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5.

In this way they got through the night, but at daybreak the generals led the way to the strong place and the men followed, taking up their arms and baggage. Before breakfast time came, they proceeded to dig a trench across the way of approach1 to the place, and they backed it along its entire length with a palisade, leaving three gates. And now a vessel arrived from Heracleia, bringing barley meal, sacrificial victims, and wine. [2]

Xenophon arose early and sacrificed with a view to an expedition, and with the first offering the omens turned out favourable. Furthermore, just as the rites were nearing the end, the soothsayer, Arexion the Parrhasian, caught sight of an eagle in an auspicious quarter, and bade Xenophon lead on. [3] So they crossed the trench and grounded arms; then they made proclamation that after taking breakfast the troops were to march out under arms, while the camp-followers and captives were to be left behind where they were. [4] All the rest, then, proceeded to set forth, save only Neon; for it seemed best to leave him behind to keep guard over what was in the camp. But when his captains and soldiers began to abandon him, being ashamed not to follow along when the others were setting out, the generals left behind at the camp everybody who was over forty-five years of age.2 So these remained and the rest took up the march. [5] Before they had gone fifteen stadia they began to meet with dead bodies; and marching on until they had brought the rear of their column to a point opposite the first bodies which appeared, they proceeded to bury all that the column covered. [6] As soon as they had buried this first group, they marched forward and again brought the rear of the column into line with the first of the bodies which lay farther on, and then in the same way they buried all that the army covered. When, however, they had reached the road leading out of the villages, where the dead lay thick, they gathered them all together for burial. [7]

It was now past midday, and, still leading the army forward, they were engaged in getting provisions outside the villages—anything there was to be seen within the limits of their line—when suddenly they caught sight of the enemy passing over some hills which lay opposite them, his force consisting of horsemen in large numbers and foot soldiers, all in battle formation; in fact, it was Spithridates and Rhathines, who had been sent out with their army by Pharnabazus. [8] As soon as the enemy sighted the Greeks, they came to a halt, at a distance from the Greeks of about fifteen stadia. Hereupon Arexion, the soothsayer of the Greeks, immediately offered sacrifice, and at the first victim the omens proved favourable. Then Xenophon said: [9] “It seems to me, fellow generals, that we should station reserve companies behind our phalanx, so that we may have men to come to the aid of the phalanx if aid is needed at any point, and that the enemy, after they have fallen into disorder, may come upon troops that are in good order and fresh.” All shared this opinion. [10] “Well, then,” said Xenophon, “do you lead on toward our adversaries, in order that we may not be standing still now that we have been seen by the enemy and have seen them; and I will come along after arranging the hindmost companies in the way you have decided upon.” [11] So while the others led on quietly, he detached the three hindmost battalions, consisting of two hundred men each, and turned the first one to the right with orders to follow after the phalanx at a distance of about a plethrum; this battalion was commanded by Samolas the Achaean; the second battalion he posted at the centre, to follow on in the same way; this one was under the command of Pyrrhias the Arcadian; and the last one he stationed upon the left, Phrasias the Athenian being in command of it. [12]

Now when, as they advanced, the men who were in the lead reached a large ravine, difficult to pass, they halted, in doubt as to whether they ought to cross the ravine; and they passed along word for generals and captains to come up to the front. [13] Then Xenophon, wondering what it was that was holding up the march and speedily hearing the summons, rode forward in all haste. As soon as the officers had come together, Sophaenetus, who was the eldest of the generals, said that it was not a question worth considering whether they ought to cross such a ravine as that. [14]

Xenophon rejoined, with much earnestness: “Well, gentlemen, you know that I have never yet introduced you to any danger that was a matter of choice; for as I see the situation, you do not stand in need of reputation for bravery, but of a safe return. [15] But the conditions at this moment are these: there is no possibility of our getting away from here without a battle; for if we do not advance upon the enemy ourselves, they will follow us when we undertake to retire and fall upon us. [16] Consider, then, whether it is better to go forward against these men with arms advanced, or with arms reversed to behold the enemy coming upon us from behind. [17] Yet you know that to retire before an enemy does not beseem any man of honour, while to be in pursuit creates courage even in cowards. For my part, at any rate, I should rather advance to the attack with half as many men than to retreat with twice as many. And as to those troops yonder, I know that if we advance upon them, you do not yourselves expect them to await our attack, while if we retire, we all know that they will have the courage to pursue us. [18] Again, to cross a difficult ravine and get it in your rear when you are about to fight, is not that an opportunity really worth seizing? For it is to the enemy that I should myself wish to have all roads seem easy—for their retreat; as for ourselves, we ought to learn from the very ground before us that there is no safety for us except in victory. [19] I do wonder, however, that any one regards this particular ravine as more dreadful than the rest of the country we have just marched through. For how is that plain to be recrossed unless we are victorious over the enemy's horsemen? how the mountains which we have passed through, if such a throng of peltasts are to be following at our heels? [20] Again, if we do reach the sea in safety, what a great ravine, one may say, is the Euxine! where we have neither ships to take us away nor food to subsist upon if we remain, while the sooner we reach there, the sooner we shall have to be off again in quest of provisions. [21] Well, then, it is better to fight to-day, with our breakfast already eaten, than to-morrow breakfastless. Gentlemen, our sacrificial victims were favourable, the bird-omens auspicious, the omens of the sacrifice most favourable; let us advance upon the enemy. These fellows, now that they have seen us at all, must not again get a pleasant dinner or encamp wherever they please.” [22]

After that the captains bade him lead on, and no one spoke in opposition. So he led the way, after giving orders that every man should cross at whatever point along the ravine he chanced to be; for it seemed that in this way the army would get together on the further side more quickly than if they defiled along the bridge which was over the ravine. [23] When they had crossed, he went along the lines and said: “Soldiers, remember how many battles you have won, with the help of the gods, by coming to close quarters, remember what a fate they suffer who flee from the enemy, and bethink you of this, that we are at the doors of Greece. [24] Follow Heracles the Leader and summon one another on, calling each man by name. It will surely be sweet, through some manly and noble thing which one may say or do to-day, to keep himself in remembrance among those whom he wishes to remember him.” [25]

Thus he spoke as he rode along, while at the same time he began to lead the troops on slowly in line of battle; and after they had got the peltasts into position on either flank, they took up the march against the enemy. The orders had been to keep their spears on the right shoulder until a signal should be given with the trumpet; then, lowering them for the attack, to follow on slowly, nobody to break into a run. And now the watchword was passed along, “Zeus Saviour, Heracles Leader.” Meanwhile the enemy were standing their ground, thinking that the position they held was a good one. [26] When the Greeks were drawing near, the peltasts raised the battle-cry and proceeded to charge upon the enemy without waiting for any order; and the enemy rushed forward to meet them, both the horsemen and the mass of the Bithynians, and they put the peltasts to rout. [27] But when the phalanx of the hoplites kept moving on to meet them, marching rapidly, and at the same time the trumpet sounded, and they struck up the paean and after that raised the battle-cry, and at the same moment couched their spears, then the enemy no longer awaited the attack, but took to flight. [28] Timasion and the cavalry pursued, and killed as many as they could, considering their own small numbers. Now the left wing of the enemy, opposite which the Greek cavalry were stationed, was dispersed at once, but the right, since it was not vigorously pursued, got together upon a hill. [29] As soon as the Greeks saw that they were standing their ground there, they deemed it the easiest and safest course to charge upon them immediately. They accordingly struck up the paean and moved upon them at once; and they stood no longer. Thereupon the peltasts pursued until the right wing was dispersed; but few of the enemy, however, were killed, for his cavalry, numerous as they were, inspired fear. [30] But when the Greeks saw the cavalry of Pharnabazus standing with ranks still unbroken, and the Bithynian horsemen gathering together to join this force and looking down from a hill at what was going on, although they were tired they nevertheless thought that they must make as stout an attack as they could upon these troops also, so that they should not be able to regain courage and get rested. Accordingly, they formed their lines and set forth. [31] Thereupon the enemy's horsemen fled down the slope just as if they were being pursued by horsemen;3 for a ravine was waiting to receive them, although the Greeks were not aware of the fact and hence turned aside from their pursuit before reaching it; for it was now late in the day. [32] So after returning to the spot where the first encounter took place and erecting a trophy, they set out on their way back to the sea at about sunset; and the distance to the camp was about sixty stadia.

1 i.e. the isthmus mentioned in Xen. Anab. 6.4.3.

2 The original plan was to leave Neon and his division to guard the camp. But since Neon's men insisted upon going with the rest, the generals decided to leave, not one of the regular divisions of the army, but the older men from the entire army.

3 A man pursued by horsemen takes to rough country, where horsemen are helpless. In the present case, therefore, the hostile horsemen did precisely the wrong thing, and would probably have suffered severe losses if the Greeks had continued their pursuit.

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