This is insanity. And what you do not see in this in-sanity


Xenophon, seeing what was happening, was seized with alarm lest the army betake itself to pillage, and ills incurable be wrought to the city, to himself, and to the soldiers. Then he set off, and, plunging into the throng, was swept through the gates with the crowd. The Byzantines no sooner saw the soldiers forcibly rushing in than they left the open square, and fled, some to the shipping, others to their homes, while those already indoors came racing out, and some fell to dragging down their ships of war, hoping possibly to be safe on board these; while there was not a soul who doubted but that the city was 19 taken, and that they were all undone. Eteonicus made a swift retreat to the citadel. Anaxibius ran down to the sea, and, getting on board a fisherman's smack, sailed round to the acropolis, and at once sent off to fetch over the garrison troops from Chalcedon, since those already in the acropolis seemed hardly sufficient to keep the men in check.

This is insanity. And what you do not see in this in-sanity

The soldiers, catching sight of Xenophon, threw themselves upon him, crying: "Now, Xenophon, is the time to prove yourself a man. You have got a city, you have got triremes, you have got money, you have got men; to-day, if you only chose, you can do us a good turn, and we will make you a great man." He replied: "Nay, I like what you say, and I will do it all; but if that is what you have set your hearts on, fall into rank and take up position at once." This he said, wishing to quiet them, and so passed the order along the lines himself, while bidding the rest to do the same: "Take up position; stand easy." But the men themselves, by a species of self-marshalling, fell into rank, and were soon formed, the heavy infantry eight deep, while the light infantry had run up to cover either wing. The Thracian Square, as it is called, is a fine site for manouvering, being bare of buildings and level. As soon as the arms were stacked and the men's tempers cooled, Xenophon called a general meeting of the soldiers, and made the following speech:--

This is insanity. And what you do not see in this in-sanity

"Soldiers, I am not surprised at your wrath, or that you deem it monstrous treatment so to be cheated; but consider what will be the consequences if we gratify our indignation, and in return for such deception, avenge ourselves on the Lacedaemonians here present, and plunder an innocent city. We shall be declared enemies of the Lacedaemonians and their allies; and what sort of war that will be, we need not go far to conjecture. I take it, you have not forgotten some quite recent occurrences. We Athenians entered into war against the Lacedaemonians and their allies with a fleet consisting of not less than three hundred line-of-battle ships, including those in dock as well as those afloat. We had vast treasures stored up in the city, and a yearly income which, derived from home or foreign sources, amounted to no less than a thousand talents. Our empire included all the 27 islands, and we were possessed of numerous cities both in Asia and in Europe. Amongst others, this very Byzantium, where we are now, was ours; and yet in the end we were vanquished, as you all very well know.

This is insanity. And what you do not see in this in-sanity

"What, must we anticipate, will now be our fate? The Lacedaemonians have not only their old allies, but the Athenians and those who were at that time allies of Athens are added to them. Tissaphernes and all the rest of the Asiatics on the seaboard are our foes, not to speak of our arch-enemy, the king himself, up yonder, whom we came to deprive of his empire, and to kill, if possible. I ask then, with all these banded together against us, is there any one so insensate as to imagine that we can survive the contest? For heaven's sake, let us not go mad or loosely throw away our lives in war with our own native cities--nay, our own friends, our kith and our kin; for in one or other of the cities they are all included. Every city will march against us, and not unjustly, if, after refusing to hold one single barbarian city by right of conquest, we seize the first Hellenic city that we come to and make it a ruinous heap. For my part, my prayer is that before I see such things wrought by you, I, at any rate, may lie ten thousand fathoms under ground! My counsel to you, as Hellenes, is to try and obtain your just rights, through obedience to those who stand at the head of Hellas; and if so be that you fail in those demands, why, being more sinned against than sinning, need we rob ourselves of Hellas too? At present, I propose that we should send to Anaxibius and tell him that we have made an entrance into the city, not meditating violence, but merely to discover if he and his will show us any good; for if so, it is well; but of otherwise, at least we will let him see that he does not shut the door upon us as dupes and fools. We know the meaning of discipline; we turn our backs and go."

This resolution was passed, and they sent Hieronymus an Eleian, with two others, Eurylochus an Arcadian and Philesius an Achaean, to deliver the message. So these set off on their errand. But while the soldiers were still seated in conclave, Coeratadas, of Thebes, 33 arrived. He was a Theban not in exile, but with a taste for generalship, who made it his business to see if any city or nation were in need of his services. Thus, on the present occasion, he presented himself, and begged to state that he was ready to put himself at their head, and lead them into the Delta of Thrace[2], as it is called, where they would find themselves in a land of plenty; but until they got there, he would provide them with meat and drink enough and to spare. While they were still listening to this tale, the return message from Anaxibius came. His answer was: "The discipline, they had spoken of, was not a thing they would regret; indeed he would report their behaviour to the authorities at home; and for himself, he would take advice and do the best he could for them."

[2] The exact locality, so called, is not known; doubtless it lay somewhere between Byzantium and Salmydessus, possibly at Declus (mod. Derkos); or possibly the narrow portion of Thrace between the Euxine, Bosphorus, and Propontis went by this name. See note in Pretor ad. loc., and "Dict. Geog." "Thracia."

Thereupon the soldiers accepted Coeratadas as their general, and retired without the walls. Their new general undertook to present himself to the troops next day with sacrificial beasts and a soothsayer, with eatables also and drinkables for the army. Now, as soon as they were gone out, Anaxibius closed the gates and issued a proclamation to the effect that "any of the soldiers caught inside should be knocked down to the hammer and sold at once." Next day, Coeratadas arrived with the victims and the soothsayer. A string of twenty bearers bearing barleymeal followed at his heels, succeeded by other twenty carrying wine, and three laden with a supply of olives, and two others carrying, the one about as much garlic as a single man could lift, and the other a similar load of onions. These various supplies he set down, apparently for distribution, and began to sacrifice.

Now Xenophon sent to Cleander, begging him to arrange matters so that he might be allowed to enter the walls, with a view to starting from Byzantium on his homeward voyage. Cleander came, and this is what he 39 said: "I have come; but I was barely able to arrange what you want. Anaxibius insisted: 'It was not convenient that Xenophon should be inside while the soldiers are close to the walls without; the Byzantines at sixes and sevens moreover; and no love lost between the one party of them and the other.' Still, he ended by bidding you to come inside, if you were really minded to leave the town by sea with himself." Accordingly Xenophon bade the soldiers good-bye, and returned with Cleander within the walls.

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