So Phalinus and his companions departed. But the messengers from Ariaeus arrived—Procles and Cheirisophus only, for Menon stayed behind with Ariaeus; they reported that Ariaeus said there were many Persians of higher rank than himself and they would not tolerate his being king. “But,” the messengers continued, “if you wish to make the return journey with him, he bids you come at once, during the night; otherwise, he says he will set out to-morrow morning.”
And Clearchus said: “Well, let it be this way: if we come, even as you propose; if we do not, follow whatever course you may think most advantageous to yourselves.” But what he meant to do, he did not tell them, either.
After this, when the sun was already setting, he called together the generals and captains and spoke as follows: “When I sacrificed, gentlemen, the omens did not result favourably for proceeding against the King. And with good reason, it proves, they were not favourable; for, as I now ascertain, between us and the King is the Tigris
, a navigable river, which we could not cross without boats—and boats we have none. On the other hand, it is not possible for us to stay where we are, for we cannot get provisions; but the omens were extremely favourable for our going to join the friends of Cyrus.
This, then, is what you are to do: go away and dine on whatever you severally have; when the horn gives the signal for going to rest, pack up; when the second signal is given, load your baggage upon the beasts of burden; and at the third signal follow the van, keeping the beasts of burden on the side next to the river and the hoplites outside.”
Upon hearing these words the generals and captains went away and proceeded to do as Clearchus had directed. And thenceforth he commanded and they obeyed, not that they had chosen him, but because they saw that he alone possessed the wisdom which a commander should have, while the rest were without experience.
[The length of the journey they had made from Ephesus
, in Ionia
, to the battlefield was ninety-three stages, five hundred and thirty-five parasangs, or sixteen thousand and fifty stadia; and the distance from the battlefield to Babylon
was said to be three hundred and sixty stadia.]
Afterwards, when darkness had come on, Miltocythes the Thracian, with the horsemen under his command, forty in number, and about three hundred Thracian foot-soldiers, deserted to the King.
But Clearchus put himself at the head of the rest of the troops, following out the plan of his previous orders, and they followed; and they reached the first stopping-place,2
and there joined Ariaeus and his army, at about midnight. Then, while they halted under arms in line of battle, the generals and captains had a meeting with Ariaeus; and the two parties—the Greek officers, and Ariaeus together with the highest in rank of his followers—made oath that they would not betray each other and that they would be allies, while the barbarians took an additional pledge to lead the way without treachery.
These oaths they sealed by sacrificing a bull, a boar, and a ram over a shield, the Greeks dipping a sword in the blood and the barbarians a lance.
After the pledges had been given, Clearchus said: “And now, Ariaeus, since you and we are to make the same journey, tell us what view you hold in regard to the route—shall we return by the same way we came, or do you think you have discovered another way that is better?”
Ariaeus replied: “If we should return by the way we came, we should perish utterly from starvation, for we now have no provisions whatever. For even on our way hither we were not able to get anything from the country during the last seventeen stages; and where there was anything, we consumed it entirely on our march through. Now, accordingly, we intend to take a route that is longer, to be sure, but one where we shall not lack provisions.
And we must make our first marches as long as we can, in order to separate ourselves as far as possible from the King's army; for if we once get a two or three days' journey away from the King, he will not then be able to overtake us. For he will not dare to pursue us with a small army, and with a large array he will not find it possible to march rapidly; and perhaps, furthermore, he will lack provisions. This,” said he, “is the view which I hold, for my part.”
This plan of campaign meant nothing else than effecting an escape, either by stealth or by speed; but fortune planned better. For when day came, they set out on the march, keeping the sun on their right and calculating that at sunset they would reach villages in Babylonia—and in this they were not disappointed.
But while it was still afternoon they thought that they saw horsemen of the enemy; and such of the Greeks as chanced not to be in the lines proceeded to run to the lines, while Ariaeus, who was making the journey in a wagon because he was wounded, got down and put on his breastplate, and his attendants followed his example.
While they were arming themselves, however, the scouts who had been sent ahead returned with the report that it was not horsemen, but pack animals grazing. Straightway everybody realized that the King was encamping somewhere in the neighbourhood—in fact, smoke was seen in villages not far away.
Clearchus, however, would not advance against the enemy, for he knew that his troops were not only tired out, but without food, and, besides, it was already late; still, he would not turn aside, either, for he was taking care to avoid the appearance of flight, but leading the army straight ahead he encamped with the van at sunset in the nearest villages, from which the King's army had plundered even the very timbers of the houses.
The van nevertheless encamped after a fashion, but the men who were further back, coming up in the dark, had to bivouac each as best they could, and they made a great uproar with calling one another, so that the enemy also heard it; the result was that the nearest of the enemy actually took to flight from their quarters.
This became clear on the following day, for not a pack animal was any more to be seen nor camp nor smoke anywhere near. Even the King, so it seems, was terrified by the approach of the army. He made this evident by what he did the next day.
However, as the night went on a panic fell upon the Greeks also, and there was confusion and din of the sort that may be expected when panic has seized an army.
Clearchus, however, directed Tolmides the Elean, who chanced to be with him as herald and was the best herald of his time, to make this proclamation, after he had ordered silence: “The commanders give public notice that whoever informs on the man who let the ass loose among the arms shall receive a reward of a talent of silver.”
When this proclamation had been made, the soldiers realized that their fears were groundless and their commanders safe. And at dawn Clearchus ordered the Greeks to get under arms in line of battle just as they were when the battle took place.