Anabasis (The Persian Expedition) by Xenophon (370 BC), Book 5 – The March to Paphlagonia

Anabasis (The Persian Expedition) by Xenophon (370 BC), Book 5 – The March to Paphlagonia

Chapter 1 – Chirisophus Goes to Get Ships

  • They had a meeting amongst the leaders where a few of them spoke
    • Leon of Thurii: I know for myself & my guys, we’re tired of packing our bags up every morning, hiking 20 miles all day only to have to do it over & over again. If we sailed back to Greece, this trek back home would be much more tolerable
    • Chirisophus: I have a friend who’s in charge of the Spartan navy. Perhaps I should go down there to try to get him to bring his ships up here to bring us home. I’m pretty sure I can set this up
      • The soldiers seemed to like this idea
    • Xenophon: OK, Chirisophus is going off to get us a ride home. We should wait here for him. But we ought to make plans while we’re here. We’ll have to scrounge up some provisions from the enemy’s territory because we’re out of food & the friendly locals here just don’t have enough to give us or sell us. The countryside is pretty hostile, so we will have to go on expeditions in a very methodical manner & armed pretty well
      • We can’t rely completely on Chirisophus returning with ships. It’d be great if he did but we have to be ready for the possibility that he won’t. If he doesn’t come back we might try to pay the locals here to sail us as far down the coast as they are willing or as our money will take us.
      • Furthermore, we should ask locals to improve their roads. It’s difficult to travel on the roads in their terrible state around here. That would speed our trip up
    • A couple of warships became available. One Spartan took off in it & never came back. They learned later than he’d been captured & enslaved by Thracian king before eventually being killed.

Chapter 2 – A Plundering Expedition

  • The Greeks could no longer do day trips for foraging. They had to use guides from Trapezus to march against the Drilae army, using half the army & leaving the other half to protect the camp.
    • The guides didn’t show them easily accessible places because they didn’t want to piss off the neighbors they’d been able to make peace with. They didn’t mind showing them the Drilae’s land – the mountains help by the warlike people
    • The Drilae burned any land they couldn’t defend, leaving little behind
      • The Greeks pursue them to their capital across ravines to fortifications. They had difficulty penetrating them. They got caught in a spot where they had to continue fighting to minimize losses. Javelins & arrows were the most effective weapons. They got their blood up with the paean & a massive war cry
      • This onslaught got the enemy to abandon the fortifications. But they had reinforcements on higher ground to rush in on the Greeks once they were inside the gates
      • The fortification had a citadel. The Greeks plundered all the land around it & took out of the gates what they could. They decided it wasn’t wise to attack the citadel & were happy removing the fortification’s palisades & took what booty they could. The enemy attacked during the retreat causing a lot of chaos & fires were started to separate the Greeks from the enemy. The whole city burned to the ground except the citadel
      • The Greeks took supplies back. To prevent an ambush on the return, they set up a fake ambush of their own to scare off their pursuers. They all were able to make it back with supplies safely

Chapter 3 – The Greeks Leave Trapezus – Xenophon’s Estate in Later Years

  • It was clear that Chirisophus wasn’t coming back & they’d have to leave Trapezus. The sick, old & women were put on ships & the rest had to march.
    • They arrived at a Greek city, Cerasus – a colony of Sinope. They were down to 8600. They divvied up the money from selling prisoners off as slaves. They gave 10% to Artemis & Apollo. They kept Chirisophus’s share. Xenophon later gave an offering to Apollo in Delphi & in the name of a fallen friend. Lots of money to gods & temples.
      • Later when he got back to Greece he bought an estate to offer to Artemis. It had a river running through it. He used it for hunting & fishing, & built an altar there. 10% of the land’s produce was offered to the god. Animals hunted there were often sacrificed. The temple was a mini version of the one in Ephesus

Chapter 4 – The Barbarous Mossynoeci

  • They reached the land of the Mossynoeci. They sent in someone to speak with them. They didn’t want the Greeks passing through. The Greek generals met with the chiefs & tried to explain that they only wanted to pass through to go home. The Mossynoeci were at war with another tribe & the Greeks offered an alliance in exchange for safe passage. They accepted
    • The Mossynoeci showed up with 600 men. Their shields had ox skins & had 9 foot spears, short tunics, helmets with tufts of hair would up like a tiara & battleaxes
    • They marched into position to attack a seemingly easy position – a fortification on the highest ground of the area. Those holding it apparently had no right to it
      • As they approached a few natives popped out to attacks & did some damage. Those killed had their heads cut off. The natives danced around & sang with the heads. This bothered the Greeks because it was so shocking
      • Xenophon tried to calm them down. Their guides were not like these men. The men killed were out of position & undisciplined. They had to appear to be better men & better fighters
    • The next day they formed columns with archers in between to deal with enemy light troops. They pushed the natives back & made their way to the city. The natives didn’t like fighting up close, so they ran off
      • The Greeks knew their king was in a wooden tower, so they burned them all. They also looked for plunder – lots of flour, pickled dolphin meat, dolphin fat which the Mossynoeci used like olive oil
      • Afterwards, they ate & moved on their way – through towns either abandoned by locals or of those willing to let them pass through
      • The people of the area were strange – some with flower tattoos, some wanting to have sex with the Greeks’ mistresses out in the middle of the street. They were so foreign to the Greeks, they were completely confused by them

Chapter 5 – Xenophon Speaks for the Army

  • They marched for 8 days into the land of the Chalybes & then into the land of the Tibareni, with flat lands & unfortified coastal towns. The generals were itching to attack the towns & rebuffed offers of friendship from them. The soothsayers told them the gods were against fighting. So they accepted the gifts & marched on to Cotyora, a colony of the Greek city, Sinope
    • They stayed 45 days, made sacrifices, organized processions & held games. They took food from Barbarians & some from Cotyora
    • Ambassadors from Sinope came to visit because they’d heard it was being ravaged
      • Their speaker, Hecatonymus addressed them: We’re glad you’ve been successful & have arrived here safely. You can count on fellow Greeks here to treat you well. Any harm you do to the people of Cotyora will be taken personally. We’ve had information that you’ve been abusing the people here. If this is true, stop it. If you won’t, we’ll be forced to make you stop
      • Xenophon replied: We’ve had a hell of a time with the enemy & now we’ve made it to a Greek city we’ve been offered shelter & we’ve bought our own food. Any tribe allied to Trapezus was spared & we helped fight their enemies. We bought food when we could & only took when it was absolutely necessary. You say the people of Cotyora are your subjects but they’ve treated us terribly. We’ve only asked for quarters for our sick but we’ve been treated like shit. If you threaten us, we will defend ourselves. We’ve already fought enemies much stronger & bigger than you & your allies. We might just make friends in the area in response
      • Hecatonymus didn’t like what Xenophon had said but told them that they came to maintain peace & not to start a fight. They were to be welcomed in Sinope
      • The people of Cotyora offered friendship & the ambassadors from Sinope sat down to discuss the region & how they should pass through it

Chapter 6 – Xenophon Thinks of Founding a City

  • The generals asked the men from Sinope what they ought to do. Should they brave the march forward or find a way to sail down the coast
    • Hecatonymous from Sinope told them he was sorry for the earlier misunderstanding about siding with the other non-Greek locals over their own brethren
      • His advice: Traveling by sea will be a huge pain in the ass because we’d have to procure ships for you. If you go by land, you’ll probably be fighting along the way. We will provide you with information about the area. The high mountains can be defended by the smallest of local forces. After the mountains, you’ll see some elite quality forces that aren’t very loyal to the king. They have a great cavalry & 120000 troops. The first river is difficult to cross, especially when being pursued. The next one is similar & the other ones get increasingly harder to cross until they’d have to cross in boats. It’s not impossible to do. But if you go by sea, you can go from here to Sinope & then on to Heracles. Once there, you can more easily on land or sea
    • The Greeks thought he was being paid to scare them. But they preferred the idea of traveling by sea
    • Xenophon spoke: Men of Sinope, we’ve chose to sail. If there are enough ships to sail, we’ll do it so that no one’s left behind. But if some are left, we won’t sail. We can only survive if the army stays intact
      • They sent representatives to Sinope to bargain for ships
    • Xenophon thought about their numbers & situation. This trip had given them experience & thought them to be efficient. They were self-sufficient group. It could make for a great city. He made a sacrifice & prayer before approaching others with the idea. Silanus, the soothsayer, spread this rumor around to cause panic. He had had a lot of money saved up & wanted to head back home to Cyprus
      • Some soldiers liked the idea of a city & others did not. Timasion & Thorax told merchants from Sinope that they were likely to stick around if they couldn’t drum up funding to leave. The merchants told their people of this & began to try to get them that funding
      • Timasion spoke to the soldiers about it: We ought not to stick around here. Getting back to Greece should be the top priority. Some people want us to stay but I know plenty of people who can put us up in Greece
      • Thorax said they ought to go to the Hellespont territory of Chersonese which was once Athenian but was now abandoned. He was willing to pay them with the merchants’ money
    • Xenophon was being accused of treachery by meditating on setting up a city.
      • He finally spoke: My sacrifices & prayers were for the good of the whole army. Soothsayer, Silanus, said treachery was afoot in my sacrifices but little did I know, it was from him. I was contemplating a city but not forcing anyone against his will to stay. Now I see Sinope & Heraclea are willing to send us ships. We’re even getting paid to leave. Whatever we do, we ought to stick together because it’s safest that way. Breaking up the army would be disastrous. I agree, we should go to Greece. If those who leave us do so before it’s time, they should be punished
        • The Greeks agreed with Xenophon in a vote. Silanus protested but was shouted down
      • The people Heraclea heard of the vote & sent ships. The merchants who promised Timasion & Thorax reneged on their deal. Seeing that they couldn’t make good on the promises, they apologized to Xenophon & the other generals. They proposed sailing to the river Phasis. Xenophon allowed them to propose the idea to their captains

Chapter 7 – Xenophon Defends Himself

  • Word got out to the common soldiers that Xenophon might be trying to trick them to go back to the Phasis River. They started rumbling about this
    • Before things came to a head, Xenophon addressed the men: I’ve heard accusations that I’m taking us to Phasis. If that’s true, then I’ll deserve whatever fate comes my way. I plan to go to Greece which is to the west. To go back to Phasis would be to go to the east. You know that the sun rises in the east & sets in the west. You could tell if we were going in the wrong direction. I’m one man, there are 10000 of you. Once you see we were going the wrong way, I’m sure you can do something to stop it
      • I’ve never deceived any of you before. I’ve never given orders that trample on your rights or have unnecessarily put you in harm’s way. I take the men’s overall wishes into account when formulating plans
      • When we were in the area of Cerasus, a few Greek soldiers decided to take advantage of the natives’ good nature & killed some of their elders & plundered villages. When we found out about this, we were shocked. I had it in mind to try to stop a fight from breaking out between our rogue soldiers & the locals. Our army has enough power to defend itself, to attack when necessary, to keep itself reined in & regulate itself from abusing itself & others. If separate, we might be reduced to fighting one another & we’d be completely vulnerable to attacks & internal intrigue. So, I suggest generals, in an effort to maintain our cohesion & safety, prosecute malfeasances. There should also be a ceremony of purification to wipe the slate clean spiritually

Chapter 8 – Xenophon Justifies Discipline in Emergency

  • The troops wanted an inquiry into generals’ conduct. 3 generals were fined for neglect of their responsibilities
    • Some wanted to charge Xenophon because they claimed they were unjustly beaten by him, especially during the dime when many of them were dying in the cold & the snow
      • Xenophon replied: The weather was horrendous. We were running out of food & the enemy was catching up with us. All of this was to get you moving so you didn’t die of the cold, lose limbs to frostbite, starve to death or fall into the enemy’s hands.
    • Xenophon was then being accused of scattering a wounded man’s equipment while another was carrying him
      • Xenophon replied: I gave the equipment to other men to carry while you were carrying the wounded man (To the others: This is an interesting story, you all should listen to this one…) . A man was being left behind because he couldn’t go on marching. I told you to carry a fellow soldier because the enemy was closing in on us. We all thought he was dead & you, rightly so, began to dig a hole to bury him in. But when it was clear, he wasn’t dead, you said you didn’t care if he was alive or dead, you weren’t going to carry him any further
        • The accuser said the guy died in the end anyway
      • Xenophon: We will all die one day but we shouldn’t be buried alive by our fellow soldiers
        • The accuser was shouted down. Some said he should’ve been beaten twice as hard for that
      • Xenophon: I’ll admit that I’ve beaten men when discipline was missing. This discipline saves our lives against the enemy & the elements. I’ve noticed that not getting on people’s cases makes me lethargic & lose my own discipline. As an officer, it behooves me to keep myself & you all sharp. With lots of energy & attention to detail, we can save ourselves in immediately bad conditions but also in a general sense. These punishments are for our own good just like parents discipline their children & teachers discipline their students. It’s only in times of emergency that I use force for discipline. Those who aren’t disciplined are a danger to themselves & to those around them.
        • The soldiers agreed with Xenophon & voted that he was innocent of the charge of unjustly beating men

Author: knowit68

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