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1[The preceding narrative has described how a Greek force was collected for Cyrus at the time when he was planning an expedition against his brother Artaxerxes, what events took place during the upward march, how the battle was fought, how Cyrus met his death, and how the Greeks returned to their camp and lay down to rest, supposing that they were victorious at all points and that Cyrus was alive.] [2]

At daybreak the generals came together, and they wondered that Cyrus neither sent anyone else to tell them what to do nor appeared himself. They resolved, accordingly, to pack up what they had, arm themselves, and push forward until they should join forces with Cyrus. [3] When they were on the point of setting out, and just as the sun was rising, came Procles, the ruler of Teuthrania, a descendant of Damaratus,2 the Laconian, and with him Glus, the son of Tamos. They reported that Cyrus was dead, and that Ariaeus had fled and was now, along with the rest of the barbarians, at the stopping-place from which they had set out on the preceding day; further, he sent word that he and his troops were that day waiting for the Greeks, on the chance that they intended to join them, but on the next day, so Ariaeus said, he should set out on the return journey for Ionia, whence he had come. [4] The generals upon hearing this message, and the rest of the Greeks as they learned of it, were greatly distressed. Clearchus, however, said: “Well, would that Cyrus were alive! but since he is dead, carry back word to Ariaeus that, for our part, we have defeated the King, that we have no enemy left, as you see, to fight with, and that if you had not come, we should now be marching against the King. And we promise Ariaeus that, if he will come here, we will set him upon the royal throne; for to those who are victorious in battle belongs also the right to rule.” [5] With these words he sent back the messengers, sending with them Cheirisophus the Laconian and Menon the Thessalian; for this was Menon's own wish, inasmuch as he was an intimate and guest-friend of Ariaeus. [6]

So they went off, and Clearchus awaited their return; meanwhile the troops provided themselves with food as best they could, by slaughtering oxen and asses of the baggage train. As for fuel, they went forward a short distance from their line to the place where the battle was fought and used for that purpose not only the arrows, many in number, which the Greeks had compelled all who deserted from the King to throw away, but also the wicker shields and the wooden Egyptian shields; there were likewise many light shields and wagons that they could carry off, all of them abandoned. These various things, then, they used for fuel, and so boiled meat and lived on it for that day.3 [7]

And now it was about full-market time,4 and heralds arrived from the King and Tissaphernes, all of them barbarians except one, a Greek named Phalinus, who, as it chanced, was with Tissaphernes and was held in honour by him; for this Phalinus professed to be an expert in tactics and the handling of heavy infantry. [8] When these heralds came up, they called for the leaders of the Greeks and said that the King, since victory had fallen to him and he had slain Cyrus, directed the Greeks to give up their arms, go to the King's court, and seek for themselves whatever favour they might be able to get. [9] Such was the message of the King's heralds. The Greeks received it with anger, but nevertheless Clearchus said as much as this, that it was not victors who gave up their arms; “However,” he continued, “do you, my fellow generals, give these men whatever answer you can that is best and most honourable, and I will return immediately.” For one of his servants had summoned him to see the vital organs that had been taken out of a sacrificial victim, for Clearchus chanced to be engaged in sacrificing. [10]

Then Cleanor the Arcadian, being the eldest of the generals, made answer that they would die sooner than give up their arms. And Proxenus the Theban said: “For my part, Phalinus, I wonder whether the King is asking for our arms on the assumption that he is victorious, or simply as gifts, on the assumption that we are his friends. For if he asks for them as victor, why need he ask for them, instead of coming and taking them?5 But if he desires to get them by persuasion, let him set forth what the soldiers will receive in case they do him this favour.” [11] In reply to this Phalinus said: “The King believes that he is victor because he has slain Cyrus. For who is there now who is contending against him for his realm? Further, he believes that you also are his because he has you in the middle of his country, enclosed by impassable rivers, and because he can bring against you a multitude of men so great that you could not slay them even if he were to put them in your hands.” Then Theopompus, an Athenian, said: [12] “Phalinus, at this moment, as you see for yourself, we have no other possession save arms and valour. Now if we keep our arms, we imagine that we can make use of our valour also, but if we give them up, that we shall likewise be deprived of our lives. Do not suppose, therefore, that we shall give up to you the only possessions that we have; rather, with these we shall do battle against you for your possessions as well.” [13] When he heard this, Phalinus laughed and said: “Why, you talk like a philosopher, young man, and what you say is quite pretty; be sure, however, that you are a fool if you imagine that your valour could prove superior to the King's might.” [14] There were some others, so the story goes, who weakened a little, and said that, just as they had proved themselves faithful to Cyrus, so they might prove valuable to the King also if he should wish to become their friend; he might want to employ them for various purposes, perhaps for a campaign against Egypt, which they should be glad to assist him in subduing. [15]

At this time Clearchus returned, and asked whether they had yet given an answer. And Phalinus broke in and said: “These people, Clearchus, all say different things; but tell us what your own opinion is.” [16] Clearchus replied: “I myself, Phalinus, was glad to see you, and, I presume, all the rest were, too; for you are a Greek and so are we, whose numbers you can observe for yourself. Now since we are in such a situation, we ask you to advise us as to what we ought to do about the matter you mention. [17] Do you, then, in the sight of the gods, give us whatever advice you think is best and most honourable, advice which will bring you honour in future time when it is reported in this way: `Once on a time Phalinus, when he was sent by the King to order the Greeks to surrender their arms, gave them, when they sought his counsel, the following advice.' And you know that any advice you may give will certainly be reported in Greece.” [18] Now Clearchus was making this crafty suggestion in the hope that the very man who was acting as the King's ambassador might advise them not to give up their arms, and that thus the Greeks might be made more hopeful. But, contrary to his expectation, Phalinus also made a crafty turn, and said: [19] “For my part, if you have one chance in ten thousand of saving yourselves by carrying on war against the King, I advise you not to give up your arms; but if you have no hope of deliverance without the King's consent, I advise you to save yourselves in what way you can.” [20] In reply to this Clearchus said: “Well, that is what you say; but as our answer carry back this word, that in our view if we are to be friends of the King, we should be more valuable friends if we keep our arms than if we give them up to someone else, and if we are to wage war with him, we should wage war better if we keep our arms than if we give them up to someone else.” [21] And Phalinus said: “That answer, then, we will carry back; but the King bade us tell you this also, that if you remain where you are, you have a truce, if you advance or retire, war. Inform us, therefore, on this point as well: shall you remain and is there a truce, or shall I report from you that there is war?” [22] Clearchus replied: “Report, then, on this point that our view is precisely the same as the King's.” “What, then, is that?” said Phalinus. Clearchus replied, “If we remain, a truce, if we retire or advance, war.” [23] And Phalinus asked again, “Shall I report truce or war?” And Clearchus again made the same reply, “Truce if we remain, if we retire or advance, war.” What he meant to do, however, he did not indicate.

1 The MSS. here prefix the following summary of the preceding narrative.

2 A king of Sparta who was deposed in 491 B.C., fled to Persia, and afterwards accompanied Xerxes in his expedition against Greece. Teuthrania (in western Asia Minor) made part of the territory given him by Xerxes as a reward for this service.

3 See note on Xen. Anab. 1.5.6.

4 See note on Xen. Anab. 1.8.1.

5 These words recall the famous answer which Leonidas at Thermopylae made to the same demand: μολὼν λαβέ, “Come and take them.”

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  • Commentary references to this page (1):
    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Philoctetes, 551
  • Cross-references to this page (7):
    • Harper's, Pelta
    • A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), GERRON
    • A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), HOSPI´TIUM
    • A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), JUSJURANDUM
    • A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), PELTA
    • William Watson Goodwin, Syntax of the Moods and Tenses of the Greek Verb, Chapter IV
    • Smith's Bio, Phali'nus
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    • Xenophon, Anabasis, 1.5.6
    • Xenophon, Anabasis, 1.8.1
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