Anabasis eBook

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

Next day they set off without a guide; and the enemy, by keeping up a continuous battle and occupying in advance every narrow place, obstructed passage after passage.  Accordingly, whenever the van was obstructed, Xenophon, from behind, made a dash up the hills and broke the barricade, and freed the vanguard by endeavouring to get above the obstructing enemy.  Whenever the rear was the point attacked, Cheirisophus, in the same way, made a detour, and by endeavouring to mount higher than the barricaders, freed the passage for the rear rank; and in this way, turn and turn about, they rescued each other, and paid unflinching attention to their mutual needs.  At times it happened that, the relief party having mounted, encountered considerable annoyance in their descent from the barbarians, who were so agile that they allowed them to come up quite close, before they turned back, and still escaped, partly no doubt because the only weapons they had to carry were bows and slings.

They were, moreover, excellent archers, using bows nearly three cubits long and arrows more than two cubits.  When discharging the arrow, they draw the string by getting a purchase with the left foot planted 28 forward on the lower end of the bow.  The arrows pierced through shield and cuirass, and the Hellenes, when they got hold of them, used them as javelins, fitting them to their thongs.  In these districts the Cretans were highly serviceable.  They were under the command of Stratocles, a Cretan.

III

During this day they bivouacked in the villages which lie above the 1 plain of the river Centrites[1], which is about two hundred feet broad.  It is the frontier river between Armenia and the country of the Carduchians.  Here the Hellenes recruited themselves, and the sight of the plain filled them with joy, for the river was but six or seven furlongs distant from the mountains of the Carduchians.  For the moment then they bivouacked right happily; they had their provisions, they had also many memories of the labours that were now passed; seeing that the last seven days spent in traversing the country of the Carduchians had been one long continuous battle, which had cost them more suffering than the whole of their troubles at the hands of the king and Tissaphernes put together.  As though they were truly quit of them for ever, they laid their heads to rest in sweet content.

[1] I.e. the Eastern Tigris.

But with the morrow’s dawn they espied horsemen at a certain point across the river, armed cap-a-pie, as if they meant to dispute the passage.  Infantry, too, drawn up in line upon the banks above the cavalry, threatened to prevent them debouching into Armenia.  These troops were Armenian and Mardian and Chaldaean mercenaries belonging to Orontas and Artuchas.  The last of the three, the Chaldaeans, were said to be a free and brave set of people.  They were armed

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Anabasis from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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