In his book Anabasis, Xenophon, born in 431 BC tells the story of ten thousand Athenian mercenary soldiers who had travelled into the depths of the Persian Empire to assist Cyrus the Younger to depose his brother from the throne in Babylon.
While the battle was a tactical victory, Cyrus was killed and the point of the battle dissolved. An attempt by the leaders and generals to negotiate passage home ended in the treacherous death of them all, leaving the men leaderless with no food, shelter, or map to find their way out of the Persian interior.
Xenophon, elected the leader, appeals to the true spirit of the men as autonomous individuals and inspires what has been called a ‘marching republic’. Through deserts and over mountains, pursued by a barbaric army, the men made group decisions for the greater good of all. Each man had a voice in the strategy, governance, discipline and destiny of the group.
From 401BC to 399BC the Ten Thousand marched, sometimes together and sometimes taking separate routes and regrouping, in the end to arrive at the shores of the Black Sea – close to the Greek coastline cities.
Today Greece finds itself the ‘weak link’ in the European Community, as a people denigrated from without as lazy and shoddily governed and exploited within by leaders abusing their trust. Billions of dollars misspent or out and out stolen has resulted in cut pensions and halved salaries of the individuals who had no part in the treachery.
Property values on the many jewel islands known for their beauty and hospitable citizens are plummeting and in sweep those – not Greek – to enjoy the plunder.
While, many speak of the cloud of depression that descended on Greece twenty years ago, we are seeing a very much alive flame in the hearts and spirits of many citizens who prefer to call themselves by their true name Hellenes. The people we are having the privilege to meet are academics, politicians, business owners, entrepreneurs and those who are actively reclaiming the ways and philosophy of the ancient Hellenic culture.
We are meeting the first of the New Ten Thousand who will change the course of the future for Greece. No longer looking for outsiders to fix the problem created from outside, these individuals are looking within and moving forward – as individuals – together – for the greater good.
There is great wealth in Greece. It is in her heritage, culture, philosophies, traditions, lands, foods, seas, and most of all her Hellenic Spirit.