The generals, then, after being thus seized, were taken to the King and put to death by being beheaded. One of them, Clearchus, by common consent of all who were personally acquainted with him, seemed to have shown himself a man who was both fitted for war and fond of war to the last degree.
For, in the first place, as long as the Lacedaemonians were at war with the Athenians, he bore his part with them; then, as soon as peace had come, he persuaded his state that the Thracians were injuring the Greek,1
and, after gaining his point as best he could from the ephors,2
set sail with the intention of making war upon the Thracians who dwelt beyond the Chersonese
When, however, the ephors changed their minds for some reason or other and, after he had already gone, tried to turn him back from the Isthmus of Corinth
, at that point he declined to render further obedience, but went sailing off to the Hellespont
As a result he was condemned to death by the authorities at Sparta
on the ground of disobedience to orders. Being now an exile he came to Cyrus, and the arguments whereby he persuaded Cyrus as recorded elsewhere;3
at any rate, Cyrus gave him ten thousand darics,
and he, upon receiving this money, did not turn his thoughts to comfortable idleness, but used it to collect an army and proceeded to make war upon the Thracians. He defeated them in battle and from that time on plundered them in every way, and he kept up the war until Cyrus wanted his army; then he returned, still for the purpose of making war, this time in company with Cyrus.
Now such conduct as this, in my opinion, reveals a man fond of war. When he may enjoy peace without dishonour or harm, he chooses war; when he may live in idleness, he prefers toil, provided it be the toil of war; when he may keep his money without risk, he elects to diminish it by carrying on war. As for Clearchus, just as one spends upon a loved one or upon any other pleasure, so he wanted to spend upon war—
such a lover he was of war. On the other hand, he seemed to be fitted for war in that he was fond of danger, ready by day or night to lead his troops against the enemy, and self-possessed amid terrors, as all who were with him on all occasions agreed.
He was likewise said to be fitted for command, so far as that was possible for a man of such a disposition as his was. For example, he was competent, if ever a man was, in devising ways by which his army might get provisions and in procuring them, and he was competent also to impress it upon those who were with him that Clearchus must be obeyed.
This result he accomplished by being severe; for he was gloomy in appearance and harsh in voice, and he used to punish severely, sometimes in anger, so that on occasion he would be sorry afterwards.
Yet he also punished on principle, for he believed there was no good in an army that went without punishment; in fact, he used to say, it was reported, that a soldier must fear his commander more than the enemy if he were to perform guard duty or keep his hands from friends or without making excuses advance against the enemy.
In the midst of dangers, therefore, the troops were ready to obey him implicitly and would choose no other to command them; for they said that at such times his gloominess appeared to be brightness, and his severity seemed to be resolution against the enemy, so that it appeared to betoken safety and to be no longer severity.
But when they had got past the danger and could go off to serve under another commander, many would desert him; for there was no attractiveness about him, but he was always severe and rough, so that the soldiers had the same feeling toward him that boys have toward a schoolmaster.
For this reason, also, he never had men following him out of friendship and good-will, but such as were under him because they had been put in his hands by a government or by their own need or were under the compulsion of any other necessity, yielded him implicit obedience.
And as soon as they began in his service to overcome the enemy, from that moment there were weighty reasons which made his soldiers efficient; for they had the feeling of confidence in the face of the enemy, and their fear of punishment at his hands kept them in a fine state of discipline.
Such he was as a commander, but being commanded by others was not especially to his liking, so people said. He was about fifty years old at the time of his death.
Proxenus the Boeotian cherished from his earliest youth an eager desire to become a man capable of dealing with great affairs, and because of this desire he paid money to Gorgias of Leontini.4
After having studied under him and reaching the conclusion that he had now become competent to rule and, through friendship with the foremost men of his day, to hold his own in conferring benefits, he embarked upon this enterprise with Cyrus, expecting to gain therefrom a famous name, great power, and abundant wealth;
but while vehemently desiring these great ends, he nevertheless made it evident also that he would not care to gain any one of them unjustly; rather, he thought that he must secure them justly and honourably, or not at all.
As a leader, he was qualified to command gentlemen, but he was not capable of inspiring his soldiers with either respect for himself or fear; on the contrary, he really stood in greater awe of his men than they, whom he commanded, did of him, and it was manifest that he was more afraid of incurring the hatred of his soldiers than they were of disobeying him.
His idea was that, for a man to be and to be thought fit to command, it was enough that he should praise the one who did right and withhold praise from the one who did wrong. Consequently all among his associates who were gentlemen were attached to him, but the unprincipled would plot against him in the thought that he was easy to deal with. At the time of his death he was about thirty years old.
Menon the Thessalian was manifestly eager for enormous wealth—eager for command in order to get more wealth and eager for honour in order to increase his gains; and he desired to be a friend to the men who possessed greatest power in order that he might commit unjust deeds without suffering the penalty.
Again, for the accomplishment of the objects upon which his heart was set, he imagined that the shortest route was by way of perjury and falsehood and deception, while he counted straightforwardness and truth the same thing as folly.
Affection he clearly felt for nobody, and if he said that he was a friend to anyone, it would become plain that this man was the one he was plotting against. He would never ridicule an enemy, but he always gave the impression in conversation of ridiculing all his associates.
Neither would he devise schemes against his enemies' property, for he saw difficulty in getting hold of the possessions of people who were on their guard; but he thought he was the only one who knew that it was easiest to get hold of the property of friends—just because it was unguarded.
Again, all whom he found to be perjurers and wrongdoers he would fear, regarding them as well armed, while those who were pious and practised truth he would try to make use of, regarding them as weaklings.
And just as a man prides himself upon piety, truthfulness, and justice, so Menon prided himself upon ability to deceive, the fabrication of lies, and the mocking of friends; but the man who was not a rascal he always thought of as belonging to the uneducated. Again, if he were attempting to be first in the friendship of anybody, he thought that slandering those who were already first was the proper way of gaining this end.
As for making his soldiers obedient, he managed that by bearing a share in their wrongdoing. He expected, indeed, to gain honour and attention by showing that he had the ability and would have the readiness to do the most wrongs; and he set it down as a kindness, whenever anyone broke off with him, that he had not, while still on terms with such a one, destroyed him.
To be sure, in matters that are doubtful one may be mistaken about him, but the facts which everybody knows are the following. From Aristippus5
he secured, while still in the bloom of youth, an appointment as general of his mercenaries; with Ariaeus, who was a barbarian, he became extremely intimate for the reason that Ariaeus was fond of beautiful youths; and, lastly, he himself, while still beardless, had a bearded favourite named Tharypas.
Now when his fellow-generals were put to death for joining Cyrus in his expedition against the King, he, who had done the same thing, was not so treated, but it was after the execution of the other generals that the King visited the punishment of death upon him; and he was not, like Clearchus and the rest of the generals, beheaded—a manner of death which is counted speediest—but, report says, was tortured alive for a year and so met the death of a scoundrel.
Agias the Arcadian and Socrates
the Achaean were the two others who were put to death. No one ever laughed at these men as weaklings in war or found fault with them in the matter of friendship. They were both about thirty-five years of age.