overhead. And these, seeing their own cavalry
fleeing, seeing also the heavy infantry advancing upon them, abandoned
the heights above the river.

[5] Or, "to stick tight to them and not to be outdone"; or, as others
understand, "the (infantry) soldiers clamoured not to be left
behind, but to follow them up into the mountains."

Xenophon, as soon as he saw that things were going well on the other 24
side, fell back with all speed to join the troops engaged in crossing,
for by this time the Carduchians were well in sight, descending into
the plain to attack their rear.

Cheirisophus was in possession of the higher ground, and Lycius, with
his little squadron, in an attempt to follow up the pursuit, had
captured some stragglers of their baggage-bearers, and with them some
handsome apparel and drinking-cups. The baggage animals of the
Hellenes and the mob of non-combatants were just about to cross, when
Xenonphon turned his troops right about to face the Carduchians.
Vis-a-vis he formed his line, passing the order to the captains each
to form his company into sections, and to deploy them into line by the
left, the captains of companies and lieutenants in command of sections
to advance to meet the Carduchians, while the rear leaders would keep
their position facing the river. But when the Carduchians saw the
rearguard so stript of the mass, and looking now like a mere handful
of men, they advanced all the more quickly, singing certain songs the
while. Then, as matters were safe with him, Cheirisophus sent back the
peltasts and slingers and archers to join Xenophon, with orders to
carry out his instructions. They were in the act of recrossing, when
Xenophon, who saw their intention, sent a messenger across, bidding
them wait there at the river's brink without crossing; but as soon as
he and his detachment began to cross they were to step in facing him
in two flanking divisions right and left of them, as if in the act of
crossing; the javelin men with their javelins on the thong, and the
bowmen with their arrows on the string; but they were not to advance
far into the stream. The order passed to his own men was: "Wait till
you are within sling-shot, and the shield rattles, then sound the
paean and charge the enemy. As soon as he turns, and the bugle from
the river sounds for 'the attack,' you will face about to the right,
the rear rank leading, and the whole detachment falling back and
crossing the river as quickly as possible, every one preserving his
original rank, so as to avoid tramelling one another: the bravest man
is he who gets to the other side first."

The Carduchians, seeing that the remnant left was the merest handful 30
(for many even of those whose duty it was to remain had gone off in
their anxiety to protect their beasts of burden, or their personal
kit, or their mistresses), bore down upon them valorously, and opened
fire with slingstones and arrows. But the Hellenes, raising the battle
hymn, dashed at them at a run, and they did not await them; armed well
enough for mountain warfare, and with a view to sudden attack followed
by speedy flight, they were not by any means sufficiently equipped for
an engagement at close quarters. At this instant the signal of the
bugle was heard. Its notes added wings to the flight of the
barbarians, but the Hellenes turned right about in the opposite
direction, and betook themselves to the river with what speed they
might. Some of the enemy, here a man and there another, perceived, and
running back to the river, let fly their arrows and wounded a few; but
the majority, even when the Hellenes were well across, were still to
be seen pursuing their flight. The detachment which came to meet
Xenophon's men, carried away by their valour, advanced further than
they had need to, and had to cross back again in the rear of
Xenophon's men, and of these too a few were wounded.


The passage effected, they fell into line about mid-day, and marched 1
through Armenian territory, one long plain with smooth rolling
hillocks, not less than five parasangs in distance; for owing to the
wars of this people with the Carduchians there were no villages near
the river. The village eventually reached was large, and possessed a
palace belonging to the satrap, and most of the houses were crowned
with turrets; provisions were plentiful.

From this village they marched two stages--ten parasangs--until they
had surmounted the sources of the river Tigris; and from this point
they marched three stages--fifteen parasangs--to the river Teleboas.
This was a fine stream, though not large, and there were many villages
about it. The district was named Western Armenia. The
lieutenant-governor of it was Tiribazus, the king's friend, and
whenever the latter paid a visit, he alone had the privilege of
mounting the king upon his horse. This officer rode up to the Hellenes
with a body of cavalry, and sending forward an interpreter, stated
that he desired a colloquy with the leaders. The generals resolved to 5
hear what he had to say; and advancing on their side to within
speaking distance, they demanded what he wanted. He replied that he
wished to make a treaty with them, in accordance with which he on his
side would abstain from injuring the Hellenes, if they would not burn
his houses, but merely take such provisions as they needed. This
proposal satisfied the generals, and a treaty was made on the terms

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