In the days when Ancient Greek was central to the academic curriculum of British school children, Xenophon's "Anabasis" would have played the same part as Caesar's "Gallic Wars" did in the learning of Latin. This was not only because of its relatively fluent style, and the absence in it of complex grammatical periods, but also because the story of how a group of Greek soldiers of fortune, surmounting Persian treachery, savage Kurdish and Armenian tribesmen and appalling weather conditions, somehow managed to fight their back to safety readily grips the imagination. Perhaps Book 4 is the highspot. In this book Xenophon tells us about the terrible falls of snow that the army had to confront, and the snow-blindness and bulimia which afflicted some of the troops, and his clever use of the rearguard to outwit and defeat his pursuers is memorable. The famous moment when the men obtained their first view of the sea has gone down into legend and their cry of "Thalatta! Thalatta" (The Sea! The Sea!) into books of quotations.
For the Greeks themselves, the "Anabasis" became a source of inspiration because of its Panhellenic context - the Ten Thousand were composed of Greeks from a number of different cities, and to that extent it was a latter-day 'Iliad' - and, because, through its relentless exposure of the feeble state of the Persian Empire, it provided an encouragement to those Greeks in the Fourth Century B.C. who wished to promote an invasion of Persia as a means of uniting the disparate Greek city-states, whose constant internecine warfare was threatening to destroy the prosperity of their land. The most prominent of these was the Athenian Isocrates. When in 334 B.C. Alexander of Macedonia embarked upon his wars of conquest, Xenophon's "Anabasis" was a direct source of encouragement to him, and indeed he was careful to follow closely in the footsteps of the Ten Thousand in his upward march into Asia Minor. 
While Xenophon' s account is undoubtedly exciting to read, its reliability is somewhat less credible perhaps. This is partly because the "Anabasis" could not have been written before 375 B.C. at the earliest and probably a little later than that, i.e. some thirty years after the events which it describes. Furthermore, when the First Century historian Diodorus Siculus wrote an account of the Persian expedition, the part played by Xenophon was so slight that he did not even receive a mention. Diodorus apparently drew on the 'Universal History' (now lost) written by Ephorus in the first half of the Fourth Century B.C. Ephorus appears to have used as his main source an account of the expedition (also now lost) written by Sophaenetus, a shadowy figure but very possibly identical with the Sophaenetus the Stymphalian, who was one of the older generals in the army. It is therefore possible that Xenophon was angered by the lack of credit he received in this account by Sophaenetus, and that he wrote the "Anabasis" as an 'apologia' in order to set the record straight. That having been said there can be no doubt that after Book 2 Xenophon does play a very prominent role in the events and decisions affecting the Ten Thousand, and that in this account he certainly presents a very favourable impression of himself.  


In this translation the text used is taken from "Xenophon: the Persian Expedition", edited with introduction, notes, and vocabulary by Jeremy Antrich and Stephen Usher, Bristol Classical Press (1978). This edition contains some 800 to 850 lines of Greek with summaries in English of the intervening passages. Sabidius has translated the lines of Greek and has reproduced the summary passages in italics. Antrich and Usher's book is indeed a mine of information about the historical and cultural background to the events it records, but also to Greek language usage. The book and chapter headings used by Rex Warner in his Penguin translation, entitled the "Persian Expedition" (1949), are followed in the translation below, as are his paragraph breaks. Sabidius has highlighted main verbs in the text by the use of italics in the translation.
The reader's attention is also drawn to two other recent books. Firstly, Robin Waterfield's "Xenophon's Retreat - Greece, Persia and the End of the Golden Age" (2006), and, secondly, the historical novel, "The Lost Army" (2008), by Valerio Massimo Manfredi, in which the story of the expedition is graphically recounted through the eyes of Abira, an imaginary concubine of Xenophon. This book reminds us that in addition to the Ten Thousand soldiers there were large numbers of camp followers whose needs also had to be considered during this epic march. 

Finally, I quote from Rex Warner's introduction to his magnificent translation, where he provides us with the following estimate of Xenophon:

"Cool, calculating, brilliant and intensely pious, he is one of the most fascinating characters of history, and his account of his own doings is so far from being self-conscious that he seems to us one of the very few Greeks of whose manners and ideas we have a really adequate idea. A writer in the Cambridge Ancient History, no doubt pursuing the fashionable and dreary task of 'debunking' the great, may, without producing one shred of evidence in support of his views, disparage Xenophon's ability and sneer at his achievements. Yet the very brilliance of what was undoubtedly achieved would seem to demand ability of a very high order, and, so far as Xenophon's own narrative goes, it can stand on its own feet" (Rex Warner, "The Persian Expedition", pp. 12-13).


While the Cambridge Ancient History appears to have prevailed, in that Warner's own introduction to his translation was replaced by Penguin in its 1972 reprint by the one by George Cawkwell, quoted at the very end of the following translation, Rex Warner's comments above are a testimony to the inspiration which Xenophon has provided to so many of his readers down through the centuries. 


Chapter 1.  Cyrus builds up his army. 

(1.1.1 - 1.1.11)

Darius and Parysatis had two sons (lit. Two sons are born of Darius and Parysatis), the elder (being) Artaxerxes, and the younger Cyrus. Now, when Darius was sick, and suspected that the end of his life (was near), he wished both his sons to be at his side. The elder happenedto be there; but he sends for Cyrus from the province over which he had made him satrap, and he had also appointed (him) commander-in-chief of all those (troops) who muster on the plain of Castolus. 
Accordingly, Cyrus went (to his father), taking Tissaphernes (with him) as a friend, and he came with (lit. having) three hundred hoplites of the Greeks and Xenias of Parrhasia commanding them. Now when Darius had died and Artaxerxes had been established in the kingdom, Tissaphernes falsely accuses Cyrus to his brother, (saying) that he was plotting against him. And the (King) believes (him) and arrests Cyrus in order to put him to death. But his mother, interceding (for him), sends him back again to his province. Now when he had returned, having been in danger and having been dishonoured, he considers how he would never again be in the power of his brother, but, if possible, (how) he should be King instead of him. His mother Parysatis was indeed on the side of Cyrus, loving him better than the ruling Artaxerxes. And whoever of those from the King('s court) came to him, he sent(them) all away, being treated in such a way that they were more devoted to him than to the King. And he would take care that those natives around himself were both able to fight and were well-disposed to him. He gathered his Greek force in the most secret manner that he could, in order that he might catch (lit. take) the King as unprepared as possible.
Accordingly he managed his recruitment in the following way. As many garrisons as he had in the cities, he issued orders to each of their commanders to enlist as many and (as) able Peloponnesian troops (as they could), on the pretext that Tissaphernes was plotting against their cities. And (this was plausible) for the Ionian cities had (in fact) originally been givenby the King (i.e. by Darius) to Tissaphernes, but by this time they had all gone over to Cyrus, except Miletus. Tissaphernes, perceiving that in Miletus they were planning (to do) the same thing, put some to death and exiled others. But Cyrus, taking the exiles under his protection, (and) having assembled an army, blockaded Miletus both by land and by sea, andendeavoured to restore those who had been exiled. And this again was another pretext for him to recruit an army. And, sending (word) to the King, he claimed that, as he was (lit. being) his brother, these cities should be given to him rather than that Tissaphernes should rule them, and his mother joined with him in this, with the result that the King did not perceive the plot against himself, but thought that he was spending (money) on the army, (because he was) making war upon Tissaphernes; consequently, he was not at all hostile to them being at war. And (all the more so), for Cyrus was sending to the King the tribute coming from the cities of Tissaphernes which he happened to have.

Another army was being assembled for him in the Chersonese, which is opposite (lit. over against) Abydus in the following way. Clearchus was a Macedonian exile; having met him, Cyrus was struck with admiration of him, and gave him a thousand darics. And he (i.e. Clearchus), taking the gold, recruited an army with (lit. from) this money, and based at the Chersonese made war upon the Thracians, and (so) aided the Greeks; consequently the cities of the Hellespont willingly also contributed money to him towards the upkeep of his soldiers. And this army, being maintained for him in this way, escaped notice also.  
Then, Aristippus the Thessalian happened to be friend to him, and, as his political opponents at home were making things difficult for him (lit. being hard-pressed by his political opponents at home), he comes to Cyrus and asks him for about two thousand mercenaries and three months' pay (for them), as by these means he would overcome his political opponents. But Cyrus gives him pay for four thousand and six months, and requests him not to come to terms with (lit. break off [hostilities] against) his political opponents until he should have previously consulted with him. Thus the army in Thessaly is maintained without attracting notice (lit. escaped notice [while] being maintained).

Futhermore, he orders Proxenus the Boeotian, being a guest-friend to him, to come and join (him), bringing as many men as (he could), (saying) that he wished to go on campaign in (the territory of) the Pisidians, on the pretext of the Pisidians causing trouble in his own province. He also told Sophaenetus the Stymphalian and Socrates the Achaean, these men likewise being his guest-friends, to come bringing as many men as (they could) in order to make war upon Tissaphernes (together) with the exiles of the Milesians. And so they did.     
N.B.  It was remarkable that Cyrus managed to keep his plans secret from the King. Artaxerxes, however, was not suspicious but inclined to trust Cyrus after the rejection of Tissaphernes' earlier accusations (Parysatis helped here), and he considered the conflict between Cyrus and Tissaphernes normal and acceptable; the system of inspectors, spies and informers ensured that he would learn of any attempt at revolt - or so he thought. The secret had to be kept from the Greeks too: Cyrus knew that they would never willingly march inland with him, as this meant leaving familiar territory for months on end (cf. Herodotus 5.49 - 50). The most important factor in Cyrus' success was the loyalty of those few who knew his plans. 

(1.2.1 - 1.4.19)

Cyrus agents raised their contingents. Aristippus the Thessalian, prompted by Cyrus, settled his differences with his political opponents; and Xenias the Arcadian, commanded by Cyrus to collect all troops not required for garrison work in his satrapy brought them to Sardis. Exiles from Tissaphernes' satrapy were also invited to assemble there, and this force was soon joined by further contingents from Greece with their commanders. Time was not on Cyrus' side once Tissaphernes deduced from the size of the gathering army his true purpose and road east to warn the King. 

Cyrus marched for three days through Lydia to the Maeander river, and crossed the pontoon bridge which spanned it. A day later he reached Colossae, where he stayed for seven days ad was joined by Menon the Thessalian with 1,000 hoplites and 500 peltasts, the contingent raised by Aristippus. His army reached its full strength when Clearchus the Spartan, Sosis the Syracusan, and Sophaenetus the Stymphalian (Arcadian) caught up with him at the city of Celaenae on the Marsyas river, the site of one of the King's provincial palaces.

The whole army at this stage was composed as follows:

Commander                                Hoplites                                     Others
Xenias                                        4,000
Clearchus                                  1,000                                          800 peltasts, 200 archers
Proxenus                                   1,500                                          500 light infantry
Menon                                       1,000                                          500 peltasts
Socrates (Achaean)                     500
Pasion (Megarian)                       300                                          300 peltasts
Sophaenetus                             1,000
Sosis                                            300
Chirisophus the Spartan joined the army in Cilicia with 700 hoplites; and 400 Greek mercenaries deserted from the army of Abrocomas, satrap of Phoenicia. This gave Cyrus a total of 10,700 hoplites, and 2,300 light-armed infantry; but he had to supply such cavalry as he needed from native levies. 

In 25 days, of which 14 were spent on the march, the army reached the eastern most city of Phrygia, Iconium. The distance covered was 350 miles. 
For the other 11 days the men had rested in the cities of Peltae, Ceramon Agora, Thymbrium, Cayster Field and Tyriaeum, where Cyrus staged a parade and a mock battle-charge in honour of Epyaxa, queen of Cilicia, who had supplied him with money to pay his army. After crossing the frontier into Cilicia they came to that country's capital city in 13 marching days from Iconium, passing through Cappadocia, a distance of 320 miles. Syennesis, king of Cilicia, who had originally intended to give Cyrus' army a hostile reception, was persuaded by his wife, and also perhaps by the prospect of the widespread plundering of his kingdom, to supply Cyrus with the next instalment of his mercenaries' pay in return for their peaceful passage out of his territory. 

But for twenty days the Greeks refused to march. Clearchus the Spartan now emerged as the foremost Greek leader. He succeeded temporarily in allaying the men's suspicion that they were marching against the King, and secured for them a pay increase of fifty per cent. They reflected that they had already gone too far to turn back; for without Cyrus' good will and practical help they would have found the return journey exceedingly hazardous. 

The march was resumed. In 5 days they reached Issus, 120 miles from Tarsus, and in a further 21 days travelled 300 miles to Thapsacus, with a rest of 7 at Myriandus, a Phoenician city. Two of the Greek mercenary commanders, Xenias and Pasion, jealous of the increasing influence of Clearchus noy only over Cyrus but over their own men, boarded a ship at Myriandus and deserted. 

On arrival at Thapsacus on the Euphrates, Cyrus at last revealed to the Greek generals that the purpose of the expedition was to attack his brother, Artaxerxes the Geat King. Clearchus probably knew Cyrus' intention already, and the soldiers accused him of this; they also accused the other commanders, though probably with less justice. But the debate, as recorded by Xenophon, was surprisingly short; the soldiers merely demanded more money, and on receiving a promise of this, agreed to continue the march. Menon the Thessalian, by being the first tolead his men across the Euphrates, earned Cyrus' special praise. After a journey of 9 days and 200 miles through Syria along the northern bank of the Euphrates they reached the river Araxes at a point where there were many villages well supplied with corn and wine. Here they stayed 3 days and provided themselves with food. 

Chapter 5.  Arabian Desert. (1.5.1 - 1.5.9)

From here, keeping the Euphrates river on the right, he advanced (lit. drove on) through Arabia five days' (lit. stages, or intervals between stopping places)  march through the desert for thirty-five parasangs (i.e. a hundred and five miles). In this region the ground was all a level plain like the sea, and full of wormwood. And whatever else there was there in respect of shrub or reed, all was fragrant like spices. There were no trees at all, but wild animals of every kind, numerous wild asses and many ostriches (lit. large sparrows); and there werebustards and gazelles also. Horsemen sometimes chased these wild animals. And the asses, whenever anyone chased (them), used to run ahead (lit. running ahead) (and then) stopped. For they ran faster than the horses; and again, when the horses got close, they would do the same thing, and it was not possible to catch (them) unless the horsemen, having been put in different positions, should hunt (them) in relays (lit. being relieved). The flesh of those (who were) caught was very like venison, but more tender. But no one caught an ostrich; the horsemen pursuing (them) soon stopped; for in its flight (lit. fleeing) it drew (them) far away, using its feet by running and its wings, raising (them) like a sail. But it is possible to catch bustards, if one flushes (them) (lit. puts [them] up) quickly, for they fly (but) a short distance, like partridges. And their flesh was delicious.  
There they remained for three days and provisioned themselves with food. From there headvanced (lit. drove on) for thirteen days (lit. stages) and ninety parasangs (i.e. two hundred and seventy miles), keeping the Euphrates river on the right, and arrived at the Gates. During these stages many of the pack-animals died due to hunger; for there was no grass nor any tree either, but the countryside was entirely bare; the people dwelling there, quarrying mill-stones (lit. grinding donkeys) beside the river and fashioning (them), took (them) to Babylon and sold (them), and, buying food with the proceeds, lived (on it). 
The army's grain supply ran out (lit. the grain supply failed the army), and it was notpossible to buy (any), except in the Lydian market among the native (army) of Cyrus at the price of four sigli per capith of wheat flour or barley meal. The siglus is worth (lit. passes for) seven and a half Attic obols; and the capith was equivalent to (lit. made way for) two Attic choenices. The soldiers therefore survived (lit. got through), (by) eating meat.
Of these stages, there were some which he made (lit. rode) very long, whenever he wanted to reach (lit. press on to) either water or fodder. Indeed on one occasion, a narrow and muddy pass presenting (itself) (which was) hard for wagons to get through, Cyrus halted, (together) with the noblest and wealthiest men in his train (around him), and ordered Glus and Pigres, taking (some) of the native contingent to help pull out the wagons. But, when it seemed to him that they were working slowly, as if in anger he ordered the most important Persians in his train (lit. around him) to join (them) in forcing the wagons onwards. Then, indeed, it was possible to behold a sample of a bit of their good discipline. For, throwing (off) their purple caftans where each happened to be standing, they rushed just as one would run to win (lit. for) a victory down a very steep hill, wearing those costly tunics of theirs and those multi-coloured trousers, and some even (wearing) torques (lit. [collars of] twisted [metal]) around their necks and bracelets around their wrists. And leaping at once with all these (fine things) into the mud they brought out the wagons (which they had) lifted up quicker than anyone would have thought possible (lit. than how anyone would have imagined). 

In general, Cyrus was clearly (lit. was clear as) hurrying throughout the whole journey and not delaying except where he halted for the sake of getting provisions or some other necessity, thinking that the faster he went, the less prepared the King would be when he fought him (lit. that by how much faster he went, he would fight the King [who would be] by that much more unprepared), while by how much slower (he went), by that much greater (would be) the army being collected for the King. Also the King's empire was, for the man applying his mind to see, strong in terms of the extent of its territory and people, but, in terms of the lengths of its journeys and by (the fact) of its forces having been dispersed, (it was) weak, if anyone were to make war with speed.

(1.5.10 - 1.5.17)

On the opposite side of the Euphrates was the city of Charmande. The soldiers purchased provisions there, crossing the river on skins stuffed with hay. A quarrel arose between the contingents of Clearchus and Menon, and Proxenus became involved after attempting to mediate. Finally Cyrus rode into the midst of the Greeks. After he had roundly admonished them for their rash disregard of the safety of the expedition, Clearchus, who was extremely angry at being stoned by Menon's men, calmed down and order was restored. 

Chapter 6.  Cyrus deals with a traitor. (1.6.1 - 1.6.11)

As they advanced (lit. advancing) from there, the tracks of horses and their droppings were seen; it was guessed that it was the trail of two thousand horses. As they were going ahead (lit. going ahead), they were burning up both fodder and whatever else was of use. Now Orontas,  a Persian man, related to the King by birth and reckoned (to be) amongst the best of the Persians in respect of military matters, devises a plot against Cyrus, having made war (against him) previously, but having been reconciled (to him). He said to Cyrus that, if he would give him a thousand cavalrymen, he would either ambush (lit. having ambushed [them]) and kill those horsemen riding ahead or he would capture many of them alive and prevent (them) from their burning as they advanced (lit. advancing), and see to it that they could never get word to the King that they had seen Cyrus' army. It seemed to Cyrus, when he heard this (lit. hearing this), to be an advantageous (idea), and he directed him to take a detachment from each of his (cavalry) commanders. Then Orontes, thinking that his cavalrymen were assured him, writes a letter to the King, (saying) that he would come (to him) with as many horsemen as he could (get); but he urged (him) to tell his own cavalry to receive him as a friend. There was in the letter also reminders of his former friendship and fidelity. He gives this letter to a trustworthy man, or so he thought (lit. as he believed). But he takes (it) and (lit. taking [it] he) gives (it) to Cyrus.

Having studied it, Cyrus arrests Orontas, and summons to his tent seven of the noblest Persians in his train (lit. around him), while he ordered the generals of the Greeks to bring up their hoplites, (instructing) that they should pile their arms around his tent. Then they didthese things, bringing (with them) about three thousand hoplites. And he also invitedClearchus inside (his tent as) a counsellor, (the man) who seemed, at least to himself and the others to have been held in very much the greatest honour among the Greeks. When he came out, he reported to his friends how the trial of Orontas had gone; for it was no secret.He said that Cyrus began the conference thus. I have invited you, dear people, in order that, (by) deliberating with you, I may do what (lit. that which) is right before gods and before men with regard to Orontas here. For my father first gave (me) this man to be my subject, but when, having been instructed, as he himself said, by my brother, he made war upon me, holding the citadel in Sardis, and (when) I, fighting him (back), acted in such a way that he decided (lit. so that it seemed good to him) to cease the war against me, we shook hands in settlement of hostilities (lit. I both took and gave a right hand). "After that," he said, "O Orontas, have I wronged you in any way (lit. is there anything [by] which I have wronged you)?" He answered that (he had) not. Cyrus asked (him) again, "Did you not, afterwards, although you had been done (lit. having been done) no wrong at all by me, having gone over to the Mysians, do whatever damage you could to my territories?" Orontas said ("Yes"). "Did you not, " said Cyrus, " when you had learned once again (the extent of) your power, having gone to the altar of Artemis, say that you were sorry (lit. that it repents you), and, having persuaded me (to pardon you), again give me pledges and receive (them) from me?" These things also Orontas confessed. "So," said Cyrus, "having been wronged in what way by me,have you now been clearly (caught) plotting against me for a third time?" Orontes saying that, having not been wronged by him in any way, (he had been (caught) plotting against him), Cyrus asked him, "Do you admit then that you have been unjust with regard to me?" "(Yes), I certainly must (lit. for indeed [there is] necessity)," said Orontas. At this, Cyrusasked (him) again, "So, henceforth, could you prove yourself (lit. could you become) an enemy to my brother, and friendly and faithful to me?" He replied thus: "Not even if I were to become (his enemy), would I ever seem (to be so) to you in the future, O Cyrus." At this, Cyrus said to those (who were) present, "Such things (this) man has done, and such things he is saying; of (all of) you, do you, O Clearchus, first express your opinion (of) what seems good to you. And Clearchus said as follows. "I advise that (we) get this man out of the way as quickly as possible, so that it is no longer necessary (for us) to be on our guard against this (fellow), but that we may be free (lit. there may be leisure to us) as far as this man is concerned (lit. as it is according to this man), to benefit (lit. to do good to) those (who are) our willing allies." He said that the others also agreed with this opinion. After this, (at) Cyrus' bidding, they all, even his kinsmen, getting up, took Orontas by the belt, as a sign of the death (penalty); and then (those) who had the duty (lit. [those] to whom it was ordered)led him out. And when those very men who formerly used to bow (to him) saw him, they bowed (to him) even then, although knowing that he was being led forth to his death. Now when he had been conducted into the tent of Artapatas, the most faithful of Cyrus' sceptre-bearers, after that no one ever saw Orontas, either living or dead, nor did anyone, from actual knowledge (lit. knowing), say how he died; some guessed (in one way, others) in another; and no grave of his was ever seen.

(1.7.1 - 1.7.20)

Having thus disposed of the traitor Orontas, Cyrus marched fifty miles into Babylonia and held a review of his army, thinking that the King would soon give battle. Deserters from Artaxerxes' army gave alarming accounts of its size: 1,200,000 infantry divided among four commanders, 200 chariots fitted with scythes and 6,000 cavalry. But Cyrus knew the fighting qualities of his army, and assured his Greek commanders that he was undismayed. The odds of 100:1 suggested by these reported figures had little meaning when it came to actual fighting between drilled units of co-ordinated hoplites and disorganised throngs of raw, untrained light infantry. The failure of the King's large cavalry contingent to harass and disrupt, with almost no effective opposition, the Greek positions both before and during the Battle of Cunaxa, seems inexplicable in purely military terms. It appears that the function of the Persian cavalry was to act as the King's bodyguard. Cyrus therefore had nothing to fear from it until he confronted his brother on the field of battle three days later.

Chapter 8.  The Battle of Cunaxa and the death of Cyrus.  (1.8.1 - 1.8.29)

It was now about (the time of) a full market-place (i.e. mid-morning), and the stopping-place, where he was intending to halt (lit. break off [his journey]), was near, when Pategyas, a trusty Persian man in Cyrus' train (lit. among those around Cyrus), came into sight, riding hard (lit. with [all] his strength) with his horse sweating, and he immediatelyshouted to all (those) whom he met, both in Persian (lit. in his barbarian tongue) and in Greek, that the King was approaching with a large army ready for (lit. prepared for the purpose of) battle. Then indeed the Greeks, and in fact everyone, thought that he would fall upon them at once (while they were) not drawn up (for battle). Cyrus, leaping down from his chariot, donned his breastplate, and, mounting (lit. climbing on to) his horse, took his javelins in his hands, and issued orders to all the others to arm themselves fully and to fall in, each man to his own position in the battle-line. Thereupon, they proceeded to fall inwith great haste, Clearchus occupying the right (end) of the wing by the Euphrates river, Proxenus coming next, the others after him, and Menon held the left (lit. lucky) (end) of the Greek wing. With regard to the native (contingent), about a thousand Paphlagonian cavalrymen, and also the Greek peltasts took station on the right (wing), and on the left (wing) (were) Cyrus' cavalry commander, Ariaeus, and the rest of the native (contingent). Cyrus and about six hundred of his personal cavalry (were) armed themselves with a breast plate and thigh armour, and all (of them) except Cyrus with helmets (Cyrus, however, went [lit. was falling] into the battle with [lit. having] his head unprotected). All their horses, including (lit. with) Cyrus's, had both frontlets and chest armour; and the cavalrymen alsohad Greek sabres.

And now it was the middle of the day, and the enemy were not yet in sight; but, when the afternoon was coming on, dust was seen like a white cloud, and some time later like a certain blackness on the plain over a long (distance). When they came nearer, then suddenly there were flashes of bronze (lit. some kind of bronze flashed), and their lances and their battle formations became visible. There were horsemen with white cuirasses on the enemy's left wing (Tissaphernes was said to be command of them), next to them were troops with wicker shields, then hoplites with wooden shields reaching to their feet (these were said to be Egyptian), and then more horsemen and archers. All of these were marching according to their tribe, each tribe in a solid square (lit. in a hollow square full of men). In front of them (were) the so-called scythed chariots, spaced at considerable distances from one another.They had scythes extending from their axles at an angle, and also under their driver's platforms pointing towards the ground, in order that they might cut to pieces anything they met. And the intention (of them) was that they should drive into the ranks of the Greeks and cut them to pieces. But as for what Cyrus had said, when, having called (them together), he urged them to stand up against the shouting of the natives, he was mistaken in that; for they came on, not with shouting, but as quietly and calmly as possible, and (marching) slowly in step (lit. in an even [step]). At this (moment), Cyrus himself, driving by with his interpreter Pigres and three or four others, shouted out to Clearchus to lead his army against the enemy's centre, because the King was there; and if, he said, we defeat this, everything has been accomplished by us. But Clearchus, seeing the compact mass in the centre and hearing from Cyrus that the King was beyond his left (wing) [for the King was superior in numbers to such an extent that, (although) occupying the centre of his own (line) he was beyond Cyrus' left wing], (he) Clearchus was nevertheless not willing to draw his right (wing) away, fearing that he might be surrounded on both sides, and he replied to Cyrus that he would take care (lit. that it was a concern to him) that (all) went well (lit. that [all] was in good condition).

And at this critical (moment) the native army was advancing steadily and the Greek (army), still remaining in the same (place), was being drawn up from those (who were) still coming up. And Cyrus, riding along at some distance from (lit. not at all near to) his army, was surveying the scene, looking in either direction towards both his enemies and his friends. Then, Xenophon, an Athenian, having ridden up so as to meet (him), asked if he had any orders to give; and he, pulling up (his horse) said, and told (him) to tell everyone, that the omens and the (sacrificial) victims were favourable. (While) saying this, he heard a noise, going through the ranks, and he asked what the noise was. Clearchus said that the war-cry was now passing along for the second time. And he wondered who had issued (it) and askedwhat the war-cry was. He replied: "Zeus the Saviour and Victory". And Cyrus, hearing (this) said, "Well, I accept (it) and let it be so (lit. this)". And, saying these (words), he rode backto his own position in the field.

The battle-lines were scarcely three or four hundred stadia (i.e. between six to eight hundred yards) apart from each other, when the Greeks struck up the paean and began to go forward to meet the enemy. And when, as they advanced (lit. with [them] advancing), some of the phalanx surged forward (lit. billowed out), the (part) left behind began to advance at the double (lit. to run at the charge); and at the same moment they all uttered the soundwhich they raise in whoops to Enyalius (i.e. Ares), and then they all began running. They saythat some (of them) also banged their shields against their spears to scare (lit. cause fear to) the horses. And before an arrow  reaches (them), the natives break (lit. swerve aside) andflee. And then indeed the Greeks pursued (them) at full speed (lit. with [all] their strength), but shouting to one another not to advance at the double (lit. to run at the charge), but to follow up in their ranks. But with regard to the enemy's chariots, some (of them) were carried along through (the lines) of their own (troops), and others also through (the lines) of the Greeks (but) without their drivers. But, when they saw (them) coming, they opened up their ranks (lit. they were set apart); and one man was in fact caught like (someone) in a horse-race paralysed with fright; however, it was said that even he did not suffer at all in any way, nor, for that matter, did any other man get hurt in this battle in any way, save that someone on the left (wing) was said to have been shot by an arrow. Seeing the Greeks victorious over the (section) opposite themselves and in pursuit (of them), Cyrus (was) pleased and (was) already being honoured (lit. being bowed down to) as King by those in his train (lit. around him), but even so he was not induced to join in the pursuit, but, keeping the contingent of six hundred cavalrymen (who were) with him in close formation, he was watching carefully (to see) what the King would do; for indeed he knew that he was occupying the centre of the Persian army. And, in fact, all the generals of the natives leadoccupying their own centre, thinking that in this position, if their forces are on either side (of them), they are in the safest (place), and also that, if they needed to issue any order, the army would hear (it) in half the time. And so on this occasion the King, while he occupied (lit. occupying) the centre of his own army, was nevertheless beyond Cyrus's left wing. Since no one in his front was engaging him nor those (who had been) drawn up to screen (lit. before) him, he began to wheel round with the intention of encircling (Cyrus's forces).

Then indeed Cyrus, fearing lest he, getting in the rear of the Greek (contingent), might cut (them) to pieces, charges to meet (him); and, attacking with his six hundred, is victorious over those drawn up in front of the King and puts (lit. turns) the six thousand to flight, and it is said that he killed with his own hand Artagerses, their commander. But when the rout had occurred, Cyrus's six hundred, rushing in pursuit, are scattered also, except that a very few had been left behind around him, close to those called his 'mess-mates'. Being with these, he catches sight of the King, and that compact mass around him. And instantly he could notcontain himself, but saying, "I see the man", he rushed upon him and strikes (him) upon the breast and injures (him) through his breastplate, as Ctesias the physician says and adds that he healed the wound. (As he is in the act of) striking, someone smites (him) hard with a javelin under the eye; and then (with) both the King and Cyrus and those around them fighting on behalf of each of them, Ctesias states how many around the King died; for he was with him; on the other side, Cyrus himself was killed and eight of the noblest of those in his train (lit. around him) lay (dead) upon him. Artapates, the most faithful to him of his sceptre-bearers, is said, when he saw that he had fallen, (after) having leapt down from his horse, to have fallen around him. Some say that the King ordered someone to kill (lit. slaughter) him on top of Cyrus, others that, drawing his dagger he cut his own throat; for he had a golden (one). And he wore a torque necklace and bracelets and other things, just like Persian nobles (wear); for he had been honoured by Cyrus on account of his support and loyalty. On the other side, Cyrus himself was killed and eight of the noblest of those in his train (lit. of those around him) lay (dead) upon him. Artapates, the most faithful to him of his sceptre-bearers, is said, when he saw that Cyrus had fallen, to have leapt down from his horse, and (lit. having leapt from his horse) to have thrown himself down with his arms flung (lit. to have fallen down) around him. Some say that the King ordered someone to kill (lit. slaughter) him, others that, drawing his dagger, he cut his own throat; for he had a golden (dagger). And he wore a torque necklace and bracelets and other things just like the noblest of the Persians (wear); for he had been honoured by Cyrus on account of his support and loyalty.

N.B.  The mention of Artapates paves the way for an account of Cyrus' life and character, which interrupts the account of the battle. This character sketch, along with those in Book 2, marked the beginning of an interest in biographical writing and they became models for later biographers; Xenophon later wrote biography on a fuller scale in his 'Agesilaos' and 'Cyropaedia'; contrast the emphasis on narrative interest in Herodotus (e.g. his treatment of the life of Darius I, Books 1-7, and his death 7.4. - 5) and political interest in Thucydides (e.g. the career of Pericles, 2.65); the idea of describing a person who had just died was a natural extension of the funeral speech ('epitaphios') where a dead man's character and exploits were praised. 

Chapter 9.  The character of Cyrus.  

(1.9.1 - 1.9.6) 

So in this way Cyrus met his end, a man who was (lit. being) the most regal and the most worthy to rule of (all) Persians since Cyrus the Elder, as is agreed amongst all those reputed (lit. seeming) to have known Cyrus from personal experience. For, in the first place, when, being still a boy, he was being educated both with his brother and with the other boys, he was thought to be the best of all (of them) in all (respects). For all the sons of noble Persians are educated at the King's court (lit. doors); there one would learn good behaviour in great measure, and it is possible neither to hear nor to see anything base. And the boys both see and hear men being honoured by the King and others being disgraced, so that, (despite) being boys, they learn at once (how) to rule and to submit to being ruled. Here Cyrus was reputed to be the best behaved of his contemporaries, and (to be) more obedient to his elders than those (who were) his own inferiors (in rank). Secondly, (he was consideredto be) the most devoted to horses and to manage (them) the best; and they judged him to be the most eager to learn and the most diligent in practising the activities for war, both (the skill) of archery and (that) of throwing the javelin. Then, when he was old enough (lit. it was suited to his age), he was both the keenest in hunting and, moreover, the most adventurous when facing (lit. towards) wild animals. In fact, once he did not run away froma bear, (which had) charged at (him), but, grappling with (it), was dragged from his horse, and received some injuries (lit. suffered some things), the scars of which he also has, but in the end he killed (it): and furthermore he made the man who first came (lit. having first come) to his assistance the object of envy (lit. enviable) to many.

(1.9.7 - 1.9.10)

When Cyrus was appointed by his father as satrap of Lydia, Great Phrygia and Cappadocia, he stressed the importance he attached to keeping his word. The cities and the men under his control trusted him. 

(1.9.11- 1.9.17)

It was also evident that if anyone were to do him any good or evil he would endeavour to outdo (him), and in fact some people used to report a prayer of his that he prayed that he might live long enough until he had outdone both those who were benefiting (him) (lit. those doing well) and those who were harming (him) (lit. those [doing] badly [by him]), returning like for like. For as a result very many indeed put their trust in him, one man at any rate in our time, and readily made over (to him) their possessions, their cities, and their very own bodies.

Nor indeed would one say this either, that he permitted criminals and lawbreakers to mock (his authority) (lit. to laugh [at him]), but on the contrary he punished (them) most unsparingly of all. And it was often possible to see along the well-trodden roads men (who had been) deprived of their feet and hands and eyes. So, in Cyrus' province it was possible for a Greek and barbarian, (provided he was) not doing wrong, to travel fearlessly, wherever he wished, carrying (lit. holding) whatever suited (him).

However, it was agreed that he honoured the courageous in war especially. The first (example of this) was his war against the Pisidians and the Mysians; so even going on campaign into their territories himself, whomever he saw willing to run risks he appointed(as) rulers of the countries which he was subduing (lit. trampling over), and then honoured(them) with other gifts, so that the brave were seen (to be) the most prosperous and the cowardly were thought worthy to be their slaves. Consequently, he had (lit. there was to him) a great abundance of men willing to court danger wherever one thought that Cyrus would observe (them). 

However, with regard to justice, if it became evident that any man was wishing to distinguish himself in this, he considered it all important to make them richer than those (who were) greedy to make money by unjust (means). For many other things were managedjustly for him, and he had the services of a genuine army. For the generals and captains who, for the sake of money, had sailed to (join) him, realised that it was more profitable (for them) that Cyrus should command well than (that they should receive) their monthly pay (lit. profit).

(1.9.18 - 1.9.21)

Because Cyrus always rewarded those who did a good job, he got the best officers. If a man proved himself to be a capable administrator, Cyrus gave him greater responsibilities. It was agreed that he was remarkable for doing services for his friends.

(1.9.22 - 1.9.31)

And he, one man at any rate, I believe, received the most gifts for many reasons; most of all indeed he shared these with his friends, having regard for the tastes of each man and of whatever he saw that each man was most in need. And all these things which someone (lit. as many things as anyone) sent (as) adornment for his body, whether intended for war or intended for show, it is reported that he said of them that his own body could not be adorned by all these things but he thought that well adorned friends (were) the greatest ornament for a man. The (fact) that (he) outdid his friends in respect of such great things, when (he was) benefiting (lit. doing well), (is) not at all surprising, since he was also more powerful (than them) after all. But the (fact) that (he) surpassed (them) in solicitude for his friends and in his eagerness to gratify (them), this does seem to me to be more admirable. For Cyrus often sent half-emptied casks of wine (to them), whenever he (had) received a particularly pleasant (one), saying that, "He has sent this to you and you need (lit. it is necessary for you) to drink it up today with (those) whom you love the most". And he oftensent half-eaten geese and half loaves and other such things, instructing the bearer to add (the message): "Cyrus enjoyed these things; so he wants you to have a taste of them too". And wherever fodder was very scarce and he could obtain (it) because he had many servants and because of his care, he told his friends, (while) distributing (it to them), to give (lit. throw) this fodder to their horses so that they might not carry his friends (while) being hungry.

And, whenever he was on the march and many people would be likely to see (him), calling up his friends, he would have an earnest conversation in order to show which men he honoured. And so, I for my part conclude from what I hear that no one, either amongst the Greeks or among the barbarians has been beloved by more people. No one deserted (lit. left) Cyrus, (although) he was (lit. being) a slave, for the King, except that Orontas attempted (to do so) [and he, as you know, soon found that (the man) whom he thought was loyal to was more of a friend to Cyrus than to him]; on the other hand, many left the King for Cyrus, when warfare broke out (lit. occurred) between them, and these, moreover, (were men) treated with particular affection by him, as they thought (lit. thinking) that, if they conducted themselves honourably (lit. being honourable) , they would receive a more worthy reward with Cyrus than with the King.  And what happened at the end of his life (is) also strong evidence that he himself was both brave and able to judge correctly the loyal and the well-disposed and the reliable. For, when he was (lit. with him being) killed, all of his friends and mess-mates, who were in his train (lit. around him), died fighting on Cyrus's behalf, except Ariaeus; he happened to have been stationed on the left (wing), commanding the cavalry; when he heard that that Cyrus had fallen, he fled with (lit. holding) all of the army which he led. 

Chapter 10.  After the battle.  

(1.10.1 - 1.10.15)

And then Cyrus' head is cut off, and his right hand. And the King and his troops (lit. those with him) rushed in pursuit into Cyrus' camp; and Ariaeus' men (lit. those with Ariaeus) no longer stand their ground but flee through their own camp to the stopping place from which they had set out; it was said to be a journey of four parasangs (i.e. sixteen miles) (lit. there were said to be four parasangs of the journey).

Then the King and his troops (lit. those with him) loot various things in abundance (lit. many other things), and seize Cyrus' Phocaean concubine, said to be both clever and beautiful. But the younger Milesian (concubine), having been seized by the King's men (lit. those around the King), flees half-dressed to the Greeks, who happened to be amidst the baggage-train standing guard (lit. holding their arms), and, having been drawn into line, they killed many of the looters, but some of their own men were killed as well. However, they did not flee, but saved this woman, and, whatever else came within their (lines), both property and persons, they saved everything.

At this point the the King and the Greeks were about thirty stadia (i.e. three to four miles)distant, some (i.e. the Greeks) pursuing the men opposite them, (thinking) that they were conquering all (the enemy), and the others (i.e. the Persians) thinking that all (of them were) victorious already. But, when the Greeks learned that the King together with his army was in their baggage-train, and the King heard from Tissaphernes that the Greeks were victorious over (the contingent) opposite, and had gone ahead in pursuit, then indeed the King gathers his his men and draws them up, and Clearchus, having called Proxenus [for he was the nearest (commander)], discussed (with him) whether they should send a detachment (lit. some men) or go in full force (lit. all [of them]) to the camp in order to relieve (it). 

Meanwhile (lit. at this time), the King was clearly advancing again, as it seemed from their rear. Then, the Greeks, turning around, began to get ready to receive (his attack), (in case of him) advancing in that (direction), but the King did not lead (his army) by this (route), but by that (route in which) he had passed outside of their left wing, by that (same route) healso led (it) away, picking up both those (who had) deserted to the Greeks during the battle and also Tissaphernes and his men (lit. those with him).

For Tissaphernes had not fled during the first encounter, but had ridden along the river through the Greek peltasts, but, (while) riding through (them), he killed none (of them), but the Greeks kept striking (them) with their swords and throwing their javelins at them. Episthenes of Amphipolis was in command of the peltasts and was said to have proved (himself very) competent.

And so, Tissaphernes, when he came out (as) having the worst (of it), does not wheel roundagain but, reaching the camp of the Greeks, there he comes upon the King, and, having formed their lines, they marched back together.

When they were opposite (lit. over and against) the left wing of the Greeks, the Greekswere afraid that they might advance against this wing, and outflanking (them) on both sides, cut (them) to pieces; and so it seemed good to them to redeploy this wing and put the river in their rear. But, while they were discussing this, the King, suddenly by-passing (them), brought (his troops) into the same formation opposite their line,  as when he had advanced to join battle the first time. And, when the Greeks saw that (the enemy) were near (them) and in battle order, they, striking up the paean once more, advanced against(them) even more eagerly than before. And the natives once again did not wait, but began to flee when they were further away (lit. from a greater distance) than on the previous occasion. They gave chase as far as a certain village; and there the Greeks halted; for above the village there was a hill, on which the King's men (lit. those around the King) had rallied, no longer infantry indeed, but the hill-top was crowded with cavalry, so that they could not discover what was going on (lit. being done). But they said that they saw some kind of golden eagle with outstretched wings on a shield.

But when at this point also the Greeks were advancing, the cavalry leave the hill-top as well, not in a group still, but some (in one direction, others) in another direction; so the hill-topwas stripped of cavalry; and at last they were all gone. So, Clearchus did not lead the army up to the hill-top, but, halting at the foot of it, he sends Lycius the Syracusan and another man to the top of the hill, and orders (them), having looked down at the things beyond the hill-top, to report (to him) what they were. And Lycius rode (up) and, having looked, reportsthat they were fleeing headlong (lit. with all their strength).

And almost when these things were (happening), the sun was also setting.

(1.10.16 - 1.10.19)

Not knowing why Cyrus had not contacted them, the Greeks decide to return to their camp, but, when they arrive, they find that it has been thoroughly plundered of provisions. And so they pass the 
night without food. 


(2.1.2 - 2.5.26)

The Greeks heard of Cyrus' death the morning after the battle, when heralds came from Artaxerxes to inform them that the King, having killed Cyrus, claimed the victory and demanded that they surrender their arms. The Greeks, who regarded themselves as victors refused and joined Ariaeus, who had been Cyrus' second-in-command. The King sent a second delegation, this time to arrangea truce prior to the negotiation of a treaty. The satrap Tissaphernes, whom the King had entrusted with full powers to deal with the Greeks, offered to escort them out of the King's land. The Greeks, reflecting that their original contract had not included marching against Artaxerxes, accepted the offer, and after a delay of 20 days, during which the seeds of suspicion were sown on both sides, the march north along the banks of the Tigris began. 3 days' marching brought them to the Wall of Media near Babylon, and a further 2 to Sittake. Continuing their northerly journey along the east bank of the Tigris, they reached its confluence with its greatest tributary, the Zapatas, after a further 14 days, and encamped on its banks for 3 days. They had marched over 250 miles since the treaty. Clearchus and Tissaphernes now exchanged assurances that it was in neither side's interest to violate the terms of the safe conduct, and agreed to hold a meeting at which they would each name those who had informed them of the other side's intended treachery. Xenophon stresses that in fact nothing overtly suspicious had been done by either side. 

Chapter 5.  The treachery of Tissaphernes. 

(2.5.27 - 2.5.42)

On the following day, Clearchus, returning to the camp, was very clear that he thought he was on very friendly terms with Tissaphernes and he reported what he had said, and he saidthat it was necessary that (those) whom he had invited should go to Tissaphernes, and, whoever among the Greeks should be convicted of making false accusations, (it was necessary that they) should be punished as being traitors and ill-disposed towards the Greeks themselves. Now he suspected that the man making the false accusations was Menon, for he was aware (lit. knowing) both that he, together with Ariaeus, had met with Tissaphernes, and that he was rebelling and plotting against him, with a view to winning over the entire army to himself, (and) thereby (becoming) a friend to Tissaphernes. Clearchus also wanted the whole army to be inclined (lit. to have their inclination) towards him and those causing extra trouble to be out of the way.

Some of the soldiers began to oppose him, (stating that) the captains and generals should not all go and that they should not trust Tissaphernes. But Clearchus kept on insistingstrongly, until he managed to get five generals and twenty captains to go; about two hundred of the other soldiers followed along with the purpose of (going) to market.

When they came to (lit. were at) the entrance to Tissaphernes' (tent), the generals were invited inside - Proxenus the Boeotian, Menos the Thessalian, Agias the Arcadian, Clearchus the Laconian, (and) Socrates the Athenian; the captains remained at the entrance. Not long afterwards, at the same signal, those within were seized and those outside were massacred (lit. cut down). And, after that, some of the native horsemen, riding over the plain, whichever Greek they met, slave or freeman, killed everyone (of them). And the Greeks watching from their camp, wondered at this riding about, and were puzzled at what they were doing, until Nicarchus the Arcadian came (to the camp) in flight wounded in the stomach and holding his entrails in his hands, and told (them) everything that had happened.

At this, the Greeks began to run to arms, all (of them) panic-stricken and thinking that they would come to the camp forthwith. They did not all come however, but Ariaeus, and Artaozus and Mithradates, who had been (lit. were) the most faithful to Cyrus. And the interpreter of the Greeks said that he saw and recognised the brother of Tissaphernes with them. And about three hundred other Persians, wearing breastplates, were accompanying(them).

When they were near, if there were any general or captain of the Greeks (present), they ordered (him) to come forward, in order that they might deliver the King's message (lit. report the things from the King). After this, the generals of the Greeks, Cleanor the Orchomenian and Sophaenetus the Stymphalian, went forth cautiously, and with them Xenophon the Athenian, so that he might learn the news (lit. the things) about Proxenus. Chirisophus happened to be away in some village (together) with others getting provisions.

When they had come within (lit. halted in) earshot, Ariaeus spoke as follows: "O men of Greece, since Clearchus has evidently been perjuring himself and violating the truce, he has received (lit. is in receipt of) his punishment and is dead, but, with regard to Proxenus and Menon, because they reported his plotting, they are (held) in great esteem. As for you, the King demands his arms back. For he says that they are his, since they used to be the belongings of Cyrus, (who was) his slave.

The Greeks replied to this, and Cleanor the Orchomenian spoke (thus): " O Ariaeus, you most villainous man and all you others who used to be friends of Cyrus, are you not ashamed before both gods and men that, (despite) swearing oaths to us that you would consider the same people friends and foes, you betrayed us in collaboration with that godless and villainous man, Tissaphernes, (and) that, having destroyed the very men to whom you were under oath and the rest of us, you are come with our enemies against us?"

And Ariaeus said: "But Clearchus was evidently plotting beforehand against Tissaphernes and Orontas and all of us (who were) with them."

In reply to this Xenophon spoke as follows: "If then Clearchus had broken the truce in violation of his oath, he is in receipt of justice; for (it is) right that perjurors should perish. But, as for Proxenus and Menon, since they are both your benefactors and our generals, sendthem here (to us); for (it is) clear that, being friends to both parties, they will endeavour to discuss both with you and with us what is for the best."

In response to this, the natives, (after) conversing among themselves for a long time, went away, making no reply at all.

Chapter 6.  Characters of the five generals. 

And so the generals, having been thus seized, were taken to the King and were put to death by being beheaded (lit. having been cut off in respect of their heads, they died), but one of them, Clearchus, having  been thought admittedly by all of those knowing him personally to have been a man both extremely good at war and keen on war. For indeed, as long as the Lacedaemonians had a war (lit. there was a war to the Lacedaemonians) against the Athenians, he stayed (with them), but, when peace came, having persuaded his city that the Thracians were injuring the Greeks, and having gained his point, as (best) as he could, with the ephors, he set sail with the purpose of making war upon the Thracians (dwelling) beyond the Chersonese and Perinthus. But, when the ephors, having changed their minds for some reason, tried to turn him back from the Isthmus, he no longer obeyed (them), but wentsailing off to the Hellespont. As a result (lit. at this) he was condemned to death by the authorities in Sparta for disobeying. Being now a fugitive, he came to Cyrus, and persuadedCyrus by arguments of such as kind as has been recorded elsewhere, and Cyrus gives him ten thousand darics. Receiving (this), he did not turn to idleness, but, having collected an army with this money, he made war upon the Thracians and defeated (them) in battle, and from that time (onwards) he kept  plundering them (lit. he kept carrying off [their possessions] and leading away [their cattle]) and continued fighting (them), until Cyrus had need of his army. Then he returned, with the purpose of making war again, (but this time) in company with Cyrus.

Now it seems to me that these deeds are are (those) of a man fond of warfare, the kind of man who, when he may (lit. it being permitted [to him] to) live at peace without dishonour or harm, chooses to make war, when he may (lit. it being permitted [to him] to) live in idleness, wishes to work so as to fight, when he may (lit. it being permitted [to him] to) keep his money without risk, chooses to make it less (by) making war. He wished to spend (his money) upon warfare, just as (he might have done) upon a boy-friend or any other pleasure.

Thus, he was devoted to war. On the other hand, he seemed to be fitted for war by the fact that he was both addicted to danger and ready by day and by night to lead (his men) against the enemy, and (cool) amidst dangers, as all those present (with him) on every campaign (lit. everywhere) have acknowledged. And he was also said to be fit for command, as far as (was) possible from the kind of temperament that he also had. For, on the one hand, (he was) able as anyone else (was) also, to consider how it was that an army might have its supplies and (actually) to provide these things, and on the other hand he was able to impress upon those (who were) with him that Clearchus must be obeyed (lit. that it was necessary for Clearchus to be obeyed). He achieved this (result) by being stern; for indeed he wasgloomy to look at and harsh in his voice. He used to punish severely and, sometimes, in anger, so that even he was sorry at times (lit. so that there is [a time] when it would repent even him). But he punished also on principle (lit. in accordance with a plan) ; for he thoughtthere was no advantage in an undisciplined army, but they said that he even said that a soldier should (lit. that it was necessary for a soldier to) be more afraid of his commander than of the enemy, if he were to keep watch of his garrison, or not to plunder (lit. to keep off) his friends, or to advance against the enemy without making excuses. So, in the midst of dangers his soldiers were willing to obey him completely, and they would not choose another (commander), for they said that in such circumstances his gloominess appeared (to be) cheerfulness in contrast with the faces of the others, and it seemed that his sternness was strength in the face of the enemy, so that it appeared (as) security (and) sternness no longer. But, when they had got beyond the danger, and they could (lit. and it was permitted [to them] to) go off to other would-be commanders, many used to desert (lit. leave) him. For he had no attractiveness of demeanour, but was always severe and rough; as a result his soldiers felt towards him just as boys towards a schoolmaster.

And for this reason also he never had (men) following (him) out of friendship or good-will, but whoever was with him, either by having been assigned (to him) by their city or through poverty or being compelled by any other necessity, behaved very obediently. And, whenever they began, together with him, to conquer the enemy, there were already important factors making his soldiers (lit. the soldiers with him) to be effective; for they had (lit. there was present [to them]) a feeling of confidence in the face of the enemy, and their fear of the punishment (they would get) from him made them well-disciplined. Such he was (as) a commander; but it was said that he was not very keen to be commanded by others. When he died, he was about fifty years (of age).

Proxenus the Boeotian right (from) being a youth was eager to become a man capable of doing great things; and on account of this he paid (lit. gave) money to Gorgias of Leontini. When he was with him, having considered that he was now able both to rule and, being friendly with the foremost men, not to be inferior (while) benefiting, he came to this enterprise with Cyrus. Indeed, he thought he would acquire from this a great name, great power and much money. But, (while) desiring these things, on the other hand he made it abundantly clear that he also had this (principle), that he would not wish to gain any one of them with injustice, but he thought he must (lit. it was necessary [for him] to) obtain these things with justice and honour, and without them not (at all). He was able to command gentlemen (lit. good and brave men); but (he was) not able to inspire his soldiers with either respect for, or fear of, himself, but he actually showed more diffidence before his soldiers than those whom he commanded (showed before) him; and it was plain that he was more afraid of being unpopular with his soldiers than his soldiers (were afraid of) disobeying him. He thought that, for the purpose of being, and appearing (to be), fit to command, it was enough to praise the one doing well and not to praise the one doing badly. Consequently, the decent (lit. good and brave) men among his associates were well-disposed to him, but the nasty characters plotted against (him) on the basis of (him) being easy to manipulate. When he died, he was about thirty years (old).   

Menon the Thessalian was evidently extremely eager for wealth, and eager to command, in order to get more (money), and to be honoured in order that he might profit more. He wanted to be a friend to the most powerful men, in order that, (when) doing wrong, he might not suffer punishment (lit. give satisfaction). For the achievement of whatever he might desire he thought that the shortest route was by means of perjury, lying and deceit, and he considered sincerity and truthfulness to be the same thing as simple-mindedness. It was evident that he felt affection for no one, but towards whoever he said he was friendly it became evident that he was plotting against that man. Also he did not mock any enemy (of his), but he always spoke as if he were mocking all his associates. And he did not have designs on his enemies' possessions, for he thought it was difficult to seize the (property) of those on their guard; but he thought that he alone knew that it was very easy to take the unguarded (property) of one's friends. And again he feared (all those) whom he perceived (to be) perjurors and wrong-doers as (he considered them) well armed, but those (who were) pious and practised truthfulness he tried to treat as unmanly. And just as a man prides himself upon piety, and  honesty and justice, so Menon prided himself upon the ability to deceive, the fabrication of lies and the mockery of his friends. If a man (was) not wicked, healways thought that he was among the uneducated. And with (those) whom, on the one hand, he was attempting to be first in friendship, he thought that, (by) slandering those (who were already) first, it was necessary to obtain (this friendship) by these (means). On the other hand, he contrived to arrange the obedience of his soldiers (lit. his soldiers being obedient) by joining them in doing wrong. And again he expected to be honoured and to receive attention  (by) showing that he was able and willing to do the most wrongs. And he used to reckon it a kindness, whenever anyone left him, that in his dealings with him he had not destroyed him.

And to be sure in respect of the unseen things it is possible to be mistaken about him, but (the facts) which everyone knows are as follows. From Aristippus, (while) still being in the bloom of youth, he managed to get the generalship of his mercenaries,  with Ariaeus, who was a barbarian, he became, (while) still being in the bloom of youth, most intimate, because he was fond of beautiful boys, and (lastly) he himself, (while) being beardless, hadTharypas (as) a bearded boy-friend. His fellow-generals having been put to death, because they had campaigned with Cyrus against the King, he was not put to death (although) having done the same things, but after the death of the others, having been punished, he was put to death by the King, not like Clearchus and the others by being beheaded (lit. having been cut off in respect of their heads), which is reputed to be the quickest death, but, being kept alive (and) having been tortured for a year, he is said to have met his death as a criminal.

Agias the Arcadian and Socrates the Achaean were put to death, these two also. No one (ever) mocked them either as (being) cowards in war or in the matter of friendship. They were both about thirty-five years from their birth.


Chapter 1.  Xenophon takes the initiative.  

(3.1.1 - 3.1.3)

With so many of their generals and captains arrested by the Persians, and without guides and a thousand miles away from Greece, the Greeks were in a desperate position. Many of them were without food and they spent a very uncomfortable first night after the battle.

(3.1.4 - 3.1.14)

There was a man in the army (named) Xenophon, an Athenian, who was accompanying (them) being neither a general nor a captain nor a private soldier, but (because) Proxenus, being an old guest-friend, had sent for him from his home. And he had promised that, if he went, he would make him a friend of Cyrus, whom he said that he himself thought better for himself than his native land. But Xenophon, (after) reading his letter, consults with Socrates the Athenian about the journey. And Socrates, suspecting that to become a friend of Cyrus might be something reprehensible in the sight of the city, because Cyrus was reputed to have fought enthusiastically with the Lacedaemonians against Athens, advised Xenophon to go to Delphi and (lit. going to Delphi to) consult the god about the journey. So Xenophon went and (lit. going [to Delphi]) asked Apollo to which one of the gods should he sacrifice, so that he might go the way which he was intending in the best possible manner (lit. sacrificing and praying to which of the gods, would he most honourably and well go the way which he was intending) and, having made a success of it, come home safely (lit. and, having done well, would he be saved). And Apollo answered him with (the names of) the gods to whom it was necessary to sacrifice. When he came back, he reported the oracle to Socrates. Hearing (about it), he reproached him because he had not asked this first, whether it was better for him to proceed or to stay, but, having decided himself that he must (lit. that it was necessary [for him] to) go, he had enquired this, (namely) how he could best travel. However, he said, since you asked (the question) in such a way, you must (lit. it is necessary[for you] to) do those things which the god commanded.

So, having sacrificed (to the gods) whom the god (i.e. Apollo) had ordained, Xenophon set sail, and catches up Proxenus and Cyrus in Sardis as they were on the point of starting their journey inland, and he was introduced to Cyrus. With Proxenus being eager, Cyrus too was equally keen for him to stay; and he said that, as soon as the campaign came to an end, he would send him away. Now the campaign was reported to be (going) into (the territory of) the Pisidians. In this way this way then he came to go on the campaign, having been deceived, (although) not by Proxenus (for he had not known that the attack was against the King, nor did anyone else among the Greeks, except Clearchus). But, when they reached Cilicia, by that time it seemed to be clear to everyone that the expedition was (aimed) against the King. (Although) fearing the journey and with reluctance (lit. unwillingly), nevertheless most (of them), through shame, both before one another and before Cyrus, did go with them. Xenophon was one of these too. Since it was a difficult situation, he was distressed together with the others and could not sleep; but, getting a little sleep, he had a dream. A clap of thunder occurring, a bolt of lightning appeared to him to fall on to his paternal house, and as a result everything was ablaze (lit. was shining). He awoke at once in great fear, and in one way he judged the dream an auspicious (one), because, while he was (lit. being) in the midst of tribulations and perils, he seemed to behold a great light from Zeus; but in another way he was also afraid that, because it seemed to him that the dream came (lit. was) from Zeus the King, and the fire seemed to blaze (lit. to be shining) all around (him), he should not be able to leave the King's country, but might be shut in from all sides by various difficulties. What kind of thing it is to have such a dream it is possible to consider from the things that happened (lit. having happened) after the dream. For they were the following. Firstly, the moment (lit. immediately when) he woke up the thoughtimpresses upon him: why am I lying here? the night is advancing; at daybreak (it is) likely that the enemy will be here (lit. will have come). And if we fall (lit. come) into the hands of the King, what is to prevent (lit. [is] in the way of) us, having beheld all the most grievous sights, (and) having suffered all the most dreadful things, being put to death (after) having been tortured? But, as for defending (ourselves), no one is making any preparations orsupervising (this), but we are lying here as if it were possible (for us) to take our ease. So, Imyself am expecting a general from which city to do this? And what right age am I awaitingbefore I go myself (lit. for myself to go)? For I at any rate will not be any older if today I give myself up to the enemy.

(3.1.15 - 3.1.37)

Xenophon assembled the captains of Proxenus' contingent and, with characteristic optimism points out that they were no longer bound by their treaty; moreover, they knew from the King's previous behaviour that he was afraid to face them in open battle. At a subsequent meeting of the surviving officers of the whole army, Xenophon said that the soldiers would now be looking to their officers for an initiative, and a new leadership. He added some practical suggestions as to what they should do next. 

(3.1.38 - 3.1.42)

"And now firstly I think that you would benefit the army greatly, if you would arrange for generals and captains to be appointed as quickly as possible in the place of those who have (lit. having) been lost. For without leaders nothing honourable or brave can be accomplished (lit. can happen) anywhere, both generally speaking (lit. as for [someone] summing up to say) but especially in warlike matters altogether. For discipline seems to make (men) safe, but indiscipline has already brought many to destruction. And when you have appointed the leaders which are needed (lit. such leaders as it necessary [to have]), I think that you would be acting very much at the right time if you would both gather the rest of the soldiers together and try to encourage (them). For now you can probably see how dejectedly they came (back) to their (stack of) weapons and (how) dejectedly they went on their picket duty. So that (these things) being so, at any rate I do not know in what way someone could make use of them, whether they were needed (lit. it were necessary [to do so] by night or by day as well. But if one turns their thoughts so that they will be thinking not only this, (that is) what (disaster) they will suffer, but also what they are going to do, they will be much more cheerful. For you understand of course that neither number nor strength is what makes victories in war, but whichever of the two sides in the company of the gods advances against the enemy stouter in their hearts, their adversaries do not generally withstand (lit. receive) them."

(3.1.43 - 3.1.46)

He concluded his speech by exhorting his fellow officers to set an example of courage to the men. Chirisophus the Spartan spoke in praise of Xenophon's speech, and urged the immediate election of officers to replace those who had been murdered.


Then the commanders were chosen, Timasion the Dardanian in place of Clearchus, Xanthicles the Achaean in place of Socrates, Cleanor the Arcadian in place of Agias, Philesius the Achaean in place of Menon, and Xenophon the Athenian in place of Proxenus.

Chapter 2.  Council of War. 

(3.2.1 - 3.2.9)

The new generals called a meeting of the whole army in the centre of the camp and realistically explained the seriousness of the situation to the troops. Xenophon was in the middle of a speech urging self-reliance when a man sneezed. This was universally recognised as a good omen from Zeus himself, and Xenophon continued his speech on an optimistic note. 

(3.2.10 - 3.2.13)

"I happened to be saying that we have (lit. that there are to us) many high (lit. fair) hopes of deliverance. For, in the first place, we have kept the oaths (we swore) to the gods, but our enemies have perjured themselves and broken the truce in violation of their oaths. (This) being so, (it is) likely that the gods are opposed to our enemies and allies to us, and they arecapable of quickly making even the mighty weak and, whenever they wish, of easily saving the weak, even if they are in the midst of perils. And then, for I shall also remind you of the dangers faced by (lit. of) our progenitors, in order that you should be aware that it befits us to be brave and (that) brave men are saved with the help of the gods even from dire perils. For, when the Persians and their followers (lit. those with them) came (lit. the Persians and their followers having come) in full array to wipe out Athens, the Athenians, having dared to stand up to them, defeated them. And, having vowed to Artemis that for every man they might slay they would sacrifice as many goats to the goddess, when they were not able to find enough (goats) they decided (lit. it seemed good to them) to sacrifice five hundred every year, and they are still sacrificing (them) even now. Then, when Xerxes at a later time, having gathered together that countless army, came against Greece, our ancestorswere victorious at that time too both by land and by sea. It is possible to see the trophies (as) proofs, but the strongest witness (is) the freedom of the cities in which you were born and raised; for you pay homage to no man (as) your master, but to the gods (alone); from such ancestors are you (sprung)."

(3.2.14 - 3.3.5)

Xenophon reminded the soldiers of their recent victory and then, with telling humour, minimised the importance of the Persian superiority in cavalry, saying that men and not horses fight and win battles. Nor, he continued, need there be a shortage of guides; and prisoners with their own lives at risk would be more reliable for this purpose than Tissaphernes had been. Supplies should cause no problem, especially in hostile territory where they could be seized as part of the spoils of war without payment. Parts of the King's territory could be occupied for considerable periods if the Greeks' passage was held up; the most serious obstacles to their safe return perhaps lay within themselves: like the Lotus-Eaters, they might find life in this pleasant land so congenial that they would wish to stay rather than face the arduous journey home. They must therefore prepare themselves for tighter discipline and for a drastic reduction in the amount of equipment carried.  

It was decided that the hoplites should be formed into a hollow square, with Chirisophus leading, two older generals on the flanks, and Xenophon and Timasion in the rear. The next day they were approached by Mithradates, who claimed to be a supporter of Cyrus. But the generals decided, after brief negotiations with him, that no further parleys should be held with Persians. 

Chapter 3.  The Greeks suffer from slings and arrows. 

(3.3.6 - 3.3.20)

After this, having breakfasted and having crossed the Zapatas river, they began their marchwith (lit. having) the pack animals and the crowd (of camp-followers) in the middle. But, when they had not (lit. with them not having) advanced (very) far, Mithradates appearsagain with (lit. having) about two hundred horsemen and about four hundred archers and slingers, (who were) very nimble and ready for action (lit. well girt).

He approached the Greeks as if he were (lit. as being) a friend, but, when he had come close, suddenly some of them, both horsemen and foot-soldiers, began to shoot with bows, and others hurled sling-shot, and caused injuries. And the rearguard of the Greeks sufferedbadly, but did not retaliate at all. For the Cretans shoot a shorter distance than the Persians, and, being at the same time without armour (lit. unprotected), they were enclosed inside the lines (lit. arms) (of the hoplites), and the javelin-throwers threw a shorter distance than was required (lit. than so as) to reach the (enemy's) slingers.

As a result Xenophon decided (lit. it seemed good to Xenophon) that there must (lit. that it was necessary for there to) be a pursuit; and they pursued (the Persians with such) of the hoplites and peltasts who happened to be guarding the rear with him. But, (while) pursuing,they did not catch any of the enemy. For neither did the Greeks have any horsemen (lit.were there any horsemen to the Greeks) nor could their foot-soldiers overtake the (enemy's) foot-soldiers over a short distance (lit. in a small place); for it was not possible to continue the pursuit far away from the rest of the army. And the native horsemen, even at the same time as they were fleeing, were inflicting injuries, shooting behind them from their horses, and whatever (distance) the Greeks might cover in pursuit, it was necessary (for them) to retreat all that distance again fighting. As a result they did not travel more than twenty-five stadia (i.e. two and a half miles), yet they arrived at the villages in the late afternoon.

Here again there was much despondency. Chirisophus and the older of the generals criticisedXenophon because he had engaged in a pursuit away from the column and had been in danger himself, and (for all that) he had been no more able to harm the enemy in any way. Having heard (their words), Xenophon began by saying that they were criticising (him) rightly, and that the event itself gave them the evidence. "But," he added, "I was compelledto pursue (them) when I saw that by staying (where we were) we were suffering badly, but were not able to retaliate in any way. But, when we did pursue, you speak the truth," he said; "for we were no better able to do the enemy damage, and we (only) effected our withdrawal with great difficulty. So, thanks (be) to the gods that they did not come with a large force, but with a few men (only), so that they did not harm (us) greatly, but showed us (those things) of which we are in need. For at present the enemy are shooting arrows andhurling sling-stones such a distance as neither the Cretans are able to shoot arrows in reply nor those throwing (stones) by hand can reach; but, whenever we pursue them, (it is) not possible to pursue for a long distance from the army, and over a short (distance) a foot-soldier, not even if he is swift, can overtake (another) foot-soldier (while) chasing (him) (when he was) out of bowshot (lit. the drawing of a bow). So, if we are intending to prevent them from being able to harm us (while we are) marching, we need (lit. there is a need [to us] of) slingers in the quickest possible (way) and horsemen also. I hear that there are Rhodians in our army, the majority of whom, they say, know how to use the sling, and their missile flies (lit. is carried) even twice as far as the Persians' sling-shot. For the latter's missiles, because of their using the sling with hand-sized missiles (lit. with missiles filling the hand), have a short range (lit. reach a short [distance]) (only), but the Rhodians alsoknow how to use leaden bullets. So, if we should find out who among them have got slings and give money for those (slings) to anyone of them, and (if) pay additional (lit. other) money to anyone willing to plait others, and (if) we can find some extra (lit. other) exemption for the man (who has been) commanded to use the sling, perhaps some men willcome forward (lit. appear) (who are) ready to help us. I see too that there are horses in the army, some of them in my division (lit. with me), others belonging to Clearchus' men (which have been) left behind, and also many others captured (from the enemy) and being used as pack-animals. So, if, picking out all these (horses), we should replace (them) with (ordinary) pack-animals (i.e. mules), and equip these horses for the cavalry, perhaps these may alsocause them some distress (when they are) fleeing."

These (proposals) were also agreed (lit. seemed good also). And in the course of that night up to two hundred slingers came forward, and on the following (day) around fifty horses and horsemen passed muster (lit. were examined and approved), and leather jerkins and breast-plates were provided for them, and Lycius, the (son) of Polystratus, an Athenian, was put in charge (of them as) cavalry commander.

N.B.  Xenophon showed his qualities as a commander both by recognising errors in the present tactics, and by making practical suggestions. Realising that the best form of defence was attack, he showed a talent for improvisation in his use of packhorses for cavalry, providing the element of  speed over long distances. His method of increasing the range of retaliatory fire involved a psychological as well as practical problem. Hoplites had been the acknowledged mainstay of Greek armies, and gained the greatest honour; only better off, socially superior soldiers possessed hoplite armour. Light-armed troops had a secondary, skirmishing role; slingers (whose weapon was very cheap) had very little glory (rarely appearing in vase-paintings, for example, unlike hoplites). During this expedition, however, hoplite tactics were often impracticable; hoplite armour proved inadequate in defence and cumbersome in attack; skirmishers came into their own. Hunting with the sling was a national sport in Rhodes, but Xenophon realised that special incentives were needed to persuade Rhodian hoplites to join their lower class compatriots in the field. The Greeks were also learning the difference between a rout and a tactical withdrawal. In hoplite warfare to turn and run was a sign of defeat; to avoid pitched battle a sign of weakness. The Persians, however, were not behaving 'like cowardly dogs' (as Xenophon put it) but adopting tactics for which they had been carefully trained. Xenophon showed his adaptability by playing them at their own game. This was perhaps to be expected from an Athenian; a Spartan would have been more conservative (cf. the lesson learnt by Thucydides in Aetolia in 426 and applied on Sphacteria in 425 B.C.; Thucydides 3.97- 8 and 4.32 - 33). 

(3.4.1 - 3.5.18)

As they marched north, the Greeks had to repel frequent attacks by highly mobile units of cavalry, archers and peltasts led by Mithradates and a large mixed force under Tissaphernes. As they reached more mountainous terrain , they found it necessary to abandon their hollow-square formation and break the column up into smaller units. To avoid facing attack from above, they sent advanced detachments of peltasts, when possible, to occupy high ground before the main column proceeded through the valleys. 


(4.1.1 - 4.5.2)

As the Greeks, led by Chirisophus with Xenophon in command of the rearguard, penetrated more deeply into the mountainous heartland of Kurdestan, the native Cardouchi rolled huge boulders down on to their slowly advancing column, which could only move at the speed of its baggage train. The Cardouchi were dislodged by a detachment led by Xenophon whose men were called upon to do much mountaineering in the pursuit of the elusive enemy. This sort of terrain was the natural element for archers, and the Greeks were fortunate to have Cretan bowmen to use against the natives, many of whom used no other weapons and relied on hit-and-run tactics. The Ten Thousand were glad to escape from this territory. 

After fording the Centrites river into Armenia, they were at first able to make good progress over the southern plain of that country, whose satrap Tiribazos appeared anxious only that they should pass through his territory with a minimum of trouble, and offered them food and camping facilities on this condition. They agreed, and obtained supplies from local villages. But the first heavy falls of winter snow made their quarters extremely uncomfortable, and they also heard that Tiribazos was mustering reinforcements with the purpose of attacking them. They decided to strike first, and sacked his camp. Then they pressed on as quickly as they could, and reached the Euphrates near its source four days later. 

Chapter 5.  The march through the snow.

(4.5.3 - 4.5.9)

From there they marched through snow and (across) a plain, a three day's march (lit. stages) of fifteen parasangs (i.e. forty-five miles). And the third (stage) was difficult and a north wind was blowing in their faces, blasting everything completely and freezing the men. Then indeed one of the soothsayers told (them) to sacrifice to the wind, and a sacrifice was made. And indeed it seemed clear to everyone that the severity of the wind had eased (lit. come to an end). And the depth of the snow was a fathom (i.e. six feet); and as a result many of the pack-animals and the slaves perished, and about thirty of the soldiers. They passed the night burning fires; for there was much wood in the stopping place; but those arriving (lit. coming on) late did not have any wood. Accordingly, those who had come (lit. coming) early and who were keeping (lit. keeping) their fires burning did not allow the late-comers to come near to the fire, unless they shared with them their wheat or any other edible thing (which) they had. Then indeed each (group) shared with one another (the things) which they had. And where the fire was burning, with the snow melting away, great holes appeared right down to the ground; there, of course, it was possible to measure the depth of the snow.

From there they marched through snow for the whole of the following day, and many of the men fell ill through starvation. Xenophon, guarding the rear and coming across those (who were) collapsing, did not know what the illness was. But, when someone acquainted with these things told him that they were clearly suffering from starvation and that, if they ate something, they would recover, he, going around to the baggage-animals, if he saw something edible anywhere, distributed (it) and sent in all directions those (who were) able to run up and down (the lines) giving (it) to those (who were) suffering from starvation. And, when they had eaten something, they stood up and marched on.

(4.5.9 - 4.5.11)

Chirisophus and many of the men spent the night in a village, but a number of soldiers who had not completed the march had to remain outside and some died due to a lack of food and heat. 

(4.5.12 - 4.5.18)

Now some of the enemy, having banded together, were following, and they snatched any disabled baggage animals and fought with one another about them. At the same time (those) among the soldiers who had been blinded (lit. destroyed in respect of their eyes) by the snow and those whose toes had rotted off (lit. those having rotted off in respect of the digits of their feet) were left behind. And it was a protection for the eyes against the snow if one marched with (lit. holding) something black before the eyes, and for the feet if one kept moving and never had any rest, and (if) one took off one's sandals at night. (In the case of) all those who went to sleep wearing their sandals, the straps sank into their feet and the sandals froze to (them). For in fact, when their old sandals had worn out, raw-hide shoeshad been made out of newly flayed oxen. So, because of difficulties such as these, some of the soldiers were being left behind; and, seeing some dark patch of ground because of the disappearance of the snow there, they guessed that it had melted. And in fact it had meltedbecause of some spring which was nearby, steaming in a dell. There, turning aside, they sat down and said that they would not march (any further).

But, when Xenophon with (lit. having) some of the rearguard observed (them), he besoughtthem with every craft and device (at his disposal) not to get left behind, telling (them) that many of the enemy, having banded together, were following (them), and finally (lit. ending)he grew angry. But they told (him) to cut their their throats. For they just could not go on. In this situation it seemed to be the best thing to scare the pursuing enemy, if one could, lest they should fall upon the sick men. And it was actually dark by then, and theyapproached with a great commotion, quarrelling over what they had got. Then indeed the rearguard, because (they were) healthy, going into action, charged at the enemy; and the sick, raising the loudest shout that they could, beat their shields against their spears. And the enemy, panic-stricken, hurled themselves down through the snow into a dell, and after that no one uttered a sound anywhere.

(4.5.19 - 4.6.27)

The snow almost halted the army's progress, but the officers forced the men to keep moving until they reached the shelter of a group of Armenian villages, the houses of which were built underground, with men and animals living together. Here the army was able to enjoy food and rest, a state which came easily to them after drinking the local barley-wine, which the natives sucked from bowls through reeds. The army moved out of these villages after seven days, taking the local chieftain as a guide and his son as a hostage. The chieftain deserted after being punished by Chirisophus for not leading the army to a village, but his son stayed with the army. 

The next obstacle to their progress confronted them as they reached a pass before descending to the plains of northern Armenia. The pass was held against them by the Chalybes, Taochi and Phasiani; but the Greeks, on Xenophon's suggestion, seized the heights of the pass by night. Next day there were two engagements in the mountains and the pass, and the enemy were put to flight.  

Chapter 7.  The Greeks catch sight of the sea.  

(4.7.1 - 4.7.14) 

After this they marched for five days (lit. stages) (and) thirty parasangs (i.e. about ninety miles) into (the territory of) the Taochi; and their provisions were running out; for the Taochi lived in strongholds, in which they also kept all their supplies, having taken (these) away (with them). Now, when they arrived at a place which had no town or dwellings [but men and women and a great number of cattle had been gathered there], Chirisophus therefore began to attack this (place) immediately he arrived (lit. having come); but, when the first detachment grew weary, another came forward, and another again; for it was notpossible to surround (it) with a continuous line, as it was precipitous all around (lit. in a circle). When Xenophon came up with the rearguard, both peltasts and hoplites, then indeed Chirisophus says, "You have come at a good (moment), for the place must (lit. is needing to) be taken; for the army has no provisions (lit. there are no provisions to the army) unless we do capture the place.

Then indeed they deliberated together (lit. in common); and, with Xenophon asking what was the thing preventing (them) from entering, Chirisophus said, "The (only) approach routeis this one which you see; but, whenever anyone tries to enter by this (way), they rollboulders down from that overhanging rock; whoever gets hit (lit. gets caught) is dealt withthus". And at the same time as (he spoke), he pointed out men with their legs and ribs crushed (lit. crushed in respect of their legs and ribs). 

"But, if they use up their stones," said Xenophon, "is there anything else at all (lit. anything other than nothing) preventing us from entering? For surely we can see nothing on the opposing (side) except for those few men over there, and (only) two or three of them arearmed. And, as you can even see yourself, the distance which we need (lit. it is necessary [for us]) to cover, while under attack (lit. being attacked), is scarcely three half plethra (i.e. fifty yards); now as much as a plethrum  (i.e. about thirty-five yards) (is) covered with tall pine-trees with intervals between (them), and, if men were standing behind these, whatwould they suffer either from flying stones (lit. stones being borne) or from those being rolled down? The remaining (space), then, now comes to about half a plethrum (i.e. about fifteen yards), which we must (lit. it is necessary [for us] to) run across whenever the (hail of) stones abates."

"But at the very moment (lit. immediately when) we begin," said Chirisophus, "to advance towards the wooded area, the stones fly (lit. are borne) thick and fast (lit. in abundance)". 

"That would be exactly what we need (lit. That would be the necessary thing itself)," he said. "For they would use up their stones more quickly. But let us advance (to a point) from which we shall have just a short (distance) to run across, if we can (do that), and (from which) (it will be) easy to come back, if we wish (to do so)."

Thereupon, Chirisophus and Xenophon began to advance, and (with them was) Callimachus of Parrhasia, a captain; for the command of the rearguard captains on that day was his, and the other captains remained in a safe (area). After this about seventy men reached the shelter of (lit. came up under) the trees, not as a body, but one by one, each man keeping under cover as (well as) he could. Agasias of Stymphalus and Aristonymus of Methydrium, these being captains of the rearguard also, and also some others had taken up positions nearby outside (the cover of) the trees; for it was not possible for more than one company to stand safely among the trees. Then indeed Callimachus devises something (clever); he kept running forward two or three paces from the tree under which he himself was (placed); and, when the stones began to fly, he drew back easily; and at each dash forward (of his) more than ten cart(-loads) of stones were used up. But, when Agasias sees what Callimachus was doing, and that the whole army was watching, fearing that (he would) not (be) the first to run across to the (enemy's) position, calling upon neither Aristonymus (although) he was (lit. being) nearby, nor Eurylochus the Lusian, (although) they were (lit. being) comrades, nor anyone else, he goes forward himself, and overtakes all (of them). But when Callimachus sees him going past, he catches hold of the rim of his (shield); and at that (moment) Aristonymus of Methydrium runs past them (both), and after him (comes) Eurylochus of Lusia; for all these were rivals in valour and were continually competing against one another; and, contending in this way, they capture the (enemy's) position. For once they had charged in, after that not a single stone flew (lit. was borne) (down) from above. 

Then there was a terrible sight. For the women, throwing their children (down from the rocks), then threw themselves down afterwards too, and the men likewise. Then, indeed, Aeneas of Stymphalus, a captain, seeing a man, wearing a fine robe, running to cast himself (down), catches hold (of him) in order to prevent (him).  But he drags (him) along (with him) and they both went flying (lit. being borne) down over the rocks and were killed. Then, very few people were captured, but (there were) oxen and asses in abundance and sheep. 

(4.7.15 - 4.7.18)

Seven days' marching after this through the land of the Chalybes brought some of the fiercest opposition which they encountered. The Chalybes fought with knives at close quarters, and yielded no provisions from their fortified villages. 

(4.7.19 - 4.7.27)

From there they travelled for four days (lit. stages) (and) twenty parasangs (i.e. sixty miles) to a large, prosperous and well-inhabited city, which was called Gymnias. From this (city) the ruler of the country sends the Greeks a guide in order to lead them through a territory which was at war with his (people). Having come, he says that he would lead them in five days to a place from where they could see the sea; if not, he offered to be put to death. Leading (the way), when he had crossed into the hostile (territory), he urged (them) to burn and destroy the countryside. By this it became quite clear that he had come for this purpose, not out of any good-will towards the Greeks.

In fact, they do reach the mountain on the fifth day.The mountain had the name of Thekes (lit. There was to the mountain the name of Thekes). Now, when the vanguard came to (the top) of the mountain and saw the sea, a great shout went up (lit. occurred). But Xenophon and the rearguard imagined that other enemies were attacking ahead also. For indeed the inhabitants of the districts being burned were following (them), and the rearguard had killedsome of them and, setting an ambush, had taken (others) prisoner, and had captured about twenty wicker shields with the undressed hide of shaggy oxen. But, since the shouting became louder and nearer and those constantly going forward began to run at full speed (lit. at the charge) towards those (who were) shouting, and the shouting became much louder, inasmuch as they were becoming more, it seemed to Xenophon to be something rather serious, and, mounting (lit. climbing on to) a horse, and taking Lycius and the cavalry with him, he went to their assistance. And soon they heard the soldiers shouting, "The Sea! The Sea!", and passing the word along. Then indeed all the troops of the rearguard likewisebegan to run and to drive on the pack-animals and the horses. And, when they had all reached the summit, then indeed they began to embrace one another, generals and captains as well, with tears in their eyes. Then suddenly, someone or other having issued the order, the soldiers fetch stones and construct a great cairn (lit. pile). There they placed a lot of raw ox-hides and sticks and the captured wicker shields, and the guide both cut up these shields himself and urged the others (to do so). After this, the Greeks, dismiss the guide, giving (him) gifts from the common (store), a horse, a silver bowl, a Persian robe and ten darics. But he especially asked for their rings, and he got many (of them) from the soldiers. Then, showing them a village, where they should encamp and the road (along) which they should proceed to (the territory of) the Macrones, when evening came, he went away, going by night. 

Chapter 8.  They arrive at Trapezus.

(4.8.1 - 4.8.24)

After receiving assurances that the Ten Thousand only wished to pass through their territory in order to reach the sea, the Macrones escorted them for three days and saw them over their northern frontier into Colchis. In that country they had to fight an uphill pitched battle, which they won by an outflanking movement. The Colchians, in order to counter this, drew men away from their centre, and the Greeks drove through, dividing the enemy in two and causing them to retreat in disarray. The local inhabitants kept bees, but the honey that they yielded caused violent illness to those Greeks who ate it; and it was four days before they could begin the final stage of their journey to the sea, reaching Trapezus (Trebizond) in two days. 

Greatly relieved after surviving their encounters with the rigours of the weather and the hostility of successive tribesmen, they rested for thirty days in the first Greek city they had seen for many months, on the southern shore of the Euxine (Black Sea).

(4.8.25 - 4.8.28)

After this they prepared the sacrifice which they had vowed. And enough cattle had come for them to sacrifice to Zeus for their deliverance, to Heracles for their safe-conduct, and to the other gods what they had vowed. They also organised athletic games on the mountain side, just where they had encamped. They chose the Spartiate Dracontius, who was in exile (lit. had fled) from his home country (while) still being a child, having accidentally killed a boy (by) stabbing (him) with a dagger, to supervise the race-course and preside over the games.

When the sacrifice was finished (lit. had happened) they gave the hides to Dracontius andtold (him) to lead (them to the place) where he had arranged the the race-course, and, pointing out exactly where they happened to be standing, he said, "This hill (is) excellent for running wherever one wishes".

"So how," they said, "can men wrestle on such hard and overgrown (ground) as this?" And hereplied (lit. said) : "The one who gets thrown (lit. getting thrown) will be hurt a bit more". The boys, mostly belonging to the  captives, competed in the sprint, and more than sixty Cretans ran in the long-distance race, and others (competed) in wrestling and boxing and all-in wrestling (lit. the pancratium). And a fine spectacle it was; for many entered and, because their comrades were looking on, there was keen rivalry (lit. keen rivalry occurred. And horses were running also, and it was necessary for them, having ridden down a steep (slope), and having turned around in the sea, to ride up again to the altar. And on the way down they mostly rolled over and over; and on the way up, against the extremely steep uphill climb, the horses could scarcely proceed at a walk; so there was much shouting and laughter and cheering (lit. much shouting and laughter and cheering occurred).


(5.1.1 - 5.2.23)

The majority of the Ten Thousand now wished to make the last part of the journey by sea, which the Greeks considered to be the natural element for long-distance travel. Never more than fifty miles from it in their native land, Xenophon and his comrades had travelled without site of it for a greater distance than any Greek army recorded before. Now they looked to it for an easy homeward passage.  But ships proved hard to come by, and while they waited for them to be collected, they were forced to plunder local tribes for provisions. 

Chapter 3.  The Greeks leave Trapezus.  Xenophon's estate in later years. 

(5.3.1 - 5.3.13)

Now, when Chirisophus had not come (back) and there were not enough ships and it was still not possible to get provisions, it seemed that it was necessary (for them) to depart (lit. to be gone) (by land). And on board the ships they embarked the sick and those over forty years (of age) and the children and the women and such baggage as it was not a necessity to keep. Putting aboard also Philesius and Sophaenetus, the eldest of the generals, they bade (them) take charge of (all) this. Then, the rest began to march; and the road had (already) been made passable.

And, (after) marching for three days, they reached Cerasus, a Greek city on the sea, (which was) a colony of the Sinopeans in the territory of Colchis. There they remained for ten days; and a review (of the troops) with their arms took place, and a count, and there were eight thousand and six hundred. These were left alive out of the (original number) of ten thousand; the rest had been killed by the enemy or by the snow, or, if anyone (was), by disease.

There also they divided the money accrued from their captures. And the generals divided upthe tithe, which they set aside for Apollo and for Artemis of the Ephesians, each safeguarding his share for the gods; and Neon the Asinaean received (a share) in place of Chirisophus. Xenophon, having made his votive offering to Apollo, dedicated (it) at the treasury of the Athenians at Delphi, and he inscribed upon (it) both his own name and that of Proxenus, who had been killed with Clearchus; for he was his friend. The (share) belonging to Artemis of the Ephesians, (at the time) when he was returning with Agesilaus for the expedition to Boeotia (N.B. this was in 394 B.C. when Xenophon was present at the battle of Coronea), he left behind in the hands of Megabyzus, the warden (of the temple) of Artemis, because he thought that he was going into likely danger, and he instructed that, if he should return safely, it should be given back to him, but that, if anything should happen (to him), whatever he thought would be pleasing to the goddess having been made, he should dedicate (this) to the goddess. When Xenophon was in exile, with him dwelling as an immigrant in Scillus, having been settled by the Lacedaemonians near Olympia, Megabyzus comes to Olympias in order to see (the games) and gives him back his deposit.

(On) receiving (it), Xenophon buys an estate for the goddess (in a place) where the god (i.e. Apollo's oracle at Delphi) had ordained (it). The river Selinus happened to flow thorough this estate. And in Ephesus likewise the river Selinus flows past the temple of Artemis and in both there are fish and mussels; and in the estate at Scillus there is also hunting of all those beasts of the chase of every kind. He also built an altar and a temple from the sacred money, and from then onwards, regularly paying the produce of the land as a tithe, he would make a sacrifice to the goddess. And all the citizens and the men and women of the neighbourhood used to join in the festival. And for those camping (there) the goddess would provide barley meal, loaves (of bread), wine, sweetmeats, and a portion of the (animals) being sacrificed and of those caught in the chase as well. For Xenophon's sons and  the (sons) of other citizens used to organise a hunt at the time of the festival, and those men wishing (to do so) joined in the hunting as well; some of the (game) was caught from the sacred estate itself, and some also from (Mount) Pholoe, boars and gazelles and stags. The place is(on the road) by which they travel from Lacedaemon to Olympia, about twenty stadia (i.e. two miles) from the temple of Zeus at Olympia. Within the sacred estate there are both meadowland and hills covered in trees, so that even the draught-animals of those coming to the festival have a feast. Around the temple itself a grove of cultivated trees was planted, as many as there are edible (fruits) in (due) season. The  temple has been made similar to the (one) in Ephesus as a small (one) to a great (one), and the image is as like the (one) which is (lit. being) in Ephesus as cypress-wood to gold. A pillar stands (lit. has been set up) beside the temple with this inscription:


(5.4.1 - 5.7.35)

Xenophon's narrative now follows now follows the progress of those who went by land, as he was one of them. The two tribes of the Mossynoeci were at war with one another. When one of these opposed their passage, the Greeks formed an alliance with the other, and their combined strength forced the enemy to yield. Observing their strange customs, the Greeks thought the Mossynoeci the most barbaric of the tribes they had encountered. 

Some two weeks later the army reached Cotyora, a Greek city and a colony of Sinope, whose leaders, in some anxiety, sent an embassy to discourage the Ten Thousand from quartering themselves on the town. Xenophon replied that the army plundered only when cities closed their gates to it, and preferred to purchase their provisions when markets were made available. In the end, the Sinopeans offered useful advice, recommending that the journey should be made by sea at least as far as Heraclea. While three officers were away at Sinope raising the required number of ships, the first of a series of controversies arose in the army. From Xenophon's account it is clear that he was at the centre of it. With a safe return to Greece now in prospect, it appears that three different ideas were current: to reach home as soon as possible, to stay in the area and somehow acquire wealth before returning, and to remain and found a permanent Greek settlement. Xenophon frankly admits that he favours the last of these ideas, but that it was not generally popular, least of all among the inhabitants of Sinope and Heraclea, who bribed Timasion to urge the departure of the whole army by sea, and guaranteed its pay. Xenophon did not press his plan any further, and spiritedly replied to accusations of attempted deceit. In a long speech he skilfully turned the controversy away from himself and discoursed at length on the dangers of indiscipline and failure to observe the conventions of war. This gave rise to a general debate on the earlier conduct of both officers and men. 

Chapter 8.  Xenophon justifies discipline in emergency.

(5.8.1 - 5.8.13)

Likewise it was decided (lit. it seemed good) that the generals should be called to account (lit. undergo an investigation) for their past conduct (lit. time). (The generals) having given (their accounts), Philesius and Xanthicles incurred a fine of twenty minae for their (careless) guarding of the cargoes of the merchant ships, and Sophaenetus ten minae because he had neglected (his duty as) a chosen supervisor.

And some accused Xenophon, alleging that they had been struck by him, and they made an accusation of wanton assault (lit. of being maltreated). Arising, Xenophon bade the man who had spoken (lit. speaking) first say in what place he had actually struck (him). He replied: "(In the place) where we were perishing with cold and there was that enormous amount of snow."

And he said: "Well, really, if the weather was as you said (it was), with our provisions used up, with it not being possible even to smell any wine, and with many (of us) being exhausted by hardships and the enemy following (us), if at such a time I abused (you), I admit that I am more wanton even than the donkeys which they say are not subject to fatigue because of their wantonness. Nevertheless, do tell (us)," he said, "for what (reason) you were struck.Did I ask you for something, and (then) strike (you) since you would not give (it) to me? Orwas I asking for (something) back, or fighting over a boy-friend, or was I violent, being drunk?

When he said that (it was) none of these things, he asked him if he was a hoplite. He said(he was) not. (He asked him) again if he was a peltast. "(I was) not that either," he said, "but, having been detailed by my comrades, I was driving a mule, (although) I was (lit. being) a free man.

Then indeed he recognised him and asked: "Are you not the man who carried off that man who was exhausted?"

"Yes, by Zeus (I am)," he said. "For you forced (me to do so); and you scattered my comrades' baggage all over the place."

"But the scattering," said Xenophon, "was distributed something like this. I distributed the various things to various men and I directed (them) to bring (it) back to me, and, getting (it) back, I returned all (of it) to you intact when you showed me the man. But listen," he said, "as to how the business happened. For (it is) worth  (listening to). A man was being left behind, because he could not go on any longer. I knew the man (only) as much as (to say) that he was one of us. And I compelled you to carry him in order that he might not perish. For, as I remember, the enemy were following after (us).

This the fellow agreed with. "And surely," said Xenophon, "when I had sent you on ahead, I, coming along with the rearguard, overtook you again, digging a hole in order to bury the man, and, stopping, I commended you. But, when, with us standing around, the man drew in his leg, the people who were (lit. being) there shouted out that the man was alive, and you said: '(Let him be alive) as much as he likes at any rate; (I say this) as I for my part am not going to carry him.' Then I struck you. You speak the truth. For you seemed to me to resemble (someone) knowing that he was alive (all along)."

"So what," he said," did he die any the less when I showed him to you?"

"But we are all going to die," said Xenophon. "So, on account of this, should we (lit. is it necessary for us to) be buried alive?"

As for this man, every one shouted out that he had struck (him too) few (blows).

Then he told the others to say why (lit. on account of what [reason]) each one (of them) had been struck. When they did not stand up, he himself said: "I admit, O soldiers, that I have indeed struck men because of their indiscipline, (all those) for whom it is enough to be kept safe on account of you, (with us) marching in formation and fighting wherever it may be necessary, but they themselves, leaving the ranks and running on ahead, wished to plunder and to gain an advantage on you. For, if all (of us) had done this, we should all have perished.

(5.8.14 - 5.8.26)

Hard times, said Xenophon, had called for harsh discipline, for it is then that the worst soldiers require the most repressive punishment. But he reminded his audience of the many occasions on which he had praised deeds of courage, and many corroborated his claims.  


(6.1.1 - 6.1.16) 

The Greeks made a visit by Paphlagonian ambassadors the reason for festivities. There were war dances, a primitive dramatic performance symbolising the eternal conflict between the farmer and the warrior in society, and, of course, much feasting. Sufficient ships had now arrived, and the army sailed westwards to Sinope, where they stayed for five days.  

Chapter 1.  Xenophon refuses the offer of the supreme command.  

(6.1.17 - 6.1.25)  

As they seemed to be getting near to Greece, it came into their (minds) now more than before how they might reach home with a (little) something as well. So they concluded that, if they chose one commander, that one man would be better able to handle the army by night or by day than if there were a number of commanders, and that, if it were necessary to conceal anything, he would better hide their activities, and that, if it were also necessary to anticipate anything, he would be less often late; for (they thought) that there would be no need for conferences with one another, but that the decision of one man would be carried out. In the previous time the generals had done everything in accordance with the majority (lit. prevailing) (opinion). 

As they pondered these things, they turned towards Xenophon; and the captains, coming to him, said that the army thought in this way, and each one (of them) demonstrating his good-will, they tried to persuade him to accept the command. In one way Xenophon wanted this, considering that the honour to himself would be greater in the eyes of his friends, that his name would be greater (when) it reached his city, and perhaps (lit. it chancing) that he might be responsible for something good in relation to the army. Such considerations stirredhim to desire to become the sole commander. On the other hand, when he reflected that (it was) unclear to all men how the future would turn out, and that on account of that there was even a danger of his losing (lit. throwing away) even the reputation he had already acquired, he was unsure. Being uncertain (how) to decide, it seemed to him to be the best thing to consult the gods; and, bringing to the altar two victims, he proceeded to sacrifice to Zeus the King, who was the (god) prescribed to him by the oracle at Delphi; and indeed he believed that the dream which he had had when he was beginning to assume (lit. to be established in) the joint supervision of the army had come from this god. Moreover, he recalled that, when he was setting out from Ephesus for the purpose of being introduced to Cyrus, an eagle had screeched out to him on his right, but that it had been sitting down, and the soothsayer escorting him said that it was a great omen, and not one of private significance and that it was signifying glory, but (also) trouble; for most birds attack the eagle (when it is) sitting; but the omen was not signifying gain; for the eagle mainly gets its food (lit. supplies) (when it is) on the wing.

To him having sacrificed thus, the god indicates quite clearly that he should neither ask for the additional command nor accept (it), if he were chosen. But the army met, and everyonesaid that they should choose one (commander), and, when this was decided (lit. seemed good), they proposed him. 

(6.1.25 - 6.6.38) 
Xenophon declined the command, saying that it should go to a Spartan, and saying that the gods had advised him in a sacrifice against accepting it; Chirisophus was therefore elected. The next stage of the journey, to Heraclea, was completed. There, with the disapproval of both Xenophon and Chirisophus, the army sent delegates to demand money from the Heracleans, who responded by closing the gates of their city. This led to dissension among the Greek leaders, and the army was divided under three commanders, with Xenophon commanding the only cavalry. 

The largest contingent was that of the Achaeans and Arcadians, comprising about half the total force. They set off to plunder the land of the Thracians, but were surrounded on a hill and had to be rescued by Xenophon and his contingent, who approached the Thracian positions by night and lit many fires in order to deceive them about the size of their force. The ruse worked, and they withdrew without a fight. After this escape the army was reunited at Port Calpe, and resolved not to break up again. But there were no ships to take them home, and in gathering supplies they suffered severe casualties at the hands of the Bithynians and the cavalry of the Persian satrap Pharnabazus. They went in pursuit of the enemy, and, in a battle in which, on Xenophon's suggestion, a reserve force was kept back in three formations, they won a crushing victory. The cohesion of the hoplites was the deciding factor, as in previous engagements. They advanced in an unbroken line, levelling their spears at the enemy on the trumpet's signal, moving slowly at first but quickening to the double and chanting the battle-cry. The enemy had no effective answer to this bristling line of armour, and the battle ended with the extraordinary spectacle of Pharnabazus' cavalry fleeing from the Greek infantry.  

In the meantime a rumour had gone round the countryside that the Greeks, who appeared to have no intention of continuing their homeward march, were founding a city. The inhabitants of the surrounding area now brought supplies to sell to the colonisers, and passing ships called in. This was the situation when Cleander, the Spartan harmost (governor) of Byzantium arrived with two triremes but no transports. A dispute over booty gave him a bad impression of the Ten Thousand, but he was persuaded by Xenophon and the other officers to assist the army's journey by land to Byzantium. The army made a six day march to Chrysopolis in Chalcedonia, and stayed there for seven days to sell their booty. They were still close to the province of the satrap Pharnabazus. Anaxibius, who was in overall command of the Spartan forces in the Hellespontine region, was as anxious as Pharnabazus that the Ten Thousand should be disbanded, since at that time Sparta was at peace with Persia. 



The preceding narrative has covered the march inland with Cyrus, the march across land back to the Euxine, and then the journey by land and sea to its mouth at Chrysopolis. 

Chapter 1.  Trouble at Byzantium.  

(7.1.2 - 7.1.3)

Then Pharnabazus, fearing lest the army might go on a campaign in his province, sending (word) to the admiral Anaxibius, who happened to be in Byzantium, requested (him) to carry the army across out of Asia and promised to do everything for him that might be needed. So Anaxibius summoned the generals and captains of the soldiers to Byzantium, and promisedthat, if they crossed over, there would be regular pay for the soldiers. 

N.B.  At this stage the generals no longer include Chirisophus, who had recently died as a result of a drug taken to cure a fever; this is only mentioned in passing in Book 6 (contrast the detailed obituaries in Books 1 and 2); his division was taken over by Neon of Asine, his lieutenant. In general Xenophon tends to underplay the role played by Chirisophus and they were not always on good terms.  
 (7.1.4 - 7.1.6)

Xenophon now wished to leave the army and return home, but was persuaded by Anaxibius to stay on. He was also approached by the Thracian king Seuthes, who wished to hire mercenaries for an internal war of his own.  


Then all the soldiers cross over to Byzantium. However, Anaxibius would not give (them) any pay, but proclaimed that the soldiers, taking their arms and baggage, had to leave (the city), in order that he could send them home and at the same time make a count (of them). The soldiers were annoyed at this, because they did nor have any money to get provisions for the journey, and they packed up reluctantly.

(7.1.8 - 7.1.11)

Even now Seuthes' offer was not attractive enough to change Xenophon's plans. But he was once more persuaded, this time by Cleander, to continue to act as the party's spokesman in negotiations about pay and supplies with Anaxibius, who undertook to provide for their homeward journey if they would leave the city of Byzantium. 

(1.1.12 - 1.1.21)

Then they marched forth, the generals first and then the rest. And now absolutely all (of them) were outside except a few, and Eteonicus was standing by the gates, in order to shut the gates and thrust in the bar, as soon as they had all gone outside. Then, Anaxibius, having called the generals and the captains together, spoke (as follows): "Get your provisions from the Thracian villages," he said. "There there is an abundance of (lit. much) barley and wheat and other supplies; having got (them), proceed to the Chersonese, and there Cyniscus will take you into his pay."

And some of the soldiers overhearing these (words), or perhaps one of the captains, reports(it) to the army. Meanwhile the generals were enquiring about Seuthes, whether he was hostile or friendly, and whether they had (lit. it was necessary [for them]) to march over the Holy Mountain or (to go) round through the middle of Thrace. While they were discussing these matters, the soldiers, grabbing their weapons, run at the double towards the gates in order to get back inside the (city) wall. But, when Eteonicus and his men (lit. those with him) saw the hoplites charging towards (them), they shut the gates and thrust in the bar. Then the soldiers began to hammer at the gates, and they said that they were being treated very unfairly, being cast out into enemy territory. And they declared that they would smash open the gates, if they did not open (them) voluntarily. And some ran down to the sea andclimb over the wall into the city by the breakwater, and other soldiers, who happened to be inside (the wall), when they saw the trouble at the gates, cutting through the bar with their axes, threw open the gates, and they (all) rushed in.

When Xenophon saw what was happening, fearing lest the army might turn to plundering and irreparable harm might befall the city, himself and the soldiers, he ran and rushed inside the gates with the throng. When the Byzantines saw the army bursting in by force, they fledfrom the market-place, some to their boats, other to their homes, and all those who happened to be indoors (ran) outside, and some launched their triremes in order to seek safety in these triremes, all thinking that they were lost, with the city having been captured. Eteonicus flees to the citadel. Anaxibius, running down to the sea, sailed round to the citadel in a fishing boat, and immediately summons the garrison troops from Chalcedon; for the men in the citadel did not seem (to him) to be sufficient  to stop the soldiers.

When the soldiers saw Xenophon, many (of them) rush towards him and say: "Now it is possible for you to become a (real) man. You have a city, you have triremes, you havemoney, you have so many men. Now, if you should wish (it), you could benefit us and we could make you great."

(7.1.22 - 7.8.8)

Xenophon's leadership and persuasive powers now became more indispensable than ever. Finding himself master of Byzantium, he viewed with alarm the possibility of being at war with Sparta and Persia at the same time. On his advice, the army resumed negotiations with Anaxibius and the successor to his command, Aristarchus; but the latter had apparently brought instructions with him from Sparta to cooperate with Pharnabazus. Perhaps recalling the earlier fate of the generals who negotiated with a Persian satrap, and mistrusting Aristarchus, Xenophon decided to take up Seuthes' offer of service in his pay.

Xenophon gives a clear account of the meeting at which Seuthes made definite promises concerning payment of the Ten Thousand, and undertook to let them take refuge in his kingdom if the Spartans threatened their security. He also promised that the Greeks would never be more than seven days' march from the sea. Xenophon mentions more than once that his personal funds at this time were very low. After a feast celebrating their alliance, Seuthes and his new army set out on a campaign against the neighbouring Thyni and other tribes, and won several engagements on both sides of the Bosphorus, taking much booty. But Seuthes gave the soldiers only twenty days' pay after a month's campaigning. Relations between Xenophon and Seuthes became cool, and the king evaded his attempts to obtain an audience.

Meanwhile in Asia the Spartans under a new commander, Thibron, were about to fight Tissaphernes, and needed as many troops as they could muster. This change of Spartan policy was welcomed by Seuthes, who hoped that the Ten Thousand would be needed for the new war, and would thus cease to be his responsibility. Xenophon significantly records a conversation between Seuthes and some Spartan envoys, in which the latter asked what sort of a man Xenophon was, and Seuthes replied that he was not a bad man, but was too much a friend of the common soldier, with the consequence that he was not as well off as he might have been. With this unsolicited testimonial to his honesty and open-handedness, Xenophon prepares his reader for the verbal attacks on him which follow. As reported by him, these attacks seem wholly unreasonable. They were led by an unnamed Arcadian, who accused him of detaining the army for his own gain. Xenophon was able to rebut this and other charges easily by reminding his audience of the previous events. He said frankly that he, like they, had hoped for enrichment from his service with Seuthes; but, like them, he had been frustrated by Seuthes' deceit.  

Finally Xenophon, with a slightly improbable moral homily, persuaded Seuthes to settle his debt in part; he paid 6,000 drachmae, six hundred oxen, and about four thousand sheep, which Xenophon handed over to the army. At their own request, he agreed to lead them out of Thrace to join Thibron. He came first to Lampsacus. There he was advised by Euclides the soothsayer that if he made a timely sacrifice to Zeus things would turn out well for him. Soon after this his horse, which he had been forced to sell in Lampsacus, was returned to him by two of his fellow-officers. The army then marched over the Trojan plain and reached Pergamum in Mysia. 

Chapter 8.  Xenophon leaves the army. 

(7.8.8 - 7.8.24)

Here Xenophon is entertained at the house of Hellas, the wife of Gongylus the Eretrian, and the mother of Gorgion and Gongylus. She tells him that the man is a Persian man in the plain (called) Asidates; she said that  if he should go by night with three hundred men he could capture him and his wife and children and his property; and there was a great deal (of this). For this (enterprise) she sent (as) guides both her own cousin and also Daphnagoras, concerning whom she thought very highly of (lit. she made much of). So Xenophon proceeded to sacrifice, keeping these (two) by his (side). And Basias, the Elean seer, being present,said that the omens were extremely favourable to him and (that) the man would be easy to capture. So, having dined, he set out, taking (with him) the captains (who were) his best friends, and those who had proved themselves trustworthy, in order that he might do them a good (turn) (lit. he might treat them well). But up to six hundred others join him, having forced themselves (on him); and the captains try to drive (them) away, so that they might not give (them) a share of the property, as though (it were) indeed assured.

When they reached (the place) at about the middle of the night, the slaves who were (lit. being) around the tower and most of the livestock ran away, with no notice being taken of them, in order to capture Asidates himself and his belongings. But, when they were not able to capture the tower (for it was high and massive and fortified with battlements and had many warlike soldiers), they tried to breach (lit. dig through) the tower(-wall). Now the wall  had a thickness of eight clay bricks (lit. was on eight clay bricks in respect of its thickness). At the same time as it was day(-break) it had been breached, and, as soon as (the light) first shone through, someone from within struck, with a spit used for roasting oxen, right through the thigh of the man nearest (to the breach); and from then onwards, shooting out arrows, they made (it) to be no longer safe to go past (the place). Then, with them screaming and lighting beacon-fires, Itamenes comes to their help with his own force, and also Assyrian hoplites from Comania and Hyrcanian horsemen, these (being) about eighty mercenaries of the King, and up to eight hundred other peltasts, some (of them) from Parthenium and some from Apollonia and the places nearby, including cavalry.

Then it was certainly time to consider how there was to be a retreat; so seizing all the cattle and sheep that there were, and slaves as well, they drove (them) along, having put (them) inside a hollow square, no longer being concerned about (lit. applying their minds to) the booty, but (for fear) lest the retreat became a rout, if they should depart leaving their booty behind, and the enemy might become bolder and the soldiers more disheartened; but nowthey were withdrawing like men ready to fight for their property.

But, when Gongylus saw that the Greeks (were) few (and) that their assailants (were) many,he himself sallies forth also, against his mother's will, with his own force, wishing to take part in the action too. And Procles from Halisarna and Teuthrania, the (descendant) of Demaratus also came to their rescue. Meanwhile Xenophon and his men (lit. those around Xenophon), since they were now very hard-pressed by arrows and sling-stones, wheeling round so as to keep their shields facing the arrows, cross the river Carcasus with difficulty, nearly half (of them) wounded. Here Agasias, the Stymphalian captain, is wounded, (though) continuing to fight all the time against the enemy, and they come through safely with about two hundred slaves and enough sheep for sacrificial victims.

On the next day, Xenophon, having offered sacrifice, leads the entire army forth by night, with the intention that he might march for as long as possible into Lydia, with the purpose of (Asidates) not fearing (them) on account of their being nearby, but being off his guard. And Asidates, hearing that Xenophon had offered sacrifice again with a view to attacking him and that he would be coming with his entire army, encamps in some villages situated by the town of Parthenium. There Xenophon and his men (lit. those around Xenophon) happen to come across him and capture him and his wife and children, and his horses and everything that was (his). And thus the earlier omens proved true. 

Then they arrived back at Pergamum. There Xenophon paid his respects to the god; for the Laconians, both the captains and the other generals and the soldiers, jointly arranged(matters) so that he got the pick (lit. as selected items) of the horses and the pairs of pack-animals and everything else, (and) so that he was now able to do someone else a good turn (lit. to do good to someone else) as well.

Then Thibron, having arrived, took over the army, and, having united (it) with the rest of his Greek (army), he proceeded to make war against Tissaphernes and Pharnabazus. 

(7.8.25 - 7.8.26)

Xenophon ends by listing the governors of all the King's territories through which the Ten Thousand had marched. He then states the total distance they had marched, both upwards and back again - some 3,450 miles - and the time which the expedition had taken - a year and three months. 

N.B.  For Xenophon's service under Thibron, see 'Hellenika' 3.1.3 - 8; and for his later career, see on 5.3.5 - 13 above and 'Hellenika' 3.1.9 - 4.4.1.

Finally, for two contrary assessments of the march of the Ten Thousand, contrast the following: (a) C.L. Brownson (Loeb translation, 1922): 'Defeating with scarcely an effort Persian forces many times their number, and accomplishing a safe return despite all the efforts of Artaxerxes to hinder them, they revealed to all men the utter weakness of the ... Persian empire ... . Xenophon's account reveals to us the fine qualities of these Greek soldiers of fortune - their courage and endurance, piety and humanity, independence and reasonableness'.
(b)  G. Cawkwell (Introduction to R. Warner's Penguin Translation, 1972): 'Tissaphernes made no  real attempt to block their passage. So their march from the Zab up the Tigris was no great feat and proved nothing about Persian military power ... .  The Ten Thousand were a gang of roughs ... (who) took to war out of poverty, and menaced the peace and security of Greece'.
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