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Anabasis

Page: 142

(1) I.e. the fate of a scape-goat is too good for me.

"But let me ask you, in what condition do you turn your backs on this land to-day? Have you not wintered here in the lap of plenty? Whatever you have got from Seuthes has been surplus gain. Your enemies have had to meet the bill of your expenses, whilst you led a merry round of existence, in which you have not once set eyes on the dead body of a comrade or lost one living man. Again, if you have achieved any, (or rather many) noble deeds against the Asiatic barbarian, you have them safe. And in addition to these to-day you have won for yourselves a second glory. You undertook a campaign against the European Thracians, and have mastered them. What I say then is, that these very matters which you make a ground of quarrel against myself, are rather blessings for which you ought to show gratitude to heaven.

"Thus far I have confined myself to your side of the matter. Bear with me, I beg you, while we examine mine. When I first essayed to part with you and journey homewards, I was doubly blest. From your lips I had won some praise, and, thanks to you, I had obtained glory from the rest of Hellas. I was trusted by the Lacedaemonians; else would they not have sent me back to you. Whereas to-day I turn to go, calumniated before the Lacedaemonians by yourselves, detested in your behalf by Seuthes, whom I meant so to benefit, by help of you, that I should find in him a refuge for myself and for my children, if children I might have, in after time. And you the while, for whose sake I have incurred so much hate, the hate of people far superior to me in strength, you, for whom I have not yet ceased to devise all the good I can, entertain such sentiments about me. Why? I am no renegade or runaway slave, you have got hold of. If you carry out what you say, be sure you will have done to death a man who has passed many a vigil in watching over you; who has shared with you many a toil and run many a risk in turn and out of turn; who, thanks to the gracious gods! has by your side set up full many a trophy over the barbarian; who, lastly, has strained every nerve in his body to protect you against yourselves. And so it is, that to-day you can move freely, where you choose, by sea or by land, and no one can say you nay; and you, on whom this large liberty dawns, who are sailing to a long desired goal, who are sought after by the greatest of military powers, who have pay in prospect, and for leaders these Lacedaemonians, our acknowledged chiefs: now is the appointed time, you think, to put me to a speedy death. But in the days of our difficulties it was very different, O ye men of marvellous memory! No! in those days you called me 'father!' and you promised you would bear me ever in mind, 'your benefactor.' Not so, however, not so ungracious are those who have come to you to-day; nor, if I mistake not, have you bettered yourselves in their eyes by your treatment of me."


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