Anabasis/Book 1/Chapter 10

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Anabasis by Xenophon, translated by H. G. Dakyns
Book 1, Chapter 10

Then the head of Cyrus and his right hand were severed from the body. But the king and those about him pursued and fell upon the Cyreian camp, and the troops of Ariaeus no longer stood their ground, but fled through their own camp back to the halting-place of the night before--a distance of four parasangs, it was said. So the king and those with him fell to ravaging right and left, and amongst other spoil he captured the Phocaean woman, who was a concubine of Cyrus, witty and beautiful, if fame speaks correctly. The Milesian, who was the younger, was also seized by some of the king's men; but, letting go her outer garment, she made good her escape to the Hellenes, who had been left among the camp followers on guard. These fell at once into line and put to the sword many of the pillagers, though they lost some men themselves; they stuck to the place and succeeded in saving not only that lady, but all else, whether chattels or human beings, which lay within their reach.

At this point the king and the Hellenes were something like three miles apart; the one set were pursuing their opponents just as if their conquest had been general; the others were pillaging as merrily as if their victory were already universal. But when the Hellenes learnt that the king and his troops were in the baggage camp; and the king, on his side, was informed by Tissaphernes that the Hellenes were victorious in their quarter of the field, and had gone forward in pursuit, the effect was instantaneous. The king massed his troops and formed into line. Clearchus summoned Proxenus, who was next him, and debated whether to send a detachment or to go in a body to the camp to save it.

Meanwhile the king was seen again advancing, as it seemed, from the rear; and the Hellenes, turning right about, prepared to receive his attack then and there. But instead of advancing upon them at that point, he drew off, following the line by which he had passed earlier in the day, outside the left wing of his opponent, and so picked up in his passage those who had deserted to the Hellenes during the battle, as also Tissaphernes and his division. The latter had not fled in the first shock of the encounter; he had charged parallel to the line of the Euphrates into the Greek peltasts, and through them. But charge as he might, he did not lay low a single man. On the contrary, the Hellenes made a gap to let them through, hacking them with their swords and hurling their javelins as they passed. Episthenes of Amphipolis was in command of the peltasts, and he showed himself a sensible man, it was said. Thus it was that Tissaphernes, having got through haphazard, with rather the worst of it, failed to wheel round and return the way he came, but reaching the camp of the Hellenes, there fell in with the king; and falling into order again, the two divisions advanced side by side.

When they were parallel with the (original) left wing of the Hellenes, fear seized the latter lest they might take them in flank and enfold them on both sides and cut them down. In this apprehension they determined to extend their line and place the river on their rear. But while they deliberated, the king passed by and ranged his troops in line to meet them, in exactly the same position in which he had advanced to offer battle at the commencement of the engagement. The Hellenes, now seeing them in close proximity and in battle order, once again raised the paean and began the attack with still greater enthusiasm than before: and once again the barbarians did not wait to receive them, but took to flight, even at a greater distance than before. The Hellenes pressed the pursuit until they reached a certain village, where they halted, for above the village rose a mound, on which the king and his party rallied and reformed; they had no infantry any longer, but the crest was crowded with cavalry, so that it was impossible to discover what was happening. They did see, they said, the royal standard, a kind of golden eagle, with wings extended, perched on a bar of wood and raised upon a lance.

But as soon as the Hellenes again moved onwards, the hostile cavalry at once left the hillock--not in a body any longer, but in fragments--some streaming from one side, some from another; and the crest was gradually stripped of its occupants, till at last the company was gone. Accordingly, Clearchus did not ascend the crest, but posting his army at its base, he sent Lycius of Syracuse and another to the summit, with orders to inspect the condition of things on the other side, and to report results. Lycius galloped up and investigated, bringing back news that they were fleeing might and main. Almost at that instant the sun sank beneath the horizon. There the Hellenes halted; they grounded arms and rested, marvelling the while that Cyrus was not anywhere to be seen, and that no messenger had come from him. For they were in complete ignorance of his death, and conjectured that either he had gone off in pursuit, or had pushed forward to occupy some point. Left to themselves, they now deliberated, whether they should stay where they were and have the baggage train brought up, or should return to camp. They resolved to return, and about supper time reached the tents. Such was the conclusion of this day.

They found the larger portion of their property pillaged, eatables and drinkables alike, not excepting the wagons laden with corn and wine, which Cyrus had prepared in case of some extreme need overtaking the expedition, to divide among the Hellenes. There were four hundred of these wagons, it was said, and these had now been ransacked by the king and his men; so that the greater number of the Hellenes went supperless, having already gone without their breakfasts, since the king had appeared before the usual halt for breakfast. Accordingly, in no better plight than this they passed the night.