Rood2005, 206, n. 49 and Waterfield 2006, 120; cf. Hyland 2005, 170-1.
Bassett2002, 459. A recent trend in Xenophontine scholarship, although the approach has been around for over a quarter century, is to expose the historian as an ‘artful reporter’, that is, someone who conveniently omits or spins evidence that may contradict his interpretation of an event or call into question his larger historiographic aims (see, e.g., Hunter 1973). Fox 2004, 5 advises the following way of reading Xenophon’s Anabasis: “How do we best expose the artfulness of an artful reporter? One way is to try to expose him from the evidence of his own text, as if he has not consistently covered his own tracks . . . Another way is to set other evidence against his own” (cf. Cawkwell 1972, 26). Bassett’s article evidences well this approach.
Bassett2002, 460, n. 44 and Stylianou (2004, 95) dismiss rightly the suggestion of Cawkwell 1972, 25 that ὡς should be construed to mean ‘as though to buy provisions,’ which would otherwise indicate hostile intent on the part of the Greeks as they went to Tissaphernes’ tent.
So Bassett2002, 460: “Cheirisophus is unlikely to have been the only Greek engaged in foraging, and this is unlikely to have been the only occasion on which it occurred” (emphasis mine). If such was the case, surely Tissaphernes would have mentioned it to Clearchus during their confab right before the arrest (2.5.3-26). It is also noteworthy that those in the Persian camp who were trying to spread false charges against Clearchus and the Greeks (2.5.24-5) never impute foraging to the Greeks.
For Xenophon’s views, see Dillery1995, 179-94; Pownall 1998, 251-77; and Hyland 2005, 164-71.
See Cawkwell2005, 198-9, who questions Xenophon’s thesis of Persian moral decline in the fourth century. The view of Hirsch 1985, 26 and 159, n. 44 that besides Tissaphernes and Artaxerxes II (cf. 3.2.4), “Xenophon does not express disdain for other Persians” in the Anabasis cannot be maintained upon closer scrutiny. Xenophon, for instance, imputes the crime of perjury not to Tissaphernes specifically but to the Persians generally, saying, ‘they broke the treaty’ (ἐκεῖνοι ἔλυσαν τὰς σπονδάς) (3.1.21; cf. 3.2.10 and 3.5.5). The Persian Ariaeus, one of the ‘the most faithful’ (πιστότατοι) to Cyrus, along with Mithradates and Artaozus (2.5.35), was the only one of his philoi and table mates who abandoned him and did not fight and die over his corpse (1.9.31). The integrity and faithfulness of the Persian noble Orontas is also thoroughly questioned by Xenophon, who discusses at length his past treachery to Cyrus and his deceitful, treasonous actions on the march (1.6; 1.9.29). The recent attempt of Danzig (2007) to rehabilitate the character of Tissaphernes by citing the command of Cyrus’ father to be ‘designing and cunning, wily and deceitful, a thief and a robber, overreaching the enemy at every point’ (Cyr.1.6.27-8) is thought provoking but not completely convincing. Even if we grant that Xenophon shared the view of Cyrus’ father (a problematic proposition to say the least), these words are not an endorsement of perjury, a fact to which Danzig rightly admits but distorts when he argues that perjury is condemnable in Xenophon’s moral universe only if it becomes public knowledge: “Tissaphernes’ greatest mistake may have been getting caught” (43). Such a view is simply not supported by the evidence in the Anabasis.