previous next

After that Seuthes encamped at a greater distance away, while the Greeks took up quarters in villages from which they could secure provisions in greatest abundance before their journey to the coast. Now these villages had been given by Seuthes to Medosades. [2] When, therefore, Medosades saw that the supplies in the villages were being used up by the Greeks, he was angry; and taking with him an Odrysian who was exceedingly powerful, from among those who had come down from the interior,1 and likewise about thirty horsemen, he came and summoned Xenophon forth from the Greek camp. So Xenophon took certain of the captains as well as others who were fit men for the purpose, and came to meet him. [3] Then Medosades said: “You Greeks are committing a wrong, Xenophon, in plundering our villages. Therefore we give you public warning, I on behalf of Seuthes, and this man who has come from Medocus, who is king in the interior, to depart from the country; and if you fail to depart, we shall not leave you a free hand, but in case you continue to do harm to our territory, we shall defend ourselves against you as against enemies.” [4]

Upon hearing these words Xenophon said: “As for you, when you say such things as these it is painful even to give you an answer; yet for the sake of this young man I will speak, that he may know what sort of people you are and what we are. [5] For we,” he went on, “before we became friends of yours, marched whithersoever we chose through this country, plundering where we wished and burning where we wished; [6] and whenever you came to us as envoy, you used then to bivouac with us without fear of any enemy; your people, on the other hand, never came into this country, or if at any time you did come, you would bivouac as in the land of men stronger than yourselves, keeping your horses all bridled. [7] But after you had once become friends of ours and now through us, with the aid of the gods, enjoy possession of this land, you seek to drive us forth, out of this very land that you received from us, who held it by right of strength; for as you know yourself, the enemy were not able to drive us out. [8] And yet, so far from deeming it proper to speed us on our way after bestowing gifts upon us and doing us kindnesses in return for the benefits you have received at our hands, you will not, so far as you have the power to prevent it, allow us at the moment of our departure even to bivouac in the country. [9] And in uttering these words you are not ashamed either before the gods or before this Odrysian, who now sees you possessed of riches, whereas before you became our friend you got your living, as you said yourself, from pillaging. [10] “But really, why do you,” he added, “address these words to me? For I am no longer in command, but rather the Lacedaemonians; and it was to them that you yourselves delivered over the army to be led away, and that, you most ill-mannered of men, without so much as inviting me to be present, so that even as I had incurred their hatred at the time when I led the army to you, so I might now win their favour by giving it back.” [11]

When the Odrysian heard this, he said: “As for me, Medosades, I sink beneath the earth for shame at this which I hear. If I had understood the matter before, I should not even have accompanied you; and now I am going back. For Medocus, the king, would never commend me if I should drive forth his benefactors.” [12] With these words he mounted his horse and rode away, and with him went the horsemen also, except four or five. But Medosades, still distressed by the plundering of the country, urged Xenophon to summon the two Lacedaemonians. [13] And Xenophon, taking with him the best men he had, went to Charminus and Polynicus and said that Medosades was summoning them in order to give them the same warning as he had already given him,—to depart from the country. [14] “I should think, therefore,” he continued, “that you might recover for the army the pay that is due if you should say that the army has requested you to aid them in exacting their pay from Seuthes whether he will or no, and that the troops say that they would follow you eagerly in case they should obtain it; also, that their words seem to you just, and that you promised them not to depart until the soldiers should obtain their rights.” [15]

When they had heard him, the Laconians replied that they would make such statements, adding others as forceful as they could make them; and straightway they set forth, taking with them all the important men of the army. Upon their arrival Charminus said: “If you have anything to say to us, Medosades, say it; if not, we have something to say to you.” [16] And Medosades replied, very submissively: “I say, and Seuthes also says the same, that we ask that those who have become friends of ours should not suffer harm at your hands; for whatever harm you may do to them, you are then and there doing to us; for they are ours.” [17] “As for ourselves, then,” said the Laconians, “we shall depart whenever the men who obtained these possessions for you, have received their pay; failing that, we intend here and now to lend them our assistance and to punish the men who, in violation of their oaths, have done them wrong. And if you belong to that number, it is with you that we shall begin in obtaining their rights.” [18] Then Xenophon said: “Would you be willing, Medosades, to leave the question to these people (for you were saying that they are your friends) in whose country we are, to vote, one way or the other, whether it is proper for you or ourselves to depart from their country?” [19] Medosades said “No” to that; but he urged, as his preference, that the two Laconians should go to Seuthes themselves about the pay, and said that he thought they might persuade Seuthes; or if they would not consent to go, he asked them to send Xenophon along with himself, and promised to support him. And he begged them not to burn the villages. [20]

Thereupon they sent Xenophon, and with him the men who seemed to be fittest. When he had come, he said to Seuthes: [21] “I am here, Seuthes, not to present any demand, but to show you, if I can, that you were wrong in getting angry with me because in the name of the soldiers I zealously demanded from you what you had promised them; for I believed that it was no less to your advantage to pay them than it was to theirs to get their pay. [22] For, in the first place, I know that next to the gods it was these men who set you in a conspicuous position, since they made you king over a large territory and many people; hence it is not possible for you to escape notice, whether you perform an honourable deed or a base one. [23] Now it seemed to me an important thing that a man in such a place should not be thought to have dismissed benefactors without gratitude, an important thing also to be well spoken of by six thousand men,2 but most important of all that you should by no means set yourself down as untrustworthy in whatever you say. [24] For I see that the words of untrustworthy men wander here and there without result, without power, and without honour; but if men are seen to practise truth, their words, if they desire anything, have power to accomplish no less than force in the hands of other men; and if they wish to bring one to reason, I perceive that their threats can do this no less than present chastisement applied by others; and if such men make a promise to any one, they accomplish no less than others do by an immediate gift. [25]

“Recall for yourself what amount you paid to us in advance in order to obtain us as allies. You know that it was nothing; but because you were trusted to carry out truthfully whatever you said, you induced that great body of men to take the field with you and to gain for you a realm worth not merely thirty talents, the sum which these men think they ought now to recover, but many times as much. [26] First of all, then, this trust, the very thing which gained your kingdom for you, is being sold for this sum. [27]

“Come, now, recall how great a thing you then deemed it to achieve the conquests which you now have achieved. For my part, I am sure you would have prayed that the deeds now done might be accomplished for you rather than that many times that amount of money might fall to your lot. [28] Now I count it greater hurt and shame not to hold these possessions firmly now than not to have gained them then, by so much as it is a harder fate to become poor after being rich than not to become rich at all, and by so much as it is more painful to be found a subject after being a king than not to become king at all. [29] You understand, then, that those who have now become your subjects were not persuaded to live under your rule out of affection for you, but by stress of necessity, and that unless some fear should restrain them, they would endeavour to become free again. [30] In which of these two cases, therefore do you think they would feel greater fear and be more moderate in their relations with you: if they should see the soldiers cherishing such feelings toward you that they would stay with you now if you so bade them and would quickly come back to you again if you needed them, and should see also that others, hearing many good things about you from these troops, would quickly present themselves to take service with you whenever you wished it—or if they should form the unkind opinion that no other soldiers would come to you, in consequence of a distrust resulting from what has now happened, and that these whom you have are more friendly to them than to you? [31] Again, it was by no means because they fell short of us in numbers that they yielded to you, but because they lacked leaders. Hence there is now danger on this count also, the danger that they may find leaders in some of these soldiers who regard themselves as wronged by you, or else in men who are even stronger than these are,—I mean the Lacedaemonians,—in case the soldiers promise to render them more zealous service if they now exact what is due from you, and in case the Lacedaemonians, on account of their needing the army, grant them this request. [32] Again, that the Thracians who have now fallen under your sway would far more eagerly go against you than with you, is quite certain; for when you are conqueror their lot is slavery, and when you are conquered it is freedom. [33]

“And if you need henceforth to take some thought for the sake of this land also, seeing that it is yours, in which case do you suppose it would be freer from ills: if these soldiers should recover what they claim and go away leaving a state of peace behind them, or if they should remain as in a hostile country and you should undertake to maintain an opposing camp with other troops, that would have to be more numerous than these and would need provisions? [34] And in which case would more money be spent, if what is owing to these men should be paid over to them, or if this sum should be left owing and you should have to hire other troops stronger than they are? [35] Yes, but Heracleides thinks, as he used to explain to me, that this sum of money is a very large one. Upon my word it is a far smaller thing now for you to receive or to pay this sum than it would have been before we came to you to receive or to pay a tenth part of it. [36] For it is not number that determines what is much and what is little, but the capacity of the man who pays and of him who receives. And as for yourself, your yearly income is going to be greater now than all the property you possessed amounted to before. [37]

“For my part, Seuthes, it was out of regard for you as a friend that I urged this course, in order that you might be deemed worthy of the good things which the gods have given to you and that I might not lose credit with the army. [38] For be well assured that at present if I should wish to inflict harm upon a foe, I could not do it with this army, and if I should wish to come to your assistance again, I should not find myself able to do that; such is the feeling of the army toward me. [39] And yet I make your own self my witness, along with the gods, who know, that I have neither received anything from you that was intended for the soldiers, nor have ever asked what was theirs for my private use, nor demanded from you what you had promised me; [40] and I swear to you that even if you had offered to pay what was due to me, I should not have accepted it unless the soldiers also were at the same time to recover what was due to them. For it would have been disgraceful to get my own affairs arranged and leave theirs in an evil state, especially since I was honoured by them. [41] And yet Heracleides thinks that everything is but nonsense in comparison with possessing money, by hook or by crook; but I believe, Seuthes, that no possession is more honourable for a man, especially a commander, or more splendid than valour and justice and generosity. [42] For he who possesses these things is rich because many are his friends, and rich because still others desire to become his friends; if he prospers he has those who will rejoice with him, and if he meets with a mischance he does not lack those who will come to his aid. [43]

“But if you neither learned from my deeds that I was your friend from the bottom of my heart nor are able to perceive this from my words, at least give a thought to what the soldiers say with one accord; for you were present and heard what those who wished to censure me said. [44] They accused me before the Lacedaemonians of regarding you more highly than I did the Lacedaemonians, while on their own account they charged me with being more concerned that your affairs should be well than that their own should be; [45] and they also said that I had received gifts from you. And yet, touching these gifts, do you imagine it was because they had observed in me some ill-will toward you that they charged me with having received them from you, or because they perceived in me abundant good-will for you? [46] For my part, I presume that everybody believes he ought to show good-will to the man from whom he receives gifts. You, however, before I had rendered you any service, welcomed me with a pleasure which you showed by your eyes, your voice, and your hospitality, and you could not make promises enough about all that should be done for me; yet now that you have accomplished what you desired and have become as great as I could possibly make you, have you now the heart to allow me to be held in such dishonour among the soldiers? [47] But truly I have confidence, not only that time will teach you that you must resolve to pay what is due, but also that you will not yourself endure to see those men who have freely given you good service, accusing you. I ask you, therefore, when you render payment, to use all zeal to make me just such a man in the eyes of the soldiers as I was when you made me your friend.” [48]

Upon hearing these words Seuthes cursed the man who was to blame for the fact that the soldiers' wages had not been paid long ago; and everybody suspected that Heracleides was that man; “for I,” said Seuthes, “never intended to defraud them, and I will pay over the money.” [49] Thereupon Xenophon said again: “Then since you intend to make payment, I now request you to do it through me, and not to allow me to have, on your account, a different standing with the army now from what I had at the time when we came to you.” [50] And Seuthes replied: “But you will not be less honoured among the soldiers on my account if you will stay with me, keeping only a thousand hoplites, and, besides, I will give over the fortresses to you and the other things that I promised.” [51] And Xenophon answered: “This plan is not a possible one; so dismiss us.” “Yet really,” said Seuthes, “I know that it is also safer for you to stay with me than to go away.” [52] And Xenophon replied: “Well, I thank you for your solicitude; it is not possible, however, for me to stay; but wherever I may enjoy greater honour, be sure that it will be a good thing for you as well as myself.” [53] Thereupon Seuthes said: “As for ready money, I have only a little, and that I give you, a talent;3 but I have six hundred cattle, and sheep to the number of four thousand, and nearly a hundred and twenty slaves. Take these, and likewise the hostages of the people who wronged you,4 and go your way.” [54] Xenophon laughed and said: “Now supposing all this does not suffice to cover the amount of the pay, whose talent shall I say I have? Would I not better, seeing that it is really a source of danger to me, be on my guard against stones5 on my way back? For you heard the threats.” For the time, then, he remained there at Seuthes' quarters. [55]

On the next day Seuthes delivered over to them what he had promised, and sent men with them to drive the cattle. As for the soldiers, up to this time they had been saying that Xenophon had gone off to Seuthes to dwell with him and to receive what Seuthes had promised him; but when they caught sight of him, they were delighted, and ran out to meet him. [56] As soon as Xenophon saw Charminus and Polynicus, he said to them: “This property has been saved for the army through you, and to you I turn it over; do you, then, dispose of it and make the distribution to the army.” They, accordingly, took it over, appointed booty-vendors, and proceeded to sell it; and they incurred a great deal of blame. [57] As for Xenophon, he would not go near them, but it was plain that he was making preparations for his homeward journey; for not yet had sentence of exile been pronounced against him at Athens.6 His friends in the camp, however, came to him and begged him not to depart until he should lead the army away and turn it over to Thibron.

1 See Xen. Anab. 7.4.21, Xen. Anab. 7.5.15.

2 cp. the enumeration of the “Ten Thousand” in Xen. Anab. 5.3.3, and see especially Xen. Anab. 7.2.3-4 and 6.

3 See note on Xen. Anab. 1.7.18.

4 cp. Xen. Anab. 7.4.12-24.

5 With reference to Xen. Anab. 7.6.10.

6 The precise date of Xenophon's banishment is uncertain. It appears to have resulted not only from his participation in the expedition of Cyrus, who had been an ally of the Spartans against Athens (see Xen. Anab. 3.1.5), but from his close association with Spartans thereafter.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

load focus Greek (1904)
hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Athens (Greece) (2)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide References (8 total)
  • Cross-references in notes from this page (8):
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: