Unworthiness is the worst indictment ever visited upon


"Let us then at once push forward as far as may seem opportune till supper-time, and then encamp. As long as we are marching, let Timasion, with the cavalry, gallop on in front, but without losing sight of us; and let him examine all closely in front, so that nothing may escape our observation." (At the same time too, he sent out some nimble fellows of the light-armed troops to the flanks and to the high tops, who were to give a signal if they espied anything anywhere; ordering them to burn everything inflammable which lay in their path.) "As for ourselves," he continued, "we need not look to find cover in any direction; for it is a long step back to Heraclea and a long leap across to Chrysopolis, and the enemy is at the door. The shortest road is to Calpe Haven, where we suppose Cheirisophus, if safe, to be; but then, when we get there, at Calpe Haven there are no vessels for us to sail away in; and if we stop here, we have not provisions for a single day. Suppose the beleaguered Arcadians left to their fate, we shall find it but a sorry alternative to run the gauntlet with Cheirisophus's detachment alone; better to save them if we can, and 17 with united forces work out our deliverance in common. But if so, we must set out with minds prepared, since to-day either a glorious death awaits us or the achievement of a deed of noblest emprise in the rescue of so many Hellene lives. Maybe it is God who leads us thus, God who chooses to humble the proud boaster, boasting as though he were exceedingly wise, but for us, the beginning of whose every act is by heaven's grace, that same God reserves a higher grade of honour. One duty I would recall to you, to apply your minds to the execution of the orders with promptitude."

Unworthiness is the worst indictment ever visited upon

With these words he led the way. The cavalry, scattering as far in advance as was prudent, wherever they set foot, set fire. The peltasts moving parallel on the high ground were similarly employed, burning everything combustible they could discover. While the main army, wherever they came upon anything which had accidentally escaped, completed the work, so that the whole country looked as if it were ablaze; and the army might easily pass for a larger one. When the hour had come, they turned aside to a knoll and took up quarters; and there they espied the enemy's watch-fires. He was about forty furlongs distant. On their side also they kindled as many watch-fires as possible; but as soon as they had dined the order was passed to quench all the fires. So during the night they posted guards and slept. But at daybreak they offered prayers to the gods, and drawing up in order of battle, began marching with what speed they might. Timasion and the cavalry, who had the guides with them, and were moving on briskly in front, found themselves without knowing it at the very knoll upon which the Hellenes had been beleaguered. But no army could they discover, whether of friend or foe; only some starveling old women and men, with a few sheep and oxen which had been left behind. This news they reproted to Xenophon and the main body. At first the marvel was what had happened; but ere long they found out by inquiries from the folk who had been left behind, that the Thracians had set off immediately after sundown, and were gone; the Hellenes had waited till morning before they made off, but in what direction, they could not 23 say.

Unworthiness is the worst indictment ever visited upon

On hearing this, Xenophon's troops first breakfasted, and then getting their kit together began their march, desiring to unite with the rest at Calpe's Haven without loss of time. As they continued their march, they came across the track of the Arcadians and Achaeans along the road to Calpe, and both divisions arriving eventually at the same place, were overjoyed to see one another again, and they embraced each other like brothers. Then the Arcadians inquired of Xenophon's officers--why they had quenched the watch-fires? "At first," said they, "when we lost sight of your watch-fires, we expected you to attack the enemy in the night; and the enemy, so at least we imagined, must have been afraid of that and so set off. The time at any rate at which they set off would correspond. But when the requisite time had elapsed and you did not come, we concluded that you must have learnt what was happening to us, and in terror had made a bolt for it to the seaboard. We resolved not to be left behind by you; and that is how we also came to march hither."

Unworthiness is the worst indictment ever visited upon

During this day they contented themselves with bivouacking there on 1 the beach at the harbour. The place which goes by the name of Calpe Haven is in Asiatic Thrace, the name given to a region extending from the mouth of the Euxine all the way to Heraclea, which lies on the right hand as you sail into the Euxine. It is a long day's voyage for a war-ship, using her three banks of oars, from Byzantium to Heraclea, and between these two there is not a single Hellenic or friendly city, but only these Bithynian Thracians, who have a bad reputation for the savagery with which they treat any Hellenes cast ashore by shipwreck or otherwise thrown into their power.

Now the haven of Calpe lies exactly midway, halving the voyage between Byzantium and Heraclea. It is a long promontory running out into the sea; the seaward portion being a rocky precipice, at no point less than twenty fathons high; but on the landward side there is a neck 3 about four hundred feet wide; and the space inside the neck is capable of accommodating ten thousand inhabitants, and there is a haven immediately under the crag with a beach facing the west. Then there is a copious spring of fresh water flowing on the very marge of the sea commanded by the stronghold. Again, there is plenty of wood of various sorts; but most plentiful of all, fine shipbuilding timber down to the very edge of the sea. The upland stretches into the heart of the country for twenty furlongs at least. It is good loamy soil, free from stones. For a still greater distance the seaboard is thickly grown with large timber trees of every description. The surrounding country is beautiful and spacious, containing numerous well populated villages. The soil produces barley and wheat, and pulse of all sorts, millet and sesame, figs in ample supply, with numerous vines producing sweet wines, and indeed everything else except olives. Such is the character of the country.

The tents were pitched on the seaward-facing beach, the soldiers being altogether averse to camping on ground which might so easily be converted into a city. Indeed, their arrival at the place at all seemed very like the crafty design of some persons who were minded to form a city. The aversion was not unnatural, since the majority of the soldiers had not left their homes on so long a voyage from scantiness or subsistence, but attracted by the fame of Cyrus's virtues; some of them bringing followers, while others had expended money on the expedition. And amongst them was a third set who had run away from fathers and mothers; while a different class had left children behind, hoping to return to them with money or other gains. Other people with Cyrus won great success, they were told[1]; why should it not be so with them? Being persons then of this description, the one longing of their hearts was to reach Hellas safely.

[1] I.e. "his society was itself a passport to good fortune."

It was on the day after their meeting that Xenophon sacrificed as a preliminary to a military expedition; for it was needful to march out in search of provisions, besides which he designed burying the dead. 9 As soon as the victims proved favourable they all setout, the Arcadians following with the rest. The majority of the dead, who had lain already five days, they buried just where they had fallen, in groups; to remove their bodies now would have been impossible. Some few, who lay off the roads, they got together and buried with what splendour they could, considering the means in their power. Others they could not find, and for these they erected a great cenotaph[2], and covered it with wreaths. When it was all done, they returned home to camp. At that time they supped, and went to rest.

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