Hellenica (Xenophon)/Book 3/Chapter 4

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Hellenica (Xenophon) by Xenophon, translated by H. G. Dakyns
Book 3, Chapter 4

B.C. 397.[1] 1It was after the incidents just recorded that a Syracusan named Herodas brought news to Lacedaemon. He had chanced to be in Phoenicia with a certain shipowner, and was struck by the number of Phoenician triremes which he observed, some coming into harbour from other ports, others already there with their ships' companies complete, while others again were still completing their equipments. Nor was it only what he saw, but he had heard say further that there were to be three hundred of these vessels all told; whereupon he had taken passage on the first sailing ship bound for Hellas. He was in haste to lay this information before the Lacedaemonians, feeling sure that the king and Tissaphernes were concerned in these preparations-- though where the fleet was to act, or against whom, he would not venture to predict.

2These reports threw the Lacedaemonians into a flutter of expectation and anxiety. They summoned a meeting of the allies, and began to deliberate as to what ought to be done. Lysander, convinced of the enormous superiority of the Hellenic navy, and with regard to land forces drawing an obvious inference from the exploits and final deliverance of the troops with Cyrus, persuaded Agesilaus, to undertake a campaign into Asia, provided the authorities would furnish him with thirty Spartans, two thousand of the enfranchised,[2] and contingents of the allies amounting to six thousand men. Apart from these calculations, Lysander had a personal object: he wished to accompany the king himself, and by his aid to re-establish the decarchies originally set up by himself in the different cities, but at a later date expelled through the action of the ephors, who had issued a fiat re-establishing the old order of constitution.

B.C. 396. 3To this offer on the part of Agesilaus to undertake such an expedition the Lacedaemonians responded by presenting him with all he asked for, and six months' provisions besides. When the hour of departure came he offered all such sacrifices as are necessary, and lastly those "before crossing the border,"[3] and so set out. This done, he despatched to the several states[4] messengers with directions as to the numbers to be sent from each, and the points of rendezvous; but for himself he was minded to go and do sacrifice at Aulis, even as Agamemnon had offered sacrifice in that place ere he set sail for Troy. 4But when he had reached the place and had begun to sacrifice, the Boeotarchs[5] being apprised of his design, sent a body of cavalry and bade him desist from further sacrificing;[6] and lighting upon victims already offered, they hurled them from off the altars, scattering the fragments. Then Agesilaus, calling the gods to witness, got on board his trireme in bitter indignation, and sailed away. Arrived at Geraestus, he there collected as large a portion of his troops as possible, and with the armada made sail for Ephesus.

5When he had reached that city the first move was made by Tissaphernes, who sent asking, "With what purpose he was come thither?" And the Spartan king made answer: "With the intention that the cities in Asia shall be independent even as are the cities in our quarter of Hellas." In answer to this Tissaphernes said: "If you on your part choose to make a truce whilst I send ambassadors to the king, I think you may well arrange the matter, and sail back home again, if so you will." "Willing enough should I be," replied Agesilaus, "were I not persuaded that you are cheating me." "Nay, but it is open to you," replied the satrap, "to exact a surety for the execution of the terms . . . 'Provided always that you, Tissaphernes, carry out what you say without deceit, we on our side will abstain from injuring your dominion in any respect whatever during the truce.'"[7] 6Accordingly in the presence of three commissioners--Herippidas, Dercylidas, and Megillus--Tissaphernes took an oath in the words prescribed: "Verily and indeed, I will effect peace honestly and without guile." To which the commissioners, on behalf of Agesilaus, swore a counter-oath: "Verily and indeed, provided Tissaphernes so acts, we on our side will observe the truce."

Tissaphernes at once gave the lie to what he had sworn. Instead of adhering to peace he sent up to demand a large army from the king, in addition to what he already had. But Agesilaus, though he was fully alive to these proceedings, adhered as rigidly as ever to the truce.

7To keep quiet and enjoy leisure was his duty, in the exercise of which he wore away the time at Ephesus. But in reference to the organisation of the several states it was a season of vehement constitutional disturbance in the several cities; that is to say, there were neither democracies as in the old days of the Athenians, nor yet were there decarchies as in the days of Lysander. But here was Lysander back again. Every one recognised him, and flocked to him with petitions for one favour or another, which he was to obtain for them from Agesilaus. A crowd of suitors danced attendance on his heels, and formed so conspicuous a retinue that Agesilaus, any one would have supposed, was the private person and Lysander the king. 8All this was maddening to Agesilaus, as was presently plain. As to the rest of the Thirty, jealousy did not suffer them to keep silence, and they put it plainly to Agesilaus that the super-regal splendour in which Lysander lived was a violation of the constitution. So when Lysander took upon himself to introduce some of his petitioners to Agesilaus, the latter turned them a deaf ear. Their being aided and abetted by Lysander was sufficient; he sent them away discomfited. At length, as time after time things turned out contrary to his wishes, Lysander himself perceived the position of affairs. He now no longer suffered that crowd to follow him, and gave those who asked him help in anything plainly to understand that they would gain nothing, but rather be losers, by his intervention. 9But being bitterly annoyed at the degradation put upon him, he came to the king and said to him: "Ah, Agesilaus, how well you know the art of humbling your friends!" "Ay, indeed," the king replied; "those of them whose one idea it is to appear greater than myself; if I did not know how also to requite with honour those who work for my good, I should be ashamed." And Lysander said: "maybe there is more reason in your doings than ever guided my conduct;" adding, "Grant me for the rest one favour, so shall I cease to blush at the loss of my influence with you, and you will cease to be embarrassed by my presence. Send me off on a mission somewhere; wherever I am I will strive to be of service to you." 10Such was the proposal of Lysander. Agesilaus resolved to act upon it, and despatched Lysander to the Hellespont. And this is what befell.[8] Lysander, being made aware of a slight which had been put upon Spithridates the Persian by Pharnabazus, got into conversation with the injured man, and so worked upon him that he was persuaded to bring his children and his personal belongings, and with a couple of hundred troops to revolt. The next step was to deposit all the goods safely in Cyzicus, and the last to get on shipboard with Spithridates and his son, and so to present himself with his Persian friends to Agesilaus. Agesilaus, on his side, was delighted at the transaction, and set himself at once to get information about Pharnabazus, his territory and his government.

11Meanwhile Tissaphernes had waxed bolder. A large body of troops had been sent down by the king. On the strength of that he declared war against Agesilaus, if he did not instantly withdraw his troops from Asia. The Lacedaemonians there[9] present, no less than the allies, received the news with profound vexation, persuaded as they were that Agesilaus had no force capable of competing with the king's grand armament. But a smile lit up the face of Agesilaus as he bade the ambassadors return to Tissaphernes and tell him that he was much in his debt for the perjury by which he had won the enmity of Heaven and made the very gods themselves allies of Hellas. He at once issued a general order to the troops to equip themselves for a forward movement. He warned the cities through which he must pass in an advance upon Caria, to have markets in readiness, and lastly, he despatched a message to the Ionian, Aeolian, and Hellespontine communities to send their contingents to join him at Ephesus.

12Tissaphernes, putting together the facts that Agesilaus had no cavalry and that Caria was a region unadapted to that arm, and persuaded in his own mind also that the Spartan could not but cherish wrath against himself personally for his chicanery, felt convinced that he was really intending to invade Caria, and that the satrap's palace was his final goal. Accordingly he transferred the whole of his infantry to that province, and proceeded to lead his cavalry round into the plain of the Maeander. Here he conceived himself capable of trampling the Hellenes under foot with his horsemen before they could reach the craggy districts where no cavalry could operate.

But, instead of marching straight into Caria, Agesilaus turned sharp off in the opposite direction towards Phrygia. Picking up various detachments of troops which met him on his march, he steadily advanced, laying cities prostrate before him, and by the unexpectedness of his attack reaping a golden harvest of spoil. 13As a rule the march was prosecuted safely; but not far from Dascylium his advanced guard of cavalry were pushing on towards a knoll to take a survery of the state of things in front, when, as chance would have it, a detachment of cavalry sent forward by Pharnabazus--the corps, in fact, of Rhathines and his natural brother Bagaeus--just about equal to the Hellenes in number, also came galloping up to the very knoll in question. The two bodies found themselves face to face not one hundred and fifty yards[10] apart, and for the first moment or two stood stock still. The Hellenic horse were drawn up like an ordinary phalanx four deep, the barbarians presenting a narrow front of twelve or thereabouts, and a very disproportionate depth. 14There was a moment's pause, and then the barbarians, taking the initiative, charged. There was a hand-to-hand tussle, in which any Hellene who succeeded in striking his man shivered his lance with the blow, while the Persian troopers, armed with cornel-wood javelins, speedly despatched a dozen men and a couple of horses.[11] At this point the Hellenic cavalry turned and fled. But as Agesilaus came up to the rescue with his heavy infantry, the Asiatics were forced in their turn to withdraw, with the loss of one man slain. This cavalry engagement gave them pause. 15Agesilaus on the day following it offered sacrifice. "Was he to continue his advance?" But the victims proved hopeless.[12] There was nothing for it after this manifestation but to turn and march towards the sea. It was clear enough to his mind that without a proper cavalry force it would be impossible to conduct a campaign in the flat country. Cavalry, therefore, he must get, or be driven to mere guerilla warfare. With this view he drew up a list of all the wealthiest inhabitants belonging to the several cities of those parts. Their duty would be to support a body of cavalry, with the proviso, however, that any one contributing a horse, arms, and rider, up to the standard, would be exempted from personal service. The effect was instantaneous. The zeal with which the recipients of these orders responded could hardly have been greater if they had been seeking substitutes to die for them.

B.C. 395. 16After this, at the first indication of spring, he collected the whole of his army at Ephesus. But the army needed training. With that object he proposed a series of prizes--prizes to the heavy infantry regiments, to be won by those who presented their men in the best condition; prizes for the cavalry regiments which could ride best; prizes for those divisions of peltasts and archers which proved most efficient in their respective duties. And now the gymnasiums were a sight to see, thronged as they were, one and all, with warriors stripping for exercise; or again, the hippodrome crowded with horses and riders performing their evolutions; or the javelin men and archers going through their peculiar drill. 17In fact, the whole city where he lay presented under his hands a spectacle not to be forgotten. The market-place literally teemed with horses, arms, and accoutrements of all sorts for sale. The bronze-worker, the carpenter, the smith, the leather-cutter, the painter and embosser, were all busily engaged in fabricating the implements of war; so that the city of Ephesus itself was fairly converted into a military workshop.[13] 18It would have done a man's heart good to see those long lines of soldiers with Agesilaus at their head, as they stepped gaily be-garlanded from the gymnasiums to dedicate their wreaths to the goddess Artemis. Nor can I well conceive of elements more fraught with hope than were here combined. Here were reverence and piety towards Heaven; here practice in war and military training; here discipline with habitual obedience to authority. 19But contempt for one's enemy will infuse a kind of strength in battle. So the Spartan leader argued; and with a view to its production he ordered the quartermasters to put up the prisoners who had been captured by his foraging bands for auction, stripped naked; so that his Hellenic soldiery, as they looked at the white skins which had never been bared to sun and wind, the soft limbs unused to toil through constant riding in carriages, came to the conclusion that war with such adversaries would differ little from a fight with women.

20By this date a full year had elapsed since the embarkation of Agesilaus, and the time had come for the Thirty with Lysander to sail back home, and for their successors, with Herippidas, to arrive. Among these Agesilaus appointed Xenocles and another to the command of the cavalry, Scythes to that of the heavy infantry of the enfranchised,[14] Herippidas to that of the Cyreians, and Migdon to that of the contingents from the states. Agesilaus gave them to understand that he intended to lead them forthwith by the most expeditious route against the stronghold of the country,[15] so that without further ceremony they might prepare their minds and bodies for the tug of battle. 21Tissaphernes, however, was firmly persuaded that this was only talk intended to deceive him; Agesilaus would this time certainly invade Caria. Accordingly he repeated his former tactics, transporting his infantry bodily into Caria and posting his cavalry in the valley of the Maeander. But Agesilaus was as good as his word, and at once invaded the district of Sardis. A three days' march through a region denuded of the enemy threw large supplies into his hands. On the fourth day the cavalry of the enemy approached. 22Their general ordered the officer in charge of his baggage-train to cross the Pactolus and encamp, while his troopers, catching sight of stragglers from the Hellenic force scattered in pursuit of booty, put several of them to the sword. Perceiving which, Agesilaus ordered his cavalry to the rescue; and the Persians on their side, seeing their advance, collected together in battle order to receive them, with dense squadrons of horse, troop upon troop. 23The Spartan, reflecting that the enemy had as yet no infantry to support him, whilst he had all branches of the service to depend upon, concluded that the critical moment had arrived at which to risk an engagement. In this mood he sacrificed, and began advancing his main line of battle against the serried lines of cavalry in front of him, at the same time ordering the flower of his heavy infantry--the ten-years-service men[16]--to close with them at a run, and the peltasts to bring up their supports at the double. The order passed to his cavalry was to charge in confidence that he and the whole body of his troops were close behind them. 24The cavalry charge was received by the Persians without flinching, but presently finding themselves environed by the full tide of war they swerved. Some found a speedy grave within the river, but the mass of them gradually made good their escape. The Hellenes followed close on the heels of the flying foe and captured his camp. here the peltasts not unnaturally fell to pillaging; whereupon Agesilaus planted his troops so as to form a cordon enclosing the property of friends and foes alike. The spoil taken was considerable; it fetched more than seventy talents,[17] not to mention the famous camels, subsequently brought over by Agesilaus into Hellas, which were captured here. 25At the moment of the battle Tissaphernes lay in Sardis. Hence the Persians argued that they had been betrayed by the satrap. And the king of Persia, coming to a like conclusion himself that Tissaphernes was to blame for the evil turn of his affairs, sent down Tithraustes and beheaded him.[18]

This done, Tithraustes sent an embassy to Agesilaus with a message as follows: "The author of all our trouble, yours and ours, Agesilaus, has paid the penalty of his misdoings; the king therefore asks of you first that you should sail back home in peace; secondly, that the cities in Asia secured in their autonomy should continue to render him the ancient tribute." 26To this proposition Agesilaus made answer that "without the authorities at home he could do nothing in the matter." "Then do you, at least," replied Tithraustes, "while awaiting advice from Lacedaemon, withdraw into the territory of Pharnabazus. Have I not avenged you of your enemy?" "While, then, I am on my way thither," rejoined Agesilaus, "will you support my army with provisions?" On this wise Tithraustes handed him thirty talents,[19] which the other took, and forthwith began his march into Phrygia (the Phrygia of Pharnabazus). 27He lay in the plain district above Cyme,[20] when a message reached him from the home authorities, giving him absolute disposal of the naval forces,[21] with the right to appoint the admiral of his choice. This course the Lacedaemonians were led to adopt by the following considerations: If, they argued, the same man were in command of both services, the land force would be greatly strengthened through the concentration of the double force at any point necessary; and the navy likewise would be far more useful through the immediate presence and co-operation of the land force where needed. 28Apprised of these measures, Agesilaus in the first instance sent an order to the cities on the islands and the seaboard to fit out as many ships of war as they severally might deem desirable. The result was a new navy, consisting of the vessels thus voluntarily furnished by the states, with others presented by private persons out of courtesy to their commander, and amounting in all to a fleet of one hundred and twenty sail. 29The admiral whom he selected was Peisander, his wife's brother, a man of genuine ambition and of a vigorous spirit, but not sufficiently expert in the details of equipment to achieve a great naval success. Thus while Peisander set off to attend to naval matters, Agesilaus continued his march whither he was bound to Phrygia.

  1. See Grote, "H. G." ix. 353, for chronology, etc.
  2. Technically, "neodamodes."
  3. "Pol. Lac." xiii. 2 foll.
  4. Or, "To the several cities he had already despatched messengers with directions," etc.; see Paus. III. ix. 1-3.
  5. See Freeman, "Hist. of Federal Government," ch. iv. "Constitution of the Boeotian League," pp. 162, 163. The Boeotarchs, as representatives of the several Boeotian cities, were the supreme military commanders of the League, and, as it would appear, the general administrators of Federal affairs. "The Boeotarchs of course command at Delion, but they also act as administrative magistrates of the League by hindering Agesilaus from sacrificing at Aulis."
  6. Plut. "Ages." vi.; "Pelop." xxi. See Breitenb. op. cit. Praef. p. xvi.; and below, III. v. 5; VI. iv. 23.
  7. For this corrupt passage, see Hartman, "Anal. Xen." p. 332; also Otto Keller's critical edition of the "Hellenica" (Lips, MDCCCLXXX.)
  8. See "Ages." iii. 3; "Anab." VI. v. 7.
  9. I.e. at Ephesus.
  10. Lit. "four plethra."
  11. See Xenophon's treatise "On Horsemanship," xii. 12.
  12. Lit. "lobeless," i.e. with a lobe of the liver wanting--a bad sign.
  13. See Plut. "Marc." (Clough, ii. 262); Polyb. "Hist." x. 20.
  14. The neodamodes.
  15. I.e. Lydia. See Plut. "Ages." x. (Clough, iv. 11).
  16. See note to "Hell." II. iv. 32.
  17. = 17,062 pounds: 10 shillings.
  18. See Diod. xiv. 80.
  19. = 7,312 pounds: 10 shillings.
  20. See "Cyrop." VII. i. 45.
  21. See Grote, "H. G." ix. 327, note 3; Arist. "Pol." ii. 9, 33.