The speaking was ended; they got up and retired; then they burnt the 1
wagons and the tents, and after sharing with one another what each
needed out of their various superfluities, they threw the remnant into
the fire. Having done that, they proceeded to make their breakfasts.
While they were breakfasting, Mithridates came with about thirty
horsemen, and summoning the generals within earshot, he thus addressed
them: "Men of Hellas, I have been faithful to Cyrus, as you know well,
and to-day I am your well-wisher; indeed, I am here spending my days
in great fear: if then I could see any salutory course in prospect, I
should be disposed to join you with all my retainers. Please inform
me, then, as to what you propose, regarding me as your friend and
well-wisher, anxious only to pursue his march in your company." The
generals held council, and resolved to give the following answer,
Cheirisophus acting as spokesman: "We have resolved to make our way
through the country, inflicting the least possible damage, provided we
are allowed a free passage homewards; but if any one tries to hinder 3
us, he will have to fight it out with us, and we shall bring all the
force in our power to bear." Thereat Mithridates set himself to prove
to them that their deliverance, except with the king's good pleasure,
was hopeless. Then the meaning of his mission was plain. He was an
agent in disguise; in fact, a relation of Tissaphernes was in
attendance to keep a check on his loyalty. After that, the generals
resolved that it would be better to proclaim open war, without truce
or herald, as long as they were in the enemy's country; for they used
to come and corrupt the soldiers, and they were even successful with
one officer--Nicarchus[1], an Arcadian, who went off in the night with
about twenty men.

[1] Can this be the same man whose escape is so graphically described

After this, they breakfasted and crossed the river Zapatas, marching
in regular order, with the beasts and mob of the army in the middle.
They had not advanced far on their route when Mithridates made his
appearance again, with about a couple of hundred horsemen at his back,
and bowmen and slingers twice as many, as nimble fellows as a man
might hope to see. He approached the Hellenes as if he were friendly;
but when they had got fairly to close quarters, all of a sudden some
of them, whether mounted or on foot, began shooting with their bows
and arrows, and another set with slings, wounding the men. The
rearguard of the Hellenes suffered for a while severely without being
able to retaliate, for the Cretans had a shorter range than the
Persians, and at the same time, being light-armed troops, they lay
cooped up within the ranks of the heavy infantry, while the javelin
men again did not shoot far enough to reach the enemy's slingers. This
being so, Xenophon thought there was nothing for it but to charge, and
charge they did; some of the heavy and light infantry, who were
guarding the rear, with him; but for all their charging they did not
catch a single man.

The dearth of cavalry told against the Hellenes; nor were their
infantry able to overhaul the enemy's infantry, with the long start
they had, and considering the shortness of the race, for it was out of
the question to pursue them far from the main body of the army. On the 10
other hand, the Asiatic cavalry, even while fleeing, poured volleys of
arrows behind their backs, and wounded the pursuers; while the
Hellenes must fall back fighting every step of the way they had
measured in the pursuit; so that by the end of that day they had not
gone much more than three miles; but in the late afternoon they
reached the villages.

Here there was a return of the old despondency. Cheirisophus and the
eldest of the generals blamed Xenophon for leaving the main body to
give chase and endangering himself thereby, while he could not damage
the enemy one whit the more. Xenophon admitted that they were right in
blaming him: no better proof of that was wanted than the result. "The
fact is," he added, "I was driven to pursue; it was too trying to look
on and see our men suffer so badly, and be unable to retaliate.
However, when we did charge, there is no denying the truth of what you
say; we were not a whit more able to injure the enemy, while we had
considerable difficulty in beating a retreat ourselves. Thank heaven
they did not come upon us in any great force, but were only a handful
of men; so that the injury they did us was not large, as it might have
been; and at least it has served to show us what we need. At present
the enemy shoot and sling beyond our range, so that our Cretan archers
are no match for them; our hand-throwers cannot reach as far; and when
we pursue, it is not possible to push the pursuit to any great
distance from the main body, and within the short distance no
foot-soldier, however fleet of foot, could overtake another
foot-soldier who has a bow-shot the start of him. If, then, we are to
exclude them from all possibility of injuring us as we march, we must
get slingers as soon as possible and cavalry. I am told there are in
the army some Rhodians, most of whom, they say, know how to sling, and
their missile will reach even twice as far as the Persian slings
(which, on account of their being loaded with stones as big as one's
fist, have a comparatively short range; but the Rhodians are skilled
in the use of leaden bullets[2]). Suppose, then, we investigate and 18
find out first of all who among them possess slings, and for these
slings offer the owner the money value; and to another, who will plait
some more, hand over the money price; and for a third, who will
volunteer to be enrolled as a slinger, invent some other sort of
privilege, I think we shall soon find people to come forward capable
of helping us. There are horses in the army I know; some few with
myself, others belonging to Clearchus's stud, and a good many others
captured from the enemy, used for carrying baggage. Let us take the
pick of these, supplying their places by ordinary baggage animals, and
equipping the horses for cavalry. I should not wonder if our troopers
gave some annoyance to these fugitives."

[2] These words sound to me like an author's note, parenthetically,
and perhaps inadvertently, inserted into the text. It is an
"aside" to the reader, which in a modern book would appear as a

These proposals were carried, and that night two hundred slingers were
enrolled, and next day as many as fifty horse and horsemen passed
muster as duly qualified; buff jackets and cuirasses were provided for
them, and a commandant of cavalry appointed to command--Lycius, the
son of Polystratus, by name, an Athenian.