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.Xenophon Anabasis  

Defeat of Ten Thousand Greek Mercenaries in Iran


 

Book 2 Section 1

 [2.1.1] 1[The preceding narrative has described how a Greek force was collected for Cyrus at the time when he was planning an expedition against his brother Artaxerxes, what events took place during the upward march, how the battle was fought, how Cyrus met his death, and how the Greeks returned to their camp and lay down to rest, supposing that they were victorious at all points and that Cyrus was alive.]

[2.1.2] At daybreak the generals came together, and they wondered that Cyrus neither sent anyone else to tell them what to do nor appeared himself. They resolved, accordingly, to pack up what they had, arm themselves, and push forward until they should join forces with Cyrus. [2.1.3] When they were on the point of setting out, and just as the sun was rising, came Procles, the ruler of Teuthrania, a descendant of Damaratus,1 the Laconian, and with him Glus, the son of Tamos. They reported that Cyrus was dead, and that Ariaeus had fled and was now, along with the rest of the barbarians, at the stopping-place from which they had set out on the preceding day; further, he sent word that he and his troops were that day waiting for the Greeks, on the chance that they intended to join them, but on the next day, so Ariaeus said, he should set out on the return journey for Ionia, whence he had come. [2.1.4] The generals upon hearing this message, and the rest of the Greeks as they learned of it, were greatly distressed. Clearchus, however, said: "Well, would that Cyrus were alive! but since he is dead, carry back word to Ariaeus that, for our part, we have defeated the King, that we have no enemy left, as you see, to fight with, and that if you had not come, we should now be marching against the King. And we promise Ariaeus that, if he will come here, we will set him upon the royal throne; for to those who are victorious in battle belongs also the right to rule." [2.1.5] With these words he sent back the messengers, sending with them Cheirisophus the Laconian and Menon the Thessalian; for this was Menon's own wish, inasmuch as he was an intimate and guest-friend of Ariaeus.

[2.1.6] So they went off, and Clearchus awaited their return; meanwhile the troops provided themselves with food as best they could, by slaughtering oxen and asses of the baggage train. As for fuel, they went forward a short distance from their line to the place where the battle was fought and used for that purpose not only the arrows, many in number, which the Greeks had compelled all who deserted from the King to throw away, but also the wicker shields and the wooden Egyptian shields; there were likewise many light shields and wagons that they could carry off, all of them abandoned. These various things, then, they used for fuel, and so boiled meat and lived on it for that day.1

[2.1.7] And now it was about full-market time,1 and heralds arrived from the King and Tissaphernes, all of them barbarians except one, a Greek named Phalinus, who, as it chanced, was with Tissaphernes and was held in honour by him; for this Phalinus professed to be an expert in tactics and the handling of heavy infantry. [2.1.8] When these heralds came up, they called for the leaders of the Greeks and said that the King, since victory had fallen to him and he had slain Cyrus, directed the Greeks to give up their arms, go to the King's court, and seek for themselves whatever favour they might be able to get. [2.1.9] Such was the message of the King's heralds. The Greeks received it with anger, but nevertheless Clearchus said as much as this, that it was not victors who gave up their arms; "However," he continued, "do you, my fellow generals, give these men whatever answer you can that is best and most honourable, and I will return immediately." For one of his servants had summoned him to see the vital organs that had been taken out of a sacrificial victim, for Clearchus chanced to be engaged in sacrificing.

[2.1.10] Then Cleanor the Arcadian, being the eldest of the generals, made answer that they would die sooner than give up their arms. And Proxenus the Theban said: "For my part, Phalinus, I wonder whether the King is asking for our arms on the assumption that he is victorious, or simply as gifts, on the assumption that we are his friends. For if he asks for them as victor, why need he ask for them, instead of coming and taking them?1 But if he desires to get them by persuasion, let him set forth what the soldiers will receive in case they do him this favour." [2.1.11] In reply to this Phalinus said: "The King believes that he is victor because he has slain Cyrus. For who is there now who is contending against him for his realm? Further, he believes that you also are his because he has you in the middle of his country, enclosed by impassable rivers, and because he can bring against you a multitude of men so great that you could not slay them even if he were to put them in your hands." Then Theopompus, an Athenian, said: [2.1.12] "Phalinus, at this moment, as you see for yourself, we have no other possession save arms and valour. Now if we keep our arms, we imagine that we can make use of our valour also, but if we give them up, that we shall likewise be deprived of our lives. Do not suppose, therefore, that we shall give up to you the only possessions that we have; rather, with these we shall do battle against you for your possessions as well." [2.1.13] When he heard this, Phalinus laughed and said: "Why, you talk like a philosopher, young man, and what you say is quite pretty; be sure, however, that you are a fool if you imagine that your valour could prove superior to the King's might." [2.1.14] There were some others, so the story goes, who weakened a little, and said that, just as they had proved themselves faithful to Cyrus, so they might prove valuable to the King also if he should wish to become their friend; he might want to employ them for various purposes, perhaps for a campaign against Egypt, which they should be glad to assist him in subduing.

[2.1.15] At this time Clearchus returned, and asked whether they had yet given an answer. And Phalinus broke in and said: "These people, Clearchus, all say different things; but tell us what your own opinion is." [2.1.16] Clearchus replied: "I myself, Phalinus, was glad to see you, and, I presume, all the rest were, too; for you are a Greek and so are we, whose numbers you can observe for yourself. Now since we are in such a situation, we ask you to advise us as to what we ought to do about the matter you mention. [2.1.17] Do you, then, in the sight of the gods, give us whatever advice you think is best and most honourable, advice which will bring you honour in future time when it is reported in this way: `Once on a time Phalinus, when he was sent by the King to order the Greeks to surrender their arms, gave them, when they sought his counsel, the following advice.' And you know that any advice you may give will certainly be reported in Greece." [2.1.18] Now Clearchus was making this crafty suggestion in the hope that the very man who was acting as the King's ambassador might advise them not to give up their arms, and that thus the Greeks might be made more hopeful. But, contrary to his expectation, Phalinus also made a crafty turn, and said: [2.1.19] "For my part, if you have one chance in ten thousand of saving yourselves by carrying on war against the King, I advise you not to give up your arms; but if you have no hope of deliverance without the King's consent, I advise you to save yourselves in what way you can." [2.1.20] In reply to this Clearchus said: "Well, that is what you say; but as our answer carry back this word, that in our view if we are to be friends of the King, we should be more valuable friends if we keep our arms than if we give them up to someone else, and if we are to wage war with him, we should wage war better if we keep our arms than if we give them up to someone else." [2.1.21] And Phalinus said: "That answer, then, we will carry back; but the King bade us tell you this also, that if you remain where you are, you have a truce, if you advance or retire, war. Inform us, therefore, on this point as well: shall you remain and is there a truce, or shall I report from you that there is war?" [2.1.22] Clearchus replied: "Report, then, on this point that our view is precisely the same as the King's." "What, then, is that?" said Phalinus. Clearchus replied, "If we remain, a truce, if we retire or advance, war." [2.1.23] And Phalinus asked again, "Shall I report truce or war?" And Clearchus again made the same reply, "Truce if we remain, if we retire or advance, war." What he meant to do, however, he did not indicate.

Book 2 Section 2

 [2.2.1] So Phalinus and his companions departed. But the messengers from Ariaeus arrived--Procles and Cheirisophus only, for Menon stayed behind with Ariaeus; they reportethat Ariaeus said there were many Persians of higher rank than himself and they would not tolerate his being king. "But," the messengers continued, "if you wish to make the return journey with him, he bids you come at once, during the night; otherwise, he says he will set out to-morrow morning." [2.2.2] And Clearchus said: "Well, let it be this way: if we come, even as you propose; if we do not, follow whatever course you may think most advantageous to yourselves." But what he meant to do, he did not tell them, either.

[2.2.3] After this, when the sun was already setting, he called together the generals and captains and spoke as follows: "When I sacrificed, gentlemen, the omens did not result favourably for proceeding against the King. And with good reason, it proves, they were not favourable; for, as I now ascertain, between us and the King is the Tigris, a navigable river, which we could not cross without boats--and boats we have none. On the other hand, it is not possible for us to stay where we are, for we cannot get provisions; but the omens were extremely favourable for our going to join the friends of Cyrus. [2.2.4] This, then, is what you are to do: go away and dine on whatever you severally have; when the horn gives the signal for going to rest, pack up; when the second signal is given, load your baggage upon the beasts of burden; and at the third signal follow the van, keeping the beasts of burden on the side next to the river and the hoplites outside." [2.2.5] Upon hearing these words the generals and captains went away and proceeded to do as Clearchus had directed. And thenceforth he commanded and they obeyed, not that they had chosen him, but because they saw that he alone possessed the wisdom which a commander should have, while the rest were without experience. [2.2.6] 1[The length of the journey they had made from Ephesus, in Ionia, to the battlefield was ninety-three stages, five hundred and thirty-five parasangs, or sixteen thousand and fifty stadia; and the distance from the battlefield to Babylon was said to be three hundred and sixty stadia.]

[2.2.7] Afterwards, when darkness had come on, Miltocythes the Thracian, with the horsemen under his command, forty in number, and about three hundred Thracian foot-soldiers, deserted to the King. [2.2.8] But Clearchus put himself at the head of the rest of the troops, following out the plan of his previous orders, and they followed; and they reached the first stopping-place,1 and there joined Ariaeus and his army, at about midnight. Then, while they halted under arms in line of battle, the generals and captains had a meeting with Ariaeus; and the two parties--the Greek officers, and Ariaeus together with the highest in rank of his followers--made oath that they would not betray each other and that they would be allies, while the barbarians took an additional pledge to lead the way without treachery. [2.2.9] These oaths they sealed by sacrificing a bull, a boar, and a ram over a shield, the Greeks dipping a sword in the blood and the barbarians a lance. [2.2.10] After the pledges had been given, Clearchus said: "And now, Ariaeus, since you and we are to make the same journey, tell us what view you hold in regard to the route--shall we return by the same way we came, or do you think you have discovered another way that is better?" [2.2.11] Ariaeus replied: "If we should return by the way we came, we should perish utterly from starvation, for we now have no provisions whatever. For even on our way hither we were not able to get anything from the country during the last seventeen stages; and where there was anything, we consumed it entirely on our march through. Now, accordingly, we intend to take a route that is longer, to be sure, but one where we shall not lack provisions. [2.2.12] And we must make our first marches as long as we can, in order to separate ourselves as far as possible from the King's army; for if we once get a two or three days' journey away from the King, he will not then be able to overtake us. For he will not dare to pursue us with a small army, and with a large array he will not find it possible to march rapidly; and perhaps, furthermore, he will lack provisions. This," said he, "is the view which I hold, for my part."

[2.2.13] This plan of campaign meant nothing else than effecting an escape, either by stealth or by speed; but fortune planned better. For when day came, they set out on the march, keeping the sun on their right and calculating that at sunset they would reach villages in Babylonia--and in this they were not disappointed. [2.2.14] But while it was still afternoon they thought that they saw horsemen of the enemy; and such of the Greeks as chanced not to be in the lines proceeded to run to the lines, while Ariaeus, who was making the journey in a wagon because he was wounded, got down and put on his breastplate, and his attendants followed his example. [2.2.15] While they were arming themselves, however, the scouts who had been sent ahead returned with the report that it was not horsemen, but pack animals grazing. Straightway everybody realized that the King was encamping somewhere in the neighbourhood--in fact, smoke was seen in villages not far away.

[2.2.16] Clearchus, however, would not advance against the enemy, for he knew that his troops were not only tired out, but without food, and, besides, it was already late; still, he would not turn aside, either, for he was taking care to avoid the appearance of flight, but leading the army straight ahead he encamped with the van at sunset in the nearest villages, from which the King's army had plundered even the very timbers of the houses. [2.2.17] The van nevertheless encamped after a fashion, but the men who were further back, coming up in the dark, had to bivouac each as best they could, and they made a great uproar with calling one another, so that the enemy also heard it; the result was that the nearest of the enemy actually took to flight from their quarters. [2.2.18] This became clear on the following day, for not a pack animal was any more to be seen nor camp nor smoke anywhere near. Even the King, so it seems, was terrified by the approach of the army. He made this evident by what he did the next day. [2.2.19] However, as the night went on a panic fell upon the Greeks also, and there was confusion and din of the sort that may be expected when panic has seized an army. [2.2.20] Clearchus, however, directed Tolmides the Elean, who chanced to be with him as herald and was the best herald of his time, to make this proclamation, after he had ordered silence: "The commanders give public notice that whoever informs on the man who let the ass loose among the arms shall receive a reward of a talent of silver." [2.2.21] When this proclamation had been made, the soldiers realized that their fears were groundless and their commanders safe. And at dawn Clearchus ordered the Greeks to get under arms in line of battle just as they were when the battle took place.

Book 2 Section 3

 [2.3.1] The fact which I just stated, that the King was terrified by the approach of the Greeks, was made clear by the following circumstance: although on the day before he had sent and ordered them to give up their arms, he now, at sunrise, sent heralds to negotiate a truce. [2.3.2] When these heralds reached the outposts, they asked for the commanders. And when the outposts reported, Clearchus, who chanced at the time to be inspecting the ranks, told the outposts to direct the heralds to wait till he should be at leisure. [2.3.3] Then after he had arranged the army so that it should present a fine appearance from every side as a compact phalanx, with no one to be seen outside the lines of the hoplites, he summoned the messengers; and he himself came forward with the best armed and best looking of his own troops and told the other generals to do likewise. [2.3.4] Once face to face with the messengers, he inquired what they wanted. They replied that they had come to negotiate for a truce, and were empowered to report the King's proposals to the Greeks and the Greeks' proposals to the King. [2.3.5] And Clearchus answered: "Report to him, then, that we must have a battle first; for we have had no breakfast, and there is no man alive who will dare to talk to Greeks about a truce unless he provides them with a breakfast." [2.3.6] Upon hearing these words the messengers rode away, but were speedily back again, which made it evident that the King, or someone else who had been charged with carrying on these negotiations, was somewhere near. They stated that what the Greeks said seemed to the King reasonable, and that they had now brought guides with them who would lead the Greeks, in case a truce should be concluded, to a place where they could get provisions. [2.3.7] Thereupon Clearchus asked whether he was making a truce merely with the men who were coming and going, or whether the truce would bind the others also. "Every man of them," they replied, "until your message is carried to the King." [2.3.8] When they had said this, Clearchus had them retire and took counsel about the matter; and it was thought best to conclude the truce speedily, so that they could go and get the provisions without being molested. [2.3.9] And Clearchus said: "I, too, agree with this view; nevertheless, I shall not so report at once, but I shall delay until the messengers get fearful of our deciding not to conclude the truce; to be sure," he said, "I suppose that our own soldiers will also feel the same fear." When, accordingly, it seemed that the proper time had come, he reported that he accepted the truce, and directed them to lead the way immediately to the provisions.

[2.3.10] They proceeded, then, to lead the way, but Clearchus, although he had made the truce, kept his army in line of battle on the march, and commanded the rearguard himself. And they kept coming upon trenches and canals, full of water, which could not be crossed without bridges. They made bridges of a kind, however, out of the palm trees which had fallen and others which they cut down themselves. [2.3.11] And here one could well observe how Clearchus commanded; he had his spear in his left hand and in his right a stick, and whenever he thought that anyone of the men assigned to this task was shirking, he would pick out the right man and deal him a blow, while at the same time he would get into the mud and lend a hand himself; the result was that everyone was ashamed not to match him in energy. [2.3.12] The men detailed to the work were all those up to thirty years of age, but the older men also took hold when they saw Clearchus in such energetic haste. [2.3.13] Now Clearchus was in a far greater hurry because he suspected that the trenches were not always full of water in this way, for it was not a proper time to be irrigating the plain; his suspicion was, then, that the King had let the water into the plain just in order that the Greeks might have before their eyes at the very start many things to make them fearful about their journey.

[2.3.14] The march at length brought them to villages where the guides directed them to get provisions. In these villages was grain in abundance and palm wine and a sour drink made from the same by boiling. [2.3.15] As for the dates themselves of the palm, the sort that one can see in Greece were set apart for the servants, while those laid away for the masters were selected ones, remarkable for their beauty and size and with a colour altogether resembling that of amber; others, again, they would dry and store away for sweetmeats. These made a pleasant morsel also at a symposium, but were apt to cause headache. [2.3.16] Here also the soldiers ate for the first time the crown of the palm, and most of them were surprised not alone at its appearance, but at the peculiar nature of its flavour. This, too, however, was exceedingly apt to cause headache. And when the crown was removed from a palm, the whole tree would wither.

[2.3.17] In these villages they remained three days; and there came to them, as messengers from the Great King, Tissaphernes and the brother of the King's wife and three other Persians; and many slaves followed in their train. When the Greek generals met them, Tissaphernes, through an interpreter, began the speaking with the following words: [2.3.18] "Men of Greece, in my own home I am a neighbour of yours, and when I saw plunged into many difficulties, I thought it would be a piece of good fortune if I could in any way gain permission from the King to take you back safe to Greece. For I fancy I should not go without thanks, both from you and from all Greece. [2.3.19] After reaching this conclusion I presented my request to the King, saying to him that it would be fair for him to do me a favour, because I was the first to report to him that Cyrus was marching against him, because along with my report I brought him aid also, and because I was the only man among those posted opposite the Greeks who did not take to flight, but, on the contrary, I charged through and joined forces with the King in your camp, where the King had arrived after slaying Cyrus and pursuing the barbarians of Cyrus' army with the help of these men now present with me, men who are most faithful to the King. And he promised me that he would consider this request of mine, [2.3.20] but, meanwhile, he bade me come and ask you for what reason you took the field against him. Now I advise you to answer with moderation, that so it may be easier for me to obtain for you at his hands whatever good thing I may be able to obtain."

[2.3.21] Hereupon the Greeks withdrew and proceeded to take counsel; then they gave their answer, Clearchus acting as spokesman: "We neither gathered together with the intention of making war upon the King nor were we marching against the King, but Cyrus kept finding many pretexts, as you also are well aware, in order that he might take you unprepared and bring us hither. [2.3.22] When, however, the time came when we saw that he was in danger, we felt ashamed in the sight of gods and men to desert him, seing that in former days we had been putting ourselves in the way of being benefited by him. [2.3.23] But since Cyrus is dead, we are neither contending with the King for his realm nor is there any reason why we should desire to do harm to the King's territory or wish to slay the King himself, but rather we should return to our homes, if no one should molest us. If, however, anyone seeks to injure us, we shall try with the help of the gods to retaliate. On the other hand, if anyone is kind enough to do us a service, we shall not, so far as we have the power, be outdone in doing a service to him." [2.3.24] So he spoke, and upon hearing his words Tissaphernes said: "This message I shall carry to the King, and bring back his to you; and until I return, let the truce continue, and we will provide a market.1"

[2.3.25] The next day he did not return, and the Greeks, consequently, were anxious; but on the third day he came and said that he had secured permission from the King to save the Greeks, although many opposed the plan, urging that it was not fitting for the King to allow those who had undertaken a campaign against him to escape. [2.3.26] In conclusion he said: "And now you may receive pledges from us that in very truth the territory you pass through shall be friendly and that we will lead you back to Greece without treachery, providing you with a market; and wherever it is impossible to buy provisions, we will allow you to take them from the country. [2.3.27] And you, on your side, will have to swear to us that in very truth you will proceed as you would through a friendly country, doing no damage and taking food and drink from the country only when we do not provide a market, but that, if we do provide a market, you will obtain provisions by purchase." [2.3.28] This was resolved upon, and Tissaphernes and the brother of the King's wife made oath and gave their right hands in pledge to the generals and captains of the Greeks, receiving the same also from the Greeks. [2.3.29] After this Tissaphernes said: "Now I am going back to the King; but when I have accomplished what I desire, I shall return, fully equipped to conduct you back to Greece and to go home myself to my owprovince."

Book 2 Section 4

 [2.4.1] After this the Greeks and Ariaeus, encamped close by one another, waited for Tissaphernes more than twenty days. During this time Ariaeus' brothers and other relatives came to him and certain Persians came to his followers, and they kept encouraging them and bringing pledges to some of them from the King that the King would bear them no ill-will because of their campaign with Cyrus against him or because of anything else in the past. [2.4.2] While these things were going on, it was evident that Ariaeus and his followers paid less regard to the Greeks; this, accordingly, was another reason why the greater part of the Greeks were not pleased with them, and they would go to Clearchus and the other generals and say: [2.4.3] "Why are we lingering? Do we not understand that the King would like above everything else to destroy us, in order that the rest of the Greeks also may be afraid to march against the Great King? For the moment he is scheming to keep us here because his army is scattered, but when he has collected his forces again, there is no question but that he will attack us. [2.4.4] Or perhaps he is digging a trench or building a wall somewhere to cut us off and make our road impassable. For never, if he can help it, will he choose to let us go back to Greece and report that we, few as we are, were victorious over the King at his very gates, and then laughed in his face and came home again." [2.4.5] To those who talked in this way Clearchus replied: "I too have in mind all these things; but I reflect that if we go away now, it will seem that we are going away with hostile intent and are acting in violation of the truce. And then, in the first place, no one will provide us a market or a place from which we can get provisions; secondly, we shall have no one to guide us; again, the moment we take this course Ariaeus will instantly desert us; consequently we shall have not a friend left, for even those who were friends before will be our enemies. [2.4.6] Then remember the rivers--there may be others, for aught I know, that we must cross, but we know about the Euphrates at any rate, that it cannot possibly be crossed in the face of an enemy. Furthermore, in case fighting becomes necessary, we have no cavalry to help us, whereas the enemy's cavalry are exceedingly numerous and exceedingly efficient; hence if we are victorious, whom could we kill1? And if we are defeated, not one of us can be saved. [2.4.7] For my part, therefore, I cannot see why the King, who has so many advantages on his side, should need, in case he is really eager to destroy us, to make oath and give pledge and forswear himself by the gods and make his good faith unfaithful in the eyes of Greeks and barbarians." Such arguments Clearchus would present in abundance.

[2.4.8] Meanwhile Tissaphernes returned with his own forces as if intending to go back home, and likewise Orontas1 with his forces; the latter was also taking home the King's daughter as his wife. [2.4.9] Then they finally began the march, Tissaphernes taking the lead and providing a market; and Ariaeus with Cyrus' barbarian army kept with Tissaphernes and Orontas on the march and encamped with them. [2.4.10] The Greeks, however, viewing them all with suspicion, proceeded by themselves, with their own guides. And the two parties encamped in every case a parasang or more from one another, and kept guard each against the other, as though against enemies--a fact which at once occasioned suspicion. [2.4.11] Sometimes, moreover, when Greeks and barbarians were getting firewood from the same place or collecting fodder or other such things, they would come to blows with one another, and this also occasioned ill-will.

[2.4.12] After travelling three stages they reached the so called wall of Media,1 and passed within it. It was built of baked bricks, laid in asphalt, and was twenty feet wide and a hundred feet high; its length was said to be twenty parasangs, and it is not far distant from Babylon. [2.4.13] From there they proceeded two stages, eight parasangs, crossing on their way two canals, one by a stationary bridge and the other by a bridge made of seven boats. These canals issued from the Tigris river, and from them, again, ditches had been cut that ran into the country, at first large, then smaller, and finally little channels, such as run to the millet fields in Greece.Then they reached the Tigris river, near which was a large and populous city named Sittace, fifteen stadia from the river. [2.4.14] The Greeks accordingly encamped beside this city, near a large and beautiful park, thickly covered with all sorts of trees, while the barbarians had crossed the Tigris before encamping, and were not within sight of the Greeks. [2.4.15] After the evening meal Proxenus and Xenophon chanced to be walking in front of the place where the arms were stacked, when a man came up and asked the outposts where he could see Proxenus or Clearchus--he did not ask for Menon, despite the fact that he came from Ariaeus, Menon's friend. [2.4.16] And when Proxenus said "I am the one you are looking for," the man made this statement: "I was sent here by Ariaeus and Artaozus, who were faithful to Cyrus and are friendly to you; they bid you be on your guard lest the barbarians attack you during the night, for there is a large army in the neighbouring park. [2.4.17] They also bid you send a guard to the bridge over the Tigris river, because Tissaphernes intends to destroy it during the night, if he can, so that you may not cross, but may be cut off between the river and the canal." [2.4.18] Upon hearing these words they took him to Clearchus and repeated his message. And when Clearchus heard it, he was exceedingly agitated and full of fear.

[2.4.19] A young man who was present, however, fell to thinking, and then said that the two stories, that they intended to attack and intended to destroy the bridge, were not consistent. "For it is clear," he went on, "that if they attack, they must either be victorious or be defeated. Now if they are victorious, why should they need to destroy the bridge? For even if there were many bridges, we should have no place to which we could flee and save ourselves. [2.4.20] But if it is we who are victorious, with the bridge destroyed they will have no place to which they can flee. And, furthermore, though there are troops in abundance on the other side, no one will be able to come to their aid with the bridge destroyed."

[2.4.21] After hearing these words Clearchus asked the messenger about how extensive the territory between the Tigris and the canal was. He replied that it was a large tract, and that there were villages and many large towns in it. [2.4.22] Then it was perceived that the barbarians had sent the man with a false message out of fear that the Greeks might destroy the bridge and establish themselves permanently on the island, with the Tigris for a defence on one side and the canal on the other; in that case, they thought, the Greeks might get provisions from the territory between the river and the canal, since it was extensive and fertile and there were men in it to cultivate it; and furthermore, the spot might also become a place of refuge for anyone who might desire to do harm to the King.

[2.4.23] After this the Greeks went to rest, yet they did, nevertheless, send a guard to the bridge; and no one attacked the army from any quarter, nor did anyone of the enemy, so the men on guard reported, come to the bridge. [2.4.24] When dawn came, they proceeded to cross the bridge, which was made of thirty-seven boats, as guardedly as possible; for they had reports from some of the Greeks who were with Tissaphernes that the enemy would attack them while they were crossing. But these reports were false. To be sure, in the course of their passage Glus did appear, with some others, watching to see if they were crossing the river, but once he had seen, he went riding off.

[2.4.25] From the Tigris they marched four stages, twenty parasangs, to the Physcus river, which was a plethrum in width and had a bridge over it. There was situated a large city named Opis, nwhich the Greeks met the bastard brother of Cyrus and Artaxerxes, who was leading a large army from Susa and Ecbatana to the support, as he said, of the King; and he halted his own army and watched the Greeks as they passed by. [2.4.26] Clearchus led them two abreast, and halted now and then in his march; and whatever the length of time for which he halted the van of the army, just so long a time the halt would necessarily last through the entire army; the result was that even to the Greeks themselves their army seemed to be very large, and the Persian was astounded as he watched them. [2.4.27] From there they marched through Media, six desert stages, thirty parasangs, to the villages of Parysatis,1 the mother of Cyrus and the King. And Tissaphernes, by way of insulting Cyrus,2 gave over these villages--save only the slaves they contained--to the Greeks to plunder. In them there was grain in abundance and cattle and other property. [2.4.28] From there they marched four desert stages, twenty parasangs, keeping the Tigris river on the left. Across the river on the first stage was situated a large and prosperous city named Caenae, from which the barbarians brought over loaves, cheeses and wine, crossing upon rafts made of skins.

Book 2 Section 5

 [2.5.1] After this they reached the Zapatas river, which was four plethra in width. There they remained three days. During this time suspicions were rife, it is true, but no plot came openly to light. [2.5.2] Clearchus resolved, therefore, to have a meeting with Tissaphernes and put a stop to these suspicions, if he possibly could, before hostilities resulted from them; so he sent a messenger to say that he desired to meet him. [2.5.3] And Tissaphernes readily bade him come.When they had met, Clearchus spoke as follows: "I know, to be sure, Tissaphernes, that both of us have taken oaths and given pledges not to injure one another; yet I see that you are on your guard against us as though we were enemies, and we, observing this, are keeping guard on our side. [2.5.4] But since, upon inquiry, I am unable to ascertain that you are trying to do us harm, and am perfectly sure that we, for our part, are not even thinking of any such thing against you, I resolved to have an interview with you, so that, if possible, we might dispel this mutual distrust. [2.5.5] For I know that there have been cases before now--some of them the result of slander, others of mere suspicion--where men who have become fearful of one another and wished to strike before they were struck, have done irreparable harm to people who were neither intending nor, for that matter, desiring to do anything of the sort to them. [2.5.6] In the belief, then, that such misunderstandings are best settled by conference, I have come here, and I wish to point out to you that you are mistaken in distrusting us. [2.5.7] For, first and chiefly, our oaths, sworn by the gods, stand in the way of our being enemies of one another; and the man who is conscious that he has disregarded such oaths, I for my part should never account happy. For in war with the gods I know not either by what swiftness of foot or to what place of refuge one could make his escape, or into what darkness he could steal away, or how he could withdraw himself to a secure fortress. For all things in all places are subject to the gods, and all alike the gods hold in their control.

[2.5.8] "Touching the gods, then, and our oaths I am thus minded, and to the keeping of the gods we consigned the friendship which we covenanted; but as for things human, I believe that at this time you are to us the greatest good we possess. [2.5.9] For, with you, every road is easy for us to traverse, every river is passable, supplies are not lacking; without you, all our road is through darkness--for none of it do we know--every river is hard to pass, every crowd excites our fears, and most fearful of all is solitude--for it is crowded full of want. [2.5.10] And if we should, in fact, be seized with madness and slay you, should we not certainly, after slaying our benefactor, be engaged in contest with the King, a fresh and most powerful opponent?1 Again, how great and bright are the hopes of which I should rob myself if I attempted to do you any harm, I will relate to you. [2.5.11] I set my heart upon having Cyrus for my friend because I thought that he was the best able of all the men of his time to benefit whom he pleased; but now I see that it is you who possess Cyrus' power and territory, while retaining your own besides, and that the power of the King, which Cyrus found hostile, is for you a support. [2.5.12] Since this is so, who is so mad as not to desire to be your friend?"And now for the other side,--for I will go on to tell you the grounds upon which I base the hope that you will likewise desire to be our friend. [2.5.13] I know that the Mysians are troublesome to you, and I believe that with the force I have I could make them your submissive servants; I know that the Pisidians also trouble you, and I hear that there are likewise many other tribes of the same sort; I could put a stop, I think, to their being a continual annoyance to your prosperity. As for the Egyptians, with whom I learn that you are especially angry, I do not see what force you could better employ to aid you in chastising them than the force which I now have. [2.5.14] Again, take those who dwell around you: if you chose to be a friend to any, you could be the greatest possible friend, while if any were to annoy you, you could play the part of master over them in case you had us for supporters, for we should serve you, not merely for the sake of pay, but also out of the gratitude that we should feel, and rightly feel, toward you, the man who had saved us. [2.5.15] For my part, as I consider all these things the idea of your distrusting us seems to me so astonishing that I should be very glad indeed to hear the name of the man who is so clever a talker that his talk could persuade you that we were cherishing designs against you." Thus much Clearchus said, and Tissaphernes replied as follows:

[2.5.16] "It is a pleasure to me, Clearchus, to hear your sensible words; for if, holding these views, you should devise any ill against me, you would at the same time, I think, be showing ill-will toward yourself also. And now, in order that you may learn that you likewise are mistaken in distrusting either the King or myself, take your turn in listening. [2.5.17] If we were, in fact, desirous of destroying you, does it seem to you that we have not cavalry in abundance and infantry and military equipment, whereby we should be able to harm you without being in any danger of suffering harm ourselves? [2.5.18] Or do you think that we should not have places suitable for attacking you? Do you not behold these vast plains, which even now, although they are friendly, it is costing you a deal of labour to traverse? and these great mountains you have to pass, which we can occupy in advance and render impassable for you? and have we not these great rivers, at which we can parcel out whatever number of you we may choose to fight with--some, in fact, which you could not cross at all unless we carried you over? [2.5.19] And if we were worsted at all these points, nevertheless it is certain that fire can worst crops; by burning them up we could bring famine into the field against you, and you could not fight against that, however brave you might be. [2.5.20] Since, then, we have so many ways of making war upon you, no one of them dangerous to us, why, in such a case, should we choose out of them all that one way which alone is impious in the sight of the gods and shameful in the sight of men? [2.5.21] For it is those who are utterly without ways and means, who are bound by necessity, and who are rascals in any case, that are willing to accomplish an object by perjury to the gods and unfaithfulness to men. As for us, Clearchus, we are not so unreasoning or foolish.

[2.5.22] "But why, one might ask, when it was possible for us to destroy you, did we not proceed to do so? The reason for this, be well assured, was my eager desire to prove myself truto the Greeks, so that with the same mercenary force which Cyrus led up from the coast in the faith of wages paid, I might go back to the coast in the security of benefits conferred. [2.5.23] And as for all the ways in which you are of use to me, you also have mentioned some of them, but it is I who know the most important: the King alone may wear upright the tiara that is upon the head, but another, too, with your help, might easily so wear the one that is upon the heart.1"

[2.5.24] In these things that he said Tissaphernes seemed to Clearchus to be speaking the truth; and Clearchus said: "Then do not those who are endeavouring by false charges to make us enemies, when we have such grounds for friendship, deserve to suffer the uttermost penalty?" [2.5.25] "Yes," said Tissaphernes, "and for my part, if you generals and captains care to come to me, I will give you, publicly, the names of those who tell me that you are plotting against me and the army under my command." [2.5.26] "And I," said Clearchus, "will bring them all, and in my turn will make known to you whence come the reports that I hear about you."

[2.5.27] After this conversation Tissaphernes showed all kindness, inviting Clearchus at that time to stay with him and making him his guest at dinner. On the following day, when Clearchus returned to the Greek camp, he not only made it clear that he imagined he was on very friendly terms with Tissaphernes and reported the words which he had used, but he said that those whom Tissaphernes had invited must go to him, and that whoever among the Greeks should be convicted of making false charges ought to be punished, as traitors and foes to the Greeks. [2.5.28] Now Clearchus suspected that the author of these slanders was Menon, for he was aware that Menon had not only had meetings with Tissaphernes, in company with Ariaeus, but was also organizing opposition to his own leadership and plotting against him, with the intention of winning over to himself the entire army and thereby securing the friendship of Tissaphernes. [2.5.29] Clearchus desired, however, to have the entire army devoted to him and to put the refractory out of the way. As for the soldiers, some of them made objections to Clearchus' proposal, urging that the captains and generals should not all go and that they should not trust Tissaphernes. [2.5.30] But Clearchus vehemently insisted, until he secured an agreement that five generals should go and twenty captains; and about two hundred of the soldiers also followed along, with the intention of going to market.

[2.5.31] When they reached Tissaphernes' doors, the generals were invited in--Proxenus the Boeotian, Menon the Thessalian, Agias the Arcadian, Clearchus the Laconian, and Socrates the Achaean--while the captains waited at the doors. [2.5.32] Not long afterward, at the same signal, those within were seized and those outside were cut down. After this some of the barbarian horsemen rode about over the plain and killed every Greek they met, whether slave or freeman. [2.5.33] And the Greeks wondered at this riding about, as they saw it from their camp, and were puzzled to know what the horsemen were doing, until Nicarchus the Arcadian reached the camp in flight, wounded in his belly and holding his bowels in his hands, and told all that had happened. [2.5.34] Thereupon the Greeks, one and all, ran to their arms, panic-stricken and believing that the enemy would come at once against the camp.

[2.5.35] Not all of them came, however, but Ariaeus, Artaozus, and Mithradates, who had been most faithful friends of Cyrus, did come; and the interpreter of the Greeks said that with them he also saw and recognized Tissaphernes' brother; furthermore, they were followed by other Persians, armed with breastplates, to the number of three hundred. [2.5.36] As soon as this party had come near, they directed whatever Greek general or captain there might be to come forward, in order that they might deliver a message from the King. [2.5.37] After this two generals went forth from the Greek lines under guard, Cleanor the Orchomenian and Sophaenetus the Stymphalian, and with them Xenophon the Athenian, who wished to learn the fate of Proxenus; Cheirisophus, however, chanced to be away in a village in company with others who were getting provisions. [2.5.38] And when the Greeks got within hearing distance, Ariaeus said: "Clearchus, men of Greece, inasmuch as he was shown to be perjuring himself and violating the truce, has received his deserts and is dead, but Proxenus and Menon, because they gave information about his plotting, are held in high honour. For yourselves, the King demands your arms; for he says that they belong to him, since they belonged to Cyrus, his slave." [2.5.39] To this the Greeks replied as follows, Cleanor the Orchomenian acting as spokesman: "Ariaeus, you basest of men, and all you others who were friends of Cyrus, are you not ashamed, either before gods or men, that, after giving us your oaths to count the same people friends and foes as we did, you have betrayed us, joining hands with Tissaphernes, that most godless and villainous man, and that you have not only destroyed the very men to whom you were then making oath, but have betrayed the rest of us and are come with our enemies against us?" [2.5.40] And Ariaeus said: "But it was shown that long ago Clearchus was plotting against Tissaphernes and Orontas and all of us who are with them." Upon this Xenophon spoke as follows: [2.5.41] "Well, then, if Clearchus was really transgressing the truce in violation of his oaths, he has his deserts, for it is right that perjurers should perish; but as for Proxenus and Menon, since they are your benefactors and our generals, send them hither, for it is clear that, being friends of both parties, they will endeavour to give both you and ourselves the best advice." [2.5.42] To this the barbarians made no answer, but, after talking for a long time with one another, they departed.

Book 2 Section 6

 [2.6.1] The generals, then, after being thus seized, were taken to the King and put to death by being beheaded. One of them, Clearchus, by common consent of all who were personally acquainted with him, seemed to have shown himself a man who was both fitted for war and fond of war to the last degree. [2.6.2] For, in the first place, as long as the Lacedaemonians were at war with the Athenians, he bore his part with them; then, as soon as peace had come, he persuaded his state that the Thracians were injuring the Greek,1 and, after gaining his point as best he could from the ephors,2 set sail with the intention of making war upon the Thracians who dwelt beyond the Chersonese and Perinthus. [2.6.3] When, however, the ephors changed their minds for some reason or other and, after he had already gone, tried to turn him back from the Isthmus of Corinth, at that point he declined to render further obedience, but went sailing off to the Hellespont. [2.6.4] As a result he was condemned to death by the authorities at Sparta on the ground of disobedience to orders. Being now an exile he came to Cyrus, and the arguments whereby he persuaded Cyrus as recorded elsewhere;1 at any rate, Cyrus gave him ten thousand darics, [2.6.5] and he, upon receiving this money, did not turn his thoughts to comfortable idleness, but used it to collect an army and proceeded to make war upon the Thracians. He defeated them in battle and from that time on plundered them in every way, and he kept up the war until Cyrus wanted his army; then he returned, still for the purpose of making war, this time in company with Cyrus.

[2.6.6] Now such conduct as this, in my opinion, reveals a man fond of war. When he may enjoy peace without dishonour or harm, he chooses war; when he may live in idleness, he prefers toil, provided it be the toil of war; when he may keep his money without risk, he elects to diminish it by carrying on war. As for Clearchus, just as one spends upon a loved one or upon any other pleasure, so he wanted to spend upon war-- [2.6.7] such a lover he was of war. On the other hand, he seemed to be fitted for war in that he was fond of danger, ready bday or night to lead his troops against the enemy, and self-possessed amid terrors, as all who were with him on all occasions agreed. [2.6.8] He was likewise said to be fitted for command, so far as that was possible for a man of such a disposition as his was. For example, he was competent, if ever a man was, in devising ways by which his army might get provisions and in procuring them, and he was competent also to impress it upon those who were with him that Clearchus must be obeyed. [2.6.9] This result he accomplished by being severe; for he was gloomy in appearance and harsh in voice, and he used to punish severely, sometimes in anger, so that on occasion he would be sorry afterwards. [2.6.10] Yet he also punished on principle, for he believed there was no good in an army that went without punishment; in fact, he used to say, it was reported, that a soldier must fear his commander more than the enemy if he were to perform guard duty or keep his hands from friends or without making excuses advance against the enemy. [2.6.11] In the midst of dangers, therefore, the troops were ready to obey him implicitly and would choose no other to command them; for they said that at such times his gloominess appeared to be brightness, and his severity seemed to be resolution against the enemy, so that it appeared to betoken safety and to be no longer severity. [2.6.12] But when they had got past the danger and could go off to serve under another commander, many would desert him; for there was no attractiveness about him, but he was always severe and rough, so that the soldiers had the same feeling toward him that boys have toward a schoolmaster. [2.6.13] For this reason, also, he never had men following him out of friendship and good-will, but such as were under him because they had been put in his hands by a government or by their own need or were under the compulsion of any other necessity, yielded him implicit obedience. [2.6.14] And as soon as they began in his service to overcome the enemy, from that moment there were weighty reasons which made his soldiers efficient; for they had the feeling of confidence in the face of the enemy, and their fear of punishment at his hands kept them in a fine state of discipline. [2.6.15] Such he was as a commander, but being commanded by others was not especially to his liking, so people said. He was about fifty years old at the time of his death.

[2.6.16] Proxenus the Boeotian cherished from his earliest youth an eager desire to become a man capable of dealing with great affairs, and because of this desire he paid money to Gorgias of Leontini.1 [2.6.17] After having studied under him and reaching the conclusion that he had now become competent to rule and, through friendship with the foremost men of his day, to hold his own in conferring benefits, he embarked upon this enterprise with Cyrus, expecting to gain therefrom a famous name, great power, and abundant wealth; [2.6.18] but while vehemently desiring these great ends, he nevertheless made it evident also that he would not care to gain any one of them unjustly; rather, he thought that he must secure them justly and honourably, or not at all. [2.6.19] As a leader, he was qualified to command gentlemen, but he was not capable of inspiring his soldiers with either respect for himself or fear; on the contrary, he really stood in greater awe of his men than they, whom he commanded, did of him, and it was manifest that he was more afraid of incurring the hatred of his soldiers than they were of disobeying him. [2.6.20] His idea was that, for a man to be and to be thought fit to command, it was enough that he should praise the one who did right and withhold praise from the one who did wrong. Consequently all among his associates who were gentlemen were attached to him, but the unprincipled would plot against him in the thought that he was easy to deal with. At the time of his death he was about thirty years old.

[2.6.21] Menon the Thessalian was manifestly eager for enormous wealth--eager for command in order to get more wealth and eager for honour in order to increase his gains; and he desired to be a friend to the men who possessed greatest power in order that he might commit unjust deeds without suffering the penalty. [2.6.22] Again, for the accomplishment of the objects upon which his heart was set, he imagined that the shortest route was by way of perjury and falsehood and deception, while he counted straightforwardness and truth the same thing as folly. [2.6.23] Affection he clearly felt for nobody, and if he said that he was a friend to anyone, it would become plain that this man was the one he was plotting against. He would never ridicule an enemy, but he always gave the impression in conversation of ridiculing all his associates. [2.6.24] Neither would he devise schemes against his enemies' property, for he saw difficulty in getting hold of the possessions of people who were on their guard; but he thought he was the only one who knew that it was easiest to get hold of the property of friends--just because it was unguarded. [2.6.25] Again, all whom he found to be perjurers and wrongdoers he would fear, regarding them as well armed, while those who were pious and practised truth he would try to make use of, regarding them as weaklings. [2.6.26] And just as a man prides himself upon piety, truthfulness, and justice, so Menon prided himself upon ability to deceive, the fabrication of lies, and the mocking of friends; but the man who was not a rascal he always thought of as belonging to the uneducated. Again, if he were attempting to be first in the friendship of anybody, he thought that slandering those who were already first was the proper way of gaining this end. [2.6.27] As for making his soldiers obedient, he managed that by bearing a share in their wrongdoing. He expected, indeed, to gain honour and attention by showing that he had the ability and would have the readiness to do the most wrongs; and he set it down as a kindness, whenever anyone broke off with him, that he had not, while still on terms with such a one, destroyed him.

[2.6.28] To be sure, in matters that are doubtful one may be mistaken about him, but the facts which everybody knows are the following. From Aristippus1 he secured, while still in the bloom of youth, an appointment as general of his mercenaries; with Ariaeus, who was a barbarian, he became extremely intimate for the reason that Ariaeus was fond of beautiful youths; and, lastly, he himself, while still beardless, had a bearded favourite named Tharypas. [2.6.29] Now when his fellow-generals were put to death for joining Cyrus in his expedition against the King, he, who had done the same thing, was not so treated, but it was after the execution of the other generals that the King visited the punishment of death upon him; and he was not, like Clearchus and the rest of the generals, beheaded--a manner of death which is counted speediest--but, report says, was tortured alive for a year and so met the death of a scoundrel.

[2.6.30] Agias the Arcadian and Socrates the Achaean were the two others who were put to death. No one ever laughed at these men as weaklings in war or found fault with them in the matter of friendship. They were both about thirty-five years of age.

 

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