Date: 1890–1897

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Chapter X the Expedition of the Ten Thousand



The March to the Euphrates


. . . Once they found themselves involved in a narrow way, where the deep clay presented an obstacle to the progress of their wagons. Cyrus, with the nobles about him, halted to superintend the operation. He gave orders to take a body of barbarians who should help in extricating the wagons. As they seemed to be slow about the business, he turned round angrily to the Persian nobles and bade them lend a hand to force the wagons out. Then, if ever, what makes up one branch of good discipline was to be witnessed. Each of those addressed, just where he chanced to be standing, threw off his purple cloak, and flung himself into the work with as much eagerness as if it had been a charge for victory. Down a steep hill side they flew, with their costly tunics and embroidered trousers — some with the circlets round their necks and bracelets on their arms. In an instant, they sprang into the miry clay, and in less time than one could have imagined, they brought the wagons safe on solid ground. . . .

Some dispute or other here occurred between the soldiers of Menon and Clearchus,2 in which Clearchus sentenced one of Menon’s men, as the delinquent, and had him flogged. The man went back to his own troops and told them. Hearing what had been done to their comrade, his fellows fretted and fumed, and were highly incensed against Clearchus. The same day Clearchus visited the passage of the river, and after inspecting the market there, was returning with a few followers, on horseback, to his tent, and had to pass through Menon’s quarters. Cyrus had not yet come up, but was riding along in the same direction. One of Menon’s men, who was splitting wood, caught sight of Clearchus as he rode past, and aimed a blow at him with his axe. The blow took no effect; when another hurled a stone at him, and a third, and then several, with shouts and hisses. Clearchus made a rapid retreat to his own troops, and at once ordered them to get under arms. He bade his hoplites remain in position with their shields resting against their knees, while he, at the head of his Thracians and horsemen, of which he had more than forty in his army . . . advanced against Menon’s soldiers. The latter, with Menon himself, were panic-stricken, and ran to seize their arms. Some even stood riveted to the spot, in perplexity at the occurrence.

Just then Proxenus came up from behind, as chance would have it, with his division of hoplites. Without a moment’s hesitation he marched into the open space between the rival parties, and grounded arms; then he fell to begging Clearchus to desist. The latter was not too well pleased to hear his trouble mildly spoken of, when he had barely escaped being stoned to death; and he bade Proxenus retire and leave the intervening space open. At this juncture Cyrus arrived and inquired what was happening. There was no time for hesitation. With his javelins firmly grasped in his hands and escorted by some of his faithful bodyguard, he galloped up and exclaimed, "Clearchus, Proxenus, and you other Greeks yonder, you know not what you do. As surely as you come to blows with one another, our fate is sealed — this very day I shall be cut to pieces, and so will you soon after. Let our fortunes once take an evil turn, and these barbarians whom you see around will be worse foes to us than those who are at present serving with the king." At these words Clearchus came to his senses. Both parties paused from battle and retired to their quarters. Order reigned.

1 Xenophon, . The Works of Xenophon, translated by H. G. Dakyns. 4 vols. London, 1890–1897. Macmillan and Co.

2 See page 63.

3 Xenophon, Anabasis, i, 5.

4 Artaxerxes II (404–359 B. C.).

5 His government extended over the three important districts of Lydia, Phrygia, and Cappadocia.

1 Satrap of Caria and Ionia.

2 Menon and Clearchus were two of the five Greek generals.


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Chicago: H. G. Dakyns, trans., "The March to the Euphrates," Anabasis in Readings in Early European History, ed. Webster, Hutton (Boston: Ginn and Company, 1926), 109–111. Original Sources, accessed March 24, 2023,

MLA: . "The March to the Euphrates." Anabasis, translted by H. G. Dakyns, in Readings in Early European History, edited by Webster, Hutton, Boston, Ginn and Company, 1926, pp. 109–111. Original Sources. 24 Mar. 2023.

Harvard: (trans.), 'The March to the Euphrates' in Anabasis. cited in 1926, Readings in Early European History, ed. , Ginn and Company, Boston, pp.109–111. Original Sources, retrieved 24 March 2023, from