Book II

After this they reached the river Zapatas[1], which is four hundred feet broad, and here they halted three days. During the interval suspicions were rife, though no act of treachery displayed itself. Clearchus accordingly resolved to bring to an end these feelings of mistrust, before they led to war. Consequently, he sent a messenger to the Persian to say that he desired an interview with him; to which the other readily consented. As soon as they were met, Clearchus spoke as follows: "Tissaphernes," he said, "I do not forget that oaths have been exchanged between us, and right hands shaken, in token that we will abstain from mutual injury; but I can see that you watch us narrowly, as if we were foes; and we, seeing this, watch you narrowly in return. But as I fail to discover, after investigation, that you are endeavouring to do us a mischief--and I am quite sure that nothing of the sort has ever entered our heads with regard to you--the best plan seemed to me to come and talk the matter over with you, so that, if possible, we might dispel the mutual distrust on either side. For I have known people ere now, the victims in some cases of calumny, or possibly of mere suspicion, who in apprehension of one another and eager to deal the first blow, have committed irreparable wrong against those who neither intended nor so much as harboured a thought of mischief against them. I have come to you under a conviction that such misunderstandings may best be put a stop to by personal intercourse, and I wish to instruct you plainly that you are wrong in mistrusting us. The first and weightiest reason is that the oaths, which we took in the sight of heaven, are a barrier to mutual hostility. I envy not the man whose conscience tells him that he has disregarded these! For in a war with heaven, by what swiftness of foot can a man escape?--in what quarter find refuge?--in what darkness slink away and be hid?--to what strong fortress scale and be out of reach? Are not all things in all ways subject to the gods? is not their lordship over all alike outspread? As touching the gods, therefore, and our oaths, that is how I view this matter. To their safe keeping we consigned the friendship which we solemnly contracted. But turning to matters human, you I look upon as our greatest blessing in this present time. With you every path is plain to us, every river passable, and of provisions we shall know no stint. But without you, all our way is through darkness; for we known nothing concerning it, every river will be an obstacle, each multitude a terror; but, worst terror of all, the vast wilderness, so full of endless perplexity. Nay, if in a fit of madness we murdered you, what then? in slaying our benefactor should we not have challenged to enter the lists against us a more formidable antagonist in the king himself? Let me tell you, how many high hopes I should rob myself of, were I to take in hand to do you mischief.

[1] The Greater Zab, which flows into the Tigris near a town now called Senn, with which most travellers identify Caenae.

"I coveted the friendship of Cyrus; I believed him to be abler than any man of his day to benefit those whom he chose; but to-day I look and, behold, it is you who are in his place; the power which belonged to Cyrus and his territory are yours now. You have them, and your own satrapy besides, safe and sound; while the king's power, which was a thorn in the side of Cyrus, is your support. This being so, it would be madness not to wish to be your friend. But I will go further and state to you the reasons of my confidence, that you on your side will desire our friendship. I know that the Mysians are a cause of trouble to you, and I flatter myself that with my present force I could render them humbly obedient to you. This applies to the Pisidians also; and I am told there are many other such tribes besides. I think I can deal with them all; they shall cease from being a constant distubance to your peace and prosperity. Then there are the Egyptians[2]. I know your anger against them to-day is very great. Nor can I see what better force you will find to help you in chastising them than this which marches at my back to-day. Again, if you seek the friendship of any of your neighbours round, there shall be no friend so great as you; if any one annoys you, with us as your faithful servitors you shall belord it over him; and such service we will render you, not as hirelings merely for pay's sake, but for the gratitude which we shall rightly feel to you, to whom we owe our lives. As I dwell on these matters, I confess, the idea of your feeling mistrust of us is so astonishing, that I would give much to discover the name of the man, who is so clever of speech that he can persuade you that we harbour designs against you." Clearchus ended, and Tissaphernes responded thus--

[2] We learn from Diodorus Siculus, xiv. 35, that the Egyptians had revolted from the Persians towards the end of the reign of Darius.

"I am glad, Clearchus, to listen to your sensible remarks; for with the sentiments you hold, if you were to devise any mischief against me, it could only be out of malevolence to yourself. But if you imagine that you, on your side, have any better reason to mistrust the king and me, than we you, listen to me in turn, and I will undeceive you. I ask you, does it seem to you that we lack the means, if we had the will, to destroy you? have we not horsemen enough, or infantry, or whatever other arm you like, whereby we may be able to injure you, without risk of suffering in return? or, possibly, do we seem to you to lack the physical surroundings suitable for attacking you? Do you not see all these great plains, which you find it hard enough to traverse even when they are friendly? and all yonder great mountain chains left for you to cross, which we can at any time occupy in advance and render impassable? and all those rivers, on whose banks we can deal craftily by you, checking and controlling and choosing the right number of you whom we care to fight! Nay, there are some which you will not be able to cross at all, unless we transport you to the other side.

"And if at all these points we were worsted, yet 'fire,' as they say, 'is stronger than the fruit of the field': we can burn it down and call up famine in arms against you; against which you, for all your bravery, will never be able to contend. Why then, with all these avenues of attack, this machinery of war, open to us, not one of which can be turned against ourselves, why should we select from among them all that method, which alone in the sight of God is impious and of man abominable? Surely it belongs to people altogether without resources, who are helplessly struggling in the toils of fate, and are villains to boot, to seek accomplishment of their desires by perjury to heaven and faithlessness to their fellows. We are not so unreasoning, Clearchus, nor so foolish.

"Why, when we had it in our power to destroy you, did we not proceed to do it? Know well that the cause of this was nothing less than my passion to prove myself faithful to the Hellenes, and that, as Cyrus went up, relying on a foreign force attracted by payment, I in turn might go down strong in the same through service rendered. Various ways in which you Hellenes may be useful to me you yourself have mentioned, but there is one still greater. It is the great king's privilege alone to wear the tiara upright upon his head, yet in your presence it may be given to another mortal to wear it upright, here, upon his heart."

Throughout this speech he seemed to Clearchus to be speaking the truth, and he rejoined: "Then are not those worthy of the worst penalties who, in spite of all that exists to cement our friendship, endeavour by slander to make us enemies?" "Even so," replied Tissaphernes, "and if your generals and captains care to come in some open and public way, I will name to you those who tell me that you are plotting against me and the army under me." "Good," replied Clearchus. "I will bring all, and I will show you, on my side, the source from which I derive my information concerning you."

After this conversation Tissaphernes, with kindliest expression, invited Clearchus to remain with him at the time, and entertained him at dinner. Next day Clearchus returned to the camp, and made no secret of his persuasion that he at any rate stood high in the affections of Tissaphernes, and he reported what he had said, insisting that those invited ought to go to Tissaphernes, and that any Hellene convicted of calumnious language ought to be punished, not only as traitors themselves, but as disaffected to their fellow-countrymen. The slanderer and traducer was Menon; so, at any rate, he suspected, because he knew that he had had meetings with Tissaphernes whilst he was with Ariaeus, and was factiously opposed to himself, plotting how to win over the whole army to him, as a means of winning the good graces of Tissaphernes. But Clearchus wanted the entire army to give its mind to no one else, and that refractory people should be put out of the way. Some of the soldiers protested: the captains and generals had better not all go; it was better not to put too much confidence in Tissaphernes. But Clearchus insisted so strongly that finally it was arranged for five generals to go and twenty captains. These were accompanied by about two hundred of the other soldiers, who took the opportunity of marketing.

On arrival at the doors of Tissaphernes's quarters the generals were summoned inside. They were Proxenus the Boeotian, Menon the Thessalian, Agias the Arcadian, Clearchus the Laconian, and Socrates the Achaean; while the captains remained at the doors. Not long after that, at one and the same signal, those within were seized and those without cut down; after which some of the barbarian horsemen galloped over the plain, killing every Hellene they encountered, bond or free. The Hellenes, as they looked from the camp, viewed that strange horsemanship with surprise, and could not explain to themselves what it all meant, until Nicarchus the Arcadian came tearing along for bare life with a wound in the belly, and clutching his protruding entrails in his hands. He told them all that had happened. Instantly the Hellenes ran to their arms, one and all, in utter consternation, and fully expecting that the enemy would instantly be down upon the camp. However, they did not all come; only Ariaeus came, and Artaozus and Mithridates, who were Cyrus's most faithful friends; but the interpreter of the Hellenes said he saw and recognised the brother of Tissaphernes also with them. They had at their back other Persians also, armed with cuirasses, as many as three hundred. As soon as they were within a short distance, they bade any general or captain of the Hellenes who might be there to approach and hear a message from the king. After this, two Hellene generals went out with all precaution. These were Cleanor the Orchomenian[3], and Sophaenetus the Stymphalion, attended by Xenophon the Athenian, who went to learn news of Proxenus. Cheirisophus was at the time away in a village with a party gathering provisions. As soon as they had halted within earshot, Ariaeus said: "Hellenes, Clearchus being shown to have committed perjury and to have broken the truce, has suffered the penalty, and he is dead; but Proxenus and Menon, in return for having given information of his treachery, are in high esteem and honour. As to yourselves, the king demands your arms. He claims them as his, since they belonged to Cyrus, who was his slave." To this the Hellenes made answer by the mouth of Cleanor of Orchomenus, their spokesman, who said, addressing Ariaeus: "Thou villain, Ariaeus, and you the rest of you, who were Cyrus's friends, have you no shame before God or man, first to swear to us that you have the same friends and the same enemies as we ourselves, and then to turn and betray us, making common cause with Tissaphernes, that most impious and villainous of men? With him you have murdered the very men to whom you gave your solemn word and oath, and to the rest of us turned traitors; and, having so done, you join hand with our enemies to come against us." Ariaeus answered: "There is no doubt but that Clearchus has been known for some time to harbour designs agaisnt Tissaphernes and Orontas, and all of us who side with them." Taking up this assertion, Xenophon said: "Well, then, granting that Clearchus broke the truce contrary to our oaths, he has his deserts, for perjurers deserve to perish; but where are Proxenus and Menon, our generals and your good friends and benefactors, as you admit? Send them back to us. Surely, just because they are friends of both parites, they will try to give us the best advice for you and for us."

At this, the Asiatics stood discussing with one another for a long while, and then they went away without vouchsafing a word.