The Anabasis


Anabasis (Ἀνάβασις – Greek for “going up”)

Complex abstract painting on paper to commemorate Xenophon’s account of the failed conquest of Persia by “The 10,000” in 401BCE.

Spurred on by the Cyrus the Younger, hungry for gain, the Greeks (mostly veterans, unemployed and under-employed, due to the temporary slowdown in Greek on Greek warfare) were promised riches and honor but instead found, betrayal, defeat and struggle for survival and freedom.

Their plans and hopes suddenly became irrelevant in the face of rapidly changing circumstances.

With their leaders betrayed and killed by treacherous Persians, they refused to lay down their arms; instead choosing to fight their way home. The story is a fascinating personal account of the Greeks organizing themselves, and mostly by consensus, figuring out how to get from Babylon to Greek colonies on the Black Sea.

A parable of the triumph of democratic order over chaos.

The horse is a copy of a Parthenon head by Phidias and could represent the triumph of competent decision and democratic order over anarchy. I was thinking of the tuna as representing the safety of the sea: “thálatta, thálatta” was the famous cry as the depleted but relieved army reached the mountains overlooking the Black Sea.


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