A CONFERENCE WITH TISSAPHERNES
 FOR about three weeks the two armies continued marching, one behind the
other, neither good friends nor yet open enemies. The mutual distrust
resulted in constant quarrels, and if the soldiers from both armies were
cutting wood in the same forest, or gathering grass from the same fields,
there was sure to be a fight.
Clearchus did not however believe that the Persians had any deliberate
intention of breaking the treaty to which they had sworn, and in the hope of
putting an end to a state of affairs which was every day getting worse, he
resolved if possible to come to an understanding with Tissaphernes. He sent
word therefore that he wished to speak with him. Tissaphernes accordingly
invited him to a conference in his tent, and Clearchus spoke as follows-
"You regard us," he said, "as enemies, and consequently we think it
necessary to stand on our guard against you. These mutual suspicions may
easily lead to actual war, and therefore I am anxious to convince you that
you have no reason to doubt us.
First, and before all things, we are prevented by our oath from thinking of
you in any other light than that of friends. He who breaks an oath plunges
him-  self into the greatest misery, for who is swift enough to outrun the wrath of the
gods? In what darkness could he hide himself from them? What fortress would
protect him, were it ever so strong? For to the gods all things are subject,
and they have power over all, everywhere alike.
But more than this, you are of all others the man who is best able to help
us. Without you our way is shrouded in shades of night, for we know not your
land. The inhabited districts we should fear to enter, but far more should
we dread the barren waste lands, where there would be none to help us. But
with your good-will every way is open to us, every river can be crossed, we
shall be among friends, and food will not fail. If we were mad enough to
think of taking your life, we should be destroying our best friend, and
should expose ourselves to the fury of the Great King who would hasten to
avenge your death.
And now I will tell you what services we can render in return for your
friendship. We know that you are harassed by the Mysians, the Pisidians and
other nations, and moreover that the Egyptians have risen against you. But
if we Hellenes are your friends, and fight as comrades by your side, what
people can hope to withstand you?
"Taking all things into consideration, it seems incredible that you should
suspect us, and I can only suppose that some mischief-maker has been at
work, causing you to question our good faith."
In his own mind Clearchus had little doubt that the mischief-maker was
Menon, one of the other generals. Menon was a rival of Clearchus, and wished
him as commander-in-chief of the Hellene army, while Clearchus was by no
means inclined to make way for him. Clearchus suspected that Menon had been
trying to induce the Satrap to insist upon his being given the first place,
and that in return for this, he had promised to bring over the Hellenes to
the party of Tissaphernes. Of such a plan the selfish Menon
certainly capable, and it afterwards appeared that he was not entirely
innocent of intrigues with the Persians. But it is very possible that
Clearchus may have been misled by jealousy into over-estimating the extent
of his guilt.
To the speech of Clearchus, Tissaphernes made a hypocritical reply. "I
rejoice," he said, "to hear that you know how to value our friendship. But
now, on the other hand, have we not long since given you proofs of our
"If we wished to do you an injury, have we not foot-soldiers and horsemen
enough to overpower you? Is there any lack of favourable places for falling
upon you? Could I not seize the mountains to block your way? Or prevent you
from crossing a river? Or, surest means of all to compass your ruin, could I
not set fire to the country far and wide around you, and having destroyed
all the fruits of the earth, leave you to die of hunger? Why have I not done
this? Because I love the Hellenes, and hope, by means of their friendship,
to attain my highest wish.
"The Great King," he added, "is the only one who may wear the tiara upright
upon his head, but with your help, another may wear it upright in his
By these mysterious words he meant to signify that he aspired to fight
himself for the throne, as Cyrus had done. He also hinted that Clearchus was
quite right in suspecting one of his fellow-officers, and asked him to bring
all the generals and captains to a meeting in his tent, when he promised to
point out the traitor.
All difficulties appeared now to have been smoothed away. Tissaphernes
assumed a most friendly manner, and begged Clearchus to remain with him for
supper, and be his guest for the night.