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Anabasis

Page: 90

Accordingly they halted, as they were, that day. Next day they sacrificed and finding the victims favourable, they breakfasted, formed the companies into columns, and with their barbarians arranged in similar order on their left, began their march. Between the companies were the archers only slightly retired behind the front of the heavy infantry, on account of the enemy's active light troops, who ran down and kept up volleys of stones. These were held in check by the archers and peltasts; and steadily step by step the mass marched on, first to the position from which the barbarians and those with them had been driven two days back, and where the enemy were now drawn up to meet them. Thus it came to pass that the barbarians first grappled with the peltasts and maintained the battle until the heavy infantry were close, when they turned and fled. The peltasts followed without delay, and pursued them right up to their city, while the heavy troops in unbroken order followed. As soon as they were up at the houses of the capital, there and then the enemy, collecting all together in one strong body, fought valiantly, and hurled their javelins, or else clenched their long stout spears, almost too heavy for a man to wield, and did their best to ward off the attack at close quarters.

But when the Hellenes, instead of giving way, kept massing together more thickly, the barbarians fled from this place also, and in a body deserted the fortress. Their king, who sat in his wooden tower or mossyn, built on the citadel (there he sits and there they maintain him, all at the common cost, and guard him narrowly), refused to come forth, as did also those in the fortress first taken, and so were burnt to a cinder where they were, their mossyns, themselves, and all. The Hellenes, pillaging and ransacking these places, discovered in the different houses treasures and magazines of loaves, pile upon pile, "the ancestral stores," as the Mossynoecians told them; but the new corn was laid up apart with the straw-stalk and ear together, and this was for the most part spelt. Slices of dolphin were another discovery, in narrow-necked jars, all properly salted and pickled; and there was blubber of dolphin in vessels, which the Mossynoecians used precisely as the Hellenes use oil. Then there were large stores of nuts on the upper floor, the broad kind without a division (3). This was also a chief article of food with them—boiled nuts and baked loaves. Wine was also discovered. This, from its rough, dry quality, tasted sharp when drunk pure, but mixed with water was sweet and fragrant.

 (3) I.e. "chestnuts."

The Hellenes breakfasted and then started forward on their march, having first delivered the stronghold to their allies among the Mossynoecians. As for the other strongholds belonging to tribes allied with their foes, which they passed en route, the most accessible were either deserted by their inhabitants or gave in their adhesion voluntarily. The following description will apply to the majority of them: the cities were on an average ten miles apart, some more, some less; but so elevated is the country and intersected by such deep clefts that if they chose to shout across to one another, their cries would be heard from one city to another. When, in the course of their march, they came upon a friendly population, these would entertain them with exhibitions of fatted children belonging to the wealthy classes, fed up on boiled chestnuts until they were as white as white can be, of skin plump and delicate, and very nearly as broad as they were long, with their backs variegated and their breasts tattooed with patterns of all sorts of flowers. They sought after the women in the Hellenic army, and would fain have laid with them openly in broad daylight, for that was their custom. The whole community, male and female alike, were fair-complexioned and white-skinned.


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