People > Silanus of Ambracia

Silanus of Ambracia


Silanus (Greek: Σιλανός) of Ambracia was a soothsayer in Xenophon's Anabasis. In 401 BC, he accompanied Cyrus the Younger in an expedition against Artaxerxes. When Silanus provided Cyrus with a successful prediction, he was rewarded with 3000 darics (or 10 talents).

Smith, p. 818 (Volume III). "SILANUS (2iAaz/o's), an Ambracian soothsayer, who accompanied Cyrus the Younger in his expedition against his brother Artaxerxes, in b. c. 401. For a successful prediction Cyrus rewarded him with 3000 darics, or 10 talents. This money Silanus carefully preserved throughout the campaign and subsequent retreat, and was very anxious to return with it to his country. Accordingly, when Xenophon consulted him at Cotyora, on the plan which he had formed of founding a Greek colony on the coast of the Euxine, he revealed the project to the Cyreans, and did all in his power to thwart it. On this Xenophon publicly professed to have abandoned the design, and proposed that no one should be permitted to remain behind the rest of the army, or to sail away before it. The latter part of this proposition was most disagreeable to Silanus, who loudly remonstrated against it, but to no purpose, the soldiers threatening to punish him, should they catch him in any attempt to depart by himself. Not long after, however, he contrived to make his escape in a ship which he hired at Heracleia. (Xen. Anab. i. 7. § 18, v. 6. §§ 16, 18, 29, 34, vi. 4. § 13.) [E. E.]"

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