Presently the soldiers came to learn what was in course of agitation, 1
and Neon gave out that Xenophon had persuaded the other generals to
adopt his views, and had a plan to cheat the soldiers and take them
back to the Phasis. The soldiers were highly indignant; meetings were
held; little groups gathered ominously; and there seemed an alarming
probability that they would repeat the violence with which they had
lately treated the heralds of the Colchians and the clerks of the
market; when all who did not save themselves by jumping into the sea
were stoned to death. So Xenophon, seeing what a storm was brewing,
resolved to anticipate matters so far as to summon a meeting of the
men without delay, and thus prevent their collecting of their own
accord, and he ordered the herald to announce an assembly. The voice
of the herald was no sooner heard than they rushed with great
readiness to the place of meeting. Then Xenophon, without accusing the
generals of having come to him, made the following speech: "I hear
that a charge is brought against me. It is I apparently who am going
to cheat you and carry you off to Phasis. I beg you by all that is
holy to listen to me; and if there be found any guilt in me, let me
not leave this place till I have paid the penalty of my misdoing; but
if my accusers are found guilty, treat them as they deserve. I
presume, sirs, you know where the sun rises and where he sets, and
that he who would go to Hellas must needs journey towards the sunset;
whereas he who seeks the land of the barbarian must contrariwise fix 6
his face towards the dawn. Now is that a point in which a man might
hope to cheat you? Could any one make you believe that the sun rises
here and sets there, or that he sets here and rises there? And
doubtless you know this too, that it is Boreas, the north wind, who
bears the mariner out of Pontus towards Hellas, and the south wind
inwards towards the Phasis, whence the saying--

"'When the North wind doth blow
Home to Hellas we will go[1].'

[1] Whether this was a local saying or a proverb I cannot say. The
words have a poetical ring about them: "When Borrhas blows, fair
voyages to Hellas."

"He would be a clever fellow who could befool you into embarking with
a south wind blowing. That sounds all very well, you think, only I may
get you on board during a calm. Granted, but I shall be on board my
one ship, and you on board another hundred at least, and how am I to
constrain you to voyage with me against your will, or by what cajolery
shall I carry you off? But I will imagine you so far befooled and
bewitched by me, that I have got you to the Phasis; we proceed to
disembark on dry land. At last it will come out, that wherever you
are, you are not in Hellas, and the inventor of the trick will be one
sole man, and you who have been caught by it will number something
like ten thousand with swords in your hands. I do not know how a man
could better ensure his own punishment than by embarking on such a
policy with regards to himself and you.

"Nay, these tales are the invention of silly fellows who are jealous
of the honour you bestow on me. A most uncalled-for jealousy! Do I
hinder any of them from speaking any word of import in his power? of
striking a blow in your behalf and his own, if that is his choice? or,
finally, of keeping his eyes and ears open to secure your safety? What
is it? In your choice of leaders do I stand in the way of any one, is
that it? Let him step forward, I yield him place; he shall be your
general; only he must prove that he has your good at heart.

"For myself, I have done; but for yourselves, if any of you conceive 11
either that he himself could be the victim of a fraud, or that he
could victimise any one else in such a thing as this, let him open his
lips and explain to us how. Take your time, but when you have sifted
the matter to your hearts' content, do not go away without suffering
me to tell you of something which I see looming. If it should burst
upon us and prove in fact anything like what it gives signs of being
now, it is time for us to take counsel for ourselves and see that we
do not prove ourselves to be the worst and basest of men in the sight
of gods and men, be they friends or be they foes." The words moved the
curiosity of the soldiers. They marvelled what this matter might be,
and bade him explain. Thereupon he began again: "You will not have
forgotten certain places in the hills--barbaric fastnesses, but
friendly to the Cerasuntines--from which people used to come down and
sell us large cattle and other things which they possessed, and if I
mistake not, some of you went to the nearest of these places and made
purchases in the market and came back again. Clearetus the captain
learnt of this place, that it was but a little one and unguarded. Why
should it be guarded since it was friendly? so the folk thought. Thus
he stole upon it in the dead of night, and meant to sack it without
saying a word to any of us. His design was, if he took the place, not
to return again to the army, but to mount a vessel which, with his
messmates on board her, was sailing past at the time, and stowing away
what he had seized, to set sail and begone beyond the Euxine. All this
had been agreed upon and arranged with his comrades on board the
vessel, as I now discover. Accordingly, he summoned to his side all
whom he could persuade, and set off at their head against the little
place. But dawn overtook him on his march. The men collected out of
their strongholds, and whether from a distance or close quarters, made
such a fight that they killed Clearetus and a good many of the rest,
and only a few of them got safe back to Cerasus.

"These things took place on the day on which we started to come hither
on foot; while some of those who were to go by sea were still at
Cerasus, not having as yet weighed anchor. After this, according to 17
what the Cerasuntines state, there arrived three inhabitants of the
place which had been attacked; three elderly men, seeking an interview
with our public assembly. Not finding us, they addressed themselves to
the men of Cerasus, and told them, they were astonished that we should
have thought it right to attack them; however, when, as the
Cerasuntines assert, they had assured them that the occurrence was not
authorised by public consent, they were pleased, and proposed to sail
here, not only to state to us what had occurred, but to offer that
those who were interested should take up and bury the bodies of the

"But among the Hellenes still at Cerasus were some of those who had
escaped. They found out in which direction the barbarians were minded
to go, and not only had the face themselves to pelt them with stones,
but vociferously encouraged their neighbours to do the same. The three
men--ambassadors, mark you--were slain, stoned to death. After this
occurrence, the men of Cerasus came to us and reported the affair, and
we generals, on being informed, were annoyed at what had taken place,
and took counsel with the Cerasuntines how the dead bodies of the
Hellenes might be buried. While seated in conclave outside the camp,
we suddenly were aware of a great hubbub. We heard cries: 'Cut them
down!' 'Shoot them!' 'Stone them!' and presently we caught sight of a
mass of people racing towards us with stones in their hands, and
others picking them up. The Cerasuntines, naturally enough,
considering the incident they had lately witnessed, retired in terror
to their vessels, and, upon my word, some of us did not feel too
comfortable. All I could do was to go to them and inquire what it all
meant. Some of them had not the slightest notion, although they had
stones in their hands, but chancing on some one who was better
informed, I was told by him that 'the clerks of the market were
treating the army most scandalously.' Just then some one got sight of
the market clerk, Zelarchus, making his way off towards the sea, and
lifted up his voice aloud, and the rest responding to the cry as if a 24
wild boar or a stag had been started, they rushed upon him.

"The Cerasuntines, seeing a rush in their direction, thought that,
without a doubt, it was directed against themselves, and fled with all
speed and threw themselves into the sea, in which proceeding they were
imitated by some few of our own men, and all who did not know how to
swim were drowned. But now, what do you think of their case, these men
of Cerasus? They had done no wrong. They were simply afraid that some
madness had seized us, like that to which dogs are liable.

"I say then, if proceedings like this are to be the order of the day,
you had better consider what the ultimate condition of the army is
like to be. As a body you will not have it in your power to undertake
war against whom you like, or to conclude peace. But in private any
one who chooses will conduct the army on any quest which takes his
fancy. And when ambassadors come to you to demand peace, or whatever
it may be, officious people will put them to death and prevent your
hearing the proposals which brought them to you. The next step will be
that those whom you as a body may choose as generals will be of no
account; but any one who likes to elect himself general, and will
adopt the formula 'Shoot him! shoot him!' will be competent to cut
down whomsoever he pleases untried, be it general or private soldier,
if only he have sufficient followers, as was the case just now. But
just consider what these self-appointed generals have achieved for
you. Zelarchus, the clerk of the market, may possibly have done you a
wrong; if so, he has sailed off and is gone without paying you any
penalty; or he may be guiltless, in which case we have driven him from
the army in terror of perishing unjustly without a trial. While those
who stoned the ambassadors have contrived so cleverly that we alone of
all Hellenes cannot approach Cerasus safely without a strong force,
and the corpses which the very men who slew them themselves invited us
to bury, we cannot now pick up with safety even under a flag of truce.
Who indeed would care to carry a flag of truce, or go as a herald with 30
the blood of heralds upon his hands? All we could do was to implore
the Cerasuntines to bury them.

"If then you approve of such doings, have a resolution passed to that
effect, so that, with a prospect of like occurrences in the future, a
man may privately set up a guard and do his best to fix his tent where
he can find a strong position with a commanding site. If, however,
these seem to you to be the deeds rather of wild beasts than of human
beings, bethink you of some means by which to stay them; or else, in
heaven's name, how shall we do sacrifice to the gods gladly, with
impious deeds to answer for? or how shall we, who lay the knife to
each other's throats, give battle to our enemies? What friendly city
will receive us when they see rampant lawlessness in our midst? Who
will have the courage to afford us a market, when we prove our
worthlessness in these weightiest concerns? and what becomes of the
praise we expect to win from the mouths of men? who will vouchsafe it
to us, if this is our behaviour? Should we not ourselves bestow the
worst of names on the perpetrators of like deeds?"

After this they rose, and, as one man, proposed that the ringleaders
in these matters should be punished; and that for the future, to set
an example of lawlessness should be forbidden. Every such ringleader
was to be prosecuted on the capital charge; the generals were to bring
all offenders to the bar of justice; prosecutions for all other
misdemeanours committed since the death of Cyrus were to be
instituted; and they ended by constituting the officers into a board
of dicasts[2]; and upon the strong representation of Xenophon, with
the concurrence of the soothsayers, it was resolved to purify the
army, and this purification was made.

[2] I.e. a board of judges or jurors.