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05-27-2007, 12:58 AM
Anabasis VII
Author: Xenophon
Translator: H.G. Dkyns


At this point Pharnabazus, who was afraid that the army might 1
undertake a campaign against his satrapy, sent to Anaxibius, the
Spartan high admiral, who chanced to be in Byzantium, and begged him
to convey the army out of Asia, undertaking to comply with his wishes
in every respect. Anaxibius accordingly sent to summon the generals
and officers to Byzantium, and promised that the soldiers should not
lack pay for service, if they crossed the strait. The officers said
that they would deliberate and return an answer. Xenophon individually
informed them that he was about to quit the army at once, and was only
anxious to set sail. Anaxibius pressed him not to be in so great a
hurry: "Cross over with the rest," he said, "and then it will be time
enough to think about quitting the army." This the other undertook to

Now Seuthes the Thracian sent Medosades and begged Xenophon to use his
influence to get the army across. "Tell Xenophon, if he will do his
best for me in this matter, he will not regret it." Xenophon answered:
"The army is in any case going to cross; so that, as far as that is
concerned, Seuthes is under no obligation to me or to any one else; 6
but as soon as it is once across, I personally shall be quit of it.
Let Seuthes, therefore, as far as he may deem consistent with
prudence, apply to those who are going to remain and will have a voice
in affairs."

After this the whole body of troops crossed to Byzantium. But
Anaxibius, instead of proceeding to give pay, made proclamation that,
"The soldiers were to take up their arms and baggage and go forth," as
if all he wished were to ascertain their numbers and bid them
god-speed at the same moment. The soldiers were not well pleased at
that, because they had no money to furnish themselves with provisions
for the march; and they sluggishly set about getting their baggage
together. Xenophon meanwhile, being on terms of intimacy with the
governor, Cleander, came to pay his host a final visit, and bid him
adieu, being on the point of setting sail. But the other protested;
"Do not do so, or else," said he, "you will be blamed, for even now
certain people are disposed to hold you to account because the army is
so slow in getting under weigh." The other answered, "Nay, I am not to
blame for that. It is the men themselves, who are in want of
provisions; that is why they are out of heart at their exodus." "All
the same," he replied, "I advise you to go out, as if you intended to
march with them, and when you are well outside, it will be time enough
to take yourself off." "Well then," said Xenophon, "we will go and
arrange all this with Anaxibius." They went and stated the case to the
admiral, who insisted that they must do as he had said, and march out,
bag and baggage, by the quickest road; and as an appendix to the
former edict, he added, "Any one absenting himself from the review and
the muster will have himself to blame for the consequences." This was
peremptory. So out marched, the generals first, and then the rest; and
now, with the exception of here a man and there, they were all
outside; it was a "clean sweep"; and Eteonicus stood posted near the
gates, ready to close them, as soon as the men were fairly out, and to
thrust in the bolt pin.

Then Anaxibius summoned the generals and captains, and addressed them:
"Provisions you had better get from the Thracian villages; you will 13
find plenty of barley, wheat, and other necessaries in them; and when
you have got them, off with you to the Chersonese, where Cyniscus will
take you into his service." Some of the soldiers overheard what was
said, or possibly one of the officers was the medium of communication;
however it was, the news was handed on to the army. As to the
generals, their immediate concern was to try and gain some information
as to Seuthes: "Was he hostile or friendly? also, would they have to
march through the Sacred mountain[1], or round about through the
middle of Thrace?"

[1] So the mountain-range is named which runs parallel to the
Propontis (Sea of Marmora) from lat. 41 degress N. circa to lat.
40 degrees 30'; from Bisanthe (Rhodosto) to the neck of the
Chersonese (Gallipoli).

While they were discussing these points, the soldiers snatched up
their arms and made a rush full speed at the gates, with the intention
of getting inside the fortification again. But Eteonicus and his men,
seeing the heavy infantry coming up at a run promptly closed the gates
and thrust in the bolt pin. Then the soldiers fell to battering the
gates, exclaiming that it was iniquitous to thrust them forth in this
fashion into the jaws of their enemies. "If you do not of your own
accord open the gates," they cried, "we will split them in half"; and
another set rushed down to the sea, and so along the break-water and
over the wall into the city; while a third set, consisting of those
few who were still inside, having never left the city, seeing the
affair at the gates, severed the bars with axes and flung the portals
wide open; and the rest came pouring in.

Xenophon, seeing what was happening, was seized with alarm lest the
army betake itself to pillage, and ills incurable be wrought to the
city, to himself, and to the soldiers. Then he set off, and, plunging
into the throng, was swept through the gates with the crowd. The
Byzantines no sooner saw the soldiers forcibly rushing in than they
left the open square, and fled, some to the shipping, others to their
homes, while those already indoors came racing out, and some fell to
dragging down their ships of war, hoping possibly to be safe on board
these; while there was not a soul who doubted but that the city was 19
taken, and that they were all undone. Eteonicus made a swift retreat
to the citadel. Anaxibius ran down to the sea, and, getting on board a
fisherman's smack, sailed round to the acropolis, and at once sent off
to fetch over the garrison troops from Chalcedon, since those already
in the acropolis seemed hardly sufficient to keep the men in check.

The soldiers, catching sight of Xenophon, threw themselves upon him,
crying: "Now, Xenophon, is the time to prove yourself a man. You have
got a city, you have got triremes, you have got money, you have got
men; to-day, if you only chose, you can do us a good turn, and we will
make you a great man." He replied: "Nay, I like what you say, and I
will do it all; but if that is what you have set your hearts on, fall
into rank and take up position at once." This he said, wishing to
quiet them, and so passed the order along the lines himself, while
bidding the rest to do the same: "Take up position; stand easy." But
the men themselves, by a species of self-marshalling, fell into rank,
and were soon formed, the heavy infantry eight deep, while the light
infantry had run up to cover either wing. The Thracian Square, as it
is called, is a fine site for manouvering, being bare of buildings and
level. As soon as the arms were stacked and the men's tempers cooled,
Xenophon called a general meeting of the soldiers, and made the
following speech:--

"Soldiers, I am not surprised at your wrath, or that you deem it
monstrous treatment so to be cheated; but consider what will be the
consequences if we gratify our indignation, and in return for such
deception, avenge ourselves on the Lacedaemonians here present, and
plunder an innocent city. We shall be declared enemies of the
Lacedaemonians and their allies; and what sort of war that will be, we
need not go far to conjecture. I take it, you have not forgotten some
quite recent occurrences. We Athenians entered into war against the
Lacedaemonians and their allies with a fleet consisting of not less
than three hundred line-of-battle ships, including those in dock as
well as those afloat. We had vast treasures stored up in the city, and
a yearly income which, derived from home or foreign sources, amounted
to no less than a thousand talents. Our empire included all the 27
islands, and we were possessed of numerous cities both in Asia and in
Europe. Amongst others, this very Byzantium, where we are now, was
ours; and yet in the end we were vanquished, as you all very well

"What, must we anticipate, will now be our fate? The Lacedaemonians
have not only their old allies, but the Athenians and those who were
at that time allies of Athens are added to them. Tissaphernes and all
the rest of the Asiatics on the seaboard are our foes, not to speak of
our arch-enemy, the king himself, up yonder, whom we came to deprive
of his empire, and to kill, if possible. I ask then, with all these
banded together against us, is there any one so insensate as to
imagine that we can survive the contest? For heaven's sake, let us not
go mad or loosely throw away our lives in war with our own native
cities--nay, our own friends, our kith and our kin; for in one or
other of the cities they are all included. Every city will march
against us, and not unjustly, if, after refusing to hold one single
barbarian city by right of conquest, we seize the first Hellenic city
that we come to and make it a ruinous heap. For my part, my prayer is
that before I see such things wrought by you, I, at any rate, may lie
ten thousand fathoms under ground! My counsel to you, as Hellenes, is
to try and obtain your just rights, through obedience to those who
stand at the head of Hellas; and if so be that you fail in those
demands, why, being more sinned against than sinning, need we rob
ourselves of Hellas too? At present, I propose that we should send to
Anaxibius and tell him that we have made an entrance into the city,
not meditating violence, but merely to discover if he and his will
show us any good; for if so, it is well; but of otherwise, at least we
will let him see that he does not shut the door upon us as dupes and
fools. We know the meaning of discipline; we turn our backs and go."

This resolution was passed, and they sent Hieronymus an Eleian, with
two others, Eurylochus an Arcadian and Philesius an Achaean, to
deliver the message. So these set off on their errand. But while the
soldiers were still seated in conclave, Coeratadas, of Thebes, 33
arrived. He was a Theban not in exile, but with a taste for
generalship, who made it his business to see if any city or nation
were in need of his services. Thus, on the present occasion, he
presented himself, and begged to state that he was ready to put
himself at their head, and lead them into the Delta of Thrace[2], as
it is called, where they would find themselves in a land of plenty;
but until they got there, he would provide them with meat and drink
enough and to spare. While they were still listening to this tale, the
return message from Anaxibius came. His answer was: "The discipline,
they had spoken of, was not a thing they would regret; indeed he would
report their behaviour to the authorities at home; and for himself, he
would take advice and do the best he could for them."

[2] The exact locality, so called, is not known; doubtless it lay
somewhere between Byzantium and Salmydessus, possibly at Declus
(mod. Derkos); or possibly the narrow portion of Thrace between
the Euxine, Bosphorus, and Propontis went by this name. See note
in Pretor ad. loc., and "Dict. Geog." "Thracia."

Thereupon the soldiers accepted Coeratadas as their general, and
retired without the walls. Their new general undertook to present
himself to the troops next day with sacrificial beasts and a
soothsayer, with eatables also and drinkables for the army. Now, as
soon as they were gone out, Anaxibius closed the gates and issued a
proclamation to the effect that "any of the soldiers caught inside
should be knocked down to the hammer and sold at once." Next day,
Coeratadas arrived with the victims and the soothsayer. A string of
twenty bearers bearing barleymeal followed at his heels, succeeded by
other twenty carrying wine, and three laden with a supply of olives,
and two others carrying, the one about as much garlic as a single man
could lift, and the other a similar load of onions. These various
supplies he set down, apparently for distribution, and began to

Now Xenophon sent to Cleander, begging him to arrange matters so that
he might be allowed to enter the walls, with a view to starting from
Byzantium on his homeward voyage. Cleander came, and this is what he 39
said: "I have come; but I was barely able to arrange what you want.
Anaxibius insisted: 'It was not convenient that Xenophon should be
inside while the soldiers are close to the walls without; the
Byzantines at sixes and sevens moreover; and no love lost between the
one party of them and the other.' Still, he ended by bidding you to
come inside, if you were really minded to leave the town by sea with
himself." Accordingly Xenophon bade the soldiers good-bye, and
returned with Cleander within the walls.

To return to Coeratadas. The first day he failed to get favourable
signs at the sacrifice, and never a dole of rations did he make to the
soldiers. On the second day the victims were standing ready near the
altar, and so was Coeratadas, with chaplet crowned, all ready to
sacrifice, when up comes Timasion the Dardanian, with Neon the
Asinaean, and Cleanor of Orchomenus, forbidding Coeratadas to
sacrifice: "He must understand there was an end to his generalship,
unless he gave them provisions." The other bade them measure out the
supplies, "Pray, dole them out." But when he found that he had a good
deal short of a single day's provisions for each man, he picked up his
paraphernalia of sacrifice and withdrew. As to being general, he would
have nothing more to say to it.