The Long March Home

A Greek mercenary army was paid by Cyrus, son of the late Xerxes, to campaign against provincial enemies. Once the army found out they were actually hired to fight against Cyrus’ brother for control of the Persian empire, while already deep in Persian territory, they thought best to bail and go home. Eventually they were convinced to stay and fight when Cryus promised extra payment and they realized that getting home on their own, without trustful guides, would be nearly impossible.

The day of the battle came and the Greeks fought valiantly, defeating the Persians on their quadrant, but Cyrus was slain. Armies dispersed. The Greek general went to make diplomacy with the Persians but was slaughtered instead.

Here were they at the king’s gates, and on every side environing them were many hostile cities and tribes of men. Who was there now to furnish them with a market? Separated from Hellas by more than a thousand miles, they had not even a guide to point the way. Impassable rivers lay athwart their homeward route, and hemmed them in. Betrayed even by the Asiatics, at whose side they had marched with Cyrus to the attack, they were left in isolation.

When all hope was lost, Xenophon, a professional soldier from Athens, rose up and inspired the men to fight and make their way home. And so the book Anabasis begins in earnest.

The Greeks had to adapt on-the-fly to defend themselves against Persian military superiority and feed themselves in unknown territory while making their way back to Greece. They experienced a nonstop barrage of problems, difficulties, and enemies, with treachery and deceit every way they turn, but with wise leadership from Xenophon they marched, fought, and refused to give up. This is a story of adventure and war, a story that only men can enjoy to hopefully feel just 1% of what ancient soldiers must have felt along this incredible journey.

“Surely it is better to fight today after a good breakfast than tomorrow on an empty stomach.”

For such an ancient work, the writing was simple and clear. It was relatively easy to follow and I never had to look up online annotations like with The Landmark Thucydides. I recommend it.

Read More: “Anabasis” on Amazon (free Kindle edition)

21 thoughts on “The Long March Home”

  1. I am smiling as I read this. Ye know well how to select books, Roosh. There is a decided flair for classical themes here at ROK, much to my delight. What other site does as much to educate and elevate young men? And what can be more instructive than Xenophon’s Anabasis? Xenophon, once a pupil of Socrates debating philosophical arcana in Athens, is now a young soldier of fortune.
    This is one of the great adventures in human history. It moves awe in the soul.
    We follow this band of ten thousand men, with engaging courage and tenacity, as they fight their way on foot, day by day for months, through utterly hostile territory, across parched deserts and snow-capped mountains. They are beset on all sides by hostile tribes, deceptive chieftains, dwindling supplies, and treachery, as more Greeks die of exposure than through actual battle. And when the last 8600 survivors sight the Euxine at Trapezus, their hearts burst into joy:
    “As soon as the vanguard got to the top of the mountains, a great cry went up. And when Xenophon and the rear guard heard it they imagined that other enemies were attacking in front–for enemies were attacking behind them….and in a moment they heard the soldiers shouting, ‘The sea! the sea!’ and passing the word along…and when all had reached the summit, then indeed they fell to embracing one another, and generals and captains as well, with tears in their eyes”.
    All in all, a mandatory read, only equaled by Magellan’s circumnavigation of the globe. A primer in battle leadership, fortitude, and masculine virtue. Buy the Loeb Classical Library version, for the great introduction and notes, as well as the joy of having the original Greek text. I am ignorant of Greek, but there is something nice just about having it there anyway, if only to admire the beauty of the script.

    1. Oh, and one other interesting side-note. The general plot and theme of the Anabasis was reworked in Walter Hill’s 1979 film “The Warriors”. Watch it again and see. The names: Cyrus, Ajax, etc., all taken directly from the Greek original, as well as the general plot of a retreat through hostile territory.

      1. I actually watched the movie a long time ago; I most likely rented it from Blockbuster. I heard that the backdrop of the movie, the charismatic leader attempting to unite the gangs in a coalition and take over the city, was based on a true story.

  2. Thanks for these mind-broadening posts. It’s good to have contemporary manosphere wisdom and experiences juxtaposed with the wisdom and experiences of the ancients. Trials, tribulations, and triumphs. Life tests, shit tests; there’s nothing new under the sun.
    Most men have not read many classic works, and that’s a big part of the problem we are in. Another book added to my growing to-read list.
    Quick suggestion: how about an ‘Ask the Manosphere’ weekly post? Men, young and old, could post their questions using the contact form then Roosh, Minter, the Gang of Kings, et al would reply in the post or in the comments.
    The answer is out there; it’s just not widely distributed.

    1. I totally agree with your idea of ‘Ask the Manosphere’…although the name can be improved. This site, with its format, would be appropriate for such a thought.

    2. Very true, and it only gets worse as more and more books chosen to be read by our youths in our schools have the feminist narrative at heart.
      Our young men deserve better.

  3. I read that years ago, a true inspiration in the face of almost certain defeat and gruesome death. For everyone they met was their enemy; and when they returned home, they were left with nothing. Ostracized. Exiled while still allowed to live in Greece. Despite the fact that only these 10,000 men had singlehandedly collapsed the right flank of Xerxes the Second’s army of supposedly 300,000. What happens when peasants go against real fighting men who know that they face death if they lose anyways. They slaughtered them when they eventually turned tale and ran. Just as they turned to see what their victory meant; they saw Cyrus decapitated by his brother.
    The book covers an insane journey home with little to no provisions; only to be rejected. The city of Athens forbade Xenophon to life in his home. Because the general who was slain, and his men, were Spartan mercenaries. The Peloponnese War cost Athens dearly, and Sparta was never truly forgiven. So, Sparta is where he lived.
    Adventure, and inner strength cost one more than anything. The thing is, haters, be they family or friend; are not worth the emotional investment when they perceive you as cancer to their own image of themselves. Like terminal cancer, you can only cut the useless appendage off to survive.

    1. Get the edition offered by the Loeb Classical Library. Google that phrase and you’ll find it. A bit more expensive, but worth it.

      1. Seconded. Always nice to have it in the original Greek side by side with the English.

  4. i think you would enjoy the short stories of jorge luis borges, the argentinian ones anyway. ’emma zunz’, ‘the interloper’, and my personal favorite, ‘streetcorner man’.

  5. Roosh. Utterly brilliant.
    The March of the Ten Thousand is one of the greatest military achievements of all time. Only Mao’s Long March comes close in the modern era in terms of a comparable feat. With Thermopyle, this was probably one of the greatest moments in Western history . . . and most boys have no idea it even exists. Can someone please page Frank Miller or an acceptable substitute and get on this?
    Oh, and the Greeks? Good Pagan boys, all.

    1. I assure you that shit has gone down in recent times too albeit perhaps to smaller groups. How about bravo two zulu? It’s not just SF either. I think only those in the forces realise quite how much heroism remains in many modern soldiers, whether or not it finds itself tested and the level of pain and discomfort they can plough through.

  6. People who liked Machiavelli’s “Prince ” would really benefit greatly from Xenophon’s “Cyropaedia”.

  7. People who liked Machiavelli’s “Prince ” would really benefit greatly from Xenophon’s “Cyropaedia”.

  8. If you enjoy ‘historical fiction’ I recommend The Ten Thousand by Michael Curtis Ford. It’s a well down account and brings Xenephon to life.

  9. I spent a long time looking for this in bookstores years ago, then accidentally found it under the title “The Persian Expedition”. So you may find it in print or used under that title, I think that was a Penguin edition.

  10. My absolute favorite story from history. Xenophone was more than just a soldier, he wrote philosophies as well. He went on to become Philip of Macedon’s tutor, and may have had some role to play in Philip’s decision to build up and army to invade Persia. My take is that the march of the 10000 demonstrated that greek weapons and tactics were stronger than that of the persians. Anyway, Phillip died before he got to lead his army, but his son Alexander took over and made quite a name for himself.

  11. If you’ve ever seen the movie “The Worrier” it’s based on this book but definitely in a more modern take

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