Xenophon of Athens, The Cavalry Commander

LCL 183: 234-235

Go To Section
Go To Section



I. Πρῶτον μὲν θύοντα χρὴ αἰτεῖσθαι θεοὺς ταῦτα διδόναι καὶ νοεῖν καὶ λέγειν καὶ πράττειν, ἀφ᾿ ὧν θεοῖς μὲν κεχαρισμενώτατα ἄρξειας ἄν, σαυτῷ δὲ καὶ φίλοις καὶ τῇ πόλει προσφιλέστατα 2καὶ εὐκλεέστατα καὶ πολυωφελέστατα. θεῶν δ᾿ ἵλεων ὄντων ἀναβιβαστέον μέν σοι ἱππέας, καὶ ὅπως ἀναπληρῶται ὁ κατὰ τὸν νόμον ἀριθμὸς καὶ ὅπως τὸ ὂν ἱππικὸν μὴ μειῶται. εἰ δὲ μὴ προσαναβήσονται ἱππεῖς, μείονες ἀεὶ ἔσονται· ἀνάγκη γὰρ τοὺς μὲν γήρᾳ ἀπαγορεύειν, τοὺς δὲ καὶ ἄλλως ἐκλείπειν.

3Πληρουμένου γε μὴν τοῦ ἱππικοῦ ἐπιμελητέον μέν, ὅπως τρέφωνται οἱ ἵπποι, ὡς ἂν δύνωνται πόνους ὑποφέρειν· οἱ γὰρ ἥττους τῶν πόνων οὔτε αἱρεῖν οὔτε ἀποφεύγειν δύναιντο ἄν. ἐπιμελητέον δέ, ὅπως εὔχρηστοι ὦσιν· οἱ γὰρ αὖ ἀπειθεῖς τοῖς πολεμίοις μᾶλλον ἢ τοῖς φίλοις 4συμμαχοῦσι. καὶ οἱ λακτίζοντες δὲ ἀναβεβαμένοι ἵπποι ἐκποδὼν ποιητέοι· οἱ γὰρ τοιοῦτοι πολλάκις πλείω κακὰ ἢ οἱ πολέμιοι ποιοῦσι. δεῖ δὲ καὶ τῶν ποδῶν ἐπιμελεῖσθαι, ὅπως δύνωνται καὶ ἐν τραχείᾳ χώρᾳ ἱππεύειν, εἰδότα,1ὅτι ὅπου ἂν ἀλγῶσιν ἐλαυνόμενοι, ἐνταῦθα οὐ χρήσιμοί εἰσι.


The Cavalry Commander, i.

The Cavalry Commander

I. The first duty is to sacrifice to the gods and pray them to grant you the thoughts, words and deeds likely to render your command most pleasing to the gods and to bring yourself, your friends and your city the fullest measure of affection and glory and advantage. Having gained the goodwill of the2 gods, you have then to recruit a sufficient number of mounted men that you may bring the number up to the total required by the law,1 and also may prevent any decrease in the cavalry establishment. Unless additional recruits are enrolled in the force, the number will constantly dwindle, for some men are bound to retire through old age and others to drop off for various reasons.

While the ranks are filling up, you must see that3 the horses get enough food to stand hard work, since horses unfit for their work can neither overtake nor escape. You must see that they are docile, because disobedient animals assist the enemy more than their own side. And horses that4 kick when mounted must be got rid of, for such brutes often do more mischief than the enemy. You must also look after their feet, so that they can be ridden on rough ground, for you know that wherever galloping is painful to them, they are useless.

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.xenophon_athens-cavalry_commander.1925