Anabasis eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 339 pages of information about Anabasis.

But on the following day Xenophon took the headman and set off to Cheirisophus, making a round of the villages, and at each place turning in to visit the different parties.  Everywhere alike he found them faring sumptuously and merry-making.  There was not a single village where they did not insist on setting a breakfast before them, and on the same table were spread half a dozen dishes at least, lamb, kid, pork, veal, fowls, with various sorts of bread, some of wheat and some of barley.  When, as an act of courtesy, any one wished to drink his neighbour’s health, he would drag him to the big bowl, and when there, he must duck his head and take a long pull, drinking like an ox.  The headman, they insisted everywhere, must accept as a present whatever he liked to have.  But he would accept nothing, except where he espied any of his relations, when he made a point of taking them off, him or her, with himself.

When they reached Cheirisophus they found a similar scene.  There too 33 the men were feasting in their quarters, garlanded with whisps of hay and dry grass, and Armenian boys were playing the part of waiters in barbaric costumes, only they had to point out by gesture to the boys what they were to do, like deaf and dumb.  After the first formalities, when Cheirisophus and Xenophon had greeted one another like bosom friends, they interrogated the headman in common by means of the Persian-speaking interpreter.  “What was the country?” they asked:  he replied, “Armenia.”  And again, “For whom are the horses being bred?” “They are tribute for the king,” he replied.  “And the neighbouring country?” “Is the land of the Chalybes,” he said; and he described the road which led to it.  So for the present Xenophon went off, taking the headman back with him to his household and friends.  He also made him a present of an oldish horse which he had got; he had heard that the headman was a priest of the sun, and so he could fatten up the beast and sacrifice him; otherwise he was afraid it might die outright, for it had been injured by the long marching.  For himself he took his pick of the colts, and gave a colt apiece to each of his fellow-generals and officers.  The horses here were smaller than the Persian horses, but much more spirited.  It was here too that their friend the headman explained to them, how they should wrap small bags or sacks around the feet of the horses and other cattle when marching through the snow, for without such precautions the creatures sank up to their bellies.


When a week had passed, on the eighth day Xenophon delivered over the 1 guide (that is to say, the village headman) to Cheirisophus.  He left the headman’s household safe behind in the village, with the exception of his son, a lad in the bloom of youth.  This boy was entrusted to Episthenes of Amphipolis to guard; if the headman proved himself a good guide, he was to take away his son also at

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Anabasis from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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