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Anabasis

Page: 89

(1) I.e. dwellers in mossyns, or wooden towers. See Herod. iii. 94; vii. 78. Cf. also Strabo, xi. 41. (2) Or, "consul."

On this understanding, they exchanged pledges and were gone. The next day they returned, bringing three hundred canoes, each hollowed out of a single trunk. There were three men in each, two of whom disembarked and fell into rank, whilst the third remained. Then the one set took the boats and sailed back again, whilst the other two-thirds who remained marshalled themselves in the following way. They stood in rows of about a hundred each, like the rows of dancers in a chorus, standing vis-a-vis to one another, and all bearing wicker shields, made of white oxhide, shaggy, and shaped like an ivy leaf; in the right hand they brandished a javelin about six cubits long, with a lance in front, and rounded like a ball at the butt end of the shaft.

Their bodies were clad in short frocks, scarcely reaching to the knees and in texture closely resembling that of a linen bedclothes' bag; on their heads they wore leathern helmets just like the Paphlagonian helmet, with a tuft of hair in the middle, as like a tiara in shape as possible. They carried moreover iron battle-axes. Then one of them gave, as it were, the key-note and started, while the rest, taking up the strain and the step, followed singing and marking time. Passing through the various corps and heavy armed battalions of the Hellenes, they marched straight against the enemy, to what appeared the most assailable of his fortresses. It was situated in front of the city, or mother city, as it is called, which latter contains the high citadel of the Mossynoecians. This citadel was the real bone of contention, the occupants at any time being acknowledged as the masters of all the other Mossynoecians. The present holders (so it was explained) had no right to its possession; for the sake of self-aggrandisement they had seized what was really common property.

Some of the Hellenes followed the attacking party, not under the orders of the generals, but for the sake of plunder. As they advanced, the enemy for a while kept quiet; but as they got near the place, they made a sortie and routed them, killing several of the barbarians as well as some of the Hellenes who had gone up with them; and so pursued them until they saw the Hellenes advancing to the rescue. Then they turned round and made off, first cutting off the heads of the dead men and flaunting them in the face of the Hellenes and of their own private foes, dancing the while and singing in a measured strain. But the Hellenes were much vexed to think that their foes had only been rendered bolder, while the Hellenes who had formed part of the expedition had turned tail and fled, in spite of their numbers; a thing which had not happened previously during the whole expedition. So Xenophon called a meeting of the Hellenes and spoke as follows: "Soldiers, do not in any wise be cast down by what has happened, be sure that good no less than evil will be the result; for to begin with, you now know certainly that those who are going to guide us are in very deed hostile to those with whom necessity drives us to quarrel; and, in the next place, some of our own body, these Hellenes who have made so light of orderly array and conjoint action with ourselves, as though they must needs achieve in the company of barbarians all they could with ourselves, have paid the penalty and been taught a lesson, so that another time they will be less prone to leave our ranks. But you must be prepared to show these friendly barbarians that you are of a better sort, and prove to the enemy that battle with the undisciplined is one thing, but with men like yourselves another."


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