March of the 10,000

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The March of the 10,000 occurred after the treachery of Artaxerxes II killing all of the senior officers of the mercenary Greek armies at a feast after the Battle of Cunaxa. The young officers, mostly Spartans and Athenians took over and decided to march to the nearest friendly haven, the Greek Black Sea colony at Trapezus, more than 1,000 miles away across the mountains of Armenia. They fought the entire way against raids from the barbarian hill people who were upset at an army of 12,000 men crossing their lands and requisitioning all available food. The barbarians were subsidized by the Persians. The superior ability of Xenophon, a young Athenian officer, was soon evident.

After 5 months of fighting, the force incredibly made it to Trapezus with 6,000 survivors. Xenophon's leadership was primarily responsible for this accomplishment. Xenophon wrote about the journey and also wrote the famous words:

"Persia belongs to the man who has the courage to attack it".


Encyclopedia of Military History, Dupuy & Dupuy, 1979