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Anabasis

Page: 145

On their arrival Charminus spoke: "If you have anything to say to us, Medosades, say it; but if not, we have something to say to you." And Medosades submissively made answer: "I say," said he, "and Seuthes says the same: we think we have a right to ask that those who have become our friends should not be ill-treated by you; whatever ill you do to them you really do to us, for they are a part of us." "Good!" replied the Lacedaemonians, "and we intend to go away as soon as those who won for you the people and the territory in question have got their pay. Failing that, we are coming without further delay to assist them and to punish certain others who have broken their oaths and done them wrong. If it should turn out that you come under this head, when we come to exact justice, we shall begin with you." Xenophon added: "Would you prefer, Medosades, to leave it to these people themselves, in whose country we are (your friends, since this is the designation you prefer), to decide by ballot, which of the two should leave the country, you or we?" To that proposal he shook his head, but he trusted the two Laconians might be induced to go to Seuthes about the pay, adding, "Seuthes, I am sure, will lend a willing ear;" or if they could not go, then he prayed them to send Xenophon with himself, promising to lend the latter all the aid in his power, and finally he begged them not to burn the villages. Accordingly they sent Xenophon, and with him a serviceable staff. Being arrived, he addressed Seuthes thus:—

"Seuthes, I am here to advance no claims, but to show you, if I can, how unjust it was on your part to be angered with me because I zealously demanded of you on behalf of the soldiers what you promised them. According to my belief, it was no less to your interest to deliver it up, than it was to theirs to receive it. I cannot forget that, next to the gods, it was they who raised you up to a conspicuous eminence, when they made you king of large territory and many men, a position in which you cannot escape notice, whether you do good or do evil. For a man so circumstanced, I regarded it as a great thing that he should avoid the suspicion even of ungrateful parting with his benefactors. It was a great thing, I thought, that you should be well spoken of by six thousand human beings; but the greatest thing of all, that you should in no wise discredit the sincerity of your own word. For what of the man who cannot be trusted? I see that the words of his mouth are but vain words, powerless, and unhonoured; but with him who is seen to regard truth, the case is otherwise. He can achieve by his words what another achieves by force. If he seeks to bring the foolish to their senses—his very frown, I perceive, has a more sobering effect than the chastisement inflicted by another. Or in negotiations the very promises of such an one are of equal weight with the gifts of another.


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