Journal of the Australian War Memorial - Issue 30

H.A. Allen's 'Xenophon's Greek Diggers'

Authors: Carl Bridge and Iain Spence

Department of Classics and Ancient History, University of New England New South Wales

{1} In November 1920, Horace William (‘Barney’) Allen, Vice-Master of Ormond College, University of Melbourne, gave a talk to the Classical Association of Victoria comparing the soldiers of the 1st AIF with their ancient Greek predecessors. Allen, born on 31 January 1875 in Maryborough, Victoria, and educated at Scotch and Haileybury Colleges and then at Ormond College, was a noted classicist. His father was a congregational minister, one brother, L.H. Allen, lectured in Latin and English at Canberra University College, another, C.K. Allen, was Professor of Jurisprudence at Oxford and Warden of Rhodes House.[1]

{2} H.W. Allen enlisted in the 7th Battalion on ANZAC Day 1917, embarking on the SS Ventura for overseas service on 19 December 1917, aged 42. He transferred to the Australian Flying Corps in February 1918, and in September 1918 was commissioned and posted to the AIF Education Service. He was promoted Lieutenant on 23 January 1919 and, two weeks later, Honorary Captain. Allen returned to Australia on 30 October 1919 and was discharged in January 1920, only ten months before he addressed the Association.[2]

{3} The talk was delivered again at a Legacy Club luncheon in April 1932.[3] According to a report of the meeting in the Age, the redoubtable H. E. ‘Pompey’ Elliott ‘acknowledged that he owed not a little of his knowledge of the Digger to his perusal of the story of Xenophon’s 10,000, and he always was struck with the resemblance between the Digger and the Greek’.[4] Elliott also served with the 7th Battalion, commanding it on Gallipoli. It is probable that he and Allen, as Ormond and 7th Battalion men, discussed the parallel between Xenophon’s men and the ANZACs, either during or after the war.

{4} Another Ormond man, our colleague, Dr Alan Treloar, whose father was Director of the Australian War Memorial from 1920 to 1952, remembered having seen the unpublished talk in the Memorial’s collections. He told us of its existence after we had prepared a lecture on the ‘Australian way of war’ for the Australian Army’s HQ Training Command.

{5} One of the main conclusions we had reached in this was that, even though some military attributes have come to be seen as typically Australian, the Digger’s characteristics are also found, in varying degrees, in the soldiers of other nations. For example, many Australian soldiers would be likely to see themselves in the following description of Scottish infantry in Italy in 1943: ‘ splendid fighters as they were [they] were given to riot and indiscipline, and took pride in the fact that only their own officers and NCOs could control them.’[5] Consequently, we were intrigued to find that Elliott and also Allen’s long-forgotten paper had come to similar conclusions about the universality of soldierly characteristics.

{6} H.W. Allen rightly calls ‘Xenophon’s Greek diggers’ a ‘brief bright paper on an interesting subject’, and newspaper reports suggest it was well-received at the time.[6] However, its main interest today lies not only in the comparisons he makes between ancient Greeks and the men of the 1st AIF, but in the particular group of Greeks he chose as the basis for those comparisons: hard-bitten, experienced soldiers rather than Homeric heroes.

{7} Allen was not the only ANZAC to see classical parallels; in this he was part of a firm tradition. For example, while campaigning in Egypt, Idriess records a New Zealand officer telling them about Herodotus’ descriptions of the local area.[7] This influence was particularly marked in the Gallipoli campaign; the proximity to Troy and physical reminders of the long Greek colonization of the area (Bean later found a Greek coin there) made classical comparisons inevitable. [8]

{8} A member of the Australian Field Ambulance on Gallipoli wrote (or more accurately, plagiarised) a poem entitled ‘The Trojan War, 1915’ which contains the stanza:

Homeric wars are fought again
By men who like old Greeks can die;
Australian backblock heroes slain,
With Hector and Achilles lie

{9} Another poem, entitled ‘The Graves of Gallipoli’, compares the Trojan and Australian dead and paraphrases the line from Horace immortalized by Wilfred Owen, ‘dulce et decorum est pro patria mori’.[10]

{10} This trend was particularly strong in British writing about the Great War. Jenkyns suggests of the British case that ‘the comparison with Greece was inevitable, if only because the imaginations of so many officers had fed upon Greek literature’.[11] He goes on to cite numerous examples of Englishmen writing about the war or their wartime experience in classical terms.[12] Another prominent example is Kipling’s 1934 ‘Ode: Melbourne Shrine of Remembrance’ which refers to Gallipoli in the following terms:

Because of certain men who strove to reach,
Through the red surf, the crest no man might hold,
And gave their name for ever to a beach
Which shall outlive Troy’s tale when Time is old

{11} It should, therefore, perhaps not be particularly surprising that H.W. Allen, a classicist, apparently also sought to understand the ANZACs’ experiences by reference to his classical training.

{12} However, there is a major difference between the classical comparisons made by Allen (and other Australians) and those of the English officers described by Jenkyns. English comparisons were almost always idealised. For example, Rupert Brooke, en route to the Dardanelles, explicitly linked his pending experience with those of Homer’s heroes, in the following lines:

They say Achilles in the darkness stirred ...

And Priam and his fifty sons
Wake all amazed, and hear the guns,
And shake for Troy again

{13} Australian comparisons are often much less idealised. ‘Xenophon’s Greek Diggers’, for example, compares the Diggers not with Hector or Achilles, but with the tough professionals of Xenophon’s Anabasis. This is interesting, coming from a classicist, but perhaps not uncommon in Australian terms. Despite its classical references, ‘The Trojan War, 1915’ begins:

We care not what old Homer tells
Of Trojan War and Helen’s fame.
Upon the ancient Dardanelles
New peoples write -- in blood -- their name.

and concludes with the image of ‘Great Agamemnon’ lifting his hand ‘in honour to plain Private Bill’.[15]

{14} Allen, who had served in the ranks, expressed a rather Australian classicism. Not concerned with the idealised heroes of Homer, or even the men of Athens, he compares his fellow-diggers with ordinary Greek soldiers in a not particularly glamorous war, although the feat of the Ten Thousand fighting their way back home was justifiably famous. Part of this was no doubt due to his personality, but it seems also to have been influenced by his service and by contemporary Australian society and ideas. Although national characteristics are notoriously slippery things, Australian egalitarianism and disregard for rank and station are well documented for this period, by both Australians and non-Australians.[16] At the time Allen was writing his talk, C. E. W. Bean, from a different and non-classical direction, was coming to grips with his definition of Digger characteristics as typically Australian.[17]

{15} There is an interesting element of equality in the Australian comparisons, the idea that the ANZACs represent the new generation, as good as the heroes of old. There is perhaps an element of self-deprecation, or even of self-preservation, in the general way in which Australian soldiers, and H. W. Allen, used classical themes and references. A soldier in the 4th Australian Light Horse wrote a poem called ‘When it’s all over ...’ which makes a plea to treat the returning soldier at war’s end as the ordinary bloke who left to go to war and ‘not a hero with a halo’. His solitary classical reference is about ‘Bill me cobber’, of whom he states: ‘no, he don’t resemble Caesar in his looks or in his speech’.[18]

{16} Australian society was, naturally, heavily influenced by Britain. However, ‘Xenophon’s Greek Diggers’ is a useful reminder that many Australians interpreted the war, and their wartime experiences, rather differently from the British. This extended even to classicists indulging in the apparently very British practice of drawing classical comparisons between ancient and modern warriors.

{17} H. W. Allen was a modest man and, like many Australian academics of his day, not driven by the ‘publish or perish syndrome’. His paper, however, sheds light on both the 1st AIF and the apparently distinctive ANZAC use of the classics to come to grips with the experience of the Great War. This makes it worth a new and wider audience, and we present it here with explanatory notes and references.

Xenophon’s Greek Diggers
(A paper originally read before the Classical Association of Victoria, November 1920) [19]

{18} Being asked to contribute a brief bright paper on an interesting subject, I naturally turn to Xenophon’s Anabasis. You seem surprised: you thought and so did I once, that Xenophon’s Anabasis was the dullest book in all the world: you remember it as the gum-ring on which you cut your infant Greek teeth; it connotes to you only ‘parasangs’ (‘thence they journeyed five stages, thirty parasangs’), and you remember beyond that only that Xenophon ‘spoke as follows’, and that you had to ‘parse the word underlined’, -- and couldn’t.

{19} Yet the Anabasis is the tale of a great and heroic adventure, which had an important bearing on subsequent history, and throws an interesting light on the character and prowess of the Greek citizen-soldier.

{20} I once tried to show this Association how very similar were the Athenians in the Peloponnesian war to the English in the Great War;[20] but the Greeks as a whole had learned something from the Peloponnesian War, and by the time it was over had improved so much in character as to be comparable to our own Diggers. Doubtless many of them had ‘had a good war’, and were very sorry it was over. They sighed for the good old days of the dug-out, the cushy job, the two-up school,[21] the Paris leave, and they found it hard to settle down again.[22] Perhaps, too, ‘Repat’ had not kept it all its promises: for repatriation was traditionally slow in Greece: you will remember that it took Ulysses ten whole years to get repatriated from the Trojan war.[23]

{21} At any rate, when the war was over, a great many soldiers were at a loose end and ready for any new expedition, just as some of our men were ready for a Russian, or Czecho-Slovak, or any old expedition.[24] And when Cyrus, in 401 B.C., was raising an army to wrest the throne from his brother Artaxerxes, and wanted some good fighting men to stiffen his 100,000 assorted barbarians,[25] he easily found 11,000 mixed Greeks to answer the call. Good class men too, and not by any means only down-and-outs: some of them left homes and families to go: some paid for others’ outfits.[26] They didn’t quite know where they were going, but thought they were in for a year’s lucrative campaign in Pisidia. It was a sort of Dunsterforce or Hush Hush expedition.[27] The Greeks were collected in different places on various pretexts by devious means, and the expedition eventually started from Sardis and marched from near the coast right across Asia Minor and Syria into Mesopotamia, about 1500 miles, in 7 months.[28] They reached Cunaxa (just about opposite Baghdad), 90 miles north of Babylon, and there Cyrus was killed,[29] and his barbarian army scattered, leaving the little handful of Greeks leaderless -- for the G.O.C. and all the Brigadiers had been treacherously murdered -- in the middle of an unknown and savage land.[30] How they worked their way up North under the civilian Xenophon, till they sighted their beloved ‘thalatta’[31] I will not tell; but here are a few incidents in the march to Cunaxa that are worth comment.

{22} Cyrus did not start from Sardis with all his Greeks but picked up detachments as he went along.[32] When they were at last all collected, the first thing they did was to hold a regimental sports meeting,[33] under the patronage of, and in the presence of, Cyrus himself. It is a pity that they had not postponed this for a few days, for the Cilician queen paid Cyrus a visit.[34] She was afterwards suspected of being a spy,[35] but Cyrus had to be polite to her, and show her all the works, and have a nice little review for her. What the Greek Diggers said as they were shining up their bronze helmets and polishing their shields for this society parade, Xenophon leaves us to imagine -- merely hinting at what they thought she was to Cyrus.[36] But they got a bit of their own back. They were asked to give a little exhibition of marching-past with fixed bayonets. They started off nicely enough; but soon they got going, and then they got going a little faster, and before long they broke into the double and came full speed ahead for their tents, yelling like fiends and fairly putting the wind up the rest of the parade. Canteen attendants, y.m. men, and all the motley host of Syrian hawkers, left cakes and capstans,[37] and ran for the lick of their lives. The queen leaped from her Rolls Royce, and fled squawking like a hen. That was the end of the parade. The Greeks went off to their tents, roaring with laughter.[38] A few days afterwards Cyrus allowed them to do a little looting, partly to express his thanks to them for ridding him of the queen, but chiefly because he reasoned that if a few Greeks could so put the wind up his Persians, they would do the same to his brother’s Persians.[39]

{23} Now up to this time the Greeks had not been told where they were going: if they had been told, they would never have consented to go so far; but the usual latrine-wireless had been at work, and there was a consistent furphy that they were bound for Babylon.[40] To this they objected, and when Clearchus the C.O., tried to drive them into it, they threw things at him and stampeded his transport mules, and it took all his diplomacy to smooth them down. Cyrus heard of the trouble, and sent for him. Clearchus refused to go, and privately put Cyrus up to sending in another message and getting another refusal. Then he turned to his Greeks and said ‘now you see we are all mutineers in the same boat, and must consider our position’, and he stage-managed a reasonable discussion, and had a put-up speaker to show the impossibility of withdrawal now. They decided to go straight to Cyrus, who partially reassured them, and gave them a 50 per cent increase in pay.[41] Grote comments: ‘This remarkable scene illustrates the character of the Greek citizen-soldier. What is chiefly to be noted is the appeal to their reason and judgment -- the habit of the Greek world, attaining its maximum at Athens, of hearing both sides and deciding afterwards. The soldiers are justly indignant at the fraud; but instead of surrendering themselves to this impulse arising out of the past, they are brought to look at the actualities of the present, and take measure of what is to be done for the future’.[42] Not until they reached the Euphrates did Cyrus tell the truth, and before they would cross the river he had to promise them a further increase, with full pay till he got them back to the Ionian coast.[43]

{24} Note here an instance of the useful military art of ‘working your nut’.[44] While they were debating whether they would accept Cyrus’ offer, Menon, one of the battalion commanders, said to his men, ‘let us cross the river, anyhow, and then it’s heads we win and tails they lose: if the other companies follow, we get the credit for setting the example; if they don’t we can go back to them, and at least get the credit for willingness to obey’.[45]

{25} So far, then, these are the digger-like characteristics we have indicated, craft and resourcefulness, with intelligence, and a desire to know the truth and a refusal to be driven blindly, a liking for higher pay, and an amused and justified consciousness that any one of them could mop up a whole row of Persians any morning before breakfast.

{26} See, too, how the officers rag one another, in the regular Sydney v. Melbourne manner. There is a question of stealing a march on the enemy. ‘That’s your job’, says the Athenian Xenophon to the Spartan Cheirisophus: ‘you Spartans learn stealing as a national virtue, and are flogged not for stealing, but for being found out.’ ‘Oh I don’t know’, says Cheirisophus, ‘I hear that you Athenians are pretty good at stealing the public money, and that the greatest thief gets the highest office’.[46]

{27} See again how diggerly is their discipline while in rest. Clearchus, first battalion C.O., court-martialled and punished a man of the second battalion, Menon’s.[47] That evening as Clearchus was riding through the second’s lines, a digger on wood-chopping fatigue shied his axe at him, and the rest pelted him with stones and counted him out.[48] Clearchus got away and collected a volunteer retribution-party, and a very promising brawl started, which it took Cyrus all his time to stop.[49]

{28} Notice also their casualness before action. When they know that Artaxerxes is in the neighbourhood, but think he has given up the idea of attacking, they march along anyhow, even without their weapons, which they had chucked on to the G.S. wagons.[50] But when the enemy suddenly comes in sight there is no casualness. Rejecting Cyrus’ orders they took their own plan, and fall in by the river bank, singing their battle-cry ‘Hellas will be there’, to the great astonishment of Cyrus[51]. So far as they were concerned, the battle of Cunaxa was a little holiday, and they treated Artaxerxes’ immense host merely as so many ‘Pork-and-cheeses’.[52] Unfortunately Cyrus’ Persians did not do the same, and Cyrus was killed and his army scattered, leaving the Greeks unconquered and unconquerable, but stranded and deserted.[53]

{29} Into their subsequent adventures I cannot now enter but it required dinkum diggers to go through what they went through, with practically no losses. And when, some 5 months later, they got back to Greece, they knew something about Persia, and had proved to Greece that Persia could be invaded, as it soon was.[54] And Grote says, ‘The Xenophontic Anabasis betrays Persia’s real weakness against any vigorous attack; while it at the same time exemplifies the discipline, the endurance, the power of self-action and adaptation, the susceptibility of influence from speech and discussion, the combination of the reflecting obedience of citizens with the mechanical regularity of soldiers, which confer such immortal distinction on the Hellenic character.’[55] And those are just the qualities by virtue of which I have attempted to compare Xenophon’s Greeks with our Australian Diggers.

Ormond College
November 1920

© Cark Bridge and Iain Spence


1. The following abbreviations apply throughout the article:

Anab. = Xenophon, Anabasis (The Persian expedition in the Penguin edn.)
DC = I. Idriess, The desert column, Sydney, 1982 (1st pub. 1932)
DD = J. M. Arthur & W. S. Ramson (eds.) W. H. Downing’s digger dialects, Melbourne, 1990
Gammage = Bill Gammage, The broken years, Ringwood, 1975
Hell. = Xenophon, Hellenica (A history of my times in the Penguin edn.)
HWA = Horace William Allen

2. H. W. Allen file, The AIF Project, Australian Defence Force Academy; The Ormond Chronicle, 23 (1943), pp. 5-6 and 29 (1949), p. 7.

3. AWM 224, MSS 621.

4. Clipping from the Age, n.d., April, 1932, in AWM 224, MSS 621.

5. D. Graham and S. Bidwell quoted in T. Royle, comp., A Dictionary of military quotations, London, 1989, p. 258.

6. Cf. the press cuttings from the Argus and the Age, n.d., April, 1932, in AWM 224, MSS 621.

7. DC, p. 147, although he got Herodotus’ date wrong, and concludes his entry with ‘I hope I have got it all down correct though; the officer was an enthusiast but I’m very hazy on ancient history’.

8. C. E. W. Bean, Gallipoli mission, Sydney, 1990 (1st edn, 1948), pp. 275-6. On the classical tradition and the ANZACs in general see B. Curran ‘The Australian warrior-hero and the classical component’, a paper presented to the Australian War Memorial History Conference 12-15 November, 1991 (drawn to our attention by Robert Darby after we had written this article).

9. J. Wareham, ‘The Trojan War, 1915’ in Bean, The ANZAC book, p. 104. On the authorship of this see . D. A. Kent, ‘The ANZAC book and the ANZAC legend: C. E. W. Bean as editor and image-maker’, Historical Studies, Vol 21, No 84 (1985), p. 380, n. 29.

10. ‘L. L.’, ‘The graves of Gallipoli’, in ibid., pp. 25-6.

11. R. Jenkyns, The Victorians and ancient Greece, Oxford, 1980, p. 338.

12. Ibid., pp. 338-42.

13. R. Kipling, Rudyard Kipling’s verse: Definitive edition, London, 1948, p. 189.

14. Cited in Jenkyns, op. cit., p. 339. Some of the comparisons, however, became less idealised under the stress of combat, cf. Shaw-Stewart’s poem, ibid., p. 340.

15. Wareham in Bean, The ANZAC book, p. 104.

16. This is a major theme of Gammage’s The broken years; cf. the examples cited above, nn. 35 and 43. See also L. Robson, ‘Images of the warrior: Australian-British perceptions in the Great War’ Journal of the Australian War Memorial, No. 1 (October 1982), pp. 1-7, DC, p. 192 and Captain F. C. Russell in L. Macdonald, Voices and images of the Great War, London, 1988, p. 136. In contrast, Cyril Falls, one of the British official historians, stated ‘our Army was the best disciplined and least effective in the war, though one can’t say so in the Official History’, quoted in D. Winter, Haig’s command, London, 1991, p. 145.

17. For example, in ‘Sidelights of the war on Australian character’, Journal of the Royal Australian Historical Society, 13 (1927), pp. 209-23.

18. H. McCann, ‘When it’s all over ...’ in Bean, The ANZAC book, p. 151.

19. The paper is reproduced from the handwritten text in AWM 224, MSS 621. The original has no footnotes, we have supplied these and, where necessary, additional explanation.

20. This was not uncommon, for example forming the theme of B. W. Henderson’s The Great War between Athens and Sparta: A companion to the military history of Thucydides, London, 1927. The Athenians were seen as a naval power and ‘good’ and therefore equated with the English, the Spartans were a land power and ‘bad’ and therefore equated with the Germans (we are indebted to Dr Treloar for this point). For other classical comparisons, particularly between the Gallipoli campaign and the Trojan War, see C. E. W. Bean, The ANZAC book, Melbourne, 1975 (1st edn., 1916), pp. 25, 104, and Jenkyns, op. cit. pp. 338-42.

21. ‘two-up school’: a group of soldiers playing two-up, a game involving gambling on whether two pennies spun in the air would fall as a pair of heads or pair of tails. One soldier estimated that 60 per cent of the men on his troop transport in 1916 indulged in ‘two-up’ or similar games: ‘the first thing that met my eyes on coming up from below this morning was the coins being tossed ... the crowd started their gambling and kept it up all through the [church] service ... I don’t think it possible for them to lift their minds off the two coins in the air’, quoted in Gammage, p. 33.

22. Many did continue soldiering after the war, either because they had lost their property (cf. Lysias XXXIV, On the subversion of the ancestral constitution, 4) or, as HWA suggests, because they liked the life -- or a combination of the two. Diodorus Siculus XIV.23.3-4 comments how experienced Cyrus’ mercenaries were because of the Peloponnesian War. See also I. G. Spence, The cavalry of Classical Greece, Oxford, 1993, pp. 179 and 223, n. 251.

23. ‘Repat’ is short for the Repatriation Fund (1916-17) and then Commonwealth Department of Repatriation (established in 1917) responsible for the pensions of returned servicemen and their families. There was no Greek ‘Repat’: Ulysses’ (Odysseus’) homecoming was delayed by divine interference.

24. Some 120 Digger volunteers and the frigate HMAS Swan participated in the British intervention in Russia in 1918-19, see J. Grey, ‘A "pathetic sideshow" ...’, Journal of the Australian War Memorial, No. 7 (Oct. 1985), pp. 12-17 and B. Muirden, The Diggers who signed on for more, Adelaide, 1980. Czechoslovakia was something of a cause clbre in 1918 and 1919 as the Czech legion was trapped in central Russia and a number of allied attempts were made to relieve it, Muirden, op. cit., pp. 22ff. For fuller accounts see H. Baerlein, The march of the seventy thousand, New York, 1971 and E. P. Hoyt, The army without a country, New York, 1967.

25. This is the standard Greek term for any non-Greek. The word for language (logos) also denoted reason, so that anyone who could not speak Greek was also regarded as being inferior mentally; cf. H. C. Baldry, The unity of mankind in Greek thought, Cambridge, 1965, pp. 20-24.

26. Greek soldiers traditionally provided their own equipment and horses; some members of the Light Horse of the 1st AIF continued the practice by initially providing their own mounts.

27 Cyrus’ hiring of the troops was done secretly, Anab. I.1.6 (pp. 55-56). Dunsterforce was the select British clandestine detachment which operated in the area from Persia to the Caspian Sea. It included some 47 Australians. See Bean, Official history of Australia in the war of 1914-1918, Vol. V, pp. 728-64.

28 Anab. I.1.6-11 (pp. 55-57).

29 For the battle see Anab. I.8.1-29 (pp. 86-90). Maj.-Gen. Sir W. T. Bridges, the commander of the 1st Australian Division, died on Gallipoli on 15 May 1915.

30 Anab. II.5-6 (pp. 123-35). The five generals (Clearchus the Spartan, Proxenos the Boeotian, Menon the Thessalian, Agias the Arcadian, and Socrates the Achaean) were not apparently executed on the spot but taken to Sardis and executed there (Cleitus, frr. 27 and 28).

31 ‘Thalatta’: sea. The sighting of the sea at the end of the march is movingly described at Anab. IV.7.20-27 (pp. 210-11).

32 Anab. I.2.1-9 (pp. 58-60).

33 Famously, the Diggers played cricket on Shell Green at Gallipoli on 17 December 1915 as the shells flew overhead. For sport and morale, see D. Winter, Death's men, Harmondsworth, 1979, pp. 155-57.

34 Anab. I.2.12 (pp. 60-61); her name was Epyaxa.

35 The suggestion of spying is probably an inference from the later attempt by her husband (Syennesis) to block Cyrus’ march inland, I.2.21-27 (pp. 62-64). However, he apparently tried to sit on the fence for as long as possible as Epyaxa was supposed to have brought a cash donation to Cyrus, Anab. I.2.12 (p. 60).

36 Xenophon explicitly states that the soldiers believed that she slept with Cyrus on this visit, Anab. I.2.12 (p. 61). Xenophon does not actually state that they polished up for the parade, but their uniform turnout (Anab. I.2.16, p. 61) suggests this was the case. Other Greeks are recorded polishing their gear prior to battle, cf. Hell. VII.5.20 (p. 401). For the Diggers' lack of regard for spit and polish, see DC, pp. 75 and 202, and Gammage, pp. 37-38, 87-88.

37 The term ‘y.m. men’ probably refers to the staff of the YMCA, indicating here non-combatants involved in providing amenities for the troops; ‘capstans’ are presumably (despite the lack of a capital letter) the brand of cigarette rather than the item of naval equipment; ‘cakes and capstans’ has the ring of a stock phrase but it doesn’t appear in DD. Diggers were renowned for such horseplay, e.g., ‘imitating the bleatings of a mob of sheep being yarded’ as they re-embarked at Lemnos, DC, p. 31.

38 Anab. I.2.14-19 (p. 61).

39 Pleasure at the performance (which boded well for the future battle with Artaxerxes): Anab. I.2.18 (p. 62). Although HWA may be right to see the looting as a reward for the impressive performance of the Greeks, Xenophon makes no mention of this and states that the troops were unleashed on Lycaonia because ‘it was enemy territory’, Anab. I.2.19 (p. 62).

40 Anab. I.3.1 and 21 (pp. 65 and 69); for earlier Spartan reluctance to campaign so far inland in Asia Minor, cf. Herodotus V. 50 (pp. 358-9). ‘Furphy’ was Digger slang for a false report. The name comes from J. Furphy and Sons of Shepparton, Vic., the manufacturers of the water-carts whose drivers spread the rumours, cf. DD, p. 86.

41 Anab. I.3.1-21 (pp. 65-69). Trade union behaviour was common in the AIF over matters of fairness, e.g., the disbandment of units or sending units back into the line without their promised rest, Gammage, pp. 229, 246-7. Pay was never an issue for the Diggers who, as ‘six-bob-a-day tourists’, were much better paid than the British Tommies, who received one ‘bob’ (shilling) a day.

42 G. Grote, A history of Greece, Vol. VIII, London, 1884, p. 327 (although not an exact quotation from the 1884 or 1888 edn., which differ slightly in several places from HWA’s version).

43 Anab. I.4.11-13 (pp. 72-73).

44 ‘Act cunningly: scheme’, DD, p. 237.

45 Anab. I.4.13-16 (p. 73). The scheme worked as Cyrus sent ‘magnificent presents’ over to Menon’s contingent (I.4.16-17, pp. 73-74).

46 Anab. IV.6.10-16 (pp. 203-204). For example, though linked with the New Zealanders by the ANZAC bond, the 5th Light Horse were not above making good horse losses by stealing New Zealand mounts, DC, p. 141.

47 Anab. I.5.11 (p. 77). Clearchus was rather more than ‘Commanding Officer’ of one contingent -- his prestige was such that he seems to have been regarded, if informally, as the senior Greek officer, cf. Anab. I.3, I.6.5, I.8.12-13, II.1, II.3.1-13, II.3.21-24 (pp. 65-69, 80, 87, 103-107, 112-114, 115-116).

48 ‘counted him out’ means ‘to signify disapproval by counting in unison from one to nine; then shouting the word "out"’: DD, p. 54. Legend has it that officers were always fair game for the Digger. Here are two typical examples. ‘"Ullo"where’d you get your prisoners?", men asked a private escorting three of the 1st Division’s generals about the lines, and the story goes that another private informed a bristling General Walker that judging by the crossed swords and battle-axes on his shoulders, the general was either a butcher or a pioneer’: Gammage, p. 89.

49 Anab. I.5.11-17 (pp. 77-8).

50 Anab. I.7.20 (p. 85); but this applied to the whole army, not just the Greek contingent. ‘G.S.’ stands for General Service.

51 The orders were to attack the centre of the enemy line, where king Artaxerxes was positioned. Clearchus did not want to remove his right flank from the protection of the river, because of the threat to it from the Persian cavalry (Anab. I.8.12-13, p. 87). For the very real danger to hoplites from a cavalry attack on their flank or rear, see Spence, op. cit., pp. 114-15. Xenophon does not actually record that Cyrus was astonished at the paean or the cry of Eleleu (Anab. I.8.17-18, p. 88). HWA’s rendering of the paean as ‘Hellas will be there’ is a play on W. W. Francis’s very popular song, ‘Australia will be there’ (Allans Music Australia Limited, August 1914).

52 ‘Pork-and-cheeses’ were the Portuguese, DD p. 161. The Portuguese division was not apparently highly regarded by the 1st AIF, although DD does not record the phrase as derogatory, this is clearly the implication here.

53 For Cyrus’ death, and Xenophon’s assessment of him, see Anab. I.8-9 (pp. 86-95).

54 First by the Spartans, with some success under Agesilaus, until Persian gold distributed in Greece caused such unrest that he had to return home (Plutarch, Agesilaus 15-16, cf. Xenophon, Agesilaus I.36), and then, with complete success, by the Macedonians and their Greek allies under Alexander the Great.

55. G. Grote, A History of Greece, Vol. VIII, London, 1884, p. 483 (differing slightly from the 1884 or 1888 edn. in punctuation and phrasing). Cf. the letter of 29 Aug. 1915 from Sgt J. M. Aitken, 11 Bn, quoted in Gammage, pp. 87-88: ‘What is a soldier? Roughly speaking he is a component part of a huge machine which has been drilled & trained to such an extent that it obeys an order implicitly, unquestioningly ... A soldier will think, maybe, but will not act without orders ... the Australian is not a soldier, but he is a fighter, a born fighter; each Australian has his separate individuality & his priceless initiative which has made him ... infinitely better than the clockwork soldier. Discipline irks him, he is not used to it, & it’s a thing he can never be made thoroughly to understand; every man ... considers himself the equal of every other man, it’s not in his programme to take peremptory orders, but he looks upon a request ... almost ... [as] a command.’