Retreat of the Ten Thousand
B.C. 401 to 400
Greek Mercenaries — versus — Persian Empire
The Greek army, under Clearchus the Spartan, was now left stranded thousands of miles inside enemy territory. At first Tissaphernes, a Satrap of Caris, offered to guide them back to Asia Minor, but after gaining their trust, treacherously killed their leaders, and surrounded the army. The Greeks, at this point, elected new officers and decided to fight their way out through the mountains of Asia Minor in order to avoid confronting an amassed Persian Army bent on their annihilation. Their retreat lasted over a year, and involved dozens of skirmishes with local tribes, near starvation, and forced marches through desolate mountains in the winter.
The entire expedition was recorded by Xenophon, a Athenian Scholar, an student of Socrates, who accompanied the group as an aide, but was elected an officer, after the murder of their original leaders. His work, The Anabasis, (the title means "The March Up"), is one of the classics of ancient literature.
|Battle of Cunaxa
Fought B.C. 401 between the Persians, about 400,000 strong, under Artaxerxes, and the army of his brother Cyrus, consisting of 100,000 Orientals, with 14,000 Greek mercenaries, under Clearchus. The Greeks on the right wing drove back the Persian left, and Cyrus in the centre broke the king's bodyguard, which fled in disorder. While pursuing his brother, however, he was struck down, and his Orientals at once took to flight. The Greeks refused to surrender, and were allowed to retain their arms and march to the coast. This expedition of Cyrus forms the subject of Xenophon's "Anabasis."
|Battle of The Ten Thousand
Greek mercenaries victory
After the battle of Cunaxa, an army of 10,000 Greek mercenaries was stranded over 1000 miles from home. After its leaders were treacherously slain, they fought their way back to the sea against the armies of Tissaphernes.
|Plotted to kill his brother Artaxerxes, and assume the Persian throne.|
|Spartan mercenary who commanded the 'Ten Thousand' Greeks at Cunaxa. Treacherously killed by Tissaphernes.|
|Historian who led Greek army out of Persia, in retreat of the Ten Thousand.|
|King of Persia during the retreat of the Ten Thousand.|
|Persian Satrap of Asia Minor during Peloponnesian War. Allied with Sparta.|
The Greeks after Cunaxa
Xenophon and the Ten Thousand Hail the Sea