Carleton L. Brownson
[4.7.19] From there they journeyed four stages,
twenty parasangs, to a large andprosperous inhabited city which was called
Gymnias. From this city the ruler of the land sent the Greeks a guide, in
order to lead them through territory that was hostile to his own. [4.7.20]
When the guide came, he said that he would lead them within five days to a
place from which they could see the sea;1 if he failed to do so, he was ready
to accept death. Thus taking the lead, as soon as he had brought them into
the hostile territory, he kept urging them to spread abroad fire and ruin, thereby
making it clear that it was with this end in view that he had come, and not
out of good-will toward the Greeks. [4.7.21] On the fifth day they did in
fact reach the mountain;1 its name was Theches. Now as soon as the vanguard
got to the top of the mountain, a great shout went up. [4.7.22] And when
Xenophon and the rearguard heard it, they imagined that other enemies were
attacking in front; for enemies were following behind them from the district
that was in flames, and the rearguard had killed some of them and captured
others by setting an ambush, and had also taken about twenty wicker shields
covered with raw, shaggy ox-hides. [4.7.23] But as the shout kept getting
louder and nearer, as the successive ranks that came up all began to run at
full speed toward the ranks ahead that were one after another joining in the
shout, and as the shout kept growing far louder as the number of men grew
steadily greater, it became quite clear to Xenophon that here was something
of unusual importance;
viz. Callimachus’ company.
[4.8.1] From there the Greeks marched through the country of the Macronians threestages, ten parasangs. On the first of these days they reached the river which separated the territory of the Macronians from that of the Scythinians. [4.8.2] There they had on the right, above them, an exceedingly difficult bit of ground, and on the left another river, into which the boundary stream that they had to cross emptied. Now this stream was fringed with trees, not large ones, but of thick growth, and when the Greeks came up, they began felling them in their haste to get out of the place as speedily as possible. [4.8.3] But the Macronians, armed with wicker shields and lances and hair tunics, were drawn up in line of battle opposite the place where the Greeks must cross, and they were cheering one another on and throwing stones, which fell into the stream; for they never reached the Greeks or did them any harm.
[4.8.4] At this moment one of the peltasts came up to Xenophon, a man who said that he had been a slave at Athens, with word that he knew the language of these people; “I think,” he went on, “that this is my native country, and if there is nothing to hinder, I should like to have a talk with them.” [4.8.5] “Well, there is nothing to hinder,” said Xenophon; “so talk with them, and learn, to begin with, who they are.” In reply to his inquiry they said, “Macronians.”
then,” said Xenophon, “ask them why they are arrayed against us and want to
be our enemies.” [4.8.6] They replied, “Because you are coming against our
land.” The generals directed the man to say, “We have not come to do you any
harm whatever, but we have been at war with the King and are on our way back
[4.8.8] After this exchange of pledges the Macronians at once began to help the Greeks cut down the trees and to build the road in order to get them across, mingling freely with the Greeks; and they supplied as good a market1 as they could, and conducted the Greeks on their way for three days, until they brought them to the boundaries of the Colchians. [4.8.9] At this place was a great mountain, and upon this mountain the Colchians were drawn up in line of battle. At first the Greeks formed an opposing line of battle, with the intention of advancing in this way upon the mountain, but afterwards the generals decided to gather together and take counsel as to how they could best make the contest. [4.8.10] Xenophon accordingly said that in his opinion they should give up the line of battle and form the companies in column.1 “For the line,” he continued, “will be broken up at once; for we shall find the mountain hard to traverse at some points and easy at others; and the immediate result will be discouragement, when men who are formed in line of battle see the line broken up. [4.8.11] Furthermore, if we advance upon them formed in a line many ranks deep, the enemy will outflank us, and will use their outflanking wing for whatever purpose they please; on the other hand, if we are formed in a line a few ranks deep, it would be nothing surprising if our line should be cut through by a multitude both of missiles and men falling upon us in a mass; and if this happens at any point, it will be bad for the whole line. [4.8.12] But it seems to me we should form the companies in column and, by leaving spaces between them, cover enough ground so that the outermost companies should get beyond the enemy’s wings; in this way not only shall we outflank the enemy’s line, but advancing in column our best men will be in the van of the attack, and wherever it is good going, there each captain will lead forward his men. [4.8.13] And it will not be easy for the enemy to push into the space between the columns when there are companies on this side and that, and not any easier for him to cut through a company that is advancing in column. Again, if any one of the companies is hard pressed, its neighbour will come to its aid; and if one single company can somehow climb to the summit, not a man of the enemy will stand any longer.” [4.8.14] This plan was decided upon, and they proceeded to form the companies in column. And as Xenophon was going back from the right wing to the left,1 he said to the troops: “Soldiers, these men yonder whom you see are the only ones who still stand in the way of our being forthwith at the place we have long been striving to reach; if we possibly can, we must simply eat these fellows raw.” [4.8.15] When the officers had got to their several positions and had formed their companies in column, the result was about eighty companies of hoplites with each company numbering close upon one hundred;1 the peltasts and the bowmen, on the other hand, they formed in three divisions, one beyond the left wing of the hoplites, the second beyond the right, and the third in the centre, each division numbering about six hundred men. [4.8.16] After this the generals passed along the order to offer prayer, and when they had prayed and sung the paean they set forth. Now Cheirisophus and Xenophon and the peltasts with them got beyond the wings of the enemy’s line in their advance; [4.8.17] and when the enemy saw this, they ran out, some to the right and others to the left, to confront them, with the result that their line was pulled apart and a large portion of it in the centre was left deserted. [4.8.18] Then the peltasts of the Arcadian division, who were commanded by Aeschines the Acarnanian, getting the idea that the enemy were in flight, set up a shout and began to run; and they were the first to reach the summit of the mountain, while following close after them came the Arcadian division of hoplites, under the command of Cleanor of Orchomenus. [4.8.19] As for the enemy, once the peltasts began to run they no longer stood their ground, but betook themselves hither and thither in flight.After accomplishing the ascent the Greeks took up quarters in numerous villages, which contained provisions in abundance. [4.8.20] Now for the most part there was nothing here which they really found strange; but the swarms of bees in the neighbourhood were numerous, and the soldiers who ate of the honey all went off their heads, and suffered from vomiting and diarrhoea, and not one of them could stand up, but those who had eaten a little were like people exceedingly drunk, while those who had eaten a great deal seemed like crazy, or even, in some cases, dying men. [4.8.21] So they lay there in great numbers as though the army had suffered a defeat, and great despondency prevailed. On the next day, however, no one had died, and at approximately the same hour as they had eaten the honey they began to come to their senses; and on the third or fourth day they got up, as if from a drugging.
[4.8.22] From there they marched two stages, seven parasangs, and reached the sea at Trapezus, an inhabited Greek city on the Euxine Sea, a colony of the Sinopeans in the territory of Colchis. There they remained about thirty days in the villages of the Colchians, and from these as a base plundered Colchis
. . .
4,8,8,n1. See note on Xen. Anab. 1.2.18.
4,8,10,n1. See Xen. Anab. 4.6.6, and note. Of course it is the opposite movement that is now in contemplation.
4,8,14,n1. Cheirisophus was commander of the van, Xenophon of the rear. The van of an army on the march became the right wing of the line of battle and the rear the left wing.It was at Cheirisophus’ post, on the right, that the council was held.
4,8,14,n2. A phrase as old as Homer ( 35).
4,8,15,n1. A total of 8000 as compared with an original strength of 11,700.
4,8,15,n2. One thousand eight hundred as compared with an original 2300.
4,8,16,n1. On the right and left wings respectively. See note on 14 above.
. . .
[5.2.3] When the Greeks had reached the highlands, the Drilae set fire to such of their strongholds as seemed to them easy to capture, and fell back; and the Greeks could secure nothing except an occasional pig or ox or other animal that had escaped the fire. There was one stronghold, however, which was their metropolis, and into this they had all streamed. Around it was an exceedingly deep ravine, and the approaches to the place were difficult. [5.2.4] Now the peltasts, who had run five or six stadia ahead of the hoplites, crossed this ravine and, seeing quantities of sheep and other property, essayed an attack upon the stronghold; in their train there followed a considerable number of spearmen who had set out after provisions, so that the party that crossed the ravine amounted to more than a thousand men. [5.2.5] But when they found themselves unable with all their fighting to capture the place (for there was a wide trench around it, backed by a rampart, and upon the rampart palisades had been set and wooden towers constructed at frequent intervals), their next move was to try to withdraw; and then the enemy pressed hard upon them. [5.2.6] To get away by running proved impossible, inasmuch as the descent from the stronghold to the ravine only allowed them to go in single file, and they accordingly sent a messenger to Xenophon, who was at the head of the hoplites. The messenger came and reported: [5.2.7] “There is a stronghold full of all kinds of stores. We cannot capture it, for it is strong; and we cannot easily get away, for the defenders rush out and attack us, and the road that leads back is a difficult one.” [5.2.8] Upon hearing this message Xenophon led on to the ravine, ordered the hoplites to halt there under arms, and himself crossed over with the captains and looked about to see whether it was better to withdraw the troops that had already crossed, or to lead over the hoplites also, on the presumption that the stronghold could be captured.
5,2,13,n1. A formation which the captains judged to be the “most effective” ( 11 above).
5,2,29,n1. Which itself means “Mysian”—just as “English” might be the family name of an Englishman.
And now, seeing that Cheirisophus was not returned1 that they had not an
adequate number of ships,2 and that it was no longer possible to get
provisions, they resolved to depart by land. On board the ships they embarked
the sick, those who were more than forty years of age, the women and
children, and all the baggage which they did not need to keep with them. They
put aboard also Philesius and Sophaenetus, the eldest of the generals, and
bade them take charge of the enterprise; [5.3.2] then the rest tookup the
march, the road having been already constructed. And on the third day of
their journey they reached Cerasus, a Greek city on the sea, being a colony
planted by the Sinopeans in the
. . .
[5.4.1] Leaving Cerasus, the people who had thus far been conveyed by sea1 went on as before, while the rest continued their journey by land. [5.4.2] When they reached the boundary of the Mossynoecians,1 they sent to them Timesitheus the Trapezuntian, who was official representative of the Mossynoecians at Trapezus, and asked whether in marching through their country they were to regard it as friendly or hostile.
. . .
5,4,1,n1. See Xen. Anab. 5.3.1.