Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Free Classic E-books

Anabasis by Xenophon

Part 3 out of 5

Adobe PDF icon
Download Anabasis pdf
File size: 0.5 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

From this place they marched three stages--fifteen parasangs--through
plain country, Tiribazus the while keeping close behind with his own
forces more than a mile off. Presently they reached a palace with
villages clustered round about it, which were full of supplies in
great variety. But while they were encamping in the night, there was a
heavy fall of snow, and in the morning it was resolved to billet out
the different regiments, with their generals, throughout the villages.
There was no enemy in sight, and the proceeding seemed prudent, owing
to the quantity of snow. In these quarters they had for provisions all
the good things there are--sacrificial beasts, corn, old wines with an
exquisite bouqet, dried grapes, and vegetables of all sorts. But some
of the stragglers from the camp reported having seen an army, and the
blaze of many watchfires in the night. Accordingly the generals
concluded that it was not prudent to separate their quarters in this
way, and a resolution was passed to bring the troops together again.
After that they reunited, the more so that the weather promised to be
fine with a clear sky; but while they lay there in open quarters,
during the night down came so thick a fall of snow that it completely
covered up the stacks of arms and the men themselves lying down. It
cramped and crippled the baggage animals; and there was great
unreadiness to get up, so gently fell the snow as they lay there warm
and comfortable, and formed a blanket, except where it slipped off the
sleepers' shoulders; and it was not until Xenophon roused himself to
get up, and, without his cloak on[1], began to split wood, that
quickly first one and then another got up, and taking the log away 12
from him, fell to splitting. Thereat the rest followed suit, got up,
and began kindling fire and oiling their bodies, for there was a
scented unguent to be found there in abundance, which they used
instead of oil. It was made from pig's fat, sesame, bitter almonds,
and turpentine. There was a sweet oil also to be found, made of the
same ingredients.

[1] Or, as we should say, "in his shirt sleeves." Doubtless he lay
with his {imation} or cloak loosely wrapped round him; as he
sprang to his feet he would throw it off, or it would fall off,
and with the simple inner covering of the {khiton} to protect him,
and arms free, he fell to chopping the wood, only half clad.

After this it was resolved that they must again separate their
quarters and get under cover in the villages. At this news the
soldiers, with much joy and shouting, rushed upon the covered houses
and the provisions; but all who in their blind folly had set fire to
the houses when they left them before, now paid the penalty in the
poor quarters they got. From this place one night they sent off a
party under Democrates, a Temenite[2], up into the mountains, where
the stragglers reported having seen watchfires. The leader selected
was a man whose judgement might be depended upon to verify the truth
of the matter. With a happy gift to distinguish between fact and
fiction, he had often been successfully appealed to. He went and
reported that he had seen no watchfires, but he had got a man, whom he
brought back with him, carrying a Persian bow and quiver, and a
sagaris or battleaxe like those worn by the Amazons. When asked "from
what country he came," the prisoner answered that he was "a Persian,
and was going from the army of Tiribazus to get provisions." They next
asked him "how large the army was, and for what object it had been
collected." His answer was that "it consisted of Tiribazus at the head
of his own forces, and aided by some Chalybian and Taochian
mercenaries. Tiribazus had got it together," he added, "meaning to
attack the Hellenes on the high mountain pass, in a defile which was
the sole passage."

[2] Reading {Temeniten}, i.e. a native of Temenus, a district of
Syracuse; al. {Temniten}, i.e. from Temnus in the Aeolid; al.
{Temeniten}, i.e. from Temenum in the Argolid.

When the generals heard this news, they resolved to collect the
troops, and they set off at once, taking the prisoner to act as guide,
and leaving a garrison behind with Sophaenetus the Stymphalian in 19
command of those who remained in the camp. As soon as they had begun
to cross the hills, the light infantry, advancing in front and
catching sight of the camp, did not wait for the heavy infantry, but
with a loud shout rushed upon the enemy's entrenchment. The natives,
hearing the din and clatter, did not care to stop, but took rapidly to
their heels. But, for all their expedition, some of them were killed,
and as many as twenty horses were captured, with the tent of
Tiribazus, and its contents, silver-footed couches and goblets,
besides certain persons styling themselves the butlers and bakers. As
soon as the generals of the heavy infantry division had learnt the
news, they resolved to return to the camp with all speed, for fear of
an attack being made on the remnant left behind. The recall was
sounded and the retreat commenced; the camp was reached the same day.


The next day it was resolved that they should set off with all 1
possible speed, before the enemy had time to collect and occupy the
defile. Having got their kit and baggage together, they at once began
their march through deep snow with several guides, and, crossing the
high pass the same day on which Tiribazus was to have attacked them,
got safely into cantonments. From this point they marched three desert
stages--fifteen parassangs--to the river Euphrates, and crossed it in
water up to the waist. The sources of the river were reported to be at
no great distance. From this place they marched through deep snow over
a flat country three stages--fifteen parasangs[1]. The last of these
marches was trying, with the north wind blowing in their teeth, drying
up everything and benumbing the men. Here one of the seers suggested
to them to do sacrifice to Boreas, and sacrifice was done. The effect
was obvious to all in the diminished fierceness of the blast. But
there was six feet of snow, so that many of the baggage animals and
slaves were lost, and about thirty of the men themselves.

[1] Al. "ten," al. "five."

They spent the whole night in kindling fire; for there was fortunately
no dearth of wood at the halting-place; only those who came late into
camp had no wood. Accordingly those who had arrived a good while and 5
had kindled fires were not for allowing these late-comers near the
fires, unless they would in return give a share of their corn or of
any other victuals they might have. Here then a general exchange of
goods was set up. Where the fire was kindled the snow melted, and
great trenches formed themselves down to the bare earth, and here it
was possible to measure the depth of the snow.

Leaving these quarters, they marched the whole of the next day over
snow, and many of the men were afflicted with "boulimia" (or
hunger-faintness). Xenophon, who was guarding the rear, came upon some
men who had dropt down, and he did not know what ailed them; but some
one who was experienced in such matters suggested to him that they had
evidently got boulimia; and if they got something to eat, they would
revive. Then he went the round of the baggage train, and laying an
embargo on any eatables he could see, doled out with his own hands, or
sent off other able-bodied agents to distribute to the sufferers, who
as soon as they had taken a mouthful got on their legs again and
continued the march.

On and on they marched, and about dusk Cheirisophus reached a village,
and surprised some women and girls who had come from the village to
fetch water at the fountain outside the stockade. These asked them who
they were. The interpreters answered for them in Persian: "They were
on their way from the king to the satrap;" in reply to which the women
gave them to understand that the satrap was not at home, but was away
a parasang farther on. As it was late they entered with the
water-carriers within the stockade to visit the headman of the
village. Accordingly Cheirisophus and as many of the troops as were
able got into cantonments there, while the rest of the soldiers--those
namely who were unable to complete the march--had to spend the night
out, without food and without fire; under the circumstances some of
the men perished.

On the heels of the army hung perpetually bands of the enemy,
snatching away disabled baggage animals and fighting with each other
over the carcases. And in its track not seldom were left to their fate
disabled soldiers, struck down with snow-blindness or with toes 12
moritified by frostbite. As to the eyes, it was some alleviation
against the snow to march with something black before them; for the
feet, the only remedy was to keep in motion without stopping for an
instant, and to loose the sandal at night. If they went to sleep with
the sandals on, the thong worked into the feet, and the sandals were
frozen fast to them. This was partly due to the fact that, since their
old sandals had failed, they wore untanned brogues made of
newly-flayed ox-hides. It was owing to some such dire necessity that a
party of men fell out and were left behind, and seeing a black-looking
patch of ground where the snow had evidently disappeared, they
conjectured it must have been melted; and this was actually so, owing
to a spring of some sort which was to be seen steaming up in a dell
close by. To this they had turned aside and sat down, and were loth to
go a step further. But Xenophon, with his rearguard, perceived them,
and begged and implored them by all manner of means not to be left
behind, telling them that the enemy were after them in large packs
pursuing; and he ended by growing angry. They merely bade him put a
knife to their throats; not one step farther would they stir. Then it
seemed best to frighten the pursuing enemy if possible, and prevent
their falling upon the invalids. It was already dusk, and the pursuers
were advancing with much noise and hubbub, wrangling and disputing
over their spoils. Then all of a sudden the rearguard, in the
plenitude of health and strength[2], sprang up out of their lair and
run upon the enemy, whilst those weary wights[3] bawled out as loud as
their sick throats could sound, and clashed their spears against their
shields; and the enemy in terror hurled themselves through the snow
into the dell, and not one of them ever uttered a sound again.

[2] Hug, after Rehdantz, would omit the words "in the plenitude of
health and strength."

[3] Or, "the invalids."

Xenophon and his party, telling the sick folk that next day people
would come for them, set off, and before they had gone half a mile
they fell in with some soldiers who had laid down to rest on the snow
with their cloaks wrapped round them, but never a guard was
established, and they made them get up. Their explanation was that 19
those in front would not move on. Passing by this group he sent
forward the strongest of his light infantry in advance, with orders to
find out what the stoppage was. They reported that the whole army lay
reposing in such fashion. That being so, Xenophon's men had nothing
for it but to bivouac in the open air also, without fire and
supperless, merely posting what pickets they could under the
circumstances. But as soon as it drew towards day, Xenophon despatched
the youngest of his men to the sick folk behind, with orders to make
them get up and force them to proceed. Meanwhile Cheirisophus had sent
some of his men quartered in the village to enquire how they fared in
the rear; they were overjoyed to see them, and handed over the sick
folk to them to carry into camp, while they themselves continued their
march forward, and ere twenty furlongs were past reached the village
in which Cheirisophus was quartered. As soon as the two divisions were
met, the resolution was come to that it would be safe to billet the
regiments throughout the villages; Cheirisophus remained where he was,
while the rest drew lots for the villages in sight, and then, with
their several detachments, marched off to their respective

It was here that Polycrates, an Athenian and captain of a company,
asked for leave of absence--he wished to be off on a quest of his own;
and putting himself at the head of the active men of the division, he
ran to the village which had been allotted to Xenophon. He surprised
within it the villagers with their headman, and seventeen young horses
which were being reared as a tribute for the king, and, last of all,
the headman's own daughter, a young bride only eight days wed. Her
husband had gone off to chase hares, and so he escaped being taken
with the other villagers. The houses were underground structures with
an aperture like the mouth of a well by which to enter, but they were
broad and spacious below. The entrance for the beasts of burden was
dug out, but the human occupants descended by a ladder. In these
dwellings were to be found goats and sheep and cattle, and cocks and
hens, with their various progeny. The flocks and herds were all reared
under cover upon green food. There were stores within of wheat and
barley and vegetables, and wine made from barley in great big bowls; 26
the grains of barley malt lay floating in the beverage up to the lip
of the vessel, and reeds lay in them, some longer, some shorter,
without joints; when you were thirsty you must take one of these into
your mouth, and suck. The beverage without admixture of water was very
strong, and of a delicious flavour to certain palates, but the taste
must be acquired.

Xenophon made the headman of the village his guest at supper, and bade
him keep a good heart; so far from robbing him of his children, they
would fill his house full of good things in return for what they took
before they went away; only he must set them an example, and discover
some blessing or other for the army, until they found themselves with
another tribe. To this he readily assented, and with the utmost
cordiality showed them the cellar where the wine was buried. For this
night then, having taken up their several quarters as described, they
slumbered in the midst of plenty, one and all, with the headman under
watch and ward, and his children with him safe in sight.

But on the following day Xenophon took the headman and set off to
Cheirisophus, making a round of the villages, and at each place
turning in to visit the different parties. Everywhere alike he found
them faring sumptuously and merry-making. There was not a single
village where they did not insist on setting a breakfast before them,
and on the same table were spread half a dozen dishes at least, lamb,
kid, pork, veal, fowls, with various sorts of bread, some of wheat and
some of barley. When, as an act of courtesy, any one wished to drink
his neighbour's health, he would drag him to the big bowl, and when
there, he must duck his head and take a long pull, drinking like an
ox. The headman, they insisted everywere, must accept as a present
whatever he liked to have. But he would accept nothing, except where
he espied any of his relations, when he made a point of taking them
off, him or her, with himself.

When they reached Cheirisophus they found a similar scene. There too 33
the men were feasting in their quarters, garlanded with whisps of hay
and dry grass, and Armenian boys were playing the part of waiters in
barbaric costumes, only they had to point out by gesture to the boys
what they were to do, like deaf and dumb. After the first formalities,
when Cheirisophus and Xenophon had greeted one another like bosom
friends, they interrogated the headman in common by means of the
Persian-speaking interpreter. "What was the country?" they asked: he
replied, "Armenia." And again, "For whom are the horses being bred?"
"They are tribute for the king," he replied. "And the neighbouring
country?" "Is the land of the Chalybes," he said; and he described the
road which led to it. So for the present Xenophon went off, taking the
headman back with him to his household and friends. He also made him a
present of an oldish horse which he had got; he had heard that the
headman was a priest of the sun, and so he could fatten up the beast
and sacrifice him; otherwise he was afraid it might die outright, for
it had been injured by the long marching. For himself he took his pick
of the colts, and gave a colt apiece to each of his fellow-generals
and officers. The horses here were smaller than the Persian horses,
but much more spirited. It was here too that their friend the headman
explained to them, how they should wrap small bags or sacks around the
feet of the horses and other cattle when marching through the snow,
for without such precautions the creatures sank up to their bellies.


When a week had passed, on the eighth day Xenophon delivered over the 1
guide (that is to say, the village headman) to Cheirisophus. He left
the headman's household safe behind in the village, with the exception
of his son, a lad in the bloom of youth. This boy was entrusted to
Episthenes of Amphipolis to guard; if the headman proved himself a
good guide, he was to take away his son also at his departure. They
finally made his house the repository of all the good things they
could contrive to get together; then they broke up their camp and
commenced to march, the headman guiding them through the snow
unfettered. When they had reached the third stage Cheirisophus flew 2
into a rage with him, because he had not brought them to any villages.
The headman pleaded that there were none in this part. Cheirisophus
struck him, but forgot to bind him, and the end of it was that the
headman ran away in the night and was gone, leaving his son behind
him. This was the sole ground of difference between Cheirisophus and
Xenophon during the march, this combination of ill-treatment and
neglect in the case of the guide. As to the boy, Episthenes conceived
a passion for him, and took him home with him, and found in him the
most faithful of friends.

After this they marched seven stages at the rate of five parasangs a
day, to the banks of the river Phasis[1], which is a hundred feet
broad: and thence they marched another couple of stages, ten
parasangs; but at the pass leading down into the plain there appeared
in front of them a mixed body of Chalybes and Taochians and
Phasianians. When Cheirisophus caught sight of the enemy on the pass
at a distance of about three or four miles, he ceased marching, not
caring to approach the enemy with his troops in column, and he passed
down the order to the others: to deploy their companies to the front,
that the troops might form into line. As soon as the rearguard had
come up, he assembled the generals and officers, and addressed them:
"The enemy, as you see, are in occupation of the mountain pass, it is
time we should consider how we are to make the best fight to win it.
My opinion is, that we should give orders to the troops to take their
morning meal, whilst we deliberate whether we should cross the
mountains to-day or to-morrow." "My opinion," said Cleanor, "is, that
as soon as we have breakfasted, we should arm for the fight and attack
the enemy, without loss of time, for if we fritter away to-day, the
enemy who are now content to look at us, will grow bolder, and with
their growing courage, depend upon it, others more numerous will join

[1] Probably a tributary of the Araxes = modern Pasin-Su.

After him Xenophon spoke: "This," he said, "is how I see the matter;
if fight we must, let us make preparation to sell our lives dearly,
but if we desire to cross with the greatest ease, the point to
consider is, how we may get the fewest wounds and throw away the
smallest number of good men. Well then, that part of the mountain 11
which is visible stretches nearly seven miles. Where are the men
posted to intercept us? except at the road itself, they are nowhere to
be seen. It is much better to try if possible to steal a point of this
desert mountain unobserved, and before they know where we are, secure
the prize, than to fly at a strong position and an enemy thoroughly
prepared. Since it is much easier to march up a mountain without
fighting than to tramp along a level when assailants are at either
hand; and provided he has not to fight, a man will see what lies at
his feet much more plainly even at night than in broad daylight in the
midst of battle; and a rough road to feet that roam in peace may be
pleasanter than a smooth surface with the bullets whistling about your
ears[2]. Nor is it so impossible, I take it, to steal a march, since
it is open to us to go by night, when we cannot be seen, and to fall
back so far that they will never notice us. In my opinion, however, if
we make a feint of attacking here, we shall find the mountain chain
all the more deserted elsewhere, since the enemy will be waiting for
us here in thicker swarm.

[2] Or, more lit., "with the head a mark for missiles."

"But what right have I to be drawing conclusions about stealing in
your presence, Cheirisophus? for you Lacedaemonians, as I have often
been told, you who belong to the 'peers,' practise stealing from your
boyhood up; and it is no disgrace but honourable rather to steal,
except such things as the law forbids; and in order, I presume, to
stimulate your sense of secretiveness, and to make you master thieves,
it is lawful for you further to get a whipping if you are caught. Now
then you have a fine opportunity of displaying your training. But take
care we are not caught stealing over the mountain, or we shall catch
it ourselves." "For all that," retorted Cheirisophus, "I have heard
that you Athenians are clever hands at stealing the public moneys; and
that too though there is a fearful risk for the person so employed;
but, I am told, it is your best men who are addicted to it; if it is
your best men who are thought worthy to rule. So it is a fine
opportunity for yourself also, Xenophon, to exhibit your education." 17
"And I," replied Xenophon, "am ready to take the rear division, as
soon as we have supped, and seize the mountain chain. I have already
got guides, for the light troops laid an ambuscade, and seized some of
the cut-purse vagabonds who hung on our rear. I am further informed by
them that the mountain is not inaccessible, but is grazed by goats and
cattle, so that if we can once get hold of any portion of it, there
will be no difficulty as regards our animals--they can cross. As to
the enemy, I expect they will not even wait for us any longer, when
they once see us on a level with themselves on the heights, for they
do not even at present care to come down and meet us on fair ground."
Cheirisophus answered: "But why should you go and leave your command
in the rear? Send others rather, unless a band of volunteers will
present themselves." Thereupon Aristonymus the Methydrian came forward
with some heavy infantry, and Nicomachus the Oetean with another body
of light troops, and they made an agreement to kindle several
watch-fires as soon as they held the heights. The arrangements made,
they breakfasted; and after breakfast Cheirisophus advanced the whole
army ten furlongs closer towards the enemy, so as to strengthen the
impression that he intended to attack them at that point.

But as soon as they had supped and night had fallen, the party under
orders set off and occupied the mountain, while the main body rested
where they were. Now as soon as the enemy perceived that the mountain
was taken, they banished all thought of sleep, and kept many
watch-fires blazing throughout the night. But at break of day
Cheirisophus offered sacrifice, and began advancing along the road,
while the detachment which held the mountain advanced pari passu by
the high ground. The larger mass of the enemy, on his side, remained
still on the mountain-pass, but a section of them turned to confront
the detachment on the heights. Before the main bodies had time to draw
together, the detachment on the height came to close quarters, and the
Hellenes were victorious and gave chase. Meanwhile the light division
of the Hellenes, issuing from the plain, were rapidly advancing
against the serried lines of the enemy, whilst Cheirisophus followed
up with his heavy infantry at quick march. But the enemy on the road 25
no sooner saw their higher division being worsted than they fled, and
some few of them were slain, and a vast number of wicker shields were
taken, which the Hellenes hacked to pieces with their short swords and
rendered useless. So when they had reached the summit of the pass,
they sacrificed and set up a trophy, and descending into the plain,
reached villages abounding in good things of every kind.


After this they marched into the country of the Taochians five 1
stages--thirty parasangs--and provisions failed; for the Taochians
lived in strong places, into which they had carried up all their
stores. Now when the army arrived before one of these strong places--a
mere fortress, without city or houses, into which a motley crowd of
men and women and numerous flocks and herds were
gathered--Cheirisophus attacked at once. When the first regiment fell
back tired, a second advanced, and again a third, for it was
impossible to surround the place in full force, as it was encircled by
a river. Presently Xenophon came up with the rearguard, consisting of
both light and heavy infantry, whereupon Cheirisophus halted him with
the words: "In the nick of time you have come; we must take this
place, for the troops have no provisions, unless we take it."
Thereupon they consulted together, and to Xenophon's inquiry, "What it
was which hindered their simply walking in?" Cheirisophus replied,
"There is just this one narrow approach which you see, but when we
attempt to pass it by they roll down volleys of stones from yonder
overhanging crag," pointing up, "and this is the state in which you
find yourself, if you chance to be caught;" and he pointed to some
poor fellows with their legs or ribs crushed to bits. "But when they
have expended their ammunition," said Xenophon, "there is nothing
else, is there, to hinder our passing? Certainly, except yonder
handful of fellows, there is no one in front of us that we can see;
and of them, only two or three apparently are armed, and the distance
to be traversed under fire is, as your eyes will tell you, about one
hundred and fifty feet as near as can be, and of this space the first
hundred is thickly covered with great pines at intervals; under cover
of these, what harm can come to our men from a pelt of stones, flying 6
or rolling? So then, there is only fifty feet left to cross, during a
lull of stones." "Ay," said Cheirisophus, "but with our first attempt
to approach the bush a galling fire of stones commences." "The very
thing we want," said the other, "for they will use up their ammunition
all the quicker; but let us select a point from which we shall have
only a brief space to run across, if we can, and from which it will be
easier to get back, if we wish."

Thereupon Cheirisophus and Xenophon set out with Callimachus the
Parrhasian, the captain in command of the officers of the rearguard
that day; the rest of the captains remained out of danger. That done,
the next step was for a party of about seventy men to get away under
the trees, not in a body, but one by one, every one using his best
precaution; and Agasis the Stymphalian, and Aristonymous the
Methydrian, who were also officers of the rearguard, were posted as
supports outside the trees; for it was not possible for more than a
single company to stand safely within the trees. Here Callimachus hit
upon a pretty contrivance--he ran forward from the tree under which he
was posted two or three paces, and as soon as the stones came
whizzing, he retired easily, but at each excursion more than ten
wagon-loads of rocks were expended. Agasias, seeing how Callimachus
was amusing himself, and the whole army looking on as spectators, was
seized with the fear that he might miss his chance of being first to
run the gauntlet of the enemy's fire and get into the place. So,
without a word of summons to his neighbour, Aristonymous, or to
Eurylochus of Lusia, both comrades of his, or to any one else, off he
set on his own account, and passed the whole detachment. But
Callimachus, seeing him tearing past, caught hold of his shield by the
rim, and in the meantime Aristonymous the Methydrian ran past both,
and after him Eurylochus of Lusia; for they were one and all aspirants
to valour, and in that high pursuit, each was the eager rival of the
rest. So in this strife of honour, the three of them took the
fortress, and when they had once rushed in, not a stone more was
hurled from overhead.

And here a terrible spectacle displayed itself: the women first cast
their infants down the cliff, and then they cast themselves after 13
their fallen little ones, and the men likewise. In such a scene,
Aeneas the Stymphalian, an officer, caught sight of a man with a fine
dress about to throw himself over, and seized hold of him to stop him;
but the other caught him to his arms, and both were gone in an instant
headlong down the crags, and were killed. Out of this place the merest
handful of human beings were taken prisoners, but cattle and asses in
abundance and flocks of sheep.

From this place they marched through the Chalybes[1] seven stages,
fifty parasangs. These were the bravest men whom they encountered on
the whole march, coming cheerily to close quarters with them. They
wore linen cuirasses reaching to the groin, and instead of the
ordinary "wings" or basques, a thickly-plaited fringe of cords. They
were also provided with greaves and helmets, and at the girdle a short
sabre, about as long as the Laconian dagger, with which they cut the
throats of those they mastered, and after severing the head from the
trunk they would march along carrying it, singing and dancing, when
they drew within their enemy's field of view. They carried also a
spear fifteen cubits long, lanced at one end[2]. This folk stayed in
regular townships, and whenever the Hellenes passed by they invariably
hung close on their heels fighting. They had dwelling-places in their
fortresses, and into them they had carried up their supplies, sot hat
the Hellenes could get nothing from this district, but supported
themselves on the flocks and herds they had taken from the Taochians.
After this the Hellenes reached the river Harpasus, which was four
hundred feet broad. Hence they marched through the Scythenians four
stages--twenty parasangs--through a long level country to more
villages, among which they halted three days, and got in supplies.

[1] These are the Armeno-Chalybes, so called by Pliny in
contradistinction to another mountain tribe in Pontus so named,
who were famous for their forging, and from whom steel received
its Greek name {khalups}. With these latter we shall make
acquaintance later on.

[2] I.e. with a single point or spike only, the Hellenic spear having
a spike at the butt end also.

Passing on from thence in four stages of twenty parasangs, they 19
reached a large and prosperous well-populated city, which went by the
name of Gymnias[3], from which the governor of the country sent them a
guide to lead them through a district hostile to his own. This guide
told them that within five days he would lead them to a place from
which they would see the sea, "and," he added, "if I fail of my word,
you are free to take my life." Accordingly he put himself at their
head; but he no sooner set foot in the country hostile to himself than
he fell to encouraging them to burn and harry the land; indeed his
exhortations were so earnest, it was plain that it was for this he had
come, and not out of the good-will he bore the Hellenes.

[3] Gymnias is supposed (by Grote, "Hist. of Greece," vol. ix. p. 161)
to be the same as that which is now called Gumisch-Kana--perhaps
"at no great distance from Baibut," Tozer, "Turkish Armenia," p.
432. Others have identified it with Erzeroum, others with Ispir.

On the fifth day they reached the mountain, the name of which was
Theches[4]. No sooner had the men in front ascended it and caught
sight of the sea than a great cry arose, and Xenophon, in the
rearguard, catching the sound of it, conjectured that another set of
enemies must surely be attacking in front; for they were followed by
the inhabitants of the country, which was all aflame; indeed the
rearguard had killed some and captured others alive by laying an
ambuscade; they had taken also about twenty wicker shields, covered
with the raw hides of shaggy oxen.

[4] Some MSS. give "the sacred mountain." The height in question has
been identified with "the ridge called Tekieh-Dagh to the east of
Gumisch-Kana, nearer to the sea than that place" (Grote, ib. p.
162), but the exact place from which they caught sight of the sea
has not been identified as yet, and other mountain ranges have
been suggested.

But as the shout became louder and nearer, and those who from time to
time came up, began racing at the top of their speed towards the
shouters, and the shouting continually recommenced with yet greater
volume as the numbers increased, Xenophon settled in his mind that
something extraordinary must have happened, so he mounted his horse,
and taking with him Lycius and the cavalry, he galloped to the rescue.
Presently they could hear the soldiers shouting and passing on the
joyful word, "The sea! the sea!"

Thereupon they began running, rearguard and all, and the baggage 24
animals and horses came galloping up. But when they had reached the
summit, then indeed they fell to embracing one another--generals and
officers and all--and the tears trickled down their cheeks. And on a
sudden, some one, whoever it was, having passed down the order, the
soldiers began bringing stones and erecting a great cairn, whereon
they dedicated a host of untanned skins, and staves, and captured
wicker shields, and with his own hand the guide hacked the shields to
pieces, inviting the rest to follow his example. After this the
Hellenes dismissed the guide with a present raised from the common
store, to wit, a horse, a silver bowl, a Persian dress, and ten
darics; but what he most begged to have were their rings, and of these
he got several from the soldiers. So, after pointing out to them a
village where they would find quarters, and the road by which they
would proceed towards the land of the Macrones, as evening fell, he
turned his back upon them in the night and was gone.


From this point the Hellenes marched through the country of the 1
Macrones three stages--ten parasangs, and on the first day they
reached the river, which formed the boundary between the land of the
Macrones and the land of the Scythenians. Above them, on their right,
they had a country of the sternest and ruggedest character, and on
their left another river, into which the frontier river discharges
itself, and which they must cross. This was thickly fringed with trees
which, though not of any great bulk, were closely packed. As soon as
they came up to them, the Hellenes proceeded to cut them down in their
haste to get out of the place as soon as possible. But the Macrones,
armed with wicker shields and lances and hair tunics, were already
drawn up to receive them opposite the crossing. They were cheering one
another on, and kept up a steady pelt of stones into the river, though
they failed to reach the other side or do any harm.

At this juncture one of the light infantry came up to Xenophon; he had
been, he said, a slave at Athens, and he wished to tell him that he
recognised the speech of these people. "I think," said he, "that this
must be my native country, and if there is no objection I will have a
talk with them." "No objection at all," replied Xenophon, "pray talk 5
to them, and ask them first, who they are." In answer to this question
they said, "they were Macrones." "Well, then," said he, "ask them why
they are drawn up in battle and want to fight with us." They answered,
"Because you are invading our country." The generals bade him say: "If
so, it is with not intention certainly of doing it or you any harm:
but we have been at war with the king, and are now returning to
Hellas, and all we want is to reach the sea." The others asked, "Were
they willing to give them pledges to that effect?" They replied: "Yes,
they were ready to give and receive pledges to that effect." Then the
Macrones gave a barbaric lance to the Hellenes, and the Hellenes a
Hellenic lance to them: "for these," they said, "would serve as
pledges," and both sides called upon the gods to witness.

After the pledges were exchanged, the Macrones fell to vigorously
hewing down trees and constructing a road to help them across,
mingling freely with the Hellenes and fraternising in their midst, and
they afforded them as good as market as they could, and for three days
conducted them on their march, until they had brought them safely to
the confines of the Colchians. At this point they were confronted by a
great mountain chain, which however was accessible, and on it the
Colchians were drawn up for battle. In the first instance, the
Hellenes drew up opposite in line of battle, as though they were
minded to assault the hill in that order; but afterwards the generals
determined to hold a council of war, and consider how to make the
fairest fight.

Accordingly Xenophon said: "I am not for advancing in line, but advise
to form companies by columns. To begin with, the line," he urged,
"would be scattered and thrown into disorder at once; for we shall
find the mountain full of inequalities, it will be pathless here and
easy to traverse there. The mere fact of first having formed in line,
and then seeing the line thrown into disorder, must exercise a
disheartening effect. Again, if we advance several deep, the enemy
will none the less overlap us, and turn their superfluous numbers to
account as best they like; while, if we march in shallow order, we may
fully expect our line to be cut through and through by the thick rain 11
of missiles and rush of men, and if this happen anywhere along the
line, the whole line will equally suffer. No; my notion is to form
columns by companies, covering ground sufficient with spaces between
the companies to allow the last companies of each flank to be outside
the enemy's flanks. Thus we shall with our extreme companies be
outside the enemy's line, and the best men at the head of their
columns will lead the attack, and every company will pick its way
where the ground is easy; also it will be difficult for the enemy to
force his way into the intervening spaces, when there are companies on
both sides; nor will it be easy for him to cut in twain any individual
company marching in column. If, too, any particular company should be
pressed, the neighbouring company will come to the rescue, or if at
any point any single company succeed in reaching the height, from that
moment not one man of the enemy will stand his ground."

This proposal was carried, and they formed into columns by
companies[1]. Then Xenophon, returning from the right wing to the
left, addressed the soldiers. "Men," he said, "these men whom you see
in front of you are the sole obstacles still interposed between us and
the haven of our hopes so long deferred. We will swallow them up
whole, without cooking[2], if we can."

[1] For this formation, see "The Retreat of the Ten Thousand; a
military study for all time," by Lieut.-General J. L. Vaughan,

[2] Or, "we will gobble them up raw." He is thinking of the Homeric
line ("Iliad", iv. 35) "Perchance wert thou to enter within the
gates and long walls and devour Priam raw, and Priam's sons and
all the Trojans, then mightest thou assuage thine anger."--Leaf.

The several divisions fell into position, the companies were formed
into columns, and the result was a total of something like eighty
companies of heavy infantry, each company consisting on an average of
a hundred men. The light infantry and bowmen were arranged in three
divisions--two outside to support the left and the right respectively,
and the third in the centre--each division consisting of about six
hundred men[3].

[3] This suggests 1800 as the total of the peltasts, 8000 as the total
of the hoplites, but the companies were probably not limited to
100, and under "peltasts" were probably included other light

Before starting, the generals passed the order to offer prayer; and 16
with the prayer and battle hymn rising from their lips they commenced
their advance. Cheirisophus and Xenophon, and the light infantry with
them, advanced outside the enemy's line to right and left, and the
enemy, seeing their advance, made an effort to keep parallel and
confront them, but in order to do so, as he extended partly to right
and partly to left, he was pulled to pieces, and there was a large
space or hollow left in the centre of his line. Seeing them separate
thus, the light infantry attached to the Arcadian battalion, under
command of Aeschines, an Arcarnanian, mistook the movement for flight,
and with a loud shout rushed on, and these were the first to scale the
mountain summit; but they were closely followed up by the Arcadian
heavy infantry, under command of Cleanor of Orchomenus.

When they began running in that way, the enemy stood their ground no
longer, but betook themselves to flight, one in one direction, one in
another, and the Hellenes scaled the hill and found quarters in
numerous villages which contained supplies in abundance. Here,
generally speaking, there was nothing to excite their wonderment, but
the numbers of bee-hives were indeed astonishing, and so were certain
properties of the honey[4]. The effect upon the soldiers who tasted
the combs was, that they all went for the nonce quite off their heads,
and suffered from vomiting and diarrhoea, with a total inability to
stand steady on their legs. A small dose produced a condition not
unlike violent drunkenness, a large one an attack very like a fit of
madness, and some dropped down, apparently at death's door. So they
lay, hundreds of them, as if there had been a great defeat, a prey to
the cruellest despondency. But the next day, none had died; and almost
at the same hour of the day at which they had eaten they recovered
their senses, and on the third or fourth day got on their legs again
like convalescents after a severe course of medical treatment.

[4] "Modern travellers attest the existence, in these regions, of
honey intoxicating and poisonous. . . . They point out the Azalea
Pontica as the flower from which the bees imbibe this peculiar
quality."--Grote, "Hist. of Greece," vol. ix. p. 155.

From this place they marched on two stages--seven parasangs--and 22
reached the sea at Trapezus[5], a populous Hellenic city on the Euxine
Sea, a colony of the Sinopeans, in the territory of the Colchians.
Here they halted about thirty days in the villages of the Colchians,
which they used as a base of operations to ravage the whole territory
of Colchis. The men of Trapezus supplied the army with a market,
entertained them, and gave them, as gifts of hospitality, oxen and
wheat and wine. Further, they negotiated with them in behalf of their
neighbours the Colchians, who dwelt in the plain for the most part,
and from this folk also came gifts of hospitality in the shape of
cattle. And now the Hellenes made preparation for the sacrifice which
they had vowed, and a sufficient number of cattle came in for them to
offer thank-offerings for safe guidance to Zeus the Saviour, and to
Heracles[6], and to the other gods, according to their vows. They
instituted also a gymnastic contest on the mountain side, just where
they were quartered, and chose Dracontius, a Spartan (who had been
banished from home when a lad, having unintentionally slain another
boy with a blow of his dagger), to superintend the course, and be
president of the games

[5] Trebizond.

[6] Or, "to sacrifice to Zeus the Preserver, and to Heracles
thank-offerings for safe guidance," Heracles "the conductor"
having special sympathy with wanderers.

As soon as the sacrifices were over, they handed over the hides of the
beasts to Dracontius, and bade him lead the way to his racecourse. He
merely waved his hand and pointed to where they were standing, and
said, "There, this ridge is just the place for running, anywhere,
everywhere." "But how," it was asked, "will they manage to wrestle on
the hard scrubby ground?" "Oh! worse knocks for those who are thrown,"
the president replied. There was a mile race for boys, the majority
being captive lads; and for the long race more than sixty Cretans
competed; there was wrestling, boxing, and the pankration[7].
Altogether it was a beautiful spectacle. There was a large number of
entries, and the emulation, with their companions, male and female, 27
standing as spectators, was immense. There was horse-racing also; the
riders had to gallop down a steep incline to the sea, and then turn
and come up again to the altar, and on the descent more than half
rolled head over heels, and then back they came toiling up the
tremendous steep, scarcely out of a walking pace. Loud were the
shouts, the laughter, and the cheers.

[7] The pankration combined both wrestling and boxing.


[In the preceding portion of the narrative a detailed account
is given of all that the Hellenes did, and how they fared on
the march up with Cyrus; and also of all that befell them on
their march subsequently, until they reached the seaboard of
the Euxine Sea, or Pontus, and the Hellenic city of Trapezus,
where they duly offered the sacrifice for safe deliverance
which they had vowed to offer as soon as they set foot on a
friendly soil.]


After this they met and took counsel concerning the remainder of the 1
march. The first speaker was Antileon of Thurii. He rose and said:
"For my part, sirs, I am weary by this time of getting kit together
and packing up for a start, of walking and running and carrying heavy
arms, and of tramping along in line, or mounting guard, and doing
battle. The sole desire I now have is to cease from all these pains,
and for the future, since here we have the sea before us, to sail on
and on, 'stretched out in sleep,' like Odysseus, and so to find myself
in Hellas." When they heard these remarks, the soldiers showed their
approval with loud cries of "well said," and then another spoke to the
same effect, and then another, and indeed all present. Then
Cheirisophus got up and said: "I have a friend, sirs, who, as good hap
will have it, is now high admiral, Anaxibius. If you like to send me
to him, I think I can safely promise to return with some men-of-war
and other vessels which will carry us. All you have to do, if you are
really minded to go home by sea, is to wait here till I come. I will
be back ere long." The soldiers were delighted at these words, and 4
voted that Cheirisophus should set sail on his mission without delay.

After him, Xenophon got up, and spoke as follows: "Cheirisophus, it is
agreed, sets out in search of vessels, and we are going to await him.
Let me tell you what, in my opinion, it is reasonable to do while we
are waiting. First of all, we must provide ourselves with necessaries
from hostile territory, for there is not a sufficient market, nor, if
there were, have we, with a few solitary exceptions, the means of
purchase. Now, the district is hostile, so that if you set off in
search of provisions without care and precaution, the chances are that
many of us will be lost. To meet this risk, I propose that we should
organise foraging parties to capture provisions, and, for the rest,
not roam about the country at random. The organisation of the matter
should be left to us." (The resolution was passed.) "Please listen to
another proposal;" he continued: "Some of you, no doubt, will be going
out to pillage. It will be best, I think, that whoever does so should
in each case before starting inform us of his intent, and in what
direction he means to go, so that we may know the exact number of
those who are out and of those who stop behind. Thus we shall be able
to help in preparing and starting the expedition where necessary; and
in case of aid or reinforcements being called for, we shall know in
what direction to proceed; or, again, if the attempt is to be
undertaken by raw or less expert hands, we may throw in the weight of
our experience and advice by endeavouring to discover the strength of
those whom they design to attack." This proposal was also carried.
"Here is another point," he continued, "to which I would draw your
attention. Our enemies will not lack leisure to make raids upon us:
nor is it unnatural, that they should lay plots for us; for we have
appropriated what is theirs; they are seated over us ever on the
watch. I propose then that we should have regular outposts round the
camp. If we take it in succession to do picket and outlook duty, the
enemy will be less able to harry us. And here is another point for
your observation; supposing we knew for certain that Cheirisophus must
return with a sufficient number of vessels, there would be no need of 10
the remark, but as that is still problematical, I propose that we
should try to get together vessels on the spot also. If he comes and
finds us already provided for here, we shall have more ships than we
need, that is all; while, if he fails to bring them, we shall have the
local supply to fall back upon. I see ships sailing past perpetually,
so we have only to ask the loan of some war-ships from the men of
Trapezus, and we can bring them into port, and safeguard them with
their rudders unshipped, until we have enough to carry us. By this
course I think we shall not fail of finding the means of transport
requisite." That resolution was also passed. He proceeded: "Consider
whether you think it equitable to support by means of a general fund
the ships' companies which we so impress, while they wait here for our
benefit, and to agree upon a fare, on the principle of repaying
kindnesses in kind." That too was passed. "Well then," said he, "in
case, after all, our endeavours should not be crowned with success,
and we find that we have not vessels enough, I propose that we should
enjoin on the cities along the seaboard the duty of constructing and
putting in order the roads, which we hear are impassable. They will be
only too glad to obey, no doubt, out of mere terror and their desire
to be rid of us."

This last proposal was met by loud cries and protestations against the
idea of going by land at all. So, perceiving their infatuation, he did
not put the question to the vote, but eventually persuaded the cities
voluntarily to construct roads by the suggestion, "If you get your
roads in good order, we shall all the sooner be gone." They further
got a fifty-oared galley from the Trapezuntines, and gave the command
of it to Dexippus, a Laconian, one of the perioeci[1]. This man
altogether neglected to collect vessels on the offing, but slunk off
himself, and vanished, ship and all, out of Pontus. Later on, however,
he paid the penalty of his misdeeds. He became involved in some
meddling and making in Thrace at the court of Seuthes, and was put to
death by the Laconian Nicander. They also got a thirty-oared galley,
the command of which was entrusted to Polycrates, an Athenian, and 16
that officer brought into harbour to the camp all the vessels he could
lay his hands on. If these were laden, they took out the freights and
appointed guards to keep an eye on their preservation, whilst they
used the ships themselves for transport service on the coast. While
matters stood at this point, the Hellenes used to make forays with
varying success; sometimes they captured prey and sometimes they
failed. On one occasion Cleanetus led his own and another company
against a strong position, and was killed himself, with many others of
his party.

[1] A native of the country parts of Laconia.


The time came when it was no longer possible to capture provisions, 1
going and returning to the camp in one day. In consequence of this,
Xenophon took some guides from the Trapezuntines and led half the army
out against the Drilae, leaving the other half to guard the camp. That
was necessary, since the Colchians, who had been ousted from their
houses, were assembled thickly, and sat eyeing them from the heights
above; on the other hand the Trapezuntines, being friendly to the
native inhabitants, were not for leading the Hellenes to places where
it was easy to capture provisions. But against the Drilae, from whom
they personally suffered, they would lead them with enthusiasm, up
into mountainous and scarcely accessible fortresses, and against the
most warlike people of any in the Pontus.

But when the Hellenes had reached the uplands, the Drilae set fire to
all their fastnesses which they thought could be taken easily, and
beat a retreat; and except here and there a stray pig or bullock or
other animal which had escaped the fire there was nothing to capture;
but there was one fastness which served as their metropolis: into this
the different streams of people collected; round it ran a tremendously
deep ravine, and the approaches to the place were difficult. So the
light infantry ran forward five or six furlongs in advance of the
heavy infantry, and crossed the ravine; and seeing quantities of sheep
and other things, proceeded to attack the place. Close at their heels
followed a number of those who had set out on the foray armed with
spears, so that the storming party across the ravine amounted to more
than two thousand. But, finding that they could not take the place by 5
a coup-de-main, as there was a trench running round it, mounded up
some breadth, with a stockade on the top of the earthwork and a
close-packed row of wooden bastions, they made an attempt to run back,
but the enemy fell upon them from the rear. To get away by a sudden
rush was out of the question, since the descent from the fortress into
the ravine only admitted of moving in single file. Under the
circumstances they sent to Xenophon, who was in command of the heavy
infantry. The messenger came and delivered his message: "There is a
fastness choke full of all sorts of stores, but we cannot take it, it
is too strong; nor can we easily get away; the enemy rush out and
deliver battle, and the return is difficult."

On hearing this, Xenophon pushed forward his heavy infantry to the
edge of the ravine, and there ordered them to take up a position,
while he himself with the officers crossed over to determine whether
it were better to withdraw the party already across, or to bring over
the heavy infantry also, on the supposition that the fortress might be
taken. In favour of the latter opinion it was agreed that the retreat
must cost many lives, and the officers were further disposed to think,
they could take the place. Xenophon consented, relying on the victims,
for the seers had announced, that there would be a battle, but that
the result of the expedition would be good. So he sent the officers to
bring the heavy troops across, while he himself remained, having drawn
off all the light infantry and forbidden all sharp-shooting at long
range. As soon as the heavy infantry had arrived, he ordered each
captain to form his company, in whatever way he hoped to make it most
effective in the coming struggle. Side by side together they stood,
these captains, not for the first time to-day competitors for the
award of manly virtue. While they were thus employed, he--the
general--was engaged in passing down his order along the ranks of the
light infantry and archers respectively to march with the javelin on
its thong and the arrow to the string, ready at the word "shoot" to
discharge their missiles, while the light troops were to have their
wallets well stocked with slingstones; lastly, he despatched his 12
adjutants to see to the proper carrying out of these orders.

And now the preparations were complete: the officers and lieutenants
and all others claiming to be peers of these, were drawn up in their
several places. With a glance each was able to command the rest in the
crescent-like disposition which the ground invited. Presently the
notes of the battle hymn arose, the clarion spoke, and with a
thrilling cry in honour of the warrior-god, commenced a rush of the
heavy infantry at full speed under cover of a storm of missiles,
lances, arrows, bullets, but most of all stones hurled from the hand
with ceaseless pelt, while there were some who brought firebrands to
bear. Overwhelmed by this crowd of missiles, the enemy left their
stockades and their bastion towers, which gave Agasias the Stymphalian
and Philoxenus of Pellene a chance not to be missed; laying aside
their heavy arms, up they went in bare tunics only, and one hauled
another up, and meantime another had mounted, and the place was taken,
as they thought. Then the peltasts and light troops rushed in and
began snatching what each man could. Xenophon the while, posted at the
gates, kept back as many of the hoplites as he could, for there were
other enemies now visible on certain strong citadel heights; and after
a lapse of no long time a shout arose within, and the men came running
back, some still clutching what they had seized; and presently here
and there a wounded man; and mighty was the jostling about the
portals. To the questions which were put to them the outpouring
fugitives repeated the same story: there was a citadel within and
enemies in crowds were making savage sallies and beating the fellows

At that Xenophon ordered Tolmides the herald to proclaim: "Enter all
who are minded to capture aught." In poured the surging multitude, and
the counter-current of persons elbowing their passage in prevailed
over the stream of those who issued forth, until they beat back and
cooped up the enemy within the citadel again. So outside the citadel
everything was sacked and pillaged by the Hellenes, and the heavy
infantry took up their position, some about the stockades, others 19
along the road leading up to the citadel. Xenophon and the officers
meantime considered the possibility of taking the citadel, for if so,
their safety was assured; but if otherwise, it would be very difficult
to get away. As the result of their deliberations they agreed that the
place was impregnable. Then they began making preparations for the
retreat. Each set of men proceeded to pull down the palisading which
faced themselves; further, they sent away all who were useless or who
had enough to do to carry their burdens, with the mass of the heavy
infantry accompanying them; the officers in each case leaving behind
men whom they could severally depend on.

But as soon as they began to retreat, out rushed upon them from within
a host of fellows, armed with wicker shields and lances, greaves and
Paphlagonian helmets. Others might be seen scaling the houses on this
side and that of the road leading into the citadel. Even pursuit in
the direction of the citadel was dangerous, since the enemy kept
hurling down on them great beams from above, so that to stop and to
make off were alike dangerous, and night approaching was full of
terrors. But in the midst of their fighting and their despair some god
gave them a means of safety. All of a sudden, by whatsoever hand
ignited, a flame shot up; it came from a house on the right hand, and
as this gradually fell in, the people from the other houses on the
right took to their heels and fled.

Xenophon, laying this lesson of fortune to heart, gave orders to set
fire to the left-hand houses also, which being of wood burned quickly,
with the result that the occupants of these also took to flight. The
men immediately at their front were the sole annoyance now, and these
were safe to fall upon them as they made their exit and in their
descent. Here then the word was passed for all who were out of range
to bring up logs of wood and pile them between themselves and the
enemy, and when there was enough of these they set them on fire; they
also fired the houses along the trench-work itself, so as to occupy
the attention of the enemy. Thus they got off, though with difficulty,
and escaped from the place by putting a fire between them and the 27
enemy; and the whole city was burnt down, houses, turrets, stockading,
and everything belonging to it except the citadel.

Next day the Hellenes were bent on getting back with the provisions;
but as they dreaded the descent to Trapezus, which was precipitous and
narrow, they laid a false ambuscade, and a Mysian, called after the
name of his nation (Mysus)[1], took ten of the Cretans and halted in
some thick brushy ground, where he made a feint of endeavouring to
escape the notice of the enemy. The glint of their light shields,
which were of brass, now and again gleamed through the brushwood. The
enemy, seeing it all through the thicket, were confirmed in their
fears of an ambuscade. But the army meanwhile was quietly making its
descent; and when it appeared that they had crept down far enough, the
signal was given to the Mysian to flee as fast as he could, and he,
springing up, fled with his men. The rest of the party, that is the
Cretans, saying, "We are caught if we race," left the road and plunged
into a wood, and tumbling and rolling down the gullies were saved. The
Mysian, fleeing along the road, kept crying for assistance, which they
sent him, and picked him up wounded. The party of rescue now beat a
retreat themselves with their face to the foe, exposed to a shower of
missiles, to which some of the Cretan bowmen responded with their
arrows. In this way they all reached the camp in safety.

[1] Lit. "{Musos} (Mysus), a Mysian by birth, and {Musos} (Mysus) by


Now when Cheirisophus did not arrive, and the supply of ships was 1
insufficient, and to get provisions longer was impossible, they
resolved to depart. On board the vessels they embarked the sick, and
those above forty years of age, with the boys and women, and all the
baggage which the solders were not absolutely forced to take for their
own use. The two eldest generals, Philesius and Sophaenetus, were put
in charge, and so the party embarked, while the rest resumed their
march, for the road was now completely constructed. Continuing their
march that day and the next, on the third they reached Cerasus, a
Hellenic city on the sea, and a colony of Sinope, in the country of
the Colchians. Here they halted ten days, and there was a review and
numbering of the troops under arms, when there were found to be eight 3
thousand six hundred men. So many had escaped; the rest had perished
at the hands of the enemy, or by reason of the snow, or else disease.

At this time and place they divided the money accruing from the
captives sold, and a tithe selected for Apollo and Artemis of the
Ephesians was divided between the generals, each of whom took a
portion to guard for the gods, Neon the Asinaean[1] taking on behalf
of Cheirisophus.

[1] I.e. of Asine, perhaps the place named in Thuc. iv. 13, 54; vi. 93
situated on the western side of the Messenian bay. Strabo,
however, speaks of another Asine near Gytheum, but possibly means
Las. See Arnold's note to Thuc. iv. 13, and Smith's "Dict. Geog.

Out of the portion which fell to Xenophon he caused a dedicatory
ofering to Apollo to be made and dedicated among the treasures of the
Athenians at Delphi[2]. It was inscribed with his own name and that of
Proxenus, his friend, who was killed with Clearchus. The gift for
Artemis of the Ephesians was, in the first instance, left behind by
him in Asia at the time when he left that part of the world himself
with Agesilaus on the march into Boeotia[3]. He left it behind in
charge of Megabyzus, the sacristan of the goddess, thinking that the
voyage on which he was starting was fraught with danger. In the event
of his coming out of it alive, he charged Megabyzus to restore to him
the deposit; but should any evil happen to him, then he was to cause
to be made and to dedicate on his behalf to Artemis, whatsoever thing
he thought would be pleasing to the goddess.

[2] Cf. Herod. i. 14; Strabo. ix. 420 for such private treasuries at

[3] I.e. in the year B.C. 394. The circumstances under which Agesilaus
was recalled from Asia, with the details of his march and the
battle of Coronea, are described by Xenophon in the fourth book of
the "Hellenica."

In the days of his banishment, when Xenophon was now established by
the Lacedaemonians as a colonist in Scillus[4], a place which lies on 7
the main road to Olympia, Megabyzus arrived on his way to Olympia as a
spectator to attend the games, and restored to him the deposit.
Xenophon took the money and bought for the goddess a plot of ground at
a point indicated to him by the oracle. The plot, it so happened, had
its own Selinus river flowing through it, just as at Ephesus the river
Selinus flows past the temple of Artemis, and in both streams fish and
mussels are to be found. On the estate at Scillus there is hunting and
shooting of all the beasts of the chase that are.

[4] Scillus, a town of Triphylia, a district of Elis. In B.C. 572 the
Eleians had razed Pisa and Scillus to the ground. But between B.C.
392 and 387 the Lacedaemonians, having previously (B.C. 400,
"Hell." III. ii. 30) compelled the Eleians to renounce their
supremacy over their dependent cities, colonised Scillus and
eventually gave it to Xenophon, then an exile from Athens.
Xenophon resided here from fifteen to twenty years, but was, it is
said, expelled from it by the Eleians soon after the battle of
Leuctra, in B.C. 371.--"Dict. Geog. (s.v.)" The site of the place,
and of Xenophon's temple, is supposed to be in the neighbourhood
of the modern village of Chrestena, or possibly nearer Mazi. To
reach Olympia, about 2 1/2 miles distant, one must cross the

Here with the sacred money he built an altar and a temple, and ever
after, year by year, tithed the fruits of the land in their season and
did sacrifice to the goddess, while all the citizens and neighbours,
men and women, shared in the festival. The goddess herself provided
for the banqueters meat and loaves and wine and sweetmeats, with
portions of the victims sacrificed from the sacred pasture, as also of
those which were slain in the chase; for Xenophon's own lads, with the
lads of the other citizens, always made a hunting excursion against
the festival day, in which any grown men who liked might join. The
game was captured partly from the sacred district itself, partly from
Pholoe[5], pigs and gazelles and stags. The place lies on the direct
road from Lacedaemon to Olympia, about twenty furlongs from the temple
of Zeus in Olympia, and within the sacred enclosure there is
meadow-land and wood-covered hills, suited to the breeding of pigs and
goats and cattle and horses, so that even the sumpter animals of the
pilgrims passing to the feast fare sumptuously. The shrine is girdled
by a grove of cultivated trees, yielding dessert fruits in their
season. The temple itself is a facsimile on a small scale of the great
temple at Ephesus, and the image of the goddess is like the golden
statue at Ephesus, save only that it is made, not of gold, but of
cypress wood. Beside the temple stands a column bearing this

[5] Pholoe. This mountain (north of the Alpheus) is an offshoot of
Erymanthus, crossing the Pisatis from east to west, and separating
the waters of the Peneus and the Ladon from those of the Alpheus
--"Dict. Geog." (Elis).


From Cerasus they continued the march, the same portion of the troops 1
being conveyed by sea as before, and the rest marching by land. When
they had reached the frontiers of the Mossynoecians[1] they sent to
him Timesitheus the Trapezuntine, who was the proxenos[2] of the
Mossynoecians, to inquire whether they were to pass through their
territory as friends or foes. They, trusting in their strongholds,
replied that they would not give them passage. It was then that
Timesitheus informed them that the Mossynoecians on the farther side
of the country were hostile to these members of the tribe; and it was
resolved to invite the former to make an alliance, if they wished it.
So Timesitheus was sent, and came back with their chiefs. On their
arrival there was a conference of the Mossynoecian chiefs and the
generals of the Hellenes, and Xenophon made a speech which Timesitheus
interpreted. He said: "Men of the Mossynoecians, our desire is to
reach Hellas in safety; and since we have no vessels we must needs go
by foot, but these people who, as we hear, are your enemies, prevent
us. Will you take us for your allies? Now is your chance to exact
vengeance for any wrong, which they at any time may have put upon you,
and for the future they will be your subjects; but if you send us
about our business, consider and ask yourselves from what quarter will
you ever again obtain so strong a force to help you?" To this the
chief of the Mossynoecians made answer:--that the proposal was in
accordance with their wishes and they welcomed the alliance. "Good,"
said Xenophon, "but to what use do you propose to put us, if we become
your allies? And what will you in turn be able to do to assist our
passage?" They replied: "We can make an incursion into this country
hostile to yourselves and us, from the opposite side, and also send 10
you ships and men to this place, who will aid you in fighting and
conduct you on the road."

[1] I.e. dwellers in mossyns, or wooden towers. See Herod. iii. 94;
vii. 78. Cf. also Strabo, xi. 41.

[2] Or, "consul."

On this understanding, they exchanged pledges and were gone. The next
day they returned, bringing three hundred canoes, each hollowed out of
a single trunk. There were three men in each, two of whom disembarked
and fell into rank, whilst the third remained. Then the one set took
the boats and sailed back again, whilst the other two-thirds who
remained marshalled themselves in the following way. They stood in
rows of about a hundred each, like the rows of dancers in a chorus,
standing vis-a-vis to one another, and all bearing wicker shields,
made of white oxhide, shaggy, and shaped like an ivy leaf; in the
right hand they brandished a javelin about six cubits long, with a
lance in front, and rounded like a ball at the butt end of the shaft.

Their bodies were clad in short frocks, scarcely reaching to the knees
and in texture closely resembling that of a linen bedclothes' bag; on
their heads they wore leathern helmets just like the Paphlagonian
helmet, with a tuft of hair in the middle, as like a tiara in shape as
possible. They carried moreover iron battle-axes. Then one of them
gave, as it were, the key-note and started, while the rest, taking up
the strain and the step, followed singing and marking time. Passing
through the various corps and heavy armed battalions of the Hellenes,
they marched straight against the enemy, to what appeared the most
assailable of his fortresses. It was situated in front of the city, or
mother city, as it is called, which latter contains the high citadel
of the Mossynoecians. This citadel was the real bone of contention,
the occupants at any time being acknowledged as the masters of all the
other Mossynoecians. The present holders (so it was explained) had no
right to its possession; for the sake of self-aggrandisement they had
seized what was really common property.

Some of the Hellenes followed the attacking party, not under the
orders of the generals, but for the sake of plunder. As they advanced,
the enemy for a while kept quiet; but as they got near the place, they 16
made a sortie and routed them, killing several of the barbarians as
well as some of the Hellenes who had gone up with them; and so pursued
them until they saw the Hellenes advancing to the rescue. Then they
turned round and made off, first cutting off the heads of the dead men
and flaunting them in the face of the Hellenes and of their own
private foes, dancing the while and singing in a measured strain. But
the Hellenes were much vexed to think that their foes had only been
rendered bolder, while the Hellenes who had formed part of the
expedition had turned tail and fled, in spite of their numbers; a
thing which had not happened previously during the whole expedition.
So Xenophon called a meeting of the Hellenes and spoke as follows:
"Soldiers, do not in any wise be cast down by what has happened, be
sure that good no less than evil will be the result; for to begin
with, you now know certainly that those who are going to guide us are
in very deed hostile to those with whom necessity drives us to
quarrel; and, in the next place, some of our own body, these Hellenes
who have made so light of orderly array and conjoint action with
ourselves, as though they must needs achieve in the company of
barbarians all they could with ourselves, have paid the penalty and
been taught a lesson, so that another time they will be less prone to
leave our ranks. But you must be prepared to show these friendly
barbarians that you are of a better sort, and prove to the enemy that
battle with the undisciplined is one thing, but with men like
yourselves another."

Accordingly they halted, as they were, that day. Next day they
sacrificed and finding the victims favourable, they breakfasted,
formed the companies into columns, and with their barbarians arranged
in similar order on their left, began their march. Between the
companies were the archers only slightly retired behind the front of
the heavy infantry, on account of the enemy's active light troops, who
ran down and kept up volleys of stones. These were held in check by
the archers and peltasts; and steadily step by step the mass marched
on, first to the position from which the barbarians and those with
them had been driven two days back, and where the enemy were now drawn 23
up to meet them. Thus it came to pass that the barbarians first
grappled with the peltasts and maintained the battle until the heavy
infantry were close, when they turned and fled. The peltasts followed
without delay, and pursued them right up to their city, while the
heavy troops in unbroken order followed. As soon as they were up at
the houses of the capital, there and then the enemy, collecting all
together in one strong body, fought valiantly, and hurled their
javelins, or else clenched their long stout spears, almost too heavy
for a man to wield, and did their best to ward off the attack at close

But when the Hellenes, instead of giving way, kept massing together
more thickly, the barbarians fled from this place also, and in a body
deserted the fortress. Their king, who sat in his wooden tower or
mossyn, built on the citadel (there he sits and there they maintain
him, all at the common cost, and guard him narrowly), refused to come
forth, as did also those in the fortress first taken, and so were
burnt to a cinder where they were, their mossyns, themseves, and all.
The Hellenes, pillaging and ransacking these places, discovered in the
different houses treasures and magazines of loaves, pile upon pile,
"the ancestral stores," as the Mossynoecians told them; but the new
corn was laid up apart with the straw-stalk and ear together, and this
was for the most part spelt. Slices of dolphin were another discovery,
in narrow-necked jars, all properly salted and pickled; and there was
blubber of dolphin in vessels, which the Mossynoecians used precisely
as the Hellenes use oil. Then there were large stores of nuts on the
upper floor, the broad kind without a division[3]. This was also a
chief article of food with them--boiled nuts and baked loaves. Wine
was also discovered. This, from its rough, dry quality, tasted sharp
when drunk pure, but mixed with water was sweet and fragrant.

[3] I.e. "chestnuts."

The Hellenes breakfasted and then started forward on their march,
having first delivered the stronghold to their allies among the
Mossynoecians. As for the other strongholds belonging to tribes allied
with their foes, which they passed en route, the most accessible were
either deserted by their inhabitants or gave in their adhesion 30
voluntarily. The following description will apply to the majority of
them: the cities were on an average ten miles apart, some more, some
less; but so elevated is the country and intersected by such deep
clefts that if they chose to shout across to one another, their cries
would be heard from one city to another. When, in the course of their
march, they came upon a friendly population, these would entertain
them with exhibitions of fatted children belonging to the wealthy
classes, fed up on boiled chestnuts until they were as white as white
can be, of skin plump and delicate, and very nearly as broad as they
were long, with their backs variegated and their breasts tattooed with
patterns of all sorts of flowers. They sought after the women in the
Hellenic army, and would fain have laid with them openly in broad
daylight, for that was their custom. The whole community, male and
female alike, were fair-complexioned and white-skinned.

It was agreed that this was the most barbaric and outlandish people
that they had passed through on the whole expedition, and the furthest
removed from the Hellenic customs, doing in a crowd precisely what
other people would prefer to do in solitude, and when alone behaving
exactly as others would behave in company, talking to themselves and
laughing at their own expense, standing still and then again capering
about, wherever they might chance to be, without rhyme or reason, as
if their sole business were to show off to the rest of the world.


Through this country, friendly or hostile as the chance might be, the 1
Hellenes marched, eight stages in all, and reached the Chalybes. These
were a people few in number, and subject to the Mossynoecians. Their
livelihood was for the most part derived from mining and forging iron.

Thence they came to the Tibarenians. The country of the Tibarenians
was far more level, and their fortresses lay on the seaboard and were
less strong, whether by art or nature. The generals wanted to attack
these places, so that the army might get some pickings, and they would
not accept the gifts of hospitality which came in from the 2
Tibarenians, but bidding them wait till they had taken counsel, they
proceeded to offer sacrifice. After several abortive attempts, the
seers at last pronounced an opinion that the gods in no wise
countenanced war. Then they accepted the gifts of hospitality, and
marching through what was now recognised as a friendly country, in two
days reached Cotyora, a Hellenic city, and a colony of Sinope, albeit
situated in the territory of the Tibarenians[1].

[1] The MSS. here read, "Up to this point the expedition was conducted
on land, and the distance traversed on foot from the battle-field
near Babylon down to Cotyora amounted to one hundred and
twenty-two stages--that is to say, six hundred and twenty
parasangs, or eighteen thousand stades, or if measured in time, an
eight months' march." The words are probably the note of some
editor or commentator, though it is quite likely that the author
himself may have gone through such calculations and even have
inserted them as a note to his text.

Here they halted forty-five days, during which they first of all
sacrificed to the gods, and instituted processions, each set of the
Hellenes according to their several tribes, with gymnastic contests.
Provisions they got in meanwhile, partly from Paphlagonia, partly from
the estates of the Cotyorites, for the latter would neither provide
them a market nor receive their sick within their walls.

Meanwhile ambassadors arrived from Sinope, full of fears, not only for
the Cotyorites and their city, which belonged to Sinope, and brought
in tribute, but also for the territory which, as they had heard, was
being pillaged. Accordingly they came to the camp and made a speech.
Hecatonymus, who was reported to be a clever orator, acted as their
spokesman: "Soldiers," he said, "the city of the Sinopeans has sent us
to offer you, as Hellenes, our compliments and congratulations on your
victories over the barbarians; and next, to express our joyful
satisfaction that you have surmounted all those terrible sufferings of
which we have heard, and have reached this place in safety. As
Hellenes we claim to receive at your hands, as fellow-Hellenes,
kindness and not harm. We have certainly not ourselves set you an
example heretofore of evil treatment. Now the Cotyorites are our
colonists. It was we who gave them this country to dwell in, having 10
taken it from the barbarians; for which reason also they, with the men
of Cerasus and Trapezus, pay us an appointed tribute. So that,
whatever mischief you inflict on the men of Cotyora, the city of
Sinope takes as personal to herself. At the present time we hear that
you have made forcible entry into their city, some of you, and are
quartered in the houses, besides taking forcibly from the Cotyorite
estates whatever you need, by hook and by crook. Now against these
things we enter protest. If you mean to go on so doing, you will drive
us to make friends with Corylas and the Paphlagonians, or any one else
we can find."

To meet these charges Xenophon, on behalf of the soldiers, rose and
said: "As to ourselves, men of Sinope, having got so far, we are well
content to have saved our bodies and our arms. Indeed it was
impossible at one and the same moment to keep our enemies at bay and
to despoil them of their goods and chattels. And now, since we have
reached Hellenic cities, how has it fared with us? At Trapezus they
gave us a market, and we paid for our provisions at a fair market
price. In return for the honour they did us, and the gifts of
hospitality they gave the army, we requited them with honour. Where
the barbarian was friendly to them, we stayed our hands from injury;
or under their escort, we did damage to their enemies to the utmost of
our power. Ask them, what sort of people they found us. They are here,
some of them, to answer for themselves. Their fellow-citizens and the
state of Trapezus, for friendship's sake, have sent them with us to
act as our guides.

"But wherever we come, be it foreign or Hellenic soil, and find no
market for provisions, we are wont to help ourselves, not out of
insolence but from necessity. There have been tribes like the
Carduchians, the Taochians, the Chaldaeans, which, albeit they were
not subject to the great king, yet were no less formidable than
independent. These we had to bring over by our arms. The necessity of
getting provisions forced us; since they refused to offer us a market.
Whereas some other folk, like the Macrones, in spite of their being
barbarians, we regarded as our friends, simply because they did
provide us with the best market in their power, and we took no single 18
thing of theirs by force. But, to come to these Cotyorites, whom you
claim to be your people, if we have taken aught from them, they have
themselves to blame, for they did not deal with us as friends, but
shut their gates in our faces. They would neither welcome us within
nor furnish us with a market without. The only justification they
alleged was that your governor[2] had authorised this conduct.

[2] Lit. "harmost". The term, denoting properly a governor of the
islands and foreign cities sent out by the Lacedaemonians during
their supremacy, came, it would seem, to be adopted by other Greek
communities under somewhat similar circumstances. Cotyora receives
a harmost from her mother-city, Sinope. For the Greek colonies
here mentioned, see Kiepert's "Man. Anct. Geog." (Engl. tr., Mr.
G. A. Macmillan), p. 63.

"As to your assertion," he continued, turning to Hecatonymus, "that we
have got in by force and have taken up quarters, this is what we did.
We requested them to receive our sick and wounded under cover; and
when they refused to open their gates, we walked in where the place
itself invited us. All the violence we have committed amounts to this,
that our sick folk are quartered under cover, paying for their
expenses, and we keep a sentry at the gates, so that our sick and
wounded may not lie at the mercy of your governor, but we may have it
in our power to remove them whenever we like. The rest of us, you
observe, are camping under the canopy of heaven, in regular rank and
file, and we are ready to requite kindness with kindness, but to repel
evil vigorously. And as for your threat," he said, once again turning
to the spokesman, "that you will, if it suits you, make alliance with
Corylas and the Paphlagonians to attack us, for our part, we have no
objection to fighting both sets of you, if so be we must; we have
already fought others many times more numerous than you. Besides, 'if
it suits us,' as you put it, to make the Paphlagonian our friend
(report says that he has a hankering after your city and some other
places on the seaboard), we can enhance the value of our friendship by
helping to win for him what he covets."

Thereupon the ambassadors showed very plainly their annoyance with
Hecatonymus, on account of the style of his remarks, and one of them
stept forward to explain that their intention in coming was not at all
to raise a war, but on the contrary to demonstrate their friendliness. 24
"And if you come to Sinope itself," the speaker continued, "we will
welcome you there with gifts of hospitality. Meanwhile we will enjoin
upon the citizens of this place to give you what they can; for we can
see that every word of what you say is true." Thereupon the Cotyorites
sent gifts of hospitality, and the generals of the Hellenes
entertained the ambassadors of the Sinopeans. Many and friendly were
the topics of conversation; freely flowed the talk on things in
general; and, in particular, both parties were able to make inquiries
and satisfy their curiosity concerning the remaining portion of the


Such was the conclusion of that day. On the following day the generals 1
summoned an assembly of the soldiers, when it was resolved to invite
the men of Sinope, and to take advice with them touching the remainder
of the journey. In the event of their having to continue it on foot,
the Sinopeans through their acquaintance with Paphlagonia would be
useful to them; while, if they had to go by sea, the services of the
same people would be at a premium; for who but they could furnish
ships sufficient for the army? Accordingly, they summoned their
ambassadors, and took counsel with them, begging them, on the strength
of the sacred ties which bind Hellenes to Hellenes, to inaugurate the
good reception they had spoken of, by present kindliness and their
best advice.

Hecatonymus rose and wished at once to offer an apology with regard to
what he had said about the possibility of making friends with the
Paphlagonians. "The words were not intended," he said, "to convey a
threat, as though they were minded to go to war with the Hellenes, but
as meaning rather: albeit we have it in our power to be friendly with
the barbarians, we will choose the Hellenes." Then, being urged to aid
them by some advice, with a pious ejaculation, he commenced: "If I
bestow upon you the best counsel I am able, God grant that blessings
in abundance may descend on me; but if the contrary, may evil betide 4
me! 'Sacred counsel[1],' as the saying goes--well, sirs, if ever the
saying held, it should hold I think to-day; when, if I be proved to
have given you good counsel, I shall not lack panegyrists, or if evil,
your imprecations will be many-tongued.

[1] Cf. Plato, "Theages," 122.

"As to trouble, I am quite aware, we shall have much more trouble if
you are conveyed by sea, for we must provide the vessels; whereas, if
you go by land, all the fighting will evolve on you. Still, let come
what may, it behoves me to state my views. I have an intimate
acquaintance with the country of the Paphlagonians and their power.
The country possesses the two features of hill and vale, that is to
say, the fairest plains and the highest mountains. To begin with the
mountains, I know the exact point at which you must make your entry.
It is precisely where the horns of a mountain tower over both sides of
the road. Let the merest handful of men occupy these and they can hold
the pass with ease; for when that is done not all the enemies in the
world could effect a passage. I could point out the whole with my
finger, if you like to send any one with me to the scene.

"So much for the mountain barrier. But the next thing I know is that
there are plains and a cavalry which the barbarians themselves hold to
be superior to the entire cavalry of the great king. Why, only the
other day these people refused to present themselves to the summons of
the king; their chief is too proud for that.

"But now, supposing you were able to seize the mountain barrier, by
stealth, or expedition, before the enemy could stop you; supposing
further, you were able to win an engagement in the plain against not
only their cavalry but their more than one hundred and twenty thousand
infantry--you will only find yourself face to face with rivers, a
series of them. First the Thermodon, three hundred feet broad, which I
take it will be difficult to pass, especially with a host of foes in
front and another following behind. Next comes the Iris river, three
hundred feet broad; and thirdly, the Halys, at least two furlongs
broad, which you could not possibly cross without vessels, and who is
going to supply you with vessels? In the same way too the Parthenius 9
is impassable, which you will reach if you cross the Halys. For my
part, then, I consider the land-journey, I will not say difficult, but
absolutely impossible for you. Whereas if you go by sea, you can coast
along from here to Sinope, and from Sinope to Heraclea. From Heraclea
onwards there is no difficulty, whether by land or by sea; for there
are plenty of vessels at Heraclea."

After he had finished his remarks, some of his hearers thought they
detected a certain bias in them. He would not have spoken so, but for
his friendship with Corylas, whose official representative he was.
Others guessed he had an itching palm, and that he was hoping to
receive a present for his "sacred advice." Others again suspected that
his object was to prevent their going by foot and doing some mischief
to the country of the Sinopeans. However that might be, the Hellenes
voted in favour of continuing the journey by sea. After this Xenophon
said: "Sinopeans, the army has chosen that method of procedure which
you advise, and thus the matter stands. If there are sure to be
vessels enough to make it impossible for a single man to be left
behind, go by sea we will; but if part of us are to be left while part
go by sea, we will not set foot on board the vessels. One fact we
plainly recognise, strength is everything to us. So long as we have
the mastery, we shall be able to protect ourselves and get provisions;
but if we are once caught at the mercy of our foes, it is plain, we
shall be reduced to slavery." On hearing this the ambassadors bade
them send an embassy, which they did, to wit, Callimachus the
Arcadian, and Ariston the Athenian, and Samolas the Achaean.

So these set off, but meanwhile a thought shaped itself in the mind of
Xenophon, as there before his eyes lay that vast army of Hellene
hoplites, and that other array of peltasts, archers, and slingers,
with cavalry to boot, and all in a state of thorough efficiency from
long practice, hardened veterans, and all collected in Pontus, where
to raise so large a force would cost a mint of money. Then the idea
dawned upon him: how noble an opportunity to acquire new territory and 15
power for Hellas, by the founding of a colony--a city of no mean size,
moreover, said he to himself, as he reckoned up their own numbers--and
besides themselves a population planted on the shores of Pontus.
Threupon he summoned Silanus the Ambraciot, the soothsayer of Cyrus
above mentioned, and before breathing a syllable to any of the
soldiers, he consulted the victims by sacrifice.

But Silanus, in apprehension lest these ideas might embody themselves,
and the army be permanently halted at some point or other, set a tale
going among the men, to the effect that Xenophon was minded to detain
the army and found a city in order to win himself a name and acquire
power, Silanus himself being minded to reach Hellas with all possible
speed, for the simple reason that he had still got the three thousand
darics presented to him by Cyrus on the occasion of the sacrifice when
he hit the truth so happily about the ten days. Silanus's story was
variously received, some few of the soldiers thinking it would be an
excellent thing to stay in that country; but the majority were
strongly averse. The next incident was that Timasion the Dardanian,
with Thorax the Boeotian, addressed themselves to some Heracleot and
Sinopean traders who had come to Cotyora, and told them that if they
did not find means to furnish the army with pay sufficient to keep
them in provisions on the homeward voyage, all that great force would
most likely settle down permanently in Pontus. "Xenophon has a pet
idea," they continued, "which he urges upon us. We are to wait until
the ships come, and then we are suddenly to turn round to the army and
say: 'Soldiers, we now see the straits we are in, unable to keep
ourselves in provisions on the return voyage, or to make our friends
at home a little present at the end of our journey. But if you like to
select some place on the inhabited seaboard of the Black Sea which may
take your fancy and there put in, this is open to you to do. Those who
like to go home, go; those who care to stay here, stay. You have got 20
vessels now, so that you can make a sudden pounce upon any point you

The merchants went off with this tale and reported it to every city
they came to in turn, nor did they go alone, but Timasion the
Dardanian sent a fellow-citizen of his own, Eurymachus, with the
Boeotian Thorax, to repeat the same story. So when it reached the ears
of the men of Sinope and the Heracleots, they sent to Timasion and
pressed him to accept of a gratuity, in return for which he was to
arrange for the departure of the troops. Timasion was only too glad to
hear this, and he took the opportunity when the soldiers were convened
in meeting to make the following remarks: "Soldiers," he said, "do not
set your thoughts on staying here; let Hellas, and Hellas only, be the
object of your affection, for I am told that certain persons have been
sacrificing on this very question, without saying a word to you. Now I
can promise you, if you once leave these waters, to furnish you with
regular monthly pay, dating from the first of the month, at the rate
of one cyzicene[2] a head per month. I will bring you to the Troad,
from which part I am an exile, and my own state is at your service.
They will receive me with open arms. I will be your guide personally,
and I will take you to plces where you will get plenty of money. I
know every corner of the Aeolid, and Phrygia, and the Troad, and
indeed the whole satrapy of Pharnabazus, partly because it is my
birthplace, partly from campaigns in that region with Clearchus and

[2] A cyzicene stater = twenty-eight silver drachmae of Attic money
B.C. 335, in the time of Demosthenes; but, like the daric, this
gold coin would fluctuate in value relatively to silver. It
contained more grains of gold than the daric.

[3] Of Dercylidas we hear more in the "Hellenica." In B.C. 411 he was
harmost at Abydos; in B.C. 399 he superseded Thimbron in Asia
Minor; and was himself superseded by Agesilaus in B.C. 396.

No sooner had he ceased than up got Thorax the Boeotian. This was a
man who had a standing battle with Xenophon about the generalship of
the army. What he said was that, if they once got fairly out of the
Euxine, there was the Chersonese, a beautiful and prosperous country,
where they could settle or not, as they chose. Those who liked could
stay; and those who liked could return to their homes; how ridiculous 25
then, when there was so much territory in Hellas and to spare, to be
poking about[4] in the land of the barbarian. "But until you find
yourselves there," he added, "I, no less than Timasion, can guarantee
you regular pay." This he said, knowing what promises had been made
Timasion by the men of Heraclea and Sinope to induce them to set sail.

[4] The word {masteuein} occurs above, and again below, and in other
writings of our author. It is probably Ionic or old Attic, and
occurs in poetry.

Meanwhile Xenophon held his peace. Then up got Philesius and Lycon,
two Achaeans: "It was monstrous," they said, "that Xenophon should be
privately persuading people to stop there, and consulting the victims
for that end, without letting the army into the secret, or breathing a
syllable in public about the matter." When it came to this, Xenophon
was forced to get up, and speak as follows: "Sirs, you are well aware
that my habit is to sacrifice at all times; whether in your own behalf
or my own, I strive in every thought, word, and deed to be directed as
is best for yourselves and for me. And in the present instance my sole
object was to learn whether it were better even so much as to broach
the subject, and so take action, or to have absolutely nothing to do
with the project. Now Silanus the soothsayer assured me by his answer
of what was the main point: 'the victims were favourable.' No doubt
Silanus knew that I was not unversed myself in his lore, as I have so
often assisted at the sacrifice; but he added that there were symptoms
in the victims of some guile or conspiracy against me. That was a
happy discovery on his part, seeing that he was himself conspiring at
the moment to traduce me before you; since it was he who set the tale
going that I had actually made up my mind to carry out these projects
without procuring your consent. Now, for my part, if I saw that you 30
were in any difficulties, I should set myself to discover how you
might capture a city, on the understanding of course that all who
wished might sail away at once, leaving those who did not wish, to
follow at a later date, with something perhaps in their pockets to
benefit their friends at home. Now, however, as I see that the men of
Heraclea and Sinope are to send you ships to assist you to sail away,
and more than one person guarantees to give you regular monthly pay,
it is, I admit, a rare chance to be safely piloted to the haven of our
hopes, and at the same time to receive pay for our preservation. For
myself I have done with that dream, and to those, who came to me to
urge these projects, my advice is to have done with them. In fact,
this is my view. As long as you stay together united as to-day, you
will command respect and procure provisions; for might certainly
exercises a right over what belongs to the weaker. But once broken up,
with your force split into bits, you will neither be able to get
subsistence, nor indeed will you get off without paying dearly for it.
In fact, my resolution coincides precisely with yours. It is that we
should set off for Hellas, and if any one stops behind, or is caught
deserting before the whole army is in safety, let him be judged as an
evil-doer. Pray let all who are in favour of this proposition hold up
their hands."

They all held them up; only Silanus began shouting and vainly striving
to maintain the right of departure for all who liked to depart. But
the soldiers would not suffer him, threatening him that if he were
himself caught attempting to run away they would inflict the aforesaid
penalty. After this, when the Heracleots learned that the departure by
sea was resolved upon, and that the measure itself emanated from
Xenophon, they sent the vessels indeed; but as to the money which they
had promised to Timasion and Thorax as pay for the soldiers, they were
not as good as their word, in fact they cheated them both. Thus the
two who had guaranteed regular monthly pay were utterly confounded,
and stood in terror of the soldiers. What they did then, was to take
to them the other generals to whom they had communicated their former
transactions (that is to say, all except Neon the Asniaean, who, as
lieutenant-general, was acting for Cheirisophus during his continued
absence). This done they came in a body to Xenophon and said that 36
their views were changed. As they had now got the ships, they thought
it best to sail to the Phasis, and seize the territory of the Phasians
(whose present king was a descendant of Aeetes[5]). Xenophon's reply
was curt:--Not one syllable would he have to say himself to the army
in this matter, "But," he added, "if you like, you can summon an
assembly and have your say." Thereupon Timasion the Dardanian set
forth as his opinion:--It were best to hold no parliament at present,
but first to go and conciliate, each of them, his own officers. Thus
they went away and proceeded to execute their plans.

[5] Aeetes is the patronym of the kings of Colchis from mythical times
onwards; e.g. Medea was the daughter of Aeetes.


Presently the soldiers came to learn what was in course of agitation, 1
and Neon gave out that Xenophon had persuaded the other generals to
adopt his views, and had a plan to cheat the soldiers and take them
back to the Phasis. The soldiers were highly indignant; meetings were
held; little groups gathered ominously; and there seemed an alarming
probability that they would repeat the violence with which they had
lately treated the heralds of the Colchians and the clerks of the
market; when all who did not save themselves by jumping into the sea
were stoned to death. So Xenophon, seeing what a storm was brewing,
resolved to anticipate matters so far as to summon a meeting of the
men without delay, and thus prevent their collecting of their own
accord, and he ordered the herald to announce an assembly. The voice
of the herald was no sooner heard than they rushed with great
readiness to the place of meeting. Then Xenophon, without accusing the
generals of having come to him, made the following speech: "I hear
that a charge is brought against me. It is I apparently who am going
to cheat you and carry you off to Phasis. I beg you by all that is
holy to listen to me; and if there be found any guilt in me, let me
not leave this place till I have paid the penalty of my misdoing; but
if my accusers are found guilty, treat them as they deserve. I
presume, sirs, you know where the sun rises and where he sets, and
that he who would go to Hellas must needs journey towards the sunset;
whereas he who seeks the land of the barbarian must contrariwise fix 6
his face towards the dawn. Now is that a point in which a man might
hope to cheat you? Could any one make you believe that the sun rises
here and sets there, or that he sets here and rises there? And
doubtless you know this too, that it is Boreas, the north wind, who
bears the mariner out of Pontus towards Hellas, and the south wind
inwards towards the Phasis, whence the saying--

"'When the North wind doth blow
Home to Hellas we will go[1].'

[1] Whether this was a local saying or a proverb I cannot say. The
words have a poetical ring about them: "When Borrhas blows, fair
voyages to Hellas."

"He would be a clever fellow who could befool you into embarking with
a south wind blowing. That sounds all very well, you think, only I may
get you on board during a calm. Granted, but I shall be on board my
one ship, and you on board another hundred at least, and how am I to
constrain you to voyage with me against your will, or by what cajolery
shall I carry you off? But I will imagine you so far befooled and
bewitched by me, that I have got you to the Phasis; we proceed to
disembark on dry land. At last it will come out, that wherever you
are, you are not in Hellas, and the inventor of the trick will be one
sole man, and you who have been caught by it will number something
like ten thousand with swords in your hands. I do not know how a man
could better ensure his own punishment than by embarking on such a
policy with regards to himself and you.

"Nay, these tales are the invention of silly fellows who are jealous
of the honour you bestow on me. A most uncalled-for jealousy! Do I
hinder any of them from speaking any word of import in his power? of
striking a blow in your behalf and his own, if that is his choice? or,
finally, of keeping his eyes and ears open to secure your safety? What
is it? In your choice of leaders do I stand in the way of any one, is
that it? Let him step forward, I yield him place; he shall be your
general; only he must prove that he has your good at heart.

"For myself, I have done; but for yourselves, if any of you conceive 11
either that he himself could be the victim of a fraud, or that he
could victimise any one else in such a thing as this, let him open his
lips and explain to us how. Take your time, but when you have sifted
the matter to your hearts' content, do not go away without suffering
me to tell you of something which I see looming. If it should burst
upon us and prove in fact anything like what it gives signs of being
now, it is time for us to take counsel for ourselves and see that we
do not prove ourselves to be the worst and basest of men in the sight
of gods and men, be they friends or be they foes." The words moved the
curiosity of the soldiers. They marvelled what this matter might be,
and bade him explain. Thereupon he began again: "You will not have
forgotten certain places in the hills--barbaric fastnesses, but
friendly to the Cerasuntines--from which people used to come down and
sell us large cattle and other things which they possessed, and if I
mistake not, some of you went to the nearest of these places and made
purchases in the market and came back again. Clearetus the captain
learnt of this place, that it was but a little one and unguarded. Why
should it be guarded since it was friendly? so the folk thought. Thus
he stole upon it in the dead of night, and meant to sack it without
saying a word to any of us. His design was, if he took the place, not
to return again to the army, but to mount a vessel which, with his
messmates on board her, was sailing past at the time, and stowing away
what he had seized, to set sail and begone beyond the Euxine. All this
had been agreed upon and arranged with his comrades on board the
vessel, as I now discover. Accordingly, he summoned to his side all
whom he could persuade, and set off at their head against the little
place. But dawn overtook him on his march. The men collected out of
their strongholds, and whether from a distance or close quarters, made
such a fight that they killed Clearetus and a good many of the rest,
and only a few of them got safe back to Cerasus.

"These things took place on the day on which we started to come hither
on foot; while some of those who were to go by sea were still at
Cerasus, not having as yet weighed anchor. After this, according to 17
what the Cerasuntines state, there arrived three inhabitants of the
place which had been attacked; three elderly men, seeking an interview
with our public assembly. Not finding us, they addressed themselves to
the men of Cerasus, and told them, they were astonished that we should
have thought it right to attack them; however, when, as the
Cerasuntines assert, they had assured them that the occurrence was not
authorised by public consent, they were pleased, and proposed to sail
here, not only to state to us what had occurred, but to offer that
those who were interested should take up and bury the bodies of the

"But among the Hellenes still at Cerasus were some of those who had
escaped. They found out in which direction the barbarians were minded
to go, and not only had the face themselves to pelt them with stones,
but vociferously encouraged their neighbours to do the same. The three
men--ambassadors, mark you--were slain, stoned to death. After this
occurrence, the men of Cerasus came to us and reported the affair, and
we generals, on being informed, were annoyed at what had taken place,
and took counsel with the Cerasuntines how the dead bodies of the
Hellenes might be buried. While seated in conclave outside the camp,
we suddenly were aware of a great hubbub. We heard cries: 'Cut them
down!' 'Shoot them!' 'Stone them!' and presently we caught sight of a
mass of people racing towards us with stones in their hands, and
others picking them up. The Cerasuntines, naturally enough,
considering the incident they had lately witnessed, retired in terror
to their vessels, and, upon my word, some of us did not feel too
comfortable. All I could do was to go to them and inquire what it all
meant. Some of them had not the slightest notion, although they had
stones in their hands, but chancing on some one who was better
informed, I was told by him that 'the clerks of the market were
treating the army most scandalously.' Just then some one got sight of
the market clerk, Zelarchus, making his way off towards the sea, and
lifted up his voice aloud, and the rest responding to the cry as if a 24
wild boar or a stag had been started, they rushed upon him.

"The Cerasuntines, seeing a rush in their direction, thought that,
without a doubt, it was directed against themselves, and fled with all
speed and threw themselves into the sea, in which proceeding they were
imitated by some few of our own men, and all who did not know how to
swim were drowned. But now, what do you think of their case, these men
of Cerasus? They had done no wrong. They were simply afraid that some
madness had seized us, like that to which dogs are liable.

"I say then, if proceedings like this are to be the order of the day,
you had better consider what the ultimate condition of the army is
like to be. As a body you will not have it in your power to undertake
war against whom you like, or to conclude peace. But in private any
one who chooses will conduct the army on any quest which takes his
fancy. And when ambassadors come to you to demand peace, or whatever
it may be, officious people will put them to death and prevent your
hearing the proposals which brought them to you. The next step will be
that those whom you as a body may choose as generals will be of no
account; but any one who likes to elect himself general, and will
adopt the formula 'Shoot him! shoot him!' will be competent to cut
down whomsoever he pleases untried, be it general or private soldier,
if only he have sufficient followers, as was the case just now. But
just consider what these self-appointed generals have achieved for
you. Zelarchus, the clerk of the market, may possibly have done you a
wrong; if so, he has sailed off and is gone without paying you any
penalty; or he may be guiltless, in which case we have driven him from
the army in terror of perishing unjustly without a trial. While those
who stoned the ambassadors have contrived so cleverly that we alone of
all Hellenes cannot approach Cerasus safely without a strong force,
and the corpses which the very men who slew them themselves invited us
to bury, we cannot now pick up with safety even under a flag of truce.
Who indeed would care to carry a flag of truce, or go as a herald with 30
the blood of heralds upon his hands? All we could do was to implore
the Cerasuntines to bury them.

"If then you approve of such doings, have a resolution passed to that
effect, so that, with a prospect of like occurrences in the future, a
man may privately set up a guard and do his best to fix his tent where
he can find a strong position with a commanding site. If, however,
these seem to you to be the deeds rather of wild beasts than of human
beings, bethink you of some means by which to stay them; or else, in
heaven's name, how shall we do sacrifice to the gods gladly, with
impious deeds to answer for? or how shall we, who lay the knife to
each other's throats, give battle to our enemies? What friendly city
will receive us when they see rampant lawlessness in our midst? Who
will have the courage to afford us a market, when we prove our
worthlessness in these weightiest concerns? and what becomes of the
praise we expect to win from the mouths of men? who will vouchsafe it
to us, if this is our behaviour? Should we not ourselves bestow the
worst of names on the perpetrators of like deeds?"

After this they rose, and, as one man, proposed that the ringleaders
in these matters should be punished; and that for the future, to set
an example of lawlessness should be forbidden. Every such ringleader
was to be prosecuted on the capital charge; the generals were to bring
all offenders to the bar of justice; prosecutions for all other
misdemeanours committed since the death of Cyrus were to be
instituted; and they ended by constituting the officers into a board
of dicasts[2]; and upon the strong representation of Xenophon, with
the concurrence of the soothsayers, it was resolved to purify the
army, and this purification was made.

[2] I.e. a board of judges or jurors.


It was further resolved that the generals themselves should undergo a 1
judicial examination in reference to their conduct in past time. In
course of investigation, Philesius and Xanthicles respectively were
condemned to pay a sum of twenty minae, to meet a deficiency to that
amount incurred during the guardianship of the cargoes of the
merchantmen. Sophaenetus was fined ten minae for inadeqate performance
of his duty as one of the chief officers selected. Against Xenophon a
charge was brought by certain people, who asserted that they had been
beaten by him, and framed the indictment as one of personal outrage
with violence[1]. Xenophon got up and demanded that the first speaker
should state "where and when it was he had received these blows." The
other, so challenged, answered, "When we were perishing of cold and
there was a great depth of snow." Xenophon said: "Upon my word, with
weather such as you describe, when our provisions had run out, when
the wine could not even be smelt, when numbers were dropping down dead
beat, so acute was the suffering, with the enemy close on our heels;
certainly, if at such a season as that I was guilty of outrage, I
plead guilty to being a more outrageous brute than the ass, which is
too wanton, they say, to feel fatigue. Still, I wish you would tell
us," said he, "what led to my striking you. Did I ask you for
something and, on your refusing it to me, did I proceed to beat you?
Was it a debt, for which I demanded payment? or a quarrel about some
boy or other? Was I the worse for liquor, and behaving like a
drunkard?" When the man met each of these questions with a negative,
he questioned him further: "Are you a heavy infantry soldier?" "No,"
said he. "A peltast, then?" "No, nor yet a peltast"; but he had been
ordered by his messmates to drive a mule, although he was a free man. 5
Then at last he recognised him, and inquired: "Are you the fellow who
carried home the sick man?" "Yes, I am," said he, "thanks to your
driving; and you made havoc of my messmates' kit." "Havoc!" said
Xenophon: "Nay, I distributed it; some to one man, some to another to
carry, and bade them bring the things safely to me; and when I got
them back I delivered them all safely to you, and you, on your side,
had rendered an account to me of the man. Let me tell you," he
continued, turning to the court, "what the circumstances were; it is
worth hearing:--

[1] See the "Dict. of Antiq." 622 a. HYBREOS GRAPHE. In the case of
common assaults as opposed to indecent assault, the prosecution
seems to have been allowable only when the object of a wanton
attack was a free person. Cf. Arist. "Rhet." ii. 24.

"A man was left behind from inability to proceed farther; I recognised
the poor fellow sufficiently to see that he was one of ours, and I
forced you, sir, to carry him to save his life. For if I am not much
mistaken, the enemy were close at our heels?" The fellow assented to
this. "Well then," said Xenophon, "after I had sent you forward, I
overtook you again, as I came up with the rearguard; you were digging
a trench with intent to bury the man; I pulled up and said something
in commendation; as we stood by the poor fellow twitched his leg, and
the bystanders all cried out, 'Why, the man's alive!' Your remark was:
'Alive or not as he likes, I am not going to carry him' Then I struck
you. Yes! you are right, for it looked very much as if you knew him to
be alive." "Well," said he, "was he any the less dead when I reported
him to you?" "Nay," retorted Xenophon, "by the same token we shall all
one day be dead, but that is no reason why meantime we should all be
buried alive?" Then there was a general shout: "If Xenophon had given
the fellow a few more blows, it might have been better." The others
were now called upon to state the grounds on which they had been
beaten in each case; but when they refused to get up, he proceeded to
state them himself.

"I confess, sirs, to having struck certain men for failure in
discipline. These were men who were quite content to owe their safety
to us. Whilst the rest of the world marched on in rank and did
whatever fighting had to be done, they preferred to leave the ranks,
and rush forward to loot and enrich themselves at our expense. Now, if 13
this conduct were to be the rule, general ruin would be the result. I
do not deny that I have given blows to this man or the other who
played the poltroon and refused to get up, helplessly abandoning
himself to the enemy; and so I forced them to march on. For once in
the severe wintry weather I myself happened to sit down for a long
time, whilst waiting for a party who were getting their kit together,
and I discovered how difficult it was to get up again and stretch
one's legs. After this personal experience, whenever I saw any one
else seated in slack and lazy mood, I tried to spur him on. The mere
movement and effort to play the man caused warmth and moisture,
whereas it was plain that sitting down and keeping quiet helped the
blood to freeze and the toes to mortify, calamities which really
befell several of the men, as you yourselves are aware.

"I can imagine a third case, that of some straggler stopping behind,
merely to rest for rest's sake, and hindering you in front and us
behind alike from pressing on the march. If he got a blow with the
fist from me it saved him a thrust with the lance from the enemy. In
fact, the opportunity they enjoy to-day of taking vengeance on me for
any treatment which I put upon them wrongfully, is derived from their
salvation then; whereas, if they had fallen into the enemy's hands,
let them ask themselves for what outrage, however great, they could
expect to get satisfaction now. My defence," he continued, "is simple:
if I chastised any one for his own good, I claim to suffer the same
penalties as parents pay their children or masters their boys. Does
not the surgeon also cauterise and cut us for our good? But if you
really believe that these acts are the outcome of wanton insolence, I
beg you to observe that although to-day, thank God! I am heartier than

Facebook Google Reddit Twitter Pinterest