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Anabasis

Page: 115

So again the next day he sacrificed; and nearly the whole army, so strong was the general anxiety, flocked round the victims; and now the very victims themselves failed. So the generals, instead of leading out the army, called the men together. Xenophon, as was incumbent on him, spoke: "It is quite possible that the enemy are collected in a body, and we shall have to fight. If we were to leave our baggage in the strong place" (pointing overhead) "and sally forth prepared for battle, the victims might favour us." But the soldiers, on hearing this proposal, cried out, "No need to take us inside that place; better sacrifice with all speed." Now sheep there were none any longer. So they purchased oxen from under a wagon and sacrificed; and Xenophon begged Cleanor the Arcadian to superintend the sacrifice on his behalf, in case there might be some change now. But even so there was no improvement.

Now Neon was general in place of Cheirisophus, and seeing the men suffering so cruelly from want, he was willing to do them a good turn. So he got hold of some Heracleot or other who said he knew of villages close by from which they could get provisions, and proclaimed by herald: "If any one liked to come out and get provisions, be it known that he, Neon, would be their leader." So out came the men with spears, and wine skins and sacks and other vessels—two thousand strong in all. But when they had reached the villages and began to scatter for the purpose of foraging, Pharnabazus's cavalry were the first to fall upon them. They had come to the aid of the Bithynians, wishing, if possible, in conjunction with the latter, to hinder the Hellenes from entering Phrygia. These troopers killed no less than five hundred of the men; the rest fled for the lives up into the hill country.

News of the catastrophe was presently brought into camp by one of those who had escaped, and Xenophon, seeing that the victims had not been favourable on that day, took a wagon bullock, in the absence of other sacrificial beasts, offered it up, and started for the rescue, he and the rest under thirty years of age to the last man. Thus they picked up the remnant of Neon's party and returned to camp. It was now about sunset; and the Hellenes in deep despondency were making their evening meal, when all of a sudden, through bush and brake, a party of Bithynians fell upon the pickets, cutting down some and chasing the rest into camp. In the midst of screams and shouts the Hellenes ran to their arms, one and all; yet to pursue or move the camp in the night seemed hardly safe, for the ground was thickly grown with bush; all they could do was to strengthen the outposts and keep watch under arms the livelong night.





V

And so they spent the night, but with day-dawn the generals led the way into the natural fastness, and the others picked up their arms and baggage and followed the lead. Before the breakfast-hour arrived, they had fenced off with a ditch the only side on which lay ingress into the place, and had palisaded off the whole, leaving only three gates. Anon a ship from Heraclea arrived bringing barleymeal, victim animals, and wine.


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