North Anatolian Rivers and the Chronology of Xenophon’s Anabasis: A Note on An. 5.6

Tønnes BEKKER-NIELSENn 16–22

Doi: 10.36991/PHILIA.202203

How to cite 

Abstract: The dating of the expedition of the Ten Thousand to Persia and their long march home to Greece described in the Anabasis of Xenophon has been debated for over a century. Some researchers now favour a late departure from Sardis over the early date preferred by earlier commentators. One further argument for a late chronology which has failed to attract scholarly attention can be found in the description of four north Anatolian rivers offered by the Sinopean ambassador Hecatonymus in book five of the Anabasis. Had this speech been given in May or June, as according to the early chronology, the rivers would have been at their lowest level by the time the Greek army reached them. If, on the other hand, the speech was held in August or September with the autumn rains approaching, the rivers were likely to swell and present an obstacle to further progress overland through Paphlagonia.

Keywords: Xenophon, Anabasis, Black Sea, rivers, climate.



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