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Anabasis

Page: 132

(1) A Greek colony in Thrace. Among Asiatico-Ionian colonies were Abdera, founded by Teos, and Maroneia, celebrated for its wine, founded by Chios about 540 B.C.—Kiepert, "Man. Anct. Geog." viii. 182. (2) Notably Alcibiades, who possessed two or three such fortresses.

As soon as the company, consisting of the most powerful Thracians there present, with the generals and captains of the Hellenes, and any embassy from a state which might be there, had arrived, they were seated in a circle, and the dinner was served. Thereupon three-legged stools were brought in and placed in front of the assembled guests. They were laden with pieces of meat, piled up, and there were huge leavened-loaves fastened on to the pieces of meat with long skewers. The tables, as a rule, were set beside the guests at intervals. That was the custom; and Seuthes set the fashion of the performance. He took up the loaves which lay by his side and broke them into little pieces, and then threw the fragments here to one and there to another as seemed to him good; and so with the meat likewise, leaving for himself the merest taste. Then the rest fell to following the fashion set them, those that is who had tables placed beside them.

Now there was an Arcadian, Arystas by name, a huge eater; he soon got tired of throwing the pieces about, and seized a good three-quarters loaf in his two hands, placed some pieces of meat upon his knees, and proceeded to discuss his dinner. Then beakers of wine were brought round, and every one partook in turn; but when the cupbearer came to Arystas and handed him the bowl, he looked up, and seeing that Xenophon had done eating: "Give it him," quoth he, "he is more at leisure. I have something better to do at present." Seuthes, hearing a remark, asked the cupbearer what was said, and the cupbearer, who knew how to talk Greek, explained. Then followed a peal of laughter.

When the drinking had advanced somewhat, in came a Thracian with a white horse, who snatched the brimming bowl and said: "Here's a health to thee, O Seuthes! Let me present thee with this horse. Mounted on him, thou shalt capture whom thou choosest to pursue, or retiring from battle, thou shalt not dread the foe." He was followed by one who brought in a boy, and presented him in proper style with "Here's a health to thee, O Seuthes!" A third had "clothes for his wife." Timasion, the Dardanian, pledged Seuthes, and presented a silver bowl (3) and a carpet worth ten minae. Gnesippus, an Athenian, got up and said: "It was a good old custom, and a fine one too, that those who had, should give to the king for honour's sake, but to those who had not, the king should give; whereby, my lord," he added, "I too may one day have the wherewithal to give thee gifts and honour." Xenophon the while was racking his brains what he was to do; he was not the happier because he was seated in the seat next Seuthes as a mark of honour; and Heracleides bade the cupbearer hand him the bowl. The wine had perhaps a little mounted to his head; he rose, and manfully seized the cup, and spoke: "I also, Seuthes, have to present you with myself and these my dear comrades to be your trusty friends, and not one of them against his will. They are more ready, one and all, still more than I, to be your friends. Here they are; they ask nothing from you in return, rather they are forward to labour in your behalf; it will be their pleasure to bear the brunt of battle in voluntary service. With them, God willing, you will gain vast territory; you will recover what was once your forefathers'; you will win for yourself new lands; and not lands only, but horses many, and of men a multitude, and many a fair dame besides. You will not need to seize upon them in robber fashion; it is your friends here who, of their own accord, shall take and bring them to you, they shall lay them at your feet as gifts." Up got Seuthes and drained with him the cup, and with him sprinkled the last drops fraternally (4).

          

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