<<<
>>>

Anabasis

Page: 100

"I say then, if proceedings like this are to be the order of the day, you had better consider what the ultimate condition of the army is like to be. As a body you will not have it in your power to undertake war against whom you like, or to conclude peace. But in private any one who chooses will conduct the army on any quest which takes his fancy. And when ambassadors come to you to demand peace, or whatever it may be, officious people will put them to death and prevent your hearing the proposals which brought them to you. The next step will be that those whom you as a body may choose as generals will be of no account; but any one who likes to elect himself general, and will adopt the formula 'Shoot him! shoot him!' will be competent to cut down whomsoever he pleases untried, be it general or private soldier, if only he have sufficient followers, as was the case just now. But just consider what these self-appointed generals have achieved for you. Zelarchus, the clerk of the market, may possibly have done you a wrong; if so, he has sailed off and is gone without paying you any penalty; or he may be guiltless, in which case we have driven him from the army in terror of perishing unjustly without a trial. While those who stoned the ambassadors have contrived so cleverly that we alone of all Hellenes cannot approach Cerasus safely without a strong force, and the corpses which the very men who slew them themselves invited us to bury, we cannot now pick up with safety even under a flag of truce. Who indeed would care to carry a flag of truce, or go as a herald with the blood of heralds upon his hands? All we could do was to implore the Cerasuntines to bury them.

"If then you approve of such doings, have a resolution passed to that effect, so that, with a prospect of like occurrences in the future, a man may privately set up a guard and do his best to fix his tent where he can find a strong position with a commanding site. If, however, these seem to you to be the deeds rather of wild beasts than of human beings, bethink you of some means by which to stay them; or else, in heaven's name, how shall we do sacrifice to the gods gladly, with impious deeds to answer for? or how shall we, who lay the knife to each other's throats, give battle to our enemies? What friendly city will receive us when they see rampant lawlessness in our midst? Who will have the courage to afford us a market, when we prove our worthlessness in these weightiest concerns? and what becomes of the praise we expect to win from the mouths of men? who will vouchsafe it to us, if this is our behaviour? Should we not ourselves bestow the worst of names on the perpetrators of like deeds?"


<<<
>>>