previous next

As they made their way through the mountains of Armenia they encountered a heavy snow and the entire army came near to perishing. What happened was this. At first, when the air was stirred, the snow began to fall in light quantities from the heavens, so that the marchers experienced no trouble in their advance; but after this a wind rose and it came down heavier and heavier and so covered the ground that not only the road but even any distinguishing landmarks could no longer be seen at all. [2] Consequently despondency and fear seized the army, which was unwilling to turn back to certain destruction and unable to advance because of the heavy snow. As the storm increased in intensity, there came a great wind and heavy hail which beat in gusts on their faces and forced the entire army to come to a halt; for everyone, being unable to endure the hardship entailed in a further advance, was forced to remain wherever he happened to be. [3] Although without supplies of any kind, they stuck it out under the open sky that day and the following night, beset by many hardships; for because of the heavy snow which kept continually falling, all their arms were covered and their bodies were completely chilled by the frost in the air. The hardships they endured were so great that they got no sleep the entire night. Some lighted fires and got some help from them, and some, whose bodies were invaded by the frost, gave up all hope of succour, since practically all their fingers and toes were mortifying. [4] Accordingly, when the night was past, it was found that most of the baggage animals had perished, and of the soldiers many were dead and not a few, though still conscious, could not move their bodies because of the frost; and the eyes of some were blinded by reason of the cold and the glare from the snow. [5] And every man would certainly have perished had they not gone on a little farther and found villages full of supplies. These villages had entrances for the beasts of burden which were tunnelled under the ground and others for the human inhabitants who descended into them by ladders . . .1 and in the houses the animals were supplied with hay, while the human inhabitants enjoyed a great abundance of all the necessities of life.

1 There is clearly a lacuna in the text. Any reconstruction should be guided by Xenophon's description (Xen. Anab 4.5.25): "The houses here were underground, with a mouth like that of a well, but spacious below; and while entrances were tunnelled down for the beasts of burden, the human inhabitants descended by a ladder. In the houses were goats, sheep, etc." (tr. of Brownson in the L.C.L.). Such underground villages are still to be found in modern Armenia.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

load focus Greek (1989)
hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide References (4 total)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: