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05-27-2007, 12:44 AM
Anabasis IV
Author: Xenophon
Translator: H.G. Dkyns


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

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

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

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

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

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

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