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Anabasis

Page: 111

(1) Lit. "marched and fought," as did the forlorn hope under Sir C. Wilson making its way from Abu Klea to the Nile in Jan. 1885.

The Thracians, having achieved this success, kept up a continual shouting and clatter of conversation to one another during the night; but with day-dawn they marshalled themselves right round the knoll on which the Hellenes were encamped—both cavalry in large numbers and light-armed troops—while every minute the stream of new-comers grew greater. Then they commenced an attack on the heavy infantry in all security, for the Hellenes had not a single bowman, javelin-man, or mounted trooper amongst them; while the enemy rushed forward on foot or galloped up on horseback and let fly their javelins. It was vain to attempt to retaliate, so lightly did they spring back and escape; and ever the attack renewed itself from every point, so that on one side man after man was wounded, on the other not a soul was touched; the result being that they could not stir from their position, and the Thracians ended by cutting them off even from their water. In their despair they began to parley about a truce, and finally various concessions were made and terms agreed to between them; but the Thracians would not hear of giving hostages in answer to the demand of the Hellenes; at that point the matter rested. So fared it with the Arcadians.

As to Cheirisophus, that general prosecuted his march along the seaboard, and without check reached Calpe Haven. Xenophon advanced through the heart of the country; and his cavalry pushing on in front, came upon some old men pursuing their road somewither, who were brought to him, and in answer to his question, whether they had caught sight of another Hellenic army anywhere, told him all that had already taken place, adding that at present they were being besieged upon a knoll with all the Thracians in close circle round them. Thereupon he kept the old men under strict guard to serve as guides in case of need; next, having appointed outposts, he called a meeting of the soldiers, and addressed them: "Soldiers, some of the Arcadians are dead and the rest are being besieged upon a certain knoll. Now my own belief is, that if they are to perish, with their deaths the seal is set to our own fate: since we must reckon with an enemy at once numerous and emboldened. Clearly our best course is to hasten to their rescue, if haply we may find them still alive, and do battle by their side rather than suffer isolation, confronting danger single-handed.

"Let us then at once push forward as far as may seem opportune till supper-time, and then encamp. As long as we are marching, let Timasion, with the cavalry, gallop on in front, but without losing sight of us; and let him examine all closely in front, so that nothing may escape our observation." (At the same time too, he sent out some nimble fellows of the light-armed troops to the flanks and to the high tops, who were to give a signal if they espied anything anywhere; ordering them to burn everything inflammable which lay in their path.) "As for ourselves," he continued, "we need not look to find cover in any direction; for it is a long step back to Heraclea and a long leap across to Chrysopolis, and the enemy is at the door. The shortest road is to Calpe Haven, where we suppose Cheirisophus, if safe, to be; but then, when we get there, at Calpe Haven there are no vessels for us to sail away in; and if we stop here, we have not provisions for a single day. Suppose the beleaguered Arcadians left to their fate, we shall find it but a sorry alternative to run the gauntlet with Cheirisophus's detachment alone; better to save them if we can, and with united forces work out our deliverance in common. But if so, we must set out with minds prepared, since to-day either a glorious death awaits us or the achievement of a deed of noblest emprise in the rescue of so many Hellene lives. Maybe it is God who leads us thus, God who chooses to humble the proud boaster, boasting as though he were exceedingly wise, but for us, the beginning of whose every act is by heaven's grace, that same God reserves a higher grade of honour. One duty I would recall to you, to apply your minds to the execution of the orders with promptitude."


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