Hellenica (Xenophon)/Book 1/Chapter 2

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Hellenica (Xenophon) by Xenophon, translated by H. G. Dakyns
Book 1, Chapter 2

1Next year[1] . . . the Athenians fortified Thoricus; and Thrasylus, taking the vessels lately voted him and five thousand of his seamen armed to serve as peltasts,[2] set sail for Samos at the beginning of summer.

2At Samos he stayed three days, and then continued his voyage to Pygela, where he proceeded to ravage the territory and attack the fortress. Presently a detachment from Miletus came to the rescue of the men of Pygela, and attacking the scattered bands of the Athenian light troops, put them to flight.

3But to the aid of the light troops came the naval brigade of peltasts, with two companies of heavy infantry, and all but annihilated the whole detachment from Miletus. They captured about two hundred shields, and set up a trophy.

4Next day they sailed to Notium, and from Notium, after due preparation, marched upon Colophon. The Colophonians capitulated without a blow. The following night they made an incursion into Lydia, where the corn crops were ripe, and burnt several villages, and captured money, slaves, and other booty in large quantity.

5But Stages, the Persian, who was employed in this neighbourhood, fell in with a reinforcement of cavalry sent to protect the scattered pillaging parties from the Athenian camp, whilst occupied with their individual plunder, and took one trooper prisoner, killing seven others.

6After this Thrasylus led his troops back to the sea, intending to sail to Ephesus. Meanwhile Tissaphernes, who had wind of this intention, began collecting a large army and despatching cavalry with a summons to the inhabitants one and all to rally to the defence of the goddess Artemis at Ephesus.

7On the seventeenth day after the incursion above mentioned Thrasylus sailed to Ephesus. He disembarked his troops in two divisions, his heavy infantry in the neighbourhood of Mount Coressus; his cavalry, peltasts, and marines, with the remainder of his force, near the marsh on the other side of the city. At daybreak he pushed forward both divisions.

8The citizens of Ephesus, on their side, were not slow to protect themselves. They had to aid them the troops brought up by Tissaphernes, as well as two detachments of Syracusans, consisting of the crews of their former twenty vessels and those of five new vessels which had opportunely arrived quite recently under Eucles, the son of Hippon, and Heracleides, the son of Aristogenes, together with two Selinuntian vessels.

9All these several forces first attacked the heavy infantry near Coressus; these they routed, killing about one hundred of them, and driving the remainder down into the sea. They then turned to deal with the second division on the marsh. Here, too, the Athenians were put to flight, and as many as three hundred of them perished.

10On this spot the Ephesians erected a trophy, and another at Coressus. The valour of the Syracusans and Selinuntians had been so conspicuous that the citizens presented many of them, both publicly and privately, with prizes for distinction in the field, besides offering the right of residence in their city with certain immunities to all who at any time might wish to live there. To the Selinuntians, indeed, as their own city had lately been destroyed, they offered full citizenship.

11The Athenians, after picking up their dead under a truce, set sail for Notium, and having there buried the slain, continued their vogage towards Lesbos and the Hellespont.

12Whilst lying at anchor in the harbour of Methymna, in that island, they caught sight of the Syracusan vessels, five-and-twenty in number, coasting along from Ephesus. They put out to sea to attack them, and captured four ships with their crews, and chased the remainder back to Ephesus.

13The prisoners were sent by Thrasylus to Athens, with one exception. This was an Athenian, Alcibiades, who was a cousin and fellow-exile of Alcibiades. Him Thrasylus released.[3] From Methymna Thrasylus set sail to Sestos to join the main body of the army, after which the united forces crossed to Lampsacus.

14And now winter was approaching. It was the winter in which the Syracusan prisoners who had been immured in the stone quarries of Piraeus dug through the rock and escaped one night, some to Decelia and others to Megara.

15At Lampsacus Alcibiades was anxious to marshal the whole military force there collected in one body, but the old troops refused to be incorporated with those of Thrasylus. "They, who had never yet been beaten, with these newcomers who had just suffered a defeat." So they devoted the winter to fortifying Lampsacus.

16They also made an expedition against Abydos, where Pharnabazus, coming to the rescue of the place, encountered them with numerous cavalry, but was defeated and forced to flee, Alcibiades pursuing hard with his cavalry and one hundred and twenty infantry under the command of Menander, till darkness intervened.

17After this battle the soldiers came together of their own accord, and freely fraternised with the troops of Thrasylus. This expedition was followed by other incursions during the winter into the interior, where they found plenty to do ravaging the king's territory.

18It was at this period also that the Lacedaemonians allowed their revolted helots from Malea, who had found an asylum at Coryphasium, to depart under a flag of truce. It was also about the same period that the Achaeans betrayed the colonists of Heracleia Trachinia, when they were all drawn up in battle to meet the hostile Oetaeans, whereby as many as seven hundred of them were lost, together with the governor[4] from Lacedaemon, Labotas.

19Thus the year came to its close--a year marked further by a revolt of the Medes from Darius, the king of Persia, followed by renewed submission to his authority.


  1. The MSS. here give a suspected passage, which may be rendered thus: "The first of Olympiad 93, celebrated as the year in which the newly-added two-horse race was won by Evagorias the Eleian, and the stadion (200 yards foot-race) by the Cyrenaean Eubotas, when Evarchippus was ephor at Sparta and Euctemon archon at Athens." But Ol. 93, to which these officers,and the addition of the new race at Olympia belong, is the year 408. We must therefore suppose either that this passage has been accidentally inserted in the wrong place by some editor or copyist, or that the author was confused in his dates. The "stadium" is the famous foot-race at Olympia, 606 3/4 English feet in length, run on a course also called the "Stadion," which was exactly a stade long.
  2. Peltasts, i.e. light infantry armed with the "pelta" or light shield, instead of the heavy {aspis} of the hoplite or heavy infantry soldiers.
  3. Reading {apelusen}. Wolf's conjecture for the MSS. {katelousen} = stoned. See Thirlwall, "Hist. Gr." IV. xxix. 93 note.
  4. Technically {armostes} (harmost), i.e. administrator.