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Anabasis

Page: 119

Thereat the affair began to wear an ugly look, and the Hellenes begged and implored Cleander to reconsider his intention. He replied that he would be as good as his word, and that nothing should stop him, unless the man who set the example of stoning, with the other who rescued the prisoner, were given up to him. Now, one of the two whose persons were thus demanded—Agasias—had been a friend to Xenophon throughout; and that was just why Dexippus was all the more anxious to accuse him. In their perplexity the generals summoned a full meeting of the soldiers, and some speakers were disposed to make very light of Cleander and set him at naught. But Xenophon took a more serious view of the matter; he rose and addressed the meeting thus: "Soldiers, I cannot say that I feel disposed to make light of this business, if Cleander be allowed to go away, as he threatens to do, in his present temper towards us. There are Hellenic cities close by; but then the Lacedaemonians are the lords of Hellas, and they can, any one of them, carry out whatever they like in the cities. If then the first thing this Lacedaemonian does is to close the gates of Byzantium, and next to pass an order to the other governors, city by city, not to receive us because we are a set of lawless ruffians disloyal to the Lacedaemonians; and if, further, this report of us should reach the ears of their admiral, Anaxibius, to stay or to sail away will alike be difficult. Remember, the Lacedaemonians at the present time are lords alike on land and on sea. For the sake then of a single man, or for two men's sake, it is not right that the rest of us should be debarred from Hellas; but whatever they enjoin we must obey. Do not the cities which gave us birth yield them obedience also? For my own part, inasmuch as Dexippus, I believe, keeps telling Cleander that Agasias would never have done this had not I, Xenophon, bidden him, I absolve you of all complicity, and Agasias too, if Agasias himself states that I am in any way a prime mover in this matter. If I have set the fashion of stone-throwing or any other sort of violence I condemn myself—I say that I deserve the extreme penalty, and I will submit to undergo it. I further say that if any one else is accused, that man is bound to surrender himself to Cleander for judgement, for by this means you will be absolved entirely from the accusation. But as the matter now stands, it is cruel that just when we were aspiring to win praise and honour throughout Hellas, we are destined to sink below the level of the rest of the world, banned from the Hellenic cities whose common name we boast."

After him Agasias got up, and said, "I swear to you, sirs, by the gods and goddesses, verily and indeed, neither Xenophon nor any one else among you bade me rescue the man. I saw an honest man—one of my own company—being taken up by Dexippus, the man who betrayed you, as you know full well. That I could not endure; I rescued him, I admit the fact. Do not you deliver me up. I will surrender myself, as Xenophon suggests, to Cleander to pass what verdict on me he thinks right. Do not, for the sake of such a matter, make foes of the Lacedaemonians; rather God grant that (1) each of you may safely reach the goal of his desire. Only do you choose from among yourselves and send with me to Cleander those who, in case of any omission on my part, may by their words and acts supply what is lacking." Thereupon the army granted him to choose for himself whom he would have go with him and to go; and he at once chose the generals. After this they all set off to Cleander—Agasias and the generals and the man who had been rescued by Agasias—and the generals spoke as follows: "The army has sent us to you, Cleander, and this is their bidding: 'If you have fault to find with all, they say, you ought to pass sentence on all, and do with them what seems best; or if the charge is against one man or two, or possibly several, what they expect of these people is to surrender themselves to you for judgement.' Accordingly, if you lay anything to the charge of us generals, here we stand at your bar. Or do you impute the fault to some one not here? tell us whom. Short of flying in the face of our authority, there is no one who will absent himself."

          

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