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THE TREATY WITH ARIAEUS
 TERRIBLE indeed must have been the despair of the Hellenes on hearing of the
death of Cyrus, for by this one blow their whole position was changed, their
every hope was shattered. Instead of being able to cherish pleasant dreams
of future happiness made possible by the bounty of Cyrus, they had now
before them nothing but a dark and dreary prospect of toil and danger,
through which if they barely escaped with their lives, it was as much as
they could dare to hope.
Hitherto Cyrus, who had studied in advance every mile of the road, had been
their leader, and had always brought them by the best way. Now they found
themselves a thousand miles distant from their home, without the slightest
knowledge of the countries through which they would have to pass. Hitherto
they had been free from all care with regard to their daily food, for the
liberal pay which they had received from Cyrus had enabled them to supply
their wants without difficulty. Now they had nothing to fall back upon but
their savings, and when these were spent, they would be reduced to the most
They were, in fact, like men lost in some primeval
forest, surrounded by every kind of danger, with no human being to help
them, no landmark to point out the way, but nevertheless struggling to
escape from among its gloomy shades.
Fortunately for the Hellenes, there was among them one man at least, who,
even in the most sudden reverses of fortune, never lost his presence of
mind. This was the rough, stern soldier, Clearchus. Although under ordinary
circumstances he was rather hated than loved by his men, yet in the press of
battle, the consciousness that nothing escaped him, and that he, at all
events, was absolutely cool and self-possessed, inspired them with courage
and confidence, and in this time of need, he rose at once to the position of
greatest authority in the whole army. Hitherto he had been merely the
general of his own company; now he became commander-in-chief, not so much by
any formal choice, as because every one was ready to grant him willing
obedience, in the belief that whatever the difficulties might be, he would
cope with them better than any one else.
The first plan suggested by Clearchus was to join forces with Ariaeus, who
had commanded the Barbarian army under Cyrus, and who, on the previous day,
bad fled back three miles to the last halting-place. To him therefore the
Hellenes sent messengers to say that if he would like to fight for the
throne on his own account, they would be willing to help him, as they had
Soon after the messengers had departed, there arrived at the camp some
Persian ambassadors, accompanied by a Hellene named Phalinus, belonging to
suite of Tissaphernes, who acted as their spokesman. They asked to see the
generals, and demanded, in the name of the Great King, that the Hellenes
should give up their arms, and throw themselves upon his mercy.
But Clearchus said, "We have conquered, and it is not usual for the
conquerors to give up their arms."
Just then however he was called away to attend to a sacrifice that he had
caused to be offered for the purpose of consulting the omens, and he left
the conference, saying to his comrades, "Give them such a message to take
back as may seem good to you."
In his absence, Cleanor, the eldest of the generals, was the first to speak,
and he said, "We will rather die than give ourselves up."
Another general asked, "If the King thinks himself the conqueror, why does
he not come and fetch our arms?"
And a third said, "The most precious possessions that we have are our valour
and our arms. So long as we keep our arms, our valour may be of some service
to us, but if we part with them, our lives will not be worth much."
Others again thought it desirable not to irritate the King, and said that
the arms which they had hitherto carried in the service of Cyrus might now
be employed in the service of the King.
By this time Clearchus had returned, and he asked Phalinus whether the
ambassadors had as yet received their answer.
"The other generals," answered Phalinus, "have spoken this and
that,—now let us hear what you say." This gave Clearchus an
opportunity of appealing to
Phalinus to help him to keep up the spirits of his comrades. "I rejoice,
Phalinus," he said, "that you, a countryman of our own, are here among the
ambassadors. Give us counsel, and say what appears to you the most
honourable and advantageous course for us Hellenes, situated as we are. You
know that in the time to come all Hellas will know what has been your advice
to us to-day."
But Phalinus evaded the appeal, and gave a very different answer from that
which Clearchus had hoped for. "If," he said, "you have the least ground for
supposing yourselves able to hold your own against the Great King, I advise
you not to give up your arms. But if you see clearly that it is impossible,
then my advice is this, Save yourselves as best you can."
Clearly there was nothing to be gained by further discussion, and Clearchus
said, "You have spoken, but take to the King this answer, that if he desires
our service as friends, it is better for him that we should keep our arms.
And on the other hand, if he regards us as enemies, it is better for us that
we should have them."
With this message, the ambassadors returned to the King. When they were
gone, Clearchus announced to the other generals that the omens of the
sacrifice which he had just caused to be offered, were unfavourable for a
battle with the King, but favourable for the proposal to join forces with
Soon afterwards the messengers returned from Ariaeus with the answer that he
did not care to accept the offer of the Hellenes to set him on the throne,
because among the great lords of Persia there were
many more powerful and distinguished than himself, who would never endure to
see him placed above them. But he said that early the next morning he was
going to begin the return-march to Sardis, and that the Hellenes might go
with him if they liked.
The generals decided to do so, and although it was already dark, they set
out at once for the place where he was encamped, and reached it about
midnight. There they entered into a treaty with Ariaeus, and confirmed it
with sacred rites in order that it might be doubly sure. According to the
Persian custom, a bull, a wolf, a wild boar, and a ram were slaughtered, and
their blood was mingled in the hollow of a shield, into which the Hellene
officers dipped their swords and the Barbarian officers their lances. Then
they swore on both sides to help one another in every difficulty. Neither
party was to desert the other, the Barbarians were to act as guides to the
Hellenes, according to the best of their knowledge, and in all emergencies
they were to stand by one another as true friends.