At this time, when nearly two months had already passed, Charminus the Laconian and Polynicus arrived on a mission from Thibron: they said that the Lacedaemonians had resolved to undertake a campaign against Tissaphernes, that Thibron had set sail to wage the war, and that he wanted this army; also that he said the pay would be a daric per month for every man, twice as much for the captains, and four times as much for the generals.
When the Lacedaemonians arrived, Heracleides learned on the instant that they had come to get the army, and told Seuthes that a most fortunate thing had happened: “The Lacedaemonians want the army, and you no longer want it; by giving up the army you will be doing them a favour, while, on your side, the troops will not go on demanding their pay from you, but will soon be quitting the country.”
Upon hearing these words Seuthes directed him to introduce the envoys; and when they told him that they had come after the army, he replied that he would deliver it up and that he desired to be their friend and ally; he also invited them to dinner, and entertained them magnificently. Xenophon, however, he did not invite, nor any one of the other generals.
When the Lacedaemonians asked what sort of a man Xenophon was, he replied that he was not a bad fellow on the whole, but he was a friend of the soldiers, and on that account things went the worse for him. And they said: “He plays the demagogue, you mean, with the men?” “Exactly that,” said Heracleides.
“Well,” said they, “he won't go so far, will he, as to oppose us in the matter of taking away the army?” “Why,” said Heracleides, “if you gather the men together and promise them their pay, they will hurry after you, paying scant heed to him.”
“How, then,” they said, “could we get them together?” “To-morrow morning,” Heracleides replied, “we will take you to them; and I know,” he continued, “that as soon as they catch sight of you, they will hurry together with all eagerness.” So ended this day.
The next day Seuthes and Heracleides conducted the Laconians to the army, and the troops gathered together. And the two Laconians said: “The Lacedaemonians have resolved to make war upon Tissaphernes, the man who wronged you; so if you will come with us, you will punish your enemy and, besides, each one of you will receive a daric a month, each captain twofold, and each general fourfold.”
The soldiers were delighted to hear these words, and straightway one of the Arcadians got up to accuse Xenophon. Now Seuthes also was present, for he wanted to know what would be done, and was standing within hearing distance along with an interpreter,
although he could really understand for himself most of what was said in Greek. Thereupon this Arcadian said: “For our part, Lacedaemonians, we should have been with you a long time ago if Xenophon had not talked us over and led us off to this region, where we have never ceased campaigning, by night or day, through an awful winter, while he gets the fruits of our toils; for Seuthes has enriched him personally while he defrauds us of our pay;
so for myself, if I could see this fellow stoned to death as punishment for having dragged us about as he has done, I should consider that I had my pay and should feel no anger over the toils I have endured.” After this speaker another arose and talked in the same way, and then another. After that Xenophon spoke as follows:
“Well, it is true, after all, that a human being must expect anything and everything, seeing that I now find myself blamed by you in a matter where I am conscious—at least, in my own opinion—of having shown the utmost zeal in your behalf. I turned back after I had already set out for home, not—Heaven knows it was not—because I learned that you were prospering, but rather because I heard that you were in difficulties; and I turned back to help you in any way I could.
When I had arrived, although Seuthes here sent many messengers to me and made me many promises if only I would persuade you to come to him, I did not try to do that, as you know for yourselves. Instead, I led you to a place from which I thought you could most speedily cross over to Asia
; for I believed that this course was the best one for you and I knew it was the one you desired.
But when Aristarchus came with his triremes and prevented our sailing across, at that moment—and surely it was exactly the proper step—I gathered you together so that we might consider what we should better do.
So you with your own ears heard Aristarchus direct you to march to the Chersonese
and you heard Seuthes urge you to take the field with him, and then every man of you spoke in favour of going with Seuthes and every man of you voted to do so. What wrong, therefore, did I do in that matter, when I led you to the place where you had all decided to go?
I come now to the time when Seuthes began to play false with you in the matter of your pay: if I am his supporter in that, it would be just for you to blame me and hate me; but if the truth is that I, who before that was the most friendly to him of us all, am now most of all at variance with him, how can it be just in this case that, when I sided with you rather than with Seuthes, I should be blamed by you about the things in which I am at variance with him?
“But it is possible, you might say, that I really have received from Seuthes the money that belongs to you, and am only tricking you.1
Then this at least is clear: if Seuthes was in fact paying anything to me, he surely was not paying it with the understanding that he was both to lose whatever he gave me and at the same time was to pay other sums to you, but rather, I presume, if he was giving me anything, he was giving it with this understanding, that by giving a smaller sum to me he was to escape paying over the larger to you.
Now if you imagine that this is the case, it is within your power upon the instant to make this transaction a vain one for us both by exacting your money from him. For it is clear that, if I have received anything from Seuthes, he will demand it back from me, and, moreover, he will demand it back with justice if I am failing to fulfil to him the undertaking for which I was accepting his gifts.
But it is far from being true, in my opinion, that I have received what belongs to you; for I swear to you by all the gods and goddesses that I have not even received what Seuthes promised to me for my own services; he is present here himself, and as he listens he knows as well as I do whether I am swearing falsely;
furthermore, to make your wonder the greater, I swear besides that I have not even received what the other generals have received—nay, not even so much as some of the captains.
“And why, then, did I follow this course? I supposed, soldiers, that the more I helped this man to bear the poverty in which he then was, the more I should make him my friend when he should have gained power. But in fact I no sooner see him enjoying prosperity than I recognize his true character.
One might say, `Are you not ashamed of being so stupidly deceived?' I certainly should be ashamed, by Zeus, if I had been deceived by one who was an enemy; but for one who is a friend, to deceived seems to me more shameful than to be deceived.
For if there is such a thing as precaution toward friends, I know that we took every precaution not to afford this man a just pretext for not paying us what he had promised; for we neither did this man any wrong, nor did we mismanage his affairs, nor yet did we shrink like cowards from any service to which he summoned us.
“But, you might say, sureties ought to have been taken at the time, so that he could not have deceived us even if he had wanted to do so. In reply to that, listen to words which I never should have spoken in this man's presence if you had not seemed to me utterly senseless—or at least exceedingly thankless toward me.
Recollect in what sort of troubles you then found yourselves, troubles out of which I delivered you when I brought you to Seuthes. Did you not go to Perinthus, and did not Aristarchus the Lacedaemonian forbid your entering and shut the gates against you? So you encamped outside, under the sky, though it was midwinter, and you got your provisions by purchase at a market, though scanty were the supplies you saw offered for sale and scanty the means you had with which to buy;
yet you were compelled to remain upon the Thracian coast, for over against you lay triremes that prevented your crossing to Asia
; and remaining there, you were of necessity in a hostile country, where there were many horsemen opposed to you and many peltasts;
as for ourselves, we had a force of hoplites to be sure, with which, in case we went in a body against the villages, we might perhaps have been able to obtain food, though by no means an abundant supply, but any force with which we could have pursued and captured either slaves or cattle we had not; for I had found2
no division either of cavalry or of peltasts in existence any longer among you.
“Now when you were in such straits, if I had obtained for you, without demanding into the bargain any pay whatsoever, simply an alliance with Seuthes, who possessed both the cavalry and the peltasts that you were in need of, would you have thought that I had carried through a bad plan on your behalf?
For you remember, I imagine, that when you had joined forces with these troops, you not only found food in greater abundance in the villages, for the reason that the Thracians were compelled to flee in greater haste, but you also got a larger share of cattle and captives.
In fact, we never saw the face of an enemy again after the cavalry had joined us, whereas up to that time the enemy had been following boldly at our heels with horsemen and peltasts and had prevented us from scattering in any direction in small parties and thus securing a greater abundance of provisions.
And if, then, the man who aided in providing you this security did not give you, besides, very generous pay for your security, is that such a dreadful misfortune? and do you think that on that account you cannot possibly let me go alive?
“As matters stand now, what is your situation in departing from here? Have you not passed the winter amid an abundance of provisions, and, whatever you have received from Seuthes, is it not really so much clear gain? For it was the enemy's possessions that you have been consuming. And while enjoying such fortune, you have not had to see any of your number slain nor have you lost any men alive.
And if any glorious deed was earlier performed by you against the barbarians in Asia
, have you not at the same time kept that secure and likewise gained other glory besides in the present, by vanquishing, in addition, the Thracians in Europe
against whom you took the field? For my part, I assert that for the very acts on account of which you now feel angry toward me, you should, in all justice, feel grateful to the gods, counting them as blessings.
“So much, then, for your situation. And now, in the name of the gods, come, and consider how the case stands with me. At the time when I first set out to return home, I possessed, as I departed, abundant praise in your eyes, and I also possessed, through you, fair fame in the eyes of the Greeks at large. And I was trusted by the Lacedaemonians, for otherwise they would not have sent me back to you again.
Now, on the other hand, I am going away traduced by you before the Lacedaemonians and hated on your account by Seuthes, the man through whom I hoped to secure, by rendering him good service with your help, a fair place of refuge for myself and my children, in case children should ever be born to me.
And you, for whose sake I have incurred most hatred, and the hatred of men far stronger than I am, for whose sake I have not even to this moment ceased striving to accomplish whatever good I may, hold such an opinion of me as this!
“You hold me in your power, then, and not as a captive that you have taken in flight or as a runaway slave; and if you do what you are proposing, be sure that you will have slain a man who has passed many sleepless nights for your sake, who has endured many toils and dangers with you, both in his turn and out of his turn, who has also, by the graciousness of the gods, set up with you many trophies of victory over the barbarians, and who, in order to prevent your becoming enemies to any one among the Greeks, has exerted himself to the very utmost of his power in opposition to you.
In fact, you are now free to journey in security whithersoever you may choose, whether by land or by sea. And you, at the moment when such abundant freedom reveals itself to you, when you are sailing to the very place where you have long been eager to go and the mightiest are suing for your aid, when pay is within sight and the Lacedaemonians, who are deemed the most powerful leaders, have come to lead you—do you, I say, think that now is the proper time to put me to death with all speed?
It was not so, surely, in the days when we were in straits, O you who remember better than all other men; nay, then you called me `father,' and you promised to keep me for ever in memory as a benefactor! Not by any means, however, are these men, who have now come after you, wanting in judgment; therefore, I imagine, they also think none the better of you for behaving in this manner towards me.” With these words he ceased speaking.
Then Charminus the Lacedaemonian arose and said: “No, by the twin gods; I, at any rate, think you are unjust in being angry with this man; for I can bear witness for him myself. When I and Polynicus asked Seuthes about Xenophon, to learn what sort of a man he was, Seuthes had no fault to find with him save that, as he said, he was `too great a friend of the soldiers,' and on that account, he added, things went the worse for him, both so far as we the Lacedaemonians were concerned and on his own account.”
After him Eurylochus of Lusi
rose and said: “Yes, and I believe, men of Lacedaemon
, that you ought to assume leadership over us in this enterprise first of all, in exacting our pay from Seuthes whether he will or no, and that you should not take us away till that is done.”
And Polycrates the Athenian said, at the instigation of Xenophon: “Look you, fellow soldiers, I see Heracleides also present here, the man who took in charge the property which we had won by our toil, and then sold it, and did not pay over the proceeds either to Seuthes or to us, but stole the money, and is keeping it for himself. If we are wise, therefore, we shall lay hold of him; for this fellow,” said he, “is no Thracian, but a Greek, and yet he is wronging Greeks.”
Upon hearing these words Heracleides was exceedingly terrified; and going up to Seuthes, he said: “And if we are wise, we shall go away from here and get out of the power of these fellows.” So they mounted their horses and went riding off to their own camp.
And after that Seuthes sent Abrozelmes, his interpreter, to Xenophon and urged him to stay behind with him with a force of a thousand hoplites, promising that he would deliver over to him not only the fortresses upon the coast, but also the other things which he had promised. He likewise said, making a great secret of it, that he had heard from Polynicus that if Xenophon should fall into the hands of the Lacedaemonians, he would certainly be put to death by Thibron.
Many other people also sent Xenophon this message, saying that he had been traduced and would better be on his guard. And he, hearing these reports, took two victims and proceeded to offer sacrifice to Zeus the King, to learn whether it was better and more profitable for him to remain with Seuthes on the conditions that Seuthes proposed, or to depart with the army. The god directed him to depart.