Book V

[In the preceding portion of the narrative a detailed account is given of all that the Hellenes did, and how they fared on the march up with Cyrus; and also of all that befell them on their march subsequently, until they reached the seaboard of the Euxine Sea, or Pontus, and the Hellenic city of Trapezus, where they duly offered the sacrifice for safe deliverance which they had vowed to offer as soon as they set foot on a friendly soil.]

After this they met and took counsel concerning the remainder of the march. The first speaker was Antileon of Thurii. He rose and said: "For my part, sirs, I am weary by this time of getting kit together and packing up for a start, of walking and running and carrying heavy arms, and of tramping along in line, or mounting guard, and doing battle. The sole desire I now have is to cease from all these pains, and for the future, since here we have the sea before us, to sail on and on, 'stretched out in sleep,' like Odysseus, and so to find myself in Hellas." When they heard these remarks, the soldiers showed their approval with loud cries of "well said," and then another spoke to the same effect, and then another, and indeed all present. Then Cheirisophus got up and said: "I have a friend, sirs, who, as good hap will have it, is now high admiral, Anaxibius. If you like to send me to him, I think I can safely promise to return with some men-of-war and other vessels which will carry us. All you have to do, if you are really minded to go home by sea, is to wait here till I come. I will be back ere long." The soldiers were delighted at these words, and voted that Cheirisophus should set sail on his mission without delay.

After him, Xenophon got up, and spoke as follows: "Cheirisophus, it is agreed, sets out in search of vessels, and we are going to await him. Let me tell you what, in my opinion, it is reasonable to do while we are waiting. First of all, we must provide ourselves with necessaries from hostile territory, for there is not a sufficient market, nor, if there were, have we, with a few solitary exceptions, the means of purchase. Now, the district is hostile, so that if you set off in search of provisions without care and precaution, the chances are that many of us will be lost. To meet this risk, I propose that we should organise foraging parties to capture provisions, and, for the rest, not roam about the country at random. The organisation of the matter should be left to us." (The resolution was passed.) "Please listen to another proposal;" he continued: "Some of you, no doubt, will be going out to pillage. It will be best, I think, that whoever does so should in each case before starting inform us of his intent, and in what direction he means to go, so that we may know the exact number of those who are out and of those who stop behind. Thus we shall be able to help in preparing and starting the expedition where necessary; and in case of aid or reinforcements being called for, we shall know in what direction to proceed; or, again, if the attempt is to be undertaken by raw or less expert hands, we may throw in the weight of our experience and advice by endeavouring to discover the strength of those whom they design to attack." This proposal was also carried. "Here is another point," he continued, "to which I would draw your attention. Our enemies will not lack leisure to make raids upon us: nor is it unnatural, that they should lay plots for us; for we have appropriated what is theirs; they are seated over us ever on the watch. I propose then that we should have regular outposts round the camp. If we take it in succession to do picket and outlook duty, the enemy will be less able to harry us. And here is another point for your observation; supposing we knew for certain that Cheirisophus must return with a sufficient number of vessels, there would be no need of the remark, but as that is still problematical, I propose that we should try to get together vessels on the spot also. If he comes and finds us already provided for here, we shall have more ships than we need, that is all; while, if he fails to bring them, we shall have the local supply to fall back upon. I see ships sailing past perpetually, so we have only to ask the loan of some war-ships from the men of Trapezus, and we can bring them into port, and safeguard them with their rudders unshipped, until we have enough to carry us. By this course I think we shall not fail of finding the means of transport requisite." That resolution was also passed. He proceeded: "Consider whether you think it equitable to support by means of a general fund the ships' companies which we so impress, while they wait here for our benefit, and to agree upon a fare, on the principle of repaying kindnesses in kind." That too was passed. "Well then," said he, "in case, after all, our endeavours should not be crowned with success, and we find that we have not vessels enough, I propose that we should enjoin on the cities along the seaboard the duty of constructing and putting in order the roads, which we hear are impassable. They will be only too glad to obey, no doubt, out of mere terror and their desire to be rid of us."

This last proposal was met by loud cries and protestations against the idea of going by land at all. So, perceiving their infatuation, he did not put the question to the vote, but eventually persuaded the cities voluntarily to construct roads by the suggestion, "If you get your roads in good order, we shall all the sooner be gone." They further got a fifty-oared galley from the Trapezuntines, and gave the command of it to Dexippus, a Laconian, one of the perioeci[1]. This man altogether neglected to collect vessels on the offing, but slunk off himself, and vanished, ship and all, out of Pontus. Later on, however, he paid the penalty of his misdeeds. He became involved in some meddling and making in Thrace at the court of Seuthes, and was put to death by the Laconian Nicander. They also got a thirty-oared galley, the command of which was entrusted to Polycrates, an Athenian, and that officer brought into harbour to the camp all the vessels he could lay his hands on. If these were laden, they took out the freights and appointed guards to keep an eye on their preservation, whilst they used the ships themselves for transport service on the coast. While matters stood at this point, the Hellenes used to make forays with varying success; sometimes they captured prey and sometimes they failed. On one occasion Cleanetus led his own and another company against a strong position, and was killed himself, with many others of his party.

[1] A native of the country parts of Laconia.