Book V

Through this country, friendly or hostile as the chance might be, the Hellenes marched, eight stages in all, and reached the Chalybes. These were a people few in number, and subject to the Mossynoecians. Their livelihood was for the most part derived from mining and forging iron.

Thence they came to the Tibarenians. The country of the Tibarenians was far more level, and their fortresses lay on the seaboard and were less strong, whether by art or nature. The generals wanted to attack these places, so that the army might get some pickings, and they would not accept the gifts of hospitality which came in from the Tibarenians, but bidding them wait till they had taken counsel, they proceeded to offer sacrifice. After several abortive attempts, the seers at last pronounced an opinion that the gods in no wise countenanced war. Then they accepted the gifts of hospitality, and marching through what was now recognised as a friendly country, in two days reached Cotyora, a Hellenic city, and a colony of Sinope, albeit situated in the territory of the Tibarenians[1].

[1] The MSS. here read, "Up to this point the expedition was conducted on land, and the distance traversed on foot from the battle-field near Babylon down to Cotyora amounted to one hundred and twenty-two stages--that is to say, six hundred and twenty parasangs, or eighteen thousand stades, or if measured in time, an eight months' march." The words are probably the note of some editor or commentator, though it is quite likely that the author himself may have gone through such calculations and even have inserted them as a note to his text.

Here they halted forty-five days, during which they first of all sacrificed to the gods, and instituted processions, each set of the Hellenes according to their several tribes, with gymnastic contests. Provisions they got in meanwhile, partly from Paphlagonia, partly from the estates of the Cotyorites, for the latter would neither provide them a market nor receive their sick within their walls.

Meanwhile ambassadors arrived from Sinope, full of fears, not only for the Cotyorites and their city, which belonged to Sinope, and brought in tribute, but also for the territory which, as they had heard, was being pillaged. Accordingly they came to the camp and made a speech. Hecatonymus, who was reported to be a clever orator, acted as their spokesman: "Soldiers," he said, "the city of the Sinopeans has sent us to offer you, as Hellenes, our compliments and congratulations on your victories over the barbarians; and next, to express our joyful satisfaction that you have surmounted all those terrible sufferings of which we have heard, and have reached this place in safety. As Hellenes we claim to receive at your hands, as fellow-Hellenes, kindness and not harm. We have certainly not ourselves set you an example heretofore of evil treatment. Now the Cotyorites are our colonists. It was we who gave them this country to dwell in, having taken it from the barbarians; for which reason also they, with the men of Cerasus and Trapezus, pay us an appointed tribute. So that, whatever mischief you inflict on the men of Cotyora, the city of Sinope takes as personal to herself. At the present time we hear that you have made forcible entry into their city, some of you, and are quartered in the houses, besides taking forcibly from the Cotyorite estates whatever you need, by hook and by crook. Now against these things we enter protest. If you mean to go on so doing, you will drive us to make friends with Corylas and the Paphlagonians, or any one else we can find."

To meet these charges Xenophon, on behalf of the soldiers, rose and said: "As to ourselves, men of Sinope, having got so far, we are well content to have saved our bodies and our arms. Indeed it was impossible at one and the same moment to keep our enemies at bay and to despoil them of their goods and chattels. And now, since we have reached Hellenic cities, how has it fared with us? At Trapezus they gave us a market, and we paid for our provisions at a fair market price. In return for the honour they did us, and the gifts of hospitality they gave the army, we requited them with honour. Where the barbarian was friendly to them, we stayed our hands from injury; or under their escort, we did damage to their enemies to the utmost of our power. Ask them, what sort of people they found us. They are here, some of them, to answer for themselves. Their fellow-citizens and the state of Trapezus, for friendship's sake, have sent them with us to act as our guides.

"But wherever we come, be it foreign or Hellenic soil, and find no market for provisions, we are wont to help ourselves, not out of insolence but from necessity. There have been tribes like the Carduchians, the Taochians, the Chaldaeans, which, albeit they were not subject to the great king, yet were no less formidable than independent. These we had to bring over by our arms. The necessity of getting provisions forced us; since they refused to offer us a market. Whereas some other folk, like the Macrones, in spite of their being barbarians, we regarded as our friends, simply because they did provide us with the best market in their power, and we took no single thing of theirs by force. But, to come to these Cotyorites, whom you claim to be your people, if we have taken aught from them, they have themselves to blame, for they did not deal with us as friends, but shut their gates in our faces. They would neither welcome us within nor furnish us with a market without. The only justification they alleged was that your governor[2] had authorised this conduct.

[2] Lit. "harmost". The term, denoting properly a governor of the islands and foreign cities sent out by the Lacedaemonians during their supremacy, came, it would seem, to be adopted by other Greek communities under somewhat similar circumstances. Cotyora receives a harmost from her mother-city, Sinope. For the Greek colonies here mentioned, see Kiepert's "Man. Anct. Geog." (Engl. tr., Mr. G. A. Macmillan), p. 63.

"As to your assertion," he continued, turning to Hecatonymus, "that we have got in by force and have taken up quarters, this is what we did. We requested them to receive our sick and wounded under cover; and when they refused to open their gates, we walked in where the place itself invited us. All the violence we have committed amounts to this, that our sick folk are quartered under cover, paying for their expenses, and we keep a sentry at the gates, so that our sick and wounded may not lie at the mercy of your governor, but we may have it in our power to remove them whenever we like. The rest of us, you observe, are camping under the canopy of heaven, in regular rank and file, and we are ready to requite kindness with kindness, but to repel evil vigorously. And as for your threat," he said, once again turning to the spokesman, "that you will, if it suits you, make alliance with Corylas and the Paphlagonians to attack us, for our part, we have no objection to fighting both sets of you, if so be we must; we have already fought others many times more numerous than you. Besides, 'if it suits us,' as you put it, to make the Paphlagonian our friend (report says that he has a hankering after your city and some other places on the seaboard), we can enhance the value of our friendship by helping to win for him what he covets."

Thereupon the ambassadors showed very plainly their annoyance with Hecatonymus, on account of the style of his remarks, and one of them stept forward to explain that their intention in coming was not at all to raise a war, but on the contrary to demonstrate their friendliness. "And if you come to Sinope itself," the speaker continued, "we will welcome you there with gifts of hospitality. Meanwhile we will enjoin upon the citizens of this place to give you what they can; for we can see that every word of what you say is true." Thereupon the Cotyorites sent gifts of hospitality, and the generals of the Hellenes entertained the ambassadors of the Sinopeans. Many and friendly were the topics of conversation; freely flowed the talk on things in general; and, in particular, both parties were able to make inquiries and satisfy their curiosity concerning the remaining portion of the march.