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After this they reached the Zapatas river, which was four plethra in width. There they remained three days. During this time suspicions were rife, it is true, but no plot came openly to light. [2] Clearchus resolved, therefore, to have a meeting with Tissaphernes and put a stop to these suspicions, if he possibly could, before hostilities resulted from them; so he sent a messenger to say that he desired to meet him. [3] And Tissaphernes readily bade him come.

When they had met, Clearchus spoke as follows: “I know, to be sure, Tissaphernes, that both of us have taken oaths and given pledges not to injure one another; yet I see that you are on your guard against us as though we were enemies, and we, observing this, are keeping guard on our side. [4] But since, upon inquiry, I am unable to ascertain that you are trying to do us harm, and am perfectly sure that we, for our part, are not even thinking of any such thing against you, I resolved to have an interview with you, so that, if possible, we might dispel this mutual distrust. [5] For I know that there have been cases before now—some of them the result of slander, others of mere suspicion—where men who have become fearful of one another and wished to strike before they were struck, have done irreparable harm to people who were neither intending nor, for that matter, desiring to do anything of the sort to them. [6] In the belief, then, that such misunderstandings are best settled by conference, I have come here, and I wish to point out to you that you are mistaken in distrusting us. [7] For, first and chiefly, our oaths, sworn by the gods, stand in the way of our being enemies of one another; and the man who is conscious that he has disregarded such oaths, I for my part should never account happy. For in war with the gods I know not either by what swiftness of foot or to what place of refuge one could make his escape, or into what darkness he could steal away, or how he could withdraw himself to a secure fortress. For all things in all places are subject to the gods, and all alike the gods hold in their control. [8]

“Touching the gods, then, and our oaths I am thus minded, and to the keeping of the gods we consigned the friendship which we covenanted; but as for things human, I believe that at this time you are to us the greatest good we possess. [9] For, with you, every road is easy for us to traverse, every river is passable, supplies are not lacking; without you, all our road is through darkness—for none of it do we know—every river is hard to pass, every crowd excites our fears, and most fearful of all is solitude—for it is crowded full of want. [10] And if we should, in fact, be seized with madness and slay you, should we not certainly, after slaying our benefactor, be engaged in contest with the King, a fresh and most powerful opponent?1 Again, how great and bright are the hopes of which I should rob myself if I attempted to do you any harm, I will relate to you. [11] I set my heart upon having Cyrus for my friend because I thought that he was the best able of all the men of his time to benefit whom he pleased; but now I see that it is you who possess Cyrus' power and territory, while retaining your own besides, and that the power of the King, which Cyrus found hostile, is for you a support. [12] Since this is so, who is so mad as not to desire to be your friend?

“And now for the other side,—for I will go on to tell you the grounds upon which I base the hope that you will likewise desire to be our friend. [13] I know that the Mysians are troublesome to you, and I believe that with the force I have I could make them your submissive servants; I know that the Pisidians also trouble you, and I hear that there are likewise many other tribes of the same sort; I could put a stop, I think, to their being a continual annoyance to your prosperity. As for the Egyptians, with whom I learn that you are especially angry, I do not see what force you could better employ to aid you in chastising them than the force which I now have. [14] Again, take those who dwell around you: if you chose to be a friend to any, you could be the greatest possible friend, while if any were to annoy you, you could play the part of master over them in case you had us for supporters, for we should serve you, not merely for the sake of pay, but also out of the gratitude that we should feel, and rightly feel, toward you, the man who had saved us. [15] For my part, as I consider all these things the idea of your distrusting us seems to me so astonishing that I should be very glad indeed to hear the name of the man who is so clever a talker that his talk could persuade you that we were cherishing designs against you.” Thus much Clearchus said, and Tissaphernes replied as follows: [16]

“It is a pleasure to me, Clearchus, to hear your sensible words; for if, holding these views, you should devise any ill against me, you would at the same time, I think, be showing ill-will toward yourself also. And now, in order that you may learn that you likewise are mistaken in distrusting either the King or myself, take your turn in listening. [17] If we were, in fact, desirous of destroying you, does it seem to you that we have not cavalry in abundance and infantry and military equipment, whereby we should be able to harm you without being in any danger of suffering harm ourselves? [18] Or do you think that we should not have places suitable for attacking you? Do you not behold these vast plains, which even now, although they are friendly, it is costing you a deal of labour to traverse? and these great mountains you have to pass, which we can occupy in advance and render impassable for you? and have we not these great rivers, at which we can parcel out whatever number of you we may choose to fight with—some, in fact, which you could not cross at all unless we carried you over? [19] And if we were worsted at all these points, nevertheless it is certain that fire can worst crops; by burning them up we could bring famine into the field against you, and you could not fight against that, however brave you might be. [20] Since, then, we have so many ways of making war upon you, no one of them dangerous to us, why, in such a case, should we choose out of them all that one way which alone is impious in the sight of the gods and shameful in the sight of men? [21] For it is those who are utterly without ways and means, who are bound by necessity, and who are rascals in any case, that are willing to accomplish an object by perjury to the gods and unfaithfulness to men. As for us, Clearchus, we are not so unreasoning or foolish. [22]

“But why, one might ask, when it was possible for us to destroy you, did we not proceed to do so? The reason for this, be well assured, was my eager desire to prove myself trustworthy to the Greeks, so that with the same mercenary force which Cyrus led up from the coast in the faith of wages paid, I might go back to the coast in the security of benefits conferred. [23] And as for all the ways in which you are of use to me, you also have mentioned some of them, but it is I who know the most important: the King alone may wear upright the tiara that is upon the head, but another, too, with your help, might easily so wear the one that is upon the heart.2” [24]

In these things that he said Tissaphernes seemed to Clearchus to be speaking the truth; and Clearchus said: “Then do not those who are endeavouring by false charges to make us enemies, when we have such grounds for friendship, deserve to suffer the uttermost penalty?” [25] “Yes,” said Tissaphernes, “and for my part, if you generals and captains care to come to me, I will give you, publicly, the names of those who tell me that you are plotting against me and the army under my command.” [26] “And I,” said Clearchus, “will bring them all, and in my turn will make known to you whence come the reports that I hear about you.” [27]

After this conversation Tissaphernes showed all kindness, inviting Clearchus at that time to stay with him and making him his guest at dinner. On the following day, when Clearchus returned to the Greek camp, he not only made it clear that he imagined he was on very friendly terms with Tissaphernes and reported the words which he had used, but he said that those whom Tissaphernes had invited must go to him, and that whoever among the Greeks should be convicted of making false charges ought to be punished, as traitors and foes to the Greeks. [28] Now Clearchus suspected that the author of these slanders was Menon, for he was aware that Menon had not only had meetings with Tissaphernes, in company with Ariaeus, but was also organizing opposition to his own leadership and plotting against him, with the intention of winning over to himself the entire army and thereby securing the friendship of Tissaphernes. [29] Clearchus desired, however, to have the entire army devoted to him and to put the refractory out of the way. As for the soldiers, some of them made objections to Clearchus' proposal, urging that the captains and generals should not all go and that they should not trust Tissaphernes. [30] But Clearchus vehemently insisted, until he secured an agreement that five generals should go and twenty captains; and about two hundred of the soldiers also followed along, with the intention of going to market. [31]

When they reached Tissaphernes' doors, the generals were invited in—Proxenus the Boeotian, Menon the Thessalian, Agias the Arcadian, Clearchus the Laconian, and Socrates the Achaean—while the captains waited at the doors. [32] Not long afterward, at the same signal, those within were seized and those outside were cut down. After this some of the barbarian horsemen rode about over the plain and killed every Greek they met, whether slave or freeman. [33] And the Greeks wondered at this riding about, as they saw it from their camp, and were puzzled to know what the horsemen were doing, until Nicarchus the Arcadian reached the camp in flight, wounded in his belly and holding his bowels in his hands, and told all that had happened. [34] Thereupon the Greeks, one and all, ran to their arms, panic-stricken and believing that the enemy would come at once against the camp. [35]

Not all of them came, however, but Ariaeus, Artaozus, and Mithradates, who had been most faithful friends of Cyrus, did come; and the interpreter of the Greeks said that with them he also saw and recognized Tissaphernes' brother; furthermore, they were followed by other Persians, armed with breastplates, to the number of three hundred. [36] As soon as this party had come near, they directed whatever Greek general or captain there might be to come forward, in order that they might deliver a message from the King. [37] After this two generals went forth from the Greek lines under guard, Cleanor the Orchomenian and Sophaenetus the Stymphalian, and with them Xenophon the Athenian, who wished to learn the fate of Proxenus; Cheirisophus, however, chanced to be away in a village in company with others who were getting provisions. [38] And when the Greeks got within hearing distance, Ariaeus said: “Clearchus, men of Greece, inasmuch as he was shown to be perjuring himself and violating the truce, has received his deserts and is dead, but Proxenus and Menon, because they gave information about his plotting, are held in high honour. For yourselves, the King demands your arms; for he says that they belong to him, since they belonged to Cyrus, his slave.” [39] To this the Greeks replied as follows, Cleanor the Orchomenian acting as spokesman: “Ariaeus, you basest of men, and all you others who were friends of Cyrus, are you not ashamed, either before gods or men, that, after giving us your oaths to count the same people friends and foes as we did, you have betrayed us, joining hands with Tissaphernes, that most godless and villainous man, and that you have not only destroyed the very men to whom you were then making oath, but have betrayed the rest of us and are come with our enemies against us?” [40] And Ariaeus said: “But it was shown that long ago Clearchus was plotting against Tissaphernes and Orontas and all of us who are with them.” Upon this Xenophon spoke as follows: [41] “Well, then, if Clearchus was really transgressing the truce in violation of his oaths, he has his deserts, for it is right that perjurers should perish; but as for Proxenus and Menon, since they are your benefactors and our generals, send them hither, for it is clear that, being friends of both parties, they will endeavour to give both you and ourselves the best advice.” [42] To this the barbarians made no answer, but, after talking for a long time with one another, they departed.

1 The ἔφεδρος, in the language of Greek athletics, was the man who had “drawn a bye,” and so waited for the result of a contest in order to engage the victor.

2 The first clause states a fact of Persian court etiquette; the second is apparently intended to give Clearchus the impression that Tissaphernes aspires to the Persian throne, and for that reason really desires the friendship and help of the Greeks.

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  • Cross-references to this page (3):
    • Harper's, Zabătus
    • A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), TIARA
    • William Watson Goodwin, Syntax of the Moods and Tenses of the Greek Verb, Chapter IV
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