From Cerasus they continued the march, the same portion of the troops 1
being conveyed by sea as before, and the rest marching by land. When
they had reached the frontiers of the Mossynoecians[1] they sent to
him Timesitheus the Trapezuntine, who was the proxenos[2] of the
Mossynoecians, to inquire whether they were to pass through their
territory as friends or foes. They, trusting in their strongholds,
replied that they would not give them passage. It was then that
Timesitheus informed them that the Mossynoecians on the farther side
of the country were hostile to these members of the tribe; and it was
resolved to invite the former to make an alliance, if they wished it.
So Timesitheus was sent, and came back with their chiefs. On their
arrival there was a conference of the Mossynoecian chiefs and the
generals of the Hellenes, and Xenophon made a speech which Timesitheus
interpreted. He said: "Men of the Mossynoecians, our desire is to
reach Hellas in safety; and since we have no vessels we must needs go
by foot, but these people who, as we hear, are your enemies, prevent
us. Will you take us for your allies? Now is your chance to exact
vengeance for any wrong, which they at any time may have put upon you,
and for the future they will be your subjects; but if you send us
about our business, consider and ask yourselves from what quarter will
you ever again obtain so strong a force to help you?" To this the
chief of the Mossynoecians made answer:--that the proposal was in
accordance with their wishes and they welcomed the alliance. "Good,"
said Xenophon, "but to what use do you propose to put us, if we become
your allies? And what will you in turn be able to do to assist our
passage?" They replied: "We can make an incursion into this country
hostile to yourselves and us, from the opposite side, and also send 10
you ships and men to this place, who will aid you in fighting and
conduct you on the road."

[1] I.e. dwellers in mossyns, or wooden towers. See Herod. iii. 94;
vii. 78. Cf. also Strabo, xi. 41.

[2] Or, "consul."

On this understanding, they exchanged pledges and were gone. The next
day they returned, bringing three hundred canoes, each hollowed out of
a single trunk. There were three men in each, two of whom disembarked
and fell into rank, whilst the third remained. Then the one set took
the boats and sailed back again, whilst the other two-thirds who
remained marshalled themselves in the following way. They stood in
rows of about a hundred each, like the rows of dancers in a chorus,
standing vis-a-vis to one another, and all bearing wicker shields,
made of white oxhide, shaggy, and shaped like an ivy leaf; in the
right hand they brandished a javelin about six cubits long, with a
lance in front, and rounded like a ball at the butt end of the shaft.

Their bodies were clad in short frocks, scarcely reaching to the knees
and in texture closely resembling that of a linen bedclothes' bag; on
their heads they wore leathern helmets just like the Paphlagonian
helmet, with a tuft of hair in the middle, as like a tiara in shape as
possible. They carried moreover iron battle-axes. Then one of them
gave, as it were, the key-note and started, while the rest, taking up
the strain and the step, followed singing and marking time. Passing
through the various corps and heavy armed battalions of the Hellenes,
they marched straight against the enemy, to what appeared the most
assailable of his fortresses. It was situated in front of the city, or
mother city, as it is called, which latter contains the high citadel
of the Mossynoecians. This citadel was the real bone of contention,
the occupants at any time being acknowledged as the masters of all the
other Mossynoecians. The present holders (so it was explained) had no
right to its possession; for the sake of self-aggrandisement they had
seized what was really common property.

Some of the Hellenes followed the attacking party, not under the
orders of the generals, but for the sake of plunder. As they advanced,
the enemy for a while kept quiet; but as they got near the place, they 16
made a sortie and routed them, killing several of the barbarians as
well as some of the Hellenes who had gone up with them; and so pursued
them until they saw the Hellenes advancing to the rescue. Then they
turned round and made off, first cutting off the heads of the dead men
and flaunting them in the face of the Hellenes and of their own
private foes, dancing the while and singing in a measured strain. But
the Hellenes were much vexed to think that their foes had only been
rendered bolder, while the Hellenes who had formed part of the
expedition had turned tail and fled, in spite of their numbers; a
thing which had not happened previously during the whole expedition.
So Xenophon called a meeting of the Hellenes and spoke as follows:
"Soldiers, do not in any wise be cast down by what has happened, be
sure that good no less than evil will be the result; for to begin
with, you now know certainly that those who are going to guide us are
in very deed hostile to those with whom necessity drives us to
quarrel; and, in the next place, some of our own body, these Hellenes
who have made so light of orderly array and conjoint action with
ourselves, as though they must needs achieve in the company of
barbarians all they could with ourselves, have paid the penalty and
been taught a lesson, so that another time they will be less prone to
leave our ranks. But you must be prepared to show these friendly
barbarians that you are of a better sort, and prove to the enemy that
battle with the undisciplined is one thing, but with men like
yourselves another."

Accordingly they halted, as they were, that day. Next day they
sacrificed and finding the victims favourable, they breakfasted,
formed the companies into columns, and with their barbarians arranged
in similar order on their left, began their march. Between the
companies were the archers only slightly retired behind the front of
the heavy infantry, on account of the enemy's active light troops, who
ran down and kept up volleys of stones. These were held in check by
the archers and peltasts; and steadily step by step the mass marched
on, first to the position from which the barbarians and those with
them had been driven two days back, and where the enemy were now drawn 23
up to meet them. Thus it came to pass that the barbarians first
grappled with the peltasts and maintained the battle until the heavy
infantry were close, when they turned and fled. The peltasts followed
without delay, and pursued them right up to their city, while the
heavy troops in unbroken order followed. As soon as they were up at
the houses of the capital, there and then the enemy, collecting all
together in one strong body, fought valiantly, and hurled their
javelins, or else clenched their long stout spears, almost too heavy
for a man to wield, and did their best to ward off the attack at close

But when the Hellenes, instead of giving way, kept massing together
more thickly, the barbarians fled from this place also, and in a body
deserted the fortress. Their king, who sat in his wooden tower or
mossyn, built on the citadel (there he sits and there they maintain
him, all at the common cost, and guard him narrowly), refused to come
forth, as did also those in the fortress first taken, and so were
burnt to a cinder where they were, their mossyns, themseves, and all.
The Hellenes, pillaging and ransacking these places, discovered in the
different houses treasures and magazines of loaves, pile upon pile,
"the ancestral stores," as the Mossynoecians told them; but the new
corn was laid up apart with the straw-stalk and ear together, and this
was for the most part spelt. Slices of dolphin were another discovery,
in narrow-necked jars, all properly salted and pickled; and there was
blubber of dolphin in vessels, which the Mossynoecians used precisely
as the Hellenes use oil. Then there were large stores of nuts on the
upper floor, the broad kind without a division[3]. This was also a
chief article of food with them--boiled nuts and baked loaves. Wine
was also discovered. This, from its rough, dry quality, tasted sharp
when drunk pure, but mixed with water was sweet and fragrant.

[3] I.e. "chestnuts."

The Hellenes breakfasted and then started forward on their march,
having first delivered the stronghold to their allies among the
Mossynoecians. As for the other strongholds belonging to tribes allied
with their foes, which they passed en route, the most accessible were
either deserted by their inhabitants or gave in their adhesion 30
voluntarily. The following description will apply to the majority of
them: the cities were on an average ten miles apart, some more, some
less; but so elevated is the country and intersected by such deep
clefts that if they chose to shout across to one another, their cries
would be heard from one city to another. When, in the course of their
march, they came upon a friendly population, these would entertain
them with exhibitions of fatted children belonging to the wealthy
classes, fed up on boiled chestnuts until they were as white as white
can be, of skin plump and delicate, and very nearly as broad as they
were long, with their backs variegated and their breasts tattooed with
patterns of all sorts of flowers. They sought after the women in the
Hellenic army, and would fain have laid with them openly in broad
daylight, for that was their custom. The whole community, male and
female alike, were fair-complexioned and white-skinned.

It was agreed that this was the most barbaric and outlandish people
that they had passed through on the whole expedition, and the furthest
removed from the Hellenic customs, doing in a crowd precisely what
other people would prefer to do in solitude, and when alone behaving
exactly as others would behave in company, talking to themselves and
laughing at their own expense, standing still and then again capering
about, wherever they might chance to be, without rhyme or reason, as
if their sole business were to show off to the rest of the world.