Anabasis/Book 5/Chapter 3

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Anabasis by Xenophon, translated by H. G. Dakyns
Book 5, Chapter 3

Now when Cheirisophus did not arrive, and the supply of ships was insufficient, and to get provisions longer was impossible, they resolved to depart. On board the vessels they embarked the sick, and those above forty years of age, with the boys and women, and all the baggage which the solders were not absolutely forced to take for their own use. The two eldest generals, Philesius and Sophaenetus, were put in charge, and so the party embarked, while the rest resumed their march, for the road was now completely constructed. Continuing their march that day and the next, on the third they reached Cerasus, a Hellenic city on the sea, and a colony of Sinope, in the country of the Colchians. Here they halted ten days, and there was a review and numbering of the troops under arms, when there were found to be eight thousand six hundred men. So many had escaped; the rest had perished at the hands of the enemy, or by reason of the snow, or else disease.

At this time and place they divided the money accruing from the captives sold, and a tithe selected for Apollo and Artemis of the Ephesians was divided between the generals, each of whom took a portion to guard for the gods, Neon the Asinaean[1] taking on behalf of Cheirisophus.

Out of the portion which fell to Xenophon he caused a dedicatory offering to Apollo to be made and dedicated among the treasures of the Athenians at Delphi.[2] It was inscribed with his own name and that of Proxenus, his friend, who was killed with Clearchus. The gift for Artemis of the Ephesians was, in the first instance, left behind by him in Asia at the time when he left that part of the world himself with Agesilaus on the march into Boeotia.[3] He left it behind in charge of Megabyzus, the sacristan of the goddess, thinking that the voyage on which he was starting was fraught with danger. In the event of his coming out of it alive, he charged Megabyzus to restore to him the deposit; but should any evil happen to him, then he was to cause to be made and to dedicate on his behalf to Artemis, whatsoever thing he thought would be pleasing to the goddess.

In the days of his banishment, when Xenophon was now established by the Lacedaemonians as a colonist in Scillus,[4] a place which lies on the main road to Olympia, Megabyzus arrived on his way to Olympia as a spectator to attend the games, and restored to him the deposit. Xenophon took the money and bought for the goddess a plot of ground at a point indicated to him by the oracle. The plot, it so happened, had its own Selinus river flowing through it, just as at Ephesus the river Selinus flows past the temple of Artemis, and in both streams fish and mussels are to be found. On the estate at Scillus there is hunting and shooting of all the beasts of the chase that are.

Here with the sacred money he built an altar and a temple, and ever after, year by year, tithed the fruits of the land in their season and did sacrifice to the goddess, while all the citizens and neighbours, men and women, shared in the festival. The goddess herself provided for the banqueters meat and loaves and wine and sweetmeats, with portions of the victims sacrificed from the sacred pasture, as also of those which were slain in the chase; for Xenophon's own lads, with the lads of the other citizens, always made a hunting excursion against the festival day, in which any grown men who liked might join. The game was captured partly from the sacred district itself, partly from Pholoe,[5] pigs and gazelles and stags. The place lies on the direct road from Lacedaemon to Olympia, about twenty furlongs from the temple of Zeus in Olympia, and within the sacred enclosure there is meadow-land and wood-covered hills, suited to the breeding of pigs and goats and cattle and horses, so that even the sumpter animals of the pilgrims passing to the feast fare sumptuously. The shrine is girdled by a grove of cultivated trees, yielding dessert fruits in their season. The temple itself is a facsimile on a small scale of the great temple at Ephesus, and the image of the goddess is like the golden statue at Ephesus, save only that it is made, not of gold, but of cypress wood. Beside the temple stands a column bearing this inscription:-- THE PLACE IS SACRED TO ARTEMIS. HE WHO HOLDS IT AND ENJOYS THE FRUITS OF IT IS BOUND TO SACRIFICE YEARLY A TITHE OF THE PRODUCE. AND FROM THE RESIDUE THEREOF TO KEEP IN REPAIR THE SHRINE. IF ANY MAN FAIL IN AUGHT OF THIS THE GODDESS HERSELF WILL LOOK TO IT THAT THE MATTER SHALL NOT SLEEP.

  1. I.e. of Asine, perhaps the place named in Thuc. iv. 13, 54; vi. situated on the western side of the Messenian bay. Strabo, however, speaks of another Asine near Gytheum, but possibly means Las. See Arnold's note to Thuc. iv. 13, and Smith's "Dict. Geog. (s.v.)"
  2. Cf. Herod. i. 14; Strabo. ix. 420 for such private treasuries at Delphi.
  3. I.e. in the year B.C. 394. The circumstances under which Agesilaus was recalled from Asia, with the details of his march and the battle of Coronea, are described by Xenophon in the fourth book of the "Hellenica."
  4. Scillus, a town of Triphylia, a district of Elis. In B.C. 572 the Eleians had razed Pisa and Scillus to the ground. But between B.C. 392 and 387 the Lacedaemonians, having previously (B.C. 400, "Hell." III. ii. 30) compelled the Eleians to renounce their supremacy over their dependent cities, colonised Scillus and eventually gave it to Xenophon, then an exile from Athens. Xenophon resided here from fifteen to twenty years, but was, it is said, expelled from it by the Eleians soon after the battle of Leuctra, in B.C. 371.--"Dict. Geog. (s.v.)" The site of the place, and of Xenophon's temple, is supposed to be in the neighbourhood of the modern village of Chrestena, or possibly nearer Mazi. To reach Olympia, about 2 1/2 miles distant, one must cross the Alpheus.
  5. Pholoe. This mountain (north of the Alpheus) is an offshoot of Erymanthus, crossing the Pisatis from east to west, and separating the waters of the Peneus and the Ladon from those of the Alpheus --"Dict. Geog." (Elis).