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Anabasis

Page: 127

Anaxibius thereupon summoned Xenophon and bade him, by every manner of means, sail to the army with the utmost speed, and keep it together. "He was to collect the scattered fragments and march them down to Perinthus, and thence convey them across to Asia without loss of time." And herewith he put a thirty-oared galley at his service, and gave him a letter of authority and an officer to accompany him, with an order to the Perinthians "to escort Xenophon without delay on horseback to the army." So it was that Xenophon sailed across and eventually reached the army. The soldiers gave him a joyous welcome, and would have been only too glad to cross from Thrace into Asia under his leadership.

But Seuthes, hearing that Xenophon had arrived, sent Medosades again, by sea to meet him, and begged him to bring the army to him; and whatever he thought would make his speech persuasive, he was ready to promise him. But the other replied, that none of these things were open to him to do; and with this answer Medosades departed, and the Hellenes proceeded to Perinthus. Here on arrival Neon withdrew his troops and encamped apart, having about eight hundred men; while the remainder of the army lay in one place under the walls of Perinthus.

After this, Xenophon set himself to find vessels, so as to lose no time in crossing. But in the interval Aristarchus, the governor from Byzantium, arrived with a couple of war-ships, being moved to do so by Pharnabazus. To make doubly sure, he first forbade the skippers and shipmasters to carry the troops across, and then he visited the camp and informed the soldiers that their passage into Asia was forbidden. Xenophon replied that he was acting under the orders of Anaxibius, who had sent him thither for this express purpose; to which Aristarchus retorted, "For the matter of that, Anaxibius is no longer admiral, and I am governor in this quarter; if I catch any of you at sea, I will sink you." With these remarks he retired within the walls of Perinthus.

Next day, he sent for the generals and officers of the army. They had already reached the fortification walls, when some one brought word to Xenophon that if he set foot inside, he would be seized, and either meet some ill fate there or more likely be delivered up to Pharnabazus. On hearing this Xenophon sent forward the rest of the party, but for himself pleaded that there was a sacrifice which he wished to offer. In this way he contrived to turn back and consult the victims, "Would the gods allow him to try and bring the army over to Seuthes?" On the one hand it was plain that the idea of crossing over to Asia in the face of this man with his ships of war, who meant to bar the passage, was too dangerous. Nor did he altogether like the notion of being blocked up in the Chersonese with an army in dire need of everything; where, besides being at the beck and call of the governor of the place, they would be debarred from the necessities of life.


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