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time:2023-11-30 03:40:07 source:Forget Your Life author:year

Here they halted three days for the sake of the wounded chiefly, while a further inducement was the plentiful supply of provisions which they found, wheat and wine, and large stores of barley laid up for horses. These supplies had been collected by the ruling satrap of the country. On the fourth day they began their descent into the plain; but when Tissaphernes overtook them, necessity taught them to camp in the first village they caught sight of, and give over the attempt of marching and fighting simultaneously, as so many were hors de combat, being either on the list of wounded themselves, or else engaged in carrying the wounded, or laden with the heavy arms of those so occupied. But when they were once encamped, and the barbarians, advancing upon the village, made an attempt to harass them with their sharp-shooters, the superiority of the Hellenes was pronounced. To sustain a running fight with an enemy constantly attacking was one thing; to keep him at arm's length from a fixed base of action another: and the difference was much in their favour.

people say they will? Will I be reunited with “those

But when it was late afternoon, the time had come for the enemy to 34 withdraw, since the habit of the barbarian was never to encamp within seven or eight miles of the Hellenic camp. This he did in apprehension of a night attack, for a Persian army is good for nothing at night. Their horses are haltered, and, as a rule, hobbled as well, to prevent their escaping, as they might if loose; so that, if any alarm occurs, the trooper has to saddle and bridle his horse, and then he must put on his own cuirass, and then mount--all which performances are difficult at night and in the midst of confusion. For this reason they always encamped at a distance from the Hellenes.

people say they will? Will I be reunited with “those

When the Hellenes perceived that they were preparing to retire, and that the order was being given, the herald's cry, "Pack up for starting," might be heard before the enemy was fairly out of earshot. For a while the Asiatics paused, as if unwilling to be gone; but as night closed in, off they went, for it did not suit their notions of expediency to set off on a march and arrive by night. And now, when the Hellenes saw that they were really and clearly gone, they too broke up their camp and pursued their march till they had traversed seven and a half miles. Thus the distance between the two armies grew to be so great, that the next day the enemy did not appear at all, nor yet on the third day; but on the fourth the barbarians had pushed on by a forced night march and occupied a commanding position on the right, where the Hellenes had to pass. It was a narrow mountain spur[9] overhanging the descent into the plain.

people say they will? Will I be reunited with “those

But when Cheirisophus saw that this ridge was occupied, he summoned Xenophon from the rear, bidding him at the same time to bring up peltasts to the front. That Xenophon hesitated to do, for Tissaphernes and his whole army were coming up and were well within sight. Galloping up to the front himself, he asked: "Why do you summon me?" The other answered him: "The reason is plain; look yonder; this crest which overhangs our descent has been occupied. There is no passing, 39 until we have dislodged these fellows; why have you not brought up the light infantry?" Xenophon explained: he had not thought it desirable to leave the rear unprotected, with an enemy appearing in the field of view. "However, it is time," he added, "to decide how we are to dislodge these fellows from the crest." At this moment his eye fell on the peak of the mountain, rising immediately above their army, and he could see an approach leading from it to the crest in question where the enemy lay. He exclaimed: "The best thing we can do, Cheirisophus, is to make a dash at the height itself, and with what speed we may. If we take it, the party in command of the road will never be able to stop. If you like, stay in command of the army, and I will go; or, if you prefer, do you go to the mountain, and I will stay here."--"I leave it to you," Cheirisophus answered, "to choose which you like best." Xenophon remarking, "I am the younger," elected to go; but he stipulated for a detachment from the front to accompany him, since it was a long way to fetch up troops from the rear. Accordingly Cheirisophus furnished him with the light infantry from the front, reoccupying their place by those from the centre. He also gave him, to form part of the detachment, the three hundred of the picked corps[10] under his own command at the head of the square.

[10] Some think that these three hundred are three of the detached companies described above; others, that they were a picked corps in attendance on the commander-in-chief.

They set out from the low ground with all the haste imaginable. But the enemy in position on the crest no sooner perceived their advance upon the summit of the pass than they themselves set off full tilt in a rival race for the summit too. Hoarse were the shouts of the Hellenic troops as the men cheered their companions forwards, and hoarse the answering shouts from the troops of Tissaphernes, urging on theirs. Xenophon, mounted on his charger, rode beside his men, and roused their ardour the while. "Now for it, brave sirs; bethink you that this race is for Hellas!--now or never!--to find your boys, your wives; one small effort, and the rest of the march we shall pursue in peace, without ever a blow to strike; now for it." But Soteridas the Sicyonian said: "We are not on equal terms, Xenophon; you are mounted 47 on a horse; I can hardly get along with my shield to carry;" and he, on hearing the reproach, leapt from his horse. In another instant he had pushed Soteridas from the ranks, snatched from him his shield, and begun marching as quickly as he might under the circumstances, having his horseman's cuirass to carry as well, so that he was sore pressed; but he continued to cheer on the troops: exhorting those in front to lead on and the men toiling behind to follow up[11]. Soteridas was not spared by the rest of the men. They gave him blows, they pelted him, they showered him with abuse, till they compelled him to take back his shield and march on; and the other, remounting, led them on horseback as long as the footing held; but when the ground became too steep, he left his horse and pressed forward on foot, and so they found themselves on the summit before the enemy.

[11] Some MSS. "and the men behind to pass him by, as he could but ill keep up the pace."

There and then the barbarians turned and fled as best they might, and 1 the Hellenes held the summit, while the troops with Tissaphernes and Ariaeus turned aside and disappeared by another road. The main body with Cheirisophus made its way down into the plain and encamped in a village filled with good things of divers sorts. Nor did this village stand alone; there were others not a few in this plain of the Tigris equally overflowing with plenty. It was now afternoon; and all of a sudden the enemy came in sight on the plain, and succeeded in cutting down some of the Hellenes belonging to parties who were scattered over the flat land in quest of spoil. Indeed, many herds of cattle had been caught whilst being conveyed across to the other side of the river. And now Tissaphernes and his troops made an attempt to burn the villages, and some of the Hellenes were disposed to take the matter deeply to heart, being apprehensive that they might not know where to get provisions if the enemy burnt the villages.


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