Anabasis/Book 1/Chapter 2

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Anabasis by Xenophon, translated by H. G. Dakyns
Book 1, Chapter 2

But when the right moment seemed to him to have come, at which he should begin his march into the interior, the pretext which he put forward was his desire to expel the Pisidians utterly out of the country; and he began collecting both his Asiatic and his Hellenic armaments, avowedly against that people. From Sardis in each direction his orders sped: to Clearchus, to join him there with the whole of his army; to Aristippus, to come to terms with those at home, and to despatch to him the troops in his employ; to Xenias the Arcadian, who was acting as general-in-chief of the foreign troops in the cities, to present himself with all the men available, excepting only those who were actually needed to garrison the citadels. He next summoned the troops at present engaged in the siege of Miletus, and called upon the exiles to follow him on his intended expedition, promising them that if he were successful in his object, he would not pause until he had reinstated them in their native city. To this invitation they hearkened gladly; they believed in him; and with their arms they presented themselves at Sardis. So, too, Xenias arrived at Sardis with the contingent from the cities, four thousand hoplites; Proxenus, also, with fifteen hundred hoplites and five hundred light-armed troops; Sophaenetus the Stymphalian, with one thousand hoplites; Socrates the Achaean, with five hundred hoplites; while the Megarion Pasion came with three hundred hoplites and three hundred peltasts.[1] This latter officer, as well as Socrates, belonged to the force engaged against Miletus. These all joined him at Sardis.

But Tissaphernes did not fail to note these proceedings. An equipment so large pointed to something more than an invasion of Pisidia: so he argued; and with what speed he might, he set off to the king, attended by about five hundred horse. The king, on his side, had no sooner heard from Tissaphernes of Cyrus's great armament, than he began to make counter-preparations.

Thus Cyrus, with the troops which I have named, set out from Sardis, and marched on and on through Lydia three stages, making two-and-twenty parasangs,[2] to the river Maeander. That river is two hundred feet[3] broad, and was spanned by a bridge consisting of seven boats. Crossing it, he marched through Phrygia a single stage, of eight parasangs, to Colossae, an inhabited city,[4] prosperous and large. Here he remained seven days, and was joined by Menon the Thessalian, who arrived with one thousand hoplites and five hundred peltasts, Dolopes, Aenianes, and Olynthians. From this place he marched three stages, twenty parasangs in all, to Celaenae, a populous city of Phrygia, large and prosperous. Here Cyrus owned a palace and a large park[5] full of wild beasts, which he used to hunt on horseback, whenever he wished to give himself or his horses exercise. Through the midst of the park flows the river Maeander, the sources of which are within the palace buildings, and it flows through the city of Celaenae. The great king also has a palace in Celaenae, a strong place, on the sources of another river, the Marsyas, at the foot of the acropolis. This river also flows through the city, discharging itself into the Maeander, and is five-and-twenty feet broad. Here is the place where Apollo is said to have flayed Marsyas, when he had conquered him in the contest of skill. He hung up the skin of the conquered man, in the cavern where the spring wells forth, and hence the name of the river, Marsyas. It was on this site that Xerxes, as tradition tells, built this very palace, as well as the citadel of Celaenae itself, on his retreat from Hellas, after he had lost the famous battle. Here Cyrus remained for thirty days, during which Clearchus the Lacedaemonian arrived with one thousand hoplites and eight hundred Thracian peltasts and two hundred Cretan archers. At the same time, also, came Sosis the Syracusian with three thousand hoplites, and Sophaenetus the Arcadian[6] with one thousand hoplites; and here Cyrus held a review, and numbered his Hellenes in the park, and found that they amounted in all to eleven thousand hoplites and about two thousand peltasts.

From this place he continued his march two stages--ten parasangs--to the populous city of Peltae, where he remained three days; while Xenias, the Arcadian, celebrated the Lycaea[7] with sacrifice, and instituted games. The prizes were headbands of gold; and Cyrus himself was a spectator of the contest. From this place the march was continued two stages--twelve parasangs--to Ceramon-agora, a populous city, the last on the confines of Mysia. Thence a march of three stages--thirty parasangs--brought him to Caystru-pedion,[8] a populous city. Here Cyrus halted five days; and the soldiers, whose pay was now more than three months in arrear, came several times to the palace gates demanding their dues; while Cyrus put them off with fine words and expectations, but could not conceal his vexation, for it was not his fashion to stint payment, when he had the means. At this point Epyaxa, the wife of Syennesis, the king of the Cilicians, arrived on a visit to Cyrus; and it was said that Cyrus received a large gift of money from the queen. At this date, at any rate, Cyrus gave the army four months' pay. The queen was accompanied by a bodyguard of Cilicians and Aspendians; and, if report speaks truly, Cyrus had intimate relations with the queen.

From this place he marched two stages--ten parasangs--to Thymbrium, a populous city. Here, by the side of the road, is the spring of Midas, the king of Phrygia, as it is called, where Midas, as the story goes, caught the satyr by drugging the spring with wine. From this place he marched two stages--ten parasangs--to Tyriaeum, a populous city. Here he halted three days; and the Cilician queen, according to the popular account, begged Cyrus to exhibit his armament for her amusement. The latter being only too glad to make such an exhibition, held a review of the Hellenes and barbarians in the plain. He ordered the Hellenes to draw up their lines and post themselves in their customary battle order, each general marshalling his own battalion. Accordingly they drew up four-deep. The right was held by Menon and those with him; the left by Clearchus and his men; the centre by the remaining generals with theirs. Cyrus first inspected the barbarians, who marched past in troops of horses and companies of infantry. He then inspected the Hellenes; driving past them in his chariot, with the queen in her carriage. And they all had brass helmets and purple tunics, and greaves, and their shields uncovered.[9]

After he had driven past the whole body, he drew up his chariot in front of the centre of the battle-line, and sent his interpreter Pigres to the generals of the Hellenes, with orders to present arms and to advance along the whole line. This order was repeated by the generals to their men; and at the sound of the bugle, with shields forward and spears in rest, they advanced to meet the enemy. The pace quickened, and with a shout the soldiers spontaneously fell into a run, making in the direction of the camp. Great was the panic of the barbarians. The Cilician queen in her carriage turned and fled; the sutlers in the marketing place left their wares and took to their heels; and the Hellenes meanwhile came into camp with a roar of laughter. What astounded the queen was the brilliancy and order of the armament; but Cyrus was pleased to see the terror inspired by the Hellenes in the hearts of the Asiatics.

From this place he marched on three stages--twenty parasangs--to Iconium, the last city of Phrygia, where he remained three days. Thence he marched through Lycaonia five stages--thirty parasangs. This was hostile country, and he gave it over to the Hellenes to pillage. At this point Cyrus sent back the Cilician queen to her own country by the quickest route; and to escort her he sent the soldiers of Menon, and Menon himself. With the rest of the troops he continued his march through Cappadocia four stages--twenty-five parasangs--to Dana, a populous city, large and flourishing. Here they halted three days, within which interval Cyrus put to death, on a charge of conspiracy, a Persian nobleman named Megaphernes, a wearer of the royal purple; and along with him another high dignitary among his subordinate commanders.

From this place they endeavoured to force a passage into Cilicia. Now the entrance was by an exceedingly steep cart-road, impracticable for an army in face of a resisting force; and report said that Syennesis was on the summit of the pass guarding the approach. Accordingly they halted a day in the plain; but next day came a messenger informing them that Syenesis had left the pass; doubtless, after perceiving that Menon's army was already in Cilicia on his own side of the mountains; and he had further been informed that ships of war, belonging to the Lacedaemonians and to Cyrus himself, with Tamos on board as admiral, were sailing round from Ionia to Cilicia. Whatever the reason might be, Cyrus made his way up into the hills without let or hindrance, and came in sight of the tents where the Cilicians were on guard. From that point he descended gradually into a large and beautiful plain country, well watered, and thickly covered with trees of all sorts and vines. This plain produces sesame plentifully, as also panic and millet and barley and wheat; and it is shut in on all sides by a steep and lofty wall of mountains from sea to sea. Descending through this plain country, he advanced four stages--twenty-five parasangs--to Tarsus, a large and prosperous city of Cilicia. Here stood the palace of Syennesis, the king of the country; and through the middle of the city flows a river called the Cydnus, two hundred feet broad. They found that the city had been deserted by its inhabitants, who had betaken themselves, with Syennesis, to a strong place on the hills. All had gone, except the tavern-keepers. The sea-board inhabitants of Soli and Issi also remained. Now Epyaxa, Syennesis's queen, had reached Tarsus five days in advance of Cyrus. During their passage over the mountains into the plain, two companies of Menon's army were lost. Some said they had been cut down by the Cilicians, while engaged on some pillaging affair; another account was that they had been left behind, and being unable to overtake the main body, or discover the route, had gone astray and perished. However it was, they numbered one hundred hoplites; and when the rest arrived, being in a fury at the destruction of their fellow soldiers, they vented their spleen by pillaging the city of Tarsus and the palace to boot. Now when Cyrus had marched into the city, he sent for Syennesis to come to him; but the latter replied that he had never yet put himself into the hands of any one who was his superior, nor was he willing to accede to the proposal of Cyrus now; until, in the end, his wife persuaded him, and he accepted pledges of good faith. After this they met, and Syennesis gave Cyrus large sums in aid of his army; while Cyrus presented him with the customary royal gifts--to wit, a horse with a gold bit, a necklace of gold, a gold bracelet, and a gold scimitar, a Persian dress, and lastly, the exemption of his territory from further pillage, with the privilege of taking back the slaves that had been seized, wherever they might chance to come upon them.

  1. "Targeteers" armed with a light shield instead of the larger one of the hoplite, or heavy infantry soldier. Iphicrates made great use of this arm at a later date.
  2. The Persian "farsang" = 30 stades, nearly 1 league, 3 1/2 statute miles, though not of uniform value in all parts of Asia.
  3. "Two plethra": the plethron = about 101 English feet.
  4. Lit. "inhabited," many of the cities of Asia being then as now deserted, but the suggestion is clearly at times "thickly inhabited," "populous."
  5. Lit. "paradise," an oriental word = park or pleasure ground.
  6. Perhaps this should be Agias the Arcadian, as Mr. Macmichael suggests. Sophaenetus has already been named above.
  7. The Lycaea, an Arcadian festival in honour of Zeus {Arcaios}, akin to the Roman Lupercalia, which was originally a shepherd festival, the introduction of which the Romans ascribe to the Arcadian Evander.
  8. Lit. "plain of the Cayster," like Ceramon-agora, "the market of the Ceramians" above, the name of a town.
  9. I.e. ready for action, c.f. "bayonets fixed".