Anabasis eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 284 pages of information about Anabasis.

I

It was now about the last watch, and enough of the night remained to 1 allow them to cross the valley under cover of darkness; when, at the word of command, they rose and set off on their march, reaching the mountains at daybreak.  At this stage of the march Cheirisophus, at the head of his own division, with the whole of the light troops, led the van, while Xenophon followed behind with the heavy infantry of the rearguard, but without any light troops, since there seemed to be no danger of pursuit or attack from the rear, while they were making their way up hill.  Cheirisophus reached the summit without any of the 6 enemy perceiving him.  Then he led on slowly, and the rest of the army followed, wave upon wave, cresting the summit and descending into the villages which nestled in the hollows and recesses of the hills.

Thereupon the Carduchians abandoned their dwelling places, and with their wives and children fled to the mountains; so there was plenty of provisions to be got for the mere trouble of taking, and the homesteads too were well supplied with a copious store of bronze vessels and utensils which the Hellenes kept their hands off, abstaining at the same time from all pursuit of the folk themselves, gently handling them, in hopes that the Carduchians might be willing to give them friendly passage through their country, since they too were enemies of the king:  only they helped themselves to such provisions as fell in their way, which indeed was a sheer necessity.  But the Carduchians neither gave ear, when they called to them, nor showed any other friendly sign; and now, as the last of the Hellenes descended into the villages from the pass, they were already in the dark, since, owing to the narrowness of the road, the whole day had been spent in the ascent and descent.  At that instant a party of the Carduchians, who had collected, made an attack on the hindmost men, killing some and wounding others with stones and arrows—­though it was quite a small body who attacked.  The fact was, the approach of the Hellenic army had taken them by surprise; if, however, they had mustered in larger force at this time, the chances are that a large portion of the army would have been annihilated.  As it was, they got into quarters, and bivouacked in the villages that night, while the Carduchians kept many watch-fires blazing in a circle on the mountains, and kept each other in sight all round.

But with the dawn the generals and officers of the Hellenes met and resolved to proceed, taking only the necessary number of stout baggage animals, and leaving the weaklings behind.  They resolved further to let go free all the lately-captured slaves in the host; for the pace of the march was necessarily rendered slow by the quantity of animals and prisoners, and the number of non-combatants in attendance on these 13 was excessive, while, with such a crowd of human beings to satisfy, twice the amount of provisions had to be procured and carried.  These resolutions passed, they caused a proclamation by herald to be made for their enforcement.

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Anabasis from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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