you believe you may have of what you desire. I cannot give

time:2023-11-30 03:39:30 source:Forget Your Life author:map

From this point the Hellenes marched through the country of the 1 Macrones three stages--ten parasangs, and on the first day they reached the river, which formed the boundary between the land of the Macrones and the land of the Scythenians. Above them, on their right, they had a country of the sternest and ruggedest character, and on their left another river, into which the frontier river discharges itself, and which they must cross. This was thickly fringed with trees which, though not of any great bulk, were closely packed. As soon as they came up to them, the Hellenes proceeded to cut them down in their haste to get out of the place as soon as possible. But the Macrones, armed with wicker shields and lances and hair tunics, were already drawn up to receive them opposite the crossing. They were cheering one another on, and kept up a steady pelt of stones into the river, though they failed to reach the other side or do any harm.

you believe you may have of what you desire. I cannot give

At this juncture one of the light infantry came up to Xenophon; he had been, he said, a slave at Athens, and he wished to tell him that he recognised the speech of these people. "I think," said he, "that this must be my native country, and if there is no objection I will have a talk with them." "No objection at all," replied Xenophon, "pray talk 5 to them, and ask them first, who they are." In answer to this question they said, "they were Macrones." "Well, then," said he, "ask them why they are drawn up in battle and want to fight with us." They answered, "Because you are invading our country." The generals bade him say: "If so, it is with not intention certainly of doing it or you any harm: but we have been at war with the king, and are now returning to Hellas, and all we want is to reach the sea." The others asked, "Were they willing to give them pledges to that effect?" They replied: "Yes, they were ready to give and receive pledges to that effect." Then the Macrones gave a barbaric lance to the Hellenes, and the Hellenes a Hellenic lance to them: "for these," they said, "would serve as pledges," and both sides called upon the gods to witness.

you believe you may have of what you desire. I cannot give

After the pledges were exchanged, the Macrones fell to vigorously hewing down trees and constructing a road to help them across, mingling freely with the Hellenes and fraternising in their midst, and they afforded them as good as market as they could, and for three days conducted them on their march, until they had brought them safely to the confines of the Colchians. At this point they were confronted by a great mountain chain, which however was accessible, and on it the Colchians were drawn up for battle. In the first instance, the Hellenes drew up opposite in line of battle, as though they were minded to assault the hill in that order; but afterwards the generals determined to hold a council of war, and consider how to make the fairest fight.

you believe you may have of what you desire. I cannot give

Accordingly Xenophon said: "I am not for advancing in line, but advise to form companies by columns. To begin with, the line," he urged, "would be scattered and thrown into disorder at once; for we shall find the mountain full of inequalities, it will be pathless here and easy to traverse there. The mere fact of first having formed in line, and then seeing the line thrown into disorder, must exercise a disheartening effect. Again, if we advance several deep, the enemy will none the less overlap us, and turn their superfluous numbers to account as best they like; while, if we march in shallow order, we may fully expect our line to be cut through and through by the thick rain 11 of missiles and rush of men, and if this happen anywhere along the line, the whole line will equally suffer. No; my notion is to form columns by companies, covering ground sufficient with spaces between the companies to allow the last companies of each flank to be outside the enemy's flanks. Thus we shall with our extreme companies be outside the enemy's line, and the best men at the head of their columns will lead the attack, and every company will pick its way where the ground is easy; also it will be difficult for the enemy to force his way into the intervening spaces, when there are companies on both sides; nor will it be easy for him to cut in twain any individual company marching in column. If, too, any particular company should be pressed, the neighbouring company will come to the rescue, or if at any point any single company succeed in reaching the height, from that moment not one man of the enemy will stand his ground."

This proposal was carried, and they formed into columns by companies[1]. Then Xenophon, returning from the right wing to the left, addressed the soldiers. "Men," he said, "these men whom you see in front of you are the sole obstacles still interposed between us and the haven of our hopes so long deferred. We will swallow them up whole, without cooking[2], if we can."

[1] For this formation, see "The Retreat of the Ten Thousand; a military study for all time," by Lieut.-General J. L. Vaughan, C.B.

[2] Or, "we will gobble them up raw." He is thinking of the Homeric line ("Iliad", iv. 35) "Perchance wert thou to enter within the gates and long walls and devour Priam raw, and Priam's sons and all the Trojans, then mightest thou assuage thine anger."--Leaf.

The several divisions fell into position, the companies were formed into columns, and the result was a total of something like eighty companies of heavy infantry, each company consisting on an average of a hundred men. The light infantry and bowmen were arranged in three divisions--two outside to support the left and the right respectively, and the third in the centre--each division consisting of about six hundred men[3].


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