The Circle of Ancient Iranian Studies
Defeat of Ten Thousand Greek Mercenaries in Iran
Book 4 Section 1
[4.1.1] 1[The preceding narrative has described all that took place on the upward march until the time of the battle, all that happened after the battle during the truce concluded by the King and the Greeks who had made the upward march in company with Cyrus, and likewise the whole course of the warfare carried on against the Greeks after the King and Tissaphernes had broken the truce, when the Persian army was hanging upon the Greek rear. [4.1.2] When the Greeks finally reached a point where the Tigris river was quite impassable by reason of its depth and width, and where there was no passage-way alongside the river, since the Carduchian mountains hung sheer and close above it, the generals were forced to the conclusion that they must make their way through the mountains. [4.1.3] For they heard from the prisoners who were taken that once they had passed through the Carduchian mountains and reached Armenia, they could there cross the headwaters of the Tigris river, if they so desired, or, if they preferred, could go round them. They were also informed that the headwaters of the Euphrates were not far from those of the Tigris,--and such is indeed the case. [4.1.4] Now they conducted their invasion of the country of the Carduchians in the following way, since they were seeking not only to escape observation, but at the same time to reach the heights before the enemy could take possession of them.]
[4.1.5] When it was about the last watch, and enough of the night remained to allow them to cross the plain in the dark, at that time they arose upon the word of command and set out on their march; and they reached the mountain at daybreak. [4.1.6] Here Cheirisophus, with his own division and all the light-armed troops, led the van, while Xenophon followed behind with the hoplites of the rearguard, but without any light troops at all; for there seemed to be no danger of any pursuit from behind while they were proceeding uphill.1 [4.1.7] And Cheirisophus reached the summit of the pass before any of the enemy perceived him; then he led on slowly, and each division of the army as it passed over the summit followed along to the villages which lay in the hollows and nooks of the mountains. [4.1.8] Then it was that the Carduchians abandoned their houses and fled to the mountains with their wives and children. As for provisions, there was an abundance for the Greeks to take, and the houses were also supplied with bronze vessels in great numbers; the Greeks, however, did not carry off any of these, and did not pursue the people themselves, refraining from harshness on the chance that the Carduchians might perhaps be willing to let them pass through their country in friendship, seeing that they also were enemies of the King; [4.1.9] but they did take whatever they chanced upon in the way of provisions, for that was necessary. The Carduchians, however, would neither listen when they called to them nor give any other sign of friendliness. [4.1.10] And when the rearguard of the Greeks was descending from the summit of the pass to the villages--and by this time it was dark, for on account of the road being narrow their ascent and descent lasted through the entire day--at this moment some of the Carduchians gathered together and attacked the hindmost Greeks; and they killed some and wounded others severely with stones and arrows, though they were themselves but few in number; for the Greek army had come upon them unexpectedly. [4.1.11] If, however, a larger number of them had gathered together at that time, a great part of the army would have been in danger of being destroyed. Thus the Greeks bivouacked for that night in the villages, while the Carduchians kindled many fires round about upon the mountains and kept shouting to one another.
[4.1.12] At daybreak the generals and captains of the Greeks came together and resolved to keep with them on the march only the indispensable and most powerful baggage animals and to leave the rest behind; likewise, to let go all the newly-taken captives that were in the army, to the last man. [4.1.13] For the baggage animals and the captives, numerous as they were, made the march slow, and the large number of men who had charge of them were thus taken out of the fighting line; besides, with so many people to feed it was necessary to procure and to carry twice the amount of provisions. This decision once reached, they published the order to carry it into effect.
[4.1.14] When they had breakfasted and were setting out upon the march, the generals quietly stationed men in the defile and proceeded to take away from the troops such of the things specified as had not been given up if they found any; and the soldiers submitted, except in cases where a man had smuggled through a handsome boy or woman, for example, that he had set his heart upon. So they went on for that day, now fighting a little and now resting. [4.1.15] On the next day there was a heavy storm, but they had to continue their march, for they had not an adequate supply of provisions; and Cheirisophus led the way while Xenophon commanded the rearguard. [4.1.16] Here the enemy began a vigorous attack, and in the narrow places on the road came close up to discharge their bows and slings. The result was that the Greeks were forced to give chase and then fall back, and hence made but slow progress; and time after time, when the enemy pressed them hard, Xenophon would send word to Cheirisophus to wait a little. [4.1.17] Now while Cheirisophus was accustomed to wait whenever such word was given, on this occasion he did not do so, but led on rapidly and passed back the order to keep up with him. It was evident, therefore, that something was the matter, but there was no time to go forward and find out the reason for his haste; consequently the progress of the rearguard became more like a flight than a march. [4.1.18] Then it was that a brave man was killed, Leonymus the Laconian, who was pierced in the side by an arrow that went through his shield and cuirass; also Basias the Arcadian, who was shot clean through the head.
[4.1.19] As soon as they reached a halting place, Xenophon went straight to Cheirisophus, just as he was, and proceeded to reproach him for not waiting, but compelling them to flee and fight at the same time; "and now," he went on, "two fine, brave fellows have lost their lives, and we were not able to pick up their bodies or bury them." [4.1.20] Cheirisophus' reply was, "Take a look," said he, "at the mountains, and observe how impassable all of them are. The only road is the one there, which you see, a steep one, too, and on that you can see the great crowd of people who have taken possession of it and are guarding our way out. [4.1.21] That's the reason why I was hurrying and why I would not wait for you, for I hoped to reach the pass and occupy it before they did. The guides that we have say there is no other road." [4.1.22] And Xenophon answered, "Well, I also have two men. For at the time when the enemy were giving us trouble, we set an ambush. It allowed us, for one thing, to catch our breath; but, besides, we killed a number of them, and we took especial pains to get some prisoners for this very purpose, of being able to employ as guides men who know the country."
[4.1.23] They brought up the two men at once and questioned them separately as to whether they knew any other road besides the one that was in plain sight. The first man said he did not, despite all the numerous threats that were made to him; and since he would give no information, he was slaughtered before the eyes of the second one. [4.1.24] The latter now said that the reason why this first man had maintained that he did not know any other road, was because he chanced to have a daughter living in that neighbourhood with a husband to whom he had given her; but as for himself, he said that he would lead the Greeks by a road that could be traversed even by baggage animals. [4.1.25] Upon being asked whether there was any point on it which was difficult to pass, he replied that there was a height which they could not possibly pass unless they should seize it beforehand.
[4.1.26] Thereupon it was decided to call together the captains, both of peltasts and hoplites, to set forth to them the existing situation, and to ask if there was any one among them who would like to prove himself a brave man and to undertake this expedition as a volunteer. [4.1.27] Volunteers came forward, from the hoplites Aristonymus of Methydrium and Agasias of Stymphalus, while in rivalry with them Callimachus of Parrhasia said that he was ready to make the expedition and take with him volunteers from the entire army; "for I know," he continued, "that many of the young men will follow if I am in the lead." [4.1.28] Then they asked whether any one among the captains of light troops wanted to join in the march. The volunteer was Aristeas of Chios, who on many occasions proved himself valuable to the army for such services.
Book 4 Section 2
[4.2.1] It was now late afternoon, and they ordered the volunteers to take a snatch of food and set out. They also bound the guide and turned him over to the volunteers, and made an agreement with them that in case they should capture the height, they were to guard it through the night and give a signal at daybreak with the trumpet; then those on the height were to proceed against the Carduchians who were holding the visible way out,1 while the main army was to come to their support, pushing forward as fast as it could. [4.2.2] This agreement concluded, the volunteers, about two thousand in number, set out on their march; and there was a heavy downpour of rain; at the same time Xenophon with the rearguard began advancing toward the visible way out, in order that the enemy might be giving their attention to that road and that the party1 taking the roundabout route might, so far as possible, escape observation. [4.2.3] But as soon as the troops of the rearguard were at a gorge which they had to cross before marching up the steep hill, at that moment the barbarians began to roll down round stones large enough for a wagon-load, with larger and smaller ones also; they came down with a crash upon the rocks below and the fragments of them flew in all directions, so that it was quite impossible even to approach the ascending road. [4.2.4] Then some of the captains, unable to proceed by this route, would try another, and they kept this up until darkness came on. It was not until they imagined that their withdrawal would be unobserved that they went back to dinner--and it chanced that they had had no breakfast either. The enemy, however, never stopped rolling down their stones all through the night, as one could judge from the noise.
[4.2.5] Meanwhile the party with the guide, proceeding by a roundabout route, found the guards1 sitting around a fire, and after killing some of them and chasing away the others they remained at the post themselves, supposing that they held the height. [4.2.6] In fact, they were not holding it, for it was a round hill above them and past it ran this narrow road upon which the guards had been sitting. Nevertheless, from the place they did hold there was a way of approach to the spot, upon the visible road,1 where the main body of the enemy were stationed. [4.2.7] At this place, then, they passed the night, and when day was beginning to break, they took up their march silently in battle array against the enemy; for there was a mist, and consequently they got close up to them without being observed. When they did catch sight of one another, the trumpet1 sounded and the Greeks raised the battle cry and rushed upon the enemy. And the Carduchians did not meet their attack, but abandoned the road and took to flight; only a few of them, however, were killed, for they were agile fellows. [4.2.8] Meanwhile Cheirisophus and his command, hearing the trumpet, charged immediately up the visible road; and some of the other generals made their way without following any road from the points where they severally chanced to be and, clambering up as best they could, pulled one another up with their spears; [4.2.9] and it was they who were first to join the troops that had already gained possession of the place.But Xenophon with half the rearguard set out by the same rouwhich the party with the guide had followed, because this was the easiest route for the baggage animals; and behind the baggage animals he posted the other half of the rearguard. [4.2.10] As they proceeded they came upon a hill above the road which had been seized by the enemy, and found themselves compelled either to dislodge them or be completely separated from the rest of the Greeks; and while, so far as the troops themselves were concerned, they might have taken the same route that the rest1 followed, the baggage animals could not get through by any other road than this one2 by which Xenophon was proceeding. [4.2.11] Then and there, accordingly, with words of cheer to one another, they charged upon the hill with their companies in column, not surrounding it, but leaving the enemy a way of retreat in case they chose to use it. [4.2.12] For a while, as the Greeks were climbing up by whatever way they severally could, the barbarians discharged arrows and other missiles upon them; they did not let them get near, however, but took to flight and abandoned the place. No sooner had the Greeks passed by this hill, than they saw a second one ahead similarly occupied by the enemy, and decided to proceed against this one in its turn. [4.2.13] Xenophon, however, becoming apprehensive lest, if he should leave unoccupied the hill he had just captured, the enemy might take possession of it again and attack the baggage train as it passed (and the train stretched out a long way because of the narrowness of the road it was following), left three captains upon the hill, Cephisodorus, son of Cephisophon, an Athenian, Amphicrates, son of Amphidemus, also an Athenian, and Archagoras, an Argive exile; while he himself with the rest of the troops proceeded against the second hill, which they captured in the same fashion as the first.
[4.2.14] There still remained a third round hill,1 far the steepest of them all, the one that rose above the guard post, by the fire, which had been captured during the night by the volunteers. [4.2.15] But when the Greeks got near this hill, the barbarians abandoned it without striking a blow, so that everybody was filled with surprise and imagined that they had quit the place out of fear that they might be surrounded and blockaded. As it proved, however, they had seen, looking down from their height, what was going on farther back, and were all setting out to attack the Greek rearguard.1 [4.2.16] Meanwhile Xenophon proceeded to climb the abandoned height with his youngest troops, ordering the rest to move on slowly in order that the hindmost companies might catch up; then they were to advance along the road and halt under arms on the plateau1 at the top of the pass.
[4.2.17] At this time Archagoras the Argive came up in flight and reported that the Greeks had been dislodged lodged from the first hill, that Cephisodorus and Amphicrates had been killed, and likewise all the rest except such as had leaped down the rocks and reached the rearguard.1 [4.2.18] After accomplishing this achievement the barbarians came to a hill opposite the round hill,1 and Xenophon, through an interpreter, held a colloquy with them in regard to a truce and asked them to give back the bodies of the Greek dead. [4.2.19] They replied that they would give them back on condition that the Greeks should not burn their houses. To this Xenophon agreed. But while the rest of the army was passing by and they were engaged in this conference, all the enemy from that neighbourhood had streamed together to the spot; [4.2.20] and as soon as Xenophon and his men began to descend from the round hill, in order to join the rest of the Greeks at the place where they were halted under arms, the enemy took this opportunity to rush upon them in great force and with a great deal of uproar. When they had reached the crest of the hill from which Xenophon was descending, they proceeded to roll down stones. They broke one man's leg, and Xenophon found himself deserted by the servant who was carrying his shield; [4.2.21] but Eurylochus of Lusi, a hoplite, ran up to him and, keeping his shield held out in front of them both, fell back with him; and the rest also made good their retreat to the main array.
[4.2.22] Then the entire Greek army united, and the troops took up quarters there in many fine houses and in the midst of abundant supplies; for the inhabitants had wine in such quantities that they kept it in cemented cisterns. [4.2.23] Meanwhile Xenophon and Cheirisophus effected an arrangement by which they recovered the bodies of their dead and gave back the guide; and they rendered to the dead, so far as their means permitted, all the usual honours that are paid to brave men.
[4.2.24] On the next day they continued their march without a guide, while the enemy, by fighting and by seizing positions in advance wherever the road was narrow, tried to prevent their passage. [4.2.25] Accordingly, whenever they blocked the march of the van, Xenophon would push forward from the rear to the mountains and break the blockade of the road for the van by trying to get higher than those who were halting it, [4.2.26] and whenever they attacked the rear, Cheirisophus would sally forth and, by trying to get higher than the obstructing force, would break the blockade of the passage-way for the rear; in this way they continually aided one another and took zealous care for one another. [4.2.27] There were times, indeed, when the barbarians caused a great deal of trouble even to the troops who had climbed to a higher position, when they were coming down again; for their men were so agile that even if they took to flight from close at hand, they could escape; for they had nothing to carry except bows and slings. [4.2.28] As bowmen they were most excellent; they had bows nearly three cubits long and their arrows were more than two cubits, and when they shot, they would draw their strings by pressing with the left foot against the lower end of the bow; and their arrows would go straight through shields and breastplates.1 Whenever they got hold of them, the Greeks would use these arrows as javelins, fitting them with thongs. In these regions the Cretans made themselves exceedingly useful. They were commanded by a Cretan named Stratocles.
Book 4 Section 3
[4.3.1] For that day again1 they found quarters in the villages that lie above the plain bordering the Centrites river, which is about two plethra in width and separates Armenia and the country of the Carduchians. There the Greeks took breath, glad to behold a plain; for the river was distant six or seven stadia from the mountains of the Carduchians. [4.3.2] At the time, then, they went into their quarters very happily, for they had provisions and likewise many recollections of the hardships that were now past. For during all the seven days of their march through the land of the Carduchians they were continually fighting, and they suffered more evils than all which they had suffered taken together at the hands of the King and Tissaphernes. In the feeling, therefore, that they were rid of these troubles they lay down happily to rest.
[4.3.3] At daybreak, however, they caught sight of horsemen at a place across the river, fully armed and ready to dispute their passage, and likewise foot-soldiers drawn up in line of battle upon the bluffs above the horsemen, to prevent their pushing up into Armenia. [4.3.4] All these were the troops of Orontas1 and Artuchas,2 and consisted of Armenians, Mardians, and Chaldaean mercenaries. The Chaldaeans were said to be an independent and valiant people; they had as weapons long wicker shields and lances. [4.3.5] Now the bluffs just mentioned, upon which these troops were drawn up, were distant three or four plethra from the river, and there was only one road to be seen that led up them, apparently an artificial road; so at this point1 the Greeks undertook to cross the river. [4.3.6] When they made the attempt, however, the water proved to be more than breast deep and the river bed was rough with large, slippery stones; furthermore, they could not carry their shields in the water, for if they tried that, the cuwould snatch them away, while if a man carried them on his head, his body was left unprotected against arrows and other missiles; so they turned back and went into camp there by the side of the river. [4.3.7] Meanwhile, at the point where they had themselves spent the previous night, on the mountain side, they could see the Carduchians gathered together under arms in great numbers. Then it was that deep despondency fell upon the Greeks, as they saw before them a river difficult to cross, beyond it troops that would obstruct their crossing, and behind them the Carduchians, ready to fall upon their rear when they tried to cross.
[4.3.8] That day and night, accordingly, they remained there, in great perplexity. But Xenophon had a dream; he thought that he was bound in fetters, but that the fetters fell off from him of their own accord, so that he was released and could take as long steps1 as he pleased. When dawn came, he went to Cheirisophus, told him he had hopes that all would be well, and related to him his dream. [4.3.9] Cheirisophus was pleased, and as soon as day began to break, all the generals were at hand and proceeded to offer sacrifices. And with the very first victim the omens were favourable. Then the generals and captains withdrew from the sacrifice and gave orders to the troops to get their breakfasts.
[4.3.10] While Xenophon was breakfasting, two young men came running up to him; for all knew that they might go to him whether he was breakfasting or dining, and that if he were asleep, they might awaken him and tell him whatever they might have to tell that concerned the war. [4.3.11] In the present case the young men reported that they had happened to be gathering dry sticks for the purpose of making a fire, and that while so occupied they had descried across the river, among some rocks that reached down to the very edge of the river, an old man and a woman and some little girls putting away what looked like bags of clothes in a cavernous rock. [4.3.12] When they saw this proceeding, they said, they made up their minds that it was safe for them to cross, for this was a place that was not accesible to the enemy's cavalry. They accordingly stripped, keeping only their daggers, and started across naked, supposing that they would have to swim; but they went on and got across without wetting themselves up to the middle; once on the other side, they took the clothes and came back again.
[4.3.13] Upon hearing this report Xenopohon immediately proceeded to pour a libation himself, and directed his attendants to fill a cup for the young men and to pray to the gods who had revealed the dream and the ford, to bring to fulfilment the other blessings also.1 The libation accomplished, he at once led the young men to Cheirisophus, and they repeated their story to him. [4.3.14] And upon hearing it Cheirisophus also made libation. Thereafter they gave orders to the troops to pack up their baggage, while they themselves called together the generals and took counsel as to how they might best effect a crossing so as to defeat the enemy in front without suffering any harm from those in their rear. [4.3.15] The decision was, that Cheirisophus should take the lead with half the army and attempt a crossing, that the other half with Xenophon should stay behind for a while, and that the baggage animals and camp followers should cross between the two divisions.
[4.3.16] When these arrangements had been satisfactorily made, they set out, the young men leading the way and keeping the river on the left; and the distance to the ford was about four stadia. [4.3.17] As they proceeded, the squadrons of the enemy's cavalry kept along opposite to them. When they reached the ford, they halted under arms, and Cheirisophus put a wreath upon his head,1 threw off his cloak, and took up his arms, giving orders to all the others to do the same; he also directed the captains to lead their companies in column, part of them upon his left and the rest upon his right. Meanwhile the soothsayers were offering sacrifice to the river, [4.3.18] and the enemy were shooting arrows and discharging slings, [4.3.19] but not yet reaching their mark; and when the sacrifices proved favourable, all the soldiers struck up the paean and raised the war shout, while the women, everyone of them, joined their cries with the shouting of the men--for there were a large number of women in the camp.
[4.3.20] Then Cheirisophus and his division proceeded into the river; but Xenophon took the nimblest troops of the rearguard and began running back at full speed to the ford1 that was opposite the road which led out into the Armenian mountains, pretending that he meant to cross at that point and thus cut off2 the horsemen who were by the side of the river. [4.3.21] The enemy thereupon, when they saw Cheirisophus and his division crossing the river without difficulty and likewise saw Xenophon and his men running back, were seized with fear that they might be cut off, and they fled at full speed to reach the road which led up from the river. This road once gained, they hastened on upward in the direction of the mountain. [4.3.22] Then Lycius, who commanded the squadron of Greek cavalry, and Aeschines, commander of the battalion of peltasts that was with Cheirisophus, upon seeing the enemy in full flight set off in pursuit, while the rest of the Greek troops shouted to them not to fall behind, but to follow the fugitives right up to the mountain. [4.3.23] As for Cheirisophus, after getting across he chose not to pursue the hostile cavalry, but immediately pushed up over the bluffs that reached down to the river against the infantry on top of them.1 And these troops, seeing their own cavalry in flight and hoplites advancing upon them, abandoned the heights above the river.
[4.3.24] Xenophon no sooner saw that all was going well on the other side than he started back with all speed to join the troops that were crossing, for by this time the Carduchians could be seen descending into the plain with the manifest intention of attacking the hindmost. [4.3.25] Meanwhile Cheirisophus was in possession of the bluffs, and Lycius, venturing a pursuit with his small squadron,1 had captured the straggling portion of the enemy's baggage train, and with it fine apparel and drinking cups. [4.3.26] And now, with the Greek baggage train and the camp followers in the very act of crossing, Xenophon wheeled his troops so that they took a position facing the Carduchians, and gave orders to the captains that each man of them should form his own company by squads,1 moving each squad by the left into line of battle; then the captains and squad leaders were to face toward the Carduchians and station file closers on the side next to the river. [4.3.27] But as soon as the Carduchians saw the rearguard stripped of the crowd of camp followers and looking now like a small body, they advanced to the attack all the more rapidly, singing a kind of songs. As for Cheirisophus, since everything was safe on his side, he sent back to Xenophon the peltasts, slingers, and bowmen, and directed them to do whatever Xenophon might order. [4.3.28] But when he saw them beginning to cross, Xenophon sent a messenger and directed them to stay where they were, on the bank of the river, without crossing; at the moment, however, when his own men should begin to cross, they were to enter the river opposite them, on this side and that, as though they were going to cross it, the javelin men with hand on the thong and the bowmen with arrow on the string; but they were not to proceed far into the river. [4.3.29] The orders he gave to his own men were, that when sling-stones reached them and shields rang, they were to strike up the paean and charge upon the enemy, and when the enemy turned to flight and the trumpeter on the river-bank sounded the charge,1 they were to face about to the right, the file closers were to take the lead, and all of them were to run and cross as fast as they could with every man keeping his proper place in the line, so that they should not interfere with one another; and he that got to the other side first would be the besman.
[4.3.30] Now the Carduchians, seeing that those who were left were by this time few in number (for many even of those detailed to stay had gone off to look after pack animals or baggage or women, as the case might be), at that moment proceeded to press upon them boldly and began to sling stones and shoot arrows. [4.3.31] Then the Greeks struck up the paean and charged at them on the run, and they did not meet the attack; for while they were equipped well enough for attack and retreat in the mountains, their equipment was not adequate for hand-to-hand fighting. [4.3.32] At that instant the Greek trumpeter sounded his signal; and while the enemy began to flee much faster than before, the Greeks turned about and set out on their own flight through the river at top speed. [4.3.33] Some few of the enemy, perceiving this movement, ran back to the river and wounded a few Greeks with arrows, but most of them, even when the Greeks were on the other side, could still be seen continuing their flight. [4.3.34] But the troops that came to meet Xenophon, behaving like men and advancing farther than they should have gone, crossed back again in the rear of Xenophon's command; and some of them also were wounded.
Book 4 Section 4
[4.4.1] When they had accomplished the crossing, they formed in line of battle about midday and marched through Armenia, over entirely level country and gently sloping hills, not less than five parasangs; for there were no villages near the river because of the wars between the Armenians and Carduchians. [4.4.2] The village which they finally reached was a large one and had a palace for the satrap, while most of the houses were surmounted by turrets; and provisions were plentiful. [4.4.3] From there they marched two stages, ten parasangs, until they passed the headwaters of the Tigris river. From there they marched three stages, fifteen parasangs, to the Teleboas river. This was a beautiful river, though not a large one, and there were many villages about it. [4.4.4] This region was called Western Armenia. Its lieutenant-governor1 was Tiribazus, who had proved himself a friend to the King and, so often as he was present, was the only man permitted to help the King mount his horse. [4.4.5] He rode up to the Greeks with a body of horsemen, and sending forward an interpreter, said that he wished to confer with their commanders. The generals decided to hear what he had to say, and, after approaching within hearing distance, they asked him what he wanted. [4.4.6] He replied that he wished to conclude a treaty with these conditions, that he on his side would not harm the Greeks, and that they should not burn the houses, but might take all the provisions they needed. This proposition was accepted by the generals, and they concluded a treaty on these terms.
[4.4.7] From there they marched three stages, fifteen parasangs, through level country, Tiribazus and his command following along at a distance of about ten stadia from them; and they reached a palace with many villages round about it full of provisions in abundance. [4.4.8] While they were in camp there, there was a heavy fall of snow1 during the night, and in the morning they decided to quarter the several divisions of the army, with their commanders, in the different villages; for there was no enemy within sight, and the plan seemed to be a safe one by reason of the great quantity of snow. [4.4.9] There they had all possible good things in the way of supplies--animals for sacrifice, grain, old wines with a fine bouquet, dried grapes, and beans of all sorts. But some men who straggled away from their quarters reported that they saw in the night the gleam of a great many fires. [4.4.10] The generals accordingly decided that it was unsafe to have their divisions in separate quarters, and that they must bring all the troops together again; so they came together, especially as the storm seemed to be clearing up. [4.4.11] But there came such a tremendous fall of snow while they were bivouacked there that it completely covered both the arms and the men as they slept, besides hampering the baggage animals; and everybody was very reluctant to get up, for as the men lay there the snow that had fallen upon them--in case it did not slip off--was a source of warmth. [4.4.12] But once Xenophon had mustered the courage to get up without his cloak and set about splitting wood, another man also speedily got up, took the axe away from him, and went on with the splitting. Thereupon still others got up and proceeded to build fires and anoint themselves; [4.4.13] for they found ointment there in abundance which they used in place of olive oil--made of pork fat, sesame, bitter almonds, or turpentine. They found also a fragrant oil made out of these same ingredients.
[4.4.14] After this it was deemed necessary to distribute the troops again to quarters in the houses of the several villages. Then followed plenty of joyful shouting as the men went back to their houses and provisions, and all those who just before had wantonly burned the houses they were leaving, paid the penalty by getting poor quarters. [4.4.15] After this they sent Democrates of Temnus with a body of troops during the night to the mountains where the stragglers said they had seen the fires; for this Democrates enjoyed the reputation of having made accurate reports in many previous cases of the same sort, describing what were facts as facts and what were fictions as fictions. [4.4.16] Upon his return he stated that he had not seen the fires; he had captured, however, and brought back with him a man with a Persian bow and quiver and a battleaxe of the same sort that Amazons carry. [4.4.17] When this man was asked from what country he came, he said he was a Persian and was on his way from the camp of Tiribazus to get provisions. They asked him how large Tiribazus' army was and for what purpose it had been gathered. [4.4.18] He replied that it was Tiribazus with his own forces and Chalybian and Taochian mercenaries, and that he had made his preparations with the idea of taking a position upon the mountain pass, in the defile through which ran the only road, and there attacking the Greeks.
[4.4.19] When the generals heard these statements, they resolved to bring the troops together into a camp; then, after leaving a garrison and Sophaenetus the Stymphalian as general in command of those who stayed behind, they set out at once, with the captured man as guide. [4.4.20] As soon as they had begun to cross the mountains, the peltasts, pushing on ahead and descrying the enemy's camp, did not wait for the hoplites, but raised a shout and charged upon the camp. [4.4.21] When the barbarians heard the uproar, they did not wait to offer resistance, but took to flight; nevertheless, some of them were killed, about twenty horses were captured, and likewise Tiribazus' tent, with silver-footed couches in it, and drinking cups, and people who said they were his bakers and his cup-bearers. [4.4.22] As soon as the generals of the hoplites learned of these results, they deemed it best to go back as speedily as possible to their own camp, lest some attack might be made upon those they had left behind. So they immediately sounded the recall with the trumpet and set out on the return journey, arriving at their camp on the same day.
Book 4 Section 5
[4.5.1] On the next day it seemed that they must continue their march with all speed, before the hostile army could be gathered together again and take possession of the narrow passes. They accordingly packed up and set out at once, marching through deep snow with a large number of guides; and before the day ended they crossed over the summit at which Tiribazus was intending to attack them and went into camp. [4.5.2] From there they marched three stages through desert country, fifteen parasangs, to the Euphrates river, and crossed it, wetting themselves up to the navel; [4.5.3] and report was that the sources of the river were not far distant.From there they marched over a plain and through deep snow three stages, thirteen parasangs. The third stage proved a hard one, with the north wind, which blew fuin their faces, absolutely blasting everything and freezing the men. [4.5.4] Then it was that one of the soothsayers bade them offer sacrifice to the wind, and sacrifice was offered; and it seemed quite clear to everybody that the violence of the wind abated. But the depth of the snow was a fathom, so that many of the baggage animals and slaves perished, and about thirty of the soldiers. [4.5.5] They got through that night by keeping up fires, for there was wood in abundance at the halting-place; those who came up late, however, had none, and consequently the men who had arrived early and were keeping a fire would not allow the late comers to get near it unless they gave them a share of their wheat or anything else they had that was edible. [4.5.6] So then they shared with one another what they severally possessed. Now where the fire was kindled the snow melted, and the result was great holes clear down to the ground; and there, of course, one could measure the depth of the snow.
[4.5.7] From there they marched all the following day through snow, and many of the men fell ill with hunger-faintness. And Xenophon, with the rear-guard, as he came upon the men who were falling by the way, did not know what the trouble was. [4.5.8] But as soon as a person who was acquainted with the disease had told him that they manifestly had hunger-faintness, and if they were given something to eat would be able to get up, he went around among the baggage animals, and wherever he saw anything that was edible, he would distribute it among the sick men, or send hither and thither people who had the strength to run along the lines, to give it to them. [4.5.9] And when they had eaten something, they would get up and continue the march.As the army went on, Cheirisophus reached a village about dusk, and found at the spring outside the wall women and girls who had come from the village to fetch water. [4.5.10] They asked the Greeks who they were, and the interpreter replied in Persian that they were on their way from the King to the satrap. The women answered that he was not there, but about a parasang away. Then, inasmuch as it was late, the Greeks accompanied the water-carriers within the wall to visit the village chief. [4.5.11] So it was that Cheirisophus and all the troops who could muster strength enough to reach the village, went into quarters there, but such of the others as were unable to complete the journey spent the night in the open without food or fire; and in this way some of the soldiers perished.
[4.5.12] Meanwhile they were being followed by the enemy, some of whom had banded together and were seizing such of the pack animals as lacked the strength to go on, and fighting over them with one another. Some of the soldiers likewise were falling behind--those whose eyes had been blinded by the snow, or whose toes had rotted off by reason of the cold. [4.5.13] It was a protection to the eyes against the snow if a man marched with something black in front of them, and a protection to the feet if one kept moving and never quiet, and if he took off his shoes for the night; [4.5.14] but in all cases where men slept with their shoes on, the straps sunk into their flesh and the shoes froze on their feet; for what they were wearing, since their old shoes had given out, were brogues made of freshly flayed ox-hides.
[4.5.15] It was under compulsion of such difficulties that some of the soldiers were falling behind; and espying a spot that was dark because the snow just there had disappeared, they surmised that it had melted; and in fact it had melted, on account of a spring which was near by, steaming in a dell; here they turned aside and sat down, refusing to go any farther. [4.5.16] But when Xenophon with some of the rearguard observed them, he begged them by all manner of means not to be left behind, telling them that a large body of the enemy had gathered and were pursuing, and finally he became angry. They told him, however, to kill them, for they could not go on. [4.5.17] In this situation it seemed to be best to frighten the pursuing enemy, if they could, in order to prevent their falling upon the sick men. It was dark by this time, and the enemy were coming on with a great uproar, quarrelling over the booty they had. [4.5.18] Then the men of the rearguard, since they were sound and well, started up and charged upon the enemy, while the invalids raised as big a shout as they could and clashed their shields against their spears. And the enemy, seized with fear, threw themselves down over the snow into the dell, and not a sound was heard from them afterwards.
[4.5.19] Thereupon Xenophon and his men, after telling the invalids that on the next day people would come back after them, continued their march, but before they had gone four stadia they came upon their comrades lying down in the road upon the snow, wrapped up in their cloaks, and without so much as a single guard posted. They tried to get them up, but the men said that the troops in front would not make way for them. [4.5.20] Xenophon accordingly passed along and, sending forward the strongest of the peltasts, directed them to see what the hindrance was. They reported back that the whole army was resting in this way. [4.5.21] Thereupon Xenophon also and his party bivouacked where they were, without a fire and without dinner, after stationing such guards as they could. When it came toward morning, Xenophon sent the youngest of his troops to the sick men with orders to make them get up and force them to proceed.
[4.5.22] Meanwhile Cheirisophus sent some of the troops quartered in the village to find out how the people at the rear were faring. Xenophon's party were glad enough to see them, and turned over the invalids to them to carry on to the camp, while they themselves continued their journey, and before completing twenty stadia reached the village where Cheirisophus was quartered. [4.5.23] When all had come together, the generals decided that it was safe for the different divisions of the army to take up quarters in the several villages. Cheirisophus accordingly remained where he was, while the other generals distributed by lot the villages within sight, and all set off with their respective commands. [4.5.24] Then it was that Polycrates, and Athenian captain, asked to be detached from his division; and with an active group of men he ran to the village which had fallen to Xenophon's lot and there took possession of all the villagers, the village chief included, seventeen colts which were being reared for tribute to the King, and the village chief's daughter, who had been married eight days before; her husband, however, was off hunting hares, and was not taken in the village.
[4.5.25] The houses here were underground, with a mouth like that of a well, but spacious below; and while entrances were tunnelled down for the beasts of burden, the human inhabitants descended by a ladder.1 In the houses were goats, sheep, cattle, fowls, and their young; and all the animals were reared and took their fodder there in the houses. [4.5.26] Here were also wheat, barley, and beans, and barleywine in large bowls. Floating on the top of this drink were the barley-grains and in it were straws, some larger and others smaller, without joints; [4.5.27] and when one was thirsty, he had to take these straws into his mouth and suck. It was an extremely strong drink unless one diluted it with water, and extremely good when one was used to it.
[4.5.28] Xenophon made the chief man of this village his guest at dinner and bade him be of good cheer, telling him that he should not be deprived of his children, and that before they went away they would fill his house with provisions by way of reward in case he should prove to have given the army good guidance until they should reach another tribe. [4.5.29] He promised to do this, and in a spirit of kindliness told them where there was wine buried. For that night, then, all Xenophon's soldiers, in this village where they were thus separately quartered, went to bed amid an abundance of everything, keeping the village chief under guard and his children all together within .
[4.5.30] On the next day Xenophon took the village chief and set out to visit Cheirisophus; whenever he passed a village, he would turn aside to visit the troops quartered there, and everywhere he found them faring sumptuously and in fine spirits; there was no place from which the men would let them go until they had served them a luncheon, [4.5.31] and no place where they did not serve on the same table lamb, kid, pork, veal, and poultry, together with many loaves of bread, some of wheat and some of barley. [4.5.32] And whenever a man wanted out of good fellowship to drink another's health, he would draw him to the bowl, and then one had to stoop over and drink from it, sucking like an ox. To the village chief they offered the privilege of taking whatever he wanted. He declined for the most part to accept anything, but whenever he caught sight of one of his kinsmen, he would always take the man to his side. [4.5.33] Again, when they reached Cheirisophus, they found his troops also feasting in their quarters, crowned with wreaths of hay and served by Armenian boys in their strange, foreign dress; and they were showing the boys what to do by signs, as if they were deaf and dumb.
[4.5.34] As soon as Cheirisophus and Xenophon had exchanged warm greetings, they together asked the village chief, through their Persian-speaking interpreter, what this land was. He replied that it was Armenia. They asked him again for whom the horses were being reared. He answered, as tribute for the King; and he said that the neighbouring country was that of the Chalybians, and told them where the road was. [4.5.35] Then Xenophon took the village chief back for the time to his own household, and gave him a horse that he had got when it was rather old, to fatten up and sacrifice, for he understood that it was sacred to the Sun-god. He did this out of fear that the horse might die, for it had been injured by the journey; and he took for himself one of the colts1 and gave his captains also a colt apiece. [4.5.36] The horses of this region were smaller than the Persian horses, but very much more spirited. It was here also that the village chief instructed them about wrapping small bags round the feet of their horses and beasts of burden when they were going through the snow; for without these bags the animals would sink in up to their bellies.
Book 4 Section 6
[4.6.1] When seven days had passed, Xenophon gave over the village chief to Cheirisophus to act as guide, leaving his family behind with the exception of his son, who was just coming into the prime of youth; this son he gave into the keeping of Pleisthenes of Amphipolis, in order that the father, if he should serve them well as guide, might take him also back with him. Then, after putting into his house as large a quantity of supplies as they could,1 they broke camp and set out upon the march. [4.6.2] The village chief, who was not bound,1 guided their way through the snow; but by the time they were on the third stage Cheirisophus got angry with him for not leading them to villages. He replied that there were none in this region. [4.6.3] Then Cheirisophus struck him, but neglected to bind him. The result was that he stole away during the night, leaving his son behind. And this was the only cause of difference between Cheirisophus and Xenophon during the course of the march, this ill-treatment of the guide and carelessness in not guarding him. Pleisthenes, however, fell in love with the boy, took him home with him, and found him absolutely faithful.
[4.6.4] After this they marched seven stages at the rate of five parasangs a day to the Phasis river, which was a plethrum in width. [4.6.5] From there they marched two stages, ten parasangs; and on the pass leading over to the plain they encountered a body of Chalybians, Taochians, and Phasians. [4.6.6] As soon as Cheirisophus caught sight of the enemy on the pass, he halted, while still at a distance of about thirty stadia, in order not to get near the enemy while his troops were marching in column; and he gave orders to the other officers also to move along their companies so as to bring the army into line of battle.1 [4.6.7] When the rearguard had come up, he called generals and captains together and spoke as follows: "The enemy, as you see, are in possession of the pass over the mountain, and it is time for us to take counsel as to how we can best make our fight. [4.6.8] My own view is, that we should give orders to the soldiers to get their breakfast while we ourselves consider whether it is best to attempt to cross over the mountain today or to-morrow." [4.6.9] "My opinion is," said Cleanor, "that as soon as we have breakfasted, we should arm ourselves and advance upon these men with all the strength we have. For if we waste this day, not only will the enemy who are now looking at us become bolder, but others, in greater numbers, when these are once emboldened, are likely to join them."
[4.6.10] After Cleanor had spoken, Xenophon said: "And I think this way: if it is necessary for us to fight, our preparation should have this end in view, to make the strongest possible fight; but if we wish to effect a passage in the easiest way we can, then, in my opinion, our consideration should be on this point, how we may sustain the fewest wounds and sacrifice the fewest lives. [4.6.11] Now this mountain--or the part of it that we see--extends over more than sixty stadia, but as for men to guard it against us, none are to be seen anywhere except on the road above; it is far better, therefore, to turn to the unoccupied part of the mountain and try either to steal a position by eluding the enemy's observation or to seize it by getting ahead of them, in whatever way we can, rather than to fight against strong places and men prepared. [4.6.12] For it is far easier to march uphill without fighting than over level ground with enemies on this side and that; one can see what is in front of him more easily by night if he is not fighting than by day if he is fighting; and the rough road is more comfortable to men who are going over it without fighting than the smooth road to men who are being pelted on the head. [4.6.13] And as for stealing a position, that does not seem to me impossible, for we can go during the night so as not to be seen, and we can get far enough away from the enemy so as not to be heard. I do think, however, that if we should make a feint of attacking here, we should find the rest of the mountain all the more deserted, for the enemy would be more likely to remain in a body where they are. [4.6.14] But why should I be the man to make suggestions about stealing? For, as I hear, Cheirisophus, you Lacedaemonians, at least those among you who belong to the peers,1 practise stealing even from childhood, and count it not disgraceful but honourable to steal anything that the law does not prevent you from taking. [4.6.15] And in order that you may steal with all possible skill and may try not to be caught at it, it is the law of your land that, if you are caught stealing, you are flogged. Now, therefore, is just the time for you to display your training, and to take care that we do not get caught stealing any of the mountain, so that we shall not get a beating."
[4.6.16] "Well, for all that," said Cheirisophus, "I hear on my side that you Athenians are terribly clever at stealing the public funds, even though it is terribly dangerous for the stealer, and, in fact, that your best people do it most, at least if they really are your best who are deemed worthy to rule; hence it is time for you also to be displaying your training." [4.6.17] "Well," said Xenophon, "I am ready to set out with the rearguard, as soon as we have dined, to seize possession of the mountain. And I have guides, too; for the light troops set an ambush and captured some of the stealing rascals who are following us. From these fellows I also learn that the mountain is not impassable, but is pastured with goats and cattle; therefore if we once get possession of any part of the mountain, our pack animals also will find it passable. [4.6.18] And I hope that the enemy will remove themselvefrom our way as soon as they see us on a level with them upon the heights; for they are not willing now to come down and meet us on our level." [4.6.19] Then Cheirisophus said: "But why should you be the one to go, and leave your post with the rearguard? Send others rather, unless some good men offer themselves as volunteers." [4.6.20] At that, Aristonymus of Methydrium, commanding hoplites, came forward, and Aristeas the Chian with light troops, and Nicomachus the Oetaean with light troops; and they made an agreement that as soon as they were in possession of the heights, they would kindle a number of fires. [4.6.21] This agreement concluded, they proceeded to take breakfast; and immediately after breakfast Cheirisophus led the whole army forward about ten stadia toward the enemy, in order to make them quite certain that he was going to advance upon them by this road.
[4.6.22] After they had had dinner and night had come on, the men appointed to the task set forward and gained possession of the mountain, while the remainder of the troops rested where they were. And when the enemy perceived that the mountain was occupied, they staid awake and kept many fires burning through the night. [4.6.23] As soon as day came Cheirisophus offered sacrifice and led the army forward along the road, while the party that had seized the mountain, advanced along the heights. [4.6.24] As for the enemy, the majority remained at the pass over the mountain, but a part of them went to meet the detachment on the heights. Now before the two main bodies got near one another, those upon the heights came to close combat, and the Greeks were victorious and began their pursuit. [4.6.25] Meanwhile the main body of the Greeks was moving upward from the plain, the peltasts charging at a run upon the enemy's battleline and Cheirisophus following at a quick-step with the hoplites. [4.6.26] But the enemy on the road no sooner saw their detachment on the heights being defeated than they took to flight; and while not many of them were killed, a great number of wicker shields were captured, which the Greeks rendered useless by slashing them with their sabres. [4.6.27] When they had climbed to the top of the pass, after offering sacrifice and setting up a trophy they descended into the plain on the farther side, and reached villages full of many good things.
Book 4 Section 7
[4.7.1] After this they marched into the country of the Taochians five stages, thirty parasangs; and their provisions were running low, for the Taochians dwelt in strongholds, and in these strongholds they kept all their provisions stored away. [4.7.2] Now when the Greeks arrived at one of them which contained no town nor houses, but was only a place where men and women and a great number of cattle were gathered, Cheirisophus proceeded to attack this stronghold as soon as he reached it; and when his first battalion grew weary, another advanced to the attack, and yet another; for it was not possible for them to surround the place in continuous line, because its sides were precipitous.
[4.7.3] The moment Xenophon came up with the rearguard, consisting of both peltasts and hoplites, Cheirisophus said to him: "You have come in the nick of time; for the place must be captured; for the army has no provisions unless we capture this place." [4.7.4] Then they took counsel together, and when Xenophon asked what it was that prevented their effecting an entrance, Cheirisophus replied: "There is this one way of approach which you see, but when one tries to go along by this way, they roll down stones from this overhanging rock; and whoever gets caught, is served in this fashion"--and with the words he pointed out men with their legs and ribs crushed. [4.7.5] "But suppose they use up their stones," said Xenophon, "there is nothing then, is there, to hinder one's passing? For surely there is nothing we can see on the other side except a few men yonder, and only two or three of them are armed. [4.7.6] Furthermore, as you can see for yourself, the distance we must traverse under attack is about a plethrum and a half. Now as much as a plethrum of that distance is covered with tall, scattered pine trees, and if men should stand behind them, what harm could they suffer either from the flying stones or the rolling ones? The remaining space, then, amounts to about half a plethrum, and that we must cross on the run at a moment when the stones stop coming." [4.7.7] "But," said Cheirisophus, "the very moment we begin to push out toward the trees, the stones fly in quantities." "Precisely the thing we want," said Xenophon, "for they will use up their stones the sooner. But let us make our way to a spot from which we shall have only a short distance to run across, in case we can do that, and an easy retreat, in case we choose to come back."
[4.7.8] Thereupon Cheirisophus and Xenophon set forth, and with them Callimachus of Parrhasia, a captain; for he was the officer of the day in command of the captains of the rearguard; and the other captains remained in a place of safety. Following this lead about seventy men got out under shelter of the trees, not all together, but one by one, each protecting himself as best he could. [4.7.9] But Agasias of Stymphalus and Aristonymus of Methydrium, who were likewise captains of the rearguard, and others also, took places outside the cover of the trees, for not more than the one company1 could stand among them with safety. [4.7.10] At that moment Callimachus hit upon a scheme: he would run forward two or three steps from the particular tree he was under and, when the stones began to fly, would draw back without any trouble; and at every one of his dashes more than ten cart-loads of stones would be used up. [4.7.11] But when Agasias saw what Callimachus was doing, with the whole army for spectators, he became fearful that the other would be the first to make the run across to the stronghold; so without asking Aristonymus or Eurylochus of Lusi (though the former was close by and both were his friends) or any one else to join him, he dashed forward himself and proceeded to go past everybody. [4.7.12] Callimachus, however, when he saw him going by, seized the rim of his shield; and at that moment Aristonymus of Methydrium ran past both of them, and upon his heels Eurylochus of Lusi. For all these four were rivals in valour and continually striving with one another; and in thus contending they captured the stronghold, for once they had rushed in not a stone came down from above.
[4.7.13] Then came a dreadful spectacle: the women threw their little children down from the rocks and then threw themselves down after them, and the men did likewise. In the midst of this scene Aeneas of Stymphalus, a captain, catching sight of a man, who was wearing a fine robe, running to cast himself down, seized hold of him in order to stop him; [4.7.14] but the man dragged Aeneas along after him, and both went flying down the cliffs and were killed. In this stronghold only a very few human beings were captured, but they secured cattle and asses in large numbers and sheep.
[4.7.15] From there they marched through the land of the Chalybians seven stages, fifty parasangs. These were the most valiant of all the peoples they passed through, and would come to hand-to-hand encounter. They had corselets of linen reaching down to the groin, with a thick fringe of plaited cords instead of flaps. [4.7.16] They had greaves also and helmets, and at the girdle a knife about as long as a Laconian dagger, with which they would slaughter whomever they might be able to vanquish; then they would cut off their heads and carry them along on their march, and they would sing and dance whenever they were likely to be seen by the enemy. They carried also a spear about five cubits long, with a point at only one end.1 [4.7.17] These people would stay within their towns, and when the Greeks had passed by, they would follow them, always ready to fight. Their dwellings were in strongholds, and therein they had stored away all their provisions; hence the Greeks could get nothing in this country, but they subsisted on the cattle they had takefrom the Taochians. [4.7.18] Leaving this land, the Greeks arrived at the Harpasus river, which was four plethra in width. From there they marched through the territory of the Scythinians four stages, twenty parasangs, over a level plain, and they arrived at some villages, and there remained for three days and collected provisions.
[4.7.19] From there they journeyed four stages, twenty parasangs, to a large and prosperous inhabited city which was called Gymnias. From this city the ruler of the land sent the Greeks a guide, in order to lead them through territory that was hostile to his own. [4.7.20] When the guide came, he said that he would lead them within five days to a place from which they could see the sea;1 if he failed to do so, he was ready to accept death. Thus taking the lead, as soon as he had brought them into the hostile territory, he kept urging them to spread abroad fire and ruin, thereby making it clear that it was with this end in view that he had come, and not out of good-will toward the Greeks. [4.7.21] On the fifth day they did in fact reach the mountain;1 its name was Theches. Now as soon as the vanguard got to the top of the mountain, a great shout went up. [4.7.22] And when Xenophon and the rearguard heard it, they imagined that other enemies were attacking in front; for enemies were following behind them from the district that was in flames, and the rearguard had killed some of them and captured others by setting an ambush, and had also taken about twenty wicker shields covered with raw, shaggy ox-hides. [4.7.23] But as the shout kept getting louder and nearer, as the successive ranks that came up all began to run at full speed toward the ranks ahead that were one after another joining in the shout, and as the shout kept growing far louder as the number of men grew steadily greater, it became quite clear to Xenophon that here was something of unusual importance; [4.7.24] so he mounted a horse, took with him Lycius and the cavalry, and pushed ahead to lend aid; and in a moment they heard the soldiers shouting, "The Sea! The Sea!" and passing the word along. Then all the troops of the rearguard likewise broke into a run, and the pack animals began racing ahead and the horses. [4.7.25] And when all had reached the summit, then indeed they fell to embracing one another, and generals and captains as well, with tears in their eyes. And on a sudden, at the bidding of some one or other, the soldiers began to bring stones and to build a great cairn. [4.7.26] Thereon they placed as offerings a quantity of raw ox-hides and walking-sticks and the captured wicker shields; and the guide not only cut these shields to pieces himself, but urged the others to do so.1 [4.7.27] After this the Greeks dismissed the guide with gifts from the common stock--a horse, a silver cup, a Persian dress, and ten darics; but what he particularly asked the men for was their rings, and he got a considerable number of them. Then he showed them a village to encamp in and the road they were to follow to the country of the Macronians, and, as soon as evening came, took his departure.
Book 4 Section 8
[4.8.1] From there the Greeks marched through the country of the Macronians three stages, ten parasangs. On the first of these days they reached the river which separated the territory of the Macronians from that of the Scythinians. [4.8.2] There they had on the right, above them, an exceedingly difficult bit of ground, and on the left another river, into which the boundary stream that they had to cross emptied. Now this stream was fringed with trees, not large ones, but of thick growth, and when the Greeks came up, they began felling them in their haste to get out of the place as speedily as possible. [4.8.3] But the Macronians, armed with wicker shields and lances and hair tunics, were drawn up in line of battle opposite the place where the Greeks must cross, and they were cheering one another on and throwing stones, which fell into the stream; for they never reached the Greeks or did them any harm.
[4.8.4] At this moment one of the peltasts came up to Xenophon, a man who said that he had been a slave at Athens, with word that he knew the language of these people; "I think," he went on, "that this is my native country, and if there is nothing to hinder, I should like to have a talk with them." [4.8.5] "Well, there is nothing to hinder," said Xenophon; "so talk with them, and learn, to begin with, who they are." In reply to his inquiry they said, "Macronians." "Well, then," said Xenophon, "ask them why they are arrayed against us and want to be our enemies." [4.8.6] They replied, "Because you are coming against our land." The generals directed the man to say, "We have not come to do you any harm whatever, but we have been at war with the King and are on our way back to Greece, and we want to reach the sea." [4.8.7] The Macronians asked whether they would give pledges to this effect. They replied that they were ready both to give and to receive pledges. Thereupon the Macronians gave the Greeks a barbarian lance and the Greeks gave them a Greek lance, for the Macronians said that these were pledges; and both sides called the gods to witness.
[4.8.8] After this exchange of pledges the Macronians at once began to help the Greeks cut down the trees and to build the road in order to get them across, mingling freely with the Greeks; and they supplied as good a market1 as they could, and conducted the Greeks on their way for three days, until they brought them to the boundaries of the Colchians. [4.8.9] At this place was a great mountain, and upon this mountain the Colchians were drawn up in line of battle. At first the Greeks formed an opposing line of battle, with the intention of advancing in this way upon the mountain, but afterwards the generals decided to gather together and take counsel as to how they could best make the contest.
[4.8.10] Xenophon accordingly said that in his opinion they should give up the line of battle and form the companies in column.1 "For the line," he continued, "will be broken up at once; for we shall find the mountain hard to traverse at some points and easy at others; and the immediate result will be discouragement, when men who are formed in line of battle see the line broken up. [4.8.11] Furthermore, if we advance upon them formed in a line many ranks deep, the enemy will outflank us, and will use their outflanking wing for whatever purpose they please; on the other hand, if we are formed in a line a few ranks deep, it would be nothing surprising if our line should be cut through by a multitude both of missiles and men falling upon us in a mass; and if this happens at any point, it will be bad for the whole line. [4.8.12] But it seems to me we should form the companies in column and, by leaving spaces between them, cover enough ground so that the outermost companies should get beyond the enemy's wings; in this way not only shall we outflank the enemy's line, but advancing in column our best men will be in the van of the attack, and wherever it is good going, there each captain will lead forward his men. [4.8.13] And it will not be easy for the enemy to push into the space between the columns when there are companies on this side and that, and not any easier for him to cut through a company that is advancing in column. Again, if any one of the companies is hard pressed, its neighbour will come to its aid; and if one single company can somehow climb to the summit, not a man of the enemy will stand any longer."
[4.8.14] This plan was decided upon, and they proceeded to form the companies in column. And as Xenophon was going back from the right wing to the left,1 he said to the troops: "Soldiers, these men yonder whom you see are the only ones who still stand in the way of our being forthwith at the place we have long been striving to reach; if we possibly can, we must simply eat these fellows raw."2
[4.8.15] When the officers had got to their several positions and had formed their companies in column, the result was about eighty companies of hoplites with each company numbering close upon one hundred;1 the peltasts andthe bowmen, on the other hand, they formed in three divisions, one beyond the left wing of the hoplites, the second beyond the right, and the third in the centre, each division numbering about six hundred men.2 [4.8.16] After this the generals passed along the order to offer prayer, and when they had prayed and sung the paean they set forth. Now Cheirisophus and Xenophon1 and the peltasts with them got beyond the wings of the enemy's line in their advance; [4.8.17] and when the enemy saw this, they ran out, some to the right and others to the left, to confront them, with the result that their line was pulled apart and a large portion of it in the centre was left deserted. [4.8.18] Then the peltasts of the Arcadian division, who were commanded by Aeschines the Acarnanian, getting the idea that the enemy were in flight, set up a shout and began to run; and they were the first to reach the summit of the mountain, while following close after them came the Arcadian division of hoplites, under the command of Cleanor of Orchomenus. [4.8.19] As for the enemy, once the peltasts began to run they no longer stood their ground, but betook themselves hither and thither in flight.After accomplishing the ascent the Greeks took up quarters in numerous villages, which contained provisions in abundance. [4.8.20] Now for the most part there was nothing here which they really found strange; but the swarms of bees in the neighbourhood were numerous, and the soldiers who ate of the honey all went off their heads, and suffered from vomiting and diarrhoea, and not one of them could stand up, but those who had eaten a little were like people exceedingly drunk, while those who had eaten a great deal seemed like crazy, or even, in some cases, dying men. [4.8.21] So they lay there in great numbers as though the army had suffered a defeat, and great despondency prevailed. On the next day, however, no one had died, and at approximately the same hour as they had eaten the honey they began to come to their senses; and on the third or fourth day they got up, as if from a drugging.
[4.8.22] From there they marched two stages, seven parasangs, and reached the sea at Trapezus, an inhabited Greek city on the Euxine Sea, a colony of the Sinopeans in the territory of Colchis. There they remained about thirty days in the villages of the Colchians, and from these as a base plundered Colchis. [4.8.23] And the Trapezuntians supplied a market for the army, received the Greeks kindly, and gave them oxen, barley-meal, and wine as gifts of hospitality. [4.8.24] They likewise took part in negotiations with the Greeks in behalf of the near-by Colchians, who dwelt for the most part on the plain, and from these people also the Greeks received hospitable gifts of oxen.
[4.8.25] After this they made ready the sacrifice which they had vowed;1 and a sufficient number of oxen had come to them so that they could pay their thank-offerings to Zeus for deliverance, to Heracles for guidance, and to the other gods according as they had vowed. They instituted also athletic games on the mountain side, just where they were encamped; and they chose Dracontius, a Spartan, who had been exiled from home as a boy because he had accidentally killed another boy with the stroke of a dagger, to look out for a race-course and to act as manager of the games. [4.8.26] When, accordingly, the sacrifice had been completed, they turned over the hides1 to Dracontius and bade him lead the way to the place he had fixed upon for his race-course. He pointed out the precise spot where they chanced to be standing, and said, "This hill is superb for running, wherever you please." "How, then," they said, "can men wrestle on ground so hard and overgrown as this is?" And he replied, "The one that is thrown will get hurt a bit more." [4.8.27] The events were, a stadium race1 for boys, most of them belonging to the captives, a long race,2 in which more than sixty Cretans took part, wrestling, boxing, and the pancratium;3 and it made a fine spectacle; for there were a great many entries and, inasmuch as the comrades of the contestants were looking on, there was a great deal of rivalry. [4.8.28] There were horseraces also, and the riders had to drive their horses down the steep slope, turn them around on the shore, and bring them back again to the altar.1 And on the way down most of the horses rolled over and over, while on the way up, against the exceedingly steep incline, they found it hard to keep on at a walk; so there was much shouting and laughter and cheering.
continue with [ Book Five ]
Page Keywords: Aryans, Achaemenian, Achaemenids, Hakhamanesh, Hakhamaneshian, Persians
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