Yet three days later, quietly and unobtrusively, when there


Meanwhile Xenophon held his peace. Then up got Philesius and Lycon, two Achaeans: "It was monstrous," they said, "that Xenophon should be privately persuading people to stop there, and consulting the victims for that end, without letting the army into the secret, or breathing a syllable in public about the matter." When it came to this, Xenophon was forced to get up, and speak as follows: "Sirs, you are well aware that my habit is to sacrifice at all times; whether in your own behalf or my own, I strive in every thought, word, and deed to be directed as is best for yourselves and for me. And in the present instance my sole object was to learn whether it were better even so much as to broach the subject, and so take action, or to have absolutely nothing to do with the project. Now Silanus the soothsayer assured me by his answer of what was the main point: 'the victims were favourable.' No doubt Silanus knew that I was not unversed myself in his lore, as I have so often assisted at the sacrifice; but he added that there were symptoms in the victims of some guile or conspiracy against me. That was a happy discovery on his part, seeing that he was himself conspiring at the moment to traduce me before you; since it was he who set the tale going that I had actually made up my mind to carry out these projects without procuring your consent. Now, for my part, if I saw that you 30 were in any difficulties, I should set myself to discover how you might capture a city, on the understanding of course that all who wished might sail away at once, leaving those who did not wish, to follow at a later date, with something perhaps in their pockets to benefit their friends at home. Now, however, as I see that the men of Heraclea and Sinope are to send you ships to assist you to sail away, and more than one person guarantees to give you regular monthly pay, it is, I admit, a rare chance to be safely piloted to the haven of our hopes, and at the same time to receive pay for our preservation. For myself I have done with that dream, and to those, who came to me to urge these projects, my advice is to have done with them. In fact, this is my view. As long as you stay together united as to-day, you will command respect and procure provisions; for might certainly exercises a right over what belongs to the weaker. But once broken up, with your force split into bits, you will neither be able to get subsistence, nor indeed will you get off without paying dearly for it. In fact, my resolution coincides precisely with yours. It is that we should set off for Hellas, and if any one stops behind, or is caught deserting before the whole army is in safety, let him be judged as an evil-doer. Pray let all who are in favour of this proposition hold up their hands."

Yet three days later, quietly and unobtrusively, when there

They all held them up; only Silanus began shouting and vainly striving to maintain the right of departure for all who liked to depart. But the soldiers would not suffer him, threatening him that if he were himself caught attempting to run away they would inflict the aforesaid penalty. After this, when the Heracleots learned that the departure by sea was resolved upon, and that the measure itself emanated from Xenophon, they sent the vessels indeed; but as to the money which they had promised to Timasion and Thorax as pay for the soldiers, they were not as good as their word, in fact they cheated them both. Thus the two who had guaranteed regular monthly pay were utterly confounded, and stood in terror of the soldiers. What they did then, was to take to them the other generals to whom they had communicated their former transactions (that is to say, all except Neon the Asniaean, who, as lieutenant-general, was acting for Cheirisophus during his continued absence). This done they came in a body to Xenophon and said that 36 their views were changed. As they had now got the ships, they thought it best to sail to the Phasis, and seize the territory of the Phasians (whose present king was a descendant of Aeetes[5]). Xenophon's reply was curt:--Not one syllable would he have to say himself to the army in this matter, "But," he added, "if you like, you can summon an assembly and have your say." Thereupon Timasion the Dardanian set forth as his opinion:--It were best to hold no parliament at present, but first to go and conciliate, each of them, his own officers. Thus they went away and proceeded to execute their plans.

Yet three days later, quietly and unobtrusively, when there

[5] Aeetes is the patronym of the kings of Colchis from mythical times onwards; e.g. Medea was the daughter of Aeetes.

Yet three days later, quietly and unobtrusively, when there

Presently the soldiers came to learn what was in course of agitation, 1 and Neon gave out that Xenophon had persuaded the other generals to adopt his views, and had a plan to cheat the soldiers and take them back to the Phasis. The soldiers were highly indignant; meetings were held; little groups gathered ominously; and there seemed an alarming probability that they would repeat the violence with which they had lately treated the heralds of the Colchians and the clerks of the market; when all who did not save themselves by jumping into the sea were stoned to death. So Xenophon, seeing what a storm was brewing, resolved to anticipate matters so far as to summon a meeting of the men without delay, and thus prevent their collecting of their own accord, and he ordered the herald to announce an assembly. The voice of the herald was no sooner heard than they rushed with great readiness to the place of meeting. Then Xenophon, without accusing the generals of having come to him, made the following speech: "I hear that a charge is brought against me. It is I apparently who am going to cheat you and carry you off to Phasis. I beg you by all that is holy to listen to me; and if there be found any guilt in me, let me not leave this place till I have paid the penalty of my misdoing; but if my accusers are found guilty, treat them as they deserve. I presume, sirs, you know where the sun rises and where he sets, and that he who would go to Hellas must needs journey towards the sunset; whereas he who seeks the land of the barbarian must contrariwise fix 6 his face towards the dawn. Now is that a point in which a man might hope to cheat you? Could any one make you believe that the sun rises here and sets there, or that he sets here and rises there? And doubtless you know this too, that it is Boreas, the north wind, who bears the mariner out of Pontus towards Hellas, and the south wind inwards towards the Phasis, whence the saying--

"'When the North wind doth blow Home to Hellas we will go[1].'

[1] Whether this was a local saying or a proverb I cannot say. The words have a poetical ring about them: "When Borrhas blows, fair voyages to Hellas."

"He would be a clever fellow who could befool you into embarking with a south wind blowing. That sounds all very well, you think, only I may get you on board during a calm. Granted, but I shall be on board my one ship, and you on board another hundred at least, and how am I to constrain you to voyage with me against your will, or by what cajolery shall I carry you off? But I will imagine you so far befooled and bewitched by me, that I have got you to the Phasis; we proceed to disembark on dry land. At last it will come out, that wherever you are, you are not in Hellas, and the inventor of the trick will be one sole man, and you who have been caught by it will number something like ten thousand with swords in your hands. I do not know how a man could better ensure his own punishment than by embarking on such a policy with regards to himself and you.

"Nay, these tales are the invention of silly fellows who are jealous of the honour you bestow on me. A most uncalled-for jealousy! Do I hinder any of them from speaking any word of import in his power? of striking a blow in your behalf and his own, if that is his choice? or, finally, of keeping his eyes and ears open to secure your safety? What is it? In your choice of leaders do I stand in the way of any one, is that it? Let him step forward, I yield him place; he shall be your general; only he must prove that he has your good at heart.

Category of the article:knowledgechannel, click to enter>>