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Anabasis

Page: 135

(7) {etropkhaze}, a favourite word with our author. Herodotus uses it; so does Aristot.; so also Polybius; but the Atticists condemn it, except of course in poetry.





IV

But the next day Seuthes burnt the villages to the ground; he left not a single house, being minded to inspire terror in the rest of his enemies, and to show them what they also were to expect, if they refused obedience; and so he went back again. As to the booty, he sent off Heracliedes to Perinthus to dispose of it, with a view to future pay for the soldiers. But for himself he encamped with the Hellenes in the lowland country of the Thynians, the natives leaving the flats and betaking themselves in flight to the uplands.

There was deep snow, and cold so intense that the water brought in for dinner and the wine within the jars froze; and many of the Hellenes had their noses and ears frost-bitten. Now they came to understand why the Thracians wear fox-skin caps on their heads and about their ears; and why, on the same principle, they are frocked not only about the chest and bust but so as to cover the loins and thighs as well; and why on horseback they envelop themselves in long shawls which reach down to the feet, instead of the ordinary short rider's cloak. Seuthes sent off some of the prisoners to the hills with a message to say that if they did not come down to their homes, and live quietly and obey him, he would burn down their villages and their corn, and leave them to perish with hunger. Thereupon down they came, women and children and the older men; the younger men preferred to quarter themselves in the villages on the skirts of the hills. On discovering this, Seuthes bade Xenophon take the youngest of the heavy infantry and join him on an expedition. They rose in the night, and by daybreak had reached the villages; but the majority of the inhabitants made good their escape, for the hills were close at hand. Those whom he did catch, Seuthes unsparingly shot down.

Now there was a certain Olynthian, named Episthenes; he was a great lover of boys, and seeing a handsome lad, just in the bloom of youth, and carrying a light shield, about to be slain, he ran up to Xenophon and supplicated him to rescue the fair youth. Xenophon went to Seuthes and begged him not to put the boy to death. He explained to him the disposition of Episthenes; how he had once enrolled a company, the only qualification required being that of personal beauty; and with these handsome young men at his side there were none so brave as he. Seuthes put the question, "Would you like to die on his behalf, Episthenes?" whereat the other stretched out his neck, and said, "Strike, if the boy bids you, and will thank his preserver." Seuthes, turning to the boy, asked, "Shall I smite him instead of you?" The boy shook his head, imploring him to slay neither the one nor the other, whereupon Episthenes caught the lad in his arms, exclaiming, "It is time you did battle with me, Seuthes, for my boy; never will I yield him up," and Seuthes laughed: "what must be must," and so consented.


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