<<<
>>>

Anabasis

Page: 76

(2) Or, more lit., "with the head a mark for missiles."

"But what right have I to be drawing conclusions about stealing in your presence, Cheirisophus? for you Lacedaemonians, as I have often been told, you who belong to the 'peers,' practise stealing from your boyhood up; and it is no disgrace but honourable rather to steal, except such things as the law forbids; and in order, I presume, to stimulate your sense of secretiveness, and to make you master thieves, it is lawful for you further to get a whipping if you are caught. Now then you have a fine opportunity of displaying your training. But take care we are not caught stealing over the mountain, or we shall catch it ourselves." "For all that," retorted Cheirisophus, "I have heard that you Athenians are clever hands at stealing the public moneys; and that too though there is a fearful risk for the person so employed; but, I am told, it is your best men who are addicted to it; if it is your best men who are thought worthy to rule. So it is a fine opportunity for yourself also, Xenophon, to exhibit your education." "And I," replied Xenophon, "am ready to take the rear division, as soon as we have supped, and seize the mountain chain. I have already got guides, for the light troops laid an ambuscade, and seized some of the cut-purse vagabonds who hung on our rear. I am further informed by them that the mountain is not inaccessible, but is grazed by goats and cattle, so that if we can once get hold of any portion of it, there will be no difficulty as regards our animals—they can cross. As to the enemy, I expect they will not even wait for us any longer, when they once see us on a level with themselves on the heights, for they do not even at present care to come down and meet us on fair ground." Cheirisophus answered: "But why should you go and leave your command in the rear? Send others rather, unless a band of volunteers will present themselves." Thereupon Aristonymus the Methydrian came forward with some heavy infantry, and Nicomachus the Oetean with another body of light troops, and they made an agreement to kindle several watch-fires as soon as they held the heights. The arrangements made, they breakfasted; and after breakfast Cheirisophus advanced the whole army ten furlongs closer towards the enemy, so as to strengthen the impression that he intended to attack them at that point.

But as soon as they had supped and night had fallen, the party under orders set off and occupied the mountain, while the main body rested where they were. Now as soon as the enemy perceived that the mountain was taken, they banished all thought of sleep, and kept many watch-fires blazing throughout the night. But at break of day Cheirisophus offered sacrifice, and began advancing along the road, while the detachment which held the mountain advanced pari passu by the high ground. The larger mass of the enemy, on his side, remained still on the mountain-pass, but a section of them turned to confront the detachment on the heights. Before the main bodies had time to draw together, the detachment on the height came to close quarters, and the Hellenes were victorious and gave chase. Meanwhile the light division of the Hellenes, issuing from the plain, were rapidly advancing against the serried lines of the enemy, whilst Cheirisophus followed up with his heavy infantry at quick march. But the enemy on the road no sooner saw their higher division being worsted than they fled, and some few of them were slain, and a vast number of wicker shields were taken, which the Hellenes hacked to pieces with their short swords and rendered useless. So when they had reached the summit of the pass, they sacrificed and set up a trophy, and descending into the plain, reached villages abounding in good things of every kind.


<<<
>>>