View Full Version : Anabasis II - Xenophon

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05-27-2007, 12:39 AM

And now comes the proof of what I stated above--that the king was 1
utterly taken aback by the sudden apparition of the army; only the day
before, he had sent and demanded the surrender of their arms--and now,
with the rising sun, came heralds sent by him to arrange a truce.
These, having reached the advanced guard, asked for the generals. The
guard reported their arrival; and Clearchus, who was busy inspecting
the ranks, sent back word to the heralds that they must await his
leisure. Having carefully arranged the troops so that from every side
they might present the appearance of a compact battle line without a 3
single unarmed man in sight, he summoned the ambassadors, and himself
went forward to meet them with the soldiers, who for choice
accoutrement and noble aspect were the flower of his force; a course
which he had invited the other generals also to adopt.

And now, being face to face with the ambassadors, he questioned them
as to what their wishes were. They replied that they had come to
arrange a truce, and were persons competent to carry proposals from
the king to the Hellenes and from the Hellenes to the king. He
returned answer to them: "Take back word then to your master, that we
need a battle first, for we have had no breakfast; and he will be a
brave man who will dare mention the word 'truce' to Hellenes without
providing them with breakfast." With this message the heralds rode
off, but were back again in no time, which was a proof that the king,
or some one appointed by him to transact the business, was hard by.
They reported that "the message seemed reasonable to the king; they
had now come bringing guides who, if a truce were arranged, would
conduct them where they would get provisions." Clearchus inquired
"whether the truce was offered to the individual men merely as they
went and came, or to all alike." "To all," they replied, "until the
king receives your final answer." When they had so spoken, Clearchus,
having removed the ambassadors, held a council; and it was resolved to
make a truce at once, and then quietly to go and secure provisions;
and Clearchus said: "I agree to the resolution; still I do not propose
to announce it at once, but to wile away time till the ambassadors
begin to fear that we have decided against the truce; though I
suspect," he added, "the same fear will be operative on the minds of
our soldiers also." As soon as the right moment seemed to have
arrived, he delivered his answer in favour of the truce, and bade the
ambassadors at once conduct them to the provisions.

So these led the way; and Clearchus, without relaxing precaution, in
spite of having secured a truce, marched after them with his army in
line and himself in command of the rearguard. Over and over again they
encountered trenches and conduits so full of water that they could not 10
be crossed without bridges; but they contrived well enough for these
by means of trunks of palm trees which had fallen, or which they cut
down for the occasion. And here Clearchus's system of superintendence
was a study in itself; as he stood with a spear in his left hand and a
stick in the other; and when it seemed to him there was any dawdling
among the parties told off to the work, he would pick out the right
man and down would come the stick; nor, at the same time, was he above
plunging into the mud and lending a hand himself, so that every one
else was forced for very shame to display equal alacrity. The men told
off for the business were the men of thirty years of age; but even the
elder men, when they saw the energy of Clearchus, could not resist
lending their aid also. What stimulated the haste of Clearchus was the
suspicion in his mind that these trenches were not, as a rule, so full
of water, since it was not the season to irrigate the plain; and he
fancied that the king had let the water on for the express purpose of
vividly presenting to the Hellenes the many dangers with which their
march was threatened at the very start.

Proceeding on their way they reached some villages, where their guides
indicated to them that they would find provisions. They were found to
contain plenty of corn, and wine made from palm dates, and an
acidulated beverage extracted by boiling from the same fruit. As to
the palm nuts or dates themselves, it was noticeable that the sort
which we are accustomed to see in Hellas were set aside for the
domestic servants; those put aside for the masters are picked
specimens, and are simply marvellous for their beauty and size,
looking like great golden lumps of amber; some specimens they dried
and preserved as sweetmeats. Sweet enough they were as an
accompaniment of wine, but apt to give headache. Here, too, for the
first time in their lives, the men tasted the brain[1] of the palm. No
one could help being struck by the beauty of this object, and the
peculiarity of its delicious flavour; but this, like the dried fruits,
was exceedingly apt to give headache. When this cabbage or brain has
been removed from the palm the whole tree withers from top to bottom.

[1] I.e. the cabbage-like crown.

In these villages they remained three days, and a deputation from the 17
great king arrived--Tissaphernes and the king's brother-in-law and
three other Persians--with a retinue of many slaves. As soon as the
generals of the Hellenes had presented themselves, Tissaphernes opened
the proceedings with the following speech, through the lips of an
interpreter: "Men of Hellas, I am your next-door neighbour in Hellas.
Therefore was it that I, when I saw into what a sea of troubles you
were fallen, regarded it as a godsend, if by any means I might obtain,
as a boon from the king, the privilege of bringing you back in safety
to your own country: and that, I take it, will earn me gratitude from
you and all Hellas. In this determination I preferred my request to
the king; I claimed it as a favour which was fairly my due; for was it
not I who first announced to him the hostile approach of Cyrus? who
supported that announcement by the aid I brought; who alone among the
officers confronted with the Hellenes in battle did not flee, but
charged right through and united my troops with the king inside your
camp, where he was arrived, having slain Cyrus; it was I, lastly, who
gave chase to the barbarians under Cyrus, with the help of those here
present with me at this moment, which are also among the trustiest
followers of our lord the king. Now, I counsel you to give a moderate
answer, so that it may be easier for me to carry out my design, if
haply I may obtain from him some good thing on your behalf."

Thereupon the Hellenes retired and took counsel. Then they answered,
and Clearchus was their spokesman: "We neither mustered as a body to
make war against the king, nor was our march conducted with that
object. But it was Cyrus, as you know, who invented many and divers
pretexts, that he might take you off your guard, and transport us
hither. Yet, after a while, when we saw that he was in sore straits,
we were ashamed in the sight of God and man to betray him, whom we had
permitted for so long a season to benefit us. But now that Cyrus is
dead, we set up no claim to his kingdom against the king himself;
there is neither person nor thing for the sake of which we would care 23
to injure the king's country; we would not choose to kill him if we
could, rather we would march straight home, if we were not molested;
but, God helping us, we will retaliate on all who injure us. On the
other hand, if any be found to benefit us, we do not mean to be
outdone in kindly deeds, as far as in us lies."

So he spoke, and Tissaphernes listened and replied: "That answer will
I take back to the king and bring you word from him again. Until I
come again, let the truce continue, and we will furnish you with a
market." All next day he did not come back, and the Hellenes were
troubled with anxieties, but on the third day he arrived with the news
that he had obtained from the king the boon he asked; he was permitted
to save the Hellenes, though there were many gainsayers who argued
that it was not seemly for the king to let those who had marched
against him depart in peace. And at last he said: "You may now, if you
like, take pledges from us, that we will make the countries through
which you pass friendly to you, and will lead you back without
treachery into Hellas, and will furnish you with a market; and
wherever you cannot purchase, we will permit you to take provisions
from the district. You, on your side, must swear that you will march
as through a friendly country, without damage--merely taking food and
drink wherever we fail to supply a market--or, if we afford a market,
you shall only obtain provisions by paying for them." This was agreed
to, and oaths and pledges exchanged between them--Tissaphernes and the
king's brother-in-law upon the one side, and the generals and officers
of the Hellenes on the other. After this Tissaphernes said: "And now I
go back to the king; as soon as I have transacted what I have a mind
to, I will come back, ready equipped, to lead you away to Hellas, and
to return myself to my own dominion."