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After hearing these words and giving and receiving pledges they rode away, and before daybreak they arrived at the camp and made their report, each one to those who had sent him. [2] When day came, Aristarchus again summoned the generals; but they resolved to disregard the summons of Aristarchus and instead to call a meeting of the army. And all the troops gathered except Neon's men, who were encamped about ten stadia away. [3] When they had gathered, Xenophon arose and spoke as follows: “Soldiers, as for sailing across to the place where we wish to go, Aristarchus with his triremes prevents our doing that; the result is, that it is not safe for us to embark upon boats; but this same Aristarchus directs us to force our way to the Chersonese, through the Sacred Mountain1; and if we make ourselves masters of the mountain and get to the Chersonese, he says that he will not sell you any more, as he did at Byzantium, that you will not be cheated any more but will receive pay, and that he will not shut his eyes any more, as he does now, to your being in want of provisions. [4] So much for what Aristarchus says; but Seuthes says that if you come to him, he will treat you well. Now, therefore, make up your minds whether you will consider this question here and now or after you have set forth in quest of provisions. [5] My own opinion is, seeing that here we neither have money with which to buy nor are permitted to take anything without money, that we ought to set forth to the villages from which we are permitted to take, since their inhabitants are weaker than ourselves, and that there, possessed of provisions and hearing what the service is that one wants us for, we should choose whatever course may seem best to us. [6] Whoever,” he said, “holds this opinion, let him raise his hand.” Every hand was raised. “Go away, then,” Xenophon continued, “and pack up, and when the word is given, follow the van.” [7]

After this Xenophon led the way and the troops followed. Neon, indeed, and messengers from Aristarchus tried to persuade them to turn back, but they would not listen to them. When they had advanced as much as thirty stadia, Seuthes met them. And Xenophon, catching sight of him, bade him ride up to the troops, in order that he might tell him within hearing of the greatest possible number what they had decided upon as advantageous. [8] When he had come up, Xenophon said: “We are on our way to a place where the army will be able to get food; there we shall listen both to you and to the Laconian's2 messengers, and make whatever choice may seem to be best. If, then, you will guide us to a spot where there are provisions in greatest abundance, we shall think we are being hospitably entertained by you.” [9] And Seuthes replied: “Why, I know a large number of villages, close together and containing all sorts of provisions, that are just far enough away from us so that, when you have covered the distance, you would enjoy your breakfast.” [10] “Lead on, then,” said Xenophon. When they had reached the villages, in the afternoon, noon, the soldiers gathered together and Seuthes spoke as follows: “I ask you, soldiers, to take the field with me, and I promise to give to you who are in the ranks a Cyzicene and to the captains and generals the customary pay; besides this, I shall honour the man who deserves it. Food and drink you will obtain, just as to-day, by taking from the country; but whatever may be captured I shall expect to retain for myself, so that by selling it I may provide you your pay. [11] All that flees and hides we shall ourselves be able to pursue and seek out; but if any one offers resistance, with your help we shall try to subdue him.” [12] Xenophon asked, “And how far from the seacoast shall you expect the army to follow you?” He replied, “Nowhere more than a seven days' journey, and in many places less.” [13]

After this the opportunity to speak was offered to any one who desired it; and many spoke to the same effect, saying that Seuthes' proposals were most valuable; for the season was winter, and it was impossible to sail back home, if that was what one wished, and impossible also to get along in a friendly country if they had to maintain themselves by purchasing; on the other hand, to spend their time and get their maintenance in a hostile country was a safer proceeding in Seuthes' company than if they were alone. And if, above and beyond such important advantages, they were also to receive pay, they counted it a godsend. [14] After that Xenophon said: “If any one holds a contrary opinion, let him speak; if not, I will put this question to vote.” And as no one spoke in opposition, he put the matter to vote, and this plan was decided upon. So he told Seuthes at once that they would take service with him. [15]

After this the troops went into camp by divisions, but the generals and captains were invited to dinner by Seuthes in a village he was occupying near by. [16] When they had reached his doors and were about to go in to dinner, there stood a certain Heracleides, of Maroneia;3 this fellow came up to each single one of the guests who, as he imagined, were able to make a present to Seuthes, first of all to some people of Parium who had come to arrange4 a friendship with Medocus, the king of the Odrysians, and brought gifts with them for him and his wife; to them Heracleides said that Medocus was a twelve days' journey inland from the sea, while Seuthes, now that he had got this army, would be master upon the coast. [17] “He, therefore,” Heracleides went on, “being your neighbour, will be best able to do you good or harm. Hence if you are wise, you will present to him whatever you bring with you; and it will be better for you than if you make your gifts to Medocus, who dwells far away.” It was in this way that he tried to persuade these people. [18] Next he came up to Timasion the Dardanian,—for he heard that he had some Persian drinking cups and carpets,—and said that it was customary when Seuthes invited people to dinner, for those who were thus invited to give him presents. “And,” he continued, “in case this Seuthes becomes a great man in this region, he will be able either to restore you to your home5 or to make you rich here.” Such were the solicitations he used as he went to one man after another. [19] He came up to Xenophon also, and said to him: “You are a citizen of a very great state and your name is a very great one with Seuthes; perhaps you will expect to obtain fortresses in this land, as others among your countrymen have done,6 and territory; it is proper, therefore, for you to honour Seuthes in the most magnificent way. [20] It is out of good-will to you that I give this advice for I am quite sure that the greater the gifts you bestow upon this man, the greater the favours that you will receive at his hands.” Upon hearing this Xenophon was dismayed; for he had come across from Parium with nothing but a boy and money enough for his travelling expenses. [21]

When they had come in for the dinner—the noblest of the Thracians who were present, the generals and the captains of the Greeks, and whatever embassy from any state was there—the dinner was served with the guests seated in a circle; then three-legged tables were brought in for the whole company; these were full of meat, cut up into pieces, and there were great loaves of leavened bread fastened with skewers to the pieces of meat. [22] In general the tables were placed opposite the strangers in each case; for the Thracians had a custom which Seuthes now took the lead in practising,—he would pick up the loaves which lay beside him, break them into small pieces, and throw the pieces to whomever he pleased, following the same fashion with the meat also, and leaving himself only enough for a mere taste. [23] Then the others also who had tables placed opposite them, set about doing the same thing. But a certain Arcadian named Arystas, a terrible eater, would have none of this throwing about, but took in his hand a loaf as big as a three-quart measure, put some pieces of meat upon his knees, and proceeded to dine. [24] They carried round horns of wine, and all took them; but Arystas, when the cupbearer came and brought him his horn, said to the man, after observing that Xenophon had finished his dinner, “Give it to him; for he's already at leisure, but I'm not as yet.” [25] When Seuthes heard the sound of his voice, he asked the cupbearer what he was saying. And the cupbearer, who understood Greek, told him. So then there was an outburst of laughter. [26]

When the drinking was well under way, there came in a Thracian with a white horse, and taking a full horn he said: “I drink your health, Seuthes, and present to you this horse; on his back pursuing you shall catch whomever you choose, and retreating you shall not fear the enemy.” [27] Another brought in a boy and presented him in the same way, with a health to Seuthes, while another presented clothes for his wife. Timasion also drank his health and presented to him a silver bowl and a carpet worth ten minas.7 [28] Then one Gnesippus, an Athenian, arose and said that it was an ancient and most excellent custom that those who had possessions should give to the king for honour's sake, and that to those who had nought the king should give, “so that,” he continued, “I too may be able to bestow gifts upon you and do you honour.” [29] As for Xenophon, he was at a loss to know what he should do; for he chanced, as one held in honour, to be seated on the stool nearest to Seuthes. And Heracleides directed the cupbearer to proffer him the horn. Then Xenophon, who already as it happened had been drinking a little, arose courageously after taking the horn and said: [30] “And I, Seuthes, give you myself and these my comrades to be your faithful friends; and not one of them do I give against his will, but all are even more desirous than I of being your friends. [31] And now they are here, asking you for nothing more, but rather putting themselves in your hands and willing to endure toil and danger on your behalf. With them, if the gods so will, you will acquire great territory, recovering all that belonged to your fathers and gaining yet more, and you will acquire many horses, and many men and fair women; and these things you will not need to take as plunder, but my comrades of their own accord shall bring them before you as gifts.” [32] Up rose Seuthes, drained the horn with Xenophon, and joined him in sprinkling the last drops.8 After this there came in musicians blowing upon horns such as they use in giving signals, and playing upon trumpets of raw ox-hide not only measured notes, but music like that of a harp. [33] And Seuthes himself got up, raised a war-cry, and sprang aside very nimbly, as though avoiding a missile. There entered also a company of buffoons. [34]

When the sun was about setting, the Greeks arose and said that it was time to post sentinels and give out the watchword. They also urged Seuthes to issue an order that none of the Thracians were to enter the Greek camp by night; “for,” they said, “our enemies are Thracians and our friends are yourselves.”9 [35] As the Greeks were setting forth, Seuthes arose with them, not in the least like a drunken man. And after coming out he called the generals aside by themselves and said: “Gentlemen, our enemies do not yet know of our alliance; therefore if we go against them before they have got on guard against being captured or have made preparations to defend themselves, we should most surely get both captives and property.” [36] The generals agreed in approving this plan, and bade him lead on. And he said: “Get yourselves ready and wait; and when the proper time comes, I will return to you and, picking up my peltasts and yourselves, will lead the way with my horsemen.” [37] And Xenophon said: “Well, now, consider this point, whether, if we are to make a night march, the Greek practice is not the better: in our marches by day, you know, that part of the army takes the lead which is suited to the nature of the ground in each case, whether it be hoplites or peltasts or cavalry; but by night it is the practice of the Greeks that the slowest arm should lead the way; [38] for thus the various parts of the army are least likely to become separated, and men are least likely to drop away from one another without knowing it; and it often happens that scattered divisions fall in with one another and in their ignorance inflict and suffer harm.” [39] Then Seuthes replied: “You are right, and I will adopt your practice. I will give you guides10 from among the oldest men, who know the country best, and I myself will bring up the rear with my horsemen; for I can speedily reach the front if need be.” Then they gave out “Athena” as the watchword, on account of their kinship.11 After this conference they went to rest. [40]

When it was about midnight, Seuthes was at hand with his horsemen armed with breast-plates and his peltasts equipped with their arms. And as soon as he had given over their guides to the Greeks, the hoplites took the lead, the peltasts followed, and the horsemen brought up the rear. [41] When day came, Seuthes rode along to the front and expressed his approval of the Greek practice. For many times, he said, while marching by night with even a small force he himself, along with his cavalry, had got separated from his infantry; “but now,” he continued, “we find ourselves at daybreak all together, just as we should be. But do you wait where you are and take a rest, and I will return after I have looked around a little.” With these words he rode off along a mountain side, following a kind of road. [42] When he had reached a place where there was deep snow, he looked about to see whether there were human footprints, either leading onward or back. As soon as he saw that the road was untrodden, he quickly returned and said: [43] “All will be well, gentlemen, if god will; for we shall fall upon these people before they know it. Now I will lead the way with the cavalry, so that if we catch sight of any one, he may not slip through our fingers and give word to the enemy; and do you follow after me, and in case you get left behind, keep to the trail of the horses. Once we have crossed over the mountains, we shall come to many prosperous villages.” [44]

By the time it was midday he was already upon the heights, and catching sight of the villages below he came riding up to the hoplites and said: “Now I am going to let the horsemen charge down to the plain on the run, and to send the peltasts against the villages. Do you, then, follow as fast as you can, so that if any resistance is offered, you may meet it.” [45] Upon hearing these words Xenophon dismounted from his horse. And Seuthes asked: “Why do you dismount, for there is need of haste?” “I know,” Xenophon replied, “that I am not the only one you need; and the hoplites will run faster and more cheerfully if I also am on foot leading the way.” [46] After this Seuthes went off, and with him Timasion at the head of about forty horsemen of the Greeks. Then Xenophon gave orders that the active men up to thirty years of age should move up from their several companies to the front. So he himself ran along with them, while Cleanor led the rest. [47] When they had reached the villages, Seuthes with about thirty horsemen rode up to him and said: “Here's the very thing, Xenophon, that you were saying;12 these fellows are caught, but unhappily my horsemen have gone off unsupported, scattering in their pursuit, and I fear that the enemy may get together somewhere in a body and work some harm. On the other hand, some of us also must remain in the villages, for they are full of people.” [48] “Well,” Xenophon replied, “I myself with the troops I have will seize the heights, and do you direct Cleanor to extend his line through the plain alongside the villages.” When they had done these things, there were gathered together captives to the number of a thousand, two thousand cattle, and ten thousand smaller animals besides. Then they bivouacked where they were.

1 cp. Xen. Anab. 7.1.13, and note thereon

2 Aristarchus.

3 A Greek city in Thrace.

4 Through the mediation of Seuthes; cp. Xen. Anab. 7.2.32-4.

5 Timasion was an exile (Xen. Anab. 5.6.23).

6 Especially Alcibiades (Xen. Hell. 1.5.17, Nepos Alc. 7).

7 See note on Xen. Anab. 1.4.13.

8 The reference is to the Thracian custom, known to us through Suidas, of sprinkling the last drops that remained in the drinking horn upon one's fellow guests.

9 Viz., Thracians also; in other words, the Greeks could not tell whether an individual Thracian was friend or foe.

10 Which are necessary now that the Greeks, whose hoplites form “the slowest arm,” are to lead the way.

11 cp. Xen. Anab. 7.2.31.

12 See 37, 38 above. Seuthes has again (cp. 41) gone ahead with his fastest arm (his cavalry), and now appreciates the danger of having them unsupported (cp. ἔρημοι below) by infantry.

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hide References (13 total)
  • Commentary references to this page (1):
    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Antigone, 775
  • Cross-references to this page (5):
    • A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), JUSJURANDUM
    • A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), MENSA
    • A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), TAPE´TE
    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), THRA´CIA
    • Smith's Bio, Heracleides
  • Cross-references in notes from this page (7):
    • Xenophon, Anabasis, 1.4.13
    • Xenophon, Anabasis, 5.6.23
    • Xenophon, Anabasis, 7.1.13
    • Xenophon, Anabasis, 7.2.31
    • Xenophon, Anabasis, 7.2.32
    • Xenophon, Hellenica, 1.5.17
    • Cornelius Nepos, Alcibiades, 7
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