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1[The preceding narrative has described all that the Greeks did on their upward march with Cyrus until the time of the battle, all that took place after the death of Cyrus on their journey to the Euxine Sea, and the whole course of their doings while they were travelling on, by land and water, from the Euxine, until they got beyond its mouth, arriving at Chrysopolis, in Asia.] [2]

After this Pharnabazus, in fear that the Greek army might carry on a campaign against his own land, sent to Anaxibius, the admiral, who chanced to be at Byzantium, and asked him to carry the army across2 out of Asia, promising to do everything for him that might be needful. [3] Anaxibius accordingly summoned the generals and captains to Byzantium, and gave them promises that if they crossed over, the soldiers would have regular pay. [4] The rest of the officers replied that they would consider the matter and report back to him, but Xenophon told him that he intended to part company with the army at once, and wanted to sail home. Anaxibius, however, bade him cross over with the others, and leave them only after that. Xenophon said, therefore, that he would do so. [5]

And now Seuthes the Thracian sent Medosades to Xenophon and urged him to help him to bring the army across, adding that if he did render such assistance, he would not be sorry for it. [6] Xenophon replied: “Why, the army is going to cross over; so far as that is concerned, let not Seuthes pay anything either to me or to any one else; but as soon as it has crossed, when I myself am to leave the army, let him deal with those who stay on and are in authority, in any way that may seem to him safe.” [7]

After this all the soldiers crossed over to Byzantium. And Anaxibius would not give them pay, but made proclamation that the troops were to take their arms and their baggage and go forth from the city, saying that he was going to send them back home and at the same time to make an enumeration of them. At that the soldiers were angry, for they had no money with which to procure provisions for the journey, and they set about packing up with reluctance. [8] Xenophon meanwhile, since he had become a friend of Cleander, the governor, called to take leave of him, saying that he was to sail home at once. And Cleander said to him: “Do not do so; if you do,” said he, “you will be blamed, for even now certain people are laying it to your charge that the army is slow about moving away.” [9] Xenophon replied: “Why, I am not responsible for that; it is rather that the soldiers lack food supplies and on that account are depressed about their going away.” [10] “Nevertheless,” said Cleander, “I advise you to go forth from the city as though you were planning to make the journey with them, and to leave them only when the army has got outside.” “Well, then,” said Xenophon, “we will go to Anaxibius and negotiate about this matter.” So they went and put the question before him. [11] His orders were, that Xenophon was to follow the course proposed and that the troops were to pack up and leave the city with all speed; and he further declared that any one who was not present for the review and the enumeration would have himself to blame for the consequences. [12]

After that the army proceeded to march forth from the city, the generals at the head and then the rest. And now the entire body with the exception of a few men were outside, and Eteonicus3 was standing by the gates ready, as soon as the last man got out, to close the gates and thrust in the crossbar. [13] Then Anaxibius called together the generals and captains and said: “Get your provisions from the Thracian villages; there is an abundance there of barley and wheat and other supplies; when you have got them, proceed to the Chersonese, and there Cyniscus4 will take you into his pay.” [14] And some of the soldiers, overhearing these words, or perhaps one of the captains, proceeded to spread the report of them through the army. Meanwhile the generals were inquiring about Seuthes, whether he was hostile or friendly, and whether they were to march by way of the Sacred Mountain5 or go round through the middle of Thrace. [15] While they were talking over these matters, the soldiers caught up their arms and rushed at full speed toward the gates, intending to get back inside the city wall. But when Eteonicus and his men saw the hoplites running towards them, they shut the gates and thrust in the bar. [16] The soldiers, however, set to hammering at the gates, and said that they were most unjustly treated in being cast out and left at the mercy of the enemy; and they declared that they would break through the gates if the keepers did not open them of their own accord. [17] Meanwhile others ran down to the shore, made their way along the break-water, and thus scaled the wall and got into the city, while still others, who chanced to be within the walls, seeing what was going on at the gates, cut through the bar with their axes and threw the gates open, whereupon the rest rushed in. [18]

When Xenophon saw what was taking place, being seized with fear lest the army might fall to plundering and irreparable harm might be done to the city, to himself, and to the soldiers, he ran and plunged within the gates along with the rest of the throng. [19] As for the Byzantines, no sooner did they see the army bursting in by force than they fled from the market-place, some to their boats and others to their homes, while all who chanced to be indoors ran out, and some took to launching the ships-of-war in order to seek safety in them—all alike imagining that they were lost and the city captured. [20] Eteonicus made his escape to the citadel. Anaxibius ran down to the shore, sailed round in a fishing boat to the citadel, and immediately summoned the garrison from Calchedon; for the force in the citadel did not seem adequate to bring the Greek troops under control. [21]

As soon as the soldiers saw Xenophon, many of them rushed towards him and said: “Now is your opportunity, Xenophon, to prove yourself a man. You have a city, you have triremes, you have money, you have this great number of men. Now, should you so wish, you would render us a service and we should make you great.” [22] He replied, desiring to quiet them down: “Your advice is certainly good, and I shall do as you say; but if this is what you long for, ground your arms in line of battle with all speed.” Then he proceeded to pass along this order himself and bade the others send it on—to ground their arms in battle line. [23] The men acted as their own marshals, and within a short time the hoplites had fallen into line eight deep and the peltasts had got into position on either wing. [24] The place where they were, indeed, is a most excellent one for drawing out a line of troops, being the so-called Thracian Square, which is free of houses and level. As soon as their arms were grounded and they had quieted down, Xenophon called the troops together and spoke as follows: [25] “That you are angry, fellow soldiers, and believe you are outrageously treated in being so deceived, I do not wonder. But if we indulge our anger, by taking vengeance for this deception upon the Lacedaemonians who are here and by sacking the city which is in no way to blame, consider the results that will follow. [26] We shall be declared to be at war with the Lacedaemonians and their allies. And what sort of a war that would prove to be one may at least conjecture by having seen and by recalling to mind the events which have quite lately taken place. [27] We Athenians, remember, entered upon our war against the Lacedaemonians and their allies with no fewer than three hundred triremes, some afloat and others in the dockyards, with an abundance of treasure already at hand in our city, and with a yearly revenue, accruing at home or coming in from our foreign possessions, of not less than a thousand talents; we ruled over all the islands, we possessed many cities in Asia, in Europe we possessed among many others this very city of Byzantium also, where we now are,—and we were vanquished, in the way that all of you remember. [28] What fate, then, may you and I expect to suffer now, when the Lacedaemonians still have their old allies, when the Athenians and all who at that time were allied with them have been added to the number, when Tissaphernes and all the rest of the barbarians on the coast are hostile to us, and most hostile of all the King himself, up in the interior, the man whom we came to deprive of his empire, and to kill if we could? With all these banded together against us, is there any man so witless as to suppose that we should come off victorious? [29] In the name of the gods let us not be mad, nor let us perish disgracefully as enemies both to our native states and to our own friends and kinsmen. For all of them are in the cities which will take the field against us, and will do so justly if we, after refraining from the seizure of any barbarian city, conquerors though we were, are to take the first Greek city we have come to and pillage that. [30] For my part, therefore, I pray that sooner than live to behold this deed wrought by you, I may be laid ten thousand fathoms underground. And to you my advice is, that being Greeks you endeavour to obtain your just rights by obedience to the leaders of the Greeks. If you are unable to accomplish this, we must not at any rate, even though wronged, be deprived of our return to Greece. [31] And now it is my opinion that we should send messengers to Anaxibius and say to him: `We have not made our way into the city to do any violence, but to obtain some good thing from you if we can, or if that is not possible, at least to show that we go forth, not because we are deceived, but because we are obedient.'” [32]

This course was resolved upon, and they sent Hieronymus the Elean, Eurylochus the Arcadian, and Philesius the Achaean to bear this message. So they departed to perform their mission. [33]

While the soldiers were still in session Coeratadas6 the Theban came in, a man who was going up and down Greece, not in exile, but because he was afflicted with a desire to be a general, and he was offering his services to any city or people that might be wanting a general; so at this time he came to the troops and said that he was ready to lead them to the Delta,7 as it is called, of Thrace, where they could get plenty of good things; and until they should reach there, he said he would supply them with food and drink in abundance. [34] When the soldiers heard this proposal and the word that came back at the same time from Anaxibius—his reply was, that if they were obedient they would not be sorry for it, but that he would report the matter to his government at home and would himself devise whatever good counsel he could in their case— [35] they thereupon accepted Coeratadas as general and withdrew outside the walls. And Coeratadas made an agreement with them that he would join the army on the next day with sacrificial victims and a soothsayer, as well as food and drink for the troops. [36] Meanwhile, as soon as they had gone forth from the city, Anaxibius closed the gates and made proclamation that any soldier who might be caught inside the city would be sold as a slave. [37] On the next day Coeratadas arrived with his sacrificial victims and his soothsayer, and there followed him twenty men loaded with barley-meal, another twenty with wine, three with olives, another man with as big a load of garlic as he could carry, and another with onions. After setting down all these things, as though for distribution, he proceeded to sacrifice. [38]

And now Xenophon sent for Cleander and urged him to make arrangements so that he could enter within the wall and thus sail homeward from Byzantium. [39] When Cleander returned, he said that it was only with very great difficulty that he had accomplished the arrangement; for Anaxibius said it was not well to have the soldiers close by the wall and Xenophon within it; the Byzantines, moreover, were in a factious state and hostile to one another. “Nevertheless,” Cleander continued, “he bade you come in if you are intending to sail away with him.” [40] Xenophon accordingly took his leave of the soldiers and went back within the wall in company with Cleander. As for Coeratadas, on the first day he could not get good omens from his sacrifices nor did he serve out any rations at all to the troops; on the following day the victims were standing beside the altar and Coeratadas had on his chaplet, ready for the sacrifice, when Timasion the Dardanian, Neon the Asinaean, and Cleanor the Orchomenian came up and told him not to make the offering, for he was not to be leader of the army unless he should give them provisions. [41] So he ordered rations to be served out. When it proved, however, that his supply fell far short of amounting to a day's food for each of the soldiers, he took his victims and went away, renouncing his generalship.

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

2 The Bosporus. Chrysopolis was directly opposite Byzantium.

3 A Lacedaemonian officer who figures rather prominently in the story of the Peloponnesian War (Xen. Hell. 1.1.32, Xen. Hell. 1.6.26, etc.); now apparently an aide to Anaxibius.

4 A Lacedaemonian general engaged in war with the Thracians.

5 On the northern coast of the Propontis. Their destination was the Gallipoli peninsula, and the alternative routes are a short but difficult one or a long, easy one.

6 cp. Xen. Anab. 7.1.13 and note thereon.

7 i.e. since he was the only Lacedaemonian among the generals.

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  • Cross-references to this page (5):
    • A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), JUSJURANDUM
    • A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), TELOS
    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), CHALCE´DON
    • William Watson Goodwin, Syntax of the Moods and Tenses of the Greek Verb, Chapter IV
    • Smith's Bio, Coera'tadas
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