Greek Translation

Greek Translation (39)



(Taken from Polybius 'Histories' Books I and VI)

Translator's Introduction.

Polybius (c. 200-118 B.C.) was born in Megalopolis, Arcadia, and was the son of Lycortas, the commander of the army of the Achaean League. After the defeat of Perseus, the King of Macedonia, by Lucius Aemilius Paullus, in 167 B.C. Polybius was sent to Rome as a hostage, and he remained in this position until 150. During this time he tutored Paullus' son, Scipio Aemilianus, to whom he became closely attached, and whom he accompanied during the Third Punic War which ended with the complete destruction of Carthage in 146. Polybius' "Histories" cover the period 264-145 B.C. but concentrate particularly on 220-167, the fifty-three years during which Rome subdued Carthage, conquered Greece and became the mistress of the Mediterranean world. Polybius was a remarkably sophisticated historian with strong views on the importance of explaining events and not just recounting them. He also took the trouble to travel to many of the places which feature in his historical writings. He is seen by many as a worthy successor of Thucydides in terms of his critical reasoning, factual integrity and objectivity, and is undoubtedly the foremost source for the times about which he wrote, and was a key source for Livy, the Latin historian of the Augustan Age, who has traditionally been the writer most closely associated with the Punic Wars.      

One of the most important aspects of Polybius' work, and the part which has been translated in the extracts below, is his analysis of the Roman constitution. As a Greek, this interest came naturally to Polybius, since it was a common belief among Greeks that the nature of its political constitution was the key to the fortunes of a state. His view that the intricate interdependency of the elements of monarchy, aristocracy and democracy within the constitution of the state was the principal reason for Rome's success in achieving its position of international dominance is fascinating. Indeed without his careful analysis, one might have thought that Rome had succeeded, in spite of its constitution, rather than because of it. While Rome's remarkable tenacity in withstanding Hannibal's invasion in the years 218-202 and its subsequent crushing of Carthage and the Hellenistic Greek states must point to some of the strengths inherent in the mixed constitution of Rome, his analysis is too abstract to be entirely compelling, and fails to take account of the dominance, which was scarcely hidden, of a small number of aristocratic families, such as the Cornelii Scipiones and the Claudii Pulchri, within the Roman state. In view of Polybius' close association with Scipio Aemilianus this is perhaps surprising, but then his almost hagiographic treatment of the latter is one of the weaknesses in his work.  

The Greek historian, Dionysius of Halicarnassus, who, like Livy, also wrote in the Augustan period, was a critic of Polybius' style and said that no one could read all of his work. Certainly Polybius is not easily translated. He uses many words not in use in the classic period of Attic Greek, i.e. the Fifth and Fourth Centuries B.C., and his writing is perhaps rather more compressed and elliptical, and makes more use of the Genitive Absolute construction, than is common in the authors of that period. However, Polybius remains a Greek historian of the most select group, and, despite the above comments of Dionysius, was read very widely by both Greek and Latin writers in subsequent times.   

Book I.  Introduction.
1) (1) If it had happened that praise with regard to history itself had been passed over by those writing about (human) affairs, it would perhaps have been necessary (for me) to exhort all (readers) to (adopt) the choice and receipt of such records, because there is no better guide for men than the knowledge of past affairs. (2) But, in truth, all (historians), everyone without exception, so to speak, have made use of this (theme) at their beginning and ending, asserting that education, in the truest sense, and training in political affairs is the study of history, and the clearest, and, indeed, the only teacher of how to bear, with dignity, the vicissitudes of fortune (is) the remembrance of others' reversals of fortune. (3) It (is) evident (then) that no one should feel obliged to repeat the same things as those which have already been said so eloquently and so often, and least of all in my own case. For the unexpected (nature) of the events, (4) about which I have undertaken to write, is, in itself, sufficient to challenge and stimulate everyone, both young and old, to the study of my work. (5) For can any man be so small-minded or so indifferent that he does not wish to know how and under what system of government almost all of the (countries) across the inhabited word were conquered and fell under the sole rule of the Romans in a little less than fifty-three years (i.e. 120-167 B.C.), (something) which is not known to have happened previously, (6) and, again, who (is) so passionate about any other subjects of spectacle or study that he could regard anything (as) more important than the (acquisition) of this knowledge?  
Book VI.  

From the preface.
2) (1) I am not unaware, then, that some will be at a loss as to the reason why I have left off framing and delivering the continuous flow of my narrative, (and) have postponed until this moment my account of the aforesaid constitution: (2) but I think I have made it clear in many (passages) that for me this (analysis) was from the outset one part of the essential (aspects) of my entire design; (3) and especially at the beginning of, and the preface to, this history, in which I stated that the best and most useful function of my work for the readers of this study was to come to know and to understand how and under what system of government almost all of the (countries) across the inhabited world were conquered and fell under the sole rule of the Romans in a little less than fifty three years, (something) which is not known to have happened previously. (4) This (purpose) having been chosen, I could find no more suitable time for a pause and an examination of the things which I am about to say about the constitution than the place where we now are. (5) For, just as in private life, whenever those wishing to make judgments about good or bad men come to make a true test about the (conduct of) a life, they do not make inspections at a time of uncomplicated ease, but during the mishaps arising from sudden reversals of fortune and during the lucky (moments) arising from success, (6) (while) thinking that the only true test of a perfect man is the capacity to bear complete change of fortune with magnanimity and with dignity, it is necessary to consider a constitution in the same way too. (7) And so, not seeing anyone come upon a sharper or greater degree of change in our (day) than that which befell the Romans, I reserved this (as) the place for my study of their aforesaid constitution ................

On the Roman constitution at its prime. 

11) (1) From (the time of) Xerxes' crossing into Greece, and (more especially) some thirty(-two) years after that, the (details) of the aforesaid (Roman constitution passed) ever continuously (through even more successful modifications and) reached its best and perfect (form) at the time of the Hannibalic (wars), when, for this (reason), I have composed this digression .................... (11) There were three elements controlling the (Roman) constitution, all of which I have mentioned before; and everything was so fairly and suitably ordered and regulated in turn by means of these (elements), that no one, not even (one) of the natives, could ever say with any certainty whether the constitution as a whole (was) an aristocracy or a democracy or a monarchy. (12) In fact, it was natural that this (should be) the case. For if we were to scrutinise the authority of the consuls, it would appear completely monarchic and royal, and, if at that of the Senate, on the contrary, (as) aristocratic; and, indeed, if one were to look at the power of the people, it would seem to be clearly democratic. (13) What parts of the state each element ruled over, both then, and, except for a few modifications, still (does) now, is as follows.

The Consuls.

12) (1) The consuls, before they are required to lead out the armies, are present in Rome and are in charge of all public affairs. (2) For all the rest of the magistrates, except the tribunes, are subject (to them) and obey them, and (it is) they (who) present (foreign) ambassadors to the Senate. (3) Besides these duties, they refer urgent matters (to the Senate) for deliberation, (and) they are entirely responsible for the implementation of its decrees. And, indeed, when matters concerning public affairs come (to them), it is their duty to consider those things which must be authorised by the people, and summon (meetings of) the popular assembly, bring the measures before them, (and) execute the decisions of the majority on their behalf. (5) And, in truth, with regard to the preparations for war, and, generally speaking, of arrangements in the field, they have almost absolute power. (6) For they have the power to impose upon the allies whatever they think appropriate, to enlist soldiers and select those who are suitable (for service). (7) In addition to the things which have been stated, they have the authority to inflict whatever punishment they wish on those under their command (while they are) on active service. (8) And they also have authority to spend as much public money as they see fit, being accompanied by a quaestor, who readily complies with everything that they have instructed. (9) So that, whenever one should concentrate (one's attention) on this element (alone), one could reasonably say that the state is plainly a monarchic and a royal (one). (10) And, if any of these (functions) or the (functions) which I am about to describe should suffer change, either in the present or (at) some time in the future, it would not be in any way contrary to the analysis which is now being made by me.

The Senate.

13) (1) Now, the Senate has, in the first place, control of the Treasury, and regulates revenue and expenditure alike. (2) For the quaestors cannot make any disbursement for the needs of each department (of state) without the decrees of the Senate, except for (those of) the consuls. (3) The Senate has the power (to approve) what is by far the most important and largest (item of) expenditure, (that is) what the censors lay down for the repair and construction of public (buildings) every five years (i.e. each lustrum), and it makes a grant to the censors for this (purpose). (4) Similarly, all of the crimes (committed) in Italy, which require a public investigation, and I speak of such (as) treason, conspiracy, poisoning, (and) assassination, these are the concern of the Senate. Besides these, (5) if any private citizen or city across Italy requires the arbitration (of a dispute), or a formal censure, or help or protection, all these (matters) are the responsibility of the Senate. (6) And, indeed, if there is a need to dispatch some embassy to any (countries) outside Italy, either to reconcile (peoples who are quarrelling), or to remind (them) of their duty, or to impose formal demands, or to receive (submissions), or to declare war, it demonstrates its concern for these things. (7) In the same way too, whenever (foreign) embassies  arrive in Rome, how each one should be treated and what answer should be given (to them), all these (questions) are addressed by the Senate. These (matters) have absolutely nothing to do with the people. (8) So, again, if anyone were living (in Rome) with no consul being present, the constitution might appear completely aristocratic. (9) Indeed, many Greeks, and (many) kings likewise, happen to have believed this, because almost all their business was ratified by the Senate.

The People.

14) (1) So, might one not reasonably ask what sort of part, and whatever is (the part which is) left for the people in the constitution, (2) when the Senate exercises control over the (functions) which I have described in turn, and, especially, as all revenue and expenditure are managed by it, and, again, when the consuls have absolute power over the preparations for war and absolute authority over the soldiers in the field? (3) But (this lack is) assuredly not (the case), (as) a part is left to the people too, and (the part that) is left (is) most important. (4) For the people is the sole source of honour and punishment in the constitution, (and it is) by these (powers) alone that kingdoms and states and, in short, the whole life of mankind are held together. (5) For whether such a distinction between these does not happen to be recognised, or, if recognised, it is badly managed, none of the business in hand can be dealt with properly; for how (is this) likely, if good things are held in equal honour with bad things? (6) The people, then, often tries (cases involving) money (fines), whenever the penalty for the crime (is) a considerable (one), and, especially, (when the accused are) those who have held distinguished magistracies. And it alone tries (cases) where the death (penalty is involved). (7) And, with regard to this arrangement, there is one (custom) worthy of commendation and record alongside the others. For, in the case of those being tried in relation to the death (penalty), whenever they are in the process of being sentenced, this practice gives them permission to depart openly, (thus) passing a voluntary sentence of exile upon themselves, so long as one tribe among those determining the verdict is still left not having voted. (8) There is safety for these exiles in the city of Naples, and (that) of Praeneste, and of Tibur, and at other (cities) where such sureties are in existence. (9) And, indeed, (it is) the people (who) bestow offices on those (who are) worthy (of them); this is the noblest reward for good character within (the gift of) the state. (10) It also has the power with regard to the examination of laws, and, most importantly, it deliberates over war and peace. (11) Furthermore, with regard to forming alliances, the cessation of hostilities and the making of treaties, it is the (people) who have the authority to ratify each one of these (matters), or the reverse. (12) So, again, from these (considerations) one could reasonably say that the people have the greatest part (in the constitution) and that the state is a democratic (one).

Division of political power at Rome.

15. (1) So, in what way the (functions) of the state have been divided up between each element has been described; (and) again in what way each of these parts can, when they choose, counteract or cooperate with each other will now be explained. (2) The consul, then, when, having obtained the authority which has been mentioned beforehand, he sets out with his force, seems to be in total control with regard to the accomplishment of the (tasks) which he has been given, (3) but he is in need of (the support of) the people and the Senate, and without them he is not able to bring his operations to a successful conclusion. (4) For (it is) obvious that the legions always need their supplies to be sent after (them); but without the the decree of the Senate neither corn nor clothing nor pay can be supplied to the legions, (5) so that the undertakings of the generals are unavailing if the Senate sets out to be unhelpful or obstructive. (6) And, in truth, (whether) the plans and designs of the generals are accomplished or not depends upon the Senate; for it has the authority to send out another commander when the one-year period of time has passed, or to allow the existing (one) to stay on. (7) And, indeed, the Senate has the power to exaggerate and magnify the successes of the generals, or, on the contrary, to diminish and belittle (them); (8) for these (processions), which are called 'triumphs' by them, through which the vividness of the deeds which have been achieved by the generals is brought before the eyes of their (fellow-)citizens, they cannot stage them, as is fitting, or indeed ever hold (them) at all, unless the Senate agrees and grants the funds for them. (9) As for the people, it is exceedingly important for them (i.e. the consuls) to court (their favour), even if they may happen to be in a place very far away indeed from home; for, as I have stated before in an earlier passage, it is the (people) that effects the ratification and rejection of the cessation of hostilities and the making of treaties. (10) But, most importantly, when laying down their office, they have to provide an account of their actions before it. (11) So, in no way is it safe for commanders (i.e. consuls) to regard lightly the good-will either of the Senate or of the multitude.

16. The People's influence over the Senate.

(1) Then, again, the Senate, which has so much power, is compelled, in the first place, to take account of the multitude in relation to public affairs, and to respect the wishes of the people, (2) and it cannot carry out the most serious and the most important investigations and punishments relating to offences against the state, for which the death penalty follows, unless the people join (them) in ratifying what has been decreed. (3) The same (is) the case even in matters pertaining to it; for if anyone brings forward a law aiming to remove from the Senate some of its current authority in accordance with custom, or depriving (them) of their privileges and honours, or even effecting by oath a reduction in their personal property, in all of (these cases) the people are empowered to pass such (measures) or not. (4) But, most important of all, if one of the tribunes interposes his veto, the Senate (not only) cannot bring any kind of debate to a conclusion, but cannot meet or sit (in council) at all -- (5) now the tribunes are always bound to implement the decisions of the people, and, especially, to respect its will -- therefore, for the sake of all the things which have been mentioned, the Senate stands in awe of the masses and pays attention to the people's (wishes).

The Powers of the Senate.

17) (1) In like manner, again, the people is dependent on the Senate and is bound to respect its wishes, both collectively and on an individual basis. (2) For there are many contracts, which one cannot readily count, which are given out by the censors in every (part) of Italy for the repair and construction of public (buildings), and also as many (revenues) as accrue from the many rivers, harbours, gardens, mines (and) lands, when taken together under the government of the Romans; (3) (and) it transpires that all these activities which have been mentioned are managed by the people and almost everyone, so to speak, is engaged in the buying or undertaking of these (contracts). (4) For some purchase the contracts from the censors for themselves, others join them as partners, and, again, others provide security for the contractors and pledge their property to the treasury for them. (5) Now, the Senate has control over all these aforesaid (transactions); for it can grant an (extension of) time, and, if a mishap occurs, (it can) lighten, or agree a release from the contract altogether, if fulfilling it (is) impossible. (6) Then, there are, in fact, many ways in which the Senate can cause great hardships for, or, on the contrary, come to the assistance of, those who are managing the public (property); for the appeal in all such cases is referred to it. (7) But, most importantly, the judges in most (trials) are drawn from it, whether the contracts (are) public or private, whenever there are heavy charges. (8) Consequently, everyone is bound to its good faith, and fearful of the uncertainty of their need (for its support), is cautious about obstruction and resistance to the will of the Senate. (9) And, for a similar reason too, (people) oppose the enterprises of the consuls with reluctance, since they may all, as individuals and collectively, come under their authority in the field.

Interdependency brings strength.

18) (1) Such, then, is the power of each of the elements to harm or help one another, and it turns out that their union is suited to every situation, so that it is impossible to find a political structure better than this constitution. (2) For, whenever some imminent common threat from outside compels them to be of one mind and work with one another, it happens that the strength of the state becomes so great and of such a kind (3) that no task that needs to be done is neglected, inasmuch as everyone vies unfailingly with one another to meet their designs, nor does what has been decided fall short of the time required, since each person, collectively and individually, cooperates with regard to the accomplishment of the business before them. (4) Consequently, the peculiar (form) of the constitution happens to be irresistible, and able to achieve everything that it decides to do. (5) Moreover, whenever, having been freed from these external threats, (the people) reap the prosperity and abundance which comes from their successes, as they enjoy this affluence, while being flattered and becoming idle, they turn to insolence and arrogance, (something) which usually happens, (6) it is then, especially, that this very constitution is seen as able to bring a cure from within itself. (7) For, when any one of the elements becomes puffed up and contends in rivalry (with the others) and seeks to rule over more than it should, (it becomes) apparent, in accordance with the recent passage, that none (of the three) is completely independent, but that the designs of each one can be restrained and blocked by the others, and that none of the elements swells up and becomes overbearing. (8) For the rules of every situation remain laid down, any aggressive impulse is checked, and, from the outset, each (element) fears the censure of their fellow-elements.



In Chapters 201-234 of Book VII of his "Histories", Herodotus gives an account of the heroic stand made by Leonidas, the King of Sparta, and three hundred of his fellow-countrymen against the huge Persian army of King Xerxes, which was invading Greece, at the narrow mountain pass of Thermopylae in 480 B.C. The self-sacrifice of Leonidas and his men is one of the most renowned military exploits of ancient history, and served to inspire future generations of Greeks to courageous deeds. A dramatic account of the events at Thermopylae was provided by the film "Three Hundred" (2007). Herodotus' works have recently been translated by Tom Holland (Penguin Classics 2011), as an addition to that of Aubrey de Selincourt (Penguin Classics, first published in 1954) The text for this translation is taken from "Herodotus, the Persian Wars", Volume III (Loeb Classical Library, first published 1922), with an English translation by A.D. Godley. This text and translation is also available on the Perseus website. In this translation, in accordance with his usual practice, Sabidius seeks to keep as close as possible to the structure of Herodotus' sentences and to the words which he employed.

1)   A description of Thermopylae and its neighbourhood Chapter 201).

201. King Xerxes, then, was encamped in the territory of the city of Trachis, which belonged to Malis, and the Greeks (were encamped) in the pass. This place is called Thermopylae (i.e. The Hot Gates) by most of the Greeks, but Pylae (i.e. The Gates) by the natives and their neighbours. Then each lay encamped in these places, while the former was master of everything which extended from Trachis northwards, and the latter of (all) those (places) lying towards the south and on this part of the mainland.

2) Composition of the Greek force at Thermopylae; his decision to remain at Thermopylae (Chapters 202-207). 

202.  The Greeks who were awaiting the Persian in this place were these: of the Spartans, three hundred hoplites (i.e. men-at-arms), and a thousand Tegeans and Matineans, half from each (of these places), a hundred and twenty from Orchomenus in Arcadia, and a thousand from the rest of Arcadia; besides the Arcadians (there were) four hundred (men) from Corinth, and two hundred from Phlius and eighty Mycenaeans. These had come from the Peloponnese, and from the Boeotians (there were) seven hundred Thespians and four hundred Thebans.

203 (1). In addition to these, the Opuntian Locrians in full force, and a thousand Phocians were summoned. For the Greeks, themselves, had called upon them, saying through messengers that they themselves had come as an advance guard of the others, and (that) the rest of the allies were expected every day, and the sea was being carefully watched by the Athenians and the Aeginetans, and by those who had been enrolled in the naval force and (that) for them there was nothing to be afraid of. (2) For the invader of Greece was not a god, but a man, and there was no mortal, nor (ever) would be, on whom, at his birth, (some element of) evil had not been commingled (with other things) from the beginning, and with the greatest of them (receiving) the greatest (number of these). The (man) who was marching against (them), as he was a mortal, was surely bound to fall from glory, When they heard this, they came to the assistance of the Greeks at Trachis.

204.  Now all these had their own generals, each with regard to his city, but he who was admired the most and who was the leader of the whole army was Leonidas, the (son) of Anaxandrides, the (son) of Eurycrates, the (son) of Polydorus, the (son) of Alcamenes, the (son) of Telechus, the (son) of Archelaus, the (son) of Hegesilaus, the (son) of Doryssus, the (son) of Leobotes, the (son) of Echestratus, the (son) of Agis, the (son) of Eurysthenes, the (son) of Aristodemus, the (son) of Aristomachus, the (son) of Cleodaeus, the (son) of Hyllus, the (son) of Heracles, who (i.e. Leonidas) had acquired the kingship in Sparta unexpectedly.

205 (1). For, since he had two elder brothers, Cleomenes and Dorieus, he had excluded (from his mind) any thought of the kingship. But, when Cleomenes died without male issue, And Dorieus was no longer alive, as he had died also in Sicily, so indeed the kingship fell to Leonidas, because he had been born before Cleombrotus (for he was Anaxandrides' youngest son) and what is more he had married Cleomenes' daughter (i.e. Gorgo). (2) He then came to Thermopylae, having picked, in accordance with the law, three hundred men (i.e. his "ἱππεῖς", the 300 chosen men who formed the royal bodyguard), who also happened to have sons . And he came bringing also those Thebans, (whom) I mentioned when reckoning up the total, of whom Leontiades, the (son) of Eurymachus, was in command. Leonidas took pains to bring these (Thebans) alone among the Greeks for this reason, (namely) that they had been regularly accused of favouring the Medes. He summoned them to the war, as he wished to know whether they would send (their men) with (him), or whether they would plainly reject the Greek alliance. They sent the men, but with other thoughts in their minds.

206 (1). These, Leonidas and his men, the Spartans sent first, so that the rest of the allies would see them and march, and (so that) they would not take the side of the Medes as well, (as they might) if they perceived that they were delaying; for at that moment the Carneia (i.e. the national festival in honour of Apollo, held in September) was in their way, but, once they had celebrated the festival, they intended to leave a garrison at Sparta and march quickly to the rescue with their whole force. (2) So, the rest of the allies were also minded to act similarly themselves; for the Olympiad was due to fall at the same time as these activities; so they sent their advance guard, certainly not supposing that the war at Thermopylae would be concluded so quickly.

207.  Indeed, they had been minded to act in this way; but the Greeks at Thermopylae, when the Persian drew near to the entrance (to the pass), became afraid, and began to think about quitting their posts. Now, it seemed good to the rest of the Peloponnesians to return to the Peloponnese and keep the Isthmus under guard; the Phocians and the Locrians were greatly angered by this suggestion, and Leonidas voted that they should remain there, and that they should send messengers to the cities demanding that they should come to their assistance, as they were too few to ward off the host of the Medes.

3)  Persian scouts and the Greeks; Xerxes' conversation with Demaratus (Chapters 209-210). 

208 (1). While they debated these (matters), Xerxes sent a mounted scout to see how many they were
and what they might be doing. While he was still in Thessaly, he had heard that a small army was gathered there, and that their leaders were Lacedaemonians, including Leonidas, who was a descendant of Heracles. (2) When the horsemen rode up to the camp, he gazed at, and looked down on, the camp, yet not (on) all (of it); for it was not possible to see who had been stationed inside the wall, which they had repaired and (which) they were now guarding; but he did take notice of those (who were) outside, whose arms were laid in front of the wall; and it happened that at that time the Lacedaemonians had been posted outside. (3) There he saw some of the men exercising, and others combing their hair. When he saw these things, he was amazed, and made a note of their number. Having made an exact note of everything, he rode back at his leisure; for no one pursued (him) or paid much attention (to him); when he returned, he told Xerxes about all the things he had seen.

209 (1). When Xerxes heard (these things), he could not understand the truth, (namely) that they were preparing to kill to the best of their ability, or to be slain; as what they were doing appeared laughable to him, he summoned Demaratus, the (son) of Ariston, who was in his camp; (2) when he arrived, Xerxes asked him about each of these matters), as he wanted to understand what was going on with regard to the Lacedaemonians. But he said, "You heard me before concerning these men, when we were setting out for Greece, but you subjected me to laughter for saying how I saw these things would turn out. For it is my greatest concern, (O) King, to express the truth in your presence. (3) Now, hear (me) once more: these men have come to fight us over the pass, and for this they are preparing themselves. For their custom is as follows: whenever they are about to endanger their lives, they arrange (the hair on) their heads. (4) But know that, if you overcome these (men) and the force which remains behind at Sparta, there is no other nation among men which will resist and withstand you; for you are now coming face to face with the finest kingdom and city and the most valiant men among those in Greece." (5) What he was saying seemed wholly incredible to Xerxes, and he then asked in what way they would fight against his army, as they were so few. He replied, "O King, treat me as a liar, if these things I am telling you do not turn out in this way."

4) The fighting at Thermopylae and the repulse of the Persians Chapters 210-211).

210 (1). Although he said these things, he did not persuade Xerxes. Indeed, he allowed four days to pass, all the time expecting that they would take to flight; but, when on the fifth (day) they were (still) not withdrawing, but seemed to him to be remaining (there) through their arrogance and folly, he became angry and sent the Medes and the Cissians against them, telling (them) to take (them) captive, and bring (them) into his presence. (2) When the Medes bore down upon and attacked the Greeks, many (of them) fell, but others attacked as well, and were not driven back, although they suffered grievous losses, but they made (it) plain to all, and not least to the King himself, that there were many men but few warriors. The battle went on all day.

211 (1). Since the Medes were (so) roughly handled, they then withdrew (from the fight), and the Persians, whom the King called Immortals, and whom Hydarnes led, attacked in their place, (thinking) that they would make easy work (of the Greeks). (2) But, when they too joined battle with the Greeks, they fared no better than the army of the Medes, but the same (happened), because they were fighting in a narrower place and were using shorter spears than the Greeks, and could not make use of their numbers.(3) The Lacedaemonians, however, fought in a memorable manner, showing themselves (as) experienced fighters among inexperienced (ones), as when they turned their backs (and) apparently fled in a mass, and the barbarians, seeing (them) fleeing, would pursue (them) with a shout and a clash of arms, and they, allowing themselves to be overtaken, would turn around and cast down a countless number of Persians; and a few of the Spartans fell there too. When the Persians, making an attempt on the pass, and attacking in every kind of manner, could gain no (ground) at all, they drew back.

5) Flank movement by a Persian force, guided by Ephialtes, over the hills (Chapters 213-218).

212 (1). During these assaults in the battle, it is said that the King, as he watched, jumped up from his throne, fearing for his army. In this way, then, did they contend (in battle), and on the next (day) the barbarians fought with no more success. They joined battle, anticipating that, because they had suffered so many wounds, they would be so few that they would no longer be able to resist. (2) But the Greeks had been drawn up by rank in accordance with their nation, and each (of these) fought in turn, except the Phocians. They had been stationed on the mountain to guard the path. So, when the Persians found that nothing (was) in any way different from what they had experienced the (day) before, they withdrew.

213 (1). The King being at a loss as to how to deal with the present difficulty, Ephialtes, the (son) of Eurydemus, a man of Malia, came to speak with him; he, thinking that he would receive a great reward from the King, pointed out the path that led over the mountain to Thermopylae, and (thereby) caused the destruction of those Greeks remaining there. (2) Later, in fear of the Lacedaemonians, he fled to Thessaly, and, while he was in exile, a price was put on his head by the Pylagori, when the Amphictyons had assembled at Pylae. Then, some time after that, he returned to Anticyra, (where) he was slain by Athenades, a man of Trachis. (3) This Athenades slew Ephialtes for another reason, which I shall explain later in this history, but he was no less honoured by the Lacedaemonians.

214 (1). Thus Ephialtes died after these (events), yet there is another story told, (namely) that Onetes, the (son) of Phanagoras, a man of Carystus, and Corydallus of Anticyra, are the ones who spoke these words to the King , and led the Persians around the mountain, but to me (it is) not credible at all. (2) For, in the first place, one must form a judgment for this (reason), (namely) that the Pylagori of the Greeks put a price on the head, not of Onetes and Corydallus, but on (that of) Ephialtes the Trachinian, doubtless having learned the exact truth by every possible means; and, secondly, we know that Ephialtes fled for this reason. Certainly, Onetes might have known about this path, even if was not a Malian, if he had frequented the country many times. But, as Ephialtes was the (man) who guided (them) along the path around the mountain, I record him as guilty.

215.  Since Xerxes was pleased at what Ephialtes had undertaken to accomplish, he became overjoyed at once, and sent out Hydarnes and the (men) whom Hydarnes commanded; he set out from the camp at around (the time of) the lighting of the lamps. Now the native Malians had also discovered this path, and, after they had found it, they guided the Thessalians to Phocis, at the time when the Phocians, by fencing in the pass with a wall, were sheltering from invasion. For so long, indeed, had the Malians acknowledged that the path was not beneficial (to them).

216.  This path runs in the following way: it begins at the Asopus river, which flows through the gorge, and the same name Anopaea is fixed on this mountain and on the path. This Anopaea stretches across the ridge of the mountain, and ends at Alpenus, which is the city of the Locrians nearest to (that) of the Malians, and at the rock called Blackbuttock and at the seats of the Cercopes (i.e. legendary knavish dwarfs), and here is its narrowest (part).

217 (1). The Persians, having crossed the Asopus, marched all night, the mountains of Oeta being on their right and those of Trachis on their left. As dawn appeared, they came to the summit of the mountain. (2) In this (part) of the mountain, a thousand hoplites of the Phocians were on guard duty, as I have stated previously, defending their own country and keeping watch over the path. The lower (part of the) pass was guarded by those (of whom) I have spoken; and the Phocians were guarding the path across the mountain, as they had volunteered to undertake (this task) (in discussion) with Leonidas.

218 (1). The Phocians realised that they were on the summit in this way: the ascent of the Persians was concealed as the mountain was covered entirely with oak-trees. There was a stillness in the air, but a loud noise occurred like leaves being trodden under foot, whereupon the Phocians sprang up and began to don their armour, and at once the barbarians were there. (2) When they saw the men putting on their armour, they were amazed. For they had expected that no one would appear to oppose them, (and now) they were met by an army. Then Hydarnes, fearing that the Phocians were Lacedaemonians, asked Ephialtes what country this army was from, and, when he learned the truth, he drew up the Persians for battle. (3) When they were assailed by a thick shower of arrows, the Phocians went in flight to the top of the mountain, supposing that they had set out against them in the first place, and made ready to perish (there). This was their intention, but the Persians with Ephialtes and Hydarnes paid no attention (to them), and went down the mountain with all speed.

6)  Withdrawal of part of the Greek force by Leonidas' order. Final battle; annihilation of the Lacedaemomians and Thespians (Chapters 219-225).

219 (1). The seer Megistias, having examined the sacrificial offerings, was the first to warn the Greeks who were at Thermopylae that death would be awaiting them at dawn, and then afterwards deserters came who reported the circuit made by the Persians. These (men) gave their signals while it was still night, and the day-watchers, running down from the heights, (were) the third (to give this report) when daybreak was already appearing. (2) Then the Greeks held a council, and their opinions were divided; some would not allow that they should leave their post, but others wanted to free themselves, and dispersing each (band of men) took itself to its own city, but others among them got ready to remain there with Leonidas.

220 (1). Now, it is said (that) Leonidas himself sent them away, as he was concerned that they would be killed: but in his (view) it was not fitting for those among the Spartans who were there to abandon the post (that) they had come to guard at the outset. (2) In this (matter) I am rather strongly of the opinion that Leonidas, when he perceived that the allies were weak-spirited and unwilling to meet danger together with (him), bade them depart, but for him it was not honourable to go back; but, were he to remain there, he would leave (a name of) great renown, and the prosperity of Sparta would not be utterly destroyed. (3) For it had been foretold by the Pythian priestess to the Spartans, who were consulting (her) about this war right from the start after it had broken out, that either Lacedaemon would be laid waste by the barbarians or their king would be killed. She proclaimed this to them in hexameter verses, speaking as follows:

(4) "For you, O dwellers of wide-wayed Sparta, either your great and glorious city must be sacked by the sons of Perseus (i.e. the Persians), or (if) not that, then the whole land of Lacedaemon, as it pines, will mourn for a king from the line of Heracles (i.e. Leonidas). For neither the might of bulls, nor (that) of lions, can withstand this (foe) face to face; for he has the might of Zeus; I declare that he cannot be checked until he utterly tears asunder one of these (i.e. the city or the king)."

Considering this and wishing to lay up a store of glory for the Spartans alone, Leonidas sent the allies away, rather than that those departing should go away in such a disorderly manner because of a difference of opinion.

221.  The strongest proof I have of this (is) the fact that it is quite clear that Leonidas, lest he be slain with (the rest of) them, tried to dismiss Megistias, the Acarnanian, said to be a descendant of Melampus, and (who was) the seer who followed this expedition, the one who, from the sacrificial offerings, told (the Greeks) what was going to happen to them. But he, although he had been dismissed, did not himself leave, but he did send way his only son, who was serving in the army.

222.  Now, those allies who were sent away went off, and, in going, they were obeying Leonidas, and only the Thespians and the Thebans remained with the Lacedaemonians. Of these, the Thebans were remaining unwillingly and against their wishes. For Leonidas was holding them, and keeping (them) in the condition of hostages; the Thespians, however, (stayed there) most willingly, and they refused to abandon Leonidas and his companions, (and) to be freed (from his command), but stayed and died with (him); Demophilus, the (son) of Diadromes, was in command of them.

223 (1). Xerxes, after he had made libations at sunrise, waited until the time when any market-place (becomes) very full (i.e. mid-morning) and (then) made his assault; for he had been so advised by Ephialtes, as the descent from the mountain is more direct, and the way much shorter, than the circuit and the ascent. (2) So, the barbarians who were with Xerxes attacked, and the Greeks with Leonidas, (knowing) that they were proceeding towards their death, now advanced much further than (they had) at first into the wider (part) of the defile. For on the previous days a wall of fortification was being guarded, and, withdrawing gradually into the narrow (parts), they had fought (there). (3) But now they joined battle outside the narrows, and a large number of the barbarians fell (there); for the captains of their companies lashed every man with whips, urging (them) ever forward. Many of them fell into the sea and drowned, and, yet, many more were trampled alive under foot; there was no regard for who (it was that) perished. (4) For, as they knew that someone among those who were coming round the mountain was about to bring death to them, they displayed to the utmost as much bodily strength as they had towards the barbarians, (fighting) recklessly and with the frenzy of desperation.

224 (1). Now, by that time most of them already had broken spears, and they were slaying the Persians with their swords. Then, Leonidas fell in that struggle, being a most valiant warrior, and with him others famous Spartans, whose names I have learned, as being men of (great) worth, and I have also learned (the names) of all the three hundred. (2) Many other famous Persians fell there too, including two sons of Darius, Abrocomes and Hyperanthes, born to Darius by Phratagune, daughter of Artanes. Artanes was the brother of king Darius and son of Hystaspes, the (son) of Arsames. Now, when he gave his daughter in marriage to Darius, he gave his whole property as a dowry, since she was his only child.

225 (1). Two brothers of Xerxes fell in the battle there, and over the body of Leonidas there was a great struggle between the Persians and the Lacedaemonians, until, through their courage, the Greeks took it and dragged (it) away, and four times put their adversaries to flight. This (struggle) lasted until the (men) with Ephialtes arrived. (2) When the Greeks realised they had come, from then onwards the nature of the battle altered; for they withdrew back to the narrow (part) of the way, and, as they went, they passed behind the wall and took up position crowded together on the hillock, all of them that remained, except the Thebans. The hillock is at the entrance (to the pass), where now stands the stone lion in honour of Leonidas. (3) In this place, as they defended themselves with swords, as many of them as still happened to have them, and (if not) with their hands and teeth, the barbarians, (by) throwing (missiles), overwhelmed them, some pursuing (them) from the front and demolishing the wall of fortification, and others, who had surrounded (them) from all sides, standing round about.

7)  Individual instances of bravery; the commemorative inscriptions; the fortunes of the few survivors; Theban surrender to Xerxes (Chapters 226-233). 

226 (1).  Although the Lacedaemonians and the Thespians bore themselves in such a manner, yet the bravest man (of them all), it is said, was the Spartan Dieneces. They say that he spoke the following words before they joined battle with the Medes, when he had learned from a certain Trachinian, that, whenever the barbarians discharged their bowshots, the sun was hidden by the multitude of arrows; so great was their number. (2) He, not being (at all) disturbed by this, and making light of the multitude of the Medes, said that the stranger from Trachis brought them wholly good news, (for) if the Medes were keeping the sun hidden, (then) the battle against them would be in the shade and not in the sun.

227.  This saying, and others of a similar nature, they claim, Dieneces left (behind) as a memorial; after him, two Lacedaemonian brothers, Alpheus and Maron, the sons of Orsiphantus, are said to have been the most courageous. Among the Thespians, (the man) whose name was held in the highest repute was Dithyrambus, the (son) of Harmatides.

228 (1). Over those who were buried there in the very (place) where they fell, and with them those that had died before (those) who had been dismissed by Leonides had departed, there is written an inscription which says this:

"μυριάσιν ποτὲ τῇδε τριηκοσίαις ἔμαχοντο
     ἐκ Πελοποννάσου χιλιάδες τέτορες."
(Four thousand here from Pelops' land,
      Against three million once did stand.)

(2) That is inscribed for all of them, but, for the Spartans, (there is one) of their own:

"ὦ ξεῖν', ἀγγέλλειν Λακεδαιμονίοις
     κείμεθα τοῖς κείνων ῥήμασι πειθόμενοι."
(Go tell the Spartans, O you that passes by,
    That here in obedience to their words we lie.)

(3) That (one) was for the Lacedaemonians, and this (one) was for the seer:

"μνῆμα τόδε κλεινοῖο  Μεγιστία, ὅν ποτε Μῆδοι
   Σπερχειὸν ποταμὸν κτεῖναν
μάντιος, ὃς τότε κῆρας ἐπερχομένας σάφα εἰδώς
   οὐκ ἔτλη Σπάρτης ἡγεμόνα προλιπεῖν."
(Here lies the hero Megistias who died
   When the Medes crossed over Spercheius' tide,
The seer well knew his doom was nigh,
   Yet from the Spartan king he scorned to fly.)

(4) Now, except for the seer's inscription, the Amphictyons are the ones who honoured them with inscriptions and pillars; Simonides, the (son) of Leoprepes, was the (man) who inscribed the (epitaph) of the seer Megistias, in accordance with their guest-friendship.

229 (1).
It is said that of these three hundred, Eurytus and Aristodemus could both of them have agreed a common line of action, either to have returned safely together to Sparta, as they had been released by Leonidas and were lying sick in Alpeni with an extreme eye infection, or, if they did not wish to return home, to die with the others. While they could have done either of these things, they could not agree, but had different opinions. Eurytus, having learned of the Persians' circuit, (and, after) demanding his armour and putting (it) on, bid his helot lead him to the fighting; when he had led him, he (i.e. the helot) then departed after leading (him there), but he (i.e. Eurytus) rushed into the throng and perished; Aristodemus, his heart failing (him), hung back. (2) Now, if either Aristodemus alone had been sick and had returned to Sparta, or there had been a return journey involving both of them together, I do not think that the Spartans would have shown any anger towards them; but, as it was, when one of them had died, and the other, having the same excuse (as his comrade might have offered), yet was unwilling to die, they (i.e. the Spartans) were bound to display great anger towards Aristodemus.

230.  Some, then, say that Aristodemus came back safely to Sparta, and with some such excuse as this; others (say) that he had been sent from the camp (as) a messenger, and that, although he could have arrived in time for the battle, he chose not to, but lingered on the way and (so) survived, while his fellow-messenger arrived at the battle and was slain.

231.  When Aristodemus returned to Lacedaemon, he met with both censure and disgrace; he was dishonoured (by) suffering as follows: no one among the Spartans would kindle fire for him or speak with (him). And he had to face reproach, being called Aristodemus the coward.   

232.  But at the battle of Plataea (i.e. where the Spartans under Pausanias defeated the Persians in 479 B.C.) he retrieved all the blame which had been laid upon (him); it is said too that another of these three hundred had survived; his name was Pantites; as he was dishonoured, when he returned to Sparta, he hanged himself.

233 (1). The Thebans, of whom Leontiades was in command, fought against the King's army, as long as they were for a time with the Greeks under compulsion; but, when they saw the Persian side gaining the upper (hand), and, when the Greeks with Leonidas, were hurrying towards the hillock, they then separated themselves (from them) and stretched out their hands and came nearer to the barbarians, saying the truest of words, that they were on the side of the Medes and had been among the first to give earth and water to the King, that they had come to Thermopylae, while being under constraint, and were guiltless of the harm being done to the King. (2) And so, (by) saying these things, they saved their lives; for the Thessalians bore witness to their words; however, they were not fortunate in all respects; for, when the barbarians captured them as they were approaching, they killed some of them as they drew near, and, at Xerxes' command, they were branded with the King's marks, beginning with their commander Leontiades; some time afterwards (i.e. in 431 B.C.), the Plataeans murdered his son Eurymachus, when, leading four hundred Theban troops, he seized the city of Plataea.

8)  Epilogue (Chapter 234).

234.  Thus did the Greeks contend (in battle) at Thermopylae ....



Appian of Alexandria was born in 95 A.D. and died in 165 A.D. His main work was the "Historia Romana," in Greek, of which Books XIII-XVII have come down to us complete. These are usually renumbered as Books I-V of his "Civil Wars", and are an invaluable source of information. Although Appian makes a number of factual errors in his works, which have disconcerted his critics, these are rarely of any significance, and would not have greatly concerned Appian himself, whose purpose would have been to entertain as well as to inform, his readers. In this he is outstandingly successful, as his account of the civil wars is eminently readable and full of additional information not available in other sources.

From this work, Sabidius had selected three extracts from Book II, which covers the twenty years from 64 to 44. These extracts deal in turn with the following: 1) the period 64 to 49, which cover, often in a quite compressed fashion, the conspiracy of Catiline, the years of the First Triumvirate and the outbreak of the civil war between Caesar and Pompey, 2) a detailed account of the decisive battle of Pharsalus in 48 B.C.; and 3) the comparison between Alexander the Great and Caesar, with which Book II concludes. Also included in Book II is a summary account of the other campaigns in the Civil War of 49-44 B.C., a very detailed consideration of the background and circumstances of Caesar's murder in 44, and the tense aftermath to this, including the speeches made by Brutus and Mark Antony.

The Greek text of Appian used by Sabidius is that edited by L.Mendelsson, Teubner of Leipzig, (1879), which is available on the Perseus website. In providing his own translation, Sabidius has had available the English translations of Horace White, Macmillan (1899) and of John Carter, Penguin Books (1996). The introduction and very detailed notes which accompany the latter are particularly recommended to the reader.


Chapter 1. (Sections 1-7). The Catilinarian conspiracy (64-62 B.C.) 
(1)  Pompey and Caesar are introduced. After the sole rule of (Lucius Cornelius) Sulla (Felix) and those (things) that (Quintus) Sertorius and (Marcus) Perperna (Vento) did in Spain, other such civil (disturbances) occurred among the Romans, until Gaius (Julius) Caesar and (Gnaeus) Pompeius Magnus waged war against each other, and Caesar destroyed Pompey and certain (men) killed Caesar in the senate-house, on the grounds that he was acting as a king. How these (things) happened and how Pompey and Gaius were killed this second (book) of the civil (wars) will show. 
Pompey, having recently cleared the sea of the bands of pirates, of whom there were everywhere more than enough, particularly at that time, had overthrown Mithridates, king of Pontus, after the pirates, and was regulating his kingdom and those other nations that he had subdued in the East. Caesar was still a young (man), (but) powerful both in speech and in action, daring in all (things) and having expectations above everyone else, and lavish beyond his means in pursuit of honours: when yet aedile and praetor, he was in debt, and was gratifying to the multitude, as the people are always approving of those who are generous in their expenditure.

(2)  The character and intentions of Catiline. Gaius (N.B. his praenomen was actually Lucius) (Sergius) Catilina, widely renowned due to the greatness of his reputation and the splendour of his birth, (but) a mad man, who was thought to have once killed his son on account of his love for Aurelia Orestilla, since Orestilla would not submit to be married to (someone) who had a son, and, having been a friend and also an especially zealous partisan of Sulla, and, having been reduced to poverty through his ambition, but still courted by the powerful, both men and women, he stood for the consulship in order to pass on to absolute power by means of it.  Confidently expecting to be elected, he was beaten because of this suspicion (of him), and (Marcus Tullius) Cicero, the most eloquent man (of his time) at speaking and oratory gained office instead of him, but Catiline mocked those who had voted for him by way of insult, calling (him) a 'new (man),' due to the obscurity of his birth, for so they call those (who are) well-known through their own (merits) and not through (those) of their ancestors, and, because (he was) a stranger to the city, (calling him) 'the tenant', by which term they designate those who dwell in houses belonging to others. From this (time) he turned away from politics completely, as not leading quickly and surely to sole rule, but (being) full of strife and contention; but, acquiring much money from many women who hoped that their husbands would be killed in the uprising, he conspired with certain (men) from the Senate and (from) those who were called knights, and he also gathered together plebeians, alien residents and slaves. And with him the leaders of all (these men) were (Publius) Cornelius Lentulus (Crus) and (Gaius Cornelius) Cethegus, who (were) then the city praetors, and he sent round (messengers) throughout Italy to those of Sulla's (soldiers), who had squandered the gains of their former life (of plunder) and who were longing for similar doings; (he sent) Gaius Manlius to Faesulae in Etruria, and others to Picenum and Apulia, who raised an army for him in secret.

(3)  Disclosure of the conspiracy to Cicero.  Fulvia, a distinguished woman, disclosed all these (facts) to Cicero while they were still unknown; her lover, Quintus Curius, a man who had been expelled from the Senate on account of many shameful deeds, and who was deemed suitable to be in this plot of Catiline's, proclaimed to his mistress in a very flippant and boastful manner (things) such as that he would shortly be in a position of power. Also, word of what was happening in Italy was now spreading abroad. Then, Cicero posted guards at intervals throughout the city, and sent out many distinguished (men) to suspect (places) to keep an eye on what was happening. Catiline, although nobody was yet venturing to lay hands on him on account of a lack of knowledge, as yet, of the exact (situation), but nevertheless fearing that delay would lead to suspicion and placing his hope in rapidity (of action), forwarded money to Faesulae, and, enjoining his fellow-conspirators to kill Cicero and set fire to the city at a number of separate places on the same night, he left to (join) Gaius Manlius, with the intention of gathering a second army to invade the city while it was burning. Lentulus and his fellow-conspirators decided (lit. It seemed good to Lentulus and his fellow-conspirators) that, when they learned that Catiline had arrived at Faesulae, that Lentulus himself and Cethegus should lie in wait at Cicero's door at dawn, with concealed daggers, and, having been admitted on account of their rank, and (while) talking about something or other, that they should extend the conversation in the courtyard, and, having drawn (him) away fro the others, they should kill (him); and that Lucius (Calpurnius) Bestia, the tribune, should immediately convene an assembly (of the people) by herald, and accuse Cicero of always (being) cowardly, and stirring up war, and throwing the the city into confusion when there was no danger at all, and that, immediately, on the night following Bestia's speech to the assembly, others should set fire to the city in twelve places, and loot (it) and kill the leading (citizens).

(4)  Arrest of the conspirators.  Thus it had been decided by Lentulus, Cethegus, (Lucius) Statilius and (Lucius) Cassius (Longinus), the leaders of the uprising, and they were awaiting the right moment; meanwhile, ambassadors of the Allobroges, who (were in Rome) making a complaint against their magistrates, were approached to (join) the conspiracy of Lentulus, in order to make a rebellion against the Romans in Gaul. Together with them, Lentulus sent to Catiline (Titus) Vulturcius, a man of Croton, who was carrying letters written without signatures (lit. without names); being in doubt, the Allobroges communicated (what had happened) to (Quintus) Fabius (?Maximus) Sanga, who was the Allobroges' patron, as indeed all cities have (lit. there is to all cities) a certain patron in Rome. Learning (this information) from Sanga, Cicero arrested the Allobroges and Vulturcius as they were leaving (the city), and immediately brought (them) before the Senate; they confessed those things which they had conspired (to do) with Lentulus and his associates, and, when they had been produced before (them), they testified that Cornelius Lentulus had often said that it was decreed by fate that three Cornelii should be sole rulers of the Romans, of whom (Lucius Cornelius) Cinna and Sulla had already been (this).  

(5)  The Senate debates the fate of the conspirators. When they had testified, the Senate stripped Lentulus of his office, and Cicero, having put each (conspirator) in the houses of the praetors, returned at once and took a vote concerning them. There was uproar at the senate-house, as the exact (situation) was still not known, and (there was) fear of the conspirators. Then, the slaves and freedmen of Lentulus himself and of Cethegus went around by back streets to (attack) the houses of the praetors in order to rescue their masters. (On) hearing this, Cicero rushed out of the senate-house, and, having stationed guards at the required (places), he came back and expedited the taking of the vote. (Decimus Junius) Silanus, who had been chosen to be the consul-elect, spoke first, for it is customary among the Romans for the (man) who is about to be consul to deliver his opinion first, I think, because he would have to carry out many of the decrees, and hence would give the most careful and cautious consideration to each (one). Many (senators) agreed with Silanus, who thought that the men should be served with the ultimate penalty, until (the debate came) to (Ti. Claudius) Nero, whose turn to speak had come around. Nero judged that it was right to keep them under guard, until they had destroyed Catiline in battle, and they might learn the most accurate (account of the facts).

(6)  Execution of the conspirators. Gaius Caesar, while not being free from suspicion of complicity with these men, although Cicero did not have the courage to challenge him in the assembly, because he was so popular with the people, proposed that Cicero should distribute these men among the cities of Italy which he himself should approve, until, after Catiline had been defeated in battle, they should be brought to court, and that he should not do anything irrevocable to these noblemen in advance of argument and trial. Since this opinion appeared just and acceptable, most (of the senators) changed their minds completely, until (Marcus Porcius) Cato, now clearly revealing his suspicion with regard to Caesar, and Cicero, with apprehensions concerning the coming night, lest the crowd, who were sympathetic to these men and who were still hanging around in the forum, fearful both for themselves and for those (men), might do something desperate, persuaded (the Senate) to sentence (them) without trial as (men) caught in the act. Cicero at once, while the Senate was still in session, leading each of them from the houses (where they were being held) to the prison, with the crowd unaware (of this), saw (them) put to death, and, as he journeyed back, he signified to the (people) in the forum that they were dead. They dispersed in alarm, pleased for themselves that they had escaped detection.

Thus the city was relieved from the great fear which had hung over it on that day.

(7)  Defeat and death of Catiline; and the adulation of Cicero. As for Catiline, who had gathered about twenty thousand (lit. two myriads of) (men) and had already armed a quarter of them, and who was in the process of withdrawing to Gaul to (obtain) further resources, (Gaius) Antonius (Hybrida), the other consul, having intercepted (him) at the foot of the Alps, defeated without much difficulty the strange venture of the man, who had madly conceived (it) in his mind, and who, still more madly, put it to the test without preparation. Indeed, neither Catiline nor any other of his noble associates thought to flee, but, charging at their enemies, they  perished.

Catiline's uprising, having brought the city almost to the extremity of danger, ended in this way. Cicero, being well-known to everyone for the power of his oratory alone, was now in (people's) mouths for his actions as well, and was unquestionably considered to be the saviour of his country as it was disintegrating. Also, there were thanks and praises of every kind (bestowed) upon him by the assembly. Then, when Cato had addressed him as father of his country, the people cheered. And this title, having begun with Cicero, seems to some to have now devolved upon those emperors who appear worthy (of it): for, although they are kings, this is not voted to them immediately from the beginning together with their other titles, but only in conjunction with time, as an ultimate testimonial to outstanding (achievements).

Chapter 2. (Sections 8-14).  The First Triumvirate and Caesar's first consulship (61-59 B.C.) 

(8)  Caesar's attempt to stand for the consulship in absentia is blocked. Caesar, after he had been chosen (as) praetor for Spain, was detained in Rome for some (time) by his creditors, as he owed much more than his assets on account of his political ambition: (this was) when he was reported to have said that he needed twenty-five million (lit. two thousand and fifty myriads of) (sesterces) in order to own nothing at all. Having settled with those who were hounding (him), when he arrived in Spain, he was able to neglect dealing with the cities, hearing cases in court or all such matters of a similar nature to those (things), but, having gathered an army, he attacked those Spaniards who still remained (independent) one by one, until he demonstrated that Spain (was) tributary to the Romans in its entirety, and he also sent  much money to the public treasury in Rome. For these (reasons) the Senate granted him a triumph, and he was making preparations for the most splendid procession during those days (when) there was canvassing going on for the office of consul, and it was necessary for a candidate to present himself (in person), and it was not lawful for one to have entered (the city) and still to go back again for the triumph. Then he, being eager, for many (reasons) to secure the office, and having a procession (which was) not (yet) ready, sent to the Senate, asking that they should permit his candidacy to be declared in his absence through his friends, for, although he knew it was against the law, yet it had happened already in the case of others. When Cato opposed him and used up the last day for the declaration of candidates with speeches, Caesar, abandoning his triumph, entered (the city), and, having made his declaration for the office, he awaited the election.

(9)  The establishment of the First Triumvirate. Meanwhile, Pompey, having acquired great glory and power from his Mithridatic campaigns, was requiring the Senate to ratify those many (concesssions) which he had granted to kings, rulers and cities. Through envy, many of the (senators) obstructed (him), and especially (Lucius Licinius) Lucullus, the (man) who had commanded the army against Mithridates before Pompey, (and) who was declaring that the victory over Mithridates (was) his own, because he had left him to Pompey in a very weak state. Moreover, (Marcus Licinius) Crassus was helping Lucullus. Accordingly, feeling violently irritated, Pompey made an alliance with Caesar, swearing an oath that he would support (him) for the consulship; then, he immediately reconciled Crassus to him. These three (men), having very great power over everything, then contributed jointly to the needs of one another. Varro, a certain writer of theirs (i.e. of the Romans), encompassing (this alliance) in a book, described (it as) "The Three-headed Monster".

Viewing them with suspicion, the Senate, to (provide) opposition to Caesar, voted for Lucius (N.B. his praenomen was actually Marcus) (Calpurnius) Bibulus to be his colleague:

(10)  Caesar tricks Bibulus. immediately there were disputes between them, and preparations of armed forces (were) secretly (made) against each other. Caesar, who was clever at acting, made speeches to Bibulus in the Senate about harmony, (saying) that they would damage the public interest if they fell out. As he was believed to be so minded, keeping Bibulus unprepared and unaware of what was already going on and still suspecting nothing, he secretly got ready a large band and proposed in the senate-chamber laws on behalf of the poor, and he distributed land among them, and, in particular, the very best of this (land) around Capua, which was leased in the public interest, to those who were fathers of three children, (thus) bringing to himself a large reward through the favour of the crowd; for twenty thousand (lit. two myriads) of those who were rearing at least three (children) appeared at once. When many (senators) opposed this motion, he pretended to be angry, (and, saying) that they were doing wrong, he rushed out of the Senate, and for the whole of the (rest of the) year convened (it) no more, but addressed the people from the rostra. He asked both Pompey and Crassus in public (for their opinion) on the laws; they commended them, and the people came to the voting (booths) with concealed daggers.

(11)  Caesar forces his land law through. The Senate - for no one had convened it, nor was it lawful to convene it by means of the other of the (two) consuls - assembled at the house of Bibulus, but did nothing equivalent to the force and preparation of Caesar. Nevertheless, they considered that Bibulus should oppose the laws and bear a reputation not for negligence but for defeat. Having been persuaded, Bibulus accordingly burst into the forum while Caesar was still speaking.With strife and tumult occurring, there had already been blows, and men with daggers had smashed Bibulus' rods and insignia  and wounded (a number) of the tribunes who were around him. But, not at all afraid, Bibulus bared his neck, and, with a shout, called upon Caesar's partisans to (do) the deed: "For if I cannot persuade Caesar to do what (is) right," he said, "I shall, (by) dying thus, lay upon him the guilt and stigma (of it)." But his friends led him away against his will to the adjacent temple of Jupiter Stator. Then, Cato, having been summoned, pushed (his way) into the midst (of the crowd) like a young (man), and began to make a speech, but was lifted up off the ground and carried out by Caesar's men. Secretly, he ran back again to the rostra by another route, but despaired of giving a speech, as no one would listen (to him). Then, he heckled Caesar rudely, until (he was) again (lifted up) off the ground and ejected, and Caesar ratified his laws.      

(12)  Vettius claims to have been induced to murder Caesar and Pompey. In addition to this, (Caesar) made the people swear to regard (these laws) as binding and ordered the Senate to swear an oath (to obey them). When many, including Cato, refused, Caesar proposed, and the Senate ratified, the death (penalty) for anyone not prepared to swear; then, becoming alarmed, they took the oath forthwith, and (all) the others, including the tribunes (did so as well). For it was no longer appropriate to speak against (it), when the law had been approved by the rest. Then, (Lucius) Vettius, a common citizen, ran into the forum with a drawn dagger and said that he had been sent by Bibulus and Cicero and Cato to kill Caesar and Pompey, and that Postumius, a lictor of Bibulus, had given him the dagger. This affair being open to suspicion from both (sides), Caesar stirred up the mob, and he deferred examining Vettius until the following (day). When conjecture with regard to something cunning occurred, Caesar did not let it go, saying that men who were afraid (of him) had done this, until the people agreed with him to protect those who were the objects of the plot. Bibulus, abandoning everything out of hand, as though (he were) a private person, did not leave his house for the whole of the rest of his term of office, while Caesar, himself, (now) having sole power over public affairs, no longer continued to make investigations concerning Vettius.

(13)  Caesar's programme during his consulship. He brought forward other laws to win the favour of the people, and he confirmed all Pompey's acts, as he had promised him, The so-called knights, who were in between the people and the Senate in rank, and (who were) extremely powerful in all other matters on account of undertaking the farming of the taxes, the collection of which from the subject peoples they had contracted for, and the large number of very trusty servants (which they had kept) for this (purpose), had, for a long (time), been asking the Senate that they should have (lit. there should be to them) some release from a part of these taxes. But the Senate kept deferring (the matter). As Caesar was then needing nothing from the Senate but was employing the people only, he excused them from a third (part) of their obligations. They, when had experienced this unexpected favour far beyond their deserts, extolled him to the skies, and this other body, more influential than the people, was attached to Caesar through this one political act. He gave spectacles and wild beast hunts beyond his means, borrowing money from all (sources) and surpassing all former (exhibitions) in preparation, cost, and splendid gifts; for these (reasons) (the people) chose him to govern Gaul, both on this side of the Alps and beyond the Alps, for five years, and they gave (him) four legions of an army to command.

(14)  Caesar's partisans are rewarded. Seeing that his absence (from Rome) would be prolonged and that resentment (towards him would be) greater because of the very great (favours) which he had granted, he married his daughter to Pompey, although she was betrothed to (Quintus Servilius) Caepio, as he feared that even though he was a friend, he might begrudge the extent of his good fortune, and he advanced the boldest of his partisans to the magistracies for the coming year. he declared his friend Aulus Gabinius consul; as Lucius (Calpurnius) Piso was about to be consul with him, he himself married his daughter Calpurnia, although Cato cried out that the supreme post was being bargained away by marriages. (As) tribunes he chose (Publius) Vatinius and (Gaius) Clodius, surnamed Pulcher, whom, although he had fallen under suspicion of something shameful with Julia (N.B. this is wrong; it was Pompeia), the wife of Caesar himself, he did not bring to trial, as he was very popular with the people, although he did divorce his wife, but others prosecuted (him) for sacrilege at the sacred rites, and Cicero supported his accusers. When he was summoned (as) a witness, Caesar did not testify against (him), but then even declared (him) a tribune in order to act as a foil against Cicero, who was already decrying the union of the three men as a monarchy. Thus, they turned a private grievance to good use and benefited (one) enemy in order to take revenge upon another. It seems, however, that Clodius had previously repaid Caesar and helped (him) to (secure) the governorship of Gaul.

Chapter 3. (Sections 15-23).  The affairs of the First Triumvirate (58-52 B.C.)

(15) (58 B.C.)  Cicero is driven into exile. Such (things) Caesar did as consul, and, laying down his magistracy, he proceeded at once to his next (office). Then, Clodius indicted Cicero for breaking the law, in that he had put to death Lentulus, Cethegus (and) their associates instead of putting (them) on trial. Having shown most noble resolution in that affair, he became very feeble when facing trial, and putting on humble raiment and covered in squalour and dirt, he accosted (those) whom he met in the streets, not being ashamed to bother those who knew nothing about (the matter), so that his actions excited a change from compassion to laughter on account of his unseemly (appearance). Into such trepidation did he fall at this single trial of his own, (a man) who all his life had examined brilliantly in other (people's cases), and in a somewhat similar (manner) they say that Demosthenes the Athenian did not undertake his own case, but fled rather than (going) to trial. When Clodius interrupted his pleas in the streets with insults, Cicero abandoned all (hope), and he even fled into voluntary exile, and a multitude of his friends associated themselves with him, and the Senate recommended the man to cities and kings and potentates. Then, Clodius demolished his house and his country residences, and was so elated by this (business) that he was already comparing (himself) with Pompey, who possessed the greatest power in the city (of Rome).

(16)  (57 B.C.)    Cicero returns from exile. Then he (i.e. Pompey) encouraged (Titus Annius) Milo, who had been appointed to office together with Clodius, (and) who was bolder than Clodius, to (seek) the consulship and incited (him) against Clodius and directed (him) to vote for the return of Cicero, hoping that Cicero, when he returned, remembering what he had suffered, would no longer speak about the existing state of affairs, but would inflict court cases and (other) proceedings upon Clodius.

So Cicero, who had been exiled by means of Pompey, returned home by means of Pompey about sixteen months after his banishment: and (the Senate) rebuilt his house and his country residences by public expenditure. When everyone received him magnificently at the (city) gates, they say that a whole day was spent on these greetings, just as something similar happened in the case of Demosthenes, when he returned home.

(17)  (56 B.C.)   The First Triumvirate is renewed. Now Caesar, having performed many brilliant (exploits) among the Celts and the Britons (N.B. the conference of Luca, at which the First Triumvirate was renewed, occurred before either of Caesar's expeditions to Briton in 55 and 54 B.C.), such as have been described in my history of the Celts, had returned full of riches to the (part of) Gaul bordering upon Italy around the river Po, in order to give his army a break from continuous warfare for a short (time). While he sent large (sums of) money from there to many (persons) in Rome, the annual magistrates and those otherwise distinguished (men), who were going out to (be) governors of provinces or army camps, came to meet (him), such that there were a hundred and twenty lictors and more than two hundred senators around him at any one time, some returning thanks for what they had already had, and others seeking to enrich themselves, and others also seeking to achieve some other such (thing) for themselves. For now all (things) could be done by him on account of his large army, the strength of his finances and his readiness to oblige everyone. Pompey and Crassus, his partners in power, came to him also. They decided (lit. It seemed good to them) in their conference that Pompey and Crassus should be consuls again, and that another five year period should be voted to Caesar to (extend) the governorship of the provinces (lit. nations) which he (already) held.

Thus they separated from one another, and (Lucius) Domitius Ahenobarbus competed with Pompey for the consulship: on the appointed day they both went down to the Campus (Martius) for the election. There were scuffles between their followers (lit. those around them) and they were locked in a struggle, until someone smote Domitius' torch-bearer with a sword. After this there was a scattering, and Domitius himself (only) escaped to his house with difficulty, and some of Pompey's clothing was carried home stained with blood. Both of them came within so great (a nearness) of danger. (N.B. This incident actually occurred in another context during Pompey's second consulship in 55 B.C.)

(18)  (55 B.C.)  Crassus is defeated and killed by the Parthians. So, Crassus and Pompey having been chosen (as) consuls, voted Caesar another five year term, as they had promised, and, allotting the provinces and an army to (each of) them, Pompey chose Spain and Africa, but, sending friends to (take charge of) these, he himself remained in Rome, while Crassus (took) Syria and (the region) close to Syria, due to his desire for war with the Parthians, as (he thought it would be) straightforward, glorious and profitable. But on his departure from the city many strange ill-omens occurred, and the tribunes warned (him) not to go to war with the Parthians, because they had done nothing wrong, but, when he did not obey, they invoked public imprecations (upon him), and, as Crassus did not heed (them), he perished in Parthia together with his son of the same name and his army: for not quite (lit. a full) ten thousand (lit. myriad of) (men) out of a hundred thousand (lit. ten myriads) escaped to Syria. But my Parthian history will describe Crassus' disaster, and, as the Romans were suffering from a food shortage, they chose Pompey to be the overseer of the grain supply, and, just as (they had) against the pirates, they gave (him) twenty assistants from the Senate. Arranging them in a similar manner, he spread (them) out over the provinces and he immediately filled Rome with abundant supplies, by which means (lit. whence) he was exalted to (gain) still more great glory and power.

(19)  (54 B.C.)  The causes of the collapse of republican government. Also at this time Caesar's daughter, who was pregnant by Pompey, dies. Then, as this marriage had been terminated, fear fell upon everyone that Caesar and Pompey, with their great armies, would shortly be torn apart from each other, especially as the republic had been disorganised and unmanageable for some (time): for the magistrates were appointed by faction or bribery, and, with wrongful zeal, by the use of stones or swords, and corruption or the acceptance of bribes prevailed at that time in a most shameless manner, and the people themselves went to the elections (already) hired. Somewhere there was discovered a stake of eight hundred talents which had been deposited for the sake of the consulship (lit. the eponymous magistracy). The consuls (holding office) throughout each year despaired of leading armies and waging war anywhere, as they had been shut out by the power of these three men; instead of holding military commands, those among them who were more base prepared gain for themselves from the treasury of the state and from the election of their own successors. For these (reasons), good (men) forsook holding office altogether, so that at one time the city was without consuls for eight months because of the disorder of this kind, while Pompey deliberately overlooked all these (things) in order that the need for a dictator might come about as a result.

(20)  (53 B.C.)  Pompey schemes to become dictator. Many (citizens) were beginning to talk to each other about this, (saying) that the only remedy for the present evils was the power of a sole ruler, but that there was a need to choose (someone) powerful and mild (of temperament) at the same time, (thereby) intimating Pompey, who commanded a sufficient army, and who appeared to be a friend of the people and who led the Senate by virtue of his prestige, and (who was) self-controlled and temperate in his manner of life, and who either was, or was thought to be, easy of access with regard to meetings. In word, he bore this expectation with displeasure, but in fact (lit. in deed) he secretly did everything (he could) to (promote) it, and willingly overlooked the disorder of the state and the anarchy arising from the disorder. Although Milo, who had aided (him) in the (business) concerning Clodius, and who was popular with the people on account of the return of Cicero, considered that it was the right time (lit. in season) to stand for the consulship, he kept on delaying the elections, (52 B.C.) until Milo, indignant that Pompey was (being) disloyal towards him, went to his home town (of) Lanuvium, which they say was the first city in Italy that Diomedes founded during his wanderings from Troy, and there are a hundred and fifty stades (i.e. about nineteen miles) to (reach) it from Rome.

(21) Clodius is murdered by Milo. When Clodius was coming on horseback from his country estate, and met him at Bovillae, they merely looked at each other with hostility, and passed (each other) by, but a servant of Milo, attacking Clodius, either because he had been ordered (to do so), or because he was his master's enemy, stabbed (him) in the back with a dagger. Then, his groom carried him to a nearby inn, but Milo, following with his servants, finished him off, (whether he was) still alive or (was) dead, although he claimed that he neither advised nor ordered the killing: but, because he was likely (to be accused) by everyone, he considered that he should not leave the deed unfinished. When this event had been reported in Rome, the people, (being) thunderstruck, passed the night in the forum, and some (of them) displayed Clodius' body on the rostra: after some of the tribunes and the friends of Clodius, and all the rest of the crowd together with them, had seized it, they carried (it) away to the senate-house, either for the sake of honour, or to (provide) a reproach to the Senate for ignoring such (deeds). Then, the more reckless among those who were there, heaping up the benches and the ceremonial chairs of the senators, constructed a funeral-pyre for him, as a result of which the senate-house and many of the houses in the neighbourhood were consumed with fire together with (the body of) Clodius.

(22)  Further unrest in Rome as Milo tries to avoid prosecution. Milo had such fortitude (lit. There was such fortitude to Milo) that he was not more given to fear about the murder than (he was) indignant at the honour (paid to) Clodius by his funeral. So, collecting a mob of servants and countrymen, and (after) distributing money to the people and buying one of the tribunes, Marcus Caelius (Rufus), he very boldly came back. As soon as he entered (the city), Caelius dragged him to the forum to (face) those who had accepted (money) from him, as though (he were) in front of an assembly (of the people), but (while) pretending that he was very angry and not (willing) to grant any delay to justice, (actually) hoping that, if those present should let him go, he should escape a more real trial. Milo, saying that he had not planned the deed, for he would not have set out for this purpose with his luggage and his wife, directed the rest of his speech against Milo, as a desperado and a friend of desperadoes, who had burnt the senate-house to ashes over his body, but, while he was still speaking, the rest of the tribunes and (the) uncorrupted (section) of the people burst into the forum, armed with weapons. Caelius and Milo, having put on slaves' clothing, escaped, but there was much carnage among the others, yet they did not seek the associates of Milo, but slaughtered anyone they met, citizens and strangers alike, and especially those who were distinct due to their clothing or their sacrificial knives (made) from gold (i.e. knights). As the government (was) in a state of chaos, when this riot took place together with rage and motive, (those) who were, for the most part, servants and armed (men) against unarmed (ones) turned to pillage. They abstained from no crime (lit. No deed was absent from them), but they even plundered within houses, and, in fact (lit. in deed), while they were standing around, they searched for every kind of portable property for themselves, but, in theory (lit. in word), (for) the associates of Milo: Milo was, for several days, their excuse for fire, stones, and every kind of outrage (lit. deed).

(23)  Pompey is appointed sole consul. The Senate came together in fear and looked to Pompey in order that he should be their dictator at once: for the present (evils) seemed to them to need remedies of such a kind. But, at the instigation of Cato, they appointed (him) consul without a colleague, so that (by) ruling alone he might have the power of a dictator but the accountability of a consul. (Being) the first of the consuls who had two of the greatest provinces, an army, (public) money and monarchical power within the city through being sole consul, he decreed that Cato, in order that he should not cause trouble by being present, should annex Cyprus from King Ptolemy (N.B. The date is a mistake: Cato was sent to Cyprus in 58 B.C. not 52, and he returned in 56), although this law had already been exacted by Clodius, because once, when he had been captured by pirates, Ptolemy, through meanness, had sent (only) two talents towards his ransom. Cato settled the affairs of Cyprus, with Ptolemy having thrown his money into the sea and killing himself, when he learned of what had been decreed. Pompey proposed the prosecution of all those who had offended, and especially for the taking and giving of bribes, for he thought (lit. it seemed to him) that that the public malaise had started in this (area), and that he would effect a speedy remedy, and he laid down by law that anyone who wished (to do so) could call a magistrate to account (for any acts) from (the time of) his own first consulship (i.e. 70 B.C.) to the present. The period was a little less than twenty years, during which Caesar had also been consul (i.e. in 59 B.C.). So, when Caesar's friends suspected that he had gone back such a very long (time) in order to (cast) hurt or insult upon Caesar, and urged (him) to correct the present (situation) rather than rake up the past against so many distinguished men, and naming Caesar also among the others, Pompey was vexed concerning Caesar, (saying) that he was above suspicion, seeing that his own second consulship (i.e. in 55 B.C.) was included in the period, and that he had gone back a considerable (time) to (effect) a proper correction of the republic which had been afflicted for so long.

Chapter 4. (Sections 24-31).  Conflict between Pompey and Caesar begins to grow. (52-50 B.C.)

(24)  Pompey's prosecutions for bribery. (After) saying these (things), he passed the law, and immediately there was a multitude of prosecutions of various kinds. In order that the jurors might not be intimidated, he watched over them himself, having placed his army around (the court). The first (men) convicted in their absence (were) Milo for the murder of Clodius, Gabinius, both for violation of the law and impiety, because he had gone into Egypt with an army without legal authorisation, when the Sibylline (Books) had forbidden (it), (Publius Plautius) Hypsaeus, (Gaius) Memmius, Sextus (i.e. probably Publius Sestius) and many others for bribery or corruption of the populace. When the mob interceded for (Marcus Aemilius) Scaurus, Pompey annoiunced that they should await the verdict of the court: and, when the people again interrupted the accusers, some slaughter occurred, following a charge of Pompey's soldiers, and the people then kept quiet and Scaurus was convicted. Exile was the sentence of all (of them) and, in the case of Gabinius, there was a confiscation (of his property) as well. Then the Senate, applauding these (actions) very greatly, voted Pompey another two legions and another (period of) time for the rule of his provinces. As Pompey's law offered freedom from sentence to anyone who disclosed (the guilt of) another, Memmius, who had been convicted of bribery, summoned Lucius Scipio (i.e. Quintus Caecilius Metellus Pius Scipio Nasica), the father-in-law of Pompey, (to court) to (face) a similar charge of bribery. When, for this (reason), Pompey assumed the clothing of those on trial, many of the jurors assumed (similar clothing). So, Memmius, taking pity on the republic, abandoned his prosecution.  

(25)  Caesar is warned to be on his guard against Pompey. When Pompey had completed the (reforms) which required one-man rule, he made Scipio his colleague for the rest of the year. After this, although others had been invested in the consulship, Pompey, nonetheless, oversaw (them) and held the power, and at that time was all-in-all in Rome: for the good-will of the Senate rested upon him, through their jealousy of Caesar who had made no use of it at all during his consulship, and because Pompey had so speedily restored the ailing republic, and had not been troublesome or oppressive to any of them during his (term of) office.

When crowds of those who had been exiled went to Caesar and advised (him) to be on his guard against Pompey, (saying) that his bribery law was especially instituted against him, Caesar sought to reassure them and spoke well of Pompey, and he persuaded the tribunes to introduce a law to make it possible for Caesar to stand for a second consulship in his absence. And this was ratified when Pompey was still consul, and he did not object (to it) in any way. (51 B.C.) Caesar, however, suspecting that the Senate would oppose (this), feared that he would become a private citizen through the action of his enemies, and schemed to be in power until he was elected consul, and he asked the Senate that he should keep possession, for a little more time, of his present governorship of Gaul, or of a part of it. When (Marcus Claudius) Marcellus, who was consul after Pompey, prevented (this), they say that Caesar, striking the hilt of his sword, replied to the person disclosing (this news): "This will give (it) to me." (N.B. According to Plutarch, it was actually one of Caesar's centurions who acted thus.)

(26)  Marcellus seeks to provoke Caesar. Caesar had established the city of Novum Comum at the foot of the Alps as a colony with Latin rights, by which those who were chief magistrates on an annual basis should become Roman citizens - for this was the effect of Latin rights.  As an insult to Caesar, Marcellus had one of the men of Novum Comum, who had been their chief magistrate, and on account of this was considered to be a Roman (citizen), flogged with rods for some (reason), although Romans did not suffer this (punishment); through his anger he revealed his intention that these stripes should be the mark of a foreigner. And he told (the man) to take them and show (them) to Caesar. In outrageous fashion, Marcellus had already proposed to send successors in his provinces, (thus) taking (them) away before his time (was up). Pompey, however, prevented (this) with plausibility of speech and the pretence of good-will, (saying) that they ought not to offer an affront to a distinguished man who had been useful to his country in so many (ways) (merely) in relation to a short interval of time, but he made (it) clear that Caesar must (lit. that it was necessary for Caesar to) give up his command immediately after his time (had expired).

(50 B.C.) For this (reason), the bitterest enemies of Caesar were chosen (as) consuls for the coming (year), (Lucius) Aemilius Paullus and (Gaius) Claudius Marcellus, cousin of the previous Marcellus, and (Gaius Scribonius) Curio (as) tribune, and he was also a bitter enemy of Caesar, but very agreeable towards the people and most accomplished at speaking. Of these, Caesar was not able to induce Claudius with money, but he bribed Paullus for fifteen hundred (lit. a thousand and five hundred) talents not to assist him in any way but not to cause (him) difficulty, and also Curio to join (him) for a still larger (sum), knowing that he was troubled by many debts.

From this money Paulus constructed the basilica named Paulli, a very beautiful building, for (the benefit of) the Roman (people):

(27) Curio seeks to put pressure on Pompey to give up his command.  in order that he might not be detected changing his allegiance so suddenly, Curio put forward a very heavy (programme of) repairing many roads, and himself to be the overseer of these for five years, knowing that none of this would happen, but hoping that the friends of Pompey would oppose (him), and that he himself would have this (as) some cause of offence against Pompey.  As things turned out as he had expected, he had a pretext for disagreement, and Claudius proposed to send successors to Caesar in his provinces: for his time was at an end. Paullus kept silent. Although Curio was thought to differ from both, he praised the motion of Claudius, but added to it that Pompey also should give up his provinces and his army like Caesar: for in this way (he said) that the republic would be free within the city and without fear from any direction. While many opposed (this) as unfair on account of the (fact) that, in the case of Pompey, his time had not yet expired, Curio now laid (it) bare more clearly and firmly that they ought not to send (out) successors to Caesar, unless they were to bring that about in the case of Pompey also: for, as they were suspicious of each other, (he argued) that there would be no firm peace in the city unless they were both (lit. all) private citizens. He said these (things) because he knew that Pompey would not give up his command, and (because) he saw that the people were somewhat angry with him on account of the bribery cases. As his opinion was plausible, the people praised Curio as (being) the only (man) willing to bear the enmity of both (of them) in a manner worthy of the city (of Rome), and, on one occasion, they escorted him (home) scattering flowers as though (he were) an athlete in some great and difficult contest: for it seemed then that nothing was more perilous than a disagreement with Pompey.

(28)  Curio denounces Pompey. While being tended for sickness somewhere in Italy, Pompey sent (a letter) to the Senate with some artfulness, praising Caesar's exploits and recounting his own from the beginning, (saying) that his third consulship, and the provinces and an army in addition to it, had been granted to him, not sought by him, but, with regard to (the powers) which he had received, he said, "I shall willingly give (them) back to those who want to take (them) back, not waiting for the time which has been laid down (for their expiration)." The artfulness of what he had written implied the fairness of Pompey and a stirring up (of prejudice) against Caesar, as not being prepared to give back his command, even at the allotted time. When he arrived (in the city) he said other such (things) to them, and also then promised to give up his command. As a friend and a connexion by marriage to Caesar, he said that the latter would be glad to lay down (his command): for he had had (lit. there had been to him) a long and painful campaign against very warlike peoples, and, having added much (land) to (Roman) territory, he would come back to honours and sacrifices, and take a rest. He said these (things) in order that successors should be appointed immediately, while he himself would merely be under a promise. Curio, exposing his artifice, said that he should not (lit. it was necessary [for him] not to) make promises but rather lay down (his command) at once, and that Caesar should not be deprived of his army, until he had become a private citizen: for, on account of their personal enmity, it would profit neither the latter nor the Romans that such great power should be (held) by one (man) but that each of them should hold (power) against the other, in case some (threat) should subdue the republic by force. Throwing off any disguise, he denounced Pompey unsparingly as (one) aiming at tyranny, and (he said) that, unless he were to lay down his command now, he would never let go of (it) at all. He thought that, if they were to refuse to comply, they should both be voted public enemies, and an army should be levied against them: and by this (means) he very effectively concealed that he had been bought by Caesar.

(29)  Pompey is unwilling to lay aside his command. Pompey, being furious, and after threatening him, withdrew at once to the suburbs (i.e. to his house on the Campus Martius) in indignation. The Senate now had suspicions of both (of them), but they nevertheless considered Pompey (to be) the more republican, and they were displeased with Caesar because of his contempt for them during his consulship: some thought that (it would) really not (be) safe to take away power from Pompey until after he (i.e. Caesar) had laid down (his), since he was outside the city and (was a man) of greater ambition. Curio held the opposite opinion (lit. turned this [opinion] upside down), (namely) that Caesar should (lit. that it was necessary for them that Caesar should) be at hand against Pompey, or that they should disband both (armies) at the same time. As he did not persuade (them), he dismissed the Senate, with everything unfinished: a tribune had the power (to do) this: at this time it was a source of particular regret to Pompey that he had once more restored this office, which had been reduced by Sulla to (a state) of extreme feebleness, to its ancient (vigour). Nevertheless, as they were breaking up, this single (decree) was passed, (namely) that Caesar and Pompey should each send one legion of soldiers to Syria as a garrison on account of Crassus' disaster. Then, Pompey craftily demanded back the legion which he had recently lent to Caesar due to the disaster to Caesar's two generals, (Quintus)Titurius (Sabinus) and (Lucius Aurunculeus) Cotta, He sent it to Rome, having awarded each man two hundred and fifty drachmas, and he sent (it) together with another (legion) of his own.

(30)  The Senate votes that both Caesar and Pompey should lay down their commands. As no threat appeared concerning Syria, these (legions) went into winter quarters at Capua; those who had been sent by Pompey to Caesar spread many various reports derogatory to Caesar, and maintained (the view) to Pompey that Caesar's army, as they had been worn out by protracted service (lit. by service and time) and were longing for their homes, would come over to him whenever they were to cross the Alps. They spoke in this manner either through ignorance or because they had been corrupted, but (in fact) every man was strong in his enthusiasm and labour on Caesar's behalf, both due to military discipline (lit. the habit of warriors) and due to those gains which war (usually) brings to the victors, and which they had received from Caesar in addition: for he gave generously in order to mould (them) to (the things) which he was planning. Pompey, however, relying on what had been reported (to him), neither assembled the army nor (made) the preparations in accordance with so great a task. The Senate then asked the opinion of each (member): and Claudius unscrupulously divided (the question) and asked them successively whether successors to Caesar should be sent (lit. it seemed good [to them] to send successors to Caesar) and whether Pompey should be deprived of his command. The majority of them rejected the latter (proposition), but voted for the successors to Caesar. But when Curio repeated the question whether both (of them) should lay aside their powers (lit. what [was] in their hands), twenty-two voted against and three hundred and seventy turned back to the opinion of Curio, as the expedient (course) to avoid (lit. away from) (civil) conflict, whereupon Claudius dismissed the Senate, exclaiming, "Have your way (lit. May you prevail), (and) have Caesar (as) your master."

(31)  Pompey is given command of the republic's forces. When a false rumour burst upon (the scene) that Caesar, having crossed the Alps, was marching on the city, there was great tumult and panic among everyone, and Claudius moved that the army at Capua should go to meet Caesar as (he was) a (public) enemy. When Curio opposed (this) on the grounds (that the rumour was) false, he said: "If I am prevented by the vote of a public body from doing what is in the (public) interest, I shall conduct (affairs) in accordance with my own (power) as a consul." After saying these (words), he rushed out of the Senate to the suburbs with his colleague, and, proffering his sword to Pompey, he said, "I, and my fellow-leader here also, command you to march against Caesar on behalf of your country: and, for this purpose, we give you the army (that) is now around Capua or any other part of Italy, and any such other (force) as you may wish to levy." He complied as he had been ordered by the consuls, but yet he added, "Unless (there is) something better," (either) to deceive or to contrive (to give) the impression of fairness at that time. Curio had no authority (lit. There was no authority to Curio) outside the city - for the tribunes were not allowed (lit. it was not permitted to the tribunes) to go beyond the walls - but publicly (lit. amongst the people) he deplored what was happening and demanded that the consuls should proclaim that no one had to obey Pompey in any way when he was conscripting. Then, as he could achieve nothing, since his term of office (lit. time) as a tribune was then expiring, and, fearing on his own behalf and despairing that he could still be of assistance to Caesar, he went to him in haste.

Chapter 5. (Sections 32 -35). The outbreak of civil war. 

(32)  Caesar's negotiations with the Senate break down. He (i.e. Caesar) had recently sailed across the sea from Britain (N.B. The timing is incorrect here; Caesar actually left Britain in the autumn of 54 B.C.), and after (going through) the (lands) of the Gauls along the Rhine (and) traversing the Alpine mountains with five thousand infantry and three hundred cavalry, he arrived at Ravenna, which was bordering on Italy and (was) the last (place) in Caesar's province. (After) greeting Curio warmly and acknowledging his thanks for what had happened, he reviewed the current (circumstances). Curio thought (lit. It seemed good to Curio) that he should assemble his whole army now and lead (it) to Rome, but Caesar (thought) that he should still try to come to terms. So, he told his friends to make an agreement, (namely) that he would give up all his provinces and armies, except that he should keep only two legions and Illyria with Cisalpine Gaul (lit. Gaul within the Alps), until he should be elected consul. Pompey thought it was sufficient (lit. It seemed good enough to Pompey), but, when the consuls blocked (it), Caesar sent (a letter) to the Senate, and Curio, (after) travelling two thousand three hundred stades (i.e. about a hundred and fifty miles) in three days, delivered this letter to the new consuls as they entered the Senate-house on the Kalends of January (lit. on [the day of] the new moon of the year). (49 B.C.) The letter included a solemn catalogue of (the things) which Caesar had achieved from the beginning (of his career), and a proposal that he was willing to lay aside (his command) together with Pompey, but that, if the latter continued in office, he would not give up (his command) but would come at once in haste to provide in support of his country and himself. Whereupon they all shouted out loudly that, as this was considered a declaration of war, Lucius Domitius should be his successor. Then, Domitius set out at once with four thousand (men) from the draft.

(33)  The Senate expels Caesar's supporters. When (Marcus) Antonius (i.e. Mark Antony) and (Quintus) Cassius (Longinus), who were tribunes after Curio, agreed with Curio's opinion, the Senate, more obstinate than ever, considered Pompey's army to be their protector and Caesar's (to be) their enemy. Then, the consuls, (Gaius Claudius) Marcellus and (Lucius Cornelius) Lentulus (Crus), ordered Antony and his friends (lit. those around Antony) to leave the Senate. lest they should suffer something harmful despite being tribunes. Then Antony sprang from his chair in anger and called upon them in the name of the gods (to witness) that they were offering insults to the office (of tribune), although it was sacred and inviolable, and also to themselves, (saying) that while they were expressing an opinion which they considered in the public interest, they were being driven out with contumely, although they had not performed any murder or sacrilege. Having said these (words), he rushed out like (a man) possessed, prophesying that they were about to experience (lit. there was about to be to them) slaughter, proscription, exile, confiscation of property and other such (evils) of this kind, and invoking dire curses on those responsible. Curio and Cassius ran out together with him: for some soldiers of Pompey were already observed standing around the Senate-house. They made their way to Caesar that very night with the utmost speed in a hired vehicle, concealing themselves (by) wearing slaves' clothing. Caesar showed them, still dressed in this manner, to his army, and he aroused their anger (by) saying that, after they had performed such great (deeds), they were regarded (as public) enemies, and (that) they were expelling in disgrace men such as these who had dared to say a word (lit. something) on their behalf.

(34) The Civil War breaks out. The war had (now) opened up on both sides, and was already openly declared, and the Senate, thinking that Caesar's army would only arrive from (the land) of the Gauls after some time (lit. with time), and that he would never rush into so great an enterprise with so few (men), directed Pompey to assemble a hundred and thirty thousand (lit. thirteen myriads of) Italian (soldiers), and especially those of them who had served with experience of war, and to enlist as many stout-hearted foreigners as possible from the surrounding provinces. For the war they immediately voted him all the money in the public (treasury) and their own private (fortunes), if this should be needed to pay for the soldiers: they levied additional (contributions) on the cities with passion and party-spirit, which they collected (lit. omitting nothing) with the utmost urgency. Caesar had sent (messengers) to his own army, but, as he was always wont (to rely) upon the dismay caused by his speed of execution and the consternation caused by his daring rather than upon the strength of his preparations, he decided, with his five thousand (men), to be the first to attack in this great war, and to be the first to occupy the vital (positions) in Italy.

(35)  Caesar crosses the Rubicon and captures Ariminum. Accordingly. he he sent forward some of his centurions with a few of his very boldest (men), dressed in civilian garb, to enter Ariminum and suddenly seize the city. This was the first (city) in Italy, after (one leaves) Gaul. At around evening, he withdrew from dinner, on the grounds that he was unwell (lit. sick in respect of his body), leaving his friends, who were still eating, behind (him), and, mounting a horse-drawn carriage, he drove to Ariminum, with his cavalry following at a distance. Coming at a fast pace  to the river Rubicon, which marks the boundary of Italy, he halted his journey, and, (while) gazing at the stream, he revolved (matters) in his mind, as he thought of all the evils that would result if he crossed under (lit. with) arms. Recovering himself, he said to those who were present: "My friends, stopping this crossing will be the beginning of troubles for me, but crossing over (will be thus) for all mankind." Having said these (words) like a man inspired, he crossed with a rush, having uttered that common (phrase): "Let the die be cast!" Then resuming his fast journey, he captured Ariminum at around dawn and proceeded forwards, stationing guards at key positions, and subduing everything in his path (lit. at his feet) either by force or through generosity. There was flight and migration in panic from the whole countryside, and a disorganised rush with lamentation, because (people) did not know the exact (situation) but thought that Caesar with a boundless army was driving forward with all his might.

B.  THE BATTLE OF PHARSALUS (Sections 65-82) (48 B.C.)

Chapter 10. (Sections 65 -71)

(65) Pompey holds a council of war. After Caesar's withdrawal, Pompey set up a council (of war). (Lucius) Afranius thought (lit. It seemed good to Afranius) that he should send the fleet, in which they were far superior, after Caesar, and should harass (him), wandering and destitute (as he was), and that Pompey himself should lead his infantry in haste to Italy, which was well-disposed towards him and free of enemies, and, having made himself master of it, as well as of Gaul and Spain, he could then attack Caesar once more from their own home (territory) and the country which was (the seat of) imperial power. Overlooking these (words) which constituted very good (advice) to him, he was persuaded by those who said that Caesar's army would shortly desert to him, due to hunger, and that there would not be much left for them (to do) anyway after the victory which had occurred at Dyrrachium: (they said) that the opposite (course) would be disgraceful, (namely) to leave Caesar behind as he was fleeing and that the victor should flee like those who had been defeated. Siding with these (advisers), especially out of respect for the eastern nations, who were looking to him, and due to his concern for Lucius Scipio, who was still in Macedonia, lest anything harmful should happen (to him), but most of all because he intended to take advantage of his army being keen for battle, he advanced and pitched his camp opposite to Caesar's near Pharsalus, and they were separated from each other by a distance of thirty stades (i.e. about four miles).

(66)  Pompey prefers to reduce Caesar's army through want rather than risk a battle.  Pompey had (lit. There were to Pompey) supplies from every quarter: for the roads, harbours and strongholds had been so provided by him beforehand that (these supplies) were brought from the land at all times, and every wind brought him (supplies) by sea: Caesar, however, was suffering, (and) only had whatever he could, with some difficulty, find and seize. Even so, no one deserted him, but they (all) longed, through a (kind of) divine passion, to come to grips with the enemy, and they considered that, as they had been practised in war for ten years, they were much superior to those who were still raw recruits, but, with regard to digging ditches, building fortifications and laborious foraging for corn, they (were) weaker by reason of their advancing age: it seemed altogether better to them, tired (as they were), to do something (rather than) to perish through inaction and hunger. Perceiving these (things), Pompey considered that (it would be) dangerous to risk everything on a single engagement against their men, (who were) well-trained and desperate, and that (it would be) more effective and safer to exhaust them by want, as they controlled no land, nor could they make use of the sea, nor did they have any ships for the purpose of rapid flight.

So, on the basis of this excellent analysis, he decided to prolong the war and to move the enemy from famine to plague.

(67)  Pompey is forced to prepare for battle against his own better judgment. There were around him a great number of men from the Senate of equal rank to himself, very distinguished men called knights, and many kings and potentates; some through inexperience, others because they were unduly elated by their successes at Dyrrachium - there were (some) who (said) that he had more (men) (lit. there were more [men] to him) than the enemy - and some, who, being thoroughly tired of the war, were pressing for a swifter rather than a suitable outcome, they all urged him to (join) battle, pointing out that Caesar was always drawing up his men for battle, and challenging (him). But he, especially from that very (fact), explained to them that this was necessary for Caesar due to his want (of provisions), and for this (reason) (it was) a good time for them to remain quiet, because Caesar was compelled by necessity. Yet, harassed by the whole army, which was unduly elated by the (victories) at Dyrrachium and (by) those men of rank, who mocked him for his love of power, (saying) that he was willing to delay in order to retain his power over so many (men) of equal rank (to himself), and, for this (reason), calling him king of kings and Agamemnon, because the latter ruled over kings on account of the war, he abandoned his own analysis and gave in to them, with the god deceiving (him) now and on other (occasions) throughout the whole war. For, becoming sluggish and dilatory in everything, contrary to his nature, he prepared for battle against his will, to his own detriment and (to that) of those who had persuaded him (to do so).

(68)  Omens of disaster.  That night, three of Caesar's legions were going out for the purpose of foraging, for he, applauding Pompey for his dilatoriness, and not imagining that he would change his plan in any way, sent (them) out to (obtain) food, but he was delighted when he perceived his preparations for an armed engagement, which he guessed Pompey had been pressured into by his army, and he very quickly recalled all his own (forces) and made counter-preparations. (While) offering sacrifices in the middle of the night, he invoked Mars and his own ancestress Venus - forname, it was believed that the family of the Julians was descended by name from Aeneas and from Ilus, (the son) of Aeneas, (and) he vowed that he would build a temple in Rome to her as the bringer of victory, if he were successful. When a flame from heaven, having flown (through the air) from Caesar's camp to that of Pompey, was extinguished, Pompey and his associates (lit. those around Pompey) said that something splendid would accrue (lit. there would be something splendid) to them from the enemy, but Caesar (said) that he would fall upon and extinguish the (cause) of Pompey. That same night, some of Pompey's sacrificial animals escaped and were not recaptured, and a swarm of bees, a sluggish (form of) life, settled on the altar. Shortly before dawn, a panic befell his army, and going around it himself and quieting (it), he was relieved by a deep sleep: when his friends aroused him, he said that (in) a dream he was just dedicating a temple in Rome to Venus, the bringer of victory.

(69)  Contrast between the unrealistic expectations of Pompey's army and his own profound anxiety.
His friends and his whole army, in ignorance of Caesar's vow, were delighted when they heard of this, and, in other respects as well, they went into action in an unreasonable manner with eagerness and a contempt (for the enemy), as though (victory) had been achieved (already). Indeed, many of them had already decorated their tents with laurel branches, the symbol of victory: and their slaves were preparing a most splendid banquet; and there were (some) who were even already competing with one another over Caesar's high-priesthood. Pompey, (being) experienced in the (business) of war, turned away from such (squabbles), and, (although) feeling a just resentment against them, he concealed (it) and kept his silence through hesitation and dread, as though he were no longer commanding, but being commanded, and doing everything under compulsion and against his (better) judgment. So great a melancholy had come over (lit. befallen) this man of such great deeds and who had been most fortunate in every undertaking until that day, either because, having decided what was the best course of action, he had not convinced (his army), but was gambling (lit. casting the die) with regard to the security of so great a multitude of men and also of (what had been) until that day his own invincible reputation; or (because) some presentiment of approaching evil was already troubling him, as though he was about to be deprived, all at once on that very day, of (his position of) such great power. Then, (after) simply saying to his friends that, whichever one of them should be victorious, this day would be the beginning of great evils for the Romans for all time, he drew up (his forces) for the battle: indeed, in this (remark) some (people), thinking that his real intention slipped out in a (moment of) fear, considered that Pompey would not have given up the supreme power, even if he had prevailed.

(70) The number of troops engaged in the battle.  As (the size of the two) armies was disputed between the many (writers) reporting (on the battle), I think I should (lit. it seems good to me to) follow in particular those Roman (authorities) who give the most plausible (figures) concerning the troops (who came) from Italy, in whom they had especial confidence, (but) they do not enumerate or record (the names of) the allied (element), as they were foreigners and of small account in themselves in terms of additional support: on the one hand, Caesar had (lit. [there were] to Caesar) about twenty- two thousand (lit. about two thousand on top of two myriads of) (men), and around a thousand of these were cavalry, and. on the other hand, Pompey had (lit. [there were] to Pompey) more than double (that number), and of these about seven thousand (were) cavalry. Thus, it seems to those reporting the most reliable (details) that seventy thousand (lit. seven myriads of) Italian soldiers were engaged (lit. met one another) in the battle: others give the smaller (number) of sixty thousand (lit. six myriads), but then others still, grossly exaggerating, say that there were four hundred thousand (lit. forty myriads). Of these, some think that Pompey had (lit. there were to Pompey) one and a half times as many (as Caesar), and others about two parts out of three. So great are the doubts about the true (figure): however that may be, each of them relied especially on those from Italy. (As) allied (support) Caesar had (lit. there was to Caesar) cavalry from (Cisalpine) Gaul and another contingent from Transalpine Gaul (lit. from those Gauls [who live] beyond the Alps): from the Greeks, Dolopians, Acarnanians, and Aetolians served him as light infantry (i.e. peltasts). Such were those in alliance with Caesar, but Pompey had (lit. [there were] to Pompey) all the peoples of the East in great numbers, some (fighting) on horseback, others on foot, from Greece, Spartans, commanded by their own kings, and the rest of the Peloponnesus, and Boeotians with them.  The Athenians also took the field, although they had proclaimed that, (being) consecrated to the Thesmophorae (i.e. Demeter and Persephone), they would do no harm to the army of either, but yet they were attracted to the glory of the war, because they were contending for the prize of the leadership of the Romans.

(71)  Pompey's eastern supporters are listed.  In addition to the Greeks, (there were present) nearly all (the peoples) whom (one meets) as one goes around the circuit of the eastern sea: Thracians and Hellespontines, Bithynians and Phrygians and Ionians, Lydians and Pamphylians, Pisidians and Paphlagonians, and the people of Cilicia, Syria and Phoenicia, and Jews and their neighbours, the Arabs, Cypriots, Rhodians, and Cretan slingers and other such islanders. Kings and princes were there, leading their troops, (namely) Deiotarus, the tetrarch of the eastern Galatians, and Ariarathes, king of the Cappadocians. The general Taxiles was leading the Armenians from the near side of the Euphrates, and Megabates, the deputy of King Artapates (i.e. Artavasdes), those Armenians from beyond the Euphrates; and some other minor potentates also took part with (Pompey) in the action. It is said that sixty ships came to him from the sovereigns of Egypt, Cleopatra and her brother, who was still a boy. But these did not fight with (him); nor did the rest of his fleet, but it remained inactive (lit. without employment) at Corcyra. It seems that Pompey acted foolishly in this respect by disregarding his ships, by which, as he was greatly superior in these, he could have deprived the enemy of supplies brought in from all points, and in engaging in an infantry battle with men who boasted of their deep endurance and who became like wild bears in battle. For, although he was on his guard against them at Dyrrachium, it seems that he was misled by some divinely sent recklessness, (and) this happened at a good time for Caesar in every respect: for this (reason) Pompey's army became most thoughtlessly aroused, and overrode its own commander and rushed into (lit. turned to) action without any previous experience of war.

Chapter 11.  (Sections 72-82)

(72)  Pompey's address to his army. However, God arranged this to (bring in) the beginning of that power that now commands everything: then each (man), assembling his soldiers, urged (them) on, with Pompey speaking as follows: "You, my soldiers, are the leaders in this action, rather than being led: for, although I still wished to wear our Caesar's (army), you, yourselves, have invited this contest. So like judges of the battle, you should act as those who are much superior to those who are inferior (in numbers). and despise (the enemy) as victors (do) the vanquished and  as  young (men) do old men and as fresh troops (do) (those who are) much wearied, and you have (lit. there is to you) all the strength and resources, and the consciousness of your (good) cause. For we are fighting for freedom and our country, with the laws and an honourable reputation (on our side), and with so many men, both from the Senate and knights, against one man who has seized the government by robbery. So, go (forward), as you have determined, with (every) good expectation, and keeping in your sight that flight of theirs which occurred at Dyrrachium, and all those standards which we took when we defeated them."

(73) Caesar reminds his troops of the reasons why there are fighting.  Pompey spoke thus. Caesar (addressed) his own men as follows: "This day will decide everything. Remember your promises to me at Dyrrachium and (the things) which you swore to one another while I was watching, (namely) that you would not return (from the field) except as conquerors. My men, these are (those to fight) against whom we have come from the Pillars of Hercules: they (are) those who have fled from Italy (to escape) us, (they are those) who, after we have fought such great wars for ten years and accomplished innumerable victories and have acquired four hundred nations of Spaniards and Gauls and Britons for our country, have sought to disband (us) unrecompensed, without a triumph and any rewards, and neither (by) inviting them to (do) the right (things), have I persuaded (them), nor have I won (them) over by favours. You know (those) whom I have released unharmed, hoping that we should obtain (lit. that there would be to us) some fairness from them. So, bear all these (words) of mine in your (minds) today, and, if you have experienced anything of me, my care (for you), my good faith and my generous gifts.

(74)  Caesar tells his troops why they will be victorious and how they should treat their defeated enemies. "It is not difficult for warriors hardened in war to overcome new recruits, who are still without experience of conflict, and especially when they have turned towards indiscipline and disobedience towards their commander, whom I have learned was afraid and unwilling to proceed to an engagement, and who has already passed the zenith of his luck, and has become sluggish and dilatory in everything (that he does), and no longer gives orders but rather receives them. These (words) of mine are only about his Italian (soldiers), since you should neither think about his allies nor should you pay them attention (lit. hold them in your mind) nor fight with them at all. They are slaves from Syria, Phrygia and Lydia, always ready to flee and be enslaved: I know well, and you will shortly see, that Pompey himself will not assign them (a place) in his battle-line. So, I say, hold fast only to the Italians, even if their allies come running among you and make a noise after the manner of dogs. When you have put them to flight, let us spare them, as they are our kindred, but, with regard to their allies, let us give them cause for consternation. Before all else, so that I may know that you are mindful of what you agreed, at all events to choose victory or death, as you go into battle on my behalf, pull down the walls of your (camp) and fill up its ditch with earth, so that we may have nothing, if we do not conquer, and the enemy may see that we are without a camp and may know that we must (lit. it is a necessity for us to) take up our quarters in theirs."

(75)  The battle-lines are drawn up.  After he had spoken these (words), he nevertheless sent down two thousand of his very old men to guard the tents; the rest, as they departed, demolished the earth-wall in total silence and threw it into the ditch. Seeing this, Pompey, although some (of his friends) thought they were preparing for flight, recognised their daring and groaned within himself that, although they had famine, the appropriate cure for wild beats, they were proceeding against these wild beasts in hand-to-hand (combat). But there was no drawing back now, as their affairs were on a razor's (edge). Wherefore, leaving four thousand of his Italian (troops) to guard his camp, he drew up the rest between the city of Pharsalus and the river Enipeus, (opposite) where Caesar was marshalling (his men), and each of them divided his Italian (troops) into three (lines) in the forefront (of his army), set apart a short (distance) from each other, and stationed his cavalry on the wings of each division. Thus was placed the Italian (contingent), upon which both of them especially relied: the allied (elements) were marshalled by themselves as if for show. There was much noise and many tongues among Pompey's allied (element): of these, Pompey stationed the Macedonians, the Peloponnesians, the Boeotians and the Athenians near the Italian contingent, and he ordered the rest, as Caesar had guessed, to lie in wait outside the line of battle, (and,) whenever the conflict should come close (to them), to surround the enemy and to pursue (them), doing whatever damage they could, and to ransack Caesar's camp itself, which was without fortifications.

(76) The commanders of the lines of each army are indicated.  In command of Pompey's formation were his father-in-law Scipio in the centre, and Domitius (Ahenobarbus) on the left, and Lentulus (Crus) on the right. Afranius and Pompey guarded the camp. (N.B. In the case of Pompey this is an error: he was actually in command of one of the wings.) In command on Caesar' (side) were (Publius Cornelius) Sulla, Antony, and (Gnaeus) Domitius (Calvinus), and he himself took up his place on the right wing, amongst the tenth legion, as was his custom. Seeing this, the enemy transferred the best of their cavalry against it, in order, as they were superior (in numbers), to surround (it), if they could. Realising (this), Caesar placed three thousand of his most daring infantrymen in an ambush, (and) ordered them, when they should perceive the enemy trying to outflank (him), to leap up and, raising their spears, to thrust (them) right into the faces of the men: for, as they were inexperienced and fresh, (and) still in the bloom of youth, they would not (be able to) endure the risk to their faces. So they constructed such (plans) against each other, and they went through (the ranks of) each (army), dealing with urgent matters and encouraging (their men) to be brave (lit. towards bravery), and also giving (them) the watchword, Caesar (choosing) Venus the Bringer of Victory, and Pompey Hercules the Invincible.  

(77)  The thoughts of both Caesar and Pompey as they await the beginning of the battle.  When everything was ready on both sides, they waited for a long time in profound silence, delaying still and hesitating, and looking steadfastly at each other (to see) which (of them) would start the battle. For they felt pity for the common soldiers (lit. the multitude), as no Italian forces had met in battle on a single field hitherto, and they had pity for the valour (of those men) who were the elite of both sides, and especially when they saw Italians engaging with Italians. When they were coming close to this disaster, the ambition which had blazed up and blinded (them) both was extinguished and quickly turned to fear, and (cool) reason purged their thirst for fame, and calculated the peril and the cause (of the war), (namely) that two men (who were) striving with one another for supremacy were running a risk around their own security, and were not far from being still less than everyone else, and that so great a number of noblemen (were doing the same) on their account. And it entered their minds that they, who had lately been friends and relatives by marriage and had cooperated with each other on many (occasions) to (gain) rank and power, were now drawing swords against each other, and (that) they were leading those who were under their command into the same impiety, and (that men) who were of the same nation, city, tribe and family, and, in some cases, even brothers (would fight) with one another: for not even these (circumstances) were wanting in this battle, but, when so many tens of thousands (lit. myriads) of men from one nation were attacking (lit. going against) each other, unexpected things happened. Pondering these (things), each (of them) was seized at that moment with an unavailing repentance (lit. a repentance that was no longer possible), and, since he would become on that day either the foremost or the least of those on earth, (each one) shrank from beginning such a battle. It is said (lit. They say) that both of them shed a tear.

(78)  The battle begins: Caesar's hidden infantry successfully ambush Pompey's cavalry.  While they were still hesitating and watching each other, the day was advancing.  All his Italian (troops) waited in complete stillness where they had been placed: but when Pompey saw that his allied (forces) had been thrown into confusion by the delay, and feared that they might initiate disorder, he gave the signal (for battle) first, and Caesar sounded (his signal) in reply, and, at once, the trumpets, of which there were many in the (different) divisions of so large a host, aroused the (men), and the officers, running about, urged (them) on. They advanced confidently towards each other, but with awe and in absolute silence, as they were used to war, (having taken part) in many such encounters. And now, as they approached one another, there was a first (discharge) of arrows and stones, and, as the cavalry were a little in front of the infantry, (there were) skirmishes and charges against each other. Then, as Pompey's (cavalry) prevailed, they began to outflank the tenth legion. Then, when Caesar gave the signal to the (men) lying in ambush, they sprang up (and) advanced against the cavalry, striking upwards with their spears in the faces of the riders (lit. at the riders in respect of their faces), and the latter, not being able to endure them or their savagery or the blows to their mouths and at their eyes, fled in a disorderly manner. Thereupon, Caesar's cavalry (N.B. It was not his cavalry, but the six cohorts of infantrymen he had kept in reserve to ambush Pompey's cavalry), who had been afraid of being surrounded themselves, at once began to encircle (Pompey's) infantry.

(79)  Pompey's left wing is overwhelmed.  Having learned (this), Pompey ordered his infantry not to advance any further, or to break the line of formation, or to hurl their javelins, but, standing in a defensive line, to ward off the advancing (enemy) with their spears in hand-to-hand combat. Some (people) praise this tactic of his as the best (step to take) during an encirclement, but Caesar criticises (it) in his letters: for (he says) that blows occur with more force by being thrown, and that the men (are made) more enthusiastic by charging: and those who are made to stand (still) lose heart, and that these are easily hit targets for those charging at (them) on account of their being stationary (lit. their inactivity). And so (he says) it then happened: for the tenth legion, with (Caesar) himself, surrounded Pompey's left (wing), which had become denuded of its cavalry, and threw javelins at their ribs from every quarter as it stood immobile, until falling upon their disordered (ranks) in force, they routed (them) and set the victory in train. Among the rest of their ranks there were yet many and various acts of injury and death: but no cry (came) from so gerat a legionary force as they were accomplishing such (deeds), nor any screams from those being killed or wounded but only groans and sighs from them as they fell in good order where they had been stationed. The allies, who were watching the battle, as though (it were) a contest (during games), were astounded at the good discipline (shown).and, not having the courage to (attack) Caesar's tents, although (only) a few of the older men were guarding them,nor did they accomplish anything else, but stood dumbfounded.

(80)  While the rout of Pompey's army proceeds, Caesar tells his men to spare the Italians soldiers and only slaughter the allied forces.   As Pompey's left (wing) gave way, even then (the legionaries) themselves retired step-by-step and at the same time they engaged in close combat, but the allies fled headlong without any resistance, crying out: "We are beaten!" Then, falling upon their own tents and fortifications as though (they were) the enemy's, they pulled down and plundered whatever they could carry off in their flight. Now, the rest of the heavily-armed (contingent) of Italians, perceiving the defeat on that (wing), withdrew gradually, at first in good order and still continuing to resist as strongly as they could, but, when the enemy pressed heavily upon them as if in victory, thy turned to flight. Then Caesar with especially great inventiveness, in order that they should not (have to) engage again, and the result should decide not a single battle but the whole war, sent heralds everywhere into the ranks, (and) they ordered the victors to leave their fellow-countrymen untouched, and proceed only against their allies. Then they came near to the defeated (troops), advising them to stand (still) without fear. As the message was closely examined man-to-man, they halted: and now this was the distinguishing mark among Pompey's soldiers, (namely) the phrase "Stand without fear!", as all the rest of the Italians were similarly clad and spoke the same language, and Caesar's troops, passing through them, began to kill the allies, who were unable to resist: and the most tremendous carnage then took place.

(81) Caesar leads his troops to assault Pompey's camp; and Pompey flees in despair.  When Pompey saw the fight (of his men), he became deranged (lit. beside himself) (and) retired to his camp on foot, and, on reaching his tent, he sat down speechless, in such a manner as they say Ajax, the (son) of Telamon, suffered at Troy in the midst of his enemies through a madness sent by the gods: for Caesar's message caused (them) to halt without fear of harm, and, when their enemies ran through (them), they began to disperse group by group. As the day was declining, Caesar, running frantically hither and thither through his army, implored (his men) to continue their exertions, until they should take Pompey's encampment, (and) telling (them) that, if the enemy were to rally once more, they would have been victorious on one day (only), but that, if they were to take their camp, they would have decided  the war successfully by this one exploit. So, he stretched out his hands to them in entreaty, and was the first to lead the charge. Although they were tired in body, his reasoning and their commander gathering (them) together, lightened their spirits. The success of what had occurred (so far), and the hope that they would capture the encampment and the many (contents) within it, buoyed (them) up: and men in the midst of hope and good fortune feel exhaustion least. So they falling upon it, set to work with great contempt for its defenders, and, when Pompey learned (of this), he broke off from his strange silence, (to say) simply: "So (they are) in our camp too, are they?" and, having spoken (thus), he changed his clothing, and mounting a horse, together with four friends, he did not halt his course until he came to Larissa at daybreak. Then Caesar established himself in Pompey's camp, as he had threatened (to do), when he was preparing (for the battle), and he himself feasted upon his food, and his whole army (upon) that of their enemies.

(82) The number of casualties in the battle, and the awards given for bravery.  (Of those) on both sides (who) died, at least of the Italians, for no calculation at all was made of the allies, due to their number and the contempt (in which they were held), from Caesar's army (there were) thirty centurions and two hundred legionaries, or, as it seems to others, one thousand two hundred, and from Pompey's men, (there were) ten senators, (one) of which was Lucius Domitius (Ahenobarbus), who had been sent to Gaul (as) the successor to Caesar himself, and (there were) around forty illustrious (men) of those called knights: and for the rest of his army, some (writers) exaggerating (the number) say twenty thousand five hundred, but Asinius Pollio, (who was) a general under Caesar in that battle, records that six thousand dead (bodies) were found among those in Pompey's (army).

This was the outcome of the famous battle of Pharsalus. Caesar himself carried off the palm for courage in the first and second (place) by (the consent) of all, as he had been acknowledged to be the bravest, and the tenth legion together with him. The third (place went to) the centurion Crassinius (i.e. Crastinus), whom Caesar, as he was leaving for the battle, asked what (result) he was expecting, and he had replied loudly in a proud voice: "We shall conquer, O Caesar, and today you will approve my (conduct), whether I am living or dead." The (whole) army testified that he darted through each rank like (a man) possessed, and that he performed many splendid (deeds). When sought for, he was found among the dead, (and) Caesar placed decorations of valour upon his (body) and buried (them) with (him), and he erected a special tomb (for him) near the (grave) of all the other men.


Chapter 21. (Sections 149-154)

(149) Caesar goes to his death, having ignored the warnings of the seer; an account of the deeds of Alexander.  So died Gaius Caesar on the day which they call the Ides of March, around the middle of Anthesterion (i.e. a month in the Ionic Greek calendar), that day which the seer prophesied that he would not survive; making fun of him, he said at dawn: "(Well,) the Ides have come." But the latter, nothing daunted, replied: "(Yes,) but they have not passed." But, disdaining such prophesies made to him with such confidence by the seer, and the other portents which I have mentioned earlier, he went his way and died, being in his fifty-sixth year (of age), a man most fortunate in all (things), possessing a divine spark, disposed to grand designs, and fittingly compared with Alexander. For both were extremely ambitious in all (things), most warlike, most rapid in progressing what they had decided, most reckless with regard to dangers, most unsparing of their bodies, and not trusting in strategy but rather in daring and good luck. One of them (i.e. Alexander) made a long journey through the desert to (the shrine) of Ammon during the season of burning heat, and crossed the Pamphylian gulf when the sea was marvellously held back, when a god kept back the deep from him until he had passed, and rain (fell upon him) while he was on the march. In India, he ventured upon an unnavigated sea, and he was the first to climb up a scaling-ladder and leap alone upon an enemy wall (where) he received thirteen wounds. Moreover, he was always undefeated (and) finished almost every war in one or two engagements, and he conquered many foreign (lands) in Europe, and subdued Greece, a race extremely difficult to govern and freedom loving, (who) believed that it had obeyed no one before him, except Philip (and that only) for a short (time) on the pretext of him being their leader in war. To sum up Alexander's good fortune and power in a word, he acquired as much of the earth as he saw, and he died both ready and keen on (conquering) the rest (of it).

(150) An enumeration of Caesar's exploits.  The Ionian (i.e. Adriatic) sea yielded to Caesar, becoming calm and navigable in the middle of winter, and he sailed across the western ocean to Britain, (something) which had not previously been done, (even) in an attempt, and he instructed the helmsmen to wreck their ships (by) running (them) ashore on the British rocks. He was also exposed to the force of another stormy sea, (when) alone in a small boat at night, and he ordered the helmsman to spread his sails and to have confidence in Caesar's good luck rather than in the sea. He often charged at the enemy all by himself, with all the others being afraid, and he himself fought thirty times in the (land of) the Gauls alone, until he had conquered four hundred of the tribes of those (people who had been) so menacing to the Romans that an exemption was inscribed in the law concerning priests and old men, "unless a Gallic war should be declared". Then, old men and priests were required to serve. (Once) during the Alexandrian war, when he was trapped on a bridge by himself and was in great peril, he ripped off his purple (cloak) and leapt into the sea, and, being sought by the enemy, he swam underwater for a long (distance), only drawing breath at intervals, until, approaching a friendly ship, he stretched out his hands and revealed himself and was rescued.

Engaging in these civil wars, either through fear, as he himself used to say, or from a desire for power, in his case he met in battle the best generals and many large armies, no longer barbarians but Romans at the very peak of success and good fortune: and he overcame (them) all in one or two engagements in each case, not that his troops were undefeated like Alexander's, since they were evidently worsted by the Gauls, when the great disaster overtook them under the generalship of Cotta and Titurius, and in Spain (Marcus) Petreius and Afranius hemmed them in like they were being besieged, and at Dyrrachium and in Africa they were manifestly put to flight, and in Spain they were struck with terror by the young Pompey. But Caesar, himself, was undaunted, and undefeated at the end of every war; he held, by force and by good-will, the power of the Romans, which already ruled the earth and sea from the farthest west (lit. from the setting of the sun) to the river Euphrates, (and he held it) much more firmly and with more authority than Sulla, and he showed himself (to be) a king against the wishes (of the people), even if he did not receive the title. And he died, planning other wars.

(151)  A number of their shared qualities.  It happened that their armies were equally devoted and favourably disposed to both of them, and in battle (they were) like wild animals, but they were often disobedient to both (of them) and mutinous on account of their hardships. Yet they mourned and yearned for (them) alike when they were dead, and paid (them) divine honours. They were both well-formed in body, and handsome. Both were descended from Jupiter (lit. They were both from Jupiter in descent), the one through Aeacus and Hercules, and the other from Anchises and Venus. Although they were very ready to fight determined (opponents), they were very quick to (make) peace and pardon their captives, and, in addition to a pardon, (to be) benefactors, and they desired nothing but simply to conquer.

To this extent let these (things) be compared, although the two of them did not set out towards empire from (a position) of equal power, but one from a kingdom established by Philip, and the other from a private (station), well-born and illustrious indeed, but very short of money.

(152)  Both of them ignore bad omens.  Both (of them) were disdainful of the omens relating to themselves, but they did not deal harshly with the seers who prophesied their death, and, on more than one occasion, the very same omen occurred to (them) both, (pointing) to the same (end): for twice in each (case), a lobeless (liver) occurred, and, on the first occasion, it indicated a perilous risk: in (the case of) Alexander, (it happened when he was) among the Oxydracae, and he was scaling the enemy's wall at the head of his Macedonians, and, when his ladder broke, he was left isolated on top; leaping with (great) daring inwards towards the enemy, and, having been struck on the chest and on the neck by a very heavy club, and having then fallen, he was rescued with some difficulty by his Macedonians, who broke down the gates due to their concern (for him); and in (the case of) Caesar (it happened) in Spain, when, with this army being in great fear of the young Pompey and hesitating to go into battle, he charged ahead of everyone into the space between the two armies and received two hundred darts on his shield, until his army, (driven) by shame and fear (for his safety), rushed forward (and) rescued him. Thus, the first lobeless (victim) brought them (both) into danger, and the second (brought them) to death itself. For the seer Peithagoras told Apollodorus, who was afraid of both Alexander and Hephaistion, and who was sacrificing, not to be afraid, as both (of them) would soon be out of the way: when Hephaistion died at once, Apollodorus feared lest some conspiracy against the king might take place, and revealed the prophecy to him. He smiled and asked Peithagoras what the omen meant; when he said that it meant that his last (day was upon him), he smiled again, and commended Apollodorus for his good-will and the seer for his frankness.

(153)  The fatal consequences of their failure to heed bad omens.  As Caesar was entering the Senate for the last (time), as  has been related by me shortly before, the same omens were observed (lit. occurred): but he said in jest that such (a thing) had also happened to him in Spain. When the seer replied that he was in danger then too, but that the omen was now more deadly, he yielded somewhat to this honest (warning), and still went on sacrificing once more, until, becoming vexed with the priests for delaying him, he went in and was murdered. The same kind of (thing) also happened to Alexander. For, as he was returning from India to Babylon with his army, and was already coming close (to it), the Chaldeans called upon (him) to postpone his entry for the time being (lit. for the present [moment]). When he replied with the iambic (verse) that "He who guesses correctly (is) the best prophet," (i.e. this is a quotation from a lost play of Euripides) the Chaldeans urged (him) not to enter with his army, (while) looking towards the setting sun, but to go around and take the city (looking) towards the rising sun. He is said to have yielded to this (suggestion) and to have started to go around, but, becoming irritated by a lake and some marshy ground, he disregarded the second prophecy too, and made his entrance looking towards the setting sun. At all events, he sailed down the Euphrates to the river Pallacotta, which, taking (its water) from the Euphrates, carries (it) by means of marshes and ponds, and prevents the irrigation of the land of Assyria, (and), while he was considering the damming of this river and was sailing out for this (purpose), they say that he mocked the Chaldeans, because he had both entered Babylon and sailed out of it safely. But he was destined to die as soon as he returned to it. Caesar indulged in mockery of a similar kind. For, as the seer had predicted the day of his death, (saying) that he would not survive the Ides of March, when the day came, he said in mockery of the seer, that the Ides have come (lit. are here): and yet he died on that very (day). Thus, they made fun of the omens concerning themselves in a similar manner, and were not angry with the seers who prophesied these (things), and yet they were condemned by the letter of these prophecies.

(154)  Both Alexander and Caesar were lovers of learning.  They were also lovers of beauty with regard to the science of excellence (N.B. perhaps 'astronomy' is meant here), both of their own country, Greek and foreign, and, with regard to those of the Indians, Alexander carefully examined the Brahmins, who seemed to be the astronomers and the wise men among the Indians, as the Magi (are) among the Persians, and Caesar (interrogated) those of the Egyptians, when he was in Egypt, establishing Cleopatra (on the throne). So, as a result, he made many (improvements) for the Romans concerning the peaceful (arts), and, with regard to the calendar, which was still in disorder because of the intercalated months till then in use, for it was calculated by them in accordance with the moon, he changed (it) to the course of the sun, as the Egyptians reckoned (it). It happened in his (case) that not one of those who had conspired against his person escaped but received the punishment they deserved at the hands of his son (i.e. Octavian), just as those who killed Philip (were punished) by Allexander. How they received (this), the following books will show.


Sabidius has prepared this item as a tribute to his grandson Hector Charles Metcalfe. 
A number of epithets are used by Homer to describe the Trojan hero Hector in Homer's "Iliad". These are listed below, according as to whether they are general epithets that might apply to others as well or whether they have a more specific reference to the actual attributes of Hector himself. Of the latter, "Hector of the shining (or flashing) helmet" is perhaps the most common and best known, but the final book of the "Iliad" - Book XXII - ends with the words "Hector, tamer of horses."
In the list below each epithet is written in Ancient Greek, with a transliteration in brackets, followed by a translation. 


1.  διίφιλος (diiphilos) - beloved of Zeus.

2.  δῖος (dios) - godlike.

3.  μέγας (megas) - mighty.

4.  φαίδιμος (phaidimos) - glorious.


1.  ἀνδρόφανος (androphanos) - manslaying.

2.  ἱππόδαμος  (hippodamos) - tamer of horses.

3.  κορυφαίολος (koryphaiolos) - of the shining helmet.

4.  χαλκοκορυστής (chalkokorystes) - bronze-armoured.





Sections 419B-420A (or 17-18).

Great Pan is dead.

This dialogue is set in Delphi in about 83 A.D. A group of learned men are discussing how oracular prophecy works, and why oracles have become less vocal and important than in the classical past. The conversation has turned to "daimones" (divine spirits, spoken of by Hesiod and Plato, as intermediaries between gods and men); the question whether divine beings can die elicits from a historian called Philip the haunting story of the death of Pan. Because the events described took place during the reign of the Roman emperor Tiberius (14-37 A.D.), Christian legend was later able to claim that they coincided in time with the crucifixion of Jesus,  and  therefore that they represented the demise of paganism.
The story, and the general theme of the dialogue, have had considerable literary influence. John Milton wrote in his "Hymn: On the Morning of Christ's Nativity":
"The oracles are dumb,
No voice or hideous hum
Runs through the arched roofs in words deceiving."
And Elizabeth Barrett Browning in "The Dead Pan" (1844) reworked Plutarch thus:
"And that dismal cry rose slowly
And sank slowly through the air,
Full of spirit's melancholy
And eternity's despair!
And they heard the words it said - 
Pan is dead - Great Pan is dead - 
       Pan is dead."
In the final part of the passage the contribution of the grammarian Demetrius, who is on his way home from Britain to Tarsus, throws light on the exploration of the British Isles during the governorship of Agricola (77-85 A.D.)
The text of this extract from Plutarch's "De defectu oraculorum", and this introductory prologue, are taken from "A Greek Anthology", JACT, Cambridge University Press, 2002.  
But concerning the death of such beings I have heard the report of a man (who was) not foolish or deceitful. For he was Epitherses, the father of Aemilianus the orator whom some of you have even listened to, my fellow-citizen and a teacher of grammar. This man said that once, (while) sailing to Italy, he embarked upon a ship carrying commercial goods and many passengers. And in due course at evening time the wind dropped around the Echinades islands and the drifting ship came near to (the islands) of Paxi; and most of the passengers were awake, and many also still drinking after dinner (lit. having dined). And suddenly a voice was heard from (one) of the islands of the Paxi, of someone calling Thamus so loudly  that they were amazed. Now Thamus was an Egyptian pilot, but not known by name to many on board. And so, having been called twice, he was silent, but the third time he answered the person calling (him). And that person, raising his voice, said, "When you come opposite to the Palodes, announce that Great Pan is dead." Epitherses said that all who heard this were astounded, holding a discussion among themselves as to whether it was best to do what had been commanded or not to meddle and to let (things) alone, (but) Thamus decided thus, that, if there were wind, to sail past keeping a quiet stillness, but that, (if there were) a calm around the place, to announce what he had heard. And so, when they came to the Palodes, there being neither wind nor wave, Thamus, looking from the stern to the land, said (the words) as he heard (them) that Great Pan was dead. No sooner had he stopped (speaking) than a mighty groaning, mixed at the same time with (exclamations of) amazement, occurred, not from one person but from many people. And, as is natural with many being present, the word soon spread throughout Rome, and Thamus, having been sent for, came to be sent for by Tiberius Caesar. And Tiberius believed his word to such an extent that he made enquiry and investigated about Pan. And the scholars around him, who were (lit. being) many, conjectured that he had been born of Hermes and Penelope.  
Moreover, Philip had some of those present as witnesses (who were) scholars of old Aemilianus.
And Demetrius reported that many of the islands around Britain (i.e. the Scillies) were desolate (and) scattered, of which some were named after divine beings and heroes. And he himself sailed at the command of the emperor for the purpose of enquiry and observation to the nearest lying of the desolate (islands), having not many inhabitants, all being revered and unharmed by the Britons. And he, having just arrived, there occurred a mighty tumult in the air and many portents, and winds swept down and lightning-flashes fell; and, when this abated, the islanders said that the passing of one of the mightier (souls) had happened. "For, as a lamp (when) lit," they said, "does nothing terrible, but (when) extinguished is distressing to many, so these great souls give forth a gentle and inoffensive light, but the passing and dissolution of them often, as indeed now, foster winds and storms, and often infect the air with pestilential conditions." However, there was one island there, in which Cronus was confined, guarded by Briareus while he sleeps (lit. sleeping); for they had devised sleep as a bondage for him, and there were about him many daemonic attendants and servants.




Plutarch (c. 46-120 A.D.), biographer, historian and moral philosopher, was born in Boeotia in central Greece, studied at Athens, visited Egypt and Italy, and spent the last thirty years of his life in Boeotia and Delphi. His most famous work is his "Parallel Lives", in which the life of an eminent Greek is paired with that of a famous Roman with whom there were, in his view, points of resemblance. For example, the "Life of Antony" is given in parallel with that of Demetrius I Poliorcetes of Macedon (336-283 B.C.): both are presented as great generals but flawed men and the victims of great changes of fortune. The most famous translation of Plutarch's "Lives" is that by Sir Thomas North (1579), which was Shakespeare's major source for "Julius Caesar", "Coriolanus" and, of course, "Antony and Cleopatra".


The extract below is a translation of the text included in "A Greek Anthology", JACT, Cambridge University Press, 2002.

Sections 84-86.2.

The Roman world was torn apart in the late 30s B.C. by its two most powerful figures, Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus (later known as Augustus, but here referred to as Caesar), and Marcus Antonius (Antony), who was involved in a passionate love affair with Cleopatra, Queen of Egypt. After Octavian had defeated Antony and Cleopatra off Actium in NW Greece in 31 B.C., they fled to Egypt, where Antony committed suicide. Cleopatra was then cornered by Caesar in Alexandria. Although in the immediate aftermath of Actium, Cleopatra was generally portrayed by Octavian's propaganda as someone who had been a dangerous enemy of the Roman people, in time her beauty, the romance of her relationship with Antony, and the pathos of her death, well brought out in this extract, began to prevail in the popular imagination. 


Cornelius Dolabella was a conspicuous young man among the companions of Caesar. This man was not on unfriendly terms towards Cleopatra. And so now, doing a favour to her at her request (lit. having been asked), having sent (a message) secretly, he reported (to her) that Caesar himself was starting out by land through Syria, and had resolved to send her with her children to Rome within three days (lit. on the third day). Having heard this, in the first place she asked Caesar to allow her to bring libations to Antony; on his agreement, having been brought to the tomb, and having fallen upon the funerary urn, together with her attendant women, she said, "O dear Antony, I buried you recently with my hands still free, and now I am pouring a libation, being a prisoner, and guarded so that I can, neither by beatings nor by lamentations, despoil this body, (which is) that of a slave, and watched over for the purpose of triumphing over you. Do not expect any other honours or libations. These (are) the last from Cleopatra the captive for you. For nothing separated us from each other (while) living, but in death we are likely to exchange places, you, the Roman, lying here, while I, the hapless one, getting only so much of your country as my portion. For if (there is) any strength in the gods there (i.e. in the Underworld) (for the gods here have betrayed us), do not forsake your wife while she lives (lit. living), nor allow yourself to be triumphed over in my person, but hide and bury me with yourself here, as nothing among these countless evils that there are is so terrible (lit. great) and dreadful as the short time which I have lived apart from you."
Having lamented such things, and having garlanded and embraced the urn, she ordered a bath to be prepared for herself. Having bathed and having reclined, she had a splendid dinner. And someone came from the countryside carrying a certain basket; when the guards enquired (lit. the guards enquiring) what he was bringing, having opened (the basket) and having removed the leaves, he showed that the dish (inside was) full of figs. (The guards) marvelling at their beauty and their size, smiling, he invited (them) to take (some); trusting (him) they bade (him) to bring (them) in. After her dinner, Cleopatra, taking a writing-tablet already written upon and sealed, sent (it) to Caesar, and, sending away (all) the others except her faithful women, she closed the doors. And Caesar opening the tablet, when he found prayers and lamentations, (she) asking that she should be buried with Antony, he quickly understood what had been done. To begin with he set out himself to bring assistance, but then he sent men in order to investigate as quickly as possible. But swift suffering had occurred. For, coming at a run and finding that the guards had perceived nothing, opening the doors, they found her lying dead on a golden couch arrayed as a queen. Of her women, the one called Iras was dying at her feet and another, Charmion, already tottering and heavy-headed, was trying to adjust the diadem around her head. When someone said (lit. someone saying) to her in anger, "(This is) a fine thing, Charmion," she said, "It is indeed a very fine thing and befitting the descendant of so many kings." She said nothing more but fell there by the side of the couch. It is said that the asp was brought in with those figs and was hidden by the leaves above (them), for thus Cleopatra had given orders that the creature should fasten upon her body with herself not being aware (of it). But when, having removed some of the figs, she saw (it), she said, "So here it is", and she held out her arm bared for the bite.




Chapter 17, verses 16-34.

St. Paul in Athens.

The "Acts of the Apostles" forms the second part of the literary work begun by the "Gospel of St. Luke". It describes the rapid spread of Christianity through the Mediterranean world, a process facilitated by the wide currency of Greek (now in "koine"  or "common"  form, having lost its earlier dialects.) "Acts" is our main source for the earliest history of the Church. 


In Chapter 17 Paul has just arrived in Athens after his missionary journey through Greece. The date is about 50 A.D. ("Acts" was written some forty years later.) Athens had lost its political power since its subjugation to Rome, but remained the cultural and intellectual centre of the ancient world. Its art and architecture were an impressive monument to its past glory. At the beginning of this passage Paul is waiting for his companions Silas and Timothy.


The Greek text of the passage translated below, and the the above introduction, is taken from "A Greek Anthology", JACT, Cambridge University Press, 2002. 
Now, as Paul was waiting for them in Athens, his spirit was provoked within him seeing the city full of idols. And so he debated in the synagogue with the Jews and devout persons and on each day in the agora with those who happened to be present. Some of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers also debated with him and some said, "What does this babbler want to say?" Others (said), "He seems to be a proclaimer of foreign gods", because he preached (about) Jesus and the resurrection. Taking hold of him, they led (him) to the Areopagus (i.e. the Hill of Ares), saying, "Can we learn what is this new teaching which is being spoken of by you?" For you bring some strange things to our ears; and so we wish to know what these things mean (lit. want to be)." Now all the Athenians and the visiting strangers spent their time in nothing other than saying something or listening to something quite new. Standing in the middle of the Areopagus, Paul said, "Men of Athens, I see that you are very religious in everything. For going along and observing your objects of worship I even found an altar on which had been inscribed 'To an unknown god'. And so what you are worshipping unawares, I announce this to you (now). The god who made the world and everything in it, he being lord of heaven and of the earth does not dwell in temples made by human hands nor is he served by human hands because he is in need of anything, (but) he himself gives life and breath and everything (else) to all men. From one (man) he made every race of men to dwell on the whole surface of the earth, having determined appointed seasons and and the boundaries of their territory, that they should seek God (to see) if they could reach out for him and find (him), though he is really not far from each one of us. For in him we live and move and have our being, as some of the poets among you have also said, for we are his offspring too. And so, being the offspring of God, we ought not to think that divine nature is like gold or silver or stone, a work of art and the imagination of man. Therefore God, overlooking the times of ignorance, is now commanding men everywhere that they should all repent, for he has fixed a day on which he is going to judge the inhabited (world) through a man whom he has designated, providing assurance to all men that he has raised him from the dead." 

Now hearing of the resurrection of the dead, some jeered, but others said, "We shall hear you again concerning this." Thus Paul departed from the midst of them. But certain men sticking to him, became believers, amongst whom also (were) Dionysius the Areopagite, and a woman, Damaris by name, and others with them.


Though the number of immediate converts resulting from Paul's visit to Athens was small, the new faith had for the first time confronted - and shown some common ground with  - Greek philosophy. 


The motto of St Andrews University, "aien aristeuein", "Ever to excel!", is unusual because it is in Greek. It is taken from line 206 of Book VI of Homer's renowned epic poem, the "Iliad", probably first written down in the first half of the Eighth Century B.C. in the new Greek alphabetic script, very possibly designed specifically for this purpose. This quotation is contained in a speech made by Glaucus, the leader, together with Sarpedon, of the Lycian contingent, which came to the assistance of Troy against their Greek assailants. In this speech which he makes to the Greek hero, Diomedes, King of Argos, Glaucus tells of his illustrious ancestry, and, in particular, gives an account of the deeds of his famous grandfather, Bellerophon, the slayer of the dread Chimaera. The University's motto, αἴεν ἀριστεύειν", comes in the midst of the following extract (lines 206-211 of Book VI), which I now read, first in the original Greek verse, transliterated into Roman script, and then in English.

"Hippolochos d' em' etikte, // kai ek tou phaimi genesthai:
pempe de m'es Troiain, // kai moi mala poll' epetellen
aien aristeuein // kai hupeirochon emmenai allown,
maide genos paterown aischunemen, // hoi meg' aristoi
en t' Ephurai egenonto // kai en Lukiai eureiai.
tautais toi geneais te // kai haimatos euchomai einai." 
"Hippolochus begat me, and I declare that I am his son; and he sent me to Troy, and he very often enjoined (upon me) that I should ever excel and be distinguished above others, and not disgrace the stock of my forebears, who were by far the noblest in Ephyra and in broad Lycia. I avow that I am truly of this family and of this blood."




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'.


Translator's Preface.

Of all the Platonic dialogues, the "Meno" is considered by many to be one of the most interesting, and perhaps the best in terms of an introduction to the study of Plato's thought. It was probably written a little after 387 B.C., some years before "The Republic", which is generally thought to be dated at around 380 B.C. The following extract features Sections 70-81 of "The Meno", i.e. approximately the first half of the work. Its starting point, what is "arete" (virtue, or excellence)?, is closely related to the consideration of the meaning of its component "justice", the issue raised at the beginning of "The Republic". 

These sections have a number of points of particular interest. Firstly, there is the example of Socratic "aporia", when Meno is brought to acknowledge the total confusion which Socrates' questioning has induced in him. "Aporia" (difficulty, puzzlement, perplexity, confusion) was the logical basis of Socrates' educational method. Before any question could be adequately investigated, it was first necessary to get the respondent to acknowledge his own ignorance. As here in the case of the young Meno, the respondent, is brought to see that his original ideas on the subject in question are wholly unsatisfactory, and from that he is then "at a loss" to propose anything else. However, according to Socrates, this refutation ("elenchus") facilitates a greater willingness to enquire into the matter in hand through the proposing and testing of hypotheses. Secondly, the extract ends with Socrates' reference to the doctrine of "anamnesis" (recollection or reminiscence), through which men can be reminded of ideas stored in the depths of their minds that have been acquired during a previous existence (on this subject see the article "The Platonic Doctrine of Recollection and the Insight Model of Teaching" published on this blog on 27 February 2010). It is also worth emphasising that this doctrine is agreed by many as the boundary line between the ideas of Socrates, which Plato himself shared, and Plato's developing ideas, to which Socrates would not have adhered. "The Meno" then can be seen as the point of transition when Plato moves from the ideas he had acquired from Socrates to those based on the religious concept of reincarnation as espoused by the school of Pythagoras.

The Greek text of this extract is taken from "Learning Greek with Plato", by Frank Beetham, Bristol Phoenix Press, 2007. 

1)  70a1 - c3. 
This is the beginning of the dialogue. The scene is somewhere in Athens. Meno, a young Thessalian nobleman who is visiting the city to hear the sophists and is accompanied by a retinue of slaves, accosts Socrates. The dramatic date is sometime before 401 B.C., when Meno left Greece to join the expedition of Cyrus against his brother Artaxerxes II, the king of Persia. 

Meno asks Socrates whether 'arete' (virtue) can be taught. Socrates is preparing, in response, to ask Meno what 'arete' really is and challenges him, as a student of Gorgias, not to be afraid to reply.  
MENO:  Can you tell me, Socrates, whether virtue is something which can be taught? Or, (whether it is) not capable of being taught, but (is) capable of being attained through practice? Or (whether it is) neither capable of being attained through practice nor capable of being learned, but comes to men by nature or by some other way?
SOCRATES:  In the past, Meno, Thessalians were renowned and admired among the Greeks for their horsemanship and their wealth, but now, I think, also for their wisdom, and not least the fellow-citizens from Larissa of your companion Aristippus. But Gorgias is the cause for you of this. For, having arrived in the city, he has taken as lovers, on account of his wisdom, the foremost of the Aleuads, (one) of whom is your lover Aristippus, and of the other Thessalians. And moreover he has got you into this habit of answering fearlessly and magnificently, if ever somebody may ask anything, just as it is reasonable that men who know (would reply), and because he offers himself to anyone who wants whatever somebody may want and answers absolutely everybody.  
2)  70c3 - 71c4.
Socrates says that in Athens they don't even know what 'arete' is, let alone whether it can be taught. Meno is surprised.
SO (cont.):  But here, my dear Meno, it has turned out to be the reverse. (It is) as if some drought of wisdom has occurred, and wisdom is at risk of having gone from these places to yours. At any rate, if you wish to ask anyone among the people here along these lines, absolutely everyone will give a laugh and will say, "Stranger,  I am likely to seem to you to be a fortunate person to know whether virtue (is) indeed capable of being taught or whether it comes about in some other way. I am so far (from knowing) whether it can be learned or cannot be learned that I do not happen to know this very thing, whatever virtue is at all." 
And so, Meno, this is how I am myself. I am poor along with my fellow-citizens in relation to this matter, and I censure myself as not knowing about virtue at all. (If) I do not know what it is, how can I know what kind of thing [it is]? Or do you imagine it to be possible that anyone who does not know Meno at all, should know whether he is handsome, whether (he is) rich, whether (he is) also well-born, or even the opposite of these things? 
MEN:  I (do) not (think) so. But, Socrates, do even you really not know what virtue is, and are we to announce this about you (back) home as well?
SO:  Indeed, not only that, my friend, but that, in my opinion, I have not even yet met anyone else who knows.
3)  71c5 - 72a5.
Meno asks Socrates why he doesn't know Gorgias' definition of 'arete' already, and gives him a list of various 'aretai'. 
MEN:  What? Didn't you meet Gorgias, when he was here?
SO:  Yes, I (did).
ME: Then did you not think that he knew?
SO:  I am not quite able to remember, Meno, so that I cannot say at the moment how it seemed to me then. But perhaps he knows and you (know) what he said. So remind me how he spoke. And, if you wish, do speak yourself; for the things which seem good to him seem good to you presumably.
ME:  Yes, indeed.
SO:  Well then, let us leave him (on one side), since he is not in fact here. In the name of the gods, Meno, what do you say virtue is?  Speak (out) and do not be grudging (about it), so that I may be mistaken in respect of a most fortunate mistake, if you on the one hand are shown to know, and Gorgias too, and I on the other hand (am shown) to have said that I have never yet met anyone who knows. 
MEN:  But (it is) not difficult (to tell), Socrates. In the first place, if you want (to know about) the virtue of a man, (it is) easy (to state) that the virtue of a man is that he should be capable of managing the (affairs) of his city, and (in) managing (them) he should treat his friends well and his enemies badly, and to take care that he should not suffer like them. If you want (to know about) the virtue of a woman, (it is) not difficult to explain, as she is required to manage the house well, to look after the things inside and be the subordinate of her husband. Then the virtue of a child is different, and (that) of a female and a male, and (that) of an older man, (and), if you like, (that) of a freeman on the one hand, and, if you wish, of a slave on the other. And there are very many other virtues besides, so that that there is no difficulty in saying with regard to virtue what it is. For with reference to each function each of us has a virtue in accordance with each activity and time of life, and, vice, I take it, (is) in the same position.  
4)  72a6 - 72d3.
Socrates only wants one definition of 'arete'.
SO:  I seem to be being furnished with much good fortune, Meno, if (while) seeking one virtue, I have discovered quite a swarm of virtues settling beside you. Nevertheless, Meno, in accordance with this metaphor of the swarm, if I had enquired about the essential nature of a bee, what in the world it is, if you were saying that they were of many kinds, what would you have replied to me if I had asked you: " Are you saying that it is in this thing, that they are bees, that they are many and various and that they are different from each other due to this? Or do they differ not in this but in something else, such as in their beauty or in their size or another such (quality)?" Tell (me), if you were asked such a question, what would you reply?
MEN:  I (should say) this, that they do not differ at all, in so far as they are bees, the one from the other.

SO:  So, if I had said after this: "Well then, Meno, tell me the thing by which they do not differ but (by which) they are all the same? What would you say this is?" Presumably, you could say something to me, (couldn't you)?
MEN:  Yes, I could indeed.
SO:  So, of course, it is the same about the virtues; and, even if they are many and various, they all have one common characteristic, on account of which they are virtues, and it is well, I suppose, that the man answering should keep his eye on this, when showing to the man who asked that thing which virtue really is. Or do you not understand what I am saying?

 MEN:  I think I understand. However, I do not yet grasp the question as I would wish. 
5)  72d4 - 73c5.

Socrates shows that 'arete', simply as itself, is the same in all cases. But what is it?

SO:  Is it only with regard to virtue do you think, Meno, that there is one for a man and one for a woman and one for the rest, or (is it) the same with regard to health and with regard to size and with regard to strength? Or do you consider that there is one for a man, and another for a woman? Or, if it is health, whether it is in a a man or in anything else whatsoever, is its character identical universally?

MEN:  I think health is the same, both in man and in woman.

SO:  Then (is it) not (so) with regard to both size and strength? If a woman is strong, she will be strong by the same form and by the same strength; for this is what I mean by "by the same". Strength does not differ at all with regard to being strength, whether it is in a man or in a woman. Or do you think that it differs at all?

MEN:  No, I don't.

SO:  And will virtue with regard to being virtue differ at all, whether it is in a child or in an old person, or whether it is in a woman or in a man?

MEN:  Somehow, Socrates, this does not seem to me to be like those other (cases).

SO:  But why? Were you not saying that the virtue of a man (was) to manage a city well, and (that) of a woman to manage a house?

MEN:  Yes, I was.

SO:  So is it possible to manage well either a city or a house or anything else whatever, if one does not manage prudently and justly?

MEN:  Obviously not.

SO:  And if they manage sensibly and justly, will they not manage with justice and prudence?

MEN:  Inevitably.

SO:  (Then) both a woman and a man, if they are going to be good, require both these (qualities) of  justice and prudence. 

MEN:  They seem to.

SO:  And what about a child and an old person? Would they ever become good if they were indisciplined and unjust?

MEN:  No indeed.

SO:  But (if they were) prudent and just?

MEN:  (Then) yes.

SO:  So all men are good in the same way; for, if they obtain the same (qualities), they become good.

MEN:  It seems so.

SO:  If their virtue was not the same, presumably they would not be good in the same way.

MEN:  Indeed not.

6)  73c6 - 74a6.

Meno gives a definition of virtue that is too narrow. 

SO:  Well then since it is the same virtue in all (cases), try to say and to remember what Gorgias, and you after him, say it is.

MEN:  What else than to be able to govern men? (That is) if you are looking for some one thing with regard to all (cases).

SO: Well, I am indeed searching for this. But is the virtue of a child and (that) of a slave the same, (that is) to be able to govern his master, and do you think that the one ruling would still be a slave?

MEN:  I don't think so at all, Socrates.

SO: It is not likely, my good (fellow); but yet consider this also. You say it is to be able to govern. Shall we not add to that to (govern) justly, and not unjustly?

MEN:  Yes, I think so; for justice, Socrates, is virtue.

SO:  (Do you say) virtue, Meno, or a virtue.

MEN:  What do you mean by this?

SO:  As in the case of anything else at all. Just as, if you like, I might say in the case of roundness that it is a  shape, not simply (it is) shape. And I  would say this for this reason, because there are other shapes as well.

MEN:  You would be speaking correctly if you were saying this, since I am saying that there is not only justice but other virtues also.

SO:  What things (do you mean)? Tell (me). Just as I can tell you of other shapes too, if you ask me. So do tell me of these other virtues.

MEN:  Well then, I think that courage is a virtue, and prudence and wisdom and loftiness of mind and very many other (virtues).

7)  74a7 - 74e10.  

Socrates suggests "shape" as a word which covers different entities and can be defined. 

SO:  We have suffered the same thing once more, Meno; we have found many virtues (while) seeking one, (although) just now in another way; but the one, through which there is virtue in all of them, we cannot discover.

MEN:  (No), because I cannot yet grasp, as you are seeking (to do), one virtue (running) through all (of them), as (I can) in other things.

SO:  Fair enough, but I shall be willing, if I am able, to bring us nearer to our objective. For you understand, presumably, that this (principle) applies with regard to everything. If anyone asked you that (question) which I asked just now, "What is shape, Meno?" if you said that (it is) roundness, (and) if he said to you the very things which I (had said), "Is roundness shape or a shape?" you would, presumably, say that (it is) a shape.

MEN:  Quite so.

SO:  And, for this reason, that other shapes exist as well?

MEN:  Yes.

SO:  And, if he went on to ask you to tell him what kind of things (they were), would you tell (him)?

MEN:  Yes, I would.

SO:  And, if again he asked you in the same way about colour, what it is, and, when you had said that it is white, your questioner had interjected after that, "Is white colour or a colour?" you would say (would you not), that (it is) a colour, because there happen to be other (colours)?

MEN:  Yes, I should.

SO:  And, if he bade you to mention other colours, would you (not) mention other colours which are no worse than white?

MEN:  Yes.

SO:  Then, what if he were pursuing the question as I did and said, "We are always arriving at many things, but do not speak to me in this way, but, since you call these things by one particular name, and you say that they are all a shape, and that (although) they are contrary to one another, (say therefore) what this is that contains roundness no less than straightness, (and)  which you certainly call shape, and you do not affirm roundness to be a shape rather than straightness." Or do you not mean this?

MEN:  Yes, I do.

SO:  And so, whenever you speak in this way, do you then say that roundness is no more round than straightness, or straightness no more straight than roundness?

MEN:  Of course not.

SO:  But yet you would say that shape is no more roundness than straightness, and the one than the other.

MEN:  You say true things.

8)  7e11 - 75d7.

Socrates tries to define "shape" as an example, but he must do so in terms which the questioner has already agreed that he understands. 

SO:  Then whatever is this thing, the name of which is shape? Try to tell (me). So, if you were to say thus to the questioner either about shape or about colour, "But I don't understand what you want, my (good) man, or know what you mean," perhaps he would be surprised and say, "Do you not understand that I am looking for the same thing in all of them?" In these (cases) could you not reply, Meno, if someone were to ask you, "With regard to roundness and straightness and all the other things which you call shape, what is the same thing in (them) all?" Try to reply so that it may be practice for you with regard to your answer about virtue.

MEN:  No, but you should speak, Socrates.

SO:  Do you wish (me) to do you a favour?

MEN:  Certainly.

SO:  And so you will be willing to speak to me about virtue?

MEN:  Yes.

SO:  Well then, I must show eagerness; for (it will be) worthwhile.

MEN:  Absolutely.

SO:  Come on then, let us try to tell you what shape is. So consider if you accept it to be this; for let shape be for us that thing which alone always happens to accompany colour. Is that enough for you, or do you (want) to seek it in some other way? For I would indeed be contented if you were to speak to me of virtue in this way.

MEN:  But this (is) naive, Socrates.

SO:  How do you mean?

MEN:  That shape is, presumably, the thing which, according to your argument, always follows colour. But, if someone were to say that he did not understand the meaning of colour, but was similarly at a loss with regard to shape, what reply do you think you would have given?

SO:  I (would have replied with) the truth. And if the questioner were one of the clever, tendentious or contentious (types), I would say to him that, "I have had my say. If I do not speak correctly, your task (is) to demand an explanation and to refute (it)." If they, being friendly (people) just as you and I now are, were to wish to converse with one another, they would need to reply in a somewhat more gentle manner and (one) more suited to dialectic. What is more suited to dialectic is perhaps not only to reply with the truth but also through those things which the questioner may in addition agree that he knows. I shall certainly try to answer you in this way.

9)  75d7 - 76c3.

Socrates tries again to define "shape".

SO (cont.):  So tell me; do you call something "end"? I mean such a thing as a boundary and an extremity - I mean the same thing in respect of all these things. Perhaps Prodicus might quarrel with us, but you, I am sure,  call something "having been limited" and "having ended". I wish to say some such thing, (but) nothing complicated.

MEN:  Yes, I do call (them thus), and I think I appreciate what you are saying.

SO:  What? Do you call something flat, and, (as) another example, solid, things such as (are employed) in geometrical (problems)?

MEN:  Yes, I do call (them thus).

SO:  Well then, you should now understand from all these things what I mean by shape.For in every insatnce of shape I call that shape in which the solid finishes. Summarising this, I would say that shape is the limit of a solid.

MEN:  And what do you say colour (is)?

SO:  You are indeed shameless, Meno; you enjoin an old man to answer something, but you are not willing yourself, once you have remembered, to tell (me) whatever Gorgias says that virtue is.

MEN:  But when you tell me that, Socrates, I will answer you.

SO:  Even if one were blindfolded, one might tell, when conversing with you, Meno, that you are handsome ans still have lovers.

MEN:  Why so?

SO:  Because (you do) nothing other than impose (on people) in your speeches, the very thing which spoilt (boys) do, inasmuch as they are tyrants for as long as they are in their prime, and at the same time perhaps you notice to my disadvantage that I am susceptible to beauty. And so I shall do you a favour and answer.

MEN:  Do me a favour by all means.

10)  76c4 - 77a2.

Socrates defines colour in a way that pleases Meno.

SO:  So would you like me to answer you in accordance with Gorgias, (in the way) in which you would follow most readily.

MEN:  I should like (that) of course.

SO:  Do you not say that, in accordance with Empedocles, there are certain effluences of existing things?

MEN:  Yes, very much so.

SO:  And pores through which and into which the effluences pass?

MEN:  Certainly.

SO:  (Do you affirm) some of the effluences to fit some of the pores, and that some are too small or too large?

MEN:  That is so.

SO:  And isn't there the thing you call sight?

MEN:  Yes.

SO:  From these things then, "Understand what I am saying," (as) Pindar said. For colour is an effluence of shapes commensurate with sight and perceptible.

MEN:  I think you have put your answer excellently, Socrates.

SO:  (Yes), for perhaps it has been put to you in a familiar way, and at the same time I think you consider that you could say from it what sound is, and smell and many other such things.

MEN:  Absolutely.

SO:  For the answer is in dramatic style, Meno, so that it pleases you more than the one about shape.

MEN:  Yes, it is.

SO:  But I am inclined to think that other answer is not better, son of Alexidemus, nor do I even think it would seem so to you, if it were not necessary for you, as you were saying yesterday, to go away before the mysteries, and you could stay awhile and be initiated.

MEN:  But I should stay, Socrates, if you were to say many things of this kind.

11)  77a2 - 77e4.

Meno tries to define virtue as to rejoice in fine things and have the power to obtain them.

SO:  Then I shall not be lacking in willingness to say things of this kind, both for your sake and for mine; but (I am afraid) that I shall be unable to say many of these things. But come now, you must try to fulfil your promise to me (by) saying with regard to virtue what it is as a whole, and you must stop producing many things from the one thing, as the humorists say whenever one breaks something, but, leaving (virtue) whole and unbroken, say what (it) is. You have got the model from me.

MEN:  Well then, Socrates, it seems to me that virtue is, just as the poet says, "to rejoice in excellent things and to have power", and I say that virtue (is) this, to be desirous of excellent and to be able to procure (them).

SO:  So, are you saying that he who desires excellent things is desirous of good things?

MEN:  Certainly.

SO:  Are there some people who desire bad things and others who desire good things? Don't you think that all men desire good things?

MEN:  No, I don't.

SO:  So, some (desire) bad things?

MEN:  Yes.

SO:  Thinking bad things to be good, do you mean, or knowing that they are bad, they desire them nevertheless?

MEN:  Both, it seems to me.

SO:  Do you really think, Meno, that anyone, (while) knowing things to be bad, is desirous of them nevertheless?

MEN:  Very much so.

SO:  What do you mean by to desire? To become his property then?

MEN:  (Yes), to become his property; for what else could it be?

SO:  Does he think that bad things benefits him who possesses them, or does he know that bad things harm (the man) to whom they are present?

MEN:  There are some who think that bad things are a benefit, and there are others who know that they are harmful.

SO:  Well, do you really think that those who believe that bad things are beneficial know that these bad things are bad?

MEN:  Indeed, this doesn't seem (so) to me at all.

SO:  Surely then (it is) clear that those men, (that is) those who are ignorant of them, do not desire bad things, but (rather) those things which they thought were good, albeit those things are actually bad. As a result it is clear that those who are ignorant of them, and think that they are good, desire good things. Or (do you) not (think so)?

MEN:  Indeed, they would seem (to do so).

12)  77e5 - 78c3.

Meno, although he has argued that not everyone desires "good" things, is compelled to agree that nobody wants to become wretched by obtaining "bad" things, and to accept Socrates' interpretation of his definition of virtue. 

SO:  What therefore? Those who desire bad things, as you say, and consider that bad things harm the man to whom they have come, know, presumably, (don't they), that they will be harmed by them?

MEN:  Certainly.

SO:  But don't they know that those who are harmed are wretched inasmuch as they are harmed?

MEN:  It must be so.

SO:  But (don't they consider) that the wretched are unlucky?

MEN:  Yes, I think so.

SO:  Well, is there anyone who wishes to be wretched and unlucky?

MEN:  I don't think so, Socrates.

SO:  No one then desires bad things, Meno, if he does not wish to be such a person, for what else is it to be miserable other than to desire and to get bad things?

MEN:  You seem to be speaking the truth, Socrates, and no one (seems to be) wanting bad things.

SO:  (But) were you not saying just now that virtue is to want good things and to have the power (to obtain them)?

MEN:  Yes, I did say (that).

SO:  This having been said, the wanting belongs to all men, and on this point one man (is) in no way better than another, (is he)?

MEN:  (So), it seems.

SO:  But (it is) clear, (isn't it), that, if indeed one man is better than another, he would be better on account of his having the power?

MEN:  Yes, indeed.

SO:  So virtue, according to your argument, is this, the power to procure good things.

MEN:  It seems to me to be entirely as you know understand (it).

13)  78c4 - 79a2.

If virtue is the ability to obtain good things, does it matter how they are obtained?

SO:  Then let us see if you are now saying something true in respect of this; for you may perhaps be speaking  well. Are you saying that virtue is to be able to procure good things?

MEN:  Yes.

SO:  But don't you call things such as health and wealth good?

MEN:  And I also mean to obtain gold and silver and honour and a position of authority in the city.

SO:  Are they any things other than these kind of things that you say (are) good?

MEN:  No, but I mean all things of this kind.

SO:  Very well; then virtue is procuring gold and silver, according to Meno, the hereditary guest-friend of the Great King. Do you add something, Meno, to this act of procuring, (namely that it is to be done) justly and dutifully, or does this not matter to you at all, and, even if someone procures it unjustly, do you call it virtue all the same?

MEN:  Surely not, Socrates.

SO:  But vice (rather).

MEN:  Certainly, of course.

SO:  Then it seems that justice, or prudence, or piety or some other part of virtue must accompany this procurement; and, if not, it will not be virtue, (will it), although it provides good things?
out these things

MEN:  (Yes), for, (if that were so), how  could it be virtue without these things?

SO:  And not to procure gold and silver, either for oneself or for another person, whenever there is injustice, is this lack of provision not virtue also? 

MEN:  (So), it appears.

SO:  So, (if this were so), the acquisition of such good things as these wouldn't be virtue any more than the lack (of them), but what happens to come (accompanied) with justice will be virtue, and whatever (comes) without all these things (will be) vice.

 MEN:  I think it must be as you say.

14)  79a3 - 79c10.

 Meno has divided 'arete' up but has not defined it as a whole.

SO:  And were we not saying a little earlier that each of these things was a part of virtue, (that is) justice and prudence and all such things?

MEN:  Yes.

SO:  Then, Meno, you are playing with me.

MEN:  Why so, Socrates?

SO:  Because, although I besought you just now not to break down and to chop up virtue (into little pieces) and when I have given you models as to how you should answer, you have disregarded this, and you now tell me that virtue is the ability to procure good things (accompanied) with justice; and you say that this is an aspect of virtue.

MEN:  Yes, I do.

SO:  Very well then, it follows from the things which you admit that doing whatever you do with virtue, this is virtue.  For you say that justice, and each of these things, is an aspect of virtue. 

MEN:  Well, so what?

SO:  I am saying this, that (even) with me saying that you must speak of virtue as a whole, you are far from saying what it is, but you tell (me) that every action is virtue, if indeed it is done with an aspect of virtue, as if you had said what virtue is, and as if I would now recognise (it), even if you were to chop it up into its (constituent) parts. So I think that you need (to face) the same question again from the beginning, my dear Meno: what is virtue if every action (accompanied) with justice, is virtue? Or do you not think that there is a need of the same question afresh, but do you suppose that anyone knows what an aspect of virtue is, when he does not know the thing (itself).

MEN:  I don't think (so).

15)  79d1 - 79e6.

Socrates tries to persuade Meno to try again to define 'arete' without giving an answer through things which have already been agreed.

SO:  For, if you remember, when a short time ago I answered you about shape, we rejecood (fellow)ted the kind of answer that attempts to reply through things which are still being investigated and not yet accepted.

MEN:  And we rejected (it) correctly, Socrates.

SO:  Well then, my good (fellow), do not suppose that even you will show what it is to anyone at all, if you answer in terms of its parts, or if you say anything at all in this manner, while virtue as a whole is still being investigated, but imagine that there will be a need for the same enquiry once more, (namely) what is this virtue, (about which) you are saying what you are saying.

MEN:  I think you speak correctly

SO:  So answer afresh from the beginning; what do you and your associate (i.e. Gorgias) say that virtue is?

16)  79e7 - 80 b7.

Meno fights back.

MEN:  Socrates, before I even met you, I heard that you were confused yourself and that you made other people confused as well; and now it seems to me that you are bewitching and enchanting and simply casting a spell upon me, so that I have become totally confused. And it seems to me, if I am indeed to have my jest at all, that, in respect of your appearance and in other respects, you are most like the flat sting-ray found in the sea. For it makes numb anyone who approaches (it) at any time and touches (it) and I think that you have made me rather like this, (that is) [benumbed]; for in truth I indeed grow numb both in respect of my mind and in respect of my mouth, and I do not have anything (by which) I can answer you. And yet I have very often delivered speeches to many (people) on the subject of virtue, and quite well, as I thought myself. And now I cannot say anything at all as to what it is. I think you are well advised not to go sailing abroad from here and not to live overseas. For, if you were to do such things as an alien in another city, you would probably be incarcerated as a sorcerer. 

17)  80b8 - 81a10.

Meno caps Socrates' response with another puzzle on his own part. 

SO:  You are a rascal, Meno, and have nearly cheated me.

MEN:  In what way exactly, Socrates?

SO:  I understand the reason why you have compared me.

MEN:  Why do you think so?

SO:  So that I may compare you (with something) in return. I know this about all handsome (young men), that they delight (in) being compared (to something) - as it pays them; for, I suppose, the similes of handsome people, (are) handsome also - but I am not going to make a comparison of you in return. If indeed the sting-ray, being numb itself, makes others numb, then I am like it; but if not, (I am) not (like it). For I do not cause others to be confused, (while) being well supplied (with answers) myself, but I cause others to be so confused (while) being more at a loss than anyone else. And now, with regard to virtue, I do not know what it is, but you did perhaps know previously before you came into contact with me, yet now you are like a man who does not know. Nevertheless I am willing to examine (it) with you and to investigate together (with you) what on earth it is.

MEN:  And in what way will you investigate, Socrates, this thing, about which you do not know anything at all? For what kind of thing of the things which you do not know will you set before (us) and investigate? Or if, in the best case, you come across it, how will you know that it is the thing which you did not know? 

SO:  I understand what you want to say, Meno. Do you see what a sophistical argument this (is that) you are introducing, (namely) that it is not possible for a man to investigate either what he knows or what he does not know? For indeed he cannot investigate either what he knows - for he knows (it) and there is no need at all for an enquiry into such a thing - or what he does not know - for he does not know what he is about to investigate.

MEN:  So doesn't this seem to you to be a good argument, Socrates?

SO:  Not to me.

MEN:  Can you explain in what way?

SO:  Yes, I (can); for I have heard about divine matters from wise men and women -

MEN:  What (is) the argument of these speakers? 

SO:  To me it seems true and fine.

MEN:  What (was) it, and who (were) the speakers? 

18)  81a10 - 81e6.

Things having reached an impasse, Socrates puts forward a theory according to which all knowledge is due to recollection from a previous existence.

SO:  The speakers are priests and priestesses of the kind for whom it has been a concern to be able to give an account of those things concerning which they have to do; and Pindar also speaks (about this), and as many others of the poets as are divinely inspired.  What (words) they speak are these: but consider whether they seem to you to speak the truth. For they say that the soul of a man is immortal, and at one moment comes to an end - what they call dying - and at another moment is born again, and never dies. (They say) that on account of this one must live one's whole life in as holy a manner as possible. For those (from) whom -
"Persephone ever accepts the requital for ancient wrong, the souls of these she sends up again to the sun above in the ninth year, from whom grow illustrious kings and men swift in strength and greatest in wisdom, and for the rest of time they are called by men holy heroes."

So, inasmuch as the soul is immortal and has been born many times and has seen all things both here and in Hades, there isn't anything which it hasn't seen; and as a result it is not at all surprising that it is able to recollect what it used to know before about virtue and about other things. For because all nature is akin and the soul has learned all things, nothing prevents a man, if he has remembered only one thing - what men call learning - , (from) discovering everything else, if he is courageous and does not grow weary in the search. Therefore investigation and learning is entirely (a matter of) recollection. So we must not be persuaded by that sophistical argument; for it would make us idle, and hearing (it) is (only) pleasing to the soft among men, whereas this argument makes (us) energetic and enquiring. Having confidence that it is true, I am willing to investigate with you what virtue is.

MEN:  Yes, Socrates, but what do you mean that we do not learn, but that the thing which we call learning is recollection. Can you teach me that this is so?
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