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Anabasis

Page: 86

At that Xenophon ordered Tolmides the herald to proclaim: "Enter all who are minded to capture aught." In poured the surging multitude, and the counter-current of persons elbowing their passage in prevailed over the stream of those who issued forth, until they beat back and cooped up the enemy within the citadel again. So outside the citadel everything was sacked and pillaged by the Hellenes, and the heavy infantry took up their position, some about the stockades, others along the road leading up to the citadel. Xenophon and the officers meantime considered the possibility of taking the citadel, for if so, their safety was assured; but if otherwise, it would be very difficult to get away. As the result of their deliberations they agreed that the place was impregnable. Then they began making preparations for the retreat. Each set of men proceeded to pull down the palisading which faced themselves; further, they sent away all who were useless or who had enough to do to carry their burdens, with the mass of the heavy infantry accompanying them; the officers in each case leaving behind men whom they could severally depend on.

But as soon as they began to retreat, out rushed upon them from within a host of fellows, armed with wicker shields and lances, greaves and Paphlagonian helmets. Others might be seen scaling the houses on this side and that of the road leading into the citadel. Even pursuit in the direction of the citadel was dangerous, since the enemy kept hurling down on them great beams from above, so that to stop and to make off were alike dangerous, and night approaching was full of terrors. But in the midst of their fighting and their despair some god gave them a means of safety. All of a sudden, by whatsoever hand ignited, a flame shot up; it came from a house on the right hand, and as this gradually fell in, the people from the other houses on the right took to their heels and fled.

Xenophon, laying this lesson of fortune to heart, gave orders to set fire to the left-hand houses also, which being of wood burned quickly, with the result that the occupants of these also took to flight. The men immediately at their front were the sole annoyance now, and these were safe to fall upon them as they made their exit and in their descent. Here then the word was passed for all who were out of range to bring up logs of wood and pile them between themselves and the enemy, and when there was enough of these they set them on fire; they also fired the houses along the trench-work itself, so as to occupy the attention of the enemy. Thus they got off, though with difficulty, and escaped from the place by putting a fire between them and the enemy; and the whole city was burnt down, houses, turrets, stockading, and everything belonging to it except the citadel.

Next day the Hellenes were bent on getting back with the provisions; but as they dreaded the descent to Trapezus, which was precipitous and narrow, they laid a false ambuscade, and a Mysian, called after the name of his nation (Mysus) (1), took ten of the Cretans and halted in some thick brushy ground, where he made a feint of endeavouring to escape the notice of the enemy. The glint of their light shields, which were of brass, now and again gleamed through the brushwood. The enemy, seeing it all through the thicket, were confirmed in their fears of an ambuscade. But the army meanwhile was quietly making its descent; and when it appeared that they had crept down far enough, the signal was given to the Mysian to flee as fast as he could, and he, springing up, fled with his men. The rest of the party, that is the Cretans, saying, "We are caught if we race," left the road and plunged into a wood, and tumbling and rolling down the gullies were saved. The Mysian, fleeing along the road, kept crying for assistance, which they sent him, and picked him up wounded. The party of rescue now beat a retreat themselves with their face to the foe, exposed to a shower of missiles, to which some of the Cretan bowmen responded with their arrows. In this way they all reached the camp in safety.

          

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