By the time the new generals had been chosen, the first faint glimmer 1
of dawn had hardly commenced, as they met in the centre of the camp,
and resolved to post an advance guard and to call a general meeting of
the soldiers. Now, when these had come together, Cheirisophus the
Lacedaemonian first rose and spoke as follows: "Fellow-soldiers, the
present posture of affairs is not pleasant, seeing that we are robbed
of so many generals and captains and soldiers; and more than that, our 2
former allies, Ariaeus and his men, have betrayed us; still, we must
rise above our circumstances to prove ourselves brave men, and not
give in, but try to save ourselves by glorious victory if we can; or,
if not, at least to die gloriously, and never, while we have breath in
our bodies, fall into the hands of our enemies. In which latter case,
I fear, we shall suffer things, which I pray the gods may visit rather
upon those we hate."

At this point Cleanor the Ochomenian stood up and spoke as follows:
"You see, men, the perjury and the impiety of the king. You see the
faithlessness of Tissaphernes, professing that he was next-door
neighbour to Hellas, and would give a good deal to save us, in
confirmation of which he took an oath to us himself, he gave us the
pledge of his right hand, and then, with a lie upon his lips, this
same man turned round and arrested our generals. He had no reverence
even for Zeus, the god of strangers; but, after entertaining Clearchus
at his own board as a friend, he used his hospitality to delude and
decoy his victims. And Ariaeus, whom we offered to make king, with
whom we exchanged pledges not to betray each other, even this man,
without a particle of fear of the gods, or respect for Cyrus in his
grave, though he was most honoured by Cyrus in lifetime, even he has
turned aside to the worst foes of Cyrus, and is doing his best to
injure the dead man's friends. Them may the gods requite as they
deserve! But we, with these things before our eyes, will not any more
be cheated and cajoled by them; we will make the best fight we can,
and having made it, whatever the gods think fit to send, we will

After him Xenophon arose; he was arrayed for war in his bravest
apparel[1]: "For," said he to himself, "if the gods grant victory, the
finest attire will match with victory best; or if I must needs die,
then for one who has aspired to the noblest, it is well there should
be some outward correspondence between his expectation and his end."
He began his speech as follows: "Cleanor has spoken of the perjury and 8
faithlessness of the barbarians, and you yourselves know them only too
well, I fancy. If then we are minded to enter a second time into terms
of friendship with them, with the experience of what our generals, who
in all confidence entrusted themselves to their power, have suffered,
reason would we should feel deep despondency. If, on the other hand,
we purpose to take our good swords in our hands and to inflict
punishment on them for what they have done, and from this time forward
will be on terms of downright war with them, then, God helping, we
have many a bright hope of safety." The words were scarcely spoken
when someone sneezed[2], and with one impulse the soldiers bowed in
worship; and Xenophon proceeded: "I propose, sirs, since, even as we
spoke of safety, an omen from Zeus the Saviour has appeared, we vow a
vow to sacrifice to the Saviour thank-offerings for safe deliverance,
wheresoever first we reach a friendly country; and let us couple with
that vow another of individual assent, that we will offer to the rest
of the gods 'according to our ability.' Let all those who are in
favour of this proposal hold up their hands." They all held up their
hands, and there and then they vowed a vow and chanted the battle
hymn. But as soon as these sacred matters were duly ended, he began
once more thus: "I was saying that many and bright are the hopes we
have of safety. First of all, we it is who confirm and ratify the
oaths we take by heaven, but our enemies have taken false oaths and
broken the truce, contrary to their solemn word. This being so, it is
but natural that the gods should be opposed to our enemies, but with
ourselves allied; the gods, who are able to make the great ones
quickly small, and out of sore perplexity can save the little ones
with ease, what time it pleases them. In the next place, let me recall
to your minds the dangers of our own forefathers, that you may see and 11
know that bravery is your heirloom, and that by the aid of the gods
brave men are rescued even out of the midst of sorest straits. So was
it when the Persians came, and their attendant hosts[3], with a very
great armament, to wipe out Athens from the face of the earth--the men
of Athens had the heart to withstand them and conquered them. Then
they vowed to Artemis that for every man they slew of the enemy, they
would sacrifice to the goddess goats so many; and when they could not
find sufficient for the slain, they resolved to offer yearly five
hundred; and to this day they perform that sacrifice. And at a
somewhat later date, when Xerxes assembled his countless hosts and
marched upon Hellas, then[4] too our fathers conquered the forefathers
of our foes by land and by sea.

[1] So it is said of the Russian General Skobelef, that he had a
strange custom of going into battle in his cleanest uniform,
perfurmed, and wearing a diamond-hilted sword, "in order that," as
he said, "he might die in his best attire."

[2] For this ancient omen see "Odyssey," xvii. 541: "Even as she
spake, and Telemachus sneezed loudly, and around the roof rung
wondrously. And Penelope laughed."... "Dost thou not mark how
my son has sneezed a blessing on all my words?"

[3] See Herod. vi. 114; the allusion is to the invasion of Greeze by
Datis and Artaphernes, and to their defeat at Marathon, B.C. 490.
"Heredotus estimates the number of those who fell on the Persian
side at 6400 men: the number of Athenian dead is accurately known,
since all were collected for the last solemn obsequies--they were
192."--Grote, "Hist. of Greece," vol. v. p. 475.

[4] Then = at Salamis, B.C. 480, and at Plataea and Mycale, B.C. 479,
on the same day.

"And proofs of these things are yet to be seen in trophies; but the
greatest witness of all is the freedom of our cities--the liberty of
that land in which you were born and bred. For you call no man master
or lord; you bow your heads to none save to the gods alone. Such were
your forefathers, and their sons are ye. Think not I am going to say
that you put to shame in any way your ancestry--far from it. Not many
days since, you too were drawn up in battle face to face with these
true descendants of their ancestors, and by the help of heaven you
conquered them, though they many times outnumbered you. At that time,
it was to win a throne for Cyrus that you showed your bravery; to-day,
when the struggle is for your own salvation, what is more natural than
that you should show yourselves braver and more zealous still. Nay, it
is very meet and right that you should be more undaunted still to-day
to face the foe. The other day, though you had not tested them, and
before your eyes lay their immeasurable host, you had the heart to go
against them with the spirit of your fathers. To-day you have made 16
trial of them, and knowing that, however many times your number, they
do not care to await your onset, what concern have you now to be
afraid of them?

"Nor let any one suppose that herein is a point of weakness, in that
Cyrus's troops, who before were drawn up by your side, have now
deserted us, for they are even worse cowards still than those we
worsted. At any rate they have deserted us, and sought refuge with
them. Leaders of the forlorn hope of flight--far better is it to have
them brigaded with the enemy than shoulder to shoulder in our ranks.
But if any of you is out of heart to think that we have no cavalry,
while the enemy have many squadrons to command, lay to heart this
doctrine, that ten thousand horse only equal ten thousand men upon
their backs, neither less nor more. Did any one ever die in battle
from the bite or kick of a horse? It is the men, the real swordsmen,
who do whatever is done in battles. In fact we, on our stout shanks,
are better mounted than those cavalry fellows; there they hang on to
their horses' necks in mortal dread, not only of us, but of falling
off; while we, well planted upon earth, can deal far heavier blows to
our assailants, and aim more steadily at who we will. There is one
point, I admit, in which their cavalry have the whip-hand of us; it is
safer for them than it is for us to run away.

"May be, however, you are in good heart about the fighting, but
annoyed to think that Tissaphernes will not guide us any more, and
that the king will not furnish us with a market any longer. Now,
consider, is it better for us to have a guide like Tissaphernes, whom
we know to be plotting against us, or to take our chance of the stray
people whom we catch and compel to guide us, who will know that any
mistake made in leading us will be a sad mistake for their own lives?
Again, is it better to be buying provisions in a market of their
providing, in scant measure and at high prices, without even the money
to pay for them any longer; or, by right of conquest, to help
ourselves, applying such measure as suits our fancy best?

"Or again, perhaps you admit tht our present position is not without
its advantages, but you feel sure that the rivers are a difficulty,
and think that you were never more taken in than when you crossed 22
them; if so, consider whether, after all, this is not perhaps the most
foolish thing which the barbarians have done. No river is impassable
throughout; whatever difficulties it may present at some distance from
its source, you need only make your way up to the springhead, and
there you may cross it without wetting more than your ankles. But,
granted that the rivers do bar our passage, and that guides are not
forthcoming, what care we? We need feel no alarm for all that. We have
heard of the Mysians, a people whom we certainly cannot admit to be
better than ourselves; and yet they inhabit numbers of large and
prosperous cities in the king's own country without asking leave. The
Pisidians are an equally good instance, or the Lycaonians. We have
seen with our own eyes how they fare: seizing fortresses down in the
plains, and reaping the fruits of these men's territory. As to us, I
go so far as to assert, we ought never to have let it be seen that we
were bent on getting home: at any rate, not so soon; we should have
begun stocking and furnishing ourselves, as if we fully meant to
settle down for life somewhere or other hereabouts. I am sure that the
king would be thrice glad to give the Mysians as many guides as they
like, or as many hostages as they care to demand, in return for a safe
conduct out of his country; he would make carriage roads for them, and
if they preferred to take their departure in coaches and four, he
would not say them nay. So too, I am sure, he would be only too glad
to accommodate us in the same way, if he saw us preparing to settle
down here. But, perhaps, it is just as well that we did not stop; for
I fear, if once we learn to live in idleness and to batten in luxury
and dalliance with these tall and handsome Median and Persian women
and maidens, we shall be like the Lotus-eaters[5], and forget the road
home altogether.

[5] See "Odyssey," ix. 94, "ever feeding on the Lotus and forgetful of

"It seems to me that it is only right, in the first instance, to make
an effort to return to Hellas and to revisit our hearths and homes, if
only to prove to other Hellenes that it is their own faults if they
are poor and needy[6], seeing it is in their power to give to those 26
now living a pauper life at home a free passage hither, and convert
them into well-to-do burghers at once. Now, sirs, is it not clear that
all these good things belong to whoever has strength to hold them?

[6] Here seems to be the germ--unless, indeed, the thought had been
conceived above--here at any rate the first conscious expression
of the colonisation scheme, of which we shall hear more below, in
reference to Cotyora; the Phasis; Calpe. It appears again fifty
years later in the author's pamphlet "On Revenues," chapters i.
and vi. For the special evils of the fourth century B.C., and the
growth of pauperism between B.C. 401 and 338, see Jebb, "Attic
Orators," vol i. p. 17.

"Let us look another matter in the face. How are we to march most
safely? or where blows are needed, how are we to fight to the best
advantage? That is the question.

"The first thing which I recommend is to burn the wagons we have got,
so that we may be free to march wherever the army needs, and not,
practically, make our baggage train our general. And, next, we should
throw our tents into the bonfire also: for these again are only a
trouble to carry, and do not contribute one grain of good either for
fighting or getting provisions. Further, let us get rid of all
superfluous baggage, save only what we require for the sake of war, or
meat and drink, so that as many of us as possible may be under arms,
and as few as possible doing porterage. I need not remind you that, in
case of defeat, the owners' goods are not their own; but if we master
our foes, we will make them our baggage bearers.

"It only rests for me to name the one thing which I look upon as the
greatest of all. You see, the enemy did not dare to bring war to bear
upon us until they had first seized our generals; they felt that
whilst our rulers were there, and we obeyed them, they were no match
for us in war; but having got hold of them, they fully expected that
the consequent confusion and anarchy would prove fatal to us. What
follows? This: Officers and leaders ought to be more vigilant ever
than their predecessors; subordinates still more orderly and obedient
to those in command now than even they were to those who are gone. And
you should pass a resolution that, in case of insubordination, any one 31
who stands by is to aid the officer in chastising the offender. So the
enemy will be mightily deceived; for on this day they will behold ten
thousand Clearchuses instead of one, who will not suffer one man to
play the coward. And now it is high time I brought my remarks to an
end, for may be the enemy will be here anon. Let those who are in
favour of these proposals confirm them with all speed, that they may
be realised in fact; or if any other course seem better, let not any
one, even though he be a private soldier, shrink from proposing it.
Our common safety is our common need."

After this Cheirisophus spoke. He said: "If there is anything else to
be done, beyond what Xenophon has mentioned, we shall be able to carry
it out presently; but with regard to what he has already proposed, it
seems to me the best course to vote upon the matters at once. Those
who are in favour of Xenophon's proposals, hold up their hands." They
all held them up. Xenophon rose again and said: "Listen, sirs, while I
tell you what I think we have need of besides. It is clear that we
must march where we can get provisions. Now, I am told there are some
splendid villages not more than two miles and a half distant. I should
not be surprised, then, if the enemy were to hang on our heels and dog
us as we retire, like cowardly curs which rush out at the passer-by
and bite him if they can, but when you turn upon them they run away.
Such will be their tactics, I take it. It may be safer, then, to march
in a hollow square, so as to place the baggage animals and our mob of
sutlers in greater security. It will save time to make the
appointments at once, and to settle who leads the square and directs
the vanguard; who will take command of the two flanks, and who of the
rearguard; so that, when the enemy appears, we shall not need to
deliberate, but can at once set in motion the machinery in existence.

"If any one has any better plan, we need not adopt mine; but if not,
suppose Cheirisophus takes the lead, as he is a Lacedaemonian, and the
two eldest generals take in charge the two wings respectively, whilst
Timasion and I, the two youngest, will for the present guard the rear. 37
For the rest, we can but make experiment of this arrangement, and
alter it with deliberation, as from time to time any improvement
suggests itself. If any one has a better plan to propose, let him do
so."... No dissentient voice was heard. Accordingly he said: "Those
in favour of this resolution, hold up their hands." The resolution was
carried. "And now," said he, "it would be well to separate and carry
out what we have decreed. If any of you has set his heart on seeing
his friends again, let him remember to prove himself a man; there is
no other way to achieve his heart's wish. Or is mere living an object
with any of you, strive to conquer; if to slay is the privilege of
victory, to die is the doom of the defeated. Or perhaps to gain money
and wealth is your ambition, strive again for mastery; have not
conquerors the double gain of keeping what is their own, whilst they
seize the possessions of the vanquished?"