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DIED B.C. 350.
HE writings of Xenophon are chiefly historical, but
they also vividly reflect his own character. Belong
ing to the upper middle class at Athens, he was a pupil of Socrates, and, during his early manhood, enjoyed the refining influence of the tragic poets and the comic humour of Aristophanes, having probably attained the age of thirty when he was induced, by a letter from his friend, Proxenus, to join the army of Cyrus, the younger brother of Artaxerxes, King of Persia, about a century after the death of Cyrus the Great, mentioned by Herodotus.
The title of his most interesting work is the “Anabasis,' which consists of three parts, namely, the Invasion of Persia, the Retreat of the Ten Thousand Greeks to the Euxine, and their vicissitudes after getting back amongst their own countrymen.
The young prince, whose service Xenophon entered, having been born in the purple, was ambitious of dethroning his brother, and, as the satrap of a considerable portion of Asia Minor, had already Greek troops and Greek officers
This force, after his father's death, he increased to ten thousand, on the pretext of an expedition against the Pisidians; and with them, and upwards of a hundred thousand native soldiers, he started from Sardis to march against Babylon, followed along the coast by his fleet as far as Issus. On reaching Tarsus the Greek contingent, suspecting they were being led against the king, refused to proceed, but were
in his pay.
induced by an increase of pay to concur in their leader's plans. Entering Syria without opposition, the army now turned inland towards the river Euphrates, and Cyrus formally announced his designs against his brother. Being able to ford the river on foot was considered a good omen, and for five days they were crossing the desert of Arabia. Halting for provisions at the river Mascas, they again entered the desert, and were plodding through it for thirteen more days, the Persian nobles helping to extricate the baggage waggons when they sunk into the heavy ground. Passing a defile at Pylæ into the Babylonian territory, they were now only one hundred and eight miles from the city. After three days' further marching, Cyrus reviewed his troops, and the Greeks had increased, by the arrival of recruits, to thirteen thousand, besides the hundred thousand natives, but it was rumoured that the royal forces numbered upwards of a million. The next day they found a trench had been dug to obstruct their progress, but it was undefended. Imagining from this that Artaxerxes had abandoned the idea of resistance, they were marching in loose order, when a scout fell back with the tidings that the king was advancing in battle array. First, says Xenophon, there was a white dust, then a seeming darkness, next the flashing of brass, and at last the spears and lines of men became visible, consisting of cavalry in white armour, troops with wicker targets, Egyptians behind long shields, and at intervals scythed chariots, whilst in the centre was the king surrounded by a close phalanx. The Greeks were on the right of the invading line, and Cyrus ordered them to attack the enemy's centre; but their leader, Clearchus, determined to protect his right flank with the river, and, singing the pæan, or war hymn, they moved forward by the left, raising their shout to Mars, and running as they approached the enemy, who turned and fled, their left wing being entirely routed. Presently Artaxerxes wheeled his centre as if to take the Greeks in rear, on which Cyrus charged in person, routed the royal body-guard, and, madly riding at his brother, slightly wounded him ; but, at the same moment he was pierced by a javelin under the eye, and falling from his horse was slain. His head and right hand were cut off, all his native troops
fled, and thus ended the battle of Cunaxa (401 B.C.), and the unjustifiable but chivalrous invasion of Persia.
The Greeks pursued the left wing of the Persian army until sunset, and, on returning to their camp, found that it had been plundered by the victorious centre, and all their provisions gone. So they passed the night fasting, and in ignorance of the death of Cyrus. At sunrise his native general, Ariæus, sent them the news, and offered to lead them back to the coast of Asia Minor. Clearchus replied, they had beaten the king's army, and would set him on the Persian throne. But he declined, and they started, under his guidance, eastward through a plain full of villages, instead of attempting to return by the desert. Presently another general, Tisaphernes, was sent to escort them as far as Sitace, below Bagdad ; and, deceived by a false rumour that the bridge over the Tigris was about to be destroyed, they were induced to cross at once from Babylonian into Median territory, proceeding in a north-westerly direction for ten days, until they came to the river Zab. Here Tisaphernes invited Clearchus, with four other generals and twenty captains, to his tent, on reaching which the captains were killed, and the generals sent off as prisoners to the king, one man alone escaping to carry intelligence of the treachery to the Greeks. At this crisis Xenophon, inspired by a dream, roused his countrymen from their panic by a spirited speech ; and from that time he took a prominent part in the conduct of their retreat. Having crossed the Zab, and driven back their pursuers, they reached a deserted city on the banks of the Tigris, the site of Nineveh, which had been destroyed by Cyrus the Great. Tisaphernes now surrounded them with a vast force, which, however, was beaten off, and the Greeks came to a palace in the midst of villages. Still harassed by the Persians, Xenophon was selected to dislodge them from a position which impeded the progress of the Ten Thousand; and, having succeeded, they saw no more of them. They next crossed a mountain pass, near the chain on which the Ark rested, and resolved to abandon their baggage, cattle, and Persian prisoners, with the exception of some pretty
After defeating several attacks by the Kurds, through whose country they were passing, they reached the table lands of Armenia, the satrap of which district also brought his forces against them. A ford was, however, discovered by two youths, and, having alarmed the enemy by shouting, the Greeks crossed safely to the other side of the river. They were now 4000 feet above the sea ; and, being November, they suffered terribly from snow-storms and bitterly cold winds—some becoming snow-blind, and others losing their toes by mortification. Provisions were also so scarce that they were attacked with ravenous hunger and faintness; but in some of the villages they were hospitably fed, and partook of barley wine. Xenophon records almost every incident of their daily adventures, and even the conversations of the leaders. On reaching the hill forts of the Taochians, the inhabitants assailed them with masses of rock from above; but, as soon as the Greeks gained the ascent, the women threw their children over the precipice and leapt after them, followed by the men. They next passed through the country of the Chalybes, who trafficked in iron, and from whence is derived the modern designation, chalybeate springs.' After a few days they reached the wealthy city of Gymnias, the governor of which sent a guide to conduct them towards the Euxine, or Black Sea, the first glimpse of which, after their toilsome wanderings for five months, was hailed by the Ten Thousand with ringing shouts and tears of joy. Their passage through the territory of the Macrones was opposed until one of the soldiers, who was a native, and had been carried in his boyhood to Athens as a slave, assured his people that the Greeks meant them no harm, and they passed on to the country of the Colchians. Here, having routed the force assembled against them, they entered the villages, and many of the Greeks were stupefied or maddened, for a time, by the effects of the honey gathered by the bees from a species of rhododendron or laurel. At length they reached the seashore at Trebisond, a large Greek settlement, where they were entertained for a month, celebrating games and horseraces, with an account of which Xenophon completes his narrative of the retreat from Babylon.
Being disappointed in obtaining ships from the Spartan admiral to convey them to Greece, the wanderers proceeded along the coast, and on being reviewed at Cerasus, a place which has given its name to the cherry, their number was found to be reduced to 8600 men. On reaching Cotyora,
. a Greek colony near Sinope, they seem to have contemplated remaining there, in despair of ever making their way back to their fatherland, from which they were still upwards of fifteen hundred miles distant. Xenophon, however, conceived the idea that they should conquer some neighbouring city, and found a new colony, where he and his soldiers might become famous; but he was thwarted by his soothsayer Silanus, and the merchants of Sinope now offered to provide transports for their conveyance to the Hellespont. Whilst waiting for these, the army decided to question the conduct of Xenophon during their retreat, and he gives in full the speech he made in his defence, by which he so entirely regained his influence that, having embarked in the ships and reached Sinope, they offered him the chief command, but he declined it. Continuing their voyage they reached Heraclea, another Greek colony, where dissensions arose, and the army separated into three divisions, two proceeding by land, and the other in the ships, as far as Calpe. Here they re-united, and Xenophon was again meditating the establishment of a new city, when Cleander, the governor of Byzantium, arrived on a visit, during which a quarrel having arisen with some of his followers, Xenophon's eloquence and tact were exerted to pacify the disputants. He also induced Cleander, before he left, to promise them a welcome in his province, although the omens deterred him from accepting their conduct back to Greece. Having marched as far as Scutari, Xenophon and his army felt that they were on the threshold of home; but they had still many obstacles to surmount before reaching it.
At Byzantium, instead of the friendly reception they expected from Cleander, they were ordered by the Spartan high admiral to work their way through Thrace, and some were actually seized and sold as slaves by the newly-appointed governor. Xenophon, who had secured a passage to Athens, was now obliged to return to his followers, and he induced them to accept service under Seuthes, a Thracian chief, on