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Anabasis(39)

2006-09-07 20:48

  Book VI I x-chapter:II

  The next day they weighed anchor and set sail from Harmene with a fair breeze, two days' voyage along the coast. [As they coasted along they came in sight of Jason's beach[1], where, as the story says, the ship Argo came to moorings; and then the mouths of the rivers, first the Thermodon, then the Iris, then the Halys, and next to it the Parthenius.] Coasting past [the latter], they reached Heraclea[2], a Hellenic city and a colony of the Megarians, situated in the territory of the Mariandynians. So they came to achorage off the Acherusian Chersonese, where Heracles[3] is said to have descended to bring up the dog Cerberus, at a point where they still show the marks of his descent, a deep cleft more than two furlongs down. Here the Heracleots sent the Hellenes, as gifts of hospitality, three thousand measures of barley and two thousand jars of wine, twenty beeves and one hundred sheep. Through the flat country here flows the Lycus river, as it is called, about two hundred feet in breadth.

  [1] I have left this passage in the text, although it involves, at first sight, a topographical error on the part of whoever wrote it, and Hug and other commentators regard it as spurious. Jason's beach (the modern Yasoun Bouroun) and the three first-named rivers lie between Cotyora and Sinope. Possibly the author, or one of his editors, somewhat loosely inserted a recapitulatory note concerning the scenery of this coasting voyage at this point. "By the way, I ought to have told you that as they coasted along," etc.

  [2] One of the most powerful of commercial cities, distinguished as Pontica (whence, in the middle ages, Penteraklia), now Eregli. It was one of the older Greek settlements, and, like Kalchedon (to give that town its proper name), a Megaro-Doric colony. See Kiepert, op. cit. chap. iv. 62.

  [3] According to another version of the legend Heracles went down to bring up Cerberus, not here, but at Taenarum.

  The soldiers held a meeting, and took counsel about the remainder of the journey: should they make their exit from the Pontus by sea or by land? and Lycon the Achaean got up and said: "I am astonished, sirs, that the generals do not endeavour to provide us more efficiently with provisions. These gifts of hospitality will not afford three days' victuals for the army; nor do I see from what region we are to provide ourselves as we march. My proposal, therefore, is to demand of the Heracleots at least three thousand cyzicenes." Another speaker suggested, "not less than ten thousand. Let us at once, before we break up this meeting, send ambassadors to the city and ascertain their answer to the demand and take counsel accordingly." Thereupon they proceeded to put up as ambassadors, first and foremost Cheirisophus, as he had been chosen general-in-chief; others also named Xenophon.

  But both Cheirisophus and Xenophon stoutly declined, maintaining both alike that they could not compel a Hellenic city, actually friendly, to give anything which they did not spontaneously offer. So, since these two appeared to be backward, the soldiers sent Lycon the Achaean, Callimachus the Parrhasian, and Agasias the Stymphalian. These three went and announced the resolutions passed by the army. Lycon, it was said, even went so far as to threaten certain consequences in case they refused to comply. The Heracleots said they would deliberate; and, without more ado, they got together their goods and chattels from their farms and fields outside, and dismantled the market outside and transferred it within, after which the gates were closed, and arms appeared at the battlements of the walls.

  At that check, the authors of these tumultuary measures fell to accusing the generals, as if they had marred the proceeding; and the Arcadians and Archaeans banded together, chiefly under the auspiecs of the two ringleaders, Callimachus the Parrhasian and Lycon the Achaean. The language they held was to this effect: It was outrageous that a single Athenian and a Lacedaemonian, who had not contributed a soldier to the expedition, should rule Peloponnesians; scandalous that they themselves should bear the toils whilst others pocketed the spoils, and that too though the preservation of the army was due to themselves; for, as every one must admit, to the Arcadians and Achaeans the credit of that achievement was due, and the rest of the army went for nothing (which was indeed so far true that the Arcadians and Achaeans did form numerically the larger half of the whole army). What then did common sense suggest? Why, that they, the Arcadians and Achaeans, should make common cause, choose generals for themselves independently, continue the march, and try somewhat to better their condition. This proposal was carried. All the Arcadians and Achaeans who chanced to be with Cheirisophus left him and Xenophon, setting up for themselves and choosing ten generals of their own. These ten, it was decreed, were to put into effect such measures as approved themselves to the majority. Thus the absolute authority vested in Cheirisophus was terminated there and then, within less than a week of his appointment.

  Xenophon, however was minded to prosecute the journey in their campany, thinking that this would be a safer plan than for each to start on his own account. But Neon threw in his weight in favour of separate action. "Every one for himself," he said, for he had heard from Cheirisophus that Cleander, the Spartan governor-general at Byzantium, talked of coming to Calpe Haven with some war vessels. Neon's advice was due to his desire to secure a passage home in these war vessels for themselves and their soldiers, without allowing any one else to share in their good-fortune. As for Cheirisophus, he was at once so out of heart at the turn things had taken, and soured with the whole army, that he left it to his subordinate, Neon, to do just what he liked. Xenophon, on his side, would still have been glad to be quit of the expedition and sail home; but on offering sacrifice to Heracles the Leader, and seeking advice, whether it were better and more desirable to continue the march in charge of the soldiers who had remained faithful, or to take his departure, the god indicated to him by the victims that he should adopt the former course.

  In this way the army was now split up into three divisions[4]. First, the Arcadians and Achaeans, over four thousand five hundred men, all heavy infantry. Secondly, Cheirisophus and his men, viz. one thousand four hundred heavy infantry and the seven hundred peltasts, or Clearchus's Thracians. Thirdly, Xenophon's division of one thousand seven hundred heavy infantry, and three hundred peltasts; but then he alone had the cavalry——about forty troopers.

  [4] The total now amounted to 8640 and over.

  The Arcadians, who had bargained with the Heracleots and got some vessels from them, were the first to set sail; they hoped, by pouncing suddenly on the Bithynians, to make as large a haul as possible. With that object they disembarked at Calpe Haven[5], pretty nearly at the middle point in Thrace. Cheirisophus setting off straight from Heraclea, commenced a land march through the country; but having entered into Thrace, he preferred to cling to the seaboard, health and strength failing him. Xenophon, lastly, took vessels, and disembarking on the confines of Thrace and the Heracleotid, pushed forward through the heart of the country[6].

  [5] The Haven of Calpe = Kirpe Liman or Karpe in the modern maps. The name is interesting as being also the ancient name of the rock fortress of Gibraltar.

  [6] Some MSS. here read, "In the prior chapter will be found a description of the manner in which the absolute command of Cheirisophus was abruptly terminated and the army of the Hellenes broken up. The sequel will show how each of these divisions fared." The passage is probably one of those commentators' notes, with which we are now familiar.

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