Hellenica (Xenophon)/Book 3/Chapter 1

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1Thus the civil strife at Athens had an end. At a subsequent date Cyrus sent messengers to Lacedaemon, claiming requital in kind for the service which he had lately rendered in the war with Athens.[1] The demand seemed to the ephorate just and reasonable. Accordingly they ordered Samius,[2] who was admiral at the time, to put himself at the disposition of Cyrus for any service which he might require. Samius himself needed no persuasion to carry out the wishes of Cyrus. With his own fleet, accompanied by that of Cyrus, he sailed round to Cilicia, and so made it impossible for Syennesis, the ruler of that province, to oppose Cyrus by land in his advance against the king his brother.

2The particulars of the expedition are to be found in the pages of the Syracusan Themistogenes,[3] who describes the mustering of the armament, and the advance of Cyrus at the head of his troops; and then the battle, and death of Cyrus himself, and the consequent retreat of the Hellenes while effecting their escape to the sea.[4]

3It was in recognition of the service which he had rendered in this affair, that Tissaphernes was despatched to Lower Asia by the king his master. He came as satrap, not only of his own provinces, but of those which had belonged to Cyrus; and he at once demanded the absolute submission of the Ionic cities, without exception, to his authority. These communities, partly from a desire to maintain their freedom, and partly from fear of Tissaphernes himself, whom they had rejected in favour of Cyrus during the lifetime of that prince, were loth to admit the satrap within their gates. They thought it better to send an embassy to the Lacedaemonians, calling upon them as representatives and leaders[5] of the Hellenic world to look to the interests of their petitioners, who were Hellenes also, albeit they lived in Asia, and not to suffer their country to be ravaged and themselves enslaved.

4In answer to this appeal, the Lacedaemonians sent out Thibron[6] as governor, providing him with a body of troops, consisting of one thousand neodamodes[7] (i.e. enfranchised helots) and four thousand Peloponnesians. In addition to these, Thibron himself applied to the Athenians for a detachment of three hundred horse, for whose service- money he would hold himself responsible. The Athenians in answer sent him some of the knights who had served under the Thirty,[8] thinking that the people of Athens would be well rid of them if they went abroad and perished there.

5On their arrival in Asia, Thibron further collected contingents from the Hellenic cities on the continent; for at this time the word of a Lacedaemonian was law. He had only to command, and every city must needs obey.[9] But although he had this armament, Thibron, when he saw the cavalry, had no mind to descend into the plain. If he succeeded in protecting from pillage the particular district in which he chanced to be, he was quite content. 6It was only when the troops[10] who had taken part in the expedition of Cyrus had joined him on their safe return, that he assumed a bolder attitude. He was now ready to confront Tissaphernes, army against army, on the level ground, and won over a number of cities. Pergamum came in of her own accord. So did Teuthrania and Halisarna. These were under the government of Eurysthenes and Procles,[11] the descendants of Demaratus the Lacedaemonian, who in days of old had received this territory as a gift from the Persian monarch in return for his share in the campaign against Hellas. Gorgion and Gongylus, two brothers, also gave in their adhesion; they were lords, the one of Gambreum and Palae-Gambreum, the other of Myrina and Gryneum, four cities which, like those above named, had originally been gifts from the king to an earlier Gongylus--the sole Eretrian who "joined the Mede," and in consequence was banished. 7Other cities which were too weak to resist, Thibron took by force of arms. In the case of one he was not so successful. This was the Egyptian[12] Larisa, as it is called, which refused to capitulate, and was forthwith invested and subjected to a regular siege. When all other attempts to take it failed, he set about digging a tank or reservoir, and in connection with the tank an underground channel, by means of which he proposed to draw off the water supply of the inhabitants. In this he was baffled by frequent sallies of the besieged, and a continual discharge of timber and stones into the cutting. He retaliated by the construction of a wooden tortoise which he erected over the tank; but once more the tortoise was burnt to a cinder in a successful night attack on the part of the men of Larisa. These ineffectual efforts induced the ephors to send a despatch bidding Thibron give up Larisa and march upon Caria.

8He had already reached Ephesus, and was on the point of marching into Caria, when Dercylidas arrived to take command of his army. The new general was a man whose genius for invention had won him the nickname of Sisyphus. Thus it was that Thibron returned home, where on his arrival he was fined and banished, the allies accusing him of allowing his troops to plunder their friends.

9Dercylidas was not slow to perceive and turn to account the jealousy which subsisted between Tissaphernes and Pharnabazus. Coming to terms with the former, he marched into the territory of the latter, preferring, as he said, to be at war with one of the pair at a time, rather than the two together. His hostility, indeed, to Pharnabazus was an old story, dating back to a period during the naval command[13] of Lysander, when he was himself governor in Abydos; where, thanks to Pharnabazus, he had got into trouble with his superior officer, and had been made to stand "with his shield on his arm"--a stigma on his honour which no true Lacedaemonian would forgive, since this is the punishment of insubordination.[14] 10For this reason, doubtless, Dercylidas had the greater satisfaction in marching against Pharnabazus. From the moment he assumed command there was a marked difference for the better between his methods and those of his predecessor. Thus he contrived to conduct his troops into that portion of the Aeolid which belonged to Pharnabazus, through the heart of friendly territory without injury to the allies.

This district of Aeolis belonged to Pharnabazus,[15] but had been held as a satrapy under him by a Dardanian named Zenis whilst he was alive; but when Zenis fell sick and died, Pharnabazus made preparation to give the satrapy to another. Then Mania the wife of Zenis, herself also a Dardanian, fitted out an expedition, and taking with her gifts wherewith to make a present to Pharnabazus himself, and to gratify his concubines and those whose power was greatest with Pharnabazus, set forth on her journey. 11When she had obtained audience with him she spoke as follows: "O Pharnabazus, thou knowest that thy servant my husband was in all respects friendly to thee; moreover, he paid my lord the tributes which were thy due, so that thou didst praise and honour him. Now therefore, if I do thee service as faithfully as my husband, why needest thou to appoint another satrap?--nay but, if in any matter I please thee not, is it not in thy power to take from me the government on that day, and to give it to another?" 12When he had heard her words, Pharnabazus decided that the woman ought to be satrap. She, as soon as she was mistress of the territory, never ceased to render the tribute in due season, even as her husband before her had done. Moreover, whenever she came to the court of Pharnabazus she brought him gifts continually, and whenever Pharnabazus went down to visit her provinces she welcomed him with all fair and courteous entertainment beyond what his other viceroys were wont to do. 13The cities also which had been left to her by her husband, she guarded safely for him; while of those cities that owed her no allegiance, she acquired, on the seaboard, Larisa and Hamaxitus and Colonae--attacking their walls by aid of Hellenic mercenaries, whilst she herself sat in her carriage and watched the spectacle. Nor was she sparing of her gifts to those who won her admiration; and thus she furnished herself with a mercenary force of exceptional splendour. She also went with Pharnabazus on his campaigns, even when, on pretext of some injury done to the king's territory, Mysians or Pisidians were the object of attack. In requital, Pharnabazus paid her magnificent honour, and at times invited her to assist him with her counsel.[16]

14Now when Mania was more than forty years old, the husband of her own daughter, Meidias--flustered by the suggestions of certain people who said that it was monstrous a woman should rule and he remain a private person[17]--found his way into her presence, as the story goes, and strangled her. For Mania, albeit she carefully guarded herself against all ordinary comers, as behoved her in the exercise of her "tyranny," trusted in Meidias, and, as a woman might her own son-in-law, was ready to greet him at all times with open arms. He also murdered her son, a youth of marvellous beauty, who was about seventeen years of age. 15He next seized upon the strong cities of Scepsis and Gergithes, in which lay for the most part the property and wealth of Mania. As for the other cities of the satrapy, they would not receive the usurper, their garrisons keeping them safely for Pharnabazus. Thereupon Meidias sent gifts to Pharnabazus, and claimed to hold the district even as Mania had held it; to whom the other answered, "Keep your gifts and guard them safely until that day when I shall come in person and take both you and them together"; adding, "What care I to live longer if I avenge not myself for the murder of Mania!"

16Just at the critical moment Dercylidas arrived, and in a single day received the adhesion of the three seaboard cities Larisa, Hamaxitus, and Colonae--which threw open their gates to him. Then he sent messengers to the cities of the Aeolid also, offering them freedom if they would receive him within their walls and become allies. Accordingly the men of Neandria and Ilium and Cocylium lent willing ears; for since the death of Mania their Hellenic garrisons had been treated but ill. 17But the commander of the garrison in Cebrene, a place of some strength, bethinking him that if he should succeed in guarding that city for Pharnabazus, he would receive honour at his hands, refused to admit Dercylidas. Whereupon the latter, in a rage, prepared to take the place by force; but when he came to sacrifice, on the first day the victims would not yield good omens; on the second, and again upon the third day, it was the same story. Thus for as many as four days he persevered in sacrificing, cherishing wrath the while-- for he was in haste to become master of the whole Aeolid before Pharnabazus came to the succour of the district.

18Meanwhile a certain Sicyonian captain, Athenadas by name, said to himself: "Dercylidas does but trifle to waste his time here, whilst I with my own hand can draw off their water from the men of Cybrene"; wherewith he ran forward with his division and essayed to choke up the spring which supplied the city. But the garrison sallied out and covered the Sicyonian himself with wounds, besides killing two of his men. Indeed, they plied their swords and missiles with such good effect that the whole company was forced to beat a retreat. Dercylidas was not a little annoyed, thinking that now the spirit of the besiegers would certainly die away; but whilst he was in this mood, behold! there arrived from the beleaguered fortress emissaries of the Hellenes, who stated that the action taken by the commandant was not to their taste; for themselves, they would far rather be joined in bonds of fellowship with Hellenes than with barbarians. 19While the matter was still under discussion there came a messenger also from the commandant, to say that whatever the former deputation had proposed he, on his side, was ready to endorse. Accordingly Dercylidas, who, it so happened, had at length obtained favourable omens on that day, marched his force without more ado up to the gates of the city, which were flung open by those within; and so he entered.[18] Here, then, he was content to appoint a garrison, and without further stay advanced upon Scepsis and Gergithes.

20And now Meidias, partly expecting the hostile advance of Pharnabazus, and partly mistrusting the citizens--for to such a pass things had come--sent to Dercylidas, proposing to meet him in conference provided he might take security of hostages. In answer to this suggestion the other sent him one man from each of the cities of the allies, and bade him take his pick of these, whichsoever and how many soever he chose, as hostages for his own security. Meidias selected ten, and so went out. In conversation with Dercylidas, he asked him on what terms he would accept his alliance. The other answered: "The terms are that you grant the citizens freedom and self-government." The words were scarcely out of his mouth before he began marching upon Scepsis. 21Whereupon Meidias, perceiving it was vain to hinder him in the teeth of the citizens, suffered him to enter. That done, Dercylidas offered sacrifice to Athena in the citadel of the Scepsians, turned out the bodyguards of Meidias, and handed over the city to the citizens. And so, having admonished them to regulate their civic life as Hellenes and free men ought, he left the place and continued his advance against Gergithes. On this last march he was escorted by many of the Scepsians themselves; such was the honour they paid him and so great their satisfaction at his exploits. 22Meidias also followed close at his side, petitioning that he would hand over the city of Gergithians to himself. To whom Dercylidas only made reply, that he should not fail to obtain any of his just rights. And whilst the words were yet upon his lips, he was drawing close to the gates, with Meidias at his side. Behind him followed the troops, marching two and two in peaceful fashion. The defenders of Gergithes from their towers--which were extraordinarily high--espied Meidias in company of the Spartan, and abstained from shooting. And Dercylidas said: "Bid them open the gates, Meidias, when you shall lead the way, and I will enter the temple along with you and do sacrifice to Athena." And Meidias, though he shrank from opening the gates, yet in terror of finding himself on a sudden seized, reluctantly gave the order to open the gates. 23As soon as he was entered in, the Spartan, still taking Meidias with him, marched up to the citadel and there ordered the main body of his soliders to take up their position round the walls, whilst he with those about him did sacrifice to Athena. When the sacrifice was ended he ordered Meidias's bodyguard to pile arms[19] in the van of his troops. Here for the future they would serve as mercenaries, since Meidias their former master stood no longer in need of their protection. 24The latter, being at his wits' end what to do, exclaimed: "Look you, I will now leave you; I go to make preparation for my guest." But the other replied: "Heaven forbid! Ill were it that I who have offered sacrifice should be treated as a guest by you. I rather should be the entertainer and you the guest. Pray stay with us, and while the supper is preparing, you and I can consider our obligations, and perform them."

25When they were seated Dercylidas put certain questions: "Tell me, Meidias, did your father leave you heir to his estates?" "Certainly he did," answered the other. "And how many dwelling-houses have you? what landed estates? how much pasturage?" The other began running off an inventory, whilst some of the Scepsians who were present kept interposing, "He is lying to you, Dercylidas." 26"Nay, you take too minute a view of matters," replied the Spartan. When the inventory of the paternal property was completed, he proceeded: "Tell me, Meidias, to whom did Mania belong?" A chorus of voices rejoined, "To Pharnabazus." "Then must her property have belonged to Pharnabazus too." "Certainly," they answered. "Then it must now be ours," he remarked, "by right of conquest, since Pharnabazus is at war with us. Will some one of you escort me to the place where the property of Mania and Pharnabazus lies?" 27So the rest led the way to the dwelling- place of Mania which Meidias had taken from her, and Meidias followed too. When he was entered, Dercylidas summoned the stewards, and bidding his attendants seize them, gave them to understand that, if detected stealing anything which belonged to Mania, they would lose their heads on the spot. The stewards proceeded to point out the treasures, and he, when he had looked through the whole store, bolted and barred the doors, affixing his seal, and setting a watch. 28As he went out he found at the doors certain of the generals[20] and captains, and said to them: "Here, sirs, we have pay ready made for the army--a year's pay nearly for eight thousand men--and if we can win anything besides, there will be so much the more." This he said, knowing that those who heard it would be all the more amenable to discipline, and would yield him a more flattering obedience. Then Meidias asked, "And where am I to live, Dercylidas?" "Where you have the very best right to live," replied the other, "in your native town of Scepsis, and in your father's house."

  1. Lit. "what Cyrus himself had been to the Lacedaemonians let the Lacedaemonians in their turn be to Cyrus."
  2. Samius (Diod. Sic. xiv. 19). But see "Anab." I. iv. 2, where Pythagoras is named as admiral. Possibly the one officer succeeded the other.
  3. Lit. "as to how then Cyrus collected an army and with it went up against his brother, and how the battle was fought and how he died, and how in the sequal the Hellenes escaped to the sea (all this), is written by (or 'for,' or 'in honour of') Themistogenes the Syracusan." My impression is that Xenophon's "Anabasis," or a portion of the work so named, was edited originally by Themistogenes. See "Philol. Museum," vol. i. p. 489; L. Dindorf, {Xen. Ell.}, Ox. MDCCCLIII., node ad loc. {Themistogenei}. Cf. Diod. Sic. xiv. 19-31, 37, after Ephorus and Theopompus probably.
  4. At Trapezus, March 10, B.C. 400.
  5. {Prostatai}, "patrons and protectors."
  6. "As harmost." See "Anab." ad fin.
  7. See "Hell." I. iii. 15; Thuc. vii. 58.
  8. See "Hell." II. iv. 2.
  9. See "Anab." VI. vi. 12.
  10. March B.C. 399. See the final sentence of the "Anabasis."
  11. See "Anab." VII. viii. 8-16.
  12. Seventy stades S.E. of Cyme in the Aeolid. See Strabo, xiii. 621. For the origin of the name cf. "Cyrop." VII. i. 45.
  13. Technically "navarchy," in B.C. 408-407. "Hell." I. v. 1.
  14. See Plut. "Aristid." 23 (Clough, ii. p. 309).
  15. I.e. as suzerain.
  16. Grote, "H. G." ix. 292; cf. Herod. viii. 69.
  17. Or, "his brains whimsied with insinuations."
  18. Grote ("H. G." ix. 294) says: "The reader will remark how Xenophon shapes the narrative in such a manner as to inculcate the pious duty in a general of obeying the warnings furnished by the sacrifice--either for action or for inaction. . . . Such an inference is never (I believe) to be found suggested in Thucydides." See Brietenbach, "Xen. Hell." I et II, praef. in alteram ed. p. xvii.
  19. I.e. take up a position, or "to order arms," whilst he addressed them; not probably "to ground arms," as if likely to be mutinous.
  20. Lit. "of the taxiarchs and lochagoi."