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Anabasis

Page: 33

(1) Possibly Xenophon himself.

Clearchus listened to the reasoning, and then he asked the messenger, "How large the country between the Tigris and the canal might be?" "A large district," he replied, "and in it are villages and cities numerous and large." Then it dawned upon them: the barbarians had sent the man with subtlety, in fear lest the Hellenes should cut the bridge and occupy the island territory, with the strong defences of the Tigris on the one side and of the canal on the other; supplying themselves with provisions from the country so included, large and rich as it was, with no lack of hands to till it; in addition to which, a harbour of refuge and asylum would be found for any one, who was minded to do the king a mischief.

After this they retired to rest in peace, not, however, neglecting to send a guard to occupy the bridge in spite of all, and there was no attack from any quarter whatsoever; nor did any of the enemy's people approach the bridges: so the guards were able to report next morning. But as soon as it was morning, they proceeded to cross the bridge, which consisted of thirty-seven vessels, and in so doing they used the utmost precaution possible; for reports were brought by some of the Hellenes with Tissaphernes that an attempt was to be made to attack them while crossing. All this turned out to be false, though it is true that while crossing they did catch sight of Glus watching, with some others, to see if they crossed the river; but as soon as he had satisfied himself on that point, he rode off and was gone.

From the river Tigris they advanced four stages—twenty parasangs—to the river Physcus, which is a hundred feet broad and spanned by a bridge. Here lay a large and populous city named Opis, close to which the Hellenes were encountered by the natural brother of Cyrus and Artaxerxes, who was leading a large army from Susa and Ecbatana to assist the king. He halted his troops and watched the Helleens march past. Clearchus led them in column two abreast: and from time to time the vanguard came to a standstill, just so often and just so long the effect repeated itself down to the hindmost man: halt! halt! halt! along the whole line: so that even to the Hellenes themselves their army seemed enormous; and the Persian was fairly astonished at the spectacle.

From this place they marched through Media six desert stages—thirty parasangs—to the villages of Parysatis, Cyrus's and the king's mother. These Tissaphernes, in mockery of Cyrus, delivered over to the Hellenes to plunder, except that the folk in them were not to be made slaves. They contained much corn, cattle, and other property. From this place they advanced four desert stages—twenty parasangs—keeping the Tigris on the left. On the first of these stages, on the other side of the river, lay a large city; it was a well-to-do place named Caenae, from which the natives used to carry across loaves and cheeses and wine on rafts made of skins.


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