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05-27-2007, 12:54 AM
Anabasis VI
Author: Xenophon
Translator: H.G. Dkyns


After this, whilst waiting, they lived partly on supplies from the 1
market, partly on the fruit of raids into Paphlagonia. The
Paphlagonians, on their side, showed much skill in kidnapping
stragglers, wherever they could lay hands on them, and in the night
time tried to do mischief to those whose quarters were at a distance
from the camp. The result was that their relations to one another were
exceedingly hostile, so much so that Corylas, who was the chief of
Paphlagonia at that date, sent ambassadors to the Hellenes, bearing
horses and fine apparel, and charged with a proposal on the part of
Corylas to make terms with the Hellenes on the principle of mutual
forbearance from injuries. The generals replied that they would
consult with the army about the matter. Meanwhile they gave them a
hospitable reception, to which they invited certain members of the
army whose claims were obvious. They sacrificed some of the captive
cattle and other sacrificial beasts, and with these they furnished
forth a sufficiently festal entertainment, and reclining on their
truckle beds, fell to eating and drinking out of beakers made of horn
which they happened to find in the country.

But as soon as the libation was ended and they had sung the hymn, up
got first some Thracians, who performed a dance under arms to the
sound of a pipe, leaping high into the air with much nimbleness, and
brandishing their swords, till at last one man struck his fellow, and
every one thought he was really wounded, so skilfully and artistically 6
did he fall, and the Paphlagonians screamed out. Then he that gave the
blow stripped the other of his arms, and marched off chanting the
"Sitalcas[1]," whilst others of the Thracians bore off the other, who
lay as if dead, though he had not received even a scratch.

[1] I.e. the national Thracian hymn; for Sitalcas the king, a national
hero, see Thuc. ii. 29.

After this some Aenianians[2] and Magnesians got up and fell to
dancing the Carpaea, as it is called, under arms. This was the manner
of the dance: one man lays aside his arms and proceeds to drive a yoke
of oxen, and while he drives he sows, turning him about frequently, as
though he were afraid of something; up comes a cattle-lifter, and no
sooner does the ploughman catch sight of him afar, than he snatches up
his arms and confronts him. They fight in front of his team, and all
in rhythm to the sound of the pipe. At last the robber binds the
countryman and drives off the team. Or sometimes the cattle-driver
binds the robber, and then he puts him under the yoke beside the oxen,
with his two hands tied behind his back, and off he drives.

[2] The Aenianians, an Aeolian people inhabiting the upper valley of
the Sperchius (the ancient Phthia); their capital was Hypata.
These men belonged to the army collected by Menon, the Thessalian.
So, doubtless, did the Magnesians, another Aeolian tribe occupying
the mountainous coast district on the east of Thessaly. See
Kiepert's "Man. Anct. Geog." (Macmillan's tr.), chap. vi.. 161,

After this a Mysian came in with a light shield in either hand and
danced, at one time going through a pantomime, as if he were dealing
with two assailants at once; at another plying his shields as if to
face a single foe, and then again he would whirl about and throw
somersaults, keeping the shields in his hands, so that it was a
beautiful spectacle. Last of all he danced the Persian dance, clashing
the shields together, crouching down on one knee and springing up
again from earth; and all this he did in measured time to the sound of
the flute. After him the Mantineans stepped upon the stage, and some
other Arcadians also stood up; they had accoutred themselves in all
their warlike finery. They marched with measured tread, pipes playing,
to the tune of the 'warrior's march[3]'; the notes of the paean rose, 11
lightly their limbs moved in dance, as in solemn procession to the
holy gods. The Paphlagonians looked upon it as something truly strange
that all these dances should be under arms; and the Mysians, seeing
their astonishment persuaded one of the Arcadians who had got a
dancing girl to let him introduce her, which he did after dressing her
up magnificently and giving her a light shield. When, lithe of limb,
she danced the Pyrrhic[4], loud clapping followed; and the
Paphlagonians asked, "If these women fought by their side in battle?"
to which they answered, "To be sure, it was the women who routed the
great King, and drove him out of camp." So ended the night.

[3] See Plato, "Rep." 400 B, for this "war measure"; also Aristoph.
"Clouds," 653.

[4] For this famous dance, supposed to be of Doric (Cretan or Spartan)
origin, see Smith's "Dict. of Antiquities," "Saltatio"; also Guhl
and Koner, "The Life of the Greeks and Romans," Eng. tr.

But next day the generals introduced the embassy to the army, and the
soldiers passed a resolution in the sense proposed: between themselves
and the Paphlagonians there was to be a mutual abstinence from
injuries. After this the ambassadors went on their way, and the
Hellenes, as soon as it was thought that sufficient vessels had
arrived, went on board ship, and voyaged a day and a night with a fair
breeze, keeping Paphlagonia on their left. And on the following day,
arriving at Sinope, they came to moorings in the harbour of Harmene,
near Sinope[5]. The Sinopeans, though inhabitants of Paphlagonia, are
really colonists of the Milesians. They sent gifts of hospitality to
the Hellenes, three thousand measures of barley with fifteen hundred
jars of wine. At this place Cheirisophus rejoined them with a
man-of-war. The soldiers certainly expected that, having come, he
would have brought them something, but he brought them nothing, except
complimentary phrases, on the part of Anaxibius, the high admiral, and
the rest, who sent them their congratulations, coupled with a promise
on the part of Anaxibius that, as soon as they were outside the
Euxine, pay would be forthcoming.

[5] Harmene, a port of Sinope, between four and five miles (fifty
stades) west of that important city, itself a port town. See
Smith, "Dict. Geog.," "Sinope"; and Kiepert, op. cit. chap. iv.

At Harmene the army halted five days; and now that they seemed to be 17
so close to Hellas, the question how they were to reach home not
empty-handed presented itself more forcibly to their minds than
heretofore. The conclusion they came to was to appoint a single
general, since one man would be better able to handle the troops, by
night or by day, than was possible while the generalship was divided.
If secrecy were desirable, it would be easier to keep matters dark, or
if again expedition were an object, there would be less risk of
arriving a day too late, since mutual explanations would be avoided,
and whatever approved itself to the single judgement would at once be
carried into effect, whereas previously the generals had done
everything in obedience to the opinion of the majority.

With these ideas working in their minds, they turned to Xenophon, and
the officers came to him and told him that this was how the soldiers
viewed matters; and each of them, displaying a warmth of kindly
feeling, pressed him to accept the office. Xenophon partly would have
liked to do so, in the belief that by so doing he would win to himself
a higher repute in the esteem of his friends, and that his name would
be reported to the city written large; and by some stroke of fortune
he might even be the discoverer of some blessing to the army

These and the like considerations elated him; he had a strong desire
to hold the supreme command. But then again, as he turned the matter
over, the conviction deepened in his mind that the issue of the future
is to every man uncertain; and hence there was the risk of perhaps
losing such reputation has he had already acquired. He was in sore
straights, and, not knowing how to decide, it seemed best to him to
lay the matter before heaven. Accordingly, he led two victims to the
altar and made sacrifice to Zeus the King, for it was he and no other
who had been named by the oracle at Delphi, and his belief was that
the vision which he had beheld when he first essayed to undertake the
joint administration of the army was sent to him by that god. He also
recalled to mind a circumstance which befell him still earlier, when 23
setting out from Ephesus to associate himself with Cyrus[6];--how an
eagle screamed on his right hand from the east, and still remained
perched, and the soothsayer who was escorting him said that it was a
great and royal omen[7]; indicating glory and yet suffering; for the
punier race of birds only attack the eagle when seated. "Yet," added
he, "it bodes not gain in money; for the eagle seizes his food, not
when seated, but on the wing."

[6] Cf. "Cyrop." II. i. 1; an eagle appears to Cyrus on the frontiers
of Persia, when about to join his uncle Cyaxares, king of Media,
on his expedition against the Assyrian.

[7] It is important to note that the Greek word {oionos}, a solitary
or lone-flying bird, also means an omen. "It was a mighty bird and
a mighty omen."

Thus Xenophon sacrificed, and the god as plainly as might be gave him
a sign, neither to demand the generalship, nor, if chosen, to accept
the office. And that was how the matter stood when the army met, and
the proposal to elect a single leader was unanimous. After this
resolution was passed, they proposed Xenophon for election, and when
it seemed quite evident that they would elect him, if he put the
question to the vote, he got up and spoke as follows:--

"Sirs, I am but mortal, and must needs be happy to be honoured by you.
I thank you, and am grateful, and my prayer is that the gods may grant
me to be an instrument of blessing to you. Still, when I consider it
closer, thus, in the presence of a Lacedaemonian, to be preferred by
you as general, seems to me but ill conducive either to your interests
or to mine, since you will the less readily obtain from them hereafter
anything you may need, while for myself I look upon acceptance as even
somewhat dangerous. Do I not see and know with what persistence these
Lacedaemonians prosecuted the war till finally they forced our State
to acknowledge the leadership of Lacedaemon? This confession once
extorted from their antagonists, they ceased warring at once, and the
seige of the city was at an end. If, with these facts before my eyes,
I seem to be doing all I can to neutralise their high self-esteem, I
cannot escape the reflection that personally I may be taught wisdom by
a painful process. But with your own idea that under a single general
there will be less factiousness than when there were many, be assured 29
that in choosing some other than me you will not find me factious. I
hold that whosoever sets up factious opposition to his leader
factiously opposes his own safety. While if you determine to choose
me, I should not be surprised were that choice to entail upon you and
me the resentment of other people."

After those remarks on Xenophon's part, many more got up, one after
another, insisting on the propriety of his undertaking the command.
One of them, Agasias the Stymphalian, said: It was really ridiculous,
if things had come to this pass that the Lacedeamonians are to fly
into a rage because a number of friends have met together to dinner,
and omitted to choose a Lacedaemonian to sit at the head of the table.
"Really, if that is how matters stand," said he, "I do not see what
right we have to be officers even, we who are only Arcadians." That
sally brought down the plaudits of the assembly; and Xenophon, seeing
that something more was needed, stepped forward again and spoke,
"Pardon, sirs," he said, "let me make a clean breast of it. I swear to
you by all the gods and goddesses; verily and indeed, I no sooner
perceived your purpose, than I consulted the victims, whether it was
better for you to entrust this leadership to me, and for me to
undertake it, or the reverse. And the gods vouchsafed a sign to me so
plain that even a common man might understand it, and perceive that
from such sovereignty I must needs hold myself aloof."

Under these circumstances they chose Cheirisophus, who, after his
election, stepped forward and said: "Nay, sirs, be well assured of
this, that had you chosen some one else, I for my part should not have
set up factious opposition. As to Xenophon, I believe you have done
him a good turn by not appointing him; for even now Dexippus has gone
some way in traducing him to Anaxibius, as far as it lay in his power
to do so, and that, in spite of my attempts to silence him. What he
said was that he believed Xenophon would rather share the command of
Clearchus's army with Timasion, a Dardanian, than with himself, a
Laconian. But," continued Cheirisophus, "since your choice has fallen 33
upon me, I will make it my endeavour to do you all the good in my
power; so make your preparations to weigh anchor to-morrow; wind and
weather permitting, we will voyage to Heraclea; every one must
endeavour, therefore, to put in at that port; and for the rest we will
consult, when we are come thither."