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Anabasis

Page: 25

The soldiers furnished themselves with food (and drink) as best they might—falling back on the baggage animals, and cutting up oxen and asses. There was no lack of firewood; they need only step forward a few paces from the line where the battle was fought, and they would find arrows to hand in abundance, which the Hellenes had forced the deserters from the king to throw away. There were arrows and wicker shields also, and the huge wooden shields of the Egyptians. There were many targets also, and empty wagons left to be carried off. Here was a store which they were not slow to make use of to cook their meat and serve their meals that day.

It was now about full market hour (2) when heralds from the king and Tissaphernes arrived. These were barbarians with one exception. This was a certain Phalinus, a Hellene who lived at the court of Tissaphernes, and was held in high esteem. He gave himself out to be a connoisseur of tactics and the art of fighting with heavy arms. These were the men who now came up, and having summoned the generals of the Hellenes, they delivered themselves of the following message: "The great king having won the victory and slain Cyrus, bids the Hellenes to surrender their arms; to betake themselves to the gates of the king's palace, and there obtain for themselves what terms they can." That was what the heralds said, and the Hellenes listened with heavy hearts; but Clearchus spoke, and his words were few; "Conquerors do not, as a rule, give up their arms"; then turning to the others he added, "I leave it to you, my fellow-generals, to make the best and noblest answer, that ye may, to these gentlemen. I will rejoin you presently." At the moment an official had summoned him to come and look at the entrails which had been taken out, for, as it chanced, he was engaged in sacrificing. As soon as he was gone, Cleanor the Arcadian, by right of seniority, answered: "They would sooner die than give up their arms." Then Proxenus the Theban said: "For my part, I marvel if the king demands our arms as our master, or for the sake of friendship merely, as presents. If as our master, why need he ask for them rather than come and take them? But if he would fain wheedle us out of them by fine speeches, he should tell us what the soldiers will receive in turn for such kindness." In answer to him Phalinus said: "The king claims to have conquered, because he has put Cyrus to death; and who is there now to claim the kingdom as against himself? He further flatters himself that you also are in his power, since he holds you in the heart of his country, hemmed in by impassable rivers; and he can at any moment bring against you a multitude so vast that even if leave were given to rise and slay you could not kill them." After him Theopompus (3) the Athenian spoke. "Phalinus," he said, "at this instant, as you yourself can see, we have nothing left but our arms and our valour. If we keep the former we imagine we can make use of the latter; but if we deliver up our arms we shall presently be robbed of our lives. Do not suppose then that we are going to give up to you the only good things which we possess. We prefer to keep them; and by their help we will do battle with you for the good things which are yours." Phalinus laughed when he heard those words, and said: "Spoken like a philosopher, my fine young man, and very pretty reasoning too; yet, let me tell you, your wits are somewhat scattered if you imagine that your valour will get the better of the king's power." There were one or two others, it was said, who with a touch of weakness in their tone or argument, made answer: "They had proved good and trusty friends to Cyrus, and the king might find them no less valuable. If he liked to be friends with them, he might turn them to any use that pleased his fancy, say for a campaign against Egypt. Their arms were at his service; they would help to lay that country at his feet."

          

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