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After this, while they delayed at Cotyora, some of the men lived by purchasing from the market1 and others by pillaging the territory of Paphlagonia. The Paphlagonians, however, were extremely clever in kidnapping the stragglers, and at night time they tried to inflict harm upon such of the Greeks as were quartered at some distance from the rest; consequently they and the Greeks were in a very hostile mood toward one another. [2] Then Corylas,2 who chanced at the time to be ruler of Paphlagonia, sent ambassadors to the Greeks, with horses and fine raiment, bearing word that Corylas was ready to do the Greeks no wrong and to suffer no wrong at their hands. [3] The generals replied that they would take counsel with the army on this matter, but meanwhile they received the ambassadors as their guests at dinner, inviting in also such of the other men in the army as seemed to them best entitled to an invitation. [4] By sacrificing some of the cattle they had captured and also other animals they provided an adequate feast, and they dined reclining upon couches and drank from cups made of horn which they found in the country. [5]

After they had made libations and sung the paean, two Thracians rose up first and began a dance in full armour to the music of a flute, leaping high and lightly and using their sabres; finally, one struck the other, as everybody thought, and the second man fell, in a rather skilful way. [6] And the Paphlagonians set up a cry. Then the first man despoiled the other of his arms and marched out singing the Sitalcas,3 while other Thracians carried off the fallen dancer, as though he were dead; in fact, he had not been hurt at all. [7] After this some Aenianians and Magnesians arose and danced under arms the so-called carpaea.4 [8] The manner of the dance was this: a man is sowing and driving a yoke of oxen, his arms laid at one side, and he turns about frequently as one in fear; a robber approaches; as soon as the sower sees him coming, he snatches up his arms, goes to meet him, and fights with him to save his oxen. The two men do all this in rhythm to the music of the flute. Finally, the robber binds the man and drives off the oxen; or sometimes the master of the oxen binds the robber, and then he yokes him alongside the oxen, his hands tied behind him, and drives off. [9] After this a Mysian came in carrying a light shield in each hand, and at one moment in his dance he would go through a pantomime as though two men were arrayed against him, again he would use his shields as though against one antagonist, and again he would whirl and throw somersaults while holding the shields in his hands, so that the spectacle was a fine one. [10] Lastly, he danced the Persian dance, clashing his shields together and crouching down and then rising up again; and all this he did, keeping time to the music of the flute. [11] After him the Mantineans and some of the other Arcadians arose, arrayed in the finest arms and accoutrements they could command, and marched in time to the accompaniment of a flute playing the martial rhythm and sang the paean and danced, just as the Arcadians do in their festal processions in honour of the gods. And the Paphlagonians, as they looked on, thought it most strange that all the dances were under arms. [12] Thereupon the Mysian, seeing how astounded they were, persuaded one of the Arcadians who had a dancing girl to let him bring her in, after dressing her up in the finest way he could and giving her a light shield. [13] And she danced the Pyrrhic5 with grace. Then there was great applause, and the Paphlagonians asked whether women also fought by their side. And the Greeks replied that these women were precisely the ones who put the King to flight from his camp. Such was the end of that evening. [14]

On the next day they introduced the ambassadors to the army, and the soldiers passed a resolution to do the Paphlagonians no wrong and to suffer no wrong at their hands. After this the ambassadors departed, and the Greeks, inasmuch as it seemed that vessels enough were at hand, embarked and sailed for a day and a night with a fair wind, keeping Paphlagonia on the left. [15] On the second day they reached Sinope, and came to anchor at Harmene, in the territory of Sinope. The Sinopeans dwell, indeed, in Paphlagonia, but are colonists of the Milesians. And they sent to the Greeks, as gifts of hospitality, three thousand medimni6 of barley meal and fifteen hundred jars of wine. [16]

Here Cheirisophus7 also came, with a man-of-war. And the soldiers expected that he had brought them something; in fact, however, he brought nothing, save the report that the admiral Anaxibius and the others commended them, and that Anaxibius promised that if they got outside the Euxine, they should have regular pay. [17] Here at Harmene the troops remained for five days.

By this time, since it seemed that they were getting near Greece, the question came into their minds more than before how they might reach home with a little something in hand. [18] They came to the conclusion, therefore, that if they should choose one commander, that one man would be able to handle the army better, whether by night or day, than a number of commanders—that if there should be need of concealment, he would be better able to keep matters secret, or again, if there should be need of getting ahead of an adversary, he would be less likely to be too late; for, thought the soldiers, there would be no need of conferences of generals with one another, but the plan resolved upon by the one man would be carried through, whereas in the past the generals had acted in all matters in accordance with a majority vote. [19]

As they thought over these things they turned to Xenophon; the captains came to him and said that this was the opinion of the army, and each one of them, with manifestations of good will, urged him to undertake the command. [20] As for Xenophon, he was inclined on some accounts to accept the command, for he thought that if he did so the greater would be the honour he would enjoy among his friends and the greater his name when it should reach his city, while, furthermore, it might chance that he could be the means of accomplishing some good thing for the army. [21] Such considerations, then, roused in him an earnest desire to become sole commander. On the other hand, when he reflected that no man can see clearly how the future will turn out and that for this reason there was danger that he might even lose the reputation he had already won, he was doubtful. [22]

Quite unable as he was to decide the question, it seemed best to him to consult the gods; and he accordingly brought two victims to the altar and proceeded to offer sacrifice to King Zeus, the very god that the oracle at Delphi had prescribed for him;8 and it was likewise from this god, as he believed, that the dream9 came which he had at the time when he took the first steps toward assuming a share in the charge of the army. [23] Moreover, he recalled that when he was setting out from Ephesus to be introduced to Cyrus,10 an eagle screamed upon his right; it was sitting, however, and the soothsayer who was conducting him said that while the omen was one suited to the great rather than to an ordinary person, and while it betokened glory, it nevertheless portended suffering, for the reason that other birds are most apt to attack the eagle when it is sitting; still, he said, the omen did not betoken gain, for it is rather while the eagle is on the wing that it gets its food. [24] So it was, then, that Xenophon made sacrifice, and the god signified to him quite clearly that he should neither strive for the command nor accept it in case he should be chosen. Such was the issue of this matter. [25]

Then the army came together, and all the speakers urged that a single commander be chosen; when this had been resolved upon, they proceeded to nominate Xenophon. And when it seemed clear that they would elect him as soon as the question should be put to vote, he arose and spoke as follows: [26]

“I am happy, soldiers, since I am a human being, to be honoured by you, and I am grateful also, and I pray that the gods may grant me opportunity to be the means of bringing you some benefit; still, I think that for me to be preferred by you as commander when a Lacedaemonian is at hand, is not expedient for you,—for you would be less likely on this account to obtain any favour you might desire from the Lacedaemonians—and for myself, on the other hand, I believe it is not altogether safe. [27] For I see that the Lacedaemonians did not cease waging war upon my native state until they had made all her citizens acknowledge that the Lacedaemonians were their leaders also.11 [28] But just as soon as this acknowledgment had been made, they straightway ceased waging war and no longer continued to besiege the city. Now if I, being aware of these things, should seem to be trying to make their authority null and void wherever I could, I suspect that I might very speedily be brought back to reason on that point. [29] As to your own thought, that there would be less factiousness with one commander than with many, be well assured that if you choose another, you will not find me acting factiously,—for I believe that when a man engaged in war factiously opposes a commander, that man is factiously opposing his own safety; but if you choose me, I should not be surprised if you should find some one else feeling angry both with you and with myself.” [30]

When he had thus spoken, a much larger number of people arose, saying that he ought to be commander. And Agasias the Stymphalian said that it was ridiculous if the situation was as Xenophon described it. “Will the Lacedaemonians also be angry,” he said, “if guests at dinner come together and fail to choose a Lacedaemonian as master of the feast? For if the matter stands in that way, we are not free even to be captains, it would seem, because we are Arcadians.” Thereupon the soldiers raised a shout, saying that Agasias was quite right. [31]

Then Xenophon, seeing that something more was needed, came forward and spoke again: “Well, soldiers,” he said, “that you may understand the matter fully I swear to you by all the gods and goddesses that in very truth, so soon as I became aware of your intention, I offered sacrifices to learn whether it was best for you to entrust to me this command and for me to undertake it; and the gods gave me such signs in the sacrifices that even a layman could perceive that I must withhold myself from accepting the sole command.” [32]

Under these circumstances, then, they chose Cheirisophus. And after being chosen Cheirisophus came forward and spoke as follows: “Well, soldiers, be sure of this, that I also should not have acted factiously if you had chosen another; as for Xenophon, however,” he continued, “you did him a kindness by not choosing him; for even now Dexippus12 has already been falsely accusing him, as far as he could, to Anaxibius, even though I tried hard to silence him. He said he believed that Xenophon would rather share the command of Clearchus' army with Timasion, a Dardanian, than with himself, a Laconian. [33] “However,” Cheirisophus went on, “since you have chosen me, I shall endeavour to render you whatever service I can. And do you make your preparations to put to sea to-morrow if it be sailing weather. The voyage will be to Heracleia; every one of us, therefore, must try to come to land there; and we shall take counsel about our further doings when we have arrived there.”

1 cp. Xen. Anab. 5.5.24 ff.

2 cp. Xen. Anab. 5.5.12 and note.

3 A Thracian war-song, apparently composed in honour of an early king named Sitalcas.

4 A dance known to us from this passage only.

5 A famous war-dance.

6 The medimnus = about a bushel and a half.

7 cp. Xen. Anab. 5.1.3-4.

8 cp. Xen. Anab. 3.1.5 ff.

9 cp. Xen. Anab. 3.1.11 f.

10 cp. Xen. Anab. 3.1.8.

11 cp. Xen. Hell. 2.2.20.

12 cp. Xen. Anab. 5.1.15.

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  • Cross-references to this page (2):
    • A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), SALTA´TIO
    • William Watson Goodwin, Syntax of the Moods and Tenses of the Greek Verb, Chapter IV
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