When Socratides was archon at Athens, the
Romans elected four military tribunes with consular power, Quintus Servilius, Servius
Cornelius, and Spurius Papirius. During their term of office King Artaxerxes sent an expedition
against the Egyptians,2
who had revolted from Persia. The leaders of the army were Pharnabazus,
commanding the barbarian contingent, and Iphicrates3
commanding the mercenaries, who numbered twenty thousand. Iphicrates, who had been summoned for
the campaign by the King, was given the assignment because of his strategic skill.
After Pharnabazus had wasted several years making his preparations,
Iphicrates, perceiving that though in talk he was clever, he was sluggish in action, frankly
told him that he marvelled that anyone so quick in speech could be so dilatory in action.
Pharnabazus replied that it was because he was master of his words but the King was master of
When the Persian army had assembled at the city
numbered two hundred thousand barbarians under the command of Pharnabazus and twenty
Greek mercenaries led
by Iphicrates. The triremes numbered three hundred and the thirty-oared vessels two hundred.
The number of those conveying food and other supplies was great.
At the beginning of the summer6
generals broke camp with the entire army, and accompanied by the fleet sailing along the coast
proceeded to Egypt. When they came near the Nile they found that the Egyptians had manifestly
completed their preparations for the war.
marched slowly and had given plenty of time for the enemy to prepare. Indeed it is the usual
custom for the Persian commanders, not being independent in the general conduct of war, to
refer all matters to the King and await his replies concerning every detail.